Don't get us wrong, the trailer for Cowboys vs. Aliens leads us to believe that it's going to be a sweet little action flick that will be more than worth the price of admission. We're not going to get on some high horse and ride it around the premise that there is anything wrong with a big budget battle between those things from Independence Day and John Wayne.
No, what today's rant entails is that name. Cowboys vs. Aliens. Really? That's the best you could do? They didn't call Cloverfield something like Giant Pissed Off Smashy Thing vs. New York City, did they? You can't just name a movie after the basic stock archetypes in it.
Sure, there's Freddy vs. Jason and Aliens vs. Predator. Those are named franchises being brought together and versusifying is the only way to give all the participants top billing without angering fans or the franchises creators by slighting one. Hell, when Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny appeared in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, their screen time was made to be exactly the same down to the second and the damned movie wasn't even about them.
But you know what? Fine, we'll play along. If movie making is going to be reduced to shouting out action figures like we're all 12 years old, then we'd like to suggest...
We can assume that zombies need no explanation. They've gone more mainstream than Gaga at this point, and yes, we're going to be that annoying hipster. When the CDC starts playing along on the zombie trail, it is time to switch allegiance to mummies or a werelochnessmonster or something.
On the other side, we have clumsy single dads. Being a father who enjoys going out with just us and the kid, you can see how this stereotype has warped the world's perception of fatherhood. Movie dads put on diapers with duck tape, they shoot monsters in the closet, they are absolutely clueless when a baby starts crying and it's only through singing a popular classic rock song as a lullaby that they can just barely get by in a role that clearly nature didn't design them for.
In our movie, Ben Stiller is forced to care for his sassy young daughter and believably computer savvy son in a neighborhood where zombies have become a constant nuisance. They knock over garbage cans, they keep up the kids at night, they ate Stiller's wife as she lay helpless screaming for mercy. Luckily, the kids use their cunning to set clever traps and rid the neighborhood of pesky ghouls, all while learning what it means to be a family.
In an era when the most popular rapper is white and the president is black, we really don't know how people can still want to see some street smart black cop teamed with an uptight white cop and not gape while they share their completely media-stereotype cultures despite early friction. It's like some kind of very special episode about diversity except that there are probably strippers and the black guy will always get shot in the shoulder.
Talking dogs, though... that's just fine. All kids and most adults would love to have a talking dog because they forget that a dog thinks constantly of food, its butt and its all-consuming terror of the vacuum cleaner. Listening to them articulate that in real life would be like living in the comments section of a Yahoo! News story, but we're talking movie life, not real life so we're giving talking dogs a pass here.
In the film, a Wilson brother and a Wayans brother (your choice) are teamed with a new canine partner who is the result of a new genetic experiment. Scruffles, voiced by Patton Oswalt, accompanies the two on missions, pointing out how terribly silly this whole racial tension thing is when there are real problems like getting shot at, making smart remarks about how maybe shooting people and blowing stuff up is one of the reasons that the department is bankrupt and willing to take money from a group of scientist who want to test out a talking dog, and ultimately that taking turns with the car stereo is something most of us learn how to do in elementary school.
This will end kind of like an episode of The Shield.
People love a good grumpy old man in a movie. Life's kicked his ass, made him cynical, but underneath all that hard candy coating is a lovable old gentleman with a grand take on life. He always seems to be in better shape than you'd think, giving us all hope that, despite eating Fritos between two glazed donuts, we'll somehow reach our 70s as ass-kickers.
They don't do the psychic goth girl so much anymore. Guess all our lobbying paid off. For a while there, though, you could bet that too much eyeliner and some stompy boots also meant you were able to read minds, see the future, levitate or some other occult power. By that logic, every Hot Topic is a Hogwarts branch campus.
For our cinematic tour d'meh, Jack Nicholson hires that one chick from NCIS to help him around his house, but her psychic abilities clue her in to a mystery about the disappearance of Nicholson's late wife. This lasts for about five minutes until she also realizes that his thoughts basically consist of F Troop episodes, racist rants and visions of herself bent over the hood of a car. Who needs to hear that kind of thing at work?
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Yeah, we're going with those vampires here. You know the ones. The ones from that movie whose title rhymes with "highlight." Melancholy, immortal, driven by angst, and totally wasting every moment of their un-life mooning over world-weary 15-year-olds. The more we think about it, the more it sounds like Pinhead obsessing over Claire Danes when she was on My So-Called Life.
Enter our frazzled career woman. She's capable and clumsy at the same time. She's adventurous but awkward. It's like your little sister running in your dad's tie pretending to be real people instead of something more appropriately feminine.
In this hilarious romantic comedy, Kate Hudson is a young CFO who doesn't have time for love until Jackson Rathbone falls through her skylight while mourning his eternal existence one night. Despite their different backgrounds and the fact that her new vampire friend can't stop mentioning how drawn he is to her smell, the two learn to appreciate other people in this kooky modern world. Just kidding, he eats everyone around her and keeps her chained to the bed in some sort of weird women-shouldn't-work statement with bondage overtones.