Going "There"

Well, I saw my first theatrical feature of 2005 last weekend. Someday I'm going to go a whole year without seeing anything. That'll learn 'em.

Anyway, the movie was "Are We There Yet?" and if I was a professor, and I gave grades, and this film was a term paper, I'd give it a C+. There wasn't anything really wrong with the film, but it was utterly and totally predictable. I mean, if you've never heard of the film and I described it as "Ice Cube, a batchelor who doesn't like children, has to drive some bratty kids a couple hundred miles," you could probably guess almost all the jokes. And if you saw it in the theater, you probably did what I did: something would happen, and I'd think, "I bet this will lead to [something else], and the joke is going to be [whatever]," and I was always right.

This would really fill my definition of "rote." In the film's favor, though, Ice Cube himself has a nice, easy charm, which kind of surprised me: I don't think I've ever seen him in a movie, but every picture of him I've seen shows him snarling (there's actually a plot point about that). He came across as pretty likable. And the actors playing the two kids were pretty good--I mean, these kids come across as utter monsters from the get-go; the fact that you can sympathize with their later disappointments is a nice tribute to the actors.

Props also have to go for having Deep Throat (as a pharmacist-clown) and Uhura, too.

Maybe kids would enjoy this a lot more than I did. Don't get me wrong, parts of it were fun and I didn't feel that I'd wasted my money or my time; there just wasn't much there in "There."

Oh, and Hollywood, here's your idea for the sequel: Now that the kids like Nick (Ice Cube), he and they have to travel with some kids who are even more obnoxious, and the kids no longer know how to deal with this. And everyone learns how to loosen up and act bad.


Let's Give Him a Big Hand!

From the aptly named Disturbing Auctions comes this item:

Hand Puppet

That is disturbing. While I pride myself on having a pretty good imagination, all attempts to imagine who would come up with a Dean Martin Hand Puppet, or why, collapse in failure. I'm less of a person for seeing this.

I wonder what Dino himself thought?

"Hi Dean, I'm your new marketing manager. We're trying to move away from autographed photos and album covers, and into the up and coming areas of hand puppets, lunchboxes and pinatas."
"All right! The big time at last!"

It's no easier imagining kids playing with this:

Kid one, with Dean Martin Hand Puppet: "Hiya, Frankie."
Kid two, with Sinatra Hand Puppet: "Hey, it's Dino! Ladies and Gentlemen, Dean Martin!"
Kid three, with various generic hand puppets on a tree branch: "Yay! Applause noises!"

Sometimes when I see things like this, I wonder if it means I'm in one of those weird parallel worlds people are always falling into. It's not the only explanation, but it sure fits...like a glove.


Never Known Questions

I was in Pizza Hut yesterday, enjoying their lunch buffet, when I noted the placemat they had at the table.

It had several bits of trivia about Pizza Hut, such as the fact that their yearly use of pepperoni would create a mass that would stretch around the world twice, and go to the Moon.

(This sounds like a "go take a hike" type of thing to say: "Hey, why don't you stretch around the world twice, and go to the Moon, ya jerk!")

Anyway, while the facts were interesting (kind of), the phrase that struck me was the introduction to this collection.

"Think you know all there is to know about Pizza Hut?" it asked.

I...I didn't know how to respond to that. I have never in my life thought I knew everything about Pizza Hut; in fact, it wouldn't have occurred to me to make that a speciality of mine.

"Well, yeah, you may know everything about Spider-Man, but I know everything there is to know about Pizza Hut!"

Somehow, as a taunt, it just misses the mark. Though it just might startle your opponent into submission.


While Parched One Day

I like Arbys fast food, so I go there on occasion. Last time I went, I happened to note this printed on the side of the cup:

"Why wash your Arbys down with a cold beverage?
You could try washing your sandwich down with another sandwich. But a sandwich could be hard to fit in a cup and even harder to sip through a straw."

While I appreciate the absurdity and humor of the message, as well as the fact that they didn't just put a slogan or an ad there, I have to say one thing: it doesn't make me hungry OR thirsty. In fact, it makes me feel a wee bit ill. "Yes, I'll have the roast beef shake, please."