Monday, February 18, 2019

Blogathon '19: Mt. Rushmore of Movies

A lot of people take shots at Valentine's Day, you know? It's not a real holiday. It's something made up to sell candy and overpriced cardboard. I can't believe you fell asleep. Again. Fine, but if we skip over Valentine's Day, you know what's next on the calendar don't you? Uh huh.

It's President's Day.

And if you think celebrating love is a waste of time and money, shit, what about honoring forty-five(ish) predominantly white guys that a large percentage of people would have never f--kin' voted for in the first place? That doesn't sound like too much fun, either.

Two Dollar Cinema, I'm asking you to help me celebrate President's Day (with a dash of Valentine's Day love) by joining me in the Mount Rushmore of Movies blogathon.

It seems only fitting that the guy who played Two-Face...
...also played the President of the United States.
So you know what I'm going to do? I'm taking it back. I'm taking 'em all back. For the fourth(ish) time in the esteemed history of this blog, I need help. Your help.

The rules are simple:

To participate, simply choose the top four of anything cinematic and explain why they should be carved into the side of a mountain forever. Remember, these are real people carved into imaginary rock - so choose wisely!

Whatever ridiculous(ly fantastic) monument you dream up will be straight magic, so by all means, let your freak flag fly.

Whether you want to do a Mount Rushmore of Oscar snubs, the top four Zac Efron shirtless scenes, or a tribute to the quintessential films of the 90s, embrace the madness and run with it. Four selections may seem like a ton, but once you get started it can get a bit dicey narrowing it down. Last year, things got a touch ... hairy [seriously], so fingers (and legs) crossed that 2019 will keep it flowing, er, going.

Alas, both the nitty, and the gritty:
  1. I'd like to have all posts done by Friday, March 1st (where I'll create a master list, linking back to all of your lovely sites), but it's cool if you're an overachiever and finish early. Or not at all.
  2. When you've finished, send me a heads up/dick pic on twitter @twodollarcinema , reply in the comments below, e-mail me (, make circles out of black smoke that Amy Adams will decode, Hell, cut a note out of old newspaper headlines, I really don't mind. Just let me know that you're in and that I love you so much. 
  3. In your post, please use the rad banner my wife designed in eleven minutes.
  4. Share the announcement, if possible. I don't really know anyone, uh, except you. 
  5. I just want to tell you both good luck, we're all counting you.
I think she was mad at me this time.
I'll be on a week-long field trip with middle schoolers starting in the morning, so I may be a bit out of the loop. Well, even more than usual. And while I probably be wishing I was dead, know that your participation is what will keep me alive in the darkest of dark days ahead.

So, yeah. No pressure. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Learning is always a painful process.

*turns on the news*
*talks to another human*

*reads own blog*

Yeah, maybe 10% is being generous.

Late July of 2014? I opted for 22 Jump Street instead.
Not only did I take the time to watch Lucy, but I also took the time to purchase Lucy, the latter decision still haunting me days later. Because outside of personally suffering a traumatic brain injury that impairs judgement and reason (even more so, assuming that's possible), I couldn't imagine a scenario where I'd find the need and/or desire to watch this f--ker again. But didn't you assume that before you bought the movie, a-hole? There you go, showing off that moderately functioning brain of yours.

In case a super drug culled from expecting mommies has burst open inside of your body and you've been travelling the world as sexy energy ever since, let me break down Luc Besson's 2014 flick for you the best I can.

Even if you already know everything about it.

As played by the infinitely sexy (/ gloriously jiggly) Scarlett Johansson, Lucy, even before her, um, transition, initially appears to be a bit of an odd bird. We find her hanging out in Taiwan with some guy who looks like he's saving up for a moped, and luckily for everyone involved, he's immediately killed. As often is the case when your sketchy boyfriend is brutally murdered, Lucy is whisked away and immediately offered a job. Despite zero bargaining power, she politely declines, a brilliant move on her part, and wakes up with a bag of umbilical cord pills sewn into her stomach. Yeah, that ol' outcome. But even worse, her current captor wants to get it on with her sexy post-hasty surgical self, and when rebuffed he punches her in the gut. Not cool, bro on multiple fronts, which sends the drugs spewing into her body, transforming her into, you guessed it, Neo from The Matrix.  


Friday, February 8, 2019

This will be my final evaluation.

Seeing a great movie, with a bunch of people? That's an A night.
Seeing a decent movie...alone in a mostly empty theater? When you're my age, that's a B night.

And seeing a movie where you demand some sort of earth-shattering twist ending? Yep, you guessed it.

That's an M Night.

After setting the theater ablaze with the twist ending of 2016's kickass Split [review], writer/director M. Night Shyamalan's tying up loose ends with Glass, (what may or may not be) the final entry in his brilliantly subversive superhero trilogy. Starting (cue LaBamba) in the year two-thoooooooouuuuusand with Unbreakable, this trilogy, is equal parts incredible and inexplicable.  And while I may have been just a tad disappointed with the end of this story, I'm more than psyched at could be next. 

But more on that in a bit. 

After the reveal of The Horde near the end of Split, Glass opens with an even more grizzled David Dunn patrolling the streets of Philadelphia. He's looking for whatever the Hell The Horde is, and would like to find him/it before four missing high school cheerleaders are served up to the beast as breakfast, lunch and dinner (and fourthmeal, I suppose).

Unfortunately, after tracking down his arch enemy and freeing the girls, the ensuing brouhaha spills out into the streets, and both David and Kevin/The Horde are captured and taken to a psychiatric facility. Along with an totally incapacitated Mr. Glass who's already a resident, all three will serve as involuntary subjects in a hush-hush medical study. The goal? To fix people who share the same seemingly psychotic belief that they are anything than more than regular a-holes from Philly. Meaning? Dr. Ellie Staple, the program's director, wants to de-super these superheroes.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

You will never be good enough.

After dinner at his parents house, GUY and GIRL lay in bed together, but facing in opposite directions.
Hey, what's wrong? Look at me. 

She turns, and it's clear she's been quietly crying.
Are you still thinking about what my mom said? She was drunk.

She turns away.

It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, okay? I love you.

They kiss, and despite GIRL never removing her bra for some odd reason, they have passionate, fulfilling sex on a bed larger than the square footage of a normal person's entire living room. And after, no one  has to awkwardly flee the scene and go to the bathroom. They simply lay there. Forever.


Oh, Movies. You're so silly. All these years, you've been telling us that all you need is love, but let's cut the shit, right? Love's pretty rad, sure, but it ain't shit without peace. And the only way to ever get it? Well, you're going to need something stronger than love and peace combined. 

You're gonna need Mom. (and a way better screenplay)

There have probably been ten thousand movies that tell the same story that Crazy Rich Asians does (controlling mother initially tortures son's unsuspecting girlfriend for no good reason whatsoever, but ultimately it's because, despite having everything, she's a miserably empty person void of joy and human feelings but who'll naturally come around in the end) but that doesn't make the story any less enjoyable. In fact, for a film that was released just last year, Jon M. Chu's smash hit feels like something that could have been churned out by Old Hollywood, except thankfully no one's in f--king yellowface

In case you've never seen a romantic motion picture, here's Crazy Rich Asians, as boiled down by a moron: Rachel and Nick are young and in love in the only place where such a combination is allowed, wondrous New York City. Nick's about to be the best man in a wedding back home, and invites his gloriously beautiful/borderline perfect girlfriend to accompany him to Singapore. Turns out, as handsome as Nick is, he's also rich as f--k. And somehow, not only did Rachel not know this, but his sizable fortune is major f--king problem for just about everyone involved. Aw, that sucks. Good thing my wife married a penniless troll. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

She's happy, though.

It's almost embarrassing, honestly.

I think about her constantly. I laugh at all her jokes, even if they don't make any sense. I'll drop just about anything I'm doing if she calls. And she calls all the time. Between you and me, on most nights? I even help brush her teeth for her.

And on the off-chance that she ever mentions that she wants to see a particular movie, well, I can't get us there fast enough. Oh, don't worry, it's not like I'd ever let her take the wheel. I mean...

...she's only five-and-a-half.

As soon as she saw the trailer again (the first time it startled her), my adorable daughter Violet let it be known, rather loudly, that she reallyyyyy wanted to see the Bumblebee movie. Being that I'll oblige just about anyone who's requesting a trip to the cinema in my presence, it was an absolute no-brainer that I take my little girl to the theater...even if it's to see the sixth frickin' Trasformers movie.

But, uh, whatever your name is, I've heard this is the best Transformers movie yet...! It just might be Voice of Reason, but if you line 'em all up, one of the times I, uh, crapped myself has to be the best time, feel me?

Set in 1987 to the max, Bumbleebee is actually a fairly reasonable origin story. See, long before the events of the first film where Sam Witwicky and his Target brand Strokes t-shirt fought Megatron for the Allspark, a yellow Autobot known as Blink 182, er, B-127, was jettisoned from Cybertron. Turns out the Decepticons were on the verge of wiping out all the Autobots, every last one of them, and team captain/Peterbilt truck/potential future President of the Unites States (nothing would surprise me at this point) Optimus Prime sends B-127 to Earth, in hopes of one day getting the band back together. Unfortunately, the military ain't all that excited to see a giant walking space car, and they attempt to blow him halfway to Hell. Bullets fly, trees explode, John Cena seems mildly irritated, and B-127 fades into obscurity. Or he would have, if it weren't for those damn meddling kids.

Monday, January 21, 2019

I'm so embarassed. I'm not a real person yet.

I will die knowing, Hell, screaming to anyone within earshot that middle school is hands-down the worst stretch of a given person's life. Basically, it's that time when you think you know everything, but you're in fact, a ignorant f--king moron.

But coming in second to eleven, twelve and thirteen, might just be that time directly after college. That segment of life where you realize (or don't realize), that quite clearly, what you used to think was the real world was anything but. You've finished high school, conquered college. You have officially arrived.

At absolutely nowhere.

If something perfectly encapsulates the zeitgeist of a time and place that you f--king loathe...can it be considered a success, a fun time had by all? Because that was my dilemma during each and every black-and-white frame of Frances Ha. Yeah, this is well-made, looks lovely and features Kylo Ren likely on holiday from Jedi Summer Camp...but, uh, f--k this shit, you know? All of it.

I barely made it out of my early twenties as it was, and now I gotta watch a bunch of rich assholes play grabass in Central Park? F--k you, and the unicycle you rode in on.

The story, if you can call it that, is shockingly simple. Frances (Greta Gerwig) is a bit of an odd bird, and after her heterosexual life partner Silent Bob Sophie more or less dumps her to move on with her own life, France's basically falls apart. No, no...not to the point where she's sucking off homeless dudes for busfare or anything, but the poor girl is beyond lost without her BFF. So what's a confused, apartment-less, twenty-something in NYC to do? Not much, apparently. 

The rest of the film follows Frances from house-to-house, address to address as she searches for the rest of her life. For some of you, it may be as relaxing and relatable as running through the park on a warm summer day in the city, but for me, I was clamoring for a lawn I could tell those damn kids to get off of. Outside of Gerwig's relentless positivity, there wasn't much at all I enjoyed in this 95-minute epic.

Monday, January 14, 2019

How did you guys get so lucky?

When it comes to avoiding your impending, violent death, cinematically speaking of course, there are many rules to follow.

Don't speak. (A Quiet Place)
Don't breathe. (um, Don't Breathe)
Don't move. Uh, pretty much everything (all horror, recently-freed T-Rex)
Don't touch. (Contagion? Outbreak?)
Don't...listen? (Pontypool)
Don't place your genitals in/or around someone else's. (It Follows)

Now, we've circled back to Don't look.

And every time I watch a movie where it's going to kill you (Don't grow up in Derry, by the way) there's only one rule I'm hoping the film will abide by: Don't suck.

Bird Box, surprisingly, doesn't suck - but it sure as shit doesn't warrant its momentary cultural phenomenon status. Debuting on Netflix in December, this Sandra Bullock-led thriller has, like the mysterious plague at its core, somehow captivated a portion of the entire planet. Apparently, no one has seen any of the films mentioned above, because all of those did the relentless death thing first, sure, and damn near all of them did it better.

In case the rock you live under doesn't have WiFi, here's what you need to know: some mysterious plague is quickly encompassing the planet, were victims, upon catching it (or being caught by it), kill themselves instantly. Think The Happening, but no one gives a shit about the honey bees.

The hook, outside of the glorious chaos that comes from mass (hysterical?) suicides, is that in the world of Bird Box, one acquires this illness through their eyes. You can make all the noise you want (kind of), inhale and exhale like a champ, and Hell, f--k anything that moves, but you best do all that shit with your eyes closed. Because...if you see it, if you dead. Fine, that doesn't make a lot of sense, but like this flick, just shut the f--k up and go with it.

Monday, December 31, 2018

They're no dummies.

My dad was just in for his annual/semi-annual visit to the mid-Atlantic. Cooked a bunch, finished my basement, played an infinite number of games of Hangman with my daughter. Good times, indeed.

For as long as I can remember (but much more so in recent years), politically speaking, he's been incredibly involved. Consumed, even. No matter the topic, all roads lead to some massive injustice perpetrated by a sinister government on its innocent people. While there's a level of shame in discussing any of these crimes with my father, turns out there's a bonus level. The fact that I, his son, knew absolutely nothing about these terrible, terrible events.

What do you know about Cambodia? You know about Laos, right - what happened there? Do you know what the United States did to ________________? I either shrug, sigh, or go silent.

Because, me? I haven't really been the best student of history - especially U.S. History. But, uh, not to brag or anything...

...I do watch a lot of movies.

Vice, the latest cinematic dick punch from director Adam McKay. Packaged and sold as a movie, as in something one would enjoy with popcorn, Vice ends up being one of the most amusing/f--king dreadful two hour history lessons to hit the theater since McKay's previous effort, The Big Short [review]. Imagine your favorite person you the worst news of your life, and you might be on the right track.
It was only fitting that I took my dad (and my wife) to

Just short of shadowboxing my way into the theater (and wearing a white towel with a hole cut in it for a shirt), I felt incredibly confident heading into our evening showing of Vice. At 39, I'm old enough to have a solid recollection of the depicted events, theoretically meaning I wouldn't sound like a bigger moron than usual during the post-watch breakdown we were bound to dive into. Also, there was a good chance I would be the only who stayed awake the entire time, so, advantage m.brown.

Here's the thing, I honestly can't tell you, if knowing more (in this situation), can really be framed as an advantage - a positive. When the house lights came on, as much as I enjoyed my time in the theater, and letting the people flanking me know who snores louder, this depiction of the Bush-Cheney Administration absolutely gutted me. Vice, and the era that it portrays, is nothing short of an absolute f--king nightmare. Maybe the current administration has made some us long for the Dubya days, but seeing this film not only shatters those rose-colored glasses, but then it picks up the shards and jams them in your eye. I think this tweet sums it up the best: