TwoBeans


 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.

RATINGS:
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.

MOVIE QUOTES:

“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?”

COMMENTS FROM FRIENDS:

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.”

(more…)

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

PEOPLE: Directed by Jay Roach (Meet The Parents, Meet The Fockers, Austin Powers 1-3). Starring Paul Rudd as the straight guy, and Steve Carell as the schmuck (was originally going to be Sasha Baron Cohen).

With Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Tim And Eric Awesome Show,Great Job, What Happens In Vegas) as the IRS douchebag schmuck, Jemaine Clement (Flight Of The Conchords) as the pretentious artist, Stephanie Szostak as the girlfriend, Lucy Punch (Hot Fuzz, St. Trinian’s 2007) as the crazy stalker, and Kristen Schaal (Flight Of The Conchords, Get Him To The Greek, Toy Story 3, Shrek 4, Kate & Leopold, Freak Show, and 1 ep of Xavier:Renegade Angel and Aqua Teen Hunger Force) as the secretary.

Also with David Walliams (Prince Caspian, 1 ep of Spaced) as a ridiculous German investor, and Lucy Davenport (Gangs Of New York) as his wife. Bruce Greenwood (Capt. Pike in the Star Trek reboot, The President in National Treasure 2, I,Robot, Exotica, Batman in the Young Justice cartoon, 3 eps of Larry Sanders, Knots Landing, St. Elsewhere) as the Big Boss. Ron Livingston (Office Space, Adaptation, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Swingers, Sling Blade) as the snarky co-worker. Octavia Spencer (Halfway Home, American Virgin 2000, Drag Me To Hell) as another dinner guest I recognized.

So it’s a great cast.

PLOT SUMMARY: Rising worker cog must attend dinner with fancy snobby bosses. The requirement is to bring one idiot that everyone can subtly make fun of without the idiot realizing. But this is just the framing plot for the bigger issue in his life: Getting his girlfriend to finally agree to marrying him. But even that is just the framing plot for a LOT OF WACKY STUFF to end up happening.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Couple wrecks each others’ careers due to relationship indecision.

QUIRKS: A screwball comedy. Remake of The Dinner Game (1998), a French movie (rated 7.7/10 on IMDB). All kinds of crazy, painful, ridiculous situations arise.

VISUALS: The mouse art is interesting.

SOUNDTRACK: Alright.

MORALS: People involved in capitalistic profit don’t tend to have as many.

GOOD STUFF: Ridiculous situations. Cringe comedy that makes Season 1 of the American office look easy to watch in comparison. A crazy stalker chick. Douchey co-workers. Idiots from many walks of life coming together.

BAD STUFF: The middle is such a disaster [in terms of how much Paul Rudd’s life is getting messed up by Steve Carell] that it actually HURTS to watch. You may be tempted to think that means it’s not funny, but it’s simply dry cringe comedy humor. Most humor is dry anyway, so try to revel in the pain here.

CONCLUSION: Started out funny, but a bit stuffier than you’d expect. That then that went out the door, and it got so awkward that it was painful. *Dreadfully* painful, dry, cringe comedy. But then everything went to a shitstorm and it became hilarious and ridiculous, turning into a genuine screwball laugh out loud comedy. And then it had a really great feelgood ending. Definitely a crazy and hilarious movie, with several noticeable pacing changes that keep you on your toes. Good stuff.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.8/10.
TwoBeans: Aborted.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.2/10, Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.3/5 stars–Netflix was right that we’d like this more than average, though both 3.6 and 4.3 round to 4).

RECOMMENDATION: Definitely worth seeing! It’s like a sampler platter of different kinds of comedy.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The movie it’s based on :)

MOVIE QUOTES:

“It’s my wife’s favorite finger!”

“I want you to say, ‘You can eat my pudding.'”

Kieran: “Have you ever lived among a herd of goats, for months at a time, as one of them?”
Barry: “No.”
Kieran: “That surprises me.” (more…)

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link] [Netflix link] The sequel to National Lampoon’s Lost Reality 1. We watched this the next evening.

PLOT SUMMARY: 12 “lost” reality TV pilots that nobody wanted… now presented here for our entertainment.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): A grim look at what watching television might be like in a dystopian future where nobody cares.

GOOD STUFF: Completely tasteless, exploitative, gross, outrageous, over-the-top entertainment.

MORALS: Nobody involved in any of these productions has any.

BAD STUFF: A lot of the stuff wasn’t that funny, or was in very poor taste. It’s why these shows weren’t picked up.

PER-SEGMENT RATINGS:

Money. More segments from the “anything for money” show that was screened in the first movie. For a few hundred, people let a homeless guy chew up food and drop it in their mouth, carry a 160lb fat midget across the street and back, put a dead squirrel on their head and go talk to a random woman, pump gas naked (that girl was cheap! only $200!), let a homeless guy urinate on them, etc, etc. Hilarious how peoples’ dignity disappears at a specific dollar amount. One guy, for $1000, ate a hot dog from in between a fat midget’s ass cheeks, then flossed with one of the midget’s public hairs. Wow. Humans can be turned into entertainment VERY easily, if you have enough money.

Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10.

The Amazing Racist. This time he makes fun of Asians and Latinos. Including dressing Kabuki and asking for dog at restaurants, picking up day workers, driving over speed bumps, swerving, then dropping them off at the local INS office to watch them scatter. Really really mean shit that most people would never do. Frickin’ hilarious if you believe that NOTHING IS SACRED.

Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Clint: 4/5 stars, 7/10.

Project Redlight. Film students are told they will get to direct a film, which makes them very happy. But, unbeknown to them, they are paired with adult movie stars, and are making a porno. They get disappointed. Some potential here, but it was wasted.

Carolyn: 2/5 stars, 5/10.
Clint: 2/5 stars, 4/10.

Beer Goggles. Ugly girls are rounded up, and a guy is given drink after drink until he is willing to hook up with one. It would have been better if they’d picked uglier girls and actually shown some of the interactions “Blind Date-style”. But again, the potential here was wasted.

Clint: 2/5 stars, 5/10.
Carolyn: 2/5 stars, 5/10.

Scare Me. Guys literally go up to people and scare them in situations. Going up to a guy at a bar and making him spill the entire contents of his drink is pretty hilarious. Scaring the person bowling next to you is quite awesome too. I am continuously disappointed in human beings’ propensity for violence, however, as a lot of people seem to think it’s perfectly fine to assault someone for daring to scare you. It’s not. This show is freakin’ hilarious, but there’s really not much to it, so it was never picked up.

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.

Lifestyles Of The Poor And Homeless. Inspired by Bumfights, they found a way to be even meaner to the homeless. This time, instead of physically attacking them and possibly facing charges, they mentally attack them. Get them to fish for a wishbone inside a port-o-potty full of human feces. Tell them their reward is a night in a mansion with a hot shower. When they succeed, pull up the limo — only to drive them back to their original corner and tell them that their actual reward is only ONE DOLLAR. This actually seems meaner than Bumfights; the people in Bumfights knew what they were getting into. The people here did not. This is mean as FUCK. And that makes it funny, even if it’s wrong.

Clint: 4/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Swing House. Inspired by Big Brother and Temptation Island, they put 4 swinger couples into 1 house. Production was scrapped when the producer’s wife slept with one of them. This looks like a fuckfest with typical lame human drama. The sex doesn’t make it more interesting as a show. (It makes it more interesting as a porno, but it’s not a porno — it’s a reality TV show — so that doesn’t help.)

Clint: 2.4/5 stars, 5.4/10.
Carolyn: 2/5 stars, 6/10.

[the boner guy]. A guy walks around with a boner. Everywhere. Goes to Yoga classes, gets his hair cut, goes to the tailor. They said they found this tape in a trash can. This strikes me as the kind of thing Beavis & Butt-head would laugh at, but people who watch Beavis & Butt-head wouldn’t. The only funny parts were when the other chicks checked him out. At least his girlfriend was hot. (It was kind of weird that she was bought along with him. Perhaps she was a buffer in case people got mad or tried to call the police. Who’s going to arrest a man for having an erection around his hot girlfriend?)

Clint: 2/5 stars, 4/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Dumpster Dinner. Two chefs are given 3 minutes to dig whatever edible material they can find out of a dumpster. They are then given an hour to cook this food into various entrees which are served to unsuspecting customers. If the customer eats it, they get a point. If the customer sends it back, they don’t. HOW IS THIS LEGAL?? Soooo disgusting! The food does look good by the time they are done with it, but the customers complain that they taste “not right”, or “funky”, or “not like any fish I’ve had before”. The major flaw was that it resulted in a tie, so nobody won. What a disappointment. This had potential as a real game show.

Clint: 3/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Payback. Parents turning the tables by torturing their kid. Whiny little girl is left alone in a super market, kneeling on the floor crying, as other passerbys ignore her. Loser college dropout kid watches as his dad pretends to have a heart attack. This was way funnier when levied against little children than college dropouts. Tormenting a 20-year-old is only 3/5 stars, tormenting a 5-year-old is 5/5 stars.

Clint: 4/5 stars, 7/10. I’d really rate the 5-year-old prank 5/5 stars, 9/10, and the 20-year-old prank 2.6/5 stars, 5/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Foreign Family Affair. A horny family with Pakistani exchange kid. They wear suggestive clothing, have him rub oil on the daughter while topless, the milfy mother comes in wearing just an apron, everyone gets really comfy with the exchange kid. But they must get him to complete certain tasks for the show to continue. This week, they must get him to say “motherfucker”. Corrupting someone from a culture that doesn’t appreciate sex as much? Priceless. This reminded me of Sherman Oaks in some ways.

Clint: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

Midget Wars. Like American Gladiators, except 2 full-sized human guests fight against little people. The little people ALWAYS lose. Almost effortlessly so. Total exploitation. Not much to it, and yet… Little people are inherently entertaining. Especially the post-credits scene where the largest of the group of 4 little people — the sole woman on the team — tries to pep up her teammates to actually win. It’s never, ever, ever going to happen. So sad. So wrong. Yet funny. Like most of this.

Clint: 4/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.

CONCLUSION: I dunno… Carolyn said she liked the first one slightly better, but I think I may actually like this one better.

RATINGS:
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: 5.1/10, Netflix: 2.7/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.1/5 stars–another huge difference).

RECOMMENDATION: This is some of the most interesting stuff I’d seen, but it’s not for the faint of heart, or the overly moral.

SIMILAR MOVIES: National Lampoon’s Lost Reality 1, of course!

MOVIE QUOTE: “I can’t even look at your face right now or I’ll throw up.” (more…)

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

PEOPLE: This is actually a collection of 7-8 different failed reality TV pilots. So they are all done by different people. Ron Jeremy is in one, though. So is Rip Taylor.

QUIRKS: A collection of shows. Are they staged, or are they real? It’s really hard to know. But they all appear to be different productions from different companies with different casts.

VISUALS: Varying video quality; nothing seems to be shot on actual film. There are definitely some visual horrors within this video. Not a lot, but enough to scar you.

MORALS: People will do anything for money.

GOOD STUFF: The variety of different shows keeps things interesting. If you don’t like one segment, there’s 6 others that you might like. And the funnier ones seem to be more toward the end.

BAD STUFF: 1 or 2 of these segments weren’t that great. These are all FAILED shows, so they already represent shows that were rejected by many, many cable and broadcast TV channels. This movie is definitely not for a film snob.

RATINGS FOR INDIVIDUAL SEGMENTS:

He Said She Said. Guys compete for a lovely Asian girl’s affections. Only problem is she’s a transsexual who then reveals her penis to them on camera.

Clint: 3/5 stars, 7/10. Kenny Vs. Spenny did something similar. It’s a common form of comedy.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.

The Amazing Racist. A Jewish kid pretends to be a racist,going through LA and Watts in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Nobody seems to realize he’s Jewish, who the Klan hates on an equal to or greater footing than blacks. He goes into a convienence store with a wooden cross and tries to buy some lighters. Then he goes to a dry cleaning establishment, calls the guy “Mr. Jefferson” and tries to get his robe and hood cleaned. Then, still in Klan robe, he tries to bum gas from black people fueling up their cars. In another episode he plays a Jew that sets up a souvenier stand outside a mosque. The stand makes fun of Arabs, including selling shirts that say, “I Went To Mecca And All I Got Was This Loudy Odor.”

Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10. OMG this was some of the most awkard situations I’ve ever seen on film. Dealing with Tom Green is a walk in the park by comparison. No political correctness here; I’m really surprised he didn’t get his ass kicked.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.

Not from this movie, but a different clip of The Amazing Racist:

Don’t Get Caught Stealing. Two contestants are told to steal things. Watch a dude run out of the store wearing an Italian suit and steal a car from a car wash.

Clint: 2.6/5 stars, 5/10. It could have been a lot funnier, but it wasn’t.
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 7/10.

[FORGOT THE NAME] A dude has terminal cancer and wants to document the last days of his life. He tells off his boss then takes a dump on his desk.

Clint: 2.6/5 stars, 6/10. That was the most graphic close-up of a middle-aged fat male asshole shitting that I could ever have imagined. Kind of ruined the whole thing for me, and I”m not normally squemish about things. I’d rather watch the vomelette from Jackass!
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 6/10.

The Whore. Guys go on blind dates with a prostitute — but they don’t know she’s a whore. When the sex begins, the host ambushes them, telling the male they paid her to have sex with him. The Whore then proceeds to insult their looks and sexual prowess. “You seriously think I’d want to have sex with you? You’re hung like a field mouse!” (The Whore is played by Monique Alexander, who’s only psuedo-legitimate role was a porn star in Crank 2, and a guest on The O’Reilly Factor).

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10. Holy shit, this was some of the meanest, funniest shit I’ve seen in a long time. Is this really real?!
Carolyn: 4/5 stars, 8/10.

Psych Ward. A game show where all the contestants are crazy people in a psych ward. The games are deliberately designed to be failed. The orderly has to drag each losing contestant out of the room as they scream, struggle, and resist. Completely makes fun of crazy people. Over the top.

Clint: 4/5 stars, 7/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.

America’s Porn Star (only on the unrated version of the DVD). Basically an America’s Next Top Model type show, but for girls wanting to be in porn. Ron Jeremy and another porn starlet are 2 of the 3 judges. Girls fake orgasms, masturbate, practice receiving loads of fake cum to their face.

Clint: 3/5 stars, 6/10. With such a great subject matter, they could have come up with something a bit more creative than this.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.

Take That Drug. A great little gameshow where people take a bunch of drugs — without knowing what they all are — then draw cards to do things like “pierce your ear”, “ask your parents for money”, or “hit on the pizza guy”. They then proceed to do these things while on the drugs they did. Unfortunately, this was really short and didn’t seem to show everything they could have shown.

Clint: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 8/10.

Money / Everyone Has Their Price. People on the street are asked to do stuff for money. One guy throws up on the sidewalk and then licks it up for $1000. We got a little gay midget and people are paid to kiss him and lick his feet. During the ending credits a guy is paid to eat in a Mexican restaurant with his date and do a poopy in his pants. Yes, we get to see it, unfortunately. Virginia Tech‘s Pritchard Hall did something similar with their “Anything For Money” show [which I recorded, and was at the taping of], but this was done with a “pick random people up off the street to get them to do it” vibe. Pretty outrageous stuff.

In fact, this famous Youtube clip, which I’ve seen several times before, is lifted directly from this show:

…But the version in Lost Reality is possibly more complete. Apparently this guy is an actor who vomits on command, so this is, in a sense, “fake”.

Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10.

CONCLUSION:

Wow. What did I just watch?! That was some crazy stuff!! I actually would like TV a lot more if it picked up shows like these instead of the shows it does pick up.

RATINGS (OVERALL):
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 4.6/10, Netflix: 2.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.6/5 stars–a whopping double of the average rating! Wow! I’ve never seen such a big deviation.)

RECOMMENDATION: Not for the faint hearted; definitely for those very interested in niche and underground video.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Will review the 2nd movie tomorrow. There are some other, more legitimate compilations of failed pilots that I have watched in the past. This, however, is the most crazy and explicit failed pilot compilation. (more…)

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

PEOPLE: Directed by Zack Snyder, director of Watchmen, 300, and Dawn Of The Dead 2004. One of the 2 script co-writers wrote 2 episodes of Band Of Brothers. Metalbeak’s was voided by Annakin Skywalker’s stepbrother (Joel Edgerton). Kludd was voiced by someone from True Blood.

PLOT SUMMARY: A young owl is abducted by an evil Owl army. He must escape and seek out the legendary Guardians to stop the menace of the Pure Ones.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Parents don’t seem to notice when their son sells out his siblings, becomes evil, and dies.

QUIRKS: Based on the first 3 books of a 15 book series. FANTASY OWLS!! AT WAR!!

This is the owliest movie ever. This is the owliest ANYTHING ever! OWLS OWLS OWLS OWLS!

VISUALS: Excellent cutting-edge cgi. Too bad we didn’t see this in 3-D.

SOUNDTRACK: Shitty song used during training montage. You gotta have a montage. Even Rocky had a montage. Fortunately, this movie does not have a large soundtrack.

MORALS: Some things need to be believed in, even when you can’t see them. Justice, not Jesus!

POLITICS: Some Nazi/Holocaust parallels with the Pure Ones, of course. In fact, the book goes into greater details; specific characters represent specific politicians. Ezylryb was a personification of Winston Churchill, for example.

GOOD STUFF: Epic! Adventure, enslavement, rescue, retribution, justice, and death!

Also: The fact that some parents will take kids to this thinking it’s completely family friendly, when in fact it features owl war, owl death, owl enslavement, owl “zombies”. The thought of some kid getting the shit scared out of him because his idiot parents a) coddled him into being a coward; and b) were too stupid to pay attention to what is in a movie before taking their kid to it…….. Is the most hilarious thing since hearing the parents complain about Coraline.

BAD STUFF, COURTESY OF CAROLYN: I feel like they really just glossed over the supposed [highlight for spoilers] death of the brother. Yes, Soren mentioned they never found the brother’s body, and we, the audience, get to see that Kludd survived and is now taking the mantle of MetalBeak, but the parents didn’t seem the least bit bothered by the loss of their family member. I almost got the impression of, “Thank goodness that douchebag black sheep of a son is gone.”

That was the one fault I found in the movie… I saw a lot of talk in the imdb forum thread about how including the emotions of the family would “ruin the pace of the movie”, but in my mind, it really should have been addressed better to show that the family was at least bothered by their family member’s actions and behavior. There should have been some family moment where [highlight for spoilers] Soren and the sister break the news to the parents about how the brother is now missing or dead, and how he had sold out his siblings to the bad guys… Then the parents could be all disappointed that they failed as parents at guiding their young child to do what is right.

And I will note that I have not read the books, and in fact, I didn’t know there were books until going to IMDB after watching it. I’m sure the books had a different feel. Since I read in the forum that [highlight for spoilers] the sibling is bad from the start — actually pushing his brother out of the nest….. the books sound much darker. So it’s like, it seems to me they changed it up for the movie to make it “family-appropriate”, but then just end up falling flat on their face because they tried to lighten up the mood of [highlight for spoilers] the brother’s death to make it “family-appropriate”. It seemed like they had to really gloss it over, but in my mind, it’s an epic fail.

All in all, I thought the movie was really good, except for that one point about the family relations bothering me.

After writing this out, I just feel like this “wholesome naysayer”, but really, I just feel like the movie didn’t execute dark subject matter in an efficient way. I’d much rather read the books instead of watching some watered down “family” version.

CONCLUSION: Getting the director of violent movies like 300 and Watchmen to bring some legitimacy to a “CGI owl war movie” is a good idea. This movie was actually quite an epic and dark fantasy war, and the thought of a parent bringing their coddled child to this movie only to be confronted with violence and scary characters is frickin’ hilarious. This was actually very good. Think Lord Of The Rings, but with owls, without the Macguffin of “the ring”, and shortened to fit into one movie. That might not be the most accurate description in the world, but what it boils down to is: A fantasy owl battle in a world wear owls wield weapons, wear helmets, speak, and have mastered fire. It’s fresh and we all really liked it.

2015 Update: had a movie night & re-watched this movie in 3-D with Nathan, Paul, Evan, Callan & Wolf.  Carolyn Casl & I ended up raising our ratings. The 3-D helped. Good times.

RATINGS:
Clint (2011 2-D): Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Clint (2010 2-D): Netflix: 4.6/5 stars. IMDB: 8.6/10.

Carolyn (2011 2-D): Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.6/10.
Carolyn (2015 3-D): Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8.4/10.

Evan (2015 3-D): Netflix: 4.5/5 stars,IMDb; 8.8/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 7.1/10, Netflix: 4.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.5/5 stars–strange that it made it lower for us).

TwoBeans (2011 2-D): Ended up surprised at how it became “epic Lord Of The Owl Rings war”; he thought it was “Disney Owl family wholesomeness” during the first 10 minutes. (But his opinions should be ignored, because he’s an irresponsible douchebag who makes awful music.)

RECOMMENDATION: Don’t let the kiddie angle of this throw you off. This is more like Lord Of The Rings than The Lion King.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Secret Of Nimh. Though I couldn’t help think of Jonathan Livingston Seagull at points! (But bringing up JLS is this context is an insult to both The Secret Of Nimh and this movie :))

MOVIE QUOTE: Echidna: I foretold you so! [probably the funniest moment in the movie, when heard in context] (more…)

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

PEOPLE: One of 2 movies both written and directed by Paul Brickman. The other is Men Don’t Leave (1990).

Starring a very young pre-Scientology-nutcase Tom Cruise (who worked out 7 days a week, lost 10 pounds, then ate fatty food for a “baby fat” facial look), and a hotter-than-anyone-remembers Rebecca De Mornay (Wedding Crashers). I daresay she looks better as a brunette.

With Joe Pantoliano (Cypher from The Matrix, Daredevil, Teddy Gemmel from Memento, Gabe from Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Caesar from Bound, The Fugitive) as the badguy pimp. Cruise’s buddies are played by Bronson Pinchot (Balky Bartokomous from Perfect Strangers, True Romance, Beverly Hills Cop 3). And introducing Curtis Armstrong (Booger from Revenge Of The Nerds, Snot from American Dad, Viola from Moonlighting, Ratko: The Dictator’s Son, Pucked, Dodgeball).

Oh weird! One of the call girls at the party was Megan Mullally, aka the crippled chief of the hospital in Rob Corddry‘s AdultSwim series Children’s Hospital, better known as Karen on Will & Grace. This movie was pretty much her 2nd role, though it was non-speaking. Here’s Rosie O’Donnel pointing her out in the movie in an 1999 interview here; it happens at the 4 minute mark:

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Irresponsible highschooler causes whores to damage property.

QUIRKS: All women in this movies are whores. Literally.

VISUALS: Well, the girls are hot… People remark that this was shot in an artsy way, but I wasn’t particularly feeling it.

SOUNDTRACK: 1980’s goodness. In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins. Every Breath You Take by Sting.

MORALS: All women are whores. No wait, that’s not the moral. That’s just how the movie works. All women in the movie are literally whores. The moral of the story pretty much seems to be to stay away from them, because they’ll fuck you over. Unless you find that one with a heart of gold and somehow convince her to magically be able to make money some other way.

Nah, the real moral of the story seems to be… DON’T listen to Curtis Armstrong and say “what the fuck”. It doesn’t really turn out that well. The opportunity brought up by the chaos of spontaneous freedom will be squandered in dealing with the repercussions to saying “what the fuck”. Don’t leave your comfort zone. In fact, this moral would work a lot better if they had left the original, sadder ending to the movie intact.

GOOD STUFF: Having a party in your parents’ house while they are on vacation… And filling it up with classy hookers.

BAD STUFF: There were lots of parts that were simply boring. When the instrumental music flares up, and the dialog stops… Expect to have to sit around for a good minute before anything happens. Several times. And the first third of the movie? Not a lot happens. It’s almost like soft-core porn at parts. Just waitin’ for the plot to develop. And a lot of the plot seems very arbitrary.

The “classic” scene where Tom Cruise slides into the room on his socks, and struts around in his underwear playing air guitar to “Old Time Rock N’ Roll”? While it was great to see the actual moment (and not a parody reference) for once, it just reminded me that this is not one of the best moments in 1980’s film. It’s one of the worst. Memorable? Yes. Worth committing to the annuls of pop culture references? Yes. Good? Hell no.

Too bad Hollywood made them change the ending to a happy one, eh? Maybe that’s why everyone remembers this movie as being better than it really was?

CONCLUSION: Honestly, this movie is a bit disappointing. Still overall likable, but not the epic I remembered in my mind. Lots of boring parts, and a plot not nearly as festive as I remembered when looking through my nostalgia glasses. It felt more random than anything. This should have been called “Tom Cruise in All Women Are Whores And All But One Will Fuck You Over”, because there are no female characters who AREN’T prostitutes, and only one of them turns out to really be a remotely good person. Still an “80’s teen sex comedy classic”, but honestly, I think what National Lampoon shits out on an annual basis with a b-movie budget is about as good.

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 2.8/5 stars. IMDB: 5.6/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.7/10, Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.2/5 stars–once again right in knowing we liked this less than average).

RECOMMENDATION: See it to revise your opinion; it may not be as good as you remembered it being in the 1980’s.

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Girl Next Door — which I think is much better than this. Definite similarities there.

MOVIE QUOTE: Miles: Joel, you wanna know something? Every now and then say, “What the fuck.” “What the fuck” gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future. (more…)

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

PEOPLE: Written and directed by relative nobodies, except John Cusack who helped write this. Starring some notable actors: John Cusack (Hot Tub Time Machine, 2012, Being John Malkovitch, One Crazy Summer, Better Off Dead, The Sure Thing, Stand By Me) as the main character, and Marisa Tomei (What Women Want, Four Rooms, an extra in The Toxic Avenger 1) and Hillary Duff as his competing love interests. Not being a fan, I had no clue that was Hillary Duff… She did a good job apparently. I actually thought she was Middle Eastern. DERP. A lot of people complained that her acting was very bad in this movie… Or similar to her acting in other movies. I guess I’m lucky I haven’t seen any, because I had no problem with this. Her role was a Middle Eastern pop star influenced by the Western culture of the infidels…Which I think can help explain away any bad acting as the character herself trying to act western when she was middle eastern. Anyway, she looks quite hot as a brunette white girl pretending to be an Arab. Surprisingly so.

With Joan Cusack (Toy Story 3, High Fidelity, My Bodyguard) as his manager, and Dan Aykroyd (Saturday Night Live, Ghost Busters, Blues Brothers, 50 First Dates, Canadian Bacon, Caddyshack), and Ben Kingsley (Prince Of Persia:Sands Of Time, The Wackness, Species, Schindler’s List, A.I.) as the President. Basically, he is Dick Cheney, and a lot of this movie is “really” about Halliburton.

And Montell Williams as the GuideStar computer.

QUIRKS: Political satire comedy action romance. In that order. More straight-comedy here than in most political satires; less romance here than in most comedies with a romance plot.

PLOT SUMMARY: A political satire set in “Turaqistan”. Some people call this “almost a sequel to Grosse Point Blank”, but I never saw GPB.

UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers] Girl tries to fuck her murderer dad, then opens fire at wedding party.

VISUALS: Warzone/middle eastern sets. Lots of ridiculous satire, such as tanks with corporate logos on their sides.

SOUNDTRACK: Mideastern-pop sounding stuff, much of which is really Hillary Duff. “I Want To Blow You… Up”. Friggin’ hilarious.

MORALS: Gee, maybe killing people for the CIA (or whatever) isn’t the best way to bring peace to the world.

POLITICS: This movie is FULL of anti-corporate, anti-war, pro-freedom “liberal” politics. The corporate Viceroy may as well be Big Brother from George Orwell‘s 1984! I’d imagine Tea Partiers and the like would get totally hung up on the politics, and not be able to enjoy this movie. I challenge conservatives to like this!

GOOD STUFF: Lots of good humor here, and uniquely fresh situations. Great political satire, favoring making a good joke over making poingnant satire. Thus, it is not as dry as other political satire comedies like Wag The Dog.

I did not notice that some of the Arab names translated to “fuck you” and “fuck me” in pig latin. Well-played, movie. Well-played.

BAD STUFF: Man that ending was dark. Wow. Not really bad, just… Wow.

Also, [highlight for spoilers] the twist where his long-lost-due-to-his-job missing daughter turns out to be the pop singer girl who’s there to meet her father for the first time was pretty predictable.

CONCLUSION: Although utterly ridiculous on many levels, this film was quite funny, and had some of the most hilarious anti-war anti-corporate satire that I’ve seen in awhile. It also had a twisted plot with lots of odd quirks, like the OnStar navigator that delivers psychiatric advice in the voice of Montel Williams, as well as lots of fresh situations, like seeing a brunette Hillary Duff stick a scorpion down her pants. This movie finally delivered what I was hoping to get out of Wag The Dog. (And yet, Wag The Dog is more highly rated for some reason.)

RATINGS:
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
TwoBeans: Definitely liked it a lot.

The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.7/10, Netflix: 2.7/5 stars (why so low?!) (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.9/5 stars).

For comparison, Wag The Dog got 7.1/10 on IMDB (and 7/10 from us), and 3.3/5 on Netflix (3/5 from us).

RECOMMENDATION: I particularly recommend this movie if Wag The Dog disappointed you, and if you are an anti-war, pro-freedom politically-aware individual.

SIMILAR MOVIES: Wag The Dog was in some ways similar to this movie. Not so much the plot, but the subject matter. Honestly though, I thought Wag The Dog didn’t deliver up to its expectations, while this movie did. Plus, it was heavier on the comedy than Wag The Dog, which was more of a dry satire. Also, As mentioned earlier, some consider this a psuedo-sequel to Grosse Point Blank.

MOVIE QUOTE: “I like killing people as much as the next guy, but I signed up to kill the bad ones! Health clinics, trade unionists, journalists, agricultural co-ops, catholic liberation theologians, impoverished Colombian coffee farmers, these are the barbarians that are brave opponents of civilization? We turned Central America into a fuckin’ graveyard! Whoever momentarily interrupts the accumulation of our wealth, we pulverize! I’m just not feeling good about that anymore, sir!”

“Did you know that the word “person” comes from the Latin word “persona”, which means mask?”

on second thought I guess I should have realized she was really white, but I don't get to see what a lot of Arab women look like because of their stupid veils and burquas

Faith H: “I loved this movie! It kind of was played up as a sequel when it came out to GPB (definitely watch that one Clint).”

(more…)

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