Author Archive

Riding the Concrete: Project X

Posted in Review, Samuel C. Doob with tags , on April 2, 2012 by sdoob

I did not make it a month without going to the movies.  I almost did.  I was one day short.  It was February: the shortest month.

I was roped into Project X because all my friends were going.  And as much as I love Raymond Carver, the idea of sitting on my concrete couch, reading “Blackbird Pie,” thinking about my friends laughing and cavorting with this supposedly hilarious party movie seemed fruitless.

An hour later, I walked out of the movie in a rage.  I punched a wall.  I cursed myself for my stupidity, my insanity – meaning doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. 

Many days have passed since I saw the first half of Project X and my anger has worn off.  But I want to show you what I wrote in the theater and then outside on the street when the feelings were still fresh:

See now I’m starting to get angry.  What don’t people understand about this?  You’ve got to create characters that you care about.  Otherwise it’s really boring.  Why is Wayne’s World a great movie instead of just a funny one?  Because you care about the characters.

Okay.  I fucked up.  I broke down. And I hate that feeling of “I’m bored now but maybe I won’t be bored in ten minutes.”  That’s how I felt all throughout The Social Network.  Then I walked out.

You know I love movies.  It’s not that I don’t.  I’m just tired of hollow characters.  (Look up hollow.)  Should I have been amused?  A fat, wimpy kid talking about different ways to finger women: is that supposed to amuse me?  Continue reading

ON STRIKE!

Posted in Samuel C. Doob, WTF with tags , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2012 by sdoob

My mother is in town this weekend.  Her hotel is close to my favorite movie theater.  I’m working Saturday and I get out at seven.  What would be better than to go to the movies with my mom on a Saturday night?  But I can’t do that.  While watching The Artist, I vowed not to go see another movie for at least two months.  I’d say that’s a long enough period of abstinence.

Here’s my reasoning: Continue reading

Out of Haywire and into Dolly: Double Dipping pt. Deux

Posted in Review with tags , , , on February 8, 2012 by sdoob

Joyful Noise is a terrible title for a movie.  And god I love Dolly Parton.

I walked out of Haywire after about seven minutes, made a phone call, came back in, saw that my friend had passed out, and I left again.  I walked into Joyful Noise and I watched the middle of the movie.  So this is not such a solid review.  I don’t know what happened at the beginning, or at the end.  I can guess things weren’t so great at the beginning, and by the end, they were better.  Like a Shakespearean comedy.  But who knows? Continue reading

A Movie-Hopping Failure starring One for the Money and They Grey

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on February 7, 2012 by sdoob

 

Like Timmy’s experience with Contraband, mine was similar with One for the Money.  I was so excited after seeing the trailer, I invited friends to go see an afternoon matinee.  It was a failure.  I really want to dig into One for the Money but there’s not much to say.  It is not only not good, it is clear from the start director Julie Anne Anderson cannot make it happen on any level.  In short, we left.  When we were seated in the adjacent theater, my friend said, “That may have been the flattest movie I’ve ever seen.” 

A month and a half ago, I realized my Xmas spirit was lacking as usual.  So I took out Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich from the library.  A book on tape, ready by Lorelei King.  It was an Xmas story and it introduced me to all the characters of the world of Stephanie Plum, who is the narrator and protagonist of many Evanovich novels.  Lorelei King, the reader of the book, was completely over the top and hilarious.  She did a much better job with Evanovich’s style and zany characters than the millions of dollars and hundreds of people who were involved in the feature film.  Heigl, by the way, was one of the executive producers of One for the Money.

And one other thing about the movie: the voiceover.  The only explanation I can come up with is they were trying to be so faithful to Evanovich the screenwriters wrote in all the non-dialogue parts from the book as voiceover for Heigl.  But it’s a movie.  We don’t need to hear visual descriptions.  It is no longer necessary for the author to help us visualize the scene.  Apparently when I left to get more popcorn, Stephanie Plum told the audience more than once that an onscreen car was yellow.

Before we move on to The Grey, let’s talk about previews, because I feel like a fool for getting so excited about movies that are obviously going to be bad.  Who are these genius editors?  They construct preview after preview that are almost always better than their longer counterparts.  Why aren’t they editing features?  Or directing them?  Or starring in them?  Can they function – and function is a giant understatement – only in the two and a half minute trailer medium?  Because so many movies – One for the Money and Contraband most definitely included – are worse than their previews.  In both aforementioned titles, the one liners land better, the sexual tension exists, and the movie stars’ smiles and mannerisms are magic – except that only exists in the preview, not in the actual movie.  But what am I going to rely on if not the previews?  Movie reviews?  No.  That was a joke.

 

So The Grey.  Let’s see.  Well first of all, it seemed like a masterpiece after thirty minutes of One for the Money.  But anything would have. Continue reading

Catch-Up: Hopscotch (1980)

Posted in Catch-up, Review, Samuel C. Doob with tags , , on January 16, 2012 by sdoob

There is a pattern in movies that disappoints me every time, something I’m still trying to get used to: the bad second half.

Hopscotch is a good example.  I had never heard of this movie: directed by Ronald Neame, released in 1980.  My friend bought it for me because of the cover: Walter Matthau at a typewriter, looking disheveled with a cup of coffee.  

It turned out to be a spy movie.  Now I’ve always had problems with James Bond.  Mostly because I don’t identify with the man.  Does he have B.M.s?  Probably, but they look and smell like ice cubes.  Does he have emotions?  Sort of, sometimes he does.  Does he drink beer with a straw?  Definitely not, what a stupid question.  James Bond’s just not my type of man then.  But a spy like James Bond played by Walter Matthau?  Amazing. 

I was so excited at the beginning of the movie.  Matthau’s Miles Kendig is irresistible; he is in love with a beautiful Austrian woman with a dry sense of humor (Glenda Jackson); he never carries a gun; and he is very, very smart.  After Kendig loses his position as an international spy, he decides to write a memoir, a tell-all, mostly to torment his old boss (Ned Beatty).  Kendig sends it, chapter by chapter, to all the people all over the world who should not be reading it.  So, as a result, he’s on the lam. 

At every turn for the first half of the movie, I was charmed, surprised, and laughing out loud.  Then came the second half: predictable, unending, spotted with scenes that flat-out didn’t work. 

Why does this happen so often?  Continue reading

Horses! Horses! Horses!

Posted in Review, Samuel C. Doob with tags , , on January 10, 2012 by sdoob

Basically, it’s a mess that’s never boring, but the director is Steven Spielberg and he gets to do whatever he wants like have WWI stop and both sides ignore their differences to save the war horse and then the owner of the horse – temporarily blind – does his special hand whistle to get the horse to come to him, and guess what? the British army parts like the red sea to let the horse come back to his man.  A little bit later an old man who has lost everything – including all his money – shows up with a unexplained shit load of money; he’s traveled to England from Germany, and he buys the war horse in an auction because it meant everything to his deceased granddaughter.  But then he gives it to the blind homo-erotic guy because, why not? it’s only all his money and the horse that his dead granddaughter loved.  And that’s going to be the end of the movie, wait almost, there’s going to be a long shot of the horse with a pink sunset behind him.  That’s not even good Spielberg.  That’s bullshit. 
 
Oh and it’s one of those movies that the whole time it felt like a book.  It was adapted into a play, which my mother thought was magic.  I told her, “Don’t see the movie.”

Adam Sandler, Method Actor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 7, 2012 by sdoob

Okay.  I liked this movie.  Is that such a crime?  Is my opinion no longer valid?  Maybe.  Maybe you liked The Descendants.  A lot of people did.  Including the founder of this website.  And now I’m basically telling you I liked Jack and Jill

“Which one is Jack and Jill?”

“Oh, it’s the one where Adam Sandler has a twin sister and she’s played by Adam Sandler?”

“You saw that?”

“Yeah.  On a date.”

You know why I liked this movie?  I’ll tell you.  Because Adam Sandler played Jill, the twin sister, so well, so thoroughly, I thought of her as a woman.  I was not taken out of scenes because I was thinking it was Adam Sandler in a dress and a wig.  Even in scenes featuring her muscular thighs: I believed the character, full on.  And I believed in her, too.  I liked her, and I would have liked to talk to her.  My friend (who despises the movie though he has never seen it) said it was supposed to be mean spirited towards Jill.  I didn’t feel that way.  I thought it was an affectionate and, more importantly, an honest portrayal of a funny, lonely, adorable woman from the nice part of the Bronx.  

By the way, everything else in the movie – the male Adam Sandler character, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, other side characters – is bad and not worth talking about. 

Finally, the movie begins and ends with supposed real twins talking about what it’s like being twins.  This did not sit well because a) all those couples in When Harry Met Sally… are actors, and b) because we know the whole movie is using green screens constantly, so how do we know it’s not one person multiplied?

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