The Industry’s Finest

[WARNING! EXPLICIT CONTENT] Boogie Nights is perhaps the greatest pornographic movie ever made. Or at least the best movie about the porn industry. I mean it was nominated for three Oscars. So why is a movie about bad actors who get payed to have sex so acclaimed. Well it just supports my theory that any movie can be great. As long as you have the following: good actors, good writing, and an understanding of the subject matter. Boogie Nights focuses on the golden age of porn in the 70’s. Followed by a darker more serious time in the 80’s. Every character is flawed in some way. Having their own individuals problems that stem from their involvement in porn. Some have drug problems, some have marital problems, and some have confidence problems. From what I know, Boogie Nights very accurately portrays what it’s like to work in one of the most controversial  of professions. I’m not even sure I’d say the movie has a happy ending. However, I will say that I don’t think pornstars are bad people. If they can get out of it, then I wish them luck, because nobody is beyond redemption.

Cows with Fangs

The Little Vampire sucks… blood. As I’ve said before, movies from my childhood always feel like the greatest thing in the world. Even if they’re bad. The Little Vampire is a strange case, because I saw like the first 10 minutes of the movie when I was a kid. Then I watched the entire movie as an adult. I hated this movie. I’m glad I didn’t watch the whole thing as a kid cause I wouldn’t want my child brain to enhance it in any way. The Little Vampire is about a kid who befriends a vampire. Blah blah blah vampire cows, blah blah blah vampire hunter. I liked Jonathan Lipnicki in Stuart Little and Jerry Maguire, but he misses the mark completely in The Little Vampire. The humor is lame and the effects are cheesy. So you get the picture, I didn’t like it.

She’s a Killer Queen

Atomic Blonde is just the kind of action movie I like to see. I had no idea this movie even existed before I saw the first red band trailer. And when I did I was sold. For one thing, the trailer utilized a Queen song, which is always a plus for me. The action in the trailer looked like something familiar (*cough* John Wick) but also different. Plus the promise of a steamy love affair sealed the deal. However, the later trailers never really impressed me as much as the first. Still I knew I was going to see it regardless. Atomic Blonde is for the most part like any other spy film. Frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to follow a spy plot without getting confused at least once. So what makes it different? The action is actually really impressive. It all feels so brutal and real, but stylised and over the top at the same time. There’s one scene in particular utilizing a single take that’s perhaps the best scene in the movie. Overall, I was satisfied with what I saw. Charlize Theron knows how to kick butt.

Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying

The Shawshank Redemption is the story determination, strength, and the will to survive. If you were to ask me what the greatest movie of all time is, this wouldn’t be mine, but I get why its considered that. There’s a lot powerful drama to be found in The Shawshank Redemption. Making it hard to believe that its based on a Stephen King book. Before then I only knew him for his horror work. The Shawshank Redemption is about a man named Andy Dufresne (who may or may not be wrongly convicted) being imprisoned for several years. Until he ultimately escapes. Morgan Freeman is at his best playing Red, giving a performance worthy of his voice. The best scene in the movie is the escape, because it feels so satisfying to see Andy finally escape the Hellhole known as Shawshank. The villains are absolutely despicable. Which leads to a point I want to make about the movie. The Shawshank Redemption is a very tough movie to watch. Prison is no joke, they don’t sugarcoat anything here. That’s the main reason I wouldn’t put it on my list of favorites. One viewing is enough for me. 1994 was such a good year for movie. The Shawshank Redemption is certainly no exception. Well there’s nothing else to say, but “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

Carpe Diem

Dead Poets Society is all about seizing the day and taking a chance at life. I don’t usually watch movies about boarding schools. Mostly because they’re all male with little to no female characters. I knew I had to watch, because after Robin Williams death, I wanted to check out his dramatic work. At the time I only knew him for comedy. Dead Poets Society is Robin Williams first Oscar nominated performance. For good reason. He’s the quintessential fun and energetic teacher who cares about enriching his students. Which is something many schools are lacking these days. Dead Poets Society is like poetry. Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, even in the strictest of environments. “O Captain, My Captain!”

Keyser Söze!

SPOILER ALERT! I can’t talk about The Usual Suspects without spoiling the famous twist ending. The Usual Suspects seems to been just your average crime thriller. Until you make it to the end, only to realize you’ve been deceived the entire time. It’s truly brilliant even if you already know the twist. One of the problems with growing up in the late 90’s is the fact that I already knew the twist every twist movie that came out at the time. So I already knew that Kevin Spacey’s meek and timid character was Keyser Söze. A character so memorable that you’re not sure he even exists. The Usual Suspects is easily Bryan Singer’s magnum opus. It never fails to keep you guessing. And like that… I’m gone.

May the Schwartz be with You

If you were to ask me what the funniest movie I ever saw is, Spaceballs would not be on the list. Seriously, I barely got a chuckle out of it. I know there are people who think it’s hilarious, but I’m not one of them. First of all, I love Star Wars. Star Wars is easily the most parodied franchise of all time. There are countless versions of Star Wars. Some that work and some that don’t. Spaceballs is in the middle. For one thing the movie came out 4 years after the franchise ended. Who cares at that point. Not that Spaceballs didn’t become iconic like Star Wars did. Spaceballs has an unusual structure for a parody. It doesn’t really look like Star Wars. Don’t get me wrong, Young Frankenstein made me laugh a lot, but Mel Brooks isn’t a comedic genius. The jokes feel lazy at times. A character randomly swearing is not funny. Not that I hate the movie. Some jokes work. Most of Dark Helmets lines are funny and the Alien parody is classic. It took me a while to watch Spaceballs, mostly because of the mixed reception. I guess if you’re as much of a fan of Star Wars as I am, Spaceballs is worth watching.

So, this is My Life

Edge of Seventeen is the kind of teen movie that will go down in history. Much like Clueless, Juno, Easy A, and Mean Girls, Edge of Seventeen is the perfect female lead teen flick. It does help that Oscar nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld plays the lead. Edge of Seventeen is about an awkward teen named Nadine who loses her best friend and by extension her sanity. Nadine is the kind of girl I know I would be friends with. An old soul who can barely relate to their own generation (I’m a millennial by the way). Edge of Seventeen perfectly sums up how much teen life can suck. Having friends to make the experience more bearable is a must. It’s funny and dramatic in the best possible way. It also has likeable non-stereotyped asian costar in it. Plus I think the movie was some kind of pet project from the people who make The Simpsons. Edge of Seventeen is the coming of age tale of this generation.

That’s the Right Answer!

Slumdog Millionaire is just the kind of movie I like to see win Best Picture. It’s premise is so good that I can’t believe nobody’s thought of it before. Basically the premise is this, an indian kid from the slums wins Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (Indian Edition). How you may ask? It turns out that every question he’s asked has something to do with his life experience. It’s truly a one of a kind idea. Normally I don’t watch foreign films (technically this isn’t a foreign film), but Slumdog Millionaire held my attention beginning to end. I was even surprised to know that the movie is about two brothers. I can relate, because I have a brother. I would also compare the movie to Pinocchio, in the way that it has more than one villain. Each one more despicable than the last. The most important thing however is the love story which transcends decades. I guarantee you won’t see a more uniquely different Best Picture winner. Slumdog Millionaire is a winner in every language. Jai Ho!

French Star Wars

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is pure visual splendor. When I first found out about this movie, I had no feelings for or against it. Though I was interested. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is based on a French comic strip that you’ve likely never heard of. Basically two soldiers named Valerian and Laureline fight to protect the universe. The movie itself benefits from a truly imaginative universe filled with unique aliens, technology, and planets. I guarantee the first act of the movie is nothing you’ve ever seen before. Now for the flaws. The main problem is that the story can be a bit all over the place at times. The set pieces almost feel like episodes in TV show rather than a seamless movie. Which is why some parts work better than others. There’s also the question of the two main actors. Dane Dehaan does not fit the macho profile at all and Cara Delevingne is better than usual, but she’s not a redhead. That’s how the characters are in the comic, but I did think they had good chemistry together. All in all, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is worth seeing on a big screen. Whether you like it or not is up to you.