Predator (1987)


This Stuff Will Make You a God Damned Sexual Tyrannosaurus.

In my mind, my review of the Alien series would not be complete if I didn’t first review Alien vs. Predator.  Unlike even the worst Alien movies, AvP will probably give me a lot more to make fun of, being much lower in quality.  But I couldn’t just jump right into that movie either, because there’s another name in that title that I haven’t reviewed yet.  The first movie in this series is a classic sci-fi action movie but, as with many movies, I didn’t see it when it came out and I was a kid.  Without the nostalgia making it seem better than it actually is, was this movie able to hold up in the present?  We’ll find out in my review of Predator, written by Jim and John Thomas, directed by John McTiernan, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Peter Hall, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Sonny Landham, Jesse Ventura, Bill Duke, Richard Chaves, Shane Black, and R.G. Armstrong.

A group of mercenaries lead by Major Alan “Doesn’t my accent sound ‘Dutch’” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is hired by his old military buddy, George Dillon (Carl Weathers), to rescue a captured presidential cabinet member from guerrilla forces in Val Verde.  When they get there, they find a downed helicopter and the skinned bodies of an Army Special Forces unit.  They take out a nearby rebel encampment, but soon start to realize that there’s something else in the jungle, hunting them with thermal vision, a laser gun, cloaking device, and dreadlocks.

This is a very cool sci-fi action flick.  It borders on cheesy in more than one occasion, but overall it still holds up as entirely kick ass.  One thing I got to thinking about is how much more interesting I probably would’ve found this movie on my first viewing, at least if I had no prior knowledge of what I was watching.  If you think about it, not knowing anything about the movie you would be caught completely off guard by the fact that it starts off as a pretty typical army type of movie that strangely keeps cutting back to something that’s watching them in infrared.  Not until almost the midway point do you actually find out that an alien is in the mix.  I like the way the movie unfolds, and I like how it concludes.  All of that Arnold stuff, caked in mud and fighting the alien with whatever he could assemble from the jungle.  Yeah, I know the Mythbusters proved that the mud wouldn’t actually mask his heat signature, but I’m still perfectly comfortable suspending my disbelief to enjoy it.  I laughed at the part where the black dude was unloading into the forest because he saw the Predator and the other guys on the team ran up and just started shooting at random, knowing nothing more than they were clearing out some foliage.  I did take a pretty big issue with one big logic loophole in the movie.  Arnold figures out pretty early on that the Predator wants a challenge, and even kicks the gun out of the girl’s hand because he won’t attack her if she’s unarmed and not a challenge.  Why the hell didn’t everyone just throw their guns down?  They would’ve all survived apparently!  There were some parts to the dialogue that I could take issue with because of their corniness, but it’s an Arnold movie from the 80s!  If I didn’t go in expecting some bad dialogue, then I was fooling myself.  When Arnold stuck a guy to a pole with his knife and he said, “Stick around,” I couldn’t help but think he was getting started really early for his pun-tacular role as Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin.  I also laughed when one of the soldiers was going off because of Harper’s death, saying, “You don’t understand how bad this thing is.  Whatever it is out there, it killed Harper!” because I thought to myself, “Yeah, and nothing’s killed Harper before!”  On a more positive note, I had completely forgotten where the quote that almost everyone includes in their Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions – “Get to tha choppa!” – came from, and it’s this movie.  I usually go with, “Get to the choppa, Danny!” which I believe is a mash up of this movie and Last Action Hero, but I’m okay with it.

The look of the movie is also pretty well done and mostly holds up.  I respect a time when explosions were actually happening on the set.  Also, the fake dead bodies were pretty well done.  They made a couple of odd choices with the look though.  Like right in the beginning, when Arnold and Carl Weathers shook hands and the camera focused a little too long on their rippling buffness.  On the other hand, if you’re a gay guy, they probably focus on it just long enough for you to tug one out.  And that’s not the only moment that a gay dude could spank to, so it’s got that goin’ for it.  Also, the part where the Predator was performing surgery on his wound, it was less than convincing and seemed more like he was just poking his wound with random items.

The performances were … a bunch of muscle bound dudes and at least one who spoke English as a second language.  What do you expect?  Arnold was indeed an action star and he does nothing to tarnish that in this movie.  As muscle bound as ever and he doesn’t try to act so there’s really not much to hold against him.  I preferred Jesse Ventura’s character though, just because of the ridiculous things he’d say, like when he called everyone a bunch of slack-jawed faggots because they wouldn’t try the chewing tobacco that studies have shown will make one a goddamned sexual tyrannosaur.  He also found himself far too strapped for time to have any left over to bleed, so that’s also a plus.  They also had a comic relief guy that I didn’t find that annoying, even though every single one of his jokes was about how big his girlfriend’s vagina was.

Predator definitely holds up.  It’s not the smartest movie ever, but it’s also not entirely dumb.  The story leads you in one direction before dropping an alien on you to make it science fiction, the action is still great fun to watch, and you just can’t expect much from the performances, and you’d be right.  But the movie is still great and still entirely watchable, even by today’s standards.  Predator gets “So you cooked up a story and dropped the six of us into a meat grinder?” out of “I ain’t got time to bleed.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Advertisements

Arrested Development: Season One (2003)


Say What You Will About America; Thirteen Bucks Still Gets You a Hell of a Lot of Mice.

I don’t often get requests to review TV shows, which I generally regard as a blessing, since a review of a TV show can take quite some time and I’ve never found myself particularly good at it.  But, when today’s TV show was requested, I was actually quite happy about it.  Not happy about getting to write a review of it, as I’m not nearly as practiced at it as I am with movies and even video games.  What I was happy about was getting to watch the TV show.  I’d never seen a single episode of this show as I tend to not keep up with television that much, so much so that I actually cancelled my cable service because I could do without the greater majority of them.  But I’d heard so much about how awesome this TV show was I was happy to have a reason to watch it.  So happy, apparently, that I actually bombed through all 22 episodes of the first season in one day.  Let’s see if it can live up to the hype as I review the first season of Arrested Development, created by Mitchell Hurwitz, and starring Jason Bateman, Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Jeffrey Tambor, Jessica Walter, Michael Cera, Alia Shawkat, David Cross, Henry Winkler, Judy Greer, Liza Minnelli, Patricia Velásquez, Carl Weathers, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jay Johnston, Jerry Minor, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Justin Lee, Jane Lynch, James Lipton, and John Michael Higgins.

George Bluth Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) retires as the founder and CEO of the Bluth Company and is promptly arrested for spending the company’s money on personal expenses.  Bluth’s wife, Lucille (Jessica Walter) takes over as CEO, naming her extremely sheltered youngest son, Buster (Tony Hale), the president.  The middle son – and the only son actually equipped to run a business – Michael (Jason Bateman) leaves the company as a result, but comes back when they all realize they need him, and because his own son, George Michael (Michael Cera) wants to stay with the family.  Mainly because he’s developed a crush on his cousin, Maeby (Alia Shawkat), daughter of Michael’s sister Lindsay (Portia de Rossi) and her husband Tobias (David Cross).  The majority of the family lives in one of the Bluth model homes, with the rest of them, including the oldest brother Gob (Will Arnett) the aspiring magician, visiting frequently to try to borrow money from Michael as he tries to save the company while not even knowing what his father got into.

I don’t know if I’d say that this show has lived up to the hype so far, but it’s certainly not the fault of the show.  From what I had heard, I half expected to be laughing non-stop while watching.  That wasn’t what happened, but I found the show to be extremely well written, very funny, and even funny enough to get me to laugh out loud on more than one occasion.  The first episode was a little disappointing, but it seemed to mainly be all of the setup to get all of the backstory out of the way, but they pick up their speed pretty quickly after that.  The jokes mainly come from how ridiculous the family are, and are often shown in quick cutaways, almost like a live action Family Guy.  And, more often than not, my favorite part of the episode was actually the very end, where they show scenes from the next episode that may or may not actually happen, but they work very well as rapid fire jokes.  And a lot of the jokes were pretty smart too.  I liked when Gob got literally stabbed in the back as Michael was figuratively stabbing him in the back.  I was also a fan of the part where a guy said to Michael, “If you care about your brother, you’ll get in the car,” and Michael said, “Which brother?” and then, when the guy answered, “Gob,” he kept riding away.  Later, when George Michael was trying to find out if he was actually related to Maeby and he asked Gob if Lindsay was ever pregnant, Gob answers, “Oh yeah, dozens of times.”  I also like the part where George Bluth was talking about his twin brother and says, “You should’ve seen his face,” but then remembers that they’re twins and shows him what the face looked like.  A lot of the jokes seemed extra smart and well thought out as so many of them come together in the final episode, though this could’ve been done without planning to do it before hand.  I also liked a lot of the jokes that went on in the background, like when Gob was complaining about his girlfriend the Mexican soap opera star and saying that he’d kill someone if he ever had to smell some Mexican dish again, and the maid in the background closes her Tupperware that she was eating out of.  The story was never super important to the quality of the show, but there were a couple of reveals that were pretty obvious.  The whole part about “there always being money in the banana stand” could be seen coming from miles away, as well as the part about the blind lawyer being the Bluth’s opposing prosecutor in the trial.  Hell, they even outright spoil one themselves in the scenes from the next episode by saying that the lawyer isn’t really blind, but they say so many things in those next episode sequences that I didn’t know if it was true or a joke.  If it sounds like I’m just listing some of my favorite jokes from the show … well, I am.  But the show is well-written and funny, so you should watch it.

I liked all the performances in the show as well.  The greater majority of them are people that I liked going in, so it’s not really a surprise to me.  Jason Bateman plays a fantastic straight man, though he’s not above getting a little wacky himself.  It’s not too necessary in this show as his family does the bulk of the goofiness.  I was torn on the rest of the family for a while since most of them seemed like such unlikeable people I didn’t know why I’d want to spend time with them.  But you warm up to them fairly quickly.  I warmed up to Portia de Rossi because she was hot, especially when she was being sprayed by water and dancing in a cage in one of the later episodes.  I warmed up to Will Arnett because I’ve always liked him, and because he was one of the characters that started a lot of the funniness.  He also had his real life wife Amy Poehler in a few episodes as the wife he eloped with, and I’m always happy to see her as well.  I didn’t know Tony Hale before this show, but he gets a lot of funniness out of his Buster character.  I liked that he was able to get laughs from things as simple as standing silently in the background of scenes.  David Cross did a great deal of the comedy as well, as his character seemed totally gay and totally eccentric.  I liked the little physical things he did, like when he rolled up on the stage at the school play, or when he licked the end of his pencil and then kept licking it like he liked the taste.  He also got to work with Bob Odenkirk again in one episode, and those guys are genius together.  Michael Cera was an odd one for me.  Not because his performance in this show was not dissimilar from many of his other characters, but because of his relationship with his cousin Alia Shawkat.  Even though his crush on his cousin is pretty inappropriate, I found myself kind of wishing they would end up together.  I also liked Judy Greer in her few appearances as the assistant to George Bluth.  She’s a pretty attractive lady and I thought it was pretty funny when Gob would have her take off her glasses and her eyes would go cross-eyed, and she’d let down her hair and it’d go all crazy, and later she got a boob job and her nipples seemed to be pointing in odd directions.  Another big thing about the show is all of the guest appearances.  Liza Minnelli was in a few episodes, and was pretty damned funny as well.  Henry Winkler was usually funny as the inept lawyer, and he even busted the Fonze move in one episode.  Jane Lynch, Heather Graham, Carl Weathers, and a bunch of other random guest appearances were also great.

I’m sure a crappy show could not have kept me interested enough to actually get through 22 episodes of the first season in one day, but that was thankfully not the case with Arrested Development.  It was extremely well-written, very funny, and with fantastic performances to back it all up.  I don’t want to do it too soon and have the next review follow too quickly, but I can’t wait to get into the second season.  And, since you can stream the whole thing on Netflix, I don’t know why you’re not doing it right now.  Turns out my Friendboss Josh isn’t so much of an asshole after all.  Arrested Development Season One gets “That was a good investment” out of “It was shoplifting and I’m white.  I think I’m going to be okay.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Rocky IV (1985)


He’s Not a Machine, He’s a Man!

I was excited to finally reach this sequel in the Rocky franchise, mainly because I work with the guy that played the opponent in this movie.  I know that many of the people around my place of business claim that his name is Tim, but I am 100% positive that he’s actually Ivan Drago.  When I think of the Rocky franchise, this is often the movie that I immediately go to in my mind.  It’s nowhere near the best movie in the series, but something about this movie makes me regard it as the pinnacle of the series.  Let’s see if I’m able to put the reason into words in my review of Rocky IV, written, directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone, and also starring Dolph Lundgren, Carl Weathers, Talia Shire, Brigitte Nielsen, Michael Pataki, Tony Burton, Burt Young, Dominic Barto, Rocky Krakoff, Sylvia Meals, and James Brown.

A gigantic Soviet boxer named Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) arrives in America with his wife Ludmilla (Brigitte Nielsen), his manager Nicolai Koloff (Michael Pataki), and an idea to prove himself as the best boxer ever.  Retired former champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) gets it in his head that he should challenge Drago to an exhibition match to prove that he’s not over the hill.  His old friend and twice rival Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and his wife Adrian (Talia Shire) try to talk Apollo out of it, but he’s got something to prove.  And what is that?  That he is so stupid that he’ll refuse to let someone stop the fight that he’s clearly losing so that it will result in him being beaten to death in the ring.  You did it, Apollo!  Not to be outdone on the stupid front, Rocky challenges Ivan to a fight in the USSR.  I assume that, if Rocky wins, Apollo will come back to life.  Otherwise what’s the point?

I would say this movie is probably the best example of why women don’t seem that interested in watching the first Rocky movie.  It’s incredibly cheesy in parts and the motivation for the entire movie is testosterone.  It exemplifies the things that I hate about those kinds of testosterone driven men.  “I’m rich and happily married and have no reason to ever work again, but I’m going to fight a giant until he kills me because I don’t want people to think I’m over the hill.”  “I’m clearly not doing anything in this fight and, in fact, am getting killed, but don’t you dare throw in the towel because being bludgeoned to death by a gigantic Russian and leaving my wife a grieving widow is preferable to losing a fight and being called washed up.”  “I too am rich and happily married and have no reason to ever work again, but I will fight the giant that just murdered my friend with punches because … well … he murdered my friend with punches.  And I don’t want to get paid for it either.”  If this is the kind of intelligence that testosterone allows, I’m going to stop taking those injections and tell the doctor to give me my vagina back.  Speaking of stupid, what the fuck was with the robot in this movie?  Rocky gives a 6 foot robot to Paulie as a gift.  It gets like a half hour of screen time in this movie!  It’s a major plot point somehow!  As mentioned with the other movies, this movie definitely follows the classic Rocky pattern.  Something happens, Rocky gets depressed, Rocky trains really hard, Rocky triumphs.  The training montage made me laugh too, mainly because Rocky’s method of “training” would be what all the people around him in Russia would call “chores”, and Drago was training on the deck of the Enterprise.  Rocky’s little speech at the end was pretty bad and stupid as well.  I understand that Stallone probably wanted to bring about change in what was probably some tension between America and the Soviet Union (I’ll have to assume because I was two when this movie came out), but I feel pretty confident that a boxer punching one of their boxers and making a hair-brained speech afterwards would not change foreign policies.  Especially when his big speech is, “If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.”  Depending on how loosely you define “you”, then yeah, that’s basically the definition of “everybody”.

I mentioned one of the greatest things that the Rocky series had introduced me to in the previous movie when I mentioned that they brought the Survivor song “Eye of the Tiger” to the limelight.  I have a certain appreciation for cheesy 80’s music that gets you amped up, and this movie threw three new ones at us.  “No Easy Way Out” is another kick ass song, an equal to “Eye of the Tiger” in my opinion.  It would’ve been nice if the song wasn’t used over a really bad montage of filler, though.  All of those scenes had nothing to do with each other, and I’m not sure what they were trying to say with the montage.  It was just like, “What scenes were cool from the other three movies and even the beginning of this one?  SMASH THEM TOGETHER!!”  Survivor didn’t want to be left out of the cheese so they threw “Burning Heart” into the movie.  I would say the cheesiest one was “Hearts on Fire”, but I still enjoyed it.

This movie continues the trend started in the previous movie of changing all the characters.  Rocky became well-spoken, Adrian was no longer shy, and Mickey was no longer into breathing.  In this movie, they even changed Paulie.  All of the earlier movies had Burt Young playing the role of a very unlikeable person that Rocky kept around for reasons that were never explained.  He was always jealous of Rocky’s success, but was himself a complete loser with no likeable qualities.  He’s still not likeable, but he’s become more like comic relief in this movie.  Dolph Lundgren did fine as Ivan Drago, but didn’t have to do very much beyond being physically intimidating and force out a couple of words like, “If he dies, he dies,” and, “I will break him.”  I was also surprised to see Brigitte Nielsen and Michael Pataki in this movie.  Michael Pataki surprised me because I hadn’t put together that the guy from Sidehackers and The Baby was his manager until this viewing.  I knew Brigitte Nielsen was in this movie, but I was surprised to find that she actually used to be attractive, whereas now she looks like a Barbie doll that got left in the microwave.

Rocky IV is super cheesy, but not without a certain degree of enjoyment.  The story follows the same pattern as the rest of the Rocky movies, but this time with a Russian and a dumb speech that shows the world that we can all change, but only if a punch drunk goon tells us to.  The writing is dumb and predictable, and this one is exactly the testosterone driven dumbness that some people wrongly expect from the original, but it’s still kind of fun in a campy way.  And it has the most memorable opponent of the Rocky series in it, so you have to watch it.  Rocky IV gets “Whatever he hits, he destroys” out of “You will lose.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Rocky III (1982)


I Pity the Fool!

Yay!  Halfway point!  Boo!  Drastically depleting amounts of quality!  We haven’t really drudged the depths of the Rocky franchise yet, but perhaps we’ll be starting today.  The first Rocky movie was fantastic, and the second one was still pretty good, though a little too familiar.  And I’m pretty sure most of us are well aware of the fact that the Rocky franchise gets pretty awful at a certain point.  Is this that point?  We’ll find out today in my review of Rocky III, written, directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone, and also starring Mr. T, Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Ian Fried, Hulk Hogan, Tony Burton, Wally Taylor, and Frank Stallone.

After the events of the last movie, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) has taken the world heavyweight championship from Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers).  Along with his elderly trainer Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith), Rocky defends his title 10 times.  Another boxer by the name of James “Clubber” Lang (Mr. T) watches the champion’s progress while rising through the ranks with his vicious, brutal style of boxing.  When Rocky is honored with a statue on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Lang publicly insults Rocky and his wife Adrian (Talia Shire) in order to draw Rocky into a fight.  Mickey thinks it’s a bad fight and wants no part in it, but Rocky talks him into it.  Rocky and Mickey go into training, but Rocky has lost his edge as a fighter and spends more time posing for pictures in the gym than training.  This inevitably leads to Rocky getting the snot beat out of him by Lang, and Mickey dies of a heart attack during the fight.  In his grief, Rocky returns to the gym Mickey used to run to find Apollo waiting for him.  Apollo promises to help Rocky train for his rematch with Lang and help him beat a giant jungle cat to death and steal its eyes.  Unless I’ve misunderstood the meaning of “Eye of the Tiger”.

We haven’t yet hit the bottom with these movies, but we can kind of see where it’s going.  It’s still entirely by the book as well.  The only real change up is that Rocky starts out on top, hits the bottom in the middle, and then goes into the regular despair/training/winning formula.  And every fight Rocky has gotten into in these movies so far is supposed to be his last.  Rocky quit before his first match with Apollo Creed, and then again after the fight.  He came back to fight Apollo, which was supposed to be his last fight, but getting the title makes him keep up with the fighting for a bit.  He quits, but gets goaded into another fight by Lang.  That too was to be his last fight, but he gets beaten so he must give it another go.  Then they keep talking about how the second fight with Lang is going to be his last.  Makes you wonder how they’re going to fill the time for the next three movies, doesn’t it?  They try to keep the emotional level with the death of Mickey, but it didn’t really have the impact that I’m sure they were going for.  And though I know it gets goofier in the following movies, it’s getting there with this movie.  Take, for instance, the entire piece with Thunderlips.  And the goofiness doesn’t stop with the name of the character.  The entire scene was stupid and needless.  Then the whole training scene is over the top and stupid.  Of course Rocky is going to lose; he barely trained at all for the fight that was going to be his most difficult ever.  Then why would Mickey tell him to go into that fight when he would obviously be distracted by Mickey’s failing health?  Then we have some homoerotic scenes with Apollo and Rocky training, proving further that Stallone loves him a montage, and then the inevitable and expected conclusion to the movie.  I would say, in this movie’s defense, that the fight at the end of this movie was probably the most exciting and action-packed fight of all of the movies up to this point.  Also, this movie brought the world the classic Survivor song “Eye of the Tiger”.  Sure, it’s been super played out since this movie, but I maintain that no song has the ability to get someone pumped more than this one.

Most of the performances changed drastically, but I wouldn’t say it was for the better.  It wasn’t really a negative either, it was just curious.  Rocky doesn’t come off nearly as punch drunk as he did in the first two movies, and was mostly a lot more civilized and well-spoken, which was generally regarded as a negative thing by everyone around him.  Sly had to do a crying scene over Mickey, but nothing about what he did in that scene made much of an impact for me.  Burgess Meredith didn’t do very much in the movie.  He had about two emotional scenes, first when he was trying to talk Rocky out of fighting Lang in the first place and second when he was dying.  Meredith is still fantastic and knocked both of these out, but then he was gone.  Talia Shire is a completely different character in this movie, but it’s one I can excuse.  I could understand her becoming less shy over the years, but I can’t really get behind Rocky getting better-spoken because the opening montage didn’t show him hitting the books at all.  Clubber Lang was a big step down for an opponent for me.  He was like a cartoon villain.  He was just a gigantic asshole to everyone for no reason, with no motivation for it or any semblance of humanity, so no one would give a shit about him at all.  They might have just put a punching bag in the ring with angry eyes drawn on it and a little speaker box that would sling racial slurs at random.

The Rocky series continues its downward spiral in this movie.  It hasn’t yet reached the bottom, or even really become awful movies yet, but it’s definitely on the way.  The emotion in the movie never really hit, it was really goofy in parts, some of the characters were the exact opposite of the way that they were when we grew attached to them, and the pattern of the Rocky movies is getting really obvious.  I would still say this movie is worth a watch because the final fight of the movie is the best one yet and, come on!  Eye of the Tiger, people!  I will homoerotically train (in montage form, of course) for an epic battle with you if you dare say this song does not amp you up.  Rocky III gets “Eye of the tiger, man” out of “You don’t look so bad to me.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Rocky II (1979)


Condominiums?  I Never Use ‘Em

I consider it a necessity to complete the series that I start.  Because of this – and because it was requested – I now continue with the sextology that I started yesterday.  In my review yesterday, I called the original movie one of the best movies of all time, combining a great underdog movie with a love story.  The happy ending of the movie was not how the main character performed in his task, but saying I love you to his lady friend.  This movie forgets about that, deciding to basically make the same movie but change the ending.  But that may or may not be the worst thing in the world.  Let’s see if it was in my review of Rocky II, written, directed by, and starring Sylvester Stallone, and also starring Talia Shire, Burgess Meredith, Carl Weathers, Burt Young, Tony Burton, Joe Spinell, Frank McRae, and Frank Stallone.

In case you had forgotten what the last five minutes of the first Rocky was like, you get to rewatch it.  Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) finished their epic battle in the ring.  A split decision gives the win to Apollo Creed and Rocky and his girlfriend Adrian (Talia Shire) share “I love you’s” in the ring.  After the match, Apollo Creed has already forgotten that he said in the ring that he didn’t want a rematch and challenges Rocky to another fight, but Rocky declines, having promised Adrian that he would retire.  Rocky proposes to Adrian and the two get married.  The money from the fight goes to Rocky’s head as he buys a house, a car, and a bunch of extravagances.  Money then becomes an issue and Rocky must do some odd jobs to provide for Adrian and their upcoming child.  Apollo receives a bunch of hate mail mocking him for rigging the fight so that he would win even though the bell clearly saved him.  Apollo embarks on a smear campaign to goad Rocky into fighting again.  Rocky must choose between his heath, his wife, and being true to himself.

It’s not the worst thing in the world.  That’s Rocky V.  This movie is pretty good, but a noticeable decline from its predecessor.  The basic story of the movie has not changed drastically.  Rocky is still the underdog who must train hard and in an unconventional way to overcome his opponent at the end of the movie.  And people probably wanted Rocky to win at the end of the first movie, so they decided they should sort of remake that movie and change the ending.  They amp up the tension in the end of the movie so much and so well that, even knowing the outcome of the movie (and probably being able to predict it even if I hadn’t already seen it) it still managed to give me goosebumps.  The love story is vaguely present, but not really a focus.  They get married in this movie and Adrian’s wishes get in the way of Rocky’s training for a while, but the greater focus is on Rocky’s problem overcoming the loss of his calling as a fighter and trying to find his place in normal society.  It still allows for some more emotional situations than the general boxing movie, but I would say women would be more justified in not paying much mind to this movie.  It doesn’t have very much to offer the fairer sex by way of story, but guys ought to be right at home.  Of course, that’s only if you fit well within classic stereotypes for your gender.  Especially since Rocky shows in this movie that he clearly thinks his wife Adrian is a retard.  In the first movie, Gazzo’s driver pokes at Rocky by telling him Adrian is retarded.  What is his suggestion of a place to take a retarded person?  A zoo!  And what is Rocky’s first idea of a place to take his retarded wife?  A zoo!  She’s just shy, Rock!  No need to jump to those kinds of conclusions.

The performances are still admirable in this movie, but most of the people didn’t have a lot of emotional legwork to do.  Sylvester Stallone has a pretty good emotional bit in the movie when he was talking to Mickey about needing to at least be around boxing.  It was real and it was well done, but mostly Stallone kept up the same act of talking way too much and getting on my nerves.  I don’t know why he felt the need to narrate everything he did in the movie, but he did.  Like during the wedding scene when it was time to kiss the bride and he had to say, “Let me lift up your veil here,” or something like that.  This made it easier for me to not watch the screen and still know what was happening, but I feel like the general majority of the audience is actually watching.  Talia Shire and Burgess Meredith were still both great in the movie, but they each only had like one emotional scene, so they didn’t impress as much.

Rocky II is still a good movie if judged by itself, but not nearly as good as the original.  The story is still enjoyable for men, but lacks any kind of love story like in the first one to draw in lady folk that might be interested in that.  It’s still a great underdog story, but suffers from being a little too familiar to the first movie.  Still worth watching and probably worth owning.  Rocky II gets “Yo, Adrian!  I did it!” out of “Derogatory?  Yeah, he’s great.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Rocky (1976)


You’re Gonna Eat Lightnin’ and You’re Gonna Crap Thunder!

Dani really likes to get the most out of her reviews.  So far, she’s only made two recommendations, but those two recommendations were for 6 movies a piece.  Thankfully, I had already reviewed the first 6, but the second request starts us off on a brand new sextology.  Giggle.  I would call the first movie in this series one of the best movies of all time, and the ensuing sequels spiraled pretty quickly down the drain, allowing part four to have some campy charm, and not bringing it back to quality until years later in the sixth movie.  Thankfully, today we’re talking about the best of the sextology.  Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to do the next five.  Today’s movie is Rocky, written by Sylvester Stallone, directed by John G. Avildsen, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith, Burt Young, Joe Spinell, Tony Burton, Joe Frazier, and Frank Stallone.  HEY, BABY DANI!!!

Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a mediocre boxer that highlights as a debt collector for Anthony Gazzo (Joe Spinell).  He lives in Philadelphia and is a generally good guy who occasionally stalks the quiet, homely pet store clerk named Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire), sister to his friend Paulie (Burt Young).  Rocky’s life changes when the opponent of the undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) gets injured, leaving Creed to figure out something else for his New Year’s Day Bicentennial fight.  He comes up with the idea to give a shot at the title to the unlikeliest of contenders.  Rocky Balboa is picked because Creed decides he’s the pinnacle of Americanism due to his nickname “The Italian Stallion.”  …Okay!  I guess that makes sense.  Either way, Rocky’s gonna go through with it.  The owner of the gym he trains at, ex-bantamweight fighter Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith), becomes Rocky’s manager.

This movie makes me sad.  Not because of the quality of the movie; it’s actually really good and still totally holds up.  And it’s also not because of the material, because it kind of has a happy ending.  What makes me sad is that I know there are some people (mostly women) that refuse to watch this movie and it’s sequels because they have an idea of what the movie is that isn’t actually true.  I would assume that they think the movie is just a boxing movie as the sequels became.  It’s true that this is a boxing movie, and a really great example of the underdog overcoming expectations and triumphing, but this is actually a secondary plot in the movie.  Another big plot in the movie is actually a love story.  In fact, the climax of the movie is not the outcome of Rocky’s battle with Apollo Creed, it’s Adrian and Rocky confessing their love for each other.  Women should be all over that stuff!  I would say they do beat us over the head a little bit with how good of a guy Rocky is in this movie.  He helps drunks off the sidewalk, he goes against his bosses orders when it comes to hurting people that owe him money, he gives inspirational speeches to ne’er-do-well children, and is crushing on the homely girl instead of some hot bimbo.  The first time he kisses Adrian is a little bit on the rapey side, but she digs him later so that’s her problem.  Another thing that makes me mad about women not wanting to give this movie a chance is that this thing was nominated for 9 Academy Awards, winning three of them, for things like Best Picture (won), Best Director (won), and nominations for Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay.  I’m not just arguing for a movie that I like, this is a movie that makes it into most top 100 films of all time lists.  Bitches, y’all need to get over the boxing and watch this movie.  I’m a poor excuse for a man, and have admitted it on numerous occasions.  I hate the greater majority of all sports, and am not particularly a fan of boxing, but I still love this movie.  This movie can’t be faulted for it because it’s the first in the series, but you can pay attention to the basic formula of the movie and have a good idea of how the remaining movies will turn out.  Rocky will probably be an underdog, he’ll get mopey about it for a little while, then he’ll train super hard in a low tech kind of way, and then he’ll at least perform beyond expectations, if not win.  That’s a basic plot summary of all of the Rocky movies.  But this is the first one, so it can’t be blamed.

I felt like all of the performances in this movie were very real, but a few of them were still irritating.  This movie makes me wonder why Sylvester Stallone doesn’t act anymore.  I know he still shows up in movies, but he left actual acting by the wayside.  His performance in this movie was really good and seemed very real, but he got irritating over the course of the movie.  He just wouldn’t shut up at times in this movie.  Like when he was ice skating with Adrian.  It might have been his character’s nerves, but his mouth just kept letting things spill out of it.  Even with that, he was very good in this movie.  Talia Shire was also pretty good, but didn’t have to do a lot.  Her character was realistic, but was also really quiet and reserved, allowing her to sort of coast in the movie.  Carl Weathers was over the top and charismatic for the scenes when he was there, but he didn’t have that much screen time that didn’t involve him punching Rocky in the face.  Burt Young was also very realistic in this movie, but he was also a drunken asshole.  I don’t know how this guy makes it through all the movies.  If I were Rocky, I’d have beaten him to death pretty early in the first movie.  I would say that the hands down best performance in this movie was Burgess Meredith.  He was real and grizzled and angry, mostly only speaking in gravelly yells.  But he also has one great scene of great vulnerability as he goes to basically beg Rocky to let him be his manager.  Just fantastic.

Women-folk, you need to get over the fact that there is boxing in this movie and watch it.  It’s a fantastic underdog story and a good love story mixed in there as well.  It’s much more about the relationships and how they change with this fight than about the fight itself.  But it’s also a pretty good boxing movie as well.  The performances in the movie are really good and they feel like real people, so much so that a few of them are irritating, but they work for the movie.  I think this movie needs to be watched, should be in any respectable DVD collection, and would easily make it into a list of my favorite movies of all time.  Get to watching this movie.  And come back in the next couple of days to find out which (if any) of the other ones you should watch.  For today, Rocky gets “He doesn’t know it’s a damn show!  He thinks it’s a damn fight!” out of “ADRIAN!”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Happy Gilmore (1996)


Today’s review was requested by my friend Scott (who spends more time in the sand than David Hasselhoff). That movie is one of Adam Sandler’s best comic offerings, Happy Gilmore (starring Adam Sandler, Christopher McDonald, Julie Bowen, Frances Bay, and Apollo Creed himself, Carl Weathers). People have claimed that this movie is the poor man’s Caddyshack, but I didn’t grow up with Caddyshack, I grew up with Happy Gilmore.

Happy Gilmore is the story of a hot-tempered hockey player wannabee named Happy Gilmore (Sandler, of course). He sucks out loud at almost every aspect of playing hockey, saved only by his ability to whoop on ass and his amazingly powerful (if not accurate) shot. Soon after the beginning of the movie, Gilmore’s girlfriend ditches him because he’s a loser, leaving him the only source of happiness in his life, his grandmother (Bay). But disaster strikes when it comes to Gilmore’s attention that his grandmother has neglected to pay taxes in quite some time, leading to her losing her house. Gilmore’s only hope of helping out his beloved grandmother is to make the money to pay for the house. He’s forced to leave his grandmother in the care of Ben Stiller (an abusive orderly at the nursing home). While the moving people are taking a break, Sandler makes a bet with them to get them back to work that he can best Will Sasso’s golf drive. Turns out Gilmore’s ability to smack a puck translates into a roughly 450 yard drive, much to the chagrin of the people at the bottom of his street. Gilmore, being a somewhat slow witted individual, jumps to his first idea, placing bets on the length of his drive at a golf range. Chubs (Weathers), a retired golf pro sans one hand, convinces him to get into professional golf to make the big moneys. Here he meets his soon to be girlfriend (Bowen) and his nemesis, Shooter McGavin (McDonald). The rest of the movie follows Gilmore as he tries to learn golf, save his grandmothers house, and take out his McGavin.

This movie was fairly poorly reviewed on Rotten Tomatoes, getting a measly 59%, but I reserve a special place in my heart for it. Now, I don’t believe it to be a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, and I could never possibly enjoy it as much as my friend Scott, but I am quite fond of it. There are many hilarious parts to this movie (Gilmore getting his ass handed to him by Bob Barker, for the win!). Being a Sandler movie, there are of course numerous SNL and non-SNL cameos, including the aforementioned Ben Stiller and Will Sasso, as well as Robert Smigel and Kevin Nealon. Kevin Nealon, upon rewatching, plays what I assume is his same character from Grandma’s Boy who apparently golfs in his off time. And I would have to say that Christopher McDonald as Shooter McGavin may be one of the best asshole antagonists ever, at least in a comedy. He is so over the top with it that you hope that no one that is this big of a prick would ever exist in real life. If McDonald was the sweetest, nicest guy ever in real life, I would still have a strong urge to punch him in the face. Which I think is a compliment at how well the man plays a prick.

As I said, this isn’t a perfect movie, so there’s negative to be said about this movie. The most obvious one being the premise of the movie. It’s certainly a far-fetched and overused premise in movies that whenever life finds you in need of money, life will present you with a strange over the top opportunity to make the money you need. The positive that can be said about this is “Who cares?” I’ve always felt that this should be taken into account more with comedies. When you think of movies like Hot Tub Time Machine and, to a lesser extent, the Hangover, the premise of the movie is usually pretty far fetched. But these premises are simply a way to get to a point where they can tell the hilarious jokes that they want to, so let it go. Let the movie entertain you and just shut your brain off for a bit and enjoy. Also, I want to say that they could’ve picked a hotter love interest, but that’s not what I’m thinking. Perhaps I just mean they could have picked a better hair style. I mean, I know Bowen was going for a business professional and all, but she’s got dike-hair.

I actually wish this movie was worse so that I could say “I eat pieces of shit like this movie for breakfast”, but I can’t say that. You should’ve seen this movie by now, but if you haven’t you should check it out, though you’ll probably not enjoy it as much as you would have when your sense of humor was less discerning in your youth. This movie is the reason that I love Subway so much, and the reason I lost my virginity to an elderly Asian woman. So watch this movie, and now I’m gonna go to Sizzler, get some grub.