Bad Movies Done Right — Now What?

I seem to have always known what I wanted to be when I grew up.

When I was five and I discovered the dinosaur movies of Ray Harryhausen, I knew that I wanted to be a paleontologist.

I couldn’t pronounce the word (I’m not sure I even can today), but I knew that I wanted to discover dinosaurs for a living.

It was my heart’s desire to chart and list the varieties of the great thunder lizard.

I bought books on the subject, collected plastic models and filled my head with countless possible recipes for cooking brontosaurus eggs in preparation for a lifetime of dino-hunting.

But then it happened.

One day, I was told that dinosaurs were, in fact, extinct. It seems that they had been for quite some time now. My fantasy of having a pet triceratops disappeared along with any future plans of playing with fossils. What was the use of studying dinosaurs if I would never get to meet one — and then eat its egg?

When I was six, I wanted to be a Ghostbuster.

I didn’t care if modern science and my teachers told me that there were no such things as ghosts, I was going to spend my life proving these naysayers wrong by discovering spirits and then busting them. Dan Aykroyd, after all, wouldn’t lie to me.

I had daydreams of an adulthood spent traveling the country discovering the unknown … and then destroying it.

I would encounter monsters big and small, prove their existence to a previously skeptical world and then wipe them off the face of the earth with high-powered proton beams, crucifixes or silver bullets.

But as attractive as my idea seemed, there were still lingering doubts that plagued my mind.

What if I spent my life looking for ghosts in vain? What if I did find a ghost? What if the ghost was really scary? What if I peed my pants?

What finally deterred me from my grand ambition of Ghostbusting was neither fear of the unknown nor fear of being sued by Colombia Pictures for copyright infringement. It was the empathy I developed as I grew older.

No longer feeling the drive to kill or eat anything I perceived as a threat, I put myself in the ghost’s shoes. Did I really want to take these poltergeists away from their unfinished business on earth and lock them up in an ecto-container for the rest of their afterlife?

That didn’t seem very nice at all.

I decided that the dead had the same rights to an afterlife, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that I did.

Every subsequent year, I flirted with a new future profession — more often then not spurred by whatever movie or television show I was into at the time. During the course of my childhood, I considered being everything from a FBI agent (X-Files) to a secret service agent (First Kid) to a costumed vigilante (Batman) to an investigative reporter (Fletch).

It may not seem like I had any sort of grasp on my future back then — I was changing my mind more then I changed my hairstyle.

The thing is, when I locked onto an idea of what I wanted to do with my life, I locked on with the strength of a pit bull.

When I decided I wanted to be a secret service agent, I was sure that one day I would take a bullet for the president. There was not a question in my mind. I had already started researching which part of my body would be the best to absorb gunfire.

When I was in high school and visions of filmmaking danced through my mind like celluloid sugarplums, I had no doubt in my head that one day I would be a hot shot movie director. I knew for a fact that the day would come where I would have to give an award speech so I started working on it between studying for finals.

Now things are different. I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up. The funny thing, though, is that to the world at large, I’m pretty near close to being a grown-up already.

I have a full-time job in an office. I own a suit with a matching tie. I brush my teeth and comb my hair.

Sure there a few things missing from my life that separates me from being a full-fledged, due-paying member of the real world, but sometimes I feel that I’ve already grown up and I’m not any closer to knowing what I want to be.

I’m not living a life of adventure or excitement on a daily basis. I don’t have a pet dinosaur or an arch-nemesis. I do not have anything near the life I thought I would be living five or ten years ago.

Does that mean I’ve failed? Have I missed the mark and become something I’m not supposed to be? Or was I way off as a child? Were my hopes and ambitions wildly inappropriate and illogical?

I like to think the answer lies elsewhere.

I like to think that I’m just not done growing up. I haven’t reached my final destination. I may be going to a steady job with set hours and I may find myself paying bills and taxes, but I’m still in the process of growing up.

Who knows what I’ll be when I get to the end of my youth.

Hopefully, it will involve dinosaurs.

Bad Movie of the Week — Post Grad

Despite it’s single-digit score on Rotten Tomatoes, Post Grad is not a terrible movie. Trust me, I’ve seen terrible movies. No, Post Grad is just a terribly unmemorable cookie-cutter approximation of a movie.

Neither insulting in its awfulness nor worthy of anything deeper then a cursorily glance, the film is doomed to little more then a few more months spent being shown to disappointed tweens at the first and last slumber party hosted by that awkward lonely girl who sits in the back of the classroom sucking her own hair oblivious to the fact that the rest of her classmates mock her Lisa Frank folders.

But that destiny too will be taken from Post Grad when another similarly mediocre movie is pushed through the studio production cycle within the next year.

It’s a real shame too.

Post Grad is chock-full of great actors who, given a slightly less apathetic script, could have put together a movie that spoke of something deeper then the collection of The CW network melodramas that are stitched together in an attempt to spin a half-hearted movie out of straw.

Alexis Bledel stars as Ryden Malby, a recent college graduate who finds she needs to readjust her expectations after she has trouble landing a job.

Offering her emotional support as she blinks her bright blue eyes in frustration are Adam Davies, her loyal platonic non-gay friend played by Zach Gilford, and her wacky family of free-spirits that are played by Michael Keaton, Jane Lynch, Bobby Coleman and Carol Burnett.

Rodrigo Santoro (notably missing the body makeup he used to play Xerxes in 300), J.K. Simmons, Craig Robinson, Fred Armisen and Demitri Martin all have small supporting roles in the film.

Not to sound snarky but director Vickey Jenson, who with this film makes the move from the world of directing animation, just can’t make the break from crafting a cartoon.

While I can certainly sympathize with how emotionally exhausting looking for a job after college can be, Post Grad chooses to gloss over that very interesting subject matter in favor of building a clichéd romantic comedy paint-by-numbers plot that audiences have seen a million times before.

In fact, the movie’s biggest fault is the fact that it has nothing new or interesting to say beyond its “young people have emotional stress too” theme.

As Adam, Friday Night Light‘s Zach Gilford plays the unrequited lover, hoping to woo the affections right out underneath Ryden. Unfortunately for Adam, Ryden is much more interested in landing her dream job — that of an assistant editor at a publishing house.


SPOILER ALERT

That all changes, of course, when Adam gets tired of waiting for Ryden to notice him and moves to New York City. Ryden, who has finally just landed her dream job, then proceeds to quit her job, move across the country and chase after the boy she spent the entire movie spurring his advances. That’s right, girls! Careers are a fun hobby but nothing should get in the way of a future spent barefoot and in the kitchen. Ugh.

SPOILER ALERT OVER.


The movie trudges along, playing out predictable scenarios in a way that only those who have limited experiences with the art of moving pictures would be impressed by.

While there are a few half-smile worthy moments in the film, they come at the expense of schizophrenic plotting.

Ryden’s story is, at times, completely put on pause while the film takes leisurely vacations with her wacky family — showcasing admittedly cute sitcom-esque vignettes that have little to nothing to do with the actual plot.

On Blu-ray, the film certainly looks as good as can be expected. Available in the special features section is a collection of deleted and alternate scenes, a music video, life advice from the film’s stars, a few short featurettes that deal with life after college and a few interactive games that are as silly and shallow as the movie itself.

Post Grad, like I said above, is not a bad movie.

It will not hurt a person to watch it. But, if you have any inkling of desire to check the movie out for yourself, I advice you to hold your horses and just wait until that fateful day not too soon in the future where the film will be available by the hundreds at your local used DVD store — sold to the store by a lonely girl who sucks her hair and whose classmates won’t be tricked into attending anymore of her sleepovers again because she showed them Post Grad.

Robert Saucedo wants to know why anybody won’t come to his slumber parties. Visit him on the web at www.robsaucedo.com.

You can pick up Robert’s Bad Mediocre Movie of the Week and all the things he wanted to be when he grew up below:


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