Movie Review – Mid90s

Movie Review - Mid90s

First off, I’d give Mid90s a solid B. It’s a strange, unhappy little movie. I think it’s worth a watch, but it’s NOT a comedy. Ignore the hype saying that.

This is a slightly artsy slice of life about a 13-year-old skateboarding kid who makes some seriously bad choices. I even put an Alert Peetime in there, for disturbing imagery.

The main character, Stevie, is a nice, intelligent boy, who slowly learns to be a thug. I don’t remember my 90s being like this.

I was a young adult, having the time of my life while rock climbing, backpacking, and studying at the college I loved. My friends and I talked about how we were going to save the world, about quantum physics, about Star Trek The Next Generation, and the spiritually transcendent beauty of the wilderness. Grunge was the music of the day, and even now, I feel happy and nostalgic when I catch the wifty notes of Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins,  Soundgarden, and Collective Soul. Good times. Not so for Stevie, his mother, his brother, or his friends. I wanted to shake these people. This isn’t a film about the 90s at all, in spite of the title. It’s a treatise about youth skateboard culture and the pain of low-income adolescence in Los Angeles.

Oh well. [pullquote]Every actor — all the kids, and Stevie’s mother — did a fantastic job, creating believable and interesting characters, people you wanted to root for, but also understood to be complete train-wrecks.[/pullquote] You know how you drive past a highway accident and can’t look away, even though it’s none of your business and you’re holding up traffic? That’s how this felt.

At the climax of the film, there were some interesting, unflinching filmatic choices. You’ll notice those beats as you see them. (I’ve never quite seen that kind of thing before.) The denouement was a proudly defiant and energetic anthem to teenage angst. Then it very suddenly ends.

[pullquote position=”right”]I applaud how the director chose to conclude the narrative. While nothing was fixed or finalized, it was a bizarrely satisfying roundup on everything coming before, seen through the eyes of a gang of rebellious, awkward, rude…yet strangely likable teens.[/pullquote]

The thing is, these slacker kids and their story isn’t really tied to the era. Besides the clothes and the music, this story could be transplanted to the 50s, the 70s, or any decade from the last century. It’s all before the digital age (note “Fourth Grade’s” prominent camcorder use – no cell phones are in evidence), so the setting could be any time before the new millennia.

Should you see this film in the theater? I’d say to save your money and wait for it to land on Netflix. The setting doesn’t require a big screen, and the story rambles in a low-key fashion.

In any case, this is worth seeing eventually. You’ll walk away a bit sad, and definitely more thoughtful.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I have 3 Peetimes here. I would have had only 2, but the middle one is an Alert Peetime, indicating a potentially disturbing scene. Use that only if the description in the meta would be upsetting to you. The 1st Peetime is at the 45 minute mark and shows teens partying. The 3rd Peetime is the best: at the hour mark, you get 5 minutes to duck out, and all you’ll miss is a long night of two boys skating. 

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Mid90s. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Movie Review – Johnny English Strikes Again

 

Movie Review - Johnny English Strikes AgainThis movie wants to be Austin Powers. It’s the same set-up, the same cringe humor, the same British secret service bumbler who nevertheless gets the job done (in spite of his inherent ineptitude). The difference: Austin Powers is ten times more amusing. Rowan Atkinson tries, and sometimes succeeds, but mostly seems to be resting on his Mr. Bean laurels.

Granted, I didn’t see the original Johnny English films, and maybe those were hysterical enough to warrant a threequel.

Johnny English Strikes Again had a half-baked plot, propped up by a few amusing set pieces. The Virtual Reality sequence was certainly a highlight. I’d see the movie just for that cute and wacky scene. (I loved seeing English using baguettes like fighting staffs.) But the rest of the film went like this: English makes a mistake, his servant Bough would quietly fix it and take no credit; then English would preen. End scene; repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Fade to black.

The genre is getting a bit full anyway. Now we have a whole range of Brit intel movies, on a seriousness continuum from the (modern) James Bond movies, to the less straitlaced but still cohesive storytelling of The Kingsman, on down through the mediocre levels of Johnny English, to the bottom of the deliriously silly level with Austin Powers.

I just don’t see a need for Johnny English. And I think the audience agrees with me. Who sat in the theater on opening night? Me. And one or two other people. Whereas my earlier showing of Mid-90s was packed.

But, as I said, there were a few good moments to be mined. English teaching the kids how to be spies was cute. The aforementioned VR scene was great. There was a message buried in the film about how the world of espionage has changed with the advent of cell phones and cyber space. How we view technology will never be the same as Bond’s good old analog days, and it’s a nice bit of self-awareness for a spy movie to recognize this — it’s gone beyond nifty pens that become grenades (although, granted, this is tossed in there too). And there’s an interesting contrast between the iconic red Aston Martin spy car and the more useful hybrid. The world is changing, and spies have to adapt.

I might be making this movie sound better than it is. Let me rest your noggin: I gave this film a C-. I doubt it will last more than a week in the theaters, but it might have some life on streaming platforms. My suggestion: if you LOVE Atkinson, Mr. Bean and/or the first two Johnny English films, by all means see this in the theater. Otherwise, this is an easy one to skip. Save your money.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: Here are 2 good Peetimes, where were you won’t miss any of the best humor or action. Both are 4 minutes in length and nicely spaced apart. 

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Johnny English Strikes Again. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Why There Won’t be a Sequel to Cabin in the Woods

Hey, let’s hide in that creepy cabin! That always goes well. And we should totally split up!

If you’ve seen Cabin in the Woods and enjoyed it, you’ll probably love Bad Times at the El Royale. Both are directed by Drew Goddard, and he uses the same kind of narrative deconstruction technique in each. Cabin in the Woods is a sardonically amusing take on the typical “teens in a creepy cabin the the woods” horror trope, with lots of wackiness and a crazy ending that defies expectations. Bad Times does the same thing, deconstructing the sort of noir Pulp Fiction ensemble, and also pokes fun at the recent Hotel Artemis.

Which leads fans to ask if there may be a sequel to Cabin In The Woods.  Discussions with Drew and co-writer/heavy hitter Joss Whedon indicated they have almost zero interest in continuing the tale. If you’ve seen it, you’ll realize that the ending goes straight to crazytown, and any sequel would have an entirely different theme.

(Big Spoiler Ahead —— get off this train now ——-)

In essence, at the denouement of Cabin in the Woods, the world as we know it ends. This isn’t the first time Joss went for it (remember the finale of Angel?). Any subsequent story would have humanity fighting monsters, demons, and gods. Cabin really has a perfect ending AS IS. It asks a good question — what if? What if we had a movie that ended in mass death and destruction? It leaves us sort of satisfied in a weird way. It’s just a fantastic movie that scares us a little, makes us laugh a lot, and ends with a Big Bad Bang. The End, period. Love it.

This article on Cinema Blend discusses what Joss and Drew think of their minor opus, and how any sequel would simply undercut the message. There’s a suggestion that some spin-off films are possible, using the same timeline and picking up with the experimental cells in other countries. I’d be fine with something like that, if it was handled deftly. But only if. What do you think?

 

UPDATE — I’m adding a link to some thoughts on Cabin in the Woods; for some reason Escape Room made me think of that classic fun ‘horror’ film. There are similar thematic elements:

Movie Review – Escape Room – Surprisingly Lively, Clever, and Fun

Movie Review – Hotel Artemis

Movie Review – Bad Times at the El Royale

 

Virgin Review – Legend of Tarzan

Hey, Mo Fo, no WAY was I going to lick that gorilla’s butt. I don’t care what you say.

I thoroughly enjoyed this somewhat lightweight movie. It was a different take on the Tarzan story; a more adult version. Clearly, it was filmed on location, and the African settings were breathtaking. I’m going to have to make a trip to the Congo…and I’d be honored to assume a submissive pose to a gorilla troop (heads out of the gutter, folks). The UK settings were lush too. Everything looked just great.

Some good stuff: The night scene with the elephants really stands out — simply beautiful. It made for a horrible juxtaposition with the train barrels full of ivory tusks. We’re barbarians. Also, making slaves out of everyone in Africa? More barbarism. The more so in these cases because taking slaves and driving animals to extinction is historical fact. It underscores our dual nature: we are capable both of horrendous acts and feats of selfless compassion.

I loved how “John” (Tarzan’s Christian name) interacted with, well, everything in Africa. He’s a friend to the native tribes, lions, wildebeests, ostriches, alligators, and of course, gorillas. Although he’s no friend to army ants — those he uses as first aid and snacks. (Hey, don’t knock it. I’ve eaten ants, and contrary to Tarzan’s comment about bacon, they actually taste like Sweet Tarts. Long story. Give them a try, if you dare, but pop off the ant heads first so they don’t bite your tongue.)

I’m not sure if he’s a friend to hippos. I think there was a lost opportunity there.  You’ll see what I mean if you pay attention. They set up the hippos for a payoff that, weirdly, alligators fulfilled. This is a minor quibble.

Jane gets her own little “Gandalf” scene with a blue butterfly (recall Gandalf with the moth on top of Orthanc).  And she can happily handle herself perfectly well in the jungle, thank you. She’s no damsel in distress, as she pointedly tells the bad guy.

The lead characters did a fine job, although Jane stole every scene with her affable, brave, and amusing portrayal. She even outdid Samuel L Jackson — no mean feat. Tarzan was stuck playing the straight man, but he pulled off what could have been a very dorky role, with likable aplomb. Jackson, as George (of the jungle?) provided the most laughs, and was also a receptacle for exposition. Any film with a lot of backstory needs a character who things must be explained to. It worked.

Much of the narrative is told in flashback style. I think they handled it deftly, for the most part — a straight origin story would have been boring, and the flashbacks were restrained and appropriate. My main problem is that it’s hard to tell the flashback scenes from the current timeline in many places. Using a trick, like adding sepia tone, or a blue tinge, would have helped greatly. Or a different length of hair for Tarzan and Jane. Both my mother and I were confused a few times.

The climax was thoroughly enjoyable, albeit predicable. I’m not going to hold predictability against the film. It’s what we’d expect in a story about Tarzan. He’s not “King of the Jungle” for nothing.

This 2016 movie qualifies as a Bladder Buster, at 2 &1/2 hours.  Just saying. Since you’ll be watching this at home, you probably won’t need Peetimes (although we have three).

Overall Recommendation: This is a nice home movie to watch. The violence isn’t that graphic, the good guys win, and the setting is so damned pretty. Harry Potter Director David Yates pulled off a new take on the Tarzan story, and you’ll feel good when it’s through. Don’t expect an epic tale and you’ll have a good time.

Movie Grade: B-

Read RunPee’s Original Review of The Legend of Tarzan.

Virgin Review – Source Code

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality…

Source Code (2011) is based off yet another story by Philip K. Dick, always an excellent go-to for exciting mind-bending films about space, time, and supra-realities. Look at past movies mining P.K. Dick: Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall, and Paycheck. I  know I’m missing others, but the point is he’s a reliable “source” (ha!) for trippy film themes.

[pullquote]This movie also has filmatic roots harkening to the nature of reality, a la The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Existenz, Dark City, The Thirteenth Floor, and especially Inception. Are you in the real world, or a simulation? Does it even matter?[/pullquote]

There’s a few surprises in this one, and I won’t spoil them here. I will admit the ending has you questioning what really happened, and if multiple timelines 1. exist and 2. interact. That’s all you need to keep in mind when you watch this.

Jake Gyllnehall does a nice enough job in the lead role. In fact, he’s pretty much the ONLY “real” role in Source Code, as the entire  affair rests on his shoulders.  Other characters have supporting and walk-on parts, as befits a film about one man trying to understand his existence. He’s sucked into being a hero and fed clues very slowly. Essentially, WE are the character of Colter Stevens, tossed about by shadowy figures with an agenda. This agenda includes both saving the world, and possibly ending it. I’ll say no more.

As befits an existential, non-futuristic movie, the style is spare and straightforward.  The real meat lies in what’s beyond the things we view over the course of 8 minute periods. The director’s hand is only seen in quickly flashing “reboots” between the character’s deaths and rebirths. Pay attention to the iconic sculpture of The Bean in Chicago, and its fun-house mirror symbolism.

[pullquote position=”right”]Another interesting thing: Source Code is a  “Groundhog Day” film:…those same 8 minutes repeat infinitely until the mission is resolved.[/pullquote]

Altogether,  Source Code kept my attention from the very start, and had me guessing ’til the end. Actually, I’m still guessing — the ending owes a big debt to Inception. Teachers could use this film for courses about philosophy and the nature of reality: What are we? Do our thoughts create our existence? Do multiple timelines exist?  And the big one — can we change the past by traveling through time?

If you like those kind of puzzles, Source Code is well worth watching. There’s a tiny bit of humor sprinkled here and there, and Gyllnehall does confusion, irritation, and determination quite well. There’s no razzle dazzle in this flick, but it still has substance.  Recommended.

Movie Grade: B

(PS: My mother insists I say she thought Source Code deserves an A. I’m a harsher critic.)


Related, on RunPee.com:

Movie review – Source Code

20 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List

 

Undercover Boss – A Star Wars Parody on SNL

Matt, the Radar Tech. Any resemblance to Kylo Ren is absolutely intentional.

Saturday Night Live has a lot of misses in these latter years of heyday’s past, but when they hit a home run, there’s still good to be found. One of my favorite SNL sketches has Adam Driver reprising his Star Wars role of Kylo Ren, the commander of Starkiller Base (from Star Wars: The Force Awakens), going undercover with the impressive title of  Matt, the technician.

Undercover Boss: Starkiller Base takes only a few moments to watch, but it’s got some great laughs. Driver really pokes fun at tantrum throwing force user Ben Solo/Kylo Ren.

I never get tired of Star Wars parodies, and usually their production values and humor are high on the watchable scale. It’s amusing to see Kylo Ren taking abuse from no-nonsense tech superiors (“I need my muffin, MATT!”), and trying to bond with the officers in the mess hall (“I’m sorry I killed your son”). Did he succeed in fooling anyone? Did he learn anything at all?

In a word, no. But Driver is a great sport, and gleefully throws the less attractive qualities of Ren into the part. Ren’s clearly got some self-esteem issues yet to work out. I’m going to say this sketch is now part of my head-canon.

You like it? What do you think of the character of Kylo Ren? Big Bad? Or Big Baby?


More, on RunPee.com:

TROOPS – A Star Wars Parody Does COPS

LOTR: Fan Film Short of The Hobbit – An Unexpected Parody

Who the hell are you? Gandalf, what’s with these Dwarves?

I think Peter Jackson should have opened The Hobbit with this fan-film feature. It’s that cute. Even if you don’t like drinking shots, you’ll find this short amusing. I can see this (in my personal head cannon) as what actually happened that fateful night at Bag End, and why Bilbo joined the Dwarves’ expedition to The Lonely Mountain.

This musical one-off (to the tune of Shots, by Lil Jon) has good production values — I’m impressed. Some of the Dwarves look just like their movie counterparts, and leads me to wonder if some reprised their roles for this.

Alert: If you don’t like scenes of people drinking and getting wasted, this might not be the video for you. It depicts an alternate version of the Unexpected Party chapter in The Hobbit.

My Opinion: Jackson did an amazing body of work in the Lord of the Rings. We can’t deny that. But for various reasons, he made The Hobbit — one slim novel — into a full feature trilogy. It didn’t turn out well. The Hobbit’s best scenes are with Gollum, Smaug, and Gandalf. And, of course, his scenes with the Dwarves at home in Bag End. The Hobbit leads directly into The Lord of the Rings, showing us how the epic all began.

That’s kind of why I enjoy this spoof of the “unexpected party “at Bag End. I totally buy that it went this way, and NOT what was recorded Bilbo’s Red Book (his memoirs). After all, history has always been written/interpreted by the winners, who were not necessarily sober at the time.

Altogether, this is really cute if you’re a Middle Earth fan. Otherwise, skip it. I’d give An Unexpected Parody an A grade myself,  from the perspective of a life-long Tolkienphile.

Opinion: Racism, Dogs, and Our Primitive Brains

We can be better.

I love this article RunPee Dan wrote about how bigotry used to have an evolutionary advantage for early man. This discussion was sparked by The Hate U Give,  a movie out just this week, delving into the timely topics of race, bigotry, and prejudice in our culture. [pullquote]Racism has been a frequent topic in film for many long years, and unfortunately, it’s still something society grapples with.  [/pullquote]

I was talking to the RunPee family yesterday about just this: something a lot of people don’t know is that we’re not the only racist animals. Dogs and chimps have demonstrated this too, and even more ancient creatures. Watch any school of fish, or what happens in your own aquarium. There’s safely among one’s own kind.

When I worked with dogs, I noticed in person something I’d read about previously — that in a group/pack situation, dogs will seek out firstly others of their breed, and, failing that, will seek out dogs of its own color. So a black lab would look for other labs, or at least other black dogs. Eventually a dog would make its own ‘friends’ outside those boundaries, but those friendships still come with unassailable hierarchical positions. Dogs respect hierarchy above all else (the reason they obey us — if they do — is because they see us as higher in the pack scale as their Alpha, hopefully).

We see different as scary. We feel uneasy in a very primitive part of the brain when confronted with other. Fear and anxiety – and decision-making — are controlled in the amigdala, and that’s buried deeply in the brain’s cortex. [pullquote position=”right”]Our primal limbic system tries to protect us with knee-jerk responses to a variety of potentially dangerous stimuli. Run! Fight! Hide! Bark![/pullquote] This worked for a long time and got us where we are today, with cities, surplus food for most, and even leisure time to pursue learning, creative endeavors, and the pursuit of happiness.

Hopefully, we’ve had enough cultural evolution by now to think mindfully instead of reactively to every new encounter. This kind of mindfulness is a major reason I treasure Star Trek so much. [pullquote]Star Trek shows an enlightened society where greed, racism, hunger, and war-like qualities are mostly eradicated, replaced with a Humanist outlook on life.[/pullquote] Look at someone like Captain Jean-Luc Picard for the finest example of a Renaissance-level human ever in entertainment. The reason so many fans are pumped he has a  new Picard show in development is so we can watch our role model again, and feel inspired to be BETTER. (Also, Sir Patrick Stewart can read recipes out loud and make them sound like epic literature. ) So, yes, Star Trek FTW: I love this kind of positive outlook on the future. Not all entertainment has to be dark and gritty to be good.

I think my favorite part of Dan’s opinion article is about taking our racist brain parts out for a walk — to pet them, to tell them “different is okay”, and to let go of old, outmoded, instinctive fears. Yes, avoiding different was once a source of support and longevity. We in H. sapiens have had enough cycles of comfort and prosperity by now that we can TEACH ourselves to be more tolerant, less judgmental. (Which includes being tolerant of ourselves when we make the inevitable mistakes. There’s a learning curve.)

This is my hope. And, right, we have to work at it.  It does get easier, with practice. Constant vigilance! I believe we’ll get there in time, before the inevitable alien invasion arrives to MAKE us play well together.  😉

Through the Wormhole – Are We All Bigots?

Movie Review – The Hate U Give

Movie Review – BlacKkKlansman

Guardians of the Galaxy Ex-Director James Gunn to Direct Suicide Squad 2

We are still Groot.

In a surprise move that, in hindsight, should not be so surprising, DC snapped up erstwhile Marvel director James Gunn.

The director who helmed the beloved Guardians of the Galaxy films was fired last July from GOTG Vol3 for offensive Twitter jokes posted over a decade ago, stirring up ire and confusion from legions of fans. The entire GOTG cast got involved, tweeting support for Gunn and asking Disney to reconsider their stance. One actor, Dave Bautista (Drax), stated he would quit the MCU if Marvel didn’t use Gunn’s script for Vol3.

It’s been an emotional road for fans since then. I was at the San Diego Comic Con the day Gunn was slated to speak, and it hit the entire convention like a blow. He didn’t appear at all, which made a lot of sense: this knee-jerk move most probably broke his heart. GOTG was his baby, and he made Marvel a lot of money. [pullquote]Gunn took a little-known cosmic corner of the Marvel Comics universe, one with a walking tree and a talking raccoon, and made a joyously exuberant space epic that even non-geeks adore.[/pullquote]  He’s so intimately connected to his characters that he was brought in for Avengers: Infinity War to write all the Guardians’ lines, keeping the tone tied to the GOTG flicks.

Word is that Marvel, now owned by Disney, will still use Gunn’s script for the conclusion to his trilogy, but this hasn’t been confirmed. The feature was slated in the MCU roster for 2020, but is now considered on haitus. In other words, no one knows anything. There might not even BE a third Guardians film, after all is said and done.

Which leads us to the DC Extended Universe. Suicide Squad was intended to be DC’s equivalent to the MCU’s Guardians movies, with rollicking tunes and irreverent characters who are “something good, something bad: a little bit of both.” Unfortunately, SS really wasn’t very good, and became another dead end in DC’s bid to catch up with the MCU.

Gunn coming on board will change things. With the Wonderwoman films course correcting the entire franchise, and the anticipation awaiting December’s Aquaman film, this could be just the kick in the pants DC needed to compete for the hearts of fans. They certainly made a smart call to add Gunn to their universe.  He’s expected to bring to Suicide Squad 2 what he lent to the Guardians films: a freshness, good tunes, witty dialog, and a rousing sense of adventurous fun.

Movie Review – First Man

 

Movie Review - First ManFirst Man is a thoughtfully crafted, well-made film that a lot of reviewers seemed to love. Ryan Gosling definitely dove into the part. The nostalgia of returning to the 1960s was neat, and the scenes in actual space were close to brilliant at times.  It felt like being there, as the Saturn V thundered out of our atmosphere. There was a sense of transcendence, viewing the Earthrise from orbit, and it was a sight that made even the  generally reticent Armstrong crack a big old smile (more on him, later). The space shots looked very real, albeit coupled with a slightly grainy film quality, making it feel more like the 60s.

[pullquote]The space images alone made seeing this in IMAX worth the extra price.[/pullquote] I wish there were more scenes in space and on the moon, but you can’t have everything you want in a movie, now can you?

Some thoughts: a lot of the purposefully jiggly hand-held camera work was distracting, especially in the many long, quiet interpersonal scenes. It underscored the “documentary” feel, but I noticed it too much, taking me out of the moment.

I understand the story is supposed to be a deeply personal and intimate story of one man’s journey to overcome his emotional pain, and eventually do something extraordinary.

The “one man” in question is Neil Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling) –the first man to walk in the moon. It was an amazing moment for mankind, but make no mistake: this is not an exciting movie. [pullquote position=”right”]It’s a slow burn of a tale, and takes a long time to get anywhere.[/pullquote] We spend relatively little movie-time in space, and barely any on the moon. For a 2 hour and 20 minute film, there’s surprisingly little story to tell.

[pullquote]From the perspective of the film, it seems like the moon landing was incidental to the plot, instead focusing quite narrowly on Armstrong’s inability to move on emotionally[/pullquote] from the death of his daughter (and his colleagues in the space program). It seemed to me that 1/3 of the movie was devoted to extreme closeups of Gosling’s face, who did a great job showing almost no emotion behind his cold, blue eyes. I saw these close eye shots of him so many times that I started tracking it in my Peetime notes. It happened so often I eventually gave up. But, as with the hand-held camera jiggling, noticing the trick pulled me out of the story.

So then, with all this attention lavished on Armstrong, why do I feel we never got to know him? It’s a long movie, but Armstrong is still a cipher by the end. I understand he wasn’t a demonstrative or friendly man in real life. That’s got to be hard to base a long movie around. The viewers never get past his eyes and into his head. A few expositional scenes from others were used to describe him, instead of letting us, the viewers, get to empathize with him ourselves.

So, yes, the critics loved this movie. You can see that on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience score, however, seems a lot more evenly divided, with a middling overall grade. [pullquote position=”right”]Basically, First Man was competently done, but not stirring or thrilling.[/pullquote] I don’t know how Apollo 13 was such a fantastic film, and this one (taking place in an overlapping time frame with the same historical figures) fell short.

Here’s my conclusion. This film is, first and foremost, a biographical drama. The space program is merely a framework for telling Armstrong’s private story. In that sense, it’s a success. Nicely done within those parameters.

But if you’re looking for a rousing space epic, this isn’t your film. In my theater, people hopped up all over the place to hit the bathrooms — even during the climax of the moon landing scene. As the credits began, a few people started a halfhearted attempt to clap, but gave up quickly when no one else seemed to care.

The science and history seemed rigorously accurate (although the ‘bracelet’ thing might be a storytelling liberty). It’s just unfortunate  the first man walking on the moon was too distracted by personal demons to enjoy the experience. I mean, it’s THE MOON, MAN! You’re going where no man has gone before! Enjoy it a little.  🙂

Grade: B

One Last Note: There were some good ‘action’ moments here and there —  the flight of the Gemini, the tragedy of the Apollo 1 astronauts trapped by the door, the awe-inspiring Earthrise, the sequence with the Saturn V blasting off, and docking with the LEM. (Dan and I visited a real Saturn V at the Kennedy Space Center, and walking under it was a total highlight. And it was sweet to see the VAB here, which really impressed me in person. It’s bigger than the brain wants to accept.) So, I’d say those were the standout moments. The moon scene was surprisingly underwhelming. I know why they filmed it this way — to focus exclusively on Armstrong’s experience — but I wish it had been an ensemble with the three men instead.

(Learn how closely the movie followed Neil Armstrong’s real life, and enjoy the photos showing the differences between the real historical figures, vs the actors’ faces.)

About The Peetimes: Here are 3 good Peetimes, nicely spaced out. You won’t miss any action, or even much dialog, during any of them. The middle one, at 1 hour and 7 minutes, gives you a whole 5 minutes to run and pee, so try to shoot for that. It’s a long film, so you should definitely use a Peetime to stay comfortable through the lunar landing climax. A lot of people got up and down at bad times during the opening showing. .

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of First Man. (What we mean by Anything Extra)

First Man Opinion — Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Apollo 11 Trivia Quiz