Film Friday #169

RoboCop (2014)

This remake of the 1987 classic follows roughly the same story as the original. In 2028, Detroit policeman Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) is critically injured when an arms dealer tries to divert his investigations. To Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) the CEO of OmniCorp, a multinational company supplying the world with defence robots, this seems like a great opportunity. He will bond what is left of Alex with a machine and convince the resistant American public that repealing a law that forbids the use of his uber-profitable products is the way forward. As prosthetics specialist, Dr Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman) puts Murphy back together his wife (Abbie Cornish) and son (John Paul Ruttan) wait in the wings, desperate to see him. But cyborg Murphy cannot compete with the pure robots as his emotions get in the way… until Norton comes up with the idea of putting Murphy on “autopilot” but making him feel like he is in making his own decisions without him realising that he is entirely controlled by the machine. How long will OmniCorp really be able to suppress the man inside the machine though and what will happen when Murphy decides he’s had enough? This modern version of the film spends a lot more time with Murphy as a character as well as his bond with his family. It also creates villains that are less cartoonish than the original and significantly dials down the violence. For me these were not bad things and I felt that Kinnaman gave an engaging and emotive performance. For hardcore fans of the original these might be negatives, along with a villain charismatic enough to rival Kurtwood Smith’s, Clarence J. Boddicker. One thing that the producers have definitely gotten right though is the technology used throughout the film. It feels familiar enough for devices to be identifiable as upgrades of what we have now but cool and slick enough to seem futuristic. Without the hype of the original this is a decent science fiction movie with a lot of style but probably not enough substance to make a big impact. 3/5

Look it's not a competition to see who has the dumbest outfit, just give me my gun

Look it’s not a competition to see who has the dumbest outfit, just give me my gun

The Paperboy

One very hot summer in Miami, after being kicked out of college, Jack Jansen (Zac Efron) helps his journalist brother, Ward (Matthew McConaughey) and his partner Yardley (David Oyelowo) investigate death row inmate, Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) who they believe is innocent. As part of the investigation they meet Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) an emotionally damaged waitress with a lady boner for convicts who is convinced she’s in love with Van Wetter. Of course Jack immediately falls madly in love with Charlotte who is considerably older than him and sees him as little more than a beautiful distraction. As the investigation continues, Jack realises that everyone involved is covering up some pretty major secrets, Ward included. There is no question that there are some shocking scenes in this film and in some places the story seems to spiral out of control but there are worse things you can look at than Zac Efron mostly naked for an hour and a half and the cinematography makes it oddly mesmerising – kind of like you feel when you’re overwhelmed by a heatwave. McConaughey gives a brave and intense performance and I enjoyed how much The Paperboy embraced its darkness but I couldn’t help but wonder what it was all for. 3/5

No, I am not going to run away and become a pirate

The Sweetest Thing (2002)

When Jane’s (Selma Blair) boyfriend dumps her, her two best friends, Christina (Cameron Diaz) and Courtney (Christina Applegate) decide to take her for a night on the town. For Christina and Courtney it’s all about the action, hooking up and making sure they don’t get attached but when Christina crosses paths with Peter (Thomas Jane) there’s a connection. Initially Christina is adamant that there’s no way she could possibly have feelings for s total stranger but Courtney convinces her that they should gatecrash his brother’s wedding. The two set off on an epic road trip that will involve bikers, glory holes and bad outfits – leaving Jane to adventures of her own. There’s no doubt that this film is crude, stupid and features virtually zero character development. But… it reminds me so much of certain parts of my twenties… not that I ever gatecrashed a wedding… and if you’re a girl and you’ve ever had a couple of girlfriends who you could be your worst, skankiest self with The Sweetest Thing will make you laugh as long as you don’t take it too seriously. 3/5


Shake it like a Polaroid picture!

The Waterboy (1998)

All Louisiana native, Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler) has ever loved is water, which is why his job as the waterboy for a college football team is perfect for him, even if the players spend most of their time torturing him. So when Bobby gets fired, he thinks his life might be over until the coach of a rival team (Henry Winkler) gives him a shot. It’s not long though before his new team gives him just as hard a time, except this time Bobby loses his temper and makes an mindblowing tackle, landing him on the team. The only problem is that Bobby’s overprotective controlling mama (Kathy Bates) thinks “foosball” is the devil and if he’s going to keep playing, he’s going to have to keep it a secret. When this came out I thought it was hilarious and there are definitely funny moments, a lot of them provided by Bobby’s white trash love interest, Vicki Vallencourt (Fairuza Balk) but overall it just comes off as poking fun at someone with learning difficulties and I found it hard to laugh at Bobby’s moments of confusion. I think this probably just should have stayed in the 90’s. 2/5


Hello is that the 90’s? I’d like my sense of humour back


  1. Another not-entirely negative take on Robocop. I hope I wind up liking it at least as much as you.

    And The Paperboy. It is . . . certainly an . . . interesting . . . experience. The performances are pretty exceptional, though.

    1. Abbi

      I doubt RoboCop is going to be the kind of classic the original was but it’s certainly watchable and I normally find action movies really boring.

      There are some impressive performances from some unlikely characters but at several points I thought, wtf am I watching…

  2. theipc

    The paperboy is definitely something interesting… I liked it but I agree – what the hell?

    1. Abbi

      I’m glad I watched it but you do have to wonder how that all ends up in someone’s mind!

  3. The Waterboy was really funny when it came out, but not as funny when watched today. I want to see Robocop and the Paperboy, which never got a theatrical release up here. I saw the Sweetest Thing once and dont even remember it. Nice reviews.

    1. Abbi

      I’m not sure if The Paperboy had much of a theatrical release here either but it is on Netflix at least. RoboCop is definitely worth watching if you get the chance. It’s funny how you can find something hilarious at one stage of your life and then later cringe a bit.

  4. Good reviews. I’m not realy interested in seeing Robocop. Paperboy was good, mostly because of Nicole Kidman and Matthew (Cusack was HORRIBLY miscast). I loved The Sweetest Thing in my teenage years. I laughed like an idiot at that one.

  5. I just saw Paperboy this weekend… ummm yeah weird movie that left me feeling the same way, what just happened and why ??????????

    1. Abbi

      Totally. It’s all kind of weird and interesting but I’m not sure what the message was supposed to be if there was one.

      1. Yes I enjoyed the ride (sort of) but it was like do I care what just happened? UMMM nope!

  6. The more I read about RoboCop, the more I want to see it. Nice to see not everyone hated it. 🙂

    1. Abbi

      The reviews have been very mixed but I enjoyed it. I think a lot of it might depend on how attached you are to the original. I was not.

  7. jennypughuk

    Oh I love love LOVE The Sweetest Thing, and I’m just sorry that I don’t have it on my DVD shelf right now to watch straight away *heads to look for DVD copy online* I love the scene where Jane’s ‘stuck’, I’ll never hear Aerosmith in the same way again 😀

    1. Abbi

      I’m glad it wasn’t just me and my flatmates 🙂 That scene is HILARIOUS!

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