SirTheory’s Treatise on Life

(opinions on just about anything)

Mr. Bean’s Holiday

In the United States of America, Mr. Bean has really only been a trivial curiosity. The Mr. Bean television show was hot stuff in England, where the all-powerful BBC aired it. Yet in America it has never gotten more than a cult following. It’s hard to blame America, considering our general suspicion of British humor, not to mention everything British humor tends to get compared to Monty Python, which makes shows like Mr. Bean pale considerably.

Mr. Bean, who was created and played by Rowan Atkinson, is a completely different brand of humor from Monty Python. The television show has elements of sketch to it, but deviates largely by keeping the same main character throughout the entire show and series. Really, it could be considered a cross between Napoleon Dynamite (despite predating Napoleon by a couple of decades) and Monty Python. However, there is a lot of slapstick involved with Mr. Bean. Visual humor is huge due to the fact that Mr. Bean doesn’t really speak beyond some simple words like, “Yes.” He is portrayed as being “special” without being considered stupid. The entire success of any Mr. Bean project, be it the TV series or any of the movies, lies entirely with Atkinson and his ability to not get repetitive. Sometimes, as with the first Bean movie, it does get repetitive.

Thankfully Mr. Bean’s Holiday, an unconnected follow-up to Bean, feels like a breath of fresh air for the Bean franchise. Unlike the Bean movie, Holiday doesn’t try to do too much. Bean felt like the producers were adding a lot of stupid stuff to try and appeal to American audiences. Holiday lacks that baggage. It is more linear while retaining the heart and sly wink of the television series. None of the characters, other than Bean himself, feels over the top.

Helping Holiday and Atkinson is Emma de Caunes and Max Baldry. Baldry is a kid whom, due to Bean’s desire to get a photo of himself outside a train, loses his father. The kid becomes a frequent companion for Bean on his travels: they try to locate the father using a cryptic clue and Bean wants to find the beach. They hit bumps in the road and it feels hopeless when Emma de Caunes gets pulled into their crew. de Caunes portrays an actress hoping to get her big break. Bean meets her when he unknowingly stumbles upon a movie set and, mistaking her action sequence for a real life event, tries to save her. It sounds so tediously cheesy, yet Emma de Caunes’ warmth brings a great spark to the film at just the right place.

In the end, Mr. Bean’s Holiday ends up being a warmer and more sympathetic Bean than we’ve known before. Atkinson manages this without sacrificing the humor. In the end, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, like any Bean product, won’t be for everyone. However, a wider audience should be able to appreciate this offering over the television series or Bean.

September 17, 2007 Posted by | Movies | Leave a comment

Superbad

Superbad is a movie I have been looking forward to since I saw a preview early this year. After the genius of Arrested Development any movie starring any of the main characters catches my eye. Michael Cera, who played George Michael on Arrested Development, was one of my favorites. The previews for Superbad were amusing but I was sold completely on the strength of George Michael.

Realistically, this movie isn’t a far shot from what drifts through your average American male teenager’s mind: Sex, sex, sex, penis, sex, scoring alcohol, sex, boobs, sex, porn, and any other key buzzword to cause this blog to come up on any naughty Google search. Seth, played by Jonah Hill, even has a casual discussion with Evan (George Mic… erm, Michael Cera) about which porn site he’s planning on subscribing to. Yet Superbad manages to do more than remind people of their adolescence.

The character who ends up being the most interesting in the movie is Fogell (the debut of Christopher Mintz-Plasse– you’ll be seeing more of him, I guarentee it), an ultra nerdy kid whom no one really likes except himself. Evan tolerates him well enough to agree to be roommates in college while Seth really doesn’t seem to think he contributes much. Yet the three still hang out and drink alcohol together, albiet in one of their basements and not at the cool parties the other kids are going to.

This all changes when Fogell finds a place to purchase a fake I.D.. Seth immediately latches onto this and sees this as an opportunity. He promises the pretty girl in his cooking class that he would pick up the alcohol for a party that evening. She, doubtlessly, sees it as nothing more than a convenience that saves her from trying to dig the alcohol up. Seth sees it as a promise for some lovin’.

The movie doesn’t really pick up until Seth sees the I.D. that Fogell acquired. We find out (as if we didn’t already know from the numerous commercials) that Fogell picked the name McLovin. Just McLovin. Despite the obvious fakery Fogell tries the I.D. out at a liquor store. Things happen, people get hit by cars, and all of a sudden we have a movie with two identities. We have one storyline with Fogell and the cops and we have a storyline with Seth and Evan trying to find a way to get alcohol for this party… undoubtedly the first real party either of them have been to.

Then there are the girls. Each of the guys has a girl he’s had his eye on. For Seth there is Jules, played by Emma Stone, who is the curator of the party and looks like a model.  Evan can’t keep his eyes off of Becca (Martha MacIsaac), who has more of a hometown quality to her (and I don’t mean that in a bad way). For Fogell there is Nicola, played by the stunningly gorgeous Aviva (pictured left and in the above picture with Fogell). Aviva really does go by just one name having dropped Farber, her last name.

Each, by the end of the night, ends in disaster. Evan almost gets raped by a drunk Becca, a drunk Seth accidentally head-butts a sober Jules, and Fogell gets busted by the cops while in bed with his vixen. There is more to the ending than that, but I’m not here to play the part of a spoiler.

In the end the movie is quite funny, though not as funny as my high expectations were set up for. Yet it is also a very sweet movie that will have you saying “awwe” at points. Which, in my opinion, is a perk. Movies like this have to display real humanity or they’ll become mired in nothing more than dick jokes. So Superbad is recommended. But I won’t really know what I think until I see it a second time to see how repeat viewings treat it.

August 21, 2007 Posted by | Movies | 1 Comment

First Post

“Glory, glory hallelujah…” goes the common refrain. In this case it is a reference to my discovery of wordpress, which looks like an honest-to-goodness free (FREE!) serious blog site. I had always been under the opinion that Xanga served my needs quite nicely. I still think that Xanga would work great for serious blogs. I mean, the set up and layout is great. There are two serious problems with xanga. 1) You have to become a xanga member to comment. 2) The general population has Xanga stereotyped as a social journal kind of site. Regardless, I have no qualms in acquiring more of a serious blog on which I will various reviews and commentaries. The Xanga shall continue to exist for updates on me. And it was good.

A little about me:
Name: Jacob
Age: A totally mature 23
Beard-growing Capacity: Amazing.
Location: Central PA

I am into music, particularly that of a quirky/avant-garde nature. Examples: Sonic Youth, The Residents, The Fiery Furnaces, The Danielson Famile, and so forth. I also like normal indie stuff: Sufjan Stevens, Wilco, Hella, The Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, blah blah blah. And more mainstream things: Eagles of Death Metal, Queens of the Stone Age, Bjork, Kelly Clarkson, The White Stripes, etc. There are very few genres I don’t appriciate to some extent, although I have a tough time enjoying emo, ska, and r&b.

Movies are pretty cool, and although I don’t pretend to be an expert on them, I will talk about them occasionally. I tend to gravitate toward the pretentious serious films like anything from the Tarantino catalog: specifically Jackie Brown, although Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill are both excellent. I also quite enjoy comedies like Office Space, The Princess Bride, and Saved!. Not to mention anything Monty Python related. In fact, British humor is definitely more my speed.

I would say I love books more than movies on the whole. My favorite authors include Madeleine L’Engle, Tad Williams, J.K. Rowling, Ray Bradbury, and oodles more I am forgetting at the moment. My genre of choice right now seems to be children’s or adolecent fantasy because it does a much better job of capturing the spirit of fantasy than a lot of adult fantasy which insists on throwing in obnoxious, gratuitous sex and stuff.

The one thing most people don’t realize about me when they meet me is my fanatical obsession with Phillies baseball. I am a huge, huge fan and I watch every game that I can on TV. Also a big fan of football (go Eagles)… but nothing really rivals my commitment to the Phillies. The one sport I truly, honestly hate with a passion is basketball. Really, what is the point?

I am a beer snob. I love microbrews. Thankfully Central PA has quite a few very good ones… and is only an hour and a half drive to Philadelphia where there is a whole slew of microbreweries. And hey, we have Stoudts! Every month some church friends and I go to a brewpub and check out the local goods. Expect opinions and reviews on beers right after such trips.

Television. I am a much bigger fan of the products created for TV than the big screen. I mean, Arrested Development? Futurama? Classics. Then there is the old Police Squad show that lasted exactly six episodes before getting canceled… the creators of that went on to do movies like Naked Gun and Airplane!. And can’t forget Monty Python’s Flying Circus… that was one of my best ebay finds.

I have long been a creator of content on the internet. I started off on h2g2.com, a website created by the awesome and clever Douglas Adams, who wrote the entirely too funny Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. I was young and naive. It’s a good site but I only go back really once a year and try to remember my bloody log-in info. Then I moved on to the afore mentioned xanga and blogcritics, of which blogcritics is the most prestigious. Check it out, it’s awesome. Blogcritics.org, a “sinister cabal of superior writers.”

The last thing I shall mention in my virgin post here is that I go to Millersville University where I am in the process of making sure everyone realizes that I am totally awesome.

August 7, 2007 Posted by | Beer, General, Internet, Literature, Movies, Music, Sports, Television | 1 Comment