Category Archives: don knotts

Rango

Rango ~ The first animated feature from George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic is a disaster.

Take Don Knotts, pump him full of hallucinogenics, and have him play a computer animated lizard. Yeah, that’s what Johnny Depp as Rango is like – and none of it in a good way. This is an ugly film with a bare skeleton of a plot that pretends to be much more than it is.

There are some interesting visuals done with the CGI, clever angles, different textures, but mostly a whole lot of ugly as it’s about desire dwelling creatures. It’s like bad scary cartoon taxidermy, and it’s hard to watch.

The bat-riding hillbilly varmits arrive much too late to save this flick. The western character templates (like Eli Wallach and Clint Eastwood) and cliches, and the Chinatown comparisons and parodies can’t save it. Even the Hunter Thompson cameo in the beginning can’t save it. Avoid at all costs, unless you are a die-hard Depp fan, or need a nap.

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The Amateurs

The Amateurs ~ When I first heard about this film, I thought, isn’t that essentially the plot of Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno? I was even more surprised to find it was made in 2005. Of course it couldn’t possibly be as good as the Smith flick, but it does take a slightly different slant.

Here, Jeff Bridges is a small town entrepreneur who convinces his neighbors to make an amateur porno to make money. This is a film powered by its quirky characters that is reminiscent of old school things like the old Don Knotts films or Norman Lear’s Cold Turkey. Ted Danson is especially amusing here.

The flick has a certain naïveté and charm that the Smith film lacked. This aspect is refreshing and adds to the comedy. Imagine Andy Griffith meets Kevin Smith. Yikes. Ahem, well, imagine it if you can. Check it out, it’s a feel good, fun watch, if a bit predictable in parts, but fun.

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