Films in 2014: Modern Movies in June

(Image via Screen Crush)
(Image via Screen Crush)

22 Jump Street (2014) – I broke one of my cardinal rules of movie-watching by seeing this without having ever seen the first film. But I quickly decided to seek out the first after watching this one, because it was honestly the funniest film I’ve seen in theaters in a very long time. (21 will be in July’s Modern Movies post.) I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film so self-aware and self-deprecating in its humor. Christy Lemire said it best in her review: “22 Jump Street is pretty much the exact same movie as 21 Jump Street. It knows it, you know it, and it knows that you know it. And that is why it’s brilliant.” Beyond the jokes about sequels and the action-comedy genre on the whole, there were quite a few more big laughs to be had (the slam poem scene killed me), and the film’s two stars (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) have spectacular comedic chemistry. Even the end credit sequence was great.

(Image via Flicks and Bits
(Image via Flicks and Bits)

Chef (2014) – I liked this film quite a bit. It successfully blends a touching father-son tale with a road trip movie, a story of finding your calling in life and a lot of delicious-looking food. I did have two problems, though: the underdevelopment of Sofia Vergara’s character and the Apple product placement. What does Vergara’s character do? She has a lot of money from divorce settlements, but she also says she’s “working” in Miami and is apparently well-known enough to have a publicist. She’s busy enough to need a nanny for her son, but not so busy that she can’t take a few shifts on the food truck. We learn very little about her, and she’s very much a two-dimensional character. And that Apple product placement was just over-the-top. Not only were the family devoted users of iPhones and iPads, but there was a whole scene focused on making fun of the lock screens and cameras on other types of smart phones. I’m not usually too nit-picky about product placement but it was incredibly distracting in this film. That being said, Chef was an enjoyable watch. I won’t be likely to buy it, but I wouldn’t mind giving it a second watch.

(Image via Torrent Butler)
(Image via Torrent Butler)

Fatso (1980) – When I was a kid, I loved Dom DeLuise, for one reason: All Dogs Go to Heaven. Specifically, his “special message” at the end of the VHS tape. I thought his only job was as a professional chef and for years had no clue he’d done anything in Hollywood but All Dogs Go to Heaven. But my sister and I wore out that VHS tape, nicknaming it “Say wah wah, Hah wah wah,” and for some reason I adored Dom DeLuise in the promotional spot for the Boys & Girls Club of America. (My age was in the single digits at this time. Who knows why I was the way I was.) Anyway, my mom recently ran across Fatso on the MOVIES! channel, and after she told me about it I had to give it watch, for I still haven’t seen as much of DeLuise’s non-All Dogs work as I’d like to. As an added bonus, it was directed by, written by and co-stars Anne Bancroft. Fatso is a bit of a confused film, but also a touching film. It has quite a few funny scenes, but it’s also at times very sad. (DeLuise breaks my heart when he talks about wishing everyone could see he’s not a bad guy.) I appreciate the film’s messages of self-acceptance and the importance of family.

(Image via The Seventh District)
(Image via The Seventh District)

Think Like a Man 2 (2014) – Another cardinal-rule-breaker, I watched this film without having seen the first! Saw this on a whim. Felt like going to the movies, and my options were either this or Transformers, a film in which I have a -10 interest level. My expectations going in were non-existent, so they were easily exceeded. Nothing spectacular, but it’s a light and fluffy watch that brings a few laughs. Note: I know the official title stylizes “2” as “Too,” but I refuse to acknowledge this trend in sequel titles, so I’m using the number.

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7 thoughts on “Films in 2014: Modern Movies in June

    1. Anything but the number is unacceptable to me! I guess it makes more sense for a film like Dumb and Dumber, where the whole premise is “Let’s laugh at two men with below-average intelligence,” but the rest of ’em have no excuse, haha.

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    1. That much product placement would be annoying with any brand, but Apple elitism is a real pet peeve of mine, so the fact that it was Apple just made it even worse. My eyes couldn’t roll far enough, haha. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  1. I’m trying to figure out which movie I want to see tomorrow at my local cinema, because there’s nothing playing that I’m interested in. So it looks like you’ve convinced me to see ’22 Jump Street’. But that horror movie based on a true story might be a possibility, too.

    And it’s funny…I can’t stand movie sequels with numbers! I prefer a whole new title; to me, ‘Back to the Future II’ should’ve been ‘Back from the Future’. And wouldn’t it be weird if the most recent film in the James Bond series was called ‘Dr No 23’? But then again, I don’t like sequels with ‘too’, ‘tu’, or ‘two’ either, so I guess I don’t have much of a choice!

    And if 22 Jump Street is an address, I wonder what’s next door at 22 Jump Street?

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    1. Your question about the address will be answered in the film if you end up seeing it! That horror flick looks interesting too, though.

      I agree that a whole new title is the best option, but the number is better than substituting in “too” or “to,” which usually leads the title to make no sense.

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