Sunday, 26 January 2014

Exploring The IMDB Pages Of The Creators Of Terrible Children's Films



If you read my last article you saw that I was talking about bad children's comedies, usually staring an animal of some kind, and briefly glimpsed into how disappointed the makers of these films must be with their careers. This sort of led me on a life tangent where I started watching a few terrible children's films that I found on Netflix. One of these was Spymate, which follows the classic format of taking an occupation where the protagonist has to overcome some kind of competition and then just dumping a chimp into it. It's a modern classic and at a breezy hour and 20 minutes, feels a lot longer, so you get even more terrible movie than you went in expecting to get.

But having seen this film, I was curious about who made it and so went to IMDB. I was met with a pleasant surprise because the director and writer actually had a profile that had both a picture, some career details and more credits than simply a few episodes of a poorly received TV show; with their one failed attempt to break into film writing dumped in the middle. In this gold mine I found Robert Vince and Anna McRoberts, two film makers who seemed to not only have worked together on every film they've ever made, but also seemed to have solely been making unfunny children's films about animals doing human jobs over the past decade.

So out of having nothing else really to do, as well as an urge to take the piss out of people, I thought I'd take a quick look at some of the stuff that this shit chimp laden kid flick machine of a team has produced over the years and basically treat it unfavourably. Along with an under layer of also trying to work out why they have let their careers turn into solely making these movies and how they can be happy with this.


MVP TRILOGY


It turned out that the duo has been involved in a lot of the terrible movies that I had remembered watching in my youth during a bored weekend induced comatose state as I flicked my way through the endless cultural wasteland that is Sky TV. Among the lot was the aforementioned Spymate, where a chimp is a spy. Then there was the MVP trilogy, in which a chimp does lots of other things. Of course, I use the word trilogy with the same grand weight that I would use to describe any other great trilogy of our time. The trilogy is comprised of the films, MVP: Most Valuable Primate, MVP: Most Vertical Primate and MXP: Most Extreme Primate. They are the emotional tale of a chimp becoming a professional Ice Hockey player, skateboarder and snowboarder, who goes on to win some kind of major competition at the end.

It's basically the same film three times in a row and by the last film even the advertising division seems to have become aware of that. They don't even bother with voice over or audio samples over the trailer to sell the concept and instead just say the phrase “Jack is Back”, before just showing over a minute of a monkey on a snowboard, as if they know that all your hope for a full and meaningful existence has come to an end and you coming to watch this crap is a gibbon.

Apparently in each one of these films, the chimp called Jack, is actually played by three real world chimps, whose names I can't be bothered to type in because they're clearly only given those names because numbers don't look so friendly in the credits. Frontline Entertainment seem to have produced a lot of movies involving chimps and I can only imagine that it's simply because the CEO accidentally procured an excess of chimps, possibly through a drunken gambling night or a planned sordid sexual fantasy that he never went through with out of cowardice. Then he just had to awkwardly use the chimps in films as part of a front to his family and employees that he bought them with the intention of making a bunch of shitty chimp films.

An excuse that is sadly seen as a valid business model in our society.

What's even more morbid is that in the credits at the end of the film, the Director Robert Vince has dedicated the film to the memory of his dead mother, a person who he must have clearly hated to think that this is a fitting tribute to a human life.

I would talk about the specifics of each of the films, but they're basically exactly the same each time. Jack takes up a sport, gets really good through a series of montages and cheap fast forwarding to make the chimp look competent compared to professional athletes. Then at the end he beats a significant enemy team and everyone celebrates their victory. Then the next film starts and Jack is playing at national level, his career continuing to have escalated to endless stardom during the interim.

But Jack, seeing his short chimp life rushing past him, ends up tiring of his previous sport and quickly takes up another in order to inject the thrill back into his quickly depleting lifetime. There's never any mention of his previous team mates again, with it being assumed that they slump back into the obscurity and failure that they were suffering from before Jack joined the team and saved them all from the cruel fate that he cuts them back down to mere months later while he finds another temporary distraction.

I would like to see a fourth instalment where Jack returns in his later years as the Most Vile Primate. Having found success at every sport he's ever tried and now retired with a big house and all the money he could ever want, he finds they act only as torturous reminders of the great chimp that he once was and in order to recapture some of the thrills that he felt in his youth he goes on a dark adventure of self discovery, which finds him descending into the lowest activities and pleasures of mankind as Jack fucks and snorts his way to glory in the underworld of the Hong Kong sex industry, ending with him in the wake of his hedonism having outstayed his welcome in his own life, shooting up heroin with his long chimp arms whilst steadying a shotgun that he aims into his mouth with his little chimp feet and realizing that much like his own career path, anything in life, be it love, happiness or even contentment is nothing more than a temporary flash of experience that can do nothing to comfort the constant thundering pain of sentience and the ever present knowledge of the death sentence that this pointless life brings to us all.

In cinemas nowhere 2000 and who gives a damn


THE BUDDIES FRANCHISE


A spin off to the Air Bud franchise, this series has gone beyond the rehashed realms of a trilogy and flown into another dimension of recycling that is unknown to most franchises save only the Call of Duty series or the sterile clone worlds of the CGI Barbie movies. This franchise recently hit its seventh instalment and with the might of Disney bitch slapping this direct to DVD whore every step of the way to market, it shows no signs of stopping.

The creators of this, namely the director and writer who we are looking at, had a tough time at the end of filming Air Bud 5. Maybe it was the good will of the nineties coming to an end, with the next generation future society that arose in the noughties just being too cynical to accept that a golden retriever could be that good at sport, turning instead to the improved realism of a chimp doing it instead.

Maybe it was just that the availability of the internet meant that now people could receive their cute and funny animal videos for free and at their own convenience rather than having to go to the cinema to watch a terrible film like some kind of family friendly peep show. Either way the duo knew they needed another animal based franchise that was both cheap to execute and was simple to reproduce so that they may leech off of it until the end of time. The idea that they spawned was Air Buddies.

Not in anyway different to its original series in any meaningful way, Air Buddies was simply just a group of 5 puppies all with their own hilarious personalities, who this time instead of doing sports, just did other things. In the first film they went looking for their parents, one of whom was the original Air Bud and since then they've been doing increasingly more ludicrous tasks in order to keep up with the audience's increasing expectations. Porn has been doing much the same, with every star eventually having to try more and more dangerous and extreme acts and the Air Buddies franchise is doing much the same for kids. 

The Buddies have gone from just trying to save their parents, to being snow dogs, then there was a sudden leap into them going to space before they then went to work for Santa, after which they then went to a haunted mansion, then a globe trotting treasure hunt and finally this year they became super heroes - something that I imagine will be completely ignored in the inevitable sequel where the puppies become embroiled as part of a counter terrorist unit.

Here's a short interview of both the creators in motion, in case you, like I, feared that they were just an invention of Disney to make us think that actual humans were working on these things and they weren't instead simply the creation of a coldly calculating imprisoned machine that has been programmed to administer cheap commercial content to its human overlords that perfectly resonates with a majority of the stupid population that it has steadily grown to hate. Nope, here are actual human beings trying their best to lie enthusiastically about why Treasure Buddies is in any way good.

This is a dead CGI ghost puppy that appears in the Spooky Buddies one. It looks more terrifying than most adult horrors could ever manage

Some fans of the franchise have commented on the IMDB page that they think that the franchise has lost its way. Air Buddies used to mean something man, then it just sold out.

One user starts a thread asking “Let me get this straight...” and then goes on to lament how the series went from a somewhat plausible story of a dog playing sports like basketball, but now hates just how far the Buddies franchise has sunk to. Based on the fact he can even write this, I'm guessing that he's not the intended audience and should probably just deal with it.

If you would like an example of what I would expect from the intended audience then look no further than this review of Space Buddies from this absolute mentalist. At first I questioned whether or not it was just someone who didn't speak English very well, because if it was then it'd be pretty lame to criticize since I can barely speak another language and calling someone a dumbass for doing it wrong would be hostile for hostility's sake. But the number of general formatting errors as well as the high scores given to the movie in general suggest a deeper level of retardation.


Like any proper reviewer he breaks it down into categories, to grade each merit of the film independently. The sound of the film receives a very high 9/10 for, as far as I can tell, the loud poop noises of the dogs and a striking soundtrack. There have been many classic soundtracks that have been heralded but I've never seen the endless background kooky chimes and bad joke cementing trumpet blows that comprise Space Buddies. He then gives the film's visuals 10/10 simply for being in 1080p, because the HD visuals bought him "vi wing pleasures" and even a man as callous as me can't argue with that.

This does however mean that basically any film made in the last 20 years gets 10/10 for visuals. This guys seems to be a bit of a stimulus freak since the film rates highly simply for having a clear picture and having loud audio. Any film's sound could therefore be improved just by turning up the volume, which makes the sound awards in the Oscars seem unfair in hindsight of this review since I question whether or not all the film's were watched at full volume, rendering it an unfair contest.

One thing that made me know for sure that this guy was the intended audience was that he compliments the farting in the film, not once, but twice. He brings up the farting not only in the introduction to the review, but also in the overall conclusion, where the farting is bought up again as a major strength of the film. The farting also isn't just a minor aspect of the film that he liked, appearing in one of the categories, but is actually established in the conclusion of his review. If there's one thing to take away from this film, it's that it's got good fart noises and that's the end of it. And if there's one great cinematic alchemist who can intertwine the delicate integral recipes of funny farts and heart warming emotion, then it can only be a task satisfied by Robert Vince. With the help of his co-writer Anna McRoberts, maybe they handled one side of the plot each, him taking the emotional side and her taking the farting aspect, only for their rapport to mix the two threads perfectly during editing, as if together they were like performers, dancing a graceful fart filled tango.


THE DUKE


Oh Jesus Christ, is there really any need to talk about this. It's crap. It's just really crap. There's not much to say about this film and even the film's trailer seems to agree, believing that just hearing the name of the movie will be self explanatory enough. It's about a dog that becomes part of the royal family, but even the trailer doesn't mention that, because once you see the dog running down the hill during the 20 second clip, with the title splashed over the image in the corner, then you'll understand this movie. The sad thing is, that even though I couldn't find any numbers about how much money this movie made, it looks so damn cheap to make, as do all these movies, that I have no fears that they made back their budgets a thousand times over.

This was Robert Vince's first movie and if you'll forgive me is the only one that had no involvement from his fellow writer Anna McRoberts. But then again, Anna was only a production designer on Most Valuable Primate, before becoming a writer on the sequel, so I haven't been totally honest from the start. However, with Most Vertical Primate, she bought her own bubbly personality and razor sharp wit into the MVP sequel and moulded it into her own, taking it into, what could be argued as its strongest years. I'm joking of course, everything that she or Robert Vince has made is a joke and the lowest possible form of anything that has or could ever be made, lacking less merit than even 'A Serbian Film'. If anyone ever asks them what they do for a living, it'd be less embarrassing for them to simply stare forward in absolute silence or just lie and say that they don't know what a job is.

But The Duke was where this shit stepping hurdle rat race began, where Robert Vince started directing, made his way into the business and would later drag Anna into the pit of it all. It has been described by IMDB reviewer Susan G as a “classy script” and even has some “profundity about nobility and class”.

 A profound statement about nobility and class

This film is on Youtube and even now I still can't be bothered to watch it all the way through. Here it is for your viewing pleasure, but I've just seen too many bad movies recently to take that journey, but if it's as good as what Susan G said, which it most definitely isn't and markets itself to an audience who think just a dog running is cause to flock to the cinema, to spend money, to watch a dog become a duke. That being a plot point that isn't even mentioned in the trailer other than using the word duke in the title, which at first I assumed was just the dog's name and not the more apparently reasonable assumption that the dog is in fact an active member of the royal family; then I imagine it probably isn't the film for sober me, or possibly even drunk me.

So there we have it, the most fleshed out career of any children's film director and writer that I could find on IMDB, and as expected, it was still completely depressing and pointless. A waste of any of the countless time and resources that were poured into them. Just to leave you with the same bitter taste that looking into each of these continually anal decaying films has left in my soul, please enjoy part 1 of 7 clips that this one sorry Youtube user has uploaded of sequences in the Buddies franchise where one of the dogs farts over and over and over again. Enjoy.

9 comments:

  1. Chimps scare me. Certainly not suitable for young children.

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    1. I totally agree. Although they're funny, there's nothing about a chimp that I would trust. Their greater strength and sharp teeth only make me worry that at any point they're going to tear someone's face off, as they have in the past. Whoever acts with one is braver than I.

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  2. Hat doffed to Harvey for sitting through this junk in the name of journalism. Suffering for your art, right there.

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    1. I see no difference between what I do and what any war journalist has been through. I did actually in retrospect go and watch the Duke on youtube and it really is a dull and retarded as I imagined it would be.

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  3. Another niche only you could fill

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  4. Harvey is king of unexplored niches.

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    1. I appreciate that you can get your fill of specifically terrible topics here. There's so many specifically shit things to dislike I'm not sure why more people don't come into contact with stuff like this and talk about it.

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  5. The ghost puppy appears to be a human face superimposed upon a dog. That nose is all wrong, and damn you cynics for making me even care!

    Nice article.

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    1. Glad you liked it. The basic premise of this site was to find others who were pedantic enough to hate and pick even the smallest detail of terribleness that could be found in this world. You sir have fallen right into our trap.

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