Lucien’s Review: Solo: A Star Wars Movie

I swore that I am never paying to go to anything associated with Star Wars again, and I meant it.  But when my buddy called me up all sad and drunk and told me that he wanted to see it to take his mind off things and would pay my way, I decided that I would spend his money.  No sweat off my back.  After the shit-show that was The Last Jedi, this couldn’t possibly be as bad, right?  Well, yeah, it really couldn’t possibly be as bad as that flaming pile of shit.  But that doesn’t make it good.  In fact, what I would describe this movie as is painfully average.  It does nothing to surprise you, and is a boring movie to sit through.  It’s so by-the-numbers that I could see where it was going long before I got there.  Let’s talk about it.

The plot goes that instead of our boy Han Solo being some studious dude who happens to fall into crime (which is a story I would actually have liked, or at least SOME kind of inclination to who he was as a young person), he is already a criminal and working for another equally-grotesque crime boss.  The film follows him as he goes from working for that boss, to being in the Imperial military, to then being back into crime with Woody Harrelson.  Will he find all the iconic stuff from the other films and give a shit-ton of fan service so the Star Wars nerds can cum in their pants?  Well no fucking shit.  That’s a given.

The plot of this film is boring.  However, let’s not talk about that.  Instead, let’s talk about the things I liked.  There is one thing on this list.  It’s the dynamic between Chewie and Han.  When I heard the horror stories about the actor playing the titular needing an acting coach because he sucked so bad, I immediately wrote this shit off.  But then I was genuinely surprised.  He wasn’t the worst.  In fact, the moments where him and Chewie are getting to know each other and building up a repore are pretty great.  It was the only time I felt ANY investment in the film, so kudos there.

Now we get to shit I hate.  For starters – this movie is butt-ugly to look at.  What the hell was the cinematography department doing?  This is Ron Howard directing this, so it should NOT look this bad.  This is worse than Suicide Squad.  The presentation is so muted and boring and vanilla.  Not one scene in the whole damn movie stands out for being visually interesting.  If the plot and characters were more interesting, it could make up for a lot of that, but since they aren’t, it doesn’t.  It genuinely blows my mind how crappy this movie is in the visuals department, from a director who I know knows what they’re doing.

Next up, the worst role in this film, by far, is Lando.  This character was so insufferable to listen to.  I don’t hold this against Donald Glover.  NOBODY could make how awful this writing was work.  And to Glover’s credit, he did try.  But he is poorly written and I rolled my eyes a lot.  So is his SJW-bot.  SJW droid was the worst.  I do not genuinely understand why they did this with this character.  Of all the characters to have forced social justice bullshit, why the droid?  Part of me wonders if it’s a parody.  I expected Emilia Clark’s character to be all about that.  But no, it’s the droid.  I may have found the snarky droid in Rogue One to be fun, but this one is the worst.  Oh, and the forced pansexuality of Lando was just awful too.  It didn’t fit with the character given what we knew.  All of that Billy Dee Williams charm, gone.

Oh, and speaking of side-characters, I couldn’t have given less of a shit about anyone in this film if I tried.  The side-characters in Rogue One were kind of annoying, but at least they were memorable.  Here, they’re just dull as dirt.  No surprises.  No memorable traits, aside from who plays them.  I could do the Red Letter Media test on pretty much anyone in this movie and they would fail.  Not a single one of them stood out to me, so when we have them dying, I didn’t really care.  Who the fuck did?  Given the fact that this film has bombed at the box office, clearly not many.

All things considered, this isn’t a terrible movie.  It’s boring.  So insufferably boring.  I’ll admit that I was surprised that I didn’t hate the guy they got to play the titular character, but that’s it.  And the repore he built up with Chewie was genuinely enjoyable to watch.  That’s it.  The rest of it sucked.  I meant what I said about being done with Star Wars.  But since I was spending my friend’s money (the amount I spent on concessions at the theater was just spiteful.  I told him outright I was going to spend his money.  There was no lie.  He needed to be sobered up anyway, and movie popcorn is good for that.), I figured I should tell you all about it.  Haven’t been able to build up the urge to actually do the review until now.  I just didn’t know what to say.

Part of me thinks that Disney just bought this license to make quick cash of a couple billion dollars.  But they aren’t managing it well.  They are using this license to spread their faux-belief in SJW talking points, when anyone with a brain knows that Disney doesn’t ACTUALLY buy into this crap.  They don’t give two shits about feminism and equality.  They care about money, and right now the media is all about social justice and SJW feminism, so they pander to that.  But make no mistake, once the pendulum swings back the other way, they will be shitting on social justice with the rest of the industry.  That time is coming, by the way.  The public is getting tired of it, and SJW culture eats itself.  So the day is coming when all of this is done.

Meanwhile, all of the Star Wars films that could have been good idea, or stories set in that universe, are being ignored. All of this makes me think of the Star Wars game we never got – 1313.  Sigh.  If you wanna see this film, I guess you can, but I don’t get why you would.  That’s all I got.

Final Verdict
4 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

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Lucien’s Review (Sort of): God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2

I am not feeling very good today, and a friend of mine has these two films on bootlegged DVDs because he has religious family who gave him this stuff.  And I can safely say that I have seen the worst, the absolute worst in Christian propaganda films.  This is more going to be a discussion of what about these films annoys me, rather than the films themselves, because that’s a wash.  Both of them suck.  I will have a Final Verdict for them and justify it, but I really am just looking to talk about Christian propaganda films and how these two movies are exemplary of what is so wrong with them.  What an awful use of my time today.

First we have God’s Not Dead.  This was Pure Flix’s claim to fame, and they have never forgotten that.  Every chance they can they will shove that in your face.  In it was have Josh Wheadon, which always makes me think of Wil Wheaton (Shut up, Wesley!).  He has an philosophy class with the EVIL philosophy teacher played by Kevin Sorbo.  We also have a dozen other characters because that film has more subplots than Carter has little pills.  It’s really bad.

Here are the tropes in this film that exemplify themselves in other Christian movies.  First, we have Kevin Sorbo as the EVIL philosophy teacher who comes right out in the very first class and, instead of doing what an actual teacher in college would do at the start of class, like go over the syllabus or give some basic rundown for how things will work with that class, he has to make very clear the film’s forced message – God is Dead!  The quote by Nietzsche that religious people take such umbrage with without understanding it at all.

When Nietzsche said that “god is dead”, he didn’t mean there is a literal God and he is literally dead.  What he meant was that religion’s roll in society was coming to a close.  But the religious crowd have been touting that as the great heresy against their respective belief structures and how it must be destroyed.  One of the many stupid points in this film.

Since our good boy Josh is too good to do what the strawman philosophy professor tells him to do and write “god is dead” for that day’s only assignment.  Another sign that this is not even a real college course in any way.  Strawman course with a strawman teacher.  Christian films don’t set the bar very high.  He can’t write that, so the professor challenges him to a debate about the nature of God’s existence.  Another thing that philosophy isn’t exclusively about, but this film really makes it out to be.  In fact, this whole damn movie paints college as the act of EVIL secular society and people in there are snobbish assholes.

We then get to suffer through the debate, and this is just amazing.  The debate between our hero Josh and the EVIL professor is basically watching the absolute paragon virtue fighting it out with Ray Comfort’s vision of an atheist.  All of the terrible arguments that Josh makes are ones that I, a pseudo-intellectual asshole who got my degree in journalism could handily refute.  It’s terrible.  No atheist argues the way that the EVIL professor does, and Josh’s points are never refuted in a way that any atheist would.  It’s a stereotype beating a strawman.

Naturally, the whole film is really just a Christian circle-jerk.  All the Christians who feel so downtrodden in a country where 80% of the population identifies as Christian can sit there and feel so validated by what’s on the screen.

Overall, the film is terrible, but to stupid to be frustrating.  It’s almost kind of fun to watch Kevin Sorbo’s terrible acting.  That guy has always sucked.  But the next film absolutely takes the cake for Christian circle-jerk factor.

God’s Not Dead 2 came out and now we have Sabrina the former Teenage Witch and now reborn Mega Christian (no joke, the actress is very, very Christian now) starring as the teacher who is being trampled down by the EVIL secular society and their EVIL secular values as the EVIL ACLU is brought in to try and destroy her.  This film is made to have fundamentalist, conservative Christians cumming in their pants because their absurd sense of siege can be blasted all over the screen.

This film is the worst.  The absolute worst.  None of what happens in this movie would have happened.  If a teacher at a public school went into religion with a student, would they get talked to?  Maybe.  But this whole insane thing about her nearly being fired would never have happened.  It would have been just “yo, don’t get too crazy into the religious stuff, we don’t want to upset anyone, so just tone it down, will ya?”  And then any sensible person who gets the separation of church and state would be like “sure.”  That’s where this would end.

But no, they have to get the EVIL ACLU involved to try and destroy this woman’s life.  Because the ACLU is so awful, right?  Fighting for the constitutional rights of citizens to be upheld.  Those bastards!  Oh, and the film tries to head off the argument about separation of church and state by saying that nowhere does it say that anywhere in our law.  Here’s the thing this movie doesn’t get – part of the job of the Supreme Court is to interpret the laws as they are written.  It’s the reason that Roe v Wade gave women the rights to their own bodies, or Obergefell v Hodges granted gays and lesbians the right to marry in all 50 states even though that isn’t in the Constitution either.  It’s that branch’s job to interpret the laws in respect to other issues.  So in the case of Everson v Board of Education, it was strictly laid out the separation of church and state in respect to public schools.

You can’t explain that to conservative Christians, though.  For whatever reason, these fucking morons have this inexplicable sense of siege in this country, and I will never understand.  I know so many people in atheist groups I have been a part of online who are teenagers and say that they can’t say who they are to their parents because they would disown them, or even fear for their physical safety.  But nope!  It’s all Christians who have it so hard.  Hand to Groj.  Ugh.

This film has court scenes that are so bafflingly stupid.  From characters being questioned and the ACLU representative never objecting even though it is so obvious that this has nothing to do with anything.  Like when Lee Strobel is on the stand.  Hell the ACLU has no cross-examination then, and you can bet your ass that I’d be all over that guy if I had him in a courtroom to testify under oath.  Trust and believe.  Then we get this teenage girl running in and not only does the bailiff not do anything, but they allow this girl to take the stand.  Then, when it is patently obvious how much this case has been a breach of legal rules and how it would so obviously get destroyed in appeal, the film doesn’t do that.  Because after all, they have to suck the religious cock and make all the religious people blow their metaphysical load all over these films.  It’s the worst.

Unlike the other film, there was nothing to enjoy there.  That film is the worst, the absolute worst.  It’s religious propaganda at its worst and I hate that I devoted time to actually taking it in.  I don’t get how religious people aren’t offended by how their religion is made to look in films like this.  It’s terrible.

These films suck.  Don’t watch them.  Ever.  Oh, and the Newsboys fucking suck!  They are the worst group ever.  Brings to mind that great quote by Hank Hill – you’re not making Christianity better, you’re making rock worse.

Final Verdict:
God’s Not Dead:
4 out of 10

God’s Not Dead 2:
2 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

RAB: I Hate Movie Theaters

Not joking at all, I hate going to the movies.  Theaters are the worst.  I went to see Infinity War, and while the film was totally worth my time, the beginning of the showing was the worst.  Why?  Because after having to suffer through endless bullshit they put on before the show (what happened to the days when theaters just either had slides of ads in the background and some music playing?  That was what theaters were like when I was young.  Groj how I miss those day), I then have to watch the previews.

The previews before this movie were the worst.  The absolute worst.  It made me want to slit my wrists.  It made me want to think that film as a medium is dead.  Why?  Because there was no ad for Deadpool 2, because that’s a violent film for grown-ups, so we had to get really mediocre family films advertised.  Like did you know that Shaq is taking another stab at acting?  This time as an old man playing basketball!  Oh the shenanigans!  I bet that will just be totally silly.  I can’t wait to see what things Shaq will get up to next.  Has a bunch of other old basketball players.  Surprised they didn’t get Michael Jordan in there.  He has more self-respect than that.  He pimps underwear, after all.

Next, they played a trailer twice!  Twice!  For that shitty Jurassic World sequel.  I thought that Jurassic World was a giant piece of shit.  Nothing was good about it.  Nothing.  Yeah, there was the big battle at the end, but that was short, and boring, and stupid.  Nostalgia Critic getting the guy who did the narration on the Honest Trailers videos was cooler than that.  Now they are making a sequel that ironically addresses something I have always thought about in these films – dinosaurs being used for military applications.  Except with Chris Pratt.  But they showed that goddamn trailer twice!  Because it was so good that i Just had to see it again, right?!

Then we have even more product placement as we have the theater shilling itself.  Gotta love corporate marketing.  Probably how these places stay in business since the attendance numbers for box office films are down over the last few years.

I am so glad I went to see this film during the day, before school got out.  That way I can see it with no children around.  That’s another reason that I will never, ever go to a family film when the little ones are around to see it. I don’t even watch family films anymore anyway, aside from superhero ones.  Haven’t seen any that look appealing to me.  Before you ask, I haven’t seen Moana.  After Frozen, the Disney section that does CG films that isn’t Pixar is dead to me.  And I didn’t see that film in theaters either.

Theaters should be made exclusively for adults, where the little ones are not allowed.  Where you can get quality food, alcohol, and seats that are super mega comfy.  Yeah, that sounds just about perfect.  I hate kids in general, but children at theaters fucking up my movie experience is the worst.

Then you get the assholes who are on the phone the whole goddamn time.  Makes me wish that hacking was the way it is in Watch Dogs, because I’d be hacking everyone’s phone and sending every dirty picture they ever sent to their mother and telling them if they do this again, I’m going to send them to their boss.  That’s how much I hate people who sit on their goddamn phone the whole show.  Go home if you are so bored by the film that you can’t be bothered to stay off your goddamn phone for a couple hours.  Entitled millennials.  I had some dude looking at porn during this movie.  No joke, he was on his phone looking at porn.  Wow.  Stay classy, boo.

Finally, you get the two besties who absolutely have to talk about everything in the film with each other.  They are going to go on and on and on about it.  And of course they need to be loud enough for you to hear their conversation, because I totally wanted to know if they think that Captain America would be cuter if he was gay.  Thanks for telling me about that.

I don’t like going to theaters, and I’ll avoid it at all costs if I can.  Since most films that come out anymore are shit anyway, I don’t have to find a lot of reasons not to be there.  Fuck Hollywood.  It’s out of ideas.

Until next time, a quote,

“If I flick popcorn at their ears, maybe they’ll shut the fuck up.” – Quinn Pierce

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Avengers: Infinity War

The MCU was lightning in a bottle for Disney.  It was a perfect vision of Kevin Feige that was seen to fruition through dedication and some missteps.  Not every film is great.  Hell, not all of them are good.  In fact, some suck.  But they don’t suck so hard that they ruin what the franchise has been shooting for.  Since the Internet exists, you are able to ignore the missteps and keep track of the good ones.  After this saga is over, I will be compiling my list of favorite films in the MCU.  Why then?  Because after having seen this film, I genuinely believe the only place they can go after this is someplace stupid.  There will never be another height that can be reached beyond this.  This is as high as the franchise will ever go.  And let me tell you, that is high praise indeed.

This film is the culmination of everything that the MCU has been shooting for.  When I heard about a series of films in a shared universe, this is what I figured it would all build up to.  And let me tell you, it panned out so perfectly.  I was so afraid that this film was going to suck, but so much love and dedication was put in to making everything about this film work.  This is the best film in the MCU to date, and the stakes for the final film couldn’t possibly be higher.  We have a lot to talk about, so let’s get down to it.

I don’t really wanna talk about the plot, because the Internet already knows that.  What I want to talk about are the performances.  As I said, this is a culmination of everything that the films have been building up to.  That means that every performance is symbolic of everything that has been building up.  What does that mean?  It means that like Civil War, it has to have every character staying in character with who they have been up to now.

And since there is convergence, we get to see those personalities playing off one-another.  So we get to see Tony Stark, an ego that is utterly massive, playing off Doctor Strange, who is also such an ego.  Their banter is just amazing.  What’s more, the parental bond between Stark and Spider-Man is just fantastic.  It leads to a truly heart-wrenching moment toward the end once plot stuff happens.  It is the most emotional climax of the entire franchise thus far.

Who are my favorite performances?  I will list them now – First, Tony Stark.  This guy is just the best.  His ego has really toned down since the beginning.  This isn’t the totally egotistical asshole from the first Iron Man film.  He’s had time to learn, and when the moment he has been fearing for all this time finally arrives, you can see that fear all over his face.  Next up is Parker.  Having fallen in love with this character even more after Homecoming, seeing him now in the thick of such a massive dilemma is pretty great.

Then we have Doctor Strange.  I actually really liked his film, and think he’s an interesting character.  He accepts that there are things more powerful than he can understand, and now he is working to make himself a better man.  Benedict Cumberbatch has such presence with this character.

I also really loved Rocket.  I am also going to be making a list of my top 10 MCU characters, and to be honest, he’s going to be very, very high on that list.  It’s really great that they paired him up with Thor throughout the bulk of the film.  I have always hated Thor as a character.  He’s boring.  He’s arrogant, but not in the fun snarky way like Stark.  But in this film we see him very, very emotional.  The film opens with him being utterly destroyed emotionally by Thanos kicking his ass and destroying his people’s only hope for survival.

Which brings me to my favorite performance of the entire film – Thanos.  One thing that people can rightly accuse the MCU of is having really boring villains.  That’s a totally fair statement, given how I can barely remember the names of some of these people.  We’ve had film after film leading up to this guy coming into play, and Groj-dammit is his performance the thing that steals the show!  This guy is a really complicated villain.  He has motivations that are not always easy to understand.  He appears cold and insane, but then you see other sides of him.  Sides that are almost sympathetic.  You actually feel for this guy when you realize that, as horrible a person as he is, there is some part of him that does have emotional attachments and is able to rationalize what he’s doing.  What’s more, despite his violence and genocide, he is engaging.  The film takes several scenes to just have him talking to people, and getting to know his back-story.  It’s pretty great stuff.  Every character thinks they got him figured out, but they really don’t.

That leads me to the best part of this whole movie – it’s darkness.  You have the DCEU trying (and failing, horribly.  It’s dead to me) to be dark and gritty, but Marvel is kicking their ass even at that.  They can’t even get the dark and gritty shit down right.  This film has a giant purple monster as a villain and they make him more human and malevolent than any of DCEU’s boring-ass villains who are supposed to be “realistic” could ever hope to be.  Ironic, I think that the purple-haired monster is more of a human villain than the ones in ANY of DC’s live-action films.  Go fucking figure.  Not including Chris Nolan’s movies, of course.

What is the biggest drawback?  For me, it’s the fact that Disney films have a bad habit of human that is when you have some character doing something, and then you have the “awkward…” moment.  I was told the previous Thor film was dripping in it.  The Last Jedi was too, and it sucked the film down.  That’s not to say that all the comedy in this film was bad.  Some of it was pretty on point.  But Disney could stand to do less of the “character does something weird/silly and everyone is awkward” humor.  You didn’t need it in Guardians 2, and you don’t need it all the time here.  Don’t get me wrong, totally glad you have humorous moments.  It makes the really ugly moments hit that much harder.  Though I can’t possibly see how the next film can have anything happy when this film ends on such an ugly note that it will blow your fucking mind.

I’ve already heard so many of the people who defend The Last Jedi saying that this film subverting expectations and people loving it is bullshit because they did that in that film and everybody hated it.  Here’s the thing – subverting expectation is easy to do, but it has to feel like it has meaning to the story you are trying to tell.  In this film it does.  Every time they do it, it feels like it has a point.  In that OTHER movie it doesn’t.  It feels like them trying to make some political point, or having some SJW-approved element to shove in there.  Subversion doesn’t make a great work, if it’s not used well.  In this film, it was used perfectly.

Another thing that got my attention, and this is a bit of a spoiler, is that since the film ends with Thanos winning and the Avengers being mostly killed of, it made me think about something.  See, as adults we realize that they aren’t going to be dead forever.  We know that the Infinity Gauntlet will be used to bring them back.  But how many 9 year olds are sitting the theater bawling watching Spider-Man turn to ash?  Or Groot die, again.  That’s some pretty dark shit.

Overall, this is one of the greatest, if not the greatest superhero film I have ever seen.  It shows what a masterful work the MCU was, and since Kevin Feige is leaving after the sequel to this, I am going to tune out then.  There is nowhere this franchise can go but down.  I loved this movie, and I think all of you should see it if you haven’t already.  It shows that even the MCU can be a mature, grim place.

Final Verdict
9 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s First Take: The Meg

I’ve been saying for a LONG time that Hollywood is out of ideas.  That’s obvious to anyone who is paying attention at this point.  From all the remakes, reboots, Disney’s TERRIBLE live-action remakes of their classic cartoons (all, without a single exception, suck), and let’s not even get started over how everything is either that or a sequel, it’s abundantly clear that Hollywood is totally out of ideas.  The fact that the Disney live-action remakes of their films make a shit-ton of money blows my mind.  What retards are going to see that crap for entertainment purposes?  Will never know.

But then we get shit like this.  A film that was scraped right down from the very bottom of the barrel.  I mean we’re talking about the caked-on sludge of old ideas that have been done to death.  This isn’t beating a dead horse.  This is going the Freddy Got Fingered route with its skin.  Actually fitting, if you think about it.  Retarded studio executives got together and said “what’s going to make a ton of money?  I know, let’s make a giant shark movie!”  They got some hack writer to come up with the script, and then found some washed-up action star to sell it.  Thus, The Meg was born.  Don’t worry, we’ll get to the title in a minute.  First, let’s take a look at the trailer.

Why is the Like ratio on this so high?!  Have I taken fucking crazy pills?!  Either I am the only sane person on the Internet, or the rest of this country is so intellectually dead that they are actually calling for this garbage.  I cannot believe it.  Sometimes I think that this country is filled with absolute retards.

First, the title.  I cannot take The Meg seriously.  This is the stupidest title I have ever seen on any film, ever.  I’ve seen porn movies with titles that aren’t this cringe-worthy.  All I can hear when I see a title like this is –

So yeah.  This is so stupid right off the bat.  But let’s keep going.  Alright, so we got cute little Asian girl with her ball that rolls around going through a really fake-CG underwater area.  The ball is suddenly stopped, when what do we find?  A REALLY fake CG shark!  And it’s big!  Wait, hasn’t The Asylum done dozens of these kinds of films already?  Is this literally just an Asylum picture with a higher budget?  Why are there so many likes on this?!  What is it that the people of the Internet wouldn’t like?  SevenLet the Right One InAkira?  The Internet has such phenomenally-bad taste that it blows my mind.  Uh-oh!  Really fake CG shark tries to bite the tiny Asian girl!  And for some reason fails.  What I’m sure is a fuck-ton of biting power, and it couldn’t bite through that glass.  Weird.

Then we cut to them exploring really fake CG…everything!  Are they even in water?!  There wasn’t a single shot in any of the stuff that followed that I didn’t think – CG was used.  I may think that Titanic is overrated crap, but at least James Cameron went out in the actual ocean.  Ugh!  The CG on everything in the environments is so distractingly terrible.  Why is this so bad?

Next, it cuts to Bobby Darin doing “Beyond the Sea,” with a happy wedding scene?  Their tiny dog jumps into the water, and sees the giant shark, which causes it to swim back.  The song keeps going!  What tone are they trying to set with this?  Because it sure as hell isn’t intimidating.  Not to mention, how big is this thing?  There are multiple shots that paint the size of this monster very differently.  The opening has it pretty damn big, but then we have shot after shot where the size seems to change, depending on what it’s going after.  In one scene, it’s so big that it looks like it can swallow a boat whole.  In another, it’s small enough to be having trouble with a submarine.  There are real discrepancies with the size of this creature who is supposed to be intimidating.  Though, after a while, you realize that it’s so big that it might as well be a kaiju and we can get Godzilla to fight it.  Would probably be a better movie.

All of this is besides the point.  This movie is basically Jaws, except the shark is WAY bigger, and WAY more fake.  Nothing about this is realistic.  It’s stupid.  The fact that the Internet has seen fit to give this so many likes hurts me inside.  Fuck this movie.

Initial Verdict:
A complete waste of time

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Things I Hate in Movies

My gay girly-mate and I got to talking and there are a ton of things in movies that bug us.  See, I’m the kind of guy who analyzes things.  To death.  Like way past the point where it’s healthy.  It’s why I know that the only reason Mufasa hates the hyenas in The Lion King is because they’re black.  They’re a minority living in the savannah’s projects.  If that isn’t a more obvious metaphor, I don’t know what it.  So my friend and I thought about the things we hate most, and I came up with this handy Top 10 list of them.  Let’s get into it.  Here are the things in movies that grind my gears the most.

10. Everyone in the post-apocalypse easily finding gas for cars
Am I the only person that this bugs?  I need a straight answer about that.  How are people not aware of how absolutely insane this is?  From The Walking Dead to Mad Max, it seems like everyone in the post-apocalyptic world is very easily finding gas for their cars.  Do people just not know that gas has a shelf life?  Depending on how it’s stored, it can be from one to three months for ethanol fuels.  It blows my mind that you have all these movies where it has been years, sometimes tens of years from when gas was pumped, and it’s still good.  What?!

9. Whispering is never whispering
Do the people who make movies just not realize that they are professionals with sound equipment and can easily make whispering show up in a movie without characters talking very loudly and them just bringing down the audio levels to make it sound like whispering?  We can tell the difference!  Or maybe I can, but that’s just me.

8. Ordinary people surviving things that would obviously kill them
When I watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier and see the titular character survive falling over ten stories, crashing through a window and then surviving all by landing on his shield, I am able to look past that.  Why?  Because that shield is made of vibranium, a fictional metal that takes impact forces and blasts it outward.  It’s nearly indestructible.  That and he’s a superhero.  It’s a superhero film about superhuman characters.  I am okay with that.  What bugs me is when I see character who are shown to be average people surviving things that would OBVIOUSLY kill them.  Michael Bay’s Transformers movies are a great example of what I’m talking about.  There you have tons of people falling huge distances or smashing through things and having little to no damage on them whatsoever.

7. Guns shooting, but no casings hitting the ground
I finally got around to seeing the first season of Stranger Things because Netflix released it on DVD.  Good stuff.  The kid characters are my favorites, but every arc is interesting.  The last episode where the government troops are with the head of the facility and the demagorgon appears is pretty intense, but as everyone is shooting, I’m noticing something – why are there no casings hitting the ground?  These people have fired a ton of rounds, yet you don’t hear a single casing hitting the floor.  The visual for the guns looks fake too.  This tells me that the entire effect was done in post.  It bugs me when there are supposed to be guns going off, but you don’t see or hear a single casing flying out of it.  Totally takes me out of the scene.

6. Bland superhero villains
I’m looking at you, Marvel.  The MCU films run the gamut in quality, but one thing that FAR too many of them have in common is the lackluster villains.  Some of them are just written badly, but it grinds my gears when you have characters who have the potential to be interesting villains, but aren’t.  There are a few examples of those who aren’t that bad.  I liked every villain in The Winter Soldier, and Baron Zemo in Civil War wasn’t half-bad.  They have been building up Thanos for some time now.  PLEASE don’t let him be some boring, forgettable villain.  This film is supposed to be him fucking up the MCU’s shit to get the Infinity Gems, so let’s have him do some damage!

5. Good guys being dumb
There’s that great line in Spaceballs – Evil will always win, because good is dumb.  Um, yeah.  Good is kinda dumb.  The good guys have this really bad habit of being some of the dumbest people ever.  For whatever reason, we like to have good guys being the stupidest fuckers.  I guess because the idea is to have protagonists of big blockbusters relate to the dumb-shit American public?  Meanwhile, you have these villains who are the intellectuals and are so egotistical.  Why is it that intelligence is not a virtue that we can appreciate?  Oh right, because America will vote for a political candidate because they feel like they can have a beer with them.  This country is so fucking dumb.

4. “Comedy” films that only have people in a room talking
You know what I miss?  Visual comedy.  I miss when directors would try and get laughs from visual elements in films being used to help amuse the audience.  Like when things appear in frame in funny ways.  When things leave the frame in funny ways.  When you can do like Wes Anderson does and use lateral tracking shots to sell ridiculous scenes.  Why is it that every comedy film in this country feels like it’s just people in a room doing improv?  I hate that shit.  I’m looking at you, Paul Feig!  Your movies suck!  You’re the antithesis to comedy!

3. The films being made out of books is almost always a death sentence
Maybe I should have it that films are being made out of books.  Because it seems like every time I see a book that I love being turned into a movie, I instinctively cringe.  I recently was forced to watch the entire catalog of Harry Potter movies, and without a single exception, I hate them.  They fuck up the ending of every single book!  What made the books so good was how you’d have the mystery at the beginning of the story that is gradually solved by the end.  At least the first four.  After that they got kind of dumb.  Well, aside from the sixth.  That one was pretty good.  There is all this build-up, leading to so much tension.  And when it all blows up then it explodes in this huge climax that feels so good and has you glued to the pages.  It’s pretty great stuff.  Meanwhile, the films always fuck that up.  Always.  Without a single exception.  And don’t even get me started on how much books made from Michael Crichton’s books almost always suck.  My favorite author, and his books have been turned into Hollywood shit.

2. How dumbed-down PG and PG-13 ratings have become
Am I the only person who thinks that we might as well get rid of PG at this point?  That rating means Pretty much G now.  None of the films I have seen with that rating for the last 20 years have merited it.  It’s so stupid.  Maybe it’s just me, but I happen to believe that kids these days can handle the harder stuff.  Can you imagine if Don Bluth’s masterpiece The Secret of NIMH had come out today?  That probably would have gotten a PG-13 rating.  And speaking of, here’s a video by a YouTuber I like that lays out the problem with PG-13 much more completely than I can.

And the thing I hate most in movies is…

1. Ordinary people outrunning things that would EASILY catch them
You know what I love?  The velociraptors in Jurassic Park.  Those things are badass with a capital B.  Intense, dangerous, and not evil.  Just animals doing what they do.  And they are so cool.  The kitchen scene where Tim and Lex are hiding from them as they hunt them down has so much tension.  It’s great stuff.  The two get split up and you have Lex being really clever and using a reflection to trick a raptor.  That’s pretty smart.  I like that.  But then Tim decides that he is going to run, on foot, to the freezer and trap a raptor in there.  He is on foot.  Not only that, but he has a limp from when he had 10,000 volts of electricity cook him.  That raptor would have been on him in two seconds ripping him to teeny tiny Timmy pieces!  That scene is so laughably stupid that it blows my mind how ANYONE can take it seriously.  It takes all the tension in that scene and blows it out the airlock.  I hate it.  While I do love that movie, that one particular scene pisses me off so much.  Same with anything where you have normal people outrunning things that would OBVIOUSLY catch up to them in a matter of seconds, if not in a second.

What about you?  What things in movies piss you off?

Until next time, a quote,

“Clever girl.” – Robert Muldoon, Jurassic Park

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Annihilation (and the death of cinema)

I got to see Annihilation, and it was pretty great.  It wasn’t perfect.  It does have some flaws, but it is genuinely smart science fiction that does what the SJWs are saying film doesn’t ever do.  A movie starring five smart, capable women who are in STEM and who have a ton of personality without all being bland stereotypes.  The type of thing that every social justice moron should be singing from the hills about it being an accomplishment in film, but not only is nobody talking about it, but nobody has seen it either.  A fact that depresses me to no end.  Let’s talk about it.

The film follows Natalie Portman as a ex-Army, current researching at Johns Hopkins.  Her husband has gone missing in a very poorly paced opening, but then shows up again, very different.  After he has some hardcore organ failure, she is brought into a mysterious event where a meteorite had crashed into Earth and now there is a weird effect called The Shimmer.  Desperate to get answers to save her husband, she embarks on what is understood to be a suicide mission with four other women, all of whom are aware of just how precarious their situation is.  Each has their own motivation and as they get closer to the source of The Shimmer, it becomes clear that they are going to be tested as people, scientists, and the bonds they can make with each other.

It’s so nice to see smart science fiction.  It really is.  We have so much absolute garbage like Life, which is just a rip-off of Alien.  We have the endless amount of big-budget blockbuster dreck that is either very generic like Black Panther, or outright terrible like Justice League.  But just like Blade Runner 2049, we have a film that is genuinely great and nobody is going to see it.  This film’s numbers are in the tank.  It will add its name to the pantheon of films that are smart, well-crafted, and nobody fucking saw.  It pisses me off to no end.

The things this film got right – the slow-burn pace, the fantastic science elements that they explore, and the atmosphere.  Not to mention the really smart use of theme.  This film is able to do visual story-telling to such great extent, and only a few times does it feel like it is overplaying its hand, and one of those times is in the very end and it does damage this film to me a little just because it feels like the film thinks it is WAY smarter than it actually is in that moment.  But there was so much great stuff leading up to that which hooked me from beginning to end.

We also have the performances.  I loved almost every character in this movie.  This film is proof that Natalie Portman is a very good actress if she just has the right director.  Give her the right person and she can turn in a truly fantastic performance.  But the cast with her was pretty great too.  Everyone had their own reasons, and you learn more and more about those reasons as you go along.  The film doesn’t just tell the audience why they are the way they are.  You have to learn it as you go along.  Well-written, well-acted female characters, all of whom are leads, all of whom play characters who are capable.  The fact that the social justice community is radio silent about this while screaming the praises of yet-another cookie-cutter Marvel film is beyond me.

But the science was the highlight of the film.  The Shimmer has this effect on all of the life inside of it that is both fascinating, and terrifying.  Part of the effect of this place led to one of the most terrifying scenes in any film I have ever seen.  Bar none, it scared the shit out of me.  It has such perfect build-up, and when it happens you are left feeling trapped with the characters.  Listening to the characters talk about their observations of The Shimmer and the effect it is having on everything inside is genuinely interesting and it makes me sad that it only goes for so long.

Then there’s the fact that this may be the first film about alien life that I think feels like an alien life since I saw Arrival.  You have the story being told cut in with scenes in the present asking Natalie Portman’s character what the meaning of it all is, and she has the same response over and over again – I don’t know.  Throughout it all, the designs of this alien entity and what it was trying to do is a complete mystery.  Right up to the climax of the film you still don’t get what it was trying to do.  I love that.  So many films hold your hand and feel the need to explain everything to you because they think you’re stupid, but not this one.  It’s great.  Gee, maybe that’s why it’s failing at the box office.  Because America is stupid.

As I said, though, there are problems.  One of which is the fact that there are a couple scenes where you can tell that characters are aiming at things that aren’t really there.  A trailer scene about the crocodile attack is a really good scene, but when Natalie Portman’s character is shooting at it, you can see her weapon going off not pointing at where the target is supposed to be.  It’s almost Starship Troopers levels of off.  I will say that it’s nice to have a scene where people are shooting guns and you have casings hitting the floor.  It’s such a pet peeve for me in films when people are shooting and you don’t see or hear any bullet casings.  Next, the very, very end of the film is nowhere near as smart as it thinks it is.  I’ve heard so many people saying that it’s so mysterious, but it’s not.  And the discourse bugs me.

I’ve talk about how this film is basically dead at the box office, and it bugs me.  I hate that we have these films that are dumb blockbusters that are making huge money.  We’ve seen that blockbusters don’t always have to be stupid.  We’ve seen that not all Marvel films have to be stupid.  But they are.  It’s a bummer how much dumb cinema has taken over, and you have all this direct-to-Netflix stuff that runs the gamut from smart that nobody will see to shit that they knew wouldn’t get a release anywhere else.  The days of smart cinema are number, and it hurts me inside.

Overall, this is a really good movie that I cannot recommend enough.  If you are like me and are tired of the same rehashed shit, over and over again, you owe it to yourself to see this film.  You really do.  That’s all I got for you.  Now you make your choice.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick