Movie Review – The Big Sick (2017)

A breakup, heartache, a coma and comedy?

Yes, it’s probably the funniest movie about a coma you’ve ever seen.

BQB here with a review of “The Big Sick.”

You’ve seen comedian Kumail Nanjiani on HBO’s “Silicon Valley” where he delivers jokes with a cunning, deadpan style, often only alerting viewers that a joke has even taken place with a subtly playful eye movement.

Now comes his big screen debut in an autobiographical story about how he and his wife Emily found their own happily ever after.

In this film, Kumail plays himself.  He’s a Pakistani immigrant, his parents having moved to the US when he was a boy.  He’s struggling as a stand-up comic in Chicago when he meets Emily (Zoe Kazan playing a fictional version of Kumail’s real life wife Emily.)

The duo hits it off, finding that brilliant romance most of us can only dream about.  Alas, there’s a problem.  Kumail’s family are very traditional, devout Muslims.  In particular, his mother will accept nothing less than his marriage to a Pakistani Muslim woman.  Whenever Kumail visits for family dinner, his mother arranges for a different prospective Muslim girl to “drop in” in to meet her son.

Ultimately, Kumail is pressured, forced to choose between disappointing his family or disappointing a woman he sees as the great love of his life.  A fight ensues, a breakup occurs and shortly thereafter, Emily is hospitalized and put into a forced coma as doctors wrack their brains trying to figure out how to cure a freak, rare infection.

None of this sounds like it should be good fodder for comedy.  Honestly, there are many tender, touching moments that highlight the gut wrenching pain that comes with love – the choices we must make, the comprises we must make, the decisions we must make, all in the name of figuring out how to stay true to ourselves while making another person happy.

Kumail loves this woman, so much so that he parks himself in the hospital, waiting for his love to wake up.  This is to the great chagrin of Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano), Emily’s parents who fly in to care for their daughter in her time of need.

Beth and Terry only know that their daughter’s last pre-coma thoughts of Kumail was that he was a dick who’d screwed the whole relationship up – not a great first impression to make on your prospective future in-laws.

Meanwhile, Emily’s illness is so rare that someone needs to do the legwork necessary to research it and check up on the doctors to see if they are making the right decisions.

It’s up to Kumail to try to save the day, to save his love, to win over her parents….all in all, a very tall order that most people are ill equipped to handle.

It’s an ambitious scenario to be certain.  In another comedian’s hands, it could have fallen flat.  However, as Kumail reaches his boiling point outside a fast food drive-thru, beating the crap out of a trash can when a cashier refuses to put extra cheese on his burger as he tries to satisfy a stress eating binge, we laugh…and we can relate.  We all have had those moments where life freaks us out to our tipping point.

Holly Hunter and Ray Romano are great as the parents.  Ray’s character is epically lonely, in search of a friend that he finds in Kumail.  This is actually the most acting I’ve ever seen Ray Romano do. Holly dumps on Kumail with reckless abandon until other people start dumping on Kumail and her mama grizzly bear claws come out.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Good date film.  Time will tell if Kumail will be able to repeat this success, but he and Emily had such a unique, touching story that it really pays off on film.

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Movie Review – Dunkirk (2017)

Bombs!  Explosions!  The fate of the free world!

BQB here with a review of Christopher Nolan’s World War II flick, “Dunkirk.”

It’s May of 1940. The Nazis have swept into France and pushed allied British and French troops to the sea.  400,000 troops await evacuation while being pinned down by Nazi fighter/bomber warplanes.

The stakes are high.  The loss of 400,000 troops would be a terrible loss for the allies, hindering their chances of victory.  However, Churchill has surmised that to send in Navy warships to pick up the men would be a suicide mission, essentially sinking the much needed ships.

Thus, it’s a death defying escape mission.  The film switches back and forth between various parties.  British Fighter Pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) patrols the scene, shooting down German fighters and watching the backs of those on the ground below.  Meanwhile, Mark Rylance plays Mr. Dawson, one of the many private citizens who volunteered to take their commercial/fishing boats into the war zone to help rescue the troops.  He dukes it out with Cillian Murphy, a battle weary soldier he’s picked up who, for obvious reasons, is scared to return to Dunkirk.

Soldiers trapped in the hold of a ship hunker down to avoid the constant gunfire piercing the ship’s hull.  Kenneth Branagh, the highest ranking officer on the scene, makes a lot of sullen facial expressions every time one of his subordinates delivers bad news, essentially capturing the fear that death might be certain and imminent.

If you’re looking for a plot driven film, you might be disappointed.  There isn’t much intrigue.  There aren’t any twists.  There isn’t much in the way of getting to know the characters or their backstory.  It’s basically a battle reenactment caught on film.

It’s a pretty intense ride.  Nolan makes ample use of ominous music, making you feel as though a Nazi fighter pilot might drop a bomb on your head at any minute.  He also works wonders with sound, the explosions are so loud and jarring you can feel them rattle you, probably the closest experience to war that can be provided through a film.

History flicks are always a risk.  The general public does not want to be educated.  They want to be entertained.  However, Nolan earned his bones through Batman, giving him the ability to preserve this heroic tale on film, one where the military and private citizens came together in a swift, massive effort to avoid a defeat that could have been staggering.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Worth a trip to the theater.

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I’m Phoning It In…

Yeah, 3.5.  Lots on my mind lately, so I’ve been neglecting this fine blog.  Do you have anything interesting to say?

If not, buy my fine book and get some inspiration.

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BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – The Police Academy Movies

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

I used to love these movies as a kid, so I caught the original on Netflix.  Have to say, not as funny as an adult though still mildly humorous.

A lot of dated humor.  For example, one of the evil cadets calls Officer Hooks, an African American woman with a mousey demeanor and squeaky voice a “dumb jigaboo” which is about as old as a racially derogatory word as you might find.

In response, Officer Hightower, aka super tall and strong football player Bubba Smith, personally picks up the evil cadet’s squad car and turns it over onto the roof.  It’s a nice scene, awesome that he stands up for Hooks, especially because the evil Lt. Harris lets him know if he does he’s out of the academy.  But he does it anyway, the moral being sometimes you have to stand up for what is right, consequences be damned.  Hightower knows his career as an officer will be over, but he must stand up for his friend and put a bully in his place.

Sucks to hear the word “jigaboo” in a movie but cool to see a man stand up for his friend. That was probably the most thought provoking part of an otherwise incredibly dumb movie.

My main takeaway is that I’m getting old.  When I was a kid, all these cops seemed like cool adults having fun.  Now, they all look like kids to me.

Also, Michael Winslow’s sound effects are awesome.

The second one is actually funnier than the first.  I don’t remember the others.

Check them out, 3.5.  The first is on netflix.

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Free Chat Weds

Talk amongst yourselves, 3.5 readers

Should Ed Sheeran Have Had a Cameo on Game of Thrones?

Pro – he’s probably a fan who had a good time doing it.

Con – This show is bigger than the actors.  It has never had to rest on large personalities or gimmicks, so this seemed cheesy.


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Movie Review – War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Yikes.  This movie was so bad I wanted to fling some monkey poop at the screen.

BQB here with a review of “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

Here’s my first observation – there wasn’t a war.  I mean, a war was on in the background but mainly, this film is a prison break picture.  They should have called it, “The Great Escape of the Planet of the Apes” because it’s basically “The Great Escape” meets “Planet of the Apes.”

The humans are in a civil war, as a rogue colonel (Woody Harrelson) has gone above and beyond with tactics that the other humans aren’t comfortable with, seeking to eradicate the apes altogether and going against any kind of hope for a peace between man and primate.

Ape leader Cesar goes on a mission to take out the colonel but soon learns the more pressing situation is that the colonel is holding tons of apes in captivity, forcing them to do hard labor in ape camps.  Even worse, the apes are not paid in bananas.  Some apes have grown so used to their oppression that they have become Uncle Tom apes, i.e. they jump whenever their human masters say jump.

Ergo, Cesar and ape friends hatch a scheme to break the apes out.  Therefore, it’s a prison break film and not really a war film.

The movie is long, cumbersome and it meanders all over the place.  At times, it is boring, especially in long scenes where CGI simians talk to each other using monkey sign language.

Also, there are things that are introduced that go nowhere.  For example, one of the monkeys saves a little girl and takes her on as his own daughter.  The moral is that sometimes you have to do the right thing even if it is beyond the norm, i.e. a monkey takes care of a human kid.  However, spoiler alert, we never learn what happens to the human kid by the end of the movie.

Overall, it’s a stinkfest.  While “Dawn” and “Rise” were decent, this end of the trilogy should hopefully end the ape movies for awhile.  I mean, at this point, they’re going to really need to come up with a kick ass idea to justify making another one of these things.

It’s just sad because I know how the conversation went down:

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #1 – Boy, we have a lot of creative, original scripts to choose from.

HOLLYWOOD SUIT #2 – Make another monkey movie.

It’s enough to drive a man bananas, 3.5 readers.

STATUS: Un-shelfworthy, a label I don’t apply lightly, but seriously, it is worthy of much monkey poop being flung at it.  A dumb end to a prequel series where the first two were pretty good.

Game of Thrones Wrap-Up – Season 7, Episode 1 – Dragonstone

It’s a Game of Spoilers, 3.5 readers.  Look away, I say.

Basically, Cersei and Jaime are screwed, and more so than the usual screwing they do to each other.

To the South, the Dornish Amazons are pissed.  To the North, Jon Snow is King.  The Whitewalkers are headed for the Wall.

Oh, and the Khaleesi has landed.  Repeat, the Khaleesi has landed.

Arya has taken out all the Freys with her ninja skills.  Oh and all the kids have officially grown up.  Arya, Bran and Sansa are all super tall and look like they ate their Wheaties over the past year.  Sigh, this decade really has moved fast, hasn’t it?

Yes, things suck big time for Cersei.  And with her children and family gone, Jaime asks the inevitable question of what are they even fighting for?

Her only potential ally at this point seems to be Euron Greyjoy, who promises a fleet and a special mysterious gift if he can get all up in Cersei’s lady business.

Don’t do it, Euron.  You know she’s packing a steel bear trap in that thing.

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RIP George Romero and Martin Landau

Hey 3.5 readers.

First, as I am a zombie lover, it is my sad duty to inform all 3.5 of you that George Romero, director of “Night of the Living Dead” and the inventor of the zombie genre has died.

All zombies will be required to eat their brains at half mast.

Second, Martin Landau, who won an Oscar playing down and out, drug addled Dracula actor Bella Lugosi in “Ed Wood” has died.

The creator of zombies and Dracula, gone in one day.  Truly a sad day for horror nerds.


The Male Biological Clock is Real

Hey 3.5 readers.

My best buddy, “The Alleged Man” or the person everyone thinks is me but isn’t, has been pretty bummed as of late.

See, he’s 38, and since 35 the realization has been a slow trickle, now turning into a busted water faucet of a realization that his window to father children is getting narrower and narrower.

In theory, yes, if you can squeeze out some joy juice out of a one hundred year old man, you might be able to use it to knock up a chick.  However, that 100 year old still needs to get the go ahead from a young, fertile chick…because, you know, otherwise he’d be a centenarian rapist.

NOTE TO SELF:  “Centenarian Rapist” would be an awesome title for my next book.  TAGLINE: He raped his way through the Great Depression and two world wars, now he’s raping his way into the grave.  Begin plans for a 99 Design cover contest posthaste.

Back to the point.  Do things look grim for this stud muffin?  Should he just slap himself for not working harder to impregnate a chick in his early days, then forgive himself an accept his spawn-less existence?

I mean, our own 45th POTUS managed to knock up a hot younger woman at age 60 but, you know, he’s super rich and famous and also the POTUS and also has fantastic hair and I have heard rumors that he is often talked about on the news for some reason.

But do keep in mind AM not rich or famous or the POTUS.  That probably won’t happen until I release “Son of Toilet Gator” and then everyone will be all like “Oh AM you’re so super awesome, please impregnate all the women, yay.”

Yeah, yeah, forget pity and condolences about “Hey, Alleged Man, maybe you can adopt or maybe you’ll meet a babe with kids of her own and the Dad has skipped town.”

The Alleged Man is wondering about his chances of actually getting his swimmers past the fallopian goal line.

Sadly, the “Sell a Billion Copies of Toilet Gator and impregnate a gold digging supermodel” looks like it is still years away from coming to fruition.

Plus, AM recently read something about how the older you get, the worse your sperm gets.  AM is now highly concerned that a microscopic slide of his jism would bear a striking resemblance to a bunch of tiny tadpoles slapping each other around like the Three Stooges.  Nyuk nyuk.


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