Going Off Topic (#23) Who, What, Where, When, Why?

I’m doing a grand old job at posting all my Top 10 lists for the decade, aren’t I? I’m just stuck in that time between Christmas and New Year when I don’t know what day of the week it is, what time of day it is or what a decent meal looks like. Chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and wine…wine whenever! So whilst I’m in no shape to be ranking movies or attempting to review anything I’ve seen, enjoy some word vomit from yours truly.

I hope you all had a grand Christmas, by the way! Mine’s been fab. I’ve spent the days with family and friends and it’s genuinely been lovely. Speaking of friends, my bestie Steph is going to get an ODEON Limitless card in the New Year so I’m going to have a cinema buddy for 2020! Hurrah! I mention her often here but she’s actually been my best friend since we were about 14. We lost touch after school but reunited around 6 years ago and now we live literally seconds away from each other! She’s as nuts as me, and she was grateful I didn’t mention how she broke down in tears in my car after watching Rise of Skywalker. Whoops.

Movies wise, I think I’ve only seen 2 new ones since I wrote anything here.I’ve rewatched Rise of Skywalker twice now but I also watched Parasite on Boxing Day (bloody brilliant) and I saw Little Women last night which was good, if not my usual cup of tea, and ever so slightly confusing with the time jumps. Oh! And I did see Jumanji: The Next Level as well which was surprisingly good, just like the first.

Over to TV…I didn’t catch up with Mr. Robot in time to watch the finale as it happened. I haven’t seen any spoilers yet though, so I’ll get there eventually. I did finish The Mandalorian which was glorious, and I’m interested to see where Season 2 takes us. Me and my husband have started watching The Witcher together which is actually really good so far, even though we’re only 2 episodes in. Can we all agree that Toss a Coin to Your Witcher is the greatest song of 2019? And finally – I’ve started Season 2 of You which is everything I wanted it to be. Life is good, guys.

So, once I’m back into the swing of things I’ll be posting regularly again, and I desperately need to catch up on the blogs I follow too (sorry, guys!). I’ll be finishing my Top 100 Movies of the Decade posts, announcing my 2020 Blind Spot list, and probably making a few New Year’s Resolutions too.

For now – I hope you’re enjoying the break, if you’ve got one, and I’m super excited to be sharing the movies of 2020 with you all next year!

6 Underground (2019)

6-underground-2019-netflix-movieDirector: Michael Bay

Genre: Action, Thriller

Runtime: 127 Minutes

Main Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Mélanie Laurent, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ben Hardy, Adria Arjona, Corey Hawkins, Dave Franco

Plot: 6 underground agents work together on the world’s most dangerous, top-secret missions. All of them have buried their pasts behind them and are completely off the grid. Essentially, this is Michael Bay’s Suicide Squad.

My Thoughts: I’m avoiding writing anything about Rise of Skywalker at the moment for fear of creating something 1,000 words long and completely incoherent, so let me tell you about this piece of trash movie I watched earlier this week instead. If you have a Netflix account then it’s impossible to not know anything about it. I’ve seen it, and Netflix is still shoving it in my face. It’s the second most expensive Netflix movie out there, second to The Irishman.

Is it any good? That depends entirely on what you want from the movie. If you want a decent plot, character development, and a logical story that doesn’t overstay its welcome, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you want to watch Ryan Reynolds play himself, car chases, explosions, fight scenes and corny jokes in spades, then you’re going to love it. For me, it was half an hour too long to pass as a good movie. I just wasn’t interested enough, but it still had a lot of memorable moments.

I should probably tell you to avoid the movie but…there’s still something about it that’s fun. In amongst all the nausea-inducing shaky-cam moments and attempts at invoking emotion, there are jokes that land and action scenes that are actually stunning. It’s a mess, but it’s a beautiful mess.

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Best Bit: The movie opens with a car chase scene and honestly? It’s probably the best I’ve ever seen. Maybe I haven’t seen enough action movies but this monstrous scene shows the realities behind a car chase this wild, pedestrians being flung around like crisp packets!

Worst Bit: Where do I even begin? There are plenty of cringy moments, but the one that made me laugh loudest was when a rooftop swimming pool was smashed open which caused more flooding than Sharknado!

Fun Trivia: A year prior to the release Ryan Reynolds posted a video of himself talking about how quiet Michael Bay’s movies are, while in the background a car explodes. This scene is in the movie and you can actually see Ryan Reynolds in the background filming the crash.

My Rating: 2 and a half bottles of Aviation Gin, only the tip of the iceberg that is shameless product placement in this movie.

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Marriage Story (2019)

marriage-story-movie-review-2019-netflixDirector: Noah Baumbach

Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy

Runtime: 136 Minutes

Main Cast: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, Julie Hagerty, Merritt Wever, Azhy Robertson, Wallace Shawn, Martha Kelly

Plot: Charlie and Nicole had a seemingly happy marriage, working together for Charlie’s theatre company. But things changed, their feelings changed, and now they’re navigating a difficult divorce and battling over custody of their son.

My Thoughts: It’s Saturday night, the kiddo is fast asleep, the bestie is coming over, takeout has been ordered, what shall we watch? A devastatingly upsetting movie about divorce. Hurrah! Wasn’t that a great idea? I need to watch this again, alone, because I held back my tears when really this movie demands you sob aloud. Lots. We’re reaching the peak of Adam Driver season and if he doesn’t take home an Oscar for this one I will RIOT. How an actor can express that much emotion is beyond me, some scenes were honestly difficult to watch because of it. It felt like I was intruding on something private.

It’s raw emotion throughout. We don’t get to see how Charlie and Nicole got together, see how in love they once were, only hear about it whilst they talk to therapists and lawyers. But you can tell. You can tell the feelings are still there. And whilst it’s powerful throughout, there are 2 key scenes for me that actually made me stop breathing. If ever I need a good cry to let things out, this is where I’ll turn.

But then, Marriage Story is so funny at the same time, in those little moments. I know if ever the worst happened with my own marriage my mum would be just like Nicole’s. She already takes his side in any argument ever. Could you imagine a scene where a husband is handed divorce papers that he isn’t expecting to be hilarious? Because it is in this movie! Not forgetting the knife scene of course, we’ll come to that in a short moment. Honestly, I’m still a little lost for words about it all. I think that’s how you’re meant to feel!

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Best Bit: *SPOILER-Y WARNING* When Charlie started playing with the flick knife early in the movie I knew the shot was too long to be a one-off moment. The scene where he was being monitored and assessed with his son and ended up accidentally slicing his arm open without realising was probably the funniest and most shocking thing I’ve seen all year! And the kitchen roll! Oh boy, I need to see it again…is there a gif yet of Adam Driver being terrible at getting kitchen roll?!

Worst Bit: I mean the worst bits to watch in Marriage Story are actually the best bits performance wise so it’s unfair to mention how the sight of Adam Driver, broken and on his knees completely destroyed me. So DAMN. The way the legal system works in divorce cases is just so unfair, isn’t it?!

Fun Trivia: Adam Driver’s performance of Sondheim’s Being Alive from the musical Company, was recorded live and done in 1 take.
(Hollywood please let Adam Driver star in happier movies. And sing more.)

My Rating: 4 and a half pies used to conceal divorce papers, which apparently makes the whole thing worse.

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Eli (2019)

eli-2019-netflix-movie-poster-review (1)Director: Ciarán Foy

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 98 Minutes

Main Cast: Charlie Shotwell, Lili Taylor, Kelly Reilly, Max Martini, Sadie Sink, Deneen Tyler, Katia Gomez

Plot: Eli is a young boy so sick that even the air could kill him, forcing him to live inside a bubble. His parents have tracked down a doctor who claims to be able to cure him so they travel across the country to get Eli the treatment he needs.

My Thoughts: I wasn’t fussed about seeing Eli, but quite a few bloggers have mentioned it recently and although they didn’t love it, they had very mixed thoughts about the ending and that was enough for me to give it a go. Maybe my expectations were really low, but I thought it was pretty good! Far better than another of Netflix’s 2019 horror movies I watched, Wounds (2019).

The best way I can describe Eli is it’s like the lovechild of Bubble Boy and A Cure for Wellness. It’s obvious as soon as the family arrive at Dr. Horn’s huge mansion that something isn’t right. The horror element kicks in at night when Eli is woken up. He sees the ghosts of other children who were supposedly cured at the same place, and it’s basically an opportunity for jump scares. I watched most of those scenes through a blanket because I hate them!

And then we come to the ending. I already knew it was a bit of a love it or hate it ending, and I’m leaning more into the love it camp. It was unexpected, and yet there were more than a few clues along the way so it’s not like it fell off the rails or anything. All in all, I was surprised for the better, and whilst it isn’t an amazing, 5-star movie, you can find many worse ways to spend 98 minutes with Netflix at the moment.

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Best Bit: Sadie Sink! You know her best as Max from Stranger Things, and he’s one of the best parts of this movie. I can’t tell you too much about her, of course…

Worst Bit: I don’t know what’s worse, the awful excuses for human beings making fun of Eli at the start of the movie in his makeshift hazmat outfit, or Eli’s parents for doing next to nothing about defending him.

Fun Trivia: *BIG SPOILERS* After leaving the Motel, they drive pass a rural crossroads in the middle of four fields. Legend has it that Robert Johnson made a deal with the Devil at a crossroads. This alludes to the fact that they are, in some way, dealing with the Devil.

My Rating: 3 and a half mirrors, in which you can see…well I’m not sure, because I stopped watching after 3 jump scares!

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Let It Snow (2019)

let-it-snow-netflix-2019-movie-reviewDirector: Luke Snellin

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Runtime: 92 Minutes

Main Cast: Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore, Odeya Rush, Liv Hewson, Mitchell Hope, Kiernan Shipka, Matthew Noszka, Jacob Batalon, Isabela Moner, Joan Cusack, Miles Robbins

Plot: On Christmas Eve, a series of circumstances and events, as well as a snowstorm, brings together a group of teenagers in a diner.

My Thoughts: Every Friday, Netflix is releasing a new Christmas movie for us to enjoy. They’re all going to be that ‘Hallmark Channel’ kind of quality but hey – isn’t that what Christmas is all about? I for one can’t wait, and have promptly cleared all of my Friday nights from now till the big day! Let It Snow is Netflix’s contribution to the Love Actually category, in where all these characters find their stories intertwined by the time the credits roll. It’s also one of the best (worst?) movies I’ve seen for finding yourself having to pause and say ‘I know him/her from something!’. I swear I stopped the movie at least 6 times in the first 10 minutes.

By far the most interesting story here for me was Stuart and Julie (played by Shameik Moore and Isabela Merced). Stuart’s a famous musician and meets Julie on a stranded train where he mistakes her for a fan. She, in fact, couldn’t care less who he is and is struggling with deciding whether to accept a scholarship and leave her sick mother behind. It’s a cheesy story but they both have such great chemistry, and the other stories fell to the wayside a little.

So no, it’s no Love Actually, but it’s far better than the other copycats out there, and even if it’s a little too silly for you, the soundtrack makes it worth your time, too. Who doesn’t love Whole of the Moon by The Waterboys? And if I still haven’t sold it to you, let me tell you this. Bad Janet is in it! Like, almost literally Bad Janet. I watched Let It Snow straight after catching the latest episode of The Good Place and thought I was tripping when she showed up.

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Best Bit: Tobin turns up fairly early in the movie, and I KNEW I knew him from somewhere, so much that I refused to look it up for ages. I was practically shouting at my husband, I can picture him now, he’s singing, he’s really well dressed, why can’t I work out what he was in?! Oh, he’s Ben in Disney’s Descendants. That character I have an embarrassing crush on. Wait, I put this in ‘Best Bit’? Whoops.

Worst Bit: Joan Cusack plays ‘Tin Foil Woman’, a woman driving a truck whilst covered in tin foil, dishing out stellar advice whether it was asked for or not. Husband claimed early on that she wouldn’t be real and we were both a little disappointed that his theory didn’t turn out to be true.

Fun Trivia: The movie “Let It Snow” is an adaptation of the book by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle.

My Rating: 3 and a half waffles – and on that note, is there a waffle house in existence that sells those Waffle Quaffles? Because damn, they looked tasty.

let-it-snow-2019-netflix-waffles

Wounds (2019)

wounds-movie-review-2019-netflixDirector: Babak Anvari

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 95 Minutes

Main Cast: Armie Hammer, Dakota Johnson, Zazie Beetz, Karl Glusman, Brad William Henke, Kerry Cahill

Plot: Will is an alcoholic bartender dealing with a failing relationship. One night in the bar a fight breaks out which turns ugly, and in the scuffle some College kids leave a mobile phone behind. Will takes the phone home but is horrified by what he finds on there.

My Thoughts: It took me longer to write that plot description than it did to write the rest of this post because quite frankly, I have no idea what Wounds is even about. This is what happens when I take a break from blogging – I fall out of the loop on what movies I should be avoiding like the plague, and I end up watching crap. It sounded promising though, and I kind of enjoyed the start of the movie. Armie Hammer is always fun to watch, and I liked the banter between his character and Zazie Beetz’s.

This is just one of those movies where so many details and plot points just seem to be meaningless. As fun as she was, Zazie’s character served no purpose. Dakota Johnson was seriously underused, too. When I got towards the end of the movie, I paused to see how long was left and saw it was less than 10 minutes. You know what these mystery movies are like, sometimes nothing makes sense until those last few minutes and then bam! Clarity. Nope, just weird grossness.

Netflix movies are always a bit hit and miss, and normally even with movies I didn’t enjoy I would still recommend that you give them a go and form your own opinion, but I couldn’t do that to you this time. Steer clear from Wounds, folks!

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Best Bit: I actually can’t think of a single great moment, but the only time I really jumped and felt creeped out was when Will was driving, and picked up that phone just to look down and see his arm covered in bugs. It’s making me a little bit itchy just thinking about it.

Worst Bit: That ending was…ugh. I mean, it’s an ending I won’t forget in a long time, and is it better to be remembered as bad than it is to just be forgotten? I’m not sure…

Fun Trivia: Based upon the horror novella, The Visible Filth, by Nathan Ballingrud.

My Rating: 1 out of 5 cockroaches, and if you’re seeing them regularly at work and at home, maybe you should tell someone, yeah?

wounds-2019-netflix-movie-cockroaches

The Babysitter (2017)

the-babysitter-movie-review-poster-2017Director: McG (no, I didn’t pass out at the keyboard mid-typing…that’s this guy’s name, apparently)

Genre: Horror, Comedy

Runtime: 85 Minutes

Main Cast: Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Bella Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind, Andrew Bachelor, Doug Haley, Leslie Bibb, Ken Marino

Plot: Cole is, without a doubt, a bit of a wimp. His classmates at school would use a much worse term for it, but poor Cole is afraid of everything and is the only kid in school who still has a babysitter. Thankfully, his babysitter just so happens to be super cool and super hot, and one night Cole decides to spy on her after bedtime.

My Thoughts: Last week I watched Ready or Not, the first Samara Weaving movie I’d seen, and I kind of fell in love with her. I mean she’s beautiful, funny, and kicks ass, so who wouldn’t? When I spotted her face on the poster for The Babysitter whilst scrolling through Netflix I knew I needed to watch it, so I went in literally blind, not knowing what the movie was about at all. Whilst it’s not up on that same level as Ready or Not, The Babysitter is definitely a fun watch for the spooky season!

I really felt for Cole. He tries his hardest to stick up for himself, but his home life is hardly desirable. His parents are too focused on saving their failing marriage to give him the attention he deserves. Thankfully, his babysitter, Bee, is everything he needs in a friend. She drives away the bullies, teaches him how to properly defend against himself, and gets involved in his nerdy games. I guess it’s a real shame she’s the leader of some cult, huh?

From the moment the movie went from ‘this is a nice story’ to ‘what the $*%&’ it was a wild ride to the credits. It’s a short movie anyway but it feels even shorter with how mental it goes. Honestly, the biggest takeaway I took from it was that if Home Alone was remade sometime soon (like every other movie is) then it would by no means be a family movie!

the-babysitter-2017-dance-scene-samara-weaving

Worst Bit: I loved Bee’s character so much that it felt like a complete betrayal to see her kind of mocking the nerdy guy she’d invited to the house to play spin the bottle. Come on Bee, I thought you were on the nerds’ side…

Best Bit: …BAM. Two knives to the head. Didn’t see it coming at all. Might have actually peed myself a little. 10/10 would recommend.

Fun Trivia: In the original script, Sonya was the cheerleader, Allison was a journalist for the school paper, John was called “John the Baptist” and Max had dreadlocks. The characters were later reimagined to more closely reflect stereotypes of slasher movie victims, only in this film, they’re the antagonists.

My Rating: 3 and a half bottles to play spin the bottle with. If the hot girl gets dared to kiss everyone in the room? RUN.

the-babysitter-2017-spin-the-bottle