PINOCCHIO’S REVENGE (1996)

For this week, I felt the need to dig deep in the hole that is Netflix and see what’s really at the bottom of the pit. While I could have gone further in title obscurity, I found gold in this title. Its sort of like being in love. Once you know, you just know.

You know that campfire story about the doll that murders people and just won’t leave your house? (It was also part of a Simpsons episode which was far better orchestrated) Insert a much loved and celebrated icon and you’ve got this movie (and yes, Simpsons did it much better).

A better story with more intriguing female characters.

Also, if you were hoping for the standard Pinocchio story about a wooden boy who becomes real with the help of flakey grasshoppers and a song about becoming an actor done by a hipster looking fox, then you’re not going to enjoy this.

 

We open with a murder mystery – the victim was a wooden doll buried in dirt.

We are also introduced to one of our main characters, the district attorney and a mother. We know she’s a mother because of the look of concern she always has.  We know she’s a district attorney because she wears suits and makes frantic phonecalls.

She has a daughter (hence fulfilling the mother title of her character) who is not popular and picked on by other kids. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that a creepy wooden doll is about to teach these girls important life lessons about accepting those that are different than you.

Mom literally brings her work home with her when she gives a important piece of crime evidence to her daughter for her birthday. And honestly, what kid wouldn’t fall in love with a creepy and heavy wooden doll?

Step aside, Teddy Ruxpin. Kids have got a new best friend to sing them to sleep at night.

Mom’s pretty stumped on this whole murderer case…

There’s one witness, and he ain’t talkin’…

So our intrepid district attorney takes detailed notes exhausting all options. Just kidding, she’s not trying at all.

So the innocent man dies for the crimes of a little wooden boy.  But in all fairness, you cannot try a puppet as an adult. The ACLU will come down fast and they’ll come down hard on you.

Any kid can fall under the influence of a bad friend. Again, no one pins the bad friend badge on a creepy wooden doll, so when the daughter starts to act strangely, Mom’s out of clues.  However if she thinks about it long enough, she may just use the insanity defense again.

Pinocchio just gives this face the whole time….

This one’s my favorite. It says, “You know there’s a nest of termites living inside me, right?”

Meanwhile, bully girls go after the daughter. Before they were pretty harmless – she handed out cards to her party and they were just thrown to the ground. Now she’s being thrown to the ground while holding a creepy wooden doll.  I’m not a scientist but I’m guessing this could have been avoided by not bringing your creepy wooden doll to school.

Through means not necessarily logical, Pinocchio does get some revenge by causing this girl to get hit by this bus….

…witnessed by two girls in the weirdest scream ever edited by Man.

We haven’t talked about Mom’s boyfriend – who somehow thought this movie would lead him to a recurring character on Friends.

“Could I be any more Chandler?”

 

So daughter retreats even further to her weird relationship with the creepy puppet and supports its career goal of becoming a real live boy.

It aims to kill again – this time aiming for that pesky meddling babysitter.

We enter a portion of the film that gives us the best character in it….

This mincy child psychologist who is completely ineffective and offers bad advice.

“Sometimes kids act through their toys. We call it the My Monster Syndrome.”

You can just tell that every minute away from his sweater vests is torture.

Pinocchio really is the best actor in this whole movie. Ordinarily you can’t put the term “wooden” and “actor” in the same breath and imply something good. Pinocchio proves you wrong.

Chandler Boyfriend knows what’s up…

…until Pinocchio kills him.

“Could I be killed in a more stupid way?

Sure, keep the doll kid. Its not like people are coming back from the grave.

Everything about this guy screams, “I’m not really a priest.”

The thing about these kind of movies is the parade of human stupidity. Do they get rid of the doll after suspecting it ill will? Kind of. If you really wanted to get rid of it, you would have put it in a chipper, set it on fire or whittled a clock out of him.

Look, I realize we live in an age of rampant victim blaming, but these people really were asking to get massacred by a puppet infused with the spirit of a dead seriel killer. Live and learn.

In closing, it should be noted that the story’s big conflict was preventing a little girl from letting Pinocchio become a real boy. If he had gotten his way, he would have least been able to be tried as one, but don’t let this DA represent him in court…

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FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION – The Host (2013)

In this week’s post we examine a film that not only came out a few months ago, but probably had a bigger budget than all the other films discussed, combined.  However, just because your film

shoot had studio money to burn, does not make it a worthy pursuit.

Also this:

I realize making fun of Twilight is the world’s easiest thing to do – but if you see this woman’s name stamped on anything, its best to just back out of the room slowly.
On the other hand, this is also the studio’s way of casting blame. “From Stephanie Meyer – so don’t look at us if you hated it….”
This film should also not be confused with this Japanese monster movie, which I haven’t seen but looks way awesome:

 

Moving on…
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, its in no way a rip off of Invasion of the Body Snatchers – its just the tale of a alien invasion that takes out people’s souls and wears their bodies like suits. Nothing like Invasion of the Body Snatchers at all. There’s a girl named Melanie who gets invaded, but the aliens were sloppy about the whole body snatching invasion and so the entire movie is her talking to her alien. They fall in love with two different guys and enjoy harvesting wheat. Also, Diane Krueger keeps her whites whiter while looking for pesky humans.
That being said, here’s the most mockable highlights of this little film:

Melanie wandered into someone’s well lit mansion/library/art gallery and was immediately caught by aliens. Melanie clearly has no concept of how an end times apocalypse works.

Instead of letting the aliens put one of their own in her, she throws herself out the window, where they simply scoop her up and put an alien in her.

Had Melanie seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers, she may have come up with an alternate plan.

For the rest of this film, Melanie and her parasite, now known as The Seeker, will communicate. This will be conveyed to the audience by her staring into the camera and talking to herself.

We’re introduced to Diane Krueger’s character who’s name was probably said at some point, but given that her character required for the depth of cardboard, I don’t remember it.

Wooden characters that we don’t care about? I sense Stephanie Meyer has been in this room….

She asks Seeker to write down whatever memories are left behind. Its really wooden and we don’t care about it.

She obeys and writes down a really boring love story of something that happened earlier….

She met this guy while breaking into his house.

Again, Melanie does not know how an Apocalypse works. You don’t just mosey into an apartment and start going through the refrigerator for lunch meat.

She does however get a boyfriend out of it and they make out a lot. Which we all know, according to Stephanie Meyer’s Guide to the Apocalypse, is the only thing that matters.

Seeker then stares at herself in the mirror. Because she’s really interesting in that way.

She does however escape from a guy in a white suit who moves really awkwardly.

She steals a car and drives as far as she can and then has a accident only involving herself.

Oh Melanie/Seeker…..

Then runs into the desert and passes out. Thankfully, in the Apocalypse, a kind stranger shows up every fifteen minutes….

…and that kind stranger is John Hurt. Well done, Seeker! Most people just get a Guy From That Show a Few Years Ago. When it happens to me, I’ve got my fingers crossed for an Albert Finney or Michael Fassbender.

Diane Krueger is on the case! And just in time for her car to be polished within the very life of itself.

I watched this scene and started to hope for this scene from that other Host….

But whatever….

Melanie/Seeker is taken to a underground commune of hippies/survivors where her previous couch flame just happens to be there to tend to her wounds.

“Yeah, she’s possessed by an alien, but its a girl we used to know. So I’m conflicted. Better let it hang around and make the first move.”

There was this flashback, so Uncle John Hurt has a really good point.

Meanwhile, Diane Krueger is not amused.

Also, if in the future, your alien invasion has left you confused as to who is human and who is alien, let their choice in transportation be your guide.  No alien would be seen dead in a beat up 1994 Chevy Impala.

The action REALLY heats up when everyone goes out to the fields to harvest wheat.

Like, lots of wheat.

 

So. Much. Wheat.

They broke up the action with a car chase scene.  Despite the amount of dust being kicked up, the shine will never go out.  NEVER.
These two are the ones being chased, and not, I repeat, NOT in a ad for Foster Grants.
 Thanks to the quality acting work going on, I am in no way distracted by the fact they are posing in sunglasses with guns. Totally legit.

Its legit because the aliens lost and therefore, humans are better drivers.  Or something. For further questions, ask Stephanie Meyers.

One of our heroes bravely hides behind a bush thats shorter than him. Based on Melanie and this guys actions, humans have not done one thing to prove they deserve to survive.

In true Stephanie Meyers fashion, the other hero tries to kill Melanie/Seeker, but instead falls in the water. She saves his life and then….

…decides she’s in love with him. After all, he did just try to kill her.

I hate this movie. I hate it with the same breath and fire that I hate a Twilight experience.

Its really awkward though, when your host body loves one guy and your parasite loves the other. But thats what happens.
“Its Stephanie Meyer’s fault!” signed, The Studio that released The Host.
Just FYI ladies, no man will buy the whole, “That wasn’t me making out with your best friend! That was my parasite entity!” excuse.

When Cardboard Diane Krueger chases down Melanie/Seeker, a classic case of “The Villain Can Easily Win This” happens….

…but wait! Killing goes against the aliens’ code of ethics. So it doesn’t happen.

Speaking of endings that were ridiculously easy, Melanie’s Seeker gets bored with the movie and decides to step out of room. Presumably to find a better movie to be in.

 

Just a gentle alien parasite that only needed to be gently coaxed out of one’s soul that it was devouring for eternity. Simply cut and let it ooze out.
Quite possibly the stupidest yet easiest way the human race has ever been conquered in cinematic history.
“Its Stephanie Meyers’ fault. Don’t blame us – The Studio That Gave Us The Host.

It neatly fits in a dish….

 

…in which Melanie considers sending it back to Earth…

….but changes her mind and sticks it in the body of a dead girl that they found in the desert.

Seriously. That’s what happened.

“Think of it this way- She wasn’t using her body anyway…”

Lets see what Japan’s Host vision looks like…

So much thematically satisfying…..

And if you need someone to blame, you know who to call.