Movies From the Last Few Years I Wanted To Like But Didn’t (Or They Fell Short of Expectations) Part 2 of 3
I left one movie off my previous post from 2007, which was my Part One list of Twelve Movies From The Last Few Years That I Wanted To Like But Didn’t. Remaining are the movies from 2008 and 2009 that made (or didn’t make, if you look at it that way) the cut.
This one hurts some. This movie was built up to be pretty big in the minds of those that love a gangster film. I fit that role. You have Denzel, Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott directing, a Jay-Z-laden soundtrack, and comparisons to the classic film Scarface, then…ehhh. The movie was just okay. It wasn’t along the same lines of the Pacino/DePalma classic, it didn’t really move me, nothing about it was very memorable, even though it was a solid film. It was just another movie and that was disappointing. I still haven’t seen it since. I suppose this is due for a re-look, but at the time, in the theater, I left scratching my head a bit.
Be Kind, Rewind & Blindness
Be Kind featured Mos Def and Jack Black, an odd and intriguing pairing, mixed with the directing talents of Michel Gondry, and the result was one of the weakest movies of the year. Mos was almost impossible to watch (in particular, to listen to him), the lo-fi film recreation storyline should have been a lot more fun, and it really amounted to a schlocky, underwhelming piece, that made me further question the talents of those involved, and have highly soured me on Gondry as a director. He has to earn back the good will that he built with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and I don’t know that he is up to the task. from what I gather, his Green Hornet effort was a disaster, so that is not promising at all.
Blindness turned out to be the biggest rip-off ending in a film that I have seen in years. With Fernando Meirelles helming one of my favorite films of the past decade and a high-ranking personal favorite of all-time, in the amazing City of God, this was an opportunity to see him take the next huge step as a director and reap the rewards that fans of City (go Manchester!) wanted for him. Instead, he didn’t take advantage. The movie kept your attention (though not easily) for the duration and then yanked the rug out from beneath your feet in a horrendous ending. I don’t know that I will ever forgive him. BTW, Fernando, call me – because in truth I don’t remember the ending, I just know I absolutely hated it. I won’t put this all on him, since he didn’t write it, and his latest 360 gives me renewed hope that Fernando is still worth watching. We’ll see.
Bronson, Watchmen, The Hangover & Public Enemies
Bronson was a film built up as A Clockwork Orange type of film, but was nothing more than a weird, sordid tale about a guy, told in an odd, and rather uninspiring way. I was very high for the film before I saw it only to be incredibly let down. It was actually hard to make it through. I know it was based on a true story, but it didn’t redeem it at all for me. I hoped for a lot more. Then, the director – Nick Winding Refn – goes and makes Drive and you wonder even more about why Bronson was lame. Tom Hardy is legit, but this one just missed.
Watchmen was a film that had a great trailer. Normally I wouldn’t have had much interest in a film like this, but it was built up to be perhaps one of the biggest movies ever, and landed with a rather resounding thud. This wasn’t a horrible work, but if you counter it with a movie like The Dark Knight, which more than matched the hype, it only exaggerated the difference of what this film might have been. I think Zack Snyder may be able to be an interesting director (Sucker Punch was visually damn cool), but he also might be the next Michael Bay. After this movie, the meter was swinging in the “Bay” direction. Not good.
I don’t really like comedies that much, so The Hangover might have been up against it to start. Rarely, do they ever live up to my expectations, which are, I don’t know, how do I say this, to….laugh during the movie. Is that too much to ask? Absolutely, it is, and this film proved that. I chuckled two to three times during the film. That does not a good movie make, nor is it worthy of being the biggest comedy of all-time. This movie exemplifies how different the tastes of mainstream America and mine are. I envy you, mainstream audiences. To derive enjoyment from such average work must be nice. I wish I was as easily entertained, but alas, I am not. I’d rather be hung over, than watch The Hangover. I’ve had hangovers/blackouts (my first script was based on this concept) that needed to be recreated and were more worthwhile that this. It was not believable, nor very fun. Zack Galifianakis earned his way onto my shit list for this one. He’s yet to work his way off of it, despite the remains of his father being drunk in Due Date. I have not seen the sequel to Hangover, nor do I plan on it at this point.
I have to include Public Enemies on the list – much to my dismay – because we did a dedication week to Michael Mann here on The Film Nest, and I (essentially) had breakfast with the man a few months ago. I was hoping for another movie along the lines of his previous actioners such as Heat and Collateral. Those are two all-timers. This did not match that. I don’t think that this is a bad movie by any means, it just wasn’t great, and I thought it had the potential to be that.
Casting Johnny Depp (a feminine man in a masculine role) was the starting point of this heading down the wrong path. The action felt ordinary and you didn’t care enough about the characters to engage in the story. It was a movie you simply watched but didn’t interact with. For that, it makes the disappointing list. And Michael, next time we are at breakfast, easy with the staring at me brother, I’m just trying to eat and mind my own business. Don’t use me for your script inspiration, unless of course, you really, really needed it. On a side note, I have just decided to re-visit this film, since I respect Mann so much, I am giving it another shot. My fingers are crossed.
There is one more part of this list forthcoming, the last segment of movies I wanted to like but didn’t. Stay tuned.