Cleaning Out The DVR Yet Again #16: Zoolander 2 (dir by Ben Stiller)


(Lisa recently discovered that she only has about 8 hours of space left on her DVR!  It turns out that she’s been recording movies from July and she just hasn’t gotten around to watching and reviewing them yet.  So, once again, Lisa is cleaning out her DVR!  She is going to try to watch and review 52 movies by Wednesday, November 30th!  Will she make it?  Keep checking the site to find out!)

zoolander_2_poster

On October 14th, I recorded Zoolander 2 off of Epix.

A sequel to the 2001 cult hit, Zoolander 2 came out earlier this year and got absolutely terrible reviews and quickly vanished from theaters.  Watching the film last night, I could understand why it got such terrible reviews.  Zoolander 2 is not only a terrible movie but it’s also a rather bland one.  Somehow, the blandness is even more offensive than the badness.

Zoolander 2 opens with Justin Bieber getting assassinated and Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller) being forced to come out of retirement and discover why pop stars are being targeted.  And, of course, Zoolander can’t do it without the help of Hansel (Owen Wilson)!  Penelope Cruz is in the film as well, playing  Zoolander’s handler and essentially being wasted in a role that could have been played by anyone.

Oh!  And Will Ferrell returns as well.  Ferrell gives a performance that essentially shouts out to the world, “Fuck you, I’m Will Ferrell and no one is going to tell Will Ferrell to tone his shit down!”

Actually, I think everyone in the world is in Zoolander 2.  This is one of those films that is full of cameos from people who probably thought a silly comedy would be good for their image.  For instance, there’s a huge number of journalists who show up playing themselves.  Matt Lauer shows up and I get the feeling that we’re supposed to be happy about that.  There was a reason why people cheered when the sharks ate him in Sharknado 3.

You know who else shows up as himself?  Billy Zane!  And Billy Zane has exactly the right type of attitude for a film like this.  He shows up and he mocks the whole enterprise by giving the Billy Zaniest performance of Billy Zane’s career.  For that matter, Kiefer Sutherland also shows up as himself.  I’m not really sure what Kiefer was doing in the film but he makes sure to deliver all of his lines in that sexy growl of his.  Kiefer knows what we want to hear.

You may notice that I’m not talking about the plot of Zoolander 2.  That’s largely because I couldn’t follow the plot.  This is an incredibly complicated film but it’s not complicated in a funny way.  Instead, it’s complicated in a way that suggests that the film was made up on the spot.  It’s as if the cast said, “We’re all funny!  Just turn on the camera and we’ll make it work!”

The problem with Zoolander 2 is obvious.  The first film pretty much exhausted the comic possibilities of making a spy film about shallow and stupid models.  Don’t get me wrong — the first film did a good job but it’s not like it left any material untapped.  But I would ask you to indulge me as I imagine an alternate reality.

Consider this: Terrence Malick was reportedly a huge fun of Zoolander.

Let’s take just a minute to imagine a world in which Ben Stiller asked Terrence Malick to write and direct Zoolander 2.  And let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that Malick agreed!

Just think about it — 4 hours of Zoolander and Hansel staring up at the sky and thinking about nature.  “What is this thing that causes the heart of man to beat?” Zoolander asks.  “Are we nature or has nature become us?” Hansel replies.

That would have been a fun film!

What Lisa Watched Last Night: The Golden Globe Awards


Last night, I watched the annual Golden Globe Awards show.

Why Was I Watching It?

Well, I wasn’t watching it because I was expecting to see the best films and tv shows of the last year recognized.  The Golden Globes are notorious for being odd and anyone who takes them too seriously needs to relax a little.  The appeal of the Golden Globes is that 1) it recognizes both television and film in the same ceremony which means you get to see unexpected sights like Jim Parsons, Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp, and the cast of Glee all in the same auditorium, 2) drinks are served throughout the ceremony which means that everyone’s pretty drunk by the end of it, and 3) you can make fun of what everyone’s wearing.

What’s It About?

As the show’s host, Ricky Gervais pointed out while commenting on the odd nomination of The Tourist for Best Picture (Comedy), the show is mostly about the shadowy members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association getting a chance to hang out with people like Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.  And who can blame them, really?  Quite honestly, if it meant I might get a chance to spend a night with Johnny Depp (or, I’ll admit it, Angelia Jolie), I’m more than willing to love The Tourist too.

What Worked

Oh my God, it was such an odd three hours.  While the winners were kinda predictable and boring (how excited can you get — at this point — to see The Social Network win awards) and showed the typical tendency towards embracing the safe over the unpredictable, Ricky Gervais kept things lively.  He hosted with an attitude that basically said, “My career doesn’t need your approval so fuck off, Hollywood.”  It also pretty much guaranteed that Gervais will never host the Oscars.  My favorite Gervais moment came early when he made the comment about secretly gay Scientologists (an obvious reference to Tom Cruise and maybe John Travolta).  The way the audience gasped pretty much told you all you needed to know as far as the truth behind the joke was concerned. 

Robert De Niro won the DeMille Award and gave a speech that revealed that he’s actually a human being and apparently, a somewhat bitter one at that.  Also, I simply have to mention that Robert De Niro is aging really well.  As opposed to…oh, I don’t know…Al Pacino, maybe?

Melissa Leo is one of my favorites actresses and it was nice to see her rewarded for The Fighter but her speech did go on and on and the only thing that saved the moment was that some genius in the control booth decided to cut to Helena Bonham Carter who had the coolest “What the fuck?” look on her face.

Angelina Jolie’s green dress was quite simply to die for and I want it because it’s the same color as my right eye.  So, I’ll repeat the offer that I made earlier on twitter: whoever gets me this dress (by whatever means) can watch while I try it on and take it off.  (That’s a joke, by the way!  Seriously though, I so want that dress.  Except, of course, I’d want to have Hello Kitty on it somewhere…)

Natalie Portman won best actress in a drama and, out of all the awards given last night, that’s really the only one I agreed with.  When Portman’s name was announced, my twitter friend Jason Tarwater asked if I was doing cartwheels.  Well, I didn’t do cartwheels but I did attempt to do a pirouette and wow, that was a mistake because I so twisted my ankle the wrong way and ended up in really intense pain.  So, I missed Natalie’s speech but I bet it was great.

I do like the way that the Golden Globes divide their awards into a drama and a comedy section.  It’s a smart idea, I think.

What Didn’t Work?

I’m not going to complain about The Social Network winning most of the awards.  It’s not a bad film, at all.  It’s just not the great movie that so many critics are insisting that it is.  At this point, I’m not so much anti-Social Network as much as I’m just bored with it.

Al Pacino’s a great actor but seriously, I hit mute any time he wins an award.  And, seriously, would it kill him to wash his hair or something before he shows up for an awards ceremony?

Justin Bieber came out and gave an award or something and I’m sorry — he’s creepy.  I mean, like David Archuletta creepy.  Plus, I always have to go to Wikipedia to find out whether the i or the e comes first whenever I’m trying to type out the name “Bieber”.  I mean, I’m only 25 and this little punk and his fans are making me feel like an old woman complaining about “kids today.”  NOT COOL, BIEBER!

Aaron Sorkin won for his overrated screenplay and I guess he’s aware that he’s got an image problem because he tried so hard to be gracious but it was kinda like when James Cameron tried to be gracious while promoting Avatar.  It just didn’t work.   The more humble Sorkin tried to be, the more he came across like a prick.  The final insult came when he thanked the best actress nominees for being “smart” women as if that’s such an unusual thing to be.  I’m assuming this was Sorkin’s attempt to show that he’s not a sexist pig but it just came across as condescending and fake.  It’s interesting to contrast Sorkin’s speech with David Fincher’s speech.  Fincher was far more gracious and, quite frankly, the only reason that Sorkin’s screenplay came close to working was because, as a director, Fincher kept things visually interesting so you didn’t really spend too much time thinking about how every single character in the entire freakin’ movie sounded exactly like Aaron Sorkin.  Seriously, does Sorkin know anyone who doesn’t talk like him? 

Was it just me or did producer Scott Rudin — while accepting best picture for The Social Network — almost seem as if he had to be reminded to thank Fincher?  It’s interesting that, for all the acclaim Social Network and Sorkin have gotten, Fincher has often come close to being forgotten.  Could it be because Sorkin is a card-carrying member of the Hollywood establishment while Fincher, much like Fighter’s David O. Russell and Black Swan’s Darren Aronofsky, is not?

Finally, the first winner of the night was Christian Bale.  Was he deliberately trying to channel Colin Farrell last night or was it just an accident?  Regardless, when it comes Colin Farrell, I prefer the real thing.

“Oh my God! Just Like Me” Moment

“I’ll show you a pair of golden globes!”

Lessons Learned

As excited as I’ll be if Natalie Portman wins an Oscar for best actress, I will force myself not to dance.