Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Open Water 3, or: A Very Long En-cage-ment

We’re starting 2018 off with a bang…or is it a whimper?  Either way, there are sharks.

The Film:

Open Water 3: Cage Dive

The Premise:

A found footage shark movie about 3 annoying fucking assholes friends on a cage diving trip.

The Ramble:

After news that a cage diving trip has ended with a capsized boat and missing tourists, an experienced diver finds an underwater camera tucked away in a reef.  With the SD card intact, he discovers footage of 3 friends who embarked on the cage diving trip.  This is their story.

A graphic simulation depicts a boat capsizing as it is hit by a large wave.
I’m glad to see the Australian news circuit has also mastered the art of pointless graphics.

Jeff, Megan, and Josh are a close-knit group of friends with an adventurous spirit.  After deciding to audition for a reality competition that seems to be in the vein of The Amazing Race, the friends plan the perfect trip to demonstrate their willingness to make poor decisions on camera:  cage diving in Australia.

Look, I’ll be honest with you–these 3 characters are the most insufferable assholes I can think of in our recent viewing experiences.  Jeff and Josh are supposedly bros for life, though Megan is in a serious relationship with Jeff but also having a fling with Josh.  The two best bros are so interchangeable that I’m more annoyed Megan didn’t have an affair with someone more interesting than that the affair is breaking up the band.

Two men and a woman pose at an amusement park with stuffed animal prizes they have won.
Seriously, have you ever seen a set of faces you’ve wanted to punch more?

Megan and Josh are stupid enough to continue their affair even with the knowledge they are being recorded constantly.  To be fair, they’d probably be pretty good contenders for reality television.  This leads to several awkward interactions as the two try to hide the evidence from Jeff, who obliviously plans to propose if the group makes it onto the show.

As planned, the 3 meet up with Jeff’s cousin, then go off to do some cage diving.  If I had trouble relating to these characters before, they lose all semblance of humanity to me by voluntarily cage diving in the open ocean.  Of course, things go horribly wrong when a sudden tidal wave capsizes the boat, leaving several passengers dead and our main 3 stranded.

A tour guide on a boat addresses a group, telling them "The trip down to Cape Catastrophe should be pretty smooth."
Yeah, Cape Catastrophe sounds like a great place for a vacation.

It’s incredibly irritating to watch them squander every opportunity they have to save themselves and eventually turn on each other when Jeff learns the truth about Megan and Josh.  Because, you know, when faced with the prospect of being stranded in shark-infested waters versus relationship drama, which one would be your top priority?

The Rating:

2/5 Pink Panther Heads

Oh my GOD, I hated our 3 protagonists and felt an amount of joy at their (spoiler/not really a spoiler) deaths that set off distant alarm bells in the back of my brain.  What hath the Open Water franchise wrought???

I will admit the concept of being lost at sea taps into something deeply primal in my lizard brain, so there are legitimately horrifying moments in this film.  Splashes, the shaky camera shots, and the seemingly endless water do make this unsettling to watch.  At the same time, if it had been virtually anyone else in the water, I might have taken less sadistic glee in watching these fucking dickbags finally get torn into little pieces.

Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark this is not.

Would Christa keep this one afloat or leave it to sleep with the fishes?  Read her review here to find out!

an extremely tall woman looks into the window of a house
Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

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.

a large glowing white orb sits on the ground in front of a parked car at night
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)?

a woman holding a glass looks angry while standing in a living room
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.

a woman wearing a white bikini knocks down a large structure
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!

Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

If I Stay (Please Don’t)

Christa and I have time to kill at the moment (always a dangerous thing), so we’ve decided to make the next couple of weeks about whatever we want them to be. To borrow (steal) from Christa, it’s Free For All Fortnight, aka Blog Free Or Die Hard, aka I must always have 1,000 alternate titles for everything we do. Christa’s kicking off this limited edition of the collab with If I Stay. Check out her review here.

The Film:

If I Stay

Where to Watch:

Netflix (US)

The Premise:

According to Netflix, “A promising cellist. A tragic car crash. A choice to pursue her dreams or to follow the white light that beckons.”

The Uncondensed Version:

I don’t think there’s any way to hold back my annoyance with this film, so let’s just be up front about it, shall we?

One of the first things our protagonist/narrator says is “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon’s biggest regret was that he ever uttered those words. Our quote/narration/every damn thing about this movie sets up the choice Mia will have to make about (spoiler alert) whether to live or die (that can’t seriously be a spoiler, though, right? Even if you never saw any of the promos for this film, surely you can guess this movie is about more than whether Mia should stay at a party or go home and watch Netflix [always choose Netflix, Mia]).

A teenage girl in a blonde wig and leopard print outfit smiles at a boy at a party.
It might be fun to dress as Debbie Harry for a Halloween party, but it’s not as fun as Netflix.

The structure of the film alternates between the life Mia had before the car accident that leaves her in a coma and the aftermath that determines whether she decides to live.

Let’s take a look at reasons Mia has to live:

  1. Adoring family, made up of former punk rocker parents, little brother, grandparents, and various punk friends of Mia’s parents
  2. Love of the cello, classical music, and possible Julliard acceptance
  3. Rocker boyfriend, Adam, who is, according to Mia, soooooooooooooooooooooooo out of her league

And reasons to give up:

  1. Family decimated by car crash
  2. Even if accepted to Julliard, most likely career path is performing on subway cars
  3. Adam = douche

I’m sorry, but we have to talk about Adam. Partly because he’s vitally important to the plot but mostly because I just fucking hate him. Adam takes an interest in Mia even though she’s a quiet cellist and he’s the lead singer/guitarist of a (high school) rock band and “already was somebody.”

So Adam and Mia date and fall in love and have sex in a shed, which looks way more comfortable/romantic than it would be in real life. Adam is so smooth and utters such classic lines as “The you you are now is the same you I’m in love with.” (WHAT?) However, obstacles abound when Adam’s rock career takes off and he’s…still dating a high school student. (They can make it work, you might think optimistically. CLING TO YOUR FANTASIES, YOU NAÏVE FOOL.) Meanwhile, Mia keeps her Julliard audition to herself as acceptance to the school would put 3,000 miles between the two. When Adam hears about the audition, he handles it really well by agreeing to a sudden week-long tour. Apparently he wants to be a rock star without ever having to leave Portland. Dude, have you never heard of concert tours? Fuck this guy, Mia. This is a toxic relationship if he can’t be happy for your successes.

A teen boy stands by a girl's open locker, which is decorated with multiple stickers that read "I Heart Yo Yo Ma."
Also doesn’t know who Yo-Yo Ma is. Not the best sign.

Since he’s manipulative as fuck and can’t handle Mia having her own autonomy, Adam breaks up with her and says they can’t do long-distance because it’s like dating a ghost. Honestly, a movie about a long-distance relationship with an actual ghost would’ve been much more interesting than this film.

So Mia and Adam do this aggravating on-again/off-again thing forever. The first time they make up, Adam apologizes by putting up images in her room of the ceiling where she’ll be doing her Julliard audition WITHOUT HER KNOWLEDGE OR PERMISSION. He also gives her a cello/guitar bracelet and rather condescendingly asks “Do you get it?”

NO, ADAM, FUCKING EXPLAIN IT TO ME.

The Critique:

This is reasonably spoiler-y, but IDGAF. If you still want to watch this movie after reading my review and Christa’s review, I feel sorry for you. Based on the structure of this film, I couldn’t help thinking that Mia had to basically trade almost every member of her family to be with Adam. Mia needs a t-shirt that reads “My entire family died in a car crash, and all I got was this stupid boyfriend.” The worst part is I didn’t even care about Mia and her suffering because everyone in this film was so bland. I got a teensy bit emotional during a scene between Mia and her crusty grandfather (played by Stacy Keach?!?!). All other bits of this movie made me feel I have a heart of stone.

An older man driving a car talks to his granddaughter.
Likes: plaid shirts. Dislikes: punk music, feelings.

Basically every 10 mins I thought, “Is this over yet?” and/or “Why am I not watching Save the Last Dance?” or “Why isn’t Save the Last Dance on Netflix???” Also about a high school girl trying to get in to Julliard while dating a guy whose musical tastes are considered too mainstream. However, Sean Patrick Thomas was super adorable and supportive, unlike stupid Adam.

One positive thing about this film: how ridiculously composed Chloë Grace Moretz is. She was maybe 16 or 17 during the filming of this movie but brings a maturity to the role that I’m not 100% sure I have.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 2/5 Pink Panther Heads

Tempted to go 1/5, but the last film I can remember giving that rating to was Gummo, and at least no cats died in the events of this film.

I feel watching We Are the Best! again would have been more entertaining and true to the spirit of punk.

See if Christa’s rage matches my own here!

EDIT: GUYS, THERE WAS A SAVE THE LAST DANCE 2(?!?!?!?!). I suppose they couldn’t retroactively change the original film’s title to Save the Penultimate Dance.