Toy Story 2
"Sleep Hollow's not so
"Toy Story's Pretty Fucking Good!"
The fact that I don't get along with anyone is to your benefit
this week. This is what happens when Mrs. Filthy's family comes
over for Thanksgiving because we can't all fit in their trailer,
and my fucking brother-in-law starts yapping that the apartment
smells like gasoline, and how my wife is too good for me, and
how our neighborhood sucks and how his Camaro is so Goddamn bitchin'.
As my face turned purple and I started drinking the cooking sherry,
the Mrs. gave me a ten-dollar bill and told me to get lost before
I embarrassed her, like I did last year when I got drunk and
tried choking my mother-in-law.
Ten bones not only buys a full-price movie ticket, it also
buys a bag of the popcorn. So, as my wife and her family stuffed
themselves with turkey, vomited my mother-in-law's "mashed
potato surprise!," got tipsy and fought over who was treated
best as a kid, I hid out in the theater by my lonesome, having
the same dinner the Peanuts kids ate. The theaters were mostly
empty on Thanksgiving day until about five p.m. and I had no
trouble fitting in a double feature. It was me, a bunch of other
loser men, single dads with their kids, and some foreigners who
don't have a God damn thing to be thankful for.
I paid for "Sleepy Hollow" and snuck into "Toy
Story 2." If I had it to do over, I would have paid for
"Toy Story 2." Actually, they're both better than average,
but that Disney flick really was good shit. Believe me, I'm as
surprised as you about that.
"Sleepy Hollow" is loosely based on a Washington
Irving short story, which is in the public domain and can be
read for free on the Internet. Hollywood probably paid a couple
million bucks for the story, though, because, as we know, they
are a coven of complete fucking morons. Johnny Depp is Ichabod
Crane, a New York City fancy-lad lawyer who is summoned to the
small town of Sleepy Hollow to determine what or who has been
chopping the heads off the local citizens.
Depp is skeptical of the supernatural because his mother was
killed by his father's irrational fear of the unknown. He is
not at all skeptical of Christina Ricci's big boobs. He falls
for her, much to the dismay of her fiance, Casper Van Dien--a
subplot that goes nowhere. Anyway, shortly after his arrival,
more townsfolk get clobbered. Depp encounters the Headless Horseman
and he becomes a believer in the supernatural. He also becomes
a believer in Depends undergarments. He's such a big scaredy-cat.
Still, he insists, the Horseman is merely looking for his head,
which has been stolen by a mortal. To get it back, the Horseman
does whatever it is told. I am not sure how Depp comes to this
conclusion, but I guess if Hollywood says so, we better all shut
the fuck up and accept it.
With Ricci at his side, Depp seeks out the Horseman, and he
investigates who would want the specific townspeople dead. The
movie quickly devolves from a fun spooky movie about a creepy
specter chopping off heads in a stylish way into a pretty lame
Agatha Christie mystery. As Depp gets closer and closer to the
truth, his precious Ricci and her epic knockers are put in peril's
way. He must not only return the Horseman's head by solving the
mystery, but he must also save his honey-bunch.
For the first half of "Sleepy Hollow," I bought
it. Sure the plot was thin, but the movie looked so damn good
and the Horseman was such a bad ass villain, that it was fun
to watch. I rooted for the Horseman to keep killing, not get
caught. The Horseman, played with more cheese than a pizza by
Christopher Walken, is seriously fucked up. This guy had pizzazz.
He had fluid motion and nice sword action.
And while the movie is bloodier than when an epileptic seizures
during his dental visit, it was so stylish that it wasn't gross.
Gory, sure, but gross? Not so you would turn away. That's because
it doesn't feel real--rather it feels like a gruesome fairy tale.
Even when the beetle crawls out of a neck, and a boy's mother's
head rolls across the wood slats directly above him, stopping
with its eye on him.
Christopher Walken was made to play a Headless Horseman. In
flashbacks before his beheading, he looks sort of goofy all made
up to look like a vaguely Norsk vampire with really fake looking
fangs. Hell, just put Walken on the screen stuffing his mouth
with hot dogs and people will scream in terror. He's convincingly
evil as the heartless bastard who we want to get his head back.
The movie looks like what the original Frankenstein would
look like if it was made today, all gothic and cold. Lots of
lightning, plenty of blood, and the people pale and scared. The
whole thing is filmed on elaborate, massive sets. Burton wants
it to look like those old movies where the outdoor scenes are
filmed indoors so they have that vaguely artificial feel. Maybe
it's to make it dreamlike, or maybe it's just because Burton
is a nut and does weird stuff for his own reasons. I guess it's
supposed to remind us of those old English horror films, but
I seriously doubt all us dumbfuck out there will get that reference.
And the whole movie's tone is so damn close to black and white
that they might as well have gone all the way, saved film costs
and passed the savings on to us.
All this mood and ambience went a long way toward covering
the thin story. Okay, so people are getting their heads cut off.
Okay, Depp is there as a pant-pissing big city wiener who must
overcome his own fears and arrogance to solve the case. Sounds
like a good one hour movie.
Unfortunately, they made it two. They mixed the good shit
with the belabored mystery. I not only didn't care about who
was directing the damn horseman, I got tired of trying to follow
that story as it became more and more convoluted. The mystery
part is shitty, too. I kept thinking of old Scooby Doo episodes
as Depp put his clues together and solved the crime. Instead
of giving us more bloodshed and merciless beheading, the second
half of the movie is mostly people talking. It's Depp explaining
his theory, then it's the bad guy saying how she would get away
with it, and why she did it. I just kept thinking, "Shut
the fuck up and let the Horseman kill some more people."
On top of that, Depp's fraidy-cat hides sometimes and acts with
courage at other times. There is no reason for when he is brave
and when he is scared, except, I guess that the story needs him
to be brave sometimes.
Maybe these scenes would have been better if the characters
didn't sound so lame. The dialog, of which there is none when
the Horseman is chopping up people, is so stilted and cornball
that it's laughable. The actors practically choke on their awkwardly
ancient sentences. And Depp's accent makes him sound like a street
urchin in the Arvada Community Theater presentation of "Oliver
Twist." "Please, sir, may I have another?"
Ricci doesn't have much to do except stare at Depp with those
googly eyes. The moviemakers sort of start her out as a witch,
but they don't follow through with that. Her relationship with
Van Dien goes nowhere, and then he gets chopped in half. Ricci
is left bland and incapable of much, just like most women are
portrayed in Hollywood.
Three fingers for "Sleepy Hollow." It starts
out feeling like the perfect movie to watch on TV after Thanksgiving
dinner, but it ends up wanting to be too clever for itself.
"Toy Story 2" doesn't try to be too clever. Hell,
it felt just about right for both me and the few kids in the
theater on Thanksgiving. Because of my aversion to kids and kid
movies, I never saw the first "Toy Story." But this
time, I was left with the choice of either "End of Days"
or this, and I'd rather have one of my nuts cut off with pruning
shears than sit through an Arnold Schwarzenegger slag heap.
I didn't need to see the original to understand the relationship
and plot of the characters here. What amazed me, though, was
how much more effectively Disney can develop the personalities
and emotions of dolls than they can people. This flick is a long
way from "That Darn Cat," and not just because Doug
E. Doug isn't in "Toy Story 2." I wonder how a studio
can make something this subversive in the same year they make
something as canned and formulaic as the miserable bastard child
"Tarzan." I mean, this is the kind of movie you take
a kid to because you want him to see it, not because you want
to get the punk out of your hair for two hours.
Woody is a cowboy doll, and the favorite toy of an annoying
boy named Andy. Andy is off to cowboy camp and he plans on taking
Woody with him until Woody's arm tears. The doll is left behind,
and as soon as the annoying kid is out the door, his nondescript
mom decides to sell Andy's old toys in a yard sale. While Woody
isn't going to be sold, he gets caught trying to save another
toy from the 25¢ box. He is discovered by a fat comic-book
type geek, Al from Al's Toy Barn. Al needs Woody to complete
a collection of toys he wants to sell to a Japanese museum for
a buttload of money. When he can't buy Woody, Al steals him and
hauls him back to his disgusting little comic-book geek apartment.
The other toys band together to rescue him.
Meanwhile at the apartment, Woody has met the other members
of Woody's Roundup, the 50s show that he was the star of. He
has come face to face with his ancestry, something he didn't
know he had. He didn't even know there was a cowgirl named Jesse
(that he can't fuck because he's boning Little Bo Peep already),
or Stinky Pete the Prospector. You know kids would love a doll
called Stinky Pete. And these long-forgotten toys were in storage
until their chance to be put on display in Japan. Woody is faced
with the dilemma of saving these new toys from oblivion, or returning
to Andy's room, where he will eventually be abandoned as the
kid gets too old for him. It's some pretty heady stuff for kids
to think about, and I assume the Disney corporation is trying
to guilt the little brats into never giving up the cheaply made
childhood toys they sell.
While Andy's other toys, led by Buzz Lightyear, go on a road
trip to save Woody, the cowboy mulls over his future. Does he
help the other characters from his old show get out of storage,
or does he return to his friend. Does he want to live forever
in a case, or for a few more years in the embrace of the annoying
The adventures of Buzz and company make up the comic relief.
They struggle across a busy street, causing several side-splitting
accidents and thousands of dollars in property damage. They search
a toy store, with Buzz being confused for one of the other thousand
Buzz dolls. They must duel Buzz's enemy, the Darth Vader-like
Finally, they reach the comic-book geek's apartment and there
is a showdown between Woody's roundup and Woody's friends. I
doubt I'm giving anything away by telling you that Woody decides
to return home to Andy and live out his years as a toy with grace
and dignity. The good toys from the geek's collection get to
join him. But the bad toy goes to Japan.
What I liked most about "Toy Story 2" is its simple
but important message for kids: that fat men who collect children's
toys are dangerous and evil. Kids, keep away from comic book
shops, don't stay at home learning magic tricks when the other
kids are playing sports, and don't ever buy any "Magic:
The Gathering" cards or join the Society for Creative Anachronism.
If you do, you'll end up as a fat, friendless, bearded weirdo.
This goes for the girls, too.
I also enjoyed how much personality and emotion these little
dolls had. Each one has a distinct personality, and it is expressed
consistently through the actions and expressions. The writers
had a hell of a lot more fun making these dolls human than most
screenwriting assholes do with actors. I guess it's because the
writers liked these dolls, while nobody likes real actors.
"Toy Story 2" is sort of like an Ingmar Bergman
take on toys, but a hell of a lot funnier than that pouty Swede
would have made it. It's about mortality. Not the mortality of
a person, although I wouldn't have cried if little Andy had been
squashed by a car. It's about the mortality of toys, and what
happens to them after their owners outgrow them. This is a concept
the six-year-olds in the crowd didn't get. I'm sure they didn't,
because most of them were climbing over their seat backs by this
time. But I got it and it was handle pretty damn well. They didn't
sugar coat the message, and they didn't force it into a commercial
for Disney toys.
I guess we're supposed to be able relate our own fears about
being loved and dying to this. Would I rather live forever in
a sterile environment or live a short life with the things I
love. I suppose it depends on whether they got the porno channels
in the sterile environment. And, what about my dogs? Can they
come with me? Maybe just Sophie, not Scooter. She would pee on
my eternal carpet.
The movie's pretty fucking funny, too. Buzz has a Luke-Darth
showdown with his enemy. The Barbies in the toy store are having
a permanent, mindless beach party. The action is more entertaining
than the overblown, "look how big this is" shit in
real action movies. In fact, every action scene is exciting and
pokes fun at the action formula that Arnold and the rest of those
big movie dicks with thinning hair make. The funniest part is
how dead on they pantomime the big action movies.
The one big mistake is a sappy ballad sung by Cowgirl Jesse
about how she saw her owner grow up and lose interest in her.
It was as dopey as one of the skits on those misguided "teen"
shows on the Christian channels. I mean, it's so corny and sappy
that it loses all impact. I thought I would puke all over the
kid in front of me. And the damn kids in the audience didn't
watch it because they didn't give a flying fuck about a slow,
dorky song. So, who was this for? I guess the moms and dads in
the audience who cry after reading greeting cards. Maybe it will
inspire them to go buy more Disney nostalgia shit.
While the computer animation is impressive, and almost as
good a use of all this technology as my site, the people look
freaky. They just look stick-like and unnatural. It was distracting
and it made annoying little Andy even more annoying.
The only other gripe is that the movie was too long for the
kids in my theater. By the end, they were all crawling around
like fucking monkeys, and they were yapping about everything
but the movie. I would have grabbed the kid in front of me and
wrung his little neck, but I have had to speak to too many cops
about managing my anger in the past to do that again.
Four hearty fingers for "Toy Story 2." I
feel plenty weird recommending a Disney movie to people, but
I have to be fair if I ever want Roger Ebert to take notice and
invite me on his show. If Roger is reading, he should know what
a God damn good-looking man I am.