WHEN: April 25, 2014, 8:12am. (Week 17, Apr 20-26.)
WHERE: In the living room of my apartment in Portland, ME.
FORMAT: Blu-ray on a Vizio 32″ LED HDTV.
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STATE: Just woke up. Fighting for a viewing topic.
Whenever I’m starved for something new to say about my assigned weekly cinematic torture, I like to turn to my fellow Cinemanauts for inspiration. In the case of Cinemanaut Adam, I currently have a whopping two articles to choose from. (Seriously, can somebody go check his pulse?) Luckily, one of those articles is about the five types of lame jokes in Wild Wild West, and that got me thinking: in addition to not enthralling me with its story, characters, or Flumtrungling Smörtkhándaghrak lexicon, The Fellowship of the Ring fails to make me laugh. Like Wild Wild West, does it fall flat because it relies on the same comedy styles over and over? What five categories of jokes does it draw from the most? Are they the ones mentioned in the title of this article?
For an epic fantasy, this is kind of an Ernest movie.
Wow, that last one looks less like fruit to the dome and more like Pippin is growing a horn. Maybe screencaps aren’t the best way to highlight slapstick. Regardless, people fall down go boom. Most of it feels about as forced as Scotty knowing the Enterprise like the back of his hand in Star Trek V.
I’m sorry, but if I show you every ridiculous “please laugh at me” face in The Fellowship of the Ring, it’ll take up an hour of the movie. Here’s just a sample.
That last shot of Gandalf particularly irks me because it’s used like a joke indicator. Pippin says something dumb, and just in case the joke didn’t land for the audience, cut away to Gandalf making his “oh man, seriously, Pippin, you are such a big dumb dummy” face, though he kinda just looks like an eyerolling teenager whose dad failed to name all the members of One Direction. Oh, and speaking of joke indicator faces, Gandalf and Frodo do this… thing.
“Something funny, Gandalf?”
“Something funny, Frodo.”
Frequently, Frodo and Gandalf will just plain look at each other, then one of them will break into a half-grin, then the other one does. What’s so funny, guys? Share with the class. I get that it’s a camaraderie thing, and it kinda makes sense in the first scene because Gandalf is pretending to be cranky and serious like best buds do all the time (???), but it mostly feels like I have two annoying friends who are always giggling about inside jokes.
What is so funny, you two?
STOP SMIRKING AND JUST TELL ME, DAMMIT.
Don’t look now, but I bet Merry or Pippin just did something stupid!
And if you missed it, they’ll make a face to let you know!
I’ve never liked when a character is a moron 24/7, and I know I’m being a bit unfair since the Dipshit Twins prove themselves useful in later films, but most of this movie is Merry or Pippin ruining everything and then being singled out for their idiocy. And when Gandalf insults them for dicking around, all I can think is, “You’re the fucker that brought them along!” It’s more of a plot hole than a gag.
Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who invites him?
Oh, also, Gimli shares some of the dumbassery, but he’s more just wrong about everything. His incorrectness usually has the hacky timing of a smash cut joke. (Example: “There’s no way in hell I would ever fist a giraffe!” Cut to them fisting a giraffe. Zing.) Over the course of Fellowship, Gimli points out a wisp of cloud, describes a rockin’ Dwarf party that’s about to kick off, and claims he’s incredibly alert, only to immediately discover that it’s a bunch of fucking crows, all the Dwarves are dead, and he sucks at noticing shit directly in front of his face.
Again, not unlike Scotty in Star Trek V.
I could analyze the fact that only the short characters are constantly the butt of jokes, but let’s move on to a smarter topic.
Yes, there is only one poop joke in The Fellowship of the Ring, but I hate it so much that it feels like six or seven.
Congratulations on being slightly classier than Black Knight.
What really pisses me off is that it happens at the end of the Hobbits’ slapstick tumble through the field and over the cliff. I’ve already been punched in the face with unbearably whimsical shenanigans, and then Peter Jackson tops it off with a steamy turd. I don’t care who doesn’t get the reference, it always makes me think of the “bad guy falls in poop” scene from George of the Jungle, which at least bothers to point out what a cheap gag feces is.
These guys should be in every dumb comedy for kids.
While I suppose Gimli is always ready to kill, his hard-on for chopping Orcs in half is especially prominent at the end of the film.
Please don’t pan down.
So Aragorn says, “Let’s hunt some Orc,” then Gimli’s eyes light up and he screams, “YES!!!” This joke stands out for a few reasons:
1) It’s the last joke of the film.
2) It’s one of only two (intentionally) funny lines since the “death” of Gandalf. (The other is Gimli’s previously mentioned lack of alertness.) When the wizard goes down the pit, comedic moments are suddenly absent for the remainder of the film. While I get that this is likely deliberate to give their quest added weight, it’s also the part of the movie that I find the most boring. Which is extra baffling, because I don’t even like all the jokes up to this point! Anyway, Gimli tells a funny, the tone of the movie swings back to positivity and hopefulness.
3) It makes Gimli look like a fucking psychopath and suddenly makes me not okay with all the slaying that the Fellowship does. Whoops? To me, Aragorn’s delivery says, “I am prepared to do more killing because the Orcs have taken our friends.” Gimli’s says, “I can’t achieve orgasm unless my axe is painted with fresh blood.”
Sorry for the visual.
I’m not saying I don’t get a kick out of murder-happy characters like the Joker or the gremlins, but those are bad guys. Gimli’s face at the thought of spilling more guts makes me question what he really joined the Fellowship for.
Or maybe it’s just a fun joke and I’m a shithead. I probably shouldn’t be analyzing comedy anyway.
ONE THING THAT WOULD HAVE IMPROVED THE MOVIE:
Rodney Dangerfield, especially if he got the last joke of the movie.
“Hey everybody, we’re all gonna get laid!”