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Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered; there is only an error to be exposed. -- H.L. Menken

The Rating System

Kex Liked It:
It Sucked:
It Really Sucked:
It Sucked as bad as Eyes Wide Shut:

It Sucked badly enough to bring the world to the brink of apocalypse:


Rocky And Bullwinkle

Rocky and Bullwinkle:

It can happen to anyone. Really. Sometimes you step up to the plate and blast one out, sometimes you just whiff. Last week, Kex grabbed a faulty piece of lumber, and just flat whiffed, and Im not ashamed to admit it. Rather than coyly making alterations to my review of Coyote Ugly in some sneaking, Nixonesque fashion, Im going to display my errors permanently just so the world can retain a record of Kexs fallability.

No, its not that anything I said about the movie itself was less than on target, of course, I just mixed up the names of actors who portrayed some of the characters. The name of the leading man was not Piper Perabo. Piper was the female lead, Violet Sanford. Maria Bello, whom I listed as playing Violet actually played Lil, and the leading man was portrayed by the promising young actor Adam Garcia.

Not to make excuses for my uncharacteristic lapse of attention to detail, but lets face it: Movies like Coyote Ugly are designed to turn our brains into jello, because the folk in Hollywood have a decidedly low opinion of our collective intelligence to start with. Im not just on a soapbox here to worm out of my inexcusable error, but if i had made this mistake intentionally I couldnt have allowed myself a better segue into the movie I selected for review this weekend.

This week armed with a clever disguise, I raided the video store and returned home with another of last summers most flagrant assaults on the human sensibilities, Rocky and Bullwinkle. I grew up with the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon, mostly in syndication, but I am old enough to remember it from its original run, which ended back in 1964.

Like most cartoons, it was primarily aimed at children, although a great deal of the shows humor had a decidedly adult twist. The show used numerous puns, plays on words and a heaping dose of political and social satire. Who can ever forget the intrepid adventures of the moose and squirrel, as they set out on numerous adventures, often in search of pilfered treasures like the Ruby Yacht of Omar Kyyam, or the Kirwood Derby.? Im guessing a very small percentage of the Kexkateers will remember Gary Moores sidekick Dirwood Kerby, but back in the 60s, he was a figure ripe for satire. It occurs to me, however, that a significant portion of my readers also just scratched their heads and asked, Who the hell was Gary Moore?

Never mind. The point here is that the original cartoon was entertaining, with a decidedly sharp satirical edge which helped it to gather a reasonably large adult audience. You see, back in the 60s there was still at least some degree of respect in pockets of the entertainment industry for the intelligence of the audience. Its not that everything we saw in the cinema or on TV those days was worthy of Masterpiece Theater. Hell, there was no shortage of crap like The Beverley Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction. But at least television wasnt a poisoned playground of trash TV like Jerry Springer, a show which survives on the premise that the audience will hang on to the proceedings in the stupified fascination associated with pondering that any of that trailer trash up there on stage really could get laid. I guess worse still, one can weep for the future imagining that some of them have already made significant contributions to the existent gene pool.

Rocky and Bullwinkle really does star Piper Perabo (I still think its a dumb name) as an F.B.I. agent assigned to save the world. Her mission is to stop the evil Boris Badanof (Jason Alexander), Natasha (Rene Russo) and Fearless Leader (Robert DeNiro?!) from taking over the world. Their modus operandi?

They are going to hypnotize the collective American population with mind-numbing television programs. Now there is a real twist, a really bad movie aiming satire at the state of really bad television. This is yet another case of someone taking potshots at that old plow horse we have discussed on this page before. Perhaps we really can essentially divide the current population into two groups: Those that already know most TV programs and movies are crap (a point this page was created to feast upon) and those to whom the crap is created to appeal. Id like to think that the population of the first group is still the majority in our great nation, but then I look at who we recently elected as President, and how he got elected.

The intimate connections between this movie and Coyote Ugly are so astonishing that I half expected Rocky and Bullwinkle to saunter into some watering hole where Piper would hop on the bar and start dancing. That would have been a deliciously worthy bit of satire, but it never happened. This movie also had a role for John Goodman, who makes something of a cameo appearance as a police officer. I think you could call it a cameo, although it might not be entirely appropriate. You see, you have to actually be famous and successful to really make cameos, and once suspects here that Goodman might have actually had to audition to appear in this lame-ass film. Afterall, he will go through his life and career with the multi-ton albatross of Roseanne hanging around his tree-stump neck, but we still ponder the presence of Robert DiNiro in this film.

Now, really, how badly can this guy need a paycheck? Not only did he have a major role in the movie, but he was also credited as one of the films producers. That makes him significantly responsible for subjecting the movie going audience to this piece of trash at all. How can DiNiro, with numerous outstanding film credits and a pair of Oscars on his mantel, need into our pockets this desperately?

There is a final note here, which says a lot about this film. There is a scene in the trailer in which Rocky and Bullwinkle are driving a car, and go flying up into the air. Bullwinkle satirizes Titanic by yelling out, Im king of the world! Curiously, the line was apparently cut from the movie. The scene occurs, and just as we get to the point where Bullwinkle delivers the line in the trailer, the scene moves on and he doesnt say it. Its a minor point, but I guess the people who made this film have such a low estimation of the audience that they figure they can even skip scenes from the previews without our noticing. And with that all off my chest, the Kexkateers are released from our weekly gathering to go watch Jenny Jones, or something.

Last Week: E.T. 20th Anniversary Edition:

I saw this movie in theaters 20 years ago, and am among the very few who hasn't bothered to rent it or watch it on TV on any of umpteen occasions since. When I first saw it, my impression was that it was a cute, harmless hommage to all the old Disney "boy and his pet" flicks. I refer to films like Rascal, Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, all of those sorts of movies. Then, upon seeing it again, my impression of it has vastly changed.

E.T. is a wildly more sinister film than I ever remembered. What this film is really about becomes evident right in the opening sequences, and it almost shocks me now that so few regular movie goers have figured out the analogy. So as a public service, 20 years too late, I am going to blow the lid off this film.

A group of extra-terrestrials from the Jim Henson planet of misfit puppets stumble on the planet earth, and make a visit to the surface. What do they do when the arrive here? Pop by the White House and have tea with Ron and Nancy? No. Stop into the Kremlin and debate the dialectic with Andropov? No. Set down in Disneyland and take home some ear hats? No.

What this group of ETs does is land in a forest near suburban southern California, and forage for mushrooms. That's right folks, and maybe you are starting to get the picture now. Its very obvious why they are here, but admittedly they aren't too bright. After all, they are in southern California, and they are out looking for their own hallucinegenics. They could have scored them on any street corner, although they might well and understandably have been short on cash.

Suddenly their foraging is interrupted by agents of the big bad gummint. Now if we are to believe the straight plot of the story, the Feds were there to capture one of the aliens, presumably because we didn't learn anything from the ones we picked up in that crash in New Mexico back in 1948. But even during the Reagan administration when we blew up the budget for dozens of stupid reasons, I doubt that we had people on the payroll to chase Martians whenever the opportunity presented itself.

No, clearly these men in black were, or at least represented Narcs, while the aliens symbolized the peaceful drug culture who believed themselves to be surpressed from exercising what they considered their freedom to take drugs. Is this starting to make sense now?

One alien gets left behind, and he wanders into the home of Elliot, a boy struggling to deal with the psychological trauma of a broken home. He symbolizes the breakdown of social norms, that will ultimately drive him into the arms of the drug culture. The two become fast friends, and develop a psychic link.

Eventually Elliot introduces his new friend to his brother and sister, symbolizing how the drug culture propogates itself, and they carefully conceal their new friend from their mother, who afterall, would side with the oppressive establishment and rid her home of the druggies. But something else occurs in this film that is a bizzare glimpse into the future.

When ET is first introduced to Elliot's younger sister (Drew Barrymore), she immediately asks, "Is it a boy or a girl." The symbolism here suggests the problems long-haired druggy, hippy types once had with recognition. It was almost cliche through the 70's. But the event forshadows Barrymore's future, when she might well have asked the same question when she first saw Tom Green. The stomache renching part of that idea is that she apparently took it upon herself to find out.

Eventually Elliot and his siblings plot to help the alien escape the oppressive agents of the government. ET wants Elliot to come along with him naturally, where he can throw away his life in pursuit of the ultimate high. However, Elliot realizes his responsibility to get past the indulgences of youth, and sell out to the status quo. We are left sad that he didn't go with his friend, demonstrating the masterful psychological manipulation this film has scored upon us.

Think about it a minute. What would have happened to Elliot if he had gone along with ET? That trip home with all the shrooms aboard would have been pleasurable, no doubt, but eventually Elliot would find himself an outcast, and probably behind bars in some zoo on Puppet Planet. Maybe even the drugged out people that made this movie realized that their own future was bleak.

So ET and company take off in a spaceship that looks like the nasty Christmas ornament from hell, and presumably buzz Richard Dreyfuss' house just for kicks. On the otherhand, they might have landed their for awhile. One thing about this release bothered me though. Where was all of the "never seen before" footage? There was only one brief scene I didn't remember from the original, and it was in all the trailers.

Last Week: Spirited Away: ?????

For the first time in the history of At The Movies With Kex, I'm truly perplexed as to what kind of rating to give a movie. This week's offering is the Japanese Anime Spirited Away, which was the recepient of this year's Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Now I realize that a few eyebrows are already raising out there in Kexkateerland. Yes, I DID correctly predict that this film would win the Oscar. Yes, I DID make that prediction without having actually seen the movie, at least as of a month ago when I made the prediction. Lucky guess, inspired guess, or inside information. I'll let the readers write their own scenerio.

Meanwhile, I can see why this movie won the award. It was an absolutely gorgeous looking movie. By and large, Japanese anime is always pretty fun to look at. The actual animation can be somewhat choppy, but the backgrounds and sets are aways beautifully drawn and colorful. Spirited Away was certainly no exception. The animation was actually pretty good, and the scenics in this film were exceptional even by anime standards.

On the other hand, watching this movie was a lot like watching every anime ever made. I don't mean that in the sense that this movie was similar to a lot of other animes I've seen, although it was. I mean it more in the sense that it was actually a lot like watching EVERY anime ever made; back to back in one sitting. The story was somewhat tedious, disjointed and pretty long at a running time of just over 2 hours.

That isn't really unusual by Japanese standards either. A lot of anime takes a strong lead from movies like Dances With Wolves in that they do an amazing job of stretching 10 minutes worth of story into a significantly longer movie. And just when you think that the story is headed down some impossibly long, new plotline, they suddenly find a quick way to wrap it all up that ends up being sort of unsatisfying considering the investment of time you've already made.

I think Joy saw something in this movie I guess I missed while I was looking at the beautifully drawn scenery. She tried to explain to me all of the positive values and lessons it held for children. All well and good I suppose, but she hasn't really been exposed to much anime previously, and I didn't really want to try to explain that for the most part, Japanese Anime isn't really created for children.

That is a bit of an understatement I guess. Some of the most provocative smut I've ever seen in a movie theater has been within the framework of Japanese Anime. Well, allow me to make a fair qualification to that statement. Some of the most provocative smut I've ever seen in a movie theater with more than one seat and no coin box has been within the framework of Japanese Anime. And this movie carried a PG rating, although I'm not sure why it wasn't awarded a straight "G".

I've never quite figured out why all the characters in Japanese Anime look more like Americans than Japanese. I write that fully realizing that I'm going to get a dozen explanations in my email box tomorrow, ranging from thoughtful to mindbogglingly lameass. I could publish a lengthy book filled with the email I get, and it would be greated with critical incredulity that real people actually write that kind of stuff. But it would be entertaining. I swear that I get email from people who think that the Art Bell radio show is boring newsy stuff.

There was a scene in this movie where the parents of the main character, a little girl, turn into pigs. I think there might have been some sort of subtle political underpinnings in that scene. Maybe it had something to do with conspicious and gluttonous American consumption. I'm a little too tired tonight to try to figure it out. However, as I was watching, I kept thinking about how the first contracts to repair and clean up the Iraqi oilfields after the war ends went to Haliburton Inc. If you don't know who Haliburton Inc. is, I suggest you do a little homework. And if it doesn't piss you off, I probably will be getting email from you in the near future explaining things like why Japanese Anime characters look American.

One thing about this movie really bothered me though. The Japanese seem to have a real penchant for copying things American, but there are some things we do they should probably leave to our particular decadence. For example, this film featured a monster that looked a lot like the poop monster Jay and Silent Bob defeated in one of Kevin Smith's assaults on our intelligence. The same monster ended up doing a lot of gratuitous barfing.

Note to Japanese Anime makers: leave the barfing and excrement jokes to Adam Sandler and Marlan Wayans. Its the best they can do. If you want to keep the popularity growing, just keep giving us what we really want: More of that good old fashioned animated smut.

Last Week: Home on the Range:

Quickly now: What sound does a cowbell make? Dung!

And while we are on the subject of bovine excrement, let's discuss this week's movie, the animated Disney feature Home on the Range. The Disney folks haven't exactly been on a roll lately with their animated features, but finally we have some good news. They truly can't go anywhere but up from here. This udderly (sorry, I couldn't resist) pathetic piece of celluloid trash would be an embarrassment even to the people that make those single frame cheapo video tape cartoons.

This project has "direct to video" written all over it. However, things have been a little tough on Disney financially lately, what with attendance down at the theme parks due to decline in travel in general and increase in gasoline prices. Not only that, but the Disney people have probably had to do some clever financial leveraging to get the cruiseline division up and running, so anything to generate some quick cash would be in order.

I'm just not sure who had the ass-inflamed idea of making a movie about cows. Maybe somewhere inside Disney there are some people with weird ideas about barnyard animals lurking. I don't think we really want to go there. Still, I've been doing these reviews for quite awhile now, and after the first year, I started archiving my efforts. The very first movie I saved for posterity was another animated feature called Chicken Run. The parallels between that movie and this one are kind of stark.

In the first place, I just don't think its a particularly bright idea to make a movie about animals that people eat regularly. Most of us don't look at cows and think about heros we are pulling for. Most of us start thinking "medium" or "well done?" It really destroys the dramatic tension in the story. If the cows succeed, big deal. If they don't, its fillet mignon night at Sizzler. That is going to put a lot of us on the wrong side of the rooting interest.

Chicken Run had pretty much the same problem. But the two films share another curious element in common. Not only are we dealing with animals we'd rather eat than watch. We are also dealing with stupid animals we'd rather eat than watch. I don't know how much time most of you out there have ever spent around cows, and I haven't spent a lot (we aren't going to discuss those cow tipping trips back in college, I promise), but I've spent enough time around them to know that they are some really, really brain-challenged animals.

Antelope like to hang around cows because it makes them feel smart. Some of you from points east and further west may not know much about antelope, but I'll enlighten you to this degree: When an animal can be reasonably categorized as being more mentally deficient than an antelope, you are dealing with a creature that is barely bright enough to keep breathing.

If you want to know how stupid antelope are, take a trip to the airport at Casper, Wyoming sometime. Just before planes land at Casper, they have to take a jeep out onto the runway and clear off the antelope. They are too dim to get out of the way of airplanes by themselves. The respective govenors of Colorado and Wyoming used to hold an annual antelope shoot as some sort of friendly interstate competition to demonstrate respective testosterone levels. But eventually, the annual event was scrapped when somebody pointed out that shooting an antelope with a high powered rifle doesn't exhibit any sort of real proficency. Hell, you could sneak up on one to the accompaniment of a full scale marching band and bash its head in with a rock.

So that is how stupid cows are. But about now, you are probably noticing that I really haven't said a whole lot about this movie. That is because there isn't much to be said for it, aside from the fact that it can provide a nice venue for a short nap. I'm talking a really short nap, because including 4 trailers, this movie had a running time of 75 minutes. That was actually a blessing. Even the children in attendance were starting to get restless by the time the credits rolled, and there wasn't a whole lot of laughter.

You know that a film is already in serious trouble when it serves as a comeback vehicle for Rosanne Barr. It's safe to say that we will neither be seeing or hearing very much from her in the future. Dame Judy Hench also provided the voice for one of the cows, but she disquised her voice sufficently that you had to watch the final credits to know it was her. The guess here is that she actually read the script. Fortunately, her character only had about 6 lines, so I doubt that she even had to leave home to record her contribution. Besides, she is well enough established as an actress that this can't do a great deal of harm.

The animation in this film was low rent even by Saturday morning standards. Its hard to figure out why Disney even released this mess to the theaters, except to cash in quick in the absense of any other recent animated releases. I don't look for a lot of merchandising tie-ins here either. It just doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense to be giving away toy cows with the sale of every Happy Meal. Maybe it would be a good idea to take the kids to see this one. That way, the next time something comes along that they are pestering you to take them to, but that you don't really want them to see, you can always say, "Hey, word is that (fill in a movie) is even worse than Home on the Range. I'll bet that will shut them up.

Last Week: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill:

No one is really sure where they came from. They shouldn't be there at all. A flock of wild, Cherry-headed Conures lives in San Francisco, a few thousand miles north of their normal habitat. Numerous local legends have grown around them.

One thing is reasonably certain. The flock originated at some point by a group of tame birds that were most likely somebody's pets. They either escaped, or were set free. Now they live, play and breed in the shadows of the majestic Coit Tower atop Telegraph Hill, in the storied North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco.

They first appeared sometime in the late 80's or early 90's, not long after the powerful Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked the Bay Area, bringing a temporary hault to the so called Bay-Bridge World Series between the A's and the Giants. Curiously, none of the local legends attempting to explain the genesis of the flock involve the earthquake in any way. It rather seems to me that the quake might offer the best explanation.

Its curious that some of the most memorable characters you will meet in the movies in 2005 just happen to be small, befeathered creatures living in a place they shouldn't be. They have names like Mingus, Conner, Picasso, Sophie, Olive, Pushkin and Tupelo. But this isn't a story just about birds.

Its also the story of an interesting man looking for a direction in his life. His name is Mark Bittner, and he moved to San Francisco about a decade ago seeking fame and fortune as a musician. That didn't work out very well, leaving him to seek some other path to guide his life. What he found was a misfit flock of birds.

Mark Bittner became something of a caretaker and guardian of the wild flock of conures. He did odd jobs to make money, and found a family on Telegraph Hill that let him live, rent free, for several years in a small cottage below their main house on the hill. From there, Mark tended to the flock, and befriended the individual birds. He cared for them when they were ill, but never really converted them to pets. They remained wild and free birds.
As we watch the film, we get to know the birds as individuals, and learn about the amazing human character, Mark Bittner, who's life was transformed by this curious little flock. We learn about how the locals react to them. We watch them live, and play, in an urban setting where their greatest perils are people and hawks.

We were fortunate to attend a showing of this film where the director, Judy Irving, was present to introduce the film, and do a question and answer session afterward. That helped to wrap up a lot of loose ends that the film itself doesn't really address. So for those of you who may happen to see this film, I will fill you in on a few post film details, without giving away a wonderful ending.

The story ends with Mark having to leave his cottage on Telegraph Hill, as the owners of the main house were more or less forced to reinnovate the property. They aren't bad guys here at all. Afterall, they let Mark live there rent free for many years. Through wonderful circumstances, Mark is now living on Telegraph Hill once again, caring for the birds as before. Despite his absense for a time, many of the older birds recognized him, and the younger ones have accepted him.

The birds themselves are doing very well. When Mark first began interacting with the flock, there were around 20 of them. By the time he was forced to leave, the flock had grown to about 60 individuals. Today, there are more than 100.

I strongly suggest that you click on the link below, and navigate the site to find out when this wonderful film will be showing in your area. Then go see it. It just might make you reevaluate the way you look at nature. At the very least, you will meet some of the most interesting characters you will encounter at the movies this year: maybe ever.

Click HERE

Last Week: The Breakup:


This movie reminded me a lot of The War of the Roses except that it wasn't nearly as good. And The War of the Roses wasn't a particularly good movie either. It did have one redeeming quality, however. We got to see two really repulsive characters torture each other mercilessly, until they killed each other.

The characters in The Breakup didn't kill each other. They just did their best to slay the audience with sheer boredom, and not a small dose of absurdity. Combine two of the most annoying characters you will encounter in the movies this year with a plot so implausible that any 4 year-old could pick out the logical faults, and you have The Breakup.

The movie opens with Gary (Vince Vaughn) attending a Cubs game with his friends, although the deeper we get into this movie, the more we wonder why he has any. He is such an insufferable asshole that its not difficult to imagine white-shirted Mormon missionaries jumping off their bicycles just to beat the shit out of him.

At the baseball game, he spots Brooke (Jennifer Aniston) sitting a few seats down, and immediately feels the need to hit on her. He goes about it in such a profoundly annoying fashion that we were hoping that everyone in the same section at the game would rapidly descend upon him and beat him into goo. Instead, for some odd reason, Brooke surrenders to his advances and actually takes up a relationship with him.

Brooke is an attractive, educated art gallery manager who can clearly do better than Gary. Meanwhile, Gary and his brothers run a tour bus company that helps tourists see the sites of Chicago. When he gets home at night, he likes to plant his lazy butt on the couch and play video games, instead of paying any attention to Brooke. That leaves everyone to wonder why she didn't dump his sorry ass two weeks after they got together.

I think I could be a good tour bus guide in Chicago. Its not like there is a lot to show people. My presentation would go something like this:

Okay folks, if you look directly ahead, you will see the magnificent Sears Tower, which looks like Darth Vader Universal Headquarters landed in Chicago. The question is, why did they stay?

To your left you will see the sprawling ghetto area, which covers most of the city. We recommend that you keep your head down to avoid stray bullets.

And to your right is the magnificent lake front, which causes the weather to suck 11 months out of the year, and doesn't smell very good.

As you all know, Chicago is known as the "second city." That is because everyone who lives or visits here says that Chicago is definitely their second choice of a place to live. Their first choice is any place else.

Now, as a special treat, let's all sing the best song ever written about Chicago:

Mrs. O'Leary's cow, was out standing in the shed,
She kicked down a lantern, that was hanging overhead;
The old cow, just winked her eye and said
"There'll be a hot time
In the old town

okay, enough of my Chicago tour...back to the movie.

One night, after a dinner party with both families, Brooke finally realizes what a dick Gary is, and decides to break up with him. But she doesn't dump him because he is a loser. She just wants to make him jealous, because she feels unappreciated.

Now, lets face it. In the real world, a woman that even vaguely resembles Jennifer Aniston could walk out into the street and create a line of men 5 miles long who would be willing to crawl over razor blades and swim 50 laps in a shark tank just to overdose her on appreciation. But for some idiotic reason, Brooke seems to have some weird idea that Gary is the only guy worthy of affording her appreciation.

So, we get to spend an hour and a half watching them try to make each other miserable, when in fact, the only people getting miserable are the audience. In the end, they finally break up for good, and both of them end up better off. Gary seems to grow a bit as a human being, but I'm guessing he is still pretty much of a prick. Brooke seems to figure out that she is better off without him, a revelation that would have come back at Wrigley Field during the baseball game to any female with an actual brain.

If the studio that made this travesty also suffers a break up, we are all going to be better off.

Previously: Mr. Bean's Holiday:

WHY WHY WHY? This movie should have been titled The Audience's Misery. Or maybe Rowan Atkinson's Meal Ticket. It is tough to bag the work of a comic who's performances I have previously admired, but in this case, there is simply no choice but to make an exception.

I don't think it would be remotely possible to review this film without prominently including the phrase "steaming pile" somehow or another. Here is how bad this movie really was: I saw it in the company of a group of about 20 eight year-olds, and I didn't hear any of them laugh even once. When a pratfall comic like Atkinson can't even deliver snickers for that crowd, you have to know this was just a bag of dog logs.

In his old BBC television series, in which he was typically on camera for about 20 minutes at a time, Atkinson in his Bean character could deliver a lot of inspired sight gags. But his stuff gets pretty stale if it runs any longer. By the time you have sit through 90 minutes of him on the big screen, you start pondering how much popcorn you would have to stuff down your throat to induce strangulation. It would be the handiest form of euthanasia.

It is probably piling on to note that there were scenes in the trailer for this movie that didn't appear in the film at all. It's not that they were particularly missed. The ones that come to mind suggest a rehashing of some of his TV show gags. Worse still, during the course of the movie, there was a clear suggestion of a scene that obviously ended up on the cutting room floor that was pretty critical to the plot continuity.

The fact that the thin plot of the film could be followed without it is evidence of just how shallow this movie really was. Still, the absense suggests that the editing of this film was at least as incompetent as every other aspect of it, and that is pretty damning. It should also be noted that if you saw the trailer for this film, you did see every remotely humorous moment in it. That isn't unusual in comedies these days, but I was hoping that Atkinson might come up with at least something to surprise us along the way.

For those who aren't familiar with the character Bean, he spends most of his time wandering about aimlessly and cluelessly, leaving behind all sorts of unintentional chaos in his wake. We Americans have a similar character on TV a lot these days. But rather than confine him to a weekly sitcom, we elected him President for our ongoing and continuous entertainment. The rest of the world will probably never forgive us.

In this film, Bean wins some sort of church lottery that sends him off on a vacation to the south of France. Up until now, I hadn't realized that the British are evidently as pissed off at France as we are. I guess you learn something new every day.

Bean accidently seperates a son from his father, the latter of which is going to be a judge at the Cannes film festival. The film mostly follows the misadventures of Bean and the boy as they journey across France, with Bean just wanting to enjoy his vacation at the beach, and the boy just wanting to be reunited with his father.

Appearing in the film for no other reason that I can figure out besides apparently being desperate for a paycheck is William Dafoe, who's career is circling the drain to the extent that IMDB lists him as the 10th credited actor. His total screentime amounts to about 15 minutes in a film that has lit up the box-office for a grand total of a $7 million and change in 3 weeks. You could pull in more than that with a retrospective of Sylvester and Tweety cartoons.

Okay...I'll backtrack for a moment just to end this carnage, and maybe try to end some other carnage as well. The rest of the world isn't the only group that is never going to forgive America collectively for Bush. Neither will the families of the nearly 4000 killed and 28,000 wounded in an absolutely unnecessary war. As I write, the letter in the song that I am linking to has been written 3752 many more before you end this madness, Mr. Bush? Click HERE

And just a quick personal note: Mr Cranky, thanks for 12 great years, your inspiration and encouragement. Rest up, and don't be a stranger.

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