Based on Timecop by Mike Richardson & Mark Verheiden
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Ron Silver, Mia Sara, Bruce McGill, Gloria Reuben
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDb) Max Walker, an officer for a security agency that regulates time travel, must fend for his life against a shady politician who’s intent on changing the past to control the future.
Okay, despite loving ’80s & early ’90s movies as I grew up on them, I had never seen a Jean-Claude Van Damme film until watching Bloodsport a couple of months ago. Goddamn, that movie was FUN! I liked it so much I gave it a full-length review HERE. It was cheesy & cliché & just the right amount of ridiculous to make it into that “so bad it’s good” category (like my beloved Road House!). Timecop, unfortunately, was not nearly as much fun but I did still quite enjoy it.
I think Bloodsport gets away with its great early ’80s feel (although it came out in 1988) but Timecop has too much of that bad ’90s action movie look & feel about it. And hints of that future horrible mullet are starting to appear. Again, Van Damme is not exactly a “good” actor so it’s hard to take him too seriously as this heartbroken cop who enforces, like, the laws of time travel or some shit. I don’t know but that sounds a bit like the Loki TV show so far! Which, admittedly, is a great idea for a story but was executed very poorly in this film. Which is a shame as, honestly, this could’ve been a kick ass movie with an even bigger budget & a blockbuster star and a far better script. But Timecop was still kind of fun even though Van Damme did his signature splits far less than in Bloodsport (but he did them at least twice including a great split across a kitchen counter which was almost as cheesy as the “tree splits” in Bloodsport). I couldn’t find a good image of the kitchen counter splits online so I grabbed this from a video:
By the way, Van Damme gets his naked bum out briefly in this movie just like in Bloodsport if you’re into that sort of thing.
What can I say? This movie isn’t good but it’s fun. Watch The Adjustment Bureau or the fantastic Predestination if you want to see truly good stories involving time travelling cop types. Watch Timecop if you want a dumb time travel story written around Van Damme doing sexy splits & Mia Sara, aka Ferris Bueller‘s girlfriend, showing her boobs. Oh! OH! And a baddie has an AWESOME (***spoiler*** but not really a spoiler as this movie is predictable) death scene. Awesomely BAD but so bad it’s awesome. Like, BAD low-budget body horror shit for a few brief seconds out of fucking nowhere in this thing. Loved that. I’m giving this an extra half a point for the best dumb death scene I’ve seen in a while.
Happy November, everyone! It’s cold. It’s dark way too fucking early. I hate this time of year. It makes me feel like this:
Well, here’s what I watched & reviewed in October…
MOVIES THIS MONTH
MOVIES REVIEWED (ranked best to worst):
Since everyone does the horror thing in October, I mostly just re-posted & reblogged some short reviews I did of horror movies I watched this year. So these are just the brand new reviews that I posted in October.
• Mandy – This is one that will probably grow on me. I’ve seen nothing else like it. I’ve already reviewed it in full HERE. – 7.5/10
• Interstella 5555: The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem – The above image is from this movie, which I doubt anyone reading this has actually seen. Here’s some info from Wikipedia: “Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem is a Japanese-French anime adventure fantasy science fiction musical film. The film is the visual realization of Discovery, the second studio album by Daft Punk. Interstella 5555 tells the story of the abduction and rescue of an interstellar pop band. The film was produced by Daft Punk, Cédric Hervet and Emmanuel de Buretel with Toei Animation under the supervision of Leiji Matsumoto. The film has no dialogue and uses minimal sound effects.” Yep – this movie is definitely not for everyone. If you absolutely love Daft Punk (I do) and like anime, you may enjoy it but it’s obviously for a very specific target audience. There’s no talking – it’s just Daft Punk songs through the whole movie so it’s like a long music video with a fun story. Is it a good film? Maybe. It’s certainly not perfect but I loved the style and the music. I admit that I love Daft Punk, though, so am likely to enjoy any type of art that they put out. I still prefer their film Electroma, however, which has similar themes regarding humanity & becoming human. I recommend both films but only to massive Daft Punk fans. – 7.5/10
• The Garden Of Words – This (as well as the below film 5 Centimetres Per Second) is a very short anime film from the same director as Your Name (Makoto Shinkai). I liked both of these films a lot. I also went to an anime film in the cinema last weekend (Mirai) from the director of Wolf Children & Summer Wars (Mamoru Hosoda) so I think I’m getting a better idea of whose films I like beyond just Studio Ghibli (but nothing will ever top those). So far, I’m preferring the gorgeous style of Shinkai’s films and the simple human stories, which are often bittersweet. This story revolves around the friendship between a 15-year-old boy & 27-year-old woman who both feel a little lost. I probably liked 5 Centimetres Per Second just as much but felt the characters were a bit stronger in this one, especially the woman. – 7.5/10
• 5 Centimetres Per Second – Also from Makoto Shinkai, this short film reminded me a lot of Your Name when it came to the visuals and the story involving love with too many obstacles. If I was a teenage girl, I’d probably absolutely adore these films as they’re so often about young love and its difficulties (but I’m old & bitter!). I do like the bittersweet mood in Shinkai’s films but, more than anything, it’s the overall look that I love. This film is beautiful and I love movies where the stills (such as below) are works of art that you want to stick on your walls. I’m definitely looking forward to more films from this director, even though they’re often quite “teenage”. – 7.5/10
• Fist Of Fury – I watched Enter The Dragon as one of my Blind Spot movies this year and absolutely loved it so said I’d like to watch Bruce Lee’s other films. I enjoyed this one as well but definitely far prefer Enter The Dragon, which has that completely funky Seventies thing going on (and John Saxon & Jim Kelly, who were groovy as shit). Here’s the Wikipedia synopsis: “Lee plays Chen Zhen, a student of Huo Yuanjia, who fights to defend the honor of the Chinese in the face of foreign aggression, and to bring to justice those responsible for his master’s death.” This one isn’t as “fun” as Enter The Dragon (if you’re looking for that sort of thing in a martial arts film) but it’s a revenge story and I always like a good revenge story. Lee kicks ass (obviously), which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I found that I didn’t care enough about the characters. You need to feel the same desire for vengeance as the characters feel. In Mandy & in Kill Bill, I really wanted to see all those evil bastards get their comeuppance. I just found the story & characters a little weak in Fist Of Fury, especially compared to the main characters in Enter The Dragon having strong personalities and some good backstories. Oh well – I still enjoyed this and plan to watch more like it. Any recommendations, MIB? – 7.5/10
• The Handmaiden – Well, this was a little saucy. This is from director Park Chan-wook, whose work I haven’t seen much of yet (Oldboy, Thirst, etc – I’ve only seen Stoker). As with Stoker, this was a really lovely film to look at but I far preferred the story in The Handmaiden and thought it was a much better film overall (although it felt a little too long). It also starts out very slow and almost Merchant-Ivory-boring-drama-like so have patience if you do watch it. It felt like nothing was really happening for ages and then WHAM!, you suddenly get all kinds of great double crossing and triple crossing and saucy sex and, shit, even some illustrated tentacle porn (!). You never know who you can trust and I liked that the movie kept you guessing after its first twist. And I hated those pervy men! I really enjoyed the story once it finally got going & loved the ending. (To clarify, I just mean the overall ending and not the specific final scene – I’m not that kinky). – 7.5/10
• Bohemian Rhapsody – As this is a current film, I’ll try to review it in full soon. Really enjoyed it but it’s not going to be an all-time classic. – 7/10
• What If (aka The F Word) – I liked this waaaay more than I expected to, considering I don’t go for romantic comedies often and Daniel Radcliffe does nothing whatsoever for me (obviously. gross – he’s a little kid). I’ll never ever see Harry Potter as a romantic lead but I do seem to like the movies that Zoe Kazan has made in this genre: Ruby Sparks was good and I absolutely loved In Your Eyes, which is my favorite romantic movie in a very long time (not counting cartoon romances – those are more believable. Carl & Ellie in Up! WALL-E & EVE!). My point is: I don’t like live action romance often because I don’t find it very realistic. The characters and the things they do feel so phoney. That’s why I enjoyed What If as the two characters felt more real than in a lot of rom-coms. Some things were a little too damn perfect, such as her amazing career as an artist and her lovely home and her cute outfits. Plus the ending we see over the end credits was a bit barfy. But the two main characters themselves had great chemistry, great conversations, and felt like the best friends that they immediately became. I thought it explored the issue of of “can a girl & a guy just be friends” quite well and you could really feel how difficult it was for Radcliffe to maintain the friendship (he’s clearly in love with her but she’s already in a serious relationship). Too bad everyone else in this was annoying, though. Their friends kind of sucked and I especially hated her sister. The two leads were good but the rest were a bunch of twentysomething twats. – 7/10
• Timecrimes – I was really hoping to like this much more than I did (sorry, Brian!). I was intrigued by the following Wikipedia plot synopsis as I freaking love stories involving time-travel-fuckery: “This Spanish science-fiction thriller film stars Karra Elejalde as Héctor, a man who becomes part of a time loop and must stop his other selves from continuing to exist.” The time loop was interesting and hurt my brain just enough to keep me satisfied without leaving me totally lost (like with Primer). I think my only issue was that the main guy was a bit of a selfish prick, especially when it came to his treatment of that poor girl. Oh well – I did still enjoy the story as I do always love this sub-genre. I just got more enjoyment out of the fantastic Predestination & even that complicated Primer in a weird sort of way. Actually, these three films would make for an interesting trilogy of movies if you wanted to nerd-out on complex time travel films one night. – 7/10
• Labor Day – This movie was okay and probably the first time I found Josh Brolin somewhat hot. He didn’t even do it for me in The Goonies, although I was the perfect age to have a crush on him at the time. Here’s the IMDb synopsis: “Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited.” Kate Winslet, as the depressed mother, once again gives a great performance. I’m not necessarily a fan but do think she’s one of the most talented actresses around and I really felt for her character. I seem to like films involving depressed old women. What does that say about me?! Anyway – Winslet & Brolin had good chemistry & I wanted them to live happily ever after but I can’t recommend this film to many as most would find it a little boring. I suppose it was. – 6.5/10
• The Dinner – Wow. This sucked. I read the book last year (review HERE). It wasn’t the most enjoyable read as the characters were all a bunch of total wankers but they’re actually much worse in the film. The story was intriguing in the book, though, and the film adaptation completely ruins it. At least the book felt somewhat original as each “act” was a different part of a fancy meal (appetiser, dessert, etc etc). That’s not used in the film at all. To be fair, I was so bored by the movie that I ended up playing on my phone (at home) & paying no attention whatsoever so I probably shouldn’t review it. Oh well – I just did. Sort of. Skip this movie. If you’re interested in the story, only read the book. If you want to save your time, I’ll tell you what their asshole kids did so you can skip this. Here you go! SPOILER:
The kids (3 teenage boys who are brothers & a cousin) kill a homeless woman by setting her on fire & filming it. Nice. This is revealed early in the film but is a big secret in the book. Their parents meet for dinner to discuss what to do about it (most want to cover it up). Rich, hateful, disgusting characters and the film does nothing to say that their behavior was wrong. Feels a little irresponsible. – 4/10
• Jug Face (aka The Pit) – What a load of shit. The worst movie I’ve seen in the six-year history of my blog- 1.5/10
BOOKS, TV, MUSIC, MISCELLANEOUS THIS MONTH
• The Outsider by Stephen King – This was okay but a little disappointing. Regulars know by now that I’m a huge King fan and always read every new book of his that comes out. He’s had some really good ones in recent years (I enjoyed the Mr. Mercedes series). This one started out well but it took way too long to get to the weird supernatural shit, which is what I like. The crime was also way too graphic and violent for my liking. Yeah, I love horror stories but don’t love gore or realistic violence and the start of this book was more of a crime novel, which I rarely go for. I don’t want to spoil things but the addition of a character from previous King novels really helped the second half of this book as I like that character a lot. But I felt that all the new characters in this one were a little weak and the finale was too similar to the endings of other King stories. Damn – I’ve just realized I’ll have to update my post where I ranked ALL the King books I’ve read (post HERE). Where will The Outsider go? Probably in the bottom ten. – 3/5
Currently Reading: Bird Box by Josh Malerman & Stories Of Your Life And Others (a collection of short sci-fi stories, including the one made into the film Arrival) by Ted Chiang.
TV SHOWS WATCHED
• The Haunting Of Hill House – I started watching this on Netflix as I’ve really liked some of Mike Flanagan’s films (especially Gerald’s Game & Absentia). I don’t think the TV format works for me anymore. Two episodes in and nothing has happened. I could’ve watched a movie instead in that time! I don’t have the patience or the time.
• Doctor Who– Figured I should give this another try now that there’s a female Doctor. I started watching this just after moving to the UK when the Christopher Eccleston ones started. They were very good and then the David Tennant ones were even better (he’ll always be my favorite). I loved this show for a while but it all turned to shit when Tennant left and I believe different writers took over. I’ve watched the first two Jodie Whittaker episodes. While I think she may be okay (hard to tell yet), the stories were weak as shit. Is that really the best they could do for the first two episodes?! Should I bother continuing?
• Oh, and Grey’s Anatomy has started again. I never like to admit to watching that girly bullshit. My excuse is that the hubby never lets me watch anything good without him so I need something I’m allowed to watch when I’m alone…
BLOG PLANS FOR THE COMING MONTH
Once again, nothing planned due to lack of time. May try to catch up on reviewing all the current films I’ve seen in the cinema. The end of November is also my six-year blogiversary so I’ll try to do my usual blogiversary post (it’ll be far shorter than my five-year post!).
Holy shit – Looks like there are a lot of cinema releases I kind of want to see in November, though. Damn.
November Movie Releases:
• The Nutcracker And The Four Realms – Ha! Maybe not. Dreadful reviews so far, I see.
• Juliet, Naked – Shit, I didn’t realize a Nick Hornby adaptation was coming out. I like his books so I’ll try to read it then catch this on Netflix.
• Widows – Crime drama isn’t a genre I love but the trailer looks good. It’s also a book I may read first and then check the movie out at home.
• Overlord – Not sure on this. Looks like my type of weird shit but, again, think I’ll wait for it on Netflix.
• The Grinch – Ugh. My daughter wants to go so I’m sure we’ll check it out but they better not fuck-up a beloved Christmas TV special from my childhood. At least nothing can be worse than that nightmare Jim Carrey version of this.
• Wildlife – Good reviews but I’ll probably wait for Netflix unless it gets Oscar buzz.
• They Shall Not Grow Old – Does look very interesting – will try to catch this as it’s going to air on TV.
• Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – Again, I’ll probably wait to watch this at home but am interested in seeing this documentary before the Tom Hanks film.
• Suspiria – I’ll go to this but am sure it’ll piss me off. Make something original, Hollywood!
• Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald – I have zero interest whatsoever in this. The first one was shockingly boring.
• Robin Hood – Meh.
• Serenity – Diane Lane! I love her. Oh, Anne Hathaway… I hate her.
• Shoplifters – What’s this?! It’s a Japanese film with amazing reviews. I’ve just watched the trailer & really want to see it but know it’s very unlikely to be showing anywhere near me.
• Ralph Breaks The Internet – This is honestly the only mainstream movie I really want to go & see in November…
• Creed II – I’ve been bugging the hubby to watch all the Rocky movies with me since I really liked the first one. He hasn’t. So I can’t watch this. I mean, WTF? I’m like a fucking DREAM wife. What wife wants to watch the Rocky movies?? Oh, and if he’s reading this: will you please let me watch more Akira Kurosawa films, dammit??? I’ve had that boxset for years.
• The Possession Of Hannah Grace – A horror movie with decent ratings so far? If it’s a horror that’s actually good, I’ll watch it!
• Three Identical Strangers – Intriguing story. I’ll watch this documentary someday.
• Anna And The Apocalypse – Okay, a movie crossover that actually hadn’t occurred to me. Zombie apocalypse musical? Again, it’s a Netflix flick but I’ll watch it eventually.
I have to end with this clip from Interstella 5555, which was Daft Punk’s video for Digital Love:
Based on ‘—All You Zombies—’ by Robert A. Heinlein
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook, Noah Taylor
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB) The life of a time-traveling Temporal Agent. On his final assignment, he must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time.
Of all the mindfuck time travel movies, this is one of the mindfuckiest. And I love a good mindfuck time travel movie so this was exactly my sort of thing! I’ll discuss it a little but promise to remain entirely spoiler-free.
I absolutely love sci-fi above all other genres when it comes to movies but I’ve read very little of it. I figure it’s all way too over my head, especially the ones involving complicated time travel. Therefore, I’ve not read ‘—All You Zombies—’, the Robert A. Heinlein short story that this movie is based on (or anything by Robert A. Heinlein for that matter). But it’s a great story! Bizarre & a bit mental but thoroughly entertaining. I’d love to actually read it now. From what I read about this movie afterwards, as it’s one of those where you immediately go online for some explanations, it’s very faithful to the story so Heinlein fans seem happy with it. From what I can tell, one element has been added which was probably to make it a little more “exciting” for a movie audience? But I don’t think it was a necessary addition as the main story is strong enough. I need to track down the actual short story now…
As I said, I’m going to remain spoiler-free but that will make this a very short review. I believe this movie is one where it’s best to know nothing about it beforehand in order to get the most enjoyment from it. However, I’m going to include the trailer at the end for anyone who needs further convincing to check this one out. Which makes no sense as I just said you should know as little as possible… 😉 Basically, only watch the trailer if you’re mildly interested but skip it if you already know that this sounds like your sort of movie.
The Spierig Brothers have made very few other films but I’d be interested in seeing them make more based on how they handled this one. The only other movie of theirs that I’ve seen in Daybreakers (they clearly like Ethan Hawke). I really liked Daybreakers but I don’t think it was hugely successful. I have to say Predestination is a lot better, though, so I don’t know why it seems to have gone fairly unnoticed. The movie it most seems to get compared to is Looper but I think it’s a stronger story with much better performances (especially from Sarah Snook, who I’ll talk about in a minute). I wouldn’t say the two are very similar other than that they’re both about time travel & have a similar sort of mood. Otherwise, Looper is more of an action movie whereas Predestination is an introspective film that’s more about the characters than about trying to capture a criminal (making the above plot synopsis a bit misleading). You could be disappointed if you expect a lot of action from this one: Predestination is somewhere between Looper & Primer. However, I think I understand Predestination after reading explanations of parts of it online & I think I could follow the timeline if I watch it again whereas Primer will never, ever make any sense to me whatsoever (I attempted to review PrimerHERE).
Will someone please watch this & discuss it with me?? My hubby fell asleep ten minutes into it! (He was tired…). I really enjoyed it but there’s one bit that’s all “Whoa… Whaaaat?!?!?” so I’m not sure if everyone could move past that bit & fully appreciate the film. If you can, you’ll be treated to one heck of a bizarre story. You’ll also experience a truly fantastic performance from Sarah Snook. Why hasn’t she been in more films?! I don’t know her at all. All I’ve seen her in is a small role in Steve Jobs. Hawke is also very good in this (I love him but don’t always think he’s the best actor) but Snook is the one who truly makes this movie. Without her intense performance, I think the story would be harder to accept.
As for time travel accuracy, I’m no expert so can’t say how “possible” this story is but those who know more about that sort of thing have written about this movie (and short story) so there are plenty of more well-informed scientific opinions you can find online. I learned all about a specific time travel paradox that I won’t name as it might give too much away to any sci-fi people but, once you’ve watched this movie, HERE is a good link I found at astronomytrek.com when I Googled “Predestination explanation“. Obviously, don’t click that link unless you’ve seen the movie! And don’t watch the below trailer if you now desperately want to see this based on my amazingly worded review. Stay in the dark unless you’re one of those who must feel all your Christmas presents.
Running time: 77 minutes
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB) Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there’s something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they’ve built, wrestle over their new invention.
What. The. Hell. Seriously – if you’ve seen this movie & you’ve come here looking for answers, you’ve come to the wrong place! I’m far too stupid for this movie. Don’t get me wrong – I love movies that make you think. Believe me, I get bored with all the braindead Michael Bay blockbuster type shit that keeps being made but Primer just made my head hurt.
First of all, anyone who reads my stuff often enough probably knows that I have a tendency to fall asleep anytime I try to watch a movie at home. Hey, I’m tired & old & have a young child – give me a break! I’ve never fallen asleep during a movie as many times as I did while trying to make it through Primer, though. Holy shit! I think it took me about seven separate attempts to finish it plus I had to keep rewinding the bit where they “time travel” (or whatever the hell it was that they did) for the first time & the one guy was explaining to the other guy how it works & I was trying to wrap my little brain around his explanation. That bit was complicated enough as it was but then they kept doing the time travel thing and trying to undo things and, I dunno, undo things undone and, like, try to stop someone being shot or something and make money off the stock market or some shit like that and double selves talked to past selves and past selves talked to double selves (is that right??) and they did all this while lying around in this time travel box thingy that they created in this one dude’s garage. And they talk & talk & talk about scientific gobbledegook the entire time. Blah blah blah. At least I found one of the main two guys (Shane Carruth – also the film’s writer & director) kind of sexy in that “really smart guy who wouldn’t talk to me because I’m a complete idiot compared to him” kind of way. I love smart dudes!
Anyway, these two engineer dudes create this time travel box by accident while working on some other confusing scientific thing. This is one of those movies where, unless you’re Einstein, you have to go reading about it online afterwards. Normally I enjoy having to do this but I couldn’t be bothered this time. The first place I go if I want to refresh my memory before I do a movie review is Wikipedia just to read the full plot summary (here’s the one for Primer). Hahaha! Well, I can’t even make it through that without getting confused all over again so I gave up on reading anything further about this film. And this is the first time I’ve seen Wikipedia include diagrams to help explain a movie. I’m going to include the one that explains how the time travel works in Primer. I don’t consider this a SPOILER but I’m putting a little warning here just in case you want to watch this movie without knowing anything beforehand. I think seeing this diagram first may help, though – I wish I’d actually seen it before watching the movie. If you like the look of this diagram & if it actually makes sense to you, please watch the film so you can explain it to me. 😉
Oh, that’s the simple one. Here’s a chart that apparently explains the whole movie (link HERE to be able to view it properly. I got it from THIS article, which gives a fairly simple overview to help you understand Primer. But I still don’t!):
From what I could gather, Primer is about time travel. It was directed by, written by, produced by, edited by, scored by, and starring Shane Carruth, who is clearly some sort of can-do-it-all genius. He also managed to make this on an extremely low budget and, although it seems low budget in some ways, it’s also pretty damn good for the small amount of money Carruth had to work with. It has lots and lots of technical mumbo jumbo that went way over my head but, from the tiny bit I’ve read online, it’s all accurate scientific stuff so boy genius Carruth obviously knows his stuff. I’d maybe hate him for being so perfect if he wasn’t so cute and if I didn’t find guys with big brains a total turn on. I’m never watching another movie of his again, though. Screw Upstream Color – I’ll stick with things like Back To The Future. I can follow that. Oh look – it’s now Lone Pine Mall! Haha! I get stuff like that! Plus a DeLorean is way cooler than a stupid box.
My Rating: 6.5/10
YES! The smart dudes in Primer use a Weeble in their first time travel experiment (well, they don’t know the Weeble is time travelling at first but figure it out because some sort of shit accumulates on it. Or… something. No idea). Anyway! Weebles were awesome. It gave me very fond memories of the two cool Weebles sets I had as a kid (the circus and the haunted house).
I really wanted to know which Weeble was used in Primer. From the movie photo above, I’d say it looks like the boy in the circus set:
It was quite a while ago that I watched Primer so I can’t remember if they used more than one Weeble in their experiments. Maybe. Yes, I spent longer researching Weebles than I did researching an explanation of the movie. This is how my brain works. But I had a lot more fun reminiscing about Weebles than I did watching Primer! 😉
By the way – I think these UK Weebles looked really weird compared to the American ones I grew up with:
**Feel free to try to discuss Primer with me in the Comments but I’ll be just as happy (happier) if you want to discuss Weebles and any other retro toys instead** 🙂
Darius (Aubrey Plaza) is a disillusioned college graduate who interns at Seattle Magazine. One of the magazine’s writers, Jeff (Jake Johnson), proposes to investigate a newspaper classified ad that reads:
“Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.”
Jeff selects Darius and [intern] Arnau (Karan Soni) to assist him. They travel to the seaside community of Ocean View to find and profile the person behind the ad [Kenneth (Mark Duplass)].
This film got the third highest number of votes when I asked all of you which film I should review next. Everyone was very enthusiastic about this one and I didn’t know what to do as I hadn’t really planned on reviewing it at all. Not because I thought it was bad but, sometimes, I’m just not sure what to say about a film. But I keep my promises so here goes…
I’d been wanting to see this ever since first hearing about the plot. It’s a great idea and I always love that – too many movies are so unoriginal these days. I know it was inspired by a real (joke) classified ad and think it’s great they were able to write a script around this simple idea. I really didn’t know where they’d go with the story.
I did think this was a good film and am glad I watched it but it was just missing *something* for me. Can’t quite put my finger on it. For one thing, from what I can gather, people seem to be big fans of some of the actors in this. That’s of course going to help people to enjoy a film. But I really didn’t (and still don’t) know anyone in Safety Not Guaranteed.
Aubrey Plaza was the best thing about the film for me – I can sort of see why people would already like her from other things she’s been in. I know she’s in a show called Parks And Recreation. I’m not a TV person so this show means nothing to me. Mark Duplass also means nothing to me. Not sure what he’s most famous for but know he makes movies with his brother Jay. I’ve watched one, Cyrus, which I had a hard time finishing. I think he’s certainly an acquired taste. As for his character in Safety Not Guaranteed, I couldn’t connect with him. He was a little too odd, a little too indie-movie-quirky misunderstood weird guy? I don’t know… Just didn’t quite work for me and I couldn’t help but think that Aubrey Plaza’s Darius should run away from him as he seemed the type to have bodies hidden underneath his floorboards.
As for the other characters, I ended up almost liking the story of Jeff (Jake Johnson) a bit more. His story is a little bit like that of Simon Pegg’s Gary King in The World’s End with the whole wanting to relive the past thing. Being my age I, unfortunately, am finding that I can relate to these sort of characters (way) too much. Arnau (Karan Soni) felt a little unnecessary – he seemed to mainly be there to help us understand and give more depth to the character of Jeff. I did think the two characters worked well together.
Safety Not Guaranteed takes a brilliantly simple story idea and gives us an intelligent script with some good complex characters. It ticks all the “indie” boxes but not in that annoying and needy way that some indie films do when they’re trying too hard. It’s a film that the casual cinema goer will probably hate (and may think is seriously going to be about time travel). As with many indie movies, it’s not for everyone. It’s about the characters and, if you can’t relate to at least one of them, you’re not going to enjoy the film. I did enjoy it but do wish I’d cared more for the character of Kenneth. It’s a film I think I should give another chance and re-watch sometime in the future. Anyone have a time machine? 😉