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May 11, 2011

The State of the Cabins (5/11/11)

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Enjoy!

Movies watched for the first time (non-theatrically) since last week:
I completely spaced out last week, forgetting that I had seen two films in the prior week that I hadn't seen before. And they both happen to be Bruce Willis films released in 2010, for that matter. Weirdness.

Red
It's the anti-Adventureland. The marketing for Greg Mottola's 2009 coming-of-age tale apparently had a number of people thinking they were walking into Superbad II. Many walked out angry (I loved it, if you recall).

Red, on the other hand, appeared to be a fun-but-mostly-dumb, over-the-top action flick, resting on the laurels of its one-joke setup ("Haha, look - old people firing machine guns and such!"). The sight of Bruce Willis cassssuuuualllyy gliding out of a vehicle and into a sober walk as the car spun out of control might have looked pretty damn cool, but was also apt to roll more than a few eyeballs (like mine).

So it's with great pleasure that I'm able to say that it was a great pleasure to see Red. There's a knowing wink to the action in Red that acknowledges, "Hey, we know we're doing some over-the-top shit here. But we know it, you know it, and we're going to move on from that point, alright?" And move on I (and it) did. Backing up a bit, Red sucks you in from the start with its framework. Willis plays Frank Moses, one of those retired spooks that never even gets to live into retirement in all those other spy books and movies; he's the kind of guy that "knows too much to live." He's meant to keep working until it kills him or he's put out to pasture - should he ever wish to get out, he's to receive a response akin to what mob movies teach out (i.e. there's no getting out once you're in).

But Frank is out, and while he's not suicidal or anything, it comes as no shock that a globe-trotting spy is bored with the life of a typical retiree, reading books and doing crossword puzzles. So he rips up his benefit checks so he can continue to have a reason to call Mary Louise Parker's Sarah, a government office drone also looking for some excitement and travelling.

From there, the plot is set in action. As it turns out, someone wants Frank dead, and the bulk of the film is him teaming up not only with old friends but old adversaries to solve the mystery, all the while dodging the 21st century version of a guy kinda like him, personified by the ever-appealing Karl Urban.

Red is a blast. The one-joke setup turns out to have more ammo than it would appear to, assisted no doubt by a cadre of top shelf thespians, from Malkatraz to Mirren to Freeman and Brian Cox. A "travel postcard" transition device adds a unique charm to the standard action flick as well.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"Darn tootin."
Reality:
"It's in the hole!"
LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Cop Out
Ah yes, the infamous film known mostly for the fact that is was NOT written by Kevin Smith.

Smith is, however, wise enough to get my ears perked up immediately by nabbing 80s icon Harold Faltermeyer to score his film, immediately aligning it (though it doesn't look so hot in comparison, sadly) with such films as Beverly Hills Cop and Fletch. Hell yeah! The post-credits scene even goes so far as to play "Bit by Bit" (aka the Fletch theme), barely stopping short of the part in the lyrics where Fletch's name is mentioned.

Cop Out has a few memorable moments - chief among them the opening "hommage" scene and just about any time Seann William Scott is on screen (in a bizarre role, by the way) - but is let down mostly by a poorly cast villain and a plot that hinges upon a valuable baseball card. Even coming from someone who still has a stash of cards from the 80s and 90s in his house somewhere, this felt like way too nerdy a device for a supposedly cool customer like Willis' protagonist. Besides, the chain of events that puts the plot in motion to recover the stolen card might just have you wondering, "What about eBay, dummy?"

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"Whatever."
Reality:
"Whatever."
LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Music I'm currently obsessed with listening to:
* I've had this in my head for the last two days and I have no idea why...now it's your turn.



Book I'm currently reading:
* I finally (finally!) finished the Dahl Onmibus. Appropriately, it ends with a short story called "Bitch." That thing was a tedious read. See earlier States for my reasons why on that front. In short - excellent storyteller, bizarre, world-crushingly depressing stories. He could've written a two-word book rather than this 600+ page tome, consisting merely of "Humanity sucks."

Today I picked up two Elmore Leonard novels. I've never read a page of Leonard, and shame on me, since I love/like/have a soft spot for every single movie that's been adapted from his work. Even The Big Bounce and Touch, and no one saw or liked those.

I bought Get Shorty and another one whose name I can't recall right now (that hasn't been adapted, as far as I know). I've seen Get Shorty a number of times and love it, and I normally abhor reading books after I've seen their adaptations, but if any book could convince me, it's this one. If the book is half as good as the movie, it'll be awesome (and somehow, it will probably be better, if I can let go of the film enough to go along for the ride).

Things to Click On
* You couldn't possibly have missed the Life in Movies blog-a-thon, could you? (By the way, I posted "answers" to mine in the comments section of that post, if you're still baffled.) (Fandango Groovers Movie Blog)

* I pretty much picked away at this post of Univarn's, but that doesn't mean it's not a good, interesting post. (A Life in Equinox)

* It's time for an all-new season of one of my new favorite podcasts, Lee and Dan's Midnight Movie Club. I've never seen this first film of the new season, but check their back catalog - lots of 80s and 90s goodness to be found on this funny podcast.

* James caught Predator for the first time, and I was surprised and pleased with his superb review. (Cinema Sights)


6 people have chosen wisely: on "The State of the Cabins (5/11/11)"

Univarn said...

On the plus side I've got another rant up today that's prime for picking apart (in fairness, I went back and forth on it a lot as I was writing it).

As to Red, I kind of wish I had seen it long after all the publicity for it. There were a lot of jokes being shown in commercials for it and when Willis appeared on Letterman that just seemed odd, but I think would have been funny in the context of the film. Unfortunately I knew they were coming so the flavor was lost.

No desire to see Cop Out. While I wouldn't say I'm boycotting it, I really lost a lot of love for the way Smith handled the criticism it received on Twitter. You'd think after the onslaught of 'wtf mates' that came from Jersey Girl, he'd know how to take a public thrashing. But basically he resorted to "I'm god, so like it or *!&% off." Was really sad to watch.

BD79 said...

Tishomingo Blues is my favorite Leonard novel, I think Cheadle was attached to adapt it to a movie once upon a time but it died out.

The Mad Hatter said...

Seems like the Cabin is in a pretty good state all-around! Is it my imagination, or have you been working on that dahl book since...like...February?

JL said...

I enjoyed RED as a decent popcorn flick. John Malkovich was great in there. While the movie wasn't anything special, I did think it was a good time. (PS I really liked Adventureland as well)

As for Cop Out. I was so utterly disappointed with it. As you mention, the only parts I liked were the ones with Sean William Scott. His scenes proved pretty funny. The rest was really a waste of my time.

Dan said...

Thanks for the link man! Much appreciated.

I loved Red with a passion - in fact it probably made my top five movies of 2010 list. Mind you, I'm very much a mindless popcorn movie kind of guy.

Fletch said...

@ Hatter - Felt like it, but no, I don't think it took me quite that long. Probably a month, though.

@ JL - I dunno, I thought there was a certain extra special charm to RED that most action flicks of its ilk just don't have. It's not spectacular, no, but I have the feeling that it's one that I'll enjoy returning to in a few years.

I might have been disappointed with Cop Out had I not already thought so little of it. If it weren't for the nostalgic throwbacks, I probably wouldn't have cared for it at all.

@ Dan - no problem! Hoping your podcast gets more exposure to the many podcast-listening LAMBs. I'm glad to be a part of the Club (and it was nice to have a back catalog to catch up on).