Aug 30

Morris From America

A24 has decided that they want to take risks. That they want to deliver amazing content, or at least weird and unique content. And sometimes both, like when it comes to Swiss Army Man!

But with also The Witch and The Lobster, they have been having a pretty good 2016 so far and are looking hard into award season.

That is why I decided to give Morris From America a chance. A movie that might deal with racism but in a very non-American light. A movie that might have strong comedic or dramatic performances. And a movie that could give me a patriotism boner.

Ice Cream
Eating ice cream and owning the sidewalk? Yeah, those are Americans.

Morris Gentry (Markees Christmas) is from America, but now he lives in Heidelberg, Germany with his single dad (Craig Robinson). His dad has a job working for a Futbol team, which is why they now live here. He had a mom, but she died.

Needless to say, Morris is having problems fitting in. Right now it is the summer time, he has no friends and only small amounts of German. So he has a tutor (Carla Juri) to help him with the language and just getting him to open up. But she suggests he goes to a local youth center, to meet people his age and make some friends.

Well, of course, everyone there is super white and super German. And most of them are a bit racist. Some of it comes from just not seeing black people before. Some of it is curiosity. Morris sees a girl, Katrin (Lina Keller) and actually gets a crush on her, so he decides to give this youth center a shot, despite the overwhelming weird feelings.

And well, those weird feelings are real. He gets blamed for things he didn’t do, pressured and bullied and more. But hey, he just wants to be able to free style and express himself, and they are just giving him more material to work with.

Also featuring Patrick Güldenberg and Levin Henning.

That face is right, Morris. This looks like a trap.

Morris From America is one part coming of age story and one part fish in a foreign pond. I am not sure if that last part is a saying, but right now I am running with it. The idea makes a lot of sense too. There are tons of films about an American going to a new place and learning customs and the language, whether it be a drama or full of laughs. But for whatever reason it is always a white person. Why not have a black guy do the same thing?

This is not a zany movie by any means. All of the spare humor moments just come from normal human interaction, mostly father and son. I tend to feel bad for Morris when he is interacting with the German teenagers, basically 95% of time.

The movie drives home some points, but they aren’t too powerful. Apparently Germany is still super white and not the best towards people who look different. But hey, what society really isn’t like that? It is a hard balance to break.

Some of his situations are uncomfortable, some are slight, but overall, not a lot happens over the journey of the film. This is just a snapshot of his life, a small experience over a small amount of time. And well, it is just okay in that regard.

2 out of 4.

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Aug 29

Don’t Breathe

Don’t Breath. Don’t Even Breath. Breath and you’re dead. Wait, no, the opposite of all of that. Modifying a Doctor Who quote doesn’t really work in this context.

This is another film that I was almost happy to announce I knew nothing about going into it. But then I went and saw a regular movie in the theater and caught the last 20-30 seconds of the trailer. Damn, I was so close to not even having the slimmest plot outline.

But since that cat is out of the bag, the director of the film is Fede Alvarez who before now has only directed one feature film, the recent Evil Dead. Hey! That also had the same star as this one. And hey! Evil Dead was kind of awesome in a gory, never want to watch ever again way.

So paint me a little bit tickled, as I practice holding my breath like I am riding in a car through a tunnel, thinking I will get a wish out of it.

Holding your breath as an old man walks by is a sure way to get your wish of not smelling him.

Detroit kind of sucks. Not the sports teams, they are awesome of course. But the area is terrible, many properties are abandoned, and people just want to get out of there. Just watch the documentary Detropia, I reviewed it last week.

People like Rocky (Jane Levy) want to leave, but they are poor and in terrible abusive situations. That is why she turned to robbery. With her boyfriend, Money (Daniel Zovatto) and best friend Alex (Dylan Minnette) they break into rich people houses and take only items to sell to dealers on the streets. If they take too much money, it is a bigger crime and they want to be prepared if they get caught. It is easy for them, because Alex’s dad works for a security company, so Alex is able to break into his desk to steal house specific keys to deactivate the alarms.

Well, Money gets a hot tip from one of his guys on the street. There is an old man (Stephen Lang) who lives along, on a street that everyone has abandoned. No police presence, no nosy neighbors, just him and a dog. He was an Iraq war vet (The first one) and injured while there, but more importantly, he made bank when his daughter was killed in a car accident from some rich kid. So he is sitting on six figures and he potentially keeps it in his house. Oh and he is blind.

So yeah, Rocky, Alex, Money are pretty much assholes. They are going to steal from a lonely old man, blind, war vet. They are going to take that money and move out of the state, somewhere like California and make something with their lives. They just, you know, have to be the worst people ever.

I said worst people ever, not biggest pupils ever.

Alvarez has created something unique, yet familiar, scary, and morally out the window. At the same time, he created a movie that has 88 minute run time including credits and still feels incredibly too long.

And that is incredibly annoying because I was totally digging the story. Now, I hated the three young characters. Each one, regardless of their reasons for being in the house. They are all asshats for deciding to try and steal from him. But at the same time, they don’t make the Old Man to be a nice fellow either. It isn’t rooting for the bad guy, it is rooting for mutually assured destruction. I just wanted everyone to punish and get what is coming to them, while at the same time, mad the situation is even occurring in the first place. So yes, it toyed with my emotions and messed with my perception of right and wrong.

That added together could be a reason I just hated the ending. I can’t tell you exactly how long, but there was a shift about 10-15 minutes left in the film that I just wish didn’t exist in anyway. Too much is revealed, a side is chosen to be the “champion” of the film, and then it just drags on and on. There were two very appropriate places it could have ended before it got too full of itself. But it continued. Then characters continued to make terrible decisions. It became repetitive and I couldn’t wait for the end.

The cinematography was lovely, including a nice long house one take from the inside, the pitch dark scenes were wonderful, complete with large pupils, and Lang knocked it out of the park as the old man. The rest of the acting was pretty average.

This is about three fourths of a decently entertaining movie that doesn’t hold your hand and make things easy to watch. But at some point the filmmakers decide that they are bored with that and turn it into a more standard film with an almost goddamn happy ending, despite the many unhappy circumstances involved.

2 out of 4.

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Aug 25

Southside With You

When I heard about the movie Southside With You, my first reaction was to laugh. The plot, about Barack and Michelle Obama first’s date just sounded so oddly specific.

But at the same time, technically, I didn’t know anything about them when they were younger. Did they have lofty political ambitions? Were they jerks? Why did their first date make them fall in love? Was their first date actually a good story.

Shit, the hook actually worked. I wanted to find out more. And I also based it off the assumption that there is no way they would make a movie like this unless it was an interesting first date. Sure, some liberties would be taken, but the real life story has to be a good one. My first date with my wife would be terrible as a movie, but maybe the second or third date would be better.

I also find it funny that, outside of documentaries, this is the first movie about Obama’s life. Our last president was stuck with the unflattering W. as his legacy, but Obama gets a romance flick. Better PR team I guess!

Also, I was secretly hoping that this would basically be like Before Sunrise, but more Obama-y.

Technically, this film takes place before sunrise. Technically every film does.

The year is 1989, the season is summer, and the city is Chicago. To put that into more perspective, I would have been a few months old only at the time, because I am still a young little whippersnapper.

Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter) is a second year associate at a law firm. She went to Ivy League schools for her degrees and has succeeded in a white and male dominated field. And yes, she still lives with her parents, because her father has MS. She doesn’t really date, but today…well, that is still true.

Because today she is going to a meeting with Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers). He is a summer intern at the same law firm, while going to Harvard for his own law degree. He invited her out to a meeting about local community problems that he figured she would be interested in. And that is all it is, according to Michelle. Certainly not a date, that would be inappropriate, she is his adviser.

But it turns out that when he picks her up in his beaten down car early in the morning, the meeting isn’t actually until 4. What a ruse! He wants to take her to a museum first to see an Afrocentric art exhibit. And some food in the park. But if she doesn’t want it to be a date, then hell, they can just be friends. Just talking, getting to know each other, friends.

You sly little so-and-so Barack.

It takes a lot of acting balls to want to play someone real, let alone real and super famous. The President and First Lady are really high up there in terms of famousness and some pretty big shoes to fill. And with that, I want to say that Sumpter as Michelle reminded me constantly of Suzanne Cryer‘s character on Silicon Valley. Just the way she talked and where she placed pauses, that is all I could think about. I also can say that I have absolutely no idea what the hell Michelle Obama talks like now or did back then. I assume it is an accurate portrayal, but it was definitely jarring throughout the whole film.

On the same side, I know what Barack Obama sounds like. I have heard many of his speeches. The mannerisms that Sawyers gave clicked really well with my view of the president and it was awesome to see. By the end, I accepted Sumpter’s Michelle as well and figured they were both spot on. Because damn it, why else would she use that voice?

Enough about the voices, Sumpter and Sawyers also remarkably had enough of the look down to make this film very believable. It was just about two young, highly educated and motivated people, trying to make the best out of their lives and help others along the way. It is a great propaganda piece, very in your face to some of the more vocal arguments about Obama. They talked about his family, his birth, his religion and more.

Sure, it wasn’t Before Sunrise, but very few films are. Instead, Southside With You is a nice romance flick. It feels real, it is full of wonderful smaller moments that build up into something bigger than the sum of its parts. The leads are charming. And it will really humanize two individuals that are somewhat hard to relate to.

3 out of 4.

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Aug 25

The Business of Amateurs

For those avid readers of Gorgon Reviews, you might think this documentary sounds familiar. Well, first of all, thank you to the three of you. Second of all, you are thinking about Schooled: The Price of College Sports, which was about the exploitation of college athletes for profit.

This is The Business of Amateurs, which is about the exploitation of college athletes for profit and other reasons!

Now obviously this is a subject I am already immensely passionate about it. I have gotten into arguments about it in real life. I have even read a book on the subject, which is a big commitment for me. There is no good reason for people to be brought to colleges, controlled 100% of their time, make the college millions, while not earning a livable wage, getting educated, or being able to have other jobs or use their success for their gain.

And yeah, The Business of Amateurs is another documentary about the subject. But like I said, it is different. It is more than just the moral reasons why people shouldn’t be exploited that way. They go into some science. And the documentary is written, directed, and narrated by Bob DeMars, a former college football player, so it is also a bit more personal.

Business of Amateurs
Looking closely at the cover, I found myself a little bit moved.

Remember the movie Concussion? The film that was supposed to shake the NFL and bring the truth, but was extremely watered down, if not well acted? Well, this documentary goes a lot into health as well.

We have players who are not making money, who have to practice daily for hours, play in games, hitting their head over and over again. The majority of them are not going to the NFL, will not be making big bucks, and they are potentially setting themselves up for brain damage, depression, and a young death.

Couple that with scholarships that can be taken away if you are injured, and you got a system that cares not at all for the athletes that show up. They drop you as soon as you are hurt, and won’t help you when you have bigger problems in the future for work you did for them.

But I don’t want to get too specific into all of the details.

This documentary has a lot of interesting information and I don’t want to go over all of it. I clearly loved it, but it had some minor issues. It is very clearly an amateur film (about amateurs!), some scenes aren’t well polished, some just scream out indie. This is only important in that other scenes are very well, so the disconnect is felt as it goes back and forth.

Additionally, the documentary doesn’t talk about sports outside of Football and Basketball, the big money earners. We get to hear about how some real life athletes outside of the top two are affected after their education, but they don’t go into how those programs are funded and how they could survive if the players earned some damn income relative to the income they bring in. It was more noticeable thanks to going to the NCAA museum where they showed many sports, but again, didn’t really talk about them.

Either way, this is another documentary, and many more people, explaining why the current system is fucked up, and maybe, eventually, more people will realize it.

3 out of 4.

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Aug 24

The Angry Birds Movie

When they first announced The Angry Birds Movie, you couldn’t have paid me to see the prescreening of it. That is because I was steadily employed when it was first announced. Now, when the actually prescreening occurred, I would have gladly accepted money to go to it. Alas, if I went I would have had to go for free and that still wasn’t good enough.

Now I played Angry Birds before. Yeah, like, in 2010, really early after it came out. I had an Android phone and it was 100% free, with a lot of components to it, so yeah, I played the shit out of it. Then I eventually stopped caring. I hated the space game, hated the star wars one, and well, just stopped caring, and never looked back.

At the same time I was annoyed by all the clothing and merchandising that was suddenly existing. It was just a small phone game, why would someone want a backpack with them on it? Oh well, I ignored it and then hey, six years after the game, a movie appeared.

Needless to say, waiting for it on DVD was always a safe bet for me.

Red anger grrr
Oh yeah, they really captured his anger there.

Red (Jason Sudeikis), is a bird, and he is angry. Everyone else on this island is happy, but not him. He is pissed off. All the minor things really piss him off. And after a series of incidents, he has found himself face first in an egg, so now the chick thinks he is its daddy. So the family goes to court over the incident and the judge (Keegan-Michael Key) sentences him to Anger Management class, the harshest sentence!

At the class, it is run by a white bird named Matilda (Maya Rudolph). He also meets a yellow bird who is incredibly fast, Chuck (Josh Gad), a big black bird who explodes sometimes, Bomb (Danny McBride), and a very, very large red bird who doesn’t talk a whole lot, Terence (Sean Penn).

But wait! A ship appears over the ocean. On it, a large pig named Leonard (Bill Hader), bringing gifts and technology to their small area. Everyone loves them, except for Red, because his house gets damaged in their arrival and he doesn’t let it go. All of the other birds get annoyed at Red’s anger and basically make him leave. Red decides that something must be up, as more and more pigs are arriving every day. He decides to bring Chuck and Bomb with him on a quest to find the Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), famed super bird who can FLY to help save the day.

And if that doesn’t work, well, then maybe they will have to fix things on their own before everything goes sour.

Also featuring voice work from Kate McKinnon, Tituss Burgess, Hannibal Buress, Tony Hale, and Ike Barinholtz.

Oh, that pig is a king too. Royalty. King Leonard, the majestically hammy.

If you couldn’t tell, I went into this movie expecting to hate it. A franchise that has become both forgettable and annoying, about a game with not a lot of plot. It seemed like a cash grab (and regardless of quality, it is still that). Judging from the animation style, I expected it to be just as annoying as most of the Minions movies have been.

And then I laughed. I laughed quite a few times. I was surprised at how much humor they actually smushed into the film. It has a pretty standard 90 minute-ish run time, but there are so many things going on, almost at all times. It was made for the ADHD crowd. Background jokes, frontground jokes, puns, double meanings, and more. And of course globs of reference humor. The last time I saw this many jokes in an animated film was Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2.

Despite how quick everything went, it still also took its time, surprisingly. It took almost a whole hour into the film before the pigs finally went bad and did the bad stuff, leaving just the last act to chase them down and tear down their city in retaliation, aka, the angry birds game part. Normally that would be an issue but time surprisingly flew by.

Heh, like the birds when you sling them.

The Angry Birds Movie has a shitty title and a shitty franchise, but damn it, it was a pretty funny film and a decent experience. It won’t change the animated world, but it will make you giggle.

3 out of 4.

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Aug 22

Sausage Party

I wanted to see Sausage Party, I honestly did. I loved the first trailer, avoided all other spoilers, and wrote it on my calendar. But then real life made me miss it and I had to wait weeks to see it. Having kids doesn’t help.

But I didn’t mean to see Sausage Party for today’s review. No, I went to the theater to see Hell or High Water, everyone told me I had to! Well, word of mouth is powerful and it was in a small dinky theater and sold out. Thankfully, Sausage Party was roughly the same time starting, so I easily went ther and just moved it up my schedule a couple weeks.

Hey. Sweet. Now I can have some laughs and review two animated films in a row this week! And also dick jokes. Dick jokes, sex jokes, death jokes, stoner jokes. Hilarious.

I haven’t seen food party this much since Foodfight!

Frank (Seth Rogen) is a sausage. Not just any sausage. A horny sausage, ready to fuck. He has some other wiener palls, like Carl (Jonah Hill), Troy (Anders Holm), and Barry (Michael Cera), who is a bit deformed and smaller than normal. His package is right next to a nice package of buns, including Brenda (Kristen Wiig), his soul mate.

Or fuck mate. They really wanna screw. They want to get picked together by one of the Gods to go into the Great Beyond, outside of the supermarket. And soon is “Red, White, and Blue” day, so their chances of getting picked are high! And of course, the Gods have spoken, and they were chosen together to live out their wildest fantasies.

But then the unthinkable happens. The Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) was returned and he went crazy. He said the Great Beyond was a lie. Everything outside was terrible. And he caused a cart accident. Food went flying, Disaster. Frank and Brenda were left outside the cart to survive on their own. With Sammy Bagel Jr. (Edward Norton) and Kareem Abdul Lavash (David Krumholtz), who keep fighting.

Can they determine the truth of the Great Beyond? Or were they punished by the Gods for touching tips? How will their friends survive in the outside world? Can I ask more questions about the food sex?

Also featuring Bill Hader as a Native American stereotype, Salma Hayek as a taco, Craig Robinson as grits, Paul Rudd as a nerdy sales clerk/jerk, James Franco as a stoner, and Nick Kroll as a big douche.

Some say a big douche is just the roll that Nick Kroll was born to play.

Sausage Party at its core is an insane film. Apparently it came out just wondering what a film would be like if food had feelings (something Pixar hadn’t touched on yet), and Rogen realized it would be an incredibly fucked up film. And a fucked up film is what we got.

It is basically the most adult animated film since South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut and even has a musical number! And by adult humor, I don’t mean sophisticated tax jokes, but you know, sex, language and drugs. So 14 year old humor, if you will.

It will make you cringe, make you laugh, and maybe make you cry. The references are out of control, including an amazing visual from Saving Private Ryan. It was constantly surprising with the direction it went, including two different turn of events near the end. You know, when they fight for freedom and celebrate their potential freedom.

Because like I said earlier, they just wanted to fuck. That’s life in a nutshell.

Sausage Party is raunchy and honestly a film I can imagine watching and hiding from my own kids for years to come.

3 out of 4.

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Aug 22

Money Monster

George Clooney, you little vixen you. That little grinning face of his, I cannot help but swoon.

But I also can’t help but note he has been in a lot of meh lately. Tomorrowland, The Monuments Men, and A Very Murray Christmas, ugh. I actually enjoyed Hail, Caesar! but it had very mixed reviews.

So now I am looking to George to try and fix this ship. Give me something good. I did end up seeing the trailer for Money Monster before some movie and hey, it interested me. I tend to love hostage situations (in film), and I am definitely interested in people angry about financial crashes, thanks to The Big Short.

Give me something to cheer for, Mr. Clooney.

Oooh guns. I love cheering for guns!

Lee Gates (George Clooney) is basically Jim Cramer from Mad Money, that is your main introduction to him. But he also can dance! He has been on the air for a long time, his director/control room person is Patty Fenn (Julia Roberts), and she too is good at her job.

The stock of the company IBIS crashed in a big way the day before and the CEO Walt Camby (Dominic West) was supposed to be show up for an interview but was somewhere else around the world, so they couldn’t explain it. Instead, a PR lady (Caitriona Balfe) was going to badly explain the situation, but hey, a gunman (Jack O’Connell) showed up!

With a gun!

And he is pissed. He lost all of his money thanks to the IBIS crashed, which Lee Gates promised was the best stock ever. Sure, he only lost $60,000, and some people lost way more, but he has a pregnant girlfriend (Emily Meade). And he is depressed. And he wants answers.

Also starring Aaron Yoo as mysterious Asian man, Dennis Boutsikaris as angry executive at IBIS, Giancarlo Esposito as a police captain, and Lenny Venito as the world’s most dedicated camera man.

Control Room
And let’s not forget how much money this hostage situation will make the channel.

Guns and Money, Celebrities and Scandals, Money Monster is potentially one of the most American movies ever. It is directed by Jodie Foster, who hasn’t directed a film since the wonderful The Beaver. The Beaver was weird, unique, and touching. Money Monster is none of those things, but at times, it is a bit interesting.

I think the beginning and middle of Money Monster are the more interesting elements. The ending just starts to get weird once they leave the studio and decide to walk down NYC, straight to the source. Not weird in the good way, just awkward.

Clooney, Roberts, O’Connell were all fine in their parts, but no one in particular really stood out and seemed exceptional. The message is one that has been hounded before in many better films. And, overall, the ending is a bit uninspired.

I didn’t really get my big cry moment like I do in a lot of hostage films. Or the large amounts of witty banter, or really anything.

Movie watchers will not get anything new out of Money Monster. But hey, it got a little close at some points, so it could have been a lot worse.

2 out of 4.

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Aug 18

Kubo and the Two Strings

Technically, yes, I have a few biases going into watching Kubo and the Two Strings. But for plenty of good reasons.

Laika, the makers of this film, have a pretty damn solid track record. Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, these guys are stop motion geniuses and their name means quality.

The Boxtrolls also had the best trailers of any film that year. Kubo and the Two Strings? The first and only trailer I watched was decent. It wasn’t as creatively done, but the story itself felt original, large scaled, and awesome awesome.

So yeah, I’ve been excited to see this movie for over a year. This has been my most anticipated animated film all year, even more so than Moana. I am only human, let me be excited.

Shit, this kid is so bad ass he only needs one eye.

Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a 10 or 11 year old boy, and yeah, he is missing an eye. He lives with his mother (Brenda Vaccaro) in a cave by a village. She is out of it, as she had a head injury when Kubo was just a baby, escaping from a threat. A lot of her day is spent staring out in the sea, but sometimes she remembers and tells him stories of his father, a great samurai.

His dad apparently died when he was a baby protecting him. From who? From his grandfather (mom’s dad), the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) and her sisters (Rooney Mara). The Moon King took Kubo’s eye for reasons and he wanted the other eye as well. So they have been in hiding, Kubo has not been allowed out at night or else he would be discovered. During the day he would love to tell stories in the village, using a magical shamisen to bring origami and paper to life to create wonderful visuals.

Well, as we all know, eventually he is discovered. And a lot of bad things happen. But now Kubo finds himself in the middle of nowhere, with a talking monkey by his side. A talking monkey?! Yes, a toy he always carried was brought to life to protect him, named Monkey (Charlize Theron). And eventually, also a great samurai turned beetle samurai named Beetle (Matthew McConaughey). Kubo can tell a tale, but he is not a namer.

Kubo and the gang have to find three parts of a legendary armor, heard only in stories. They are the only things that might be able to protect him from his grandfather and protect his remaining eye. Oh, and sure, George Takei voices a villager, and I am 90% certain he says “Oh My” at some point.

Holy shit, the moon sisters are straight out of my nightmares.

Kubo and the Two Strings exceeded all of my expectations and gave me a tale for the ages. Laika, known for their stop animation films, still keep up with the design, but also use a lot of CGI for building backgrounds and certain special effects. Despite the CGI, the world is still incredibly immersive and easy to get lost in.

I unfortunately didn’t get to see the movie in 3D, but even without it, I felt like I was almost a part of their world with the large movie screen. Every character was rich and unique, the colors vivid, and of course the dialogue was amusing and dark intertwined.

Kubo goes to some scary places and deals with a lot of real and scary situations. They deal with death, being alone, mystery, and more death. They really went hard on those “thematic elements” in its PG rating. But it of course also deals with friendship, family (in the positive way), memories, and coping with loss. Some more heavy subjects, but more positive.

The voice acting was also better than I expected. Seeing the big names, I rolled my eyes, but McConaughey, Theron, and Fiennes all did amazing jobs.

Do yourself a favor. See Kubo and see him in theaters. Go on the adventure to hear and see his story. I for one want to see the adventure again and again.

4 out of 4.

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Aug 18


I didn’t want to watch Detropia. I wanted to watch a different documentary that sounded depressing and sad and anger inducing, but it wasn’t available. So Detropia was my number two documentary choice, because based on the subject, sure, it is a bit depressing. Fingers crossed I get the other documentary by the end of this year.

Detropia is a Detroit + Dystopia (or Utopia, both work, but let’s go with the D theme). That is because Detroit got royally fucked. With the economic crash (which you can learn a lot more with the movie The Big Short), in 2007 and 2008, a lot of shit started to hit the fan. One of those fan hits came from the auto industry which was a big part of the Detroit economy. But don’t worry! Much like the bank industries, a bailout was received from the company to save the auto industry and the economy.

Except there was a few stipulations. Like, changing the minimum wage for upcoming hires despite the union and laying off a lot of workers. And when a lot of people become unemployed, a lot of bills go unpaid. When a lot of mortgages go unpaid (also part of this crisis), people move and leave areas. Detroit lost a lot of people, off the top of my head, maybe half of their populations.

Buildings were abandoned and the city became bankrupt. And shit, things just got worse.

Apparently these asshats from The Purge movies showed up.

The documentary ends up examining just a few different lives. A guy who owns a struggling night club hang out spot, just down the road from an auto plant. A guy who is the local president of the auto workers union. And a girl who is a video blogger or something. We also get highlights of a few performance artists, and people who moved to the city just to do bigger art projects. There are also some town hall meetings and discussion about what to do about the failing city, struggling neighborhoods and lack of funds.

And you know what else? There is no narrator. There are no flashes to experts to explain details. There is the occasional text on the screen, but other than that, the story of Detropia is just about people. People telling their real stories and showing their real struggles.

It is definitely a fascinating and current subject to highlight, but at the same time, I wanted more. I want to know a lot more people affected, those people struggling to survive, those who had to leave, those in the government, who knows.

The documentary highlights a shitty thing happening, but it doesn’t try to provide answers, predict the future or anything. It just seems like an incomplete film. (Yes, Detroit is still in shambles so that part isn’t conclusive. And no, documentaries do not have to fix their issues). It just seemed like a strange ending and didn’t leave me with a lot to take from it.

At most, this could serve as a stepping off point for those who literally know nothing about Detroit’s current struggles. But it doesn’t go over all of the cities struggles. For instance, the Detroit Red Wings were unable to sign Stamkos, will they ever get an elite goal scorer ever again?

2 out of 4.

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Aug 17

The Bronze

Aw yeah, the most patriotic time of the year, where we all get our flags out and scream our dominance at flexibility and water sports and ignore the many sports where we never win. That’s right. Olympics time.

Now, The Bronze came out much earlier in the year, but I knew I had to wait until it was appropriate to review it. Right in the smack damn middle-ish of the Olympics, when we have maybe finished getting out gold medals in gymnastics.

And even more exciting is that The Bronze stars Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory, which of course you would only recognize her from. Outside of some cartoon voice work, I have never seen her in anything else. Oh wait, she was Woman Jogger Yelling at Sydney in I Love You, Man, of course!

This means that The Bronze is her second most famous role now! Too bad it wasn’t third! –

Hope Annabelle Greggory (Melissa Rauch) gave America a lot of Hope and a lot of Greggory. You see, she went to compete in the Olympics as a teenager, their star gymnast, from Amherst, Ohio. And then she got injured during a routine. But you know what she did? She did her next set anyways on the uneven bars, with a hurt ankle and received enough points to still place third. She was everywhere and everyone loved her.

But that was her only time in the big leagues. Now, twenty years later or so, she is still living with her dad (Gary Cole), still wearing her athletic gear and medal, and doing jack shit with her life. She has rode her fame into free food at a local Sbarro and a special parking spot down town, but other than that, no one cares anymore. And then her old coach (Dale Raoul) commits suicide.

Well, according to a letter she sent Hope before ending it all, the coach had been training the young Maggie Townsend (Haley Lu Richardson), completely free, because her mom (Cecily Strong) is single and working alone, struggling to survive. Maggie has a lot of talent and could win it all, and yes, she is from their same small town! Hope doesn’t want Maggie to succeed, because if Maggie does better, the town will forget all about Hope and her gravy train will end. In the letter, it is said that Hope will receive $500,000 if she continues to coach Maggie and get her as far as she can.


Also starring Thomas Middleditch as the local gym owner, shy and shit, and Sebastian Stan as a male gymnast from the same games who actually placed first in his categories.

And let’s be honest, gold comes with a fat cash prize as well.

This is technically the best acting I have seen from Rauch. Of course, her only other character as nerdy occasionally angry hot girl on TBBT doesn’t have a lot of acting involved. Her character was consistent, angry, foul and angry at the world. She was angry for messing up her moment and never getting another moment later (growing boobs messed up her balance and she couldn’t re-qualify). Her character made sense as did most of her actions.

I also enjoyed Middleditch and Richardson in this movie. Middleditch was still playing his nervous self, but he had a much nicer character than normal. Richardson had that teenage girl idol hype going well for her, emotions all over the place, and she looked the part.

Finally, I also feel like I should highlight the scene that gave it the Graphic Nudity part of its rating. It was longer than I expected and all sorts of hilarious (it involved two gymnasts after all!), and yes, body doubles were used.

But throughout the movie I couldn’t help but feel it was lacking. The characters, although consistent, got a little bit dull. We had what seemed like a training montage that lasted forever. It just seems like something that should have had a lot more Olympics and a lot less moping to make a more exciting film overall. But it dragged in areas, and the constant back and forth of the lead definitely got on the nerves.

Good news is, it is definitely entertaining for at least one watch, and the ending doesn’t suck. I said, the ending. Doesn’t. Suck.

2 out of 4.

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