Two posts in a row with the same format, looks like Hollywood isn’t the only losings it’s creativity. Well, decided I had to post some good old simple movie reviews; movies is in the name and I don’t like feeling like I’m false advertising. You know what you came for let’s get into it.
The good – Green book
“An inspirational crowd-pleaser with a healthy dose of social commentary, Green Book may be predictable, but it’s also well-crafted and features terrific performances.” Rotten Tomatoes
“Maybe it’s all true. But one is always a little discomfited when life, or a movie, imitates weary melodramatic patterns this slavishly” – Richard Schickel Time Magazine
“When the hard battle for integration is served up as a feel-good package, we’ve all been bamboozled” – Peter Travers Rolling Stone
“The leads, Viggo Mortensen and particularly Mahershala Ali, are so good they occasionally make you forget the material is shameless” – Chicago Reader
Yeah, we’ve all heard this right, these negatives attributed to Green Book… except stupid stupid me I’m such an idiot! These aren’t reviews talking about Green Book at all, these are Rotten Tomato reviews for Remember the Titans and I just switched the names around. I think these movies are very comparable, and the criticism are fair, and the similarity does not completely resolve Green Book. Should a movie have more nuance than a film made almost two decades prior, each film fictionalizes their stories in different ways and Remember the Titans was never put on the pedestal of Best Picture now was it. That said, Green Book is a fine flick in my opinion.
Trust me, I get it all films are political and while given the subject matter this statement might sound ludicrous, I find the appeal of Green Book is how apolitical it ends up being. The film is essentially a road trip movie in which two polar opposite characters get a greater understanding of how the other one lives and growing as people because of this journey they share. Race is certainly the focal point difference as it steers the conflict and is what defines the world of the film; however these characters are also separated by many differences of character: economic status, introverted/extroverted, morals, lifestyle etc.. It appears Green Book does just want to tell a story of friendship and learning to appreciate others who have a different vantage point in life, and doesn’t necessarily care about what moralistic message it expels.
Ironic that those who don’t share the same vantage point as the filmmakers admittedly sterile attempt are going out and demonizing and vilify anyone who gets any enjoyment out of the film (Because a message of “can’t we all get along” is too simple says the people who don’t want to accept people liked a movie they don’t). Overall, the ability to recreate the 1950’s is stunning visually and the dynamic between the characters is enjoyably written. I get the backlash, is it Best Picture worthy (tugs, collar) I don’t know? Green Book feels oddly vacant of personal identity, it is a very textbook affair. At the end of the day, that’s sort of the appeal it feels like a traditional movie that somehow feels like you’re watching a movie you’ve heard about from a decade ago but is just discovering it now. It’s a quality production, let most of the complaints coming from outside the film attest to that, it’s flawed but if you don’t want too much out of it its got a wide general appeal.
the meh – the upside
Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston goof around but Bryan Cranston has quadriplegia. Do you like these actors then you’ll probably find this flick decently enjoyable. The film could be described as 80% dicking around but while the plot is somewhat lacking the leads do bring an appreciated sincerity to it. Honestly if you enjoyed the character dynamics of Green Book but would rather have it in a less Oscar bait, less seriously toned film then I think this one might be worth your viewing experience. Everyone seems to hate this movie for reasons outside the film itself: actor controversy, casting controversy, adaptation controversy but if you can keep all that on the wayside it’s not bad, nothing special but not bad. (Plus I think this is maybe the only Kevin Hart comedy where I think they actually went the whole movie not making a Kevin Hart short joke… that alone is impressive)
the ugly – cold pursuit
Cold Pursuit is one ugly mess but hold your horses because I loved this movie. Cold Pursuit is a parody of pretty much the dumb films that liter Liam Neeson’s filmography… but it also stars Liam Neeson. Cold Pursuit is the right kind of dumb that it always keeps you wondering if you’re laughing at the film or with the film.
It mocks all the common troupes of the genre and just makes it seem so silly it will be insufferable to someone hoping for a more traditional action flick, but I loved the change of pace. You got to love the high body counts of a Neeson film, or John Wick; Cold Pursuit brings its body count to the forefront by a title card that appears after every death that occurs. Always notice that the bad guys henchmen go by some code-name, well this film does this, but the nicknames seem more appropriate for 7-year-olds playing in the backyard. The main drug cartel guy goes by the name Viking, and he is well he’s something else. Instead of you’re intimidating European tough guy villain… you get a whiny, neurotic rich guy who looks a little too much like Ben Shapiro.
It’s a movie that is so incredibly dumb from start to finish but I think this film owns it. It’s a movie that only takes itself serious enough to undercut the tension with some incredibly bizarre and cheesy jokes it almost feels like a fever dream over an actual movie.
Best scene in the movie is when Liam Neeson forces a guy at gunpoint to answer the question: Who’s better Elway or Manning? Let’s just say given the answer the proceeding actions were justified.