Unfriended: Dark Web

Here’s a very important fact for this review. I liked Unfriended! Hell, the movie actually scared me. Gotta watch out for that haunted social media stuff.

I loved the concept of the film as well. All from a screens point of view. This has now happened in various other ways. We had the Modern Family episode like that and later this year John Cho is looking through his missing daughter’s computer in blahhhh. As long as it doesn’t become overused I won’t mind it (note, it totally will become overused).

And when I compare this first film to say, Friend Request, one was entertaining, scary, and fun, the other was just a pile of shit. Similar plots. Very different execution.

Knowing all of that, I assume this one will be shit just from the subtitle. Unfriended: Dark Web? It is going to use a real internet thing and turn it into demon ghost stuff or whatever. Maybe the Dark Web itself will matter. But if it doesn’t, the title is shit and the movie would probably be shit.

...Picture in Picture In Picture in Picture in Picture...
Picture in Picture In Picture in Picture in Picture…

Matias (Colin Woodell) has a new computer! It is a nice mac. He didn’t buy it. He didn’t buy it on craigslist. He found it in a lost and found, no one claimed it for a few weeks, so it is time for him to take it, right?

After figuring out the password, it seems to belong to a Norah C. IV, some rich person, because hey, they are the 4th right? Matias is trying to figure it out right before a game night with his friends (Connor Del Rio, Betty Gabriel, Andrew Lees, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Savira Windyani). Well, one of them is in London, and also they all feel lazy so they will just do it over Skype. That is because their game night is lame anyways, and just Cards Against Humanity. They aren’t even drinking, just playing a lame game over Skype!

Also during this time, Matias is trying to reconnect with his girlfriend, or ex-girlfriend, Amaya (Stephanie Nogueras), who happens to be deaf.

And of course, Matias notices that the computer is extremely full but he can’t find anything. Long story short? Video files, and assassination for higher on the dark web. Bitcoins, human trafficking, the whole nine yards. And now that the computer is on, the hacker wants his machine back. Or else.

Also starring Chelsea Aiden and Douglas Tait.

UDW
This film is about the sexiest of people.

Well, good news is that the movie involved the dark web! It involved several aspects of it, so the title isn’t just crap. The first movie was about a demonic online spirit. This one was about hackers and bad people in general on the internet. It did not connect to the previous film, even though I figured it might just be the same concept. But nope, they changed things up, that’s good.

However, just like the first film, there are technical issues they are just blatantly ignoring. If they are going to make it one screen and click things, they need to commit to their goddamn concept. Right away our main character puts on Spotify, which seems to lower its volume whenever its relevant to the plot without user input. Amazing! And a bigger deal later on, when our main character begins to freak out and do internet things while on Skype, some times he mutes the conversation, some times he doesn’t. And the times he doesn’t, for whatever reason, all 4+ other people are suddenly quiet until he comes back? It does it correctly a few times, but not all the times, and that just becomes lazy editing and helps kill the experience.

As for the actual plot, they still seem to have some sort of supernatural element. The JPEGing thing, when a hacker is on the screen? That is dumb. That isn’t fun to see. That is not how hacking works. Similarly, how the main hacker communicated they wanted to look as spooky and ghost like as possible.

And yet, if they designed this whole film without any of the supernatural or confusing elements, it could have been a fantastic story. It had great elements. How some of them were taking out, using you know, hacking and actual real story kind of things? That worked really well. But by the end, with all of the reveals and screen shenanigans, it made parts feel cheap, and it didn’t feel like a single screen anymore.

The rating is really for effort here, because it could have been better, it was still captivating when it got going, it also just was a bit shit.

2 out of 4.

Sorry To Bother You

Sorry to Bother You is one of those films that sort of snuck up on me with a roar. I heard idle mentions of it earlier in the year, but didn’t go out of my way to do further research.

I knew the star. I guessed the theme. And yet none of that would prepare me for the trailer.

The trailer felt very fresh and told me that this. Would be a movie with a lot going on. A sort of extreme satire, maybe very political, but whatever it is it has a message and will be both subliminal and superliminal with that message.

I was excited and ready for this screening, without really knowing what it might give me.

Japan
I am getting a Japan / sumo wrestler headband vibe here.

Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is your regular, down on his luck, poor, brother. He is living in a garage in the house of his uncle (Terry Crews), with his long term girlfriend artist (Tessa Thompson), and they aren’t having a lot of luck making money.

But Cassius is able to get a job working as a telemarketer, working for commission. It is better than nothing. And he has the promise that if he does good, he can go to the top floors of the company. He can ride in the special elevator. He can be a “power caller,” and make the big bucks. No one really knows what they sell up there, but it ain’t magazines and book sets.

Cassius is told to just stick to the script, don’t get out of line, and make money. Once he makes money, he can make more money and more and be a success for once. Especially if he taps into his white person voice.

Starring David Cross, Patton Oswalt, Lily James, Forest Whitaker, and Rosario Dawson! Or at least their voices. Also starring Jermaine Fowler, Steven Yeun, Omari Hardwick, Armie Hammer, Robert Longstreet, Danny Glover, Kate Berlant. and Michael X. Sommers, that would be their voices and their bodies.

Drinks
This is how white people drink champagne.

Strangely enough, the trailer for Sorry To Bother You only gave you a slice of the whole story, so I tried to do the same with my plot. There is a whole lot more that goes into this story. Topics of slavery (multiple levels) , class warfare, poverty, selling out, and American indifference to clear wrongs in the world. This movie coming out now is extremely well timed given the border problems that keep getting swept away by other media distractions.

It is not a film to use subtle clues to drive the point home. No, these clues are obvious, with a hammer. Fuck, one of the most uncomfortable scenes was the precursor to a “rap” where the chants, the disparity of the cast, made everything all too real and uncomfortable.

Stanfield is amazing in this film as our lead. His senses will probably always align with the audience on the scale of what is right and wrong and when to finally draw the line. Oh yes, you will know when that line is drawn. It was good seeing Yeun in a role very different than his previous work. Thompson was great. Hardwick was as well, despite more limited time, and Hammer was a blast going full crazy CEO for this film.

Unfortunately, areas do feel a bit clunky and jarring. Especially in the end, time seems to go by strangely and not everything seems to have the same attention to detail as earlier on in the film.

Sorry To Bother You will be looked back as an important work, with extreme topics in order to get the point heard loudly.

3 out of 4.

Eating Animals

Oh hey, a documentary. One about food, those aren’t common at all.

This one doesn’t even try to hide under a clever punny title about the issues. Eating Animals is straight to the point. It is most likely also going to be anti eating animals. I can’t imagine a documentary that is going to talk about the pros of carnivorism with a title like this.

Oh and it is narrated by Natalie Portman. That helps solidify the point as well.

I wonder at this point how much new information a documentary can have over a topic that has been so beaten to death at this point. But hey maybe.

Eating Animals
I didn’t expect the documentary to get so graphic and watch this man eat this chicken without cutting away for 35 minutes straight.

Needless to say I don’t have a lot to say about this documentary. It doesn’t go out and say animals are unhealthy for human consumption. Instead it is on the impacts on the environment and on the small farmer. It goes after corporations and sure, some animal rights is fair. Really what it wants to say is that if you are going to eat meat to think about where your food comes from. Support more local small time farmers and ones that treat their animals nicely.

I can respect that.

The documentary itself is deeply boring however. It has no pizazz. We have a true story of people getting punished and hurt from their better raising methods. That sucks. It is still boring.

Basically this is a documentary that will change nothing. People who like meat won’t go watching it. People who don’t might watch it and will probably still not eat meat.

Just give me something new in a documentary before making it, okay?

1 out of 4.

American Animals

American Animals only came up on my radar because the company sent me a link. I almost didn’t watch it. I accidentally had free time because I didn’t feel like leaving the house to watch Incredible 2.

I didn’t know the cast, the story, or anything.

I just knew the shitty title. I haven’t been a big fan of movies American in the front. There are a ton. At this point it lacks any amount of originality. I am not saying that the title makes me hate the film while watching it, but it does make me annoyed. It makes me lose interest before I even start it, which is why I almost decided to skip this film.

And occasionally, I can forgive the film if the title matters.

Old Men
I cannot even confirm all four of these old men are American! Show me your papers!

This story mainly centers around two individuals, Warren Lipka (Evan Peters) and Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan). We are supposed to believe that these friends have are really different people. Warren is more outgoing and reckless. Spencer is reserved and good-natured. Once Spencer met Warren he got into more trouble, but whatever, they are just kids.

And now Spencer is at college, at Transylvania University, hoping to become an artist some day. And while on tour, he is taken with a crowd to the special rare books department, and he sees The Birds of America by John James Audubon, a large book full of very detailed paintings of, well, American birds. And it is incredibly rare and worth millions. So are other books in this tiny room in a library.

Once he mentions this to Warren, Warren wants to steal it. Why not? They just need to get a buyer ahead of time, and work on a plan. It isn’t a very security heavy area, no one would expect it, they could probably get away with it and get super rich. They have to overall bring in two others, Eric Borsuk (Jared Abrahamson) and Chas Allen (Blake Jenner) as their getaway driver. And then they can work on being infamous. Or at least infamous enough to get a movie made about them.

Also starring Ann Dowd as the rare book collections librarian and Udo Kier as mysterious man. Oh, and the real four thieves, narrating the story and telling their point of views as they recall the events.

Gotyasucker
We know they get caught because we know this story exists.

I loved American Animals. It was captivating, and despite knowing the eventual outcome, it was thrilling nonetheless. And of course, the title technically fit the film, but I can’t help they still chose it because they thought American sounded cool like the other movies.

A lot of the time having the real people involved in the picture means bad news. Did you see Act of Valor or The 15:17 to Paris? Both dreadful. But the real culprits of this act were not acting, they were just telling their story. They added a documentary element to this story, making it a sort of hybrid. Having them tell the story, disagree with each other, changing how the story played out was fun. Also adding in the elements of who can you trust from these various point of views was very well done and added a more ominous tone by the end.

Our actors who played the crew did a very good job, displaying appropriate amounts of angst and fear and young stupidity. I was definitely shocked and a bit afraid during the actual heist, heart pumping and on the edge of my seat.

American Animals took a real story, framed it in a unique way, and created suspense in a story where we already knew the outcome. Needless to say, this film surprised me in all the best ways. It makes since that it was directed by Bart Layton, who has only done documentaries in the past, most famously The Imposter, an amazing documentary.

4 out of 4.

Ant-Man and the Wasp

The first question you have to ask yourself, does anyone care about Ant-Man? Does anyone care about the Wasp? Does anyone care about Ant-Man and The Wasp?

So soon does this film come out, when just two months ago we had Avengers: Infinity War, a film that made some people cry. Now these titular characters were missing from Avengers of course. Does this happen before IW? After? During? That has to be the majority reason why anyone is watching this film. To see how, if at all, it connects to Avengers. People care about the larger story, not these minor characters.

And this is coming from someone who really enjoyed Ant-Man. I thought the villain was great, and it had the best superhero teaser for a film, that they sadly didn’t recreate for this film.

Either way, if this film ends up being completely stand alone, then a lot of people will be disappointed.

Amatw
Hey look! The titular characters! Together!

This film takes place pre-Avengers: Infinity War, so don’t expect it to start with chaos. Scott (Paul Rudd) is under house arrest for two years following the events in Captain America: Civil War, before he has probation. All of this is explained neatly by the FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) early on, don’t worry. It is boring, he has no contact with Hope (Evangeline Lilly) or Dr. Pym (Michael Douglas), but his daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) still visits frequently and his ex wife and her husband (Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale).

But hey, he lives with his ex convict buddies still (Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian, T.I.), and they started a security business themselves.

AND THEN THANOS ATTACKS. Wait, no not yet. Things start to change however, when Scott has a vision of himself inside the Quantum Realm again, including a vision of Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), the lost Wasp. This sucks him back into the technology rich, very steal heavy world of Ant-Man, despite only having days left on his house arrest.

Now they are in a race against time to finish developing a safer way into the Quantum Realm to find their wife, mom, and lady they don’t actually know, depending on what character you ask. We also have a skeevy business man who wants in on the potential profis (Walton Goggins), a girl phasing in and out of the physical realm (Hannah John-Kamen), and an old S.H.I.E.L.D. research buddy (Laurence Fishburne) also going in and out of their plans.

Ghost
Hey look! Ghost is joining their dance party!

I almost gave this film a 1 out of 4.

Figure that is a good starting place for this review. Sure, it is entertaining. It is funny. The cast has good chemistry. A specific Rudd scene where he has to act like an entirely different person is nailed perfectly and doesn’t feel wrong. The crew has less screen time, T.I. almost feels nonexistant, but they still have their moments. And Ghost fights were relatively cool to watch, as was the Wasp kitchen fight scene.

And yet I almost gave it a 1 out of 4. Technically, the reason I gave it the 2 instead is because of Peña’s character. I was worried they wouldn’t continue a joke from the first film and declared it to be an okay movie if they continued it on. Eventually? They continued it on, and sure, an average review.

Because lets face it, you aren’t getting your Avengers tie in until the credit scenes. This movie overall feels like a filler film. We don’t have any real villains, we just have things that consistently make the plot longer. There isn’t a lot of fighting, it is more just car chases and shrinking and growing. It isn’t a film that can feel smart, because all of the science behind it is fake anyways, so when scientific breakthroughs happen, it happens because the characters say it work, not that the audience could figure it out on our own.

Overall, it sets up a little bit in the universe. But it feels too clunk with no real established threat besides time itself. Ghost isn’t even a villain, just another damaged person, which they make sure we understand very early on.

If the MCU was Buffy the Vampire Slayer instead, this movie would fit in the middle of season one, instead of how most other films are clearly in the 2-7 territory.

2 out of 4.

Infinity Chamber

Infinity Chamber is a movie you have never heard about before, nor had I when I decided to watch it.

Just a movie, floating around on Netflix, when I wanted to find something potentially interesting and unheard of while cross stitching.

Indie science fiction movies, especially ones dealing with far reaching topics, have generally been good to me in the past. They can be a lot smarter than the average released film, and go into a lot of weird places. I wanted this one to be weird, so I hoped for the best.

Camera
Haircuts are unfortunately normal. Not. Weird. Enough.

Frank (Christopher Soren Kelly) wakes up and finds himself in a room. A prison. A chamber. It isn’t too small, but there are no windows and no notable doors either. He has a bed, but nothing else to keep him idle.

Oh, there is a big camera in the middle of the room and it talks to him. Its name is Howard (Jesse D. Arrow). He is the warden of this here cell, but it is his first time, so he cannot answer all of Frank’s questions. Questions like, how did he get here? Why is he here in the first place? When can he leave and can he talk to anyone else? Why does Howard know jack shit?

It turns out his cell has other amenities. like drinks and food can be made when requested by Howard. If he needs a toilet or wants to exercise, parts of his cell will open up to help him out. But other than that, he is alone.

Oh, an inexplicably, Frank also sometimes finds himself in a cafe. This cafe is run by a lady (Cassandra Clark), who doesn’t recognize him every time he appears. During every visit however, he is beat up and captured by agents, and hey look, back in the cell.

This is going to be a long sentence for Frank.

Coffee
The coffee has no hidden side effects. Not. Weird. Enough.

This film was a struggle to get through. I had to watch it over multiple days. Early on in the movie I kept passing out (with my wife quickly waking me up) because of how dreadfully slow it was going.

I am not entirely sure what I expected. Maybe just a nice social experiment movie with one person. Maybe something like Cube. Maybe something with some sort of thriller elements.

But nothing was intriguing. I fully understand what happened, or happened enough with reasonable amounts of speculation. I didn’t miss key elements. I did miss a reason to care, however.

I know it is a low budget indie film. But man, that robot sucked. Didn’t even sound scary, all powerful, or robotic really. Felt just like a dude. Twists that occurred seemed obvious. And holy fuck was it boring. Did I say that already?

1 out of 4.

The First Purge

Asking most people, they would tell you that they like The Purge: Anarchy, the most, which was the second film. It was good to see it on a city wide basis, but I am also one of the people who really enjoyed the original Purge movie as well. The Purge: Election Year, however, did nothing really for me. It was obvious what they were doing and going for, but the bad acting in it means it wasn’t as impactful as anyone would have liked.

Unlike previous films, I never saw a trailer for The First Purge, so I am going in relatively blind. I did see the first teaser poster though, which was enough to make me laugh and get a bit excited.

Although let’s be clear. This is a prequel. Prequels are generally fucking stupid, unless they can absolutely answer new information in a different light. And if it doesn’t? Well, then prequels are fucking stupid.

Mask
When did he have the time to make this mask? Did they all agree that masks were cool before it ever happened? Was there a crafting party/meeting?

This time, this takes place right after the New Founding Fathers have taken over the government and elected a president. They said they would help come up with a solution to fix America at any cost, as fast as possible.

And this involves a planned social experiment, for 12 hours, to let most average crimes, including murder, be legal. It will be done as an outlet to let out all the anger and aggression. And it will be done on Staten Island, a place with known borders, to see if it works.

Staten Island has a large poor population, so when the vote happened for their place, they agreed overwhelmingly. People who want to participate are also going to be given $5,000 if they survive the night. The rich can just leave the island before hand, the poor will stay and find this life changing, so of course they will do it.

No one really knows what to expect for the night. A lot of killing? Killing early and then people being satisfied and going home? Just a night of looting and outdoor sex? Who knows!

Well, we will have drones, contact lens cameras, and more reporting on the events around the world.

Starring Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Mugga, Patch Darragh, Rotimi Paul, Mo McRae, and Marisa Tomei.

Protest
Protesting free money and free crime is an uphill battle.

Remember how we already learned that the purge was really a way to help deal with the undesirables? You know, the poor, the colored, the homeless? A way to lower the resources we needed overall? It was implied in the first film and explicitly shown in the second film?

Yeahh, well, they use that as a sort of plot twist shocking moment in this film. Sure, that would be shocking maybe if The First Purge was the first Purge movie, but it isn’t. It is a prequel, and it is showing us shit we already know.

This film was basically almost a 0 out of 4, due to having no point. But it is hard to not root for Noel’s character, despite being a drug lord kingpin, especially when he becomes John McClane near the end, scaling a tower in his wife beater t-shirt and bag of guns. This film also features a lot more people of color as our leads, which is fantastic. The bad aspects are that it just doesn’t offer really anything new. It is full of surprises that aren’t surprising, a bad local villain, and the cringeist scenes between the scientist and the politician. Which scene? Every. Single. Scene. Between them. Tomei just didn’t even give a fuck in this movie for her limited role.

The First Purge is forgettable and now leaves us in a weird position for this movie. Where does it go from here? Do we now do The Second Purge? Or can we just set up future random purge movies in random locations?

Or does anyone care anymore?

1 out of 4.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

When Jurassic World came out a few years ago, it was a big deal for me. Jurassic Park is probably the first movie theater expirence I remember. Jurassic World was, at the time, the biggest movie I was able to see early as a member of the press.

And unfortunately, that film had issues. It had some new things, but other elements just felt rehashed, and them we had the ridiculous assistant death and heels fun.

Needless to say, I didn’t care much about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The story had a volcano and seemed to sort of give away a lot of the film. I couldn’t tell from the trailer if it really had anything new to say.

Balls and dinos
Look, there’s most of the same cast with the same magical travel balls.

Jurassic World has fallen, from that last film, because the dinosaurs got out and people had a bad time. They had to pay a lot of law suits to cover the costs, and didn’t really fight it too much. But now they are defunct and everyone basically agrees to leave the island alone.

Well, nature doesn’t want to leave it alone. The dormant volcano there has become active, and is ready to fuck a lot of things up. It is riling up, it is getting explosive, and now the dinosaurs might all become extinct, again. Should we save them, or let nature fix is course? The government decides to not intervene, so it is up to private groups to pick up the cost.

Namely, Lockwood estate. It is an old man (James Cromwell) who helped Hammond (Richard Attenborough) back in the day with their initial research to open Jurassic Park. He wants to save several species on the island, more if there is time, and put them on a new island. One that isn’t a volcano, has its own natural borders and it can be a sanctuary where dinosaurs can live peacefully. Something not for tourists. Time is of the essence. They also have a great need for Blue, the velociraptor, as they feel it is the second smartest creature on the planet and the only one left of its kind.

Getting the creatures back is one difficulty, especially when it involves an exploding volcano. Once they are on the ship and ready to get out of the island though, that is where the real drama and intrigue begin.

Also starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldbloom, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, and introducing Isabella Sermon.

Skeletons
Herein lies the sins of Jurassic Park’s past. Dey be ded, now. Again.

JW:FK seems to have heard some of the biggest complaints about the last film and respond appropriately. For example, the footware is more appropriate in this film. But how could they respond to the assistant death? How could they fix something like that?

I don’t know. How about by having that same giant dinosaur do a very similar thing, once again, to an undeserving character. Technically it is acknowledging the controversy by doing it a second time, although a bit less graphically.

JW:FK is certainly an entertaining movie. You will have some thrills, some screams, and some laughs. But overall it doesn’t offer anything really new. Last movie we had a man made T-Rex looking dinosaur that was too smart and caused problems. It was defeated by OG T-Rex. This film replaced T-Rex with Velociraptor. The same shit happens in different scenarios.

It also enforces normal Jurassic franchise tropes. Military people are always bad. Ugly people are always bad. People who aren’t bad but just working are expendable.

Overall, not enough new. What was new was obvious early on, but it didn’t go hard enough into it leaving more for sequels. But hey, Smith was better than expected as well.

2 out of 4.

Thoroughbreds

I tried to watch Thoroughbreds when it was still in theaters, but a lot of things got in my way. The screening was during the day. Then I got free tickets to the Alamo over spring break, but couldn’t fit it in with three other movies I was watching during that week. And after those two attempts, I knew I had to wait.

Critic friends gave me lackluster reasons to go out of my way as well.

But I still knew I had to see it. The cast was too potentially good. And I have loved plenty of films that others have not.

Entry
Now watch as I refuse to type the title, as it gives me too many spelling anxieties.

Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) are not really friends. They are studying together, they are rich, but they have very different interests. They used to be friends, but things change over time. So why is Lily tutoring Amanda? To rekindle their friendship? To be nice?

No, Amanada’s mom paid Lily to do it. But they eventually found things to talk about, like Amanda’s past with potential animal abuse and the fact that Amanda is a sociopath. Fake emotions, no heart, what have you.

It turns out that Lily has the need of someone with her talents. She is fine with her mom, but her step dad (Paul Sparks) is a bit stranger. He isn’t abusive to her, but he does make her feel uncomfortable. It also turns out that he is going to put her in a boarding school that isn’t fun and kick her out. Things have got to change.

They have got to kill him.

Also starring Anton Yelchin, Francie Swift, and Kaili Vernoff.

Couch
There is so much distance between them. Physically, and emotionally.

Thoroughbreds was about two leads who were particularly unlikable. After all, one was a sociopath whose identity in this film was entirely based upon her relationship with the other. And the other is some sort of epitome of first world problems. Some of them are more relevant, but a lot of them just stem from being incredibly rich and lonely.

This is potentially the final new film that will be released with Yelchin in it. I have no idea, because I didn’t know he was in the film until I finally saw it. It wasn’t his best work and he had a small role, so it is going to be a forgettable one if it ends up being his final film.

When it comes to acting, since our main characters are already so emotionless, there isn’t a lot going on there. Cooke is really type casted into these quirky and darker roles, so it isn’t something we haven’t seen before. Taylor-Joy has certainly been better in her other recent genre roles of Split and The Witch.

Overall, this is a film that could have had a lot of potential, but really felt like it dragged due to the longer takes of scenes and build up of suspense. I did enjoy the ending though, and can’t find too many other faults in the film itself.

2 out of 4.

John McCain: For Whom The Bell Tolls

What’s this? ANOTHER political documentary?

Well first of all, complainy McComplainy Pants, most documentaries are inherently political. Secondly, yes, yes it is. First I had RBG (which is the shit), then I had The Final Year, which was disappointing.

Given them, I still cannot tell you why I decided to go out of my way to watch a documentary about John McCain. Dude didn’t even become President. And he is a Republican, which makes him a bad guy, right (#NotAllRepublicans)?

But I gave it a shot, because it was also on HBO, and HBO has generally impressed me with its documentaries. I was also so disappointed with The Final Year that I figured it couldn’t be worse. Especially with a more focused topic and a longer run time to tell the story.

Seems like the timing is also important, since (as of the time of this writing), McCain is still alive despite working with a pretty intense form of Cancer that is very likely to kill him. Now we can at least get his point of view on events as he reflects on his career, while he still has a chance. John McCain: For Whom The Bell Tolls will be interesting, if anything.

John McCain
It is just 100 minutes of him staring at you from the screen, only blinking seven times.

General knowledge has told me a few things about McCain before this viewing, and some I experienced. Besides the cancer, I knew he was a prisoner of war during Vietnam for quite some time. I knew he was from Arizona. I knew he lost the presidential election in 2008 by a shit ton to Barack Obama, and is the reason we all know who Sarah Palin is right now. And I know he is nicknamed a Maverick, and had partially helped stop bad health care bills from coming through recently. Not all of them, but some of them.

I didn’t know a lot more. The documentary goes into his families history of military service, and of course a big portion on the war. Details from his wife at the time, his kids, and of course himself. We also see his post war efforts when returning home, when he meets John Kerry, how he got into politics, and many of the major things he worked on before running for president.

Even better is an acknowledgement that Palin was a terrible choice as a VP nominee, and is one of the reasons he definitely lost the election. I like that they highlighted how he tried to run a clean campaign and not bad mouth Obama while running.

Unfortunately, after the election it basically fast forwards to this last year. His cancer problems, his confusing statements on senate meetings, and the health care notes. It makes him seem like a great guy, but it nicely points out that he was basically a huge dick while Obama was in office. Sure, occasionally he would say something we could agree with, but he still mostly just voted along political lines and didn’t feel like a Maverick unless he could get something out of it.

It is still a well crafted documentary about an interesting man. I am happy we get interviews with so many people, political and otherwise, who knew him, and of course the man himself.

3 out of 4.

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