October 22, 2017, - 11:22 pm

Wknd Box Office: Only The Brave, The Snowman, Mark Felt, The Florida Project, Same Kind of Different As Me

By Debbie Schlussel

Nothing particularly good among new movies that debuted at theaters this weekend. “Geostorm” and “Boo 2!: A Madea Halloween” were not screened for critics, a sign they are bombs (yes, I know, all Madea movies do well, and Boo 2! is #1 this weekend, but they’re still crappy movies).

* Only The Brave – Rated PG-13: Hotshots are the Navy SEALs of firefighting. You may remember the June 2013 deaths of 19 Hotshots in Yarnell, Arizona. This is supposed to be their story. But I think it does a disservice to them and the memories of them. Instead, I felt it was a cold, caricature-filled version of what they might have been. Not what they were. Also, the movie portrayed the Hotshots as mostly lascivious, immature frat boy types and good-looking rednecks, who tell a lot of bad filthy jokes. The only likable one is the one who is the survivor (played by Miles Teller) – a young drug addict who overcomes his addiction to become a Hotshot, works hard, and takes care of the illegitimate kid he fathered with an ex-girlfriend. The others are just . . . well, not all that likable, and we don’t know much about them.

The only other Hotshot who has a lot of facetime in this movie is the leader of the group, played by Josh Brolin. His story is nothing but unnecessary, unentertaining melodrama–most of it arguing and yelling and screaming between he and his wife, played by Jennifer Connelly (who is anorexically thin in the movie and desperately in need of more than half a bean for lunch). We see them arguing about how he spends too much time with the Hotshots (that’s his job, I thought). Then we see them arguing about whether or not to have kids (with Connelly in her late 40s, that’s not really believable). And then we see Connelly on the phone with Brolin, telling him how she “p–sed [her] pants.” Um, is that necessary? Is that what passes for dialogue in a movie about American first responders who gave their lives to stop a fire from overtaking Yarnell, Arizona? Come on. That’s embarrassing. And I doubt any of that happened in real life. The melodrama seemed way over the the top and very manufactured.

Jeff Bridges plays a city elder who helps get the Prescott firefighters certified and funded to be Hotshots. The ones portrayed in this film were known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots. And the movie shows how they aren’t as much firefighters as they are fire redirectors. What the Hotshots do is a little bit art, a little bit science. They do all kinds of things to get fires to redirect away from population centers, monuments, and other important locations to be saved when a major forest fire cannot be put out and is fast approaching. That part of the movie was the only part that interested me.

On top of all of that, the movie is waaaay toooo looooong (and a little slow). At two hours and 13 minutes, it could’ve been at least a half hour (maybe even 45 minutes) shorter, and we’d have missed nothing. It’s one of my pet peeves: conceited directors who refuse to edit themselves and think we need to see every bit of what they’ve shot, rather than skillfully cutting like a good surgeon.

I’ve seen many other movies about real life tragedies and heroes who gave their lives–most of those movies very touching. This just wasn’t. A disappointment.


Watch the trailer . . .

* The Snowman – Rated R: I was so looking forward to this, all because of the trailers (and because I love murder mysteries and thrillers). But after years of reviewing movies, I should know better by now. Per usual, the promo for this movie is deceiving. The movie’s awful. A total drag and a bomb. And not scary. Just grisly and a joke. This is supposed to be a murder mystery thriller. It turned out to be two hours of a wild goose chase with no real pay-off and a completely unpredictable (and not in a good way), unfulfilling ending. A good whodunit thriller gives you some hint of who did it, some way to figure out who the murderer is. This gives you none. You will never figure it out, so you’re disappointed at the end when you find out who it is. It doesn’t make sense, and it’s dumb.

Add to that some other unintentionally comic things: there’s this weird actor in the movie who looks like a transsexual surgery gone wrong. Then, you realize it’s Val Kilmer. What the hell happened to him? He looks terrible and totally unrecognizable. His lips and face are so inflated, so injectified, that he looks like the lion lady or Scamela Geller, or some other similarly botched plastic surgery victim who’s had way too much work done. It’s what the “human Ken doll” will look like in 20 or 30 years. Then, there is the dubbing over of his voice. It’s similar to the bad English language dubbing of a Japanese karate movie. Why did they do that? It’s hilarious.

And then there is the main character–this movie’s protagonist–played by Michael Fassbender. His name in this is Harry Hole. Insert gross sexual joke here. Yes, really, that’s his name. Don’t ask me why. I just review ’em. But Harry Hole must mean something different in Denmark. He’s the lead in many of Danish novelist Jo Nesbo’s successful mystery novels.

The story: Hole is an alcoholic police detective in Norway. He is split up from his girlfriend–or is it his wife? The movie doesn’t really tell you. They have a boy, who is apparently hers but not Fassbender’s. The boy doesn’t know his real father’s identity and wants to find out. Hole suddenly is assigned a new partner in the police force, a woman who has transferred form elsewhere and is obsessed with the case that Fassbender (and now, she) is working on. They’re trying to find a serial killer who dismembers his victims, most of them female, and usually builds a rudimentary snowman outside the victim’s home around the time of each murder. There’s a lot of blood and gore here, but for no reason and to no point. Also, the killer sends Fassbender mysterious, taunting poems about the snowmen and the murders.

There really aren’t that many people who are possible suspects in the movie. There is a rich businessman who is trying to get some sort of Winter Games (apparently the Olympics, but that name is never used, probably due to copyright and licensing). He has some sort of connection to all of the women. So does an abortion doctor. Fassbender and his partner try to flesh it out and meet with the families of the victims to get clues.

This movie is beautifully shot in various snowy Norwegian settings, and you can feel the winter snow that is in many scenes. But it’s the nonsensical, disjointed “plot” and disappointing conclusion that leave you really cold, after having wasted two hours on this big nothing. It feels like it’s just been slapped together.

I’m most disappointed in this movie because it’s from Director Tomas Alfredson, who previously made the terrific 2008 horror thriller, “Let The Right One In” (my review of the English language remake is here). Well, he didn’t write this, and you can only put so much lipstick on a pig. This one is definitely an oinker. Yuck.


Watch the trailer (a good deal of which isn’t even in the movie) . . .

* Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House– Rated PG-13: Wow, this was a bore. Slow, too. And I struggled to stay awake watching it. Mark Felt, as you know, was “Deep Throat,” the primary source for Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in their breaking of the story of the Watergate break-in.

This movie portrays Felt as a hero, but he was no such thing. He was a traitor who nearly brought down our government and caused Americans to question and doubt authority ever since. He made it easier for the Black Lives Matter protesters and the NFL kneelers and the entire American left. What he did was the part of the initial fuel for their strength ever after. Yet, at the end of this movie, Felt is hailed as having some sort of positive legacy for the U.S. government. Nope, that wasn’t a legacy. It was a tragedy. The information he leaked–all out of bitterness because he wasn’t picked to lead the FBI after J. Edgar Hoover’s death–was exploited by Democrats who didn’t like liberal Republican Nixon’s successes and his bid to make slight cuts in entitlements. I’m not defending the break-in, but there is no evidence Nixon knew about it before it happened or sanctioned it in any way, only that he found out about it afterward and didn’t fess up. Was that enough to bring the whole country down? It certainly pales in comparison with some of the stuff the Clintons and Obamas did. Just saying.

The movie is based on a book Felt wrote before his death and some time after he outed himself 2005 as Deep Throat. So, of course, it is a glowing portrayal of the guy. And not very realistic. You barely even see the Bob Woodward character in the movie. It’s mostly a boring focus on conversations with his wife, friends, and co-workers. It’s also his claim that his bitterness toward the Nixon White House was not because he was passed over at the FBI, but because it insisted he wrap up and whitewash any investigation into the Watergate break-in.

Ironically, the only really good thing Felt did–at least as portrayed in the movie–is what he was prosecuted for: his surveillance of he Weather Underground, which was a terrorist group bent on bringing down America. Criminal charges were brought against him (and a conviction was obtained) even though what he did was not only justified, but may have saved America from even more serious terrorist attacks than those the Weather Underground managed to perpetrate.

The only thing I really liked about this movie was what I usually like about bad period pictures: the clothes, the cars, the decor. They got that right. I really liked Mark Felt’s sunglasses, which look just like the ones he actually wore in real life. As for Liam “I Wanna Convert to Islam” Neeson, who plays Felt in this, he made very little effort to tamp down his Irish accent. And that was weird. Felt was born in America. He didn’t sound like the guy in Taken. Sorry.

By the way, it is often claimed by anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists that Felt was Jewish. He was not. But Richard Nixon and his advisers (particularly H. R. Haldeman), who often suspected Felt was Deep Throat, were recorded as also believing Felt was Jewish and blaming “the Jewish thing” for Felt’s suspected leaking.


Watch the trailer . . .

* The Florida Project – Rated R: I hated this movie. Mainstream media (a/k/a liberal) movie critics love this, which reaffirms that my hate is well-placed. When they love something, you usually know it’s garbage. And this is garbage in spades (heaps?). It’s also disturbing and horrifying. But the message of the movie is that I’m not allowed to “judge” the lifestyles of the irresponsible and immoral. You know what I think of that kind of “message.”

If you’ve ever wondered how a carny lives, this is your movie. For everybody else, no thanks. With apologies to carnies. They have a work ethic. My point here is that seeing this movie reminded me that snobbery is vastly underrated in some cases. And this is one of those cases. But my apology to carnies stands. This isn’t about carnies. This is actually about a sleazy, unemployed stripper and her young daughter. And their life in a brightly-colored motel in the underbelly of Orlando, just outside of Disney World.

The only character I liked in this movie is the motel manager, played by Wille Dafoe. He feels for his motel residents and tries to do right by them. But he’s also seemingly the only real adult in the place. And he has to watch out for the kids living there, because their single mothers aren’t responsible enough to do it themselves.

The main two characters in this movie are the aforementioned unemployed stripper, Halley, and her young daughter, Moonee. They live in a motel room in a purple-colored “establishment.” The movie follows the antics of Moonee and the two young friends with whom she hangs out. They are bad kids. They go to the local soft-serve ice cream purveyor and lie to people to get enough money to guy an ice cream cone that the three of them lick. Gross. Then, they go to an abandoned motel and vandalize it, eventually setting it on fire and burning it down. They do this because nobody is watching them and nobody is telling them, “No, don’t do that.” In fact, when the motel burns down, Halley tells Moonee to come out on their own motel balcony to watch the fire.

Halley also teaches her young daughter (who is apparently aged six or seven) to twerk (sex-drenched “dance” with the butt gyrating up in the air). And they take bikini-selfies together to post on hooker websites. Yes, the “mom”–who is barely older and definitely not more mature than her daughter–needs to make money to pay the rent and buy food. So, when she’s not taking her daughter with her to sell perfume at a nearby hotel parking lot, she prostitutes herself all while her daughter is in the motel room’s bathroom. Charming.

But again, we’re not supposed to “judge” this woman in her early 20s who is immature, has a kid, and doesn’t bother raising her. We’re supposed to sympathize with the teaching of twerk, the provocative selfies that are child-molester bait, and the hooking a/k/a prostitution.

So forgive me if I didn’t find this movie likable, if I didn’t sympathize with this immature hooker who is neglecting her child. Some things deserve to be–must be!–judged. There are plenty of less fortunate, working-class people in this world with kids to raise. And they do it by working hard and trying to do the right thing.

Why glorify those who don’t?


Watch the trailer . . .

* Same Kind of Different As Me – Rate PG-13: Like many Christian-oriented movies, this film wasn’t screened for critics (they simply don’t have the budget, usually), but I went to see it on my own. While this was the most uplifting of the new movies this weekend, I expected more than what I got. The movie is kind of hokey, some of the casting absurd, and a lot of the storyline can’t possibly jibe with the timeline involved. I’ve seen plenty of better, more inspiring Christian films than this one. This was more New Agey than the kind I like. Also, this would have been better as a documentary. It’s based on a real story, and the most touching part of the movie is at the end, when the pics of the real-life people involved are shown.

The story: a wealthy art dealer husband (Greg Kinnear) is cheating on his wife (a totally unrecognizable Renee Zellweger), and she finds out. She forgives him but makes him do penance by volunteering with her at a homeless shelter, feeding the needy. They meet a violent and crazy Black man (Djimon Hounsou) who declares that he hates all White people. They take him under their wing and befriend him. Of course, the movie tells us he’s right to hate Whites because he was the victim of RAAAAAYCISM! Puh-leeze. This is 2017, when the most racist group in America is Blacks.

The casting of Hounsou and the timeline of the story are ridiculous. Djimon Hounsou is only 53 (and doesn’t look much older in the film), but he plays a man who was the victim of racism when he was a teen in the sharecropping 1930s or early ’40s. You can tell the era by the cars and clothing. A guy who was a teen in the early 1940s would be in his late 80s, or more likely, early 90s in 2017. Most of the movie takes place today or very near today, as the characters in the movie have recent model smart phones and cars. Moreover, the man Hounsou plays was born in the United States and grew up here. Hounsou was born and raised in the Western African nation of Benin and, later, in France. And his accent is loud and clear. The younger version of his character has an American accent. This kind of stuff gets on my nerves when I watch movies, because it makes it less than believable. On top of that, a stock racist character (Jon Voight, who plays Kinnear’s estranged father) was annoying, too. And very one-dimensional and silly.

Like I said, I’ve seen better Christian movies than this. There was way too much melodrama in this. And the point of it–well, I wasn’t sure what that was either. In the end, in real life, the husband and the homeless man did some real good across America, raising money to build homeless shelters across America–all of this inspired by the wife. And they wrote about it in a best-selling book. A documentary about that is what I wished I’d seen instead of this, but given the other choices I saw this week, I guess this will have to do.


Watch the trailer . . .

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14 Responses

I was glad I did not see Only the brave, as I normally love and respect firefighters. I would hate to have seen a movie that disrespected them the way that this one did.

mindy1 on October 23, 2017 at 5:46 am

Apparently one of the reasons that The Snowman is so bad is that the director didn’t shoot all of the script. Supposedly, he missed out between 10 and 15 per cent of it.

John on October 23, 2017 at 8:11 am

It would seem Only The Brave was written by the same schmucks who write for Slick Dick Wolf’s show Chicago Fire, liberal firfighters where a woman one passed their tests with superhuman effort.Mark Felt, the putz with the hippie daughter who inherited her father’s lack of morals. Nixon would’ve probably said of Felt what he said of Fred Thompson”Dumb as hell.”Oh and by the way I thought you’d like to know this about Patty Jenkins. She directed Monster, movie about serial killer Aileen Wuornos. It was despicable in that she made her sympathetic while slandering the male victims, scary in that she has a son, will no doubt make him a sissy or treat him with disdain like Joan Crawford did to her son Christopher.

Robert Swords on October 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm

The funny (peculiar) thing about the part in the review of the Mark Felt film . . .
” . . . caused Americans to question and doubt authority ever since.”
. . . now, with the whole “climate change” scam, those promoting it consider any questioning of authority on that issue to constitute “denial,” and the whole implication that “science”[sic] is an immutable authority in the area of “climate change” that should never, ever be questioned and those that do are “deniers” – never mind that towards climate questioners, their attitude is akin to the Catholic Church hierarchy of the Middle Ages in the time of the Inquisition, and they have far more in common with Galileo’s persecutors (who imposed a life sentence of house arrest and forced him to recant his declaration that the earth revolved around the sun) than with Galileo, himself – in short, he was his era’s version of a “denier.”

Also, note to oneself: Beware any film with “Project” in the title. Think, in the early 2000’s, The Laramie Project and what agenda was being pushed with that.

Concerned Patriot on October 23, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    “don’t trust anyone over 30” was the liberal mantra in the late 1960s, so authority was being questioned long before Felt and Watergate was it not?

    Seaslug on October 25, 2017 at 10:15 am

I think that Hollywood thinks of all of us working class people as being trashy (apologies to carnies!), but we aren’t all!

MomInMinnesota on October 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    Ah, the need to feel besieged and persecuted. Never ends. Go see “Only the Brave.” It is a great film, not just a good one. Yes, it depicts firefighters as less than choir boys in their everyday speech. That’s called male-bonding.

    Primetime on October 24, 2017 at 12:05 am

      Yes Primetime and according to the leftoids male-bonding is wrong. They feel that we men must be more in touch with our “feminine sides.” Liberalism truly is a mental disorder.

      Ken B on October 24, 2017 at 3:12 pm

How proud Mark Felt must have been.
Because he brought Nixon down the North Vietnamese were able to invade South Vietnam and massacre millions.
Plus all the ones that died trying to flee the new worker’s paradise.
Also with Nixon gone and the Democrats in power over both Houses, Cambodia was able to have a communist revolution and massacre millions of Cambodians.

But hey, Nixon tried to cover up a third rate burglary.
So that makes all of those millions of deaths really Nixon’s fault.
Felt must have been proud to have helped bring this all about.

Steve G on October 23, 2017 at 8:32 pm

Thanks Debbie for the good reviews as everything here looks utterly skip worthy. I’m in the process of moving so movies are going to have to wait until probably after Christmas. I do look forward to your reviews on Justice League and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Ken B on October 24, 2017 at 3:17 pm

What turned me off about “Only The Brave” is that these 19 brave hotshot’s get memorialized, but the 14 who died back in 1994 in the Storm King fire — officially named the South Canyon Fire are relegated to the dustbin of history as if that fire and resulting deaths never happened; completely overshadowed by “Only The Brave”

Seaslug on October 25, 2017 at 10:09 am

Microsoft edge browser allows user to save password for the application and website regularly visited by them this browser also contain the information and auto films for the user so passwordsinmicrosoftedge.com/ Microsoft keep on updating and introducing new features on window platform.Thanks for this one.

Diptiprakash on November 21, 2017 at 12:39 am

Microsoft edge browser allows user to save password for the application and website regularly visited by them this browser also contain the information and auto films for the user so passwordsinmicrosoftedge.com Microsoft keep on updating and introducing new features on window platform.Thanks for this one.

Diptiprakash on November 21, 2017 at 12:40 am

I totally agree about the Iceman. Horrible movie. I could not follow it and could not even tell you anything about it. Where are your movie reviews????

Deborah K Knox on December 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm

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