8 December 2014

A Person Is Smart, People Are Dumb



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I sometimes wonder what the worst thing someone has done, who I’ve randomly been in close proximity to is. I walk past strangers all the time, at least one of them must have been a fucking nutter. I mean, I must have walked past a murderer at some point but have I walked past a murderer who then went home and shagged a dog? It's not impossible is it? What about a murderer who shagged a dog and then worshipped a statue of Mel Gibson that they'd made out of shit? I have walked past a lot of people and so I don't think we can rule it out. It's one of the many reasons that I tend to assault people who attempt to shake my hand. To me a stranger is basically a cat locked in a box with a can of poisonous gas that may or may not go off. They exist in a hypothetical state where they could either be Earth dwelling angels of kindness or even turd-obsessed whore killers who believe that Cliff Richard wants them to burn things. I'm more of a ‘glass-is-half-empty’ kind of chap and so if a human is being presented to me as a blank canvas then I'll assume that they're all animal rapists, child killers and Michael Bay fans until I'm proven wrong. If I don't know you then I think you're scum and I'd like you to leave me the fuck alone. In many ways, I think that this is one of the biggest reasons that I love the 1997 family movie, Men In Black.
Men In Black tells the story of a shadowy government organisation that secretly monitors and controls all alien life on Earth. That's basically it really. I mean, there's some shit about Will Smith being recruited and trained by Tommy Lee Jones to fight a giant cockroach but of course you already knew that. I watched this film recently and couldn't believe that it was only seven years old. Then I realised that I'd forgotten a decade and it's actually more like seventeen years old which made me feel painfully fucking ancient and sent me into a weekend-long depression. I cheered myself up by thinking of all that I've achieved in that time such as graduating with a degree, growing some pubes, and kicking an angry dog in the face. However I then realised that it's also been twelve years since Men In Black Two came out and I sank back down into my depression again. Where has all the time gone? We've all wasted our lives! Maybe the guy worshiping the Mel Gibson statue of shit is right. Everything is pointless but at least he seems to have found some sort of meaning in his life! Anyway, I'm waffling... Usually I talk about the plot here but my point is that this film is now so old that we all know it. Everybody has seen this film a million times and knows how genius it is. It's like Ghostbusters but with aliens and better because I was too young for Ghostbusters and so grew up with this instead. That might sound like an un-insightful and subjective criticism but you know... that's probably only because it was. 

So why do we love this film so much? I'd like to consider it a fact that everybody loves this movie because as I've just said, it played a big part in my childhood. To insult this film is to therefore insult me and so in retaliation I'll say that your mum is a gutter tramp and consider us even. I saw this film in the same year that I saw both Star Wars and Jurassic Park for the first time and so in many ways it's one of the films that made me love films. Obviously the Star Wars I saw was the re-release from that year however Jurassic Park was just something that I was quite late to. I was planning on seeing it several years earlier but according to the woman in the video shop, I was too young and so she talked my parents out of renting it. I hate to sound like I hold a grudge, but what a fucking bitch!! Anyway, so I'm sure there will be people out there who do prefer Ghostbusters to this but I bet those who felt the most annoyed about my above statement were born in the 70's. In which case you're probably only expressing the exact same prejudice that I am and siding with the film that you grew up with. Both films feature an organisation that specializes in fighting supernatural beings and both happen to be comedy action films. They both also have slightly crap sequels and feature iconic costumes that are worn by lazy fans who have left a fancy dress party until the last minute. Of course we can live in a world in which the two franchises co-exist in peace but I think that we as a species are essentially pack animals. If two things are similar then we pick a side and defend our cause. Again, it sounds like I'm waffling, but I think the point that I'm trying to make is that Men In Black is clearly now a classic film. There's no doubt that Ghostbusters is and I think that Men In Black is strong enough to stand the comparison. Let's face it- if somebody said they preferred the newer R.I.P.D. then you'd just think that person was an idiot. No need for an argument there as the fucknugget is just so wrong that's it's not even worth discussing.

Other than the fact that it's what I grew up with though, I think that the other reason that I personally love this film so much is because of all that crap that I was talking about earlier. You know, the stuff about strangers. At the end of the day the average person walking past you is probably exactly that... an average person. Because isn't that just life in a nut shell? On average, the most exciting part of my day is watching the dog fart herself out of a dream and I think I only find that amusing when contrasting it to the misery I feel when waking up and realising that I've survived the night. This film dares to suggest that life might actually be a little more interesting than it really is. Do you know that creepy old man that lives across the street from you with a telescope? It turns it that he's actually an alien looking at his home planet and not a pervert as you initially suspected. And that bloke who wears a suit and looks like he does cocaine of a restaurant toilet to keep him awake during business meetings? He's actually Earth's mightiest protector and is keeping an eye on that telescope alien to make sure he doesn't start an intergalactic war! Remember, I was a child when I first saw this. I'm well aware that in reality those two people are indeed a pervert and a yuppie drug addict. However at the end of the day, we really don't know anything about the majority of the people around us and so to suggest they're aliens? That sounds like a fucking amazing set up for a film to me!

Of course a great set up doesn't always mean a great final out come does it? I mean, who doesn't like the idea of a motherfucking film about a load of motherfucking snakes on a motherfucking plane and featuring Samuel motherfucking Jackson? Sadly, that also turned out to be motherfucking shit. Men In Black however lives up to its promise by simply being great in every department. Firstly, the special effects are just brilliant. The 90's was pretty much the first decade in which CGI became the go-to tool for spunking out eye-candy onto the screen. This film however decided to work predominantly with practical creatures and it really makes a difference. Most effects in movies from that decade have now aged as badly as an old mans scrotum after an hour in the bath. We look at CG and we look at animatronics and we know they both look kind of fake. However with the puppet shiz, at least there's still some movie magic in how they've made them. Is it a guy in a suit or a gimped up robot? Who knows?! Either way it's more impressive than just knowing that some over-paid nerd has just headbutted a computer keyboard whilst the actors talk to an anal bead on a stick. As a result I genuinely think that Men In Black is as visually impressive now as it was the day it came out. The scene in which Will Smith enters the agencies headquarters for the first time is as fun and impressive as the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in Star Wars. There's aliens that look like insects and birds. Some that are vaguely humanoid and at least one that looks like a purple prolapse. Even at the age of twenty-six, this takes me back to being the eight year old whose mind was blown.

Secondly however, I just think that there's a style to this film that sets it apart from most other blockbusters. In fact, as far as movies based on a Marvel comic go, it is probably just as sassy and witty as the newly released Guardians Of The Galaxy which has had praise shit all over it. I mean, the opening of this film pretty much sets the tone as we're treated to a Burton-esque, Danny Elfman score which is from back in the days before everything he did just sounded the same. As we hear this, a giant dragon-fly hovers beautifully and comically down a road before splatting into a windscreen and never being mentioned again. I'm throwing it out there that this is one of the best introductions to a blockbuster in a long time. It doesn't begin with a cliched action scene and interestingly nor does it really end with one. Okay, I know that they fight a giant cockroach but the whole battle must last about five minutes at the most, as opposed to these days in which an action movie concludes with a giant fight that takes about forty-fucking minutes. I almost can't distinguish the end of Captain America: Winter Soldier from Thor: The Dark World however I can remember one in which Will Smith stamps on some insects and Tommy Lee Jones gets covered in an aliens stomach acid and arse juice. Sure Men In Black is an action movie, but for me it is primarily a comedy and even after all these years I find it funny. Everything from the woman in the morgue hinting that there's a man under a table whilst Will Smith assumes she's pointing to her vagina, to Tommy Lee Jones casually blowing Monk’s head clean off whilst knowing full well that it will grow back. To be honest, even the simple dynamic between Smith's modern day guy who doesn't take anything seriously to Tommy Lee Jones cynical, noir-esque, cowboy-styled, hard-arse whose seen all this shit too many times before, is great. I'm sure this was meant to be a ‘starring vehicle’ for Smith but in the same way that Chris Pratt was overshadowed by the talking Groot, so too is the Fresh Prince sidelined in favour of the unfazed and oak-chiseled frown of Tommy Lee Jones. 

In many ways this film is perfect as a stand-alone piece of entertainment with the end wrapping up the story in a way that didn't require it to continue with a sequel at all, really. Spoiler Alert, for the two of you in the world that haven't seen it yet but as the film concludes, it's revealed that Tommy Lee Jones' character has decided to quit and have his memory erased. This is fine by me. But by sequel-time, the makers obviously realised that his character was essentially the best in the movie and so panicked about bringing him back. So therefore we get the first sequel that simply goes over the old ground of the original movie but with a less interesting story and now without the element of surprise. Men In Black came out and was not only great but was met by an audience with almost no expectations. By the time of the sequel, we were hoping for something that hit the great heights of part one and were sadly given a below average movie that was pretty much lacking all of the originality that we loved so much in the first place. I should point out that I haven't seen part three, but by all accounts that too was a festering pile of dog crap. I know almost nothing about it except that there's a time travel plot device in which Will Smith travels to the 1960's to meet the young version of Jones's character that is here played by the forty-ish year old Josh Brolin. Which.. if Brolin was about forty in the 1960's.. would mean that in the 1997 original, Jones's character would be somewhere in his mid to late seventies. To be fair, the 1997 Tommy Lee Jones might have a face that's as cracked and wrinkled as an elephants vagina but he looks fucking good for septuagenarian.

So to conclude, in my humble opinion, a mixture of childhood nostalgia, originality, style, wit, great effects and an inventive set-up make Men In Black one of the best films of the 1990's and one of the best blockbusters ever! Sure, it owes a debt to Ghostbusters, but so does pretty much every comedy-action film since about 1984. Beyond cutting a hole into the bottom of a pop-corn box and asking your un-suspecting date to reach in, I can't think of a way you could have more fun at a cinema than seeing this on the big screen for the first time. I don't have any kids that have either remained alive or made themselves known to me but from the moment I am burdened with a tiny human that I'm legally obliged to keep alive, then I'll look forward to the day that I can show them this. It's a great film as it is, but in the way that it makes the world seem a slightly more interesting place, I think it's perfect for firing a kids imagination up in a way that they'll remember forever. Well it's either that or if my kid doesn't enjoy it he can get into a sack and we'll be going for a trip to the canal. Up to them, I suppose. Anyway, so thanks for reading all this as, judging by the length of it, I seem to have gotten carried away. Although, you've read it so I guess neither of us have much going on right now in our lives. What a boring world we live in. Or do we?!?!? ...We do. Thanks for reading motherfuckers and see you next time.

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