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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 Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)


The Hunger Games Catching Fire Poster

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

As I mentioned in my review of The Hunger Games (2012), I told my friend that I would see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with him, even though I was not very interested in either of the films.  I’m not going to watch a sequel to a film without first watching the original, so I watched The Hunger Games at home before going out to the theatre.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Hunger Games, and this made me excited to see the sequel.  I would certainly not recommend watching The Hunger Games: Catching Fire without first watching The Hunger Games.  It is pretty much essential to watch the movies in order.

I would advise against reading the rest of this review if you have not yet seen The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire Harrelson Hutcherson Lawrence

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire picks up where the first film left off.  Through an act of defiance, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) were the winners of the 74th annual Hunger Games.  Their public defiance was enough for the government to want to make an example out of them by punishing them in hopes of preventing a revolution.

The film was directed by Francis Lawrence and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer, Jena Malone, and Toby Jones.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire Hutcherson Banks Lawrence

Like most sequels, I expected this movie to be a step down from the first film.  My expectations were wrong once again.  It’s a rare thing that a sequel is better than its predecessor, but this is exactly the case with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  It’s as if the filmmakers ironed out all of the kinks from the first movie in order to make the sequel.

Everything that I liked and disliked about The Hunger Games was improved upon in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.  It was another welcomed surprise.  The acting was more passionate, the special effects were sharper, the story was more interesting, and the quality of the film as a whole was just plain better.

The Hunger Games Catching Fire Lawrence Hutcherson

Fans of The Hunger Games will undoubtedly like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire even more.  The film is a higher caliber and therefore delivers a stronger potency.

I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

The Hunger Games (2012)


The Hunger Games Poster

The Hunger Games (2012)

I’m not usually the type of guy to rush out and see a movie like The Hunger Games in theatres.  I guess that is why I had not seen the film, until now.  I probably would have put off seeing this movie even longer, but since a friend of mine wanted to see the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) in theatres, I thought it best that I see the films in order.

People have raved about this movie, but it just wasn’t a must-see for me, even though, for the most part, it has a very solid cast.  I don’t know if it is the PG-13 rating or what, but it just appeared to me like it would be a teenie-bopper film of sorts.

The Hunger Games Banks Lawrence

The movie takes place in the future where a society is split up into twelve districts.  Once a year a lottery takes place in order to select a young man and a young woman from each of the twelve districts to take part in a televised battle to the death called The Hunger Games.  The latest Hunger Games gets its first volunteer, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence).  Katniss volunteers in order to protect her younger sister from almost certain death.  Now, Katniss is facing the same odds.

The film was directed by Gary Ross and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Donald Sutherland, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Josh Hutcherson, Wes Bentley, Lenny Kravitz, Liam Hemsworth, and Toby Jones.

The Hunger Games Lawrence Bow

I’m not sure that I buy into the concept of a society that would force a few of its residents to battle in a fight to the death.  The idea was a little bit of a stretch.  However, it did remind me a little bit of gladiators being forced to fight in an arena.  It’s a backwards advanced warped society that would be a sick world to live in.  Maybe I just hope that it could never get that bad, but given the world that we live in, maybe I’m just in denial.  After all, if the holocaust can happen, maybe something like this could too.  A movie like this that takes place in the future can get away with a concept like this one, because nobody knows what the future holds.

The film was a cross between The Most Dangerous Game (1932), Death Race (2008), and Gladiator (2000).

The Hunger Games was certainly better than I anticipated it would be. The big name actors in the movie all played their parts well.  However, it was ultimately Jennifer Lawrence’s film.  It was an intensely engaging, heartfelt movie with lots of cool visuals and a good soundtrack.

The Hunger Games Hutcherson

At times, the graphics were a bit overdone and almost too colorful.  Some of the costumes were far out.  The technology in the film seemed a little too advanced for a poor society.  All of these things temporarily took away from the story along with a touch of lower quality acting from the lesser known supporting cast members.

Overall, The Hunger Games was a big surprise to me.  It far exceeded my expectations and I wish I had given it a chance sooner, because I didn’t give it the credit that it deserves.

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.