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

Advertisements

The Parrallax View 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 likely be a lot more negative.

It’s time to look at an old conspiracy film that will keep you guessing as it goes on. You can’t trust anyone and have to keep your guard up at all times. Naturally the main character couldn’t quite handle these tasks and throw in the fact that this film feels quite lazy at times and you have a decently good premise with very poor execution. Conspiracy films are hard to do well when that’s the main genre, but they do make for good twist endings. Oh yeah, this review will have spoilers btw.

The film starts off with a political figure giving a big speech when he is murdered. The cops catch the first guy while the second gets away. Years pass by and everyone eventually believes that there only ever was 1 murderer. Even the main character Joe believes this until he is visited by an old friend who was also at the place where the guy was shot and she dies soon after. This means that everyone who was at the plaza is being systematically eliminated. Only a handful of people still exist..including Joe. Joe must get to the bottom of this conspiracy and to do it he will have to try and get enlisted.

Here’s one problem with Joe’s plan right off the bat and it’s never addressed by him or any of the characters in the film. He was in the picture. I’ll discuss the ramifications of that in a second after we look at Joe’s plan again. So, Joe murders one of the members and fakes his death. Both weren’t actually part of Joe’s plan, but they happened so lets roll with it. He decides to go undercover by submitting an application as a new person and acting like he’s a little off the chains. The organization seems to buy it and gives him his first mission. I’m not exactly sure what that mission was, but Joe basically ends up being the scape goat for another murder and is quickly gunned down. So ends his brief stint as a detective. Do you see what was wrong with his plan?

He was never going to fool them into thinking that he was some random nut who wanted to join. He was on their most wanted list for years and never even put on a wig or did anything to change his look. He went in under the impression that the organization didn’t even care about him so they wouldn’t be able to tell. That’s like a guy who always goes to the local pizza store going in one day and pretending to be someone else without putting on a disguise. It just won’t work and Joe’s plan was doomed to fail. His friend also didn’t give him a great fake ID apparently since the villains saw through that as well and Joe had to make a second one. It was a terrible plan, but Joe never was much of a thinker I guess. His friend came to him for help and he basically just laughed at her and sent the girl back to her doom.

Finally, Joe compromised his safety even more by sending cassettes to his old newspaper boss and revealing that he was still alive. Lets put it this way, the more people that know, the more likely it is that the secret will gt out right? Joe even impacted events by telling Bill not to make any charges or allegations against the organization. Instead Bill stayed quiet and the villains probably thought that this was extremely suspicious. Then they were also probably watching Joe at all times so I’m sure that they saw him send in the audio every week to the boss. His plan was just full of holes and that’s why he plunged into the abyss.

There is also a long brainwashing video that is just brutal to watch. They could only afford a handful of pictures so they just keep replaying them over and over. You’ll get the point of the video a few seconds into it or more likely as Joe is heading over to the seat. This film isn’t exactly subtle. So, then we don’t need to see the entire video that feels like 5-10 minutes long. The Thor picture was fun, but the rest was all just gritty stuff to remind us that the organization is serious business. I also find it laughable how they expect that to brainwash everyone. You can’t show 1 video and expect it to work so easily or even have any kind of effect on the person it is on. If the film had said something like *10 hours later* then that would be better since it would have meant that Joe had been there for a long time.

There are also a lot of really drawn out scenes like Joe walking through the airplane. Watching everyone do nothing much gets old pretty quick. Everyone moves very slowly so you get to stare at them all. We even head to a crooked town where the Sheriff and Deputy go around beating everyone up. Of course, as we find out later they were fired ages ago, but I guess nobody in the town ever knew that. The cover ups here are hard to believe as well. Unless everyone who speaks up is getting instantly murdered I don’t see how word isn’t getting out. What was the cover up for Joe’s death at the end? The dialogue at the end basically says that Joe was the only killer so did nobody take fingerprints of the gun to find others on it? I don’t think Joe actually picked up the gun either so that should be easy, but I suppose the fingerprint guy was in on it as well. Conspiracy films definitely don’t tend to follow logic all that much and it’s not a big thing, but you will certainly find it hard to buy into any of this. Even the cops at the beginning of the film are corrupt just to reinforce the idea that everyone is evil here.

The second half of the film just feels uneventful. Joe is just following orders and slowly getting into the villain group but it basically takes him the whole film to get his first mission and then he is instantly murdered. He didn’t actually learn anything nor did he make any progress in stopping them. As a result, the entire film also feels pointless as well. It’s an interesting approach to effectively show a futile attempt at stopping them rather than the epic actin hero who defies all odds and takes dozens down. Still, it’s not necessarily a good approach or at least not this time. Joe just wasn’t smart at all and why would you just stand around by a gun for about 10 minutes? He really wasn’t thinking. The writing in the film isn’t particularly good either. The heroes aren’t smart as I mentioned and the villains have no real personality either. I do like the Illuminati though. You rarely actually get to see them appear in these films.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend checking out this film. You can find conspiracy theories anywhere so it’s not as if they’re rare, but I guess a whole film about one theory just couldn’t end up floating. The brainwashing video drags out much like the rest of this film. It loves going for zoomed out shots of people walking and running around. Joe couldn’t save anyone in the film and he couldn’t save the film itself. If you want to look at a real conspiracy, check out the whole Berenstein vs Berenstain Bears issue. That one has always peaked my interest and has a better climax/conclusion than this film since we are still living in the conclusion.

Overall 3/10

Hail to the Chimp Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 4h 56m
Squandered Teams 4%
Hazard deaths 13%
Falling deaths 44%
Curses taken per game .6
Clampaign chest 5895
Votes won 252230
Games Played 67
Attacks leveled 4806
Clammiest game 256
Clammiest teamup 27
Campaign Trail 22MI
Attacks Successful 37%
Victorious 52%
Teamups per game 2.0
Profitable teams 85%
Teleports per game 1.3
Curses landed per game 1.1
Switches per game 0.5
Invites Accepted 62%
Double Jumps 31%
Clams stolen per game 32
Clams recovered 3
Flair share 24%
Successful blocks 13%

Hail to the Chimp Review


Hail to the Chimp is like the roughest of waves. It looks fun to play from a distance but once you’re on it you start thinking about how much more fun the kiddie pool would have been. The game had a lot of potential since it is effectively a 4 player fighting game with various themes built in to make the gameplay diverse, but it ends up falling flat. This is because the controls aren’t all that well thought out and the gameplay wasn’t very polished. I’ll give it some props on the unique premise of the story, but the way it was executed wasn’t great.

So, the plot is that a bunch of animals are trying to be President. Each level has you play as one of them as you become President I suppose. It was hard to tell if it meant that you won the primaries and could be President now or if you actually became President. I’ll go with the latter I suppose. Either way, it was a pretty intense moment as each character got a commercial first and then an interview after completing the level. I like to think that this must have been some kind of political satire as all of the candidates were really bad. One of them couldn’t even talk in a way that we could understand since it only knew alien talk. I wonder how it won so many votes. Anyway, that’s the main campaign. The Monkey got the last level so I’ll assume that he is the President. It is called Hail to the Chimp after all. The story was fairly amusing even if getting to the cutscenes could be a drag.

There isn’t really a lot to do in the game. The story will last a little while, but after that the only thing to do is Vs. Mode. I did unlock various videos during the story so I suppose that replaying the stories could help you get more. The problem is that the game is super vague about how or why you unlocked the videos so you wouldn’t know exactly what you would need to do. Furthermore, this came out before trophies so those can’t help the replay value. Vs. Mode is nice in that regard, but I have a sinking feeling that you won’t be playing it for very long. The game is only a few bucks to purchase though so at least it won’t set you back all that much.

The graphics aren’t anything special. The colors actually make it difficult to see the characters at times. It certainly doesn’t look like a PS3 game at all and the PS2 titles from the good ole days had more heart. The soundtrack is pretty bad as well with no good themes. I can’t think of a single catchy one and that’s too bad. I’d expect nothing less from Hail to the Chimp though. In theory the gameplay can save it so lets talk about that now.

The actual gameplay style had a lot of potential. It’s an overhead 4 player brawler so it’s similar to TMNT Mutant Melee. You swing at each other with your standard attacks and can use parts of the environment to hurt other players as well like cranes. You can even decide to do a link attack with another player if both of you press the team up button. Use this move strategically though since another player can quickly steal your teammate by running in first and also pressing the team up button. It’s incredibly overpowered and will always net you a few KOs. One issue that you’ll notice from the get go is that the controls are very limited. Every character only has one combo…that’s it. That sort of limits your options quite a lot if you think about it. Furthermore, the game rarely has you actually fighting it out with your opponents in a Last Man Standing ruleset.

The game gives you a few different goals depending on the level. In some you have to rig the voting machines by destroying them and others have you paint the machines. The vast majority of the levels are in this style and that’s the problem for me. I only really liked the combat ones. The others are all heavily luck based since the opponents will team up and sometimes they won’t. If you fall in the wrong place then you’ll waste a lot of time or all of the computers will gang up on you. There really isn’t much to look forward to during these battles and the fact that you have to play them over and over again really doesn’t help. I wouldn’t have minded the gameplay as much if it stuck to being a fighter, but the problem is that it wanted to be a party fighting game. That blend only works for the best of titles and this one lacked the budget as well as the gameplay to complete such a move. As a result, the game grows tedious very quickly.

Multiplayer mode is the only reason this game should even deserve a glance. It fixes most of the game’s issues as you can simply limit yourself to playing the survival mode of combat and the luck/cheese factor is eliminated for the most part. You may still grow bored of doing the same combat for so long but it’s a slight improvement. Beyond that, I suppose the videos will give you some chuckles. There are quite a few of them after all and the game wasn’t too popular so you may have a hard time finding them on Youtube unless you just skip through a walkthrough to nab them all.

Overall, Hail to the Chimp is not a game that you’ll want to play for long. The story mode wasn’t thought out too well as each minigame is way too long so nobody wants to play a 7 round tournament. Losing at the very end is also devastating because then you have to do it all over again. It’s quite telling that you’ll be hoping there is no secret final level just so you can finish the game already. That’s just sad. Since the soundtrack and graphics aren’t quite up to snuff either, there’s not much holding this game afloat. If you see it for a few dollars then I suppose you can’t go wrong, but you should still question whether you should do such a thing or not. It’s not worth it if you ask me. Just go buy a Mario Party game instead.

Overall 4/10

Woman of the Year Review


I’m glad that the poster mentioned how this isn’t suitable for general viewing because it really isn’t. Yes, I’m talking about the content. It’s not violence or fanservice, but just a bad message that the film churns out which basically says that the heroine tried to step out of her designated gender line and so she was in the wrong. Lets delve into this film a little more, but it all feels like some kind of big scam considering that the title suggests that this will be a very empowering film.

The film starts off with a reporter drinking away his sorrows at a bar. He’s your stereotypical American. Sam like sports, has an over inflated ego, and drinks constantly. He hears a coworker by the name of Tess on the radio who says that sports are basically pointless and she wouldn’t mind if they were banned. He gets incredibly triggered and starts yelling a lot as everyone gently kicks him out of the bar. He writes a quick editorial back at her and the wars start. She’s completely destroying him in these written arguments and the boss begins to worry that it’s getting too personal. He tells them to knock it off and Sam realizes that he’ll have to “win” some other way. He invites Tess to a baseball game and they almost immediately decide to get married. Phase 1 of Sam’s plan is complete…time for phase 2!

Sam wants Tess to stop overshadowing him and making him feel bad. While they are co-workers in the magazine, they are on different levels. Sam writes pieces on sports and nobody really cares about him. Tess has connections within the army and ties to foreign ambassadors and people of very high stature. She speaks dozens of languages and is also rich and known as one of the most charitable individuals in the world. Sam is jealous and I suspect that he has been for some time now. He wants her to be a normal housewife or he’s going to embarrass her socially. He decides to skip out on her father’s wedding because he’s a jerk like that and does his best to destroy her legacy as such a pioneer for women’s rights. Can he succeed?

Short answer: Yes. Long Answer: He causes a lot of damage and does undermine her efforts at every turn. Towards the end of the film, Tess starts to get over dramatic to make Sam look good in comparison but it’s far, far too late. While the film doesn’t necessarily say this either, the whole thing seems like a plan of Sam’s from the beginning. I feel like he only married her so that he could try to get her to retire from being super successful and then he can finally feel superior. The whole thing felt like a way to put her down and the film never made this out to be a bad thing.

On the contrary, most of the climax is about Tess trying to make him a breakfast. Plot twist! Despite Tess being a super genius she has never been inside of a kitchen before. She doesn’t know how to make Toast or how to crack an egg. You’ve gotta be kidding right? That’s such an exaggeration and there is no way that she wouldn’t be able to do these things. I was getting triggered myself during the scenes as Sam is still being petty the whole time. He just sits there making mean facial expressions and mocking her efforts the whole time. She shouldn’t even have to be making it up to him since he was in the wrong the whole time.

Lets backtrack a bit though. When they first went out to the baseball game, Tess made an effort to learn it. Learning a sport and all the positions can be pretty tough if you’re not familiar with it, but she used her analytical experience from solving foreign matters of great delicacy and did it. She was then able to really get into the game and have a good time. Next, she invited him to one of her diplomatic meetings. Sam quickly found out that nobody there spoke English so he took the chance to make fun of someone since the guy couldn’t understand him and then Sam dashed out. He gets pretty full of himself from then on and tries to visit Tess in her office without talking to her secretary. Why would he be allowed in without an appointment? He has absolutely no respect for her position or duties and seems to think that he should be given priority over all of them. “Drop your appointment with the Prime Minister…I want to go to McDonalds tonight!” is essentially his attitude.

The only real mistake Tess made was to try manipulating Sam. She made him breakfast in bed for the first time and started talking about having a kid out of the blue. Sam was thrilled about this since having a kid would in theory mean that Tess would be focusing on her job next. She then lays the atom bomb on him by walking in a fully grown kid that she adopted from an unsafe environment. The kid’s a refuge. Sam’s immediately apprehensive, but you can be sympathetic to him. It’s like waking up on Christmas and your parents saying, “Remember that Nintendo Switch bundle that just came out with Mario Odyssey?” Me: Yeah! Them: “Well, we got you a Nintendo 64 and a used copy of Superman 64” Me: “Nooooooo!”

Superman 64 is actually a good game and adopting a kid is a really nice thing to do. They can easily turn his life from a very tragic one into a blessed one. The problem is that it’s not fair to just push this onto someone with no warning and even more so when you bring their hopes up only to smash it down. The kid can’t speak English either which makes the situation worse and the whole thing is unfair to Sam. This is the one part of the film where I don’t blame him for being upset and returning the kid to the orphanage was the right thing to do. The pair couldn’t handle the kid, but none of them really had a discussion with the other. This was also a pretty tricky moment since he did it as she was supposed to accept her Woman of the Year award. He naturally decided not to attend either although to his defense again, she claimed that he had no life so he should come. That’s kind of a mean thing to say.

You can tell by this point that the film was now trying to make her so exaggeratedly mean and insincere that we’re supposed to root for Sam. The problem is that I’d never do so in a million years. You really have to watch the film to see what a terrible character he is. At the very least, he does believe in getting even and tries to do so every time he is slighted.

It’s a shame that the film had to die in the writing department/plot because it could have been good otherwise. It’s part comedy and the humor is handled rather well. I liked one of Sam’s friends who is always talking about how well he fights. The guy came through when it counted and I always like the genuine friends like that who enjoy a good beer but are around when it counts. The scenes of Sam getting embarrassed are also pretty fun as you’d expect. It’s just all for naught in the end…such is the power of a bad ending.

Overall, I’m clearly not impartial in this film. I was on Team Tess the whole time. If you were rooting for Sam then I imagine that you would probably like this film quite a lot as he gets the last laugh time and time again. I never like seeing someone running around trying to please the other when it’s the mean character’s fault in the first place. It’s just unsavory and brings this film down quite a lot. I recommend avoiding it like an old Cheese stick and just watching something a little classier like The Magic School Bus. At least that show is educational and always leaves you with a heartfelt message.

Overall 3/10

Deadline – U.S.A. Review


It’s time for an old school mafia/gangster film. I haven’t seen too many of these yet so it’s nice to add another one to the list. It’s handled pretty well and makes for an interesting movie from start to finish. I think the main character could have been a little better to make it easier to root for him, but I suppose it was trying to show that he was just an ordinary joe who wanted to stick up for the paper. Bogart plays the role extremely well as always and it’s a film that has certainly aged well.

Hutcheson is a proud newspaper man. He’s never gone for sensational clickbait over the actual news. He goes for the facts and just that. Unfortunately this means that his paper is losing sales and a competitor wants to buy him out to crush it for good. There’s not much Hutcheson can do about it since the board of directors are okay with the sale. He has enough time for one last scoop though and decides to attack the vicious gangster Rienzi after one of his reporters is attacked for following the story. Nobody gets to take down one of his staff, not while Hutcheson is still on the case.

With all of the fake stories being spread around and alternative facts used instead of actual ones, this film is a good reminder that you have to be careful what you believe. All of the papers in this film were either paid off by Rienzi or were too scared to attack him. This meant that Hutcheson and his crew had to dig up all of the dirt on their own. Luckily, these guys are some of the best in the biz and were ready for such a challenge. Hutcheson is also a pretty confident and bold person himself so the villain’s threats never get to him. He defies the villains right up til the end and even if he is taken out of the picture, the facts have now been released for everyone.

The film has a very sudden ending, but one that works well. You can reasonably draw your own conclusions from it and they are positive ones. While we may not have gotten an epilogue, you can see how things will go from here. It may have all come together a little too well in some cases though. For example, Hutcheson’s one flaw is that he’s typically drunk and a little crazy. He forgot that he was divorced to his wife for a while because he had one too many beers and once he remembered, he wanted to call it off. It was a little late for that as she already found the rebound guy. It turns out that the guy didn’t have any dirt on him even though Hutcheson tried to find it. By the end, the ex-wife realizes that she doesn’t want a new man and comes back. It’s nice for the lead of course, but that part was maybe a little over the top. It was the one subplot where I couldn’t sympathize with Hutcheson at all. He’s a great newspaper man, but that was part of the problem for his social life. He had very clear priorities and his ex-wife was apparently not one of them.

As you’d expect from a newspaper film, the plot is very intricate and there are twists upon twists. More elements continue dug up by the reporters and then you get the full story at the end. It’s definitely a sad story all around, but one that will keep you guessing. It always seems like a fair mystery with my only issue being that some characters look really similar. For example, the rebound guy looked just like one of the gangsters so I was waiting for that twist. Rienzi is a decent main villain although he doesn’t get to appear all that much. He’s clearly a lot smarter than his minions, but it wasn’t enough as he gets outsmarted by the newspaper the whole time.

The court scenes were pretty fun. There wasn’t much that the heroes could do there since the paper’s owners had already given their consent, but it was still nice to see. The court rooms definitely haven’t changed much at all as it looks like an exact replica to the one I sat in a while back. The Judge made the right call since an appeal to emotion isn’t the right way to win a case. One of the executives did stand up in the end though so the paper got to have a happy ending thanks to that. Hopefully sales pick up so she can gain back her money.

Again, old films like this one are so good because of the dynamic writing and plot. The script is leagues ahead of anything you’ll see in the modern day. The characters all feel very real and professional. While this may not always help Hutcheson, it does work well with the film. The plot was good and handled well as we got to see how a lone newspaper can deal with a gangster threat. They may have fallen for the fake cops gambit, but they controlled the game otherwise. All of the reporters were very good at their jobs and everyone brought something to the table. The only plot that the film should have cut out was the drama with the ex-wife. It didn’t eat up too much screen time though so at least it wasn’t a huge issue, just a minor thing that would have made the whole experience even better.

Overall, Deadline USA is a good film. It’s certainly one that I hadn’t heard of before so it was a nice hidden gem to find. The film’s not very long so the pacing never slows down. As one of Bogart’s final films, I can safely say that it was a good decision to be a part of it. The film certainly would have lost some charm and charisma without his inclusion. It’d still be a film, but some leads were just made for the roll and he did a good job here. For once he didn’t even get knocked out despite getting in a car with the villains. You definitely have to love that confidence. I highly recommend checking this film out.

Overall 7/10

Dr. Strangelove Review


It’s time to look at a critically acclaimed political film. This one takes a pretty interesting look at the good ole Cold War days and our tensions with Russia. Back then it was all about getting the bigger weapons, but we all know that such a build up can only have negative results. This film points that out with America’s half thought out attack protocols and it leads to a very tense atmosphere where all of the characters are wondering what to do about this. It is definitely a well made film.

So, the long and short of it is that one of America’s generals is fed up with the whole thing. He wants to wipe Russia off the map and nobody’s going to stop him. He orders his men to execute the order where they are to fire a nuke at Russia. The command was given as if it was a critical red scenario meaning that the homeland was taken over so this was a last act of retaliation to ensure that Russia died alongside the U.S. Naturally, this was not the case at all, but the pilots had no way of knowing that since they were already in the air and set about to complete their mission. This was a suicide mission so they would not be able to return to see its effects anyway. The President finds out about this and gathers all of the top ranking officials to decide what to do about it.

The problem? There is nothing they can do about it. The order cannot be taken back due to radio silence and there is no way to override it. The President can tell Russia about it, but that will demand retaliation so the U.S. would also blow up. That means there are two ways this can go down. 1. The U.S. alerts Russia to their impending demise so they fire their own nuke and we both die. 2. U.S. keeps silent and Russia dies before they can retaliate, but then we will be known as villains around the world. It’s a tough call.

The cast of characters is of a reasonable size. We’ve got the President as a main character which is always cool. The flaw with this guy is that he’s very timid and I can’t imagine someone like that winning the oval office. He has a hard time talking with Russia since they end up being more aggressive and his whiny disposition makes it hard to sympathize with him. I’m sure this president did a pretty good job during the term, but he wasn’t cutting it. He’s a decently humorous character if you keep in mind that this is a parody though. Turgidson is a pretty charismatic character and one of those guys who gets a lot of witty lines, but is actually a bad character if you think about it enough. He is a little too enthusiastic about implementing a terribly selfish plan at the end of the film to save himself and he doesn’t mind shirking his duty for no real reason. What helps to combat these negative traits is how devoted he is to stopping the Russians. He is willing to lie or do just about anything else to convince people that they are behind all of this. Naturally, he opts to just stay silent and let Russia grow up. While the rest of the council made sure to ignore him during the decision making, you couldn’t ignore him because of how loud the guy was.

Ripper was really the main antagonist of the film and the guy who got the ball rolling. He’s definitely pretty crazy so there is no reasoning with him. It was surreal to see him start firing on his own soldiers just so he could stay alive and once he had stalled enough, he just shot himself. Shooting himself definitely hurt his credibility since he took the cop-out way in the end. The crazyness may have added to the film’s overall atmosphere, but I wouldn’t have minded if this character was cut out. Poor Mandrake was caught in the middle of this breakdown and he did a good job of trying to make the best of the situation. He did come close to stopping the catastrophe, but it was too little too late. Guano is a random general who showed up to take command of the situation over there and I’ll give him a little shout out for being fairly tough. Considering everything that had just happened, he took the situation in stride.

Finally, we have Dr. Strangelove. He is certainly quite the character and that’s to be expected since the film is named after him. The concept of an ex Nazi working for the U.S. and getting a seat on the council is pretty ludicrous but we’ll let it slide for now. His main gimmick was that he kept trying to salute by mistake and telling treasonous things like “My Fuhrer” and hoping that nobody noticed. He is pretty well educated about weapons of mass destruction and nuclear deterrents so he is consulted quite a lot in this film. It’s always interesting to have a traitor in your midst as well and he added some tension to the film. He was without a doubt, one of the best characters in the film.

There is really only one scene here that holds the film back a little and that is Turgidson’s debut. It’s just a really drawn out scene of his secretary answering a call for him while not fully dressed and the scene just stays here for a while. It felt like obvious fanservice and while it wasn’t anything drastic, it is enough to make you shake your head at the whole thing. The deluded general Ripper’s fixation on bodily fluids was also mildly alarming and the final desperate plan that the U.S. considers was also rather twisted. You’re liable to have some iffy plots in a black comedy since it’s part of the humor, but at least it was kept to a minimum. If you consider that this was really the only negative in the film, then that’s actually a pretty good sign. The film may not be amazing or as good as it could have been, but I’d call it a solid film in the end. It’s a movie that I could actually re-watch right now since it’s been a while and it does have a good amount of replay value.

I have to give a brief shout-out to the ending. It was handled beautifully and I was not expecting it in the slightest. It’s an ending that I can’t imagine a modern film getting away with. Not because of content as there is nothing violent about it at all, but just because it’s not a mainstream ending that people would probably approve of. That’s why it was so shocking when the film just suddenly ended with a quick song and a slow montage. I can’t say what the montage was about since that would definitely be a spoiler, but it was classic nonetheless.

Overall, Dr. Strangelove is a very clever film and most of the humor is actually rock solid. It’s a film that will breeze by in no time at all. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and just has a lot of fun along the way. The characters are all very crazy and charismatic. While some of them may not be all that likable on their own, they do make the film more enjoyable. It’s a very crazy film and while that can sometimes work against it, the uniqueness helps the film more than it hurts. If like me, you enjoy watching films that deal with politics and even poke fun at it in the process, then this is a film that you can definitely get behind. The film has a much larger title which will make a lot of sense once you watch the movie. I’d love to see a remake of this film someday as the concept is something that could easily be used again.

Overall 6/10

A Face in the Crowd Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old political film. It’s a good time to do so as it went back to theaters to “celebrate” the arrival of our new President. It’s a pretty fun film that overstays its welcome a little bit by the end. It went in a different direction than I would have expected, but nonetheless it’s not all that bad. I dare say that it is a little mean spirited though so get ready for everyone to get their just desserts.

Larry was doing time in a prison cell when a reporter showed up. Her name is Marcia and she had a neat radio show where she gets people to sing. Larry agrees to do it in exchange for his freedom and the cops are cool with that. He sings some tunes and Marcia realizes that he is destined for greatness. Larry already knew that, but it was nice to see it confirmed. He rose up from small time radio host to a celebrity so influential that even the President answered to him. Life was going well, but unfortunately, the power corrupted him. Larry began to go after everything money could buy and no longer identified with the average joes of the world. He began to destroy everything so Marcia and the others realized that it was time to put him down for good.

So, the film started out pretty reasonably. It was nice to see Larry slowly grow more and more popular while keeping his ideals in tact. He wouldn’t accept sponsors and liked to do things his way. Little did we know that it wasn’t because he was super noble or anything like that. No, it was just because he likes being his own boss and didn’t want to have to follow someone else’s rules. To an extent, Larry is likable. He’s a very charismatic guy and his yell/laugh hybrid is pretty iconic. He’s definitely a take charge kind of guy and he never would have been such a success if not for his personality. He did earn his spot at the top in this film, which is why it’s a shame that he fell so far. He began to go after every girl like James Bond while still acting as if Marcia was actually important to him. He also became as two faced as the politicians that he had always strove to be against.

He said one thing on TV and then another once the cameras were off. It was definitely a pretty drastic change and you can’t blame anyone but himself for how his career ended. I mean, you have to not be very smart to go on such a rant the instant that the cameras were off. That’s really just asking for trouble. While Larry started out as good character, he wasn’t likable by the end and I suppose that was the point. I can’t say that I cared for Marcia either. She started out as a tough reporter, but by the end she was being used as much as all of the other characters. At least she did make sure to walk away with the money before sabotaging Larry though. That was a smart move, but it didn’t make her any more likable either.

There was a reporter who spent a large part of the film trying to get Marcia to realize that Larry was a bad apple, but it was futile for the most part. He was meant to be a pretty likable character who kept it real and just stuck to the facts, but it felt like he was just talking nonsense half the time. He was trying to be very deep and eloquent with what he was saying, but it just backfired and he didn’t get a good line until the very end of the film. It was a little too late by then.

I thought that the ending was handled well. For a second there, I actually thought they were going to make it really dark and have Larry off himself in the end. While it is left to your interpretation, I like to think that he did not. He was crushed pretty badly, but he definitely seemed like the kind of guy who would keep on trying and that makes the ending a little less intense. If it had flat out had him die in the end, that would have hurt the film quite a bit.

I suppose the film was trying to make a point about how people flock to magnetic personalities even if the individual isn’t all that good. They can be mind controlled via group think, but at the same time, this moral came at the expense of Larry’s character. It’s not as if he was a saint in the beginning. The guy did start off in jail after all. However, he was a likable enough guy and he always made sure to just do whatever he wanted. He just let the job control him in the end and I would have liked the film to have taken a different path, but it’s not as if the film did a bad job with it.

I’d just say that the film wasn’t all that fun during the second half. It became more about Larry betraying Marcia over and over again until she finally betrayed him. The film got to be very somber with every character constantly heading to the bar to collect themselves. It was very dramatic and in stark contrast to the very lighthearted, comedic beginning. You could barely even believe that this was the same film. It was a pretty long movie so it was able to have these two “acts” while ensuring that both got a lot of screen time. I certainly preferred the first half.

Overall, A Face in the Crowd is a decent political movie. I prefer to see more of the actual politics since Larry is more of a middle man, but it was a nice little look at the whole thing. Politicians do get advice from a bunch of people so they can hopefully get elected and make connections along the way. We rarely see this aspect of the whole thing. I would have liked for Larry to have stayed as more of a protagonist and it would have made for a much more enjoyable film, but it just wasn’t in the cards. If you want to see a film that also serves as a warning about not forgetting your roots and losing your identity, then this could be a good film to check out. If you’re already confident that this is not a problem, go watch DBZ: Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan since you can turn your mind off and just enjoy the fights.

Overall 5/10

The Manchurian Candidate Review

manchurian-can1
Considering a certain event in the new Captain America series and the general plot of the Civil War film, it’s a good time to look at this film. Unfortunately, it was quite terrible so don’t go in expecting me to tell you how great it all was. It’s a very sad film where the characters continue to make mistake after mistake. The brainwashing is advanced enough that it completely clobbers a whole group of people and America doesn’t realize how many undercover fighters are around. Can the country stop these guys before it is too late…or is it already too late!?

Marco was with a platoon behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, his group was captured and brainwashed by the Soviets and forced to murder each other. One member of their group was turned into a sleeper agent (Raymond) while the others were allowed to return to the country. Why weren’t they all turned into sleeper agents? Who knows! Anyway, Marco starts having odd dreams and realizes that something is not right. He starts to uncover the truth behind Raymond, but what can he do about it. Few believe him and even fewer have enough power to do anything about this. Marco’s going to have to go with his gut instincts here, but it may not be enough.

Typically, you’d think that the film would try to make Raymond likable so we’d actually be sympathetic to his plight right? Well, this film decides to take the opposite approach and makes him a guy who is not likable in the slightest. This is why Marco suspects that something is up since the brainwashing forces every member of his platoon to like the guy. Even once Marco finds out that playing cards are the key to stopping Raymond, he decides to leave the agent alone for one more night with his fiance. Big mistake.

As a result of Marco’s blunder, Raymond destroys her along with her father and claims many more innocent victims along the way. He even gets one last murder as the film ends because nobody was fast enough to stop him. One subplot that is also grating from the start is that he and his mother don’t get along at all. This leads to a series of insults and sob stories as we find out that she is the one controlling him. Raymond can only watch as she takes out the playing cards and brainwashes him once again. No worries, he is partially cured by the end so he remembers enough to take her down, but naturally he doesn’t take any prisoners.

Not that this film needed any more subplots to destroy the momentum, but after a “Miller Time” moment (Downing a lot of beers) Raymond remembers an event from the past. He met a girl and instantly they fell in love, but his mother warned him to get away from her and he made sure to listen. The flashback felt like it just kept on going for ages and ages. It barely even mattered in the end and just added two more individuals for Raymond to murder in the end. Civil War definitely handled the concept better, but I suppose that this goes without saying. Even the fight scene between Marco and the guy who worked for Raymond wasn’t any fun, but I suppose that I should be grateful to have a fight scene at all.

The bottom line is that this film just wasn’t any fun in the end. My films need to at least have some entertaining aspect to them, but there was none of that to be found here. I felt bad for everyone that Raymond destroyed, but not quite as much for him. The police should have had the election guarded a lot better, especially considering that Marco knew that Raymond might try something. Letting him go on his own was definitely not their best strategy. Of course, they did foil the Soviet plan, but apparently there are many more of them hiding in the country already. The film doesn’t end with a whole lot of hope for the Americans, but at least we know that they won in the end. I tried to think of a silver lining here, but I really can’t. This is the kind of film that will have you staring at the clock on the wall for its entire duration. There are no positives or saving graces here. I suppose you could at least make the argument that it could have been worse though.

Overall, The Manchurian Candidate is another critically acclaimed film that ends up falling completely flat. None of the characters are likable and most of them are only introduced so they can be destroyed later on. The brainwashing was way too complete and unbreakable. Especially since it has already been years that have passed, I find it hard to believe that it would be so effective. Just looking at a deck of cards is basically enough to stop Raymond. The whole thing was just too easy for the Soviets from start to finish. I don’t really blame the government for not believing Marco since this is all a rather unbelievable story, but it didn’t make his job any easier. I definitely do not recommend this film so watch it at your own peril.

Overall 0/10