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Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

The Bernie Goetz scene in Joker (2019)

There are spoilers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 18, 2020 at EST pm

Posted in Movies

Quick spoiler-free Joker (2019) post

After the first half of the movie, I thought it was the best movie of the decade. After watching the second half, I downgraded my opinion to one of the best movies of the decade, but still the best comic-book movie ever. Of course, the movie’s not-so-secret secret is that it’s a real movie disguised as a comic book movie, because in modern-day Hollywood, the only movies that get budgeted are comic-book movies.

But strangely, what really annoys me about the movie are that the overhead subway signs are modern ones and not ones from the 1980s. Given all of the money they must have spent on computer-editing of the film to take away any evidence of the year 2018, why did they overlook the subway signs?

In a longer post, I would examine why the reviews aren’t unanimously great from the critics, or even from the fans, at Rotten Tomatoes. I mean, it’s a way better movie than a lot of the crap that gets much higher ratings from the critics. Sure, it’s derivative of Taxi Driver and another Robert De Niro movie that I didn’t see, but what movie isn’t derivative of something else? The crappy new Star Wars movies are basically do-overs of the old movies with dumber plots and mediocre acting, but critics loved them. And in Joker, they brilliantly pay homage by having Robert De Niro have a major role in the movie playing a Johnny Carson-like character. I love how they recreated the look of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The only thing that was missing was an Ed McMahon type of character introducing Robert De Niro, but I guess they figured that would be too goofy and too obvious.

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Although I never wrote a review of Tax Driver, you should read my excellent review of the song Taxi by Harry Chapin.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 14, 2020 at EST am

Posted in Movies

Preview of future blog posts: Joker

I started watching yesterday but didn’t get to finish (because I had to go to sleep). So today would be a good opportunity for you all to watch it so you can enjoy what I have to say about it. Please, no comments until I’ve finished.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 13, 2020 at EST am

Posted in Movies

Cats (2019)?

I haven’t seen the movie, but based on the trailer it looks a lot better than the Broadway musical which I did see. So I don’t understand why everyone is dissing on this so badly.

In fact, at Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score is a relatively favorable 61%, compared to the dismal critics’ score of 18%.

One audience reviewer who didn’t like the movie writes:

So, so, boring! The plot doesnt even make sense and it’s so hard to understand everyone.

Well yeah, that’s what the Broadway version was like too.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 22, 2019 at EST pm

Posted in Movies

Chinatown (1974)

Yeah, I know I said I was going to watch more 80s movies, but this movie has been sitting around a long time waiting for me to watch it. When I took Creative Writing at Stuyvesant High School with Frank McCourt, the author Angela’s Ashes, he made us go out and buy the book Screenplay by Syd Field. And then he never made us actually read any of it, so mostly I didn’t, but I do remember that the screenplay to Chinatown was included in the book, because it was supposed to be an example of the best possible screenplay one could hope to write, or something like that. It should be noted that although Chinatown was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor. Best Actress, Best Director, etc., the only award it actually won was for Best Writing, Original Screenplay.

So does Chinatown live up to all the hype? I’m afraid to say, I found it very tedious. There was a super-complicated plot about Los Angeles’ water supply that I don’t think anyone besides Roman Polanski (the director) and Robert Towne (the author of screenplay, later modified by Polanski himself) actually understood. There are plot twists that are really rather ridiculous, but because of good acting and good directing they don’t seem quite that ridiculous upon initial viewing.

Maybe this is a movie for the 1970s. It was meant to be watched on a big screen in a time when there were no other options for watching a movie besides going to a theater. Without distractions from a smartphone or the internet, people had time to sit back and appreciate how nice everything in the movie looked and how good of a job they did recreating 1937. Today we no longer have patience for these kinds of movies, and besides, everything looks really great these days thanks to advances in the craft of creating movies and television, so what stood out as exceptional in 1974 isn’t so special 45 years later.

The movie doesn’t even have anything to do with Chinatown! Chinatown is just a metaphor for a place where the cops are crooked and the rich and powerful literally get away with murder.

Certain events in the movie can also be interpreted as Roman Polanski justifying his own future sexually deviant behavior, like drugging a 13-year-old girl and then having sex with her. The same logic could be applied to Jeffrey Epstein.

There were no black people in this movie. Everyone important in the movie is white. There are some Chinese people in the movie, and they all have bit parts as servants who barely speak English and the important white people treat them as non-entities. There is some gratuitous anti-Semitism thrown in. I guess, as a Holocaust survivor, that’s a point that Polanski earned the right to make.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 30, 2019 at EST pm

Posted in Movies

The Goonies (1985)

This movie is horrible. I can’t understand what any of the kids are saying. So stupid. The only reason to watch it is because it’s a well known kids’ movie from the 1980s, and it also heavily influenced Stranger Things, but Stranger Things is so much better and more watchable.

But I did get a kick out of how they made fun of the Mexican housekeeper’s inability to speak English, and the Asian kid was a walking stereotype with a cringy Japanese-ish accent. This would be called “racist” today. Also, the weirdly deformed and retarded brother of the bad guys, you also wouldn’t see that in a modern movie either; it would be considered insensitive to people with disabilities.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 27, 2019 at EST pm

Posted in Movies

What 80s movies should I review next?

Taking suggestions.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 27, 2019 at EST am

Posted in Movies

Some Kind of Wonderful (1987)

Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) is the last of the John Hughes high school movies from the 1980s. It’s the least well-known of the bunch, and for good reasons in my opinion. Not to say that it’s a bad movie, but it’s not a great movie. A lot of articles talking about John Hughes movies will include this one and drop Weird Science, but Weird Science is memorable and a quintessential 80s movie.

I vaguely remember seeing this movie before. I was infatuated with Leah Thompson back in the 1980s. I even liked her in Howard the Duck. One article I read described her role in Some Kind of Wonderful as a “sexy virginal archetype” and I can go with that.

Like most John Hughes 80s movies, you can experience the joy of a nearly all-white cast, plus other political incorrectness that you don’t get in modern-day movies. This is the third consecutive John Hughes movie I’ve watched where the word “faggot” is thrown around as an insult.

There are two blacks seen in the movie, but they are not honor students, they are delinquents who hang out with a white skinhead (obviously, John Hughes had no idea about skinheads), and their purpose in the movie is to be ugly and intimidating, and part of the delinquent-kids posse who back up the Eric Stoltz character and stop the rich kids from beating him up.

Some Kind of Wonderful also features a female character who has a tomboyish, almost butch, look about her. She is insulted by other kids, called a “lesbian,” which was an insult in 1987 and not a compliment like it is today. In a movie today, she might come out as “trans” or something like that, but everyone in a John Hughes movie is heterosexual.

The movie never tells you where exactly take place, my impression was that it takes place in New England because the prole characters seem to have a prole New England accent, but then I read on Wikipedia that it was supposed to be in Los Angeles.

The movie is about a love triangle. The lead character, played by Eric Stoltz (way too old to be a high school senior) lusts after Leah Thompson (who wouldn’t lust after her even though she was also way too old to be a high school student?) but unknown to the clueless Eric Stoltz character, his tomboyish best friend played by Mary Stuart Masterson (slightly too old to be a high school senior) has her own case of oneitis is for him.

When I watched the movie the first time, I had trouble empathizing with the Eric Stoltz character who works after school at a service station and has no desire to go to college. What sort of loser wouldn’t want to go to college? Even in the 1908s, it didn’t make any sense. On top of that, he has such a pathetic case of oneitis that even people who know nothing about PUA-theory would cringe. He also engages in some stalker type of behavior, which wasn’t considered to be creepy in 1980s movies the way it is today.

The moral of the movie is that prole whites are good people, and rich whites are bad people with no redeeming qualities. Leah Thompson, who starts out as a vacuous rich-people groupie, is redeemed because she embraces her family’s proleness and rejects her rich friends, including the rich boyfriend who was a total jerk and cheated on her.

* * *

One thing the movie does well is that it perfectly captures the typical prole father’s views about college. The father doesn’t want his son to have a crappy prole job like he does. But he also doesn’t want his son to major in something he considers useless, like art. He wants his son to get a degree in business, because to a prole that sounds like a way to make money.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 26, 2019 at EST am

Posted in Movies

Skyline (2010)

This movie sucks really bad and you should’t watch it.

Why did I watch it? Totally by accident. It came up on Netflix as a movie similar to other movies I was interested in it, and I started watching it, and the first 20 minutes weren’t horrible. But then it went downhill.

Aliens from outer space (presumably that’s what they are and where they are from) are killing people for no reason that we ever find out. There are lots of CGI special effects. All of the characters act stupid and none of them are remotely like-able except for the building’s Puerto-Rican superintendent. Except for the superintendent, I was rooting for everyone else to die.

Lesson: check RottenTomatoes before watching some random movie off of Netflix.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 25, 2019 at EST pm

Posted in Movies

Weird Science (1985)

BEFORE WATCHING THE MOVIE


(Oingo Boingo music video featuring some scenes from the movie interspersed with a lot of weird stuff that isn’t from the movie. And in another 80s movie, Rodney Dangerfield goes Back to School and throws a party where Oingo Boingo plays Dead Man’s Party, but that has nothing to do with Weird Science.)

I haven’t watched Weird Science since the 1980s. It’s a well known movie with a catchy theme song that’s still played on 80s music stations, but it’s assumed to be the stinker among John Hughes’ much better high school movies, which include the three Molly Ringwald movies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Some Kind of Wonderful. Is there anything here worth watching?

AFTER WATCHING THE MOVIE

Wow, this movie truly lives up to its name. It’s weird. A combination of fantasy and farce. Girls with 80s hair. “Mutant bikers” who appear to have come out of a Mad Max movie. 24-year-old Kelly LeBrock as a sort of magical genie of the 1980s looking totally uncomfortable and lacking any on-screen chemistry with her 16-year-old co-stars Anthony Michael Hall and some kid from New York City who was never seen again in any other movie, yet at the same time she appears to enjoy herself immensely. (The age difference here is the opposite of The Breakfast Club where 16-year-old Molly Ringwald was paired up with 24-year-old Judd Nelson. No one batted an eye about that pair-up.)

And oh yes, the word “faggot” is thrown around a few times, and there’s an incongruous scene at a bar where most of the patrons are older black men; today the scene is considered to be “racist,” but no one in the 1980s realized the scene was racist. (Regarding the scene’s incongruity, every scene in this movie is incongruous.)

Do I recommend a re-watch? Yes, I do. I’m still not sure if this movie is genius or if it sucks.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 22, 2019 at EST pm

Posted in Movies

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