Tag Archives: bruce willis

Movie Review – Glass (2019)

I’ve got to stop seeing movies in January, 3.5 readers.  I really do.

BQB here with a review of Glass.

It’s funny how things come around full circle.  Nineteen years ago, I saw M. Knight Shyamalan’s Unbreakable and thought it was a ridiculous pile of crap.  Nearly two decades later, the literally waited for by no one sequel is equally crappy.

Hollywood types have got to start asking themselves a key question – just because they CAN make a movie, does it mean they should?  No, I get the free speech argument.  I’m not telling them to not make a shitty movie if that is their desire.  I also get that shit is in the eye of the beholder.  Overall though, I just wonder if there is limited time and money to make a movie, then maybe a movie maker should make a good movie rather than a shitty one.  Worse, maybe take a risk on a movie with a good idea but no history rather than slap together a pile of crap because it has characters who were in the pile of crap years ago and now making endless sequels to everything, no matter how crappy, is the vogue thing to do.

Poor. M. Knight.  I’m really going to take a dump on this movie.  But the twist is that I’m going to pee on it too.

Ironically, 2016’s Split was good…and also a January movie.  I wrote on this fine blog that perhaps it was the start of a Shyamalanassaince.  It was a decent, scary part-horror/part-thriller/part-mystery about a shrink working with the so-called good personalities of a schizophrenic to defeat an incoming monstrous personality.

Top notch, Knight.  Shoulda stopped there.  Take the win. Move on.

Alas, Knight (because I refuse to write Shama…malamalama…whatever…a hundred more times) doubled down.  He decided to pit James McAvoy’s “Split” character against the Bruce Willis character, with evil assistance from the Samuel L. Jackson character, both from Unbreakable.

Though in the ending of Split, it looked like a movie in which Willis’ indestructible vigilante, David Dunn, hunts “The Beast” i.e. the worst of “The Horde” or the collective name for all of McAvoy’s character’s personalities, it turns out to have been a shitty idea.

There’s little hunt to be had.  Instead, Dunn, Horde and Glass find themselves in the same looney bin.  A shrink (Sarah Paulson as Dr. Ellie Staple) arrives on the scene, claiming to be the world’s foremost expert on convincing screwballs to stop believing they are comic book super heroes…because apparently, that’s a real, legit thing that people study…that or no one in Hollywood wants to tell Knight no.

Dr. Staple subjects the trio to all manner of experiments, drilling it into them that their so-called powers are not real but rather, anything extraordinary they have done is just pure coincidence.  The Beast isn’t really strong.  He just managed to push away some jail bars that were rotting.  David isn’t really indestructible.  He has just been really lucky in avoiding death thus far.  And Mr. Glass may be smart, but so are other people, and his gift really just lies in talking chumps into thinking he’s a genius.

There are way too many logical leaps you have to take.  With three highly infamous nutjobs all under one roof, the mental hospital has ridiculously lax security.  Allusions are made to a showdown at a new, state of the art tower but the trio never get past a show down in the nut house parking lot.

Overall, it’s dumb.  Just plain dumb.  It’s cool that Spence Treat Clarke, Dunn’s son from the first film, is back and all grown up as his father’s assistant in vigilante crime fighting.  In fact, the first twenty minutes of the film make it look like a real treat – that Willis is going to track this psycho through the streets of Philly with the help of his son.  Alas, it just gets dumb after that.  Pure dumbness.

STATUS: Not shelf-worthy.  Seeing this and Serenity in the same weekend just makes me weep for Hollywood’s future.  I feel like Knight shot himself in the foot here, because Split was good, but rather than just take the win and think of a whole new idea, he did the old “Let me take a part of a movie that people liked and put it with a part of a movie that people might remember and serve it up like a three bean casserole and hey, it has a bit of recognizability so maybe people will see it.”  Ugh.  Please don’t see it.  Stop encouraging Knight.  I know he’s got talent.  He just has to stop chasing that twist dragon.  He got on it with The Sixth Sense and then he never let it go.  He thinks he’s going to outdo his past twists and he never will.  Knight, really, it’s ok.  You can make a story that does not have a twist.  In fact, a movie from you without a twist?  That would be the greatest twist of all.

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Movie Review – Death Wish (2018)

Paul Kersey is back and his death wish is stronger than ever!

BQB here with a review.

SPOILERS ABOUND!

You know 3.5 readers, in today’s highly politically correct times, I’m surprised “Death Wish” was ever made.

Then again, the original 1970s version was controversial.  In that one, Charles Bronson played architect Paul Kersey, who, after the death of his wife and rape of his daughter, he starts packing heat.  Technically, he never commits a crime, but rather, he walks the mean NYC streets and when trouble finds him, he doesn’t back down, run away, or become the next victim.  Rather, he stands his ground and shoots the trouble.  The message?  If everyone had a gun, criminals would go extinct.

Controversial then but even more so now given the epidemic of school shootings our nation is seeing, especially with the push for gun control that liberals are pushing for.  Ironically, liberal Hollywood has been churning out more films that feature gun violence than ever before, but as long as its just random violence that’s considered OK, but if its a man who buys a gun to defend himself, family, and home then God forbid.

In this go around, the original “Death Wish” formula is followed, but also broken away from.  Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis, who is one of the most well-preserved sixty-somethings out there, though he’s flattering himself in an attempt to play a late 40s/early 50s man) is an ER doctor who sees the effects of gun violence daily as he treats gunshot wounds all too often.

Alas, when a robbery of his home goes wrong, his wife (Elisabeth Shue, another well preserved older person flattering herself by playing a woman in her 40s) ends up dead and daughter ends up in a coma.

Just as the original Kersey, he blames himself.  He feels he’s failed as a man and begins packing heat.  He dons a hooded sweatshirt as he takes out various criminals, causing the media to dub him, “The Grim Reaper.”  And unlike the 1970s, everyone has a camera phone today, so his exploits are caught on video and shared all over the Internet for armchair spectators to gawk at.

Now in the original version, guns weren’t the only controversy.  The race issue was controversial as well.  Kersey blew away white robbers, black robbers, he wasn’t focused on the color but rather, on saving his life even though he was out looking for trouble.  Still, the number of black bad guys capped in the original was high and as I watched it recently, I knew that would never stand today.

In this new version, there’s, well, what I can only describe as an attempt at what I might call, “conservative political correctness.”  Yes, at one point in the film, Kersey, a white man, goes out and shoots a black drug dealer named “The Ice Cream Man” for the poison he deals out of an ice cream cart.  The dealer is sitting, hasn’t drawn, and that’s a deviation as the old Kersey always waited to be attacked first then defended himself.

The optics are bad – a white man shooting a black man, as well as a black man portrayed as a criminal.  But then the debate in the film begins.  A radio show featuring black hosts takes on the issue.  One host thinks it’s wrong, a black man killing a white man.  Another hosts argues it wasn’t so much a white man killing a black man as it was an arguably good man killing a bad man and doing the community a favor, ridding the world of a bad person.

In fact, Kersey learns of the Ice Cream Man in his ER when he treats one of his victims, a young boy, under ten years old, forced into a life of drug pushing by the dealer, shot in the leg for failing on a deal.

Meanwhile, the film goes out of its way to put black people in positions of power, from doctors and nurses that Kersey works with, to a cop he treats for a gunshot wound, to one of the two detectives investigating his wife’s murder (Kimberly Elise, partnered with the illustrious Dean Norris of “Breaking Bad” fame, appearing here in a quasi-Hank reincarnation.)

And Kersey even gets his first foray into vigilantism when he guns down two white guys trying to kidnap a black woman, saving her from being raped, sold as a sex slave, whatever ill fate would have happened to her.

So, the overall message seems clear – black people aren’t a monolith.  All too often, we see violence, whether it’s in the news or in a TV show or movie, and we look at the perpetrator’s race and people get offended that the member of X (whatever race) is being portrayed badly.

But what this film seems to be arguing is that not everyone in any given race is the same.  It isn’t about black or white but good vs. bad.  Paul is a good person, just as the black doctors, nurses, cops, and detective he encounters regularly are good people.  The black drug dealer and white kidnappers are bad people.  Good people who do the right thing of all different races, colors, religions, backgrounds should stick together and stand up against bad people of all different races, colors, religions, backgrounds who do bad things.

If it’s got to be a case of “us vs. them” then let the “us vs them” not be one race against the other but rather, good people vs. bad people.  Kersey, a (prior to the start of the film) law abiding doctor, has little in common with the white kidnappers, even though all three are white.  Meanwhile, Detective Jackson (Elise) is law abiding and has zero in common with the Ice Cream man, and doesn’t exactly cry a river over the Ice Cream Man, even though both are black.

Overall, it’s a good film, though there are some gaping plot holes.  For example, an early scene seems to argue that it’s rather unfair that Kersey has to wait a long time, do lots of paperwork, take a class, jump through hoops to buy a gun when he has an obvious need for self defense, given the recent murder of his wife.  Yet, later, when he needs a gun stat, he’s able to get one from the same gun shop ASAP and that’s never explained.

And the main deviation from the original is that while Bronson’s Kersey never caught the baddies who ruined his life (a young Jeff Goldblum in a Jughead hat leading a gang of toughs), this Kersey does focus on tracking down the men who ruined his life, with the occasional deviation into extracurricular vigilantism.

So, there you go, I pretty much ruined the movie for you, but in my self-defense, I did give a SPOILER warning up front.  It was no surprise to me that this film was rushed out of the theaters quickly.  But then again, it’s just as surprising this film was ever made.  Bruce Willis, one of the lone conservatives in Hollywood, was probably one of a handful of actors willing to even touch the script.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Top Ten Reasons Why Die Hard Should Be Your Favorite Christmas Movie

Merry Christmas and Yippy Ki Yay 3.5 motherfuckers!

It’s time to talk about why Die Hard should be your favorite Christmas movie:

#10 – First action film where the hero didn’t have almost super hero like powers.  In the 1980s, Schwarzenegger and Stallone put out a shit ton of flicks where they’d shoot ten million bad guys without ever reloading and never get a scratch on them.  Meanwhile, McClane is a cop, so he has training, but this one man vs. a terrorist organization is a situation that your average cop couldn’t handle on his own.  Though I love Arnie and Sly, I can relate to McClane.

#9 – Hans Gruber is a bad ass, a gentleman super thief who is all about the money.  He love suits, love talking about gentlemanly activities, and calmly enjoys a shrimp cocktail he snagged from the Nakatomi Christmas party as he informs the guests they’ll be shot if they try anything funny.  RIP Alan Rickman.

#8 – It launched Reginald VelJohnson’s career and gave us Family Matters.  In Die Hard, Reginald plays working class father/cop Al Powell, McClane’s only friend on the outside.  While all the law enforcement big wigs worry about rules and procedures, McClane and Al share that same cut the BS mindset.  Carl Winslow is so similar to Powell that you could, if you want, just assume that Al couldn’t take all the heat after Nakatomi, so he moved to Chicago, transferred to the Chicago PD, and raised a family next door to a nerd named Steve Urkel who lusts after his daughter and blows up his house with his harebrained science experiments.

I really feel there should have been at least one episode where Carl should have shouted, Yes, Steve!  You did do that!  And living next door to you is worse than the Christmas I spent talking John McClane through the Nakatomi Tower terrorist bank robber attack!”

#7 – Argyle plays Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” as he drives McClane to the Christmas party.  It is truly the best of all Christmas rap songs.  One might argue that “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses qualifies but…eh, it’s really an 80s love ballad disguised as a rap.  The Waitresses were great, but they didn’t represent Queens.

#6 – McClane is also relatable because of his marital troubles.  Sometimes a couple can have a fight and there is no easy answer as to who is right.  Holly got a great job that took her to LA.  Yes, McClane could have supported her but then again he had his own career as a New York police officer and she signed up to be with a man based in New York when she married him.  Reverse the situation and you might think McClane to be a dick if he were hired for a job with the LAPD and demanded that his wife give up a job she enjoyed in NYC.   Hell, if she makes enough, maybe McClane could have just left police work all together and  moved to LA with his wife and taken a job as a security guard at Disney Land or something, though I doubt he would have enjoyed that.

#5 – McClane and Powell both have the same receding hairline, yet Hollywood suits allowed them to be main characters in a movie anyway.  Sigh.  If they ever remake Die Hard without Bruce Willis (blasphemy, for it really is a perfect movie) they surely will hire some hot stud muffin douche with a full head of hair.

#4 – Great lines that have worked their way into pop culture.  “Yippy ki yay motherfucker!” because, after all, McClane was a baby boomer and baby boomers loved their cowboy films.  A similar hero today might quote from a comic book movie or something.  Also, I have found myself saying, “Welcome to the party, pal” on occasion, usually when someone realizes something way later than they should have.

#3 – Die Hard with a Vengeance is really the best sequel in the franchise.  Die Hard 2 is ok and/or acceptable.  However, in 4 and 5 (the films that take place in the 2000s), the franchise takes a bad turn when they do break the “average guy caught at the wrong place at the wrong time” as we see McClane starting to have those Arnie/Sly-like supernatural action hero powers.  Yes, I think a plucky young cop might be able to suck it up and run through a floor full of glass with no shoes on and survive (as it happens in the original).  No, I don’t a cop could hang onto the nose of a fighter jet and survive (as happens in 4).

#2 – Dick Thornburgh is an epic douche, as most media types are.  See?  Reporters were douches like before social media.  All about hype, not really caring if they hurt anyone (i.e. barging into the McClane residence and broadcasting that Holly is married to John, thus making the situation much more dangerous).

#1 – Arnie was originally considered for McClane’s role.  Arnie was great, and very much the John Wayne of the 1980s, but I’m glad Willis got the role.  Die Hard might have been ok with Arnie, but a massive Austrian weightlifter who probably could rip terrorists in half off screen as well as on screen just isn’t as relatable as an average cop with a receding hairline and a wife he’s separated from.

In conclusion, Die Hard is my favorite Christmas movie and it should be yours too.  Thanks, 3.5

 

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Why There Shouldn’t Be a Die Hard Prequel

Hi 3.5 readers.

Yes, I am trapped in the middle of a zombie apocalypse but I do have Alien Jones’ space phone to keep me updated on the latest pop culture news.

So this idea for a Die Hard prequel starring Bruce Willis about John McClane’s early days as a NYC cop.

RIDICULOUS!

Here’s the thing.

First.  Let me say this.  Big Die Hard fan here.  It’s my favorite Christmas movie.

3.5 READERS – But BQB, it’s an action film!

So what?  It takes place during an office Christmas party taken over by evil terrorists!  Every year without fail, when you’re watching the Grinch or It’s a Wonderful Life or whatever I’m watching John McClane save Nakatomi.

Here’s why the original Die Hard was so great.

It starred an average guy in the lead role.

Originally, Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to be McClane.  Would have been ok.  Probably would have ended up being mildly memorable.

But Bruce Willis?  Then a pretty average looking dude, hell he was balding and going with that “I’m fighting the good fight against hair loss” hairstyle at the time.

And it made all the difference.

Sure, McClane was a cop but in real life the average cop is not equipped to take down a team of highly trained terrorists all by himself.

That’s what made the movie awesome.  It basically asked YOU to step into McClane’s shoes.  You’re not Arnold.  You don’t have muscles up the wazoo.  You have average speed, strength, agility, intelligence…and now it’s up to YOU to save the day.

McClane was more or less one of the first average heroes in an action film.

Aside from the idea that a younger actor will play a young McClane – I mean, I get that – sure, Bruce Willis can’t play a young version of himself.  But Willis is so McClane I don’t know how its possible to find anyone else to play this iconic role.

That’s crazy in and of itself but what’s really crazy about the idea is that if you create an adventure where McClane had some kind of amazing fight between himself and various bad dudes BEFORE the original, then how can I ever enjoy the original again?

Because again, that’s the beauty of the original – average guy fights against the odds.  Give McClane an adventure that happened BEFORE Nakatomi and well, ok who gives a shit then, of course John can handle Hans Gruber and Co, he handed X bad guy in the damn prequel.

BOOO!!!! BOO!!! BOO! I say BOOO!!!!  Don’t make it Hollywood.  Don’t make it.

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