Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Review

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town is definitely a really fun film about how a guy is given a lot of money and has to quickly decide how to live his life. It’s always hard to know what to do when you get enough money to last for the rest of your life. My advice is to go by yourself a meal at McDonalds with a cookie and then take that time to think it over. Don’t try to consider everything at once and having a good old fashioned meal will be just the trick to get you in the right frame of mind. With a satisfying ending and a good length to allow for every plot to get a lot of screen time, this film really hits all of the right notes.

The movie starts with Deeds’ rich relative dying so the attorney Cedar and his subordinate Cobb show up to the small town where Deeds lives to let him now what’s up. The opening scenes start off with the right tone as an old man gives them the runaround for a while. Eventually they find Deeds and give him the money but Deeds has to head to New York for it. Once there, everyone wants a piece of his money. You have “relatives” showing up to claim their piece of the pie, random people asking him to join their clubs and pay off debts, etc.

The newspapers want some scandals after him too so the editor sends in his big gun: Louise. If there’s any way to get a story out of Deeds then she can do it. She will have to use a lot of deceptions and wits to get to him. Can she succeed? Deeds better watch out because romance has been the downfall for many main characters in these films and it doesn’t help that Deeds tends to create a lot of attention on his own by picking fights.

The whole situation is tough on Deeds in some respects while easy in others. You may initially expect him to get suckered at every turn but he has a lot of good business sense and puts all of the scams in their place. It was nice to see him talk back to everyone and not just give his money away. Usually it seems like the main character isn’t quite so aware of what is going on so that was a really nice change of pace. I immediately gained a whole lot of respect for that guy. With that out of the way he could actually enjoy his riches a little. Deeds never starts being wasteful or anything like that though.

The tragic part for him is that he does want to help out and make this a better place but everyone he meets tends to be mean and cynical. Even Louise who appears to be nice is stringing him along the whole time even if he doesn’t know it. It takes a while for him to meet really nice people and they are always outnumbered. I was expecting him to start going into charity a little sooner though. It seemed like the natural next step for him so I was surprised when that didn’t happen for a while. You do have to be careful how you give your money away of course but I feel like he didn’t really think about this until the end.

Not that you should be expected to just give your money away but he seemed like someone who would probably be supporting a lot of local charities right from the jump. Perhaps he would have started sooner if he wasn’t kept busy by all of the moochers. By the end he’s certainly doing his best. The only thing I disagreed with him on was staying quiet in court. It’s not just his life on the line there after all, but all of the people he was helping as well. If he were to lose then they all would so I would have liked him to have been a little more firm there.

Ultimately the editor of the magazine comes in clutch near the end. I definitely liked that guy, not saying he’s super heroic or anything but he does seem to have a conscience which is something that the other characters mostly lacked. Even Louise was definitely not the nicest person as she wrote all kinds of mean things about Deeds. It’s hard to say she really turned over a new leaf by the end because she fell for Deeds. Does that not imply that she would have kept on going if she didn’t end up falling in love with him? Because that was my takeaway there. I don’t think that was the film’s implication per say, but she has been in the game for a long time and this was the first time she had any issues with her deceptions so I think it works if you put the pieces together.

As for Cedar, well he’s a sketchy character from the start. Someone who will be a great asset as long as your goals align but he will betray you without a second thought. Cobb was really the standout kind of guy you want on your side because he was actually loyal. He’s not the kind of guy who will betray you and he did his best to help Deeds out. Not always an easy job but he always gets it done. The guy also doesn’t act with any pretenses and just calls it like he sees it.

Now the conclusion was always going to be the deciding factor on just how good this film was. Fortunately it is really good so as a result I would give the whole film a big thumbs up. We have a big court case to end things off where every character gets to appear. It was a nice way to wrap all of the threads in as every scene suddenly became important. The random scene where Deeds got drunk, the people he pushed out of his house, etc. Every act he did, both good and bad would reappear at the end of the film. SO it made the court case feel really grand and I thought the trial was handled really well. The characters were all reasonable and it was fun seeing the evidence pile up as you wondered how Deeds would find a way to make a comeback here.

Overall, This was a fun film. Deeds also makes for a solid main character. I think he did let his guard down a little too easily though like getting super drunk and immediately talking about his past with Louise though. The big rule for conversations like this is to always assume that whatever you tell someone will be public knowledge in a moment. Of course you won’t expect it to quite go into the newspaper but all the same you’d think he would be a little more careful. Things worked out by the end though and it was also a practical look at how you can change so many other lives once you become rich. Whether you choose to do so or not is another matter entirely. The writing is strong throughout and so I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good story.

Overall 8/10

Black and Blue Review

This review is of the TV-14 version. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

It’s time for a police thriller here as Alicia has to try and get past the corruption to make a difference. In a way you could call this a part conspiracy film as almost literally everyone is out to destroy Alicia before she can get the truth out. It’s got enough explosive moments throughout the film to be a complete thriller but this movie doesn’t end up making it into the big leagues.

The film starts off with Alicia joining the police department in her hometown and she is looking to make a difference. Unfortunately none of her old friends seem to like her anymore now that she’s a cop. Her partner is okay but the police department as a whole seems rather bad as she is attacked on day 1 when they don’t recognize her and later on she even has to hear some cat calls. Clearly this department is in need of better personnel but before there is even much of a chance to think about transferring, she witnesses a few cops murdering a gang member. She has the footage to put them away but they got a few shots off first so she is injured. With the whole police department after her, can Alicia survive?

Alicia is a solid main character and definitely one of the highlights in the film. She does a good job of hiding out from the force throughout the movie and doesn’t waver in her quest to make sure that justice is done. We don’t get to see her fight a whole lot here but this isn’t really that kind of movie. The main goal is just to survive until she can get some help. Alicia usually sees through the traps that are set out for her which is good.

My only issue is that she can act a bit oblivious when it comes to her friends pretending not to know her. It’s apparently been something like 10 years so of course they aren’t going to be immediately jumping into conversation. Additionally it seems that the town has a really strained/broken relationship with the police so either that wasn’t the case when she left or she didn’t notice. Regardless as soon as they saw her badge that was it. They were definitely not going to be friends after that.

In particular Alicia’s former best friend. Honestly that’s no big shame because Missy was just really bonkers the whole time. I think the scene that really went overboard is when the gangsters finally see Alicia’s feed so they know she isn’t the villain but Missy tries to convince them to murder her anyway. Really? There’s no way to like Missy after that so maybe it’s for the best if they go their separate ways anyway.

Milo gets a big role in the film and he’s someone that Alicia can count on. That’s a good thing because without any allies around that would have really been awful for her. Having even just 1 teammate can make a huge difference in these things. He also does well in infiltrating the police base and helping out during the movie. Without him it’s fair to say that Alicia would have definitely been doomed here. There were just too many to get past here.

Alicia’s partner Kevin definitely isn’t great. I mean, he’s portrayed as one of the more reasonable guys here but even then he doesn’t exactly jump to help Alicia when it counts. He always tends to look the other way when crimes are going on and so while he isn’t an active participant, it doesn’t seem like he’s a great guy. Kevin just let everyone down but at least he does have a good moment near the end.

Malone is the main villain here and he does a good job of playing the field. He is always in control of what’s going on and has the villains and heroes being in fear of him. The gangsters could beat him but the partnership is mutually beneficial. You’ll still wonder how Malone can be going around openly shooting and acting like a villain but nobody tends to look closely in this film. For all we know quite a lot of them are in on the take which would also explain why Malone isn’t worried in the slightest. I do think he works well as a villain though.

The gang have a fairly big role as the big third party in the film. They’re villains of course even if they aren’t the main antagonist of the film. By the end the gangsters try to be a bit reasonable but considering that they were beating up on Milo for a while and nearly destroyed him and Alicia, you never forget that they are villains. This experience might hopefully help them not to jump to conclusions and be manipulated so easily next time. I thought they were going to be more suspicious of the intel they got throughout the movie but they actually seemed to buy Malone’s story 100% without any doubts.

Beyond that you have a few more corrupt cops like Deek running around but they don’t get a whole lot more to do. I would say part of my issue here is with how widespread this is. At first it’s one rogue cop teaming up with the NARC agents. Then we find out there are 2 more cops in on it, then this becomes 4, and gradually you wonder who isn’t on it. Even though it starts to feel like she’s in the middle of a conspiracy, presumably not everyone on the force is in on this. You just don’t get to see any actual good cops throughout the film.

I’d have liked to have seen a few reasonable characters. It’s the biggest difference between this and how an older film would have played it. The difference here is restraint. In an older title you’d probably see some decent characters even if they got bumped off. Here that just doesn’t happen. It’s quite telling that in the very first scene in the film Alicia is pushed against a wall and quickly threatened by the cops just for jogging. The police appear to be extremely aggressive in every scene that they appear in.

They’re the villain group in this film and they basically act like gangsters. You might have seen this more in the wild west but in a film set in the modern day it all feels too extreme. So that was one element that really held the film back here which is that everything feels very exaggerated. You have all the stereotypes within a few minutes, “This guy giving you trouble” one of the cops asks as he grabs his gun when the characters were having a completely peaceful chat with nothing going on.

The soundtrack is also underwhelming as I didn’t care for any of the lyrical songs. That one’s of course more of a minor thing. In the end the writing is more on the underwhelming side too. The best thing about the film is that the thriller scenes are pretty solid. We do get some decent fights in the mix even if none of them would really hold up against the bigger action titles. You’ll still be engaged from start to finish, but the whole time you feel like the movie could have been better.

Overall, The whole film just feels super extreme but not in a cool 90’s snowboarding kind of way. If I’m Alicia I would have definitely transferred to another division even after the crisis was over but good on her for sticking it out. It’s the kind of experience that would almost make you want to look for a whole new line of work. The film ends on a hopeful note that things should be better in the future now. There’s the added bonus of a ton of villains being taken down during the climax so the town should also be a lot safer right away.

Overall 3/10

Eye of the Tiger Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Eye of the Tiger is definitely one of those films that gives revenge titles a bad name. I mean, it’s probably not a genre you want to see a whole lot of anyway as it’s difficult to succeed in so many attempts would fail but this one just never stood a chance. It puts the main character in a rough environment where everyone is evil or mean and so by the time Buck gets his revenge, there isn’t a lot left to fight for. That’s usually the downfall with revenge films, at least this one has a good soundtrack though even if the timing is often pretty bad.

The movie starts with Buck finally getting out of jail. He made some friends in there but it’s time to head home. Unfortunately his small town is even worse off than usual. The place is run by a corrupt sheriff who is in league with gangs that go around assaulting everyone and forcing people to live in a life of fear. Nobody has ever risen up to do anything about this and they all just look the other way. Well, Buck isn’t going to do that and he foils one of the gang’s attacks. They retaliate and murder Buck’s wife while also putting his daughter in the hospital. Buck aims to take them all down now but to do so he will need a lot of weapons. Additionally he will also have to go up against the cops who are in the pocket of the gang.

In this movie it’s nearly everyone teaming up against Buck. The only person on Buck’s side is his old friend J.B. and even then that guy usually just warns Buck not to fight against the villains since he thinks the lead will lose. Buck doesn’t like backing down though so he plans to fight either way. He has some good equipment and plans like when he stretches a wire across the street to take one villain down. The problem is that he has to beat a lot of them and quickly or they just run to the police to have Buck arrested. As the film goes on Buck starts carrying his gun at all times which is a good idea. At least with that he always has a fighting chance.

Buck definitely should have left with the family as soon as he got back though. I don’t think your life can ever be all that easy if the cops have it out for you. We know that the Sheriff is willing to go quite far to mess with Buck right from the start given that he was put into jail on account of that guy. So just leave the place and start roots somewhere else. That’s absolutely the best thing to do and the only way to get out of this cycle. By the time Buck decides to go it’s unfortunately too late. So the rest of the film will be bitter sweet at best since his wife isn’t around anymore.

I’ll still give Buck props as a main character because he stands up to the gang and does what’s right. It would have been easy to have just walked away or ignored what they were doing but he didn’t do any of that. So definitely some credit there. He also does well in the fights even through to the end when he takes on the leader of the gang. Buck doesn’t go down easy and never loses a true 1 on 1 fight in the movie. The guy just keeps going forward and landing hits until he can’t anymore.

As mentioned, Buck’s friend J.B. takes a long while to actually step in and help though. It’s understandable why he doesn’t want to get mixed up in any of this but it does mean that I’m probably not going to be rooting for him a whole lot. If Buck had some help sooner the film could have potentially been over a lot quicker. The rest of the police officers all look terrible as they work for the corrupt sheriff. The whole town is complicit to an extent as they all look the other way and allow him to stay in control. It’s no wonder that the village is under such tough times. There’s nobody there who is willing to fight back against the villains.

One area that holds the film back big time is how gritty the whole thing is. It’s got Mad Max vibes from the start with the gang going around and attacking people. If they were just murdering people then that’d be one thing but of course they’re all going after the women and piling on the crimes. It’s always a bad way to build up tension in these films, having the villains just be murderers is good enough to show why they need to be stopped. No reason to go any further than that. The extra details are what puts the film in the red right away and it’s hard to get out from there.

Then as I mentioned the music timing is always very off. It is nice to hear the Eye of the Tiger song since that one’s always filled with energy. This film has some good heroic themes as well. The issue is that they will play right after a tragic scene or during one. It’s like the film’s trying to say this is a happy moment even while the heroes are still taking hits. The timing was never quite right and it’s hard to get into the music and experience the hype/fun that’s going on because you know that the moment just isn’t happy yet. The only time the song works is the very last time it plays because that’s after the big battle and so it makes sense to celebrate. The other attempts fell flat.

Overall, Eye of the Tiger is a film I would avoid. It’s a classic revenge film through and through where Buck is put through the wringer so you can get some satisfaction when he inevitably caches the villains. The reason why this genre is tough is because it’s easy to make things go too far in how much the villains are winning so it’s just hollow even when the lead gets his revenge. I don’t think the wife needed to die here and additionally the gang could have just been about getting rich and murdering people. It would be a lot less dark and would help the film as a whole. In the end, you should definitely watch Taken instead if you want a better revenge film.

Overall 2/10

Gator Review

It’s time to look at the film known as Gator. You may be thinking of a monster film or something based on the title, but this one’s actually a pretty down to earth story about the government blackmailing someone growing drugs into helping them nab some others. It’s a reasonable movie, but one that doesn’t really have much to it. It goes through the thriller motions, but doesn’t really go out of its way to do anything else. It’s also hard to get behind the main character. How could he possibly get caught up in this drug stuff again after his first adventure??

The movie starts off with Gator and his family enjoying a peaceful morning at the cabin. Their day is thrown for a loop though when a bunch of helicopters show up to try and arrest them. We get a chase scene with Gator beating them up while on a boat before eventually succumbing to their blackmail. Since he has started growing Moonshine again they want Gator to head to a shady town where a lot of drug dealing is going on. The government had their eyes on Gator from the start though given how they were also going to blackmail him through his father. It was a lose-lose situation for the hero. So Gator heads to town and sees that the leader is an old friend of his. Maybe he can talk some sense into the guy…

I think we can’t really talk about this film without talking about why Gator isn’t ready for this line of work. He slips up constantly with one instance of this being particularly bad. He already knows that Bama is a bad guy, but is holding out some hope that he’s not so bad. Maybe he’s one of those nice gangsters who only murders people sometimes right? Well, he quickly finds out that this isn’t the case so he walks up to Bama and says that he’s leaving. Not a smart play, but if he’s got a plan then maybe it’ll work out right? Well, that’s not really the case. Bama agrees to this but offers Gator one last drink first. He makes an obvious motion to his henchman who spikes the drink and then Gator downs the whole thing. At first you figure he has a plan, but this isn’t the case.

Gator slowly succumbs to the drink while insulting the villains the whole time. Even that could have been a plan like he was hoping he’d get punched to block the effects of the drink but that didn’t happen either. So ultimately all this leaves Gator looking absolutely terrible. By the time he is able to make a comeback at the very end of the film as he runs over some people you are still left doubting his abilities. Even leaving Irving by himself so he can mess around with Aggie wasn’t a good idea.

The romance with Gator and Aggie definitely wasn’t good. It’s one of those really rushed affairs where they just get together to check off a few boxes, but ultimately it doesn’t really add to the film and comes across as pretty pointless. I preferred Aggie’s character to Gator’s though. At least she was actively looking into the criminal situation and trying to do something about it. Gator only ended up doing something after he was blackmailed into it. Aggie’s profession is also super dangerous since she is a reporter in a city that has been completely conquered by crime. That’s never an easy task.

Meanwhile we do have one more rookie in the film. His name is Irving and he is the main American agent. Here’s my problem with the guy. He talks a good game about being from NY and all, but then he walks into a bar and gets drunk. Naturally he gets beat up by the villains pretty badly, but why would he go in there like that? He also let the villains steal his gun which was terrible. Pretty much any scene with the guy was one where you knew he would mess up. Then there is Emmeline who is here as the quirky character with her cats and all. She thinks of this as a game and does her best to slow everyone down. It’s fair to say that things would have gone smoother if she had just given them the keys or been willing to leave her cats, but naturally that wasn’t going to happen. Bringing the cats is just putting them in harm’s way.

Also, this is another scene where the government looks suspect. If the proof that Bama is a villain is in the courthouse, why can’t they just grab it? That seems like something that would be really easy to do. Also, why didn’t Bama realize that they had the records? There’s a lot of parts in this film where you wonder why the government can’t do anything. Sure the town is bought out, but apparently not the rest of the country since they’re gunning for Bama. It should have been so much easier to take the guy down.

As for Bama, he’s a pretty generic villain. The guy likes selling drugs and going on power trips all the time. He’s got a shotgun and can fight a bit, but there’s nothing more to him. He’s certainly not my kind of villain. His minions have more character if anything. The big one is like the Jaws villain from James Bond. He’s pretty big and has a lot of strength, but ultimately that doesn’t mean much in a gun fight. Then you’ve got the other guy who is surprisingly durable since he survives a ton of things in this film. As a trio they were hard to stop.

Overall, While I do consider this film to be an upgrade over the first one, it really doesn’t hold up on close inspection. You’ve got a weak character cast in a rather bland backdrop. Everyone makes the wrong choices at all times and the film has to rely on quirky characters and a rushed romance to pad out the time. There just isn’t much here so the film has to drag it all out. It can be fun at times, but not really fun enough to get the film above the break even point.

Overall 5/10

Mr Smith Goes To Washington Review

It’s time to look at an old political film that shows one man’s fight against endless corruption. It can be a lost cause at times but if nobody takes a stand then the situation will never get better will it? It’s a pretty interesting movie even if the ending starts to stretch disbelief a bit. Still, the concept certainly isn’t hard to believe and sometimes things just work out this way.

The film starts off with the local mayor/governor worrying about which new senator to elect as the old one died. He gets pressure from his higher ups to bring in people who are corrupt or have skeletons in the closet so they can be blackmailed. The mayor is close to doing this until his kids guilt trip him into appointing a local ranger leader named Mr. Jeff Smith. Smith is a very down to earth guy who wants to uphold the original ideals of the US, but Mr. Taylor doesn’t like this. Taylor is the kingpin in the shadows who has been controlling the state for years. He decides to do whatever he can to stop this Mr. Smith.

I’m always up for a political film like this, especially when it’s in a court type setting. The senate meetings here are close enough. I remember hearing about how you could hold the floor indefinitely provided the circumstances were right so it was nice to see Smith use such a technique here. I’m sure there is probably a little more to it than this but it’s definitely fun to see. Smith has to talk for essentially an entire day which is pretty impressive for sure. That’s a lot of stamina.

Of course, the corruption was quite deep here so the effects weren’t as powerful as he would have liked. I can buy into Taylor blocking all of the radio channels and newspapers but where it starts to get a little fishy is when he hires a mob to go around and start beating up on the kids. That part’s definitely a little hard to believe. They ran into the kid’s car and actually knocked one to the ground. By the end even the grownups on Smith’s side are telling him to stop because too many kids are being injured.

Even if we are to assume that Taylor’s influence is so strong that all of these guys would be willing to fight kids, what about their parents or other resisters? We see in one scene a large group of adults running around with signs and such until the cops spray them, but then there should have been some adults to protect the kids as well. So while this part was dramatic I think it ends up getting a bit unrealistic by the end.

During the film, Smith’s mentor (Paine) talks to him about the rampant corruption. Paine explains that it isn’t everyone who is corrupt, just most of them. I thought this was foreshadowing for some senators agreeing with Smith by the end and the film would have ended with the Senate in full disagreement. In the end, it appears even he underestimated how corrupt the place was as everyone was involved. He’s definitely the worst character in the film but at least you do know that he’s a traitor from the start so it’s not like you were surprised at this turn of events.

While the writing is pretty solid and the film has good pacing, there is one plot that doesn’t work out well. It’s the comic relief one sided romance plot between Clarissa and a reporter. Their scenes don’t really add to the plot and the drunk bar one goes on for quite a while. I suppose it’s to show how she felt bad for Smith but you could already glean that information early on. Clarissa is a pretty reasonable character even if she does keep flipping from one side to the other. At first she thinks the situation is hopeless for Jeff so she just pretends to be on his side. Finally she does end up going to his side and to her credit she is indispensable by the end. Without her Jeff would have certainly been tricked or have lost the will to fight earlier.

Jeff’s a good character, but pretty gullible. While he ended up sticking to his core values and beliefs despite the overwhelming pressure he wouldn’t have gone far without help. If Clarissa hadn’t tipped him off he would have kept falling for that other girl’s tricks. The instant he let romance get above his duty I had to admit that this senator business may have been a little too much for him. He’s earnest, but to that end I’d figure that he would have done more reading up on what it means to be a senator. Sure, it was harder to get information back in the day but I’d like to have seen him be a bit more pro-active. These are more in-depth critiques of his character though, on the whole he was still pretty solid. It’s just that he could have been even better.

One character who stole the show quite a bit was the chairman for the senate. I like how the whole thing was basically one big joke to him. He’s a fair judge who doesn’t bend to the others. He knows his importance. Whether the right choice is made or not isn’t something he cares about so long as they follow the rules. It may not be heroic, but it is pretty enjoyable to see.

Overall, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a pretty solid film. It definitely shows how hard it is to get your point across when you’re up against corruption. Smith could have stood there all day without the senators reacting and that’s just what he did. Honestly I would have done more whistles to wake them up like he did in one scene, but I suppose he also didn’t want to be held in contempt of court or anything like that. That probably would have backfired. I’d definitely recommend checking this film out. It’s pretty original.

Overall 7/10