SPICE WORLD (1997)

Film Title: Spiceworld.

Christopher

The big thing I’ve noticed about watching movies that I saw as a kid, when I watch them now, they all look so cheaply made. I used to think that movies like this were high budget, made for the movie theater cause they put their heart and soul into every scene. Now, it’s very apparent that this was not true. The movie had so many unnecessary scenes I haven’t felt this way since I watched Teeth in college.

I imaged this movie being a bit like Metalocalypse. Where the movie is set in a world that the Spice Girls have complete control and dominance. But, unfortunately it was just about the Spice Girls in real life and that’s pretty much it. There are scenes of them just tickling each other, they start a plot that’s the movie within the movie, and there are a ton of (music) celebrities in this film.

Elizabeth

So, obviously, I most definitely saw Spice World in theaters when I was 10. How many 10 year old girls didn’t see Spice World in theaters? But I really have no recollection of my thoughts on it or what it was about. Which isn’t the best sign . . .

So yeah, Spice World sort of sucks, but does it suck for what it is? Not really. It’s a goofy, pointless, child-friendly musical group movie that reminded me of Help! in a lot of ways. I feel like there’s not many movies made now starring musical groups as themselves that aren’t documentaries. That’s probably for the best, but it’s definitely weird and sort of interesting to see a movie from a pretty much dead genre.

I think what made Spice World somewhat enjoyable was all of the crazy British actor cameos, including Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, who comes out with a pretty amazing burn on Hootie and the Blowfish. It also got a nice mix of Spice Girls songs stuck in my head, which is both bad and good.

Also, in case you thought otherwise, watching Spice World was entirely Chris’ idea. In fact, all week when I would ask him what he wanted to do, his answer was “Watch Spice World.” So, yeah.

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RAGING BULL (1980)

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Elizabeth

I’ve been wanting to see Raging Bull for a really, really, really long time. In fact, it was #3 on my “Movies I Want To Rent/See” list that I started in 2000 when I was in 7th grade. It’s also on The National Film Registry along with a million other movie lists. But I just didn’t really enjoy it that much.

It pains me to say that. I thought Raging Bull was going to blow my mind. But I just thought it was sort of . . . boring. The plot was pretty much divided into scenes of Jake LaMotta (Robert de Niro) boxing and scenes of Jake LaMotta’s horrible personality. I actually enjoyed the boxing scenes more; though I thought the movie was boring as a whole, the way the boxing was filmed was really very beautiful. But the plot just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t think the relationships were complex enough to be interesting: Jake is continually psychotically jealous and possessive of his wife, Vickie (Cathy Moriarty) and fights with his sort of awful/sort of okay brother, Joey (Joe Pesci). And that’s about it. I didn’t find that his character particularly stood out from other similar characters (including most of those from Goodfellas).

I was sort of amazed at the makeup and de Niro’s famous physical transformation, though. Despite his character, I always found de Niro as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver to be prettyyyyy good looking. Taxi Driver was made only 4 years before Raging Bull, and though for most of it de Niro has a similar physique, his face looks soooo fucked up and unattractive. I don’t know how they did it. Maybe a prosthetic nose? Something, though. It was pretty effective.

But yeah, I feel ready to take a little break from movies that revolve around brutes.

Christopher

I watched this movie in high school but all I remembered about it was that John Turturro was in it as an uncredited extra. It’s really bizarre but cool. After seeing this again, and so close to watching Goodfellas, I feel like I like Raging Bull more. The camera work in that film is so great and the story about this somewhat cool but mostly awful guy/athlete is so great. I don’t think Elizabeth liked it but I was totally engaged with it from start to finish. But I also think that boxing is a pretty great sport.

THE CANYONS (2013) – WITH SUPER SPECIAL GUEST POST!

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Our friend Ben watched The Canyons with us. Here’s what he had to say:

Ben

The backbone of The Canyons is supposed to be a commentary on the death of cinema, the facades of abandoned movie theaters continuously remind you THIS MOVIE MEANS SOMETHING, DAGNABBIT. But despite a great deal of effort, The Canyons somehow means nothing.

I knew The Canyons was low budget, but I didn’t expect it to look so cheap. The lighting looks especially amateur. Instead of trying to build an interesting color palette, the cinematographer just throws monochromatic colored lights over every scene. It looks lazy and dated, like I’m expecting K-9, Dr. Who’s robot dog, to roll around the corner at any given moment. The whole movie is a mess. James Deen can’t handle the material, and Lindsay Lohan, putting forth a valiant acting effort, looks tired and out of place.

There are some good unintentional laughs, including awkward texting via television and a UPS truck which steals an otherwise tensionless scene. Even then, the plot has so little momentum it’s hard to care.

Christopher

I really wasn’t expecting much about this movie but it was pretty fun to watch. It was very very cheap, Lindsay Lohan looked worse than anything I’ve seen recently, and there was a bunch of sex including male on male. AND LL GETS TOPLESS?? But I have to say it almost made me vomit, she reminded me too much of someone I used to work with.

It’s easy to see why no one wanted to pick up this movie but it deserves to be seen by someone; it’s really sad and interesting.

Elizabeth

Things worth taking away from The Canyons: James Deen is only interesting with his clothes off, Lindsay Lohan’s face has morphed into an unrecognizable lump, and Bret Easton Ellis cannot write for the screen.

The thing is, it’s somewhat clear what the filmmakers were going for with The Canyons. It’s supposed to be slick, scary, and sexy. It wants to be American Psycho meets Basic Instinct meets Eyes Wide Shut meets Drive. But it is none of those things. First of all, the quality of the film is distracting; the production value is so low that it really does look like you’re watching porn. I mean, I’ve seen porn that looks better than this, porn that James Deen does a better job in. I feel sort of bad for James Deen here; he’s obviously trying, but just because the character you’re playing is psychotic and emotionless, that doesn’t mean you should act like a piece of wood (no pun intended). I also feel sort of bad for Lindsay Lohan here, but then every time there’s a close-up of her weird, puffy face, or every time she speaks with her 90-year-old-smoker voice, I feel less bad. I’m not going to pretend to know or care about what’s up with her, but at a certain point in one’s career, even if one is only 27, one needs to realize that they should just . . . stop.

Really, the best thing to come out of The Canyons is Stephen Rodrick’s New York Times article. I’d rather read that a few times than watch The Canyons, especially because there’s no topless Lindsay Lohan.