How It Works

I love movies, but I hate most movie reviews. I hate them for two reasons: First, they always begin with a 3-5 paragraph in-depth description of the film. I don't want to know the entire plot, I want to know if it's good! I may say generally what the movie involves but that's it. Second, most movie reviews are unclear. I've read countless reviews that left me with absolutely no indication as to whether or not I should even see the film. Not here. I developed three methods to rate television and movies:

1. Just your average 10 point scale.
10 is obviously the best and 1 is the worst. Although, Something Borrowed might make below a 1 if I ever get around to reviewing it. I consider myself quite harsh, so if you see anything above a 9, it's probably in my top ten of all time.

2. What's it Worth?
I will tell you if I think it's worth paying for and worth the 2 (and ever more increasingly 3) hours of your time. I also make an educated guess as to whether or not you can multitask during the film.

3. The (not-yet) Patented Clairometer
In honor of my college friend Claire, I developed this rating system in order to display how "appropriate" the film is. It is designed to tell you a more detailed rating system. I find this helpful. Sometimes you want to know ahead of time so you're not stuck watching Black Swan in an empty theater with your mom. The range between PG-13 and R is more vast than the plot holes in a Michael Bay movie. I hope to combat this. The scale shows photos and descriptions of a few well-known women in film and television. The rating is the farthest woman to the left of the scale who would approve of the film. For example, June Cleaver would not approve of
Tequila Sunrise. The woman who would is probably Mathilda.





With this blog, I write as though someone will read it and enjoy what I have to say. I am under no false pretense that I have a wide readership. It is mostly for me and for the one other person who accidentally stumbled across this blog. If that is you, I'm glad you are here. With this blog, I send my thoughts about what I watch on a black box into the abyss of the world wide web. I hope you enjoy reading these thoughts as much as I enjoy writing them.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

3 Great YouTube Channels

I watch many YouTube channels at all levels of maturity and sophistication - from beauty gurus and vloggers to mathematic channels devoted almost exclusively to Klein bottles. But three of my favorites that aren't product laden and incredibly niche are as follows:

1. PBS Idea Channel - hosted by Mike Rugnetta

The show claims to examine the connection between pop culture technology and art. It starts with the phrase "here's an idea," and ends with the phrase "what do you think?" Mike poses an overarching idea in the form of a question and then rapidly spews well-researched information until we as the viewers feel informed enough to post a comment. The next video the channel posts is a discussion of peoples comments.

In my years of avidly watching YouTube videos, I have found that almost every person with a channel claims to create a "community" with the its viewers. Most of the time, that's a load of crap bigger than a beauty guru's haul. But the format of PBS Idea Channel actually facilitates a community with the viewers. I would also note that according to my years of viewing YouTube videos, the comments section has earned its reputation as Lucifer's Tinder profile. However, PBS Idea Channel has some of the most intelligent commenters I've ever read. Often times I feel too ignorant to post a comment because of the company in which my comment would live.

Some of the ideas are far fetched. Some of the information Mike provides throughout the videos is too sparse. But overall, each video is filled with wit, depth and an interesting conversation starter.

2. Crash Course - various hosts, including Hank and John Green

This channel offers summaries of the following topics: Anatomy & Physiology, Astronomy, U.S. Government and Politics, Economics, World History, Biology, Literature, Ecology, Chemistry, Psychology, and U.S. History. If you're like me, some subjects from high school are more than blurred in your mind. The most I can recall from my high school world history class was the ever-growing cheetos stain on the side of my teacher's desk chair. This channel makes each subject easy to understand. It makes us feel more comfortable discussing topics we should already know. Thank you Crash Course, for being a modern and interesting version of CliffsNotes (which may in fact be the culprit of my high school ignorance).

3. The Off Camera Show with Sam Jones

Finally, something related to movies! This show is incredible. It's for all of us who cringe watching ET and the Hollywood Reporter interview actors. It's more than the #askhermore campaign. It's difficult to put my finger on exactly what they are missing. Then I saw Sam Jones perform his magic tricks. It's a mysterious art form and what people outside Hollywood refer to as listening. He clearly has seen (or listened to, as some of his guests are musicians) the work of his guests. He's dissected their performances. He comes prepared with thought-provoking questions, asks them, and sits back. Some of my favorite questions include: asking Chris Pine what it's really like to work on a film with an astronomical budget, asking Aubrey Plaza why she is such a terrible talk show guest, asking Tatiana Maslany sincerely how she gets into the head of each character, and above all, showing Will Ferrell as a serious thoughtful man - which was akin to witnessing a car accident where no one was harmed and everyone has insurance. The show actually airs on an obscure channel on DirecTV exclusively. Thank the good Lord for YouTube, so us poor serfs can enjoy The Off Camera Show. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bad Ending

Bad Words (2013)
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rohan Chand, Kathryn Hahn
Written by: Andrew Dodge
Directed by: Jason Bateman

My Score: 5.2
Worth: Nothing really, just watch Horrible Bosses 1 & 2 or Arrested Development reruns to get your Jason Bateman fix.
Clairometer: Jenny Curran

The tagline to this film is "The end justifies the mean." I find that hilarious. Because that is exactly the opposite of what I thought, and what was profoundly wrong with this movie. Or put simply, the end absolutely did not justify the mean, not at all, under any circumstances.

With each review I try to provide you with enough information to decide if you'll enjoy the film without giving away the plot. It's difficult for me to describe why I didn't like this movie while holding true to the aforementioned raison d'etre. I will attempt it nonetheless. I found this film horrifically obtuse, to put it mildly.

To make a sweeping, but 78% accurate generalization: Jason Bateman pretty much plays one character. Sometimes that character is neurotic, sometimes he's a little pervy, sometimes he flirts with Liza Minnelli (please note that I have yet to see The Gift). But I love his character. There's nothing better than hearing his perfect delivery of straight guy responses to Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Tony Hale, etc. etc. With Bad Words I thought, "perfect, they're just subbing a cute Indian American kid for those guys." Unfortunately, that thought was more ill informed than the Trump voting base.

Jason Bateman's character makes the horrible bosses look suitable to work as characters at Disney World. In a world (rightfully) engrossed in ridding society of its bullies, this film promotes one. He is just so utterly mean to children just trying to excel at a spelling bee - so some of the country's cutest victims. Yeah ok, he does arrange the previously discussed cute Indian American kid an opportunity to see a set of massive breasts for the first time, which disturbed me beyond belief. I have a hard enough time watching Aziz Ansari have sex in Master of None due to his baby face, and he's a consenting adult!

The title of this post leads me to my final point. The entire movie is building to a secret that only Jason Bateman knows. It's the reason for his terrible behavior throughout the whole film. And for it to "justify the mean," everyone that he interacted with would've had to kick him in the nuts, including and especially the children. However, his Iron Man-like arc reactor electromagnet pulsing all this hatred through his body was a huge let down and did not justify the mean. His mean is completely misdirected, therefore, I must direct you to watch a different film to get your Bateman fix. Horrible Bosses 2 is actually quite good, I promise.