Movie Roundup – Online Releases 2018

Welcome to a Movie Roundup! A movie roundup features a few films that I didn’t feel like making full reviews for, but needed to get basic reviews out there for completionist reasons. It also helps me deal with my backlog. It may have a theme, and today’s theme is Online Releases 2018! Basically, things that started out on the internet, ideally a streaming website, because it is a loose theme, and I will take it.

Being on a movie round up doesn’t mean a movie is inherently bad, or good, or meh. I can feature any rating on here! So don’t assume the worst! I will also just post the reviews in alphabetical order.


Online Releases 2018

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Can we go wrong with the Coen brothers? Yes, we totally can. But I can’t help but feel something wonderful when they continually try to do something different, or make the normal a lot more eccentric. This time, they went back to the former, while also going back to some of those old timey western roots, which are arguably their best movies. Except this time, it is straight to Netflix, and an Anthology movie with six short films instead. The only connection? Western.

This ends up working really well, even if I can say I didn’t love every part of the anthology. Unfortunately, the best and most fun was the first of the stories, and probably me least favorite was number two. I really enjoyed the one about the prospectors and the woman with her not dog too. When it works, it really works, and when it doesn’t work, it is still well made and a bit beautiful, if not full of fuckery. This is not a happy movie, and it can easily be watched in parts, and deserves praise for its individual shorts that work out amazingly well.

3 out of 4.

Ballad
None of these people share a scene with the others.

The Kissing Booth

On the other hand, Netflix has made it clear its strategy isn’t to appeal to just the best movie ever, but to instead go for all the demographics so that they all have something to watch, which is fair. Netflix having a shit movie doesn’t mean that Netflix is bad, I just don’t have to watch it…if I am a normal movie goer.

But this movie is something else, and it has crawled out of the pits of hell thanks to some teenage girl. Yeah, it is based on a book, written by a teenage girl, on some website, and now its a movie. An uninspired romance movie, that seems to rely on the kissing booth as a feature, despite not being featured too heavily in the grand scope. It features a love interest who is super controlling, threatening, and uses his fists to solve problems. Ah, what good values to instill in our youth.

0 out of 4.

Kissing
Help, help, I’m trapped in a 90s movie.

My Dinner with Hervé

Over on HBO, they also like to do movies, and shows, and documentaries. In this one, we have dudes as the stars, with one of them being one of their biggest stars of their biggest show. Makes sense. Peter Dinklage playing a biographical role, of possibly the most famous little person in history (before Peter Dinklage and Verne Troyer), Hervé Villechaize. Made famous for being in Fantasy Island and The Man With The Golden Gun.

Now, this is all according to a journalist, but it is based on the night out on the town with Hervé, where he also recounts his whole life story leading up to the point, his rises, and his many many downfalls. Dinklage does an amazing job of transforming himself, or what I know about himself, and this is an extremely touching tale of a childhood of abuse and sadness, while still trying to make something about it. It never seems to go deep enough into the sadder parts though, and probably skirts around important details. I just knew that it started off way better than it eventually ended.

2 out of 4.

DINNer
And that is also true about life, I suppose.

Slice

Slice might not technically fit this theme, because it came out on VOD, but hey, my themes are loose, and I want it in this post. Slice is the type of movie that is just so out there, it is hard to believe that it even exists. Vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, murder mystery, pizza store, witches, and such a strange plot and concept. It is the type of movie that when describing it you know will have a cult following and probably LARPing in the future.

But in all honestly, it just doesn’t work out well. The only redeeming factor is that it definitely feels original. It just is a weird mash of ideas that aren’t fully explained because it isn’t fully thought through. It is cool, it is weird, but it is definitely not good.

1 out of 4.

sLIce
Although, it made me want pizza, so good job there.

The Tale

Finally, another HBO movie (sorry Hulu), that I didn’t even know came out this last summer. I would have never known it existed if it didn’t get nominated for a Spirit award. I mean, it has a big name in it, and it is about sexual abuse when someone was a child. Sure, a fictional tale, but a tale that resonates due to how often similar “tales” have been told by other girls in relation to their coaches while growing up. Hell, the gymnastics scandal was in 2018, maybe even going on after this movie. It is very relevant.

Dern plays someone very vulnerable and stubborn at the same time. It doesn’t end with fireworks, but plays it in a more realistic way. More importantly, the girl who plays the younger version is amazing at her role. Her acting, in normal kid way, amplifies the creepiness of everything. It puts the viewer in a dark place and really helps bring the hate towards these sexual predators.

3 out of 4.

tale
These two adults are now on my despise list, well done!

Overall, steaming platforms put out a lot of duds, and some successes. And especially Netflix, because I will never catch up on on their new releases. Or, maybe I will, if I just keep the review format like this and not larger. But these ones caught my eye for some reason or another and I chose them to watch to review, and never got around to actually writing.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I was relatively excited going in to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi, even with them deciding to drop the iconic episode numbers. For Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it was clear it was a step in the right direction, even if it wasn’t too original. And Rouge One was great.

But the people who let me see things early switched to a different PR company, specifically to the one company that I didn’t have. I found out late November when the change occurred, which made it clear that I wasn’t going to be seeing Star Wars 8 early at all. And at that point, all the pre-sale tickets had already happened for early showtimes.

So if I was going to see it, I knew I would have to wait at least a week after the fact, maybe longer. And then I waited longer, I waited to see how many times I could keep putting it off. I didn’t see this movie until mid-February, still on a nice big screen. And that is why it was never reviewed, and why I decided eventually to wait to put it as the final movie in my “2017 Movies I should have seen last year” list!

Jedi Master
I’m a Jedi master, bitch!

I don’t feel like tagging all of the many characters who are in this film, at least naturally through this review, so I will post them all at the end.

Yay Luke Skywalker was found by Rey! Boo, she is avoided because Luke wants to be alone and doesn’t think the Jedi should be apart of the world anymore. He wants to die and let the Jedi order die with him.

While she convinces him that he is stupid, the Resistance are getting fucked over by the Empire, First Order. A lot of ships are running around, people dying, pew pew pews. And the resistance has to run and get away to not die.

And that is the movie.

Starring, of course, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Frank Oz, Billie Lourd, Joonas Suotamo, and Jimmy Vee.

Also starring newbies to the galaxy, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Amanda Lawrence, Justin Theroux.

Pew pew pew
Yeah, but how many of those dozen plus names can wield a light saber and shoot out red dust!

Star Wars 8 clocks in at around 2.5 hours, because apparently we can never get enough Star Wars. It is the longest Star Wars film yet, cracking the other top place holders by about 10 minutes. And boy did it sure feel long.

You see, it is made apparent from this film that this trilogy is in no way planned out. We have a lot of plots that were set up from the first film that end completely out of nowhere in this film. Characters die off, questions get answered, and most of it is extremely disappointing.

The worst part of the film is a subplot that has a few characters going on a mission alone, in order to find a character in a casino. It lasts very long in terms of the overall movie and again, none of it feels justified or worth it by the end. It felt like this movie had filler, which is inexcusable given its rather long run time. That isn’t even getting into the really awkward Leia scene.

The only reason this film didn’t get a 1 out of 4, is because the ending was pretty rad. It still seemed to have a lot of poor plot developments, making what felt a side plot last the entire goddamn film. It was very character focused, even though a lot of the characters they decided to kill off. I just cannot help but think of the poor merchandise that was sold for the first two films that never really amounted to much.

2 out of 4.

Wilson

Who the fuck is Wilson? Is this a movie about a volleyball?

Those were the only thoughts I had going into this movie. And when I saw one poster, that it would be able a creepy dude. Not just any creepy dude. A creepy older dude, with glasses, and a beard.

I also quickly learned that the movie would be a weird movie, because it was directed by Craig Johnson, who directed The Skeleton Twins. I didn’t love that one, but man, it was weird.

Shock1
How shocking, that it is about a real person, not a volleyball.

Wilson (Woody Harrelson) isn’t actually creepy, really. He is a bit weird. He is weird because he hates the way the world is changing. He hates that everyone is so anti-social nowadays. He wants to communicate with people, even if they are strangers. He wants to just say what is on his mind and let other people say what is on their minds. He isn’t going to be trapped on his phone, or sleeping on the train, he just wants to experience the world. If he doesn’t slow down once in awhile, he might miss it, after all.

And then his best friend moves away, without any warning. Now Wilson is all alone. He has no purpose. Just his dog. No family, nothing. Well, he does have an ex-wife. Pippi (Laura Dern) was with Wilson for a few years, a real piece of work. Then one day she up and left him. Got an abortion and moved far, far away. But it turns out she is in the area again! So maybe he can try and see how she is and get to know her again. Maybe start a relationship so that the hole in his life can be filled.

Speaking of filling holes, turns out she didn’t get an abortion. She put the kid up for adoption and the girl is like, 17 now, living in the same city this whole time and he had no idea! Now Wilson has a family. He has a purpose. He just has to bring it all together.

Starring Isabella Amara as the daughter, along with Brett Gelman, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Cheryl Hines, and Bill McCallum.

Shock2
Apparently this is also the most shocking movie ever, from his point of view.

Wilson was a surprise hit, and surprisingly hysterical at points. The man was just so absurd and so socially weird it was constantly surprising. The main poster shows him standing next to another person at a urinal, with a ton of open urinals. The biggest social faux pas you can do in a restroom, outside of also hold a conversation with them, which he does. And it is a nice scene about families and how to raise your kids. And it ends with one of the funniest, unexpected yet completely expected lines ever. I was laughing way too long at it.

Wilson was great. As a person and a character study. A movie I could watch over and over again and still crack up. An instant classic on just its humor.

But its story could use some work, a lot of work. It feels so long but the movie is only about an hour and a half. It takes awhile to get to the point, and then it goes in several weird directions. Including jail, which lasts a long time for that late in the film. And we even have a post jail tiny plot to take care about. It is a bit disjointed in these regards.

Harrelson does a great performance though and always seems to find new ways to entertain me.

3 out of 4.

The Founder

Michael Keaton has been on fire. Not actual fire, but his comeback has been great. Better than Matthew McConaughey‘s come back!

In 2014 he almost won Best Actor fir Birdman, but lost to Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything. But hey, Birdman won best picture.

In 2015 he was probably hoping to get nominated for Best Actor for Spotlight, however he didn’t get the nomination despite doing really good. But hey, Spotlight won best picture.

So what about this year? He is the lead in a movie again, The Founder. Knowing nothing about it, I knew it was suddenly a contender for The Founder. Could he be the lead in the Best Picture film three years in a row? That has to be a record on its own. Or you know, he won’t and this is the beginning of the end of his come back.

McDonald
At least the praise in the movie seems genuine!

Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) is a salesman at heart. He finds an idea he likes and runs with it, hoping to make a living out of it. His current item is a shake mixer that can do five shakes at a time, so he is traveling around the US, making money to put a roof over his wife’s (Laura Dern) head.

But he gets a strange order. A restaurant in California wants to buy SIX of these milkshake machines. So he drives over there to give it a gander. It is a small place, run by Dick (Nick Offerman) and Mac (John Carroll Lynch) McDonald. It is called McDonalds. They have a line around the block, but it goes fast. They don’t have carhops, people have to come to the door. And the food is instant. People are waiting about 30 seconds for their food, it is cheap, it comes in paper so they can throw away their trash themselves. They can eat it on benches, in the car, at the park, wherever. And the line just moves so damn fast.

So Kroc takes the brothers out to learn how and why. Turns out they made the system themselves, took a lot of practice, and developed a system where quality is awesome, everyone is working and churning out food that the people end up ordering. Genius! But no, they don’t want to franchise.

Kroc wears them down, eventually getting a contract between them, that will let him set up McDonald’s restaurants around the US. He has to promise to maintain quality, to not let them make their own food choices, and every change has to go through them. But hey, it is a start. And when Kroc begins to churn out their restaurants, complete with the brothers idea of Golden Arches, people can’t seem to get enough of them. And that is when the power dynamic starts to change.

Also featuring Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Justin Randell Brooke, Kate Kneeland, and Patrick Wilson.

McDonalds Bros
I really wish one or both of the McDonald brothers had a mustache.

The Founder begins with Kroc trying to sell a milkshake machine to reluctant buyer. Except he is staring right at the camera, looking right at the viewer, into your soul, as he monologues. And it is a wonderful introduction to his character. He doesn’t feel like the most conniving individual, but he feels like a real salesman.

The Founder tells an interesting story that becomes easily relatable to most viewers. Everyone has eaten at a McDonald’s, everyone knows what they are like and has seen them evolve over the years. But it turns out they started as something more wholesome, like most things in the middle of the 1900’s. The scene where the brother’s tell their story is fascinating and one of the highlights of the movie.

Unfortunately, after that, it didn’t maintain its high level of enthusiasm. Once Kroc was able to get franchises off the ground, there were some problems, some successes, some shitty moments, some great moments. And despite being the protagonist, Kroc is definitely a jerk. And at times, so are the McDonald brothers. But the story isn’t one that had me at the edge of my seat like I had hoped.

In terms of his last two films, Keaton might still act well, but the film just isn’t the same caliber. Still a good movie, sure, but the second half just feels unimpressive compared to the first. This is not the film that will finally get Keaton his Best Actor Oscar, although I see the potential of nomination. Next year he will be in Spider-Man: Homecoming (which won’t win him anything), and something called American Assassin which I guess will be his next big hope.

3 out of 4.

99 Homes

If I had 99 Homes, I’d either sell at least 94 of them, or desperately look for one more home. It’s so fucking close to a cool number. Just think, 100 homes.

You know what you could do with a 100 homes? No? Exactly. I’d realiz it was stupid within a week and then try to sell at least 95 of them.

99 Homes is released by Broad Green Pictures, a new company as of 2015, but they had a productive year. However, I am happy to announce this is their first film I have actually reviewed! Hooray! I had no interest in seeing Learning to Drive or A Walk in the Woods or the other few films I never heard about before.

Deals
And I will review it without making any Spider-Man / Superman crossover jokes.

Remember the 2008 Financial Housing Collapse thing? No, well, go watch Margin Call and The Big Short. Come back to this review in like 4 hours.

People lost their homes. Loans and bubbles, bad stuff. Very bad stuff for Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield), a single dad, raising his son Connor (Noah Lomax) and also living with his mother, Lynn (Laura Dern). You see, they are about to lose their family home. He is a contractor, but he lost his job and is up to his ears in bills and lawyers and what not.

But no. The home is no longer his. It belongs to the bank and they have to leave immediately and move into a hotel room. The man to deliver the message is Rick Carver (Michael Shannon), a real estate agent who has turned into the guy people hate to kick them out of their houses. No one likes Carver, especially not Denis.

Then Dennis starts to work for Carver. What? Exactly. A shitty job needed to be done on a different foreclosed house, and Dennis has the tools, skills, and really needed the money. Dennis slowly gains more and more responsibility, doing terrible things for pay, hurting others who used to be just like him. Just so he can get the house back.

Sad
It isn’t even that great of a house.

There is only so much sadness one person can feel due to a single event. Right? That is why they don’t make as many Holocaust movies as they used to. People are tired of those events.

I apparently am not over these types of movies yet. The beginning of 99 Homes is compelling and really gets you on the train to sadtown real quick. It is a bullet train. Garfield gives a pretty compelling performance, Dern not as much as I had hoped.

Shannon is the big bad guy here. A seemingly uncaring man who just wants people out of houses so he can move on to the next house to fuck up more lives. But as Garfield’s character begins to work and deal with him, part of him gets redeemed. Just kidding, dude is terrible and all money hungry and exactly the right kind of antagonist to go with a movie about the economy tanking.

The ending was good too, a lot of tense and morally dark choices had to be made, but I feel every character got what they deserved and was not disappointed.

3 out of 4.

Wild

Besides wanting to watch every movie ever, I have other goals too. Like you know, movies nominated for Oscars. Wild wasn’t given best picture nominations, but it did get honors for Best Actress and Supporting Actress! Yay, woman power!

The reason it took me so long to see it is because the pre-screening was during my honeymoon. Not much you can do about that!

I had to hit this one in theaters before it left though, before we get an even bigger onslaught of shitty January movies.

Rightleft
“I’m not sure which way to go, but let’s just pick the left path?”

This movie is set back in the mid 1990’s, which really just means that there are no real cell phones. A true story based on a book by the person who did the events, so we know we probably can’t trust it. It is about Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon), who wants to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, or the PCT as the locals call it. If we call it the PCT too, they will know we are cool and in.

I don’t know a lot about West Coast things, but the trail itself is over 2,500 mi long and mountainous. But Cheryl wants to hike it and hike it all. ALONE. As a woman! Bananas!

Why? Well, she needs to clear her mind and she thinks this is the best way to do it. She has had some shit happen in her life, and the whole point of this movie is to find out what!

I can say her ex husband is played by Thomas Sadoski, which gives some hints, and Laura Dern as her mother.

LeftRight
“No, in retrospect, I think the right is the best path.”

This movie could almost be classified as a thriller! That is a joke obviously, but there were some scary and intense moments along her height. Not wild boars, or bears, or poisonous flowers, but people. People are the scariest of entity, and again, I felt scared when she felt scared due to her being a woman alone. Now, I am not saying I completely understand the very real fear people can have about getting raped or taking advantage of, I just thought they did a good job of showcasing that fear.

And now I feel uncomfortable.

Reese did pretty good in this movie. Way better than her role in The Good Lie. Glad to see her in the spotlight again because I honestly couldn’t remember the last movie I saw her in before those last two. Lara Dern did a pretty good job too, and her role is definitely the definition of a supporting actress. I just don’t think it was one too special by the end of the day.

A decent movie telling an okay story. Well acted and it keeps it interesting through its flash backs. I definitely was surprised by a few things.

3 out of 4.

When The Game Stands Tall

You know what sport has been unrepresented in film lately? Football. You might disagree with me.

First, let’s ignore all the bullshit smaller titles, the made for TV stuff, the documentaries. I will not accept The 5th Quarter, it was a straight to DVD thing basically.

Looking at only big releases, we had Draft Day this year which is more a generic sports-ish movie since it could have been almost word for word with any other sport and still work. Just change name of positions and teams and boom, all football elements gone. The Blind Side? That is a dramatic biography, not a football movie. That takes us all the way back to 2008 where we had The Longshots and Leatherheads. Yeah.

So a movie actually about the sport, with sport stuff going on hasn’t been out in a big release for awhile. When The Game Stands Tall is a true story, so it has that going for it at least.

Huddle
Players wearing gear is one step above Draft Day already!

De La Salle High School is a Roman Catholic private high school in Concord, California. Close-ish to San Francisco. All men school, too. They never had a winning football season until they signed Bob Ladouceur (Jim Caviezel) in 1979. He then coached the team for decades, and starting in 1992, his teams had 12 years of undefeated seasons, leading to a 151 game winning streak. True story.

But the start of the 2004 season had changes. Their conference was tired of them destroying them, so they limited the De La Salle Spartans to only 5 games of league play, making them look elsewhere for opponents, where only the best of the best would accept. And wouldn’t you know it? While playing their first game of the season against the Washington state champion Bellevue Wolverines, they lost 39-20, breaking their record.

Heartache. Depression. Sadness. What are they going to do? Well, apparently lose their second game too, but at least it was a closer game.

Can the coach turn it around? Especially before game three, against the biggest meanest school in California, in 100 degree heat? And can they also get back into a championship winning team? Maybe?

What about side stories? WE GOT YOUR SIDE STORIES.

Like Chris Ryan (Alexander Ludwig), a running back, going for the California state record for TDs in a high school career. Only needs like 36 this year and has a whole lot of dad (Clancy Brown) pressure. Or the friendship between Cam (Ser-Darius Blain) and T.K. (Stephan James), of where they are going to go to college, and how there is a lot of death in their lives, and how one of them totally dies.

Can Tayshon (Jessie Usher) stop having a superstar attitude and work with the team? Can lovable Beaser (Joe Massingill) do…good at stuff? Will Arturo (Matthew Frias) ever get to play and feel important? How about Coach’s wife (Laura Dern), can she nag even more? And will his son (Matthew Daddario) get to have a good senior season with his dad as his coach?

AND WHAT ABOUT THE ASSISTANT COACH (Michael Chiklis)? WHAT ABOUT HIM HUH?

Hats
The most impressive part of this movie was getting Michael Chiklis to look like a cross between Jason Alexander and Wayne Knight.

From my estimations, 87.3333%, repeating of course, of this movie is completely made up. What? Something based around a definitely true event is fake? Well, let’s go into spoiler territory. You don’t care, you probably won’t watch this movie.

For sure, there was a Bob Ladouceur. The streak was 151 games and it was De La Salle high school. The dates of most of the stuff they mention work out. There was a T.K. and a Cam and one of them died. His son was a player in their first losing game. Everything else is just made up and fabricated drama.

For instance? Chris Ryan was not a real player. There was no one ever on their team working on beating this TD record for high school and it definitely didn’t come down to the final championship game. What really irked me and made me knew that this couldn’t possibly be real is that the coach, for their final drive, winning by a lot, let the players call the shots. They get down to the 1 yard line with about a minute left. And Chris becomes the QB, and takes a knee, three times. That’s because his dad beat him and wanted the record more than the son, and he thought the game should be about the team and not his record. Also because Jesus.

I knew there was no way that could have happened, it would have been everywhere on the news. The second tipoff was that at the end of the movie, they only did the “And here they are now!” screen for the coach, no one else. The other real players were either dead or failed at college ball, basically. So I had to look it up.

Then I found out they also made up the arrogant wide receiver on their team. Okay. Whatever. His plot sucked anyways. Most of the plot was the random death, the dad abuser/TD count, and the game winnings.

But then those fuckers even made up how they did that season. Literally the easiest part of a sports movie to get right. They got their first loss right and score. Sure. The second loss right after? Wrong team and wrong score. Made it seem like they were close. Then in real life they tied, they finally won in their first league game a ridiculous 49-0 versus a shitty private school team. The movie said they played the best team in California, had all of these problems, that team had a 100 player roster versus their like, 40 guys, and over 100 degree heat. They said they barely won that, then went on to win the rest of the season.

THEY DIDN’T EVEN WIN OUT THE REST OF THAT SEASON, WHAT THE FUCK? They had another tie and another loss.

They changed even the fundamental basics of their story, the easiest thing to get right, the records/schedule/score?

Outside of that, this is a huge First World Problems movie. Oh boo hoo, you guys are all sad because you lost a game after a bunch of guys before you never lost? Get the fuck over yourselves.

An inspirational sports movie has an underdog, a rag tag team, a group of losers, coming together to win over all. This one takes a bunch of winners, has them lose two games, and then go back to winning a bunch. Get the fuck out of here.

And it is a shame. If they kept to the real story, this would have been a decent movie. Because the football scenes were pretty interesting and shot really well.

1 out of 4.

The Fault In Our Stars

If there is one thing that has been made abundantly clear over the last few years, it is that teenage based romance novels turned into movies make a lot of money. Why? Fan girls, mostly. But as long as it is teenage and romance, then it will make money. Most of them have seemed to do well, assuming they actually have a big following, unlike random shit like Vampire Academy.

Which is why it should come to no surprise that The Fault In Our Stars was breaking presale records.

Even if the movie ended up being shitty, I can’t get mad at it being made. Because after it gets made, then it is done and over. This is not a trilogy that will have the third book getting broken up into ten parts. Just one complete story, no cliff hangers, no bull shit. And really, that makes this feel a little bit more special for me.

Hilary Rodham Clinton
I can see they are also showcasing the Hillary Rodham Clinton look in this movie.

Speaking of being special, Hazel (Shailene Woodley) is a girl who had cancer when she was thirteen, got over it, then had some lung issues. Now she has problems breathing, has one of those oxygen tanks by her at all times, going into her nose. Kind of hard to be a normal teenage girl like that! She can’t make friends, or even a boyfriend.

Until she goes to a support group. There she meets Isaac (Nat Wolff), a guy going blind from his eye cancer. But he isn’t important. His friend, Augusts Waters (Ansel Elgort), who is there to support Isaac is the important one. He had some cancer stuff, lost half of his leg, but now he has survived and wants to live life to the fullest. No worries. No problems. And he wants to do it all with Hazel.

Hazel is of course unsure of this boy. How could anyone like her? She has plastic in her nose!

Well, after finding out he is also pretty smart, willing to read the same book she likes and discuss death in a nice way, then yeah, she kind of likes him.

They have some goals. Like figuring out a way to go to Amsterdam, not for debauchery, but to see a recluse author (Willem Dafoe) and his assistant (Lotte Verbeek) to figure out what happened to the characters after the book ends and to talk about life and death. Augustus wants to be remembered when eventually goes away. Hazel just wants to be loved before she goes away even earlier.

Also starring Sam Trammell and Laura Dern as her very optimistic parents.

Mom
It is good to see Dr. Ellie Sattler still getting work. Even if it is awkward.

The first half of this movie, I was sitting in the theater wondering what is the point? It felt extremely basic, and almost a shitty non realistic love story. Bordering on disliking the film entirely.

Then the second half happened.

If there is one thing you hear about this book/movie ahead of time, it is probably that it is sad and to bring Kleenex. Well, that seems to be absolutely true. I can’t actually point out the number of times I cried, just that it happened on multiple occasions, sometimes for scenes that were pretty long. They just kept happening, both from being sad and beautiful/sweet.

And that literally is most of the reason I have to talk about this movie. Very touching and sad and beautiful. A first half that drags, and a second half that is a tear jerker. Does that mean it is great? On its own, it just means it knows how to tug on our emotional strings. Yet at the same time, I loved it for doing so.

I didn’t think the acting was anything special. I hated a few of the plot points. But at the same time, I think this is the type of movie I could watch multiple times and still feel an emotional connection with it, knowing what happens or not. That is a solid enough reason for this rating, in my eyes.

3 out of 4.

Recount

This is going to be one of those slightly different reviews folks.

Not only is it based on true events, but most of us know about it all. Okay, I mean we are aware of the events around it, without knowing both sides and all the problems and complications. I am talking about the Recount of the 2000 Presidential election ballots in Florida, the decision between who would be the next President, Bush or Gore.

Recountsz
This is not Bush and Gore.

Not sure what I am talking about? Here is some light reading (and thus plot review of the movie!).

TL;DR Florida done fucked up. Some of their ballots were confusing, some machines didn’t punch through enough, the sheet had a front and back, etc etc. Bush supposedly won the state and thus the election, but according to AP news the votes was too close to call, and Gore canceled his concession. Then lots of court stuff. Lots of stuff no one understood, but man was making fun of it easier.

And the whole thing is explained in this nice Hollywood rendition! Woo woo! So yeah, fictionalization happens, but the events are roughly correct, if I have been told correctly.

Kevin Spacey plays the main guy, some Democratic guy. I could tell you everyone’s role, but really I don’t remember them much since they are all real election political people. The closest thing to a villain is Laura Dern as a Florida Secretary of State.

We also got roles for other people! Roles everywhere! For Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Denis Leary, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, and more.

Female Evil?
Major woman character is the biggest villain? Don’t blame Hollywood, blame politics in 2000.

Given that I was 11 or so when this Florida stuff happened, I must say I really didn’t understand it at all. I just assumed Gore was being a baby and demanding recounts, I didn’t know what a Chad was. Easy to joke about, and I guess my perceptions were just based on where I lived. I am glad this HBO movie was done as a movie and not a documentary. It made it a lot more exciting and natural feeling to me.

Technically both sides are shown, but it is clear the Democrats (I think) are supposed to be the good side, when both sides had good and bad people in them. Can blame that one on Kevin Spacey probably. But overall it is very informative and entertaining.

Now I feel like I could answer maybe one more question on Jeopardy, thanks to this movie.

3 out of 4.