©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
Every right imaginable is reserved.


This week:
Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Filthy says:
"I really like it."

Figuring out what's sincere from what's horseshit on a daily basis is like walking through a field in Kosovo. Mistake someone's intentions and it'll blow your fucking arm off. You really have to apply game theory to every interaction you have. You have to estimate the likelihood the person you're talking with is sincere when he says "Nice shoes, asshole."

Does he really mean my shoes are nice? Or does he really mean I'm an asshole. Let's put a 25% likelihood on the shoe part, and a 75% likelihood on the ass part. Being complimented on my shoes is very important to me, so I'll weigh that more heavily than being called an asshole. Hell, I'm pretty used to being called that. So, let's sum this interaction at about zero, neither a positive or negative experience for me, and figure I owe the guy no response.

But if I thought there was a greater likelihood he meant the shoes part and lesser likelihood for the ass part. Then I'd have to say "Thank you" with at least a 50% probability I was sincere. On the other hand, if I thought his sincerities were the opposite, I'd have to punch him in the face, or the nuts. But how hard? What is the probability he'll punch back? What is the ratio of his ratio of strength to mine? How fast can he run? Is society better overall because I'm more likely to punch fat asthmatics than teenagers? I think so.

See what I mean? This is the reason I spend so much time in alone in a basement: I hate all the math it takes to interact with people. And even the simplest, most mundane transactions require me to carry a pencil, paper and a calculator, like when the cashier at Safeway asks "Paper or plastic, asshole?"

Punch her in the face and run, or "Paper, please?" There is no easy answer.

I bring this up because I've been trying to put my finger on exactly why I liked the clay animation movie Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit as much as I did. I think it's because the sincerity of Nick Park at Aardman Studios isn't in doubt. It's like 95% or better. It's a kid's movie, but it's so sincere, non-condescending and intelligent that I take it's modest efforts seriously. All it wants to be is a good, funny movie with no pretense to anything else, and that's fine.

Wallace and Gromit is a clay animation comedy starring a man and a dog who apparently have a cult following that includes some of the world's most annoying anglophiles. In it, Wallace is dimwit obsessed with gadgets and Gromit is his common-sense, silent dog. They run a humane pest control business in a town obsessed with giant fruit. Rabbits are threatening many of the citizens' prized vegetables just before a produce festival.

Wallace gets the idiotic idea of rehabilitating the rabbits by brainwashing them. When trying to do so with his home invention he accidentally creates a Were-Rabbit that comes out on full moons and devours all the fresh vegetables it can find. Wallace and Gromit must find and catch the giant rabbit in order for Wallace to win the admiration of the pretty local land lady, and so that the villain also after her hand doesn't kill it.

Wallace and Gromit is a simple story, taken mostly built bits of other old monster movies and Ealing Studios comedies, then blended with a bunch of nonsense. It's good, amusing nonsense, though, as opposed to nonsense like when Worm from the Tavern glued some railroad spikes to to an alpaca and tried to sell it as a unicorn. There is a lot of what I'm sure the asshole Anglophiles will giddily call "whimsy", but it's not really. The movie will appeal to some of the most annoying people on the planet (e.g. self-absorbed Lisa Schwarzbaum in Entertainment Weekly, who may have topped all her previous efforts at pomposity and preciousness with her review).

Sadly, it's good in a way that opens the door for a bunch of phony fucking assholes who were looking for an excuse to say "pip-pip" and "good on you" and "Masterpiece Theater" and think somehow they're classing up the joint with shit like that. But don't let that stop you from enjoying it without getting all gooey about the crumbling, overrated empire (fast than ours, even) across the sea. And don't blame Director Nick Park for having asshole fans. And don't, like that increasingly self-absorbed Schwarzbaum, think seeing it or liking it gives you free license to tap into all that Limey quaintness by saying "Cheerio" and "Toodle-loo." Unless you're the Harelip, who yells "Toodle-loo, Poo!" loudly from the can every time she takes a dump. And that, I have to admit, is sort of cute.

The point I'm trying to make is that Curse of the Were-Rabbit is good, and worth seeing, because the sincerity of creator Nick Park and the characters carry it. Yeah, it's funny. sure, it's slight and occasionally a little too cute. But, Wallace and Gromit are pretty fun to hang out with. Plus, the movie is inventive and interesting to look at without being purely an exercise in high-tech clay animation. Hell, this ain't high-tech in any way; you can see fingerprints in Wallace's nose. But, where The Corpse Bride was fancy without being inventive or interesting, this is the both interesting to watch and a lot of fun to watch. They spent the money on the script, not on the efforts of a bunch of overpriced Hollywood hacks.

the result makes Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit a funny, small, sincere movie. So sincere, in fact, that you can leave your calculators at home, so long as you use the automated box offfice. Four Fingers.


Help Filthy || Want to tell Filthy Something?



Clay Smith of The Insider

The Greatest Game Ever Played is "A winner! Exciting and inspiring in a big way!"

Where the Truth Lies "Grabs you and just doesn't let go! This is one sexy who-done-it that you do not want to miss! One of the most clever and original movies I've seen this year!"

Filthy's Reading
Dan Harrington - Harrington on Hold 'Em, Vol. 2: Endgame

Listening to
Smog - A River Ain't Too Much to Love


Creature Comforts