movie thoughts … Deadpool

May 2, 2016 7:09pm
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deadpoolWell this movie was certainly not like the others, and I think that’s why so many people have been enjoying it since it hit the theaters a few months ago!

Let’s be honest – Ryan Reynolds’ other superhero role as Green Lantern was kind of awful … they even elude to this in Deadpool … but after so many great movies between the Avengers and X-Men franchises lately, they needed to do something special with Deadpool to make it stand out because I think if it had taken a more serious approach, it probably never would’ve held a candle to the likes of Captain America and Iron Man…

…but instead, this movie ended up being a fucking riot, which is probably how good, old Deadpool himself would’ve referred to it and was most definitely part of this psychotic assassin’s charm. 😉

If I had to make but a single critique of this movie, I guess I’d say that when it ended it kind of felt like it ran a bit short … and it was about 20-30 minutes shorter than some of the other superhero movies we’ve seen lately … but honestly I think that was probably more just a result of the movie’s use of flashbacks to tell the story, which in this case was really kind of genius because they knew that they needed to lead on a killer action scene that the story sequentially didn’t have … so telling it sort of MIDDLE – BEGINNING – END actually worked well.

All in all, I really enjoyed Deadpool because not every superhero movie can be a Cap or an Iron Man, and these studios have got to try some different approaches to telling comic book stories if they’re going to continue kicking them out as fast as they have been in the past. With these universes being so vast and (hopefully) plenty of fans being so god-awfully tired of hearing the origin stories for Wolverine and Spider-Man over and over again, movies like this give me hope that they might not be gunning every single superhero for that same cookie cutter template.

Not to mention the fact that Deadpool ran a budget of nearly 1/3 of the average superhero movie, yet so far as been more successful than just about any of the recents – save Avengers 2!

The Merc with a Mouth may not be the right formula for every superhero, but hey – we’ve had our share of civilized men in tights lately – maybe we were overdue for a foul-mouthed, slightly less bad guy who just enjoys killing people and pushing the envelope. 😉

Definitely not a movie for kids, but honestly, my kid’s going to have to be a teenager before he sees most of these films, so no real difference there.

movie thoughts … The Martian

January 3, 2016 1:06pm
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martianBest movie I’ve watched so far this year – hands down!

Ok, in all seriousness, it’s probably the best movie from last year that I’ve watched, too.

In fact, I’ve had this thing sitting here for a couple of weeks but we never felt like we were really in the mood for it I think because we thought it was more of a serious movie like Interstellar (which sucked), but as it turns out, The Martian was very much the opposite of Interstellar because it was fun, it featured science that actually sounded like it made sense, and Matt Damon didn’t end up being kind of a dick hole at the end, either! 😛

I mean, it’s no secret that Matt Damon is who really sold this movie because he’s the one who was on screen 80% of the time and his delivery was spot-on – they really did a good job of making a character with the desperation to live who never gave up. It’s why his monologue to close the movie out sent shivers down your spine – because you literally just watched this guy live every word he was preaching to the next class of astronauts going to Mars…

“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”

I especially loved the humor that he interjected into what otherwise could’ve been a pretty depressing tale of being stranded 140 million miles from home. “The greatest botanist on this planet” … “space pirate” … “I’d get to fly around like Iron Man” – he just had some fantastic dialog that helped really turn an otherwise dreary situation into something much more anxiously motivated because just as I was curious to see what he’d do next, I was equally terrified each time something would go wrong because really, how many things can go wrong while you’re stranded on another planet?!

Turns out a lot of things can go wrong, but in the face of disaster you just need to keep going.

It was a sweet movie and I can see myself watching bits and pieces of this one a bunch in the future. $200 billion to rescue Matt Damon from Mars? I think we got ourselves bargain this time!

So I noticed something interesting late this evening while I was watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation whilst buried under a mountain of kleenex. I’d never really thought much about it before because it’s really only featured in the opening scene, but the Family Truckster – the iconic mode of transport that takes the family to Wally World in the first Vacation movie – isn’t actually the same car as the one in the first movie!

Now maybe this is completely intentional, but because I’ve got plenty of cough syrup coursing through my veins *I* thought it was an interesting, fun little fact. And granted, the movies themselves were released 6 years apart, so it could be argued that of course it’s a new car, although it seems like my own family growing up milked our family Oldsmobile for far longer than that.

PLUS!!!

The Truckster that made its cameo in this year’s Vacation sequel in fact was the original car, or at least one that looked a lot like it, so … that!

Anyways, here’s the original…

wagon-queen-family-truckster-national-lampoons-vacation

And here’s the version from Christmas Vacation, which appears to just be some sort of Ford Taurus painted to resemble the unmatchable Family Truckster…

1989-Ford-Taurus-Wagon6

I tell you, it really broke the continuity for me to see all of those sleek and sexy curves of the Taurus in place of the blocky, ton of bricks-exterior that the original Truckster was known for. Ok, so not really, but cough syrup will do strange things to a man, so frankly you’re lucky your even getting advent blog posts at all right now!

Holiday ro-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ad, holiday ro-o-o-o-o-o-ad… 

Not to be confused with Scott’s Top 5 Christmas Specials which we’ll be covering a little later on this month, this is a list that changes quite frequently … in fact, I’ll probably have changed my mind by the time I’m finished writing this … but for the time being, these are the holiday movies that I’m banking on for this holiday season because, well, bleh I’m sick and there’s a good chance I’ll probably be watching every single one of them over the next couple of days… 😛

  1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Clark W. Griswold is America’s everyman and if there’s a person who can’t relate to Chevy Chase’s iconic character who just wants the perfect Christmas, well chances are that’s because they’re really one of the obnoxious relatives making it tougher for the rest of us…
  2. A Christmas Story – I honestly used to kind of hate this movie, admittedly before I ever really sat down and watched it, but now much like Christmas Vacation, I can recognize it as the true timeless classic that it really is.
  3. A Muppet Family Christmas – Quite possibly the best Muppet movie ever, this snowed-in treasure has a great sing-a-long soundtrack, includes just about every character from the Muppet universe, and even features a swell cameo from Jim Henson himself doing the dishes with Sprocket at the end!
  4. Die Hard – Seriously, the only thing this jolly, old holiday tale is missing is John McClane running around Nakatomi Plaza wearing a Santa hat while he’s mowing down terrorists the American way. It’s got Christmas music, the phrase “ho ho ho” is prominently featured – what more could an elf need?!
  5. Home Alone – This was pretty much the perfect kids movie because it first came out when I was 10 years old myself. And that Christmas I dreamed of stopping burglars with my Micro-Machines and throwing paint cans off the banister at intruders, all because my stupid uncle ate the cheese pizza that Dad bought especially for me. Christmas.

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movie thoughts … The Peanuts Movie

November 24, 2015 11:38pm
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peanutsTonight we took Christopher to see his second movie in the theater, and overall I think he really liked it.

For what it’s worth, I really liked it, too!

Unlike a certain unnamed lasagna-loving cat’s recent movies that were pretty much awful, The Peanuts Movie did a great job of keeping the spirit of the characters that we’ve come to know and love from the likes of A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown while also introducing a new style as the first look at the Peanuts gang via CGI.

I loved a number of the callbacks throughout the film, though I think the scenes featuring Snoopy vs. the Red Baron where we’d periodically see his surroundings in real life amid the fantasy were my favorite.

Sara noted that Christopher himself seemed to take a particular liking to Woodstock and his own little antics, so that was kind of neat!

A lot of times I have a hard time getting into non-Disney animated movies just because Disney and Pixar have done such a great job of setting the bar so high, but they really did a good job with this one from start to finish and now in hindsight, I think I can say that the scads of Peanuts merchandise that I was inundated with while Christmas shopping over the weekend is well warranted indeed. 😉

Super cute movie, very much true to the spirit of the late Charles Schulz, and a great way to introduce a new generation to an old favorite.

Loved the end credits, too … the football almost had me tearing up as I was grinning ear to ear!!!

movie thoughts … Ant-Man

November 23, 2015 9:08am
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antmanI didn’t really think I was going to like this one, but I suppose it wasn’t too bad.

It definitely felt like a second-rate Marvel movie, though – don’t get me wrong there…

I don’t know – I guess I have sort of mixed feelings about Ant-Man because on one hand, I do enjoy Paul Rudd even though it was odd to see him in not a straight-up comedy, but the character itself to me still feels kind of silly … even though I watched him do some awesome things there on the screen. Maybe I don’t get the switching back from big to small thing in rapid succession like he would do in the battles … I feel like I’m a little lost with his strength because sure, ants are strong, but it’s still relative and when he’s the size of an ant, isn’t 50x his strength still super small as well???

Maybe he’s switching back to normal size just long enough to punch and then going back, although I thought the suit just allowed him to change size, not give him added strength.

The other Marvel superheroes don’t make me have to think this much when I’m watching their movies!

Anyways, there were plenty of segments that were predictable, like when he has to go sub-atomic at the end, and for some reason looking at Evangeline Lilly made it feel like she was obviously wearing a wig for her character, which made it a little odd. Michael Douglas is always fun to see and this seemed like more of a unique role for him than the presidential characters that he’s somewhat iconic for playing.

I think my biggest disappointment was honestly in the tie-ins to the other Marvel movies because at the very beginning they did a good job of including Agent Carter and Howard Stark, then later making references to calling in The Avengers … I was expecting some decent cameos eventually, but instead the most we got was the Falcon, which was a neat little solo scene for him, but it would’ve been nice to see one or more of the tier one heroes even for just a quick appearance.

If anything, between this, the scene at the end of Avengers 2, and knowing the general theme of Captain America: Civil War, it makes me a little nervous that we’re going to see the collective group split into multiple teams of superheroes that don’t really pack the same punch as the original group and mostly serve to allow Marvel to kick out twice as many movies with this growing array of characters in the MCU.

But we’ll see. Ant-Man was more or less enjoyable, though I wouldn’t be eager to watch it over and over again like I have some of the classics.

movie thoughts … Pixels

November 11, 2015 1:32am
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pixels_movieOh man – was this thing horrible.

I mean, seriously – how did Adam Sandler basically become the Dane Cook of comedy movie producers where he used to be funny, yet somehow now literally every single thing that the man touches … including apparently my childhood love of video games … just turns to complete and total garbage?!

So where do I start?

“Arcader” – not a term that anyone who’s ever actually cared about video games has ever used. Sounded incrementally more utterly stupid with every utterance … why they didn’t just go with “gamer” makes this a hideous first strike in my book.

The opening plot for this movie with the world championships and the time capsule felt like what the guys who had been tasked to write a movie script about Battleship first came up with before they scrapped it and said, “Come on – we can do better than this…”

The “pixelation” … which apparently became a coined term within hours of the alien invasion that caused it … made about as much sense as Battleship pegs falling out of the sky. It would make sense that the aliens would be all pixelated when they’re destroyed, but why would our stuff do the same???

Kevin James can’t be President … at least not of the United States. Maybe of the PTA or the neighborhood homeowner’s association, but not the whole United States.

The nod to Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani was neat, but it would’ve been cooler if they actually would’ve had him play himself in the movie! Instead he only made a non-speaking cameo while another actor played him during his brief battle with his creation.

Also, the “cheat codes” plot device doesn’t really make sense when not only are the heroes driving cars instead of joysticks, but the cheat codes would’ve been for Pac-Man, not the freaking ghosts!!!

Come to think of it – how do the aliens even know all of the rules of these games??? They were sent a VHS tape of the competition, not the source code to all of the arcade games!

…anyways…

Lady Lisa becomes unpixelated for inexplicable reasons, save for that she’s hot and Gad’s character wants her.

Sandler worked way too hard to kill Donkey Kong because all he had to do was climb the last ladder. You don’t kill Donkey Kong by throwing the hammer at him. That’s not how Donkey Kong works.

In the finale, our pseudo-president talks about “negotiating a truce” with the aliens, which we never saw because Sandler just beat Donkey Kong and disappeared. Nonetheless, everyone else apparently wins, too, as every possible conflict gets nicely tied up into a bow in roughly 30 seconds before the credits roll. Even Toru Iwatani’s stunt double sees his hand grow back – seriously, all that’s missing is the group high-five…

Also, apparently after the movie is over, I guess that Josh Gad fucks Q*bert or something.

Better Video Game Movies From the Last Few Years to Watch Instead of Pixels:

  • Wreck-It Ralph
  • Tron: Legacy
  • Scott Pilgrim vs the World (I didn’t even like this movie, but at least the video game effects were legit)

movie thoughts … Vacation

October 20, 2015 9:28am
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vacation_movieCan Hollywood go just one summer without trying to remake and therefore ruin another timeless classic?! 😯

Honestly, although I wasn’t really sure how this one was going to go, I was actually both hopefully as well as a little curious because over the last year or so I’ve grown a bit more fond of the entire series of National Lampoon’s Vacation movies, with the original 1983 Vacation becoming one of my latest go-to movies to put on when I don’t really feel like watching anything in particular, but still want something to listen to in the background.

Thankfully, for the most part Ed Helms was able to take up the, err, helm of the bumbling, but good-intentioned family man pretty well and I actually ended up really enjoying it! It certainly helped that the movie acknowledged what most of us were thinking fairly early on in the film…

Rusty’s Wife – “So you just want to redo your vacation from 30 years ago? Don’t you think that’s going to be kind of a let down???”

Rusty – “We’re not redoing anything – this will be completely different. For one thing, the original vacation had a boy and a girl, this one has two boys, and I’m sure that there will be lots of other differences!”

Rusty’s Son – “I’ve never even heard of the original vacation.”

Rusty – “Doesn’t matter…”

It was one of those remakes where there were enough similarities to bring back good memories of the classic moments from the first movie, but not so much that it just felt like a desperate, shot-for-shot remake. And granted, some of the ideas worked better than others – I liked the relationship between him and his wife and their struggles, but the younger kid bullying his older brother felt a little uncomfortable to me … to the point where I think I was entirely too happy when he finally stood up for himself and shifted the tides!

Of course, it was also neat to see Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo make a short cameo as the grandparents as another nod. I think it was almost a cheerable moment when Clark handed down the keys to the old Family Truckster to help Rusty complete the final leg of his pilgrimage to the forever-sacred Wally World. Even the inspirational chat with old pa leading up to that exchange was both kinda funny and endearing at the same time…

Rusty – “We’ve had enough – this trip has been a nightmare.”

Clark – “Well, that’s what family vacations are, but you can’t give up, Russ…”

Rusty – “They always say that it’s not the destination, it’s the journey, right?”

Clark – “The journey sucks … that’s what makes you appreciate the destination. You had a dream to take your family to Wally World – never let that go. I know I didn’t.”

I just loved this scene because in only a few short lines of dialogue, they really managed to sum up who Clark Griswold, and now his son Rusty, too, is to a T … family men who dream big and will inevitably always come up short, yet perpetually continue looking forward even as everyone else has given up on their Christmas light displays and gone back into the house or despite the realization that the entire family has just taken a bath in liquid sewage.

It’s kind of too bad to hear that apparently this didn’t really do too great at the box office or among most reviewers, but I enjoyed it and it’s one of the few recent remakes that I feel actually continues to build on its franchise instead of dragging on or even taking away from its original glory. Clark Griswold would be proud, even if nobody else was… 😉

movie thoughts … John Wick

August 23, 2015 11:06pm
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johnwickI actually first watched this a couple of months ago, but recently I’ve gotten sucked into bits and pieces of it a few different times and I realized that I’d never written about it the first time, so here we are!

I think I enjoy this movie because John Wick is a complete and total badass.

Nobody fucks with John Wick, and yet the son of a crime lord ignorantly fucks with John Wick anyways, and thus we get to watch John Wick enact his revenge by killing pretty much anyone who crosses his path.

I loved Keanu Reeves in this role – the way he delivers is flawless, both in terms of badass-ed-ness as well as the heavy clout that anyone who really knows who John Wick is continues to honor even as he’s on the warpath. Some of my favorite exchanges are with the people from his past whom he comes back into contact with through this new ordeal…

  • Jimmy, the all-too-familiar police officer sent to respond to John’s “noise complaint”
  • Francis, the VIP doorman at the Red Circle who John courteously pardons
  • The Manager at the Continental, who professes that no laundry service is good enough to clean John’s blood-soaked shirt after his assault on the Red Circle

The whole build up of The John Wick Legend – mostly by Viggo himself, who’s arguably the second-most feared man in the city – is damn near perfectly executed in such a select few lines of dialog. It’s clear that this is the kind of guy you don’t underestimate – no matter who you are, and if you do, you’re as good as dead.

“John wasn’t exactly the Boogey Man … he was the one you sent to kill the fucking Boogey Man.”

“You will do nothing because you can do nothing.”

“They know you’re coming…”

(John himself) “Of course, but it won’t matter.”

What can I say – I loved Keanu Reeves in this movie! I’ve always been a huge fan of his, from The Matrix to Speed to even The Devil’s Advocate … the man plays a great lead and an even better action star.

And fun fact – at one point Keanu was actually in a band! They called themselves Dogstar and I remember going to see them play at some casino in Michigan back in my early 20s. I have no recollection whatsoever whether they were any good – Keanu played bass guitar, mind you – but it was really cool just to see him up on stage in person. 🙂

This was a sweet action movie, and apparently they’re now talking about making a second. Interesting, though admittedly part of the mystique of this one was knowing just enough about John Wick’s past to be absolutely terrified of him. A sequel could go either way…

movie thoughts … Jurassic World

July 14, 2015 9:15pm
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jwI went through a lot of phases leading up to this movie…

First I thought it was ridiculous because I hate Hollywood making sequels instead of trying for new stories and then having them be horrible.

Then I got curious because I watched Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy and realized that I didn’t actually hate him, just the character he played in the first few episodes of Parks & Recreation.

My skepticism grew as its release got closer and we started finding ourselves overwhelmed with all of the marketing and product tie-ins that the movie had secured, even though admittedly I didn’t make the connection of how clever the Barbasol sponsorship was until far later than a proper fan of the original movie really should have…  😳

Finally as the movie came out and reviews started floating around the Internet, I became both hopeful and even excited to see what this movie ended up looking like. We don’t get to see nearly as many movies in the theater as we used to, so we kind of have to aim for the big hitters and leave the rest for home viewing. Jurassic World seemed like it had the qualities to make up a pretty sweet summer blockbuster … but once the film started rolling, would it end up just feeling like yet another unnecessary sequel like … well, Jurassic Park 2 & 3 ended up feeling???

Actually, not really!

I mean, don’t get me wrong – there were some ridiculous moments … running from dinosaurs in heels throughout the entire movie, driving when a simple phone call would do, arguably even the Indominous Rex in general, but if you even look back to the original Jurassic Park, we had plenty of the same types of moments back in 1993, too … “This is a Unix system – I know this!” It didn’t matter then because our adrenaline was pumping as we explored this terrifying, new world, and the same thing happened 22 years later with Jurassic World.

Besides, if you can suspend disbelief long enough to tolerate cloning dinosaurs from 65 million years in the past, not to mention building yet another park after the first two resulted in many, many people’s deaths … then maybe the idea that Claire wore high heels isn’t really that big of a deal, after all!

Although I will admit that the gyrospheres or whatever they were called not having a return home command to invoke in case of emergency kind of bugged me a little… 😛

All in all it was a fun, wholesome summer blockbuster for what it was, holes and all, and even though so many people have died at this point, it should be interesting to see what they get away with next when no doubt Jurassic World 2 hits the screens to re-merchandize the franchise all over again a few years from now!

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