My Father The Hero (1994)

If I Tell Him I Made All This Up, He’ll Hate Me.

My Father The Hero (1994)Today, I received a review request all the way from Poland … wherever the Hell that is.  I had to use Google Translate to find out what exactly this “Booski” person was requesting of me, but after I finally figured it out, I found myself very disappointed.  The movie that Booski requested was a movie I was aware of, but a movie I never found myself interested in watching, even at the mere 11 years of experience I had when the movie was released.  As I got older and gained the ability to pick movies for myself, the lack of interest remained.  Truthfully, there’s absolutely no way I would ever watch this movie of my own accord.  But in accordance with a request, I will relent and watch My Father the Hero, based on the French film Mon père, ce héros, written by Gérard Lauzier, Francis Veber, and Charlie Peters, directed by Steve Miner, and starring Gérard Depardieu, Katherine Heigl, Dalton James, Faith Prince, Lauren Hutton, Stephen Tobolowsky, and Emma Thompson.

André (Gérard Depardieu) is a French divorcé who comes to New York to take his 14-year-old daughter, Nicole (Katherine Heigl), on vacation with him.  But it turns out that his daughter is a dirty bitch, obsessed with the idea of being treated like a woman and not a girl.  She also falls instantly in love with a local boy named Ben (Dalton James), who she desperately wants to impress.  For some reason, her idea of impressing a boy is to tell him that André is not her father, but actually her sugar father.  Meaning that she’s banging her dad because he helped her get off drugs.  But the fact that André is now a pedophile in the eyes of everyone at the resort starts to create problems for him.  And the fact that he agrees to go along with this bullshit creates a few more.

I hated this movie so much I can’t even put it into words.  But I’m going to anyway because this would be a strange review if I did it all with numbers and emoticons.  Part of me really wanted to like this movie because I’m pretty sure I hated the last movie Booski requested of me, but I could just not support this story.  It was so gundamned icky!  This girl tells someone that she’s banging her father?!  And why?  To impress a boy?!  Yeah, ‘cause there’s nothing does it for me more than a recovering addict with serious daddy issues.  And then the lies keep getting worse and worse, as does the movie.  I was getting more and more frustrated as André started actually going along with this nonsense, but it was worse when it had a happy ending.  My desire was to see this movie end with the guy finding out that Nicole was a lying bitch and being done with it, but then they rip off Cyrano de Bergerac and everything is all better with some lame confession of love for someone this girl has known for about a week.  And that doesn’t change the fact that she was only 14, making this Ben guy nearly as gross as he thought André was.  I really have no idea what makes Booski like this movie so much.  I didn’t find it funny as the only attempts at humor I could even see either made me feel awkward because they were kind of poking fun at pedophilia or they were simple silliness and slapstick.  As best I can assume, maybe there’s some understanding of this movie that I’m missing because I don’t know what it’s like to be a tedious, teenaged girl.

Technically speaking, the greater majority of the performances in the movie were fine, but the problems I had with most of the characters made it too hard to even concentrate on it.  Needless to say, the greater majority of the issues I took were with Katherine Heigl’s character.  Part of the problem was that she was only 16 in this movie, probably 15 when it was filmed, and 14 in the movie, yet the movie and almost everyone in it sexualizes her so much.  Granted, it would be very difficult not to as she was good looking, had a rockin’ body, and wore a bathing suit with zero percent coverage over her ass in one of the first times we see her, but even as I say those things I feel the need to take a hot shower to cleanse myself of the ickiness of sexualizing a 14-year-old girl, even though that girl is actually 4 years my senior.  These are the feelings that this movie should have had when dealing with her at the time instead of slutting her up and having every 40+ year-old guy in the movie have their tongues dangling out whenever she walked by.  But I started feeling less for her when it turned out her character was a crazy lying bitch.  I hated her for the greater majority of the movie, which probably hindered me liking the movie since she was one of its main characters.  First, why would she act like she doesn’t speak French anymore?  Is she worried that her friends would think she was too interesting and cultured because she speaks a second language?  But technically, the greater majority of my problems were with what was written for Heigl and not Heigl herself.  The only time I took issue with her acting was when she was trying to act scared for Depardieu on the boat.  She did not deliver that very well.

Not many of the people in this movie were likeable.  Ben (played by Dalton James) was fuckin’ stupid as well.  He starts off on the right track, hating Depardieu for the pedophile he thinks he is.  But when he is told that he was a veteran, he starts feeling bad for the guy?  That wouldn’t change anything for me.  That’s a great thing you did for your country, but that doesn’t make what you’re doing now forgivable.  And he sees André with his shirt off numerous times in this movie, so why doesn’t he realize that André has no scars whatsoever from all of these war injuries he’s received?  And then the douche is stupid enough to forgive her?  To Hell with this chick!  She’s told you next to nothing that wasn’t a lie!  And she’s leaving in about a day from when you find out the truth and forgive her.  Why even bother?  Also, you’re going to leave Nicole in the hands of a potentially abusive pedophile just because he can play piano better than you?  Of course, all the other guys in the movie were also awful, as they idolized André for being a pedophile.  I also hated André’s girlfriend, Isobel, until I found out she was played by Emma Thompson.  Isobel let André go through all the horribly challenging things that Nicole was putting him through because she wanted to get married?  What a shitty girlfriend!  André should’ve ended up with Faith Prince’s character, Diana.  She only started off a little irritating, but she got along well with Nicole and was actually there for André in these trying times.  Diana was one of two people in this movie I didn’t hate.  The other was André himself.  I felt bad for him for what he was dealing with, and Gérard Depardieu was very likeable as well.  I liked him from the moment he called Nicole a liar.  Someone had to say it!

I found myself really wanting to like My Father the Hero, but subsequently found myself completely unable.  The story was just so … icky!  A girl lying to say she’s a recovering drug addict that’s banging a man so old that he could be her father … because he IS her father?  Ewwwwwww!  And all this to somehow impress a guy that ends up loving this girl, despite her completely icky lies?  I’m not on board with any of this.  I may have been on board with Gérard Depardieu in this movie, but it was not enough to override the rest of it.  I can’t recommend this movie.  From what I have found, I suppose you would like this movie if you’re a girl from Poland.  But as far as I know, there are only two of those.  Everyone else can skip it.  My Father the Hero gets “Your life will not be ruined.  Mine maybe, but yours won’t” out of “Oh, you’re such a bitch.”

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The Lorax (2012)

Unless Someone Like You Cares a Whole Lot, Nothing is Going to Get Better. It’s not.

Today’s movie came as a request from my friend Forty, but I’m not entirely sure why. My best guess is that he’s a dad and that means that I, as his single review-writing friend, should be forced to watch the same crap that he must at the behest of his daughter. So I guess that means today’s review came as a request from Eden. Either way, it was a request, and one easy enough to comply with as my roommate Richurd had purchased this movie on Vudu some time ago, so it was ready for me whenever I got around to it. I also get to go into this review relatively clean because I have next to no memory of the Dr. Seuss book that this movie is based on. Something about trees, I think? Well, we’ll find out as I review The Lorax, based on a Dr. Seuss children’s book, written for the screen by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul, directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda, and featuring the voices of Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Danny DeVito, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle, Betty White, Jenny Slate, Nasim Pedrad, Stephen Tobolowsky, Elmarie Wendel, and Danny Cooksey.

Ted Wiggins (Zac Efron) lives in the town of Thneedville, a walled city so surrounded by the pollution of industry that they actually sell air in bottles to people, and everything in the city is artificial, including the plants. Ted has a crush on a girl named Audrey (Taylor Swift), who wants to see a real life tree. In order to impress her, he sets out to find a tree. Under the advice of his grandmother, Grammy Norma (Betty White), he tracks down the Once-ler (Ed Helms), who tells Ted how he is responsible for the deforestation because he broke his promise to The Lorax (Danny DeVito), who speaks for the trees because trees have no tongues of their own.

I can’t really say I was disappointed by The Lorax because I went into it with low expectations, but I didn’t think this was that good of a movie. It wasn’t bad; I just felt like I was wasting my time watching it. It wasn’t without a point, but the point it was trying to make was one that I found tedious and ham-fisted. I knew what the message of the movie was going to be before I started watching it, and it did not take long for me to get sick of being beat over the head with it. Yes, deforestation is bad. Yes, every business ever is bad. Nothing good has ever come from cutting down a tree. Even when they cut those trees down to make paper that could be used to print the words of Dr. Seuss. I’m sure it was all printed on recycled paper. It also wasn’t funny. It gained a couple of minor smirks out of me with a couple of cute and quirky comments, but towards the end it had devolved into, “It’s funny when old people do young things like snowboard, isn’t it?” …No, no it’s not.

The biggest issue I took with the movie was its musical numbers. I’ve complained before about musicals forcing their movie to be a musical with pointless and unnecessary musical interludes, but this movie goes even further with that. They give the Once-ler a guitar for no reason other than to make him be able to break into song out of nowhere. Some musicals can get by on this bullshit by having good songs, but the Lorax blew its load in the introduction of the film, as the credits still rolled, and then only gave us mediocre songs or worse.

The thing this movie does right is definitely the look. It captures the wackiness and imagination of Dr. Seuss in a beautiful and colorful CG world. I wouldn’t give much imagination credit to this movie though, since that all came from Seuss, but they captured it well. The settings were evocative and created the mood they wanted. The town was clean and fake, the wilderness before people messed it up was lush and colorful, and the same area after was dark and depressing. They also did a good job of making all the forest creatures overly adorable. The fish were kind of funny and the fat bear made for some easy “This bear likes to eat everything” jokes, but I think my favorite was the tiny duck-like creature that sat around with a dumb look on its face, randomly quacking.

The Lorax isn’t a bad movie. It’s just not a good one. It could get away with beating us over the head with its environmentalist message if it was funny or interesting, but it never really mustered that, try as it might. It also forced itself to be a musical for no good reason, forgetting of course to have some good songs. In its defense, it is a very pretty movie with lots of cute animals, so your kids will probably enjoy it. You, on the other hand, might find it tough to pay attention to, especially numerous times as kids tend to view things. I say skip it. The Lorax gets “You have been warned!” out of “Unless.”

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