The Friday Movie Blog

Forget Manhattan ... The Muppets take Aaron!; Plus Shrek Forever After

In Shrek Forever After (PG), Shrek has gotten tired of his non-ogre lifestyle. Instead of terrorizing villagers, he’s being terrorized by his children. Instead of being alone in his swamp, he’s constantly supervising play dates. He’s an ogre caught in a rut. That is until he meets Rumplestiltskin. Stiltskin offers Shrek the opportunity of being a true ogre again for 24 hours, if he’s willing to sacrifice something in exchange. Which, of course, he does. Which, of course, magically causes everything to go wrong. Essentially this is It’s a Shrek Wonderful Life.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have been a huge fan of the Shrek films—well, except the third (did we really need a character voiced by Justin Timberlake?). I appreciate the filmmakers’ gleeful use of adult humor: from the bird exploding in the first film, to Puss in Boots getting busted with catnip in the second. Shrek Forever After is no different. While the movie as a whole lacks the eventful energy of the first two, it has many hilarious moments. (I especially love the inspired Gladiator-like setting of Gingerbread Man versus the Animal Crackers.) Additionally, as the franchise has aged, the animators continue to enhance the imagery. As you’re watching, look closely at the amazing details: Stiltskin’s beautiful magical contract, the way Donkey’s fur moves in the wind, and the creepy animation of the witches. As a moviegoer, you can appreciate how new technology is applied to create visually stunning moments. After all, who doesn’t remember Shrek and Donkey walking through the sunflowers in the first film?

Let’s be honest about something: Each successive Shrek movie has been more and more disappointing. What started as a fresh, irreverent take on Disney-ish fairytales became watered-down entertainment with few inspired moments. Shrek Forever After is not able to reach the mirthful heights of the first two films. However, it’s an admirable capstone on this decade’s monstrous franchise.

N(y)erd Tip: Again, save your money—you will not miss anything by seeing the 2D version.

My Grade: B-


The Best Movie 24-Hours of My Life

On Sunday afternoon I declared that I had the Best Movie 24-Hours of my life. This seems like a mighty lofty claim, but it was absolutely true. Saturday night I attended the Ritz Midnight Movie Madness’ midnight showing of The Muppet Movie. Yes the movie is absolutely unbelievable. (My Grade: A). But what was truly memorable about this was the audience. Every person was there because they loved the movie. As we watched the crackly, popping print of the film, people applauded when Kermit and Miss Piggy appeared on screen. A couple of people (mostly the group that I was with) would call out there favorite lines. And each and every song became a wonderful sing-along. It was an incredible experience.

But what made that 24 hours perfect occurred as I was lying on the couch flipping through channels the next day. Clue was on. (My grade: A-) This is a movie that I can recite from beginning to end. This is the movie that my older brother and sister and I would watch ad nauseam and rewind and rewatch our favorite moments over and over and over again (“Is that what we ate? Erp.”) I fondly remember, because the remote was broken, one of us having to sit in front of the TV and VCR to hit the rewind button. I watched the entire thing. And smiled and laughed all over again.

So in the coming weeks, create your own Best Movie 24-Hours. Catch one of Ritz’s midnight screenings. (Jurassic Park is on tap for June 5th.) Then, the next day, watch a movie that you love and that makes you feel nostalgic. Or, if you’ve already had the Best Movie 24-Hours of your life, tell me about it in a comment.