Lazy Movie Review: Bully

Premise:  A documentary about bullying in American schools.  It follows an outcasted boy who’s kind of odd looking, a lesbian teenager who got shunned by her Bible Belt town, a girl who snapped and brought a gun on a school bus, and a couple of families who’ve had children kill themselves as a result of bullying.  Thankfully, the filmmakers held back showing the gruesome footage of a swirly in action.

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Lazy Movie Review: God Bless America

Premise:  A middle aged man (Joel Murray, brother of Bill) is becoming increasingly sick, both mentally and physically, over how inconsiderate, dimwitted, and mean America has become.  Eventually, he gets fed up with it all, and instead of taking his own life, he decides to become a serial killer that takes the lives of the stupid, inconsiderate people he hates.  Along the way he teams up with a high school girl, who joins him for the mayhem.  Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait!

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Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods

Whoa, she looks like Ellie Kemper in this picture... But that's not the twist!

I suppose it’s best not to ruin anything about the surprise of Cabin in the Woods, as that’s the whole fun of it.  So I won’t even hint at what any of the specifics are.  So in a very generic manner, I will say that this film starts off pretty mediocre, but eventually rockets its way to an insane and awesome third act.

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An Adieu to Drunkenness: The Conclusion of My Sloshed Escapades

When I was 17, I had my very first beer. I had my very first beer I purchased, with a fake id. My name was Brian McGee. I stayed up listening to Queen. When I was 17.

Actually, I never drank in high school. I think it’s safe to say now that the only reason I was able to get super wasted for the first time was because my dad gave me a bunch of his old liquor that he didn’t want anymore. My first year of college, my friends and I got all wasted off of peach schnapps, Beefeater, and some sort of really shitty scotch whiskey. I don’t have to tell you, it was a bloodbath. I’m not sure if that particular night is documented, but I know for sure that the second time I ever got drunk, we recorded a bunch of it. It was pretty sloppy. Continue reading

You Need to Watch These Simpsons Episodes

So I’ve been in a serious relationship with a lovely young lady for just over 6 months now.  I’m just as surprised as you that she hasn’t throttled me in my sleep yet.  We seem to make each other very happy, but there is a fatal flaw in her character.  It’s a red flag I should have noticed on date one.  She never watched The Simpsons when she was a kid.  Maybe it’s because she’s several years younger than me (I’m 27, she’s 21, in case you thought I was getting some jail bait), or maybe she was too busy “reading books” and “learning” to watch cartoons, or maybe she just plain missed out; for whatever reason The Simpsons was not a mandatory part of her upbringing.

Now this presents a problem.  A selfish problem.  I’m a (classic) Simpsons nerd.  I throw out relevant Simpsons quotes all the time.  She doesn’t laugh at any of them.  Do you know how much it destroys my fragile self-esteem to make a well-placed, awesome Simpsons reference, and then get no recognition for it…?  It kills me inside!  She needs to start watching The Simpsons simply to comprehend the lingo she will have to endure throughout our relationship.  Oh yeah, and because it’s the best show in the history of television.

Now, asking her to watch seasons 2 through 11 would be a daunting task.  Frankly, a task she wouldn’t do.  So what I’ve done here, is create a list of 25 episodes of the Simpsons that I want her to watch FIRST.  It will give her a core knowledge of the show.  It’s not all the best episodes, because obviously there are WAY more than 25 great Simpsons episodes, but it’s a good set of awesome, quotable episodes that a newcomer to the show could appreciate.

I tried to make it almost like a fake season.  I’ve attempted to get her some character specific episodes early on, only one Treehouse of Horror, only one flashback, only a small handful of travel episodes, NO clip shows or non-Halloween three-story eps.  Sadly, I just can’t include everything in just 25 episodes.  So there’s not really any Troy McClure, Grandpa Simpson, Patty & Selma, Principal Skinner, etc heavy episodes.  I’d like them to be watched in this order (together of course, can you say RELATIONSHIP ACTIVITY?!), and I hope they flow nicely in this order.  Regardless of whether she likes them or not in the end, this seems like a great opportunity to publicly shame her into watching whatever TV show I feel like watching.  (laughs into tape recorder)

(laughs into tape recorder again)

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Late to the Party: Speed Racer

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A lot of people growing up watched Speed Racer on TV.  I was not one of those people, thus I have no prior fond feelings of this franchise.  The film version was released back in 2008 and was a complete box office bust.  Even after international box office results and DVD/Blu Ray sales, the movie didn’t make back it’s $120 Million budget.  Not only wasn’t it profitable, but it also scored very poorly with critics (38% on Rotten Tomatoes).  Most critics faulting it for being too simple and lacking substance.

As a couple years have gone by, the film started to gain a cult following.  Blogs and Forums I read praise the film for it’s amazing visuals, straight-to-the-point plot, and great overall package.  Time Magazine even named it one of the top Sports Movies of all time.  After reading this cult(hipster)-hype, hearing from a couple of friends that it was good, and finding it on Amazon (Blu-Ray) for $8 bucks, I decided to give it a go.

I can officially now tell you that Speed Racer was unexpectedly one of the most enjoyable movies I’ve seen in the last 12 years.  Starting with the Visuals, the cinematography was incredibly interesting.  Everything kind of looked like it was on a flat cartoon panel, but using live footage and CG.  The race sequences were out of this world.  More specifically, it was like I was watching a combination of the Star Wars Episode I Podrace + F-Zero.  The colors and art style popped as if I was watching a 3D movie.  Complete visual feast.  All in all, the movie’s stunning visuals helped it really feel like a fully realized world.  While I knew it was absolutely fake, the attention to detail and crispness of the graphics made me feel fully immersed.  It wasn’t like (sorry for SW reference #2) Star Wars Episode II and III where everything looked pasted on a green screen.  The art style of the backgrounds, bright colors, and “cartoon panel” effect made it all look so convincing.

As for the plot, writing, and acting, they were a pleasant surprise.  All the actors didn’t take themselves too seriously, but acted well enough to add weight to the characters.  You know how Transformers 2 & 3 had no sense of character or human emotion?  Speed Racer did it opposite.  I went into the movie expecting amazing visuals and race sequences, but the dialogue and acting were strong enough to make me care about the outcome of the movie.  The plot wasn’t bad at all either.  Completely satisfactory, even with a few little twists in there that added to the package.

A couple other things that were solid included the great soundtrack (Michael Giacchino) and surprisingly entertaining fight sequences.  I think the main reason this movie bombed is the fact that it was kind of made for a niche audience.  It’s much too dark to be a kids movie.  It’s source material and marketing made it look too goofy for the Adult/Teen audience.  In the end, it’s a movie for fans of the original series, gamers, CGI Buffs, and anime fans.  Similar to Scott Pilgrim (which Speed Racer is better than), it failed to hit a broad enough audience to be a success, but it was still a pretty good movie.

The key to this film is that it tried and succeeded in being different.  Take all the Marvel movies of late (Captain America, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Iron Man 2); they safely made movies based on those franchises.  They didn’t try anything crazy, they just made something satisfactory.  Speed Racer took the essence of the source material, but took a risk and made something fantastic, action packed, and worth a watch.  It’s a lot of fun and is a feast for the eyes.

Rating:  4/5

Lazy Movie Review: The Innkeepers

Premise:  It’s the last weekend that a spooky Inn will be open, and the two employees working there are intent on capturing evidence of the ghost that haunts it before they leave.  Even more than the concept, I was drawn in because it is Ti West’s follow-up to House of the Devil (which I enjoyed greatly), and it has a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes (not bad for a horror movie).

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