Grumpy Old Men (1993)

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A lifelong feud between two neighbors since childhood only gets worse when a new female neighbor moves across the street. (IMDb)
Lemmon and Matthau have good chemistry, but the titular schtick gets, well, old pretty quickly, and kind of weird when it gets intense and you’re not sure if you should laugh or not (see Max going crazy at the ice fishing spot). Meanwhile, the romance plot is silly (Ann-Margret overacts) and the ending is terrible (where’s the comedy in her actually choosing one of them? And how was the other just A-okay with it?). Also, I’ve never hated a soundtrack more (“I’m Too Sexy” made it automatic).
5.5/10 (Poor)

 

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Tower Heist (2011)

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When a group of hard-working guys find out they’ve fallen victim to their wealthy employer’s Ponzi scheme, they conspire to rob his high-rise residence. (IMDb)
Why would they have to sneak past the very hotel workers that they plan to give the spoils of the job to? This and many other plot holes riddle this half-assed heist flick, so while the vicarious pleasure of Robin Hood-esque stealing is still there (see when Mr. Malloy sees his car is missing) it never lasts for long (surely a car made of gold would be too heavy for an elevator). Mediocre characters and scant humour (Murphy’s wild Slide is probably the highlight) don’t do much to help.
5.5/10 (Poor)

 

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)

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An eight year-old boy genius and his friends must rescue their parents after the adults are abducted by aliens. (IMDb)
The late 90s pop soundtrack is a little lame, and the charmingly ridiculous plot (the wild “no parents!” party is an early highlight) does occasionally push the limits (see Jimmy converting numerous amusement park rides into spaceships within what seems like 15 minutes) but the lively one-liner humour stemming from the hilariously voiced oddball characters (from slow sidekicks Sheen and Carl to oblivious Mr. Neutron and the wacky alien villains) never lets up and keeps the film a fun ride.
7/10 (Good)

 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)

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Flint Lockwood now works at The Live Corp Company for his idol Chester V. But he’s forced to leave his post when he learns that his most infamous machine is still operational, and is churning out menacing food-animal hybrids. (IMDb)
Amped-up animation featuring the fantastically imaginative foodimals (the accompanying puns were a delight as well) keeps this thing afloat in spite of the generic and painfully predictable plot (the left-hanging dad neglect thread probably would have been more interesting; the environmentalist sub-theme that came to a head in another wacky climax certainly was). The main characters lost a little of their luster, but Chester V was a pretty funny addition (see his super bendy arms).
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

500 reviews

Some exciting news (at least for me): By my calculations, I just reached 500 reviews on Joel Watches Movies with my last post on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)! And to celebrate this milestone, and because I’ll look for any excuse to do this sort of stuff, here’s some interesting (again, at least for me) statistical tidbits on the 500 reviews I’ve posted thus far:

1. Of the 500 films I’ve rated, more have been rated 7 (Good) than any other rating, coming in at 102 films, or just over 20%. The least used rating? A perfect 10, sadly coming in at 0! (I have faith that it’ll come one of these days!) The full ratings breakdown is as follows:

2. Any regular readers of this blog will know I’m not exactly a reliable go-to source for timely reviews on all the latest releases; my 2017 movie count is currently sitting at a mere 7. (Sorry!) But looking at the count for other years I think reveals what my expected lag time should be: The year with the most titles reviewed is 2014, with 39, so expect me to catch up on all the major releases of 2017 by the end of 2020 or so! 😉

3. As for reviews by decade, the 2010s still comes in first (so I’m not that irrelevant) with 166 films, or about 33%. The rest of the breakdown shows smaller numbers as you go back in time, making it my New Years resolution to watch more films pre-1980! Or should I be focusing on keeping up with new releases? You tell me!

4. Most-watched director so far? It’s the Coen Brothers, coming in at 10 films, followed by Steven Spielberg at 9, and Martin Scorcese and Wes Anderson at 8 each.

5. Most-seen actors:

  • Will Ferrell: 19 films
  • Bill Murray: 15
  • Robert de Niro: 14

6. Most-seen actresses (another resolution: watch more women-led films!):

  • Julia Roberts: 10 films
  • Emma Watson: 10
  • Scarlett Johansson: 9

7. Most-liked reviews:

8. Least-liked reviews (there’s probably more, but here’s some with 0 likes. Want to give them some love? :P):

9. Most active followers (you three are the best!!)

And whether you comment or not, just want to give a big thanks to all of you who even just occasionally stop by to check out my humble blog–it means a lot! It’s been so much fun over the past 2 and a half years or so interacting with fellow movie lovers here on WordPress, and I look forward to hopefully many years more. Feel free to let me know if you have any movies you’d really to see reviewed, or any features or improvements you’d think my blog could benefit from. I’m always open to feedback and conversation! Cheers,

Joel

 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

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A local scientist is often regarded as a failure until he invents a machine that can make food fall from the sky. But little does he know, that things are about to take a turn for the worst. (IMDb)
The “frustrated young adult failure with big dreams and a disapproving dad” opening act is generic, but sharp humour keeps it engaging (see Flint’s “saying what I’m doing!”) and a wild second half makes up for it, with its fantastically animated food action (see especially the meatball mission) and emotional climax (see dad, translated) as potent as the barrage of self-aware (“The disaster seems to be hitting all the major cities first”) and wacky (see macaroni head) hilarity leading up to it.
8/10 (Great)

 

Green Room (2015)

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A punk rock band is forced to fight for survival after witnessing a murder at a neo-Nazi skinhead bar. (IMDb)
Like an underground punk rock band, it’s full of grisly, violent riffs, sweaty people losing themselves in the emotion of it all, and writing that’s maybe a little rough around the edges. The attack then retreat to green room formula works well though, while still managing to surprise you at points, and the cast of villains led by a chilling Stewart is definitely creepy, if maybe a little over-the-top. Hard to watch, but only because it’s so effectively crafted and disturbingly unflinching.
7.5/10 (Really Good)