Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A whimsical coming of age tale from New Zealand

This is from www.badcb.blogspot.ca:
Jan. 1 Boy: Here is the movie review to Boy.

A whimsical coming of age tale from New Zealand

Jay Stone, Postmedia News

Published: Friday, May 04 2012
Boy Rating 3 1/2
Starring: James Rolleston, Taika Waititi, and Te Aho Eketone-Whitu
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Classification: 14A, coarse language, substance abuse
Theatre: Metro at the Garneau, Fri., Thu. 7; Sat. 1, 9; Sun. 3: 30, 9; Tue. 9

Boy is the nom-de-whimsy of a Maori boy of about 11 who lives, with maximum enthusiasm, on a picturesquely unadorned bay in New Zealand with his younger brother, several cousins and his grandmother.
It's 1984, and in the surreal coming-of-age film Boy, we learn just about everything we need to know about him in the opening shot, as Boy addresses us during the Who Am I? class at his school: His favourite person is Michael Jackson. His father, who is absent, is a master carver, deepsea diver and captain of the rugby team. (Translation: He's in jail.) He has a crush on a tall girl named Chardonnay ("look at me," he urges silently). His mother is dead. His confidante is his pet goat. His favourite subjects are art, social studies and Michael Jackson.

Boy was written and directed by Taika Waititi, who also costars as the father, a reprobate who returns to visit his family and then to disillusion them. Like Waititi's previous film, the romance Eagle vs. Shark, it is charming and surreal, although it calms down eventually into a coming-of-age story that settles for being quirky and predictable. It is nonetheless charming for that.

It stars a young newcom-r named James Rolleston, ho gives Boy an infectious optimism and perhaps the most winning smile in cinema. Boy is based on Waititi's own upbringing - it was filmed on Waihau Bay, where he lived - and it reflects a sort of genial poverty that doesn't fall into bitterness. There are undercurrents of disenfranchisement in Boy, but, unlike, say, the excoriating Maori drama Once Were Warriors, it treats them as fond comedy rather than violent desperation.

Enlivened with the occasional animated children's drawing, Boy establishes a precise culture where, for instance, a teacher can ask his class, "Who knows what disease this sheep has?"
When another teacher tells Boy he has "potential," he is struck by the idea.
"What does that word mean?" he asks. "Potential."
"It's 3: 30, man" says the teacher, heading out the door. "I'm off duty."

Things change when Boy's father Alamein shows up with two dopey henchmen. They're wearing gang colours and call themselves the Crazy Horses East Coast, but they turn out to be nothing much more than comical sidekicks. Alamein parades around in leathers and an army helmet, and decides he wants to be known as Shogun, after the James Cavell novel. He's full of self-delusion and camaraderie - as well as stories about his new favourite movie, E.T. - and Boy gazes at him with happy hero worship.

The movie settles into a sort of rambling inevitability, as Boy and his brother Rocky (Te Aho Eketone-Whitu, another scene-stealer) watch their father stumble through his extended adolescence.
He has buried some money in a field, but he can't remember quite where ("It's a certain number of steps from the post. I just can't remember the numbers of steps. Or the post"), and much of Boy is taken up with people digging random holes in a field, or rather, Boy digging holes, while his dad and the other Crazy Horses smoke marijuana and watch.

Boy is a very likable movie, but it's slight, even by the off the-cuff standards of the New Zealand culture it depicts. We know where it's heading: The charm is in how it gets there, and in the lovely accents it takes on (a marijuana smoker is a "dopeheed"). It's a unique voice, and a unique vision. Like Boy, Taika Waititi has potential.


Dads: I watched the sitcom Dads when it came out.  It’s from Family Guy producers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild.  You can really see the similar humor. 
It starts off with Eli (Seth Green) and Warner (Giovanni Ribisi) working at Ghost Child where they create video games.  The opening credits shows pictures of dad with their sons, so it’s sentimental.
Warner has a wife Camilla (Vanessa Lachey) and 2 kids.  Eli is single and lives in a penthouse.  Veronica (Brenda Song) is an Asian woman.  I read an article about the show and she said when guys hit on her, she says “No English.”

Eli has a Mexican maid Edna (Tonita Castro), which is so Family Guy.  Veronica also dressed up like a school girl to woo the Chinese investors.  When she came out looking like that, the audience says: “Whoo.”  She did say: “I’m now a VP and I’m taking next week off.”  Yeah, well if you’re going above and beyond for your job by dressing like that, then you should be rewarded with a week off.

The above is my left-brain thinking about work.  Now here is my left-brain thinking about investing. 
I did like this one part.  Warner’s dad Crawford (Martin Mull) and Eli’s dad David (Peter Reigart) both come into town to visit their sons.  The dads go to meet each other for lunch.  

Crawford: That’s the thing with investment managers.  Giving money to a guy in a suit and tie to make more money with it.  If he doesn’t, then I understand.

I was reading Rahmit Sethi’s book I Will Teach You to be Rich, and Sethi says we should do our own investing instead of getting an investment manager.

The meeting with the Chinese investors.  There is the “Kill Hitler 2” video game.  I can totally see that on Family Guy.  Crawford shows up at the meeting and Warner tries to stop him.  Crawford says: “You can’t trust the Chinese.  That’s why Shanghai is a verb.”  They lose the deal.

Eli’s dad David is at the Eli’s birthday party.

David: I wouldn’t have ruined it if I had the correct pronunciation of Shiite.

My little brother was watching it with me and he laughed.

Later we learn that David didn’t make a few payments and lost his condo.  Eli says: “You could have asked me to loan the money.”  David ends up moving in with Eli.  The show kind of redeems itself here.
The ending is Veronica comes in: “The translator sent me a pic of his penis, and I threatened to put it up online unless he convinced the Chinese investors on the deal.”

They got the deal.

My opinion: I will give points for ethnic diversity on the show.  They do have big names on this show.  Now onto the actual writing: I didn’t really like it.  I’m not into sitcoms, and I’m kind of eh with Family Guy.  I only watch that show here and there, and there are only one or two jokes that are actually good.

I didn’t watch it after the pilot.  If you like Family Guy and the actors on the show, then you might enjoy it.

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