Holiday Season at the Movies

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you all had a blessed Christmas. Currently I am still in Spokane on vacation as I enjoy time with my family.

Speaking of enjoying time with the family, when us Resers are together we like nothing more than to go to the movies. This holiday season has proved no different as I have watched two movies in two nights with my loved ones at the neighborhood theater. Writing as a movie critic is definitely not my forte and I am definitely not qualified to do it, so please consider the explanations below as just a brief guide from a biased male movie-goer. I want to just provide what I thought of the movie and maybe make your decision easier on if you want to see it or not.

“American Hustle”: On Christmas evening my family winded down from the day’s festivities by watching “American Hustle”, a movie with a star loaded cast about a couple of con people who get caught conducting one of their schemes by a FBI agent during a sting. In order to avoid severe sentences, the con people (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) must participate in a much bigger, more elaborate sting operation orchestrated by the FBI agent (Bradley Cooper).

“American Hustle” definitely has its slow parts. By no means was I hanging onto my seat wondering what would happen next. In fact, the ending is quite predictable. But, even though the movie is slow and even though it is predictable, the plot is still good. What sets this movie apart though is the acting. The performances put on by Cooper, Adams, and especially Bale, are superb. Jennifer Lawrence also plays a big role in the movie and provides stellar acting as well while also being very easy on the eyes. Robert Deniro also appears in the movie.

I would recommend the movie to most adult audiences who want to watch a sophisticated crime drama containing the best acting talent available in 2013. My attention span is not always the best so many might not even think it was as slow as I made it out to be.

“Grudge Match”: Yesterday my brother and I returned to the theater to watch a movie that he had anticipated the release of for quite some time. Starring Slyvester Stallone and Robert Deniro, “Grudge Match” chronicles the build up and bout of two aging rivals who last fought 30 years ago. The rivalry came to an abrupt halt before the rubber match of the series could be staged. However, with money and unfinished business playing a role, both fighters agree to put the gloves on for one last time and settle the rivalry for good.

I actually really enjoyed this movie. I personally found Stallone and Deniro hilarious throughout the whole production. There is a great scene where the two make fun of mixed martial arts and another pretty good scene when the two parachute. Besides the funny scenes, the culminating boxing match scene is very good as well. The boxing itself is well done but the sportsmanship at the fight’s culmination is very heartwarming. Both of the men’s trainers, Alan Arkin for Stallone and Jon Bernthal for Deniro play solid roles. If you are anything like me, you will get very annoyed with Kevin Hart who serves as the over anxious promoter.

I know there are a lot of Stallone haters out there so I definitely wouldn’t recommend this movie to those people. However, I would recommend “Grudge Match” to most others. It is an easy going movie with lots of laughs, a great ending, and two iconic actors bringing the best out of each other.


Lately I have had bad luck with movies so it was refreshing to watch two movies in a row that I actually enjoyed. I hope that all of you get to the theater this holiday season and see something you like! Don’t Blink.

A Movie I Wish I Never Saw

Very rarely do I feel the need to devote a blog post to voicing how bad a certain movie was. However, the film I saw on Monday night at the Carmike 10 theater in Missoula reached such a level of horrificness that I felt compelled to let all my readers know about it. I care about all of you so much that if I can save you $9.25 and two hours of your time I am going to do it.

Many times I read books and watch movies without reading the inside cover or watching the previews. I like to go into something with no preconceived notions. I am just entertained more when I have to figure everything out myself without the aid of a primer before. As usual, I went pretty much blind into the recent movie I saw and I can say that was one of the few times where I genuinely wished I diverted course and did some research.

Monday evening I saw “Spring Breakers”. Going in, I knew the movie featured Selena Gomez and was based on the spring break odyssey of a group of girlfriends. I also knew that the movie featured some sexual and narcotic themes….but what movie these days doesn’t, right? I just thought it would fall in line with any typical PG-13 or R rated movie. So after all the commercial ads and the 30 minutes of previews, the movie finally started. It only took one minute of the opening scene to clue me in that this was not your typical PG-13 or R rated movie.

In “Spring Breakers”, sex and nudity predominate throughout the whole entire movie. Now trust me, I am no prude, but the blatant and constant usage of the above mentioned things really did distract from anything the movie might have had going for it while also leaving the viewer to think “Wow, this is just plain indecent.” Sometimes movie makers purposely go overboard with controversial themes and many times it just comes across as unnecessary. Think the F-Word with “Casino” or violence with the last “Rambo” movie. Directors sometimes just put strong language, violence, and/or sex in every part of a movie just so it will have strong language, violence, and/or sex in every part of a movie. But where “Casino” and “Rambo” both crossed the line a little bit with language and violence respectively, “Spring Breakers” in my opinion did an Olympic-caliber long jump over that same line when it came to sex/nudity elements. For me, it was just way too much.

The movie in general was just disturbing and weird to me. Filmed and cut in a choppy, drug high-induced way, most people 10 years younger than me would probably say it was cool….I just thought it was distracting. It is in this hazy way that the movie follows four girls (one of them Selena Gomez and one of them another Disney star, Vanessa Hudgens) as they go to Florida for spring break. Funding the trip by robbing a diner, the girls live it up in Florida, partying like there is no tomorrow. The party stops momentarily when the group gets arrested for trashing a house. Sitting in jail with no money, they get bailed out by a drug dealer rapper named Alien. The rest of the movie just chronicles the weird relationship between Alien and the girls.

And that my friends, is pretty much the gist of the movie. Don’t even bother about a plot, “Spring Breakers” is completely devoid of one. The makers of the movie must have thought that an excess in party, sex, and drug scenes excused them from throwing any sense of one into the film. The whole time in the theater I tried to figure out what the movie was trying to get at, what needed to get accomplished. Nothing ever emerged.

Of course, if something lacks a plot then there is no real set up for a decent ending. With no problem to solve or goal to achieve, what do you have to base a strong ending on? “Spring Breakers” makes no exception. The ending was one of the most epically bad ones I have witnessed in a long time. If you plan to make the mistake and watch this movie, turn your head now as I summarize how the movie concludes: Alien and the two remaining girls go to a rival drug dealer’s property and engage in a shootout with the rival’s entourage. Alien is shot dead right away but somehow the two college girls are able to blow away about 25 men of the entourage, enter the mansion, and kill the rival dealer in front of two of his women who are in the shower. The girls leave the property in the dealer’s car and the movie ends. A completely unbelievable, random, and unsatisfying ending…yet completely fitting for how terrible this movie was.

To put the cherry on top of the disgusting sundae, the characters in the movie will leave a terrible taste in your mouth. The group of girls the movie follows are 3x worse than The Plastics from “Mean Girls”. While Selena Gomez played the role of the good girl, the other three were simply way too out there to ever develop any liking, sympathy, or connection for. However, the character of Alien takes the cake for complete catastrophe. Alien is played by James Franco, the same guy who stars in “Oz the Great and Powerful.” I haven’t seen a character who made me feel more annoyed or disgusted in a long time. Just tough to even look at in the first place, he had no redeeming qualities and his constant rapping/singing/reciting throughout the movie drove me up a wall. If I heard him say his repetitious “Spring break…spring break” one more time in that movie I was going to storm out of the theater. It was that bad.

The funny thing about movies is that everyone has different tastes. Believe it or not, some critics have actually given “Spring Breakers” positive reviews. While I personally have no idea how that is possible, it reminds me that my standard of what makes a good movie differs from the standard of the entertainment writer from such-and-such a newspaper or from the standard of yourself. With that said, please don’t go see “Spring Breakers.” Don’t Blink.