Remember how I gave Planes an F and said it was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen? Well, I was being too hard on it. I mean, it’s just a kids’ movie, and it’s not like I was expecting anything from it. Overall, Planes was harmless. And that’s why I’m bumping its grade up from an F to a D. This, of course, means it will be moved down to #5 on my “Worst of the Year” list. Besides, the year in kids’ movies has overall been pretty good, I mean, it can’t get any worse than this, right?
Oh wait, it totally got worse. Free Birds is taking that #1 spot now, and it’s bumping Planes off the list. It’s everything that’s wrong with kids’ movies these days. It’s derivative, unfunny, weirdly sexual, and has an all-star cast for no reason other than to say they have an all-star cast. It takes every annoying cliche and theme from every kids’ movie ever made and puts it all together into one horrifying package.
But let me step back and introduce you to one particular part of the movie that gets on my nerves: director and actor Jimmy Hayward. Jimmy Hayward has been the bane of my existence for a few years now, even more so than Bane from The Dark Knight Rises, who I also loathe. (Note: I like Tom Hardy, but I HATE Bane.) You see, back in the ’90s, Hayward was a major animator on the cult classic cartoon ReBoot. After that, he was one of the major animators for the first five Pixar movies (Toy Story, Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc.). But then, for whatever reason, he decided he wanted to direct. Of course, you can’t just start off right away directing a big time movie, so he became an assistant director on a little movie called Robots. Now, for those of you who don’t know, I HATE Robots. For those of you who do know, please ignore the previous sentence. However, I have to concede that Robots made money. And so, Hayward was finally given the opportunity to direct, and he came out with Horton Hears a Who, the only Dr. Seuss movie to date that is not terrible. So, Hayward got the misguided notion that he was good at directing, and not just good at having Jim Carrey and Steve Carell in his movie. So, he decided to make a live action movie. A superhero movie, as a matter of fact. Guess which movie he made?
Jonah Hex. Jonah FUCKING Hex. I don’t even need to tell you how godawful this movie is. After that atrocity, Hayward decided to stick to animation, and that’s how Free Birds was born. Oh, but guess what? He doesn’t just direct. He also voices not one, not two, but SIX supporting characters in the movie, one of which is a Bill Clinton impression, because EVERY KID IN THE UNIVERSE KNOWS WHAT BILL CLINTON SOUNDS LIKE. He even managed to slip a Lewinsky joke in there. Oh, you might not notice. You might see it and think, “Oh, that’s pretty funny.” But then you’ll be thinking about it later and you’ll be like, “WAS THAT A LEWINSKY JOKE?!” You know, FOR KIDS!
But you want to know what the worst part is? This movie had potential. If it was historically accurate, and they got rid of all the homoerotic undertones (YOU HEARD ME) and product placement, I probably would’ve liked this movie. But they didn’t do any of that. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO EASY TO MAKE THIS MOVIE GOOD AND THEY RUINED IT. In fact, the first ten minutes of this movie were good. Like, REALLY good. They weren’t just funny, they were witty. But what was the turning point? What was the first sign of decline in this movie?
The Chuck E. Cheese logo. When the Chuck E. Cheese logo popped up, everything went downhill. Even in the first ten minutes, something felt off, but when the blatant product placement came into play, everything became clear to me. This movie was trying to be a DreamWorks movie trying to be a Disney movie. And that’s when I started noticing the little things. I was listening to Reggie, the main turkey, and I thought to myself, “Is that Owen Wilson?” Then Woody Harrelson came into play, and then I noticed the president sounded like Bill Clinton, and then I noticed the Lewinsky joke, and then I noticed George Takei, and then everything came crashing down. You know those red things that turkeys have under their beaks. In this movie, they represent balls. SERIOUSLY.
I think more than a third of the jokes in this movie were sexual references, and half of those were homosexual. YOU KNOW, FOR KIDS! Oh, and that product placement just gets worse the more the movie goes on. It’s so blatantly not trying that the movie it most reminds me of is The Cat in the Hat. YUP. This movie is so bad, the best movie to compare it to is CAT IN THE HAT. Even the awesome might of Amy Poehler and George Takei can’t save this wretched garbage. At one point in the movie, a Native American says, “Man, those are some (looks at camera) ANGRY BIRDS.” YUP. We’re not even trying anymore, are we?
And guess what saves the day in the end? CHUCK E. CHEESE’S PIZZA. I just want you to consider how messed up this is. A BIRD FROM THE FUTURE BRINGS ENGLISH COLONISTS AND NATIVE AMERICANS PIZZA. THEIR FIRST INSTINCT IS TO EAT IT. THEY REALLY LIKE IT, AND FROM THEN ON PEOPLE EAT PIZZA INSTEAD OF TURKEY ON THANKSGIVING. I should remind you that pizza wasn’t even invented yet when this happened. How did the colonists and natives figure out how to make it? I don’t even think they had the tools to make it. They probably didn’t even call it pizza. Also, one of the subplots is that Woody Harrelson was visited by a Great Turkey in his childhood that turned out to actually be Reggie. First of all, the Great Turkey is just a rip-off of the Great Pumpkin, and second of all, when Reggie goes back in time to do the whole great turkey thing, the scene is different from the flashback earlier in the movie. Surely this would have changed SOMETHING along the line. And since that one conversation leads to the entire movie, it would probably change something IN THE STORY. Don’t you think the colonists would’ve said something about a MAGIC TIME TURKEY GOD that brought them a dish they couldn’t figure out how to replicate? Maybe they would’ve written about it or something.
Okay, I’m ranting. The point is this movie is godawful. It’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. It truly deserves the F I wrongfully gave Planes. If I could give it a G, I would. In fact, see it. You’ll probably have a lot of fun with how terrible it is. I’ll have a Hunger Games review out Thursday night (my first, but hopefully not last, advance screening), and then a Frozen review out the next Wednesday. After that, I have a plan laid out, but I’m not telling you because you have more important things to do than worry about what movies I’m seeing next month. Until then…