Thursday, December 31, 2020

I'll always love you Diana, no matter where I am.

In an effort to be courteous, let's go ahead and mark this year down as less than favorable

However, in the infinite darkness/shit sandwich that was 2020, there were certainly some slivers of light/morsels of ham. In exchange for going to the movies, family gatherings, shaking hands, traveling, events, successfully educating children (that's a stretch, sure), we got...infinite time at home with our families. And honestly, in the decades preceding the pandemic, that would have been something I would have fervently wished for. But, as the saying goes...

Be careful what you wish for, you dumb son of a bitch.

Probably the dopest poster ever.
Oh, Wonder Woman 1984, how I wished I loved you so. When early word dropped of your enormous girth, er, runtime, I couldn't have been happier. One hundred and fifty-one consecutive minutes with Gal Gadot, you say? Yes, please. And when it was announced that for some horrible reason the two-hundred million dollar film would premier in my effing living room, our local coroner was going to have to bubble in exploding boner as my cause of death. This was all too good be to true, right?

Yeah. Like, for sure.

Okay, as far as I can tell, this is what WW84 is about: Diana has been chilling in the 80s, kicking ass in the food court, during breaks from writing hearts around the name Steve in her dream journal. But in a routine (and impressively poorly-planned) local jewelry store heist, some small-time rascals have unearthed some sort of dream stone. Uh huh, a magical rock. That was in a mall. Fine, whatever, not great mind you, but Diana's simultaneously kicking ass and gliding around Waldenbooks like an even sexier Wayne Gretzky. The news still good, the soundtrack still great.

(spoilers to follow)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

If you believe, it's all possible.

I hate lying to my kids. 

My daughter is seven years old, and her belief in Santa Claus has been steadily waning. This year, she's been rather boisterous in calling faaaaake whenever anybody mentions jolly ol' St. Nick. There is no part of me that is willing to say, now, you wait just a minute, young lady...

Typically, you could blame the older sibling, but I'm not even sure Matthew is the reason she ain't having it. Maybe in a year where friends, family, sports and school are taken away from you, maybe you grow up real/too quick?

So, in an effort to renew her faith, without being dishonest, I did what any responsible parent would do.

I put on a holiday move. And in an effort to write something for this blog...one I hadn't seen.

And shocking no one, I watched it with just her, as my wife and son bailed almost immediately on Netflix's color-soaked 2020 musical, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. Recommended to me earlier that day by a co-worker (sorry, Margaret), I thought what better way to get in the spirit, right? And you know what?

It worked. [insert stoic, Tiger Woods-style fist pump]


Jangle is a good dude, proud father, and frankly, bad-ass inventor, and when we meet him, the final component for his greatest creation yet arrives in the mail. In a flash we see what is destined to be the toy of the century, some insanely articulated and wildly articulate Matador-type mechanical doll named Diego (voiced by Ricky Martin, clearly livin' la vida loca). Diego is special, so special in fact, he balks at the idea of being mass-produced and convinces Jangle's somewhat lowly assistant Gustafson to bounce up out of there real fast. And to, uh, grab Jangle's idea book on the way out the door. Major naughty-list behavior right there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

I've just told you to f--k off twice, yet you're still here.

At some point in your life, you've said something you regret. It could have been stupid, offensive, hurtful, misguided, uninformed or even my personal specialty, all of the above.

Sometimes you can get lucky and know you f--ked up right away, but in other situations it takes time for the combination of words your big, dumb brain and your big, dumb mouth shat out to get you in trouble. 

Could be a day or two...


...or even the better part of a decade.

I wish I could tell you the exact day and time that blogging legend (/wielder of sharpened knives) Margaret from cinematic corner. recommended that yours truly check out the 2009 ass-kicker, In the Loop, and I wish I could tell you what I said in response, but after pouring through over five-plus years of comments...I've got nothing. I bet I said something flippantly like, of course I'll check that out, and also of course, I absolutely did not. 

UNTIL NOW.

(turns out I'm not the only mostly-agreeable asshole saying things that would have major unintended consequences)

After rather casually saying that conflict in the Middle East was unforeseeable during an interview, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander, absolutely killing it) draws the Sauron-like stare and ire from Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi, my absolute f--king hero), the Director of Communications for the Prime Minister. Tucker tells Foster to toe the line, which is government code for talk, but don't say a goddamned thing, you f--king twat. Oh, and that's not a direct quote. I cleaned it up a bit.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

I'm gonna need to give this a think, I think.

Once - pretty sure it was one time - I snooped around before Christmas. Fine, maybe twice. Three times. Whatever.

Anyway, my mom had an errand of some sort, and as soon as I saw her white Jetta carefully back down our narrow driveway, I instantly became (a much less handsome) Ethan Hunt. With the Mission: Impossible music in my head (though at low volume, in case she forgot something) I swooped into my parents room to gather intel. No boxes moved, no wires tripped. The Sega Genesis I had dreamed of was buried in the back...and in a few short days, it would be mine. Oh, yes.

I'm not proud of this, mind you, as it was probably one of the sneakiest things I ever did at Christmas time. But sometimes, during the holidays, you never know what you might find in the closet, right?

Or, on the rare occasion, who.

Wait a sec. That introduction sounds like I might be implying that I'm gay, which with how much I love Dan Levy...is a distinct possibility. Eh, actually, it's not me flip-flopping in regards to my sexuality that we're concerned about, but instead Mackenzie Davis' character Harper, the protagonist in Hulu's latest holiday offering, Happiest Season

While watching the massive Davis routinely bite her lip over whether or not she really, really loves KStew wouldn't ordinarily be something I'd sign up for on opening night, you throw in any amount of Dan Levy (and Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza) and not only will I be there, but for some reason, with motherf--king bells on. (I looked up the origin of this statement and it still doesn't really make sense)

Coming home for the holidays is frightening enough, but combine that with coming out for the holidays, and just like that, you've got yourself the edgiest Hallmark movie ever. At least that's what Happiest Season feels like...initially, you know, like those schmaltzy silly flicks where Candace Cameron gets amnesia hanging stockings or whatever. 

Monday, November 30, 2020

We're not here for bookclub.

Every year, as a teacher, you're guaranteed to get that kid. The one that's only happy when everyone else is utterly miserable. And last year, that student was a young lady named...well, let's call her Joanna. Joanna hated everything about school. Every adult. Every kid. Every subject. No lie, for someone who was weeks out of elementary school, this young lady was terrifying.

But before she got kicked out for coming to school high (at age twelve), not coming to school at all, telling most adults exactly where they could go (and what they could do to themselves when they arrived), and basically trying to fight everyone, I decided we were going to be friends. Best friends. Our bond? It was going to be over books. Good books. And whatever book was her favorite?

I was going to read it. IMMEDIATELY. And we'd have our own little book club. 

Yes. 

This is something that I did.

Somehow, in my almost forty-something years on the planet, fifteen as a teacher, thirty-five plus as a reader, and all of them as a horror-loving weirdo, I had never read anything by R.L Stine. Welp, turned out ol' Joanna was a fan of the Goosebumps series, and with 235 books to choose from, she recommended/demanded I start at the beginning with Welcome to Dead House. And, to my absolute bewilderment, it was actually pretty scary. Not Joanna during standardized testing scary, but close. *shudder*

For the Halloween season, me and the other residents of the fallout shelter didn't watch all that many scary flicks, but we did manage to crank up (and out) 2015's Goosebumps flick and it's moderately disappointing follow-up, 2018's Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Though my kids were not super into the idea of watching these spine-tinglers initially, by the end of the double-feature (spread out over weeks, because of course it was) they'd been converted into fans of all things R.L. Stine. So when I broke their fragile, little hearts with the news that there would not be a third film, I figured the fact that there are literally hundreds of books they could choose from would ease their pain. It did not. You have to read books, with your eyes and your brain, and even my own kids are like, nah, we're good.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

...I'll eat a bat with you.

It's amazing what you can get used to. 

When even the absolute craziest shit ever, might get you to glance up from your phone for a blink or two, you know humanity is pretty much f--ked. They always talk about lowering the bar, but we all know the goddamned bar melted at the earth's core years ago. And when it did, it didn't even trend on Twitter. Maybe because some handsome young dude said he liked wearing dresses that day, because that? That's UNBELIEVABLE. I mean, what about the children? Won't anybody think of the children?

Anyway, when you do get shocked, you know, when something finally rattles your cage a bit, it can make you feel alive. 

Or dead. It kind of depends on who's behind it.

As the poster may or may not tell you, Sacha Baron Cohen has the biggest balls in Hollywood, and in case that slipped your mind, he reminds us all in the Amazon-exclusive, Borat Susequent Moviefilm. Released way back in October, when Trump was still officially? the President, the sequel narrows Cohen's crosshairs not just on dumb Americans, but dumb Americans under Trump. It's a lot like the first one, but now with added racism! Who knew you could cram any more in there?

It turns out the events of the first film brought great shame to Kazakhstan, so the setup here is that Borat will have to make amends. His plan is to go to America a peace offering (in the form of a monkey), but Borat's newly-discovered daughter becomes the gift instead. It all doesn't really matter, because all absolutely f--king insane. But really f--king funny, too.

Where you and I need oxygen and sunshine to survive, apparently Cohen is able to live and breathe on a combination of danger and cringe, so it's a good thing the second Borat films has a shit-ton of both. Clearly, the guy is an absolute mad-scientist of satire, a giant in whatever-the-Hell genre this is, and as hard as Subsequent Moviefilm can be to watch at times, doesn't mean it's anything short of legendary. Cohen straight up risked his life for this shit! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

He's not dead. I just can't see him.

As a little kid, I'd always choose flight, because, Hell, it's flight. Like, you could just fly around the world like Superman, or, because I'm old so very old, like Mighty Mouse. Or, and I'm not a hundred percent sure on this, Captain Caveman. Regardless, you were flying, and that was all that mattered. You saw yourself zooming over your neighborhood like the opening shot to every kids' movie ever, and you'd think there's nothing better, that would be amazing.

But when young boys become young men, things change, and instead of the super-hero ability of flying, you choose invisibility, because, well, boobs. I'm pretty sure that was all I was thinking about, and quite frankly, I'm kind of pissed that I had to consider this hypothetical, when that's less time for pondering, the aforementioned chesticles. Because in your teenage boy mind, there's nothing betterand they would be amazing.

Maybe there's something better, but you know what also is pretty amazing? Leigh Whannell's updated look at the Universal classic, The Invisible Man

While that might be a bit of an overstatement (it's good), after catching the preview in the theater back when those were a thing, I had zero expectations the film would be anything more than more rehashed garbage for a variety of reasons. It was being released in February, it didn't really have anybody in it, and the biggest offense? The preview showed the whole goddamned movie. Oh, and a little bit of guilty-by-association with that f--king updated Mummy flick [review] with Tom Cruise, because that movie can suck all the dicks, whether they've preserved for all eternity or not.

While I've never seen the original flick from 1933, and my memory of Hollow Man is spotty at best (did Kevin Bacon show his invisible wang, or am I just wishing out loud?), this latest version of the classic tale features an optics inventor/eccentric millionaire nutjob stalking his (theoretically) now-widowed wife, Cecilia. Yeah, according to everyone but Elizabeth Moss' character, the maniacal Tom offed himself a while back likely after casting his mail-in ballot for Trump. Good riddance, as the minute we spent with this guy was nothing short of toxic. And not the fun Britney Spears dressed as a flight attendant kind, but more of the date-rapey, woman-hating, full on f--kface variety. Oh, that kind.

Cecelia wants to believe this good news about his grisly suicide, but Tom was a top-shelf asshole, so she's pretty f--king skeptical, to put it mildly. Lucky for her, she's now living with good friend James, a full-time cop and single father/part time chiseled Greek god. I don't know about her, but I feel safe, even with that mysterious chair indentation and unrelenting sense of dread around every corner.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

We'll survive together.

Remember a short time ago, when you'd watch an end of the world flick and you'd think, imagine having to stay inside all the time, scrounging for food, barricading yourself in from zombies/weather/sound-monsters/what-have-yous as the government failed you and your family wjile all once-reliable social systems collapsed? Remember when the end of the world was a far-fetched idea that greenlit a movie...

... and not just a story on your local news after one last check on the weather?

That poster on the left? I'm pretty sure that's featured on Netflix's preview panel for the 2020 flick #Alive, and being the asshole that I am, thought it showed the likely protagonist taking a goddamned selfie surrounded by f--king flesh-hungry zombies. While a movie proudly boasting that idea would, on the right night, certainly be my cup of tea, Il Cho's flick is a bit more serious than that. Oh, it's still an end of the world zombie-infested nightmare, it's just a bit more...quiet? than you might expect.

Joon-woo is a twenty-something streamer living in an apartment with his family. One day, when they are out, the news flashes in the background something about a highly contagious illness spreading throughout the country. Joon-woo, like all characters in these movies, doesn't exactly notice. Well, not until the wifi signal goes out. 

Once it's clear that this event is quite the situation, our dude realizes, like I assume many of us would, he's utterly f-ked. He's alone, he's out of food and water, everywhere he looks, flesh-eating zombies are running rampant turning the few survivors braving the hordes. Joon-woo's like f--k it, and decides to kill himself. And I'm not sure you can blame him. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

It's not my first time seeing someone die.

Have you ever found out the year someone was born and you're instantly furious, or are you not a giant creeper idling around nearby parks in your unmarked van? Because let me tell ya, it's the worst feeling. Oh, and I know that awful bullshit that some a-holes say, you know, about age being a just a number and such. But you know what else is a just a number?

The length of a prison sentence.

In the first flick, the ultra-ridiculous The Babysitter [review], I spent the majority of the runtime drooling over the lovely Samara Weaving, who played Bee, the titular sitter of babies. Weaving, at the time, was in her mid twenties, so, yeah, I'm a still a perv, but like, the bridge I live under is pretty nice. You should stop by sometime.

This time around, in The Babysitter: Killer QueenBee's gone, and the lead actress is Emily Alyn Lind who is also pretty lovely FOR AN ABSOLUTE CHILD. Obviously, she looks young, but typically everybody in movies does (or old, because this is a high school flick), but Lind straight up is a high school girl. *shudder* Her sexiness would have been super appreciated two decades ago. Now, I just feel like an infinitely less charming and handsome version of Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused. Except at this point, I'm pretty much Wooderson's dad for f--k's sake.

Speaking of not alright alright, that's the general vibe from critics regarding this film, with the consensus being it sucks a giant bag of (age-appropriate) dicks. While it's not as good as the first, I still found it an absolute blast and would enthusiastically recommend it. To fellow perverts.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Let the madness begin.

If concerts were still a thing, and you and I went to one, we should probably have that pre-show conversation before we get out of the car. No, not the one about what song we hope they open with, nor the one about how many people you're going to hook up with in a drunken haze, but the one where we nail down our rendezvous point when the show's over. My vote's the port-a-pottys near the trees, but if you want to meet near the homeless guy in the wheelchair, that works too.

Assuming, you know, neither one of us gets murdered by a satanic cult. Or Republicans.

I think the cool kids would call my watching of We Summon the Darkness a thirstwatch, and I'm all for it. It wouldn't be the first time. Once again, I skanked the meanest pickle directly into the mosh pit that is Alexandra Daddario's filmography, and this time? My nose isn't bloody, my shirt isn't ripped. Hell, it was actually kind of.. fun?

When the flick begins, even though it feels like a decade later, we're told it's 1988. Three sexy ladies are heading to a metal show somewhere in the Hoosier state, when news breaks that a satanic cult has once again murdered innocent people. Death count is now at eighteen. The girls blow it off, but when they meet some potentially sketchy dudes pre-gaming it outside of their date rape-y van, not only are freak flags flying, but red ones are, too.

In a move that almost jettisoned me from my couch, the girls are into these dudes, and these bootleg Jack Black-types get the invite to Daddy's house in the middle of nowhere. Daddy's big ass house. Uh, y'all sure about that?

From there, the shit hits the fan, though in a way that many of you will probably see coming a mile away. Me, I wasn't thinking with my big head, and what goes down next totally knocked me on my ass. No, it wasn't an unnecessary shower scene set to Quiet Riot's Bang Your Head, though that would have been (pathetically) appreciated, but instead a fairly grisly murder. Yeah, turns out the darkness that was summoned was like legit evil, where I was hoping it was a collective name given to Dadarrio's boobs. Though let's be honest, they're more like the sun.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

I mean, have you ever actually seen your brain?

Being a middle school teacher has never been easy. Not by any stretch.

But now, the fact that I exist solely in a three-inch box on some kid's iPad (in some kid's room...yikes), the challenge feels borderline monumental. It's not the content, either, because let's be honest, no one gives a damn about any of that. What I'm trying to do, what I've always tried to do, is inspire my students. I want to show them some amazing piece of work, and then give them the tools and the desire to make something amazing themselves.

You'd think that all the technology in the world would help this process, but stylish devices and intuitive applications can only get you so far. 

Turns out you need humanity.

Because I was trying to fit a lot in, I lost my way a little bit in that introduction. And that's fitting because I was also a little bit lost when I sat down with the 4K version of Ghost in the Shell last week. Of course, I knew I was settling in with something visionary and the inspiration for countless sci-fi films to follow, but I didn't know it would be so...arduous.

If I followed it, which I more-or-less didn't, Ghost in the Shell tells the story of a (now) near-future where the lines between man and machine have been increasingly blurred. A cyborg agent, known as Major, is trailing some dude known as the Puppet Master, as this a-hole is hacking into 'people' and wreaking all sorts of havoc. That's the straightforward bit.

Along the way, and frankly, much more often than I would like, Major stops to contemplate whether or not she is more machine than human. If I were smarter, or weren't more into kickass mechs blowing things up, this exploration of what it means to be alive would have been some sort of geeky wet-dream scenario. But instead of damp sheets and mild euphoria, I awoke with two things on my mind: mumbo and jumbo.

Monday, September 7, 2020

I always act weird with myself.

I could be wrong, but I don't think I've changed all that much as I've gotten older. I'm on the verge of turning forty-one, and here I am, still doing the same shit I've been doing forever. Hanging out, playing Nintendo. I'm a nice enough guy, might even make you laugh once or twice. But what I won't ever do? Surprise you.

And I'm okay with that. 

But I could also just be delusional.

(who allows the names to be over the wrong actors??)
Also entirely clueless, are Bill S. Preston, Esq. and 'Ted' Theodore Logan. Back again in Bill & Ted Face the Music, the duo from my youth are anything but dynamic. But they're nice dudes. And apparently, there aren't a lot of those left.

Being that the first flick came out when I was Ted years old, er, ten years old, I was the exact target demographic for the twenty-nine years later sequel. Like me.

Just me.

A movie about two older dudes trying to fulfill the promise of their youth? Uh, yes, thank you. That is definitely my jam. 

Unfortunately, the song is more of a toe-tapper, then full-on banger, as Bill and Ted's latest journey is not what I expected. But it's exactly what it should be. 

Our guys aren't having some out of control adventure this time around (which is what I was hoping for), instead, they're stumbling around their mid-fifties like some mellow older dudes totally would. Turns out Bill and Ted never wrote the song that was to unite the world, and have essentially an hour and half to do what they couldn't in two and a half decades. Pressure's on, dudes. Or is it?

Saturday, August 29, 2020

What am I looking at?

I love bad movies. 

Maybe not as much as I used to, back in that place where the beer flowed like wine, but even in my forties, terrible flicks can still be a great time. With that advanced age, comes advanced wisdom (or it should). And like any responsible adult, I now know my limits. One bad movie at a time, you know?


Not f--king FOUR OF THEM.



This came out on Valentine's Day? Aww, so romantic.
What the actual f--k, Fantasy Island? What were you thinking, Blumhouse? It's not that I remember a goddamned thing about the old television show (outside of Tattoo shitting his tiny pants about the plane), but I'd assume at the end of an episode, the audience had something resembling a f--king clue. And the will to continue living.

Fine, maybe this rebooted idea had a chance on paper. A magical island is pretty f--king dumb, but done right, that shit translates into all bets are off. Tops, too. Unfortunately, instead of Alexandra Daddario having a slow-motion pillowfight with Gal Gadot for two hours, we get four increasingly shitty scenarios. In no particular order...

1) Two bros want to have an epic pool party, with sex and drugs...and jet skis. And guns? Whatever. This one at least makes a little bit of sense. Sort of. It's f--king awful, but yeah. Boobs. Dongs. Booze. Music that's cheap to license. It's all here. 2) A romantic proposal, redux. Sexy Lady said no effing way to some dude that wanted to marry her and now she wants a chance to finally say yes. Uh, okay. I guess? She initially said no because she thought she was a terrible person. How has that changed exactly? 3) Saw, part 900. Some chick was bullied in high school, and of all the possible dreams she could have, torturing her old bully tops her list. Giving Brad Pitt a handjob was probably second. Regardless, this one is stupid and painful and makes me want to bully whoever wrote it. 4) A dude wants to enlist in the army, because his dad died...in the army. Yeah, f--k this one, too. Top to bottom, I'd rather wash my hair with fresh diarrhea than ever talk about it again. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

I'm inside all of you.

It's not Sunday, but I think it's time to confess a trilogy of sins. No, no. My movie sins.

I think I've seen two-thirds of the Before trilogy. Missed the last one, but I assume they walk around Paris and talk to each other about stuff? I'd guess they pontificate about love and relationships, but for all I know, they side-eye each other dreamily while discussing..

..the Three Colours trilogy. And which film is their favorite. But as I've never seen any of them, that would be spoilery, wouldn't it?

Speaking of spoiling, I've also heard countless things about how Sofia Coppola ruined the third Godfather film, but, uh...I'm going to have to take everyone's word on that one. I've only seen the first Godfather film. But I have seen it twice.

Wow, just saying it aloud...I already feel better.

Or I would, had I just not completed Pitch Perfect 3 with my wife, thereby finishing off the Fat Amy Trilogy. Fine, that's (probably?) not what it's known as, but no matter what you call it, I've seen all three Pitch Perfect films. Fully on purpose, too.

I'm more or less full of shit, because between you and me dear/poor reader, ain't nothin' I love more than a goddamned cinematic sing-a-long. Especially one led by the lovely duo of Ana Kendrick and Brittany Snow. But m.brown, you're so effing manly, with your movie blog and color-coded closet. I know, I know, Italics Guy, I'm shocked too.

Also moderately surprising, is the fact that there even is a third film in this series, because if I remember correctly, the second one kind of sucked (guess I could watch it again, you know, for research). And whoever, well, (successfully) pitched this premise, had to have used the most epic f--king Jedi mindtrick ever. *waves hand* You will greenlight a Pitch Perfect film that heavily features DJ Khaled. And yet I'm still not complaining.

Monday, August 17, 2020

What the f--k are we doing?

It's been a busy summer.

In addition to moving from my old house to my new house, we've also moved my dad from Hawai'i...to our old house, my sister from Seattle to my mom's house, and my mom, who's currently in Hawai'i...to our old house. Where my dad now lives. 

Right?

And now that that's (mostly) done, I have to start/finish a class I signed up for in May, and all the coursework is due in nine days. Nine.

Luckily, it's interesting, as the course is all about learning how to more effectively reach students who have experienced great trauma in their lives. Obviously, it's very difficult to learn when your brain has been subjected to traumatic experiences, and the authors provide many different strategies to create an environment where they can thrive. I haven't finished the book yet, but I can't wait to get to the chapter where...

...you give the kid a hammer and tell him to make it hurt.


I've finished exactly one entire movie in the last five weeks, and it took my four nights to do it. While I thought the title was fitting for my current blogging situation, there wasn't much else I got out of You Were Never Really Here. The triple AAA call up version of Joker [review], this Joaquin Phoenix-led flick is like Ferris Bueller's economics teacher telling you about a nightmare he once had. Pedophiles. Pedophiles. Butchering pedophiles, anyone? Anyone? It's unsettling for sure, but dry as f--k and in no particular hurry, either.

As far as I can tell, Phoenix plays Joe, a tormented veteran who has seen/done some bad shit in the desert. At this point, Joe's carved out a career as a fixer of some sort, getting results for whoever hires him. What he lacks in emotion he makes up for in effectiveness, as his blunt-force tactics get the job done. And despite bashing f--kers with a hammer, we root for him, because it appears he's doing the right thing. I mean, I think he is, because we're given very little concrete information to go on (which is cool, except when you can't keep both eyes open). Word? Word.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Nothing worse than going through this shit alone.

F--k me, now more than ever, the days all seem to be the same.

Nothing much stands out from one day to the next, as quarantine (or whatever the f--k we're [somewhat] doing is called ) has essentially eliminated anything even close to special from happening. I don't really go anywhere ever (other than Lowe's to buy paint), and my social life consists of the occasional short conversation with the same five or six people (mostly about going to Lowe's to buy paint). It's just an endless cycle of not much.

But the really weird part? I kind of like it.


Much more than kind of liking, I straight up f--king loved the Hulu-exclusive film, Palm Springs. The latest entry into the burgeoning time loop genre, this charming little flick is an absolute blast from start-to-finish, even if it it ends, uh, basically... where it started?

Andy Samberg fully delivers as Nyles, an initially apathetic dude attending a wedding with his lame girlfriend at a resort in Palm Springs. When we first meet him, Nyles is equal parts The Dude and Yoda, coalescing into the quintessential  enlightened slacker. He doesn't really seem to give a f--k about anything, until he delivers what some will regard as the best wedding toast ever. Wait, this guy's smart? Uh, sort of.

Turns out Nyles has been living someone else's special day over and over again, and he's gotten pretty f--king good at it. So much so, he's actually pretty f--king bored with it. But when he inadvertently gets Sarah, the maid of honor also stuck in the time loop with him, perhaps shockingly, everything is about to change. 

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Suck it yourself.

Prior to meeting my wife, there had been many women I had wanted to have sex with. Many. 

Clearly, as the adult writer of a blog, I wasn't all that successful, but it was never for a lack of trying. Being that I didn't drink/smoke/sniff glue or whatever, I always had to play the long game, as chance encounters were few and far between. For my wife, I pulled out all the stops: poetry, thoughtful gifts (maybe a mix tape or seven), ten-hour AIM chats across five time-zones, you name it. Hell, I once filled my entire apartment with red and pink balloons (like knee deep) so we could spend Valentine's Day getting high off of the smell of latex together. Aw, sooo romantic (/corny).

What a waste of f--king time. Literally.

Turns out all I needed to do to hump her for hours was kidnap her and throw her off a goddamned boat.

*shakes head* Yeah, I don't think so.
Oh Getter, look what you made me do. See, one of my blogging heroes casually mentions one day that she just watched a terrible movie filled with female nudity, and for the desperate proprietor of Two Dollar Cinema that's essentially like cranking up the f--king Bat Signal. Except instead of a handsome millionaire descending into his cave of weaponry and technology, it was an old fat guy shuffling off to his basement with a journal and a box of tissues.

Just kidding. I didn't bring my journal.

Oh, dear reader, that was (mostly) a joke, which is fitting, because this f--king movie is utterly (and unintentionally) hilarious. Like an hour and fifty-five minute commercial for cologne for your boner, 365 Days is quite possibly the most inexplicable phenomenon I've ever laid my pathetic eyes on. Imagine 50 Shades of Grey [review] minus all the subtlety and nuance. Or if a European sex robot managed to write a screenplay. However this was created, after watching it, you end up f--ked. Hard.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

You think you've heard every Batman story?

Keaton's coming back.

An older, weathered Batman, thirty years after his prime...connecting some grand DCEU universe together? Holy (cash) cow, Batman. I would have never even considered this as something remotely possible. Ever. Combine that with news of the Snyder Cut finally seeing the light of day means it's basically raining new Batman content. Hell, and that's not even counting on whatever the heck Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson have cooked up for us next year.

Clearly, the debate will forever continue, who is the best Batman? It's probably/obviously Keaton, but I'd be willing to listen to arguments for Bale, Affleck, Kilmer, West, Clooney, Pattinson or even...Ninja. 

Wait, what? I must have heard you wrong. Swear you just said Ninja.

No, I'm not talking about that effing streamer guy who just made thirty million dollars yesterday, but instead the badass animated wizardry known as Batman Ninja. Released in 2018 this animated flick is straight up bananas, and while it might not make a lot of sense, neither do a lot of pretty things. And this eighty-five minute flick is an absolute orgy for the eyes.

Turns out, Gorilla Grod had big plans to rid Gotham of its most notorious villains, and building a time-travel device was just the beginning. But before he could safely send the Joker and others to another timeline, monkeyshit goes sideways and everyone ends up in feudal Japan of all places. Seriously.

Batman is just as confused as you are, but no matter, because before you have time to realize how ridiculous this whole premise is, old-school Japanese versions of Joker and Harley Quinn show up and all Hell breaks loose. Eventually, we've got warring mechanized castles shaped like Two-Face and Poison Ivy battling a giant golden monkey made out of an infinite number of smaller monkeys. I've never taken drugs, but I'd be shocked if they made me feel as good as a Voltron-style team of mechanized buildings fighting a two-hundred foot tall Batman made out of equal parts monkey and actual bat.

Friday, June 19, 2020

The train's the world, we the humanity.

Almost six years ago, my son and I met my dad in Seattle, where the mission was to spend some time with my sister, Tatianna. She'd been living in the Emerald City for a couple of years, and we were the first contingent to fly out and see her (um, and oddly enough, the last).

Obviously, I made sure the Mariners were in town, so I could take my son to a baseball game (he was turning five and probably couldn't have cared less), because as important as it is to see family (which in my family, it isn't), it's even more important to see a new baseball stadium. We sat in the second row of the King's Court as the Mariners beat the Braves, 4-2.

But not everything came up Milhouse, no, as across the street from our hotel, the Mediterranean Inn, there was a movie theater like, right there, but apparently, it's not cool to go the movies while you're on vacation? I know, I'm just as shocked as you are.

Had I been able to sneak away to the SIFF Cinema Uptown, I'd have caught Snowpiercer theatrically, and been absolutely floored by how awesome it is, er, would have been. Guys, it was 2014, which at this rate, feels like seventy-five years ago, you know, simpler times. This story of oppression in a blistering wasteland created by vast human ignorance would have felt like peak science fiction. Now? Circling a frozen, lifeless planet with the last two hundred people on the planet?

Sign me up. 

Apparently, there's an American thriller series airing on TNT as we speak, but without sports, the television is dead to me, so let's keep this strictly movie. Strictly...six year-old movie.

The short version of what's going on here, is this: after destroying the planet in an effort to quell climate change, all that's left of humanity endlessly ride a powerful trained designed by some reclusive billionaire. The cars are grouped by class, with the hoity-toity folk riding up front, while the lower-class jerks waste away in the muck and the mire of the caboose. And honestly, whatever car you find yourself in, well, it ain't pretty.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

It's the best bad idea.

I have to be honest with you, fake shit really ain't cutting it anymore. 

Real life has become more dramatic and compelling than anything Hollywood could ever come up with, and when my kids aren't around, I can't seem to turn off the news. And it's all so unrelentingly terrible, it's like the longest horror movie ever.

And that was when it was just the f--king pandemic.

Prior to the nightly/rightly burning of America, I decided to give The Lovebirds a shot. It's not a stretch to say that the trailer was a bit eye-rolly, but both Rae and Nanjiani are funny and talented enough individually, you'd think Voltron-ing them together would guarantee some laughs. And it totally delivers.

Some laughs.

Leilani and Jibran were that couple, the one that seemingly everyone around them envied. When we really settle in with the titular lovebirds, it appears their relationship has finally  run its course. And just as their personal shit hits the fan, some random dude hits their windshield. The cop in pursuit commandeers their car and runs the dude over multiple times. Shit.

And just like that, instead of clearing their heads after a bad break-up, Leilani and Jibran must clear their names after a grisly murder. I mean, they could just go to the authorities and explain themselves, but...nah. It would be way better to follow a series of dicey-at-best leads with a person who minutes ago you never wanted to speak to again. Yeah, that makes sense.

Some sense.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: Yellow and Red (11)

Is it really over?

I don't know what it's like where you are (probably better, I'll assume), but in my part of Pennsylvania, in terms of quarantine stages, we've just recently moved from RED to YELLOW. For some people, this move down down the rainbow doesn't mean much of anything, but for fellow mask-wearing anti-Americans like myself, I think it means we can kind of go back to a version of normal life. Sort of. Small gatherings are cool again, childcare is open, retail stores are back...I mean, wow, right? I'm sure everyone will be totally be responsible and this quarantine thing will all be a distant memory.

In honor of crowded beaches and everything working out just fine, I'm going to suspend COVID-19 Cinema at the conclusion of this post. F--k you coronavirus, full-length features are back! Uh, once or twice a month.

Because, as good science will tell you, if you get bored of doing something, stop doing it, jackass. Even if it was totally working. (and even if you weren't bored)

Film: Pokemon Detective Pikachu
Runtime: 104 mins   Rating: PG
Audience: Violet, Dad, Marilyn
Status: Gotta Catch Some Zzzz's

I was in college when the Pokemon craze hit, and outside of some enthusiastic friends of mine that played it ironically (sophomore year, sigh), I have little personal experience with Pikachu and friends. My son has Shield...or Sword, but that's about the extent of it.

But when I saw the trailer for Detective Pikachu, I was in, not only because it looked cool, but I figured it might be another avenue to reach the requisite weird kid in class, because that little a-hole typically eats and shits all things Jigglypuff. 

Turns out, my 6 y/o daughter Violet might just be that weird kid, and has taken to catching them all. Okay, not really, but she digs it enough so it was time to finally sit down and see what the Hell this is all about. And after seeing it? Honestly...uh...I still don't know.

As far as I can tell, there is a world (or a place) where every human has a Pokemon, and they all kind of co-exist. Some kid's estranged father dies  mysteriously (shocker), and he has to investigate what happened to his dearly departed dad. The kid doesn't really know where to begin until he meets a Pikachu, who for some strange reason...he can fully understand. From there? Yeah, no clue.

Yay: There's a sequence early on where enraged monkey-things are attacking and it's, well, bananas.
Boo: I love Ryan Reynolds, but this dude's voice it too damn distinct to be Pikachu. I half expected his to drop an f-bomb and electrocute someone's balls off. (the Boo is that he totally didn't)
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: See, kids. Even Pokemon use primary sources in their research.


Thursday, May 21, 2020

They are surprisingly effective goofballs.

I love dogs. And I'm pretty sure I always have.

When I was little kid, we had a mostly-black German shepherd named Pharaoh, and he was the best dog ever. Until I got my first puppy that is, and Koko then became the best pup the world. Okay, she actually wasn't , as that damn dog was bananas and died horrifically, but for as long as I had her, I loved her (honestly, I remember very little about this dog, which is probably my brain doing me a huge favor as I was a little kid home alone it happened).

Then, friends, dreams do come true. We got Monty. Or Montgomery, or during formal events, Montel, the runt of a litter of Gordon setters, who was, without a shred of a doubt, the greatest dog the planet had ever seen. I had moved to college by then, but summers and Christmases?

Oh, that was Monty Time. 


While the above explains how I got here, Scoob!, the latest entry in the theater-in-your-home experiment explains the origins of Scooby-Doo, another dog I've always adored. Well, it tries to...just not very hard.

Maybe there were other trailers that I didn't see, but I was kind of shocked when this alleged origin story abruptly (but thankfully) ended and an updated version of the TV show's theme song kicked in. Then, it was suddenly modern day Mystery, Inc., and away we went. Pup Scoob and young Shaggy were more like a short film that played before the real feature. Again, thank goodness, because I wanted to punch little Shaggy in his whiny face. We get it, kid - you don't have any friends. Don't be such a dick about it.

You guys, this show was my jam as a little kid, so there's no way I wasn't going to like this movie, but for whatever reason, instead of being about ghosts and a haunted amusement park, it's equal parts outer-space adventure and Hanna-Barbera world-building exercise. If you dug Wacky Races (like I did, sigh), seeing some of these old characters dusted off is momentarily, um, ...exciting, I guess. Or it would have been, but I dozed off three-quarters of the way through (on the first watch).

Friday, May 15, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: Unsafe at Home (10)

I enjoy staying in my house. By choice.

Well, I did, but this mandatory stay-at-home order is getting a bit tiresome, if I can be honest with you. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not so angry about quarantine that I'm going to get an assuault rifle, camouflage up and order a five-dollar footlong with my like-minded a-hole, friends. No. I'm just going to be quietly disapointed like a regular person, stay the Hell home, and cross my damn fingers that no one I care about gets sick. I mean, don't these f--kers realize it could be much, much worse than being at home all day?

And I'm not even talking about the coronavirus.


FilmThe Lodge
Runtime: 108 mins   Rating: R
Audience: a trusting father
Status: Chilled

Because it makes no sense.

Hanging out with your Dad's new girlfriend probably sucks no matter how you slice it, but in The Lodge, this unenviable scenario is cranked to infinity.

Mia and Aidan have just recently lost their mom (to put it mildly), and for whatever reason their father thinks it will be a solid plan if they spend some time with his soon-to-be new wife, Grace, in a remote cabin in the woods. Being that this guy is obviously incapable of reading people, let alone the room, it's a bit shocking that he's an accomplished author. Oh, it should probably be noted that Dad writes about suicide cults...which..is where he met Grace, the lone survivor of some Heaven's Gate type of shit. Wait, what?

Yeah, and if picking up chicks at the scene of a notorius mass suicide weren't a red flag, the fact that he leaves this woman alone in the middle of nowhere with his still-mourning kids just might be. At least he gives her a loaded gun (that she's all too good with). I'm sorry, did you say a loaded are you f--king kidding me? 

(this movie is super f--ked up and all kinds of creepy, but to be frank, the setup is so inexplicable, any rational thought sort of cuts the balls off of all of this, you know? But impossibly improbable or not, it's still beyond unsettling at times, which seems like exactly what you horror f--kers are into these days...with your scurrying devil moms and your build-a-bear boyfriends)
Yay: Hell, yes! Alicia Silverstone, the one time love of my life, is in this!
Boo: Well, she was.
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: Turns out, you can actually drive a crazy person insane.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

I'm having a birthday party, but you're not invited, but you can come if you want.

I did it. Well, we did it.

Today is Two Dollar Cinema's ninth birthday, and as is the time-honored tradition, it's time to look back on the year that was. Prior to the world-crippling pandemic we currently find ourselves in, this past year was, to put it mildly, an absolute f--king shit show. Wait, what?  Did you just say prior?


Me, recycling the same jokes for almost a decade.
In the past twelve months, my grandmother passed away, my aunt passed away, my wife's grandmother passed away, and what really broke my f--king heart, was the death of my loyal pup, Dodger (his passing came out of nowhere). Writing dumb shit about even dumber movies had been getting harder over the years, and with the constant barrage of grief, it became damn near impossible.

But with the unwavering support of a select group of people (and a little help from my kids, shockingly), I was able to go from hanging it up to hanging in, and managed to keep this train on the tracks. And once again, this post is dedicated to them. But more on that in a bit...

In the last twelve months, I managed seventy new films, which comes out to about every five days. While those numbers may seem slight to some of you, that's actually eleven more than the previous year. Forty three were in the theaters (remember them?), ten were Netflix exclusives, with the rest being a disc I bought or some other streaming service. And whatever the Hell Trolls: World Tour counts as, I'm not really sure (I'll check with Brittani, being that she loved it so much).

For brevity reasons, here are my top ten films from the last year in an order I would best describe as...flexible, followed by my bottom ten films. The word I would use to describe them? Competive.

Monday, May 4, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: Killer Kids (9)

If theater's don't come back, or come back in a way that violently fondles your baggage TSA-style, I'm sure as Hell going to miss them. Though, that's probably utterly f--king obvious as your reading this on my movie blog. 

I'll miss the popcorn and the soda (even though I gave it up), I'll miss the same shitty M&M's commercial from the late 90s, shit, I'll even miss the guy that haphazardly tears my ticket and then struggles to tell me what side of the hallway theater 9 is on (it's okay, my guy, I'll figure it out). But what I will miss most of all? That screen and those speakers. And the fact that every release...

...will basically be direct-to-video.

Film: The Willoughbys
Runtime: 90 minutes    Rating: PG
Audience: Whole Fam (but only the cool kids finished it)
Status: Initially indifferent

Mother's balls!

I gotta say, I wasn't really feelin' this one from the beginning. I know the times they have a changed, but even the best Netflix stuff still feels like direct-to-video entertainment, you know? And if you're a forty-year old jerk, that ain't exactly a compliment.

But in the case of The Willoughbys, the real drag isn't that it's sucky, second-tier flick ainmation. Actually, my real gripe is that it was never available to see in theaters, because I'd imagine it would have been a sight to see.

If you don't know, and I sure as Hell didn't, The Willoughbys is a pretty twisted story. There's this family of red-headed oddballs, where the kids are absolutely loathed by their parents. In order for a better life, the kids actually want to be orphaned, and send their parents on an epic vacation that will hopefully kill them. Shocking no one, the plan doesn't exactly work, and ten minutes into the flick, you can pretty much lock down exactly how it'll end. It's all incredibly weird, but fun. And even though it's state-of-the-art visually, The Willoughbys has a very Roald Dahl/Shel Silverstein throwback vibe.

Yay: The Nanny (Rudolph) turns out to be the absolute best character ever, and I didn't see it coming.
Boo: Man, not only is Dad (Martin Short) a giant a-hole, but his throat thing is super unsettling.
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: Sometimes you actually find everything when you lose it all.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

That was so graphic!

You guys, I don't even remember her name. Hell, I'm not even sure she had a name. Everybody in the neighborhood called her Granny. Uh huh.

Now this is Texas in the early eighties, mind you, essentially what normal society was like two hundred years ago. Granny was a tiny, badass lady that was not to be f--ked with, even though my older brothers would often try. Eventually, those pricks would age out, and I would be the only kid from my family sent two streets up to sit with Granny. Even when I was too old, I had to go. Go up there and share a frozen pizza with her, Mario. I mean, she was your babysitter.

Even though she was an older, more experienced woman, looking back, I never wanted to kiss her.
But to her credit, I was never really afraid that she would kill me.

In fact, I was afraid she might die.


Unfortunately for Cole, the main dude in McG's wicked Netflix romp The Babysitter, the lady watching him ain't gonna die anytime soon. In fact, she's pretty much the f--king Terminator. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, at least not initially, as Bee (Samara Weaving, rocketing to the top of my favorite people alive list) is not only the best babysitter alive, she just might be the baddest bitch on the planet, too.

It all starts so innocently, as Cole (the incredibly chill Judah Lewis) wants to lament the fact that he's way too old to have a sitter, but Bee's simply too f--king cool. And when Cole's parents (the deduo of Ken Marino and Leslie Bibb!), head to a hotel for the weekend [to have sex, naturally], Cole's actually pretty stoked. Or he would have been, if Bee didn't absolutely murder the f--k out of some dude she brought over.

Wait, what?

Yeah, and worse, up next on her murder spree, is you guessed it, Cole of all people, as Bee and her cult need some pure-ass blood. Well, not ass blood-ass blood, I'm pretty sure the cephalic vein will do. And yeah, I looked that up, f--k off.

Monday, April 27, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: Problematic Pussy (8)

I don't know about you, but things are starting to get weird around here. Life in quarantine has pretty much settled into life. I never considered myself as someone who was out there living life to the fullest, but goddamn do I miss the four or five things I used to do.

Luckily, I suppose, the cinema is still there, well, the home cinema, and it's odd how my perception of every onscreen interaction has changed. Generally, I just marvel at all the people. Like, look at these (maskless) a-holes. Just loitering about with no shopping agenda. 

But these two films? They have zero idea about social distancing. You find a stranger in the woods? Oh, girl, you leave his ass there and go home and bleach them hands. Space cat lands in your backyard? You shoot Garfield in his damn face and keep it moving. You ain't the Tiger King.

Like I said...starting to get real weird around here. Real weird.


FilmThe Beguiled (2017)
Runtime: 93 minutes    Rating: R
Audience: Me, Wife, Tom Nook
Status: Overwhelmed, nervous

We could show him some real southern hospitality.

I would have bet you twelve hundred dollars that I wasn't going to be into The Beguiled, mainly because Copolla's films haven't ever really been by my bag, but also because it looked like this remake would move with the speed of a southerner on a summer Sunday. Welp, let's just say I have never been so happy to be a top-shelf f--king idiot.

While most kids bring home a lost puppy or an abandoned baby bird, in The Beguiled a fine young lady brings home an enemy soldier. Even worse than those damned typical Yankee bluecoats, are the handsome ones straight from Dublin, who may or may not charm you with their piercing accents not to mention their gentle appreciation for nature, music and the virgin loins of a potentially underage girl. Wait, what? What the f--k?

Friends, maybe the one with Clint Eastwood is where it's really at, but I haven't seen the 1971 version so in that regard, f--k off with that shit. Let me tell you, straight up, I f--king loved this movie. For such a simple story with so few characters, it's an absolute rollercoaster of calamity. So much so, my heart almost stopped during the final act. Good thing it didn't, as my wife was all in on Animal Crossing, and likely would have tripped over my corpse after saving her progress, potentially injuring herself in the process. Crisis averted.

Yay: What makes a good woman, really? Young, flirtatious? Pretty, dependent? Slightly older, tall, can dutifully perform an amputation with household supplies? 
Boo: Even if he ended up being human garbage, I still had some love for Colin Farrell UNTIL HE THREW A F--KING TURTLE ACROSS THE ROOM.
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: Fine, you don't always have to eat your vegetables.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: Animal Planet (7)

Shocking no one, there's not a lot of planning taking place at Two Dollar Cinema. Not a lot of coherence, either. During quarantine, the only thing I've done is to shorten and combine posts. Watch two movies, write one post. Simple enough, right? Right.

So, to try and challenge myself in some small way, I've told myself, see if you can connect the two films. Completely on accident, and without the slightest hint of calculated thought, I present you to the ultimate double-feature of...people turned into animals. Uh, unwillingly turned into animals, that is.

Film: Spies in Disguise
Runtime: 102 min   Rating: PG
Audience: Four began, two finished
Status: Giddy

I'm gonna science all over your face.

My younger brother, when he was a kid, would have readily told you Will Smith was his movie hero. My son, currently a little kid, would say the same thing about Tom Holland. Even if it's just their voices, having these two icons together in the same movie is nothing short of fantastic. Especially when the movie is so unrelentingly silly. 

Checking all the boxes of modern animated flicks, we've got a misunderstood kid with a heart of gold and, you guessed it, a dead parent. Walter's wicked smaht, and grows up to be the guy (way) behind the guy at a top-secret spy facility. Inadvertently paired with ace agent Lance Sterling, Walter's predilection for non-violence doesn't jive with Lance's fighting fire with fire approach, so the two were already at odds, um, before Walter turns Lance into an adorable pigeon.

Together they have to stop Ben Mendelsohn's Killian, a one-handed cyborg-ish dude determined to wipe out all undercover agents across the globe. Nothing in the script is all that unique until the pigeons enter the fray, and the movie takes off into a ridiculous romp, that should crack you up on more than one occasion. I found myself laughing consistently, and was stoked at how perfectly stupid some of the gags were. Oh, and that Jason Bourne reference? *chef's kiss*

Yay: The fat, naked boneless guy bit was a frickin' hilarious. Hahaha...jeez...I'm still laughing, in fact.
Boo: Yeah, I might be playing myself, but for some reason, I hate that DJ Khaled has a role here.
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: Yeah, bullets and explosions might get the job done, but have you tried kittens and glitter?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: Regal's Revenge (6)

Back when movie theaters were an option, occasionally, and this isn't something I'm necessarily proud of, I wouldn't go. No, not in the obvious sense of not going-not going, more the idea of buying a ticket with the specific intention of doing something entirely different. While I'm sure that seems f--king stupid on many fronts (it is), hear me out. Regal Cinemas, my home away from home, often runs a promotion where if you see a certain number of films, you get a certain number of films. 

But, of course, you gotta see them all. See 4, Get 4. You see only three? F--k you and the horse you rode in on. Fine, you get a free small popcorn, but still. Anyhow, there were times when catching all four wasn't in the cards, so I'd grab a ticket and the head the f--k home. At least I'll eventually get to see it, right? Right.

Even if it totally sucks ass.

Okay, fine. That poster is moderately clever.
FilmCountdown (2019)
Runtime: 90 min   Rating: PG-13
Audience: Just me
Status: Not on my phone

It's just an app.

Countdown, to its credit, doesn't f--k around. We're less than two minutes in, and these college/high-school types are already dowloading the app that tells you the exact moment you're going to die. Now, if this were the eighties, we'd have already had a sex and/or shower scene, but what this film lacks in salaciousness, it makes up in brevity. And shockingly...brutality.

See, it's not really clear how you're going to die, just when, and if you somehow do something you shouldn't (for example, don't drive home with your clearly intoxicated boyfriend), you, and I wish I were kidding, violate the terms and conditions. So not only does the app predict your death, it also assumes you're a total f--king moron, entirely opposed to self-preservation. Though, the way we use our phones, that might not be such a leap.

Shit, speaking of leaps, even if you have zero interest in this movie, let me tell you, the first two deaths are tremendous. It's unclear why one would hit the ledge of their bathtub as if dropped from a f--king plane, but apparently, you can't avoid death...even if you totally did. Think Final Destination, minus all the clever shit that will eventually kill you. Here, you don't slip on the shampoo in the tub. You just get dropped on your head in the bathroom. FROM SPACE.

Yay: Push notifications are accompanied by the best worst sound ever. Like, might want to mute that.
Boo: Peter Facinelli plays Dr. Sullivan, a nice enough guy, until you give him a boner.
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: One way or another, that phone is going to kill you.


Thursday, April 16, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: The Second Wave (5)

Remakes and sequels. Sequels and remakes. It's easy to complain about them, but damn near possible to ignore them. And it's not because that's all my theater has, dammit! (I have genuine nostalgia for this film-nerd douchery), clearly, as that argument hasn't left its house since mid-March. Not even for toilet paper and Raisin Bran Crunch.

No, the real reason I can't stop watching remakes and sequels, even when I have an infinite amount of original content, is it connects me to the past. Back when things were simpler, happier, and shockingly carefree. Yeah the jokes and effect might not age well, but Hell, neither did I. And if you're telling me I can kind of go back to the good ol' days for an hour or two?

Why wouldn't I?


Top: Ella Balinska dunks on Stewart
Middle: This ain't helping Picard become captain of anything
Bottom: It took me way too long to realize that's Jasmine
Film: Charlie's Angels
Runtime: 118 min Rating: PG-13
Audience: Dad w/ phone
Status: Tragically indifferent

Not mints. 

Wow, as much as I love the original goofy-ass McG version of Charlie's Angels, I honestly was a bit surprised at how little I gave a damn about this updated, Elizabeth Banks iteration. I'd be the first to admit that the Drew Barrymore flick hasn't exactly aged well, but at least is was fun. This time around the Angels have gotten younger, and a bit...classier, but at great cost. Cue Amy Dunne's Cool Girl monologue right about...now.

Fine, it's not all bad (nah, it is), but in an effort to make this seemingly for women, or at the very least, for girls, Banks and friends have tasked themselves with what just might be an impossible mission. I have no doubt that a story about a cadre of badass female spies could be heavenly (it's okay, I'll punch myself in the nuts for that one), but this ain't it, boss. Instead, it's a too serious, perhaps overly-complicated slog that should have been an incredibly slick, fast-paced romp. The new Angels aren't terrible (though KStew's jokes just might be), but the script and some (most) of the action scenes were (my God). Oh, and that dance scene...just...why?

Yay: The very end was soo good. No, not the part where Picard gets punched in the face, but after.
Boo: I might have been drunk, but did they really retrofit these Angels directly over the old ones?
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: If you're going to re-write history, might as well make it interesting.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

COVID-19 Cinema: He's PISSED. (4)

The children have abandoned me.

The brightly-colored muttering goofballs from Animal Crossing have politely taken Violet. The basketball hoop, the PS4, and unfinished school-work have consumed Matthew. There is no longer any time to sit with Dad and watch a movie. So as a father, I press on. Alone.

What about your wife? She's gone. Long gone, in fact. In the daytime, she's glued to a monitor. At night, she's glued to a pillow. I'd love to watch something with her, but she can't (or won't) stay awake. So I press play. Alone. 

Without a wife and kids, what's a man have to live for? Two things, actually.

1. Death.
2. Destruction.

Top: the Black Skulls...Mid: The worst dick ever
Bot: Cage's Driver License Photo
Regrettably not picturedNic v. Voldo at the flaming car level
Film: Mandy
Runtime: 121 minutes   Rating: R
Audience: Dad, Cheddar Goblin
Status: Delirious

You exude a cosmic darkness.

Well, what in the exact f--k do we have here? Not only do I not remember putting on the old-school 3D glasses, it's a damn shame that both f--king lenses were RED. Fine, that probably didn't really happen, but at this point, I don't know what the f--k did.

Nic Cage stars in what I can only assume is a limited mini-series documenting two days in his actual life. He's trying to go about it quietly, till some Jesus freaks (and obvious future MAGA a-holes) kidnap and horribly execute his wife. In front of him. He (rightfully) snaps, builds a Final Fantasy-style giant axe, does some coke, and absolutely annihilates them. All of them. It's actually pretty goddamned straightforward, but I took some bad acid before pressing play and it looked trippy and borderline incomprehensible as f--k. Oh, that was just a little bit of paper you ripped out of your notebook? Well, it's probably this weed I'm smoking... 

Yay: I was going to go with Bill Duke, but in this film, we need revenge, and oh boy do we get it.
Boo: The final showdown! We had peaked way earlier on, right? Final bosses should be tougher.
Homeschool Lesson of the Day: Sometimes, a man's gotta have a drink and a scream before he puts his pants on.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Progress, not perfection.

His name is Mr. Nieves.

He's a pretty big guy, tall, built like a stone pillar, but quite possibly the nicest man you could ever meet. Which makes sense, because he's our guidance counselor, routinely dropping everything to help someone in need, perceived or otherwise. Whenever you see him, he's greets you with a firm handshake and a relaxed smile (though it's hard to lock down the shape of his mouth, as half of it is ensconced in the most epic of mustaches), and the two minutes you might spend with him are the best two minutes. 

So, obviously, he's a trained assassin.

Oh, that sounds ridiculous to you? Well, maybe you haven't been watching action movies since...well, forever. But I have, so I'm pretty sure the nice, older guy at your office could pretty much kill an entire army of angry foreigners without un-tucking his immaculately ironed dress shirt.

Late to the party, though arriving with an overwhelming sense of deja-vu, I recently checked out 2014's The Equalizer starring an always stellar Denzel Washington. Seemingly regarded with a certain fondness, and enthusiastically recommended to me by my cinematically joyless father, I'm not sure what took me so long. I mean, I love it when droves of people are murdered in the name of doing the right thing. All that senseless death? It's what gives me life.

Denzel plays Robert McCall, easily the best employee at a (not) Lowe's somewhere in Boston. When he's not making the world a better place one solid at a time, he finds himself at the local diner, having coffee and reading classic literature because of course he would. He has befriended a lady of the evening, and even if you know ol' Bob doesn't approve of this young girl's poor life choices, who is he to judge? But when some f--ker roughs her up, well, turns out it's buy-one get-one on bad ideas.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Not merry, but it is lively.

I hardly remember new love. And those of you in it, or on the verge of it, in a way, I envy you.

That probably sounds like a terrible thing to say as a loving husband, but I've been with my wife for almost twenty years. That wild desire, that all-encompassing ridiculousness that consumed me (she was, if we're keeping score, way less...enthusiastic [initially?]) is long gone. It's not like we're miserable or anything, but part of the excitement of a new relationship - a new love - is that it's all so f--king mysterious. And that's either the fun of it, or the f--k of it. But my wife and I? 

Oh, we solved those mysteries years ago.

It's not that the thrill is gone, totally, but from where I'm sitting, forties love can't hold a candle to nineties love. As in seventeen-nineties love. And even if it could, it shouldn't. Because accidents happen and people could get, wait for it, burned.

Sigh.

While we both ponder whether we should keep writing/reading this post, let me just quickly say that Portrait of a Lady on Fire, from writer/director Celine Sciamma is unlike any film I've ever seen before. Granted, I don't watch a lot of, um, period pieces, nor do I watch a lot of French films. Oh, and I'm not into (mostly) silent films, either. But, hey, here we are.

Unbeknownst to me (and you, I hope), parents would commission artists to paint pictures of their daughters as means of marrying them off. It's not exactly romantic, or natural, but it sure is logical. And as the song goes, All you need is logic.

The exquisite Marianne (Noemie Merlant, current star of both my dreams and nightmares) is the portrait painter, and while female painters ain't exactly the routine, nothing about this gig is. Turns out, the subject, the impossibly aloof Heloise (the haunting Adele Haenel), isn't interested in sitting for the painting. At all. So, Marianne is gonna have to do this on the sly, basically stealing glances and locking them in her memory for a time when she can be alone. This is so much like how I rolled in high school, the whole remembering something specific and using it later, but I was working with a way different...canvas.