Ca$h (the Sean Bean one)

An Avenger and a Throne-Gamer butt heads over a suitcase of money in this mediocre DTV thriller

Wasn’t that awesome? I wrote a headline.

Chris Thor Hemsworth plays Sam, a Chicago knucklehead who thinks the Lord is smiling on him when a suitcase full of money is thrown over an overpass and lands on the hood of his station wagon. He’s not a streetwise tough guy of any kind, not a guy that knows how to handle the situation. He’s just a dipshit who thinks since nobody saw him take it as far as he knows he can just live off the money and there will be no consequences. At first his wife Leslie (Victoria Profeta) is nervous about it, but she decides to go along with it anyway. They pay off their debts in cash, buy a new Range Rover, a new house, new furniture, new TV.

One problem: it turns out it wasn’t magic elves in the sky that dropped the money as a gift to whoever found it. It was actually dangerous criminals in the middle of a robbery who feel that they should probly get it back. The man who stole it (Sean Bean from FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING) has been caught, but he sends his twin brother (Sean Bean from THE TWO TOWERS) to find the money.

I like the systematic way he goes after it. All he knows is that it was a dude in a station wagon with wood paneling. But he finds a way to track all of the recent cash purchases of nice cars in the area, and goes to talk to each of the buyers until he figures out which one used to drive that crappy car. He finds Sam and Leslie in their new house and terrorizes them by making a big ugly scratch across a brand new table. You expect him to grab Leslie (fresh out of the shower) and threaten her in order to get what he wants out of Sam, but he goes the other direction: he starts smashing all their nice new stuff, and they give in in time to save the TV.

Usually in a story like this the scary bad guy would just point a gun and say “You have 24 hours to get me my money” or whatever. Bean is more of a hands-on enforcer, so he invites himself to sleep over and go along with them as they go get all the money they can from each of the banks and stashes that they hid it in. They think they might get away with just that and keep all the shit they managed to buy already (in fact, that’s what behind-bars-Sean-Bean is willing to settle for) but this guy insists on making them repay the entire sum, and goes with them to sell back the car, the house, etc. A couple times it actually comes in handy to have a scary smart guy with them. He knows more about the law than they do and tries to help leverage the best deal.

Of course after that there’s still a balance, so he forces them to begin committing armed robberies. He’s just not gonna leave them alone until it’s all paid back.

I really like the absurd levels he goes to, and the performance by Bean, but the tone of the movie is all wrong. The music leads me to believe that it’s supposed to be a comedy, but it’s not very funny. For the most part it seems like it’s played as a serious thriller, which I think is the right idea, but the music seems to disagree and keep trying to push it to be hilarious.

There is definitely some satire about materialism and greed, so the couple’s exaggerated attachment to their belongings works. But there are many points where I feel like they’re not acting believably enough, it doesn’t ring true anymore. For example the first time Leslie is forced to rob a convenience store she should be practically shitting her pants, instead she instantly gets excited, calls the clerk an asshole, steals a Ding-Dong and smiles on her way out. It’s a betrayal of the tension that the movie has built up to that point. They could keep the joke about her being proud that she got more money than Sam, and treat everything before that as real, it wouldn’t deflate the thriller part of the movie and I think it would also be funnier.

It seems like the robbery spree is less thought out than some of the other aspects of the movie. They do 10 robberies in a day in broad daylight with no masks without getting their faces on a security video. They’re all over the TV and they keep doing it and never have to run from any cops. And there’s both an Asian lady and an Indian Sikh whose victimization is played for funny-accent hilarity.

Director Stephen Milburn Anderson previously did SOUTH CENTRAL, a lesser known entry in the ’90s wave of independent hood dramas. That movie starred Glenn Plummer (SHOWGIRLS) so he has a cameo here as one of the people who bought a car with cash. And his name is Glenn the Plumber! He has it painted on his van. And before they show him they first show his butt crack. Do you get it? Because he is a plumber. Because his name is Glenn Plummer. It’s hard to explain.

Mike Starr (ON DEADLY GROUND) also plays one of the cash guys, but his character is named Melvin Goldberg instead of Mike the Star.

I have to admit, Sean Bean is one of those actors alot of people flip for but I had a hard time remembering who he was. I guess Brits might know him for the SHARPE series or something. I’d seen him in GOLDENEYE, RONIN, the LORDs OF THE RINGSes, EQUILIBRIUM, NATIONAL TREASURE, SILENT HILL and DEATH RACE 2 without paying much attention to it being the same guy, but then I finally watched season one of GAME OF THRONES, so I get it now. That’s a good show, but I gotta admit that it’s too complicated for me to follow on my own, like the first part of RED CLIFF without the built-in excuse of not having a background in Chinese history. My recommendation is if possible do what I did, watch it with a girl who has read the books who can remind you who all the different families are and shit. At one point I asked where this Kal Drogo barbarian guy was in relation to all the armor guys, she jumped up and said “Let me get the map!”

This is two-thirds of the way there to a real good movie. The combination of Bean’s performance and the ridiculous lengths his character goes to get the money back are worthy of a great thriller, but the lapses in believability and tone control fuck it up. I want my money back!

No, I don’t want my money back. I just said that, because of CA$H. You get it? Money.

NOTE: Don't talk about Game of Thrones season 2 in the comments, I haven't seen it yet

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 21st, 2012 at 10:49 am and is filed under Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

142 Responses to “Ca$h (the Sean Bean one)”

  1. Great review as always! Might check this out. I haven’t seen any Game Of Thrones yet. I have only heard awesome things, but I think I want to finish all of the books (even the ones yet to be published) before I watch it. I just have such a problem with envisioning actors if I read a book after I’ve seen the movie/TV show. I want to release myself into the writer’s vision and not have some actor’s face replace what I can imagine.

    That’s why I refer to the Lord Of The Rings books as “The Adventures of Orlando and Viggo.”

  2. So if Sean Bean is playing twins in this one, does that mean he gets to die twice? The only time I can think of when he survived a movie is RONIN, and that’s just because DeNiro kicked him out of the movie halfway through. Did him a favor, really, because you know that shit wasn’t gonna work out too good for him if he stuck around.

    Funny that the guy who’s famous for dying all the time in movies is also famous for getting stabbed in real life and continuing to party: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2003338/Sean-Bean-stabbed-arm-following-row-glamour-model-April-Summers.html

  3. Game of Thrones isn’t too complicated, the show makers decided to just make it impenetrable to anyone who has not read the books. Everyone is just a scraggly haired brunette without a personality, so it’s hard to know what the fuck is going on. It’s not your fault, Vern.

  4. Sean has done a few things where he not only lives but come out on top. Check out the TV series Extremely Dangerous. It might just be the best thing he’s ever done.

  5. I only like Bean when he’s putting on an accent, but having said that, I liked this one quite a bit. Mike Starr though, does he exist just to get his ass kicked in films? Every time I see that guy he’s on the receiving end of a smaller guy’s fists. Is there a film where he gets to whoop someone? Just one?

  6. To be honest, I never had any trouble with telling the families and clans and their motivations in THRONES apart. Just with memorizing all their names.

  7. The Original... Paul

    June 21st, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    “I really like the absurd levels he goes to, and the performance by Bean, but the tone of the movie is all wrong. The music leads me to believe that it’s supposed to be a comedy, but it’s not very funny.”

    Ok, I haven’t seen “Ca$h” – and the combination of dumbshit name, DTV billing and Sean Bean pretty much ensure that I probably won’t – but this bothers me about SO MANY MOVIES. Chief among them M Night’s “The Village”, which has exactly the same problem.

    And that’s all I’ve got to say about this movie because, again, I can’t imagine checking it out. Sorry.

    I did watch the first two episodes of “Game of Thrones” though. And yep, they exist. That is pretty much all I have to say because 1) I can’t be arsed to review it in any detail, and 2) I don’t want to derail the thread. Maybe if it ever appears in the “nerd shit” forums I’ll give it a go there.

  8. Majestyk, Sean Bean not only survived in FLIGHTPLAN, but became the only character to emerge with his dignity intact, by both taking Jodie Foster seriously when he was able to and not taking her seriously when it wouldn’t have made any sense. The editors put some ridiculous “she never gave up” voiceover over a panning shot of the other airplane passengers at the very end, which took me right out of the reality (such as it was) of that film. Found child or no, Jodie Foster or no, I would have slapped that woman had I been one of those passengers. “You made my flight a living hell, lady! Sean Bean, swing a broadsword at her!” He probably would have had to check that luggage before the flight, but maybe the cockpit has an emergency sword or something.

  9. Jimbolo, it’s been a while since I saw it but I seem to remember that Starr did pretty well in The Bushido Blade (1981).

  10. Vern, i have to coment on the supposed dififculty of GAME OF THRONES, which i think is not much at all. Tne map thing happens at the opening titles, where it shows where the main action happens. And i never read the books and understood quite well what was happening and the relationship between each of the characters and the different houses toeach other. I only read the Wikipedia entry after watching the whole first seaosn, and i kinda regreated because it complicated what was until then a fairly wasy to understand show.

    But that’s my opinion of it. Maybe i just got lucky and the show plays very well to my own sensebilities.

    As for the review of this movie you reviewed above, seems like a classic case of a great potential which missed the mark due to some misguidedness from the filmmakers (or pressure from executives). Aren’t this kind of movies ythe one perfect for a remake, so there can be a chance to correct what went wrong the first time? Keep the cast, hire a different director and screenwriters, and go to town with the story.

  11. They say there are 3 types of british women: Those who have comited their soul and, most importantly, their bodies to Sean Bean (and this includes every mother f every british man and women alive); Those who have comited to Benedict Cumberbatch; and those who comited to Martin Freeman. The rest are not worth mentioning because they think Jeremy Clarkson is sexy.

  12. Casey:

    “Game of Thrones isn’t too complicated, the show makers decided to just make it impenetrable to anyone who has not read the books.”

    Nonsense. I never read the books and i find GAME OF THRONES pretty easy to follow. I never understood that complain, really. I have a bit difficulty keeping up with the names, but that’s because i’m very poor with remembering names, otherwise, the action and characterization is pretty easy to follow. Methinks.

  13. the complexity is why I bowed out of watching Game of Thrones even though I knew everyone and their grandma would cream their jeans over it

  14. Again: what complexity in GAME OF THRONE? Really, where is that mytical beast called complexity that i have failed to see yet in that show? I did saw dragons, however.

    Or maybe i should say this in another way. Yes, GAME OF THRONES is complex, but it’s not complicated. The telling of the tale is quite easy to follow. That the show presents a complex world that feels truly lived in is part of why it’s so good and so fucking badass.

    GAME OF THRONES is a rich show that is quite easy to follow.

  15. Or maybe i have been mistaken all this time about the show and the Lanisters are the pure good guys in the show, with exception of the evil dwarf, the Starks are a bunch of fucking evil motherfuckers who started a war without provocation, the young king is the personification of princely virtue, and the white walkers are just harmless tourists who are traveling south so they can enjoy some vacations in warm weather.

  16. Asimov – I agree that GoT is not complex, but there is a lot to take in and remember for everything to truly make sense. I saw the first season before I read the books and although I could follow it just fine, there were details that slipped me by the first time around (for example, the reason why Ned revealed his intentions to Cersei). It is a show where you really need to pay attention the whole time, you can’t really watch it when you’re tired or doing the ironing at the same time.

    When you do sit down and put in that effort, it is indeed not hard to follow and a truly rewarding experience.

  17. Mike A.

    “It is a show where you really need to pay attention the whole time”

    I take that as a matter of course, both to TV shows and movies. Or else, what would be the point?

    “it is indeed not hard to follow and a truly rewarding experience.”

    Most definetly.

  18. I wouldn’t call Game of Thrones complex, just stuffed with a fuckton of character you have to remember details about, and there can be episodes where certain characters are completely absent so it’s easier to forget what’s going on with them.

    Anyway, I’ve seen Ca$h and I did enjoy it for been. I think the tonal shift/unbelievability of the couple after they start doing robberies worked to make me enjoy it more, personally, because at least the wife became a much less sympathetic character and I could actually side with Bean more. I like how he’s got a briefcase with all those slots for different coins and bills. SHARPE’s a great series too, and really fun for “spot the future british movie star” with the likes of Brian Cox, Daniel Craig and Paul Bettany appearing in it.

  19. The Original... Paul

    June 22nd, 2012 at 8:29 am

    “I don’t want to derail the thread. Maybe if it ever appears in the “nerd shit” forums I’ll give it a go there.”

    Woohoo! For once it’s not me who’s doing the whole “derail the thread” thing!

    Oh, off-topic though, I will respond to this:

    “They say there are 3 types of british women: Those who have comited their soul and, most importantly, their bodies to Sean Bean (and this includes every mother of every british man and women alive); Those who have committed to Benedict Cumberbatch; and those who committed to Martin Freeman. The rest are not worth mentioning because they think Jeremy Clarkson is sexy.”

    That can’t be true. I think I was one of the few people in Britain who actually saw “Third Star” (which you may remember came third on my list of “best films of 2011”, so check it out if you’re into the stuff I’m into, or British tragi-comic road movies in general). Fantastic little movie that nobody knows about starring the magnificently named Benedict Cumberbatch (sounds like a type of chocolate-flavoured sausage). Last year’s “Silence” if you will.

  20. Benedict Cumberbatch? Didn’t he represent UK in the Eurovision Song (and I’m using the word very loosely now) Contest? You should have gone with the new Sherlock, Englebert Humperdinck.

  21. Whoa, guys, you all are talking about Game of Thrones like it’s The Wire or something. Don’t do that, it just makes you look stupid.

  22. Casey – I haven’t watched The Wire yet so I don’t know which aspect of it I compared Game of Thrones to to make me stupid. I don’t think this really needed a back and forth debate. The show has too many characters, factions, backstory and mythology for me to follow easily without a guide. Luckily I had one and was able to remember what was going on by the time I got to the end. There’s no debate here, it’s a fact, it was too complicated for me. If you and Asimov think that makes me a dumbshit then that’s fine I guess but it seems pretty self-evident to me that that’s what the show is.

  23. Darth Irritable

    June 22nd, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    GoT might actually be MORE difficult to understand if you’ve read the books. It took me two episodes to work out which was Jon and which was Robb. The only reason I could recognize Sam was because he looked like he ate all the direwolves. Once I got past Everyone is a scraggly bearded motherfucker syndrome, it was fine. The main issue was that I was looking for certain things from these two, and they looked fucking interchangeable at first.

    Mattman, unfortunately the UN has declared the combination of Sean Bean and a broadsword to be a WMD. Bringing the two together – however much it would have benefited the passengers sharing a cabin with Ms Foster – would trigger immediate invasion of Brixton by US special forces.

    Might be a good chance to get Mouth some real beer though.

  24. What’s all this, then?

  25. Just some shit about swords and elves or something. Disregard.

  26. All this talk of GoT and nobody suggests THE STATION AGENT (Tyrion plus trains (not the sex kind)) as a possible review? For shame.

  27. The Original... Paul

    June 22nd, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Anthony – dunno if Vern ever reviewed that on this site. I’m damn sure I did somewhere… probably stuffed in one of the Potpourris…

  28. I don’t think I called you stupid, Vern, and I apologize for making you think that I thought that of you. I don’t, I think you’re smart and funny and I appreciate your perspective.

    I do think that Game of Thrones isn’t very complicated, its story isn’t that complicated, but that the show is not very well told. They’re taking a moderately complicated story and made it difficult to follow by: casting everyone who looks like scraggly brown haired dour fucks, not letting us know anyone’s name, telling 5 disparate stories that don’t impact each other (and won’t for at least 4 more seasons), having scenes of exposition just involve Littlefinger and Varys insulting each others’ cocks while prostitutes finger each other in the background, and throwing a million characters and throw away bits that don’t matter so you can never tell what is important and what isn’t.

    You have to pay close attention to Game of Thrones for it to make sense, but because the show is not well made.

    I brought up The Wire because that was a show you also had to pay attention to, but because it was such a dense show that had so much going on.

    Again, Vern, I apologize for my choice of words and for making you think I thought poorly of you.

  29. That’s okay Casey. I think the story is complicated, but some of the things you mentioned don’t help. I prefer that to them freeze framing and telling me everybody’s names and hobbies, though.

  30. Knox Harrington

    June 23rd, 2012 at 1:57 am

    I’ve always wanted a “Let me get the map” girl in my life.

    Where’d you get her, Vern? Do they run in packs?

  31. I have only seen the first season of THE WIRE, but what’s so complicated about that show, anyway? It certainly is an intelligent show, but i don’t get people calling it a complicated or complex show that needs roadmaps to navigate it through. I just don’t. I think the show is quite clear in what presents onscreen. Again, i’m baffled. And i’m the one who watches it without subtitles and in a foreign language. What i’m not getting?

  32. anthony4545, you should had said Tyrion and Patricia Clarkson. Who does’t think that Clarkson was one lovely hot mama when in her younger years? Sexy and classy. Well, she still is in her present age.

  33. Darth Irritable, speaking of Sean Penn in unusual combinations, you guys all should check out he movie THIS MUST BE THE PLACE. It really is a very good movie, and very funny as well. And Penn does one of his best acting jobs in his career, which should say a lot. He also does a masterjob in depicting tranquil fury in a character who it’s almost impossible to imagine he could feel such a thing as fury. Damn good movie.

  34. Mr. Majestyk, GAME OF THRONES certainly is not some bullshit about swords and elves. There’s certaintly a lot of swords, but no elves. There’s dragons, however. And Jason Mamoa actually being allowed to play a badass Conan-like barbarian and being believable in it.
    And the show has a lot of female nudity, and by that i mean real nudity. They might had called it TITS: THE TV SHOW.

    If sarcasm, then appologies.

  35. Knox Harrington

    June 23rd, 2012 at 4:34 am

    After all, tits are the one true measure of artistic merit.

  36. and don’t forget George W Bush’s severed head

  37. Knox Harrington

    June 23rd, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Yes, Bush and tits.

  38. “tits are the one true measure of artistic merit”

    Which is why artists since the renascence have been portaiting them, and it never went out of fashion since. HBO knows that very well, which is why all their best shows have tits in it. Great screenwriting also helps.

  39. asimovlives:

    Ms. Clarkson is still quite fetching imo :)

    On the subject of GoT being hard to follow, I think it boils down to there being a TON of characters in the show, some of who don’t appear for three episodes at a time. I have several friends who get lost from time to time. I would say your average tv show has nowhere near that many people to keep track of. It’s easy to do, no matter how good you are at paying attention or how many times you’ve read the book. I’ve read the second book twice, and I was still finding myself trying to remember who certain characters were when watching the second season.

    Keep that Map Girl around, Vern. She sounds nice.

  40. GoT isn’t just about tits, either. Don’t forget about (NUDITY SPOILER SPOILER) Hodor’s wang! :-P

  41. I like how Vern drops a little info about his personal life here and there, but never elaborates. Like some of the greatest performers, he always maintains an air of mystery.

  42. RBatty024, yeah, i know what you mean. It took me years to figure out that Vern is a white guy, for example.

  43. anthony4545, Hodor’s wang is Osha approved.

  44. The Original... Paul

    June 23rd, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Ok, if we’re really doing the “Game of Thrones” thing here with Vern’s blessing, here we go…

    I watched the first two episodes. That was enough for me.

    There are some very well-portrayed characters but even the ones who are clearly supposed to be “likeable”, if anybody is, aren’t really. There are so many characters that I don’t know who to root for, and it doesn’t help that people keep getting mentioned in conversations BUT NEVER ADDRESSED BY THEIR NAMES IN PERSON. At the end of the second episode there’s what I think is probably a major plot point involving Joffrey, and I was like: “Oh, THAT’S who Joffrey is!”

    On the positive side, there are some genuine “holy fuck” moments – chiefly those involving the Queen and her brother. (They should’ve let the kid die though.) And talking of which, what is UP with the brother / sister relationships in this series? I mean, issues much?

    So there are some moments of genuine genius but they’re undercut by the scoring. The title song is one of the worst I’ve ever heard, which didn’t exactly help “Game of Thrones”‘ case. It’s somehow generic, mind-numbingly boring, and teeth-gnashingly irritating, all at the same time, which is quite a feat. Seriously, I think I’d have to go back to the British “class-war” comedies of the sixties and seventies** to find title songs as bad as this one is. For a more recent comparison though, it’s “Ultimate Force” bad. It’s what feels like about ten solid minutes of lazy generic orchestral pap that you have to sit through before the actual program starts.

    So the title song is terrible, and the rest of the scoring isn’t much better. Rather than being hateable, it’s simply a forgettable mashup of every generic fantasy score ever made that never seems to develop its own character or understand why the scores of the movies it’s ripping off actually work. I’ve heard EXACTLY the same thing done probably five times before this year, and I guarantee that four-and-a-half of those times would’ve been better than this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now: bad scoring can kill a movie for me, stone dead. It doesn’t quite manage it with this TV program, but it sure as hell isn’t for want of trying.

    Oh yeah, and the supernatural things that kill everybody at the start of the first episode? Never appear again. Maybe in five or six episodes’ time they come back. I don’t know and have no particular plans to find out. The pacing is similar to that of first-season “Heroes” – you really have to watch the show through several episodes to find out what’s going on. The difference being, “Heroes” held my interest for the majority of its running time. “Game of Thrones”, over the first two episodes, has ten minutes of sheer awesome (chiefly involving what assholes people can be – this show does assholes REALLY well, far better than it does the people who I think are supposed to be “likeable”) and another hundred or so minutes of people I don’t care about having long, tedious discussions about people I don’t know.

    But seriously, the dog dies, the kid lives, and the supernatural demon things from the first five minutes are never even mentioned again? Fuck that shit like it’s your sister.

    And did I mention the title song sucks?

    My conclusion is that I can easily believe this gets better, because it seems as though there’s some genuinely great writing (if not scoring) talent behind this. The trouble is, when the pacing of a show is as slow as this is, it really has to capture the imagination and interest of the viewer from the start. Main characters disappear for ages at a time, hugely significant plot points (or what appear to be anyway) are left pretty much unresolved for ages, and I was left thinking “Are they EVER going to get to the interesting stuff?” rather than “Man, I can’t wait for the next episode to see what becomes of this.”

    But I do agree with you guys on tits. Tits are great.

  45. My major problem with the show, and one that has yet to get better, is that I’m cheering for the Lannisters simply because I understand their motivation. Sure, I’d rather they didn’t murder people because they wanted to have sibling sex but, I get that Jaime and Cersei love one another. I also get that Cersei is awful but that is mostly a reaction to a drunken and heart broken Robert, and I totally sympathize with that.

    The Starks are just honorable? They seem to be the “good guys” by default but the show does little to make me think they’re anything more than entitled assholes who will sacrifice the lives of peasants so that they can continue a war over revenge, or something.

    The second season does get better, though. I watch it because the wife watches it, so whatever.

  46. The Original… Paul

    The opening theme of GAME OF THRONES is not only very good, it’s imediatly recognizable. How much can you said modern day themes for movies and show?

    Pacience with the zombie creatures. They are a matter for the long run.

    If you just sticked to the first two pisodes, you are missing out a lot of utter awesome stuff.

    All characters are complex. Even the evil motherfuckers. To the point sometimes you ar enot sure if you should be rooting agisnt them. And that’s a good thing.

    Every actor plays their part to perfection. There’s no slouches in this show.

    The supernatural thing is interesting in this show. The characters themselves believe that magic has passed from the world. The magic stuff is quite subtle in the story. It’s there, but very, very subtle. amnd then an event happens that seems to bring it back to the world, or at leat spur it.

    GAME OF THRONES has this thing: the movie you watch it, the more you wil love it. Oh yeah! Don’t miss out on one of the best things on TV, friend.

  47. Casey

    “My major problem with the show, and one that has yet to get better, is that I’m cheering for the Lannisters simply because I understand their motivation.”

    That’s a very troubling though. Very troubling. I wouldn’t be saying such stuff in public, if i were you. You must have realised that half the Lanisters are psychotic motherfuckers and incredibly dammaged puppies. The only good ne if Tyrion, and he’s the one that the rest of the family hates and do everything in their power to fuck him up. So, really, what the hell, pal?

  48. Ive tried to get into GAME OF THRONES twice and I found it impenetrable both times. But I think more than the complications or interchangeable characters, I just don’t give a fuck about middle ages swords and armor and kingdoms. Just not my thing, like I have to accept hong kong action comedy is not other people’s things.

    Whenever one of those kings started barking orders I just couldn’t take him seriously. Why would you have to listen to him? Because he says he’s king? He’s got an army of enforcers but why do they help the king? For money? What does money buy in the ren faire marketplace? I guess whores like all of Dinklage’s babes.

    So you see it’s not about understanding who’s who but trying to understand why it’s interesting at all? But I have the same issues with LOTR. Just too densely rich in a world I don’t relate to. And I want to be part of this fanfare.

    I did just start BREAKING BAD and it is phenomenal. Why didn’t I watch this the first time?

  49. Fred Topel, BREAKING BAD is phenomenal indeed. And in it’s 4 seasons, the quality never drops once. Fantastic show.

    “Whenever one of those kings started barking orders I just couldn’t take him seriously. Why would you have to listen to him? Because he says he’s king? He’s got an army of enforcers but why do they help the king?”

    That is actually the main theme of the show, why people follow kings and commanders. That’s why it’s called GAME OF THRONES. And the answers, when there are, are never only one thing, and never simple.

  50. I watched 3 episodes of GoT and it seem to be quite engaging when (and most importantly IF) you continue to watch the show on a frequent basis. have not watched a single episode in 3 months and I am afriad to have to go back and rewatch the previous episodes. In that case i may not even bother anymore with the series.I´m just too lazy. I also had problems originally following all the different characters but I guess the more you get into it and learn the characters it probably shouldnt be a problem anymore.

  51. ShootMcKay, i think that if you rewatch from where you left you will be ok. it’s like riding bicicles.

  52. Asimovloves, I believe the show is good and explores that kind of world better than even LOTR does. It’s just a world that’s hard for me to get into. I know I was unusually sarcastic about it but I don’t think it’s going to work for me. And it’s weird, there’s very little that doesn’t interest me in some way (this and Jane Austen era costume drama) but I guess we all have our things and I can’t watch every single thing, no matter how I try.

  53. Fred Topel

    “and I can’t watch every single thing, no matter how I try.”

    This is why i believe we should just stick with the good stuff.

  54. I don’t agree with the Lannisters, sister fucking is bad, but I at least understand them. I don’t understand the Starks. They’re dour and just keep talking about how honorable they are, but instead it just makes them boring.

    Bringing up Breaking Bad is great, actually. We see Walt descend into evil but we understand it and can relate. I can understand the motivations of Vic Mackey and Omar Little, too, and while I don’t agree it does make them interesting.

    I understand where the Lannisters are coming from: they’re ambitious, love their family, have been hurt by those that are sworn to love them, and lots of other things. They do evil things, but I get where their motivation leads to their action. I don’t get that with the Starks and no amount of heroic music during their scenes changes that.

  55. Am I the only one who sees Hemsworth’s mug on that DVD cover and not recognize him?

  56. he looks a bit like Josh Hartnett on that cover

  57. Casey, but the way the Lannisters treat Tyrion is completly irrational and has no excuse whatsoever. Cercei blaming him for killing his mother is not just infantile, but psychotic if you carry that type of aggravation into adulthood. As if the poor dude didn’t lost his mother as well, and worst, never got a chance to know her.

    And no, unrestrained ambition and a desire to lord over everybody are not comendable qualites at all. And after what they did to Tyrion, after he saved the city while the king run to under his mother’s skirts, and then they took all the glory for it while doing almost nothing, i say this, with the eception of the dwarf, the Lanniesters can go all get fucked up their fucking asses. Fuck them all!

    The Starks are honourable. They are also smart, intelligent, their ambition is limited to their own place, and generally they are all good people. And there is not a single boring Stark. They are flawed for sure, but they are by far the best people in the show.

    Again, the Lannisters can get fucked, the fucking fucks. After the last episode in season two, where they completly undermined and stole any remaining sympathy i might had for them, i can’t wait for them all to go to fucking hell!

  58. RRA and Griff, maybe the studios who made the movie thought that if they made Hemsworth look like Josh Hartnett on the cover, it would sell more. Excuse me while i laugh.

  59. Asimovlives, yet ironically I enjoy watching bad movies as part of the experience. Yet a good that’s too dense is too much for me.

  60. Here I was wondering why there was so much chatter for this movie…

  61. Some spoilers for the second season there Asimov… Nothing huge, but still.

  62. Dude, Asimov, are you reading what I am saying or are you just arguing against what you think it is I said?

  63. Vern’s gonna be pissed….

  64. You’re right, RRA.

    Fuck George Lucas for making those Batman prequels. Batman.

  65. I wouldn’t be shocked if Vern bans Asimov for doing exactly what Vern asked us not to do.

  66. I think it was a wise man or woman who said: You take the good, you take the bad. You take them both, and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life…

  67. The Original... Paul

    June 25th, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Everyone – Vern commented on “Game of Thrones” here himself. Otherwise I wouldn’t have gone from “let’s take this to the forums” to “seeing as we’re doing this with Vern’s blessing…”

    Asimov – I’d take your word for it that “Game of Thrones” gets better. There’s some great writing in the parts I’ve seen already. But this:

    “The opening theme of GAME OF THRONES is not only very good, it’s imediatly recognizable.”


    Let’s break down this abomination, shall we?

    So “Game of Thrones'” theme is basically a song in two parts: there’s the opening / main part, that uses a repeating string refrain with a “medieval” string arrangement, accompanied by a “battle-drum”-styled percussion. Then you have what I’d call the “bridge”, where the song switches up to what it clearly thinks is “high gear”. Then back to one more phrase of the refrain, then the end.

    Let’s start with the refrain, since it’s the part of the song that comes closest to being a “hook”. This is taken, in pitch at least, directly from the main theme of “Unbreakable”. (Listen to the two side by side – they’re identical in pitch, if not in rhythm and dynamics.) Except that “Unbreakable”‘s score used constantly shifting variations on the same refrain, giving it a unique and unmistakable “theme”. It was dynamic, unpredictable.

    “Game of Thrones'” theme is NOT dynamic. It’s the same plodding melody, over and over, repeated with a slightly different arrangement that adds nothing because the tune and the rhythm both stay as boring and generic as they were before. There’s the repetitive phrases, then the higher “bridge”, then the end. And talking of which…

    The arrangement. Now this causes something of a problem for me. The best comparison I can come up with is either the opening of “The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion” or the “Lord of the Rings” main theme, and neither is exactly accurate. But let’s go with them… both use a distinctly “medieval” string theme in their instrumentation, and both have a similar “buildup”. But in both cases there’s a POINT to the buildup. It’s working to a climax – you get the quiet strings, then the more vibrant strings, and then you get hit with the title in blazing colour while the music swells triumphantly. The GoT theme, again, goes NOWHERE. It’s just music playing over a CGI map. There’s no big reveal, there’s no dramatic ending. The “bridge” teases you a little by changing up the tune, but that’s all you get. It just gets to the title screen and then stops.

    The rhythm… that one’s easy. It’s a direct mashup of Gladiator’s “battle” theme, with more than a little of the main theme of Danny Elfman’s “Planet of the Apes” (yes, the Tim Burton version. Yes, the main theme is fantastic. Yes, the rest of the film, at least the bits that I saw, mostly suck; but that doesn’t detract from how good the main theme is.) And I have to say… Have you HEARD these themes? Have you watched the battle from the opening of “Gladiator” recently and listened to the eight-minute score that plays in the background? How it perfectly reflects the mood of the scene, from the anticipation to the battle itself to the triumph to the dark anticipation at the very end? This is FUCKING AWESOME. As for “Planet of the Apes”… dayum, if the rest of the movie was a tenth as good, a HUNDREDTH as good as that opening theme was, I would’ve watched it to the end three times over.

    And “Game of Thrones” uses the same basic rhythm as these brilliant, famous themes. And does absolutely nothing with it.

    As for the bridge? The instrumental midsection of “Walking in the Air” by Aled Jones. Again – had it gone ANYWHERE but back to the dull refrain, it could’ve worked. As it is, it does nothing, then the song ends. “Walking”‘s bridge takes away the choirboy voice and adds the violins. Creating contrast. Using contrast to create dynamic effect. Two terms that are unknown to the composer of “Game of Thrones”‘ theme tune. The guy clearly understands that there are certain techniques he should use. He just doesn’t know why they work in other music or what he should do with them.

    Now let’s take each of those comparisons one by one, shall we?

    “Unbreakable”. I brought that in solely because the basic tune is the same as “GoT”‘s theme. But the point bears repeating… “Unbreakable”‘s main title is used as a theme throughout the movie. It’s used differently, in different contexts within the movie itself, to convey emotion or mood. Where do you hear any part of “Game of Throne”‘s main title within the show itself? Apart from the fact that it’s so utterly generic, it would barely be recognisable, the main theme has NOTHING to do with the scoring of the show. The instrumentation is the same, and that’s all. No “theme” there.

    I’ve said all I need to about the arrangement of the instrumentation, so let’s go onto “Gladiator”‘s battle and the main title of “Planet of the Apes”. Two iconic themes, works of genius… Jesus, do I REALLY have to do this? Look, “Gladiator”‘s battle theme works BECAUSE THERE’S A FUCKING BATTLE.

    And as for “Planet of the Apes”…


    Again, do I really need to explain why I think this is superior in every way to “Game of Thrones” theme? It’s dynamic. It’s addictive. It’s the exact opposite of dull. It uses CONTRAST to create MOOD and ATMOSPHERE. Contrast creates emphasis, it creates tonal shifts. The main theme of “Game of Thrones” does not understand this. It’s a generic piece of fantasy fluff that you can play over a map of middle-earth, or wherever the hell we’re supposed to be, while the opening credits roll.

    In summary…

    “Game of Thrones”‘ main theme takes its inspiration from all over the place, but in doing so, it misses the point of everything it’s trying to emulate. “Unbreakable”‘s main theme is used throughout the film to create mood, atmosphere, and emotion, while still giving the score and the film its own unique “identity”. How the fuck is any of that supposed to apply to “Game of Thrones”? The theme and the scoring are totally generic fantasy stuff, with the scoring during the program taking no recognisable cues from the theme that precedes it.

    The instumental arrangements are similar to those used in a host of other fantasy TV programs, videogames and films, from “Lord of the Rings” to “Cadfael”. But in the best of those, the scoring is used to introduce us to the world depicted in the media. It sets the atmosphere and the mood. Again, what am I supposed to take from “Game of Throne”‘s main theme? It doesn’t set the mood of the program – which is fairly slow and contemplative – and it sure as hell doesn’t introduce us to the world unless “oh, I hear strings, we must be in medieval times” counts as an “introduction”.

    But you know what? You might disagree with me. This is one of those things where people obviously do like it and I can’t figure out why. So let me post that link to the “Planet of the Apes” theme again:


    And here’s the “Game of Thrones” theme:


    So convince me. Convince me that that plodding, dull, lifeless, undynamic, generic piece of pap from link #2 is better, in any way, than the iconic masterpiece from link #1. And you’re not allowed to use the phrase “You can’t compare them because they’re different genres / lengths / media” because I JUST FUCKING DID.

  68. The Original... Paul

    June 25th, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    To everybody else – I apologise for the rant.

    I say, partially in jest (but only partially you understand) that if we really were in the world of “Game of Thrones” and Asimov had corrected me regarding a matter of film scoring, a few family pets would’ve had their heads cut off by now. The inverse situation would’ve been if I’d have pointed out how “Prometheus” was actually Ridley Scott’s best work.

  69. Regarding the Planet of the Apes remake theme song being better than the Game of Thrones theme song: another one of those arguments I am pretty sure no one has ever made before or ever will again. I honestly have no clue what your problem is with the theme song and that’s not asking for more explanation, because I’m positive it’s not something that I could ever comprehend. But if it’s such a problem just skip over the intro, bud. It’s a separate chapter I bet.

  70. The opening theme of Game Of Thrones is good, I think. It’s like, good music. I like the map too. It’s pretty.

  71. Casey, sorry if i sounded harsh, that was not my intention. Appologies. And perhaps i misread your posts, again, i’m sorry. And no, i don’t argue for argue sake, i never do that, no matter how harsh i might sound. There’s always a methode to the madness. I’m no troll.

    Speaking of music themes…
    … I love the opening titles theme of GAME OF THRONES. Love it! I always watch the opening titles just to listen to that badass theme. HBO sure knows how to score his shows. ROME, for instant, also had a brillant score with an awesome opening title theme.

  72. Vern, continuing from your post, i can’t recall the theme from the RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (a movie which i quite liked). I’m not saying the theme is not good, but i didn’t find it memorable enough to remember it. GAME OF THRONES theme, however, i can recall it in an heartbeat.

  73. And speaking of recall and remakes, can’t wait for when the TOTAL RECALL remake hits the screens late this summer and we can then compare that movie’s score to Jerry Goldsmith’s work in the orginal. Should be interesting.

  74. I know I “know” it’ll probably be very forgettable at best, but I have hope the TOTAL RECALL remake is decent.

  75. I think the Total Recall remake will have decent action, but we will miss the R-rating. There will be no bloody corpses that make squishy sounds when stepped on. Also, nobody will see anyone at any parties.

  76. RRA and Mike A., like you, for some reason i also have a somewhat optimistic hopes for the TOTAL RECALL remake. Can’t say exactly why, but like you two, i think we might see a movie with some decent action and overall not a too bad experience.

    Oh wait, now i remember why i have good hopes for the remake: bitchfight between Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel. Of course. Len Wiseman can’t screw that up or else say bye-bye to being married to a super-hottie.

  77. The Original... Paul

    June 26th, 2012 at 9:28 am

    *Shakes head sadly…*

    For the record I have no idea what “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”‘ soundtrack is like. I’m talking about the 2001 Tim Burton movie. Yeah, I know the movie is generally considered to be crap (and from what I’ve seen of it, that would appear to be correct). But the score is fantastic. Follow that damn link.

    Vern – I could go into a great deal more detail. I’ll spare you that. Basically, every time I see a film, if the soundtrack (or a particular track of it) is any good, I’ll buy it. I have a collection of something like a thousand specific songs from movie soundtracks, from “Raiders of the Lost Arc” and “Schindler’s List” to “Hostage” and “I, Robot”. What I’m saying is that while there will be certainly be people who know more than me about film scoring, particularly the finer technical aspects (I do know a lot about the technical processes involving composing and arranging a film score but again I will spare you guys that), I’m in the position where this kind of comparison occurs to me naturally.

    And regarding the “Total Recall” remake… what did I do to deserve this?

  78. I liked Wiseman’s DIE HARD movie but his others not so much. But no the reason why I have hope is that, look I liked the original TOTAL RECALL but it’s a Schwarzenegger vehicle and a Verhoeven movie, a creature of its time. Not a criticism, but I like to think that basic story is timeless and universal enough that it could be given a make-over and try to achieve it’s own solid identity as popcorn cinema.

    If anything, it looks like it’s gunning in the lead casting what the original RECALL movie was supposed to be, a guy you don’t see as an action figure playing Joe Public and suddenly finds out, wow he’s a badass asssasin. This back when Patrick Swayze and William Hurt were going to do RECALL but once Arnold came aboard, that idea was dropped.

    Of course I just realized two flaws with what I just wrote:

    (1) we recently got a movie with that idea, it was called THE BOURNE IDENTITY
    (2) how many action/action-oriented movies has Colin Farrell done?

    But whatever, I hope it’s decent.

    Though honestly I’m looking more forward to the movie out the next weekend afterwards: BOURNE LEGACY.

  79. The Original… Paul, oh, the POTA’s remake… i forgot about that. In fact, i try to forget that movie exists. And i suceeded, because it never occured to me you guys were talking about the Tim Burton’s abomination. Well, that score… the opening theme is quite excelent, but the rest of the score is typical Elfman’s stuff on auto-pilot. Not much to remember about.

  80. RRA, yeah, BOURNE LEGACY does seem to going to be a pretty decent flick. And it has Rachael Weisz as lead, always a good thing.

    I’m a sucker for storis about amnesiacs that discover they are secretly very top badasses. I think there is so much potential to such stories. Sure, the tropes can be quite copmmon toal this type of stories, but i love all that stuff about a seamly harmless normal guy disciring he has abilities and powers he couldn’t even dream. It’s great.

    As for TOTAL RECALL, the thing is that and i’m almost certain many complains about the remake is that it will not be set in Mars and ther3efore it sucks. But the thing is, the Mars thing was invented for the 1990’s movie. The Philip K. Dick’s original story that inspired it is totally set on Earth, and the connetions to Mars are quite tangential. If the remake happens mostly or entirely on Earth, then it’s closer to the original story.

  81. Paul, I followed the damn link. Like you I’m a collector of good movie scores, but I guess we have a different opinion on what qualifies as good. I have to mention that I don’t know a single thing about the technical side of film scoring, I just listen to shit and some of it grabs me but most of it doesn’t. That track from Planet Of The Apes? Sounds pretty generic to me. I mean it’s decent and it builds a mood, but it’s pretty dull to listen to on its own. After a minute I forgot it was still playing.

    The Game Of Thrones theme however, immediately grabs me and holds my attention all the way through. I even hum along with it involuntarily. I don’t care whether it’s derivative of other scores, it sounds awesome and that’s good enough for me.

    Next you’re going to tell me you don’t like the Buffy theme. I think there’s a law against that in some countries.

  82. “how many action/action-oriented movies has Colin Farrell done?”

    Well, there’s MINORITY REPORT, though he wasn’t the lead… wait a minute, that’s also based on a Philip K. Dick’s story! And once upon a time in the 90s they wanted to make an adaptation of MR as to be a sequel to the 1990’s TOTAL RECALL. Wow! Things do come around!

  83. “The Game Of Thrones theme however, immediately grabs me and holds my attention all the way through. I even hum along with it involuntarily.”


  84. “I’m a sucker for storis about amnesiacs that discover ”

    asimov – I’m surprised you haven’t seen UNKNOWN yet. Its one of those movies that if you try to logically justify the plot on a 2nd viewing it falls apart, but really that Liam Neeson boy makes it work.

    As for Farrell/action & action-y, there was SWAT and MIAMI VICE and THE RECRUIT and IN BURGES and DAREDEVIL and TIGERLAND and other stuff I can’t remember.

  85. IN BURGES is not exactly an action movie, though it has somesweet shootouts.

    UNKNOWN passed me a bit wayside. Should check it out, eventually, since TAKEN 2 is bout it hit us soon.

  86. asimov – true but that’s why I mentioned “action-y” movies as well, movies that aren’t action that has action scenes. (like how action movies can have romance in them without becoming “romance” movies.)

    UNKNOWN, TAKEN, and THE GREY really are examples of OK movies that are made decent because of Neeson. (No offense Carnahan, personally.)

  87. NO!!! UNKNOWN is not okay. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be abrupt, and I posted my thoughts in the UNKNOWN thread, but it is NOT the same as TAKEN and THE GREY. TAKEN and THE GREY are genre formula elevated by cast and approach. TAKEN is an aggressively stupid cash grab on the Liam Neeson renaissance. There is no part of UNKNOWN that pays any respect to genre.

    The vague introduction, the amnesia, the uncovering and the actual reveal are so idiotic there’s no reason they should have made a basic action mystery so complicated. Honestly, it’s way dumber than PROMETHEUS. In that case, I guess asimovlives should see it.

  88. “TAKEN is an aggressively stupid cash grab on the Liam Neeson renaissance.”

    You mean UNKNOWN, right?

    But yeah I liked UNKNOWN, if only because I think Neeson and that whole 1st act with the whole Hitchcockian paranoid fantasy of losing his identity, that’s one of those movie sensations that always works no matter when executed when it works. Sure it’s logically….questionable….to say the least afterwards (ok during it), but I refuse to call it a mindless worthless movie as you are saying.

    Seriously that scene with Neeson tied to the gurney and maybe facing his murder, good tension.

  89. Yes I meant UNKNOWN. I’m glad it had something for you. I guess identity loss is to you what post apocalyptic survivors looking for supplies is to me. I think Neeson’s sincerity is part of what doesn’t work. He’s taking it too seriously for what it is, whereas his sincerity elevates TAKEN and THE GREY.

  90. I might have to check out UNKNOWN now. “Aggressively stupid” is right up my alley. It’s way more entertaining than “passively stupid,” like the makers just couldn’t even work up the energy to actively insult my intelligence. Not enough people these days are really striving for excellence in the once burgeoning field of stupidity.

  91. I don’t think UNKNOWN was anymore stupid (or more or less entertaining) than the last SHERLOCK HOLMES movie, incidentally both produced by Joel Silver before he and WB severed ties. You know considering all the money that fat asshole has made for Warner Bros., they should name a building or street after him on the WB lot. He’s earned it.

    “I guess identity loss is to you what post apocalyptic survivors looking for supplies is to me.”

    Fred Topel – Not really, but it’s a fun fantasy when it’s done right. I mean remember the opening 10-15 minutes of FRANTIC? Brilliant play on that nightmare, too bad rest of the movie wasn’t as inspired or good but hey that opening was some cool shit. It’s why it’s always been a popular topic to explore at the movies. I’m sorry that offended you. But come to think of it, UNKNOWN does remind me of FRANTIC. Not a great movie, but decently inoffensive (to most) disposable popcorn thriller that you see once, maybe twice at best in your lifetime. (most good movies are worth seeing only once quite frankly. Oh no, controversial opinion?!? DEBATE!)

    “I think Neeson’s sincerity is part of what doesn’t work. He’s taking it too seriously for what it is,”

    So if say he had gone John Travolta via FROM PARIS WITH LOVE, you’re saying it would’ve been good? That would’ve been a fucking disaster to say the least.

    Like I said before which offended you for whatever reason, I thought Neeson grounded UNKNOWN, he made a likeable guy. Which is what, most movies are supposed to do on the very basic level? I remember Majestyk saying how Pixar gets too much applause for doing what EVERYBODY IS SUPPOSED TO DO. Fair enough point, so why is UNKNOWN getting a 2 minute penalty for doing the very basic as well in a lead making the action/thriller movie they’re in better than it had any right to be, and make the audience follow them?

    For that matter for basically shit parts, Langella and Ganz make the movie better with their presences than it had any right to be. I even liked their scene together.

    Is it stupid? Yes. But so was COMMANDO. I doubt you’ll cry a river over that one.

    (Don’t worry, you can go ahead and make your argument about different visceral tone intentions and how one’s a cartoon and blah blah blah.)

  92. I’m not offended. I just don’t like UNKNOWN. :)

  93. RRA, i really liked THE GREY. It’s closer in style and spirit to Carnahan’s rather excelent NARC. I wouldn’t mind at all if the rest of Carnahan’s career was made of movies like NARC and THE GREY. Something in me just connected quite well with THE GREY.

  94. asimov – I liked it too. I think Vern and many others (Ebert too) were think in that as spirit it’s a throwback to the old Hollywood tradition of what was considered an “action” movie. (except shot in post-action shakey cam, but oh well you can’t win at everything I guess.)

    Carnie, pelase no more A-TEAM type movies ok?

  95. What’s wrong with the A-Team?

  96. The Original... Paul

    June 27th, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Farrell has been the lead in a few action movies, and he’s been terrible in the ones that I’ve seen. Most notably “The Recruit”. He goes through that movie looking like he’s just had a stroke. In fact, it’s as though he and Al Pacino were in competition to see who could give the WORST performance, and Farrell won by a country mile.

    As a supporting role in an action movie, he’s much better – look at “Minority Report” or “Daredevil” – I had major problems with both movies, but Farrell wasn’t one of them – in fact he was probably the best thing about “Daredevil” in general. Put him in something like “In Bruges” or a character piece and he’s an excellent actor. But he’s a really bad action lead.

    Mike A – I didn’t have the “Buffy” theme. It’s pretty iconic now, although I think that’s more by association with the show than because it’s good in its own right. I do like it when it steps into high gear towards the end of the intro and the drums start up what sounds like some kind of military tattoo on acid while clips of the show flash in the background. (This is something that “Game of Thrones”‘ intro absolutely lacked.)

    And if you genuinely preferred the “Game of Thrones”‘ opening song (not the introduction itself, mind you, but the song) over what is probably Elfman’s single greatest work of everything that didn’t appear in “Edward Scissorhands”, then I genuinely do not know what to say. Clearly our musical tastes are so far apart that there’s no common ground to be found here.


    “Well, that score… the opening theme is quite excelent, but the rest of the score is typical Elfman’s stuff on auto-pilot. Not much to remember about.”

    That could well be the case, which is why I have the opening track in my collection but nothing else. I don’t remember much about the scoring of that film, other than the fantastic opening theme, but then a good part of that would be being distracted by how godawful the film itself was. (At least of what I saw of it – about an hour was enough for me.)

  97. In all fairness about Colin Farrell’s acting in action movies: He did them in a point in his career, where he was a seriously bad actor. I don’T know what happened to him a few years ago, but at one point he decided to stopped being so shitty and suddenly lived up to his hype. His guest spot on SCRUBS, IN BRUGES, shit, even the fucking FRIGHT NIGHT remake totally changed my opinion of him and his acting abilities!

  98. Knox Harrington

    June 27th, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I think Farrell is genuinely good. The first time I saw him, in Tigerland, I was seriously impressed.

    And he’s been great in more dramatic roles like Phone Booth, Miami Vice (which I love and still watch quite regularly), In Bruges, Crazy Heart and one of my all time favourite films, The New World.

    His early action days didn’t do him any favours. I don’t know if it’s his fault or simply because most of them were just shitty movies (Daredevil, S.W.A.T., American Outlaws), but I like the way his career is going these days. He was great in Peter Weir’s The Way Back, Fright Night was fun and he was pretty damn funny in Horrible Bosses.

  99. The Original… Paul, Burton’s POTA remake was the begining of my disastifaction with him as a filmmaker. Nowdays, i can’t stand Tim Burton. His name on a movie is a sure way for me to avoid it. I made the mistake to watch DARK SHADOWS, and i want to kick myself in the ass for it.

    I used to have Burton’s POTA’s opening theme as a phone ring tune, because it really is quite ringable, with it’s martial rhythm. But i got fed up on it after a while. Nowdays i used the theme “The Sense Of Six” from the score of the TV show BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

  100. It’s funny how the POTA’s scores are like. Elfman for Burton’s movie made one very catchy and very timed rhythmic opening theme which is excelent and the rest purely forgetable wallmusic. Meanwhile, in the orginal POTA movie, Jerry Goldsmith made a whole atonal score full of dissonant sounds which would be very hard for anybody to hum about. And it’s wholesome brillant! Funny how the 1968’s movie mannaged to be more avanguard in it’s score then the more recent effort.

  101. RRA, THE GREY truly is a throwback to the action movies of the 1960s and 1970s, isn’t it? Or as some would say, proper action movies, and not the comic book movie bullshit that is so common today. And when i say comic book bullshit, i’m not refering to movies like THE AVENGERS or any of the Marvel and DC comics book movies. No, i’m talking about the stuff like Commando, Rambos after FIRST BLOOD and all the childish bullshit of Bay or Abrams.

    Funny,i recently watched the latest MISSION IMPOSSIBLE movie, directed by Brad Bird, and lo and behold, this guy made a much better action movie as his first live action movie then most other losers with 20 years long careers dedicated to the genre. How can this be? Well, my answer to that question is, even in this type of escapist type movies, intelligence in a filmmaker really makes a difference. The latest MI movie looks like how a typical blockbuster movie looks like if given to the hands of a smart talented man. And it looks damn fine. It even made Tom Cruise watchable for me, which is a great accomplishment.

    At AICN, Roberto Orci once let it slip that at one point they were considering hiring Brad Bird to direct the first Transformers movie, but the people at Dreamworks decided to go with Bay instead. I actually asked Orci why they were so fucking stupid in not hiring Bird. Well, with hindsight, Orci and his compadres at Deamworks really acted like stupid idiots.

  102. asimov – I would argue GREY is a throwback to the action movies that were common (and defined as such) before STAR WARS and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK changed the game and what people expected. Before those two, “action” were expected like say WHERE EAGLES DARE or DIRTY HARRY or BULLIT or westerns and so forth. Maybe 2-3 major action scenes wrapped around larger than life personalities (Clint, McQueen, Wayne, etc.) Not the action every 15 minutes like RAIDERS.

    As for the last MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE movie*, it reminded me of Bird’s INCREDIBLES in displaying sincere creative vibes, playing with your own expectations about cliches from a genre you’re probably well-familiar with. Especially imaginative iwth the set peices. And like INCREDIBLES, it’s quite terrific fun. I really enjoyed the gadgets. Remember when James Bond movies didn’t just do gadgets, but CLEVER toys? I mean really, how many did M:I 4 have jammed into it?

    Strange thing is, we might have to give credit to Cruise/Abrams or whoever exactly it was who thought hey lets give that cartoon dude a chance. Hey he wants to explore those creative setpieces? OK dude. What surprises me in retrospect is that after a few duds and his scientology public meltdown, Tom Cruise badly needed a hit and always planned GHOST PROTOCOL as his comeback vehicle. I mean that franchise was always a reliable money maker for him, easiest way for him to return to the top.

    With that sort of critical goal for a guy in a critical phase of his career, Cruise could’ve just gone safe and hired a lackey or somebdoy to make like Abrams’ own movie was: Not bad, watchable but inoffensively disposable. Plus as a producer, can we agree the 2nd movie sucked? I mean it’s not the best track record in the world, rather uneven. (But of course #1 was cool.)But instead he or whoever let Brad Bird be Brad Bird, and walah a really good movie that justifiably brought Crusie back into Hollywood’s graces because he was actually making money for them again. Very rare when a part 4 of a franchise actually makes you anticipate with joy for another adventure.

    But I’ll defend Orci/Dreamworks for only one reason on that TRANSFORMERS part: how many animation directors have successfully translated themselves to live-action?

    I mean Ralph Bakshi, I respect that fascinating nut but COOL WORLD was fucking terrible. I know his stories that the studio fucked him, but it’s still impressively lousy. Andrew Stanton did JOHN CARTER, which I enjoyed but I’ll admit it’s not exactly a stand-out movie. Plus with those stories about the production, you get the vibe that maybe Stanton didn’t know what he was doing and was out of his league? So in that regard, Brad Bird is a unique son of a bitch for transitioning himself to live-action. But years ago when TF was boiling up? He was most likely never seriously considered, especially for a studio’s planned tentpole/toy ad blockbuster.

    *=With Jeremy Renner in that and BOURNE LEGACY and AVENGERS, I wonder when will Internet people start a conspiracy theory that Renner plays the same assassin/spy character in all those movies?

  103. RRA: Everything you just said was gibberish to me. I watched MI4 again and I see absolutely zero creativity in that movie at all. For the life of me I don’t see what anyone else sees in it. I really don’t get what Brad Bird brought to the table that any dozen other journeymen directors couldn’t have accomplished. It’s just so bland and anonymous, so overlong and plastic. The gadgets were stupid, the team was incompetent, the plot was amateurish, the villain was nonexistent, and Cruise seemed to be phoning it in, something you could never accuse him of before. Most of the time when I dislike a movie that everyone else seems to love, like THE SUPERHERO MOVIE WHICH MUST NOT BE NAMED, I at least get why. MI4 is just a boring, smug, fake-ass action movie with one alright sequence. It’s not badass, it’s not visually stunning, it’s not funny, it has no engaging characters or intriguing plot elements, its action is meh at best, its story makes no sense, and it’s not even ridiculous like MI2. It’s just…nothing. What the hell am I missing?

    Maybe it’s like those Magic Eye posters. Some people see a sailboat, others just see a bunch of squiggles and dots.

  104. Mr. M – Bah. Go and watch DEATH WISH 3 again.

    “Most of the time when I dislike a movie that everyone else seems to love, like THE SUPERHERO MOVIE WHICH MUST NOT BE NAMED.”

    Don’t you actually have several of those?

  105. “Bah. Go and watch DEATH WISH 3 again.”

    Was that supposed to be an insult? You might as well say, “Bah. Go and get blown by a beautiful woman who loves you again.”

    “Don’t you actually have several of those?”

    Sure. I should hope we’re all sufficiently idiosyncratic enough to go against the popular and critical grain sometimes. No amount of discussion, no matter how polite or well-reasoned, is gonna make that sailboat come into focus if you just don’t see it. So I don’t even mind that you replied to my honest question with a snarky comment, since really, what were you gonna say? We saw the same images, heard the same sounds, but they worked their magic on you and left me cold. There’s no explanation for that. The heart wants what it wants and rejects what it doesn’t.

  106. RRA, I really like Brad Bird and was excited to see what he would do with MI4, but I found the film to pretty disappointing and completely unremarkable. It is not a terrible film and it has some decent action, but the for the most part it felt generic and uninspired.

  107. “Was that supposed to be an insult? You might as well say, “Bah. Go and get blown by a beautiful woman who loves you again.””

    That was the purposeful point, my son.

    But really, which SUPERHERO MOVIE WE SHALL NOT NAME is it exactly? Nolanman? Avengerz? I can’t remember really which ones.

    Charles – What you thought of the other M:I movies?

    (And no don’t worry friend, this isn’t a snark trap. I’m not the local Pauline Kael to do that sort of demeaning thing.)

  108. Yeah, it was TDK. And BEGINS, too, but nobody talks about that one anymore so it doesn’t really matter. Nobody ever called me a fucktard over BEGINS.

    I absolutely heart THE AVENGERS, though. No contrarianism from me on that one. The people chose well for a change.

    For the record, I liked all the other MISSIONS: IMPOSSIBLE. I was really excited for the fourth one, but even with my expectations lowered for the second viewing I couldn’t get into it. I felt pretty similarly about JOHN CARTER so maybe I just don’t like movies directed by animators.

  109. “Nobody ever called me a fucktard over BEGINS.”

    Or you could just say Asimovlives called you one over that? You realize he still badgers me to this day over liking Abrams’ STAR TREK? Every fucking time that movie is incidentally referenced in private conversation, BOOM my past war crime is revisited. Maybe I’ve grown a tougher skin to him because of frequent exposure.

    “I absolutely heart THE AVENGERS, though. No contrarianism from me on that one. The people chose well for a change.”

    I liked that too.

    “For the record, I liked all the other MISSIONS: IMPOSSIBLE.”

    Even the boring #2? #3 I don’t mind, even if I consider it to be pleasantly disposable. But see them being better than #4, that just baffles me. But hey, DEATH WISH 3 baby. Let’s celebrating by bazooking some punks.

  110. I know there’s a big boring chunk of romantical type horseshit in the middle of MISSION IMPOSSIBLER, but I find it amusing that it’s ripped off from NOTORIOUS, and surrounding it are some of the most awesomest, over the toppest, straight-faceded, and homoeroticest action scenes of the early oughts. Honestly, I think that movie’s a hoot.

  111. I think it’s a mess, but maybe I owe it a fair rewatch sometime? I only saw it back in ’00, so I’m being academically honest here.

    You know what movie the 3rd IMPOSSIBLE movie reminds me of? You’ll say bullshit, but it makes perfect sense to me: THE INCREDIBLE HULK.

    Technically not a bad movie, kinda watchable somewhat but you’re never really engaged, “it’s there.” The sort of thing you watch on cable if you’re bored or nothing else is on. It competes with LAW & ORDER and Gordon Ramsey reruns.

    (Not to mention Cruise’s story with that new wife in #3 in retrospect made me keep thinking of Katie Holmes. Think about it: Cruise marries a much younger girl (at least by a decade), he’s involved in a secret thing that isn’t publicly revealed and has to “induct” her into this secret world and his lifestyle before they can continue developing a serious relationship. And I think he shot that movie when he was courting Holmes. It’s a weird ass coincidence.)

  112. MISSION INCREDIBLE was really everything I want in a blockbuster. Spirit of fun, over the top sequences (car park is my fav but each has a clever hook. Sandstorm chase, etc.) bad creative fun with the limits of reality.

    Funny how some people like MIIII because it’s more personal, but really a fiancé in jeopardy is pretty generic, hence most of us find it enjoyable but unmemorable. I know some people need stakes to be that personal and they don’t enjoy generic mission stories, but I like both, just like I enjoy franchises that go on forever and never end.

  113. Plus there’s that great sequence with the hallway illusion. And the recurring theme of none of their equipment ever working properly (even down to the masks they use in every other installment and the damn self-destruct recording). And the choreographed prison break. And the poor little suction glove stuck to the building by itself. And the joke of everyone taking Ethan’s awesomeness for granted. And the badass moment where the teacher from Precious kicks off her pumps so she can kick some ass. So many good touches. I wish I got what Majestyk doesn’t get about what we get about it, or whatever. Fun movie.

  114. “And BEGINS, too, but nobody talks about that one anymore so it doesn’t really matter.”

    My name is not nobody. and if you want me to talk about BATMAN BEGINS and sing it’s praise,s be prepared for a full on Wagnerian opera.

  115. One of the reasons i dislike MI3 so much is because thw hole frigging plot is based on Tom Cruise’s personal life at the moment. It’s impossible (no pun intented) not to see the movie and not see it as if Tom Cruise is so self-satisfied he can’«t help but shove his personal life onscreen. The movie also help made my opinion of what i think of Team Abrams, or rather, it was the begining of my disastisfaction with them. And that movie made me swear off watching another Tom Cruise movie ever again. Since then, MI4 is the sole exception, and i intend to keep up with the promise. I made an exception on MI4 because of the director, and all the positive word of mouth about the movie. I do not repent watching it, quite the contrary.

    I watched MI4 with my pals, and we had a blast. Our favorite thing in the movie was the constant break down of the high tech stuff that in the other movies work seemlessly and perfectly. Not only they mannaged to make it a running gag troughout the movie, it even had the plot dependent on it. I approve.

    And they did a subtle acknowledge of Tom Cruise’s age, and consequentially of the character’s age, in that even though he’s still acrobatic, he now has a harder time doing the stuff that in the other previous movies he would do as a matter of fact. And in the final climatic action scene, he pretty much is nearly out of his depth in dealing with another equally middled aged villain who proves to be as resourseful as he. Cool stuff.

  116. RRA:

    ” You realize he still badgers me to this day over liking Abrams’ STAR TREK? Every fucking time that movie is incidentally referenced in private conversation, BOOM my past war crime is revisited. Maybe I’ve grown a tougher skin to him because of frequent exposure.”

    In biology, that’s called a mutation.
    Now imagine those words, but said with Patrick Stewart’s voice. Engage.

    The reason i’m seemly though on you about that subject is merely my way to show my completle puzzlement and bewilderment in how you could had been so lenient and forgiving to a movie in which by all your own standards you would had been pissing on it since day one. My puzzlement because you are such a perceptive man who rarely if ever accepts fools gladly, specially from dumb bad movies. i mean, the proof of your peceptiveness is that you were ahead of me in figutring out what a phoney Zack Snyder is and that’s evne before 300, you figured that out with his remake of DAWN OF THE DEAD. Your lenience toward you know what was very out of character from you. I almost believed you had been replaced by a space pod. That movie’s positive receptoion among the geekry nerd-dom made me think i was living out the plot of THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.

  117. asimov – hey remember that one Zack Snyder movie you liked before you converted to the Anti-Snyder church and have become zealous? It’s like those public official homophobes who’re revealed to be closet gays. It’s fascinating.

    But to be fair, I’ve thought about seeng the DAWN remake sometime. I mean I’m all about fairness. (300 and SUCKER PUNCH? No possible re-demptions necessary.)

    As for Cruise and his movies since M:I #3, I dunno I liked VALKYRIE. That got shat on because Cruise was in it but that was Bryan Singer making a comeback from SUPERMAN RETURNS for me, an engaging Alistair MacLean-esque thriller about a real-life conspiracy. Sure maybe Cruise wasn’t Branagh or Stamp or any of those actors-so-awesome-we-take-them-for-granted, but he doesn’t detract from the picture.

    I liked TROPIC THUNDER and KNIGHT & DAY the one time I saw them. For some reason, comedies produced in recent years I’ve had a hard time rewatching them by choice. I don’t know why. Certainly K&D, I thought James Mangold was going for a ROMANCING THE STONE type of chemistry and vibe, which he did get even if there is that creepy as fuck stalker context to Cruise’s actions. (Personally it made the movie more funny, even though it shouldn’t be. Or maybe that scene of Diaz waking up and realizing she’s on a tropical island…then realize she’s in a bikini…made me laugh.)

    And I actually saw ROCK OF AGES last week. It was ok, could’ve been a decent fun musical if not for some boring leads with their boring story. Cruise gives a good part that’s wasted unfortunately by that movie’s cancer.

  118. What’s wrong with Star Trek?

  119. Vern: A lot of those things you mentioned are cool in theory but they just don’t work on me in practice. I seem to be immune to whatever rhythm MI4 is trying to move me with. For example, the choreographed prison break lost me immediately. It was just too cutesy and smug for a sequence in which innocent prison guards who are just trying to do their jobs get lynched by dozens of hardened criminals while Cruise is all laidback and above it all. Rubbed me the wrong way. I’ll admit that, taken by itself, the hallway gag was neat, but it was stuck in a preposterous sequence of Pegg (who I normally like a lot) being a jibbering dolt with no business being on even a moderately challenging mission, let alone an impossible one. And the whole time I’m thinking, “Remember in the first one when they had to break into the Pentagon and it was like the most ridiculously difficult thing ever? But now they can break into the Kremlin, the Pentagon of Russia, with just an ID card and a fake mustache? Lame.” There was always some little niggling doubt in my mind during every ostensibly awesome moment that prevented me from ever buying it, and none of it was ever retarded enough to make laughing at those niggling doubts the fun part of the movie. And then when it’s kind of elevated itself to “It’s okay, I guess” status with the parking garage sequence, it ends with the worst denouement I’ve ever seen in my life. That whole adorable little wrap-up scene is an embarrassment to storytelling, and made me leave the movie with a bad taste in my mouth.

    I’ll shut up now because clearly this is a chemical thing. I’m just allergic to MI4.

  120. RRA

    “asimov – hey remember that one Zack Snyder movie you liked before”

    Do i ever, to my eternal shame.

  121. pegsman: “What’s wrong with Star Trek?”

    To sum it up in all on one word: everything.

    But that’s a subject for another time, another forum.

  122. Mr. Majestyk, i understand your complains about the end revelations in regard to Ethan Hunt’s later events in his married life, and i have to say i agree a bit with you. I guess they didn’t wanted to leave any dark spots in the movie and characters. Though it does make the preceding events and characterization feel a bit manipulative. But Brad Bird is such a good director and the actors looked so honest in their playing of the characters that it didn’t bothered me that much, less then it would if in the hands of a weaker director, like the clown who directed the previous MI movie.

  123. By previous i mean the last one before the 4th. The one that came after the John Woo’s movie. The second movie with the odd number.

  124. John Woo´s entry in the series is the only one I actually care for. The first one was just..meh. Part 3 was just generic as hell and part 4 I have yet to see, but looks just as generic as part 3.

  125. To be fair I do agree with Majestyk about the wife shit, I mean seriously who fucking cared? I actually forgot about her when I saw #4.

  126. ShootMcKay, i have to say for me it’s the first MI movie that’s the best. It has all that Brian De Palma verve and wonderful camera work, and it tried to have a smart(ish) plot with a smart presentation. I find it far superior to Woo’s effort.

    As far i’m concerned, there are only two MI movies: the De Palma one and the Brad Bird one. I can live very well without seeing any of the other two for the rest of my life.

  127. RRA, I like all of the first 3 MI films. I would say MI1 is the best, MI2 is John Woo’s flawed but enjoyable attempt at a big budget Hollywood popcorn film, and MI3 was a clever take on the genre and it featured the best villain of the series. Also, just to be clear I don’t hate MI4. I just found it to be uninspired and disappointing. I guess I expected more out of Bird, but I don’t place all the blame for my disappointment with MI4 only on Bird.

    I think it gets harder and harder to make a good MI film with each installment in the series. The characters are paper thin, and we as the audience know what is going to happen so it is no easy task to craft a MI film that feels fresh and exciting. One of the big reasons I enjoyed MI3 so much was because how it played with the conventions of the genre. MI3 is smart enough to know that we have seen it all before, and it uses our expectations against us. For example by starting MI3 with Ethan in peril being forced to watch the supposed execution of his wife it sends a message to the audience that this not going to be your typical MI film. Also, MI3 has a very streamlined economical narrative that drives the film forward. Case and point, MI3 does not waste our time and slow down the film trying explain what exactly the “Rabbits Foot” is. All we need to know as an audience is that it is dangerous and the bad guys want it. However, MI3 is not without its flaws. I do agree with you guys that the fiancé in distress storyline is pretty generic, but it helps humanize Ethan and Tom Cruise needs all the help he can get to appear more human.

    MI4 does not bring anything new to the genre or the MI franchise. Bird delivered some decent action and you could argue he crafted a solid MI film, but he did nothing to elevate or further the franchise or its characters. All the action was well executed but seemed inconsequential because I was never invested in the characters or story. I think making a MI film is like covering a classic song, you have to bring something new to the material or approach it from a different angle to make it worthwhile otherwise what is the point.

  128. What’s wrong with the Dawn of the Dead remake?

  129. Pegsman, stop provoking them!

    It’s just funny what works for different people. To me the cold open of MI3 is totally false. I never once believe they’re going to kill his wife, I know the off camera gunshot is going to prove to be something else AND I know that the first half of the movie leads up to the scene I’ve already seen.

    But I’m also a fan of franchises that DON’T bring anything new to the table. I mean it’s always cool when an ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE or CASINO ROYALE shakes things up, but if they try that every time they lose the franchise base. Teams who go on missions should be evergreen. I think MIIV knows best how to utilize that. Like how X-MEN: THE LAST STAND treats the X-Men as a unit instead of individual characters with unique needs. Tatty at actually works for me with some stories.

  130. I don’t really care that MI4 didn’t bring anything new to the table. I just care that the old shit it did bring to the table wasn’t very interesting. Hunt gets disavowed, goes to scenic locations, breaks into somewhere supposedly impregnable, hangs off of something really tall, something explodes and sends him flying, high-end automobiles are fetishized and then destroyed… It’s all the right ingredients, they just don’t add up to a tasty meal for me.

  131. The Original... Paul

    June 28th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    A “Mission: Impossible” discussion in the “Ca$h” thread? Really?

    And how come this actually bothers me more than Vern? Have we switched bodies in some kind of bizarre eighties-comedy setup turned nightmarishly real?

  132. Charles, there’s clever stuff in MI3? That’s news to me!! Why i never noticed them before? Clever stuff in MI3, will wonders ever cease?

  133. Well, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE is a logical segue from GAME OF THRONES. Come on, Paul

  134. The Original… Paul, and by that you mean the 70 original or the 00s remake?

  135. “MISSION IMPOSSIBLE is a logical segue from GAME OF THRONES”

    Yes, of course because both have, like, you know, stuff that’s like, stuff and.. and… and… yeah, both are spoken in english. Yeah. That should cover it. Stuff.

  136. Fred, I can understand your response to the cold opening of MI3, but let’s be serious all of the MI films pretty much build up to a scene we the audience have already seen. By that I mean that all MI films have to follow a template that we the audience are already all too familiar with, so we know for the most part where they are going and how it is going to end. I think MI3 was clever enough to be aware of that template and the audiences expectations, and used that to craft a more streamlined narrative and enjoyable MI film. I don’t have a problem with sequels or franchises, but I have no time for boring and redundant sequels or franchises. However, my problem with MI4 is not limited to the fact that it didn’t bring anything new to the table, but that it did not even offer anything familiar done well enough to warrant its existence either. That is why I feel it is disappointing and uninspired. Not only is MI4 all too familiar but what is there is not exciting or interesting enough to make up for the familiarity and predictability of the film. I was trying to get that point across better in my last post, but after rereading it I think it was lost in my ramblings. Please forgive me, I am not a very good writer.

  137. Here is the link to Vern’s review of MI3. I think he does a better job of explaining the strengths of MI3 than I ever could.


  138. Charles, fair enough. I also found the cold open a familiar trick of ALIAS, a show I liked but also saw through their repurposing of the same action scene to get it on screen twice and milk some extra tv drama out of it.

    Man, I guess JJ Abrams has some techniques that might not appeal to all audiences. Why hasn’t anyone on this board brought that up yet? (Boy, I am one sarcastic motherfucker today!)

  139. Fred, Ha-Ha, careful what you ask for.

  140. Knox Harrington

    June 30th, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Funny how we tend to over-analyze the films we don’t like, but mostly just accept the ones we love.

    Like Majestyk said, must be a chemical thing.

  141. Knox, I don’t often quote Republicans, mostly because they never say anything worth while, but as Josey Wales once said: “There’s iron in your words”!

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