Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The American people don't need this!

Twelve hours...and I can do anything I want? Like, anything-anything? That sounds f--king fantastic.

I've got it. I know exactly what I would do, motherf--ker. Exactly. *rubs hands together, Mr. Burns-style*



But, uh...is it still considered a nap if you do it for half a day?

Somebody in Marketing needs a raise. And probably a passport.
It's not that The First Purge was sleep-inducing or anything, but this was the only time in four films I thoroughly didn't give a shit. Dialing the series back to how the annual night of lawlessness began was a solid (if unsurprising) way to further the lore, but the results are mixed at best. Maybe it's because series creator James DeMonaco finally didn't direct his own script (he was three for three prior), or maybe seeing how it all began was simply... redundant. I mean, we all know how the Purge began, or well, will begin. It's f--king happening all around us.

Turns out, the (fictional) initial Purge was a bit of a bust. Confined to Staten Island, most people just wanted to get high and dance in the streets like coke-fueled MC Skat Kats. These opposites don't attract however, and the recently-elected New Founding Fathers of America (the NFFA, derp) have a big f--king problem on their hands. After going all in on this absurd/brilliant (if you're Thanos) concept, the NFFA see firsthand that America, well, a certain segment of it, ain't exactly all about the murdering of their neighbors. Even if you pay them to do it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

You are the World's Greatest Grandma.

My wife, seated three seats to my right, leaned forward, beaming. She was saying something, but with my brother Bryan next to me, and Violet next to him, I couldn't make it out. The house lights were coming on, and all the rookies were leaving.

She basically doubles over, saying, I said, 'pretty much the best Marvel movie ever', right?

I nodded. And then sat back, disappearing behind my brother, who, along with Violet, may or may not just have rejoined the grownups in consciousness.

Best Marvel movie ever? It barely makes the top three. Of this year.


It's not that I didn't like Ant-Man and the Wasp, it was fine, but I honestly don't think I was ready for how small small-scale would be. Obviously, following the universe-enveloping events of Avengers: Infinity War [review] is an unenviable task for just about any comic book film - I get that. And of course, someone had to take that bullet/vicious finger snap and be up next, so I commend Peyton Reed and his crew endlessly. But, even as it was happening, the more I thought about the second Ant-Man flick, the less I cared.

It's not that I don't get it, of course I would drop everything for Michelle Pfeiffer - who wouldn't? But heading into the Quantum Realm to rescue the original Wasp wasn't as intriguing as I hoped it would be. I don't know how to explain it, but I wanted more Ant-Man. And more Wasp. I'm not even sure this is possible, but I felt like neither of them were in the movie that much. Hank's fine, Luis is beyond awesome, the secondary dudes in the crew absolutely slay. There's not a character I don't like.

But during all the silly bickering and back-and-forth, what I found charming in the first film...felt like filler. The daughter (adorable as she was), the villain (cool as she was), both great, but haven't we got bigger fish to fry, ladies? Purple Cable is (about to be?) up in the sky tossing Uhura off a cliff and we're down here arguing over a tackle box? C'mon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A creature from the future, made with parts from the past.

A Chinese Lantern.
William Shakepeare's signature. 
The elusive Albino Humpback. 
Someone genuinely excited about Scarlett Johansson's next role.

In an age of copies and mass production, it's a good thing the world still offers up something unique and rare on occasion. Something we can gaze upon and collectively marvel at its overwhelming scarcity. The kind of thing that you'd turn to the person next to you and say:

Wow. I didn't even know that was possible.

It's funny that it took a theatrical showing of something as derivative as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom for me to realize that my own niece and nephew, ages 15 and 12 respectively, had never seen a freakin' Jurassic Park movie. I didn't know this astounding fact when I invited them (and my father-in-law) to a mid-week screening. Frankly, it was a good thing too, because I probably wouldn't have let them tag along otherwise. I mean, what responsible uncle/movie nerd lets his own family walk into a part FIVE without at least a ten to four-hundred slide PowerPoint about Dr. John Hammond and the nefarious InGen Corporation. 

Think about that for a second. Two kids, both of a (previously believed) perfectly normal and appropriate upbringing, had, in a home with many screens, somehow avoided what one could argue is the most popular film franchise of all-time...and it absolutely made my life to let them in on it. When we walked out of the movie, these two normally reserved goofballs were ablaze with nerdy questions and comments about what we'd just seen unfold. If I have a better time at a movie this or any year, tell my wife and kids (and Dodger) I loved them all, because I probably died during it.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

I actually kind of like that.

Remember when Chris Webber called a timeout he didn't have against North Carolina (and narrowly missed traveling before that...)? Or when he dunked on Sir Charles after going behind the back on an outlet from Spree? Of course you do. Who doesn't?

Hell, what about that time Nate Robinson threw down over Spud Webb to win the dunk contest? That was nuts. Almost as crazy as when he jumped on Big Baby's back to form Shrek and Donkey in the Finals for the C's.

Shaq (/Neon Boudreaux) has too many moments, right? Like when he brought down the hoop against the Nets. Or when he so delicately declared, Kobe. Tell me how my tastes.

But nothing tops Reggie Miller destroying Spike Lee and the Knicks in the 1995 Eastern Conference Finals. The next day at practice our coach had to ask everyone to cut the shit with choke signing everyone after a made three. As stupid and pointless as it was, we couldn't help ourselves.

I also couldn't help myself from seeing Uncle Drew, as stupid and pointless as it was. Hell, even if I didn't have an eight-year old son who lives and breathes all things N.B.A, being a lifelong hoophead/bad movie aficionado?This flick, based on a series of Pepsi commercials (!) -of all things- was 100% must-see cinema.

Uncle Drew, played by current NBA all-star Kyrie Irving (who I completely hated as a Cav, but endlessly respect as a Celtic), is an old-school playground legend. And when local good-guy Dax (Lil Rey Howery aka the funny dude in Get Out [review]) loses his Rucker tournament team at the last minute, he begrudgingly turns to the old timer for help. Uncle Drew is in, uh...rather easily...as long as Dax gives him the full LeBron, and lets him assemble and run the team. Meaning? Naturally, we've got to get the gang back together The Muppets [review] style with an epic and episodic (and utterly nonsensical) road-trip. Apparently, nobody has a cell phone. Got all that? Good. But, guess what?

It doesn't matter, even if you don't.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a 'film' starring old NBA players about even older streetball legends isn't exactly rocket science. Hell, Uncle Drew isn't even Weird Science. It's almost offensively predictable and impossibly bland, but in a shocking turn of events...still pretty damn amusing. Um, assuming you absolutely love the NBA. And watching men have a dance-off. Both of which, I'm a firm supporter of, truth be told.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

She isn't gone.

I should have just went to sleep.

Yeah, I was a little bit spooked, sure, but it was late. No one would have questioned me if I had gone straight to bed.

But I couldn't get it out of my head, you know? There was no way I was going to fall asleep. Not with that massive f--king burden coursing through me.

So when she asked me how was it? I did the worst thing possible you could do to someone who doesn't like horror movies: I told her. Everything

Why would you tell me this? Why? 

Um, because trust me, letting you find out on your own is worse. Way worse.

Hereditary, written and directed by Ari Aster, has pretty much permanently f--ked me up. I'm not sure I ever wanted to see some of the things I saw that night, and goddamn it, now I can't unsee them. And because of that, I really want you to see them, too.

I was (unfortunately?) raised on horror movies as a little kid so I'd argue my tolerance for scary shit is pretty high, but needless to say, I wasn't prepared for this one. As the film opens, Annie (Toni Collette, who I assume hates sleeping. And joy.) is giving the eulogy for her recently departed mother. Turns out, ol' grandma was a bit of a handful, and may have been batshit crazy. And grandma's favorite kid? It's not Peter, Annie's high-school aged son. Nope. It's Charlie. Annie's infinitely creepy middle school daughter who will straight-up haunt my nightmares til the day I die. 

Seriously.

I know it's basically after the fact, but I'd still rather not spoil anything for those of you lucky enough to have not seen this film (still not sure if I should add yet to the end of that sentence). Safe to say the next hour and fifty minutes will absolutely knock you on your f--king ass, even if your audience was as shitty and distracting as mine. Sure, I left the theater hollow and a healthy combination of confused/disappointed (I initially thought it went waaaaay off the rails in the last twenty minutes), but after talking with my sister [who has seen this movie more than once] I think most of my questions have been answered. So if you've seen it, give me another minute or two of your time and let's talk it out below. And if you haven't? Good f--king luck.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Done properly, parenting is a heroic activity.

I've mentioned it before, but I tried instituting a We Go To The Movies policy with my wife and son a few Christmases back. Shocking no one, neither of the passengers in my car were on-board, and good ol' Dad ended up being the only one having any fun. Welp, scratch that, shall we? But, uh, isn't Christmas really about what Dad wants?

*crickets*

Okay, fine. We'll never do that again. But on Father's Day, dammit...
We Go To The Movies. 

And this past Father's Day? We did. But how it all shook down? Let's just say it was Incredible.

But more on that in a bit.

No, lie. I love doing laundry. Even love folding it.
But putting it away? Uh.....
Like pretty much everybody else walking the planet, I was a big fan of 2004's The Incredibles. Clearly Brad Bird's first go-round with the Parr family stuck with me, as I ended up naming my kids Dash and Violet years after the fact. (fine, Matty's middle name is Dashiell, as I wimped out at the hospital - but still). Not only was I looking forward to finally catching up with the family of supers fourteen years later, but safe to say I pretty stoked to have both my kids by my side as well. Uh...about that.

Anyway, I'm happy to report that Incredibles 2 is easily as good as the first film, if not better. Picking up immediately after the conclusion of the '04 film (always a nice touch, right?), Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and the kids defeat the Underminer in a thrilling and chaotic clash beneath the city. Unfortunately, as these things tend to go, the collateral damage is too much, and once again superheroes are forced back into hiding. Scarlett Witch feels their pain.

Luckily the Deavors, a rich set of siblings, contact the Parrs, and in honor of their late father, decide to launch an epic PR campaign to get the Incredibles (and other costumed crime-fighters) back in the good graces of society. While Mr. Incredible is beyond excited, it takes his wife Helen a little longer to get on board. Good thing the Deavors want to feature her first, leaving Bob to go from being Mr. Incredible to Mr. Mom.

Monday, July 2, 2018

You work with what you got, not with what you hoped for.

I'm good for at least three or four a year. 

One to two of them are adults only, meaning our anniversary or my wife's birthday. I say it's because she needs a break, but I think everybody involved (including my wife) sees through that selfless gesture. The other two are with the kids, and are usually the respite after a hellacious inter-state car ride that would make even Clark W. Griswold turn this damn car around. 

Clearly, the whole point of staying at a hotel is to relax and recharge your batteries. But whether it's alone with my wife, or together with my kids...I'm typically ten times more exhausted checking out then checking in.

Even if the reasons are wildly different (ahem), when it comes to a hotel stay, I can't get a decent night's sleep.

After getting less than nine hours sleep Monday and Tuesday night combined, I foolishly decided to celebrate the last day of school with a Wednesday matinee showing of Drew Pearce's Hotel Artemis. 

I raced to the theater high on the smell of empty lockers and disinfectant, knowing that this flick was about to begin the nine weeks of heaven I had earned for the previous ten months of Hell. But being that I had (kind of) already begun the celebration with consecutive trips to see the Red Sox buttf--k the Orioles (getting home after one AM each night), I overestimated just how far pure f--king elation would carry me. In short, I fell the f--k asleep.

Not entirely, which would have been nice, but more like the way my grandfather would nod off at the dinner table: long blinks at first, followed by the slow and steady drooping of the head, culminating in that awful snap back + snarl/snort combo. What'd I miss?

From what I gather, Jodie Foster is The Nurse, a kind older woman who runs a hotel/urgent care clinic in downtown Los Angeles. Hiding in plain site, this facility serves criminals and all sorts of bad mamma jammas, but only for members that are down with a set of non-negotiable rules. Think that badass hotel in the John Wick movies, minus the class and charm. The Artemis is kind of a shit-hole.