Reefer Madness Review

This film’s quite old and surprisingly short. It’s almost like watching an informercial to an extent where there’s a general plot but it’s all built around a message. Definitely not a bad thing per say but unfortunately you do feel like the story wasn’t given a lot of attention. The characters just aren’t very good and that’s an issue because you need to have characters you can root for. You don’t really have anyone like that here though and the ending’s pretty bad which doesn’t help matters either.

The film starts off by having a principal give a stern lecture about why drugs are no good. In particular he singles out Marijuana as the most dangerous one of all. Mainly because of how easy it is to distribute and the fact that we won’t be getting rid of it anytime soon due to how it grows all over the place. Try as they may to stop it, people have been receiving it in cities around the world. He urges the students to crack down on this and not to weaken. Meanwhile, Mae and Jack have other plans for the school. They have been distributing drugs for a long time and have now decided to start targeting students as an untapped market. This works out very easily for them which is unfortunate. It’s as simple as inviting the gang over to their place and handing them the drugs. Slowly but surely they work on getting the rest of the characters.

Bill is effectively the lead here and he’s a nice enough kid. He likes playing tennis, has a nice girlfriend, and just has a well rounded life. Even his grades are really good. Unfortunately he is yet another character with a weak will here. The villains get to him pretty quickly and aside from the drugs he even gets involved in an affair. There was definitely no way you would like Bill past this point. He really just doesn’t do a good job of handling the situations. Mary is a solid heroine but she does falter a bit too quickly when going to the house of the drug dealers. Naturally she doesn’t know she is smoking Marijuana and thinks it’s just a normal old cigarette but that’s why you shouldn’t be smoking in the first place.

Now, it should be said that there is a big difference between smoking and doing drugs of course. One is flat out illegal (or was at the time) while the other is just fatal for your health. Naturally I advise not doing either one of those activities or even drinking beer. You should just stick to soda or root beer. Anything that causes you to not be in your normal state of mind just doesn’t sound like a good idea. It’s one of those things where even if it was legal unless you need something for medicinal purposes or some kind of serious injury then it just doesn’t seem like a good idea.

So the film does have a good motive here of trying to get people not do to drugs by showing how it can wreck your life completely. Bill’s grades go down, he loses his best friend, and his reputation has been forever tarnished. Others aren’t able to cope with the guilt ad break down. At the end of the day none of the characters were better off from doing drugs and that’s what the film wanted to point out. It does so in a rather grim way which is to be expected but doesn’t make the film any better. It would have been nice if the principal could have figured out what was going on a little sooner and put a stop to it. He had his suspicions of course but at the end of the day he just wasn’t able to do anything about it which was the problem.

Meanwhile from the villains Jack was unapologetically evil the whole time as he gave drugs to the kids. He’s definitely not a likable character in the slightest but recognizes his place in things. He even offers to shoot one of the students to keep the whole thing under wraps. Then you’ve got Mae who keeps saying they shouldn’t be doing this but at the end of the day she still goes through with everything. Whenever a villain hesitates like this or keeps saying that they should stop you can’t take her seriously because she’s still along for the ride. It sounds like she’s just trying to take the moral high ground for later on but it doesn’t work. Particularly with such an active role she had in corrupting Bill. Both villains were definitely on the evil side whether one made objections or not.

Overall, Reefer Madness definitely shows that it’s madness to do drugs. Especially when you’ve already got a very good life you need to not get greedy. While there is no situation where you should pick up the Marijuana at least you can see how someone would be desperate enough to do so if their lives were in shambles. A rich kid who has an excellent set of friends, grades, and seems generally content getting mixed up in all of this? That’s definitely a mistake you don’t want to see happen. While the film has some good messages here I would ultimately say to take a pass on this one. By now I’d say you will have seen enough posters and essays on why drugs are bad in the real world so you don’t have to sit through a whole film to understand the message.

Overall 3/10

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

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