This week has been a definite learning experience. My inclination has become that I should watch more films I haven’t seen before. As much as I enjoy a good film on repeat viewings, this project is partly about expanding my experience.
Sadly trying to watch new films has meant I’ve watched some real dross this week. It might just be happenstance that I’ve picked bad films when I’ve seen the blurb, but I was aiming for films that I had some sort of passing interest in – a movie of a beloved series, an actor or writer I liked, that kind of thing. I’m afraid this week is going to be more negative than normal because there are some really not good films watched!
So I’m going to try to go for a slightly more curated effort in future. I’ve added to my watchlist on Amazon (and Letterboxd) so that I can have films available more readily. The downside is that the films are likely to be more intense and need more attention, so I won’t be able to have them on in the background. There’s probably a happy medium, maybe 2018 will help me find it.
Absolutely Fabulous: the Movie
And starting off with a film that wasn’t just bad, it would have been bad had they made it at the time the series was popular. But that was 20-25 years ago, so this film was incredibly out of place. What moments of good comedy existed were too sporadic to be noteworthy.
The Cable Guy
This is the only film I had seen before this week. After hearing it discussed on the Movie Crush podcast I wanted to give it another go, having not enjoyed it previously. Like Crouching Tiger and Rogue One, it hasn’t improved.
Violet & Daisy
Young female assassins, and James Gandolfini, in a dark comedy. But there was little humour, the plot barely held together, and it was too scatter gun with the world it was trying to create.
I watched this for Pop Culturally Deprived and expected to enjoy it. But this is not a good film. It takes itself way too seriously, doesn’t get the best from its leading actors, and takes half the film to get to what should have been the main point of it all. Fuller thoughts on the podcast, as we did have a really good and in depth discussion about it.
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza go a very long way with me. But this twist lacks the charm of Wedding Crashers, going for gross, violent, or loud humour wherever possible. A few moments are rescued by some good performances, but largely those are shouted offscreen by an ensemble that do not give each other room to perform.
Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys
For a lot of this documentary it does exactly what I’d like it to do – give an insight into the companies that developed Star Wars toys, show us the very rare items, and demonstrate what was done to aid the longevity of the series. But there was also an element of ogling the very nerdy guys who collected them, reminiscent of the way Trekkies almost shamed some of its subjects by finding the ‘most extreme’. What could have been a celebration at times turned cringe-worthy.
Adam Scott dealing with a step-son that might be the devil sounds like a good setup. But this film did very little that we’ve not seen elsewhere, Scott himself didn’t get much to do other than react. Evangaline Lily was as good as ever at least.
Knowing that I’ve watched some bad films this week, you might expect this to be on that side of things. I did. But I was utterly surprised. For the most part this film knew exactly what it was doing, made fun of itself, and had characters that were treated better than you might expect (generally). At times I got the impression the movie didn’t quite know what to do with itself, particularly in the last third where it forgot to do comedy and just dealt with the plot, but other than that I had a lot of fun watching it.
Fortunately the week as a whole was rescued by a superb film. I was interested in seeing Hidden Figures from the first time I heard about it, and was not let down. The tale is well told, and points where I expected terrible things to happen generally surprised me. Reading up on it afterwards I’m a little disappointed how much was changed to add drama, but that is often the way of things.
Easily this is Hidden Figures – some terrific performances and a story that is just a snippet in a much larger piece, but I enjoyed it from beginning to end.