Saturday, January 22, 2022

A little something for the weekend?

Recommended Watching

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

I’ll make this simple. If you are at all a fan of the original 1984 Ghostbusters, watch this one. After a troubled development history and a release schedule frequently delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it finally appeared in theaters last November, to mixed reviews and strong but not overwhelming ticket sales.

Never mind that. It’s out on streaming media now, with the DVD and Blu-Ray versions scheduled to roll out on February 1, supply chain willing, so you have no more excuses.

See this one.

It’s that good. 

For reference, this one is a direct sequel to the 1984 original, and a direct continuation of the original story. It makes some passing reference to the events of the botched 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II, but as for that 2016 abomination, in the universe of this story, that movie never existed. Lucky them. 

[In reluctant defense of the 2016 movie: at one time the project was in development as Ghostbusters III with the plot revolving around Dan Ackroyd training in a new generation of Ghostbusters, who were to be Chris Farley, Chris Rock, and Ben Stiller. So we can all thank Gozer we were spared that nightmare.]

Some of the trailers make it look as if Paul Rudd is the star of this movie, but that’s misleading. The unquestioned star of this movie is McKenna Grace, playing 12-year-old Phoebe, who is on a journey of discovery to find out who she is, where she came from, and where she’s going. Her story just reaches in and gets a firm grip on your heartstrings, and if you aren’t at least a little choked up by the final scene there’s something wrong with your sense of empathy. This movie has been panned by some critics for having “too much fan service,” but seriously, what’s wrong with that? This is a sequel to a beloved modern classic, and it wraps up loose ends and character arcs that have been left hanging for more than thirty years. It damn well better include plenty of fan service!

We wound up watching this one twice, because there were so many bits of business and things going on in the background that we missed the first time through. Highly recommended.


Recommended Missing

Jonah Hex

I’m beginning to suspect that somewhere in Netflix’s algorithms there is a “taunt” parameter, and it was created by someone with a truly sadistic sense of humor. I say this because for some reason Wild Wild West has been showing up on my “Recommended for you” list a lot lately, traveling in the company of this turkey. Given that I wouldn’t get up out of puddle of cold vomit to watch Wild Wild West again—I count myself lucky to have slipped out of the regional premiere before anyone recognized me—and given that while I was never a fan of the Jonah Hex comic, we found the character of Jonah Hex as played by Johnathon Schaech in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow to be generally likable, we decided to give this one a try. I mean, hey, it stars Josh Brolin and John Malkovich. How bad can it be?

Pretty bad, it turns out.

If you are one of those people who actually liked Wild Wild West—if you wish Warner Brothers made more movies just like it—I have good news for you. They did. Unreconstructed ex-Confederate madman plotting to overthrow the government? Check. Lots of knuckling-dragging redneck mo-ron Southern stereotype minions? Check. (Plus one over-the-top homicidal Irishman.) A lot of confusion over just where exactly this story takes place? Check. Utterly insane and ludicrous “ultimate weapon” in the hands of the madman? Check. The President of the United States, with all the resources of the Federal government at his command, decides to call on just one man to save the day, and that man is a surly and uncooperative antihero? Check.

To be honest, I watched this one all the way through to the end of the credits, just because I was so certain I was going to see some familiar names from Wild Wild West pop up. But to my stunned surprise, the only familiar name that leaped off the screen at me was in the music credit: Mastadon.

Sure. What the Hell. If you’re going to make a movie that’s this big of a stupid mess, why not hire a heavy metal band to do the score?

Recommendation: Watch only if you have absolutely nothing better to do


Pete Wood said...

You should have a drink with David Gerrold next time he passes through town. Battle for the Planet of the Apes is a miserable excuse for a movie. Paul Williams plays an ape for God's sake. Paul #@#$#@#@ Williams!! No effects or makeup budget. Plot is nonsensical. But the novelization by Gerrold is pretty good. Better than it has any right to be consdiering the source material.
I dunno. Just thought you two might have something in common.