Tag: Miles Teller

Top Gun: Maverick

Danger Zone? Take My Breath Away? Great Balls of Fire and You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling? (Technically)

The original Top Gun had a pretty stacked soundtrack, especially when it had at least two very famous songs that were made for the movie. The latter two already existed, but damn it, we had pilots singing them, so they were memorable too.

I personally hadn’t seen the original Top Gun until a couple of weeks ago. And yet, I knew everything about what happened in the movie. I knew how it would end, I knew who would die (spoilers?), I knew how the volleyball would game. Top Gun has been completely culturally osmosised, which I am going to count as a word here. But really I wanted to finally watch it to make jokes like they do in Flight of the Conchords, how everything is like Top Gun.

Like a lot of people, I went in expecting the sequel film, Top Gun: Maverick, to be utter shit. Sequels several decades later, based on a movie that had a very weak plot, aren’t usually allowed to be good, let alone better. But I guess everyone agrees, Maverick is a better film than the original.

Never get into a four way with jets. Unlike, I guess, you are a jet too?

Remember how Top Gun ended? Maverick (Tom Cruise) said he wanted to stay at Top Gun and teach pilots? Well, apparently that didn’t last long, because he became a test pilot instead, so he can fly experimental new aircraft. He has a need for speed. And for putting his life on the line. But its modern day, and he has to get on with the fact that most of the planes are going to be drones now, and they are wasting money on new pilot planes. Apparently Iceman (Val Kilmer) being one of the main admirals is the only reason he is still on the payroll.

But now he has to go to one final outpost. He has to go back to Top Gun, because he needs to train former Top Gun graduates, most of which are firsts in their class. The best of the best. Even though he crashed and burned as a teacher, he is the only one who they have available left to teach them, as the only one who has similar experience flying under these conditions. It is a complicated plan, to take out a nuclear bomb facility before it is turned online. It involves going fast and low, twists and turns, avoiding anti-aircraft missiles, and some tight up and down maneuvers at the end. Also they have to have two different direct hits on the target, with basically only two shots overall to get both hits. Great.

Maverick, reluctantly agrees, because he also doesn’t want to quit flying, not yet. And he can still have fun with this. But things will sour and overcomplicate when he finds out one of the pilots in the program is Rooster (Miles Teller), son of Goose, whom Maverick still feels responsible for his death even though he was cleared of wrong doing. And for sure, Rooster hates Maverick, and thinks he is going to not go on the mission, even if he has earned it, if Maverick pulls him for guilt.

Lives are on the line, guilt is in full force, and a 60 year old man is going to have to prove he can make some hard decisions this time.

Also starring Ed Harris, Glen Powell, Greg Tarzan Davis, Jay Ellis, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Lewis Pullman, and Monica Barbaro.

Still legally obligated to post a mustache picture if they show up.

Is Top Gun: Maverick better than Top Gun? Yes. But you have to understand, and this will be hard for a lot of people. Top Gun is not a great movie. It can be memorable, and exciting for the time, but it technically wasn’t even a great movie in the 1980’s even if it made a lot of money. It was a propaganda tool, with a cool soundtrack, and a really, really, dumb plot.

So Top Gun: Maverick should be easily a better film. Does it rely on nostalgia? Yes, it starts off with Danger Zone again. I was worried all the main hits would be replayed, but they only did half of them. One of its issues was taking its time dealing with the fact that the first film ended with him going into teaching, and the sequel clearly not wanting that to be the case, so that he could come back decades later. They had to have him fail and run away, and some other suspicious backstory they crammed in with new actors/actresses over the run time of this film.

I will say, him becoming a test pilot definitely feels a lot more true to his character, so I will give the sequel that. Having to deal with the complicated decision of sending his former best friend’s son to his potential death, or refusing to let him go even if he earned it, was a great decision to grapple with. It did carry a lot more weight than I was expecting for this sequel film.

And yet, some of the decisions in the sequel feel hollow. After all, having a whole film where he is told he needs to know when to let go and to move on, when to let someone else to take the controls and fly, and his character struggling with that acceptance the whole film? Again, makes sense. Buuut, if they throw it all away for One Last Mission™ then did it really matter? It reminded me of the last Bad Boys movie, making something actually interesting with Martin Lawrence being a pacifist, just to get rid of it when convenient and make a generic action film.

Again, Top Gun: Maverick is better than its predecessor. The fight scenes are actually watchable, the maneuvers are exciting, and it is overall more entertaining. That does not make it a top tier film, just an okay entertainment flick.

2 out of 4.

War Dogs

War Dogs came and went and no one cared. And you know what that is?

Jonah Hill is back to being fat in it. Not only is he fat, but he looks uncomfortably rapey. Everyone thought that skinny Jonah would not be funny, but he totally is! And then from then on, Fat Jonah was put in shitty movies. Like The Sitter.

Needless to say, the Fat Jonah theory is definitely one of the main reasons I stayed away, and it sounds like a lot of people in America stayed away as well. I can only hope it is for the same reason.

Fuck, they don’t even make him reasonable to look at when they put him in a suit.

This is partially a story about David Packouz (Miles Teller), a man in love and who cannot find good work. He has spent a lot of money on some high quality sheets to sell discounted to retirement homes, but the retirement homes don’t want nice sheets for people going to die soon. His only real income is giving massages which is not his ideal job either.

His lady Iz (Ana de Armas) is taking care of them. Until he runs into an old buddy from high school, Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), who eventually invites him to join his company. The company, AEY (which stands for nothing), is a sort of middle man company, who sells arms to the US government for the ongoing War in Iraq.

How did he get into that business? Long story, it is shady, but they are making their money by getting weapons from other countries and bringing them to Iraq, sometimes physically on their own. And once they get paid and people like what they get, they get more government contracts and start to live like fat cats. These are the deals that big contractors don’t bother with, but will still make them millions.

But eventually the money gets to their head, and the pursuit of more and more money. This leads to problems. This leads to threats.

Also featuring Patrick St. Esprit, Kevin Pollak, and Bradley Cooper.

Making money off of war. There is a word for that I think.

It was hard to get a lot out of War Dogs. Just from the basic color scheme of the film they go out of their and way to make it unpleasant looking.

Just look at our main characters. They didn’t even try to accurately look like the people they portrayed. Nothing. Alike. At all. They are only similar in that they are men. Normally in these things they try and make them at least look similar. The casting director here gave no fucks, went for who they wanted, and in addition to it, decided to make Hill as ugly as they possibly could to drive home a point.

What was that point? That the charcter was a scumbag. Of course this is all based on testimony of the other guy, who wrote a book and got less prison time. Of course he will make himself seem not too bad.

Somehow despite everything I still found it an okay watch. They rushed through a lot of things and the entire thing seemed to hurt my eyes, but in there somewhere is an okay story with a decent lesson.

Fuck bitches, get money. Or else I think that is what the lesson was.

2 out of 4.

Get A Job

Anna Kendrick movie tracker #3? Yeah, this is number 3 for the year. Unless I post it before Mr. Right like a jackass. This is the second of the three that is also straight to DVD, what fun!

However, Ms. Kendrick isn’t the focus of the film. She is technically just a side character, in a handful of scenes, and not super relevant to the plot. She is all over the cover of Get A Job though.

Oh yeah, this is supposed to be me talking about the movie. I have no idea what Get A Job is about going into it, but damn it, I surely had some pretty dang obvious guesses.

The over/under for hearing the term Millennials is 15.

This movie is actually about Will Davis (Miles Davis), well known slacker and pothead. Well, only the occasional bong stuff. He is about to get hired at a shitty internet clickbait journalism site, so he is celebrating with his dad (Bryan Cranston) and girlfriend (Anna Kendrick). His dad gives him some money, finally ready for his son to be a man and need no more handouts.

But of course, day one into the job he is fired. Right as he walks into the door, they couldn’t hire like they thought they could. He lives with a group of guys, not his girlfriend. Charlie (Nicholas Braun), a slacker who is getting a job as a chemistry teacher somehow. Ethan (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), a slacker who is making an app to help stalk people. And Luke (Brandon T. Jackson), a slightly harder working slacker who is getting a job as a stock broker!

Yay jobs for everyone. Except for Will. And for Will’s dad, who also loses his job despite being with the company forever. Shit, being unemployed is hard, especially in today’s world. Thankfully, Will gets a job that eventually matches his passions, making videos for some corporate company. His boss (Marcia Gay Harden) hates him, the bosses boss (Bruce Davison) likes him, and the other kind of boss (Alison Brie) wants his body, but hey, money is money. And I guess, really, this movie is just about getting jobs in this day and age and the struggles they bring.

Also featuring in smaller roles, Greg Germann, John C. McGinley, Jorge Garcia, and John Cho.

Corporate jobs means ties. Ties get in the way of food. Corporate jobs hate food.

I expected Get A Job to be a completely shit movie. And honestly, on some levels, it is still that film. It is mostly an incredibly pointless story. It is simple, basic, and more synonyms. The only thing that can possibly make this a worthwhile film experience is if the comedy is on point.

And you know what? It barely reached a good enough level at that. Davis’ character isn’t very funny, being our lead. Cranston is giving a few amusing moments, but he also basically plays a straight man this time around. All of the humor that actually interested me in this movie came from Braun and Jackson. For whatever reason, I found the chemistry/coaching plot from Braun to be almost hysterical. I didn’t giggle out of my seats, but I definitely tittered. Jackson’s scenes, especially with McGinley were a nice change of pace. Higher energy and a bit stressful.

Everything else you can practically ignore. The main plot line is meh. Kendrick is barely in the film. Mintz-Plasse’s plot is pretty shitty.

No one will ever watch this movie and change their life from it. No one will probably really watch this movie over ten times in their life. But for whatever reason, two side character plots just really clicked with me and put this film into mediocre territory.

2 out of 4.


The official name for this film is not Allegiant, but The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1, and that is down right terrible for a few reasons.

One, the first movie was called Divergent, not The Divergent Series: Divergent. You knew there would be more movies, you shouldn’t try to change the series names after you have already started.

Two, I didn’t name my review for the second one The Divergent Series: Insurgent, I just did Insurgent like a sane person.

And three, of course they took the third book of a trilogy and split it up. It will make them more money, regardless of how much it hurt the product (see Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2). But they have absolutely no reason to throw “Part 1” at the end of the title. You know why? Well, the title of the fourth movie isn’t even The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 2. It is The Divergent Series: Ascendant. There is no Allegiant – Part 2 officially, even though the fourth and final film is the second half of the Allegiant book.

What a fucking clusterfuck of a titled series.

Group Shot
Thankfully we have teenagers with attitude to save us.

At the end of the first film, I thought out gang was leaving the walled city of Chicago behind, to advance the plot. I was wrong, they just went to the woods outside of Chicago. At the end of the second film, I thought everyone was leaving the walled city of Chicago behind, unified and scared, to advance the plot. I was wrong there too apparently.

Right away, Evelyn (Naomi Watts) now in control, decides it is best for the gates to be sealed and everyone be locked in. Security is ramped up and there to be trials for everyone on the losing side. Mentally at this point, I was about to throw my pen at the screen and walk out. If they don’t ever leave Chicago I will freak out.

Thankfully, I guess, our small crew of characters still wants to break out and see the world. Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller), Christina (Zoë Kravitz), Caleb (Ansel Elgort), and Tori (Maggie Q). This makes them traitors, so Evelyn has Edgar (Jonny Weston, our wannabe Jai Courtney) to hunt them down.

So what’s on the other side? Well, a lot of desolation. Some war shit happened. Nukes and all. But they are found by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a scary sounding company for sure, who let’s them know that Chicago was an experiment and more secrets about the world. I will let them stay secret. It is led by the director (Jeff Daniels), who is happy for Tris being Divergent, because it means their experiment worked!

Tris is now a hero who will save the world, and maybe save the impending war in Chicago. The remaining crew are working surveillance and security for the BGW while she has all the fun.

Returning actors include Octavia Spencer and Daniel Dae Kim. New people are played by Nadia Hilker, Andy Bean, and Bill Skarsgård.

The future is so weird and full of fucking CGI.

I have a lot of problems with this film and I have to get specific to let you know some of the things that really irked me. So there will be spoilers, arrr. But here is what it has to boil down to: the writers. No, I don’t mean Veronica Roth, the writer of the book. I don’t plan on ever reading them, but I have heard the final book is terrible. So maybe the studio agreed, because they hired three people to write the screen play, Bill Collage, Adam Cooper, and Noah Oppenheim. The first two co-wrote The Transporter Refueled (sigh, with Luc Besson) and Exodus: Gods and Kings among other things, and Oppenheim was one of three people on The Maze Runner.

They do not have the best credentials behind them, but more importantly, none of them worked on the previous two films. So not only did they apparently stray away from the source material of the books, but they collectively just went off the rails with no regard for continuity, characters, or sensibility. This movie is, dare I say, stupid. A childish word not meant for a serious movie review like this one, but the only one that really fits. Scenes are loosely connected by the plot, but with people who seem to not remember the past in any way shape or form.

All of my best actions seem to be about Four and when he gets to the Bureau so let’s just use him. He is put on security, told it will take him a long time to get used to the new future tech before he can go on missions. He figures it all instantly, of course, he was a fantastic fighter dude. He wants to go on the next mission, is told no, but like in a “No, wait don’t do it, no” apathetic way. Literally no one tries to stop him doing anything. Getting on the space ship, interacting with the natives, seeing what they really do with the natives. There was no resistance at any way, as the writers didn’t even know what they were doing.

While on the mission, he is yelled at by a commander who thinks he shouldn’t be here because he is too new and should stay out of trouble. You know who is sitting two seats away from him? Fucking. Christina. Also from Chicago. No way as good of a fighter as Four. But apparently she also did everything in the short amount of time (despite barely acknowledging her once they arrive), can also go on missions, and is given no shit. Hell, she even gets to interact with the natives and let Four know what is up, in front of everyone, and no one still cares. It was terrible to watch as the film was full of these tiny -> big inconsistencies.

But hey, at least the camouflage makes sense for this film!

This happens to be the type of film where 90% of the problems would be solved if the main characters would just actually talk to each other. Of course, lazy writing prevents this, turning it into a lame RomCom, without the Com and very weak Rom.

And really what really boils my corn is the ending. Look back at my description of how the first two films ended. This one ends with everyone ready to leave the walled city of Chicago behind, unified and scared. What makes me so upset about this ending is that it is almost exactly the same ending as the second film. Sure, things happen in this film, but outside of some knowledge gained, every single relevant person is in the exact same position they were a movie ago, totally going to do the things they promised to do this movie. Shit. This film series is like a horrible time warp, making me relive the leave Chicago plot over and over without ever really getting to do so.

I fully expect the final film to begin with everyone collectively breaking their legs, so that they all have to stay in Chicago for the whole film. That is the level of quality of writing I have come to expect from this franchise and next summer cannot come soon enough so that it can finally be over.

0 out of 4.

Fantastic Four

Is there a more universally hated super hero franchise right now than Fantastic Four? Specifically films with more than one movie. Catwoman, Elektra, Green Lantern are all bad but at least they stopped, and Daredevil redeemed itself with the Netflix series.

But Fantastic Four had two very mediocre films with big name actors, so they had to reboot it many years later or else they would lose the movie rights. Not unlike how the 1994 Fantastic Four movie came to existence. As expected, because people were already angry, the internet did not give Fantastic Four a chance. Every casting decision was scrutinized (The Human Torch being the most famous example), every time they didn’t appear at a con was noted, and when they finally came to a few, they were criticized for their trailer or being later.

It is a sad fate that no matter how good or bad this movie is, it is almost determined to fail because the internet has decided to hate it before giving it a chance. A lot like what happened to The Lone Ranger movie of a few years ago.

“What, do they not know what to do with their arms? This movie sucks based on a picture!” – The Internet

Sometimes when you are a kid, you have a dream for when you get older and it actually comes true. Like when Reed was in 5th grade (in 2007. Yes, the math works out and it indeed was that long ago), he wanted to be the first person to teleport and was already working on a device! He also befriended the slower Ben through his elementary experiments. Now, 7 years later, for his senior year science project, Reed (Miles Teller) has successfully built the device and is able to teleport something away and back! He doesn’t know where, but darn it, it works! And Ben (Jamie Bell) is still there, helping out by lifting things or buying supplies or something.

Needless to say, it draws at least some interest, namely from Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey), who wants to offer Reed (yes just reed) a full scholarship to NYC as part of the Baxter foundation. A giant building where he can school, do science, and live. Yay! Apparently Reed had solved an issue they were having for years, so Franklin gets his old team back together, including Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbell), who is a bit chaotic. He also adds in his adopted daughter Sue (Kate Mara) who will build suits for them and his son Johnny (Michael B. Jordan) who has gotten into some trouble and can “build anything.” This is all important, because what Reed has actually done is created a portal to another dimension and another world!

They should totally try to go there. That’d be fun. Hopefully nothing would go wrong, affecting the structural DNA of any of these right out of high school aged individuals. That would be terrible. Also Tim Blake Nelson as our government bad guy, because you need one when science is involved.

“And knowing is half the battle.” – Cobra Commander or whoever is in this picture.

I won’t say the hate on the internet for this film is justified, because most of it came before anyone had a chance to see it. However, they ended up being correct in that the final product was anything but fantastic.

Don’t want to get into source material comparisons, so I will still note that I am bit disappointed that they used a lot of the “Negative Zone” but called it Planet Zero or something, and not by its comic name.

As for the characters, the entire team seemed to lack any real personality. Before the specifics, I should note that I really like Teller and Jordan in most of their movies and Mara was great in House of Cards and Happythankyoumoreplease.

However, for The Human Torch they made him whiny, even having him utter “I’m an adult, I’m old enough to make my own decisions!” to his dad. The few times The Thing/Ben was on the screen, it felt like he was just awkwardly standing off to the side, never understanding what was going on. Reasons to bring him along on the trip were silly and the friendship that was supposed to exist between him and Reed didn’t show up well in the film. Additionally, his voice when he was full on The Thing didn’t seem to fit his mouth well and always seemed jarring.

It feels like they forgot to do anything with The Invisible Girl, outside of having her like music and patterns with some cringe inducing scenes. And Reed never felt like the genius he was hyped up to be, just a kid with lame powers and lame motivations. Dr. Doom himself was rushed near the end. The fight didn’t make a whole lot of sense, because the film had a problem explaining anything that occurred, hoping the audience wouldn’t think too hard by rushing through all the science talk.

The only real chemistry I found believable was between Johnny and Sue storm as adopted brother and sister, which is probably the hardest thing to pull off. Makes one wonder if they forgot about everything else and focused just on their relationship. Somewhat related, their dad also called Victor and Reed “son” at various points in the movie, so at some point he just became everyone’s daddy.

Stretching out this review with a third picture, much like how Miles Teller can stretch out a conversation with witty retort.

The film can be broken down into three parts. A long introduction, which includes getting the powers and training (which also almost put me to sleep). One scene that is more akin to a horror film. Then a short rushed final CGI fueled fight.

Outside of the weak characters, the biggest problem seems to come from the tone. The Fantastic Four group is inherently cheesy. My favorite story about them is actually a short Norm MacDonald sketch talking about how ridiculous their names are. But the tone of the film is going for a darker more serious approach that is popular nowadays. However it never feels dark, it just forced. It is still cheesy outside of the “horror” scene with none of the grittiness seeming to work. It doesn’t help that the film is almost void of any action until the final fight scene, leaving just poor character development science montages to pick up the majority of the run time.

The Fantastic Four reboot might have actually been what we all feared, a cheap and quick film to maintain film rights. I maintain that if they had just brought in Zac Efron as Dr. Doom, this could have been better as a spiritual successor to That Awkward Moment.

0 out of 4.

Buy It! – This movie is available now on {Blu-Ray} and {DVD}.


The Divergent series has the honor of being the next Hunger Games series, movie wise. Even if The Hunger Games still has one more movie yet to come out. You know. Successful trilogy, third one split into two boring as fuck movies to milk more money out of teenagers. Whatever.

I wanted to like Divergent a lot more than I did. But, TL;DR, it wasn’t a completely original dystopian plot line like it made it look like. It was kind of nonsensical at points, left a lot of questions, and it ended up just being a damn high school clique movie, in its most basic form.

HOWEVER. Insurgent can be something completely different. If the ending of Divergent is any indication, Insurgent shouldn’t be a shitty high school clique movie. It should be a smarter sci-fi dystopian action movie. Class warfare shouldn’t be an issue. Just rebels vs the government. Good. This one can be a huge improvement.

Pls don’t let me down. Plsssss.

Food Fight
I was just as surprised as everyone else over the erotic lunch based three way scene.

The last movie ended with our heroes, Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) escaping out of Chicago and heading past the wall into the magical world of the unknown. After all, the wall was put up to protect them from the dangerous outside that had monsters and bad people and shit.

Wait a minute. Sorry. No. They just go into the forests outside of the city? Not outside of the wall? Oh…well then…okay. I guess they are just hiding out from the hippies, trying to figure out what the hell Jeanine (Kate Winslet) wants to do, now that she took out all the working class selfless people. That’s right, only four factions now fuckers. The nerds, the jocks (which are scattered and small), the student government, and the hippies. Because it is still a high school in Chicago. Speaking of those factions, we get to see things from the hippies and the student government finally. The hippies are lead by Johanna (Octavia Spencer) and the SGA is lead by Jack Kang (Daniel Dae Kim, of Lost fame!).

Either way, the plot of this movie is our heroes on the run. Not physically, because apparently it is super easy to hide from almost everyone in Chicago, despite them only using like 5 buildings for most of the population. Their GPS systems must all be out of wack. Also, Jeanine found this mystical box under Tris’ old house that her parents were hiding. That is why she killed them by the way, looking for the box. Didn’t you know that they wanted it from the first movie? (I literally don’t remember it, but it may have been hinted or mentioned). The thing is, this box has a message in it, written by the founders of the caste system. It will let them know how to deal with all these Divergent assfaces. They just need a really strong divergent to open it. Hmm, wonder who that could be…

This movie has a huge number of other people of course. We get the return of Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Stevenson, Maggie Q, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn, and Zoe Kravitz. But we also have new people, like Naomi Watts and Keiynan Lonsdale! Woo~

Oh, and didn’t you hear that this one featured Bieber?*

As soon as I finished this movie, I was immediately asked by people what I thought about it. And I shrugged. I didn’t know. It took me a long time to figure out exactly what I liked, disliked, and how I thought about the film as a whole.

Here is one thing I know for certain: Insurgent is better than Divergent. For sure. I had a lot to complain about Divergent. You might have heard about me doing so in my review of Divergent. But I still thought it was at least okay. So here is another thing I know: Insurgent is not good enough for me to give it a 3 out of 5, the like it category. It is a 2 out of 4 like Divergent, just a better 2 out of 4.

I was able to see this movie in IMAX, only my second movie to do so after Edge of Tomorrow, and it did feel good on the gigantic 3D screen. It had a lot of CGI based special effects going through these tests or whatever they were called and for the most part the looked pretty decent. It had more action than the first film. Real action, not bullshit “dangerous training”.

On the other hand, the plot was pretty basic. It was very predictable, especially when it came to reality versus simulation. The only wild card was Miles teller. We mostly just had teenage angst carrying the rest of the plot, so it was pretty linear. Major plot points seemed like they were added on as an afterthought (read: that box thing that wasn’t mentioned in the first film at all). And of course, this film still doesn’t feature outside Chicago, which to every one that isn’t a book reader, was pretty sure how this one would start. But whatever.

The film also still features a huge amount of confusing plot decisions and material. Maybe reading the books would fill the gaps, maybe they are shitty in the book too. Who knows. I know this is still entertaining enough to warrant a watch, but not enough for me to want to buy any of the series still or read the books. And the last movie being another shitty two parter means the franchise is probably at its high point right now. So sad. Please go back to Spiderman, Shailene.

* – Bieber jokes are still funny, right?

2 out of 4.


Whiplash snuck into theaters way back in October was a limited release and I obviously didn’t get to see it. It left theaters quickly, and I was left on the internet cold and sad. You see, people kept talkin’ ’bout Whiplash. About how good the acting was. What a surprise. How cool it was.

And I was all like “But, but, but, but…I don’t know anything about this movie! :(“. And then they laughed at me of course.

But now I am back, having seen Whiplash, before I compile any sort of top of the year list for myself. It feels good to watch things before awards season. It must be similar to how people feel reading a book before it was even announced that a movie version was going to come out. Pretty intense, I do say.

You can tell you are being intense if you have your mouth open.

Andrew (Miles Teller) is a drummer. He likes to drum, he is in a great music school for bands, and he thinks he is decent. But he is his biggest fan, and who cares what his opinion is.

You see, there is an elite jazz group at his school, led by the legendary Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons). Everyone is crisp, always finely tuned, always with the right tempo, and always winning awards.

Andrew wants to be apart of that band, but Fletcher is mysterious and only has surprise auditions in the middle of other classes. And somehow, Andrew is able to win himself a spot.

Fletcher seems nice to him at first, but it turns out he is kind of a hard ass. He yells, he screams, he demands perfection and he can tell who is the best after only a couple of seconds of play. He wants to develop the next great star by forcing people to move out of their comfort zones and become an elite player. He also likes to mind fuck people, which I am sure is very helpful.

(Zany announcer voice) It looks like Andrew should have been careful what he wished for!

Also with Paul Reiser as his dad, Melissa Benoist as his girlfriend (and yes, she was on Glee), and Nate Lang/Austin Stowell as other drummers.

The closed mouth next to the open mouth amplifies the intensity levels.

Intensity is the key word of the review, because getting whiplash is an intense injury. Not as intense as a broken bone or falling off a cliff or anything, but it exists. The film is called whiplash for the feeling and the jazz song which is one of the main two pieces their group ends up playing.

And it is also the only way to describe J.K. Simmons’ character. I could listen to him yelling at teenagers every day of my life. His voice is why he became J. Jonah Jameson and is why this role was made for him.

In fact, I am pretty sure this movie exists entirely to get him an award, because he was a huge asshat and acted his hatass off.

Whiplash on its own is also a very entertaining film. A lot of energy is put into what most people would assume is just a drummer in a jazz band, but the quest for greatness has its costs. Hell, even the cinematography was great. The ending is basically a giant ball of emotion wrapped that is looking to escape, and then does, and hey credits.

Nothing I just said makes any sense. So I should just use the word intense again.

4 out of 4.


Divergent, or as I like to call it, the next fucking recent young adult sci-fi/fantasy series to have taken off, has been turned into a movie. Weeee.

A lot of these lately have been terrible. Did you see The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones? I did, it was ghastly. So was Vampire Academy. The only recent successful one of these was The Hunger Games, which had a dystopian aspect, just like Divergent, and just like this random other movie The Maze Runner later this year.

So, will it actually be a nice parallel of society? Or will it just be made to make teens feel special? That’s the important question with these adaptions.

And here is the main characters ass as promotional material.

Beatrice (Shailene Woodley) is an Abnegation tribe member. What? Okay. This story takes place in Chicago in the future, after a big war, they have built a big wall around the city. They have split members into big tribes, each having a trait. Abnegation people are selfless, run the government, wear grey, simple lives. The Amity are peaceful, hippies, farmers. Not really talked about in this movie. Candor wear white, are honest, and just say whats on their mind. Yeah, another kind of pointless tribe I guess. Erudite are the smart people, doing smart stuff and wearing blue, the smart colors. Dauntless wear black and leather, the brave, the cities police force and protectors.

Well, Beatrice is about to go to her choosing ceremony, where she picks her faction she will live in from then on. Her parents (Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn) are big in Abnegation, and want her and her brother (Ansel Elgort) to stay in their area. Well, during her test to see who she actually fits in with most, her results are inconclusive, equally selfless, brave, and smart. It is called being Divergent, and it should be secretive, because people don’t like free thinkers?

Well, Beatrice, now Tris, chooses Dauntless, as she always liked them. Now she has new friends (Zoe Kravitz), and has found out that just because she chose Dauntless doesn’t mean they have picked her. Of the recruiting class of like 40-50 students, half will be cut after weeks of training based on physical skill, and then another half will be cut after emotional/mental training. So only like, 10 or so people will actually make it. Yep. This movie is mostly a training movie. Ha ha! Fooled you guys!

This gives us characters like Four (Theo James), her main trainer and probably love interest. Or Eric (Jai Courtney) a much meaner training guy. Kate Winslet is a mean smart woman, Miles Teller is a mean new Dauntless recruit, and Ray Stevenson is a mean Abnegation leader.

And shit, this movie has ninjas too!

So I felt like again, if I had read the book, parts of this movie would make a lot more sense. Just like every other damn young adult adaption. Here are brief thoughts about my ramblings, that as far as I can tell didn’t get answered in the movie. Some are just world building questions that would have been very helpful.

How often does this choosing ceremony take place? Multiple times a year? How old are you when it happens? I guess the main character and her brother are not twins, but born close enough that they have to choose the same year? Does every faction have a long ass training process for when people join? I wonder how strict it is to train to be a hippie. Why did Tris not learn about what a Divergent is until her test, and only because she was one, but as soon as she does, it seems to be common knowledge for every other person what it is? With all the cuts the Dauntless people made, they literally only gained like what, ten recruits? How the fuck is that helpful? Did the plot really need to wait for the ten new recruits for something other than training to start taking place?

If the point of the faction system is to keep people in their place and get rid of human nature, why even let them choose what faction they live in after some random age? It seems like it’d be better to have the false notion of a choice, but in general, make everyone stay where they came from. Honestly, how does early life in other factions like Dauntless even work? Are there any parent type people there at all? It seems very messy to have people trained in a faction type for blah many years, and switch to a different faction, giving them awkward skill sets, that clearly they never lose after switching factions.

Really, this movie is literally just a high school movie, put into a Sci-Fi setting. We have cliques: jocks, nerds, hippies, normal people, and I guess gossipers or something. We have a high school girl, Tris, who feels like she doesn’t fit in with just the normal people, so she tries sports. She tries to also be smart. So she is a nonconformists, and all the conformists want to get her for being different. Or something like that. That is what the movie boils down to.

It was a cool concept, but I also feel like the writer has no idea what the fuck she is doing. Just making an interesting story and hoping it works out. There is a good chance the second movie is better, given that it will take place outside of Chicago. Wait, why is Chicago now bad? They beat the main bad guys? It should be easy to fix now? Eh, whatever.

I guess I should also note the trailer is pretty misleading. It makes it look like because she is Divergent, she joins some group of underground fighters who train her and then they attack the government or something. Nah. Well, she gets trained, but the Divergent-ness seems to be mostly pretty pointless overall.

2 out of 4.

That Awkward Moment

That Awkard Moment at first glance appeared to just be another dumb buddy comedy at the end of January, but then I really looked at the three main actors involved.

Sure, Zac Efron early on was typecasted as a pretty boy who could sing, but he has been in some more serious roles recently, with The Paperboy and Parkland. Also, shut up, I like him a lot in Hairspray. So he isn’t a terrible actor, he just was in some terrible movies early on.

Miles Teller busted onto the scene more recently. First, he was the boy in the very sad Rabbit Hole, then he was the best part of the Footloose remake, the best part in 21 and Over, and starred in the incredible The Spectacular Now. This guy hasn’t made many poor decisions at all.

Finally, we have Michael B. Jordan, who recently wow’d audiences with Fruitvale Station, but was also awesome in Chronicle, Parenthood, and now rumored to be in the Fantastic Four reboot. Not to mention he sometimes sounds like a young Denzel Washington.

All I am saying is, this film might not deserve to get written off so quickly.

Efron Plank
But, then again, it might just be another stupid comedy.

The story, it’s a simple one. Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) has recently found out that his wife Vera (Jessica Lucas) has been cheating on him, with her lawyer. Her lawyer is a Morris Chestnut looking motherfucker (when really it is D.B. Woodside, who yeah, looks like Chestnut but is also somewhat famous).

In order to help cheer up their friend, who has been in a relationship for many years, his best buds Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) all agree to stay single for as long as possible now. Because women are evil! Relationships are stupid! And all that other stuff.

Unfortunately at the same time, Jason meets Ellie (Imogen Poots), an intellectual sort who has been trying to make it as a writer. She is different from the rest of the girls on his “roster.” Daniel also realizes that Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), his forever wingwoman is actually also kind of special, so they begin a secret relationship. At the same time, Mikey is trying to patch things up with Vera, despite her cheating ways.

Yeah, some bet, right? Not even a prize or anything. No reason for it.

Black Man Shirtless
Bet you didn’t expect to see two shirtless men in this review, did ya?

In That Awkward Moment, the one thing I can be glad they didn’t do is say the movie phrase a lot or make it a recurring theme.

There were some awkward moments, but some of those moments were also incredibly sad and depressing. Although a lot funnier in the first half, it goes hard into the romance angle on the second half. Not fully reaching the RomCom levels or anything, but it is still actually a Romance Comedy.

And the reason why I enjoyed it so much is because of the talent involved. Not just the three guys I mentioned above, but also Poots and Davis. Davis was not as important of a character and hasn’t really been in anything else, but she really played her role well. Poots did a good job (and/or the writer) by not portraying a stereotypical woman character, in a male dominated movie.

The chemistry between the three male leads was also incredible. Being an audience member, I really felt like I was just hanging out on the couch with them and joking around. The bromance was real. Teller played a similar role to his roles in every other movie. I found Efron to show a large emotional range, more than I am used to, especially in the second half. Jordan did good too, despite his character being in the most depressing of the three situations.

What can I say? Talented actors can make a dumb concept movie entertaining and good.

3 out of 4.

The Spectacular Now

I only saw the trailer for The Spectacular Now once, but I knew immediately I just had to see it. So many reasons really, but I could tell ahead of time it might be something that I would enjoy.

Damn it, now my bias is showing. I am so embarrassed.

Not as embarrassed as these two when they realize that car is rolling down hill.

Teenage romance. A typical film plot line, but maybe not so typical in this film.

We have Sutter (Miles Teller), life of the party, everyone’s favorite joker, he lives in the NOW. Oh hey, movie title. He could apply to college, but that can happen later. Not like college is anything special. His girlfriend Cassidy (Brie Larson) was one of a kind, and everyone loved them and they loved each other. Until his easy goingness got him in trouble and she dumped his ass, this time for good.

So Sutter does what Sutter does best. He drinks away his problems, and has the night of his life, maybe. He passed out, waking up on a lawn thanks to Aimee (Shailene Woodley) with his car no where in sight. Also, who the fuck is Aimee?

Some girl in his grade, he doesn’t really know her, but she knows him. Life of the party. Well, Sutter is on the rebound, and thinks he is a nice guy, so he starts to hang out with her and invite her to things. But that dang alcohol keeps going down into his stomach, so next thing you know, he has kissed her and invited her to prom. Did I mention he still kind of likes Cassidy still? Yeah, he is a jerk.

Broken homes, broken dreams, Sutter has a lot of growing up to do. He is going to be eighteen soon, and his life needs to change for the better before it is too late.

His family is played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, mother, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, older sister, and Kyle Chandler, missing father. Shit, even Bob Odenkirk is in this movie, but just a little bit.

Huh, I wonder if she made her prom dress out of the same material of that shirt? Or I guess she really likes yellow.

Ughhh. Fucking movies these days going for realism. A different amount of realism than they were back in the day. Back in the day, actors might have mumbled their lines, or messed up their words, and they would keep them in the take, because that shit is natural. That doesn’t happen as much anymore.

No, this is realism in a different way. I am sure each take took multiple times, but more ad libbing or something is now allowable for these actors. There is no way a lot of these dialogue scenes were read word for word, it just can’t be true. They flow really well and they all seem like things people of that age would say. I know its hard to understand, but it is hard to explain. I smiled throughout the film, due to the realism of the characters and the dialogue.

The film shows drinking in a negative light, but they also explain why the drinking happens, and you don’t hate the main character, you feel sorry for him, and you understand. Until he is a dick to Aimee, no, then you hate him again. So much rage.

The film doesn’t follow the standard path films of this description tend to take. There are some obvious moments, but there are other moments that come out of no where, like a bus from Mean Girls. The acting by our leads was fantastic, and I was also impressed with Kyle Chandler in his smaller role. Shit. It had a lot of stuff going for it. I am worried I might start thinking Miles Teller is a real actor now.

4 out of 4.