Beca (Anna Kendrick) is a college not-so-rebel with a love of music and designs to move to LA to be a big producer, but her father (a professor) insists she must give college one good year before he'll consider sending her out to try her hand at her dream. After getting roped into the local all female A Cappella group they struggle to beat their rivals at the national championships.
Life of the Party:
This movie is actually pretty damn funny. It's not roll out of your chair funny, but the writing is witty and clever throughout with great timing by the star studded cast. Plus, if you can manage to hear Lily's lines… there's some darkness there. As I said, this film has a pretty impressive cast and even some great cameos that had me smiling and even at one point yelling "EEEEAAAAAGLLLLLEEEE!" through my parent's house where I was watching this.
Now, this movie is one part romantic comedy and one part musical. They don't bust in to song to have conversations or anything, but there's a LOT of music and singing in this. I happen to be a bit of a music lover and have found myself on stage performing music of all kinds throughout my life. So even if I don't enjoy all of the songs in this (though there are quite a few good ones), it still hits home when a movie is all about performing and arranging for an audience. I say this to caveat that I may have a personal bias, but I was really entertained by this film. The comedy really glued it all together, but even the music and choreography I could largely get into and drew me in to the overall story. Plus you have Anna Kendrick in the lead; who just continues to deliver honest and heartwarming performances and make me love her.
A good chick flick musical? You mad bro?
The plot follows a very rigid Hollywood formula. This is basically Bring It On in terms of rise and falls, character profiles, etc. So while watching it you can largely predict where things are going, when songs are going to happen, etc. I will say, however, that even with that being the case it's the way they handled the minute to minute details and dialogue that made it all worth watching. Also, if you don't like modern pop music AT ALL, this may annoy you a lot. Though, there are quite a few 80's and 90's throwbacks which I think were the best parts.
Fat people always gotta be laying down on the job...
The Vibe: Date Night - Ladies Night
I watched this alone (sort of…), but in order to maintain my man card I'll say that I watched it because I pretty lady I know recommended I watch and review it. That being said I can see this being one of those films that girls are going to want to sit around and watch or ask their boyfriends to watch with them. Most men aren't going to be all "OMG LET'S WATCH PITCH PERFECT!", but it is a funny and entertaining enough film that if you are asked to watch it you should just be like "Yeah! That sounds good!". Women will get into the female leads and music while men can get into some of the absurd comedy and cleavage abounds. All-in-all I'd say in terms of Hollywood cookie-cutter date flicks, this is the cream of the crop.
+ Funny. Legitimately funny.
+ Anna Kendrick
+ Decent music mixes
+ All-star cast
- Cliche plot progression
- Not all the music will be for everyone.
- Drink every time Kimmy-Jin is a bitch
- Drink every time Fat Amy touches her stomach
- Drink whenever Beca has headphones on.
- Drink twice whenever you see "The Breakfast Club" or a reference to.
- HARDCORE MODE!: Drink every time someone puts "a ca" in front of something.
This film follows 6 couples as they battle with different trials and tribulations of becoming pregnant or being parents, both planned and unplanned. We get to view this miracle from different perspectives such as young, old, married, dating, one night stands, adoption, accidents, long term efforts... pretty much any way that you can think of having a kid; it's at least touched on here. But despite this fact, I'm not entirely sure how the film really works as a translation of a pregnancy guide of the same name.
Life of the Party:
The film is well shot and edited, though does absolutely nothing special in either of those terms. The acting is... what you expect from everyone who is in it. It's by no means bad acting, it's a star studded cast and so you're not going to grown at poor deliveries or awkward glances at the camera. The real strengths, however, are in the few touching moments in which we catch a glimpse of the love that only a parent can know for it's child. As a man with no kids I obviously can't exactly relate to that, but it's not something I'm ignorant about entirely having talked to many of my friends who are parents about what it's like. It also definitely gave me a reminder of what my parents likely went through to have me. I don't have the closest knit family, though we don't hate each other or anything, we're just all a little aloof. So sometimes a film like this helps to remind me of the sacrifices made for me to be here. There are also a few moments of humor that I did find myself openly chuckling at. Not rolling on the floor laughing, but... a good chuckle.
I'm not sure what makes me think this movie was targeted at women, call it a hunch.
Remember how I mentioned the film did nothing special? Despite the bit of good I can say above, that's really the ultimate description of this picture. It's just a typical Hollywood film targeted at women for profit by preying on motherhood. There's no real advice or wisdom to be taken out of it in terms of “What to expect when you're expecting”, which from my understanding of the book is actually QUITE full of. Much of the humor is directed at the men in the film, often portrayed as bumbling idiots with no spines that must follow the direction of their wives or face their wrath. For instance Vic Mac (Chris Rock) constantly lets his oldest child get injured or wander off unsupervised, generally just being a terrible dad, but then the film tries to convince you that he's a great dad who loves being father more than anything else in one of the movie's clear moral soliloquies. The whole film just feels trite and formulaic throughout. There is one exception to this, and that is the story of Rosie Brennan (Anna Kendrick). The story arc itself is still contrived, but Kendrick turns what should have been a shallow shell of a character into the only seemingly genuine performance of the whole two hour endeavor. The reason why I saved that for the Hangovers and didn't mention her awesome job in the Life of the Party is because the sad thing is that she's the only female lead who DOESN'T have a kid in a film about HAVING KIDS.
"Look, we're the only two love interests in this movie that are actually attractive. I think we have an obligation to procreate..."
The Vibe: Ladies Night – Date Night – Family Night
I watched this film because I wanted to pick a movie to review for Mother's Day today, and as such pick a film that maybe showcased motherhood. Also we don't often take the time to review films like this on Tanked Matinee, so I thought a change of pace would be good. That being said this isn't a very good movie. It's not painful to watch, but it has very little going for it either. If you're a woman who has kids or wants kids I could see you putting this on and maybe having some “awwwwww” moments, so there is that. But I don't see any reason most men would chose to put this on without persuasion from a significant other. Ultimately I think this movie shines as a family picture. It's dumb and inoffensive and easily digested, so perfect for watching with your parents or kids and bonding a bit over the few shining moments of honesty about the magic and beauty of family. I will say that watching it on Mother's Day did give me some of the “feels” for my parents, as stated previously. So all in all it wasn't a worthless watch.
+ Anna Kendrick
+ A couple of shining moments of honest emotion
- Completely forgettable
- Poor gender stereotyping
- Drink every time a man is forced to back down from his wife/girlfriend, is afraid of her, drink two if Cameron Diaz says she's "the alpha".
- Drink every time Chris Rock is a bad father. (in the movie)
- Drink whenever a Jimmy Buffett references is made.
- Hardcore Mode: Drink every time someone touches a pregnant belly, whether their own or someone elses.
Auteur Woody Allen's love note to New York, this picture majestically follows Isaac Davis (Allen) as he and his friends (Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway, Michael Murphy, Anne Byrne) struggle with what it means to find happiness and love. They say that with age comes wisdom, but perhaps it also brings with it the weight of our past experiences.
They'll never find her body in this...
Life of the Party:
You cannot talk about Manhattan without first talking about the cinematography. Say what you want about Allen, and many people do, but very few directors have an eye as keen as his. His personal love of art and photography has given him a great visual aptitude as a film maker. Allen chose to shoot Manhattan in a panoramic 2.35:1 aspect ratio and in black and white to make every shot look like old photographs of the city he loves that he remembered from his childhood. His talent behind the camera coupled for his love of the city come together to make one of the most visually remarkable films ever made.
In terms of writing and acting, this is Woody Allen. While I will admit that he is more successful with some films than others, all of his films are in some ways self reflection on his past and present and representative of his fear of what they mean for the future. As you watch Allen films you learn about Allen himself and as he is a very interesting and intelligent person, even his worst, I find, are worth a watch. But with Manhattan you don't have to worry about that… this is one of his best. Hell, it's been placed in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress to preserve it due to it's cultural relevance and was nominated for best Screenplay at the Academy Awards in 1979. Speaking of awards, Mariel Hemingway won Best Supporting Actress for this film at just the age of 16 and she deserved it. Seriously, the fact that she not just holds her own on screen with seasoned veterans like Keaton, Allen, and Murphy, but also is a believable anchor to the entire emotional mire is astounding. The acting is honest. That's just the best way to put it. It's as honest as the material, you don't feel as though you're watching actors perform a script. You think you're a fly on the wall watching these people interact and struggle with their own personal baggage.
But I want to make sure that I don't scare you too much. While this film is relatively high brow and intellectual, Allen has a great sense of humor and this movie has plenty of it. It's not riotous. It's not slapstick or whacky like much of today's Rom/Coms. It's just funny in that way that we rarely see anymore…. smart. Allen makes references and allegories, juxtaposes ideas and people, and makes us realize the humor inherent in life itself even when maybe we're hitting rock bottom.
Allen doesn't pitch the jokes right over the plate. While the jokes are funny, they occasionally run the risk of going right over his audience's head. Then there's the fact that the picture doesn't have a "gets the girl" kind of happy ending (Allen's movies rarely do). It's not an unhappy ending or one without some kind of resolution, but it's not all neatly wrapped up for you.
That's really the only two bad things I could potentially say about this movie. That's not to say you may end up not liking it, maybe you won't… everyone has their own taste and as a fan of Allen's work I have come to accept that not everyone feels like I do about his work. But from a technical evaluation of this picture these are the only short comings I could find.
Before my brisk I was THIS big!
The Vibe: Date Night - Solo Experience - Deep Thoughts
We have lots of movies on the site already for watching drunk with friends or maybe even appreciating on a lazy day by yourself. But we do not have many movies you could sit down with a wife, girlfriend, or potential significant other. I wanted to give that recommendation and Manhattan is a great one because I feel like it will appeal to the emotional side of the ladies and the sense of humor and cinemaphile of the guys (or in some cases vice versa!). But even if you don't have a girl to cuddle up with to watch this, if you enjoy some real introspection I still recommend putting this on. Turn off the lights to make the fantastic black and white imagery really pop, grab a glass of your favorite wine or champagne, and treat yourself (and someone you love, hopefully). If you're single I like to think in the end this movie really gives you some hope and an empowering message at the end.. if you're in a relationship watching this, despite all of the fucked up things going on… I feel like at the end you could really connect and feel better about your relationship at the end. Hopefully you'll find the innocence and clarity of love that Hemingway's character brings and remember what it's really all about.
+ Top notch production quality all around.
+ Beautiful black and white shots of New York at it's best.
+ A story about love, not a love story.
- Maybe a bit too smart at times
Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 stage adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera has become an iconic love story, synonymous with romance, beauty, and fantasy in the hearts of countless women. This is actually a real shame, because from a man's perspective, Phantom can basically be summed up as "Friend Zone - The Musical." It's the story of a smart, talented guy with lots of cool hobbies who provides years of kindness and support to the girl he's into, but is forsaken in favor of some rich pretty boy, merely because he just happens to be hideous to look upon, lives in a basement, and is not, technically, employed.*
[* Editor's Note: Not that I'm bitter or anything.]
But, close to home as this story may hit for some guys who are definitely not me, the 2004 movie version is still a beautiful, if controversial, retelling of arguably the most important show of its theatrical generation (or however theater time is measured... epochs, maybe?). For those of you who enjoy music, pagaentry, and romance, but can't spring for tickets to a Broadway revival, this film is absolutely worth seeing.
Life of the Party (Positives):
Obviously, the biggest draw here is the music, and all the iconic songs are present, from epic pieces like the title song and "Masquerade," to the beautiful ballads "Music of the Night" and "All I Ask of You," to the instantly recognizable, goosebump-raising overture, which is paired with a very cool opening sequence of the opera house returning to life after years of neglect. The songs require good performers, of course, and this is the first major point of contention for devotees of the stage show - most of them really hate the casting of Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum as the leads, mostly because they don't sound exactly like the roles' originators, Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, whose distinctive performances left an indelible mark on each song.
Ultimately, this is a matter of personal taste, but the movie cast's performances are entirely defensible as appropriate for their characters. In the original, Crawford gave the Phantom an angelic, ethereal tenor, and Brightman the spectacular strength and polish of a trained operatic soprano. In the film, Rossum's Christine hits all the high notes admirably, but has a far less formal tone, which makes her seem young, innocent, and approachable, befitting her character. Gerard Butler's singing talent is more debatable, as he does seem a little flat in his big solo, "Music of the Night," and has a rough, snarling, undeniably Leonidas-like quality to his voice. This makes him less musically beautiful and entrancing, but does add an interesting hint of menace that definitely belongs there. Personally, I prefer these vocal interpretations of the characters to the classic versions, and though Butler's range is limited, he's still not "Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia!" bad. And, hey, at least they didn't cast Billy Zane.
Even with the many songs and few scenes of pure dialogue, the plot proceeds at a good pace and never gets bogged down anywhere, partially thanks to a few timeline adjustments made to the script, which put key story events at new positions for a more screen-appropriate story arc. Visually, it's every bit as fabulous and colorful as an opera should be, though almost every scene has some stark contrast, darkness, weird imagery, or other visual element that subtly puts the viewer on edge, just a bit. Even the brightest and most beautiful moments have a feeling of danger lurking just on the periphery - something "phantasmal," if you will - which provides the perfect mood throughout.
Potential Hangovers (Negatives):
Obviously, the first hurdle for this film is that it's a musical, and some people just HATE musicals. Fortunately, those people probably won't even be reading this review, which means we can say mean and nasty things about them in the comments section.
One unusual weakness of this movie is that the Phantom isn't actually very ugly. The entire point of his character is that he can create works of sublime musical beauty, but is cursed with a hideous appearance...
...and you'd think the filmmakers could have used their huge budget to give us some awesome makeup effects, or even used CGI to re-create the hollow, skull-like countenance from the original book. Without his mask, Erik is supposed to be more creature than man, with a face that would frighten children and bruise fruit, and yet Butler's Phantom is only mildly scarred, looking like he might have suffered a minor industrial accident at worst. We're expecting Sloth from The Goonies, and instead we just get Zuko from The Last Airbender, which makes everybody else's over-the-top screaming and fainting in reaction seem prissy and ridiculous. I guess the filmmakers took the quality of his singing voice and his appearance and just let them naturally average out, but the end result is definitely a missed opportunity for cool visuals.
The Vibe - Date Night, Solo Experience, Casual Gathering
Though you could have a pretty terrific singalong with the right group of musical fanatics, Phantom of the Opera is an emotional, romantic drama at its core, and is best applied to viewing situations that take advantage of that mood. The Phantom/Christine dynamic provides a deliciously dark sexuality that's great for couples viewing, because let's face it, nobody watches this movie and wants to be (or be with) Raoul, and the bittersweetness of the ending will make you appreciate your real-life romance more. This is a good DVD to have on hand if you're a man trying to show a girl your sensitive side, or if you're a woman who wants a chick flick that will appeal to your guy (though if he's one of those people that just HATES musicals, you should dump him immediately). If you're all alone for the night, but still want an evening of romance, this movie is also lovely when paired with a pint of Ben & Jerry's and plenty of red wine.**
[** Editor's Note: Again, not that I'd know anything about that.]
+ Iconic and memorable songs performed by a competent, if not hyper-polished, cast
+ Lush, gorgeous visuals shot with just a tinge of horror-movie cinematography
+ It's just a beautiful love story
+ DAT OVERTURE
- Differences from the original show may irk die-hard fans
- May convince you that you’d look terribly dashing in a black cape, but you will not, trust me
Length: 143 minutes
Alex "Philosophic_Al" Lane is Creative Director of Tanked Matinee, producer of The Film Philosophy Show, and a champion of obscure movies everywhere. He's been seeking out good romance movies because much like the Phantom, he's been playing a lot of organ solos lately, if you know what we mean.
Hollywood’s relatively current take on the Snow White story (I say this because Mirror, Mirror was out around the same time) is a darker tale than the ones we are used to. It is not as dark as Grimm’s original work, which ends with the Queen being forced to step into red hot shoes and dance to her death, but Hollywood dark. Charlize Theron plays a (hot) woman who pretends to be a prisoner and seduces/kills Snow White’s father and takes his kingdom. The queen then sends The Huntsman (who from this point on will be referred to as Thor) to hunt down the princess so she can eat her heart. They meet the dwarves and a partnership ensues and they overthrow the queen, good feeling all around.
The Life of the Party:
Here again I find myself reviewing another Kristen Stewart movie, once again brought on by the wife. Fortunately this film was well done as well as entertaining. Charlize Theron was pretty great in her portrayal of the Evil Queen, and Thor did his part as The Huntsman. The dwarves steal the show when they are present because they are all good actors, led by Bob Hoskins in one of his final roles before his retirement due to Parkinson’s. The actions sequences are well done, as well as the effects for the dark forest and the dwarves. The movie borrows heavily from recent adventure and action films to the point where an archer that is basically Legolas joins Thor in helping Snow White. The movie doesn’t slow down much throughout and remains entertaining, well worth a watch.
Thor: Hero to the Little People!
Kristen Stewart’s lack of talent may drive many away, but she doesn’t really HAVE to act in this film, it is more about action than story. Otherwise it is a pretty solid viewing experience and not depressing outside a scene with a horse and a dwarf death that you knew was coming as soon as you saw there were eight of them. If you are not a fan of Bella or Thor, you should probably stay well clear.
The Vibe: Date Night/Casual Gathering
This is one of those rare movies that would work in a date night scenario with a nice Shiraz, because Thor is in it. On the other hand it would also be enjoyable with a few friends and some stiff drinks also because it has Thor in it and Charlize Theron. The best way not to get drunk is to drink when Kristen Stewart shows emotion (see chart in Breaking Dawn Part 1), so if you turn that around and drink when she should…well then nothing gets you fucked up faster. This is a chick flick that everyone can enjoy!
I Came as Well!
+ Charlize Theron
+ Good Send-off for Hoskins
- Kristen Stewart
- Kristen Stewart’s “Acting”
This is the first of two parts (see Peter Jackson, it can be done) of the final story in the Twilight “saga” and centers around the finalization of Bella and Edward’s relationship. It begins with their wedding and then they go on a honeymoon and then she gets knocked up and pretty much dies. There are some preludes to the second part of the story (I guess) and CGI talking wolves and stuff too, but overall it tells a really simple story with a lot of fluff.
The Life of the Party:
I am married, so thusly I have seen the Twilight series to the lack of my better judgment. I have to say the atmosphere the films give off is cool and rather well thought out; from what I understand the books do a good job setting the tone for the films. The story is interesting enough and the supporting cast is quite good and the effects (non-CGI) are pretty decent; when she is dying she looks like it. The entire birthing sequence starting with an incredible looking breaking back to the extracting of a gore covered screaming alien….I mean baby has just enough gore to make it right. The story isn’t bad at all, but it is cut short because of the film being split up so that can be forgiven.
Sorry Bella, Someone ate your placenta...
It is part of the Twilight series which literally shits on all vampire lore that Stoker set forth and is a disgrace to all vampire movies and literature; seriously they fucking shimmer, COME ON! Outside of that some CGI elements, especially the creepy as shit CGI baby that Jacob falls in love with at first sight. Not to be confused with the awesome CGI baby in Tees Maar Khan. A person who has not seen the previous films and/or read the books will be at a disadvantage upon viewing this film, so it’s not for everyone. And finally the three lead actors are a bit shit; Kristin Stewart has the acting range of a potted plant that must be watered twice-weekly or it will shrivel up and die. Meanwhile the two male leads can’t scrape together a personality or genuine emotion between them.
I don't know what skeptis is, but she nailed it!
The Vibe: Date Night
This film is suited for mingling with the opposite sex if you are a guy or testing the strength of your relationship if you are a lady. The series is not as bad as guys think it is going to be, so sit through it and shut up. Drinking is highly recommended during this movie because it enhances the experience and lets you deal with the crazy bad CGI a little easier. A good drinking game I think would be drink whenever a man cries in the film or looks as they are going to. Also drink every time a vampire does something explicable like walk in the sun or get an erection without spending blood points. Enjoy the film as a marathon if you can, so like tearing off a Band-Aid it’s all over at once.
+ Back Breaking Scene
+ Supporting Cast
- Main Cast
- Ruins Vampires
- Simple Plot/Long Movie
A musical taking place in the early 19th century Paris, we follow Jean Valjean in his struggle for redemption through the adoption of young Cosette. Meanwhile, he is tracked by Inspector Javert for crimes past and swept up into the French Rebellion.
Do you think this coat makes me look like Willy Wonka?
Life of the Party:
This film tries to do something new and a little interesting. In every musical on film prior anytime you see an actor singing on screen they aren't actually singing. They're lip-syncing. This is because all audio for the songs are recorded in a studio separately and then laid over the video. Reason for this is that singing and acting at the same time is hard! And often times actors don't have great singing voices. However, director Tom Hooper (The King's Speech, The Damned United), decided to have the actors sing their lines as they acted in this case. The idea here being that we could mix the emotion of the scene there at the time with how it was sung. Potentially a great idea; I applaud him for trying. There are places where this shines in the movie and really works. Russel Crowe, for instance, amazed me with how well he could sing. Anne Hathaway had a great voice as well, and emoted in her voice and body just supremely. Also Sasha Baron Cohen is so so awesome. His comedic timing coupled with great body language and even a great singing voice... he steals the movie. There needed to be more of him. Unfortunately this is where the bulk of my praise for the film ultimately ends.
Les Misérables has been adapted to film before, starring Liam Neeson, back in 1998 (and yes, a few times long before that as well). It doesn't closely follow the novel or theater production. Rotten Tomatoes gave that version a 74% approval rating. This movie has received a 70% approval rating. That should be a quick indicator that something is wrong. I'm going to have to address these all individually.
Firstly, Hugh Jackman... you're a great actor. You have successfully proven numerous times that you are more than just Wolverine. But God DAMN IT, you can NOT sing! This is where Tom Hooper's vision REALLY falls flat. Every time Jackman sings (and it's a LOT) I would have rather had two burly men fucking me in the ear. I hear lots of people praising him for his singing, but they're wrong. All of you who say that are WRONG.
Speaking of Hooper's vision and where it went wrong, there is another big reason why movies have not done this in the past and that is because of how audio mixes from different sources. The vocals are DISTINCTLY separated from backing tracks, which are often times so quiet you can't hear them. Anyone who isn't an audiophile isn't going to notice what the problem is, but they will notice that something isn't right.
Back drops. Oh God, the back drops. I'm not sure if they used Green Screens for parts in this film or if they were in a studio with a god damned painted sheet behind them. Honestly, it's that bad in places. Even if they used a Green Screen, I'm pretty sure they just subbed in the IMAGE of a poorly painted sheet. It's as if they wasted their budget during filming and then when post came they were like “Oh... shit. Um, we don't have any money left. So, we're all going to draw these back drops ourselves. Ok, everyone grab a crayon.”
MOTHER FUCKING ACCENTS! This is the worst part of the film. Worse than Jackman's grating singing. The characters are FRENCH, yet not one damn person speaks in a french accent! Now, don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting them to. I expected them all to speak normal American English because this is an American film and I can suspend my disbelief for American accents because of this fact. And while the vast majority of the crew does just speak in an American accent (even Jackman who has thick Australian one naturally)... some people chose to speak with CHRIST PUNCHING BRITISH ACCENTS! Why?! Why would you do that?! Also, Hooper, how terrible of a director are you that you can't tell them “Hey! YOU'RE FRENCH! STOP THAT SHIT!” The two biggest offenders are Helena Bonham Carter and some little kid who is a part of the resistance. Carter pissed me off, but I almost looked past it because of the fact that she's a terrible actress who only gets work because she's married to a beloved auteur. Her British accent is the only one she knows how to do and she does it in every fucking movie where she has to speak with an accent. But then this stupid resistance kid shows up, no I don't know the actor or even the character's name. And I know that's a personal failing as movie critic, but fuck you for judging me. I hated the performance so I'm not bothering to look it up. This little boy speaks with such an outrageous Cockney accent that I wanted to pee on the movie screen. The only saving grace is the kid gets shot. Yeah, I said that. Don't yell at me... YELL AT A MOVIE THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY WHEN LITTLE BOYS GET KILLED!
Well those are the major gripes... there are minor ones throughout, but nothing I wouldn't forgive other films or things that are likely just personal preference (like the fact that I find all of the songs to suck). I think if any one of them were the only problem, I'd have enjoyed this film more. But with all of these things that keep getting thrown in your face during an almost three hour film I found that I just wanted it to END.
Amanda Seyfried is as bored with this picture as I was.
The Vibe: Date Night – Girl's Night – Solo Experience
If you're a guy I don't recommend watching this with anyone else in the room unless you have chicks there. This isn't a party film. It not only isn't good... it's long and depressing as hell. People won't be drinking to have fun, they'll be drinking to die. But if you're trying to score points with a lady, you happen to just like musicals (hell I do... I'll admit it), or you are a lady I recommend drinking wine. Wine is often French (or Californian, where the movie was produced) and is sophisticated and classy so you can feel like the bourgeois looking down on the lowly resistance and the struggles of the common man. For drinking games; drink every time someone speaks in an British accent. If you're a guy you can double up with drink every time a someone in the room cries (yourself included, ya pansy!).
+ Great acting by most of the cast
+ Surprisingly great singing from others
- Post production work is very bad
- Horrible singing from Jackman
- FUCKING BRITISH ACCENTS
- Depressing as all Hell
Lights, camera… exploding swan? Not exactly what pops into someone’s head when it comes to a chick flick, but when a documentary crew comes to film the 50th anniversary of the Mount Rose American Teen Princess Pageant, they come face to face with the sharpened claws of girls aiming to be the winner. Stars like Kirstie Alley, Kirsten Dunst, Denise Richards, Brittney Murphy, and many others play the wide variety of beauty queens and ruthless stage-moms in what starts out as a fun journey for the crown, which takes a sharp turn when the contestants start dropping like flies…
Life of the Party:
The performances from each of the actors involved is a major strength - even the minor characters were warm and alive, each memorable in their own way. Each person brings an original richness to their character, with a personality that seems completely real, even for really outlandish characters, from a socially-awkward girl obsessed with dogs, to an Asian-American family that yearns to be all-American, to the point their adopted daughters’ talent portion is Country-Western line dancing. Even the documentary crew that films the movie-within-the-movie is entertaining, especially during the scene where “COPS” shows up and the different crews take a minute to introduce themselves.
Another advantage is how this movie didn’t try to get all “mystery” in terms of mood. There were murders, but it didn’t derail from the basic plot of the beauty pageant and the personal stories of the people in Mount Rose. “Drop Dead Gorgeous” is definitely a dark comedy, but not really a completely dark one – it manages to mix the hilarious, the suspenseful, and the heartwarming in perfect balance.
The quality of the characters is so good, that there were some characters who weren’t “mains” that I wanted to know more about and was disappointed to not see more of. These were the characters with interesting backstories, like Molly Howard, who was adopted by a Japanese family. The parents also have a birth daughter that is introduced when she walks into the room speaking Japanese; her father berates her for not speaking English.
Another flaw is how quickly the movie wraps up after the first pageant scene - it was like “Bam bam bam! And done!” Not exactly a fatal flaw, but just something that bothered me personally because the movie left me wanting more. The final twist of the movie, though, is bittersweet, and it’s not that Amber was the real killer or some M. Night Shamalamalama twist like that.
People who will really enjoy this movie are those looking for surprising chick flicks that aren’t just for chicks, so this movie makes a great date-night movie. If you’re looking for Michael Bay-type explosions this won’t quite fit the bill, but the explosions it does have are just as surprising. Also, those looking for “cringe-worthy” humor moments will really enjoy certain parts. Of course, it’s a great girl’s night movie, too, sitting with a group of your favorite ladies, drinks flowing, and great amusement had by all. It’s a movie where the girls can laugh and say what they would have done instead, with lots of ‘Ohhh!’, ‘Bitch!’, and ‘What the hell?!’ moments. As a simple drinking game for this movie, take a drink/shot whenever “America” is mentioned somehow. You’ll either hate me for recommending that, or just forget about it by the end of the night.
+Great movie to get drunk quickly to if you play ‘Drink whenever America is mentioned’
-Kind of wraps things up very fast towards the middle/end
-Not very much detail with some of the more ‘funny/amusing’ characters