For me, pretty much all time spent at work these days consists of listening to the How Did This Get Made? podcast, and they were really selling the Hitchcock-inspired environmental disaster film Birdemic, which, they said, rivaled The Room in its sheer badness.
To say you need to have an open mind going into Birdemic is an understatement. You need to be out of your mind. You need to be annihilated. Booze, drugs, fever dream--whatever. If you're against putting harmful drugs into your body, do not watch this film, because it may drive you to drink heavily. It's absolutely awful and ludicrous in ways The Room often is, except director James Nguyen has sci-fi intentions.
First of all: I looooove The Room. It is easily the funnest film I've ever seen in a theater. I laugh, I cry, I toss the pigskin. I've learned when to start throwing the spoons. My blowjob face improved so much after watching this film. And I've learned that having sex on a staircase is wildly uncomfortable. I mean, I could sit here all afternoon and list the life lessons Tommy Wiseau has taught me. But as horrible and misogynistic as this movie can be, I find it sincere, which I feel like translates to how entertaining it truly is.
Birdemic is definitely sincere--I fully believe Nguyen wants to save the world with this film. From interviews I've read, he did not approach this film as a comedy. And for the first 45 minutes, Birdemic actually is every bit as hilarious as The Room...until the birds start attacking.
You read that right. The birds do not start attacking until 45 minutes into this film. That realization alone is hilarious. As Jason Mantzoukas, there's definitely a very strong "rapey vibe" with this movie, and watching Rod stalk Nathalie is face-palm inducing. They have zero chemistry, from their awkward shuffling in the green-screened disco to their no-tongue kissing policy, it is truly a delight to witness these two on screen together.
I'll admit: the moment the birds show up? Hysterical, for both the shoddy graphic work and its abruptness. But as the film settled into a survival tale, all of the hilarious interactions ceased. Believe it or not, I actually do care about these people, and I really enjoyed watching them together. But, honestly, the movie just becomes boring during the killing sequences. It essentially becomes about nothing (despite his societal attacks ("I WANT A HAPPY MEAL!")), and it really lost me.
Although, the escalation of bird deaths was incredible. They're kamikaze dive-bombers, then eye-gougers, then their wings become blades, and then finally they spit acid.
AND THEN THEY LEAVE? WHERE ARE THEY GOING?!?!?!?
It's a lot of fun, but I'm sorry, no. The Room gets three stars. Birdemic gets one star.
Vampire bats and Ti West? Yeah, I'll take that.
It's a very amateurish horror film that's amateurish in the best possible ways. West is pretty experimental with his shot selection, cutting to black and white images and photos during death scenes (or, really, whenever he feels like it) and employing a Funny Games-esque second-chance moment. He sticks mostly to the mid-section shots and really lays on the horror, much more so than The Innkeepers or The House of the Devil. Frames are tight, although he opts for a few Hitchcock throwbacks (interestingly enough, West filmed in the same barn used in Marnie), with long shots riddled with shadows and whatnot.
It's been interesting to watch Ti West's transformation. For me, it happened in reverse. The Innkeepers, his latest film, is incredibly disciplined. The Roost is off the hinges at times. The low-to-high moments are jarring and abrupt, from super-low to RIDICULOUSLY HIGH. I hate when orchestration dominates and controls the "scare", but it was really working for me in this movie. Even the small moments where a bat would fly by the screen and there'd be a split second of strings--awesome. I say really go for it if want to be that over-the-top.
Transition to The House of the Devil, and the low-to-high moments are gone. Devil is pure angst throughout, with Samantha dancing around the house and ordering pizza. There's a looming sense of evil the whole time (it is called The House of the Devil, after all), but West lures you into a state of comfortability before erupting into a moment of crazy high, and then remaining there for the final fourth of the film.
So West goes from intermittently being low-high, to splitting his entire film between low and high, to The Innkeepers, which hints at high the entire time, but rarely delivers. The "highs" in the The Innkeepers almost aren't highs at all, and more of spine-tingling moments that foreshadow Claire's demise. The Roost is a great distraction and well-made, but it doesn't even come close to having the personality and maturity The Innkeepers owns. I feel like The House of the Devil was his step in that direction, and the fact that he's been able to find his niche this early in his career is awesome.
I will continue to defend his short in V/H/S. Seriously, I'll fight you over it...or at least engage in a well-mannered debate in the comments section.
OK. Bill Murray is amazing. And believe it or not, I only just realized it. One of my dirty little secrets is that I've never seen Ghostbusters, but up until a few months ago, it was Groundhog Day. That, right there, should have won Bill Murray an Oscar. His range from asshole to suicidal to romancer to changed man is incredible. And most of this is due to the fantastic writing and attention to surroundings. The environment and the fantastical event actually build on one another and in turn shape Phil.
Harold Ramis wrote and directed Groundhog Day, and I thought I have discovered a new genius after watching it. He's miles better than Stripes director Ivan Reitman (who went on to direct Junior), but looking at his filmography...dear god, he's got to be one of the most hit-and-miss filmmakers I can think of. He find some great work in the middle of his career, but it ends with strangely mediocre/ludicrous films like Analyze This and Year One, and starts with extremely problematic cult hits like Caddyshack, Animal House, and...ugh, Stripes.
I'm sorry, but if you're a Bill Murray fan, you should be actively attempting to disown this movie from his career. The moments he's actually able to be funny are the result of his comedic timing and physical humor. Otherwise, he's annoying because he's an asshole for the sake of being an asshole. In Groundhog Day, he's an asshole and it sets up his character trajectory. He'll be able to change as a caring individual, yet never cease being an asshole. In Stripes he's an asshole because, ha, it's funny, and look, when he's an asshole, he does asshole-ish things. None of the film's random excursions really build on him as a character, and its just separated scenes where Murray can phone in a lazy version of Phil from Groundhog Day.
Also, what is the motivation to join the Army? Because he was bored, basically. "I'm so lost in life!" is not a good reason. And we only get one shot of Russell sort of not caring about his job before signing up for the Army as well? This is some seriously lazy writing. And it actively contribute to character trajectory problem. If we want John to be more than just an asshole for 106 minutes (good god it felt longer than that), there needs to be some sort of driving motivation to be better. It exists in contrived moments in this film, as opposed to being built day-by-day (literally) in Groundhog Day. In Stripes, he's punched in the gut by the sergeant, then salvaging his good name after being blown off a tower, then leading the team in their drill performance, to finally rescuing his team. He does none of these things out of any sort of character growth or cultivated appreciation for the Army. In fact, he remains quite apathetic and holier-than-thou towards the Army's stringent worldview throughout. He does all of these things simply because it's there, and thus he must respond. Not exactly interesting, if you ask me.
Oh, and the Army's big secret weapon, the EM-50, is a fucking VW Van with guns? So...basically it's a less effective version of a tank? I know it's supposed to be dumb, but so much emphasis is placed on this damn thing, couldn't they come up with something better? Although I think it's hilarious that a tank actually starts to chase the EM-50 and does absolutely nothing.
I saw this movie. It had Steven Seagal. He kicked and shot people. He wears a funny lopsided chef's hat. Also, he made a bomb in a coffee cup.
No, but seriously, this wasn't bad. I've heard it's Seagal's best film. That's not saying a whole lot, but from what I've seen of his work, it might just be, but this movie didn't have the DMX-factor that made Exit Wounds so goddamn entertaining. The best compliment to give Under Siege is that it's a competent action-thriller. It paces well, has a bunch of ludicrous one-liners, it's horribly misogynistic, yada yada. But it's never over-the-top enough to gain the "watchability" tag in my book. Pretty by-the-numbers. Jesus, Seagal really just gives me nothing to talk about.
A few things, though:
1. Does anyone else think Seagal's food looked completely unappetizing? That soup looked like 97% broth that had the hue of a runny shit.
2. Gary Busey is a CRAZY person. We all know that. But the way this movie establishes that is incredible. Like, in Black Sheep, he just starts out bat-shit insane and remains that way. In Under Siege, he's a hard-nosed commander who's a stickler for proper dress codes...and then he's in women's clothing? With those giant breasts?! I nearly lost my shit when that happened. I thought it was sorta genius to go from the blasé low to the INCREDIBLY LUDICROUS HIGH without warning.
3. Tommy Lee Jones is also a CRAZY person. But in a way I'm not used to? I love Jones. He's better in this than fucking Lincoln.
4. The scene where the kid is guarding Seagal's meat freezer prison is pretty hilarious. He basically pulls the age-old kindergarten trick of "I can't hear yooooou!" as Seagal tries to reason with him. And oh yeah, you wouldn't know the difference between gunfire and firecrackers? I want a shadow movie of this side character and how the fuck he came to be in the Navy. I think it could be some sort of comedy where Gary Busey gives him the task of watching a bunch of prison inmates and they fool around with him like Dennis the Menace or something. And maybe it would explain why Gary Busey hated his boss so much.
5. How is Busey not suspicious of Seagal's past after Seagal takes out about five of his men and breaks one of their arms (I think)? He claims he knows nothing of Seagal's past, but this seemed like a pretty big glimpse that he's more than a chef, especially considering he can't cook pies without burning them.
6. There just had to be tits, didn't there?
7. If this was made six years later, DMX could've made a cameo. That is, in fact, my biggest complaint.
Community: Season 4:
I'm pretty glad I don't have to review television shows for a living. Part of me loathes the ever-uninteresting Todd VanDerWerff for granting the final episode of Community's fourth season a "D" rating, but I might also start to hate an obviously adulterated show more than I should if I have to analyze it (if we can even use that term for Mr. VanWerDorf) week in and week out.
"Advanced Introduction To Finality" isn't a great episode, but I have a hard time buying such a low letter grade when literally no episode before season 4 received anything lower than a C+ (which I think only happened once). Dan Harmon could very well be a comedic genius, but he wasn't immune from churning out a stinker once in a while.
His greatest contribution to the show has lived on and benefitted the writers in his absence: much like we can observe when watching shows like The Simpsons or Parks and Recreation, Harmon understood the difference between creating colorful characters and creating people. And, in all honesty, I didn't realize how far deep this strength ran until the recent episodes.
There used to be a sadness to the Dean's dress-up charades. A desire to be somebody he's not in order to live up to Jeff's standards. But in season 4, he sorta just became a super-gay Pepé Le Pew, dressing up in nurse's outfits not because it spoke of his character, but instead because it looked funny and sorta related to the plot. Even smaller moments caught my attention, such as when they marked the origin of Magnitude's "Pop Pop" phrase during an empty moment of balloon-popping catharsis that doesn't really say anything about him as a person, but instead winks at the audience and pretends to reward us for sticking around for so long. Before this moment, I was able to enjoy Magnitude's presence because he was full of life--now I feel like I'm being forced to accept my precious status of one of the show's few loyal followers.
But even though the writing has suffered on the character front (I believe Pierce actually devolved in season 4), the plot devices and spoofs (the show's selling point) have been only slightly less hit-and-miss than season 3. The strength of any spoof is improving characters while remaining beholden to the given genre's rules. It's what makes "Basic Human Anatomy" shine in an otherwise lukewarm season, as Troy's continual attachment to Abed's fantasy world reflects his inability to grow up and become a proper life partner for Britta. There's a tonal balance to be found between the extremeness of body-switching and a heartfelt breakup, and Troy's confession marks one of the high moments of the entire series.
Well, apparently not for Toddy Vankermall, who ranks "Basic Human Anatomy" significantly lower than an episode like "Pillows and Blankets", which relies on a shaky foundation (a brief, single-issue tiff between Troy and Abed) and various genre tropes to mill excitement. The payoff to "Pillows and Blankets" is super weak and a tired resolution for Community, not even touching season 4's best episode. "Basic Human Anatomy" is also miles ahead of another high-concept driven episode called "Paradigms of Human Memory", which is, in my opinion, the epitome of why the show is adored by many due to pandering (Jeff's speech-giving tendencies are only exploited, not built upon) and lightly brushing various tropes onto a canvas. Yet, it is considered one of the show's greatest episodes.
Anyway, if I had to grade season 4 (which I hate doing), I'd only rank it slightly below season 3. It is, obviously, nowhere near the heights season 2 reached, but then again, I feel like Harmon backed way off after such a high number of concept episodes in season 2. Harmon also began to settle into serialization (as most shows do after a few seasons), which has obviously carried into season 4. After this inevitability, shows need to deliver on plots that allow character growth. In this respect, I don't see how somebody can both laud season 3 and loathe season 4.
Band of Outsiders:
I find it sort of hilarious when people get so pissed off upon hearing the name "Jean Luc-Godard." Like how people hate Michael Haneke for despising his audience (which he TOTALLY does, by the way (seriously, he hates you)), viewers often feel insulted by the French New Wave's most polarizing director. It probably doesn't help when he's being a complete douche after his first successful film:
"I feel like I love cinema less than I did a year ago, simply because I made a popular film. I hope that people hate my second film so that I can enjoy making movies again. Audiences trust me now. I hope I disappoint them so they don't trust me anymore."
And for a director who often required audience participation for the sake of his films, such as our collective knowledge of love of musicals for A Woman is a Woman, his choice words seemed more driven towards creating controversy than creating conversation.
But I honestly don't care if Haneke thinks I relish in watching pain and misery on the screen, and I don't care Godard is such a buffoon. He can criticize western values all he wants in Film Socialisme--I'm more concerned with the striking images on the screen and what he's attempting to convey. If it's directly attacking any core set of beliefs or values I hold, I'm much more concerned if he does it convincingly than if he's doing it at all. I've always thought myself to have a rather large ego, but Godard haters are proving otherwise.
So with that in mind, I'm honestly disappointed with Band of Outsiders. It at once captures many dissenter's opinions and my personal fear of his work: it fails to deliver on the ideological front due to superfluous writing and filmmaking techniques, and thus it leaves little more than the inflated ego of a man desperately trying to convey a multitude of ideas through three sorry individuals.
Past vs. Present; Man vs. Woman; Man vs. Man; Greed vs. Love; Love vs. Sex. Hell, I might as well have summed up all triangle love stories right there. But Godard knows of all the inevitable attachments that come with relationships, often dictated by peers and surroundings. Breathless was an incredible display of suppression and constriction upon a man, and it correlated with his romantic relationship. Thus, all of Godard's revolutionary filmmaking techniques coincide with this aggravated mindset. Band of Outsiders seems lost between its intentions as an ideological film and an innovative one, as it's full of life and wonder, yet plagued by misdirection. In turn, the heist scene becomes this sick moment of exploitation that doesn't suit Godard very well, settling for visceral as opposed to meaningful. It pained me to watch Michel get shot at the end of Breathless. I just felt flat-out uncomfortable at the end of Band of Outsiders.
Beast Wars: Season 1, episodes 1-14:
This show is hilarious. I remember watching it before school all the time. I thought the graphics were amazing and the action cool. Had noooooooooooooooo idea it was this funny though.
For example. Megatron says "yes" all the time. Or "no". Like..."This is a great plan, yes, a great plan indeed." Or. "This isn't good, no, not good." At one point, Optimus is talking about tricking Megatron and he goes "I think this will work out well, yes." AND LOOKS RIGHT AT THE CAMERA. So B-movie. So stupid. So funny.
The best part is when you understand what this show is. It's Gilligan's Island. Except Transformers-style. So you have to have "good guys" and "bad guys". But none of the characters are taking this too seriously. They talk like they are. If you watch them: they aren't. They could have killed each other 100 times over in just the first 14 episodes. They don't want to. Why? Because they're all stuck!!! None of them can leave. What happens if the Maximals killed all the Predacons? Or the Predacons killed all the Maximals? What would there be left to do? I see it as a bunch of brothers and sisters fighting. Or Batman and The Joker. Joker would never kill Batman. And Batman would never kill Joker.
I know the show ramps up and gets into Transmetals. I don't know if the plots get more serious? Bolder? Darker? We'll see.
So far though...this is one of the best adaptations of Transformers ever. The Michael Bay movies ruin Optimus. He's too fucking preachy. I don't remember the G1 cartoon since I was 1-4 when it was on. I do remember the original 1986 movie. And Optimus is cool in that. He isn't going on about "All Sentient Life etc. etc. etc." He's not preaching constantly. Bay has rendered him more of a powerful 50 year old grandfather than a warrior in his prime and with high ideals. I wouldn't write Optimus like they have. Same with the IDW comic series. I don't think they capture how cool Optimus is. They, again, have him straddling the line of pedantic and whiney. It isn't what he says that makes us respect him. Having him speak grandiloquent about life and peace and decency is annoying and hollow. Showing him defending life and peace and decency: that's where and how he gains cool points and respect points. Beast Wars Optimus does this. He is the best player on his team, which always goes a long way. And he's the smartest. We says good things sometimes. AND HE HAS A PERSONALITY. Bay and IDW both kill Optimus's persona by making him a giant ideal chaser.
I'll have to watch the original Transformers cartoon to see how Optimus was there. I used to read the original G1 Marvel comics when I was a kid. I don't remember Optimus preaching all the time there. Hm.
I also like how the creators didn't feel stuck repeating things. Sure, Terrorsaur is LIKE Starscream but he isn't Starscream. Dinobot is a Starscream twist. And a type of Wolverinian anti-hero. Cheetor is like Hot Rod but isn't. Tarantulas is like Soundwave but isn't. There's a lot of original material here. I'm happy with it, so far. We'll see how the rest of the series goes.
Step Up Revolution:
I thought this movie was awesome. The dance sequences were great. I liked the characters a lot? I liked how it was shot. Sure, there are stupid continuity issues like...Twitch is dancing in one outfit with one small unit of people and then we cut to another unit coming on in a different outfit and Twitch is dancing with them too (this happens in every dance number, random dancers being in different sections of the larger dance when they wouldn't have the time to make it from one spot to another or change their clothes...yet there they are...The Magic of Movies I think this is called). But I can forgive those in this kind of film.
The last dance was maybe a little too...all over the place. I'm thinking about it in terms of other Step Up movies...And I just just just just just realized I haven't seen Step Up 3. I've spent the last week 100% convinced I had. Weird. Well. In terms of 1 and 2...I think Revolution, while grand, is a little lackluster. Cool parts but the whole thing sort of lacked meaning. It was just like....HOW MUCH CAN WE DO. And Moose, while dancing awesome, made no sense, was so forced.
I liked the love story? I liked to that we had a scene showing dance could indeed be a bad thing, when used incorrectly. These movies try so hard to show-off dance and make it this fantastic thing. And I think dancing is fantastic. I'm a huge fan. But it becomes preachy? To actually show a negative aspect to dance, how easily it can become violent, ugly, scary...that was cool.
The Vicious Kind:
0 min to 50 min:
I didn't want to watch this movie. But. It was in my Netflix queue and I thought...well, why not? Maybe it'll surprise me?
It's surprised me! Except I doubt my surprise.
Adam Scott: way better actor than I ever thought.
Brittany Snow: I've always felt she should be bigger than what she is. Not physically. Her height and weight are fine. Are more than fine. But career-wise. It's odd to me she's never...made the jump. Her film choices have been strange? Pitch Perfect made me happy for her. This too. This film won't make her a superstar, but it's confirming, for me, that she has the ability to grab a role in a larger drama.
I doubt my surprise at this movie because it's like...Adam Scott's character is interesting because he's all over the place. But, the whole thing stems from a lack of sleep? Lack of sleep is developed well in Fight Club. Here...we're in media res. The lack of sleep is almost gimmicky? Give us 20 minutes at the beginning, with him in the relationship, the cheating, him unable to sleep, then his brother calling for the ride, etc. etc.
The music is SO INDIE. The music and the small moments showing characters doing things while the music plays...it's so generic. And reminds me a lot of Another Earth. It never bothered me in Another Earth. But now, here, it's making me question Another Earth...and AE is in my top 15. So that's disconcerting. But AE's layers and depth and gorgeous shots keep me from caring too much about generic Indie music choices.
I get that writers often explore a theme in more detail by having it relate to every character, so then every character reacts differently and thus shows us a different facet of the theme. But...the dad was cheated on. Adam Scott was cheated on. Now Adam's concerned Snow will cheat on his brother. It's...a little much for me. It renders the plot too narrow? Too confined? It doesn't feel natural to me. It's like someone made a cup, plate and bowl out of legos and is trying to convince they're not made of lego, but are "real" (whatever "real" means). Me being a creative writer, I'm fully willing to admit I'm aware of things like this in a way the average viewer might not be or might not care about. It bothers me though.
We'll see how the rest of the movie plays out. I'm expecting Scott's ex-girlfriend to be Snow's sister we've heard mentioned once before.
Rest of movie:
Uh. The twist is silly to me. Oh! She's a virgin! So she REALLY ISN'T A WHORE! Look at that! Which brings up other questions. Several times Adam Scott's character says he asked around about her and heard she does stuff. Was he lying? I guess he was lying? But why say it twice? Because he's damaged and fucked up? I think the entire thing is REDUCED by Scott not actually inquiring about her. It would say more about the character if the first 10 min of the movie was Scott asking his brother's fraternity brothers about her, hearing stories that she has hooked up with this dude, banged this dude, blown this dude, etc. etc. How crazy does Scott have to be to actually go investigate it? Plus, it adds another layer to the film, about rumor and gossip and reputation and lying to establish masculinity. Now we don't know if Scott did that or not. If he didn't, if he just lied, yeah, he's still fucked up...but it invalidates the twist of her being a virgin because...HE MADE UP HER BEING A WHORE TO BEGIN WITH. Should we be surprised then that she's a virgin? Plus, why does she have to be a virgin for us to be shocked she isn't a whore? What if she had made out with 30 dudes? What if she had slept with several people? Is that so wrong? Why does the film take such a polar approach to sexual interaction: either she's experience sexually so is a whore or she's a virgin. You can't have sexual experience and not be a whore?
I could see how people would think this movie had depth, but it lost me with this attempted twist.
The film is hilarious if you think about it from each character's perspective. The trip is dramatic as shit for Adam Scott. It's even more dramatic for Brittany Snow. It's intense and dramatic for J.K. Simmons. But what about Alex Frost, the youngest son/youngest brother/boyfriend? HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON. He has some friction with both his brother and father. But his brother tells him "You know I love you." And then he has sex with his hot as hell girlfriend for the first time and loses his virginity. Then his dad tells him "I love you, I don't say that enough." From Alex's perspective: it's one of the best and most important weekends of his entire life. He's had emotional breakthroughs with his distant brother and father, and taken his relationship to the next level.
Well, then there's the whole "tell your girlfriend you love her for the first time and she breaks into tears" thing. Maybe she tells Alex what happened between her and Adam Scott. Maybe she doesn't? Maybe she's ashamed and breaks up with him? I don't know. The movie is annoying to me because instead of having the balls to answer this it ends prematurely. Sure, it works as an ending. But I think a truly great movie would have investigated this moment. Gone through the tension to arrive at some better and more powerful place.
The movie was okay to watch. I'd recommend it. I would not agree with anyone who says it's a good movie. It's an okay movie. It could have been a good movie, but it chickens out. How's it chicken out? Running away from Alex/Brittany conflict. Under-developing the "I can't sleep" thing for Adam Scott. The whole "I have a broken heart" subplot is also glossed over. I can hear someone saying those things would have diluted from the main conflict within the family, but by narrowing your scope so much I think you remove the life from the conflict...it becomes something manufactured rather than something earned.
Don't ask me how it's taken me to the age of 26 to watch The Goonies. I can't answer. This movie is like...The Sandlot. It's a perfect kids movie. Friendship. Adventure. Girls. Epic events (BABE RUTH! A PIRATE SHIP!). Myths and Legends. Ridiculous events treated with utter seriousness (Benny "pickling" The Beast! Sloth and One-Eyed Willy!). There are gadgets! Man. Goonies is awesome.
What's up with Mama Fratelli's forearms??????? And has anyone watched the crazy music video with Cyndi Lauper for the movie?!?!?! It has the Iron Shiek, Lou Albano, a fucking insane Rowdy Roddy Piper, Nikolai Volkoff, Freddie Blassie, and ANDRE THE GIANT!?!? Why!?!?!?!?!? It's one of the weirdest things I have ever seen.
Aziz Ansari: Dangerously Delicious:
I can't get over the fact Aziz is using the voice of the guy who does the "Unforgivable" videos. He's not as harsh as Waffle Fries, but as you watch Aziz's special you notice he's definitely using the voice. I guess that's a smart move since the "Unforgivable" videos are graphic, violent, sexual and loved by millions. You can watch a comparison below.
The stand-up is, overall, meh. The stuff about Aziz having trouble with women rings a little too desperate to me? Or a little bitter? Or like he's talking about it as reverse psychology: women will know he thinks they're usually mean to him so they will be nice to him. I was bored by this section.
The middle portion picked up for me. There was one part that had my legit laughing. Don't remember what it was though. Solid view. But nothing close to Dave Chapelle's specials or Tosh's Completely Serious. I don't know why I would expect that. But I hold comedians to high standards, I guess. I wonder if there's a Jon Pinette special? OH HELL YEAH! Thank you Netflix Instant!
(Mortimer's favorite moment: "I wasn't trying to suck your dick, I just wanted a bite of that donut.")
With his analysis of Spring Breakers, Mortimer opened my eyes to the wonder of Paul Verhoeven. I saw both Total Recall and Starship Troopers when I was young. TR before the age of 10. ST around 11 or 12, whenever it first aired on HBO. What about RoboCop?
I believe I was somewhere between 5-8 when I saw poor Murphy riddled with bullets and reanimated as a cyborg. Look, my parents didn't care what I watched. I have no idea why not. I saw Predator and Bloodsport at the age of 5. My dad got a kick out of it, probably? My mom probably didn't like it but the movies didn't affect me. I wasn't a problem child. I didn't get violent. I wasn't sad or scared. I smiled and laughed and had friends. So. I had watched the RoboCop: The Animated Series on Saturday or Sunday mornings. Thought the show was cool. Had no idea there was a movie until we were in the video store one day. BEGGED my parents to let me watch it. Got home. Put the VHS in. "FJDKLFJLSKDFJDLSLJFDSL:FLS". I still have a weird echo in my stomach from the first time I saw Murphy being slaughtered. Bloodsport was fine. Predator was fine. RoboCop left me unsettled. I didn't like, one, the massacre. Two, how dramatic the movie was. Three, how little RoboCop did before they started destroying him. The whole thing seemed...unfair. I wanted RoboCop to just...beat bad guys and do cool things.
Re-watching the movie now. I'm blown away. It's so fucking good. The same emotions are there. But they have context now. I can understand the physical and emotional and psychological journey Murphy goes on. It's awesome.
And thanks to Mortimer, I see the movie for what it is: more criticism of Hollywood and its abuse of actors. The way Mortimer dissected Showgirls (see Spring Breakers analysis linked above) applies here. The lost Hollywood dream in Mulholland Dr. applies to RoboCop. The cops and the robbers are actors and actresses (the cops being the good actors and actresses, the robbers being the bad ones who still find employment). Omni Consumer Products is the movie studio. The corporate executives are the executive producers. Bob Morton is the flashy new director getting his big break. The "RoboCop" project is his first movie. Murphy is the big star. But in order to become a big star, he loses his humanity. He attempts to gain his humanity back, to get out from the clutches of the studio. The studio turns on him. Clarence, the crime boss of Old Detroit, is an actor that has a big name, commands respect, but does anything for money. He's a sell out.
The end of the movie, when viewed this way, gains an interesting dynamic. You have the actor winning. He defeats the powers that sought to rule and exploit him and push him out. Which isn't the corporation it turns out. The corporation itself isn't bad. The President is, in fact, a pretty decent guy. Dick Jones, the vice president, the "executive producer" is the asshole. We see the director as a conflicted personality. The executive producer as a total prick. And the studio head as a good dude. The movie isn't making such a black-and-white statement as "The actors are the best people!" because the criminals are the bad people and they're also representing actors. It's weird to see a Hollywood-system revenge flick. But that's what RoboCop gives us. At the end, after RoboCop destroy Dick Jones, the President says "Nice shooting, son. What's your name?" It's fitting RoboCop doesn't answer with his "character" name, the role that made him famous, but his real name: Murphy. It's like Leonardo DiCaprio going from "Jack" to "Leo".
Game of Thrones: 1x4, 1x5, 1x6, 1x7
I read the first three books way back in 2003. I remember Loras being the Knight of Flowers, but I don't remember him giving a blow job to Robert's brother. That was quite the twist.
The casting is perfect. I'm sure everyone thinks that. I find it very fitting Marc Addy gets to play a king. I have mad respect for all A Knight's Tale cast members. Even Rufus Sewell with his intimidating eyes.
I talk often about status quo changes. If you want to know why Game of Thrones has become one of the most popular TV shows ever, is an international phenomenon, with ratings soaring each and every episode...It's because of...this shouldn't be hard to answer...STATUS QUO CHANGE. Things move in that show. Characters die. Dynamics change. In each episode each character either A) grows, B) destructs, or C) gets caught up in intrigue. Nothing is ever constant. It's not like..."oh this random thing is happening, it's solved, everything is back to normal." That's how Modern Family works and why despite being lovable it has flagging ratings. "Characters dying regularly" was a thing Lost failed to utilize. Characters did die, just not often enough.
The nudity probably helps as well. At least with keeping fanboys around.
Weekly Viewing Diary 5: Beast Wars 1x1-1x14, Step Up Revolution, Birdemic, The Vicious Kind, The Roost, Stripes, Under Siege, The Goonies, Aziz Ansari Dangerously Delicious, Community Season 4, Band of Outsiders, Robocop, Game of Thrones 1x4 1x5 1x6 1x