Going Off Topic

Going Off Topic (#29) A Brief Hiatus…

Oh, life sure has a way of sneaking up on you, huh? I’m behind an episode of Loki, I haven’t written my monthly round-up post, we’re going away for the weekend tomorrow for a family wedding that I haven’t even packed for yet, I’m returning to work on Monday but haven’t been told yet what my hours are…SUCH FUN.

So instead of rushing out some poorly-written posts (as if my usual ones are actually done well!) I’m going to call a break. Hopefully it’ll only be for a few days but I don’t want anyone to think I’m being lame by not replying to comments and reading everyone else’s posts.

Keep safe, be happy and I’ll be back before you know it šŸ™‚

Movie Reviews

Hidden Gems: Paul Rudd

Phew, I’m back to being more organised with my blog posts, for this week at least. I don’t like writing things at the last minute! That’s probably because the heatwave is over for now though, and I’m feeling fairly caught up with the latest movie releases. Let’s talk Hidden Gems though, shall we? It’s a challenge created by the wonderful Mettel Ray in which you choose an actor or actress for each month, and watch 3 movies of theirs you’ve never seen before in the hopes of finding a gem. Her pick for this month is Rachel Weisz and I’m really hoping she found a gem this month because I’d love to see more of Weisz’s movies! My choice for this month? Paul Rudd.

Why Paul Rudd?

Paul Rudd is just so wholesome. My introduction to him was Mike in Friends and he was instantly one of my favourite characters in the whole show. Since then I’ve seen a lot of his comedy movies and he’s now of course a huge part of the MCU as Ant-Man, a character I didn’t think I would like much – but Paul Rudd’s charm won me over. I thought I’d seen most of his best work but if there was any way to test the theory, the Hidden Gems was it.

Statistics

Letterboxd has a whopping 92 projects listed under Paul Rudd, I took out 31 (a lot of shorts and some unreleased movies), leaving 62. Of those 62 movies Iā€™d already seen 20. A fair amount but not a huge percentage. Some of my favourites include Avengers: Endgame, Ant-Man and the Wasp, This Is the End, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

I’ve also seen Captain America: Civil War, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Ant-Man, Clueless, Night at the Museum, Romeo + Juliet, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Sausage Party, Knocked Up, The Fundamentals of Caring, Wet Hot American Summer, I Love You, Man, Role Models, This is 40, They Came Together, and Admission.

It was really tough to choose just 3 movies from the enormous selection of ones I haven’t seen yet, but in the end the three I chose were Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013), How Do You Know (2010) and Dinner for Schmucks (2010).

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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)

When I watched the first Anchorman movie many years ago, I’m sure I enjoyed it, so I don’t know what’s been stopping me from watching the sequel for all this time. I’ve been sat on my thoughts for this movie for so long now that I’m risking the rest of this post being late but I can’t quite work out my feelings. I think I should have re-watched the original first because one side of me is thinking that the plot was just too silly and that it can’t be classed as a gem. The other side of me knows that the silliness is the whole point and thinks the jokes themselves were hilarious!

At the time of watching my critic head was giving it a 3.5/5 but then the final showdown in the park happened. All those cameos? Absolutely brilliant! And now I’ve made up my mind. Anchorman 2 is definitely a gem!

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How Do You Know (2010)

I totally watched these in the wrong order. Imagine for a second that This Means War (2012) is one of your favourite romcoms, featuring a love triangle between Reese Witherspoon and 2 other men, and realising another Witherspoon love triangle movie was already in existence? I was so excited! In How Do You Know it’s Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson fighting for her love. A hopeless battle because, let’s face it, we would all pick Paul Rudd but still? It could have been a funny movie at least?

No. Not only was it boring and unfunny (with the exception of a drunk Paul Rudd singing to his lamp) but Owen Wilson plays one of the most unlikeable douche bags I’ve ever witnessed in film. Boo!

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Dinner for Schmucks (2010)

Weirdly, when I started watching Dinner for Schmucks I had a feeling of dejavu, and realised I’d already part-watched this movie, but clearly never finished it. That should have been the warning signal but no, I continued. And then it took me 2 days to finish it. I think I stopped at the same point as last time. The problem with this movie isn’t the actors or the characters. In fact, I could watch Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell have a blossoming friendship all day long, but they themselves were 100 times better than the plot and the script.

Final Thoughts

I think that the fact my other 2 picks downright sucked is spoiling what should be clear – I DID find a gem this month. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is just as funny as the original, although it’s been too long for me to compare the storyline of the two. Paul Rudd seems to be another actor of whom I’ve already seen their best movies. What’s your favourite Paul Rudd movie, maybe there’s something huge that I’ve missed? Either way, tomorrow brings a new month, and July is going to be Nicole Kidman’s time to shine!

Movie Reviews

Fast & Furious 9 (2021)

fast-furious-9-2021-movie-review-posterDirector: Justin Lin

Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime

Runtime: 145 Minutes

Main Cast: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, John Cena, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron, Sung Kang, Helen Mirren, Kurt Russell

Plot: 9 movies in and Dominic Toretto’s team have only just discovered that Dom has a long lost brother (John Cena), who just to happens to be a deadly assassin and a great driver, with a plan to take over the world. It involves some crazy magnets and a high-tech gadget that wouldn’t look out of place in a Star Wars movie.

My Thoughts: I apologise in advance, I have no right to be reviewing the latest installment in the Fast & Furious saga. I’ve only seen 2 of the other movies (3 if Hobbs & Shaw counts) and as a result I have next to no idea who most of the characters are or what’s happened over the years. However! I had a blast watching this new one and it would feel like an injustice to ignore it, so it’s a bit of a loss/loss situation. I’m marking this whole post as SPOILERS just because I genuinely don’t know what could be a spoiler or what would be common knowledge to a fan. It was so great to be in a busy cinema again, it was the biggest crowd since January 2020.

When it comes to movies like this, I just want some dumb fun, and I got that in spades. F9 doesn’t take itself seriously at all. In fact, it’s quite meta and even pokes fun at the fact that these characters seem to just survive anything. And when it comes to anything, we’re talking about driving cars off cliffs and being caught by planes, having fist fights on top of speeding cars and, well, driving into SPACE. How can they actually top that?!

The acting is questionable at best, but everyone involved looks like they’re having so much fun that it has to be forgiven. I also have to give kudos because I can’t sit through long movies without fidgeting, even ones I love, and I never would have guessed this one was a few minutes short of being 2 and a half hours. That time really flew by. I’m going to have to fill in the gaps at some point because I feel like there’s going to be many more of these movies…

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Best Bit: This should probably be classed as a worst bit but I just love those magnets. They’re the core to some really great fight scenes but I just have to laugh at how they work. Somehow, every time a character turns them on they only seem to attract whatever metal is needed at the time.

Worst Bit: I can forgive so much – I won’t even question rocketing a car into space but my brain can’t fully switch off and I find myself asking questions like, who the hell is looking after that kid?! How does Charlize Theron go to the toilet in that see-through box?

Fun Trivia: Tyrese Gibson announced on November 1, 2017 that he would not be in this movie if Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson were in it. The two did not get along and Tyrese refused to work with him (November 2017). When Johnson announced that he would pass on this movie, Gibson’s participation was ensured again.

My Rating: 3 and a half pairs of Crocs that I ordered three weeks ago, damn-it! (That’s a really obscure reference to this movie – I’ve never owned a pair of Crocs, just for the record…)

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Book Reviews

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

When you aren’t able to go on a foreign holiday yourself, why not read a fictional story about a couple who go travelling all the time? That won’t feel like rubbing salt in the wounds, right? In the words of Ross from Friends, “I’m fine!”. No seriously, I am. I think. I finally got a return to work date. It’s going to be part time for a while, 40% of my hours spread across 5 days which is going to be ridiculous, but it’s a start, I guess. You’re here for a book review though, aren’t you!

People We Meet on Vacation is a delightful little romance novel by Emily Henry. Poppy and Alex met by chance in college and mostly hated each other at first. Poppy is a dreamer and a wild child, always setting her sights on her next destination. Alex is a home boy with ambitions of his own, but is much happier sat by the fire with a book. Their differences make them the best of friends when it comes to travelling together, and despite Alex getting into a serious relationship and Poppy bagging herself her dream job, the two always find the time to go on a summer vacation together. That is until one fateful trip where something happened to leave them not speaking at all for years.

What happened? We as the reader don’t get to find out until much later into the story, but what we do know is that Poppy is struggling in life now and thinks her broken friendship is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Somehow she convinces Alex to join her for one more trip, and there they find themselves forced to face what happened between them and work out whether their friendship can survive.

This book is less to do with the people that Poppy and Alex meet on vacation and more about them and their relationship. There are some fantastically weird people they meet along the way, that’s for sure, but this is very much a romance story. I don’t mind that, and they are an ADORABLE couple (think Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in terms of sarcasm and banter) but I wanted just a little bit more from the story for me to truly love it.

Still – it’s a really good read and if you’re lucky enough to jet set away on vacation yourself sometime soon, this is a fine choice for something to read whilst sipping cocktails.

Movie Reviews

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) – Film & Wine Club

butch-cassidy-sundance-kid-poster-reviewDirector: George Roy Hill

Genre: Drama, Crime, Western, Biography

Runtime: 111 Minutes

Main Cast: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin, Henry Jones, Jeff Corey, George Furth, Cloris Leachman, Ted Cassidy

Plot: In Wyoming in the late 1890s Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) and The Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) are leaders of a band of outlaws known as the Hole in the Wall Gang. When a train robbery goes wrong the pair are forced to flee, along with Sundance’s partner Etta (Katharine Ross)

My Thoughts: This was one of Dad’s picks for Film & Wine Club, if you didn’t guess that straight away. I think Mum was dreading it all week but I was quietly optimistic. I don’t really watch westerns but everyone has heard of this one so it has to good, right? It’s also old, and I don’t watch a lot of old movies. I’ve seen 6 from the 1960s, 3 of them are Disney and another is Lawrence of Arabia which my Dad also got us to watch so I’m completely out of my comfort zone with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I really enjoyed it though! It holds up extremely well, if it weren’t for the sepia tone flashbacks I would have never thought it was made over 50 years ago.

At it’s very core it’s a buddy movie, a western movie that isn’t really a western – and maybe that’s why I liked it so much. Butch and Sundance are the greatest of friends, and you have to be when you’re wildly in love with your best friend’s girlfriend but don’t make any moves. They have great banter, I didn’t expect the movie to be so funny. In a good way too, apart from the montage with music that sounded like ‘flobbadobbadobbabahhhhhh!’. That was more hilarious in an unintentional way, I think. Speaking of music, did you know that the song ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’ was written for this movie?

That’s left us with 3 movies remaining in the hat, oddly enough, one from each of us! We were a little afraid we might have 3 of Dad’s picks in a row but it ended up being mine. I’m really hoping I’ve built up enough trust from my other picks because this last one from me is a bit of a gamble and really tough to give an elevator pitch for. It’s the 2016 Kate Winslet movie, The Dressmaker!

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Best Bit: I guess it’s no surprise how the movie ended, but it was still a great moment, watching more and more guards turn up for the final shootout. It was pretty funny too when Butch thought they’d gotten away with it after all!

Worst Bit: Speaking of the final shootout, as much as the movie holds up as a whole, that fake blood was really funny. Was it poster paint?! Also, I feel like I have a new found appreciation for Robert Redford. I’ve seen so very little of his work – the biggest role I’ve seen him in was The Old Man and the Gun (2018) and I HATED it. Maybe I should revisit it?

Fun Trivia: The real Butch Cassidy (whose name was actually Robert Leroy Parker) got his nickname because he once worked in a butcher’s shop. The Sundance Kid, real name Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, got his nickname because he once was arrested in the Wyoming town of Sundance.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 bicycles, the future mode of transport!

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