There are numerous reasons I don’t write long, detailed movie reviews anymore, but key among them is that the movies coming out simply aren’t worth that expenditure of my time. Here’s a bunch of movies that I saw that, maybe I meant to review them at some point, but honestly none of them are worthwhile enough to spend more than a few minutes on.
While this movie was the first time in decades I forgot I was looking at TOM CRUISE, and it is certainly amusing, especially if you like “I can’t believe this really happened!”-style wacky crime stories filled with colorful characters, but ultimately it lacks focus and is just kind of THERE. The film never finds a POINT to make—or its point was perhaps cut off because Cruise is its star—but it’s two hours of meandering, amusing, wacky, “only in America” government-backed crime that will pass two hours and leave you with only vague impressions to show for it. Still fascinating what Cruise is deciding to do with his career at this point, though wouldn’t it be great if he decided that he had enough fame and money and could devote himself to doing some interesting acting?
You may know that I am not IN ANY WAY a fan of Steven Soderburgh. In fact, I sort of hate him. It springs from his arrogance and attitude that he is just so, so far above all other mere mortals on this earth, and can just shit out a movie on them and they will all scramble to behold the fruits of his genius, while generally blind to the fact that his movies SIMPLY AREN’T THAT GOOD.
This is a heist movie that takes place in the lower-class South, so it allows our cast and crew to spend some time slummin’ with the rednecks. I felt that the cast was generally condescending [Isn’t it inherently hilarious—we’re REDNECKS!] and the script nowhere near as clever or funny as it thinks it is. It’s one of those things where everything works out perfectly, except for a written-in “complications” and “hilarious hijinks,” all of which are predictable, keeping the film suspense and momentum-free. I could see that there was no reason to stay, so after three-quarters, I just walked out.
Happy Death Day
Good news! This movie is clever and funny and surprising and has an awesome central performance! Unfortunately, after it has ended, it tacks on an additional ending where the movie veers badly into misogyny.
For the most part the movie is a success. Jessica Rothe delivers a great, sassy, adorable performance that, with any justice, should make her a star. The film is kind of Groundhog Day for horror, with the lead being killed at the end of every day, and having the day to change things and better herself until she gets it right. And it goes in clever unexpected directions and has charming scenes and is mildly frightening and has an ending that I was completely satisfied with! Winner!
But then, that one ending wasn’t enough, and they add on another, completely unnecessary ending, in which the underlying misogyny that’s been there all along comes to the fore, and leaves a bad, bad lingering aftertaste. The new killer is a woman, and her reason is, you guessed it, jealousy over a man. Then the misogyny of the whole thing—that pretty college girls are superficial, petty, competitive “bitches” who ignore the plain nerdy guys, who turn out to have hearts of gold, in favor of hot guys, who turn out to be gay, married, or unworthy jerks. It’s amazing how the bonus ending changes one’s view of the entire movie. Then you find out that the screenwriter is not an aspiring young, stupid kid, but a 54 year old man, and it’s like “Oh dear, I guess someone experienced a lot of rejection… and is bitter, bitter, bitter.” Maybe it’s not women, buddy—maybe it’s YOU.