Cinema Dispatch: 2022 June Catch Up

With an out-of-state trip followed by a hellacious cold, it has not been the most productive week for me and I sadly could not get this done by the end of last month. Still, it’s been a rather slow month of releases as only three or four big movies have come out in the last few weeks with everything else presumably scared off by Top Gun, so taking things a bit easy and reviewing them on my schedule may not have put me as far back as you’d think. In any case, we’ve got three movies that I saw in June, and I’m finally ready to talk about them! Let’s get started!!

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Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe

Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe is owned by Paramount Plus

Directed by John Rice & Albert Calleros

Beavis and Butt-Head (Mike Judge) are living their pointless teenage lives in the early nineties when they get into trouble and are rewarded with tickets to Space Camp. Through a convoluted series of misunderstandings and poor adult supervision, the duo is launched into space and find their way into a wormhole that sends them all the way to 2022; a revelation that is awe-inspiring to them as seeing the numbers 69 on a billboard. With nothing else to do and still barely comprehending the situation, the duo tries to make it back to their house so they can score with a hot astronaut lady and watch some more TV. Said astronaut lady (Andrea Savage) is now running for reelection as Governor of Texas and doesn’t want these two bringing up questions about that botched space mission, so she’s hunting them down with the help of her Lieutenant Governor and hapless lackey (Nat Faxon), while the Pentagon is following their movements believing them to be extra-terrestrials. Can Beavis and Butt-Head avoid death and dissection on their quest to score and eat nachos, or will the universe itself be torn to shreds in their quest for food and babes?

If Disney spewing their entire retro catalog at us in Chip & Dale didn’t make things clear enough, we are firmly in the throes of a nineties comeback which meant it was only a matter of time before Mike Judge and co dusted off this franchise for one last ride. Unlike other revivals, however, that try to remind you of the nineties with rose-tinted glasses, Judge and co are more interested in making two characters that were inextricably tied to that decade work as a modern property. To their credit, they mostly succeed as this movie is funny and a solid entry in the franchise, but even with the best of intentions it still feels a bit mired in the past. Transplanting them to modern-day with a very modern conceit (multiverses are the hot new thing these days) was a wise move and it does give Judge some room to air his grievances with modern life, though as is his style he tries not to get too preachy about it and lets his characters react to it rather than say much about it himself. They also flesh out the duo in ways that we hadn’t seen before which is certainly rewarding for fans, and I like that Beavis gets to open up a bit more and shows some genuine heart in this. It also puts into stark relief how much Butt-Head is the Moe Howard of this duo and he has some pretty nasty moments in here that almost make him the villain of the story which is honestly a lot more plot and drama than these two are used to. It’s pretty much what you’d want from a modern Beavis and Butt-Head as it’s solidly funny but is not breaking any new ground. As fun as all this is, however, there’s a point where they completely run out of steam and what is supposed to be the subtext of the entire franchise becomes laid bare in a way that is just not funny or interesting. The thing about Beavis and Butthead is that they may be foolish and ignorant teenagers, but they are able to move through life with little consequence because the rest of the world is just as foolish and ignorant as they are. Where Beavis and Butthead are driven by simplistic desires for food, sex, and cheap thrills, the rest of the world is consumed by ego, comfort, and minimizing their shame, and while they do get a good amount of mileage out of that in this movie, it feels like they wrote themselves into a corner and gave up on trying to make this a clever punchline and instead use it as a plot device. Once that happens, the movie never truly recovers and the final thirty minutes are somewhat of a slog as no one seems to know what to do anymore and are just jabbering back and forth to pad out the running time. There are plenty of franchises that go on long after they’ve run out of ideas and I commend Judge and co for picking their moments to bring these characters back. Still, there’s a bit too much of this that’s stuck in the nineties and the few jabs at modern society are not quite enough to pull it into the twenty-first century.

3 out of 5
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Cinema Dispatch: Incredibles 2

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Incredibles 2 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Brad Bird

So it’s time to once again return the Pixar well, isn’t it?  After the underwhelming sequel to Finding Nemo which was then followed by the much more interesting and engaging Coco, you’d think that Pixar would have leaned into new properties they can exploit down the road rather than relying so heavily on sequelizing their back catalog, but this one is a little bit different than say Monsters University or yet another Toy Story movie.  People have been clamoring for a new Incredibles movie since the first one came out which is particularly exasperating considering it’s been well over a decade since then, but Brad Bird finally came back to the company that made him and is finally giving us the movie we’ve all been anxiously anticipating for all that time!  Was it actually worth the wait, or should Pixar left well enough alone?  Let’s find out!!

The movie picks up right after the events of the first film with the Parr family fighting the sinister UNDERMINER (John Ratzenberger) and in doing so reaffirming their strong familial bond!  Actually, they barely manage to stop anything and the city is pretty ticked off that they got involved in the first place; particularly since the dude was just robbing a bank and the money in there is insured anyway.  Heck, they could probably just trace the bills that were in there and arrest the UNDERMINER when he actually tries to spend it, unless of course he’ll convert it into bitcoins or something ridiculous like that.  Anyway, the Parr family is let out of custody, but are forced to lay low once again to avoid raising the ire of the authorities who are still enforcing a strict NO SUPER HERO policy despite seemingly unprepared for dudes with giant drill vehicles tearing up the city.  Things look particularly grim right now as Agent Dicker (Jonathan Banks) is retiring and can’t keep covering their butts on this, but a ray of hope comes through as Lucious Best AKA Frozone (Samuel L Jackson) arrives to give the parents Robert and Helen (Craig T Nelson and Holly Hunter) some news of an eccentric business man ready to offer them a deal.  The man’s name is Winston Deavor (Bob Odenkirk) and he wants to bring Super Heroes back into public favor, so with the help of his sister Evelyn (Catherine Keener), they plan on using one of them to solve a few low level crimes on camera so that people can actually see a Super Hero in action instead of just witnessing the aftermath of their fights.  The duo feels that Helen AKA Elastagirl is gonna be the best choice which incenses Robert AKA Mr. Incredible, but he capitulates and stays home to watch the kids Dash, Violet, and Jack-Jack (Huck Milner, Sarah Vowell, and Eli Fucile) until they can get Super Heroes legalized once again!  THEN he’ll be able to don the spandex once again and fight criminals instead of helping with math homework or reading bedtime stories!  It’s not as easy as it sounds though for either Robert OR Helen as the former has to deal with the evolving and terrifying powers of their youngest child Jack-Jack while the latter all of a sudden finds herself an arch nemesis called The Screenslaver (Bill Wise) that’s ready to stop her crime fighting ways before she even has a chance to really make a difference.  Will Robert manage to be a good dad while dealing with all these Mr. Mom shenanigans?  What can Helen do to stop this latest threat, and is there more to the story that she’ll need to uncover?  Wait, didn’t we already go through most of this the last time around!?

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“Can we have just ONE meal without property damage!?  IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK!?”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Incredibles 2”