Pacific Heights Review

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

Pacific Heights is one of those films where you feel like the main villain gets real lucky. His strategy of sabotage is very high risk since if you try this with the wrong person you are absolutely going to get shot. A lot of people just wouldn’t tolerate this guy’s antics right from the jump. The movie can be a bit annoying in that way as the main character also makes so many mistakes that he basically sabotages himself here. You wish that he would be able to make the right move at least once instead of crashing further and further.

The movie kicks off with two people being beat up and then we cut to Drake and Patty as the main characters. They are brand new landlords who have made an investment into buying a house so they can lease out the rooms. It’s a big investment but this does tend to be a fairly lucrative career as you can make a whole lot of money out of it. You do have to have a strong personality for it though because you will have to deal with crazy residents from time to time. They’re confident that they can find the right people though and so when Carter shows up and is too scared to do a credit check, Drake is not worried. This guy is going to pay “up-front later” which sounds like a contradiction but since when do wire transfers bounce right? Well the money never arrives and the guy has locked himself in the room while doing a lot of drilling. He’s also invited other people into the apartment and they are doing something crazy there. Can Drake and Patty stop this guy before he wrecks their livelihood?

Now one thing you should know is that landlords have a whole lot of power. Why do you think you hear so many stories of people being kicked to the curb? The power is not unlimited but Drake absolutely had some real options here. Not allowing Carter to buy the house before paying would certainly have been a good start but after that you’re not yet doomed. He should have broken the lock when he found out it was changed because that goes against the building policy. By the time he calls the locksmith all of the damage is already done. He should have gone to the cops way sooner instead of trying to handle it himself which is really where things backfired a lot.

Later on he is baited into entering the building again while there is a restraining order in place which was not a good idea and he just falls for every trap like beating up on Carter in front of the cops. He really makes the villain’s job super easy. He also didn’t react well with his girlfriend because he got so stressed out that he starts to be rude to her as well so even their relationship starts to get a little rocky. Drake’s whole life is falling apart and to a large extent he is the one digging his own grave.

Of course at the end of the day Carter is still the villain here and the one who needs to be blamed but you just know that Drake should have handled things way better. Patty had a much cooler head throughout the film. Unfortunately she didn’t tend to think of many ideas to help so in that way both of them were doomed but at least she wasn’t actively sabotaging their only chances of winning the case. See, they hire an attorney (Stephanie) to represent them in kicking Carter out and it should be an open and shut case but Drake being tricked into assault and violating court orders doesn’t help things at all. It was a really bad look for him.

As for Carter, surprisingly there isn’t some kind of big twist like Drake bullied him in high school or he wants revenge on the family for firing him. None of that, to this guy it’s just a business and he makes a whole career out of messing up people’s homes. It’s certainly a crazy hobby if I’ve ever heard of one but he just keeps going at it and has done all right for himself all these years. He got beat up in the opening so at least that group gave him a scare but realistically he’ll just use that to sue and cause a fuss unless you hide any evidence linking you to the beating. So you either have to take him down for good or put him in a position where he can’t sabotage your place later on.

I absolutely don’t blame the other neighbors for moving out either because there’s no way they could put up with this. The loud drilling at night was just way too crazy and of course Carter also causes a whole roach infestation. Roaches are hard to deal with and when you know where they are coming from but can’t do anything about it then that becomes a problem. The house was basically not salvageable at that point. I’m impressed they were even able to start rebuilding the place after the way everything was broken.

Patty’s plan of revenge had some promise although I think she needed to take it a little further to be really effective. Ultimately if she had gotten away a bit sooner then at least he might not have figured out it was her but at the end of the day it’s still just a minor inconvenience at best. You need to find a way to lock him up for a longer period of time although a large part of the blame also goes to the lady who agreed to pay Carter’s bail because that was crazy.

The film’s fairly tame although the climax naturally gets a little intense. Ultimately fighting in an unfinished house will always feel really dangerous because there are nails everywhere. Drake looks awful throughout the climax so the less said about him the better. I can tell you that I definitely expected much better out of him. At the very least the adrenaline and rage should have carried him through a lot better than they did.

Overall, Pacific Heights is one of those films that’s mainly annoying because of how the main character does everything half heartedly and as a result he constantly gets into trouble. You have to go 100% at anything you try to do because otherwise you are definitely going to be in trouble. At the end of the day I would say the film was decent. It doesn’t have a whole lot of replay value to me but it wasn’t bad either. If you’re looking for a film where the resident has the edge over the landlord for once then this is an interesting one to check out. You just know that if this guy went up against any experienced landlord then he would be in a whole world of trouble and I don’t love his odds of surviving.

Overall 6/10

The Girl He Left Behind Review

It’s time to look at an old school war film about a guy who tries to sabotage the army from the inside. Andy is a pretty spoiled main character and while the film tries to give him a character arc, it just doesn’t work. Still, the film is pretty good despite that. You just aren’t rooting for the main character for once.

The film starts off with the lead kicking the game winning field goal. Unfortunately he is broke so his Mom has to give him spending money for when he hangs out with the heroine. It’s a nice gesture and this isn’t a bad thing per say. What makes this a bad set up is that Andy takes advantage of her generosity by being reckless. He breaks the heroine’s car so he has to spend a lot of money to fix it. Everyone has had enough so he is sent off to the army. That’s when the lead decides that he will do everything he can to leave the army by sabotaging his platoon at every corner. Can the army make a man out of this kid or is it too late?

It goes without saying that Andy makes things miserable for everyone. The platoon is naturally expected to keep their barracks clean or their squad leader will get chewed out. Well, the lead decides to leave the guns unlocked and the coats unpressed. This effects the whole squad and the lead just tells everyone to deal with it since he won’t be stopping. He’ll even go and fight with anyone who tries to stop him. Unfortunately he is a pretty good fighter so it’s tough for the average joes to stop him. The lead also goes and steals their money for his own amusement.

Interestingly enough, the film doesn’t really try to make you empathize with the character until the final minutes of the film. He shows no real remorse and doesn’t do anything to make it right to the platoon. So then there is no reason to like the main character at all. Giving this guy a general position? Now that’s just crazy and I feel bad for his underlings. The army just promoted the wrong guy over someone who was likely a lot more qualified.

That’s why the fight scene near the end of the film was probably the best moment in the movie. We finally got to see the main character put in his place. I’m definitely glad about that since an army officer who trains diligently every day the way the commander does should definitely be more than a match for a random cadet. You can’t skip training and still hope to be the best.

Meanwhile you’ll feel bad for the heroine who has to put up with this. She just wants to study hard and retire early. Unfortunately that isn’t really an option with this lead. While she made the right move in breaking up with him early on, she made a mistake in getting back together each time. She should have just left well enough alone and I’m sure she would have been happier.

The rest of the characters are definitely on point. The commander of the main character’s platoon is definitely a lot of fun. You certainly can’t say that he doesn’t have personality. His lawnmower examples were always solid. Then you have the other army commanders who gradually realize that the lead is a real problem. There is a nice sense of unity among these guys.

The script is top notch here, but you would expect nothing less. The characters dish out a lot of witty one liners. The voice acting for the characters is pretty solid as they all tend to sound sarcastic at different points. While Andy is definitely a bad character, his confidence does lead to a lot of nice comebacks. He definitely isn’t afraid of throwing a little sarcasm at everyone around him. I suppose if you are going to play the role of the villain it is almost a necessity. I do hope he was forced to give the money back to his teammates at some point down the line though. You just can’t have someone like that as a commander otherwise. The ending is definitely the weakest part of the film. There’s just no way Andy should have been allowed to stick around the way that he did.

Overall, While the main character definitely goes a little too far with how immature he is, it doesn’t take away from the film’s solid writing and pacing. It’s a fun enough story and it definitely does show the army as being a lot nicer than you would see in other films. The lead wouldn’t have gotten away with nearly as much in a different movie. If you haven’t seen any of these classic army comedies before then I would definitely recommend checking it out. It’s a nice all around film. Some parts haven’t aged as well as others, but that’ll make it a very authentic retro film.

Overall 7/10