Movie Reviews

Fargo (1996) – Film & Wine Club

fargo-movie-review-1996-posterDirector: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 98 Minutes

Main Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare, Kristin Rudrüd, Harve Presnell, Tony Denman, Steve Reevis, Larry Brandenburg

Plot: Jerry Lundegaard is in a lot of financial trouble and is running out of options. Asking his wealthy father in law is out of the question so he hires two henchmen to kidnap his wife, with the aim of targeting her father for a hefty ransom fee.

My Thoughts: Mine and my parents’ Film & Wine Club had to take an extended break thanks to a COVID-related false alarm and a holiday (not mine) but we’re back watching great movies, eating tasty snacks and drinking fine red wine. Last week was one of my picks, the classic crime-gone-wrong movie Fargo. I first watched it years ago just before the TV series started, but here’s something strange. I remember loving it, hence me picking it for the club but I went back to my old blog to find my review in case I’d written anything smart or funny I could shamelessly reuse (I hadn’t) and I only gave it a 7/10. I guess it grew on me with time!

Fargo is just such a crazy story, it’s really hard not to enjoy it. From the conception of this awful idea of Jerry’s to him trying to cancel the whole thing, to the string of bodies left in the wake, it’s a wild ride from start to finish. We have no idea whether to feel sorry for Jerry or to hate him, and then there’s Marge (Frances McDormand), my favourite cop ever, possibly. Anything you can do, Marge can do better. Whilst heavily pregnant.

It’s the dark humour that does it for me most of all. When else can you laugh about such tragic events and have it not feel strange to feel that way? Steve Buscemi plays the character that brings the most laughs, I think. Him forever bickering with his partner in crime who barely says a word, driving through a car park as fast as possible holding his wounded face that’s bleeding everywhere, and finally being far too greedy for his own good, he just plays a really interesting character! Definitely a movie you have to watch if you haven’t already.

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Best Bit: Let’s face it, is it possible to watch this movie without endearingly using the word ‘yah’ in excess afterwards? Because it wasn’t for us, and I just love the Minnesotan accent.

Worst Bit: It bugged me the first time, and it bugged me the second time too, I’m just not a fan of the dinner scene with Marge and Mike. I get that it served a purpose to show us how Marge thinks, but it’s the only scene that feels out of place in my opinion.

Fun Trivia: When Carl Showalter (Steve Buscemi) character calls Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) for the deal to be done, he tells him, “Thirty minutes, and we’ll wrap this up.” From that moment, the film’s running time left is exactly 30 minutes.

My Rating: 4 and a half wood chippers, that you’d be surprised to learn can shred a lot more than wood…

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I should point out that I’m a little behind on my Film & Wine Club posts, we’ve already watched another of my picks, The Nice Guys (2016) AND picked the next movie out of the hat which also happened to be another of my picks! It was Little Miss Sunshine (2006).

Movie Reviews

Songbird (2020)

songbird-movie-poster-review-2020Director: Adam Mason

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Romance

Runtime: 84 Minutes

Main Cast: K.J. Apa, Sofia Carson, Craig Robinson, Bradley Whitford, Peter Stormare, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Walter Hauser, Demi Moore, Jenna Ortega

Plot: The year is 2024, and the world is suffering with COVID-23. Nico (K.J. Apa) is one of the very few who are immune, and works as a courier. When the situation turns dire, he turns to desperate measures to help his girlfriend Sara (Sofia Carson) escape.

My Thoughts: Are we ready for a COVID-related disaster movie? Not really, let’s be honest. Songbird didn’t necessarily want to be the best, but it did want to be first. Sadly there’s a little horror movie called Host (2020) which already owns that title. I’m a sucker for bad movies though, don’t ask me why, and with the situation in the UK what it is I thought it might be nice to escape to a fictional Earth where things are somehow worse, to make me feel better. It achieved that at least, and as much as it wasn’t a good movie, Songbird entertained me enough.

Thing is, when you’re living in a pandemic, you know the ins and outs. So a fictional movie isn’t going to pull the wool over your eyes. COVID-23 is so bad that you’ll actually be shot on sight for leaving your home. Those who are immune have jobs as couriers delivering packages to the rich. The whole time I was asking, yeah but how to people get groceries?! These people have fridges full of alcohol, where are they getting it from? The real villain here though isn’t the virus, it’s the Head of Sanitization. Get ready for the most over-the-top villain you’ve ever seen. I actually expected him to burst into song at one point, it was so corny.

Silliness aside though, give it a few years and we’ll probably have a better COVID movie, like it or not. Think Contagion (2011), but probably starring Dwayne Johnson. Songbird was just clearly thrown together as quickly as possible. There’s some good stuff there, I was intrigued by the Q-Zone. Basically, you get tested every day through an app on your phone and if you test positive, the hazmats take you away to this Q-Zone. We never even got to see it though apart from a few aerial shots from a distance. It’s not a total disaster, but only watch it if you’re up for having a bit of a laugh with it.

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Best Bit: Forget the main love story, I was there for Alexandra Daddario. She instantly makes any terrible movie a whole lot better. Although, she does have in her possession the most useless face mask in history…

Worst Bit: Finally getting around to writing your review for this movie on the same night the Prime Minister informs us of a new, dangerous COVID strain – paving for the way for Lockdown 3, whilst the rest of the world slowly cuts off our tiny, infested island. Sigh.

Fun Trivia: SAG-AFTRA issued a “Do not work” order on Songbird, telling its members to refuse any work on the film.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 Whopper burgers. RIP, Burger King…

songbird-movie-2020-rip-burger-king