Rocky And Bullwinkle Last Week: 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.