©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
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This week:

Filthy says:
"Now we know: lemur shit's as stinky as monkey shit"

Right now is perfect-walking-around-town-drunk weather in Arvada. The evenings are cool, but not freezing where you're inebriated enough to feel warm but when you get home you find your nuts froze to your leg, or you can't get into the apartment because your hands went numb and you can't feel your keys in your pocket, but wake up and discover you impaled your thigh with them. The air is just right, cool enough that a beer-soaked warmth feels warm, but not so warm you take off your pants as you stumble back from the Tavern by the moonlight. Plus, the skies are clear enough that if you get really lost you can navigate your way home using the stars. At least I can, because our apartment is directly under one.

Walking around town is where I get some thinking done. I've also heard dry ice factories are good for that. I think about a lot of stuff, like how much money is a talking dog worth, and how hard should I be looking for one? Is the Harelip's goiter for real or is it just a couple pounds of makeup? And I think about this guy I once saw at Lake Mojave who had an inch-deep crater in his upper arm where he'd carved away a tattoo of an ex-girlfriend's name with a penknife. I think about how drunk he must have been to do that. What was he drinking? Did he know that the mystery of what letters were once between the "D" and "S" that remain would draw more attention than the full name ever did?

It was after closing time as I walked home down Grandview. In about a third of the homes I saw the sickly blue flicker of televisions bleeding through the curtains. Inside those homes were men and women, as drunk as me, flipping through channels, hoping to find a companion in a late-night time of need who isn't making phallic motorcycles or playing poker.

I was thinking about how I once read this theory that each of us only has three great moments in his life, and the rest of the time is tedious filler. Sort of like a Godzilla movie. I believe this theory because I couldn't handle four great moments. That would be too much excitement. And I'm at a good position in life: I've had two of my moments so I have something to talk about cocktail parties, but I won't slit my throat because I'm still owed one more. My first two great moments were: 1) when I asked Mrs. Filthy to marry me and she said yes while removing the chicken bone I was choking on, and then pulling me out of the dumpster I had crawled into to get the chicken bone in the first place; and 2) this time I saw a photograph of a squirrel waterskiing. It's important for me to note that everyone's great moments are different, and not necessarily equal, so don't expect yours to be as awesome as mine.

Well, I had sort of gotten turned around and found myself behind St. Ann's, which is the opposite direction of my place. I didn't care, though, because I like thinking. I was thinking how nobody gets rich off other people's great moments, unless they have a video camera, I guess. The money is in providing the tedious filler. Which Madagascar certainly is, but I'll get to reviewing a movie when I damn well feel like it. Anyway, that realization led me to what may be my third great moment.

As far as tedious filler goes, there is nothing on TV for two-in-the-morning viewer, easily the most valuable demographic. If we weren't the most gullible, who else is buying shit from an obnoxious asshole in a homemade suit covered with exclamation points? But I know what we want and I'm going to make it. It'll be cheap, but on the money. Like a Dr. Laura or Dr. Phil but without wasting anybody's time being a fake-ass doctor. He says straight to us, "I love you, man. You're the only who understand me. I don't know why she left, man, I don't know, man. She still loves you. C'mon, you know she does. You're too good for her! That's the problem. Call her right now. Just call her. I bet she wants to see you. Pick up the phone and call her. Put it on speaker so I can hear. Sing her a song. I don't know, something by Journey. Are you back? What'd she say? Denial. She don't even know what she's missing. We should go hunting, dude. We should go out in the wild and shoot shit with guns. You know, like it'd be spiritual, being in the woods, sleeping by a fire, wearing boots and those heavy socks. That money, dude? I'm gonna pay you back, I swear. You don't drink too much, she drinks too little."

I'm gonna be so fucking rich when someone makes my show. TV producers, feel free to contact me, but expect a bidding war. The rest of you, you sure as hell won't see me here anymore. I'll be too busy masturbating with a million-dollar bill. Which maybe will be the third great moment in my life.

But until you've had all three of your great moments, you have to choose carefully among the tedious fillers. It's sort of like a Country Buffet; all the options suck, but some less than others. Madagascar is the salisbury steak all sour and gristly and smothered with sauce to mask the inferiority of its meat.

At the Central Park Zoo, zebra Marty dreams of being free in the wild and schemes to escape. He is friends with a lion Alex, giraffe Melman and hippo Gloria. The zebra is sassy and carefree, and voiced by Chris Rock. The lion is a bit timid and unsure of himself and voiced by Ben Stiller. The giraffe is a neurotic hypochondriac voiced by David Schwimmer. And the hippo is maternal, voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith. Not one of these main characterizations expands beyond what we know of them after the first minute.

Because of their zany antics, the entire lot of them are boxed up and shipped off. They wind up in the real Madagascar, among a wacky bunch of partying lemurs. The zoo animals discover that the wild is a dangerous place, they must work together, and that there really is no place like a man-made home where they can't do a fucking thing all day but pad around a tiny cell and shit in front of school children. Well, actually that last part does have its appeal.

Why does Hollywood let unfunny people make comedies? Is there anyone out there who recognizes humor? The two jackasses (Mark Burton and Billy Frolick) who wrote this rank piece of shit has no interest in being original or clever. I'm sure they crack themselves up, and bust out laughing every time some asshole e-mails them the latest lawyer joke, but their movie's about as funny as a plantars wart. The directors (Eric Carnell and Tom McGrath) and writers remember the essence of a lot of jokes from their childhoods, but they don't remember what made them funny. Instead, Madagascar sucks the humor out of Roadrunner cartoon gags and replaces it with flop sweat and noisy desperation. It's as though Wile E. Coyote were getting paid by the decibel, or targeted at the world's densest children.

The pop culture references are relentless and tiresome. There are lemurs singing drum and bass house music, and corny parodies of American Beauty and Chariots of Fire. Chariots of Fire? What the fuck? Didn't poking fun at that get tiresome around 1983? Not to these movie makers. And it's not like they had some irresistible gag about it. It's the same fucking joke as in 1983. I'm sure there are some mob movie references in here too, because these shitty kinds of movies always have those. The attitude of the Madagascar toward this shit is sort of like that of fishermen toward sea otters; "Throw every fucking stick of dynamite into the water and let's hope we hit a few." To me, pop culture references are lower than kicks-to-the-balls on the comedy scale. They take no originality and only get laughs from people giddy at recognizing what's being parodied.

The celebrity voices have no nuance and add nothing. Every one of the stars plays off his or her reputation, so it's pretty damn hard to look at the lion on screen and not think of Ben Stiller all hunched over and gollum-like in a recording studio, probably pouting over some slight insult. If Madagascar were interested in story or characters, it would start with a blank slate for voices so we associate them only with the characters. Of course, those grassfuckers at Dreamworks are afraid that a good story won't sell tickets like stunt casting will, and they only give a shit about selling tickets, and dolls and Happy Meals, etc.

Madagascar also looks cheap. It's computer animated, like The Incredibles or Finding Nemo, but it lacks the detail and the quality. The characters are always shown front and center with the backgrounds pushed way back. In Nemo, which I don't think is a great movie, the scenery envelops the characters and you are always aware of their environment. Here, you're only aware of the backdrop they are hamming it up in front of. Why Madagascar? Why not anywhere? In other computer-animated movies, you can feel the temperature and touch the textures. Not here. Almost every surface is flat and shiny, like plastic.

Madagascar is a crap ass movie, and some lousy material to fill the time between great moments like your first threesome and the time you get away with robbing a bank. It's also too shitty for your kids, unless you want to lower their expectations early. Two Fingers. Now would some big time TV producer get a hold of me already?

Help Filthy || Want to tell Filthy Something?



Shawn Edwards of Fox Television

Kicking and Screaming is "Perfect for the entire family! you'll be kicking and screaming with laughter from beginning to end!"

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is "Four Stars! Excellent! The most charming and wonderful movie you'll see all year!"

Filthy's Reading
Alan Dale - Comedy is a Man in Trouble

Listening to
The Wrens - Seacaucus


Bull Durham