Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

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Tag Archives: Vanessa Hudgens

Thirteen (2003)

Just when sending your daughter to the convent seemed like cruel punishment.

Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) is about to begin her first year in junior high and in order to do it right, she’s got to get rid of her past life. That means no more studying, no more nerdy friends, no more playing with Barbies, and sure as hell no more being lame! And in order to be seen as “cool”, or “hip”, or whatever the kids are calling it nowadays, Tracy latches right onto the most popular girl in school, Evie (Nikki Reed). This also means, that to ensure that she stays cool, Tracy will have to do all sorts of scandalous stuff that the old Tracy would never even dream of doing. Meaning, there’s a lot of sex, drugs, booze, and stealing, all of which, Evie and Tracy seem to absolutely love doing together. However, the one person who isn’t quite the biggest fan of what Tracy’s up to, or Evie either, is Tracy’s mom, Melanie (Holly Hunter). Although Melanie and Tracy did, at one time, have a very strong relationship, she sees that dangerously slipping away now and will do anything to get that love back. That is, before it’s too late and she’s lost Tracy to the deep, dark world of rebellious 13-year-old girls!

Don't do that.

Don’t do that.

Thirteen is, and also isn’t, is an after school special. If you’re going to place it in a specific sort of subgenre to make it appeal more towards a target audience, then yeah, Thirteen can definitely be considered an after school special. Kids are acting up in all sorts of mischievous ways here and ultimately, get lessons learned, and it all feels like something you’d see tuning into either on Lifetime, or TLC.

The difference between Thirteen and those other movies is that, well, it doesn’t hold back.

Thirteen is the kind of coming-of-ager that Larry Clarke would soon one day love to make, but can’t help himself to actually create because he’s too concerned with pubic-hair and unsimulated sex scenes; there’s so many scenes where barely legal (or, not at all) kids are participating in sexual activities, drug-use, cutting, hitting, and drinking, that it’s more than enough to make you want to turn away. And sure, while we know that everything these kids are doing are, in fact, fake and put-on for the camera, co-writer and director Catherine Hardwicke shoots it in such a realistic manner, that it can sometimes feel like a documentary. Which definitely works in the movie’s favor because it helps make it seem like this is a tale that any person can, has, or will, experience.

Being thirteen and going through all the sorts of problems that 13-year-old goes through, isn’t just limited to one gender, race, or belief; everybody goes through teenage angst at least once during their life. Sure, some bouts with angst are a lot more serious and vicious than others, but still, the fact remains, most people, when growing up, usually tend to face a lot of problems and commit acts that they won’t be looking back on in ten or so years, with any sorts of smiles whatsoever. But, in a way, that’s fine, because that’s just how life goes sometimes. What matters most, though, is how you bounce back from all that that makes you, well, who you are.

That’s why Thirteen doesn’t ever, not for a single second, ever judge its characters for what they’re doing, even though it would have definitely been easy to do.

That Tracy falls hook, line and sinker for Evie as soon as she sees her make fun of her, and wants to start talking, dressing and acting like her, only makes sense because when we’re young, that’s all most of us want to do. While we may not want to be the most popular kids in school, we still want to have that feeling of being accepted, or part of some clique that we can hang around with when life can get us down. That’s why when Tracy starts doing all of the things that Evie’s doing and without ever hardly putting up a fight for what she believes to be right, either, it’s hard to be really mad at her. She may be a bit of an a-hole to the rest of her family, but when were any of us ever nice to those who loved and cared for us at that age, huh?

Hardwicke is smart though in giving us every single little gritty detail about Tracy’s transformation, without ever trying to turn its head. There’s plenty of moments that she could have definitely done so and we wouldn’t have at all blamed her (like the cutting scenes, for instance), but she doesn’t, and that, above everything else, she deserves credit for. Not to mention that Nikki Reed, who also wrote the screenplay with her, deserves even more credit for not just turning in a great performance as Evie, but for also making a great script that feels smart and nonjudgmental – something that may have not been easy to do as a 15 or 16-year-old girl, which she was at the time.

But really, it’s the two performances from Evan Rachel Wood and Holly Hunter that I continue to come back to.

Or that.

Or that.

In the case of the former’s, Wood’s great here because she feels like a real teen, actually diving as deep as a girl like her would dive into being accepted. There’s never a moment where she seems like she’s over-acting, or demanding all eyes to be on her; and even if she does, it’s intentional, because that’s probably what her character wants people to do at that same very moment. It’s no surprise that Wood’s a great actress, but after seeing her work here, it makes me wish that she’d be making more wonders in adult-hood. She’s clearly got the talent, all she needs is another juicy role to make people remember what she’s been able to do since she was, hell, 13.

As for the later, there’s no denying that Holly Hunter is a class-act in whatever she does, but here, she’s especially so. With Hunter’s Melanie, we get the real heart and soul of the movie; while a solid majority of the movie is centered around useless acts of sex, drugs, and small-time crime, the heartbeat at the center that keeps it pulsing, is actually Hunter’s Melanie, who never turns her daughter away or down for whatever it is that she demands. While she may give her too much freedom at times, she’s only doing it because she genuinely wants her daughter to be happy, no matter what. She’s the kind of mom that every person probably wishes they had (minus the ex-drug use, of course), which makes it all the more painful to watch it when, time after time, Melanie reaches out to Tracy and, time and time again, she continues to get denied and have everything shoved back into her face.

But that’s just what growing up is all about. Be prepared.

Consensus: Despite it seeming like something you’d see after school, Thirteen is a more believable and honest coming-of-ager that doesn’t pull any punches, but is better off for that, too.

8 / 10

But yeah, do that. Hug mom till you can't hug her no more.

But yeah, do that. Hug mom till you can’t hug her no more.

Photos Courtesy of: Tumblr


Gimme Shelter (2014)

Mick Jagger swingin’ and jivin’ his hips was nowhere to be found.

Apple (Vanessa Hudgens) is a 16-year-old pregnant girl living with her abusive mother (Rosario Dawson) and is looking for a way out. She gets that one day when she ends up at the house of her biological father (Brendan Fraser)’s where he takes her in, despite them clearly not having anything whatsoever in common. When he and his family find out about the pregnancy, they give her two options: Either have the baby and take of it on her own, or get an abortion and stay in their house for as long as she’d like. Apple options for the later, but right before the operation happens, she flees the scene and somehow ends up in a hospital-bed where an older, faith-based man (James Earl Jones) tells her about the joys of living by God’s law and way. Apple is against this originally, but decides that she has nowhere to stay and decides to do what he says, and stick with him. That is, until he realizes she’s pregnant and puts her into a young mother’s home, where she is around gals just like her, even if her brash attitude may not always mesh with the others; mainly the head caretaker (Ann Dowd).

Right as soon as I spelled-out the word “God” you could already tell what this movie was going to be all about: A whole lot of preaching about how life is sacred, how one should devote their life to God and most importantly, how one should not kill their baby. I get that these are messages very important to people out there and I for one, do not necessarily disagree with them, however, I do have a problem when a movie constantly jam that message down my throat.

No homo, but that guy's pretty hot.

No homo, but that guy’s pretty hot.

Better yet, I hate it when a bad movie decides to jam its message down my throat. Because honestly, if this movie was any good or at least interesting in a “bad-crazy kind of way”, I wouldn’t have a problem feeling as if I just sat down to listen to a sermon for two whole hours. But it’s crap and it’s crap that doesn’t really do anything at all, except just preach like its Vacation Bible School all over again for a younger-version of yours truly.

Where this movie mainly fails is in how it doesn’t really seem to have much of a plot, except for just a bunch of scenes that can serve as “talking points” for the audience. For instance, Apple goes to the abortion clinic, which you know is going to stir up plenty of chatter among those who see this. Then, there’s another scene in which Apple gets into countless fights with her upper-class, biological father and his wife, prompting the idea of a clash of two different cultures. And then, there’s of course all that baby stuff that really just had me ripping my head out.

And I get the stance this movie is taking: Don’t have abortions because giving and taking care of a life is the most beautiful one thing a person can do. I understand that and personally, I don’t have a problem with that. However, I do have a big problem when that seems to be the only thing the movie has to say for itself. No real conflict, no real character-development, no real nothing. What this is here is basically a Lifetime made-for-TV-movie, with way too many talented people in it.

Most importantly, Vanessa Hudgens as Apple, our protagonist we’re supposed to care for, but for some reason, get annoyed of right off the bat. It’s a shame too, because you can tell that Hudgens is really trying with this character – both physically and literally. She looks the part of a troubled, poverty-stricken kid and definitely takes much pride in “uglying herself up”, but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere whenever she talks. Once again, it’s not like Hudgens isn’t trying, she totally is, but maybe it’s a bit too much.

For instance, whenever Hudgens opens her mouth, she has to sound like a cold hearted, stone cold gangsta, so she gives herself a slangy-like accent. At first, it’s hardly noticeable and it was probably better that way; however, once the movie goes on and on and she has to talk a whole lot more, it really gets hard to listen to. At best, she sounds like a really shitty Wire extra that David Simon realized was bad, but had to leave in due to budget-concerns and the fact that she was a hot chick. But at her worst, she’s an actress trying too hard to sound like a young, troubled girl, when she should have just been one.

"Gotta nickel?!?!?!"

“Gotta nickel?!?!?!”

Her scenes get more painful when she’s around the rest of the cast of dramatic heavy-weights like Ann Dowd, James Earl Jones, Rosario Dawson, and I guess, Brendan Fraser. Yeah, I know it’s a bit weird to think of Brendan Fraser as an actual good actor in something, but here, he gives us some moral-ground when everything with this situation seems to go sour right from the beginning. He takes Apple in, cares for her and tends to her needs by any means possible, and still finds problems with her because she is so different from the rest of her family. In a way, I felt bad for the guy, even if he did just one day, knock up a girl and not decide to be a father to that baby.

Surprised this movie didn’t make him out to be a total and complete a-hole to begin with.

The only wildcard out of those four is Rosario Dawson who is unbelievably over-the-top and insane in this role, and I don’t particularly mean that in a good way. Usually in any other movie, it would be awesome to see her chewing up the scenery and acting like a cracked-out, nutty drug-addict, but when you compare her role to the rest of the movie, she really feels out-of-place. I know she’s trying to give us a serious, heartfelt portrait of a messed-up, vindictive women, but it’s so goofy, it seems like she’s even trying too hard. Once again, another wonderful talent, that I’m feeling bad for, all because she showed up in a piece of garbage like this.

No offense to all of you faith-based viewers out there, but it’s the truth. Sorry, God.

Consensus: Every member of the cast seems to be trying to make Gimme Shelter at least somewhat interesting, but they all end-up falling on dull-ends because all the movie cares about is its message and that’s it. Nothing else really matters.

2 / 10 = Crapola!!

"What a beautiful baby. Let's name him Anakin. I mean, what's the worst that could happen?"

“What a beautiful baby. Let’s name him Anakin. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?”

Photo’s Credit to:

Machete Kills (2013)

CIA, step up your game and legalize this man! Along with weed, of course.

Machete (Danny Trejo) is back, and this time, it’s the U.S. President (Carlos Estevez)’s orders! Machete gets the order to get out deep in the deserts of Mexico, and stop a schizophrenic madman (Demián Bichir) from launching a deadly missile aimed at Washington, D.C., which may also run a bit deeper than just him and connect all the way back to the U.S., where rich billionaire Voz (Mel Gibson) may be partaking in some shady dealings as well. Shady dealings like, say, taking a trip to outer space. However, once people catch wind of this news that Machete is alive, well, and running all around, then somebody puts a bounty on his head, which many, many colorful and dangerous characters get involved with. Problem is, they don’t realize that Machete don’t text, don’t Tweet, and he sure as hell don’t die. Remember that.

Though I never got to reviewing it for you fine specimens, the first Machete kicked all tons of ass and was every bit as insane, as dumb, and as idiotic as I would have expected a Robert Rodriguez movie to be, and then some. Essentially, it was a one-joke movie, with a one-joke premise, but it never lost its steam and always continued to make me laugh, get grossed out (in a good, exploitative way that worked well with the material) and overall, just have a total and complete ball. It helped that that movie had a star-studded cast that continued to show more and more familiar faces as it went along, and it also helped that Rodriguez himself realized that he was making a piece of B-movie heaven, so of course he just had to run with it; with a bigger budget of course.

"Machete don't do blondes. But, there's always exceptions to certain rules."

“Machete don’t do blondes. But, there’s always exceptions to certain rules.”

However, what worked so well for me with that movie, seems to have suddenly run a bit dry here, even despite the bigger cast, the somewhat bigger budget, and the even bigger action scenes that Rodriguez really seemed to throw all of his time, money and effort into. For some reason, it never feels like it’s going for that one-joke and trying to spin it around as much as possible anymore; instead, the movie feels like it has almost way too much plot, way too many twists and way too much time spent on meaningless characters that obviously are around to show you how wacky the movie is, but ultimately, just take up precious time and space that could have been used more for people getting their heads chopped off. And yes, that’s the type of stuff I want to see more of in a Machete movie, because it’s done for the sole purpose that it’s absolutely ridiculous.

Here, it just seemed like Rodriguez had so many more ideas and subplots he wanted to play around with, and yet, couldn’t keep his curious hand away from showing them as much as attention as Machete should get. Because, let’s face it, this is Machete’s movie, this is his story and this is his time to shine. So, when you take that away from him and focus more on the meandering plots/characters of the movie that wouldn’t make a lick of difference to the whole shebang in the long run, then you’re robbing us, the audience, as well. People who want to see this want to see Machete do crazy stuff like spin around on a helicopter-blade and chop people’s heads off, or get banged by some of the sweetest honeys around. We don’t want to see a whole subplot that concerns a hitman taking off his disguise face, and putting on a real one, all of the time. And even if that subplot was to be shown, at least do it in less than a minute or so, only to not take away from Machete himself; aka, the character that makes this movie work, everytime they focus on him and whatever sick, sadistic and violent thing he does next.

There’s just so much fun to be had with this character, and it makes you wonder why somebody, especially some nut-job like Rodriguez would want to take that away from him. Give him to Quentin! He’ll set him straight, give him his cake, and allow him to eat it, too. But not just a piece, the WHOLE, FREAKIN’ THING.

But, no matter what, it cannot be denied that Danny Trejo is the heart and soul behind this character, and despite the reality of the matter that he’s older than most of the chiseled-out freaks from the Expendables movies, you still believe him as a wholly unbelievable character. Machete is a straight-man to all of the nonsense happening around him, and with that on his plate, Trejo owns the role and seems to never lose his comedic-timing. It’s obviously not as eventful to see Trejo in this role like it was the first time around, mainly due to the fact that he’s dipped his pen into a few no-budget movies in the years since, but it’s still awesome to see him play Machete, and do what he does best: Kill the fuck out of people.

Damn you, puberty. Damn you to hell.

Damn you, puberty. Damn you to hell.

And while I do stand by what I said about Rodriguez centering too much of his attention on the supporters more so here than he did in the last film, it can’t be denied that each and every one of these big names are having the time of his/her life. Some peeps from the first are back like Tom Savini, Michelle Rodriguez, William Sadler, and Jessica Alba, in a role that probably gives her as much time on-screen as she does: No less than 5 minutes. Since she’s up on the screen for such a short time, she is ultimately replaced by Amber Heard playing an undercover agent, posing as Miss San Antonio and seems like she fits in quite well with Rodriguez crazed world of drug dealers, hookers, sadists, madmen billionaires, and total crazies.

And that’s just his dinner table at Thanksgiving! Woo-hoo! I got a million of ’em!

But no seriously, she fits in mighty fine, as well as plenty of other new, fresh faces like Sofia Vergara, Demián Bichir, in a very against-type that he rolls with and never loses the fun-factor, Lady Gaga, Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Hudgens, and the best of them all, none other than Mr. Jew-hater himself, Mel Gibson. This is one of those cases where it seems like Mel is only taking what he can get at the moment, but if that is the case, then so be it, because every chance this guy gets to join in on the fun, he does, and with plenty of energy and pizzazz. He chews the scenery like nobody’s business, hasn’t seemed like he’s lost his comedic-timing in a million years, and mostly keeps the film afloat, even when it becomes too obvious that it’s gone absolutely everywhere it could have gone, and then some. And yes, I am talking about somewhere like space, but that is a different story and movie, for a different day.

Consensus: No doubt about it that Machete Kills will offer all of the same types of B-movie craziness and fun that the first one gave us, but a little bit more of scaling-back on its numerous strands of plot, character, and ideas, would have definitely helped this been a better time. Oh well, at least I got an autograph from Robert Rodriguez himself out of the deal. At least there is that.

7 / 10 = Rental!!

"Can't get rid of me no matter how hard you try. I'm sort of like Jesus. Ain't that right, JEWS?!?!?"

“Can’t get rid of me no matter how hard you try. I’m sort of like Jesus. Ain’t that right, JEWS?!?!?”

Photo’s Credit to:

Sucker Punch (2011)

Pretty much a wet-dream for any nerd who stays in on the weekends to drool over the hotties from anime. And sex addicts that like it rough.

A girl named Babydoll (Emily Browning) gets sent to the insane asylum where she is essentially going to get a lobotomy, but before that occurs and her whole mind and memory is lost, she dreams of a world that’s as imaginative and as weird as you can get. She dreams of being a newly-affirmed dancer in a high-class nightclub where instead of dancing for rich dudes by taking off of her clothes, gets into the beats and rhythms by being sent on missions, along with her fellow strippers, where she has to kill someone or something. However, reality catches up with poor Babydoll and eventually the life she once had, begins to intersect with the one she’s dreaming of.

Since Zack Snyder’s going to apparently be changing the world with his “newer, darker version of Superman”, I thought it would be best to see just what the hell the dude fucked up with last time he made something for the screen. I never had any reason or sole-desire to see this movie, not just because of the shitty reviews or unanimous anger centered towards the movie’s material, but because scantily-clad ladies in leather, shooting guns, and killing baddies just doesn’t interest me all that much. No, it’s not because I’m a dude, that just so happens to have a dick, and actually be one as well, it’s just because that’s just not my style, yo. I’ve never been the nerd who loved anime, nor did I love video games, and nor did I love porn, aka, exactly who this movie’s made for and should only be judged by. Then again, I’m judging and even critiquing it so who am I to talk?

Give me the right time and place, I'll be shooting something off. I mean, dammit! See what Zack made me think?!?!?

Give me the right time and place, I’ll be shooting something off. I mean, dammit! See what Zack made me think?!?!?

Anyway, what’s so strange about this movie is that the story doesn’t make a lick of sense and doesn’t seem to actually try to. It’s just weird and confusing, just for the sake of it. Rather than explaining why this girl goes from gyrating her hips to the sexy beats of the music, to all of a sudden being placed in a world where samurai-Nazis are causing all sorts of havoc, we are just left to sort of go along with it, which would have been fine had the movie actually taken itself a little less seriously than it was, but Zack Snyder is not really known for shits and gigs. He’s a serious dude that not only loves hid dark, bloody violence, but also loves his slo-mo as much as the next pot-head and it still shows, even if, surprisingly; it isn’t as annoying this time around.

I’ve always gone to bat for Snyder when it’s came to whatever the hell he’s put on the big-screen, so to say that the slo-mo didn’t bother me wouldn’t make much of a difference, as I think it was used well this time to add more impact onto the hits and the blows of the violence, but that’s not what matters here. What does matter here is that this story is random, strange, and confusing as hell. Yeah, you could go so far as to call it “ambitious”, “original”, and “one-of-a-kind”, and I wouldn’t really disagree with you on that, but that creative-control can only go so far. You have to give me a story/characters that are worth caring about, rather than just throwing whatever you can find at the wall, in hopes that something will stick, and if something doesn’t; well then, that nobody noticed.

Problem is, everybody notices because Snyder isn’t exactly the most subtle guy in the world when it comes to what he wants to portray or say in his movies. And yes, I am talking about the typical, man-beats-up-on-woman signature that Snyder oddly enough has in his films. For some reason, the dude likes to show women getting their asses beat to shreds by stronger, manlier dudes and as dark and disturbing as it may be for some movies; his movies make it feel more exploitative as if he wants to get a rise out of you by doing it. He does that plenty of times here, but since this is a PG-13 rated movie (don’t know how the hell that was even possible), it’s toned-down a bit more or shown off-screen. But still, shown or insinuated, the movie still doesn’t seem to make much sense of the man-on-women violence. It’s just here to up the ante in hopes that we will feel more for these ladies as they band together to fight the pig-headed men that they are constantly surrounded by.

As empowering as this is supposed to be, it’s odd in the way that it shows these ladies as nothing more than just a bunch of chicks who wear short skirts, shoot big guns, spout-out corny lines, and show some skin here and there (but not too much because let me remind you, this is PG-13 after all). For dudes that haven’t gotten any action in the 30-40 years they’ve been alive and kicking; this is no more than porn at your own disposal without the possibility of being caught by your parents and frowned-upon til the day you die, but for a dude that’s 19 and doesn’t have much to worry in terms of women or sexual-activity (I’m a pimp-daddy, basically); it seems useless. None of it is empowering, it’s just stupid.

Which means that yes, this movie can be perceived as the “so-bad-it’s-good”-type, but even that feels like a bit of a stretch since nothing here really shines above the rest. Snyder’s direction seems to be inspired with the visuals, but with a story as wacky and self-serious as this, it doesn’t matter a bit and believe it or not, the action is pretty damn fun once you get past all of the slo-mo and sure randomness of it all. But, as I said, what’s it all for? It’s obviously not to make women feel superior to men or feel as if they can take over the world, we’ve already gone by that part, so what is it for?

Even Quentin Tarantino would say, "Dude, what the fuck?"

Even Quentin Tarantino would say, “Dude, what the fuck?”

I still haven’t been able to answer that question and who knows: I may never be able to.

And as for the ladies that have to stand-around, shoot guns, act strong and willful, but also be sexy as hell: I felt bad as hell for them since their careers are the only ones on-the-line here. Emily Browning had to practically get full-on naked, from head-to-toe after this to assure everybody she didn’t star in this; Vanessa Hudgens sort of did the same, but yet, still reminds us that she too will always be known as “that chick who dated Zac Efron when he looked like a girl“; Abbie Cornish shows up in things from time-to-time and probably has the most-respected career out of the main gals; and Jena Malone is still trying to make us forget that she was that bitchy-ass teenager who didn’t like Julia Roberts banging her daddy. I know, I sound like a dick because I’m talking more about these ladies’ careers after the fact that this movie came out, but that’s all that really matters here because their performances are nothing special, mostly because they aren’t asked to do much other than what I alluded to earlier. They do their job because they’re sexy and look good half-naked, not because they can act. Call me an asshole, call me what you will, but it’s more obvious once you actually see the movie and let it all sink in like yours truly.

Consensus: Snyder’s eye for detail and style doesn’t disappoint, but the odd, confusing, and surprisingly-offensive story in Sucker Punch does and only further shows us why Hollywood should be careful to give hot-shot, big-headed directors the chance to do whatever the hell they want to do, all because they made plenty of money at the box office already and are practically granted their time to shine on their own.

3.5 / 10 = Crapola!!

"Listen to me, honey: get the fuck away from this dude. I've been with him twice so far, and almost nothing good has come of it."

“Listen to me, honey: get the fuck away from this dude. I’ve been with him twice so far, and almost nothing good has come of it.”

Spring Breakers (2013)

Screw spring break. I’m staying home.

A group of college girls (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) have the bad idea of robbing a fast-food joint in order to finance their spring break getaway. As you could expect, things go awry until a strange dude named Alien (James Franco) arrives to bail them out. In exchange for his help, he convinces the girls to kill his nemesis Archie (Gucci Mane).

Harmony Korine is the type of dude who’s movies I just don’t care for. I’ve seen Gummo, I’ve seen Trash Humpers, and worst of all, I’ve seen Kids, and none of them did anything for me whatsoever other than make me want to throw up and slap this kid in the face. But all my problems with him aside, I was still interested in seeing him take on a sort of “mainstream movie” that’s advertised as if it was made straight for the MTV-crowd that loves boobs, booze, drugs, sex, nudity, and a whole lot of partying. However, that same demographic it’s being shipped towards, are the ones being made fun of here.

Korine starts this movie off like you’d expect from any typical movie where there is a bunch of partying going on. Gratuitous nudity, drugs, sex, violence, and drinking, all to the sweet and soulful tunes of Skrillex playing in the background, but then it changes and you realize something is up with this movie. You can’t really tell right from the beginning what this movie is all about, but once you get to thinking of it; the movie is actually poking-fun at the crowd that this flick is being aimed towards. For instance, after this opening-sequence, the rest of the movie basically consists of these girls doing all of the wild acts of debauchery that you’d expect them to do, but here’s where it takes a closer-glimpse: why are they doing all of this?

I have no clue who that extra person is in the back, but yeah. More hot and sexy women! Woo hoo!

I have no clue who that extra person is in the back, but yeah. More hot and sexy women! Woo hoo!

We all get that these girls want to have a good time but is it actually legitimate  or is it all a put-on so they can be apart of the crowd and hopefully get some cutie patooties by the end of the night? From this stance, I’m going with the latter option. Korine takes a comment on how certain programs like VH1, MTV, and YouTube have all made our world and idea of spring break to be nothing other than a wild time, with wild people, and wild things that will never, ever happen again. However, nowadays, it’s done in a more slight way that’s not as genuine as it once was, and is definitely a lot more shallow then ever before. People aren’t just going to spring break in order to let loose and have a grand time, they’re also doing it because what else better is there to do?

Now, I’m not saying that in the 21st Century, people can’t have fun if they’re drinking and acting crazy like they would on spring break. Not at all, but what it is that I am saying is that the times have changed and our society has definitely dropped a hell of a lot as of late where crazy shite like this, is apparently accepted and shown as a good time. Trust me, I’m not the biggest square in the world, sometimes I like to get a little crazy by drinking, getting wild, getting dirty, and getting nasty, but it’s all because I want to, not because of the others. What Korine is trying to say is that the world and society that we base ourselves around, is all based on the countless amounts of sex, drugs, and alcohol we can consume without dying, rather than how much fun we can have. If I lost you already, don’t worry; you’re most likely not the only one.

For this message alone, I have to give Korine a crap-ton of credit for going out of his way and making a stand about our society and the young people growing-up in it. What he’s saying now, like he did back in 1995, is that we, as a society and as a unit, are practically screwed. And who’s to blame? You? Me? Mom? Dad? Mom-Mom? Pop-Pop? The pets? MTV? VH1? Who knows! But what I do know is that it’s very sad to see a movie like this made and have me thinking the way that I do now.

But if you get past this message, you start to realize that there really isn’t much else going on here below the surface. If you like a bunch of T & A, then you sure as hell are going to be pleased, but if you’re expecting a fun and wild ride with a bunch of girls dancing, drinking, and being young: then you’re gonna be pissed. Heck, I was even a bit pissed-off, but I don’t count. Like with most of his movies, Korine doesn’t really like to follow any type of conventional-story so instead of showing us point-A to point-B in an understandable way, he jumbles things around and have us make up our own minds on what happens and what doesn’t. Sometimes it work, and sometimes, it totally misses the mark.

I don’t want to call this movie “boring” per se, because I was always interested and I always glued to the screen, but there just wasn’t much holding the fort down. After the 20 minute mark, I had it about up to here with these girls, the way they talked, the way they acted, and yes, even the way they dressed. I highly doubt it that they would go all throughout their days wearing nothing but a bunch of bikini’s and if that is the case in a world like this, then sign me right up! But still, for a movie like this, it didn’t seem reasonable and just seemed like another way for Korine to show us how much of a boner he has behind the screen. It’s a beautiful movie with visuals that pop-out like crazy, but the story lost me many, many times throughout and really took this flick down from being a very important movie that needed to be made and seen. Instead, without all of the fun, it’s just a message movie with a lot of titties. Good for some, not good for others.

"Okay girls. Just act like you're acting like a bunch of girls that want to be hot and sexy, but really aren't doing it in the way that would be deemed geuine or real. Basically, you just have to act hot and sexy, okay? Is that too much?"

“Okay girls. Just act like you’re acting like a bunch of girls that want to be hot and sexy, but really aren’t doing it in the way that would be deemed genuine or real. Basically, you just have to act hot and sexy, okay? Is that too much?”

The point in where my interest for this movie came flying right back was when Mr. James Franco showed up on-screen as the local rapper, drug dealer, gangsta, wanka, grilled-up mofo known as Alien. Almost everybody who saw Oz the Great and Powerful last week, almost had the same consensus on Franco and his performance saying it was dull, plain, and boring. For me, I liked his performance in that movie, but in this one, I absolutely loved it and I think those people who disagreed with me then, will agree now. As soon as this guy starts talking and being himself, you know the movie is going to turn-around and he’s going to give you all that he can as an actor, as a funny-man, and overall, as an entertainer. Franco lights up the screen with every scene he’s in where he plays up his wannabe-act as a gangsta that has a lot of money, has a lot of drugs, has a lot of guns, and has a lot of women, and this is where Franco works so perfectly. He’s absolutely hilarious and you can tell that a lot of the scenes he has, he’s just improving his ass off, because the people around him can’t seem to hold their laughter or joy in as much as they should. But still, it provides a bunch of hilarity and laughter for everybody who sees, but it isn’t all about fun and games with the dude.

There’s a couple of scenes where we actually see Alien show some vulnerability and even break character. He doesn’t really seem like a terrible guy to begin with, but just a hood rat that you wouldn’t want hanging around with you at all, unless you wanted all of your change taken. But still, that loveable side of Franco that we usually see, makes this character work wonders and makes it more than just him, goofin’ off and jerkin’ off (that’s Korine’s job), he’s actually got a show to do and does a fine job at that. Sweet job, James. Fuck all of them nay-sayers.

As for the girls, they are all fine with what they’re given even if that isn’t saying much. Vanessa Hudgens seems like she really effin’ wants people to forget that she used to be in all of those High School Musical movies, and it just may work if she keeps this pace up. The other two, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine, are just there for props and do what they can, but that isn’t saying much. The only weak-link here in the cast seemed to be Selena Gomez who seemed like she was on a entirely different planet from the rest of these gals. I get that since she was the church gal that never left mommy and never left home, that she was going to be a bit of a prude, but seriously, come on! Grow up, drink a beer, bone a guy, take some clothes off, and have some fun! You’re only young once. Trust me, I know.

Consensus: Spring Breakers is the type of movie that gets better once you start to think about it. The messages and ideas about society and how far we are going down the gutter, are as interesting as I think Korine has ever said in the past, but the fact that there is no type of story really backing it all up, seemed to be a major fault on his part.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

"Eeenie. Meenie. Miny. Moe."

It’s like the “choose which hand the penny’s in” game. But with bullets.

The Paperboy (2012)

Would have been better, had it been based on the Nintendo games.

Ward, a reporter (Matthew McConaughey) and his younger brother, a college drop-out named Jack (Zac Efron) investigate the events surrounding a murder to exonerate a man on death row, named Hillary (John Cusack). However, the only reason they are doing so is because the gal that wants Hillary out, a sexxed-up, piece of work named Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), just so happens to be the apple of Jack’s eyes.

I’ve been hearing a lot of crazy shit about this film and to be honest: it’s all deserved. Everybody knows Lee Daniels because he pulled-off Precious about 4 years ago and it showed him as the type of director that can get a story, no matter how gritty or despicable, and be able to make it in the least-bit inspirational for people. However, it wasn’t his first rodeo, as that honor (and I guess, dishonor) goes to a little, fucked-up movie called Shadowboxer. If you’ve never heard of it, please, don’t go watch it because it’s just an insane piece of work to watch and it will have you question whether or not you’ve just watched two films, from the same director. And if you have heard or have actually seen it, then buckle up, because that exactly the same type of crazy shit you’re going to get here.

As much as Daniels’ debut may have blew huge gonads, this flick is actually more controlled than that one and that’s probably because it’s just wild, without making any excuses for being so. There’s definitely that type of grungy, exploitative look and feel to the movie that has you feel as if you are in the dirty South, around the 60’s when racial-issues were up to the forefront and everybody was just sweating their asses off. If anything Daniels does do right in this flick, it’s at least nail the look and feel of the period that he has it placed-in, but everything else, well, it is sort of all-over-the-place.

Being “all-over-the-place” isn’t really all that much of bad thing if you can do it, and get away with it. The problem isn’t that Daniels can’t do it, because he sure as hell makes sure that everybody knows he can in every, damn second of this movie, but it’s more that he can’t get away with it. He can show two people making each other cum without ever touching one another and just simulating dirty things to one another, but it sticks out like a sore-thumb to everything else, and he can’t get away with it; he can show a girl peeing on a guy because he got stung by a bunch of jelly-fish, but it’s just odd and seems like it was only done for shock-factor, and he also can’t get away with it; and lastly, he can try and bring some issues up about the whole Civil Rights-movement, but when you compare it to the last sequences I just mentioned, it seems uneven, and once again, he can’t get away with it. Directors like Quentin Tarantino, Pedro Almodóvar (who apparently wanted to take this material at one time), or even Robert Rodriguez  for that matter, could take this material, do whatever the hell they wanted to with it, and at least make all of the crazy shit and melodramatic stuff gel well enough together, that you almost don’t notice it, but Daniels isn’t one of those directors. He’s just a regular-director that seems like he’s trying his damn near hardest to have us all forget about the over-weight girl story he pulled-off 4 years ago, and try to distract us with insane amounts of sex, whether it actually happen on-screen or just be insinuated. Either way, there’s a bunch of sex that seems to come out nowhere at times.

Look what you've been missing out on, Tom!

Look what you’ve been missing out on, Tom!

Is all of this wackiness and cookiness fun? In a way, yes it is and honestly, as much as I may be ragging on the film right here, I am more or less just hating on Daniels. Not to say that the guy doesn’t know how to make a story move, because he definitely does, but it focuses way too much on the personal lives of these characters and not in an exciting or electric way either, it’s just a boring, way-too-dramatic way that comes off as trying too hard. We never really care for these characters, the case they continue to push to the side, or what their relationships are with each other and how that affects one another, and I guess that was the point. Daniels is just giving us a bunch of dirty people that we can either care to like or not. Whether or not we actually do, doesn’t matter, because as long as Daniels is just allowing us to see how insane he can be, then he’s the one with the real joy in the end. That kind of ticks me off now that I think about it, because there was definitely a crap-ton of promise with this flick and premise, it’s just a shame that it had to fall so far from ever achieving that said promise.

The only promise that this flick ever does hit head-on, is the ensemble cast and what they are able to do with each of their roles, no matter how wacky or unbelievable they may be. Zac Efron is the sort-of voice of reason throughout this whole flick and is definitely growing-up right in front of our own eyes, but if you think about it, it is sort of a dull role for the guy but nowhere near as dull as the role Robert Pattinson had in Cosmopolis. Still, Efron makes this character work and his performance shows-off a kid that definitely wants to be treated like an adult, yet, still has the tendencies of a kid that just doesn’t yet know what to do with his life or who to spend the rest of it with. Sort of how Efron is now, just without being peed-on. Then again, I still have no idea what him and Vanessa Hudgens did in their spare-time.

Playing his big bro, Matthew McConaughey is good as the slick and sly reporter that can not only charm his way into getting whatever the hell he wants, but also has a bit of problems brewing underneath that he’s pretty good at hiding. This is a nice role for McConaughey and it’s one that he can practically play while sleeping, but after a year where tore the roof down as force to be reckoned with in flicks like Killer Joe and Magic Mike, this one definitely ranks the lowest-of-the-low for him. Not to say it’s bad, but it’s not to say that it’s anything special, either. John Cusack is playing really, really against-type here as the psychotic and nutty Hillary, and shows that Cusack can probably do more than any of us ever expected from him. He’s strange, he’s weird, but he’s also very sinister and I like how Cusack totally just swan-dived right into the role, totally leaving all shades and memories behind of Peter Gabriel tapes in his pathway. Not to say that this is a special performance that makes us think of Cusack in a different way now, but it’s definitely a role that shows the guy can do more than just be that old dude from the 80’s we all remember relating to when our dates walked-out on us at prom. Yeah, that he is no more.

Better get used to that look, because that's all you're going to see him look half of the damn movie!

Better get used to that look, because that’s all you’re going to see him look half of the damn movie!

The one who really steals the spotlight from the rest of these dudes is Nicole Kidman, as the starlet fire fox, Charlotte. Kidman hasn’t been this sexy or bad-ass since the days of Eyes Wide Shut and To Die For, but here, she totally steals all the glory and attention, and has all of the fun out of everybody here. She just relishes in the fact that she can be sexy, be a little dirty, but also be a little bit sympathetic as well and once things start to go South for her and this story, she’s the only one you really give a single hoot about, especially since she’s the only one that has the most believable convictions out of the whole story (she just wants love). Kidman is probably getting the most recognition and praise for her work here and rightfully so, because the gal just looks freakin’ hot and steams up every scene she’s in, whether she’s trying to seduce people and act sexy, or not. Either way, Kidman definitely had my attention in almost every scene and I’m glad so, too, because she deserved it.

Consensus: You may have a boat-load of fun with The Paperboy if you’re looking for some weird shit to happen, non-stop without any rhyme or reason as to why exactly, but if not, then you may just be bored and annoyed by how uneven everything is, despite Daniels trying his hardest to make us think or see otherwise. You strike-out this time, my friend!


"I triiiiiiieeeed to not get type-castedddd....."

“I triiiiiiieeeed to not get type-castedddd…..”