Archive Page 2


Sisters, What We Do in the Shadows


Sisters is a raunchy comedy starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Both of them play against type. Poehler plays a prudish, responsible older sister, and Fey plays a free-wheeling, sexually liberated younger sister. Put them on screen together, and what’s not to like?

In theory, this is the perfect idea for a movie. In reality, however, it didn’t live up to expectations. More than half of the jokes fall flat. There’s a lot of blustering and screaming, and of course CRAZY HIJINKS, but none of it was very funny. Most of the antics are just that, antics. There weren’t many cleverly written jokes.

The film is about two forty-something sisters who return to their childhood home to throw one last party before it is sold. Throughout the night, the party gets more out of control, just like in every movie party. The sisters, of course, take what they learned from the experience to achieve personal growth by the end of the film.

Sisters kind of works and kind of doesn’t. There isn’t anything to actively hate about this movie. The cast is good, and it seemed like they had a great time making the movie. There are a few legitimately funny parts, as well. But overall, the execution was off the mark. Based on good will alone, however, I will give this one a pass.

Verdict: Average

What We Do in the Shadows

Another mockumentary? Oh, grrreeeaaat. Oh, it stars Jemaine Clement, one half of the insanely talented and hilarious duo, Flight of the Conchords? All right, I’ll give it a chance.

*90 minutes later*

Wow, that was really funny!

What We Do in the Shadows is yet another mockumentary in an overstuffed and tired genre. However, the topic hadn’t been done before. It’s about a group of vampires who share a house in New Zealand. The movie follows them as they go about their day to day lives.

The thing that makes this film work so well is how mundane the vampires’ lives are. They muck about in everyday life, just trying to fit in. We get a look into the difficulties of vampire life. It turns out to be way harder than you’d think to find victims. You can’t just waltz into any house and pick out a victim, because you have to be invited in. So why not just hypnotize them into inviting you in? Well, it turns out that the whole vampire hypnosis thing is much harder than it seems. And vampires aren’t all bad, either. They even manage to form friendships with humans, even if they end up going sideways. The vampires have their own share of unique struggles, which the film manages to find in boatloads, and mines for huge laughs throughout the film.

There are so many funny things, I couldn’t attempt to list them all. I’ll just say that they made all the right decisions while making this movie. It has heart, is well written, and puts a fresh spin on an old idea.

Verdict: Good


Happy (Shitty) Eight Year Anniversary

I’m two days late on my anniversary post this year. In fact, I completely forgot about it. So, I don’t have much of a post this time around. Mostly, I’m amazed that this shitty blog has kept on going for so long. I actually finished medical school and residency, got married, and had a kid in all that time. It’s pretty crazy stuff. The only reason this probably works is my once-per-week posting. If I posted daily, I’d burn out, and this blog would end up in the great trash heap in the sky. As always, I’d like to thank the people who stop by to read and comment regularly. This venture wouldn’t be half as much fun without you. Will Awesomely Shitty make it to year nine? Well, Hollywood will keep making shitty movies, so probably yes.



There are bad movies, and then there are BAD movies. Rubber, if you couldn’t guess by the title alone, falls in the latter category. It purports to be a satirical take on horror/slasher films. I suppose it is, but it isn’t a good satire, it’s a terrible one. Pretty much every decision they made was a bad one.

The film is about a sentient tire that rolls through the desert, and kills people by exploding their heads with psychic energy. That idea is amusing enough for a one-shot comic or an SNL sketch, not a feature-length film. That’s the problem right there. A punchline can’t be stretched to accommodate an entire movie.

The bulk of the movie is about a cop who investigates the murders, and slowly comes to realize that the tire is the one doing the killing. He and his colleagues attempt to take down the murderous tire. Now, if that had been it, the movie might have been watchable. But it didn’t stop there, it took things further down the rabbit hole of shittiness.

Continue reading ‘Rubber’


Dallas Buyer’s Club

AIDS was some scary shit in the 1980s. There was no treatment, and if you got diagnosed with it, it was as good as a death sentence. Today, we have effective, readily available treatments. It is no longer the death sentence it once was. Dallas Buyer’s Club tells the true story of one man who tries to beat AIDS in a time when the U.S. did not have any available treatment.

Matthew McConaughey tries to get enrolled as a patient in the first clinical trial for an AIDS medication. He can’t get in, so he pays hospital staff to smuggle him the drug. When that route eventually fails, he goes to Mexico to get the drugs. Of course, even though his health is important to him, he can’t pass up a business opportunity when he sees it. He decides to run a business, a buyer’s club. Essentially, people pay him monthly club fees and he will give them all the various AIDS medications they need smuggled from Mexico. Technically, he’s not selling them the drugs, so his venture is legal. The FDA, however, tries to shut him down as he’s providing an unregulated, untested drug to the general market.

Dallas Buyer’s Club is a fascinating movie. First, the story is true and relatable. Whether AIDS or something else, we all know someone who has been touched by medical illness. Some of these illnesses may have no treatment. What lengths would you go to in order to procure a treatment for yourself or your loved ones? That’s what this movie is about: one man’s struggle to find a way to survive. Second, it casts light on FDA practices (which have since changed) where they denied people treatment for a deadly disease while waiting for data to come in on clinical studies. Third, while you side with McConaughey, it’s easy to see that what he is doing is wrong. The FDA guys are assholes, but they have a point: you can’t just let people take whatever they want and end up killing themselves or muddying the waters so effective treatments can’t be discovered. The movie is great because it shows both sides as having multiple shades of gray. Neither is completely right or completely wrong. This is what fuels the compelling drama.

Of course, I have to discuss the acting in this movie. McConaughey was lauded for his performance. He took a method acting approach and lost a thousand pounds for this movie. He certainly looks like an AIDS patient, emaciated and pale. But more than physical change, McConaughey brings his A-game in terms of acting. His performance is excellent, and he is instantly believable as this character. You feel his struggle, and become emotionally invested in what happens to him. He was well deserving of every award he won for this movie. The rest of the cast turn in fantastic performances, as well. The entire production was a complete package. The film is wonderful.

Verdict: Awesome


Parasyte, Samurai Flamenco

Parasyte is about aliens who have come to Earth to curb human population growth. How do they do that? By being deadly as hell. These little critters invade the head of unaware victims, killing them in the process. The parasites live on, though, occupying the head, living off the bloodstream, and eating other humans for sustenance.
There are a lot of cool things about Parasyte. The most obvious one is how crazy-dangerous the parasites are. They sprout bizarre fangs/swords and decimate their victims before devouring them. It’s very well animated and kind of disturbing at first. It’s really a top-rate body horror scenario from the beginning.
Our hero, Shinichi, is lucky enough that the parasite who attacked him accidentally inhabited his arm and not his head. He is able to communicate with it (naming it Migi), and uses it to defend himself against the other parasites. Migi gives him powers of his own, but he’s pretty weak compared to the other parasites. The two of them use teamwork and ingenuity to outsmart and kill their opponents.
Parasyte is a clever anime. It uses an old concept (e.g. Invasion of the Body Snatchers), but puts a fresh spin on it. At times it can be horrifying, at times it can be funny, and at times it can have you on the edge of your seat. There are a lot of cliff-hanger endings which are annoying, but the show is so well-written, it’s hard to get too mad at it.
Parasyte also has a deeper message about the ecology of our planet. Human are destroying it, and if we don’t change our ways, we’re going to kill ourselves. Essentially, since the parasites look human, they represent a stand-in of the human race destroying itself. Don’t worry, though, the message isn’t beaten over the viewers’ head. You can easily ignore it if you prefer. But if you did that, it would be kind of pointless.
Anyway, this was a really fun show, and definitely recommended.
Verdict: Awesome
Samurai Flamenco
Samurai Flamenco is one of the weirdest anime I have seen in a long time. It’s weird because of its vastly differing tones and style. Every 4-6 episodes, it shifts into an entirely different show. The main character is a male model (he’s really, really ridiculously good looking) who wishes he could be a superhero like the kind he watched on TV as a kid. The show starts out kind of like Kick-Ass; he becomes a superhero (aptly named Samurai Flamenco) in a completely realistic world. He has no powers, stops petty crimes, and can get hurt. So far, so good, I was really into it.
Then, the story has a sudden change into real powers. He comes across genetically engineered humans who transform into monsters and explode when they are defeated. Flamenco tracks down the villain’s lair and defeats him in a climactic battle fit for any standard superhero anime. But it doesn’t end there. The show continues on, shifting tone again. It turns into a Voltron-inspired series with multiple “Flamencos” of differing colors who have giant robots that can combine into an ultimate robot. There are a couple more shifts, until the final one which jettisons the zaniness for a completely out of left field foray into an insane kid-turned-mad-bomber scenario, and the show becomes serious again.
It’s an odd show, and the varying tones can certainly be off-putting. It liked it enough to watch the whole thing, but it isn’t a show I would ever watch again. It’s fairly middle of the road in terms of acting, directing, action, animation, etc. It doesn’t offer up many deeper themes or concepts. It’s enjoyable but ultimately forgettable.
Verdict: Average

Dumb and Dumber To, The Monster Squad

Dumb and Dumber To

The original Dumb and Dumber is one of my all-time favorite comedies. Don’t judge me, I don’t bash on you for liking whatever crappy movie you think is great. Anyway, the original film is a classic. It’s got just the right amount of stupid antics combined with sight gags and subtle humor (e.g. the salmon of Capistrano) to make it the complete package. It’s endlessly quotable (“I like it a lot”), and even to this day, I pretend like I’m running incredibly fast while I’m in the passenger side of a car.

Dumb and Dumber To is none of those things. Sadly, it’s a completely unnecessary sequel 20 years too late. It makes the typical mistake these kinds of movies make, and that is to rehash the original film. This sequel takes it to the extreme and essentially become a near remake of the first film.

Dimwits Harry and Lloyd embark on a cross-country trek to find Harry’s long-lost daughter so she can give him a kidney. They carry an unopened package with them that is worth millions. They are accompanied by a criminal who they trade barbs with, and accidentally kill him. Once they get to their location, they learn that there is more to their journey than meets the eye, criminals and police get involved, and everything gets sorted out in the end.

But it’s still funny, right? Wrong. Most of the jokes don’t land. The humor is tired and surprisingly mean-spirited. There are barely any gags worth remembering. The only part that I found funny was when Harry, Lloyd, and the criminal were debating the “He Who Smelt It” game rules, and even then it was only mildly funny.

Overall, this was a sad reminder of the state of Hollywood today. They resurrect every old property and spit an ill-advised sequel or remake into the theater. This movie doesn’t deserve to exist.

Verdict: Shitty

The Monster Squad

Back in the 1980s, kid movies were a big thing. A group of plucky youngsters would get involved in strange adventures that were way over their heads, and would ultimately save the day and/or world by the end. The Goonies, in 1985, was perhaps the greatest example of this format. The Monster Squad is one of the poorer examples of this format.

The Monster Squad has a promising premise, but executes it in the most moronic way possible. A group of kids who are obsessed with monster movies form a club so they can revel in their hobby. Meanwhile, all the classic Universal horror villains (Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Wolfman) gang up with a thread-bare plot to take over the world. When the kids find out, they used their combined monster lore to defeat the bad guys.

I’m a fan of whimsical fantasy movies when they are done right. The Monster Squad, however, is done completely wrong. The characters are flat and boring. They have no personalities. They merely exist to shuttle the story along. We feel nothing for them. When the main kid is in danger, I didn’t care in the slightest.

The monsters are equally dull. They do nothing to strike fear into our hearts. They lurch about, hiss at the kids, and are generally impotent to do anything even remotely horrifying. They are easily defeated by the youngsters with shotguns, wooden stakes, and silver bullets.

Obviously, the kids are going to kill the monsters, that’s the whole premise. But it’s done in such a lazy fashion. The requisite fat kid kills the Creature from the Black Lagoon with a shotgun blast to the chest. Gee, how inventive. The requisite tough kid kills vampires with wooden stakes while they lumber toward him without any sense of urgency or danger.

With an underdeveloped plot, one-dimensional characters, and monsters with nothing to do, The Monster Squad fails on every single level. It’s too bad, because it could have been great in the right hands.

Verdict: Shitty


Classically Shitty: Bridge on the River Kwai

Bridge on the River Kwai is another one of those classic movies that is classic for inexplicable reasons. Watching it, I honestly could not figure out why people like it. Was it the languid pace and lack of urgency? Was it the battle of superior White morality over that of the evil Japanese? Was it Obi Wan Kenobi as the main character? It’s hard to say. Perhaps it’s the combination of all three.

Kwai is sort of like the ultimate movie for spoiled assholes. The movie begins with a group of freshly captured British soldiers being hauled into a Japanese POW camp. The new inmates are told they are going to be put to work building a bridge. The bridge is extremely important to the war effort and must be built on time.

Obi Wan tells Saito (the head of the Japanese camp) that officers are not required to do manual labor because of the Geneva Convention. Saito says he doesn’t care, and everyone is has to work. Obi Wan remains defiant. He and his officers refuse to work. They put up with starvation, beatings, and being locked in an iron box. Eventually, Saito gives in and tells the officers they don’t have to work. The officers get to chill while their grunts go build the bridge.

Continue reading ‘Classically Shitty: Bridge on the River Kwai’

September 2016
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