movies, Scooter Thomas

Scenes From A Rejected Jurassic World Script Featuring A Terrifying New Dinosaur: The Scootersaurus Rex

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Coming to a multiplex near you.

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Scene: Dr. HENRY WU, chief scientist at InGen, is hunched over a microscope. He is working in his lab while VIC HOSKINS, head of InGen security, hovers over his shoulder. Vials and test tubes cover Wu’s desk. Next to them is a copy of the book The Grumpy Guide To Life.

WU: We’ve isolated the most fearsome traits from several different species in order to create this new hybrid.

HOSKINS: Excellent. I can’t wait to weaponize it and wipe out despotic regimes like the North Koreans and Cincinnati Bell. Tell me — what can it do? Run up to 50 mph? Camouflage itself in the wild? Incapacitate sauropods with its razor-sharp sickle claw?

WU: Well, no. It actually can’t do any of those things.

HOSKINS: It can’t? What can it do then?

WU: It can nap for extended periods of time — in some cases up to twenty-two hours of day.

HOSKINS: No!

WU: It has a voracious appetite, compounded by a new wrinkle I just threw in, a variation on the hyperthyroid disease, which allows it to consume massive amounts of food, drink several bowls of water a day, promptly vomit all of that in any location it so chooses, and still manage to leave behind some really foul-smelling excrement that not even Fresh Step Lasting Power litter — you know, the one that clumps and activates carbon to eliminate odor? — can handle.

HOSKINS [sweating]: Dear God.

WU: That’s not all. We dug up Marcel Proust’s grave and extracted his genetic material, then spliced his DNA into this hybrid to create the most erudite, French, condescending creature one could possibly imagine.

HOSKINS: In other words, a monster.

WU: Of the highest order.

HOSKINS: And what are you calling it?

WU: We call it … the Scootersaurus Rex.

HOSKINS soils himself and passes out.

——————–

Scene: Dashing animal trainer OWEN GRADY and buttoned-up but plucky female CLAIRE DEARING are alone in Jurassic World, where a Scootersaurus Rex is on the loose. They are walking through a forest. The trainer is holding a gun.

GRADY: What kind of creature did you create that could hide itself from thermal recognition sensors?

DEARING: We used cuttlefish DNA so that it could camouflage itself from its prey, but it’s the tree frog DNA specifically which allows it to remove its own thermal signature. That’s why you were, uh, left for dead back in its holding pen.

GRADY: Yeah, we’ll talk about that later.

DEARING: What do you think our odds are of catching it?

GRADY: Depends. The more I know about how it was made, the better our chances. What else can you tell me about it?

DEARING: Well, it approaches its prey by assuming a supremely condescending pose … tilting its head back, staring down at you through its nose, so to speak. Sometimes holding a snifter of brandy and a cigarillo. Making offhand remarks like, “What did you think of that Economist article about street theater in Bogotá? Oh, that’s right — you subscribe to US Weekly and are still broken up about Bennifer, you intellectual midget.”

GRADY: Sounds like a real menace.

DEARING: You have no idea.

GRADY: So … help me with this part. What I still don’t get is that the park wants to drum up business and increase traffic, so they come up with a brand new attraction — this Scootersaurus Rex, right? But … what exactly is the draw again?

DEARING: Listen, to be honest, something went wrong in the lab. The creature is a complete disaster. If it’s not constantly napping in its pen, it’s regurgitating its food everywhere. I mean everywhere. And its feces could kill a Futalognkosaurus. Which, as you know, are quite large.

GRADY: No wonder this franchise is floundering.

——————–

Scene: Night. Two brothers are alone in the woods with the park on shutdown. Scootersaurus Rex could be anywhere. 

OLDER BROTHER: It’s getting late. No search parties will find us now. Let’s set up camp by this stream and pray we see the sun rise tomorrow.

YOUNGER BROTHER: I’m glad this near-death experience has afforded us the opportunity to bond in ways we never did before!

OLDER BROTHER: Shut up.

Boys lay down on the ground and close their eyes just as a terrible wailing pierces the night air.

YOUNGER BROTHER: What was that?

OLDER BROTHER: The plaintive cry of the Scootersaurus Rex. It’s like a mournful warble. It’d be almost sad if… if…

YOUNGER BROTHER: …if it wasn’t the most ear-splittingly pathetic sound you’ve ever heard in your life and you were just on the verge of sleep?

OLDER BROTHER: Yes. Exactly.

YOUNGER BROTHER: Too bad we can’t lock him in the basement!

OLDER BROTHER: I hope they don’t put this on the soundtrack, otherwise ear drums will bleed.

———————

Scene: The climactic moment when the Tyrannosaurs Rex and Scootersaurus Rex are doing battle. Four puny, non-CGI humans — GRADY, DEARING, and the BROTHERS — are running about like idiots in what appears to be a sincere effort to get trampled to death. 

TYRANNOSAURUS REX: Roar!

SCOOTERSAURUS REX: [looks bemused, licks himself]

TYRANNOSAURUS REX: ROAR!

SCOOTERSAURUS REX: [lays down, yawns]

DEARING: What will happen?! The suspense is killing me!

GRADY: I’m calling my agent after this shot to remind me why I signed up for this movie. I better be getting serious jack for this.

YOUNGER BROTHER: Will you both be my new parents?

OLDER BROTHER: Shut up.

TYRANNOSAURUS REX [confused, looking off-camera for cues]: Um … ROAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRR!

SCOOTERSAURUS REX: [begins gagging, then barfs out a large clump of semi-digested dry cat food]

DEARING: This is terrifying!

SCOOTERSAURUS REX eats her, then puts on his reading spectacles and begins smoking a pipe while perusing a copy of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. TYRANNOSAURS REX throws his twig arms up in disbelief and storms off the set.

YOUNGER BROTHER: We’ll live! Let’s hug!

MOSASAURUS jumps out of the water and devours him. 

ROLL CREDITS.

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movies, Nic Cage, television

Nic Cage In The Cage

Regular readers of this blog know that we have a bit of a Nic Cage fixation. “But he does so many bad movies,” our friends say. We readily acknowledge that yes, he does in fact make a lot of bad movies. (Ghost Rider 2 opens this Friday.) But he also makes lots of good movies. He also — and this is what sets him apart in our minds — has the rare ability to make some really good bad movies. (He also makes some really bad bad movies. Like Knowing. And Season of the Witch. And The Wicker Man. But we digress.) The National Treasure movies, just to name two, are terrible, but we will gladly sit down and watch them whenever TNT happens to air them, which seems to be every other weekend.

What we find so compelling about Nic Cage is this tension of opposites. Is he a good actor who chooses bad movies? A bad actor who occasionally makes good ones? A bad actor making bad movies that, like double negatives, somehow turn out good?

We tried to articulate this several years ago in a Nic Cage Cage Match post. Then, last night, “Saturday Night Live” provided this inspired bit of comedy which pretty much summarizes everything we tried to say then:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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These four and a half minutes are a testament to everything we find endearing about Nicolas Cage. May he one day fulfill his dream to appear in every movie ever released and restore honor to his dojo. Clone Nic Cage!

Friday Recommends, movies

Friday Recommends: The Trip

Come, come, Mr. Bond, you derive as much pleasure from killing as I do.

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In the annals of buddy road trip movies, none feature as many Wordsworth references, Michael Caine impressions or scallops as The Trip. Steve Coogan plays himself, or a version of himself, setting off for a week-long tour of northern England’s finest restaurants. His original companion, his girlfriend Mischa, has not only backed out — she’s gone to the States. Steve calls up his friend Rob Brydon, playing himself, or a version of himself, and — after making a point of telling his friend how many people he asked before settling on Rob — asks Rob to join him.

So begins The Trip, a meandering, hilarious expedition that’s surprisingly moving for a film in which not much happens. While the brooding Coogan and overbearing Brydon only occasionally amuse the other, their constant stream of impressions — which run the gamut from Al Pacino to Roger Moore to Stephen Hawking, and seem to comprise over half the movie — are a riot for the viewer. This game of seemingly meaningless one-upmanship works on two levels. For anyone who’s ever spent a week-long road trip with someone, this is exactly what the conversation devolves into: running gags, sophomoric humor and inside jokes that are bewildering to outside company (as when Coogan’s assistant Emma and a photographer join Steve and Rob for lunch).

But the weight of the film, and its occasional wistful tone, come from the unspoken competition between Steve and Rob to convince the other of his own contentment. Whereas Steve is always calling his agent for reports on more artistic roles (he dreams that Ben Stiller tells him all of Hollywood’s “auteurs” want to work with him), Rob spends his nights calling his wife, doing a Hugh Grant impression in a mock attempt to arouse her. One is restless, bitter, searching; the other settled, happy, content.

Director Michael Winterbottom, adapting his TV series of the same name, gives both men a fair shake. The film is Coogan’s, but the last scenes we see are of him alone in his London apartment, while Brydon is sharing dinner with his wife, cozy in domestic warmth. The Trip also features gorgeous scenery, making England look like the Rocky Mountains.

It’s hard to pick our favorite scene, but if pressed, it’d be this one:

family, friends, movies, NBA, Sam, Scooter Thomas, sports, Utah Jazz

Voreblog Power Rankings: December 8, 2011

Ranking who’s currently wearing the pants in the Vore household. Previous rankings here and here.

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Entering the list dead last.

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8. TUESDAY’S DATE NIGHT. Previous ranking: N/A

You know you’re in for a bad date night movie when your babysitter tells you, as you’re walking out the door, “Oh, I saw that over Thanksgiving break and it was terrible.” We knew the movie in question, Breaking Dawn, would not be good, but just how not good it was startled even our low, low expectations. Taylor Lautner needed all of five seconds to rip his shirt off, while the CGI sequences involving wolves speaking to one another were almost as bad as the flaming moose CGI sequence from Knowing. (Almost.) Date nights being a rare commodity, Tuesday’s date night was, shall we say, a Flaming Moose. Did you know? Jacob imprinted.

7. OUR CHRISTMAS TREE. Previous ranking: N/A

Charlie Brown, move over.

Our five foot artificial Christmas tree is sparkling and festive … starting at three and a half feet up. The Vore Christmas tree is #7 this year thanks to #4 and #1. O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum, how lovely are thy topmost branches.

6. ERIN (down). Previous ranking: #4

After being dealt a grievous blow by David Stern and the National Basketball Association, Erin last night suffered another setback at the hands of the site Vistaprint, which suckered her into designing a super-sweet Christmas card only to tack on an egregious charge for envelopes before slipping in an even more egregious shipping charge which we had to pay if we wanted to see our cards before next February, so that what started out as an enjoyable endeavor filled with Christmas cheer soon devolved into a price-gouging, knicker-twisting, profanity-laced tirade at 11:30 at night. To top it all off, Gmail’s new look is terrible. Future prospects: Grim. A Google search about how to switch back to the old Gmail format proved fruitless. On the bright side: Vetoed Ben’s favorite cow ornament. On the less bright side: Ben put her Graeters black raspberry chip in the fridge instead of the freezer the other night. This was honestly not payback.

5. BEN (down). Previous ranking: #3

Despite once again failing to appear on People’s Sexiest Men list, Ben has, for the first time in his five year fantasy football career, qualified for the Mustache League playoffs thanks to his savvy midseason pickups of Cam Newton, DeMarco Murray and whoever is playing defense against the Chiefs. Ben is also ecstatic to have an NBA season this year, and has spent the last two weeks doing meticulous research on the new luxury tax and its ramifications on Utah’s bloated payroll. Though things look grim in Salt Lake this season, at least there’ll be basketball. Good news: A Dunkin’ Donuts opened across the street from where Ben works. Bad news: A Dunkin’ Donuts opened across the street from where Ben works. Also: Unlike Tim Tebow, Ben cannot pull another man into the bathroom during a tug-of-war contest.

4. SCOOTER THOMAS (up). Previous ranking: #5

After his precipitous fall from the top spot in the power rankings, Scooter Thomas has since regained his footing by asserting his dominance over the Christmas Tree (#7) — by eating the (fake) needles off all the bottom “branches” and then regurgitating them back into his food dish. (Why?) Despite the incoherence of this behavior, what’s undeniable is that Scooter T. has his mojo back. On the downside: Negligent owners forgot to fill his water dish yesterday, resulting in him licking the bathtub floor after Erin’s shower this morning. Sad.

3. CAMILLE AND MIKE ALLEN. Previous ranking: N/A

For sending us a Christmas card with the following message on the front: “Happy Holidays!” And the following message inside: “…is what terrorists say. Merry Christmas!” We were going to do the same thing but we didn’t have the cojones. Future prospects: Bleak. How will they top this next year? Guess they’ll have to have a kid or something.

2. GRANDPARENTS (same). Previous ranking: #2

The grandparents maintain their perch at #2, thanks to traction with the head honcho (see #1) and a willingness to indulge his sweet tooth with second helpings of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving (Nana and Papa) and fawn over him via Skype while he attempts in vain to pound the keyboard (Mamaw and Papaw). Grandparenting. Can’t beat it.

Papa and le tigre.

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Papa, Nana, le tigre.

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Papaw and Mamaw, Skypers extraordinaire.

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1. SAM (same). Previous ranking: #1

Aside from a small bout of diaper rash, Sam continues to own the power rankings with his Christmas Tree dominance and irrepressible ability to bend everyone’s will to his liking. (“Sam wants more pie? Well sure, let’s give it to him!”) With a burgeoning vocabulary and firm handle on the sign for “more,” Sam runs shop at the Vore household, crashing trucks down the stairs to his heart’s content and getting Classical Baby on demand whenever he so chooses. He also knows just the right moment to grab and pull at Scooter Thomas’s tail whenever his feline nemesis gets a little too chippy. Future prospects: Bright. Despite the need for absolutely nothing for Christmas, he’s still everyone’s favorite to shop for. Ain’t that the life.

movies

Crazy, Stupid Love

All cringe, all the time.

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“It’s been a really long year,” Emily (Julianne Moore) says to Cal (Steve Carell), at the end of Crazy, Stupid Love. The year in question has seen Emily and Cal separate following her unfaithfulness, which leads to Cal’s serial unfaithfulness, given a big assist by Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who decides one day to take this sad, rumpled, middle-aged man whom he met in a bar under his wing and teach him how to be a womanizer. (The first thing to do, apparently, is not wear New Balance shoes or shop at The Gap.) Meanwhile, Emily and Cal’s kids, Robbie and Molly, deal with their parents’ separation by masturbating and dancing in front of the TV, respectively. Robbie’s babysitter Jessica just happens to walk in on him doing the deed, which is kind of ironic because Robbie tells her afterwards that he thinks about her when he does it. It’s even more awkward when Robbie later discovers that Jessica is in fact in love with his dad.

There’s more, but we won’t spoil the convoluted mess that is Crazy, Stupid Love for you if you missed it in theaters but plan on catching it on DVD. We spent the movie alternating between these two thoughts: Why did all of these A-list actors (including Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon) sign on to this movie, and how much worse would it be if they hadn’t? The coincidences are outrageous, the contrivances numerous. The most profound thing the movie appears to be saying about love is that it hurts. But Nazareth told us that thirty five years ago, and they did it in under four minutes.

Crazy, Stupid Love ends with a big set piece involving a middle school graduation where Cal steps out of the audience to interrupt his son Robbie’s salutatorian speech. Carrell has always been good at making audiences laugh and cringe at the same time, but this scene is all cringe. Robbie spews cynicism about life and love as only a jilted thirteen year old can, so Cal must reaffirm for his son — and his estranged wife, and the viewer, lest anyone fear this movie about things going wrong won’t make them all right in the end — that there is such a thing as soul mates and that loving people sometimes means hating them too but that’s okay. Robbie, emboldened by his father’s sudden recovery, professes his love again for babysitter Jessica, also in the audience. Later, Jessica rewards Robbie for his bullheaded but delusional romantic pursuit by giving him naked pictures of herself originally intended for her dad. Yes, it’s that kind of movie.

The best part, by far, was finding out during the credits that the dopey-looking guy who Emma Stone was originally with was in fact Josh Groban. That’s not saying much.

Our favorite remark from Metacritic’s page for Crazy, Stupid Love comes from the Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips: “This is the ‘Babel’ or ‘Crash’ of ensemble romantic comedies.” I think we can all agree that the romcom genre does not need its own Babel or Crash.

movies, things to love about Ohio

Things To Love About Ohio: The Ides Of March

Are you a Bearcat, Ryan?

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The Ides of March, the political thriller directed by George Clooney and starring both the beautiful (Ryan Gosling) and the bedraggled (Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman), captures the media frenzy and political machinations surrounding the Ohio Democratic primary, which has come down to a contest between a distinctly Obama-like governor (Clooney) and his otherwise faceless rival. The rival remains largely absent because the drama is not so much between the campaigns as within them. There is posturing, cheating, backstabbing, lobbying, lying, leaking and copulating.

None of this is the best part of the movie, though. The best part, hands down, is that it’s SET IN CINCINNATI.

This film stirred in Erin a deep hometown pride. “I feel intense Cincinnati pride,” is how she put it during the end credits. “Do you?” she asked Ben. “I do,” he replied. “Well you can’t,” she responded. “You weren’t born here.”

What were some of the Cincinnati highlights in The Ides Of March? Well, here’s Gosling walking down Fourth Street!

Ryan Gosling walking! In Cincinnati!

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Then there were the scenes set at Erin’s alma maters, Miami and Xavier. Here’s George Clooney wearing a Xavier Musketeers cap!

George Clooney! Go XU!

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And somebody who’s not George Clooney at Miami University’s Hall Auditorium, site of the first debate!

Ohio! We have great auditoriums!

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Here’s Clooney with Gosling and Evan Rachel Wood at The Stand in Mt. Lookout!

We are all beautiful people in a beautiful city.

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And here’s Ryan Gosling using one of our excellent public pay phones!

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Wait a minute. Can that be right? Is Ryan Gosling using a Cincinnati Bell telephone? Did he just pull a Jeremy Piven on us?

Who cares? He’s just so hot!

Ryan Gosling at a Cincinnati Ren Faire!

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Ryan Gosling doing his Ben Roethlisberger impression!

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Ryan bowls a perfect game even with a pink ball!

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Remember the Titans!

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TyRYANasaurus Gosling!

Friday Recommends, marital tension, movies

Friday Recommends: Not Seeing Contagion On Date Night

This should have been our first warning.

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Date nights come around only so often, and they get to be pricey once childcare is involved, so by no means should you make the same mistake we did tonight by squandering your romantic evening out on the movie Contagion. This is especially true if one of the people in your marriage is a hypochondriac.

Contagion begins with a cough. Then we see Gwyneth Paltrow looking a wee bit under the weather. Within ten minutes, she is dead. In another five, her head is being cut open for an autopsy. The director, Steven Soderbergh, who clearly hates us, films Paltrow’s face so we can hear the saw but not see the cut … until a doctor folds her scalp down over her forehead. The elderly woman in front of us leaned over to the person sitting next to her and said, “What’s going on?” Someone behind us laughed heartily. Someone else muttered, “At least somebody is enjoying this.”

Contagion proceeds to track the rapid spread of a bat/pig virus that has ruthlessly mutated and begun wiping out our finest Oscar-winning actresses. It is a creepily satisfying thriller — the virus goes global, and we are informed of all the cities and their populations being introduced to this lethal outbreak — but you will not want to do any cuddling or hand-holding during or after the movie, and possibly you will never want to touch another human being ever again. For that, you would be better served going to see 50/50 (our second choice), or perhaps even Moneyball (sold out).

If you insist on seeing Contagion, however, you will be treated to Jude Law’s truly awful teeth; a delicately restrained performance from Matt Damon; many pensive looks from Marion Cotillard; lots of coughing Asians; some sharp editing work that makes everyday objects like a drinking glass radiate germs; and the implicit message that government is a force for good that should be trusted in times of crisis. You’ll also get a good laugh any time Jennifer Ehle or Demetri Martin put on their hazmat suits. The world may be going to hell in a handbasket, but who can resist laughing at people with big, goofy balloon limbs? Not us.