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Smudge's Review Thread

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The Intervention (2016)

Not gonna lie, the fact I could tell myself in my head that this was a sequel to But Im a Cheerleader drew me in the most!

It's not bad at all though, totally middle class first world problems stuff going on here, but it feels genuine enough to draw you in. The whole point I think being that intervening on your friend's marriage is a little bit of a ****ty thing to do when absolutely none of us have our own house in order. All four couples and their issues are done pretty well, Ruby and Peter especially, as while their marriage is the one that is seen as a mess by everybody else in the film, we dont just see all the bad stuff, there are glimpses there of what they have lost, and a hope it can be found again.

Also, massive fan of Melanie Lynskey and her drunk mentalist control freakery. No one likes a Jolene Lola.

Saludos Amigos (1942)

The Big Disney Rewatch 6/56

Not actually a rewatch, as this is the first one on the list so far (and first of a spate) that I have never seen before.

I'm really not surprised I haven't, and why this one tends to be one of Disney's early burials. It's basically US-South American relations/ WW2 propaganda with a couple of animated shorts breaking it up. Utterly pointless.

The Three Caballeros (1944)

The Big Disney Rewatch 7/56

Second in a row that I've never seen before...and second in a row that I can completely see why!

I'm not one of these people who watches old films and sees attitudes and behaviours in them that have now become dated and unacceptable and suddenly decries the whole thing as insensitive and in need of going in Room 101...but yeah, this needs to get in Room 101 for all of time!

While Saludos Amigos is unashamedly a basic travelogue propaganda with some culturally relevant cartoon shorts in between, it at least seemed to know what it was trying to be, even if I think it wasn't very good. This...I really don't know what was going on here at all.

The early part seems to be using Donald Duck's birthday to make another 'shorts put together to create a feature' thing, with some alright shorts about a penguin and a flying donkey and the Aracuan bird (best bit btw...). Then Joe Carioca turns up, and it turns into another more polished Saludos Amigos, with some bits about Brazil and Mexico. The rest is a weird creepy trippy odyssey of Donald Duck chasing girls around in bikinis (and them in true 1940s portrayals of women of course, being entirely flattered about being chased around by a pervy 3 foot tall duck in no pants...)

Kill it with fire.

Make Mine Music (1946)

The Big Disney Rewatch 8/56

It's Fantasia again, only with contemporary music instead. Disney, make it stop now please.

Crazy Stupid Love (2011)

Our film opens with 40 something Emily telling her husband Cal she wants a divorce, he blindly agrees to go quietly. The break up between Cal and Emily is the story at the centre of this, but it is also a love story about those around them. Jacob, the player in the local bar who takes it on himself to show Cal how to get back into the dating game and move on from his wife. Hannah, a girl who likes to play it safe and is not interested in Jacob's advances. And Jessica, babysitter to Cal and Emily's kids and the object of their son Robbie's infatuation, while harbouring a secret crush on Cal herself.

The Romcom is (along with horror) the most unpredictable genre I think, as for every really good one, you've probably had to watch at least 4 or 5 awful cliched formulaic wastes of 90 minutes with horrible leads and unfunny setups. That is not this film. This film is the romcom gold you've been watching all those rubbish ones to find.

It is everything you want from this genre. Fantastic well rounded characters who have good chemistry with each other, jokes and situations that range from witty and clever, to fall down hilarious, and more than anything, the most important part of any romcom, tons of heart and empathy. I love this film.

You can't win an argument just by being right!
I really liked it as well. Great chemistry all round and a nice, fresh review. Thanks for posting, Smudge!

Two good reviews, thanks @SmudgeEFC1985 and @Dani8 - I think I'll put Crazy Stupid Love on my list of ' to sees'

Btw for anyone who's interested, here's a tidbit from someone who collects factoids like a velveteen couch collects cat hair-
This is David Letterman's favorite film.

You can't win an argument just by being right!
I loved it.

Monsters Inc (2001)

The Big Pixar Rewatch 4/19

It's a long time since I've actually sat and watched this all the way through. It has held up though! One of my all time favourite animated films, and probably my favourite Pixar. It has just got everything right by this point. The skill in the animation is a massive step up (all of Sulley's individual animated bits of fur, especially the bit in the blizzard!), and the everything else is near perfection. It is probably Pixar's funniest, but also most heartfelt too, along with some really nasty villains, top quality voice work from the cast, and a fun believable world of Monstropolis. And Boo. I love Boo.

Best Song:
Not really applicable when there's only one and it's in the credits!

Best Scene:
The scene when Sulley first mistakenly brings Boo through the door is just so funny. From that shot of her playing with his tail when we first see her, to her chasing this big hairy monster around, it's completley absurd, but so good!

As An Adult:
I had never noticed before now that Boo has all the Pixar toys in her room! Not just the Pixar ball, but also Jessie and Nemo dolls!

Did I Cry?
Always always ALWAYS when Boo goes home. Damn Im crying again just thinking about it now!

Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

The Big Disney Rewatch 9/56

Jesus this is getting to be a chore, when are the 1940s over? Another 'shorts combined into a feature' one, less stories this time which works better than Make Mine Music I think...but yeah, there's a song about cutesy domestic violence, and a creepy interlude with a ventriloquist and puppets. Kill me.

Ocean's 8 (2018)

I wasnt really expecting to like this all that much, I never especially enjoyed Ocean's Eleven, and this was something of a 'let's go the pics tonight, it's this or the Purge...stuff the Purge, I'd rather watch Anne Hathaway camp it up!'

So expectations were pretty much non-existent going in. But you know what? I think that helped me to enjoy it more. There will be a lot of horrified white man fearing for their masculinity at a franchise being spun off with an all female, and not all white cast, as there always are. But up yours, this is what representation is supposed to look like, everyone playing a part and contributing to a story that is just plain fun. It's nothing overly groundbreaking in the heist genre, but it's strength is in it's characters. The 8 are all given adequate screen time to flesh out who they are and what they bring to the group, the chemistry is good, there are funny moments, it is basically a fun and enjoyable 2 hours. Will probably never win awards, or make anyone's top 10 list, but just plain fun, which is all you need from a film sometimes.

Melody Time (1948)

The Big Disney Rewatch 10/56

*sigh. It's still the 40s and Disney are still churning out shorts packaged as features. There's nothing here that manages to be offensive or horrible, but it's still fairly dull and I just don't like this thing they spent a decade doing.

In fairness, it is probably better than the ones that came before it. The thing is, the two best segments I think are the two old legend ones, Johnny Appleseed and Bill. If they had picked up a couple more old pioneer stories and tall tales to go with these two, and put them together with the Roy Rogers live action segment, as a bunch of stories being told by cowboys around the fire, I think it might have worked quite well. The sheer randomness of the shorts and this obsession with cramming in as many contemporary singers of the time is quite poor. Given a bit more focus, I think this could have worked.

Rocky (1976)

I really shouldnt like this. Despite being a sport fan, I generally dislike sports films, as no matter how the game ends, it feels contrived when it's scripted. Sport creates it's own drama and stories, no matter how improbable and it happens over and over again, but stick it in a script, and it's manufactured drama. Stallone is also at best hilarious for all the wrong reasons as an actor. works. I cant explain why, but it does. Characters are my big love in any film, give me a mundane story, but great characters and Ill go along with it. Rocky and his story is obviously the centrepiece of the film, but he is surrounded by characters with just as much depth as he has. Everyone feels real, and from the heart. Adrian in particular I love, very few films Ive ever seen that absolutely nail the shy girl, but dammit this did. That whole feeling of knowing you want to go and do something but being scared of the consequences...never seen it done on screen better. And that of course is Rocky's development too. He is a loser, with nothing to lose from getting in the ring with the Heavyweight Champion of the World, Apollo Creed. Another excellent character who is actually quite charming and likeable instead of being just a unbeatable cartoon villain.

But this is Rocky's one chance to stop losing. Did this film invent the sports montage? And the sporting underdog story? It has certainly defined both, only the Karate Kid comes close. And while that had You're the Best, which really takes some beating, the music throughout this film,not just that iconic theme, is absolutely brilliant. It kicks in with all the right feelings at all the right moments. The story itself is uplifting enough, but that music just pulls it up another notch. A winner.

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad (1949)

The Big Disney Rewatch 11/56

We have finally reached the end of this rather dismal period for Disney, but before we enter the beginning of that defining period, this era at least ends very strongly with probably the best since Snow White.

At last, right before abandoning this 'shorts package' ideology, Disney finally got it right! Taking two well known stories, and creating excellent retellings of them, and packaging them together in a way that actually works. Oh, and some even better narration from Basil Rathbone and Bing Crosby.

I think I must have seen bits of the Wind in the Willows segment as a kid, because so much of it was familiar to me. It is a very good version of a much done story, capturing the personalities of Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger, as well as the setting, and the weasels. The Sleepy Hollow story after that was less familiar to me, and I think this one is definitely the start of Disney actually finding what was going to work for them. It has all the charm, characters, animation, songs, and appropriate levels of danger and mystery, all crushed into a mostly well known story, but taking it and making it theirs. The fact that the upcoming golden age of Disney is all based on previous fairy tales, old stories or recent publications, and all without Disney's own characters in sight, I think was the beginning of all the good things.

This is good. A very good end to an awful period. Bring on the 1950s.

Cinderella (1950)

The Big Disney Challenge 12/56

This is the first one on this list I've come across that I think I enjoyed more as an adult than I did as a kid. It was never one of my favourites, the songs aren't great, but the characters are all well up there. When I was a kid, it was all about the mice, and they get boring after a while. The human characters though are so much better. The stepmother is dangerously sinister, the sisters are horrible, the king just wants grandkids and goes through a pretty weird charade to get them, the Duke just wants to keep his head. Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother just ooze goodness. The Prince is probably the most boring prince in Disney history. It's much more solid than I remembered.

Best Song: Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo
As above, they're not fantastic here, but this one stands out ahead of the others as the kind of nonsense song that would become a trademark of this period.

Best Scene: The stepmother smashing the glass slipper, only for Cinderella to pull out the other one...proper fist pump!

As An Adult: The Prince spent all night dancing with her and wants to marry her but neglected to ask her name? Legit.

Did I Cry? No, though I don't think I ever did at this one. The scene where the stepsisters destroy Cinderella's dress though is pure bitchery.

Enchanted (2007)

A bit weird watching this in the middle of a run of watching Disney films...

Essentially a live action Disney princess film, but at the same time, a truly loving parody of the genre. Amy Adams was practically born to play this role, bringing the perfect level of cartoony cheese, childlike sweetness and innocence, and comic timing that this role screams out for, as the fish out of water fairytale princess who is catapulted into modern day New York. But rather than lose her hope as the evil queen wishes, she instead inspires love and optimism into everyone around her.

It's funny, the songs are great, it's full of subtle and not so subtle Disney references, I love it. Ultimate feelgood.

Finding Nemo (2003)

The Big Pixar Rewatch 5/19

I only actually saw this once, a long time ago when I was in college (so probably not that long after it was released) and while I remembered some funny moments (MINE!) it never really stood out that much. Watching as an adult was a whole other experience.

Like Monsters Inc before it, Finding Nemo is a complete emotion destroyer. From the first five minutes to the very end, family and friendships are at the heart of what makes this so special. It isnt just the connection and loss between Nemo and his dad that is so touching, but the relationships made with those they meet who help them on their way, Gill and the fish in the tank, and especially Dory.

Just like previous Pixar films, setting a story under the sea gives them such a massive canvas of characters and set ups to work with, same as they could with toys, bugs and monsters. The animation is stunning, the characters memorable, and it's really funny. The plot itself is quite dull and one dimensional really, but you don't even notice because everything being used to tell that story is so good.

The Incredibles (2004)

The Big Pixar Rewatch 6/19

The second one so far that I've not previously seen, and basically the reason for doing all this so I can see the sequel...where have I been? It's brilliant!

It has everything a good superhero film needs, big characters in the heroes and the villains, dangerous perilous setups, destruction, redemption...but it also has the mundane and ridiculous like Elastigirl trying to hold onto the two kids as they fight each other under the dinner table, and Frozone arguing with his wife for moving his supersuit!

It's just great fun, great characters (Edna Mode daaaaaahling!), and that scene where Elastigirl gets stuck in a succession of doors in the secret base is absolute gold! Probably Pixar's best of the ones I've done in this run so far.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (2018)

Two hour nerdgasm. I am all in.

- "Be still my beating vagina..."
- Oh dear, I am crying here, like lots.
- Big fan of the casting of the younger characters, in particular young Tanya and Rosie who maintained all of the funny without being a parody of themselves.
- ****ing Cher man...
- Cake or men? Obviously cake. Especially chocolate.
- Oh no, Im not emotionally ready for One Of Us so early in the film.
- Now feeling disappointed that the world around me doesnt burst into spontaneous song and dance on a regular basis. Real life is boring.
- Big fan of The Name of the Game/ Knowing Me Knowing You being incorporated into this after they missed the cut from the stage show into the first film.
- Dat fantasy finale...
- Very few people can deliver a deadpan funny quite as well as Christine Baranski.
- Crying. Again.

Like I said. Two hour nerdgasm.

Quite a few here to catch up on my last few days! Though a couple are rewatches...

Pretty Woman (1990)

So I felt this needed a rewatch because it was on TV and I missed it, so then of course just HAD to watch it on DVD the next day because it's just a given that you MUST watch Pretty Woman any time it comes on TV, even when you own the DVD and can watch it any time you want. (For other examples of this, see Braveheart or The Mummy) On top of this, I was inspired by this week's Letterboxd Showdown of top 10 romcoms, so had a discussion with my best friend and chief romcom watching buddy. We discussed and agreed and disagreed on a lot of things, and my only two immovable films on my top 10 list that I won't be talked down from, are When Harry Met Sally, and this.

First off, a gripe at everyone who hates this film. Not those who don't like it purely because it's not their genre, or they didn't get the humour, that's their opinion and that's fine. But anyone who didn't like it purely because, shock horror, it's about a prostitute? Seriously? People still get upset that they exist and this stuff happens? Put your judgement to one side, it is a film, a story, and just having a prostitute who has a happy ending isn't glamourising it. That's like saying Oliver Twist has a happy ending and glamourises homelessness and poverty, when it is anything but.

To me, the film doesn't work without the prostitute. Yes, the central story of two people from different worlds falling in love is nothing new at all. What I think sets this apart is that this film highlights how much of that 'different worlds' stuff is purely down to image. Vivian makes that explicitly clear with the most honest line in the film. "We both screw people for money." That is exactly what both of them do. Only one of them is Vivian, who is ostracised on Rodeo Drive and has a safety pin holding her outfit together because her junkie roommate spent her rent money. One of them is Edward, who is an obscenely rich man because his 'screwing' is legitimate and perceived in a completely different light. That is what sets this film apart from your usual rich/ poor opposites attract story. Because from the start, both of them see each other as purely business. They see that outward appearance that everyone else sees. It's about looking below the surface and not judging people...which looks like a point a lot of people missed. To claim this film glamourises prostitution is like saying Silence of the Lambs glamourised cannibalism.

So screw everybody who judges, this is a go to film for me that makes me smile every time. It's funny, a bastard like Stucky gets his comeuppance, Barney is a legend, Kit's one liners ("Cinda-****ing-rella," "50 bucks grampa, for 75 the wife can watch!"), and Julia Roberts is everything.