Friday, July 10, 2015

In defense of Ariana Grande

Forget about the Confederate flag, or health care, or gay marriage, the real concern among Americans right now is Ariana Grande.

Some words in her defense:

First of all, she's 22, all 22-year-olds do dumb stuff. This didn't involve driving drunk of killing anyone.

Second, she was talking to her boyfriend in confidence. I wouldn't want anything I told my girlfriend when I was 22 put on the Internet.

I give a lot of leeway to things told to spouses, lovers, best friends, even close co-workers when the speaker doesn't know he/she's being recorded. There's a reason your spouse can't be a witness against you.

(of course if you deride poor people in a room full of campaign donors, it's fair game)

Third, she doesn't hate America, she's just astonished at our remarkably unhealthy food choices.

Until she slips roofies in undergrads' drinks, I say we give her a pass.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: Inside Out

The reviews have called it a breakthrough for Pixar, but no. It's good, but it borrows from so many other sources I'm not sure why film reviewers are astonished by its originality.

All of the "Toy Story" movies have the same plot and the same theme.

The plot: "We have to get back home!"

The theme: Leaving behind your childhood is the most painful thing you'll do.

"Inside Out" borrows both of these concepts.

The only real difference is in the "Toy Story" films we follow the toys going home in the real world. In "Inside Out," they're going home in a surrealistic world, a place where there's an actual "train of thought," and "graveyard" for old memories. I kept thinking about "The Phantom Tollbooth," the little-seen Chuck Jones film where the protagonist also finds himself in a world of abstract concepts.

(Not to mention Robert Clampett's "Porky in Wackyland.")

It's harder on the audience. Everyone knows the rules of physics in the real world, what are they in a surrealistic land of dreams?

And the concept of the emotions being the stars. Fox did this with "Herman's Head" some years ago, and no one called that genius.

See it, but your kids might get a little restless.