Magic Mike (2012)


Will You Welcome to the Stage, the One, the Only … MAGIC MIKE!

When I first heard about today’s movie, I knew it would only be a matter of time before it was requested.  It was even easier to reach that conclusion since I heard about it from a request from my friend Christian.  It certainly wasn’t a movie that appealed to me personally and, since it was still in the theaters, I felt like it would just have to wait to be reviewed until I could find it in a RedBox.  But Christian was not alone.  Ashley seconded the idea, my sister liked the idea, and Bob thought it would be funny as well.  By the time Loni requested it, I decided that was it.  I’d have to see this movie while it was still in theaters.  My readers just could not wait long enough for this to be on DVD.  They needed my thoughts now.  There was still the problem of my masculinity while purchasing a ticket to this movie, but Liz and Bonnie helped me with that.  I’m seeing this movie with two ladies!  I cannot possibly be gay!  But I’ll still see if I can write this review with a lisp as I review Magic Mike, written by Reid Carolin, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, Gabriel Iglesias, Olivia Munn, and Riley Keough.

On a construction site, Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) meets a slacker named Adam (Alex Pettyfer), who moved to Tampa, Florida to live with his sister, Brooke (Cody Horn).  Later on, Adam sees Mike as he’s trying to get into a club and Mike gets him in in exchange for a favor to be named later.  The two of them get a group of girls interested in coming to a male strip club called Xquisite.  When they arrive at Xquisite later, we find that Mike works there and his favor will be for Adam to help out backstage with the props of the other strippers, Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), Tarzan (Kevin Nash), and Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello).  When Tarzan gets too drunk (or high or something), the owner of the club, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) talks Adam into getting on stage in his place.  Taking to the money, excitement, and women, Adam starts working permanently at Xquisite while Mike tries to bang his sister.

Here’s the stunning reveal: this movie was actually not that bad.  It’s a fairly basic, but charming, story with a few minor problems and, of course, the major problem that the film insisted on banging it’s cock against my head every five minutes or so.  The story of the movie, from what I’ve gathered, is an interpretation of Channing Tatum’s life before he started appearing in movies, and isn’t a whole lot more than the life and times of a male stripper.  He has problems with his fairly lonely lifestyle as his “girlfriend” is more of a fuck buddy that doesn’t actually have any interest in hanging out with him, and then he has money problems because he has shitty credit and wants to open a furniture business.  Adam causes a few problems for him because he takes it upon himself to take care of him while he’s getting a little too interested in the dark side of stripping, like the using and selling of drugs, and he’s taking extra care so he doesn’t get on the bad side of Brooke, who he would really like to bang.  And that’s basically it.  The way this movie charms is with the comedy, which comes with a fair degree of frequency, and some good dialogue, but only about half of it.  Sometimes the dialogue came off as cute and charming and funny, but sometimes it just seemed like they improvised too much.  Leaving in people stumbling over their words does help to make the movie feel a little more real, but I can watch real life anywhere.  I just choose not to.  I was watching a movie, so I’d appreciate it if they could form their sentences all the time.  The ending of the movie was also a little abrupt and unsatisfying, but it was still a decent enough happy ending so I didn’t walk away too disappointed.

Let’s face facts: this movie was not meant for me.  I’m a straight dude.  This movie has a very targeted audience and that is anything with a pussy.  I imagine every single one of them will love it.  Straight men might even love taking their girlfriends to it, or at least allowing their girlfriends to see it, because I imagine they come home hungry for some penis.  What the movie does for me in this instance is just make me feel embarrassed.  I don’t look like all that man meat!  Not at all!  The ladies will probably approve of the somewhat sweet love story they can find here, but they’re probably going to be more about the stripping, and I’ll try to get into the head of a gay dude to describe it.  It was fabulous!  Straight me would say it was very well done and will certainly give the ladies what they came to this movie for.  I was trying to focus on everything else personally, but the guys were all big piles of man meat, to be sure.  And the greater majority of them could really dance.  The dancing was actually kind of interesting to watch and seemed well-choreographed.  Well, they started out that way.  They mostly ended up with a basic “Put dick in face and thrust” move, but they were actually pretty interesting until that part.  And they were well-filmed as well, being very colorful and full of the same spectacle you might actually find in a male strip club … for all I know.  I’ve never been to one!  I don’t know if this is all the ladies are looking for, but there’s really no dick in this movie, so don’t go if penis is all you want.  You see the silhouette of one about twice … not that I was counting or anything.  …cough…

Let’s quickly switch topic to the performances!  Channing Tatum was pretty enjoyable in this movie.  He was mostly charming and definitely still knew how to do the stripping side of the movie.  He was the one most guilty of seeming unpracticed in his dialogue, but I still blame the director more for letting it slide.  Alex Pettyfer was pretty quiet and didn’t do much, but I did think it was funny that his first time stripping was reminiscent of Coco from Fame, without the crying.  Cody Horn was mostly good as Brooke.  Not only was she pretty damned cute, but she did pretty good with the acting as well.  Didn’t mind seeing her in a bikini either.  Her character got a little annoying with how judgmental she was, though.  On the other hand, I don’t really know how I’d react if I were being courted by a female stripper.  Doesn’t SEEM like the kind of girl I’d want to date, but I guess that just depends on the girl.  As a little something for the fellas, Olivia Munn has a pretty prolonged scene in the movie where her boobs are on full display that I was entirely torn on.  It’s something that I’ve touched on before in my reviews, but I don’t really like seeing people that I like get nude in movies.  I love seeing boobs, and Olivia Munn has a great set of them, but I don’t think I really wanted to see her nude.  I like her because she’s funny and cute and seeing her boobs ruin my mental image of her for some reason.  Maybe it’s just because I feel bad that she felt like she had to do it in the first place.  She could have totally had a shirt on in that scene and it wouldn’t have changed anything.  I guess she just felt that all the guys were getting far more naked, so why not?  Alright, I should move on.  I’ve talked about her boobs too much for the people that are actually interested in reading this review.  Big Dick Richie!  I don’t actually have anything to say about him as he was an uneventful character; I just wanted to get your attention back.  One thing that did keep my attention was Kevin Nash, former WCW wrestler.  I recognized him the second I saw him and was interested to see what he was going to do in this movie, but he didn’t do a whole lot.  The main issue I had with him was that a combination of his age and compounded injuries over his wrestling days made it pretty obvious that he should no longer be trying to dance alongside these young and virile fellas.  To me, Matthew McConaughey brought my attention to something that I started seeing in the rest of the cast too: they all seemed to be just acting like themselves if they were strippers instead of actually giving a performance.  Matthew McConaughey was the greatest offender with this, being every bit the “alright, alright” McConaughey that he really is.  At one point, he gets in Channing Tatum’s face about something that actually stretched his acting chops, but the rest of the time was just keep living time.

So there it is.  Magic Mike was not as bad as I expected it to be.  The story was pretty basic, but still managed to be a charming look at the life of a male stripper.  The performances were all well done even though most of them just seemed to be the stripper versions of all of the actors, and I occasionally had problems with the dialogue seeming unrehearsed.  But, let’s face it, none of those things – or even my opinion – will make anyone see this movie.  Guys won’t do it because that would make them gay, and girls have already seen it 27 times.  But I will tell you guys that it’s not actually that bad if you can manage to not be made uncomfortable by long scenes of man meat.  And I will also tell you girls that you are perverts.  Magic Mike gets “Liz loved it” out of “Bonnie too.”

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 and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

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Iron Man 2 (2010)


Sir, I’m Gonna Have to Ask You to Exit the Donut

Avengers is drawing ever closer, at present a mere 3 months away.  My nipples are so hard with excitement!  In an effort to further prepare myself and my audience, I have prepared a review of yet another Avenger movie.  Just like last time, this is one of two parts for a specific Avenger.  In fact, just like the last time, this one stars Iron Man.  This movie received some harsh treatment amongst the fans of the first movie, but their name is not on the top of this page.  So let’s see what I thought of Iron Man 2, written by Justin Theroux and Stan Lee, directed by Jon Favreau, and starring Robert Downey Jr., Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Jon Slattery, Clark Gregg, Jon Favreau, Garry Shandling, Leslie Bibb, and the voice of Paul Bettany.  And with special appearances by Stan Lee and Olivia Munn.

Good old Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) has been doing alright for himself since the times of the first movie.  He has a new convention, the Stark Expo, set up to continue his father’s legacy, he’s been doing a lot of good work with the Iron Man suit, and he’s dying of palladium poisoning.  …Okay, two out of three.  Other things start going wrong for Tony, starting with Senator Stern (Garry Shandling) telling him he has to turn over the Iron Man armor.  Stark refuses, citing that no one is remotely close to duplicating the Iron Man armor, and it belongs to him.  Problems come up with THAT theory when Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), son of the recently deceased Anton Vanko, replicates the arc reactor that powers the armor and uses it to attempt to take revenge on Tony – due to his inherited belief that the Starks stole the idea from Anton – by channeling the reactor’s power into whips.  Tony is able to overcome Vanko and Vanko is sent to prison, until he is freed by Tony’s rival, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), and tasked to create better Iron Man armor.  Tony decides to make his assistant, Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), the new CEO of Stark Industries, taking on Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) as his new assistant.  This frees him up to take the self-destructive paths he had not the time for as the CEO.

I feel like people hated on this movie much more than it deserved.  Was it as good as the first one?  No, probably not.  But it wasn’t as bad as I’ve heard most people go on with.  Origin stories are easy because most of them have already been written and displayed in comic book form.  The fans just want to see that, but with more moving and less need for us to use our imagination.  When you come to the second movie, you mostly have a new script to work with, and it’s only occasionally something that’s already been written.  I thought the story was fine in this movie, the graphics were amped up a little, and the action was superior.  I wasn’t AS fond of it as I was with the first movie, but it was still pretty good.  It’s equally as funny as the first movie, though I would say the drama of the movie was toned down for this one.  Maybe that’s what people wanted out of an Iron Man movie.  Not me, however.  I went in wanting fun, and I got that.  One of the first things that comes to mind is the press conference that Tony was in.  I really liked that scene.  First, it was pretty funny that Tony was definitely not taking any part of that conference seriously.  The second thing I liked was when Don Cheadle showed up, because their brief dialogue made sense for the scene while simultaneously addressing the fact that Rhodes was a new actor.  They just kicked out something like “Yeah, I’m here now.  Deal with it,” which seemed to be a little bit of “Fuck off, nerds who will complain about this.”  The graphics of the original movie were already great, but you could argue that they got a little bit better with this movie.  I liked the whips that Rourke used, and I especially liked when he showed up with them for the first time and the whips burned his shirt off.  Then, when he was cutting off chunks of car with them, that was pretty sweet as well.  The portable Iron Man briefcase was a pretty cool idea, except that he kind of got his ass kicked in it.  For the first half of the movie, it only adds to my complaints about the first Iron Man movie: that the fights were too short or only gave us a half-powered Iron Man.  This one frightened me that the first big fight of the movie makes Iron Man into a bitch again, having him look like he’s going to lose to Vanko before barely pulling it out.  It ends up as kind of a stalemate when Tony fights Rhodes, but you can kind of get behind that because, though Tony is more experienced at fighting in the armor, Rhodes is more experienced at fighting.  But then they finally give me the payoff I wanted in the end of the movie, where something like 20 minutes is just a SUPER-powered Iron Man fighting seemingly infinite robots, mixed in with scenes of the Black Widow laying an epic ass whooping on about 8 guys in Hammer Industries … while Hogan struggled to beat The Rock’s stunt double.

The performances were still great in this movie, probably because the actors were either the same or replaced with better actors.  Robert Downey Jr. was still pretty charming.  He had a little bit of sadness this time around, but dying from palladium poisoning is a slight step down from being the reason a bunch of soldiers died.  Plus, he got that whole situation worked out.  I like Don Cheadle a lot more than Terrance Howard.  He’s a more likeable guy.  Gwyneth Paltrow is still great, but she was a little bit bitchier to Tony this time around, and that made me less fond of Pepper until near the end of the movie.  I appreciated that Samuel L. Jackson had a decent-sized role in this movie, as he had mostly just popped in for a second in the other Avenger movies.  Even though I had always known Nick Fury to be a white guy, Samuel L. Jackson is alright in my book.  Mother fucker.  Scarlett Johansson is a great addition as well.  Not only because I am always more than happy to look at that lady, and also not just because she looks really good as a redhead, but because that lady kicked some serious ass in this movie.  Sam Rockwell mostly got on my nerves in this role, and it’s strange that I like him even though most of his roles are fairly annoying dudes, but that is what he was going for here so I can’t blame him for it.  What I think I can blame him for is that he feels the need to dance in almost every role I can think of right now.  Even though that’s only three roles, he should tone that shit down.  The cameos were nice in this movie as well.  First, Olivia Munn is gorgeous and, even though she was only in for a couple seconds, I am always happy to see her.  Stan Lee was back in this one, and I like the running gag they have for him that he gets mistaken for a different old, white dude in each Iron Man movie so far.  First he was Hugh Hefner, and this time he was Larry King.

I have still been thoroughly entertained by the Iron Man movies, even if others have not.  Quality story, great actors, and a big step up in action makes me still be a fan of the series so far, even if the movie didn’t resonate quite as deeply with me as the previous movie.  By my count, I have only one Avenger movie left to review, so I guess I’ll need to find something else to throw in after that one.  But for now, we’re one step closer to the Avengers.  I own Iron Man 2 on BluRay, and I don’t see any good reason why you should not do the same.  Iron Man 2 gets “Nice work, Kid” out of “Drop your socks and grab your crocs, we’re about to get wet on this ride.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!