Sorry, I Went to Grad School (Some Quick Opinions of Fall Films)

I started business school and put this blog on the back burner. More excuses! Cause that’s what people want to hear. Anyway, strangely enough, despite actually being legitimately busy since August, I’ve somehow found time to watch one movie every two weeks or so. Since I have not written a review for a single one of the films I have seen this fall, I figured I can give short opinions of what I thought of each one in this post. Remember: these are my opinions, which do not reflect how everyone feels about these films. Possible spoilers may ensue.

Pacific Rim: I had heard really good things about Pacific Rim, so I was surprised that I wasn’t all that impressed by it. I think the movie’s biggest flaw is the main character, who is straight up your cardboard cutout leading white guy. He was so boring and really needed to shut the fuck up during fight sequences. What I don’t understand is why wasn’t Mako the main character? She’s easily the more interesting character, her and her father figure, Stacker Pentecost. I wanted the movie to show us more about them, their relationship, and Mako’s struggles with piloting her Jager. That’s a version of Pacific Rim I would love to see.

Kick Ass 2: I enjoyed Kick Ass 2, which is weird considering it’s not a very good movie. I liked Mindy’s sub-plot of trying to fit into school and dealing with social situations she never experienced before. However, the downfall to this was that Hit Girl was not very active during the movie, unfortunate because watching Hit Girl beat the shit out of people is so entertaining. I think she killed less than ten people during the entire movie, which is pretty disappointing. This is KICK ASS. Why even make a sequel if it’s nowhere near as violent as the first? Kick Ass’ sub-plot was less interesting – he joins a super team, Justice Forever, which is almost as silly as the 1973 Super Friends team. (Meanwhile, in the Hall of Dumbass.) Also, one of the members calls herself Night-Bitch, which is easily one of the worst superhero names I have ever heard. I didn’t take the villain, The Motherfucker (yeah, really), very seriously, though Mother Russia was a fucking baller and there should have been more scenes of her beating people up. Overall, the movie was pretty messy and needed more fight scenes (and more Hit Girl). I think if the movie had focused mostly on Mindy adjusting to a normal life while also attempting to fight crime would have made Kick Ass 2 a far more interesting flick.

The Spectacular Now: Spectacular Now is not your typical high school romance – it’s left ambiguous whether the two main characters end up together at the end of the film. The focus lies largely on Sutter’s hedonistic nature and how he struggles with graduation and what’s to come after high school. I like Sutter’s character and the development he goes through after meeting Amy. Spectacular Now is a very good coming-of-age story that deviates away from more common high school movie formula. It’s a nice film that needs a viewing at least once.

The World’s End: It was great seeing Simon Pegg and Nick Frost on screen together again for the third installment of the Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy (look it up on Wikipedia to learn more). Edgar Wright can’t go wrong with his comedies, and World’s End was no exception. It was nice seeing Frost as a more serious character, since he more commonly plays the dumb-ass best friend. I remember being really impressed with the fight scenes, most of which had awesome choreography. The movie had plenty of jokes and was very funny, though not as funny as either Shaun of the Dead or Hot Fuzz. The movie surprisingly gets a little dramatic at the end during a conversation between Pegg and Frost’s characters, and during the climax the two of them beat the villain by engaging in a verbal debate with him. It was definitely a unique way of approaching the start of an apocalypse, making World’s End a must see.

Rush: Out of all the movies that I’ve seen this fall, Rush is easily my favorite. It’s a fantastic movie. I used to watch F1 racing with my dad when I was younger, which is why the movie initially caught my attention. However, the film doesn’t dedicate much time to showing the races themselves (I’m guessing because F1 races are generally kind of boring), but focuses more on developing the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Chris Hemsworth, and especially Daniel Bruhl, were great at portraying these two racers. In addition, Hans Zimmer’s score is amazing. Find “Lost But Won” on YouTube or somewhere and listen to it. Just… wow. I really hope Rush ends up in the Oscars next year, it certainly deserves it.

Don Jon: This movie is not about porn. Yes, most people will say that it is since porn is a focus of the film, but the overall point of the movie is not about porn itself, but how porn can shape our outlook on relationships. Joseph Gordon Levitt is awesome and he really needs to direct more movies, cause I absolutely loved Don Jon. What Levitt does is take two different types of visual entertainment, porn and romantic films, and addresses the unrealistic expectations that each medium pushes onto us. While Levitt’s character finds his sex life unfulfilling because the unrealistic nature of porn set his expectations too high, Scarlett Johansson’s character expects her boyfriend to reflect the self-sacrificing type of man that exists in romantic comedies. Throughout the film, Levitt’s character learns to accept and enjoy the reality of relationships, moving past his addiction to porn.

Gravity: Gravity is one of the most frustrating films I’ve seen in a while. The main character, played by Sandra Bullock, is the most incapable and incompetent character I’ve ever had to watch on screen. How the hell she was even allowed to go into space is beyond me. Basically, everything that could go wrong goes wrong, and we’re stuck watching Bullock struggle to survive during the entire movie. Watching Gravity was a painful experience, and I was genuinely surprised that Bullock’s character survived in the end. At least the movie was pretty.

Ender’s Game: I finished reading Ender’s Game a week before I saw the film, which impacted my opinion of the movie quite a bit. I probably would have enjoyed the film way more if I hadn’t read the book, since many key points and events were left out (in the usual book-to-movie transition). I tried to not let the nitpicky differences get to me, but there was so much left out that character development was affected because of it. The film failed to emphasize Ender’s intelligence and didn’t fully convey how he dealt with situations logically. Despite this, I liked Asa Butterfield as Ender – he was able to portray both of Ender’s lethal and sensitive sides well. I also liked Harrison Ford’s sleazy portrayal as Colonel Graff – every time he put on his douchey psycho smile I wanted to punch him in the face. The movie also looked fantastic, the Battle School and Battle Room looked great, but I wish more time was spent showing the armies fighting each other and showing how Ender developed his fight strategies. Ender’s Game could have been a better film, but sadly left out too much that it missed the mark.

There’s my opinions of the movies I saw this fall. I’m watching Thor: The Dark World tomorrow evening, so I’ll do my best to write a full review for that one. Pinky swear!

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