Saturday, September 29, 2012

Movie Musings: Looper and Expendables 2

So this past week was a bitch.  I'm recovering from a nasty sinus infection and feeling very low energy.  Work was super busy.  Yesterday evening I decided to ditch my plans for the a productive evening at home and saw Looper and Expendables 2 back to back.  Ah yes, nothing like a super smart, probably ground-breaking sci-fi thriller and an over-the-top nostalgic action flick to help blast away those don't-fuck-with-me-anymore end of the week blues.  I marched straight to the snack counter and got my medium popcorn with extra butter along with a large Cherry Coke and plopped down in my theater seat.  Bliss.


Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have a tense conversation
What can I say about Looper (see trailer here) without giving it all away?  It's a time-traveling movie set in the near future.  A Looper is an assassin who kills people sent back through time.  Issues of free will, destiny, how people are affected by the past, and whether personal choices really exist figure prominently in this film.

It's ultra violent and the plot can be a little confusing at first but that's only because it's a time-traveling movie.  Director Rian Johnson, who also directed a favorite film of mine called Brick (see trailer here) which I've mentioned before on this blog, goes all out with this film.  He managed to shock and surprise me, make me jump, and make the action sequences feel fresh.  The sound, editing, and lighting in this film are particularly excellent.  A really interesting story.  Probably warrants at least one more viewing.


This movie was everything I hoped it would be (see trailer here but do you really need to?). Ultra ultra violent, cheesy one-lines and jokes flying around, action stars, big ass knives, super loud shotguns, other guns, explosions, plane crashes, tanks, martial arts, a whole lot of bad guys, and The Muscles from Brussels doing his signature roundhouse kick.  Oh yeah, and Arnie and Bruce Willis mocking each each other with back and forth one liners.

I had really, really a good time.  Sure, the body count is crazy high, sometimes you can't understand what Stallone is saying because his trademark mumble, the testosterone addled macho shit goes overboard, the story regularly veers off into impossible territory, the editing is a bit too enthusiastic, and there are plot holes big enough to drive several tanks through but who cares?  I was there to be completely entertained and I got what I came for.

I think figured out why I love action movies so much:
  1. I'm an adrenaline junkie and action movies are the best way for me to get my fix.
  2. Since I'm a writer I'm always taking everything in like a sponge.  I'm always looking for the story in art, music, movies (of course), books, in our day-to-day lives.  The writing mind is always on and can be difficult to turn off.  ACTION movies are the one place, the one kind of story where I don't have to think about these things.  Who needs to think about story or characters when you're watching two guys kick the shit out of each other?  I don't. Who needs to think about dialog or even depth when all the characters are firing at each other? Not me. At an action movie, I can completely relax and allow myself to be entertained.
  3. They're evidence that I'm not a snobby, high-minded, elitist movie bitch.  At least not all the time.
  4. They're super fun.
I'm sure you all know I take movies very seriously.  I watch film surveys and have seen my share of "deep" movies but it's nice to relax for a couple of hours; it's nice not to have to THINK about being entertained for a little while.

UPDATE:  Oh yeah, just so we're completely transparent, I did get a thrill from seeing Arnie back with a big shotgun.  Back when he was making all those action movies in his prime, he was my favorite movie star.  I will confess I have seen something like 99% of all his movies, including movies he only made cameos in and Pumping Iron.  I could qualify this confession by stating that one of my exes is a bodybuilder but fuck that.  The truth is I enjoyed Arnie while he was making action movies and I still own a few from those days (Terminators I, II, and III, Predator, Total Recall).  As for my views about his tenure as the governor of my state, well, I'll just say the dude is a republican and I'm not, BUT that's not going to stop me from going to see his upcoming movie, The Last Stand.  In addition to being Arnie's "debut" movie it's also directed by one of my favorite Korean directors, Kim Ji-Woon.

All right.  I'm sure there are going to be some people who won't like these views.  *gets into combat stance*  Come at me with your offended ass, I'ma ready for ya.


Jo Jardin said...

I heard a critic talk about "Loopers" on Fresh Air and put it on my to-watch list...great stuff about the "tense conversation" in the photo you have pictured.

Of course, Bruce would be my litmus test for both movies...he is also a Republican, but I have had a crush on him since Moonlighting days.

Great post...

Mock Turtle said...


That's great that you've had a crush on him since Moonlighting!

Thanks for the compliment.