Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Death to Smoochy

This is one of my favorite movies, although I passed it up when it first came out. This movie stars Edward Norton as a kids show character named Smoochy, and Robin Williams as rival kids show star "Rainbow" Randolph Smiley. In the beginning of the movie Randy is fired for embezzlement, and Sheldon is hired as a squeaky clean character to replace him. Although the premise of the movie is one of kids t.v. this movie is not for kids. Its not really even for squeamish adults, but then neither was Good Morning Vietnam. Instead its a really good, really intelligent dark comedy. Its satire where the good guys are bad guys and the bad guys are good guys, most people are in between and some of them don't reveal what side they're on until the end.
Sheldon (aka Smoochy the Rhino) is a character that makes the movie all by himself. He's a naive, innocent, health food evangelist who created the character of "Smoochy" in order to teach kids right from wrong. In one scene a seemingly corrupted Sheldon is drinking at bar "Bartender: I never saw anyone get buzzed off of orange juice. Sheldon: Let me tell you a secret - if you squirt a little liquid alfalfa in, it's blast off time." A little quirky, a little odd, but totally honest, scenes like these are what make this movie great.
The movie is filled with great characters like this one. One of my favorites is Buggy Ding Dong, (Vincent Schiavelli) a heroin addicted criminal and former children's T.V. star who can't seem to get his act together long enough to accomplish anything. Danny Devito ( who also directed the film) plays Sheldon's double crossing agent and Jon Stewart (the Daily Show) plays the high level Kidnet executive who helps conspire against him. One of my favorite characters (and unfortunately the only stand out female role) is Tommy Cotton (Pam Ferris) the leader of the local Irish Mafia, who helps Sheldon get stay safe and incorruptible.
Another good scene involves Sheldon being set up as a

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