Patrick and I had to look ourselves in the mirror last week (and by mirror I mean a sheet of glass that we look at each other through). As the email develops and grows (literally… to interminable length), we periodically have to reflect on whether it is growing stale and whether it is time to SHAKE THINGS UP. Last week was that time. And the answer was yes. Time for a BMT Shake Up. It’s not going to change much. We’re just going to try to make sure we aren’t repeating ourselves. The front part of the email is where we fool around (before getting to the super serious second half of the email) and we found ourselves making the same points, playing the same games, and generally repeating ourselves. In an email this long, we should try not to be redundant since the email’s too long. For the most part this will just mean that we’ll start working on the email together, rather than separately. It’ll help us tighten the bolts. Provide structure where there previously had been none. Not really aiming to shorten the email per se, but really just cut out the extra fat so we can add lean joke meat back into the email. So here we go… I guess this is this week’s anecdote.
To start, I have to go on record saying I also didn’t totally mind the film. I wouldn’t say I liked it though. Just OK… like a lot of the poorly reviewed films from this year. It feels a bit like this is the year of the OK film. But that is a discussion for a later time.
Because right now is game time. Usually this is time for a MonoSklog (and Pixels certainly had a couple primo examples), but I had a little inspiration this morning for a new installment of Sklognalysis. That’s where I go all philosophical and/or analytical on a film that probably doesn’t need that much reading into. In this case I want to draw a parallel between Pixels (and Happy Madison Productions as a whole) and the culture of a hockey locker room as described by Montreal Canadiens legend Ken Dryden. In his autobiography The Game he describes a hockey locker room in the following words:
… there is another level of dialogue we can all hear. It is all loud, invigorating, paced to the mood of the room, the product of wound-up bodies with wound-up minds. It’s one line, a laugh, and get out of the way of the next guy – “jock humor.” It is like a “roast,” the kind of intimate, indiscriminate carving that friends do to keep egos under control. Set in motion, it rebounds by word association, thought association, by “off the wall” anything association, just verbal reflex, whatever comes off your tongue, the more outrageous the better. Elections, murders, girl friends, body shapes, body parts… it is anything for a laugh.
Jokes at the expense of others? Ripping on everything and anything to get a laugh? A team of guys spewing what might be called “jock humor”?! Isn’t that Happy Madison?! They sit around poking fun at each other and genuinely having fun. Each movie they invite you to spend some time with their team of guys who are trying to do the impossible together (make a successful comedy/win a Stanley Cup). If you embrace it and go into it with an open mind, then you might feel like you’re part of the team and begin to enjoy yourself. If you’re a snobby asshole BMT writer that sits in the corner going ‘this locker room smells and I don’t like these people and I don’t like hockey. Harrump’ then guess what? You won’t. It’s a team and they’re just asking you to be their teammates and enjoy the ride. I’m convincing myself at this point! We’re working on a whole other Sandler level here at BMT!
Helló mindenki! That’s right, I watched this movie in Budapest, so some Hungarian in your face. Pixels!? More like This Smells! (Sandler slammmmmmmmed). Are you guys ready for a BMT Shake Up Brought To You By Pepsi MAX!? What a Shake Up means is I am not supposed to be so verbose. So three quick points, in and out, hit it:
- The Good – I actually kind of liked this movie. In the immortal words of Bill Simmons: “My kids love this movie”. I’m sure they do, Bill. I would if I was a young lad just yearning for CGI distractions. All in all the jokes had a decent hit percentage. The actors didn’t totally look like they were phoning it in, and the CGI was gorgeous. What more could you ask for?
- The Bad – Well … Josh Gad was pretty rough. And the kid actors. And Kevin James. So yeah, the acting was actually pretty terrible. And the movie just felt kind of lazy overall. At one point they just repeat a bunch of jokes from early Sandler films. And rip-off of Armageddon of all movies. The script felt very punched up. Lots of lampshading and other techniques to add in “jokes” to what is in reality a bunch of exposition held together by a plot featuring Kevin James as the president of the United States … yeah, might have wanted to rethink that.
- The British – And I was genuinely offended by the portrayal of England in this film. As Jamie said “hey, they’re in Patrick’s backyard”. First of all, I got super amped because they were in Hyde Park which I literally work like 100 feet from … but then it was clearly in some park in Los Angeles and there were no other outdoor scenes. Gross.
- The BMT – Yep I think so. Although it might be too good I have a feeling most people would disagree with us. Weirdly 30-40 sounds right, exactly where it is..
Bam. Quick. Those are my thoughts. Can I just sneak in a shoutout to Dan Aykroyd and Crystal Skull Vodka, both of which made a completely illogical product placement cameo in this film. It was glorious. In the spirit of our newly found brevity I’ll end it there. Búcsú.