Patrick McGinlay's Internet Tendency

- - - -


SEPTEMBER 16, 2004

- - - -


How many times have you sat down and watched a movie with your mates, and at the end of it said "We can do better than that!?!"

Don't answer the question, because chances are I can't hear you when you're doing it. But let's assume your answer is "A whole buncha times, Adam". And then you and your friends would either lay the whole thing to rest, smugly satisfied that if you could be bothered, you'd be making fat (phat?) Hollywood scriptwriting cash, or you actually attempted to do it, and quickly discovered how hard it is to come up with a plot, characters, dramatic through-line, etc.

Well, it turns out you're not alone. A few years ago, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn saw Baseketball, and said "We can do better than that?!?" and went to work. See, unlike you, they had reason to believe they were right. They were big shots. So they made Dodgeball.

This movie is fine. The plot is absolutely terrible -- one gym tries to buy out another, so they compete at dodgeball -- but you don't watch it for plot. You watch it to see Stiller being a spastic, Vaughn being laconic, Rip Torn being violent and Christine Taylor being hot (so hot she may even be hawt). So we won't go into details. Suffice to say, the gags occasionally fall flat and rely a little too much on slapstick, but it's pretty good slapstick.

Remember that bit in Baseketball when Cooper gets hit in the balls with the ball? Well here they've done that a billion times. And people get hit with flying wrenches. And Rip Torn gets a chance to say "You look like a bunch of retards trying to fuck a doorknob". And Jason Bateman is very good as colour commentator "Pepper Brooks", and it's good to see him working again. And kudos to my brother, Joe, who was able to remember what show he was originally on way back when. It was Valerie. He played David Hogan. Then again on The Hogan Family after Valerie Harper died in a car crash, MHDSRIP. Remember that scene when David came down for a date, and he had moussed half his hair, and left the other half un-moussed? Classic. It's moments like these that made Valerie so heartwarming and funny.

Dodgeball: 5.5/10 (s'aright)
Baseketball: 8/10 (the shit)
Valerie: 7/10 (solid)
Fudge: 8/10 (tasty)



I saw "Garfield". When I tell people that, they ask me (invariably) "Ueeh, why?" And the answer is that I was once a big Garfield fan. I've got lots of Garfield paperbacks. The first time I flew on a plane, at the age of seven, I even vomited on one. Granted, it was due to a pre-flight wurst sandwich and a smoker in the next seat, but that's why the book is missing its cover and has stained pages. An heirloom it is.

In the intervening years, of course, I learned that Jim Davis, the strip's creator, no longer draws the strip, has only a vague hand in writing it, and spends most of his time working on the merchandising of his "cash cat".

Now, that ("cash cat") is indicative (though not specifically representative) of the sort of wit and humour you'll experience if you go see "Garfield".

I recently became employed in the sector of the graphic design industry known as "licensing", which means I manipulate key art provided by companies in order to provide the world with, for example, "Shrek" calendars, or "Lizzie McGuire" sticker books. In conversation with my boss, I let it be known that I was not a fan of the more recent work of Jim Davis, and that I considered him basically (to paraphrase his character's marketing machine) "a big fat hairy sellout".

Her response, interestingly to me, was that she'd met him and that he was a nice guy, unlike Charles M. Schulz ("Peanuts") who was "anal". From my perspective (that of a cartoonist, not a design worker), this confirmed my belief that Schulz is kickass. And anal!

Davis, obviously, is not an anal man. He was very happy to let a bunch of people (with good pedigree, mind you) make a live-action film about Garfield despite the fact that it's a crazy bad idea. I imagine Davis welcomed the stinky product placements (he is a master of same).

It's probably not worth my continuing. You've seen the ads, you know what to expect. Small children may enjoy it unless they're frightened by the weird-looking CG Garfield or the scene where the bad guy electrocutes Odie.


DODGEBALL stars Jason Bateman, Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. and Rated M. Runs 92 minutes.

GARFIELD stars the voice of Bill Murray (who can't save it), Breckin Meyer (who has a minor, thankless role even though he's billed first) and Jennifer Love Hewitt (who is still too thin). It's rated G. It's too long.


- - - -