Blade Runner 2049 – Love Lessons
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Blade Runner 2049 – Love Lessons

I am so complicated. A “simple” decision about what I’ll eat for dinner can be explained in no less than seven single-spaced pages of thoughtful prose.

But other people? Oh, I know exactly why they do what they do. I also know what they should do. Continue reading

American Made – Making ‘American’ Great Again
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American Made – Making ‘American’ Great Again

America loves to bastardize its own name. What, really, is “American”? What makes America great? If you add cranberry to apple pie, is it any less American? Or less delicious? I would argue it needs that bitter flavor to bring out its maximum flavor potential – its maximum Americanness! The word also just makes for a good move title, like American Sniper/Assassin/Gangster – each of the superlatives transform the definition slightly. To be an “American [INSERT WORD]” movie, you’re essentially making a statement from the get-go that what you’re about to see is something that should only be possible in this country, and thus it’s going to be a great story.

So that brings us to Tom Cruise’s latest film, American Made. What is director Doug Liman telling us from the get-go? Continue reading

Battle of the Sexes – Billie Jean is not my lover
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Battle of the Sexes – Billie Jean is not my lover

   

Tennis is a great sport. On the one hand, it’s a hell of a physical challenge. And on the other, it’s a hell of a chess match. You need brains and brawn to be successful. And there’s only two of you out there (unless we’re talking doubles) while the world watches. Your flaws are on display. No helmet shields your face, no teammates for you to blame. It’s you and your opponent, and usually the better man or woman wins. For this reason, tennis has star athletes. And whether the athlete asks for it or not, the personal nature of the game makes you a character – a hero, a villain, or if you’re not enough of either, a boring character.

In Battle of the Sexes – a starring role for player/character Billie Jean King – she’s the latter. She carries all the emotional heft of a cruise ship ping pong match. And that’s only partially a knock on Emma Stone, who plays King. Try as she does to give life to a closeted lesbian uber-competitive national superstar, she can’t quite get it over the net. Continue reading

Metallica: Through the Never – Wait, This Isn’t a Movie
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Metallica: Through the Never – Wait, This Isn’t a Movie

There was a time, not long ago, when the biggest bands were loud and angry virtuosic displays of guitar riffage played with screamable, trivial lyrics.

Now we get a bunch of people who can’t play instruments and “rock” bands that don’t actually rock. These headliners from New York City’s premiere summer music festival are a tragedy for anyone fond of that time not long ago (Nine Inch Nails is obviously fantastic – a true rock band led by a true rockstar – but their first album was released in 1989.): Continue reading

Atomic Blonde – Could Care Less
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Atomic Blonde – Could Care Less

Atomic Blonde wants you to care. But you won’t. You’ll know that something went wrong with the mission and that someone is a double agent. These facts may be semi-intriguing at the beginning; they are irrelevant by the end. As in you won’t even muster a reaction when “important” people die and twists are unveiled.

Sometimes you care about a story’s characters. Other times you don’t. Which camp a story falls into, more than just about anything else, determines if the story is good. Continue reading

Everybody Wants Some!! – Know What You Are
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Everybody Wants Some!! – Know What You Are

It’s two in the morning and you aren’t entirely sober. It’s the point in the night when pizza becomes far more appealing than another drink at the bar.

So you and your roommates grab food and retreat home. After finishing the food and debriefing the night, most are still not ready for sleep. The conversation turns to life philosophy. With the relaxed inhibitions induced by alcohol and fatigue, the conversation seems more real; it seems like you are solving big, important matters. Continue reading

The Big Sick – Stand for Something
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The Big Sick – Stand for Something

There he is. The most racist, despicable man you can imagine. You want to say something. You have to say something.

Instead, you wait to act and continue eavesdropping on his conversation:  “You will break up with him immediately. I never want to see you with him ever again. I give you a lot of freedom Catherine, but bringing a black boy around here is unacceptable.” Continue reading

The Red Pill – Losing Arguments by Default
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The Red Pill – Losing Arguments by Default

“I can’t even imagine.” (So sad to see that my 5-year-old has a better imagination than you. It must be tough being so narrow-minded. It must also be tough having such a terrible short-term memory that you can’t imagine how the other side might think when I just told you what they think.)

“This isn’t even a question.” (Actually, this is, which – crazy, I know – would explain why I just asked you the question.) Continue reading