THE BACK-UP PLAN (2010)

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Elizabeth

Oh. My. Fucking. God. I am so insanely sick of women in movies only being good for making babies, or at least be obsessed with or somehow connected to babies in some way. I feel like that’s all we’ve seen lately, and The Back-Up Plan is the god-awful culmination of all of that.

Jennifer Lopez is Zoe, who is single and wants a baby, so she gets artificially inseminated by a donor. Okay, that’s fine, whatever. After she gets the insemination done, she wanders around New York, being so sublimely happy that she freaks people out, like when she excitedly approaches a woman and her stroller and the woman yells “Get away from me!” I thought that might make the movie more funny or realistic, but of course not.

She meets Stan (Alex O’Loughlin) and also immediately becomes pregnant. Is that how that works? Every other movie and TV show I’ve seen makes it seems like insemination can be a long, emotional, sometimes fruitless process. But JLo gets pregnant like the next day. She wants to tell Stan, but her grandmother (or aunt? great aunt? I don’t know) gives her legit good advice: because she and Stan had only known each other like maybe two weeks, she tells Zoe to wait to tell him, because if it turns out that Stan is a jerk and they break up, then it won’t matter if he knows about the pregnancy anyway. Zoe agrees to this, and then immediately tells Stan. He freaks out, which is understandable, but he’s also a huge dick about it. He makes it seem like Zoe is out of her mind for getting inseminated, which, as much as I may personally agree with that, it’s obviously not insane for her, which is why she did it.

The rest of the movie is about them being a new couple while also dealing with her being pregnant. They’re both kind of awful to each other, but I thought he was especially dickish. His biggest dick move?

Well, see, apparently Stan is jealous of Zoe’s body pillow. Stan’s friend, whose wife also has a body pillow, calls it something like a man replacement. Okay. Now. I’ve never been pregnant and I really don’t know what it’s remotely like, but I do know that it can be really difficult to get comfortable enough to sleep, especially when you start to get real pregnant, like Zoe is at this point in the movie. And body pillows help! It helps women position themselves and their belly in a way that’s safe and comfortable. For some insane, narcissistic reason, Stan agrees with his friend that it’s a man replacement . . . SO HE STRAIGHT UP THROWS HER PILLOW OUT THE WINDOW AND INTO THE DUMPSTER. WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUUCK. Does he want her to wrap her legs around him all night? To prop her belly on him all night? Is that for real what he wants? Because not only is that so selfish and stupid, it sounds uncomfortable for both of them. I don’t know. That just made me so mad. I can’t imagine how uncomfortable it can be to be pregnant, and the fact that he let his own retarded ego get in the way of his girlfriend being able to sleep made me hate him for the rest of the movie. There was literally nothing he could do to redeem himself.

Also, there’s a lot of shit, blood, and vomit in this movie. No joke. It’s gross. Everything about this movie is gross. UGH.

Christopher

Whaaaaaaaaaat? This movie is so crazy and is so scary on so many levels, I wasn’t sure what we were watching. The number one thing I had a problem with in this film, is that our two main characters never really seem to be in love. They are both so awful and boring, and so obsessed with themselves they never really seem any happier then they are when they first meet. ¬†Duuuuuuuuuumb.

THE TERMINATOR (1984)

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Christopher

I only saw this movie once in high school but I remember seeing T2 often and at a much younger age. I think this movie is interesting but is kind of boring at parts. And I don’t really like the Terminator pinball machine.

Elizabeth

I had never seen The Terminator, so it was interesting to see it now. First of all, I did not realize Schwarzenegger was a bad guy. Even though I knew he played The Terminator. And even though its name is The Terminator. It just never occurred to me. . . for some reason. I was also surprised to find out that the movie wasn’t just all Linda Hamilton and Schwarzenegger, that there was a third guy, Kyle Reese (Michael Bieh), who was a good guy and a love interest for Sarah Connor. So that was interesting.

But can we talk about the special effects? I feel bad because this movie is nearly 30 years old. But some of the effects are prettyyyyyy funny, like Arnold’s fake face when he’s looking at his eye. Pictures don’t really do it, or some of the robot special effects, justice because when they’re in action, the models are so jerky that it’s practically stop motion (and it looks like stop motion might be how they did the robot parts in the first place). It’s just really goofy.

But that aside, I think the story of The Terminator is really interesting. I really want to see the second one because I’m really ready to see Sarah Connor be a total badass, rather than just be someone’s future mother. I couldn’t help but think though, when Kyle tells Sarah that her son, John Connor, will practically be the next Jesus, Sarah isn’t pregnant. Then she has sex with Kyle and gets pregnant, presumably with John. But Kyle never said how many kids Sarah will have. By the end of the movie, she’s pregnant and recording herself talking to the future John Connor, but how does she know she’s pregnant with him? Maybe she’s pregnant with John’s older sister? Part of me wishes that were an alternative ending.

But yeah, anyway, I really loved Linda Hamilton in this. I’m really itching to see the second one and it’s all because of her.

THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN (2012)

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Elizabeth

God. This fucking movie. Before we watched it I was actually afraid I might cry or at least tear up at the end, because I assumed it was going to be sad just for the sake of being sad, like so many other Disney movies. Luckily that didn’t happen, because I totally didn’t care about anyone in this movie!

So Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim (Joel Edgerton) Green are a married couple with the absolute perfect life. They live in a super sweet mansion farmhouse thing, even though Jim works at a pencil factory and Cindy works at a pencil museum in “Illinois.” I’m putting Illinois in quotes because they never mention being in Illinois (I don’t think) but all the plates are from Illinois. But if you’ve ever spent two seconds in Illinois then it’s obvious that this super hilly autumn paradise is not Illinois. I thought it might be upstate New York, but it was actually filmed in Georgia, which did surprise me. But anyway, it’s so obviously not Illinois that it’s laughable.

Anyway, Cindy and Jim, this beautiful young couple who have a pretty good relationship and live in the sweetest ever house . . . are sad. Why? Because they don’t have a kid. Now, I’ve mentioned before that this makes no sense to me. Why do they want to ruin their perfect life with a kid? They’re told by their doctor that they can’t have a kid after they “tried your hardest.” I don’t know what that means. Did they have sex 24/7?

Anyway, heartbroken by the awesome news that they don’t have to worry about getting pregnant, they decide to write down all the qualities they want in a kid, put the papers in a cool wooden box that I guess they didn’t want anymore, and bury it in Cindy’s perfect vegetable garden. That night, a rainstorm comes and a naked, muddy kid shows up in their house. They freak out, especially because the kid’s name is Timothy, which is the name they wanted for a son. Also, Timothy has leaves growing out of his ankles.

They take Timothy to their botanist friend, who tries to cut the leaves off. Was this a weird message about circumcision? They want this part of Timothy cut off so that he’s “normal.” EVEN THOUGH HE APPEARED IN THEIR HOUSE BASED ON THEIR WISHES OUT OF NOWHERE. Lo and behold, though, the leaves can’t be cut off. So Cindy and Jim take Timothy to a pediatrician and a child psychologistHAHAHA just kidding, of course they don’t! They just enroll him in school!

Okay, so this fake Illinois town is only bigger than my real Illinois hometown by about 1,000; the population sign puts it at around 5,000 people. Uh, so, if this prominent young couple in my town suddenly had a fucking kid . . . people would, you know, NOTICE. No one ever questions them! They don’t even try to make an excuse for him. They just don’t talk about it.

I’m already talking way too much about this movie. But as it goes on, Timothy sheds a leaf anytime he makes someone happy. It’s like Pay It Forward but about a billion times more retarded. He falls in love with a girl who looks at least 14 (when he looks what, 10?) and also exactly like a young Mila Kunis to the point that it’s distracting, because she has a large-ish birth mark on her chest. Which, I mean, is basically the same thing as having leaves grow out of your ankles. He also does this thing where he looks up at the sun with his arms open, I guess to photosynthesize? It’s never explained, but it’s dumb.

Unfortunately for everyone except the viewers, it turns out that with each leaf he loses, Timothy gets closer to “death” which just means he goes back into the ground? I guess? He basically just disappears during a thunderstorm. Which takes us all back to the beginning, where we saw Cindy and Jim explaining their story to adoption people. Instead of walking out or calling the cops on them or something, the adoption people stay and listen to the Greens’ story, and then GIVES THEM A KID. What??? Also, the adoption people deliver the kid to them, which I guess is a nice perk.

The Odd Life of Timothy Green isn’t sad unless you’re insane or a child. It is so. STUPID.

Christopher

This movie was as dumb and insane as I thought it would be. I know if I saw it as a kid I would have been extremely freaked out that this had to do with death, but seeing it as an adult I can appreciate its stupidness. This movie has magic, dumb stories, and terrible families. CHECK IT OUT!

 

THE GAME (1997)

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Christopher

I was super into this movie as a kid and even though watching it now I see a lot of what’s wrong with it, I still find this movie really fun to watch. I’m sure Elizabeth will say that this movie is boring, which it kind of is, but I think the biggest thing that Elizabeth and I disagree with is what we consider to be a boring film. That will really be shown if we ever finish watching one of my favorite movies ever, Down By Law.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I was really surprised to find out in the end credits that David Fincher directed The Game because I really wasn’t all that impressed with it. I really didn’t know anything about it going into it, but I assumed the whole time we were watching it that everything/everyone was part of the titular game that Michael Douglas is involved in. Why shouldn’t I think that? The movie proves that the company putting on the elaborate game is capable of nearly anything. But I guess we were supposed to, like Michael Douglas’ character, start to believe that the company is this giant scam out to steal his money and/or kill him. When the big reveal comes at the end that it was all part of the game, I was sort of shocked. Not that that was the ending, but that we weren’t supposed to see that coming. The movie is called The Game! Of course everything is part of the game!

Oh well, the Criterion cover is awesome enough to almost make up for the whole thing.

AFTER EARTH (2013)

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Elizabeth

Oh god After Earth is so fucking dumb.

I’m really glad we watched it though. We almost didn’t because the trailer made it seem like the whole movie was Will and Jaden Smith getting stranded on post-apocalyptic earth and just straight up murdering animals for some reason. Luckily, it is not like that at all. Will and Jaden hardly even share screen time together. It’s insane.

After Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot I feel like I’m noticing a pattern in weird voices. But really, it’s just that Jaden Smith cannot speak. Or at least not in this movie. Which is extra unfortunate because he’s the narrator. I couldn’t figure out if he was trying to do an accent or if he was hard of hearing or if he had a speech impediment or what. I think maybe he just talks like that. He just sort of slurs his words or something.

Anyway, I almost don’t know what to say about this movie. I don’t think Will Smith is necessarily a bad actor but he is a bad actor in this movie. And Jaden Smith super sucks. The plot makes no sense. The special effects are laughable. But there aren’t any animal murders! So that’s good!

Christopher

I was sure that this movie was going to only be about Will Smith and his son, Jaden, killing exotic animals for two and a half hours. Although what really ended up happening was we had to watch some child pretend to be an adult only by trying to stay alive the whole time. This movie is overly complex and very boring. So much does not make sense and the rules in this universe are so convenient and vague.

What I walked away with from this movie is really only asking myself, “Why was it even set on Earth in the first place?”

BARB WIRE (1996)

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Christopher

For a movie where you think I would talk about the sex/boobs as much as Basic Instinct, this movie really doesn’t have a ton of good things to say about it in that department. It’s mostly about Pamela Anderson’s terrible acting, a story that makes no sense, and a giant fat man.

To be fair the giant fat guy, Big Fatso was the best part. I kind of want a prequel to Barb Wire just about him, with the same actor of course, Andre Rosey Brown (I just looked him up and he died in 2006 so I guess that will not happen but I think he really was a great actor in this movie. He sold me on his character more than our leading lady, who all I really know about is that she hates people calling her babe. But now I’m kind of sad about Andre and want to see more movie with him in it.)

Elizabeth

This is the poster for Barb Wire. It’s brilliant because that’s pretty much all there is to the movie: Pamela Anderson (Lee), her boobs, dumb words, a gun. That’s it, the end.

CITIZEN KANE (1941)

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Elizabeth

Chris and I finally got a chance to see Citizen Kane in theaters and it was amazing. Ever since I first saw Citizen Kane, I have maintained that while it is obviously a good movie to teach in film classes, that shouldn’t be the way someone sees it for the first time. Because yeah, it’s packed with some sweet (and important) techniques and shots and stuff, but the bottom line is that it’s a movie. It’s so much better if you just watch it and forget about how important it’s become, and seeing it in a theater makes that really easy.

What I think might be my favorite part of the movie is how sad Charles Foster Kane is. He has all the money in the world, and tons of power, and not bad looks, but his life is still pretty tragic. The movie does such a good job of balancing his character; showing us both sides of him. No one in the movie pretends that Kane is this secretly sweet, misunderstood guy, but no one thinks he’s totally bad, either. Everyone’s pretty much aware that he’s just sort of a sad figure. I really like that; it just feels so much more realistic.

One thing I have to say though: in the famous scene (from the above picture) of Kane giving a campaign speech in front of a giant poster of himself . . . could they have possibly chosen a more unflattering picture of Orson Welles? What the hell is that expression? Is he surprised? Is he about to vomit? Orson Welles wasn’t the best looking guy ever, but he looked better than that photo made him look. I like to think Welles chose that photo because it’s weird and looks sort of uncomfortable, but I don’t know.

Anyway, Citizen Kane really is a masterpiece. Sometimes the hype is worth it.

Christopher

WE FINALLY SAW THIS ON THE BIG SCREEN!!! Elizabeth and I have been talking about trying to see this at the Drafthouse, if they ever played it, and luckily for us they did on Thanksgiving weekend!

I love this movie!! I know a lot of people might be against it, cause it’s easily the most talked about and taught but how could you not be invested in every aspect of this film? This is my fourth time watching this movie and I’m absolutely sure it will not be my last.