Hey, it's great that someone has asked me some questions about this! Because you know what makes it great? Ignoring your questions! I don't owe you nerds any explanation! Hahahaha! I'm too busy talking about MOVIES MOVIES MOVIES- FIFTEEN BLOODY MOVIES this time, it's Day 188 (and counting) of this movie thing, WTF Did I Just Watch Edition!
Blockers - Hey, let's just spend literally every moment we can just stating the premise and themes of the movie as blandly and directly as possible, all the time, every time! That'll work! Sure! (Note: yes, I understand that Interstellar does exactly this at one point. I still enjoy it anyway. In summation, get bent.) This is basically just like Daddy's Home and any number of other 2010s comedies, where you could have written an entire movie via the writer getting takeout every night for 90 days, and then asking the delivery driver to give them jokes and bits, and simply stringing all those random jokes together would have been funnier than this was. It's not too terrible when it focuses on the girls more directly, but the parent stuff is just unbearably unfunny and boring.
Night Hunter - Hey, I like Henry Cavill, and Alexandra Daddario, and Nathan Fillion; how bad can this suspense thriller be? It can be real, real bad. This was ruined for me by having read too many shitty Dean Koontz novels in high school (or, for brevity's sake, Dean Koontz novels), and the plot twist is straight out of one of those. 30 minutes in, I just blurted it out and I was right. The guy playing the killer is pretty good, but the movie feels disjointed, the other roles are poorly acted especially considering all the familiar faces, the script is awful, and the police violate pretty much every single one of their professional standards with total impunity, which is...OK, yeah, right, that's actually 100% accurate. Sorry!
Father's Day - Here's a trend: a sometimes-great actor making you want to retroactively strip them of an Oscar for a movie they did the same year. That's Robin Williams here, as somehow he was beyond dreadful - like, August Rush bad, if you ever saw that fluorescent turd of a movie - to the point that it made me think, "You know, maybe Sean Maguire isn't that great a character." I don't know how someone has that 1997, but he did. Billy Crystal is probably just as bad, except he's playing the straight man here, and there aren't as many obvious instances where he drags the movie to a grinding halt. I'm not sure I laughed hard at a single thing in this, and this is two of the biggest comedy draws of their generation falling this flat. Yuck.
Poison Ivy && - I couldn't remember if I'd seen this before or not until I got about 20 minutes into it and realized I had. One huge problem with it is that Sara Gilbert is probably my least favorite actor in history. Whatever I've said about James Caan or whoever else that doesn't connect with me, or is a walking charisma sink? You could bury them all in the Mariana Trench that is my reaction to Sara Gilbert and not notice the depths had changed. You're basically watching this for Drew Barrymore, but then naturally the plot has to develop, and once she has to seduce Tom goddamned Skerritt, of all people, it gets into full-on SQUICK territory. I'm trying to picture who was clamoring for an emancipated 16-year-old Drew Barrymore/Tom Skerritt hookup on screen, and, uh, yeah, that person doesn't exist. Shitty exploitation passed off as something challenging and transgressive, but it's just not.
Showgirls && - Who was clamoring for gross jailbait movies? Probably the exact same people clamoring for this famous turkey. I couldn't remember if I'd seen it before either (it's probably been 15 years), until Gina Ravera shows up in the movie, and then I remembered the awful, awful, awful, awful, awful way her character is treated in the last 30 minutes of the movie, and I thought about shutting it off. I'm simultaneously glad I didn't and disgusted at myself that I didn't. This is one of the most deeply misogynistic, fucked-up, wrong-headed, backwards-thinking pieces of shit ever committed to film. The fate of the Molly character aside, all of the representations of women are extreme, terrible stereotypes or they're tacit enablers of the men who are worse. Ever wonder why representation matters in film, especially when it comes to the production side? This is *exactly* why it matters. Most of the cast are women; most of the stories are women. The only person important to the production of the film who is a woman? The fucking choreographer. And the thing is, that's really too bad, because there are some surprisingly good set pieces here (like the scene where Berkeley and Gershon are alone on stage), and you do have to admire the dedication involved to pull off a lot of the details here. Too bad it's caught up in a giant pile of crazy bullshit or pathetically bad scenes that stink from a mile away, like the absolutely ridiculous sex scene with Berkeley & Kyle MacLachlan. But, I'm probably not saying anything new here; just reminding myself that people have hated on this for good reason for a very long time, and that most of the actors involved with it deserved better.
Always Be My Maybe - I had started watching this when it came out, then only watched the first 10 minutes, so this was just an extra movie on top of what else I watched for the day. Annnnnnd...it's also just not funny in any meaningful way. Randall Park is pretty good, but I can live without Ali Wong...um, I think forever? She's not any good here; not likeable, not believable, certainly not funny. It's also ridiculous that the movie is about Randall's character living up to his talents when the comedy rap group he has is *absolutely fucking terrible*. The only moments of charm and character in the film come from Randall Park's dad, who outshines everyone else in the whole damn thing.
ALERT ALERT ALERT Hot Garbage, So So Hot, Like the Burning Fire of a Thousand Suns Incinerating a Sulfur Enrichment Plant
Seventh Son - I only know two true things about myself. I knew when this movie came out in 2014 that it looked like a massive, drizzling pile of shit. And I knew, when I first saw its appearance on Netflix, that I would eventually subject myself to this particular brand of masochism. Oh God, where do I start? Talk about revoking Oscars, let's take away Julianne Moore's, and let's DEFINITELY take away Jeff Bridges' Oscar, as this is some All-Time Razzie-Level - like, the Razzie to Rule Them All - bad acting from him. They try to make him wryly funny or...something. And does it work? What the Hell do you think? And Alicia Vikander has some massive Robin Williams vibes here, too, as she was in Ex Machina, one of the greatest sci-fi films in decades in the same year as THIS.
The CGI, oh my God, the CGI. You could have brought the crew's kids under the age of 5 onto the set to draw the action on posterboards and it would have looked better. You want to know how bad the artwork was here? Just look no further than the bumper it has on Netflix! It looks like 90% of a well-done dragon, but then they took the meme of the crying guy wearing the smiling mask and pasted that on the dragon's face! You can't unsee this shit! Pointless characters who do nothing but eat up screen time? Boy have we got those! Let's just have a whole slew of easily-dispatched alleged badasses who come from nowhere, get maybe one scene to seem dangerous, and then eat it in embarrassing fashion to put over the good guys! A confusing ending? Sure, why not put the cherry on top of the shit sundae, why don't you? I don't usually spoil much, but I'm a helper, so I'm helping you here by saying, do the good guys vanquish? Not really. Do they show cleverness and trick the bad guys into losing? Nope. The witch LITERALLY JUST GIVES UP, after threatening to burn entire nations! What in the SANDWICH FUCK.
But! Guess what? It's STILL not as bad as The Crow: Wicked Prayer. But damn is this right there on the Mount Rushmore - ahem, excuse me, the MOUNT FLUSHMORE - of absolutely dreadful movies, and this isn't even a sequel of anything!
In the Soup - Oh thank you, finally, a movie that's just weird instead of mental toxin delivered at 24 frames a second. Steve Buscemi is the main character here, but the real star is Seymour Cassel, who manages to pull off this highwire act of being crummy and charming and scary and creepy and loving and genuine and utterly fake all at the same time, and usually all in the same scene. Jennifer Beals is pretty great as the unattainable love interest, too, but what this movie reminds me of the most is the film Pi, if only that movie were whimsical and not-so-serious, instead of being completely warped and demented. It feels like Aronofsky lifted a huge pile of the shots and settings - and the attendant claustrophobia and paranoia - from this movie about making movies. I don't think it accomplishes what it's trying to, or really even gets that close, but the acting is the real highlight here.
Misbehavior - This is a Korean film about a teacher whose work and personal life become increasingly screwed-up by a nepotistic coworker who only got her place because her daddy runs the boys' school where they teach. This was verging on the Hot Garbage territory for quite a while, as the first third or so of the movie is pretty dull. It tries - and usually fails hard - to capture some of the same quiet madness that someone like Ryusuke Hamaguchi is so great at filming. But Ha-neul Kim, who plays the main character, drags this to watchability until we get to the ending, where I was thinking to myself, "You know, this has been a really restrained movie, but what it probably needs is a violent ending" and BANG, there it is. Gotta hand it to the Koreans for that. There are whispers and elements of movies like Eyes Without a Face and Mulholland Dr. in the last 10 minutes; it isn't anywhere near as good as those, but at least the director had the sense to steal from great things.
The Tender Bar - I think you mean, "The Tepid Bar"! I can't believe this got award nominations; it's...massively mediocre. I mean, yeah, Ben Affleck is pretty good in it, but the only other role that really pops is Briana Middleton, who plays Tye Sheridan's on-again, off-again love interest. Where this really falls short is in actually *showing* any real consequences to any of the choices that the protagonist makes. There are allusions to drinking problems and whatnot, but nothing he does seems to really cost anything in any meaningful way, so it really makes me wonder how this was even supposed to be that compelling of a memoir, let alone a film adaptation.
The Intruder (1962) - Two things: the title shown in the opening moments for this movie is I Hate Your Guts, which is undeniably a better title. The other thing is that, uh, you may not want to watch this. Maybe ever. It's an attempt at capturing some of the sense of what was happening during the Civil Rights movement, but man, is it really insane to see something this wildly racist today. On some level, maybe that's actually a useful thing about it; it's a reminder that all the craziness we've seen the last 5+ years is something that simply never went away in the first place. But it is the height of irony to watch William fucking Shatner, who fucked everything in the galaxy as the clearly unprejudiced Captain Kirk, play a carpetbagging racist shit-stirrer. It's not a badly-made film, and it sort of works considering its premise, but not everyone may have the stomach for it.
I Could Never Be Your Woman - Totally forgot I just watched this! It's also easy to forget Amy Heckerling, one of America's real film geniuses. She just makes too few films to stay front-of-mind. And this is a long, long way from her strongest work, but it's still 100% hers, as she's just leveling her guns at all sorts of targets with the same withering humor you come to expect of her. This has one of Saiorse Ronan's earliest big roles, basically playing the Sally Draper-esque cypher for the whole movie, speaking with Heckerling's voice about her various beefs with Hollywood, and she's probably the highlight of the film. The plot is thin gruel, but Paul Rudd really busts his ass to make it watchable, and there are more than a few times in the movie where you could believe he's actually an insane person they just let out of the nuthouse.
Daisies - Talk about a movie that's not for everyone; that's this one. But man, this is wild, wild stuff that the world needs and continues to need. Even if you don't agree with the politics, or you don't understand the messages about war and consumerism and feminism, just the *editing* in this film alone is so utterly brilliant that it would make this a great movie on its own. This veers all over the map, from silent film/Vaudeville shenanigans to more avant-garde stage acting to slapstick and almost everything else you can think of, so there's not much in the way of plot. But it's got a metric ton of the same "fuck you" anti-authority vibes that Repo Man has, so if that's your bag, this probably is, too.
Don't Look Up - I don't know what those other nerds were thinking about this when they said they didn't like it. This isn't Adam McKay's best movie or anything, but it's pretty darn good. It's funny in that "if you don't laugh, you probably ought to cry" way, since you could swap out the comet for COVID or climate change or the fact that the US is a failed state, and the message is basically the same for any and all of those crises. It's probably the best acting either DiCaprio or Lawrence has done since their own Academy Award wins, and Cate Blanchett is seventeen shades of batshit crazy here. It's rare that I have wanted to punch anyone in the face as much as I wanted to punch Jonah Hill in the face for the entirety of this movie. Plus, as a scientist, it is a bit of a relief to see someone capture how infuriating it is to have people in the media blatantly misunderstand demonstrable facts on a regular basis. I don't think this is as good of a "end of the world comedy" as Seeking a Friend for the End of the World was, so props to Lorene Scafaria for that movie once again, but I think this is going to age better than some of Adam's other films, assuming, you know, we don't destroy ourselves first.
Winner Winner, I'll have what she's having for dinner
When Harry Met Sally... && - I know, I know, obvious film critic is obvious. But every so often, I get a hankering to rewatch this, and it just holds up every. Single. Time. Easy Top 10 of the 80s pick for me and probably a Top 40 all-time pick for that matter. Simply the most rewatchable film I can think of, and that's only a little bit because TBS used to play it all the time. The jokes always land (although I'm sure some people could take or leave the "Ethiopian/empty plate" joke these days, but I still laugh), the side characters feel developed and genuine but we also understand they're just window dressing, the old couples never stop being charming, and the script is close to perfect. I think what I caught this time that I hadn't seen before was how meals punctuate so many of the big discussions they have about sex and relationships: the initial diner talk about Sheldon the Wonder Schlong, the scene we all recognize, the failed set-up dinner with Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher (where Jess and Marie banter about how he wrote that dinners are overrated~!~!), the quiet dinner of Billy Crystal grazing on his salad like an idiot after they finally sleep together. I never go out of my way to listen to the kind of stuff that's on the soundtrack, either, but it's a joy every time I hear every song. Probably because I associate them with this movie. And the ending speech Billy Crystal gives is basically seared into my brain as how I think about love. *chef's kiss*
Whew, that was a lot.