Also known as: Truth or Dare (working title)
Release Date: January 1st, 2013 (Russia)
Directed by: Steven Brill, Peter Farrelly, Will Graham, Steve Carr, Griffin Dunne, James Duffy, Jonathan van Tulleken, Elizabeth Banks, Patrik Forsberg, Brett Ratner, Rusty Cundieff, James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Steve Baker, Damon Escott
Written by: Steve Baker, Ricky Blitt, Will Carlough, Tobias Carlson, Jacob Fleisher, Patrik Forsberg, Will Graham, James Gunn, Claes Kjellstrom, Jack Kukoda, Bob Odenkirk, Bill O’Malley, Matthew Alec Portenoy, Greg Pritikin, Rocky Russo, Olle Sarri, Elizabeth Wright Shapiro, Jeremy Sosenko, Jonathan van Tulleken, Jonas Wittenmark
Music by: Christophe Beck, David J. Hodge, Leo Birenberg, Tyler Bates, Miles Moon, William Goodrum
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Leslie Bibb, Kate Bosworth, Gerard Butler, Josh Duhamel, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, Terrence Howard, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Justin Long, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Liev Schreiber, Emma Stone, Jason Sudekis, Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts, Kate Winslet, Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Common, Charlie Saxton, Will Sasso, Seth MacFarlane, Mark L. Young, Fisher Stevens, Beth Littleford, Julie Ann Emery, Chris Pratt, J.B. Smoove, Kieran Culkin, Bobby Cannavale, Patrick Warburton, Seann William Scott, Stephen Merchant, Snooki, Emily Alyn Lind, Julianne Moore (scene cut), Tony Shalhoub (scene cut), Bob Odenkirk (scene cut), Anton Yelchin (scene cut)
Relativity Media, Virgin Produced, GreeneStreet Films, 94 Minutes
“Excuse me, I’m gonna go do some Batman-ing.” – Fake Batman
I never wanted to see this movie and that was before I heard how bad it was when it came out. Also, the few people who seemed to like it were people that have historically had terrible recommendations in not just movies but just about everything in life.
Recently, I was told to watch it and I kind of just said fuck it because part of me was curious and wanted to know if this was as bad as I had heard it was.
In fact, I can confidently say that this is the biggest waste of talent I have ever seen in a motion picture.
It’s so bad that it’s beyond atrocious. So much so, that I find it not just baffling that this film attracted so many big stars but I find it really unnerving.
Who greenlit this fucking thing? And how many terrible agents are there in Hollywood? Fire all of them!
Anyway, I had to start asking myself some questions while trying to work this film’s existence out in my brain:
- Is everyone in Hollywood actually insane?
- Do the Hollywood elite want all of us to commit seppuku?
- Do the Hollywood elite think that sucking their own assholes is a good use of time?
- Did this movie somehow leak over from a parallel dimension where Earth actually is Hell?
- Did all of these “artists” commit some unspeakable crime and this was secretly some sort of punishment for said crime?
- Did all of these people lose a bet?
- Was this movie actually the result of a writing contest for mental patients?
- Is this what people mean by “anti-humor”?
- Did the person who put up the money have some sort of Brewster’s Millions deal where they had to throw away money to get their full inheritance?
- Was this produced to debut on an earlier, failed attempt at CBS trying a streaming service?
I mean, those are all legitimate questions. In fact, I’d say that they’re more legitimate than this film.
This is the worst movie I’ve seen that was made for less than thirty dollars.
The film was full of crude jokes, none of which landed, and it offered up a bunch of gross out moments that just come across as Hollywood trying so hard to be edgy when in reality, they haven’t had their fucking balls in a long time.
Honestly, seeing how “politically correct” and “apologetic” the Hollywood elite have become since SJWs emerged and Cancel Culture took hold, this film feels like them desperately trying to get all the edgy shit out of their system before they all started their “I’m sorry, I’ll strive to do better” world tour.
Additionally, none of these gross out moments are all that effective if you’ve been a fan of ’70s and ’80s horror. Go watch Society and try again. Better yet, you shouldn’t have tried at all.
I think that film critic Robbie Collin said it best in his review of the movie:
“I was immediately overcome with a sudden rush of emotion: not amusement, anger or even mild irritation, but a profound and faintly tragic sense of pity.”
Speaking of reviews, let’s look at what all the big sites think. IMDb gives it a 4.3/10, Rotten Tomatoes gives it 5 percent from critics with 24 percent from the audience, Metacritic gives it an 18 percent and Richard Roeper referred to it as “the Citizen Kane of awful.”
In closing, I’ll simply state:
Pairs well with: bad cavities and genital warts.
Release Date: June 13th, 2012 (Tokyo premiere)
Directed by: Marc Webb
Written by: James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, Steve Kloves
Based on: The Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee, Steve Ditko
Music by: James Horner
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Sally Field, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Campbell Scott, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, C. Thomas Howell
Marvel Entertainment, Arad Production Inc., Matt Tolmach Productions, Laura Ziskin Productions, Inc., Columbia Pictures, 136 Minutes
“Peter? I know things have been difficult lately and I’m sorry about that. I think I know what you’re feeling. Ever since you were a little boy, you’ve been living with so many unresolved things. Well, take it from an old man. Those things send us down a road… they make us who we are. And if anyone’s destined for greatness, it’s you, son. You owe the world your gifts. You just have to figure out how to use them and know that wherever they take you, we’ll always be here. So, come on home, Peter. You’re my hero… and I love you!” – Ben Parker
I never had much urge to re-watch this. However, I hadn’t yet reviewed it and a lot of time had passed. So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try to revisit it with somewhat fresh eyes and little memory of it, other than I didn’t particularly like it.
Almost from the get go, though, I realized that this would be a real slog to get through.
I was immediately reminded of how much I don’t like Andrew Garfield. While I’ve only really seen him in these Spider-Man movies and The Social Network, he does smarmy, self-impressed douchebag so well, I can’t see him as anything but that. His Spider-Man is terrible and his Peter Parker is even worse. Granted, he probably looks the part better than anyone else.
This film is also wrecked by atrocious, cookie cutter dialogue, the overabundance of superhero movie tropes and not actually understanding its source material and characters. All the Flash Thompson stuff is garbage and that’s not the actor’s fault, it’s the way the character is written and presented. He’s not a lowest common denominator asshole bully from an ’80s movie with a hip-hop makeover. He’s actually a guy that didn’t like Peter Parker looking at his girl but actually used to try and include him despite that friction. He was a complex character that often times showed that he wasn’t some jack off meathead.
The film also alters some of the key parts of Spider-Man’s origin and pales in comparison to the 2002 Spider-Man film’s ability to adapt those elements. Also, this film, for some reason, just makes up a bunch of random shit and has to make Peter’s dad some special somebody tied to all the villain shit.
Beyond that, even the action is crap. The CGI is shit and the look of The Lizard is so underwhelming and disappointing that fans of that character will feel immensely cheated.
The villain’s plot is dumb, run of the mill schlock that just made me scratch my head and audibly say, “Really?” even though I was alone in my room.
The only high point in this film is Emma Stone but she’s Emma fucking Stone. She has a beauty and natural charm that other modern actresses just can’t compete with. Well, except for a select few. She’s just likable in everything and she, at least, brightens up the film when she’s in it.
I also mostly liked Denis Leary, Sally Field and Martin Sheen in this but the bad script didn’t do them any favors.
Ultimately, this is a dud. I like it better than its deplorable sequel but even then, this picture was a huge misstep in just about every way.
Also known as: Zombieland 2 (working title, unofficial title)
Release Date: October 9th, 2019 (Taiwan)
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Dave Callaham
Music by: David Sardy
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Rosario Dawson, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch, Bill Murray (cameo), Al Roaker (cameo)
2.0 Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, Pariah, 99 Minutes
“[first lines] Welcome to Zombieland. Back for seconds? After all this time? Well, what can I say, but thank you. You have a lot of choices when it comes to zombie entertainment, and we appreciate you picking us.” – Columbus
Being that my fairly recent rewatch of the original film showed me that it didn’t age well, I wasn’t super gung ho to see its sequel, ten years later.
However, after being somewhat annoyed by the opening narration, which itself felt dated, I was at least pleasantly surprised to discover that I mostly liked this movie, even though it didn’t need to exist and didn’t do much to justify it being made.
I’ll admit, I liked all these characters from the first movie and it was cool checking in on them a decade later. You’re quickly filled in on what has happened in the time that’s passed but there isn’t really anything unexpected other than Little Rock being college aged and having the feeling that she needs to leave the nest and have her own experiences. This of course leads to the adventure in this film, as the other three set out to find her, after she takes off.
There are other new characters introduced and they’re all pretty decent, except for the douche from Berkeley but then again, you’re supposed to hate him.
At its core, this is really just more of the same with some weird subplot about a hippie commune full of pacifists that have somehow survived more than a decade into a zombie apocalypse, living in an unsafe high-rise with loud music, firework shows and no weapons. But hey, this is comedy, so whatever, right?
I liked the addition of Rosario Dawson and Zoey Deutch to the cast. I don’t like that they left Zoey behind with the dumb hippies though, as she’s probably just going to die.
Anyway, I’d probably say that this is fairly consistent with the first movie and rate it the same. It didn’t blow my socks off but it was a decent escape from the very real COVID-19 drama for 99 minutes.
Pairs well with: the first Zombieland film and possibly the series, but I haven’t watched it yet.
Original Run: September 21st, 2018 – current
Created by: Patrick Somerville
Directed by: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Written by: Patrick Somerville, various
Based on: Maniac by Espen PA Lervaag, Håakon Bast Mossige, Kjetil Indregard, Ole Marius Araldsen
Music by: Dan Romer
Cast: Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Justin Theroux, Sonoya Mizuno, Gabriel Byrne, Sally Field, Julia Garner, Hank Azaria, Selenis Leyva
Parliament of Owls, Rubicon TV, Anonymous Content, Paramount Television, Netflix, 10 Episodes (so far), 26-47 Minutes (per episode)
I had no idea what this show was and I hadn’t heard anything about it before it dropped. That being said, I was glad that I went into this blindly. All I knew is that it was sci-fi, had Emma Stone, Jonah Hill and was directed by a guy who did True Detective, a show I still haven’t seen but have heard nothing but great things about.
Also, this is a miniseries. So I’m not sure if it’s a one-off or if it will return for new seasons with a whole new cast similar to Fukunaga’s True Detective or a lot of other recent television shows on various premium and cable networks.
The story is hard to summarize but in a nutshell this is about two people who undergo some controversial and dangerous drug trial. The pills and the almost otherworldly tech sends them into a strong dream state where they play out the lives of other people. The first story seems grounded in reality, even if it’s a bit nuts, and then each tale gets more and more fantastical. Ultimately, it all serves to help cure them of their personal and emotional demons. The two main characters, played by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, develop a strong connection as they become directly involved in each other’s road to emotional recovery.
The show started out really strong, it lost me a bit going into the second half but then it recovered nicely in the last two episodes where everything came together in a great way.
This was a really cool experiment and this was exceptionally well crafted but I don’t know if it’s something I would want to revisit in a second season. I guess that depends on the cast and what the premise would be.
I loved the hybrid of retro and futuristic styles. In a lot of ways, this resembles an ’80s cinematic representation of the future.
I guess the high point for me was Sally Field. I liked seeing her play two very contrasting roles and she nailed both exceptionally well but at the same time, it’s Sally f’n Field.
Pairs well with: Other recent Netflix shows: Black Mirror, Altered Carbon and The OA.
Release Date: September 2nd, 2017 (Telluride Film Festival)
Directed by: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Written by: Simon Beaufoy
Music by: Nicholas Britell
Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, Eric Christian Olsen, Andrea Riseborough, Natalie Morales, Wallace Langham, Fred Armisen, John C. McGinley
Decibel Films, Cloud Eight Films, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 121 Minutes
“I’m the ladies number one. I’m the champ. Why would I lose?” – Bobby Riggs, “Because dinosaurs can’t play tennis.” – Billie Jean King
I wanted to see this in the theater last year but there were so many top notch indie movies coming out around the same time that this one got lost in the shuffle. It also didn’t help that it came and went in the cinemas near me pretty quickly. I think it was gone within two weeks.
Luckily, we live in a time where you can stream almost any movie in less than three months after it hits theaters. So when this popped up to rent, that’s what I did.
For the most part, this was entertaining and I cared about what was happening. The film felt like it was lacking some weight though. There wasn’t a lot of depth to it. It focused a lot of its time on Billie Jean King’s personal life in regards to her sexuality and that’s perfectly fine, as it may have really effected her game in the way that it did in this film but the actual “Battle of the Sexes” element seemed to be on the backburner through large portions of the film. It certainly didn’t feel like the real focal point until it happens on screen. Mostly this felt like two pictures pushed into one film without enough care and balance given to the script. Also, and I rarely say this, this is a film that would have benefited greatly with a longer running time.
I like both aspects of the story but things felt sacrificed on both ends, as this was a film that didn’t establish its identity well enough or at least given us both sides with more organic fluidity. It honestly feels like there was a half hour lobbed off of this movie late in post production. Like the studio decided that no one would sit through a 150 minute movie without superheroes blowing up cities.
Regardless of the disjointed narrative, the performances by Emma Stone and Steve Carell were great. Stone was absolutely believable as King, especially in showing her emotional struggle with her sexuality and with fighting for respect for women.
Carell’s take on Bobby Riggs reminded me a lot of his most famous character, Michael Scott from The Office. He didn’t play Riggs exactly like Scott but he had that same sort of presence where he was highly comedic and could still touch your heart dramatically in very subtle ways. He played Riggs with respect and didn’t just make him a sexist oppressor, which is so common in Hollywood movies these days. He was just as much a comedian as he was a tennis giant. And really, you’re sort of left wondering if Riggs was a genius and a hero in his own right because maybe, just maybe, he was trying to help women by being the chauvinist archetype that needed to be conquered. Granted, I don’t think he fixed the match, I just think that his anti-women stance was a show to create the perfect climate for the event to happen.
I also loved seeing Natalie Morales in this, as I’ve been a fan of hers since Parks & Recreation.
Furthermore, I adored Alan Cumming’s role, as he was an almost fatherly figure to King in regards to helping her accept her sexuality and reassuring her that she is going to be okay because times are changing and she’s a big part of that. It almost makes up for Cumming annoying the hell out of me as Boris in GoldenEye.
This film handles the issue of gender equality very well. Stone’s King sums it up best when she tells reporters that she isn’t doing this because she wants to show that women are better than men, she’s doing it for respect. That’s something that seems lost with the sentiment of a lot of modern feminists and social justice warriors. It’s about respect and coexisting for everyone’s benefit, not warring over who is better or trashing those who aren’t your gender.
At its core, this film was respectful to the historical figures it represented and to the culmination of their conflict. It’s also nice to know that everyone did go on to live happy lives and there was a real respect and appreciation between King and Riggs after the dust settled.
Pairs well with: Sadly, there just aren’t a lot of good tennis movies. Almost none, actually. At least where tennis isn’t just a minor element. But for 2017 and for being a historical sports biopic, I’d put this with I, Tonya.
Release Date: September 25th, 2009 (Austin Fantastic Fest)
Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
Music by: David Sardy
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Bill Murray, Amber Heard
Relativity Media, Pariah, Columbia Pictures, 88 Minutes
“Are you fucking with me?” – Tallahassee, “Uh, no. You should actually limber up as well. Especially if we’re going down that hill. It is very important.” – Columbus, “I don’t believe in it. You ever see a lion limber up before it takes down a gazelle?” – Tallahassee
I know that a lot of people absolutely love this film. I like it too but I wouldn’t say that I love it. In fact, I haven’t seen it since it was in theaters. I just never really felt like watching it again until now.
To start, the cast is great and I like the chemistry between all of them. But let’s be honest, Woody Harrelson is the scene stealer and the real star of the picture, even though this boasts the talents of three young stars who would all have great careers beyond this movie: Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin. But even when the legendary Bill Murray shows up for a cameo, Harrelson steals that scene as well.
But it is the characters that make this movie work so well. They all just gel and you genuinely care about them, even though you just get to scratch the surface with this quartet at only an 88 minute running time.
I guess the only really big negative about this film is the finale. The girls decide to go to an amusement park for fun, albeit when it’s dark out in a world that is plagued by zombies and no security guards. Somehow, the park has power, the girls turn all the lights and rides on and are suddenly shocked when they are immediately overwhelmed by zombies.
Before this idiotic outing, the film spent an hour showing that these girls were smart and cunning con artists. So their complete stupidity to set up the big final battle is just baffling as all hell. And while I can suspend disbelief, I can’t ignore blatant and colossal idiocy.
And how the hell did they control the rides while riding them? Carnival rides aren’t automated, they have operators that hit buttons on a control panel to start and stop the ride. In the real world, one would have to ride while the other one had to hit the buttons on the control panel. I mean, despite the cool fact that we got to see zombie mayhem in a theme park, the set up and reasoning behind the sequence is asinine and ludicrous.
But the movie is supposed to be fun and I get that but I can never accept the rampant stupidity of the characters in the last twenty minutes.
All that being said, there isn’t a whole lot here that’s unique. There are zombies and you have to survive. There really isn’t anything about this movie to make it special and there isn’t an original twist that allows it to be its own thing in a genre that ran its course a long, long time ago. I mean, you could say that comedy is the twist but this is far from being the first zombie comedy.
I guess the only thing that works is that I like the characters and the actors. Well, I’m not a big Eisenberg fan but he was fine in this role, as it’s sort of the type of character I imagine him being. Woody Harrelson is, by far, the real highlight and the Bill Murray cameo is a lot of fun.
Pairs well with: Shaun of the Dead, Coooties, Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Release Date: August 31st, 2016 (Venice Film Festival)
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Written by: Damien Chazelle
Music by: Justin Hurwitz
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt
Summit Entertainment, Black Label Media, Imposter Pictures, Gilbert Films, Marc Platt Productions, 128 Minutes
Everyone and their mom loves this film. Especially their mom. To be blunt, I thought it was shit. Not just shit, actually. I thought it was the sort of self-obsessed showbiz nostalgia masturbatory flick that the industry insiders and all the committees who vote on awards will go nuts for.
But to be honest, I hate musicals. So while I may have some bias there, I really tried to give this a shot. I mean, I’m usually pretty happy with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and I’m not so closed minded that I haven’t discovered musicals that are actually worth a damn.
La La Land is beyond dull. The characters are minimalist caricatures of cookie cutter lovers in a showbiz movie. There isn’t enough meat on the bones to really sink your teeth into. I didn’t care about these characters at all and frankly, they were both kind of self-absorbed and unlikable. Also, half of their problems could have been resolved easily if they owned cell phones. I mean, who the hell communicates or doesn’t communicate like its the 1930s. Actually, they own cell phones but they are just conveniently used to propel their showbiz careers and to not communicate with one another.
Apart from the dullness of the characters, the story is also pretty bland. Showbiz girl likes showbiz guy, careers take off, shit falls apart. But I guess this is all people want from these sorts of movies. But jokes on you, no happy ending! I guess that is what makes La La Land a shocking and surprising risk taking masterpiece within the genre.
The dialogue is also bad. For a good example of how poorly this movie is written, just go to the scene where Ryan Gosling attempts to explain jazz to Emma Stone.
There is some good though. I enjoyed the cinematography, as far as the use of colors and lighting. Some of the musical numbers looked good in a visual sense.
The songs weren’t great or memorable though. Emma Stone has a passable voice but it isn’t anything exceptional. Ryan Gosling is a bit better but he doesn’t get the spotlight in the same way that Stone does.
It is strange to me that this movie is winning all the big awards. But it really shouldn’t be so surprising. I mean, critics and Hollywood big wigs love these showbiz pictures. They’re like a two hour advertisement about how cool and great they are. And if you don’t like it or don’t get it, well that’s just because you’re not in the industry.
Therefore, I can only assume that La La Land is going to dominate at the Academy Awards. These awards shows are nothing but bullshit industry politics, a lavish display of self-importance and insider circle jerks. La La Land is the perfect golden goose to circle jerk around.