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A review of "Bright" (2017), aka, "You're not as clever as you think, bro"

I'm not quite off hiatus yet - still stuck in real estate limbo after three deals went south for a variety of reasons beyond our control - but there's no point waiting any longer to write something about Bright.  Hell, Max Landis will probably be blacklisted by the time this goes live.  I'm never current.

Anyway, Bright is surprisingly mediocre for a movie as polarizing as it is.  It has some great things that balance out the truly atrocious stuff, and I guess if you're only looking for one end of the spectrum or the other, you'd probably dump it in your Worst and/or Best of 2017 lists.  Neither is fair - this is a movie that deserves to be forgotten.

Here's the good news: the cast is solid, the pacing is engaging, and the premise is just interesting enough to hook you.  If you scrubbed off the crappier aspects, you'd end up with a perfect lazy Sunday dad movie / laundry-folding movie / drink while browsing the SA forums and occasionally looking up movie.

Recent posts

Hiatus, basically

Apologies to my regular readers (all six of you) for the lack of a proper Hipster Holy Grail update today, and also a couple weeks ago.  Steph and I are caught in an ironic spot of trouble with our house right now.  Basically, we went into the move thinking, "Let's pack up as much stuff as possible, but time is on our side because we're in no hurry to move."  And now we're about 99% of the way to a contract, with the stipulation that the house be empty by the end of November.
So, time is definitely, absolutely, positively not on our side anymore.  Whoops.  But also, hooray!  But also, whoops.
I'd love to say that I'll power through all this and come back to my blog week after week with my regular schedule regardless, but that's an unabashed lie.  For all intents and purposes, I'm putting this blog on hold.  I'll be back with regular updates - and hopefully a Halloween-in-Winter HHG post to make up for today - once we're set up in our new h…

A review of "Gerald's Game" (2017)

The Internet's wrong.  Gerald's Game is not a good movie.

I can see why you might be tricked, though.  It looks nice; helmed by fellow Marylander and otherwise excellent writer/director Mike Flanagan, the movie is crisply shot and paced.  The plot ratchets up the tension in the first half with perfect little morsels of terror.  And no matter how ridiculous the premise gets, it's anchored by excellent performances.

So, sure, there are merits here.  In fact, there are even a handful of truly horrifying scares that'll punch you in the guts.

But then the third act hits... and oh, man, does it ever Stephen King the ending.

The metaphor of an empty house

After I published Born Loser (available now for only a buck, go get it), I realized I accidentally re-used a metaphor I'd already put into Bitter People Without Souls.  There's a part where somebody's moving out of their house, and they stop to reflect on the emptiness they're leaving behind.

It's not exactly the finest metaphor out there - I know.  That moment is not meant to be the high point of either book, just a background detail to flesh out what's going on with their lives.  To me, it's the kind of thing that immediately lands.  You see an empty house, one that was yours, and you know instantly that life is permanently changing.

....or so I thought, until I started packing up this house.

Granted, it's not quite "empty" yet.  Much of the furniture is still in place and we haven't taken out any of the basic essentials needed to live here.  But all our books, all our DVDs, all our framed photos and ornaments and other details that tell…

Hipster Holy Grail: Encounter with the Unknown (1973)

The Hipster Holy Grail is my ongoing quest to review an obscure movie before it becomes cool to talk about it. Good, bad, doesn't matter.  It just has to be at least 10 years old and have less than 1,000 ratings on IMDb. This week, I watched....

The Short Bit for People Who Don't Like to Read ReviewsEncounter with the Unknown is basically The Shitty Twilight Zone.  It recycles so much of its own footage that it accidentally implements the "repeat until it's funny" gag, and when it's not doing that, it's just really, really stupid.  If you're into bad movies, there's a good chance you'll find parts of it funny.  But to get maximum enjoyment, you really have to watch this one with friends.

My Rating: 4 / 5 if you watch with a crowd, 2.5 / 5 if you watch by yourself (Novice Bad Movie)

A review of "Absolutely Anything" (2015)

Absolutely Anything is like a Smith Island cake of irrelevancy.  One layer is for me, the sap who's increasingly out of touch with the world while I devote all my attention to my kids and books, and who had never heard of the movie before watching it.  One layer is for writer/director Terry Jones, whose previous feature was released about twenty years before.  Another layer for the supporting cast, which includes all the surviving members of Monty Python, which, while still hilarious to elder Millennial nerds, doesn't seem to have made the same impact to anybody born after 1990, mostly likely due to a lack of constant spamming on PBS.  Another layer goes to the gags, which eschew topical humor for the sake of familiar romcom tropes, occasionally sprinkled with the lukewarmly absurdist science-fiction bent that made the 2005 Hitchhikers' Guide movie less-than-memorable.

And just like Smith Island cake, it's a sweet and comforting movie all the same.

In terms of a laugh-…