Random Movie Day 6: Catching Up


Random Movie Day

Random Movie Day

I have so many TV shows that I keep up with (I would tell you how many but the number might frighten some of you) that I have been falling behind on my movie watching. The only movie I have had a chance to see in the theater since the summer was ’47 Ronin’. That was a very pretty movie; well shot and choreographed. I would say check it out if those movies are for you.

With ’47 Ronin’ aside there are a ton of movies I need/want to see. So I went to the local video store (yes they do still exist) and rented a few that caught my eye. And by few I rented 8… the other two I watched On Demand. I didn’t watch all ten in one day, just six of them. Two I had watched a few days prior and the other two I watched the next day after the marathon session.

Here are those 10 films and my thoughts:


Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Don Jon'

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in ‘Don Jon’

I watched this and the next movie back to back one night about a week ago. I had plans of doing a random movie day then but life got in the way. This was a good one to start with seeing that it was the writing a directorial debut of the multitalented Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

It was a solid effort all around. The acting was good with a special nod to Tony Danza as JGL’s father. Great characters that were brought to life on the screen. The way it was shot and the editing was very reminiscent of Edgar Wright or Guy Ritchie. Overall I liked it very much. Check this one out.


Despicable Me 2

I love the Minions!

I love the Minions!

MINIONS! I love the minions. What a great set of ancillary characters that really took on a life of their own. This sequel was tight. I was skeptical because as of late I’m getting a little Kristen Wiig’ed out. She has been everywhere the last couple years. But she did a great job as Lucy, Gru’s partner and love interest.

How does it compare to the original? Good question self. I think it was a great concept and continuation of the original characters (Gru, Edith, Margo, Agnes). The plot was just as good, if not better, than the original. I think it compares rather well to the first ‘Despicable Me’. I’m sure most of you have seen this, but if you haven’t and are on the fence, jump off and see it already.


The Way, Way Back

Screen shot from 'The Way, Way Back'

Screen shot from ‘The Way, Way Back’

Wow… Wow, wow, wowie, wow. I really loved this movie. I thought I was going to like it because I like this type of movie, but I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. Steve Carell plays a wonderful assh*le. He plays it so well that one may wonder if he really could be a giant D-bag. Sam Rockwell was charming and hilarious. Toni Collette and Allison Janney were excellent. But the lead, Liam James, was sublime. You felt so bad for this poor kid in this crappy situation and you loved his personal transformation throughout the film. You truly believe he has found his identity.

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash wrote a wonderful script and did a bang up job directing this thing. I loved every single minute of ‘The Way, Way Back’. I loved it so much I went on Amazon shortly after the movie ended and I bought it. I recommend at the very least renting this one.


Grown Ups 2

Grown Ups 2

Grown Ups 2

I really like the first movie. The sequel had its moments but it didn’t hit 100%. It was more in the 40 to 55 percent range. The overall story was good. The cameos were good. The core heart was in there but it lacked a little something in general. Possibly ‘Grown Ups 2’ needed to do a little more growing up. At times it was so over the top that it bordered on the absurd. Even the true Adam Sandler fans might have issues with this one but they will still watch it. Personally I could take it or leave it. If immature, absurd over the top comedy is your thing then by all means jump on this one. But know that this movie really isn’t for everybody.


This is the End

This is the End poster

This is the End poster

The first thirty to forty-five minutes of this movie was good. It was rather funny and had some great cameos. No one who sees this will look at Michael Cera the same ever again. But once the initial set up of everything and shortly after the end of the world happens the movie really starts to fall apart.

There were a couple moments in the later bits of the movie that were good but mostly it seemed to drag on a bit for me. I started to lose interest quickly and my interest never really came back. Even the ending was flat for me. But props for the concept of ‘This is the End’. I loved the concept… it was brilliant. They pulled his one together and marketed it really well. Give it a shot if you’re so inclined but just like ‘Grown Ups 2’ this isn’t for everyone.


Kick-Ass 2

Aaron Johnson's very impressive body in 'Kick-ass 2'

Aaron Johnson’s very impressive body in ‘Kick-ass 2’

So many sequels! I’m getting sequel-itis. This did deliver some great action. The new superheroes and supervillians were superb. Chloë Grace Moretz was wonderful, as she always is. What a talent. Jim Carrey was good as Colonel Stars and Stripes. Christopher Mintz-Plasse was fantastic as The Motherf***er. But the stand out surprise for me was Aaron Johnson. More to the point Aaron Johnson’s physique. Holy crap on a cracker that kid got ripped! As the great WWE Superstar Ron Simmons (aka Faarooq) would say “DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN”.

If you liked the original chances are you will enjoy the part two version; I know I did and I did. I say give this a shot if only to see some great fight scenes.



R.I.P.D. poster art

R.I.P.D. poster art

My good friend and contributor to this here website and all around standup guy, Scuzz beat me to the punch with the trailer for this one many months ago. He also beat me to seeing the film. He said “It was a good movie, not a great movie. If you are looking for a buddy- buddy cop movie it delivered on that.

For me it was just an OK movie. It had a few good lines but the chemistry between Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges was lukewarm at best. Also, tell me this: When did Jeff Bridge’s speaking voice become nearly incomprehensible? It was starting in ‘Iron Man’. I heard it in ‘Crazy Heart’.  I noticed it more in the new ‘Tron’ movie. I really noticed it in the ‘True Grit’ remake. And in this movie I caught, at most, every third or fourth word he said. Did he have all his teeth pulled and not tell anybody? Or himself?

Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D.

Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds in R.I.P.D.

I was disappointed in ‘R.I.P.D.’. There was so much potential with the cast and with the source material but it really fell flat and left the great graphic novel it was based on in the dust. If you’re in the mood for a SciFi-buddy cop-action movie go rent ‘Men in Black’. If you are curious about this movie, take a chance. Maybe you will like it more than I did.



Elysium Poster

Elysium Poster

I am a big Matt Damon fan. Love the guy as an actor and as a person. He is just a good dude. He was pretty darn good in this. So was Sharlto Copley. That guy is becoming a great character actor. Jodie Foster (who normally is great) wasn’t in top form for this one. But it was conceived and shot wonderfully. Neill Blomkamp knows his stuff. He makes good sci-fi, both compelling and beautiful. But, and this is a huge but, out of the two feature films that have been released that he has written and directed both of them have essentially the exact same plot.

In the fantastic and groundbreaking ‘District 9’, aliens are forced to live in slums while the humans rule over them and keep them down. In ‘Elysium’ the ultra-rich have left Earth and settled in a space habitat called Elysium while the rest of the human population is forced to live on an overpopulated, violent and desperate slum called Earth. Are you seeing the similarities? That fact aside ‘Elysium’ is a good movie. If you liked ‘District 9’ you will really like this one.


Jack Reacher

I think the picture says it all

I think the picture says it all

Out of all the movies I watched in this marathon session “Jack Reacher’ was the biggest surprise by far. Holy crap did Tom Cruise play the unapologetic badass well. Really well. Really, really well. You have seen shades of it in other movies but in this he was that guy who will look you in the eye, tell you exactly what he is going to do, do it, tell you he did it and walk away.


Tom Cruise as 'Jack Reacher'

Tom Cruise as ‘Jack Reacher’

You know what has to be the most boring job in all of Hollywood? Tom Crusie’s stunt double. He never does anything. He might, but TC steps in and gives it a go. It is one of the things I most respect about Mr. Cruise. He is a bit of an adrenaline junky, sure, but he has said that people pay good money to see him in a movie not someone pretending to be him. I respect that. And I really respect the car chase about halfway through the film’. That was one of the better ones I have seen in a while. Plus the very humorous nonverbal exchange that happens at the bus stop at the conclusion of the chase is priceless.

If you’re in the mood for a good action thriller dial up ‘Jack Reacher’.


Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips poster

Captain Phillips poster

There is a reason Tom Hanks has been nominated for a bajillion awards and won most of them during his career; he’s damn good at what he does. His turn in this biopic is no exception. He is fantastic. Barkhad Abdi was also exceptional as the Somali pirate who took over the Maersk Alabama and kidnapped Captain Philips.

It deserves to have the six Oscar nominations that it does have. As of right now I don’t know if it has a chance at Best Picture but it could. This is a great film and should be seen. The tension doesn’t let up the entire time. I was literally gripping the arms of my chair almost the entire movie.



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1 Comment

  1. Naomi

     /  January 27, 2014

    Pretty spot on, Jess! I would recommend seeing R.I.P.D again. It grows on you the more you watch it. I saw it once, but then my kid asked me to watch it with her. It was better the second time.


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