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Another year has passed and I still feel compelled to talk about movies that I’ve seen. If you don’t want to read and you just want to hear the 13 best and worst movies I saw, I’d be happy to tell you all about them in THIS video. But that’s only 13 of the 39 I saw. If that’s not enough for you, here’s the complete list of movies I watched in 2015, and what I thought.
This was a very interesting movie that was well-executed on all fronts. It’s an extremely small movie with really big ideas in regards to all the interesting questions that arise from artificial intelligence … especially if that AI is hot. This ain’t Hayley Joel Osment. It’s hot ass (and if I recall correctly, temporarily naked) Alicia Vikander. The movie was essentially 3 people talking, but one of them was a robot, and still it keeps your attention and is pretty riveting all the way through. Wasn’t too much of a fan of the ending of it, but I’m sure they didn’t write the whole movie for just me.
All I really know about this movie is that I watched it. What I think I remember is that Mila Kunis was the lost queen of some planet and Channing Tatum was her puppy/human protector. If not, then I had a really strange and boring dream and I should stop eating pizza before bed. There wasn’t much going on here by way of story and it didn’t really keep my attention very well, but there is some eye candy for all manner of tastes with Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum … as long as the people that like Tatum would be okay with him being part dog or whatever he was. But there’s really nothing going on here that needs to be seen.
It seems like a lot of other critics have really had an ass full of the found footage genre recently, but I’m not quite there yet. Granted, the novelty of it has worn off a bit, but I still find it an easy way to engage your audience. So I didn’t really have the same issues with Project Almanac as I’ve seen from other critics. It was an unsurprising movie, but it was enjoyable and engaging enough. Some credit needs be given to a movie just being what it advertises, and that’s what this one does. Good enough for a watch, but you’ll be able to live without it as well.
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
Holy shit! This movie sucked a big ole bag of dicks. Actually, no it didn’t. That would imply that it was sexy in the slightest. This is a movie that is centered around what a huge Twilight fan flicks the bean to and it’s still way closer to gross and boring than it ever nears sexy. Unless you’ve got a real hard on for contract litigation. There’s a lot of that. I even have a terrible dialogue fetish and this movie still wasn’t able to turn me on, and it’s got almost exclusively terrible dialogue. And they apparently left out worse dialogue that was in the book the movie is based on. So a movie that’s almost exclusively about sex turning out to be the opposite, with terrible dialogue, awful story (if you would call it that), the nudity is pretty much just the same girl over and over again so that you’re bored of seeing her naked by the end of the movie, and worst of all … they’re apparently making 2 more. And women, this is all your fault. You should be ashamed. Knock it off.
This movie came as a last minute request from my friend Tara, who advertised it as a laughably bad movie. The danger that comes with this is that I love Jackie Chan movies, and I love big martial arts epics as well. What if I didn’t hate this movie and she lost all respect for me?! Well that’s not something we have to worry about. I didn’t HATE this movie, but it was not good either. I think my scale for bad movies is much different than most peoples. When it was a big martial arts epic, I was fine with the movie, but it spent an awful lot of time being a friendship building montage between the Asians and the round eyes. The performances were mostly fine for what they needed to be, but Cusack didn’t seem to be trying to hard and Brody went a little over the top. And that little kid was terrible and annoying as hell. The guy that jumped off the cliff while holding the sobbing bastard is a hero.
HOT TUB TIME MACHINE 2
This is another one the critics were perhaps a bit too hard on. What did you expect when going in to see a sequel to a movie about 4 friends that get sent back in time by getting drunk in a magical hot tub?! Well it was that. It was dumb, it was ridiculous, and it was juvenile. All as advertised. It also had some funny moments. If you liked the first one, you’ll probably like the second one. And if someone ties you to a chair and forces you to watch it, you probably won’t kill yourself. It’s thoroughly okay.
THE LAZARUS EFFECT
There’s nothing wrong with this movie per se, there’s just not much special to it. I like the concept of the scientists creating a serum that brings someone back to life, but them bringing something terrible back with them. I mean, that concept alone should be enough to scare both the religious and the scientific together! …It probably wouldn’t, but it’s technically possible! But the movie is decently executed and the acting is solid, but it inevitably winds up as just okay and completely skippable.
I was pretty surprised by this movie. I’ve not been a fan of Neill Blomkamp’s other movies (at least not to the degree many other people seem to be) but I didn’t mind this one. Don’t really think I’d care to watch it again, but I don’t mind having watched it once. I had mixed feelings about Die Antwoord being in this movie, and they’re what scared me off for a while, but they were actually pretty good at the acting part, and the painful part of them being in the movie came from their music being used so often. The story was pretty good though, and the only other really annoying part was Chappie himself, but he was a small part of the movie and not the main character so that probably didn’t have that much of an effect … oh wait. It’s still okay.
I am a fan of Adam Carolla so it my feelings about this movie probably need to be weighed against that fact a little, but I really enjoyed this movie. It wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it was enjoyable. It’s funny and it’s sweet, but if there was a problem to be had with it is that it couldn’t possibly surprise me because I’m such a big fan of Carolla’s. This movie is a dramatized version of Carolla’s life if it hadn’t turned out so well for him with his podcast, movies, and TV shows. Like if he hadn’t got those things and had just gone on the road as a stand-up comedian after the Man Show, this movie could have been his life. And a lot of the jokes in the movie, if you listen to every one of his podcasts as I do, might not surprise you. But it’s a well-executed movie and I found it very enjoyable. I can’t really say if people will enjoy it if they’re not big fans of his, but you would have the benefit of getting to experience most of the jokes for the first time. I say watch it. It’s a solid, funny movie.
THE FINAL GIRLS
This was a thoroughly enjoyable movie that reminded me a lot of another movie I loved called Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. It takes a well-known and somewhat worn out genre (a Friday the 13th-esque slasher film) and turns it on it’s head by making a group of friends Last Action Hero themselves into a slasher film one of the character’s mothers starred in before she died, which also brings a great emotional side to the story I didn’t expect out of a fairly goofy comedy. There’s some real heart and some real laughs in this movie, and a good amount of Thomas Middleditch, who I’d like to see a lot more of. Definitely a movie to watch.
I don’t know why this movie surprised me with its quality, but it did. I didn’t see it in theaters and even when it became available to rent, I took my sweet time to get around to it. But it’s strange because I like Judd Apatow, I like Bill Hader, and I like Amy Schumer, and I still turned my nose up at it. But turns out that liking the comedy of the 3 main creative people in charge of a movie usually means it will turn out to be something you like, and I did. A little vulgar in the comedy at times (not for me, but that’s what my mom told me) but really funny and pretty touching in parts. Schumer did a great job with the comedy and the dramatic stuff, Bill Hader was great, Tilda Swinton transformed so drastically for her part in the movie I had to look up that it was her, Colin Quinn was shockingly fantastic, and John Cena and LeBron James were both surprisingly good. Great movie. Go check it out.
I don’t know why they keep making these movies but, more importantly, I don’t know why I keep watching them. I suppose the fact that people keep watching them is why they keep making them. But I suppose the main reason I saw this one was to see how they would handle the tragic situation with Paul Walker, and that’s also what made this movie much more tolerable. The greater majority of the movie was just wall to wall testosterone and the incredulity I felt over watching Jason Statham be a formidable opponent to The Rock, but the end of the movie was a touching tribute and farewell to Walker. Granted, the real life situation with the actor informed your feelings about it a lot more than the movie and the script did, but it’s a touching moment you don’t expect out of one of these movies. Of course, I just saw that they’re making yet another one, so hopefully I’ll be able to make myself sit that one out.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON
I often feel like I shouldn’t even bother writing a review for these kinds of movies because y’all know how I feel about it. It’s a Marvel movie! I probably loved it! It is probably only technically worth talking about if even I thought it was awful. But that’s not what happened here. I wouldn’t say I liked this one as much as I liked the first Avengers movie, but this was still really great. It mostly matches up with the first one. The story was still what it needed to be to further the plot, the action was fantastic, there was some good humor there as well, and the cast was still great, but with the addition of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen (who both did fantastic), Paul Bettany doing more than just being a voice (though I would’ve liked more of him, but that’s not how the story worked out), and most importantly, James Spader killing it as Ultron. The Hulkbuster fight alone makes this movie worth seeing, but there’s still a lot more to this movie that makes it great.
PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2
Allow me to save you 94 minutes that I can’t imagine anyone but me was willing to sacrifice for this movie: Paul Blart is fat and dumb. That’s about the entirety of the joke attempts in this movie. I don’t believe the purpose of a joke in these movies is to make you cringe. They probably want you to laugh, but that’s not what happens. It’s just bad. I guess it goes against my argument that movies should be judged based on what they advertise, because this movie does live up to what it advertises. It looks like a bad, dumb comedy, and it totally delivers on that, but since it’s a bad, dumb comedy I’m going to tell you not to see it. Did you need me to tell you that?
PITCH PERFECT 2
When the first Pitch Perfect came out, I turned my nose up at it until I had heard from enough people that it was worth watching. After seeing it, I really enjoyed it. And I had roughly the same experience with the second one. It’s never really the story as that’s pretty basic. The story’s purpose in this movie is to set up a few good jokes and some great mashup songs, and it succeeds in all of those areas. After seeing the movie, I went and bought the soundtrack. And every once and a while since seeing the movie, I’ll go to YouTube and look up the video of the songs because the great music can only be helped by looking at some of those purdy Bellas performing them.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
I enjoyed Fury Road a lot, but I was perplexed by the amount of adoration I saw for this movie. Why is it okay for some action movies to throw story away but not others? The story is just something that fills in the gaps between a big car chase or an over the top action spectacle. Which is completely fine, but I’m confused how this movie gets away with it but most action movies do not. There was obviously nothing to the story here, but the performances were all pretty great, though I was a bit bothered by Max taking a backseat in his own movie to Furiosa. Furiosa was great and Charlize Theron did a great job with her, but it’s not really her movie. I do like seeing a strong female in an action movie though. And the action was absurd in all the right ways, and the fact that so many people actually risked their lives for these scenes in a world of CGI made them that much more spectacular. Definitely a movie that needs to be adored, but I don’t really reach the same level of adoration as most for it, it seems.
I watched this movie with the intention of finding some bad movies for my end of the year review, but was pleasantly surprised by it. It’s not going to be anywhere near my best movies of the year, but it was definitely a solid watch. I liked the message of hope that the movie revolves around, I liked the acting from Clooney, Britt Robertson, and Raffey Cassidy, and the visuals and spectacle of the movie were fantastic. Nothing wrong with this movie and I’d definitely recommend it for a watch, but it falls a little short of greatness. Landed right on top of goodness though.
This movie got talked up way heavier than I felt that it had earned. I like Melissa McCarthy well enough in a supporting role or a cameo, but I haven’t totally signed off on her being the star. This movie was fine. Nothing special in the story, a few laughs here and there, Melissa McCarthy was Melissa McCarthy as you’ve seen in almost every Melissa McCarthy performance. To me, she’s kind of Kevin James with a vagina. CAN be funny, more often is not, does way too many movies, but keeps getting lots of work. But if you like her, you’ll probably like this movie. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.
What I have often said about Marvel could also be said of Pixar, but with a much more universal blanket to the statement. They can do no wrong. And they seem to keep getting better. I have loved Pixar movies often in the past, and I have even gotten sad during some of them like Up, but I don’t recall any of them ever making me shed a tear. Inside Out? Twice. The story itself was a fairly basic adventure, but the magic comes from the adventure being personified feelings inside the mind of a little girl dealing with her troubles. The imagination required to turn the emotional landscape into such a complete world was simply brilliant. The voice cast was perfect and the movie was touching. You should have already seen this, whether you have kids or not, and you must enjoy it, or I have nothing to say to you.
I don’t know why this movie exists. It wasn’t bad, but it was Poltergeist with different actors and a better camera. I don’t mind a remake. Hollywood runs out of ideas from time to time but I still demand to be entertained and distracted from the fact that I’m going to die one day. But if you’re gonna remake, change it up a little bit so I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen around every turn. Stuff’s going on in the house! I wonder if it’s that Indian burial ground we built the house on! Well no it’s not because that would be offensive in 2015. Even Native American burial ground would offend some people. So I guess you did totally change the movie. I totally recommend you see Poltergeist. But probably the first one. Or this one. They’re the same thing.
Through whatever tumor has developed in my brain, I love a big, stupid disaster movie. It seems like every year without fail I go on a kick where I watch nothing but 2012, Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, and any big disaster movie. I guess some men just want to watch the world burn. And San Andreas is definitely getting added to that cycle. It’s big and it’s stupid, but it’s fun and the cast is pretty great. The movie gets a little preachy at times and the “We rebuild” line at the end of the movie is so corny I thought I might find it in my poop the next morning, but it is pure fun spectacle. And, as a message to filmmakers going for these kinds of movies, please just have The Rock do the Rock Bottom, or at least the Peoples Elbow, to the fault line. You know what you are, so just go for dumb in the biggest way possible!
I had gotten into an argument about this movie when I referred to it as dumb. It’s certainly an enjoyable movie that at least mostly lives up to its predecessors, so what could be dumb about it? How about the fact that hundreds of people have died over the 4 times they have attempted this park and yet they’re still going for it. And not only do they reopen the park, the genetically create the goddamned Superman of Dinosaurs! It’s bigger than a T-Rex, It has the active camo system straight out of Metal Gear Solid, it can change its heat signature, it’s intelligent, it can talk and plan with Velociraptors, and it can shoot lasers out of its eyes and it has gatling gun tits. And oddly, very few of those things are fake! (I bet the tits are fake) But all that being said, if you can suspend disbelief in yet another way than just thinking dinosaurs can come back to life, then you can suspend the other stupidity and just enjoy the movie. And the final battle with the Jesosaurus Rex is worth the price of admission on its own.
INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3
I never go into these kind of horror movies with high hopes, but this one turned out pretty well. Pretty basic horror movie plot, but it was well acted and creepy enough. And I like Lin Shaye and am happy they went into prequel territory so they could bring her back after killing her off in one of the other ones. But there’s not too much to say about this movie. It’s good. Your mind won’t be blown, but it’s good for a watch.
I think what’s hurting the Terminator series the most is that they’ll never be able to top Terminator 2. And also that they are going to continue to try to make it work until a few years after Arnold is dead and buried, trying to find a way he is still in it and old and dead even though he’s a robot. But this movie reaches “fine” basically because it was exactly what I expected it to be. Story barely made sense, acting was what it was (but at least Daenerys Targaryen was there), but things blew up with a good degree of frequency. What more were you expecting and what more could you ask for?
I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Obviously I lean towards happy with Marvel movies, but I have no particular interest in the character of Ant-Man from the comics and so wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this one, especially given the news that Edgar Wright was no longer involved. But they took this character I wasn’t interested in and put him in a really fun romp of a movie. Well, they made the character a secondary character and some new, non-Pym Ant-Man the star, but it was still fun. The script was good and funny though their attempts at feels didn’t quite work on me, and the performances (especially from Paul Rudd and Michael Pena) were fantastic. Definitely a fun movie and worth a watch.
I liked a lot of things about this movie, but somehow when they came together it didn’t go higher than luke warm. It did succeed at being kinda creepy, and I liked the idea of the stage play that went wrong and created an angry ghost, but I didn’t get the ghost’s motivations. So an accident happened and you died. How does that justify killing people that were only tangentially involved or not involved at all? That’s bad form! The found footage thing also seemed more of a hindrance in this movie, and the ending didn’t work for me at all. So altogether the movie was okay, but not something anyone needs to see.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION
Who doesn’t like the Mission: Impossible movies? They’re so big and fun and exciting. And they’ve all stayed pretty consistent to me. This one changes nothing. It’s hard to top Tom Cruise climbing up the side of that huge building in the 4th one, but they gave it their all. Hanging off the side of a flying airplane is pretty spectacular. I also love the whole usual cast (especially Simon Pegg) and I like the new addition of Rebecca Ferguson because she was super hot and badass. And (pretty surprisingly for a big action movie) the story was pretty good here. I liked the rogue nation aspect and the super spy turned bad guy (even though he looked like Kyle Dunnigan from Reno 911!) and I had no idea how Tom Cruise was going to win in the end of the movie until the movie revealed it, and I thought it was pretty well done and clever. Check this movie out!
I think most of us probably made a decision about this movie pretty quickly after we heard about it. Adam Sandler, Kevin James. And I’m out! Well not if you’re me. If you’re me, then you push all your chips to the center of the table. Well that’s misleading, because I obviously wouldn’t go see it in theaters or give it very much money. I’ll give you my dollar from RedBox. But this movie was much better than I expected it to be … and that means it was just not terrible. It wasn’t really funny, but it wasn’t painfully unfunny. I would say it was cute. And of course I approve of the message of video game nerds that save the world with their nerdiness. I’m still in training for that situation to this day. Have I seen better from Adam Sandler and Kevin James? Absolutely! But I’ve also seen much worse. So I guess that means the movie isn’t that bad, but you still don’t really need to see it.
THE VATICAN TAPES
I picked this movie up from RedBox just for shits and giggles. I do like a ghost/demon horror movie, but the possession movies don’t really do much for me. Most of them are just one act of slowly seeing the signs of possession and then two acts of dislocating shoulders and peeled back fingernails as the demon tries to do as much damage to its host body for some reason. That’s essentially what this is. But then it ends with the Antichrist going out into the world. So it’s got that going for it. But the way these play out don’t work out to scary, much like the gore show horror movies, but this one had even less gore. So it’s a horror movie devoid of scares, but the performances are pretty good. Not good enough that you need to watch the rest of the movie to see them, but they were still good.
First one didn’t work, so let’s try this again! And yeah, of course we’re gonna tell the same origin story again! People may have forgotten in the last couple years … how to use Google, where they can find the origin story. But this movie does the same thing I had a problem with in the first Hulk movie: you take too long to show the title characters! 47 minutes! Before that, it’s the goddamn Reed Richards show. And way too long to answer the obvious question: why do I feel like this black guy with a black son and a white daughter hiding something from us? I suppose it would get to be awkward for him to always introduce Sue as his adopted daughter, but I was a bit curious. After that, the problem with the movie is that it was boring. A lot of science, not a lot of fighting. The new cast was pretty good. Didn’t much care for Victor von Doom. His powers were pretty cool (although they didn’t resemble Dr. Dooms very much from what I could tell), but he looked terrible after his transformation. So, as you can see, there can be a Marvel movie I don’t like and won’t recommend!
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
Man, Batman v. Superman looks good, don’t it?! Anyway, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is a movie that is pissing me off more as I have to type the name with all those periods in it. But the movie itself was pretty good. I didn’t really want to see it (unlike Batman v. Superman), but I decided to rent it as I was preparing this review and it turned out pretty well. It was a fun little throwback movie to a time where my parents were just thinking about getting born already. Pretty simple spy movie story, but it was fun and all three of the main actors (including the Russian, Superman, and Ex Machina lady) were enjoyable. I’d rather see at least one of them with a big “S” that means “Hope” on his chest and another with nothing on her chest, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s still an enjoyable watch. …Like Batman v. Superman…
I assume that this movie almost exclusively sought to create tension, and it did that fairly effectively. What it probably didn’t want to do was make me hate Owen Wilson’s family with a passion. They were the worst! Always complaining and second guessing and doing everything they could to throw roadblocks in front of Wilson to keep him from saving them. One of these little girls throws a bitch fit for a few minutes because they dropped her stuffed animal and didn’t go back for it when they were RUNNING DOWN THE HALL ESCAPING GUNFIRE! And mom keep suggesting they stay put and wait for … I don’t know, marshmallows to fall out of the sky and save them all. I assume the writer of this movie hates his/her kids. After that, it’s also got a little bit of problems with the fact that white people are all good in this and any other color skin is bad, which I assume some people might frown upon. But, since I’m sure that’s not a message they were intending to conceal in this movie, I’ll let that go. Instead, I’ll just say that it is a pretty intense movie, but it doesn’t have much more going for it than that.
I have never been shy about my hatred of Kristen Stewart. I find her mostly unbearable, but with an extremely rare chance to be slightly tolerable. That doesn’t mean I liked this movie, but her presence didn’t really have an effect on my feelings towards the movie, which wound up just being okay. I like the idea of the movie, though it’s been done before with brainwashed candidates only being less stoned than this one. It wasn’t really funny (and I wasn’t even really aware that it was supposed to be until reading about it afterwards), so that would mean the movie would depend on its action scenes to impress … and it didn’t. They weren’t bad, but if I see the best sleeper cell agent ever getting activated, I want that shit to turn into a Jet Li movie. Jesse Eisenberg can pull off the stoner wussy guy part, and even can pull off the badass facial performance, but there wasn’t anything interesting happening when he got to fighting. Michael Cera did it in Scott Pilgrim, they should’ve been able to do it here. Bu the movie isn’t terrible, and John Leguizamo is great in his short scenes, but the movie is skippable.
The talking up for this movie scared me off for a while. It just seemed like it couldn’t possibly live up to what people were saying about it. And how interesting can a movie be that’s just Matt Damon alone on a planet with no one to talk to? Well turns out it can live up to it and it can be really interesting. It’s really grounded (which is a strange thing to say about a movie that happens on Mars, but he WAS on the ground of Mars, sooooo…) and Matt Damon does a fantastic job keeping it emotional, funny, exciting, and interesting all the way through. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily edge of your seat the whole time like Gravity was because there was enough down time of Matt Damon just trying to do small things like farming to stay alive, but Matt Damon never let it be boring. Everything was amazing and enjoyable about this movie, and you really need to see it.
I wouldn’t call Pan a “bad” movie, but it sure was odd. I mean, it’s a Peter Pan sequel but they have the pirates singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” while they work to mine out a rock that is the representation of fairy dust, but that brings it to another problem: why is there a rock representing fairy dust? This is a Peter Pan movie! If you take all the magic out of a Peter Pan movie, you just have a movie about pirates, Indians, and an annoying boy. But there is still some magic to be found in this movie (both in the context of the movie and in the movie itself) and their wasn’t really anything wrong with it. There just wasn’t very much right with it either. It was pretty and colorful in parts of the movie (especially once they met the Natives) and the story itself was an interesting enough idea, and the actors were even great. It just didn’t contain much explanation for why the movie was made or why anyone should see it.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION
Yup. I still like these movies. I don’t know why and (for the most part) you probably shouldn’t listen to much I have to say about the series unless you also like seeing movies about the ghost of the dead horse this movie series continues to beat. It answers some of the questions left by the rest of the series and introduces a cool new idea with the camera that can see the ghost world, but that kind of takes away from things. Alien and Jaws were good because they didn’t show the Xenomorph or the shark for as long as they could. I guess 26 movies was long enough for the Paranormal Activity people, but nothing you show us will be as scary as what we could imagine. And it wasn’t. Toby was mostly a black liquid looking thing. The movie’s not particularly spooky, but there are enough jump scares that it can get your blood pumping. This movie is good enough if you’re looking for something like that.
Because I watched both in the same day, I was really able to see the similarities between this and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The government wants to shut down this very effective organization because it’s outdated, there’s this uber-bad guy that knows all the hero’s tricks, and they even got Léa Seydoux who was in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol! And I’m sure none of it was coincidence! Or maybe it was. Spectre was fine. Not the best or the worst James Bond movie, and not even the best or worst Daniel Craig James Bond movie, but pretty decent. Some good action, nice car, little light on the gadgets, couple of really good looking women. If you’re looking for more out of a James Bond movie, you don’t know what a James Bond is.
These Stallone movie sequels are dangerous and unpredictable. Even if you just look at the Rocky series. The first one was amazing and then they go straight downhill to number 5, and then number 6 is pretty good again. So what can anyone assume when going into Rocky 7? It’s actually better than 6. Maybe as good as the first one. It’s a fantastic picture. Great story about Apollo Creed’s son coming to grips with his troublesome parentage, with Rocky dealing with his own problems, a little love story with the girl that makes terrible music that Adonis Creed gets involved with. The performances were also great, especially Michael B. Jordan and Stallone. Stallone can really turn it on sometimes. A lot of people forget about that because of … half his IMDb page. And the fights were also pretty great, but were just a few moments. The focus of the movie was more the human adventure as it should be. As the first Rocky was. Speaking of which, a few moments were either derivative or homage-ey, depending on how you look at it. Like someone gets sick as inspiration to the fighter like what happened to Mick in Rocky 3. And the outcome of the movie has similarities to the first movie. But this never becomes a problem. Got all teary-eyed in this movie a couple of times, and I think that’s a pretty big compliment. Go see this.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
I won’t typically see a movie in theaters multiple times, nor will I usually go see a movie the week of its release in theaters. I’ll do it for this movie. I tried to keep my hopes low. I tried to remind myself how I felt when I got this excited and saw Phantom Menace, but it didn’t work. After 2 days of hearing rave reviews from my friends and being terrified of spoilers, I broke down and went and saw this movie. Worth. It. I should’ve known too. I wasn’t a fan of Star Trek until they gave it to J.J. Abrams, so what would happen if they gave the same man my childhood to make a movie out of? He’d make a movie that took me right back to my childhood and had tears exploding out of my face in a couple different places, both from sadness over something that happened in the movie (people who have seen it know what I’m talking about) and once out of what I can only explain as sheer awesome welling up in my face and leaving no room for liquid in there. The story was exactly what it should be, the look was brilliant as they did as much with practical effects as they could, the old cast was amazing and the new cast was fantastic. I’m shifting all my prepubescent love from Carrie Fisher over to Daisy Ridley. Carrie had her chance and never made a move. Sorry, love. I can’t wait forever. And you shouldn’t wait to see this movie! What is wrong with you if you haven’t seen it yet?!
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This House …………………………… is Clean
One of the final movies of the October Horror-thon will be a movie that I vaguely believe my roommate Richard suggested I review. I remember him mentioning it but it may not have been an official request. Whatever, I’m doin’ it! Today’s movie will be the classic horror movie, Poltergeist, directed by Tobe Hooper, presented to us by Steven Spielberg, and starring Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O’Rourke, Oliver Robins, Dominique Dunne, Zelda Rubinstein, Beatrice Straight, and Richard Lawson.
Steven (Craig T. Nelson) and Diane (JoBeth Williams) Freeling live a fairly uneventful life with their three children, Dana (Dominique Dunne), Robbie (Oliver Robins), and Carol Anne (Heather O’Rourke). Steven is a realtor and Diane is a stay at home wife, Dana and Robbie are kids, and Carol Anne talks to TVs. Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. One night, while Carol Anne is having a riveting chat with her friends the “TV People”, a ghostly hand comes out of the TV and jumps into the wall, waking her family. Carol Anne informs them, famously, that “They’re here.” The crazy times begin to occur with a greater degree of frequency. Drinking glasses break, chairs movie and spontaneously stack themselves, all that normal stuff. It begins to get a little big troublesome when the ugly, old tree in their backyard breaks a window and tries to eat Robbie. While Steven and Diane try to rescue him, Carol Anne is sucked into the closet and she disappears. If this girl was gay, her eventual escape from her closet domain would set up a great joke. Instead, they can just have conversations with her through the TV. With the help of some paranormal investigators and a fat, midget, female Elvis, the family must try to rescue their daughter from the TV.
This is a fairly older movie, but it stands up on a lot of levels. There are a couple of things that don’t really hold up, but I feel it’s just because of either the budget, the time, or both. We’ll get into that as it comes. The story still works and I feel like the movie could have a pretty awesome remake if they wanted, as long as they didn’t screw that up. Of course, the whole premise that the movie starts with, that a TV, if left on long enough, will play some pro-America thing and then go to static would be lost on today’s youth. The little girl would have to try to talk to the TV through commercials about making your penis bigger. But I always approve of a good ghost movie, so I’m willing to accept that. I wouldn’t say this horror movie was that scary by today’s standards. I don’t know that it would have been back when it came out because the only thing I thought was scary at the time was the prospect of not being the first sperm to the egg. But they did some cool scary things and had some things that were more goofy. The chairs moving and stuff was just there. The tree trying to eat the boy and the coffins sprouting out of the ground were the closest they got to scares. The Incredible Hulk riding a floating horse toy around the bedroom could possibly qualify as goofy. That actually happened, by the way. I wish I could make that up.
The effects are the things that don’t always hold up in this movie. Some of them still work great, but some of them are laughably bad. The ghosts, for instance, are awesome. They’re a lot like the ghosts from Ghostbusters. You can see through them, but not the look nor the lighting of the room around them give a clue to the fact that it was probably superimposed. They look really good. The part where the steak is crawling across the counter is kind of funny, but the effect holds up, and it quickly turns gross. I’m not sure what the story was with the afterbirth that covered the things that came out of the ceiling portal after being thrown into the closet, but it still worked. Also, this movie did a thing similar to A Nightmare on Elm Street when the poltergeist grabs JoBeth Williams and drags her up the wall like she’s in a Jamiroquai video, which only serves to make me MORE angry at A Nightmare on Elm Street because one of the few cool things they did in their movie was stolen from a much better movie. By the way, I am proud to admit that I totally spelled Jamiroquai correctly on the first try. The biggest thing that does not hold up at all is the part where one of the investigators is made to hallucinate that he’s tearing his own face off. It starts off with him looking at a fairly well done scar on his face, cuts to the sink, and cuts back to the most obviously and laughably fake head I’ve seen in recent memory. I know this movie is older than I am so I give it a pass, but it’s what makes me think they should remake it. They could totally make that brutal and terrifying today.
The acting was definitely solid, especially for a movie with so many kids in it. Generally speaking, I don’t expect a kid to be able to act unless it’s last name is Fanning, but these ones all did fairly well. Dominique Dunne was inexplicably absent for a good part of the movie. She was apparently on a date when the family was trying to save Carol Anne and wasn’t present for most of the rest of the movie. Heather O’Rourke was ridiculously adorable and even a little bit creepy. I liked her performance. On the other hand, that little boy pissed me off. He had gigantic buck teeth and whined in the most irritating way when he first heard Carol Anne’s voice coming from the TV that I knew I would’ve choked him out if I were there. SAY IT WITH YOUR WORDS, YOU BUCK TOOTHED PIECE OF … okay, I may have overreacted … Oh no, he’s not breathing. Both of the parents did a fine job. Craig T. Nelson is pretty charming for the first part of the movie and seemingly turns into a sleep-deprived alcoholic overnight when Carol Anne goes missing. Certainly the breakthrough performance of this movie was fat, midget, female Elvis, Zelda Rubinstein. For more than just sharing a name with a great video game series, I liked her. That is, of course, assuming her purpose was to make me laugh by just being there. But what was up with those construction workers that were putting the pool in their backyard? Were they the only construction guys in town or something? ‘Cause these dudes didn’t seem to do much work, made lewd gestures at their underage daughter as her mother watched, and leaned into the kitchen to grub on their food right out of the pot and put that saliva drenched spoon back into the chili pot. How are they still working?
Also, it turned out it was a bad idea to click through on Wikipedia to the life stories of the three kids from this movie. All three of their careers are dead but that’s mostly because the two girls are FULLY dead. The youngest, Heather O’Rourke, died at 12 from cardiac arrest brought on by the flu, and the oldest, Dominique Dunne, was strangled to death by an ex-boyfriend in front of her house. Dude only served 4 years. I would recommend that you do no such research on the movie, but I’ve already done it for you. Instead, I’ll just recommend that you watch Poltergeist. There are a couple of things that don’t hold up in this movie, but not enough to keep it from being a good watch. I’ll give this movie “This house has many hearts” out of “Go to the light!”
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!