The Drowning Pool- Certain movies are based around actor/actress charm alone. I understand this is not a profound statement but it was the first thing that came to mind in this Paul Newman sequel to the private eye movie Harper. Where Harper has moments of levity and comedy (Southern Californians poking fun at themselves) Pool is dead serious most of the time and attempts at humor are quickly drowned out by its Bayou surroundings. This movie is notable for an 18-year old Melanie Griffith making an appearance. And I’m not saying that in some lurid fashion it’s just cool to see actors when they’re young. Speaking of, you can see a young Dennis Hopper in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He was also in Rebel Without a Cause.
One Good Thing: I enjoy seeing rooms impossibly full of water. Delicatessen and The Shape of Water have similar, smaller, and better scenes.
Watch Instead: Harper, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Boggy Creek Monster- The mythical monster subject here is nothing new but because there’s not much to go on evidence wise, they also talk about the fictional movie that was made about the mythical monster movie. Like if I did a documentary on Bigfoot AND the making of Harry and the Hendersons. It’s more about the townsfolk and that is really the only reason it’s interesting. At times, they allude to local family trees and legends and I couldn’t help but think I’d be okay if the documentary just changed course. To be fair, mythical monster documentaries are always a bit iffy so I don’t even think I could recommend anything instead. They’re all based on conjecture and eyewitnesses.
Protocol- Goldie Hawn is a cocktail waitress who saves the foreign dignitary of a Middle Eastern country from assassination. There’s some possibly interesting things to say about Beltway mentality or political maneuvering among insiders but really this is the Goldie show and it’s fucking rad. I’ve loved her ever since I watched Laugh-In reruns as a kid and it hasn’t really changed. Even though I don’t want to I’m going to watch Snatched just because she’s in it. She lives with a gay couple in this movie which still riles people up today for some reason so I can’t imagine how viewers reacted in the 80s. Not the specific couple in this movie but gay people living together in general in 2018 so I’m sure someone was livid when they watched this.
MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
State of Grace- Where was this movie all my life? Young Sean Penn, Gary Oldman, John C Reilly, Ed Harris and Robin Wright tear shit up in this 1990s Irish mafia film. There is nothing wrong with this and Gary Oldman is doing quintessential frantic here. It’s possibly too long but I enjoyed it enough to not care.
Brian Eno: The Man Who Fell to Earth 1971-1977- For fans of Roxy Music, Bowie or ambient synthesizer this will hold your attention. If you’re only a fleeting fan maybe pass on this but the interviews are good and the material is exhaustive. Eno is a legend but the material is so specific it may not keep your interest.
Chips- Why was this made? Is it because there’s not enough “fag” jokes anymore? At one point undercover FBI agent Michael Pena (unusually unfunny and cold here) tells Dax Shephard point blank “I work for the FBI”. Given the stupidity of most characters here, I’m actually not surprised that the dialogue needs to be this simple. Nothing makes sense in this movie. Relationships develop and fall apart at random. There are funny moments but they are so far apart you forget them. I enjoy Shephard and Pena but feel they were given free rein to ad lib a movie which could have benefited from a tighter script.
One Good Thing: When Pena throws a naked Shephard across the room(don’t ask) and he lands in a bathtub. Impressive stunt/CGI work. Seriously. But this is proceeded and followed with blatant homophobia throughout so it’s like saying “that KKK guy has a nice smile” or something. It’s a compliment but it doesn’t matter.
Watch Instead: Let’s Go to Prison or End of Watch. To be honest, I haven’t seen End of Watch but it can’t be worse.
Wall-E- Ugh. Not sure how I can walk around talking about movies like I know shit but had never seen this. It’s almost a decade old and is somehow the best animation I’ve ever seen which I think most people are spoiled by these days. They think it’s easy because “computers”. Also, the two main characters can’t talk aside from uttering distorted versions of each other’s names yet we are witness to a credible and entertaining love story between robots. Are you watching Michael Bay or are you jerking off atop a towering Scrooge McDuck-style vault of money?!?!? (The latter I’m assuming)
Sahara- As an avid player of the Uncharted video game series (a well made knock-off of Tomb Raider) the treasure hunter mystique will always appeal to me. And I don’t care what real archaeologists say, Indiana Jones is awesome. I hate when real professions get in the way of fictional depictions. Of course nuclear physicists don’t look like Denise Richards in The World is Not Enough that’s why I’m not hanging out at their conferences. Also, I wasn’t invited. Sahara, based on the Dirk Pitt novels, was hunting for that franchise gold and nothing really came of it. Steve Zahn is enjoyable but McConaughey’s physicality is less fun to watch than his crazy performance in Reign of Fire. He’s bongo player athletic in Sahara not dragon fighting athletic so it’s forgettable. And so is Penelope Cruz. Did you know she was a “Pitt girl”? Me either.
Rent- On the low, I’m kind of a fan of musicals and (to a lesser extent) theater. I liked Rocky Horror when I was too young to understand it and I watch Velvet Goldmine or Team America once every couple of years. Disney is great. After seeing La La Land I went to the theater to watch Umbrellas of Cherbourg (which may have been my musical limit). I naturally assumed Rent would be something I was into but couldn’t have cared less about a single song here which, given the amount of them, is impressive. I cared zero for any cast member’s fate and the “save our rec center” theme seemed played now. Played similar to the electric guitar that infects this film like human immunodeficiency virus.
One Good Thing: Normally, my answer would be Rosario Dawson as a stripper, but I have to say the only good thing about RENT is that it spawned the scene in Team America where they are performing “Everyone Has Aids!” in the musical “Lease”.
Watch Instead: Angels in America or Team America (no relation).
The Lovers and the Despot- Imagine if Canada kidnapped Steven Spielberg and Meryl Streep and forced them to make Canadian propaganda movies for 8 years in Ontario. Now, I realize the irony of the metaphor because companies film in Toronto anyway for tax purposes but this is the plot of Lovers with North/South Korea as the backdrop. Honestly, it’s less interesting than it sounds but if you’re fascinated by North Korea like I am you will enjoy the weirdness. Mexico would have been a metaphor. Dammit. Pretend I said Mexico.
I’ll See You in My Dreams- Halfway through this movie my wife informed me it was based on a true story. This made the life of the character more interesting but the songs within less so as I thought they had all been written for the movie. I am nitpicking though as this was a funny movie with great music. If you have the DVD, there is a special feature Foghorn Leghorn cartoon for some reason. I don’t know why it’s there but it’s bonkers watching those as an adult.