Sunday, July 31, 2022

Best Picture Nominee Catch Up Movie: Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood

Once Upon a Time in... Hollywood (2019)

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Margaret Qualley, Austin Butler, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern, Mike Moh, Luke Perry, Rafal Zawierucha, Julia Butters, Emile Hirsch, Timothy Olyphant, Damian Lewis and Al Pacino

This is the only Tarantino film that I did not see. I am very glad that I did not see this at the movie theater, because I would have walked out.

During the waning days of the Golden Age of Hollywood, the movie follows, an aging television star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) as they meander throughout a couple of days in their lives.

I never thought these words would come out of my mouth, but this Quentin Tarantino film is boring. It's understandable that he wanted to encapsulate the heyday of Hollywood. There are better films that have done it better.

I paused the movie, did things that were more enjoyable than sitting through this. I yawned multiple times watching this. Nothing happens through most of this bloated movie. I didn't care about any of the characters. Why does this story need to be told? Tarantino did revisionist history before with greater success. 

There have a been noticeable decline in the quality of his movies as of late. I did not care for The Hateful Eight nor this film. I'm not that excited for supposedly Tarantino's tenth and final film, because I don't care to see it.

Rating: 3/10

Best Picture Nominee Catch Up Movie: The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Screenplay by Terence Winter

Based on the book by Jordan Belfort 

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jean Dujardin, Jon Favreau, Joanna Lumley, and Matthew McConaughey

I am a sucker for satirical films that poke fun at excess wealth, people having a King Midas complex and hedonistic debauchery. I didn't know that this movie was comedy.

The movie details the meteoric rise and disastrous fall of Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio). He is an ambitious stock broker that wants to have everything in life; the money, cars, women and drug. Jordan gets his wish as he teams up with Donnie Azoff (Hill) to find their own firm, Stratton Oakmont, Inc.

Let's get this out of the way. I thought it was weird that Jordan would talk to the camera one minute, and in the next he would talk in voice-over. This choices took me out of the movie. There is also the runtime of three hours. It didn't need to be three hours longs. Cut out the first thirty minutes of the movie was have sufficed.

I never knew what I expected out of this movie. I was not expecting to laugh as much as I did. Scenes of snorting copious amounts of cocaine that would make Scarface jealous. I have seen so many tits. Not my thing, but I had my fill.

I didn't think that I would root for a guy that is essentially embezzling money from investors to line his pockets, snort up his nose or used to screw random hookers. DiCaprio's performance was very good. I think the Academy was afraid to give it to a comedic performance. The same goes for Hill. The unnaturally bleached white teeth of Don was on par with DiCaprio. I am surprised that the movie didn't get much love at the Oscars.

Rating: 9/10

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Not Okay

Not Okay (2022)

Written and directed by Quinn Shephard 

Stars: Zoey Deustch, Mia Isaac, Dylan O'Brien, Tia Dionne Hodge, Embeth Davidtz, Nadia Alexander, Karan Soni, Sarah Yarkin, and Dash Perry

The trailer of this movie was intriguing to say the least. Is this a romantic comedy with terrorist plot line? No, it's not. It has a message when you know the nature of it.

Danni Sanders (Deutsch) works as a photo editor, but she wants to be a journalist, even though she doesn't have the experience. In one of her depressive episodes, she decides to concoct a plan to go on a writer's retreat in Paris with doctored photos and all to impress her stoner co-worker, Colin (O'Brien). The day she uploads a picture, a terrorist hits at the same time. Swept up with the media press, Danni pretends to be a survivor and lies about being there.

Before the opening credits of this movie, there was a content disclaimer. It was talking about the flashing lights. Cool. The subject matter. Fine. Lastly, it talked about the "unlikable female protagonist." What the fuck is that? Yes, Danni is an asshole. The movie tells her that. Why does the movie need to have that warning? It is because she is woman? That's not okay. (Pun not intended.)

When people saw the trailer, they might have been turned off with the subject matter. My understanding was that the movie was dark comedy that shone a light on social media, the downside of internet fame, and clout chasing.

You are not supposed to like Danni. She is self-absorbed. People in her workplace don't like her for obvious reasons. There have been people that have latched onto tragic events to get some notoriety.

Most of the characters in the movie were putting up a front; one way or another.

The star of the movie is Rowan, a teenage school shooting survivor Danni meets in a group played by Mia Isaac. She was the emotional center of the movie. The poetry, the acting was something to behold.

Rating: 7/10

Book Club

Book Club (2018)

Directed by Bill Holderman

Screenplay by Bill Holderman & Erin Simms

Stars: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy Garcia, Don Johnson, Craig T. Nelson, Ed Begley Jr., Richard Dreyfuss, Wallace Shawn, Alicia Silverstone and Katie Aselton

After the mood that I was in, I wanted to watch a comedy. Something that would make me laugh out loud. I found it in this movie. 

Four lifelong friends, Diane (Keaton), Vivian (Fonda), Sharon (Bergen) and Carol (Steenburgen) continues their traditional monthly book club with Vivian decides to let them read 'Fifty Shades of Grey.' The movie follows their adventures and misadventures of finding love and happiness.

When you have four fabulous women in the center of a movie-- regardless of how ridiculous the situations or the dialogue will be-- I will love it.

There were some genuine laughs here. The strongest story line here in between the romance of Diane and Mitchell (Garcia), the handsome pilot that can afford a mansion in Sedona with a private hangar. Diane's daughters were being very overprotective bordering on being full blown assholes.

The realistic story line is the one with Carol trying to find that spark with her husband, Bruce (Nelson). Those moments felt real and authentic.

Rating: 8/10

Friday, July 29, 2022

Best Picture Nominee Catch Up Movie: Manchester by the Sea

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan

Stars: Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, C.J. Wilson, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Ivy O'Brien, Gretchen Mol, and Tate Donovan

Going into this unofficial blog-a-thon, I knew that there will be some Best Picture nominees that I would enjoy and not. I loved Lonergan's directional debut, You Can Count on Me very much. It was one of my top ten movies of 2000. This movie is not it.

Lee Chandler's (Affleck) world is turned upside down when news of his older brother, Joe (K. Chandler) dying. While trying to make funeral arrangements, Lee learns that Joe wants him to be the guardian of Joe's teenager son, Patrick (Hedges).

I thought I was being punk'd. The more I watched this movie; the more rage I was building up.

Everybody is this movie was an abrasive asshole. Who was the audience supposed to sympathize with? Lee? A depressed a janitor that have multiple flashbacks with the "good times" with his brother, nephew and his wife-- ex-wife, Randi (Williams). Patrick? An overachieving pompous prick that spouts a million questions a minute to Lee. Who?

I don't understand the praise for this movie. The dialogue. My god. I cannot with it. There is something about actors putting on a Boston accent  irritates me. The characters don't like real people. They act like people for a bad melodrama. Do any of the character ever talk to each other? Ever? That answer is resounding no.

I hated this movie so much that I turned it off. I could not torture myself anymore. The level of fucks I had to give with this movie ran out. Use wikipedia and save the trouble.

Never been more disappointed in Kenneth Lonergan than I have with this movie. Fuck right off with this movie. Insufferable dreck.

Rating: 1/10

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Best Picture Nominee Catch Up Movie: Sound of Metal

Sound of Metal (2020)

Directed by Darius Marder 

Story by Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance

Screenplay by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder 

Stars: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff, Chelsea Lee, Shaheem Sanchez, and Mathieu Amalric

Bloggers Note: When I was on my movie watching sabbatical-- that lasted nine years-- I missed a lot of movies that were nominated or won for Best Picture. I counted how many movies I didn't watch from 2011 to 2020. The total is 51. That's a lot. So, I have decided to watch at most five Best Picture nominees a week until the end of the year.

There have been nothing but good things said about this movie, including Riz Ahmed's performance. I just want to see him shirtless. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so.

Ruben Stone (Ahmed) is a drummer in an indie heavy metal band, Blackgammon. During a stop in Missouri, Ruben's hearing dims. The lead singer and his girlfriend, Lou (Cooke) calls up a place that can Ruben adjust to his life as a deaf person.

The emotional anchor of the movie is Ahmed's performance. The audience is experiencing what Ruben is experiencing through his ears. This is how the Oscar winning sound comes into play. It was a seamless translation from the loud bass of the metal to the absolute silence of being deaf. It was nothing I have ever experienced before. There were some semblance of that in CODA.

Paul Raci as Joe, the leader of a deaf community was very good. Subtle and nuanced.

The things that set this movie back is the pacing in the deaf community part. Also, the script makes some leaps that made me pause. A couple of moments towards the end didn't make sense logically.

Rating: 9/10

B.A.D. Movie of the Week: The Singing Forest

The Singing Forest (2003)

Written and directed by Jorge Ameer

Stars: Jon Sherrin, Craig Pinkston, Erin Leigh Price, Jorge Ameer, Toni Zobel, Eric Morris, David Guzzone, and Shellie Price

I was scrolling through Twitter. I stopped to read this synopsis verbatim: "A widowed journalist comes to realize his 22-year-old daughter's boyfriend is the reincarnated lover he had in a past life during the Holocaust." It sounded bonkers. It was, but odd.

Christopher (Sherrin) is the journalist. He goes to be with the daughter, Destiny (E. Price) and her fiance, Ben (Pinkston) before their wedding. Chris is creepy as fuck when he basically follows Ben around. Chris wants to convince Ben that he is Alexander, Chris's reincarnated self, Jo's lover from 1933.

I didn't have high hopes of this movie. I was proven right. The acting was atrocious. The delivery was wooden. The sound/score was overpowering. There were multiple scenes where the environmental noises bleeds through like the ocean crashing on the rocks or a dog barking like metronome in the distance.

What is this movie? I thought that the movie was going to be about the past lives being inter-cut with the present day stuff. Ameer tried to do that, but it was badly done that you wonder if you are taking crazy pills. The "romance" with Chris and Ben felt icky. It seemed that they had to get drunk for "gay stuff" to happen.

The twist of the movie was out of left field. I felt like I was on a different planet. Seriously, what was happening in front of me?

It feels like Ameer deliberately wanted to make an stupid, offensive movie. Congratulations, you have succeeded. Movies that you are intentionally bad seem forced. Was he trying to be like M. Night Shyamalan doing The Sixth Sense? It's all nonsense.

This movie would have been a zero, but seeing the lead guys naked was something.

Rating: .5/10

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Anything's Possible

Anything's Possible (2022)

Directed by Billy Porter

Screenplay by Ximena García Lecuona 

Stars: Eva Reign, Abubakr Ali, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Courtnee Carter, Kelly Lamor Wilson, Grant Reynolds, Naveen Paddock, Miriam Laube, and Manu Narayan

When I heard about Billy Porter's directorial debut, I wanted to check it out. How many movies romantic comedies with a trans person? Not many. I wanted to love this movie, but it falls flat.

Kelsa (Reign) is starting her senior year of high school. Having come out as trans during the summer, everybody seems cool with her. She meets Khal (Ali) in a shared art class. They begin to hang out and feelings for each other bubble to the surface.

Two thirds of this movie was sweet and charming. I was invested in the romance between Khal and Kelsa. Then, the last act of the movie devolved into something that I didn't recognize.

I don't hate the movie, because it has a trans lead. I have seen reviews bashing the movie for that reason alone. Closed-mindedness. I think that this great to have this. I want to see more movies with trans leads in a romantic comedies. This has opened that door. I am grateful for that.

The biggest disappointment with the movie is that the characters become stereotypical archetypes; feminist best friend, homophobic guy, annoying brother, Regina George wannabe, clueless parent, etc. I wish the characters were fleshed out more to ground it.

For being Billy Porter's debut, I liked the movie for the most part. His "subtle" Easter eggs took me out of the movie.

Rating: 5/10

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Gold Rush

The Gold Rush (1925)

Written and directed by Charles Chaplin

Stars: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Tom Murray, Henry Bergman, Malcolm Waite, and Georgia Hale

I was in a funk and I wanted to have a comedy to lift my spirits. I searched for the best comedies of all time. I chose this one. There were some chuckles, but mostly side-eyeing it.

During the Gold Rush in Alaska, The Lone Prospector (Chaplin) is caught in a snowstorm. He seeks refuge in the cabin of Black Larsen (Murray) and Big Jim McKay (Swain). They have to survive the blistering winter together.

I have seen multiple Chaplin films and loved them. My biggest problem with the movie was that I could not get into the characters. Usually Chaplin would have a character that would be the emotional anchor of the film. It might have been there with The Lone Prospector in that one scene at New Year's Day. Cool. Having the love story with Georgia (Hale) in there was unnecessary and weird.

Rating: 6/10

Monday, July 25, 2022

Get Out

Get Out (2017)

Written and directed by Jordan Peele

Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones, Lil Rel Howery, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, and LaKeith Stanfield

Jordan Peele's latest movie being out in theaters. I thought I would visit his first movie. Holy shit. I am floored.

Chris Washington (Kaluuya) is a photographer that is going to visit his girlfriend, Rosie Armitage (Williams) parents for the weekend. When the couple gets there, Chris has the feeling that Dean and Missy Armitage (Whitford, Keener) are hiding something.

This experience is a trippy one. As a black person or any person of color, you always have this uneasiness when you are the odd person out. When you are in a room with all white people being the only POC there, you feel uncomfortable.

From the start of the movie, I was thinking that something fucked up with gonna happen. It did happen, but not what I thought it was. The score heightened the psychological aspects of the movie. It was uncomfortable for the viewer to see.

This was a visceral experience. I don't know if all people are going to get the hidden meanings or messages that movie evokes. This was something to behold.


Sunday, July 24, 2022

Crimes of the Future

Crimes of the Future (2022)

Written and directed by David Cronenberg

Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart, Léa Seydoux, Scott Speedman, Don McKellar, Welket Bungué, Tanaya Beatty, and Nadia Litz

This was one of my most anticipated movies for the first half of 2022. For a while, I thought this was a remake of Cronenberg's Crimes of the Future from 1970.  It's not. My ultimate question is the point of the film.

In the near future, humankind has evolved from dealing with pain. People have open surgeries on the streets for some reason. The story focuses on a performance art duo, Saul Tenser (Mortensen) and Caprice (Seydoux) that are trying to do something different with their act.

When I saw the posters for this film, I thought it was going to be gross body horror. There is some in here, but it felt like an afterthought. There wasn't a gross out factor here. I was mainly bored. I did not know the hell was happening, because everyone was whispering so much. 

Can somebody please tell me why was Saul Tenser dressing like Emperor Palpatine most of the time? I'm serious. Was lightning gonna shoot out of his hands? Was Saul symbolizing death? I didn't get it.

What was the point of the movie? I didn't see it. This might be good to watch in the background while you doing chores around the house.

Rating: 4/10

The Gray Man

The Gray Man (2022)

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

Screenplay by Joe Russo and Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely

Based on the book by Mark Greaney 

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Regé-Jean Page, Jessica Henwick, Billy Bob Thornton, Julia Butters, Dhanush, and Alfre Woodard

Going into this movie, I heard that it was not well received. With that in mind, I thought that the action would keep it afloat. How can a movie that has plenty of action set pieces be incredibly boring?

"Six" (Gosling) is an assassin that works the top secret Sierra Six program of CIA. On an assignment in Hong Kong, he hesitates to kill a mark. The mark tells him that his boss, Carmichael (Page) wants the Sierra Six programs gone by killing all the agents. Knowing this, Six goes on the run and reckless former CIA agent, Lloyd Hansen (Evans) is on the hunt to eliminate Six.

This movie cost $200 million dollars to make. Where did the money go? Chyrons? Those "sweeping camera shots?" Billy Bob Thornton's wigs? It looked like The Russo Brothers wanted a lot of money on spectacle. I believe it was a distraction technique to keep your eyes away from the boring action sequences.

The biggest problem with the movie is way the screenwriters and the characters dealt with the female characters. They treated them like inconsequential people. This is prevalent with the Lloyd character. He seemed like the kind of douchebag that will mansplain everything through his gross mustache. 

There was no Gray Man in the film. The filmmakers wanted it to be Six, but his moral compass was on the side of good the whole time. Where was his dip to the dark side? There was none. That's when the movie failed. It seems they took parts of the book and translated it into a formulaic, cheesy 1990s movie that doesn't work.

Rating: 2/10

Saturday, July 23, 2022

The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Directed by William Wyler

Screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood

Based on the novella, "Glory for Me" by MacKinlay Kantor 

Stars: Dana Andrews, Fredric March, Harold Russell, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, Cathy O'Donnell, Hoagy Carmichael, Gladys George, and Roman Bohnen

This movie was on my 'Watch List' on IMDb for a couple of months. I was taken aback by the runtime of almost three hours. It is a solid movie with great moments.

After World War II, American servicemen; Fred Derry (Andrews), Al Stephenson (March), and Homer Parrish (Russell) become fast friends as they come to their hometown of Boone City. Each man realizes that life went on without them, and that the scars of war are with them.

This movie came around at a good time when the world was getting back to 'normal' after what happened after WWII. I was thinking that the movie was going to have lofty praise with not much payoff. It's not true. I was impressed with the film making. I had a feeling that Dana Andrews was the lead actor is the movie, but Fredric March won Best Actor. The best parts of the movie were Homer and his fiance, Wilma (O'Donnell) and the standoff at the Butch's.

I had some problems with the movie. Mainly it was the pacing of the movie. There was some empty space in the movie. There was also the problem of Michael Hall as Al's son, Rob was terrible. It was solved when he disappears from the movie. A blessing in disguise.

Rating: 9/10

The Women

The Women (1939)

Directed by George Cukor

Screenplay by Anita Loos and Jane Murfin 

Based on the play by Clare Boothe Luce 

Stars: Norma Shearer, Rosalind Russell, Mary Boland, Paulette Goddard, Joan Crawford, Joan Fontaine, Lucile Watson, Phyllis Povah, Virginia Weidler, and Muriel Hutchison 

Scrolling through Instagram one day and I saw a clip from this movie. It was Joan Crawford as Crystal Allen telling the ladies that basically they are bitches. I'm in.

High society in New York City is rocked when a rumor goes around that Mary's (Shearer) husband, Stephen Haines is having an affair with shopgirl, Crystal Allen (Crawford).

The beginning of the movie is a little jarring because a lot of movement and dialogue are coming at you at the same time. When the central story happens then you get sucked into the ride of a lifetime.

If there is a movie with fabulous women, witty dialogue and a fashion montage, I will love it. This movie has it all in spades. Norma Shearer was acting her ass off in this movie. I felt the hurt and pain on her face. Rosalind Russell as the best friend, Sylvie was a true delight. Crawford's line delivery was chef's kiss.

I adore this movie. I can't say it enough.

Rating: 10/10

Friday, July 22, 2022


Arrival (2016)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Screenplay by Eric Heisserer

Based on the short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang

Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, Mark O'Brien, Tzi Ma

I'm trying to catch up to the movies that I missed out on during my hiatus of watching movies. This is one of them. I heard nothing, but good things about it. It's Denis Villeneuve. I would expect an experience and it was. 

Louise Banks (Adams), a linguist professor from an unknown university is having a normal day until the Earth is visited by twelve spaceships positioned around the world. She is summoned by the military to make contact with help of theoretical physicist, Ian Donnelly (Renner) at one of the sights in Montana.

When you go into a Villeneuve film, you know you are going to get eye candy. The visuals, the sound, the cinematography are top notch. The action is a slow burn. I like a slow burn. It doesn't have to be us versus them mentality that other movies have done.

Amy Adams went through it in the movie. I was surprised that she was not nominated for an Oscar for this. She was the anchor. It hinged on her being perfectly in the moment. She was. Mind boggling.

The things that hindered this movie was the ending. I did not care for the ending. It felt like a cop out. You gonna go this route. When all is revealed, you felt like the ending is a slap in the face. You are on this journey and rug is pulled out from under you. Eye rolling moment. 

The other thing is Forest Whitaker who plays Colonel Weber. More importantly, his accent. His first scene, I thought that Weber was South African. Nope. Apparently, he was going for a Maine/New England accent. Some of the words that came out of his mouth were hard to hear. Who made that choice? It was the wrong one.

Rating: 8/10

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Young Frankenstein

Young Frankenstein (1974)

Directed by Mel Brooks

Screen story and screenplay by Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks

Based on characters in the novel "Frankenstein" by Mary Shelley

Stars: Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Kenneth Mars, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, and Gene Hackman

Mel Brooks humor is the kind I gravitate to with his cutting remarks of the ridiculousness the characters find themselves in. He has only directed eleven movies of which I have seen three including this movie. This makes me want to watch his entire filmography.

Based in the Frankenstein universe, Dr. Fredrick Frankenstein (Wilder) is summoned to his grandfather's castle in Transylvania after he passes away. Dr. Fredrick wants to prove that you can reanimate beings with the help of his lab assistant, Inga (Garr) and his faithful servant, Igor (Feldman).

I never doubted for a minute I would hate this movie. It's almost fifty years old and I laughed so much in this movie. Gene Wilder's straight man delivery to the audience looking at them was genius. Madeline Kahn as Fredrick's fiance, Elizabeth was a riot. She's not in the movie that much, but she cracked me up. Marty Feldman was a treat in this.

I can gush all day, but I won't. I love this movie. There are some things I didn't like about the movie. They were Kenneth Mars as Inspector Kemp and Gene Hackman as Blindman. Whenever Kemp was onscreen, he would always do the same bit with his hand. All that time, I didn't think it was funny. Silence. Hackman's appearance was odd. I think that Hackman in a comedy is not a good fit.

Rating: 9/10


Persuasion (2022)

Directed by Carrie Cracknell

Screenplay by Ron Bass & Alice Victoria Winslow

Based on the novel by Jane Austen

Stars: Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, Henry Golding, Mia McKenna-Bruce, Izuka Hoyle, Nia Towle, Ben Bailey Smith, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Lydia Rose Bewley, Richard E. Grant, and Yolanda Kettle 

Jane Austen's works are a foreign concept to me. I watched bits and pieces of her adaptations over the years. I'm not well versed. The response to this movie have been vicious. I can see why.

Anne (Johnson) is the makeshift narrator of her "tragic" love story. She pines for her love, Wentworth (Jarvis) that she had to give up eight years prior because of family pressures and his station. When he comes back, she acts standoffish, because of reasons.

Stated before, Anne narrates her inner monologue to the camera. Who decided that this was a good idea? I blame the screenwriters for this. It felt like the movie was being meta. 'Look at us. We are making a Jane Austen movie. Aren't we clever?' No, you're not.

The tone of the movie was very strange. I looked to see that it was a drama/romance. Where was it? Anne was being a awkward mess that word vomits throughout the entire runtime. It was more of a comedy of errors than a drama.

The central romance was nonsense. I guess, it was supposed to be the longing to be with each other. Cool. Anne is pining for Wentworth for EIGHT YEARS. He shows up and she is mute. They don't talk about anything for half the movie. Nope. Absolutely not. It dragged so much that I didn't care if they got together.

When Henry Golding came in as Mr. Elliot, I thought the movie would get better. Nope. It felt ick. Eyes bulging out of my head. I hated all of this. Leave.

The biggest problem of the movie for me is Mary, played by Mia McKenna-Bruce. When she came on the screen, I was thinking, "She's annoying. It would fade away." Nope! She is like that the entire movie. Moaning and opining that she has this disease and that ailment. 'Oh, I can't use my legs. Carry me.' I hated her. I don't know if it was an acting choice, but holy shit. I wanted her off the screen. I groaned when she reappears. I wanted her to die essentially. Did I say I hated her? I did. Go away.

The only reason this movie is getting a one is because of Richard E. Grant.

Rating: 1/10

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Stella Dallas

Stella Dallas (1937)

Directed by King Vidor

Screenplay by Sarah Y. Mason and Victor Heerman & Joe Bigelow

"Dramatization" by  Harry Wagstaff Gribble and Gertrude Purcell

Based on the novel by Olive Higgins Prouty

Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Anna Shirley, John Boles, Alan Hale, Barbara O'Neil, Marjorie Main, George Walcott, and Tim Holt

There are endless thoughts going through my head during the day. I was thinking about the movie, Camp when one of the characters said that they wanted to be like Stella Dallas. I needed to find out who she is.

Taking place in Massachusetts, a headstrong, independent woman, Stella (Stanwyck) marries Stephen Dallas (Boles). Stephen wants to have a traditional wife that stays home and be obedient. Stella doesn't want that. She wants to have her fun. When Stephen is called away for business in NYC, their marriage deteriorates. Now, Stella wants to provide everything she can for her daughter, Laurel (Shirley).

I had an epiphany while I was watching the movie. There is this inherent aversion of sentimentality. The style of acting does not click with me. When characters go, "Oh, my look at this. Mother? Father?" I cannot handle it. I am checked out. I was checked out of this movie. I did not care what happened. I was bored.

Was Barbara Stanwyck being fabulous? Yes. I applaud her for that. She got a Best Actress Oscar nomination for good measure. Other than that, I cannot deal with sentimentality. I had the same problems with Gone with the Wind or Terms of Endearment. I hated those movies with over-the-top sentimentality.

Rating: 3/10

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The Black Phone

The Black Phone (2022)

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Screenplay by Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill 

Based on the short story, "The Black Phone" by Joe Hill

Stars: Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies, Ethan Hawke, James Ransone,  E. Roger Mitchell, Troy Rudeseal, Miguel Cazarez Mora, Tristan Pravong, Jacob Moran, Banks Repeta, and Brady Hepner

After the horrific experience of watching that last movie, I needed to see a competent attempt of making a movie. This is one of the horror movies that I was intrigued to see.

1978. A North Denver neighborhood is on edge when a series of kidnappings happen. Finney Blake (Thames) becomes the latest victim of The Grabber (Hawke). Finney is trying to find his way out. He might get it with his little sister, Gwen (McGraw).

Watching this movie, I didn't understand how The Black Phone came to play or how the voices came out of an inoperable phone. Then, I got it. I was on board.

Can I say that Gwen was the star of this movie? She did all of the legwork. She was like Nancy Drew. Loved her fool mouth. The colorful phrases that came out was so good.

Usually, I would hate jump scares. This movie did have them, but they were needed to convey Finney's mental state throughout his journey. It was effective.

The criticisms I have with the film is that the middle of the movie dragged so much. If the movie was trimmed by ten minutes, I would have been better. There is also the matter of the detectives in the movie. They did nothing to help the investigation and they got all the credit. The fuck is that. There is also the matter of Jeremy Davies' character. He was scarier than The Grabber.

Rating: 9/10

La La Land

La La Land (2016)

Written and directed by Damien Chazelle

Stars: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons, Terry Walters, Callie Hernandez, Jessica Rothe, Sonoya Mizuno, and John Legend

I have avoided this movie like plague. Too soon for that saying? When a movie is an homage to better movies, I will look at it with a critical eye. This movie. Oh, boy. Be prepared. I am gonna rip this film to shreds.

The movie takes place around a year. Mia (Stone) is an aspiring actress that goes on countless auditions. Sebastian (Gosling) is a jazz pianist-- that's very important-- that wants to open up his own club. They met and have a relationship, blah, blah.

The movie starts with a musical number with people stuck in LA traffic singing about... (collective shrug). I didn't understand why everybody in the film is dressed like a Power Ranger. Monochromatic dresses. All kinds of no.

Chazelle was trying to make a Astaire/Rogers type of musical, but he failed on every level. What was up with the flashy cameras swoops? That shot in the pool that went in a circle faster and faster? Mia and Seb floating at the conservatory? How did this movie win six Oscars?

If you are going to make a musical, have people that could actually sing and dance?! A novel concept! The cringe look on my face when Emma and Ryan were "singing and dancing." Oof! No. Dub them. Holy shit.

The music was fine. By fine, I mean, boring. Side note: I enjoy jazz music. I would rather listen to actual jazz musicians than this. Jazz is not dying as Sebastian said. Jazz is Seb's personality. Seb's character is a pompous, mansplaining hipster jackass. I hated him. So much. Mia was just big eyes. Mia supposedly loves classic movies, but said she never watch "Rebels Without a Cause." Fuck off.

I did not get their "love story." Is it because the script told them to? They are like oil and water. The biggest beats of the movie didn't make sense. They don't have phones? Call each other. No? Oh, the script told them to.

This is like watching a car accident, a train derailment and a plane crash all into one. It was all a cacophony of nonsense sounds. My face was horrified.

Rating: 0/10

Monday, July 18, 2022

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Directed by Mike Nichols

Screenplay by Ernest Lehman

Based on the play by Edward Albee 

Stars: Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis

For the longest time, I didn't understand the title of this movie. The characters are afraid of an English writer that drowned herself? Nope. This is not that.

In the middle of the night, older married couple, George and Martha (Burton, Taylor) come back from a house party. They want to party to continue. A younger married couple, Nick and Honey (Segal, Dennis) arrives and the get together descends into madness.

There is a thing that I have with play being turned into movies. The structure of the movie doesn't feel cinematic. It feels like a pro shot of a play. Sometimes this felt like a play. That will probably be the only ding that I will have against it.

The performances were fantastic across the board. Burton and Taylor were the powerhouses here. I give them all the props to taking Albee's material and encompass it.

Rating: 9/10

B.A.D. Movie of the Week: Frankenhooker

Frankenhooker (1990)

Directed by Frank Henenlotter

Screenplay by Robert Martin and Frank Henenlotter

Stars: James Lorinz, Patty Mullen, and Joseph Gonzalez 

I did not know that this movie was Troma Team collaboration with a started it. This movie is not like Surf Nazi Must Die where it was subject matter was stupid that you enjoy the movie. This movie is bad all around. 

A mentally disturbed young man, Jeffrey (Lorinz) is trying everything he can to bring back his fiance, Elizabeth (Mullen) who died in a freak accident during her father's birthday party. 

I'm guessing that Troma formula is to have outrageous concepts for the sake of being outrageous. Cool. I was bored with this movie. 

Jeffrey is a weird guy that experiments with human body parts. He has brain with an eyeball in it at the dinner table. Everybody is completely fine with it. He needs to be in a loony bin. Jeffrey talks in minutes long monologues. I did not care about him babbling to himself. Shut up.

I didn't care about the movie on any level.

Rating: 1/10

Sunday, July 17, 2022


Willow (1988)

Directed by Ron Howard

Story by George Lucas

Screenplay by Bob Dolman

Stars: Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean March,  Patricia Hayes, Billy Barty, Pat Roach, Gavan O'Herlihy, David Steinberg, Phil Fondacaro, Kevin Pollak, Rick Overton, Julie Peters, Mark Vandebrake, and Dawn Downing

I was on twitter today and I said that I never saw this movie. I weas told that I would like it. For the most part, this is true.

The evil Queen Bavmorda (March) is scouring the kingdom for a baby that is prophesied to end her evil reign. The baby is smuggled out of her grasp. A farmer, Willow Ufgood (Davis) is tasked to journey to a faraway kingdom to deliver the baby with the help of ragtag group.

I know this movie came out first, but it felt like "The Lord of the Rings" a little bit. Does Ron Howard direct fantasy movies well? Not really. Even though the movie was nominated for Visual Effects Oscars, I thought they were not that great.

The action sequences looked staged. There are numerous times where there were supposed to be a punch or a kick and didn't connect. The costumes looked cheap. Middle school production level.

The only saving grace of this movie was Warwick Davis. I cannot believe that a 17-year-old (at the time) carried this movie.

Drinking game: Drink every time that a character said Madmartigan. Drink every time that you hear the Wilhelm scream.

Rating: 5/10

Saturday, July 16, 2022


Notorious (1946)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Screenplay by Ben Hecht & Alfred Hitchcock & Clifford Odets

Based loosely on the short story, "The Song of the Dragon" by John Taintor Foote 

Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern, Leopoldine Konstantin, Reinhold Schünzel, Moroni Olsen, Ivan Triesault, Alexis Minotis, Eberhard Krumschmidt, and Wally Brown

People have said that this is their favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie. I have seen a fair share of his movies. This will be at the bottom of my list.

During the aftermath of WWII, Nazi sympathizers are being sentenced around the country. This includes Alicia Huberman's (Bergman) father. An "American?" agent, T.R. Devlin (Grant) is tasked to have Alicia work for the U.S. government as a spy. They have to go to Brazil to reconnect with an old friend, Alexander Sebastian (Rains) who may be a secret Nazi.

I don't get the hype with this movie. The romance part of the movie was abrupt. 'I met you. Two days later, I love you.' What? The "intrigue" of the movie was nothing. Nothing happens in this movie. 

Hitchcock was real subtle with his shots. I am being sarcastic. He was knocking you over the head with it. We get it. A close up shot the wine bottles. Okay.

I didn't understand anything about Grant's character. Was he supposed to be American? That's fail. Was he a British agent working for the Americans? Fine.

The central "mystery" of the movie was confusing. I didn't like it. I didn't care.

The only thing that saved the movie was Claude Rains. He was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar and deservedly so. He was the lifesaver to this sinking boat of a movie.

Rating: 3/10

Friday, July 15, 2022

The Last Days of Disco

The Last Days of Disco (1998)

Written and directed by Whit Stillman

Stars: Chloë Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale, Mackenzie Astin, Matt Keeslar, Robert Sean Leonard, Chris Eigeman, Jennifer Beals, Michael Weatherly and Matt Ross

There was a meme going around on film twitter recently about people recommending movies. I was recommended this movie. I might be the wrong demographic for this movie.

This film takes place during the waning of the disco era. Two young professionals, Charlotte and Annie (Beckinsale, Sevigny) are trying to move up in the world of book publishing during the day. At night, they go to the local disco hall to dance the night away.

This movie was supposed to be based in the early 1980s. The movie doesn't feel like it took place in the early 80s. It felt very 90s with the hairstyles and the "costumes." I was confused when one part of the movie, the "Disco Sucks" movement is thrown in. That movement happened the summer of 1979. Really?

Don't get me wrong. The soundtrack is the highlight. I would buy the soundtrack. The characters were bland, nothing people. I did not care about what happened to them. The movie was blase with them. How was I supposed to be invested?

Rating: 6/10

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Chopping Mall

Chopping Mall (1986)

Directed by Jim Wynorski

Screenplay by Jim Wynorski & Steve Mitchell

Stars: Kelli Maroney, Tony O'Dell, Russell Todd, Karrie Emerson, Barbara Crampton, Nick Segal, John Terlesky, and Suzee Slater

I have heard people talking about this movie. I went into it completely cold. Holy shitballs. The movie is not good, but I love the schlock.

The Park Plaza 2000 Shopping Center has implemented a security system to have curb theft after hours. On the same night the system was supposed to launch a freak lightning storm blows out the transformer that controls the Protector 101 Series Robot makes them into Killbots.

A bunch of young mall employees have the brilliant idea of having an after hours sex party at the furniture store the guys work. Human meets machine.

I love cheesy horror movies. This is my jam. Does the story make sense? Hell, no. Why does a mall need robots? Get security guards. Why are are you hanging out after hours at the mall? You're gonna use the place that you work at to have have sex? With other people in the room? Sure.

The movie is the definition of turn off your brain and enjoy the ride. I want to reiterate. This is not a good movie, but I have a shit eating grin on my face.

Rating: 7/10

To Catch a Thief

To Catch a Thief (1955)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Screenplay by John Michael Hayes & Alec Coppel

Based on the novel by David Dodge

Stars: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly,  Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams, Charles Vanel, Brigitte Auber, Jean Martinelli, and Georgette Anys 

This movie was on the essential viewing list for everything. The 50s, of all time and such. I wanted to love this movie, but it felt empty.

A series of jewel robberies are happening the banks of the French Rivera. The police suspect that now-retired cat burglar, John Robie (Grant) is their number one suspect. Robie takes it upon himself to find the real burglar.

On the surface, this movie would be catnip to me. Grant, Kelly, French Rivera, Edith Head costumes. I thought I would love the movie, but I didn't. I didn't connect to the movie. I didn't believe in the romance between Robie and Frances Stevens (Kelly). It came out of nowhere.

The biggest problem of the movie is the mystery. Who was the real cat burglar? It felt like the mystery was brushed aside. I knew who the thief was. I was waiting for the reveal.

This viewing was passable. I could not get into the movie to recommend it.

Rating: 6/10

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

B.A.D. Movie of the Week: Life Like

Life Like (2019)

Written and directed by Josh Janowicz

Stars: Drew Van Acker, Addison, Timlin, Steven Strait, James D'Arcy, Mark Famiglietti, Nicholas Baroudi and Akaash Yadav

This was supposed to be one of the movies that I was going to review for Pride Month, but never got around to watch it. Now watching the movie, I can see why.

Newlyweds James and Sophie (Van Acker, Timlin) try to adjust to a world of affluence when James's father dies suddenly. The father leaves his business and sprawling mansion to them. Sophie being the bohemian that she is fires the kitchen staff. Without them, general chores become too much. They go to Julian (D'Arcy) to set them up with a robot helper, Henry (Strait).

Full disclosure. I tried to watch this movie earlier and turned it off quickly. The biggest problem with this movie is Sophie. In the first twenty minutes of this movie, she is insufferable. She is this shrill woman that thinks she knows everything. She's probably a hipster. 'I'm so cool. Look at me liberating you. I'm so great.' I hated her. I wanted her off the screen.

I thought the movie was going to be about this robot integrating into this couple's life. It's not. The movie becomes this sad disintegration of a marriage. I kept yelling, "You don't need a robot helper. You need a fucking therapist." It was infuriating.

The movie was shot in 18 days. It showed. The editing was choppy. There were ten second scenes that didn't need to be there.

The biggest "fuck you movie" moment was at the end. I hated the ending. Not the epilogue. Why was that there? I didn't care for that M. Night Shyamalan twist. Eye roll.

Rating: 2/10

The Dressmaker

The Dressmaker (2015)

Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse

Screenplay by Jocelyn Moorhouse & P.J. Hogan

Based on the novel by Rosalie Ham

Stars: Kate Winslet, Liam Hemsworth, Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving, Julia Blake, James Mackay, Sarah Snook, Rebecca Gibney, Sacha Horler, Shane Bourne, Alison Stewart, Kerry Fox, and Gyton Grantley

This movie has been talked about for years since its debut. The costumes and that famous gif from this movie. You know the one. How many ways can I that I adore this movie?

The aforementioned dressmaker, Tilly Dunnage (Winslet) comes back to her hometown of Dungatar after over twenty of exile. Tilly has a feeling that something sinister was happening in the town. Even though, she was accused of killing a schoolmate. She does everything is her power to find out the truth.

Can I say that I love the costumes of these movie? It takes place in 1951 Australia and I was gagging. The eye candy was all around. I am not talking about Liam Hemsworth being objectified. I felt like Hugo Weaving's character. The clothing was so good.

The townspeople worked as an ensemble. I knew that secrets were gonna come out.

Winslet was magnetic in this role. Judy Davis as her mother was the biggest transformation in the movie.

There were beats in the movie that tugged on my heart. I cannot praise this movie enough.

Rating: 10/10

Tuesday, July 12, 2022


Interstellar (2014)

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Screenplay by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan

Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, John Lithgow, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Mackenzie Foy, Timothée Chalamet, Casey Affleck, Bill Irwin and Josh Stewart

For the longest time, I have stayed away from Nolan's movie as of late. I felt that he has become to big from his britches. People blindly loved all of his movies, and I'm not part of the cult. 

In a dystopian Earth where a blight has wiped out all chances of sustainability, Cooper (McConaughey) and his daughter, Murph (Foy) is shown coordinates to a supposed decommissioned NASA station. Cooper learns from Professor Brand (Caine) that there might be a chance to colonize an Earth like planet.

Why did this movie have to be almost three hours long? I think the characters pontificating about their motives got on my nerves. Thirty minutes could have been cut out and I would have been happy.

I'm not going to shit on the movie that much. I will say that first half on the movie was good. All about the journey, going back to be with loved ones. Cool. My heart ached for Cooper trying to find a way to get back home to his family.

The thing is when an action of a certain character is revealed, I rolled my eyes. The aftermath of that sent the movie careening off course. Nolan lost me. The ending of movie was nonsense.

Hans Zimmer's score... Why was music so loud? It was sonic booming all over during the action sequences. It took me out of the experience. I liked the score when it was quieter.

I don't hate the movie, but I think people are overly praising it.

Rating: 7/10

Monday, July 11, 2022

After Yang

After Yang (2021)

Directed by Kogonada

Screenplay by Kogonada

Based on the short story, "Saying Goodbye to Yang" from the book, "Children of the New World" by Alexander Weinstein

Stars: Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, Justin H. Min, Ritchie Coster, Sarita Choudhury, Haley Lu Richardson, and Clifton Collins Jr.

Film friends have been putting this movie on their top ten movies so far this year. I can see why.

In the near future, a family is dealing with their A.I helper, Yang (Min) malfunctions and becomes inoperable. The younger sister, Mika (Tjandrawidjaja) has been hit hard with the loss of Yang. Jake (Farrell) is trying everything that he can to restore Yang back to normal.

In the beginning, it took my a while to get used to the mood and the tone of the movie. As anyone knows, child actors make me cringe so much. It was the same here. Whenever Mika endless questioned Jake or Kyra (Turner-Smith), I wanted to scream "Shut the fuck up!"

I understood why she was in anguish. She probably never had to deal with the possibility of death. It would probably hit her very hard. It's understandable. Jake deals with it differently than Kyra. Everybody processes death differently.

I thought the mood of the film was exactly what it needed to be. What would you do if a loved one here today and gone tomorrow? The film asked a lot of profound questions about life and death, artificial intelligence, or what does the advancement of technology does to us as a society.

Rating: 9/10

Event Horizon

Event Horizon (1997)

Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson

Screenplay by Philip Eisner

Stars: Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Richard T. Jones, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, and Holley Chant

When I was looking at YouTube videos, I heard about the director did not work on Mortal Kombat: Annihilation to work on this. Anderson made the right decision.

The year is 2047. The spaceship, Lewis & Clark is on a mission to figure out how the previously missing ship, Event Horizon, mysteriously reappears in the outer orbit of Neptune seven year later.

I thought the movie was going to be dumb. The "science" of the movie is utter nonsense. I mean, exposition dump heavy during the first fifteen minutes. It made me roll my eyes.

Can somebody tell me how the hell can you board a ship, go to stasis, wake up and then be introduced to the crew of the ship?

There is way too many chyrons. I don't really care about them. Tell us where the action is taking place. Too many letters on the screens. Oh, boy.

The jump scares. You know, I hate lame jump scares. There are oodles of noodles in here. The VFX do not hold up in slightest.

I didn't hate the film. It was trying to be Alien lite, but not. The psychological descent in the film was nice. I enjoyed Laurence Fishburne as Miller. He was a commanding leader of the Lewis & Clark. Sam Neill as Dr. Weir was strange to me. I didn't understand his motivations.

Rating: 5/10

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Army of Darkness

Army of Darkness (1992)

Directed by Sam Raimi

Screenplay by Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi

Stars: Bruce Campbell, Embeth Davidtz, Marcus Gilbert, Michael Earl Reid, Ian Abercrombie, and Richard Grove

I wanted to complete the Evil Dead trilogy with the last big screen entry. The series went of the rails wacky with this one to varying degrees of success.

After the events of Evil Dead II, Ash Williams (Campbell) is sucked into a portal to transports him back to an unknown land around 1300 A.D. Noticing this stranger person that fell from the sky, Lord Arthur (Gilbert) captures Ash to supposedly to usurp his leadership with Duke Henry the Red (Grove). Ash has to find a way to get back to the present.

I know the prerequisite to these movies is to turn off your brain. I tried to do it, but some things didn't make sense. How many rounds does a rifle have? My biggest question: where was Ash getting his shotgun shells from? I'm serious. Ash has the sawed off shotgun. Did he takes a big carton of them through that portal?

It seems that the central lore of Evil Dead has been completely lost. The first movie was about demons. The second movie was about demonic zombies? This movie is about revenants and skeletons. I don't know what is happening.

Did I laugh at the comedic beats of the movie? Yes. Did I think that the romance between Ash and Sheila (Davidtz) was out of left field? Yes. Were there many lapses in plot? Plenty. I forgave some of it. Not all.

I want to leave with a couple of last thoughts. The shaky cam action sequences were nauseating. The endless zoom in shots. Stop it. I hated it.

Rating: 7/10

Evil Dead II

Evil Dead II (1987)

Directed by Sam Raimi

Screenplay by Sam Raimi & Scott Spiegel

Stars: Bruce Campbell, Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, Richard Domeier, Denise Bixler, John Peakes, Lou Hancock, and Ted Raimi

Since I saw the first movie, I wanted to continue with the misadventures of Ash and his endless battle with supernatural forces. This movie took a couple left turn to varying degrees of success.

After the tragic events of The Evil Dead, Ash (Campbell) is struggling to find a way to escape the cabin and the cursed woods. The demonic entities prevent him from escaping. The professor's daughter that recorded the ritual that awakens the demons, Anne (Berry) comes with three other people with the missing pages of The Necronomicon to find her parents. They found Ash and the demons find new victims.

Looking at the beginning of the film, I was confused with the continuity error. Turns out that Raimi didn't have the rights to the first movie and had to reshoot the "recap". I can forgive that. They were also recons of that movie that were not addressed. His buddy and his girlfriend and also, Ash's sister. No mention of them? No? Okay.

The movie went for more comedy horror route. Did I laugh with the movie? No. Did I laugh at the movie? Yes. Some sequences were baffling. Where did that tool shed come from? Why was there such a gap with the trap door that you could slip between the door and the lock? Does anybody know how stab wounds work? Where did Bobby Joe (DePaiva) go?

I will praise the movie for the makeup work. I thought the demon transformations were very good. I was impressed with that.

Rating: 6/10

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Anchors Aweigh

Anchors Aweigh (1945)

Directed by George Sidney

Animated sequences directed by Joseph Barbera and William Hanna

Story by Natalie Marcin

Screenplay by Isobel Lennart 

Stars: Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Kathryn Grayson, Dean Stockwell, Pamela Britton, and José Iturbi

I have been on a Gene Kelly kick as of late. I wanted to see the movie that got him his first and only Oscar nomination. Being the first of three pairing with himself and Frank Sinatra, I thought I would have like this more.

Joseph Brady (Kelly) and Clarence Doolittle (Sinatra) are on shore leave from the Navy when Brady saved Doolittle's life during a mission. They are awarded The Silver Star. During their time in Hollywood, they are saddled with Donald Martin (Stockwell), a precocious little kid that wants to join the Navy. They wait at Donald's house when the pair meet Susan (Grayson), Donald's aunt who dream it is to audition for the famous composer José Iturbi. 

A major pet peeve of mine in movies is a whiny brat of a kid. I cannot stand it. I'm not saying that it was Stockwell's fault, but oh boy. I wanted to turn the film off right then.

I wanted to be swept up in the fantasy of the movie, but the pacing was too slow for me. The movie is two and half hours long. It was a slog to get through this. 

There were two dancing breaks sequences here that could have been cut out and it would not have affected the story. The central plot of the movie is simple. It seemed that a whole bunch of fluff was packed in there for no reasons.

Did Kelly earn his Oscar nomination? Yes. He was good in the movie. Did the movie deserve the five Oscar nominations it did? Not really.

Rating: 6/10

Friday, July 8, 2022

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022)

Written and directed by Cooper Raiff

Stars: Cooper Raiff, Dakota Johnson, Evan Assante, Vanessa Burghardt, Leslie Mann, Brad Garrett, Raúl Castillo, Colton Osorio, Odeya Rush, and Amara Pedroso

There was a lot of buzz surrounding this movie for a couple of months. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about. I don’t understand why people love this movie.

Andrew (Raiff) is a manchild. He lives with his mother’s house. Shares a bedroom with his little brother. He works at a food court restaurant. He has no prospects. He pines away for his college girlfriend, Maya (Pedroso). While Andrew’s family is attending a bar mitzvah, he befriends Domino (Johnson) and her teenage autistic daughter, Lola (Burghardt).

I had this question when I was watching the movie. Is this supposed to be a comedy? Apparently so. Having children cussing is not funny. When Andrew becomes a “party orchestrator,” he plays WAP at a bar mitzvah. Was I supposed to be laughing at the ridiculousness? Not really.

My biggest problem with the movie is Andrew. Is this audience supposed to be rooting for him? I wasn’t. He was an asshole to everybody. He was a dick. I did not give a fuck if anything good happened to him. I didn’t care. I was not on his side.

The only saving grace of the movie is Dakota Johnson. She was the only person that made me stay and watch the entire movie. She was poignant, heartbreaking and commanded the screen whenever she was on it.

The movie tries to have heartfelt moments. It works sometimes, but other times it does not feel earned. It felt cheap, like Raiff wanted to get a pat on the back for that stroke of genius. No.

I have this feeling. I feel like Raiff is trying to do the Garden State route. The film might get some buzz, some awards and then people are going to think why I liked that movie a couple of years down the road. Something doesn’t feel right when a person writes, directs, and stars in a movie.

Rating: 6/10