movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: From the director of Beverly Hills Cop 1, Scent Of A Woman… And Gigli.

Starring Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin (whose career stopped in 1994, with the exception of one movie. Why? I don’t know. He’s a funny guy! Oh I see now! He’s olllld! He’s 75!). Their on-screen comedic chemistry is gold.

Also with Yaphet Kotto (still playing cops to this day), John Ashton, Dennis Farina (What Happens In Vegas, National Lampoon’s Bag Boy, Snatch, Saving Private Ryan, Get Shorty), and Joe Pantoliano (Cypher from The Matrix, Ceasar from Bound, The Fugitive, Percy Jackson & The Olympians:The Lightning Thief, Daredevil, Teddy from Memento).

PLOT SUMMARY: A bounty hunter (DeNiro) must deliver a white collar criminal (“The Duke”, Grodin) to a bail bondsman within 5 days. Meanwhile, The Mob is trying to kill The Duke, and the FBI is trying to capture him as well.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Failed policeman fails at being a bounty hunter too.

QUIRKS: 1980’s buddy-action bounty-hunter road-trip film. Comedy-Crime-Adventure-Action genre. Shot at many locations. Many different factions: DeNiro, Grodin, The Mob, The FBI, the Bail Bondsman. Lots of friction between everyone trying to get their piece of the pie. In a sense, this is your standard “chase the money” movie; the type of movie I often complain about for being too generic. But this throws in comedy, comedic dialog, comedic chemistry between the two leads, road trip adventure, action (there’s even a helicopter explosion), and every form of transportation you can imagine. A lot of elements come together to make this far less generic than it sounds on the surface, including personal growth experienced by DeNiro’s character.

VISUALS: Nice to finally see this on blu-ray! It’s 1988, so everything looks very 1980’s-ish (to state the obvious). Smoking in airports. Wood-paneled station wagons. Nothing too special here, except that it’s amazing to see these old “VHS movies” in bluray-quality.

SOUNDTRACK: Done by Danny Elfman, but it sounds nothing like your typical Elfman soundtrack. More of a 1980’s bluesy/rock feel, it’s a noticeable change of pace from most modern Elfman soundtracks.

MORALS: Think about the consequences of your career choice.

POLITICS: Police are corrupt. And the FBI are douches.

GOOD STUFF/CONCLUSION: Grodin’s deadpan annoyingness meets DeNiro’s profane, surly annoyedness, turning their on-screen chemistry into comedic gold. This film is far funnier than its summary sounds. I hadn’t seen this in about 20 years — and Carolyn had never seen it at all. Re-watching it actually caused me to upgrade my rating from 3 to 4 stars. It definitely stands up the test of time.

Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars (upgraded from 3/5). IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3.8/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.5/10 (exact average of our two ratings!), Netflix: 3.7/5 stars (a bit lower than the average of our two ratings). Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.2/5 stars, which was a bit too low.

RECOMMENDATION: It’s easy to pass this one by because it seems like one of those “chase the money” type movies. But it’s done as a comedy, which makes that type of pill far easier to swallow.

SIMILAR MOVIES: There are actually three made-for-TV sequels starring Christopher McDonald as Jack Walsh. They all came out in 1994: Another Midnight Run (4.7/10), Midnight Runaraound (5.4/10), and Midnight Run For Your Life (5.1/10). BUT WAIT! Look here! Untitled Midnight Run Sequel in development for 2012! Written by the guy who wrote the hilarious comedy Role Models. By the time this review is posted, maybe this sequel will actually exist!


Jonathan Mardukas: It means I can’t fly. I also suffer from acrophobia and claustrophobia.
Jack Walsh: I’ll tell you what: if you don’t cooperate, you’re gonna suffer from “fistophobia”.

Jonathan Mardukas: Jack, you’re a grown man. You’re in control of your own words.
Jack Walsh: You’re goddamn right I am. Now here come two words for you: Shut the fuck up.

Jonathan Mardukas: You’re OK, Jack. I think… under different circumstances you and I probably still would have hated each other!
[Both laugh loudly]

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Well, I know my mom really liked this movie! (more…)

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 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Recommended by Rev. Panik Bedlam, and boy was he right!

PEOPLE: Nobody anybody’s heard of.

PLOT SUMMARY: Read it here.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Leader fails to save city, loses son.

QUIRKS: Medieval fantasy…. Religious monks… a cat (based on a cat in an 8th century poem)… and books.

This movie is completely about the importance of books, even in medieval times. Back when you would have to go into the forest to find the right ingredients to make your own ink. Back when you would have to pluck a feather yourself in order to write with it. Ignore that religion behind the curtian; it’s not important for the enjoyment of this story.

VISUALS: Amazing animation. Absolutely beautiful. It kind of looked like what you would get if you mixed Gennedy Tartakovski’s animation style from Samurai Jack with the animation style of the opening mythical sequence of Watership Down. That’s the best way I could think of to describe how it looks.

GOOD STUFF: It’s just a great movie! The animation is done well, and the story is unique enough to be interesting, despite the religious overtones. But they didn’t preach or get into the specifics of what religion it was at all, which is VERY refreshing — allowing us to enjoy religious culture while completely avoiding religion itself. Works for me!

BAD STUFF: The story is completely MacGuffin driven. Must get crystal for book!!! But there’s never an explanation as to what exactly is so awesome about the book. The Book Of Kells is a real book, too. And yes, it’s the Four Gospels. So yes, this is a Christian movie — but not really. The plot never really touches religion. The reason that the book is a MacGuffin is BECAUSE they THANKFULLY don’t touch on religion. Including a religious message would have totally ruined this movie by making it preach something I don’t believe in. Instead, it simply focused on cultural and fantasy aspects — way more enjoyable than religion!

CONCLUSION: An absolutely amazing animated movie that I never would have watched if it wasn’t strongly recommended to me by Rev. Panik. I am very happy to have seen this. Everyone should keep in mind that this movie is more interesting than it sounds, looks amazing — like Samurai Jack meets the opening sequence of Watership Down — and is absolutely devoid of any specific preaching of any specific religion (THANKFULLY, since The Book Of Kells is actually Jesus gospels, and we don’t need that.)

Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9.4/10 (a high 9).
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 9.6/10 (a low 10).
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.5/10, Netflix: 3.8/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.7/5 stars–not sure why Netflix thinks we would like this less than average. Dead wrong here.).

RECOMMENDATION: See this! It’s one of those movies that doesn’t necessarily leap out and say “WATCH ME” — but it really needs to be watched! This should be as popular as any Pixar movie, but, alas, it is not.

MOVIE QUOTE: Aisling: [from trailer] I’ve lived through many ages. I’ve seen suffering in the darkness. Yet I have seen beauty thrive in the most fragile of places. I have seen the book. The book that turned darkness into light.

COINCIDENCES: (real life, The Secret Of The Kells) A cat on a ladder in a movie the same week we had our cats on our ladder while installing our secondary attic ladder. First time seeing a cat on a ladder in real life OR in a movie.

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: Panik loved this — which is why he recommended it to me!

Ian B was “really into this”.

Neal wrote: “the animation was great in the movie, but both me and kevin thought other than that it was not good at all. also, i thought the voice acting on something was kinda bad too :|”


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] Randomly-selected Monday Night Movie.

PLOT SUMMARY: A strange futuristic low-tech world, where sentient forests have taken over the planet. People from the past (300 years ago, before the apocalypse) wake up, and the forest doesn’t like this one bit. Will they destroy the forest with old technology that mankind has since forgotten about?

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Allocation of forest resources leads to complications.

VISUALS: Great animation. That’s for sure.

MORALS: Something about environmentalism…

GOOD STUFF: It was interesting, and very different. A rich fantasy world.

BAD STUFF: Probably would have been better subbed instead of dubbed. And if I wasn’t SO TIRED when watching it.

Some have said the story is weak compared to the animation. Which is true for a lot of anime, and definitely a bit true here. This movie would have worked better as an epic 2.5 hour movie instead of a quick 1.5 hour movie.

CONCLUSION: An interesting world, and an interesting appeal to environmentalism. This could have been done better, but it was still good.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10. I was struggling to stay awake due to a long day, which may have reduced my enjoyment a bit.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.5/10, Netflix: 3.5/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.8/5 stars).


SIMILAR MOVIES: Sorta kinda reminded me of Princess Mononoke meets The Secret Of Kells meets Escaflowne, but those are loose comparisons… It also supposedly has elements from Nausicaa, but I never saw that. (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: One of 2 movies directed by Dan O’Bannon (RIP), who usually just does writing on movies, such as Alien Vs. Predator, Total Recall, Alien 2-3, Heavy Metal.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Military experiments lead to complications.

QUIRKS: Zombie movie.

VISUALS: Some of the zombie extras were paid more to eat real calf brains in the film. But for the most part, this just looks old and dated and grainy. Even in bluray.

SOUNDTRACK: Definitely more punk-influenced than most.

POLITICS: Fuck the military (as usual).

BAD STUFF: Talking zombies? That can use radios and tools? C’mon man, this isn’t what it’s about!

CONCLUSION: Sooooo 80’s it’s ridiculous and laughable. Two sets of characters: The zombie-releasers, and the punks who just want to party. Eventually they meet up. Having a bunch of partying punks with cheesy 80’s dialog is both good and bad. It’s funny in a “omg, this is terrible and ridiculous” kind of way. Not especially good, but entertaining enough for a monday night movie if you’re under the weather… It’s certainly not the masterpiece that nostalgic people who view it through rose-tinted glasses choose to remember it as. Pretty much every zombie movie made after 2000 is better than this. It’s still good, though.

Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.1/10 (kinda high), Netflix: 3.4/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.6/5 stars–wrong way Netflix; we liked this LESS than average, not more).

RECOMMENDATION: For zombie completists only… Or for those wanting some 80’s cheesy punk nostalgia.


Chuck: “Hey, somebody get some light over here, Trash is taking off her clothes again.” [Linnea Quigley is still starring in b horror movies up to this day...]

Suicide: “You think this is a fuckin’ costume? This is a way of life.”


Suds Pshaw: “I always enjoyed it for its comical value if nothing else. Interesting how Dan O’Bannon went from creating Alien to directing this. Also — you may have noticed that John Russo was involved with the project. for those unaware — he was the other half of the creative team of the original Night of the Living Dead with George Romero — this was his way of capitalizing on the zombie genre without Romero.”


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] A classic movie — something Carolyn & I very rarely watch. I’ve been disinterested in this film my entire life, but finally decided to acquiesce to everyone saying how great it is once the bluray came out. These bluray release are proving to be a great time to watch movies you weren’t previously sure about. The visual boost of HD makes all movies more enjoyable. Nice to actually see the film instead of being held back by the limits of DVD, VHS, or NTSC broadcast signal.

PEOPLE: Directed by directorial master Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange, 2001, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut), who co-wrote it with Terry Southern (Barbarella, Easy Rider, Saturday Night Live 1981-82).

Starring Peter Sellers (Inspector Clouseau from The Pink Panther 1970s movies) in THREE [originally 4] roles: Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (who was pretty damn funny), The President (who was also really funny; I opt Kevin Spacey to play this role in any remake), and Dr. Strangelove. George C. Scott as the paranoid war room general (he played military roles right up to his death in 1999). Sterling Hayden (19 years dead) as crazy General Jack Ripper (he was Captain Martin Treleaven in Zero Hour, the movie the comedy Airplane! was based on). Colonel Bat Guano was played by Keenan Wynn, who was Captain Cully in The Last Unicorn movie. Major King Kong (from the famous bomb-riding scene near the end) was played by Slim Pickins (21 years dead), who was in Blazing Saddles.

We also have a very young, not-so-low-voiced-back-then James Earl Jones (Darth Vader, “This…Is CNN“, Conan The Barbarian) in his first movie ever! And a dude named Glenn Beck, but not the fake-tears idiot pundit Glenn Back that most people in 2010 think of. This Glenn Back was an astronaut in 2001, and was Abraham Lincoln in National Treasure 2. The hot “secretary” was Tracy Reed. They just don’t build secretaries like they used to, eh? (She was in Playboy!)

PLOT SUMMARY: A rogue general decides to nuke Russia. The President finds out. Antics ensue as America tries to stop America from destroying America by provoking Russia.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Military-industrial complex loses loyalty to world leaders, destroys world.

QUIRKS: Based on a book. Man, you know how you know Hollywood is totally out of ideas? When they can’t come up with any original stories themselves. Everything is based on a book, or a comic book, or another movie these days. Those uncreative idiots. Wait, what? This movie was made 45 years ago? I can’t use the “based on a book” shtick everyone uses today on old movies? That’s okay, I was just making fun of everyone anyway. I have zero problem with movies being based on books. I think the boring medium of text only is a great proving ground for stories and imagination; a great garden to pluck the plots of movies from.

Heavily referenced in future works.

VISUALS: Unfortunately black & white (Kubrick’s last)… But now on Bluray!

SOUNDTRACK: Mostly “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”. Which is actually an Irish anti-war song that warmongering Americans repurposed for post-war celebrating. The closing song of the movie, “We’ll Meet Again”, is referenced a lot in other works that end in that song to tribute this movie.

MORALS: Two opposing groups will often fight each other even when it makes absolutely zero sense and is in nobody’s best interest. That’s why the best thing to do in any violent conflict is not to rationalize the violence, but to try to stop it.

POLITICS: Don’t trust the military-industrial complex! Something movies have been trying to tell us for decades! And something that only half of people seem to understand. Unfortunately, our country never stopped fighting wars, not even 45 years after this movie.

It’s pretty easy to satirize warmongers, as they have been killing human beings since the dawn of history.

This film also affected politics in real life. Scenes were shown to Congress during hearings talking about whether crucial information could reach the right people in a nuclear emergency. Actual changes in policy were created to ensure that scenarios like those in this movie could never happen.

GOOD STUFF: Much more of a comedy than I expected! Some of the situations, when described via plot summary, sound kind of dry. But as scenes in the movie, they are often absurdly hilarious.

Watching the movie, experience wise, seems to be an exercise in ridiculousness. Works for me!

NEUTRAL STUFF: Hmm, maybe they should have kept the original ending? I don’t know. It sounds like one of the most insane movie endings ever. But it’s true that it doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the movie.

BAD STUFF: Normally I’d put “being old” as a big, bad, automatic “BAD STUFF” criteria. But in this case, a lot of the plot elements — military, nuclear bombs, mutually assured destruction — are nearly as applicable in 2010 as they were in 1964. Even the brands used — Coca-Cola, DoubleMint gum — are obviously recognizable today. (Even if DoubleMint did ruin their gum by changing their 90-year traditional gum into a shitty new flavor crystal-based, thinner, rot-able, inferior variant.)

CONCLUSION: Okay… This was way more funny and ridiculous than I thought. I probably should have watched this long ago, but I’m glad I waited until I could see it in HD, for what it’s worth. I was surprised by how relevant this movie is, even today. It only seemed a bit dated, and it didn’t matter for the comedic and satire purposes of this movie. It was damn funny, damn ridiculous… And actually kind of scary, when you think about the fact that about half of people on our planet are really like this. Anyway, for old-movie-haters like Carolyn and I, this was a very pleasant surprise.

Clint: Netflix: 4.2/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.6/10 (34th highest rated movie ever, though females under 18 and over 45 don’t like it nearly as much), Netflix: 4.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.5/5 stars–likely estimated lower than average because we tend to dislike anything old and dated).

RECOMMENDATION: Don’t shy away from this movie just because it’s old! It’s actually aged quite well, like a fine wine.


“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”

“Mandrake, have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?”

“You don’t think I’d go into combat with loose change in my pocket, do you?”


Anonymous:I put it on once for several friends who came over tripping…that went over really well, but also left them kinda dazed – so funny, but also what it was really saying…..he he he…..that was a good experiment, good results….”

Neil F: “I’m actually surprised that you haven’t watched this. It really is one of the best of Mr. Sellers career.”

Neal MD: “how have you never seen this before? :\”

iDRMRSR: “Shakes head sadly. How many generatians haven’t seen this classic because it’s “old” and in B&W too! I suppose one day young viewars won’t evan undarstand the Nazi referances, too!” He also offered up this article about the movie.

Scott Smith: “Never not funny. Worth watching Fail Safe to fully appreciate the humor here.”

Stacy McM: “Interestingly, I know a couple guys who flew nuke bombers during the cold war, and both are huge fans of this film”

Jsun: This is one I love throwing on any day I’ve determined the entire Air Force is completely fucking retarded.Also: A really cool friend of mine lent me his wheelchair for Halloween & I got to dress up as Dr. Strangelove. Channeled the character all damn night. THAT was fun.

Daniel H: Great great great movie! Among other interesting tidbits, George C Scott was “tricked” into many of his comedic performances in this movie and swore he would never work with Kubrick again.

Radha: One of my top 5 movies of all time. It’s one of the ones I go to when I can’t decide what I want to watch, because I’m always in the mood for it.

  • “You know what I think? I think you’re some kinda deviated pre-vert. I think you was organizing a mutiny of pre-verts, and General Ripper caught you…”
  • Best line though…”sapping us of our precious…bodily………………fluids. We’re still not quite sure what he meant by that last part.”


 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link]

PEOPLE: Lots of roles played by actors known to people.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): Rats begin their enslavement of humanity.

QUIRKS: Animation + Paris + rats + cooking + corporate estate conspiracy.

VISUALS: Pixar (their 8th full feature), so top notch. The main character, Remy, a rat, has over 1 million hairs individually rendered. Of course, they didn’t put toes on the humans, but I don’t think anybody noticed that.


MORALS: It’s okay to fake it, if a rat is controlling you. Hell, it’s okay to feed people food that rats ran all over. Yup. Paris truly is the best place for food, ever.

POLITICS: Drugs are bad, mmm’kay? Plans for a Ratatouille wine were canceled because you can’t make wine about cartoons because the children will all drink themselves to death. Fucking children, stopping everything cool.

GOOD STUFF: It’s just a fun movie! And it keeps going!

BAD STUFF: Kinda long though — almost 2 hours, which is pretty long for something like this. It had the happy ending, and then that was only the middle! Actually, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing :) But some people will think it’s bad, and I couldn’t think of anything else for my “BAD STUFF” section :)

CONCLUSION: Good family fun. Better than I expected. Actually a unique story. And it goes on past when you think it’s over, which is an attribute I enjoy in movies I like. I don’t *quite* agree that it’s IMDB Top 250 material, but I can see why it’s up there. It was quite good.

Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 8.1/10 (#182 of all movies ever), Netflix: 4.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.5/5 stars–WHY ARE YOU SO WRONG THIS TIME, NETFLIX?).

RECOMMENDATION: Don’t gloss over it simply because cooking disinterests you!

VOMIT STORY: Incidentally… The only time I ever got food poisoning, and one of two times I’ve ever vomited from food, which was, as Carolyn described, “The most times and amount I’ve ever seen anyone vomit in my life” — was from ratatouille served by Diet-To-Go. In their defense, they specifically do not put preservatives in their food, I ate mine 4 days past schedule, and it was soaking in juices that weren’t there in previously prepared ratatoulle dishes served by Diet-To-Go. So beware juicy ratatouille! And thank yourself for preservatives. They’re not THAT bad, compared to vomiting!



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