Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Pair of Movie Reviews, and Basically That's It! Sheesh!

Here's another spectacular Andy Lee road photograph.

Why, hello everyone! Man, the blog-reading legions are out in force tonight! Look at all of you! Man, I can't even see those of you in the way back... good thing I got my jumbotron fixed earlier this week... can you all see me up on the screen?

OK, cool.

So, greetings, it is I, Dave the Lumbering Nerd, with another blast of blogginess...

Hey, wait... wait! Where are you all going?! What? No, this isn't Starbucks... No, stay! Please! I have things to share with you tonight...!

Great. Everyone left. What? Oh, two people stayed. No, that's cool, thanks... I appreciate it.

What? Oh. The bathrooms are over there... yeah, no problem. Thanks.

OK, to my one reader, I'd like to say...

And he's already sleeping... Well, out the window with you!

So, I wanted to start tonight's post by sharing some thoughts on a pair of movies I've seen recently... San Andreas and Love & Mercy...

First, the turd.

San Andreas... I don't even know where to start...

One of my best friends from my youth is named Jason C. He came back in town -- man, it must be nearly 20 years since I'd last seen him. He's a PGA golf pro, actually... anyway, he was in town and we met up and decided to go see a movie. We were going to hit up Jurassic World, but his wife asked him to wait until he got back home (Atlanta) and watch it with her. So we opted for Inside Out... until Jason realized it was an animated movie, and didn't want any part of that. So he asked for San Andreas as a plan C, and off we went!

Now, I knew from watching the trailer that it wasn't going to be Oscar-worthy on any level... My normal policy (for my own protection) is that if I can't get through a trailer without stomach pains, I don't see the movie, period. But, hey, it's not very often a great friend comes into town, and if he wants to see it, I shall gladly bend the rules! However, I was fully unprepared for just how bad this film was going to be. It was AMAZINGLY bad...

So, for the first time that I recall in my entire life, we sat down and the movie just started. No previews, no adds, no announcements of any kind... just lights down, and roll film. Very weird. THEN after the truly monumentally awful opening sequence, the sound stopped working. We had video only, no sound. Someone went to notify the staff... and so they started the film over again. We had to watch that opening twice!

Look, before I get into the film proper, let me say this. I don't regret watching it. I mean, I haven't laughed that hard in a looooong time. Granted, the movie wasn't trying to be funny, but still... comedy gold. I love The Rock (the "film's" star) so he can do no wrong in my eyes. But really, ABSOLUTELY everything else about the movie was pure cinematic fecal matter. The dialog... O Lord, the dialog... somebody got paid big bucks to write that insipid dialog! In fact, I better go see who wrote it, BRB...

Screenplay by Carlton Cuse. Who is, no doubt, laughing all the way to the bank. I wonder if Carlton is like, "Hey, whatever, it's a turd, what can I say? It is what it is, a mindless summer spectacle movie. What did you expect? Citizen Kane?" Or is he proudly putting that on his resume, like "I wrote that &^%$! Me! Look how amazing I am!?" Looks like the rest of his credits are for TV, which is fine, I guess. Hey, he's got a career going, good for him.

Still, my God, that script...

And the acting. Paul Giamatti was fantastically, incredibly bad in this. The story. The science. The cast. The special effects. The music. I just kept thinking "Dozens and dozens of people got paid ridiculous amounts of money to make this!" Every time I thought "That's the dumbest thing I've seen in this movie... it can't get any dumber than that" it would get dumber. I saw buildings tip over whole, like a tree falling in the forest. I saw buildings crumble like a sand castle that had water poured on it. I saw buildings stay up, but get these weird gaping holes in them. I saw helicopters and boats and planes and trucks do what these things cannot do! I saw a miraculously sinking building! I saw people get trapped behind the only unbroken pane of glass in the entire city! I saw a several hundred foot tall tidal wave turn San Francisco into a swimming pool!

And yet, I will always remember seeing this movie. If it was merely mediocre, I would have forgotten it already. But because I saw it with a good friend I hadn't seen in a couple decades, and because I laughed so hard and long (annoying the people sitting around me in the theater), it was a truly memorable event, despite the fact that it's one of the worst movies I've ever forced myself to sit through. It's up there with Twister and Speed 2. Yet I'm tempted to buy a copy of it when it comes out on disc, for my library, and watch it regularly, to remind myself of the wonderful night...

OK, the next movie is San Andreas' polar opposite, Love & Mercy, starring Paul Dano, John Cusack, Paul Giamatti and Elizabeth Banks. It's the story of the Beach Boys, and specifically, front man Brian Wilson. It was written by Oren Moverman and Michael Lerner.

The acting is phenomenal in this film. I've always been a big John Cusack fan (my favorite of his, of course, being Grosse Point Blank)... he's always so rich and subtle with his expressions and delivery, he's sort of a role model for me, acting-wise. And Paul Dano was terrific as well. And funny, Paul Giamatti was in San Andreas as well as Love & Mercy, and I guess that just goes to show something, though I'm not sure what. He was great in L&M, and awful in SA.

I can only assume the script plays a large part. He's obviously a skilled actor. But I guess a gourmet chef can only do so much with bologna...

But getting back to the movie, Both Dano and Cusack play Brian Wilson at different points of his life. Dano plays him when the Beach Boys were huge, and when he was crafting the Pet Sounds album, and Cusack plays him later in life, when he'd bottomed out.

The characters, the dialog, the editing, the cinematography, the shot choices, the acting... everything was top notch. In fact, there's a scene that takes place in a restaurant booth, that was so cool to watch, since the booth had these mirrors on it, and when the scene was shown from Cusack's POV as he talked at length with Elizabeth Banks, you could see her face, and also Cusack's face reflected in the mirror right beside her face, so you saw them both at the same time, full frontal facial! You could see their reactions and expressions in their entirety, instead of cutting back and forth, one long seamless take, like a play almost. It was marvelous.

In fact, watch the trailer here, there's a bit of that scene in the trailer, at about the 0:25 mark.

So, yeah, the craft was top notch, and I enjoyed it tremendously. I saw it with my step dad -- the same man that took me to another wonderful musical biopic last year, the incredible Get On Up, starring Chadwick Boseman.

Anyways, so yeah. San Andreas and Love & Mercy. Those are my thoughts.

Look... I have other stuff to mention, including a Game Review of the game Grim Dawn, but it's 1:30 am and I have to get up early tomorrow. The web series I'm in (Beyond the Impact) is putting in an appearance at Westercon this weekend, in San Diego. It's a sci-fi convention, and we're doing an hour-long panel type thing in the morning. I need to get my beauty rest! Hopefully I'll have photos and funny anecdotes to share about it all.

Stay tuned! Another update soon!

OK, I'm off to bed.

My apologies to the fine folks that worked on San Andreas, including the writer Mr. Cuse. I'm sure you gave it your best, and I'm sorry to blast it. I hope you all keep working and trying more films.

Good night all!

Dave the Goof

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I, too, am a Cusak fan. His sister , Joan , is such a hoot. not much a movie goer now a days ! But will be sure to catch it on Amazon or Netlix.

thanks, BA