SOLO POST: MONSTER HOUSE (2006)

Monsterhouse

Christopher

I remember wanting to see this when it first came out just because Dan Harmon was one of the writers. Watching it now it was nothing more than a bad kids’ movie at best. The story was predictable, the characters weren’t too likeable, and I just felt like I was watching Jimmy Neutron. This might be a good movie for kids but it’s not a movie that appeals to other demographics.

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MATERIAL GIRLS (2006)

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Elizabeth

I liked watching Lizzie McGuire when it was first on, but I must say I never felt a real need to see Hilary Duff in a movie (and I never saw the Lizzie McGuire movie[s]). She never seemed like a strong enough actress to carry a movie and I couldn’t really see her as anything else but a Lizzie McGuire-type of character. Material Girls supports this theory.

This time, her real-life sister, Haylie Duff, is thrown into the mix and proves herself to be less than helpful. They play Tanzania “Tanzie” Marchetta (Hilary) and Ava Marchetta (Haylie), heiresses to their dead father’s skin cosmetics line fortune. A scandal breaks that the company’s products cause major skin damage, causing the sisters’ assets to frozen and all of their “help” to be fired. To make themselves feel better, the sisters decide to put Tanzie’s skills to use (as she is apparently a chemistry genius) and give themselves a spa night, complete with face masks and scented candles. Which is all well and good, but here’s the thing though: I’ve met a good amount of people who are really skilled in chemistry and I can guarantee they all know one thing to be true: water puts out fire. And given that the whole “stop, drop, and roll” thing is taught so early on to children, I’m pretty sure the concept of water putting out fire is taught prettyyyyyyyy early on. And while I don’t know this for sure, I’m fairly confident a chemist would know how flammable nail polish remover is and I’m nearly positive that any female who has had her nails painted pretty much her whole life would know that, too. But alas, Tanzie knocks over some nail polish remover, which comes in contact with a scented candle, and suddenly their living room coffee table is up in flames. Instead of getting some water or a fire extinguisher or calling 911, the girls scream and run away. Literally. That’s what the picture is from. They scream, grab some clothes and bags, run out of the house and drive to a hotel as their house burns down for no reason. Because these are intelligent, capable adults that you really want to watch do anything.

They can’t stay at a hotel because they have no money, so they decide to go to the apartment of their former housekeeper. Now, it’s important to note that their former housekeeper, Inez, does not live in the projects. She lives in what appears to be a pretty standard, lower middle-class apartment complex. While walking up to Inez’s door, the sisters pass by a man on his way to his door. The man doesn’t even look at them, but he is black. So what do the girls do?

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Look at him, scream, and run up the stairs! Okayyyyyyyy!!

Anyway, everyone with the company is telling the girls they need to sell it to Fabiella (Anjelica Huston . . . why??), which will earn them $60 million each. Not to mention Fabiella tells the sisters that as “one businesswoman to businesswomen,” she will take care of their careers, including employing Tanzie as a chemist (without going to school for it). And, for the record, Fabiella is not evil. But because the sisters are stubborn and stupid, they turn her down. Instead, they decide to get to the bottom of the scandal and enlist help from love interests: for Tanzie, it’s Rick, a lab assistant that she continually mistakes for a valet; and for Ava it’s Henry (Lukas Haas), a lawyer who seems to at first only interact with Ava because it’s amusing, and then realizes she is putty in his hands as long as he stands closely to her and speaks softly to her. Henry isn’t evil, either, but it’s so funny to me how his character is obviously just putting the moves on Ava. Eventually we find out that Tommy (Brent Spiner . . . again, why??), the sisters’ father’s friend, is evil and is actually behind the scandal. So Tommy is fired and the company becomes more successful than ever, because I’m pretty sure that’s how businesses work.

Besides everything else wrong, including just the insane stupidity, Material Girls was written as if it took place in 2000. Examples: Fred Durst is mentioned, two members of Good Charlotte make a cameo, and the sisters are obsessed with Erin Brockovich (which came out in 2000). I like to think that this was written around 2000 but was just shelved for 6 years . . . but then one has to wonder what happened in 2006 that made this movie seem makeable?

This movie is such a total failure that it quickly moves past funny and straight into depressing.

Christopher

When we’re trying to figure out what to watch we generally watch Food Network/Cooking Channel in our apartment. When we eat, we are generally watching one of those as well. So it was recently that Haylie Duff, Hilary Duff’s sister, obtained her own show on one of those channels. I had no idea who she was other than that she looked a lot like Hilary Duff. Her show is boring but the worst part of it is the fact that it’s called The Real Girl’s Kitchen. Nothing about Haylie Duff is a “real girl.” She’s super rich and just hangs out with other rich people. And the show represents this. It’s just really funny to think that she feels what her life is on the show is what the modern woman experiences.

So with that in mind when we ran across Material Girls on HBO I absolutely wanted to watch it. I wanted to see what Haylie could do with a movie script. And really she did exactly what I expected. Fine but forgettable and to be honest she really didn’t seem to be terrible. Although all the acting was overshadowed by just the god-awful script. It was difficult to tell if anyone could act cause they had zero to work with.

The movie was bad. It was also very racist. Against blacks, there is a very strange scene where the girls run away in fear from a black man just going into his house, and they talk constantly about Hispanics being maids. So nothing about these characters are likable from any angle because they also can’t live on their own. They start a small fire in their home at one point and instead of calling 911 or trying to put it out they just leave. It’s hard to tell what’s supposed to be funny and not in this film because you just don’t like them in any situation.

I’m really glad we watched this movie though just to know how awful it was. It was a lot of fun to watch and make fun of because it had something in almost every scene.

 

STEP UP (2006)

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Elizabeth

Knowing that Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan are married and met on the set of Step Up, I couldn’t help but hope that they have at least one scene playing on loop in their house at all times. And I was sort of thinking about that the whole time, because as expected Step Up is not that good and also insanely predictable.

So here are the basic qualities of Step Up: Jenna Dewan plays Nora, who is a rich and classically trained dancer. Channing Tatum plays Tyler, who is poor and not classically trained but still a really good dancer. Because Tyler is a hoodlum, he and his friends break into Nora’s school and trash the set of a school play . . . just because? So naturally Tyler has to pay the school back by working there, where he meets Nora, who discovers that he’s a better partner for her than anyone else at the school (if only for the fact that he’s way bigger), so they become dance partners for some final show, and they fall in love. It was sort of insane to me how closely Step Up followed Dirty Dancing; if you take out the school element and some of the extra characters in Step Up, it’s nearly the same movie as Dirty Dancing.

Probably the biggest thing I took away from it was how sad Miles Darby (played by someone billed only as Mario though was sadly not the video game character) was because no one really wanted to work with him. Except he’s a young guy in New York making rap beats, so he is clearly the most apt for success out of anyone at this art school they go to. I just thought it was so funny that everyone is obsessing over dance and not really paying attention to this guy making beats, when flash forward to 2015 and beat making is clearly the more profitable and sought-after career choice.

I wouldn’t say don’t watch Step Up. It’s sort of funny to see Channing Tatum be awkward and not hold himself as well in front of the camera. But certainly don’t expect to see much more than Dirty Dancing 2.0.

Christopher

In my mind this whole movie was going to be predictable and it was even more than I would of ever thought. Elizabeth and I were able to say exact lines before people ever even said them. I wasn’t expecting a lot with this movie but I was surprised how no one seemed to try both in front of and behind the camera. The dancing wasn’t even very interesting.

However, this movie was bad in a way that made it fun to watch. Also, it’s interesting how Channing Tatum met his wife during this film.

I’m totally down to watch the other films in this series. I can only imagine it gets worse.

JUST MY LUCK (2006)

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Elizabeth

You might read a synopsis for Just My Luck, or see an ad for it, or see the trailer, and you think you know what happens in it. For example, would you expect to see Lindsay Lohan pick up a contact lens out of a pile of cat shit and stick in her eye? Ha ha, of course you wouldn’t, and of course that happens in this movie.

Just look at this poster:

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If you weren’t sure, that up there is supposed to be Lindsay Lohan and Chris Pine. I can basically see Chris Pine in there, but WHO THE FUCK IS THAT LADY??? That is not Lindsay Lohan. Maybe at one time it was, but after all that Photoshopping, that time has passed.

So anyway, Lohan plays Ashley, “the luckiest girl in Manhattan.” Her good luck is on a supernatural level: when she whistles for a taxi, 5 nearly crash into each other trying to stop for her. When she walks out of her building, the cloudy skies turn sunny. Shit like that. Alternatively we have Pine playing Jake, a guy who maybe has less-than-great luck, but is mostly just stupid. Ashley is incredibly successful and well-liked despite not really knowing anything or thinking about anyone but herself. She throws a masquerade ball for her company, which Jake shows up for. Oh, why is Jake there? Well, do you remember the musical group McFly? You don’t? Yeah, that makes sense, considering they’re a mid 2000’s shitty pop rock band from England that inexplicably has promotional ties to Just My Luck. McFly play themselves and Jake acts as their friend-but-not-manager and tries to get a record exec to hear McFly’s CD at the party. Ashley and Jake kiss and their luck switches, but even when it switches, Jake’s good luck is so insane that it’s really just magic, and Ashley does not have bad luck, she just cannot do anything. Remember when I said she picked up a contact lens off of cat shit and put it in her eye? Yeah.

It doesn’t matter how this movie resolves itself. I’m sure you can make a pretty educated guess. But what’s really insane is that I just learned that Lohan was 19 when she filmed this, and from the picture at the top of the post that either seems like a huge lie (which it is not) or a huge tragedy, considering she looks at least 10 years older than I am now (which is 26). That blows my mind.

Christopher

This movie maybe more boring than not but holy shit is it weird. It’s all about Lindsay Lohan who has crazy good luck, like insane good luck, like good luck where something completely unrealistic happens every couple of minutes. On the other hand there is Chris Pine’s character who has crazy bad luck, the same kind of luck as Lohan, just bad. So bad that it’s a miracle he’s even alive. Well the story really begins when they kiss and their luck changes, Pine has bad luck and Lohan has good luck.

What I don’t really understand is why this power is called luck in this film. It really is a superpower. It’s to the point where either of them could create some kind of following. This movie could very well be the director’s version of what will happen when the lord our savior Jesus Christ comes back. I sure hope it is.

FAILURE TO LAUNCH (2006)

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Christopher

I thought this movie was way too much fun to watch. It’s so crazy, maybe not as crazy as Holiday in Handcuffs, but this movie is about a thirty something year old who will not move out of his parents’ house and his three friends who are the same way? Where is this land of crazy older single males? Also having SJP as the main female is always a rough choice but she’s always so awful it makes her scenes fun to watch.

This movie is crazy, on Netflix, and should be the movie you watch this coming Friday!

Elizabeth

Here’s the funniest part of Failure to Launch: it includes two Oscar winners and one Oscar nominee! Which is funny, because Failure to Launch is a total nightmare of a movie.

First of all, I’m from New Orleans and Failure to Launch‘s Wikipedia page says that the story takes place in New Orleans but I completely missed that. The only thing that stood out as being New Orleans is a scene that takes place at Zephyr Field, which I just thought was weird. But there’s also a scene in which Tripp (Matthew McConaughey) and his friends Ace (Justin Bartha) and Demo (Bradley Cooper), which are the characters’ names for real, go surfing. Sooo a lot of weirdness with the location here.

Anyway, Failure to Launch is about Tripp, who is 35 and still lives with his parents, Al (Terry Bradshaw) and Sue (Kathy Bates). Ace and Demo still live with their parents, too, and they seem to have some weird club based around it, except just with the 3 of them. Al and Sue find out about Paula (Sarah Jessica Parker), who has made a profession out of being hired by parents to date sons who still live at home, build up their confidence enough to move out . . . and then dump them? Sounds sort of prostitute-like to me, although Paula insists she doesn’t sleep with her clients, but at the very least is definitely con artist-like.

Naturally, Paula and Tripp sleep together and fall in love. Ace finds out about Paula’s job and blackmails her into setting him up with Paula’s roommate, Kit (Zooey Deschanel), whose sole purpose in this movie is to be sarcastic. Demo also finds out about Paula’s job and tells Paula that the reason Tripp still lives at home is because he had a fiance who died. Paula is SHOCKED because this was NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. Uh, what? I guess it’s weird Tripp’s parents didn’t mention to Paula that Tripp had some trauma issues, but why Tripp still lives at home has nothing to do with the fact that Paula was still hired by his parents to date him and convince him to move out. But Paula makes it seem like she was deceived for not knowing about the dead fiance. Whaaaaaaaaaaat? Does no one care that Paula still tricked Tripp into falling in love with her? Ha ha, nope! Well, except Tripp, but that doesn’t last very long.

In the end, everyone is happy and together and living on their own. Failure to Launch does a good job at showing the stereotypes of men being giant babies and women being meddlesome and emotional. One can only hope to have a relationship based on as much deceit as the one in Failure to Launch. Yay!

DECK THE HALLS (2006)

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Elizabeth

So, Deck the Halls is about two totally insane men with wives and families who push each other deeper into madness . . . which is also a fun family Christmas movie?

Because seriously, Danny DeVito plays Buddy Hall, a car salesman who is obsessed with the idea of his house being seen from space. Apparently in this universe there’s a Google Earth type of thing, except it’s live. So Buddy takes this obsession on a Close Encounters of the Third Kind type of thing, not giving a shit about his family and doing whatever it takes to light his house up with so many lights it can be seen from space.

In the meantime, this disrupts the extreme obsessive compulsive behavior of his neighbor, Steve (Matthew Broderick), who is apparently the “Christmas guy” around town for reasons that I never quite got. Both Buddy and Steve just end up crazier and crazier while their families watch. Fun!

Also, I know Kristin Chenoweth is a famous Broadway person, but her speaking voice is nearly unbearable. Seriously. Probably the best part about this movie was that Alia Shawkat was in it, which was also one of the saddest parts because she’s awesome and this movie . . . is not.

Christopher

This is just one of those films where they really had no idea what they were doing. It’s difficult to tell whose side you’re supposed to be on. I guess both? Everyone seems really mean to each other for no real reason. Can’t people just be blunt with each other sometimes? And characters only realize stuff to help the plot. Mathew Broderick can’t see cords running from his house to across the street until the last act?

Deck the Halls is a complete mess and maybe it’s because I now live in Texas where it never feels like Christmas but this movie never really made me feel like it was a Christmas movie. Which is weird ‘cause Christmas-y stuff is in every single shot. I guess I need more love and passion in my holiday movies. Or this movie is just bad.

CHILDREN OF MEN (2006)

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Christopher

I think this is my third time seeing this movie but I’m glad we were able to see it in theaters again. I forgot how interesting and well-shot this film really is. And what I truly love about it are the little details. I think it’s great that animals love him. I love that one of the conflicts in the movie is that Clive Owen doesn’t have shoes and is having a difficult time finding shoes that fit. And I think Clive Owen’s character is so interesting.

The first few times I saw this movie I thought Owen’s character was a complete badass. That he was the type of character that took charge and got stuff done. Seeing it a third time I realize that he really didn’t want to be there at all. He was brought into something and the only reason he sticks around is that he’s a good guy. He risks his life on multiple occasions just to stick with something that he knows some people truly believe in. I guess that still kind of makes him a badass but in a different way than I had originally thought.

I would watch this many more times and I hope I do.

Elizabeth

Of the handful or so movies that I consider to be my all-time favorites, Children of Men is almost certainly the most stressful. To be honest, every time I watch it there are parts where I wonder why I like it so much because I’m so stressed out. The majority of the time though, I’m just totally in awe.

One of the things that makes Children of Men so fantastic is how realistic it is. I think it’s probably the most realistic futuristic movie I’ve seen, and it’s for a number of reasons. One, it’s set in 2027, just 21 years after the release date. Because of that, the technology in Children of Men is more nuanced in its progression. Two, the dialogue and relationships between the characters felt very natural. No one ever really did anything that felt way out of character. Three, the way Children of Men is shot makes you feel less like you’re watching a movie, and more like you’re there with the characters. I know the movie is famous for its long, single shots, and for good reason. They’re incredible, not just in the skill that takes, but in the effects it has on the audience. To me this is just proof that great filmmaking and cinematography can put you more in a movie than mediocre 3D can.

Children of Men is also full of great, weird themes. There’s the big, obvious ones, like hope and imprisonment. But I’m talking about these smaller things, like how Theo (Clive Owen) is constantly having issues with his feet. At some point he needs to make an escape barefoot, and from then on his feet are always causing him problems: he can’t find shoes that fit, he soaks them when he gets a chance, he messes them up running. There’s also this reoccurring thing that Theo is really good with animals and that animals love him. There are a lot of pets in Children of Men, which is a subtle touch that really makes sense; if the world was infertile, wouldn’t humans be more attached to pets?

I also love how Theo isn’t this great hero. He’s a good guy, but isn’t super into risking everything he knows for something he’s unsure about. But as the stakes get higher and Theo loses more people he loves, he’s more dedicated to the goal. It just makes you think what you would do in a similar situation, since Clive Owen really has that “everyman” quality down pat here.

Children of Men is great and one of the few movies with this amount of stress that I think is really worth the stress.