Showing posts with label 2020's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2020's. Show all posts

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Neo-Noir-Comedy Watch: Hit Man (2023)

Watched:  06/15/2024
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Director:  Richard Linklater

As a good Austinite, I feel extra pressure to watch Richard Linklater movies, and still miss half of them.  But this one took literally no effort to watch as I have Netflix thanks to my T-Mobile service.  

Reviews were initially pretty good for Hit Man (2023/24?), as near as I can tell.  But I think the wider audience response has been more mixed.  And I get it.  The movie feels like it has a bit of a genre pivot or thematic pivot half-way through, and that's a pretty good way to lose people.  Arguably, it goes from a sort of goofy comedy to a dark-comedy neo-noir.  And that turn in the middle is some YMMV territory.

The basic set up is that we have our public college prof (people keep saying Community College, but he seems more adjunct at a full university.  TERMS MEAN THINGS.), teaching philosophy and psychology.  But - He moonlights for the New Orleans PD making surveillance equipment for catching people who are trying to hire a hit man,  So, when the NOPD gets a tip someone is looking for a contract killer, they send in an undercover cop posing as a hit man.  

One day, the main undercover cop can't do his thing, so they (Retta!) send in the tech, Gary Johnson (Glen Powell).  Turns out he has a real knack for sliding into the role, and as he tries again and again, finds he can be the hit man to meet the profile of the contractee.  

Friday, June 14, 2024

G Watch: Godzilla x Kong - The New Empire (2024)

Watched:  06/14/2024
Format:  4K disc
Viewing:  Second
Director:  Adam Wingard

The thing about this movie is that, from the first minute, it's more or less the chaos I look for in the last fifteen minutes of the best popcorn movies.  

This movie is, technically, really dumb.  The "this story makes no sense" stuff I'll spend a post crying about most of the time isn't just there, it's the whole shooting match.  It's mostly just highly silly and unlikely things happening, scene after scene, and Rebecca Hall in a pixie cut saying out loud what is happening so the kids watching don't get lost.

And I could not be happier with the results.  

If you're looking for a recent Godzilla movie with a moral center and a story about the human condition - I have amazing news for you.  But this is not that movie.

Yes, yes, there's some nice stuff about mothers and daughters thrown in there.  But you're here to see Kong smack some other apes with a smaller ape.  You want to see Godzilla suplex Kong.  You want to see people flying around in a crazy spaceship thing blasting classic rock.  You want to see monsters duking it out in a major metropolitan area.  And mysterious people and their underground culture and maybe magic?  Sure.  Let's just say magic.  And Titan Dentistry (which is what I would call my practice if I became a dentist all-of-a-sudden).  

This movie is colorful, and loud and incredibly goofy, and I am not secretly glad it exists.  After the dour start to the Monsterverse, the direction of these movies has found out how to be something genuinely fun - because they were in no way nailing the "big monsters, big feelings for humans" thing they were trying.  

It will be interesting to see how they try to make this work with Season 2 of Monarch, because half of what Monarch brought to the table, this movie was like "ha ha!  NOPE!" and did its own thing.

Doc Watch: Brats (2024)

Watched:  06/13/2024
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  First
Director:  Andrew McCarthy

I can remember a time in my life when I was weird about the non-John Hughes movies by "The Brat Pack".  I can't remember why.  I do remember people would say "oh, that's a Brat Pack movie" and I'd say "oh, then I won't watch that", but it was so long ago, I don't even remember what the reasoning was.  

When I figured out who was *in* the Brat Pack, I realized I was really not the market for those movies.  I was too young for the stuff produced before 1985 or so, and we didn't have HBO for me to watch those movies.  Add in whatever that vibe was, and I just never circled back to see them.  Anyway - the concept of the Brat Pack is pretty loosey goosey, with no exact filmography or even common understanding of who is in it.  We can debate that in the comments.

This doc is written and directed by former Brat Packer Andrew McCarthy, who is a writer these days, and a pretty good one.  He's digging into the fall-out and feelings of the clutch of actors discussed in a 1985 New York Magazine front page article called "The Brat Pack", written by then-young journalist David Blum.   

The article followed Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Judd Nelson as they went about a night-in-the-life of young Hollywood during a period when there had been a spike in movies starring, and aimed at, younger people.  It is largely considered to be a hit piece, and by 1980's standards, I guess it is.  Now it just reads like a jealous dork seeing how these extraordinarily fortunate young people spend their time.  It lumps in other actors and co-stars not in attendance and slaps the sobriquet upon them.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Vamp Watch: Slay (2024)

Watched:  06/11/2024
Format:  Tubi
Viewing:  First
Director:  Jem Garrad

It's Pride Month, and so I guess (1) Google TV thought I should watch Slay (2024) and (2) Tubi is apparently releasing original comedy horror movies now.  So, thanks, Google TV and Tubi.

This movie is exactly what you think it will be, and that's not a complaint.  It's a horror-comedy about four drag queens who accidentally book into a biker bar in the middle of nowhere.  Meanwhile, it turns out vampires are real, and they're going to decide this bar, on this night, is where they need to be.

If you're expecting excellent puns, double-entendres and camp, yes, this movie will deliver.  Also a pretty boiler-plate Night of the Living Dead-style set up, yes, that's what you're getting.  But that's...  exactly what this movie wants to be and it's what it delivers on what I'm guessing was not the world's largest budget.

I don't personally follow drag, but my understanding is that Trinity Tuck, Hiedi N. Closet, Crystal Methyd and Cara Melle are stars in the drag world, and I'm not shocked.  They're funny and watchable.  What I didn't expect was the supporting cast of bikers, tough guys, bar flies and locals absolutely understands the assignment and is solid.   

A local pair of LGBQT+ folks toughing it out here in red-neck land has shown up for something they can't believe is coming to their bar, and the aging bartender is maybe more delighted to have them the show there than he wants to let on.   Anyway, these actors had to do a lot and sharing the spotlight with our four leads is tough, but everyone does it.

In the end, *unlike* Night of the Living Dead, the movie is really about overcoming differences and working together to... kill a bunch of vampires.  And accept who each other are.  There's also a nice tag about accepting each other as we change, and that having some decency and love in your heart can save the day.  And along the way, we're going to see some blood and use pool cues to dispatch the undead.

I would love to see what this group and Jem Garrad could have done with $10-20 million more than what hey had.  I bet it would be great.  For now, this one is a Tubi original (who knew?) and free to watch with a few ads.

So, happy Pride, y'all.  

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Doc Watch: Jim Henson - Idea Man (2024)

Watched:  06/05/2024
Format:  Disney+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Ron Howard
Selection:  Jamie

I watched The Muppet Show as a kid, knowing who maybe a 1/5th of the guests were.  I saw The Muppet Movie, Great Muppet Caper, Muppets Take ManhattanDark Crystal and Labyrinth in the theater.  I even remember as a kid wondering how Jim Henson and Frank Oz found the time - "how do they find time to do these things?"   Later, I watched The Storyteller and Jim Henson Hour - which were both given terrible timeslots (Fridays!), if memory serves.

And then one morning I woke up and someone in my house told me Jim Henson was dead.  It's one of my first moments of being shocked by a celebrity death.  It's not wrong to think of Henson in the same mold as Walt Disney, and I understand how the world reeled from his abrupt departure.  

The Henson family has never been terribly secretive, and I've read articles over the years, seen exhibits at the Smithsonian, etc...  so I'd pieced together a rough notion of Henson's life, but it really started with a puppet on one hand.  

It turns out Ron Howard, who directed this film, has a good sense for documentary.  If the movie is a bit of pro-Henson propaganda, there's literally nothing wrong with that.  If Jim Henson had a human side which was imperfect, fine.  The movie does try to give us an idea of some of his blindspots and foibles, courtesy his family and co-workers.  But this film is about how he got to where he was, what his work was like - and how it was done.  And, of course, the impact, which is hard to measure.

With so much time since Henson's death, which was in May of 1990, it's amazing to see so many of his collaborators able to come speak about him, from Muppet costumers to Jennifer Connolly.  And to be taken on the journey from Missouri to DC to London, via clips and video of various efforts.  

I'm not sure there's a ton here for the person who is deeply into The Muppets and appreciates them on a much deeper level than I do, but it's a terrific document.  And for folks who only have heard the name Henson, and did not know him as a friendly face on talk shows or media presence that was generally well-liked across the board - this is a great way to know the man.  And, you'll get a great experience seeing Henson's material all in one place, from his first work on DC to his funeral, which he choreographed.

It's a wonder seeing the Henson kids, now all older than their dad when he passed.  And to hear them speak about him lovingly, but honestly - and I think it's in this realm that I felt Howard's hand.  He knows how to craft the image on a genuine hero.

The documentary is currently available on Disney+.


Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Angry Animal Watch: Under Paris (2024)

Watched:  06/05/2024
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Director:  Xavier Gens

It is summer, and, thusly, it is time for me to watch movies about animals attacking/ eating people.

As of last night, I knew what my first two films would be, and who am I to say *no* to a movie about sharks in the Seine?  Yes, this is a French shark movie, and, ooo la la..! vive la difference!

Under Paris (2024) seems to be a not-good movie for most of its 1:45 or so runtime.  There's a pretty great scene around the 56 minute mark, and then it slows down again.  And then the ending is absolutely baller, and that's where the budget went.  

Here's the thing: the ending honestly surprised me - in a good way.  If you can hang in there, I think there's an interesting movie here, but it's not the one you're watching for the first 85 minutes or so.  

The basic deal is an intensely tropey set-up if you've ever seen a monster movie or shark movie.  

A scientific expedition at the Pacific Garbage Patch which is looking for a particular shark goes sideways when it turns out there are many sharks, and they are hangry.  Sophia, our lead, is one of two survivors, and, gang, it will surprise you to find out she is haunted by what happened.

Noir Watch?: Bad For Each Other (1953)

Watched:  06/05/2024
Format:  TCM Noir Alley
Viewing:  First
Director:  Irving Rapper

Well, this was on Noir Alley, so I gave it a spin.

It was the definition of "fine".  I don't really have much to say about it.  

A young Charlton Heston plays a doctor on leave at the end of the Korean War (after having served in WWII and Korea).  He comes back to his hometown, one of the coal mines outside of Pittsburgh.  

He meets Lizbeth Scott, who wants to be on Chuck, and he reciprocates after trying to resist her charms and offer of entree to cafe society.  

He soon finds himself just treating rich old ladies and young ladies who hope he'll make a move.  

Eventually his hot nurse convinces him he's not doing medicine, and then he has to help miners out, and the movie ends with him bailing on Lizbeth Scott and opening a practice in Coalville.  The End.

I mean, it *is* interesting to see a movie about a doctor deciding if he wants to live large while selling pills to rich people, or doing real medicine for people who need it.  And lord knows Heston could throw himself bodily into such a role.  

I'm not a huge Lizbeth Scott fan.  She's good, but there's a sort of detachment to how she plays things that makes it hard for me to click with what she's doing.  She's as good as ever here, but she and Heston just lack chemistry.  I believed his relationship more in The Omega Man.  

The best scene in the thing comes toward the end when Heston has to help the miners.  It's genuinely good stuff.  Well shot, etc...

Were Heston and Scott bad for each other?  Yes.  The movie told us that they would be, and, indeed, they were.  I do like her character's blunt honesty and, man, she got some nice gowns in this.

Muller programmed this, I think, to talk about writer Horace McCoy, who also wrote They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, which is the goddamn most depressing way you can read a fictional book in, like, four hours.  (It's good, but.)

Is this movie noir?  I mean, no... I don't think so?  It just feels like a melodrama.  And yet, it was on Noir Alley.  So I'll give it the tag and shrug and move on.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Superhero Fatigue Watch: Madame Web (2024)

Watched:  06/03/2024
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Director:  SJ Clarkson

The best part of Madame Web (2024) is that Dakota Johnson never looks like she wants to be here, either.

Let me start with:  this movie was insanely hard to finish.  It took me two days and hours and hours, during which I paused the movie, picked up my phone and then had to rewind the movie because I realized I'd stopped watching it in favor of seeing what was up on social media, etc...  It is boring and tedious and unlikable on almost every level.  I wouldn't even do it as a fun bad-movie watch party, because it's over-arching feature is that it's dull af.

I almost gave up, but, no, pals, your faithful blogger perseveres.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

End of DCEU Watch: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023)

Watched: 05/30/2024
Format:  Max
Viewing:  First
Director:  James Wan

So, this poor movie had to come out even knowing that the DCEU was dead, killed by the investment opportunity that was Black Adam (considered a failure at $340+ million).  This movie would go on to make $434 million over a year later, and after it was announced DC was ending this particular continuity and starting over.

Meanwhile, our co-star of the first film had a very public divorce trial in which everyone looked *terrible*.  

I didn't really like the first Aquaman, so I was going to just wait for Max for Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2023), which I did.  But I thought I'd also treat you to my play-by-play as I watched the movie, as there's nothing to be gained by actually trying to discuss this as a movie.

Here we go:

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Sci-Fi Shrug Watch: Atlas (2024)

Watched:  05/28/2024
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Director:  Who knows?  I bet he's named "Brad".  That seems like the name of a schmo who would make this

When I saw the trailer for Atlas (2024), I sent it to Jamie with the comment "this looks like they actually made a movie that would have been discussed in cut scenes on 30 Rock.".  Like, Jenna would have missed out on being in the AI robot movie because JLo stole the part from her, and she really wanted to be in the movie to meet Simu Liu (who would cameo).

Right now, this movie is at a 17% on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic has it at a 38.  So it's not wildly critically adored.  But someone liked it.  

I watched this movie for a few reasons.

  • I don't watch many straight-to-Netflix movies and, given the algorithmically driven nature of their business, I was curious what a Netflix movie looks like in 2024.  
  • I like stories about robots and AI.  Probably because I came up on Asimov and Blade Runner, but I have genuine concerns about how we'll deploy robots when and if artificial intelligence makes them useful.
  • I like Simu Liu and think Hollywood has sidelined him in ways I don't understand.  He's a charismatic, handsome guy who works as a lead in action, comedy and drama.*  And I want the algorithm to point producers to Simu Liu as a reason I will watch a movie.  And Sterling K Brown.  That dude is great.
  • I am not angry about a movie's runtime spent with JLo.  There are worse fates in this world.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Doc Watch: Lolla - The Story of Lollapalooza (2024)

Watched:  05/24/2024
Format:  Paramount+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Michael John Warren

I just recently wound up writing about Lollapalooza and music festivals over on my more "personal journal" blog, League of Melbotis.  Originally the post was about ACL Fest and fading interest in festivals, but I was half-way through with the post when I saw an ad for Lolla (2024), a documentary tracking Lollapalooza from it's late-80's origins to today and into tomorrow.  I'd started the post talking about that festival as well as ACL Fest, so it's all of a piece.

This evening we went ahead and blasted through the three sections of the doc, each about 50 minutes, for our Friday night viewing.  

For a fuller picture, do check out that post at LoM.  But the key points include the fact I was a fresh-faced 16 year old when I attended the first Lollapalooza tour in 1991, and attended the first four years. 

To begin with: The doc has a lot of constraints.  It needs the involvement of the people who were there in the past, it needs the partnership of the people who currently work with and own Lollapalooza (Austin's own C3 Entertainment), and it's distributed by MTV parent company, Paramount, who lent a lot of material to the film.  For all those shackles, I think they *mostly* do a solid job of painting at least an interesting and accurate historical portrait.  It's just when you get to the modern era that I kind of side-eye the doc as propaganda.  

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Robo Watch: Five Nights at Freddy's (2023)

Watched:  05/17/2024
Format:  Amazon
Viewing:  First
Director:  Emma Tammi
Selection:  Dug and K

I have no children.  Thus, I have mostly managed to live my life without having to know anything about the phenomenon that is Five Nights at Freddy's as video game, toys, or - now - a major motion picture.  So, yes, I have not competed for my hypothetical child's attention over watching some emotionally stunted dipshit game streamer hoot and woo at this game.  Nor did anyone in my house get excited about this movie coming out.

It also means I will not ever respond to a movie when asked my opinion by saying "my kids loved it!"  Look, love your kids, and use your own criteria for what is good or not - but my personal opinion is not filtered through the sugar-fueled viewing of entertainment by people whose brains are still gelling.  

Also - If you ever want to know why the accountants and actuaries now running Hollywood want for everything to be based on existing IP, look no further than this movie, which had a built in audience and managed to take in $291 million on what looked to be about a $20 million budget. 

At the blog, you'll see me imply many a movie is pretty bad, but normally I want to leave room for the idea that something was not to my taste, or I may have had challenges as a viewer - and certainly want to acknowledge that movies tend to have fans, even if I am not one. 

But proving that something being popular or lucrative is kind of meaningless when it comes to how *good* a movie is...  friends, straight up: Five Nights at Freddy's is an awful movie. A successful, money-making, widely seen movie that was, honestly, a steaming pile.*  

So, here we are.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Stunt Watch: The Fall Guy (2024)

Watched:  05/04/2024
Format:  Alamo Drafthouse
Viewing:  First
Director:  David Leitch

Certain parties will say "you only went to see this because Hannah Waddingham was in it," and to those people I say "how dare you?" and "it was a major reason for me to go see this movie, but not the only reason."  

It's been an odd weekend for me, movie-watching wise, as I feel like I'm stuck in "did you get the reference?" land - from Unfrosted to this film to the one I forced people to watch, Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens.  And, really, The Fall Guy (2024) is one of the more explicitly textually meta movies I can recall.  

The Fall Guy ostensibly borrows from the 1980's TV show (starring Lee Majors, Heather Thomas and Douglas Barr) about a stunt man who worked as a bounty hunter between gigs.  But aside from using two character (first) names from the show and the color palette on a truck, the film really doesn't have much in common with the program other than the lead being a stunt man.  The Lee Majors show was part of our family's viewing habits, and I have fond memories of it, but in that vague way one remembers liking something when they were eight years old.  I don't remember many details.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Cereal Watch: Unfrosted (2024)

Watched:  05/03/2024
Format:  Netflix
Viewing:  First
Director:  Jerry Seinfeld

It's almost impossible to discuss this movie or not get a soft clucking of tongues for watching Unfrosted (2024) since director Jerry Seinfeld made some ill-advised comments about "woke" and "comedy" this week.  I won't get into it all here, but, yeah, billionaire comedians who haven't had to pitch anything since the 1980's probably shouldn't be weighing in.

I also am not bothering to read reviews.  There's just too much room for too many factors to color opinions on Seinfeld instead of the movie itself.

But Fridays are for goofy movies at our house, and we'd planned on Unfrosted on its release for a week or so.  

Friday, April 26, 2024

Horror Watch: Late Night With The Devil (2023)

Watched:  04/25/2024
Format:  AMC+/ Shudder on Amazon (free trial)
Viewing:  First
Director:  Cameron Cairnes/ Colin Cairnes

When I saw the trailer for Late Night With The Devil (2023) I was pretty jazzed, or as jazzed as I get about trailers for horror films.  Most horror trailers just look to me like "here are people who are in a place where they do not feel safe, and, indeed, they will now be murdered, but the good part is how and why".  And I could not be more bored seeing a group of people trapped and about to be murdered.  Unless it is death by angry animal.

But the trailer for Late Night With the Devil was something novel - a period piece about a latenight talk show and then stuff gets out of control because they are messing with forces they do not understand.  On TV.

So, two things struck me before the movie began.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Franken Watch: Lisa Frankenstein (2024)

Watched:  04/23/2024
Format:  Peacock
Viewing:  First
Director:  Zelda Williams
Selection:  Joint household

First, it was someone on social media who pointed out the title to Lisa Frankenstein (2024) is less random than it appears and is maybe a reference to Lisa Frank products, and I think it's great, and maybe part of the winky "we're not going to explain everything to you dummies" vibe this movie has.

One thing social media has accomplished is that you've shoved generations of people together who normally would not have opportunity to speak to one another about pop culture minutia.  And through this, I've become acutely aware of how media and a few other artifacts can give a very peculiar idea to subsequent generations about what things were really like.

As someone born squarely in the mid-70's, the 1980's loom large in my head.  And of the things made in the years since the 1980's that tried to recall that era - this one may have actually stuck the landing in ways that I have to assume were incredibly off-putting to The Kids(tm).  This is not their dad making them watch their greatest hits of the 1980's.  

The movie is hovering in the mid-40's on Metacritic and over at RT a 51% critical score, with a 42% with top critics.  I'm not exactly sure how or why, but the people giving this movie bad reviews kind of uniformly seem to have missed the gag of 1980's trash/ underground cinema.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

J Lo Opus Watch: This Is Me... Now - A Love Story (2024)

Watched:  04/19/2024
Format:  Amazon Prime
Viewing:  First
Director:  Dave Meyers
Selection:  K

One of the things they'll tell you in some creative writing classes is "write what you know", but they'll also tell you "don't write a story based on your life and just swap the names out, because now people reacting to a story are reacting to you".  JLo did not receive this advice.

So, what happens when a person who has been wildly successful for decades for things she got good at in her mid-20's, and who lives mostly surrounded by sycophants, decides they want to pen a not-at-all disguised analog of their autobiography as a sort of Moonwalker-esque extravaganza?  

There is *a lot* going on in This is Me... Now (2024), the sort-of-film/ musical video montage/ visual media spectacle which is 100% the creative product of Jennifer Lopez and everything that suggests.

Spoilers:  It will not make you walk away thinking "wow, she's a humble, grounded person" in any way.  And not even really in the fun way that you watch Mariah Carey passing through this plane.  But the thing is absolutely, mind-bogglingly engaging.  You simply cannot believe this thing exists, and with all the resources (her own money!) spent on it, that this is what JLo decided to do.

And I cannot recommend it enough.

Monday, April 1, 2024

Doc Watch: Steve! (Martin) A Documentary in 2 Pieces (2024)

Watched:  03/30/2024
Format:  Apple+
Viewing:  First
Director:  Morgan Neville
Selection:  Jamie

I remember back in high school going to see L.A. Story, written by and starring Steve Martin, and getting that Steve Martin was going through some sort of sea-change in what he wanted to be in as an actor.  I'd always known him as a movie star, but certainly associated him with silly/ smart movies like The Jerk, but I'd also seen Roxanne and got that maybe he was doing something with his career now that was less goofy (but, arguably, pretty smart) than Three Amigos.  

And then I think it was around the release of Novocaine that I heard him on the radio (NPR) and got the idea that, oh...  Steve Martin is a weirdly smart guy.  And he's smart in that way that I think he probably just doesn't really connect well to a lot of people - which is the thesis of the doc, one supposes.

If you generally like Steve Martin, I think this is a good way to spend some time.  I'm not overly interested in the personal lives of most modern entertainers, and this is definitely a curated peek into Martin's life, including interviews with friends and his current wife.  It's a collection of showbiz personalities - and you get the feeling Tina Fey really was holding herself back - and then artists, poets and others in Martins orbit who do seem to be his actual friends.  Which is, frankly, unusual for one of these types of docs.  

Friday, March 29, 2024

G Watch: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

Watched:  03/28/2024
Format:  AMC Dolby (apparently the seats vibrate?)
Viewing:  First
Director:  Alex Wingard
Selection:  This is a Godzilla house

As soon as the credits rolled, Jamie turned to me and said:  "this movie understood what the series needed was more frogs and dogs and bears and chickens and whatever".  And I agree.  100%.

So.  I'm not going to guarantee everyone will like this movie.  It is loud, and it is crazy and it is probably more than a little dumb.  But that doesn't mean I didn't have a great time at the movie, and get exactly what I wanted out of it.  

I've entered into that "I can't actually see a Godzilla movie and just watch it as a normal movie, I only can see it in the context of 70 years of Godzilla films" thing that I also do with some other media, like Superman.  So, based on that, I think Legendary/ The Monsterverse has finally really sorted out their strengths.*  

They absolutely get how the first two Godzilla movies wanted to do this in a way that suggested a serious film but then kept tripping over themselves en route, whether it was giving us the most boring possible hero or the least sympathetic family possible to follow for the runtime.  

Monday, March 18, 2024

Comedy Watch: Self Reliance (2023)

Watched:  03/17/2024
Format:  Hulu
Viewing:  First
Director:  Jake Johnson
Selection:  Jamie says I picked it

In general, I like Jake Johnson, whether in The New Girl or Jurassic World or voicing Spider-Man or whatever.  He's written and directed a smaller-ish film that's now on Hulu, a sort of modern thriller-comedy.  

The basic gist is that Jake Johnson is an office drone living with his mother after a bad breakup two year prior, and he is in a rut.  Go to work, work out at home a bit, spend time with his mom and sisters, and that's about it.  When he's picked up in a limo by Andy Samberg - not a character Samberg is playing, he's picked up by Andy Samberg.  Samberg takes him to a warehouse where two Greenlandish folks offer him the chance to star in a Dark Web gameshow where he will be hunted by people who are hunting him to kill him.  If he survives for thirty days, he gets a million dollars.  But there's a rule (which he insists is a loophole) that no one can kill him if he's physically with someone else.

The real appeal of the movie is whether you like Johnson's schtick or not, and then seeing Johnson goof around with a host of folks you generally already like.  Samberg, Emily Hampshire, Mary Holland, Anna Kendrick, Miriam Flynn, Natalie Morales, Boban Marjanovic, Eduardo Franco...