22 February 2016

In Movie Lines (with Rhyming Dialogue, Warm Apple Pie, and The Guy on the Couch)

Movie I've Watched

February 14th - February 20th, 2016

At the Multiplex

Dir. Tim Miller

It didn't blow me away as much as it has seemed to do for some, but it is hilarious, violent, fun, stylish, and features the perfect man for the job in Ryan Reynolds. Read my full review

2015 Movies

Dir. Spike Lee

There's been a bit of division over this one lately. I took some light heat from Fisti on Twitter on this one, but I will stand by my statement. I loved this movie. It's a sharply on-the-nose sermon with a fully positive message. It is alive, musical, rhythmic, dialogue of rhyming couplets. It is a bit silly. It's not a perfect movie. It will put some people off. But I dug it. It's got fun and powerful truth in every moment of its fantasy. ★★★ 1/2

7 Days in Hell
Dir. Jake Szymanski

Made in the style of an hour-long HBO Sports special, Kit Harrington (of Game of Thrones fame) plays a dim-witted young prodigy who battles Andy Samberg (of SNL fame) as the mullet-wearing badboy of Tennis in an epic showdown at Wimbledon that seemingly never ends. Half in your face, half deadpan. An easy watch. ★★★

A Blind Spot

The Sting
Dir. George Roy Hill, 1973

How cleverly matter-of-fact this movie is, holding total control over the story and its various twists until it evolves into just plain fun. Glad to have finally seen this one. Full Blind Spot reaction coming tomorrow. 


Ghostbusters 2
Dir. Ivan Reitman, 1989

Well, it was Valentine's Day. I was a touch hungover from the drinking I'd done with my best friend, who came in for the weekend. This meme was floating around. I had just bought the Ghostbusters films on Blu-Ray. It was meant to be. 

Vanilla Sky
Dir. Cameron Crowe, 2002

"It's an evolution of the mind." 

I decided to revisit this one after picking it recently for Thursday Movie Picks. It plays a bit cheesy in some of the opening scenes. Feels a bit dated. But the end of this movie is an absolute miracle of storytelling. And the soundtrack is one of the most timeless and perfect ever put on film. 

American Pie
Dir. Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz, 1999

"We'll just tell your mother we ate it all." 

Is there a better screen Dad for my generation than Eugene Levy as Jim's Dad? I'm hard pressed to think of one. 

Y Tu Mamá También
Dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 2001


This movie just understands every tiny intricacy of love, friendship, sex, youth, aging, and loss (of love, friendship, sex, youth, also innocence). It is warm, funny, sexy, devastating, beautiful. And that's just in terms of the character's story. It is also those things in the way it wraps Mexico into every single strand. 

Half Baked
Dir. Tamra Davis, 1998

"He had sex with my Mama!"

This movie is 82 minutes of non-stop comedic brilliance. The plot is stupid, but the rest of this movie is anything but. Dave Chapelle was and is forever a genius. 

Barton Fink
Dir. Joel Coen, 1991

I don't know if any of you listen to The Next Picture Show podcast, but it is so much fun to play along with. The crew over there recently did a pairing of Barton Fink and Hail, Caesar!. It was a great conversation. 

Dir. Christopher Nolan, 2010

My wife and I, after three attempts now, finally understand this movie, if that's even possible. It really is staggering piece of filmmaking. So clever and fun and perfectly made. 

The Numbers

I've watched 49 movies this year, so far.

2016 Releases - 2

Re-Watched - 16

First-Timers - 31

What have you been watching?


  1. I'll be seeing Chi-Raq pretty soon. Can't wait to weigh in on this.

    The Sting is magnificent. Glad you liked it.

    Been a long time si.ce I've seen Ghostbusters 2. Totally forgot about that date being the end if the world.

    Half-Baked and American Pie are both great. And Chappelle is indeed a genius.

    Glad you think you have a graspvon Inception. It's a tough, but rewarding film. And that ending!

    Y tu Mama Tambien is just perfect.

    Great post, my friend.

    1. Chi-Raq has a lot to like if you just let it happen. It is exactly what it wants to be. I really had a good week. Thanks, man.

  2. I think I need to apologize for Fisti, as I totally encouraged him. That said...REALLY???!!? (sorry..but that movie is sooooo ridiculous!)

    I am the only mid 30s man alive to have not seen Half Baked. Or Barton Fink.

    I have brought shame on my family.

    1. Totally ridiculous. I think that's part of its charm for me. Like I told Dell up there. It is exactly what it wants to be, and I just don't have a problem with that.

      Dude. I saw Half Baked in the theater in 8th grade. It's even more hilarious every time I watch it. Barton Fink is a brilliant piece of filmmaking, man. So dark. No shame though. Just get on it.

  3. I looove Vanilla Sky. Cruz is so-so in it, but everything else is fantastic. Agree about soundtrack it is just outstanding

    1. It really is amazing. I've never been huge on Cruz. Not much appeal to me. But I guess I get it.

  4. So many good ones here. I'm with you on Chi-Raq though, I loved it. I loved it for what it said and how it had a serious message but still manged to not take itself too seriously at the same time.

    1. That's exactly it, Britt. It is a cool way to get that message across. And it's entertaining.

  5. I feel out of the loop since the film you guys are having a back and forth on, Chi-Raq, is one I never even heard of. But then as a rule I’m not much of a fan of Spike Lee, outside of Inside Man, so I probably saw his name and just glossed over. I’m an Andy Samberg fan, at least on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, so I plan of seeing 7 Days in Hell, glad to hear it’s an easy watch.

    Happy to see you liked The Sting, I’ll wait for your review to talk about it though.

    Of your rewatches I’ve seen three of them. LOVE Inception in all it involved multi story within story within story. I like that everything isn’t spelled out for the audience and what a cast! American Pie is just good fun and yes Eugene Levy would have to be one of the more open-minded fathers in film. Really liked as opposed to loved Y Tu Mamá También, it’s a wonderful character study.

    Barton Fink is a blind spot for me, it is on my to see list just hasn’t worked its way up yet. Can’t say the same for Vanilla Sky, I like Penelope Cruz well enough but the idea of watching a teaming of Cruise and Diaz for a couple of hours is my idea of nothing to do. You couldn’t pay me to watch Ghostbusters 2-I fell asleep TWICE trying to make it through the first one in the theatre…odd since I like the cast but that’s the way it goes.

    1. If you're not into earlier Spike Lee, you probably won't get much out of Chi-Raq. It is decidedly a Spike Lee Joint. Samberg really is hilarious. Glad you love so many of these.

      I think Ghostbusters works so well for me because it was big when I was a kid. Ghostbusters 2 came out when I was in elementary school. We all wanted to be Ghostbusters. Now, it's just a nostalgia thing, and I love Bill Murray. Vanilla Sky is certainly not for everybody. I happen to really like Tom Cruise, so it works for me.

      Barton Fink is really a great movie. I'm so glad I caught back up with it.

  6. As for what I saw I didn’t have much luck with my main list. I only found one film, The Millionaire an early James Cagney picture and his part was small. The film itself while it creaked with age wasn’t bad. I’ll be having a bit more luck next month though because Merle Oberon is TCM’s Star of the Month. While they won’t be showing quite as many of the films of hers that I’m missing as I could hope they do have several scheduled. Unfortunately the lost film bugaboo has raised its head again and I discovered one of her films is gone, the now ironically titled Men of Tomorrow.

    I’ve been having so much luck of late with some other vintage performers that I’ve started another list for those people, for want of a better term I guess I’d call them second tier favorites. With them I’m trying to see as many of their films as I can but if I run into a wall it won’t bug me as much as those elusive titles of my favorites. I did considerably better with them this week. Here’s what I watched from it with the corresponding performer.

    Franchot Tone-Lost Honeymoon & I Love Trouble
    Fred MacMurray-Day of the Badman
    Joan Fontaine-Frenchman’s Creek & Casanova’s Big Night (actually a Bob Hope comedy with Fontaine in support, I’m not usually a Hope fan but this one was pretty good and had fantastic production design)
    Joel McCrea-Wells Fargo & Cattle Empire
    John Payne-Rails into Laramie
    Rory Calhoun-Red Sundown & Adventure Island

    But the biggest windfall here was that I came upon a treasure trove of films by Carole Landis, a rather infamous and tragic B-level star who was known as the Ping Girl (I have no idea what it meant!). I was able to track down 8 of her films including the final two she completed in England just before her suicide. The eight were-It Happened in Flatbush & It Shouldn’t Happen to a Dog (these were the best of the bunch…the first a decent comedy/drama about a baseball player who gets a chance to manage his old Brooklyn team and take them to the championship, the second a silly comedy. The rest-Behind Green Lights, A Gentleman at Heart, Dance Hall, The Noose, The Brass Monkey were ordinary and the last Daredevils of the Red Circle while terribly corny was fascinating in its way because it was a serial that would play before the feature each about 20 minutes and always ended with a cliffhanger so you had to go back the next week to find out what happens.

    I also stumbled across this cable channel, Comet, that seems to specialize in old obscure sci-fi films, that’s not really my sweet spot but I did try out a few that had slightly bigger names or an interesting premise, The Monster that Challenged the World, War Gods of the Deep and The Time Travelers, but they were cheesy beyond belief.

    I caught up with a couple titles that I guess could be considered blind spots, not classics but ones people talk about a great deal and I’ve never caught up with until now, Insomnia and Joe versus the Volcano. Both were good in their way but neither blew me away. I also saw a trio of more recent films, Everest (meh-so much talent but to what purpose?), Cloud Atlas (a stupid mess) and The Hollow (a worthless update of the Washington Irving story).

    Lastly I saw Helen Mirren’s first film, the Michael Powell directed Age of Consent with James Mason. It has some interesting ideas and beautiful location shooting on a tropical isle but not one of his stronger pictures.

    1. Well, I'd love to see some early Helen Mirren. As for Insomnia, I really love that one, if you're talking the American version. I haven't seen the original Norwegian film. Joe Versus the Volcano is an odd one I remember watching as a kid. Haven't seen it since. Cloud Atlas worked a lot better as a novel. It is a really strange read, written as this sort of cyclical narrative. Six nested stories, in different narrative styles, building on each other. It was well attempted as a movie, but it couldn't really pull it off.

      That Carol Landis stuff sounds fascinating. Glad you were able to find so much good stuff this week.

      Be well, man.

  7. Chi-Raq is flat-out great. Period. The most brilliant adaptation of a classic play in YEARS, and it's a play that frankly has been screaming out to be adapted basically since we entered Iraq/Afghanistan. When I have the time and mental energy I'll probably post on just why it's so brilliant.

    But... ummmmmmmm... Inception isn't really THAT difficult to understand... I mostly "got it" after the first viewing and a second filled in whatever few holes were left. I've always found it to be a shockingly straightforward film.

    1. Yes! So glad we feel the same way about Chi-Raq!

      My line about "getting" Inception was really just an inside joke with my wife. We saw it together in the theater, both a bit baffled. This watch was our second, and the holes were filled in. It is straightforward. That's what's so incredible about it.

  8. Last week, I re-watched The 40-Year Old Virgin. It's now one of my top 10 favorite comedies.

    Last week, I also watched The Danish Girl (excellent), Grandma (Lily Tomlin was amazing), Black Mass (Johnny Depp was brilliant), & Death to Smoochy (one of my favorite dark comedies of all time).

    This weekend, I saw Michael Moore's documentary Where to Invade Next. I think it's his best documentary yet.

    And I also re-watched Very Bad Things. Still one of my favorite dark comedies.

    Yesterday, I watched Trumbo. Bryan Cranston was really good in it.

    And today, I watched Death Proof. Definitely one of Tarantino's best. (I know I said I watched it in your Tarantino post. I thought I watched it a while ago, but I didn't.) But anyway, it was excellent.

    And tomorrow, I plan on watching the 2009 film from the Coen brothers, A Serious Man. Looks excellent.

    1. And also, I am going to see Kevin Smith at one of his events here in Detroit in March. So excited!