Sunday, December 31, 2017

You're the worst criminal of them all.

The sad part? I actually thought it was cute at the time.

See, a couple of months ago, word got out that LeBron James, a demi-god of professional sports, was cheap. Like, extremely cheap. The joke was that his Pandora account still had all the advertisements in it, because he wouldn't spring the extra ten bucks a month for an unlimited subscription.

And while this seems like the appropriate time to mention that James' basketball salary alone for 2017 exceeded 30 million actual dollars (and his endorsements deals border a cool billion overall), that's none of my damn business, quite honestly.

But the real rub? When Pandora found out about this...

...they upgraded him for free. I mean, why not, right? Why should the crazy-rich have to pay for anything?

I'll never be crazy-rich, super-rich, or average rich for that matter, so, clearly, I don't get it, but J.P. Getty does. As the protagonist in Ridley Scott's thrilling All the Money in the World, Getty was, at the time, the richest man on the planet. Portrayed by Christopher Plummer (at the buzzer, from way downtown), Getty is the cheapest of cheap-skates, amassing an incredible fortune but hardly willing to spend a f--king dime of it.

In fact, he's not even going to lend you a dime. Nope. Not a single ten cent piece, not even to make, say, an important phone call from a payphone. You know, like the one he had installed in his f--king house. 

When his (favorite?) grandson Paul is kidnapped in Italy and held for ransom, the stubborn old cocks--ker refuses to pay up. Flatly. The same way you or I might quickly dismiss the nineteenth request to help save a homeless pet (oh, f--k off Petco)Getty ain't even gonna make that fake move for his wallet. He has fourteen grandchildren and as even an average businessman could figure, obviously, that's fourteen ransoms. Pay now, and he'll be paying forever. And he's got three responses to that scenario: Stop, no and don't. Or was that Eazy-E? I always get them confused.

If you see Bigfoot, shoot him.

Despite that awesome footage of him traipsing through the woods and sternly looking back over his shoulder, I unequivocally do not believe in Bigfoot.

I've seen some pretty rad documentaries about ol' Sasquatch in my day, which while utterly hysterical (I wish I could track down a certain one that made me almost piss in my pants), didn't necessarily convince me there's a giant man-thing pantslessly skulking about North America.

Nope. Sorry.
No f--king chance he's real.

See, while there is basically zero legit proof that Bigfoot actually exists, and I'm utterly convinced he doesn't, I'm buying the fact that that hairy f--ker breathes the same air I do infinitely more than than the notion that an actual human being wrote and f--king made something called Pottersville

And I watched it. From start to finish.

As unfathomable as all of the above is, take a hairy dump in your hand and multiply that shit by 900, as you try to wrap your mind around the fact that Michael Shannon is the f--king star of Pottersville. 

Michael. Shannon. *deep breath*

Shannon, in a film I'm convinced was co-produced by the Hallmark and SyFy Channels, stars as Maynard, the affable proprietor of the general store in Bumf--k, New Hampshire Pottersville, NY. Naturally, the darn mill has closed and the town is struggling through another chilly holiday season. Aww. And on a whim, Maynard closes shop a bit early, only to head home to find his wife having an affair with the local sheriff. Sort of. Anyway, Maynard does what all of us would do, dons a cheaply made Bigfoot costume and saves the f--king town. 

What the f--k are you talkin' bout, Mr. B?

Saturday, December 30, 2017

You can hit me if you want. But leave the flower alone.

I'm not a fighter.

Got kicked around by my older brothers a bunch when I was little, had a few minor altercations (with friends, mostly) in high school, but since then, the only thing I fight is my desire to quit my job and live under a bridge.

But, if you're a fighter? Good for you. Get yours, regardless of the wake of destruction you may leave, you know? We need a little of that fire in the world. Me? I'm good.

I'll be outside, enjoying the view and smelling the flowers.

Well, trying to anyway.

Just like my ability to discern scents would be rated somewhere below good (likely a nice way of saying piss-poor), the same could be said for Blue Sky's latest animated flick, Ferdinand. Based on a cherished children's book published some eighty years ago, there's a lot to like in this sweet story about being yourself. But outside of John Cena's voice-work, there ain't all that much to love.

Ferdinand, or Fernando, as he's somehow known around my house, is a simple guy. Er, bull. While his size is nothing short of enormous, it's his heart that's truly gigantic. He's basically a massive puppy dog, content on spending his days smelling flowers, chilling with his lame brother Paco, and taking an eye on Nina (sorry, that's how my daughter puts keeping an eye), the lovely little girl from the poster.

But after a series of unfortunate events at the local flower show (which he wasn't supposed to attend), ol' Ferdinand ends up shipped off to a bull farm. The plan is to sell him to Spain's most legendary bullfighter, some pendejo known as El Primero, if Ferdinand can demonstrate his ferociousness with the other bulls. The problem? Well, if this was Fight Club, Ferdinand is most definitely breaking rule number one. And not only is he talking about Fight Club, he's talking about everything. Including, because he's such a nice guy, your feelings.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

You need something...alive.

I haven't been since I was six, but I still remember feeling it was a heck of a show on the ride home. I'm pretty sure my parent's friends took me (which was weird, even then [the fact that my parents had friends]), as they had tickets...but didn't have children. Of their own.

Uh, okay. Anyway...

We sat really close, and the elephants, the tigers, the sudden bursts of fire, shoot, even the dude dressed in purple flying all over the damn place (I'm going to assume via trapeze) were right there. All of it was amazing, and all of it added up to something that I would never, ever forget. Even over thirty years later.

But what I also remember about going to the circus that day?

That even while all this cool stuff was happening, the whole place basically smelled like shit.

Hey look, a giant party at Hugh Jackman's crotch.
Maybe I can be Margaret's + 1.
The Greatest Showman, like the circus it's based on, is a tantalizing assault on the senses. And with buttery popcorn in hand, something that could be easily enjoyed. Assuming of course, you don't actually think about what you're seeing. 

Admire the singing, admire the message, and by all means, admire the endlessly talented force that is Hugh f--king Jackman. But when the part of your brain that houses knowledge and reason kicks on, feel free to head for the exits. Immediately. On the bright side, you could already be in your car when the tent catches on fire, killing everyone inside.

Like a stripped-down, family-friendly version of Moulin Rouge, The Greatest Showman is an all-singing, all-dancing tale of the struggles P.T Barnum faced in developing the greatest show on Earth. From his humble beginnings helping his dad tailor clothes for the wealthy, his doomed venture as museum owner, and up until he basically conquers the entertainment world, director Michael Gracey's presents Barnum as the ultimate dreamer. A man whose relentless obsession with entertaining the masses/making stacks of money was rooted in the idea that his own kids would never know what it was like to be looked down on, as you guessed it, he was as a kid. Aww.

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?

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Page-turners, they were not.

A job interview. 
A vacation. With the kids.

There have been many other times in my life where I have desperately waited for something to begin (for what felt life forever), only to find myself minutes later, adamantly begging for its immediate conclusion. 

I know they can't hear you scream in space, but can they hear you snore? 

Maybe The Last Jedi wasn't boring top-to-bottom, but holy shit did I lose interest quickly. In a f--king Star Wars movie, for f--k's sake. After patiently waiting since J.J. Abrams dropped the charmingly nostalgic The Force Awakens [review] a couple years back, I found myself (surprisingly) quite antsy in the weeks and days leading up to Episode VIII. Now, I don't have Chewbacca's face tattooed above my johnson, nor Jar Jar's bisected across my buttcheeks, but I'm a thirty-eight year old man with an eight year old son. I hold the galaxy far, far away close, close to my heart.

Turns out I like my space operas with a little more space, and a lot less opera.

The Force Awakens, however you felt about it, at the very least set the stage. A new cast of interesting characters was introduced, and each was given enough cool shit to do that we actually cared about them, you know? There was intrigue, mystery and even a few laughs, as Rey, Finn and Poe fought the good fight with Han, Chewie and Leia. Sure, killing off one of the best characters in the history of the written word was an epic dick-punch, but it felt like it mattered, and more importantly, I actually gave a shit. Like, a really big shit. Maybe even too big of a shit.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Ten: Best Christmas Movies of All Time

It's my favorite time of year again.

No, no. Not the annual Lexus December to Remember sale, silly goose, but that time of the year when some wonderful person invites me to a blogathon...and I basically shit all over it. This year, it's the lovely and talented Brittani at Rambling Film who (accidentally? begrudgingly?) invited me to the party. Better yet, this year? It's a holiday party. So, here it is...

My yule log.

Nostra is the brains behind these rad relays, and this year's race is no different. The premise is simple: ten (Christmas) movies are passed from blog to blog, with each new site being tasked with dropping one flick and adding another in its place. The rules are better explained here, so feel free to pop on over to My Film Views and check 'em out.

For me, the toughest part of these relays has always been not being an uber-dick and tossing out the flick of the person who invited you, you know? So it's a good thing that Brittani jingled my bells by adding Gremlins with her selection. I mean, any movie where a monstrous creature is microwaved by an attack victim, totally deserves a spot on The Best Christmas movies of all time. Seriously.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

I don't know if this is an appropriate story...

I know you should never say never, but I feel like I'm never, ever, never ever going to be a stepdad. I've got two kids of my own, and trust me - that's more than enough.

If the situation ever arose where I wasn't married to my lovely wife anymore (um, is she divorced me, obviously), I would probably move to an abandoned cave like the Grinch and hope to die as quietly as possible with a dog I taped antlers to.

Remember, I teach other people's kids for eight hours a day. The only solace I take in this miserable existence? At least I don't have to parent them.

Daddy's Home is the laziest of lazy comedies. Likely written on a Jimmy John's napkin and fleshed out on a series of Post-It notes, this 2015 comedy is as bland and nonsensical as they come. Oh, there are certainly some laughs to be had, but Wahlberg and Ferrell could (and possibly did) do this in their sleep.

Ferrell plays, get this, an adorable loser lacking the respect of most people around him, namely his two step-kids, Sassy and Jerkface (that may not be the names of their characters). Shockingly in reality, but par for the course in a lame comedy, this giant doofus has a (relatively) smoking hot wife. And when her ex shows up to be a part of everyone's life again, it's not only the Daddies that are home.

So is the hilarity!

Even more pressing than the question why would I write that? is the question why would I watch this? The answer is two-fold, my sexy friend: one, I'm a moron and two,  my son has been desperate to see the second one (damn that ubiquitous trailer), so I wanted to take a look beforehand. Um, that's a negative, Ghost Rider. So consider seeing this flick a bad decision/good parenting.

Uh, or something.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Show me what you got, muchacho.

It's hard to talk to your kids about how much life sucks.

Try explaining to a little kid that loves his toys, that someday, he's going to have to put them in a box and grow the Hell up. Try telling your little girl about that moment when she'll start the transition to adulthood, and her brain will basically implode to the point where no one will want to be around her. For almost a decade.

Or, better yet, see them through a happy childhood, and then drop on them the idea that their dreams of having a family of their own...might not ever come true. Tell them that maybe the best thing they have to look forward to, is obliviously drifting through the cosmos, slurping chum through a straw as machines live their lives for them.

Go ahead. Gather the most precious thing in the world to you...and break its adorable little heart. 

Or, better yet?

Have PIXAR do it for you.

This time around, with their latest film Coco, the fine folks that gave us Buzz and Woody (before ripping them out of our hands), have gladly put the toys away and set the table for a party. A party, you say? Yes. A party. For everyone in your family that's dead. Including that one guy that was violently murdered. 

Wait, what?

Set during the Mexican holiday, Dia de Muertos, Coco focuses on a fine young dude named Miguel. Born to a family of shoe makers, Miguel's got more soul than sole, as he dreams of playing and making music like his undercover hero, classic movie star Ernesto de la Cruz. But, as the legend goes, it was sweet, sweet music that almost destroyed Miguel's family, and on this day to honor his now deceased ancestors, nobody wants to hear anything resembling a melody. In fact, it would probably kill his grandmother to hear Miguel's angelic voice and/or the strum of his acoustic guitar in the upcoming talent show. Maybe he could enter it...secretly?

No. No chance, amigo. By jamming on a magical guitar he never intended to play, Miguel ends up crossing over to the land of the dead, and well, everyone's gonna find out about 

Which might just be his curse.