Reviewing movies nobody cares about

I recently saw three critically acclaimed films that no one cares about anymore.

Bridge of Spies (2015):

Bridge of Spies is the most mediocre film I have ever seen–a shame considering that the story itself is a good one. Tom Hanks is James Donovan, an insurance lawyer who is asked to defend Rudolf Abel, a Soviet spy put on trial in 1957. Donovan is then whisked away to East Berlin where he has to negotiate the release of an American student and spy pilot in exchange for Abel. But any potential the story had is tossed in favor of the obvious and boring. This is because Spielberg has to remind us in nearly every scene that despite our righteousness against the Reds we were engaged in spy tactics and rigged trials as well. From the cartoonish judge to a police officer who scolds Donovan for defending a dirty Commie after someone shoots up his house, all the characters Donovan has to contend with aren’t really characters, but obstacles. The movie only appears to be critical of the actions of the U.S. during the Cold War, but its indictments are shallow for a majority of the characters are stereotypes. Spielberg had a great opportunity to explore the hypocrisies of the U.S. government and, as well, the psychology of Donovan, but instead he just ends-up being like every righteous, yet humble of course, Tom Hanks character.

Love and Mercy (2014):

In contrast, Love and Mercy does a decent job of depicting its subject. The film focuses on the life of former Beach Boys leader and “pop genius” Brian Wilson. We get a better sense of who Brian Wilson was as we witness two of the more well-known narratives surrounding his life: Wilson in the mid-sixties (portrayed by Paul Dano) working on Pet Sounds and Smile and in the eighties (portrayed by John Cusack) as a middle-aged man drugged-out and brainwashed by his psychotherapist and guardian Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti). The acting and writing is for the most part solid, but the problem is that the film dwells on only two ideas–Brian Wilson’s deterioration amidst his burgeoning creativity, and his abuse at the hands of father-figures such as by his actual father, the insecure Murray Wilson, and the sociopathic Landy–without going much deeper into those ideas. As a result, despite the film being well-executed, there is also a flatness to everything. In addition, while the two narratives are interwoven, they don’t really mesh all that well despite their thematic similarities. There’s also a staleness to Wilson’s depiction in the sixties. Not only is it an area of his life that we are aware of and have seen numerous times, the story of the musician suffering for his art is something that has been done over and over. As well-executed as it is the story isn’t approached in a unique way, as a consequence there really isn’t much gained from viewing, especially if you’re already familiar with the history of the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson. Brian Wilson in the eighties might be a weaker story, but at least it’s a side to Wilson that hasn’t been done to death. Overall, Love and Mercy is a solid film and likely one of the best rock biopics out there, but despite weaving two different narratives, it’s kind of bland. But it could be worse–it could have been directed by Spielberg!

Boyhood (2014):

Out of all of the films, Boyhood was probably the best, however, that doesn’t mean it’s as great as critics claimed when it came out. Seriously, remember when everyone was just frothing at the mouth over this thing? Now nobody talks about it. But that doesn’t make it a bad film. I’ve put off seeing Boyhood for a while because I anticipated that it was just another “gimmick” film, the gimmick being, in this case, the film’s production which took place over 12 years so we can see the actors age alongside their characters, particularly the main character who we watch from ages 6 to 18 when he heads off to college. However, the gimmick actually does serve the film well. The problem is that the movie is three fucking hours long. Perhaps the length is due to Linklater not wanting to make the age-shifts too jarring. The length could also be due to Linklater wanting to give each time period within the main character’s life equal weight. The movie isn’t about any particular moment or time during the boy’s youth, but rather about the film’s macro, how the moments accumulate and develop the boy and his family.

This, however, goes into another flaw, and a bigger one at that: the movie is just about the kid’s development. There is no grand, underlying idea. All we’re invited to do is peer into the life of this kid, which is a positive in many ways as this approach eschews the Hollywood convention of placing plot over character, but it’s also a negative in that we’re not allowed to do anything deeper than to peer. It’s as if the movie is bones laid upon a dissection table. We get a good look, but we’re not given anything more. Linklater’s approach allows us to see that the character is real by witnessing various moments of his life, and we can empathize with him, but we’re not given a deeper “in” to his reality. In some ways, we learn more about the kid’s mother, both from her arc and from pieces of dialogue, especially her final lines she imparts as the kid heads off to college. It also helps that Patricia Arquette is a far better actor than the actor who plays the boy. It’s ironic that the subject of Boyhood ends-up being the film’s least interesting character.

But, despite the film’s uniquity, its uniquity is largely shallow. The trajectory of the film matches that of many coming-of-age films. Perhaps this is unfair as any film about a white, middle-class boy often follows a similar path (grows up, goes to college,) but there are ways to circumvent this, such as choosing to emphasis different things, or connect ideas an interesting way. Boyhood becomes almost like any other coming-of-age tale, albeit one that is, for the most part, well-done and watchable. It doesn’t fester in cliche, and while the beats that it shares with similar films, are allowed to be approached more organically, the movie also doesn’t do much to differentiate itself. It doesn’t comment on what these moments actually mean or how they affect the child internally. They just are. Boyhood is still a pretty good film containing some great moments, but since there really isn’t much to grasp onto those moments quickly pass through the mind. Still, it’s an enjoyable experience for the most part. I don’t care about anything.

It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012) – Movie Review

I saw Don Hertzfeldt’s first movie, Rejected, a nine-minute short after some stoner recommended it to me in a photography class I took back in high school. It was amusing especially at the end where it shows the cartoon characters’ world getting destroyed via the paper they’re drawn on being violently crumpled. It’s a funny short, but I didn’t get why all the acclaim (it was nominated for an Oscar). Hertzfeldt’s most recent film, It’s Such a Beautiful Day, is, likewise, a very solid, well-made movie; it’s innovative visually and has a number of good moments, but there’s just something about it that prevents me from calling it a “great film.” Is it a bad film? Hecks no! It just seems like critics clamor over anything that is remotely “new” or “deep,” thus ascending an otherwise good, albeit flawed, movie about a stickman’s life and its deterioration (an internal destruction as opposed to an external one like in Rejected) to a level that is only bound to disappoint.

The movie centers on Bill, a stick figure whose only distinguishing feature is that he wears a hat that is merely a square with a line below it. The movie is divided into three chapters. The first begins with a few vignettes that set the overall tone of the film as they follow Bill through a few banal moments that include him going to the grocery store, talking to his ex-girlfriend in the park, etc. The vignettes are dropped next to each other and seem pointless, but narratively they are tied together as they show Bill as someone who is neurotic, confused and at a strange distance between himself and his average and anonymous existence. However, the “real” film begins when Bill is suddenly treated for a disease which starts to tear at his psyche. Bill’s relationship with his mortality becomes the thrust of the film as well as a vessel to which deeper, philosophical queries are carried.

The film has some major positives: for one thing, despite its short running-length the movie manages to contain numerous details without becoming too overwhelming. There’s a seemingly 0ff-the-cuff detail that is among the movie’s best. When Bill is rummaging through his recently deceased mother’s belongings he comes across a sheet of paper where she practiced her handwriting; earlier we found out that his mother would place a note in every lunch she made for Bill for school. It’s a nice detail for it reveals much about not just their relationship, but also the mother in her obsessiveness and in her love for her son. Another positive: the movie, in part because of the animation style, but also the writing, almost never falls into melodrama. In one part we get the story of Bill’s family, a hillbilly clan where mental illness and train-related deaths are abound; it’s both funny and tragic, but then the movie becomes irreverent instead of melodramatic by following it up with an odd story about a seal. There are moments where Bill tries to deep with someone else, whether it’s a coworker or his ex, only for the moment to be subverted and twisted on itself. Like when Bill tries to discuss with his coworker the nature of time, but the coworker responds by attempting to tell Bill a joke.

However, the movie is not a great one for it’s simply too narrow and one-note. There is also a sense of monotony as the movie seems to run through the same ideas over and over. This sense is also propagated by Hertzfeldt’s narration. There is virtually no dialogue and spoken words, except from some nurses and doctors, aside from his narration. This is a good technique for it helps the movie stray away from melodrama, but at the same time one wishes there was a bit more variety in the narration. But the main problem is that the script, despite it dealing with deeper ideas, don’t treat those ideas with a lot of depth. Simply, if you’ve seen movies where the main character deals with modernity, alienation and purpose, then Beautiful Day is going to seem like deja vu. The visuals help make the movie more memorable and different from other films following the same ideas, but the visuals don’t help deepen the film’s approach to those ideas. The ending is good as Bill, in a near-death hallucination, a manifestation of the narrator’s guilt, or something that literally happens, transcends his mortality and wanders alongside the lifetime of humanity and the universe, but even then there’s a sense of familiarity, as if this is something we’ve all seen before, that undermines it, if only slightly.

If I used a grading scale I would probably give this movie a 7 out of 10, making it one of the better films I’ve seen in the past few weeks. The problem with overpraising something, even if the movie deserves some praise, is that it ultimately levels everything: a mediocrity and a masterpiece are treated equally, thus discouraging great artists from trying for there is no longer any reason to. It’s Such a Beautiful Day is a good film, but it’s not an apotheosis; an aspiring filmmaker should be able to see its strengths, but also see how it falls short and attempt to shoot farther. That’s how art progresses. I’m not knocking this film, if anything I’m recognizing its possible import as a stepping-stone for higher things. Or, I’m just a cynical asshole who shudders in the presence of nice things. Your choice.

Hey, More Movies! Wow!

I saw a couple of movies recently and they were mostly just okay; however, this didn’t stop critics from creaming themselves over both of them. Here are my totally unnecessary reviews:

Blue Jasmine (2013):

Despite the critical fawning it’s received Blue Jasmine is mostly just decent; there aren’t really any bad moments nor great ones; the movie is just a somewhat entertaining experience throughout. This is because, while well-acted and well-shot, it lacks depth, nor is it even that funny.

Let me talk about the positives. The acting, as most critics have pointed out, is pretty good across the board. However, Cate Blanchett probably didn’t deserve the Oscar for, while she was alright, her acting doesn’t do enough to elevate the vapidity and predictability of her character. The reason she won was probably because her character has some sort of mental illness and is unsubtle about it. The better performances come from Bobby Cannavale and Andrew Dice Clay as working class schmoes. Sally Hawkins as Blanchett’s sister is okay, but her potentially good character is underwritten. She seems happy with her boyfriend (played by Cannavale,) but has an affair with some guy played by Louis C.K. who, on top of being a loser, looks like Louis C.K. Why? Then she gets it back with her boyfriend. Does she do this because she truly loves him and was led astray by doubt or because her affair ended and she fears loneliness? Or is Allen trying to do something like he did in Husband and Wives where one couple, after having a separation, get back together? The difference is that that scenario made more sense for we understood the characters more deeply. Hawkins’ character isn’t complex (which would allow the possibility of ambiguity) but simply pallid and vague.

On top of the shallow characterizations the movie is also predictable. From the beginning it’s easy to guess Jasmine’s fate and everything leading up to it has been seen before in other films. There are no original and insightful moments aside from Andrew Dice Clay’s “confrontation” with Cate Blanchett as she looks at engagement rings with a lonely guy who plans on marrying her. Clay, who lost 200,000 dollars thanks to Blanchett’s ex-husband (Alec Baldwin,) opines on how some people simply cannot disconnect themselves from the past as she has attempted to do. There is also the film’s ending portraying Blanchett’s self-imposed damnation as she sits on a park bench chattering to herself, but it’s also a bit obvious as a contrast to her sister’s end which is her getting back with her boyfriend and going on happily with life.

Whatever. You can read a more in-depth review at Cosmoetica which details some of the flaws I mentioned and more, and Alex Sheremet’s analysis of the film in his book on Woody Allen, making my review kind of superfluous. Anyway, not a bad movie, but it’s a slight and flawed film. Still worth a watch though for it’s better made than most dramas.

The Punk Singer (2013):

Basically a hagiography of musician and feminist Kathleen Hanna. I watched this mostly because I have a vague interest in punk music (I like shit like The Pop Group, Pere Ubu and Fugazi) and while I’ve heard of Bikini Kill (the group Hanna fronted in the nineties) I’ve never really listened to their music. However, despite all of the footage the documentary uses showing Hanna’s energetic and confrontational performances the film is mostly about Hanna’s attempts at using music as a vehicle for her political and social views, focusing little on the artistic side of things (which I guess makes sense considering the music, while pretty decent, isn’t exactly revolutionary, lots of times evoking 70’s band The Runaways.)

The main problem with the documentary is that it’s simply not that deep nor complex; the film could have been shortened to about half an hour and still cover all the necessary territory–half the time it just seemed like a Wikipedia article set to images. The only times the movie nears depth are when it highlights Hanna and Bikini Kill’s relationship with the media, and Hanna’s complete desire for autonomy. The documentary could have also gone outside of Hanna, using her story as a portal through which deeper things could have been addressed like how mediocrities within the media react to anything different and why, and the places in which sexist behavior stems from. Or, the filmmakers could have instead focused more on Hanna’s inner-life. The most “revealing” part of the film wasn’t that she was sexually abused, but the reason she lied to everyone when she temporarily left music for it at least showed some of the things that drive her. Unfortunately, the moment is made trite when the “reveal” is emphasized by a shot of her getting up from her seat, away from the camera, and the shot lingering on the now empty chair.

So, for the most part, it’s a decent documentary, but it remains merely a primer. It offers little in depth about third-wave feminism, sexism, media, music and its titular subject. But for anyone interested in Kathleen Hanna or her various musical projects it may not be a bad place to start.

Rubber (2010) – Movie Review

Writer and director Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber is one of those movies that’s not really good or bad–just odd. It opens up with shots of a desert landscape until finally focusing on a car tire half-buried in the dirt. Slowly, the tire begins to tremble and soon fixes itself upright. It starts to move around on its own, falling down every few feet until it’s able to maintain balance. It rolls about, crushing a plastic bottle and a scorpion. It comes across a beer bottle, realizing that it’s unable to destroy it by simply running over it it starts to utilize psychokinetic powers to explode it from a distance. Then we see that there are a horde of people watching with binoculars, more impressed by the tire than shocked or perplexed. And it only gets weirder from there…

So, yeah, this is a movie–a movie about a killer tire. Well, you can make a movie about anything, can’t you? But the problem with Rubber is that the premise, despite the movie ticking in around only 80 minutes, runs thin pretty quickly; it would have made for a better 10-20 minute short than something feature-length. To compensate, Dupieux inserts some weird “meta-ness” via the crowd of spectators. The spectators are supposed to represent the audience as they are fixated on the tire and its shenanigans, commenting as it discovers its powers and watches a woman its obsessed with shower at a hotel. Soon, some guy with glasses is employed by an off-screen “master” to poison the spectators so the film can end, but one spectator survives and everything goes on. The remaining spectator represents the few people in the theater who have managed to stay with the movie.

In addition, the movie is classified as a “horror-comedy,” but it’s really neither. It’s not a horror film for it’s not scary, nor do there seem to be any intent, within the film, to shock. It’s closer to being a comedy, but the problem is that it’s not really that funny. The humor is mostly derived from the film’s absurdity, but that’s it; there aren’t really any “ha-ha” moments, just a single joke being stretched-out.

As I was watching I kept thinking of the film, Holy Motors, a movie that also seemed like they were making it up as they went along. Like that movie, there was some unrealized potential here as well. Instead of trying to be a post-modernist take on the horror genre and its inherent voyeurism, the movie really should have tried to excel as a silly B-movie. Yes, there are a lot of over-the-top comedic B-films out there, but this movie’s premise was just crying out for a similar treatment. And there could still be some elements of post-modernism of course, but emphasize the head-exploding and the possible scenarios surrounding a homicidal tire.

A teenager who might conjure up a similar concept for a film might think that Rubber is “out-there”–but it’s not. It’s interesting that a movie like this exists, but, beyond that, not much else can be said. What am I doing with my life?

The LEGO Movie (2014) – Movie Review

Not a terrible movie, but incredibly overrated. It has clever moments and I chuckled a few times, but on recall there aren’t really any jokes that come back to me aside from a few gags. The movie also isn’t that “smart,” nor is it very deep as some critics seem to assert. Narratively it’s basically a “hero’s journey,” albeit one that doesn’t take itself seriously. The animation is cute as it sort-of mimics stop-motion animation, but the effect wears off quickly. Otherwise, the movie, while fun, is too predictable and formulaic, preventing it from being truly entertaining.

There are a few reasons why I think this movie has been so widely praised, one being nostalgia. Another reason, however, might be the same reason why the children’s cartoon show My Little Pony has become so popular amongst people in their twenties. My Little Pony, from the few episodes I’ve seen, is basically like every other kid’s show: relatively well-made and colorful, inoffensive, but utterly mediocre. Out of the episodes I watched each plot and character arc were instantly familiar and predictable to me, but people like that show so much because it’s the television equivalent of comfort food. The same applies to The LEGO Movie: it’s well-wrought and nice to watch with a lot of memes people can latch onto, but because people are so used to shit they mistaken such things as signifiers for genuine quality. It’s as if people are desperate for something that isn’t gritty or depressing that they end up hyping certain movies that stray from the norm to an unwarranted and undeserving degree. The LEGO Movie represents qualities people like and represents them well.

Recently, one of my friends saw Inherent Vice and complained that the director, Paul Thomas Anderson, is all style and no substance. Unfortunately,  a lot of “Grade A” directors suffer from a similar affliction for not only is it easier to don a certain style or aesthetic, but also because critics tend to confuse or conflate style with depth. People, in general, praise certain films mostly because they fit into their idea of what good movies should be like, not because they’re actually good. While no one is going to place The LEGO Movie within the same category as Inherent Vice, they are both movies that have been hyped despite their (obvious) flaws. This reminds of, perhaps, the lone noteworthy moment of The LEGO Movie: when the main character, Emmet (Chris Pratt,) is arrested he’s shown footage of his fellow construction workers struggling to remember who he is. One of them theorizes that Emmet’s anonymity is the result of him not having a “personality,” or “thing” that differentiates him. The worker uses examples of people who have their own “thing” which are usually insignificant like whether they wear a hat or eat a certain type of food. It’s an interesting comment on how shallow people’s view of individuality is. Perhaps this is also applicable to people’s view of art as well, a view that’s lacking in depth. Or maybe I’m just talking out of my ass. Anyway, The LEGO Movie, despite what everyone has told you, is okay, but not great thought it probably doesn’t matter, considering that you’ve probably seen the movie already, making this review kind of pointless…um…thanks for reading anyway!

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) – Movie Review

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is supposed to be a lament, but it just sucks. Visually, the film is great; there’s all sorts of neat tricks with lighting, camera movement and special effects to conjure the illusion that two drug addicts stumbling about is somehow interesting, but, unfortunately, the illusion’s effectiveness quickly fades and all that is left is the bad script. The script is so bad that they should have called it Dull and Boring in Las Vegas instead.

There isn’t really a plot. We follow two druggies, Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his attorney, “Doctor” Gonzo (Benicio del Toro), as they engage in a chemically-induced assault on the Las Vegas strip. Duke is supposed to be there to write on a bike race in the desert, but is instead inspired to write about the American Dream and the failure of the 1960’s counterculture. However, the narration Duke provides only makes the film seem pretentious as if he’s trying to make the things depicted on screen seem more significant than they actually are. It’s a shame for the premise had potential; perhaps the problem lies in the source material, Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 book of the same name, but I haven’t read it so I cannot say.

Anyway, I don’t really have much to say about this movie so I’ll let another do the talking. Here’s what one Ron Wells says of the film, when it first came out in 1998:

For all of you idiot film reviewers, do the two main characters, Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro) really look like they’re having a grand old time? I don’t think so. Like Hunter S. Thompson’s classic tome, we see the ugly downside of the drug revolution. Revolutions tend to end in anarchy and pointless bloodshed. Instead of a higher consciousness, we get Duke, and we get a ringside seat for how meaningless and cruel the real world is, and a close look at the demons within himself. “Fear and Loathing” does for psychedelics what “Boogie Nights” does for cocaine; displaying in graphical detail the ultimate failure of drugs as an escape route. You feel the psychic thud as our anti-heroes hit bottom. It ain’t pretty.

Okay, maybe I should add my two cents here. Yes, the film displays the “ugly downside of the drug revolution,” but the problem is is that it hardly does anything more. There’s the narration, as mentioned before, and some images that try to heighten things, but they mostly fail because the “insights” Duke provides aren’t exactly mind-expanding. And the images are quite blatant in their meaning as we see, during one of Duke’s more potent highs, Richard Nixon’s distorted head on a television screen along with Jimi Hedrix’s rendition of Star Spangled Banner juxtaposed in the background. During that same scene Gonzo offers Duke more cocaine that he sprinkled on his knife, then seconds later he offers more but on his gun, then Duke’s mind molds him into the Devil. A bit obvious, no? But even then, the emphasis is still on how “crazy” Duke’s and Gonzo’s shenanigans are. Wells goes on:

It’s a valid complaint since we barely see what the poor bastards are like when they aren’t binging, so no level-headed base line is ever really established. These guys didn’t end up this way overnight, though. They worked their way down. “The Truman Show”, one of the best films of the year, doesn’t make a lot of sense without knowing the conventions of television. However, we all know about sets and cues and product placements. In this case, uneducated about drugs, these bozos look like a couple of joy-riding assholes pissing on anything standing in their way. They aren’t exactly doped up on any judgement enhancers. Duke and Gonzo’s understanding of the repercussions always comes too late. They have no guide for their descent into hell, just the psychic corpses of everyone they ran down on the way to mark their way.

This is just Wells making excuses: It’s not the movie’s fault, but your own for being too square to understand the psyche of a junkie, okay? Seriously, the film really is just “a couple of joy-riding assholes” with a message merely tacked-on. That’s it. It could have worked if the film had more to rely on than just the visuals. Oh well. So, what else does Wells have to say?:

Now this is a damn funny film, but it’s not some Bill Murray flick. Vegas is surreal enough, without turning into a cross between Sid Vicious and Otis, the town drunk. You can either laugh at the buffoonery and/or cringe with recognition from your own experiences. I know I did. Duke, Thompson’s alter-ego, has moments of clarity throughout the film. He knows the 60s are over. Like a lot of habitual users, though, he’s always trying to move the bottom of the well lower to prevent hitting it on the way down. The drugs may expand your mind, but sometime you’ll look down and see only the filth you’re standing in.

Notice how he doesn’t mention any specifics concerning the humor in the film. Yes, the movie attempts to be funny, but mostly fails. For one thing, Depp’s performance is silly at first, but it’s, in the end, too cartoony. All he does is stumble about, make jerky arm movements and eye-twitches. There really isn’t much of a character to laugh at, but rather a collection of traits and eccentricities that are seemingly designed to illicit laughter. I’m not saying there should be a deep characterization, but at the same time this isn’t a 1930’s slapstick; the film is established in reality (or, rather, crashing through it) so there at least needs to be something a little bit more to the character that we can laugh with/at. There are also a number of scenes and moments that try so hard to be funny, like the scene in which Duke is pulled over by a cop (played by Gary Busey) which ends with the punchline of the cop wanting a kiss on the cheek.

Also, note how Wells defends the film for what it depicts, instead of how it depicts it. Now, what he describes can also describe almost every movie about drug usage and addiction. This reminds me of another “review” by wannabe internet celebrity Jeremy Jahns where he calls The Avengers an amazing film, but says so because it featured superheroes who didn’t get along at first. What’s silly about this is that every movie about a team assembling to save the world, or whatever, starts the same way. Just because certain tropes are present doesn’t mean the movie is “better” or “more believable,” but it’s in the way in which the tropes are used or whether if they work for the film. Wells concludes his review:

What kind of moron thinks this film glamorizes drugs? “Die Hard” can be a lot of fun to watch, but I wouldn’t want to live through it. “Fear and Loathing” is a sort of psychedelic action film. It’s a blast, but I wouldn’t want to be there, either. If you want an easy rush, get on a roller coaster. The other stuff is just pants-shitting terror. Buy a ticket, take a ride.

He’s right in that the movie doesn’t glamorize drug use, but one also can’t deny that the movie expects us to be intrigued by it; perhaps, this isn’t an unrealistic expectation for there are the sheltered who will be drawn to such “dangerous behavior and lifestyles”; however, drug usage and its predictable outcomes aren’t immanently intriguing. And this is, again, the film’s greatest flaw; it’s almost nothing, but druggie shenanigans even with the inclusion of Duke’s narration. Shenanigans can be interesting, but with Fear and Loathing we just get the same shit over and over that’s about as exciting as a ride on the Ferris wheel. However, as much as I like to rag on critics, especially “professional” ones, they, overall, seemed to had gotten this movie right when it came out, perhaps for the wrong reasons (maybe reasons Wells was originally trying to counter in his review,) but whatever. This movie is lousy and I don’t know why I wasted two hours on it. I guess maybe because it’s one of those “cult films” that are supposed to be once-neglected gems, but now have been pulled from the muck. But after watching this, I’m hoping there are more deserving films out there, ready to be truly seen.