Sunday, March 31, 2019

Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984)

Synopsis: Supremely-compassionate British rocker discovers a valuable master recording of a new album is missing and his company faces a corporate takeover if it isn’t recovered by midnight, so... he spends the day singing songs and daydreaming a bizarre pantomime set in Victorian times. 
Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Screenwriter/star PAUL McCARTNEY creates a rousing musical fantasy about a pop singer/composer (McCartney) who discovers the master tapes of his new unreleased album have disappeared.” 
What Did I Learn?: 1) Ringo likes to smoke weed and hit on chicks. 2) Paul apparently regards speed limits as mere suggestions, and possesses an uncanny ability to track down missing people. 3) Paul has been off for years. 
You Might Like This Movie If: You need a reminder that Paul McCartney is a great judge of character
Really?: 1) Holy shit, what was the point of that whole Victorian-era daydream sequence? [Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert!] 2) So, on a whim, Paul decides to check out the Broad Street subway station, and he finds the tape box just sitting on a nearby bench? Nobody even touched it in all the time after Harry placed it there when he needed to take a pee?  3) Let me see…. Paul’s buddy accidentally side-swipes Big Bob’s pickup truck as he’s driving the zillionaire star to the recording studio, and Paul neglects to inform Big Bob when he speaks to him, let alone offer to pay for the damages? What a pal…
Rating: Give My Regards to Broad Street can best be described as a self-indulgent ego trip by Paul McCartney. The film includes a lot of great music and some very high production values (which is why I’m giving it a few stars), but it’s far too long to work as merely a collection of music videos. The biggest problem I have with this film – aside from McCartney’s noticeable lack of acting skills – is that there’s no story, and none of the characters are ever developed, so talented performers like Brown, Tracey Ullman, and Barbara Bach are given nothing to do. The non-musical scenes basically consist of everyone giving Paul a hard time for hiring ex-con Harry, and Paul smugly replying that they’re wrong and there’s nothing to worry about. I cannot recommend this movie. 3/10 stars. 

Would it Work For a Bad Movie Night?: Sure - take a drink anytime you find yourself asking: "when exactly is Paul going to do something to find Harry?"

The Proud Ones (1956)

Synopsis: Concussed marshal takes on oily casino owner… who doesn’t really want any trouble, and only wishes to be left alone. 
Blurb From the DVD Jacket: “When the law is broken, justice can’t be far behind.” 
What Did I Learn?: More people means more money….or possibly more trouble. 2) Pride can kill a man faster than a bullet. 3) Taking care of yourself is one thing; taking care of a town is another. 4) You can always hire the fools and the drunkards to do something, but when trouble comes, men are hard to find. 5) At night, always walk in the shadows – you can see better. In the daytime, walk away from the sun – you’ll live longer. 6) There’s a good chance you could develop a concussion after receiving a violent head wound. [I’ve always found it amusing how heroes are knocked unconscious in countless movies and television shows, yet they simply wake up and suffer no lasting consequences afterwards]
You Might Like This Movie If: You'll watch anything from 1956.
Really?: 1) See: “Synopsis”. Seriously, John Barrett never seems like a terribly bad guy for a villain, and it’s never made clear if he’s behind Pike’s and Chico’s attempts to murder Marshall Silver or not. 2) Funny how Sally basically disappears from this movie for a long stretch of time, and what was the point of Thad Anderson’s attempt to seduce her? It never leads to anything. 3) Wow….Silver and Anderson both shoot men in the back. 
Rating: The Proud Ones is a rather ho-hum mid-1950s Western that was shot almost entirely on a soundstage, so it doesn’t feature much in the way of stunning visuals. While I liked Robert Ryan’s portrayal of Marshall Silver, it takes a looooong time for anything to happen, and the film needs a more compelling villain. 6.5/10 stars

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Houseguest (1995)

Synopsis: Dysfunctional upper-middle class family benefits enormously when loveable criminal shows up on their doorstep….sorry, that’s the Synopsis for The Ref.  Hmm…. Mobsters chase glib goofball to recover a surprisingly small debt….no, that’s We’re Talking Serious Money. Ok… Sinbad… Phil Hartman…mayhem in the suburbs…hey, it’s Jingle All the Way without Ahhnold. 
Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “They’re just your average everyday uptight family… until the day he shows up!” 
What Did I Learn?: A puree of parsnips and crook-neck squash does NOT taste like nacho cheese. 
You Might Like This Movie If: You're convinced that Phil Hartman + Sinbad = comedic gold. [Wow, this song is bad]
Really?: So, wait – the Gasperinis follow Kevin all over rural Pennsylvania to collect the princely sum of $5,000? 2) Holy shit, did McDonald’s front the cash for this film’s production budget? 3) Strange how Kevin clearly knows nothing about dentistry, wine, golf, and a number of other subjects, and whenever anyone challenges him his only strategy is to get angry and viciously ridicule his challenger – and it somehow works every time. 4) Gary (Hartman) finally gets to meet the real Derek Bond - his childhood summer camp buddy - and… they barely exchange a word. I guess the writers couldn’t think of any worthwhile dialogue. 
Rating: Houseguest is just plain awful, which is strange because I somehow remember it being a lot funnier; perhaps I was drunk at the time? Sinbad does his best with the material, but it’s incredibly contrived, juvenile and clich├ęd; meanwhile, the legendary Hartman is wasted in a straight-man role and looks as though he’s sleepwalking through an overly-long SNL sketch. I cannot recommend this movie. 4/10 stars. 
Would it Work for a Bad Movie Night?: Sure – take a drink any time Kevin expresses his love for the golden arches.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Housesitter (1992)

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Housesitter obviously isn't Irish-themed, so please click the links to read my reviews of the films based upon Roddy Doyle's Barrytown trilogy: The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van. 
Synopsis: Free spirit teaches stuffed shirt that lying can bring people together and radically improve relationships. 
Blurb From the VHS Jacket: "She came. She saw. She moved in." 
What Did I Learn?: 1) Half the things we tell ourselves are fiction. 2) Small-town New Englanders are very, very gullible. 
Really?: Housesitter is a screwball comedy that isn’t meant to be taken too seriously, so I can overlook certain whimsical elements like Davis building a cottage for Gwen’s homeless “parents,” or nobody calling the cops after Davis punches a perfectly innocent Hungarian, but seriously – what happened to Davis’ buddy Marty, or Gwen’s old friend Patty? Both seem to disappear without a trace mid-way through the movie, and neither is present at the big reception. 
Rating: This might be a slightly overly-generous review, but I have to admit that I’ve always liked Housesitter, even if it has a few credibility problems (see: “Really?”) The script is clever and genuinely funny, Martin and Hawn share an undeniable chemistry, and it’s fascinating to watch Gwen’s lies take on lives of their own and suddenly become reality. Highly recommended. 9/10 stars