Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Do you guys plot against me?

Seriously.

Do you sit in darkened rooms and tent your fingers and cackle darkly that “Yessssssssss, this shall break him?”

Because with these requests, you are officially taking the piss.

Guys, I review cartoons and superhero movies. That’s what works for me. That is my comfort zone. What made you think an austere, melancholy arthouse film like Where the Wild Things Are was a good fit for me? People, this movie is fancy. To review a movie like this you need to know about… like…shots…and…sound mixing and…mise en scenes and shit.

I mean, what’s next? A wacky Unshaved Mouse review of Andy Warhol’s Empire?

Bahia!

Heading into this review I feel like so many screenwriters who’ve tried to adapt Maurice Sendak’s 1963 classic children’s book must’ve felt; “How do I get a movie/review out of that?!”

But, I’m proud, I’m stubbourn and I’m too damn dumb to quit so let’s do this.

Where the Wild Things Are wasn’t really part of my childhood growing up, (we were a Dr. Seuss and Narnia fam), but I’ve come to appreciate it as an adult since it entered MiniMouse’s story rotation. In less than 200 words it tells the story of Max, a young boy dressed in a wolf costume who acts so wild that his mother sends him to bed without dinner. Then his room changes into a jungle, he goes on a journey, meets some monsters, becomes their  king, has a party, has a moment of reflection where he wonders what he’s even doing with his life and returns home to find his dinner waiting for him. That’s it.

But it’s not. Or maybe it is. Where the Wild Things Are is one of those books that’s just begging to be interpreted. It’s like, it’s there on your bookshelf, taunting you: “What could I mean? Oooooh, what could I mean? There’s a boy, in a wolf costume. Is he a metaphor for wild, unchecked masculinity? Look at my gorgeous art, am I not dripping in symbolism? What about the Goat Boy? He’s got to represent something, right?”

The Goat Boy represents goats.

Couple this with Sendak’s weird, elegant, ever so slightly off prose and you have all the elements of a cult classic: It’s pretty, it’s weird, and no one knows what the fuck it all means. It also sold like gangbusters, which put it in the company of books like Watchmen and Cloud Atlas, books that everyone wanted to make into a movie while having absolutely no idea how. It presents a unique problem to any adaptation; there’s simultaneously too much and too little. Disney worked on an animated adaptation for a while back in the eighties before finally throwing their hands in the air. But it was Maurice Sendak himself who finally decided that the best person to bring his story to the big screen was Spike Jonze, director of such modern classics as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and the single greatest thing ever:

Am I wrong?

Production began in 2006 and finished three years later, massively over-budget and dogged by rumours that its own studio hated it. How did it turn out? Well, we’re going to find out. On this blog. Where I review it. Because somebody thought that was a good idea.

So the movie begins the same way the book does, with Max dressed up in a wolf costume and chasing the family dog around the house with a fork. Max is played by Max Records, the third largest chain of music and music memorabilia stores on the East Coast through much of the eighties and nineties before it was finally purchased by…

“I’m sorry…”

Holy shit. No. That’s actually a person name. Max Records. Jesus. It’s not even a stage name, either, that’s on the kid’s birth certificate. Anyway, Max is is playing in the snow in his front garden and tries to get his older sister, Clare, to come out and see his kickass igloo but she ignores him. Some of Clare’s older friends arrive and Max waits until they come out of the house and starts pelting them with snowballs. At first everything’s fine, the older kids fire back with snowballs of their own and everyone’s having a good time. But then Max races back to the igloo to take shelter and one of the older kids jumps on it, causing it to cave in on him and bury him in snow.

Max climbs out, trembling, crying and shaken. And the other kids leave him because they don’t know what to say. Because they’re kids.

It’s a wonderful scene, raw and very real. Being a kid often feels like a long procession of hurting other people without meaning to, and getting hurt without knowing why.  Clare and her friends leave him there and Max deals with this in a mature and constructive manner…nah, just kidding, he trashes Clare’s room in revenge.

He then curls up in bed under the blankets and the camera pans over his toys, paying special attention to some Lego figurines.

I’m sure this means nothing.

 His mother (Catherine Kenner) comes home and listens sympathetically to the Tragedy of the Igloo (Being a Ballad on the Lamentable Treachery of Clare) and afterwards helps him clean up the mess he made in Clare’s room.

The next day Max is in school and learns that someday the sun is going to explode and take the earth with it. I actually distinctly remember day I learned that and the intense, gnawing existential dread it gave me. It didn’t help that the book I read it in had a typo and said that the sun would explode in five million years and not five billion. Which…I realise doesn’t really make a difference to me but still, five billion just feels much more comfortably in the future. But the teacher tells them not to worry because all humans will almost certainly be dead by then thanks to war, global warming, tsunamis and disease. And the teacher seems…disturbingly happy about this. Shit, if I was Marvel I’d ditch Josh Brolin and get this guy to play Thanos.

“Death is coming for us all, children. And I shall make her my bride.”

So Max’s sense of stability is already crumbling like the earth getting hit by the intense gravitational waves of the sun exploding into a red giant. And things get even worse when his mother brings her boyfriend (Mark Ruffalo) home for dinner. Max dresses up in his wolf costume and starts acting out, standing on the table and yelling “FEED ME WOMAN!” and we now know this movie isn’t set in Ireland because if Max’s mother was Irish he’d have a perfect vantage point to witness the death of the sun after she knocked him into orbit.

She wrestles Max down off the table and he bites her shoulder and she should really rub some garlic on that or she’ll turn into a boy in a wolf costume come next full moon. His mother yells at him to go to his room and even the boyfriend is really angry. But, then again, what does that prove?

Max runs out into the night and finds himself in a strange, deserted forest. Wandering through the forest he finds a boat on the shore and sails off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to a mysterious island. He sees lights in the distance and heads towards it until he finds a village of strange round huts and stranger round creatures.

So these are the wild things. Sendak originally based them on impressions of his Polish relatives who visited his home when he was a child. In his memory they were huge, often grotesque looming faces with “crazy eyes and bloodstained teeth”. Jonze was adamant that the creatures couldn’t be CGI and actually had to have a real, physical presence, so he contracted the work to the Jim Henson Creature Shop, your one stop shop for all your creature needs. The Jim Henson Company built incredibly complex head rigs for the creatures that could display a vast array of expressions and emotions. They looked amazing. And then the time came for actors to actually try walking around in the things.

So all of the hi-tech equipment had to be stripped out of the heads and instead the facial expressions were achieved with CGI. And the results are stunning. Absolutely incredible. It just goes to show that CGI and practical effects aren’t inherently superior or inferior to each other, it’s all about using the right tool for the right job.

Okay, so, Wild Thing roll call!

Carol (James Gandolfini)

Alexander (Paul Dano)

Judith (Catherine O’Hara)

Ira (Forest Whitaker)

Douglas Chris Cooper)

Bull (Michael Berry Junior)

And the Troggs. Anyone get this joke? Anyone?

When he finds them, Carol, their leader is throwing a tantrum and smashing the houses of the other Wild Things. Max offers to help, and Carol takes an instant to him. The other creatures aren’t so sure however, and Judith decides that they should eat him. But Max yells “BE STILL!” at tames them with the magic trick of bullshitting them. He tells them that he has magic powers and that he once conquered some Vikings who made him their king (after he made their heads explode for trying to eat him). Carol asks him if he has the power to keep away loneliness and he tells them that he has a loneliness shield that keeps loneliness away (I have one too, I call it “gin”). The Wild Things then make him their king on the spot and Carol gives him a crown and sceptre which just happens to be nestled amongst a pile of human bones okay what the hell?

This is a children’s movie, right?

Anyway, the reign of Max I begins and his first order of business is to call a wild rumpus, which basically involves him and the Wild Things running through the woods and howling like lunatics until they all collapse exhausted into a big, sleepy pile. Honestly, that’s an executive agenda I can get behind.

Now, this review is going to be a little on the short side. Scratch that, a lot on the short side. It’s going to be completely on one side, and that side is not long. And the reason for that is not just that I’m unusually sleep deprived this week but because I recap plots and dammit there just ain’t that much plot in this thing. Stuff happens, but it’s not really what you’d call a plot. It’s just…stuff happening. So let’s just big picture this, what is actually going on? In a nutshell, Max has become his own mother. Max has been put in charge of the Wild Things, emotionally troubled, often irrational monsters unable to look after themselves or understand why they feel the way they do and act the way they act. And each one represents an aspect of Max’s personality. Bull is his loneliness,  Judith his selfishness, Alexander his depression, Ira his compassion, Douglas his maturity and Carol…we’ll get back to Carol. And no matter how hard he tries to look after them and keep them happy, nothing works. Every game ends in an accident, every conversation ends with a fight. Maybe Judith is right when she says “Happiness doesn’t always make you happy.” Max can’t keep the Wild Things from hurting each other without meaning to, or getting hurt without knowing why.

Carol soon becomes Max’s favorite (something that does not go unnoticed by the others, especially Judith) and the two plan a massive fort where all the Wild Things can live together and be happy. But not all the Wild Things want that, specifically KW (Lauren Ambrose), the seventh Wild Thing who I haven’t mentioned yet. KW is (I think), how Max views his sister: the cooler, older girl who you want to hang out with. KW used to be part of the group but she’s started drifting away from them, forming new friendships with a pair of owls called Bob and Terry. She obviously cares about the other Wild Things very much, but at the same time, she wants her own life. But Carol loves and needs KW, and the more distant she becomes, the more angry and frightened he acts.

Things come to a head when Max organizes a dirt clod fight between the Wild Things and Alexander is hurt. Carol and KW have a huge fight and she leaves again. Max finds Alexander nursing his wound and apologises for getting him hurt and confesses that he’s not really a king. Alexander replies “I knew it. But whatever you do, don’t let Carol know.” And then the soundtrack drops a scary cord and I sat because, holy shit, only eighty minutes into the movie, actual plot is happening.

Okay, probably should put my cards on the table. Do I like this movie? I don’t know. (I never said they were particularly exciting cards). The New York Times has a great article on the making of this film which details the fights Spike Jonze had to go through with the movie execs to get this thing released. And here’s the thing, I kinda see where the execs were coming from. This movie is possibly the best example I can think of a great film made from a weak script. Or, certainly not what you’d consider a traditionally strong script. It’s aimless, and flabby and the central conflict only rears its head way, way too late and is resolved way, way too quickly. There is a treasure trove of good performances, gorgeous cinematography and a distinctive score in this movie, but it asks you to out up with a lot. If you hate this movie, I get that. If you love this movie, I definitely get that too. If you are utterly baffled by how you are supposed to feel about it, climb up here, there is room on my horse for two.

That night, in the fort, Carol throws a tantrum over KW leaving and starts to trash the place. He turns on Max, berating him for not being a good king and keeping the group together. Douglas tells Carol that Max isn’t a king, he’s just “A boy, pretending to be a wolf, pretending to be a king. There’s no such thing as a king” And Carol goes berserk and roars at Max “I’LL EAT YOU UP” and chases him into the woods.

So, what is Carol?

Carol is Max’s rage at his mother for (as he sees it) failing to keep their family together.

Sooner or later, everyone faces the realization that their parents aren’t gods or kings, but flawed, powerless human beings, just as scared and clueless as anyone else. It’s an inevitable part of growing up, like your first breakup or the first time someone close to you dies. Or learning that your favorite YouTuber has become a shit-gargling white supremacist.

In retrospect, the signs were there.

Max runs into the forest and is found by KW who hides him by swallowing him like a condom full of Columbian marching powder. Carol arrives demanding to know where Max is but KW tells him to get lost. Carol finally realises how crazy he’s been acting and leaves, ashamed. From the depths of her stomach, Max tells KW that Carol doesn’t mean to be the way he is, and that he’s just scared. At least I think that’s what he says. My version of the movie doesn’t have subtitles which is kind of a problem considering this is one of those movies where everyone seems to be trying to get on the Olympic mumbling team. KW answers “Well he only makes it harder. And it’s hard enough already.” So, yeah. Stop being a dick to your Mom, Max.

The next day, Max apologises to Carol and says that he’s not a king. Carol asks what he is and Max replies “I’m Max.”

“That’s not very much, is it?” Carol answers.

Max says goodbye to the rest of the Wild Things and sails back through night and day, and in and out of weeks, and almost over a year until he arrives home where his mother, and his dinner, is waiting for him.

And it’s still hot.

***

Imagine for a moment that you died. You wake up in the afterlife, heaven, purgatory, Valhalla, the happy hunting ground, wherever. You’re led past a queue of souls all waiting for their turn to be born. One of them calls out “Hey! Is it worth it?”.

Whatever answer you would give in that situation is your answer to the question of whether you should see this movie. I’m not sure if I mean that as a compliment or not, but there you go. This movie is like life. It’s long, aimless, meandering, often thoroughly miserable and you frequently find yourself wondering what the point of it all is. Beautiful though. Really beautiful. Takes your breath away. Sweet too, in places. In the end, Max’s story doesn’t really amount to much. But he loves, and is loved in return. Maybe that’s enough.

Scoring

Visuals 18/20

Beautifully shot, and the puppeteering and digital effects work used to bring the Wild Things to life is damn near flawless.

Leads: 15/20

Max Records gives a wonderful performance, breathing life and nuance into a character who’s more than a little flat on the page.

Villain: N/A

Nah, not Carol.

Supporting Characters: 15/20

Despite such a high powered cast, the actors are all very well chosen and you never get the Dreamworks problem of focusing on the famous voice more than the character.

Music: 15/20

Is the music any good? Yeah. Yeah? Yeah.

FINAL SCORE: 79%

NEXT UPDATE: 20 April 2017

NEXT TIME: There are no strings on me…

 

66 comments

  1. Great review!

    Though, I really cant have an opinion on the movie. I’ve never seen it and probably never will.The book gave me awful nightmares as a kid. I’m 22 now and still have a weird phobia of it.

  2. “Do you guys plot against me?”

    Yes. Yes we do. But not together, there’s no conspiracy. It’s just each and every one of us, plotting against you all on our own. We’re not even sure why. It’s just something we, as people, need to do. Please don’t take it personally.

    Oh, and thanks for the review. 😉

    1. I always assumed it was because people are naturally evil and this gives us a great opening to have fun with that.

      1. Mouse knows what he did.

        He knows!

        Besides, mice are like the collective enemies of the rest of creation and viceversa. It’s okay, though, they can dish out just as well as take it.

  3. So there actually is some test footage from when Disney was working on a WTWTA movie, and it was directed by John fucking Lasseter! It’s really interesting, definitely worth checking out

  4. “Do you guys plot against me?”

    Hey, it could be worse. Someone could’ve asked you to review possibly the absolute WORST movie of all time (or as I like to call it, the live-action equivalent of Foodfight). You know, this one:

    http://www.movieposter.com/posters/archive/main/63/MPW-31930

    Seriously, I can’t think of a worse live-action movie than this one. Or heck, ANY type of movie, live-action OR animated. Someone else probably can, though. If it’s even possible for such a movie to exist….

    1. I knew what it was before I clicked.

      I actually rented that piece of filth as a kid, since I had some of the cards and was shocked the stumble across a movie version on the shelf. Why did people never talk about this, I wondered?

      I probably rented three movies a week, and that one still stands out as one of the worst decisions of my childhood. Somehow I sat through the whole thing, despite hating every second. Watched it again in college just to see if it was still the worst thing ever, and it was.

      1. OMG. How on EARTH did you survive not one, but TWO viewings of that movie???? I could barely get past Nostalgia Critic’s review of it, and the clips ALONE were enough to actually make me sick to my stomach AND make me feel dumber as a result. To this day, it remains one of the only reviews I will never watch again. Not because the review is bad, but because the clips of the movie themselves are UGLY.

        Seriously, dude. You are braver than most. Watching through it as a kid even though it could scar someone for life and then watching it AGAIN as an adult? Major props to you.

      1. Good to know that for you, there are certain reviews of movies money can’t buy. Like for this one. If you haven’t even seen clips or images for this movie, I envy you. I hope you never do.

      2. Didn’t the Critic say that “Garbage Pail Kids” was his #1 pick for worst movie ever created?

    2. Holt shit, I’m with you guys. Just watching NC’s review caused me physical pain because the titular kids look so offensive.

    3. Oh, trust me, anonymous person who left that comment on April 6th, there are live-action and animated movies probably even worse than GPK (I say “probably because I’m basing that on what little I’ve seem and heard of the animated example and the PREMISE of the live-action one, since I’d never actually watch them). Ever heard of “Where The Dead Go To Die” or “The Human Centipede”?

      1. I have indeed. If someone is brave enough to watch those movies and determine what they believe is the worst one of all, go for it. That person will NOT be me, however.

  5. The only reason I got that Troggs joke is because their music was used in the So Bad It’s Good and incredibly misogynistic PC game Hopkins FBI.

  6. Ohhhhhh boy.

    I’m not one for artsy pictures, so I’ll probably skip this one, regardless of how entertaining the review was. That said, you’d better get yourself ready for a shitstorm. JT isn’t *quite* the flashpoint the Man in the White House is, but he’s probably got at least one diehard fan amongst your readership…

  7. I like this movie, but I understand why people don’t. I did grow up with the book, and for me seeing the Wild Things brought to life on the screen was cathartic, so I probably would have appreciated it with even less of a plot.

    Still, it might have worked better as a short film, maybe half an hours to forty minutes long. But since there’s no real commercial market for shorts, there’s no way they could have afforded to make something so beautiful under those constraints.

    For what it’s worth, I’m glad it got made, I just have trouble recommending it to anyone who doesn’t like arty movies.

  8. Well, since you brought up JonTron…

    I was initially how you purport to feel within the context of your joke. I was despaired, “Oh no, Jon, not you too.” Jon has put out a quick response video a little while back (Not on his YouTube page), admitting he came ill-prepared for his interview with Destiny, essentially clarifying what it is he believes is that this alleged sense of tribalism in American culture is degrading to our overall spirit, and that he is not wholly against immigration (Being the child of immigrants, it would be bizarre for him to believe that), but rather large-scale, unorganized immigration (And, as a personal opinion, I feel as though Destiny was far too intense and critical on his end, and further research into his persona hasn’t led me to like him that much anyways).

    I would prefer to give Jon the benefit of the doubt, as he does come across as an intelligent and well-meaning guy. I feel as though he’s just confused and overwhelmed in these times, as many of us are, and has said some regrettable things as a result of that confusion. Don’t get me wrong, some of his statements as of late have been cringe-worthy and nothing I could really condone, so I do think it would be best for him to create some sort of filter for his non-JonTron social media diatribes, as it has been a recurring problem for him over the years (Though his past Twitter disputes are mild compared to the kind of attention he has received recently). In that previously mentioned video, he stated he is opting to focus more on comedy for the time being, which I think we can all agree is the better call.

    (I’m sure he now regrets doing that Nazi bit in Star Cade now, precisely for purposes like in this review here)

      1. To this day, I still don’t have a clear idea over what Gamergate was or why is was a big enough deal to burn bridges between people over.

        Whatever the reason, to quote from lifestyle expert George Carlin, “I don’t give a shit!”

      2. I won’t go into too much detail but I will say that supporting GamerGate in any capacity basically makes you a human being who is not worth paying any form of attention to.

    1. I do like to give people the benefit of the doubt and let them grow when they make mistakes… but I also believe that at some point one must take a good look at the kind of mistakes people make and KEEP making and ask if it really IS just a long sequence of disconnected missteps or something inherent to their personality. And Jon… well, he’s been doing a bunch of things wrong for quite some time now.
      In one Game Grumps video he kept calling out the n-word as part of one of their little free-form thingies and… okay, so I too have quoted Dave Chapelle-skits making liberal use of the word before I got that, not being black, that’s not a cool or funny thing andeven if it’s just to quote a black guy the word takes on a different meaning and connotation when I say it. Anyone can make mistakes.
      But then there was the time when he was politely asked not to say the r-word and decided all who thought like that WERE… the r-word. And then when he tried to strike up a conversation with Niel Cicierega, a net-animator he’s a long time fan of, Neil more or less said “dude all I know about you is that when someone tried to politely tell you not to use the r-word you had nothing but insults and scorn for them, so thanks but no thanks to engaging with you”.
      And ever since he’s made interviews with alt-right newsletter extraordinaire Breitbart where he says that Trump is the fault of “the left” and how mainstream media are tricking people when he’s talking to, again, BREITBART of all online-rags, and generally act like it’s always the fault of people calling out bad behavior rather than the people performing said bad behavior. Then he defended someone who said that we cannot “restore our civilization with someone else’s babies” as a commentary on preventing immigration, as if there’s something inherent to white people that make them the only people capable of adding anything of worth to the US or Europe, as well as writing THIS little nugget of gold in defense of colonialism:

      And to top it all off… the things he said in that stream are very popular talking points within racist circles, points that have been discredited by ACTUAL science and facts, all meant to paint a picture of how non-whites are just GENETICALLY PREDISPOSED to criminality and chaos. This is what actual racists actually believe. And how does he frame that in his “apology” video?
      “And it’s also hypocritical to keep saying you wanna have an honest conversation about race, IF you don’t actually want to have an honest conversation about race! And anytime someone brings up an uncomfortable statistic, you freak out! And burn things down or something!”
      He was trying to have an “honest conversation about race”… by citing racist, unscientific lies meant to cast non-whites in a bad light and calls that “uncomfortable statistics” that make people “freak out”. The one time he said “I’m sorry” in that video, was when he said “I’m sorry if this has come out of left field for some of you”. He ONLY apologized for this blowing up the way it has. Not for what he said. Not for peddling racist lies. Not for comparing the European colonization of Africa with immigrants entering the US. Not for defending someone who says that we must rebuild “our civilization” with white babies, not brown. There was no apology in that video for anything that actually MATTERS. There is just Jon, acting as if covering up your history and culture by saying people shouldn’t consider themselves African-American or Asian-American but JUST American when people are constantly treated VERY DIFFERENTLY depending on the color of their skin, is the ACTUAL road to societal harmony. The tribalism hes talking about has always existed, he just never paid attention to it. And now that he can’t deny it it seems as if he’d rather shut the conversation DOWN rather than act against true injustice.
      I gotta be honest: when I see someone so frequently espouse these opinions, be so very unwilling to change his ways and act as if the people calling him on his crap are the bad guys and he’s just misunderstood… I gotta look inside myself and ask where I draw the line between “everyone can make a mistake” and “there’s one UGLY pattern forming here” goes. And as far as I’m concerned Jon has crossed that line with gusto.

      1. God, I fucking forgot he did interviews with Breitbart. It was always really really obvious that of the whole NormalBoots group (PeanutButterGamer, ProJared, The Completionist, DidYouKnowGaming, and Continue?) Jon was clearly the dumbest one but I never dreamed he was this fucking stupid.

      2. Oookay, I’m obviously outgunned here. You clearly did your research. Me, I admit to having little to no investment in social media or of the activities of any noted content creators unless such activity starts bubbling to the surface like it did this previous winter. Therefore, I have minimal context or reference to this trend of behavior; it’s instead coming at me all at once these past few months.

        I cannot in good conscience belittle you for your choice to disengage with Jon and his show and persona by extension because you feel unease at how he presents himself as a person. I will vehemently disagree with you about his use of “offensive” slurs in the past, but again that is all my opinion. Heck, I very much disagree with whatever I have heard Jon say as of late, as it very much comes across as half-informed and poorly researched, but all of that’s neither here nor there.

        All I mean to say is you and any others have every right to choose not to support an entertainer or content creator based on how they present themselves without a filter. Heck, by all accounts, you’re probably in the right on this one, what with being better researched on the matter. But until I hear that Jon donated or openly supported a hate group or actively caused harm onto others, either through words or actions (And I don’t mean “offense,” but actual harm onto their livelihoods), I just can’t compel myself to give a shit. I’m sorry, but I haven’t quite broken that veneer of disillusionment just quite yet. For the moment, Jon is still a guy who makes funny videos on the Internet, so as I’m trying to get by in my own life, that’s well enough for me.

  9. Now, as for how I actually feel about this movie…

    I can still remember seeing the poster for it in 2008, before it came out, and even then I was aware and partially dismayed and the surplus of films based on recognizable properties (It is safe to say I have grown numb to this particular frustration as the years went on). Back then, I had no idea who Spike Jonze was, I just thought this movie was another cash-in, no different than those awful Dr. Seuss adaptations. The movie came and went, with little to no buzz about it, so that bias about it keep running for years. Finally, Nostalgia Critic of all people did an editorial about it, praising it as one of those few kids movies that truly nails what childhood is like in all of its chaotic splendor. I finally bought it on DVD, and…to this day that copy sits in a Maryland storage shed, with me barely breaking the forty minute mark since owning it.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Mouse on how meandering the movie is, but at the same time I never particularly belittled the movie for that. I had always assumed it wasn’t one of those movies I could consume like fast food, rather something I had to sit down and savor to properly enjoy; it just turns out that the past four years or so have been especially burdensome to try and find the time for it, which is the case for a lot of revered films for me. I was sold on what I had seen though; like what you said, I too had a small existential crises having gained the knowledge of the sun’s finite existence, and I feel as though I am just now getting used to that and all other forms of mortal dread so many years later. The puppet work, especially knowing it was a CG blend, is magnificent, and I agree with you about how seamless the voice acting is in regards to these broad, childlike creatures. Wild Things is definitely a movie I want to finally find and make time for soon enough.

    By the way, I just found this out trying to look up Wild Things on Netlfix just this moment: Did you know that a schmaltzy Walt Disney biopic exists (Walt Before Mickey)? With Napoleon Dynamite portraying Roy O. Disney, no less?

      1. What baffles me the most is the choice of film title. C’mon guys, was “Walt Before Disney” too on-the-nose, or were you legally unable to put his copyrighted surname in the title?

  10. “Do you guys plot against me?”

    Yes. Yes, I do. Though I plot with the Red One. It was he who gave me the bones to pay for my review purchase. The bones of someone who had crossed him in the past and did not live to tell the tale.

    “I mean, what’s next? A wacky Unshaved Mouse review of Andy Warhol’s Empire?”

    Well, we could always skip to my review. True Bahia!

    “But, I’m proud, I’m stubbourn and I’m too damn dumb to quit so let’s do this.”

    I’m counting on it, Mouse. Counting on it.

      1. Friendly suggestion. August 29th. Four year anniversary of you saying you won’t do it.

        Just a friendly suggestion.

      2. You can’t outrun it forever, Mouse. Eventually, it will catch up to you. It may be best to get it out of your hair before you go prematurely bald. I’d like to be able to tell you apart from your Bluthworld counterpart.

      3. If I can recall, Mouse lifted his Planes ban when he opened up his review requests in order to fund-raise for Joanna.

        It was that same no-rules rule that led to him having to review Foodfight as well…

    1. Well Scorpio. That’s why I capitalized on the Mouse’s offer a paid review. I can finally make sure he watches it. 🙂

      On a side note, even I don’t watch Foodfight, but then again, I’m not a fan of Charlie Sheen.

  11. I may enjoy seeing you suffer watching terrible movies but I would never actually force you t do so myself. There are enough good movies out there that need more attention.

  12. I remember watching this movie when it came out and hating it. Everyone was an asshole, everything was brown. Like the creators were going for a world of poop both aesthetically and emotionally.

  13. I remember seeing the commercials for this movie but I never felt anything more than mild curiosity that was never strong enough to make me watch it. And . . . I still don’t. Not that I think I’d hate it but I already know the book, I’ve already read this review, and that is perfectly adequate.

    (And yes, we do plot against you. Continuously. But not always deliberately or even consciously. And usually there are no dark rooms involved because that’s just cliche. 😉 )

  14. I’m pretty sure I had the book as a kid, but don’t remember much about it. Either way, I really liked this movie. It kind of reminds me of that episode of Rick and Morty where Morty says “Parents are just have kids having kids.” Except in this case, the kid has monsters he found and somehow became king of. Also Carol goes insane because he’s jealous of not being Max’s favorite instead of not having Szechuan dipping sauce.

      1. I’m suddenly curious if they will bring it back for that impending remake (Which, by the way Mouse, what are your feelings about all that?). Until then, we have this…

      2. I just remember you having a strong investment in the original. But yeah, I get what you mean, apples and oranges and whatnot. At least they’ll never remake Hunchback…

        …right?

        But let me tell you, I would tolerate Kevin Hart as the new Mushu if it meant I could figure out what all this Szechuan fuss is about (Also, fingers crossed they give Jackie Chan a bit role too).

  15. Hey, has anyone seen the new Thor: Ragnarok trailer yet? Thinking it might be the best Thor yet as long as it doesn’t get too goofy.

      1. I have a lot of friends who aren’t really digging the more adventurous, jovial tone the trailer has, lest we forget the tone of the trailer might not be fully reflective of the finished product. In terms of it being made to sell prospective viewers, it certainly roped me in.

        As for Ragnarok potentially being a more gritty, apocalyptic story, I would like to think that, in spite of all the bright colors, Jeff Goldblum, and Led Zeppelin soundtrack, there is certainly enough footage so far to indicate Thor has has been dealt a pretty shit hand (Mjolnir crumbling, Asgard itself blowing up, not to mention losing those luscious locks of his). I would like to think his elation towards seeing Hulk is the best news he’s had that day.

      2. Well, considering it from Thor’s view. Asgard is destroyed. Presumably Lady Sif and the Warriors Three lie dead. Heimdall is dead. Odin is dead. Loki is dead. Frigga is Dead. All he has left is Jane on Earth, so he’s probably started rehearsing his greeting. “Hey Jane. Everyone and everything I know is dead. Mind if I crash on your couch for the next ten thousand years?” Then he runs into Hela and she destroys Mjolnir, so now he’s like, “Oh shoot” and gets carted off to the get a haircut and a shabby suit of armor, thinking, “I gotta kill some poor sod over and over again? Why couldn’t I just get the couch with my girl?” Then he sees Hulk, and he’s literally like, “YES!” One good thing has gone right today. “Hulk smash!” Then when Hulk charges him he’s like, “Not me bro!”

  16. I first saw the book in our dentist’s office as a kid. I was maybe 5 or 6 at the time. I get nostalgic whenever anyone mentions this book. I had forgotten a film was made from it! I enjoyed your review. I vaguely remember seeing the trailer but it didn’t grab me. As a kid, I didn’t realize the monsters were an aspect of Max’s internal self. I found that interesting and for that, I’d give it a look.

  17. Wait, this is what could break you? After literally getting possessed by an psychotic evil world-destroying overlord and this is what scares you? Well, I guess there are some things scarier than your world getting consumed. Or, I guess in this case, on-par, considering you’re apparently equally out of your element here. Let’s just hope nobody decides to make you review Birth of a Nation. Though now that I’ve said that, I guess you’d better be extra nice to Amelia now that I’ve given her ideas…

    I’ve got to say, you can be glad nobody’s ever had a shot at giving Really Rosie a reboot. Can you imagine trying to review an artistic film director’s attempt to create a compelling drama out of Johnny’s attempts to shoo away the Alligators All Around his house and send them down Avenue P to Don’t-Care-Pierre’s house where they eat him alive, and likely include a screen rendition of Chicken Soup’s dramatic death? Or maybe try for In The Night Kitchen, including or excluding scenes of child nudity? This might have been the slightly less opaque Sendak adaptation, is what I’m getting at. Though by the sounds of it, that’s not saying much.

  18. Ahh man, that Walken video. I saw that at a party recently and we all got a laugh of the weirdness. I think Fatboy Slim would agree with you, apparently he’s always had the wish to put Walken into one of his videos if he ever became a musical artist. And he managed to get to that point, pretty crazy story. I wonder if Slim’s got any albums sold by Max Records. And yeah, that teacher seemed pretty durn sadistic to be an elementary school teacher. I sure hope my first ever college professor, whose started his class posing the question, “why shouldn’t we all just kill ourselves?” before proceeding to give a spiel about how millennials were the worst generation ever and being so unpleasant I had to transfer to a different class before I could ever get to the part where the answer was given, never is given a pre-secondary teaching job. Maybe the teacher here is like mine, and takes out his embitterment of having a degree in a field that leaves you with no choice but to teach on his students. I guess he feels safe that this isn’t a private school so he can’t be sued for the obvious trauma he’s inflicting on these kids? Oy.

    …I may or may not have been experiencing some existential trials recently, what made you guess?

    Wait a minute, garlic? Don’t you mean silver? Garlic is for vampires. And I thought you here were a folklore expert. In any case though, after seeing The Avengers, I always wondered what Max would think of Mark if he saw his own “wild side”. Maybe he might relate to him more then? Though your reviewing skills are pretty poignant. Especially the part where you compare this movie to life. That very possibly could be what Jonze was going for. Nice job here, Mousie.

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