Thursday, January 30, 2020

I think I'm just tired, that's all.

Like the rest of you, I hate feeling stupid.

I will avoid likely wondrous experiences, if there's even the slightest chance I'm going to look like an idiot. I know, I know, but what about the entire contents of this blog? That's different. The shame Two Dollar Cinema brings me can easily be dismissed as something I've done. For a decade. Nobody pulled one over on me. I did this to myself. In that regard, looks like the upper hand is on the other foot.

But this recent transgression? It made me feel so dumb, I was beyond embarrassed. Here I was thinking I'd spent my entire life believing in something, only to have it all turn out to be utter nonsense. Worse? Feeling sad about it...only makes me feel more stupid. And really, there's only one person to blame.

F--k you, Han Solo. 

Because it's been a few weeks since I've seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, pinpointing the exact moment I stopped giving a shit about the entire (film?) franchise, might land with the accuracy of Stormtrooper blaster fire. I think I literally threw my hands up somewhere near a certain General's crucial admission, but even before that I was firmly off-board with this latest entry. That's a thing, right? Off-board? Oh, it doesn't make any sense and seems like lazy writing? Seems like there's a lot of that going around these days...

It's too late in the game to rehash the plot, but basically, it's more of the same thing - but worse. Much, much worse. The dead speak, sure, but trust me, it would have been a lot better if they could have kept their f--king traps shut. Instead of spending serious time with Kylo Ren as our main villain, Rise of the Skywalker stitches together the flattened corpse of Emperor Palpatine and casts him as the great and mighty Oz, manning the Snoke machine on some unknown planet. That has a name.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

We will see who does the screaming...

It's probably obvious if you know me, but, uh, I read a lot of Stephen King as a kid.

Like, if I wasn't reading The Hardy Boys, I was pretty much all in on King. It was either wholesome crime-solving capers with my dudes Frank and Joe, or navigating the f--ked-up mind of the King of Horror. Sadly, there was no in between.

I don't remember a lot of particulars, but it seemed, in the King way of looking at things, there were some ground rules:

a) mysterious forces were always in play
b) people were divided into two distinct camps, good and evil
c) bad things were going to happen, and almost certainly to little kids

Even if my rules are figments or fractures of thirty year-old memories, Doctor Sleep goes a resounding three for three. An entirely more digestible sequel to The Shining, director Mike Flanigan's latest plays more like an action movie than a horror flick, but don't take that as a knock against it. The pace is nothing short of electric. And while the scares are really good, they weren't the reason I was stiff. 

The overwhelmingly sexy Rebecca Ferguson, ahem, plays a mysterious woman named Rose the Hat. Rose is the leader of this fairly chill/totally f--ked -up crew of vampires, who get their jollies off of eating little kids. Well, more like inhaling them, but either way it ain't fun for the wee ones. The catch, is it ain't just any kids that they're after - it's the kids with psychic powers - kids that can shine.

Decades after whatever the f--k happened at The Overlook, Ewan McGregor plays Danny, a now grown-up version one of those kids Rose would desperately love to sink her teeth into (uh, is there a sign up sheet being passed around? I brought my own pen). Danny is now a raging alcoholic and all-around piece of garbage, not that I blame him. Clearly, this dude is haunted by his past (to this day, if I'm alone, I sprint through all hotel hallways), and drunk sex with single moms seems to be his best bet for surviving the day (again, the pen works, I just didn't see the form). Danny's gotta get his shit together, fast, so he does what all winners do. He heads to New England.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Love is the strongest thing in the world.

There are a lot of teachers, especially male teachers, who love to pull struggling students outside of the classroom to have a heart to heart conversation. Maybe, they put an arm on the kid's shoulder, maybe dispense some life wisdom in way that feels authentic, and maybe, just works. The kid becomes a role model,goes to college immediately, as beautiful flowers spring up through cracks in the concrete.

I have never been that teacher.

I think that most kids, in most situations, to really learn something that matters, are going to have to figure it out for themselves. 

I was in a pretty rough spot when I finally caught Taika Waititi's latest feature, Jojo Rabbit. Not only was it day four of a Thanksgiving beach vacation with my in-laws (read that again), but I was still secretly reeling from news about my dad, who had just suffered some mysterious (and near fatal) cardiac event. Not great, you know?

But when I discovered that twenty minutes up the road I could catch a film I thought I'd never see, I jumped at the chance to think about something else, and headed to the Tilton Square theater in Northfield, New Jersey. Alone. And if that somehow sounds depressing, trust me, it's not supposed to. I was beyond stoked.

The only reason I mention any of this, and it seems silly I realize, is I didn't enjoy the movie nearly as much as I thought I would. I liked it, found it rather charming and clever, but I just didn't adore it like I had hoped. Maybe it simply isn't as good as Waititi's similar-ish Hunt for the Wilderpeople [review], or maybe, just maybe, my head wasn't in the game. I left the theater thinking I enjoyed the idea a bit more than the execution. Between you and me, kind of like this whole Thanksgiving vacation if I'm honest...

Thursday, January 2, 2020

I bet you're wondering who we are and why we're here.

The first time, I got the story.

Parents die. Sister gets hurt. Other sister leaves. Rock trolls show up for some reason. Someone sings an epic ballad. Hearts thaw. Everyone lives happily ever after. Getting it was equal parts easy and peasy.

It was the phenomenon that I didn't understand.

This time around, the phenomenon makes sense (as much as anything that people lose their minds about ever does), but it's the story I can't wrap my head around. Wait...why are they fighting? Why is there a salamander, and more importantly, can I buy it in Funko Pop form?

While my wife was absolutely riveted by every single aspect of Frozen II, to me it felt like nothing more than the prettiest cash-grab ever. But in this case, the sequel wasn't necessarily unwarranted, but more just...indecipherable. 

Yeah, it's been a minute or two since we caught Disney's latest animated feature, but I don't think it's the elapsed time that's making my head foggy. Instead, it's a story written by five people (probably the industry standard for a Disney mega-sequel, but still) that is way more complicated than it needed to be. Well, that, or I was just really tired that day (code for: I'm not that bright).

Anyhow, because clearly, I've got nothing, I decided to call in some experts to lend a hand in all things Anna and Elsa (and unfortunately, Olaf [he's literally the worst thing since Mater]). Some other people around the Two Dollar Cinema compound/abandoned warehouse have been a bit miffed about my daughter being the only one featured in 'reviews', so this time, and hopefully only this time, the whole gang is going to contribute. Their job? To tell you, dear reader, what exactly this movie is about. Up first? In a shocking turn of events, my lovely wife, Kim.