May 23, 2014, - 8:59 am

Memorial Day Wknd Box Office: X-Men: Days of Future Past, Blended, Chef, Belle

By Debbie Schlussel

I highly recommend only one of the new movies out in theaters today for the start of the Memorial Day weekend. As for the rest, it ranges from “eh” to total crapola. On Monday, remember all the American troops who gave their lives so Hollywood could continue to make this garbage.



* “X-Men: Days of the Future Past“: While I’m sure this will do mega-bucks in ticket sales at the box office, I found this movie to be extremely confusing, though mildly entertaining. And don’t waste your money springing for the 3D glasses, as the 3D special effects in this movie are dull. The 2D version will be just fine. While I liked the ’70s period clothing, references, and soundtrack, the movie is basically an attack on President Nixon, the “evil” U.S. government, and the “evil” defense contractors–you know, the lazy Hollywood liberal stock narrative. Also, is it really necessary to have Hugh Jackman’s naked butt front and center in a superhero heavily marketed to kids? Uh, no. At nearly 2.5 hours, the movie is a little long and repetitive and needs more editing.

The story: Wolverine (Jackman) is sent back in time to fix history and stop Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from taking actions that could ruin everything and doom both mutants (X-Men) and humans. They learn that an evil defense contractor, Trask (Peter Dinklage) will get ahold of Raven/Mystique’s blood and use it to create government-run mutants to rule the world and doom it forever. Yup, America’s always the bad guy, right?! To change this dangerous history, he contacts the younger versions of several X-Men to convince them of what is going to happen in the future and why they must help him in his quest to change the events of the future. At the same time, Wolverine must be cognizant than any action he takes will alter the world forever in the future.

After reconnecting with the initial players, Wolverine and the others follow Raven/Mystique to France, where the Paris Peace Accords regarding the Vietnam War was about to be signed, and Raven is trying to disrupt events by impersonating a Vietnamese official. They must stop her and keep the government from getting her blood to make its mutants. At the same time, the X-Men must also fight their fellow mutant, the “evil” Erik (Michael Fassbender). Ultimately, it takes them to a scene in which a caricature of President Nixon is showing the world the mutant fighters created by Trask using some molecules of Raven/Mystique’s blood found on the scene in Paris. Erik, Raven/Mystique, and the X-Men fight each other to try to save the world. The end.

While the movie was mildly entertaining (and the plot was far more entertaining than recent messy X-Men movies), it wasn’t great. Like I said, it’s confusing, and it’s also messy and muddled. If there wasn’t the “evil American goverment/defense contractor” baloney running through this, I would probably give it at least a full ONE REAGAN (or more). But since it does have that as a running theme, I’m being generous when I give it . . .


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Blended“: I absolutely hate-hate-hated this movie. So bad, so stupid, so gross, it’s Grade A Gitmo torture material. There are few movies that I want to walk out of every single second from beginning to end. This was one of ’em. I put it in my Top Twenty worst movies of the decade. It’s that bad. When you see the logo for “Happy Madison” (Adam Sandler’s production company) come on the screen, you know that it’s slang for “run like hell.” This is being billed as another version of “The Wedding Singer” or “50 First Dates”–Sandler’s and Drew Barrymore’s other two movies together. Don’t believe the hype. This is nothing like those. Not even close.

Oh, and I don’t understand why the Black actors in this movie, including Terry Crews, willingly took these blatantly racist, modern-day-minstrel-show roles. I guess Hollywood’s open racism is willingly embraced while private conversations of Donald Sterling aren’t.

The story: Sandler and Barrymore (looking extremely horrible throughout the movie) are both single parents. She is divorced with two very weird boys, and he is a widower with two very weird daughters that he dresses like lesbians or guys. Right there, you already know this movie stinks. Sandler and Barrymore go out on a date at Hooters, where he treats her horribly and food gets spilled all over her. Later on, Barrymore’s co-worker’s engagement is off and so is their pre-paid African safari vacation, so Barrymore offers money to go on the trip with her sons instead. When she gets to Africa, she learns that Sandler and his kids are there, too, and that both of them were offered the same trip–and they are stuck in the same suite, same table for meals, and on the same activities each day. Predictably, Barrymore and Sandler, who hate each other, eventually fall in love. Throughout this movie, a Black butler and Terry Crews and a Black choir, sing and dance and make incredibly dumb cracks and jokes, Mr. Bojangles-style. Also throughout, Kevin Nealon and his bimbo new wife (Sandler’s annoying wife, Jacqueline) are in a constant make-out session, when they are not making overtly sexual and other dopey comments.

Just so awful. You were forewarned. It’s yet another national IQ test. If you liked it, you’re a moron.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Chef“: This is the only new movie I really liked and recommend (with a few minor reservations). I really enjoyed this very funny, highly entertaining movie, written, directed, and starring John Favreau as a chef and divorced dad of a son. It was a great study on what happens when your tirade is caught on social media, and how Twitter and Facebook can make or break someone. It is also a great display of a father’s love for his young son, as he struggles to also make a career and earn a living.

Favreau is Chef Carl Casper, who was THE hot gourmet chef in the food world ten years ago. But, now, he’s overweight, divorced, working very hard, and forced to cook boring, dull food at the restaurant owned by his boss Dustin Hoffman. He wants to serve interesting and creative food when the internet’s most influential food blogger and restaurant critic is scheduled to visit his restaurant. But the restaurant owner won’t let him and forces him to continue with the boring, stale, old menu. Predictably, the critic gives him a horrible review, which goes viral on social media like Twitter. The chef doesn’t understand social media and gets into a public online argument with the critic on Twitter, which culminates in an angry confrontation between chef and critic at the restaurant.

The video of the chef’s meltdown goes viral on the internet and soon Carl is out of a job and looking for a way to salvage his career. In the meantime, he also has a chance to reconnect with his ten-year-old son, whom he loves a lot but only gets to see about once a week and rarely has much time to hang out with. Soon, Carl, his son, and another chef (John Leguizamo) are traveling around the country in a food truck, and his son is using social media to promote it, bringing large crowds of customers every step of the way. This way, Carl gets to be the boss, own his own business, make the food he wants to make, and teach his son life lessons (while his son teaches him the marketing power of social media to build their business). It was refreshing to see such a loving father and son relationship, the kind you rarely see from Hollywood.

I could have done without the father and another chef singing “Sexual Healing” in front of a ten-year-old kid, and I could have also lived without the scene where all three “connect” when they pour corn starch down their pants and talk about how it makes their testicles feel better in the humidity. Then, a joke is told about how they can be fried into hush puppies. Ugh. TMI! But other than that, I found this funny, engaging movie very entertaining and enjoyable. One warning, though: there are more close-ups of food and cooking and eating than in any movie I’ve seen. Don’t come see this on any empty stomach or you’ll be incredibly hungry. Also co-stars Sofia Vergara, looking even more beautiful than ever . . . but if only she came equipped with a mute button. Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr. have minor roles.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Belle“: Critics are raving over this British movie about a woman, whose mother was a Black slave and whose father was a White English nobleman and Royal Navy Admiral. Belle is rescued from a life of slavery by her father (Matthew Goode), who implores his uncle and aunt to raise her as their own along with their White niece whose parents also died. The movie shows the difficulties of being half-Black in those times and also follows the case of a slave ship, “The Zong,” and the slaves that were thrown overboard. The ship’s owners are seeking insurance payments for the lost slaves, and Belle’s great-uncle, a Supreme Court Justice, is deciding the case.

The movie says it is “inspired by a true story” and is based on a 1779 painting of Belle a/k/a Dido Elizabeth Belle. In the movie, Belle is not allowed to eat at the family table when guests come for dinner. But she inherits her White father’s estate and finds White suitors when she is of marriageable age (while her White cousin cannot find suitors because she is penniless, and men of higher rank in society are looking for money and land in a marriage, according to this movie). But Belle does not really want to be with the racist White suitor she agrees to marry. She longs, instead, for the vicar’s son who was a law clerk to her uncle and who wants slavery abolished via the Zong case. The movie follows Belle’s attempts to influence her great-uncle’s decision in the Zong case, her consorting with the Vicar’s son to help influence the decision, and her uncomfortable position in a racist world.

While the actresses playing Belle and her cousin are beautiful as are the period costumes and sets, the movie was long, slow, and boring. In a word, plodding. I guess you could call it “24 Years a Non-Slave Bi-Racial Chick.” At least, it seemed like that’s how many years I sat through this in the theater.


Watch the trailer . . .

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17 Responses

…so ‘Chef’ is about Happy Hogan being encouraged by the Black Widow to follow his culinary dream; Tony Stark shows up briefly to give Happy his old Mark I armored food truck…. Have I got that right?

Nick Fury on May 23, 2014 at 9:54 am

“I could have done without the father and another chef singing “Sexual Healing” in front of a ten-year-old kid, and I could have also lived without the scene where all three “connect” when they pour corn starch down their pants and talk about how it makes their testicles feel better in the humidity.”

– You could but trust me they couldn’t

Frankz on May 23, 2014 at 10:03 am

that’s where the bull gets the ring through it’s nose

Frankz on May 23, 2014 at 10:05 am

sorry ‘its’
– 10 year olds haven’t even hit puberty yet. Hollyweird is just fricken creepy, sorry.

X-Men has Peter Dinklage whose star must be rising from Game Thrones.
From Game of Throne’s undeclared war on the family(royal but also the only one that really counts) to X-Men’s war on the ongoing White House scandals.
It’s a big one – they’ll all have to team up to defeat this threat.

A long shot maybe but Hollywood is the land of improbable premises.

Frankz on May 23, 2014 at 11:10 am

I think Dinklage will probably wind up a martyr to the cause in the ongoing pot boiler that is the Game of Thrones inversion.

Frankz on May 23, 2014 at 11:22 am

And then there’s the matter of Draco Malfoy turning up in “Belle” . . .

ConcernedPatriot on May 23, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Also . . . besides Debbie’s little test about whether or not anyone liked “Blended” . . . how much percentage of those who did like it, are registered Democrats or were Obama voters twice over?

ConcernedPatriot on May 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Apart from Chef, this is pretty indigestible fare.

Worry01 on May 23, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Thanks, Debbie. I’ll just watch “Of Mice and Men” with Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney Jr. thus weekend.

DS_ROCKS! on May 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm

“Blended“: I absolutely hate-hate-hated this movie. So bad, so stupid, so gross, it’s Grade A Gitmo torture material.”

….that it could only have spewed forth from the mind of Adam Sandler and his band of genius writers….

CharlesMartel on May 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm

While Sandler’s wife does appear in the film Kevin Nealon’s character’s wife is played by Jessica Lowe.

Bee on May 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm

Hollywood liberal elites may rant against the so called military-industrial complex. They make millions and park their money with Wall Street hedge funds and other investment houses. These investment houses in turn invest some their clients’ money in the stocks and shares of the very military industrial that the liberal Hollywood elites hate. They know where some of their returns coming from and have no qualms or shame about it but they preach to the common man in the street about the evil military industrial complex.

rex on May 23, 2014 at 10:15 pm

I used to think being paid or having a job where you could review movies would be such a great living. No more.

It’s almost painful to read about 99% of the current junk and I’m sure to even sit through.

Good grief, another evil military industrial complex movie?

Too bad about Blended. Wedding Singer is truly one of my favorite movies, and I liked Water Boy, but Sandler is through.

jJeff_W on May 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm

As a foodie (limited by not eating pork or shellfish), I can’t wait to see Chef when it shows up on HBO. I still encourage everyone to boycott anti-American, Anti-Israel, Anti-Semitic Anti-White male Hollywood.

Jonathan E. Grant on May 24, 2014 at 5:05 pm

I rarely, rarely, rarely see Hollyweird stuff these days.

Mr. Jonathan Grant hits it (as always), right on the money.

Have a great Holiday, folks!

Occam's Tool on May 25, 2014 at 4:06 am

I never understand the apathy towards anti-government/anti-military industrial complex movies.

These are the perfect conservative films. It was Eisenhower who cointed the term MIC.

The military-industrial complex profits from taxpayer funded purchases of equipment. They are the greatest rent seekers.

Many elements of the anti-government new left of the 60’s, like Kirkpatrick Sale, Carl Oglesby, Pete Hammill, and Karl Hess, were sympathetic to conservative ideas like localism, community control, and small government.

It was John T. Flynn, the founder of modern conservatism, who authored “our enemy, the state.”

The communist party pretended to oppose militarism and imperialism, but they beat up draft dodgers and reported anti-war activists to the FBI during WW2. They were anti-war when it was convenient, unlike Bob Taft, Gerald Nye, or other conservative/libertarians heros.

Bob Johnson on May 27, 2014 at 11:50 pm

Haven’t seen X-Men yet, but Jennifer Lawrence is a terrific actor. I was dismayed to see that she was hacked recently. This is a serious invasion of her privacy, even though she is a public figure. Those responsible will be prosecuted.

Gary Springstead on September 13, 2014 at 10:46 am

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