Beirut

Alright so let’s get expectations for this movie out of the way. something something it’s important to know where I’m coming from with things like this. I had absolutely no expectations for the movie Beirut, mostly because up until I saw it I had heard just about nothing about it. I just happened to check showtimes on my MoviePass app (#Notsponsored) and it had a poster with John Hamm up for this movie, I like John Hamm so why not go see it?  you never know right?

Beirut is a new drama movie starring John Hamm and Rosamund Pike. It’s story centers around a former US diplomat Mason Skiles who is brought back to Beirut after leaving in the 70’s to help negotiate the release of his estranged friend, a CIA officer. Ticking clock, high stakes, secrecy, betrayal, and all that jazz follows in this marginally complex movie.

As is my new usual, a brief video review is here, or a slightly more in-depth look can be read by scrolling down.

Beirut turned out to be a pretty fun spy-ish movie. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a full-out spy movie, but it has a lot of elements of those sort of movies. A highly skilled and handsome (I can call John Hamm handsome ok?) lead character being called reluctantly back into action,  a cohort of government agents whose motivations and jobs are vague and broad respectively, a total smoke show female actress accompanying our lead, and a villain that’s somehow connected directly to the main character. I know it sounds like I’m describing 99% of the Bond movies, but all of those things are clear and present in Beirut as well.

Beirut’s lead Mason does things differently than 007 though. Most obviously is that he never uses bullets to solve his problems, and that makes sense he is a diplomat after all. That does leave Beirut pretty light on action, but the story is more than engaging enough to keep your attention throughout.  Also on the note of differences between Bond and Mason despite the bombshell blonde tasked with watching over him, Beirut never feels a need to force any sort of romance between the two.  Sandy (Rosamund Pike’s character and bombshell) consistently proves that she’s much more than a pretty face, but rather a savvy, intelligent and determined agent trying to get the job done. It’s a very nice breath of fresh air for spy movies.

Another thing I really liked about Beirut is how honest their portrayal of early 80’s Beirut is. Historically the city was in extraordinarily rough shape and the movie clearly shows it, rubble is found on every street, random fires just burning in the street are also present, the various militias make appearances in the movie. This movie really nails what an insane mess Beirut was at the time and that really helps give the movie a sense of urgency and unpredictableness. The movie makes it out that just about anything could happen at any time and it feels very believable based on the characters surroundings. Keeps the tension up without being overly dramatic.

Not everything in Beirut was something I liked though. I mentioned earlier that it’s a marginally complex movie and I say that because while there are twists and turns in the story, most of them feel somewhat predictable, like you can just look at some characters and guess that they have ulterior motives and will at some point try to screw over Mason so it’s not that surprising when it happens, its more expected.

Those reveals of betrayal still work for the most part though because John Hamm is really doing some great acting. His performance is really what allows this movie to work as a whole. Everyone else turns in decent to good performances, but it’s Hamm who seems to be going the extra mile. He should be in way more stuff.

There are also a few moments where the movie can’t quite decide if the CIA is ultra capable or some kind of bumbling idiot. Most of the time the movie makes them out to be ultra-capable, but just a couple of moments where they just screw up for no real reason other than they have to for the plot and that was a bit annoying.

Overall I really enjoyed Beirut, but I did have problems that really stuck out to me. I’d give this movie a solid B, I could probably be talked into upgrading that to a B+ if someone had a good argument though. If you’re looking for some spy action to tide you over until the next Bond movie and you aren’t scared of movies where characters talk to each other a lot then I’d recommend Beirut. Or even if you just really like John Hamm like me that’s a good enough reason to see this movie honestly. Later.

I Feel Pretty

Aight let’s get something out of the way. Going into this movie I expected it to be bad, and that’s not an entirely fair thing to think going into any movie. I don’t think it’s a huge deal but I do think it’s important for me to take note of biases like that before talking about a movie. That being said let’s move forward.

You can watch a brief version of my thoughts or read a little more in-depth down below.

I Feel Pretty is a new comedy movie starring Amy Schumer, the movie follows the story of Renee Bennett, a girl who just doesn’t feel like she’s pretty enough. One day through the magic of a head injury Renee believes that she’s become unequivocally beautiful and to her the image in the mirror confirms it. Surging with confidence now Renee begins to make all her dreams come true but yadda yadda yadda we’re all painfully aware of where this story is going. It’s a very simplistic Rags to Riches story, and that’s fine so long as the movie is funny though right?

I guess that leads directly to my big question for this movie, “Can I Feel Pretty maintain it’s laughs or does it get bogged down with other things?”

The answer is… it can… sorta…kinda? Let’s look at it this way, there are a lot of genuinely good laughs to be had in this movie, unfortunately those laughs mostly come from the basic premise of, “boy oh boy isn’t that Amy Schumer awkward and lovable sometimes?” and it’s just not enough to carry a whole movie. That’s not to bash on Schumer at all, I actually think her performance was pretty solid and heartfelt, it’s more of a problem in the writing department because they don’t seem to know how to really utilize the rest of the characters in the movie. That basic premise of Schumer’s awkwardness = hilarity also gets fairly stale as the movie progresses which leaves most of the final act’s jokes feeling very flat.

Ok before I go on I just have to bring something up. There are these two time-lapses of the New York cityscape (I’m pretty sure that’s a word) that are just randomly inserted into the movie and serve no actual purpose. They don’t advance the story, they don’t show character development, they don’t even set up a joke. They literally just tell the audience, “Hey it’s the next day now”  and that could’ve been done by just cutting to the next scene so yeah, no real reason to have those in there other than someone thought, “Those time-lapses that Casey Neistat does in his videos are really cool looking, we should do it on our movie!” That’s just a nitpick from me, but I need to make it really clear that it bothered me a lot.  Ok back to the movie.

Remember when I was talking about the final act of this movie? Let’s go back there for a minute. I’m pretty used to comedy movies having pretty lackluster finales because they stop the jokes to hit on whatever the message they were trying to deliver and most of the time it feels a bit forced, but I Feel Pretty’s finale is like really really forced.  Sort of like the movie decided, “Ya know we all know where this is going let’s just cut some corners and get to the good stuff ok?” It’s not ok movie, cutting those corners took me completely out of the movie and made it impossible to really get behind the bigger emotional moments.

The last thing before I wrap up, let’s talk character motivation. For about 90% of this movie Renee’s big desire is to be beautiful, so she exercises, wears trendy, and is on top of her makeup game. She eats like absolute garbage though. This doesn’t make any sense. Surely someone, as obsessed with her physical image, would be aware that all the exercise in the world can’t make up for eating junk constantly.  It just strikes me as this huge gap in the logic of the movie that I noticed early on and continued to bother me throughout.

Aight so let’s wrap this thing up, despite the significant amount of bashing I just did there I did enjoy this movie, just barely. It’s the kind of movie that if my theoretical girlfriend dragged me to I wouldn’t be upset that I had seen it, but I would walk out of the theatre and never think about it again. Unless I made a review for it then I’d remember it for a few hours more and then forget about it forever. I Feel Pretty is just one of those movies that 2 years from now no one except diehard Amy Schumer fans will remember. For me that’s like a C+, see ya later I’m out.

Rotten Tomatoes

I have conflicting feelings about Rotten Tomatoes. I know for a lot of people it’s a really useful tool to help them decide what movies to go see, but there is a slight problem with it. The Tomatometer.

The Tomatometer is the number that pops up on sites like Fandango, and it’s the number that movies use in their marketing campaigns now. It determines if a movie is “fresh” or “rotten”.  The way that Rotten Tomatoes calculates this number is kind of deceiving though. You see in order for a movie to be considered fresh it has to have received at least 80 reviews and 60% of those reviews have to be positive. If 75% of those reviews are positive and at least 5 “top critics” (Critics Rotten Tomatoes has deemed super trustworthy) it’s “Certified Fresh” and everyone loses their mind with how good it’s supposedly.  At a first glance that seems pretty reasonable, I know.

Here’s the problem.  A positive review can mean a lot of things. A critic can praise every little thing about the movie and give it a 10/10 score and that’s positive. Another critic can have really mixed feelings but lean on the positive stuff with a score of 6/10 and that’s positive, and another critic could really like a movie, but acknowledge problems with a score of 8/10 and that is also positive. Are you seeing how this can go really wrong?

Let’s do an example. A brand new movie is released and 100 people review it including a bunch of our “top critics”. By some statistic anomaly, they all give the movie a rating of 6.3/10. The Tomatometer is going to show that movie with a 100% rating. Even though all of our critics only kind of liked the movie. 6.3/10 in a letter grade is a D by the way. D. A movie can receive an average rating of a D and still get a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s absolutely insane.

Now that’s a pretty extreme example and in practice, it’s not as extreme. Let’s take Black Panther for a more realistic look. The Tomatometer lists it at 97%, but right below the Tomatometer, the average rating for the movie rests at 8.2/10. That’s not totally insane, but still a pretty noticeable difference.

So what am I trying to say here? That we should all stop using Rotten Tomatoes altogether? No, definitely not. I’m just saying that people shouldn’t blindly trust a single number to tell them exactly how good a movie is. Movie reviews are like any other form of journalism, (yeah it counts as journalism) you’re best off by checking multiple sources and using the common threads between them to help you make an informed decision. Or you can just be like me and see everything. Whatever you do at least you know that if you list a Tomatometer score without any other context I warned you and I can, therefore, call you dumb for doing so. I mean come on, this is the site that listed The Last Jedi at 91%! I like the movie, but that’s just silly.

Image sourced from the New York Times.

Movie Roundup

Alright, I said I was going to do a movie roundup for today so here we go.

Unsane

This was a pretty good movie, and I came into it with almost no expectations. This movie was marketed as a psychological thriller where you wouldn’t be able to tell if the lead character played by Claire Foy (Yes The Crowns Claire Foy) was crazy or not. However, the movie pretty much abandoned that idea from the get-go as it’s pretty obvious what’s happening is real and not in her head. This will frustrate a lot of audience members but I still think that it’s an interesting movie about the mental, physical and emotional distress of being a victim of stalking. I will also say it 100% doesn’t work if Claire Foy isn’t pushing the movie forward with her excellent performance. I give it a B+ and I should probably start watching The Crown.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

Not much needs to be said about the sequel to Pacific Rim. Is it better than the original? I would say no. Uprising surely has more elaborate action and there were a few moments where I was genuinely in awe of what I was seeing, almost everything else about this movie leaves something to be desired. The story somehow makes less sense than the first one did and the performances were middling to mediocre, except John Boyega who is solid throughout. Also, I don’t know what on earth was going on with Charlie Day’s character, it felt like he was doing an extended bit from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia rather than whatever he was supposed to be doing. Still, the action is just a joy to watch and I squealed like a little boy during the fights so I’m gonna stick Uprising with a B-.

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is a middle of the road, solid but not great action adventure film and for a video game movie that pretty much makes it the best in its genre. The story makes just enough sense that you don’t get distracted and removed from the movie thinking about the plot holes, although wasting the whole first half on an origin story for Lara Croft was a pretty big misstep. You could’ve just started in the thick of it and used a couple of flashbacks to inform us about who Lara is as a character. Speaking of Lara, Alicia Vikander fits into the role like a glove. Who would’ve thought that casting an Oscar-winning actress and getting her to really commit to the role would work out? (I’m looking at you Warcraft, wtf was going on there?) Also, the ridiculous shape that she’s in goes a long way in convincing me that the stunts her characters pulls are actually feasible. If you’re looking for action this is the movie I’d recommend right now. B.

Love, Simon

Ya know, I gotta say that this movie turned out way better than I thought it would. On the outside Love, Simon looked like an impressively mediocre teen comedy/coming of age film that used a closeted main character as a gimmick to put butts in seats. In reality, this is an incredibly thoughtful movie about family, self-acceptance, friendship, and ya know love. The humor is really good in this movie, although there are a couple of jokes that are not going to age well, for a teen comedy only having some of the jokes age poorly is a pretty solid win in my mind. I’m gonna reach a little outside the box to say that for me the real stand out performances came from Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel as Simon’s parents. They really just took over every scene they were in. Love, Simon is a top tier coming of age film and I would 100% recommend to anyone. A.

Aight that should do it for this week. Later.

Black Panther

Black Panther is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was directed by Ryan Coogler and stars Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita Nyong’o.

I think I got myself over hyped for this one. I went into Black Panther hoping for a glorious renaissance that would enlighten the Marvel Cinematic Universe and take it to heights I never could have dreamed of. Instead I came out thinking the more things change, the more they stay the same. Black Panther is an absolutely  stunning showcase of just how well oiled the Marvel movie machine has become.

Black Panther is a really good Marvel movie, but it isn’t a game changer.

download
Michael B. Jordan brings a relatable evil to bear as Killmonger.

Like I just said, all the moving parts of Black Panther work really well. It’s beautiful to look at, the costumes work really well. Practical costumes were absolutely on point, some of the CG effects are a little less stellar though. (most of the scenes showing vibranium didn’t look great and the panther suits near the end are pretty meh, but that’s just me nitpicking really) Performances are stellar throughout, with special mention to Michael B. Jordan for bringing it as the movie’s villain Killmonger. The action is some of Marvel’s best, especially the hand to hand stuff.  Ryan Coogler has a clear handle on that. There is just enough of the action that you never really have the chance to be bored, but it’s not non-stop in your face with it.

You like Characters? This movie has lots of cool characters and it would’ve been nice to see them interact with each other more but at 2 hours and 15 minutes the movie is already pushing the limits of runtime and frankly feels too long. Like I would’ve been fine if they cut some of the action down so we could have more time with the characters and gotten a better sense of them rather then the supporting cast just having to tell us what their deal is. I gotta give a special shoutout to Micheal B. Jordan as Killmonger, between him, Vulture and Hela I think Marvel might finally have started to figure out their villian problem.

I really want to point out how the movie does such a good job handling the enormous amount of exposition needed to explain Wakanda, its culture and customs. You learn an enormous amount about the world of the film without it feeling like it’s ever lecturing you. It’s a very well put together film.

It does lag in its final act though. There is so much cool stuff going on, so many interesting relationships between characters but before we have time to really dive deeper into them it rushes into it’s big climatic battle because they have to resolve this conflict before Infinity War comes out this summer. I genuinely think there was a much more interesting ending for this movie that would’ve happened if it wasn’t ham-stringed by having to fit into the rest of the Marvel Universe. Because of this though, we’re forced to settle for an entirely ordinary ending.

While I’m complaining, let’s talk the score. It’s the same boring, and virtually soulless work that has existed in 90% of the other Marvel movies. This is where I think I really got myself too hyped up because the soundtrack that was curated by Kendrick Lamar gave me the impression there would be a lot more music like what was in the soundtrack in the movie. It’s not. Disappointing really.

I’m being too harsh though. For a movie that does so much so well I should be able to forgive it for only having an average level ending. I will also say that for all of my problems with the ending there are three shots that totally impressed me and one in particular just blew me away. I think most people who go see this film will come away thinking that this one shot was really memorable. Gah it was just SO cool, it made me giddy.

So in the end would I recommend that people go see Black Panther? Absolutely yes. Especially if you’re a fan of the other Marvel movies. Black Panther is one of the most well done Marvel movies to date.

 

PS  for those of you curious and unafraid of spoilers, Black Panther reveals… absolutely nothing new to get you hyped for Infinity War. It’s a total stand alone. If you expected something that directly leads to the next Avengers movie, well the second after credits scene kinda does. Again it’s nothing you didn’t already know though.

 

Nostalgic Eating

I need to start this blog post with a disclaimer. The burger place that I ate from for this post was Brigham Young University’s (BYU) own Creamery outlet. I’m not biased towards this establishment because I’m currently enrolled at BYU, rather I’m biased towards it because when I first attended BYU all the way back in Summer/Fall of 2011, I ate there a lot and have quite a few memories attached to the place, and even more memories attached to the burgers I ordered so frequently from there. I would think that aside from my mother’s roasted potatoes (they’re actually the best) and Delissio pizza (Pizza Tuesday for all the OG Magrath folks) the Double Bacon Burger from BYU’s Creamery evokes the most memories and feelings of any food. So at the end of this post when I place this burger on my personal power rankings, maybe just knock it down a spot or two to correct for my even more biased opinion that usual. Let’s get into it.

BYU has four Creamery outlets scattered throughout it’s campus and housing areas. For maximum nostalgia I went to the outlet I used to frequent back in 2011 located right next door to the Cannon Center, the cafeteria essentially. Surrounding the Creamery outlet are the Helamen Halls dormitories which I lived in back when I first left home and ventured out into the world. Stepping through those doors was like revisiting the past. Feelings of exhilaration, stress, fear, joy, and frustration flooded through my brain as I recalled what it was like when I was just nineteen years years old and desperately trying to figure out where I fit in the world of university life and the world at large. (I’m closer now, but still haven’t fully answered these questions.)

Most of it hadn’t changed through the last several years. I still followed the same routine I did back in 2011. I order my burger, take a seat and begin by watching the fry cook lay my patties and bacon on the grill, it’s still really satisfying to this day to watch your burger being cooked right in front of your eyes. Once the cook has made the flip on my patty I allow myself a moment of just being a guy and shamelessly check out the cute girl making milkshakes for someone else. Some things just can’t be helped. To be fair to myself I’m actually somewhat aware of how long I can check her out before it gets weird. (Anything longer than like 2 seconds is weird imo.) Despite that I still have a brief internal debate about whether or not checking her out makes me shallow. I decided that it wasn’t since I don’t believe there is anything wrong with appreciating beautiful things, just so long as you don’t give priority or favors to people just because they’re good looking.

Finally my burger is off the grill and I get to watch as all the condiments are placed on and the final product is wrapped up and placed in a plain brown paper bag and passed to me over the counter. I never eat the burger there, instead I get back in my car and drive home where I can viciously consume my burger without fear of judgement from others. The burger order itself hasn’t changed since 2011. Two patties with two strips of bacon combined with lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, mayo all crammed in a plain white bun to ensure the whole thing is an absolute mess to try and consume.

There were a couple of subtle differences though, instead of using my student I.D. linked to a meal plan my mother payed for I used cash, and as I waited for my burger I listened to Frank Sinatra, an artist I wouldn’t have touched with a twenty-foot pole when I was nineteen and just discovering hip-hop and rap for myself.

Once I’m home it only takes seconds to unwrap and dig in to my burger. That first bite is almost euphoric. I can feel all of my stress and worries dissolve away as the flood of nostalgia pours into my brain. This burger was my primary way of dealing with stress when I first left home and it did a fantastic job at that.

Then the rose-tinted glasses fell off.

Something’s not quite right. Its dry. Like really dry. What’s going on? There are burger juices running down my fingers, there’s sauce for days on this thing, even if the patty was a bit dry I shouldn’t be noticing it this much. I am though. The actual burger is really really dry. Was it always this way and I just didn’t have the palette before to notice this problem? I don’t know, and frankly it doesn’t matter. The burger could’ve been a piece of heaven itself before and it wouldn’t change what it is now. That is a burger that did everything except one thing right, but the part they screwed up has had an effect on the whole thing. This is super disappointing because the everything else in the burger really felt like it was going right, it’s nice and messy, none of the sauces are overpowering the other, the bacon is nice and fatty, they even got it right by only putting one slice of tomato on!

Gah, this sucks. The woefully dry patty is actually dragging the whole burger down to Davy Jones locker with it. I expected to be putting this burger near the top of my list due almost entirely to it’s nostalgic value to me. Instead I’m stretching myself just trying to justify it as a middle of the pack competitor. Regardless, that’s where the Double Bacon Burger from BYU’s Creamery sits. Just below average. Thanks for reading, peace out and make some good choices y’all..

Provo Burger Power Rankings August 9th, 2017 Edition:

  1. Tommy’s Burgers Double Cheeseburger with Chili.
  2. Cubby’s Gypsy Burger
  3. Burger Supreme’s Golden Burger
  4. Five Guys Double Bacon Burger
  5. Classic Smash from Smashburger
  6. McDonald’s Big Mac
  7. Double-Double from In-N-Out
  8. Double Bacon Burger from BYU Creamery
  9. Pastrami Burger from JCW’s
  10. California Classic from Carl’s Junior
  11. BBQ Bacon Burger from CHOM

 

Da Big Mac

I don’t think anyone would or could even argue that McDonald’s is a classic American institution. The golden arches are a fundamental piece on how both American’s and the rest of world look at American culture. I’m sure a rousing discussion about how a fast food chain influenced the culture of the most powerful nation in the world sounds fascinating to you, but I’m not here to do anything like that. I’m here to ask a much simpler question. Does McDonald’s have the best burger in Provo? It’s a long shot I know, but it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give it a fair chance.

Right off the bat there’s some difficulty in trying to figure out where McDonald’s ranks amongst Provo’s burgers. Which burger do I even eat? Do I try one of McDonald’s relatively new burgers with the signature crafted burgers or stay with the classic sandwich that has come to define the chain? If you read the title you pretty much already know which choice I made, but I do feel some need to justify that decision. I’ve had the signature crafted burgers. They’re not impressive, and frankly they have very little to do with what McDonald’s is at its core, tasty food served wicked fast that you know will eventually claim your life. That’s what it means to eat McDonald’s and the Big Mac is the heart of it all.

Just in case any of you haven’t had a Big Mac before I’ll run you through the ingredients. I won’t make you look up the Big Mac rap to try and remember, especially since even though that song shares a name with the sandwich it actually has nothing to do with a Big Mac, pop culture fact of the day. A Big Mac features in no particular order, a three-piece sesame seed bun, two beef patties, two slices of cheese, iceberg lettuce, pickles, onions and lastly the famous “special sauce” which everyone knows is some variant or form of thousand island dressing. I’ll note here that when I eat Big Macs I actually keep the onions in, for some odd reason I don’t notice those awful things when I eat a Big Mac and having a little bit of onion in your diet can’t hurt right?

I think the reason I don’t notice the onions is that every time I eat a Big Mac I’m stunned that it’s actually a pretty good burger. Every single time I eat one of these things I always think that it’s all going to go wrong. That it’ll be way too bready with the super unnecessary third part to a bun, that having only the special sauce won’t be enough to provide a full array of flavors, or that someone has stacked four pickles on top of each other just to ruin my day. It always turns out that none of those things happen though, I barely even notice the third part of the bun, the special sauce total works on it’s own and only very rarely does someone screw up enough to stack even three pickles on top of each other let alone four.

I’m not saying that the Big Mac does everything right here, in fact far from it. What I’m saying is that the Big Mac doesn’t really do anything wrong and those two things are very different, ask literally any person who has been involved with sports and they’ll describe what it means to be playing to win and playing to not lose. In the case of the Big Mac what I mean is that it feels like all the decisions around the Big Mac involve the question, “how can me make sure this burger isn’t bad?” And while that’s probably the right mindset for a chain that tries to pump these out in less than a minute, it’s absolutely impossible to make a “best burger” with this mindset. Everything about the Big Mac screams, “this works, but it’s not ideal.” This creates a burger that is ultimately uninspiring, middle of the pack and only famous because of the place that sells it. Near the beginning of this post I remarked that the Big Mac was the heart of what makes McDonald’s McDonald’s and I stand by that statement, with some minor adjustments (slightly larger patty, cutting back on iceberg lettuce, properly toasting the buns, etc.) there really is room for the Big Mac to be an all time great burger, but because of where it’s sold it will never be that way. I don’t know why but that makes me just a little bid sad.

Thanks for reading.

Burger Power Rankings:

  1. Tommy’s Burgers Double Cheeseburger w/ Chili.
  2. Cubby’s Gypsy Burger
  3. Burger Supreme’s Golden Burger
  4. Five Guys Double Bacon Burger
  5. Classic Smash from Smashburger
  6. McDonald’s Big Mac
  7. Double-Double from In-N-Out
  8. Pastrami Burger from JCW’s
  9. California Classic from Carl’s Junior
  10. BBQ Bacon Burger from CHOM

Movie Time with JonnyT: Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde is a film directed by David Leitch and stars Charlize Theron and James McAvoy.

In short: Not a fan. Story is beyond bad. Like bad bad bad. No good action can redeem this hot mess.

To elaborate, Atomic Blonde has some really great moments. Okay one really really good moment, for those who have already seen the film, the staircase sequence. It’s one of the best fight scenes I’ve seen in a long time, but a single scene does not a movie make ya know? This one marvelous moment wasn’t enough to compensate for the total and unapologetic mess the story and characters were.

I say unapologetic here because I really think the movie thought it was being very clever and smart with all of the mystery and double crosses and it sorta makes sense at first, but then you start to think about it and it’s just makes absolutely no sense. It’s like the actual characters were changing their motivations and behaviors as the audience learned plot details. Like it feels like a paper you’d write after downing like four or five red bulls and furiously mashing at a keyboard for eight hours through the night. It all made sense as you were writing it, but when you go back through it you realize that it’s all over the place and doesn’t have any consistency to it. It’s a hot mess that only loosely represents what you were actually trying to achieve.

Now I should clarify, my first impression was that the performances in this film were lackluster, but the more I think about it the issue of the characters is really on the writing. It’s not that they didn’t try their best to make their characters believable it’s just the actual actions and words they spoke made no sense. Like if Charlize Theron is gonna convince me that she’s a top notch spy her accent game needs to be better, but that again is really on the story and not her if you ask me.

Also side note, I know that Charlize Theron is like a really attractive woman, but that doesn’t mean the movie needs to try and shove that in my face at every possible moment that it can. She’s a spy, maybe she could try blending in and not wearing really fancy and skimpy dresses kinda like the other spy characters? Nah right I forgot, young men my age and younger aren’t gonna see it if we don’t show off how hot Charlize is, it’s not like there was another action movie that she was in where she wore outfits that blended in well with the rest of the cast and I don’t know… maybe she cut off all her hair too? I’m sure that movie wouldn’t make any money.

Last thing before I wrap up non-spoiler thoughts territory. Neon lights, Cigarettes, 80’s Music, They’re like cool and an essential part of the aesthetic of the film, I get it. You can overdo these things though. Just saying.

Remember a while back when I talked about how Baby Driver made style over substance work?  Atomic Blonde is a great example of why that rarely happens. Atomic Blonde wants to be John Wick and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy at the same time and ends up being neither. I recommend a hard pass until this movie comes to something like Netflix and you don’t have anything better to do with an afternoon. Peace.

OK SPOILER TIME

Story point that makes no bloody sense #1: Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is revealed at the end to have been working for the CIA the entire time. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Like I get why they did it, apparently in the original graphic novel, Lorraine is actually working for the KGB the whole time and since it’s an American film we couldn’t have that ending, even though it makes like 1000x more sense, but you could’ve tried to to like alter the rest of the plot to make the ending work instead of just tacking it on and expecting audiences to roll with it because “Murica” or something.

Story point that makes no bloody sense #2: Percival not only acquires the list and finds out that Lorraine is the double agent satchel, but then makes a call to MI6, and like doesn’t bring it up. Like I get that he really loves his life in Berlin, but couldn’t he sell the list to the Russians, kill Lorraine and then with the hard proof that she’s the double agent prove that she was the one that leaked it to the Russians? The photos Delphine (The french girl) took you say? Oh yeah, because he couldn’t just stroll in and kill her whenever he wanted to oh wait that is already what he did in the movie and it would have made total sense to the higher ups if he again said Lorraine did it since she had a connection to say the least with Delphine. Percival only does what he does the way he does it because it allows the opportunity for Lorraine (the protagonist) to later outplay him. Not at all because it’s actually a smart thing to do.

Best Burger in Provo: Part 8

So originally I had planned on talking about McDonald’s for this post, but… uh…. I had an absolutely amazing burger just yesterday that I feel compelled to talk about.

That burger came from Tommy’s Burgers at 401 W and 100 N. In Provo. Obviously.

What I had was a double cheeseburger done “Texas” style including bacon, pickles, tomato and mayo. Oh also it was a chili burger, so there was chili on top. Ya know what, I actually took a decent picture of this so I’ll just let you look at it’s majesty.

IMG_1807.JPG

Would ya just look at that? Simple, beautiful, perfection. Presented pretty much exactly the way I would want a burger presented to me. “Here’s a thing of fries, I wrapped your burger up, go nuts my dude.”

If you can’t tell yet, I REALLY liked this burger. It sounds silly to say now, but the first bite I took of this thing I could already tell that I was dealing with another level of burger. Like I just knew this wasn’t gonna be a regular burger for me and it really wasn’t.

Before I gush more about how delicious this thing was, I do want to note something I thought was interesting. The pickles and tomato slice? Ya see how they’re below the patty on this? I don’t see that with the majority of burgers I eat, and I gotta say I think it’s a better way to do things. Why are we putting the condiments on top? Is it just because that’s the way we’ve always done things? I know that anytime I make burgers in the future I’ll be throwing them down below.

Back to gushing. How did I not know that chili was exactly what I wanted on a burger until just now? It totally makes sense, it gets extra tomato flavor in there so you can forgo ketchup, allows one to enjoy the onion flavor without having to really deal with the dumb things, and oh yeah makes a burger wicked messy, something that I appreciate quite a bit. The beef was also really good, as well as the bacon, which wasn’t crunchy but also not soft enough that the whole strip came out when you took a bite of it. Finally the single slice of cheese is a really nice touch. I heard on Binging with Babish’s video on the Krabby Patty (check this guy out his channel is awesome.) about how a single slice of cheese is the way to go on a burger and I have to agree. It gives you the cheesy texture and taste without taking away from the rest of the burger. Smart stuff.

Here I’d normally say something to tone back my praise and let you know that the burger wasn’t perfect. I don’t really have anything though. Part of me is tempted to just call it here and name Tommy’s Burgers the best burger in Provo. That wouldn’t be very fair through since I only learned about this place yesterday and there are probably a bunch of joints like this that I just haven’t heard about yet. For now though I can certainly say that this double-chili-cheeseburger is a tier above everything else I’ve had and will be a front runner until further notice. I gotta find more places like this. Have a great day folks, peace out and make some good choices!

PS. If you find yourself in Provo and want to check this place out, yes it’s that tiny shack on the corner with barely enough room for a grill in it.

Current power rankings of burgers:

  1. Tommy’s Burgers Double Cheeseburger w/ Chili.
  2. Cubby’s Gypsy Burger
  3. Burger Supreme’s Golden Burger
  4. Five Guys Double Bacon Burger
  5. Classic Smash from Smashburger
  6. Double-Double from In-N-Out
  7. Pastrami Burger from JCW’s
  8. California Classic from Carl’s Junior

Movie Time with JonnyT: Spiderman: Homecoming

Spiderman: Homecoming is the newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that debuted on July 7th, it is directed by Jon Watts and stars Tom Holland as the titular character.

Everything I’m about to say in a nutshell: It’s was ok, needs more screen time with some characters, less of others and there is a bit too much action that ends up bogging it all down. Also some nice things.

So I wanted to take a minute to elaborate/articulate on the specific things (not going into spoilers don’t worry) that I felt really weighed down the newest iteration of the friendly neighborhood superheros film career. I’m doing this partly because I’m see a bit too much of near blind praise for it, also it’s a movie I saw, of course I want to talk about it. What on earth else am I supposed to do with this blog? Talk about MY life? LUL PASS

For me the biggest problem is that a lot of the minor characters fell entirely flat, because they just weren’t on screen enough to evolve past being tropes or plot devices, so it’s one-hundred percent not the fault of the performances. The worst instance of this in my mind is Zendaya as Michelle. Her character appears on screen, drops a one-liner that makes fun of whatever is going on, and then she disappears for another twenty minutes until the next punchline needs to be delivered.

Uhh….. what? Like I get what they’re going for, something like a very smart, snarky and kinda aloof person that keeps Peter’s optimism in check. Instead I felt like it was just an apathetic jerk who gets to exist because the writers had some good jokes they wanted put in the movie. Would’ve been nice if she had something else to do other than drop those punchlines.

Also remember all the hype and excitement when they announced that Donald Glover was gonna be in this movie? Yeah he’s got a whole two scenes and is never more than a plot device. I just feel like if you’re gonna make a big deal about bringing someone on they should at least have more to do then telling the hero where they go next. I don’t know about you, but if I got Donald Glover into my movie and made a fuss about it, I’d probably have him do more than tell the hero where to go next. Just me though.

Giving these characters more to do doesn’t even have to stretch the runtime. (which is a bit too long.) you can just cut back on the Happy (Jon Favreau’s character) shenanigans. Like when did Marvel decide to take Happy from regular dude that Tony Stark bounced ideas off of to the bumbling moron seen in Homecoming? Just really unimpressive stuff in my mind.

Next up the film needed some trimming at the beginning and the midpoint. There is a sequence that occurs a bit before the half way point as I remember that’s just really long and even though it lets us see how powerful Vulture is as a bad guy and its great, it could’ve been like half the length is was. Also the first like three minutes are this vlog styled thing where Peter records some of the events of Civil War from his point of view, and while it’s kinda cute it doesn’t really add anything to the movie so you could’ve just cut it all out.

Also while were at it, can we cut the Stan Lee cameos? Please? They stopped being good after like Spiderman 2.

There are some really good things in this movie as well. Namely Michael Keaton brings the absolute best villain portrayal yet seen in the Marvel films. (OUT OF THE WAY LOKI!) It was almost stunning to have a bad guy in which I understood who they were as a person, his motivations and why he wanted to fight Spiderman.

Tom Holland also continues to be a brilliant Spiderman. Sorry Toby and Andrew, but Tom’s got the both of you beat on pretty much all fronts. #Sorrynotsorry

Spiderman: Homecoming tries to break away from the typical Marvel formula, even if it’s not as far as I would’ve liked them too. At least they’re trying new things, even though they didn’t work as well this time. I haven’t lost faith in the MCU because of this movie, I’ll see if they can actually do anything interesting with Thor before I throw in the towel entirely on them.

I can’t recommend that you go out of your way to see this movie though. If your friends invite you to check it out on Tuesday cheap night, you won’t regret it, but you don’t need to make it a point to see this one. Thanks for reading, have a great day and make some good choices (Maybe like following me on Twitter/Instagram? Hmm… that doesn’t feel very right. Oh well shameless self promotion is the way we do things these days.)