The Beach Bum and all the images you see in this review are owned by Neon
Directed by Harmony Korine
Did you know that I once asked John Waters a question at one of his shows? Yeah, unlike people who actually do this for a living, I don’t have any celebrity stories to speak of, but I saw him at a show once and he picked me during the Q and A. Anyway, my question was whether I thought his work had been a major influence on modern filmmakers and if anyone in particular came to mind. He said that he doesn’t really see himself DIRECTLY influencing people, but that he did break down barriers for others who would come later… and he also said that Todd Solondz as Harmony Korine have PROBABLY seen his films. I don’t know if that means much in relationship to the latter’s most recent film, but I figured this is probably the best chance I had to tell that story, so there it is! As far as Mr. Korine himself, I’ve only ever seen Spring Breakers which I actually liked quite a lot, though I haven’t seen it in years and I get the feeling that it’s more uncomfortable moments don’t hold up all that well, but that’s why directors solider on and film NEW movies such as this one here! Is The Beach Bum another success for this unique voice in Hollywood, or has his worst tendencies come to the forefront even more so than usual? Let’s find out!!
Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) is just some dude who spends his time in the Florida Keys bumming drinks off of people, sleeping on the beach, and finding joy in life wherever he can find it. Oh, and he’s also a famous writer, super rich, and has a loving family who he can go back to any time he needs to dry out from his latest binge. His wife Minnie (Isla Fisher) adores his free spirited attitude towards life, love, and the law, but that last one kind of gets them in trouble as the two end up drinking and driving on the night of their daughter’s wedding (Stefania LaVie Owens) and Minnie ends up dying in the crash. In her will, she tells Moondog that he won’t inherit her vast fortune until he finishes his latest novel which he’s been procrastinating on for some time, so he decides to do just that. Of course he’ll be getting drunk, having sex, and… well doing what he’s always been doing as well, but he’ll find time to write a few lines here and there! With adventure, drugs, friends including his buddy Lingerie (Snoop Dogg), is there anything that can keep Moondog down? Will he eventually finish his book before he runs out of whatever money he has left as well as the goodwill of the people he’s met throughout his wild and bombastic life? You know how some movies are clearly made so the filmmakers can take a vacation? Why do I get the feeling that was the case here but less luxury hotels and more drinking tequila under a bridge and calling it “research”?
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!?
Baywatch and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures
Directed by Seth Gordon
I may not know much about the Pamela Anderson/David Hasselhoff series, but if there’s one thing I do know it’s how much I LOVE Dwayne Johnson and how much I REALLY LIKE Zac Efron! Both these guys don’t always get the credit they deserve for just how good they are with the former’s career mostly consisting of crowd pleasing popcorn flicks and the latter having a pretty rocky career; alternating between decently received comedies and underperforming dramas. While I may not have an affinity for the series that this is directly based off of, I can appreciate a lot of what I saw in the trailers leading up to this and it seemed like a possible bright spot in a year that really hasn’t been that great for comedies so far. Does this send up a nineties television landmark manage to be a 21 Jump Street style success, or did this franchise really peak with Pamela Anderson and David Hasselhoff running in slow motion? Let’s find out!!
In Emerald Bay Florida, there is a team of elite lifeguards, led by Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) that saves people, stop thieves, and pick up litter to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of their beach’s visitors. We enter the story just as they’re about to start recruiting some newbies and a hotshot Olympic swimmer named Matt Brody (Zac Effron) is there to assume one of the spots as he has a letter from the local government guaranteeing him a position. Mitch takes him on board, but the road to being a TRUE member of Baywatch, which currently includes Stephanie Holden and CJ Parker (Ilfenesh Hadera and Kelly Rohrbach) as well as two other newbies Summer Quinn and Ronnie (Alexandra Daddario and Jon Bass), he’ll have to prove that he’s more than just a good swimmer as this job takes dedication, heart, and a true commitment to protecting those who depend on them! In fact, the whole team will have a chance to prove just that as local entrepreneur Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra) is up to no good and is letting the remnants of her criminal activity (drugs and dead bodies) wash up on THEIR beach! Oh, now this will not STAND; especially when you’ve got Mitch “The Rock” Buchannon on the case! Will the Baywatch crew be able to stop Victoria’s evil schemes before it’s too late? Will Matt finally learn to think of others and be part of a team? Just how much chiseled pecks and bodacious babes can they cram into one movie!?
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates and all the images you see in this review are owned by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Jake Szymanski
We all love Zac Efron, right? Sure there was a point where everyone inexplicably hated him the same way that everyone hated DiCaprio after Titanic, but the guy is just bursting with charisma when he’s not merely bursting out of his clothes. Still, he’s hit a bit of a rut recently where he’s either in an awful movie or he’s in a decent enough movie but isn’t asked to stretch very far, and I fear this might continue for a while considering how badly his sincere low budget drama We Are Your Friends ended up being received by everyone other than me. This one looks to be a continuation of that trend where he’s playing yet another dumb guy with a stupidly hot bod, though maybe they can manage to do something interesting with that character rather than just regurgitate jokes we’ve seen him do for the last five years? Yeah, I don’t have much hope either, but you never know! Let’s find out!!
The movie is all about Mike and Dave (Zac Efron and Adam Devine); two brothers who may as well be spin-off characters from the Neighbors movies as both are in total broski mode as they are PROBABLY in their thirties by now (their age isn’t specified) yet are still trying to live life like they’re college douche bags. They’re liquor salesmen but as far as I can tell they only have one client who buys their whiskey out of pity, and their apartment looks like the jock-pocalypse took place, what with the empty pizza boxes and indoor basketball hoop. Their bubble is about to burst though, at least somewhat, they are confronted by their parents and younger sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) who’s wedding is coming up and all of them, including the fiancé Eric (Sam Richardson), want them to shape up and act like adults rather than party animals. How exactly do they expect these two knuckleheads to pull this off? By getting dates of course! Through a whole bunch of convoluted means, they end up meeting Alice and Tatiana (Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza), who are pretending to be nice and stable girls so they can bum a free vacation off of these two as the wedding will take place in Hawaii; a destination I’m sure was chosen for its natural beauty and rich culture and wasn’t an excuse for the actors to take a vacation (a well-known Hollywood scam known as An Adam Sandler Movie). Of course, the bad girls can’t keep up the act for long which only leads to Mike and Dave getting all riled up and chaos eventually ensues! Can everyone manage to keep their shit together, at least until after the two get married? Will these four people thrown together through luck and manipulation manage to find… true love? Why would the supposedly reasonable people ever think that this plan would work out?
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Nicholas Stoller
They just couldn’t resist the urge, could they? I guess there was just too much money lying on the table to NOT make another one of these. Sequels to unexpected hits (especially comedies) are almost always underwhelming as it’s like trying to capture lightening in a bottle twice. Caddyshack 2, Ghostbusters 2, Horrible Bosses 2, you could make a neigh infinite list of them. Now the first film was a pretty solid movie that had a bit more to it than you would expect from a movie that’s essentially a prank war. Not only that, but they’re coming into this one with a decent enough idea in regards to how Sororities are viewed by the education system, even if it is a bit ridiculous that the SAME THING happens to these people twice in a row. Can this manage to be the few comedy sequels to NOT be the worst thing imaginable, or is this movie destined to be the worst thing imaginable? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins a few years after the first one ended with Teddy Sanders (Zac Efron) still wasting his life away but now doing so as Pete’s roommate (Dave Franco) and Mac and Kelly Radner (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) planning to sell their house so that they can move to the suburb. There’s a small roadblock though to their plan which is that they ALREADY bought the house in the suburb, but the house they just sold is in escrow which the movie thankfully explains is a thirty day waiting period where the buyers can back out of the deal if something were to change. That couldn’t POSSIBLY happen though, right? Well back on the college campus (what college is it anyway?) the new female freshmen are trying to get into Sorrorities, but three of them (Chloë Grace Moretz, Kiersey Clemons, and Beanie Feldstein) find the guidelines about not being able to party too restrictive, so they decide to start their own independent Sorority. Well SURELY they won’t end up at the EXACT same house that Teddy’s frat was at, right? Well speaking of Teddy, Pete just got engaged so Teddy has to move out which means he’s lost once again and needs to find not only a new place to stay, but some meaning in his life. Oh look! The house he used to live at! And look! The girls are touring it to see if it works for their needs! An unholy (and tenuous) alliance is born between the girls of the new Sorority (Kappa Nu) and the frat boy looking to relive his glory day, so they rent out the house to the terror of Mac and Kelly who just want to sell their place and move on with their lives. And so the war is on once again as the girls refuse to keep things quite for thirty days and the old people try to keep them from exercising their right to party! Can Mac and Kelly once again destroy the young people who are trying to fuck up their lives? Will the sisters fail in their endeavor to bring about a new kind of Sorority that’s empowering those who want to have fun but don’t want to be objectified? Things can’t get any crazier here than they did in the LAST movie… right?
Dirty Grandpa and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Dan Mazer
Oh look! A January comedy! THOSE ARE ALWAYS GREAT, RIGHT? Okay fine, we are definitely in the dumping ground season so anything that comes out now is either a piece of crap that got pushed back or an earnest effort trying to make a name for itself but wasn’t confident it could hack it any other time of the year. Still, we all love Robert De Niro, right? It’s not like he’s been in a bad comedy before… oh wait. Boy, there is not a lot going for this movie. How bad can it be? Let’s find out!!
The movie follows the misadventures of Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) and his grandfather Dick (Robert De Niro) whose wife had just died and he plans to honor her memory by going to Florida as they had already planned to do before her death. He needs someone to drive him because his driver’s license has been revoked, and the only one with a big enough heart to help the guy in his time of need is the aforementioned grandson. Despite having his wedding only a week away (as well as an important meeting at the law firm coming up soon), he takes the old man on this trip from George to Florida but finds out very quickly that the man’s switch has flipped so hard that now he’s masturbating without warning, drinking constantly, and trying to stick his finger up the dresses of any girl he comes across. Will the very uptight and nervous Jason be able to handle this brand new grandpa that has entered his life? Will Robert De Niro get to fuck at least one more time before he dies? What obvious revelations will the both of them make over this bonding experience which involves massive amounts of drugs, multiple arrests, and swastika dicks? Does anyone else get the sense that this movie is trying WAY too hard?
We Are Your Friends and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by Max Joseph
How many music movies are we going to get this month!? Straight Outta Compton is still dominating the box office, Rikki and the Flash came out just before that, and now we have this movie about Electronica artist? Well while those movies were banking at least somewhat on nostalgia and music from decades ago that everyone’s familiar with, this one’s trying to be a bit more modern with a genre that while being around since at least the eighties, hasn’t become prominent in the mainstream until the last five or six years. Not only that, but the movie also has a fairly significant draw in Zac Efron who’s been really trying to stretch himself creatively in the last couple of years in order to distance himself from his Disney super star days, and has actually been succeeding for the most part. Are we getting another classic rise to stardom story with a fresh coat of paint, or is this going to be an unbearable slog despite it being about a genre of music that’s underrepresented in cinema despite its popularity in the pop world? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about Cole (Zac Efron) who’s a struggling Electronica artist in the San Fernando Valley. Like most creative types, he spends half his time working on his trade and the other half not doing much else, but he clearly has a passion for what he does and has aspirations to be one of the best. His three friends are Mason, Ollie, and Squirrel (played by Jonny Weston, Shiloh Fernandez, and Alex Shaffer respectively), and they don’t seem to have much going on in their lives either. Much less in fact considering that aside from Shiloh Fernandez (who half-heartedly wants to be an actor), none of them even have much of a dream to be striving towards and are just running out the clock on their twenties. They’re all still young even if the actors are clearly pushing thirty, but they are reaching the point in their lives where they can’t keep goofing around and have to either commit to whatever goals they have or move on to something else. Opportunity comes a knocking for Cole as he finds himself chatting up another electronica artist called James (Wes Bently) who has indeed made it in the industry and the two of them become friends in a sort of mentor mentee relationship. As with all music stories though, there has to be something to strain the friendship and in this case it’s James’s assistant Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski) who Cole starts crushing on immediately despite her relationship with James outside of her role as his employee. Will Cole be able to handle the modicum of success that slowly starts to take form now that he knows someone in the industry who’s willing to give him a chance? Will everything fall apart because he’s a dumb ass twenty-something that refuses to find ANY other person to fall in love with? Will his friends… do other stuff?