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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fishing in the Discount Bin: The Iron Giant

I've thought about doing this for a while now, and tonight, I decided to bite the bullet and do it.

About a year ago I was doing something on my podcast called Fishing in the Discount Bin.  One of my best friends and dedicated listeners said to me, "Do you know what I'd like to see you do on your podcast?  Since you love movies so much, I would like to hear you do something where you watch one of your DVDs and just...go off on it.  Just say why you like it, why you don't...just rant about it."  So I did.

I only did it for about 10 or 12 episodes, because this segment made my podcast significantly longer and I started finding it more creatively draining and more exhausting to produce that I had originally thought.  

But as I sit here at my computer and comb through my hard drive...even though I only did the segment about 10 times on the podcast, I actually wrote up 30+ Fishing in the Discount Bin reviews for eventual use in my podcast.

And rather than just let it go to waste, gathering virtual dust on my hard drive, I've decided to start posting these reviews to my blog. 

So, yeah.  For the next 30+ weeks, enjoy my old Fishing in the Discount Bin ramblings.  I wrote most of these well over a year ago, so I`ll be sure to include the dates of when I originally wrote these.  That'll explain why I start talking about Christmas in about six weeks or so.

For my first Fishing in the Discount Bin, I decided to do my favourite movie, The Iron GiantThese notes are dated September 3, 2010.

Well, one of the new regular features that I'm prepping for my podcast is ranting about the movies I watch every Friday night.  As I have no social life and spend most Fridays at home watching DVDs, I may as well rant about them and try to answer the age old question, "Why did I buy this again?"  And what better way to start this than with my all-time favourite movie, The Iron Giant.  It must have been a good...three months since I've seen it last.

I've always got special memories of The Iron Giant.  It was the first movie that I sought out and watched purely because everything I read online was raving about it.  One website after another was posting another positive review.  So I knew I had to drop everything and see it.  And I had to thank the Internet, too, because many agree that it's marketing campaign was totally botched.  One of the bonus features on the DVD is "making of" TV special that was never shown on TV.

Actually, last year, at a special 10-year anniversary screening of the film, which had a Q&A with the film's director, Brad Bird, Bird blamed himself for the botched marketing campaign.  As the film was nearing completion, the marketing guys came to him and said, "You know what?  We love this film, but it's so different from all the other animated films out there that the marketing campaign we were planning isn't going to work.  Can we push it back six months so we can come up with a new way to sell this?"  And Bird was all, "NO!!  FUCK YOU YOU FUCKING SUITS!  I've been working on this film for three years!  You're telling me you couldn't figure out how to sell this in three years?  Go fuck yourselves!  It comes out on time!"

I love the films of Brad Bird, but the more I read about him, the more I realize he's got a real short temper.  There's another incident where he tore a fan a new one because this fan wanted Bird to sign his Incredibles DVD.  Bird didn't tie him a new one because he had the audacity to ask Bird for an autograph, though.  Bird flew off the handle because the guy had the full screen DVD.  "In order to see my full vision, you need to buy the widescreen, you ignorant fuck!" said Bird.

Well, he didn't call the guy an ignorant fuck, but he was rather curt with him. 

I'll never forget the first time I saw The Iron Giant.  I had just graduated from college.  My sister had just graduated from high school AND had just come back from backpacking across Europe.  She hadn't seen Disney's Tarzan yet (Disney's big animated blockbuster that summer).  I wanted to see Tarzan, too, so I said, "Hey, I also want to see this Iron Giant film.  Want to do a double feature day and we'll go see both?"  She agreed.  Tarzan was the first one we saw that day, and we all thought it was pretty good.

Then we saw The Iron Giant.  Wow.  We were crying at the end.  I felt like someone punched me in the gut, the film hit me that hard emotionally.

As soon as I got home, I fired up the old computer and e-mailed everyone I knew:  `You MUST see this movie!  It is so awesome!` And even up to a year later, friends were e-mailing me back saying, `you know, I finally rented it last night because you said it was so good, and you`re right!  It`s SO GOOD!`

About the only negatives my friends ever had to say had to do with the ending.  SPOILER WARNING:  so the movie ends with the Giant making the ultimate sacrafice and using his body to detonate a nuclear missile before it blows up all his friends.  And then, after that, we see the nuke DIDN`T kill the Giant, it just blew him into a billion pieces, and now these pieces are being gathered up in Iceland where the Giant is rebuilding himself.  Some of my friends said that they didn`t like that the Giant lived...saying that it cheapened his sacrafice.  I, personally, like that the Giant lived, because it hammers home the point that souls don`t die, and the Giant does indeed have a soul. 

What more can I say about this film that I haven`t said in the past?  I like it when my animated films give me something different, and this film is full of "different" moments.  Where the character of Dean says, "I'd like to apologzie in advance for what I'm about to do," and then unzips his pants to let a squirrel out.  Or the scene where Hogarth drops his pants in the bathroom and pretends he's having trouble on the toilet in order to cover for the Giant.  And how that scene concludes, when Kent says, "This is why it's so important to chew your food," and that amazingly, wonderful, look of disgust that Annie shoots Kent.  Brilliant. 

Oh, and the game of chicken that Hogarth and Kent play.  Where they stare at each other all night waiting for the other to fall asleep.  Watching this film again, I know that the events must take place over months.  Hogarth and Kent must have had some great games of cat and mouse as Kent tried to get Hogarth to spill the details about the Giant.  That's something for the fanfic authors. 

But yeah.  I don't know how many times I've seen it now, but the ending always gets me.  "Superman," the Giant whispers. as he plows into the nuclear missile.  I always tear up a little.  Must be a geek thing.

The Iron Giant.  It's awesome.  See it. 

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