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In an effort to continue cataloging the movies I see each week I’ll be posting them in this format with the “movies of the week” tag. Each post will feature this introduction and a brief review of each movie including several merits and faults. Each description will have a short prefix including the format in which I viewed the movie, which I hope will provide some context for understanding how I ended up watching the movie. “^” means worth watching. “*” means a favorite. On a rare occasion I may use “**” to donate a must see. If a movie passes the Bechdel Test, it will have an “&” sign.

The Union ^
(Netflix watch-it-now) A lot of the more widely applicable information in this documentary I was already aware of—mainly because of an economist issue last year dedicated to expelling myths about drug prohibition and the economic effects of the ongoing drug war. That said, I still found it highly entertaining. It was funny to see some footage from films I’ve appropriated for my own movies used as b-roll here (see my found-footage video Conatus, and then note the scene where the women in the futuristic car scene gasps towards the middle of this movie). I found the host annoying, though. And the strange conflict of focus between “BCBud” and the American drug market I found at least somewhat distracting. Also, why was “the union”, or the structure of the illegal drug trade, the titled concept of the film—surely the information at the end outweighs this. I found the interviews a bit too traditional (I’ll call it PBS style). The movie was clearly biased, but I tend to agree with the decision on an economic level (as previously mentioned). The production value of the film was alright, but clearly the overall structure was mediocre—though I really enjoyed the final bit a lot (especially the finally quote).

Hot Tub Time Machine ^
(Danbarry Dollar Saver Cincinnati) Knowing what you’re getting is the key to enjoying this film. This is not standalone movie experience. It is a product of this particular generations marketable concepts and jokes. This is a film where the title pretty much let’s you know what you’re in for, and the titular line of the film is still one of the more entertaining. Classic time travel paradox jokes are always funny, but I got a really dark joy out of the ongoing bell-boy arm-loss joke. 
If you’re feeling a little contemplative or analytical, though, I think you’ll find yourself in that cynical limbo of un-enjoyment called ‘intelligence’ that sometimes leaves media-educated, excogitating, audiences feeling left out. I found it highly enjoyable, and worth seeing for a quick laugh. 

National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets ^
(Blockbuster Cincinnati) A great reminiscent of the first film. I imagine this film had diminishing returns in the box office, but that makes it no less enjoyable at home. Nicholas Cage is a vacuum as usual, basically portraying himself (his acting style reminds me of Keanu Reeves, in that he seems like pretty much the same person in every movie he’s in—though I hear Keanu is a really nice guy, and fantastic at Shakespearian theater). The puzzles are fun and pleasantly contrived. The action and character development are clearly at odds with one another—as with any film of this caliber. The entire idea that the family name could drive one to participate in such an adventure is not very tenable in my book. In contrast to the movie’s competitors ‘Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Angel’s and Demons’ (both great movies if you ask me), the film really has little conflict and tension. As Monica (who watched the film with me) noted, they really don’t seem have a lot of trouble with the puzzles, the police, international travel, or the bad guys. Clearly, like Hot Tub Time Machine, if you don’t want to think much, this is the action film for you.

Drop Dead Gorgeous * &
(Blockbuster Cincinnati) This is an recently vintaged gem that Monica shared with me. The form is mocumentary in the Christopher Guest styling. The movie clearly has a lot of relevance to most teenage girls than to teenage boys. There are a lot of big names in the film, too, that weren’t as big when the film was first released (including a late Brittany Murphey, who was probably my favorite character in the film). The plot was great, albeit carefully contrived, and worked as a great medium for some hilarious references to growing up in rural America as a young woman. Classic? I’m not sure, but it’s certainly unique. It’s also the only movie that passes the Bechdel test this week.

Roast of Bob Saget ^
(Netflix watch-it-now) When I was younger I would always try to watch these on Comedy Central with my friend Joey in SLC, Utah—as some kind of rebellion against what could be censored from my experience. Censorship can be training, in situations like these, where a simple beep doesn’t actually prohibit a word—instead it lets us know what concepts are unacceptable or inaccessible in regular conservative life (see these two possibly related articles). Having been able to so easily access this on ‘watch-it-now’, I have to say it made me feel like a child. The comedy was pretty funny, my favorite sets where probably the starkly contrasting anti-gross absurdity of Norm McDonald’s set and the smoothness of Cloris Leachman’s. According to the Comedy Central site Norm McDonald’s full set was cut out; in fact, they cut out one of the funniest parts where he says that that his fellow roasters are “for the birds” and “full of bologne”. Why!? Oh yeah, crude jokes equal good ratings with pre-teen boys. This isn’t highbrow stuff, duh. Somehow the ‘sincere moments’ in between roasts just seem awkward, as always. And it should be noted that in the adolescent’s viewing company are those who grew up with Full house, and whose understanding of reality was forever altered by Bob Saget’s character in Half Baked proclaiming, “I used to suck dick for coke!” Anyway, It’s not that long of a show, even in it’s extended form, and though gay/dry-vagina/greasy/adolescent-rape joke heavy, there are some gems in there.

Princess of Mars
(Netflix watch-it-now) This is truly a terrible movie. This was one of those situations where my friend Alison and I resolved to watch whichever movie we landed on in the sci-fi section. The premise is essentially a giant plot hole—something about a 16GB flash drive, body reconstruction, and a wormhole to an inhabitable mars (of the future?). Despite that, the film’s structure and message are surprisingly similar to Avatar. There are so many hilarious things about this movie that are unintentional that I feel as if it was produced solely to be consumed in some later century by Cinematic Titanic. I’d suggest waiting until then to see it.

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