Secret Obsession (2019) – I’ve Got A Secret

Released: 18th July
Seen: 5th August

I almost feel bad for taking so many cheap shots at Netflix and their original films. I’ve lambasted them, I’ve mocked them, I’ve put them on my “worst of” lists but I swear I don’t do it intentionally. Netflix probably makes the exact same amount of good and bad films as any other distributor… the catch is that a bad Netflix film is one you can only see on Netflix with a Netflix branded logo right up the top hammering home just where you saw it. I also don’t mind that they have bought so many subpar films, they have to do their best to try and outright own as much content as they possibly can since they’re having content pulled by their corporate partners who are trying to make their own service. Hell, they just lost all of Disney’s stuff while Disney prepared for Disney+, I can’t imagine that Fox properties will stay on there for long thanks to the Disney merger and CBS is pulling a ton of its stuff too in preparation for whatever they’re doing with their own platform. I get that Netflix is trying to maintain a large number of films and aren’t that fussy about the quality… but god damn I wish they’d maybe try a little harder to not pick up the scraps that fell off Lifetime’s table.

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The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019) – DIVE DIVE DIVE!

Released: 31st July
Seen: 4th August

In the 1980s there was a huge refugee crisis in Sudan. Thousands of Ethiopian Jewish refugees fled persecution by making an arduous trip to Israel. To help get these refugees from Sudan to Israel, Mossad agents set up a fake hotel as a cover that they used to keep eyes off them while they were sneaking large numbersof refugees to somewhere safer. The entire endeavour was lead by a man named Gad Shimron and he, along with his team, saved over 12,000 people from persecution. It’s a story that Gad put in a book called Mossad Exodus or you can read a condensed version in an article from The Sun. To quote the end of the article “It is, [Gad] says, important to remember that the bravest people in the story aren’t the Mossad operatives but the Ethiopian Jews who endured endless hardships trying to reach Israel by land, sea or air — uncomplaining men, women and children who crowded into trucks, small boats or planes with no guarantee of safe passage.”… but Hollywood decided that they could get Captain America to play a Mossad agent and that changed the focus considerably.

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Otherhood (2019) – Eh

Released: 2nd August
Seen:3rd August

It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is no job on earth harder than being a mother. It’s a 24/7 job that starts the second the child is born until the second one of the two people involved in the mother/child dynamic is no longer on the earth. Mothers will do anything for their children, including taking part in an elaborate bribery scandal to get their obscenely well off children into expensive colleges that they don’t deserve to attend. Mothers truly are something special, and they remain mothers even when their children have moved to another town and begun living lives that are completely separate from their parents. Of course, sometimes kids can be jackasses and forget to call their mothers while they’re off living their lives. When that happens there’s only one thing to do… an elaborate comedy about invasion of privacy that ends up going well for everybody!

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Someone Great (2019) – Something Very Above Average

Released: 19th April
Seen: 13th May

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Is it just me or does Netflix have a weird habit of hiring actors from the CW network and giving them a cheesy romcom to play around with? We had that very recently with The Last Summer and The Perfect Date, two movies that were certainly watchable but nothing really worth writing home about (but totally worth writing a thousand words on the internet about because that is apparently my life now) and both of them have already been basically forgotten. There’s even another one coming out later on this month called Always Be My Maybe and heck, maybe that one’ll end up being the one that is just a little bit better than “Ah, it’s pretty good” because we’re still at “Ah, it’s pretty good” levels right now with another film in this genre.

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Wine Country (2019) – *Insert bad wine pun here*

Released: 10th May
Seen: 11th May

Wine Country

Sometimes, in order to make a good comedy, you just need a good comic actor and let nature take its course. Half of the movies by people like Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy are testaments to just what you can do when you get someone who is naturally funny and let them loose on film. So when the basic description of a film can be boiled down to “half a dozen of the funniest women on SNL go to Napa and drink wine for 90 minutes” I was all in, it’s a simple plot that is basically designed to have the actresses show off just what they can do and to come up with some good comedy… I mean, I’m sure that was the intention but let’s talk about the execution of that idea.

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The Perfect Date (2019) – Maybe Not Perfect, But Good

Released: 12th April
Seen: 6th May

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Yesterday I talked about a little Netflix teen comedy called The Last Summer that, while watchable, lacked a real cohesive plotline and likable characters despite the actual charm of the lead cast. It cannot be understated just how important those two things are in a teen rom-com, they basically are what will give the movie an audience that goes beyond the specific demographic that will watch every single one of those movies. So what would happen if we take a similar cast from The Last Summer, including a different Riverdale alum, but make all the characters charming and likable while also allowing them to interact through a cohesive plot that doesn’t make me want to rip my eyeballs out with tweezers? Well, that’s when you get The Perfect Date.

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Isn’t It Romantic (2019) – Heartwarming or Heartburn?

Released: 28th February
Seen: 5th March

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This review was going to start with a paragraph that would try to discuss the concept of postmodernism, originally I would go through the concept and throw out a few assorted examples like Duchamp’s “Fountain” or the movie Scream and then create this elaborate explanation about how it’s self-critical and how no one understands it. This is how a lot of my reviews begin, a tangential observation about the general concept of the film that is meant to provide context and to have something that appears before the “Read More” text on the main page. This allows me a chance to not only give a point of reference early but to make use of a stupidly expensive degree that I will probably never get to use in any other context… and that, my dear reader, is a postmodern version of the opening paragraph to a movie that clearly is trying to be a postmodern critique of romantic comedies.

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Paddleton (2019) – Sweet Enough

Released: 22th February
Seen: 23rd February

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Originally, I was planning to see a movie called Lords of Chaos, a thriller about a Norwegian Black Metal band. I didn’t know much about it, other than it was inspired by an actual band and involved suicide, murder, arson and other shocking concepts. I was going to go see that but since I don’t make money from this and don’t get critic screenings a cost factor kicked in and I decided it wasn’t worth it so instead I ended up watching a movie about a man slowly dying of cancer… which, shockingly, was way more enjoyable sounding than the movie about the Norwegian Black Metal band.

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Polar (2019) – Sub-Zero-Par

Released: 25th January
Seen: 22nd February

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On the 1st of February in 1982, the television sketch comedy series Not the Nine O’clock News aired an episode that contained a song called “Nice Video, Shame about the Song”. The song was a satire of the recently created MTV and in particular the music videos that had begun littering it with insanely strange yet interesting imagery that accompanied substandard songs. This was the era when all you needed to make it in the music industry was a confusing “artistic” music video that ran through every new tool that was made available at the time. The Not the Nine O’clock News team satirized this by making the most garishly elaborate video they possibly could, complete with images of comical satanic rituals and Elizabethan dress-up, all set to a song that was intentionally designed to be confusingly bad. It’s one of the most gloriously pointed critiques of the music video genre and the phrase “Nice video, shame about the song” became a bit of a personal shorthand for films that worry so much about looking cool that they don’t bother thinking about things like plot, character or dialogue. Films like Avatar or Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets are films that I would put into this category… and now, we can throw Polar into that very specific group of films

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Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) – Did Somebody Mention Art?

Released: 1st February
Seen: 1st February

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According to Urban Dictionary, the term “Velvet Buzzsaw” is a term with two possible meanings. The first one is a slang term for vagina (Which the dictionary itself uses in the sentence “As the conversation became sexually charged, she could feel her Velvet Buzzsaw begin to hum”). The second being an extreme oral sex technique where the male essentially motorboats the aforementioned vagina, meaning it’s theoretically possible to Velvet Chainsaw a Velvet Chainsaw. Interestingly, both these meanings of the term predate the conception of this movie by decades and neither one really has anything to do with the actual content of the film. It’s a vulgar title that elicits an image that the film itself chooses not to use; it merely refers to it when one female character explains that she used to take that on as a name in a moment that implies it reflects on her past. It’s a nickname that links her to female art groups like Pussy Riot, an artist group that intentionally chose a name that suggests sexuality in order to gain attention so that their message can be heard.  Now, I bring all this up to show you the disconnect between this film and the very idea it’s trying to explore… that art critique done for the purposes of profit is a crime worthy of the death of the critic and all those who might profit from their work. This idea makes this a fun film to try and talk about, but let’s see what happens.

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