Bodied

With a film called Bodied, I really didn’t know what to expect. I mean, it seems like a horror film, doesn’t it?

Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies) was a comedy/romance, so this could be going in that direction.

Or maybe like, an action film? Or a boxing film. That would work.

But a street rap battle film? One that is sort of a musical, sort of a comedy, and sort of a anger inducing suspense? All in one?

Well, you had my curiosity, but now you have my attention.

Crew
This is not a group of people waiting at attention.

Way back in [Current Year], a man was trying to turn his love of street rap battles into a dissertation for college. That man was Adam (Calum Worthy) and he was extremely white. How white is he? Well, he wants to write scholarly about rap, that is one thing. Adam so white, his dad (Anthony Michael Hall) is a professor at a university, and is like, the best professor at poetry and stuff. Adam so white, he feels bad about his whiteness. Adam so white, he cannot come up with a good nickname.

Adam is attending one of these street rap battles with his uninterested girlfriend, Maya (Rory Uphold), when he gets to have an interview with Behn Grymm (Jackie Long), his favorite rap artist. Adam knows everything about the different rapper’s rhyme schemes, how they can build up a diss, and all of that. The only thing missing is actually competing in the rap game.

But Adam is white. Super white. If he jumps in, and is successful, he doesn’t want to seem like a culture vulture. Even if it is his dream, it would shame in from his family and friends, all of which are very liberal (like him).

Despite this, Adam gets challenged on the streets, and despite being awkwardly white, he destroys the playa who tried to front and becomes somewhat of a viral sensation. So what is a white boy to do? Follow his dreams and throw away his family and former friends? Or go abck to his paper writing and always wander what if?

Or maybe a third option. Follow his dreams and throw away his family, former friends, and new friends too! A weird option, but an option nonetheless.

Also starring Jonathan Park, Shoniqua Shandai, Walter Perez, Charlamagne Tha God, and Dizaster.

Argument
Adam so white, he doesn’t respect people’s personal space.

Bodied is a hard film to sell and a harder film to describe. It is the type of film that seems to have way too many problems associated with it and to be a disaster. And maybe because the film is constantly on the edge of disaster is why the movie works in the first place.

My best description of this movie is like watching Breaking Bad. Not the entire series mind you, but the end of season four. Walter White had done some desperate things things in the show, and despite them being deplorable, they seemed to still be related to his general survival. But by the end of season four, you certainly know that things have changed by now. This is not the man you remember from season one. He is a bad guy, and you have been sort of rooting for a bad guy this whole time. Bodied is like the first four seasons of Breaking Bad.

And yes, that implies it ends before the various arcs we get in season five. And that is okay.

Our main character is not the nice guy he claimed to be. This film tackles so many subjects in such a unique and fresh way. Like cultural appropriation, systematic racism and oppression, and what is fair and not fair. What it means to be a friend and what someone is willing to sacrifice to win it all. Thanos would approve of our main character.

I didn’t know that a film with so much rap battling and recklessness could hold my attention. But the two hour run time just flew by me and was captivating, despite being about a topic I never cared about before. I am so conflicted at the end by so many characters. My wife came to talk to me during one of the final rap battles, and I had to shoo her away because “this is important”. I was cringing and almost crying, not sure how I should be reacting to what was on the screen.

In the end, Bodied is unique, both in terms of plot and how it chooses to tell a story and make its characters feel fresh. it is a wonderful addition to film and something you should not overlook.

4 out of 4.

First Match

Shit, did you read my 6 Balloons review? I just had an introduction that would work for this film as well, First Match.

Except First Match came out a couple months ago on Netflix, while 6 Balloons was only a couple weeks ago. And for First Match, I actually watched it right when it came out on Netflix.

So why the late review? Eh. I forgot. And it got pushed back week after week after week. Another movie I watched the same day. I haven’t even wrote that review yet either, so that one might take another few weeks!

Don’t let any of that deter from this review. Unless I get some details wrong. Then blame it on memory loss because I am old as fuck.

Tussle
I am pretty sure they are not in the same weight class.

Monique (Elvire Emanuelle) is a problem girl, but really, is it her fault? She is living in a foster home with a foster mom (Kim Ramirez), but she gets moved around a lot. Because of her own problems, because of her temporary homes, and because of her parents messing up her life and getting involved in crime.

She has her issues of course, but she is coming around. For example, her sudden interest in the school wrestling team. She feels like she can fight, so why not put it to a different skill set. They don’t have a woman’s wrestling team, so as long as she can tough it out, she would have to wrestle the boys.

None of this has to do with her father coming back into her life of course. Her dad (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) was a wrestler, and she is saying he is her coach, but won’t show up to her games and doesn’t want to take her back into his home. Maybe if she wrestles real good, she can win his heart as well?

Or maybe he will just use her like she is always used.

Starring Colman Domingo, Jared Kemp, and Jharrel Jerome.

Wrustle
This school is different from the East Compton Clovers, but close.

First Match is not a movie made for people like me to relate to or to necessarily enjoy, but to see a different sort of culture and view in the US. Lower socioeconomic class films are pretty common, but they always feel like sort of fantasies at time, and rarely have an extremely realistic portrayal. First Match probably is extremely realistic.

I don’t recall a lot about this film after a couple of months (my bad!). I do remember that this is the rating I picked, probably due to its slower moments, and a bit more of a lackluster ending than I would have liked.

But again, going for realism doesn’t always mean it will be very entertaining.

It is okay acted, an okay story, but not one that will change my own life in any meaningful way.

2 out of 4.

Andre the Giant

André the Giant is a man who lived up to his stage name. A giant was he, his disease for us to enjoy.

He wasn’t always giant. He grew up normally, but it was discovered in his later teen years. He grew up in a small French village, but once he became large, he got into smaller wrestling leagues around the world. Like Japan, where he was big in Japan. Eventually, he made it to the USA, and the rest is history.

Andre the Giant is a documentary that not only tells of the career and life until his death of Mr. The Giant, but also the rise of wrestling in the United States, the rise of the McMahons, and the rise of cable TV.

All of these stories intersect and tell a complete picture of America and wrestling over the decades.

ATG
And they all loved him for his big shoes.

It still yet tells an even bigger picture than all of that. This documentary questions what it means to be a legendary entity, to be a real life tall tale, still before everything was shared across the world. All we have now about Andre are his clips and the stories his friends have told about him.

Featuring commentary from some of his friends and coworkers, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Billy Crystal, Cary Elwes, Hulk Hogan, Rob Reiner, Robin Wright, and Vince McMahon.

Overall, I don’t think this is a documentary that you will only enjoy if you like wrestling. I haven’t liked wrestling in a long time, but the stories make it worth it.

Andre had a big heart. He touched a lot of lives. And shit, there is not a lot you can say in analysis about this documentary.

3 out of 4.

Borg vs McEnroe

What is the deal with this surge of tennis movies? This year we have Borg vs McEnroe, at some point there is that documentary Love Means Zero, and last year had the Battle of the Sexes.

But it isn’t just a two year trend. Don’t you remember two years ago, that HBO miniature film? It was called 7 Days in Hell, and that one was a parody piece and about fictional rivals. Somehow that 45 minute feature led executives to put out two real tennis match movies relatively close together. Are people just running around buying out the rights to intense matches?

Then before this gets to the point of no return, then can we get someone to quickly film the Isner-Mahut match from a bit ago? That would be a marathon film if any. And don’t fill it with flashbacks. Start with the match. Then give us the night time breaks to get some other characters/story/anxiety in there.

What
The real reason for the film is to create this hair.

Set in 1980, history in Wimbledon was about to be made. Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) was the sexiest man alive, if sexiest man alive meant extremely skilled at Tennis. How can Borg, only 24, be the greatest Tennis player? Well, when he was 23, 22, 21, and 20, he won Wimbledon. That is four times in a row. And no one had ever won it five times in a row. Could he be that first person? He is young, he is strong, he is accurate. And hey, he keeps his emotions in check. He is so goddamn stoic, before, after, and during matches, he is like a robot. They went on to name the Borg hive race in Star Trek after him due to that personality.

So what is stopping him? Well, a younger up and coming athlete, John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf), who, like all great rivalries, was basically the exact opposite. He was 22 at the time, American, and like America, he was rash, angry, and people didn’t like him across the seas. He was a firecracker, he yelled at the judges, he unnerved his opponents and was a thorn in the professional tennis world.

And they would meet at Wimbledon. If Borg wins, he makes history. If McEnroe wins, it dawns a new era of primadonna shit head tennis players.

What world do we want to live in!?

Also starring Stellan Skarsgård, Tuva Novotny, and Scott Arthur.

Yes
Really they are both rock stars if you think about it.

I have a general fondness for Tennis movies. I really can’t imagine one I really disliked. To be fair, outside of the ones I tagged up there, the only ones I remember right now at Wimbledon itself and…that’s it. And I liked Wimbledon.

It is a sport that definitely allows itself to be filmed in a way to really show the struggle between two athletic individuals. It doesn’t focus on nameless team players that are just background bodies, or shenanigans. Just playing some tennis balls.

Both LaBeouf and Gudnason give very strong performances as people with their own issues to deal with. The use of flashbacks really worked in this movie. We got a lot of flash backs for Borg in particular, to see how he developed into that type of player and why (hint, some bad stuff happened). And similarly, what McEnroe had to deal with, even as one of the top players of the world, how he never seemed to get his respect.

I kept the truth of the ending a secret from myself, which paid off big time. Real stories are cool, and they are better if you don’t know the final outcome.

Definitely a solid dramatic tennis movie. I’m talking acrylic court solid here.

3 out of 4.

The Miracle Season

Oh, it is the spring time. Is it time for an inspirational sports movie? Shit, I didn´t know. I wasn´t ready.

The more and more inspirational sports moments they decide to turn into films, they more obscure or recent they have to grab them. When we had Million Dollar Arm a few years ago, it was literally only a couple years after the event. We used to have to wait 10+ years to get a film about the sports event in question. Hell, we finally got a Tonya Harding movie just last year.

I honestly don´t know if The Miracle Season is a current event or something really old. I just know it is a volleyball film, which is not really common at all. So it is an inspirational volleyball film to get people excited about that sport, and winning and stuff.

Want to know the last inspirational volleyball film I remember watching? Phat Beach.

Mara
Holy shit, did they find a missing Mara sister for the lead role?

First of all, get ready, this film is set in Iowa. Now, everyone is not white in the movie, but they probably had to add some people of color because reality is too scary and they want to imagine it not so intense.

The main two white girls that this movie is about are Kelly (Erin Moriarty) and Line (Danika Yarosh). She was Caroline, but hated it, so she want by Line or Liner. They were BFFs since 3 years old, and their families have been close. And now they play volleyball together, going into their senior year of high school. Their team won the state championship in volleyball the previous year, and now they are ready to repeat!

Well, the coach (Helen Hunt) is. The rest seem to be cocky and goof off, even after losing their first game. Long story short, Line dies in a scooter accident, and now the team is even more fucked. She was the captain, the center, and the life force of their program. Her dad (William Hurt) is going through the most, because his wife died of cancer a week later, but her condition the knew about.

This is a true story again, so you know most likely how this story is going to end, or else, why would the movie exist?

Also starring Jason Gray-Stanford, Burkely Duffield, and Jillian Fargey. A few other girls on the team that stand out include Lillian Doucet-Roche as the freshman, who isn’t blonde, Tiera Skovbye as the most athletic one, who you can tell from the other blondes by her hair band, and Nesta Cooper, who is someone who isn’t even white like the rest of her team.

Ending
There we go. There’s that classic sports ending movie shot.

First of all, let me note that originally I was going to rate this lower, because I was annoyed at how they were “Hollywood-ing” up a real story, which happens very often. Creating a bit of extra drama in order to keep things going, instead of sticking to the truth. Well, then I watched a 14 minute special on the events, and every part I assume was extra was real. My bad.

Secondly, here are some coincidences. This film is about the death of Line of course, and the team coming together to repeat. It is also about Kelly, her best friend, coping with their loss and turning into a leader for the team to rally behind as well. Kelly after the events of the film went on to college at Iowa State from 2011-2015, where she probably played some volleyball too.

Well, I was at Iowa State from 2012-2014 for graduate school. I was a Geophysics graduate student, and she was a microbiology student, and those two sciences shared the same relatively small building on that campus, so there is a really good chance I have walked by or seen this real life person before. Heck, I had even bought things from the Microbiology club for their fundraisers. I find it a bit bizarre that this person who went through these crazy life experiences was near my own personal existance for so long without knowing, and now they have a movie about them.

Well, Kelly went on to graduate school to be a PA, and is currently in Houston, Texas trying to finish that. Hey. I am in in Houston, Texas.

Cough. Okay. Sorry. Moving on. To talk about the actual movie? Well, the acting is really average to below average. Yarosh was insufferable as Line. Way too much, and that may have been Line in real life, but it sort of just irritated me. I was ready for her to die. They loved spending time on their grief, so they didn’t spend as much time as I would have hoped on actual volleyball.

Outside of the occasional montage, the volleyball games were basically described by the first 1-2 serves and the last 1-2 serves, without much in between. Most of the characters don’t have any discernible personality. The freshman player has the next most personality after Kelly, and that is because of her fresh-ness only.

The Miracle Season is an okay film for its accuracy to the story and its ability to make you feel a bit compelled. It is not one where you will be blown away by the acting from any party involved. It has minor issues occasionally like one near the end where the server changes in between points at a time when that totally wouldn’t happen. But again, this is our only volleyball movie for the next 20+ years probably, so it will have to do.

2 out of 4.

Early Man

By all means, tell me that the movie is done by the people who did Wallace and Gromit. Yes I will watch it every time. I won’t always like it, but I respect it enough to give it the shot it deserves. It’s very weird, very British shot.

So why not Early Man, which is going to combine cave man jokes with very British football jokes. Ones I probably wont even fully understand.

And the best news about it is that the cast only has 3 or 4 recognizable names. They are giving roles to actual voice actors, instead of just laying us down with 40 celebrities, some which probably would have only had five or so lines.

Training
Lava is always a nice bonus, in any movie, regardless of context.

A long time ago, dinosaurs! Also this movie is saying cave people. Let’s let it slide. Meteor wipes them all out, not the people somehow. They find the hot meteor left over that created a giant valley, where it is really hot, so they decide to kick it to each other. They invent the game of football, get really happy, and live their lives in the valley.

Now, some time later, we can meet our new crew of cave people. They don’t know soccer anymore, they are relatively stupid as well. Dug (Eddie Redmayne) is young and a thinker, but the rest of the crew are content. They are content until some mammoths with armor come trampling in, as the rest of the world has decided to stop by and say hello. They are stone age cave people meeting for the first time a bronze age civilization, who is intent on mining out their secret valley for minerals, and letting them die.

Thanks to Dug who infiltrates their society, he learns that they play this game of football on the grand, coliseum like scale. This is their main religion! The only way they can probably get out of their jam and get their home back is by challenging their champions to a game. Dug saw these football paintings on their walls, but they never knew what it meant. But if their ancestors played the game, then they probably can figure it out as well!

Also starring Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall, Richard Ayoade, Miriam Margolyes, Nick Park, Rob Brydon, Johnny Vegas, Selina Griffiths, Simon Greenall, Gina Yashere, and Kayvan Novak.

Soccer
With that much armor, this thing looks a lot more like…football, than football.

Early Man is one of those basic “ragtag team of misfits pull together to do a sport thing better than professionals, due to teamwork, friendship, and shenanigans!” You know the kind. Despite being the type of thing that we have seen before, Early Man still manages to bring something new to the table.

It has a lot of tiny jokes throughout, a lot of puns they worked towards. And yes, there are some modern British football jokes that mostly would have flown over my head. But I got one or two.

The characters are likable. The caveman crew has a lot of complete characters, who have their individual good jokes or moments to shine. I don’t feel like we only have a few supporting people. The whole crew got to feel supporting, always a great thing in a movie like this.

This is not going to be a game changing animated film. But it is still really well done, at points clever, and tells a fun story. Hell, even the final soccer match seems to deviate away from the norm for these sorts of things. Still some surprised out there for everyone.

3 out of 4.

Icarus

Urine has always been an attention grabbing headline. Whether it relates to the president peeing in some sexual act in Russia, or R. Kelly peeing on a fan who isn’t at the age of consent to be peed on.

People love hearing pee stories, because people generally love peeing, it makes sense.

But people were quite upset at Lance Armstrong when his pee story hit the news. Everything was a lie, nothing was sacred, and all of those drug tests he passed could not detect his doping problems. Fuck.

What now? Are all professional dopers just waiting to get caught? (Yes). And should we care? (Eh, maybe not?). Bryan Fogel, who you definitely do not know, is an amateur bicyclist who went and did a big hard race in France that lasted only a short amount of days. His goal was to top 100 and he ended up in the top 20, but he was playing against basic machines. People who should have been pro.

So he wanted to find out if he could beat the drug tests, if he should take steroids since “Everyone does it” and if it was known out there how to do it. He didn’t call it Icarus for that reason, but for the other reasons that will maybe be made apparent.

It took him some time to find someone to help him, but eventually he found Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, a Russian scientist. He was very interested in doing tests with Fogel, telling him exactly what to do, when to pee, and how they might try and beat the system. And then, a lot more started to happen.

Urine
Look at all this urine! Hooray science!

You see, Dr. Rodchenkov was in charge of the Russian center for testing for drugs for their athletes. He had a long storied career, working around the world, and he was in charge in Russia for a bit now. And it was coming out, rumors, that the entire Russian Olympic program was doping, sponsored by the Russian government. Oh shit!

This is news that would affect the 2016 Olympics! And other programs. But it didn’t happen, and Rodchenkov was feeling breathes down his back in Russia. So he got out of town, joined Fogel in America, to go into basic hiding. He then told his story to the New York Times and the FBI. And the rest is history.

Just kidding, the rest is still getting started, what with the Russian ban in the 2018 Winter Olympics and all.

Fuck! I love the Olympics, and it is crazy that something like this can actually come to the forefront after all these years. I am talking decades, especially when there was talk of them doing it when they were the USSR. All of my pop culture knowledge has brought me to this moment and it just makes since. We had to know it from Rocky IV, right?

This is one of those documentaries that just feels so lucky. Fogel started it with one purpose, and it grew into something so much larger. It is just so goddamn lucky. It starts off strong with good ideas, and builds into something so complex and politically wonderful. In fact, we need an Icarus 2 in some years just to see what came of everything. Solid documentary, overall.

3 out of 4.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers

I. Love. Goon.

I did not do a best of list of 2011, but if I did, Goon would have certainly been on in it. It was such a surprise of a film. I don’t except a lot out of hockey movies, nor do I expect a lot out of Seann William Scott films, but something magical came together to give a movie that was hilarious, brutal, but still full of heart at the same time. And it told a different sort of hockey story. A different sort of underdog.

It was the perfect storm.

And then they said there would be a sequel. This time it would be written and directed by Jay Baruchel who wrote the first film. It would be Goon: Last of the Enforcers and it would come out eventually.

So it took six years yes. And Canada had it released in theaters briefly in March with no knowledge of when it would come to America, theatrically, DVD, or otherwise. And at some point it was just here, I saw the Blu-Ray at used movie store. I freaked out, excited, and scared.

As much as I loved Goon, I had big fears that a sequel would just be utter shit, as a lot of comedy sequels tend to do.

Train
Turning the whole thing from a comedy into a romance is a bold choice as well.

Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is ready to start a new season as a Halifax Highlander, but with a big change. He is going to be the captain. This upcoming season is a bit of a weird one, as there is a lockout in the NHL, so more and better players are in their league than normal and people are actually noticing them for once, including the media. They have a new owner, Hyrum Cain (Callum Keith Rennie) a former player himself.

During their first game, Glatt gets into a bloody fight with Anders Cain (Wyatt Russell), an up and coming violent winner, and yes, son of their new owner. Glatt gets his ass handed to him and his right arm injured, putting him out potentially for good. His right hand is so messed up, if he fights again, it will quickly get fractured and fuck it up permanently.

So Glatt is ready to retire on that note. Eva (Alison Pill), his now wife, is also pregnant and worried about him, so he gets a steady job in some insurance company. He hangs his skates up for his family, as the Highlanders begin to lose and lose. The owner makes changes that seem to threaten the franchise and the careers of his friends. That is not good. There is no way Glatt could come back, right? Not with an inability to fight. He would just have to be a player mostly. It might be crazy enough to work…

Also returning are basically everyone from before: Marc-Andre Grondlin, Liev Schreiber, Kim Coates, Jay Baruchel, Jonathan Cherry, George Tchortov, Karl Graboshas, Trent Pardy, and Richard Clark. It also brings in Elisha Cuthbert and T.J. Miller!

New Guy
New guy definitely wins the beard game if anything.

A lot of the same happens in the Goon sequel, thankfully. We still have the locker room playful banter that makes up a decent portion of the original. A lot of the skaters are the same. The old captain has retired and is now just a coach, along with the same old coach as well. Just a new owner, a new player, and the same supporting cast.

Pill’s character has changed for the worse. She is worried about her husband, and pregnant, but she really doesn’t get to have a lot of good moments unlike the first film. She rocked originally when she was a hot mess, but I guess it is development. Glatt feels like the same old character, which feels great, although the time between the films is a bit up in the air. I definitely enjoyed seeing Rhea in a roll that felt natural as well.

Unfortunately, Russell’s new antagonist, though threatening, was all over the place. They tried to place it all under just anger issues, but it is really hard to understand him as a person, and feels like he would just do what a writer wants, not like how an actual person might react.

Jokes are still there, they just didn’t hit as hard. Some really funny moments, but I have already forgotten basically every best moment, unlike the best moments from Goon which I have quoted for years.

All in all, it is just an okay film. It won’t tarnish the memory of the first film, but also, it is one I won’t ever need to go back and see again. Oh well. Just don’t make it a trilogy and end it poorly.

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.

Chuck

The show Chuck had a magnificent run of five seasons. It is incredible, because it had piss poor live ratings, despite a thriving fan community. It was a nerdy action comedy, a genre that doesn’t get a whole lot of love, especially on the TV.

I am glad it didn’t end too soon, but it is good to see it finally getting a movie as an add on.

Oh wait, shit. This movie, Chuck, is about something completely unrelated. And it was originally called The Bleeder. Well fuck, that sounds like a better title, and a title that wont get me super pumped up on Zachary Levi first. And it is a true story.

Well, I assume whoever this Chuck guy is, he better not secretly also be a spy.

Bleeder
I wonder why it might have been called The Bleeder.

Chuck Wepner (Liev Schreiber) from Bayonne, New Jersey, was a boxer, but it didn’t pay the bills. He had odd jobs, and selling liquor. But he was still a boxer first, he was known for surviving a long time in fights. He could really take a punch to the head. He was also nicknamed the Bayonne Bleeder, on account of how easy it was for his head to bleed, but he hated that nickname. He had fought against George Foreman and other notables, but he was finally getting on a hot streak.

Another person getting on a hot streak was Muhammad Ali (Pooch Hall), who just won the heavyweight champion title against the odds. And against even more odds, Don King wanted Ali to fight a white man, and Wepner was the highest ranked white heavyweight white man, so he got the gig. He was getting paid a lot less than Ali, but it was a lot of money from a bloke from Jersey, and he finally got to train full time.

But his bout with Ali was just the beginning. After that, he became a pseudo celebrity. And he even had a movie made about him. You may have heard about it? It was called Rocky, don’t cha know.

Ron Perlman played his manager/trainer, Elisabeth Moss was Wepner’s wife, Jim Gaffigan was his best friend, and Naomi Watts was his life. Also Jason Jones as another friend and Morgan Spector as young Sylvester Stallone.

Sly
“Eeyyy yo, Chuckie! I made some money!”

Chuck Wepner seems like a really interesting person. You gotta be built a certain way to just take a lot of punches and he used that to his advantage. He has a good story, and the story we were given broke the mold a bit. Because this is a boxing movie with arguably, not a lot of boxing. The fight with Ali was done with about 2/3 of the movie left to go, and the fight wasn’t done to showcase the excitement of boxing. It was just another part of the film.

No the real story of the movie is his life before and after the fight. And it got a little bit meta feeling, which I understand is the wrong word, when Rocky came out and how that changed Wepner’s life. I mean, we had a guy playing Stallone in this film, the production of Rocky 2 and more. We got to see his hard times, his bad personal life, and more. So it was bio drama first, then boxing movie second.

The first third of the movie was great, if not pretty standard. I will note after the Ali fight the film seemed to drag a bit more and I had no idea where it was going throughout it. Some okay moments, but they harped on a few of them just way too long. But the acting was fine, and they did a good job of trying to make everyone uglier to better represent New Jersey.

And overall, seeing Schreiber in this role felt really good. But what this movie really made me wonder is when the fuck will Goon: Last of the Enforcers come to America?

2 out of 4.

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