Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sometimes, I think I might be unlovable.

Like a poorly-wrapped Christmas present, you totally know what you're going to get when you visit Two Dollar Cinema. For over six years now, this blog's bread and butter has been the fact that I watch a ton of shitty movies, then write a couple of piss-poor jokes about them in something not exactly resembling a traditional/engaging film review. This is a time-honored format that has resulted in dozens and dozens of pageviews.

But after being handed the baton in Nostra's rad The Ten: Best Christmas Movie relay I realized something rather troubling, I have been ignoring an important genre year after year.

The Holiday movie.

Check that. The shitty Holiday movie.

Okay, Love the Coopers doesn't exactly qualify as shitty, but it is a holiday movie. And it's not very good.

Earlier in the week, my wife and I revisited what I would have sworn on my chestnuts was a great Christmas movie! - 2005's The Family Stone (I have since dialed back that claim to moderately charming). I mention this uninteresting fact because the two films, despite being released a decade apart, seem to be plucked from the same poorly-made, coal-filled stocking. Both have large ensemble casts full of famous faces (including a Mean Girl), and both focus on hyper-quirky, multi-generational families where at least one sibling is a rotten prick. At first.

Oh, and both films also have Diane Keaton, playing, possibly for the only two times in her career, an eccentric white lady. One we're not exactly sure whether or not we like actually like, at that. Wait, what? Keaton goes full-on quirky broad? No way!

Yes way, which might explain why Keaton's Charlotte Cooper is trying to make it through Christmas before telling her kids (and grandkids) that she and her husband Sam (an emotionally and physically deflated John Goodman) are getting a divorce. Aww, that's kind of sad, right? 'Tis. Especially considering the main reason for their impeding separation is her reluctance to go on an African safari with him. 

*spits out egg-nogg* What the f--k?

Yes, Virginia. Ed Helms has his guitar.
I'm sure there's more to their failing marriage than a discernible lack of interest in seeing a zebra take a dump, but I'm also sure you don't give a shit either way. But on the outside chance that you do, here are the other tales of woe Love the Coopers offers up:

  1. Ed Helms (playing the brother) marriage to Alex Borstein has fallen apart, and his one kid is a brooding teenage douche, while the other is an adorable monster.
  2. Olivia Wilde (playing the sister) is as miserable as she is sexy, and she's slumming it around an airport trying to pick up a soldier home on leave. Yeah, I said trying.
  3. Alan Arkin (playing the grandfather) is bummed that his favorite waitress (Amanda Seyfried) is quitting. I think he wants to bone her, hence his misguided rage.
  4. Marisa Tomei plays the crazy aunt, caught shoplifting jewelry and forced to drive around for eight hours with a possibly gay police officer, played by Anthony Mackie.
  5. Oh, and there's a dog. His name is Rags. And Rags does movie dog shit, you know? Like knock people over, lick someone's face, and eat food off the counter like a real jerkface. He also narrates the f--king story, so feel free to put that in your corncob pipe and smoke it.
  6. Ah, I almost forgot. June Squib shows up as Aunt Fishy, but between you and me (and likely, June), I'm not even sure what the f--k she's doing here. And no, she doesn't die, which may come as a shock to anyone who has ever seen a movie with a quirky old lady in it.
Apparently it was buy-one, get-one on indented lists that no one cares about. So, uh, here are the Yays and Boos. Tomorrow's Christmas, so consider them an early present. Remember, it's the thought that counts. Even if the thought came without any real, you know, thinking.

This looks just like my family dinner.
Except we need at least one person on their phone.
And someone needs to be mad. Or drunk. Or both.
  • Don't care if the end result is something just north of a gift card to a store that doesn't exist, this cast is pretty f--king stacked.
  • Including the talented and lovely Amanda Seyfried, who I think is contractually obligated to star in every ensemble comedy.
  • If you like dags as much as I do, you might be happy enough with cranking this one up based on the glorious puppy footage alone.
  • Screw Best Christmas Movie, but can we agree that Best Christmas Song belongs to Carol of the Bells? Yes. Yes, we can.
  • Serious time, kids. Bring it in, bring it in. Okay, so...there's this scene where GI Joe and Olivia Wilde share earbuds and just sort of listen to music whilst staring at each other (in a crowded airport for f--k's sake) and I'm pretty much convinced this is exactly what Heaven looks like.
  • Bo, the little brother that no one cares about, has this rad vision of coming to his big brother's rescue at the mall. It's a pretty sweet Mortal Kombat-esque finishing move that I totally tip my cap to. 
  • Why waste a moment? We're here for such a short time. Great quote...except, uh, the fact that it comes in a lame movie. A lame one hour and forty-seven minute movie.
  • And finally, as cynical and dick-ish as I'm being, if you happen to stumble upon this one, there's some pretty sweet sentiment buried within the quirk. Memories sort of occur right in front of whoever is thinking about them, and they are extremely well done and incredibly moving at times. Yes, I'm a heartless f--k, but the quick shot of an adorable little girl the Coopers lost years back absolutely devastated me and made me instantly grateful for just about everything in my life. 
I bet you a dollar she's on the phone with Pottery Barn customer service.
  • Why do bad flicks always insist on having cute little kids say horrible things? Here, we get a little girl repeatedly saying You are such a dick. Unless she's talking to the director, this is unacceptable.
  • Helms, shocking no one, plays a shell of a man trying to pick up the pieces of his seemingly pathetic life. But worse? He lost his job at the Sears Portrait Studio. Ouch. That wasn't his low point already?
  • You get Falcon in your movie and you use him like that? Somebody get Captain America on the phone, dammit. And the fact that he drove Tomei around for eight hours makes me want to throw a shield at someone's face.
  • A high school jerk heads to the store where his crush works and repeatedly warns himself, DO NOT LOOK AT HER BOOBS! Really? Why don't we just say Beetlejuice three times while we're at it? Good God, now we're both in trouble. And I'm almost 40, a-hole. This is entrapment!
  • Brown, young virgins. Uh...those aren't the lyrics? Since when?
  • Dude, when Wilde drops the hammer on her pseudo-boyfriend guy, it actually made me wince. She's too damn beautiful to say something so ugly....
  • Never in my life have we, as a family, ever sung Christmas carols together. And here, not only do the Coopers partake in this movie-related, everybody has a solo. 
  • Maybe they only played it once, but I swear there's this Sting song (Soul Cake?) that's playing under the entire movie and it's just the f--king worst. I know Sting is in to some amazing sex, but I never thought he'd f--k me in my ear for as long as he did.
  • And finally, for me, the worst sin of a film about a large family is when they feel like anything but a large family. A Family Stone made you believe that all these famous faces had actually grown up together. But here? The Coopers feel about as close as people who've been on the same delayed airplane together. Yeah, they've bonded over some shared misery, sure, but they ain't family. Single-serving friends, at best.
We've almost reached the end of the Christmas season (though I'm sure as shit our tree will still be up for a week [grrr]), and it's looking like Love the Coopers might be the only 'new' holiday film I tackle this year.

Though, in a shocking turn of events, it's Christmas Eve and we've wrapped all the presents already. I shit you not. Maybe me and Mrs. Two Dollar Cinema will squeeze in one last holiday movie, because, as I just said...


If you're not a parent, that might not be all that impressive, but trust me, it's nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

And we didn't even need nineteen weird relatives, a cute dog, a hot waitress and a gay cop to make it happen.


  1. Oh that scene with listening to music at the airport sounds amazing. But I can't really look at dogs in movies these days, it has become unbearable. Also Ed Helms annoys the shit out of me.

    That Sting line was golden!

    Merry Christmas to you, your wife and your little ones!

    1. It's like that date in Begin Again, just not nearly as romantic.

      I hear ya on the dog front. So too, with the Ed Helms.

      F--king Sting. Just kept jamming it in my ear.

      MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU, TOO. Enjoy all those kick-ass movies. Me? I spent an hour building a Barbie Dreamhouse. And that was the fun part. Tomorrow?

      I gotta play with it.

  2. Wait...the dog narrates the movie? I probably wasn't going to see this before I knew that but now I'm definitely not going to watch it. Merry Christmas, homie!

    1. Yeah....I think that was a spoiler, but uh....I'm not sure why.

      Merry Christmas to you, Dell. Hope you and the girls had a good one.

  3. This sounds like a hot mess. I'll stick with that Christmas Story marathon on TNT.

    1. It was a mess, but like, a room temperature one. I got carried away with how shitty it's just too quirky for its own good.

      Oh, and I think Keaton doing that nervous lady bit has grown a wee bit stale, you know?