Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Movies

It's summer and for many that means blockbuster movies. 

I will admit: I usually wait until movies come out on cable so I can watch them from my own home. But occasionally I get out to see them on the big screen. This summer, it wasn't about the smash 'em up, bang 'em up type that got me in the theater. It was my guilty pleasure love of the show "Family Guy" and Seth MacFarlane. You may assume from what I write that I'm only going to watch movies that are deep and meaningful, but even I have my naughty side that enjoys to laugh at things that we should be embarrassed to laugh at.

And that's exactly what MacFarlane does constantly. He is an equal opportunity offender. Making fun of gays, black, jews - he covers it all. And he doesn't apologize for it. Being the opening weekend, I have no idea how well the movie is doing..but I did google and find reviews from people loving it and giving it an A to those that hated it and gave it an F. But as anything in the arts: that's exactly what you want. You want your work to incite people with passion one way or another.

What I found interesting is that MacFarlane pretty much sticks to what works for him in "Family Guy". (Flashbacks when a character tells a story. The lead having a huge fight scene that goes on a little too long: think Peter & the chicken. And using music to his advantage constantly.)

But I also think he taps into something that we can all relate to. How much our past and pop culture dictates how we view the world. And he uses the 80s to his advantage in this movie - making many go "OMG, I had that star wars set" when you see it on the screen or remembering watching Flash Gordon...even if that particular movie didn't drive your world the way it does his lead character and the teddy bear.

Sam Jones (Now 57 years old)
And it is amazing how MacFarlane can get people to show up in his first film out of the gate. Yes, he uses most of his cast from "Family Guy", but also Mark Wahlberg who has now done numerous films as well as cameos I won't name and even his childhood idol. (A 57 year old Flash Gordon.) 

But (like his cartoons), I feel there is still heart to his movie beyond all the vulgar language & pot-smoking that you will undoubtedly hear much about when people speak of this movie. (Ted has a foul-mouth and there is no denying it.) A heart that many buddy movies can capture: but this one is a real man and a toy. A twist on the regular buddy film. Much is said about the 35 year old man in the movie (come on, Mark Wahlberg - you are 41) still having his childhood bear that he got when he was 8. 

CryBaby 40 years old
Well, I'm here to say I have a bear that is 40 years old. Do I talk to it? No. But my mother did give it back to me as an adult to have in my own house. And I'll admit just seeing it gives an odd sense of comfort: a 'remembering when' that bear got me through many times as a child.

In a way, MacFarlane is able to capture that very same sense of nostalgia while making me laugh my butt off at the same time. And for me, that makes a da$%$% good summer movie!

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