Creepy and Bad Guys

In the Last week I managed, somewhere, to find the time to watch The Wedding Crashers, finally saw Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, and managed to make an unusually slow go of reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

The Potter book is, as usual, better than the last. Rowling is steadily improving in her craftwork and technical prowess, despite the detractions of her literary critics. I’m not telling you who dies, and I’m not telling you the “prince” referred to in the title is either. If you don’t like her work, fine, but she’s doing something right, even if at first it was more in the storytelling department than the technical side. That it took me several days to finish was only because I had far too many other projects on my plate.

As to the movies, they were both worthwhile. The creepiness delivered with a droll and wicked sense of humor in Lemony Snicket gave me delightful chills, whereas Crashers made me laugh my ass off. Between the two, Crashers is easily the funniest of the two, but it could have been better. Snicket did one thing absolutely right that it couldn’t afford to get wrong, whereas Crashers messed it up entirely: The bad guy.

The overarching creepy tone of Snicket could easily be overbearing, especially with children in danger (for an example of how to do infants in a movie wrong, try Baby’s Day Out, which I never could comfortably watch once I’d had kids). What saves it is that Count Olaf, as played by Jim Carrey, is so completely, comedically over the top, that he can be vicious, competent, and still keep the movie from being too dark.

The bad guy in Crashers is competent, vicious, and so intensely dead serious with no slapstick or anything that it jarringly breaks the mood of the jokes. I know that good comedies have their serious moments, but it was outright disturbing and threw off the mood at various, critical moments.