Good Watch: The Onion Movie @TheOnion @STARZ #GoodWatch

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I wanted to do something stupid, so I did. I watched the Onion Movie, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s the kind of movie that you can’t review. It’s just a ridiculous mess of funny anecdotes, each serving as a segue into the next. Just when I think it’s getting old, I suddenly find myself again laughing out loud at something ridiculously funny. It’s also great to see a snapshot of Hollywood in 2008, seeing which actors were on the rise, and which were on their way out. Plus, Jed Rees has a nice skit making fun of D&D players. That’s always fun for me. The Onion Movie is showing on Starz.

If you have a stupid sense of humor, this could be your thing too. As always. YMMV.

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Sophmore Slump Watch: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm @SachaBaronCohen @RudyGiuliani

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Borat 2 inspired me to start a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime. I’m glad it was free.

Okay, that was a bit rough, but it makes for a good tagline, so I offer no apologies. Borat 2 wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t as good as his first movie. Maybe I was expecting too much. The charm of the first movie was Borat acting crazy and watching the honest reactions of unaware citizens. Too many people recognize him, so that’s much more difficult. The movie is amusingly self-aware of that fact.

The other strength of the first movie was that Borat never learned his lesson. He started the movie screwed up and ended it that way. Not so here. In Borat 2, Borat returns to the “U S and A” but through circumstance is paired with his daughter, Tutar (Maria Bakalova). The movie makes a story out of their relationship, and that’s why I don’t think it was as good. It’s supposed to be a feel-good story, but if you focus on the story as serious, the premise is far too depressing for a comedy.

But that’s okay, as long as we get Cohen’s over-the-top comedy, right? Well, there was only one cringe-worthy moment for me, which was when Tutar speaks to the group of Women Republicans. There was also a funny moment, let’s just say, related to abortion, but it wasn’t embarrassing. It was just a misunderstanding. I can get that from any comedy. I did laugh out loud on occasion, but not enough. In fact, at one point, I walked away from the TV to put water on for pasta. I wouldn’t be able to do that while watching the first movie.

As a side note, the Giuliani thing is greatly exaggerated, probably on purpose. I suspect it was intentionally overblown in order to hype the movie. It seems to have worked.

I hope I have better luck with the Expanse, the Boys, the Man in the High Castle, and Good Omens. If there’s time, I’ll add in Jack Ryan and Bosch.

I really wanted a proper sequel for Borat. As always, YMMV.

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Good Watch: The Trial of the Chicago 7 @SachaBaronCohen @hitRECordJoe @netflix #GoodWatch

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I hate courtroom dramas. While I’m not a litigator, I can spot the nonsense when I see it, and legal dramas are always about “drama” first and “legal” last. The same is true for any industry. Some liberties were taken with the story, but based on a little research, this movie largely gets it right. And that story is frustrating. From Wikipedia:

Based on the story of the Chicago Seven, a group of eight defendants charged by the federal government with conspiracy in 1969 and 1970, inciting to riot, and other charges related to anti-Vietnam War and countercultural protests that took place in Chicago, Illinois, on the occasion of the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

The trial was a mess. The judge (ironically) showed nothing but contempt for the defense. All of the charges, including the numerous contempt charges, were overturned on appeal. The Seventh Circuit ordered a new trial, which the Attorney General declined to pursue.

Sacha Baron Cohen was awesome. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was awesome. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was awesome. Mark Rylance was awesome. Frank Langella was awesome.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is streaming on Netflix. There’s no reason not to watch this movie. As always, YMMV.

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Spooky Watch: The Invisible Man 2020 (and How Dungeons & Dragons Almost Ruined It) @hbomax #GoodWatch #DnD

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It’s October, so all of my streaming services are suggesting horror (or horror-adjacent). I’m not a fan of the genre, or at least not of slasher films or any film relying on stupid behavior to advance the plot. Also, while I’m more than willing to suspend disbelief, I require something … anything … to provide a basis for that suspension. I don’t get that from most horror movies.

That said, I’ve had a recent string of fairly good luck with the genre, and the 2020 reboot(?) of the Invisible Man continues that trend. It’s spooky and scary in a way that preys on my own fears. Mild spoilers ahead. I don’t need people snooping on me, and the technology at the center of this movie (currently being researched in the real world) takes that to another level. It can also be used to frame you for a crime. Also spooky. The only thing missing was the use of Deep Fake to have the main character destroyed by cancel culture. That would have been the scariest thing of all, but maybe they didn’t include it to avoid an NC-17 rating. 🙂

So, how did Dungeons & Dragons almost ruin it? It took away from, dare I say, the believability of this film even after you suspend your disbelief in the underlying technology. The technology makes you invisible. Okay, I can accept that. However, every edition of D&D has taught us (you know, the nerds) that invisibility definitely does not hide the sounds you make, and it doesn’t give you superhuman strength. The villain was far too quiet and far too strong. The technology consists of a ton of cameras. There’s no noise dampening apparent from its design, and if that’s what they were going with, they should have justified it within the script by both an association with someone well-versed in that technology and something apparent in the design. Instead, presumably for dramatic effect, they actually made the technology loud when the main character first discovers it.

But I know this is just me, so even I just let that go. Accordingly, with only a couple of exceptions, stupidity isn’t necessary to advance the plot, and there’s only one instance that I noticed where the villain (sort of) appears to be in two places at the same time. Also, once an invisible person grabs you, it becomes a grappling match, and you’re not at nearly as much of a disadvantage as a fist fight. I seem to be talking myself out of liking this movie, but I still liked it. I guess I’m just a sucker.

The misdirection about 20 minutes before the end of the movie was pretty good even though I saw it coming, and the ending was satisfying if not realistic. (C’mon. The guy’s a cop.)

There are no mid-credits or after-credits scenes. You’re welcome. As always, YMMV.

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Quarantine Watch Party: Venom Viewing Notes @ComicBook @BrandonDavisBD #Venom #SONY

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Last night was a long-overdue quarantine watch party for Venom. I’ve mentioned Venom before, but these are my viewing notes for the movie.

Side Note: The first time I saw Tom Hardy was in Star Trek: Nemesis, which is a guilty pleasure of mine. So yeah, I know, <slow-witted voice>”But Star Trek Nemesis sucks, man!”</slow-witted voice> Regardless, Hardy showed me something in that movie.

Second Side Note: The “technical difficulties” to which I refer below are just commercial breaks I can’t fast forward. Even though I’m on commercial free Hulu, I still get commercials when streaming from an established network like FX. The commercial breaks are five minutes long, and I’m trying to keep up with the other attendees at the quarantine watch party. Sort of ruined it for me.

Outside of combat, what superhero (in the movies) rides a motorcycle? I can’t think of any. Does it have to do with the fact that Venom is an anti-hero? Directors and screenwriters make these choices intentionally.

“Heights aren’t really my thing.” Foreshadowing.

It’s funny how the ambushing journalist is presented as the good guy despite us not really knowing how much of a bad guy the mark is.

“What you did got me fired.” No, what *you* did got you fired and should get you disbarred.

Killing all of those people at the market seemed unnecessary.

Due to technical difficulties, there’s a gap in my viewing here. You’re welcome.

“This is First Contact.”

Origin Of First Contact Day Explained!
No, this is.

Nice special effects on the “possession.”

Due to technical difficulties, there’s a gap in my viewing here. You’re welcome.

Now that the symbiote is inside him, Eddie is superhuman, yet he doesn’t seem to be asking himself why. I guess he’s more concerned with the bullets that are flying by his head. You’d think he’d have some time while hanging out in that tree.

I’ve been that thirsty before.

When the voices in your head say, “Do not open the door,” you … call a shrink.

Technical difficulties. Dammit. Way too many commercials.

“My legs are broken and now they’re not. What’s happening?” Has Eddie never seen an action movie before?

Awww, what a cute kid … WTF?!

Even more “technical difficulties.”

I can’t wait to see Venom face Spidey.

There’s a lot more character development in this movie than I appreciated the first time around.

Bye bye, puppy.

I really wish the villain didn’t always have the same powers as the (anti-)hero. It’s trite at this point.

Freaking technical difficulties.

This has to be the weirdest fight scene I’ve ever seen. Sure, the special effects are great, but this is just weird. But I like it.

Superhero movies have no concern for the economic damage the characters cause. 🙂

Damn, that was one hell of a Stan Lee cameo.

Tater tots? Who does Venom think he is? Napoleon Dynamite?

If I had a voice in my head, I wonder if I could suppress my instinct to reply out loud. Of course, I hope I never find out.

Carnage is coming.

And that’s a wrap on the quarantine watch party.

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Formulaic Watch: Hubie Halloween @Netflix #GoodWatch

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It’s really fashionable to hate on Adam Sandler nowadays. Everyone loves to criticize what everyone likes, which makes no sense until you realize people always love to complain, and the squeaky wheels tend to get the grease. With that, I’m going to complain.

This one was not for me at all. The story was completely unoriginal, and Sandler’s main character is the mentally challenged goofball with a speech impediment that almost everyone in his hometown loves to bully. One woman is romantically interested in him, but he doesn’t act on it because he’s too nervous. A few of the kids don’t like seeing him bullied because they’re “good guys.” Because it’s a Halloween movie, there’s something scary at the center of the plot. We’re supposed to cheer when the bullies are harmed and when the loveable characters get their predictable, happy endings. Yeah, nothing new going on here, and the execution is rather week despite a solid cast.

But hey, if campy and formulaic is your thing, then you’re going to have a different reaction, so as always, YMMV.

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Classic Watch: The Nightmare Before Christmas @disneyplus #ClassicWatch #DisneyPlus

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My Classic Movies category is reserved for movies like Citizen Kane and Casablanca, but I couldn’t help but include this movie in that series. It’s only 27 years old, but it’s a movie that everyone told me is a “must-watch.” Thought I enjoyed it, and it’s probably as good as any Halloween movie for viewing during that holiday season, I wouldn’t place it in that category. As with many movies, this one may have earned its reputation based on nostalgia rather than filmmaking technique.

Or not. Maybe it simply didn’t trigger things in me that it does in most others.

Even if you also merely like it, it’s short, fun, and thematic, so it’s not a bad watch at all. As always, YMMV.

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Borat Subsequent Moviefilm @SachaBaronCohen #Borat

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today, it’s the trailer for the upcoming Borat sequel. I loved the first movie. I bet this will be great but am holding fast. I’m not going to purchase yet another streaming service, so I may not see it for a long time.

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Re-envisioned Watch: Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island Remake @Fantasy_Island @blumhouse @lucyhale @MaggieQ @PortiaDd @HiRyanHansen @STARZ #GoodWatch #FantasyIsland #Blumhouse

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I generally hate horror movies, but I liked this one.

I’ve had a decent string of luck on horror movies lately (with one noticeable exception). It’s a genre I never particularly liked. The writing is lazy, having the plot moved along by enormously stupid actions of the characters, which to some extent lessens the impact of the villain. I also don’t like it when a character with no supernatural abilities exhibits unrealistic resilience. Tell me the bad guy is a vampire, and I’ll suspend disbelief and watch it, especially if you give me anything at all to help with that suspension. Tell me he’s just really crazy, and it’ll bug me when he’s stabbed in the neck and keeps going. It’s so easy to write around this nonsense, but horror writers simply don’t.

Fantasy Island is the kind of horror movie I liked. It doesn’t suffer from the above, and the script neatly ties everything competing story lines together. Besides, Michael Pena can do no wrong. Also, the last line in the movie is something we should have all seen coming, but I didn’t. 🙂

As always, YMMV.

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Sadly, Jimmy O. Yang recently deleted his Twitter account. I assume he’s another casualty of social media bullshit.

Mr. Rourke Had a Fantasy Too @StarTrek #StarTrek #FantasyIsland

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Sundays are now lazy days for me. Going forward, I’m just going to re-post other people’s work or just do something silly. Today, it’s a preview for tomorrow’s post. You see, Mr. Rourke had a fantasy too.

Please. It’s Kirk. Even Mr. Rourke couldn’t pull off that feat.

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