Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wednesday was Where the Wild Things Are (Or Were? Or May Have Been?)..

Today proved to be a short day a for work, escaping after a free lunch at Hammond Lumber (which was tasty. Fine day for it, too..) and I was afforded a free afternoon to do WHATEVER I damn well pleased.  So this is how things went down:
1.) Drove home from my boss' house, emptied my pocketses on the kitchen table, and removed my shoes.
2.) Went to the little boys room, picking up the newest Time that I could find on my way in (if you catch my drift..).
3.) Saw on the cover they had an article about Where The Wild Things Are.
4.) Said to myself, "Self, you don't like to read reviews before you see the movie which is being reviewed, and you want to see Where The Wild Things Are, so I guess you'd better see it soon before this magazine disappears."
5.) Myself said to me, "Well, Matt, you've got a free afternoon right here.."
6.) Me and myself decided to see Where The Wild Things Are.
And, let me tell you: I've been hesitant.  I LOVE the original book.  Easily my favorite children's book of all time.  If Brian Scalabrine asked me, "Like, all time all time?"  I would say, "Yes, Brian.  All time all time."  I like it that much.  Simple.  To the point.  Love between a mother and child, through thick and thin, even when the kid is being a little shit head.  Just warm and fuzzies all over the 20 pages or however long it is (Thirty seven, actually.  Just took a minute and counted.  Time counted 338 words, and I guess I'll trust Time on that figure.  Maybe the magazine's actually good for something..).  But at any rate I've been skeptical since I heard talk of a feature-length release some time ago.  Three hundred and thirty eight words and 37 pages over 90 minutes?  This could go many places, and none of them probably for the better..

Side story here: I also purchased this fine gem for my former work best friend (we're still friends, I just no longer work there..), Jay, for her little one, Henry.  Aka Hank.  He turned one in early October so I thought it was the perfect gift.  So I go to Mr. Paperback in Lewiston to support my local economy...and they don't have it.  They've got the stupid mother trucking movie version with screen shots for pictures and a new updated story to fit the movie.  No originals.  None.  Are you shitting me?!  I was steamed.  This actually added to my displeasure with the movie release.  Pushing aside a timeless classic for some sham-ass, chop shop of a book?  Get that weak shit out of here..

So I was forced to order a copy.  In some ways I guess things worked out for the better because it inspired me to buy a second book, too, just so I'd have something for his actual birthday.  Showing up a week late with a gift kind of defeats the purpose in my mind, even if I had been "busy.."  But the alternate, stand-in book I picked up is my Ma's favorite to read to her little ones back in the day (well, really more to me, I think.  Not because Krysta was less loved, but because the book is set to a mother-son relationship.  So, things fit better with me involved.  But I digress..).  It's called I'll Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch.  Basically the story starts with a stork comes down and drops a baby boy at a woman's doorstep (or something like that.  However babies are made..) and the woman likes to pick up her little newborn son when he's sleeping and sing a little lullaby to it which goes something like this "I'll love you forever.  I'll like you for always.  As long as you're living, my baby you'll be."  Cute, right?

Well this continues on up, through toddler teenage, and young adulthood in a very sweet way until, finally, the mother is now old and the son comes back, scoops his mommy up in his arms, and sings to her the lullaby.  Damn near brings a tear to my eye right now.  Any rate the moral of this tangential story is any guy out there who needs a gift for their mamma, I just saved your ass.  It's brilliant, really.  It's less than a Hamilton, not that you can put a price on good, thoughtful gifts.  But I picked that up for Jay and shared a timeless Capone family classic.  All in a day's work, I suppose.  Anyways, to continue..
A movie this afternoon sounded good, as I already said I had NOTHING to do, and I have no problem going alone as I tend to do from time to time...but I lucked out and my Ma came home from school today with no afternoon schedule.  Being the good son that I am, I treated her to a movie.  Offered to buy her a popcorn, too, but she declined.  Analysis: She liked it more than I did.  I was not a huge fan.

I don't plan to go into great detail about the plot and particular instances I liked or disliked in the case that the one or two of you who still read this are planning to see it prior to video.  The film certainly took some creative licenses and strayed far from the book, as it had to due to the book's simplistic approach.  The "wild things" were cool as shit, so I guess that was a redeeming quality.  They (as the previews show) are actually puppet suits.  So there's this little 3 foot tall kid and then real people in big-ass 8 foot puppet suits running around with him.  On REAL grass, rocks, and sand.  Through REAL trees.  Under REAL sky (Well, all of these were as "real" as Hollywood sets get.  I don't know if they were shooting  inside a studio or on location.  Still cool no matter which..)  While I disliked the plot I thought that these puppet suits made the movie 1000% times better than had the movie been Pixar'd.  It felt like a real dream.  Or what it felt like to dream as a 7 year old.  When life was good (though apparently not so good most of the time for Max..)

A lot of people have been saying it's not a great movie for little kids and I could certainly see why that's been said as I found it to have quite a dark mood overall, and tone from many of the characters, for that matter.  Maybe dark is the wrong word with regards to the characters.  A certain emptiness was present in many of them, in many ways.  But let me tell you: The two 5 year olds that were about six rows in front of us seemed to love it, other than the fact one of them had to go to the bathroom twice (TWICE!) during the 90-ish minute film.  Seems a little extreme, if you ask me.  Sammy, maybe in 15 years you and that girl can hit it off talking about your mutual affinity for urinating at least once an hour.  Only time will tell...ZING!

So that's my $.02.  As I sit back and take it in I think this should be a movie I would have liked quite a bit, as I usually enjoy movies that are a little depressing and feel more truthful-to-real-life than most big budget, cookie cutter studio dramas (I'm sure this had a big budget, but  in my opinion was by far a cookie cutter..).  My dislike stems totally from the fact it started as my favorite children's book of all time and finished as a movie in which Max did not send the wild things off to bed without their supper.  For shame, Spike.  For shame...Cheers.

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