Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Whoops, wrong tape...

I assure you my mom has excellent taste in movies and has exposed me to many fine films. But those stories aren't as funny as the ones where she misfires and gets the entirely wrong movie.

In middle school, she rented for me and a friend a Snow White movie she was sure was the one I had watched on TV when I was a kid. It was the standard Snow White story with a few more of the Grimm elements thrown in (the evil queen uses a poison comb and a corsette to try and kill Snow White before resorting to the apple), but it wasn't overly dark. It was just a good live action telling of the tale meant for older kids and was really well done. I obviously remember it fondly.

But that's not what was grabbed in the video store. What she had grabbed was Snow White: A Tale of Terror. Snow White: A Tale of Terror goes beyond being Grimm, but goes full tilt into the horror genre.

It stars Sigourney Weaver as the Evil Queen, and tries to make elements of the story as "realistic" as they can be. For example, the dwarves aren't seven dwarves, but instead a band of robbers of varying heights, led by Ally McBeal's boyfriend Gil Bellows (or as I'll refer to him going forward, Dashing Thief). The thieves don't have cute names and all leer a little to much at Snow White.

Additionally, Snow White pretty much falls for Dashing Thief and he becomes the Prince Charming (what a twist!), with the actual prince being relatively wussy and hurled out a tower window towards the end. (Funny side story: My friend I was watching it with referred to the wuss Prince as "queer boy" towards the end as a joke. I thought she was saying Choir Boy and didn't get the joke about him being queer for like five minutes, mostly because she was whispering it in case my mom heard.)

A lot of crazy crazy stuff happens in the movie. I'll say the most notable scenes are:

-After receiving what she thinks is the heart of Snow White (in fact it's a boar's heart, as the original goes), Sigourney Weaver's character DANCES AROUND HER LAIR, rubbing it on her and cackling. Then she has it cooked into the castle's meal for the evening and acts totally shocked when someone reveals to her and the King (played by Sam Neil) that Snow White is dead/missing.

-Towards the end when Snow White and Dashing Thief are rushing to the castle to stop Sigourney Weaver, they find King Sam Neil crucified upside down (but still alive, hey!) at the castle entrance. This was a little awkward, as my friend was Catholic (I was raised not going to church of any kind, and am therefore a filthy heathen), and I was worried she'd be offended, but she didn't really react.

-The kicker has to be part of the final showdown between Snow White and Sigourney Weaver. Early in the movie, the Evil Queen becomes pregnant, but the baby ends up being still born. They burn it on a funeral pyre, and she mourns it for the rest of the movie. But it also makes her determined to kill Snow White to resurrect the baby (or something along those lines). Anyway, as Snow White enters the Lair, Sigourney Weaver is cradling a blanket and A CHARRED BABY ARM RAISES OUT OF THE BLANKETS. In case you hadn't guessed, the burned infant was partially brought back to life there.

Based on those scenes, I think it's safe to say mom rented the wrong movie.

Now, my mom was not fully aware of how weird it was getting, because she was going in and out of the living room, half watching it and half taking care of dinner and other stuff. As the insanity of the movie progressed, she was surprised that the movie she thought she had rented was so different from how it was remembered. Eventually, we all realized it was not the family friendly dark Snow White, but the batshit crazy Snow White.

My friend and I laughed for a while about that movie (I think our favorite part to retell was maybe the charred baby arm, just because, what the hell?)

Eventually, I did get a chance to rewatch that version of Snow White my mom was trying to rent, and it was still good. But it will never compare to the lunacy of Snow White: A Tale of Terror.

Come on, how can you goof these up?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Well, it was supposed to be fun.....

Sometimes, movies just don't live up to the hype. For example, I was all hyped up to see The Final Destination (I could take or leave the 3-D) mainly based on a scene featured in the commercials and trailer where a girl appears to be doomed to die in an automated car wash. I couldn't stop thinking about just how you could possibly die in an automated car wash since it just seemed so improbable. So, using some free passes, I dragged a friend to an early Friday showing, shelled out two bucks for some very Devo-esque 3-D glasses (crack that whip!), and settled in to watch the sexy young adults succumb to the most ridiculous deaths every committed to film (The Final Destination series trademark, for the uninitiated). The scene arrived, the girl's car stopped in the car wash and a series of unlikely mishaps within the car wash seemed destined to culminate in her inching slowly towards killer brushes (seriously). But, as it turns out (SPOILER!) she didn't die in the car wash, she was saved at the last minute and end up dying later in the movie. What a let down.

All this brings me to another very much helped film that I met with excitement and my mom thought it would be fun to take me and some friends to. As you may have guessed, it was a disappointment, but I don't think anyone was as disappointed as my mom by what we saw.

My neighborhood friends and I used to love watching "Son of Godzilla" when we were little. Compared to other Godzilla movies, some of which my dad had shown me, "Son of Godzilla" was pretty silly and wasn't really "scary." It cracked us up to no end, and we would watch it in my basement, rewinding the best parts (back in the day with the good ole VCR). We kind of liked other Godzilla movies, but by far the one I remember best and enjoy the best is Son of Godzilla.

So then the fancy Godzilla remake came out in 1998, my mom thought it would be a great idea to take me and the gang to theater to see it. It had all sorts of hype leading up to it. 7/11 or Taco Bell drink cups with the "new Godzilla" on them, who was much more dinosaur and lizard-like than the classic Japanese version. I think there toys floating around too, as well as tons of commercials. By the day we went, we were pretty amped up.

We got in the theater and I remember that we ended up being pretty close to the screen for some reason (it could have been close to opening weekend, but I lack any kind of ticket stub to tell you the precise day. oh well). The other things I remember about the movie? Being bored out of my little skull. It just took forever to get to the monster, and then you only ever saw parts of it like a foot or the head. Only once did we see Godzilla in all its supposed glory, the Brooklyn bridge in a brief wideshot (meant to prove how big it was I suppose). I know kids are supposed to like action, but it just kind of left me numb with all sorts of car chases and running around New York from a thing we barely saw. I do remember getting a kick out of Jean Reno's character in the film, a mysterious French guy trying to cover up the Godzilla mess (or something. It didn't really matter in the long term with the movie since it was supposed to be "Godzilla!" and ended up being "oh, Godzilla.") He was what I remember chatting about the most with my mom after the fact.

The movie ended, I think with a "Godzilla had babies!" twist, and we just left the theater in a flurry of chatter, but I don't know that any of us really liked it. I know my mom didn't. It wasn't just that she's not terribly into action movies, but the fact was she was hugely disappointed that it wasn't more fun for all of us.

To this day if it somehow comes up in conversation she'll always say "Man, I just really thought it would be a fun movie for you guys. You guys used to cackle at those Godzilla movies in the basement. What a let down."