So, I haven’t been in my groove for the past few reviews. It’s not that there have not been a lot of interesting movies coming out. Stuff that gets my blood a-runnin’ and my biscuits a-risin’, so to speak, is coming out all the time.
There’s a new “Die Hard” this week. I’m already a little disappointed that it didn’t come out two months ago; the “Die Hard” series has traditionally been known as “the best Christmas franchise of all time,” but I still can’t wait to see Bruce Willis take on Russia. When I see action heroes blowing stuff up in Russia, it always makes me think that we might be on the verge of another golden age of Russian antagonism in action movies.
It makes me pine for the 80s, as does the ubiquity of human growth hormone and the return to steroided-out Supermen for my action heroes. Tangential eternal truth aside, I have been watching a lot of movies recently, even if they aren’t necessarily new ones. Some of this was intentional. I have such a wonderful outlet to propagandize eager young minds in a platform like this one, so I like to take advantage of it from time to time. Let’s face it, some of you (you know who you are) would be lost without me.
Who would you have to defend the subtleties of Kristen Stewart’s acting (it’s so subtle, you barely notice that she is supposed to be portraying a real human being), or Joe Carnahan’s bait- and-switch methods of getting people to watch his movies? Well, you’d probably have someone, and they might be right, but not as right as I am, or at least think/know I am or at least other people I have paid to think/know how good I am think/ know how good I am.
With that aside, let’s talk about some movies that you all should watch that can be watched with relative ease. On Scotflix this month, you have the equally uncomfortable options of watching either “The Dark Knight Rises” or “Total Recall.” I would recommend putting either of them on if you feel like you’re in too happy of a mood, or if you are creative and want to know what not to do.
“The Dark Knight Rises,” in particular, is cringe-worthy for a number of reasons, namely for the performances of the major actors, but also for the tone, plot, writing, editing and cinematography of the characters. Christopher Nolan, the director, somehow managed to coax bad performances out of Tom Hardy, Christian Bale and Morgan Freeman. Anne Hatheway was awful, too, but I’m not sure that I’ve seen her do well in a movie; she’s a frequent competitor in the “most overrated actress in Hollywood” category, which doesn’t exist at the Oscars, although it should. About the only bright spots of the movie are certain set pieces and the acting of Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon- Levitt and Marion Cotillard, who do well with the middling writing and directing. It doesn’t nearly live up to the previous editions of the movies. It’s about 1.5/4 stars.
“Total Recall,” similarly, is pretty bad. I’m not sure how they keep letting Colin Farrell make movies. He and Anne Hatheway need to get the Christian Slater treatment in Hollywood, but at least Farrell’s movie is barely tolerable, notching in at 2/4 stars. Go watch the original, though. It has Arnold Schwarzenegger, which immediately makes it better than most stuff produced nowadays. Instead, forgo one “flix” for another. For those of you with Netflix, you ought to watch “Sling Blade.” Watch that first, and also watch “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” which has a strong case for “best movie ever made,” “Bronson,” “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” “Ronin” or “Glengarry GlenRoss.”
Seriously, all of those movies are true, no doubt, absolute lock-stock 4/4 star movies. But for this fortnight, heed what I said and watch “Sling Blade.” Billy Bob Thornton, who also wrote and directed the movie, is stunning as a mentally challenged resident of a state asylum, finally about to be free after spending his entire adult life there. He gets out and befriends a young boy and his family. Set in Arkansas, it’s at times hilarious and gut-wrenching, and the movie is a perfect example of independent cinema.
Thornton won an Oscar for the screenplay and almost won another one for Best Actor. And most of you will have a unique lens into some of the characters’ mannerisms. A uniquely Southern movie, its script treats the area with loving reverence and brutal honesty. It’s a true classic.