Among other things, the Midwest is known for how drastic the weather changes can be, sometimes having the weather change 40 full degrees (F) from one day to the next. You’d think that since this happens every year, we wouldn’t freak out whenever we get some sort of ice storm, but every year, it seems like there is at least one storm that shuts down all the schools and/or businesses.
So because today was one of those days, my wife and I decided to seize the day by sitting on our butts and watching a bunch of films. Because these movies are all older, I figured it wouldn’t be worth writing an article about each one, so you’ll just get about 500 words or less about each of these movies, starting with….
Do any of you want to feel really old? This movie was made over a decade ago.
The Shrek series (the first two anyway…) is a surprisingly intelligent one that works in ways that so many modern day animations don’t work, despite the fact that the animation in those movies far surpass Shrek’s. But animation and effects should always come secondary to story, and in Shrek movies, the stories more than make up for the outdated effects by how self-aware they are.
The Shrek movies are just a big poking-session at the movie industry in general, but especially at Disney and its corporatizing of the fairy tale trope of movies. It does so in a way that is both obvious, but not so in-your-face to where it is constantly annoying. Granted, it doesn’t always work well with its jokes, but it does well enough to where most of them stick.
The voice acting is generally great, and Shrek and Donkey work well together. The addition of Puss in Boots effectively turns the table on their relationship dynamic so that Shrek and Donkey’s relationship arc doesn’t become a repetition of the first film.
Aside from the entertaining story, the movie is just one big pop-culture-reference fest. It is an extreme pet peeve of mine when children’s animations just throw in unnecessary pop culture references without any sense of reason, but the Shrek universe exists to mock movies and fairy tales in general, so the jokes rarely feel out of place.
The soundtrack often felt really awkward in this movie, but part of me is trying to figure out whether or not it was intentional; the entire movie tries to be unconventional, so it makes me wonder if that’s why they chose alternative rock songs and other assortments of weird music to put in a children’s animation.
While Shrek 2 definitely has its moments of unnecessary and tiresome humor, the vast majority of the film really works, and it is a great spoofing of popular movies and culture. Maybe it just tickles my brain in the right places because I’ve become extremely annoyed with how formulaic Disney movies are becoming, but I think Shrek 2 is still a fantastic watch, and it is probably the best one in the entire series… though I’d have to watch the other ones before I’m sure.
7 out of 10
This Means War
The family movie collection consists of 95% movies my wife owns. She recently told me to mark every movie of hers that I haven’t seen, and then she’d pick which ones we’d watch. As soon as I told her that I’ve never seen This Means War, she immediately turned it on.
This Means War is a very interesting concept: two spies who are best friends who end up falling for the same woman, and they become extremely competitive over her.
Chris Pine and Tom Hardy both work really well together. I bought that they were friends and I bought the emotional turmoil between each other when they started fighting over Reese Witherspoon. Witherspoon herself is great in this movie, and they somehow were able to make her falling for both men work. I just assumed that at least one of the relationships would feel forced, but I rarely got that feeling from either scenario. Chelsea Handler also does a great job, though her character mainly exists to provide reasonings for why Witherspoon is juggling two men without seeming like a horrible person (because Handler eggs her on in the name of feminism).
I found this movie to be extremely entertaining and really funny.
Now where the movie doesn’t work is literally the rest of the story. Pine and Hardy are not only the most incompetent spies in the entire world, but they are probably the most immoral ones too. The two literally spend the entire movie making their coworkers spy on and gather information on Witherspoon. They get them to do this under false pretenses, until the coworkers suddenly know that this is just a spat over a woman. The movie never tells you of when this happens, and they all are oddly okay with wasting their time and resources on this dong-measuring contest.
And Pine and Hardy never reap the consequences of this. I thought for sure that by the end of the movie, they would have lost their jobs because they’re terrible at their jobs and they wasted everyone’s time, but of course because this is a comedy, nothing happens to them.
This doesn’t even mention the fact that the resolution of who Witherspoon picks was the most clean and tidy solution in existence. Everyone is best buddies in the end, and the loser ends up getting the second best option anyway. After a while, the entire experience just felt cheap.
So basically, This Means War is an extremely entertaining movie provided you turn your brain off. The entertainment value does somewhat make up for the massive gaping plot holes, but this is by no means a great movie. If your mantra about movies is “I just want to be entertained, and I don’t want to think about what I’m watching”, then this movie is for you. Also, screw you because you’re the reason I get to see so many crap-shows.
5 out of 10
The Last Song
I don’t know what I was thinking.
For some God-knows-why reason, I took all of my wife’s Nicholas Sparks movies and told her to pick her favorite one.
She looked directly into my eyes and said, “You’re gonna hate me for this…”
Aside from a few Hannah Montana episodes, I have never seen Miley Cyrus act. I mean, every time she’s on stage these days, it’s a performance for attention, but I’ve never seen her actually act in films.
SHE’S A HORRENDOUS, ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS, ACTOR. She is the absolute worst. Her line delivery was stiff and wooden the entire film, and she has absolutely no control over her facial expressions.
The script for this movie is so lame, and her character is so poorly written and unlikable anyway, that even if Miley was a great actor, she wouldn’t have been able to pull this role off. And despite the fact that Miley’s character is extremely stand-offish to every single person she encounters, every single friendship she gets practically falls into her lap.
Almost every other actor is terrible in this movie, and if they weren’t terrible, then the script went ahead and made them so.
The romance between Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth makes absolutely zero sense, and their chemistry is completely absent. I didn’t think there was a movie-to-real-life romance that made less sense than Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, but these two have whisked their way into first place effortlessly.
Liam Hemsworth more or less throws himself at Cyrus the minute they bump into each other despite the fact that her attitude towards everything is absolute cancer. This is basically the romance-movie equivalent to Max Steel.
Every single line of dialogue was either cringe-inducing, expository, or cliché… or some sort of wretched combination of the three.
The soundtrack for this movie felt more like the director just slapped her iPod playlist into the movie because not a single song felt organic to the scene it was in.
There are a few heartfelt scenes that work, and Miley does seem somewhat convincing whenever she cries, but you only get those few golden nuggets by swimming through the feces-pool that is this film. This is without a doubt the worst Nicholas Sparks based film I have ever seen, and that in itself is a major accomplishment.
2 out of 10