Don’t Breathe

For the first time in a while, I didn’t see a huge blockbuster!  I know, I was a bit surprised myself.  I take my niece to the movies when she lets me.  She has this new boyfriend who takes up most of her time now, but if I bug her enough, we go to the theater together.  So last night, we drove around because I got us super lost (oh wow, did I get us lost), and we went and saw Don’t Breathe.  If you haven’t heard about Don’t Breathe, a group of early 20-somethings break into the house of a blind man and try to rob him.  All hell breaks loose.

I am not shy about my love for horror movies.  I will watch just about anything horror related no matter how bad.  I have a strong affinity for April Fools Day, and Puppet Master is one of my favorite series ever.  It is pure gold.  But for me (I’m going old man in 3..2..1..) back in my day… I just prefer my horror to be slasher flicks.  Horror today just seems like suspense.  But that’s just personal choice I guess.  Growing up in the days of Nightmare, Friday the 13th, and Saw, I got used to a certain type of movie.  If you grew up these days, you would probably find those movies dumb as hell.  Especially the films later in those series.

Anyway, back to Don’t Breathe.  Here was my biggest problem with it.  (SEMI SPOILER AHEAD) Five minutes into the movie, I said, oh okay so this is the person who’s going to live.  And of course they did.  So there was no doubt the entire movie who was going to get away.  That wasn’t so great.  Ah, but the movie tries to throw you off!  I won’t give away too much for those who still intend to see it.  It did just come out.  But don’t be fooled.  Go with your gut and know, yeah, this is the one who makes it. (END OF SEMI SPOILER).

Most of the entire movie takes place inside the blind guys house.  I didn’t bother to learn any of the characters names.  I’m not looking them up.  They know he has a large sum of cash somewhere on the premises and they want to get their hands on it.  It’s their ticket out of town (isn’t it always).  Luckily, one of the burglars has a father who owns the security company who secures the house.  So they have a set of keys to the house.  Okay.  Does this happen somewhere?  Are there homeowners who gives a copy of their keys to their security company?  I’ve never heard of this.  Nor would I EVER do this.  Why?  FOR THIS VERY REASON.

Here’s the other thing.  They cover their mouths so he can’t hear them breathing, but they make a SHIT TON of noise throughout the house.  Creaky floors, breaking windows, alarm blaring before they can turn it off.  Dog barking.  It finally took a gunshot to a locked cellar door to wake the damn guy.  I sure wish I slept that heavily.  Everything wakes me up.  In a neighborhood that was supposedly completely abandoned, I don’t buy that he wouldn’t hear any of that.

The plot twist towards the end, however, was great.  The premise of the movie, along with this twist, were enough to keep me interested throughout.  And there were enough surprises to make me jump in my seat a handful of times.  I had read that people were upset with the ending of the movie.  I’m not really sure which part.  It’s not terrible.  It’s not amazing.  Certainly not worth getting ones undies in a bunch over.  Anyone who saw it and hated the ending is more than welcome to chime in.  The car?  The very end?  I’m confused why the end was so terrible.

I really wanted to love it.  LOVE IT.  I really want to love every horror movie.  I liked it.  I wish I hadn’t paid full price for it.  I also wish I hadn’t almost killed us both on the way there.  But that’s a different story.  All about my terrible driving.

Batman

What do you write about during the summer when you don’t really do a whole lot?  The past 6 weeks for example, have been full of kid swim lessons, a wedding of people you’ve never heard of, a bachelor party for which I will not write about… and… that’s about it.  The previous six weeks of summer… not a whole lot happened there either.

I saw Captain America: Civil War.  It was good.  What do you want me to say?  It was pretty much what the previews showed.  If you saw the previews, you saw 90% of the important parts of the movie.  The end was a little bit different than I expected, but I had some problems with the ending.  Like what happens if Iron Man doesn’t go after Captain America and The Winter Soldier?  The whole premise of the movie hinges on that one event happening.  If it doesn’t?  Then they just sit around staring at each other.  Super fun movie.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you didn’t see the movie.  If you saw the movie, you get it.

So over the past few days, I saw two different Batman movies.  I finally saw Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice.  I also so Batman: The Killing Joke.  I’m not sure which was more surprising.  That I didn’t hate BVS as much as I thought I would, or that I didn’t like TKJ as much as I thought I would.

I know I am way behind the curve here on Batman V. Superman.  But it just looked terrible.  So I waited till it was on DVD to watch it.  I couldn’t justify spending ticket prices on this movie.  It wasn’t as bad as I assumed it would be.  It’s still not good.  The film is two and a half damn hours.  The first hour or so is just them standing around meeting each other.  LET’S GO!!!  I get it, gotta set up the trinity and all that.  But geezus, row across lake point!!  Move it along!  The worst part of the movie was the casting of Jesse Eisenberg.  I am not a huge fan to start with, but I would like to see who didn’t get the role.  A dog?  Phil?  There had to be someone better.  And maybe he will be better in Justice League.  Who knows.  But he was dreadful.

The thing I find most interesting about BVS happened in the aftermath of the film.  It was such a critical disaster that Warner Bros. decided to move people around on Justice League.  Ben Affleck is now an executive producer.  The obvious choice to make is the one that they refuse to actually make.  The reason BVS was so terrible, and the reason Justice League is going to suck beyond belief, is Zack Snyder.  The director needs to go.  But WB probably has too much money invested in him to replace him at this point.  Chicken sh*ts.  Snyder ruined this movie.  If WB and DC wonder why they are so far behind Marvel in their cinematic universe, they need to look no further than Snyder.

I was so excited to see The Killing Joke.  And it was such a letdown.  The second half of the movie is great.  It is very true to the graphic novel on which it is based.  I didn’t know what to expect, really.  I had heard rumors about a scene between Batman and Batgirl.  The internet went ape sh*t.  Apparently people have a huge problem with the two of them… being intimate.  I get that there is a huge age difference, and she was involved with Robin at one point in history.  But whatever, it didn’t bother me that much.  It was the aftermath that bugged me.  They turned her into this whiny, damsel in distress character that just wasn’t Batgirl for me.  To be fair, I haven’t read a lot of Batgirl books, so I am not as familiar with her history as others, and maybe this is true to her.  It just didn’t work for me.  Once they switched to the Batman/Joker dynamic, the movie got a lot better.  If you’re a fan of this particular book, it is worth checking out.  Just don’t have high expectations.

If I’ve said it once…

…I’ve said it 1,000 times. Ryan Reynolds can do no wrong. He is great in everything. I am the person who bought the Green Lantern movie.  And there’s a stack of VHS tapes that have the entire series of Two Guys and a Girl on them.  Who doesn’t love that show?  Well apparently everyone except me.  They STILL haven’t put it on DVD.  But it has Ryan Reynolds AND Nathan Fillion!!  I mean seriously.  The good news is, Reynolds would do a reunion show.  Even though it’ll never happen.

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Me all by myself

This past weekend I spent an evening watching the latest Ryan Reynolds masterpiece, Deadpool. In fact, I was so excited to see it, I had to get there early to get in line.  I got there so early in fact, I was first in line!  By about 15 minutes.  Totally worth it!  I thought maybe they were letting people in so I walked into the theater. Nope still full of people from the previous showing.

Ryan plays Wade Wilson. A former military man who now works as a low level enforcer who enjoys booze, hookers, and foul language. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, he undergoes a procedure to attempt to remedy his fate. After the serum takes effect and his mutation is complete, he takes on the mantra of Deadpool and swears to find the man who scarred his body to seek his revenge.  During this time, Francis, played by Ed Skrein, finds out who is the “Merc with a Mouth” and kidnaps his fiancee, Vanessa.

Ah, Vanessa.  I didn’t know that Morena Baccarin was in this movie.  It was another great surprise on top of a hundred great surprises in this film.  I will admit, that I do not know her entire filmography.  But she was brilliant.  It was nice to see her play a character so different than what I am use to.  My familiarity with Morena is strictly from Firefly.  Which also has Nathan Fillion.  Yes, everything relates to Firefly.  It’s that good.  Here, she is the hooker Wilson falls in love with.  In Firefly she is…a companion.  Okay so that sounds like a hooker but it’s totally different.  She is so sophisticated and appalled at the thought of being called anything less.  So yes, it’s different.

My favorite superhero movie ever is Batman Begins.  I may have to rethink that.  This movie is so damn good.  Okay, I thought about it.  It’s not better than Batman Begins.  But it’s better than any movie that Marvel or DC has put out in the past couple years.  I do enjoy seeing justice done to my villains, and seeing them put behind bars.  But sometimes I just want to see their heads explode.  Sometimes I want my heroes to have chiseled jaw lines and billions of dollars, then there are times like this where I want them hanging out in dive bars and have a face that looks like my marshmallows when I make s’mores.  And I want to see a movie that cannot possibly be played on regular cable because half the language will be changed.  I’m a very simple man.  It’s foul, it’s violent and I cannot possibly oversell how good this is.

Reynolds has been trying to get this movie made for years. It is much different than the movies Marvel has put out so far in their Universe.  And both the time put into the film, and the hard R it is rated were well worth it.  For me, the most important thing was that it was R rated.  The movie didn’t try to conform to the superhero playbook and go PG-13, which it easily could have.  And it would have been ruined.  That trust has been greatly rewarded, as it is the highest grossing R rated movie ever.  EVER.  Deadpool had a budget of $60 million.  Last I checked, it was up to $260 million worldwide.  That’s a nice return on their investment.  Will Marvel or DC look at this and go the way of the R rated superhero movie again?  Maybe.  But probably not.  They know what works, and what is going to get them to the billions and it’s PG-13.  But it’s great to know that R rated movies, when done well can bring in big box office numbers.  It would be nice to see movies go back to R ratings.  I have been screaming about PG-13 horror movies for years and how terrible they are.  Now, I understand that horror and superhero movies are completely different and will never bring in the same money, but make a damn good movie and people will see it!  It’s not that freaking hard!!  Thank you Ryan, and thank you Deadpool.  THIS is the movie we all deserved!!  Now don’t f**k up Deadpool 2.

Movies

Well, there have been a few movies I saw since we last spoke.  I’d like to get caught up on my thoughts here.  I can’t even remember what I’ve spent my time watching.  Some good, some not so good.  Let’s get the theater movies out of the way.

First of all, I spent two hours standing in line to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I saw it the second night it was out.  So it was a while ago.  It was cold that night.  People kept coming up, asking what we were standing in line for, and then trying to get past the line, and then were told by theater management to get to the back of the line.  What the hell?  Why are you so damn special?  Like you’re gonna get in front?  Jerk off.  Anyway.  Phil and I discussed, and had very similar thoughts on the movie.  If for some reason you haven’t seen the movie yet… SPOILERS!!  SKIP AHEAD!!  We agreed the film was very solid.  But the problems I had with it were that it was exactly like A New Hope.  Was it a retelling of Episode IV?  Was it lazy writing?  I don’t know, but it was blatantly obvious.  I had a bigger problem with the fact that Rey was so good with a light saber and defeated Kylo Ren in their battle even though he was a trained Jedi.  There was one more.  What was it?  Damn it, Phil was right.  We should have done this right away so we could have remembered.  Well, whatever it was, it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the movie.  It was really good.  It’s certainly not better than IV or V.  I need to let it sink it before I rank it.

I recently went and saw Sisters, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.  Anyone who knows me, knows of my love of Tina Fey.  Also Amy, but not like Tina.  So I was a little biased going into this one.  Parks and Rec and 30 Rock are two of my favorite shows of the last 10 years.  30 Rock makes my list of favorite shows ever.  So you won’t find me saying a bad word about this.  But I could have written this review before I saw the movie.  They KILLED it.  Amy and Tina play sisters who go home to Orlando because their parents are selling their childhood home and have one last party.  I came home and immediately pre-ordered it on Blu-Ray.  It’s pretty typical adult party movie.  It’s also very typical writing that you would find in a movie with Fey and Poehler.  It turns into a touching love story between them as family, which was always going to happen.  Every movie has to have a point!  And it was perfect.  Including Star Wars, Sisters might be my favorite movie of the year.  Well, in the last 12 months.  Whatever you want to call it.

I finally saw Draft Day.  I swore I would never watch it.  I am a huge football fan, and this looked like a horrible pile of garbage.  Even though it had Kevin Costner.  Yeah, I consider that a positive thing.  It…wasn’t…as….horrible as I expected.  Still not good.  It might be the most obvious movie I’ve ever seen.  There’s no suspense at all.  It’s clear as day what is going to happen 10 minutes into the movie.  There was a scene between Costner’s character (the movie was so dull I don’t even have any idea what his character’s name was) and his mother that I thought to myself he should have said “Hey mom, wanna have a catch?”  And that would have been the best part of the movie by far.  The less said about this movie the better.  Moving on.

I saw the second half of Horrible Bosses 2.  Here’s my question about this movie.  If the cast had been the same but the title was different, would anyone had noticed?  Maybe there was something in the first half that I missed?  I didn’t get it.  And I still don’t understand what was so bad about Charlie Day having sex with Jennifer Aniston in the first one.  What made her such a horrible boss?

Last night I watched Trainwreck.  Because Amy Schumer rules the world.  And she’s amazing.  Trainwreck is not.  I was so disappointed about what I saw.  Amy hates relationships, but falls in love with a doctor she is interviewing for an article she is writing.  I’m almost positive I looked at the clock more than I laughed.  The title was apt.

I swear there is one more I saw.  It must not have been very good.  Damn, what the hell was it?  Oh well.  Here’s to February 12 and Deadpool!

All Things Must Pass

Wow, it’s been a while. Where have I been?  I haven’t written since my Star Wars post. Well, we moved shortly after that. So most of my free time has been spent unpacking and trying to figure out which box has which things in it.  Turns out, I’m not so good at the labeling of boxes.

The rest of my time has been spent taking care of my youngest daughter.  She hates preschool.  Screams for anywhere from 5-60 minutes. So we decided to pull her out for the year and try again in the fall. I am constantly exhausted. She has 100% energy at all times.  We just got gone with her gymnastics class and are now waiting to pick up her sister at kindergarten. And she is full of energy. She HAS to be moving.  So I choose to go to bed when I can.  (Note:  This was written in the morning.  Posted at night.  She doesn’t have kindergarten at night time.)

But I need to get back into this. What better way than a documentary about a transcendent company that started right here in Sacramento, California!!  All Things Must Pass is a film about the legendary Tower Records and its rise to dominance and its even faster fall to bankruptcy.  Growing up in my part of the greater Sacramento area, there were two places to get music. Dimple Records, and Tower Records.

I’ve mentioned before how much Dimple means to me as the place I first heard and fell in love with Reel Big Fish. But Tower was the big time. I remember it was where people would camp out for concert tickets (before the internet and Ticketmaster, you actually had to to get tickets to things you young a**holes).  I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Not that I would ever be allowed to go sit there all night for concert tickets, but still cool.

ATMP was directed by Colin Hanks, who, as a native Sacramentan, has a unique perspective on the subject. And did an amazing job with this film. There is no narration. The movie flows along simply with stories from the owner, to former employees, to major stars Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, and Dave Grohl.

Started in the ’60s, Tower was opened in a drug store in downtown Sacramento.  After it moved to it’s main location, it spread across the world. Once music changed from records, to CD’s, to digital, it just wasn’t necessary to have actual stores anymore. The need to go into a store for music just isn’t there. Especially when it’s so much cheaper to get it on Amazon or ITunes (or stealing it free online).

If you’ve never been to a Tower, or have never spent money in an actual store buying music (Best Buy, Target, and stores like that absolutely do not count), you probably won’t get this movie or find it as riveting as I did. Maybe it was because I was so proud of this Sacramento institution that became a global phenomenon. The end of the movie and the downfall was heartbreaking and did bring me to tears. But I think it could be a nostalgia thing about a place I spent a lot of time in my youth. Either way, this film is brilliant and anyone who wants a look at what music was like and what buying music was like for damn near 40 years should definitely see this movie. Then come visit Sacramento and go to Tower Theater!  It is still here, but don’t come looking for Tower Records.  It, like a number of other things in this town have come and gone.

The Martian

A couple months ago, right before this movie was released, I made it a priority to read the book. And I did it!  In like a week!  It was really quick for me. I’m always tired and have trouble staying focused on a book. That’s why there are at least two dozen books sitting on my shelf right now waiting to be read. And also why it took me a year to read 11/22/63. What a horrible ending that book had. Left me so unsatisfied. And now it’s going to be a mini-series!  But of course I don’t have Hulu. I already told my friend Greg I’m coming over those days to watch it. He’s made plans to mow the lawn.

Where was I?  The Martian!  Yes!  Okay so after reading the book, I was concerned that the movie would take too many liberties and make it too Hollywood. There’s a lot of science in the book. I didn’t think it would translate very well to the big screen. Also, the character in the book, Mark Watney, is alone on Mars. A lot. For a really long time. Sort of like Castaway. But without a dumb volleyball. But the movie was really well done. It stayed as true to the story as was possible. They even through in some science!!

Matt Damon is Mark Watney. After a storm on Mars, the mission he and five other astronauts were halfway through completing is aborted. During the storm, Watney is knocked out of sight from the other astronauts, and presumed dead. The ship takes off without him, and he needs to figure out how to survive for the next few years until NASA can send another mission to come get him.

There were some problems with it.  First, my friend Ryan reads everything. And always tells me the book is better than the movie EVERY. F*CKING. TIME. It’s annoying. So don’t tell him I said this. But the book was so much better. It was so much funnier. They cut out most of the good parts of Watney’s video diaries.  They also cut out what I thought was a pretty significant part of the end of the book.  Apparently, it wasn’t that big of a deal.  I told my wife what was cut out, and she didn’t care in the slightest that she missed this part.

I also thought the characters from NASA were much better written than they were portrayed in the movie.  What was the point of having a megastar like Kristen Wiig (yes.  MEGASTAR) in this movie to have her be barely a background piece?  And the fact that Vincent Kapoor, played very well by Chiwetel Ejiofor was actually a character of Indian decent in the movie really bugged me.  As it did Aziz Ansari.  I’m not trying to start anything, I’m not smart enough for that.  But Aziz is right, and they could have found someone to play the role the way it was intended.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with the movie.  Although I think this whole, read the book thing first sucks.  I knew what was coming the whole time.  That blows.  And the parts I really liked in the book didn’t go over as well in the movie as they did in my head, like a great Iron Man joke that I thought was really funny.  But no one else in the theater did.  I think for 2.5 hours of running time, they could have found a little more time to get more out of the book, but what they did get out of it was really great.  Not as great in the theater as I would have hoped.  But I’m glad I saw it after spending all that time reading the book.  Hey a week for me is considered “all that time!”

Mad Max Fury Road

A real conversation I had with my dad about Mad Max Fury Road.

Me: Have you seen Mad Max?  I just got it on Netflix.

Dad: Ppffttt. Yeah I saw it.

Me:  What?  No good?

Dad:  Sure!  If you like watching people chase each other in cars for two hours!

Me: That sounds amazing actually.

Apparently my dad isn’t a fan of post-apocolyptic movies because this one was cool as hell. Tom Hardy takes over the role of Max that had previously been played by Mel Gibson.  In this fourth installment of the Mad Max franchise, civilization become a wasteland, and people have to beg for drops of water. Max is captured for his blood, but is able to escape.

Charlize Theron is Furiosa, a one armed bandit (no she’s not a slot machine…. Crickets.. I thought that was funny) who is sent on the war rig to get gasoline. She goes off course to take breeders, the five wives of the immortal leader of The Citadel, Joe, to The Green Place. A new home for them where they will be safe and out of reach of his tyrranical rule.

Max and Furiosa, skeptical of each other at first, and pulling guns on the other, realize they both want the same thing; freedom from Joe. When they realize they can only get from working together, they join forces for, you guessed it, one final chase scene that ends up on the doorstep of The Citadel.

My dad was right about the plot. 90% of it is chase scenes.  But those scenes are amazing. Explosions, crashes, everything you could possibly want or expect from this movie.  There’s no character development. How did Furiosa lose her arm?  Who knows. Okay maybe we do know and I missed it. There’s not even a whole lot of dialog. Mostly just action and blowing sh*t up.  How anyone could find this unappealing, I’ll never understand. But my dad’s old and cranky.  He probably just needed his nap. Actually, that sounds good, I want a nap.