Saturday, August 22, 2015

For a special agent, you're not having a very special day, are you?

I feel stupid for doing it in the first place, but I feel even worse for feeling stupid about it. But when I was in college, I remember there were probably consecutive years where I actually purchased the Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair. Like, with money. That I earned.

I don't know what was so alluring, but the damn thing fascinated me. All these beautiful young people, so handsomely dressed in this super-elegant setting. I swear, I could look at that unfurled glossy cover for hours. And probably did. But when I actually opened the magazine? When I started to really look at the mammoth number of pages behind the pretty people doing pretty things?

It was pretty f--king shallow.

I've never seen a minute of the 60's TV show, but the 2015 film version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E, on its own, didn't really do much for me. Maybe it works as an updated version of the show, but as a flick - a Guy Ritchie flick no less, it's all style and very little substance. I like watching attractive men argue as much as the next person, but sometimes, just sometimes, that simply ain't enough.

Early on, however, I was all in. 

After a particularly groovy opening credits sequence, and a fairly rad early action bit, U.N.C.L.E was working. Hell, I was even leaning forward. But once my eyes adjusted to all the handsomeness, the cold-war spy shit didn't really matter. To anyone. You'd think a script with no less than seven names attached would be oozing conflict, but there was a startling lack-of-urgency to the whole affair. It's like someone said, You got anything else? and a dozen shoulders shrugged simultaneously. The fate of the free world is at stake, and we've got Superman stealing jewels and The Lone Ranger beating up Italian screen. And those were the best parts.

Clearly for me the story was lacking, but I'd be a real dick if I didn't mention that all the other stuff, like, every component that wasn't the f--king plot, was top notch. Even if they were a bit wooden, I loved Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer (Cavill more, to be honest). I could take a nap in the warm playfulness of their silly voices. Fantastic, really.

And talking about, um, sleeping, I wouldn't mind sharing the top bunk with Alicia Vikander, who looks like she was put together with parts from Jennifer Love Hewitt and Audrey Hepburn. Jinkies. Even though there isn't really a sexual component to speak of (more on that later), I didn't mind adding even a little of her pepper to all that sausage.

But once you get beyond the cast, beyond the romantic Roman setting and silky soundtrack, I'm afraid we're left with something as uninteresting as 700 pages of high-fashion advertising. Worse, for me, I saw U.N.C.L.E just a few days after Kingsman [review], and fair or not, that's the way I want my British spy flicks. If U.N.C.L.E is indeed Vanity Fair, then Kingsman is Penthouse. I know what you high-class ladies would rather thumb-through. But me? Shiiiiiit.

Speaking of awful human waste, let's check in with the Yays and Boos.  If they seem to be extra hit-or-miss, let 'em slide, as it's been a whole week since we caught this one theatrically. A really f--king long week at that.
My friend had a moped and he wanted us to sit facing away
from him. Reason? He didn't like sitting (his words) dick-to-ass.
  • Yo, give me some Compared to What by Roberta Flack anyday. Screw it. I'm putting it on right now.
  • Even though that's how bathroom fisticuffs always go, I still smiled as Hammer and Cavill destroyed that crapper.
  • There's a scene when our handsome spies finally get the chance to talk, but unfortunately, they're in a crowded restaurant. Well, until the other spies leave.
  • Habadashery is like cornbread. Ain't nothing wrong with that.
  • Cavill, in what may be the finest vocal performance ever, gets to utter this gem: And remember, take it like a pussy. I think if you look closely, you can actually see the steam from Hammer's ears.
  • Yes, this movie is PG-13, and yes, all sex is sadly implied. That is why I must applaud the bare back of a certain hotel employee. Well, it's not actually her back that I was a fan of.
  • I think Ritchie goes to the well one too many times, but we get some kickass split-screenery. Not, to the level of say, The Rules of Attraction, but solid nonetheless. 
  • The only thing better than not saving your friend from immediate peril is enjoying a tasty lunch during the whole ordeal. Wait. I mean someone else's lunch. (that makes it even better)
  • Do you smell something burning? There's a bit with an electric chair that might be the funniest thing in the entire movie. More of this, please.
  • Even though it's shot in that alarming miles-away old-school fashion, the chase scene at the end was good shit. A welcomed tip of the cap.
  • And finally, even though I didn't really like this one, I appreciate that this flick did something different. Yes it was a remake. Yes it could have probably been better with a R-rating. But it kicked it old school (likely true to the source) and went PG-13. And, and, didn't modernize a damn thing. And for that I will stand and applaud. A little.

If we could just get those propellers spinning...
  • Guy Ritchie. You molded my twenties. Honestly. But since? Help me. Help you.
  • I think it was teased in the trailer, but for a second, we get this pretty sweet dance number with Vikander. But then it turns stupid.
  • Okay, that's enough. F--k this soundtrack. Off I say!
  • Her whole family sucks. Her uncle, is definitely not the man.
  • I mentioned the seen where Hammer destroys some rich wops in a bathroom. Well, other than the fact that it's totally implied, my real beef is that any of these f--kos would ever say anything to Hammer in the first place. He's 6'5", 220 and there's one of him.
  • Hugh Grant! Oh, I'm not booing Alex Fletcher, of course not. I'm booing how little we get to see of him. Even if, well, there's more of him to see.
  • Man this movie is slooooow-w-w-WAIT! A raid! They're going on a f--king raid! And it's, it''s...a stylish montage? What the f--k is this?
  • And finally, the end. Or rather, the fact that this f--ker wouldn't do just that. I put my hands on the armrests like, three times. Oh, we're not standing? But I... Oh. *sits down* (like an asshole)

You ever put on an old TV show to help you fall asleep? My wife does it all the time (as if she needs the help). And while I get how the slow pace and easy-listening music can soothe you into a slumber, the noise and the light drive me f--king crazy. You want to get to sleep quickly? Do what a proper adult does: Read something. 

I've got a magazine that you can borrow.

Just kidding.

You can keep that shit.


  1. Nice write up! I don't think this one would really be for me either. The trailers never intrigued me, and I don't care much for Armie Hammer or Henry Cavill.

    1. Goodness. If these two don't really do it for you, then run the Hell away from this one as fast as you can.

  2. Cavill says the word "pussy"?!

    Yeah, this flick will kill me.

    1. I can see the GIF in a future RF for sure.

      I really don't know how you're going to take this one. Looking forward to your thoughts!

    2. I'm probably gonna take it like a pussy.


  3. This definitely does not sound like my cup of tea.

    1. Eh, it might surprise you, but I was certainly underwhelmed. But, full disclosure, I as exhausted during this one. Like, actually on the verge of falling asleep at times. My family and I did a fun run, and after a quick shower, I hauled ass to catch this flick on the cheap.

      Bad call.

  4. Good summary :) Very stylish but not a lot of substance underneath. Still, it did leave me feeling that Cavill would've made an awesome Bond - very similar to Brosnan.

    1. I didn't really consider the whole Bond thing, but I agree with you fully. I actually loved Cahill here, and am looking forward to seeing him in more stuff. I...uh...still haven't seen Man of Steel.

      Might want to get on that.

  5. What happened to Guy Ritchie!?!?!?!?!

    1. I don't know.

      I'm thinking either Madonna was a succubus, or he's just mellowed as he's gotten older. Perhaps he'll get his fire back, or perhaps his first two films....everyone was just hungry. Again, this flick is well put-together, but it's shockingly hollow.

  6. I DON'T AGREE! :)

    This has been a weird one. Those that agree with me, we are on the exact same brainwave. Those that don't like UNCLE, I just cannot see their point of view. I enjoyed this immensely from start to finish. The complaint about plot substance... I just don't get. I thought it was refreshing that after 98% of modern action movies having plots that hardly make any damn sense and are overly complicated that this was actually straightforward. Way more about the characters, all of which I really liked. I guess if the characters don't click then it wouldn't count for all that much though.

    1. I'm going to be completely honest with you, Jess. I saw this because of you. You totally sold me.

      I can see how it's totally likable and charming, but you will never sell me on the fact that it belongs in a conversation using the terms 'action' and 'movie'. It's more low-key heist movie than anything. And...well, I was just tired. So, this may not have been the ideal flick.

      I liked the three leads, but I never felt like there was any tension. Everybody seemed so laid back and cool, nothing was rally ever hanging in the balance. I mean, all these movies end well...that wasn't the just, for me, never really got exciting along the way.

      But...hey, you're still awesome. So...I wasn't a total loss.

  7. Ha, I was meaning to review this one but it kinda got lost in the shuffle of my life. I just don't have time to go to the movies right now. I like Cavill ok, but not as 'Superman.' This seems like a movie he excelled at... As you said, he's so handsome that it's almost dirty. Hammer is a dish too. I'm speaking from the ladies perspective of course. Could take or leave Vikander. Not a fan of hers at all. I will netflix it. Now that I'm back in grad school unless the film is really good, I don't have time to go see it.

    1. Mariah, all I really know from this fantastic comment? I really have to use the term 'dish' more. It's pretty much the best thing ever.

      I'm back in middle school, so I can't keep my eyes open for anything. Dang 6th graders this year. They're so....needy.