Inside Out

As this is my intro, instead of talking about Inside Out (and how sad I was there was no 2014 installment), I will just talk about the intro to Inside Out, a short called Lava.

Lava is about love, volcanoes, and tectonic shifts with hot spots. HOT SPOTS.

Obviously some liberties are taken, but it tells a wonderful love story, to great ukulele music, featuring real Hawaiians, and it will win Best Animated Short this year. You are hearing it first. It is better than Frozen Fever. It is better than Feast and Paperman.

Emotions
It united all of my emotions into the orgasm phase of existence.

Fine, fine, back to the movie. Inside Out is really about a girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), growing up and trying to find her place in the world. She has a loving mother (Diane Lane) and father (Kyle MacLachlan), and enjoys the long winters in Minnesota where she can play the greatest sport ever made: Hockey. But all of that is about to come to a comical screeching halt, when suddenly they are moving to San Francisco for some “work reason” that is stressful and new and different.

To find out what is really going on inside Riley’s head, we have to go inside her head. Heyy brain stuff! That is where her emotions live! Right when she popped out of the womb and opened her eyes, she giggled and laughed, because Joy (Amy Poehler) was her only worker. It was almost instantly followed by gloomy as fuck Sadness (Phyllis Smith). As she got older, she gained more emotions, including Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).

Together, working in harmony, they can make a fully functional girl. An honest girl, with friends, and family, and hockey, and a goofy side, all making up her core memories. They also work on putting her memories into long term and bring back appropriate memories when appropriate.

But with a half cross country move to a smaller house, no friends, no frozen lakes for hockey, whats a girl to do? Well, apparently have her emotions go all crazy and bad things start happening to her right when she needs them to work together the most. Of course!

And where the heck is her old imaginary friend, Bing Bong (Richard Kind)? He is important, damn it!

Food
“Bing Bong is dead now, sweetie, so eat your imitation Chinese food please.”

Did I mention how good Lava was? Five out of four stars. I want to buy a Blu-Ray with it on it, just so I can get a digital copy and watch it with ease wherever I go.

The good news is, Inside Out was also awesome! Given its subject matter, it should come to no surprise that my emotions were all over the place. Thankfully Anger didn’t really show up, but maybe I did have a little bit of Disgust and some Fear. But hey, the Sadness came into full fruition too. I cried three times during this screening. Once for Lava, twice for this movie. Using literal emotions, it did a fantastic job of controlling my own emotions to make it an overall wild ride.

The film starts out cute, gets happy, stays happy, then gets into the sadness/fear territory, but by the end, it returns you back to the cute/aww feels by the end. A perfect journey, basically. The voice actors did a wonderful job, Lewis Black and Mindy Kaling in particular felt perfect for their roles. And of course Phyllis Smith, a wonderful choice for Sadness, who I assume they also based her design around.

The “hero” of our story in young Riley is a nice change of pace. She is a normal girl and one that most people can probably relate to. Not to mention she plays Hockey, which I must again note plays a significant role in this film. Hockey is slowly creeping its way more and more into mainstream, and I thank Pixar for doing something different.

Last but not least, this movie is for everybody. There are plenty of jokes and fun parts for the kids, but also of course a lot of higher concepts for the adults out there. When dealing with the brain, you should be prepared to use yours, for at least a little bit.

4 out of 4.

Obvious Child

I knew something was up when I went to my screening of Obvious Child. Two things were of note.

One, I was invited to a free screening of a film, that technically was already released in theaters the week before. Most of the time free screenings are before they are out, to build hype and stuff, but this could just be an indie movie thing.

Two, the tickets I had were sponsored and given out by a Pro-Choice group. Huh. That is an oddly specific group to sponsor a show time. I guess…this movie…is about abortion?

That isn’t an issue or something. But it is basically all I knew about the movie going into it. Like Citizen Ruth.

Stand Up
Obviously.

This movie is about a few months in the life of Donna Stern (Jenny Slate). She is a stand up comic, works at a hipster book shop in NYC, and isn’t doing too much with her life. Just telling jokes about how it is. Well, her boyfriend doesn’t like this path and doesn’t like to be talked about in front of strangers. So he breaks up with her. And then she finds out her book store that she works at is closing.

So she does what anyone would do, get really drunk and avoid her problems. If by avoid her problems, I mean talk about it on a stage, of course. Either way. She sexes up a guy, Max (Jake Lacy) who is very nice, and apparently the rubber wasn’t used. She gets pregnant, has a few panic attacks to add to her problems, and wants an abortion. The abortion isn’t even the scary part. It is the telling of her mom (Polly Draper) and getting the money together when she is already losing her jobs. At least she has friends (Gaby Hoffman, Gabe Liedman) for support.

But why does that fucker Max have to be such a nice guy?

Richard Kind is in here as her dad and David Cross as an old friend.

Box
I think this scene is a metaphor for birth. But I think that about all boxes.

The main selling point for Obvious Child is its realness, and it really excels at that point. Really.

Everything in this story feels like something that could actually happen. That is where it gets all of is charm and humor from. The humor is pretty funny, both in a “ha ha funny” way, and a “I am uncomfortable by their awkwardness” kind of way.

And really, there isn’t much more to say about it? The film is funny and incredibly awkward. It is about abortion, but doesn’t make it a big life changing event, just turns it into something that has to happen. And hey, it involves that guy who joined The Office for its final season, so that was cool too.

3 out of 4.

Ingenious

Ingenious is described as “A rags-to-riches story of two friends, a small-time inventor and a sharky salesman, who hit rock bottom before coming up with a gizmo that becomes a worldwide phenomenon.”

Now what did they make?

A bottle opener, that says a phrase when you open a bottle.

Yep. A movie about those guys.

guys
These guys.

Dallas Roberts is the small-time invent and Jeremy Renner is the sharky salesman.

At the beginning of the film they are selling novelty watches. Dog based ones that has a different thought in a sleeping dogs head throughout the day (for different dog types) and the same for a golfer. Pet owners love that shit but they have problems getting money to make a whole lot of different dog ones.

But Dallas then invents the “random lotto” number watch, thinking that will be a big seller. But turns out people also don’t care about that. The dog idea is the only potentially successful one they have, but need financing. They go to a “Infomercial King” in Richard Kind to try and get it sold, but don’t reach an agreement and he steals their idea.

Dallas is also into gambling, which Jeremy constantly convinces him to do (jerk friend) and they end up wasting their investments more. This makes his wife leave him, but don’t worry, Jeremy’s wife never leaves him. (By the end they might get back together).

He randomly makes the bottle opener that says a phrase, they get lots of money for it, and live happily ever after. Literally, because this is a “True story” and apparently that novelty item is the 4th most successful one, after the Hula Hoop, Frisbee, and the supersoaker.

alcoholic
Because for whatever reason, people love it when their bottle opener says one line?

By “rags to riches story” this really is a story about two guys who want to get rich quick in what appears to be the lamest way possibles. Novelty watches and a bottle opener? Big dreams guys.

I’m not saying what they didn’t do is remarkable, I mean, I haven’t made billions of dollars doing anything (yet!), but still, seems like a weird idea for a movie. Think about how much more exciting those other three novelty item movies could have been.

My bigger complaint though is the pacing. Out of an 80 minute movie, only the last 30 deal anything at all with the bottle opener. That means we have 50 minutes of movies dealing with them having not enough money to make novelty watches.

They do a lot with these watches, and do lawyer stuff, and everything. But really? 5/8 of the movie is about the other failed item, and 3/8 is about what they actually did that is important? What the fuck movie.

After 30 minutes I assumed they very successful item was a damn watch that had a dog on it, and it was just confusing. This is not something that should be a secret, and so…out of nowhere. Which is what it felt like.

As a real story, maybe its interesting. But as a movie, it is an incredible let down.

1 out of 4.