We Saw Ted

In a beautifully produced scene Ted seamlessly appears on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It’s not just chatting, they are physically interacting.

Ted benefits from the technologies used in movies like Avatar. Ted himself is totally CGI and totally believable (except a few walking scenes where he doesn’t have enough friction/traction against the pavement).

Ted’s life starts strong but like many instant celebrities his luster fades. He ends up a slacker living with 35 year old John, now underachieving himself working at a car rental agency.

I first heard of Seth MacFarlane’s movie Ted when Stef sent the link to its ‘milk out of your nose’ funny trailer. In fact the trailer was so funny I originally thought it wasn’t a trailer at all, but a well constructed parody.

Helaine and I went to see Ted today at the Rave theater in North Haven. It’s not Rave’s fault the movie started with nearly 20 minutes of coming attractions! That’s Universal’s doing. It is Rave’s fault this theater’s seats are spongy and need replacing and the walls looked shabby.

Does the beautifully sharp digital projection make up for that? Maybe.

Ted is the story of a boy’s wish for his teddy bear to come to life. Ted does and the world takes notice!

In a beautifully produced scene Ted seamlessly appears on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. It’s not just chatting, they are physically interacting.

Ted benefits from the technologies used in movies like Avatar. Ted himself is totally CGI and totally believable (except a few walking scenes where he doesn’t have enough friction/traction against the pavement).

Ted’s life starts strong but like many instant celebrities his luster fades. He ends up a slacker living with 35 year old John, now underachieving himself working at a car rental agency.

The story revolves around the complex relationship between John, Ted and John’s girlfriend, Lori (Mila Kunis). How can John have an adult relationship with Lori while pot smoking, whore mongering, ├╝ber cursing Ted is in the picture?

This movie belongs to Wahlberg and MacFarlane with an honorable mention to Giovanni Ribisi as a totally psycho father willing to do whatever it takes to get Ted for his equally psycho son.

This is a raunchy movie with language and suggestive situations to match. I loved it! Seth MacFarlane has created totally credible, totally sweet, beautifully fashioned parallel love stories. John loves Lori. John loves Ted.

There was one curious bit of dialog between John and Ted I have to mention. While riffing made-up names for beer oriented movie actors John mentions, “Mike Brewguslawski!” Seth MacFarlane is from Kent, Connecticut. Is this a shoutout to former Action News 8 consumer reporter Mike Boguslawski? I asked MacFarlane via Twitter, but don’t expect to hear back.

We knew we wanted to see this movie from the moment we watched the trailer. It was everything we hoped for and has reinforced Seth MacFarlane’s destiny as a Hollywood creative force for at least the next few decades.

We Saw Date Night Today

Haven’t I learned by now to forget everything I read? Helaine always picks the right movie. She certainly did today.

My parents are in town. We’re trying to keep them busy. After all they could watch MSNBC and sit on the couch without leaving Florida! Helaine’s suggestion was we go to the movies.

For the past few weeks Helaine has wanted to see Date Night starring Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. I resisted because of some pretty awful reviews. Haven’t I learned by now to forget everything I read? Helaine always picks the right movie. She certainly did today.

Carrell and Fey are a married couple with two children from suburban New Jersey. A guilt induced ‘date night’ leads to a fib which leads to mistaken identity which leads to a mad chase through New York City. The story is far fetched but Carrell and Fey are charming with very good chemistry. Sometimes that’s enough.

Helaine and my mom were very favorably impressed by a shirtless Mark Wahlberg. As Steve Carrell’s character points out, Wahlberg has muscles on his shoulders… like I couldn’t if I really wanted to.

Among the funnier supporting players was stand-up comedian J. B. Smoove as a New York cabbie who by virtue of a head-on crash and locked bumpers gets involved. Someone must have asked for a younger, safer Jimmie Walker and lucked out. This guy is very funny in scenes where heavyweight mugging is required.

The same goes for James Franco and Mila Kunis as Taste and Whippet–the people Carrell and Fey have been mistaken for. They’re great as a couple arguing while being held at gunpoint!

Like I said, parts of the story were a little beyond belief. A long sequence at a sex club late in the movie could have been shortened or even removed. Have you ever noticed no one ever asks for a movie to be longer?

Bottom line, the critics were wrong. Go see it, but don’t worry if you miss it. This movie is destined to play a few hundred times on TBS. You know the type.

Invincible – The Movie

Invincible, the story of Vince Papale, opened this weekend. There was no chance I wasn’t going to see it. As the former owner of Section 614, Row 11, Seats 19 and 20 at The Vet, how could I not see a movie about a former Philadelphia Eagles player.

And, of course, there was Helaine. It was pretty much decided she’d see this movie when it went into pre-production. She too is an Eagles fan, plus at one time she knew Papale&#185.

Surprisingly, a lot of other people felt the same way. We went to the 3:00 PM show at Showcase Cinema in North Haven and found the theater nearly half full. That’s pretty good for a summer’s day – even one with mainly cloudy skies.

Are there that many Eagles fans? We watched a few groups of girls come in. Probably Mark Wahlberg fans.

Invincible is the story of Vince Papale, a 30 years old South Philly bartender with no college football experience who walks into a Philadelphia Eagles open tryout and makes the team. Imagine Rocky as non-fiction.

Though the movie claims to star Mark Wahlberg, it really stars Philadelphia. The city is portrayed as gritty and downtrodden. Papale’s South Philadelphia neighborhood is cramped with narrow streets and smaller homes. The Eagles are the one salvation to men who see no salvation or future in their own lives.

Wahlberg did a nice job, though I suspect the real Vince Papale was a lot more ebullient. The Papale seen on the screen was a self doubting moper.

Coach Dick Vermeil, played by Greg Kinnear, also seemed to lack the incredible enthusiasm… maybe naive enthusiasm… I saw in him as a Philadelphia resident.

It’s seldom you see a movie with a nearly wall-to-wall soundtrack of mid-70s music. This one did, and I loved each and every one.

Some of what’s portrayed, specifically Papale’s failure during his first pro game and his amazing turnaround in game two (calling a special teams audible which enabled him to make a tackle, creating a fumble, which he carried to the end zone, setting up an Eagles win against the Giants) seemed too contrived to be real. I checked, but the detailed game-by-game stats you find today just aren’t available online.

Papale is credited with one takeaway fumble in ’76 – so maybe.

It was nice to see names on uniforms and know they were really there. Harold Carmichael and Bill Bergey – these guys were big deals in Philadelphia. My bet is, back in 1976, backup quarterback Mike Boryla never thought his jersey would be featured in a movie, but it’s there too.

There was little suspense. You know he makes the team and how the movie will end.

What was there was lots of passion. That’s what made it worthwhile in the theater and what made it acceptable to be a fan in that 4-10 season.

&#185 – I was thinking Jessica Alba or possible Hillary Swank as Helaine, but somehow she must have been written out. Damn Hollywood!