That’s My Boy
While it may be fair to say Adam Sandler’s career has completely gone off the deep-end in Nicolas Cage proportions for how shitty they are, there’s something to his most recent effort- the crude, R-rated ‘That’s My Boy’, that draws a great distinction. It isn’t vintage Sandler, but with the help of a hopefully-successful-in-a-film-career Andy Samberg, ‘That’s My Boy’ is a truthfully raucous good time, aligning more with the string of Sandler’s movies that I like but don’t always get their due (Big Daddy, Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds).
It’s completely crass, and often succumbs to weird-out gags and Nick Swardson cameos shitty Happy Madison movies are known for (and that I didn’t particularly care for)- but it’s also a movie about things I damn well love and respect. All-American settings like Cape Cod, 80s music, getting wasted, getting other people wasted, hitting up strip clubs, and light vandalism. Premised around Sandler as a has-been pop culture star of the 80s for knocking up his teacher at age 13, there are a fair few too many throwback references to the Miami Vice decade that oversell themselves- but with the running-joke cameo of Vanilla Ice working as a fry cook at a run-down rollerskating rink, the indulgence is saved from being stale.
It’s not great, but it’s fun to watch and has enough strong, R-rated laughs to be worthy of seeing. Anytime you get to hear Vanilla Ice call Adam Sandler a motherfucker because for ‘literally FUCKING MY MOTHER’ and watch an inebriated Andy Samberg try and bang a wedding dress mannequin, you know it isn’t another ‘Grownups’ or ‘Jack and Jill’. This movie could have been so so so fuckterrible, but it wasn’t. And that’s just as much an encouraging sign for Andy Samberg’s career as it is salvaging Adam Sandler’s. 7/10
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
I was told this movie was terrible- that it suffered from over-seriousness in its tone, an incredibly cheesy script, and a cringe-worthy premise. Yes, it suffers from all of these. But it isn’t terrible. To anyone who has seen any of the numerous trailers or TV spots for this film, you’ll know it’s about the fictional revisionist history of arguably our greatest President’s secret profession- vampire hunting. Now, maybe it’s because I enjoy anything that combines American patriotism and slow-mo badassery, or maybe it’s because I saw the movie in a predominantly black theater in Atlanta, but I absolutely loved Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Shamelessly over-the-top, plotted using real events like the battle of Little Big Horn and the deaths of numerous members of the real-life Lincoln clan to fuel the vengeance in the titular hero, there’s something indescribably just cool about seeing Honest Abe slash through 80 people with an axe and shotgun- something plausible, even for how fucking retarded the movie begins to get- that keeps you on-board with it. That, and the ridiculous amounts of fake blood.
Is it a great movie? Hell no. Did I enjoy it 100x more than I would have elsewhere because the crowd demographic that cheered and yelled ‘KILL DAT MOTHUFUCKA! CHOP DAT FUCKAS HEAD OFF!’ at the screen the majority of the movie? Probably. But hey, that’s the movies for you. It’s all about the experience you have. 6/10
Despite it also being possibly the gayest movie of this year, I saw Magic Mike because its director, Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean’s 11, The Informant, Contagion, Haywire), is one of my favorite currently working. Aside from being expertly shot and edited, what I discovered is that the movie actually isn’t half-bad when you consider this: It’s a film about how badly a group of flatbill hat, cargo-short-wearing geeds are failing at life, and how wildly unsuccessful their real dreams end up being. Shot against the cheap, prefab housing backdrop of Tampa, with a sheen of orange haze over the lens the entire time- Soderbergh hammers-in that these are places and people you just don’t want to be, and that everything around really just sucks ass.
The theater of overweight housewives and sorority girls was sad by the time Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike was giving up his life savings for his ‘true passion’ of making furniture to drug lords to settle a debt; holding back his tears and in essence watching his entire life crumble. It’s a movie that postures to be tragic, to have you feel for its party-rocking low-class losers. Instead, I laughed the entire time. And they, quite literally, wear long cargo shorts almost the entire movie. 7.5/10
The Amazing Spiderman
An unnecessary reboot of an already well-liked series (not including you, Spiderman 3), The Amazing Spiderman was already going to have a hard time with me. And it doesn’t do much to save itself or offer a refreshing view either. The movie is incredibly gimmicky- but felt most times that way because it had to be in order to stay distinct and fresh from the previous films. Still, even with a charismatic Andrew Garfield and moments of hopeful direction from Mark Webb, Spiderman can’t find solid enough feet to ‘best’ truthfully any of the three previous films, and instead seems very confused- it wants to delve into the ‘untold story’ of Peter’s parents in order to appear fresh- but not really, we realize shortly into the film, because that both wouldn’t make sense character-wise and was, truthfully, only a pull to once again diversify the film in its marketing. Which is the real problem this movie has: No one wants to see it.
The Dark Knight Rises comes out in 2 weeks, who the hell cares about this? I’m thinking the studio thought the exact same thing, because they’ve been pushing out smut advertising for the movie since before I can remember. So much so, in fact, someone actually put all of the clips and shots in ads together and it totals 25 full minutes of the actual movie you can watch online. My advice? Watch it- there isn’t much more to the movie, in all honesty. Because this Spiderman tip-toes around not saying ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, but at the same time can’t (or won’t) try to commit to another central theme, it’s left with no real message or story to tell. This is a movie with the potential for greatness and string thematic resonance scratching underneath the surface- but it’s both too afraid to try completely new things for fear of alienating its audience, while also too afraid to appear too same-y. I liked it more when I saw a better version of this movie the first time when I was 13 and the first movie came out. That, and Spiderman shouldn’t be skateboarding. It makes me shudder. 5/10