Friday, November 11, 2016

Stuff I Watched This Week 11/11/16

This is the stuff I watched in the last week:

The Purge:  Election Year:  I think by now we'd all like to purge many of our elected officials, or those who tried to be.  Sadly this isn't about that.  The Purge is one day a year when for 12 hours every crime--including murder--is legal throughout the United States.  Prior years bigshot government officials were exempted but this year that exemption is lifted because a senator running for president wants to eliminate the Purge, thus the "new Founding Fathers" want to eliminate her.  From there it's kind of like Olympus Has Fallen/White House Down/Air Force One as her head security guard (Frank Grillo, aka Crossbones) tires to keep her alive.  It's a little too long at 109 minutes considering it's all pretty simple.  Have to say one girl really, really wanted a candy bar, enough that she brings a posse of gun-toting friends to avenge herself on the shopkeeper who wouldn't let her shoplift a Nestle Crunch bar. (2/5)

Frankenhooker:  It's probably what you'd think it is.  A guy's bimbo girlfriend is killed by his remote control lawnmower, so he (eventually) decides to rebuild her by using parts of dead hookers.  First he spends half the movie rambling to himself it seemed like.  To kill the hookers he poisons them with some supercharged crack he invents.  Really it would have made more sense to just kill one girl and put the girlfriend's head on her body instead of taking bits and pieces and stitching them together.  The resulting patchwork of hooker parts goes out to sleep with men for money--except any men who have sex with her explode.  It's campy fun but the "special" effects were anything but.  You could tell the exploding hookers and hooker parts were just mannequins.  It was pretty corny.  The end would actually be a good beginning for one of my stories. (2/5)

The Omega Man:  This is a very loose adaptation of the classic novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.  A plague ravages the American population, leaving some as scarred mutants who can only go out at night.  Charlton Heston is an Army scientist who is the last uninfected man--or so he thinks.  Every night he battles to keep out the mutants while trying to stay sane.  But then he finds some other people and tries to cure them.  It's pretty cheesy, especially the music. (2/5) (Fun Fact:  Ironically the Will Smith movie I Am Legend bears more resemblance to this than the actual novel, sort of like how Bram Stoker's Dracula isn't all that close to the actual Bram Stoker's Dracula.)

Abraxus Guardian of the Universe:  This was the Rifftrax version where some of the former MST3K crew make funny comments during the movie.  This poorly-lit, poorly-acted, and poorly-plotted movie was ripe for commentary.  The penultimate character is some kind of lame space cop played by Jesse "The Body" Ventura before he became a governor.  He tracks some Ahh-nold wannabe to Earth, where he knocks up a girl by putting a hand to her belly.  She gives birth within minutes and five years later the Ahh-nold wannabe tries to kidnap the kid because he has the "anti-life equation" inside him which gives him psychic powers and stuff.  Jesse Ventura goes to a small town to save the kid.  Hilariously bad mayhem ensues. (1/5) (Fun Facts:  In DC Comics, the evil Darkseid is also after the anti-life equation. Jim Belushi has a cameo as a school principal for some reason.  As a favor?  Blackmailed?  Or is he a fan of Jesse Ventura?  It was 1990 so I don't think he needed work in some terrible movie like this; he was making plenty of other terrible movies.)

Mascots:  This latest Christopher Guest mockumentary is exclusive to Netflix.  It's sadly not about cute bulldog mascots like Butler Blue II.  Instead it's about people who dress up in costumes for sports teams.  It's pretty much a one-note joke spread over an hour and a half.  The people in the costumes are all losers of varying degrees.  One couple is married, one is a son taking over the mascot mantle from his dad, one is shared by two female friends, and so on.  The actual mascot performances was the most interesting part of the movie.  One mascot is a plumber whose routine is he tries to unclog a giant toilet, out of which pops a little person in a turd costume that he chases around.  Otherwise I nearly fell asleep. (2/5)

Written Off:  I'm not sure if this is a pilot or not.  It's a single 30-minute episode about two guys (one gay, one straight) who lose their job as fashion writers at a Chicago paper.  They then respond to an ad from Craigslist to write a quincienera speech for a drug lord's daughter.  There were a few good bits but like a lot of first episodes it was kind of rough. (2.5/5)

Drillbit Taylor:  Three nerdy freshmen in high school are picked on by a sadistic bully and his henchman.  They try to hire a bodyguard but end up with the eponymous bum/army deserter.  He teaches them to hide and gives them some self-confidence and stuff while putting his life back together a bit.  It's mostly lighthearted fun that maybe goes on a little too long. (2.5/5)  (Fun Fact:  This was pretty much the last work of John Hughes before he died.  He went under the name Edmond Dantes from the Count of Monte Cristo.  Hughes worked on the script with Seth Rogen, so it kind of crossed generations there.  Adding to that multi-generational nature, Frank Whaley of Hughes's Career Opportunities appears for a cameo while Judd Apatow's wife plays Drillbit's love interest)

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