Watched, Read, Reviewed: August 2019

Happy Almost-End-Of September! Where did August go?! I spent half of it in America & half of it mega busy with work but still managed to watch some movies (Six on airplanes – What the hell else can you do on a plane?!). Here’s what I watched & read in August…

MOVIES IN AUGUST

I saw Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood while in America & Crawl in the UK (links to my reviews are below). I also saw four 2019 UK movie releases on the plane trips so reviewed those in a separate post (also linked below). I’ve done mini-reviews of the rest…

MOVIES WATCHED (ranked best to worst):

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood – 7.5/10


Green Book – 7.5/10


Sorry To Bother You – This movie was a little mental but, overall, fairly entertaining. It’s very hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t seen it and also one that’s absolutely impossible to recommend to anyone unless you know their tastes really well. Now, I absolutely love “weird” movies. The problem here is that it’s not weird enough. It’s quite straightforward through most of it – it only suddenly gets weird at the end (think From Dusk Till Dawn). I’d have liked more weirdness. Strangely, it gave me Joe Versus The Volcano vibes, though I have NO idea why (but only during scenes set in the dreary workplace office). It just reminded me that I badly need to rewatch that underrated film… But where was I? I’m getting off track! I have no idea how to review this film. I enjoyed it but it’s one where I can’t imagine ever watching it again for any reason. The strongest thing about it are the characters and I especially liked Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, and Steven Yeun (probably because his character Glenn was one of very few characters that I actually liked in The Walking Dead). Oh, and I loved Tessa Thompson’s funky earrings and cool sort of 80’s style. How did I not even realize that the smarmy guy was Armie Hammer? He just has such a nondescript smarmy face. Well, I liked this movie as a one-time watch and won’t forget it. It wasn’t perfect and didn’t fully work for me but it’s the kind of indie movie I’d like to see more of: Creative & highly original instead of just boring navel-gazing and hateful characters (I’m looking at you, Eighth Grade movie!). – 7/10


The Hate U Give – This was a fairly decent look at a very serious issue, albeit from a very YA perspective. I’d been thinking about reading the Young Adult novel first but never got around to it, so I can only judge this based on the movie itself. It’s certainly no Boyz N The Hood but I see no problem with raising awareness by aiming a story at a slightly younger audience. Amandla Stenberg is good – I enjoyed her in The Hunger Games & Everything, Everything (she’s certainly in some of the biggest YA stuff!). Other than her character, though, I’d say a lot of the others were a bit one-dimensional (especially her annoying school friend). I don’t mean to sound too down on this one as it’s a pretty good film but it does suffer a little bit from the YA feel and a slightly too perfect “things might be okay” sort of ending. But not everything has to be gritty – it’s good if this movie has given a more mainstream audience an insight into this issue. – 7/10


Bad Times At The El Royale – Well, this was an odd one and not quite what I was expecting. I’d been super annoyed at missing this after loving the look of a skinny, shirtless, Jesus-looking Chris Hemsworth in the trailers. Just FYI if you’re wanting shirtless Hemsworth – he doesn’t show up until an hour into the movie and his character is extremely hateful. Damn – how can you make someone as loveable as Chris play someone hateful?! I did like the strange atmosphere to this film and the 60’s setting and the mysterious & creepy hotel but the strangers’ stories were a mess and didn’t seem to have any sort of point. You also certainly aren’t made to care about any of them, other than maybe the two characters played by Jeff Bridges & Cynthia Erivo, who are the true standouts of this film and by far the best things about it. Dakota Johnson is as underwhelming as always and, as I said, can we not make Hemsworth a bad guy ever again? I love him but, honestly – it didn’t work. Sorry, Chris! It was completely unbelievable. Overall, I did like that this movie felt a little bit unique and thought Bridges and Erivo were great together and fun to watch but, man – the movie is just kind of a mess. – 6.5/10


Crawl – 6.5/10


Instant Family – 6.5/10


Can You Ever Forgive Me? – 6.5/10


Mortal Engines – Look! Yet another adaptation of a dystopian YA novel! Hey, I’m not exactly complaining since dystopian YA is a huge guilty pleasure genre of mine but I think the general public has had enough of it. I did read this book (mini-review here) and really enjoyed it but it was mainly because I loved the bizarre concept. Basically, the cities in this dystopian future are on wheels and go around devouring smaller cities (I suppose there’s some sort of political message there). The characters could’ve been stronger but the story was enough fun that I didn’t care too much. Well, shit – this movie was pretty terrible but I can’t explain why as, from what I remember, it’s a fairly faithful adaptation. I was just bored. It should’ve been Mad Max: Fury Road levels of craziness but it was bland and the characters were so underdeveloped and uninteresting, although that was a fault with the book as well. They also shifted the focus onto the girl in the film, which is fine, but it meant they spent far too little time on the boy who’s the main character in the book. By the way, the girl is also WAY more disfigured in the book so they really did try to make her “Hollywood pretty” in the film. It’s just a surprisingly forgettable movie for one with such a nutso concept and I can’t see this having done well enough to warrant any of the remaining books being adapted. What a shame. If you like the sound of this concept, just watch Howl’s Moving Castle instead. – 5/10


Eighth Grade – 5/10

Re-Watched:

Adventures In Babysitting Yes, I still love this movie. It’s a personal favorite. – 8.5/10

Big Daddy – I don’t care what anyone says about Adam Sandler. Yes, he has some really bad movies but he also has several that I really like. The Wedding Singer is his best by far and I love it but I think Big Daddy is good too and doesn’t get enough credit – It’s definitely one of his better films. I mean, come on – it’s quotable and the kid is cute. “I wipe my own ass! I wipe my own ass!!“. Ha. I love that bit. And we once again get a small Steve Buscemi cameo! It’s not as hilarious as his Wedding Singer cameo but it’s still fun. And it’s even a little bit sweet and heartfelt without being over-the-top saccharine and annoying. Plus, quite frankly, Sandler’s character is likeable in this one. I like this movie. I like Scuba Steve. Screw snobby film critics. – 7/10

The Dark Crystal (1982) – I watched this since the new series was coming up and I’d not seen this in years and honestly couldn’t remember a thing about it. I adored the look of it. Of course! It’s Jim Henson! I’m an 80’s kid so I’m a sucker for his work. This is no Labyrinth, though – I’ll be honest and say that I still far prefer Labyrinth. I might have even snoozed through The Dark Crystal a little bit. Blasphemy, I know! I’m sorry. Maybe I’ll watch it again sometime. I did watch the first episode of the new Netflix series so I’ll try to get back to that when life is a little less hectic. – 7/10

BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH

BOOKS READ

Shattered by Dean Koontz – Well, as I said I went to America in August so I needed a light & easy read to bring with me. I love Dean Koontz but I have to admit that his novels are usually light & easy reads so he was of course my first choice of author to bring along. Shattered is one of his older books (first published in 1973 under the pseudonym K.R. Dwyer) so it was perfect as it was short since he didn’t get so overly wordy in his older books. Here’s the synopsis from Wikipedia: “Artist Alex Doyle and his new family, bride Courtney and her 11-year-old brother Colin, are moving from Philadelphia to San Francisco. Courtney’s flying out ahead to get the house set up. Alex and Colin are driving there in Alex’s new Ford Thunderbird. The cross-country trip starts out as a bonding experience, but their car is being tailed by a van; a van driven by a psychopath intent on terrorizing them.” This book was perfectly fine. For its short length, the characters were developed well enough (other than the wife, but there’s not much focus on her as she’s not the one being stalked on the journey). She’s a little too perfect & beautiful, though, like most female Koontz characters. My only issue with this book is that it ended way too abruptly. Loads of build-up and then, BOOM, it was over. Huh. Kind of like sex. – 3/5

TV SHOWS WATCHED

Stranger ThingsUm. I can’t, uh, even make it through Season 3 of Stranger Things. I think I have only two or three episodes to go but can’t even be bothered to get back to them. Everyone seemed to love it, though. Are the hubby & I the only ones not feeling Stranger Things anymore?? So disappointing after Season 1 was so enjoyable.

BLOG PLANS FOR SEPTEMBER

Ha! Well, the month is pretty much over. Crap… It’s almost October! I usually do October Horror Month but don’t think I’ll have time. Maybe I’ll try to re-post mini reviews of the many horror movies I’ve watched this year.

September Movies I Want To See:

It Chapter Two – Seen it! Thoroughly enjoyed it. My review is HERE.

Hustlers – Well, I had no interest in this as the thought of watching Cardi B makes me cringe but it’s had such surprisingly good reviews that I just might check it out…

Ad Astra – Sci-fi is my favorite genre and I badly want to see this.

Rambo: Last Blood – Nah! I’m not bothered but thought I should mention that it’s out.

The Farewell – Looks good! Going to try to go this week.

Ready Or Not – Looking forward to this after it got great reviews. Looks a bit fucked-up! I love fucked-up…

The Goldfinch – Shit! Not happy this has had such terrible reviews as I’ve been working my way through the extremely long novel for MONTHS and I’m finally almost finished with the damn thing.

Poms – Looks a bit stupid but the cast is great so I’ll catch this one on Netflix when having a girly night alone.

There was no great music in what I watched in August other than Adventures In Babysitting (which has an awesome soundtrack). Here’s the Iggy Pop song Real Wild Child (Wild One) that’s in the film. Love it.

My Top Ten Movies With Different Titles Outside The U.S.

With the release of (the hugely disappointing) Zootopia, being renamed Zootropolis in the UK & other parts of Europe, I’ve been thinking about all the movies with different titles in the US & the UK.

I understand the reason for some title changes, often due to different spellings or the name already being used for something else in another country. But some of the changes are just bizarre. With Zootopia, I believe it’s because it’s the name of some zoo that’s being opened soon in Europe?

I haven’t done much research into the reasons for the name changes in this list but I’ve put the reasons if I know them. And I’ll only be listing the titles in the United States & the United Kingdom as those are the ones I’m most aware of (I’ll start with the US title). As usual, I’ll just rank these according to what movies I like the most that happened to have different names in different countries.

So, counting down to my favorite movie, these are My Top Ten Movies With Different Titles Outside Of The United States:

10. Neighbors
UK Title: Bad Neighbours
Name I Prefer: Bad Neighbours
Why The Change?: Probably because of the Australian soap, Neighbours, which is shown on TV in the UK.

9. A Brilliant Young Mind
UK Title: X+Y
Name I Prefer: X+Y
Why The Change?: Not sure but the US title is closer to the name of the documentary the director made before making this movie.

8. Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
UK Title: Harold & Kumar Get The Munchies
Name I Prefer: Harold & Kumar Get The Munchies
Why The Change?: Because White Castle isn’t a restaurant in the UK.

7. The Avengers
UK Title: Marvel’s Avengers Assemble
Name I Prefer: The Avengers
Why The Change?: I read why somewhere but I’ve forgotten & don’t care enough to look it up again. πŸ˜‰

6. Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone
UK Title: Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone
Name I Prefer: Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone
Why The Change?: I’m not sure but I think it had something to do with them thinking that Americans wouldn’t understand what a “Philosopher’s Stone” was. Stupid title change!

5. Joyride
UK Title: Roadkill
Name I Prefer: Joyride
Why The Change?: I think it’s because a “joyride” in the UK refers to when a car is stolen (often by young males) and then abandoned (and often set fire to) at the side of the road. The name Roadkill does actually make more sense for this movie… (which is a guilty pleasure of mine).

4. The Peanuts Movie
UK Title: Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie
Name I Prefer: The Peanuts Movie
Why The Change?: I assume because Peanuts isn’t as well known in the UK but everyone knows who Charlie Brown and Snoopy are. Because Snoopy RULES. πŸ™‚

3. The Road Warrior
UK Title: Mad Max 2
Name I Prefer: Mad Max 2
Why The Change?: I believe because the first film didn’t get a wide release in the US so they didn’t want to promote this film as a sequel.

2. Breakin’ & Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
UK Title: Breakdance & Breakdance 2: Electric Boogaloo
Name I Prefer: Breakin’, I suppose
Why The Change?: No idea! Guess they just wanted to be more specific in the UK.

1. Adventures In Babysitting
UK Title: A Night On The Town
Name I Prefer: Adventures In Babysitting
Why The Change?: I have no idea but it appears to now have the US title in the UK. Both names aren’t great but A Night On The Town really sucks.

Some Other Title Changes:
These are all the movies I could think of but I found a list with more at Wikipedia if you’re interested. There are some funny ones I didn’t know about, like Bonnie And Clyde originally being called Bonnie And Clyde…Were Killers! in the UK.

US: Zootopia UK: Zootropolis

US: Perfect Catch UK: Fever Pitch

US: Pirate Radio UK: The Boat That Rocked

US: Dead Alive UK: Braindead

US: Tomorrowland UK: Tomorrowland: A World Beyond

US: Reindeer Games UK: Deception

US: Encino Man UK: California Man

US: Harry And The Hendersons UK: Bigfoot And The Hendersons

US: Howard The Duck UK: Howard: A New Breed Of Hero

US: The Professional UK: Leon

US: Point Of No Return UK: The Assassin

US: Hoosiers UK: Best Shot

US: Live Free Or Die Hard UK: Die Hard 4.0

US: The Mighty Ducks UK: Champions

My Top Ten Drew Struzan Movie Art Pieces

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Yesterday I reviewed Drew: The Man Behind The Poster, which is a documentary about legendary movie poster artist Drew Struzan. Struzan has created some of the most well-known & iconic film posters and I love his work. I decided to do a separate post highlighting some of my favorite Struzan pieces of movie art.

At first I was going to focus just on his art that officially got used (whether originally or for anniversary editions). But in looking at his official website (HERE), I discovered a lot of art I like that I’d never seen before. So I figured I’d include all movie-related work (so, I’m excluding things like his super cool Black Sabbath album cover). I already KNOW I’ll be missing something & I’ll later kick myself for it. He’s done so much that it’s hard to narrow it down and, while there’s a long list on his site, I have no idea if it’s complete plus not all the images are shown.

So, after spending probably an hour looking up Struzan’s art, I’ve decided that these are my favorite. Probably. For now. I’m so indecisive! πŸ˜‰ I’ll fully admit that I have a very hard time not letting how much I like the movie influence my opinion and, indeed, I like all of these movies. Remember I’m not an art expert in the slightest – I just really like the look of these. Especially number one. 

Now here are My Top Ten Drew Struzan Movie Art Pieces:

Honorable Mentions

Indiana Jones Quadrilogy, Squirm (I don’t know this movie but the poster makes it look awesome despite the 4.4 IMDB rating!), Star Wars Original Trilogy, Back To The Future 

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10. TIE: The Goonies & Adventures In Babysitting

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9. Big Trouble In Little China

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8. Ladyhawke

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7. The Dark Tower as seen in The Mist

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6. The Muppet Movie

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5. Revenge Of The Jedi

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4. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

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3. Back To The Future Trilogy

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2. Pan’s Labyrinth

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1. The Thing

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Adventures In Babysitting Sequel Is Coming… NO!!!!!!!!!

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*sigh*

Okay, I have to take a deep breath. Give me a minute…

Serenity now!

Okay. So, Disney are making a straight-to-cable sequel to one of my most beloved movies of all-time: Adventures In Babysitting. I reviewed Adventures In Babysitting (also known in some countries as A Night On The Town) HERE as part of my CPD Classics series where I used to review my very favorite films. My sad 80’s dorkiness is on full display in that review (and my obvious girl crush on Elisabeth Shue at the time). I don’t care – I’m not ashamed. It’s a great movie and really deserved way more recognition than it got.

I read about the sequel in this article here: moviefone. It’ll be called Further Adventures In Babysitting and will star Disney Channel actresses Sabrina Carpenter & Sofia Carson (before they move on to twerking and Spring Breakers 2 if previous Disney Channel stars are anything to go by). πŸ˜‰ Speaking of that, the article mentions that Miley *barf* Cyrus (I just threw up in my mouth) was once attached to the project so thank god for small favors, I guess – that may have pushed me over the edge. I’m trying not to lose my head!

No. Just…. No. This will be SO bad. It’ll be so tame and “Disneyfied”. Adventures In Babysitting was sort of a “family film” but it was aimed more at teens & pre-teens with some slightly saucy scenes & naughty language. It had some balls and was actually funny.

*sigh*

Well, if anything, it gives me a chance to mention the original again to anyone who’s never seen it. I highly recommend Adventures In Babysitting, especially to anyone who is fond of the 80s. πŸ™‚

CPD Classics: Adventures In Babysitting (1987) Review

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Adventures In Babysitting (1987) (aka A Night On The Town in some territories. That title is even worse!)

Directed by Chris Columbus

Starring:
Elisabeth Shue
Maia Brewton
Keith Coogan
Anthony Rapp
Penelope Ann Miller
Bradley Whitford
Calvin Levels
Vincent Phillip D’Onofrio
George Newbern
John Ford Noonan
John Davis Chandler
Ron Canada
Albert Collins as himself
Lolita Davidovich
Clark Johnson
Kirsten Kieferle

Running time: 102 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Chris Parker’s (Elisabeth Shue) boyfriend cancels their anniversary meal plans so Chris decides to take a job babysitting the Andersons’ 8-year-old daughter Sara (and 15-year-old son Brad, who has a huge crush on Chris so sticks around as well). Chris gets a call from her friend Brenda to say she’s run away from home & is now stuck in the big city (Chicago) with no money & needs Chris to come get her. With Sara, Brad, and Brad’s obnoxious friend Daryl in tow, Chris leaves the suburbs & heads into the city. A night of hilarious high jinks & mishaps ensues! Don’t f*^k with the babysitter…

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Why It’s A CPD Classic:

This movie came out when I was in my early teens and, my god, I loved this thing! I think a big part of the reason why I liked it so much was that I could really relate to Elisabeth Shue’s character Chris. I had a similar babysitting job one summer where the boy wasn’t much younger than me but couldn’t be trusted to look after the younger sister so the parents had me “babysit”. I also had to deal with the boy’s annoying friends (although none were as obnoxious as Anthony Rapp’s Daryl). Oh, and I think the boy had a crush on me, too, just like Keith Coogan’s Brad had on Chris. I was too young to drive, though, so we had no crazy adventures in Chicago. I shouldn’t admit this but… (You know I will! Lol). Okay – I think I wanted to BE Elisabeth Shue in this. We had similar hair, I thought she was really pretty & her personality in this was a lot like mine, and (this is the sad part) I totally got a coat very similar to her “dead grandpa’s” coat that she wears all through this & topped it off with a colorful scarf just like hers. (Should I have kept that to myself?) πŸ˜‰

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As for the film, I think it’s actually very funny & even a little bit on the naughty side for a movie with the word “babysitting” in the title. It’s probably aimed more at mid to late teens and I think the title may have put those that age off it as it does sound like more of a “family” film than a teen movie because of it. I know this film so well that I’m having trouble on what to write for those who may know nothing about it. Let’s see….

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You already know I loved the character of Chris. I’m from a very small town & I thought it was funny how they took these kids from the suburbs & put them in the big mean city where, naturally, they come across gunfights & car thieves & men with hooks for hands & blues singing & subway gangs & toe stabbings & hookers & spiking Tab with Drano & Thor. Of course! And the whole time this is going on, we’re shown Brenda thinking SHE’S having the worst night of her life stuck at the bus station with a crazy homeless man demanding she get out of his house (a phone booth), someone stealing her glasses, and a run-in with a rat.

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The Anderson kids are good. Sara is quite smart & feisty for an 8-year-old and Brad’s crush on Chris is sweet. His friend Daryl is a typical, horny, annoying 15-year-old boy. You’ll probably hate him but he does have some great funny lines. The car thief who befriends them is totally loveable, there are lots of quotable lines I still say to this day, the “Babysitting Blues” scene is a CLASSIC (I don’t care what you say! It’s funny & the song is so catchy!), and the sweet babysitter from the suburbs taking on two rival gangs on the subway gives us one of my all-time favorite scenes & quotes in a movie.

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Then we also get some fabulous songs: Real Wild Child by Iggy Pop being my favorite. Also 25 Miles by Edwin Starr and a very fun opening scene where Chris dances around to Then He Kissed Me, setting her character up as a sweet, suburban 17-year-old girl from 1987 (nowadays she’d be twerking up against that bedpost). I know this movie won’t be for everyone and a teenager today may just find it silly but I was the right age for it and I’ll always love it. That’s why Adventures In Babysitting is (yet another late 80’s/early 90’s!) CPD Classic.

My Rating: 9/10

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See the Cast of Adventures In Babysitting Then and Now

Link here to the following pictures and a couple more: ScreenCrush

I LOVE Adventures In Babysitting – one of my all-time favorites. Does that make me a dork? I don’t care. It’s awesome. Don’t fuck with the babysitter! πŸ™‚

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