Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

The Brass Teapot, or: What Is Pain?

Prepare yourself for Extreme Makeover: Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab Edition. This week introduces themes for our bad movie fest! We’ve been striking out with our last couple of films, so we decided to switch things up a bit and watch something besides our usual horror. The next two films will be Sci-Fi/Fantasy, starting with Christa’s pick for this week!  Check out her review here!

The Film:

The Brass Teapot

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

A newlywed couple faces all sorts of ethical dilemmas when they discover a teapot that gives them money for their pain.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

So the beginning of this movie is your basic Intro to Art History: weepy women and serious dudes with ruffs edition. What do all of these images have in common? BRASS FUCKIN’ TEAPOT.

But our story isn’t (entirely) about people glaring in paintings throughout history; it’s about John and Alice (Juno Temple), impoverished newlyweds in smalltown ‘Murica. John works very unhappily as a telemarketer, while Alice struggles unsuccessfully to find a job (TOO REAL).

It becomes apparent pretty quickly that this entire town is a giant high school divided into the popular clique and the loser clique. The only friends Alice and John have are similarly broke nerds whose names I have already forgotten.

Alice and John’s luck suddenly changes, however, when Alice sees THE BRASS TEAPOT at this little antique shop and steals it. She discovers money appears in the teapot whenever she hurts herself. Though John has just gotten fired, it seems all of their financial woes are over as long as both are willing to hurt themselves. Least favorite is having dental work done with no Novocaine. That scene made me realize that is probably one of my phobias.

In complication #1 of many, John takes the teapot on The Antiques Roadshow. I don’t know why—I really don’t.

an appraiser and a young man look at an ornate teapot on the set of the show The Antiques Roadshow
Also the appraiser values this ancient magical teapot at $5,000. HOW.

This brings the teapot to the attention of that Asian guy in movies who always shows up and warns people they’re in danger. In this one his name is Dr. Ling.

Also, as a side note, Kenneth from 30 Rock is Alice’s brother-in-law. To be honest, Jack McBrayer deserved a bigger role in this movie, but I will inevitably say that about every movie. True to type, Kenneth grins a lot and works for a nonprofit saving tree snails.

a man and woman sit at a table, with the man passing a bowl of salad to his left

Another complication: the lady who owned the antique shop dies, and her grandsons come looking for the teapot, which she saved from the Nazis. So yeah, there’s a scene where Hasidic Jews beat up John and make threats over A TEAPOT.

John and Alice conduct some serious research at the library (libraries in popular culture!). This involves, of course, a librarian shushing them (I have never shushed anyone in my life). All of this stereotype-busting aside, I’m really upset Alice TEARS A PAGE OUT OF A LIBRARY BOOK. AND it’s because she doesn’t want John to access information about the teapot’s unsavory effects, which is CENSORSHIP. In the library world, this is the equivalent of being a genocidal maniac. Shame on you, Alice. SHAME.

a woman wearing glasses shushes people in a library
QUIET, THIS IS A LIBRARY…is a thing librarians are no longer allowed to say.

So anyway, since she’s now rich and successful, Alice gets her popular girl makeover and throws popular girl parties she invites Alexis Bledel to.

Dr. Ling crashes their party to warn Alice and John about the teapot’s dangers, but obviously they ignore him.

The situation escalates when the two realize they can make money just by watching people get hurt. Another way to achieve the same result is to become an insurance sales agent, or perhaps that’s overly cynical (it’s not). Additionally, hurting each other emotionally is a valid option. Next step = hurting other people emotionally/airing their dirty laundry.

A man and woman walk down a suburban street. The woman is carrying a teapot.
Apparently sudden wealth turns you into a yuppie hipster.

Alice is becoming increasingly obsessed with the teapot and wants to go for one big score, which will involve killing a drug dealer or pedophile. John says it’s me or the teapot, essentially, and later throws himself from the second floor of their house with the teapot. Immediately after Alice promises to get rid of the teapot, someone breaks in and takes it.

Should I tell you about the ending? I’m going to tell you about the ending, if only so I can bitch about it.

The creepy landlord, Arnie, is the one who took the teapot, and Alice and John have to retrieve it as they’ve basically given Sauron the ring.

John attempts to fight Arnie with a rolling pin; however, the Hasidic Jews come in demanding the teapot. When Arnie refuses, they shoot him and his girlfriend but LEAVE THE TEAPOT SITTING THERE. PLOT HOLES.

Alice (who is suddenly pregnant) and John give the teapot to Dr. Ling and leave town.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we basically get the Titanic ending for the teapot in that it is thrown into the ocean, never to be seen again.

The Critique:

Biggest problems with this movie were the number of plot holes, the attitude towards nerds (plus in general the bland, stereotyped characters), and the ending. I will spare you my complaints about the plot holes, but just know that I’m not going to let it go that the grandsons committed double homicide for the teapot AND THEN JUST LEFT IT. THAT DOESN’T MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE.

On stereotyping, especially of the nerd variety, John kept referencing LOTR and Alice kept teasing him for being a nerd as a result. Is that really a nerd thing to do? If you ask me, that is a HUMAN thing to do because seriously, those movies are fun to watch, and if you say otherwise I think you’re lying to yourself.

Also, EVERYONE kept saying the teapot would turn on them and unleash its terror, but that never actually happened. Alice stole a fucking cursed object and nothing bad really happened to her or John??? Someone could’ve at least lost a pinky.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 3/5

I considered a lower score because I’m still hung up on how much I hated the ending.

I’m starting to sound like the Duke in Moulin Rouge, but I don’t care. I can live with that.  LET ZIDLER KEEP HIS FAIRYTALE ENDING.

gif of a man with a moustache saying "I don't like this ending"

…but I like to read Christa’s thoughts on her blog!  (I think you can say your blog is endorsed by a duke now, Christa.)

6 thoughts on “The Brass Teapot, or: What Is Pain?”

  1. Oooh snapsies! I totally agree about the attitude to nerds and LOTR references, it jarred on me when she took the piss out of him the first time. And ditto the Jews!

    The first time they didn’t even check any of the house for the pot, even though she suddenly produced $5K from behind a cushion, then they robbed them giving a little speech about how they really just wanted to reap the rewards rather than actually own the tea pot, then they come back again, for the tea pot. Although they did get killed in the gun fight so couldn’t take it. Didn’t they?

    Disappointing but you’re completely right: I don’t like neat, convenient, saccharine endings. Give me endings that blow my tiny mind, and flap in the breeze, completely open to interpretation.

    I enjoyed the Sci Fi/Fantasy element though. Go us with our new plan! I look forward to the next.

    Ps. I miss Robert Carlyle x

    Liked by 1 person

      I TOTALLY failed to connect the Hasidic Jews died, and THAT was why they didn’t take the teapot. I think I was typing too furiously and possibly trying to come up with clever things to say in my review. Okay, plot hole filled. ALL OTHER PLOT HOLES STILL RELEVANT.
      Urgh, Robert Carlyle needs to be in everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Also, yeah, why did John take the tea pot to the Antique Roadshow? I mean, sure he might have been considering selling it, but that didn’t come across in his reaction. Plus, if it was from before the Crusade (or thereabouts), why was it only work five grand? Um… PLOT HOLE! x

    Liked by 1 person

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