Week in Review 2/7 to 2/20

I know, this post is technically two weeks…I had a crazy week and got behind :/ Hopefully, the films I write about will get me out of trouble ๐Ÿ™‚ This post, I’ll cover Ford V Ferrari, Terminator: Dark Fate, Miss Americana, and Showgirls 2. Yes, Showgirls 2. I didn’t even know this movie existed either until film twitter mentioned it. It’s not as good as you would imagine…

photo imdb.com

Written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller and directed by James Mangold. This film follows the story behind race car builder Carroll Shelby and race car driver Ken Miles and their quest to beat Ferrari at the Le Mans race in 1966. This film was Oscar nominated and rightly so. While it takes a while to get to the adrenaline rush of the race circuit, once it does, it pays off in big ways. Matt Damon plays Carroll Shelby, in a mostly nondescript way–nothing overly spectacular, who is hired by Ford to build a car to beat Ferrari in the 24 hour Le Mans race. Ford has a lot to overcome to be taken seriously, Shelby is the guy to get it done. However, Ford doesn’t like racer Ken Miles, played by Christian Bale, because he’s unpredictable. Bale is fantastic as Miles and his enthusiasm for his character and driving is undeniable. I could’ve watched Bale as Miles driving the whole time and been satisfied. Ford has high-ranking internal saboteurs, naturally, which slow the process down and threaten Ford’s chances of actually coming out on top. It’s a fun movie to watch; especially if you like car racing and near misses, Christian Bale, and fast cars in general. Available for rent or streaming. Watch the trailer below:

imdb.com

Okay, based on James Cameron’s original story, written by a TEAM of writers (which should be hint #1 why this could’ve been better than it is) and directed by Tim Miller. The premise is Sky Net (from the original Terminator) sent out a bunch T-800s from the future to kill Sarah Conner so she couldn’t have John Connor who would lead the resistance against the machines. So, THIS installment picks up from the second T-800, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who finds Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton, and her teen son John living on a tropical island. The T-800 kills the teen John Connor and Sarah lives the rest of her life (up to the point of this story) tracking and killing every T-800 sent from the future. In the mean time, an alternate future has sent the newest version REV-9, played by Gabriel Luna, from the future to kill Dani Ramos, played by Natalia Reyes, ’cause she’s important; while the humans from the future have sent an enhanced human Grace, played by Mackenzie Davis, to protect her. If you still understand the plot points, congratulations! This film has character development flaws which are completely unnecessary to push the story further and frankly, they distract SO much from the narrative, it was annoying. The one thing the Terminator series gets right, EVERY time, is the newest version of human killing machines. They can do more, they’re stronger, faster, can turn into liquid, take on disguises (like the agents in The Matrix), and they can split in two for greater destruction. The special effects and action suspense is just what people pay money to see. And they get it right. I wish they had made the story line clean and gave the heroine someone worth rooting for. I just kept thinking to myself, man they’re better off without her. They should kill her off and let Sarah protect the poor girl. A fun watch as long as you don’t pay too much attention to distracting subplots. Available for rent or streaming. Watch the trailer below:

photo imdb.com

Directed by Lana Wilson, Miss Americana documents a period in Taylor Swift’s life as she struggled with her self-image, work life balance, and finding her voice in social media and herself. I’m not a Taylor Swift fan. Not because I don’t like her music, I just haven’t listened to it. I kept seeing the documentary on my Netflix feed, was curious about the hub-bub surrounding her, and thought I would give it a go. Swift has been a determined songwriter and singer from a young age and when she first heard approval from the crowd, she was hooked, and this is what drives her core to write and create music. She wants to be loved and accepted. She has this amazing talent to write songs people relate to and that’s why she is who she is. With that exaltation, comes great sacrifice as she finds herself surrounded by people–mostly her team who keeps her on a lucrative schedule and tells her what she is allowed to say and think–publicly, and her mom. Everything is so orchestrated, it destroys any chances of her having any meaningful relationships; however, she makes the sacrifice because her one true love is the acceptance from the fans and their applause. This documentary shows her working, creating music, performing, and kicks in some old footage. It was interesting to watch and a reminder why only a few reach the level she does. The rest of us probably couldn’t keep up. Available on Netflix. Watch the trailer below:

imdb.com

Written and directed by Rena Riffel, who you may remember as Penny from the original Showgirls film. Apparently, the sequel with Elizabeth Berkley was scrapped, so years later, Rena raised the money for a sequel and reprised her role as the main character. Penny leaves Vegas with her boyfriend Jimmy, played by Glenn Plummer (also returning from Showgirls), to become a dancer on a TV show in Hollywood. First, I commend Rena Riffel for raising the money, writing and directing, and just getting the movie made! That being said…

There are so many things wrong with this movie, it needs its own article. I actually paused this film to take notes. I don’t usually do that. I’ll try to keep it brief, or at least, concise. The script has more borrowed moments from the original movie than I could keep track of. The scene with Penny getting a ride and the guy taking off with her suitcase and the reprised scene with the same guy at the end—straight out of Showgirls. It even has the same actor, Dewey Weber, from Showgirls. The rhinestones on the floor to trip the lead dancer–straight from Showgirls. The choreography–straight from Showgirls. The pool sex scene. There are lines, references, costumes, and of course the phrase, “darlin'” used everywhere. In case you don’t remember, it was Gina Gershon’s character Crystal Connors favorite term of endearment…

All Penny wants is to be a dancer–just like Nomi from Showgirls–and she’ll do anything to get there–even though she’s not a whore. This theme is throughout and every time she says it, it’s right after she either sleeps with someone or takes money for sleeping with someone. You decide. There are so many scenes and subplots which don’t make ANY sense and literally have no purpose for moving the story forward. Ex: the poor ex-show couple, the celebrity impersonators who get killed, the random lap dances with strangers, the weird Nazi/Freemason exposition in the freakshow devil house (I literally said, “What the heck?” out loud at this point.), the crazed cold cream meltdown, the hot dog cooking, the cake beating, the pillow fight…I could go on and on…The editing was choppy, the sound was echo-y, and the dialogue was just bad. You could see on the actor’s faces, they had trouble with it. The soft core style sex scenes, topless scenes, the dance lesson scenes. Oh man. The snuff film subplot. This list is eternal. Continuity issues like Penny has to pee in the woods, she takes a napkin from her purse, blots her lipstick, wipes herself with it, and leaves it on the ground. Weeks later, a detective finds it–in pristine condition, naturally–investigating a murder scene, and tracks her down with it and the business card found right next to it. Okay… She wears a necklace with a diamond MADE FROM THE ASHES OF HER DEAD SISTER. My favorite lines include: “and nuts”, “We need a star dancer!”, “Because you are dumb”, and “You’re not dumb, you just pretend to be dumb.”–“Like a ‘possum?” “No, opossums pretend to be dead. Never mind.”

This movie clocks in at 2 hours and 25 minutes. Yes, it’s seriously THAT long. It is so ridiculous, though, that you’ll keep watching to see how much more bad dialogue and random scenes continue to make the cut. Although, I think she just filmed and filmed and kept everything in. It did feel like Guerrilla Filmmaking where people take their equipment and quickly shoot scenes at various locations to save money on permits and stuff like that. Kudos to her for sticking it out and getting it done; but I CANNOT recommend this film to anyone; except the people who want to learn what a bad script, bad editing, and bad acting looks like on film. Do NOT waste the $1.99 to watch on YouTube unless you are a glutton for punishment. Watch the trailer below and you’ll know what I mean…

2 thoughts on “Week in Review 2/7 to 2/20”

  1. If nothing else ever comes from this friendship, I now know there’s a sequel to Showgirls with the greatest subtitle in the history of cinema. I need this movie in my eyeballs NOW!!!!!

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