Drugs. Watching Rango made me feel like I was on a large quantity of psychedelic drugs.

I’m not just saying that because Raoul Duke and the Great Red Shark made a cameo…although it helped. The whole film had a dark and trippy feel. It’s like the plot was a peyote fever dream left over after Burning Man. I can’t remember the last time I saw a “kid” movie that was so dark…The Last Unicorn maybe? It’s been a while since I’ve seen characters actually die in a “kid” movie. Even odder were the scenes in which Rango is suicidally depressed. Depression isn’t something you often see presented to kids, although I assume most kids just interpret it as being sad. I don’t actually mind my kids seeing dark films. In fact, I get kind of paranoid that they’ll end up kind of retarded if I keep letting them watch stuff like The Squeakquel and G-Force. It’s not that I’m worried about them watching stupid shit, because I watched stupid shit as a kid and it didn’t make me retarded – it’s that they watch so much lowest common denominator stupid shit. I really am concerned that all those happy fucking rodents will turn them into Mouthbreathers…or even worse, Teabaggers.

As I write this – in my air-conditioned fortress – Texas is experiencing its most severe drought in recorded history, so I can commiserate with Rango and the townspeople of Dirt. In fact, my yard would look like Dirt, if it wasn’t for the sprinkler system. Like Dirt, the mayor of my backyard is a turtle. Also like the townspeople of Dirt, we live in constant fear of snake attacks. (No Rattlesnakes yet, but plenty of Copperheads and Water Moccasins.) We have also been visited by an unkillable armadillo, a bald eagle and an unidentified pooping bandit. I guess the one thing we’re missing is a quixotic chameleon?

Rango does get overly friendly with a naked Barbie torso. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…Rango also does a bit of Ed Wood-esque cross dressing. No pirates, chocolate or barbering, though. I’ll have watch again to look for any references I may have missed.

Obviously, little ones aren’t going to get the references to Hunter S. Thompson or Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns or High Noon…come to think of it, I don’t know if my kids have ever even seen a western? I may need to rectify that soon…I remember being traumatized by The Searchers at about my son’s age…anyway, there’s a lot of stuff for adults to enjoy that will fly right over the kids’ heads. This is the kind of film that is so un-annoying that you actually buy it and hide the rest of the DVDs, just to get a break…but it’s not quite so good that you won’t get sick of it after 500 or so viewings.

Shanghai Knights

I had a migraine when I left the theater – probably because I rolled my eyes so many times.

It sucked…but it was on the better end of suckdom. It didn’t suck as much as Spy Game, but it was still miles below Shanghai Noon in quality. I’ll be generous and give it 2 BOBs – one for Owen Wilson, because he kicks ass and one for Lord Rathbone. (I said BONE. Heh.) He had that whole John Cusack eyes, Christopher Walken hair, I’m a sexy British dude thing going for him. Unfortunately, I think this role just confirms the Queer as Folk typecasting that Aidan Gillen must already be experiencing. Lord Rathbone was a far more interesting villain than whoever was in the first one. I don’t even remember who the villain WAS in the first one – some chinese guy?

I am not usually one to complain about anachronisms – I can sit through the entire Back to the Future series without batting an eyelash – but the script was ridiculous. The film is set in 1887 – Charlie Chaplin wasn’t even born until 1889! The Sherlock Holmes thing was even lamer. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a doctor. Blah blah blah, artistic license, whatever. Having real people pop up occasionally was funny in the first one, but it became tedious and contrived in this one. I was disappointed when Pancho Villa and Charles Dickens didn’t show up.

The one saving grace was the Umbrella scene. It wasn’t overly original, so I give it a 6 in originality, but a perfect score of 10 in execution. I expect I’ll be taking my grandchildren to see Jackie Chan movies, just to see the latest in Wheelchair Fu.

Did Rush Hour 2 suck this much? If so, I’ll continue to ignore it.

I am so pissed that I paid full price to see this crap. Definitely wait until it comes on cable for free.


Shanghai Noon

Better than Mission: Impossible 2. Yes – for once I am agreeing with critics…

There was a lot of ass-kicking action – though it was all rather tame, but unlike John Woo – it is okay for Jackie Chan to make a PG-13 film. Expected even.

The film should have been subtitled Dignan’s Next Score. Owen Wilson’s character, Roy, must have been the great-great grandfather of his character, Dignan, from Bottle Rocket. He was a wholly incompetent criminal with an even more incompetent crew. I keep wondering if the role was written that way from the beginning with Wilson in mind or if he was picked later to team up with Chan. I think they had much better chemistry than Chan and Chris Tucker in Rush Hour.

I don’t usually like Kid Rock, but his Cowboy Song actually worked pretty well with the film. The rest of the soundtrack was all classic rock like La Grange by ZZ Top and Back in the Saddle by Aerosmith. Actually, I think it was only those three songs on the soundtrack and they just alternated between those three.

I think I heard that there is a sequel in the works, which kind of makes me sad. So often, Hollywood thinks that if a movie works once, it will continue to work for further sequels. I am so sick of that bullshit.

Two weeks after opening, it’s probably already in the dollar theater. Go catch it quick…oh, wait. I’m sure it will be out on video in 2 months anyway. But it’s worth it to see Jackie Chan get all high and get laid…