“It’s Groundhog Day, except…” is a fairly easy way of describing most movies that feature a time loop situation, it tells everyone exactly what to expect right off the bat. For example, Happy Death Day is “It’s Groundhog Day, except there’s a killer on the loose”. Well, when it comes to describing the oddly relaxing Palm Springs, one could quite easily say “It’s Groundhog Day…. with a pool”.
The idea of technology gaining sentience and turning evil is old hat at this point. Chances are good that you’ve seen something that’s used this as a foundation for the narrative, be it the iconic 2001 A Space Odyssey or the recent Child’s Play remake or even some episodes of the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror (the ones with either the killer Krusty doll or the Pierce Brosnan murder house). It’s a classic bit of Sci-fi that is usually just a twist on the old Frankenstein tale, in that a thing man created is what will actually destroy man. It’s a interesting little idea that can end up creating some interesting stories… unless you give the AI the voice of Bustopher Jones from Cats and then we might have a problem.
At the time I write this, I will have seen a little over 150 films so far this year. Considering that 2020 has been a roaring dumpster fire for cinema with every film seemingly moved to some point in the future, that’s not a bad total. Here’s a bad total though, out of those 150+ films you wanna take a guess how many of them featured an LGBT person as one of the named main characters? 15. 15! 15!! That’s one in every ten films that feature a character that openly identifies as either L, G, B or T.
In the romance genre there is an interesting variation that I will lovingly refer to as the “Oops, cancer” film. We’ve seen the story play out before numerous times, boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, either girl or boy gets terminal cancer in a way that’s handled with all the grace of the breast cancer reveal in The Room. Recent saccharine films with this story include I Still Believe, a film that was more about preaching the word of god than telling a story about a couple in love going against a powerful disease, and Irreplaceable You, which took the “Oops, cancer” moment and used it as a jumping off point for a film about a dying wife trying to set her husband up with someone to look after him when she’s gone. The films made with this “Oops, cancer” reveal currently take up a solid quarter of the lifetime TV movie schedule. It’s also a film trope that lives and dies on the charm and liability of its leads… so, how does All My Life fare? Better than most, but it still has problems.
So, we’re approaching the final quarter of the year. The home stretch. The time when the fat lady starts warming up so she can hit the high note. The point when everyone should have started working on the “Good Fucking Riddance 2020” banners that we will all be hanging up because this year has been, to quote Jake Tapper, a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck. This has definitely been reflected in what has been available at the cinema.
Some sex comedies question the human condition and our reliance on the act that the French call “the little death” in order to create a connection, some sex comedies mock the societal hangups we have regarding the act that is required to create life and some sex comedies point at some of the absurd elements of the sexual act itself… then there are the sex comedies that appear to be written by people who have never even heard of the concept of sex and wouldn’t know what to do if you handed them written instructions regarding what parts go where. That’s the best way I can explain something as completely unfunny as A Nice Girl Like You.
Sometimes, you just want to watch a film where you know the ending before the movie even starts. You just want something that’s safe and digestible, something that you can call the ending absolutely perfectly from the second that you hear the basic setup. In this turbulent world where every day feels like a month and every one of those day-months feels like a free flowing fountain of frenetic feelings, sometimes you just want stability. You want a film you can set your watch to, pop it on and know every step on the way and know that it’s going to be a fun ride. You want a guarantee… Love, Guaranteed.
2019 brought the hit series After to cinemas and… it was awful. A bland flavourless movie that only exists because the One Direction fanfiction it’s based on did well online. It made about $12 million on a $14 million budget and in a fair world that would mean the series died there… of course, that’s just the domestic total. Worldwide, After made (I swear I’m not joking here) $69 million and therefore it was going to get a sequel. Now, the first film was spectacularly bland so surely the second film is going to be just as bland right? Right?
…So, this is somehow less original than 50 Shades of Grey and a lot less interesting.
On August 24th, video emerged of Jacob Blake being shot 7 times in the back by police officers. He was not resisting arrest, he was not armed, he was not in any way a danger to the officers. He was getting into his car after breaking up a fight and was shot by police 7 times IN THE BACK (that ‘in the back’ part is why I’m not going to be hearing your counter arguments on this. not kidding, don’t bother trying to justify this, you can not). Now, fortunately (at the time I type this) Jacob survived this attempted murder by the police, although he is paralysed from the waist down but he is just another in a long line of unarmed black men who have been shot by police who disproportionately shoot unarmed black men.