Film Friday #176

Party Monster (2003)

Based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, Party Monster tells the story of New York party scene casualty Michael Alig (Macauley Culkin) through the eyes of his best friend James St James (Seth Green). Naive but determined Michael arrives in New York from Indiana desperate to become a party promoter. He thrusts his unwanted friendship onto James, who is the toast of the town and slowly but surely his parties with their crazy themes become the place to be. Initially Michael avoids drugs but as he falls for gorgeous Keoki (Wilmer Valderama), he starts to indulge to fit in, developing a habit that overwhelms everything else in his life. Soon Michael finds it hard to keep hold of what is real in amongst the colourful chaos of traveling from one party to the next while trying to satiate his unstoppable hunger for the next fix, leading to an incident that will not only change the course of Michael’s life but also rock the whole scene. Party Monster is brash, trashy, bright and terribly shallow with a total focus on style over substance, which could come across as criticism but it from my perspective it seemed like a conscious decision to mirror Alig and St James’ lives. Apparently Culkin went mad while playing Alig and I can’t say I am terribly surprised. Overall Culkin’s performance is uneven, sometimes seemingly capturing the spirit of the scene and Alig’s flamboyance but other times coming off as over the top and amateurish. It is Green who often steals the show, completely disappearing into St James, playing against his normal goofy type. It’s not difficult to buy his genuine concern for Alig. This is a film that definitely won’t be for everyone. Some might find the characters annoying and the surrealness of their lives hard to identify with. I found it dark, disturbing and quite fascinating and apparently I’m not the only one, as it’s become something of a cult classic. 3/5

What do you mean this isn't regulation hospital uniform?

What do you mean this isn’t regulation hospital uniform?

The Graduate (1967)

Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) returns home after graduating from college, listless and not sure what he wants to do with his life. Feeling alienated from his parents he falls into an affair with Mrs Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the much older wife of his father’s business partner. Mrs Robinson only has two rules for Benjamin, she doesn’t want to talk about their feelings and she doesn’t want him to go anywhere near her daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross). Of course Benjamin can’t stick to either of these rules and after taking Elaine on a date, realises he’s fallen in love with her. Now he will have to break off his affair with Mrs Robinson without his new love realising that he’s been having it off with her mom or his parents or Mr Robinson finding out. Unfortunately, inexperienced Benjamin has not counted on the wrath of a woman scorned. I wanted to enjoy The Graduate but I had some issues with it. First of all I just couldn’t buy Hoffman as a romantic lead. He’s such a very tiny little man and so all his posturing and performing kind of made me want to giggle. I know that’s really shallow of me but I just couldn’t take him seriously. I also found the bit where he basically turned up at Elaine’s college and stalked her to be really weird. All of that said, the soundtrack is awesome and Bancroft is fabulous as a woman desperate not to disappear as she gets older. I guess it’s one of those classics where I just don’t really get the hype. 2.5/5

Is there something on my head?

Is there something on my head?

This is the End (2013)

This is the End is a pretty unique comedy… since every one of the characters is playing themselves. Neurotic Jay Baruchel travels to LA to visit his friend, Seth Rogen to basically hang out and smoke a whole bunch of weed. But Seth has made a new Hollywood friends who he wants Jay to get to know better so he drags him to a party at James Franco’s house. Jay is none too pleased since he thinks Seth’s new friends are a bunch of pretentious dicks… but when an apocalyptic event occurs during the party the group, including Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson are trapped in Franco’s house fighting to survive. Will they work together or will their egos end up being more dangerous that whatever the hell it is that killed Michael Cera? All the actors involved are having a great time playing parodies of themselves, particularly Franco who embraces the idea that he is a self absorbed, hipster douche bag and absolutely throws himself into it. The arrival of Danny McBride half way through adds a whole other dimension of hilarious insanity, even if you kind of already hate the guy, and Jonah Hill’s weird obsession with Jay is brilliantly creepy. Although the best part is probably Channing Tatum’s five minutes of screen time. All in all, this is just 107 minutes of craziness mixed with a bit of horror that is bound to make you laugh. 3.5/5

XXXX

Danny McBride’s back hair was more than anyone could take

Speed (1994)

After terrorist Howard Payne’s (Dennis Hopper) plan to blow up an elevator goes wrong the two cops that managed to stop him are hailed as heroes and he is presumed dead. Months later one of these original officers, Jack Traven (Keanu Reeves), discovers that a bomb has been placed on a bus and immediately suspects Payne, who has two stipulations – the bus cannot travel below 50 mph and no one can get off. Traven makes his way onto the bus but not before the driver is shot, leaving unlicensed driver, Annie (Sandra Bullock) behind the wheel. Now he must manage traffic jams, unfinished highways and petrified passengers, all while trying to diffuse the bomb and keep Payne at bay. Speed is not without problems – the premise is kind of ridiculous, the script is a bit crap and Keanu, is as plankish as always… but it does have some classic lines (“Shoot the hostage!”), there is a fair bit of chemistry between Bullock and Reeves and, well, it’s pretty action-packed and exciting. It was one of my absolute favourites when it came out and I was thirteen and although it isn’t quite as exciting twenty years later (Jesus Christ, is that how old I am?), it’s still really watchable as long as you can suspend your disbelief. As 90’s action movies go, it doesn’t get much better than this! 3.5/5

What do you mean am I going for pine or mahogany?

What do you mean am I going for pine or mahogany?

27 Comments

  1. The description for Party Monsters fits perfectly: Disturbing yet strangely fascinating…

    1. Abbi

      Thanks. It was a really weird one but I’m glad I watched it.

      1. There is a good documentary about it, it’s available on youtube. Very odd and weird as well… I would say it’s kind of like the BlitzKids Era in the UK. Well, with more fake blood LoL

  2. Great reviews, Abbi! I’m with you on The Graduate (loved the music, though) and while I thought it was funny, This is The End wasn’t as hilarious as it could be.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I’m glad it’s not just me on The Graduate. I expected to love it but it just didn’t live up to the hype.

  3. This is The End is funny as hell to me, it’s fun watching these actors play a parody version of themselves.

    1. Abbi

      I love how they just went with it because none of them came out looking very good.

  4. Glad you enjoyed This Is the End. So bizarre, so silly, but I just…love it. So much. Hahaha. P.S. I sent you an important email! Did you receive it??

    1. Abbi

      I can imagine them all sitting around late one night maybe after some drinks being like what if we made a movie where we all played ourselves and it just snowballing from there. I just checked my email and I don’t seem to have received yours. Can you resend it? X

      1. Lol! Yeah that’s probably how it happened. I just sent an email–let me know if you don’t get it again.

        1. Abbi

          I still haven’t had it. Every now and then Gmail does just decide it doesn’t want me to have an email. It’s really weird. Are you replying to an existing one or sending a fresh one?

          1. Arrrrggghhh. I did both. Basically it’s this: would it be ok if I posted your list later today? Also, could you send me your header as an attachment?

            1. Abbi

              Stupid gmail! And yes and yes!

              1. Got it, you’re awesome, and your list is posted! πŸ˜€ Thanks for putting up with me and this gmail nonsense! Lol.

                1. Abbi

                  No problem! So excited to be part of it.

  5. Speed is such a great action flick and I’m not usually the biggest fan of action movies.

    1. Abbi

      Me neither but for some reason it really works.

  6. Lol – did you just give This Is The End a higher rating than The Graduate??? ; ) I did enjoy This Is The End quite a bit considering I don’t really like any of the actors. I’d like to see Party Monster – have had it on DVD for years but never gotten around to watching it. I like Speed the most of these! Good old popcorn-munching fun. : )

    1. Abbi

      I feel like I have to rate movies based on personal enjoyment, genre and expectation. I enjoyed This is the End more than The Graduate and The Graduate was disappointing where This is the End exceeded my expectations. I did think about that when I was doing the ratings. Speed is a perfect popcorn movie.

  7. I loved “This is the End”. Such a great comedy! Mostly when you consider how many of them suck these days!

  8. I liked Party Monster. It definitely had flaws, but it was alright. Your score is completely fair.

    Great reviews that you have here together!

    1. Abbi

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I can imagine its a really divise film because if you don’t buy into it from the word go it would just grate you every minute.

      1. I can understand how that could happen!

  9. Good reviews! I really liked the Party Monster one and This is the End. Agree with Cara glad you enjoyed it, I love that movie for some reason it makes me laugh hysterically, especially when Emma Watson just shows up. HAHAHA and Michael Cera slapping Rihanna in the ass. OMG talk about throwback I went to see Speed in the movie theater with my parents, can you say totally 90’s.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I loved the bit where Emma Watson thinks they are going to attack her after overhearing their conversation… and Michael Cera was hilarious. We watched Speed in class at the end of term in year nine and we thought it was such a scandal because it was a 15 and we were mostly 14 and it was SCHOOL! Lol!

      1. LOL OMG Speed in school you guys must have been dying. It was probably like the best school day ever (screaming internally). πŸ™‚

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