The Innkeepers (2012)

Never Skimp on Bread; You’ll Always Regret it.

When I went to Netflix instant stream list for horror movies, I really got myself overwhelmed with the selection of movies to pick from. There were lots of movies in there that I wanted to review, either because they were classics, because they looked good, or because they looked so bad that I wanted to make fun of them. While I was trying to decide, I noticed one that I had heard mentioned on Doug Benson’s podcast, Doug Loves Movies, a few times and it stuck in my mind while I perused the rest of the list. Eventually I relented and decided to watch The Innkeepers, written and directed by Ti West, and starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, Kelly McGillis, Brenda Cooney, George Riddle, and Lena Dunham.

Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy) are two employees as the Yankee Pedlar Inn, a supposedly haunted hotel that is on the brink of closing due to inactivity. They decide to use the relatively empty hotel and their last couple of days in the hotel to hunt for ghost activity. Their main focus will be Madeline O’Malley, a woman who hanged herself when her husband abandoned her. They eventually start investigating the hotel and Claire recognizes a new guest of the hotel as Leanne Rease-Jones (Kelly McGillis), a former actress who now acts as a medium. She warns Claire to never go into the basement. Also, an old dude (George Riddle) comes to stay at the hotel. Then some stuff starts happening.

I sadly did not find myself enjoying this movie. I wouldn’t say it was bad per se, but it was just underwhelming. The biggest problem I took with the movie was that nothing happens for a really long time. I know I’ve liked some movies that take their time starting, or start off with tiny things that ghosts are doing, but this movie takes it one step further. It starts off with nothing. About halfway into the movie some tiny things start happening, and then shit starts to go down in the last 20 minutes. The first half of the movie was two shitty kids talking about their job and bitching about life, and then occasionally talking about ghosts. BOOOOOOORING! Do you think I want to watch the day in the life of some person’s menial job? Not with dialogue like this, I don’t. It was thoroughly unimpressive. I guess you could give it credit for being more realistic or something, but if all you’re showing me is 2 people doing their boring job then you’re going to have to offer me some interesting or funny conversation. None of that happened and the movie had thoroughly lost me before the interesting stuff started to happen. If I had jumped in at the halfway point, I probably would’ve liked it more. The ghost stuff in the movie was all stuff we’ve seen before, and none of it really broke new ground, but it worked well enough. I usually don’t like movies that rely too heavily on startling the audience, but I didn’t get irritated with it in this movie because they built the suspense better. One thing occurred to me as weird in the movie – and it’s something that’s happened in movies before – but why do people try to lock the door on ghosts? Is it not assumed that ghosts don’t recognize the boundaries of walls and doors? Well, Claire learns her lesson about this. I would also say that the conclusion of the movie was very unsatisfying for me. I’m okay with an unhappy ending, but you could at least show it to us. I had to rewind it to see if I missed something. Nope! They just assumed we could figure it out.

I suppose I’d say the performances in the movie were fine, but I can’t think of anything to say about any of them. They were fine, they didn’t blow my mind, they didn’t suck, they didn’t do anything particularly mock-able, and they didn’t get their boobs out. MOVING ON!

I was disappointed with The Innkeepers, but I respect that it tried. The dialogue was a little on the weak side and the movie took way too long to do anything of interest, turning it into the story of two boring people doing a boring job. Once the scares started towards the end of the movie I liked it, but it was too little, too late. If you can start watching this movie from the halfway point, I would say this movie would be pretty good. But since I’m reviewing the movie in its entirety, I say you can skip it. Just go to Netflix Instant Streaming, pick the movie, click the bar halfway, and enjoy otherwise. The Innkeepers gets “I’m not negative; I am a realist” out of “You want another beer?”

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Top Gun (1986)

This review is when I set myself apart from all other movie reviewers by being the only reviewer I know that will use “Gay Balls” in the review of a movie.  There may well be other movie reviewers willing to do this, and I’m pretty sure I’ve used this term as well, but few movies have ever deserved it more.  More than To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, I ask you to hop in your car and join me on the highway to the danger zone with my review … of Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, Tom Skerritt, and Michael Ironside.

Top Gun follows Maverick (Tom Cruise) and his copilot Goose (Anthony Edwards).  To go off on a tangent real quick: how pissed is Goose?  He hangs out with people whose handles are Maverick, Iceman, Cougar, Merlin, Jester, Hollywood, and Viper, and he somehow lands the moniker of “Goose”.  Lame.  Anyway, Maverick is a fantastic, but dangerous, Naval pilot who goes to the Top Gun academy when the number 1 pilot steps down because of a near death experience.  When they arrive at the academy, they meet their rivals, Iceman (Val Kilmer) and … whoever the Hell his copilot was.  Iceman got his name by flying cool as ice, never making mistakes and wearing his opponents down.  But this is the time of rebels; we know how this quarrel will eventually end up.  The two are in constant competition in the Top Gun rankings until one day when Iceman wants so badly to take down an enemy that he refuses to get out of the way for Maverick, who has the shot.  When he eventually does, the jet wash from his engine causes a flameout on Maverick’s plane, sending him into a flat spin.  Maverick and Goose eject, but Goose slams his head into the canopy on the way out.  Well his Goose is cooked.  Yeah, I went there.  So he dead, and Maverick blames himself even though Goose’s wife (Meg Ryan) and Maverick’s own girlfriend (Kelly McGillis) tell him it wasn’t his fault.  His remorse makes him suck at flying.  Can Maverick overcome and be the best again?  Yeah, probably.  Not a surprising movie, here.

This movie has caused me much grief in my time.  I did not see this movie when it came out … and I was 3 … so I have no reminiscences to make me like it.  I probably saw this movie when I was 25 and I had a higher standard for movie.  And, since I saw it, I have had 2 women tell me this movie is the best thing since sliced bread.  One such girl said she had no interest in seeing Rocky (you know, the 1976 Academy Award winner for Best Picture and Director?), but called this movie “her favorite movie ever”.  The other girl said this movie was better than Schindler’s List, and this girl requested I review this movie (CHRISTIAN!).  Feel free to tell her how wrong she is in the comments section.  But be nice, she apparently just loves really gay movies.

As I hinted at before, this movie is uber gay.  So many scenes of hot body mens doing homoerotic things together.  The volleyball scene alone is probably the reason all gays and women like this movie at all.  Most of the exposition of this movie takes place with the dudes wearing nothing but a towel in the showers.  If it were me, I’d say “Hey, Maverick!  I haveta yell at you.  Put your clothes on and meet me outside”.  And did the captain really have to come and have a heartfelt conversation about recently deceased Goose while Maverick was wearing only tighty-whiteys?  Again, a simple “Oh, I can wait” could fix all of my pain.  And I’m pretty sure the whole “You can be my wingman” exchange was Iceman and Maverick asking each other out on a date.

As for the rest of the movie, it’s serviceable at best.  I highly doubt this movie ever tried to get itself nominated for an Academy Award (DANIELLE!!), so it was only trying to be some good times for about 2 hours.  It kind of manages that.  The story is equal parts cliched and annoying, though I find it difficult to wonder how cliched something from 1986 was.  Maybe this type of story started with Top Gun, but probably not.  The acting is fine, but not spectacular.  And almost every song besides “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” seems to be Kenny Loggins 80’s gayness.

By far the best part of this movie is the aerial battles.  I don’t think these were miniatures, so they must’ve gone to the Navy and said “Look, we’re making a movie that is basically a giant hand job to the Navy, wanna let us film you doing things?” and thus it was born. I could have totally watched these aerial battles on YouTube.  Although I’m sure that the inverted bird-flipping that Maverick gave a pilot from an unnamed enemy country would not have been safe to attempt in real life.

If all this movie showed was the aerial battles, this movie would be great.  Since they had to have conversations, it wasn’t.  As it is, the movie is watchable, and should probably be watched at least once so you can get the homage’s made in other movies, but the next time someone tells me this movie it’s their favorite movie without qualifying it with favorite guilty pleasure movie or favorite jet fighting drama from 1986, I will spit.  I also say you should watch this so that you can enjoy Hot Shots more.  I give this movie a “GAY BALLS” out of 96.

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.