Half in the Bag: The Hunger Games and Jeff Who Lives at Home

March 30, 201234 Comments

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Filed in: General UpdatesHalf in the Bag

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  • Love how you guys are apparently now sponsored by Totino’s Pizza Rolls. Keep up the good work.

  • Tricky

    Where can I buy one of those rape robots? I can think of so many problems that can be solved with one! I’ve never been so happy about rape!

  • Amarsir

    “It’s gonna be great.”

    “It’s gonna be great.”

    “It’s gonna be great.”

    “It’s gonna be great.”

  • haibane13

    Christopher Nolan ? Do these guys just throw out “against the grain” critiques just because ? Nolan almost never uses shaky cam and the technique was well known before Nolan .

  • Go watch Batman Begins again.

  • Zero_miles_per_hour

    I agree, Nolan’s style is practically a throwback to pre-Spielberg, before the camera was forever leering at stuff.

  • WJC

    Honestly, I think that this is the best episode of Half in the Bag yet. You’ve perfected the format as it existed, and moved toward a really fun direction with the concluding Robot Battle, which took the expanding “universe” of the show into a new and exciting level of ridiculousness. The TONE of this thing is so delicate, and I think you’ve finally mastered what you’re going for. More importantly (to me, anyway), the decision to review a movie that might not appeal directly to whatever the fuck your base-viewership is supposed to be was inspired. I’d like to think that at least some of the people initially drawn in by the notion of a seventy-minutes-long review of The Phantom Menace end up appreciating the various levels at which that piece works–not the least of which being its extraordinarily uncompromising and trenchant film criticism. It’s this exact quality that Half in the Bag has flirted with since its inception (no, the word is___), and has often achieved. However, by reviewing a current “indie darling” sort of movie (and by making unnecessary excuses for doing so inside the episode), you’re getting into a really cool new area, which I would like to see much more of in the future. 

  • patrick mccormick

    Your Jeff review brings to mind a quotation from movie reviewer Pauline Kael, from her 1965 book I Lost It At The Movies: “I would like to suggest that the educated audience often uses ‘art’
    films in much the same self-indulgent way as the mass audience uses the
    Hollywood ‘product,’ finding wish fulfillment in the form of cheap and
    easy congratulation on their sensitivities and their liberalism.” Perhaps the earliest recorded acknowledgement of indie schlock.

    If you would be interested in another really sort-of interestingly “meh” indie film, check out 2011’s Higher Ground.

  • patrick mccormick

    They don’t do it “just because.” If you do a Google search, you’ll find that Batman Begins often comes up in discussions of shaky cam—discussions predating Mike & Jay’s reference to it in this review.

  • Do Wrath of the Titans next! It sucked!

  • Drthom

    Re hunger games

    1. The Movies script intentionally toned done the violence of the book, which may be why the level of violence seems light given the subject matter

    2 the first novel was written for an adult audience and the author could not find any takers for publication. She has stated in interviews before it became popular that it was written using an extreme scenerio as a commentary of the many ways today’s society exploits children through violence, either for entertainment or for financial gain……. She specifically states she has in mind that adults today enjoy a higher standard of living through massive deficit spending at the expense of children’s future tandard of living

    Scholatic picked up the book, marketed it to teens and it has become a hugh seller, it is required reading for my kid’s high school american lit class. The first book in the series was derivative but engaging and works as social commentary, the subsequent books deterirate into soapy filler th extend the author’s world intoa “trilogy”

  • Drthom

    Type your comment here.

    ……i suspect the films will deteriorate as well

  • It’s kinda like poetry, y’know, y’know, they kinda rhyme.

  • haibane13

     I think the filmakers most responsible for making shaky cam during actions scenes prominent in recent times are people like Spielberg during Saving Private Ryan , the creators of Blair Witch Project , and JJ Abrams in Cloverfield .

  • haibane13

    Predating them maybe but Jay makes it clear that he holds Nolan to making the technique prominent when it actually was so by other filmmakers . Most of the action scenes in Nolan movies are done in combination of quick cuts and the occasional shaky cam .

  • Yoyomom

    You guys liked the Hunger games? Looks like we finally agree on something.

  • DyslexicCoybow

    Having seen Battle Royale, The Hunger Games was a major disappointment for me. The cliché Hollywood storytelling and character improvement makes the whole movie incredibly predictable. The writing is sloppy, and the writer is not ballsy enough to make her protagonists make actually hard decisions. Whenever someone helps Katniss, they die a couple minutes later, killed by someone else of course. The two black tributes are murdered by extras, the tall dude’s death isn’t even on screen… this way our lovely protagonist doesn’t have to make hard choices at all. There are plot holes so gaping, that it makes me lose every interest I had in the film. I think this was a good chance to reevaluate the ideas of an orwellian society, child gladiators/soldiers and all that, but they blew it hard…

  • guest

    The Hunger Games is so unspectacular that it has to be popular. How come the government cant ever be, you know, good? And why is it obvious from chapter 1 she will lead the rebellion that is obviously coming? And I dont care how much money the 1% had, numbers are the most important thing in a war. Tactics and supplies play their part, but 99000 guys will always beat 1000 every time.

  • In 2012 we think the Mormons dress in like Little House on the Prairie?

  • jamesl

    I’m surprised that there were not references to Brazil or A Boy And His Dog for the makeup. You slosh together those two movies with some bright colors and you pretty much have the hair and makeup for Hunger Games.

    I also thought that you would take Hunger Games to task for a similar reason that you did not like Jeff, the ultra tight shots. There were numerous times in HG that you don’t see anything below the mouth or above the eyebrows for no reason and the face just overwhelms the screen. Not a pleasant sight on an ultra-screen. The tight shots just appear in ordinary chitchat during interviews as well. Where the questions are neither pithy nor propel much of the plot. It seemed bizarre to me that they wouldn’t shoot the movie in a slightly more conventional style.

    Finally, and I might be misremembering this, but Katnis doesn’t have a character arc. She’s the same coming out of a death hunt battle royale as she was going in. Maybe she’ll develop in later movies as the outcome of it starts to creep back up, but for now, she didn’t grow.

    I’m really surprised that you both recommended it so highly. I enjoyed it, but it was one of those films I can easily forget in my life and lose nothing.

  • Tuckerpp

    yeah, that was a pretty stupid comment on their part, I think they meant puritans, or whatever the modern equivalent of puritans are nowadays

  • guest

    two of those are meant to give the effect of someone actually holding the camera, and saving private ryan’s use of shaky cam was to give the effect of chaos in war, so all three of your examples are for films that actually used the style for a reason, as opposed to using it for no reason, which is what they were talking about

  • Clint Eastwood

    I went to see the Hunger Games today and really enjoy the flick. Then I check some info about the movie and realized that it’s budget was 78 million dollars, which is one million short from the budget of the almighty Adam Sandler’s Jack & Jill. Now I hate Hollywood.

  • Rkmomenah

    I was very unhappy with the review of the hunger games. I watched the movie today and was very disappointed I feel like you guys  really went to easy on the movie. 

  • m0r1arty

    Could someone please reupload the CBS thievery onto Youtube please so that those outside of their country can see their staling in practise?

    It’s be nice to see the supposed ‘unpaid for’ flattery that is imitation.

  • Will Hyland

    Batman Begins did have shaky cam, but it was used correctly. The point of the cam in BB was to show the disorienting effect Batman’s fighting style has on criminals, and also to tone down the violence factor so they could have a dark Batman film wtihout it being rated R.

  • Beckoning Chasm

    Mike says “like” an awful lot. Is that because it rhymes with his name?

  • Dumpo

    It’s pretty telling to the quality of Hunger Games that most of the outraged comments here are about how easy they went on the movie, and not on the making light of rape for four minutes.

    They’re all totally right, though, The Hunger Games was so goddamned bland.

  • Mitchell Taco Nash

    That Muppets sequence done by Mike was hilarious. How have I never seen this episode before?!

  • Mitchell Taco Nash

    That ending…

  • TapewormBike

    In that case, he doesn’t says “dyke” nearly enough.

  • dollar store cashier wife

    it’s battle royale for tweens.the love subplot with josh hutcherson is cringe fueled heart attack ready to happen.the dude can act about as much as keanu reeves and the writing is laughable.I’m really baffled as to why these films get a critical pass.Is it because of Jeniffer Lawrence who’s beyond monotone in these films?

  • Jack Park

    Why did you bash 21jumpstreet at the end

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