The High Countries

because it’s all paperweight…

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Matthew (Jonah Hill) looks on with Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) in one of the film’s rare clothed moments.

I Can Forget Soon Enough

By Bryce VanKooten

The night was quiet. The bold spring sunset had faded from existence and most of us were freshly done with our final papers, save one man. Andy, one of my dorm-mates — brilliant, lazy, looks exactly like you think he would — had yet to start his paper. In that moment of steady disregard for anything related to planning, an infamous quote was born. “The key to writing a great paper is hiding poor ideas behind great structure.” It was not until now that I fully realized the truth of his words. Today, after a long viewing of a bellowing, sub par film, I’m amazed that others (even a team of professionals) have yet to figure it out.

Last night I lost just under two hours of my life. Not to sleep (which I would have traded ten times over), but to the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall. As I entered the theater, I was convinced that sitting in the front row would not ruin my experience. Despite my carnal intuition, this movie could not have more needless sex than Jud Apatow’s previous films (40 Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, etc). I had been invited for free, how super-bad could it get? Ah, who doesn’t love famous last words…

For my sanity (I couldn’t be more serious), I’m going to skip over the first half. I’ll summarize by saying I vaguely enjoyed it. There are not words to express the angst and pain I felt for the final 4,500 minutes of this nightmare, though ‘angst’ and ‘pain’ seem to work nicely, for now. If the first half were an intriguing magazine cover, the second half would be the naked guy on page one, and page two, and three and so on, and so on, and so on, etc.

For pity’s sake, I’ll give you the high points … okay, that’s about it. Let’s recap.

Peter Bretter (Jason Segel) is busted up pretty bad after his girlfriend and budding TV star Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell) breaks up with him (he’s naked and I can’t emphasize enough how not funny this is… every time). To reboot, he takes a trip to Hawaii where he meets a fresh-and-fun-brunette-hotel-clerk Rachael (Mila Kunis aka; Family Guy’s Meg Griffith), but finds out that his newly departed girlfriend has arrived with her new 60’s-inspired, rock star boyfriend, Aldous Snow (Russel Brand). Got it? Shenanigans ensue and much ‘awkwerdity’ is had, mostly thanks to the seemingly fail-safe-for-a-laugh waiter/hotel helper/Aldous stalker, Jonah Hill.

After Peter becomes jealous of Sarah and Sarah turns out to be jealous of Peter (what a twist!), the movie ventures onto a path the most clearly resembles an un-funny porno. Coincidentally, Aldous (who doubles as the funniest onscreen and the most crazed) got less time on screen than the blankets they all retreat to. The movie continues with a terrible script, an even worse storyline and one of the most distasteful and incredibly unfunny movies I’ve seen in the past decade.

I’m guessing, by the end of the film, we’re supposed to like Peter Bretter (or at least feel sorry for him––which I didn’t). But in a comedic sense, how can you like, or give any emotion to someone that doesn’t entertain you? I suppose he entertained me when he took the lengthy banana out of his Margarita Smoothie and muttered, “Whoa, look at this guy.” But outside of the few moments when he was perfectly drunk, he was plain torturous. This movie hinged on blatant, insanely awkward (re: not awkward-funny, just really dumb) male nudity. I lost track the 4th or 5th time, but there had to be a good half dozen shots of the same guy on the big screen. And what’s the most ironic part of all of this? Jason Segel, the man’s who wore his birthday suit once already in Knocked Up, decided to write his own story this time. I’ll lay it out for you simply: It’s his script. He was likely naked when he wrote it.

All horribly raunchy, 40 Year-Old Virgin had a story, Anchorman remains a recent classic and Superbad was, well … funny. My apologies for not being able to grab Andy three years ago, given him a Flux Capacitor and a megaphone and told him to scream his line at the top of his lungs all the way to 2008. I hope Forgetting Sarah Marshall will be soon forgotten (oh, that was too easy). And judging by the way The Forbidden Kingdom preformed this weekend, Forgetting Sarah Marshall may not be all it was knocked up to be.

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April 21, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Film Reviews | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pablo’s Poems

Pablo\'s PoemsI about split a gut the other day as I sat at my desk reading the simple stories of a newly found genre.  I work with a man who’s humor can only be described as Jack Handy’s storyteller. There is something simple about these post cards––something poetic.  Lost in the moment––I found myself reading his letters (to his sister) as if it were my own grown-up’s version of my Shel Silverstein years. Eccentric humor is no better executed than in Pablo’s Poems. Click the postcard to begin (you may have to give it a few refreshes as well)…

April 16, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Whole Package

Get Out of My ‘Offive’

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There’s talk around the town about an Office spin-off. Are you kidding me? It isn’t on tap to start until sometime after the 09 Super Bowl, but frankly, whenever its scheduled is far too soon. Yes, The Office is a nearly-as-good-but-not-quite-as-epic spin off of the UK version (by the same name), starring the irreplaceable Ricky Gervais, originally aired on the BBC. And therefore, I suppose its true; once American television gets a hold of a successful product, its only a matter of time until it is stripped of its excellence, wrought with product placement and repackaged to resemble only a glimmer from whence it came. Sadly enough, if this remake-fest begins, I’m confident America will tune in…sadly, about as long as they watched Joey.

With all this repackaged garbage bombarding our living rooms, I can’t help but think back on some of the worst repackages in the history of our culture. Ones like Freddy vs. Jason (Monster’s Inc. was more frightful), or the repackaging of an athlete, like…well, every week on Dancing with the Stars. Don’t get me wrong, Dancing with the Stars isn’t THAT bad. I can stand it for about 11 seconds, whereas I can only watch a My Name is Earl for about 10––so hey, its relative. But one thing’s clear, they’re no Planet Earth. And hey, why can’t we get another one of those?!

Regardless of preference, this ‘repackage-everything’ mentality also got me thinking of some cool things that should be repackaged. What? Let me share an example: Hulk Hogan was on the down-and-out, but THEN he got a reality show and bam! Back in the spotlight. Yeah, we know, his family is a car wreck (no pun intended) and about as glaring as Dikembe Mutumbo’s bad knees, but hey, wasn’t it fun? He was back on the proverbial track there for a couple weeks! All that to be said, what should be repackaged? We know Star Wars needed a fifth box set (Gold and Silver Editions), and there was no way Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows could skate through untouched so, why not, split it into two movies. As my mind wanders into the realms of the unknown, I dwell on the things that someday, I hope to see.

Ocean’s 18: Yeah, tell me about it. 19 isn’t as easy to hide as 11, but think of the things you could do?! Everyone split into two man tandems, executing nine different heists, all consummating to form the end of the Iraq war. Yeah, think about it.

Shaquille O’Neill to the NFL: This doesn’t even need explanation. This would be, without a doubt, the most profitable/entertaining saga to hit this planet since the life of Mike Tyson––and possibly as violent.

Aquafina Entering the Energy Drink Market: Let’s face the facts; Aquafina should just take Jerry Seinfeld’s advice and “…put enough caffeine in there to kill you … Then, back it off a little”. Call it Addict. There’s your dang drink.

Punk’d Meets Reality TV: Whenever someone wins their respective competition, curtains part to reveal Ashton Kutcher via video, on the set of his current movie, pre-recorded saying, “Uh, You got Punk’d…”. Quite frankly, this could work effectively on The Miss America Pageant.

All gag’s aside, are we not sick of this yet? Is there nothing to be said for class anymore. If have the choice to buy a jersey of my favorite team, do I go online and look for a classic jersey, the home jersey, the away jersey, the alternate jersey or the 2009 Classic version of that same classic jersey? Have we had enough? What if one day, they repackaged Britney Spears––her faith meant something, she was classy and cool, and southern and spicy? Oh…to dream for what could have been.

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment