Otto (Tom Hanks) is a Grump. That much is clear from the movie’s opening scene. First he argues with a sales associate who wants to help him cut the rope he wishes to purchase. Then he argues with the checkout clerk who says he must pay for two yards of rope when he only needs five feet. It’s not that Otto can’t afford to pay the extra thirty-odd cents, he doesn’t want to pay for what he doesn’t need. When the clerk explains that the computer register can only ring him up for a per yard purchase, he asks, “What computer can’t do math?” Otto’s argument ultimately amounts to nothing, but he’s the sort of person who’s always ready to argue something on principle. Even though what he’s arguing about–five feet of rope, is what he intends to use to kill himself.
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Sympathy for the Fat Man
Charlie (Brendan Fraser) is a pathetic figure. How pathetic is he? Initially, only his voice is heard on a web conference with his students, who see him as a black square. (He claims that his webcam is broken.) Immediately afterwards, Charlie is revealed to be a morbidly obese man, sitting alone in a drab apartment, masturbating to a pornographic video on his laptop. The activity is too strenuous for him, and he starts coughing violently. He grabs a printed essay from an end table and tries to read it, but cannot because he is having trouble breathing. (As you may have guessed, The Whale is a love it or hate it experience.)
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Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) is no average teenage girl. With her pallid complexion, black attire, matching pigtails and a personality overflowing with misanthropy, she’s every parent’s nightmare, except for Morticia and Gomez. They love their little viper, storm cloud, etc. and would do anything for her, including keeping her out of trouble when she exacts revenge on her brother Pugsley’s high school tormentors. When Morticia confronts her with the possibility of having attempted murder on her record, Wednesday replies, “Terrible. Everyone would know I failed to get the job done.” If you love droll humor, Wednesday (character and series) has plenty more where that’s coming.
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The movie opens with several touches of visual cleverness. Connie (Emma Corrin) and Clifford (Matthew Duckett) standing against a fake landscape that is revealed to be the painted backdrop of their wedding portrait. (A metaphor for the awkward pretense their marriage will become?) The couple then attend an awkward wedding reception where Connie’s role of heir-producer is toasted. They then manage to consummate their wedding vows in spite of Clifford’s apprehension about going off to war. (Said consummation was not shown, but I assumed it was dignified and restrained.) The following morning on his trip to the front, Clifford is framed by the window of his train car, where his expression mirrors the horrors reflected in the window.
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