Monday, August 29, 2005

A turd held up to the flickering bulb...Kinsey vs. The Cave

On Friday I left work a little early so Pooteewheet and I could tag team a movie. In the past, this has resulted in us seeing different movies on the same night which is a real problem because it means I can't talk to her about what she saw, she can't talk to me about what I saw, and we can't read each other's blogs until we've both seen the movie. This time I made up my mind that I was just going to see whatever it was she was going to see, regardless of the movie. She decided on The Cave. I had seen the reviews for The Cave and felt that they presaged something horrible in ways I couldn't quite define. Keep in mind that I'm willing to see almost any horror/scifi movie if there's a chance it will offer up a glimmer of originality, even if just for a moment. I mentally give them their own secondary rating system on Netflix, hence my friend Ming's scorn for my three-star rating of Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid, given, a bad movie, but by snake movie standards, really rather run of the mill. I still felt that The Cave would be something special in terms of absolute levels of regurgitated crap, so I even stayed away from Rotten Tomatoes before I went, worrying that what I might see there would force me into a different decision. Then I got to the theater, and The Aristocrats was playing at exactly the same time, in the next screen, within visible distance, with a warning that it was to be treated as NC-17, and I knew it starred the oh so lusciously luscious Sarah Silverman...I literally stood there between the two entrances, stock still, my poor brain torn between what I knew I would love with every fiber of my being and this thing that I knew would suck beyond however low I could lower my expectations. In the end Pooteewheet won out, and I went to The Cave, just so I could talk to her about it later.

To make a long story short - when I got home, she told me that she was in no way going to The Cave. She'd read the reviews, and they were bad. Really bad. She was going to Red Eye instead. Sure, no Sarah Silverman, but I already noted once upon a blog that Rachel McAdams isn't my choice for least desirable actress in an Owen Wilson film. I was angry. Perhaps unreasonably so, although in me that generally is visible as just a general pissiness. But I've learned my lesson. When faced with Sarah Silverman or my wife, always choose Sarah Silverman. So...the question should now be, was The Cave really as bad as I'd expected. No. It was worse. And for the sake of comparison, I will contrast it with Kinsey, which I watched the night before.

Kinsey, acting: excellent, you believe Liam Neeson and Laura Linney are married and love each other, regardless of the travails and strains upon their marriage. They communicate that there are serious issues, but that those are opportunities to expand and strengthen their marriage and their relationship. You see the love and the humor between two people who are always learning about each other. The interaction between these two actors was perhaps the most endearing thing about the movie. Strong performances by all supporting actors.

The Cave, acting: there wasn't any - unless you count having your breasts flaunted for the sake of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation acting (and I know some of you do). It was hard to tell supporting actors from the leads.

Kinsey, humor: I laughed. I laughed loud enough that Pooteewheet heard me upstairs and later asked me what I was laughing about. I couldn't remember the specific item, because I laughed at so much.

The Cave, humor: not even inadvertent, this is so stupid it's funny moments.

Kinsey, locale: University, with excellent, exceptional, local color provided by Oliver Platt as the University head who is goofy, but obviously supportive of the income, the research, and the social benefits Kinsey was providing, as well as of the man himself.

The Cave, locale: cave diving is kewl, it's so f*ing kewl, it's so kewl we'll make 96% of the damn movie about floating around an underwater cave with a big flashlight. If you don't think it's kewl, you will once there are rapids and equipment with lithium batteries that can explode in ways that would put a car fire to shame. Did we say rapids....oh yeah, rapids and an f*ing waterfall...and the cave divers will ride it baby, ride it right down the rapids and over the edge...and a monster will follow them the whole way, a smart monster. Extreme!

Kinsey, what they thought was cool: a study of a man driven by his personal lusts and family history and methodology, partially through chance, who made some of the greatest changes to American culture in the last fifty years and gave us the gift of being able to not only talk about sex, but to actually know something about how human beings sexually interact, despite how society says they do and should act.

The Cave, what they thought was cool: the cave is like hell, it has levels - look how Dantesque we are, it's just like the inferno - ice regions, flaming regions, demons. Never mind that it's all BACKWARDS and the lowest level isn't the ice level, but the flame level. Never mind that they don't do anything with the ice level at all other than make it slippery. Could a creature that uses echolocation actually see through ice? Possibly, might be neat if it did. Does it in the movie. No. But look, the aliens from, cave creatures...are scary. No, they're not. Cave diving is kewl. Did we mention knights used to fight the critters? That's manly, and historic, and might be why there are stories about hell, because there's methane...hey, there's know, it blows blows up? That'd be radical. Let's blow up the critters.

Kinsey, reviews: 88% on RottenTomatoes, 92% cream of the crop. We see such fare as "Intelligent, probing portrait of the man who stuck a needed thumb into the eye of a narrow-minded public.", "It's partly a scientific brief, partly a song of sex, and it's enormously enjoyable." and "The strength of Kinsey is finally in the clarity it brings to its title character. It is fascinating to meet a complete original, a person of intelligence and extremes."

The Cave, reviews: 17% on RottenTomatoes, 0% cream of the crop. Yes, 0%. No one with any clout liked it. No one. And we see such raves as: "A turd held up to the flickering bulb of the projector would be a marked improvement.", "The Cave isn't just a bad movie, it's a very, very, very bad movie, so bad that it can't even redeem itself by turning into high camp." and "Ten things I learned watching The Cave. 1. 'Beneath heaven lies hell. Beneath hell lies the cave.' 2. Beneath that lies the theater showing The Cave." (kudos to Colin Covert from the Minneapolis Star-Trib, and empathy because he had to watch it).

Kinsey, the ending: talking about sex is still controversial in many ways. We hope you learned something about Kinsey and about sex and about people.

The Cave, the ending: so predictable I wanted to scream at the screen. It wants out. It wants out. IT WANTS OUT! What, when everyone split up, the "lead" female was infected? What? Really. But she's beautiful. I hope this means a sequel where she has sex with men and either infects them or kills them.

No comments: