Labor Day weekend movie-a-thon

Labor day weekend I managed to do some clearing out of my Netflix Instant Queue. I watched a lot of films.

  1. Blue Velvet
  2. The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard
  3. The Gore Gore Girls: Special Edition
  4. Let the Right One In
  5. Beer Wars
  6. Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa
  7. Rampage
  8. Postal
  9. Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film
  10. Right at Your Door
  11. Jackass 2.5
  12. Run! Bitch Run!
  13. Machete

You might be wondering, is it possible for one man to watch this many movies and come out sane?  The answer is not normally, but I am no ordinary movie watcher.  I watch any movie at least once (my siblings will vouch for that) so I thought a few of them were very good, a few stunk it up, and a few I could take or leave depending on my mood.  In other words it was: The Good, The Bad, and the Meh.

The Bad

You always hope that everything you watch is going to be really good, however, as you know, it never happens.  The worst one I watched was Jackass 2.5.  I thought Jackass 1 and 2 were amusing but 2.5 it was obvious why these skits were cut and should have stayed on the cutting room floor.

The other bad one was Run! Bitch Run! which was supposed to be an homage to grindhouse films.  It is supposed to be a revenge flick, and it turned out being one, just some scenes were way too long and it didn’t reallly feel like a grindhouse film.  It could have used a bit more on-screen violence cause if you’re going to do it, go all the way.  It had potential to be really freaking good (for what it is) but I think it feel pretty flat in too many areas to make it more than just bad.

The final film in the bad category was The Gore Gore Girls.  I feel really bad myself for putting it here because it was right on the cusp of being Meh, but it just slowed down too much in the middle of the film.  It was very entertaining and was a definite true exploitation flick, which I found pretty good.  Just in the end, I didn’t find it compelling enough to move it up to the meh category.

The Meh

Now, the meh category is where a lot of the films are ending up.  These are ones that I could take it or leave it… basically films that if I bought, I’d watch them once then put them on the shelf.  Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa is the first film I’ll throw into the meh category.  I enjoy documentaries and this one was interesting, but at the same time, I didn’t really feel like I learned anything from it.  On IMDB it was eloquently described as ‘a film about f*ck ups in the desert.’  And based on that you can decide if you like it or not.  It was decent, but at the same time, there wasn’t enough in there to make me think about it anymore past when I stopped watching it.

The next film in the meh category, is another documentary, Beer Wars.  It shows how the deck is stacked against smaller breweries like Dogfishhead and Boston Brewery Company compete against the big boys: Miller and inBev.  It also closely follows the plight of Moonshot Beer, a beer with a dose of caffine, as it attempts to gain distributors.  I found the documentary very interesting, but just like Off the Grid, it seemed to be missing something that didn’t push it over the top into a I’ve-got-to-watch-it-again category.

Another film I deemed meh was Right at Your Door and it was right on the cusp of being in the good category.  It just moved a little slow in places and they used the fade-to-black cut an awful lot.  Granted, fade to black cuts are a good way to show the passage of time, but they could have done something else.  Overall, I did enjoy it and the ending was definitely a shocker and well worth it.

The last film I deemed meh was Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film.  I thought it was very interesting, but they didn’t spend as much time talking to the movie directors, actors and special effects artists as I thought they should have.  The film was basically the highlights of the slasher films from 1972 to 2005 in under 1.5 hours; so, you couldn’t talk a whole lot to the writers, directors, etc. but it would have been  nice.  I’d also have liked to have seen them talk with some of the new horror directors like Eli Roth and then perhaps some of the directors who enjoy the whole grindhouse scene like QT and Rodriguez.

The Good

Finally, like Clint Eastwood, here are the good movies.  First up, I’m just going to lump two films together: Postal and Rampage.  Normally Uwe Boll makes films that I am not a fan of.  However, these two were really damn good.  Postal was definitely shocking humor and Rampage had plot twists that I would have never expected to have seen from Boll.  Because of this, I had to place them in the good category.  It isn’t to say that they both had some issues, but in overall, it wasn’t enough to detract from the fact they were truly enjoyable.

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard almost slipped into the meh category because I felt it kinda lost itself in the middle of the film.  The jokes however kept on coming and everyone was waiting for the big payoff joke at the end.  You know how the film is going to end before it starts, so you’re just along for the twists and turns along the way.  It starts out strong, lags, then finishes a shade of mediocre.  Because of the beginning though, it stays in my good category.

Next up is Blue Velvet, starring a helium-huffing kidnapping Dennis Hopper with mommy issues.  After watching it, you can tell that it has had a lot of influence on directors since many of the things have been lifted from it.  It starts out a shade slow, but it moves at a very decent pace and always keeps a certain level of suspense until the very end of the film.

Machete, I caught at the theaters on Monday night.  As with The Goods, the movie starts out with a bang then slows down, picks back up, and finishes like you expect it.  I think the best part of the movie is Steven Seagal playing a samurai sword wielding drug lord.  The showdown between he and Machete almost brought a tear to my eye it was so great.

The best film I think I watched this holiday weekend was Let the Right One In.  I’d read the book and just now got around to watching the movie.  Of course, the book is better :), but the movie itself was pretty faithful to the source material and captured the mood and feel of the book quite well.  I just can’t believe they’re remaking this film as Let Me In only two years after Let the Right One In came out.  So do yourself a favor and watch this movie before going and seeing Let Me In.

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