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.

The Disaster Artist

When you claim to watch bad movies so others don’t have to, you often get asked if you have seen certain bad movies. I would say the film I have been asked about the most by a landslide would be Cube. Because I like shit like that, and math. Didn’t see that coming did you? Well I’ve seen Cube now and the first sequel.

The movie most requested after that would easily be The Room, something I didn’t rush out to see. I saw the “best scenes” compilation on YouTube and just put that in a “one day” bucket. Then The Disaster Artist has to go and not only come out but receive awards nominations. shit. That meant I HAD to watch The Room finally. I couldn’t go in blind. What’s the point?

So I saw it still slightly reluctantly. Powered through. I get the appeal but I still won’t see it again. And hey now I can watch others talk about it!

viewing
Just not in the goddamn theater, that’d be rude.

Sometime in the late 1990’s, Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) was a struggling young adult. He thought about being a famous actor one day, and he was even taking acting lessons. He just wasn’t any good. At all. At. All. Nothing helped, he didn’t display any emotion, it was a lost cause. But in those same classes, he found a dark and mysterious man named Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). Now this is a man who knew how to channel his emotions and really bring that raw talent to the stage.

So Greg wanted to work with Tommy, and Tommy agreed. He was a bit weird, but he really brought it out of Greg and Greg started to feel confident. After years of friendship, they moved to LA, with Tommy financing everything, to become real actors. After it didn’t work out well, especially not for Tommy, Tommy started to write and figure out his own movie. This piece became The Room, a film that is iconic today, and the rest of this movie is how it was made, the trials they faced, and the hurdles that were overcome. Also how Greg began to move on by getting a girlfriend (Alison Brie) and trying to separate from the Tommy umbrella.

And only some talk about being a vampire.

Given the people who made this, it is no surprise how many famous actors are in this film: Seth Rogen, Paul Scheer, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, Charlyne Yi, Bob Odenkirk, Hannibal Buress, Joe Mande, Nathan Fielder, Andrew Santino, Jason Mantzoukas, Megan Mullally, June Diane Raphael, Jackie Weaver and Ari Graynor. I could have also swore a minor character was Margot Robbie, but the credits won’t let me confirm that.

Football
As we learned in The Room there is never a bad time for football.

I wonder how much your perceptions of this film changes based on your opinions of The Room. If you have seen The Room many times since it came out, were totally in that cult movie aspect, I think you will enjoy The Disaster Artist a whole lot more than someone new to the topic. Obviously this is a film where you sort of need to see The Room before seeing it to really get it at all, but there is a huge difference between me watching it a week before The Disaster Artist and years prior.

Because hey, The Disaster Artist is a pretty funny film. The Francos do a good job of setting the stage, building up the Wiseau mythos and so on. And sure, I can agree that James acted well, only because we obviously have a real person/character to compare him to. But if this was just a movie about a bad production, this is the type of thing that would be panned for unnecessarily ridiculous director guy.

So it is a very hard thing to judge. Was it actually well acted only because he acted like Wiseau accurately? Or does well acted need to be something more than accuracy to a subject? It is a hard subject to answer, and not one that I will go into real detail here. But it is something on my mind and something that certainly would tell me that it certainly shouldn’t be winning awards for its acting.

The Disaster Artist was a film that made me laugh and remind me of a shitty film at the same time. It is a very strange genre of movie, very meta, and it will gain its own cult status I am sure. Double features for the next 20 years! However, in reality, I really just want to read the book to get the full story and won’t bother too much with the film version many times in the future.

3 out of 4.

Nerdland

Nerdland on initial glance looks like some late night show on Adult Swim or Comedy Central. Looking at its concept history, I am sure that at some point that was the goal as well. It definitely features people who have worked with these networks in the past, and an art style that is detailed and…well it is hard to describe. Rough around the edges? Chaotic?

Maybe even grotesque. Yeah, grotesque. That is how this film looks, and it has an adult tone. Sort of a Heavy Metal crudeness to the whole thing. So I am expecting, ass and titties, hard language, maybe even hard violence, despite a simple nice sounding title.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in Nerdland?

Apartment
Well, Nerdland doesn’t look to clean, which I guess I should have expected.

John (Paul Rudd) and Elliot (Patton Oswalt) are best friends, living together in an apartment in Hollywood hoping to make it big. John is an aspiring actor, kicked out of an acting class, and taking that as a sign he had nothing to learn and was ready to star. Elliot is an aspiring screenwriter, who had a pedophile teacher who hung out with him a LOT, so he figures he is great at writing.

And they are not famous. They have side jobs that they keep losing, an apartment they cannot clean, and strong dreams of success when they both are complete sex craved losers. They think they have pseudo-girlfriends in Sally (Kate Micucci) and Linda (Riki Lindhome), but really they are just creepy and talk to them while they are at work.

After another unsuccessful attempt at reaching the big leagues and getting embarrassed, the two decide to put their fates in their own hands and get famous in a day. No matter the cost. No matter the effort. No matter the depths. And they will use their friend The Nerd King (Hannibal Buress), who runs a comic emporium, to get some help.

Also starring the voice work of Mike Judge, Charlene Yi, and Paul Scheer.

Nerd King
The Nerd King is not the ruler we need, but he is the ruler we deserve.

Grotesque is my word to best describe the film, but crude would be a high number two. A lot of this film seems to want to go to extremes, not for great reasons, but just because they wanted an extreme animated film. Not as bad as The Human Centipede levels, but high enough to realize that you are just going to get some fucked up shit.

And yet it all seems to make sense coming from the minds of our two losers heroes. They are typical beta males who feel friendzoned and think the world is out to get them for their intellect, not for the fact that they are complete assholes. It is almost like a character study, just taken to extremes so that maybe some similar people out there in the world and on the internet can see themselves in John and Elliot and maybe grow the fuck up.

At the same time, in their attempts to become famous, the film stalls out and becomes a bit of a drag. Watching them try a few different schemes to get famous all peter out isn’t as interesting as it seems. It does garner more interest in the end, as it starts to piece together a better narrative, but really, this film is just so extreme it is hard to derive a real message out of it.

Well, don’t be a fucker. That is one of them.

2 out of 4.