Bite-Size Movie Reviews!
Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984)
Child: “Is that [white] man gonna take our Miracles?”
Everyone: “Yes, yes he is.”
On our second wedding anniversary, following a massage and a bottle of chilled red wine, Lili and I were faced with one of life’s great quests: what was the perfect movie choice for the evening? In a moment of divine inspiration, Lili clarified our mission: “We need a new Xanadu.”
Because Xanadu rhymes with Boogaloo, the choice was simple. Within three notes of the opening musical number, our quest was achieved. So I guess it wasn’t much of a quest after all. But I shit you not, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo showcases our way forward as a society: the true miraculous power of the people, of community, of synchronized dance over bureaucratic, capitalist bullshit. The society that dances together, stays together.
[Sidenote: I’m shopping around a movie pitch that follows the Breakin’ 2 formula but replaces break dancing with America’s fastest rising sport, pickleball.]
The Quick and the Dead (1995): Leo at his coolest and most childish and uncomfortably sexualized joins a killing for sport competition to win the approval of his fucked up dad played by Gene Hackman who also had a fucked up dad. Hackman’s The Dictator of a town full of POC’s in land that isn’t his. But make no mistake: this is Sharon Stone’s movie because her father was brutally murdered in front of her in the most devastating way I can imagine right now and revenge is the only way forward. Wasn’t the Wild West great?
Thor: Love and Thunder (2022): Early on, Jane Foster tells a young man and the audience to go watch different movies instead [Interstellar and Event Horizon].
It’s decent advice, even if there were six moments where I guffawed, almost all of them involving Thor’s jealousy around Mjolnir and Stormbreaker’s jealousy around THAT jealousy.
This rushed, flimsy movie should’ve been centered around the love triangle between Thor, Mjolnir and Stormbreaker, because we all know Thor cares way more about his weapons than Natalie Portman.
Clockwatchers (1997): “Sit here until someone tells you what to do.”
Before Office Space and The Office, there was this indie movie from Jill Sprecher that was shamefully off my radar until last week. It follows a bunch of temp workers (Lisa Kudrow, Parker Posey, Toni Collette and Alanna Ubach), about the hopeless and pointless drudgery of office work that our economy funnels us into.
Mardi Gras Massacre (1978): A boring serial killer with a random/insensitive Aztec fetish and a gold signet ring that you’d recognize anywhere walks into a bar. “I heard you’re the most evil woman here,” he asks a sex worker. “I can win first place in ANY evil contest,” the sex worker responds. Within moments, he’s rummaging around her intestines. This set up and punchline happens four more times all on the same set. Don’t watch this. Watch this instead:
Death Spa (1989): People start getting murdered at a gym in the 80s with all the pastel colors and fitness fashion you could ever want.
Heat (1995): In our current society, which has been current well before 1995 when Michael Mann and company made this film, cops and criminals are the same thing. Their love of violence (“it’s the only thing I’m good at,” Al Pacino and Robert De Niro both intimate) hurts literally everybody else in our society, including themselves, but they’re too toxic to admit it. Like many a Scorsese film, this is another one where most audiences just relish in the cat and mouse, hyper-masculine violence (and easy sex) rather than acknowledge that in so doing we as a society are ignoring our hurt, neglected children that have to resort to suicide attempts to be seen.
GREASE (1978): Just a week after Breakin’ 2, and after a lifetime of playing Muse for us all, Olivia Newton-John returned to Xanadu.
To celebrate her life and Ascension, my partner and I ventured back to Grease, a movie that had shamefully drifted from my memory banks.
I certainly didn’t remember that this much weirder than you think film opens with an animated title sequence. Don’t worry, the film still slays, and that’s really all I wanted to say. But fine: in addition to a perfect soundtrack (paired with perfect choreography), this musical accurately depicts the toxicity of male/societal peer pressure that I have both been subject to and perpetrated. Not great.