19 February 2009

The Boondock Saints, Fargo, Turistas

The Boondock Saints
William Dafoe, Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly,
Written & Directed by Troy Duffy
Franchise Pictures, 1999, 110 mins., Rated R

4 out of 4

Customers come into my store plenty, and out of all the thousands of titles we have, the DVDs of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Boondock Saints are the most popular (especially amongst teens). After all the hype surrounding Boondocks (which I admit I didn't have too much of an dying interest in), I decided to seize a opportunity to watch it. And the real kicker is, is that I fell in love with the movie within the first scene, as the McManus Brothers attend church, kiss Jesus, and leave to go about their "duties." Then at the half-way point, William Dafoe's detective character is beginning to put the pieces together from all these homicides, and goes to confession to seek guidance, and as you know it - the Saint members are there, holding the priest dude at gunpoint, while another Saint hold the other Saint at gunpoint, hoping that he won't have to shoot him if the other Saint doesn't shoot the priest. Horribly worded, I know I did, but this entire movie is about as perfect as you can get.

After dismissing this titles for ages, I can safely say that Boondock Saints is at the very top of my "Buy on DVD" list. Hell, this movie is so good, even its Deleted Scenes are worthy of inclusion in some form of "Extended Cut." Boondocks epitomizes an 'Andy Movie'; it has everything I want in a good movie: you have your action, your revenge plot, interesting, realistic characters, wonderful performances, and you never know what the hell is going to happen next. It's like The Punisher, but not nearly as over-the-top. I don't wish to discuss much about Boondock Saints, because I'd prefer people to go in without a clue of what they're going to see (worked for me).

Though I do want to touch on a particular actors incredible job in this film. There is really no other performance more awesome than Dafoe whose awesomeness obliterates everything else I've watched of his; this will always be his quintessential performance for me. Top-notch perfection; it's like seeing someone in a new light. Such highlights of amazing points would be when he re-enacts the shooting at the mob house by using his hands as guns, and near the climax when he dresses up as a female to infiltrate a highly secured housing unit. If I didn't like the movie, this performance alone would make it DVD purchase-worthy.

And now I hear they're filming a sequel, The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day to be released later this year; however that may be - fantastic beyond all comprehension or the worst pile of dog shit we've ever seen - the fact is is that fans will always have this outstandingly perfect first installment. And I also want to apologize for those who bought the movie at our store, and I frowned at you, wondering what the hell you're thinking: I'm sorry, the jokes on me. Ladies and gentlemen, aliens and robots alike - I can't recommend Boondock Saints enough, so get off 'yer arse and buy your copy now!

Starring William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
Written & Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen

3 out of 4

Another flick widely talked about that I hadn't seen, nor knew anything about other than its ties to Minnesota, Fargo was one of the more reluctant titles watched in this columm, since I don't have a fancy with the Coen Brothers' films (for the record, I didn't like No Country for Old Men; I thought The Big Lebowski was lame; and I enjoyed the J.K. Simmons segments from Burn After Reading, and not much else - alright, except for Brad Pitt's performance). But Fargo was actually pretty good. Actually, it's very much like their Burn After Reading, how something so simple can unravel and turn into one big giant frak-up of a mess; those type of stories are so fun to watch. In fact, I recall that in one of the special features (the 27-minute documentary "Minnesota Nice") actor William H. Macy thought this story was based on a real event, and asked for more background information, while the Coens looked at him, straight in the face, and said, "Dude, it's all made up; it's just a movie" (slight paraphrasing might have happened there); I dunno why I just added that little tidbit of information, but you just became a little bit smarter.

Fargo is about, simply, one man facing financial troubles (Macy), so he hires some guys (Buscemi, Stormare) to kidnap his wife and hold her for ransom so he can pay his bills. Unfortunately, people get hurt in the process, and this calls the attention of the police force, led by quite the happy camper Marge (McDormand) of a police Sheriff, and thus the kidnapping plan becomes a bit more complicated than initially thought up. It all unravels in a fun, brisk pace which is interrupted here and there by a going-nowhere (unless I'm missing something, which is entirely possible because I was also stuffing my mouth with soup) subplot involving reuniting with a high-school "friend."

If there's one reason to watch Fargo, it's that it's escapism fun. Although you're thanking the Lords of Kobol you're not Macy's character as shit hits the fan, you can't help but be enthralled by each new happening, and wondering how the hell this is all going to end. My only gripe with this film - and it's a small one, but one that pervades throughout the film's entire running time, and has thus caused a major misconception - is that it makes Minnesotans seem other-worldly nice, but also that everyone has that god-awful annoying accent (which, I admit, is so splendidly delivered by our leads - I hated it, but I loved it, y'know?). A) we don't have an accent (although perhaps the up North people do), and trust me, Minnesotans aren't all that nice. It's a toned down version of New York or Chicago, I'd say. It's a small grievance, but I can deal.

I may have yet to warm up to the Coens or praise them abundantly, but there's no dismissing how good Fargo is; granted, it's not something so spectacular that you're going to do a Tom Cruise, but it's a memorable movie that is worth checking out once and a while because there are just some moments that will crack you up (again, like Simmons in Burn After Reading: the final 2-minute scene was frakking hilarious; almost as good as the "hamburger" running joke in Martin's Panther films).

Starring Josh Duhamel, Olivia Wild, Melissa George,
Written by Michael Arlen Ross
Directed by John Stockwel
Fox Atomic, 2007, 98 mins., Rated R

1.5 out of 4

Well, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. That's a positive thought to have after seeing a film, right? It's not entirely negative, and doesn't diss the movie to a high degree. Most of the time spent watching the movie was me and my friend making predictions as to what was going to happen next (which, surprisingly, hardly ever came true), which was quite enjoyable (although I'm sure that the oh-so-delicious popcorn helped smooth this rocky flick along). Turistas hit theaters a few years back and didn't last too long - I wager the lack of any demented serial killer or sadistic forest demons didn't interest the general public, so it quickly faded from sight and landed on the DVD market. No one ever buys it, but I keep looking at the cover, curious if it's any good.

Well, after all this time, I can say that it is a good movie; however, it being categorized as a horror film by pretty much all entertainment stores is incorrect information - Turistas isn't horrific in the slightest; I would actually call it a Action/Thriller, in the same vein as Jessica Alba's Into the Blue, but a gazillion likes grittier and better acted. So, if you're looking for a horror movie, move along - not here. Zilch-o on the Horror Meter.

But what we do have is a good example for why teens should not go to foreign countries, party, get drunk, and meet weird, creepy people (not specifically in that order). No matter how many times a parent or older sibling says "don't do this" or "don't do that", people seem to always turn the other cheek, and do the wrong thing. This entire flick personifies why you don't keep walking - willingly - with some strange guy you just met four hours ago (not counting the period of time you've been drugged and unconscious, mind you): because he's part of a freaky experiment to cut people open! Guh, dumbasses. Throughout Turistas, I'm wondering to myself why on earth these people are following this kid, and I still couldn't think of an intelligent, logical reason for these guys to continue their trek.

There's plenty of nice thrills (again, surprised), and the actors are - for once - not annoying to the brink you're begging the filmmakers to kill them. In fact, I actually rooted for our main characters, which doesn't happen very often in the 'Horror' genre. The performances are fine, the script is tight and to the point, and the cinematography is quite beautiful (but what does one expect when a film takes place in another country?). Turistas is worth a view, but not necessarily something you should go out of your way to see.


thebonebreaker said...


Glad to hear that you enjoyed The Boondock Saints ~ Great Flick!
[I am looking forward to the sequel!]

I am, however disappointed that you didn't like The Big Lebowski :-( [that is one of my favorite comedies!]
Oh well, at least you enjoyed Fargo [better than Burn After Reading!]

As for Turistas - you summed it up well. . .

Fletch said...

When you first started to compare Burn with Fargo, I thought "how dare you!" as, even though I enjoyed Burn, I place Fargo many steps above it. But your actual comparison was one that I thought of when watching No Country, and it's apt here as well. If there's one thread that seems to be common throughout their canon, it's their nature to point out where plans that seem so simple go awry, and they do it damn well.

"granted, it's not something so spectacular that you're going to do a Tom Cruise"

What's a "Tom Cruise?"

Though I may enjoy Lebowski (how dare you!) the most, I always end up knowing that Fargo is their best, because it's juggles the humor and the horror (not literal horror) so perfectly.