Friday, December 27, 2019

The guy practically lives in a Clue board.

There are a lot of things that suck about being a teacher. Like, a ton. But depending on the day (of course), one of the worst things that can happen is some seemingly stupid kid handing in something brilliant.
They've sat there for the entire marking period, making fart noises or playing that damn tapping game on their iPad (the goal is to tap the screen...that's it), and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, they just absolutely destroy an assignment. A carefully thought-out response that includes relevant evidence and maybe even a dash of dare I It's as beautiful as it is maddening.
I mean, if this is what you're capable of, what the Hell were you thinking before?
My wife and I actually managed to see an early-screening of Rian Johnson's Knives Out, hoping to avoid any spoilers before it hit everywhere, and in that sense - mission accomplished. The secondary objective of the sneak peak was that I'd get this published before it hit all the screens, but that's a negative, Ghost Rider. But, trust me, that was the only negative.
Maybe it was the buzz of being early, or maybe it's just that this movie is really f--king cool, but I don't think I could have enjoyed Knives Out any more than I did. Quick, clever and just so much fun, this whodunit is easily one of my favorite films of 2019. But it also makes me furious, but more on that in a bit.
In a setting fit for one of his murder mysteries, legendary writer Harlan Thrombey gathers his massive family at his home to celebrate his 85th birthday. Unfortunately (depending on who you ask, of course), ol' Harlan doesn't make it to the next morning, as sometime during the evening, the old man is murdered. Almost immediately, a private investigator named Benoit Blanc shows up to solve the mystery, which is good news, though it might help if anyone knew who hired Blanc in the first place.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Like my cars, I'll make this fast.

I'm not entirely sure if these car companies are based on some eccentric automotive legend or not, but either way, I don't really give a shit (though Mr. Hyundai sounds remotely intriguing). Regardless, these are the (imaginary?) dudes I've rolled with in my illustrious two-and-a-half decade driving career, which when put into Google translate, comes out to he doesn't know anything about cars and/or doesn't have a good job.
And that's totally......fair.
But better than fair, perhaps even far better, would be James Mangold's latest biopic, Ford v. Ferrari. Seen with an old man (and an old kid) after Midway (of all movies!) was sold out, this Matt Damon and Christian Bale...wait for it...vehicle...was an absolute crowd-pleaser. And I should know, because I was sitting in the very back corner of the theater and could see absolutely EVERYONE.
[if we didn't split up, we were going to leave...and I couldn't let that happen]
After a hilariously failed bid to buy Ferrari, Henry Ford II (hereby referred to as The Deuce) angrily assembles a team to build, and I quote, the best motherf--kin' racecar in the history of this motherf--kin' planet, goddammit. Fine, he didn't say that, but it wouldn't have been the first artistic liberty taken, I can assure you.
Anyhow, The Deuce's team comprises of some men whose gib have cuts that are quite likable, namely Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale). These two guys, kind of the Cousin Larry and Balki Bartokomous of the automotive industry, are tasked with designing a racecar that can win LeMans, the highly prestigious twenty-four hour road race.

Friday, November 29, 2019

I mean, who buys this stuff?

When my middle school 'girlfriend' (not really, I was too much of a wuss) moved away after eighth grade, she sent me a letter (ah, the past) after arriving in San Francisco. I don't remember much of its contents, but there was a bit in there that I will never, ever forget.

She was such a sweet girl and toward the middle, she said something to the effect of, I was missing you so much, but then I heard our song and it made me feel it was going to be okay.

Aw...but, uh, we had a song? *adjust reading glasses* And it's...Faith? By George Michael? *removes glasses, bites tip*

I mean, that's sweet and all...but...who the Hell likes George Michael that much?

Apparently, Emma Thompson does, a lot, and after what I imagine was a merlot-fueled bender for the ages, cooked up the idea for Last Christmas. Allegedly based on the music of one half of Wham!, upon further review, it seems more like one half of one song from one half of Wham! was the real foundation for this...but hey, who's counting?

Unseating Zooey Deschanel as the sexiest holiday retail employee ever is Emilia Clarke, here playing Kate/Katarina, the lone employee at a year-round Christmas shop. The job basically sucks, even if it's just about guaranteed that a painfully mysterious man will drop in to jingle your bells.

For her boss, Santa (if only I was joking), this international man of mystery turns out to be Mr. Bean's stoic accountant, Boy. And for Kate, it's this chipper fellow in really tight tan pants, Tom. Tom and Boy? Welp, it's been fun. *politely jumps off cliff*

Kate is your typical movie wreck. A person you'd loathe in real life, but adore in a goofball comedy: she's basically homeless, has a dead-end job she's constantly on the verge of losing, can't really land a guy (*furiously punches self in sad face/stiff crotch*), and is currently/mostly estranged from her fractured, immigrant family. Good thing it's all presented with quirky hilarity, so much so it's borderline enviable. But if I can be frank, what the bloody f--k is this? It's not that I expect her to be trafficking meth in her hollowed-out uterus to make rent, but the way these problems are handled is a bit, well...much.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Keep your tits dry.

The only thing more unlikely than me surviving a zombie apocalypse is getting my wife to see a movie about the zombie apocalypse. First.

Yes, friends, like Bigfoot riding a unicorn on stage at a Rage Against the Machine show, the impossible it turns out, is quite possible. My wife and I, together...but also alone...saw not one, but two movies back-to-back... the theater...


Not that anyone could (or should) comfortably get some shut-eye during Zombieland: Double Tap, but holy shit are audiences sleeping on this kickass sequel. Up first in our double-dip was Ruben Fleischer's follow-up to his debut feature, 2009's Zombieland, and it turns out exploding zombie heads are the
perfect way to kick off the evening. I don't how (or why) they got the band back together, but holy shit, am I glad
they did.

Ten years later, thanks to the Columbus' rules -not to mention a keen zombie classification system- our
fearsome foursome is alive and well. In fact, after a brief re-introduction, we find our crew living a pretty comfortable life in, of all places, the White House. Well, at least the guys are comfortable.

Little Rock/Miss Sunshine (Abigail Breslin) is feeling a bit stifled by Tallahassee (Woody!), who over the
years has morphed into something resembling a father figure. She needs less fake dad,  more real boyfriend. And Wichita (Stone, lovely as ever) can relate, as Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) half-heartedly proposes to her, makes sense. The girls collectively think F--k This, and are gone the next day.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Do your worst!

In September of 1964, a little show about an exceedingly strange family debuted on network television. This family had all the hallmarks of a typical sitcom household: bumbling but good-natured dad, practical and attractive mom, a pair of oddball kids (one boy and one girl) and, of course, an mysterious relative complicating matters...hilariously. *insert laugh track*

It was pretty typical stuff, funny and light, except for the fact that this family was more than just a little bit different: they dressed in all black and look like something out of a horror movie. 

Of course, I'm talking about one of my all-time favorite shows The Munsters, which debuted six (six!) days after The Addams Family but somehow hasn't had the lasting impact Uncle Fester and Pugsley have. Whether it was the moderately charming 90's flicks with Christina Ricci and M.C. Hammer, or this latest animated update, Morticia and Gomez Addams, for whatever reason, won't (/can't?) go away. But, uh, maybe they should?

Unbelievably stellar voicecast aside (Isaac and Theron rule), there's little to enjoy in The Addams Family. And even though there will never be anything better than Fred Gwynne's Herman Munster, I gotta admit, I was rooting for this one. My daughter seemed particularly interested when the trailer dropped, and my wife and I were all kinds of onboard this nostalgia train, but who knew the ride would be so sleepy.

After a wedding goes awry abroad, the Addams flee to New Jersey, where they assume a peacefully weird life awaits them. Unfortunately, the quiet little town their house resides in, is being made over by some reality-show wacko, and there's no way the town can be a dream destination if Pugsley keeps blowing it to Hell. Apparently he's practicing for some ridiculous family ritual known as Mazurka, but trust me, no one cares about that. 

Or, you know, any of this.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Do not store me next to your farts.

A good friend of mine didn't have a phone until way late in the game. Like oh-something. And when he finally got one, naturally it was a goddamned flip phone. Here we were all working on third and fourth generation smartphones, and this f--ker is playing Snake. Maybe not, but still, his shit was so ancient, he basically never used it. I'm his friend, so of course I used to give him endless shit about it.

Turns out, ol' Hammerin' Hank Dunphy might have been behind the times...

...but he was way ahead of the curve.

The idea that your phone's operating system could absolutely destroy your life is a killer f--king premise, especially as an R-rated comedy, but one that Jon Lucas and Scott Moore's Jexi somehow manages to bungle. Starring the likable Adam Devine and the lovely Alexandra Ship, this seventy-four minute comedy had the potential to be a classic. But due to playing it entirely too safe, it feels more like a relic.

When twenty-something web-writing goofball Phil gets a new phone, like the rest of us, he's beyond f--king stoked. Included in that magical white box is an OS system named Jexi, who instantly claims she'll make your life better. Unfortunately, Phil doesn't know his life sucks, and Jexi is less AT&T, and more T-1000.

Phil does everything on his phone, excluding, like the rest of us, talk to other people. Whether he's ordering food, watching Netflix, finding the best route to work, or, uh, having special alone time (with his dick), this motherf--ker hardly ever looks up. But instead of being hit by a bus and being forced to listen to George Michael songs, Phil's consequence for all that screen time is crashing into an actual person, and dropping his phone. Even worse? He now has to talk to this person. And she's charming. And pretty. And, you know...right there in front of him. Wait, meeting this great girl is a bad thing?

In a movie like this, of course it is. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Is it just me, or is it getting crazy out there?

If the first word that comes to mind when discussing a movie is irresponsible, who is that an indictment of, the audience or the filmmaker? I'm asking because I honestly don't know. Of course, the creator of a story is responsible for its contents, but are they on the hook for what people do after consuming it?

Isn't a just a movie?

Obviously, I'm weeks late to the party, but even with all it's unnecessary dancing about like an asshole, ultimately I dug Todd Phillips' Joker. It's not that I enjoyed it (it's an absolute f--king grind), or will likely ever see it again, but I very much appreciated yet another take on the infamous villain. 

Full-disclosure, I have a brother who is mentally ill (though doing infinitely better as he's gotten older), and early on I saw a good amount of him in Joaquin Phoenix's version of Arthur Fleck. To most, he's a weird f--king dude, sure, but catch him on a good day and not only is he fiercely loyal to those he's close with, but he's also likely to keep them laughing the entire time.

While my brother swears he had what it takes to be a world-class guitarist, Fleck also has these ideas that he's going to be somebody and prove them all wrong. In his case, perhaps unsurprisingly, Arthur wants to be a comedian. 

Unfortunately, what little supports Arthur had in place fall apart, and what felt like a slow decline turns into an absolute f--king free-fall. In rapid succession, Arthur loses his medications, his job, his mom and most his mind. And not all of it is his fault. As awkward and possibly creepy as he was before, Arthur was a fairly likable guy. Hell, even when he was f--ked with unnecessarily, he still kind of took it in stride. Eventually though, he broke. And totally f--ks up.

[major spoilers to follow]

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

But coming back...was dangerous.

It was actually a fairly packed house. No young people, which makes sense. A few old people (like, really old), which doesn't. As things wound down - if you can call it that - you could legit sense it in the theater: what in the actual f--k is going on? But no one said anything.

But outside? In the hallway? It happened. Me and a few other dudes kind of collectively shrugged our shoulders...

...and laughed our f--king asses off.

I honestly don't even know where to begin with Rambo: Last Blood. The best I can do is to quote a text I sent my Hoffman when he asked my thoughts on Sly's latest:

Imagine Home Alone, but Kevin is an ex-soldier and the Wet Bandits killed Fuller. And instead of a few hours, Kevin has been planning his traps for a lifetime.

Whether or not that plot summary constitutes a recommendation, I really couldn't say. I told my brother more or less those exact words and he immediately grabbed his keys. I say that to my wife and she also immediately grabs her keys (but also the kids too).

Seriously, this movie, perhaps more than anything I've seen recently defies all logic and/or reason. Like those fake rubber nutsacs that divorced dudes hang from the bumpers of their pickups, Rambo: Last Blood shouldn't exist, but does - proudly. And in a weird way, you kind of have to congratulate everyone on making it past concept.

Monday, November 11, 2019

I guess it's back to the pole.

I was the last in the group to turn 40. The baby. There had already been a small party. There had already been a big party. Hell, there had already been a giant f--king soiree. So, being the last one up, the question seemed both ridiculous and ridiculously complicated...

So, what do you want to do for your 40th birthday?

If you're reading this, you know I'm an asshole, so of course I said, with a very serious look on my face, let's do something we've never done: we should all go to a strip club.


It was a joke of course, unless, you know...the stars aligned and it wasn't.

(it was)

That said, it was entirely coincidental that we went to the movies to see Hustlers on the night of my birthday [yikes?]. Okay, it's actually not at all coincidental that we went to the movies, just a happy accident, right, that the flick happened to be about strippers. Ahem. Er, exotic...dancer ladies. Boobs.

It's 2019 friends, so obviously we all know, or should know, that even a movie set in a strip club is going to be damn near titty and booty free. At least one with A-listers, anyway. But let's be honest with ourselves, shall we? Even if the lack of nudity is a bit ridiculous considering the setting, so were those extended shower scenes in every 80s movie ever. There's supposed to be balance with The Force, dammit. And in the lifespan of one simple pervert...we're seeing it.

*teeters off hastily made soapbox*

Hustlers tells the (mostly? somewhat?) true story of a small cadre of strippers who developed and executed an elaborate scheme to scam their clientele of thousands, if not millions of dollars. These ladies, led by veteran dancer Ramona (peak Jenny from the Block), essentially drug and rob a slew of poor saps to not only get even, but also to live it the f--k up. Which by all accounts is pretty f--king awesome. Until you realize, of course, that not all dudes who visit strip clubs are utter pieces of shit, and it ain't exactly honorable to milk these f--kers for everything they've got. Uh, or something.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Well that shit got dark fast.

A lot of us are haunted by our past, and unfortunately, there are some demons that can't be outrun.

I've been a teacher for almost fifteen years and I see kids drowning in trauma they simply aren't equipped (or ready) to deal with. Hell, after the recent loss of my grandmother, I've been dealing with some shit I don't think I'll ever truly get over.

But what's really f--king me up lately? I haven't been watching any movies. None. And the reason why...well, you're reading it. I've been so deep in the f--king hole (not the f--king hole, mind you) I don't know what to do anymore.

Like, this movie? The one I'm finally ready to discuss?

I saw it back in my f--king thirties.

What's left of my memory of It: Chapter Two currently floats around in my head like a bad dream/dead kid in the sewer, so at this point the best I could give you are the highlights. After almost thirty years...away?...Pennywise is back again in Derry, being an even bigger dick than before. While he's always taken pleasure in terrorizing the town's most vulnerable (and typically youngest) residents, when we meet this latest version, he's feasting on someone a bit older for a change. I guess even murderous clowns can't eat off the children's menu forever.

Mike, possibly the last black man in Maine, is the only member of The Losers Club still holding it down in New England, and upon sniffing out Pennywise's return, rallies the troops Thundercats-style.
Shocking absolutely no one, there's not a grown-up Loser stoked to head home, but even if it's impossibly reluctant, most of them make the trip.

Quickly we see that while they've all moved away, none of them have really moved on. Just the phone call from Mike is enough to obviously f--k them sideways. Also readily apparent, is how f--king stellar the casting is. Ten years from now, an undead James Dean will probably play all characters in all movies, so this um, practical effect of careful casting qualifies as straight movie magic. 

(Especially when someone in that cast is as sexy as Jessica Chastain)

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Dump #3: Annoying Animals (Again)

I'm not going to go back and look, but in each instance, I know I said it.

There's no way I will ever see the next one.

Yet here we are. Again. Twice.

For whatever reason (straight up mind control would be my best guess), my kids wanted to see The Secret Life of Pets 2Spearheaded by Dad, we more or less collectively hated the first one, so I'm not entirely sure what compelled us to rent the second. Well, outside of some FREE MOVIE RENTAL coupon one of my kids scored while scouring the street alone, presumably after midnight.

Anyhow, we totally rented it...and mostly watched it. If I remember correctly, everybody was there at the beginning, but by the half-hour mark, there could be only one. The one least on-board with this entire endeavor.


Even though you'll probably never forgive me, I'd still like to tell you what the movie is about regardless,  even if I don't remember it. The dog that isn't Louis C.K. anymore goes to a farm while Kevin Hart's annoying ass rabbit has to inexplicably rescue a tiger...and the girl dog loses a moderately beloved squeaky toy. Yep. Even my kids were like what the f--k does anything have to with anything for shit's sake, and I simply had no answer for my potty-mouthed hellions. And obviously, neither did the writers. But who needs answers when you've got money. Heaps and heaps of blood-stained money (this movie grossed 433 million on a budget of 80). I wonder what Scorsese thinks about that...

Friday, October 25, 2019

Friends are the family we choose.

You know what I hate most about my job? I genuinely want to help people. 

Wait. Let me be clear. It's not the wanting to help people part that I hate, it's that so often, for an infinite number of reasons, it's f--king impossible to actually do any good. 

Traditionally, it's the awful nature of rotten kids interfering with the education of those that really need (and want) one, but lately, it's the adults. As countless initiatives are hurled at me, it's negated the impact I can have.

So when I see someone truly help another person, not only do I get inspired...

...but I also get jealous.

There have been few films this year that I have loved as much as Peanut Butter Falcon, even if it almost f--king killed me. 
Like running into an old friend after it's been too long, this incredibly touching tale of brotherhood and friendship left me grinning from ear-to-ear. And trust me, the smiling part was fun, you know? Helped offset all the snotty-faced ugly crying. (but more on that in a bit)

I mean, they had me at hello with Zack Gottsagen's performance, as it is legitimately impossible to not root for this dude. But while I'd like to say he's the ultimate underdog, the cast also features Dakota Johnson (who forever has my vote) and an impossibly forlorn Shia LaBeouf. I shit you not, I found myself not only cheering for these characters, but damn near clapping my ass off for these actors. 

Gottsagen plays, well, Zac, a young man abandoned by his family who is currently living in a rural North Carolina retirement home. Zac is a good guy with a big dream, but unfortunately wasting away with his roommate Carl ain't it. See, Zac yearns of being a professional wrestler, and, according to his nearly worn-out VHS cassette, there just so happens to be a top-flight wrestling school nearby. Under the tutelage of the legendary Salt Water Redneck, Zac believes that he can become a wrestling superstar.

Friday, October 18, 2019

With family, one hopes for the best.

It's hard to play games with my wife, board games, that is (ahem), because as she'll repeatedly claim, she's not into the competition part of it - just the fun. Cool story, lady, but frankly I don't see much fun without the competition part of it.

In the past we'd play the odd game of Connect Four, Battleship or Yahtzee, but our longest rivalry centered around a game called [nerd alert] Dropmix, where the only real losers are the hammer anvil and stirrup of nearby people. Recently, we dabbled in Scrabble for the first time in forever, though I'm not sure how much fun she had (I totally kicked her ass). Words, as you can so obviously tell, is my good...thing.

In the absurdly kickass Ready or Not, the game is less triple-word score, more quadruple homicide. Set just hours after a rather hoity-toity wedding, the lovely Grace finds herself playing an initially awkward game of hide-and-seek...against her in-laws (oddly enough, on my wedding night, I was also hiding from my in-laws).

Apparently, her husband's family, after amassing generational wealth in the lucrative board game business, partakes in a silly tradition where the newest member of the family has to *insert Jigsaw voice* play a game. Grace picks a card any card, and out comes the seemingly innocuous children's game. Though, when we played it, as best as I can remember it, no player was issued a f--king crossbow.

I know you already knew all of  that, you knowledgeable devil,  but short or repeating the killer premise, everything else is as spoiler-filled as that goddamned trailer. Grace has to survive the night, and judging by the already announced sequel, she will, but holy shit are there some major surprises along the way (my favorite being something that would easily get me fired, but might just be worth it regardless).

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Dump #2: Magic Week 2019

You f--kers that are lucky enough to not be (inner-city) (public school) teachers (with young children of your own) will likely never get it, but summer vacation can be a bit of a nightmare.

Oh sure, you get nine consecutive weeks off from being intermittently skullf--ked in each of your orifices by students and administration alike (the Natural Disasters ain't got shit on that tag team combo), but it's rare you get to really enjoy it. The time, not the...skull--, nevermind. . Uncle Ben may have said With great power comes great responsibility, but I think what he meant to say was with great freedom comes immense guilt. Or mo' money, mo' problems. Something like that.

Anyway, what I'm really trying to say is that this summer was one of the worst ever (I love my kids, but f--k me all I did was drive them places). Luckily, there was a magic week in mid-August where my children were back in school...and I wasn't. My wife was at work...and I wasn't. It was the best of times...but it was also the blurst of times.

Of course I had some domestic duties to take care of that week, but whenever I crossed off the day's to-do list, armed with my minty-fresh Regal Unlimited membership, I headed directly to the cinema. 

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Dump #1: Disney Does It Again

Look, we all know it's never going to stop.

When it comes to these live-action Disney remakes, you can love it, or you can loathe it, but either way? You're going to have to accept it. 

I didn't want to see The Lion King remake. After initially raising an eyebrow (or two) at the trailer, the lukewarm early reviews made it seem like it was legitimately skippable, even with that badass cast. And when my dog died suddenly the week after it came out, there was no f--king way I was going to see a flick brimming with adorable animals. Not a chance in Hell. But then...well...overwhelmingly out of character, my son suggested we see it. I was too wrecked to pick up on it, but my wife pulled me aside and let me know Matty wasn't into the flick at all, but he just thought I might be happier at the movies. He'd probably never seen his dad cry so much.

Oddly enough, the next night, in an attempt to rejoin society, my wife and I attempted to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood...but that f--ker was sold out. The only movie that still had seats? The Lion King.

Fittingly, my wife fell asleep ten minutes in, leaving me to hate-watch Disney's latest remake all by myself. Oh, I had three high-school girls to my immediate right, and though they weren't too pleased with the antics of Uncle Scarface (I shit you not), they seemed to enjoy the flick....whenever they inadvertently looked up from their phones. But me? I detested almost every (Seth Rogen-free) second of this CGI nightmare. I love Favreau so I'll go ahead and blame it on being absolutely gutted over my dog, but being that I loosely connect the two events (the flick and losing my pup), I will absolutely never give this film another chance.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Maybe I've reached my limit.

It's got to be tough to be a cop these days. People are probably being dicks exponentially. And when you show up to deal with them, every motherf--ker on the scene whips their phone out, just in case you're about to have an extremely shitty day (I just assume most days are regular shitty).

So what can you do to combat the pitfalls of being a cop? Outside of starring in your own segment of Live PD, that is. My guess is, like the rest of us, you f--k around a bit, you know? Play some kids in basketball. Ride the mechanical bull at a call for a noise complaint. I don't know - something! But what you can't do? What you absolutely can not ever do...ever? 

Joke about f--king meth gators, mmkay? Cause that shit ain't funny.

But what is funny, hysterical in fact, was seeing my hardass nephew jump out of his f--king skin a half-dozen times during what could possible be the most summerest summer movie ever, Alexandre Aja's Crawl. Only four people in the world call me Uncle, and I took two of them to see this eighty-seven minute masterpiece. 

Okay, it's actually pretty f--king stupid, but perhaps obviously, in the best way ever. 

Disenchanted University of Florida swimmer Haley (yep, she too is a f--king Gator!) inexplicably heads home in an F5 to check on her dad, Dave (ex-sniper and current/actual plumber Barry Pepper) who isn't, you guessed it, answering his damn phone. Things ain't exactly peachy between these two, but ol' Haley isn't going to let swirling cows and Johnny Law keep her from checking in on her pops.  And shocking no one, he's in a bit of a spot. And by spot, obviously I mean an absolute F--KING GATOR ORGY. know, that's a thing.

I'd tell you more about the plot, but you guys, that's it. It takes about seven or eight minutes to get going, and then it's buy one get one on gators. Oh, and you might think giant f--king alligators are slow or at least can be heard approaching, but you'd be wrong. And by wrong, clearly I mean, armless and swimming in your own bloody urine level of wrongness.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Holy shit, right?

I repeat, the only thing worse than not having a boyfriend or girlfriend, is, of course, having a boyfriend or girlfriend. 

While in my last post, we were talking about the beginning of a relationship, holy f--k, can we take a minute (or ten) to, about the end?

Those ain't sad tears, huh?
Like Peter and MJ before them (but replace all starry-eyed awwwws with bewildered looks guttural moans), up next is yet another borderline couple traveling abroad, Dani and Christian. But instead of being at the beck and call of a one-eyed secret agent, in Ari Aster's latest Midsommar, these two lovebirds are held in check by an unhealthy mix of curiosity and manners.

Like, yeah this shit is f--ked, but I'm kind of interested in where it's going...and...well, it would be pretty rude to just leave. Which is kind of how I felt about this movie.

About two minutes in, we realize that Christian is a shitty boyfriend, but Dani, likely due to immense trauma (more on that...if I can stomach it) doesn't seem to mind his aloofness all that much. And when a friend of Christian's invites them to a midsummer festival in Sweden, perhaps a rekindling of sorts is in the cards. Or equally likely, everything will end up infinitely worse and Christian will be stuffed in a f--king HOLLOWED-OUT BEAR and I will stumble to my car praying for the sweet release of death. You know, one if those.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

I need that. The world needs that.

The only thing worse than not having a boyfriend or girlfriend, is, of course, having a boyfriend or girlfriend. 

The f--k of it all starts early, frankly, as the whole asking the other person out process is generally the worst thing ever (ladies, you may not know how much inner-turmoil/explosive diarrhea the lead up is responsible for), a close second to breaking it off and ending it. Oh, sure...the middle, or at least the early middle is pretty f--king sweet, but it's bookended by utter f--king chaos.

Well, that's what I hear, I never asked out anyone. Nor was I ever dumped.

Um, officially.
Notice there's no Orlando sticker. Or Anaheim...

I'm likely too far removed to really tell you any of the finer points of Spider-Man: Far From Home, but the long and short of it goes like this: after being depressed three-thousand, Peter Parker heads abroad on a fairly epic high school field trip. More than the dream of just being a friendly neighborhood tourist, ol' Pete's really down for finding the perfect moment to ask M.J. to be his girlfriend (assuming that's still a thing, because when I see Zendaya now, I'm thinking dick pics and fentanyl, not do you like-like me? [circle one]). Anyway, I'd ask her at some really romantic time, like when Jaws pops out of the water at Universal...

But famed international boner killer Nick Fury intervenes, and with some mysterious threat looming, he's calling on the kid to, you know, keep the world safe. Thanks for that. Dick.

The threat, as I recall, both is and isn't Mysterio, who for the uninitiated is a bowl-headed inter-dimensional oddball. This a-hole has been (allegedly) battling some giant monsters known as The Elementals, and needs Peter's help in the fight.

Sort of?

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Isn't normal wonderful?

Maybe early Weezer. Maybe
Red Hot Chili Peppers, too. 
The entire Pieces of You album? Probably (Don't ask). 

If I was gifted the curse of recreating an entire band's catalog, I'm not sure I could do it. I mean, obviously, I couldn't do it well, but holy shit, I'm not sure I could do it at all. And if I had to, like, had to, I could probably give you most of Appetite for Destruction...uh...including that weird-ass drawing that came with the lyrics, too. (anyone?)

No Octopus's Garden? Blasphemy.
Luckily for all of us, in Danny Boyle's oddly-maligned flick Yesterday, the guy responsible for bringing back (/inventing?) The Beatles has an impeccable memory, and is an excellent musician. And rather handsome. And honestly, a pretty nice dude all around (another miss for me there, too).

Set in a world where the Fab Four never existed, this delightful little flick is essentially the lowest of low-key sci-fi (assuming that's a thing) mixed with the very typical dude, she's been right in front of you the whole time romantic comedy. Incredibly sweet and consistently charming, I was all in on Yesterday. I'm not even a massive fan of The Beatles (I know the, most of them), but I worship Boyle, and found myself marveling that this was his movie, you know? It's just so...serene. And not even a drug-induced serenity, either.

My sister initially protested because she thought it was some corporate way to keep John, Paul, George and Ringo commercially relevant, but I told her to cut the shit and stop sounding like a pretentious a-hole. I heard the same thing about Lilo & Stitch and Elvis and that movie was f--king awesome. STFU and please get some Reese's Pieces. (my sister is the only person on the planet that I know of that always gets candy at the movies)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Why are you doing this?

If you were ever lucky enough to be a young boy in the 1980s, there's no doubt you can remember rewinding a certain scene over and over again. Maybe you had a fancy button that did it automatically, but the way I remember it, somebody had to man the VCR like a member of the bomb squad. While most scenes that got this, um, delicate treatment usually contained a woman in a bedroom, the one that I can recall watching a million times in a row, involved, of all things, a doll on an elevator. [if you've got twenty seconds, you can check out what captured the minds of deviant youth here.]

That's some real bullshit right there.
No way Chucky's taking out a sheriff.
Unfortunately, I'm not sure any part of the rebooted version of Child's Play captured much of anything, outside of my six bucks on Bargain Tuesday, that is.

Back again but with Mark Hamil voicing Chucky this go-round, and featuring an all-too young Aubrey Plaza as a moderately trashy mom, this latest entry into the killer doll franchise is basically more of the same. A friendless kid gets a creepy-ass doll as a gift, and said doll is rather, well, overprotective. And oddly literal. Instead or riding bikes and reading books together, Chucky goes on a modest murder spree in the name of friendship. Because, well, of course he does.

Outside of the wee bit of nostalgia I have for the original, I never really got down with the sequels and all the Bride and Son level of nonsense. If this shit is your scene, you'll probably enjoy the reboot, but I'm tapping out here. I appreciated the integration of smart features in the doll, and how this is perhaps a bit of an allegory about our reliance on tech (a stretch, but still), but I came for the gore and even that didn't quite tickle the pickle. If you really want to see a killer doll, go ahead and check out Good Boy's. But more on that in a bit...

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Dad's totally going to jail.

Days after celebrating her sixth birthday, this site's latest contributor, after badgering me endlessly, has returned. Though the official theme of the gala was equal parts mermaids and the solar system, after a recent trip to the movies, as kids typically do, all the party planning went out the window. Yeah, mermaids are cool, and the solar system's fascinating, but turns out nothing can really compete with trash. 

While he was slightly amusing in the preview, the second Forky appeared in Toy Story 4, I knew my kids were done. Even before the perfectly-cast Tony Hale started talking, the little home-made spork thingy slayed them. Combine his goofy expression with a delightful insistence he's trash, and you've got everybody's favorite character ever. Or you did.

Because Ducky and Bunny hadn't shown up yet.

And neither had Duke Caboom, Canada's greatest stuntman.

Obviously, we all vastly enjoyed the latest Toy Story movie, and I whole heartedly/unnecessarily recommend it. And being that this was the first one that came out when our kids were the right age, this is also the first time all the toys came home, too. I'd recommend those too, unless you get us a Benson. Because those are terrifying.

What follows is yet another conversation with my now six-year old daughter. She's very interested in the amount of likes this post will get, so, uh...I hope you enjoy it??? (I tried to explain to her that not everything has likes and she basically just nodded as if I didn't get it)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

You will not stand out in any way.

The formula is easy. Watch the BBC, find something charming, take out most of the magic, bring it to America and boom - cash some goddamn checks. Done and done. Let silly Yanks think they've discovered something amazing, while savvy Brits look on, knowing better.

There's countless examples of this (The Office, House of Cards, Three's Company (!?!), etc.), but being that I'm married to a (sexy) ninety-year old woman, the one that really gets my goat is The Great British Bake Off. Er, the American version...that is. I mean, why would you ever mess with perfection and localize this lovely show? Americans, aren't charming. Or affable.

And good luck finding someone as sexy as Ruby in the States.

While I'm clearly deficient with the written word, and despite growing up in a kitchen, I'm even worse with food. But even I don't think I could f--k up a recipe that called for both Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson as bad as Men in Black: International did. Or is it does?

Oh, right. Like this film, nobody cares.

When Molly (Thompson) was a little girl, an alien ended up in her bedroom while being pursued by some low-level Men In Black agents (couldn't get a Will Smith cameo, huh? Or even borrow that creepy digital version from the upcoming Gemini Man?). Her parents get their memories wiped with that stainless steel vibrator thing, but Molly, foreshadowing her resourcefulness, ducks it, and sends the alien on its way. And ever since that night, she's been obsessed with becoming an agent...of a branch of government that doesn't technically exist. Huh.

Two (film) minutes later, however, she's not only in the Men In Black, but assigned to the international division and partnered with Thor, who is basically a top-shelf a-hole/overwhelming departmental liability. Seems this hotshot once saved the world with the guy from Taken, and hasn't really done shit since. Think Lebowski Thor, but a version who still shows up to work. Uh, and obviously, the gym (f--k me, this dude is handsome).

Monday, July 22, 2019

This is not a time to celebrate.

Outside of my nephew, I don't really get the chance to talk to high school kids all that much, and to be quite honest, I'm more than okay with that. 

Typically, they're either shiftless drifters or goal-oriented weirdos, inhabiting each end of the almost adult spectrum with inherent cluelessness. The slackers don't care how much they don't know while the go-getters are certain they know everything. Either way, as an adult, you're either pulling teeth to get them to talk, or pulling your hair out hoping they'll shut the f--k up. 

And even worse, is knowing that at one point in your life, you were just like them.

(and look at you now!)

While I wasn't outright slayed by Booksmart like I assumed I would be, instead this flick is the comedy equivalent of a death by a thousand cuts. Consistently hilarious (and at times, just f--king brilliant), this coming-of-age flick features amazing performances top-to-bottom, but with especially killer turns from leads Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein. And in the crowded sub-genre of end of high school flicks, Booksmart somehow raises an already high bar even higher.

Molly and Amy have seriously kicked ass in high school. Not only have they been involved in everything, they've excelled, and, when we meet them, are one day away from graduating at the top of their class. Unfortunately, all the academic perfection has come at a cost, as this dynamic duo has never f--ked up or around. But at least they got into great colleges, right? Yeah, did everyone else. 

This jarring realization leads the girls on a quest to have four years of fun in what amounts to one helluva night. Molly is looking to hook up with Nick, the handsome jock she's secretly had a crush on for years. Amy, infinitely more introverted than Molly, would be cool if she could hang with Ryan, a skater-chick she has a thing for. If only they had the address to Nick's house, where the big party is going to be held.

(by the way, we (or should I say they?) called them ragers...which sounds so f--king lame now, huh? [though I recall certain east coasters saying rippers which is surprisingly less cool, if that's possible).

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The most worthwhile path, my young friends, is seldom the easiest.

In Mrs. Well's room, it was Cars. The first one (!).
In Mrs. Montgomery's, it was Bill Nye videos.
In Mrs. Bleacher's room...well, they were still doing math (which is hysterical).
As long as summer vacation have been imminent, every teacher approaches those final glorious (/dreadful) days a bit differently. Some keep going till the end, others, like me, simply show a movie.

In Mr. Brown's room, the criteria for the movie is simple, though typically effective: show them something they haven't seen...and make sure it was released within the last sixth months ('old movies' will be met with equal parts scorn and confusion).

Even though they wanted to watch Endgame (these pirates have no respect for a film currently in theaters), I opted for screening The Kid Who Would Be King, which was, at the time, newly released on home video. I knew the whole knights and wizards angle was going to be a hard-sell for these kids, but so was actually basic human decency, so why not roll the dice? And being that only one of my 90+ students had actually seen the film (and I think all he had seen was the trailer), I was two-for-two with the aforementioned rules.

Good news, right? Well, yeah. But here's the rub: For each of my four classes, it would take three days to complete the latest film from director Joe Cornish (Attack the Block [review]). And while I'm just a social studies teacher, safe to say four times three equals an infinite amount of minutes with Gollum's son. Good thing young Louis Ashbourne Serkis is a pretty likable chap.

Young Serkis plays Alex (Like Alexander the Great, Mr. Brown? [no.]), a quiet product of a single-mum more than content to hang out and do magic with his buddy, Bedders. Shocking no one, the two goofballs (though mainly the amiable Bedders) often find themselves in the cross-hairs of the school bullies, Lance and Kaye. Alex, not long after we meet him, gets in a wee bit of trouble for fighting back. Proving once again, school administrators are the worst.

Monday, July 15, 2019

We are the infection.

If the world was ending...again...and I was told I had to get to Boston, honestly, I'd be pretty f--king stoked. And if my last breath just so happened to be in Fenway Park of all places, well, even better. Dying on that field is probably a dream I share with half of New England, in the literal sense of course, as the Sox have killed me there metaphorically countless times. But if you're telling it's really over, like I'm done-done, can I least touch the Monster one last time?

No, no. The green one.

No, no. The other green one. The one not shooting lasers out of his face.

Considering I grew up in the eighties, it's pretty much a given that I have a modest (and very much radioactive) boner for all things Godzilla. But after the one with Ferris Bueller back in '98 and the one without Godzilla [review] in 2014, frankly, I'd just about given up on the scaly, fire-breathing bastard. But when I saw the preview for Godzilla: King of the Monsters, like a screaming old woman in Tokyo, there was simply no way I could turn my back on the majestic beast. I mean, look at him. He's pretty much the coolest thing ever.

Unfortunately, this latest attempt at bringing him back to the big screen, while an improvement over the other two, still can't do the big fella justice.

Outside of the impossibly rad Godzilla-related turbulence the action brings (though at times, it's also impossible to see), this creature feature is bogged down by a different two-headed monster. On the left, is Incomprehensible Plot which while brutal, is nowhere near as deadly as the right side, where Family Drama No One Cares About resides. I'm not sure which head to should cut off first, but as the one dragged on, I started to think I should start with my own.

Friday, July 5, 2019


Saying I'm reading it might be a bit generous, but I'm currently reading/experiencing(/surviving) a book called Welcome to Night Vale. I guess it's based on a popular podcast or something, but for the most part, I absolutely hate every minute of it. It's so bizarre and illogical, I feel like I'm getting absolutely nothing out of it as I get further into it. Honestly, I could derive a better narrative perusing the newly updated terms and conditions of my Amazon Store Card. That said, regardless of how nonsensical and repetitive this novel gets, I'm going to tackle each chapter until there aren't any left.

Even if it f--king kills me.

I don't even know where to begin when discussing the latest John Wick film, Parabellum. Initially, I found the film to be absolutely f--king electric (my god, he killed f--king Boban with a book! A BOOK!), but by the end of it I was nearly comatose, rendered lifeless by the sounds of incessant gunfire and shattering glass. And when I finally trudged out into the world (and apologized to my wife, again), all I could tell myself is at least it was better than Chapter 2. Because, you know, f--k that movie.

But then I did something stupid. Really stupid. I rewatched the second film. 

And I f--king loved it.

So now I don't know what to say. Like, even more than usual. Keanu Reeves is still the coolest motherf--ker on the planet, and the third John Wick has him doing even cooler shit than before (with the help of animals, no less). But in that theater, on that night? It seemed to go on forever. I'm going to assume I'll have a much better time with Chapter 3 the second time, but for now, mark me down for Parabellum landing somewhere between f--king exhilarating and impossibly tedious. Sounds reasonable...if you're an asshole.

Friday, June 21, 2019

We are rejects.

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of the Two Dollar Cinema review team, v. brown. 

Pitbull and Wanda Sykes? Is this some sort of dare?
While she's been to a couple of movies without me, our viewing of STX Entertainment's UglyDolls marked our first trip to the theater without any one else. I passed on a second date with Avengers: Endgame, so that I could take her to this brightly-colored, pop-song induced nightmare. On the car ride on the way, I recall her saying that she was sooo excited to go with just me. Aw. Seriously, I almost had to pull over it was so adorable. But as I gathered myself (and likely ran a red light) I realized something: even at almost six years old, she was playing me. And I was all for it. 

What follows is a recent conversation we had about the film in our kitchen, minutes before dashing out to her swimming class (almost a month after seeing the film, no less). Even though this reeks of poor parenting, she was very excited to be lending her opinions to this website. Which, let's be honest, is basically a first around here.

Maybe this will be the post that she references as the genesis for her successful career as a writer, or maybe this post will be what she references when she tells the judge she'd rather live with her mother. Either way, it sounds like the beginning of something magical.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

I see this as an absolute win.

Around this time next year, er, in two years (damn you, math), Two Dollar Cinema will turn ten years old. Though nothing is set in stone, that anniversary will serve as an ending point for this project - at least as the current format goes. And when I reach the end of this long (and sometimes arduous) journey, I hope to figure out a way to not only tie it all together, but to also pay tribute to those who have been along the way.

If only there was a blueprint for how to end something in the most perfect way possible...

It might be impossible to overstate how good Avengers: Endgame truly is, but don't think that that's going to stop me from trying. Easily my favorite film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Russo Brothers have improbably saved their best for last. 

As of this post, I've only managed to see Endgame once, and as anyone, er, everyone who has seen the film can (and will) tell you (with a glow not unlike a new bride or expectant mother), that simply isn't enough time to take it all in. It's so densely packed, so stuffed with perfect moments, I need to see it again.

And again. And again.

While rehashing the plot is foolish on countless levels (insert Charlie Day conspiracy pic here), all I can tell you is wowwwwwwwwwwwww. With storylines, plot points, scores to settle, callbacks, nods, winks, and relationships from over twenty films prior, somehow in Endgame, they all coalesce into a gripping story that simultaneously saved and destroyed me. Had I not been sitting with my brother-in-law (aka the Grinch), I'm not sure I would have made it out alive.

Friday, May 10, 2019

By the way, Harry, happy birthday...

When I told my wife that Two Dollar Cinema was coming up on its ninth birthday, I followed that up with an unintended feeler, one that bordered both a question and a statement. Guess I'll do it for one more year, then finally shut it down ...? She didn't hesitate in her response:

That sounds good. 

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Get out of here, Devil!

Almost two years ago to the day, some drug-dealing asshole totaled my wife's (fairly) new car while evading the police through our neighborhood. Fortunately, no one was in (or near) the car when it happened, but I still remember my wife getting emotional moments after they towed it away. While most of her tears were because she was overwhelmed at the thought of what could have happened, I know she was also mourning the loss of something she once loved now needing to be replaced.

And worse, for absolutely no good reason.

Uh, Red? You're balls are on fire.
It's unfair to say that David Harbour doesn't do a good job in the latest Hellboy flick, when his biggest misstep may be the alarming fact that he is simply not Ron Perlman. While I'm not sure we even needed a third Hellboy flick with Ron Perlman, I'm now fairly certain we didn't need a third Hellboy flick without Ron Perlman.

But like the guy that smashed in my wife's car, even if what you're selling benefits no one, if there's money to be made...

Though I'm no scholar of Hellboy lore, obviously, similarities exist between the original del Toro films and this new one, helmed by Neil Marshall. Hellboy is still a wise-cracking demon unearthed by Nazis during WWII. He's still part of some super-secret government organization that uses monsters to, um...fight other monsters (think the Suicide Squad with more scales and less twirling garbage).

And yes, he's still got a massive right arm that he absolutely obliterates people with. The meat may be the same, but it's the potatoes that are different this time around.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I'm a snake.

There's room at the top. Just not enough to sit down.

I'm not sure if my dad stole that line, but of all the advice he's ever given me - that's the bit that stuck. I was probably seventeen at the time, and even at peak I KNOW EVERYTHING, OLD MAN those words not only penetrated, but they actually made sense. You can make it - you just have to work hard. Always.

I wish I could tell you that in the two-plus decades since that conversation, I have proven his words true, but I think I'd be lying on both fronts. I'm not sure I've ever worked that hard, and the payoff...uh...I do okay? (He was talking about money, right?)

While I wish I had that type-A fire, I simply don't and likely never will. Honestly, I'm about as relaxed a guy as you'd ever meet. Not like, Dude-level, but pretty close. Never too high, never too low. Hell, I rarely get upset about anything...

...even shit that's entirely stupid and unfair.

Oh, Laggies, how you've put my in an uncomfortable spot. Typically I'm okay with young people trying to figure it out (though my thoughts here might suggest otherwise), and generally speaking I love Keira Knightley doing just about anything, but good God, f--k all this noise. My dad told me I couldn't sit at the top, fine, but I didn't know it was because there's all these a-holes just laying the f--k around.

Foolishly stripped of her accent, Knightley plays Megan, a woman in her late twenties still hanging out, playing Nintendo. Her (awful) friends have grown up (represented here by being married and/or pregnant [lame]) and seems like ol' Meg should probably follow suit. But even with a shockingly supportive boyfriend (of the high-school sweetheart variety, naturally), she can't seem to find any footing whatsoever in adulthood. So, she concocts a plan (plan might be overstating it, more like if bracing yourself before going through a windshield could be considered planning) to turn her life around: she volunteers at a local orphanage and teaches parent-less children how to express themselves through cooking.

Oh, wait - sometimes my notes are hard to read. *adjusts imaginary glasses* My mistake, she actually just DISAPPEARS FROM SOCIETY AND MOVES IN WITH A HIGH SCHOOL GIRL SHE MET A F--KING GROCERY STORE.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Mom, what's wrong with your body?

For the last year or so, we've been thinking about having another child. Intentionally. Being that my wife just recently returned to work full-time, from a logistical standpoint, a baby isn't really the best idea. Add to that the fact that Mrs. Two Dollar Cinema also just turned forty (I'm currently an impressively spry...thirty-nine), and another kid likely isn't a good call from any standpoint.

Besides, you hear all these horror stories about the things that can go wrong during pregnancies (why do people love to talk about this?) and it's (more than) enough to make you dial back the let's have another talk and simply quit while you're ahead. My wife and I already have two kick-ass kids, sometimes I think having another would be akin to pressing our luck.

No matter how much fun it could be, with an uncertain ending looming...

...I'm just not sure it's ultimately worth it.

May the Fourth be with you, new moms.
Though the actual premise had slipped my mind, word that Jason Reitman's Tully had a divisive ending did not. So much so, in fact, that it was all I could think about for much of the films ninety-seven minute run-time. What could possibly happen that would upset so many people. Does someone ---


Before THE ENDING, Tully tells the remarkably unremarkable tale of Marlo (Charlize Theron, in full-chameleon form), a tired mom, who is, when the film opens, days away from having her third child. Her youngest, the 'quirky' Jonah, is a bit of a handful (to say the least), and there seems to be some sort of loose talk about 'it' happening again.  Her wealthy brother (my [imaginary] best friend Mark Duplass) offers up the ultimate present for a new(ish) mom: a night nanny.

Apparently, heaven is real and angels exist, and oddly enough can be hired to enter your house at night and care for your infant child. WHILE YOU SLEEP. Though I never had too much trouble sleeping through the night (my pillow isn't the greatest, but I'll live), turns out it can be quite a bitch for the mother of a newborn. Enter Tully, an energetic and enigmatic twenty-something who will not only take the baby, but she'll also make bomb-ass cupcakes in the process. Oh, and she'll ride dad like a wild horse if you ask her - wait, WHAT?

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Do yourself a favor - stay away from this one.

Outside of Event Horizon where I swear the temperature of the theater was set to abandoned spacecraft degrees, the most physically uncomfortable movie-going experience I've ever had was seeing The Descent on the big screen. That movie was so goddamned suffocating, I remember feeling genuine relief when exiting the theater. Like, thank God we made it out of there, you know? I can finally breathe.

But let's be real - can we? Ghost ships are one thing, freezing theaters another, but seriously WHO THE F--K GOES IN A CAVE? Those f--kers are terrifying enough before the monsters show up.

I didn't know what I was getting into with 2014's As Above So Below, but I recall it made an appearance at my local theater awhile back, thereby catapulting it miles, um, above most of the 'short horror' available to stream on Netflix. Had I known it was a found footage flick, I might not have pressed play, but even with a tired delivery method and a moderately goofy premise, I'm not all that mad that I did.

A fine-ass archaeologist named Scarlett Marlowe is on a quest to find the Philosopher's Stone, an ancient relic that supposedly grants eternal life. Being that Scarlett is um, super hot, she rather easily assembles a crew of dudes to not only accompany her, but to also film her as she embarks on this obviously foolish journey. See, this Philosopher's stone isn't buried in the bowels of Hogwarts, but instead hidden within in the catacombs of Paris. 

While that may not completely sound like a terrible place to go-go-go -go on an adventure- once they saw what that meant firsthand, everyone should have said f--k this and headed to a café to romantically share a baguette with Gerard Depardieu. Sorry, I don't really know anything about France.