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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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

Tag Archives: Matt Dillon

Going in Style (2017)

Get some life into ya.

Lifelong buddies Willie (Morgan Freeman), Joe (Michael Caine) and Albert (Alan Arkin) all decide that it’s finally time to take some time back and retire, once and for all. However, once they do that, they don’t know what sorts of annoyances await them. For one, the factory that they slaved away for all of those years, aren’t going to be giving them pensions. And if that wasn’t so bad, they’re so broke that they may not be able to keep their own roofs over their heads. It’s so bad that even a piece of pie at a diner is a constant cause for argument. But then, Joe gets the idea: Why not rob a bank? Better yet, why not rob the bank that is, get this, robbing him blind in the first place? It’s a crazy idea and one met with disdain from the two other guys, but as time goes on, they start to come around to the idea. Eventually, the three hatch out a plan for what to do, but considering that they’re three old dudes, it may be a lot harder than it seems.

Do they qualify for the license to carry? Let alone, see?

Going in Style is probably an unnecessary remake, but it’s also different from the 1979 version. While that movie was a mostly dramatic, melancholy look at aging, life, and death, with some comedy splashed in there for good measure, the remake is a lot more fun, humorous, and less about being too dramatic. In a way, it’s as director Zach Braff and the studios thought that having a movie in which a bunch of old dudes try to re-ignite sparks in their lives, only to realize that they haven’t got much time left on Earth, was all too serious and real, so therefore, they added a bunch of jokes about prostates, pie, Alzheimer’s, and oh yes, the Bachelor.

Did I mention that this is Zach Braff we’re talking about here? Sure, I Wish I Was Here was a problem, but surely the same guy who made the near-classic over a decade ago (in Garden State), doesn’t feel the need for these sorts of paycheck gigs, does he? Well, in a way, it sort of seems like it, but it’s not like the movie’s the most manipulative piece of money-making machine ever made.

If anything, it’s just enjoyable and pleasing enough to literally not offend a single person.

Is that we should expect from these actors, as well as Braff? Hopefully not.

But for now, it’s fine, because Going in Style proves that the age old formula of “old dudes getting to have some fun one more time”, still kind of works. The only difference here is that the tone is a lot lighter and playful than you’d expect, which makes all of the crazy plot contrivances, twists, and turns, seem fine. Are they unbelievable and absolutely ridiculous? Absolutely, but for the longest time, the movie doesn’t do much but go about its day, with a smile on its face, and a pleasant mood on its mind.

Ride or die, boys.

And for that, it’s fine. It doesn’t ask for the heavy questions, with the heavier answers, about life, death, love, or immortality, or any of that fun stuff, nor does it really ask you to fully get too invested in its heist at the center of the film; it’s all being used to just get by and allow us to have some fun with these characters, in this place in time.

And once again, that’s fine.

It helps that Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin, no matter how old they get, still seem like total pros and can do practically no wrong. Sure, a lot of the stuff that they’re saying and yammering on about isn’t all that funny, but the three are so charming and lovely, does it really matter? Yes, it sort of does, but in this case, not really; it’s annoying to constantly see older actors get the short-shift in which they have to play these old dudes and that’s about it, but if that’s the way the world works, then so be it. It seems like Caine, Freeman, and Arkin themselves are so fine with it that it doesn’t really matter.

So long as they keep on doing what they’re doing, until the expected end of their careers, well then, no argument from me.

Keep doing what you’re doing, fellas.

Consensus: Pleasing and enjoyable enough, mostly by the talented trio of leads, Going in Style doesn’t set out to offend anyone, or change anyone’s life, and in this case, that’s all that is needed.

6 / 10

[Insert boner joke here]

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz

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Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

CVS, you better look out the next time I come through that front-door.

Bob (Matt Dillon), his wife Dianne (Kelly Lynch), Rich (James Le Gros) and Nadine (Heather Graham) are all a bunch of junkies who survive by robbing pharmacies in Portland, Oregon, in 1971. The natural leader of the gang, Bob, decides that it’s time to leave town after many, many scraps with the law and because of that, it brings about more and more problems with him, as well as with the rest of the group.

Writer/director Gus Van Sant has never really been a favorite of mine. Sometimes the guy does it for me (Good Will Hunting), sometimes he doesn’t (Paranoid Park), and other times, the performances are just so good that I don’t give a crap about his direction (My Own Private Idaho). This is one of those films that I’m sort of in the middle with – it’s not all that crazy or experimental, nor is it all that accessible, either. It’s somewhere between the two beasts we’ve come to know and expect from Van Sant and it’s why Drugstore Cowboy, as zany as it may get, is, at the very least, an interesting watch.

Who needs rehab when you look this good?

Who needs rehab when you look this good?

Not perfect, but hey, that’s fine, right? Life isn’t, so why should a movie be?

What’s perhaps so interesting about what Van Sant seems to be doing here is that he cobbles up together a mixture of all these different sub-genres and moods. There’s a heist movie, a crime movie, a romance, a anti-drug message, and also, a very dark drama that seems to have some dark comedic moments in there as well. Sounds like it could have been a total and absolute mess, which it sort of is, but it works; the movie is about a bunch of drug addicts who don’t ever seem to have their lives together, so why should a movie about their trials and tribulations be any different?

Van Sant does a smart job by getting in these character’s heads and mind-sets, while also never judging them for the decisions and actions that they choose to make throughout the whole movie, as questionable as they may be at points. But really, what Van Sant does show about these characters is just how sad and miserable their existences actually are, despite all of the fun and wild times that they may be having when they’re high off their rockers. Van Sant definitely enjoys sitting around and watching as these characters try to live their lives in normal ways, but he also can’t get past the fact that they’re realities are pretty screwed-up.

But at the same time, Van Sant doesn’t get too down in the dumps, as he actually shows that there’s maybe a little more to these characters and their lives, as well as their drug habits.

In a way, yes, Drugstore Cowboy is definitely an anti-drug flick in that it shows no matter how deep down in drug addiction you may be able to get, you can still get out of it, but don’t think that for one second, it won’t come back and bite you in your ass eventually. All of these characters either need their fix, or they just need to get away from the fuzz, but either way, they’re going through some very, fast-changing lives that get shaken up at just about every second and this film shows you that the lifestyle may be able to change. It’s not an easy change, though, and that’s where the harsh truth of drug-addiction and the message of Drugstore Cowboy comes into play.

It’s not happy, but it’s as real as you can possibly get.

Naked, but not alone. Hey, what's so wrong with that.

Naked, but not alone. Hey, what’s so wrong with that?

These harsh truths also go all the way back to the characters because, for the most part, they’re all just about as unlikable and unsympathetic as you can get. But the actors in the roles are so good that it’s hard to get too upset about. Matt Dillon gives a wonderful performance as the main junkie, Bob, and it’s one of those performances where Dillon relishes in being a total a-hole, but also likes to show a bit of a human side to him. If there was anybody in this flick that I actually liked or even came close to giving my heart to, it was Dillon’s character just because the guy starts to show some humanity by the end and never really loses that edge to him that made him so cool in the first place.

His wife is played by Kelly Lynch, who is pretty good in this role, showing off her feminine beauty, as well as her own knack for making us think that we could fall in love with her as well. Maybe that doesn’t make sense but I guess it sounds pretty cool, which is what most of this film goes for as well. James Remar is also here totally chewing the scenery as the bored cop who seems like he has it all out for Bob and his junkie friends, but you soon start to realize that the guy cares more about him than you may suspect and it’s actually a nice touch. So often these kinds of movies like to get down on cops and law-enforcement for being a bunch of party-poopers who are such sticklers that they can’t help but lighten up a little and let people have their fun, but mostly, the reality is that these cops, aside from doing their job, just really want to make the world a better place and ensure that no more people succumb to the addiction that is drugs.

Sure, not all cops think that way, but there’s a solid majority that do and it helps put Drugstore Cowboy into perspective a whole lot more.

Consensus: Though Van Sant may stuck between his artistic side and actually telling a story, Drugstore Cowboy works for its unflinching, painful look at the world of drug-addiction, while also giving a heartfelt message that’s less corny than it sounds.

8 / 10

Trust me, Will knows.

Trust me, Will knows.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

You, Me and Dupree (2006)

DupreeposterEverybody’s got that one, seemingly attractive friend who has an oddly-shaped nose and has every woman attracted to him. Yeah, screw that guy.

Carl (Matt Dillon) and Molly (Kate Hudson) are back from their honeymoon and finally feel as if it’s the time for them to start focusing on their lives and possibly even starting a family. That all goes out the window once Carl’s old pal, Randy Dupree (Owen Wilson), comes around, asking for some money and a place to live. Why? Well, because it appears that Dupree has yet to grow up and accept life for what it is. Instead of having a job where he gets money, he mostly just sits around the house; instead of having a steady girlfriend, he’ll sometimes just jerk-off and have random flings; instead of being able to be trusted and responsible, he sometimes takes a tad too much of everything he’s handed for granted. And while Carl and Molly both grow tired of Dupree’s wild and unpredictable antics, eventually, they come to realize that maybe he’s going to make their lives a bit better. After all, there’s this fun and happy spirit to him that’s almost too hard to deny.

Some of the best bums I know, are the best chefs. When they're not paying for the food, that is.

Some of the best bums I know, are the best chefs. When they’re not paying for the food, that is.

You, Me and Dupree is a very weird comedy in that it doesn’t really have a plot, or, as my pals in the biz like to call it, “a hook”. It’s a mainstream comedy with big-names attached to it, but no real premise to have people the slightest bit interested; if anything, it appears that the powers behind You, Me and Dupree just relied solely on the fact that it was able to get these people to show up in their movie in the first place. Heck, even Michael Douglas’ unfortunate name can’t help but be thrown on the poster, even if he is only in the movie for at least 20 or so minutes.

And the only reason why I bring any of this up is because it’s actually kind of hard to talk about You, Me and Dupree without feeling like I’m just writing about a movie I think I saw. Don’t worry, I’ve seen it and yeah, it was fine. It’s the kind of movie that, like I said, because there doesn’t seem to be anything actually going on other than Owen Wilson acting like a goof-ball, it’s hard to fully remember any stand-out scene that had me laughing for days, or really surprised me. Mostly, the whole movie just came, went, did its thing, and that was it.

Does that make it bad?

Maybe, but I didn’t hate myself while watching it.

If anything, I was just more confused as to how it got made. The movie’s not incredibly funny, nor is it all that dramatic, either. There’s certain ideas and themes about marriage, loyalty, and sex that come and go as they please, but you get the feeling that directors Joe and Anthony Russo don’t really have a clue what to make of them; they’re way more interested in watching Owen Wilson cause all sorts of havoc around him, while acting like the nicest guy possible. And yes, there is definitely some fun to watching this – Wilson is, believe it or not, a likable presence on-screen, so that when he is given cruddy material like this, he allows for it to appear better than it may actually be. There’s no denying that the script is pretty lame and only brings out the gultiest and easiest laughs, but somehow, it slightly works because Wilson’s good at this kind of role.

And the rest of the cast is fine, too, even if they’re far-off worse than Wilson. Kate Hudson is charming, as usual; Matt Dillon gets a few occasions to have fun and be weird, which is always a plus; Michael Douglas gets to play a dick, which is always magically delicious; and Seth Rogen, in what appears to be an early role of his, does well and leaves an impression. Their characters aren’t all as drawn-out as Wilson’s Dupree and for that, they kind of suffer. However, they all try their hardest with material that clearly isn’t up their alley, nor is it made to fully work.

Mikey Douglas as a father-in-law? Sign me up!

Mikey Douglas as a father-in-law? Sign me up!

Which once again makes me wonder: How did it get made?

Did the actors just read this script, think it was trash, but because they were somewhat interested in doing something that would give them a lot of money, just do it anyway? Did they all want to work together? Or, did they all just want to spend some time with Michael Douglas? Honestly, the later option is perhaps the most believable and it shows; You, Me and Dupree seems like the kind of mediocre-as-hell comedy that would have been the main focus of a season on Project Greenlight. It’s cheap, stupid and really easy-to-follow-along-with, which is basically what you could call any of the movies made from that show.

However, because the cast is involved, it becomes something of a bigger beast. It’s got a bigger budget and you know what? It’s actually a better movie. Does that make it perfect? Nope, but it does make it at least somewhat better to sit through than the worst comedies from its stars.

May not sound like much, but hey, at least it’s something.

Consensus: With a talented cast on-board, You, Me and Dupree just barely squeaks by as being an okay movie, even if its jokes aim as low as they can, without a single care in the world to actually try harder.

5 / 10

What can he say? He's just Dupree!

What can he say? He’s just Dupree!

Photos Courtesy of: Aceshowbiz

Wild Things (1998)

Drunk, alone, and horny? Turn this one on and you’ll have a new best friend.

Two high-school girls (Denise Richards and Neve Campbell) accuse their teacher (Matt Dillon) of raping them on two separate occasions. The guy tries his hardest to defend himself against this terrible case, but it’s not quite as it seems as we see from detective Ray Duquette (Kevin Bacon). Even if Duquette himself may be up to no good, either.

To be honest, the only real reason this film is as popular as it once was (and maybe still is), was all because of the infamous threesome and a rare dong-shot all being placed in a big, Hollywood production. Not that there’s necessarily anything daring about two girls and a guy engaging some hot, steamy sex, or even a slight shot of some male genitalia, but being that this was a pretty big movie, it created quite the stir. But is there more here to at least enjoy other than that threesome?

Yeah, but not too much.

Former Bond girl there, folks!

Former Bond girl there, folks!

It’s been awhile since the last time I saw a whodunit and Wild Things is a classic example of a whodunit that’s made to just keep on getting more and more ridiculous as it runs along. The script, for one, is probably not the best out there and can seem really lazy at points. You would expect a sexy little thriller like this to have some ultra-sexxed up dialogue that ladies would be quoting to dudes everywhere, but instead, it just comes off like a corny B-movie flick that goes through the motions with all of it’s dialogue. So, basically everything you’d expect from your ordinary B-movie, you get here and it’s sometimes hard to watch and enjoy because it’s so damn laughable at points. Now, there is a certain thing to be said about that and that’s how I actually found myself having fun with it but still, when everybody is serious and you are pretty much the only one laughing, you have to feel like something was missing here or that these people just weren’t in on the joke. I think I choose both.

As for the little plot twists that seem to come out of nowhere, they’re okay and actually make this story a bit interesting. Since there are so many plot twists to be had here, you can’t help but think that the film sort of loses itself with being a bit too over-exaggerated with itself, but it at least creates a tense mood to surround everything. Some of the twists took me by surprise, and some of them still took me by surprise, but after awhile I started to think about them and realize that they made absolutely no sense to the story at all and may have just been thrown in there for shits and gigs after all. Hey, I’m all down for a couple of neat plot twists here and there to spice up the story, but don’t make it overkill!

Then, there is, of course, the infamous threesome which will probably go down as the film’s biggest claim to fame and I will cut it some slack on, because it’s pretty freakin’ hot.

Usually when I watch films when some raunchy sex scenes are happening right in front of me, I don’t really feel anything since I know that they’re all fake and they aren’t really engaging in any sorts of sex with each other. But for some odd reason, with Wild Things, it all felt too real and it was just as hot and sexy as I remembered it being all those years ago around the first time I watched it. I won’t comment on the infamous dong scene but for all of the ladies out there, you got your six degrees of Bacon, alright!

"What did you say about the Following possibly getting cancelled?"

“What did you say about the Following possibly getting cancelled?”

Speaking of Kevin Bacon (and getting away from his actual Bacon!), he’s actually the best out of the whole main cast because the guy can sell any role no matter what he has to do and you can almost feel like this guy was just laughing at everybody else’s acting in the film by how laughable they can all be. Those ones I’m talking about are Matt Dillon and Denise Richards who could be placed in the “so bad, they’re good” category for the respective performances they give off here. Dillon plays up that macho, hammy bullshit dude that nobody likes and the whole film, just seems like he’s phoning it in from start-to-finish where you don’t really see this guy being an evil genius, you just see him being a total schmuck. Then, you got Denise Richards who is terrible in this role as the main high school girl who starts all of this drama and deliver every line of dialogue as if it were a self-serious soap opera, but without any slight wink to the audience. Dillon has barely any of that, but at least some, as opposed to Richards being such a dull presence to begin with, the fun sort of get sucked-out.

Though these two are pretty bad at what they do here, they don’t fully bring the ship down and leave everybody else to dry. Neve Campbell at least has some nice touches with her sympathetic character that got the best treatment out of everybody here, but still somehow seems like she gets the short end of the stick at the end. But as good as she is, she stands nowhere near to how great Bill Murray is as Dillon’s ambulance-chasing attorney that absolutely takes the film’s script, wipes his greasy hands all over it, and leaves some sort of particles that make the film a whole lot more entertaining whenever he’s up on-screen. I’ve said it many, many times before, but Bill Murray is the freakin’ man and whenever the guy isn’t out chillin’ with RZA, or playing a zombie, the guy can still take small roles like these and make them the most memorable due to that perfect comedic-timing.

Makes me wish he was in the film more, but hey, I guess that’s why we all love Bill Murray in the first place.

Consensus: While it’s hot and steamy for sure, Wild Things does get a bit too bogged-down by its own plot-twists, to make this campy-ride feel like one that’s a bit too rampant and wild for its own good.

5.5 / 10

Keep being you, Bill.

Keep being you, Bill.

Photos Courtesy of: IMDB, Premiere.Fr

Sunlight Jr. (2013)

The true-story of people who call a Motel 6 “their home”.

Melissa and Richie (Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon) are old slackers just trying to get by in a world that’s moving a little too quick for them, and an economy that seems to be getting worse and worse. Melissa works at a gas-station/convenience store called Sunlight Jr., where she is constantly getting harassed by her dirt ball of a boss. But as crappy as that may sound, at least she’s the one with the job; on the other hand, Richie, due to the fact that he’s confined to a wheel-chair for reasons unknown, gets by drinking, going to the bar, fixing old VHS’s, trying to sell them and collect unemployment benefits for as long as he can. It’s not the ideal life for these two, however, it’s the only life that they can possibly have right now, so they stick with what they got. But once Melissa gets preggo, then things for this couple begin to get even more difficult by the days, especially since none of them can really control their emotions or their habits.

In case you couldn’t tell just by that synopsis right there, this one’s a pretty depressing and down-trodden thing to watch and get through, but somehow, it’s a movie that matters. Doesn’t make it perfect, or even worth watching, but if you’re in the right mood, at the right time, with the right ideas of knowing what to expect, then you got to give it a go. Here, let me explain some more.

In case you couldn't tell, they're sad.

In case you couldn’t tell, they’re sad.

What I liked so much about writer/director Laurie Collyer’s approach is that she never really finds herself jumping into over-the-top, melodramatic territory with this material, even though it definitely begs for that to happen. Every moment something bad or suddenly disastrous occurs to this couple, rather than showing us how heart-broken they must feel at that point in time, the movie takes the higher-road and shows that they have to move on, as quick as possible. The movie never settles on the fact that they’re poor, a little dumb and have the odds stacked highly against them, but rather, shows us that they know what’s going on in their lives and are trying their best to get past it. And if they can’t get past it, then they will sure as hell survive in it; that’s as much as they can do, and that’s all that they’re going to die.

However though, it wouldn’t be safe to call them “sympathetic” in the least bit, because they do make some bone-headed decisions. For instance, one scene here occurs about mid-way through where Melissa is told by her boss to not have her boyfriend behind the counter, counting the money and doing the job all for her. Two scenes later, that’s exactly what he’s doing, and why? Oh, well, it was all because she was tired, was in need of a nap and her boyfriend decided to step up to the plate and be a sweetheart. And by “be a sweetheart”, I mean, he risked her getting her beauty-sleep over having her job, making minimum-wage and being able to pay for his bum-self.

So yeah, it’s not like you feel totally sorry for these characters because while that scene was just one instance of their sheer stupidity at times, there are plenty more where that came from. But then again, they make some idiotic decisions that any human on this Earth would make, especially ones who probably make more than just $7.25-50-an-hour. They’re human-beings, they act silly sometimes, they don’t always use their heads and rather act on impulse. That’s how we all are, their only problem is that they have a mortgage to pay that they can’t keep up with and even worse, they got themselves a little baby on the way. Just adds insult to injury, doesn’t it?

Anyway, that’s why this movie works as well as it does and should at least be seen; because while it does have some very dark, deep and depressing moments that wouldn’t be the nice pick-me-up you need after you just get laid-off from your cashier job at Mickey D’s, there is still some honest-to-god realism and hope thrown in there for good measure, and it works. It doesn’t just show you that you have to stick up for yourself and say whatever’s on your mind in order to get what you want and demand that respect; in fact, I’d say it’s about the opposite. It’s a movie about people who know when to take shit, how to dish it back out and when worse comes to worse, and their lives on the line, how to just keep their mouths shut and keep on a movin’. Don’t have anybody fool you, but THAT, my friends, is “the American way”.

Just realizing that their lives are totally and completely fucked from here on in.

Just coming to the realization that their lives are totally and completely fucked from here on in.

Hate to break it to ya, folks. But that’s the only way you’re going to get by in the world. And if you don’t think so, then just get a blog. Look what good it’s done me!

As down-trodden as this may all sound, the one aspect really keeping it alive and healthy are the performances from Dillon and Watts who, once again, show that if you give them a script worthy-enough of their talents, then they’re going to give you their all. And then some more. Dillon seems like he’s having a fun time being a charming loser, and gets a few scenes that seem more like he just said “screw it” to the script, and absolutely free-balled it. Makes me wish we saw more of him, as he’s a guy whom I still feel doesn’t quite get the credit he deserves. As for Watts, she does pretty damn good also as Melissa, showing us a gal that’s really got the odds stuck up against her, and yet, will continue to fight to survive for as long as she can possibly stomach. After stinkers like Movie 43, Adore and that oh-so-terrible Diana, it’s nice to see Watts acting her hiney off again, and actually getting more out of it, than what she just puts in. Keep it up, girlie, and stay the hell away from biopics and comedy! Please.

Consensus: Don’t depend on Sunlight Jr. to get you happy and hopeful for the future, however, do expect it to be a nice slap-in-the-face for facing reality, realizing what one must and wants to do, and noticing how they are totally two different things altogether. Then again, that’s life. That’s what all the people say.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

Oh yeah! And he's in this, too! But he doesn't have a cross-bow with him, so boo!

Oh yeah! And he’s in this, too! But he doesn’t have a cross-bow with him, so boo!

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

Girl Most Likely (2013)

Best way to get your man back? Fake-kill yourself. Just you wait, he’ll be back in no time.

Imogene (Kristen Wiig) seemed to have had it all: the boyfriend, the writing job, the fancy apartment in NYC, the much-needed separation from her gambling-addicted mother (Annette Bening). However, it all goes down the drain once she loses one aspect, and then it becomes a domino effect from there on in, which makes her fake a suicide-attempt, in hopes that it will bring her boyf back to her. It doesn’t. But since she pulled a risky stunt like this, she can’t be trusted on her own so is now forced to live with her said gambling-addicted mother, her new boyfriend, a supposed CIA agent by the name of George (Matt Dillon), her geeky brother (Christopher Fitzgerald), and some tool that’s been renting out her room for quite some time (Darren Criss). It’s all bad for Imogene at first, but she soon realizes that maybe her old life wasn’t as great as she may have seen it as being. That, or she just didn’t amount to shit. Something like that, I think.

Alright, let me just put it as simply and obviously as I can: This movie is a total mess. It’s a total mess that I wish I avoided, but I just couldn’t turn down a screening invite to because of the big name’s attached and an odd crush I’ve had on Wiig for quite some time now. It seemed like it was supposed to be good from the outside-looking-in, but it just is not because the whole movie can’t rise beyond it’s one-note premise. Even when it tries to, it does it so miserably, that it has nowhere else to go but downhill from there. Problem is, it’s already down at the bottom of the hill. So seriously, where the hell can a film go if it’s already at the deepest, darkest hell of the hill?

Clothing: Way. Too. Colorful.

Clothing: Way. Too. Colorful.

I have no clue. That’s what I’m still struggling to figure out, but I don’t care too much about this movie or the explanation to figure out what.

I know I sound like a miserable git that can’t have fun, even if the movie is terrible but no, no, no! This movie is really bad and actually surprised me because it started off fine. It had a good premise, a good start-up to where we are thrown into this girl Imogene’s life, and are left to figure out what she’s going to do with the rest of it. It’s a perfect set-up for a pretty good dramedy, if there was one to be found here, but there isn’t. Instead, it’s just a whole slew of repetitive-jokes that get old from about the first 5 seconds that they’re introduced. However, the movie doesn’t care and will more than love to bang them against your head, until they’ve been implanted in your brain when you leave, just so you have something worth remembering. Maybe the creators didn’t have that much effort in their systems while making this movie, but I’m just in a sinister mood. So leave me be, dammit!

Let me take the time to tell you some of the running-gags that these characters have, and will never, ever let you forget about. Imogene’s the only lucky one here who comes out surprisingly unscathed, except for maybe the joke that she’s too old for the people she hangs out around. She wears a Friends t-shirt for about 10 minutes, she dresses like a grand-mom at risque night-clubs, when it’s made abundantly clear that she’s probably around her mid-to-late 30’s, and constantly reminds everybody that she’s in a totally, different day and age than all of them combined. That’s her joke, I guess if I had to reach out for one. Wiig milks it for all that she can and comes up pretty successful at times, but feels like she’s trying way too hard to be all awkward and odd, but for no reason.

Moving on, we have her gambling-addicted mother that cannot stop mentioning winning some sort of poker/blackjack game, even when her own daughter’s in the hospital because of an apparent suicide-attempt. Also, she likes to make sandwiches. A lot of sandwiches to be exact. Don’t know why this is meant to be shown as a joke, as if she’s a goof-ball or something, but it does not work, no matter how hard to Bening is trying to make it so. And she really does try. Poor gal. Matt Dillion has his joke where he’s a mysterious, shady CIA-agent that’s also involved with the samurai code that has him talking about some odd morals and rules that he must live by. Oh, and before I forget: He likes to eat the sandwiches that Bening’s character makes for him. That’s right, he eats sandwiches. What a bunch of jokesters these people are!

Now I know why I didn't like him. Bastard.

Now I know why I didn’t like him! Bastard.

Then, we have the brother who’s your typical, anti-social nerd. He practically lives in his room, one filled to the core with crabs, lobsters, and all sorts of other creatures, I’m sure, and doesn’t talk to girls at all. Hell, he barely even leaves his room and when he actually does, it’s only to work at the shop he owns which, you guessed it, sells crabs! Fitzgerald is more than up to the task of trying his hardest to make this character work or even be funny for that matter, and actually had me chuckling at least once or twice, but the script treats him as a total dweeb, one that will never, ever get laid, no matter how many crabs he ditches. Poor guy.

Darren Criss doesn’t really have a joke to his persona, mainly because a rock has better comedic-timing than him. I don’t know who this dude is, but Darren Criss is not a name I want to see anywhere near another comedy I see in the near-future, because he is not funny and doesn’t even seem to try at all to be so. He’s just there to look pretty, be a forced, romantic-interest for Wiig’s character, and sing Backstreet Boys songs because that’s apparently what all heterosexual dudes do, especially when they’re trying to bang somebody like Kristen Wiig. Maybe that’s what I need to do in order to win her over? Just maybe I will.

Consensus: Girl Most Likely has some promise of a generic, but entertaining flick that has a nice heart intact, but is neither and tries to fulfill both sides of the equation, and still falls apart while trying to do so, much to the dismay of the talented cast (except for Criss) on deck.

1.5 / 10 = Crapola!!

"So, you guys ever heard of Scott Joplin? You know, cause I'm soooo old."

“So, you guys ever heard of Scott Joplin? You know, cause I’m so old.”

Crash (2005)

Don’t be racist, especially in L.A.

A Brentwood housewife and her DA husband. A Persian store owner. Two police detectives who are also lovers. A black television director and his wife. A Mexican locksmith. Two car-jackers. A rookie cop. A middle-aged Korean couple… They all live in Los Angeles. And in the next 36 hours, they will all collide…

So the one thing about this movie that always seems to get people crazy (myself included) is that this was the Best Picture winner over the near-masterpiece that is ‘Brokeback Mountain’, and while I can’t say that I think otherwise now, I can still say that i think that this one doesn’t deserve all the bashing it seems to get.

To start off with this flick, I have to say that the general idea of having all of these stories center around racism is pretty nifty and it works mainly because of Paul Haggis‘ script. Haggis did a great job at showing us all of these different perspectives on other peoples’ race and gives us plenty of stories where we realize just how hard it is to be anything in this world, especially when race comes into the picture. I think I’ve mentioned race about 3 times already in this review but it’s as if it was just another character in this movie, but it just didn’t speak. It’s everywhere these characters look, around everything they do, and basically impacts all of their everyday activities and it’s only gotten worse and worse as the years have gone by. It’s a harsh reality but it’s a very true reality and I have to give it to Haggis for at least going out there and showing all of this because it’s something everybody needs to hear and understand. There’s plenty of other themes and messages here about life, people, and the world we live in, not just racism, but it’s definitely one of the themes that I could understand and connect with the most.

The problem that Haggis ran into with this script was that it sometimes dives into soap opera-ish and that’s where it sort of began to lose me. Some moments in this film rang true for me, while others just felt too cinematically cheesy that they could only happen in a movie, which is what movies are all about but this film does try its hardest to seem like its real. Take for instance, the scene with Ryan Phillippe and Larenz Tate, without giving too much away I just want to say that they both are driving in a car and within 1 minute of the ride, they are already fighting and arguing about something, which is trying to show how a black person and white person can’t really get along. Then it ends in a very bizarre and shocking way but it came off more as unbelievable to me because it seemed like Haggis was trying too hard to try and show us how messed up relations between two different races are. Nice try Paul, but life doesn’t always play out like that.

However, for every “made for movies” scene, there was an equally compelling and powerful scene waiting to just come right up and snatch us. Haggis has a couple of scenes as director where he unleashes these very heavy scenes full of his score and they work because as over-powering as it may be, it still keeps your eyes glued on the screen as you can feel the emotion pouring out. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but the fact is that when it works here, it works superbly.

Where this film really works is the ensemble cast that Haggis was able to assemble here and all do perfect jobs with their sometimes unlikable characters. Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, and Matt Dillon are all given characters that you can’t really like just because they don’t do the right thing about 95% of the whole flick, but yet they are very compelling, especially Dillon. Matt Dillon is perfect here as the racist cop, which is sort of a cliche in and of itself but he somehow transcends above that formula and makes this a character that it seems like only he could play. He’s unlikable, pompous, and racist but by the end we start to see the human side of him and it actually feels very real and that’s where I think his performance hit its highest note. Once we start to realize that he’s actually a good actor too, is also when his performance got better. Still don’t know why this guy hasn’t been able to get more like this recently. Then again, there was ‘Takers’ but I think that only counts as a good movie for me.

Consensus: Crash is a very hard flick to talk about because it’s well-written, features some great points about the world we live in, especially when it comes to race, and is acted greatly by everybody involved, but way too many scenes also feel like they were just made for a movie experience and the more the film seemed to ring false, the more it seemed to lose points for me. Good film? Yes. Good enough to win Best Picture over Ang Lee’s near-masterpiece? Nope, sorry.

8/10=Matinee!!

Beautiful Girls (1996)

Being snowed in makes me all warm and fuzzy, except I wouldn’t want that feeling all year round.

Willie Conway (Timothy Hutton) returns to the small town he left behind as erstwhile friends, lovers and the scary thought of settling down swirl around him. A friend’s unapproachable cousin (Uma Thurman) and the winsome teenager next door (Natalie Portman) couldn’t be more different, but they afford glimpses of two possible futures.

Those “small-town” films have always been a favorite of mine since I like to feel like I’m right there with the story, and this one did not disappoint.

The script here by Scott Rosenberg is what really has this film clickin’. Rosenberg does a great job of expressing the insecurity’s that men have, and the sexual politics between men and women. Us men, we can sometimes be horny mofo’s and not always do the brightest things, and this film shows that it’s alright because that’s how life is. There is also plenty of comedy to go along here that won’t have you laughing-out-loud, but it will at least give you this breezy feeling throughout the whole film.

Most of the problem with this film that people will actually have is that not much happens here. The whole film is basically conversational, and nothing eventful really goes down and some will be bored by this, but I actually didn’t mind it because they gave us things interesting and witty to talk about.

However, my problem with this film is that it does get schmaltzy at times which sort of took away from the whole cool feel that this film gave me. I didn’t mind the little emotional scenes they had, but I think they were unnecessary especially with that cheesy score they had pop in every once and awhile. Also, I wish there was more viewpoints from the gals here too, but I can’t lie, I still liked what I heard from both sides.

The ensemble cast is good-looking, but don’t let that actually fool you because their all so good. Timothy Hutton is good as Willie and handles the film really well bringing in that coolio charm, and actual “realistic-guy” feel to him. I don’t know if that made any sense but the point I’m trying to make is that he’s a cool dude. Matt Dillon, Noah Emmerich, and my favorite no matter what he does, Michael Rapaport, all do great jobs as the other dudes here. Martha Plimpton, Mira Sorvino, and Lauren Holly are good too. But my favorites out of this cast are from three gals actually. Rosie O’Donnell has a totally hilarious scene here where she talk’s about dudes and our sexual fantasies, and it’s all so true, but the way she puts everything just made me crack up the whole time. Uma Thurman is also awesome as the really cool chick named Andera, who really made me wish I had here as a “fake date” when I needed one the most. But the best performance from the whole cast is Natalie Portman, who at 13, took this little role, and made it so memorable. Her character, Marty, is really quirky and Portman does a great job at bringing out that quirkiness within her character, and make almost every scene she has hilarious but also very interesting. This was a star-making role for her, and with good reason because she’s awesome in this role.

Consensus: Nothing much really happens here other than a bunch of conversations, but Beautiful Girls’ script is so good, that it kind of makes up for that, with it’s themes about men and women, and performances from a great cast, especially Natalie Portman.

7/10=Rental!!

Takers (2010)

Your average heist film, with cooler people.

With their collective eye on a huge payoff, a motley crew of bank robbers (including Paul Walker, Michael Ealy, Chris Brown and Hayden Christensen) get busy planning out their next heist. Their former colleague, Ghost (T.I.), convinces the boys to target an armored car carrying $20 million. But a detective (Matt Dillon) who’s obsessed with his work is just as obsessed with making sure the thieves never pull off their scheme.

This is has been a film that for some reason I have wanted to see for so long, even despite it being terribly reviewed, and basically looking terrible from the start. But I’m actually surprised that I didn’t hate it like everyone else did.

I think the one reason many people had a problem with this movie, was because it wasn’t that original when it came to its plot. There are plenty of shades of other crime films in here such as Dog Day Afternoon, Heat, Point Break, and the list goes on and on, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. For me, I enjoyed this film mostly for it’s action scenes, and how they kept me watching. The action scenes are all filmed in a shaky-cam with very frenetic editing, that works well for this film because it keeps you in this very fast-paced setting. The stunts they use in this film are cool to look at, as well as the heist scenes cause you can tell they put a lot of effort into it.

A problem with this film is that it’s writing is not so good, as well as it’s story. There are obvious, and pretty cliche lines here that you will just sigh after hearing them here, cause you know you have heard them time and time again from other, and better films. There are also some laughable subplots here that involve a crooked cop, a couple that’s about to get married, and a really random one about a drug-addicted sister, do nothing but take away from the action, and focus more on the story which really wasn’t working out. Even though I could tell at times where this film was going, I still was on the edge of my seat, because by the end of the film it does become somewhat unpredictable.

Another problem with this film was that the characters are all pretty two-dimensional. Yeah, we kind of get to know them through their charms, and cool way of saying certain lines, but we never get to know each and every one to the point of where we’re cheering them on till the end. I liked the cast and how they got all these big-budget names and mixed them with some rappers, but they aren’t really put to good use except for a little bit of show.

For the most part, the cast does alright even though I do think some of them could have done better, if given a better script. Matt Dillon and Jay Hernandez who play the cops, are the two best here and play off each other very well. Idris Elba is also the one worth noting, since he takes a lot of his scenes and does a very good job with them, as I always expect from him. However, the rest of the cast doesn’t really do much, mainly because the script permits them from really doing anything. Chris Brown, Paul Walker, Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy, and last, but certainly not least, T.I. Now let’s just savor for a moment that not only does this film have T.I. in this film, but he is the main reason why this story happens, and therefore he is in it a lot and a lot. I would not have a problem that he was in this a whole lot if he was actually good at what he did, but the fact is that he is so annoying here. I don’t know if it was his delivery, or the writing, or just his character, but I really wanted to kill T.I. in this film. Also, the beautiful Zoe Saldana is in this for a total of 10 minutes, while T.I. has half of the movie to himself. Congrats on a waste of talent!

Consensus: Many films are copied from in here, and the characters as well as script are cliche and lame, but the constant energy this film gives off, and some entertaining set pieces had me actually having a relatively good time with Takers. But as always, it could be better.

6/10=Rental!!

Armored (2009)

A B-grade Reservoir Dogs.

Armored truck guards Mike (Matt Dillon), Baines (Laurence Fishburne) and Quinn (Jean Reno) turn against one another after their plan to steal $10 million from their own company goes seriously haywire. A witness throws a wrench into their seemingly flawless strategy, so each man scrambles to save his own skin — whatever the cost to the other conspirators.

The film starts off very, very slow, and I was just already sick of this movie by the 30 minute mark, cause it was all the same predictable, same crap, I have seen before. But then as we get onto the heist, things really do pick up, which I was surprised by.

Director Nimród Antal (what a silly name), directs this film well, because he actually creates a lot of suspense with this film, even though most of it is, a guy in a huge truck, that is just waiting to be released. He does a lot of cool camera tricks that put more suspense within the film, which I was surprised by, and there is even some cool action sequences, that look pretty cool.

The problem with this film is that the suspense is totally in this film the whole time. By the last 20 to 30 minutes, you could see where this film was going, which was kind of a bummer since I was on the edge of my seat before that. Also, the film is only about 88 minutes long, which kind of blows, considering the ending does feel rushed, and if they wanted to, they could have made more interesting character spots, for these guys, so we could have cared more about them, when something bad happened to them.

Columbus Short does a good job in the lead, providing a lot of emotional depth to his character, considering the film allows him to do this. Matt Dillon is convincing as the evil, and utterly bad-ass deuche bag, that basically puts all this together. Laurence Fishburne does a good job at playing the big, mean guy that we all know and love him for now. Jean Reno is good also to see work in something that makes him menacing again, instead of these clown roles, he’s been doing lately. Milo Ventimiglia has one good scene, where he shows a lot of emotion, and it was good. Skeet Ulrich (aka Billy Loomis all grown up), does a good job here too, surprisingly he has a lot of screen time given to him, and does a good job with it.

Consensus: It may get way too predictable by the end, and lose its story, but compelling performances from a good cast, and some tense filming, makes this old-style film, better than expected.

6/10=Rental!!

Singles (1992)

Seattle Grunge may not be the most romantic music out there, but for these people, it’s the closest thing their going to get to Marvin Gaye.

A group of twenty-something friends (Matt Dillon, Kyra Sedgwick, Bridget Fonda, and Campbell Scot), most of whom live in the same apartment complex, search for love and success in grunge-era Seattle.

Writer/Director Cameron Crowe is a very smart person. His two films Jerry Maguire, and Say Anything.., are perfect examples of films that blend smart comedy, with realistic romance. With this one, he does an OK job to say the least.

The one thing Crowe does with this film is that he shows these real people talking about real stuff, and expressing their real feelings. You get a real sense of how love is, and sometimes not supposed to be. Crowe plays out some little director tricks to give us the feeling of how it feels to be in love, and how we all react to when we are in love. There’s also a lot of Generation X nostalgia that will tell you how these people feel about the future, and what they expect from it.

Although, I think Crowe didn’t know what to do when it came to comedy. Yeah, there’s a little laugh here and there, but it’s all too random. There are just moments where something weird happens, and yeah, it turns out funny, but it’s so useless.

Also, the soundtrack is pretty rockin’, with grunge greats like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, but the music never plays a huge part in this film which kind of bums me out. I wanted to hear more insight on how this dirty, and dark music, made these people feel, and how they connected to it.

The performances from the cast we’re very good. Bridget Fonda is good, as this cute, likable girl that falls for the heavy grunge rocker, Cliff, played by the always amusing Matt Dillon. He’s as usual funny, but he’s also kind of a dick, but its not off-putting, he knows that he is. Campbell Scott and Kyra Sedgwick do the best jobs together in this film. They are both aimlessly in love, but they don’t know how to approach it, nor do they know how to express, cause they have recently been hurt. It’s great to see these two on-screen together, and it all feels so real. We also get great cameos from Paul Giamatti, Jeremy Piven, Bill Pullman, and the most random one yet, Tim Burton. Yeah, the director dude is in this, and I have no idea why.

The only problem with a lot of these characters is that it never gets fully in-depth to who these people really are. Yeah, we get to hear about their past love-life, but we walk into their lives with an open-mind, but get nothing in return. We guess their all good, and nice people, they just all need love. I guess…..

Consensus: Aimless, and not enough depth, stops Singles from being a great romantic comedy, but it has good performances, and a very smart script that shows real people, talking about real feelings.

7/10=Rental!!

There’s Something About Mary (1998)

What is so great about Mary!??!? Oh, it’s Cameron Diaz, nevermind.

The Farrelly brothers nail the laughs in this hugely popular comedy about a hugely popular girl. Mary (Cameron Diaz) is the ideal girlfriend of every guy she meets, especially frustrated high school suitor Ted (Ben Stiller). But he’s got plenty of competition from Matt Dillon and other unexpected rivals.

The film is directed by The Farrelly Brothers, and this is basically the film that got them into mainstream names. For this they combine their signature gross-out humor, as well as a great deal of cute romantic comedy.

The one thing about this film is that it’s comedy pushes the envelope. It doesn’t push the envelope to the point of where your basically leaving in the middle of the movie to throw-up, but it does get very very raunchy and dirty at times, but not without making you laugh. There’s a lot of moments in this film where The Farrelly Brothers go the extra mile, to bring out the excruciating laughs, and well here, they work. Who after watching this can honestly forget about the “Frank and Beans” scene, or the “dog on speed scene”, all of these scenes are so out this world, but hilarious, and done so well.

But it’s not just about the raunchy and disgusting humor, it’s also, the screenplay that’s filled with some good jokes. There are plenty of moments where these guys actually have a lot of funny things to say, and despite all the gross-out stuff, the film still does have a big heart at the core of everything.

I thought that although the comedy had me laughing, I felt like some of it was trying too hard to be so crude, and mean, that it just got on my nerves. There are many, many jokes centered, and made about mentally challenged people, and although I’m not calling myself a saint or anything, I still think some of the jokes were low-blows. I don’t mind being politically incorrect, but when your just being mean to bring out some laughs, you can’t quite laugh.

Ben Stiller plays basically the same straigh-laced geek that he plays in almost every comedy, but hey it works. Cameron Diaz is great here too, and she’s got that fun-loving personality, beautiful looks, and strong sense of control in her life, that makes you fall in love with Mary too. Matt Dillon steals the show here, as liar Patrick Healy. It’s great to see how much he goes through just to get Mary, and the stuff he makes up, and how he puts it, is just hilarious. He may not have been a very funny dude before this movie, but now, he is just hilarious, proving dick-heads can always be funny. The rest of the cast is funny like Chris Elliot (a dude I haven’t seen in years), Lee Evans (some funny stuff when he drops his keys), and my favorite, Keith David (who is just hilarious in that whole “Frank and Beans” scene, and just made me almost cry every time he said something). Also, let’s not forget the perfect cameo from, “Brett”.

Consensus: There’s Something About Mary may be the most politically-correct comedy, but is a great deal of blending cutesy romantic comedy, with raunchy humor, as well as still providing enough other funny moments for the rest of the movie.

8.5/10=Matinee!!

In & Out (1997)

If Philadelphia was a screwball comedy.

When dim-bulb actor Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon) wins an Oscar for playing a gay Marine, he outs his high school drama teacher, Howard Brackett (Kevin Kilne), in his acceptance speech. It all comes as a surprise to Howard — not to mention his long-suffering fiancée, Emily (Joan Cusack). With his wedding just days away, Howard’s under the gun to get everything (ahem) straightened out.

The film is basically a riff on Tom Hanks’ 1994 Oscar speech where he outed his own high-school teacher in front of the whole world. And for some reason I kind of wish it stayed that way.

This movie takes delight in poking fun at stereotypes of many varieties and does it all with a straight face (pardon the pun). There is no mean spirited about the film. Not every joke hits a perfect target, but when it does I laughed out loud.

That was my big problem with this film that a lot of the comedy didn’t actually feel like it hit the right mark it wanted to. The gay jokes kind of did get annoying and didn’t really change for me, and at times made the film even more excruciating to watch.

The film also takes a horrible and way too sympathetic ending that really did kill the movie for me. In my mind, the ending was just a cop-out for not having to show anymore gay things happen. Director Frank Oz has his heart in the right place but it doesn’t quite come out near the ending.

Kline gives a very funny and stellar performance here as Howard, and basically shows he can play the zaniest of characters. However, the best here really is Joan Cusack who every time is on the screen just really did make me laugh even more and more as the film went on. The screen-time for her wasn’t huge but with the time she was given she made the best of it.

Consensus: Doesn’t quite hit the mark with its humor and sympathy, but In & Out does feature funny performances from the cast, and some genuine funny moments that do hit the right spot.

5/10=Rental!!

To Die For (1995)

Usually I don’t like Gus Van Sant, but he is starting to grow on me.

Suzanne Stone (Nicole Kidman) has always harbored one dream: being on TV. She’s dead-set on making that dream come true, but there’s one hitch: her husband (Matt Dillon), who just wants her to stay at home. So, Suzanne puts in motion a plan to get him out of the way — for good. Joaquin Phoenix co-stars as the love-struck teenager Suzanne recruits to help execute her sinister plot — and her spouse.

So needless to say, this is probably one of the best Dark comedies ever made. It really does have every element that is so bleak and upsetting, and is then shadowed away with this great element of comedy.

But the film isn’t as much as a dark comedy as it is a satire on how people can get so overcome with this emotion of being famous and gaining stardom, that we almost forget what are real lives are all about. It is so dark and so satirical, that at points it comes out being so mean, and this is a good thing.

The screenplay written by Buck Henry really does contain some of the funniest but also terribly true pop culture references. Its writing is so intentionally funny that at points I couldn’t help but just to laugh at the jokes, that I totally forgot how dark this material really was after all.

Director Gus Van Sant uses a clever method of working backwards: The key characters in the story are interviewed, following a shocking local event, with flashbacks of the incidents as the interviewee’s recall them. At first I thought this technique was distracting, but I soon embraced it. He honestly cannot stop but make one terrific visual after another, with sometimes colors so bright they are actually scary, as scary as Suzanne the main character.

The film had a bit of problems with what it wanted to be though. It looked like it was going to act as dark comedy, media satire or clear-cut thriller. I didn’t know what its intentions were to be which is why I kind of had a hard time understanding what to expect.

Nicole Kidman knocks this performance right out of the park. She is sexy, scary, aggressive, and so devious, but you can’t but to just love this character that she does. This is her best performance of all-time and I was actually shocked by how good she really was. The supporting cast is good as well most notably Joaquin Phoenix, who is so young but still so great as a this young kid still being taken advantage of. The only problem I had with this film was that I wanted to see a bit more of how Matt Dillon acted and how he and his wife did interact with each other, we never really got that other than just a couple of scenes.

Consensus: To Die For is darkly hilarious and satirically-true, and is backed with an amazing performance from Kidman, which ends in being one of Van Sant’s best.

9/10=Full Pricee!!!