AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT
Last night AEW finally made the leap to weekly television with DYNAMITE; a name that conveys a clear purpose of intent to blow away everything we know about wrestling and rebuild it for the modern age! That or they just wanted a word that was catchy and sounded cool. In any case, let’s take a look at the inaugural episode!
Cody Rhodes Vs. Sammy Guevara
The very first match on AEW’s new show (and the first wrestling match on TNT since 2001 as the announcers helpfully point out) is a pretty straightforward affair. The deal is that if Cody loses this match he loses his chance against the current AEW champ Chris Jericho at the next PPV, but really it’s just an exhibition match between two talented wrestlers. Now this isn’t a problem since you don’t really need any buildup for matches on regular TV the same way you expect for PPVs, but the problem I just keep having whenever Cody shows up is that I have no idea what his place is in all of this. Sammy Guevara is simply a young wrestler looking for his big break, but Cody? He’s the Executive Vice President of the company, he’s friends with the most heelish of heels MJF, and Brandi ends up interfering in the match. It sounds like he’s tailor made to be a bad guy, and yet it never feels like we’re supposed to boo him. Perhaps it’s the fact that he still comes off as an underdog when compared to Vince and the WWE, but within AEW it feels like his character is a bit muddled. He eventually wins the match which gets a respectable pop from the crowd, but then Chris Jericho jumps in to beat the crap out of Cody and assert his dominance in the AEW hierarchy. I was actually pretty down on Jericho being the AEW champion considering how much great new talent they have which is being overshadowed by a guy THIS deep into his career, but he actually looks a lot better than he has in a while and this is the kind of jerk move that a heel champ should be pulling, so kudos to that guy for turning it around so quickly for me!
The Disaster Artist and all the images you see in this review are owned by A24
Directed by James Franco
I may not be as over the moon in love with The Room as plenty of other people are, and it has admittedly lost a bit of its charm once you realize just how misogynistic the whole thing is, but it certainly has my respect as being one of the more unique examples of a GOOD BAD MOVIE due in no small part to the auteur himself, Tommy Wiseau. Now he’s far from the only ridiculously cocky creatives out there who write, direct, and star in what they perceive to be their one true masterpiece (*cough* Old Fashioned *cough*), but with Mr Wiseau there’s a genuine sense of mystery about the guy as many details of his origin are STILL unknown to this day (HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE IN THE INTERNET AGE!?) and his… shall we say UNIQUE brand of acting certainly sets him apart from many of the other low rent struggling artists out there. No doubt there is a VERY interesting story to tell about this one guy, his one movie, and his friendship with co-star Greg Sestero, which the wannabe auteur himself James Franco has opted to do by adapting Greg’s book The Disaster Artist into a motion picture; one that he directs, produces, and stars in of course. Will this examination of one of Hollywood’s biggest oddities be a worthwhile exploration of the creative process and what it truly means to be an artist, or are we just desperately trying to milk a novelty that had lost its luster many years ago? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the journey of two men; aspiring actor Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and… I guess aspiring actor as well Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). The two meet in an acting class where Greg finds the eccentric weirdo with bad hair and a worse accent rather endearing for his utter fearlessness and ability to throw himself out there in ways that Greg is still struggling to do despite his hopes of becoming an actor. Because of Greg’s admiration for Tommy and Tommy’s love of being admired, the two move in together and work their way through Hollywood; getting small gigs here and there but nothing that will truly set them apart from the thousands of other working actors cluttering the streets of LA. After a particularly rough string of bad luck, Tommy eventually starts writing his own movie and wants none other than Greg himself to be the co-star. The Room is what he titles his masterpiece and he funds it himself with his seemingly unlimited supply of money but things go from awkward to unsustainable as Tommy’s ego and complete inexperience with the process starts escalating tensions with the cast and crew and even with his best friend Greg who’s trying to stick by him but is finding it hard and harder to deal with Tommy’s unpredictable behavior. Can Tommy find it within himself to get past his issues and foster a good working environment for the only people in the world who are helping him achieve his dreams? Will Greg stand by his best friend, or will he realize just how much Tommy is holding him back? WILL THE WORLD EVER UNDERSTAND THE BRILLIANCE OF THIS ONE MAN’S VISION!?
Alright, well we got through all the GOOD stuff, so now it’s time to remember 2016 the way it SHOULD be; as one never ending nightmare of awfulness and broken dreams. There were no shortage of bad films this year which admittedly is true of ANY year, but the yearly ritual of remembering the worst of the worst must be maintained, and so I present the worst of what I had to sit through in the hopes that I can spare some of you the anguish that these films have caused me. Well there’s no point in dragging it out. Let’s get this over with.
Dishonorable Mention: The Do-Over
How bad is this movie? It is so blisteringly awful that I couldn’t even finish the damn thing. At one point (when I was truly naïve), I had decided to review all four of the Adam Sandler Netflix films as they came out and I managed to get through The Ridiculous 6 mostly unscathed. This proved to be quite the fool’s errand however as the film they did AFTER that is so much worse. I’ve got two thousand words already written about the movie, and I just abandoned that shit when we got to the part where Adam Sandler was fucking a blow up doll for no reason. I managed to see MAYBE ten minutes or so after that where David Spade was creepily (and successfully) macking on the window of the guy who’s identity he stole before realizing that there’s no way in hell I’m finishing the rest of this even for the purposes of a review. Neither of the main actors, Adam Sandler and David Spade, give the smallest of shits about this movie (the latter is straight up smiling during an emotionally distressing moment), the film is shot like a REALLY bad porno (Stormy Daniels is clearly a far better director than Steven Brill considering how flat and under lit everything is in here), and the film is just so unbearably mean spirited without the tiniest bit of legitimate humor to back it up… unless of course you think that Luis Luis Guzmán’s ball sweat dripping on David Spade’s forehead is the height of comic genius. Adam Sandler is just going to continue regressing further and further into his own comfort zone; not unlike someone else on this list, but we’ll get to them soon enough. Look, everyone knows better by this point than to take Adam Sandler seriously ever again, so you don’t need me to tell you that he’s made another crappy movie. If you’ve already managed to avoid this one, then keep on doing so; especially considering how much great content Netflix produces that you can be watching instead of this garbage fire from a bunch of lazy hacks.
Kevin Smith is a director that I’ve defend as damn good if not always excellent. Movies like Clerks and Dogma are still original and entertaining, while Clerks 2 is a straight up classic in my book. That said I’ve kinda stepped back in recent years and avoided stuff like Cop Out and Red State which seemed to indicate a change in the once great film maker. Well it’s time to fix that! In celebration of the release of his latest film Tusk, I’m gonna take a look at his last movie Red State. It seems appropriate considering that both appear to be quite similar in tone and even has the same actor playing the bad guy in both films. Is this movie gonna be an auteur director proving himself outside of his comfort zone, or yet another step in his continued slide into irrelevance? Only one way to find out, and that’s to keep on reading!!