Dallas Buyer’s Club headlines this week in movies–plus a 1940s classic and an animated movie that should be close to your heart.
We’ve been doing movie reviews since the dawn of time, if time began when RVANews did. But it turns out, we have a secret life watching non-first-release movies at home, during the 40% of our lives that we’re not in theaters. Between Ross and myself, we cover at least five a week.
You can see where this is going.
Why limit film reviews to just one a week? And why use all those dang words? Can’t we give you the goods in one or two paragraphs? This way, you can hear about a film currently in theaters, some Netflix streamers, and even an occasional DVD. More bang for your buck! And you don’t even have to provide any bucks!
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Dallas Buyer’s Club (2013)
At some point in the recent past, Matthew McConaughey grew tired of shirtlessly sailing boats around with Jennifer Aniston. Starting with Magic Mike (in which he was still shirtless), continuing through Mud (OK, OK shirtless in that one too), and now in Dallas Buyer’s Club, McConaughey has eschewed his alright alright alright-ness and become an incredible actor.
In DBC he plays a heterosexual man with AIDS who’s unwilling to let the FDA’s glacial pace in AIDS research dictate his chances of survival. So, with his transvestite business partner (wonderfully played by Jared Leto), he starts the Dallas Buyer’s Club: a club in which paying members receive monthly doses of some drugs that the FDA (and their Big Pharma buddy buds) have yet to approve. —R
- Why you should see this movie: It’s a well told story with some incredible acting by McConaughey, Leto, and Jennifer Garnner.
- Why you shouldn’t: The thought of an unhealthily thin McConaughey definitely wearing a shirt terrifies you.
- Bechdel Test: Ummmmm, it’s complicated. Maybe we can talk about it in the comments!
It’s the craaaazy (not too distant) future, and they love celebs even more than we do in the boring ol’ present! They love them so much, in fact, that an entire industry has sprung up around the trade of diseases that once infected your favorite celebrity (like…Jared Leto). So for a hefty price, you can go to a high-end clinic and get your mouth injected with hepatitis cultured from that which was once inside of your beloved famous person (Jared Leto).
Directed by David Cronenberg’s son Brandon Cronenberg, everything about this movie made me want to barf—but kind of in a good way. Cronenberg takes the concept of internalizing a piece of an idol to weird, literal, unexpected places and then he makes you hang out in those places for a good long while. —R
- Why you should see this movie: You liked Idiocracy and feel kind of dead on the inside.
- Why you shouldn’t: You love life and would prefer to keep it that way.
- Bechdel Test: There are two female characters in the film, and one’s just a sack of meat (maaaaaybe literally). So, no.
His Girl Friday (1940)
If you think you love Cary Grant, just wait until you see Rosalind Russell absolutely dominate the screen in this film about the newspaper biz. She plays an insanely talented and driven journalist who wants to give up the fast-paced, male-dominated news industry to find some time for herself. The thing is, she absolutely loves her job. Could there be anything more relatable?
As with a lot of great movies from the era, the writing in His Girl Friday is witty, biting, and as fast as a speeding bullet. Set the iPad down and pay attention, you’re in for a boatful of great dialogue. —R
- Why you should see this movie: Because it’s a hilarious classic about a person in a super relatable situation.
- Why you shouldn’t: I…really couldn’t say. Maybe you’re a bad person?
- Bechdel Test: No! But! It’s a film about a woman in a strictly male industry that, until the final 90 seconds, steers clear of any machismo bullshit. And hold the phone, this movie was made in 1940!1
Robin Hood (1973)
New to the world of Netflix streaming but old to the world of my heart, Disney’s Robin Hood (1973) is full of humor, sadness, poverty, and thumb-sucking. Also, some characters get drunk, which is the hallmark of a good kids’ flick. When I was a child, this film was 100% wonderful, and I remember feeling intense sympathy for those poor debtors in Nottingham as that rooster sang “Every town has its ups and downs / And sometimes ups outnumber the downs / But not in Nottingham.” I mean, JEEZ, Disney. Bleak! But it all works out well, due to some great disguises, some zip-lining, some fire, and of course, true love.
It’s good for adults as well: prissy lion Prince John, voiced by Peter Ustinov2, has zero unfunny lines, and Roger Miller (Allan-A-Dale, aka the Rooster) has zero unbeautiful songs. Oh, and a snake has fur, kind of?? —S
- Why you should see this movie: You’re not convinced that quality Disney existed during the dark years between Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid.
- Why you shouldn’t: You just read “The Little Mermaid” and dry-heaved. Although honestly, you’d probably still like Robin Hood.
- Bechdel Test: Not in the least. Maid Marian pretty much just moons over Robin (although he is quite a fox, so who can blame her).
Knight and Day (2010)
I understand that Tom Cruise is a crazy-insane person, and I understand that just by writing that, I will be stolen from my bed tonight and cast into Hades by his handlers. But I must see all of his movies—I think because he just tries SO HARD, guys. Not sure why he’s insisting on keeping up this action star BS as he approaches age 100 or whatever he is, but you can always count on ol’ Tom to give it his all. And while this film has its funny moments, it is so thin and formulaic that you begin to forget it before it’s even finished. Cruise is a guy named Knight and Diaz is a gal named Day, and together they fight crime. Just kidding, but it seems like that should be the case. Instead, Roy Miller (Tommy), an ex-agent of some sort, chases the world’s best energy source around the globe with Peter Sarsgaard in hot pursuit. June (Diaz) gets involved sort of by accident, providing the bombastic foil to Cruise’s slick experience. Together they kill about A BILLION PEOPLE and no one seems to notice or care, and Cruise takes some opportunities to bare his weird barrel chest and also run like the wind. —S
- Why you should see this movie: It’s fast-paced, if annoyingly repetitive at times (June stumbles into a sticky situation, Roy kills everyone, Roy drugs June in order to get her out of there, June wakes up in a new country, surrounded by a new sticky situation, people who are about to die, and drugged drinks). There’s no real twist, and it’s all very predictable, but the dialogue is kind of snappy sometimes.
- Why you shouldn’t: It’s an aging Tom Cruise and a weathered Cameron Diaz pretending to be romantically interested in each other. Shudder! You can witness Tom at his action-star, agent-of-some-sort finest in the Mission: Impossible series. And I suggest you do.
- Bechdel Test: Do not even make me laugh. Do not EVEN.
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