31 Days, 31 Movies: Catching Up
With End of Year prep and holiday family time it’s been pretty easy to find a moment to watch a movie but pretty difficult to find a quiet moment to write about them. So I’m going to do a quick write up of all the movies I’m behind on to catch up. The last six will be a real good time though for all I promise.
22. Battle of the Sexes
I wanted this movie to be amazing. I love Emma Stone and there is not much I find more satisfying than laughing in the face of misogynists on the internet. I enjoy a good sports movie and a well-crafted period piece. But Battle of the Sexes is not good enough at any one thing it tries to be to make for an excellent cohesive movie. Emma Stone’s performance is good as usual and Steve Carrell—I assume—is doing Bobby Riggs justice but the rest of the cast is nothing special. The writing is harried and unfocused and when it does settle down for a moment to make a point it’s so blatant and lacking in subtlety to be hard to take seriously. It’s also not a fun watch because so many of the characters are awful, which I suppose is par for the course in 1973 America but it does make the scene where Bobby embarrasses Margaret Court a strange scene because they’re both equally unlikable characters. It’d be like if Glory Road stopped in the middle to have a game between two all-white racist schools. Battle of the Sexes is a pretty good sports movie, it’s a pretty good historical film, it’s a pretty good character piece but it’s not a great anything and that ultimately is the film’s downfall. It is a worthwhile watch though just to watch Emma Stone stick it to a bunch of shitty old white men.
Will Smith will never make a good movie again. I’m just going to call it now. Good Will Smith lasted from about 1990 to 2007, we are now rounding on a decade of bad or mediocre Will Smith movies. In that decade there has been some truly horrendous showings: Suicide Squad, Collateral Beauty, After Earth, and now Bright. Bright is horrible, it’s not the worst movie of the year according to the critics, but just barely. The first 20 minutes introduces a cool idea, what if black people were Orcs and people and they hated them because they chose the evil side in an ancient war. Too bad as soon as the plot of the movie starts, as soon as they find the bright the movie becomes an unwatchable mess. Will Smith and Joel Edgerton really try but there is nothing much redeeming about Bright. Netflix really doesn’t care though because as horrid as Bright is, you will watch it, probably already have because it’s readily available on your TV—and you’ll watch Bright 2 also. Max Landis has disappointed me severely twice in the last two weeks.
24. All the Money in the World
The advertising for this movie seems to a bunch of different versions of: “we promise, Kevin Spacey isn’t in this movie anymore.” And you know what, Kevin Spacey isn’t in this movie anymore. That’s about the most exciting thing about watching All the Money in the World, trying to see if you can catch a seem where the reshoots don’t quite fit together well but props to all involved it really seems like Christopher Plummer was in this movie the whole time. There isn’t much else interesting about the movie. All of the performances are okay, nothing bad, nothing great. Christopher Plummer is fine, it seems like we’re all bending over backwards to praise him to give Kevin Spacey the middle finger—which I’m fine with, but he’s performance was certainly not as incredible as the Golden Globe nomination would suggest. It’s a fairly standard kidnapping movie adding to a pretty down year for Ridley Scott. All the Money in the World is fun if you have a real interest in the Getty kidnapping or Mark Wahlberg’s stoic face, other than that you can always just wait on this to be on Netflix.
25. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Do you think playing the most loathsome character in film tanked Louise Fletcher’s career? It feels like after her performance as Nurse Ratched she should have had more of a career. But for 20 years after this movie she made complete garbage and things no one saw including following up One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Exorcist II: The Heretic. Anthony Hopkins ate people and won an academy award. It’s pretty telling that One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest boils down to a bunch of white guys having their fun ruined by women and black guys—it’s a very 1975 movie. The performances in the film are outstanding across the board especially Jack Nicholson who shines in every scene as Randle McMurphy. Louise Fletcher is so believably evil that by the time the film ends you are really rooting for this nurse to get brutally choked to death in front of a crowd of people. It’s a movie well worthy of the label of “classic” and stands the test of time, except Danny DeVito, I’m not convinced that 1975 DeVito is the same human being as 2017 DeVito.