May the 4th Be with You 2020

This is worth sharing (because it just is)….

This was a trying week for viewing.   I had said a while back when I saw the original Stephen King IT that I didn’t particularly like IT.  I didn’t need to see another IT, and IT wasn’t worth spending time to trying and find another.   I will note that I didn’t pay for IT.  I am thankful for IT.  And then along comes IT Chapter 2.   If it wasn’t for Jessica Chastain, then I wouldn’t even consider this film.   I had recalled hearing a story that the Producer (or someone putting together the sequel) had specifically targeted Jessica for the starring role.  She would play the Beverly Marsh character, the only female amongst a group of self-called Losers.   They defeated the ever-so-creepy Pennywise but there were hints that he could potentially return in another 27 years.   Well, we didn’t have to wait 27 years for the sequel.   Along with Chastain, they add James McAvoy, Bill Hader and the cast of young actors.  It is a good ensemble.   Yet the story is a mess.    The older group is shown making a promise to come back together as kids should the need arise, and the need has now arisen.   Pennywise has come back to Derry Maine.  They return, and then crazy things start happening (shared hallucinations, bizarre situations etc).  It seems that these friends need to each find an artifact which then they need to bring to some native Indian ceremony.  None of this makes much sense.  But the more one ponders it, the more it becomes apparent that it doesn’t matter.   This is a movie that is mind candy, and it is meant to scare you a little, and entertain you a little.  For me, it does neither.   By the midpoint I had to ask myself why Chastain and other older cast members would sign up for this.    If they would read about the Pennywise scene when they are underground (wherever that scene is) then they must have had some second thoughts.   Maybe they are doing what Michael Caine used to when he signed on to Jaws: The Revenge, and just take the money.   Who knows?   By the end, I just shook my head and acknowledged I just spent time that I won’t ever get back.  By the way, the origin story of Pennywise, as was explained here, was bullshit.   Plain and simple.   I won’t spoil this, but frankly there isn’t a heckuva lot to spoil.   I am hopeful that there can’t be a Chapter 3.   Another 27 years to pass and it will be Pennywise terrifying the seniors home.   Ugh!

Saturday night was Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw starring Jason Statham and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.   The Fast the Furious franchise, which started back in 2001 with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker, had a simple premise; our audience wants to see hot girls and guys driving hot cars.    It began with a young cop, in a Point Break scheme, try and infiltrate a local group who street races.  It worked.   Eight movies later, even despite the tragic death of Walker in 2013 in a car accident, it still rakes in the money.    The formula for me lost the cars in this latest edition, save the McLaren 720S which Staham drives through the streets of London.   Having said that, I cannot believe for a moment that Statham, Johnson and then actress Vanessa Kirby (she played Princess Margaret in The Crown very well) would fit into that car.   No way.  But it is me, once again bringing realism into fantasy and light.   This, like IT Chapter 2 is mind candy, mental bubble gum.   The measuring stick becomes, “were you entertained?”  For me, when the realism goes off the charts, then my entertainment value lessens.   If I am sitting in my chair or on the couch and mentally (or sometimes vocally) saying “Yea right!” then it begins to fall apart.  Of course there are space and time travel movies that entertain.   It doesn’t mean that I am always consistent, but I retain my right to enjoy what entertains me on a subjective basis.   For example, in Hobbs and Shaw, these two agents from the US and British Intelligence who hate one another have to try and stop a pandemic virus from wiping out the world.  Plenty of eye candy for the ladies with the aforementioned Statham, Johnson and then Idris Elba.  The two leads have some insults and banter between them.  From a male perspective, Kirby is striking but very young, as well as the Russian spy played by Eiza González.  But there isn’t much else.   As far as cars goes, the Samoa angle didn’t really work, and the linking cars attached to a helicopter driving along a cliff, didn’t work at all.   It rivals Tom Cruise in “Ending” Impossible exploding forward inside the chunnel on a helicopter onto the back of a train.   But once again, the question remains “was I entertained?”   There were a couple good laughs.   But I was thankful that I didn’t spend real money on it as it was on Crave.

Finally I have started watching Netflix series Narcos.  It shows the story of Pablo Escobar, the Columbian drug lord who ran the Cocaine Cartel.   The politics in Columbia are well on display and scary to fathom.  Imagine having a relatively poor economy with mostly poor people and civil servants (police, government etc) who then have a astoundingly rich cocaine business take over.   The power is consolidated in a few who have no value for human life.   At one point, there is an offer made by Ecobar to be allowed back into Columbia and in exchange he will “eliminate the country’s debt”!!  The Tom Cruise American Made film is a side light, and dealt with in a short while in one episode.   The main character on the US police side is a young DEA officer played by Boyd Holbrook as Steve Murphy.   He is good along with his partner.   They are trying to navigate a world where there is corruption and death at every turn.   The US government involvement remains questionable, and this all rolls into the Oliver North (Iran-Contra affair) and Nicaragua getting involved.   I am about halfway through Season 1, but it is entertaining.  It is interesting.  It does reveal some history in a part of the world that I don’t know very well.   I will continue to watch….

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