More goodies from Netflix that don’t quite deserve a full post.
Tommy Boy & Black Sheep – Watching these were like taking a trip back through time. I never got to see them when they were new but I feel like I did with the incessant quoting in the school halls. While I’ve always appreciated Chris Farley and thought he had a lot of talent, the way comedy has evolved in the years since (or my own tastes been spoiled by Britain and internet writers) has really lessened the laughs. They still had some great moments, though I think Black Sheep has held up better through the years.
Snakes on a Plane – This was such a silly, stupid movie (and the more you know about snakes the worse it is). It really hits that B-movie spot of So Bad its Good (and if it’s on tropes, you know it’s true). It wanted to hit that perfect zone of serious fun like Cowboys & Aliens did, but failed spectacularly. Still, it’s an entertaining fail – recommended for nights when you & your significant other aren’t really going to “watch” the movie. *nudge nudge wink wink*
Gremlins 1 & 2 – Confession time: I saw Gremlins around the time I was 5 or 6 years old, and it gave me recurring nightmares for years. I eventually conquered them with a combination of lucid dreaming & Batman but that’s another story. So, many decades later, how did I make it through? Quite well, and I was able to appreciate more humor in the first one that my scared youth-mind missed (though I still can’t believe anyone would show that film to 5 year olds – seriously, it’s a movie where monsters, their size, take out adults – it’s a perfect combination of nightmare fuel). Then I watched Gremlins 2, and felt angry my parents never let me watch it as it probably would have been the perfect antiseptic. With far more humor, pop culture jokes and just general wackiness, Gremlins 2 nearly put me in the floor with laughter and is definitely one of my [personal] favorite 100 movies of all time. The older you get and the more references you can spot: the better it gets. Definitely a top source for a drinking game among geeks.
The Wire 1.1 – Yeah… I’m not a fan of police procedural shows. However great it may be, it’s not really my thing. To quote a commentator on John C Wright’s blog (who made a very good point about reviewers in general): “Blind spots restrict one’s vision, but they do not necessarily ruin everything you do see — as long as whoever you’re talking to knows you have that blind spot.” This show hits one of my “blind spots” or “tone deafness” so I’ll just have to pass. (though I do hear the X-Files is involved somehow…)
Coraline – So Mr Neil Gaiman… can you try and soothe any of my wrath once I heard about your little Narnia fan fic? Well I won’t hold it against him and I am a sucker for claymation so all in all, I rather enjoyed this movie. It has a good structure and atmosphere, though at times it seems easier to remember the visuals than the story itself.
Top Secret! – A classic spoof movie that I’ve been meaning to catch up on for years (as I’ve only seen bits & pieces of it). I can see why it is considered one of the best of all spoofs though I still don’t care for musical numbers. Still, more than a few great sight gags and word play make this movie enjoyable even for younger people who might not know the “ancient” pop culture knowledge this movie references.
Unknown – …Adequate. See, this is one of those films where you start to realize that you might be losing touch as a critic with ordinary folks (or you’re just getting old). I’ve seen enough thrillers & mysteries by now that I could guess where the film was going. However, if you haven’t seen many thrillers & mysteries yourself, this film wouldn’t be a bad introduction to the genre. Still, the best review I can give it (and this might be the definition of damning with faint praise) can be highlighted here: It’s Total Recall with Liam Neeson replacing ‘Ahnold’ and all sci-fi elements removed.
the Nude Bomb – Get Smart was a classic spoof TV show. This movie? Not as much. I’d really advise skipping this unless you’re a real hardcore GS fan. Otherwise, please avoid and turn to the classic series to learn why it was so great.
the Tick (Live TV) – Ever wonder what it would be like if Seinfeld and Smallville had a twisted lovechild? It may have had only 13 episodes, but man did I love all 13 of them. It’s a shame this show was on Fox and didn’t get a chance on USA or SyFy or some other cable show that could give it more appreciation. Patrick Warburton is so perfect in the lead role. Fans of the Tick cartoon show might not enjoy this as much since the action is lighter, but if you enjoyed the Tick for its quirkiness and examinations of general insanity, you’ll love it.
Craig Ferguson: Does this Need to be Said? – I like Craig Ferguson. Thought this stand up wasn’t too bad.
From Dusk till Dawn – Heard about this film for years among vampire aficionados and finally got around to watching it. Started watching it and kept wondering when Dennis Miller was going to show up. That when I realized that I had been confusing this for years with Bordello of Blood which came out the same year and also had trailers on TV. So… this film contains two things I generally hate: Quentin Tarantino’s writing & George Clooney. But Quentin dies a horrible death in the film and George gets beat up a lot so it wasn’t all bad. Really, part of me wonders how much the fame of this movie rests on its closing shot (which I admit is impressive). Still, it’s a more interesting vampire film than Twilight, and I’m sure QT fans will enjoy it. Hopefully someday Netflix will get BoB in their queue and I can then do a compare/contrast between them.
Alice in Wonderland – Oh Tim Burton… Tim. Tim Burton. Every time I find your visuals great… and everything else severely lacking. Of course, it isn’t helped that I’ve 1) Read the actual Alice in Wonderland (unabridged) and 2) saw the movie soon after reading this article (and yes, the film hits #4 & 3 so damn hard I’m surprised it didn’t warp time & space to retroactively put a footnote in the credits). By all means, if you’re a Burton fan (and I can’t scold you for that), check it out, but the guy just never “clicks” for me.
Spy Hard – Another classic spoof movie, this time staring Leslie Nielsen and… Andy Griffith? With Weird Al doing the theme song? It’s like I’m being pandered to by…