Wind River

For awhile, I was up in Northern Minnesota. This is real life, true story. How north, you ask? Well, apparently a 45 minute drive would have taken me to Canada.

I bring this up for two reasons: One, it made me miss quite a few screenings, because they show movies up there months after everyone else saw them, certainly not before. And two, the movie Wind River is set in the wilderness.

Not almost Canada, but cold enough in the months of “barely Spring” Wyoming, in the mountains.

So basically, I am this story. If you squint really really hard.

Hunt
Oh hey. Avengers. I see you upgraded weapons.

Set in the titular Wind River, Wyoming, this takes us to a big reservation city where people want to just be left alone, raise their families, and not be fucked over by the white man. Basically like a lot of people in the world.

Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) is a cool white guy though, as you can tell with his white name. He is okay, because he works to help the area. He lives alone and is a hunter, and he works for the government sort of, taking out wolves or lions or whatever that are messing with people’s farms. He has an ex wife (Julia Jones) and a son (Teo Briones) that he has visitation for sometimes. Definitely some backstory there. Would be awesome if a new character was brought in so that it could be addressed at some point.

But before that, DEATH. Because while out looking for a momma lion and her cubs, he stumbles upon a dead body. A girl, Natalie (Kelsey Asbille) that he knows, barefoot, and miles away from any house. His plans have changed, and now they have to wait for an FBI agent to get there to investigate the possible murder. Which is where we meet Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), girl totally not used to the cold, here to check things out. Despite bad things that have clearly happened to the girl, specifically physical stuff, the death cannot be ruled a murder but natural causes. Weather is a goddamn bitch.

Banner doesn’t have a lot of time to investigate this before she will be called back to a new job, so she enlists Lambert’s help in order to get someone who knows the area and land to maybe make some leads quickly before she has to run off again. Can they figure out the mystery behind her death?

Featuring the awesome Graham Greene as the local cop, and Gil Birmingham as Natalie’s dad. Also all of these people: Apesanahkwat, Eric Lange, Tantoo Cardinal, Althea Sam, Tyler Laracca, Martin Sensmeier, Tokala Clifford, Jon Bernthal, James Jordan, Austin R. Grant, Blake Robbins, Hugh Dillon, Ian Bohen, and Matthew Del Negro.

Grief
And Birmingham’s face was played by William Wallace.

After watching, Wind River seems like one of those movies that I really love for basically every aspect, that other movie watchers will find to be boring or dumb. I hate it when that happens. I want those people to open their minds and realize they just witnessed something epic, so I write about it (while begrudgingly say that yeah, everyone can have an opinion), and make sure people get out there.

But honestly I can’t see that happening. I can’t imagine people going to watch this and not being impressed with it. It is just so damn good. There is no way this can have a disconnect between critic and the average movie goer. Anyone should be able to go in, see how much Renner, Olsen and Greene brought it the entire time they weer on the screen. They should be able to see how much Birmingham did with a lot less screen time. They should be appreciative of the cast that was very racially sensitive to the area.

And they should be able to see how well the plot unfolded. When the movie decided to reveal the secrets, they should feel how their stomach turned and their anger increased. The emotions would be on a ride if someone just let them.

Sure, Wind River started off a little bit slow, but once we get dead body, it should captivate the viewer, and you will see definitely one of the best films of 2017.

4 out of 4.

The Ridiculous 6

How many movies does Adam Sandler do in a year? Usually one right? Maybe two?

Well this year, he stars in three different movies. The Cobbler, Pixels, and now The Ridiculous 6. Sure he is getting older, but those private yachts aren’t going to pay for themselves. And as he does more and more films, he gains more and more friends to have to support on his army of yachts.

This film is a Netflix original movie. Last year he signed a four film deal with the company, and so it will be awhile before his films are released theatrically again.

And uhh. I guess this is Adam Sandler’s take on a western, with a name similar to those other western and samurai movies.

Group
There are rag tag groups and there are shit groups. This group is worse than the later.

White Knife (Sandler) grew up never really knowing his father or his mother. But he is half Native America, despite looking white. And yes, her is freakishly good at using knives. Name explained, boom.

Then one day, an old guy comes to town. Frank Stockburn (Nick Nolte), a famous bank robber who was notorious throughout the land. Turns out that is his real daddy. But he needs help. Members of his former gang are going to kill him, unless he pays back money that was stolen from there. The gang is now lead by Cicero (Danny Trejo), and they are ruthless. Frank lies to them about the location, so that White Knife aka Tommy can get the money and put it in the spot before the bad guys get there. Then, after saving his dad’s life, he can enjoy some of that sweet ass quality time he has been hoping for. So he will run off and do that, before he gets married to Smoking Fox (Julia Jones).

Along the way, Tommy finds out that his dad really did get around, by meeting several half brothers. There is Ramon (Rob Schneider), half Mexican with a burro. There is Lil’ Pete (Taylor Lautner), who is half retarded and well. Yeah. Herm (Jorge Garcia) is half…Mongolian or something. He speaks gibberish. There is also Chico (Terry Crews), half Black and a piano player! And finally, Danny (Luke Wilson) who is half an alcoholic and half an American traitor.

Remember when I said Sandler had friends? Yeah, a ton of them are in this movie.

Chris Parnell. Blake Shelton. Harvey Keitel. John Turturro. Jon Lovitz. Nick Swardson. Saginaw Grant. Steve Buscemi. Steve Zahn. Vanilla Ice. And Will Forte!

SJ
Lautner’s tooth gap is played by Steve Carell!

I almost forgot to mention the controversy! You know, where Native American extras walked off the set because they found the humor to be racist and demeaning. One would say that isn’t good publicity, but of course we know there is no such thing as bad PR.

In fact, Netflix can only gain from a raunchy Sandler film. No one will cancel their account because it exists, but they will get more international audiences who love the shit out of him still. Win for them, no matter how terrible a film is.

But in all honesty, this film isn’t even super terrible. No, it is really fucking…slightly below average. Sandler’s character is a bit boring, which is true for a lot of his things lately. He is just playing an every guy, who happens to be good at knives I guess. The only reason to watch the film is for the rest of the 5 brothers.

Taylor Lautner playing what amounts of Simple Jack? Fantastic. He was the best part of Grown Ups 2 and one of the best parts of this one as well. I have been know to enjoy Schneider, and I think his performance is one of his better ones lately (again, not saying a lot). Garcia and Crews felt a bit underused, especially Garcia. His character didn’t even make sense.

But really, the movie has bottom of the barrel. I only laughed occasionally, the twists were obvious, and it was just far too long. It looks like they really did try to make a good western parody, but you know. Poop jokes. Under using actors. Some racism. You know what you are getting going into the film, I suspect.

1 out of 4.