Monday, March 31, 2014

Closure: March 2014


Unfortunately, March was just as busy as February for me, but I did have time to watch a few great movies and write a couple of reviews. In case you missed it, check out my review of Divergent, here. And, be on the lookout for a Noah review in the next week or so!

Also, I've decided to find a few guest writers for the blog, as the busy summer-movie season approaches. So, if you have ever been interested in writing a movie review or writing about anything movie-related, shoot me an email at I would love to have you write something up for this blog or give you any pointers, if you want to get started on a blog of your own! Don't worry, folks... I'm not going anywhere! Just wanted to mix it up a little!

Take a look at all of the movies I watched in the month of March:

Movie Watched Year Format Did I Enjoy? Would I Watch Again?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower 2012 DVD > Own Yes Yes
Nebraska 2013 DVD > Redbox Yes No
Dazed and Confused  1993 TV > Starz Yes Yes
What's Eating Gilbert Grape 1993 TV > Netflix Yes Yes
Divergent 2014 Theater > Full Price Yes No
Inside Llewyn Davis 2013 DVD > Redbox Yes Yes
Noah 2014 Theater > Matinee No No
The Perks of Being a Wallflower 2012 DVD > Own Yes Yes

Yes, I did watch Perks twice! It's just that good...

Movie of the Month
What's Eating Gilbert Grape

Friday, March 28, 2014



Trends among teenagers obviously have a lot of pull in the entertainment industry, and films like Divergent would not exist without precursors, such as The Hunger Games. Sure, The Hunger Games has made for two pretty good films, thus far, but do we really need 20 other movies that feature 22 year old teenagers killing the government!?! I mean, do we really need a story to help us understand that teenagers are rebellious? Personally, I don't get it. The vampire trend I got. The zombie trend I got. I just can't say the same for the teenage rebellion trend. Needless to say, my expectations were not particularly high. However, I didn't expect it to be much worse or better than The Hunger Games or Catching Fire.

So, my Hunger Games-esque expectations pretty much hit the nail on the head. Don't get me wrong... I was entertained. At the same time, I didn't really care what happened to the characters, which is not a good thing, in case you were wondering. My biggest issue was with the large number of character plotlines that just didn't make much sense, such as Tori, Jeanine, and Al, who I will talk about more in the character section. However, I liked that there was no love-triangle! A love story is good, but I HATE love-triangles, mostly because they are so darn predictable. I mean, did anyone actually think that Bella was going to end up with Jacob?... The answer is NO! Additionally, the willingness of Divergent's author to kill pretty much anybody that she saw fit was quite enjoyable. I know my opinion is not popular, but I love when people die in dramatic movies or TV shows, because it adds so much edge to the story. I've said these things before, but Divergent was downright ruthless, so it's worth noting.

Well, Oscar season is long gone, and it's time to transition from great characters and low-grossing films to mediocre characters and big blockbusters, which is exactly what Divergent offered. Of course, the talented Shailene Woodley did an adequate job of portraying Tris that is sure to please teenage girls all over the world. Honestly, she was no better or worse than Jennifer Lawrence was in the first two Hunger Games films. These roles just aren't meant to blow people away, and they don't.

The consistently bad guy who was always there to be mean to Tris, Eric (played by Macklemore... I mean Jai Courtney), made Kate Winslet's Jeanine completely unnecessary. Her character is not actually in the book, and it was quite easy to tell. However, how do you say no to Kate freakin Winslet??? I'm conflicted about this one. I have been told that she is actually in the book, which makes the fact that she was worthless a lot, lot, lot worse, but oh well... The one character that I am not conflicted about is Tori, played by Maggie Q, who was the strangest filler character that may have ever appeared in a movie. Tori was basically the queen of multi-tasking, as she served as a nurse, a tattoo artist, and a political activist, all within the realm of two hours. Considering the fact that the entire film was about the government dictating what ONE job you would be doing for the rest of your life, I found it extremely ironic that this important character had like twelve different jobs.

Having seen The Spectacular Now, 21 and Over, and Project X, I've been nothing but underwhelmed by Miles Teller. Fortunately, as Peter, he redeemed himself in what was the absolute perfect role for his repertoire. Hopefully, Teller will continue along this path, starting with his Sundance hit, Whiplash, which I can't wait to see.

While I didn't really hate Divergent, it was quite underwhelming, and the flaws in the storyline were just blatant. Honestly, I'm surprised that this series of books became so popular, considering how poorly written the story seemed to be. Will I go watch the sequel?... Probably so. As I said, I was entertained by what happened during the film. I just didn't really care what would happen. Hopefully, the holes in the plot will be sewn up in the sequel, but I'm not really counting on it. For now, I would suggest sticking with The Hunger Games. At least you get Stanley Tucci! I give Divergent 2.45 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Seat to the Right

I apologize for the lack of actual movie reviews that I have done since January, but there really hasn't been much to watch in the theater. Thankfully, I was able to skip out on the Valentine's induced chick flicks in February! However, things will be heating up next weekend, with both Divergent and Muppets Most Wanted due out. During my review-less down time, I have been working on a few special lists and fun posts, the first of which you are about to experience...

How many of you have ever been in the same theater with someone who should be expelled from movie-watching until the end of time on account of their in-theater actions?
Unfortunately, it does not take much at all to frustrate me at the movies. Stupid people being stupid is probably the least fortunate experience to have to witness! Now, there are special instances where I expect people to behave inappropriately at the theater, such as midnight premieres, Friday nights, Saturday nights, and, of course, child-filled animated films. However, as a huge believer in matinee pricing, I see no reason for people (grown ups, in particular) to behave in the way that they do on a Saturday afternoon. Below, I've highlighted a few types of people who have driven me to in-theater insanity, because they just didn't quite understand that they were at the movies to watch a movie, rather than sitting in their living room at their own pleasure. I hope you enjoy...

The Texter
We were all high schoolers at some point, and we will all be bored parents at some point as well. However, we will never have an excuse for texting after the lights go dim at the movies! These texters should be forced to sit on the top row of the theater. Actually, they should just designate the top three rows of the theater to the folks who want to sit up there and not pay attention. Now, I'm not saying that you can't ever check your phone, but it should not be seen for more than 10 seconds at ANY point during a movie!

The Dramatic Screamer
Sometimes, regardless of the film you choose to watch, there will be a moment or two that makes the audience jump. Why do filmmakers enjoy making the audience jump?... I really don't know. But I really don't care, because, regardless, there is no need for people to start screaming for attention! It is absolutely insane how people feel the need to draw attention away from the screen. I've even seen folks scream out in the middle of animated films, distracting me and their own three year old child.

The Overly-Attached Comic Book Lover
If you've seen The Dark Knight Rises, you know that there are two scenes in which Michael Caine's Alfred brings great emotion to the big screen. Sure, amidst the excitement of the midnight premiere, I found each scene extremely touching and saddening, but the guy sitting next to me was balling his freakin eyes out! It was sooooo hilarious! His girlfriend was trying to console him, but she just didn't have the magic touch. He needed Batman to rise from the ashes and tip his head at a reminiscent Alfred, healing the world of all wrong... It was a bit much, I think.

The Bad Child
My conservative attitudes may come out a bit much in this one, but I don't understand how some children can be so dern bad! As a child, I know I showed my butt a few times in public. However, it was never a huge issue for me, which is not the case for some kids. You may ask, "Well, Tanner, how do you KNOW that the child isn't just having a rough moment?"... To that I would say, "Trust me... you can tell!" If you are a parent who refuses to reprimand your misbehaving child, please leave that child at home!

The Bad Parent (of The Bad Child)
Regardless of my previous suggestion, some parents of bad children will still bring their children to the movie theater. Now, personally, I love watching animated or children's films with a theater full of small children, because it really helps to bring the film to life. If a child misbehaves in that giant room with 100 kids, I am totally understanding. However, I do have a problem with going to watch a big people movie, like Batman or The Hangover or Don Jon, and having to avoid being distracted by a kid who won't sit still, won't stop screaming, won't stop kicking the seat, etc... None of the blame for this misbehavior should fall on the child. This blame falls on the parent(s) of the child, who thought it was a good idea for their 6 year old to watch Don Jon. It's just sad...

The Overly Zealous Laugher
There is no doubt that comedic films are more enjoyable at the theater, mostly because everyone gets to laugh together. Unfortunately, in some cases, people like to have their laugh noticed, whether they are enjoying the movie or not. It is ridiculous when people (usually women) think that everyone needs to know just how funny they think a particular moment or two or twelve turned out to be. Come on, people!

The People Who Sit Right in Front of You So That You Can't Prop Your Feet Up Even Tough There Are Hundreds of Empty Seats
I tend to arrive at the theater at least 15 minutes ahead of the time that the movie starts. An early arrival gives me plenty of time to use the restroom (I have a small bladder) and pick the perfect seat. Let's face it, there is no point in paying to go to the theater, if you are going to be stuck back in the top corner or down in the front with a broken neck. Because I arrive early and usually attend matinees (gotta save that money!), my theater is very rarely full, which gives latecomers plenty of seating options. But, regardless of the number of seats, often times, people feel the need to sit right in front of me! Honestly, I don't mind having people sit next to me or in front of me, if the theater is full. Actually, that is my ideal viewing experience. However, if there are dozens of seats available, please allow me the opportunity to prop my feet up on the seat in front of me! It's all I ask (aside from everything else on this list).

The Snorer (My Father)
At age 11, me and my loving father went to the $1 movie to watch Like Mike, which is a fantastic film from my childhood. Thirty minutes into the movie, I look over to my father and see him with his head cocked back, snoring away. As any good son would do, I jabbed him in the side to wake him up, leading to a distracting argument between the two of us about whether or not he was asleep. Although, at that moment, it was not a pleasant experience, this memory is now one of the best movie memories that I have. The unfortunate part is the fact that each and every time we have been to the movie since then, I have also had to jab him in the side, because my father is best chair sleeper that you will ever meet...

The 50 Year Old Woman Who Wants To Talk To Her Friend Throughout The Entire Film Because She Thinks She is 16
I don't care what movie I'm watching, Gravity or The Hangover, people need to keep their freaking mouths shut during the movie! I have no problem with a brief comment, here or there, but there is NO REASON WHATSOEVER for continuous discussion. As I was writing this, I realized that older women are the world's worst about talking during a movie (aside from teenagers on Friday night). I don't get it, people! You are supposed to be grown up! Get it together!

Well, that's all I have, folks! If there is a particular category of annoying people that you notice I left off the list, leave a comment below. Here's to hoping that, in the future, you are able to avoid those listed above!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Great Expectations: March 2014

Since when do teenage girls like to watch and read about other teenagers being slaughtered at the hands of the government?

Seriously, though... I want to know! I mean, I know we aren't talking about 3rd graders (for the most part). There is a reason that films like these get a PG-13 rating. But, what happened to the teenage girl that I used to know... the teenage girl who loved Notebook-esque love stories and wanted to frolic in the tulips with Aaron Carter? As much as this shift in female emotion scares me for the these girls, I am more afraid for the future spouse's of these girls, because they WILL be forced to endure these crazed girls who may actually evolve to enjoy action flicks more than many men (all the while clinging to their love of romantic comedies). Any female who reads this post is sure to think "well, guys like it too," which is absolutely true. However, guys don't obsess over things in a socially unacceptable way. We may pour our emotions into a superhero film or even have saddened hearts when a beloved character of ours dies, but never ever will we be found crying or clapping in masses because Batman found his one true love... right before she blew up in a building filled with oil drums. But, actually, that was kind of sad... Hmm... I mean, poor Alfred, you know... He didn't mean to upset you, Bruce. He just wanted what was best for you! And, on second thought, the guy sitting next to me during The Dark Knight Rises actually did cry. Honestly, when I sat down to write this bit, I didn't see it coming, but I guess guys are just as much at fault. If anything, our love of government-controlled slaughter may just be rubbing off on the females in our lives. Go figure...

Check out these trailers and see what's coming to the theater this month...

Bad Words
(March 14)
(March 21)
(March 28)

Wait! Wait! Wait! Don't go yet! I found the difference in guys' and girls' obsessions!...