Posts Tagged ‘50/50

24
Aug
12

Sucker Punch, Cedar Rapids

Sucker Punch

The vivid artistry and the subtle nuance of metaphor truly comes alive in this piece.

This is one of those big-budget movies that is so bad it defies explanation. After watching it I had to rethink some of my previous “shitty” verdicts. Keep in mind this didn’t prompt me to change any of my past verdicts, but this movie is so fucking bad, it made me seriously reconsider the definition of “shitty.”

Written, produced, and directed by Zack Snyder, this 2011 “film” is one of the smelliest turds Hollywood has crapped out in a long time. Eschewing all plot, logic, and character development for flashy visuals, the movie stumbles along from action sequence to action sequence until it reaches a laughably idiotic finale. Below is a list of reasons why this movie sucks so hard:

  • Entire production filmed against a green screen
  • Waife-like beautiful women are all experts in weapons and martial arts.
  • People casually walking away from explosions or collapsing buildings.
  • Giant samurai robots.
  • WWI-era steampunk German zombies. (yes, you read that sentence correctly)
  • Using WWII-era planes to fight medieval-fantasy orcs and dragons.
  • Girls getting the shit beaten out of them, crashing through buildings, etc. and not getting a scratch on them.
  • Weird flying mecha in the aforementioned WWI-era setting.
  • Fighting hordes of non-descript robots.
  • Tons of slow-mo action, punctuated by brief super-fast action, to be brought back again to more slow-mo action.

The mish-mash of genres, settings, and action styles must have seemed like a ZOMG AWESOME idea to Snyder, but it turned out horribly. It looks more like a shitty video game than a movie. And the storyline is just about as good as one you’d find in a mindless button-mashing PS2 game from the early 2000s. I especially like how the girls only enter the “fantasy world” when they start dancing. OH MAN I CAN’T WAIT TO KICK GERMAN STEAMPUNK ZOMBIE ASS BUT FIRST I JUST GOTTA DANCE! I also like how the “fantasy world” is actually already within another “fantasy world.” So we go two layers deep, like Inception, but without any coherence or good plotting. I also like how Jon Hamm is slumming it for some reason at the end of the movie. The acting is horrible, the special effects gaudy and overused (i.e. every second of the movie), there are huge gaps in logic in every aspect of the story, and the plot is just all around clunky and terrible. What do you expect when Snyder co-wrote it with Steve Shibuya, who has no other writing credits, and his biggest previous work was as Production Assistant: Effects Unit in Killer Clowns from Outer Space.

Probably my favorite part is that this run-down shit-hole mental institution’s only inhabitants are young, thin, incredibly attractive 20-something girls. Could someone please point me in the direction of this psychiatric facility so I can apply for a job? Thanks.

Verdict: Shitty

Cedar Rapids

The crazy mofos of Cedar Rapids.

It’s unfortunate that, a lot of times, smaller movies don’t get the proper distribution and advertising they deserve. They may get a limited run at an art-house cinema, and then get lost into obscurity. One of those movies is the 2011 film Cedar Rapids. It was on the 2009 “Black List” – a list of the most liked unproduced Hollywood screenplays. Previous entires on the list include 50/50, The King’s Speech, and Juno.

Fortunately, Cedar Rapids didn’t stay on the Black List for long. It is a very funny movie about a small town insurance salesman named Tim Lippe (played by The Office’s Ed Helms), who gets sent by his company to the annual convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. To Tim, Cedar Rapids is the big city. He has never left home before. He wants to stay on the straight-and-narrow, as his company is eligible for the prestigious “Two Diamond Award”, which they have won the previous four years. If he screws up and they don’t win the award, he’ll be out of a job.

Complicating matters, the hotel is overbooked and salesman are forced to double-up their rooms. Tim gets roomed with the brash and rude Dean Ziegler (played by John C. Reilly). The bulk of the movie features Tim’s downward spiral as he loosens up, starts to drink, gets wasted, cheats on his girlfriend (played by Sigourney Weaver) with Joan (played by Anne Heche), hangs out with prostitutes, sings Karaoke, uses meth, and tries to bribe his way into winning the coveted award.

Raunchy comedy is certainly nothing new, but Cedar Rapids has an indelible charm, and an absolutely hilarious cast, all of whom are acting at the top of their games. It manages to be funny, totally inappropriate, charming, and crude all at once. It is skillfully directed and written. It is a comedy that should not be missed by anyone.

While people are out laughing at drek like That’s My Boy, The Dictator, or Mirror Mirror, they are missing out on movies that are truly funny. I hope more people discover Cedar Rapids, because it has a lot to offer.

Verdict: Good

22
Jan
12

Fifty Reasons Why 50/50 Sucked

I'm not going to waste my time listing 50 reasons why this movie was terrible because I don't need that many to argue my case, but it sounds catchy, so just go with it.

This movie had all the elements, in theory, to be awesome. It had a decent cast, i.e. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It had balls jokes in the trailer. Finally, it was written by Will Reiser, who had something to do with Da Ali G Show, which led me to believe it might be decent. I was prepared to be inspired by the heartwarming story of JGL overcoming cancer, while giggling at poop jokes made by Seth Rogen. I was sorely disappointed.

The overarching reason I hated this movie was that it tried to show something “true-to-life” in a way that got the details of real life completely wrong. (If you get the details wrong, it pulls me out of movieland and back to reality, where I am then free to judge mercilessly.)

Take the oncologist he sees, for example. The doctor has absolutely no people skills and won’t even look JGL in the eye when he’s talking to him. He only knows how to use extremely complex medical terminology that JGL can’t understand, and on top of all of that he brings JGL into a swanky office, with a desk between them, instead of, oh, I don’t know, an EXAM ROOM like most docs use, to diagnose him with the tumor. I know it’s popular in society to hate on doctors right now for having no empathy or compassion, because doctors are huge assholes who don’t give a shit about their patients, they go into it just to get rich and to have a personal stripper on speed dial, but come on. Think it through. What person would go through four years of medical school, incurring 6 digit debt, followed by 3-11 years of slave labor training just for the money? And explain to me how after that 3-11 years of patient contact (not counting the 2 years in medical school) a person manages to escape without any people skills whatsoever? Hollywood just pisses me off with their portrayal of the medical community in general, and 50/50 did no better than most other films out there at capturing reality.

Jumping off of that, how exactly was his therapist a doctor? She introduced herself as doctor, then proceeded to say she was working on her dissertation and was under supervision (but where the hell was the supervisor) and oh shit, her office was awfully nice for a student. I’m pretty sure (positive, because I’ve seen one) that they just cram “students” or “residents” or whatever into any small crevice available, with old piece of shit furniture and no A/C controls, and you’re lucky if you get a window. I can guarantee that your supervisor would be present with your first patient. They don’t just let you run with it on your own, if they did they’d be personally responsible if that patient hurt himself or someone else. Luckily, JGL just decided to call her up and ask her out ON HER PERSONAL CELL PHONE NUMBER THAT SHE GAVE HIM!!!!!!!!! This probably does not outrage you as much as it does me, but I am married to a psychiatrist and you Never. Give. Out. Your. Personal. Phone. Number. Not to patients. Don’t do it. Horrible idea. They WILL call you, at all hours of the night, for emergencies like I can’t sleep unless you give me more Xanax.”

Ok, enough with the ranting on the medical stuff. Let’s move on.

I really hated JGL’s character in this movie. He was totally spineless before the tumor literally ate up his spine, so honestly I didn’t give a crap if he got over cancer or not. I couldn’t sympathize with him. He let his girlfriend walk all over him and cheat on him with a stinky hippie; his friend had to bitch out his girlfriend for him because he didn’t have the balls to do it himself (did he also have cancer there?). At the end it seemed like somehow the cancer taught him to be more assertive, but if anything cancer would beat you down even more. I don’t buy that his growing tumor also magically grew his self-confidence.

The entire idea of a comedy about cancer is flawed to begin with. It’s an oxymoron. There’s nothing you can say to make cancer funny. Was I supposed to be lol’ing when JGL’s old man friend passed away (in the span of a week, when he previously looked perfectly healthy)? Was I supposed to be LMFAO when he was getting chemo? I just don’t get how the two fit together, and from what I saw, they didn’t. One of the only funny things in the movie was when he shaved his head with the balls trimmer, but the outcome was that JGL had a buzz cut, and all I could think after that was JGL looks really ugly with a buzz cut.” JGL isn’t exactly the sexiest man in Hollywood, but I can usually fantasize about making sweet, sweet love to him during his movies. Like in Inception, where he was exceptionally well dressed during the entire film, had witty dialogue, and oh yeah, he had hair. 50/50 really cock-blocked me on this one.

Now my head smells like your balls.

I can’t write this review without mentioning the dog his cheating girlfriend gave him, Skeletor. WHAT THE FUCK? Did you see that dog? Did they starve that dog on set just to make the name Skeletor more fitting? I get that greyhounds are lanky dogs, they are runners, blah blah blah. But you are NOT SUPPOSED TO SEE ALL OF THEIR BONES. If you can, they are too skinny. Someone should call the ASPCA or PETA or something on them. I can’t find a picture to prove my point here but I remember being completely disgusted in the theater. A little ribs showing is one thing; seeing hip bones is absolutely too thin and I distinctly remember seeing hip bones.

I really wanted to like 50/50. Comedy about inappropriate subjects is right up my alley. But while the movie had some funny moments, overall it just didn’t feel real. I could never get sucked in to the movie’s world and get lost in the story. They made too many mistakes, in my opinion, for the movie to have any real heart.

Verdict: Shitty




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