Wednesday, 19 December 2012
Scrooged Review: Would you like to be Scrooged? - Movies, Movie Reviews, Film, Film Reviews, Film Entertainment, Entertainment, TV, Television, TV Reviews, Television Reviews
Now Bill Murray is something of a gem when it comes to the films that he is in. I don't think anyone would argue with me if I said that in the era of mid-late 80s and early 90s Bill Murray could do no wrong. From Ghostbusters to What About Bob to Groundhog Day these films are hugely popular, thanks in no small part to the performance of Mr. Murray. Whether these films stand the test of time is another question entirely, but for anyone who wants to take a look back at the world they used to live in this is a great film. Scrooged on the other hand has something that his other films don't, it adapts a story which has stood the test of time already and gives it a modern twist, or at least what was modern for the day.
Not since West Side Story's adaptation of Romeo and Juliet have people so embraced a modern version of a story that's been repeated by so many before it and many more afterwards. In part because it's very clear in watching it that the people involved understood the adaptation they were making and the times they were living in. They were smart enough to change key elements, like the names of the characters involved but never lost sight of the idea that the original characters they represented were key to making the story work. And the one major change they did make was played to perfection for the modern telling by the great Bobcat Goldthwait.
Would you like to get Scrooged? I do, and so should you. Every year on Christmas Eve as the story itself goes, and every year I am trying to hold it together through the end as I tear up through the beautiful speech at the end.
Sunday, 16 December 2012
It's a question that often gets asked at a time like this. During a crisis or tragedy it's a natural thing to do when there are so few answers. People find it hard to understand violence of any scale, but particularly on the scale of recent memory. You would think that it would be easy to understand given that so much of it happens on a regular basis. We wish it didn't and we wish it was really simple to understand. So much so that we polarize issues of violence into simple terms. The problem is one thing or another. Unfortunately, as with most things related to violence it just isn't that easy.
A lot of talk has started to go around about how we prevent tragedy's such as this from happening in the future, and it is now that we should talk about it and implement things. Where I think a lot of the talk is failing is in the single solution syndrome that develops. Things like 'If only we had tougher gun laws this wouldn't have happened' or 'We need to do more for the mentally ill and that will fix the problem'. In reality, I think that both are necessary to really make any type of difference in the world and much of the arguments that happen after a tragedy such as this are over which should come first.
Perhaps that is why nothing ever really gets resolved when it comes to the issue of guns and violence and mental illness, because in our rush to help the victims we end up forgetting the victims in the process. We are so focused on what can be done to stop more victims from occuring that we have stopped worrying about the people who are already victims of this type of violence. We brush it off as if to say 'The police and rescue workers and psychiatrists and the government will step in and help the victims so we don't need to think about them anymore, they are going to be okay' and then jump into political mode and start pushing our cause over another.
The politics of the situation are the problem that keep us from moving forward on this. We are so quick to take a political position on the subject that we force people to disagree with us rather then actually deal with the problem at hand. This isn't an issue of gun control or mental illness or more religion versus less religion in schools, it's a question of how we deal with tragedy. By which I mean we don't deal with it. In the age of the 24 hour news cycle we have over intellectualized tragedy, even among those who claim not to be intellectuals. We're so quick to analyze and discuss a problem so that we can put it in the proper context that we forget the most important context of all, the fact that people have died.
To point to an example that's fresh in my mind, a conversation arose not long after the tragedy in Newton, CT about why we are not focused on the victims instead of calling for gun control or mental health reform and a number of people came out in favor of gun control as a way of helping the victims. One person even went so far as to say that the best way to honor the victims was to push the tragedy in the faces of people who advocate for guns to show them the error of their ways. It was compared to when a dog craps on the rug.
Does that sound to you like someone who is concerned about the victims and not the political agenda they adhere to? I understand that it was well intentioned. I understand that gun control will help the situation. What I don't understand is why that analogy is at the forefront of someone's mind after a tragedy such as this has occurred. That, to me, is a problem. More of a problem then gun control, more of a problem then mental health reform, more than the media's coverage or the lack of religion in school. The idea that these people are not victims of a tragedy they are examples to be used for whatever political ideal a person is trying to put forward.
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
We are getting better at it though, in recent years I have seen a number of Canadian films that are smarter, more relatable and better generally for a wider audience than just Canadians. In some cases we're a little ways off, in other ways we are way off. One of the films that tried to move us in the right direction is Bon Cop/Bad Cop. A film that's set and focused on Canadian culture, but with a distinctly more Hollywood feel. Buddy cop movies have been something of a lost art lately. There are all kinds of cop movies and TV shows out nowadays but buddy cops had their heyday in the 70s and 80s and haven't really recovered.
In some ways Bon Cop/Bad Cop is a throwback to those types of films but with more modern technology and special effects. Where I think that the film has issues is that it relies too heavily on Canadian stereotypes. The ones we have about ourselves like the French/English divide, with some truth to it but a lot of fiction. As well as more international stereotypes like an obsession with hockey and kindness. I have never been a big fan of playing to stereotypes, I prefer commentaries to out and out parody or exploting stereotypes, at least as a general rule. Things like Bob and Doug and Austin Powers are good in small doses but they can go too far if money gets involved.
Bon Cop/Bad Cop keeps things from going too far, but it also doesn't go far enough for a one shot movie like this. Austin Powers worked because it pushed the envelope in the comedy department but had enough held back for an extra couple of rounds. This movie doesn't go far enough for a single one much less several, not that they were planning on more but then not going far enough doesn't really make sense. It has a lot of good elements that make it fun to watch but it ultimately falls short of any serious message except that Canadian filmmakers don't have to act like Canadian filmmakers.
Bon Cop/Bad Cop: What makes a good Canadian movie? I haven't quite figured that out yet but I don't think this movie has it.