The Death of a Cyclist Review


It’s definitely been a while since I’ve seen a Spanish film. I don’t really know the language after all, but at the same time if you think about it, watching a Spanish film subbed is just like watching a Japanese one. So, I’m pretty experienced with the subtitle format. If anything, one part about the Spanish experience that is even more enjoyable is that I do know a decent amount of the words so I can see when the translation would be rather loose. Stringing the words together into sentences is the much tougher part. This film is actually a pretty decent romance title all things considered and that in itself was a bit surprising. Of course, the weakest part of this romance film is the romance itself so it’s almost a technicality.

The film opens with the main characters Maria and Juan driving a car down the highway. They end up bumping into an oncoming cyclist and murder the poor guy. Both of them then head back to their lives and hope that it does not catch up to them. Unfortunately, one guy named Rafa seems to have witnessed this. He starts to blackmail Maria while Juan’s conscience also starts to put him in a lot of bad spots. Who will be the one to stop these murderers?

Naturally the writing is pretty solid here. All of the characters are pretty eloquent and there is even a bit of humor thrown into the script although for the most part this is a very serious film. The pacing is on point as well and the characters are well defined. You’ll understand their personalities and character quits early on.

It is worth noting though that the main character is about as smart as a brick. Juan basically walks into every problem. Of course first we have him being an accomplice to murder. The man had a chance to save this biker but chose not to in order to protect himself, that was Juan’s first mistake and that is a huge one to start off with. After that he goes on to let the pressure get to him during his gig as a professor and fails one of his students for no reason. Juan apologizes but insists that there is nothing that can be done. This excuse doesn’t hold water and the students know this.

That leads to one of the best parts as the students rise up to take him down. It’s a mistake that I was worried would not come back to bite him so when it did I was certainly thrilled. He still didn’t get a harsh enough punishment there but it was a start. The scenes with him and the student weren’t nearly as good. She seems way too forgiving considering that he failed her and they seem to become friends anyway. Definitely not where I thought the plot would go and it didn’t really make sense.

Finally, Juan makes his last mistake towards the end of the film. By now he knows how the other characters are and should understand the situation. He’s been taken to an abandoned area where someone was previously murdered and opts to give his back to someone in the murder weapon. 2 guesses on how that would play out right? It’s just not a smart move…not a smart move at all. Of course this character never was the smartest one in the movie.

Then we have the heroine who is far less remorseful about the whole endeavor. Maria is always looking out for herself as she wants to be rich while also having her affair. Neither power or riches are allowed to be sacrificed so if there are complications with the affair that put those at risk then Maria is ready to do what she must. In a way she is more genuine as a villain since she only cares about herself. She’s a fun villain but definitely one you don’t want to trust.

Rafa is another big villain and he’s definitely a very clever one. Of course once you have blackmail ammo at your side it’s hard to lose. He really puts the main characters through the ringer here. Then you have Miguel who is the rich husband of Maria. He gets an interesting character arc. Definitely not the smartest character at times although in his defense you would expect the wife to be faithful so it’s not like he should have been suspecting her from the start. His final decisions are a bit odd, but he does like thinking about his stature quite a lot.

As I mentioned, the film’s weakness is the romance though. As the characters are cheating you naturally can’t root for them. No matter how genuine they try to make the romance you can’t forget this so you’re rooting against the main characters from the start. There’s just nothing they can do to salvage this. Also, the romance between the two seems fake as they constantly doubt whether it’s real. If even the characters aren’t sure then how could we be?

Overall, The Death of a Cyclist was a pretty sound film. It had good writing and the tension throughout the film is pretty good. Of course, you’re rooting against the leads the whole time so you may have a different experience than someone who is rooting for them. It makes the character internal struggle scenes drag on a bit since I at least didn’t feel any real sympathy for them. I just felt bad for the cyclist from the firs scene. If you’re going to check out a Spanish film then this is definitely the best one to start with I’d say. The title also makes sense very early on in the film which is pretty cool. The ending may be a bit dicey as Juan looks super bad but for the most part it’s definitely a classic ending type based on the intro.

Overall 6/10

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The Mummy’s Shroud Review


The Mummy has returned to usher in a new era for horror films. At least, that’s likely the intent here, but the series has made some mistakes in the past so we’ll see if this film can really take home the gold. While it does ring more true to the classic Mummy mythos than the previous film, it does make its share of mistakes. I don’t think you’ll be bored though. We have a pretty colorful cast of characters here and at least one character does try to fight back against the Mummy.

The film starts off with a flashback about how an Egyptian king was overthrown and everyone got murdered. We fast forward to the modern day where Dr. Basil and the rich Stanley have broken into the tomb. They steal the coffin and head back home to show it off. Unfortunately it appears that the coffin had a curse within it that has begun to affect everyone who walked into the tomb. There is now a murderous Mummy on the loose and the bodies are starting to pile up. Stanley wants to leave, but the cops are keeping everyone in one place. Can he get out alive?

Stanley may be a predictable character, but he sure is an entertaining one. He’s the classic rich guy who doesn’t care about lives. He just wants to turn a profit and let everyone else take the fall. This is especially evident when he tries to discredit Basil and throw him away for life. Stanley ultimately only seems to care about his family, everyone else is considered expendable. He’s certainly an antagonist, but a fun one nonetheless. You’re still rooting for him against the Mummy. He did make a lot of big mistakes though. If you’re trying to flee the country you probably shouldn’t wait in a dark alley for someone to come and help. Especially when you’re rich and the locals know it. Ah well, Stanley tried.

Then you have Dr. Basil who is reasonable I guess. He was annoying in his final scenes, but I guess that makes sense since he was poisoned. Still, it makes for a scene that drags on quite a bit as an old lady makes fun of him and then he’s taken out of the picture. Speaking of which, the old lady was annoying as well. She’s basically just here to rub the deaths in the faces of the victims before they perish. She doesn’t have much point here except to egg everyone on and get them into trouble. I mean, she performs the role quite admirably of course, but cutting out the drool in her scenes would have helped me take her seriously.

I consider Stanley to basically be the main character here, but Paul and Maggie get big roles as well. Paul is the son of Stanley and unlike his father he wants to work his way to the top. He doesn’t want to be drunk on power and sets his sights on stopping the Mummy instead of fleeing. Meanwhile Maggie knows how to read Egyptian and was against going into the tomb in the first place. Still, now she may be the only one with the power to stop this situation. It puts her in a tricky spot. Both characters are pretty reasonable. I do think Maggie made a big mistake in going to some random fortune teller to try and dispel her fears though. Even if the fortune teller wasn’t evil, did she really think anything could be done at that stage in the game?

I also have to give the cops some credit here. They were on point for the most part even if they didn’t really uncover much in their investigations. At least they were trying to help out and they certainly managed to be a thorn in Stanley’s side. The chief finally even relented in the end so at least he could try and save some victims. He maybe should have done that a bit sooner, but I think he just wanted to axe Stanley. Not the most heroic move of course, but it is what it is. Stanley’s wife also looks pretty good here. She’s always being passive aggressive and really enjoys the fact that she never went into the tomb.

So, most of these are positives, but what are the negatives? Well, pretty much the usual Hammer stuff. The film can be a bit violent here with everyone getting bumped off. People are strangled, burned to death, crushed, etc. The Mummy makes sure to take everyone down at some point or another. The Mummy also doesn’t make for a particularly good antagonist. He’s slow and you can’t believe that he is beating everyone the whole time. Even if he is bullet proof you can at least out run the guy. The only one I can’t blame is Basil since he was sick. At least the photographer tried fighting back though. You’ll feel bad for Stanley’s right hand man though since the guy gets the short end of the stick throughout the film.

The movie’s humor and writing were on point though. This one actually was a step ahead of most of the other Mummy titles. It could have definitely been a lot worse. At least it’s entertaining throughout and has a quick pace. If you’re going to do a Mummy film then you can definitely take a lot of cues from this one. It knew how to properly develop the characters after all.

Overall, The Mummy’s Shroud is actually decent. The shroud itself is actually important by the end so it’s also a title that makes sense. That’s always a good idea as opposed to just having that in the title to sound cool. The slasher elements we could have done without, but it’s handled in a less graphic way than it likely would nowadays. I won’t give the film a positive score, but it’s not bad either so it lands smack in the middle. If this film sounds like your cup of tea then you should check it out. At the very least, this film will keep you guessing as to who will get bumped off first.

Overall 5/10

The Remains of the Day Review


It’s time to look at an old drama film. It’s definitely got a pretty unique premise although the film’s long run time does stretch it to the max at times. It’s definitely a unique movie nonetheless, but you probably won’t be on the main character’s side by the end. He made too many mistakes too many times. After a while you just gotta walk away.

The film starts off in the present, but only stays there briefly. Stevens is going to meet with Miss Kenton as he hopes to re-hire her for the mansion. There just aren’t enough people around to service the place and she was always one of the best. However, a lot of things have changed since they last met. Then we get a flashback which goes for about 95% of the film to back when they used to work for Darlington. See, Stevens is the head butler and he trains everyone else. Miss Kenton was hired as the main housekeeper. Then you have a bunch of other staff who show up as needed and Stevens’ father who is the under butler. At first all is well, but then the head of the house, Lord Darlington starts to seemingly side with the Nazi’s. Making matters even worse is the fact that Stevens’ father is too old to be working and keeps making mistakes. Will Stevens make the right call here?

Unfortunately he never does. Stevens is constantly making the wrong calls throughout the film. He’d rather overlook his father’s mistakes than call him out on it. Likewise, he rarely has regard for anyone else. He’s very quick to distance himself and takes everything Miss Kenton says super personally. While to an extent it’s not good to get caught up in the politics of the office, he ends up taking it too far here. When someone asks him a question he always pretends not to have any clue what they are talking about. Then when his boss Darlington starts to go over the edge with firing employees and such, he just watches and obeys. He even goes through with firing the girls even though they had been great workers.

You just can’t sympathize with the guy at all. All the scenes in the modern day just hurt Stevens further. He’s not a good lead and Miss Kenton made the right move in leaving. That romance angle wasn’t handled too well though. She hints that she was only marrying the other guy because Stevens wasn’t paying her any attention. If so, did she truly love the guy? That seems like a textbook rebound if you ask me. If that guy was second fiddle, then that doesn’t seem like it’ll be a great arrangement. Kenton was certainly great at her job but that was unlikely to be recognized in such a place.

Darlington seems reasonable for a while, but as the film goes on he starts to get pretty iffy. The scene where he has Stevens fire the two girls shows how far he was gone by that point. The new owner of the house is a lot more likable though. His name is Lewis and we also see him in the flashbacks. He was the only guy to stand up to this alliance from the start and warned that things wouldn’t be as rosy as they appeared. He ended up being quite right. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of him. The guy was definitely a fun character.

As I mentioned, the film is over 2 hours though. You’re probably wondering what else they could do in 2 hours and that’s just it…there’s not much more of a plot to talk about in this period of time. The rest is all about the drama and as you can imagine that is hard to hold a film with. The dialogue is good and the writing is solid, but the characters aren’t very likable. Right from the start they’re all warned not to start romance with the other employees, but nobody listens including the main characters. As a result they fall into the same dilemmas that they were warning against at the start.

The characters also play a very passive role in the film. As the events are transpiring they don’t actually do anything about them. To their defense, there is not much that they actually could do, but it does limit how exciting the film can get. As I mentioned, this one’s a pure drama so excitement isn’t one of the priorities. At least the film doesn’t really make any mistakes either. It just goes through the motions.

Overall, The Remains of the Day is a fundamentally sound movie. It makes no real errors and just proceeds to go through its plot without making any mistakes. At the same time, there is no real hook to the film either. It’s almost as if it’s on auto pilot. By the second half of the film you are either really invested in the characters or your interest will have completely died out. It will certainly end up being one of the two. Still, if you haven’t seen a film like this then it’s a good idea to. By “a film like this” I mean a movie that plays and it’s like you’re a spectator. There’s nothing good or bad about it. It’s just going through the motions. It’s like watching the medium in its purest form in a sense.

Overall 5/10

A Star is Born Review


It’s time to look at the original version of A Star is Born. It’s definitely a title that I’m sure just about everyone is familiar with thanks to all of the remakes. Does it really hold up to such an illustrious legacy though? It’s not a bad film, but the second half does ultimately end up hurting the movie. It’s an ending that isn’t particularly great and one character is pretty annoying the whole time.

The film starts off with a girl named Esther expressing her desire to be an actress. Her family almost literally laughs her out of the house so her grandmother tells her to pursue her dreams. Esther heads on the train to Hollywood and gets ready to be famous. The problem is that there are a lot of other people who want to be famous and so she has hit a dead end. She meets a guy named Danny who has some connections, but instead of a part in the picture she is relegated to maid service. Still, this works out as she is noticed by washed up actor Norman who still has a lot of influence within the company. He’s happy to help her get famous so that they can get married, but when she begins to exceed his popularity can he handle the pressure?

One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of the old school male leads is that most of them seem to be really insecure. The instant that the heroine passes them they start getting really whiny and petty. Unfortunately Norman is no exception. He crashes her party and sulks for the majority of the movie. It’s easy to forget that they’re together at times. I’d give him credit for retiring and all, but he then starts to get into fights and tarnishes her reputation. He even gets thrown into the asylum for his antics. Sure, Norman’s over the hill, but he was famous for a while so you’d think that he could at least enjoy that part. Of course, how famous he ever was is probably debatable since nobody seems to even know the poor guy.

Esther is certainly a much better character. Her only weakness is that she gets emotional very quickly as she cries if you insult her. Fortunately I’d say that showbiz went well for her and has toughened her up by the end. She is able to put up a strong front and her talent was shown to be the real deal. She didn’t just go to Hollywood, she excelled while she was there. It’s also good that her granny was around to keep her on the right track as she almost made a big mistake at the end of the film. So, Esther was solid, but I think if she was less emotional then she would have been even better.

Meanwhile we have Danny, who was an interesting character. His voice is incredibly memorable so odds are that it is the part about him that you will remember the most. I’m not sure if it was intentionally humorous or not, but it did make him fun. His first scene was a bit rough though as he starts yelling as Esther for no reason. That scene probably could have been cut out since it makes absolutely no sense. He pretty much gets written out once Norman shows up though. Norman’s pr agent makes for an intense, albeit mean spirited character. He’s good at his job and he can even fight so you can’t ask for much more than that. Meanwhile the owner of the company is a nice enough guy. He kept trying to help Norman even when the actor made that difficult.

As for the ending, while it was unexpected I can’t say that it was good. If anything it just makes Norman look a whole lot worse than he was looking already. Rather than accept the new status quo and turn his act together he figures that it’s time for desperate measures. His answer is never the proper answer to anything. It’s just a way to escape a problem, not a way to solve one. I wonder if the newer films will switch that ending. I hope they do since it will definitely help the character be a little more redeemable.

As for the writing, it’s pretty solid for the most part. When the film attempts some humor scenes they tend to work well like Norman’s beer with a touch of soda gag. The romance isn’t handled quite as well as it’s hard to take Norman seriously since it seems like he typically likes flirting with everyone. It doesn’t make him look all that genuine but I suppose we can give him the benefit of the doubt. Esther just seems a little too trusting and quick to romance as well. Given that her goal is to be the best, I feel like romance would just be a big distraction for her. Ah well. The film’s pacing is pretty solid and although the film is fairly long it never drags on which is always important.

Overall, A Star is Born is a reasonable film. I wouldn’t call it amazing, but it was passable. The idea of someone walking into Hollywood and then rising to the top is a classic, but consistent premise. If executed well it makes for a nice, uplifting story. If it’s cashed in then it ends up being super cheesy and you wonder what happened to the other actors for them to all be surpassed in such a short amount of time. I’ll probably see the remakes soon and I get the feeling that they may have the edge this time, but if you haven’t seen the original it’s probably worth checking out. It is a classic after all.

Overall 5/10

Days of Wine and Roses Review


It’s time to look at a film about drinking addiction. I can’t say that I had high hopes for the film going in and it looks like that feeling was certainly well warranted by the end. While it’s a concept that isn’t particularly fun as it is, the film manages to use some poor writing to make the film harder to get through than necessary. What do I mean? Stick around and you’ll find out!

The film starts off with Joe heading back to the office to get some work done. He hasn’t been sleeping too well but at least he’s been drinking so he’s ready for the day. He wants to be a PR agent but instead he’s a coordinator for some dicey activities. He wants to complain to his boss, but doesn’t have the heart to do so. That’s when he runs into a secretary named Kirsten. He immediately falls for her and shows his affection by asking her out. When she denies him, Joe begins making faces at her and throws around a lot of insults. He suggests that her skills aren’t what got her the job and makes a lot of mean remarks which Kirsten takes offense at. She runs off, but of course Joe stops her and gives a very fake apology. Immediately the two decide to get married.

Thing is, they got married so quickly that they don’t really know each other. Hoping to avoid ever having to do so, they fall into the land of liquor. Eventually they are drunk 24/7 all days of the week. This problem continues to snowball until Joe is out of a job and Kirsten starts burning the house down. Joe decides that he’ll stop drinking but Kirsten refuses. As a result Joe keeps falling back into the vice due to peer pressure. He’s going to have to choose what is more important, his marriage or staying sober. It’s going to be a tough struggle either way.

I think you can see where the dicey writing can in to play here. The romance makes absolutely no sense. There’s no reason why the two would have been paired after you see their opening scene. It’s just him being mean to her in petty retaliation for being declined until she does a 180 and accepts him. Then getting married a few days later is a bit much. There’s no real reason to root for these characters. Even before the drinks they don’t seem like particularly good people. Take a look at the scene where they visit Kirsten’s dad. They just drop the bomb on him that they’re married. It’s almost like they’re taunting him because he never even got to give his input. It’s a pretty mean thing to do.

So we already don’t like either character and they’re not even drunk yet. Throw in their drunk episodes and things get worse. You’d think they were taking hard drugs with how crazy they were acting. Of course, everyone has different effects when drunk, but man do both of them take it really poorly. Joe tries to get out at least, but he does manage to relapse a bunch of times. At least in the end he stayed strong. Then you have Kirsten who doesn’t even try and doesn’t get a particularly happy ending here. It is a shame since she used to not drunk and Joe got her into it, but even so she should have stuck away from the drinks. The first time she at least halfheartedly tried to say no, but then Joe brought some in after working in the forest at night. He’s such a bad character but she’s also pretty bad by the end.

The only good character here is Jim. Jim is the chairman for alcoholics anonymous and he does help out quite a bit. Without him it’s fair to say that Joe would have been doomed. Of course, it is true that with willpower you can do a whole lot, but you gotta know your limits. Groups and places like this exist to help those who know they can’t stop on their own. Things are always easier when you have people to support you and getting out of this addiction is no exception. Once Joe finally accepts this he is able to move forward. Him is very patient and supportive throughout. He’s probably seen this situation many times before, but he never makes Joe feel like he’s just another cog in the engine. He makes sure to help him every step of the way and that’s why Jim is the MVP here.

Overall, This still isn’t a good film though. The writing has major problems with the biggest one being the fact that the characters aren’t all that good even before they’re drunk. As a result it only gets worse once they do start drinking. The film is pretty long and it’s mainly the characters going in circles for quite a while before the situation finally changes. It’s definitely not my kind of movie but if you want a hard hitting movie with unlikable characters who try to be better than they were then maybe you’ll enjoy this film. I’d sooner recommend watching something like Man of Steel though. There we get a beacon of hope who doesn’t make these mistakes.

Overall 2/10

Cast Away Review


It’s time to look at a survival film. These are fairly hard to do. There are the easy ones where it’s a group of people stuck on an island inhabited by giant monsters or an enemy clan. Those can work because you’ve got a lot of dynamics at play. Then you’ve got a survival film like this one which is tricky because there is only one character on the island. As a result you run the risk of the film just being boring and unfortunately…that’s exactly what happens here. There is some spoilers for the ending of the movie below so you have been warned.

The film starts off pretty strong as we meet Chuck and see that he is a pretty fierce FedEx mail guy. He is pretty obsessed with his company being able to meet deadlines and wants them to achieve more. His advice seems to be working and so Chuck gets ready to make one last delivery/meeting before going back home for New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately the plane he is on crashes and now he is stuck on an island. He’ll have to try and survive for a long while as there is no way to get off this island and people may not find him for a long while. Can Chuck pull this off?

The film has a good beginning and an interesting ending. The problem here is the middle. As soon as the plane went down the movie basically went right along with it. There’s just not much to see or enjoy about Chuck’s isolated vacation on the island. There’s no one for him to talk to and not a whole lot for him to do either. As this is the bulk of the movie you can see how it gets old fast. It’s basically all of the usual survival tropes. He tries to make a fire, tries to make a boat, etc. Each attempt injures him further which makes all of his activities a lot harder than they would be otherwise. His attempts are pretty good for the most part and he’s definitely a creative guy so he is able to make things work out. You can respect that from his character, but again it doesn’t make for interesting viewing.

I’ll give the movie credit for not being nearly as gross as a recent film where a girl is stranded on a rock with a shark nearby, but it still does do some iffy things like having a crab get stabbed and eating raw fish. These scenes did the film no favor. It takes what could have been an easy 7/10 film and drops it a few stars until it’s under the baseline. If you want to do a survival film, you’ve got to have at least 2 characters. Yeah, you run the risk of adding romance to the movie but at least you can have some dialogue and maybe even throw some humor into the mix. With just one person there is no chance of that and it’s pretty much a waste for Tom Hanks since dialogue is his strong suit.

As I mentioned, the beginning of the film is pretty solid. It establishes Chuck as a pretty likable character. It’s a charismatic opening and the film has a lot of fun with the scenes. The writing is solid and a whole film could have been made about Chuck making the delivery times faster. Then once he gets off the island it’s like the film finally restarts. Of course now it isn’t quite as fun since everyone moved on without Chuck. His fiancee is gone and it’s like he has to start life over from scratch. At least he kept his job, losing that would have probably made the ending a little too grim. It speaks well to the company as FedEx just looks really good here. They even throw him a nice party and while part of that is for the PR, the guys in the office just seem like a lot of fun.

The movie does drop the ball with the climax though. As mentioned, the fiancee is with some other guy now and at first the movie is pretty tame here as Chuck accepts this and calmly tells her goodbye and wishes her well. Then she runs out of the house and cheats on her current husband one last (presumably) time. I think that scene didn’t need to be in the movie. She made her choice and now she needs to live with it. She makes it pretty clear that the new guy is just a rebound, but that doesn’t make the situation any better. Also, the fact that the other guy used to know Chuck just makes it worse. The fiancee moved on pretty quick after all since she already has a kid and it’s only been 4 years so that means she probably waited 2 years max. That’s a fairly quick rebound.

At least now Chuck will be able to focus on his job again. He’s definitely a solid employee as he gets right back into the field. The ending shows that he now has a passion for the work again and I expect he’ll be making a lot of deliveries. He also gets to meet the person who indirectly saved his life through the colorful package that he found on the island. I think that person could make for a good friend although I imagine that Chuck won’t be making a rebound anytime soon.

Overall, Cast Away is a film where the actual premise is really what held it back a bit. The characters are fun and all, but it feels like the film hits the pause button early on as we’re stuck on the island for an extremely long amount of time. Cutting part of that time out would have helped the film quite a lot. Being stuck on an island like that just limits the film’s opportunities. If you like films about experiencing nature and such then check this one out. If you’re hoping for a lot of fun dialogue and situations then you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Overall 4/10

The Prisoner of Second Avenue Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old black comedy film. It’s one of those films that has a pretty solid premise and starts out good. Then the film unfortunately falls off the deep end and never quite managed to recover. You sort of know where the movie is going with this before it gets there and it’s not the direction it should have gone. The film just isn’t all that satisfying and at the end of the day the characters do end up being prisoners of second avenue.

The film starts off with Mel losing his job. It had been a steady job that he had for many years, but that is all over now. Adding to his woes is the fact that someone broke into his house and stole all the clothes, money, and items. His wife Edna is distraught as well, but she manages to keep herself together. She even gets a job to support them while Mel looks for one. The problem is that Mel can’t seem to find a job anywhere and so naturally he gets jealous of Edna’s success. Mel decides to guilt trip Edna about this every waking minute and quickly loses his mind entirely. Edna will have to do what she can to bring him back from insanity, but can she pull this off?

Mel is really what drags the film down here. A lot of unfortunate stuff happen to him for sure, but his reaction to all of it certainly isn’t all that good. I think him losing his mind goes a little too far. It gets to the point where he starts swinging a knife around and yelling about global conspiracies. It stops being funny pretty quickly and just goes into being very tedious/annoying. I couldn’t wait for him to finally get past this. It happens when he mugs someone on the street and steals his wallet.

That’s when the film decides to double down by having Edna lose her mind. It’s the film’s way of trying to say that anyone can and will snap once they lose their job. It really undermines how hard Edna worked to keep the family stable the whole time. Couldn’t she have at least gotten her win here? By the end the message is that Mel will once again support them, but Edna had been doing pretty good on her own. A better ending would have been for her to have kept her job with Mel just learning to accept this. As it stands, he didn’t learn to accept anything. Things just finally went his way and he decided to stop sulking. Edna cracking the way she did felt extremely forced and unnecessary.

This movie is at its best when it’s just poking fun at everyone and embracing its comedic elements. For example, Mel’s relatives were handled pretty well. They naturally want to see him get well, but aren’t about to throw their life’s savings at him. In their defense, paying 20,000 to start a summer camp where he would be the head sounds like a terrible idea. This guy’s insane, how can he be around kids? I don’t think it would do him a whole lot of good either. Then the psychologist they got him seems like a scammer who rushes out of the room as soon as the paid hour is up. He doesn’t care about Mel’s problems in the slightest.

Maybe Mel’s plot would have been better if we were ever given a reason to care about him, but he has a sour attitude from the start. He complains about literally everything and just never stops. Rather than seeing the silver lining in a situation he always seeks out the small rip in what’s good. Nothing ever works out for him because he doesn’t see the good in things. Take his vacation to his brother’s place. Mel spends the whole time complaining and trying to leave. He never gave them a chance.

It’s almost ironic that you will probably be rooting for the neighbors in all of their encounters during this film. Mel picks fights with the guys above him and the girls next door. In both cases I would argue that they’re in the right while he’s in the wrong. The girls are just trying to have a good time and they weren’t all that loud as evidenced by the fact that Edna couldn’t hear them. You have to make an effort to be annoyed. Then the neighbors upstairs have little kids who are trying to sleep so having Mel yelling at the top of his lungs late at night is naturally upsetting. They were just trying to cool him off by dunking him with the ice water. It may be a bit drastic, but Mel certainly started it.

The fast paced dialogue is definitely the film’s strength. We do get a lot of witty moments and as I mentioned the humor is quite good when it is trying. Just the sheer fact that the apartment is so run down is a great source for many jokes and such. It’s also good to see New York City from back in the day and how so much has changed and yet so much is the same. It always makes for a good backdrop for any film.

Overall, This movie was pretty fun at times. For the most part it’s a humorous adventure. It just begins to take itself too seriously once Mel goes crazy and never truly recovers from that. Those scenes are just painful to watch and Edna should have been able to have gotten a win at the end. Instead she goes down with Mel and by the end none of them really have their dignity left. I was also expecting them to get more of a win with the shovel once it started snowing, but then the film ends abruptly. In my head canon the neighbors basically won this round since they did blast Mel twice.

Overall 5/10

Dirty Dancing Review


It’s time to look at a film that pretty much everyone has heard of at some point or another. I can’t say that dancing films are usually all that good and the title is already a red flag, but maybe this film would surpass its limitations and rise to stardom? Well…that wasn’t the case here, but the film certainly tried. It’s not all bad, but the main thing that drags the film down is one of its main elements…the romance.

The film starts off with the main character narrating from the future. She explains that everyone calls her “Baby” and she lets them because she didn’t see the harm back when she was a kid. As a result this is her name for virtually the entire film until one final scene. It’s definitely a name that I imagine you would get tired of very quickly. Who wants to be called a baby right? Well, her family has decided to spend the week at a vacation place where the point is to have a good time. It’s like an American version of a host club. Unfortunately, Baby quickly finds out that this place has an underground level to it where everyone goes for dicier dances. Does she have what it takes to fit in with the rest of the crew?

You’ll probably feel bad for the parents right from the start. The club seems to be decent above ground. They do a lot of safe activities like Bingo and people are generally having a good time. So long as you don’t know about the underground, you’ll enjoy yourself. It’s a typical corporate operation so the workers aren’t treated very well either which would also undermine your enjoyment if you found out about it. It sounds like this place was pretty pricey so I imagine that this would make the guests want to turn a blind eye to everything. It’s definitely not a party resort that I would particularly enjoy as there isn’t nearly enough food, but I know some would enjoy this party atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Baby makes for a pretty dicey lead. She falls into the romance awful quick. Almost a love at first sight scenario with her and Johnny although it is unrequited at first. Baby comes across as a little desperate and it would have probably been a better plot if they had just become friends. It would have really helped hammer home the message about how Baby treats everyone the same as opposed to it also being that they are romantically involved. Apparently Baby used to be very responsible and honest prior to getting into this camp so it probably wasn’t the best experience for her.

Then we have Johnny who starts out as a pretty mean guy who has been jaded from his years in service here. He thinks everyone is out to get him and for the most part he isn’t wrong. These rich guys are ready to sink him at their first opportunity. By the end of the film we see him more as a nice guy and it’s not so much a personality 180 as it is that he trusts Baby enough for her to see more of him. It’s still a romance plot I couldn’t buy into though. He’s one of the better characters by default though.

One of the main points of drama here is that the main co-dancer with Johnny is unable to perform in the main stage as she needs an operation so Baby decides to do it for her. We get a lot of dancing montages and training moments as Johnny gets her ready. It’s handled pretty realistically as you can’t go from being a novice to an expert in a few days. Even on the day of the show Baby still isn’t perfect. Which is definitely pretty realistic. Of course, she was also so distracted by the romance that it’s not like she could train quite as much as she wanted.

I’m not a big fan of dancing so even without the romance this film probably wouldn’t have gone far for me anyway. It’s one of those things where actually dancing is certainly more enjoyable than watching it. It can get pretty competitive like in Dancing With The Stars of course, but it’s just not a sport that I would watch. It’s like Golf in that respect. Give me Basketball or Football any day. The actual dancing is still done well here though, I wouldn’t deny that. They were good at their craft.

If there is a pretty annoying thing here, it’s that one of the characters basically gets away scot free. So, there’s a kid named Robbie. He goes around being pretty iffy “Nicknamed the Creep” and yet nobody talks about it. I believe he’s a relative of the owner or something, but as a result people just put up with him. He even causes one person to have a kid and then doesn’t claim responsibility. He goes around with quite a few people and even very nearly gets money for it if not for the father finding out at the last second. He’s not fired or anything since the victim didn’t press charges, but it would have been nice to have seen him get let go.

Overall, Dirty Dancing is not the film for me. The romance is pretty heavy handed and ends up seeping into most of the dances. There is always some romance in the air with that. The pacing isn’t bad the plot is relatively engaging, but without a strong cast it is limited. The writing is decent at best, but I wouldn’t call it amazing either. There are certainly quite a few misunderstandings here because Baby is super vague when she shouldn’t have been. At the very least I feel like during her final confrontation with her family she should have laid it all out. At that point they know what’s going on so why keep them in the dark on some of the aspects? It’s not as if that would have squared away everything with the folks but it would have helped quite a bit.

Overall 3/10

Kramer vs Kramer Review


It’s time to look at a film about a custody battle. You’ll have to decide which Kramer you’re rooting for and then go from there. Interestingly enough the film doesn’t opt to go for the classic apperoach of having each parent get 50% screen time and shifting perspectives. In this case the main character is always Ted but Joanna shows up from time to time to spook them all. It’s a decent film I suppose, but one where it is tough to root for someone too much since both seem to be pretty flawed.

The film starts off with Ted having another late night at the office. Still, he is pretty pleased with himself since he finally landed a big contract. He goes home to celebrate with his wife Joanna, but she has decided to move out and start the divorce proceedings. She tells Ted that he has to look after the kid since she can’t handle any liabilities right now. Ted is now determined to be the best parent he can be. There are ups and downs, but he is finally starting to get the hang of it. That’s when Joanna returns and demands that their son move in with her. Billy doesn’t really know who he wants to be with since the situation is way above his head. It’s time to see what the judge has to say about this.

As you may or may not know I’m not a big fan of kids getting a big role in films. They certainly can’t act and most of their scenes tend to be annoying. Unfortunately Billy is no exception. He comes across as very spoiled at times like when he tries to steal some ice cream instead of eating his dinner. Things had been going pretty well so why would Billy pull something like that? His character doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of agency since he’s so young and can’t weigh in on these topics. Then he tends to get very emotional very quickly as well. All in all, that just isn’t a recipe for success.

Then we’ve got the parents. Joanna was too far gone for her redemption arc to work at all. She’s the one who ditched Billy so it’s a little too late to come back and try to get him now. Moreover, she’s already dating some other guy so she didn’t waste any time in doing that. It’ll make for a very awkward household for Billy and since she may also be moving he’ll have to get used to a new school. Of course, she does try to act like she feels bad for Ted at times, but you can probably feel a bit of a smirk beneath her gaze.

Ted certainly isn’t faultless either though. He does a good job of looking after Billy by the end, but his multi tasking skills do not seem to be particularly good. He apparently messed up on every project after that so you can see why he was let go. THe boss was pretty petty about when he fired Ted as he seemed to do it just to get the lead in a bad spot, but Ted should have done a better job of balancing both of his main duties. I also think Billy inheireted Ted’s temperment as he tends to throw stuff when he gets upset and he gets upset a lot.

The judge definitely had a tough choice here because either way it’s not like any option is perfect, but that’s why he is paid the big bucks. The lawyers were definitely pretty intense. I’d say that they were both pretty evenly matched as well. They weren’t afraid to go for the low blows if it meant winning the case. This is another moment where Ted and Joanna didn’t seem quite as resolved as they should be. Look, it’s tough to take the personal shots, but the stakes are high enough where they should be able to roll with it. They do want Billy right?

The ending is left to a bit of interpretation on how exactly you think it plays out. I personally think the film was leading up to a surrender where Ted would find out that he gets Billy after all. Of course you could also take the opposite approach and believe that Ted is now doomed. Either way, an open ended final scene like this can work well for this kind of movie since whoever you were hoping would win can still win in your head.

The writing is pretty reasonable although of course there are parts of the film that can be a bit annoying. One is the annoying gimmick of the characters heading to the bathroom. The main part that hurts this scene aside from the crude aspect of it is that neither character washes their hands upon leaving the bathroom which is pretty unhygienic. Then the characters head immediately for the kitchen where they make a lot of food with their hands. You won’t want to eat any of that. It’s even worse then the other thing films make you believe is okay like tasting the food that you’re cooking and then putting the spoon back in. Don’t pick up any of the bad habits you see in this film folks.

Overall, Kramer vs Kramer is definitely a decent film. It’s quite a bit different from the more over the top slapstick comedy neighbor vs neighbor battle I was expecting. I think I ended up mixing this one up with a different movie. Custody battles like this are rarely very fun so it does limit this film’s enjoyment factor to a degree as well. I wouldn’t call it a bad film though and if this premise sounds interesting then you should check it out.

Overall 5/10

The Breakfast Club Review

This review is based on the 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.

It’s time to look at an old classic. Just about everyone has heard of The Breakfast Club as it was a big deal back in the day. I have to say that my impression of it was a lot different from what we actually got. I thought its tone would be something similar to the teenage beach films I saw recently. A pretty light hearted comedy with dramatic characters and such as the characters eventually all became friends. Instead this story actually takes itself seriously. So much so that it ends up imploding although had I known the film’s rating I probably could have predicted that.

The film starts with a group of teenagers heading to detention. In this school that means you have to go there on a Saturday and stay all day from 7 to 3. Each of the kids presumably did something wrong to be there and the parents aren’t happy. Vernon is heading this detention session and he runs a tough ship. He tells the kids that they can’t talk to each other and have to write a 1000 word paper talking about who they are. He heads off and one of the kids (John) starts to cause a lot of trouble. The other kids are annoyed, but after a while they begin to jump in. With all of these bad seeds hanging around each other, will they find out that there is more to each of them than meets the eye?

Naturally with a plot like this you’re expecting every character to have some issues and that’s exactly what happens here. All of the characters have done something wrong or at least have negative traits and the film makes sure that none of them are even remotely likable by the end. I can’t say that I was a fan of the writing as the dialogue is pretty bad. A lot of language is constantly thrown around but the channel did a good job adding air bubbles and some dialogue inserted over the scenes. Still, that’s not a credit I can give to the writer. None of the characters are remotely likable as I mentioned earlier as well so that’s a problem. As Claire even points out they tend to have the same discussion multiple times and they sure pick on her quite a bit. None of the students are all that tough either and start to break down in tears upon reliving their history. By the end of the film they’ve all spilled their secrets and Monday is going to be very awkward.

As this is an 80’s film we do get some songs, but not as much as you might expect. The final song is certainly iconic and I suppose the others are reasonable at best, but they won’t leave much of an impression. The 80’s song used in Infinity War has more heart than the rest of these songs put together and that movie didn’t even come out in this era. All right, lets talk about the characters as there is a lot to unpack here. We’ll start with the pesky grownups.

Vernon is the teacher in charge and he doesn’t like the teenagers. In his defense they all appear to be jerks, but he doesn’t do anything to help that. He slowly starts to crack by the end to the point where he threatens and blackmails one of the kids. Then he starts looking through private files where he is caught by the custodian and blackmailed further. He’s definitely the main antagonist. Carl is a little more nuanced and at least he’s a fun character to have around. I was glad that he got the $50 from the teacher and also made him give up the lunch. It’s always good to have a character like that here to spice things up.

John is the biggest delinquent of the bunch. Unlike the others he is a repeat offender and has been to detention many times. He has a very rough home situation which has been a bad influence on him. John pays the experience forward and tends to act like a jerk to get attention. Of course his origin is pretty sad, but he’s still a terrible character in the modern scenes and goes too far with the jokes. He’s just too far gone. Then we have Claire who has some ego problems and doesn’t like being associated with the others. Her romance plot is handled terribly and unfortunately you can see it from a mile away. She is considerably better than John, but still not a good character.

Then we have Andrew who starts out pretty reasonably. He tells John to stop bullying Claire and when the guy doesn’t Andrew puts him into the ground. He starts to falter from there as we learn why he is in detention and it’s definitely a pretty bad reason. Then he succumbs to the drugs like the rest of the students and by that point he was doomed. Drugs ruined all of the characters, but even without that scene most of them would have been doomed. Brian is the smart member of the group, but as he is seen as a bit of a nerd he isn’t usually in the same social circles at the others. Everyone tends to blow up at him at some point or another even though he doesn’t typically notice it. Still, he has his own character traits that are pretty iffy like being a little too desperate to appear cool to the others. He loses his wallet pretty easily and has some dodgy stuff in there.

Finally we have Allison who loves to lie. She constantly does so and acts rather off throughout the film. She just doesn’t seem to know how to interact with the others and so she does a lot of weird stuff to stand out. Throughout the film she seems to avoid the spotlight, but does weird things to place herself in it. As one character points out, she just wants attention. Unfortunately, most of her scenes are pretty bad and her weirdness goes too far. Her romance plot is also pretty rushed.

The film gets a lot more wrong than it does right. The premise of the film is pretty interesting, but it has to be handled with care. There are so many good ways to handle it. Just have the characters not be as exaggeratedly bad and the movie would already be a lot better. I don’t think it needed to be quite as dark and dramatic as it was. Tone the film down to a PG and you’d probably be able to naturally get rid of most of its negatives.

Overall, The Breakfast Club is definitely not what I was expecting and unfortunately this is in a negative way. The film is fairly short, but it still manages to drag on at times. You just can’t go far with a bad cast and poor writing. Even if the core concept is good, that simply isn’t enough. If you want a better story about school situations then Saved By The Bell is something you’d want to check it out. As it stands, I definitely fall into the camp of those who think that this film has not aged well. You’ll want to avoid it at all costs.

Overall 2/10