Sunday, February 7, 2010

Life Imitates Art: Movies Inspired by TV's "The Critic"

A special treat, for those of you boycotting the Superbowl! A new blog post!

Sometimes life imitates art. Especially on the show the Critic. Remember that? Tubby film critic Jay Sherman watched films he hated. Jay Sherman was one of my all time snark influences and reruns of the Critic was one of the most awesome alternatives to having a life in my teen years. It was dead on in its lampooning of awful current films. With Hollywood still being in the toilet just as much as it was back then, is it any surprise that some of the ridiculously bad film spoofs they did on the show have, in fact, come true? Let's take a look at some of them.

[Gagging] Part 2

Jean Paul LePope: "In my next film, Joe Piscopo and I play Siamese twins joined at the tongues. It's called [gagging] Part 2."

Jay shudders, but not nearly as hard as I did seeing the trailers for Stuck on You. Matt Damon? If hanging out with the Farrelly Brothers fills the frat-boy void in your life that opened up when Ben Affleck left you, so be it. You don't have to star in any of their movies, though. And Greg Kinnear--from sensitive toy dog loving gay artist to this? For shame.

Jurassic Park II: Revenge of the Raptors

Jay Sherman reviewed a film where the raptors come up with complex plans and make use of affected accents that both Kate Hepburn and Frasier Crane would envy. Though the raptors in The Lost World were rather wussy (getting impaled by the bars routine of an ebony skinned Mary Lou Retton--give me a break!), in Jurassic Park III, they're suddenly geniuses.

They have their own language, set traps, and even negotiate tense hostage situations for eggs in a matter of minutes, which already puts them ahead of Oliver North and Jack Bauer. Of course, they're stupid enough to think that Alan Grant's honking noises are coming from deep into the forest...but they're still miles ahead of Ollie North.


Let's make Quasimodo so ugly he's cute and then give the story a happy ending. Apparently Michael Eisner was watching this episode, too, because a few years later we got a real Hunchback movie. All Disney produced movies/musicals manage to turn a happy ending out of exquisite tragedy (see also The Little Mermaid). Quasimodo starving to death next to Esmerelda's hanged corpse becomes Esmerelda "just friendsing" Quasimodo and hooking up with the hot guy. And Quasimodo gets to experience people not screaming when they see him. As much. (Hmm, for once I think Disney's version was bleaker.)

I'm reminded of my own Disneyfied experience: a rock musical version of Verdi's Aida in which Tim Rice and Elton John somehow managed to eke out a happy ending from the concept of Aida and Radames being buried alive. (They get to die together! And then they'll be reincarnated and hook up in a museum a few centuries later. Cue the dancing dog head people!) Back to the Disney vault with ye, Tim Rice.

What's the Truth Got to Do With It?: the Ike Turner Story

Yes, apparently Ike Turner was watching and has no sense of irony. He wrote an autobiography in 1999 called Takin' Back My Name: The Ike Turner Story (apparently his ghostwriter promised to do for him what Spielberg did for Oskar Schindler). Granted, in real life, Ike never actually claimed to have started NOW with Rick James. He does, however, expound on what spousal abuse means:
Sure, I've slapped Tina... There have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I have never beat her.

Sort of like how Joe Jackson never "beat" Michael--but he did "whip" him. I'm thinking these two need to get together and rewrite Dr. Spock for show biz managers with special foreword by Bobby Brown.

Apocalypse WOW!

The Critic proved that anything, no matter how inane, could be a musical (see also Hunch). Even serious films that act as social commentary. It's one thing to set The Producers to music, another to set Apocalypse Now. What real life movie is being made into a musical? Well, it also involves blood, guts, and a detailed running commentary of Hugo Boss suits, the history of the band Genesis, and yuppie etiquette. Yup. American Psycho!