I had a pretty good June as far as movie-watching is concerned. I didn’t break any records (2008 – 25 viewings) but I did triple my numbers from last year’s paltry 6 viewings. I made good progress in my Bond set and managed some memorable theater viewings. All in all not a bad month. You can see the full chronological list of my June viewings here.
Total Viewings: 19
First Viewings: 10
Theater Viewings: 3
Best First Viewing: This is the End (2013)
I turned 27 last week. Whenever my birthday comes around, I try to treat myself to a solitary activity of some kind, usually movie-related. This year was no different. I checked out a matinee of This is the End and had a blast. I was really looking forward to this movie and it didn’t disappoint at all.
The main cast works great together and they fit very well into the caricatures they’re portraying. Seeing James Franco’s weird attachment to Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel’s hatred of the ultra friendly Jonah Hill were big highlights for me.
All the cameos were fantastic. Special mention has to go to Michael Cera. It’s funny that someone who is notorious for playing essentially the same character in everything can pull out one of his best performances by playing himself.
Honorable Mention: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
I’m working on my “Bond 50 Part V” post right now. So I’ll save my thoughts on this for when that posts in a week or so. I will say, however, that I am really liking Roger Moore as Bond and I think Barbara Bach might be my favorite Bond girl so far. Pairing Bond up with a beautiful Russian agent whose lover he killed was a great way to spice up the plot. Because of that dynamic, this movie really did not feel like the tenth entry in a franchise.
Worst First Viewing: Room 237 (2012)
Ugh. You can read my review of this disaster of a documentary here.
Here’s the cliff notes version of it, though. Room 237 makes outrageously far-fetched, flimsy claims against Kubrick and The Shining. The information is presented in the form of phone interviews set against images of The Shining and other Kubrick movies. The theories are explained on top of one another. Almost all of the points can be written off as someone reading too much into something.
One person claims you can see Kubrick’s face airbrushed into the clouds while the clip runs with zero evidence of any face. A simple continuity error is presented as evidence for some massive conspiracy. And meticulously drawn out floor plans reveal nothing sinister. If you want to listen to people who don’t appreciate film tear Kubrick’s work apart, you might be satisfied. So long as you don’t mind hearing a screaming kid in the background of some of the interviews.
On the bright side, I did enjoy reviewing this movie. So, again, check out the review.
Dishonorable Mention: And Now a Word From Our Sponsor (2013)
I talked about this on episode 2 of the podcast. Bruce Greenwood is an ad executive who wakes up in a hospital only able to speak in ad slogans. Parker Posey plays a woman who takes him in while he waits to be transferred to a mental health facility.
It was a mess. The novelty of a man only being able to speak in ad slogans wears off very quickly. It leaves you wondering why the hell no one is studying his mental condition. The antagonist is kind of a dick but otherwise well within his rights to steal the company from Bruce Greenwood. The movie ends in such a “what the hell did I just watch” manner that it retroactively ruins any charm the movie had before its gimmick wore off.
I honestly wonder if this movie was solely the product of a studio looking to turn a quick buck by getting corporations to pay for their slogans to be used in a movie that wouldn’t be that expensive to produce.
Biggest Surprise: Everybody’s Fine (2009)
Cliff notes: Everybody’s Fine is a nice family movie with a great cast. Robert De Niro delivers a really touching and sympathetic performance. The script takes some interesting turns and avoids making the children characters villainous.
Biggest Letdown: The Babymakers (2012)
I might still recommend this movie in a future Streaming Saturday post. Olivia Munn is okay in it but she isn’t given much of anything to work with. Paul Schneider plays a more vulgar version of Mark Brendanawicz, which makes you wonder why he bothered leaving Parks and Recreation to focus on his film career.
I’m a fan of Broken Lizard and their affiliation with the movie made me eager to see it. I didn’t get much out of it. It’s a forgettable “late night” comedy that I wouldn’t feel that comfortable recommending to people.
Returning Favorite: The Shining (1980)
The Returning Favorite category this month was a toss up between The Shining and Pulp Fiction. I chose The Shining because it’s the better overall movie. Nothing against Tarantino but, come on, he simply can’t compete with Kubrick. Besides, I owe it to The Shining to include them in my monthly roundup after suffering through Room 237.
I will go ahead and add an Honorable Mention for Pulp Fiction here, though. Simply because I caught a midnight screening of it at my local art cinema and loved watching it in the theater. It was a great experience. Added to it, I had a couple drinks in the theater bar before the movie. The theater also had specialty drinks available specifically for the screening. It was a fun night.