The Pink Panther Snipes Again

Bad Movie Reviews with a Touch of Snark


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Southside With You, or: No One Compares 2 U

What do I do when I’m despairing of the world we live in and desperately missing the dignity, reason, and humanity of the Obamas?  Watch clips of that time President Obama was on Between Two Ferns?  Or the Carpool Karaoke segment featuring Michelle?  How about masochistically torturing myself with images of them in happier times (portrayed by actors who really look nothing like them)?  Why; what do you do?

The Film:

Southside With You

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Uncondensed Version:

Michelle Robinson lives at home with her parents despite her position at a top corporate law firm in Chicago.  Even though Michelle has some serious pampering going on, she’s definitely not going on a date with Barack—it would be inappropriate since Michelle is his advisor, he’s only working at the firm for the summer, and she would get so much shit from the higher ups if she dated the first young black guy who walks into the firm.

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And, you know, of course he has a Panama hat.

Barack, meanwhile, is just smoking, reading, and talking on the phone because of course he is.  The two will be attending a community even in the Gardens, a housing project in Chicago.  Sounds like there’s no way to interpret that as a date…right?

While Barack is easy-going and laid-back, Michelle is hyper-aware of the hard work, self-discipline, and commitment to following the rules she must continually embody to succeed in the swarm of middle-aged white men that is the law firm.  Barack shows up late to pick her up and drives a car with a hole rusted through in the bottom (which is true).

Michelle has worked hard for her education and position at the law firm, though she seems unsatisfied with the tedious work and condescension from the higher ups (as indicated previously, middle-aged white men).  Barack is extremely perceptive and asks if the firm is really what she’s frustrated with, and she insists yes—yes, it is.

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“Maybe what I really hate is men telling me what I’m frustrated about.”

At this point, Barack springs art exhibit and lunch on Michelle, admitting they have time to kill before the community event.  The exhibit highlights black artists, including Ernie Barnes, the artist whose work was made famous by Good Times (no joke).  He also recites Gwendolyn Brooks poetry to her, which may or may not have happened IRL, but either way is fucking unfair and has the immediate effect of melting everyone within a 50 foot radius.

After the exhibit, the two bond over sandwiches and learn shocking revelations–specifically that Michelle doesn’t like pie, though she does like chocolate ice cream.  Barack damn near breaks my heart when he reveals he hates ice cream after spending a summer working at Baskin Robbins (which I understand on a rational level but still devastates me personally).  We get a bit of a peek into their very different childhoods and learn that Michelle’s dad has MS (which I didn’t know before watching this).

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I just realized the Obamas can never appreciate the thing of beauty that is pie with ice cream.

At long last, it’s time for the community event, which conveniently gives Barack the opportunity to showcase his inspirational speechmaking skills and for the church ladies to bust out their stories about the lives he’s turned around and what a cool dude he is in general.  Rather unrealistically, he gives a speech without once saying “let me be clear,” “here’s the deal,” or “it will not be easy.”

Michelle sees right through this ploy, but is still rather impressed.  We all are, girl.  They have a meaningful discussion about their fatigue with doing what’s convenient over what’s right with genuine conviction–something I really fucking miss seeing in the US President.

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Admit it–the only thing you’re imagining him saying in this scene is “Let me be clear.”

The evening wraps up with a showing of Do the Right Thing, unfortunately interrupted when they run into a top partner at the law firm, who is a condescending smarmy bastard.  Michelle reflects once again on the way their relationship will be perceived and how it could destroy the career she has worked hard to build.  Does this mean there will never be a second date???

…I mean, there are really no spoilers here, so suffice it to say that chocolate ice cream can solve pretty much everything and I believe it may be our last decent shot at world peace.

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

I’m not sure it’s possible to be objective with this review.  I teared up several times at places that were never intended to be sad because I fucking miss the Obamas and their strength and intelligence and compassion.  I love and miss them, but I just want them to be happy.  They’ve always deserved better.

Though it takes place nearly 20 years ago, the commentary feels very contemporary.  Michelle describes the challenges she’s faced as a black woman that are still very much in place today.  At one point, Barack and Michelle walk through a tunnel memorializing the many black Chicagoans who died violently–a tunnel that would surely have exponentially greater names today.

There are some self-satisfied moments that get a bit unbearable at times (like when Michelle comments on what a great speechmaker Barack is, wink wink nudge nudge).  And admittedly, the actors really don’t look anything like Barack and Michelle except for the hair styles, but the acting is convincing enough that you can pretend after a while.  I really appreciated the glimpse into Michelle’s character that we’ve never gotten, especially as her role as First Lady was the one the world saw her inhabit.  Let’s not forget that prior to the Presidency, Michelle was bringing in a much bigger salary than Barack and being an all-around badass.

Did this one inspire Christa or would she shun it like the Obamas shun pie and ice cream?  Find out here!


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Hush, or: A Day No Cats Would Die

Just in case every other horror movie in existence hadn’t given you second thoughts about finishing your novel in a secluded cabin in the forest, this week’s pick will give you another reason to just stay home and watch Netflix instead.

The Film:

Hush

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Premise:

In the most realistic/least fun kind of horror, a creepy dude in a mask terrorizes a novelist living alone in the woods.

The Uncondensed Version:

Maddie is a writer who lives alone in the woods.  Having lost her hearing at the age of 13, she’s used to the silence if not the solitude.  Though having second thoughts about her recent break up, she does have a friendly neighbor, Sarah, to keep her company.  She also has a cat because what else do single ladies in the woods do.  Heroically, Maddie has named her cat Bitch, which is probably the most fitting name for a cat I’ve ever heard.

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Not the last or worst set of crazy eyes in this film…

Things get really real after Sarah leaves Maddie’s house, interrupted by the arrival of Creepy McCreep-face in one of those hideous featureless masks.  Though Sarah screams for help and tries to get Maddie’s attention, Maddie hears nothing.

The Creep manages to slip into the house unnoticed and creepily lurk while Maddie is Face Timing with one of her friends.  He seems really determined to drag this whole thing out while being as creepy as possible—Maddie only realizes she’s being watched when he sends fucking creeper pics of her from Sarah’s phone.  Twisted, dude.

Oh, and his weapon of choice?  A goddamn crossbow.  I swear to god, if this is what Game of Thrones hath wrought, is it really worth it?  Is it???

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Please can we just agree to not be creepy fucking assholes?

Anyway, to further terrify Maddie, the Creep cuts off the power and punctures the tires in her car.  She tries to write him a message that she hasn’t seen his face and won’t call the cops…so he promptly takes his mask off to make it clear he intends to kill her.

Maddie decides her best bet is retrieving Sarah’s phone from her body, which the Creep uses to mess with her.  Now armed only with a hammer and kitchen knife, Maddie needs to distract the Creep for long enough to search Sarah’s body for the phone.  Maddie uses the car pretty ingeniously, but of course this doesn’t work out as planned (we’ve still got an hour to go).

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I’ve got one hand in my pocket and the other one’s wielding a claw hammer…

For the next chunk of the film, we have a sort of bait and switch with Maddie coming up with plans to escape and the Creep managing to keep her trapped.  Both sustain some pretty gruesome injuries with equally disgusting sound effects.

This continues until John, Sarah’s SO (boyfriend?  Husband?  Too minor of a character for me to care?) shows up to figure out where she could be.  John is annoyingly slow to catch on to what’s happening, which I attribute in part to the actor also playing Anders in BSG, the single most idiotic character on that show.  However, John does catch on eventually and gives Maddie a chance to escape.  But does she???

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

Largely because I don’t have any way to produce an objective rating for this one.  It did what it said on the tin, i.e. scared the living daylights out of me and raised my blood pressure for a solid 80 minutes.  It was horrifically disgusting in places and ruined any chances I had of ever deciding to go live alone in the woods.  Damn it, humanity–this is why we can’t have nice things.  The ending is somewhat clever in the way it turns around Maddie’s disability and uses it to her advantage (oops–spoiler?).  However, a lot of it was just torturous to watch and made me want to outlaw those fucking featureless masks every goddamn horror creep favors.

Is it worth staying in a creepy cabin for this one or would Christa shoot it with a crossbow?  Find out here!


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Sisterhood of Night, or: Twitches

We do what we want in this Blog Collab…and what we want is to avoid over-thinking our theme-related decisions.  Welcome to yet another Blog Free or Die Hard Month—this time with witchcraft!

The Film:

Sisterhood of Night

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

Secret rituals!  Vows of silence!  Tattoos!  There’s only one explanation for this kind of behavior in teens:  witchcraft.

The Uncondensed Version:

Lucy from The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe and Suzy from Moonrise Kingdom are all grown-up and embracing their inner mean girl.

Mary is something of a slacker in school, yet seems destined for fame with her serious charisma and IDGAF attitude, universally admired by teens everywhere.  Emily, on the other hand, is a bit of a goody two-shoes, who tries (and fails) so hard to be interesting and well-liked in worlds both real and virtual.  After Mary takes things too far by ruining Emily’s audition, Emily steals Mary’s phone and posts all of her texts online.  The feud between these two is just getting started when Mary decides to be done with the net forever, taking a modern vow of silence from social media.

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Harsh…I think…?

Thus the Sisterhood of Night is born.  Mary begins the secret society with her closest friends and rumors swirl.  Though the girls involved with the Sisterhood meet up only to unburden themselves of secrets, outsiders imagine they are basically a coven of lesbians.  Oh, the horror.

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Telepathic lesbians:  a parent’s worst nightmare (apparently)…

Based on a series of mysterious clues, Mary reveals the time and location of Sisterhood meetings to members only.  Desperate to be part of the cool kids club, Emily figures out where the next meeting will be in hopes of joining or, if all else fails, writing a really juicy post for her blog.

Rejected once again, Emily uses the opportunity to accuse the Sisterhood of physical and sexual assault, collapsing in church and revealing a scar on her hand inflicted by Mary.  Emily isn’t winning any friends in her high school, but she is becoming somewhat internet famous, with thousands of blog followers.

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Our chief weapons are fear, surprise, and staring contests.

With mysterious tattoos, odd meeting hours, and secrets piling up, the community demands to know what the Sisterhood is and what the girls do.  They refuse to reveal the truth since, you know, it’s a secret society and all.  The town sets a curfew for everyone under the age of 18, which Mary obviously ignores.  Frightened one evening, she asks her guidance counselor (Kal Penn??!?!?) for help at his apartment.  This of course gets horribly misconstrued and ends badly for Kal, the sole voice of reason in the entire scenario.  After Kal’s departure, a media circus latches onto the story, sensationalizing the story to depict sex, witchcraft, and occult rituals.

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I can’t disagree.

As the Sisterhood grows, so too does Emily’s following as her reputation for being a survivor of abuse grows.  She comes up with a rather nasty plan to force a confession of witchcraft from one of the Sisterhood, luring her out using her crush.  Emily immediately feels remorse and tries to stop the plan, but it’s already been set into motion.  Someone isn’t getting out of this alive—who will it be???

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

The ending is actually pretty moving and surprisingly feminist, but it takes a long time to get there.  Everyone is so needlessly bitchy for such a long time, and someone has to fucking die for it to stop.  The end calls the persecution of witches to our attention, and the supposed threat of feminine power and sisterhood inherent in these kinds of witch hunts.  The girls do lift each other up at the end, which is empowering, but I was still hoping for at least a little bit of actual witchcraft.

The tone is odd as well, as sometimes it feels like a satire or dark comedy, and other times like a serious drama.  It gets to have a bit too much of an after-school special vibe after a while.  Kal Penn as the guidance counselor works but is also confusing, as I was expecting him to bring comedy to this film.

In spite of myself, I saw high school + witches and immediately expected The Craft.  This isn’t as much fun to watch as The Craft, but it does have an interesting perspective and a message worth considering.

Would Christa get matching tattoos with this one or shun it entirely?  Find out here!


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Deidra and Laney Rob a Train, or: Trainspotting 3

Rounding out the latest month of Blog Free or Die Hard is another Netflix original, selected entirely on its own merit.  And not at all because it was so easy to find and stream on both sides of the pond.

The Film:

Deidra and Laney Rob a Train

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Uncondensed Version:

Deidra and Laney are teen sisters who act like parents to their younger brother Jet, pick their mom up from work, and try to find ways to keep the family afloat financially.  The 2 sisters are managing to keep scraping by until they find their mom having a very public meltdown at work with screaming, the police dept, and destruction of expensive Good Buy property involved.  Through bad luck and shady insurance practices, her impulsive mistake is considered an act of domestic terrorism (WTF) and bail is set much higher than the family can afford to pay.

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All seem like appropriate “Mom is in prison” faces.

After years of hard work and stress, their mother Marigold is quite relieved to relax in prison.  Adulting is hard, man, and Deidra seems to be a more natural head of the household.  This feeling, of course, is not shared by the rest of the family, who can’t find the money to pay the bills, let alone bail or Deidra’s imminent college expenses.   It looks like college may no longer be an option as Deidra misses class and college deadlines to manage things at home and come up with ways to earn quick cash.

Meanwhile, Laney is having a miserable time at school as she has been selected to compete in a beauty pageant (that appears to replace actual class…?) against her best friend.  Her friend Claire, feeling threatened by Laney’s participation, sets out to make her life miserable.

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I would watch the hell out of pageants if there were a competitive tea-drinking round.

After much time spent stressing, Deidra gets an idea from the rather shady men in (and absent from) her life.  Her father, Chet, who prides himself on knowing when the family doesn’t need him, is a train mechanic.  He obliviously explains how modern-day train robberies happen, not realizing he is providing a catalyst for Deidra’s plan.  When Deidra’s ex mentions his side hustle selling just about anything he can get his hands on, the pieces fall into place and a crime spree is about to begin.

Both Deidra and Laney are in on the plan, and the two sisters become closer than ever.  However, tensions are high as Deidra’s dream of college seems to be slipping away, Laney pins her hopes on the pageant yet feels very alone, Child Protective Services suspects Deidra isn’t cut out to be the head of the household, and the fuzz is catching on to the robberies.

To everyone’s surprise, their father steps in to cover with CPS and do what he does best—plan petty crimes and destroy evidence.  This may be too little too late, as a persistent railroad security employee, Truman, is determined to crack the case.  Shit hits the fan when Truman puts 2 and 2 together on the night of the pageant, and Chet decides to take off.

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Also a convenient way to destroy evidence of all of those animals I tortured…

How can this possibly end well for our titular train-robbing teens?  You know the drill.

The Rating:

3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads

Largely because Deidra and Laney are so cute and incredibly real.  I could especially relate to Laney re: awkward/insecure teen years…and, you know, the whole beauty pageant scene (lol).

The acting is convincing even if the characters aren’t always–Deidra’s guidance counselor being presented as sympathetic while pushing her own agenda over Deidra’s best interests really grated on me, as well as Chet playing the role of dirtbag with a heart of gold father.

This film has a lot of heart, but some of its sweet moments are emotionally manipulative AF.  It suffers from an uneven tone, simultaneously attempting to tackle serious issues while offering soothing reassurances to the viewer that it will all be okay.  The film frequently undermines its own ideas, and wraps things up much too neatly for my tastes (even though I was rooting for our leading ladies the whole time).

 

 

There is quite a lot of consideration of fate vs. free will throughout, which remains persistently upbeat.  This is one of my major beefs with the film, as it ultimately seems to reinforce the narrative that hard work and individualism pay off.  Though Deidra and Laney resort to robbing trains, it’s emphasized that their resourcefulness, determination, and clever planning earns them opportunity.  Am I bumming you out?  I sense that I’m bumming you out.

Would Christa ride the rails or take a bus instead?  Find out here!


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Win It All…Or Not

Another week, another pick to give us a chance to Blog Free or Die Hard.  But mostly the former.

The Film:

Win It All

Where to Watch:

Netflix

The Uncondensed Version:

Eddie is a laid-back guy who means well yet invariably chooses the worst possible option when it comes down to decision time.  This is in large part due to his gambling addiction, which drives his willingness to settle in other areas of his life as long as he can scrape together enough money to make his rounds at poker.  Although he could work for the family landscaping company, Eddie chooses instead to make some easy money as a parking attendant.

You know from the setup a change is going to come, and it takes the form of a duffel bag full of cash.  All Eddie has to do is babysit the bag while its owner serves a short prison sentence…but I think you know where this is going.  Despite stern advice from Keegan-Michael Key–in a serious-ish role as a friend from Gamblers Anonymous–Eddie decides to borrow just $500 in order to scratch his gambling itch.  It’s not long before $500 turns into $20,000 in debt.

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At this lowest of low points, Eddie finally decides to get his shit together and turn it around for real.  He agrees to work with his brother at the family business, and enjoys having a steady job and getting invested in the company’s success.

Meanwhile, his personal life is taking a turn for the better when he meets Eva, a nurse/single mother.  She meets with approval from Eddie’s family, but he has to earn some serious trust before he can meet Eva’s family.

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Everything seems to be going well until Eddie gets a call from the owner of the duffel bag, who will be released from prison early.  Shit hits the fan for Eddie as the only options springing to mind for making money including borrowing from his brother, becoming a coke dealer, or–you guessed it–gambling.

 

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

Eh.  This is sort of bland, and while there’s nothing especially objectionable about Eddie, it was difficult for me to root for him.  Spoiler–this gets a fairly happy ending that doesn’t seem earned.  This was never going to be a gritty drama, but the tone is a bit too upbeat to talk about gambling addiction seriously, and I’m not sure Eddie really lost enough to change his ways for good.  I also felt Keegan-Michael Key was underutilized, but I would say that about a film in which he plays every goddamn character (which I would watch the fuck out of).

Oddly, this is the 2nd film I can tag “gambling problems are hilarious”–the other one being the horrendously awful Alex & Emma.  To be clear, this one is much better and shouldn’t be affiliated with that other film in any way.  Apologies to all involved in the making of this movie.

Would Christa (sorry/not sorry)…bet on this one?  Find out here!


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Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, or: Feminist(?) Rage

Catching up on classics is my favorite thing to do during Blog Free or Die Hard month, and this one has been leaving an approximately 50 foot hole in my heart.

The Film:

Attack of the 50 Foot Woman

Where to Watch:

Hoopla

The Uncondensed Version:

It’s not a good time to be in 1950s California—for more reasons than one.  The primary reason being a comet rapidly speeding towards the area, which turns out be a…glowing alien orb?  With a giant alien ghost who has a fondness for diamonds.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  To understand the complex drama unfolding in this film, let’s back up just a little bit.

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A practical and aesthetically pleasing UFO.

Nancy Archer is the first person in town to stumble across the crashed UFO, having just stormed angrily out of the bar where her husband, Harry, was sleazily flirting with his mistress.  Harry would leave his wife except that would mean sacrificing her inheritance and the cushy life he’s grown accustomed to.  As Nancy has a vague history of mental illness, including a sanatorium stay following violent headaches and…falling down(?), it wouldn’t take much for Harry to get her committed for good.

Conveniently, Nancy runs to the police to report her alien sighting, where she is pretty much dismissed as a raving drunk.  And cautioned against wearing diamonds because they might tempt thieves.  Fucking hell.  Is it any wonder she’s going to get super angry (spoiler)?

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RAGE.

Nancy and Harry obviously have a really unhealthy relationship—if unclear before her return home, it is written out when Harry confronts her.  Harry threatens to leave her, which is what supposedly drove her crazy before.  In a really condescending scene, he tucks her in for bed and goes out drinking again.

However, Nancy’s rest is short-lived as the local news is giving a lot of attention to her alien sighting and making pretty fucking rude jokes about finally finding a man to love her.  Fuck off, men.  Determined to prove her sanity, she goes out to the desert and encounters the alien once again.  Her encounter with the alien leaves her in a coma due to radiation…(?) for some reason.  It also turns her into (spoiler spoiler spoiler) a 50 foot woman.

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Everything else was in the wash…

Mandatory scientist with a pipe and incomprehensible German try to figure out what’s going on, reaching the conclusion that women who mature become irrational like middle-aged men.  JFC, dudes.  To cure her, they will need Harry’s permission to operate.  Urrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

In spite of Harry’s best efforts, Nancy does finally wake up and all hell breaks loose.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

This is one of the early examples in horror where you are just waiting for a specific character to die…but honestly the payoff doesn’t feel worth it.  No one is supposed to come off squeaky clean in this one (at least none of our 3 leads), though my biggest problem with Nancy is that she didn’t crush more skulls.  I really wanted her rampage to be more satisfying and I would have been okay with more or potentially all men dying.  In painful ways, which makes me feel conflicted about the person I’ve become.

Frankly, for a movie entitled Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, the aforementioned 50 foot woman really has very little screen time, and her attack is quite mild.  Does not live up to the poster.  Next time I’d like her to destroy the foundations of our society or at least raze an entire town.

Did Christa embrace the rage here or…let’s be real, there is no other option.  Read her thoughts on this one here!


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Grand Piano, or: Not the Nicki Minaj Song Actually (Or Is It?)

Please don’t tell this week’s film it was second choice.  I think it already knows, though—a thriller about a piano concert isn’t really anyone’s first choice, is it?

The Film:

Grand Piano

The Premise:

See above.

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Uncondensed Version:

In the concert event of the classical music scene, Tom Selznick (aka Elijah Wood) is making a dramatic comeback after his breakdown 5 years ago.  Since he froze up onstage while attempting to play his mentor’s impossibly composition, Tom’s gone nowhere near a piano, much less played a sold-out concert in NYC.  Additional point of interest:  Tom’s mentor, Patrick, died a year ago, with his fortune mysteriously disappearing shortly thereafter.  This has all the makings of an Agatha Christie—all we’re missing is a mustachioed Belgian appearing out of nowhere to make wry observations.

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Understandably, Tom is so so goddamn nervous about his return to the stage and feels unworthy of using Patrick’s piano and fears a repeat of his breakdown 5 years ago.  Luckily, Tom has his world-famous actress wife, Emma, and his bff Wayne (played by Branson from Downton Abbey whose name I’m too lazy to look up) to believe in him.  By all accounts, this evening should be a glowing return to the classical music world for Tom.

But that would make for a very short film.  Shortly after Tom begins to play, he notices annotations on his sheet music—annotations demanding he play flawlessly or else…he’ll DIE, along with Emma.  This mystery person, played by John Cusack, has planned things out very well, planting an usher to carry out some unsavory tasks, leaving an earpiece for Tom to find so they can communicate, and relying on the spectacle of the stage to help him get away with it all.

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I’m not going to even comment on this fight scene.

Ultimately, John Cusack (I can’t remember the character’s name, if it’s even provided beyond “Mysterious Sniper Who Takes Music Appreciation a Bit Too Seriously”) expects Tom to play the impossible piece without missing a single note.  For someone who doesn’t seem to be musical, he has a lot to say about musicians who aren’t also composers…?  He claims to want the most perfect concert experience ever and to go down in history, even going as far to give this big pretentious speech about how this has nothing to do with money…and then it turns out to be about money.  Because of course it fucking does.

Sorry this is really spoilery, but I need to share the absurdity of the premise (which is already pretty over-the-top to begin with).  What is all of this about?  A key that will be released from WITHIN the piano which will unlock the safe deposit box where Patrick’s fortune is hidden.  And, of course, how is this key released?  By playing his composition without a single error.  Obviously.

Tom is actually pretty smart about the whole thing, playing it much cooler than I probably would have.  He’s quite good at calling bluffs…well…some of them.  There are a couple that don’t end particularly well for Wayne and his date.  He also overcomes the obstacle of not having the sheet music to the piece in a pretty clever way.  I will leave you in suspense about whether this is enough for Tom to outsmart John Cusack.

The Rating:

3/5 Pink Panther Heads

I will say this:  you do get to hear some very nice piano playing in this film.

IDK, I think because the premise seemed straight-up out of Agatha Christie, I was really disappointed Patrick didn’t fake his own death and then just sort of fuck with Tom.  If I had a protégé, that’s probably what I’d ultimately do.

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Alternative plot twist that would’ve been acceptable:  angry bust is haunted and behind all of the shenanigans.

Also like an Agatha Christie novel, I didn’t like any of the characters in this, but this wasn’t for any real reason.  I was hoping Tom would be a bit morally ambiguous like every Christie character ever so there might be tension created about whether or not he should get out of this situation alive.  But that never happened—he remained bland as ever yet uncommonly lucky.  I ended up really resenting both him and Emma for seeming so effortlessly successful, yet doing very little to earn the money, fame, respect, etc.  Tom also seemed to have very little motivation to return to the stage, and even the sniper had a rather boring motive, i.e. money.  I just feel if you’re going to do something so out of sync with social norms, it’s rather odd to care so much about a pretty ordinary thing, aka money.

There are some truly suspenseful moments, like when we see the inner workings of the piano as Tom plays, but overall the entire movie is held back by a silly premise.  Plus the opportunity for the line “Play it again, Tom,” is missed.

However, on the bright side, Nicki Minaj’s “Grand Piano” is now stuck in my head for the rest of eternity.  And probably yours too.  You’re welcome.

Did this one play Christa’s heart like a grand piano or did she say “Play on” (or, like Nicki, all of the above)?  Find out here!