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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dope, Jurassic World

Saw two movies on pay-per-view in the last two days. Dope is about a nerdy black guy from Inglewood who wants to get into Harvard. Most of the movie is quite engaging. It's mostly a comedy, and like a lot of black-themed comedies, is quite funny.

But at the end, the movie got a little preachy. They felt obliged to inject a message about how stereotypes are wrong -- right after having spent the entire movie using stereotypes to good and humorous effect.

As my son said afterward, "The movie would have been better if it hadn't been aimed at a white audience as well as a black one."

The second night we watched Jurassic World, which was a big hit this past summer. It had a lot of expensive, well done special effects, and an entirely predictable plot. It was sorta fun predicting which characters were going to die, and how, though it wasn't much of a challenge. I never bristled while watching the movie, but it was instantly forgettable.

Bryce Dallas Howard, pictured below in an early scene, is a surprisingly good-looking and capable actress considering she is the beneficiary of Hollywood nepotism (her father is director Ron Howard).

Anyway, as my son said afterward, "This is the fourth installment of the series. Gee, you'd think by now they'd have figured out that it's not a good idea to open up a theme park with dinosaurs."


Anonymous said...

Why should it be a surprise that DBH is a capable actress? She inherited her father's genes. One can pass down other gifts -- athletic, musical -- why should acting be different?

Just being contrary on a rainy day.

- Gardner

John Craig said...

Gardner --
It's surprising because the vast majority of Hollywood offspring are not nearly as good-looking (or, in most cases, as talented) as their parents. Compare Melanie Griffith to Tippi Hedren, Jamie Lee Curtis to Janet Leigh, Scott Caan to James Caan, Peter Fonda to Henry Fonda, Michael Douglas to Kirk Douglas, Joely Richardson to Vanessa Redgrave, Scott Eastwood to Clint Eastwood. Etc. In many cases the parent may not have been a great actor, but at least they were good-looking.

There are exceptions: Jane Fonda was as good-looking as her father (whatever you think of he politics). But they are generally exceptions.

I generally agree with the genetic view on things myself, but there's always regression to the mean, and when you get an outlier in terms of either looks or intelligence, the odds are that the child will not live up to the parent.

(I'm contrary regardless of the weather.)

Steven said...

(spoiler alert)

I think JP started well with the scope of the theme park and all the stuff about genetic engineering. But then the final battle scene ended with an anti-climax. There's a holy alliance of humans and dinosaurs fighting the turbo charged t-rex. I'm wondering how they'll manage to bring it down, then out of left field the huge sea creature pops up and eats it. They're all just left standing there with their dicks in their hands.

John Craig said...

Steven --
True, though by the time the sea monster grabbed it the combination of the T Rex and the velociraptor had pretty much defeated it.

I think you mean JW, btw, not JP. The original JP was actually a great movie and concept. But the concept had been pretty much milked dry by the time JW rolled around.

Steven said...

Ron Howard was fairly handsome when he was young but he isn't the best looking guy and he probably married a beautiful woman.

I never thought about how much Hollywood nepotism there has been. I suppose the child of an A lister is automatically more marketable than a random person as well.

Angelina Jolie is really good looking too.

Martin Sheens kids did all right too.

Sophia Coppola got some of her dads brains. She wrote an Oscar winning and audience popular screenplay, lost in translation. She got slaughtered by the critics for godfather 3 but I liked her in it. I though she and Garcia had chemistry.

Steven said...

...yeah the original JP was very big and innovative in its day. Its still lauded for its realistic dinosaurs that are better than some later CGI. Partly because it was done with puppets.

John Craig said...

Steven --
True, about Jolie, she's actually better-looking tan her actor Jon Voight, though I still think she's overrated. To me, she looks more like a parody of a beautiful woman than an actual beautiful woman. I'm sure you're right about who Ron Howard married, though he had a sort of cuteness when he was young that probably would have made him good-looking as a girl.

I think children of A listers are hired mostly because of their connections, but there's probably a small subconscious element of producers thinking they're getting a chunk of the ol' magic meat as well. It's not all that different from the type of nepotism we see in politics, with various dynasties at the state and even national level.

Yes, Sophia Coppola is smart, but she should never have been promoted for a role which called for a great beauty. You can't really blame Francis Ford for wanting to give his daughter a chance, but she never would have been cast had she not had that connection.

Jokah Macpherson said...

"Ron Howard was fairly handsome when he was young but he isn't the best looking guy and he probably married a beautiful woman."

Ok, I had to look it up, and it turns out that Ron Howard's wife, Cheryl Alley...looks like a female version of Ron Howard!!! I kid you not! How timely with the recent posts about partners resembling each other.

John Craig said...

Jokah --
I just looked her up too, and you're right -- right down to their coloration.

I wonder if sometimes these attractions aren't proof of some sort of Oedipal complex at work (as well as, or perhaps in lieu of, narcissism). Who knows.

BTW, it wasn't until your previous comment that I realized where the "Jokah" comes from.

Jokah Macpherson said...

Regarding Oedipal complexes or lack thereof, my mom forced me to watch My Fair Lady with her one time when I was home for Christmas and I told her, "Everyone says Audrey Hepburn is so hot but she actually looks like you did at that age." I think my mom took it as a compliment nonetheless.

Hah, no worries about the name.

John Craig said...

Jokah --
That was definitely a compliment. If you want to fall in love (with your Mom, I guess) watch Breakfast at Tiffany's. Or Robin and Marian (with Sean Connery as Robin Hood and Hepburn as Marian). I wasn't wild about Breakfast, though Hepburn was great in it, but Robin and Marian is a great movie, btw.