Monday, April 6, 2009

At the Movies - Indy-ana Lyons and the Kingdom of the Empty Skull

Lyons. Why'd it have to be Lyons?A few weeks ago on At the Movies, we heard Ben Lyons gush all over the movie Sunshine Cleaning as "a Sundance movie in every sense of the word. It's that quirky American indy that's looking to find moments of humor set against the backdrop of dark, tragic moments," after which he recommended that we merely "Rent it." This week, he further attempted to improve his "indy" street cred--which is especially in danger since he admitted to seeing only 5 movies at the Sundance Film Festival. He did this by, well, saying the word "indy" more often than really necessary in his review of the movie Gigantic.

You can't help but wonder whether this positive review is simply an attempt to bolster his tarnished image as a "stupid person" according to Richard Roeper. Unfortunately, he could have done better to disprove Roeper's point. Some of his comments about this movie included:

First time co-writer/director Matt Aselton brings us Gigantic, starring young indy film vets Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel . . . Sure, they play quirky, indy characters . . . For me, I was along for the indy ride and I enjoyed it.

Did he mention that it's an "indy" movie? Good thing it's not November, or you could replace "indy" with "Oscar-worthy."

But the real critical sin in this week's episode is Ben's ever-evolving attitude to Adventureland. In the live chat on the AtM Web site back in February, Ben called it a movie he "liked, but would have been more interested in it had the leads been a little funnier."

On last week's review, Ben said:

"I was on the edge of saying 'Rent it', but because of the strong performances of [supporting actors Bill] Hayder and [Kristin] Wiig, I'll say see it."

Ok, fine. But this week, he says:

"We had an early review on last week's show, it opens this weekend, and I say 'See It'. I had a lot of fun with Adventureland."

Then Mank goes on to say that this movie should not be confused with the director's other movie Superbad, a raunchy teen comedy. Lyons responds:

"It's definitely not. It's a lot more heartfelt and it's a little bit more understated in its approach to comedy. The leads really don't have the jokes here, the supporting actors do. I said last week Kristin Wiig and Bill Hayder, they are tremendous, and the best on-screen couple to possibly run an amusement park. It just worked. But Eisenberg and Stewart are much more serious and that's where the film really has its voice."

It sounds like Lyons is trying to prove that he is not confused by the trailer, something that he is embarrassingly notorious for doing. But this is a complete reversal in his explanation of his critique. The movie went from being mildly recommended because the leads just aren't funny enough, to a recommendation based on the leads' more serious approach to the material! Let's hope that next week he doesn't downgrade his rating to "Rent it" because, well, let's be honest, Wiig and Hayder made light of the seriousness of the material as portrayed by Eisenberg and Stewart.


Anonymous said...

Urgh. Lyons strikes again!

Anonymous said...

Holy hell. Well why are you surprised? He can't keep track of his own opinions from sentence to sentence (and sometimes contradicts himself in the same sentence!), let alone a full modern calender week to another full modern calender week.

Agatha J. said...

Yeah, Ben sometimes totally and completely contradicts himself within just one statement. Not even within the same sentence- the same clause!