Virgin Movie Review – Sully

tom hanks in sullyLet’s just open with this axiom: Tom Hanks can do no wrong.

Done.

That’s not much of a review, is it?

Starting again: I just watched Sully last night for the first time. Somehow, I never heard about “The Miracle on the Hudson.” I shy away from the news, because “news” usually equals “bad news” and I don’t need any more of that. But in this case, as with The Apollo 13 mission, the story fell into the rare “good news” category.

Funnily enough, both Sully and Apollo 13 star Tom Hanks. This man can really lead a film — and I kind of felt, watching Sully, this was a bit like “Apollo 13 with Planes.”

Take a situation where the wrong split-second decision (here it’s a 32-second decision) means a loss of all hands.  155 people survived because Captain Chesley Sullenberger saw no feasible options, and came up with a brand new one. He landed a passenger aircraft on the Hudson River, and everyone — everyone  — survived. RunPee Mom, who used to be an airline attendant, tells me no one survives an emergency landing on water. I assume this aspect led to the “Miracle” moniker. The image of everyone standing on the wings as the Airbus plane slowly sank into the Hudson River is indelible, iconic perhaps.

(The rescue scenes in the frigid water reminded me of Titanic, another true-life-based disaster film, but in that case, only 706 out of 2208 souls were pulled from the water. I assume that’s because Tom Hanks wasn’t there to save them.)

Since everyone lived, there had to be SOME kind of plot jeopardy. In Sully, it’s the “blood sucking lawyers.” The climactic formal hearing was tense and well-structured: it perfectly illustrated the obfuscating influence of insurance companies needing to place the blame on someone. How about on the shoulders of the calm-under-pressure hero who saved all the people? Great, let’s go after him! He’s about to retire anyway.

I for one loved the simulation sequences. I’m a sucker for that kind of movie exposition. I liked it when they did it on Titanic, too. It’s an early version of Star Trek’s holodeck!

What else happened in this film? There’s the inquiry and the hearing. The simulations. Tom Hanks acting opposite a cell phone. Tom Hanks having traumatic flashbacks and nightmares. He gets a drink named in his honor: The Sully: Grey Goose Vodka with a splash of water. Get it?

tom hanks and aaron eckhart
You have 32 seconds to save 155 people. What do you do?

Aaron Eckhart had an agreeable role as the co-pilot. I appreciated that he had Sully’s back. He was there; he knew what happened (“BIRDS!”).  He loyally told everyone that he trusted Sully’s judgement and was grateful to be alive. Laura Linney, playing a thankless role as Sully’s wife, had absolutely nothing to do, stuck on the end of a cell phone, in the kitchen with their daughters. That’s one of the misfires of this film. Mike O’Malley, playing the heavy, looks like he tried, but he still seemed to me like Burt Hummel from Glee, and it was hard to take him seriously. I’m glad he found a leading part in a good movie, but it was probably miscast — someone either scarier or more arch would have been a better choice. (Maybe he looked like the real person. I don’t care enough to check.) 🙂

Trying to make a side plot with some of the passengers didn’t pay off so well. Early on we are introduced to a trio of golfers getting last minute seats on the plane. That went exactly nowhere. There was also a woman with her wheelchair bound mother shoehorned into the narrative, and that was a dead end too. It was a bizarre choice: what worked in Titanic with people’s stories was only a token effort in Sully. Those well-drawn characters are what made the Titanic film so immersive and enduring. We know what happens at the end, but you kind of forget the ship will sink, because you’re caught up in the story of Jack and Rose.

Maybe they wanted to pad out Sully’s 88-minute run-time, but if so, they should have expanded the film to have these side-stories resonate. Or don’t bother trying to put a human face on the passengers, and expand on Sully’s family watching the news, back home (again, as in Apollo 13).

tom hands and sully photo
Tom Hanks and the real hero, Sully

I really enjoyed Sully and don’t want to nit-pick on it anymore. It’s a feel-good true to life story, and an inspiring one. It’s a relief to know that sometimes things work out.

By the way, Tom Hanks can carry an entire movie just talking to a volleyball. How’s that for good acting?  Who would have guessed from his early comedic films like Besom Buddies and Big that he had so much talent? I think without him, this sometimes dry and definitely spare film would have felt like a documentary.

I also think the non-linear, almost Roshoman-type story structure helped keep the interest high. There are no world changing stakes, but things could so easily have gone wrong, and crashing a plane into New York City’s skyscrapers would have rocked the nation with memories of 9/11. We can be lucky Manhattan escaped this time, and we saw from Sully’s nightmares that this was entirely on his mind. What if? Thankfully, we never found out.

(Just thinking — maybe it’s time to move the NYC airports out of the city, like Denver did, closing down Stapleton Airport. The new one is safely out on the Colorado plains, and is a state of the art, lovely airport to get stuck in.)

Overall: Sully provides an easy hour and a half of entertainment, with a real-life disaster tale and a happy ending. You get to know a little bit more about the historical events and Captain Sully himself. I was glad to see it. Like I said, there’s too much bad news out there.

Movie Grade: B+

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – A Private War

 

Movie Review - A Private WarI’ll start this review by getting one thing out of the way. I’m giving A Private War an A grade, which I don’t award often. And in this particular case, it’s something of a surprise that I’m not failing it with an F.

Let me explain: I had a terrible time with this film. It’s brutal, and this is exactly the sort of movie I need to avoid. I only sat though it to the end because it’s my job…as Marie Colvin says, “I see these things so you won’t have to.”

I honestly don’t think anyone could sit through this and say they had a good time. I had to wrack my brain to come up with the target audience for it. (More on that in a second.)

So, it’s bad? It’s good? Which is it?

I’ll start with the good: Everything in A Private War is indicative of top shelf movie production. The acting, soundtrack, lighting, set design, nonlinear storytelling, characterizations, direction, everything. It’s like this film was created as Oscar bait. I’m sure it will win a lot of awards. (And that’s the target audience. The Oscar Committee. )

I recently watched Gone Girl for the first time, and it was a surprise to see Rosamund Pike again in this. She knocked this out of the park, carrying almost the entire movie by her lonesome. Pike seems to specialize in portraying complicated characters who make questionable choices, then see their lives spiraling out of control. She does this very, very well.

The only other “character” to rival her powerful performance was the war setting itself. The director and crew crafted an indelibly inedible smorgasbord of the gruesome ferocity of war, and the effect it has on the bodies and minds of the unwitting people damaged by it.

Or even on the people going there on purpose, like Pike’s Colvin: a real person, on a real mission, who deliberately sought the worst places on the planet as fodder for her war column.

So, here’s the bad: This is a really terrible movie that no one should have to endure. By the time the parade of grotesquely mangled bodies is done you’re done — done in. I had to wash my mind out with soap. And then I sat in again to Fantastic Beasts 2 for a while, just to feel like myself and not a war torn victim.

This movie relentless bombards you with extremely graphic imagery of mangled bodies and violent, disturbing imagery. For example, there’s a scene where a throng of war correspondents stare silently at the body of one of their own. Or rather, what’s left of him.  You get to see it too: this is the stuff nightmares are made of.

We’re also bombarded by bombardment: endless mortar explosions, gunshots, pounding artillery, and automatic rifle salvos provide a sensory overload that will make your head ache and ensure you won’t sleep well that night. But it will most probably win awards, and is effective at getting across a message we should all understand by now: that war is hell, and the people who wage it are the real demons.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This isn’t a short movie, but every scene is either action-filled, or emotionally resonant. I have 3 Peetimes avoiding the war action. I recommend either the 2nd or 3rd Peetimes, as the 1st has an intense series of emotional cut-aways, but will still serve — the whole film is intense, and you won’t miss anything that won’t be shown later. Alert Peetime Note: This film is very graphic. For example, we see images of dead people with their lower torsos blown off, with their intestines spread all over the floor. I will probably add a few Alert Peetimes later, but you should realize that around a third of the movie is disturbing.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of A Private War. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

What is a Day-Killer Article?

Sometimes at RunPee we get a little carried away. We’ll start out writing a simple movie article, and it ends up being so long, or so chock full of interesting video snippets, that the piece ends up taking more of your time up than a simple coffee break will do. We have to admit, we kind of love those posts: they’re a labor of love.

But we did decide to at least warn you when they’re coming up, so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy these entertaining posts. We’re calling them Day Killers…because, well, for obvious reasons. They are the written equivalent to movies we call Bladder Busters. But, hey, you can pause these articles and pee whenever you like!

Here’s a few of our favorite Day Killers, with links to help you find them. We hope you like viewing them as much as we did putting them together. I promise, these are curated to be fun: 

I’ll be adding to this list as we write more long posts, or ones with a ton of videos attached.  Let me know if you spot something I’ve left out. Consider this a sort of RunPee public service announcement!

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Hollywood Celebrities Mourn Stan Lee on Twitter

comic book covers of superheroes from Stan Lee
Seriously. How can one man be so creatively prolific?

You can’t read this article about the legendary Stan Lee (who died this Monday at the age of 95) and not be moved, and a little choked up, by the wonderful list of loving tribute Tweets. And not only does this post scroll through messages from the expected Marvel actors and their corner of the universe, but also from ‘rival’ DC Comics,  actors from other properties like Star Wars and Star Trek, NASA, politicians, producers, directors, scientists, inventors, the US Army, space explorers, billionaires, and production studios.

If there is a big name in creative entertainment, that person has a nice story to share, or words of gratitude for the grand palette of imagination Lee painted onto our universe.

Everyone was a Stan Lee fan, and clearly, still is. Think about how different the landscape of entertainment would be without his boundless decades of genius. (And also, without his adorably amusing movie cameos.) We don’t think RunPee would have made it this far without Lee’s magical movie influence, inspiring the kind of films that help people see the value of friendship, love, and sacrifice.

Read the collected Tweets here: Hollywood Mourns the Loss of Stan Lee.

This is where social media, and especially Twitter, comes into its own, as a force for loving and not for hate.

Excelsior, Mr. Lee! Thank you for being our Guardian of the Galaxy. RIP, somewhere in the universe.

RIP Stan Lee – you will be missed

Four of Stan Lee’s Favorite Characters

Quiz – Learn About Marvel Studio’s Great Stan Lee

Stan Lee – His Marvel Cameos are a Secret Character

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Hugh Jackman Admits He Never Knew What A Wolverine Was

high jackman as wolverine from X-men
Honey Badger don’t care. And neither does Wolverine.

Hugh Jackman, AKA X-Men’s Wolverine, admitted to Stephen Colbert on The Late Show that he’d studied wolves before his first film with the X-Men. He mistakenly thought a wolverine was a type of wolf. So, kudos to an actor who immersed himself in zoology for a part.  And now I have to see the original X-Men again and watch for the subtleties of his ‘lone wolf’ portrayal.

For those of you who also don’t know, a wolverine is a real animal, native to arctic and subarctic areas (see the connection now with Logan and Alaska?), and renowned for having a super bad temper when provoked. If you corner a wolverine, it will go bananas on you, fighting like the kind of berserker we’ve seen in Jackman’s Wolverine.

So it worked out…but to be honest, I think the better berserker mutant was done with Logan’s mini-me, Laura (from the excellent film, “Logan“). That little girl had the kind of feral, remorseless ferocity intended to evoke the real wolverine deal. Less lone wolf, and more like a small, cuddly creature that will cut you.

This 3 minute video, for example, is nuts. Watch as an annoyed wolverine takes on a black bear, a creature no one else in the the history of forever would think of pestering. By the end, you’re kind of feeling bad for the bear. You go, you small ferocious weirdo:

A wolverine is a carnivore in the Mustelidae family, existing alongside other easily irked animals like the weasel, the skunk, and infamously, the bizarre honey badger. And remember, Honey Badger don’t care. After seeing this viral, strange, and very funny video, I wonder how Jackman would have felt if his character was called Logan, the Honey Badger:

This last 4.26 minute video calls wolverines the honey badgers of the north, pulling it all together. It’s a lot of fun. And educational! Always a great combo:

According to an interview with The Economic Times, Mr. Jackman is a fan of the RunPee app, and likes to check his own movies to see if his scenes get turned into Peetimes. We love hearing this kind of thing. If I was a celebrity, I’d check my films on the app too. 😉

Read our RunPee movie review of Logan, and a link to all articles on the blog tagged with X-Men

Movie Review – Logan

 

 

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

 

Movie Review - Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldI don’t know what happened with this movie. It looked great from the trailers, and seemed like the story would make sense. The film itself, though, was a big beautiful mess. I’m not even sure what I saw.

I’m essentially a Harry Potter expert. I’ve read the books dozens of times, seen the movies even more, visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and traveled to places filmed on location in both London and Scotland. I belong to a Harry Potter Meetup group, and have different wizard outfits, cobbled together over the years. I’ve made wands. Blah blah blah. All this to make it clear when I say I don’t understand Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It’s a painful feeling.

It’s not even just me. I went with a fellow wizard friend, and he was disappointed and lost too. After the film, we tried to figure out what the movie was about, why the characters did the things they did, and were both just puzzled.

I saw the movie in IMAX at a select early screening with reserved tickets in a packed theater. Everyone there was a big HP fan, ready to have an exciting time. The audience started out applauding and cheering when different things occurred onscreen, like seeing Dumbledore, during the Hogwarts scene, when different creatures showed up, and when certain early secrets were revealed. However, as the movie wore on, the audience got more and more quiet. By the end, you could hear a pin drop. There was no final applause, which spoke volumes in its silence. People filed out with no fanfare or excitement. Basically, JK Rowling’s biggest fanbase seemed alienated.

I’ll probably see this a few more times in the theater — and it really is a pretty piece of work. I hope to figure out what the plot was about and why the characters did the things they did. I’m positive I’ll have better things to say about this film then. But in the meantime, I’ll say this: if I couldn’t follow the weird, convoluted, and very messy narrative told here, I doubt the casual fan will know what to make of it.

UPDATED OPINION: I saw this a second time and have a somewhat different review and grade for it in mind. I ‘m thinking a solid B now. My first experience was spent taking an intense amount of notes for RunPee and I missed a lot of what transpired. This is the kind of film you really can’t be distracted for. (Don’t make Peetimes kids, if you like movies!) I enjoyed my second viewing, but still stand by my original take — this sequel is problematic.

Grade: B (Updated)

About The Peetimes: I attended a premier showing before the film officially opened. (I had to drink my hoarded Felix Felicis Potion to get this ticket.) While this is great news for RunPee fans, I will admit this was the hardest movie ever for me to get Peetimes. The film moves at a breakneck pace, with too many characters — many of whom were brand new and didn’t make any sense in the film. I added 2 Peetimes, in any case. The 1st is better, at 39 minutes in. The 2nd, at 1:16 will also serve. Neither of these scenes have any interesting action or fantastic beasts.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Why Fantastic Beasts 2 is not so Fantastic

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Four of Stan Lee’s Favorite Characters

Stan-Lee-spider-man-with-fans
Stan Lee with fans dressed as their favorite supes…with his true love: Spider-Man

There’s no doubt Stan Lee, often together with frequent co-inventor/artist Jack Kirby, created some of the most beloved, enduring, and influential superhero characters.  Without Lee, there would be no Marvel Universe, at least not with the faces by which we know it. Lee was a man with a mission of hope for millions of kids, giving a heroic voice to the underdogs, the alienated, and the disenfranchised.

Here are a few of Lee’s apparent favorite superhero creations:

  1. Lee seemed to identify most with Spider-Man, an emotional, talkative, and sometimes naive teen. According to Quora: “Spider Man symbolizes the little guy and that appeals a great deal to Stan. I’m not saying that Stan doesn’t love any other creation because that isn’t true. He has love for all of his characters that he brought to life. I just think that Spider Man has a special place in his heart. If you look at some of the publications and advertisements you will see Stan with Spider Man quite often.”
    It doesn’t hurt that this character became the face of Marvel for many years.
  2. Dr. Banner/The Hulk Banner was a man tormented by an often violent inner volatility. His human form contained a man a science, characterized by rational  intellect — never knowing when he would lose his cool to become an overpowered child-like rage monster. He’s the personification of the ultimate battle between the Id and the Ego. AV Club reports: “There’s definitely an element of wish fulfillment in the Hulk for readers that wish they could let themselves fully give in to their anger—my appreciation for the character developed during my closeted teenage years—but Lee and Kirby were clear early on that this was a curse for Banner rather than a gift.”
  3. Black Panther – At the height of the Civil Rights movement, Lee created the first eponymous African superhero, starting with King T’Chaka, eventually  passing the role to his son King T’Challa. A previously under-served, large section of the world’s population could finally find superheroes who looked like them — an entire paradisaical high-tech country of them, in fact — in the secret cities and unspoiled countryside of Wakanda. The Rolling Stone reports: “An entire generation of children will now know that a black superhero, society, imagination and power can exist right alongside Peter Parker, Steve Rogers, and Bruce Wayne. An entire generation of children will not know what it feels like to not see themselves reflected back on costume racks, coloring books or movie screens. We’re at a pivotal time where these characters and stories are coming not out of permission or obligation, but necessity.”
  4. For The X-Men, as an ensemble, this might be cheating, but he loved these fleshed out characters, who tried to do the right thing in a world that didn’t want them. They were flawed but regular people at heart, caught up in circumstances where they were forced to make a choice: to look out for regular humans, or to look out for fellow Mutants. In theory, the choice should be easy (both sides could reap the rewards of working together), but in reality it was like forcing opposite poles of magnets to align. You can’t help but feel a sense of tragedy for both sides. As a child, I self-identified as a mutant, or perhaps as someone from another world, impersonating as a human. According to the AV Club the young mutants were “a bunch of awkward, uncertain outcasts, drawing strength from each other in order to get through life in a world that didn’t especially like them, who just happened to have superpowers to boot. For a pre-teen who often felt like the odd one out in school, it was a lightning bolt, a volcanic eruption that ripped open the pop culture I had been consuming and showed me the way to a different one, one that existed inside the pages of comics. The heroes were fascinatingly flawed, all of them given to social isolation in one form or another, and it spoke to me in a way few things have. The symbolism of the mutant heroes is powerful, which is why they’ve been used as an allegory for just about every marginalized group at this point (and were created by Lee with the express intent of functioning as such).”

This week, the galaxy lost a voice of vast imagination and fun, who held deeply felt humanitarian roots, shaping millions of young lives through the colorful comicbook medium. He also influenced modern adults, bringing all-too-human characters to the big screen, reshaping the superhero landscape indelibly from anything we’d seen before. If you’ve enjoyed the 20+ film saga of the MCU, or the X-Men movies, you can’t help but be touched by Stan Lee’s contribution to entertainment, and feel a deeper understanding of ourselves.

We at RunPee love superheroes, clearly identifying with the underdogs who decided to do something for the world, even if it’s as simple as helping everyday people in small ways, one bladder at a time.

Here’s a couple of our recent Stan Lee articles, and one cool quiz: 

RIP Stan Lee – you will be missed

Quiz – Learn About Marvel Studio’s Great Stan Lee

Stan Lee – His Marvel Cameos are a Secret Character

Every Stan Lee Cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

 

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

RIP Stan Lee – you will be missed

stan-lee-marvel-superhero
The Man. The Spider. And every other beloved Marvel superhero. Stan Lee, you will be missed.

We just heard today (11/12/18) about the passing of legendary Marvel Comics superhero creator and movie co-producer Stan Lee, at the age of 95.

Not only was he beloved for introducing the world to such enduring characters as as The Hulk, Thor, Black Panther, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the X-Men (among many others), but he also appeared in some way in every Marvel movie, in vastly amusing cameos.

In a recent MCU massive movie rewatch this summer in New York to herald the coming of Ant Man & The Wasp, it’s reported the biggest laughs and moments of outrageous fan applause came during each Lee cameo. His ritual appearances were always highly anticipated by legions of fans, and it was exciting when Lee and Marvel Studios confirmed a fan theory that all his tiny scenes added up to an ongoing arc for his own character as a Watcher Informant. (See link below to our article about his own MCU character.)

At this point, it’s known that Lee hated to fly, and preferred to shoot his upcoming movie scenes in batches. So we will probably see at least two post-mortem cameos next Spring: one for Captain Marvel in March, and in Avengers 4 (still untitled) in May. It would be nice if at least one of those cameos had a little more meat to them, as a proper send-off to a beloved superhero creator.

Something I think we can all feel pleased about is that just this last June, Mr. Lee (along with JK Rowling for Harry Potter and Joss Whedon for Buffy) was inducted into the Sci Fi & Fantasy Hall of Fame.  According to Screenrant, “previous inductees include the likes of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Gene Roddenberry, Terry Pratchett, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.” It’s a pleasure to realize Lee was alive to receive this rare and sought-after award.

Here are a few articles we wrote on RunPee about Stan Lee this past summer that you won’t want to have missed, including a video roundup of every Marvel Cinematic Universe cameo:

Stan Lee – His Marvel Cameos are a Secret Character

Every Stan Lee Cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Guardians of the Galaxy Song – Guardians Inferno

Deadpool MCU Crossover Moments

RIP Mjölnir: Who Can Lift Thor’s Hammer?

Avengers Infinity War – Characters Missing in Action, Whereabouts Unknown

And here’s a link to all the movies articles tagged with Marvel on RunPee.com.

We send loving wishes to Stan Lee’s family and hope they can feel peace through this trying time. Mr.  Lee leaves behind a legacy previously unheard of in cinema — making a linked series of 20+ award-winning blockbuster movies — not to mention a  lifetime of extraordinary comic book creation.  Thank you for being our Guardian of the Galaxy. Rest In Peace, somewhere in the universe. 

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Rewatch Review – Patriot Games

classic patriot games with harrison ford
Another Sean Bean bites the dust

Patriot Games was always on my list of favorite films, up until some other good stuff came along (like the Harry Potter films, the Lord of the RingsThe Hunger Games, and even The Martian) to push it off my personal Top Ten List.

Still, it’s a very fine movie. Really! The soundtrack and Enya crescendos rocked. It was a fine emotional family journey. It just hasn’t aged as well as it did before the Information Age kicked in. The amazing things we see the CIA do are simply no longer that amazing.

It’s like, “Yeah, yeah, re-task the damn satellites;  I could probably do this from my cellphone.” And the stand-out moment, where a cold analyst says, “That’s a kill,” well…it was a bone-chilling line at the time. But after a few long decades of CIA intel flicks, this doesn’t have the resonance it once had. We’ve become  immured to deaths we see from afar.

Don’t take this as a political statement: we now only feel sad when the “good guys” die. Who’s to say who is good, and who isn’t? For far-away people caught up in a crusade that means everything to them and nothing to us, they must die. Fox Mulder of The X-Files understood the US government wasn’t as benign as they wanted us to believe. I’m just glad they destroyed the desert cell they intended to, based on absolutely no evidence and Jack Ryan’s hunch. (A sunburned man and a girl in a tank top. Really? Do we that casually wound and mass-murder in the name of justice?) [/end rant]

It was also filmed in a world of graininess. The climactic night scenes were hard to decipher, even though from my years of rewatches I knew this film like I knew my face in a mirror. Harrison Ford pulled a perfect performance, and was awesomely reunited with James Earl Jones — his first major role since the voice of Darth Vader — in a film where Sean Bean makes one of his early many, many, many (MANY) movie deaths. (What a thing to list on top of your resume. Sean, my Boromir, I love you anyway.)

All this to say that what was once an A+ film has dropped, through no fault of its own, to an A-. We’ve had so many better films over the ensuing decades. How could I say this is a better film than the last batch of Mission Impossible flicks?  Or Jason Bourne‘s journey? Just because I have a super soft spot for Patriot Games doesn’t mean it’s still the best bag of chips in the vending machine.

Movie Grade: A- (I feel terrible giving this a lower grade on my rewatch. Thank goodness Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jaws, are still perfect films!)

NOTE: I need to rewatch the prequel Hunt for Red October, which I recall as an incredible film, even though Jack Ryan (and his wife) were played by other actors. I recall that the threequel was not up to snuff.  Thoughts?

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Virgin Movie Review – Gone Girl (with Spoilers)

Gone-girl-actors
The girl is back.

I feel physically unclean after seeing Gone Girl. Seriously. Please excuse me while I take a scalding shower….

Okay, I’m back. Very clean. HEY, past this point, there be SPOILERS in DETAIL about Gone Girl.

I think I washed the stench of evil from my skin. Eeeeevil. E-VIL. The ‘girl’ is the scariest psychotic imaginable. Sweet Holy Moses, Gone Girl was an intense experience. I shuffled through a lot of emotions, viewing it. Initial interest, a pervading sense of depression, to thinking I guessed the secret, to being lost in layers of deceit, experiencing a bit of boredom in the middle…then with more depression seeping in, and finally ending on a note of mesmerized fascination as the two leads went head to head in a battle royale for power (Amy) or life (Nick).

And you know what? By the end, smart as Nick is, Amy wins in every way that counts. Back to feeling depressed. Fade to black.

To start, I was very much a Virgin to Gone Girl. I heard nothing about it, save that people liked it. I’d thought maybe kidnapping was involved. But most consistently, nobody — nobody — would tell me what it was about. They’d say, “I can’t discuss it without spoilers.” To which I felt, “Screw that: there must be something you can tell me.”

I guess I should thank all those folks, since if anyone had given me a rough outline of Gone Girl, I never would have seen it. And I’m glad I did, even though that woman makes my skin crawl. I like thrillers and dislike drama, and this one walks a line somewhere between both genres.

The cleverness of the plot is based on a somewhat dismal viewer realization: that no one in Gone Girl are nice people. Not the estranged couple, or Neil Patrick Harris’ character, Amy’s parents, her various neighbors, the story-chasing news casters, the lawyer (although at least he’s jovial about it)…I’ll make an exception for the sister and the detective. I actually kept waiting for the twin sister to kill Amy at the denouement, maybe offscreen, freeing up her brother and getting satisfaction for ridding the world of a very, very dangerous woman. One who should NOT be raising kids.

This is a bit glossed over in the end, but if I was the husband, I’d spend the next few years planning the perfect murder, before Amy terrorizes and ruins their child. (And I speak as a pacifist. Some psychopaths are too dangerous to keep alive.)

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike were perfectly cast: I believed in their characters, the narrative, their pain, their violent tendencies. I felt like a voyeur at times, intruding on people’s private, very dirty laundry. Some details you’re better off not knowing about your neighbors, friends, co-workers, or even your spouse. Some people are too steeped in rot to be redeemed. Sometimes a thing is too broken to be fixed.

This is a hard one to grade, since it’s both an excellent flick, and one that’s intensely unpleasant to sit through. Is this a masterfully told, extraordinarily acted, awful film?

It’s not really my genre. I love a good thriller and a mystery, which this has in turns, but tonally it’s suffused with creeping dread and claustrophobic horror. Hitchcock would love this story. It’s almost too dark for words, even though the plot very much works, within the boundaries of flashback structures, the flow of acts, a distinctly non-linear narration, and an ending that makes you want to do bad things to bad people for good reasons. When it concludes, it’s sudden and unexpected: you’re left with only the pervasive sense of being trapped, for life, in a lethal, gilded cage.

[“I say they should take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” — Ripley, from Aliens.]

Movie Grade: B+

(A Virgin Movie Review is one where we haven’t seen the movie in question when it came out, and watched it with no particular expectations.)

Read the original RunPee Review of Gone Girl by RunPee Dan.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)