Category Archives: Movies

Movie Review – The Last Laugh (2019)

Getting old sucks, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of “The Last Laugh.”

Here’s something I’ve learned over the years.  No one really WANTS to check out of life.  Your grandpa doesn’t really like sitting in his rocking chair all day and eating dinner at 4.  Unfortunately, the body gives out and sooner or later, if you don’t slow down then your body will do it for you.

Al Hart and Buddy Green (Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss) are two old timers who despise the retired life.  50 years ago, Buddy was an up and coming stand-up comedian who was about to make it big when he decided to put the glitz behind him and become a podiatrist, much to the disappointment of his manager, Al.

Today, Al is at the end of his talent management career, not by choice but because all of his clients got old and died.  When his granddaughter (Kate Miccuci) checks him in at an old folks’ home, he is reunited with Buddy and they decide to take to the road, booking appearances at dive comedy clubs across the country, all in the hopes of snagging every comedian’s dream, a set on one of the late night comedy shows.

It’s a road trip.  There are some decent laughs.  It’s a bit sad as it highlights how old people are basically young people trapped in bodies that are falling apart.  Andie MacDowell stars as Chevy’s love interest.  Part of me was happy to see her in a movie again and part of me realized that women may have a point about bias in the entertainment industry as Chevy and Richard look like a pair wet old farts but of course, they had to find the hottest old lady imaginable to tag along.  God forbid Chevy hooks up with someone who looks like your actual grandma.

It’s not a movie I’d rush to see but I suppose that’s the beauty of Netflix.  Just as Al gives his old friend one last shot at stardom, this streaming service is giving geezers who would normally be shipped off to the old fart home another chance to entertain.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – The Oath (2018)

This movie is garbage.  Just total, red hot garbage.

Seriously.  I don’t know why I’m even bothering to review it but here goes.

BQB here with a review of “The Oath.”

Somewhere out there is a movie about a family of people from different sides of the political spectrum who overcome their differences over the holidays and end up all the better for it.

This film is not it.

Initially, it seemed like it was trying to be.  It takes place in a world where the government has sanctioned a supposedly non-mandatory oath, asking citizens to pledge their loyalty to the president.   Talking head pundits explain that the pledge is not required, though mounting pressures make it so that those who don’t sign will be ostracized.

Enter Ike Barinholtz and Tiffany Haddish, a liberal couple who have vowed to not sign the oath.  The deadline to sign is Black Friday and the majority of the film takes place during Thanksgiving week.

Over the course of the holiday, Ike gets angrier and angrier as he finds out everyone in his life who he thought was going to stick with him against the oath caves in and signs out of fear of retribution.

Meanwhile, in true Hollywood fashion, conservatives are portrayed as either monsters or dopes who blindly sign the pledge.  Old man in a restaurant attacks people who don’t like the pledge with his cane = monster.  Ike’s brother and sister-in-law who sign the pledge because they think it’s the patriotic thing to do = dopes.

Ironically, if there ever was an issue that would unite liberals and conservatives together, it would probably be a state sanctioned loyalty oath.

The film is schizophrenic and isn’t sure which direction it wants to go in.  It’s billed as a comedy, but my funny bone was never tickled.  It eventually turns into a violent, dramatic quasi-thriller, or at least it wants to be but the premise is so ridiculous that it makes who wonder what substance was being smoked by whoever green lit it.  Worse, comedic elements are weaved into the mayhem, which just comes off as gross and stupid.

To the film’s credit, Ike works himself into a lather throughout the first half of the film, culminating into a crescendo where he loses it at Thanksgiving dinner, chews out his family of oath loving conservatives (and liberals who caved) and tells them they’re all pigs who should be hanged.  Point made.  If you get yourself so worked up over your political leanings that you start talking about breaking out the nooses for your own family, you might want to chill out and realize you’ve become the ogre that you claim to despise.

It could have ended there as a somewhat lackluster, forgettable film but then two agents from a government agency that administers the oath show up.  Blah, blah, blah, mistakes are made and Ike and family end up in a brawl that ends with the agents severely wounded and held hostage.

At this point, you can almost hear whatever attempts at comedy had been made getting sucked out of the film.  There are some jokes throughout the second half that fall utterly flat because, Jesus Christ and holy shit, there are two government agents who have been beaten half to death in the living room and yet somehow (SPOILER ALERT) no one ends up going to jail. Worse, some of the beatings are so hardcore that you wonder how they ended up in a comedy film because really, they’re the stuff of horror flicks.

I hate to give bad reviews of movies.  After all, I’ve never made a movie before, so who am I to judge?  This one sucks.  And blows.  It sucks and blows.

Is there a movie where a big, extended family that features a mix of die hard, conservative MAGA hat wearing Trump fans and hardcore, liberal pussy hat wearing resisters come together over the holidays and learn to love each other despite their disagreements?  There is.

I doubt Hollywood could ever make it because both sides would have to be treated equally.  That would require a script where jokes are made about BOTH liberals and conservatives AND conservatives would have to be portrayed as something more than the stereotypical hillbilly boogie man.

Moreover, characters would have to be allowed to discuss the major issues of the day and characters on BOTH sides of the aisle would have to be portrayed in a manner such that the audience could understand what life experiences the characters had that led them to that conclusion.

Hollywood could never do it.  “Orange man=bad.  Conservatives = hillbilly moonshine swigging boogie man who wants to kidnap all your non-white friends and hogtie them with the Confederate flag.  The End.”

It’s too bad because if a legit comedy that gave us the ins and outs of a mixed family of conservatives and liberals could be made, it would be award winning stuff.

Again, this film isn’t it and it’s too bad because it could have been.

STATUS: Not shelf-worthy.  The worst of 2018.  Try not to blame Tiffany Haddish.  She does her best to shine amidst a movie that is a pile of shit.

 

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Movie Review – Bumblebee (2018)

This review is more than meets the eye, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with a review of “Bumblebee.”

The first “Transformers” film wowed us and then the rest have been garbage.  Admittedly, it is a tough situation.  Focus too much on the humans and the nerds get upset.  Focus too much on the robots and it becomes just a very expensive CGI cartoon.

I’m not sure “Bumblebee” is good in comparison to other films but in comparison to the rest of the Transformer movies, it shines.  On the surface, it is the same old story told over again, namely that yet another wayward teenager (Hailee Steinfeld) seeks out a broken down car in a junkyard in the hopes of driving it to a new life, only to discover the car is a Transformer (and usually Bumblebee).

It’s shortly after the fall of Cybertron and Bumblee is scouting out Earth, waiting for Optimus and pals to arrive. He and Hailee will have to team up to fight Decepticons and John Cena who is an Army dude who isn’t quite sure what to think about transformers and, oh holy shit, do you really care?

It sucked less than the other films in the series.  However, I think at some point Hollywood either needs to can it with the Transformers, or re-start anew and figure out a way to embrace some decent plots whilst not becoming too silly.

Ironically, the 1980s kid show was heady for its day.  It was all about the fight for limited resources (the transformers need energy to run and Decepticons want to steal it from Earth) and about the responsible exercise of power (Decepticons believe that as twenty-foot tall robots they are destined to rule over humanity whereas Autobots believe that just because they could crush the humans doesn’t mean they should.)

Somewhere, there’s a good Transformers movie, but it hasn’t been made yet.  This came a little closer though, largely because this particular human, set in a 1980s world, had a more compelling story than the other humans, i.e. Shia and Wahlberg.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Outlaw King (2018)

Hey 3.5 readers.

Gotta break it to you, I’m getting old.  Also, it’s the holidays, so I’m eating too much.  The combo means I watch a movie and then boom, I fall asleep and miss twenty minutes here and there and am too lazy to roll it back.

That’s what I did with this film and lost large chunks of time.  Overall, I think it was good.  Sadly, because of my slumber this will be a lousy review.

Remember Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart?”  This is more or less the sequel.  In the aftermath of William Wallace’s defeat during a Scottish vs. English war, the Lords of Scotland surrender and pledge loyalty to King Edward of England.

The truce doesn’t last long as the lords are merely placating their elder lord.  I don’t know his name but he was in Game of Thrones, as is King Edward and no I’m not looking up their names because remember I said this would be a bad review.

When the elder lord dies, his son, Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine) is all like, “Deal’s off, fuck face” and then he runs around Scotland for the rest of the movie either getting his ass kicked or recruiting Scots to fight the English.

Meanwhile, King Edward has a son who is a doofus and it’s one of those toxic father/son relationships where the father always dumps on the son and no matter what the son does, it is never enough, so the son wants to prove himself worthy so he goes apeshit and runs all over Scotland, killing Scots and hanging them and burning up their castles and houses and shit to punish them for siding with Robert.

Ultimately, I don’t know how Robert wins because like I said, every so often I’d fall asleep, lose twenty minutes, then when I’d wake up, more people would be dead.

Note this film has some nice scenes of the Scottish country side but also intense battle scenes.  In fact, I think we take modern warfare for granted.  Yes, I know modern warfare is tough and can be brutal, but just a reminder that roughly 600 years ago, dudes were hacking each other with axes and murdering swans as sacrifices to God so that he would great them the strength to hack their enemies to pieces.  Entrails.  Loss of limbs.  I mean, holy shit.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Maybe some day I’ll watch it with a Diet Coke so I will stay awake.

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Movie Review – Bird Box (2018)

Birds!  In Boxes!

BQB here with a review of the Netflix film, “Bird Box.”

Is it a zombie movie?  No.  It’s somewhat reminiscent of that genre, but also different entirely.

The delightful Sandra Bullock plays Malorie, an expecting pregnant mother (your guess is good as mine because I love Sandy but I assumed her vag had gone sandy years ago but maybe not.  You never know.)

On her way home from a doctor visit, there’s an outbreak of some kind of mysterious force that causes people to commit suicide.  The film establishes all sorts of rules, the most pertinent being that people can’t be outside without a blindfold on.  If they stay indoors, they’re fine, but outside, if their eyes are open then they’ll see something that will make them kill themselves in the most violent, terrifying ways possible, often taking out others with them along the way.

Meanwhile, birds serve as the proverbial canary in the coal mine as they serve as early warning systems, freaking out in their cages and letting humans know that evil is afoot.

Sandy ends up in a house full of survivors, so there’s a bit of a “Walking Dead” feel for a bit.  Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich, B.D. Wong, Trevante Rhodes and others round out the cast.  They go on typical supply runs, somehow managing to navigate the outside world with their eyes closed.

Eventually, Sandy has to make a blind river run in a rowboat with two kids in tow, an unlikely task if there ever was one.

Overall, it’s a good flick.  Scary.  Has a less is more vibe.  It’s less about CGI monsters and gore and more about seeing people’s reactions to the evil playing out before them.  The first few minutes where chaos breaks out really set the scene and get the film moving.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Check it out on Netflix.

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Movie Review – Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

Hey 3.5 readers.  I’m busy getting to my Christmas stuff but just wanted to throw out some love for this movie.  It’s funny and better than your average, run of the mill romantic comedy.

Girl meets boy then finds out he’s rich and she has to struggle to fit in is as old as Cinderella.  But this takes it to a new level.  Rachel has been dating Nick for a year when he takes her to Singapore for a family meeting only to reveal that he’s the heir apparent of a wealthy hotel/real estate mogul family.  They’re rich.  Super rich.  Crazy rich, even.  They spend all their dough on fancy cars and wacky parties, full of vibrant colors and fireworks.  But Nick is also Asia’s most eligible bachelor and that makes Rachel unpopular among the babes who want to be in her position.

Awkwafina is the icing on the cake as Rachel’s wacky friend who teaches her how to make it in the crazy rich Asian scene.

Great movie.  Worth a rental.  Makes me wish I was a crazy rich Asian.

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Movie Review – Aquaman (2018)

So many fish, so little time.

BQB here with a review of “Aquaman.”

I’m just going to say it.  This movie is solid.  I think “Wonder Woman” was better.  There were some parts of this movie that were silly and it’s a half hour too long (two and a half in total) but it’s a feast for the eyes, very beautiful with a lot of colors and great action.

In other words, DC/Warner Brothers screwed the pooch by getting the super friends together first in “Batman vs. Superman” and “Justice League.”  Rather, they should have intro’d all the heroes in their own films with an ongoing subplot that ties them all together i.e. the Marvel model.

Oh well.  Perhaps now that the super heroes are doing the solo act, DC/Warner will be able to figure out their piece of the comic book movie pie.

Suffice to say, Aquaman aka Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) is half Atlantian and half human, the product of a lighthouse keeper (Don’t know the actor’s name) getting his fuck on with a runaway Atlantian queen (Nicole Kidman).

Note that this is the second movie in recent years where a human fucks a fish person so Hollywood might be into some pervery behind the scenes but I digress.

The hard task here was to make a likable Aquaman, one who is cool and awesome that you want to root for.  The problem is that Aquaman has always been the joke of the superhero universe.  You scoff but think about it.  Given your choice of superpowers, you’d surely choose flight or indestructibility or invisibility or any host of awesome skills before you’d say, “I want to be able to boss dolphins around.”

But the filmmakers lived up to the challenge here.  Arthur lives among humans, an outcast not welcome in Atlantis, using his abilities to save people and is fresh off of helping the JL save the world from Steppenwolf.

Alas, Arthur’s half-brother, King Orm (Patrick Wilson) (the product of a fish person fucking another fish person and call me old fashioned but that’s the way it should be) is solidifying his power with the other fish kingdoms with the help of another fish person king (Dolph Lundgren doing the most acting he’s ever done in his entire career) and seeks to lead a vast army to the surface world to destroy and conquer.

Ergo, it’s up to members of the Atlantian royalty to commit treason and help Arthur overthrow the king.  Those traitors include Vulko (Willem Dafoe who looks out of place in this movie and literally at any minute you end up wondering if he’s just going to look at the screen and break the fourth wall and say, “How the fuck did I end up playing a fish man in this schlock?  I was in Platoon, for Christ’s sake!”

And of course, there’s love interest, Mera, played by Johnny Depp’s one who got away Amber Heard.  Mmm boy, now there’s some sushi I wouldn’t mind in my take-out box.

Hmm.  That comment was probably inappropriate.  Oh well.  Good thing only 3.5 people read this blog.

Did I mention there’s a kickass fight scene in Italy with Black Manta (Yahya Abdul Mateen II?) I enjoyed the visuals but also the entire time as Aquaman and Manta pummeled each other I wanted to call my travel agent and book a trip to this exotic locale.

There are a few moments where it is absurd but the absurdity comes with a bit of self-awareness.  For example, SPOILER ALERT, Willem Dafoe makes a more skeptical than usual face when the long lost, thought to have been executed queen (Kidman) returns.  Heard shrugs it off and tells him, “It’s a long story.  I’ll tell you later.”

I took that as a wink as if the writers were telling me, a member of the audience, “Yeah, we’re sorry we couldn’t think of a reason why she’s back but aren’t you glad she is?  By the way, keep plunking down your ticket money and we’ll tell you why she’s back when we figure it out.”

Overall, the flick is a good time and a sign that if DC/Warner take their time and worry more about putting out good movies rather than rushing to put their characters together, it will pay off.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Mortal Engines (2018)

It’s the future and cities move…into my wallet and take my money…and give me a poopy movie in return.

BQB here with a review of the apparent flop, “Mortal Engines.”

I’m torn, 3.5 readers.  If you read the reviews, the critics are calling this flick an epic fail.  I must admit, my test of a bad movie is if, at any time, I reach for my cell phone to check the time just to find out how much longer I have to sit through this stinker.

But that’s me and the problem is, this movie wasn’t made for me.  It’s a YA tale geared towards teenagers and it checks off all the young adult boxes and then some.

Teenagers who are in, for some reason, highly important positions of authority? Check. Adults are villains? Check. Reluctant romance between the hero and heroine where they dislike one another at first but then as the drama unfolds they fall for one another? Check.  Possible developing love triangle? Check. Teenagers save the day despite having little, if any, combat experience? Check.

Ergo, I am reluctant to call this a stinkburger because again, it wasn’t made for a crusty old fuck like me.  It was made for the kids and I’d imagine if I had been born around the turn of the century I would have found this to be a good time.

The plot? It’s a thousand years into the future and people now suffer life in a world ruined by the ancient ones (SPOILER ALERT: we, all of us, right now, are the ancient ones).  Humorous allusions to our stupid and slothful ways and our pop culture worship provide comic relief.

Cities are now mobile.  Some, like London, have become enormous tank-like monstrosities, moving across the planet on giant treads, looking to conquer other mobile cities because, well, all the world’s resources have gone to shit, so now, stealing another mobile city’s shit is the only way to survive.

Other cities move in the air.  Sorry.  I forgot the name of the city that flies in the air.  I’m an adult and I’m too busy worrying about making my next mortgage payment.

Against this dystopian backdrop, young Hester Shaw (played by someone too new for me to remember her name) seeks revenge for her deceased mother and in doing so, attempts to murder the chief muckety muck of Mobile London, Hugo Weaving.  Him I know because I saw “The Matrix” in the theater and I have the gray pubes to prove it.

Blah, blah, blah, the plot fails, Hester ends up escaping with some teenage historian who has studied up on the ancient ones’ ways (reading all about how we got fat while writing posts about our lunch on Facebook I assume) and they go on an adventure, they run around the wasteland, they fly around in sky and shit an so on.

The beginning has some good action.  I was borderline asleep for the middle.  A sub-plot where Hester is pursued by Shrike (Stephen Lang, him I know from “Avatar”), some type of hybrid human-zombie-robot who wants to turn Hester into a human-zombie-robot and she calls bullshit on that and doesn’t want to become one.

This is a Peter Jackson flick and the visuals are hella tight.  The special effects are awesome.  And honestly, it’s hard to knock the plot because unlike many other movies, there is one.

Where it lags is, in true YA fashion, you have to learn a lot of shit fast.  Personally, as an adult, when I read YA, I feel like I’m suddenly being hit with all these definitions, and rules, and new words, and “Those people are the Hoopy Doops and they believe this” but “Those people are the Weeble Worps and they believe that” and so on.

Like I said.  I’m old.  I have a tube of Preparation H in my medicine cabinet.  This movie wasn’t for me.  I did enjoy the effects and pretty colors and admit if I were younger, it would have captivated me.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, though I don’t have any interest in watching it again.  However, if you’re a steampunk, this movie will be your Super Bowl.

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Movie Review – The Mule (2018)

Go ahead.  Make my day.  But slowly.  Because I’m old.

BQB here with a review of Clint Eastwood’s “The Mule.”  (SPOILERS).

I must admit, 3.5 readers, when I first saw the trailer for this movie, I assumed it would be a ripoff of “Breaking Bad.”  Similar to Bryan Cranston’s Walter White, Clint’s Earl Stone is presented in the preview as an old man who has lived a shitty life and now, with little to lose in his declining years, decides to say, “Fuck it” and get into the drug game to make some fast, sweet, sticky cash, all the danger be damned.

Despite the similarities, Earl is his own man.  He’s super old and though he has no diagnosed terminal illness, he’s in his nineties and therefore likely to croak if a cool breeze hits him the wrong way.  He’s no mastermind genius like Walter.  He’s just an old man who lost his job and finds another one.

Though I’m one of Clint’s biggest fans, I have to admit the premise is thinner than his present day hair and it saddens me as with some tweaks to the haphazard plot, it could have been as lush as his 1970s “Dirty Harry” mane.

Honestly, the first twenty minutes of the film feel less like an Eastwood movie of old and instead, more like a glorified Lifetime Channel for Women movie, you know, the one that your Grandma watches to feel hip and young without having to be bogged down with anything that makes sense.

Earl is a horticulturalist.  For many years, he chose the road over his own family, missing birthdays, graduations, weddings, funerals, anniversaries and so on to drive across America in his old, beaten up pick-up truck just so he could put his latest rare flower on display and socialize with his fellow green thumbs.

I know.  WTF, right?  Not to give away a spoiler, but in the first few minutes, Earl, already having been divorced from wife, Mary (Dianne West), is finally ostracized from the family for good when he chooses yet another flower show over the wedding of his daughter, Iris (played by Clint’s real life daughter, Alison.)

SPOILER ALERT (in fact, spoilers abound in this review so look away): As I watched Clint at the flower show, buying drinks for his flower growing friends, a sad look on his face like he knew he was doing wrong for picking horticulture over his child, I called bullshit. Just absolute bullshit.

But then I thought about it.  The man needs a reason why he was estranged from his family.  And I suppose if he’d been a workaholic stockbroker or a lawyer or businessman, that would have been already done before, not to mention, he’d have no need to do illegal deeds for money.

FYI that’s how he becomes a mule.  Oddly enough, though his granddaughter, Ginny (Taissa Farmiga, sister of Vera) throws a pre-wedding party.  Clint attends, is kicked out by mom and grandma.  Though granddaughter still loves him and shows no signs other than that she is a solid, upstanding young woman, for some reason that can only be describes as bad writing, there’s a shady drug cartel associate in the wedding party who sees Earl is down on his luck after his flower farm is foreclosed on and introduces him into the world of mulery.

At this point, I start to get it.  You have to bend over backwards to get it.  The movie’s writing style starts out as “tell, don’t show” with characters dumping key plot points in dialogue and eventually moves to “Stand on your head and twist around three times to get it.”

You see, it was never about the flower shows.  Earl just sucked as a human.  He was selfish.  No, he wasn’t out cheating on his wife or anything like that.  He was just stuck in his own head.  He loved driving in his truck.  He loved meeting and talking to people.  He loved going to parties and having fun and being the center of attention in his little flower world.  He lacked the emotional capacity to handle it when life got real, to not be around a wife and kid with needs and feelings.  He regrets not being a good dad and husband, but lacked the fortitude to be one.

Muling is his second chance to renew that cross-country traveling lifestyle.  He meets “the boys” i.e. oddly kind and chatty drug cartel chop shop operators who joke around and talk Earl’s ear off as they stuff his new and improved truck (a Lincoln that is the real star of the movie) full of cocaine.  He then drives off into adventure, stopping at roadside stops to meet new, interesting folks, often risking blowing the whole operation just for the chance to make a new friend.

Alas, the job starts to suck when the stakes get higher and higher.  You ever have a job that started out great and then one day, you get a new boss and you’re told you’re being watched and the slightest fuck-up will be punished with extreme prejudice?  Yes, another spoiler but suffice to say, eventually being a mule stops being fun when oddly kind drug cartel boss Andy Garcia is taken out in a coup and replaced by hardasses who have no patience for Earl’s desire to stop along his route to help strangers with flat tires or to find the world’s best pulled pork sandwich.

SJWs and the politically incorrect alike will find reasons to cheer, maybe even come together.  Earl openly tells off-color jokes and uses centuries old slurs in routine conversation.  You’re torn between being grossed out and wondering if maybe an old man who doesn’t know any better really needs to kicked completely out of society if he truly didn’t mean any harm and didn’t understand how times have changed.

Meanwhile, Earl takes full advantage of his elderly white privilege, moving mass quantities of Columbian nose candy to and fro with reckless abandon, sent merrily on his way by unsuspecting cops who simply assume they’re in the presence of a doddering old fart while the aforementioned cops then immediately turn around and run Earl’s younger Hispanic associates up the river if they so much as make a funny look.

Bradley Cooper and Lawrence Fishburne round out a star studded cast, but honestly, I can’t say it enough.  The writing blows goats and really, the only reason to stick through it is to watch an old man down on his luck suddenly fall into a world where he can make mad cash, bang hot hookers, and not give a shit about jail or STDs because fuck it, he’s 90.  Not gonna lie.  It wouldn’t surprise me if Clint just slapped this flick together just so he could charge off scenes with hot young babes on the studio’s dime.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy, only because it’s Clint.  At times, you see a little glint in Clint’s eye, such that you can just tell if it weren’t for his tired old body, the Clintster would be tearing shit up in this strange new world.  It makes some valid points.  A running joke is that Earl has to constantly fix broken things because all the young people are too busy getting on their smart phones, looking up how to fix the broken things instead of just trying to actually do it.  Point taken.  People used to get out and live life.  Now we’re living life through a screen.  The writing is epically lame.  Plot holes the size of Earl’s truck that you’d never put up with.  If you can suspend disbelief long enough, it’s nice to see Clint have fun.

 

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What Can Shaun of the Dead Teach Us About Leadership and Growing Up?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

It’s funny how you can watch a movie when you’re young and when you’re older and get a different experience.  When I saw this movie when I was young, I thought it was a funny spoof on zombie flicks.  Now that I’m older, it’s still that, but much more.

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is 29, approaching 30 and is seen by everyone, even himself, as a big loser.  He’s a clerk at an electronics store and his teenage employees laugh at him.  His step-father has zero respect for him.  His flat mate thinks his buddy, Ed, (Nick Frost) is dragging him down.

Worse, his girlfriend, Liz (Kate Ashfield) feels she’s wasting her life dating Shaun.  She yearns for a better life and is tired of going on the same date to Shaun’s favorite dive bar, the Winchester.  When Shaun fails an ultimatum to take her anywhere else by forgetting to make a reservation at a fancy restaurant, she calls it quits.

Like a zombie, Shaun is shuffling through life, allowing life to live him instead of vice versa.  Rather than create a plan and work and through, he takes what he gets and dulls the pain with booze and hanging out with Ed.

Now, here’s where it gets complicated.  I think an argument can be made that Shaun is actually the only respectable one in the entire film.

Sometimes excellence doesn’t come from within but from opportunity.  Without the Civil War, Abe Lincoln might have been a mediocre president.  Though I’m not comparing Shaun to the Great Emancipator, we see Shaun kick ass and take names in the zombie apocalypse.

Here’s the thing. As a society, we’ve become programmed to think that success=perfection.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Success comes from showing up.

Shaun takes charge of a group of survivors comprised of his friends and family.  Everyone follows Shaun but as he makes mistakes, they don’t give him any leeway.  His stepdad repeatedly dumps on him.  Liz’s friend Dave routinely craps on him.

This is a show don’t tell thing.  What I noticed is that at no time do any of the naysayers stand up and take control of the group.  They all want to complain but none of them actually vocalize anything they’d do better.  No one tells Shaun to stand down so they can take charge.  This unfortunately happens a lot in life. People are happy to dump on the decision makers but they don’t want to make decisions themselves.

Call Shaun a loser, but a he always showed up.  He showed up every day to a job he hated.  He kept caring for friend Ed even though everyone told him to cut him loose.  He kept dating Liz even though she complains Shaun is holding her back, as if Shaun is somehow keeping her from going to school, seeking a new job, going on a vacation or doing something to improve her life.

All we can do is show up.  Maybe we’ll be lucky.  Maybe we won’t.  But we only fail when we stop showing up.

We don’t get too see too far into Shaun and Liz’s future, other than at the end of the movie (spoiler alert) they’re happy and Shaun acts like a man who is a bit more sure of himself.  Does he get a better job or always remember to make dinner reservations, I don’t know.  But he shows up.

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