All the junk I've watched at home recently...
I've been watching a bunch of crap at home lately, so here are my hot takes on a bunch of the neat things anybody can rent right now. Yeah, even you... ...Winston! Sitting there in your green t-shirt, and basketball shorts. Drinking that Dr. Pepper. Slowly wondering how I'm staring at you through your window, even though your shades are down...
(I'm banking on a lot of specific things to fall in place there, so I can blow that guy's mind)
Have you ever dreamed of seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger blowing zombies to bits in a gore filled horror movie? Well, you won't really find that here either, even in what is literally Arnold Schwarzenegger existing in a zombie infested universe. Instead you get possibly the most boring spin on the already exhausted zombie genre yet.
Here's the angle... What if it took a prolonged amount of time for someone who was bitten to turn into a zombie, so they get to go home and spend their last few days with their family before getting taken to quarantine? Which sort of creates a nonsensical amount of risk and kinda destroys the realistic goal of a quarantine, right? That's the basic plot of the movie. Probably could have done the same plot points with Maggie just dying of a regular disease, but that wouldn't really sell. But listen, I get that it's supposed to have deeper themes. I get the loss of adolescence stuff, and the emotional weight the film tried to lay on our shoulders. It didn't go over my head. All of that stuff was clearly there, but it just wasn't executed in a very compelling way.
But my main annoyance with the response to the film is how so many critics (while still kinda not liking the movie, because it's not very good) praised this as one of Schwarzenegger's "best performances". No. Just no. Stop. There's a freaking difference between good acting and just restraining the actor from having any dialogue. Nothing about Arnold's performance was exceptionally *great* from an acting perspective. He didn't show any more emotion in his eyes, or move the audience with an emotional speech... No. He just, like, didn't talk very much in this movie. And because we all know him as the "RWWAAARRAAAGGGHHAAGHGGH EETZ NAWT A TOOMAH, GET TO THAAA CHOPPAAHH" guy; the contrast in a role where he doesn't act like his normal awesome self seemed to confuse most critics. He wasn't good. He just didn't outwardly do enough to give you a chance to criticize him. There's a difference. If anything, it was a a half-assed performance, not a powerful one. Total Recall is a powerful performance. That's an Arnold that's actually acting, and not just sitting there like a lump pretending to look sad for 90 minutes. Depressingly sullen is the easiest thing to fake in a movie. Because it doesn't require doing very much. NOT IMPRESSED.
And one final point about Arnie's appearance in the movie... If he wasn't in this, NOBODY would care about it. If it starred Jeremy Sisto or David Arquette, it would be sent to the direct-to-streaming bargain bin of Netflix immediately. It wouldn't even have the pity sales based on people intrigued by the movie poster on the Redbox machine. People who probably went home unhappy.
So, to sum up everything I've said here, the movie itself is so boring and uneventful that without the gimmick casting of Arnold Schwarzenegger we wouldn't even be talking about it right now, and that gimmick casting was merely held in tact by the fact that Arnold was barely asked to do anything. However, if it just had classic Arnold yelling and being hilariously out-of-place the whole time, it would have at least been so bad it's good, and not so boring it's bad.
4 out of 10
Right from the get go this movie seemed unbearably forced. To be fair to the movie, I was watching it in the semi-background, probably giving it my 80% attention, but the relationship between Bradley Cooper and (part Hawaiian?) Emma Stone made no sense to me for the entire first half of the movie. I was only 20 minutes into the film when it felt like they had an entire movie's worth of development that I blacked out during. All the dialogue seemed forced, and the story plodded along at pretty boring pace. And talk about a waste of ensemble talent. Did you know Bill Murray was in this? I barely did, and I just watched it.
It's like it simultaneously failed to be The Descendants, Silver Linings Playbook, and Jerry McGuire in one horribly mishmashed screenplay. Aside from the occasional good Cameron Crowe music moment, this thing is almost a complete waste of time. Well, that's kind of mean, actually. It's more just not worth your time.
5 out of 10
50 Shades of Grey
Gotta be honest, I did not hate this movie. It was actually kind of fun to watch while admittedly getting pretty drunk. It's certainly better (made) than Twilight. I actually got legitimately upset that it ended on an abrupt cliff hanger. I wanted MORE.
Whoa whoa whoa, tough guy, don't worry... I never said it was good. It was just fun. I'll take a hit on my man card for enjoying it, so your's can stay perfectly intact, Bruno. But frankly, if you have a problem with laughing at a BDSM movie with bad dialogue while drinking with your friends, then I don't think I really care about your opinion right now, Mr. Macho.
So, to finish this off (no pun intended), here's a quick review that my mom gave my fiance on the phone: "There were girl butts. And boy butts. But it was nice because she changed how bad he was by the end."
6.5 out of 10
What We Do in the Shadows
This was a good case of not having any expectations going in, and being treated to a surprisingly funny movie. It's a mockumentary from New Zealand about the modern lives of vampires, starring people who are probably well-known over there, but in the States we pretty much just know Jermaine and Murray from Flight of the Conchords.
It had a lot of good bits throughout, and at a brisk 80 minutes it didn't have time to wear out its welcome. It was pretty much just their best ideas without a whole bunch of filler. And there's a very drawn out vomit joke that tickled all my right comedy organs. Someone puking for an extended amount of time just does it for me. Haha, I was just thinking about the puke scene from Team America and how I teared up from laughing when I saw that in theaters. Good stuff. Also, "Watch your language, we're werewolves, not swearwolves" was a randomly funny recurring bit.
8.5 out of 10
I Am Chris Farley
This documentary just played with my emotions the entire time. Equal parts funny and ultra depressing, there's no doubt that it was a well mixed piece of entertainment. There was so much love for the guy, it was sad to see how much he hated himself. I mean, if you want to talk about love, Adam Sandler wore what appeared to be a clean t-shirt the morning he was interviewed. That's respect.
I'm probably blinded by nostalgia, considering I didn't understand the documentary's points about how Black Sheep and Beverly Hills Ninja were "terrible", and made Farley more depressed about his life. Those are hilarious movies that I used to watch over and over again on VHS. But I guess when you're not 12, or have fond memories of watching it when you're 12, then maybe they weren't really all that good? I don't know?
I just thought it was a decent, if not simple look into the life of a guy I used to love, and was very interested in learning more about. And they did all of the post-death, angry/sad interviews with people that I wished they would have done during that Kurt Cobain doc from earlier this year. Their tears turn into my tears!
8 out of 10
The Lazarus Effect
I'm not even sure where to begin... Do any of you even remember what this is? It's that movie where Mark Duplass is inexplicably in a horror movie where he and his wife Olivia Wilde, who is above this kind of role, are trying to literally raise the dead in their laboratory, because they think it will prolong surgeries or something? So they raise a dog back to life (this is all in the trailer, if you want to accuse me of spoiling things), and it becomes like a demon dog. And then Olivia Wilde dies after some crap I don't feel like elaborating on (their lab gets shut down for doing exactly what was asked of them, yadda yadda yadda she gets electrocuted), and she gets raised from the dead and becomes a scary demon thing which is a surprise to everyone somehow.
I can't remember the last time I checked the progress bar on my media player to see how much time was left in a movie *this* much? It was painful to get through. I'm not sure what I hated most, either? The forced Donald Glover love plot that didn't have much of a payoff? The jump scares that the director literally added full on choral SCREAMING sound effects to for no reason? The fact that a box turtle race has better pacing? I don't know. This was just, like, the worst chore possible to sit through when I watched it. It got to a point where I was too far in to not just finish it. Always a disappointing decision to make.
2.5 out of 10
Staten Island Summer
This was a movie written by the whitest person to ever helm the Weekend Update desk, Colin Jost, and starred a bunch of SNL cast members in a spoof (maybe?) of summer comedy movies that fails to be anything it's trying to replicate. I'll be honest, I only made it about 25 minutes into it before I couldn't take it anymore. Everything about this is either annoying or falls flat, or both. The main character is boring, and his friend is trying to be Jonah Hill to an almost depressing degree. I'm convinced that a line or two was just directly lifted from Superbad; that's how Jonah Hill this kid was trying to be.
I guess I'm not sure what I was expecting, considering I don't really like Colin Jost all that much to begin with? I guess it wouldn't be fair to give this a real score considering I didn't come close to finishing it, but based on the third of it that I did see... woof. Some made up set of standards for myself is saving this from me likely giving it a 2 out of 10.
N/A out of 10
The gimmick: A horror movie that takes place entirely on a high school girl's computer screen, with all interactions done on Skype, Facebook, email, and whatever chat program that was. Skype should probably take their name off this thing, because the picture quality was horrible enough to make me not want to use it in real life; ghost or not.
The movie starts off really frustrating. Basically just watching teenagers talk to each other on Skype for 15 minutes. NO THANKS. And because it was a movie, after they typed anything or clicked on a link, they waited a few extra beats before hitting send, because they assumed the audience couldn't read fast enough. Talk about a misgauge of the viewer's intelligence. Isn't this a movie for millennials? We all know how to read computer stuff really fast. I doubt your 70-year-old grandma is watching this. I found myself yelling "JUST CLICK IT ALREADY" at the screen several times. And they would go to Edit -> Copy, Edit -> Paste, instead of just doing Command C / Command P on the keyboard. UNREALISTIC.
Despite that, I actually found the movie stupidly entertaining, way better than I thought it was going to be. I assumed it would at least be boring (which again, it was in the beginning), but once it picks up steam it at least turns into dumb fun. It gets a way better treatment than a movie about a ghost hacking your Facebook should get.
Oh yeah, but the plot of the movie, about a girl who commits suicide after she is humiliated on the internet, and then haunts the people who wronged her... ...it kind of sends an unhealthy mixed message to troubled teens. Sure, you could look at the anti-cyber-bullying angle, hoping to get through to the bullies not to harass people online. But from the victim's point of view, what does this movie really do? It fantasizes a situation where if you kill yourself, you can come back as a badass ghost and get gruesome revenge on all the people you hate. That's probably not a great message to send to the target audience.
Fun fact: Upon looking at Wikipedia, the original title for this movie was Cybernatural. CYBERNATURAL! I would have given this a full point higher if they kept it that way.
Second fun fact: This made $63 million off a $1 million budget.
Question: How did this even cost $1 million?
Answer: They probably had lobster in the craft services mac & cheese.
6 out of 10
I watched Exodus: Gods and Kings in the background while I did work, and probably only paid 25% attention to it. Seemed pretty dumb. Will not watch in background again.
But can I get him to watch rebooted Battlestar Galactica? Nooo........