Tag: 1 out of 4

The People We Hate At The Wedding

I have had to write this title, The People We Hate At The Wedding, at least 10 times now in my life. And every time, it just feels wrong. I don’t mind long titles, but the “We” really throws me off, because who are the we? Are we the viewer, the we? Are we acknowledging that the leads in the film are the people we hate?

Because the title feels like something that the character should be saying. But at the same time, it is clear from the poster, that the main characters are the characters that should be hated. Are they hating on even more characters? Are they aware they they should be hated for their behavior?

I think it might be a better title if We was replaced by You. Then it has more of a documentary feel. We know we are watching and supposed to hate them. It is a movie showcasing them!

It turns out that my grumbles towards the title, despite loving the three leads, was just the start of my issues.

 

people
Hey look, it’s those people we all agree we hate.

 

Donna (Allison Janney) and Henrique (Isaach De Bankolé) got married and had a kid in London, named Eloise (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). But their relationship didn’t last, so they broke up and Donna went back to America, where she got married again (Andy Daly), and had two kids, Alice (Kristen Bell) and Paul (Ben Platt). They would get to see Eloise when she visited once a year, and got to do American cuisine like Taco Bell. They were an okay family, but Eloise was rich, and Alice/Paul were not, and it seemed to just get worse over the years.

So now that they are adults, and miserable in their lives. Alice is in a strange relationship with her boss (Jorma Taccone), who is rich, but also, you know, married. Ben is in a relationship with Dominic (Karan Soni), who apparently wants to experiment with a more open relationship. Their mom, Donna, is single again. And she doesn’t really talk to any of her kids.

But they all get an invite to Eloise’s wedding. She will pay for a lot of the trip too, but she wants her whole family there. However, her extended family is upset with her, or the situation for various reasons. And when miserable people conglomerate together, where they feel more miserable, then you’re gonna have a bad time.

 

more people
Here are more people. Should we hate them too? 

Comedies can be hit and miss, depending on the subject matter. Wedding movies are similar. For example, six years ago we got Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (oh hey, something else starring Pitch Perfect alumni). It wasn’t loved overall, but I had a good time with it and laughed a long with. Unfortunately with this film, I just could never care about their experiences. 

The protagonists are in sad situations, but none of them feel relatable. So I don’t care about their downward trend then eventual growth throughout the film. Instead it is more of a “well, miserable people deserve to be miserable” sort of attitude I had. “Oh no!…anyways”

It just feels like absolutely no joke landed. I don’t know if it is because of how unoriginal the story felt, or if it was just poorly paced or what. I do know that I wasn’t shocked at any point of the film. Once it was fully set up, it was predictable where would be by the end of the movie. 

There are no stand outs from the cast. It is nice that they let Ben Platt be gay on screen, which hasn’t happened a lot. But the movie itself is as forgettable. Just like the actual phrasing of the title. 

 

1 out of 4.

 

A Life on the Farm / Chop & Steele

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What’s this, a double review? Yes, I sometimes review more than one thing, if they are part of a series, for special reviews. But here are two unrelated documentaries showing at Fantastic Fest. Or maybe, they are related?

You see, with A Life on the Farm, it is about some old VHS tapes made in the 1990s, about Charles Carson. He was an old man with a farm, in England, who decide to start filming what can only be described as promotion films about his farm, and life on it.

With Chop & Steele, it is about a fictional duo named Chop & Steele. But the people who play this fake body building champion duo, Nick Prueher and Joe Pickett, are actually friends for decades who have made history pranking local TV news stations and collecting VHS tapes. You know, tapes they have shown at their Found Footage Festivals on tour, with audiences laughing about the absurdity of things people filmed from television or in their own homes.

One of those VHS tapes they found, being the A Life on the Farm series, which was one of their biggest hits. And hey, that is the other documentary! Boom, connection, let’s talk about both.

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Oh my god, so many skeletons on this farm. 

Charles Carson is the archived star of A Life on the Farm. He has won people over through his edited shots and set up scenes around his farm, using very limited technology at the time, and doing it at his old age when most people would assume he would know very little.

But more importantly, because like him for the things he did. Like, having his dead mother, pre burial, on a wheel chair around the farm, filming her saying goodbye to the land. A lot of folks would be creeped out by a dead body, but not him. He is death positive, and just wants to ensure that they get to pay their last respects.

In terms of the footage, I bet the actual unedited stuff is great, especially with a nice MC putting it in better context, and with a group of folks. But a documentary about the footage, its history, and it being broken down, did not make it seem more exciting. It just felt weird and uncomfortable split up this way, not the jolly interesting time I was hoping and expecting.

C&S
These guys are swoll. 

Now, in this documentary we can learn more about Nick and Joe. It is how they got started, their first festivals, and their first pranks! Like pretending to be an expert Yo-Yo expert, while not being an expert Yo-yoer. And more importantly, their Chop & Steele persona, which got them real big and famous because…they were sued over it!

Yep, a parent company of a TV station, once they found out they were a prank team, sued them for Fraud and more. They wanted it to be settled, and to apologize to the station, but the pair of course did not, and wanted to go all the way with it. It did become a talking point on other morning news shows, noting that this just shows that journalists didn’t do their first job. And also, eventually it did lead them to getting to America’s Got Talent, which was a claim they made to get on the shows!

But honestly, a lot more is just about the duo and their lives. Their friendship. Their direction in life. What their future plans on. Is it acting, or writing, or splitting up eventually? It brings a lot of heart into this documentary, much more than I expected about a few pranksters. And much more than I expected after watching the former documentary in this review.

It breaches a lot of good topics, while also being funny in its own right. I can’t wait to see what Nick and Joe do in the future, and if they plan on going any new direction with their antics, or if they dial it all in and retire.

1 out of 4. / 3 out of 4.

See How They Run

A lot of times to start these reviews, I will talk about the title as an effective or ineffective tool, or how people might perceive the movie. This time it isn’t a joke. It is all honesty. See How They Run sounds like a horror film. It just does. Or maybe even a war film.

I would have never guessed a Comedy/Mystery movie. I certainly would never have guessed it was something Agatha Christie adjacent. What does that mean? You will soon find out.

You will also find out why this stacked cast, full of actors I love, did very little for me unfortunately throughout the picture.

cast
This is most of the cast! Not even the biggest names! One or more of these characters might die!

In the 1950’s, there was TV and Movies, but let’s be clear, it wasn’t the top tier stuff we know about now. So what did people do? Well, there wasn’t a war, so they went to plays!

One popular playwright was Agatha Christie, whom you have heard of before. She wrote a lot of murder mystery plays, which had the audience guessing and sworn to secrecy that they wouldn’t spoil the ending of the play. After all, then people wouldn’t come and see them!

One play in particular, The Mouse Trap, was doing very well, and it got a lot of people excited about murder mysteries. It may have been even based on a real story. It is doing so well, a few people have the great idea to turn it into a film. People are watching films now, so why not let a lot more see it on a bigger scale? Great idea!

Until people start dying, who are associated with the film. No, this is not Scream 3. This is See How They Run. Now we have an Inspector (Sam Rockwell) and his rookie assistant (Saoirse Ronan) are going to try and find the killer. While also dealing with apathy and inexperience. And some intrigue, sure.

Also starring Shirley Henderson, Adrien Brody, David Oyelowo, Ruth Wilson, Reece Shearsmith, Charlie Cooper, and Harris Dickinson as a young Richard Attenborough.

running
See, I kept the biggest names hidden. Oh what a mystery that was!

This film is going for some sort of meta look on Agatha Christie plays, by having a murder mystery involved with the making of an Agatha Christie film. A real murder during fake murders! It is something that has been done before, so while feeling like it could be a unique look, it isn’t actually too unique. Now we have to compare it to just meta murder films and plays. At the same time, we have to compare it to actual Agatha Christie plays.

That is a lot of comparisons it needs to overcome. Unfortunately, it fails on those levels.

In terms of positives, I can say this movie is really well shot and costumed. It has a great visual look to it, and it is clearly using some good cameras and interesting scenes. I also think Ronan’s character was interesting, and that this one felt a bit more unique when compared to the majority of her other roles. Again, the spunky new cop who is smart and gets things figured out is not a new archetype either. It is just unique for her own body of work.

In terms of everything else, I am just left disappointed. From the eventual reveal, to the death scenes, to the jokes (this is a comedy, technically), and to even Sam Rockwell. I love Sam Rockwell. But much like his character didn’t want to be there, it felt like he didn’t want to be there either.

See How They Run is just a snooze. The jokes fall as flat as the bodies that eventual hit the floor. Its meta qualities don’t even feel like a unique enough reason to give it a watch out of curiosity.

1 out of 4.

Clerks III

Twenty-eight years ago, Clerks was released into the world, and I would like to think that the world changed a bit. It helped independent films gain some notoriety, right? It certainly helped Harvey Weinstein, but that is a different story. I watched this film years later, somewhere as a teenager, after already seeing Mallrats at the time.

Sixteen years ago, Clerks II was released! I was able to see that movie the day it had came out. We had to drive an hour to see it, my brother and I, and there wasn’t a lot of people in the theaters. It was certainly a good time. The sequel had similarities with the first film, but certainly stood on its own. And plus, they could afford to Rosario Dawson money, who was actually famous!

The release of Clerks III has taken a long time to come. I know at some point, a script was written for a film, but that did not happen. At a different time, it was turned into a screenplay where the goal was to have it performed on stage for some amount of time, and then shown in theaters in some sort of Fathom event. That also did not come to fruition.

It took Kevin Smith almost dying for him to make Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. But using that same influence, he decided to then make Clerks III about his experiences as well. Even though, theoretically, Clerks was about some of his experiences. And well, that means are getting what they call one of them/there Meta films.

 

weed
Damn, the stoners are back to doing drugs. Ain’t that a shame.

 

At the end of Clerks II, Dante (Brian O’Halleran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson) bought the Quick Stop that had burned down with Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob’s (Kevin Smith) movie money. They hired Elias (Trevor Fehrman) as one of their employees. And of course, Dante finally was able to realize what he wanted in a love life with Becky (Rosario Dawson), whom was pregnant with a child and now engaged.

So where are we at the new movie? Well, the same amount of time has passed and everyone is still at the same store, doing the same job. Except the job is more fun. For example, they can play hockey on the roof without it being a big deal, because they are the owners.

Unfortunately, Randal ends up having a heart attack and almost dies. [Hey, like Kevin Smith!…] Well, Randal doesn’t like that. Sure he might have to change some of his lifestyle, but since he almost died, he wants to make sure he leaves some impact on the world. Instead of just sitting around all day watching movies, he wants to make a movie. He must have learned enough about it now to make a good one right? And why not just make it about what he knows best, working a convenience store as a clerk serving the public.

And Elias worships Satan now.

Also starring Marilyn Ghigliotti and Austin Zajur

 

clerks
“This job would be great if it wasn’t for all the goddamn movie critics.” – Kevin Smith, probably.

 

How did Clerks III do? Did it nail the landing? Was it poignant yet funny? Was it sad and finale? Was it just dick and fart jokes? The Before trilogy is wonderful, telling the story of two people every 9 years in their life. Starring the same two actors, and the same director. Is the Clerks trilogy technically doing the same thing, over a longer time frame? Yes. But each part does not feel worthwhile, I am afraid.

There are two very specific moments that I certainly cannot talk about. One found out early on, and one dealing with the film’s climax. The earlier one annoyed me greatly, and changed the context of the film. The latter one made me cry, and yet at the same time, it felt cheap. It felt like something I have seen before. Heck, part of it feels like it was ripped straight out of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Unlike Clerks II, where I cried due to great love on the screen, this film had me crying from sadness, but sadness that did not feel earned, nor did it feel like it was even well respected by the material. A very odd position to be in, given the creator’s closeness to this franchise.

Outside of those two specific spoilery moments, most of the movie was watching these older characters try to film and create, what is essentially, the clerks movie. Using friends of theirs from the past to do similar roles inspired by their own fictional real events. What that means is that we got to see a LOT of cameos from the first film, reprising their same roles, and doing the same scenes. That is pretty interesting. Sure. But at the same time, the hardships that came with filming, and the specific things that popped up, were all real experiences as well. And they are all well known and well documented experiences. Because if there is anything Kevin Smith likes doing, it is telling stories from his life. So I was seeing scenes I have already heard before and read before, making the whole thing lose its edge really quickly. I didn’t care about seeing an episode of SModcast, I wanted to see a new movie. 

There are other elements of the trilogy that this one doesn’t follow. I am not saying it has to, but it does help stylistically set the Clerks movies apart. This film does not take place over a day, it takes place over many many weeks. A small annoyance, but notable nonetheless.

The Elias plot line with his crypto friend was incredibly wasted. I don’t think either made me laugh at all. 

The problems with Clerks III is that instead of telling a good new story, Smith instead chose to tell an old story. And when a lot of your movie is literally rehashed jokes from the first one, it is hard to care. At least in the Jay and Silent Bob Reboot I got closure for Chasing Amy, so it doesn’t need some bad sequel. For this specific series, I should have stopped after it peaked with the interspecies erotica. 

 

1 out of 4.

 

Breaking

Finally, a reboot of Breakin’. We haven’t had a break dancing themed film in awhile. Maybe one of the Step-Up films?

I wish I could begin the review like that honestly. I really would enjoy a film about break dancing, even though I know they won’t try to make it a good story.

Instead, Breaking is about a bank robbery. Or at least, someone who has a bomb in the bank, with a very specific set of demands, and he will not stop until he gets his way. Maybe unless he reaches his…Breaking Point?

fbi
And, it features this handsome fellow in one of his final roles. 

Brian Brown-Easley (John Boyega) has gone through some things. He is a former Marine soldier, but now he is just a regular guy, going through hard times. Including money troubles. We seem looking really beat up at the start of the movie. But over what?

We shall see…

The point of the matter is, that later he goes to the bank to do something really basic. No problems, all good. That is, until he asks for a paper, and writes a note to the teller that he has a bomb.

He allows people to call the cops, and most of them to evacuate. The teller (Selenis Leyvis) and manager (Nicole Beharie) are the only two staying behind. Brian is very apologetic and sorry. He says he won’t be hurting him if he has to let the bomb go. He just needs to make some demands.

What kind of demands? Well. He wants $832. That specific amount. And he doesn’t want it from the bank. He wants his money from the VA that he says was denied to him recently. It is the principle.

Also starring Connie Britton, Jeffrey Donovan, London Covington, Olivia Washington, and Michael Kenneth Williams.

bomb
Bringing a bomb to a bank is a good way to be alliterative. 

One thing you might want to know going into this movie is that it is based on a true story. And because of that, it is limited in really what it can tell in this movie, if it wants to be accurate. From the plot of this film, it looks like it was going for accuracy. I would not recommend looking up the actual events before hand, nor the article that became famous talking about the events. Obviously they are spoilers, but even the title of the article is a spoiler.

This film is dealing with a real, and serious issue. It is dealing with PTSD, and of course, police violence against black people, and their difference responses based on the color of ones skin most of the time. It is serious and worth being talked about.

But at the same time, I am a movie reviewer, and reviewing the movie itself. Once we get to the bank scene, which starts relatively early in the film, it feels like Boyega is giving a sort of impression of Denzel Washington in John Q. At least it made me elicit it. A guy holding up people for a good cause potentially. But there isn’t a lot that happens in this story. Just some talking, and escalations, until the whole thing ends. The true story is a powerful one sure, but the emotions weren’t with me along for the ride. And that was devastating.

Boyega wasn’t acting bad, nor the rest of the cast. Jeffrey Donovan’s character was a little weird in the grand scheme of things. But it didn’t seem to go far about the issues that the movie wanted to talk about. It all felt very surface level. It is really easy to make me cry when a movie has a father doing something “for his daughter” and there are emotional build ups, but this one couldn’t get to me in that level.

I think I would rather have a documentary about this subject, and the greater problems reflected in the film. Because this time keeping the story relatively accurate meant it didn’t have a lot to work with. And for one more note, I really wish it kept its original title, 892. That would have felt more unique.

1 out of 4.

Luck

Did John Lasseter fuck around with employees and sexually harass people while working for Disney/Pixar?

Well, most assuredly yes. He even admitted to it and called them missteps. That is pretty poorly worded. What a fuck. So he got booted out of Disney/Pixar, which makes sense. But damn it, he has /talent/ so he can’t not have a job. How will he live off of his previous riches?

So Skydance Animation was made! Okay, it was made before that controversy. But they hired Lasseter to run it, because they wanted a big name I guess. And that is the intro you get to have for their first animated film, Luck! Which is premiering straight to Apple+.

dragon
Oh, but this movie has dragons. Why isn’t it on HBO?

Luck is a story about Sam (Eva Noblezada), whom you might have already guessed, is unlucky. She is clumsy, she is late, her stuff stops working, she falls, she gets pains, but damn it she is 18 now, and about to live life on her own. Her own apartment, her own basic job. Why is that? Oh yeah, because she was also in a foster home. Yep, her unluckiness meant she was also there for years and never got taken in by a “forever family”, and just had to live a sad life alone. Yep, we are going depressing with this real quick.

But leaving the home meant that that Hazel (Adelynn Spoon) is now alone. A newer foster kid in the home. Sam makes sure she should still visit so often, so she won’t be alone, and hopes she has better luck.

Sure enough, she runs into a black cat, who drops a coin (ah, must be a lucky penny), and then Sam has good luck! She blames it on the coin of course, and wants to give it to Hazel so she can be adopted (fuuuck, that’s too depressing for me). But, once again, she is unlucky and loses it after intentionally setting it down.

That is when she runs into the cat again and….well, the rest is history. You know, after she follows it to a secret Luck world where Good Luck is created and fostered, with a polar opposite Bad Luck side that brings bad luck into the world, with a smorgasbord of diverse characters.

Also starring Colin O’Donoghue, Flula Borg, Jane Fonda, Lil Rel Howery, Maurice J. Irvin, Simon Pegg (as the cat!), John Ratzenberger, and Whoopi Goldberg.

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Oh shit, emotions rising. Characters are hugging!

Honestly, this movie made me cry. But it is seriously hard not to. The first ten minutes are extremely sad. I feel so bad, that the took something kind of whimsical like having good or bad luck and equating it to something so serious like having someone fucking adopt you. Normally the stakes for this type of thing are missing a shot in a big sports game, or question in a competition. But sorry, your unusual unluckiness prevented parents from wanting to have you in their life? And often not show up at all for visits? Goddamn, calm down movie people.

Honestly, writing that makes me a bit more annoyed as it all comes together.

For the film itself, it is pretty damn basic. It feels like a lot of other generic kid fantasy films. Go to a magical realm. Have a diverse cast of different characters and magical beasts to look at. Have to go from point to point to collect things, to get closer and closer to a goal. And learn a lesson, that is really obvious from us the viewer. Just a standard, unimaginative story line. Even if it is in a new world we haven’t been before, it doesn’t do anything particular shocking with that world.

Overall, Luck is really lazy. For a child, it might be nicely distracting. But its tone is off, and honestly leaving a bad taste in my mouth to cheapen foster kids and adoption into good and bad luck. Sure the film made me cry, like twice, but it did so by being very manipulative with some real tragedies that didn’t actually matter for a lot of the story.

1 out of 4.

Don’t Make Me Go

Don’t Make Me Go, by its name, can only be one of two things. Either its some comedy film about an introvert. Or it is a drama film, that is definitely tear jerky in nature.

And sure enough, it is a tear jerking film! And because of that, the title of course makes me think of Never Let Me Go, which is a difference context, about holding on (/not giving up on someone). And that film is incredibly sad and beautiful.

I have the highest expectations for Don’t Make Me Go, and I demand at least three cry events.

drive
Learning to drive? Okay, that one won’t make me cry. I think.

Max Park (John Cho) is doing the best he can. He is a single dad, working a job, trying to date, and trying to make sure his daughter is safe from boys and drugs and parties. Max also went to the hospital recently, and sure enough he has a brain tumor.

(Those aren’t good).

If he doesn’t do surgery, he will die. If he does surgery, he has a good chance still of dying and so that sucks. His daughter (Mia Isaac) has literally no one else to take care of her if he goes…except for…maybe…her mother?

So Max gets the plan to go to his high school reunion, while bringing his daughter along on this road trip. He can teach her things, in case this is his last chance. Like how to drive. And sure, when he gets there, he can introduce his daughter to her mother, who is still alive, but did not want a kid or a family. Maybe this time has been enough. Maybe this will help him pass in peace.

Also starring Kaya Scodelario, Josh Thomson, Jen Van Epps, and Jemaine Clement.

selfie
Holy shit! She put fingers above his head! In the selfie! So that, omgomg, he looks like a bunny rabbit! Holy shit that’s funny ohmga.

I was ready to cry, the plot sounded so sad and emotional. And yet. It never came. The film did a bad job to make me connect at all emotionally with the characters. There were a few close chances of course. But let’s see…

It started with a scene randomly 2/3 of the way through the movie, though no real need to do that for a movie like this. One of the bigger moments was my first almost, a first meeting with the mom. But it didn’t last long enough. And once the information was shared about the tumor? Almost, maybe. But we are so far in the film that I am still surprised at how little I connected.

After all that, unfortunately, we got an ending to the film. The ending was absolutely poop. It took what could have been a strong movie and wanted to go for surprises that it sort of abandoned any hope of being considered a great film. To me, the ending turned this film from an average film to a bad film. I can’t recommend this movie, because I don’t wish the disappointment on anyone.

The acting from Cho and Issac? Great, wonderful, fine. But the story needed a lot more work, and they are wasted because of it.

1 out of 4.

American Werewolves

An American Werewolf has famously traveled the world. We had An American Werewolf in London and then later An American Werewolf in Paris. Did you know we were going to have An American Werewolf in Rome? I also just now learned that fact.

But what about An American Werewolf in AMERICA? We would probably just call that American Werewolves then.

There are quite a few werewolf movies set in America it turns out. We had The Wolf of Snow Hollow a few years ago, notably, that was one of my favorite movies that year. All of these movies with werewolves in America have two things in common. They have a werewolf in America. And they are fictional films. Completely made up. Story boarded, filmed, with CGI or person in a fur suit or both.

But what about reality? Maybe werewolves are real? In American Werewolves, we are going to hear about real people, who have had encounters that make them think one thing: Werewolves. So now they are believers. And now someone has gathered their stories together, so we can be the judge.

werewolf
When the moon hits your eye, and that is all you can see, that’s a scary.

American Werewolves directors decided the best way to do this documentary about the supernatural was to provide NO outside influence or editorial to the stories. We don’t have an interview with someone calling any of these stories bullshit. We don’t have supernatural experts. Officially, the people talking on this documentary are only people who have stories where they claim to have seen werewolves.

Are all of these people lying? No probably not. They may have had a weird experience and their mind filled in some gaps. Memories can change and be influenced.

And as expected, most of the people with stories had very unclear views of this beast. Hiding in the bushes. Or no evidence. The final story implied a lot more direct interaction, but again, all it is a story.

I do think that for a documentary, it was a good idea to focus on people’s stories, and not make direct judgements. Let’s get some information out there and see if any of it tracks. I don’t love the stories, and they did no convincing for me, but they are there.

I think the documentary did more disservice though with the imagery and music they chose to use. It felt cheesy, and didn’t give the proper mood at all to me as a viewer. The stories that were told also felt very rehearsed. So many of the story tellers used the same phrasing to describe what they saw, really specific “scientific” like language like canine and bipedal instead of talking like what normal people would probably talk like. And that also brought me out of the stories.

I do wonder if the Sasquatch and the Werewolf legends are about a similar entity. That would be a fun twist. But I’d rather live in a world with multiple types of fantastic creatures, not just one.

1 out of 4.

Mr. Malcolm’s List

Who doesn’t love a good period piece about ROMANCE and some spicy aristocrat British drama? Emma came out so long ago. Why did Jane Austen only write a handful of novels for people to adapt?!

Fine. I guess someone else will have to write some. It doesn’t have to be from someone who was living from the time. We know the history of the era, we can add new stories pretty easily.

And that is what Suzanne Allain did. She wrote a book called Mr. Malcom’s List in 2009, and also a screenplay, that took a long time to get going. In fact, once she got some people on board, they still couldn’t finance a film. So they made a short film instead. Except this one isn’t a whole story. It is just like the beginning of a movie, with a note to be continued at the end. To see if there was interest.

And apparently there was interest. A lot of the main cast from the short was signed on to the real film, Gemma Chan was not for whatever reason, and now they hope the fact that people watched a nicely produced intro to a movie on YouTube, that will translate to big bucks at the theaters.

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Maybe Bridgerton helped? Unless that was just due to the sex. 

Who is Mr. Malcolm (Sope Dirisu) and why does he have a list? Well first, what is the list at all? Is it a mystery? No, it is not a mystery his rumored list. You see, it is a list of traits and qualities in a woman that his potential wives must meet, or else they do not deserve him and his money. Damn, pretty shitty.

The last woman he dated and ended a relationship with is Julia Thistlewaite (Zawe Ashton), potentially because she wasn’t smart enough! Well, that devastated her. And Malcolm’s friend, Lord Cassidy (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is over it as well. So they devise a plan.

Cassidy learns about the aspects of the list, so that he and Julia can set up Julia’s cousin, Selina Dalton (Freida Pinto), as the perfect woman in Malcolm’s eyes. They will make Malcolm fall in love with her. And when he proposes? She will turn him down! And produce her own list of things that he did not fulfill or live up to.

Hooray! No longer will this man ruin so many ladies in his path, he will know what it feels like. Yep. Fool proof plan.

Also starring Naoko Mori, Divian Ladwa, and Theo James.

men
I think Mr. Malcom’s biggest worry needs to be the tightness of his pants. 

To start off with a good thing, that clearly some assholes will hate, I love the diversity of this cast. This is a made up story, in a real time period sure. But who cares. We got so many people making up this cast from different backgrounds, that it is honestly refreshing to see on the screen. If someone went into this movie wanting historical accuracy when it came to casting, well, I don’t know what to tell you I guess. Get over it.

But lets face it. The people mostly clamoring for the movie (if they are the same people who liked the short), won’t care about that. They want romance and drama. They want witticism in the screenplay. They want to be swooned.

And sure, if that is all that they need for the film, then they will like it, I bet. But this movie doesn’t feel any level of unique. It seems like something I have seen before, in plenty of contexts. Hell, it has similarities to John Tucker Must Die, technically. Nothing in the plot really surprised me, nor did I really feel captivated by the romance. None of the actors did bad, per se, but it was just as expected for the type of movie. I don’t think a single character stood out as someone to really watch for, or any moment that I look back and think “Wow, that was interesting!”

This is a by the numbers Victorian romance film, so don’t expect some new level of art form. The diversity is nice, but not enough for me to care about watching it again.

1 out of 4.

Father Stu

From the poster of Father Stu, it seems like a movie that definitely deals with religion, but is probably not a religious film. Like, it won’t have a lot of plot lines where the true believers get what they want, and cheesy sappy music. But good humor. And even though it will be set in church settings, and not necessarily poking “fun” at a religion, it will still acknowledge some of those weird things.

I did not know how much of a personal project this was for Mark Wahlberg, the lead. Father Stu was a real person, that Wahlberg might not have even met. But he heard about his story, and thought it was inspirational and it touched him, so he wanted to get that story out there.

And apparently that too was a struggle. Hard to get financing, people didn’t want to make this movie. But Wahlberg did, and this movie now exists, because he had to personally finance large portions of it. Why is that? Mel Gibson apparently convinced him to do it. To “bet on himself”, where Gibson was said to have spent $30 million of his own money on The Passion of the Christ. So Wahlberg said if Gibson can do it, then he could do it, I guess.

Gibson
Gibson is not really the person that Wahlberg should be emulating in his private life though.

Stuart (Mark Wahlberg) does not have a whole lot going good in his life. His brother died when he was young. His father (Mel Gibson) was a drunk and left the family to work in another state, abandoning them. His mom (Jacki Weaver) is helpful and cares about him, but she is more out of it for the same reasons listed above. But now Stuart is a boxer! He is relatively good at it. But it has led to more problems with his health. Not normal problems that boxers face. Clearly, it must be changed, though.

He figured out the perfect job. He is going to move to Hollywood and become an actor! That is where his dad lives, but it is not about him. It is about Stuart becoming a big celebrity actor. And working at a grocery store until he can get a job. But while at the store, he meets Carmen (Teresa Ruiz), a person shopping who definitely doesn’t care about Stuart. However, he decides to stalk and harass her until he can meet her at her Catholic Church, despite being raised atheist.

So sure, his new goal is to woo her over, and become baptized, and Catholic. Yadda yadda yadda, this somehow leads to him deciding to become a Father himself. Yep, this is where his life really should be headed. And that ends up leading to even more issues it turns out.

Also starring Malcolm McDowell, Aaron Moten, and Cody Fern.

panic
Oh hey, Mark, you got some stuff on your forehead. Did you know that? 

I guess on one note, the movie is exactly what I expected based on my earlier guesses. On a different note, I didn’t realize how awkward the story and movie choices would be.

For example, Gibson is a terrible person and I have been trying to avoid his movies, for obvious reasons. So to have him be an emotionally distant father, and known atheist to our main character feels intentional. The one notably non-religious character is a bad character and father. And they also give him a redemption arc at the end. It felt like the movie was doing that more for Gibson, than the character. “See, people can get better.” Sorry, just because they can get better doesn’t mean I need to watch them acting.

As for Stuart? I also don’t like his character. Notably, he is meant to come from a rough past, and a rough middle, to lead to his eventual conversion and holy days. You know, to be a Father who knows how to talk to the community and is okay with swear words. But…I don’t like him for being a scum bag. So the real life Stu stalked a woman whom he met at his job, when she just wanted to shop, and let him know that she had no interest in him. He went to her church to start going, and being awkward the entire time, to suddenly convert for her. That just feels like months of harassment. Especially when, after a series of events, he convinces her finally to break her vow of chastity for sex because she now feels like they will be together forever.

Just to then go and say he wants to be a pastor, who cannot marry or have sex, after taking something that she personally held dear. What the fuck, man.

Then the character became a father, and eventually died. But the movie does take liberties with the story. It adds a lot of setbacks into his graduating into a full Father, given his deteriorating physical condition. But in real life, that didn’t seem to be an issue at all, and is just another strange set back instead of telling his actual story, which is what they set out to do. That is why the ending is so vague with how long he was practicing before he eventually died. Because the movie makes it imply like, a year or two maybe. And not quite a few years.

Father Stu takes a troublesome actor,  to give him a redemptive arc for…reasons. Father Stu is about a troublesome real life person, who eventually did good, while glossing over exactly how troublesome his life was. And playing harassment for laughs.

And yet at the same time, it still seems to go a lot more religious than I initially expected. Father Stu is a lot of things, including amusing occasionally, but a good movie is not one of those things.

1 out of 4.