Tag Archives: james franco

Movie Review – The Disaster Artist (2017)

“I did not hit her.  It’s bullshit.  I did not hit her.  I did not!  Oh, hi Mark!”

BQB here with a review of the movie about the best, worst movie ever made.

“The Room.”  How to explain it to someone who has never seen it?  Honestly, I’ve never seen it in full myself, but the clips available on YouTube tell me pretty much what I need to know.

In 2003, struggling, wannabe actors Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, finding no luck on the audition circuit, teamed up to produce their own film.  On the surface, a great idea, right?  If no one will give you an opportunity, then create your own.

The result was “The Room” – a tale, in theory, as old as time.  All American guy is in love with the perfect girl.  A trusted friend creates a bitter love triangle.  Tragic circumstances ensue.

Cut, print and collect money and praise, right?  Wrong.  The final result was something that would flunk a remedial high school AV class.

A poorly written script that was adhered to despite obvious problems, plot twists and arcs that went nowhere, overacting, underacting, laughter at inappropriate times, unusual and unnatural dialog and so on.

I could take all day pointing out the flaws, but some of the most discussed:

  • Tommy’s thick Eastern European accent, which in a different setting might be ok, but here his character insists he is an all American guy, born and bred and bleeding the red, white and blue.  His poor delivery, repeating “Hi Mark,” emphasis on 1980s clothing which was a faux pas even in the 1990s.
  • Plots that go nowhere, like his girlfriend Lisa announcing she has breast cancer, then we never hear what happens again.
  • Laughter and weird reactions, like when Tommy laughs at a story about a woman being beaten by a boyfriend to the point she had to go to a hospital.
  • Characters whose relationships are unexplained.  There’s a kid named Denny who just stops by and acts like Tommy is his father figure but how that happened you never know.  Further, there are random characters who show up to explain main points and you have no idea who they are and where they come from.
  • Bad editing.
  • A full on shot of Tommy’s gross ass while he has sex with his girlfriend’s…umm…belly button?
  • Use of green screen and sets when the real thing is available – i.e. building a set of an alley when actual alleys are available.  Using a green screen version of a city scape background when there are tops of tall city buildings that can be used.
  • And so much more!

How did this monstrosity get its start?

As the Franco (James as Tommy and Dave as Greg) brothers tell us, it all began in the late 1990s, when a young, early twenties Greg and an at least middle aged Tommy meet in a San Francisco acting class.

Greg is nervously bombing while Tommy is overacting and exuding way too much confidence, belting out “Stella!” in an antique looking pirate coat that was apparently part of his wardrobe.

Together, these two make an unlikely duo, an old and young man, deciding to move to Hollywood on a whim and live together as roomies as they pursue their acting dreams.  I mean, you can hardly blame Greg’s mother (Megan Mullally) for suspecting some disturbing intentions on Tommy’s part.

When the traditional audition root fails, the duo set out to make their own movie.  Throughout the ordeal, Greg and the cast and crew remain baffled by three questions that are never answered: 1) Hold is Tommy?  2) Where is he originally from? and 3) Where is all the money to fund this movie coming from?

Once the production begins, Tommy spends money like water, buying equipment and racking up unnecessary expenses (building sets that aren’t needed, installing a toilet when a bathroom is available, hiring two separate crews to film the movie on actual film and in HD) and so on.

The movie then chronicles the production.  Actors and crewmates alike question Tommy’s insane decisions.  A script supervisor (Seth Rogen) and other crew try to explain to Tommy why his choices make no sense and why his movie sucks but they grow exasperated as Tommy won’t listen to reason. Worse, he grows increasingly difficult to deal with, lashing out at the cast and crew for petty reasons and growing jealous of Greg’s growing successes outside of the film (a girlfriend and a potential TV gig).

Ultimately, the whole thing is a big mess that cost at least $6 million.  How did Tommy get that money?  No one knows.  If the crew was so fed up with working on a shitty movie, why didn’t they walk off the set?  One can only assume it’s just that hard to find a paying gig in Hollywood, even if the gig stinks.  As the actress playing Lisa’s mother tells her fellow cast mates, “The worst day on the worst movie set is better than the best day in real life.”

What could be learned from all this?  “The Room” sucks, but even so, Tommy has done a better job of making a movie than YOU have because YOU HAVE NEVER MADE A MOVIE! Tommy and Greg tried and put it all on the line.  They made a movie.  It sucked.  But they had a dream and they gave it a shot, lousy as it was.

Ironically, over the years the film gained a cult status and eventually turned a profit.  Screenings have been held all over the world “Rocky Horror Picture Show” style where fans have fun and engage in games based on the dumb things they know will happen in the film.

Critics have panned the film, citing a lack of explanation of Tommy’s background, wealth, history and age but I don’t think they got the point at all.  Tommy, by all accounts, was a mystery man.  He was a man of great wealth with a seemingly limitless ability to spend and yet he never explained to a soul how he got all that money.  Further, he told no one his age and always insisted he was born in New Orleans.  Perhaps this all teaches us how intriguing the movie life is – people want to be in show business so badly that they are willing to work with such a mysterious character.

There are also lessons to be learned about sticking to your dreams, no matter how crazy they are.  Tommy has no talent.  Yet, an acting coach tells him his look is such that he could easily walk into evil villain roles akin to Dracula and Frankenstein.  Despite the possibility of fame, Tommy will have none of it.  He’ll be the hero in a movie or he walks.

I’ve always wondered why, if Tommy wanted so badly to be in the movie business and he had so much money, why didn’t he just bankroll the work of a talented indie film director?  Money men have been bankrolling their tinsel town dreams and getting their names in big screen credits with their cash forever.  Hell, our current secretary of treasury is one of Hollywood’s top money men.

But Tommy didn’t just want his name in the credits.  This was his movie and he wanted to make it, his way, and although he failed to make the drama he intended, he succeeded at making an unintended comedy.

Maybe that’s another lesson.  Your failure might lead to an unexpected success.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Trailer – The Disaster Artist

Hey 3.5 readers.

So, in 2003, a man named Tommy Wiseau put out, “The Room,” what is widely considered the worst film ever made.  Bad writing, bad acting, bad dialogue, a plot that goes nowhere, subplots that are never tied up and for some reason, during rooftop scenes, the city skyline is added via green screen even though, you know, getting to the rooftop of an NYC building is fairly easy for a movie crew to do.  Add in a bizarre sex scene where Tommy appears to get freaky with his female co-star’s stomach of all places and yeah, you’ve got a bomb that later became a cult classic, just because people have so much fun goofing on it.

Tommy Wiseau was over the hill, odd and awkward, using an accent no one could quite place, but somehow he teamed up with a much younger acting class student to get his movie made.

Yes, his movie sucked but then again, here’s a question for you.  Where’s your movie?  Yes, Tommy’s movie sucked the big sucker, but he can say he made a movie.  You should also strive to make a good movie but getting the movie made is half the battle.

James Franco’s, “The Disaster Artist” tells the story of how “The Room” was made.  Honestly, I don’t think I have 2 hours to devote to watching the room.  There are “worst of the Room” clips on YouTube that tell me what I need to know.  Somehow, this movie about the movie looks like it will be good.

I always like it when an underdog somehow comes out ahead.  Ironically, this film will probably give Wiseau more fame than the sucky film he made.

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Movie Review – Why Him? (2016)

Why him?  Ugh…why me?

The things I do for my 3.5 readers, like bothering to review this movie.

BQB here with a review of Why Him?

So, at the outset, the premise sounds like a pretty standard Christmas comedy.  Dad does not like the man his daughter he is dating but powers through it and realizes that the guy isn’t that bad.

Problem is that there’s a big age difference between the couple and uh, well, it’s creepy.

Bryan Cranston is businessman Ned Fleming, who has been asked by his daughter Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) to come out to California to spend the holidays and meet her new boyfriend, Laird (James Franco).

Problem is Stephanie is 22, Laird is 32 (although if you’re a movie buff like me, then you know that Franco is closer to 40 which just makes the whole thing odd).

Laird isn’t just an eccentric weirdo, he’s also an Internet millionaire app developer, which is apparently the only way anyone came become a millionaire these days, but don’t get me started on the economy.  That’s a whole other article altogether.

Where was I?  Cranston is put with the paces, cashing in on a big holiday film after breaking through with Breaking Bad.  Laird is into all sorts of oddball things and Cranston goes through all of them to comedic effect.

I can’t lie.  There are parts of the movie that are hysterical.  It was nice to see Megan Mullally with a big film part as Cranston’s wife/Stephanie’s mother as she is overdue.

Griffin Gluck is funny as the goofy little brother.  Cedric the Entertainer is great as Cranston’s second-in-command at the office.  Keegan Michael-Key is a riot as Laird’s estate manager Gustav.

Kaley Cuoco (Penny from The Big Bang Theory) actually steals the show as the voice of Laird’s home AI.  It’s fun to hear Penny say naughty things.

All in all, it’s got all the great trappings of a fun holiday comedy/date movie but…eh…maybe it’s my #OscarsSoPretty activism but I just couldn’t over the age difference between the Stephanie and Laird.

The age difference is addressed in the film, Laird comes across as a good dude that’ll do right by her and everything but let’s be honest:

Rich guy 40 year old dates your 22 year old daughter – you’ll probably be cool with it.  It’ll be weird at first but he’s rich and shit.

Ugly broke 40 year old dates your 22 year old daughter – you’ll be reaching for your shotgun.

It’s funny.  It’s actually a decent film as throw away comedies that you’ll never watch again go but…eh, the age difference weirded me out.

STATUS:  Borderline shelf-worthy.  No need to rush to the theater.  Worth a rental.

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Sausage Party -NSFW Trailer

Hey 3.5 readers.

Have you seen the trailer for Sausage Party yet?

So here’s the setup.  Seth Rogen and James Franco (the comedy duo behind Pineapple Express and also that movie that almost led to a war with North Korea) have made a cartoon.

For the first thirty seconds of the trailer, you almost think it is another Pixar style cartoon.  What’s every Pixar movie about?  Talking toys.  Talking cars.  Talking bugs.  Talking planes.  Talking fish.  Always about something that doesn’t talk only now it is talking.

This one is about food.  Yes.  All this time you never knew that food products can talk.  They sit on the store shelves, waiting for you to pick them up with the hope that you’re going to do something great with them and….

…yup…the food products engage in all kinds of obscenity once they learn what people actually do with food.

Here’s the Sony Red Band Trailer.  If you don’t want to be offended you probably shouldn’t watch:

I’ve been hearing these guys talk about this project on different talk shows for awhile now.

It sounds like a funny concept to me but I’m a male with a warped sense of humor so I’m basically their target demographic.

I give them credit for actually getting the studio to put up the money needed for Pixar quality rendering…or for getting a studio for doing something completely outside of the box for that matter.

PREDICTIONS:

  1.  People will be divided on whether it is hysterical or garbage.  There will be very little in between.
  2. There will be adults who would have thought it was funny but won’t go because they’ll think it is a kids’ movie based on a quick look at the poster.
  3. Also based only on a quick look at the poster, there will be many clueless parents who will be like, “Hey this looks like a good movie to take the kids to!” only to be horrified.

Anyway, I will have to check this out and write a review for my 3.5 readers when it comes out.

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Movie Review – The Interview (2014)

Bookshelf Battler, here with another movie review.  So many movie reviews lately I should probably rename this site “Movie Shelf Battle” except that would not make sense, since movies aren’t put on shelves anymore.

But I digress.

So after all the hoopla, after the big hacking scandal, after the international hullabaloo, I finally had the chance to watch The Interview starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.

How do I say this?  I think the hackers might have accidentally done the boys a big favor.

I don’t mean they did them a favor in getting the movie pulled from – well, I’ve lost track, first it was every theater, then it was some theaters.  How did you see it?  I paid to rent it and Rogen and Franco now have 6 bucks I’ll never get back.  Lousy Hollywood types.

My thoughts?  Overall, the film is so-so and ultimately, kind of forgettable.  All of the free publicity caused by the hacking scandal will probably get this movie more views and downloads than it ever would have on its own, from people who will tune in just to see what all the fuss is about.

I love comedy.  Comedy is the most honest form of entertainment there is.  With drama, you can say you like it, that you even get it, but secretly you didn’t like it.  You’re just saying you like it to fit in and be cool.  But comedy?  If something tickles your funny bone, you will involuntarily laugh.  You might try to hold back, but if something is funny enough, you would be able to hold back.  And to its credit, The Interview did have a few moments where it did make me do just that.

But in my opinion, Hollywood has been on kind of a losing streak when it comes to comedy, and I mean laugh out loud, slap your knees all the way through the film comedy.  I haven’t seen a comedy that made me laugh from beginning to end since the original The Hangover in 2009.  So that’s, what?  Five, coming on six years since Hollywood has provided me with a genuine laugh all the way through the movie knee-slapper.

Do you mind if I give you SPOILERS?  Hell, the spoilers are pretty much out there already, aren’t they?

So, basic premise of the movie – Franco is Dave Skylark and Rogen is Aaron Rappaort.  Together, they are a duo that hosts and produces a celebrity gossip interview show – Skylark Tonight.  Rappaport feels the need to engage in more serious journalism.  The duo learn that Kim Jong Un is a fan of the show, so they arrange for, dun dun dun – an Interview.

The CIA learns of this and convinces the pair to try and assassinate Kim Jong Un, and I actually thought the film, rather than provide a caricature, actually provided an actor that is a bit tougher looking than the Dear Leader, but that’s just my two cents.

The funnier parts of the movie come from Rogen and Franco training on how to use a special Ricin poison strip on their hand, which they plan to deploy to Un with a poisoned handshake.  Naturally, the bumblers put the Ricin everywhere but Un’s hand.

At the end of the movie, Skylark and Rappaport, aided by North Korea’s turncoat propaganda minister, who secretly wants a free NK, decide not to kill Un but instead, to ambush him on air with hard hitting questions that will humiliate him and public and convince the North Koreans to reject him.

Skylark rattles off a lot of important questions about concentration camps, how the country spent 800 million on nukes when it has 16 million people starving, and so on.  Arguably, the film actually does provide a lot of important info to the American people, things a lot of inattentive Americans never thought about, namely that North Korea is a nuclear nation capable of launching a nuclear attack on the West Coast.  Yeah…yeah…sorry if you’re on the West Coast and you just read that, but try to get some sleep tonight anyway.  Probably not gonna happen.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

So toward the end of the movie, I think, “Wow, Rogen and Franco, how smart – they’ve used the assassination plot story line as just a pretext to reach an actual interview in which a lot of important political questions are asked, and important info is provided in a funny way.  But then, of course, they go ahead and have a final confrontation scene where Franco and Rogen, in a tank, go head to head with Un, in a helicopter, in a final battle royale to the finish.  So much for closing out the movie with a little dignity.

Like I said, it is not without its funny moments, moments that will make you laugh, but I doubt it will join the ranks of films I will ever bother watching again, so I think had the hackers just left this one alone, it probably would have easily faded into obscurity on its own.  Now with all the hype – I mean, Hell, my Grandkids one day will probably come up to me and be all like, “Hey Grandpa, what was that movie by those two doofuses that almost started World War III?”

I’m glad Sony did distribute the film, because to allow bullies to tell us what we can and can’t watch is just plain wrong – but sheesh, this was kind of a stinker of a film to get into such a major international argument about.

On a final note – this was a major event in direct to download movie distribution.  That topic was discussed earlier this year with the announcement that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2 would be released directly to Netflix.  Personally, I’m against direct to download first time movie releases, and I hope that all three of my regular readers, including my Aunt Gertrude, will feel the same way.

Why?  Go ahead ask me why.

Because I feel like that would just totally destroy the movie theater industry.  And sure, you might think back to the time you got ripped off at the theaters and had to spend a ridiculous sum on candy and popcorn but honestly – let me repeat, honestly – do you really want to see a day where going out to the movies on a Friday night becomes a thing of the past?  I certainly don’t.

Thanks for reading, Happy New Year!

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Thank You! (Christmas Call to Action)

Hey Bookshelf Battlers,

Just a quick thank you to fellow book lovers out there for the help provided to me in just 24 hours.  Last night I was around 1900, maybe a little over, twitter followers.  After a push for 2000, I’m at 2035 as of tonight.  That wasn’t meant to be pushy.  It was meant to find more people to spread the joy of the written word to!  So thank you everyone, you’re all very cool.

Folks, I love the technologically advanced time we’re living in – a time where we’ve become the gatekeepers, a time where if you have something to say, your ability to say it does not depend on who you know.  You can just log on, blog on, and say it.  To ruin that sentiment with an Austin Powers quote, this is all “very groovy baby, yeah!”

This hopefully the beginning and the best is yet to come.  I don’t mean to brag, gloat, or show a lack of humility, because honestly, humble is my middle name.  I should just change the blog to “Bookshelf Humble Battle.”  I suppose what I’m trying to say is, if a) you all stick with me and tell your peeps to join the ride and b) I can kick my own butt to get into gear, then I think within a year to a year-and-a-half I’ll have produced some awesome reading material.  Blogging and Self-Publishing=the way of the future.

Well, heck, now that I wrote that, I have to do it, lest egg be on my face in a year to a year and a half. Someone call me out on the carpet if by mid-2016 I haven’t published something awesome please.  Thank you.

Finally, I try not to get too political on this blog because, well, come on, whoever we are, however we vote, can’t we all hold hands and come together in the spirit of promoting fantastic books?  But I have to say the whole debacle with The Interview irked me.  The idea that some tin pot dictator thinks he can tell our Hollywood Executives that they are not allowed to air their crappy movie is outrageous!  This is America!  Land of the Free and Home of the Brave Baby, where our Hollywood Executives have a god given right to produce their own crappy movies and distribute them on their own terms!

So that being said, if you have nothing better to do (and who are you kidding, you know you don’t because you’re reading this ) then do your patriotic duty and log on to You Tube to watch The Interview!  

ROGEN/FRANCO 2016!!!

In conclusion, apologies for all this philosophical babbling folks.  Bottomline:  You keep reading.  I’ll keep writing.

Merry Christmas.  Happy Holidays.  Happy Hanukah.  Happy Kwanza.  Happy Whatever Holidays I Missed, and If You’re an Atheist, Have a Top Notch Thursday!

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