Augustus Filmius


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Scoob! (2020)

What's with you haters? I almost refused to watch this movie because of all you joyless monsters and I would have missed out.

Not I am not claiming perfection or greatness for this movie. Just that it is fun. And a lot of it.

It does have its flaws. Some of the character designs don't quite work (Daphne is waaay too pretty, the kid versions are too adult, Simon Cowell is so realistic he turns uncanny [and isn't it a little late for Simon Cowell to be your sole celebrity guest?), Will Forte's Shaggy falls short of what a voice actor could have done), but most of the complaints I anticipated having I do not.

Example: I thought this would be a origin story with kid versions of the characters annoying and floying their way through the film. Not so. In fact, the grow up a bit too fast leading into the most excellent rendition of the theme song which scratched many of my nostalgic itches.

Example: I thought from the trailer that this would break the cardinal rule of Scooby-Doo: no real monsters. (I first saw a Scooby-Doo film break this rule c. 2004 and I was outraged. I've watched very little new Scooby-Doo since.) It does in fact break this rule, but I'm okay with it because the film is not JUST a Scooby-Doo movie. It brings in other Hanna-Barbera properties and so the rules of THEIR worlds also become relevant. I'm still not totally on board, but it's okay for this movie.

(That said, the cosmic mumbojumbo that fuels the finale is nonsensical, and it appears they cut a key scene in which the one friendly robot converts others. I blame suits for this.)

Incidentally, before Space Jam took this to absurd lengths, Scoob! also played with the fact that these characters belong to a media conglomerate. It's a funny but mostly left me feeling slightly dirty.

It's kind of weird how Scoob! kind of expects us to remember these characters. Some of them are deep cuts unless you were ten years old and bored in 1977 or spend all your time now in front of Boomerang. I vaguely remember Dynomutt but I'm not sure I ever saw the show. I remember Captain Caveman but I don't remember Dee Dee so maybe he was in another show later? I remember Dick Dastardly (thought I thought it was Dirk) and Muttley but I couldn't tell you with certaintly how. And I'm turning 45 this week. I'm sure this was meant to relaunch all these characters but they're also meant to be nostalgic. All I can say is ymmv.

And I didn't read the reviews (just heard the gist) but I do wonder if the main complaint is people railing against Ecclesiastes, wishing for something new under the sun.

Yeah. Me too.

Three Men and a Baby (1987)

I really shouldn't count this. I watched the first twenty and last five minutes. Son #3 picked it out for us to watch while we waited for his mom to be ready to take me to run some errands. The timing meant he watched the movie basically by himself. Which makes me feel bad. It was just started to get good when I left and it had just tumbled into sentimentality when I returned!

I suspect I have not seen this movie since seeing it in theaters as a kid. That's a long time.

I can't be sure what I would have thought had I seen the entire thing, but I was enjoying it well enough! Would watch again!

Incidentally, Ted Danson has gotten much more handsome since 1987. But I think this was peak-handsome Tom Selleck. Steve Guttenberg is also in this movie.

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Scoob! (2020)

Watched this with the kids who missed the first go-round and I have a couple comments to add

1. This is the first time I've ever thought Mark Wahlberg did a good job. I'm still skeptical he's Oscar-worthy, however.

I realized that the real reason I like this movie as much as I do is because it understands what is, in my opinion, the single most important thing about Scooby-Doo: Fred and Velma and Daphne and Scoob and Shaggy are people you want to be friends with. They're cool! And sure, this movie practically makes friendship the macguffin, but even with all the theatrics, it understands. It understands why we love the Mystery Inc. gang.

They are our friends.

Black Widow (2021)

I don't understand how this character is still able to walk and maintain linear thought. We've seen her take a beating before, but never like this. I just don't get it.

Anyway, sorry ScarJo, but an unvaccinated wanted to watch this for his birthday so we bypassed the box office. Don't hold it against us.

This movie would have made more sense had it appeared between Civil War and Infinity War. They even had the location font the same as the former (or dang close)!

The post-titles sequence makes it clear that the Disney+ tv shows are connecting back the opposite direction as well. They're inseparable now.


The action scenes were incredible, the family cast was great, the biggest emotional leaps worked, and I liked it. But I don't know that it meant anything to me. How about you?

Phantom of the Megaplex (2000)

Son #3 has been wanting to watch more Disney movies and he got this one onto the docket tonight.

It's about exactly what you'ld expect from a Disney Channel horror movie. It's a movie that's laughing with you because it too is laughing at itself.

Plus, Mickey Rooney. Crazy to think he still had another fourteen years of life (and movies) in him. He, um, was pretty old.

Sylvio (2017) ×2

I don't grow tired of this movie though I've seen it enough times that I could fill up an IMDb goofs section. I won't, but I could.

Anyway, it's the story of a gorilla finding his place in the world! I like to think he succeeds.

Incidentally, since I last saw it, I found a connection between it and Fat City (1972).

The Giant Brine Shrimp (1973)

Okay, okay, okay, yes. I grant you. This is not long enough to count as a feature. But I just have too much to say about it not to write something longer than a tweet.

I had never heard of it before Laz added it to his list but I fit it in immediately. I'll talk about what it is in a second, but what it isn't is guilty of failing to be Utah in the way Laz describes this movie. This movie knows where it's at.

Anyway, the movie was cheap to make. It's clearly a one-person project. He filmed local stuff, put together some models and cut-up paper ala Gilliam, and that was about it. He needed a couple friends who'd always wanted to be filmed making out and some more willing to run through Salt Lake streets, but largely this is a film that was accomplished in a garage with razor blades and clay.

But the effects are great! The giant brine shrimp has character and is Harryhausenesque in movement. And the destruction of Saltair reminds me of Lotte Reiniger's work.

Anyway, the film charms, is occasionally hilarious, and any bitterness (alleged) on the part of the filmmaker has been bleached out by time.

Also, it has an AMAZING conclusion which I absolutely WILL NOT ruin for you.

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Contact (1997)

I first (and last) saw this c. 1997 in some house I'd never been in before and would never be in since as my parents took us on some sort of trip. It's fuzzy. And come to think of it, considering the order of my life post mission, let's adjust that circa to 1998.

ANYWAY, it's a great movie. It was great then, it's great now, and there were only a few bits I remembered. And some things I remembered quite incorrectly. For instance, I'd conflated the evil religious and the sensible religious characters. And I could have sworn there was another song in the opening sequence, but I didn't hear it this time.

Also, watching that opening sequence, I felt certain that the final sequence of Men in Black must have parodied it—but, in fact, Men in Black opened a week earlier. Just the zeitgeist, I guess.

More likely are the Jurassic Park references (red jeep, Puerto Rico, talking to kids, "clever girl"). But [citation needed].

The film's a terrific time capsule. The early worldwide web, Bill Clinton, hyper-religious political , transition from sets and mattes to digital effects. It's a good way to remember the Nineties (if remembering the Nineties is something you want to do).

But the film is still most valuable because it is an excellent, both exciting and intellectual, film with a fine cast doing good work, a complex but reasonable plot, hefty philosophical ideas about epistemology and the nature of meaning, of being human.

The obvious more-recent film to connect is Arrival. And rightly so. They are both such generous films and they both deal with first contact. They both feature a fraught romantic relationship that serves to contrast philosophies. They both contrast the scientific community with the political and military communities—and to those prone to extremism. They both star short, lovely, and absolutely brilliant actresses working at the very top of their craft—and their feminineness is key to their character or, more specifically, to how other characters see their character. All the same, they're quire different films. I wouldn't want to argue between them.

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