Young Guns (1988)


I Sure Would Like to Touch the Gun That’s Gonna Kill Billy the Kid.

Apparently I had been neglecting a request made by Chris from a while back that he recently reminded me of on my fan page.  I get a pretty good amount of requests recently and sometimes they just slip my mind.  If I don’t write them down, I’ll probably never remember them.  So when he reminded me, I felt like I should get to it pretty quickly lest the poor fellow feel forgotten and take his life.  I can’t have that blood on my hands.  The movie he requested was fairly easy to grant too, because I already owned it.  The problem is that I had no recollection of the movie whatsoever.  It’s generally regarded as a classic movie, and always regarded as a Western.  I like classics just fine, but I’m a big fan of Westerns, so it seemed like a good idea anyway.  But how could I not remember anything about a movie that is so popular?  Maybe I can find out as I review Young Guns, written by John Fusco, directed by Christopher Cain, and starring Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Phillips, Charlie Sheen, Dermot Mulroney, Casey Siemaszko, Terence Stamp, Jack Palance, Terry O’Quinn, Alice Carter, Patrick Wayne, Brian Keith, Sharon Thomas, and Geoffrey Blake.

An Englishman in Lincoln County, New Mexico by the name of John Tunstall (Terence Stamp) rescues a young man named William H. Bonney (Emilio Estevez) who was being chased by some men in the employ of Tunstall’s competitor, Lawrence Murphy (Jack Palance).  Tunstall takes him back to work on his ranch alongside other such lawless young men like Doc Scurlock (Kiefer Sutherland), Jose Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips), Richard M. “Dick” Brewer (Charlie Sheen), “Dirty” Steve Stephens (Dermot Mulroney), and Charlie Bowdre (Casey Siemaszko).  After a while, the conflict between Tunstall and Murphy comes to a head when Murphy sends his men to gun down Tunstall in cold blood.  Billy and the Regulators, as they start to call themselves, get themselves deputized to get warrants against the men who shot Tunstall, but Billy decides he’d rather just kill them instead of arresting them.  This practice soon makes them outlaws, and their exploits as outlaws soon earns Bonney the moniker of “Billy the Kid”.

I imagine this is going to hurt the feelings of some of the dedicated fans of this movie, but I have no idea what anyone likes about this thing.  I felt the need to double check with Rotten Tomatoes just to find out if I was crazy or not.  The critics agree with me, the fans agree with themselves.  I can’t say that there was anything in this movie that interested me in the slightest.  The story is a typical western, as best I can tell.  Someone shoots someone, other people don’t like it, and they go on a rampage for revenge.  But there was nothing in that rampage that was remotely interesting to me.  The story was scattered as they often seemed to lose focus on their goal in the movie.  One could assume that their goal was to kill Murphy, but they spent the bulk of the movie doing everything in their power to avoid actually taking care of that issue until it was forced on them in the last scenes of the movie.  That’s when it seemed Billy remembered what he was trying to do.  It wasn’t even an exciting climax to the movie.  They tried to infuse it with some emotional impact by having some of the main characters die, but poor writing and worse direction removed all impact from their deaths.  Being so distracted from their goals wouldn’t be an issue if what they did in the meantime was interesting, but it wasn’t.  It was usually just hiding from or killing random dudes associated with Murphy, or wasting time hanging out in a random town or doing peyote.  The peyote scene was a vaguely amusing bit of distraction, but I was probably more amused by the stupidity of leaving your weapons loaded when you decide to trip on balls on peyote.  But the real stupidity can be found in some of the dialogue.  The best example is something that the Asian girl (who was the star of another long bit of distraction from anything interesting) said to Doc.  In reference to him bringing her flowers that she turned down, she later says, “I keep the flowers in a little room inside my heart, and you visit me frequently there.”  Fer reals, bitch?  I know English is supposed to be your second language, but I think you just uttered the dumbest sentence I’ve ever watched come out of someone’s mouth.

The performances in the movie were not to blame for its boringness.  They all did admirable jobs, but had no control over the story or the direction.  Emilio Estevez usually came off as not taking any situation seriously, and that worked on my nerves on occasion, but as best I can tell that’s what Billy the Kid was like.  Kiefer Sutherland was usually a good character, but any time that he was interacting with Alice Carter was not.  He would recite poetry and usually seemed desperate.  I think I’d say I liked Lou Diamond Phillips’ character the best.  He was not usually the forefront of the characters, but was usually pretty badass when he was up front.

It’s probably not a popular sentiment about a pretty popular movie, but I have no idea why anyone remembers this movie.  It might have been a little bit cooler at the time, but watching it for the first time today I found it terribly boring, poorly written, and directed even worse.  The performances were all fine, but they couldn’t save the movie for me.  I was just bored all the way through.  Apparently, many others see something that I don’t, so I don’t know that I’d say you shouldn’t watch this movie, but I certainly don’t recommend it.  We’ll see if Young Guns 2 does anything for me tomorrow.  For today, Young Guns gets “Charley, if you don’t stand up and start whooping ass, you ain’t never gonna see her again” out of “It ain’t easy having pals.”

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.

The Adjustment Bureau (2011)


I Don’t Care What You Put in My Way.  I’m Not Giving Up!

Left to my own devices, I feel like I would never have watched today’s movie.  It’s not that it looked bad, but all it seemed like to me was Matt Damon and Emily Blunt running away from a bunch of guys wearing hats.  And that was EXACTLY the script that I was working on!  I had to put that aside when my friend Phil recommended that I watch the movie.  I was able to find the movie in a local RedBox and give it a watch.  The movie is The Adjustment Bureau, written and directed by George Nolfi, and starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Terence Stamp, Michael Kelly, and Jon Stewart.

David Norris (Matt Damon) is a Congressman that’s running for the US Senate, but he gets pwned for some reason when a picture comes out that he mooned somebody in college.  And since he was the only person who’s ever done that, he loses the election.  While preparing his speech in the bathroom, he meets a woman named Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), hiding from security after crashing a wedding upstairs.  After a bit of conversation and a kiss, Norris is inspired to not perform his rehearsed speech, instead delivering a candid speech about his loss, which makes him an instant favorite for the next Senate race.  Months later, Norris is on his way to work and being watched by a man in a hat named Harry Mitchell (Anthony Mackie), who is told by another be-hatted man named Richardson (John Slattery) that he needs to make sure Norris spills his coffee on his shirt.  While waiting for Norris, Mitchell falls asleep and misses his opportunity.  As a result, Norris gets on the bus on time and sits next to Elise.  Norris gets them digits before he departs the bus and goes to work.  At his office, he finds that everyone is frozen in time, and the group of be-hatted men are doing something to his associates with a glowing stick.  But not probing them.  That would be weird.  Norris attempts to escape, but is captured by the men.  They inform Norris that they are called the Adjustment Bureau and their job is to make things go according to “the plan” set by “the Chairman”.  Mitchell’s failure has caused some trouble for them because Norris was not supposed to ever see Elise again and he was supposed to arrive to work late so that he would never have seen them working.  They let Norris back into the world sans Elise’s number, warning him that if he tells anyone about them, he’ll be lobotomized.

I really liked a lot of this movie.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was really cool.  The story was what I found hit and miss about this movie, but it was more hit than miss.  I thought the science fiction elements of the movie were all really interesting and really well done.  The Adjustment Bureau – though it was never clearly stated – were basically like angels to God, the Chairman.  And their whole job was to make slight adjustments to our lives so that we go according to God’s plan.  I thought this was a very interesting story premise with some really cool ideas to it.  The part that kind of lost me was the romance side of the story.  I can take a romance story, so it’s not just my overbearing masculinity that turns me off to it.  What kept bothering me was how much Norris was willing to risk (going up against angels, risking lobotomy, missing political obligations, etc.) just to hang out with a girl that he had talked to for a combined total of an hour.  I’m sure some people are all about the idea of love at first sight, and I know there was a mention of the fact that the original plan had Norris and Elise as soulmates before the plan was changed, but that’s a whole lot to throw down because the girl was really cute and you had some good chemistry with her for a little while.  I feel like I could be really into a girl after talking with her for an hour, and I may even ignore the guys with hats to talk to her for the third time, but after they kept doing everything they could to ruin it, I would throw out a “Fuck this” and go about my business.  And Norris took his sweet time getting wise to the fact that the hat guys were trying to throw a monkey wrench into his works.  Why didn’t he think that it was a little strange that his campaign manager showed up out of nowhere with an appointment that would separate him from Elise.  He even asked him how he knew where he was, and the guy’s response was basically just a shrug, but he didn’t put it together.  I also felt that making Elise a ballet dancer was an odd choice.  I guess it’s technically possible for a straight man to fall completely in love with a girl after seeing her dance, but my reaction was that it looked like they were doing slo-mo martial arts.  Granted, doing slo-mo martial arts would make me fall in love, but I’m also a straight guy.  And the ballet thing just creates problems for him anyway, because the lead be-hatted guy convinces him to ditch her by telling him that she’ll stop dancing if they stay together and wind up teaching dance to 5th graders.  I had a problem with this because I wouldn’t have taken issue with that.  Sure, it’s a selfish decision to put my desire to be with her over her own desire to dance, but there’s also no way in hell she’d ever know that I made that decision.  And she seemed to like his company anyway, so she’ll probably be pretty happy enough as my stay at home wife.

I was happy with all of the performances in this movie as well.  I thought the chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt was really good.  Their conversations were very real and you could get the understanding of how they would get charmed with each other so quickly, though I still think it’s bullshit.  I liked Matt Damon’s character as well, though he mostly seemed a lot like the real Matt Damon from what I’ve seen of him.  Just a down to Earth and likeable guy, but this one was a politician.  It’s the kind of politician I would probably vote for if I ever chose to start voting.  Especially after his big candid speech I thought to myself, “I wish that a real politician would do that so I could continue not to vote for any of them.”  Emily Blunt was very cute in her part as well, and for more than just her looks.  She was also very charming.  And, if that was indeed her performing the dancing, then she did that very well also.  I liked all of the be-hatted guys as well, but their roles meant that they should be toned down with the personality, though never to the point of being robotic.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is more to The Adjustment Bureau than just people running from people wearing hats.  The sci-fi part of the story was really interesting and well done, the romance was fine but a little farfetched, and the main characters were charming and had lots of charisma.  I definitely recommend giving this movie a shot.  I was able to find it at a RedBox for a dollar, and I know it was available on Netflix, though not for streaming, and it’s worth watching either of those ways.  I’ll probably buy the movie eventually too.  The Adjustment Bureau gets “Very few humans have seen what you’ve seen today” out of “I’m not some hopeless romantic.”

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.

Red Planet (2000)


Fuck This Planet!

The worst thing I could do now is come out of the October Horror-thon with a bad movie. That being the case, I offer to you my review of Red Planet. … DAMNIT! Oh well, I can make this work. I have no idea what compelled me to purchase this movie on BluRay beyond the fact that it was $5, but I done it and now you can read about it. Red Planet was directed by Antony Hoffman (which you should not read as Anthony Hopkins like I did), and stars Carrie-Anne Moss, Val Kilmer, Benjamin Bratt, Tom Sizemore, Simon Baker, and Terence Stamp.

The year is 2056, Earth is in the middle of a crisis because of pollution and overpopulation. The opening narration goes on and on about these things, but I’ve broken it down for you so you can skip into the movie about 5 minutes. A crew is being sent to check on the terraforming of Mars that they initiated 20 years earlier by throwing a frat boy’s fridge up there and letting algae grow, which should create oxygen and give us a new planet to fuck up. This team is comprised of potential lesbian commander Kate Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss), space janitor Robby Gallagher (Val Kilmer), cocky pilot Ted Santen (Benjamin Bratt), teammate killer Chip Pettengill (Simon Baker), douchey know-it-all Quinn Burchenal (Tom Sizemore), and rambling old man Bud Chantillas (Terence Stamp). A solar flare messes up their systems on their ship, causing the team to have to leave without their commander. Once they land, they start slowly dying off in various ways until only Val Kilmer escapes. The end.

I am comfortable confessing that, it turns out, I only bought this movie because I thought it was Mission to Mars. I was wrong. Not that either of them are good movies, but it was the corniness I wanted as opposed to the corniness I didn’t want at the moment. If I remember Mission to Mars correctly, I’m pretty sure there’s some nonsense they end up finding about aliens having been there before and leaving something in the face on Mars. THAT’S the corny Mars movie I wanted to watch. Instead I watched the corny one about little bugs that eat the algae and convert it to oxygen, making Mars habitable except for the fact that those little bugs also eat people … and their robot tries to kill them. Oh well, I guess we’ll talk about this movie instead.

The story of this movie is serviceable. The part about Earth being overcrowded is nothing new but not entirely overdone. The obvious followup to the overpopulation is moving to a new planet which involves terraforming, so that the obvious next step in the process. Something needs to go wrong, so no surprises there. It’s a story you could probably figure out from just watching the trailer, but it’s not all bad. There’s some fun to be had in this movie. Some of the dialogue is drawn out too long, but some of it is charming. Some might say it’s very progressive of this movie to make the only female on board the commander, but then others may argue that the fact that she was the one left alone on the ship while the men did all the hard labor and all she could do is sit around, watch what was happening, and take care of the dishes and laundry was less progressive. The production on the movie is pretty solid too. I liked the little bouncy contraption they landed on Mars in. Granted it killed the old guy, but I think it looked wicked fun. The robot that they brought with them that then tries to kill them seemingly for no reason was well done graphically, but possibly not well thought out. I think it was some EMP thing that scrambled it’s robo-brain and made it decide to kill them. Probably should’ve put Asimov’s rules of robotics in that mamma jamma.

The performances were fine, but also nothing special. Carrie-Anne Moss got to take it easy on the movie, having no real physical labor to speak of here. All she really had to do was be concerned about the people on Mars, which she pulled off acceptably. I’ve found Val Kilmer compelling ever since he was Doc Holliday in Tombstone, so he can’t really do wrong by me. But he was fairly charming in this movie. Tom Sizemore was also pretty entertaining as basically the comic relief on the team. Simon Baker had to put out the most acting chops because he inadvertently killed Benjamin Bratt and then had to hide it from the rest of the team. There wasn’t much else going on here.

Not much to say about this movie. I wish it had been the other corny action movie set on Mars that I intended to watch, but this one would probably be of the same quality anyways. This movie was thoroughly mediocre. Not bad, not good, not particularly memorable, not particularly anything. You will live a comfortable life if you skip the movie, but you also probably won’t kill yourself if you have to sit through it. Those are your choices. Pick one! Or don’t. I don’t imagine anyone is going to be forcing you to watch a mediocre and forgettable movie from 11 years ago anyway. I’ll give this movie “We just disappointed 10 billion people” out of “We’re taking the first piss on Mars.”

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