Friday, November 21, 2003

"Cat in the Hat" and "Bad Santa" Panned

The newly released "Cat in the Hat" movie starring brilliant comedian Mike Myers was panned today as "a vulgar, uninspired lump of poisoned eye candy" by no less than the New York Times. Per Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert, parts of the film are "creepy and offensive..making fun of old people in general, in a cruel way." The film was produced by Universal Pictures, now owned by NBC.

"Bad Santa," a film starring Billy Bob Thornton, is about two criminals disguised as Santa Claus and his helper so they can steal from people who bring children to visit Santa at major malls. In this film still slated to be released in early December, Santa drinks, smokes, behaves boorishly and, of course, steals. Lou Dobbs, the mannered CNN anchor, set aside time on his news and financial program to decry this film as "mean-spirited and uncalled for, unnecessary." ("Still slated" because pre-release protests have been so vociferous, that the studio may hold it back or re-edit it....that is, unless it can make lots of money as is.) This film was produced by Dimension Films, a division of Miramax Pictures, which is wholly owned by Disney, which is now trying to distance itself from the film. ("We had no idea. They make their own decisions," said a spokesman for perhaps the most micro-managing studio in the industry.)

Why the corporate animosity toward children? Why the need to trash beloved imaginary childhood icons? Or does "mean-spirited" and "poisoned eye candy" appeal to children now? Both scenarios are chilling.

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