Movie Review

Electrick Children

I don’t go to the movies often.

Most of the time, the movies playing at the theaters are all regurgitated versions of the same story. I don’t really like action movies, I hate the horror genre, and is there really going to be a better rom-com than When Harry Met Sally or Sabrina (the Audrey Hepburn version, of course)?

But it’s not like I never go to see a movie. I’m in a relationship, after all, and that’s part of the job description: going to the movies with your significant other. But I am very selective about what movies I choose to see at the theater.

Independent movies – that’s my shit.

I know, it’s a super art-pussy thing to say that I love indie films, but it’s true. I like seeing different. I like seeing creativity. I like seeing movies that take chances and aren’t diluted by the multi-billion dollar Hollywood entertainment industry. Give me something done by a struggling artist; it’s in times of struggle where art really transcends.

Which leads me to Electrick Children (2012). I got to watch this a few days ago when I was home alone. Emily really hates my taste in movies because she has an overall lack of imagination when it comes to the big screen. Yeah, that’s right I said it.

Back to the movie. No spoilers here, but it’s about a young Mormon teenage girl who runs away from home after finding out that she’s pregnant. That’s all I’ll say about the story. Hopefully, you’ll see it for yourself (It’s on Netflix, so even the laziest of you blog-reading slobs can muster up the effort to put it on your TV).

This movie is the directorial debut for Rebecca Thomas, who also wrote the screenplay. She was in her twenties when it came out, and she was raised up as a Mormon herself. What does this mean? Being young, Thomas was just dumb enough to make a movie like this, and it came from a personal perspective.

Think about that last sentence – I could have replaced Thomas with Scorsese to describe Mean Streets or Coppola to describe The Godfather. That’s all I need to know about this movie – I’m in.

The movie itself was, well, odd. But I like odd. Odd is good. Not in the “Oh this guy approaching me at the bar is a super weird creep” way but in the “Oh this guy approaching me at the bar isn’t throwing me the same ‘ol stupid pickup line” way, kapish?

One of the main actors in this movie is Rory Culkin. That’s right – I didn’t say Macaulay Culkin, I didn’t even say Kieran Culkin – it’s the third fucking Culkin brother. I am always team lesser famous sibling – Kevin Dillon, Elizabeth Olsen, and Frank Stallone come to mind.

Music. There’s a song that’s featured prominently throughout the movie. It’s an obscure new wave rock song by The Nerves called “Hanging On The Telephone.” Certain songs can really make a movie, can’t they? When I think of the movie Drive all I hear is the great song by College, “A Real Hero.” “Hanging On The Telephone” has the same effect with this movie. The version that gets played ends up being a cover by Flowers Forever:

An indie film made by a first-time writer/director featuring a C-List actor and a kickass song. I realize this post was a massive advertisement for this movie, but I really did enjoy it.

I mean, c’mon, let’s see some other shit than the typical Hollywood dross.

– Chris

 

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Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) – A Man’s Review

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

They surely had that in mind when they made Pitch Perfect 2. The sequel to the surprisingly successful 2012 a capella movie followed the same script: a floundering musical performance in the beginning, a struggle to find identity in the middle, and an epic a capella number of a lifetime in the end. I’m not alerting for spoilers because it doesn’t matter if viewers know the ending; the point of movies like this is the ride, not the destination.

The first Pitch Perfect had all the makings of a movie I would totally despise. A movie about an all-female collegiate a capella group doesn’t scream must-see to me at all; that just reminds me of Glee. Who needs to see that shit?

But something strange happened: I enjoyed the first movie. These girls can really sing, and the dorky tone of the movie had a certain charm to it. The movie knew it was ridiculous and didn’t take itself seriously, but instead chose to have a self-deprecating tone. And Rebel Wilson. She’s the female answer to Zach Galifianakis-a comedian with a deadpan game so strong it will make the most hardened of people LOL (we also think she would make a great Disney princess).

I left the movie theater after watching Pitch Perfect 2 thinking that I could’ve waited for this movie to be on Netflix. The story was a complete retread of the first movie; it seemed as if Universal Pictures decided to show the same ‘ol song and dance again because they knew it would sell.

As a result, most of the jokes in the movie didn’t work because these were basically the same jokes being told a second time. How many times will we find humor in men being unreasonably into a capella? Will we always find minority and lesbian jokes amusing? This movie proved that the answer is an emphatic no.

If it wasn’t for Rebel Wilson’s reprise of Fat Amy, I would deem Pitch Perfect 2 unwatchable. She put the entire movie on her back with another great performance, hitting all the right comedic notes throughout. This is art imitating life: Fat Amy believes she carries the Barden Bellas in the way that Rebel Wilson carries the entire movie. Once again, she crushed it.

I wouldn’t recommend people to see Pitch Perfect 2, just like I wouldn’t have recommended people to see The Hangover 2. The sequel could have been much more than it is had the filmmakers been more vigilant about providing a fresh spin on the story of the Barden Bellas. Instead, they chose to rehash the same plot points, resulting in an aca-underwhelming viewing experience.

– Chris.