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The Disaster Artist (2017)


The Disaster Artist (2017)

When I first saw the trailer for this film, I thought it was just going to be just another James Franco and Seth Rogen disaster of a movie.  I feel like James Franco is a very talented actor who has made many terrible choices when it comes to the films that he decides to be a part of.  I think that he has this need to want to be funny all of the time, when in reality, he is a much better serious actor than comedic actor.  He seems to not take his career very seriously.

I blame Seth Rogen for James Franco’s often wasted talent.  The two are best friends and it seems like Rogen has sucked Franco into the world of stupid and crude humor.  Sometimes it works for them, but usually it does not.  Either way, James Franco belongs in films opposite heavy hitting actors like Robert De Niro and Frances McDormand, like he was in City by the Sea (2002).  He rises to the occasion and does his best work when he is surrounded by talent.  His skillset is dumbed way down when he tries to be funny and is the most talented person in the room.

James Franco’s little brother Dave Franco has followed in his big brother’s footprints.  Dave got his break in comedy and often, seems more believable than James when it comes to crude and stupid humor.  Dave is likable, but is only famous because of his older bro.  Dave lacks the acting gift that his brother continues to take for granted.

Needless to say, I waited to see The Disaster Artist on DVD.

The movie is based on a true story about two unlikely friends who move to Hollywood to try to become big movie stars.  After they fail desperately, they decide to make their own movie together to try to get famous even though they are in hopelessly over their heads.  The Disaster Artist is the story of Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero and how they came to make the movie The Room (2003).

The movie was directed by James Franco and the noteworthy cast includes James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Paul Scheer, Jacki Weaver, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, June Diane Raphael, Megan Mullally, Jason Mantzoukas, Melanie Griffith, Bob Odenkirk, and Tom Franco.

It is almost as if James Franco and Seth Rogen were sitting around one day, likely smoking pot, and they thought as a joke, it would be funny to make a movie about the worst movie ever made.  Then, they went ahead and did it.

The movie The Room, The Disaster Artist is about the making of, has become a cult classic and apparently, widely known as one of the worst movies ever made.  Ironically, The Disaster Artist won some awards for mimicking one of the worst movies ever made.  James Franco won a Golden Globe for his role in the film.  Let that sink in for a moment.

James Franco likely would have been nominated for an Academy Award for The Disaster Artist, but has had some bad publicity about sexual misconduct, as of late.  This is easily why the Academy left him out.

Like the title suggests, The Disaster Artist is a true disaster.  James Franco’s character is unusually bizarre and humorous, and has a dreadfully annoying voice with a terribly bogus accent.  However, after a while, the voice is pretty comical.  He played his senseless character very well.  I am not sure that is saying much though.  James Franco delivers a grand performance of being awful.

It is a tiny bit weird seeing the Franco brothers acting opposite each other, but also likable.  Because of their dumb characters, it was just stupid overall.

The fact that James Franco directed did not mean a whole lot in this movie.  I think it just says more about how he does not even try to be good anymore.

The film was cheap because it was trying to be cheap.  But, it was still cheap and less than B-rated cheap.

Zac Efron and Josh Hutcherson both had fun cameos.

When Seth Rogen tries to be serious, it does not work.  Serious is out of his league and his desperate attempt to mask this, bleeds through.  This makes his character less believable and therefore takes away from the film.

It is worth noting that Dave Franco and Seth Rogen have been in 5 movies together and James Franco and Seth Rogen have made 6 movies together, excluding television and documentaries.  This is not similar to Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn getting cast together often because it works.  This is more like Adam Sandler getting his buddies together to make a comedy to pay the bills.  It gets old and worn out.  Still, I think it would be fun to watch the Franco Brothers get together and make a serious movie as a way to try again.

Once again, for James Franco, the talent is there, but he just does not channel it into the right work.  The Disaster Artist is in fact, a misadventure full of squandered talent and wasted time.  Is it skill to duplicate a train wreck and the whole process of a train wreck?  Not in my book.  It is entertaining at times, however.

I rate this movie a 3 on a scale of 1-10.

 

Here is a list movies that I recommend that are better than this one:

 

Ed Wood (1994)

Bowfinger (1999)

City by the Sea (2002)

Neighbors (2014)

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

127 Hours (2010)

Tropic Thunder (2008)

Get Shorty (1995)

The Aviator (2004)

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The Polka King (2017)


The Polka King (2017)

I was not sure what to expect before watching this movie.  I initially scoffed and rolled my eyes when I first watched the trailer.  It looked goofy, but it also looked like Jack Black could pull off his polish character.  He can be funny when he wants to be.

The Polka King is based on a true story that details the rise and fall of Polka God, Jan Lewan.  He was a big polka star before he became a criminal.

The movie was written and directed by Maya Forbes and the noteworthy cast includes Jack Black, Jenny Slate, Jason Schwartzman, J.B. Smoove, Jacki Weaver, Willie Garson, Vanessa Bayer, and Kati Salowsky

Unless you are a Polka Enthusiast, here is a true story that I am sure not very many people are aware of.  I know that I wasn’t.

This movie makes fun of itself and that is what I liked about it.  Jack Black’s botched Polish accent and awful haircut makes his character hilarious.  It quickly reminds you not to take it too seriously and just enjoy it for what it is.

Schwartzman and Smoove are both entertaining supporting characters in the film.

The movie was good, but not great.  It is one of the more entertaining Netflix Original movies.  Often, the Netflix Original TV shows are big cable network like quality, while Netflix Original movies have mostly fallen short.  Little, by little Netflix Original movies are improving and The Polka King is an example of that.

I used to wonder how Netflix could turn a profit with as much money as they spend on their original content.  As it turns out, they are billions of dollars in the hole.  They have seemed to follow the path of Walmart and Amazon.  They have operated at a loss for years with a plan to recoup the money overtime.  With all of the streaming competition, Netflix plans to have at least 50% original content within a few years.  That way, if you want to watch their shows, you will have to pay for it because you will not find them anywhere else.

The Polka King is a smart, yet very stupid comedy that you do not have to take too seriously.  The movie is just fun.  It is one of the best Netflix Original movies, though that is not saying much, at least at this point in time.

I rate this movie a 6 on a scale of 1-10.

 

If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:

 

High Fidelity (2000)

Bernie (2011)

Naked (2017)

Envy (2004)

Borat: The Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

The Big Year (2011)

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)

Stoker (2013)


Stoker Poster 2

Stoker (2013)

Stoker is a well-made, bizarre dysfunctional drama that is difficult to like, yet hard to stop watching.  The acting was very solid.  The dialogue was very delicately written.  The editing was fantastic.  However, the story was bitterly perverse.  It was fine writing, but twisted subject matter.  The filmmakers took a pretty messed up story and through the art of storytelling, they dressed it up and made it almost hypnotic.

Some parts of the movie were predictable, while others completely took me by surprise.  For the most part, the film keeps you guessing throughout.

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After the death of her father, India (Mia Wasikowska) and her mother (Nicole Kidman) are visited by his brother (Matthew Goode) whom she never knew existed.  He decides to move in with them.  Why she had not met him before is a mystery in itself.  Why he waited to visit until after her father died is puzzling.  His presence is disturbing and India becomes obsessed with learning more about him and what he wants.

The film is directed by Chan-wook Park and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Alden Ehrenreich, Lucas Till, and Phyllis Somerville.

Stoker Wasikowska Goode

In Stoker, Wasikowska proves that she has the ability to carry the majority of a film by herself.  She is an excellent actress and I wouldn’t be surprised if she gets an Academy Award nomination in the near future.

Kidman continues to choose darker roles and this one turns out to be one of her better performances in recent years.  Given her recent movies, that might not be saying that much.

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This is the first film that I have seen Goode in and I thought that he was superb.

When the credits rolled, it was hard to tell right away if I liked or disliked the film.  In that sense, it sort of toyed with my emotions.  It does a great job of being disturbing.

Stoker Wasikowska Goode Piano

If you are looking for a positive and uplifting movie, Stoker is not for you.  If you like twisted dysfunctional stories, then you will probably enjoy this film.

I rate this movie a 7 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Rent.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)


silver linings cover

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

A solid, raw, dysfunctional drama that felt real. It was refreshing to see a movie in the theatre where the actors were actually given the opportunity to act. Instead of relying solely on special effects or action, this movie relied only on acting and story. It did not disappoint.

Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jacki Weaver were all superb. The film was so well scripted that is felt believable. But, it only felt believable because of how wonderfully it was portrayed on screen by the actors. The chaos and craziness and drama were there all the time and it was a treat to watch.

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Even though Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are 16 years apart in real life, their chemistry together in the film made that unnoticeable.

Although this film is classified under the drama genre, I classify it under my own made up genre: dysfunctional reality. It also could be called dysfunctional drama or true drama. It is a genre that some people are afraid of because it is too real. The stories that belong to this genre are too honest and true to life. Usually the dialogue is very realistic to the point where it doesn’t feel written; like it has to be real because nobody could have come up with it.

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In a great line from the movie, Bradley Cooper’s character says, “I don’t have a filter when I talk.” To me, that is a perfect line for this movie because true to my made up genre, you can’t write this stuff. He is not filtering what he is saying as if he is reading from a script. He goes with his gut, with his instincts, and the words just flow.

I rate this movie an 9 out of 10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

silver linings cooper deniro