McGee and Me Skate Expectations

Today’s scripture reading is from one of the gospels. Insert story of Good Samaritan here. McGee, of course, is playing the Good Samaritan in the cartoon illustration of this. I wish he’d play the victim (all his life) because I hate him. I wrote that paragraph before watching the movie, and don’t need to edit it. That’s how predictable these movies are.

We cut to a scene of Nick in school. It’s almost 3 o’clock, and instead of beginning the end of school procedures like every other elementary school teacher I know, a teacher is droning on about HOMES, that thing that’s supposed to help you remember the great lakes. I’ve never found these memory devices to be particularly helpful, as I can remember HOMES, but not what I’m supposed to be using it to remember. Is it the order of operations?

Anyway, Renee from the last episode is apparently in Nick’s class. Nick looks bored out of his skull, and I can’t say I blame him. Geography’s boring, and he’s desperately hoping the bell rings before he gets called on to name a Great Lake. He just barely makes it, avoiding having to name Lake Michigan.

The teacher gives them a take home geography test, telling them the answers are not all in the textbook so she hopes they  were paying attention. This is hilarious, because even when this was filmed, it was not hard to look shit up. If you couldn’t find it on the internet, we had these things called encyclopedias. 

Nick comes across Phillip being bullied. I get that these kids are supposed to look like they’re robbing him, but they look like they’re trying to pull his pants down. Or get down the front of his pants…. anyway it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to and it’s just bad acting in general. At least, I’m going to assume that bad acting is the cause here….

Nick waits till Derek and his gang leave, then helps Phillip pick up his books. He asks why Derek (the biggest of the bullies, I’m assuming) is picking on him.

Like bullies need a reason to pick on smaller children. But I’ll guess:

  1. Derek wants to feel powerful
  2. Derek is being bullied by someone else and is taking out his aggression buy passing along the torture
  3. Derek hates the look of this kid
  4. Derek hates his high waters (Seriously terrible fashion sense)
  5. Derek is poor, and that is why he is robbing the kid (or, attempting to, kid doesn’t have any money)

Nope. Apparently, Derek is making Phillip give him the answers to the geography test.

“Figures,” Nick says, picking up his skateboard. “Derek probably can’t handle big words like, “Ohio.””

Nick tells Phillip not to give Derek the answers. Phillip says he can’t just not give Derek the answers, but doesn’t say why. Did Derek threaten him? A this point Derek is probably going to keep bullying Phillip regardless, so, unless Derek promised to stop bullying him or threatened him in some way, why can’t Phillip just not give him the answers?

I hope you weren’t curious, because this is never explained. Ever. I thought they were waiting for a more strategic moment to reveal this, but nope.

“You oughta give him all the wrong answers. It’s not like he’s never failed a test before.”

Phillip has this expression on his face the scene fades out:

 

We cut to the next scene, where Nick and Sarah’s mom is totally, despite what she says, guilting Sarah into babysitting so some people can go to a wedding. Like, seriously, weddings are boring, they are not missing anything. Sarah has had miniature golf planned for a while now and has promised everyone else she would go, and that she would help drive them there.

Seriously parents, don’t do this to your oldest child. They have lives too, and if you’re going to guilt trip them into babysitting, for Satan’s sake, at least PAY them for it.

Mrs. Harmon gives he kids back their tests. Nick gets a C-, despite getting extra credit for the map he drew. Mrs. Harmon tells Derek that his test was the most creative she’s ever seen, and makes him read his answers out loud.

What is the state capital of Michigan?

“Motown.” Derek replies seriously.

The rest of the class bursts into laughter.

“Where are the great planes located?”

“The airports.”

Ok, seriously? Derek should have known this answer was a fake. I mean, good god, it’s a geography test, surely he knows that this test is not talking about airplanes. Airplanes are not geographical features. No 10-12 year old is that stupid.

“Derek, you’re only cheating yourself when you turn in a paper like this. I’d like to see you after school.”

Does Mrs. Harmon have to do this in front of his peers? She doesn’t know why Derek did his test like that, and I really think she should be having this conversation with him in private.

Even if she thinks he did it as a big joke, (we know better, but she doesn’t) this is the wrong approach. If Derek did this because he thought it was funny, what did calling him out in public like this earn him? An audience, that’s what. A laughing audience who thought he was funny. The best way to deal with this is to deal with it in private so he doesn’t have an audience who rewards him for such things.

Nick can’t believe Phillip took him seriously. I can’t believe Nick was dumb enough to think Phillip wouldn’t.

The next scene is lunch, wherein Derek’s gang starts bullying Phillip. I’ll spare you details. The other kids look away, and my guess is that they don’t want to be the next victim. Renee whispers to Nick that Phillip is weird.

Part 2 kind of begins in a strange spot. It begins where the story of the Good Samaritan left off earlier, with McGee playing the good Samaritan helped the poor man in the ditch who’d been beaten up.

The Poor Man is too heavy for McGee’s donkey, who refuses to carry him. There’s a small fight over it, with me cheering on the donkey. McGee pricks the donkey a pin, and the donkey gets up and runs. I want to prick McGee in the butt and see how far he’ll run afterwards. There’s more scenes of McGee treating the donkey like crap.

Seriously, this show wouldn’t be half so unwatchable if McGee wasn’t in it.

We cut to a scene of Nick sitting at his desk asking McGee what he should do about “Derek and the Goon Platoon.”

Goon Platoon? Oh my god WHO TALKS LIKE THIS?!

McGee suggests Nick fight Derek. This is actually a better idea than it sounds. Sometimes, the only way to handle a bully is to just punch them in the face. Other things should be tried first, but if you can’t reason with them and you can’t compromise and you just can’t do anything else, turn around and punch them in the nose. I don’t know why it works or how it works, I just know this works.

Nick points out that Derek is twice his size, and anyway, his mom and dad disapprove of fighting. “Hi, my name is Nick, and I parrot my parents’ views on fighting even though I’m 10 or 12 and should have been able to decide whether to accept or reject this for myself by now.”

McGee finally suggests a skateboard competition.

Most of the time, I can really count on McGee–to be wrong. But this time it seemed like he’d really come up with a decent idea.

So Nick challenges Derek to a skateboard race, wherein he makes Derek promise to lay off Phillip if he wins, and if he loses….

Louis tells Nick that Derek won some kind of skateboard race, and that he’s really good. Louis is rocking a baby pink sweatshirt, because real men wear pink.

Nick and McGee have a telepathic argument about whether or not this is such a good idea. Spoiler alert, it’s not, but neither is picking a fist fight with someone bigger than you, so no one’s got any better ideas.

Nick is at home working on his skateboard. Sarah’s friend tells her not to babysit if she doesn’t want to (her mom’s guilt trip is clearly working) and tells Nick he heard about the big race. News travels fast in their tiny town apparently.

Sarah’s friend tells us how awesome Nick is for doing this. Because we can’t trust the audience to just figure it out on our own, we must be bashed over the head with how awesome Nick is for trying to help Phillip.

Sarah gets more guilt about helping people even though it goes out of her way to do so, because the writers told her to guilt herself about it, that’s why. It’s kinda forced into the story.

Phillip gives Nick a shirt for the race that says SKATF on it in pink letters. We get a musical montage of Nick practicing. He’s not very fast, and when he tries to do tricks he falls off his board.

We cut from Nick practicing to Derek practicing. Derek isn’t very good, but at least he can manage to stay on his board without flaffing about, which is more than Nick can say.

The music is terrible, but let that pass. I’m looking at the way they spliced the footage, and I wonder if either of these actors can actually skate. They show shots of Derek’s feet, and when that happens his skating is good. Then they show the top half of Derek turning around looking like he’s skating, without showing his feet. We don’t ever really get a long full body shot of either of these boys doing skateboard tricks, unless it’s of Nick falling off his board. Makes me wonder if one or both of them had stunt doubles.

Derek and his gang run up with skateboards. Here we get a full body shot of Nick actually improving, even though he still wobbles about like and looks like he’s about to fall off his board at any moment.

Derek feels threatened, even though what Nick is barely succeeding with isn’t even half as good as what he can do. Or at least, what closeups of Derek’s feet could do. We never did see a full body shot with him. I know, because I watched this shit on slow motion 3 times.

Derek and his “goon platoon” watching Nick skate. I can’t tell what the actors are trying to portray here. They just look high to me.

Goon1, Derek, Goon2

We get a scene, later that night, where Nick has doubts and is praying about them.

The next day, McGee is at the race to cheer on Nick. He gets bit in the butt by a small dog with a pink bow who I’m going to call Cherie. Go Cherie, get him, get him!

Nick and Derek are off.

Renee runs up to Louis and, overdramatically, asked if he’s noticed that none of Derek’s friends have shown up.

There’s more bad music as Derek and Nick both do some stuff. I know nothing about skateboarding so I’m going to skip most of it. But if Nick was practically falling off his board a day ago, I highly doubt he’s able to ride a pipe now.

Derek and Renee ride around on their bikes looking for Derek’s “goons.”

I played the jump scene in slow motion. It really is Nick skateboarding in that scene. I was unable to get a similar closeup of Derek. The quality isn’t great, so that doesn’t mean much.

I’m also watching this shit on silent because the music is BAD.

Nick takes the lead, and Derek gives a pissed off expression. Which tells us that, rather than pace himself like I’ve heard people do in races, he is legitimately behind. I wish the film makers had left us to wonder about that for a while.

Nick is hogging up the entire sidewalk, making it impossible for Derek to pass him. This isn’t particularly sporting, but of course Nick won’t get called out on this.

But Derek’s friend will get called out on throwing a water balloon at Nick, knocking him off his board. Unfortunately, he doesn’t sustain any serious injuries. He gets back on his board and continues.

Another of Derek’s friends block’s Nick’s paths with trash bags, Nick jumps over them, and continues.

Derek crosses the finish line ahead of Nick, which, to be honest, would have happened without the cheating so I don’t understand what the point of all that was.

I also don’t understand the point of Derek having a skate double back in the middle of the film during the practice montage. We never see either one of the boys attempting to do such tricks in the race, so, why bother to even include them in the montage? All those scenes did was make it harder to suspend my disbelief that Nick could get better than Derek in a day.

Maybe Derek didn’t really have a stunt double, but if he can actually skate, as it appears he can in the race scenes, why cut the footage  in the montage that way? IT MAKES NO SENSE!

Everyone starts cheering for Nick.  The little kids saw Derek’s friends cheat for him, and are not amused. Unfortunately, since this is a kids’ race with no real rules, they’re overruled by the bigger boys and Nick has to be Derek’s slave for a week.

Just kidding.

McGee is still fighting with the dog, who has not managed to kill him. But kudos, Cherie, for making him suffer. Good girl. Here’s a treat.

Phillip thanks Nick, even though I have no idea what he’s thanking Nick for. Because Derek isn’t going to care that he won because he cheated, in his mind, he still won, and Phillip is still fair game. This race solved nothing.

Nick puts his arm around Phillip, who looks up at him with adoring little puppy eyes as they walk home. A godawful pointless scene with makes Phillip look like, well, a silly little puppy dog.

This goes beyond cheesy. This scene is not cheesy but awww inducing. This scene is forced and makes Phillip look pathetic.

When Nick gets home, we get an over the top scene in which Sarah goes to babysit because “It can’t hurt to give a little once in a while, right?” She’s sacrificing her miniature golf so the Robinsons can be bored to tears at a wedding. How generous of her. Her mother’s guilt trip won.

I want to note that we did not see Jamie or Grandma in this scene. They are still missing, and an explanation has not been given.

We end with McGee falling off his skateboard and hurting himself badly. It’s a great ending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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