Advertisements

Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Tag Archives: Burnell Tucker

U-571 (2000)

Male-bonding has never been sweatier.

When a German U-571 submarine with a sophisticated encryption machine on=board is sunk during a World War II battle at sea, the Allies send an American Navy force led by Lieutenant Andrew Tyler (Matthew McConaughey) to retrieve it for study. But in order to board it, they have to concoct a plan that will not only get the soldiers aboard, but also ensure them safety when they are in the water. Issue is, that doesn’t quite happen as their cover as a rescue force is quickly blown, not just putting their mission at risk, but also their lives. So now with this wrench thrown into their plans, the soldiers must now take German hostages and prepare to destroy the German vessel before the Nazis can send naval backup. This is all so complicated considering that, you know, they’re basically in the middle of nowhere, without poor radio-signal and even worse of all, no way of getting out of this situation alive. In other words, it’s a suicide mission, but it’s for the country, so it’s not so bad, right?

“Shark?”

U-571 has, for good reasons, gotten a lot of flack for not exactly being the most faithful adaptation of what really happened, but then again, I don’t think the movie really tries to go for authenticity, either. It’s the kind of movie that takes a real life moment in WWII, purports itself as sheer and absolute propaganda, but at the same time, also uses this all for the sake of entertainment and fun to be had at the movies, even if, yeah, the story’s not all that true.

Then again, can we really trust Hollywood with this sort of stuff? Not really and that’s why U-571, issues with authenticity aside, is still an enjoyable movie. It’s the kind that you could take a war-vet to see and not only would they absolutely love, but go on and on about how they actually experienced something close to that, except, not really at all. Still, it’s the kind of movie that prides itself on being for the troops, while also trying to remind people that war is hell, explosive, a little crazy, and oh yeah, dangerous as hell, but that’s why it’s left for the heroes and not for us layman, right?

Well, sort of. Maybe. I’m not sure.

Either way, I’m getting away from the point of U-571 and the fact that, directed by Jonathan Mostow, there’s a old-school look and feel to this thing that’s not just slick and polished, but also reminiscent of some of the best submarine-thrillers, albeit this time, with a much-bigger budget. But what’s perhaps most interesting about U-571 is how it takes measures with that bigger-budget, and not only gives us a few great, sweeping shots of the sea, but even puts a little bit more effort into how the submarine itself looks, feels, and well, most especially sounds.

“Oh no, oh no, oh no.”

See, U-571 actually got nominated for a few Oscars back in the day, and even winning one. Sure, they were all technical awards and no way were at all for the silly acting, screenplay, or direction, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re impressive, even by today’s standards. It takes a certain kind of skill and talent to make all of the constant crashes, bangs, and booms, seem like something new and exciting, even when they seem to be happening every five seconds or so; it’s like a Michael Bay film, but there’s actually a reason for all of the loud-sounds and explosions here. If anything, U-571 shows what can happen when you pay enough attention to the technical-details, while also not forgetting to make your movie somewhat good, too.

Basically, I’m just coming at Michael Bay.

That said, of course, U-571 has its issues; like I said before, everything aside from the action and technical-stuff is a little, how should I say it, weak. However, I don’t think it really pulls the movie away from being anymore fun than it already is – it starts off by setting itself off as a silly, stupid, pulpy action-thriller and because of that, the movie never really loses its sense of style, if there is any to be found. It could have been a soulless and totally boring piece of phony propaganda, but it’s fun and sometimes, that’s all you need.

Good story, acting and screenplay be damned!

Consensus: Stupid and loud, but also kind of fun, U-571 runs the risk of being a whole lot, for a very long period of time, but ends up being an entertaining submarine-thriller, that doesn’t really want us to ask questions, but enjoy ourselves with the loud sounds.

6 / 10

Bad-ass soldier-bros. Don’t mess. Especially with Bon Jovi.

Photos Courtesy of: barneyspender, Mutant ReviewersFernby Films

Advertisements

The Dirty Dozen (1967)

Who doesn’t want to go out and kill some Nazis?

Major Reisman (Lee Marvin) is assigned an unusual and top-secret pre-invasion mission: Take a small unit of soldiers convicted of felonies and turn them into a commando squad to be sent on a special mission. The mission is an airborne infiltration and assault on a chateau near Rennes in Brittany. And the incentives for those felons who survive the mission is that they will have their sentences commuted. It quickly becomes clear that both Reisman and his superiors regard the operation as a near suicide mission and expect that few, if any of the felons will return.

The first hour-and-a-half of the Dirty Dozen is as good as you can get. There’s plenty of action, jokes, and cool, macho-stuff going on between a bunch of guys that will just get any dude watching it, feeling inspired that they now have to act like this in order to get whatever it is that they want. Not saying that going around and shootin’ up Nazis left and right will get you anywhere, but acting big and tough like these guys seems like it could get you going somewhere in life even if it just by pure intimidation.

Now he knows not to back-talk.

Now he knows not to back-talk.

It’s the typical man movie, for better and for probably worse, depending on who you’re talking to.

Where this film works is the fact that it takes what we usually expect with a WWII movie, flip it on its side, and give us a flick that not only has a whole lot of humor, but also a bunch of violence that seems like these film-makers take pride in showing on the screen. Back in those days before this little ditty hit, WWII flicks were pretty grim, dark, and depressing, as they should be because that’s what war was. Instead, we get an action-filled ride with humor, murder, and a couple of really cool pieces of violence against the enemy at the time, and when it’s all said and over, we all jump up in the air and say, “Yay!”. It was a very risky move taking what was essentially a very touchy subject all those 22 years later, and make light of, but it works well because the movie’s not trying too hard to be funny in a way that’s offensive. It just has a light sense of humor that works, given the setting and all that.

However, as great as this film may be for totally taking these war movies conventions and giving them a nice “edge”, we still seem to get something very similar to them by the end of this flick just when they decide to get all serious on us. Right about the half-way mark, when it seems like all of these crooks have had their fun, had their training, and had their time to shine, they get shipped off to do the big mission they were assigned to do in the first place and that’s where things started to get a little fishy for me, just by how the tone switched up very dramatically.

Don’t get me wrong here, this film is barely ever boring, but it’s just that the last hour of this movie seemed to face problems with the fact that they couldn’t really escape the idea of some of these people dying combat, having their last words, and never being able to walk the face of Earth again. I don’t care what war flick you’re making, nine times out of ten, you’re going to have to come to this fact and show it in your movie, which is what this film does here, it’s just a shame that it takes more away from the film than actually give it any dramatic depth. We care for these characters and whenever one of them goes down, we feel for them, but it also feels very uneven. It’s as if director Robert Aldrich didn’t know how far he wanted to go with the comedy, nor did he know how far he wanted to go with the violence and death, either.

It’s sort of a mixture between the two and it doesn’t quite bode well for the final-half.

Either way though, the cast is pretty great, featuring a who’s who of absolute bad-asses.

Eh, don't look behind you but I think Charlie Bronson's there.

Eh, don’t look behind you but I think Charlie Bronson’s there.

Lee Marvin leads the movie Major John Reisman, someone who doesn’t take a single bit of back-talk at all, but he’s also not necessarily the hard-nosed drill instructor we’re so used to seeing and hearing in these kinds of movie. He’s not screaming or yelling curses, he’s not taking them down and making them all little playthings in front of everybody else, and he sure as hell isn’t making his soldiers be respectable to him and call him “sir” and whatnot. Basically, this guy doesn’t get on these cases about much and just makes a deal with them – you do your job, I’ll do mine, and maybe, just maybe, we can both get out of here alive and you may get free for good. It’s a pretty strong deal that this dozen makes with Reisman and what better person to make that deal than Lee Marvin. I got to tell you, this guy is cool and pretty bad-ass when he needs to be.

But honestly, Marvin’s just the tip of the iceberg, like I’ve mentioned before. There’s a whole slew of famous peeps from this dozen like Charles Bronson (before he started taking a hobby in vigilantism), Donald Sutherland (before Kiefer started trying to take his legacy), Telly Savalas (before he got his stint on Kojak), Jim Brown (after he just retired from kicking booty in football and before he started going off and kicking more booty in films) and John Cassavetes (before his indie film-making career took over the world). There’s plenty more that are apart of that dozen and they’re all amazing, and add side performances for Ernest Borgnine and George Kennedy to the supporting cast and you got yourself a bunch of dudes, who know what they’re doing, how to do it, and how to make it fun while still maintaining that level of respect that usually comes with the actors of these statures.

Wow. I’ve literally grown more hair on my chest.

Consensus: The Dirty Dozen suffers a bit from unevenness, but still features plenty of kick-ass moments of action, violence, blood, and Nazis being killed and also some great performances from a cast that is just filled with a who’s who of bad-ass, male actors from the 60’s.

8 / 10

If only I was as cool.

If only I was as cool.

Photos Courtesy of: Movpins, FilmDROID

Superman (1978)

Those glasses really do matter.

After his mother and father (Marlon Brando and Susannah York) are killed along with everyone else on his home planet of Krypton, Clark Kent (Christopher Reeve) lands on a farm in the middle of Kansas, owned by Jonathan and Martha Kent (Glenn Ford and Phyllis Thaxter). While he’s on Earth, he finds out who he really is, what his powers are, what he’s supposed to do with them, and what could be made of them. However, those are just ideas and questions juggling around in his head, as he, nor anybody else that knows of his secret powers are quick to give the answers to any of them. So, in spite of the life-saving abilities he has as something that’s not from planet Earth, he decides to join the Daily Planet, a newspaper in the heart of metropolis, where Clark meets the wonderful, but vivacious and ambitious writer Lois Lane (Margot Kidder). Though Lois doesn’t really care much for Clark as anything other than a friend, he makes it his life’s mission to save her from harm, any chance the opportunity shows itself. That’s why, when evil mad scientist Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) begins to wreak havoc all over Metropolis, Clark can’t help but rip his shirt off, put those glasses elsewhere, and fly in the sky like, well, Superman.

Punching works, too. I guess.

Punching works, too. I guess.

There’s something so inherently goofy and charming about Superman, that even though it’s incredibly corny and silly, it’s still hard to despise. For one, director Richard Donner knows exactly what kind of material he’s working with and doesn’t make a single apology for it; good guys fly around in capes, bad guys wear ugly wigs, aliens roam the world without any of us knowing, etc. Superman never has, nor ever will be, material that we’re all supposed to take super, duper seriously, which is why Donner gives this a lovely taste of kitschy fun, as well as heartfelt adoration for Superman himself, what he represents, and just why exactly he still stands as a symbol for everything right and good with the world.

And even though it’s been nearly 40 years since it’s release, Superman is still a solid movie, even stacked-up against some of the great, nearly amazing superhero movies we have today.

Then again, it’s very hard to compare the two. 1978 was a very different time for cinema where there seemed to be a shared party between those who enjoyed both popcorn movies, as well as more artsy-fare, whereas nowadays, the line between the two has been clearly struck. Sure, there’s definitely big-time, mainstream blockbusters out there that can also be seen as a “serious films”, but there’s still an obvious difference.

With Superman, it’s clearly not trying to bring out the tears, nor is it trying to change anybody’s life – what it’s simply trying to do is re-tell the story of Superman, to the general mass public again and remind us that superheros such as this, can exist. Okay, maybe not actually exist in real life, but you get my drift. What Donner is aiming at here with Superman is that he is an icon for everything right, powerful and brave about the world we live in and we should be so lucky to have him around, constantly caring for us, saving us from near-death, and grabbing kitties out of trees. He’s the perfect man, if anything, but mostly, he’s the perfect superhero, which is why the casting of the late, great Christopher Reeve, was so pitch perfect from the ground-up, that it’s been nearly impossible to think of somebody else to take his place.

Sure, guys like Henry Cavill and Brandon Routh look an awful lot like Reeve, but it’s less about the good looks that made Reeve such a great Superman; there was this certain balance between earnestness and bravery, without ever seeming naive, that Reeve handled so well. He could, on one hand, be the most charming man alive, while on the other hand, he could also be the one guy you’d trust to kick the hell out of some evil-doer because they stole your purse. Even when Reeve puts on the glasses and becomes Clark Kent, there’s still a certain amount of charm to the way in how he heightens all of his character’s nerdy aspects and traits.

Marlon's probably very upset that the baby may not be "method".

Marlon’s probably very upset that the baby may not be “method”.

You could definitely say it’s still a tad ridiculous that all he has to do is put on a simple pair of bifocals to blend in with the rest of society, but hey, if the movie whole fully believes it, then guess what?

So do I!

And everybody else in the cast is pretty great, too. Marlon Brando shows up for at least 15 minutes in the beginning and definitely leaves a mark as Superman’s daddy; Margot Kidder seems definitely a lot stronger and smarter than your average damsel-in-distress that we tend to get in these sorts of movies; Jackie Cooper is absolutely hilarious as Perry White and just about steals every scene with every line he drops; and Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor, well, let me just say that I’ve got a lot to say about him.

If anything, I feel like the movie sort of drops the ball on him. Hackman is definitely more than willing to play along with this character’s sometimes weirder eccentricities, but after awhile, it makes us forget that he’s actually supposed to be an evil, mean, scary and despicable villain. Sure, we see and hear him do bad things, but none of them ever feel or appear to be actual threats; you could chalk a lot of this up to the fact that, with Superman looming in the background, we already get the sense that Luthor won’t achieve his dastardly plan of, uh, destroying the Earth for some reason, but still, with any movie, superhero or not, there should always be that sheer feeling of having no clue what the hell is going to happen next, or who is going to come out on top and save the day. We know that it’s going to be Superman no matter what, but hey, sometimes it’s fun to keep the audience guessing and give your superhero and equally-skilled and matched-up villain.

Consensus: Many years later, Superman still remains a great piece of superhero fiction, that not only balances the heart and humor of the original stories, but gives us an icon with the wonderfully talented Christopher Reeve.

8 / 10

It's love at first sight. Get it? 'Cause he's not wearing glasses this time!

It’s love at first sight. Get it? ‘Cause he’s not wearing glasses this time!

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire, Blumhouse

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Everyone’s got daddy issues.

After a few years have passed, we pick up back in the Galaxy that is still, yes, far, far away, and now has Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) along with the rest of the Dark Side searching far and wide for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and and the rest of the motley crew Luke has been aligning himself with. Which means, yes, people like Han (Harrison Ford), Leia (Carrie Fisher), and Chewie (Peter Mayhew) are all still together, joined up with the rebels and trying to fight the good cause. However, everything turns South for the Rebel Alliance and everyone involved finds themselves left heading for the hills and looking for any refuge. Meanwhile, Luke gets stuck in a dirty, disgusting and grimy swamp that just so happens to have a little green friend of his that he may not know he needs, but will soon start to learn and understand just about everything a Jedi should know by him.

Yeah, I’m talking about Yoda (Frank Oz), in case I didn’t make that a bit clear by now.

Empire1

“Something holding you down, you feel?”

The Empire Strikes Back is where everything in the Star Wars universe gets very, very real. And is the case with most sequels, all the Empire Strikes Back has to do here is keep the story moving on, but never really feel the need to tie-up any loose-ends, either – in other words, everyone involved had a pretty easy task to just keep the story moving in a fun, entertaining manner for all of the fans to go crazy for. However, there’s a little something here.

For one, this movie’s just chock full of darkness that you hardly see coming. While with A New Hope, there were a few surprises in the way of emotionally-compelling moments, here, everything feels as if it was made to test out just how much you felt for these characters, the galaxy in which they live in, and realized just the kind of circumstances that were being fought for here. Which is to say that yes, it’s very hard not to get wrapped-up all in what the Empire Strikes Back does; even though he didn’t direct it, George Lucas’ inspiration is still felt through just about each and every frame.

Sure, we still get the little witty lines in between the havoc and violence, but they’re more or less pushed to the side here so that we can get more duking it out between skilled-fighters and tense moments that put the audience in a tail-spin of not knowing what to expect. You could say that maybe it’s a bit ridiculous to think that Lucas would have such the guts to kill-off a major character of this series in only the second movie, but honestly, while watching it, you’ll hardly ever think about that. You’ll just have that feeling that anything can happen because, well, Lucas’ universe says so.

That’s perhaps what’s missing from each and every other Star Wars flick, and it’s what keeps the Empire Strikes Back exciting.

But like I said, there’s of course more going on here than just a bunch of wild and crazy fun – there’s actually a solid amount of heart here that makes it hit harder. All of the scenes including Yoda and Luke, while getting off to a bit of a shaky start, work perfectly together as they’re not just a tad goofy and playful, but also, honest and sincere. In order for Luke to man up and become something of a better Jedi, he has to make his own self more disciplined and smarter, and to see how Yoda teaches him all of these tricks of the trade, is still an interesting watch. “The force”, in and of itself, may be made-up of total and absolute crap, but watching Yoda teach Luke on that subject is hard to look past.

Not to mention that Hamill’s acting gets a bit better here, as mostly everybody’s does. However, what mostly helps everybody out here is the fact that the script is more centered around what’s going on with them, how they feel, and less about where the plot’s heading towards and what type of cool action’s going to come up next. Granted, the movie still does both later options, which aren’t bad, but they don’t get in the way of the meat of this story and help remind us that, first and foremost, Star Wars is about its characters.

See? Luke's a bit more bad-ass now.

See? Luke’s a bit more bad-ass now.

Like I said, Yoda is great here and there’s no way to mince words about that fact. Frank Oz could do voices for days and it’s just great to see how much time and effort he put into making a strange creature like Yoda actually work. And yeah, while I’m on the subject of newcomers, Billy Dee Williams is a welcome-addition as Lando Calrissian, who is as fly as a spaceman as they come. Williams adds a nice level of cool charm to this character that makes him likable, but also not trustworthy enough and it’s what helps us put us in the same situation that Han has to go through.

Speaking of Han, Harrison Ford continues to kill it as everybody’s favorite anti-hero. However, what guides Ford this time around, is the fact that he and Fisher truly do have a bit of fun and fiery chemistry together that, honestly, you just want them to both drop the B.S., rip each other’s clothes off, and get it on like Donkey Kong. While this is a kids movie and we clearly know that’s not feasible in the PG-world, still, it’s an idea that’s hard to get out of your head once it’s in.

That’s because Ford and Fisher (who, oddly enough, got rid of her British accent), are so good together that, through it all, you want to see them together at the end. But of course, for most of us who know, the ending of this flick leaves us in two cliffhangers, both of which I won’t bother to speak about, but will say that they’re effective.

And that’s it.

Consensus: As a sequel, the Empire Strikes Back is not only heartfelt and exciting, but emotional to sit by, even if you know there’s one more movie left to go.

9 / 10

'Nuff said.

‘Nuff said.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)

And nerds everywhere, were never the same.

A teenage farmhand who goes by the name of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has certain aspirations for greatness that go further than just collecting bots for his Uncle and Aunt, fixing them, and not reallly doing much else. However, through what seems to be a course of some life-changing moments and experiences in a very short span of time, he finds himself start to train to become a true jedi, one who can be trusted on to save the galaxy from the evil dark side. He learns all of his moves and skills from an older fellow named Obi-Wan (Alec Guiness) who, through his teachings, makes him understand how to control his force and not get carried away at all with it all. This then leads both of them to get caught up in a plot to rescue a princess named Leia (Carrie Fisher), forcing an alignment with two bad-asses of space called Han Solo and Chewbacca (Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew), and taking on perhaps the greatest force of all, Darth Vader (James Earl Jones). However, little does Luke know just how hard this task will be and what it will take for someone as unskilled as him to take down a whole empire.

Always trust in these three.

Always trust in these three.

What’s there to say about A New Hope that hasn’t already been said? For one, the movie’s an absolute classic, and that’s not just talking about the movie itself. More or less, the movie changed Hollywood and the movie-world as we known it; space operas had been done before Star Wars ever came out, but this one, despite its meager budget, list of no-name actors, and total cult-appeal, somehow destroyed the box-office and became the billion-dollar juggernaut that it is today.

And for that reason alone, George Lucas will always and forever have my respect.

Sure, the past decade or so has proven that maybe dear ol’ George has fallen a bit far from the cork tree, but regardless, nobody will ever forget just what sort of guts it took for someone like George Lucas, to make a movie like Star Wars, and then actually go somewhere with it all in the end. In a way, it’s the American Dream: Making an original movie, full of your own, crazy and unique ideas, doing everything your own self, and allowing for the rest of the world to see, only to have everyone accept it, love it and want to see more of it. Of course, along with that Dream, comes plenty of money, greed and vanity, but hey, none of that dark stuff now! This, my friends, is a happy story about how one George Lucas made a movie like Star Wars and ultimately, changed the movie landscape as we know it.

But seriously, aside from all the cultural significance this flick holds, it’s still pretty great in its own right. What surprised me so much about checking out A New Hope, even after all of these years, is how funny it actually was; people will mostly get swamped remembering the later movies and how corny Lucas’ sense of humor was, but honestly, the guy was actually a pretty nifty writer. Are the jokes silly? Of course they are, but there’s a sense of actual fun and play going on here that makes this movie such a better watch than some of the others; while Lucas may want his material to be taken seriously, he still can’t keep himself away from a witty line to deliver on. But still, it all works well with the rest of the movie and doesn’t feel just thrown in there for short measure.

Perhaps what has A New Hope stand the test of time, for as long as it has, is the fact that Lucas introduced so many iconic characters and seemed to actually do something with them.

Luke is, as made out to be, the quintessential hero of this story who may be naive and a bit bitchy, but also dreams for something more out of his life. While Hamill may get a lot of crap thrown at him for not being the best actor out of the bunch here, there’s still a certain amount of sweetness to his character-arch that makes him work and seem like more than just your ordinary hero. He’s on a quest, for sure, but because he’s so clean and good, it’s hard to hate the guy, either.

Then, of course, there’s Alec Guiness as Obi-Wan who, despite being the most acclaimed and skilled actor out of the bunch here, fits perfectly. Granted, Guiness doesn’t have much more to do here except go on and on about “the force” and how to control it, but really, he’s such a seasoned pro, he can make talking about rocks sound as compelling as they probably shouldn’t be. The fact that he and Darth Vader were, at one point in their lives, adversaries, makes it all the more interesting to watch, especially once they have that final duel between one another.

Speaking of Darth, James Earl Jones was perhaps the most perfect choice to voice this character. While we all know now that Darth Vader wasn’t actually played by Jones, it still doesn’t matter because his voice is so husky, rough and manly, that it’s absolutely terrifying to hear him get mad at someone, or just talk in general. The breathing’s scary, too, in that you don’t know why he’s doing it or where it’s coming from, but regardless, there’s just something awfully intimidating about seeing a man, dressed in an all black, nearly-identical Nazi-outfit, coming at you from afar.

One generation of cool-ass Jedi's, to another.

One generation of cool-ass Jedi’s, to another.

Not to mention the fact that, yes, he’s voiced by James Earl Jones.

But still, there’s so many more iconic characters to speak about that, honestly, it’s hard to go on about them without sounding like nothing more than just a cliche. Of course, Harrison Ford is the perfect anti-hero who, rather than try and save the girl because he’s a nice guy, would much rather do so to just get some sex (like most of us men out there); Chewbacca never makes sense, but it’s hard not to laugh whenever he and Solo communicate; C-3PO and R2-D2 are like a married couple and have the most charming love-hate relationship ever seen on the big screen; and yes, Carrie Fisher was not only as cute as a button playing Leia, but also worked well as the character because she’s not just a bad-ass gal, but one who can take care of herself and get stuff done whenever the men are just sitting around on their rumps, thinking of what to do next.

There’s more here (like Porkins), but yeah, you get the point – A New Hope has so many great, memorable characters to talk about, that to do so, would just be overkill.

However, what always has me coming back to A New Hope and remembering it for how great it truly was, and still is to this day, is the universal feeling of doing something that’s not only extraordinary, but better for the rest of mankind. It’s the kind of inspirational message that almost every movie made for young kids tries to tap into, but so rarely actually deliver on; however, without even trying, Lucas has our heads in the stars, dreaming for days, and wanting to do something special with what we’re given. Whether that’s making a billion-dollar-grossing movie, or saving the galaxy from evil clones, it doesn’t matter.

Continue to dream and you know what? Maybe it can happen to you, too.

Consensus: A New Hope not only changed the movie-business as a whole, but offered up iconic characters, an inspirational tale for the decades, and gave us reason to trust in George Lucas, even if he did sort of screw all of that up later on in his career.

10 / 10

Who shot first? Well, George, thanks to you, the world may never know.

Who shot first? Well, George, thanks to you, the world may never know.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

Room 237 (2013)

Can somebody explain to me what the hell does Johnny Carson have to do with it?!?

Remember the movie the Shining? You know, the one where Jack Nicholson and his family go off to the Overlook Motel in the middle of nowhere, we he works on his book, she cooks all day, and the little guy, Danny, just runs around on his big-wheel like all of us dreamed of doing as kiddies, but without the hallucinations of dead people and evil twin sisters. Apparently some people think that this classic horror movie is more than just one’s descent into utter and total madness, and more about the Indian massacre’s that took place, the faked-Apollo Moon landing, the Holocaust, and many, many more random but thoughtful observations.

The Shining did, and still does, scare the absolute shit out of me to the point of where I walk down the street, go to my local Target, get a new pair of shorts or whitey-tighties, and continue you my viewing, only to have to go through the same cycle again and again and again. It’s honestly just one of those movies that still gets me, no matter how many times I watch or how many times I hear it brought up into conversation. However, I should stop talking all about the movie because that’s not what this documentary is about. Well, not really anyway.

As time has gone on for me and I have done more research onto this movie, Stanley Kubrick himself, and the movies that he’s made in the past, I’ve come to realize that not everything is as what it seems and 9 times out of 10, there are certain clues to make you think one thing, that leads onto another, and then to another, and so on and so forth. In other words, the guy was a nut-job but he was close to being a genius in how he was able to really nail down a lot of themes and ideas, just by using one, single image in one scene that you most likely won’t ever seen, even if you tallied up your viewing total to 10 times. Sounds a bit crazy, I know, but that’s where the subjects of this movie are all about.

I'm assuming that this means that elevators kill people, or something...

I’m assuming that this means that elevators kill people, or something…

Not only do they love the Shining to near-death, but they also love just paying attention to it and searching for each and every detail they can find to give them the bigger-picture of what it’s really all about. Some people go on about a certain painting in a scene, others talk about the color-scheme, and sometimes, they even go so far as to talk about when Danny rides around the hotel, and what the symbolism of the places he goes by really means. In all honesty, I’ve watched the Shining many of times, but the shit that these people have apparently found and made-up in their own minds as to what it all means, really surprised the heck out of me, as well as had me scratching my head.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I consider these people to be a bunch of nut-jobs that have nothing else better to do with their lives, than just study and go crazy over one film, analyzing from point-A to point-B. In all honesty, I sort of wish I had that skill, rather than just seeing a movie like Eternal Sunshine and coming up with the conclusion that, “Ohhh, I see. It’s a movie all about how you can’t remove the ones in your life because that’s who they make you are the person today. Wow. Intelligent.” Yes, that’s where my mind goes when it comes to analyzing movies and I’m not too ashamed of it because it feels and seems reasonable. However, these people’s conclusion do seem a little far-fetched at certain points.

Kubrick is one of those directors that you can study a crap-load of, and still never get the full picture on. That’s why it seems so understandable that all of these people would make conclusions about whether or not he meant to do something as a way to trick us, or to just have us thinking more about what he’s trying to say. His work is always studied and a documentary like this showed me why. But it also seems like a lot of these people have a lot more time on their hands than they should, and the certain conclusions that they come up with, sort of show it.

For a prime example, one of the clues that a person makes up is the fact that there is a chair in the background during one scene, then they go back to the very same angle in the very same scene and it’s gone. Whether or not Kubrick did this on purpose or plain and simply just fucked-up, is totally beyond me, but I highly doubt that Kubrick did it as a way to show him, as one person says in the movie, “It’s his way of showing us that this is not your ordinary, horror movie.” Really? The fact that he removed a chair had me expecting that this was not your average horror movie? I don’t know about any of yous out there, but for me, I knew right from the start that this was not going to be your typical horror movie where everything happened to the same beat they all do. However, that’s just me, but then again, it proved MY OBSERVATION (see, I’m getting smarter as you read)that maybe these people are a little too obsessed and need to take that skill of analyzing and observation elsewhere by getting a job, putting food on the table, and supporting the fam-squad.

To be honest, though, I’d be a fool to say that some of this didn’t reasonable and intrigue me, because it actually did. I liked to see how some of these people would come up with certain ideas, all because of clues they saw and that aspect of the movie, was actually cool. And some of it actually was freaky and got me in that vibe of actually watching the Shining again. One part of the movie talks about how a dude actually played the movie in it’s chronological order from beginning-to-end, but simultaneously, played the movie from end-to-beginning and showed how some of the images over-lap and actually add more feeling and emotion to the film that you would have never been able to see, had you not seen the film such as this. This was a tad freaky and very breathtaking to see how these people came up with certain conclusions, ideas, and thoughts of the bigger-picture, but that was the best out of 20 to 25 mediocre ones that didn’t make sense and didn’t do much to really reel me in.

Oh, and this means (once again, assuming) that old ladies are ewwwy...

Oh, and this means (once again, assuming) that old ladies are icky to infinity…

What I hold against this movie the most is that it’s so repetitive in the way that it shows us each aspect of the movie, and has each person say why and how they think the way they do, told in the most boring-way possible. We never see the people speak, ever, and in my mind, I imagined that they were all a bunch of rugged, pot smokers, that literally just woke up as they began their interview. The actual interviews themselves sound very poor, and even worse, there’s one that actually is interrupted by a guy’s kid who won’t shut up in the background. Now, I don’t know if this is just me or everybody else, but when you’re filming an interview and you’re making a movie, don’t you at least think that you’d want to do it at the best possible time for all parties involved, in order to make sure there are no interruptions or problems while the interview is being conducted? Also, to top that off, don’t you think it would be best to at least edit that interruption out so it doesn’t seem like a choppy-cut of what’s supposed to be the final-product? To me, it just seemed lazy and didn’t help the interview out anymore, considering they all just about put me to sleep, as everybody doing the interviews seemed to have just woken up. Maybe it’s a sign that I dream to!! Oh em gee! Time to make a documentary!

Consensus: Most people who are fascinated by movies and over-evaluating them to the point of where you’ve already gotten five hemorrhoids in the matter of a month, will probably go ape (yes, there is a big “ape talk” in the movie at one point) over Room 237 and what type of conclusions they come up with. However, for those who just want an interesting, entertaining, and thoughtful documentary on just what the hell Kubrick was talking about with Danny’s sweater, may only find yourself happy with the latter, as the two former’s are barely anywhere to be found. Final option: just watch the original Shining all over again and see if it scares the pants off of ya.

6 / 10 = Rental!!

And finally, this just means that Jack Nicholson is crazy. Oh yeah baby!

And finally, this just means that Jack Nicholson is crazy. Oh yeah baby!