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Author Topic: Cloverfield  (Read 3136 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« on: Jan 28, 2008 at 07:35 »

Went to the movies Saturday, hadn't been in a long time.  Well, since No Country, and that was the first in a real long time.

The Mrs. wanted to see Juno, which was actually pretty entertaining.  I didn't expect much, so it was a pleasant surprise.  

Saw Cloverfield, which I had read the pros and cons about.  Just was hoping that whatever its shortcomings it might actually be sorta scary.  It wasn't.  And it sucked.  So if you're thinking about it, save your goddamned money.  

It was a typical Hollywood horror moview, but with worse screenwriting, and bad camera work.  Yeah, I know, it's supposed to be that way.  But that gimmick couldn't make up for the totality of suckitude.  Not scary, as mentioned, and in fact I wanted the guy toting the camera to die.  What a douche.  The more I think about this movie, the more I hate it.
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« Reply #1 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 08:31 »

Thanks for the tip, Finny.  I'm a big fan of monster movies since forever so I'll give this one a miss.

We have to talk about No Country, though.  Saw it last week, liked it, interesting in some aspects but also a flawed film IMHO.  Certainly didn't think it was the "masterpiece" the critics thought it was.  There are issues with the plot; why elide the death of Moss?  Likewise character: Chigurrh's character never undergoes any process of humanization until the band-aid of the kids on bikes at the end.  The dialogue (or should I say, alternating monlogues) is overwrought and tedious.  

Typical Coen Bros fascination with regional dialect and idiom is there, as well as their old saws fate (the circle symbol as wheel of fortune; the rolling hat in Miller's Crossing, the hula hoop in Hudsucker, the bowling ball in Lebowski, the blown out locks in No Country, to name just a few) and the implacability of time.

I gave it three and a half stars out of five.
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« Reply #2 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 08:59 »

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I gave it three and a half stars out of five.


How many thumbs up is that?......
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 09:09 »

I sam quite an imaginitive film this weekend.  Constantly changing plot, danger around every corner, and characters with identity.  Highly recommended.

The name of this thrilling movie that I watched this weekend:  Ratatouille.

My life is so exciting!!!!!!
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 09:15 »

Any discussion of plot takes you to McCarthy: Chigurh is, like Judge Holden in Blood Meridian, less a human "bad guy" than a force of nature.  You either love that or hate it, and I can see both sides to that.  Incidentally have heard rumors of Blood being brought to the screen, tho the potential fuckup factor for that is very, very high.  Great book, IMO, although Cormac is the once author who has me scramble to Webster's about every third page or so.  Not exaggerating that by much.  

And the dialogue is another take-it-or-leave-it feature from McCarthy.  Extreme violence and cowboys waxin' philosophical.  Well, not for all.

Didn't read No Country, so not sure how the death of Moss was handled there.  Maybe that unfolded better: I thought that was a bit of a belch, myself, but I see what they were going for, I think: a little hiccough of surprise when the audience realizes, and Moss becomes a footnote to his own story.  Once Chigurh moves on, as nature does, it's up to the Sher'f to philosophize about dreams and setch.  

I don't know that it was canonical cinema, but I liked it a lot.  Maybe that owes to the Coens (plenty of boot shots, too), the smartness of the violence (strangling the deputy was pretty fucking intense), and my own softness for Cormac, warts 'n' all.

Cloverfield, OTOH, I think we'd agree on.  Too much improbability, for one.

1. The 20-somethings all go into the heart of danger to resuce a chick the one guy realizes he's in love with, after sleeping with her once, friends for a while.  OK, whatever, pretty Hollywood, but fine.  Finally get to her building, which is toppled against another building.  They decide to go for it, which is one of many examples of decisions that disconnect from the audience (if I can't buy why you're doing what you do, I don't care about you).  Presumably an hour plus going up an adjacent building, over to the roof of said toppled building, down to her place, and back via same route.  One might suspect that the building would shake, or fall over, especially since the monster's stomping around a few blocks away.  No such.  Reality: that thing would have been down in a few minutes.

2. Same scene.  Find girlfriend.  Apparently impaled through the chest by half inch rebar.  But hark! No vitals pierced!  She liveth!  Let's just un-impale her!  At which point she bleeds out, right?  No.  No blood, or compress, or any such needed.  In fact, she becomes downright perky, joining the race through Manhattan.

3. Late in movie.  Copter crashes from, oh, let's say 500 feet plus.  Nice crash scene, sorta.  Characters die, you ask?  Well heck and gosh, they're just stunned, is all.  A little dirty and disheveled, but were already.  Probability of such?  Eh, nada.  Ask Stevie Ray.

Plenty more.  Attacked by the baby monsters, the group suddenly finds (handy) metal rods to whack them with.  And hark!  A door, here in the wall of the subway, to some convenient safe haven where the long evac'd subway workers previously changed and ate, hence, supplies.  Which, wouldn'tcha know, is about 500 feet from an army med hospital, handily enough.

Uck.

Some fans complained that you didn't see enough of the monster.  Uh, come again?  I saw enough to wonder if it was Irish cheddar or Wisconsin, for cheesy it was.  Less would have been better, as it always is (Alien remains a constant counterpoint).

Most damning was the utter lack of memorable characters or dialogue.  Well, they were memorable in bad ways.  Eg.: the subway scene, in the dark, Hud, who mans the camera and who I was HOPING would die every blessed step of the journey, recalls the guy who had set homeless people on fire in the subways a few years ago and "wouldn't it be scary if some burning homeless people jumped out right about now?"  Uh, what?  Your friends are half dead, the city's fried, some bigassed mosnter is on the rampage, and I'm supposed to believe this thought enters your mind?

Plus, no one ever says the word "fuck."
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« Reply #5 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 09:18 »

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I sam quite an imaginitive film this weekend.  Constantly changing plot, danger around every corner, and characters with identity.  Highly recommended.

The name of this thrilling movie that I watched this weekend:  Ratatouille.
 
Yeah, me too...for the 17th time.

One of the better Disney flicks though.
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« Reply #6 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 09:23 »

Oh yeah, as to Cloverfield, I haven't seen it, but I woulda bet a year of Penso's salary that you were going to hate it.

I haven't seen a movie sans animation in so long that I doubt I'd be able to identify a good one if I saw it.
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« Reply #7 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 09:28 »

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I sam quite an imaginitive film this weekend.  Constantly changing plot, danger around every corner, and characters with identity.  Highly recommended.

The name of this thrilling movie that I watched this weekend:  Ratatouille.

My life is so exciting!!!!!!
Haven't seen Ratatouille or Cloverfield, but I did get the chance to see my first movie at a theater since Mr. and Mrs. Smith....













































Veggie Tales: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything

Exciting life for me too :) V.J. loved his first movie though.
« Last Edit: Jan 28, 2008 at 09:29 by vinman3 » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 09:38 »

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Oh yeah, as to Cloverfield, I haven't seen it, but I woulda bet a year of Penso's salary that you were going to hate it.

I haven't seen a movie sans animation in so long that I doubt I'd be able to identify a good one if I saw it.
Yeah, yeah, Finny only likes the art house shit, right?  Well I do like horror.  Good reference in Juno to Hershel Gordon Lewis, for one.  But that whole genre's been fairly crappy since, shit, forever.  Maybe I'm jaded, but more likely H-wood is a pipeline of suck.  I can get into some sci fi and shit, too, but again, genre's less important than how handled.  

But I'da bet a whole closet of Pensoidal puffy shirts that you'da bet that I'da hated Cloverfield, so there.
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« Reply #9 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 09:40 »

VJ would love Ratatouille.  I usually fall asleep during movies at home, mostly because they are accompanied by martinis.  I made it 45 mins to an hour into this one before I nodded off, so I have to say it was decent.

Vin - time for Netflix for you and Mrs. Vin.  That is the only way we make time to see them, and I hate spending $50 to go to the cattle ranch theatres.
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« Reply #10 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 09:54 »

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VJ would love Ratatouille.  I usually fall asleep during movies at home, mostly because they are accompanied by martinis.  I made it 45 mins to an hour into this one before I nodded off, so I have to say it was decent.

Vin - time for Netflix for you and Mrs. Vin.  That is the only way we make time to see them, and I hate spending $50 to go to the cattle ranch theatres.
We do watch movies on the tube, so that is ok. Finding time to watch them sometimes is tricky, but HBO+DVR helps. Can't wait to get my Big Screen TV, that will bring the theater experience home...But I have to get our home renovation project complete now before I get the beasty TV.
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« Reply #11 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 10:02 »

Sorry Finney, for the threadjack.

Movies at home are just as good when you have the entertainment system.  When the THX sound byte comes on at the beginnign of a movie, my kids cover their ears.

That's what daddy's talkin about!!!!!!!  The best part of every movie.
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« Reply #12 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 10:02 »

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But I'da bet a whole closet of Pensoidal puffy shirts that you'da bet that I'da hated Cloverfield, so there.
And I'd raise you a a VW bug stuffed fulla blue brassieres that you went to the flick knowing it would suck; but you wanted to be able to come here and tell everyone that it sucked, fully expecting that I'da bet you that you shoulda known that it would suck in the first place.
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« Reply #13 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 10:03 »

Ratatouille?  

The only thing I get to watch these days is Hannah Montana.  I don't even know what Rate-a-taily is about.
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« Reply #14 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 10:05 »

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When the THX sound byte comes on at the beginnign of a movie, my kids cover their ears.
 
When the "THX guy" comes on at my place, the kids scream, "THX guy!  Turn it up, daddy!!"

:proud:
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« Reply #15 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 11:01 »

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Quote
But I'da bet a whole closet of Pensoidal puffy shirts that you'da bet that I'da hated Cloverfield, so there.
And I'd raise you a a VW bug stuffed fulla blue brassieres that you went to the flick knowing it would suck; but you wanted to be able to come here and tell everyone that it sucked, fully expecting that I'da bet you that you shoulda known that it would suck in the first place.
And that's where you lose a boatload of softball trophies.

Seriously, I was hoping for the best.  People love or hate this movie, and if it had any scary elements, I'da forgiven some of the faults.  Went to see Blair Witch, and thought that had some decent elements, some stuff to scare you a bit.  A flawed movie, which makes the post-flick convo interesting: what could they have done better.  Unfortunately, the Blair technique was basically wasted here.  The whole post-flick convo was: what DIDN'T suck?

I have different viewing criteria for different films.  You can't judge a Tarentino movie the same way you judge, say, a Will Ferrell movie.  I get that.  But within what you're trying to do, don't suck.  

Would like to hear from anyone here who LIKED Cloverfield, though.  Since apparently it does have a fairly rabid fan base.  I'd ask them, like, seriously, didn't you want Hud to die much, much, much sooner?

 
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« Reply #16 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 11:37 »

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Ratatouille?  

The only thing I get to watch these days is Hannah Montana.  I don't even know what Rate-a-taily is about.
Disney animated flick about a mouse that aspires to be a chef.  I think it was out at the movies earlier this year.  As mentioned, one of the better Disney movies in a while.
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« Reply #17 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 11:40 »

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QUOTE (Big Virgil @ Jan 28 2008, 11:02 AM)
When the THX sound byte comes on at the beginnign of a movie, my kids cover their ears.
 


When the "THX guy" comes on at my place, the kids scream, "THX guy! Turn it up, daddy!!"

:proud:


I have sissy girls!!!!!!!

:meagainsttheworld:
« Last Edit: Jan 28, 2008 at 11:45 by Big Virgil » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 16:50 »

Thanks for your response, Finny.  These issues of adaptation are important to me since I'm actually teaching a lit./film course this term.  

Quote
Any discussion of plot takes you to McCarthy: Chigurh is, like Judge Holden in Blood Meridian, less a human "bad guy" than a force of nature.
« Last Edit: Jan 28, 2008 at 16:53 by pensodyssey » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 17:30 »

Did you like O Brother?  I thought that was mostly fun, a bit draggy in spots.  

Understand completely what you're saying about humanizing Chigurh, but Mac does a similar job with Judge Holden, and you may have a point that that's better suited to the page than the screen.  Maybe Harrelson's character did mean more to the book, too.  Now that you mention it, he served little purpose, other than the possibility of a guy who could rein in Chigurh, but mere mortal meeting force of nature, we know how that ends.

The Coens did a good job of bringing the Mac worldview to the bigs, but IMO it may just about be impossible.  They nailed the visual, and as you say, the sound of words.  Thought the acting was pretty damned good.  Maybe we are starved for modern classics, with only some minor flickers of independence bubbling up amidst the dreck.  The great indie movement heralded by Pulp Fiction never amounted to more than a minor babble (Babel?), and maybe the best new filmmakers are all foreign.  I dunno.  My movie viewing's not been as wide of late.

So, what are the best films of the past 10 years?  1998-present?  If we believe Oscar, it's one of the current noms plus (in retro order):  The Departed, Crash, Million Dollar Baby, LOTR-Return of the King, Chicago, A Beautiful Mind, Gladiator, American Beauty, and Shakespeare in Love.  Yeah.  Well.  Enjoyed all those, except Chicago (never saw) and American Beauty (wasn't impressed or entertained).  Gladiator?  You bet he was... but best pic?  Part of the canon?  Pfffah...  A group of nice and good movies, none great IMO.  

So there's a good point, the hunger for something substantial overtakes good critical assessment.  But the question remains...

What were the 10 best from 1998 til now?
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« Reply #20 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 20:27 »

I was ho-hum about O Brother, but mostly that was due to Clooney's mugging performance.  The Homeric allusions were heavy handed, I thought.

The best on-line reference I could find for movies only goes back to 2001, and seems to include only US releases.  So I'll give my American-released top 10 of the 21st century, so to speak.  These are my favorite films, the ones I enjoyed most.  Note that there might be foreign films that found their way to US releases.  


10.  The Good Thief.  Maybe not that great in absolute terms, but a remake they at least didn't completely fuck up.  The original is J-P Melville's flawless Bob le Flambeur.

9.  24 Hour Party People.  Not likely to make many other top 10 lists, admittedly, but I'm a big fan of Joy Division, Shaun Ryder, and even Steve Coogan.  

8.  End of the Century.  Comprehensive and definitive Ramones documentary.  Enough said.

By the way, I include documentaries here.  Don't see why not.

7.  Twilight Samurai.  Compelling story of an aging samurai forced to into an immoral action.  Beautifully shot.

6.  Audition.  First of 2 Takashi Miike films on my list.  For my money, he's done the most interesting work of anyone I've consistently paid attention to over the last 10 years.  This movie completely shocked the hell out of me when I saw it the first time.

5.  Kill Bill Vol. 2.  I loved both installments; I chose vol. 2 because of the totally awesome Pei Mai.

4.  Bukowski: Born into This.  I don't really know what to say except it's Bukowski.

3.  Napoleon Dynamite.  Tina, come get your ham!

2.  Happiness of the Katakuris.  Miike, again.  A serial killer/sitcom/musical that makes perfect sense-- again, right up to the closing sequence.  My main complaint about Miike is he doesn't know how to end his movies.

1.  In the Realms of the Unreal.  Once you get past the inital cutesy style of the director, this is a totally engrossing examination of Henry Darger.  Amazing story; heartbreaking.


Honorable Mention:  Sexy Beast; Spirited Away; School of Rock; Who the #%&% is Jackson Pollack?; and the inimitable Hey is Dee Dee Home?.
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« Reply #21 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 21:38 »

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The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything

Hot Damn.  Well I'll be! We gots one of them right here in the 'burgh.
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« Reply #22 on: Jan 28, 2008 at 21:47 »

Not that my word means anything, but There Will Be Blood was a great film this year, a real tour-de-force that I think fans of No Country, or at least appreciators of that film, will find a lot to chew on in.They share a similar fatalism - I mean, the whole point in No Country is that "you can't stop what's coming", and the title of TWBB says it all, right there.  I think they both capture the zeitgeist of our current disillusionment, as a country, with things internal and abroad.

Michael Clayton was pretty satisfying, for fans of '70s movies like All the President's Men or The Parallax View.

Saw Cloverfield, and you're right that it is just a stupid monster movie, typical dumb characters, gimmicky delivery and cheesy monster effects - you can debate how much of that is on purpose - but what really got me, at first, was the fear, which was palpable and charged in a way most horror films can't approach, solely due to the exploitation of 9-11 imagery.  Too soon?  I dunno.  Maybe if the rest of the movie hadn't sucked I would've cared.
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« Reply #23 on: Jan 29, 2008 at 06:38 »

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Quote
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything

Hot Damn.  Well I'll be! We gots one of them right here in the 'burgh.
Bravo Y2J. Bravo.

 :applause:  :applause:  :applause:  :applause:  :applause:  
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« Reply #24 on: Jan 29, 2008 at 07:33 »

Interesting list, Pens.  Have to admit I haven't seen most of those, but that's to be expected.  I was mulling over my own list last night and was thinking about the Kill Bills, which I think have to be considered together, since the studio split them, not QT.  Nappy Dynamite didn't even cross my mind, but maybe it should, for sheer watchability: any flick I can watch as often as that without tiring of it deserves some consideration.  The Ramones docu is a great idea too.

Man, have to check out the Bukowski thang.
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« Reply #25 on: Jan 29, 2008 at 07:55 »

Can't say I have even heard of any of these movies.  

:mainstream:
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« Reply #26 on: Jan 30, 2008 at 16:38 »

I just got the new National Treasure movie and The Bucket List on bootleg.  Worth my time?  Anybody?
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« Reply #27 on: Jan 31, 2008 at 08:04 »

Haven't seen either.  The family saw Nat'l treasure over X-mas and everyone liked it.  Don't get me wrong, we don't have deep philosophical conversations about the mood, music or directing.

The BV movie rating systems is less complex than Siskel and Ebert( I know one of them has been dead for 10-15 years).  The BV scale is either + or -.  + = entertaining and - = not entertaining.  Piecing together events in a movie is OK, but if I have to think any more than that, then it is -.  If I have to figure out the meaning or interpret anything it gets a --.

I watched Wayn's World on one of the HD channels the other night.  BV rating = +.  Saw a little bit of A few Good Men last night.  Rating = +  I can't think of any - rated movies I have seen recently, becasue I don't generally watch them.
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« Reply #28 on: Jan 31, 2008 at 14:56 »

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I just got the new National Treasure movie and The Bucket List on bootleg.  Worth my time?  Anybody?

 Nah.

I suggest something from this library instead.
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« Reply #29 on: Feb 09, 2008 at 20:04 »

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The Mrs. wanted to see Juno, which was actually pretty entertaining. I didn't expect much, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Saw the movie tonight.  Had the same feel as "Napoleon Dynamite," so that it's billed as an indie film but really is a tweener.  Though more as a Lamar Woodley than Alonzo Jackson.

Enjoyed it.  

Saw "Atonement" the other week and thought it was okay.  
 
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« Reply #30 on: Jun 20, 2008 at 14:43 »

Saw Cloverfield last night, my son rented it.  Went in with very low expectations and came out thinking it was OK.  I did like the way it was shot, it pulled me in a bit more than a typical King Kong or Godzirra movie would, it's easy to detach from those.  For some reason I felt like, yeah, that's what it would be like trying to survive while some big arse monster stomped around the city.

Here's a little exchange after about 20 minutes of character building:

jonzr:  I thought this was supposed to be a monster movie.
son:  They're just building the characters so you'll feel sad when they die.
jonzr:  I hate them all.
son:  They're just building the characters so you can laugh when they die.

 
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« Reply #31 on: Jun 20, 2008 at 22:20 »

Quote
jonzr: I thought this was supposed to be a monster movie.
son: They're just building the characters so you'll feel sad when they die.
jonzr: I hate them all.
son: They're just building the characters so you can laugh when they die.

A touching moment squeezed in between Father's Day and his birthday. That's what it's all about.

Like my 5 year old son telling his buddy to "Shut the pie!" during their heated Wii golf match today.
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