The Journey

Think about a movie called The Journey. What sort of genre would you think that movie is?

Well, first, I know I would think of maybe…adventure? Yeah. Adventure. If not an adventure film, maybe a war/action movie. If not a war/action movie, then something spiritual, a religious film. If you thought historical drama, I would think you were a liar, and I would no longer make bets with you.

And that is what The Journey is. A “True story” or, a true-ish story. But I will get into detail on that.

Walk
The journey they speak of is more of a drive and a walk through the woods.

Northern Ireland and Ireland have had a lot of issues in the past. Religious stuff which led to extremism which led to people bombing places, straight up government based military groups, to get people to see different points of view and you know…go on a war basically. It also led to this song from The Irish Rovers about a dysfunctional marriage.

This is set after a lot of the physical conflict, when people were still pissed, in the mid-2000’s. The territories were on the verge of creating a new agreement, to put a lot of the past behind them. Not rejoin as one unified country or anything, but at least start working together better and look more unified (I think, hard for me to tell as a non European).

Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall) is the head of the Catholic people, and Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney), former member of the IRA, is I guess leader of the protestants now. Honestly the whole thing is fuzzy to me what their titles are, but they have the ability to enact change. On the verge of the agreement being signed, Paisley has to return to his home for a celebration on his 50th Wedding Anniversary. The other side is worried that when he gets back with his people, they will convince him that the agreement is bad and he will pull out last minute.

Thank the weather gods, they have cancelled Paisley’s flight, and to show a sign of goodwill, the other side agrees to let him use their plane in Edinburgh for him to get home. But, McGuinness argues he must join him on the trip. Due to rules of travel, if both leaders are in the same vehicle, it is unlikely that anyone will try something nefarious. McGuinness and others think that if they get Paisley talking, they can find common interests between them and really work out and finalize this agreement.

The problem is, these gentlemen have never talked before in their lives. But this journey to their airport, and plane ride, will be their last chance to pull this thing together.

Also starring Freddie Highmore, John Hurt, Toby Stephens, Ian McElhinney, Ian Beattie, and Barry Ward.

Bate
And if they don’t agree quickly, Norman Bates will finish the job!

In real life, this agreement did take place. And in real life, these two people never talked to each other or cared for each other. In real life, they did take a car ride and plane ride together, and in real life, they suddenly became really close friends. And in real life, both of them are now dead.

The things that might not be real include their stops on their journey and the events that happened to them along the way, like the flat tire. The things that definitely did not occur is any of the conversation they decided to highlight in the film. It is a complete guess, it is where the storytellers can become storytellers. To guess the sort of conversation these great men might have had, how they would have acted towards each other, and how they would have slowly come to terms.

I am not saying it is bad that they are guessing, just setting the picture, because I obviously don’t need my movies to be 100% factual all the time. I do like my movies to be entertaining, or at the very least feature some nice acting moments.

I went in expecting I would be bored out of my mind throughout this film, but it surprisingly kept my interest once it got going. It wasn’t entirely easy to follow all the time, because of referring back to historical events that have no effect on my upbringing, but that is okay. I became involved with what they were saying and felt like a passenger in the vehicle.

And yet I could still only describe this film as okay. I would never watch it again, and I would never really recommend it to anyone. Spall and Meaney do some pretty good acting based on their previous works that I know of, and definitely give it their best jobs. But I am still just left asking why this movie was made, as, historical, this significance doesn’t mean squat to me.

2 out of 4.

Tour De Pharmacy

A couple years ago, I saw an ad for 7 Days in Hell while using HBO and I was instantly drawn in. I had to watch that movie RIGHT AWAY and review it ASAP. It looked magicial, and really, it was.

I didn’t know it was so short, only 40 minutes. I didn’t know it was to poke fun at the ESPN documentary series. But I went in, it was short, but I still called it a film and had an okay review.

And now years later, I saw an ad for Tour De Pharmacy. This time I was older, a bit wiser, a bit smarter, and a bit less repetitive. I knew what I was getting in to, and thus I was excited. Why can’t lightning hit twice?

Bikes
And look, we have more athletes now than a single tennis match!

Tour De Pharmacy tells the story of the 1982 Tour De France, and all of the bizarre happenings that occurred during the race. Including the first time that someone died on the race!

Due to plot reasons, a lot of bicyclists in the race ended up getting eliminated really early on, as it turned out they paid bribes in order to avoid being drug tested. Like, a lot, a lot. As in, only five bikers remained.

We had Slim Robinson (Daveed Diggs / Danny Glover), nephew of Jackie Robinson, who wanted to be the first black athlete in some sport, so he was the first black athlete to compete in the Tour De France! There was Adriana Baton (Freddie Highmore / Julia Ormond), the first woman to compete in the race, but no one knew it at the time, as she pretended to be a man in order to qualify. There is also Marty Hass (Andy Samberg / Jeff Goldbloom), who is actually the first African to compete in the race. Yes he is white, and was an aristocrat, and it pisses off a lot of people that he has taken that first away.

The other two members of the pack were Juju Pepe (Orlando Bloom), a native Frenchman and actual famous bike rider, and Gustav Ditters (John Cena / Dolph Lundgren), a giant muscle man who didn’t fit the normal physiques that one would expect from a bicyclist. Along for the ride is Rex Honeycut (James Marsden), a journalist who will bike alongside the pack, in order to give in person interviews as the race happens!

This also features a slew of other actors, some playing themselves, to tell the story of the 1982 Tour De France: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kevin Bacon, Lance Armstrong, Maya Rudolph, Mike Tyson, Will Forte, and narrated by Jon Hamm.

Cena
The more arm muscles have, the faster you go on a bike. It’s fucking science!

If you liked 7 Days in Hell, you will like this movie! If you didn’t, you won’t. Pretty simple. Of course, a whole mess of you might not have seen the first one, so I still have to talk.

Honestly, this is just an absurd parody movie, I love it. It is short, so some of their jokes and moments don’t ever get to go into depth, and that is probably where it excels. After all, there is only so much stupid stuff they can throw in it before a viewer might get tired of it all. I think it was just the right length and zany to amuse the shit out of me, possible amuse the shit out of me over multiple viewings.

Now, despite that? Yeah, there are still some dull parts as well. The film even comments on it, as there were long boring stretches in the actual race that caused viewership to drop tremendously, in the fictional recounting. Making it meta and commenting on the progressiveness however, still didn’t do it for me.

Also, well fucking done Lance Armstrong. His role as hidden informant was a joke that just kept on giving, it surprisingly never got stale. All of the cameos were pretty funny.

Tour De Pharmacy is a relatively smart and quick laugh thrill ride, with only a few moments of slowed traffic to catch your breath.

3 out of 4.

Toast

Apparently Toast is actually a biography movie for Nigel Slater, which is some British food dude. I don’t think I have heard of him, but thats because I am not a food dude?

Maybe someone here knows who this man is?!

Nigel Slater
So mysterious.

So, this goes over Nigel’s early life. When he is a kid and played by Oscar Kennedy, and he loves the idea of food. Like cheeses. Crazy right? But his mom can’t cook! She can really only cook Toast good, and apparently you will always remember who gave you your first piece of amazing toast. This could be a British thing. But she ends up dying because of something. So him and his dad are sad (Ken Stott). They also a richer family, or upper class. But still, cooking sucks.

The dad ends up hiring Helena Bonham Carter, a married woman to clean their house for them. She does it pretty sensually too. Partially because she is not his mom, and partially because she is lower class (or at least that is what it looks like as a pouty kid). Eventually she leaves her husband and moves with them to a new house, far from the city. Oh, and bonus fact, she can cook damn well.

FLASH FORWARD. And by that I mean, this movie is 90~ minutes long, and after about 60 minutes, the kid is now 16 or 17. Now he is Freddie Highmore. In the credits, he is Nigel. While Oscar Kennedy is “Young Nigel”. Despite the fact that he is in 2/3 of the film. I think that is dumb.

Anyways. He still loves food. He even takes home ec instead of shop. WHAT. A GIRL. He then tries to become a great cook. Why? So his dad will see no reason to keep his new wife. Yes. His hatred for her, because of her being a lesser class and not his actual mom drives his whole life. He thinks if he can out cook her, she will leave. Yes. Great strategy.

Highmore
I just wanna put my face in all of that cream.

At this point I feel like I can spoil what happens? Because it is a dudes life and stuff. Eventually the dad dies, so it is just Freddie and Helena. And then he leaves home. He goes on to start his life. He leaves Helena alone in their house, despite her begging to stay. He gets a job. I think the moral of the story is that despite his extreme prejudices towards that woman, he wouldn’t be who he was today with out her?

If you watch this movie, you will hate the main character. He is never appealing. He is a jerkface.

The story is interesting. And the acting is decent. But this movie just takes so long to get to the “important plot points” in the last half hour. I think if it would have been brought up earlier, it would have been a lot more interesting. I spent the first 2/3 wondering what the point was. Then of course by the end realized it was a real dudes story. Guess that is why it wasn’t too exciting?

2 out of 4

The Art Of Getting By

When I saw The Art of Getting By was going to star Freddie Highmore, I guffawed out loud. That kid? The one from Spiderwick Chronicles and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

Well, dude bro isn’t a kid anymore. Well. Kiddish. But he is a lot taller and way more mature.

Highmore
Or at least Emma Roberts is super short.

The movie begins with George having to explain why he didn’t do his trigonometry homework. Why? Because he claims he realized his own mortality last night and everything else just seemed unimportant. So at that moment I figured this George guy was supposed to be very smart, but you know, an underachiever. What happens in this movie? Him accidentally befriending Emma Roberts. George falls in love with her, but has some social anxieties to go with the rest of his problems (including becoming poor?) so he flips a shit of course. It also turns out that by the end of the year, thanks to never doing any work (well, gradable work), he also will not graduate.

Alright, so my plot write up is kind of weak. It is hard to say what really happens in this movie without giving a lot of it away.

In fact, I had a hard time figuring out if I even liked it overall or not. I thought Freddie did a great job. The dialogue used I definitely loved, as he talked way too smart. There is a great scene where he calmly and rationally told his parents to leave him alone. Giving nice reasons and everything.

But really, that is all I probably really liked. The ending wasn’t at all original. The side story involving the artist Andrew Levitas wasn’t anything special either. The only great parts involved George and his interactions with his family and new friends. The story might not appeal to everyone. In fact, it is just one of those “privileged white people problems” movies. I think that is why the critics hated it so much.

garden state
Sometimes people like those kind of movies though.

But because Freddie just did so gosh darn good, I have to give it an okay rating.

2 out of 4.

The Spiderwick Chronicles

Why hello Spiderwick Chronicles. Good news, there are zero spiders in this movie! Which was my biggest worry. All I knew this was some fantasy kids movie, based off some book series no one has heard about.

Maybe Boook
Maybe because it only comes in giant hardback, with old pages and is bound by a spell?

The story involves Mary-Louise Parker and her 3 children moving into an old house in the woods, thanks to divorce! It used to belong their great aunt, but she is in crazyland now. The twins are played by Freddie Highmore, who was Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. One of the twins was all rawr Divorce and angry, the other is a smart pacifist. Anyways, rambuctions twin discovers a book of fairies.

Now, for some reason, if this book about fairies (made by Spiderwick. They are his Chronicles) gets taken by Goblins, everyone will die. Some plot points were awkward. Like them trying to destroy the book, instead of Goblins. I mean, what? A great book of knowledge, and they just wanted to end it?

Nick Nolte plays the Ogre shape shifter king of the Goblins dude, while voices are provided by Seth Rogen (a hobgoblin) and Martin Short (I dunno? A House Elf or something?). Seth Rogen just likes voice acting now, with Monsters vs Aliens and Paul.

So overall, the story was interesting though. Of course no idea how it is to the books, but who cares? The CGI seemed to only be creature based, which is nice. I liked the look of the goblins. Kinda cute in a rawrawrawrgnashgnash kind of way.

GAWBLINS
“You must pay the troll’s toll if you want to get into this boy’s soul!”

2 out of 4.