Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Granada Hills Movie Night: The Correct Film To Vote For


On Saturday, July 24th at 8:00pm, Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council is hosting the first ever Granada Hills Movie Night, and they're asking the public to choose from five family-friendly films for the free event, which will be held at Petit Park.

And the nominees are:

The Sandlot
Happy Feet

E.T.
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles


You may be thinking to yourself right now: "Why, I simply adore The Sandlot, (or E.T., or Happy Feet, or Finding Nemo) and I think I shall vote to have that film chosen for the screening!"

Yet in this particular instance, thinking for yourself is actually highly overrated, as well as inappropriate and simply unnecessary. The proper procedure is to visit surveymonkey.com, and click the radio button next to The Incredibles, which is clearly the best choice for this historic event.


The Sandlot? I'm afraid not. Walter Chaw of Film Freak Central sums it up:
"Playing like a particularly sickening distillation between A Christmas Story, Stand By Me, The War, and the dangerously insipid TV show "The Wonder Years," David Evans' The Sandlot is a tired coming-of-age retread that mashes baseball, puppy lust, group vomiting, stepfathers, and fear of giant dogs and black people into an amateurishly written and directed period pop-scored nostalgia piece. Its messages of understanding, anti-bullying, befriending losers, and pretending the fat kid stuffing Ho-hos into his mouth doesn't make you sick are as timeless as they are trite."

Happy Feet? Sorry, wrong answer. Most seem to agree that there are three things wrong here: this film is too didactic, too long, and features Robin Williams. Brian Tallerco of UGO says:
"Except for a few moments of action involving killer birds and sea lions, about 90% of Happy Feet contains dancing penguins, singing penguins, and penguins with funny accents, courtesy of Robin Williams. Your enjoyment of the tale of the penguin who thought he was a tap dancer is going to depend highly on your tolerance of all things so damn cute. While I smiled through most of the first half of Happy Feet, it feels twenty minutes longer than its 98 minute running time. It hits many of the same steps over and over again, and you might be wishing Mumble would shut up and sing a different tune before the unusual final act kicks in. Kids in the audience at the family screening I saw were getting noticeably restless by about minute 75, when most kids' movies should be wrapping up with a visually-arresting climax."


E.T., that heartwarming tale of a loveable, croaking, junk-food gobbling alien creature? Although this film has some serious GH cred -- you can spot White Oak Avenue's legendary Deodar trees in one scene, other exteriors were shot in Northridge -- this film creaks a bit with age, and will subject pained viewers to "a John Williams score vulgar enough for a biblical epic," reminds Mick LaSalle of The San Francisco Chronicle in his review:

"Not every popular movie becomes a classic in 20 years. Most just get older. E.T. is a fine picture because it can still, without fail, make an entire audience of children shut up and fall in love with a little green alien with big eyes and a turtlelike body... But Spielberg's sledgehammer way with emotional moments, never more obvious than here, kills some of the pleasure for adults.... Spielberg doesn't let you feel something. He instructs you in how to feel by panning to subordinate characters who are watching the same scene and experiencing the appropriate emotion. That's bad enough. What's worse is that sometimes, what Spielberg considers to be the appropriate emotion isn't. Here's the biggest scientific event of the last 2, 000 years, and E.T. asks us to see it entirely in personal terms."

Finding Nemo? It's a close second. Parents are drawn in by the fish story that plays on our worst separation anxieties, and kids like the talking fishies and surfer turtles that say "duuuude" a lot and smoke too much seaweed (I'm kidding -- this is Disney!), but once Albert Brooks and Ellen Degeneris' characters leave the technicolor coral reefs, the visuals become, although realistic, a lot less enchanting, especially at they approach the murky waters just off Sydney. Pixar's movies are unfailingly smart, imaginative, emotionally resonant, and served up with humor that impresses both children and adults -- intelligently, and not in the wiseacre in-joke style of other kids' movies that try to pander to grown-ups. In short, like all of the other Pixar releases, Nemo is a strong film, but it's just not...


THE INCREDIBLES!

This movie is, well... the title says it all. In a million little ways -- the inspired casting of Sarah Vowell as the angsty teen daughter, the scene-stealing supersuit designer Edna Mode ("No capes!") -- and plenty of big ones, like the Oscar- and Emmy-winning cast, Lalo Shiffrin-evoking score and the midcentury modern aesthetic throughout, The Incredibles is one of Pixar's greatest triumphs, and with their track record, that's saying something.

Seen it once already? See it again. This is one of those movies that's only more deeply appreciated upon repeated viewings. Written and directed by Brad Bird of Iron Giant fame (who also voices Edna Mode), this movie's adult appeal comes from the richly drawn characters and the satisfaction of watching their individual drivers unfolded and revealed. By the end, their problems are overcome, sweetly, yes, but without a trace of saccharine.

The film's central metaphor, of the oppression of talented outliers, is swathed in enough derring-do to thrill the kids and avoid the Spielbergian hammer mentioned above, yet not so subtle that there's not room for memorable lines like, "They keep finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity." Couple that with a story set in motion by events that form a critique of the American legal system and a plea for tort reform, and you have a film that's far from typical kids' fare, yet is exemplary amidst Pixar's consistently bar-raising efforts. Entertainment that's actually "fun for the whole family" is, in truth, a rare thing, so to find a film you can really relish as much as the kids do is a genuine pleasure. On a summer evening, when the drive (or walk, or bike) is short and the cost is low -- free, in this case, plus the cost of a picnic supper -- that really can't be beat.




Vote for The Incredibles here

Granada Hills South Neighborhood Council's event information is here




My favorite scene from The Incredibles. Note the dialogue to storytelling ratio. Best viewed in full screen.

11 comments:

  1. Dave Beauvais, GHSNCJuly 13, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    Linda, you are going to break Sean's heart, as he is a big fan of Sandlot. However, I agree with your pick. I hope everyone will come out to join us on the 24th.

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  2. I wasn't trying to break Sean's heart, Dave -- only his spirit.

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  3. Your funny. This is great and sounds like fun!

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  4. I voted for ET. It was filmed in Granada Hills! Such a classic.

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  5. Aaron, why have you disobeyed my direct orders? If you're trying to show everyone what a rebel you are, I'm not sure that publicly proclaiming your love for E.T. is the best way to do it.

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  6. Dave Beauvais, GHSNCJuly 14, 2010 at 7:31 PM

    I'm not sure a guy living 800 miles away should be voting anyway, but he controls the website, so whats a body to do?

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  7. It's a free country, Dave. I feel like voting with my 25 email addresses now. Don't be surprised when ET wins.

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  8. Dave Beauvais, GHSNCJuly 15, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    I will never make ET, look for me to be the guy snoring in the corner about halfway through.

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  9. I LOVE THE SANDLOT. PLEASE RETHINK THIS MOVIE IT IS SUCH AN FUNNY FAMILY MOVIE

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  10. Hey Linda, your site was the first to come up when I typed in "granada hills movie night". Way to go! ... Ms Angus

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