Skip’s Quips: ‘Bad Words’ Dials ‘O’ for ‘Obnoxious’

Blog Sketch 082813I sure wish the movie Bad Words was a lot funnier.

It wasn’t horrible. In fact, it was eminently watchable, this story of an obnoxious 40-year-old no-goodnik out to prove himself on the children’s spelling-bee circuit. But it felt like a lot of humor was either left on the cutting-room floor or forgotten. The movie tried so hard to be outrageous that it lost out on a lot of laughs.

Director and star Jason Bateman steered the flick with more assuredness than I expected, and the cinematography had an interesting washed-out quality. Still, there was something unsatisfying about this picture, as if it was attempting to be two things at once: a broad comedy and a sensitive drama delving into the protagonist’s background.

I think the film took some easy routes. It’s hard to be funny. Perhaps the thought process was that the wackiness of the plot would generate laughs on its own. It didn’t, though. So in that regard, the movie misfired.

Oh, well. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. I’m sure Bateman will try for more success with other projects. Bad Words is definitely one to learn from.

Setter’s ‘Spectives: Overused Plots, Unite!

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613I can’t pretend to know what goes on during the movie-development process in Hollywood.

I do, however, know that the results often have a manufactured quality, as if churned out from a machine fed specific information about character, theme and plot needs.

Some of these plots are recognizable from film to film. I’ve listed a number of them below as being, in my humble opinion, among the most overused. This isn’t a comprehensive list, nor is it objective … though I’d like to think it is. Anyway, here are my cinematic gripes for the day:

Single/Divorced Dad With a Heart (and Soul) Finally Finds True Love: They never tell you why he’s single, though, do they? Maybe he eats other people’s nostrils. Or likes Jerry Lewis films.

Zombies Run Amok After Some Medical Experiment Goes Awry: The least interesting monster in any monster movie often gets the star treatment–probably because you don’t have to write lines for it.

Man/Woman on the Run Hides Out in a Dance Studio; Comedy Ensues: And, unfortunately, singing. More often than not, the singing’s worse.

Sensitive, Movie-Buff Hit Man Retires to Home Town, Then Discovers He Never Really Left: What a long, strange trip this usually is, especially when references to Lash LaRue start popping up.

Ordinary Guy Finds Out He’s “The One” to Save the World; Stupidity Ensues: Also boring, slow-motion fistfights and pseudo-martial arts mayhem. Yuck.

Seminal Ancient Battle Gets “Reimagined” for the Screen with Posturing and CGI Blood: At this juncture, the squibs of yore seem more realistic. Add macho yelling and stir.

Multiple Stories About Folks Around the World Intertwine Tediously: Please, please stay with fewer characters. Once you spin a web surrounding too many people, the movie loses focus.

Dance Team Saves the Town Via Dreadful Flash-Mob Theatrics and Cheap Sentimentality: Possibly the least credible plot device of any film in this bunch. And I’m including the zombie one.