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Category: Movies

Movie Review: Harsh Times

Harsh Times is a thrilling tale of two young men driving around Los Angeles.  Garfield creator Jim Davis plays the part of Batman, a young Army veteran who is hired by J. Jonah Jameson to take pictures of Spider-Man.  However, he and his best friend decide to skip out on work to dick around all day drinking and getting high.  In fact, it’s just like high school, in that respect.  Anyway, even though they are driving around all day, they can’t seem to find Spider-Man, and so Batman is forced to use his Bat-Photoshop to make some fake ones.  However, Batman/Garfield’s days of living the good life seem numbered, as Batman seems destined to learn the hard way that even not having any super powers can’t stop you from being shot.

But more important than the eventual fate of Harsh Times‘s characters is its message about poverty in the modern world.  You see, there are some Harsh Times in Namibia right now.  According to the United Nations, over 57% of households there do not even have access to usable toilets.  And the birth mortality rate is really high, or something.  Do you know how hard it is to have a baby?  It’s like pushing something the size of a football through something the size of a drinking straw.  Have you ever had a baby?  I didn’t think so.  Anyway, global warming is drying up all their water, and its only a matter of time before Greene Planet comes and tries to take over their country.  And they don’t even have Jack Bauer to save the children!  Anyway, Batman’s impassioned performance really helps to drive home the point about the plight of the Namibians, and overall the movie earns a 4 star rating, out of 7 and a half.


Slowly fade in on a park bench. There’s a lot of hustle and bustle going behind and in front of it. As we get closer we see that a strange man is sitting on it. He is kind of just staring off into space in front of him, but his expression is getting more and more distressed. Just as he is about to explode, a kid and his mom walk past quickly and we follow them. It’s clear that we are in a zoo.

Kid- Mommy mommy I wanna see the bear!

Mom (clearly not paying attention)- Mm-hmm.

Kid- Mommy! Did you hear me? I wanna see the bear! (he is jumping up and down a little bit by this point)

Mom- well, I want an abortion, but we can’t always get what we want, can we? Actually, I- I really want to see the bear also. At least that one didn’t take me five years to figure out.

As they are walking, they pass by a cage with a monkey in it, who plunges a knife into the other monkey in the cage. In another cage, we see a cow who says “M-O-O.”

Kid- can I see the bear yet?!

Mom- we’re almost there, aright? And when we get there, could you try to tone it down a little? It’s kind of embarrassing.

They approach the bear section of the zoo. Unfortunately, it’s becoming clear that something is horribly wrong. There are police cars and cops all over the place.

Mom (to closest police officer)- Officer, what’s going on? Are- are we gonna get to see the bear?

Officer- Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to step away from the crime scene.

Mom- Crime? What crime? There’s no crime! I have a license for this child, I swear, I just left it-

Officer- No, it’s not that, it’s- well, take a look for yourself (he motions in a direction).

Mom- wait, didn’t you just say I had to step away?

Officer- Jesus Christ, fine! I was trying to do you a favor! I- I just thought maybe it would make you like me, and then we could like go out sometime? I dunno, it sounds stupid, but-

Mom (obviously a little unnerved)- uh, right, so I’m just gonna look over in this direction-

The crowd parts and a scene comes into view: a cage with the label “BEAR BEAR BEAR BEAR FLYING SQU-” and we can’t see the rest. But, there’s nothing in the cage! And one of the walls of the cage is violently torn open from the inside. Cut back to Mom.

Mom (very distressed)- Oh no… this situation is unbearable!

Kid (disgusted)- Sometimes, I can barely stand to be with you.

Officer- I bear witness to the fact that you both are fuckin’ retards.

Mom- look, I’m sick of bearing the brunt of your insults!

Officer- too bad, you’re just gonna have to grin and bear it.

Kid- Mom, you’re really doing the bare minimum as a parent here.

Mom- well, it’s hard! There are a lot of barriers for working moms!

Officer- yeah, but still! I mean, look at this kid’s clothes! They’re completely threadbare!

Mom- well, we’re kind of poor, OK? I had to make them with my bare hands!

Officer- but you’re not even providing the bare necessities.

Kid- yeah, I might as well be one of those old timey characters wearing a barrel!

Mom- look, I apologize, but if you’ll just bear with me, I’ll-

Kid- no! I wish you were dead and buried!

Officer (to Kid)- well you know, you would have to be a pallbearer in that situation.

Mom (to Kid)- how can you say that?! You make it sound like I’m some nasty old barracuda!

Officer- well you know what they say: it takes one to know a bear! (They all stare at him.) …What?

At this point the strange man from the beginning walks by and stares in shock at the mangled cage. After a few seconds, he starts to walk away and we follow him. It seems as though he is walking faster but then it becomes clear that the film is just speeding up. We follow him as he exits the zoo, walks a few blocks, enters an apartment building, walks up three flights of stairs, and enters his apartment. He does some stuff that we can’t really see cause the film is so fast, and eventually goes to sleep. We watch him sleep and then wake up in the morning and go into his kitchen to eat breakfast. By the end, the film is going really fast, but as he goes into the kitchen it suddenly goes back to normal. He has two roommates that are also eating breakfast. He sits down at the table and picks up the newspaper. On the front is a big headline: “The Bear Escapes From the Zoo.” He leafs through the paper for a little while, then shakes his head. Throughout this scene, the headline is visible in the bottom half of the screen.

Man- I can’t believe what happened with that bear!

Roommate #1- I know, pretty crazy.

A medium-length pause.

Man (forcefully)- Guys, I think we should find that bear.

Roommate #2- …What?

Man- Yeah! I really think we should do it!

Roommate #1- Why, is there a reward or something?

Man- No, I just think we should do it!

Roommate #1 (glances at Roommate #2)- Uh, I don’t know about that. It sounds like a lot of effort.

The man looks down at his paper again. Short pause.

Roommate #2 (to Roommate #1)- Hey, did you finish painting that corpse?

Roommate #1 (lifts an arm out from under the table)- Yeah, almost, I just have to do the arms-

Man (slamming his fist down on the table)- Guys, we have to find that bear!

Roommate #1- Wha- dude, you’re like obsessed with that bear!

Man- What are you talking about?

Roommate #1- I’m just saying, you keep bringing it up!

Man- Well yeah, cause, I mean… (Pause)

Roommate #2- …What? What is it?

Remember we still see the headline in the bottom of the screen.

Man (hesitantly at first)- Well, cause… (now forcefully) Because (as he says these last four words they appear in the air above the headline) THIS BEAR IS AWESOME!

Animated titles. Something cool involving a bear, I don’t know. At the end, we pull away to show that it was playing on a projector screen. The man is standing next to the screen pointing at it with a pointer.

Man- And if that extensively researched Powerpoint presentation doesn’t convince you, nothing will.

Cut to the two roommates sitting in chairs looking dubious.

Roommate #2- …Really? You thought Powerpoint was the best way to convince us?

Roommate #1- You could’ve at least had some wacky transitions or something.

Man- OK FINE NOTHING WILL. I’ll just go find the bear myself.

Roommate #1 (pointing)- He’s right there.

Man (whirling around)- Aah! (He realizes what’s happened.) No, that’s the Powerpoint I just showed you! That’s just a picture of a bear.

Roommate #1- I wasn’t talking about that, I was talking about the bear that’s right there! (pointing again)

Man (jumps)- Aah! Oh my god, it’s him! That’s the bear! Right outside on the fire escape! (we don’t actually see it; we’re still looking at the man.) Get him!

He charges toward the window but doesn’t open it so he just bonks into it and falls down.

Man- Dammit! He got away! What was he doing here anyway though? Suspicious… damned suspicious… almost too suspicious… (we zoom in on his worried face as dramatic music plays and the screen fades to black.)

END OF ACT I (of several)

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