Purple and Black
Taking Independent and Unofficial Back

It's A New Year and a New Movie/Show/Series/Whatever You Watched Rating Thread! Let the exclamation points abound!!!


Neeson continues through the tunnel, where he loses Darth Vader's call. There's no cell service in the tunnel!


Neeson does not heed the question asked in POINT 5 but continues out of the tunnel, where he's barricaded by the fuzz. So he stops, about 25 yards outside the tunnel but guess what? Still no cell service!

Neeson then explains to the cops what's going on and, using a robot, they finally figure out that there is indeed a bomb underneath Neeson's seat.

POINT 6 INTERLUDE - One idea I had before Neeson entered the tunnel was that he should tell his kids to roll down the windows and unbuckle their seat belts. Then he should drive into a lake. Once underwater, the kids swim away, and then Neeson attempts to do the same. The water might short circuit the bomb but even if not, it would have diluted the explosion to a point where the kids would be safe, and Neeson might be, too. "Taken" Neeson would have figured this out, but "Retribution" Neeson does not.

Continuing with the inanity. The police remove all the doors from the SUV, unbolt the rear seats, and get the kids out. Neeson's wife has arrived and is happy that her kids are safe, and sad about Neeson because they've made up or something. Who knows?

With his kids safe, Neeson floors it, blasts through the police car barricade, and once again is able to elude every Berlin cop car and cop helicopter in a matter of blocks. So he does the only natural thing and hits "Redial" so he can talk to Darth Vader.

Darth Vader is understandably put out, but all that matters now is Neeson completes the transfer. "Only if it's face to face!" Incredibly, Darth Vader tells Neeson to drive to some protest parade full of young protesters in costumes, which he does.

One of the protesters jumps into the back seat - easy to do since the SUV no longer has any doors. He speaks - it's Darth Vader! He's wearing a mask but takes it off. Guess who it is?

C'mon, you already know. Surely you know. Who's the only other person in the movie who knows there's a secret account in Dubai?

Yep - Matthew Modine!

He'd cleverly designed his meeting with Neeson at the industrial park to be timed with the passing of a train, so he could jump out of his car unseen and fake his own death. At least, to Neeson. No WAY would the cops have believed Modine was blown up in a situation that returned absolutely no human body parts, fragments, or DNA of any kind. That could have been POINT 7 but it's not, for some reason. What the heck - let's posthumously make it POINT 7.

Upon seeing that Darth Vader is Matthew Modine, Neeson says, "WTF?" Remember when I told you to remember back in POINT 1 that Neeson had settled Hans down and handled the situation? I'm glad you did, because no one involved with this movie did. Modine tells Neeson, "Hans was going to take out all his money! It would have ruined us! Hahahahahahaha!" Which leads us to...

POINT 8 - No, Hans was not going to do that but for some reason, Neeson never brings this somewhat-important point to Modine's attention. This was all for nothing!

Neeson begins driving like a maniac, skillfully crashing into a guardrail on an overpass that has a lake beneath it. Conveniently, Neeson has managed to turn the SUV onto its side, with the driver's side of the SUV on the downside, and with the SUV over the guardrail enough so that all Neeson has to do is unbuckle his seat belt and fall into the lake.

Which he does, but Modine doesn't. KABOOM.

I'm sure there was some sort of happy reunion at the end but I've successfully washed it out of my brain.

"Retribution" is simply a bad movie. I can find no reason at all to suggest you watch it, or even remember it was ever made. So it can only get 0 Teenagers Acting Rebellion out of All Teenagers Act Rebellion At One Time Or Another. Let's hope "Equalizer 3" and "Expend4bles" right the action movie ship!
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I saw this on the big screen, first time I have done a big screen movie since the Whitney Houston abortion late last year and this time I went with a friend (Yes I have friends!). We went into Gold Class and the theatre was nice, just 44 seats, recliners and no cell phones. It was a midday weekday session (He's retired and I am "between" jobs), so it was pretty much the movie, 7 other people and us, with crazy surround sound (Spoiler - expect a few loud sudden sounds like bombs going off!!!).

First thing, its 3 hours long and the first hour is the slowest. Overall its a great movie - but it is quite boring and seems a bit superficial in parts. Basically its very historically accurate and is set in a usual flashback tone, starting in 1954, Oppenheimer (Played very well by Irish actor Ciaran Murphy) is being investigated by the House UnAmerican Committee or some Joe McCarthy/Hoover type "name names" enquiry of the early 50s to root out the commies - for being a disloyal American and a suspected communist (Mainly as he had some sympathies in the 1930s for socialism over the Spanish Civil War and he was romantically involved with 2 women who were communist party members, one his wife, the other took her own life). This part is in black and white and it flashes back in colour starting with 1926 at Cambridge when as an unhappy postgrad - he is advised by Niels Bohr to go to Gottingen and study Quantum Physics there (Einstein features and is played by Tom Conti, with Kenneth Branagh playing Bohr). A side story is him poisoning an apple with Potassium Cyanide, which Bohr nearly eats until Oppenheimer tells him its got a worm and biffs it (This was pure Hollywood embellishment).

We then cross to Germany and the Netherlands, where he receives his doctorate and is involved with Max Born, the German Physicist and he meets up with other American scientists, when around 1933 he goes back to Berkeley California and starts his own lab and classes there making friends. However he gets caught up with communists and his own brother Francis shows Communist tendencies. The other scientists try to steer him away from the communism and then the atom is splitted in 1939 and war is declared in Europe. Next he meets an army General (Played by a visibly aging Matt Damon) and he talks him into the Manhattan project. The whole time Japan is barely mentioned and Germany barely gets a mention - just that the Germans reject Quantum Physics as a "Jewish science" and many of the scientists had fled Germany by this stage (In 1926 it was promoted as the most advanced scientific community in the world - with a high number of German scientists - Jewish). Oppenheimer although Jewish nevers play it up much and the guy who framed him Strauss made a point of his Jewishness and other Jews cricticised him for knowing Dutch and German, but not Yiddish.

Finally in 1942 Los Alamos is selected as the site for developing the bomb and Oppenheimer leads an all star team to make a weapon that will end all wars, however he has doubts about the carnage it will cause, he goes on developing it. At the same time his personal life crumbles with his wife rejecting him and his on again off again girlfriend (A communist who hates flowers) takes her own life. Even though Oppenheimer was a womaniser, he hardly see much of this side of him, its mainly Oppenheimer, the man who built the bomb and rejected himself for it (Cliche of the self hating Jew - well this movie was written by a Catholic and Murphy himself is Irish Catholic). As the bomb is built we see a few egos clash and finally it goes to the test on July 16 1945, which is a huge success and then the bombing of Nagasaki, Oppenheimer is man of the moment but not happy and when being congratulated has a flashback of burnt bodies and crying people disintegrating before him - his conscience catches up and he loses confidence. Also he is upset that it was Japan that bore the brunt of the bombs, not Germany, which had surrended by then, although not a loyal Jew, Oppenheimer despised anti semitism.

Around 1947 he sees Truman and admits he is worried about the deaths and starts crying - Truman hands him a tissue and as he leaves Truman says "Don't let that crybaby back into my office" - This happened but much later - Hollywood!!

The rest of the time he is working at Strauss's school and hangs out with Einstein and a few others. Finally he gets a hotshot lawyer called Garrison to defend and is shocked when other scientists and colleagues denounce him as a communist and a traitor, but his wife and the general defend him, and Oppenheimer is judged a loyal citizen, but loses his security clearance (This is early 1955 before Einstein dies). The movie ends with Oppenheimer worried, but Strauss who bought him down is denied his place in congress and is denounced by a rabid media (The same media earlier harassing Oppenheimer over his so called communist leanings).

What was great was the acting - everyone played their roles well, Robert Downey Junior was playing the Inquisitor and given his history, he played it straight. Matt Damon was good as the general and Murphy gave a break out perfomance. the actor playing his wife was also good. Also the settings and sequences were excellent along with the music. Its a good story that picks up and shows his human condition and his insecurities a bit (I would not be surprised if Oppenheimer was on the spectrum as he was socially awkward). I alos felt warmth from the performances, particularly Damon and Tom Conti, the guy who played Einstein. The settings were great too, we saw some of the extreme weather of Los Alamos (Snow).

Some of the flaws was the disjointed story telling, the fact no years were shown (You needed to know the Oppenheimer story and the A bomb theory a bit). Probably also the very loud sounds at time with no warning - ear popping stuff. Plus it is long and the first hour really drags. This is serious movie too - no jokes and definitely not for a low brow audience. Also we get this woke 2020s ethic set in a very racist and discrimnatory time (I doubt Berkeley was fully integrated in 1936 as there were several Black male and female students doing Quantum Physics - maybe those women from Hidden Figures?????), we get the very big cast of Chinese, Hispanic, Black and other people in mainstream society - 1954 Enquiry had a Black reporter in the front row of the gallery. Its great to see this inclusiveness - but this is 1926 to 1955 here, a very uninclusive era and sorry no one was playing J Edgar Hoover as he is mentioned a lot, but he is not here.

Overall its hard to score this movie as its been lauded by critics, but I like it - but many other lighter movies I like more. I decided just on the importance of the story, the effort and quality alone its a solid 8/10 or a B+ verging on an A-. Its a worthwhile movie to see if you know your history or science and you have at least some College Education or are studying him in Grade 10 up. But if you don't read much and know little about science stay away - go see Barbie or Gran Turismo instead.

Score 8/10 or 4 Atom Bombs out of 5
^^^haven't seen Oppenheimer, but I most certainly will soon. I just skimmed over your review for now to avoid even minor spoilers, but yes, some already told me it is better if you read a bit into the historical background before watching, simply makes things easier to understand
House Of Gucci (2021)

Ms. Dancelot suggested we’d watch this, so we did

Unlike her I am not really an expert in the world of fashion, so I learned quite a lot from this movie.
Obviously, it seems to be about dresses, cloths, handbags, shoes. That is some weird, wild stuff.

Very interesting.

But fashion is just the background, the main story is about the family and it touches on “The Godfather” territory at places, and the main plot point being a high-profile murder case in Italy in the mid-90s. But no spoilers, not everyone knows about that case and who killed who and why and where and when… like me… before that movie…

Solid direction by Ridley Scott, while it has some flaws, it is still largely an entertaining movie, based on actual persons and events. As in the past Ridley takes his artistic freedom though and handles facts very loose at times.
Example? Directly after the opening credits say “inspired by the true story” it establishes time and place with Milano (Italy) 1978. But only 30 seconds after that, at a party they played Donna summer “On The Radio”!!! Now can you believe that? I was irritated, annoyed, shocked by such a tragically messed up opening scene. Because unless we were in an alternate timeline/universe of course everyone knows that this song was only released in late 1979. Shortly before I bought the album… and put the sexy Donna poster on my wall… which I feel I only took down maybe two or three years ago… see, on it she even confimed that she loved me...

Ahhh but I digress, anyway, so I immediately knew how much Scott cared about the “true story” and historical accuracy, bloody hell.

Okay. Here is the poster anyway:


So Adam Driver was good, Lady Gaga too, we get a bit of Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Salma Hayek. But the most memorable performance for me came quite surprisingly from - hold it now - Jared Leto, and he was visually almost unrecognizable, it took me a while to realize it was him. I may have seen a few movies with him appearing, but none that I could name from the top of my head, I simply never paid attention. But here it is impossible to ignore him. Some critics ripped him apart, but his over the top ridiculous portrayal of the black sheep in the family, Paolo Gucci, was simply hilarious, and in my book he stole the show.


So maybe I’ll give this 6.5 to 7 out of 10, entertaining but not on any future re-watch list for now.

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The Batman (2022)

A full three-hour movie (at least for some….) so let’s not waste any time and get to the story.

Well, there are some detectives, and some cops. There are also politicians, gangsters an mobsters. And a few other people. And they walk around, then they talk, then they discuss crimes, sometimes politics, corruption, then they walk more, then talk again and walk somewhere else. Then they solve some riddles and try to find clues about crimes, they talk, walk more, and talk, walk and talk. Oh yes, one of them walking talking guys had funny ears and a black cape for whatever reason.

At the 70-minute mark that caped guy somehow has done enough walking. He needs to escape from some cops running after him, but damn, what to do? He is trapped in a high building, an when he stands on top of it and looks down on the street he gasps, almost pisses his pants, obviously he has never been over ground more than 3 feet in his life (well, certainly not during the movie so far). However, the cops are approaching fast, so he has to overcome his High Anxiety, and he uses a wingsuit, obviously also for the first time in his life, and jumps down. Very, VERY amateurish, cause his parachute gets caught in a bridge, so he brutally crashes on a bus and a parking car and then lies on the street, but he’s lucky and still survives. Phewww, that was close! But I am sure that’ll teach him and he never will try such silly dangerous stunts again, leave this to professionals, I rather suggest to continue talking and walking and solving riddles.

Soon after that Mrs. Dancelot and me just could not take it anymore, we stopped the film. And that is something I rarely ever do. And she concluded that this was the worst Batman movie of all times, and who am I to disagree.

Make no mistake, this is NOT a superhero movie. It’s a pretty dull detective gangster movie, and I see no need for a cape or mask anywhere.

I personally also don’t care for the MCU movies really, out of 500 I have probably seen only 3 or 4 of them, because the over-the-top action and CGI loaded unrealistic action sequences are just not my thing. But “The Batman” was the other extreme and was even more boring and dull than the MCU.

For the most part I liked Christopher Nolans Batman super-realistic trilogy placed in our universe, without any aliens, magic, true superhero-powers and all that, but compared to “The Batman” they suddenly seem like Roland Emmerich overkill.

What I DID like were the optics, pretty great dark and grim settings, very cool. But the story was simply awful.

So only for the optics I would give this one star out of ten, but since I saw only half of the movie this would be unfair, so I’ll rate it half a star.


PS: that movie poster pretty much sums up all the actionloaded excitement this breathtaking movie has to offer
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September 2, 2023

I watched this so I could watch "Vacation Friends 2". In fact, until the commercials for "Vacation Friends 2" started appearing on my devices, I didn't even know there was a "Vacation Friends" movie, much less a semi-franchise.


It turns out that "Vacation Friends" is pretty dang good! Of course, I'm a big fan of John Cena who IMHO is...wait? "IMHO"?!? Certified Movie Reviewers don't have humble opinions! What was I thinking?!?

John Cena is a very good comedic actor. Also a good action star. He's not Arnold - no one will ever be Arnold except Arnold - but he's in the same mold. And he nails it again in "Vacation Friends".

The plot, such as it is, revolves around super uptight Lil Rey Howery taking his girlfriend down to a Mexican resort in order to pop the question. But alas, everything that can go wrong does go wrong, ending up with Lil Rey and Emily (Yvonne Orji, no really - her last name is "Orji". Pronounced "orgy" So it makes perfect sense that she's given talks about waiting until marriage to have sex) staying with Ron (Cena) and Kyla (Meredith Hagner, who I thought I'd seen in a dozen movies but actually had never seen her in anything until this) in the Presidential Suite. Of course, it was Ron and Kyla's flooding of their Jacuzzi that ruined Lil Rey's storybook proposal but after drinking margaritas lined not with salt but with cocaine, they all become friends. Yeah, there are a lot of drug references, sex references, and generally bawdy stuff in this. It earned its R rating, that's for sure.

Ron is the kind of guy that just falls into great things, and obviously has much more to him than he lets on. Through a series of misadventures that always turn out all right, everyone ends up at Lil Rey and Emily's wedding, where more stuff goes wrong and then ends up all right.

The trick to this movie are the lines, all of which are delivered in a way that's going to make you laugh. They made me laugh! OK, it might have been the copious amounts of my own imitation of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, but I sure did laugh a lot! I think I've already told you how to replicate Pappy Van Winkle but just in case, here's what you do.

First of all, know that Pappy Van Winkle is extremely expensive bourbon. More than $1,000 a bottle, and usually waaaaay more than $1K. I've only had it once, on my birthday three years ago. In fact, it was so good that I had two shots of it, as did my favorite son. Our tab for those four shots was $180 and would be about twice that today (which is why I've not had Pappy Van Winkle since!).

But a good thing that came out of COVID was me drinking a whole lot of different bourbon. At one point, I bought some Wild Turkey American Honey, which is a sweet bourbon actually classified as a liqueur. I poured a small amount of it in a glass, then poured a shot of my favorite bourbon over it, and tasted the result. Hey - this tastes like Pappy Van Winkle! And it costs about $44.25 less per shot than the Pappy Van Winkle available at finer restaurants around the country. Score one for me!

So I was happily and blissfully consuming some ersatz Pappy, and that might have made "Vacation Friends" funnier. But I'm pretty sure you'll laugh at a lot of the lines no matter what your situation. I'm still thinking about a few of them, which is definitely a good sign.

Now it's on to "Vacation Friends 2". Is this a one-shot joke, or can Cena and Lil Rey maintain the wacky, zany, madcap adventures from the original? To be frank, that's hard to do. Almost impossible to do, if you want the frankest of the frank. So what I'm doing here is setting the bar as low as I can for "Vacation Friends 2", but what that means is...

..."Vacation Friends" rates 4 Coin Checks out of 5 Coin Checks. I hope the coin check plays a part in "Vacation Friends 2"!
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September 3, 2023

As you may recall, I predicted that we'd go to the Booze and Chow, I'd have a drink or two, and we would enjoy the mayhem promised by "Equalizer 3". Some of that happened!

I planned the day perfectly. Church in the morning. A great brunch afterwards. An Astros game at 1:00, against the last-place and out-of-the-postseason New York Yankees, who we own. Then an early dinner before descending upon the Booze and Chow in order to end the night with booze and equalizing. And chow, if having popcorn and M&Ms counts as chow.

SIDENOTE: I don't know why, but much like mixing honey bourbon with regular bourbon to make something special, I like to mix popcorn with a chocolate candy. The result is awesome! My candy of preference for this is Whoppers but the Booze and Chow does not have Whoppers. Therefore, I went with Plan B, which was plain M&Ms. Still awesome!

Whatever day you're reading this, write down the date. Because I am about to admit something that almost never happens:

I made a mistake.

It seems the Astros-Yankee game was a featured ESPN telecast, and those are night games. First pitch was not at 1:00, it was at 6:00. This would conflict with our 7:00 tickets for "Equalizer 3".

Even though I have a great relationship with the Astros, not even I could have got that game time changed (Certified Movie Reviewers have more power than you think). So I switched our 7:00 tickets for the 4:00 showing. This resulted in popcorn and chocolate, but did not result in a drink of any kind for any of us. Would this affect our enjoyment of "Equalizer 3"?


Notice, there is no "!" after "No" - only a ".". This signifies a lack of excitement, which should be the tag line for this movie. To wit:

"Equalizer 3 - A Lack of Excitement".

Here's something weird - usually, the more writers a movie has, the bigger a disaster it is. But the world was flipped this weekend. "Vacation Friends" has five-count-em-five writers, while "Equalizer 3" has only one. But man! "Vacation Friends" is a well-crafted, fast-moving comedy while "Equalizer 3" is a choppy, disjointed movie that makes little sense and doesn't cover that up with copious amounts of equalizing.

That's not to say 3 is as bad as 2. But it's nowhere near as good as 1. Shall I explain why? I believe I shall!

The movie opens at an Italian winery with a whole bunch of people already having been equalized. They've been shot, stabbed and one guy even had a meat cleaver embedded in his face. The Drug Kingpin and his 7-year-old son come upon the scene. The Drug Kingpin tells the boy to wait in the car while he goes to survey the equalizing.

The good news - he thinks - is that the last four of his guys were able to subdue the Equalizer and have him seating in a chair, with four guns pointed at his temples. The Drug Kingpin asks the Equalizer what he thinks he's doing and the Equalizer says he's retrieving something the Drug Kingpin has that does not belong to the Drug Kingpin. Then he equalizes the Drug Kingpin and his Four Henchmen in great fashion. A rousing start, to be sure!

As the Equalizer is leaving the scene, the little boy comes out of the Drug Kingpin's truck. "Go home" says the Equalizer, who then walks away. Bad move. The kid takes out a rifle and shoots the Equalizer in the back. THEN the kid goes home. The Equalizer figures he's a goner and puts his pistol to his head but then decides to try to live.

He ends up being found by an Italian policeman, who takes him to the doctor in his little Italian village, which appears to be so little that it doesn't have a hospital, or even any nurses. Just a kindly old doctor.

Surprising no one, the Equalizer survives the gunshot wound and begins to convalesce in the little Italian town. Of course, everyone falls in love with the Equalizer for absolutely no good reason, and he is enjoying his non-equalizing recovery. So much so that he calls a CIA agent in America named Collins and tells her where the CIA can find a whole bunch of dead criminals, as well as a boatload of illegal opioids and a lot of cash (hint: it's at the winery).

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It turns out that the drugs the Equalizer equalized in the movie's beginning belong to Vincent, who is the Mob Boss of that part of Italy. His brother Marco is Vincent's shakedown guy. When the owner of the town's seafood restaurant can't pay that month's shakedown fee, Marco whips him really good, but the Equalizer doesn't do anything about it.

Wait - that should say "but the Equalizer doesn't do anything about it!!!!!"

Then Marco burns down the seafood restaurant and even though the restaurant owner is the Equalizer's friend, no equalizing is done. None!!!!!

Finally, Marco and his henchmen come to a different restaurant and pressure some people, but this time the Equalizer is there!!!!! Marco demands a boat be arranged for some nefarious purpose. This finally pushes the Equalizer's buttons and he stares down Marco in an Epic Staring Match and Marco comes over to tell the Equalizer to mind his own beeswax. His. Own. Beeswax!!!!!!!!! (I don't speak Italian and half the movie is in Italian so I'm kind of assuming Marco did, in fact, use the term "beeswax".)

Marco gets lightly equalized via pressing on a nerve in the hand, and the Equalizer tells Marco to go somewhere else to do bad things. So much for being a good neighbor! Get ready, other small coastal towns in Italy! Marco has been sent to YOUR town by the Equalizer. I hope you have your own Equalizers because you're going to need them!!!!!!

Nah. Marco decides instead to kill the Equalizer when he leaves the restaurant, but the Equalizer is one step ahead of Marco. He somehow equalized a henchman, inserted that henchman into a conveniently located van, and jimmied the accelerator to be at full-on, which caused the van to crush another henchman into a wall, also conveniently located. The Equalizer then equalizes the remaining henchman - an Italian guy called "Viking" - and then he equalizes Marco into the afterlife. Wow!!!!!!!

Boyohboy does this infuriate Vincent!!!!!!!!!!!!! He orders everyone in the small Italian village killed but the Equalizer gives himself up right in the middle of the town square, in exchange for Vincent not killing anyone else except for the one Italian cop whose head Vincent blew off before the Equalizer decided enough was enough. The family of the dead cop says, "Thanks for nothing, The Equalizer!!!!!!" They didn't really say that but they should have.

Instead of saying, "Thanks for nothing, The Equalizer!!!!" the townsfolk all pull out their phones and go on Facebook Live, Tik Tok, InstaPot, or whatever. "We can't kill him now!" says one of the henchmen. "They've got cell phones!!!!!!!!" So Vincent and his henchmen leave but not before telling the Equalizer, "I'll see you again!!!!!!" To which the Equalizer says, "Sooner than you think!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And he means it. He equalizes everyone in Vincent's Fortress of Solitude before equalizing Vincent for dessert!! Then he goes to find Collins, who you might have noticed has not been mentioned at all.

That's because she actually did nothing. I have no idea why she's even in the movie. Someone must have owed Dakota Fanning a favor.

The movie ends with the Equalizer now a full-fledged, much-beloved member of the small Italian village. This is confirmed when they have him celebrate a big soccer victory.

Wait - A BIG SOCCER VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!! BIGGER THAN THE WORLD CUP, I BET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Several points to make here - and by the way, now I'm done with exclamation points! (That was the last one, promise). The movie was filmed on the Amalfi Coast. Everyone tells me the Amalfi Coast is incredibly beautiful. My own brother and his family were there in July and he's STILL raving about it. But in this movie, it looks pretty depressing. There's no way you're going to watch this and think, "Wow, I'd love to live there. What beauty." (I would have used an exclamation point but I promised there wouldn't be any more, so you're just going to have to imagine an exclamation point there.)

I don't think they ever revealed what it was that the Drug Kingpin had that the Equalizer had come to retrieve. If they did, I missed it. Speaking of being missed, that kid that shot the Equalizer? Never seen again. Seriously? No one wants to see a kid equalized but the kid surely was part of a family that required equalizing. The Drug Kingpin couldn't possibly have been the entire family.

Collins gets a big promotion for breaking up Vincent's operation which, by the way, used money from various activities to buy those opioids from terrorists, who then used Vincent's money to buy bombs for blowing up innocent people. But Collins had nothing to do with Vincent's downfall. That was all Equalizer. She knew who he was - his name is McCall, remember that from the first movie? - but even though she knew who did all the work, she took the credit? Seriously?

And the real bad guys were the Syrian terrorists who were blowing up civilians. Just because Vincent got equalized doesn't mean there wouldn't be any more bombs. Why weren't the Syrians equalized? Nobody seemed to care about equalizing them.

"Equalizer 3" suffers from the same disease almost every sequel suffers from, and that's the dreaded We Actually Used All The Good Ideas In The First Movie disease. I really need to start writing movie scripts. Or maybe you need to. Someone needs to, that's for sure.

I don't think I can recommend that you pay any extra hard-earned money to see this. You're already paying for Netflix, so I suggest waiting until this hits that, in case you're a completist and simply have to watch all of Denzel Washington's movies. I don't remember what I rated "Equalizer 2" as, and I did say that this movie is better than that movie, didn't I? I'll throw caution to the wind and not look up my rating for "Equalizer 2" - I'll go ahead and say that "3" gets 2.01 Little Black Books out of 5 Little Black Books.

ADDENDUM - it turns out they did tell us what the Equalizer retrieved in the movie's opening scene. He got a key, which unlocked the door where there was a bunch of money stolen in a cyber scheme. McCall took $344,600 out of it, put it in a backpack that we never see again until the very end, when Collins shows up at some house in Boston and gives the backpack to the couple. It's got the money in it, which is the man's pension that was stolen as part of the cyber scheme. No one else got their money back, though. Just another plot hole.
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^^^^yeah, part 1 was very cool, part 2 a bit meh, can't even remember that much about it

for part 3 I will wait til it hits streaming, no rush
September 10, 2023

This was part of a deal I made with Mrs. RodeoSchro and my Favorite Mother-In-Law. In return for them going to see "Equalizer 3" and "Expend4bles", I'd go see this chick flick. And I did.

I have to say, I enjoyed this thing. It's the stupidest movie you'll see this year but it's the good kind of stupid. I'd like to expand on that but this is a chick flick and I'm a dude. So the only natural thing to do is...

...bring in a female guest reviewer. And there's only one person that can be!

"Hello to you, I am Eunice also known as the Bad Conversationalist by that delightful rapscallion Mr. RodeoSchro who, you should know, really enjoyed this movie even more than me and the gals from the Koffee Klatch did and probably not just because he drank some of that horrible wine you can get at movie theaters, which he drank after drinking some pretty good wine at dinner with his lovely ladies at a very high-class Italian restaurant, or so he says, but also because this movie will reaffirm your faith in humanity, it's just that good and you're going to wish every family was as fun and loving and fun-loving as all Greek familes everywhere in the entire world seem to be, because that's what the movie is all about and if you ask me, that's a good thing to be about even if they didn't use that good-looking gentleman from that Northern Exposure show very much, and I am told that show was Mrs. RodeoSchro's favorite show back in the day as the kids say, although it seems she thought the moose in the beginning was a goat so she would always tell Mr. RodeoSchro to "put on the Goat Show" which, of course, he always did what with being the role model of what all husbands should be, Greek or not, and he would put on the Goat Show even though he got tired of that good-looking guy always being philosophical and asking questions on his radio show like "Is our tendency to swat mosquitoes simply a reflex action or is it symbolic of our desire to wipe away the vestiges of oppression suffered by the ancestors of our neighbors?" and you know there's no way Mr. RodeoSchro would ask questions like that on his radio show, which he wants me to remind you is called ROCK AND ROLL RADIO and isn't it funny that even though I'm dictating this review into my Dictaphone dictation machine, every time I say ROCK AND ROLL RADIO it automatically appears in giant capital letters, which is confusing but is not really the point of my review, and I am sure you want me to get to the point of my review so I will but keep in mind, I did not drink wine like Mr. RodeoSchro did so my review might be different than his on account of the Koffee Klatch gals and I snuck in some vintage peach schnapps which we mixed with our colas to hilarious effect, why you should have seen Beatrix howling with laughter every time that one guy would trim his nose hairs or whatnot, and we all kind of glossed over the fact that the dear old dead dad had boinked some hideous witch in his Greek village and unknowingly fathered another kid but I guess in the Greek culture, that is permissible in some way, which reminds me of the only Greek joke I know but there is not enough peach schnapps in the Tri-County Area to get me to tell it to you but don't despair because I have it on good authority that if you get at least half a shot of that Blanton's whiskey into Mr. RodeoSchro, he'll tell that joke and a whole bunch more and from what I've heard, they are pretty good jokes so you should probably get some Blanton's and keep it on hand should you ever run across Mr. RodeoSchro because that will get him to tell jokes plus it will keep him away from blabbering on about this movie, and that's something you don't want to hear because how can he call it the stupidest movie of the year and yet rate it as 3.75 Opas out of 5 Opas?

Can I get paid now?"

Yes, Eunice. Thanks, and the check is in the mail!
Whew! Eunice is a handful, isn't she?

We both forgot to mention that there's a movie coming out called "Boy Kills World" which is said to be a pretty accurate description of the entire movie. I need to find some dudes to go to that with me - I don't think my agreement to see "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" extends to joining me in a movie with apparently the highest body count on record.
I don't normally do this but I HAD NO IDEA there is a new Nockels Cage movie - premiering TODAY! I read it in the newspaper (yeah, I'm that one guy that still reads the newspaper). So I looked up the trailer, and HOLY MOLEY I AM MAKING A BEELINE TO SEE THIS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

(Click the link, go to Youtube, thank me later)

September 15, 2023

In my defense, I did not pick this. Mrs. RodeoSchro did, and she bailed on it 30 minutes in. So as you read this, remember that!

As a Certified Movie Reviewer and also as a Grumpy Old Man, let me tell you kiddos something:

Never wear your hat backwards.


There is no good way to wear your hat backwards and if you attempt it, there are only bad outcomes. One and only one person in the history of the world could get away with it, and that's because: (1) he was the first popular figure to do it; (2) he was the happiest guy on the field; and (3) he's now in the Baseball Hall of Fame. That guy is this guy:


This guy is Ken Griffey, Jr. Doesn't he look happy in his backwards hat? Of course he does! You would too, if you were on your way to hitting 630 home runs and getting elected to the Hall of Fame with the highest vote percentage in history.

Now, here are two guys wearing their hats backwards. I'm showing you two because all styles of backwards-hat-wearing are wrong, and there are two distinct ways to commit fashion suicide. Here's number 1, which I call Full Dirtbag (I wanted to use another word that ends in "bag" but figured one day I might run for office and if I used that word, there go my chances of being elected President or Emperor):


Here we are in one of the nicest restaurants on the West Coast. And this dude wears a backwards hat. Any kind of hat would have been unacceptable, but a backwards hat like this just screams "I'm doing well this month selling car warranties over the phone so I'm going to show everyone that by dressing inappropriately in a very nice restaurant!" My family knew this to be true but still insisted I gray out his face, on account of they didn't want me to take his picture. But I knew that at some point I'd watch a movie that epitomized things you should not do, such as wear a backwards hat in a nice restaurant, and I wanted to be prepared! At least the hat sits on this guy's head the way a hat is supposed to, albeit backwards.

Which is another way of saying, at least he isn't this guy:


Be honest - does anything about this guy's look scream "I've got brains!"? No and if anything DID scream "I've got brains!" it would be wiped out by wearing a hat not only backwards, but sitting WAY too high on his head. I only see 20-something kids do this, so we'll call this the I Might Be Too Young To Know Better style. It's just stupid. So now you kids know better.

Other than the crown of a cowboy hat, there is no situation in which the hat you're wearing should have air between it and your head. Exactly what are you trying to accomplish here? Is this kid growing a plant on top of his noggin, and thinks it needs air? Does he store his vape pen in that space (you know he has a vape pen)? Is he trying to create a false illusion of high-top cranium, in case he engages in fisticuffs and hopes his opponent is dumb enough to swing at what he thinks is skull but is in fact air?

We may never know but one thing we do know is this:

"Theater Camp" was a waste of time. Why do you think I picked this review to go off on backwards caps? (Other than I've been saving these pictures for up to a year, waiting on the right time to bore you with them and maybe got bored?)

It tries, I'll give it that. Whoever made this either wants to be the next Christopher Guest, or just wanted to create an homage to Guest. Either way, he didn't quite get there.

The concept is good - struggling theater camp; owner goes into a comedic coma; ragtag staff tries to pull off the impossible. But nothing really clicks. It's like there's no soul.

Let's start with the lead, some dude that I was positive was Channing Tatum but instead was Jimmy Tatro, who appears to be the Youtube version of Channing Tatum. And here's something weird - Tatro was in "22 Jump Street" with Tatum. I never saw that one and never will, but have to assume lots of people got Channing and Tatro confused at various times.

Tatro has a channel that features comedy skits and according to Wikipedia, "several celebrities have appeared". The celebrities are listed and the only one I recognized was Pauly Shore.

That's right - Pauly Shore. And yet this dude - Tatro - is approaching 1,000,000,000 views on Youtube. That's worth almost $6,300!

So I mis-recognized one person and the only person I saw that I knew for sure was Suzy from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" but she's only in the last 90 seconds. There was one other guy that I was positive was Billy Porter but it wasn't Billy Porter and I can't even find out who this Billy Porter look-alike is. Oh well.

On a lark, I read some Google reviews. Actually, I was larked because "Theater Camp" has an 85% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. From who?!?

Theater people, that's who. Everyone who's ever been in a play has watched this and rated it five stars, complete with several serious paragraphs about how this depicts "theater people" to a T.

And maybe it does. But I'm not a theater person. I have been in tons of skits - literally, tons - and this didn't speak to me. So unless you've been in actual plays in front of actual audiences, you'll probably not find this as amusing as people who have been in actual plays in front of actual audiences.

I'll give "Theater Camp" 1 Backwards Hat out of 5 Backwards Hats, but keep in mind - backwards hats aren't acceptable for anyone.
September 17, 2023

I guess this is what I get for making fun of backwards hats. I should have left well enough alone.

The universe karma'd me by making me think a Nockels Cage movie in which Nockels is a retired assassin who comes out of retirement to assassinate a lot of bad guys would be just what the doctor ordered, mayhem-wise.

It was not.

Oh, there was mayhem. Plenty of mayhem. But I learned something whilst watching all the mayhem:

In a movie built around mayhem, you must either have: (1) an iron-clad-yet very-simple plot; or (2) no plot at all.

The one thing you cannot have in a mayhem movie is anything in between (1) and (2). "The Retirement Plan" has set up shop squarely in the middle.

The mayhem is OK but forced way too many times. The plot suffers giant holes AND is exceedingly complex AND entirely unbelievable. Nockels is just OK; other cast members are atrocious, with one exception that I'll focus on in a moment.

But first - have you ever read "Othello"? I have not. I do intend to read some Shakespeare, as I fashion myself a well-read man but do recognize that 95% of my reading has been Louis L'Amour Western novels and novels concerning retired Super Soldiers who are never really retired. In an effort to broaden my horizons and thus increase my well-reading-ness, I just started "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". You know, it kind of seems familiar - it's possible I read this in high school, which means I'm a little more well-read than I thought. But I digress.

I haven't read "Othello" but I'm guessing this movie is based (loosely, I'm sure) on it. Why? Because of Ron Perlman, that's why.

Let's start at the start, shall we? Jimmy and his buddy are staggering out of an apartment - the buddy has been gut-shot and there's no coming back from being gut-shot unless you are Ernie Hudson and this guy is not Ernie Hudson. SPOILER ALERT - Ernie Hudson gets gut-shot later on but because he's Ernie Hudson, he survives.

Jimmy and Mr. Gut-Shot stumble into Ashley's car. Ashley is Jimmy's wife and is simply a horrible crybaby, rendering her as completely unlikable. Even though she isn't the hero, Ashley is still an egregious violation of RodeoSchro's First Rule Of Moviemaking.

Mr. Gut-Shot dies so Jimmy and Ashley do the only natural thing - dump his body, set their car on fire, and Jimmy hops into a boat while instructing Ashley to get their daughter and hightail it to the Cayman Islands immediately. He'll meet them later after he "sets things right". It seems things were set wrong and Mr. Gut-Shot was gut-shot during the commission of a burglary; specifically the burglary of a thumb drive which, for some inexplicable reason, is referred to as a "hard drive" throughout the movie. thumb drives are not hard drives - they are USB sticks that contain COPIES of information from a hard drive. This is a major plot hole, unless you don't know the difference between a thumb drive and a hard drive. But don't worry, there will be plenty of other plot holes that you do understand.

Ashley and her daughter Sarah make it to the airport but only Sarah makes it onto the plane, as there was only one ticket left on that flight. Ashley has hidden the thumb drive in Sarah's backpack, thus making her daughter the target of all the crooks in Miami. Great parenting, Ashley!

As the plane takes off, Ashley is corralled by two goons who work for another unlikable character. His name is Donnie and he's a big crime boss. But with all due respect to Jackie Earle Haley and his formidable acting skills, he is no big crime boss. He's more of a "Bad News Bears" kind of bad guy, which he really was - Haley played Kelly Leak, the hoodlum who joined Walter Matthau's ragtag team of misfits and leads them to victory.

The goons take Ashley to Donnie, and it turns out Donnie's goons had also captured Jimmy earlier that night. He's had most of the snot beaten out of him, but not all of it. Yuck. Anyway, Ashley tells Donnie that the thumb drive is in the Cayman Islands, so two goons accompany Ashley down there to get it.

One of the goons is Ron Perlman. He's told by Donnie to get the drive (I'm just going to call it a "drive" from now on) and then kill Ashley and Sarah. "Understood" says The Man Who Also Was Clay Morrow, so you know he's going to kill them and not even feel bad about it.

I feel bad about this movie, though and therefore am ending Part One right now. I might was well saddle Part Two with all the REALLY big plot holes.
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Ashley had given Sarah a piece of paper with two names and an address. The two names are names by which Nockels is or may be known. Oddly, even though Ashley has no idea her dad is a retired assassin, she DOES know he's got a couple aliases. Just another plot hole in this Swiss cheese of a movie.

Incredibly, a flight attendant on the plane discovers Sarah is travelling alone and has no idea who or where she's supposed to go, other than the names and address on that scrap of paper - and does nothing except have someone put the unaccompanied minor into a taxi cab. Seriously. And then when Sarah is dropped off at the less-than-pristine home, greeted by absolutely no one, the cab driver leaves. Seriously.

Sarah finds a passed-out Nockels Cage down on the beach. In yet another plot hole, Nockels had apparently drunk himself to sleep on the beach, where he's currently covered with beach stuff. However, he never drinks another thing all movie. There was absolutely no reason to make Nockels an apparent drunk. None.

On one touch of Sarah's hand, he immediately awakens in full-on Super Soldier Mode. He finds out that Sarah is his grand daughter and is immediately happy but also finds out from Sarah that Ashley and her husband Jimmy are in trouble, and is immediately not surprised. So they go for hamburgers.

Upon returning to his shack, Nockels and Sarah are greeted by Ashley and the two goons, one of them being Ron Perlman. Nockels kills one goon with a dumb bell blow to the head, but Perlman gets away by taking off in Nockels' truck, in which Sarah was hiding. In the course of all this, Ashley accidentally shoots Nockels but it's just a flesh wound, never to be discussed again. So - why? Ashley shooting Nockels wasn't funny; maybe it was supposed to be. Who knows? This movie is so slapdash that no explanation can be dismissed entirely.

Now Perlman has Sarah, but no drive. He calls Donnie to tell him that, and Donnie rants and raves and cusses and generally tries to look threatening but can't really pull it off. Donnie is a high-level crime boss but HIS boss is a lady named Hector. Yeah, Hector. And she really IS mean. Donnie is dead if the drive isn't delivered in a day (that literary device is called "alliteration" and it's the only thing I remember from high school English).

So Donnie sends more goons, while unknowingly Nockels and Ashley are holed up in the same nondescript hotel as Perlman and Sarah. Sarah begins to bond with Perlman after he notices her reading "Othello". They discuss a little of Perlman's life, in which he says he's an orphan just like "Oliver Twist" and if Sarah wants to know how this is going to end, she needs to read "Oliver Twist".

SPOILER ALERT - this doesn't end like "Oliver Twist". I didn't read that one either but in-depth reading of the Wikipedia page tells me that ultimately, Oliver lived happily ever after.

Ron Perlman does not, but I'm getting ahead of myself. And this could have easily been a four-star movie if he HAD lived happily ever after but again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The new goons - three of them - show up at Nockels' hotel door and he gets the sob-sister Ashley to help him take out the goons, one at a time. If you make it this far into the movie, it'll be around this point that you'll scream out "DO YOU EVER DO ANYTHING BUT CRY IN FEAR?!?" like I did.

However, Perlman and Sarah are able to escape and by this time, they are REALLY bonding. So much so that as they leave the hotel together, Sarah holds hands with Perlman to convince some police officers that they are really together. At this point you're thinking, "Hey, this could get REALLY good if Perlman realizes the error of his ways, joins forces with Nockels, and takes out Hector and Donnie's entire crime organization!"

If only!

After Nockels has killed a few goons, he calls a secret number on his cell phone. Of course it's his old boss at the CIA, who conveniently is working on the same case that involves Donnie and Hector. She confirms that Nockels is, in fact, a killing machine and then is given that absolute worst lines and dumbest direction that you'll see all year, should you screw up and watch this.

About all his old CIA boss can tell him is that Hector and Donnie are the worst of the worst, but I think Nockels had already figured that out.

In between fits of crying like a scaredy-cat, Ashley gives the drive to Nockels and of course there's only one thing to do - visit his old partner Ernie Hudson who just happens to be a world-class computer dude AND live in the Caymans not far from Nockels. They immediately discover that what's on the drive has the power to CHANGE EVERYTHING. As you will not be surprised, exactly what's on the drive is never revealed, but it has the power to CHANGE EVERYTHING.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, former NBA player-now actor Rick Fox shows up. He also is a head honcho but for who, it's hard to tell. Since he gets phone calls from Hector, we can assume he's not head honcho-ing over the good guys.

About the time that Ernie Hudson unpacks the data on the drive, Donnie and a whole bunch more henchmen show up. Nockels wastes them all except for Donnie. At the same time, Perlman has been given instructions to kill Sarah. It's clear he doesn't want to do it, even though earlier in the movie he'd told Sarah that it's not personal and that he could kill her and then go eat pizza with no guilt at all. However, they've bonded over "Othello" and for some reason, more specifically over the Iago character.

Iago is a traitorous ensign, in case you didn't know.

So anyway, Perlman is walking Sarah into the woods and it's at this point you're thinking, "OK - Perlman will fire a shot but it'll be at a tree. Sarah will be let go and while Donnie is happily thinking Perlman got the drive and killed the kid, Perlman, Nockels and Ernie Hudson will form an alliance and take everyone down. Oh, yeah - Hudson's been gut-shot so he's out, which makes it even better because now it's going to be just Nockels and Perlman. After the mayhem, Perlman will become Sarah's friend and start a new, honest life. If that happens, this movie can still be salvaged!"


It doesn't happen.

Despite being smarter and more perceptive than most of the adults, Sarah does not realize Perlman isn't going to kill her. So she kicks him really hard between the legs, grabs his gun and runs away. Understandably, this undoes all the good will created previously between the two and Perlman is now committed to killing Sarah - this time with a convenient machete.

He tracks Sarah to Ernie Hudson's boat. Ashley had been secreted down below but when Nockels shot a grenade-wielding goon in the mouth with a flare gun (insert "Smoke on the Water" reference here if you want, but I already did that about five reviews ago), the goon's grenade explodes under water and creates a hole in the boat right where Ashley has been locked in. Just before she is completely submerged, Sarah shows up and frees her mother. While being freed, Ashley had grabbed a spear gun and as she emerges from what was almost her watery grave, Perlman appears. "Stay away or I'll shoot!" cries (and I do mean "cries") Ashley.

Perlman stays away but Ashley shoots him anyway. Perlman looks down at the spear protruding from his heart, looks at Sarah, smiles and says, "Iago!" and then falls overboard.

Sarah does not care.

But what is Perlman really saying? Is he saying that he was Iago, a trusted but jealous and traitorous ensign? Or was he saying that Sarah was Iago, and had betrayed him even though he had grown to trust her? And also, this isn't the way "Oliver Twist" ended - at all. There are no spear guns in "Oliver Twist". How are we to reconcile that? Simply the fact that we have to ask these questions is grounds enough for demanding our money back.

Somehow - and I could probably remember if I wanted to but I don't want to - everyone ends up at Hector's. Nockels, Ashley and Sarah have given up. Wait - Nockels gave up? Yes he did. The Ultimate Killing Machine just simply gave up and handed over the drive to Hector. Of course it wasn't THE drive, but it was A drive.

Then the CIA lady and her assistant show up, as does Rick Fox. I believe the following things happened in roughly this order:

1. Hector shoots Donnie
2. The CIA lady shoots Hector
3. The CIA lady shoots her assistant, as it turns out HE WAS ACTUALLY IAGO. Yes, he was a trusted but jealous and traitorous ensign who was working for Hector all the time
4. Rick Fox shows up, takes the real drive from Nockels, and tells Nockels that he's going to use the information on it to claim credit for taking down Hector's crime operation, and then run for governor
5. Wait - what? Is Rick Fox a good guy or a bad guy? Should he even be governor? Who knows? Apparently not the guy that wrote this
6. Nockels says, "What about me?" to which Rick Fox points at a cool boat with four 350-HP Johnson outboard motors and says, "Take that - Hector doesn't need it any more. And the Cayman Islands are only 340 nautical miles that way"
7. Nockels jumps in the boat saying "Goodbye! I love you!" to absolutely nobody, and heads out to sea
8. No one says, "What about Jimmy?" You know - Sarah's dad? Ashley's husband? The CIA's informant who is responsible for all this? Is he still alive? If so, he's certainly still being guarded by SOMEBODY from Donnie's crew. Who's going to save him? What's going to happen to the people left over from Donnie's crew? Will Nockels ever get to meet his son-in-law?

What a let-down. And I'm not the only one let-down. "The Retirement Plan" had the lowest opening weekend of any Nockels Cage movie, ever. Even lower than the B-movies he made to pay off his tax debts. That's not good.

My philosophy - not gleaned from any reading of Shakespeare, mind you - is that Nockels Cage is worth at least one star in any movie he's in, regardless of anything else. So it will come as no surprise that we're going to give "The Retirement Plan".......one star. But it's an honorary star, as this thing is really a zero.

I am REALLY counting on "Expend4bles" being great or else "My Big Far Greek Wedding 3" is going to be the best new movie I've seen this summer. But I did notice that when the cast is announced in the trailer, all the stars are listed but it ends with "And Sylvester Stallone". I'm guessing that means he's in the movie five minutes, which probably makes this in reality a Jason Statham movie. I can live with that; let's just hope a whole bunch of bad guys can't.
September 21, 2023

:bananadance: Do you remember, the 21st night of September? :bananadance:

Man, did this movie ruin that song.

We watched "Expend4bles" on the twenty-first night of September, and what a load of crap. Not the night - the movie.

Complete and utter crap. And I'm torn - should I waste some of my valuable time and pick this turkey apart, or is it not even worth the effort?

I think I'll split the middle and just touch on some of the horrid features of this Z-level "movie".

It begins in an old Libyan chemical plant, where some Oriental dude captures a general via killing his wife and son. This gets him "the detonators". Oh no - not the detonators! No one has ever used the detonators for good!

Meanwhile, back in New Orleans, the Expendables (and I will never, ever type the stupid name of this movie again) are doing what they do - nothing. Stallone shows up at Jason Statham's house and we are introduced to the worst actress to ever appear in an action movie - Megan Fox.

Yeah, you heard me. Megan Fox. She comes onscreen yelling F-bombs at Statham and Stallone, telling them she's better at "it" than they are. "It", of course, is killing people. Stallone tries to stay out of it in a humorous fashion and succeeds only at half of it. Meaning, none of his lines are funny in any way, shape or form. And not only here, but for the entire movie.

Fox F-bombs them out of the house but not before we notice two things - she is wearing 32 pounds of makeup, and her lips are filled with 450% more collagen than any doctor would recommend.

The purpose of Sly's visit isn't to apologize to Statham for getting him into this failure of a film, but to ask him to help Sly get his treasured skull ring back. You see, Sly lost it in a thumb-wrestling match at one of New Orleans' 1,285 biker bars. And he lost it to a guy named Jumbo Shrimp.

Understand this - Stallone lost his ring fair and square. There's no hint that the thumb-wrestling match was rigged, and no claim that Jumbo Shrimp cheated. Mr. Shrimp is the rightful owner of a ring Stallone willingly placed in a bet and fairly lost. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to view Mr. Shrimp in any negative way. None. Furthermore, Mr. Shrimp was under no obligation to sell the ring back to Stallone. There is no code among bikers anywhere that says, "If you win something from someone, you have to sell it back to them if they ask you to". Stallone asks to buy the ring back; Mr. Shrimp declines the offer as is his right. So this is the situation as it currently stands.

What does Stallone do? He claims his back is hurt and gives Statham some brass knuckles and says "Go get my ring back". Statham, exhibiting a complete lack of a moral center, does just that. He brass-knuckles Jumbo Shrimp (who is far more "shrimp" than "jumbo", which is supposed to be funny but isn't) and the Shrimp Crew into unconsciousness and takes the ring off Mr. Shrimp's finger. Stallone's back magically heals just in time for him to finish off the last of the Shrimp Crew - who, again, had done nothing wrong.

You will not want to applaud that. No one applauded that. Everyone in the theater understood that Statham had just cheated in order to steal a ring that Stallone had fairly and squarely lost.

Stallone and Statham are the bad guys here. And we're supposed to root for them now? Not me - I actually applauded when Stallone got killed.


Back at the garage, Stallone is contacted by Marsh, some CIA dude Stallone knew from 25 years ago. "The detonators have fallen into the wrong hands! You must get them back!" says Marsh, who is played by Andy Garcia in a career-ending fashion. Truly he has completely forgotten how to act. "Our intel says the detonators are going to be sold to The Ocelot and if The Ocelot gets them, it'll cause World War III!" The Ocelot is the world's foremost terrorist. No one knows who The Ocelot is, where The Ocelot is, or what The Ocelot is up to besides wanting to start World War III.

It turns out Marsh is The Ocelot and I've saved you whatever the price of a movie ticket is by telling you that right now, with no spoiler alert. Don't thank me, just maybe donate the money you would have used to buy a ticket to the striking writers, because it's painfully obvious this thing wasn't written by a professional screenwriter.

Now that you know this, ask yourself - why would The Ocelot hire the Expendables to get the detonators from a guy who was going to transfer them to him in the first place? The deal was done - the bad Oriental guy, whose name was Suarto and that is a perfectly fine Oriental name isn't it, was going to deliver the detonators to The Ocelot. Hiring the Expendables did nothing but jeopardize The Ocelot's plans, or even possibly completely ruin them.

The Morons - that's their new name now - fly that dumb prop plane all the way to Libya in about two hours, and of course the bad guy and his crew are still there for some inexplicable reason. The bad guys had obtained "the detonators!" a day or two ago and there's no reason to hang around an abandoned chemical plant, but hang around an abandoned chemical plant they do.

There's a ridiculous firefight between all Expendables except Stallone, and Suarto's men. Stallone had stayed airborne because he's a sissy or something. By the end of this movie, you will agree with me. Anyway, Stallone takes on anti-aircraft fire and is hit. Instead of finishing off Suarto and retrieving the detonators, Statham vectors off and takes out the anti-aircraft guns shredding Stallone's plane. He wants to save his buddy, and places that ahead of the mission.

Which is the wrong thing to do. Stallone crashes and is burned to a crisp, and Suarto escapes with the detonators.

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They know it's Stallone who was burned to a crisp because in the wreckage is a burned-to-a-crisp body that somehow is still wearing that pristine skull ring.

The only thing worse than Stallone dying was Stallone actually not dying, but there I go again with warning-less spoiler alerts.

The Morons go back to their favorite biker bar and booze it up in Stallone's memory. One thing I wondered was, "Hey - there are always about 150 other people at this biker bar. How many of them know they're boozing it up with some people who are basically paid assassins? Seems like at least some of them would know that, which is weird because most people don't want to booze it up with paid assassins, as alcohol and assassins generally don't mix well".

Nor do assassins and cover bands, which is the only kind of band that bar ever has. "Stallone hated cover bands!" The Morons exclaim as they exit the bar and head to their garage. Remember that, it's important to the joke I'm going to make at the end of this, if I ever get there.

Marsh is waiting for them at The Garage and fires Statham for putting the attempted saving of Stallone ahead of the mission. He puts Megan Fox in charge of The Morons. Not Randy Couture (the only person in this dud that didn't completely embarrass himself); not Dolph Lundgren (who, as you remember, is an alcoholic but what does he do in the Great Battle On The Ship? He gets drunk, which allows him to become an effective killing machine again. Nice messaging!). Those two guys have seniority; Fox has make-up. But she gets the job.

Statham breaks into Fox's house using a basic lock-picking set, which begs the question - are we really supposed to believe a professional assassin has a home with a lock system that I bet you or I could defeat? Apparently!

Now - in the beginning of the movie, we're led to believe that Fox and Statham are a couple, and that's his house. After all, it's where Stallone goes to recruit him for the Jumbo Shrimp Operation. This explains why Statham knows the four-digit code to the hotel-grade safe on the table, but fails to explain why he doesn't have a key to his own house.

Fox and Statham wrestle, and then they do some adult wrestling, and then Statham wakes up to find Fox gone. So are The Morons, as they've headed out to the big ship where Suarto is holding the detonators, and also the nuclear bomb that will set off the detonators. Someone - who knows who? - flies that big dumb prop plane about 5,000 miles in one hour, or so it appears.

And Statham follows on his own. Mercifully, I've forgotten how he got there, but he ends up joining with some dude named Decha, who Stallone had told Statham was the best fighter he'd ever seen. Together they take Decha's motorboat and catch up with a giant ship in the open seas, as one does.

A whole bunch of stupid stuff happens, most of it involving killing. Hey, here's a gripe. Do you know what's better than showing dudes getting shot and having blood splatter out of their heads? Showing dudes getting shot and DON'T show any blood splattering out of their heads. Think about it and you'll agree I'm right.

They have a big showdown and the only people left alive are The Morons, Statham and The Ocelot. The nuclear bomb is 4 minutes away from detonating and The Ocelot has thrown the kill switch over board. God knows why.

Everyone leaves except Statham. "I have to sacrifice myself for the mission!" His plan is to stay, kill The Ocelot, ?????, and then profit.

He achieves most of that and is prepared to be blown up with the boat when guess who appears in his very own attack helicopter? Yeah, Stallone.

Stallone gets Statham onboard and then fires Hellcat missiles and sinks the ship. As it travels to its watery grave, the bomb explodes but since it's down with Poseidon, no real damage is done. Except maybe to Aquaman and based on the trailer for the new Aquaman movie, the best thing that could happen is that Aquaman was blown to oblivion.

STATHAM: "If you're still alive, who was that in the plane that crashed?" You're going to puke at Stallone's answer.
STALLONE: "You ever wonder what happened to Jumbo Shrimp?"

And they actually show Jumbo Shrimp strapped to the pilot's seat, screaming for his life as the plane crashes.

To recap:

1. Jumbo Shrimp wins Stallone's skull ring fair and square, violating no law nor cheating in any way
2. Stallone has Statham beat the hell out of Jumbo Shrimp and his crew - with brass knuckles given to Statham by Stallone and if that isn't cheating, I don't know what is
3. Somehow, Stallone subdues Jumbo Shrimp and secretly stashes him on that big dumb prop plane - in anticipation of killing him
4. No one ever finds out during that whole trip - which in actuality had to take almost 24 hours - that Jumbo Shrimp is somewhere on that big dumb prop plane
5. While in the middle of taking fire from anti-aircraft guns, Stallone leaves the cockpit, unties Jumbo Shrimp, and lashes him to the pilot's seat
6. Stallone then parachutes out of the plane, leaving Jumbo Shrimp to die in his place for no good reason at all

You see now why I said it would have been better if Stallone had died? It definitely would have been better. Hell, Stallone deserved to die, if you ask me.

The Morons all meet back at their favorite biker bar, yucking it up. Everyone in the audience is silently vowing never to watch another Expendables movie again. The bar's band is playing as the credits begin.

They're covering Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town".

Fittingly, this bomb ends with the one thing everyone agreed Stallone hated - a cover band covering rock songs. That encapsulates how exceedingly stupid this movie is.

Oh yeah, it's a ZERO. This is without a doubt the worst action-adventure movie I've ever seen. Under no circumstances should you ever watch it. Under no circumstances should another Expendables movie ever be made.

This franchise is ruined.
October 1, 2023

It was late. I was sleepy but my Favorite Mother-In-Law said, "Find me a movie!" I selected this because it was only about 35 minutes long and I called it "a movie".

It was very entertaining! Even though it was made by Wes Anderson!

In a nutshell, some rich dude finds a book about another dude who could see through blindfolds and what-not and since our dude is rich and bored, he studies the methods outlined in the book. And guess what? They work! He develops the ability to see through stuff - for instance, the backs of playing cards. Seeing as how all the rich dude does is gamble, this skill comes in handy.

But cheating casinos out of money is boring, plus dangerous. And what's he going to do with the money? He's already rich. So he throws a boatload of money off his balcony, causing a riot. A police officer tells him that if he wants to just throw away money, why not give it to worthwhile charities instead?

The rich dude loves this! He becomes a master of disguise and travels the world, stealing money from casinos and establishing orphanages with the dough. After several years and about 40 orphanages, he dies. The end.

You know what? It was good. I guess I can take Wes Anderson for 30 minutes or so. You should too. It's on Netflix.

Anderson is going to do another Dahl story, too. It's called "The Swan". I read about it on the same page I read about this story. I shan't be watching that one, but I'll give "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" 3 Orphanages out of 5 Orphanages, and thank Netflix for making something that took up the exact amount of time I was able to stay awake that night.

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