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6 minutes ago, John from Cincinnati said:

After we’re done badmouthing Chris, can get into what it says that Love Actually is Zack Snyder’s favorite Christmas movie? I assume we’re a couple mimosa’s deep by this point. 

Oh what’s that? I’ve been banned from brunch for bringing up Zack Snyder? Tough, but fair. 

That's more of an afternoon tea sort of thing.

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Timeline - There are "bad" Michael Crichton adaptations, and then there are BAD Michael Crichton adaptations. This, blessedly, falls into the former category instead of the latter (see Congo if you ever want to watch the worst...or maybe Sphere, but I can't recall if I've seen that, because perhaps it's so bad that I blocked out the memory). This is almost a "before they were stars/had higher profiles" cast: nice to see Billy Connolly, Michael Sheen, and such an early Rossif Sutherland role, among other familiar faces. And this was probably the movie that put Gerard Butler on the Beefcake Map permanently. When you're the guy who stands next to Paul Walker and makes it obvious that Walker's nose is crooked...yeah. 

The acting is...kind of all over the place, some good and some bad from exactly the people you'd expect for each. The plot is the usual fare for time-travel stuff, where the big emotional crisis becomes patently obvious about 2 minutes after Gerard Butler begins flirting. If there's a serious downside to this, it's that the special effects are *terrible* - luckily, they're not "hokey CGI badly green-screened over something ridiculous", because they might have invented a new floor for how bad those could look, but they're an altogether different sort of awful. Also, some of the scene transitions make this feel less like a film with a proper Hollywood budget and more like someone's high-school project, complete with the Simpsons-esque "Star wipe!" moments. 

But, at least it isn't Congo.

Fast Five - Look everybody, it's the exact point where the series totally devolved from stupid car chases to full-on ridiculous superhero bullshit involving stupid car chases! This also has to take the prize for the BOG STUPIDEST OPENING IN CINEMA HISTORY. If they'd opened the film with Vin Diesel spouting complete gibberish into the camera for 5 minutes, you could at least guess he was taking the piss, or that he had a stroke and the crew cruelly chose to film it while help arrived. But no, let's FLIP A NINE-TON BUS REPEATEDLY because "cool" and just figure everyone walks away unharmed. 

Adjust the remainder of the film's tone accordingly, since it's only that absurd or worse. The ending works, because the stunts involving the safe remind you the root word of 'spectacular' is 'spectacle'.  But aside from that, there's stunts, there's "Batman doesn't kill, but watch the Batmobile crash through that truck in such a way that the henchmen couldn't have survived" Snyder bullshit, and then there's this. This is CGI-aided vehicle porn in the way the SAW movies are torture porn.  (The Paul Walker Memorial Terrible Fucking Actor in the F&F Franchise Award for this one goes to Sung Kang, for making literally one face the whole movie, and it's that stupid fucking smirk.)

The Heartbreak Kid (1972) - This is another virtually "lost" movie, unless you do some careful searching again.  Luckily it's made its way to a couple of film festivals here and there.  I can't say I'm a huge fan, because it's another proto-cringe-comedy that's far, far heavier on the 'cringe' than the 'comedy', but Charles Grodin is pretty great in it.  It does, however, feel like he might have Kevin Kline'd the rest of his career, playing some riff on this role for the rest of his life.  That said, the two fulcrum scenes at the center of the movie are a couple of the most gob-stopping things you'll see in your life: just a wonderful pair of long, slow, awkward, FUCKING PAINFUL takes as you watch this totally self-involved idiot find out just how far his head can go up his own ass.  Awesome acting, even better directing. It's too bad Bristol-Myers-Squibb owns the rights to this, and we may never see a better release unless they also remove heads from asses and sell it to someone else.  I'll have to watch Elaine May's other movies soon-ish.

Christmas Evil - OK, I picked this fully expecting B-movie schlock and a straight-up slasher flick with Santa in Krampus mode.  I did NOT expect Taxi Driver with a guy who thinks he's Santa.  Sure, this isn't *that* good (and I don't like Taxi Driver much anyway), but holy crap is there more to this than meets the eye.  It actually manages to have a little bit to say about consumerism and our shitty attitudes towards the world and each other, but it doesn't get too bogged down with that, because you're usually goggling over how utterly bonkers the main character becomes over the course of the film.  The ending is...I don't know.  It sort of works, it's sort of cheap, but it also isn't really the point.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but for the two of you on this board who are horror nuts that haven't seen this, you should see this.  The rest of you are probably watching it as I type this.

Rambo - Ah yes, the halcyon days, back when Sylvester Stallone could still move his facial muscles to act but chose not to.  You could take a huge dump on this for its cynicism, its piss-poor portrayal of the locals (who don't even have names; let's face it, they're all chum in the water anyway), its simple mantra of "give the fans the blood they want", but this leans so completely into its violence - four different kinds, if you look at Peacock's warning label; I think that's all of the violences! - that it comes out the other side, exit-wound-style, to actually kind of, maybe, sort of say something about the disgusting brutality of war.   

There's probably some sad, pathetic kernel of desire on Stallone's and the producers' part to set this in Burma/Myanmar to draw attention to the perpetual strife surrounding the nation, but one wonders what good making a movie - particularly *this* movie - could have possibly done. And yet, as a certain type of anti-war propaganda, like a parent punishing a teenager for smoking by making them smoke the whole pack, it almost ends up working.

Inkheart - MID has quite possibly the stupidest synopsis in their entire catalog for this movie: "A man summons one of the the most evil beings in literature out of a book."  That being turns out to be...another man. Who wields power corruptly.  Yeah, we have literally an entire real history of those. Try again.

And then, of course, the movie itself has nothing worthwhile to stand on: the "book" at the center isn't described in any kind of meaningful detail, the characters that spring forth from it are generic and dull, and it mostly runs on the fumes of other authors' literary retreads (assuming they're old enough to be public-domain, that is). It's as if the novelist knew the base idea for the Inkheart book was a waste of everyone's time, so it had to be wrapped up in this meta-conceit to have any legs at all.  This is what you get when you give a movie deal to any old YA author because you're so desperate to get the next Harry Potter. If these are the kinds of decisions, year after year, that have helped push Warner to the edge of bankruptcy, then let's keep pushing them right off the fucking cliff.


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good movie - because you sure as shit know I'm not watching the good ones.

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Back when I did a pidcast about "Chick Flicks" we did Love Actually for our holiday episode and it was far and away the most divisive episode we recorded. Just a Movie filled with unsympathetic characters (save for Emma Thompson).


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God I love the final slaughter in Rambo. Don't they have a POV shot from behind a dude as Stallone blasts his head with an anti-aircraft machine gun and it just explodes INTO the camera? I was piss-drunk watching that in the theater and remember beaming in glory. I think somebody else gets a machete to the dome like in Dawn of the Dead too. It really is just a splatter movie but an excellent one. Stallone seems so wore down that he really can't speak anymore and has just turned into this silent golem they've summoned to enact vengeance on the lowest of the human race. Plus the Christian missionaries are total fucking idiots, which of course makes me laugh very hard. 

Christmas Evil is a favorite of John Waters so you have to watch it if you know what's good for you.

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Best first-time watches, 2023:
1. Kanehsatake, 270 Years of Resistance
2. Goodfellas
3. Ballad of Narayama
5. A Pigeon Sat in a Branch Reflecting on Existence
6. Le Corbeau
7. Songs from the Second Floor
8. Sorcerer 
9. The Asphalt Jungle
10. Paths of Glory
11. Black Rain
12. El Sur
13. Wings of Desire
14. Claire’s Knee
15. Le Ceremonie
16. Big Time Gambling Boss
17. Ghost in the Shell
18. The Northman
19. The Train
20. Rapine
21. Royal Warriors
22. This Transient Life
23. Masque of Red Death
24. Highway Patrolman
25. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

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Yesterday to celebrate Christmas I watched A Christmas Story and the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol. Those were great, what wasn't that good was A Christmas Story 2. I made it fifteen minutes before tapping out. Peter Billingsley should be the only Ralphie.

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Saw The Iron Claw today with my wife. She's the perfect audience for the movie - a former wrestling fan who's a sucker for personal story "inspired by a true story" movies. She spent a couple days watching interviews about the real story and the making of the movie. So she knew the general idea. 

For the most part, I thought the movie was well made. Things looked good and the plot moved well. Zac as Kevin was fine. Holt as Fritz was outstanding. Just a tremendous casting choice. The rest of the cast was fine. 


The guy playing Flair and Jeremy Allen White as Kerry. I get it, guys who look like Kerry just don't exist. But even my wife said, "Wasn't Kerry a lot taller?" Yes, honey, yes he was. They definitely needed somebody bigger for the role. The Flair guy just didn't fit. 

I WAS bothered by the jumbled timeline. Didn't really need to rearrange and compress events but they did. 

I WAS bothered by them basically ignoring the Freebirds and skipping entirely the Christmas cage match. 

It cracked me up that Lance got about 5 seconds of screen time - and was never actually named. 

I WAS bothered a lot that they just straight up deleted Chris. Don't care what the reasons are. He should've been part of the movie. My wife mentioned him, too - "Weren't there 6 brothers?" Yes, honey, there were 6, not 5.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Don't need to see it again. My wife loved it. So I guess you could say the movie hit its mark. 

Edited by Tabe
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Agree with many of those points. I think Flair guy is not as bad as people are memeing him online. What can you really do with special people? Imagine if they had someone try and be Dusty. Or Andre. Imagine if they had dubbed in Flair doing a voiceover. I thought the guy had the Flair cadence down. 

was mildly disappointed no Gary Hart or Chris Adams, but what can you do? 

I thought a neat Easter Egg was using the Buddy Roberts hair cream era depiction. Also Kevin wearing the yellow mesh shirt and white pants from the Patafe of Champions show, even though they didn’t show that match (prob because it was Kevin, Fritz and Mike as the team). 

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I saw a clip of the Flair promo scene on the Twitter. It was jarring, seeing someone cut a Flair promo in profile, turned to face the interviewer. Flair was always straight down the camera lens.

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On 12/24/2023 at 11:43 PM, Contentious C said:


The Heartbreak Kid (1972) 

In my younger days, I worked in a video store and had to set up my part of the Staff Picks section.  Obviously a massive wrestling dork, I picked this, The Rock, Stone Cold (the aforementioned Brian Bosworth tour de force), and two others I can’t remember.  Maybe The Sting?  Shit, now I’m trying to remember 1998 wrestlers with coincidental movie names.

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I did not want to wake up to finding out Tom Wilkinson was gone.  Goddamnit.  How many of the Eagles are still alive, you couldn't take one of them?  Nobody needs those.

Last Christmas - I don't always watch Christmas movies on Christmas, but when I do, I go for cheesiness.  And this has got it. I'll watch just about anything with Emilia Clarke. Double for Emma Thompson. So how bad can it be?  Well, not great. 

Good for Paul Feig, I guess, that he's entered the "At least he thinks he's funny" stage of his career and still gets paychecks, because there isn't one legitimate pause-the-movie-because-you-have-to-laugh moment in the whole thing. And that's sort of annoying, since the whole vibe is almost trying for Fleabag if it had featured someone not known for being funny. The performances are OK, but this leans so heavily on its secrets to distract from the rest being as mediocre as it is.  But hey, I'd still be in a bad movie if it meant I could do shots with Emilia and Emma.  Plus, the whole soundtrack is George Michael, as the movie title would imply, so it's a good reminder that the guy had some bangers, even among his sad songs.

Mission: Impossible - Fallout - I get this is a visually compelling film. The stunts all rank among the best in the series, and Paris and London look incredible (a better Paris here than in John Wick: Chapter 4).  But GODDAMN I CANNOT get past how the Bad Guy, who is Very Obviously the Bad Guy from the word go, because that's how these movies are, decides his first order of business in the whole film is to PLAY CHICKEN WITH A FUCKING LIGHTNING BOLT. How was he supposed to frame up Hunt? How was he supposed to hook up with Lane? How was he supposed to get the plutonium if he gets turned into an OVERCOOKED BRATWURST during that dive?   

And see, here's the thing about why you don't jump into a thunderstorm: the SOUND is enough to knock you out if not kill you outright.  Thunder is LOUD.  Those "blast waves" from old nuclear bomb footage blowing apart rickety buildings?  Those aren't "force": it's literally just sound.  Tearing a structure apart.  At about 200+ decibels.  Imagine what that does to your internal organs.  Being *right next* to a lightning strike and catching the sonic pressure at full force?  Just...just no. Just no. NO. The rest is fine, but did they really think that people were going to just gloss over that?

*checks every other review, ever*

Oh, evidently everyone who saw this is a jackass who will clap for anything. Got it. 

Artificial Intelligence - Ooof, if only the hokey first act weren't so full of ham-fisted dialogue and deepities.  If this really stands out today, it's less because of its subject matter - HBO's Westworld dug at a whole slew of more interesting moral quandaries...for a season, anyway - and more because of its visuals. This was out the year before the first Tobey Maguire Spider-Man, the same year as X-Men and LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring. Those movies don't entirely hold up to today's CGI (in the case of the LOTR films, they frankly look godawful anymore); this damn near does match a film made today, or at least in the last 5 years. Whatever they were cooking with here was primo quality, and it's a rarity among CGI-heavy films of the time that it doesn't look horribly dated.

The story is...fine, overall, but at least it gets better. Osment is 17 flavors of creepy to start and becomes a softer, more sympathetic and believable character as everything wears on. So kudos to him for being this locked in, even if this might about be where his quality acting ends. If I actually wanted to know or see/hear more from any character, it was probably Teddy. I don't know if that says more about where my sympathies lie or more about how uninviting, selfish, and terrible the people in the film are portrayed.  But it's neither a misunderstood classic nor a rare misstep.

The Family Man - Ah yes, Brett Ratner presents "A Yuppie Christmas Carol". Just what I always wanted for the holiday season. Egads.  Boring, not well-written, boring, not well-acted, boring, and cliched all to Hell.  Did I mention I had to start and stop this about 8 times because it's boring?  Somehow this is over 2 hours long and is a total waste of your time.  Oh, and also thanks to the production team for suggesting that angels have nothing better to do than fuck with humans just to reinforce Asian-on-Black racism stereotypes.  Classy.

Totally watched this thinking Cage would be walking around NYC with a bow. Turns out that was The Weather Man. Way to be even more disappointing than you already were, movie.  So next I watched...

The Weather Man - Hey, something I liked!  Damn this is just...zany.  It feels closer in tone to an Alexander Payne film than Gore Verbinski of "Pirates of the Caribbean" fame; the script is mostly the highlight on that front, but at least the way it's shot and set up gives the jokes a chance to work, unlike the other two attempts at comedies I watched.  I'm not sure if this is Michael Caine's worst role or his best role, though, because his accent is basically the sound of a rhinoceros being fed into a wood chipper, but he also uses that tortured accent to talk about camel toes, so...why not both?  This is one of Cage's most put-upon and unhinged roles, especially post-Oscar and even moreso because the premise of the film is so grounded - it reminded me a bit of Vampire's Kiss, due to the sense of isolation and the seemingly unstoppable death spiral that is happening, even if it's happening in a much more realistic setting.  It definitely doesn't have the same over-the-top quality of the latter movie, but you do feel like this character is One Bad Day away from slapping on some white face paint and an oversized clown grin.

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Saw The Iron Claw today, loved it, not going to rehash a lot of the same points others have made. The Mike stuff was especially affecting, someone sitting behind me had to leave the theatre to compose themselves for 10 minutes after his death.

I will defend Flair guy for one thing. He absolutely cracked me up when he came into the dressing room. He wasn't a good Flair, but that part was funny as hell.

Harley needed a bigger afro.

Edited by elizium
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