Young Man with a Horn


It’s time to look at an old movie based on an old novel which is based on a true story from a while ago. Naturally that means this review won’t have a score, but I will still dig into the movie. It’s one of those stories where it’s very hard to sympathize with the main character, at least with how he was depicted in the movie. They really make him an unbearable jerk the whole time and he makes so many wrong choices in a row that you figure he might as well be the villain. All right, lets jump in!

The movie starts off with Rick as a kid. He manages to get into a bar and watches Art play the Trumpet. Rick quickly realizes that this is the best instrument out there and decides to dedicate his life to it. He has a lot of ups and downs as the years go by since he likes to do his own thing. He’d rather play the wrong notes on purpose and get fired rather than do his job. Rick’s a free spirit who loves sabotaging himself. That’s when he finds the ultimate opportunity to do so. He currently has a great job with nice friends Smoke and Jo, as well as a good nightlife where he hangs out with his old friends. This all changes when Amy shows up and convinces Rick to throw it all away for her. She also forewarns him that she will destroy him much like she has destroyed everyone else who decided to have a fling with her. Rick accepts this challenge with a grin…and his life is quickly destroyed.

Whoops, that’s basically the whole film, but it’s hard to summarize that. See, Rick is one of those guys who has a lot of advantages in life. He’s a musical prodigy and he was in the right place at the right time often enough where he got a bunch of gigs. The problem is that he’s incredibly unlikable. He is quick to betray his friends for a girl that he literally just met. He then decides to marry her almost immediately because he has fallen for her so hard. After that he indirectly murders one of his old friends and it’s at this point that he finally realizes how Amy has changed him…and then gets into alcohol and falls further into despair.

Look, the film is trying to give Rick a big character redemption arc, but it’s way too late. I’m not saying that it’s impossible to turn back after murdering someone because such a redemption can happen, but the circumstances leading up to it and Rick’s actions afterwards just don’t work. He doesn’t show me any real signs that he will change. Even before Rick met Amy he had a lot of issues. There’s no reason why he needed to constantly rebel when on the job just so he could play what he wanted to. That’s simply being spoiled and entitled. If Rick had stuck to his job then none of this would have happened.

He also backstabs Art quite a lot in their final meeting. There’s absolutely no gratitude to the guy who saved his life and career many times. By the end when Rick goes to his funeral and picks up the Trumpet you want someone to slap it out of his hands. Imagine how disrespectful it would be for someone to walk up to a funeral and do that. Sure, nobody knows how he was involved in the accident, but it’s still annoying. That’s enough ranting on Rick, but I don’t have any sympathy for him because the guy knew what he was getting into and did it anyway. If you betray everyone for a stranger who loves twisting people, then that’s a choice you made.

Rick’s friends were good at least. As mentioned, Art was definitely solid. He was always around to help Rick whenever possible and really let him get a good start to his musical career. Smoke was a solid sidekick and someone that you could always count on. He’s definitely a solid guy and stuck by Rick the whole time. Jo was a good heroine as well. She’s not the most upfront person out there, but she meant well. One edge Amy has over Jo is that she’s a lot more direct. While it’s customary for the guy to approach the girl, if you really want someone you better make your feelings known or someone else will. Amy made her call while Jo held her tongue and ultimately it cost her. Still, at least Jo didn’t take it all that personally.

It’s a pretty small cast, but at the end of the day it’s not like you need a whole lot more characters than that. The film is able to tell a pretty complete story with just those guys. The writing is pretty solid with a lot of quick dialogue. It’s not quite as eloquent as some other titles, but it has that same atmosphere which is definitely important. The film’s pacing is also pretty good.

Overall, This is a pretty decent film, but one that is held back by Rick quite a lot. He’s just not a good character. He consistently makes the wrong calls and you almost wish all his friends had befriended someone else. They all would have been positive influences on each other. The ending’s a bit sudden so brace yourself for it, but I suppose the ending could have been a lot worse. If you want to see a film with a lot of Jazz music then this is your best bet. Jazz is always a fun style of music. You don’t hear it a whole lot in movies nowadays, but when it shows up it’s always pretty solid.

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Pretty In Pink Review


It’s time to look at another one of those old school romance films. They haven’t been all that good so far and unfortunately this one doesn’t change the trend. The writing’s still bad and without any likable characters to back the film up it was doomed from the start. This is the kind of movie that will start to really drag on before you’re even halfway through the film. The movie needed some kind of angle to be entertaining and just couldn’t find it.

The movie starts with Duckie annoying Andie as usual. He’s always tagging around and making jokes, but Andie just wants to have a normal school life. One day she makes a fake love letter as part of a game but manages to drop it and a kid named Blane picks it up. Here’s the dilemma, Blane is one of the “cool” kids while Andie is part of the group that is always considered outcasts. As a result she is now ashamed, but then Blane shows up and decides they should be together. Can Andie risk believing him or is she going to get hurt once again?

Interestingly enough, I saw on Wikipedia that the film has an alternate ending which makes more sense than the one we got. Neither one is good to be honest, but at least it made narrative sense. There’s really no reason to root for Blane here because he’s a complete pushover. The guy isn’t very smart and doesn’t realize that bringing Andie to a house filled with rich kids wouldn’t be a good idea. Then by the end the mind games actually work on him and he basically deserts Andie in her time of need. Why would Andie give him the time of day after that?

The romance is handled very poorly here. On the other hand, there’s no reason for Andie to want to be with Ducky either. He’s always joking around and that’s why she has never taken him seriously before. His antics go pretty far at times like when he kept turning on the fire alarm at her job. She could have gotten in trouble for that if you think about it. Duckie also can’t be that serious since to make her jealous he gets together with someone else briefly and then possibly with a third person by the end. None of these characters seem mature enough to get into a serious relationship so that means there’s no way the romance can work.

Beyond that, as I mentioned the characters are not very likable. I’ve already explained for Duckie and Blane so what about Andie? Well, Andie is definitely the kind of character that everyone pushes around here. I think that considering what she knows of the cliques and school setting she should have been a lot more prepared for what ended up happening. She ends up taking everything pretty hard each time though. Then she also tends to snap at her father quite a bit even though he seemed to be doing his best for the film. He may not have been perfect, but I didn’t doubt that he was trying to find a job when she accused him of faking it. I don’t think the film tells you definitively if she was right or wrong, but it did seem to come out of nowhere.

The only reasonable character here is Andie’s friend from work. At least that girl was taking charge the whole time and never let things get to her. Too bad she wasn’t more of a main character since maybe she could have helped the film. Regardless it was probably too late to get a positive score though. Put it this way, 90% of the film is all about the dialogue since this is a slice of life, but the lines are all too cringy for this to work. I can’t think of any good scenes here. It may not go off the deep end the way a horror film would, but at the end of the day the film isn’t particularly entertaining and that is a problem that’s almost as big as just being bad.

It all goes back to the whole romance/drama vs romance/comedy films. If you’re going to do a good romance then typically throwing in some comedy helps. I don’t know if this film was supposed to be a comedy, but it definitely falls a lot more into the drama route. The film takes itself very seriously the whole time, but the situations aren’t realistic so it all ends up falling flat. Andie should have had Blane choose between her and his friends right from the start. Think about it, if you’re friends with someone who is constantly bullying the person you’re trying to spend time with then that doesn’t make any sense. You gotta choose sooner than later and since Blane was so indecisive and made the wrong choice as well, that should have been it. The ending just makes the film even worse because it also makes Andie look bad. Nobody walks out of this film with their rep intact except for the work friend.

Overall, Pretty in Pink is not a film that has aged well. I’d advise you to skip this one before you even start. If you like a classic school romance tale then I’d make the case that most of the sitcom shows would be able to do it better. They don’t take themselves as seriously and have whole seasons to give their characters development which naturally works a lot better. Pretty in Pink has to get these characters together, break em up, and get em together again in one film. There’s almost no way a film could pull that off even if everything was on point.

Overall 1/10

It Happened One Night Review


It’s time to look at an old romance comedy that I hadn’t heard of, but is apparently a pretty big deal. It’s definitely a fun film so it is a title where the reputation is certainly deserved. I’ve always said that the best romance films are the ones that are part comedy and this seems to reinforce that. The romance does still get a little dicey, but on the whole this is definitely a movie that I can recommend.

The film starts with Ellen having another argument with her father. He does not approve of the man that Ellen has chosen to marry. It’s hard to blame him as it sounds like she barely even knew the guy before they married. To clarify, they are already married although the father does not accept this. He has decided to take steps to annul the marriage and so Ellen decides to rebel by jumping off the ship. She is now determined to make it to New York where she can be safely united with her husband. Unfortunately this will be difficult since her father is so powerful that he controls the whole media as well as the police and a private task force. The only way she will be able to make it to New York in one piece is to team up with Peter.

Meanwhile, Peter is a reporter who hasn’t had a great string of lucky breaks lately. In fact, his luck has run out and he is fired. The guy gets drunk and decides to hop on a bus to put some distance between him and the old place. It just so happens that Ellen is on that bus. They bicker a bit, but before long he figures out her secret identity. Peter decides to help her get to New York in exchange for an exclusive story on her experience. Their personalities completely clash, but Peter is determined to make it all the way. Unfortunately, this sparks a forbidden romance between both characters and Peter must continuously remind himself that she is already married. No matter how their feelings may be, to do anything would be wrong so he must stay strong. Hopefully the film writers can control themselves here.

That does get to the heart of the issue here. No matter how much you may enjoy the romance here, Ellen is already married. That’s game set and match right there. It’s not like the Hallmark movies where it’s just a fiance. I mean, that’s still pretty dicey, but it hasn’t been set in stone yet. Here, she already made her choice so what if this is a “The grass is always greener” moment and she’s just running on instinct? How does Peter know this won’t happen again? Part of this goes back to the fact that she seemingly ran into King (the guy Ellen married) in a car and just decided to marry right away. This was partially to contest her father and so maybe her feelings for him were never all that deep. Throughout the movie Peter asks her several times why she likes King and Ellen evades the question every single time.

To their credit though, they don’t make a move until after the marriage has been annulled. At least that’s good so the cheating didn’t actually happen, but since it was premeditated that’s almost as bad. So I can’t get behind the romance. Honestly the film would have been amazing if they had stuck to being friends instead. It’s often been a debate on if two grown ups can manage to stay friends without wanting something more. If you listen to films then that’s basically impossible. It almost always leads to romance. Honestly, the only exception I can think of off the top of my head is Black Widow and Hawkeye who have a great bond but as allies and nothing more. Hawkeye went on to marry someone else and Widow is married to her job. Even that is different though as the films are usually ensemble casts. I’m talking about a 1 on 1 film like this one where the ending doesn’t suddenly lead into a romance. The romance here could have been worse, but I think this was a missed opportunity.

Ah well, both of them are solid leads. Ellen is definitely used to living the rich life so she needs some time to adapt, but she does manage to adapt right away. I was surprised at her eagerness to persevere and she didn’t really do any complaining. From the first scene you get the impression that she would be very spoiled, but I didn’t get that vibe during the actual adventure even if Peter says otherwise. After the initial good night’s sleep Ellen is almost like a completely different character as well. She’s super chipper and helpful throughout. I think she was just trying to make the best of it and if so that’s another credit to her character. There are some misunderstandings by the end of the film which lead to extra drama, but I’d actually place the blame on that with Peter and not Ellen.

As for Peter, he’s pretty solid but not as good as Ellen. For the positives, he’s always ready with the banter and has a lot of confidence. His first scene may even be his best one. His remarks are always pretty humorous and while he tries to keep up a tough act he is always looking out for Ellen. It’s not as if he likes her from the start either so at first he’s just being a nice guy in general. Where he weakens is once he actually starts to like her. He has some sudden outbursts, one of which was particularly out of line where he threatened her life. Even if he never actually meant it, it’s not something you can take back so easily. He’s a bit too controlling at times and so Peter definitely has a lot more weaknesses than Ellen does.

We’re also never given any reason to root against King so for all we know he might be the better character. The film hints that he isn’t super attracted to Ellen but it’s said by her father who has a grudge against the guy. There are no impartial accounts for him so it’s hardly a level playing field. Peter is also 100% responsible for the last misunderstanding they have as a simple note or something would have solved the whole issue. Honestly, he probably should have taken her along for where he was going or told her the plan up front. He was just being overconfident at that point as she hadn’t even said “Yes” yet as he hadn’t asked a question at that point.

The writing is solid as expected here. I’ve said it many times and I’ll probably say it many more times in the future, but I really like how the characters used to talk back in these olden days. Everyone is so professional and formal in their day to day language. It makes the whole experience more sophisticated. Aside from the main two I also liked the supporting characters. You’ve got the fast talking blackmail guy, the train officer who always likes talking back to the others, you’ve got Peter’s boss, and more. Even the cab driver who turned out to be a bit shady was fun. It’s just a colorful cast of characters.

Now, the film is quite long so there are a few pacing issues here that you might not see in the average film from back in the day. In particular the second half starts to drag on a bit. I much prefer the opening half before the characters have really bonded as it leads to a lot of the film’s main humor. Once they are getting along then we head into more drama territory with the misunderstandings and such. I think the last one could have been avoided as it’ll just make you feel bad for King if anything. The way in which things end for him is definitely last second. You know how the film is going to end as soon as it begins so nothing is particularly surprising, but I think speeding things along a little more probably would have been a good idea.

Overall, It Happened One Night is a pretty solid film. I do think it stretches on a little too long with some scenes being longer than necessary, but at its core it’s a movie with a solid premise and execution. The characters are written well and it won’t fail to keep your attention as it goes on. The romance holds it back to a degree, but it’s definitely handled a lot better than I imagine it would be in a more modern title. If you like rom-com films then this is a pretty good one to check out. There really aren’t any big negatives here so you’re in for a fun time.

Overall 7/10

The Little Mermaid Review


It’s time to look at the classic story of The Little Mermaid. It’s definitely a very well known Disney film and for good reason. It’s got solid animation, a tight plot, and even good action scenes. This is a very complete Disney movie and one that holds up well to this day. One of these days I ought to do a ranking of the classic Disney titles, but this one would be pretty high. It beats Aladdin, Dumbo, Snow White, Cinderella, but isn’t quite ready for Mulan.

The film does a good job of showing off the underwater kingdom and really illustrating how much better it is than the human world. Ariel lives in pretty much a paradise, but unfortunately the grass always looks greener on the outside. She has always had a fascination with the human world and after saving a prince she realizes that she wants to be with him instead of the kingdom. Ariel makes a deal with Ursula that she can woo the prince in 3 days or she will obtain the mermaid’s immortal soul. The stakes are high, but Ariel is ready for action.

Right away you can tell that this title is a little more intense than the previous Disney films. Maybe they wanted to take advantage of the fact that is was a newer title, but it is noticeably more violent than the others. Now, when I say “violent” keep in mind that this is still G-PG. It’s nothing crazy, but the stab at the end is pretty brutal and then you have Ursula eating creatures that are still alive. Her lipstick seems to be quite nefarious and then there’s also the scenes of the cook chopping up the fish. It does raise the stakes a bit here as the heroes are in real danger most of the times. There isn’t all that much slapstick or humor during the chase scenes compared to some of the other titles. When the villains are after the heroes it is life or death.

The animation is also quite stunning. In that regard I can definitely say that this is the best Disney animated flick from this era. The colors are all very vibrant and yes, I did see it in Blu Ray, but I’m sure the film also deserves most of the credit here. Naturally the songs keep pace as well with quite a few excellent tunes in there. In particular Sebastian gets a really solid song “Under the Sea” which is rightfully as popular as it is right now. There really isn’t a weak song in the mix.

As expected the pacing is also pretty sound. There’s never a dull moment here and the story is always transitioning into something. We also get development for all of the characters. The Prince even has his own supporting characters like his attendant who wants him to settle down. This is usually where I’d bash Prince Eric for going for rebounds, but I guess he was being mind controlled so it isn’t quite as awful as it usually is. Once the control was gone he went back to being normal and seemed more or less loyal. I can see why he was interested in the voice, at first, but it’s good he tossed his instrument away when the going got tough. You’ll still feel bad for the attendant who has to get hit with all of these shenanigans the whole time. He just wants a peaceful day, but he isn’t likely to get one.

Sebastian is definitely the best character here though. He has the hype song of course and aside from that he is always the guy who stays calm and collected. He does try to stand up to the King for a while even if the other characters in the film don’t really give him credit for that. He gets put into a lot of difficult situations and I don’t think we can fairly blame him for most of those. Stuff happened and he made the best choices he could under the circumstances. Then we have Ariel’s friend Flounder. He isn’t quite as resourceful or interesting, but he’s a nice guy I suppose. He’s certainly got Ariel’s back and tries his best to help her.

The King is definitely not as reasonable as some of the other Kings. He definitely isn’t willing to hear Ariel out after all, but at the same time she probably should have approached him about it first. I think we can reasonably assume from the dialogue that she did in the past though so even though I’m going in a loop here I ultimately have to pass the verdict that he wasn’t too reasonable. He also gets played like a fiddle against Ursula. He should have aimed anywhere else but at the scroll if he wanted to stop her.

Ariel’s a charismatic character of course even if she is a little too desperate to get to the human world. Everyone warns her that this is a bad idea, but she just won’t listen. She did make the right choice in saving Eric regardless though. Just letting someone drown is never the right answer. From there she was doing a good job at fulfilling her end of the bargain if not for Ursula’s meddling. She just shouldn’t have accepted it in the first place. As for Ursula, she’s definitely a pretty solid villain. She’s ready to win at any price and is totally content with playing the long game. Who knows how long she was waiting until someone like Ariel was finally ready to make a deal? She’s clearly gotten other clients in the past as well so her business is booming.

Overall, there’s a whole lot to this story and that’s why Little Mermaid holds up to this day. The action is intense and the graphics are quite sound as well. Throw in an excellent soundtrack along with a solid cast and you’ve definitely got a winner. I imagine that it’ll be tough for the sequel to match up to this one, but naturally I’ll hope for the best. If you somehow have not seen this film yet then I’d recommend fixing that straightaway. It’s definitely a solid title that I’d recommend to any viewer. You can’t go wrong here and at the end of the day it’s just a fun movie.

Overall 7/10

How to Stuff a Wild Bikini Review


It’s time to look at another beach movie. Unfortunately this one doesn’t break the trend of this genre not being particularly good. There’s not a whole lot to work with to start here and the film isn’t exactly going to be winning any Oscars for its writing. No, the film needed to try and win on its own merits and unfortunately it was a losing battle. You can pretty much tell how this film is going to play out from the start.

The film starts off with Frankie going to an island for 3 weeks. He begins to cheat on Dee Dee with the locals over there but then begins to worry that she may be doing the same thing. He hires a witch doctor and some spellcasters to try and prevent this from happening by creating a super model who will block Dee Dee at every turn. This plan works for a while, but then local advertising star Ricky shows up to try and steal Dee Dee away. She wants to stay loyal to Frankie but the more she hangs out with him the more she starts to lose her morals. Can she stay strong or is Ricky right in saying that everyone cheats eventually?

From the start you can see how the plot is pretty dicey. Frankie cheats on Dee Dee in pretty much every film. It’s nothing new and while she gives him a stern talking to he never actually feels bad about it. Even in this film he flat out says that it’s okay for guys to cheat while it isn’t for girls. If he actually believes that then this makes him look even worse as a character. Dee Dee definitely shouldn’t be putting up with this and the fact that she does is most unfortunate. Naturally this doesn’t excuse her from staying true to herself, but it does make you think she should just get over Frankie and find someone else. He strikes you as the kind of guy who’s fairly possessive and not in a good way.

Then you have Ricky who isn’t really any better. He’s very persistent, but that’s where his good traits end. When Dee Dee tests how serious he is, the guy fails. He’s also very quick to move on from her to the next person so you really can’t say that he is super sincere. He would be cheating on her just like Frankie. It’s unfortunate, but this is why Dee Dee can’t trust any of these characters. None of them are trust worthy and they aren’t afraid to admit it.

There’s really only one good scene here and that’s a fight scene that occurs midway through the film. Van Zipper hires a local thug to scare off Ricky and his entrance is admittedly pretty good. He just crashes in through the ceiling and the fight begins. In Ricky’s defense he is actually putting up a good fight. It goes back and forth for a while until Dee Dee steps in. I was surprised to see an action scene that was actually handled fairly seriously so that was pretty cool. I suppose the race scene at the end also wasn’t bad. Any scene away from the beach is certainly a good thing so no complaints from me there.

Of course, the film’s score was already dead by this point. There was just no recovering from all of the beach moments. The film is essentially one long fanservice scene. The camera work ensures this and half of the time there isn’t even a plot in the movie. It’s just all of the characters acting dicey and buying time until the film ends. There’s even a very long stop motion scene at the beginning that was added to fill in time. Even as far as the beach films go this may have been one of the weaker ones. The songs weren’t catchy either. These characters can’t really sing so they weren’t helping their case here.

Even the supernatural elements don’t really add to the film’s intrigue. The giant bird that follows Dee Dee around doesn’t really do much beyond yelling all the time. It somehow works to annoy Ricky most of the time, but he’s just easily irritated. I’d have liked the witch doctor to take a more active role as instead all of his scenes are basically the same gag of him trying to drink some rockets. You can’t keep on using the same gimmick over and over again while expecting it to still be humorous. After a while you’ll just be ready to roll your eyes at the whole thing.

Overall, I’d suggest sticking away from this film. Odds are that the title would already be a pretty big red flag though. I have yet to see a really good beach film and that certainly won’t occur within this franchise. There’s just way too much fanservice and no likable characters. All of them are either not trust worthy or have some kind of agenda. At most the president of the company here was decent and even then he doesn’t really get to do anything. If you’re looking for a good water adventure film then you should watch Aquaman instead. At least that film has good action scenes and the characters rarely spend any actual time at the beach. That’s a winning formula. For this film, the only positive thing you can say about it aside from the fight scene is that it’s short. At least you won’t have to be watching the events unfold for very long.

Overall 2/10

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

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

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

The Graduate Review


It’s time to look at an old film about an affair. I haven’t seen too many home wrecker films and the ones I have seen like the Home Alone sequels don’t really focus on that part of the plot. As this one puts that at the front of the plot, it was doomed right from the start. After all, you can’t really root for a lead like that.

The film starts with the lead heading home after finally getting his bachelors degree. Right away you can tell that something is off with the lead as he doesn’t want to talk to everyone and keeps running away. It’s played partially for humor but even so the lead’s being overwhelmed by everyone happens too soon. You’d think that he could have at least bluffed through it for a while. Instead he tries to spoil the party for everyone. Eventually he is caught by Ms. Robinson who suggests they have an affair. The lead knows she is married but decides to go through it anyway. Then he starts to like her daughter and now he wants to try and marry her while dodging Ms. Robinson’s threats.

As you can see from the very premise, this film didn’t really have any potential. There’s just no way that a film like this could be good since there is no way for you to possibly root for Benjamin. He never even tries to deny Ms. Robinson as everything he says isn’t convincing in the slightest. As I mentioned he also handled his opening scene terribly as he gets upset at all of the guests for no reason. Why couldn’t he have just played along at least for a bit? He isn’t a motivated lead and just gets himself into more and more trouble.

Then his attempted romance with the daughter is just as bad. Naturally he shouldn’t be trying to get together with her and he didn’t even take the time to break up with her mother before starting. Then he follows her to the school and pesters her until she agrees to marry him. Benjamin has no tact and you’ll probably cringe at the ending. It’s a pretty sad ending for everyone involved and I’m going to say that there was a lot of plot hax in the scene. There’s no way that Benjamin should be able to overpower such a big group the way that he did. They should have knocked him out right there.

Naturally with a plot like this one there is quite a bit of fanservice to bring the film down with. You’ve also got some pretty terrible writing to worry about as well which doesn’t do the film any favors. If anything it just helps it sink further and further down the food chain. None of the characters are written well or even realistically. At that point all you’re left with is a sinking ship and I don’t recommend going down with it.

At least the song was fairly memorable with the Darkness bit being a meme recently. It’s a pretty reasonable tune although I’m not sure that I can really give the lyrics a whole lot of credit here. At the very least they weren’t as annoying as you may have suspected so that’ll have to do this time. Having even just one memorable song is still more than most can say.

On an unrelated note, I did like how the food looked. The amount of fries that the main characters got was pretty impressive. They definitely don’t give you that much nowadays unless you pay quite a bit to the store. If only we could have had more scenes with food then maybe the film would have had less time to dig its own grave. There’s not really any one thing that could have saved the film, but something that would have helped would have been a different main character.

If the main guy is going to be an antagonist anyway then he may as well be a confident one. Benjamin keeps on stuttering and acting timid the whole film which is always super annoying. It’s the film’s terrible way of trying to show that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he certainly does. He’s just putting up an act and it’s one that is a little too obvious to actually work. Also, it’s not as if there is any kind of justification for what he’s doing. He’s just trying to wreck someone’s family and he never actually feels any guilt over it. By the end of the film you get the startling impression that he doesn’t actually regret anything or even that he sees himself as the villain. He’s just happy to keep on going and probably wouldn’t change a thing.

Overall, This film isn’t particularly long, but it sure does manage to drag on and on anyway. I’d advise taking a step back and considering a different film over this one. You’ll be glad that you did and it’ll save you a whole lot of time and effort. There’s nothing good about this film from the writing to the “humor” to the terrible plot. A film like The Graduate just never graduated to the level of cinema that you would expect to see. As such it hasn’t aged well and I’d make the case that it was never even a good movie in the first place. It was dead on arrival.

Overall 1/10

Number One Review


It’s time to look at a film with an unlikable lead. It’s a shame that the film is inclined to spend more time on the drama than the actual Football plot. Had it been the other way around then I think this title could have had some real promise. After all, who doesn’t want to enjoy seeing the Saints win a Super Bowl? There aren’t exactly a whole lot of football films after all so this is just wasting a slot. Unfortunately there isn’t much to like in this film.

The main character is a guy named Cat. He’s a washed up old quarterback who used to be good, but isn’t anymore. He doesn’t have the healthy diet that Brady possesses, nor does he have the integrity to try and improve his game. As a result, instead of heading to yet another Super Bowl he can’t seem to beat anyone. Cat decides to take his frustrations out on the backup quarterback and also starts cheating on his wife. Cat is determined to see how far he can push everyone until they push back. Well…he may just get his wish when the Cowboys roll into town. Jerry Jones and his team aren’t about to allow any of this foolishness so Cat needs to get his head in the game or it could be curtains for him.

From the start you get the feeling that this film isn’t going to be particularly good since Cat is just never on the up and up. The party scene where he gets tempted to cheat is very early on. Unlike some protagonists who will at least pretend to restrain themselves Cat is the one flirting from the start. He’s just a distasteful character who wrecks everyone’s lives. Even the person he went on the rebound with is quickly ditched as Cat won’t stay with anyone for long. He also tries to mess things up at his wife’s job since he begins to become jealous of her success as well.

The guy is very stubborn and the problem is that he doesn’t want to work on improving his skills either. This leads to a dilemma as you can’t get better without practice and Cat refuses to put in the work. There’s no way that I can be sympathetic to a character like that. It’s simply not happening. The worst scene in the film is certainly when Cat breaks all of his wife’s projects and gets away with a whole lot. The wife probably should have just left by that point. He’s clearly insane.

What is just as bad as this lead is the fact that everyone just puts up with it. The coach tells Cat that he believes in him, but there’s no reason that he should. He should simply bench him and have the backup play. Why let this Quarterback undermine you at every turn and continue to play? It just doesn’t make any kind of sense to me. The coach tries to justify this by saying that the backup isn’t ready but it should beat the alternative. It also shouldn’t have come to this.

During the film we get a lot of flashbacks about how good Cat was when he first started. That’s fine and all, but in literally the first play of his career as a starter he ignores the coach and changes up the play so he can do whatever he wants. He even insults his fellow players and threatens them. Why would the coach allow that at the start? There’s no reason to allow for that to a rookie. The whole film just never feels realistic and without anyone to root for the whole movie suffers.

Naturally most of his teammates fled the league to get high paying jobs which is a good move. At least they weren’t going to just stand around and get insulted the whole time. Of course one of them ends up being pretty iffy and hosts dodgy parties as this kind of film can’t resist scenes like that. In case you couldn’t guess the romance here is also pretty terrible as well. With sub-par writing at work this was basically unavoidable though. The film isn’t too long so at least it doesn’t drag as much as it could have, but that’s barely even a silver lining at this point.

It’s also hard to know where to start when talking about how to fix the film. You’d pretty much have to redo it from the ground up and by that point I always wonder whether that even counts as fixing it. It’s just a totally different experience in a case like this. Still, the first thing you’d have to do is bring in a completely different main character. That could help I suppose and then give the actual football games more screen time. Follow those two key elements and you can probably salvage this film, but it’ll be tough.

Overall, Number One is a film that I highly recommend avoiding. It’s a terrible football movie and the main reason for that is due to the sport not playing a big focus at all. It’s all just about how bad Cat has become over the years and even the plot is ruined when we find out via flashbacks that he’s always been a nasty character. The film can’t even keep its own plot straight. Naturally you’ll be rooting for the Cowboys to win the final game. America’s Team can’t lose and at least they brought the film to a quick end.

Overall 2/10