As a committed luddite and card-carrying hipster douchebag, I obviously have no regular access to a medium so pedestrian as “television.” But as someone shaped by the technology around me and in some ways desirous of it — let’s call this the “robot” part of the equation — I also obviously seize every opportunity to watch someone else’s television whenever possible. So, after a week in a Baltimore hotel room, it is no surprise that I watched some mostly terrible movies I might otherwise have actively avoided. Here they are.
Draft Day: Enjoyable enough as schlock, though the ticking timeline and heightened tension never really explains why anyone would be excited to join the Cleveland Browns. Costner is in his element, though I was distracted the entire time by how weird his ears are, something I’d never noticed.
Enemy of the State: I haven’t seen this in years, and it held up pretty well. The 1998 NSA fears are kind of prescient, even in an over-the-top format, and it’s a reminder of when Will Smith was a superstar (and why). Casting grizzled Gene Hackman as a former spy gone rogue is a nice touch, evoking The Conversation in reverse even if that was unintentional. Tony Scott’s action sequences are fun for the most part. And fun fact: one scene was filmed in an apartment adjacent to where I once lived; Smith jumps out my old window and lands miles away, which I will always enjoy.
The Good Lie: Woo boy. Reese Witherspoon is a jaded case worker finding jobs for immigrants, in this case Sudanese refugees. She learns a thing or two about Sudan … and herself. At one point, the three Sudanese men tell a why did the chicken cross the road joke and laugh hysterically, because apparently there were no jokes in Sudan. This is not a good film.
The Heat: I laughed twice. Apparently, Paul Feig thought it was funny when Melissa McCarthy yells obscenities and that people inscrutably think Sandra Bullock is a trans woman. This is also not a good film.
Endless Love: The funniest comedy of last year (and heads and shoulders above The Heat, which meant to be funny). From my understanding, it completely inverts much of the storyline of the original text, but that’s a small price to pay for the nonstop laffs. On the other hand, the movie looks respectable at every turn visually, which is what you’d expect from Andrew Dunn, the cinematographer who brought you The Butler, Precious, and, um, Hot Rod, for some reason.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: This was on and I watched it. It’s still fine.
Girl, Interrupted: There are moments when this movie seems authentic, but they are few and far between. Angelina Jolie is so contemptible for so much of it that there’s little to enjoy, and Winona Ryder’s final voiceover narration kills any good will it might’ve built up. I’d never actually seen this before. I did not like it.
That Awkward Moment: What a confused movie this is. There’s actually a pretty fun cameraderie between Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, and the impressively vacant Zac Ephron, but the things they say are remarkably stupid. I won’t lie, though — it has its moments. Also, Imogen Poots — my nominee for best name in show business — is extremely pretty. This is neither here nor there and not actually relevant to the film, but there you go. Also, boner jokes are funny but they’re not really that funny; on the other hand, Miles Teller getting hit by a car is a lot funnier here than in Whiplash. The latter movie convinced me he’s actually a pretty good actor, but he still has one of the most punchable faces I’ve ever seen, so I enjoyed that thoroughly.
Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift: I confess that this is the first FaF movie I’ve seen. I enjoyed it a lot actually, at least in part because I was extremely drunk.