Avoiding Responsibility: Good Morning Vietnam, Too Big to Fail, Stripes, The Losers, and Mad Max

I’m starting to really love weekends Especially Holiday weekends when I can watch three or four movies a day and feel only moderately bad about myself. To be perfectly fair, I haven’t been completely useless today: I’ve added some 1,000 songs to iTunes, made a playlist for a friend going to South America tomorrow, and helped my dad in the garage (he’s building a plane, no big deal), but basically, I’ve been a giant waste of space.

After the jump, see my thoughts on the movies I watched today: Good Morning Vietnam, Too Big to Fail, Stripes, The Losers, and Mad Max.

Good Morning Vietnam (1987)

I woke up this morning to Robin Williams screaming into a microphone “Gooooooood Morning Vietnam!!” I was drawn to this movie because it was a 1980s comedy with Robin Williams. Aside from that, I really had no idea what the movie was about, but I have to say I was pretty pleased. Barry Levinson directed and he had the good foresight to allow a lot of the dialogue to be ad libbed.

I will say that the first half of the movie is really great, but the second half isn’t. I can’t really blame the movie for trying to have a plot (and it was based on a true story, so it might even by trying to stay faithful to real life events, I don’t know), but it just wasn’t the smile lightly, laugh loudly comedy that I was expecting after the midpoint. Given the opportunity to watch Good Morning Vietnam, I might entertain the first thirty minutes to an hour, but after that, I’ll likely just turn it off and watch SportsCenter, but that’s me.

Too Big to Fail (2011)

HBO’s Too Big to Fail is based on Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book by the same title chronicling the 2008 financial crisis. The cast was fantastic. Topher Grace (That 70s Show), Paul Giamatti (Sideways), James Wood (Shark), William Hurt (Vantage Point), Tony Shalhoub (Monk), Bill Pullman (Independence Day), Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City) and the list goes on and on.

I will give it to HBO, their original production is always top notch. I haven’t watched too many of their original movies (i.e. Angels In America), but they have the best show ever created with The Wire, then there’s The Sopranos, Entourage, Sex and the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, True Blood, Game of Thrones, etc. HBO’s track record is really incredible and Too Big to Fail lived up to expectations. The financial crisis is a fascinating, if terrifying, subject and one that I wish I knew more about. I’m not an expert because of this movie, but it didn’t hurt either. In fact, one of my favorite scenes was when they were explaining the sub-prime mortgage crisis to the Treasury Department’s news secretary so that she could understand it.

HBO is running Too Big to Fail a bunch of times in the next couple weeks and if have the opportunity, I highly recommend tuning in.

Stripes (1981)

Ugh. Sometimes I watch movies and I just don’t know why. I’m a fan of Bill Murray generally. Groundhog Day is one of my favorite movies, and then there’s Scrooged, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, just to name a few, but Stripes is a far cry from those others. Murray delivers much of the charm and charisma for which is he is known, but the rest of the movie is pretty awful. Harold Ramis does his best to save the movie, but truly I think it would have required a divine entity to save such a poor movie and even then it would have been questionable.

The Losers (2010)

The Losers is not a good movie, but, at least, it doesn’t try to be. It never takes itself too seriously and that definitely works in its favor. It’s based on the comics by Vertigo, so, I intend to check those out soon. Chris Evans, who will star as Steve Rogers in this summer’s Captain America: The First Avenger, is absolutely huge for his role as Jensen, and Zoe Saldana is gorgeous, which just gets me more excited for the upcoming Colombiana. Idris Elba, known best for his role as Stringer Bell on The Wire, is also in the movie, and quite honestly, whenever I see any actor from The Wire in a movie, I get excited, regardless of how bad the movie is.

The plot for The Losers is pretty standard and definitely doesn’t have any huge surprises, but it provides for enough action sequences to keep an audience entertained for its run time of 97 minutes. I may not be running out to watch this movie again, but I’m not running the other way either if I find it on TV at some point.

Mad Max (1979)

When Mel Gibson was only 23, he starred in a movie called Mad Max, which achieved cult status and attracted a devoted fan base (warranting the creation of not just one, but two sequels). I have some film studies friends who rave about the movie, so I went in with some high expectations. I’ll be honest through: I was lost for the first hour. I just didn’t get it: Not only could I not figure out why Australians simply couldn’t drive (I think there had to be at least 25 cars and bikes go off the road over the course of the movie), but the characters, the plot, the setting, the motivations, all of it were lost on me. Of course, things become clearer when Mel Gibson’s character’s wife and child are killed by a bike gang. So, I guess the biggest issue I had with the movie was that it was a 50 minute (at most) movie disguised as an hour and a half. I don’t really have a problem that they wasted 40 minutes of my life (it’s not like I didn’t sign up for it), but it does seem like a bit of false advertising.

I may not have fallen in love with Mad Max, but after watching it through to its entirety, I do see its appeal. The final scene where Mel Gibson sets a slow fuse, hand cuffs a guy to a car and hands him a saw so that he can try to saw off his leg before the fuse gets to the dripping fuel is awesome.

That wraps yet another day in Avoiding Responsibility. Hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave any feedback or suggestions with movies I should watch next time I’m trying to not do work.


18 responses to “Avoiding Responsibility: Good Morning Vietnam, Too Big to Fail, Stripes, The Losers, and Mad Max

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