In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)
by Chris Morris
*Everyone on the internet has an opinion. And everyone assumes everyone else agrees with them. Not me. These thoughts are my own and probably no one else’s. And that’s okay…IMHO (get used to that, you’ll be seeing it a lot)
Five Biggest Movie Disappointments of 2014
The Jon DuPont story is a fascinating one. I’ve heard about it for years and when I heard it was finally being made into a film, directed by Bennett Miller, I was very excited. Then I watched the film.
A lot of Foxcatcher is rewritten history, which happens a lot in movies but sometimes I have a problem with it, sometimes I don’t. I can see, for instance, in The Hurricane, when they condense the number of people trying to help Hurricane Carter from 20 to 3 so they don’t confuse the audience with a lot of peripheral characters. I get that. But Foxcatcher is so off on so many things, like when DuPont’s mother actually died, or that Mark and Dave Schultz were never actually at Foxcatcher at the same time, or even why DuPont did what he did in the end (it’s left ambiguous when there was actually a pretty distinct reason why he did it), there’s just too much there to forgive.
All that can be forgiven if the movie is good. But frankly, the movie just isn’t that good, IMHO. It’s slow and tedious, all the performances are flat (other than Mark Ruffalo’s) and frankly the story focuses on the wrong people. Dave Schultz should have been the main character not Mark. Or how about a movie about someone who was trained by Mark at Foxcatcher and was inspired by him to win the Gold in 1996, with a broken neck no less – Kurt Angle? Anyone?
I wanted both of these films to be successful financially and quality-wise because movies like these need to be successful if there is going to ever be any kind of male/female parity in Hollywood. With all these superhero movies making all this money, up until recently it was thought we would never see a Wonder Woman movie. Why? What’s the second “W” stand for again?
Women can’t star in action movie franchises, they said. We can’t have a Black Widow movie because Scarlett Johansson can’t open a film, they said. Young girls won’t go to movies unless they are living vicariously through a girl in love with a sparkly vampire, they said. These movies needed to be successful because there have to be 10 wins to one loss in order to change minds in Hollywood. For all the people saying ScarJo stole the show in The Avengers and should get her own film, what about Electra, they said. For all the Katniss’s and Hermoine’s and Ripley’s, what about Catwoman, they said.
Now both of these films were financially successful, and since that’s all Hollywood cares about, then these are both technically wins. But for me, like I said before, they had to be good quality wise. And they weren’t IMHO. Lucy had explosions bookended by Stanley Kubrick style artsy-shots of the beginning of life (or at least I think that’s what that was). And shockingly they had ScarJo getting less charismatic as the movie went on, if that’s possible (for a better ScarJo movie see Under the Skin Go right now!).
Divergent had Shailene Woodley (who I have been a fan of since The Descendants) miscast, in my opinion, in this role, as she also was robbed of her charisma, charisma that was on absolutely on display in, for instance, The Fault in Our Stars. The most believable part of the whole film was when she kept getting beat up in the fight training scenes. And I will always have a special place in my heart for Kate Winslet but she also belonged in another, better film. Hopefully the Divergent series improves as it goes (that is possible as shown by the Fast and Furious and Mission Impossible series).
No sequel is scheduled for Lucy, other than Spike Jonze’s Her, of course…although I guess technically since Her came out first, that would make Lucy the prequel…
Interstellar was screwed as soon as they hype machine kicked in. This was going to be this generation’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. And it turned out more like this generation’s 2001 sequel, 2010 (yes, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 had a sequel, for those who didn’t know…).
But really, what could go wrong? Christopher Nolan, fresh off his massive Dark Knight Trilogy (His Dark Knight Rises was a flop creatively IMHO but still hit the billion dollar mark) and making a confusing yet accepted by the masses blockbuster known as Inception, he was seemingly doing no wrong.
Something changed in Nolan’s storytelling; from back in The Prestige and Inception to Interstellar, he seemed to lose confidence. Not in himself, God forbid, but his confidence in the audience knowing what the hell is going on in his films. Inception went for it in a way I admired, it went along quickly and almost dared you to keep up.
In Interstellar, things are constantly being explained. And explained. And explained some more. And then you are shown a video that shows you what they are talking about. Matthew McConaughey is the audience stand-in, the equivalent of a Dr. Who companion, always asking questions and needing things explained to him by smarty-pants scientists.
It’s as if Nolan had no confidence anyone would know what was going on. And all the twists are easy to spot a black hole away. Add that too a long running time, no stand outs in and otherwise all-star cast and the funniest thing is, even with all the splainin’ going on, a lot of it just doesn’t make sense…IMHO
4) Monuments Men
I’m a big George Clooney fan. I really respect how, after the Batman & Robin debacle, he rethought his whole career, wasn’t just going to be satisfied with taking the movie roles that had already been rejected by Tom Cruise and Will Smith. He sought out Steven Soderbergh and the Coen Brothers, made all kinds of films from the art-house Out of Sight to Oscar bait like Michael Clayton and Syriana to the mainstream Ocean’s Trilogy, he was the ‘cool’ Hollywood leading man; this generation’s Cary Grant.
He also became a director and made the really good Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and one of my all-time favourites Good Night and Good Luck. But now with Monuments Men, he’s directed three flops in a row. But going in, when you heard about Monuments Men, it sounded like Three Kings in WWII and with an all-star cast. How could it go wrong? But it did go wrong…very wrong…IMHO
5) Sin City 2
Let’s all agree Eva Green is an incredibly beautiful woman. Okay? Done? Even that couldn’t save this movie. The original Sin City was ground breaking in it’s technology. A movie being faithful to it’s comic book roots? Cool! Mickey Rourke’s comeback role as Harv was great (even though later this didn’t happen, as his REAL comeback was for The Wrestler, but I digress).
The All Star Cast that included Jessica Alba playing a good hearted stripper. Even the story of Robert Rodriquez fighting for Frank Miller to get his credit in the movie as co-director kinda warmed your heart a little.
But then came The Spirit so maybe your heart wasn’t so much into the idea of Frank Miller as a movie director after all. Maybe it was a couple years too late for this sequel? We expect more for our VFX buck these days, perhaps? Or the story just wasn’t that great…whatever the reason Sin City 2 came and went quickly and no one seemed to notice…
Honourable mention: Veronica Mars the Movie.
I hate to say this. I really do. But I have to be honest. Veronica Mars the Movie was a disappointment to me. Why? Because it didn’t live up to the standards of Veronica Mars the TV series. But could it? Is it unfair to compare them? I still thought it was a good film. But as something that would be compared to Veronica Mars the tv series? It couldn’t measure up…IMHO
As for the ‘real critics’ and what they are saying, click here to find out…