Sunday 19 April 2015

IMDb Bottom 100 Review – Number 54 I accuse my parents

If I had a quarter for every time I've gotten out of murder charges by saying it's my parent's fault, I'd have almost enough for a down payment on a can of soda. Of course I would never say it was my parent's fault. Not me. No I've gotten acquitted every single time I've been on trial for murder with no help. Ain't nothing to it really. But tonight we look at a guy, who just doesn't have what it take to walk away from murder without involving his parental units. It's probably obvious by now, but if you are still curious, please join me in taking a look at...

It was love at first show measurement for Jimmeh and Kitteh. She was his first customer, so it's only natural that she has the right of way. 

This one goes way back. Why a movie from 1944, our oldest yet I believe, by a fairly large margin, is still being downvoted to the bottom 100 list is hard to say. I mean it's not a good film really, but it's from 1944. I believe good movies then relied very heavily on subject matter and not on flashy effects and big explosions – such as what makes movies really good today. That's what makes movies really good isn't it? Of course it is. Back in 1944 you had to rely on annoying things like story and dialogue. This movie isn't exactly the cinematic equivalent of a Rembrandt, but it's relatively coherent and very straight forward. Oh I'm not about this film in any way really, it was quite boring. But it seems a lot like many other 40s or perhaps 50s movies I've seen, and I'm just wondering what makes this one extra shitty in particular. By comparison, I mean. The only other 1940s movies I can remember having watched off the top of my head were Disney productions. Pinocchio. Bambi. Fantasia. Then there is Mr. Smith goes to Washington (1939) and Ivanhoe with Elizabeth Taylor from 1952 that sort of come close enough to count. Ivanhoe is fucking excellent. For some reason I watched that movie religiously when I was a kid. Perhaps it was the fascination with Elizabeth Taylor or the cool knights fighting for honor on both sides of the moral spectrum. I don't know. But by today's standards both those movies (I'm discounting the Disney ones because they are animated and don't really count as movies in the sense we're talking here. Yes they are movies, but not ones that are relevant here. What? No I know they are technically movies, but... you know what, just shut up. This is my blog and I decide what is and isn't relevant) seem kind of tame. But the message in them stand the test of time. In I accuse my parents, apparently, it doesn't. What is the message? Let's find out.

'You want me to break up with Jimmy? But I loooove him Meester Blake' 'I don't care Kitty my girl. It just wasn't meant to be'
The plot is simple (I feel like this is a moot point now, but I still have an urge to make it apparent each time). The genetrically named James 'Jimmy' Wilson is a good kid. He does well in school. He is liked. Likable even. And wouldn't you know it, he won an essay contest and is encouraged to bring his mother to school to engage in setting up the graduation party. But alas, despite Jimmy's claims to the contrary, he is not the product of a happy home. His mom and dad fights and drinks and parties a lot, and when his mom arrives at the school to help, she does so in a state of inebriation – shocking the poor 1940s faculty. Jimmy rushes her off, and in sheer desperation takes a job as a shoe salesman. Here he falls in love with the very first customer, the beautiful Kitty. Kitty reciprocates, and they go out on a date. Jimmy boasts about his happy family, for some reason I can't explain. Kitty is a singer at a club, and her admirer Charles Blake shows up too. Old Mr. Blake is supposedly a gangster and isn't too keen on seen Jimmy slobber all over Kitty whom he had kind of eyed for himself. He offers Jimmy the chance to make some extra cash when Jimmy has a hard time paying the bar tap, and despite Kitty's half assed warnings, Jimmy considerings the offer.

'But moooooooom!'
Jimmy eventually takes Mr. Blake up on the offer and starts running deliveries. Something about a bank box and a package. It didn't seem that shady at first, but alas, eventually Mr. Blake is fed up with Jimmy's can-do bullshit, and sets him up for a good old fashioned frame job. First he has Kitty break up with Jimbo in the worst way since Kristen Stewart and R-Pat! Then he lured Jimmy into an ambush, and had him beat the fuck up. With nothing to lose, and parents off on another binger, Jimmy skipped town. He landed himself in the diner of some helpful old nutter, that offered him free food and a job right off the bat. With new confidence instilled in himself, Jimmy did some soul searching, and went back to confront his demons and tormentors. During a heated argument with Mr. Blake, and subsequent kerfuffle over a gun and whether or not Jimmy was going to take down the whole damn crime syndicate, well wouldn't you know it, Mr. Blake went and got himself fatally killed. A gunshot right to the unspecificed bodypart did him in. Jimmy was left with the smoking gun right as 5-O ran through the door. Now Jimmy is on trial, and refuses to speak in his own defense, until the very last minute. His defense? I accuse my parents. And wouldn't you know it, it worked. He had a rough childhood. The judge finds him not guily of manslaughter. But guilty of aiding and abetting, which is 5 years in the slammer. This sentence is suspended because Jimmy sports some grandmaster level puppy dog eyes and gains favor with the judge. Kitty and Jimmy's parents rush to hug and kiss him, as the judge delivers a heads up to the few people still awake at this point; Don't fuck off on your kids, people... It's not nice and you may end up almost inadvertently having them sent to jail for murder and other nefarious criminal actions.

They almost had to put in a new category at the Oscars for this movie: 'least hetero fight scene'. A category that would've been won by Body in the Web years after.
There's the movie in a nutshell. It's pretty much just one long public service announcement. The interesting (understood in the loosest possible sense of the word) part is, that the message is actually valid. I mean it's logical I guess. If you don't give a fuck about your kids, then chances are good they'll drift away from you. However, Jimmy outright blaming his parents for him getting involved in organized crime and subsequently being part of a fatal shooting is perhaps taking it a step too far. There are always choices, really. Jimmy had a sweet 25 dollar a week shoe salesman job for Pete's sake. Good honest work. But the dame brought him down. Or his perception of what she wanted in him. It's revealed earlier on, before his mom shows up drunk at his school, that Jimmy believes the place for a woman is at home. That the finest job a woman can aspire to, is being a good housewife. Now it's the 1940s, so this obviously isn't that much of a controversial statement. Hell even today, there is still something honorable about keeping house. The difference is, I think, that today it's something a woman (or even a man) chooses, whereas in the 1940s it wasn't as much a choice as it was expected. Jimmy hit the nail on the head with this one. His mom shows up drunk and undermines his point immediately, so whatever. He thinks he has to show Kitty a good time, and buy her presents. “It's fun buying you presents' he exclaims when she is surprised he brought her another item. Clearly Kitty and Jimmy ought to have a chat about expectations.

Jimbo right after having his 1940s ass handed to him by a couple of Blake's goons. He's a broken man. 
Overall the performances and action in this movie was pretty wooden. It's from the 40s after all. Sound and picture lacked in quality even by those standards. Acting was subpar, but passable. The story was coherent and linear. Like described above, it was a story easily contained in two paragraphs of this amateur's words, and while most of the movies reviewed here are laughably simplistic, I've found it's still kind of hard to squeeze it all down into two paragraphs, which is what I've decided to dedicate to reviewing the plot. This movie fit in snuggly. It was boring, and I was almost asleep at the end of the movie. Even with a good night of rest behind me. So too simplistic. But easily reviewable. That's a + I guess. Most of the other movies make zero sense, and so the story is hard to really convey. I often find, when I write about these flicks, that it's super frustrating because I don't feel I can accurately convey just how extremely stupid and pointless the plots or scenes or actions of characters are. I mean I'm almost tempted to suggest you watch one or two just to get a feel of how incredibly high on drugs the people conceiving and/or green lighting these productions must have been. So little sense is made, so when a movie like this comes along that actually makes sense in it's own context, you can't help but notice. Like I said, it's not a good flick, despite a somewhat valid message. But it makes sense. For the love of everything that is holy, it makes sense.

Business Enterprises is the most generic sounding venture description. Possibly of all time. New Oscar category anyone? No? Alright. 
OK I strayed off the path there for a second. It's just that this movie was really bland, and I'm a little confused why it's on this list to begin with. But it is, and now I've seen it. So when people ask me “Have you seen any good movies from the 40s?” I can answer no, and then follow it up with 'but I have seen A movie from the 40s, and it was called I accuse my parents'. I also saw fucking Pinocchio and Bambi and Fantasia but I already told you I wasn't going to include them in this, so just lay off it already. God damn it's like you had stock in Disney or something. Besides which, Pinocchio was fucking weird. I recently realized I might not have ever seen the full film, so I went ahead and did that. Whoever made that movie wasn't feeling alright. It's dark as fuck. Kids being abducted into some weird slave labor work camp and transformed into donkeys? Short of an analogy on Nazi germany, and by all means that's entirely possible, that's just not ok. I won't say I was shocked, because honestly that takes a bit, but I did feel it was kind of out there, and I'm surprised it's still considered a Disney classic. But it is. I Accuse My Parents isn't. It's not considered a classic by any stretch of the imagination. But it exists, I watched it and if you are reading these words, it means you sat through 2½ pages of words conveying my thoughts about having viewed it. So kudos to all of us, I think.  


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