If you were to make a list of all the characteristics of a typical 80's movie you would find nearly all of them in this week's film "The Running Man". Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger? Based on a Stephen King novel? Full of cheesy effects and one-liners? As an added bonus co-starring Family Feud host Richard Dawson? This film is definitive 80's...to mixed effect. Throughout our separate viewings we couldn't help but think of what could have made this film a better experience. While certainly not a chore to watch it's clear Arnold was the only draw of this film 30 years ago and by now we've seen enough Arnold movies to know there are much better options out there. Still, we had a fun discussion about this film and it's hard to say we spoiled it completely. Still going to issue the warning...there are enough spoilers here to warrant a viewing first.
This episode quickly devolved into a Shia LaBeouf hate fest as we discussed "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". The latest chapter of the Indiana Jones saga has us wondering how they're going to write off the character of "Mutt" Williams in future film iterations. What should have been a fun and exciting throwback to the movies that shaped our childhood just....wasn't that. Where this film tries to be fun it ends up feeling contrived, where it tries to play on the viewer's nostalgia it feels insulting and then yeah...the aliens. We were really hard pressed to find anything positive to say about this film and if nothing else additional viewings left us feeling like this may be a film franchise that's best left in the 80's. If you've managed to avoid spoiling your childhood by viewing this film just know that we are up to the task.
This week's film is the backwoods, redneck heist film you never asked for and boy did Steven Soderbergh deliver...something extraordinarily mediocre. "Logan Lucky" feels like a Coen brothers movie that's been stripped of it's soul and forced to parade around in a pair of "Ocean's Eleven" underwear. Two Brothers plan a heist at a North Carolina NASCAR event but before they can carry out their plan they need to assemble a cast of quirky, underdeveloped characters. Part of the issue we had with this film is the number of side characters and their varied levels of zaniness. For every interesting character that was denied additional screentime there was a character that didn't need to exist. The Winter Soldier as a hippy, vegan NASCAR driver? Seth McFarlane as a mouthy British NASCAR promoter? Both of these characters exist and detract from developing other characters who are genuine and interesting. This film falls firmly into the average category which makes it hard to recommend. If you had any desire to see it though this is your obligatory spoiler warning.
The first quarter of our film this week "Gerald's Game" is like walking in on your parents as they're about to engage in coitus but instead of covering up and quickly dismissing you they decide to stand there minimally clothed and talk to you about your Uncle's retirement party on Saturday. Jessie and Gerald Burlingame are attempting to reinvigorate their sex lives with a trip to their house on the lake and a little BDSM...as you do. Things get a little too heated for both parties (in completely different ways) when Gerald suffers a heart attack leaving his wife handcuffed to the bed without any means of escape at her disposal. The remainder of the film sees Jessie lose her mind (but oddly enough never piss herself) as apparitions of both her and her dead husband take jabs at each other and Lurch from the Adam's family stands in the corner. The film has some really interesting story arcs which never really get the attention they deserve but all around solid performances from two really great actors. It's an all around decent film that won't likely wow you but also won't likely be a waste of your time either. As with all things be mindful, three dudes talking BDSM are likely to spoil something.
This week's film was the one and only "Battlefield Earth". Notoriously regarded as one of the worst films ever made, we were surprised to learn how watchable it is. Don't get us wrong....this is not a recommendation. However, for a film that's been so publicly maligned...and has ruined the career of all but two of the actors associated with it, the film is bad in a way that's still somewhat enjoyable. The story's hero Johnny Goodboy (yes, that his real fucking name in this film) finds himself in the sub servitude of the alien conquering race the Psychlos (yes, this is the real fucking name of the alien race in this film). One alien sees the humans as a way to exact revenge on his bureaucratic superiors and takes to teaching them enough to lead a revolt against the aliens. This is the plot of a story written by the great messiah L. Ron Hubbard, the father of scientology. Long meant to be an homage to the great leader, this film is more like a night at his grave where you drank a bottle of absinthe, sodomized a gopher and woke up with a solid rodent shit covered hard on buried in the ground. It is an atrocity, a disappointment, a figurative castration of human potential in all regards...but still kind of funny in what an awful and tremendous failure it is. I'm expending minimal energy on a spoiler warning for this one. Spoilers.
"Crank 2" was the film this week and for once I'm kind of at a loss for words. It reminds me of a Kyle Kinane joke where he talks about getting a blowjob from a girl with brain damage...it feels good...but you feel really bad about yourself afterwards. This is truly dumb, misogynistic, unapologetically racist action to a degree I didn't think existed (at least not this overtly) within the last decade of Hollywood history. As much as I hate to say it the film can be forgiven a lot of these grievances as it's ultimately a parody of itself. It also happens to be the last film David Carradine and Corey Haim ever made. If that all makes you feel a little weird so will this film. Still, as shallow and crass as it is it's hard to say that it isn't enjoyable. What's better is it's one of the few films I can honestly say we can't really spoil for anyone. It's so random and bizarre that there really isn't a way to talk about everything. We're on the fence about whether or not you should watch it or listen to the episode first. You choose, enjoy either way.
This week we saw Luc Besson fail tremendously to recapture his space epic glory days as we watched "Valerian and the film with too many fucking words in the god damn title". Staring two actors who barely pass as post pubescent and are supposedly the most elite military officers in the entire galaxy; Valerian is the story of awkward dialogue between people with no chemistry. Occasionally much more talented and competent actors will appear to remind you that you haven't crossed over to an alternate timeline where you regressed to an ape like intelligence and that you're just screaming and throwing feces at the television because the movie you're watching is infuriatingly awful. In addition to psychotic breaks, fits of rage and a general sense of utter despair this film has also been known to cause a loss of faith in the kind of god that would ever allow such excrement to be viewed by human eyes. If you decide to watch Valerian despite our "glowing" episode description then you deserve to have it spoiled.
This episode we discuss the pseudo horror/thriller "Open Grave". The film begins with our film's protagonist Jonah waking upon a pile of dead bodies with no recollection of who he is or how he ended up atop a mountain of rotting corpses. Once he's tossed a rope by a mysterious mute Chinese woman the quest to discover who he is and what's going on truly begins...to meander. Between the opening and closing scenes of this film it's remarkable how little truly happens. Suffice to say it all reaches a lackluster climax that makes you wish any of the other plot possibilities which you undoubtedly considered between the scenes (spoiler) of people walking through fields had been a reality. For a film with such a strong premise, it quickly devolves into sub standard horror schlock with no reason to invest yourself. In the rare (and ill-advised) case that you really wanted to see this film we spoil it immediately...you have been warned (not to watch it...and of spoilers I suppose).
This week's film "The ritual" is basically a slightly better version of "The Blair Witch" remake or a considerably worse version of the film the "The Descent". The set up to the film is so painfully contrived you could probably write the next two sentences of the synopsis based off "Four friends go on a hiking trip through the Swedish wilderness". One of them sustains a substantial injury that forces them to take a short cut through a creepy forest...cryptic totems start appearing on the tree branches...they come across a creepy cabin...strange events begin to haunt the party. Does this all seem familiar? That's because it's basically the same film as literally a dozen others that you have no doubt seen or at least heard about in the last decade. What elevates this film slightly above the rest is the beautiful cinematography, serviceable acting and the fantastic monster reveal. This picture gets a somewhat reluctant thumbs up as the creature is one of the best in recent memory...the rest of the film however is only ever "okay". We spoil the film early on and spend the last half of this episode talking games...we had to fill it with something of substance.
The largest Paradox in this week's film "The Cloverfield Paradox" is why they felt the need to associate this film with the Cloverfield film franchise. What seemed to begin as a promising anthology series has taken a turn towards over explaining the events of the first films while under explaining the "science" behind the most recent entry. It begins as any mediocre sci-fi film does: with a dystopian Earth on the verge of running out of resources. Of course there is a team of scientists who are Earth's last remaining hope at sustainability. By activating an advanced hadron collider in space they plan to ????? in order to save Earth's inhabitants. If you haven't guessed this film does a piss poor job at explaining what they really hope to accomplish and as can be anticipated from the very start of the film things go awry. For a film that clearly states has "no rules" they play it pretty safe and fail to develop any of the ideas that are even remotely interesting. It's made worse by cliché, one-note characters and long sequences of boring, uneventful banter. Honestly, I can name three films off the top of my head, which all begin with the same premise and are much better experiences than this one. If you're dead set on watching this though be warned there are full spoilers for the film in this episode.