Monthly Archives: October 2017

Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure Review

Man.  I needed this.

It’s been a rough semester for me – one with many assignments and not a lot of time to relax.  Fortunately, I was able to squeeze a little bit of time in for a fun movie during my meals, so I decided to watch one of the great ’80s stupid comedies: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  I’m so, so, so glad I did, because it’s just my kind of film, and it’s a wonderful piece of silly, mindless fun.

It has the visuals I like (particularly the theatrical blues that appear in the future scenes), the character types I like (specifically the all-knowing, nonchalant comic who talks to the camera, here played by the great George Carlin), and the theory of time-travel that I prefer (I guess that’s one point it takes over Back to the Future).

That being said, similar Hollywood comedies from approximately this era (Back to the FutureWayne’s World) have a much “tighter” story.  Each scene feels like it has a clear, strong purpose in those films, and there’s a sense that each was re-written many times until everything flowed perfectly.  In this film, it feels like the screenplay was thrown together very quickly – which is true: the first draft was written in four days – so the story feels a little laggy and some of the jokes don’t have a very strong punch.  I found myself wondering, why Socrates?  What makes him one of the most interesting figures to plop into our century?  Why Billy the Kid?

I think the scenes with Joan of Arc work better though.  The way she always gets what she prays for without any understanding of what’s really going on is hilarious.  I think her scenes must work because we completely understand what’s going on in her head and how that logic seems to match, yet clash with, everything happening around her.  It’s the kind of comedy that plays with individual perspectives and human blind-spots well, which is really all the rest of the movie needed to be a bit funnier.

This, however, is nit-picking.  Bill & Ted loves its own absurdity and stupidity so much that I’m inclined to love it, too.  It really is, in a word, excellent.

The Matrix Review

I was brought here by The Question.  It’s the question that’s been playing in my head on a loop ever since I first started studying film.  It’s the question I, as a movie buff, have been asked more than any other: “What do you think of The Matrix?”.

Really.  This actually happens.

Whenever someone hears that I’m a film major, they’ll ask me about my favorite film or director, what kind of movies I’d like to make, and what I think of The Matrix.  Sometimes they’ll ask about Christopher Nolan movies, of which I have seen very few, but usually it’s The Matrix.  But do you know what the answer to The Question is?

It’s fine.

It’s a perfectly fine movie.  It’s creative, visually impressive, and kinda fun.  So why does everyone care so much what the movie buffs think of it?

I can only assume it’s because the average moviegoers think there’s much more to this film than they can grasp in one viewing.  They see a certain depth to it – an intellectual, philosophical quality – and they think that we film students hold the key to seeing just how brilliant it is.  Once the average viewer realizes that Neo’s life parallels that of Jesus Christ, he/she can’t help but wonder what other messages and analogies the movie contains that are only visible to those in the know.

Well, I have good news: I do know the key to understanding everything that this film is about … but, believe it or not, I didn’t learn this from studying film.  I learned it because I study philosophy.  Every philosophy student should know where I’m going with this.

Do you want to know what this movie is really about?  Do you want me to spoil it for you?  If not, you can just click the ‘X’ for this tab and go back to browsing the rest of the web, and you’ll continue to see The Matrix as the same work of genius you’ve always thought it was.  But, if you want to know the truth, click the line below.  A warning: once you know the truth, there’s no going back.

Continue reading The Matrix Review

Cool Night #5

Cool Night’s going to the movies!  Featured this week: Henry Mancini, Bruce Springsteen, and none other than Connie Stevens!

Alien Review

For the purposes of this website, I try to watch a lot of movies.  Sometimes, after I’ve watched a bunch, it takes me time to get caught up on my reviews of movies I watched weeks prior, so my memory gets fuzzy.  Sometimes, after I’ve watched several movies, I can’t remember anything about the one I watched a month ago.

This is one of those times.

As I recall, at the time, I was highly impressed with the film and thought I’d have to consider it as a contender for my next “100 Favorite Movies” list, but now I’m not sure why.  I would estimate that I was thinking of the use of the camera, which is clever, or just how nicely the science fiction is married to the horror here.  It’s high-quality horror with a high-quality monster, and I respect that, but I’m starting to wonder if perhaps the reason why I’m struggling to remember what happens in the story is that there’s really very little to remember.

Ridley Scott has a tendency of making long movies out of very little story.  From Blade Runner to Legend, his movies tend to be slow and “minimalistic” in terms of plot.  I’ve often suspected that this is because he likes to do movies in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and this movie confirmed my suspicion since a good percentage of it is just ripping off Kubrick – lovingly, of course.

I suspect, then, that I must have really enjoyed it because I was in a Ridley Scott mood, which makes it very easy to appreciate the brilliance of what is in the film, whereas now I might wish there was more.  That being said, I still greatly appreciate it.  The version of the future that’s created here is quite smart, particularly in terms of its political situation, and the information that slowly reveals itself throughout the film about what’s really been going on the whole time makes for a perfect intellectual counterpart to the fun spectacle created by the outstanding visual effects.  One thing I can say for this film that I can’t say for 2001 is that its characters are good – due to both the casting and the dialogue – and I think that’s why the film series is so popular.  And I’m glad it’s popular.  Even if I don’t find it entirely entertaining or memorable, it’s always nice when the masses recognize a work of quality craftsmanship as something worth celebrating.