Monday, July 18, 2011

Starship Troopers: An Unauthorized Documentary

Oh Paul Verhooven...

How have you stayed off my radar for so long? After all you have made a few decent movies (Robocop for the win) and some really bad ones (Showgirls). So how is it that you have avoided my wrath?

Because Robocop is awesome and Peter Weller wins at life. If you haven't seen Naked Lunch, I highly recommend that you do...immediately.

Unfortunately, I am not going to review Robocop 2 and Robocop 3 (though I assure you their day will be coming). I will instead be reviewing Starship Troopers as part of our God Bless America Month.

A Sci-Fi/Action/War film with Denise Richards, Barney Stinson and Casper Van Dien...oh shit.

Let me get into a little back story before I review this film. This movie is based off of Robert Heinlen's novel of the same name (I use the term "based" very loosely here). Robert Heinlen's novel is great and if you get a chance to read it, please do, but the thing is the movie is vastly different from the book. Now usually that would be seen as a bad thing, but in this case, it's a really interesting execution. I am not saying that Starship Troopers is shit (it's not a masterpiece but it's not a terrible film, you will understand why I say that at the end of this review), it's just that it's really campy and enjoyable in its own way.

If Robert Heinlen lived long enough to see the film adaptation of his novel, I bet his first reaction would be "What the fuck did I just watch?"

Thing is, when Paul Verhooven was reading the novel, he thought that it was too depressing and decided to write his own version of how Starship Troopers should go (he basically enlisted a screenwriter to write a fanfiction version of Heinlen's work). The result is a campy film with Barney Stinson and Charlie Sheen's equally bat shit insane ex-wife. I wish I made this shit up.

On to the review then!

So the movie begins with our hero Johnny Rico (Casper Van Dien), his best friend Carl Jenkins (Neil Patrick Harris, oh fuck it you're either going to call him "Dougie Houser" or "Barney Stinson" so we might as well go for either name at this point. I prefer Barney Stinson because it's Neil Patrick Harris' most recent role) and his brainiac yet unreasonably hot girlfriend Carmen Ibanez (Denise Richards, who can't act her way out of a paper bag) as they are getting ready to graduate from high school in Buenos Aires, Argentina in the distant future of...they don't really say in the movie don't they, so I'm just going to make up a year and say 2099. Also, I'm not saying people can't be smart and pretty, they can be, but I have trouble believing that Denise Richards is smart, was Natalie Portman not available at the time...oh wait Portman was a teenager at the time this movie came out wasn't she, never mind!

Ibanez: Oh Johnny this is getting me hot!
Johnny:...Honey, I don't not want to know what you have planned for after the prom tonight!

In their group of friends we are also introduced to Dizzy Flores (the very beautiful Dina Meyers, who you may remember from Johnny Mnemonic and from the Saw movies) who has the biggest girl boner for Johnny Rico, despite the fact that he's with Carmen. Talk about a Bizarre Love Triangle (New Order reference for the win). Anyway, Johnny, Carmen and Barney (I know his name is Carl, but for the purposes of humor, I am going to call him Barney and make a lot of How I Met Your Mother jokes) take their military examinations and Carmen and Barney do very well, but Rico is not so lucky as he scores pretty low and the only place that will take him is the Mobile Infantry, while Carmen heads for the Space Fleet and Barney gets assigned to Military Intelligence.

Why yes I would like to know more, because you are legen...wait for it...dary!

So Rico enlists in Mobile Infantry much to the dismay of his mother in which he politely tells his mom to go fuck herself and runs off anyway to serve his country proudly. 

Another thing I forgot to mention is that the film also has some propaganda reels throughout the film, exactly like the old military news reels that movie theaters used to show back in the early days of cinema. Keep that in mind because I will go back to those films later. 

While Rico is in the line up with his fellow troops, he is getting chewed out by his superior officer Zim, played by...the Kurgen?! Clancy Brown is in this?! Awesome! Anyway, the Kurgen is chewing the new recruits a new one as Dizzy makes her way to the line up.

Although to be fair...she could pass for M. Bison's hot daughter.

Dizzy decides to show everyone how big her ovaries are by challenging the Kurgen and he agrees. Unfortunately she gets he ass handed to her, but the fact that she challenged the Kurgen and survived, the woman has some serious ovaries on her. I actually like Dizzy a lot better than Carmen because at least the woman doesn't take shit from anybody.

Anyway, joining alongside Rico and Dizzy is Jake Busey. Yes, Jake Busey, Gary Busey's son.

The guy with the green violin...yes him...he's in this movie too.

Anyway, Rico shows natural leadership qualities and is promoted to squad leader, but then things begin to get really bad for him at this point. Rico's relationship with Carmen ends when she tells him that she has decided to go become a full-time fleet commander, much to the dismay of Rico and his fellow troops. I think this is one of those things where Carmen should have told Rico in person that their relationship couldn't continue due to the fact that she wants a career, but I guess humiliating him through a video message in front of his fellow troops does the job just as well. I must say that is a bitch move. Then Rico makes the wrong call during a firing exercise, which gets one of his squad members killed, which results in him getting flogged and demoted. Feeling defeated, he decides to call his parents and tells them that he's coming home when the Arachnids launch a meteoroid at Buenos Aries, which kills millions including his parents. Sheesh talk about a bad week.

This turn of events gives Rico the resolve to rescind his resignation and stay in Mobile Infantry and fight the Arachnids in Klendathu.

Wait a minute...this is sounding a little all too familiar.

Anyway, Rico's squad is sent to the first assault on Klendathu which turns out to be a complete disaster. As a result, Rico gets wounded in action but he is mistaken for dead, which upsets Carmen. Rico then joins The Roughnecks alongside with Dizzy and Ace as they embark on a reconnaissance mission on Planet "P" (they couldn't come up with a name that starts "p", this movie is starting to run out of names at this point) as they get ambushed by the Arachnids.

Let's consider the odds so far at this point. The squad is failing horribly against the Arachnids.

These things are "Arachnids."

They basically went in blind to defeat the enemy without any concrete strategy what so ever.

At least they didn't break into a song and dance number.

I knew it! This film is obviously an a allusion to the Vitetnam War and to the war in Iraq! Trust me, I will explain all of this in due time. 

So anyway, Rico's high school teacher, who is also his commander gets killed as does Dizzy in the ambush and a memorial service commences. Just wonderful, the movie decides to kill off one of the few strong female characters that I like and yet decides to keep that dumb ass Denise Richards alive. I really need to save Hollywood from destroying itself. During the funeral, Rico reconnects with Carmen and Barney as he says to Rico that they need to capture the brain bug, so that they could study the enemy's weaknesses. Rico agrees as the Roughnecks go in to take them down, but while that is happening, the Arachnids take down Carmen and Zander's ship (yeah I forgot to mention Zander because he's not going to last long in the movie), but they managed to get into the escape pod and land in the cave with the brain bug.

All your base are belong to the Arachnids!

As I mentioned before, Zander gets killed by the brain bug as Carmen manages to stab the brain bug giving Rico and the Roughnecks the ample opportunity they need to rescue her, but they need to get away from the Arachnids. Watkins gets injured by the Arachnids and decides to sacrifice himself to save the others. Thankfully they all make it out alive as it turns out the Zim or the Kurgen, has demoted himself to Private so that he can capture the brain bug, thus reuniting Barney, Carmen and Rico, and our movie ends with a propaganda film telling everyone to join the army and fight the Arachnids.

It's just like How I Met Your Mother, except with killer bugs and interplanetary relations.

So how does Starship Troopers hold up? 

It's campy as hell. Provided that it was very loosely "based" from it's source material and directed by the same man who directed Showgirls, it's actually not that bad. It's not a cinematic masterpiece, but it's enjoyable enough to be a guilty pleasure. The propaganda reels that were prevalent throughout the film actually added to the camp factor and were meant to be a parody of the army recruitment commercials that you sometimes see on TV. So the film is mocking the blatant patriotism and jingoism in our culture. There's also the fact that the film actually alludes to the Vietnam War and the Iraq War in many ways. I am sure that Paul Verhooven had no idea that his film would later serve to be a parallel to the war on terror, either that or he traveled in time to the future and then came back to 1997 and decided to film this movie. 

What I mean is that the Infantry had no idea who they were dealing with, hence the disasters on Klendathu and Planet "P," much like the Americans when they invaded Vietnam and Iraq and had no idea who they were dealing with. They had to capture the brain bug in order to gain intelligence on how to kill the fucking things, and this is where the "War on Terror," comes in as the US Troops had to capture key members of Al Qaida in order to figure out, locate and eventually capture and kill Osama bin Laden.    

As for the film itself, it's a standard military/action/sci-fi film. The acting is a little hokey and cheesy at best, especially with Denise Richards and Casper Van Dien on screen, but it's also nice to see Clancy Brown, Dina Meyers and Neil Patrick Harris play their parts well and I honestly think that Clancy Brown and Neil Patrick Harris actually had a good time making this film. The special effects and the Arachnids themselves look really good and there isn't too much use of the CGI, which is always a plus for me. Even the special effects make up is excellent and that is something you don't really see in movies these days. 

As for the plot, it deviates so much from the book that most fans of the novel will understandably despise this movie with a passion, but maybe deviating from the novel isn't always a bad thing at all. The original novel was very depressing and criticized the glamorization of military life in popular culture by highlighting how rough the troops had it, not to mention it drew many parallels to the Vietnam Conflict and the novel (in true Heinlen fashion) did not have a happy ending. In some ways, the movie does that, but it also makes fun of the military life, the attitudes surrounding this type of lifestyle and criticizes our rampant blind patriotism and jingoism, it was just done in a different way and it came out more campy than serious, but in some ways the film knows exactly what it is and what audience it's catering to. It knew that it was a campy sci-fi film and they rolled with it, which is fine by me.

Overall, the movie is a guilty pleasure and if you are looking for some campy sci-fi fun that makes fun of our jingoistic culture, then look no further than this film. It's worth checking out as well as the novel when you get the chance.

My name is Maricruz Gonzalez and I'm the Movie Bitch...because somebody has to be.

Stay Sassy Planet Earth.

Check out the article that inspired me to re-watch this film again (it's a good read):
6 Mind Blowing Ways "Starship Troopers" Predicted The Future

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Message From The Movie Bitch

Hello Everyone,

This will be a different post today ( I will get my review for Starship Troopers up this week, I promise). I want to post something that I hope will help all of you in some way shape or form. I know things have been tough, but I want you all to know that it gets better. Here are things that I've learned (so far) in my years of existence:

1. Yes, I am aware that life is a bitch then you die, but in retrospect it's not so bad, it could always be so much worse.

I have heard everyone in the entire universe say that "life is a bitch," and "life is unfair." Here is the short end of it, it could be so much worse. As my friend Khrys said to me when I told him that my life is in the shit hole, he said to me "it could be so much worse, you could be run over by a car." I agree with him. No matter how bad things get, the worse thing that could happen to you is that you could be dead.

I know life was rather difficult and shitty when we were in our teens and it's no different now for all teenagers around the world. It gets better when you become an adult becuase you can control the situation and make things happen. Again, things could be much worse and in other parts of the world, things are worse for a lot of people. There are people in other countries starving to death and dying of malnutrition becuase they don't have access to proper food and water and there are people in other countries that have no access to a proper education.

Life is bitch, and I agree, but remember that things could be so much worse, so be thankful for what you have and then work on making things happen and give back to people that don't have much.

2. Be kind, loving and generous to everyone.

I know this is a hard one for a lot of people. Yes there are assholes that will take advantage of you at any opportune moment that they can get, but you need to be better than that. What I have learned (and I have learned the hard way) is that people will take advantage of you no matter what, but it still hasn't made me bitter to the world and it still hasn't shaken my faith in the goodness and kindness of humanity. There are times when I should be mean and spiteful to people, but what will that accomplish? It accomplishes nothing. I'm not saying that you don't have the right to be angry at people (you do) but it's how you approach it that makes the world of a difference. I am guilty of over-reacting and losing my temper with people, but it didn't accomplish anything for me for the most part and it only let to hurt feelings.

To sum up my point, love is stronger than hate, but it's also more difficult to love than hate. I think it's time that we brought a little more love, generosity and kindness into this world.
(Yes you can dislike someone you don't get along with, but when dealing with those people, be as courteous and polite as possible, be the better and classier person in the situation.)

3. You will find someone.

I know I am going to get a flurry of angry comments for this one, but hear me out before you decide to break your half of the bottle and say "Bitch, I will cut you."

I know that there are some of you that have been down in the dumps lately becuase you can't find love or you feel like you are going to die alone in this world.

(For those of you that have found your soul mate, this may not apply but it will apply for your single friends)

Let me calm all of you down in saying that you will find someone, it may take days, weeks, months, hell maybe even years before that someone finds you. Thing is, there are two things that make this work, timing and chemistry.

I have been in many situations in which the timing was right but the chemistry wasn't there and vice versa. Once those two are in perfect harmony with one another, then you have to work on the rest. Relationships are hard work and there needs to be maturity and understanding in dealing with them. If in the end both parties are not compatible, move on, eat some ice cream and focus on yourself.

All I'm saying is you will find someone, it just takes time and patience. And some ice cream will be involved.

4. Good and True Friends are a rarity, hold on to them.

I have friends, in fact I love my friends and I hold and love them dearly. I have also had friends that were "false." I got rid of the "false" ones. It took me years to distinguish between the two, but once I did I have been much happier. You will have "friends" that are high maintenance , moochers, shit starters, abusers, pessimists, negative, mean and opportunists (the bad kind mind you), those are the ones that you need to drop. "Friends" like that will make you feel very bad and low and you don't need that. Good Friends are harder to come by and you won't know when someone will be a good friend until you make the time and effort to get to know someone. It's good to have friends from all walks of life and the ones that you may not see for a long time but when they call you to check up on you or when you run into them and they still greet you with a big warm smile and open arms and pick up where you left off and listen to your worries and fears with an open heart and give you their honest feedback and really truly have your best interests at heart, those are the ones you want in your life.

5. You are beautiful no matter what society says, so stop listening to society.

When I was coming up, I would hear all of my girlfriends and guy friends tell me that they are "ugly," "gross," "undesirable," etc. I'm sure all of you have thought that as well at some point in your lives. I have even heard horror stories from some of my friends how they have had family members put them down becuase of their appearance and even some of my friends have told me how their desperate mothers would give them diet pills in order to get them to loose weight at 10 years old, let me repeat that, 10 years old.

I want all of you to listen to me and I will not repeat myself when I say this:



We live in a culture that is so obsessed with a false ideal of beauty. We should not buy into that becuase that's what they want. They want us to hate ourselves and destroy ourselves just so that we can buy into their harmful and false propaganda. These people are sick and they have a warped sense of what real beauty is. Real beauty lies in the personality, intelligence and character of the person, not in their looks.

6. Have a sense of humor and be able to laugh at yourself.

Life is no fun if you're serious all of the time. Having a sense of humor is really important and a life full of laughter is better than a life without. If you have laugh lines around your eyes and mouth, don't get rid of them! Enjoy and embrace them because that means you've more than likely or are living a happy and fun life.

So yes, laugh a little more, it really puts you in a better mood.

7. Food is delicious.

Well it is. It doesn't matter what kind, whatever you eat, if you like it, enjoy it and savor it. Not many people around the world can afford to eat the foods they like, they have to eat what's available, so don't take that good fortune that you have for granted.

8. Be honest and true to yourself and others.

Do I really need to explain this one? Maybe a little I suppose. In other words it's better to be honest with yourself and others becuase if you're not, you're only making yourself look worse and you are hurting yourself in the end.

9. Don't be afraid of getting older, embrace it!

I look forward to getting older. In fact I can't wait to get wrinkles and look like an old person. I think I will be the coolest Granny around! You may think I have lost my mind (I have but that's another story), but getting older is not so bad. Granted, you shouldn't lose the ability to be playful and have fun with life, but when you get older, you become wiser and you are able to pass on your knowledge and advice to others who will need it. You will feel good doing that because you get to learn more about what they are going through.

Things get better when you are older and you can make things happen as I have said before. Why? Because you know better (hopefully) and will know how to deal with it so that you don't make the same mistakes (hopefully).

10. You will be okay. You will survive and things will work out in your favor in the end.

This year has been incredibly rough on me. I had a broken engagement, had my heart broken so many times, had to get rid of a few "toxic" friends, couldn't find full time work in the field that I went to school for, which is forcing me to go Grad School for my Masters (against my own will).

Yet I am the happiest I have ever been in my entire life.

What also happened to me this year was that I have met new friends, seen and experienced new things, got involved in the art scene (and enjoying every minute of it), rediscovered an old part of me that I had to suppress (that I never should have done) and I am going to be moving in with my older brother, and I will be able to afford to do that (I will have to curb my spending big time, but that won't bother me too much).

Things are finally looking up for me. Again things were bad for me for a while and I honestly have no right to complain becuase I know a few people who are having it a lot more rough than I am, but I know that they will be okay and that everything will work out for them. I can't say when (I hope soon for everyone's sake) but I know it will work out. Why?

Because you will survive and you will be okay.

I know things may be rough but you will come up victorious in the end and better for it too.

Trust me, I have been there, and I have emerged victorious and now I will put on my big smile and march proudly forth into the future.

Good Luck, Godspeed and Stay Sassy with much love, peace, kindness, respect and happiness,

The Movie Bitch

Sunday, July 3, 2011

God Bless America Month: My Fellow Americans

It's July and you know what that means?


This is the month where I will be reviewing movies that are dedicated to the patriotic spirit of our flawed but great nation and this year is no exception, well there is one...

Your days are numbered, Michael Bay and this time its personal.

Of course, I will be doing a video review of Pearl Harbor for God Bless America Month (if my current situation and time permits as to whether or not it will be up on time), but I am going to review My Fellow Americans, to kick off God Bless America Month. 

A political satire with three comedy legends, hell yes!

So the film starts of with the Presidential Campaign of Republican Russell P. Kramer (played by late, comedy great Jack Lemmon) giving a victory speech to his supporters after winning the election against his hated rival, Democratic Nominee, Matt Douglas (James Garner). Standing alongside him is Vice-President William "Bill" Haney (Dan Aykroyd). He begins his speech with "Dreams are like our children..." (remember this because this will be a constant running joke). Fast forward to four years later and we see Douglas winning the election. We then move fast forward to another four years and we see Haney (Kramer's former running mate) winning the election. Is this a political satire with elements of time travel?

If one of the Ghostbusters is President of the United States, anything is possible. You can bet that there will be some Ghostbusting in the White House as well.

Three years later, (I swear to god that Dan Aykroyd is a time traveler like The Doctor), we see Kramer acting as a spokesperson for a Japanese Company in which he almost gets raped by a panda furry (I am not making this up, watch the movie and you will see what I am talking about). After that mishap, he is promoting his cookbooks while Douglas is trying to put the finishing touches on his own and is in the middle of a nasty divorce after his philandering ways have been revealed (sound familiar Mr.Clinton, although to be fair, Hilary didn't divorce him). 

Douglas and Kramer are then put together on Air Force One by Haney to attend a funeral and spend the entire time arguing on the trip. God, this sounds like my parents whenever we took trips to Disneyland when my brother and I were kids.

The Democrats soon find out about "Olympia" a series of kickbacks from defense contractor Charlie Reynolds paid to (organized and laundered through a front company by) Haney when he was Vice President, and which Kramer, according to Haney himself in a scene at the beginning of the movie, knew nothing about. Joe Hollis, the head of the Democratic National Committee (Wilfred Brimley, taking a break from talking about "Diabetis," that's how he says it, seriously) encourages Douglas to investigate this matter further considering that word on the street is that Kramer may be involved.

Neither could be reached for comment on this matter.

So Douglas takes matters into his own hands and confronts Reynolds and asks him about "Olympia" and the kickbacks. When they prepare to meet in private, Reynolds gets whacked in the car that he was driving as Douglas and Kramer bump into each other and as fate would have it, they both discover that Reynolds has been assassinated in order to keep "Olympia" under wraps. I am going to cue the appropriate music for this turn of events (it really is a sudden dark turn, god damn movie, you went from a political satire to a dark comedy, holy shit):

Kramer and Douglas are then summoned by Haney and take Air Force One to meet him at Camp David to discuss this matter further. Both presidents realize that the plane is heading in the wrong direction and decide to hold the pilots at gunpoint (thanks to Kramer's Grandson's squirt gun) and escape the plane just in time before it explodes.

What the hell is up with this movie and the assassination attempts?! I thought this was going to be a comedy and a political satire not a dark action/thriller!

So both ex-Presidents are stuck in North Carolina and realize that they have some very powerful enemies, decide to go to Ohio to Kramer's Presidential Library to get the evidence they need to not only prove Kramer's innocence, but to also expose Haney. So begins the road trip across America in which they learn more about the average American.

Their first stop is North Carolina (where they started) in which they hop on board a train that is heading towards Ohio. There they meet the young American voters who show a lot of disillusion and dissatisfaction with both Presidents in their own rights.

Next they run into a trucker who decides to give them a lift, but it turns out that she was harboring illegal immigrants in her truck. Douglas meets a young immigrant man and speaks to him in Spanish and the young men tells him about how he left Mexico to pursue the American Dream. Douglas then gives him his coat and the young man gives him his compass as a parting gift and wishes them the best of luck on their journey.

The next group of Americans they meet is an average family that happened to be traveling to Mount Rushmore on their own road trip. The family is kind enough to take them to where they need to go, but when they both start bickering again and trying to correct the patriarch of the family, things take a turn for the worse. The woman tells her husband to stop the care and puts both ex-Presidents in their place stating that she and her family invited both men into the car, calling it her home. She tells Kramer that because of his policies, she and her husband lost their jobs and because of Douglas' policies they lost their home, forcing them to live in and out their car until they reach Ohio where there may be a job opportunity waiting for her husband  This is one of the major scenes in the film in which both men realize that they have done more harm than good as presidents and makes them see how their policies really affect the average American more than they think.

This scene is absolutely brilliant and touching at the same time because the wife tells both Presidents how their policies have affected their lives and did not bring up the Republican/Democrat ideologies.

Afterwards they find themselves at a Gay Pride Parade and one of the men marching in the parade (as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, no less) recognizes the both of them and is delighted to see them both. He talks with both men and Douglas says he has always been supportive of Gay rights, while Kramer has always been reluctant. Douglas jokingly says to the man that Kramer needs to come out of the closet and gives him a gay pride necklace as a gift and tells them that he has friends that can get them to Ohio, which happen to be a Lesbian Biker Gang.

I bet the parade was fun and fabulous! How could anyone not have any fun!

Once they get to the Presidential Library, they realize that Haney's men have altered the records, but luckily recieve a message from Reynolds' secretary who is worried about his "disappearance" stating that the chief-of-staff Witnaur had visited Reynolds. They decide that they have no choice but to confront and interrogate Witnaur (with the help of Joe Hollis) to which Witnaur said that Haney was responsible for "Olympia" but had nothing to do Reynolds' murder and said that Tanner (the NSA agent that had been chasing them the entire time) was the one responsible. Thankfully the group had recorded the entire confession and decide to make a break for the White House and confront Haney.

Thanks to the help of White House chef, Rita, both men were able to sneak in and pass security in order to get to the Oval Office in which Haney is in the Garden giving a press conference. After trying to escape Tanner and the NSA agents they finally managed to evade them (thanks to the help of a fabulous secret service agent who shoots down Tanner) and crash Haney's press conference.

Both men play Witnaur's confession to Haney and Haney is forced to admit guilt, though he had no knowledge of Reynolds' murder. The agents then introduce the agent that shot down Tanner to Douglas and Kramer in which the agent recognizes Kramer from the Gay Pride Parade (I love happy coincidences). 

Afterwards both men are enjoying Rita's cooking as they are making snide remarks about Matthews' ascent to Presidency (the guy who played Kevin McAlliastor's dad in the first two Home Alone films). They then realize that Matthews was behind the whole scheme the entire time. 

Feeling defeated after witnessing all of the dishonesty (and despite having the evidence to put Matthews behind bars) Kramer and Douglas decide to give up and go home, but Douglas has a change of heart when one of the Secret Service agents tells him that he is honored and proud to be in the same car as Douglas and proud of what he and Kramer did for this country. At that moment Douglas has a change of heart and tells the driver to take him to the CNN Studios to break the story.

Nine Months Later, Matthews is found guilty on all counts and begins serving his prison sentence as Kramer and Douglas both decide to get back into the Presidential Campaign, but this time, they decide to represent the Independent Party.

 All's well that ends well. Why can't we have a Republican and a Democrat running together for President and Vice-President? That would surely unify the US, wouldn't it?

Is My Fellow Americans relevant today as it was back in 1996?

Surprisingly it is. A lot of the issues that were discussed and brought up during that time are still being talked about today. This film is one of the most underrated Political Satires in recent years and its really a shame that not as many people have seen this film, it's really a hidden gem. The issues that our country is currently facing are brought up and dealt with beautifully without any bias towards one political party, in fact, this film points out that political parties are not important, and how the Presidential policies are more important than the political party they represent. The film also managed to show how different policies affect the lives of average Americans in different ways. This film in many ways can be classified as a Road Movie in the same way Easy Rider was.

The film does have some flaws though. The pacing at times can be a little bit uneven at certain points and the bickering between Douglas and Kramer can get annoying at times but the dialogue is incredibly well written and funny, which makes both men endearing in their own right. The plot can be a little convoluted at times and there are some scenes that could have been left out of the film, (the one that comes to mind is the scene with the college students on the train, simply because it's the weakest scene in the film) but despite these flaws, this movie manages to shine through.

I know this is one of my longest reviews, but this film is a hidden gem and I highly recommend it. If you get a chance to see this film, please do, it's still incredibly fresh and relevant as it was when it first came out, not to mention Dan Aykroyd as President of the United States? How can you not want to see it!

My name is Maricruz Gonzalez and I'm the Movie Bitch... because somebody has to be.

Stay Sassy Planet Earth!

Green Lantern: The Most Awkward Super Hero Film of The Year

It's official.

My friend really owes me one for making me sit through Star Ballz and Green Lantern. Either that or I need to get new friends.

At any rate where do I begin with Green Lantern?

This movie is incredibly awkward from start to finish. I am going to be honest in saying that I am not very familiar with Green Lantern at all (I'm more of a Batman kind of girl) but the very few things I do know about him is that Hal Jordan is the Green Lantern and the color yellow (which represents fear) is the kryptonite of the Green Lantern Corp.

If that's the case then Green Lanterns can't really enjoy fetish play like Golden Showers or they can't have sunflowers because yellow makes them weak, hell if you want to beat them just throw a bucket of yellow paint on them and you're good to go.

I am joking of course, again I have no idea how it works because I am not familiar with the Green Lantern Mythos.

I can give some credit to the film for at least explaining how the Green Lanterns work and how they function as an army and how their powers work.

Everywhere else is where it falls flat.

It's not a bad movie, but it's not great at all. This film is an awkward hot mess, like Charlie Sheen after a 3 day bender with transvestite hookers (I will stop with the Charlie Sheen jokes). The pacing of the film is incredibly uneven from beginning to end. The beginning and middle of the film flows very slowly and the end speeds up drastically. The pacing is off-kilter, making this film really uneven.

The direction of the film is really off too because it is has a hard time deciding whether it wants to be campy or take itself seriously. There are moments in the film where it's supposed to be funny and it isn't and then there are moments in the film that are supposed to be serious but end up being incredibly funny (Hector Hammond's transformation scene comes to mind in this case, but I will touch on the acting in a moment).

The flying and CGI effects are not terrible and are actually very decent and nice to look at. I will be the first to say that while I agree that Hollywood films tend to over-utilize CGI for everything (hell I wouldn't even be surprised to see CGI in Romantic Comedies, shit it would even be a 3D movie), in this case it wasn't overdone (something that Michael Bay needs to learn, but he will get his due, this I promise) which turned out in the film's favor.

The plot is pretty weak and standard as far as super hero origin stories go. I understand they were trying to follow the comics and adapt slightly to reflect the current sensibilities of the 21st Century, but it feels so standard. The beginning of the film in which Hal flashes back to his father's death in the plane accident, I didn't really feel any sympathy or pain for the character because I didn't really see much of their relationship together at all in the film which is a shame because this film needed to at least show how close Hal was to his father and how much he admired and loved him, instead it was rushed and put together. In comparison to Hector Hammond, Hammond is a lot more fleshed out and a more complex character. I can see his relationship with his father and in fact, I feel more sympathy for him than I do for Hal (you shouldn't really sympathize with the villian, but I do in this case). Hector is a more fleshed out and complex character and is a lot more relateable to people than Hal Jordan.

As promised, I am going to touch on the acting. The acting is really standard with the exception of Peter Sarsgard. Ryan Reynolds pretty much plays the Green Lantern as himself dressed up as the Green Lantern for Halloween. I really cannot stand him because every time he does a film, he comes off as this arrogant, self-centered, childish, obnoxious douchebag that I want to punch in the face over and over and over again. I understand that he is attractive and he has a certain charm to him (the douchey kind), but he's not a great actor when it comes to films, he's better off doing TV shows. Blake Lively is no Oscar winning actress either. She's not terrible but good god she is so dull! She has no life and brings no excitement or spunk to her character. I can clearly see that she was picked for the way her breasts looked in a dress as opposed to her skills for this film.

In all honesty, the only thing that made this film somewhat tolerable for me was Peter Sarsgard. His performance was so over the top it was so funny. I had a feeling that he knew this movie wasn't going to be good and he just thought "Fuck it, I am going to camp this shit up and make it entertaining for some people." It's a shame that a talented actor like him had to do this film (this is the same guy that did great films like Jarhead and Garden State), I get that he did it for the money and he had fun with the role, but seriously! He is so much better than this!

Overall, Green Lantern is an awkward film. It cannot decide whether or not it wants to be campy or serious. The acting is incredibly standard and phoned in (with the exception of Sarsgard), the plot is weak and forgettable and it lacks the heart and spirit that Thor had. Not to mention the pacing of the film is incredibly schizophrenic and off-kilter making it very difficult for anyone to follow along with the film or the story.

I would not even waste the $10 that I paid to see this movie, This film is better off as a rental, or just skip it altogether and read the comics.

My name is Maricruz Gonzalez and I'm the Movie Bitch...because somebody has to be.

Stay Sassy Planet Earth!