River Of Grass
Cozy and Lee go on the lam after an accidental shooting in Kelly Reichardt's debut feature
On Film4: 4 Sep 1:00AM
This Pixar prequel sends lovably monstrous duo Mike and Sully back to school for some funny life lessons on scaring.
As nerdy, swotty Mike (voiced by Billy Crystal) and complacent, entitled Sully (John Goodman) meet, compete, and eventually team up (with each other and a fraternity of prodigious pariahs) to win the coveted award in Monster University's annual Scare Games, this prequel to Monsters, Inc. (2001) also reveals itself to be a remake of Revenge of the Nerds (1984). Yet if in its day Revenge... represented a briefly satisfying moment in which the jocks - and all the Reaganite anti-intellectual machismo and swaggering entitlement that they embodied - lost out to marginalised Poindexters, then the Lambda Lambda Lambda geeks have long since grown up into a weird, wired world where nerd is the new normal, where Washington's biggest frathouse now has an African-American President, and where Eighties dweebs now run Microsoft, Facebook and even Pixar.
So times have changed, and now that Monsters University does not have to work so hard to sell its nerdy characters as lovable misfits, it can instead take what is arguably an even more audacious route (whether in the Eighties or today), by suggesting that winning isn't everything, and that some (American) dreams are destined to remain chimerical. Mike's aspiration to be top Scarer is constantly undermined by the fact that he is just not cut out to inspire terror - and yet through failure he gradually discovers where his real talents lie, and through hard work he eventually realises, by the back door, a different version of his ambitions. Likewise the film itself, though ostensibly focused on fear, is too funny to frighten, playing to all of Pixar's strengths: strong characterisation, well-written zingers, exquisitely imaginative visuals, measured lunacy and boundless heart. It might even inspire a new generation both to go to university, and not to be fratty brats when they get there...
A funny, furry entry for kids yet to experience the horrors of tertiary education, or the disappointment of dashed dreams.
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On Film4: 31 August 2014
@Film4 Morning, folks! We're starting the day at 11am with epic WWII drama The Longest Day, starring John Wayne, Henry Fonda & Robert Mitchum.
@Film4 RT @FilmTVPost: The Longest Day is on @Film4 at 11am. A brilliant #WWII film about D-Day, with a stellar cast. It's pretty perfect.
@Film4 RT @jamie_graham9: There have been few better films in the past 5 years than Dogtooth. It's on @Film4 in half an hour
@Film4 Our late-night highlight at 1.30am is Ti West's slow-burning low-budget horror film The Innkeepers, starring Pat Healy & Sara Paxton.
@Film4 At 11.35pm, we're screening Yorgos Lanthimos's Dogtooth, one of our 100 Must-See Films Of The Century So Far: http://t.co/2h32Ayq7ku