Monday, February 19, 2018

Blogathon '18: Mt. Rushmore of Movies

Where it used to be a triennial celebration around these parts, with our latest commander-in-chief behind the button (not to mention that nervous dude in Hawai'i sending out false alarms), I'm not sure we can wait once every three years. So, grab a handful of pink and red M&M's, dump the dead roses in the trash and take a shot of the dirty water they were sitting in, because Two Dollar Cinema is once again choo-choo-choosing you.

Like, I want them to participate, Gary, but not like this...
In honor of President's Day, yep, that seemingly random February Monday we have off for no reason, I'm once again politely asking/totally begging you to participate in a little blogathon known as the Mount Rushmore of Movies.

To participate, simply choose the top four of anything cinematic and explain why they should be carved into the side of a mountain forever. Remember, these are real people carved into imaginary rock - so choose wisely!

Whatever ridiculous(ly fantastic) monument you concoct will be accepted, so feel free to get a bit loose with it. Pour some wine, change out of those stuffy work clothes, grab whatever tools (ahem) you need, and let's do this.

Whether you want to do a Mount Rushmore of Marvel Cinematic Universe characters, the top four Noose Rooster flicks, or a tribute to the most shocking endings of all time, embrace the madness and run with it. Four selections may seem like a lot, but depending on the topic, those spots can fill up quickly. Four years ago, some crazy bitches went wild with their monuments [take a peek here], and last year was more of the same [really]. Let's see if the 2018 can follow suit.

And of course, the business end of this thing I'm not paying you for:
  1. I'd like to have all posts done by Friday, March 2nd (where I'll create a master list, linking back to all of your, er, both of your sites), but it's cool if you finish way before that. Or later. I honestly don't mind.
  2. Send me a heads up/steamy nude pic on twitter @twodollarcinema , reply in the comments below, text me, e-mail me (twodollarcinema@gmail.com), fart in my general direction, whatever you want, when you've finished, okay? That would be mighty kind of you.
  3. In your post, please use the rad banner my wife designed when she should have been working.
  4. Share the announcement with every single person you've ever met. Or being that we're all bloggers, you're digital friends.
  5. Be awesome. And if you're here, already know that you are anyway.

And even if it's way ahead of time, thanks to everybody who participates, and even to those people who inevitably wished they had/could give a f--k about this nonsense. 

No, really. Thanks. For nothing. Ya bastard. That's real presidential of you.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Trust me, once you go down there...you wouldn't wanna come back up again.

Everybody who grows up in Hawai'i has a shark story. Sure, it was probably a dolphin while you were surfing with your cousin, but it sounds way f--king cooler if it was a shark.

I guess I should have started this post with the word almost, because despite growing up in the middle of the Pacific, I routinely found myself in the middle of a movie theater. But one with a great view of the ocean. 

Turns out I don't have a shark story, let alone a good one, unless I tell you about that time Samuel L. Jackson got eaten by a great white mid-f--king sentence! Or when that lady from Open Water was totally naked for absolutely no reason.

(Sorry, I don't watch a lot of shark movies)

And after catching 47 Meters Down on Netflix with my wife the other night, safe to say I won't be rushing out (or in) to see anymore. While The Shallows [easily one of my favorite reviews] was f--king awesome a few summers back, Mandy Moore vs. a Shark is anything but. Good thing, like an actual shark attack, it's all over faster than you can yell Barracuda!

When we meet Lisa, the tall one (Moore), she has just been dumped by her boyfriend. Fiancee? Tennis Instructor? F--k, I don't know, someone she was previously in a relationship with. Apparently, she never let her hair down (anybody?), and homeboy had to cut her loose. So instead of non-alcoholic margaritas and super-protected missionary, this Mexican getaway is gonna be a pity party.

Filling in for the guy is Kate, Lisa's flirty younger sister. While Lisa looking to wallow, Kate's looking to swallow. Sea water, you silly goose.

Anyway, after meeting two dudes who look like they might cut out your organs while you're sleeping, Kate plays the be a little adventurous card to Lisa, and basically double-dares her to go shark-diving with the fellas. What's a boring, overly-cautious, perpetual party-pooper gonna do? Well, like me pressing play on 47 Meters Down, something woefully against her better judgement.

Friday, February 9, 2018

You have a choice. Scream. Or don't.

I know it was 2004. October.

The Red Sox had just won the World Series for the first time in 86 years, and the Friday night before the victory parade, I dragged my cousin to the movies. Sure, Friday night at the movies was something we'd done a million times, but a Sox World Series parade was something we assumed we'd never see once. As we were both in the early stages of our careers in public education, we left the last almost-midnight screening f--king exhausted. Bleary-eyed ain't the half of it.

So tired, in fact, on the ride home we silently decided it would be a terrible idea to get up in a few short hours, drive a hundred miles north to Boston, only to freeze our balls off along the parade route cheering for Damon, Manny and Millar and the rest of the guys..

To be clear, we didn't go to perhaps the biggest f--king sporting event in our lives (up until that moment, anyway)... because I insisted we go see a f--king low-budget horror film the night before.

And they thought the 2004 Red Sox were idiots.


Saw and I didn't exactly get off on the right foot (I think there's a joke there) over a decade ago, so I'm not sure what would compel me to check out 2017's Jigsaw. I actually abandoned the series after the second entry, so jumping back in to part...carry the three...part eight probably wasn't the best call. But the wife was out of town, and the kids were at my mom's. What's a grown man supposed to do in that situation.

Not fall the f--k asleep. Which is why I rented the shortest movie they had. And still fell the f--k asleep.

As far as my dim recollection goes, Jigsaw stays pretty close to the winning formula of the previous films. Terrible people awake to find themselves in even more, uh, terribler situations, and we get to gleefully squirm our way through each grisly demise.

Here, the crux of the film concerns itself with five a-holes chained to the wall of an extremely elaborate death chamber. Jigsaw, who apparently/supposedly died a decade ago, has channeled his love for OK Go videos, and created a seemingly endless (and super f--ked up) version of Mouse Trap. And unless you confess to all the sins you've committed in your mostly-shitty life, well, you gon' die. And it ain't a laundry basket that's coming down on your head.

It's a...well, it's a...it's a f--king laser.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

He's happy to see me. Every time. Every day.

I'm a fairly nice guy, not physically imposing in any way. The only thing scary about me? Probably how handsome I am. And that I occasionally lie about my appearance.

My point? I've never considered myself a monster.

But I just might be, you know? Turns out, I'm a pretty big fan of hard-boiled eggs. I definitely enjoy a swim. And if you fall asleep on me, there's a good chance I'm sneaking out to the movies. And if you're not careful?

I just might eat your p....

You see...while the bones of The Shape of Water felt pretty familiar (it's basically a super f--ked up/inverted version of Shrek), it's the relentless attention to detail and dream-like nature of the film that elevates Guillermo del Toro's latest offering to something bordering incredible. Imagination and reverence damn near fly off the screen. But while I can't imagine it'll actually win Best Picture, I'd totally have its (scaly) back if it does. 

Set against the backdrop of the height of 50's US/Russia paranoia, The Shape of Water tells the (sorta fairy) tale of Elisa Esposito (the always lovely and often alarmingly naked Sally Hawkins), a seemingly mild-mannered cleaning woman. Elisa works deep in the bowels of a top-secret government facility in Baltimore, pushing a cleaning cart alongside her perfectly sassy best friend, Zelda (Octavia Spencer, doing that good thing she does so...good). Not only have they cleaned some shit at work, but they've seen some shit there, too (we all have, right?). But these ladies are smart, dig? They ain't saying anything about it. And in Elisa's case, literally, as this poor woman's been mute for as long as anyone can remember.

Monday, January 29, 2018

If the train don't kill me...the people will.

There is nothing sexy about my weekday mornings.

No kiss goodbye from the wife as she straightens my tie, no last sip of coffee as I tussle the hair of my lil' slugger. Nope. Instead, I stumble out of my house with the grace and gait of someone just recently rescued from sea, drive the thirty-one post-apocalyptic miles to a job that makes me wish I was dead. Or undead, depending on the radiation levels and bust size of my fellow zombies.

But between you and me? Those two mindless, traffic-filled hours aren't all bad. It's basically the only part of my day where no one needs anything from me, and I can just sit there, not giving a damn, shit or f--k. I just coast along, chasing whatever money they'll give me.

The Commuter, Liam Neeson's latest January journey, doesn't exactly coast along, but good luck giving a damn, shit or f--k about it. I'm glad that a ton of people got paid in the production of this movie, yay them!, but this flick felt like the ultimate rip-off. And at this point, we're so far down the Don't f--k with Liam Neeson rabbit hole, I'm not even sure what film this one cribs from the most. Oh, I know. The one where they f--k with the wrong guy's family, and he's reluctantly forced to do something about it.

Yeah. That one.

Seemingly moments after establishing that college is gonna be (perhaps too) expensive for oh Danny boy, Neeson's Michael MacCauley shows up at work and promptly gets shit-canned. I'ts been real, Mike, but ya gotsta go.

And breaking all stereotypes, the massive Irishman heads to a bar to hang out with a bunch of cops, who apparently, he used to work with. Wait, what? An ex-cop who just lost his job and desperately needs cash? What could possibly happen next?

Oh, right. A beautiful women will approach him on the train-ride home, provide him with the most cryptic way possible to make a little extra money, and chaos and conspiracy will ensue. The gig? All he has to do is find the premise that does not belong. Er, person. Find the person that doesn't belong. And identify them. So they can be murdered. Um, I think.

*raises hand* Uh, Mr. Neeson? I'm pretty sure I don't belong here.

Feel free to shoot me in the head. Or the nuts.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

He looks for the good in all of us, and somehow, he finds it.

These are very divisive times. There is so little in this world that can easily be agreed upon, even a simple decision can seem insurmountable. Where facts used to be something you couldn't argue with, something that could guide you, now everything is up for debate.

Perhaps making this situation even more troubling, is the fact that everybody has something to say. And with the proliferation of countless electronic platforms, it's easier than ever for them to say it.

But, who should you really listen to? Your friends? Your family? Some blogger you've never met? How about that guy at work who starts every sentence with, you know what you should do...? 

No. They're all morons. If you really want to know how to live your life right...

...listen to the talking bear. 

That dude knows everything.


I read somewhere that Paddington 2 was 'the sequel that no one asked for' and I'd quite honestly like to track down whoever wrote such nonsense and...and...give them a hard stare. Just three years after the original's 2014 release, this latest sequel is nothing short of fantastic, and should be prescribed by medical professionals to cure, well, just about everything that's wrong. In the world.

Paddington has settled into his life in London, and become a beloved member of the community. He's an incredibly positive little bear, and seemingly makes the lives of everyone around him that much better. Well, except for Mr. Curry. He's not really a fan.

Anyway, Paddington comes across what is possibly the most beautiful pop-up book in the world, and wants to buy it for his dear Aunt Lucy. She had always dreamed of visiting London, but the arrival of Paddington as a cub changed her plans forever. This book, featuring all the sights of The Old Smoke, would make for the perfect present. All Paddington has to do is earn a little money and the book is his. I mean, it's not like anyone else wants it. Nope.

Not even that wonderful/creepy guy from the steam fair. The one that used that used to be a real actor but now is in all those dog-food commercials.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

We might die together. And I don't even know you.

When it comes to traveling with Kate Winslet, uh, cinematically, I've got a little good news and a little bad news for you. The good news? At some point during the journey, it's gonna be business time. It doesn't even matter if one of you is betrothed, either. You will be overcome with emotions, and will have sweaty, potentially life-altering sex in some place you shouldn't be.

But the bad news? Hopefully you didn't pack anything of value. Because not only will your luggage fail to arrive in a timely manner, but there's a good chance the vessel carrying you won't either. To be fair, shit tends to slow down when it's ripping apart spectacularly.

Oh, one more thing. All that romance, that was hot. My pants are still on fire just thinking about it. Too bad though, as your chivalrous ass is going to f--king freeze to death in the middle of nowhere.


If it had an 's', I'd say it's referencing Winslet. But just 'mountain'?
I guess they're referring to Elba.
Okay, so maybe there are many other cinematic instances where accompanying Ms. Winslet is a sex and disaster free endeavor. I'm open to that possibility. But being that The Mountain Between Us is only the sixth or seventh film I've ever seen with Rose Dewitt Bukater in the lead, I'm going to just assume they all end the same way. Maybe a sexy car crash on that Revolutionary Road, perhaps

Winslet plays Alex, a spunky (perhaps a wee bit bitchy) photographer attempting to head to her wedding in the Mile High City ,but crushed to find out her flight has just been cancelled. Overhearing this dreadful news is the dreamiest of McDreamies, Ben Bass (Idris Elba, classing up yet another stinker), also desperate to get the Hell out of wherever they are. Bass has a surgery tomorrow in Baltimore, where he'll be operating on my incessantly raging boner for all things Elba. Or a sick kid. One of those.

Cut to the unlikely pair hiring The Dude's brother to fly them out ahead of the storm. Ooh, about that. One terrifying as f--k plane crash later, and Alex and Ben are fighting not only the elements, a mountain lion and each other's survival instincts, but also the inevitable desire to bunk the Hell up (you know, to stay warm) when given the chance. That mountain between them...might just be made exclusively out of reproductive organs.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Now I just pretend to be a good dude.

It doesn't seem all that long ago, where the mere thought of a big-time actor starring in a 'made-for-TV' movie was the check engine light on a career careening off the road. A big screen star is going to be in something I don't have to pay for? I don't know if I should feel excited...or depressed.

But I'm (mostly) grown-up now, and a damn I could give about reputation. So by all means, Once Big-Time Actor, make that money. Make it any way you can.

Even if you have to star in something really weird, that a lot of people seem to really f--king hate.

Making a movie that only appears on Netflix is a far cry from The Hallmark Channel presents..., but it's still slightly jarring to see a big (moderate?) budget flick starring Will Smith exclusively debut within the (damn near ubiquitous) streaming service. But even stranger than the fact that Smith headlines David Ayers' latest, might just be what the film is about. And even stranger than that? How much I enjoyed it.

All of it.

While Bright might be full of all sorts of stranger things, it's played remarkably straightforward. Set in Ayers' favorite American wasteland, Los Angeles, this gritty world of bad good guys and good bad guys is essentially every cop flick you've ever...but with orcs, elves and fairies. Think a tamer version of Training Day set in the public housing section of The Shire, and you're on the right path.To Mordor.

But one where we grab In-and-Out Burger on the way.

Smith plays the pissed off cop Ward, just trying to survive another day in L.A.. If he's lucky, he'll make it home to his lovely wife Sherri, a nurse living in constant fear that next body they roll in to her will belong to her Shrek-loving husband. And if he's not, there's a host of weird-looking motherf--kers that could end up killing him. Including the dude not only with a shotgun, but the dude riding shotgun.