Monday, April 30, 2007

It's about time someone did a really good spoof.

Spoof movies normally suck. Especially those in the Scary Movie or Not Another Teen Movie type mold. They're blatant, obvious, stupid and generally require no brain, whether you're the viewer or the film maker. The good ones are few and far between - Shaun of the Dead, This Is Spinal Tap, Airplane...that's about it. The key to a good spoof is that it has to be a genre familiar enough to viewers that you can poke fun at the conventions contained in those movies. Shaun of the Dead mocks the slow-walking zombies in zombie flicks. Spinal Tap has fun at the expense of innumerable bands who refuse to believe their career is basically over, and Airplane came after a huge run of disaster movies, including Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, and of course, Airport.

But now there's another genre that's screaming to be spoofed, and spoofed well. I just watched Freedom Writers, the new Hilary Swank movie. She plays a teacher who grabs the attention of inner-city kids, leading them away from gangs and showing them they too can be someone! It's actually pretty good. Compared to most of them, the acting is very good, and the melodrama isn't AS heavy-handed as most of the others. But every one of the teacher-saves-ganbangers movies, there is a moment SCREAMING to be mocked.

The Principal - Jim Belushi, aided by Lou Gossett, goes on a crazed motorcycle ride through the locker room on the fourth floor of his school in a ridiculous showdown with the only kid he just couldn't save...and wins of course...leading to the hilarious conclusion of this awesome movie - the kid with the suspect Spanish accent who yells "I'll tell YOU who 'ee isss, essai! 'E's tha preenceepal!"

Dangerous Minds - A fight breaks out between two races at the tough inner city school. One Latino guy versus two African Americans. Michelle Pfeiffer, the tough-as-nails ex-Navy Seal or whatever she played, busts up the fight. Then she lets the Latino guy have it! You should be ashamed! BOTH those boys are slightly smaller than you are! It's not a fair fight...because the ONE guy is slightly bigger than each of the TWO who fought him? Good work, Green Beret. Or whatever.

Lean On Me - Every person in the town, every student at the school, and every extra they could find for the film show up to give their support to Morgan Freeman, showing solidarity in the face of the four people who hate his guts. A triumphantly hokey moment that launched Morgan Freeman into a career of alternatingly fabulous and ridiculous roles in movies such as Shawshank Redemption and Dreamcatcher.

The Substitute - The disturbingly racist Tom Berenger seeks revenge on a gang member at school, so he fakes a resume to become a substitute teacher. Rather than helping the inner-city kids, he plans to become a huge part of the problem. He lectures his students about his experiences in Vietnam - "we were fighting Communism". He then gets satisfaction in the school-destroying violence of the grand finale. Hilarious, especially if one contemplates the horrific ramifications of these actions were this real life. Somehow this bizarrely entertaining pile of crap spawned two sequels.

One Eight Seven - Samuel L. Jackson's tough-as-nails approach to the gang kids doesn't teach them too much, except that Samuel L. Jackson is a lunatic. He re-creates the final scene of The Deer Hunter in the final scene of 187, when he blows his own head off in a game of Russian Roulette with a tudent. Which is some GOOD teaching. The student, of course, does not thank his lucky stars that he won the game, no, he wants to win fair and square. So he picks up the gun that just killed Sam, points it to his own head yet again, and...also dies.

Of course, there are dozens of others, Blackboard Jungle being the only really good one. It's time for a great spoof here. One was attempted a few years ago - High School High, with Jon Lovitz, was as ridiculous as the movies it attempted to spoof, and was too stupid to be effective. The best spoof of this genre in existence may actually be The Substitute. Or The Principal. Anyway, Freedom Writers thankfully has very few moments of this nature...maybe one. Raise your hands, everyone who has been shot at. [almost everyone] Now raise your hand if you've heard of the holocaust. [one person out of thirty] And again, it's awfully simplistic and therefore cheesy, just like the rest. But at least it has Hilary Swank, who is very yummy.

It's a New Jersey Night!

And by that I mean, that as I get my beer ready and sit down to watch the hockey game, I am cheering for a New Jersey victory. And by that I mean I am cheering for a victory that will be yet another step on the path to Jeff Brown getting himself a new jersey. Because his Gilmour one will be rank. So I'm cheering for the Senators. And yes, I stayed up all weekend thinking that one up. I may just use it on tomorrow's show. I'm so proud of my Woodyism I may use it several times. Plus, it'll make Doc really irritated.

CHEO...we're getting there

Our goal this year is to raise 30,000 dollars through the Doc and Woody project for the operating rooms, because that's what it will take to purchase a Tri-Gen nail system, a piece of equipment that is needed for the kids and that we would like to provide. We're close now, about 5 grand to go, and it's thanks to people like Vic and his buddies at the Brittania Pub, who gave us $1,000 toward the CHEO fund yesterday. I went by the pub to pick up the cheque, and I was amazed. This is an informal, not-really-organized-at-all darts league, that still had about 20 or 25 people out there. They have 50/50 draws, prizes, and managed to raise a grand over the course of their few Sundays each year. Big thanks to Vic, Michelle, Debbie and the rest over at the Royal Brittania!