What’s Joey Been Watching? Mar 2 – Mar 8

Should I be giving these posts more interesting titles? Something more fun than the same question I ask every week and the days that make up the week that just passed? I’m gonna start doing that next week, but I’ll give you time to mentally prepare for a massive, fundamental change like that. Anyway, I watched a measly four movies this week and have at least a little bit to say about all of them, so here they are:

Mar 3: High Fidelity (DVD)

High Fidelity is a love story about a dude who sucks and doesn’t deserve love. So why do we end up rooting for him? John Cusack’s worryingly charming performance is probably the culprit, and some pretty fantastic writing. We follow this record shop owner/serial asshole as he revisits his top 5 failed relationships, making sure he wasn’t to blame for any of them ending. Of course, he ends up realising all he really wants is the woman who left him at the beginning of the movie, Laura (who isn’t even in the top 5), and endeavours to win her back. For any of you who have seen the movie, tell me: Why does he want Laura back so badly? It’s the question that keeps irking me despite really enjoying High Fidelity.

Mar 4: The Shawshank Redemption (Netflix)

“No movie that has ever been described as ‘the best movie of all time’ could ever meet those expectations.” That’s how I started my review of Pan’s Labyrinth, and though I still agree with it, I gotta say, Shawshank comes pretty darn close. You’re probably a little confused; Joey’s never seen Shawshank? And he calls himself a film connoisseur? First of all, I’d only call myself that ironically. Second, yes, I had never seen it, and had somehow avoided any and all spoilers. I won’t even bother giving a quick overview; I know for a fact you’ve all seen it. All I’ll say is that god damn, I was missing out. It’s a brutal yet touching story of friendship and institutionalization with incredible performances all around. I have nothing bad to say about it. It may not be one of my favourite movies of all time, but it is perfect, if that makes sense. It’s perfect, just not as perfect for me as Drive and In Bruges.

Mar 5: Vice (DVD)

I forgot I watched Vice this week. I was thinking earlier, did I really only watch three movies this week? I could’ve sworn I’d seen at least four. I took me about a day to remember that Vice exists.

The movie begins with some preliminary narration, in which the narrator mentions how Dick Cheney flew under the radar because he was monotone and boring on the surface. This introduced a massive writing hurdle: how do we make a biopic about a man who was famous for being as boring as he is powerful? The solution: uh, make it over two hours long and include a funny gimmick every hour or so?

Vice is incredibly boring, too long, and up its own ass, but on rare occasion actually works. When Vice was announced, everyone expected a similar experience to The Big Short, a movie that gave its complicated and somewhat boring yet important premise a comedic twist. Vice does away with any sense of humour 90% of the time. Most of the movie involves watching Cheney gaining power and manipulating politics behind the scenes, and Christian Bale does a fantastic job of emulating how boring the man truly is. What baffles me, though, is how well it works when it tries to be something other than a generic biopic. Whenever it tries to be interesting, it succeeds, but it tries so seldom that it just isn’t worth watching. Adam McKay’s TV show, Succession, is fundamentally similar: it predominantly involves a bunch of white people sitting in rooms and talking. The difference is that Succession has some intriguing characters to work with, while Vice is confined to its monotonous and villainous focal point. It could have been fixed with more silly bits, but instead opts for the generic path that most biopics tend to go down. Adam McKay is funny, and Vice proves he should stick to being funny.

Mar 8: What We Do In The Shadows (Netflix)

I’m just gonna say it: What We Do In The Shadows isn’t that good. I remember really liking it the first time I watched it, but this time around, the magic was gone. I love Taika Waititi, and I especially love the country of New Zealand, but something about WWDITS doesn’t do it for me. It’s pretty slow, and gets a bit too silly for me once the zombies and witches get introduced. The idea of centuries old vampires living with a new, young roommate is hilarious, but the humour tends to come more from the situations than the dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still funny, just less so than I thought, especially considering how amazing Flight of the Conchords is.

That’s right, half the movies I watched this week were on DVD like it’s 2005. I’m single-handedly reviving the DVD industry. Okay, fine, I personally purchased neither of the DVDs, but I’m keeping the idea alive. We have my friend Noah to thank for providing High Fidelity and [REDACTED] to thank for kindly giving me Vice. This week’s shoutout goes to Guitar Hero III for being the most fun game of all time, especially when drunk! There’s genuinely nothing better. My fingers are still sore, but it’s worth it.

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