Tag Archives: Bradley Cooper

A Guide to Guardians of the Galaxy

4 Aug

I’ve expressed before that I do have a bias against comic book movies. So when I heard about the Guardians of the Galaxy movie a few months back I immediately diagnosed it as another desperate attempt to milk a forgotten comic book franchise. On the surface it looks like an Avengers rip off just with more corny gags. As more trailers came out I decided it was probably one of those movies that’s bad, but still entertaining, if you turn off parts of your brain. When I received a coupon good for Guardians of the Galaxy in IMAX 3D for free I remembered a quote from Roger Ebert “It’s hard to explain the fun to be found in seeing the right kind of bad movie.” (especially if its free). Since two bad movies came out this week, both wildly popular I thought I’d compare them and show the differences between a movie that is so bad it’s good (Guardians of the Galaxy) and a movie that’s just plain awfully bad (Sharknado 2). But you know what? I actually really enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy and not because it was entertainingly bad, it’s a legitimately fun movie. So fuck Sharknado and its race to the bottom. I’m not going to waste time and energy analyzing Syfy’s recent attempt to reach the stupidest place on TV. Let’s see why Guardians of the Galaxy is the perfect end to the summer blockbuster season.

GoG

Guardians of the Galaxy is a comic book movie but to me its way more science fiction. Not that hard science fiction but more in the tone of an edgy cartoon with space ships and Star Trek type aliens. Its also an adventure movie and a comedy. Most movies who try to blend this many genres fail but this time it works great. Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t take itself too seriously so there’s no opening narration, drawn out origin stories, or long exposition scenes. It just kind of throws you in the deep end of this universe and takes off from there. This approach benefits the two types of audience members seeing this movie. If you’re someone who read the comic books you already know the setting and the cultures of the different characters and their backgrounds so you don’t need that information regurgitated again. If you are like me and have no idea what the deal is with Guardians of the Galaxy it forces you to pay attention to the characters and the action on the screen. This gets you more invested in the story than any information dump via voice over or flashbacks ever could.

Rocket the Raccoon

The ensemble cast creates a wacky comradery that’s very entertaining to watch. Chris Pratt whose known for being on Parks and Rec plays the main character Peter Quill codename Star Lord “It’s cool to have a codename, its not that weird”. I think that Peter Quill is so cocky and comfortable being inappropriate that you can’t play this character unless you’re naturally like that. Having never watched Parks and Rec I can still tell that Pratt is an authentic Quill, not counting the 60 pounds the filmmakers made him lose to get the role. Zoe Saldana is the go to girl if you’re making a sci-fi movie, this time playing the green skinned Gamora she’s right at home. The very strange walking, talking tree, Groot is voiced by Vin Diesel who I loathe, luckily all he ever says is “I am Groot”. Not since Matt Damon in Team America have I heard a better three syllable catch phrase. Rocket the Raccoon, the best one in the bunch is voiced by Bradley Cooper. The previews make the raccoon seem too over the top and silly but it works in the movie. It’s some of Bradley Cooper’s best work, I was really impressed, he should voice more animated characters. Then there’s Drax who doesn’t understand metaphors. These five round out the ragtag group of ne’re-do-wells that make up The Guardians of the Galaxy.

There’s two ways to approach the plot of this movie. The first is that there’s a big bad blue guy who I know is bad because he says so and we see him kill one person. He wants to destroy planet Nova for some reason and he’s working for an even bigger badder guy named Thanos. I know maybe four things about comics and one of them is that Thanos is bad. I don’t know why he’s bad or what he’s done or wants to do, this movie could’ve explained that but nope. Anyway it throws a bunch of comic book tropes at us about a collector, and a power crystal, and I wasn’t really paying attention. Because the second way to approach the plot is to appreciate how it is basically just setting up scenarios for our heroes to fight their way out of. This movie is about action, snappy dialog, and humor. Paying too much attention to the story reveals all the holes and you’ll miss the excitement.

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The real reason I loved this movie is because it’s chock full of delicious nutritious eye candy. Every shot is so richly detailed there’s; space ships, lasers, console displays, rocket thrusters, nebulae, tech, aliens, robots, shields, cybernetics and it keeps going. There’s also this retro style, like if science fiction of the 70’s and 80’s had better visual effects. Even the costumes, makeup, and hair is retro futuristic, you get to see Merle from Walking Dead as a gold toothed, aqua, space pirate and a quasi-futuristic Glenn Close (how’d they get her in this movie, oh right, gobs of money). The soundtrack of nostalgic pop songs you remember from the 80’s provides a wacky contrast to the spacey spectacle on the screen. It’s not perfect but this movie is so much fun and embraces the corny moments and Pratt falls (pun intended) knowing full well what it’s doing. See this movie for all the right reasons and be happy.

 

Carl Wells

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Poorly Written Opinion ’bout Sam Rockwell

21 Aug

There are a million things in the world that aren’t fair; this blog gets more page views from the government than from people with a pulse, spam pornbots really don’t care how you’re doing and sometimes they put wide rule notebooks confusingly close to the college rule notebooks. I get it, we don’t live in a perfect world. Shit sucks. And this isn’t even touching on anything in the realm of movies. Blockbusters are tailor-made for foreign markets, Tarantino is only going to make ten films and Scarlett Johansson has only been in one Coen Brothers movie. Life isn’t fair, neither is our escapism entertainment.  I understand, but one thing I don’t understand is why Sam Rockwell isn’t a mega star. I don’t get it, and I think our society should actively feel shame about this horrible misstep in issuing stardom. Even looking at the poor choices we’ve made at deeming who’s a star, this stands out as a glaring omission.

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The man doesn’t make bad movies, and as I look at his IMDB page it looks like he’s done it all. Some supporting roles in huge films, leads in all kinds of great little films, suspense, sci-fi and comedy, oh lordy, does he have some great comedic roles. He is the go-to actor if you’re making a film to submit to Sundance. He’s the male Parker Posey. Yet, when people talk about a movie he’s in, they never talk about him. People are just blown away by his films and don’t realize how much quality comes from Dr. Sam “Love” Rockwell. My gripe comes from the continuing conversations I have with constituents under the larger umbrella of group of my parents film friends. They have recommended multiple Sam Rockwell movies to me, but don’t even register the name when I say it.  And I know they know actors because they’ll be the first people to tell me about a Bradley Cooper or a Chris Evans, but Rockwell doesn’t register a spot in their memory banks. This could be designed by a forward thinking publicist, or the results of not even employing a publicist, either way, people who love Sam Rockwell movies don’t know they love Sam Rockwell movies.  And that bothers me.

For instance, the delightfully well-crafted The Way Way Back. There is nothing earth-shatteringly special about it, no one will confuse it for There Will Be Blood, but it’s a good movie. Structured well, lovingly crafted and good characters. The best character, by design, has to be Sam Rockwell’s Owen.  Nat Faxon and Jim Rash appreciate Sam Rockwell, and show it by lovingly placing the success of their film on his shoulders, and the movie is better for it. This film is destined to be forgotten, rediscovered in ten years and become the first favorite movie of people who will become filmmakers. And a large part of that is going to be because of Sam Rockwell.

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But who knows, I think Rockwell should be a name that is known by everyone from the President to the homeless man still campaigning for Jimmy Carter.  I want him mentioned in the same sentence as Robot Downey Jr., George Clooney or Brad Pitts. Even if that never happens, I can still put him on my own Mt. Rushmore of actors with Warren Oates, Paul Le Mat and John Cazale.

-C. Charles