Legend (May 15th, 2016)
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry
Good lord, I can’t even believe this movie. I’ve thought I had seen the worst of the worst from Ridley Scott. He’s hit a bad patch in recent years before he rebounded with The Martian. But people tend to forget a good chunk of his filmography after Blade Runner and before Gladiator, with a quick detour into Thelma and Louise. Some of them not deserved, but holy shit is this deservedly forgotten. It is painfully bad. There’s some good stuff here, mainly Tim Curry as the Devil and Rob Bottin’s makeup work in regards to the devil. But everything else is bad. Take away Curry’s look, this is an unappealing movie visually. Which is a shock coming from Ridley, since he’s a visualist at heart. This is reminiscent of his work in a movie like Robin Hood, just completely boring and derivative of his prior work. It’s not fun to look at, which is bizarre for a fantasy movie. The world isn’t exactly well thought out either, feeling completely phony and never selling the reality of the world in focus. And the story is just absolutely convoluted nonsense, despite having such a simple narrative. Mia Sara is an asshole princess who touches the magical unicorns despite warnings not too, Tim Curry wants the unicorns dead to turn the world completely dark and ends up kidnapping Sara and a unicorn, and Cruise goes to rescue both for the responsibility to the world and because he loves Sara. But it’s all so incompetently that it’s almost unwatchable. It’s just an absolute chore to get though. It’s not fun or funny or engaging. Curry is good to watch on screen, but everything around him is just pointless. I wrote something awhile back comparing Ridley to Neil Blompkamp, and this makes me think that even more because this is very much Ridley’s Chappie. And for anyone who dislikes Tom Cruise, this is the ultimate example to use when discussing him. Because holy shit is he bad. Just completely out of his depth for some reason, coming off like a talentless college student. He can’t sell any of his lines at all. It’s bizarre. I really don’t like this movie, and I can totally see why this movie just flopped and why it sent Ridley into a cinematic purgatory.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (May 17th, 2016)
Director: Amy Heckerling
Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Brian Backer, and Sean Penn
It would seem like this is the kind of movie I would have seen earlier in my life, but alas. Here we are, with me having seen it for the first time and enjoying myself. But also having the feeling at the end of the movie that, while maybe rip roaring at the time, it’s not a movie that has aged well. It lags a little and doesn’t really hit the same comedic highs as the other classics of the 80s comedy world. The lack of structure is cool and all, but it is so formless that it feels longer than it really is because it gains no kind of momentum. It coasts along. Which isn’t the biggest problem in the world, since the stuff that works works. But a comedy should move, and what was fast paced and anarchic at the time is no longer the same anymore. But what sets it apart from the other teen movies of the time is it has a sense of realism to it. The kids aren’t these squeaky clean little pricks like John Hughes wrote. They do drugs and have sex and think they know everything. They try to act like adults but they really are lost little kids. Seeing them try to navigate adult situations is fun and helps to bring High School to life. The subplot that speaks to that the most is Leighs subplot, as she tries to have a lot of sex to be a grown up and ends up getting an abortion. It’s not treated like a big to do like Hughes would do it. Matter of factly, an abortion is had. It’s refreshing, even today, to see High School done so right. There’s no romance to it, while still feeling like a good time for most of it. Also can’t be mad at a movie that has the big talking douchebag be a one pump chump. Good times. Also, Sean Penn is immensely overrated in the role. He’s fine, and knowing what an insufferable asshole he is in real life makes it a stunning change for him, but I never completely bowled over laughing at anything he did. I don’t know, that’s just me. Get mad. Overall I like it and would recommend, but seeing how it is kind of a relic of it’s time brought me down a bit. To see a real Heckerling classic that deals with High School in a timeless manner, go for Clueless.
The Nice Guys (May 20th, 2016)
Director: Shane Black
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, and Margaret Qualley
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