Tag Archives: Rapunzel

The Nickel Awards: Part 1

In the wake of this year’s Oscars, we here at The Nickel Screen felt compelled to give out some awards of our own. All of those supposedly learned movie people obviously know nothing compared to us, so sit back, relax–actually, sit forward and pay attention. We put a lot of thought into this 3-post extravaganza, and you’d better enjoy it.

Nerd’s Fantasy Nominees: Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2), Olivia Wilde (Tron: Legacy), Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), Emma Watson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1), Rapunzel (Tangled)

Winner:

If there’s one category the Academy Awards blatantly lacks, it’s this.

Why do movies really, truly exist? To spin heart-warming tales of kings who grapple with their issues? To show people how tough cutting off your arm can be? I don’t think so. Movies exist to make money, and who has money? That’s right, nerds. We sit eternally at our computers, hiding from the day star and pitifully pecking at the keys that provide our sustenance, but you know what? We make bank.

But money doesn’t equal happiness. We understand that all too well as we sweep our gazes across our rooms, eyes alighting on our mint condition Millenium Falcon replica. It sits, dusty, right next to our extensive comic book collection. To its right, a poster of Captain Kirk looks outward, ignoring the Atari 2600 which rests just below him, unused. But we don’t see happiness. No, because happiness is more than belongings.

As The Beatles taught us, money can’t buy you love, and love is all you need. But unfortunately, no real woman can ever hope to win our hearts, for we have already fallen, fallen for the phase-shifting sublimity of Kitty Pryde, for the Amazonian intensity of Wonder Woman, and for the stripping strippiness of Stripperella. Human women be damned! If only we could somehow make these fantasy babes real!

And by god, movies are the closest thing we’ve got. If there’s one dangling carrot that can get us away from our apartments—make us sit up from the chair, change out of our pajamas, and face the daylight—it’s a film version of those girls we think about day and night. That’s why movies exist. They exist for the nerd.

This year was an excellent showing of sexy. Olivia Wilde donned a skin-tight, light-up, spandex suit, drove a futuristic light-car and kicked ass on a bunch of evil programs. Only problem was that she herself was a computer program, and that’s not really my thing. Gemma Arterton trekked through the desert as Tamina, a beautiful Persian princess who wasn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, killing a bad guy by stabbing him in the eyes with a live snake. Emma Watson continued to age, making her hotter than ever, and more legal, and Rapunzel, despite being animated, was the epitome of purity and innocence (and the only blonde, a lot of blonde).

But despite the caliber of the competition, Scarlett Johansson won out. As Black Widow in Iron Man 2, I’ll let her catch me in her web any day. By the end of the movie, I couldn’t agree more with Tony Stark’s initial reaction of “I want one.” We get to see her change in the back of a car then run down a hallway filled with nameless henchmen, electrocuting the first one and backflipping off a table onto the second, snapping his neck between her legs. By the end of the hallway, she’s killed like 8 guys, no fewer than 3 with the leg around the neck method. Please god, I know I haven’t been the perfect person, but if you can hear me, if you truly are as benevolent as they say, that is how I want to die.

Worst Nerd’s Fantasy: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

Oh, and I’ve gotten some complaints about Hailee Steinfeld losing this category. I keep hearing things like “she’ll grow up,” and “standards were different in the old west,” but seriously people? I mean, I agree completely, but that doesn’t make her any less annoying.

Worst Picture Nominees: Dinner for Schmucks, The Last Airbender, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Winner:

I hate The Last Airbender. I hate him and his bendy friends and his stupid enemies and that weird-ass creature he rides. I loathe them all. I hate what they’ve done to my eyes. I hate the memories they’ve burned into my brain that, no matter the amount of therapy, I cannot remove. I want those hours of my life back. I want to return to a time of innocence, when I thought the world was filled with good and honest movies, that it was a place of joy and happiness untainted by the foul, festering, fetid touch of M. Night Shyamalan.

I hate The Last Airbender. There is no plot other than that which is condensed into interminable, emotionless, soul-crushing narration. There is no tension but the tension of whether you’ll be able to make it to the end without committing a gruesome, sinful, ritualistic suicide. There is no dialogue, save that which sounds as stilted as the mad gibbering of my great Uncle Wallace, whose father was a chimpanzee and whose mother fed him nothing but industrial grade turpentine. There is…nothing. No crime so heinous, no sin so foul, no soul so tainted that warrants the horrible fate of viewing the The Last Airbender. It is, without a doubt, the Worst Picture.

Most Epic Kill Nominees: B.A. motorcycle leap+neck break (The A-Team), Iron Man laser sweep (Iron Man 2), John Malcovich bullet to rocket launcher shot (Red), Perseus lightning sword throw (Clash of the Titans)

Winner:

Each year, blockbuster movies create increasingly evil and powerful antagonists for our heroes to face, but there’s only so many ways to kill a man. Iconic villains require iconic deaths, and even henchmen can earn some bit of glory by dying at the hands of a good guy’s masterful move. Iron Man’s sweeping laser that cuts a dozen evil drones in half (though can they really be called evil if they’re just drones) was memorable, but it invalidated all the fighting until that point. B.A. had some badass wrestler moves, and John Malkovich’s shooting a speeding rocket with a bullet required some serious precision, but Clash of the Titans walks home with the Most Epic Kill. Like I said, there’s only so many ways to kill a man, but how do you slay a god?! As Hades hovers ominously in the stormy sky, Perseus, standing atop the highest point in the city, raises his sword toward the heavens, drawing a sparking lightning bolt to the blade, then hurls it toward the god of the underworld. Lightning and sword strike the demon as one, sending him back to the land of the dead. Epic.

Best Fight Nominees: A-Team Flying Tank, How to Train You Dragon Final Battle, Inception Hallway, Scarlett Johansson Hallway, Scott Pilgrim Final Battle

Winner:

Inception’s magical world of dreams led to some iconic action sequences whose out-of-this-world physics were much better explained than in most movies. Standard action heroes seem to possess superhuman flexibility and strength for basically no reason, but because we could believe the fighting in Inception, it became much more memorable. The zero-gravity hallway battle between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the security projections was by far the coolest thing on a screen this year. Jaded by the barrage of unoriginal action sequences that accost my eyes every year, very few things truly wow me, but watching Gordon-Levitt spin undaunted through a hallway of alternating gravity, using the fluctuations to his advantage as if it were the simplest thing in the world, that was a moment to behold.

Worst Fight: Random water benders lifting evil Zhao into air and dropping him like 10 feet

Best Line Nominees:

“Being Vegan just makes you better than most people” Vegan Todd Ingram, explaining the origin of his superpowers (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World)

“I Want One” -Tony Stark, after seeing Scarlett Johansson (Iron Man 2)

“It must be some kind of hot tub time machine…” -Nick Weber, upon realizing their hot tub must be some kind of time machine (Hot Tube Time Machine)

“Release the kraken!” -Zeus, before releasing the fuckin’ Kraken (Clash of the Titans)

Winner:

In a year with no standout line to claim a clear victory, we opted not for the powerfully dramatic nor the entertainingly epic, or even for the ridiculously bad. This year, we give the award to a line that broke the fourth wall, because we need more of this literally outside-the-box thinking in comedies nowadays. Too often, movies follow their formula, forgetting the audience that craves something inventive. Having Craig Robinson say “It must be some kind of hot tub time machine,” then turn and face the camera showed that the writers clearly understood the absurdity of the movie’s conceit but just didn’t care. It might have been silly, but it was also hilarious.

Worst Line: “Earthbenders! Why are you acting this way? You are powerful and amazing people! You don’t need to live like this! There is earth right beneath your feet! The ground is an extension of who you are!”

That was just Part 1! Click Here to Continue to Part 2: The Continuation.

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Tangled – Best Disney Movie in Years, Maybe Ever

Without female companionship, it’s hard to go see Tangled and still maintain an air of manliness and virility. So, abandoning all hope of preserving that façade, I decided to go all the way to the deep end of the lame pool and see it with my parents. And for once, the dearth of self-confidence that inspired me to long ago stop vying for success with the fairer sex paid off, because when the dust settled and the credits rolled, there was only one fact left standing, and it towered above all other thoughts and insecurities: Tangled was AWESOME!

What a cast of characters! Zachary Levi, or Chuck from Chuck (for those of you who watch my favorite television show), is perfectly charming as Flynn Rider, the shallow and selfish thief whose good looks are rivaled only by Narcissus. Immediately likeable despite his negative qualities, Flynn Rider’s journey toward empathy is one which is quickly obvious, and yet it is so flawlessly executed that I found his transformation transfixing at every turn.

As for Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), well, I was pretty much in love with her the moment I saw her. The epitome of innocence, Rapunzel is a drop of sunshine in the darkness. Her unadulterated joy is contagious, infecting even the most jaded and cynical. It was a pleasure to see how people changed when touched by such a fair creature, whether it be a group of thugs singing about their dreams or innumerable citizens breaking out into dance in the streets. Again, Rapunzel’s character arc was rather obvious: from an obedient girl afraid of the world to a real person living her life. And again, it didn’t matter, because that arc was artfully crafted.

Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) is an understandable villain. I mean, Rapunzel’s magic hair gives her eternal youth. If that’s not a good reason for keeping your daughter in a tower, I don’t know what is. The two characters of a different genus deserve quite a bit of recognition themselves. Pascal the chameleon makes for an excellent sidekick to Rapunzel. He’s just about the cutest thing ever (right behind How to Train Your Dragon’s Toothless), and his indignant looks are a great counterpoint to Rapunzel’s innocent absurdity. Even Maximus, the head guard’s horse, is an amazing character with a story of his own. He tracks Flynn Rider with brutal determination, but as per usual, ends up joining the team.

Honestly, this movie has the perfect setup. You see, Flynn Rider is a character you can really get behind. Sure, he doesn’t care about other people, but his charm makes him unarguably, well, charming. Oh, and Rapunzel is a character you can really get behind. The opposite of Flynn, she is trusting and cares deeply for everyone, and yet she has much to learn about the world. We love both characters from the beginning, and the traits that make each of them so great directly reflect the other’s flaws, so when fate brings them together, we get to watch an incredible relationship blossom.

Plus, there were a couple of little lines that broke the fourth wall in an amusing way. At one point, Flynn Rider calls Pascal a frog. Rapunzel, offended, points out that it’s a chameleon, to which Flynn responds “Nuance.” Bringing up the cliché of a princess and a frog is especially amusing, since Disney’s last animated film was titled The Princess and the Frog. Also, like I said, Mother Gothel isn’t particularly villainous during the film, just a bit attached to the idea of immortality. Now, when she argues with Rapunzel, she always complains that Rapunzel is “making her the bad guy.” Well, I really wanted her to be the bad guy so I could cheer when she got her comeuppance, and then finally, much to my delight, she snaps, saying “You want me to be the bad guy? Fine. Now I’m the bad guy.” To her, she was harkening back to those old arguments, but to me, she was talking directly to the audience, letting us know that it was ok to root against her.

If I had one complaint, and I do, it would be that the songs didn’t quite live up to my expectations. They were still excellent, but they were a bit more ponderous than some Disney tunes. With the exception of “I’ve Got a Dream,” they were slow, character-heavy numbers that, while still of a high quality, lacked the pizzazz that got the Aladdin soundtrack stuck so firmly in my head.

But the songs certainly didn’t detract from the experience. The dialogue was sharp, the animation was beyond beautiful, and the movie was both touching and hilarious. And as an added bonus, there was a lot of great insight into human nature. I cared for those characters, and the film was able to jerk my emotions around however it wanted. My sides hurt from laughing, my eyes ached from tears. Flynn’s charm and Rapunzel’s joy didn’t just affect the other characters; they reached right out of that screen and touched me too, and because of that, I give Tangled:

5/5 Stars

The only truly sad thing about this movie was that Rapunzel ended up becoming a brunette. Oh, the humanity!

Written by Russ Nickel

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