On Creepy Movies

by F.

Pan’s Labyrinth. This started out well, but then it took a left and entered the expressway to Yuckville. Blood everywhere. Torture. More blood. Creepy mandrake root that squeals like a baby. Creepy fascist guy. Amputation. Guy with eyes in his hands who eats children. Freaky faun thing that looks like it crawled off the set of The Outer Limits. And it’s all entirely predictable. The fairy tale frame just wasn’t sufficiently hidden.

The 40 Year Old Virgin. Steve Carrell is a bit like Steve Martin. Funny, but also creepy. I’m entirely tired of these Apatow movies. They are like b-material from SNL spun up into a film. Length doesn’t make unfunny things funnier.

300. Yeah, I actually rented this one. Mostly, I wanted to see the costumes and sets. (Troy was a stupid movie, and Brad Pitt was more ridiculous than usual, but the sets and location—Mexico, if you can believe it—were interesting.) But from the first ten minutes of 300, it was obvious that historical accuracy had been sacrificed on the alter of adolescent comic book aesthetics. Risible voice over and cartoon violence. Blood. Blood. Blood. I watched 10 minutes worth. It felt like 300 minutes.

Hamlet. I finally got around to watching the Ethan Hawke version. Absurd. He emphasizes the wrong words. Unbelievably stupid. (But Kyle Mclachlan was pretty good.) A better movie version is the Zeffirelli one with Mel Gibson. (Warning: it has been cut down a bit—but not too much.)

Superbad. Here’s the surprise: this is the best coming-of-age movie I’ve ever seen. Absolutely hilarious. Both my wife and I loved this movie. So, so, so deeply funny and wise at the same time. If you grew up in suburbia, like I did, you will find much that is familiar (the house party filled with adult losers, the kids trying to get alcohol, the boys running through people’s back yards drunk). Nicely edited—much quicker than the usual Apatow teen comedy. This movie is a classic.

So, of the 400 minutes I spent watching these pictures, I’d say 120 of them were well spent, which yields a time utilization rate of 0.3. Lame. I have to get better at stopping at the 10 minute mark.