Archives for category: movie reviews

There are some who enjoy the cinematic combination of scriptwriter John Hughes and actor John Candy. I am not one of them. I believe Hughes’ most forgettable films star Candy. The absolute worst might be “The Great Outdoors” (1988). Family-man Candy takes brood on vacation, sleazy brother-in-law Dan Aykroyd barges in, hijinks ensue. Meh. Actually, it’s worse than meh, because the hijinks are compounded by a plot twist you could see coming from a mile away and subplots involving puppy love and kids in danger that seem like leftovers from “The Brady Bunch” It’s Aykroyd and Hughes at their laziest.


I got to the end of “Table 19” (2017) with Anna Kendrick and was wondering if anybody felt the “Breakfast Club at a wedding reception” vibe (it wasn’t subtle), so I Googled some reviews (even though, to avoid confirmation bias, I usually don’t read reviews) and, like, EVERYBODY got the “BC” references – but not in a good way. Ahem. Buzzkill. So, anyway, all I know is that I always stop at some point during a movie to fetch dessert from the kitchen. Tonight, I had a brownie and ice cream sitting in the fridge. The ice cream ended up melting.

“The Witches of Eastwick” (1987) is an ugly little troll of a movie hiding behind a trio of screen hotties (Cher, Pfeiffer, Sarandon). It’s Jack Nicholson at his worst. He’s a sweet-talking stranger who rolls into town and starts sweeping women off their feet (hijinks ensue). It’s not hard to figure out the secret he’s hiding. It’s also not hard to imagine this being a cinematic parody of Nicholson’s actual, real-life romantic relationships. I mean, the dude is gross looking, but he’s talented and rich and can seemingly get laid whenever he wants. I sympathized with all the on-screen vomiting.

I wasn’t sure renting “Brad’s Status” was a good idea. Throughout 2017, I’d seen the trailer probably a dozen times prior to watching other films (films I chose to watch instead of “Brad’s Status”). And the trailer kinda overshares: Somewhat estranged dad takes son on college visits, possibly heartwarming hijinks ensure, yada, yada, yada. Another forgettable Ben Stiller vehicle. Anyway, it turns out it’s even worse than I thought. In fact, there’s a scene in the middle of the film where a character basically tells Stiller to get over himself, thus bringing into question why the film exists at all.

For about 10 years beginning in the late 1970s, Hollywood put out several movies attempting to poke fun at the rat race Americans were allegedly living at the time. Consumerism, credit cards, blah, blah, blah. American Family Man gets fed up. Hijinks ensue. Most of these films suck. “The Check Is In the Mail” (1986) is one of these movies. Brian Dennehy stars (which is never a good idea). After an overly long buildup, he tries to take his family off the grid – no electricity, no car, etc. It’s like a bad reality show mated with a bad sitcom pilot.

It’s rare that a movie can seem to be moving too quickly, but that’s how the beginning of “A United Kingdom” (2017) felt, almost like a montage. However, the story of the biracial love affair that ultimately gave birth to the nation of Botswana would have been at least three hours long if it had followed the typical pace of movies involving Africa, a love story, and lots of people in period garb with British accents. So there’s that. Otherwise, it’s an interesting film, not spectacular, less an artistic achievement than a pleasant trip across a forgotten page of history.

To say “Rocky IV” (1985) is simplistic is to say two more words than I think Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago said in the entire movie. Sylvester Stallone cashes in (or sells out?) by exploiting the Cold War in what turns out to be, more or less, a 90-minute music video of workout montages, flashbacks and forgotten ’80s hits. But there’s also James Brown singing “Living in America” when Apollo Creed enters the ring to fight Drago. That scene says more about the spectacle of boxing than anything ever filmed. If this movie only exists for that one purpose, it’s enough.