Friday, July 01, 2011

Witz Flix: Airborne

(Eeeeeee! "Real heroes aren't made, they're AIRBORNE!") 
Thank God The Rapture didn't happen, because if it had, I wouldn't be able to watch and review this movie. Special thanks to my friend and reader, Burns Notice, who gave me the head's up and asked me to review Airborne. You'll understand why I'm so excited once you read this Netflix synopsis. My excitement is italicized: "When his parents leave for an extended trip, California surfing enthusiast Mitchell (Shane McDermott) goes to live with relatives in Cincinnati, where he has trouble adapting to the chilly environment -- and the cool reception he receives from his new classmates. With only his cousin (Seth Green) as a friend, Mitchell endures endless taunting. But things begin to change when he wows everyone with his rollerblading skills. Jack Black co-stars." RIGHT??? Let's get going... 

0 min: I'm already impressed. The movie's rated PG and yet there's apparently "Brief Nudity," "Adult Language," and "Mild Violence." 

1 min: It takes balls to open a movie with a "Suiting up to go rollerblading," montage: blades going on feet, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, and then...wait for it...hamstring stretches. All done in a timeless room with a black background. I got chills. 

3 min: Two dudes go rollerblading down a huge hill towards the waves of the California coast. If they're anything like me, they're going to hit a branch, black out, and have a dream where they meet Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in True Lies (yes, that really happened). 

4 min: Was 1994 really this awesome? Was rollerblading ever this cool?? And how does being able to rollerblade translate into being amazing at surfing? I feel like I'm watching someone play "California Games" with their 5 1/4" floppy disk for PC.  

(So, BMX racing was clearly the best event in the game, but at the end of the course, you just fell off a really high cliff and lost-- what the hell!?) 

6 min: "You guys were awesome today. Gracias." Yep, he's talking to his rollerblades. 

7 min: Man, even this kid's hair's got waves. He must really like surfing. 

8 min: I don't know who's more irresponsible: Mitchell's parents for going on an expedition to Australia and forcing their son to move in with relatives in Cincinnati, or the casting director who thought any of these people can act. We cut to snowy Ohio, with Mitchell looking very not stoked. And here's where I can already tell the genius in this movie lies: all signs point to a SNOWBOARDING movie right? WRONG. Rollerblading. Uncompromised vision. 

10 min: SETH GREEN! Is it better to say that he looks 14 now or that he looks 37 in the movie? 

11 min: If the banter in the car ride home scene is any indication, I'm not entirely sure this movie was scripted. 

12 min: Seth Green: You pickin' up what I'm puttin' down? Mitchell: I'm with you all the way, brah. 

14 min: They go to school and there's the obligatory "Mitchell not being able to handle crowded hallways" scene, which always confuses me. This is followed by the usual "getting the attention of the school bully" scene, this time with the bully being some small hispanic kid nicknamed Snake, probably because Cincinnatti is not a bastion of creativity. 

15 min: HOLY SHIT, JACK BLACK WAS A KID!? Try picturing Jack Black as NOT an overweight wacky guy-- can't do it, right? Well, it happened, and he's a douche. Mitchell and Seth go into their first class and everyone glares at them. Jack Black (aka Augie) is not a fan, but you know who is? Yep, some chick who wants to ride Mitchell's wave and is literally making him pick up what she's putting down as she pushes her book off the desk and watches as he picks it up for her. 

18 min: Hold on, I'm trying to figure out what just happened. Jack Black and his buddy hate Mitchell because he's the cock-blocking-est thing to come out of LA since Scientology. They go up to the front of the public speaking class and call Mitchell out, saying that surfing isn't a sport (which Mitchell never claimed it was) and that hockey is a real sport. Here's where they lost me: they then proclaim that Mitchell should try playing hockey-- "matter of fact man, we have a game against the Preps-- and we've never beaten the Preps. I'm not graduating without beating them, we're gonna kick butt today!" And everyone cheers and runs out of the classroom. So...are they asking Mitchell to play in the most important game of the season orrrr.... 

22 min: I've never been more confused in my life. Jack Black was wearing a Tim Riggins jacket, then they announced that two people were in trouble and couldn't play hockey, so they had to have Snake and Seth Green join the team because they didn't have enough people? Now, they're playing the Preps, losing 2-1 on a seemingly school sanctioned scoreboard, and one kid goes, "Let's go! First to three wins!" ..... WHAT????? 

26 min: Mitchell has a long conversation in the stands with a girl who looks a lot like Hilary Swank and has the personality of a Highlights Magazine. Seth Green gets knocked out, Mitchell has to play, and he shoots on the wrong net and scores, infuriating everyone on his team. Seth says that Mitchell's the one who cost them the game, but Mitchell goes, "Yeah, right." Dude, you shot the puck INTO your own net from the other side of the rink-- you know what's really mondo, brah? Taking responsibility for your actions. 

33 min: Revenge comes in the form of a series of pranks. Mitchell's desk falls apart, Seth is glued to his locker, sand is put in Mitchell's locker, and then, bafflingly, Mitchell is taking a luxurious shower at school and Jack Black steals his clothes. This is followed by Mitchell taking a luxurious shit at school and then finding that all the toilet paper has had water dumped on it so it's unusable. I went to grade school for 12 years and I can count the number of showers and craps I took on the premises on one hand-- why would you do these things and TAKE YOUR TIME doing them while in the midst of a siege of pranks? 

37 min: It took them 37 minutes to get to the part where Mitchell remembers he owns rollerblades and goes for feel better about life. The movie opened with a rollerblading montage. Just sayin... 

41 min: Mitchell runs into Million Dollar Baby as he skates past the park and they talk. She asks, "Hey, what are you doing right now?" to which he should have replied, "Uh, I'm fucking rollerblading, what does it look like?" but instead they cut to a botanical garden that she's way into. After a while, he ruins all tranquility the place has by rollerblading around and eventually getting them in trouble, but she thinks it's hiii-laaaaarious. I get why people hate this kid. 

43 min: Her: You must be homesick. Him: Not right now. Me: I just went from six to midnight. His metaphorical penis is literally inside her right now. They make a date for Friday. She's bringing a friend and he's bringing Seth Green. I hope he wears a backpack and goggles.

44 min: Holy rollers-- whatever rollerblading this movie lacked has been made up for in the last five minute montage. After hanging out with Swank, Mitchell rollerblades home, pulling tricks along the way and accrueing a hoard of wheeled followers. First some bikers follow behind him, then some skateboarders see him and follow along, and then other rollerbladers. They all come upon a magical Tony Hawk level style blading park where Mitchell performs tricks that even my super high college roommate couldn't pull off with his Game Cube controller. This is all set to hair metal and if I had to sum up what we learn it would be this: Mitchell really enjoys rollerblading. 

45 min: Mitchell waxes his board (not like that), then stands on it on his bed and imagines himself surfing. If anyone ever needed a water bed, it's this kid. 

48 min: They go on the double date, but the movie must have spaced out for a while, because it cuts directly to the part where Mitchell and Boys Don't Cry are alone. She asks him if he could have lunch with any three people dead or alive, who would he choose. He chooses a famous surfer, Gandhi, and her. She says, "Me? You could have lunch with anyone and you'd choose me?" to which he replies, "You're not just anyone-- you're the girl I'm definitely about to have sex with (paraphrasing that last part)," and they kiss. 51 min: Seth Green's date is not psyched to be there. To be fair, she grows up to look like this and he ends up looking EXACTLY THE SAME:

53 min: While the four are sitting at the diner table, one of the Preps from the hockey game, Blaine, shows up and starts being douchey. Apparently, he used to date Freedom Writers. 

54 min: Blaine grabs Seth's date and starts dance raping her-- by which I mean he forcefully makes her dance with him, not that he like, rapes her while doing the Macarena. Anyway, Unfrozen Caveman Seth Green steps in and tells him to back off. Blaine shoves him to the ground and is about to start in with The Next Karate Kid (yep, Hilary Swank was the next karate kid), when Jack aka the OTHER douchebag leader, shows up at the diner and stops him.  

55 min: Yep, Jack is the girl's brother. He also hates Mitchell, and honestly, the biggest problem with this movie is that Mitchell is a completely sarcastic, California surfer tool. He's so annoying that the two rival douchebags both hate him. 

56 min: This movie has the weird misconception that bullies won't start fights. Mitchell says, "You think calling me a few names, putting sand in my locker is gonna make me fight you? Well, you're wrong!" and just to remind everyone why they don't like him, he adds, "You're not worth it, brah!" Mitchell then ruins all chance of getting laid by concluding, "Nobody here is!" The last time someone cockblocked themself that badly it was Pauly Shore by being Pauly Shore:
(Bad news for Pauly Shore-- when you search google for him, Pauly from Jersey Shore comes up first...) 

58 min: Cue obligatory downward spiral montage: Seth Green is "seriously disappointed" in Mitchell, Mitchell tries to fix things with his girl, but he's wearing a fucking poncho while talking to her, so for some reason, she doesn't take him seriously. 

61 min: Mitchell falls asleep and dreams about surfing. This kid must piss the bed ALL the FREAKIN' TIME. 

62 min: Mitchell wakes up Seth Green at 3am to describe his dream, a situation best explaind by Dennis in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: "Dreams are like pictures: if I'm not in 'em and nobody's having sex, I'm not interested." Anyway, this dream answers the question, "How much can we shoehorn in this surfer theme?" The dream is about Mitchell riding the perfect wave, which apparently represents the girl he likes, and a shark who represents her understandably dickish and protective brother. The shark is trying to scare him away from the wave, but he says "the wave is mine." Mitchell declares, "You don't have to fight the shark to fight for the wave..." at which point Seth Green makes a face like he just realized he shouldn't have agreed to make this movie. 

63 min: Aw, hell yeah, rollerblades ARE the answer! Mitchell rides to where all the kids are playing street hockey, and also where there's an inordinate amount of plywood on the ground for him to skate on over gravel. The girl is there and his plan seems to be to win her back via a street hockey showdown. I'll admit, I'm pretty excited. You know who never won the girl by playing street hockey? Runs Around in His Sneakers Because He Doesn't Have Rollerblades Guy. 

65 min: The guys let Mitchell play so he can get his ass kicked. Instead, he skates through everyone, dekes the goalie, and scores a goal all by himself. This movie dramatically undervalues the necessity of stick-handling. 

67 min: Blaine tackles Mitchell at the next face off and everyone wants him to fight. Instead, Mitchell waits, refuses to fight, and then goes and pulls Blaine's pants down because he's a) non-violent and b) a little bitch. P.S. Thanks for the man-ass-crack, "Brief Nudity"... 

68 min: Mitchell's ability to evade the douchebags is entirely predicated on his ability to hop on rollerblades. Weak sauce, dude. 

70 min: Jack Black and the other guys all go to Mitchell's house and welcome him to the group since he pantsed Blaine. Jack Black says, "I guess we had you figured all wrong. I'm sorry man..." but he also looks like a child molester who has a vast number of skinned pets in his basement...

71 min: "We challenged the Preps to a rollerblade race-- we're gonna settle this thing once and for all." Very few people remember, but that's actually how the Cold War ended. 

72 min: 
SNAKE: Well, anyway, it's a bunch of hills Mitchell- it's pretty dangerous. 
MITCHELL: Then why do it? 
JACK BLAK: We're tired of being put down, treated like low life trash, losers-- 
SNAKE: We're somebody. This is our chance to prove it-- and we can only do it as a team! 

Did you feel that? I just got goosebumps. 

74 min: A big group of kids gather at the top of the hill, somber and clad in helmets, knee pads, goggles, gloves, padded sweatshirts, and of course, rollerblades. Blaine tells us, "The rules are: there are no rules-- anything goes." Everyone looks at each other intensely. 

75 min: A random girl we've never seen before announces, "The first team with three members across the finish line wins." You know what that sounds an awful lot like? A rule.... 

76 min: Hahaha, did I mention they're doing this down a hill on a road with cars on it? This movie feels like it was made by someone who really didn't understand what they were watching when they saw the X-Games on TV. Also, I think Jack Black might have just died, it's unclear. It was supposed to be funny because he eventually hit his crotch against a tree, but at that speed, he had to have taken some serious bodily damage. 

77 min: YESSS!! Close-up shot of the three leaders using their brakes to slow down! Take yer brakes off, nerds! 

80 min: Wow, they are really committed to this sequence; there hasn't been any quips or one-liners for the last 5 minutes. Just...Rollerblading. 

81 min: Ok, maybe this is because I work in events, but there is a severe lack of signage along this route. How the hell does everyone know where they're going? They're basically just weaving through suburban streets at this point. 

83 min: Aha! Case in point: Mitchell loses sight of the people in front of him and says, "Where did they go?" He has to stop and take a look. From a vantage point, he sees Snake and two Preps cross the finish line where a ridiculously large group of people are cheering everyone in. "If the Preps get one more person, they win!" Snake shouts angrily. 

84 min: Did the shredding guitars cause Mitchell to leap over the railing and soar through the air or did his leaping cause the guitars to shred? I like to think one could never exist without the other. 

85 min: Blaine takes out Jack, then lines Mitchell up to check him against the concrete unnecessarily. Mitchell ducks and Blaine checks himself into the concrete, flips over the edge, and crashes into the ocean. This is why Cincinnati can't have nice things (also see: Ken Griffey, Jr). 

86 min: Mitchell and Jack cross the finish line and the crowd goes crazy. More importantly, they marked the end of a TWELVE MINUTE ROLLERBLADING SEQUENCE WITHOUT DIALOGUE. HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT. 

87 min: Seth Green shows up in the back of a pickup truck and Gloria is there to kiss him. Mitchell, Jack, and Snake all high five, and it's pretty clear at this point that Jack Black is dead in the woods and Blaine just drowned in the river. Mitchell and his girl kiss in slow motion (which looks just like a normal long kiss except her eyelid kinda tweaks out like she's having a seizure), the screen fades to black and: 2nd Unit Director Steve Boyum. Powerful stuff. Then, presumably, Mitchell goes back to California with his parents. Huh. 

 I'll say this: for a movie named after a cold medication, it wasn't that bad. I can honestly say that with the exception of D2: The Mighty Ducks, no other movie I've seen has even come close to rivaling the rollerblading footage, and it's good to know that Year One or The Holiday are still Jack Black's worst movies. Mitchell was a real douche, but it turns out that the actor, Shane McDermott, now sells real estate in Galveston, Texas, so who's cool, now? I'll leave you with this quote from the man himself:

"Let me tell you what stylin' is. The perfect session: A-Frame wave, ground swell, spittin' out salt water in your face, doing a little lip action move, a 360 without a bounce. I call it a Liquid Drano Wannabe Bullwinkle. I tell you no lie, my friends. It's a consciousness raiser." 

Whoah, Witz


Unknown said...

When you watch movies like this, I worry about your mental health. Are you getting enough Vitamin D? Are you engaging in other self-harming behaviors? Should I call your friends and plan an intervention?

Also, "case and point"?

Unknown said...

On the other hand, reading your entire review/live blog, I just spent 10 minutes not working, so what do I care? Carry on.

Witz said...

Putnawa-- No, on the vitamins, yes to the self-harming, and probably to the intervention (worst case scenario, we end up having a party). But, what am I gonna do-- NOT watch and make fun of it??

Oops, yep, "case IN point." That's one like "intents and purposes" that still gets me occasionally...because I'm an idiot. Thanks for readin!