Thursday, July 26, 2012

A joint venture - no pun intended.

Before the review, let's discuss before the movie. Last night, at my local Regal Cinemas (a mostly shitty theater), I noticed two things. First, a police presence. Maybe I've seen an officer at a movie when it's a huge release (and even that's a rarity), but on a Wednesday night? Not a chance. There were only three actual employees. Was this a random occurrence, or a sign of things to come? I don't mind, it's just odd how quickly things can change.

The other thing, and I think I'm only talking to people who go to the movies all the time, was the motherf--king Bourne Legacy preview. I'm pretty sure this has been in front of every movie I have seen this summer. I seriously don't even want to see the flick anymore, I'm so sick of this damn trailer. Anybody with me on this? If you want to keep showing me the same trailer, how about some more of The Great Gatsby?

Another showing where I was completely alone in the theater.
In a summer of letdowns and mediocrity, Savages feels right at home. I truly wasn't expecting much, but in a season crowded with reboots and re-imaginings, I thought that maybe Oliver Stone could deliver something unique. Nope. Outside of a solid (and attractive) cast, this one is ultimately forgettable. The search continues...

If you've seen the trailer, you're all set. But if you haven't, here goes. Two guys run a super-successful segment of the marijuana industry. One dude, Ben, is the oh-so stereotypical genius stoner, who double majored in dreadlocks and American accents. No wait, it's business and botany, if I remember correctly. The other guy, Chon, is the muscle. He's been overseas for a couple of tours and hasn't really let go of the his time in the shit. Together, these guys have crafted the best weed on the planet with THC levels that are ten times higher than your garden-variety Snicklefritz. Awesome, right?

Well, hold on. A struggling faction of the Mexican drug cartel decides they want in. They offer a fair deal to grow the business, but our two guys have different views on what to do. One says no thanks, you can just have it, bro while the other guy says f--k you, I'll kill everyone's face. I'll let you figure out who said what.

The hook, or at least what they sell you in the preview, is these two guys have the same girlfriend, played by a rather disheveled Blake Lively. And surprise, in the wake of the denial of their offer, the cartel take this slut hostage. Predictably, even the pacifist dude, Ben, isn't too cool with this move, and our guys decide to get all, well...savage.

Maybe you read that and thought, okay, that sounds cool enough and it might be, but something is lost along the way. Everybody is rather level-headed and things never get too tense or out of control. Sure, there are some violent scenes, but nothing really shocked me. At this point in the game, and as Stone's reputation would suggest, things need to get crazy. And unfortunately, Savages just stays pretty mellow.

Look, you get an empty toilet paper roll and a couple of dryer sheets. I'm going to fire up some Yays and Boos, as long as you're cool. You are cool, right?

They were...stinky. These are my recreational clothes.
  • Everybody is fairly likable. Even the bad guys. And whatever Travolta is.
  • Speaking of Danny Zuko, what was up with his reaction to being stabbed and butted? Horribly, um, great.
  • Vengeful Salma Hayek. My god. I think my favorite line had something to do with your whore mothers. Classy.
  • Though they were entirely too willing and ready to help, I liked the idea of Chon's ex-Seal guys secretly kicking ass.
  • Do your best Del Toro and say this: You wanna use my finger? Awesome, right?
  • The masks are so sweet. The luchadore ones in the pic, and Del Toro's skull-thing were quite cool, though all were underused, sadly.
  • Half of this flick takes place in Laguna Beach. So sometimes, between scenes, they show establishing shots of the beach and such, right? Right. This one time, for no discernible reason, they show a woman in the distance roller-skating. She veers out of control and gets in a minor crash. Why is this in the movie? Oh, I know. Because it's hysterically out of place.
  • Same goes for the bit where Del Toro's creepy character, Lado, is seen at a remote money laundering facility drinking f--king Starbucks
  • And finally, now I know what to do when someone inevitably spits in my face. Sweet comeback, bro.
The one thing they have in common is me. *Stabs self in eye
  • Well, let's get it out of the way, the sex. Not only does Blake keep her top on both times she gets railed (c'mon, who does that?), but the awkward threesome ends before it really starts. Wild Things, this ain't.
  • Aaron Johnson, whom I did not recognize from Kick-Ass, couldn't maintain his American accent. Sorry, bruv.
  • Not that I care, but Afghanistan has the best weed on the planet? Damn, you'd think that place would be a little more chill.
  • Del Toro's haircut is the worst. And by that I mean the f--king best. What's Spanish for mullet?
  • The term wargasms should never be uttered again. Or in the first place.
  • This also happened. Some serious stuff is about to go down, and Chon busts out a doob. They don't call it hijacking for nothing, Ben. I almost turned to a life of drugs immediately.
  • Emile Hirsch. Speed, you used to be the man. Now, you're looking like Jack Black's goofy younger brother. More Into the Wild, less The Darkest Hour, please.
  • Lively is looking anything but. Ha. See what I did there? 
  • Okay, the Mexican drug cartel isn't to be f--ked with, I get it. But in all their ruthlessness, they have someone on staff who can rock the shit out of Adobe Flash. C'mon, what was up with that cartoon?
  • That whipping scene was pretty brutal. Was that his eye? Goodness. His face reminded me of when Jim Carey was at Midieval Times. Hello, Clarice. It's good to see you again...
  • And finally, the ending. I liked the idea, but neither was satisfying.
Before I go, what's with the Kitsch of Death? Taylor Kitsch was always good in the television version of Friday Night Lights. But this year, hasn't been all that lucky for him. John Carter, Battleship and now this? Poor guy. At least he probably avoided the going to the movies. Lucky bastard. He hasn't had to watch that damn Bourne trailer 900 times.


  1. I skipped your Yays and Boos since I haven't seen this yet. I was just about to mention Taylor Kitsch and there he was in your final paragraph. Shame, just when he thought 2012 was going to be his breakthrough year. Battleship was a waste of time but I actually enjoyed John Carter though.

    1. It's probably a good idea to always skip the Yays and Boos.

      Didn't see John Carter, but I'm willing to give it a shot.

  2. I saw this yesterday and was pretty disappointed. It was not awful and Hayek was awesome but the violence was so tame - even the whipping scene. Also they took this chick hostage I thought they will do some seriously sick shit to her based on the trailer and some of Stone's films but it was pretty standard stuff too. And that stupid double ending. The film should have ended 3 minutes faster.

    1. That's a good point, O has it pretty good as far as being a hostage goes. Well, minus the whole thing that Lado recorded on his phone. Maybe if we had seen that live we'd have had more sympathy for her situation.

      I felt bad for her only because they made her wear what every extra in a woman-in-prison movie has on. Don't we have anything sexier?

  3. Fun fact: did you that Jennifer Lawrence was originally cast in this movie? She backed out to do the Hunger Games, and they ended up casting Blake Lively instead. Good call, Katniss!

    1. Hmm. If this alleged information is true, that is majorly disappointing. I would have much preferred the curvy awesomeness that is Jennifer Lawrence to the Amazonian goodness that Lively provided.

      Though to be fair, having seen Winter's Bone, beaten down Lawrence is alarmingly frightening.

    2. Woah. Blake Lively is already the poor man's Mila Kunis (she auditioned for the part of Lily in Black Swan). Didn't know that she's the poor man's Jennifer Lawrence too. And that's sad because there's a playfulness in Lively's voice that almost made the narration/her/the movie tolerable.

    3. Yessss! Key word 'almost' for sure. Outside of her weird Boston accent in The Town, I do like her voice.

      This is awesome. I wonder who's the poor man's Blake Lively? Wait. My head just exploded.

  4. Well, I was on the fence about this one. So, I'll wait for Netflix after reading your review. Thanks a lot. haha... No, seriously. Thank you.

    I cracked up reading the part about the chick off in the distance crashing.

    1. Shane, it really isn't funny, though it cracked me up. It's just so random it made me laugh.

      Editor: Shit, sir. The only coverage we have, the extra almost kills herself on roller skates.

      Stone: (long pause) Keep it. No one will ever notice.

  5. The performances really kept this film afloat, but other than that, nothing else really worked all that much for me. The story felt a bit bland and uninteresting, and for some reason, Stone's direction didn't really add any cool or original flair to this material like I expected it to. At least he's back from doing political documentaries though. Good review M.

    1. Good call. Stone could've gone nuts with the visuals, but seemed oddly restrained.

      Although, what was with that giant timer? It seemed very goofy. First there was just under 5 hours, then 2 hours, then 7 minutes. WTF?