Movies of June and July: The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, F9, Black Widow, Pig, Roadrunner, and The Green Knight

So I missed a month.

I’ll be fair: I saw a lot of movies in June. More than I usually see, anyway. I didn’t think to save my thoughts on those movies for this blog, so I put them all on Letterboxd. I was going to write about The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and the utter lack of things I have to say about that movie, but I just don’t have the energy for it. I also would have loved to write about how endearing I found The Sparks Brothers to be, but the most I could probably say about it is: “watch it, it’s good.” I’m only going to be writing about two movies from June; the rest are from July.


JUNE


F9

I think the easiest way to sum up F9 would be to say that I would not have seen it if it weren’t for my job. For the security of my job, I cannot disclose what my job is, when I saw this movie, or what time. All I can really say about that is that I sat down and watchd F9.

As for the movie itself, it was… okay? I honestly don’t have a whole lot to write about it. It’s exactly what you’d expect walking into a movie called The Fast and The Furious 9. These movies have been running on for so long that, in order to keep relevance, they need to get stupider. I can’t attest to how stupid the previous movies were, this is my first one. What I can say is that this was stuuuupid. I was laughing the whole time. I want to say it was with the movie, because what movie that wants you to take it seriously would have action this ridiculous and exaggerated? At the same time, I never laughed at any of the character dialog. I found the spoken humor to be painfully unfunny.

In terms of plot, meh. It’s pretty standard for a blockbuster. You have an evil brother, a MacGuffin that can end the world, and a shit ton of location changes. I want to say that none of it engaged me, but to be fair: I hardly know these characters. The most interesting thing I can say in terms of the characters is that I initially confused Kurt Russel with Jeff Bridges before I realized that Kurt Russel was in The Thing and not Tron. I’d honestly pay to see a movie with them both together, if that hasn’t already been done. But, anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. The plot was lame and the action was fun, but good fucking lord this thing dragged oooooooon. Did this need to be over two hours long? Real talk, I’ve seen shorter movies with more plot than this.

I’m sorry I’m not writing with a more casual voice for this. I have no fucking idea how to start talking about F9 like a guy who watches movies seriously. Jesus, if I wanted to do that, I’d suck A24’s dick all day and ask for money so I can write Letterboxd reviews that in a snarky tone that anyone and their dog can do for free. So, anyway, this one’s not going on Letterboxd.

FINAL SCORE: C


THE HITMAN’S WIFE’S BODYGUARD

Actually saw this one in July. My uncle was over, had a family friend hanging about, and my mom wanted to see it. Perfect storm.

I’m torn on whether or not The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard was fun or a waste of time. I want to say it was both. I had fun, but, like, am I going to remember that I had fun watching this in a year? There are all sorts of movies that my mom completely forgets about having seen, and although I can pride myself on not being like that, movies like The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard challenge that status quo. This is the kind of movie that Martin Scorcesse was talking about when he started talking about Marvel. The only difference between this and what he was describing is that this has no superheroes in it. It, instead, has a cast of superstars that could easily carry a movie on their own. The fact of the matter is, though, more of something isn’t always a good thing. With the exception of Salma Hayek, the cast does a fine job but could easily be replaced by anyone else. What doesn’t help is that the characters aren’t particularly likeable, which can be done to great effect, but only when it has something to contrast it. As an additional blow, both Reynold’s and Jackson’s characters don’t play off of each other. There’s a very common issue with weak buddy movies, and it’s that both buddies are two sides of the same coin. Initially, there’s a hint that things might not go this way. The movie opens with a fantastic idea: take a gun-toting bodyguard and take away both his guns and his license to bodyguard, but still have him want to be a bodyguard. If the movie stuck to this idea, it likely would have been a lot funnier. As it stands, there are scenes that do their job in being funny, but overall, there’s not much standing in the way to make this any different from the last Ryan Reynolds movie that made you laugh.

Then there’s a villain. Remind me, why did you hire Antonio Banderas to be a Greek character? It’s not even like they play into some sort of joke where they’re aware of the fact that that’s a glaring miscast, he’s just miscast. Even if he weren’t, his character lacks anything that would make him an interesting villain. He wants to see the world burn so a once powerful country can retake the throne it once had on culture. What are his personal stakes? There are none. Okay, let me reword that: what’s driving him to go after this goal? He… wants to see the world burn? I have nothing.

As a thrill ride that lasts four minutes but is only something you remember once you go back to theme park it was in, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard has a place. It’s not offensively bad, it’s just passable. Passable entertainment that will only hurt the most puritanical of viewers. In other words, it’s almost a perfect C.

FINAL SCORE: C


JULY


BLACK WIDOW

It’s a Marvel movie. What do you honestly expect at this point? SPOILERS, I guess, because I’ll be talking about some plot stuff.

The most disappointing thing that can be said about Black Widow isn’t that it’s a filler movie, isn’t that it’s an origin movie for a character that got killed off. It’s that it has the ideas of a Metal Gear Solid plot and says absolutely nothing with them. The villain sits in a fortress in the sky. He looks like the critic from Chef turned into a Marvel villain. He’s raising an army of brainwashed women to do his bidding. He says he’s giving them a chance at life.

Think about where that could go. What he’s doing is obviously wrong, but what gives him all of this power? What political system allows him to grow and expand his empire like this? What might be the rationale for running such an operation? What world-view explains his actions and what slight similarities might that world-view have on our own?

Great, now stop thinking. Forget I ever said anything that might have kindled your imagination. Instead of all of that, imagine Black Widow fighting people. Throw her family into the mix; they have a lot of people to fight, too. Throw in a side-villain that’s only there to be intimidating but can be outwitted by a fucking chimpanzee. Then, for added flavor, turn the final set-piece into something that would fit perfectly in a video game.

I’m not going to say none of it was fun, but if I wanted that experience, I would have happily played it as a video game where there’s a margain for thoughtful commentary but the general expectation is big, dumb action. As a movie, it feels too tied down to the Marvel formula to do anything outside of its comfort zone. In a word, it’s safe. In much more, it’s a movie that my father would have rented at a Redbox for family movie night because there’s nothing about it that screams “see it in a theater.”

Another C to throw onto the pile…

FINAL SCORE: C


PIG

Nicolas Cage has a pig. It gets stolen. He goes off on a quest to find it.

If those three sentences have you thinking “Taken with a pig,” you’re sorely mistaken. Pig, at times, has the power of a Tarkovsky movie but chooses to remain understated instead of being outwardly philosophical. It’s not a family movie and it’s only a movie you’d take your friends to if they’re into arthouse. It’s a beautiful, haunting movie that moved me to my core. It’s meditative in ways few movies are nowadays; the rare movie that makes me go “they don’t make em like they used to” without feeling the need to sing along to Beautiful Ones by Seude.

A big part of that is Nicolas Cage. For a man who’s whole shtick is how much of an oddball he is, he has a lot of range as an actor. When he does freak out in Pig, it’s not entertaining. It’s not what the movie lives and dies off of. It feels genuine and sincere.

The less that’s said about Pig in terms of its story and where it ends up going, the better. If you like slow movies, go into this one blind. If you’re on the fence, the best way I’d describe it is by asking whether or not the phrase “not every movie needs to be entertaining to be be good” resonates with you or not. If it doesn’t, this is best left untouched or, at the very least, on the backburner.

FINAL SCORE: A


ROADRUNNER

I knew very little about Anthony Bourdain stepping into Roadrunner and, as cliche as it is to say, the man’s still a bit of a mystery to me. I read enough about his life before seeing Roadrunner to know that he committed suicide. But what made him big enough for there to be a documentary about him eluded me until I went to go see it.

Conclusion? Pretty solid. As a portrait of a man’s life, it showcases him at his best and worst in ways that could only be done through editing. I was also delighted to see John Lurie near the end of the movie because the thought that a young Lurie would be perfect playing a fictionalized version of Bourdain crossed my mind early into the movie.

Other than that, I don’t have much to say. It’s a solid documentary.

FINAL SCORE: B+


THE GREEN KNIGHT

Earlier in this post, I mentioned that if I want to be a serious film guy, I have to suck A24’s dick. I guess I have little to say about this other than ‘here comes the airplane.’

The Green Knight feels old-fashioned without being impenetrable to those not in touch with historical storytelling. It would be a classic hero’s journey, but there really isn’t a mentor. There isn’t a journey home, either. It wears the ideas of a hero’s journey on its sleeve, but embraces a less traditional exploration on what a journey represents. Taken at face value, it’s magical and has more than a few scenes that are surprising in terms of their scope. Taken as the series of metaphors it’s likely meant to be taken as I’m sure there’s more to it.

Like Pig, it’s slow. However, there’s more to it and I can see there being a wider appeal to this than Pig. Overall, pretty good and I don’t think I hvae anything negative to say about it.

FINAL GRADE: A+


OLDER MOVIES THAT I WATCHED IN JULY AND LOVED

Trainspotting was fantastic, probably one of my favorite movies of all time now and I’m surprised I didn’t see it sooner. Its sequel, T2 (not to be confused with a certain movie starring a robot) was similarly good but lacked some of the original spark. Ferris Beuller’s Day Off is still a classic and Election cracked me up in spite of how fucked up it was. I am thankful that I didn’t finish watching Climax with any of my family around.


I know I missed a few movies in June/July. I didn’t see Snake Eyes and Old didn’t interest me; The Purge and Escape Room seems like they’d be good watches on streaming; Zola looked too awkward to watch in a theater; and I’d rather slam dunk myself into a coma than see Space Jam: A New Legacy. If any movies I missed interest me enough, I’ll write about them here. Otherwise, you can follow me on Letterboxd to keep up to date-ish with the movies I’m watching.