What To Expect, When seeing Battleship

A friend of mine recently won tickets to see What to Expect, When You’re Expecting. As some one who hasn’t seen Valentine’s Day or New Year’s Eve I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but my hopes weren’t high. That is why when me and said friend both noticed that the Avengers was starting 20 minutes after the movie we had won free tickets to see, a glimmer of hope ran through our minds.

Unfortunately for us, Avengers was only showing in 3D (another reason to hate the new medium) and neither of us had glasses. After a brief brainstorming session of figuring out how to get glasses (neither of us felt particularly bad about robbing the box office titan of two more admissions) we both decided that it was too much work and simply saw What To Expect.

This was a mistake. The movie didn’t have a lot going for it, at least not a lot to offer those with a Y chromosome, and I found myself unable to really take any enjoyment out of it.

That is except for the rare bright spot that was Mrs. Andy Roddick, even though she really only had two jokes repeated several times. I expected Anna Kendrick and Elizabeth Banks to be the comedic bright spots, with Chris Rock Thomas Lennon doing the heavy as on-screen dads. Sadly this was not the case, and a model-turned-actress ended up stealing the show.

What the two hours in the dark, trying not to get angry at the woman behind me who exclaimed awww every time a child was on screen, allowed me to defend another terrible movie that will be gracing the silver screens this summer: Battleship.

These two really are the same movie, just geared towards different audiences. Everything, right down to their ability to force a two hour narrative out of a board-game/self-help-book-title.

When the guy who played Flash Thompson in Spiderman, and Al Cid in True Blood, ran on screen shirtless and proceeded to do one handed chin-ups, it got a reaction of the twenty-something female audience members that I imagine will be similar to the one a slow-motion, clothing-ripped, scene featuring Rihana or Brooklyn Decker will get from their male counterparts watching Battleship.

The writing in both will undoubtedly be terrible. Slow motion will be used to supplement character development when the story needs drama but realizes that none of the characters are developed enough to care for (this happened roughly every 20 minutes in What to Expect), and every joke will be tailor made to magically get a laugh from the audience without being funny.

The thing that bothers me about What to Expect is that it doesn’t take nearly as much flack as Battleship does.

Peter Berg and the gang have taken an unnecessary amount of flack for what will more than likely be an awful summer movie that gets buried by titanic superhero special effects driven movies actually have a heart, but What to Expect has escaped largely unscathed.

This is a shame because this movie should be hated, it deserves to be hated, but for the most part it will not be hated.

This movie, and there are many like it, is every bit as devoid of thought as its testosterone filled counter-parts like Battleship, yet it is cut slack as a chick flick, a movie for girls.

That’s not a fair dismissal. Women deserve to get outraged at terrible movies being marketed to them as much as men do.

The moral of the story is… never throw out your 3D glasses, you never know when you’ll need them.

The Present of Canadian Film

Jay Baruchel and Sarah Polley to the rescue! I felt the same about Canadian films as most, but then something happened.  A few years go, Canada stopped making pure art house pictures and started making movies. no disrespect to either of these categories, but until the mid 2000’s Canadian films were a genre by their own right. They were raw, depressing, and usually overly sexual.

I’m not sure what is responsible for the change, but the Canadian film landscape is by no means as one-dimensional as it once was. We still are able to create those wonderful art house pictures, but now we can make “The Trotzky” and “One Week,” films that are enjoyable, and light.

We may have taken a long time to evolve as a country, but that evolution is now in full swing. The Canadian film landscape is nearly as diverse as any country’s. with the exception of a big budget special effects vehicle, anything the States can do, Canada can match. In fact, what is so special about modern Canadian film is that they can tell the stories that Canadians were previously unable to witness.

We are a different people than our neighbours to the south. Our sense of humour is different, we put the letter “U” in weird places, and we have a natural way of blending comedy and drama that is not often seen south of the Border (the most notable exception to this may be Juno, and that had Maple Leaves plastered all over it). It is because of this that, if Canadians would be more open, they would find that our industry is producing quality films. Films that could not be produced by any other country in the world.

Goon and Bon Cop Bad Cop for instance are films that feel like they were tailor made to be ingrained in the Canadian toque. Then there’s films that are not so obviously made for Canadians, such as Daydream Nation or the Tracy Fragments.

This is the great thing about Canada though, we mix well.

We can do whatever we feel like with celluloid without limiting ourselves by our own preconceived notions of personal identity. More so than any other country in the world, Canada may actually define itself by the art it produces, rather than the more traditional practise of art being defined by its country. This difference may be subtle but so are we as Canadians. We can laugh at the little things, and make little movies about them.

This is not to say that we should forget about Goin’ Down the Road to discover our past. But we have not experienced our golden age yet. We don’t have to pine for the days of Bogart and Grant. We don’t lament Grace Kelly’s decision to run of with royalty and abandon her film career. And we don’t have to hold our directors up to Billy Wilder and watch them pale in comparison. We get to start fresh, in the digital age, and that prospect, is a beautiful thing.