Room (2015)

To speak of the film Room strictly from a plot standpoint would be a terrible injustice to the efforts of the filmmakers involved in delivering this bold masterpiece to the screen.   In the midst of the the film’s unconvention, we find a symmetry that emboldens our care for the main players (in the film) and also provides an emotional transition from scene to scene so that we may be witness to these people’s extraordinary journey to “normalcy.”  This is one of the year’s best films!

I once again hesitate to offer a plot description for Room as I feel going in blindly will be a better filmgoing experience for everyone.  That being said, I can tell you this is a powerful film containing subject matter that is not easily digestable.  You will feel uncomfortably at times, but I promise if you stick with our heroes of the film, you will be a satisfied filmgoer.

The director Lenny Abrahamson wisely holds back (initially) on the broader world of our two heroes (Ma & Jack) to let us discover for ourselves the true horror of their lives (moreso for Ma).  And I don’t know how much Abrahamson had to do with it, but this is one of the very best performances by a child in cinema history, and Jacob Tremblay should earn an Oscar Nomination for his performance.  Brie Larson as Ma is also a shoo-in for a Best Actress nomination.

And that’s all for now….
I want you to see this as uninformed as possible.


In summation: Room is a must see!  Please don’t be afraid to allow your emotions to become your guide and follow them to the conclusion.  Understand this is not an entertaining film per se and that you will have to immerse yourself in to the film’s unconventional waters in order to enjoy the experience.  If you can do that, you will be seeing one of the decade’s best films….!!


The Best Shitty Flicks!

I seem to have noticed over the years that when a person has a heightened interest in something that their peers will always apologize for merely dabbling in to the same arena.  It’s as if your friends feel compelled to fall on the sword of amateurism deeming you the foremost expert of a particular field.  Here’s an example: I love movies!  My friends know this.  Once in awhile someone who does not watch movies as much as I wishes to tell me about a light comedy they just saw and they really liked it.  I’d say nine times out of ten that person will preface their story with, “I know you may consider this to be a dumb movie,” or, “I am no expert like you.”

While I appreciate the sentiment, I assure you  I AM NO EXPERT!  I was not educated in the art of cinema or filmmaking; I cannot wax intelligently about all of the different eras or movements of cinema; I am not 100% fluent in filmese; and I am certainly not above seeing a light comedy and enjoying it!!

All that being said, I can promise you the following: I will always try my best to get aligned with what (I think) the director is trying to convey.  It is my opinion that what makes a movie or film good is if it accomplishes what it set out to do!  But forget about that!  Some times there are movies we just can’t help but love regardless of their artistic merit (or lack thereof).  When seeing a film, I make a habit of applying the philosophy of my good friend Justin Bodary:

A man goes to a theater and sees a film, and forms his own opinion….

If I could, I would see every film ever made and (like I do now) I will always try to find the good qualities it possesses.  I feel it is easier to be objective about a film when you try to see it through the director’s eyes.


SO….. with all that in mind, let’s talk about our favorite shitty flicks!

Best of the Best (1989) – This putrid litte gem of a Karate/Taekwondo movie is so wonderful because it combines those familiar sports film cliches we all love so much: Overcoming an old injury; black sheep team member changes attitude at right time; stubborn coach who is humbled through reason and emotion; bar fight scene displaying our heroes’ karate moves*; etc. etc. etc. etc. etc ETC……!!!

Set to a requisite crappy 80’s sondtrack, Best of the Best follows the  National United States Taekwondo team all the way from tryouts to the big tournament in Korea against the Korean National Team who are far superior fighters than Team USA.

Along the way we see the aforementioned cliches and some really shotty subplots!  For all of it flaws, the movie does actually contain four previous Oscar nominees: James Earl Jones, Eric Roberts, Sally Kirkland and Louise Fletcher who actually is an Oscar winner.  Not that this really matters, but I feel it provides this weird and funny sort of symmetry to the whole thing!

But listen y’all, I LOVE THIS MOVIE!  My friends and I use to rent it every weekend from Videomax!  We watched it so often that we knew at which points in the movie where all the VHS glitches and scratches would show up!  I know every line from the end speech that the bad ass Korean fighter (Dae Han) gives to the bad ass USA fighter (Tommy Lee – I swear to God!) and I even can do the Eric Roberts’ lines with his exact voice (COACH! HE”S GONNA KILL ‘EM!!)!!

FUN STUFF!!!!!!!!

And that’s the point – why be a film snob?  Recognize this movie for exactly what it is: A martial arts vehicle!  I imagine the producers of the film said something like this: “Throw some shitty dialogue together; let’s give the Asian guy a sad backstory and GOD DAMN IT can someone PLEASE get me Eric Roberts on the phone – we need him for the bar fight scene???!!!!”

So in that sense, the movie is a success!  We get to suffer through these contrivances with some good looking actors, James Earl Jones’ awesome voice and Sally Kirkland’s legs!  Oh, and don’t forget about the actual tournament: Some really kick ass martial arts on display!  And as an added bonus, former NFL wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and former host of NBA’s ‘Inside Stuff’ Ahmad Rashad does the play-by-play commentating for the Taekwondo tournament scenes!  Versatile guy, eh?!

This will not be the last entry I do about my favorite shitty flicks.  This entry serves as an introduction of who I am as a film lover and entusiast and to have a little fun with it.

I would love to hear what some of your favorite movies are and if you think they fall under the category of shitty flicks.

See ya soon….

*This bar fight scene is so useless to the rest of the film, that I honestly think they shot it and kept it in the movie so its runtime would be over 90 minutes!


Whoa baby! This film is sure to embolden the hatred men and women have for one another in the (sometimes) rotten game of love! “Closer” (2004), directed by Mike Nichols, is often compared to his brilliant movie “Carnal Knowledge”(1971), and rightfully so; both movies involve love triangles of sorts, but “Carnal Knowledge” contains characters you like whereas “Closer” forces the viewer to feel a sort of ambivalence towards its characters, so you have to stand back and wait to see the whole picture unfold before you go all in with any of them.

Although it would never be recognized as such at first glance,                   “Closer” may very well be one of the best movies ever made about love. Brutally honest and unrelenting, this film will hit closer to home with most people than any of the “fairy tale” love stories have in the past.  

What we have here are four people caught in a crisscrossing of confusing feelings of love. Alice (Natalie Portman, Best Supporting Actress nominee) who falls in love with Dan (Jude Law) after a unique meet-cute which begins the movie, and is an example of some very fine film making. Then Dan meets Anna (Julia Roberts in her best role) and falls for her while he is still with Alice. Before Dan and Anna have a chance to get together, Anna meets Larry (Clive Owen, Best Supporting Actor nominee) in another quirky meet-cute (which was inadvertently set up by Dan), and end up married.

This set up sounds like it could be the beginning of a screwball comedy, but I assure you, it’s not that…

By the time it is all said and done, both men will have slept with both women, but that’s not what the film is about. How they all arrive in these misguided passionate scenarios, and the order and number of times they all happen, is what drives this film’s plot.  

And speaking of fine film making, mid way through the film we get to witness a brilliant juxtaposition of two breakups taking place. In each case watch how the men relinquish control of the situation for different reasons, and yielding very different results.  

Clive Owen is amazing in his role as Larry, especially in the aforementioned breakup scene. He seems to be the best of the four characters at this dirty love game. Watch the way he uses Guerrilla warfare tactics that do not always initially get him what he wants, but always give him the upper hand in the long run. In a movie chalked full of great scenes, there is one involving Larry and Alice in a private room of a strip club. Alice is a stripper dancing for Larry and carefully extracting lots of money from him (as women in that arena are ought to do). Note the way this makes Alice feel as she trots around with an arrogance that makes her seem superior to Larry. Only at the end of the scene do we notice that Larry will not be made a fool, and with some snappy coarse dialogue, he puts Alice right in her place. And I promise you this: Most men will be staring in to Larry’s eyes at the closing push in of the scene, in hopes of seeing what he sees.

This film is not for everyone. Most will watch and be disgusted with all the characters. Others, who are more honest with themselves, will watch “Closer” and see a true-to-life character study of love and danger, and the mutual exclusiveness of those two words. I implore you to watch this with an open mind; try to recognize the nastiness of the characters as a normalcy. If you can do that, this will be an enjoyable film for you. Right up until the end, you’ll realize you don’t really know that much about people at all; even those closest to you.

NOTE: The song ‘Blower’s Daughter’ by Damien Rice bookends this movie in the opening and ending scenes. It is one of the best uses of a song I have ever seen. ENJOY!