Sunday, March 26, 2017

MULTIPLE MANIACS

So it's come to this? Have I become a fan of the films of John Waters? Probably not, I can only deal with trashy cinema in small doses. However, I could listen to John Waters talk about movies all day. His knowledge and opinion of film has interested me for quite some time now. His movies on the other hand never appealed to me. Sorry, no interest in watching a drag queen eat a dog turd.

Catching snippets of POLYESTER and HAIRSPRAY on cable made me realize there was a counterculture to John Waters's films that I didn't understand and didn't care to. The look of his films reminded me of how strange and unusual I thought Pee-Wee Herman was before he went mainstream. Yes, Pee-Wee freaked me out before PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE.

It must have been sometime in the late 90's during the boom of DVD and special features that I started paying attention to John Waters. I can't remember the movie, but a behind-the-scenes documentary had a interview with Waters, and the rest is history. I remember having conversations with a good friend of mine and we both agreed that we loved hearing John Waters talk about movies. Him and David Cronenberg to be exact.

The moment that I decided to go ahead and give his filmography a try was while I was watching the special features on my BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS blu-ray. I think I enjoyed more of what John Waters had to say about the film than Roger Ebert, who wrote the screenplay! Waters' knowledge of exploitation films amazed me, most importantly the rise and fall of them. And I found it interesting his explanation of why his films failed the exploitation and grindhouse market.

This month the Criterion Collection released MULTIPLE MANIACS, the second feature from filmmaker John Waters. Curiosity getting the best of me but still worried I didn't run out and purchase the movie. Once I saw that there was a Director's Commentary, I bought the film immediately! If I thought the movie sucked at least I knew I'd enjoy Waters talk about it. Luckily I got the best of both worlds! I found MULTIPLE MANIACS entertaining and the commentary enjoyable.

Released in 1970, MULTIPLE MANIACS was trashy, shocking, and offensive. Today the film would be seen as being politically incorrect more than shocking. The trashiness is still there but it's more ironic now in 2017 than it was in 1970. MULTIPLE MANIACS had me laughing (in a good way) even during the controversial moments. It's deffinatly a midnight movie for sure!

A traveling sideshow 'Lady Divine's Cavalcade of Perversions', is a front for a band of psychotic kidnappers/killers (I wonder if Rob Zombie is a fan?). Star of the show Lady Divine becomes enraged when she finds out that her boyfriend has been cheating on her. Divine proceeds to go on a murderous rampage and descends into madness.

It's really not the plot of MULTIPLE MANIACS that makes the movie interesting or worthwhile, it's the absurdity. And there is a sub plot that I found bizarre. The film was made during the Manson Family murders hysteria, and Charles Manson had not yet been charged with the Sharon Tate murder. It is left vague but it's suggested that Divine may have been involved in the Manson murders. At the time this was probably regarded as poor taste.

Spoiler Warning!!

Speaking of poor taste, MULTIPLE MANIACS is probably most known for one of the most craziest and tasteless things ever put on film! For those that don't know, I'm talking about the scene where Divine gets raped by a giant lobster named Lobstora! It has to be seen to be believed! The vicious and repulsive act sends Divine into madness and begins terrorizing the town. What a strange way to spoof the B-Movie science fiction films John Waters saw at the drive-in?

Another influence was black and white soft core Swedish art house films. According to Waters himself that's one of the reasons he thinks his films failed on the exploitation circuit, because they we're too art house and way too ironic. Patrons of grid houses wanted/loved to have their sex and violence real and gritty. For whatever reason the perversity of MULTIPLE MANIACS and his other films didn't register with the 42nd Street crowd? I'll admit I am a bit confused by this seeing that PINK FLAMINGOS (the follow up to MULTIPLE MANIACS) was a huge success in the midnight movie market. Maybe the gridhouses were dying off by then?

In conclusion, I love MULTIPLE MANIACS! For the type of film it is, it is a masterpiece! Extremely uneven at times but I admire the no-budget aspect of it all. Love his films or hate them, the fact remains that in the genre of trashy cinema there is only one John Waters.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: Season 2

Season Two of BUFFY made me a fan for life. I already liked the show from what I had seen from Season Three (my favorite season), but binge watching the sophomore season on DVD I knew BUFFY was my kind of series.

In my all too brief post about Season One I forgot to mention a key element of the show, the “Scooby Gang”. The “Scooby Gang” consists of Buffy, Willow, and Xander. With the help of Buffy’s Watcher Giles, the “Gang” keeps Sunnydale safe from demons, vampires, and Monsters of The Week. Over the course of two seasons the circle of friends would grow to include Angel, and Oz.

Early on, the show emphasizes extremely well the importance of friends. Buffy Summers is the main character of the show but her two best friends are probably my favorites, Willow and Xander. When I started watching the show I quickly identified with these characters. Willow being the brains of the group and Xander being the class clown. It was easy to relate to Xander, too many times in my own life going after looks rather than seeing true love in front of me. And Willow, soft-spoken and shy, afraid to grab what she really wants.

During the course of the series I wanted these two characters to finally get together. But it makes sense why it never happened.

For me personally the best teenage romance stuff happened in Season Two and Three. Let me list some highlights and the main story arc for the season.

While BUFFY has it's fair share of monsters and vampires, the teenage soap opera elements we're good too! Let's face it, love stinks! While I was always rooting for Willow and Xander to hook up, I loved the triangles that followed. Willow, tired of waiting for Xander trades up and starts taking interest in Oz, the quiet cool guitar player in a band.

Oz ended up becoming a favorite of mine. Him and Willow made a good match. Plus later he gets turned into a Werewolf! More on Oz and the actor Seth Green in Season Three's post.

I don't remember the exact timeline of events, but also around this time Xander and Cordelia begin to sneak around and make out in broom closets. The Xander and Cordelia tryst was kinda strange to me. I wonder if the writers and producers were testing the waters wondering if she was Scooby Gang material? The whole lovers dance gets pretty dramatic and almost ends tragically for Cordelia!

There was however another romantic relationship in Season Two, one that was more apocalyptic, Buffy and Angel (the vampire with a soul). This doomed romance started in Season One and kept boiling right up to Episode 13 of Season Two. The episode, titled SURPRISE is a fitting one because Angel's ability to feel human emotion is jeopardized when an intimate moment with Buffy threatens to destroy his soul.

Knowing everything was going to be just fine (because I had seen Season Three), I still found myself in shock. Angelus (evil Angel) scared the crap out of me! I now understood the hatred Angel got in Season Three. This just showed me how awesome the level of writing was on BUFFY. I still get chills and think that Angel/Angelus won't be coming back!

Now here are some of my favorite episodes in Season Two!

Episode 3:School Hard

If I were to ever make a "Favorite Episode List", SCHOOL HARD would probably be in the top three! I love SCHOOL HARD, it is my most watched episode second to GRADUATION DAY and THE WISH (both from Season Three)!

Not only does SCHOOL HARD set the bar for the rest of the Series, it introduces my favorite villain, Spike! Angel's old friends Spike and Drusilla visit Sunnydale for The Night of Saint Vigeous. Buffy tries to protect her fellow students, the principal, and her mother from the uninvited guests who have crashed parent-teacher night. The hardest part is protecting her secret.

The entire episode is a blast and set's the tone nicely for things to come. The punk rock attitude is what I like most about Spike. Not even in town for a week and he starts running things, vowing to kill the Slayer. We also find out that Spike has a history with Angel, a mythology for the show is set. Another thing SCHOOL HARD did that took me a few viewings to catch was the tiny chess pieces the episode was placing for Season 3!

Episode 6:Halloween

The first Halloween episode of the series, and it's a good one! Buffy's costume causes her to lose her powers and the kids she, Willow and Xander are trick-or-treating with turn into their costume characters! Could Giles have something to do with all of this?

I remember this being one of the very first BUFFY episodes I ever saw. It and THE PACK made me want to start watching regularly.

Episode 11:Ted

Buffy's mom has a new boyfriend Ted, whom everyone adores - expect for Buffy. It turns out that there's more to him than meets the eye. The late John Ritter plays Ted and it's one of the best episodes!

Episode 9 -10:What's My Line?

This two-parter is a pretty important Spike and Drusilla episode. If Buffy was any other Slayer, Spike would have killed her by now. Not wanting any distractions while trying to cure the crazy from Drusilla, Spike sends a nasty batch of bounty hunters to kill Buffy. These two episodes are action packed with crazy bounty hunters and a new Slayer. Yes, a new Slayer! I'll get into that more with Season Three!

Episode 17:Passion

All the kids are falling in love, why not the adults? Hey, Watchers need lovin' too! That's right, in Season One and Two, Giles had a girlfriend. Computer Lab teacher Jenny Calendar was a sweet sweet character. So sweet that show creator Joss Whedon killed her off! This was something fans never got used to and often feared. I remember this episode hitting me pretty hard. I couldn't watch the next episode(s) for at least a week! Poor Giles.

That's it! I only had six favorite episodes in Season Two. Just kidding! There is actually just too many to mention. Like I said earlier, I love all the love triangles that went on this season and the Buffy + Angel romance as well. In my post for Season Three I'll discuss the events of Season's Two season finale and the repercussions of said events.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER turned 20 yesterday, but I'm going to continue talking about the seasons all year long. Next up is Season Three, my favorite season!

Happy Slaying!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

THE GREAT WALL

When it comes to monster movies I am a pretty easy sell. Over the summer last year is when we first started getting trailers for the new film from visionary filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers), a movie about monsters attacking the Great Wall and a bunch of Chinese warriors defending it. And out of the smoke rises our hero...Matt Damon?

The casting of a Caucasian Hollywood star is lame, especially when it's purpose is to generate box office dollars. That being said, THE GREAT WALL was a joint production with Hollywood and China. Politically incorrect as it may seem, China is just as guilty casting an white American bankable movie star. Politics really isn't what this blog is about, but I just wanted to give my two cents on the matter. Moving on.

English mercenary William Garin (Damon) and his partner Pero Tovar of Spain are traveling through China in search of gunpowder, sorry I meant to say 'Black Powder". Their paths cross with a band of marauders and are ruthlessly pursued. One night they are attacked, not by bandits, but by something else! The next morning William and Pero are pursed again, but find sanctuary at the Great Wall of China.

Their welcome is short lived when orders are given to execute Willian and Pero. Death will have to wait because monsters begin to attack the Wall. The opportunity of escape appears but William instead joins the fight against the monsters. This wins him good favor with the Chinese army.

A weakness in the monsters is discovered, but the findings might be too late once it has been discovered the Wall has been breached! The fight moves into the city where our warriors have one last shot to kill the monster's Queen.

Man, I really wanted to like THE GREAT WALL but I just found myself being bored too many times. A monster movie from the guy that gave us HERO and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS shouldn't be boring! Almost every single action scene came off as very matter-of-fact like. There were no bad ass moments to be found. When the weapon that works best against the monsters, it's time to go back to the drawing board.

The costumes and set designs were beautiful but that was about it.

The monster's (I don't remember what they were called) were kinda cool, but not cool enough. Plus they were CGI which gets hinders the suspense quite a bit. The horde of monsters reminded be of the zombie hordes in WORLD WAR Z. Coincidence that Max Brooks, the author of World War Z has a story credit for THE GREAT WALL?

With the exception of the costumes and choreography, the climax of the film was the only thing that felt Yimou like to me? And that was the our two heroes were fighting monsters inside a Stained Glass tower!

In conclusion, if you like monster movies then give THE GREAT WALL a Redbox rental, or wait until Netflix. It is a decent popcorn flick, just not one worth seeing at the theater. If there is ever an extended cut released on video, I might see what that's all about?

One thing is for sure, THE GREAT WALL is a whole lot better than JASON BOURNE? Oops!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: Season One

In the nine year history of this blog I don't think I've ever wrote a post about television? Well, that's about to change. This year my favorite hour long television series BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER turns twenty! To celebrate, the least I could do is say a few words about each Season. I'm sure the professionals will have a better tribute next month? Until then, you're stuck with me.

My fandom doesn't start with Season One, I started watching BUFFY during Season 3. It wasn't until 2002 thanks to DVD that I finally saw all of the first season. That being said, the first episode I ever saw of the show was from Season One titled THE PACK. I'll get back to that in a minute. First, let's do a little history.

For those that know me it would seem natural that I'd love a show like BUFFY? A bad ass girl in high school kicking vampire and monster butt! What's not to like? Well back in 1992 I saw the movie and didn't think much of it. When the show debuted in 1997 I took a pass for three reasons, I didn't like television that much, it was on The WB which was a network for teens, and I thought the movie was lame.

One evening probably late 1997 or early '98, I was watching television flipping channels and I came across an image of a cute blonde bashing a skeleton to dust. Grabbing the channel guide I quickly looked to see what I the heck this show was! Lo and behold, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER! Curiosity started to get the best of me but I still was highly suspect.

A few weeks later I sat and watched a full episode. Buffy and her classmates were taking a field trip to the zoo. Some students go off the beaten path and get possessed by a pack of hyenas. The next day at school 'the pack' start acting like bloodthirsty animals!

The episode was fantastic, and still to this day THE PACK is one of my all time favorites! Unbeknownst to me THE PACK was a rerun because the episode I saw next was from Season Two, TED. Turns out the episodes that followed were all reruns, I tuned in while the show was on a season break. Season Two had just ended.

All this BUFFY nostalgia is keeping me off track, for now let's focus on Season One.

The first season of BUFFY is a mixed bag for me. The show was ahead of it's time. While procedural storytelling was the standard back then, BUFFY was breaking the mold with serialized episodes. A format that hit the ground running in Season Two and the rest of the series. Season One was serialized but with only 12 episodes it was difficult to pull off. To compensate the season relied heavily on monsters of the week. I'll talk more about the 'Monster of the Week' in the next post.

While I'd love to give you a summery of every episode, I just don't have it in me. After awhile I would just be a rambling mess of hyperbole. So instead, I'll just give an overview of the season arc and say a few words about favorite episodes or episodes that stood out.

Episode 1 & 2:Wellcome To The Hellmouth and The Harvest

This two-parter is basically a pilot episode that gets right into the action! Buffy Summers transfers to Sunnydale High to make a fresh start, but can't escape her destiny as a Slayer. On her first day she meets Rupert Giles, the new school Librarian. He also just so happens to be Buffy's new Watcher, a teacher in all things Slayer related. She tells Giles she no longer wants to be the Chosen One, but when her new friends Willow and Jesse get captured by vampires duty calls.

It turns out that Buffy's first day of school coincides with the ascension of The Master, a powerful vampire intent on making a meal out of her friends and re-opening the mouth of hell.

It was nice to finally see how-it-all began. And watching these episodes I really started paying attention to creator Joss Whedon's writing and craft!

Episode 6:The Pack

As I mentioned before this episode was the first one I watched. And it is still one of my favorites! For network T.V. back in the late 90's this was some dark stuff! The possessed students straight up kill people, I couldn't believe it! It was risky making one of the main characters part of the 'Pack', a risk that paid off extremely well. Bold moves like this became a mantra for the rest of the show.

Episode 12 :Prophecy Girl

Here we are at the Season One finale and Buffy's future is looking bleak. Giles discovers an ancient book that foretells her death and the end of the world!

Having already seen Season Three and some of Season Two, I knew Buffy was going to kill The Master and save the world. But this episode still kicked my butt! I had no idea that she died and came back stronger than ever! And to be honest it is a pretty good finale if the show only lasted one season.

In conclusion, the first season of BUFFY is strong on it's own but gets forgotten due how amazing future seasons became.

That's it for now, stay tuned for Season Two!

Monday, February 13, 2017

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2

It's only February and I already have a favorite movie of 2017! Yes, I love JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 that much. Next month there are at least 2 films that could knock it down, but it's doubtful. LOGAN, a movie I've wanted to see since the very first trailer. The final Wolverine movie looks like the solo film I've been wanting since X-MEN! I expect great things, and word is I'm going to get them. The only problem now is that JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 has set the bar extremely high!

The other movie arriving in just a few short weeks is KONG: SKULL ISLAND. Why this isn't a summer release I just don't know? That might be the tale tell sign the film isn't that good? But those trailers are amazing!

Folks, even GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOL. 2 and STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI now has a run for their money!

Okay, I think thats enough convincing you on how much I loved JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2.

The sequel picks up pretty close to where the last movie left off.* John is tying up loose ends and getting his car back. And immediately we have one of the greatest actions scenes in the film! There was a brief moment where I was almost convinced this first scene was better than my all time favorite action scene? The House of Blue Leaves scene from KILL BILL! Not to worry, KILL BILL is still king (if just barely)**

Our favorite Boogyman gets his car back and is finally ready to retire, a second time. The moment is short lived when Wick is visited by the man who helped him retire originally. A slimy European by the name of Santino (what a great name) has come to collect his debt. Wick begs him not to, but a blood oath is a hard one to forget.

Santino cannot take no for an answer and takes a rocket launcher to John Wicks home (big mistake). Left with no choice, Wick honors the blood oath. Only to immediately regret it when he is told his mark. The sister of Santino, Gianna. Gianna is next in line to run the crime family, and Santino just can't have that.

You can sense right away that something just isn't right about all of this, so Wick prepares for war. And you guessed it, Wick gets double crossed! And Santino being the pussy that he is puts a hit on John Wick for Seven Million Dollars! But Santino forgot one thing, you can't kill the boogyman.

Preparing myself for JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 I did something I normally don't do, I did not watch any trailers. None. I went in fresh, and it was amazing! Risky for sure but I knew I was in good hands with the same writer and director returning. If Fox leaves them alone then I'm sure their DEADPOOL 2 will be amazing!

So without giving away too much what can I say that I love about this movie? Let's start with how the sequel expands on my favorite thing about the original, the world building. In the first film I absolutely loved the secret society of assassins. So cool that they have their own rules, currency, and exclusive hotel.

CHAPTER 2 delves into this more with glorious detail. I'm sure it was in all the trailers but I loved the montage of Wick getting his guns, blueprints, and tailor made suit. So fun!

Second to the world building is of course the action. There is so much bombastic gunplay in this movie that even I started to feel a bit concerned. It was only for a brief moment because I don't mix stylized movie violence with politics. But yeah, there is way more gun-fu this time around, just like any good action movie sequel should have!

And third, JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 has a glorified cameo that had me grinning ear to ear! And no, I'm not talking about Morpheus.

You know, there's not really anything in this movie that I hated? I wasn't too impressed with the ending at first but once I got home and thought about the film all night, I changed my opinion.

One criticism I have is the future of the franchise. I do not want any sequel to be a prequel. The audience doesn't need to see a movie about John Wick's first assignment. Laugh all you want but you know it's true! The moment Keanu decides to call it quits, the studio will pull the lame prequel card. But, I'm optimistic something that dumb will never happen as long as the original filmmakers stay with the franchise.

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER TWO is highly recommended!

*If this was still the days of VHS I would make my own super edit of both films back to back. I'd cut out the end credits and have CHAPTER 2 start seamlessly.

** I'm mainly talking about domestic Action movies. THE RAID and THE RAID 2 I think are better action movies than KILL BILL or JOHN WICK 1 & 2.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

TRUE ROMANCE

The timeline is hazy when I first saw the film TRUE ROMANCE? I turn 40 next month so it's probably only going to get worse. But seriously, I really think I rented the VHS before I even knew who Quentin Tarantino was! TRUE ROMANCE is a 1993 film written by Tarantino and directed by the late Tony Scott. And make no mistake it is a Tony Scott film, but any cinephile knows that TRUE ROMANCE is set in the Tarantino universe.

My fondest memory of TRUE ROMANCE is when I rented the DVD. We had just got our first DVD player and the movie was a free rental. With it being Rated R I was going to watch it on my day off while my parents were at work. Turns out the disc would not play due to an excessive amount of fingerprints.

Later that day my dad assisted me in cleaning the DVD. Silly me had forgotten just how lurid the language was in the opening scene (I actually thought said scene was later on in the film) of the movie. Before I realized what was happening, the movie still dirty, skipped to some "locker room" talk. To make matters worse, my mom was in the room. The look on my dads face was priceless! I dug myself out of a hole that day I can tell you!

Runaway lovers Clarence and Alabama play a dangerous game when they come into possession of a suitcase full of cocaine. They set off to sunny Los Angeles in hopes of selling the contraband and begin a new life. Hot on their trail is both sides of the law who have other ideas

The film is still known to this day for it's great ensemble cast, hip-wit dialogue, and stylized direction. It is probably my favorite Tony Scott film and it contains one of my all time favorite scenes written by Quentin Tarantino. For those that must know, it's the infamous monologue between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken. Check it out on YouTube (NSFW), but you should just really watch the movie.

I love so much how Tarantino considers this a romantic comedy. I like also how he corrects people who ask him if he'd ever consider making a romantic film. And lastly, I love most of all that the main character Clarence (Christian Slater) is a fictional version of Quentin himself!

All of this love for TRUE ROMANCE came later, because like I mentioned earlier, I had no idea who wrote the film when I first saw it. My initial interest in TRUE ROMANCE was because of the films star. I was a fan of both GLEAMING THE CUBE and PUMP UP THE VOLUME, so naturally I was interested in TRUE ROMANCE.

I instantly thought the film was very cool! Here we have a main character who loves movies and works in a comic book store! As a teenager I always wanted to work in a comic book store or video store. So I kinda identified with Clarence a little bit. I just don't think the voice of my conscious would be Elvis (no disrespect).

Let's put the films hip-wit aside for a brief moment and marvel how gorgeous TRUE ROMANCE looks. I love how Tony Scott overuses the 'Magic Hour Shot' in all of his movies! Also, nobody shoots a smokey room like Tony does! Man, I miss him.

If you were to watch TRUE ROMANCE today, there is no denying Tarantino wrote it. No denying! It's his universe. The events of PULP FICTION could take place the same day Clarence and Alabama arrive in L.A. And if you want to get real nerdy, TRUE ROMANCE takes place before RESERVOIR DOGS.

With me being the Quentin Tarantino fan that I am, some of you might be wondering if I wish he had directed TRUE ROMANCE? The answer is no. I love Tony Scott's style and what he brought to the film. I can guess, but we'll never be sure what TRUE ROMANCE would've looked like if Tarantino had directed it?

In conclusion, I recommend TRUE ROMANCE. if you like a good pulp romantic comedy. If anything, folks should get a kick out of the ensemble cast. Look for James Gandolfini and a young Brad Pitt.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

THE NEON DEMON

One of my favorite films of 2016 was THE NEON DEMON. For a time it was my favorite film of last year simply because I could not stop thinking about it! Style over substance, or more like substance hidden within the style. The movie inspired me to try and tackle my first ever analysis review.

THE NEON DEMON is full of bizarre and interesting images. What do all the different colors symbolize? What does the leopard in the motel room signify? And, there is a fair share of foreshadowing dialog it seems? There's no way I can cover everything without rambling on and on about this or that, so I promise to keep this nice and neat.

This post was meant for last year but I wanted to watch THE NEON DEMON several times so I could better prepare an analysis. I listened to the director's commentary during certain scenes to see if my theories were correct about what meant what. It turns out that most of what I thought was deep and full of meaning was just stuff the director thought was cool. A common trait from filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn.

So because of this, THE NEON DEMON dropped below my Top 10 Favorites of 2016.

From here on out there's going to be heavy spoilers, so if you haven't seen the film yet come back after you have.

The IMDB synopsis for THE NEON DEMON reads as follows, "When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has".

After reading that it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who or what the Neon Demon is. The easiest answer is that it's narcissism. That the world of modeling if not careful can turn you into a "neon demon".

Our main character is Jesse, a young beautiful woman who has moved to L.A. for a shot at stardom in the modeling world. She is a natural. Young, pretty, and innocent. Jesse has everything the other seasoned models want. Very quickly Jesse becomes friends with Ruby who is a makeup artist. They go to a party and meet up with two other models.

Getting dolled up in the restroom, the girls have a lurid discussion on lipstick. Ruby explains that colors of lipstick are named after food and sex. An example would be Pink Passion, you get the idea. During this conversation Jesse gets asked if she is food or sex? Something to think about.

After a few more photo shoots Jesse gets noticed more and more and eventually lands a big fashion runway show. The more she gets noticed the more dangerous things get for her. This is where the director takes omens to a fetish like extreme. The color red and blue are predominant in THE NEON DEMON. For the sake of the plot it's safe to say that the color red signifies danger, and blue seems to mean narcissism (I think).

At one point a leopard appears is Jesse's motel room, a bad omen for sure.

After loosing a spot on the fashion show one of the models attacks Jesse in a vampire like way. Classic Refn!

I won't ruin the ending but the question posed to Jesse at the beginning of the film, is she food or sex, is asked again in a sort of allegorical conclusion.

THE NEON DEMON is probably pretentious artful trash, but I love it! The "neon demon" scene is worth the price of admission.

Watching the movie I learned something about myself and our society. We're too consumed with the objectification of beauty and women. It's a bad habit that will be hard to break.

In conclusion, I highly recommend THE NEON DEMON because I loved it. Now a disclaimer; this film IS NOT for everyone, viewer discretion is advised. For content and because it's an art house horror film (Heh)!

SAY ANYTHING

I'm a Lloyd Dobler. Unfortunately, I'm a terrible Lloyd Dobler.

SAY ANYTHING is probably my favorite Comedy Romance movie. There was a time in my life where I identified with it the moment I watched it! The noble underachiever trying to woo the prettiest girl in school. Hanging up the phone multiple times before even dialing one digit. Kickboxing the air after she says yes on the phone. Being a fly on the wall at the party you take her to, just to make sure she's having a good time. While my story is different than Lloyd's, I can relate to all of these things!

The one thing I should have done is blast Peter Gabriel from a boom box while standing in a front yard! Okay, not literally but something bad ass romantic along those lines.

As you can probably guess I am a romantic. And it's probably not a good thing. Why? Because I get my ideas from movies. It's a good thing that I'm too much of a realist to know the crap from the movies don't work. And if it ever did, I should be mindful of the woman I just won over?

Enough about me, let's get back to the wonderful and warm hearted romantic comedy SAY ANYTHING.

Watching the film with older eyes the thing I like most about SAY ANYTHING is how honest the movie is. It feels genuine and not just full of fairy tale fluff. For once (it seems) the guy is after a girl for her smarts and because she's interesting. The fact that Diane is also very pretty is the cherry on top.

Unfortunately Lloyd has a very steep hill to climb because a underachiever and class valedictorian don't mix well. But Diane gives Lloyd a shot because she can see the honesty in him. They become boyfriend and girlfriend and fall in love. When it's time to meet the parents, that's when things get ugly.

Diane's father disapproves of Lloyd, and what parent of a valedictorian wouldn't? Her dad being a overprotected parent doesn't help matters much either. There is some family drama, turns out dad has been a little hypocritical with the father daughter pact of trusting one another. Due to the stress of this, Diane ends things with Lloyd. Cue the bad ass boom box scene!

I won't spoil the ending but of course Lloyd and Diana get back together. The way the events play out is still great to this day, and doesn't feel like rom com fluff.

Why I love this movie:

1. The boom box scene! What everyone remembers the most about SAY ANYTHING, and I couldn't agree more.

2. Writer/Director Cameron Crowe

3. Amazing talented cast.

4. SAY ANYTHING is a romantic comedy/drama that feels real.

5. Lloyd Dobler has excellent taste in women.

In conclusion, I highly recommend SAY ANYTHING. This Valentine's Day snuggle up with your significant other and rent or buy this classic.

I have a few more treats for ya coming soon. Happy Valentine's Day!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NEIGHBORS (1981)

While I was writing a post about STRIPES, I remembered another comedy from 1981. Not that it really matters but I think maybe now NEIGHBORS was in fact the first R rated movie I ever saw? Not as good as STRIPES but I remember liking it. What can a 5 year old like about an R rated comedy? Obviously I was too young for the adult humor, so I probably just laughed because my dad did. Too young for the jokes, I think it was just how crazy and bizarre the humor got that kept my attention.

Growing up I always wanted to watch NEIGHBORS again. This was due to me becoming a big fan of The Blues Brothers. It bothered my parents so much that the VHS tape finally got tapped over. Having rewatched the movie since then I think it was because the movie just wasn't that great, not because of adult humor.

Earl's (Belushi) peaceful suburban life is about to get turned upside down when the new neighbors move in next door. The new neighbors, Vic and Ramona impose themselves on Earl and his family. Doing weird things like offering to get take-out but asking Earl to pay for it. But Earl notices that the Vic just goes back to his house and cooks the meal? There is a prank gone terribly wrong involving a truck rolling into a swamp. Not to mention endless flirtatious advances from the clearly oversexed Ramona.

The list of weirdness and rudeness goes on. But is all of this happening or is Earl making a big deal out of nothing? Or could Vic and Ramona actually be saving Earl from his everyday day to day life?

Knowing a bit about the films production history I can see why NEIGHBORS is kinda forgotten. I don't know if the reason is explained in detail somewhere, but it's a known fact that the film's starts did not get along with the movie's director. Problems began at the very beginning.

Typically known for always playing the loud and obnoxious type, Belushi was going to play the straight man this time around. And Aykroyd was going to play crazy for a change. This switch was made by the actors themselves just prior to filming. In my opinion the "experiment" worked out just fine. But ultimately I feel this was just the first attempt to sabotage a production they no longer wanted part of.

Things got so bad that Belushi reached out to his buddy John Landis and asked him to direct the film. When that didn't work, the two stars tried to convince the studio to let them direct the picture. In the end like the movie or not the production was a nightmare. The lead actors displeased and bad test screenings lead to re-edits and re-shoots. In the end as the films tagline suggests, "A Comedic Nightmare".

It's a shame NEIGHBORS would become John Belushi's final movie, he died less than four months after the films release. According to his friend and colleague Aykroyd, John was doing good kicking his drug habit but the crew on NEIGHBORS didn't do him any favors. Tragic.

So with watching it again just recently it's sad to say that NEIGHBORS isn't some hidden gem. But despite it's flaws I still find it an interesting and sometimes funny film to watch. Also this time around I noticed a few weird subplots that went no where. Probably due to the re-edits I'd imagine?

Despite their disdain for their director, Belushi and Aykroyd keep it professional and they do a good job with the characters. I love how crazy and flamboyant Vic (Aykroyd) is throughout the film, especially the first half. And Belushi does fine work playing Earl, the man too serious to have any fun.

NEIGHBORS is one of those movies that I'd show friends at a movie night. One of those "I betcha never heard of this movie", and pair it with a double feature along side THE BURBS.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

STRIPES

Sometimes I wonder what was the very first movie I remember watching? I don't think I'll ever remember, but it was probably something Disney. I do however remember my first R rated movie! It was the 1981 comedy classic STRIPES! I had to have be at least five years old, and it was either on HBO or my my dad rented it on VHS. The exact timeline is going to be hazey, but one thing was for sure and that was Bill Murray was a staple in the Cox household.

Besides STAR WARS and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK I loved comedies as a kid. The big three for me were CADDYSHACK, NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION, and of course STRIPES. if you couldn't tell, SNL was a family favorite!

Like I was saying, I remember my first R rated movie. I think my dad's logic was that a five year old wouldn't remember the bad language or nudity. If it ever got really bad I always just had to cover my eyes. But being the good parents my mom and dad were, it was once in a blue moon that I ever got to watch STRIPES. I remember now, it was taped off of HBO.

I think my dad was a huge Bill Murray fan because of the comedians anarchist approach, like with all the SNL alum. And he was also a fan probably because of Murray's rising popularity!

If I was forced to make a list right now of my all time favorite comedies, STRIPES would probably be number one on that list. I know it's my second most watched Bill Murray comedy. The most watched obviously being GHOSTBUSTERS. There was another Bill Murray comedy that I wore out the VHS tape watching, and that was MEATBALLS. Now, I love MEATBALLS but it is no where near good as STRIPES. I bring this up to point out the fact that I think it's the writing that makes the difference.

Both MEATBALLS and STRIPES were directed by Ivan Reitman. Bill and Ivan had something good going with MEATBALLS but whatever they did next had to be better. Enter Harold Ramis, a talented writer who helped make STRIPES the classic it still is today. And just a few years later this talented group along with Dan Aykroyd made GHOSTBUSTERS. Amazing!

For those who don't know, STRIPES is a slob of a movie about two down and outers, Tripp and Rusty, who join the Army just for the hell of it. It is this first half of the film that is the strongest and funniest. During basic training Tripp (Murray) gives Sargent Hulka hell. I still love the montage of basic training duties where Tripp is always slacking off resulting in him doing push-ups.

But my absolute favorite is still the impromptu marching formation the platoon performed at graduation.

It's still funny but once basic training is over the film's second half isn't as strong. Tripp and Rusty take two lovely MP officers for a joy ride to the Swiss Alps in a new state of the art Army secret weapon vehicle disguised as an RV. Come to find out the rest of their platoon is held hostage behind the Iron Curtain. It's a crazy climax in vein of ANIMAL HOUSE and BLUES BROTHERS. What was the deal with crazy endings to comedies in the late Seventies and early Eighties?

In conclusion, I still think STRIPES holds up well for a Bill Murray comedy. If you're a fan but haven't seen this one, I highly recommend you give it a watch.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

LIVE BY NIGHT

Who would have thought that Ben Affleck would become one of the greatest American directors working today? Not me. But it's true, after three consecutive good if not great films and Oscar for Best Director, Ben is a force to be reckoned with. I for one like his style, after his second film THE TOWN, I told myself I'll give all his future films a chance.

When it was announced that Afleck's new film was going to be a gangster movie, I couldn't wait! Within about a month of the films wide release a fair share of bad reviews began trickling in. That's disappointing! I'm still going to see it reguardless of reviews or a low RT score. Why? Because he's earned it.

Well, the critics were right about this one. LIVE BY NIGHT is sort of a stinker. I'd really like to know the history of this film getting made. In the credits I noticed Leonardo DiCaprio was one of the producers of the movie. After thinking about it I could totally see him in the role of Joe, the main character. So it made me wonder if over time the project finally fell on Affleck's lap?

I also began to wonder if LIVE BY NIGHT was meant to be Ben Affleck's masterpiece? With lots of awkwardly placed voice-over narration, this first thing I thought was there must have been some studio pressure to cut the films run time down. LIVE BY NIGHT really feels to me like a 180 minute movie cut down to about 128 minutes. Because of this the 2 hour and 8 minute run time feels like 4 hours. I cannot speak for the source material the film was adapted from, but a film like LIVE BY NIGHT needs to breathe.

Joe Coughlin (Affleck) is a "outlaw" who likes it just fine being a petty thief robbing banks from time to time. After an affair with a boss man's girl, Joe is double crossed and left for dead. Out of prison he plots his revenge. In order to do this he partners up with his former boss's competition Maso Pescatore. Mr. Pescatore sets Joe up nicely in Tampa, Florida to run illegal booze and open a casino.

Joe quickly does great for awhile but runs into some problems with the KKK. The KKK become a problem because of Joe's Italian crime boss roots and also his new Cuban girlfriend. Another problem is that of a police chief and his born again Christian daughter.

You can already see how epic this story is getting. It's not long before you can tell what everything is leading up to in LIVE BY NIGHT. It's just that when it does happen it gets there too quickly. Or not fast enough! The pacing of the film felt very jarring at times. I've seen enough of these type of movies where I was loving the choices Affleck was making when telling this story, but too many times things fell flat.

I knew beforehand that it took awhile for the ball to get rolling with LIVE BY NIGHT. GONE GIRL delayed production and I'm sure the same could be said about BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE. Maybe too much on Ben's plate is a reason LIVE BY NIGHT comes across as a little bit tired?

In conclusion, I recommend LIVE BY NIGHT. As I've begun writing this post I've grown to like the film a little bit more. It's got issues, but if a Director's Cut ever came out, I'd purchase it day one.

FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2

It took a few years but I have now finally blogged about all 8 films in the Friday The 13th franchise released by Paramount Pictures. And no I didn't save the best for last with FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II, It just ended up being the one I haven't talked about yet.

There was a time when FRIDAY THE 13TH PART II was my least favorite entry in the series. Over time I've grown to appreciate it. So much so that I now actually think it is a better movie than the original. Heavily edited gore and Hillbilly Jason being the only things going against the film. Other than that, the sequel has better characters, more production value, and it's a better directed film.

When comparing the two films FRIDAY THE 13TH will always beat PART II in the kills and gore department, hands down. But in terms of direction and camera work the sequel wins. While FRIDAY THE 13TH has it's moments of good tension building and inventive kills, the rest of the movie is flat and kinda boring.

Even though I think the sequel is a better film it too has it's fair share of problems. The main one being censored gore, a issue that will continue to haunt the series (except part 4). Like the original, there are moments where FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 is down right boring. The film begins with a overlong recap dream sequence. I'm sure in 1981 this was fine with fans, getting everyone pumped. But it's long and drawn out, plus Jason going outside of Camp Crystal Lake territory to kill someone feels odd and out of place. The final issue I have is Jason himself. Hillbilly Jason just doesn't work for me, and it never will.

Speaking of Jason, time to point out the elephant in the room, Jason Voorhees. After FRIDAY THE 13TH became a huge hit Paramount Pictures wanted a sequel. Director Sean S. Cunningham liked the idea and presented a anthology concept. Paramount said no, we want Jason. Due to artistic differences Cunningham left the project.

While I like Jason as the killer, his being alive is kind of a plot hole. If Jason is alive, why then did his mother go on a murderous rampage to avenge her son's drowning? A huge plot hole for sure, but it makes for a great campfire story.

Now that the problems are out of the way it's time to talk about what I like. While all these films can be summed up as “Teenagers in Peril” movies with the characters only motivation is to be killed off by Jason, I do like the counselors in PART 2. Yes they are paper thin but likable, a trait long gone in horror, especially in slashers.

Before Tommy Jarvis became the closest thing to a “protagonist” in the series, there was hope for Ginny. Breaking the mold of the traditional Scream Queen, actor Amy Steel in my opinion set a new gold standard for strong willed “Final Girl” characters. The producers had a really good character with Ginny, it's a shame Amy never came back.

I mentioned earlier that FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2 is a better made film than the original, and it's true. Hands down Steve Miner is a better director than Sean S. Cunningham. It just boils down to that Miner is a better filmmaker. There is a little more substance in Miner's film, and it's got a few darkly comical moments too. There is a scene with a cute dog roaming the woods who runs into Jason, the very next shot is hot dogs cooking on a grill. It's hilarious!

It seems to me that the first four films in the series add something iconic to the franchise as a whole. In the original movie it's the twist ending, PART 2 is Jason's shrine to his dead mother, Part 3 is the first appearance of the classic hockey mask, and THE FINAL CHAPTER introduces the most popular protagonist of the series, Tommy Jarvis. In conclusion, I highly recommend FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2. It's Jason's first legit appearance, the cast of camp counselors are better, and like I've said a few times already it's a better looking film than the original. You can tell the studio put a little extra money into the production.

So when the next Friday the 13th rolls around gather some friends put on a pot of coffee and marathon the first four movies!

Happy belated Friday the 13th!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

LA LA LAND

If you were to search this blog's archive or browse my movie collection you'd think I don't like musicals. Which reminds me, I really should review THE WIZARD OF OZ sometime! But yeah, I like musicals. The high school musical was probably my first foray into being a “critic” (for the record I do not consider myself a critic).

Deep down I think I always wanted to be a director. But there was a time that I wanted to be an actor. In grade school my grandma and her friend had season passes to Springfield Little Theater. I was always happy when I got to go! The most memorable ones were 'Little Shop of Horrors' and 'Wizard of Oz'. Because of my love for plays my parents enrolled me a summer school course for acting/performing arts. I didn't much care for it.

As a pre-teen and young teenager one of my favorite things to do was go see high school plays. 'Grease' was my favorite*. Back in Seventh grade I remember going to a high school production. It was a blast! I had fun comparing it to the film version and a Springfield Little Theater production (I think).

As I got older my interests changed a lot. I was big into comic books and drawing. Music became a big deal to me. Mainly the bands from the Northwest, the Seattle sound was what I was into. And movies really really started to become important to me. The films of Kevin Smith, Wes Anderson, and Quentin Tarantino. These guys made me want to become a filmmaker.

So Indie Comedies and stylized violence dominated my late teens and twenties. The Musical genre became a distant memory to me. A childish thing I outgrew. And a genre that only drama class alums and Academy Award members could appreciate.

Then something weird happened. I forget the year, but during awards season I made an effort to watch CHICAGO ironically (Yes, I long for the day that a super stylized action film wins Best Picture). Turns out, I loved the movie! The spectacle of it most of all! I loved the production value of the movie. My appreciation for CHICAGO taught me that the Musical is a genre to be reckoned with and by nature cinematic!

I only saw CHICAGO that one time which I hear is perfectly okay because the film is overrated anyways. What? That's fine because while CHICAGO reinforced the cinematic importance of the Musical, it was a Broadway musical and classic film that made me love the genre!

10 years ago I went to spend a few vacation days in New York City. One thing I wasn't looking forward to on the itinerary was seeing 'Wicked' on Broadway. The main reason was because of the price of the ticket. Ouch! Now I don't know if it was worth every penny (honestly it is), but seeing the show was an experience I'll never forget. I'm sure the material played a part but it was the performances and production that blew me away!

More recently I went to see the film SINGIN' IN THE RAIN on the big screen. The only thing that could top that experience would be a pristine 35mm film print presentation. As of now SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is my favorite musical film. Because of it I have sought out several other movies just like it. In doing so I've found myself liking very few of them.

The reason I don't talk much about the genre is because I'm very picky.

If the music is good I guess I'm not picky? Example; I was going to say I also don't like a musical if all the dialogue is sing-song, like REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA. But that's not true, because I loved SWEENEY TOOD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. It just goes to show that there is no accounting for taste, and you like what you like because you just do.

This all brings me to why LA LA LAND is my favorite film of 2016. I didn't want to alter my list at first because I already had my choices picked and SING STREET would be tough to beat. Secondly, I didn't want to have my viewing experience of LA LA LAND be tarnished with me wondering if it'll be my favorite film of 2016 after all?

About halfway through the film I knew I loved it, but I was going to leave my list alone. Then it was during the drive home and listening to the soundtrack on Spotify when I got home that my mind began to change.

LA LA LAND is kinda a personal movie to me right now. It's a film about not giving up on your dreams. I'm at a point in my life where it's well past “Poop or get off the pot”. But lucky for me I have nothing to hold me back to pursue my passion, and failure wouldn't put me into debt.

In LA LA LAND, Hollywood is a magical place where dreams come true. The prologue sets up that dreamers movie to L.A to make it big. They all have a story (song) about trekking to California from their nothing hometown. It's here that we meet Mia (Emma Stone) who is an aspiring actress. At first you'd think she's terrible, but that's not it at all. The problem is that in her hometown she was probably one in a million, but here she's one million in a billion.

After a disappointing party and walking home because of a towed car she hears some amazing piano coming from a nightclub. It's here that we're introduced to Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a talented piano player/musician who loves jazz. He loves jazz so much that his dream is to open his own nightclub.

The two meet and fall in love becoming each others muse. Eventually they realize though that probably the best way to reach their dreams is to go separate ways.

That's the best synopsis I can give without ruining the movie. In many ways LA LA LAND is a throwback to the classic musicals. Every shot in the film is magic. Shot in CinemaScope, the dance numbers are big and immersive. All the musical numbers are great and the final sequence at the end of the film is worth the price of admission alone.

While probably corny and cliche without the musical numbers it was the films message that really got to me. Never give up on your dreams (whatever they may be) even if it costs you something. Stepping out of your comfort zone or leaving a relationship is probably what it's going to take to make those dreams happen. In other words, life is all about risk.

Not everybody's dream will come true, but the point LA LA LAND is trying to make (I think) is that every dream is worth fighting for.

LA LA LAND is highly recommended!

* 'Grease' is not my favorite musical of all time or anything like that. Just at the time I enjoyed seeing different high school productions of it.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Forward to in 2017

2017 is the year I turn 40. Wow, hard to believe! It's also the year where I'm going to be so busy I can't see straight. For starters I have 3 months to loose 50 pounds before my birthday. It's a lifestyle change not a resolution! Secondly, 2017 is the year I'm going to start making movies. And last but not least, transition to a website instead of a blog. For the past few weeks I've been analyzing too much that I can't continue to review movies and make movies at the same time? That I can't do both? Challenge accepted!

I'm ready for 2017. Seeing that I already posted my favorite movies of year, I figured I'd get one more post in before the end of 2016. With Springfield getting it's very own Alamo Drafthouse in Spring of 2017, I thought it'd be nice to list my most anticipated films of 2017. It's still early, but there is already a good amount on the slate for next year. Let's get to it shall we!

And as far as order goes, lets rank them from least to most anticipated. I think 15 should be enough! Keep in mind these will be mostly genre films and summer blockbusters.

LA LA LAND

Yes I know, this film was released last year but we're probably getting it in theaters early 2017 if at all? I loved the directors last film WHIPLASH and I greatly appreciate old Hollywood musicals, and LA LA LAND looks like one if you ask me!

SILENCE

Another 2016 release, but the film doesn't get a wide release until January. Don't let me down Springfield!

LIVE BY NIGHT

Okay, this is the last 2016 release I swear. Same situation as SILENCE, and with Afleck notorious for casting beautiful people in his gritty crime dramas (THE TOWN), the major multiplexes shouldn't have a problem releasing it?

JUSTICE LEAGUE

A DC Comics superhero team-up movie, of course I'm looking forward to this it! Hopefully Warner Bros has heard the constructive criticism as they continue to move forward with the DCEU. I just hope they don't hire Trailer Park to edit these movies anymore?

GHOST IN THE SHELL

This is probably going to be weird and terrible, but in a good way I'm hopping. And let's be honest, fans of the original animated film are going to roast it anyway. Nerds are a hard sell, which is good but...

BLADE RUNNER 2049

Even with a visionary director at the helm, I don't see how they can pull this off? I bet they do!

THOR: RAGNAROK

This better be Thor and Hulk having adventures in space and we get to see Space-Gladiator Hulk!

A CURE FOR WELLNESS

Super creepy asylum film from the director of THE RING. Sold! Plus it looks very inspired from 70's cinema. Double sold!

ALIEN: COVENANT

Fans of the franchise and haters of PROMETHEUS should be pleased. I think they heard your complaints.

WONDER WOMAN

The wait for a Wonder Woman is finally over! Why did it take so long for a superhero movie like this to come out? The trailer is fantastic. Cannot wait!

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER TWO

I'm ready for another story in this universe. LOGAN

Potential to be the greatest comic book movie ever!

KONG: SKULL ISLAND

Favorite film of the year excitement on this one! Fingers crossed this will be the first movie I see at Alamo Drafthouse!

STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII

Will we find out who Rey's parents are? Will Kylo Ren betray the Dark Side like his grandpa? I cannot wait to find out!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

Super predictable pick I know but there is a reason this is probably everybody's most anticipated film of 2017!

Happy New Year!!!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Disappointments of 2016

At first I really wasn't going to do one of these lists this year because with time, money, and Rotten Tomatoes why watch bad movies at all? The future of my blog is uncertain in 2017. I may be revamping a switching to an actual website next year. It'll be written reviews with the intent of video blogs and YouTube channel eventually.

But, I received some constructive criticism the other day that might make me scrap the whole thing. If I am not a member of the press or have connections to get early screeners for movies, I shouldn't give Hollywood my money to continue to produce crappy movies. This person has a point, and it's making me rethink some things.

So this years list is more of a selection of disappointments rather than 'Worst' movies I saw. It's going to be a mixture really. And maybe disappointments are far greater punishment? No, not really.

Top 10 Disappointments of 2016 (10 – 1)

JASON BOURNE

For a good part of the year this movie was between 'Close But No Cigar' and 'Disappointments'. It came down to this and HARDCORE HENRY. I'm not a fan of either, but JASON BOURNE has no excuse for how terrible it is. Shame on the actor and director for laughing all the way to the bank I actually went to see this on a Thursday night with a large group of fans, and NONE of them liked it.

THE BOY

I remember the trailers for this and I couldn't take it seriously. Sorry, but evil dolls just don't do it for me unless they are named Chucky. It wasn't until a recommendation from BirthMoviesDeath that made me wanna check it out.

THE BOY was never going to set the horror world on fire, but I found myself enjoying the movie quite a bit. Then the ending ruined all of that! And I'm not talking about the twist. Toward the end a dumb ex-boyfriend character shows up out of the blue to create drama and suspense that the movie didn't warrant or need. Dumb.

MR. RIGHT

Written by Max Landis and directed by somebody. On paper this movie kinda works but on screen it just keeps getting worse and worse. The only thing that saves this movie are it's two stars, Sam Rockwell and Anna Kendrick. They are both having fun with their characters and salvaging what they can to make MR. RIGHT worth watching. I personally think the director needs to watch more tough guy movies and rely less on goons saying the 'F' word.

HARD TARGET 2

It breaks my heart to have this movie on this list, but HARD TARGET 2 definitely earned it. Not even one of Hollywood's greatest action stars working today saved this movie. I hate that Scott Adkins is in this! His appearance in DOCTOR STRANGE makes up for it.

HARD TARGET 2 reminded me of those terrible Rambo knock-offs from the late 80's and early 90's. The good old days of when two mounted machine guns on a motorcycle is better than one! Cool!!!!

THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY

Comedies really shouldn't be on lists like these, because what I find unfunny someone else will think it's hilarious. Too much of what this film was going for punch line wise I just didn't care for. But we call agree the movie is probably better than FIFTY SHADES OF BLACK.

HOW TO BE SINGLE

Again, comedies really shouldn't be on the list but this movie was a chore. Rebel Wilson is amazing but here she kinda got on my nerves. And Dakota Johnson has ZERO star power whatsoever!

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES

Not crazy enough and not rated R. A PG-13 zombie movie when there is a popular television show that's more graphic than most horror films? Get real.

THE FOREST

Jump scare, dream. Jump scare, dream. Wash and repeat.

INDEPENDENCE DAY RESURGENCE

If this is one of the worst or most disappointing movies I've seen this year then I'm probably doing pretty good. I lay it all out in my review, check it out. But it's worth repeating that the studio messed up big time by not showing up to Will Smith's house with a dump truck of cash!

CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON: SWORD OF DESTINY

Awe yeah! Martial arts and wu shu action from the director of IRON MONKEY and action choreographer of THE MATRIX! What could go wrong? Everything apparently. Probably not the worst film of 2016, but it sure pissed me off!

Thanks for reading! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!