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A Million Ways to Die a lengthy SNL sketch


Paul Peterson

Paul Peterson

I’ve told this story before, but I forget enough in my daily life that it all somehow seems new.
I had a friend who worked at the BC censor board. He was one of the last walls between the filmmaker and the public. Some self-appointed arbiter of morality. Or in Daryl’s case, whim and whimsy.
He had the most arbitrary sense of what was right and wrong in his world. Which was interesting, because ethically he could hide behind a corkscrew. Paying him to be our moral guide was akin to hiring me to be your fashion consultant.
I have a point in here somewhere.
Oh, ok.
]Nothing matters and what if it did? There is no rhyme or reason when the Ontario Censor Board bangs its almighty gavel.
Neighbours, a raunchy comedy starring Seth Rogan, was given an 18A. A Million Ways To Die in the West is 14A.
Neighbours has some inappropriate dialogue between a husband and wife about what they’re going to do to each other if the baby will sleep longer than 10 minutes, and a fundraiser that would make Caligula blush.
A Million Ways To Die has everything else.

This is the film based on the book based on a joke Seth MacFarlane once told.
He makes Adam Sandler movies seem complicated. For the most part I’m a fan.
Family Guy has too many musical numbers, but there are moments of inspired dark comedy. It’s dumb but I still laugh at Beavis and Butthead. So, I saw the poster for this film and went, what a mess. Usually these ensemble casts tank. There’s just too much going on.
Then I saw the preview and thought, that’s funny.

It’s a star tour for Mr. M and his ego is already unbridled but then again, I’m pretty sure I’d be big head Todd as well if everything I touched turned to gold.
Here’s the thing. It’s a funny premise. The west was dangerous. There really were a million ways to die.
Throw in a guy working with sheep and you can mine that comedy gold. A weird love story might be nice, and some random acts of stupidity and we’re off to the races.
Except you need to mix in a plot.
And an ending.
MacFarlane’s self effacing style is funny but it never feels like a movie. It’s an extended SNL sketch. Which is OK for a straight to DVD thing but people are paying full buck.
It’s not that I don’t get it because I do.
Mr. M wrote it, starred in it and directed it. As that triple threat goes, he’s a decent writer. He really can’t act.
Like most mega egos he needs to remind us how funny he is and that he’s Seth MacFarlane.
Directing isn’t horribly complicated, but I never bought that any of these people were in the old west.
OK it’s a comedy. I get it. We don’t need to know the rattlesnake’s motivation or complain about the navajo rug’s wear pattern, but even a smattering of authenticity would be nice.

I still think the most interesting thing about Seth is that he was too hung over to take one of the 911 flights so he went to sleep it off in one of the lounges. If that doesn’t give you pause to think you’re meant for a higher purpose what would? But this clearly isn’t it.
It’s funny. There’s a couple of laughs and it’s fun to see big stars making fun of themselves. But it’s over-written, over-directed, MacFarlane can’t act and the ending is really weak. There’s no plot and no real likeable characters and MacFarlane still can’t act.

Other than that, I thought it was great.
As always, other opinions are welcome, but wrong. That’s it for this week. The cheque’s in the mail and I’m outta here. Paul

Filed Under: News from Everywhere ElsePaul Peterson

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