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Suicide Squad (2016)
I'm not sure if this includes spoilers so I clicked that it did, just in case something I say is considered a spoiler, though I will try to avoid any.
The first and biggest problem with this is the writing. The dialogue is often hokey, and humor falls flat, and the story makes little to no sense. I understand the plot is contrived to get these bad guys together to fight a common enemy. But the pacing is all over, and the villain and her/their scheme is never fully explained.
The second big problem is the direction. Some scenes are in dramatic slow motion for no reason and undermine the action and pacing. Other scenes that could have been interesting or exciting are rushed or never even shown. Good direction could have helped cover up a lot of the story's flaws. Instead it exacerbated them.
The third big problem, and I guess this still goes along with the writing and plot but stood out to me as a separate problem, the combination of the characters never makes sense. Okay, we get it. They are meta-humans brought together to fight potential meta-human threats. However, some are obviously much more useful than others. Why was Harley Quinn even there? Deadshot kills everything quickly while her and others have hand-held weapons. It makes little sense. At least the alligator dude gets to use his talent later in the story, but for the most part they could have just taken Deadshot, no need for the whole crew.
There are a few good points that make this movie worth watching.
The actors do the best they can with an inconsistent and disappointing script. Margot Robbie is a believable Harley Quinn unfortunately she's just there for eye candy, contrived emotion, and one-liners that don't land. Will Smith is, well, Will Smith as he is in every movie and does it justice. I have mixed feelings about Jared Leto's joker; on one hand, he is a delightfully psychotic, and somewhat fresh, original twist on the joker. On the other hand his performance is also as inconsistent as the script. Early on, I was digging the character even if it took a minute to get used to after seeing actors like Caesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger do him differently. But some of his later scenes seemed forced, like he was trying to hard. He delves into a Christian Bale-like guttural voice at times that seemed unnecessary. Overall the actors do the best they can with the script and deserve credit.
If you can turn off your brain and just enjoy the action and attempts at humor, there is value here. Unfortunately, its potential is wasted by the script as I've said before. A better story, villain, and direction could have made this something special.
Z Nation (2014)
It's gotten better
I gave this show a shot. It sucked early on. Clichés, bad acting, bad dialogue. It ruined what could have been a cool road trip meets apocalypse show. But it did have one thing going for it; they were always moving. Unlike TWD where they get bogged down at one location for episodes or seasons at a time, these characters have motivations that drive the shows and each episode is a new mini adventure. Too bad the writing and acting sucked. I gave up after 3 episodes...
Fast forward to this weekend. There was a Z Nation marathon on while I was dog sitting. Afraid to mess too much with the channel, I sat and watched because, hey, laughably bad zombie movies/shows are better than the food network or Tots & Tiaras reality shows.
Much to my surprise, it didn't suck. Somewhere at the end of season one or beginning of season 2 it must have hit its stride. It's still full of clichés and campy action, as well as some intentional laugh-out-loud moments (George R.R. Martin? Really?) but I found the characters more believable and their chemistry and acting improving. Yeah, there's still some stinker jokes that miss the mark, and some over the top ridiculous moments, but I cared about the characters. When I left and came back and found one or two were no longer part of the group (I'm assuming killed off) I was legitimately saddened.
So now I guess I have to go back and give this show a shot from the beginning. Going into its 3rd Season, maybe this show does give us a lighter alternative to the cerebral Walking Dead, from the success of which Z Nation sprung. Dare I say, Z Nation may be almost if not just as entertaining but for different reasons.
Bad Words (2013)
No Hype, Low Expectations - I was intrigued
I saw this movie on at 3 a.m. after a long day. I figured I'd leave it on the TV while I drifted off to sleep on the couch. And maybe learn a few new spelling bee words through osmosis...
That didn't happen.
I was sucked in and had to see how this played out. I set my review to spoilers in case I give anything away though I'll try not to. There's a good deal of spot on reviews already posted so I'll give my summary of pros and cons;
Pros 1) Jason Bateman's directing was an unexpected surprise. I thought he did a great job of keeping the pace and visual tone to a level that keeps the viewer interested despite the backdrop of a spelling bee.
2) Jason Bateman and the kid's interactions - Jason's character is one of the most unlikeable, vulgar characters I've ever seen. Probably worse than Bad Santa due to the dexterity of his vocabulary. And his interactions with the Indian child aren't any cleaner or easier to absorb. Yet the child continues to take them with a smile and tries to befriend him regardless. Bateman's character warming up to the kid is predictable but has a few curves and is an enjoyable watch if your not offended by the 'Bad Words.'
Cons 1) The relationship with the main character and the reporter that is trying to figure him out is unusual. She's interested in him as a story and as a lover, yet he really doesn't show any redeeming qualities toward her at anytime in the movie. Unless she's just a glutton for punishment with her own issues (which she apparently has if you've seen their sex scenes), this relationship makes less sense than Bad Santa and the bartender's.
2) The big mystery behind his motivation for trying to win a spelling bee (in the most annoying and unusual fashion) is kind of a bust. Through Jason's interactions, it is easy to deduce his motive. His disdain for fathers, his lack of family and friends, his obsession with the spelling bee...I had it figured out pretty quick. While it doesn't hurt the movie too much as it doesn't negate the comedy or his interactions with the boy, the movie plays it like a huge surprise. It falls flat in that regard. But frankly once into the movie, I wasn't too concerned about his motivation as I was seeing how it all played out. In that regard I wasn't disappointed.
3) The main character is just unlikeable to the point it's hard to believe he would garner any love interest from anyone or that any child would want to be his friend. It would take a perfect storm of damaged people or Gandhi-like patience for anyone to tolerate or want to be around him. Maybe that's the hardest part of the story to believe. He's a miserable person who wants to make everyone around him miserable. Sometimes it's hard to watch, but I had to remind myself it's just a movie. But some of his actions and words seem unnecessary and cruel.
Overall, it got my interest and held onto it at 3 a.m. The plot and some of the relationships between the characters seem unlikely, but the journey and witty (if not offensive) dialogue make it worth the trip. If someone told me an offensive adult jerk joining a children's spelling bee would make for a good movie, I would not believe them; nor would I have envisioned the decent movie they've managed to create.
Anybody know the origin of the making of this movie?
I saw this movie and was disappointed greatly, but more importantly I'm here to see if anyone knows the origins of this movie.
I wrote a similar script (though much better) and entered it into a screen writing contest...I never heard back from them. Not long after that did I see production began on this movie and there are striking similarities to my script and this movie...though this movie is much lower quality and has less production value. But there are things in this movie that I had created for my script and did not come from the story of the Minotaur which made me suspicious. Of course it is possible that I am not the only person in the world that wrote a script containing these similarities...but any information anyone could give me to ease my suspicions would be appreciated.