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.

Movie Review: Imperial Dreams

It’s been awhile, but I’m trying something new. Today I have a review of a film recently released on Netflix: Imperial Dreams. You can either watch the video or read below, they both pretty much have the same stuff, extra awkward breathing and pauses in the video.

Imperial Dreams is written and directed by Malik Vitthal and stars John Boyega, most notably known for his role in the current Star Wars trilogy. Initially shown at the Sundance film festival in 2014 (IMDB) it has just now seen a wide scale release this year (2017) after being picked up by Netflix.

Boyega’s character, Bambi,  is a twenty-one year old convict has been recently released from prison and is trying to break away from a life of crime, drugs, and gangs in order to keep his son, Day, from falling into that life.

Before I get going with the rest of my review I want to mention that I think it’s a bit unlucky that Imperial Dreams is just now getting a wider release, back in 2014 it could’ve stood on its own as a film about  someone trying to overcome their own nature and surroundings for the benefit of those they care for most. Right now though Moonlight is also a hot topic film being a front runner for Best Picture of the year. (with La La Land.)

Now while I think these are two very different films I can see why people are going to want to make direct comparisons, I did as I watched Imperial Dreams. I feel like since both take a pretty harsh look at life in the ghetto and the difficulties, both main characters are African-American men with some sort of relation to drugs and gangs and feature stellar performances from their lead actor (or actors in Moonlights case) some comparison are naturally going to be made and the fact of the matter is that Moonlight is in my opinion at least, an objectively better film.

But I think the key difference between Moonlight and Imperial Dreams is in the conflict of the stories. Imperial Dreams focuses more on Bambi’s struggle to overcome and escape from his surroundings Moonlight focuses on Chiron’s quest to find his place in his surroundings. Imperial Dreams is about someone trying to escape their world and Moonlight is about trying to find acceptance in a world that wants you out.

This does not mean that Imperial Dreams is bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact It’s actually quite good. It just didn’t blow me away. The main problem I found with the movie was that it seemed to just a bit ham-handed with telling me (The audience) just how dire the situation for Bambi was. There is a simple idea that honestly feels a bit like a cliche to bring up, but it’s  almost always better to show something in a film rather than tell the audience. Imperial Dreams shows the audience very much what is happening, but it also tells it. There are a couple of occasions where I heard Bambi read to me some of his writing which basically sums where the his character is at.

I didn’t care for this don’t that much, I already knew where Bambi is at as a character because the movie showed it to me. It’s super odd to see a movie do the equivalent of run nine tenths of a race and then stop to reminisce before finishing. I get what it’s trying to do, that being to showcase what a talented writer Bambi is so that the I would know that he has a chance to really make it out of the hood, but I just don’t think that was necessary. Everything else that happens in the movie in relation to Bambi’s writing tells me all I needed to know.

As far as the rest of the plot goes I was really quite satisfied with the story told. The ending will seem to some like it has a lack of closure but I felt like the choice to leave it more open-ended really put the focus back on the character of Bambi and where he started and what will happen next for him, because the story is really all about Bambi, everyone else is just there to push and pull him in certain directions. This is all enabled by an excellent performance from Boyega, he’s really great in it. He really manages to convey the seriousness of Bambi’s new commitment to fatherhood while not appearing too old, while maintaining a slice of immaturity key to a character that is still only 21 years old trying to tackle some of the hardest challenges of life. Unfortunately the rest of the performances were really only average, but in a way that if make you just want to focus on Boyega that much more so it kinda sorta works out.

Speaking of things that work out, the cinematography all works pretty well, but nothing really spectacular. I felt like everything in the movie felt really natural in terms of setting and how the shots looked, but there weren’t any particular moments that really stood out for me.

The soundtrack was really fantastic though, lots of very calm and chill pieces that really tied the movie together so to say. Like the cinematography it all felt very natural and as it should be so to say.

Imperial dreams is not the best picture of the year, but it is great. If you enjoy John Boyega, or movies that aren’t afraid to show some of the harsher realities of life you’ll find a really good film for you available online. You don’t even have to go out and buy the movie ticket, so please go boot up your computer or whatever box you get Netflix from and give it a chance. If absolutely nothing else you’ll be able to tell people that you’ve seen John Boyega’s earlier work before he became a superstar off of Star Wars. I hope you’re making some great choices, (like watching Imperial Dreams) and I’ll talk to you all soon. Peace out.

Taking the L

I recently expirianced a setback at a new work enviroment and wanted to share some thoughts I had on the importance of failing/losing and the introspection it leads too. Peace out everyone!