Film Friday #190

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

A group of career criminals come together to do a bank job but in the process something goes horribly wrong and several members of the gang, including Mr Orange (Tim Roth) are shot. Accompanied by Mr Orange, Mr White  (Harvey Keitel) returns to the warehouse where they’re supposed to await Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney), who has assembled the team to do the job. Soon after, Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi) arrives adamant that the reason the job has gone wrong is because someone involved  is a rat who set them up. Mr Pink wants to take the loot and run but Mr Blonde (Michael Madsen) has turned up with a policeman (Kirk Balz) as a hostage and things are about to get real. It’s hard to believe this iconic film was Tarantino’s first but at the time that it came out no one was doing anything like this. Of course when you look back now it has all of Tarantino’s hallmarks – extended pieces of dialogue, rambling random anecdotes, graphic violence and gritty characters. And it’s all wonderful. It’s also packed with amazing performances. Keitel is great as a man living according to his own strict moral code, Madsen is intense as the clearly unhinged Mr Blonde and Tim Roth pulls off an impressive multi-layered character but there’s no question that Buscemi absolutely steals the show. He’s brilliantly nervy and twitchy and unpleasant but you can’t help being fascinated by him and almost rooting for him. All of this makes for a film that sucks you in and holds you in its thrall to the last minute. Reservoir Dogs  is the ultimate cult classic and if you haven’t seen it you need to get on it sharpish. 5/5

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I’ll thank you not to mention again that we all look like we bought our suits in Primark

The Armstrong Lie (2013)

This documentary by Alex Gibney follows one of the greatest scandals in sporting history – seven time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong’s eventual admission that he took performance enhancing drugs throughout his career. The film explores Armstrong’s unlikely rise to hero status after his battle with testicular cancer. It also examines the underlying doping scandal within cycling as a sport and the incredible lengths that various competitors and their medical teams have gone to to enhance their performance without detection. In some ways this should make you see Armstrong as a scapegoat, unfairly targeted in a competition where everyone is equally dirty but as Gibney spends more time with the man himself as well as his various “enemies” any sympathy soon fades. Armstrong is unrepentant of his behaviour and it soon becomes clear that his choice to take performance enhancing drugs is just a symptom of a desire to absolutely dominate everyone around him and build and maintain power. He decimates everyone in his way whether they are competitors or friends by whatever means necessary and he is presented as ultimately one of the most unlikable characters I have ever watched a documentary about. The Armstrong Lie is an interesting character study and keeps your interest throughout however it does over labour some of its points and has a tendency to drag a bit. Solid. 3.5/5

I'm a motherfucking killer wasp, bitches!

I’m a motherfucking killer wasp, bitches!

Sunset Strip (2012)

Another documentary this week. This one charts the history of Sunset Strip, the most famous street in Los Angeles, known as the ultimate edgy entertainment destination throughout its lifetime. Using a combination of archive footage and talking heads including famous faces like Johnny Depp and Ozzy Osbourne every era of the Strip is explored showing its evolution from farmland to the home of rock ‘n roll nostalgia it is today. Although I enjoyed this documentary and found learning more about the Strip interesting it felt like it hurtled through each period of its lifetime at a breakneck pace only giving you only a little snippet of its rich history. I kind of feel like it would have worked better as a miniseries with each episode looking at a decade. Worth watching just for clips of different performances from some real music and comedy stars through the years. 3/5

Joined at the head the performing twins were a massive hit on the Strip

Joined at the head the performing hairy twins were a massive hit on the Strip

Rat Race (2001)

A series of different characters are all visiting Vegas for different reasons. Straight-laced lawyer Nick Schaffer (Breckin Meyer) is at a bachelor party he’d rather skip. Owen Templeton (Cuba Gooding Jr) is a football referee who is trying to escape the media heat on a terrible decision he’s made during a game. Duane (Seth Green) and Blaine Cody (Vince Vieluf) are a pair of conmen looking for their next score. Vera (Whoopi Goldberg) has come to meet the daughter (Lanei Chapman) she gave up for adoption years ago. Randy Pear (Jon Lovitz) is on a family holiday. And Enrico Pollini (Rowan Atkinson) is a batty Italian tourist on a trip to the USA. Each of them finds a special chip which gives them access to a special meeting with Donald P. Sinclair (John Cleese), the casino owner who has an interesting proposition for them. He has placed two million dollars in a safety deposit box in a town called Silver Rapids and whoever gets to it first can keep it. What ensues is a mad dash that will result in every competitor getting into series of increasingly bizarre scrapes in their attempt to get to the cash. What they don’t realise is that Sinclair has actually set up the whole race for a group of high rolling gamblers to bet on like a human horse race. There is no question that this film is silly and not just a little bit silly… ridiculously silly and there is zero character development. However it is entertaining in a harmlessly mindless way and the bit with Hitler’s car, despite being total bollocks historically is absolutely hilarious. A lot of fund if you fancy turning your brain off for an hour and a half. 3/5

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Donald’s party popper didn’t have quite the effect he was hoping for

26 Comments

  1. Great reviews lady. Ah, Reservoir Dogs is truly a goodie!

  2. Always love this feature. Love Reservoir Dogs. Rat Race was very funny, but did stretch logic quite a bit. I hate armstrong so much.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! Armstrong is a massive penis. His arrogance is just awful to watch. You want to shake him.

  3. Quite an eclectic quad you chose! Watching Seth Green and his swollen tongue idiot brother was the best part of the film. Every antic was hilarious especially combined with the classical music score. Reservoir Dogs, quite the classic from the 1990s 🙂

    1. Abbi

      Somehow I always end up with a massively mixed bag. I’m not normally a fan of dumb movies but there is something so entertaining about Rat Race. I doubt it would work now but at the time it was perfect for its era.

      1. Yes, I agree! I don’t mind admitting I loved it.

  4. theipc

    HA HA HA HA!!! RAT RACE!!!! I haven’t seen that in forever!!

    1. Abbi

      You should watch it again. It is dumb but funny!

      1. theipc

        I should! I will!

  5. Rat Race sounds like a warmed-up version of It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

    1. Abbi

      I have not seen that one. Will have to look it up.

  6. I just watched The Armstrong Lie. As someone that would do pretty much anything to win, I could kind of see where his will to win at all costs came from. Obviously it was wrong, but when everyones doing it, I mean theres no excuse for him and his lies, I dont know, I just didnt come away from it hating him like some have.

    Glad Reservoir Dogs got full marks from you though 🙂

    1. Abbi

      It wasn’t the doping. It was the way he turned on friends and the lengths he’d go to to destroy his enemies. I could totally understand why he just gave himself the advantage everyone else had but the way je treated people was too much for me.

  7. I’m not a fan of Reservoir Dogs. There, I said it. But yes, Rat Race is just good silly fun.

    1. Abbi

      I can totally see why you wouldn’t enjoy it. Tarantino is really a love/hate director.

  8. Great post. I ADORE Rat Race. Such a dumb but hilarious movie.

  9. Tom

    Great collection of films Abbi, I love these Film Friday posts! 😀

    1. Abbi

      Thank-you! I will keep them coming!

  10. Say what you want about my taste but Rat Race was one of my FAVORITE MOVIES growing up!

    …I honestly wonder what I would think about it now!

  11. I saw The Armstrong Lie at a local film fest. Yeah the subject is intriguing and the access was unprecedented but overall it wasn’t an amazing doc. Rat Race is a hoot! Well anything w/ Rowan Atkinson usually is.

    1. Abbi

      Oddly enough I didn’t think Rowan Atkinson was the best thing about Rat Race. I was all about Jon Lovitz.

      1. Whatever happened to Lovitz these days? I haven’t seen him in anything of late.

  12. Yeah…I really need to see Reservoir Dogs. Lol. Aww I have a soft spot for Rat Race. Sounds like you might, too. Not a fantastic film, but I remember having a few giggles over it with my dad when I was younger. Nice reviews, Abbi!

    1. Abbi

      Rat Race is really silly but manages to be fun because it doesn’t take itself at all seriously. Reservoir Dogs is amazing. It’s like watching Tarantino emerge from an egg into the world. (I’m not sure that makes any sense).

      1. Hahaha I think I get where you’re coming from with Tarantino. I do wanna give Reservoir Dogs a try, although admittedly Tarantino isn’t always my cup of tea.

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