November 29, 2000
7:20 AM   Subscribe

Not a terribly serious topic, but I saw the Grinch movie on the weekend and hated it savagely. Just deplored it from beginning to end. And as time has passed and I've thought more about my extreme reaction, I've grown to hate it even more. This dude at Entertainment Weekly makes a pretty good case for why this blockbuster is a big chunk o' crap. Thoughts? P.S. I did see Quills last night however, and it was amazing.
posted by Niccola Six (16 comments total)
I must be one of the only people I know who actually liked the Grinch. I didn't love it, but considering how critical I am of most movies, I didn't have nearly as much of a problem with it as others seem to.
posted by jragon at 7:40 AM on November 29, 2000

Not having seen the movie yet, I can't actually comment on it.

But that's never stopped me before.

I was shocked to see the first tie-in fast food commercial for the Grinch. I don't know what wave of naivite I'd been washed over by, but when I saw the commercial I realised for the first time that this wasn't a magical exploration of Geisel's work, or even the original animated adaptation.

It was a commercial. I still plan on seeing it, because it is the Grinch, and I have to. The Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, and all the other Geisel creations have had far too much effect on my life to not see it.

I think, actually, that that - the expectation of absolute greatness, of the childhood feeling of awe and magic that surrounded so much of his work, a feeling many of us desperately crave to experience again - is what makes people dislike the film. The film, unfortunately, isn't going to recreate that. At least now I know that before going in.
posted by cCranium at 8:11 AM on November 29, 2000

cC, I haven't seen it either, but like you, my voice cannot be silenced! [Note: Actual voice may frequently be silenced.]

Everyone always talks about the hilarious Onion articles, but rarely mention their (in my opinion) very keen criticism. I will take to the grave with me their line about Battlefield: Earth--"A movie not so much seen as lived through."

Anyway, you can read their merciless take on The Grinch here.
posted by Skot at 9:07 AM on November 29, 2000

Any attempt to improve on perfection is doomed to failure. I only hope that the original 1966 animation doesn't get bumped from the screen in favour of this thing in two years.
posted by dithered at 9:08 AM on November 29, 2000

These reviews are my favorites, because they're so hostile. Example quote:
And just who are these Whos anyway? It's impossible to translate the button-nose charm of the Seuss characters into live action. So why did Howard even try? His Whos -- including a host of unnecessary characters from Cindy Lou's parents (Bill Irwin and Molly Shannon) to a pompous mayor (Jeffrey Tambor) to a bodacious Who sexpot (Christine Baranski, who's flirtily amusing) -- with their prosthetically elongated nasolabial folds and chipmunk teeth, are the stuff childhood nightmares are made of. (They look something like Meckis, hedgehog-like stuffed creatures with unnervingly human features made by the German toy manufacturer Steiff, the kind of creepily cheery playthings that, dressed in their weird old-world pants and kerchiefs, look like they might come to life and murder you in your sleep.)
posted by highindustrial at 9:58 AM on November 29, 2000

The majority of reviewers quoted at Rotten Tomatoes gave it positive reviews. It gets 59% approval, but it takes 60% for the site to recommend a movie, so they've classed it as "rotten".

But I agree that a remake was pointless. Some things are done so well the first time that there's no point in doing them again. I always wonder every time I hear someone make a new version of one of the classic Beatles tunes; why bother? Why not just listen to the original version?

This is the same kind of thing. The greatest living cartoonist of his time cooperated with the actual author of the piece to create the original animation, and they also managed to get Boris Karloff to do the narration. (Moreover, Chuck Jones and Ted Geisel had known each other for years and had worked together before on cartoons; they were friends and already had a good working relationship.) Any remake has to come up short by comparison.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 10:16 AM on November 29, 2000

Equal time for Mister Cranky.

I think that about covers it.
posted by ethmar at 11:49 AM on November 29, 2000

The tie-ins to the Grinch just blow me away. Everywhere I look, I see Grinch merchandising. Yesterday, when I was mailing something at the post office, there were Grinch posters everywhere. At the post office!?!

It was a bit much.
posted by mathowie at 11:49 AM on November 29, 2000

While not a review, the N.Y. Times Magazine took a look at the Grinch movie and the Seussical Musical with respect to the hermeneutics of Geisel's work. While his books always had a moral undertone (typically advocating individuality, respect for the environment, openness to new ideas, and yes, and anti-consumerist bias), the makers of the movie seem to have only looked at the basic plot outline on which to base the movie.
posted by Avogadro at 1:39 PM on November 29, 2000

matt: gotta agree with you there... Was shopping around with a friend and saw "Whoville-opoly" at a bookstore. She said to me "That's such a good gift idea. And it's $29.99. That's the perfect gift."

"I'd be so pissed off if I got that as a kid."

It's gotta be the most thoughtless gift out there. Right out there with soap from Body Shop and the Oxygen scooter.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 2:01 PM on November 29, 2000

Has everyone been living in another country for the past twenty years? Practically **every** high-profile holiday movie has tie-ins galore in the US, this has been a very visible, traditional way to sell a movie for a long time.

Live-action or modern adaptions are nothing new either, just ask the baby boomers: they've been subjected to Batman, the Addams Family, Beverly Hillbillies, and Avengers movies and now we have the Grinch, Dungeons & Dragons, Charlie's Angels and so on. These are all vehicles made to entertain and make money. I'm surprised so much bluster has been expressed regarding the Grinch movie; I'm especially interested to know why from the people who said they hadn't even seen it yet. I took my step-sister to it, we laughed a lot and were reminded of how entertaining the book was. I mean, it's Dr. Seuss, enjoy it!

Sorry for the rant. I was bored.
posted by Karl at 6:00 PM on November 29, 2000

Karl, that's certainly not a rant to be sorry about.

Why was I suprised about the tie-ins? I'm not sure. For some reason I thought it was an adult movie. Like I said, naive. Possibly idealistic, whatever.

Adaptations themselves aren't a Bad Thing, I enjoyed Charlie's Angels a great deal. The thing that's being adapted in the ones you mentioned, however, isn't a treasured childhood memory.

I can only speak for myself, but to me the Grinch - both the book and the original animated movie - aren't about commercialism. They're about the magic of Christmas, the joy and the love and the happiness.

For us lucky ones we get to revisit our families, and feel childish excitement. Though Santa isn't a real entity, the anticipation of waking up Christmas morning to find the magical man in the red suit has come and brought my hearts desires is something I experience every morning.

The Grinch, to me, is all about how the things I really cherish about Christmas isn't the presents. It's the feelings. So when I heard that a live action movie was being made, I was excited. There have been a few movies in my experience that open up an aspect of myself I don't often see. I bawled both times I saw Titanic. My spine tingled with the revelation of the Sixth Sense. I chortled with glee as those rascally Hackers made the FBI agent "dead".

I was hoping the new Grinch movie would be something the same. But the first advertisement for some fast food Grinch toy, or a Toys-R-Us sale in honour of the Grinch, it just killed any chances whatsoever of this movie bringing out that part of me that loves Christmas for being Christmas.

I'll go to the movie, and I'll probably enjoy the movie - my disbelief is very light, suspending it has never been a problem - but I won't enjoy it because it's the Grinch, I'll enjoy it because it's a light-hearted movie that's bound to have some humour in it.

(that, BTW, is a rant to be sorry about. :-)
posted by cCranium at 6:39 PM on November 29, 2000


Pardon me, but could someone translate that from 'hood intoo English for me?


*My* favorite tie in:

How The Gorinch Stole Florida. My election opinion notwithstanding, this is pretty well done. Pastiche is one of my favorite spectator sports.
posted by baylink at 6:55 PM on November 29, 2000

What is this "Grinch" of which you speak?

(Apart from the Hatted Cat, Dr Seuss never really made it across the Atlantic.)
posted by holgate at 8:01 PM on November 29, 2000

I was ready to give this a slight chance but . . . shaving accident?
posted by alana at 8:21 PM on November 29, 2000

Pardon me, but could someone translate that from 'hood intoo English for me?
William Safire you're not. Get over yourself.
posted by highindustrial at 4:02 AM on November 30, 2000

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