Friday, April 29, 2011


The other day, Jim Tews (@jimtews) and I (@thezdurr) sat down to do the Lord's work: live-Tweet the early 90's children's hit movie: Free Willy. It spawned four (FOUR!) sequels. I had never seen it, but let's see what all the hoopla was about.

thezdurr: So far, a LOT of majestic whale footage. If I was in the theater, you’d hear “Der’s a whale! Dere’s anodder whale!”

thezdurr: Sea World must’ve pissed itself when this came out.

jimtews: True story: I quit the Alton Park peewee football team to go see this in the theater. In other words this movie changed my life.

thezdurr: These whalers are almost yelling “yarrrr!”, but I guess the director said hold back.

jimtews: Holy Shit, worst graphic titles I’ve ever seen. Some community college editor must’ve gotten their big break on this film

jimtews: The homeless tween problem in San Diego was a real epidemic.

thezdurr: Everytime I see a child actor, I marvel at their “too much hair”.

thezdurr: The homeless children have stolen a cake, gone to skate park, and spray painted some stuff. Better documented in the TMNT movie.

jimtews: I bet Jesse’s mom was hot. Hot mom’s always have charming street urchin kids.

thezdurr: The house this kid ran away from looks like Martha Stewart’s herb compound.

thezdurr: This is what being a foster is like? Free Nikes, a bedroom by the harbor? Why didn’t my parents make ME wards of the state?

jimtews: Michael Madsen should play “Stepdad” or “Foster Dad” in every movie ever.

thezdurr: Kid spray painted the word “piss” on the wall? Move over, Banksy!

jimtews: Oh, I get it. Willy and Jesse are both outcasts. Charming bad boys who only understand each other.

jimtews: Fill-in dads always think “playing catch” will form a father-son bond where there is none. Keep trying Michael Madsen.

jimtews: This kid is as bad at fake playing the harmonica as those girls in the Robert Palmer video were at fake playing the guitar.

thezdurr: This kid plays harmonica when he gets the blues. Man, what kid in the 90’s didn’t do that? It was like pogs!

jimtews: FACT: Killer whales hate the taste of smarmy, badass kids.

thezdurr: This movie dared to trade “magical negro” with “wise Native American”. Game changer!

jimtews: The characters just introduced are clearly bad guys. As indicated by their receding hair line and slicked back hair.

thezdurr: “Willy doesn’t like anybody”. Show, don’t tell! Let’s see him eat a baby or something!

jimtews: This would be a great movie to take a nap to. I can’t believe I gave up my football career to see this in the theater.

thezdurr: The young aqua park girl has the haircut of a Mary Lou Retten, and the line delivery of a automated telephone service.

thezdurr: This aqua park has three employees, including a nine year old! No wonder this whale is abused!

jimtews: Willy’s “talking” sound is creeping me the fuck out. He sounds like a crying Chewbacca.

jimtews: Why do you look so worried, Michael Madsen? Oh, never mind, that’s your face.

thezdurr: “Whales love to have their tongues rubbed” Yeah, play right into the whales plans.

thezdurr: “Whales love to have their tongues rubbed”. I have a lot in common with whales!

jimtews: Guess it’s not all Nikes, sweet BMX bikes and B.U.M. Equipment sweatshirts. Even foster parents fight.

thezdurr: Did they put peanut butter in Michael Madsen’s mouth to get him to do these lines? The man looks pained.

jimtews: Whale training: it’s so easy, even an unwanted child can do it.

thezdurr: Have you ever seen a Sea World act, and said “why haven’t they made a movie that’s just THIS?” No? Oh.

jimtews: Is this Sea World Philadelphia? The crowd is booing a child.

thezdurr: Its proven: nothing is funnier than adults booing a child.

thezdurr: Are we at act 2 now? It feels like act 53.

jimtews: Wonder if the whale had a tough time getting cast “You’d make a great Willy we just want a chemistry read before final casting.”

thezdurr: Hopeful ending: Willy is an elaborate housing for a sentient being, which chooses the kid as the New Earth’s “Adam”.

thezdurr: Hopeful ending: everyone just says: "let's call animal protective services", like a bunch of HUMAN BEINGS.

jimtews: I find it hard to believe a watering can full of sea mist could keep a whale alive for this long.

jimtews: Come on, Willy! Get a dorsal boner!

thezdurr: Ok, are we going to see a whale jump over this urchin or what?

thezdurr: Great, it happened. The poster happened.

thezdurr: Here’s the only other thing I knew about Free Willy - the most gospel-y thing MJ ever did.

jimtews: And wrap it up nicely with a Michael Jackson song. A box office gold-plated turd.

thezdurr: Between seeing this today and Madea yesterday, I’m burnt out on whale movies.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Enjoy the funniest, most self-aware part of this movie: the poster.

A friend of mine recently told me about how she had never seen a Harry Potter movie (or read the books), but wound up seeing the latest installment while visiting home this Thanksgiving. We discussed how confusing, boring, and ridiculous a movie series can seem when you see them out of the context from the rest. Hearing the audience react with gasps and laughter at a characters slightest movement sounds over-the-top to the unconverted.

This is how I walked into Tyler Perry Presents: Madea's Big Happy Family, a total noob. Wanting to know what Ty-P's cottage industry was all about. I walked away, still unconverted. But let me back up, and tell you everything I knew about Tyler Perry before I walked into MBHF:

-Tyler Perry is a one-man entertainment branding kingpin for largely ignored black conservative moviegoers. I read a profile piece in the New Yorker on Perry (like a true god-fearing white person), who made Perry out to be a workaholic media-producing machine, like one of those "Write Your Movie In A Week" seminars programmed into a robot. He wakes up, goes to the gym, pounds out fifteen script pages, attends a meeting about his TV shows, shoots his current movie from 1 o'clock to 8 o'clock, gets dinner, and goes to bed, plugged into his dream stenographer, typing out his unconscious to be reviewed for possible script fodder.

-The TV show House of Payne has characters from the Medea universe in the episodes, and they will refer to Medea, although she does not actually appear on the show, like some weird canonical Marvel comic spin-off .

-Medea is played by Perry in drag, and pronounces certain words like Ludacris. ("Thank yer")

It was with this basically clean slate that I walked into the theater. I was hoping to either 1) Be charmed by the cast and story, and go away being happy that people where into something positive, or 2) have it be wildly awful, which is a fun thing to write a review of!
What I got instead was joltingly constructed, yet boring tug of war between turgid drama and broad comedy. It was like watching someone changing channels between a filmed Mary Worth comic and a community theater putting on an episode of Good Times.

Here is how I imagine the skeletal run-down of Tyler Perry's script:


Any male under 45: Noble, well spoken, varying degrees of domination under shrewish women, varying degrees of goatees.

Any female 18-45: Shrill, bossy, shrewish, great hair.

Any female 45-65: Angelic.

Any female under 18: Ho.

Any cast member over 45 dressed up to be 85: Cartoon character.

T.D. Jakes in drag, re-enacting his favorite scenes from Falling Down.




A woman is yelling at a man. The woman is unaware of how terrible and hollow her life has become, a problem that would go away if the man would just tell her to sit down, shut up, and raise their children right. Scene should end when the man says something like: "At least one of us does." Then the man walks out. The woman rolls her eyes OR a tear rolls down her face, and is hastily wiped away.



40-something actors made up with fright wigs and stage make-up bug their eyes out, fall down and berate each other in a comical manner. Repeat the same jokes two or three times in a row, so if people were laughing too hard they can properly hear the line.


The living saint of a mother dies of cancer. (Note from ZD: This is NOT a spoiler. We are told from literally the first second of film that she is going to die of cancer. It is the gun introduced in the first act that will die of cancer in the third act. The mom spends most of the film trying to tell her family that she has cancer at a family dinner, but they always interrupt her by fighting with each other. You would think that maybe she could just yell over THEM: "Hey, idiots, I have CANCER", and that would certainly shut them up, and end a lot of in-fighting. Or maybe she could just call them, individually, on the phone. She really feels this is the perfect way to tell her family about her terminal illness, I guess! When this woman gets an idea in her head, she's like a dog with an old sock, just won't let go!)



Medea calls everyone into the dining room, like the end of a murder mystery. But instead of solving a mystery, she solves everyone's problems! If they are a woman, she tells them to shut up. If they're a man, she tells them to "be the man". If they are a child, she beats them with her fists.


Roll the blooper reel, where Perry looks super bored with it all.

Thank Yer!

Monday, April 18, 2011


I have now thrilled to the mild, no-stakes, zero-roadblocks adventures of Julia Roberts learning to accept herself as a woman with lots of money and endless options. Here is the whole thing in real time, along with the very funny Mr. Jim Tews. Drink it in!

thezdurr: OKAY HERE WE GO! Take me away, J.Rob!

jimtews: Here we go

thezdurr: I think I already know where the budget for this movie went: Gaussian filters, sunflare effects and fern misters.

jimtews: Follow your heart, not your head. Right everyone? That's advice only rich white women can easily act upon.

jimtews: I'm already angry.

thezdurr: Four minutes in, and we got the J Rob puppet laugh! Worth the price of admission.

jimtews: "Liz, having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face"... They're both awful ideas.

thezdurr: You can tell J.Ro's hubby isn't cool, you can totally see all his skull coming out his face.

thezdurr: Leaving her husband because he wants to go back to school? That's the commitment pot calling the stick-to-it kettle etc.

jimtews: Are you there, God? It's me, Liz. An unsatisfied rich white woman. Thanks for everything, but I don't want it anymore....

jimtews: Nothing signifies a character's change in attitude like a self-help book binge scene.

thezdurr: This is like a Mamet play, in that there is no sympathetic characters.

thezdurr: The cinematographer's only instruction: EVERYONE IS SITTING BEHIND THE SUN.

jimtews: These bar scenes are shot in the corners of Manhattan that only appear when your income hits the high six-figures

thezdurr: James Franco is living in a Gossip Girl loft being used as a Yankee Candle storage unit.

jimtews: What's James Franco doing with that old chick? Oh, nevermind.

jimtews: Steven, being a flaky chick isn't a phase. Just let her go, bro.

thezdurr: Soundtrack available at Starbucks. Probably. In general.

jimtews: What would Liz watch to feel empowered enough to leave her husband? Ya-Ya Sisterhood? A little Traveling Pants perhaps?

jimtews: RT @thezdurr: Soundtrack available at Starbucks. Probably. In general.

jimtews: "I'm going to India, Italy and Bali... But first, I'm going to " huge missed opportunity for ad placement

jimtews: Liz is open minded and worldly, as indicated by the fact that her best friend is African-American.


jimtews: I give the writers credit for not making Liz's black friend end any of her inspirational sentences with "girlfriend!"

thezdurr: She just dropped a "I'm Liz, by the way". She just put the nail in my pet peeve coffin.

jimtews: "I've got a wonderful tutor... " He'll help you learn Italian.... He's not a greasy native who preys on toursits... Promise.

thezdurr: Oh, the old "juicy ravioli as vag" metaphor.

thezdurr: So far everything she's eaten you can eat in NYC. Everything she's prayed you can read out of a Chicken Soup for the Soul.

jimtews: "And then we ended up in this barbershop and everyone was so insightful!"

thezdurr: I'm not convinced she didn't just go to Epcot Center.

thezdurr: "Maybe you're a woman in search of a word"...Uh, she's being nice and telling you you're boring.

jimtews: Julia Roberts is really good at chew-talking.

jimtews: This bitch's fat pants are a size one.

thezdurr: There are two times of day in EPLverse: Sunrise and Sunset. NO MIDDLE GROUND.

jimtews: Sorry for calling that fictional character a bitch. I'm just fired up.

thezdurr: That poetic break-up email she just sent is going to be followed by a short, rude one when he bombs her Facebook wall.

thezdurr: This a-movie is a-burstin' with-a the stereotypes!

thezdurr: Thank god everyone but the adorable old people speak English! Really makes life easier!

jimtews: I hope that one day my multi-cultural family dinners are this smart and childless.

thezdurr: Onto India! What are you going to do, NOT play an M.I.A. song?

jimtews: I wish I could tweet you a gif of @thezdurr 's eyes rolling every 10 minutes.

thezdurr: She's in a place of silent meditation, so she's been given a Sandra Bullock-style cadance! You are wearing my eyerolls out!

thezdurr: Why did movie change it's title from "Religion For Dummies"?

thezdurr: "Oh My God, kill me". - YOU SAID IT, JULIE!!!

thezdurr: The lesson I've learned from this movie: when you're in a foreign country, find an American friend!

thezdurr: Every city seems to be in a time warp. What period is this movie set in? The nineteen who knowsies?

thezdurr: "Funny thing about weddings, you just end up thinking about yourself" Uh, that's how you've reacted to everything so far.

jimtews: Uh oh, there's a baby in this scene! That's a reminder, Liz. Your biological clock is ticking.

jimtews: Wait, what? That toothless Sherpa doesn't remember you, Liz? Because he's a carny, you fool.

thezdurr: We've arrived in Bali. So far, no poor people, and her spiritual leader is cute old hand puppet. Finding yourself looks fun!

thezdurr: Javier Bardem just came into the picture. Time to get Biutiful, girl!

thezdurr: Bardem is here to overcome the terrible dialogue! WHERE WERE YOU AN HOUR AND A HALF AGO, BARDEM?

jimtews: I haven't tweeted in a while because I got really into the movie. Someone hold me.

thezdurr: Bardem's son just asked his dad if he's slept with JRo yet? I'm all for open family dialogue, but UHHHHHH.

thezdurr: I just envisioned me asking my father about his sex life, and pale dead drop of sweat just ran down my face.

jimtews: I wish Bardem were playing his No Country character in this movie.

jimtews: How did a bladder infection slip it's way into the story line? Shit's gettin' real!

jimtews: I hope she learns something at the end of this movie.

jimtews: "I - I - I - I... I can't" : Who saw that line coming? Besides everybody.

jimtews: What's Javier Bardem doing with that old white woman? Oh, nevermind.

jimtews: New Liz is acting a lot like old Liz. Sounds like we're about to love our way into act three!

thezdurr: "Truly, this wonderful, responsibility-free American showed us all how to live!" - Poor people everywhere

thezdurr: All the natives in this movie talk like the wacky crew members in King Kong.

jimtews: I bet Ketut's mouth smells like the back of cab at the end of a hot day.

thezdurr: Ten more minutes? Wow, JRo learned how to sit quietly as well as eat, but WILL SHE LOVE?!?!?!?

thezdurr: I have a suspicion that Kutut has just memorized a lot of fortune cookies.

thezdurr: J Ro just left a note "Meet me at sunset!" DUHHHHH OF COURSE SUNSET.

jimtews: Please, girl. I wish I had your problems!

thezdurr: I've been groaning this whole time, like a night of unbridled passion, but the opposite.

jimtews: She's going to flake on you too Felipe. Liz can't make a decision to save her God damn life. Put that in a coffee table book.

jimtews: Poor women dye their hair or get a tattoo for self-discovery. Rich women eat, shit and fuck their way across the world.

thezdurr: It's done. I learned that every spiritual quest needs no sacrifice or realization of one's own faults. And yum-o food!

jimtews: Thanks everybody. Hope I didn't lose too many followers. @thezdurr and I will probably do this again with something awful.

thezdurr: Final review: Yuk Fart Glad I Illegally Downloaded It

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I know, I have been remiss in filling you all in with important movie newz. In my defense, I just got a new "grown-up" style job that doesn't include me staring blankly at my computer screen all day. However, I think I have this "making a livable balance of work and eating and blogging" thing a little more figured out. So I return! In honor of trying to figure out how to make the work/play dynamic of my life balance in nice little convenient ying/yang slices, I will be live-Tweeting the best-selling-awful-looking (not to pre-judge!) movie EAT PRAY LOVE. I can only hope that big J.Robs and her million teeth can give my spirit the road map my chakra needs. I also really don't want to go into this alone, so I will be joined by my good friend and v. funny comedian Jim Tews. It all starts at 1pm tomorrow, (April 18th) you can follow at @thezdurr and @jimtews under the #tweetpraylove hashtag. Okay, enough "save the date" nonsense, I have to go stock up on yoga pants, dried mango, and white privilege!