Archive for December, 2012


Watching the Holiday Classics

Christmas is a holiday steeped in tradition. The music, the lights, the tree, the gift exchange, and the drunken uncle trying to molest you. These are all perennial aspects of this very special time of year. And just like your divorced grandfather bringing in a 23 year-old hooker to make his ex-wife jealous, there are some parts of the holiday you want to experience over and over again. One of those is watching Christmas films. Movies about Christmas have become an entire genre of their own. Some of these films are beloved, timeless classics. Two of my all-time favorites are the stuff of legend. The ones that people herald as utter brilliance, and are watched by families year after year. Of course, the films I am talking about are A Christmas Story 2 and Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure.

A Christmas Story 2

A Christmas Story 2 continues the Christmas adventures of Ralphie Parker. He is now a teenager, about to turn 16, and wants a car for Christmas. Getting a car isn’t easy, especially since this is still vaguely the 1940s and he lives in a modest middle-class family. Ralphie and his father, The Old Man, go to a car dealership to run a scam where The Old Man can get a deal on a new car. While there, Ralphie spies a used Mercury that he falls in love with. A few days later, he shows it off to his friends. Naturally, this involves him breaking into the car so he can sit in it. And when the dealer comes outside, Ralphie gets his pant leg caught on the emergency brake, which leads to hilarious hijinx! The car ends up taking some damage to the convertible rooftop, and now Ralphie will have to pay the dealer $85 or face the consequences. This plot line is completely retarded. Seriously, guys?! His pant leg got caught on the fucking emergency brake? What the fuck is this, a goddamn episode of Looney Tunes? Is that the best the writers could come up with?

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I’m Thirsting for a Good Movie

They look more animated here than in most of the movie.

Thirst is a South Korean movie from 2009, directed by Chan-Wook Park. The only other movie of his that I’ve seen was Oldboy, and that was fucking great. Full of beatings, amnesia, incest, murder, and mayhem, it was a cinematic treat and a delight for all ages. Thirst, however, is none of those things.

This is technically a vampire movie, although you wouldn’t really know it until about halfway through. The pacing is so goddamn lethargic that virtually nothing happens for the first hour. A Catholic priest named Sang-hyun is inadvertently infected with some kind of vampire blood during a transfusion (I thought hospitals screened for that kind of stuff), and slowly transforms over the course of the movie. But it takes so fucking long, and they try to portray it as realistically as possible, that it isn’t interesting at all. It’s like they were trying to make the Batman Begins of vampire movies. LOL OH LOOK IT’S SO REALISTIC IT’S TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE THAT THIS COULD HAPPEN IN THE REAL WORLD LOL.

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Justified Season 3

Raylan knows how to kick back, even while shooting bad guys.

Justified has shown a great amount of depth and progression each year it has been on the air. The first season was largely plot-driven, but managed to utilize interesting characters to its advantage. It could be slow at times, but it was never boring. The second season improved on the first in various ways. The story became more character-driven, and each person affected the plot in their own way. Nothing felt contrived or forced. The third season managed to mesh what worked in the first and second seasons, and create something unique and memorable.

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Harry Brown, God Bless America

Harry Brown

Is Michael Caine angry or sleepy? I can’t tell.

Harry Brown is a 2009 geriatric revenge movie starring Michael Caine. Although the movie takes place in England, the setting looks more like Hell itself. Crime is rampant with robbery, drugs, and pornography spilling into every street corner. Harry gets fed up with the violence, and decides the only way to put a stop to things is with more violence. He goes on a killing rampage, taking out all sorts of punk kids and drug dealers. When the bodies start piling up, the incompetent police force is completely impotent at tracking down the killer. It is obvious to everyone else that Harry is the killer, yet they still can’t figure it out. The police are led by Emily Mortimer who plays “super serious stuck up bitch”, a role she plays in every movie and has since perfected. The violence is portrayed in a realistic fashion, and the movie does take into account the fact that our titular septuagenarian has numerous medical conditions to grapple with while dealing out vigilante justice. At the end of the movie, nothing is gained, nobody learns any lessons, and the entire thing felt like an exercise in monotony.

Verdict: Average

God Bless America

Giving out justice to those who deserve it.

If Harry Brown was an elderly man of action who didn’t mince words, then the main character of God Bless America is a guy who likes to hear himself talk and takes action as seldom as possible. This movie stars Joel Murray who plays the washed up, less funny version of his brother Bill Murray. Oh wait, let me start over. Joel Murray plays a grumpy middle-aged dude who hates everybody and everything. He grows disgusted with the state of affairs in America as he watches TV drivel like American Idol, TMZ, My Super Sweet 16, and Charm School. Now, I can identify with him. These reality shows are the most fucking godawful things ever to air on TV. We’d be a lot better off if people like Kim Kardashian or Honey Boo Boo never became famous.

Eventually, things spiral out of control, and Murray and co-star Tara Lynne Barr go on a killing spree across America taking out the people they can’t stand like hardcore fundamentalist Christians and Republican pundits. The concept is totally awesome, because these people really are the scum of society. However, the execution of the movie left a lot to be desired. What should have been a madcap, frenzied, breathless killing spree was instead a slow, boring trudge from place to place. The two main characters kill someone, then spend the next 30 minutes talking shit about fame-whores, then kill the next person, and repeat. Instead of being a brilliant satire, it comes off more like the whining of a couple of losers who hate everybody. It’s sad because the concept of this movie is great, and it really deserved better. In the movie’s defense, it was well done (acting, directing, etc.), and there were several laugh out loud moments.

Verdict: Average

December 2012


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