My final entry in 2013 movie reviews. Now I can start in on the new movies from this year. Minor spoilers ahead.
This Is The End – What happens when six pampered pussy actors get trapped in a house during the apocalypse? This is a bittersweet movie about actors like Seth Rogan, James Franco and Jonah Hill who all play themselves. It’s a very funny movie and I laughed a lot, with a caveat I’ll get to in a minute. There was clearly lots of ad-libbing going on, which is great. The funniest movies and TV skits are the ones where the actors are successfully ad-libbing, at least in my opinion. It’s hard to do, and Hollywood doesn’t do very much of it, but when it works, it’s awesome. Danny McBride really stands out in this film as the funniest of them all, but all of actors were pretty good.
The problem for this movie is something that most people won’t even notice, which is the fact that it’s the most beta male movie ever. Most of the humor riffs on the fact that these guys are complete hopeless pussies, even to the point where there are gay overtones are all over the movie. That would be great in a movie about gay characters, but these guys aren’t gay…they’re just beta as hell. (I’m serious…I’d rather watch a movie about gay guys than beta males. Hell, most gay men I know are less beta than most beta males I know.)
It’s a funny movie and because of that I give it a pass, but it’s very sad that one of the few ways Hollywood can make us laugh is to show us grown men who get beaten up by little girls and worship the Backstreet Boys (both real examples from the movie). Compare this movie to 80s comedies like A Fish Called Wanda or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and it’s clear we’ve entered into a whole new world. It’s sad.
Lone Ranger – It gets an A for effort, but a D in execution. The acting was fine, but the story was convoluted and boring. The villains are constantly doing stupid things that make no sense just because the terrible plot needs them to. The entire movie just seemed like another opportunity for Johnny Depp (who bankrolled the film) to act quirky again. As if we haven’t seen that before.
It’s also yet another sign of the times. You can’t get more tough and masculine than the Lone Ranger. My dad’s generation worships the guy. Yet this film makes him a wimpy, foppish lawyer who’s never used a gun in his life. Yes, you read that right. Welcome to the 21st century.
Pacific Rim – AW HELL YEAH. Talk about geeknerd heaven. This is the kind of movie that makes the little boy in you explode with joy. The entire movie is skyscraper-sized robots beating up Godzilla-sized monsters. Not just one monster, but a ton of them.
In one scene, one of the robots picks up an oil tanker and uses it as a baseball bat to beat the shit out of a Godzilla monster. In another, the pilot of a robot, after defeating a monster, says to his co-pilot, “Hey, we’d better check the body,” then turns around and repeatedly blasts the dead body with a laser cannon, blowing huge holes in it. Then he smiles and moves on. In another battle, a monster grabs a robot and flies into the air like a pterodactyl. No problem. The robot whips out a retractable sword the size of my house and just starts slicing the shit out of the monster’s wings.
If reading the preceding paragraph made you think, “Wow, how stupid and immature”, then don’t see this movie. But if reading it made the little boy in you think, “Holy shit. That sounds awesome!”, then you need to see this movie. Make sure you do it on the biggest screen you have available.
One more thing. This is not like the Transformers movies in that you have all these big but weightless robots leaping around like ninjas. No. These robots (and the Godzilla monsters) are big, giant, heavy, lumbering, and slow. Guillermo del Toro (the director of this film and one of the best directors out there) made very sure that there was a realism to the madness. Every battle in the film looks exactly the way you would expect it to look in real life. Great movie (just don’t expect Academy Award level acting or dialog).
White House Down – The second movie of 2013 that blows up the white house. Guess what? It sucked! I know, I know, you’re shocked. Yeah. Olympus Has Fallen was actually a better movie than this one, and that movie wasn’t any good either. Even my idol James Woods couldn’t save this film. A very, forgettable movie.
RIPD – Skipped it. I love Jeff Bridges but it looked way too much like Men In Black to me. From what I heard from people who saw it, I was right.