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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Save Your Last Few Pennies, Don’t Go See This Movie

posted by on October 14 at 13:12 PM

I went alone—the first time I’d ever gone to a movie theater alone—to watch, of all gay things, Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

You see, when I lived with my niece and nephew, they wanted a Chihuahua. They chanted “Chihuahua, Chihuahua!” despite my insistence that Chihuahuas were nothing but throw pillows covered in teeth and claws. But the chanters won. I fell in love with Pixel. Look at him. See?


Photo by Dawn Bustanoby.

So I went.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua is, in point of fact, the worst movie ever. Which begs the question: why—why!?—is it the top grossing movie two weeks running, selling $17.5 million in tickets just last weekend?

BHC’s sunny opulence is at odds with Americans—as of October 2008—collectively staring down the barrel of the darkest depression in 80 years. The opening scene features Chihuahuas (we’ve since moved on to Pit Bulls), Starbucks cups (currently closing stores everywhere), and a Louis Vuitton purse (now replaced with 20-cent taxed plastic bags). So its release now is A) a huge mistake, B) the result of a catastrophic production delay, or C) unfettered genius.

The story begins at the lavish mansion of a bejeweled white Chihuahua, who quickly becomes the object of affection for the gardener’s mangy, brown, slightly-more-robust Chihuahua. After being kidnapped, the rich white dog ends up in deepest, darkest Mexico. She narrowly escapes peril—thanks to her rough-and-tumble Mexican suitor and her own gumption—and makes it safely home to Beverly Hills. “Prissy? No mas,” says the six-pound protagonist.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua is the story of descent from economic security, into the jaws of poverty, and returning to grace unscathed. And that’s a story America really needs right now. Wrote StC in comments of yesterday’s Morning News: “I WENT AND SAW IT AGAIN. With four others. Oh, chihuahua!”

This is a familiar refrain. BHC evokes Shirley Temple, Good-Ship-Lollipopping her way through the Great Depression, or Little Orphan Annie escaping to the safety of Daddy Warbucks’s mansion. As America braces for poverty, it’s so much more manageable to prepare for the worst when you’re projecting your future onto the shivering frame of a six-pound dog.

RSS icon Comments

1 should make a habit of going to movies on your own more often. I find it very zen.

Second. You needed to see this movie first to be able to write that review?

Third. You thought perhaps SLOGsters were in need of warning against such a movie?


Posted by Timothy | October 14, 2008 1:19 PM

Thank God. I kept my status at 'busy' because I wasn't sure if I would have to 'log out of chat' to avoid an "it was good, what's your problem?" discussion. I need to remember to have more faith in you, for you are smarter than I.

Posted by P.sOmEone | October 14, 2008 1:21 PM

Don't forget - the broken will of a parent is no match for a child's persistence.

Posted by Dougsf | October 14, 2008 1:21 PM

Dominic Holden:

Beverly Hills Chihuahua is the story of descent from economic security, into the jaws of poverty, and returning to grace unscathed.

Now I'm bracing for the Charles Mudede Marxist critique of Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

Posted by cressona | October 14, 2008 1:23 PM

I think it's because everyone with brain cells and a conscience is tethered to the tv watching the election unfold, which gives idiots free reign over box office phenomenons.

Posted by Carollani | October 14, 2008 1:23 PM


Posted by bubbles | October 14, 2008 1:37 PM

Of late, I've been almost exclusively watching old MGM musicals borrowed from the library. Every once in a while, between fabulous dance numbers and Irving Berlin songs, the part of my brain that cares about such things will pipe up with "But where's the plot? This is just a bunch of musical numbers strung together with the barest bones of a boilerplate love story."

Then I remember the reason that 90 million Americans used to go to these movies every week: Because when times are really desperate, sometimes you just wanna watch Fred Astaire dance a little soft-shoe and tell you everything's going to be alright.

BHC seems like the same escapist spirit draped over the horrifying CGI shell of a Taco Bell commercial.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 14, 2008 1:38 PM

Rags-to-riches/riches-to-rags movies were a staple of the Great Depression. We will be seeing even more escapist flicks as things get worse.

Posted by inkweary | October 14, 2008 1:43 PM

Talking puppies are so cute. I hope I live to see a genetically engineered talking puppy. The I'll know the end is near.

Posted by Vince | October 14, 2008 1:55 PM

Cressona, amigo/amiga:

This is one of those times when a good ol' global capitalist perspective that Charles brings woudl fit!

You see, a story about an alabaster fragile richy rich Californian Chihuahua who falls for a robust swarthy earthy Chihuahua and goes to ol' Mexico -- well let's just say arriba arriba, andale andale, Speedy, this is an obvious racist/ethnic parable par excellence!

Comeon. This is about as good as Captain Kirk and Spock going to the planet where the "slave class" which appears all ignorant and stuf only is the victim of gases emitted from the mines which good ol' American technologoy can free them of, leading to revolt against the slaveholder class, that was so Alliance for Progress!

ANyway it's an old tale, whitey northerner falls for darker, earthy southerner, Swept Away etc. etc.

Your fellow Marxist/dependenciatista/cultural critic/mygodlet's maketalkingaboutthechihuahuamoviesomehowhipintellectualandcool,

Posted by PC | October 14, 2008 1:55 PM

here's another godawful movie you might want to chalk up to the current economic state.

Posted by donte | October 14, 2008 1:56 PM

i'm pretty sure it's just another shitty children's movie whose popularity defies the understanding of the adults who accompany said children to said shitty children's movie. (fact: children have shitty taste in movies).

Posted by brandon | October 14, 2008 2:22 PM

I've been quoted by Slog for my own comments to Slog. Is that my Slog Fifteen?

I went to a screening show before it opened with my gf. Then, to please the kids, we went again taking my kid and her nephews.

And after the second showing, we went to a chihuahua costume party, with several dozen of these darling little dogs dressed like little Elvises, pirates, bumblebees and other assorted cuteness.

The best part of the movie is one hour in, only five minutes long, and climaxes with Placido Domingo delivering a monologue.

Would I see this movie twice if I didn't own these little critters? Not on your life. This movie is making money for the same reason animal games on the Nintendo DS do so well - pre-teen kids love chihuahuas.

Posted by StC | October 14, 2008 2:27 PM

I'm going to enjoy watching this on the big screen every Christmas.

It's that kind of movie.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 14, 2008 3:53 PM

You ask why did is gross 17.5 Quadrillion dollars? Because it screened in America to people that think Obama is a Muslim and that could not tell you the first thing about what Muslims believe.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | October 14, 2008 7:04 PM

I'm always shocked, although I shouldn't be, every time I run across someone who has never gone to a movie theater on their own.

Posted by stinkbug | October 14, 2008 7:10 PM

This is the second chihuahua named Pixel I've seen this week.

Just coincidence?

Posted by kentdog | October 14, 2008 9:36 PM

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