This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?


Actual tagline: Who Will Be The Last Man Standing?

OR: To Protect and Serve. Yourself.

A film about an armored truck heist picked the second-most indicatie of those three words for the title (to be fair, there's already a Heist, and Truck would be worse). And then the theives turn on each other? Until only one is left standing? Is he standing on the truck?

And armored truck guards are not police, I believe, so I doubt they take the exact same oath to "protect and serve."


Actual tagline: There are two sides to every family.

I guess there are, Brothers, I guess there are. I'm not sure if I like that better than the original Danish film's tagline: "How far would you go for Family... Surival... Love..."

One is a nonsensical platitude, the other keeps heading toward a question mark that never comes. Let's let the internet at large decide!

Everybody's Fine

Actual tagline: Frank wanted the holidays to be picture perfect. What he got was family.

Wow, that stings. Sam Rockwell, I forgive you. It may take some time, and I'll cringe everytime I see commercials for this film, but I'll forgive you, I promise.

I bet this would make a hilarious Rockwell/Kate Beckinsale double feature if you watched it and Snow Angels back to back.


Actual tagline: Euro-trashed! Euro-smashed! Euro-slashed!

OR: College kids. The other white meat.

This terrible-looking comedy has some terrible slogans, sure, but the bigger issue here is this: this movie used to be Dorm Daze 3, as in National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze 3, which means that the name of the National Lampoon film series has been tread on so much in recent years that they've REMOVED IT FROM THE NAME of this meaningless trifle, instead latching onto the vampire craze of the late aughts to carry it to sub-mediocrity.

What is the world (of incomprehensibly not direct-to-dvd campus comedies) coming to these days?

This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?

Ninja Assassin

Actual tagline: Fear Not The Weapon But The Hand That Wields It.

Very Zen, completely insane looking ninja movie. I think I'll split the difference and fear both hand and weapon.

Old Dogs

Actual tagline: Sit. Stay. Play Dad.

OR: Life is Not Child-Proof

Disney continues its quest to teach people the true meaning of family, one washed-up movie star at a time. Also, I love that Old Dogs' title is pretty similar to director Walt Becker's last lowbrow crowd-pleaser, Wild Hogs. Coming soon: Mild Clogs, Piled Logs, and Soiled Frogs.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Actual tagline: His life is fantastic... his wife is fantastic... his neighbors, not so fantastic.

OR: Dig the life fantastic.

OR: This year, forget super... ignore incredible... it's all about fantastic.

He's the most fantastically fantastical fox that ever fantasticked in fantastic-town! Fantastic!

(that third knows there was a "Fantastic Four," right?)

2012 In A Nutshell

What follows, in many, many words is a parody of the #1 movie in America (somehow), 2012.

Movies In A Nutshell are not to be confused with Cleolinda's Movies in Fifteen Minutes which are awesome. She covered 2012 as well.

Otherwise, enjoy!

2012 In A Nutshell

Click for More...

India, Presentish Day

Dr. Adrian Helmsley arrives in India, and greets his friend Dr. Indian Guy.

Helmsley: Is it me, old friend, or do your wife and child grow more photogenic and representative of your entire nation every year?

Dr. Indian Guy: They do stand in quite nicely for billions of people, Dr. Helmsley.

Helmsley: Call me Adrian. I'm too handsome to be a "doctor".

They take a rickety elevator OF DEATH down an old copper mine to where some sweaty scientists are looking at machines.

Dr. Indian Guy: We recently detected the biggest solar eruption ever, so we made a vector drawing of it.

Helmsley: (putting on his Scientist Glasses) Ooh, very nice.

Dr. Indian Guy: The resultant neutrinos are now causing a physical reaction!

Helmsley: My. God.

Another Scientist: But neutrinos cause hardly any effect on matter. 50 trillion neutrinos pass through every person every second, so how can-

Dr. Indian Guy: Shut up Ranjesh! So anyway, the Earth's crust is more or less melting... to more, uh, molten than it already is.

Helmsley: That's impossible!

Another Scientist: That's what I was-

Dr. Indian Guy: He was saying it incredulously, Ranjesh! Quiet!

Washington D. C., The Very Next Day

Helmsley busts into a fancy party to track down White House Chief of Staff Carl Anheuser

Anheuser: You can't come in here! This is a black-tie fundraiser.

Helmsley: I just flew 20 hours to get here, so if you'd just-

Anheuser: Think of all the children without black ties in the world!

Helmsley: ...What? No, just look at this document!

This paper clearly contains science-speak for 'EARTH GO BOOM,' as Anheuser quickly sobers up.

Anheuser: Good thing you don't grow stubble on 20-hour plane rides.

Helmsley: Why?

Anheuser: Because we're going to meet the President.

The G8 Summit, Six Months Later, British Columbia

The U.S. President (Danny Glover) adresses the other seven heads of the Group Of Eight

President Globama: Ladies and gentlemen- recently certain information has come to light, and it's been confirmed by our best and brightest scientists, and it's totally irrefutable and stuff...there's a lot of ins, a lot of outs to this case, man, and I think that... I mean it might not be such a simple, uh... you know?-

Random Prime Minister: What in God's holy name are you blathering about? Aren't you supposed to be a great speaker?

President Globama: What I'm saying is, the world as we know it will soon come to an end.

China, 2010

An in-charge type yells at a mass of downtrodden worker types.

In-Charge Type: Who here can weld? We need workers for the new dam.

Welder: I can! Why does the dam have so many windows?

In-Charge Type: Quiet!

London, 2011

A Saudi-Arabian Prince reads a glowy screen as a British Government Official waits.

Saudi Prince: So it's one billion dollars for each seat? I have many relatives...

British Official: Dollars? Wow, that is adorable. It's one billion Euro- be serious.

Paris, 2011

A French museum director, Roland, and the First Daughter, are replacing the Mona Lisa with a replica during the night, so it can be preserved in a Swedish bunker. I guess.

California, 2012 (dun dun dun!)

Struggling writer and limo driver Jackson Curtis sleeps on his couch.

The TV: Mass Suicides Reported At Mayan Temples! Possibly Related To The Totally Legit Prophecy RE: Dec 21, 2012!

A brief Earthquake shakes Jackson awake, and he rushes off his ex-wife, Kate's (Amanda Peet) house to pick up his children for a camping trip. A hobo on the street holds a sign that reads "The End Is Nigh." This hobo is likely Roland Emmerich in his downtime.

Kate: Did you remember the bugspray?

Jackson: Probably not, I'm really harried. But in a likable way.

Moppet-Daughter: Daddy!

Sulky-Son: Jackson, what is this?

Jackson: Call me "dad"- that's such a tired cliche.

A Dock, Somewhere

Two old Jazz Guys are boarding a cruise ship, when a large wave rocks the entire ship and loading platform. They're very old and cranky about it.

The Oval Office

President Globama: You're telling me that you predicted the end of the Earth to be somewhere in mid 2013, without any sort of backup plan in case it happened sooner?

Helmsley: Yes, sir- I was wrong.

President Globama: Didn't the Mayans predict it would happen about now? You think that was a coincidence?

Helmsley: Well, that's actually completely wro-

First Daughter: (bursting in) You told me I was preserving art! But Roland called me and said it was all some massive coverup and then his CAR EXPLODED while he was on the phone!

President Globama: Nevermind that now, there's something big I need to tell you about.

Helmsley: (Checks own breath) like art?

President Globama: Weren't you going to Yellowstone for some science?


Jackson and his kids hop a fence that says "Restricted Area" and such things.

Sulky-Son: Don't you see the signs?

The Audience: ::GROANS::

They then see a circle of yellow caution tape and walk DIRECTLY TO THE MIDDLE OF IT. Helicopters and Humvees swoop in to collect them.

Helmsley: This data is unbelievable! If you look at it just right it makes a dolphin.

Soldier: We found these civilians in the hot zone, sir.

Helmsley: You folks should really leave the area so you don't melt...Say, aren't you "the" Jackson Curtis, that wrote Leaving Atlantis?

Jackson: You read it?

Helmsley: I'm reading it right now! All those people, selflessly trying to save a civilization. It's a little ham-fisted, really. Off you go.

Helmsley then video-chats with Dr. Indian Guy, who informs him everywhre else is as unstable as Yellowstone.

Helmsley: My. God. Man, if I had a nickel for everytime I've uttered that in terror.. Nevermind. Gather your family, Dr. I'll arrange an airlift for you from Delhi.

Dr. Indian Guy: Thank you so much, Adrian.

Helmsley: I mean, I'll probably remember. Here, I'll put it in my Blackberry.

Later, Jackson's terribly harried parenting leads to awkwardness putting them to bed. He wanders to Crazy Woody Harrelson's camper/radio station nearby

Jackson: So when you say it's all going to start in Hollywood, what do mean?

Crazy Woody Harrelson: I made a film explaining this, man, didn't you download my blog? Check it out!

What follows is a ridiculous, Morgan Spurlocky cartoon that lays out the pseudoscience premise

Crazy Woody Harrelson: Plus they're building spaceships, man! Spaceships!

Jackson: Yeah, I'm gonna go.

The Supermarket

Kate: Can we drop this, Gordon? He's the father of my children.

Gordon: But I'm your new, douchey boyfriend! Why am I clearly less good-looking than he is? I'm sorry, it's just lately I feel like something's literally tearing us apart.

The Earth: No, this would be LITERALLY! Rips the Supermarket in half right between where they're standing.

Random Boxing Match

Yuri Karpov, IMPORTANT, WEALTHY RUSSIAN in a FANCY SCARF, and his girlfriend Tamara arrive. Yuri talks to one of the fighters, who may or may not be his son (?).

Boxing Coach: Hey! He needs to focus now.


Boxing Coach: Sorry, Mr. Karpov.

Yuri's Cellphone: GO TIME- IT IS THIS DAY!

Yuri leaves at once, leaving Tamara and the boxer-dude to get confused and punched, respectively.

California Once More

Jackson, having dropped his kids back at home, now delivers Yuri's twin sons at the airport, as he is the family's limo driver

Yuri's Kid #1: Way to be late, chotch!

Jackson: Whatever, tubby- I'm published, so...nyah.

Yuri's Kid #2: Pfah! Enjoy dying while we go on a big ship!

Sasha (The family pilot): Nyet!

Jackson looks confused and gets back in the limo as they board the plane.


The Ground: ::STARTS TO CRACK::

Jackson runs to a nearby hangar

Jackson: Dude is this your plane? Can I rent it? Can you promise we can use it even if the city erupts into pandemonion?

Dude: Uh.

Jackson: I'll give you a watch.

What follows is an extended, insane sequence (That You Can Watch Here) in which the San Andreas fault breaks off, Jackson rescues his family (and Gordon, the new boyfriend) in a seemingly indestructible limo, gets back to the plane (the Dude got killed, no one took the plane which was polite) and Gordon, who has comically only had two flying lessons, pilots them to safety.

The plane, at one point, flys between two collapsing skyscrapers- the subtitle "9/11" practically appears on the screen.

Some People In The Audience: Aw, too soon.

Everyone Else: Shh, explody things!

The Cruise Ship

You remember. With the old Jazz guys? They finish a very timely song about the end of the world and Black Jazz Guy gets a phone call.

Black Jazz Guy: Adrian!

Helmsley: Dad- it's all happening now. Where is the ship heading?

Black Jazz Guy: Don't worry about me son. I'm old. You should look out for what's important on your end.

Helmsley: Well...the President's daughter is pretty hot.

Black Jazz Guy: That's my boy!


Jackson and co. land at a conveniently deserted place to refuel. Jackson (and Moppet-Daughter) go to find Crazy Woody Harrelson, who spoke of a map to the "big ships" before. They find him standing on a clifftop, spouting the cuh-razy.

Crazy Woody Harrelson: I was right all along! I hope you've all made peace with your herbal remedies and electric cars! Buddha has a ghost-penis, and it lives in your cereal-

Jackson: Hey, nutso! Where's the map?

Crazy Woody Harrelson: On the shelf labeled "MAPS," duh. (chews popcorn) You wanna pull up a seat for this, too?

Jackson: A seat for what?


Yet more madcap craziness follows in which Jackson finds the map, outruns flaming mountain debri in an RV, and nearly falls through a fissure INTO THE EYE OF SAURON BELOW. Finally, he and Moppet-Daughter make it back just in time for Narrow Plane Escape II: The Squeakuel.

Washington, D.C.

Helmsley: Look at the news, sir! South America has been devastated by earthquakes.

Anheuser: ... We're not going to cut there? Huh. Must not have any important landmarks.

Helmsley: Sir, when are we going to tell the public about this?

Anheuser: You want to tell everyone they're doomed? There'd be anarchy! Not the calm, measured collapsing of society there is already. We have to board the ships first.

Air Force One

Helmsley: The President's not coming.

Anheuser: How noble. The VP's chopper went down, too. You want some peanuts?

Helmsley: But the Speaker Of The House is now-

Anheuser: Never liked the guy. Buckle in- the in-flight movie is License to Wed.

Helmsley: This is madness! Next you'll be telling me we've been killing people to keep this whole ship plan quiet!

Anheuser: ... Awk-ward.

Vegas Airport

Jackson's indestructible byplane lands on a chaos-filled tarmac. Yuri and co. are all there as Sasha (Russian Pilot Guy) explains that the plane is shot, in measured, technical Russian.

Sasha: There is plane we can take, but I need co-pilot.

Jackson: Gordon's a pilot! A great one!

Gordon: Stop saying that! I'm just a douchey plastic surgeon.

In short order, they commandeer a much bigger plane and pull off Narrow Plane Escape III: With A Vengeance., just in front of the dust cloud coming in from Yellowstone. Vegas crumbles like a modern-day Gomorrah. They head to China, where The Map says The Big Ships are.


A Young Monk talks to an Old Monk, in a mountaintop temple.

Young Monk: So can I have your truck? My brother is that one Welder, and he can sneak our whole family onto one of those Big Ships.

Old Monk: (pours tea into a cup until it overflows) Your mind is like this cup. Full of opinions and speculation. Too see the path of wisdom, you must first empty it.

Young Monk: So that's a...yes?

On The Way To China

Jackson: I can't believe you paid for seats. Life is strange, huh?


Jackson: Uh, yeah, sure.

Sasha: Hokay, we refuel in Hawaii real quick here.

Hawaii: ::IS ON FIRE::

Sasha: Is not good. We'll have to make a water landing after fuel is gone.

Gordon: Least we won't need the landing gear. It blew off in Vegas.

Audience: Then how were you going to refuel?!?


Air Force One

Helmsley: So, did you hear from your father? Do you need any.. comfort?

First Daughter: Yeah, he gave me the full Bruce Willis on the phone. And now you tell me I've been colluding in murder! Poor Roland.

Helmsely: It's not so bad. You preserved great works. And I even have this random Jackson Curtis guy's book in my satchel- everyone had a chance to be remembered, see?

First Daughter: I don't really follow your logic.

White Jazz Guys calls his estranged son, but Earthquakes have little patience for reconcialation and destroy the son's building instead. Aw. Also in D.C. the President tries ineffectually to find a girl's missing father- Earthquakes remain unmoved and trash the city.

The Vatican floods, and we see a crack split the ceiling of the Sistine chapel starting right in between God and Adam's fingers, AS IF UNDOING THE ACT OF CREATION ITSELF. It continues to be Go Time: the Cruise ship, Jazz guys with it, upends in a giant Tsunami.

Meanwhile, in D.C. once more, the President has somehow survived the dust wave and Earthquake, only to see a wave-born Aircraft carrier bearing down on him.

Back On The Plane

Note: This plane has a bunch of cars in it. Jackson and Kate sit in one and talk.

Jackson: Do you love him?

Kate: I love him enough.

Jackson: So if he were to tragically and unpredictably die-

Sasha: Engine failure! Lifevests everyone! We vill hit the water soon.

The Sea: ::IS NOT THERE AT ALL:: It's is all mountains!

Sasha: Don't ask me for plausible scientific reason, but whole world has shifted. We make snow landing now. You all get in car and drop out loading dock, I vill land plane and barely stop before edge of cliff.

This is exactly what happens.

Sasha: Huh. And here I thought I was expend-


Tamara: Sasha! You were age-appropriate for me!

Some Chinese arrive in helicopters, and ask to see Boarding Passes. Yuri produces three for himself and sons.

Tamara: But, Yuri!


Jackson, family, Gordon, and Tamara flag down Young Monk and hitch a ride in the Truck. See? It all comes together.

At The Ships

Many VIPs and Rich Folks arrive. Ark #3 (of 4) is broken and not boarding, to Yuri's FRUSTRATED RUSSIAN chagrin.

Helmsley: (seeing the clientele) You SOLD tickets? What about creating a genetic master race- I mean, repopulating the Earth?

Anheuser: You think giant ships build themselves? Have you seen the economy lately?

Helmsley's phone rings

Dr. Indian Guy: Adrian! I am still waiting for the airlift you promised. There is a giant wave heading from the East. Why didn't you-(BZZZT!)

Helmsley: We never picked up my friend! Now there will be no more Indians! Plus, there's another wave coming we didn't know about, and now we've only got thirty minutes!

Anheuser: My. God. You still get a signal?

A Mountain Pass

The Welder is not happy about the extra party guests to his "Sneaking Aboard A Secret Ship" Soiree.

Kate: Please, at least take my children!

Chinese Grandmother: ::STUBBORN, HUMANE CHINESE::

Welder: Fine, you all come.

Sulky-Son: Why do the ships have anchors?

Jackson: (suddenly knowing this) Because they're not spaceships, son.

They all sneak onto Ark #1 through the Gate mechanism, just as they close.

Helmsley: Good people! We cannot begin mankind's future with an act of cruelty and barbarism! We must save those people from Ark #3! (is further articulate)

Anheuser: Fine, Gawd. Are you sure you weren't supposed to play the President?

A Giant Rube-Goldberg-esque sequence follows in which they reopen the gates while the Chinese family and Jackson's are still inside. This leads to the Welder getting hurt, Yuri falling to his death to save his children, a piece of equipment getting stuck in the works, and the gate to Ark# 1 stopping at a mostly-closed position.

Oh and Gordon, predictably, dies. The old crushed between gears routine, alas.

Kate: Where's Gordon?

Jackson: Honestly, even you can't be surprised.

The tsunami hits, and water begins to enter the ship. This leads to a very Titanicy situation in which compartments begin to seal off. Tamara saves Moppet-Daughter but TRAGICALLY DROWNS HERSELF in doing so. Helmsley and First Daughter rush back to help, but are stuck on one side (with the Moppet-Daughter) with Jackson, Kate, Sulky-Son, and the Chinese family on the other.

Helmsley: (through an intercom) Mr. Curtis this is Adrian Helmsley. We met at Yellowstone.

Jackson: That's great- get us the hell out of here!

Helmsley: We can't. Someone needs to go back and get the thing out of the gears or we'll all die!

Jackson: Fine, I'll do it. Even though I'm such an important published author and stuff.

He swims down to unclog the tube or whatever that fell in there (Gordon's mangled body apparently causes no problems), and succeeds but only with the help of his Sulky-Son, who loves him after all! Hooray!

One Month Later

Moppet-Daughter: Can we go home now, daddy?

Jackson: No, we've got to find a new home out here. But we'll be a family again. Couldn't have planned this better myself.

Kate: Hey! I'm still kinda sad about...was it..Gil?

Helmsley: We've set a course for the Cape of Good Hope. It turns out Africa never flooded at all. It's the only viable land left.

Anheuser: My God. (Anyone playing the "My God" drinking game is now dead) Africa, really? Did the inhabitants survive?

Helmsley: It's possible.

Anheuser: Do you think they'll be pissed we didn't invite them?

Helmsley: (shrugs) You what's crazy, though- my cell phone still works.


Other Parodies:

The X-Files: I Want To Believe

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Crash- Not so much a parody as a recap where I make snide comments about EVERY scene.

This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Actual tagline: The Next Chapter Begins

Nooo! How can this possible not have terrible and cheesy tags with it? Twilight gave us fun ones like "When you can live forever what do you live for?".

How disapointing.

The Blind Side

Actual tagline: Based on the Extraordinary True Story

Et tu, Hallmark-channel-looking inspirational Sandra Bullock movie? Nothing? What is happening this week?

Planet 51

Actual tagline: Something strange is coming to their planet...Us!

OR: Right stuff. Wrong planet.

Saved by over-done children's movies again! Because really all Planet 51 has to sell itself (other than the vocal stylings of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is it's premise, where an astronaut lands on a Planet where the stereotypically green aliens all A) speak English and B) all live in an eerie facsimile of 50s-era American suburbia. So the taglines really need to send home the point.

What Did Owen Glieberman Think?

Guess what? We're going to take a weekly look at the reviews by Entertainment Weekly's increasingly befuddled and impossible to predict movie critic, Owen Glieberman. Recently, he gave A Christmas Carol an A while giving The Men Who Stare At Goats an F, though both films received middle-of-the-road reviews.

Fantastic Mr. Fox: A

OG claims to be "not a big fan of Anderson's work," but that the clay-mation medium was exactly what he needed to stomach the "virtuoso tomfoolery" and "arch self-possession" in all of the director's films. He sums it up thusly:

"Before, he twisted reality into a permanent ironic pose. Now, in the infectiously primitive talking-animal world of Fantastic Mr. Fox, he's become an ironic realist."

Points for the construction, Gliebs, but I really don't see how one who twists reality into an ironic pose isn't already an ironic realist.

Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire: A

He loves this one as much as everyone else, but I present the following passage about Mo'Nique's character:

"Her Mary is raging and defeated, a woman who treats Precious as a slave — and I don't use the word lightly, since part of the film's power is its perception that these two are living out patterns of cruelty that go back for generations. Their agony has roots."

It has ROOTS, get it? Like the show? Those italics are all original Glieberman, by the way. He also pontificates near the end: "Precious is a film that makes you think, 'There but for the grace of God go I.'" Somehow I doubt that young Owen, reviewing movies in the student rag at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, was just a little bit of God's grace away from being exploited for welfare benefits by his parents.

This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?


2012 has such a rich amount of ridiculous tags, we're going to handle them one by one.

Actual tagline: We Were Warned. (Alternate version: Mankind's earliest civilization warned us this day would come...)

I wonder what people did before the internet? Did they just vaguely wonder if disaster films were full of baloney but just sort of shrug and move on? Casual research reveals that the Mayans, who were not the earliest civilization by any reasonable measure, had a calendar much different than our own that reaches the end of its thirteenth "baktun" (around 394 years) on December 21st (or 23rd), 2012.

That's it. Occasional historical conjecture arises that claims some Mayans thought there'd be some doom, but it's mostly just a common misconception, turned into a $200 Million budget.

OR: Who will be left behind?

Judging by the wanton destruction and seeming intent to flee in spaceships in the trailer, no one at all. Or is this a thinly veiled rapture reference?

OR: The end is just the beginning.

Indeed, because the Mayan calendar is cyclical- meaning nothing will happen at all?

OR: First, the Mayan calendar predicted it...Now, science has confirmed it...but we never imagined it could really happen.

Okay- granting that in the film whatever they call "science" confirms the impending disaster: at that point, they still "never imagined" it would happen? What else would it take?

Pirate Radio

Actual tagline: On air. Off shore. Out of control.

OR: 1 Boat. 8 DJs. No Morals.

These taglines do no bother me, well done, et cetera, but WHY did we need the title changed for American audiences? Are we that dumb? This used to be called The Boat That Rocked, as you can see from the poster, but that was too many words for us Yankees.

It's a radio station on a boat! It's not that crazy that we can't take a little wordplay. Why not just give it the full treatment and call it Radio Station On A Boat, and then Samuel L. Jackson can cameo, and so on.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

Actual tagline: Life is hard. Life is short. Life is painful. Life is rich. Life is....Precious.

It seems unfortunate to me that this film, which by all accounts is fantastic, had to change its title because it was recently the title of a Chris Pine/Dakota Fanning B Movie.

And can we call a moratorium on the lame ellipses before using a movie title in a tag? You may as well simultaneously be winking at me and nudging me in the ribs while saying the word as if had quotes around it. No subtlety at all.

This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?

A Christmas Carol

Actual tagline: Season's Greedings

Oh, I see what you did there. Har har. Jim Carrey returns to ruin your holidays with his heavily make-uped ubiquity for another holiday season.

The Box

Actual tagline: You Are The Experiment

Is it a medical study? Do I get paid in cash? Is it an experiment to see if I'll go see a film based solely on the fact that The Arcade Fire composed the score?

The Men Who Stare At Goats

Actual tagline: No goats. No glory.

I swear the small laugh that escaped the side of my mouth when I read this one was completely involuntary. I'm very serious about my distaste for puns in movie taglines. Completely serious.

Heh. "No goats."

The Fourth Kind

Actual tagline: There are four kinds of alien encounters. The fourth kind is abduction.

Actually, according to Wikipedia, there is a fifth kind of close encounter (basically when they start a-murderin' us human folk.

And the fourth kind can also be referred to as type 3-G. Now you know.

Things Sophie and I Tweeted While Watching Lord Of The Rings

I think the title speaks for itself here. My personal twitterspace is @frogcynic, and Sophie's is @sophienotemily, and together we DOMINATED the #LOTR tag for a solid week, off and on.

These are our random missives during all three extended editions.

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The Fellowship Of The Ring

-Lord Of The Rings! Hobbit-five, everybody!

@sophienotemily: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring is rated PG-13 for "EPIC battle sequences." That's what it says! Even the MPAA loves this shit.

-So when Bilbo writes "Concerning Hobbits," who is he writing it for? Future non-hobbit races that take an interest in his memoirs?

-Why can't we make fireworks like Gandalf's? Ours plateaued some years ago at fizzling and changing colors ONCE. What gives?

-Where's the "Gaffer's Home Brew" tie-in beer? It could be something hearty and hobbity, like an ale. Or a lager.

-"Proudfeet!" Get it right!

-"Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks!" say Gandalf, while conjuring a cheap trick to appear taller and shinier.

-The One Ring: Now with built-in Anti-Theft Fire-Eye!

-"Shire! Baggins!" is also all I can scream when tortured.

-The One Ring: Re-Sizable and Completely Indestructible, it's the only Horcrux you'll ever need! Call now!

-"Shire! Baggins! But that will lead them to Bagginshire!" #fakemoviequotes

-"A palantir is a dangerous tool, Saruman." "YOU'RE a dangerous tool!" #fakemoviequotes

-Nazgul are SO easily distracted. Frodo should just pretend to throw the ring, and they'd totally run as if he had, like a dog.

-I bet, after all this was over, Aragorn and Arwen must've gotten SO SICK of the Beren and Luthien comparisons.

-White horses always outrun black horses, because they're naturally more energy-efficient.

-I love the heart of Mount Doom. How do you forge a ring from that platform? Really long tongs?

-Lousy Extended edition and its break in-between discs reminding me not to stay up for the next nine hours. More #LOTR later!

-I miss "Saruman of Many Colours" from the books. Wearing white down in the Uruk-hai pits is a major faux pas.

-Gandalf only calls him "Peregrin Took" when he's angry.

-Yeah, Gimli. I'm sure you haven't heard from Balin and co. in Moria for TEN YEARS because they were too busy partying.

-It's Gollum! In early-CGI blackface!

-I like how whenever something crazy dramatic happens (i.e. cave troll stabbing Frodo), we get eighties-rock-video shakicam closeups

-Lothlorien Elves do everything in slow motion, for some reason.

@sophienotemily: Frodo keeps breaking that chain. How does he fix it? Does he carry pliers? Are replacement chains really that easy to come by?

-Aw snap- Hobbits be eatin' things!

-For the record, Boromir kills 17 Orcs all by himself at the end (including 5 after getting arrows buried in his chest!).

@sophienotemily: Anachronistic #LOTR lines: "let's hunt some Orc!" Really? Orc? "Orcs," I would accept.

The Two Towers

-Two Towers time! My question: do Elven shoe-laces untie themselves?

-'Man-Flesh'? The gay bar down by the airport?

-No, not THOSE two towers, Saruman. Haven't you read the books? It's not called "Whichever Pair Of Towers You Fancy."

@sophienotemily: "So an elf, a man, and a dwarf walk into the Riddermark..."

-That random Rohan mom should be on a list of "Most Improbably Still Alive Later" characters, with the son from War Of The Worlds.

-@sophienotemily on Theodred: "He's pretty hot, in a dying sort of way.

-You'd think maggoty bread would be an Orc's favorite sort of bread

@sophienotemily: Anachronistic #LOTR lines: "Meat's back on the menu, boys!" "menu" meaning "list of things to eat" = first used 1837. Also it sounds weird.

-Aragorn's tracker skills are nuts! "A hobbit lay here. His hands were bound. He had a smudge on his left cheek, and was a little hungry."

-Legolas, the magnificent ObviousElf! "The trees are speaking to each other! My hair is blond! That's a bird!"

-"Tree-infested"? Trees are not an infestation, Gimli.

-My new place holders (instead of "uh" and "er") are going to be Ent-noises like "Brrharroom."

-Poor Theodin-King. "I'm free! My beard is colorful! Up top for a high-five, Theodred! ...Theodred?"

-Still aghast that this funeral scene was cut from the theatrical version.

@sophienotemily: @frogcynic there's no time for MOURNING when there is KILLING to be done.

@sophienotemily: "What do you fear, my lady?" "A cage." I forgot how awesome Eowyn is.

-The first time I saw TTT, the Gollum double-speak scene caused some lady to be all "so are there two of them?" Still kills me.

-It wouldn't be an epic without at least one Braveheart-style running battleclash. Wargs ho!

-Brego! You make so much sense in the Extended Edition! Don't get me wrong, if I were a random wandering horse I'd save Aragorn, too

-Faramir and co. battle plan with the ridiculously simple map! It's like using a globe to plan a trip to Martha's Vineyard!

-Faramir's flashback somehow includes a whole scene where he's not within earshot..

-I want a whole short film of Gollum and that fish.

-Where was GONDOR when I couldn't sleep and I need someone to talk to?!?!

-@sophienotemily: "Where was GONDOR when the Titanic sank!?!"

@sophienotemily: I was going to wait until we got to this part in the movie, but I'm impatient:

@sophienotemily: WHERE WAS GON--

-"This is all they have? They didn't even bring a heretofore unheard of explosive to blow a hole in the...oh."

@sophienotemily: Anachronistic #LOTR lines: "...embedded in his nervous system!" That one's just wrong. Is there a Middle-Earth Academy of Medical Science?

-Frodo! We thinks you have the crazy-eye!

-Frodo's an old hand at holding swords to throats by now.

The Return Of The King

-It's part 3 of my #LOTR tweetathon! You're gonna be all like "I liked the first two parts okay, but I want to give THIS part 11 Oscars!"

-Research revealed last night that it was, in fact, Smeagol's birthday, but Deagol already got him a present. Just so we're clear.

@sophienotemily: Deagol: *mine mine mine* Smeagol: nooooo it are my birthday

-The days aren't grower darker, Frodo. It's just Daylight Savings Death-Cloud Time.

-How can they hear each other from THE TOP OF ORHTANC? This scene is good to include, but that kills me.

-"Saruman, your staff is broken! And your eyebrows look weird."

-Theoden: "He's prefect for you!" Eowyn: "Dad we're just friends oh my god!"

-"What does your heart tell you?" "Mostly a series of rhythmic thumping."

-If there's one thing I don't like about movie Sauron, it's his tendency to say "I see you!" like a lame peeping tom.

-So Arwen wants to leave until she sees that she might have an androgynous son? Whatevs.

-Arwen: "Reforge the sword!" Elrond: "Didn't we do that already? Like two books ago? Huh."

@sophienotemily: Anachronistic #LOTR lines: " the Nazgul flies." "As the crow flies" origin: Pennsylvania.

-How does Gandalf know they've just passed into Gondor? Was there a sign? "Welcome to GONDOR! Home of the White City!"

-So if Sauron had won, what was his plan? Get into textiles manufacturing?

@sophienotemily: Anachronistic #LOTR lines: "Game over." (Legolas/Gimli drinking game, ROTK:EE.) Origin of phrase: pinball machines.

-Funny how Frodo's wound could sense the Witch-King's proximity, but the Witch-King didn't sense the ring nearby.

-Poor Osgilliath, always captured and then recaptured. It's like the Gaza Strip of the War of The Ring

-"So what do you do?" "I live on top of a mountain to light a Beacon in case Gondor needs help." "When were they lit last?" "600 years ago."

@sophienotemily: Merry and Pippin are always cool, but they take awesome to a whole notha leva in ROTK

-Kings have table manners. Stewards apparently do not. Use a napkin, Denethor- sheesh.

@sophienotemily: Weird things Denethor does: has visions of Boromir, makes Pippin kiss his ring, eats random cherry tomatoes...?

-Gimli's straight of out Scooby-Doo during this whole Paths of the Dead part.

-What a classic, avalanche-of-millions-of-skulls gag! I wonder how long the dead army spent setting that up?

@sophienotemily: Crumbs on his jacketses?!

-Classic #LOTR line: "What is it? It's sticky!"

-Peter Jackson = arachnophobic, thus Shelob = hella frightening! I move all horror movies be made by people similarly afflicted by the topic

-What did Gollum think they were doing? Heading for a stay in the Mount Doom Bed and Breakfast? (Great pancakes at that place, btw)

@sophienotemily: Sam: "Let him go, you FILTH!" Ah, I remember making swoony LJ icons about how Sean Astin should be considered for an Oscar for that.

@sophienotemily: As I recall, they involved Sam holding an Academy Award statuette instead of the Light of Earendil. *cough* #LOTR #dorkiness

@sophienotemily: Nobody does grief like Sean Astin, I am just saying.

-Denethor only loves his son once he succumbs to despair? What a foulweather parent.

@sophienotemily: Classic #LOTR line: "BRING WOOD AND OIL!" Elijah Wood, perhaps? Wink wink, saynomore, etc

-Never have more people yelled in the theater than when Shelob is behind Frodo all of a sudden.


@sophienotemily: Theoden: DEATH!!!! Rohirrim: DEATH!!!!! Audience: Uh, death? Yay?

-The part where Eowyn and Merry take down an Oliphaunt always reminds me of The Empire Strikes Back.

-Death = just like sailing to Valinor?

-Those Oliphaunts must be annoyed. "Ow! Why are we here? YOU PROMISED ME COMICALLY OVERSIZED PEANUTS!!"

@sophienotemily: Eowyn: "I AM NO MAN!" Witch-King of Angmar: "Well, shit!" *implodes*

-If only the Witch King had been better at riddles. Apparently he was vacuum-sealed. Huh

-I love the Orcs that just see a guy falling and are like RIOT TIME!!!!! AWESOME!

@sophienotemily: Naked, tied-up Elijah Wood time! #LOTR #pervyhobbitfancier

-ObviousElf's proudest moment! "A diversion!" Only ten minutes too late.

@sophienotemily: "A diversion!" I feel like Legolas just zoned out for awhile, like he was thinking about palantir bowling or something.

@sophienotemily: Eowyn: "Woe, I am depressed. The sun has no warmth. Does anyone have any Lexapro?" Faramir: "I will heal you... with loooove."

@sophienotemily: aaagh digitally enlarged creepy mouth (of Sauron)

@sophienotemily: Mouth of Sauron: "It takes more to make a King than a broken Elvish blade!" Aragorn: "Elvish blade THIS!" *chop*

@sophienotemily: I don't think I've borrowed any other line from #LOTR more than "but it is not this day." There may come a day when I do my laundry...

@sophienotemily: Badass Sam moment # 4: "But I can carry you!"

@sophienotemily: aaagh what happened to all their horses??!?! CONTINUITY ERROR!

@sophinotemily: Hey! Eagles! Nice of you to show up, finally. Where were you, shopping for... iPhones? What do Eagles shop for?

@sophienotemily: Thank you for riding Eagle Airlines. Now boarding express service to Gondor.

-Look: Eagles can't fly past fell beasts, arrows, and the lidless eye. You can't just walk into Mordor, and you can't just fly either.

@sophinotemily: Sam: "Don't leave!" Frodo: "Sam, I have really bad PTSD, and they have great drugs in Valinor. You understand."

This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?

Michael Jackson's This Is It

Actual tagline: Like You've Never Seen Him Before

This is the only wide release this week? Again? Get it together, October. Anyway, might I politely suggest that this should be titled This Would've Been It?

And I really don't get "Like You've Never Seen Him Before" at all- it's just interviews and rehearsal footage. We've pretty much seen him like this for the last four decades or so. Unless the aspect they're trumpeting is "On The Verge Of Death"?

This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?

Saw VI

Actual tagline: The Game Comes Full Circle

Does it? Does it come full circle? Can you promise me that, with your stupid game of lame torture-porn every year having come "Full Circle," that there won't be a Saw VII?

Somehow I doubt it. Happy Halloween, folks.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant

Actual tagline: Meet Darren. He's sixteen going on immortal.

Darren is no realtion to Edward Cullen, who is seventeen going on immortal, and not in a circus or anything, so there's no way this film, directed by the brother of the director of the Twilight sequel, is a lame attempt to exploit the vampyrsplotation craze that those books/films launched.


Actual tagline: Defying The Impossible. Living The Dream.

I'm all for living the dream, to be sure, but I'm a little confused by the seeming double-negative of "defying the impossible." Couldn't that also be stated as "Obeying The Possible"?

Astro Boy

Actual tagline: Have A Blast.

OR: Built For Adventure.

'Cause there's a robot, I guess. The kind of middling slogan-work that just makes me feel sleepy.

This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?

The Stepfather

Actual tagline: This Fall...Daddy's Home

OR: This Fall... Do You Know Who Your Family Is?

Just so you know kids, stepfathers, in addition to being not your real dad are also murderous killers! Or at least they are this fall!

This should be part of a mini-film festival confirming children's worst fears about people they allready distrusted, along with The Faculty (Teachers are evil aliens!), The Good Son (adopted siblings are psychopaths!), Disturbia (your neighbor is a serial killer!), and The Guardian (babysitters are evil druids that want to sacrifice you!).

Where The Wild Things Are

Actual tagline: There's One In All Of Us

I'd be snarky about this film, but I'd be immediately disciplined by the Hipster Police (a coalition of agents from Urban Outfitters, McSweeney's,, and all non-Starbucks coffee shops).

I'm stoked for the film, being a hip twentysomething, but has there ever before been a movie made from a children's picture book marketed seemingly exclusively to hip twenty-somethings that were fans of the book long ago?

Law Abiding Citizen

Actual tagline: The System Must Pay

OR: Justice At Any Cost

OR: How do you stop a killer who is already behind bars?

OR: The Man Who Has Lost Everything is Capable of Anything

The rule is thus: the more generic your title, the greater number of taglines you will need. Law Abiding Citizen needed four to get us beyond the boilerplate reference in its moniker- though that poster doesn't make it terribly clear that Jaime Foxx is the person being hounded by "the man who has lost everything," and not the character seeking "justice at any cost."

This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?

Couples Retreat

Actual tagline: It May Be Paradise... But It's No Vacation

This tagline is pretty bland, but sweet sassy molassy what is going on with the title of this movie?

Look at it again "Couples Retreat." Not "Couple's Retreat," implying a retreat for couples (which the film is literally about), but "Couples Retreat," implying that couples tend to retreat (in the face, presumably, of Confederate musket-fire, or perhaps their own myriad communication problems).

This is either an egregious grammatical oversight that made it past several rounds of proofing, or one of the lamest titular puns in recent memory: "No, see, it's about "couples" that "retreat" from one another. It's very artistic and interpretive...especially the part with that dude's ass in Jason Bateman's face!"

Only one wide release this week? Huh.

IMDB #206 Bringing Up Baby

I'm calling an audible on today's entry because of availability issues, and inserting 1938's Bringing Up Baby into spot #206 (even though it's presently at #242), because I couldn't get a copy of The Ox-Bow Incident. How do I justify this seeming compromise of my list-following ethics? Simple: I'm not being paid, and His Girl Friday was one of my favorites so far.

Plus, leopards!

The Key Players:

What's really beautiful about this entry is that I've already introduced director Howard Hawks as well as stars Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn on previous films! Laziness five!

Click for More...

The Story:

Grant stars as paleontologist David Huxley, a bumbling man engaged to his humorless colleague Alice Swallow- why take a honeymoon after they get married the next day when there's so much work to do, she asks.

That work involves finishing a one-of-a-kind brontosaurus skeleton, which awaits the arrival of an "intercostal clavicle" in the mail (googling informs me that this is not a real thing, since we don't have clavicles, or collar bones, in between our ribs ("intercostal") and neither did brontosauri). It also involves David playing a round of golf with an Alexander Peabody, lawyer to a wealthy client that may donate $1 Million to the Museum (which is like $15 Million in today-money).

His golf-game and subsequent donor's lawyer-impressing goes humorously awry when socialite Susan Vance (Hepburn) crashes it by mistaking David's golf ball and then his car for her own. Later that night, she bumps into him again at the restaurant where David is meeting Peabody to make amends- those plans are forgotten when she accidentally rips his suit jacket, and then he tears her skirt by standing on it.

The next day she somehow has gotten ahold of his phone number, and pretends to get attacked by a leopard in order to get him over to her house. The leopard, though real, is tame- it's the titular "Baby"- and Susan just wants David's help transporting it to her aunt's house, as she's mistaken him for a zoologist.

Hi-jinks after hi-jinks follow as Susan contrives to make David late for his wedding, having decided she's in love with him. They steal a car, David wears a nightgown after Susan steals his clothes, a dog buries the intercostal clavicle (which David has inexplicably brought with him) and they need to follow him around until he unburies it...

Also there's another, much less tame leopard that's escaped from the circus.

The Artistry:

Man, do I love these movies. The lines never stop, and the pace never slows down. This movie just took everything I loved about His Girl Friday and added other things I love, like dinosaurs, leopards, and a stronger female lead (sorry, Rosalind Russell, but we can't all be Katherine Hepburn).

The chemistry between Hepburn and Grant isn't really that great, but it doesn't exactly have that much time to blossom between the constant action- besides, it only had to beat that of Grant and his shrewish fiancee anyway. And sure, Hepburn's character is basically stalking Grant's for a while, but funny makes up for a lot. And now, some quotes:

-"When a man is wrestling a leopard in the middle of a pond, he's in no position to run."

-DAVID (After seeing a leopard): "Susan, you have to get out of this apartment!"
SUSAN: "I can't, I have a lease."

-"'He's three years old, gentle as a kitten, and likes dogs.' I wonder whether Mark means that he eats dogs or is fond of them?"

-SUSAN: "Now, certainly you can't think I did that intentionally!"
DAVID: "Well, if I could think, I'd have run when I saw you!"

There's also no end to pratfalls and sight gags in this movie. Of all the classic movie stars I've seen for this countdown, I've become the biggest fan of Cary Grant's sense of timing and put-upon harried-ness: the dinner scene- where, livid at the loss of his dinosaur bone, he spends the entire meal staring at the dog and following it from the room abruptly whenever it left- just killed me.


After falling in a river, chasing leopards through the woods and ending up in jail, David saves Susan from the untamed leopard and finally makes it home.

His fiance storms out on him, fed up with his crazy shenanigans, but he seems hardly bothered. When Susan shows up, having finally found the intercostal clavicle, he soon admits that he had the most fun of his life with her.

Susan promptly knocks over the entire brontosaurus skeleton. But hey, love is a fine consolation.



The Verdict: Higher!

Well, I've included it in this countdown a full thirty or so spots higher than it is at the moment, so...

The Legacy:

NFR inclusion, AFI lists galore, a reputation as Howard Hawks' best film, now one of mine... pretty much the exact opposite of the film's reception upon release: Bringing Up Baby was a box-office-bomb, Hawks was fired from his next RKO picture, and Hepburn had to buy out her contract with the studio and eventually produce a film herself as a comeback vehicle.

The Best Video Of It On YouTube:

"But why are you wearing these clothes?"

This was apparently the first use of the word "gay" on film- in the modern, orientation implying sense of the word. I like how he jumps about three feet in the air on that line, which was apparently ad-libbed.

Leftover Thoughts:

-If you enjoyed Bringing Up Baby, IMDB thinks you would also enjoy (scroll down to the bottom) American Psycho.

-Sorry for the late, special Saturday edition of the countdown. I always do intend to do two of these a week.

Coming Up...

Tuesday, October 6th: The Battle of Algiers

Thursday, October 8th: The Adventures of Robin Hood

This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?

The Invention of Lying

Actual tagline: In A World Where EVERYONE Can Only Tell The TRUTH... He's Just Invented The LIE

Because the title The Invention of Lying (which is reminiscient of Snakes On A Plane in its explicativeness) apparently wasn't enough, a two-part sentence hammers home the high-concept premise from star/co-writer/co-director Ricky Gervais.

I can't get past the logical contradiction involved- clearly, if he invents the lie, then it's no longer a world where "everyone can only tell the truth." It should more properly be "In a world where everyone has heretofore only told the truth..." and so on.

Whip It

Actual tagline: Be Your Own Hero

But what if I'm not eligible for women's roller derby? How will I be my own hero? Does that mean I should join the military?


Actual tagline: Nut Up Or Shut Up

OR: This Place Is So Dead

Dead! Get it? Like zombies are dead. And I'll "nut up" when I join the military- all right, movie taglines? Stop telling me what to do with your informal second person commands!

L.A.M.B.! What what?

Welcome to anyone linking here from The Large Association Of Movie Blogs, of which I am now a member.

Links that may interest you: my introductory post, the post introducing the imdb top 250 project, the list of all entries in said project.

And click HERE for the entry on the movie Crash (when I flipped out and picked apart every scene) which is pictured in my LAMB induction post.

Hope you like what you read! (You can always subscribe to the feed or become a follower if so).

IMDB #207 The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Today we reach an entry that I've already written about at some length: 2008's The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.

It was a dilemma: do I search for more things to say than I had in February, or do I just go ahead and link you to my write-up during Oscar Coverage and my 2008 top ten list (it was #6) and do something a lot less serious than normal?

Aaand just guess which route I took.

So without further ado, today I eschew the regular format once again and present The Curious Case of Benjamin Button In A Nutshell.

This is my second parody attempt, done much in a style that I hope is somewhat distinguishable from Cleolinda Jones' Movies In Fifteen Minutes.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button,
In A Nutshell:

Click for More...


Hurricane Katrina rages outside the window

CAROLINE: So mom, I know you're about to die, and I really just wanted to say-

OLD DAISY: (In between Darth Vader breaths) There was this guy who built a clock, one time..

CAROLINE: Uh, what?

OLD DAISY: His son died in WWI, so he made the clock run backwards.

CAROLINE: I don't really see how that relates to-

OLD DAISY: Even Roosevelt saw how totally thematically relevant it was.

BLACK NURSE #1: Excuse me white folks, do you mind if I make a call? My son might be underwater right now.

CAROLINE: Sure, go ahead- though why you'd need our permission I'm not sure.. So anyway mom, I was trying to have sort of an emotional moment with you, and-

OLD DAISY: Let's read an old diary from my bag instead.

CAROLINE: I, um.. what?

OLD DAISY: Just the sound of your voice comforts me. But not your feelings and crap.

CAROLINE: Er, all right... this thing is pretty heavily art-designed... Ahem: 'April 4, 1985. New Orleans. This is my last will and testament, though mostly a testament since I have no possessions or heirs...

We transtion to New Orleans on Armistice Day, 1918. The street is full of dramatically-lit revelers, pretty happy that we avenged Franz Ferdinand or whatever. Benjamin takes over the diary reading duties in Voice Over.

BENJAMIN (VO): My name is Benjamin, Benjamin Button, and I was born under unusual circumstances. A war ended, my mother died, my father nearly drowned me in a river: I've been told it was an especially good night to be born.

We see most of that stuff happen at The Button House, culminating with MR. BUTTON leaving the wrinkly little BENJAMIN on the steps at a Nursing Home.


QUEENIE: Oh, it sure is a nice night not to need a surname. What's on your mind, Mr. Weathers?

MR. WEATHERS: Well, you know about how we have our own personal lives, outside of these white folks? Your ex-boyfriend's come back from the war, and-

QUEENIE: Look! A wrinkled white baby!

MR. WEATHERS: Lord! We should probably leave that for the po-lice.

QUEENIE: Grotesquery is no match for a southern matron! I will name him Benjamin.

Benjamin, now a young apparent-octogenarian, begins growing up in the old-folks' home.

BENJAMIN (VO): It was a fun place to grow up, among the mentally infirm. Once I met a young girl named Daisy, and I never forgot her blue eyes.

BENJAMIN: Mama, I'm still kinda old and creepified. Am I going to die?

QUEENIE: You already lived longer than that doctor said you would before he fainted at the sight of you. You just remember what I told you.

BENJAMIN: 'You never know what's coming for you'?

QUEENIE: Not even if it's a box of chocolates.


PREACHER: Here in black church meetings we don't just DO NORMAL CHURCH THINGS, we are compelled to SHOUT THEM AND SORT OF SING THEM AS WELL!

CROWD: Hallelujah!


Benjamin indeed walks, in a totally not Gumpian way.

CROWD: Hallelujah!

BENJAMIN (VO): Then, his purpose served, the black preacher keeled over and died for comic effect.

CROWD: Halle...lujah?

NURSING HOME, Some time Later

DAISY: Psst, Benjamin! Wake up! Let's go downsairs to my fort!

BENJAMIN: Uh..okay!

DAISY: I've been asking old people to my fort all night, and you're the first taker! You're odd- odder than anyone I've ever met.

BENJAMIN: I'm not as old as I look. But you're a little kid with Cate Blanchett's dubbed-in voice, so we're even.

DAISY's GRANDMOTHER: AMBER ALERT! Back upstairs, the both of you!

THE DOCKS, Later still

LIGHTNING GUY: Did I ever tell you I was struck by lightning seven times? Once when I was just reading a Winston Groom novel.

CAPTAIN MIKE: Is anyone here so starved for life experience that they'll enjoy doing menial labor on a tugboat? There's really no screening process.

BENJAMIN: Ooh! Right here!

BENJAMIN (VO): He was the best crazy-mentor ever: he taught me to scrub poop off things, took me to a brothel, and ranted about his tattoos for a while. One time I ran into a guilt-ridden looking guy at the brothel.

MR. BUTTON: Your condition must be awful to endure.

BENJAMIN: It's not so bad being old, really. What line of work you in, Mr. Button?

MR. BUTTON: Buttons. Our slogan is: 'Button's Buttons: The Buttoniest Buttons that ever Buttoned in Button-town!' You mind if I drop in on you on occasion, even though we're allegedly strangers?

BENJAMIN: Just keep these drinks coming.

BENJAMIN (VO): In 1936, at the age of seventeen, when I still looked mid-sixites old, I left for Russia. I promised to send Daisy post-cards from everywhere I traveled, because whatever we had was less creepy via post.


OLD DAISY: Can you believe it? He really sent me cards from Newfoundland, Glasgow, Liverpool..

CAROLINE: Looking at the actual post-cards You mean...this is all true? Why didn't he go to the doctor? His genetics could have contained the secret to eternal youth!

OLD DAISY: Norway...



At a bar

CAPTAIN MIKE: I'm telling you, hummingbirds are amazing creatures! They're enduring cinematic images, for one thing, and their wings make the symbol for infinity!

BENJAMIN: What does that have to do with a backwards clock?


BENJAMIN (VO): Then, I had an affair with a classy British woman, mostly because she mistook my youthful sheepishness for aged wisdom (and I looked like an old Brad Pitt). I figured I'd write Daisy about it, no big deal.

DAISY (in New York): HWHAT?!

Back in the Russian bar

CAPTAIN MIKE: Listen up, you! Since I wasn't already enough like Lt. Dan, our tugboat's been conscripted to serve in World War II. All of my crew are free to quit, or each you and and your one notable personality trait better be ready to fight!

Somehow the tugboat pwns a submarine in a doubtlessly very expensive scene, but several are killed and Benjamin finds Captain Mike with approximately seven hundred bullet-wounds in his chest)

CAPTAIN MIKE: You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse unresolved plot-holes, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go.

BENJAMIN: Wait! How did you ever tattoo your own back, anyway?


Benjamin and one other survivor are rescued- Benajmin poignantly sees a hummingbird at sea, even though he's somewhere in Europe and hummingbirds are native to the Americas.

BENJAMIN (VO): Then, in 1945, I came home, looking kind of like Atticus Finch right after retirement.


QUEENIE: Sweet lord you're home! What'd you see while you were away? Sadness? Joy? Things that came for you even though you didn't see them in advance?

BENJAMIN: Pretty much.

LIGHTNING GUY: Did I ever tell you I was struck by lightning seven times? Once I was just sharing a birthday cake with John McCain.

DAISY (now a woman): Benajmin! Wow, you look way age-appropriate these days! It must be fate, us meeting again like this, even though I showed up at the old folks' home long after my grandmother's death. Or kismet. I'm a dancer now! I live in New York. You want to see me dance, just for you?

BENJAMIN: Well, I, uh-

DAISY: I have to go back tomorrow, it's a shame. If only there were something we could do for one night. Well?

BENJAMIN: I'd like to, but not tonight is all.

DAISY: Hmmp.

BENJAMIN: Plus, you're a smoker. Seriously- ashtray.

Daisy leaves- sometime later, MR. BUTTON shows up.

MR. BUTTON: Yep, the war's been pretty good for the button industry- lots of money. Sure is a pretty good time to be a Button...also I'm your dad.


MR. BUTTON: I just though you were a monster, is all! Also I'm about to die and again, millionaire.

BENJAMIN: Well, it was past time I got around to having a surname anyway.

LIGHTNING GUY: Did I ever tell you I was struck by lightning seven times? Once I was just golfing on top of the Sears tower during a storm. I think it's god's way of telling me I'm lucky to be alive.

BENJAMIN: I think it might be his way of trying to kill you.

NEW YORK, A Few Years Later

DAISY: Benajamin? What are you doing here? If I'd known you were coming, I would've tidied up this den of sin we call New York.

BENJAMIN: Well, I rejected you, so I thought I'd give you a shot at payback. It's only fair.

DAISY: No way! I happen to be dating some douchebag!

SOME DOUCHEBAG: So, you were a friend of her grandmother's?


OLD DAISY: Then I went all over Europe as a dancer.

CAROLINE: You never told me about any of that!

OLD DAISY: Well, you're kind of a square.


BENJAMIN (VO): Now, in a very extreme turn of fate I met Daisy again. A truly monumental set of coincidences contrived to lead to Daisy getting hit by a car, so I rushed to Paris to be by her side. Clearly this was the extreme circumstance that would finally bring us together forever, or I wouldn't spend so much time building up to this moment.

DAISY: Benjamin? Get out before I MELT YOUR FACE OFF WITH RAGE!

Audience: Wait, what?


BENJAMIN (VO): I went home, posed for some Tommy Hilfiger ads, slept around- the usual. Then, in the spring of 1962, she came back.

DAISY: I'm sorry- I couldn't let you see me that way, before.

BENJAMIN: Well, can I see you...naked?

DAISY: And how!

BENJAMIN (VO): It was everything the life of the beautiful and rich could be. We traveled the world, made love, got an apartment. Queenie died, but life was otherwise pretty great... then we ruined it by having a kid. Typical.


CAROLINE: Hold on for just a minute here.

OLD DAISY: Questions at the end, please!


BENJAMIN: How I can I be a father when I'm heading in the other direction? I'm gonna get shorter, lose mental faculty, need diapers...

DAISY: How many obvious jokes about that being the same as old age do I have to make before you change your mind?

BENJAMIN (VO): When you were one, Caroline, I pulled the old cigarette routine and left. I traveled the world, but I sent you post-cards, so we're cool, right? Button out!


CAROLINE: Worst. Twist. Ending. Ever!

Awkward pause.

CAROLINE: What ever happened to him, anyway?

OLD DAISY: Well, he showed back up once, you met him and we lied to you some more, then I cheated on your "father" with him.


OLD DAISY: Then a few years back, he showed up as a little kid with Alzheimer's, and eventually died in my arms as an infant.


OLD DAISY: That was the same year they took down that backwards-moving clock.

CAROLINE: Who cares about the stupid clock? I'm gonna go get a drink.

Daisy looks to the window in her last moments of life and sees a hummingbird, even though they weigh as much as a nickel and Hurricane Katrina had winds of up to 175 MPH.



The Verdict: Slightly Lower.

The more I watch this movie, the more I sour on it a little each time. Sophie pointed out that it's not that it's bad, it's that it could have been so great. I like it for the occasional humor, Lightning Guy especially, and as a massive technical acheivement, but Eric Roth's screenplay just kills me, more and more.

Coming Up...

Thursday, September 24th: Bringing Up Baby

Tuesday, September 29th: The Battle Of Algiers

This Week In Actual Movie Taglines

A look at the taglines for this week's major releases. How do studios try to hook us when they only have a sentence?


Actual tagline: Dream It - Earn It - Live It

How does one "live" fame, precisely? Also, it's important to follow those instructions in that order- you can't Dream It and then Live It, not until you Earn It.

All the other taglines for the remake of Fame come from the title song, "Fame." Question: can you name anyone from the original Fame? No? Me neither. Ironic, no?


Actual tagline: Don't fear the end of the world. Fear what happens next.

Oh....kay? I'm not sure what I'm fearing, then, Pandorum. Some sort of judgement in the afterlife? Radiation poisoning?

Maybe fear itself?


Actual tagline: How do you save humanity when the only thing that's real is you?

This one leads me to wonder- why are so many tags in the second person? I really don't know the answer to your question, Surrogates, because I am not Bruce Willis, star of Surrogates. Also I can't really answer your question based on the material available to me: based on the poster I'd say...grow a goatee?

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