Midnight Movie Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

John McClane: You got a plan?
Jack McClane: Not really. I kinda thought we would just wing it. You know: running in guns blazing. Make it up as we go…

Evidently that was director John Moore’s plan too for this newest installment of the Die Hard films: Live Free or… no wait, that was the 3rd one. Or maybe the 4th.  This one is called Die Hard With a… no, that was the 4th one.

DieHard5-JaiCourtney

Jai Courtney as McClane Jr.

Whatever. Die Hard 5. (The one that doesn’t have any Germans, Samuel L. Jackson or the Apple Guy.)

I saw it tonight at the midnight showing. It’s pretty terrible. (Not sure if I should’ve offered a spoiler alert for that statement or not). To be a better film, about 35 minutes of the fluff that permeates the movie needed to be cut. Unfortunately it only has a total run time of 1:38, so I guess fluff was the only option.

It’s really kind of a perfect mixed-drink recipe of badness. You’ve got:

1) A setting in Russia

2) A father/son dynamic

3) A Die Hard franchise.

So take EVERY SINGLE cliché you can think of from each of those ingredients and blend it up. I’ll help you:

Russia: confusing characters (wait, which middle-aged bearded guy is that again?), a singing cab driver who LOVES New York, a bad guy who desperately wants to be fashionable, an obnoxious American who gets mad because the person yelling at him in Russian doesn’t speak English, and… Chernobyl

A father/son dynamic:  Moment of clarity for the son: “Wait, my dad is a generally awesome guy? How did I not see that in my 25 years of fighting with him?” (cut to slow motion scene of saving each other’s lives).  “Let’s go kill some scumbags, son.”

Die Hard elements: Blow up as much shit as possible. Have ridiculously long car chase scenes and drive cars off every fucking bridge in the entire country. Blow more shit up. Push bad guy off top of building.

So you mix up all that above goodness, throw in 7-8 shots of BacDieHard5ardi 151, and there you have it: A Pineapple Fuck-Me-Up

AKA: A Good Day to Die Hard.

Bottom line: The son (Jai Courtney) is pretty good, and there are a couple of almost-clever nods to the other films in the franchise (including Bruce’s yippee ki-yay), but overall it’s not worth the time or money. Wait for it to come out on video. The explosions won’t be so big and loud, but you’ve already seen them in Die Hard 1-4 anyway.  If you must go watch it, be sure to do your own shots of Bacardi ahead of time.

The Few, The Proud, The Viperous

Damn it. I shouldn’t be looking forward to this movie. It’s going to suck harder than Tatum Channing in that dream I had the other nigh…

Hey! Look! Viral video for G.I. Joe: Retaliation! LOOK AT IT AND IGNORE EVERYTHING PRECEDING THIS LINE.

Mmmmm. H.I.S.S. Tanks and Rattlers. This is all I wanted in the first movie – wacky military vehicles.

New G.I. Joe: Retaliation Trailer Brings the BRAAAAAAAAAHHHHHM

Is there a single trailer in existence that doesn’t use the “Inception” BRAAAHHHHM now? I’m still shocked it wasn’t in “The Hobbit.” Sure, it’s a sneaky BRAAAAHHHHM, silent, like a ninja; but it’s right up front, there’s no getting around it.

It’s Pavlovian at this point – audiences don’t know they’re watching a trailer unless they hear it.

Oh yeah, new “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” trailer. Blah, blah – London has a very bad day care of the business end of the Lance of Longinus. Rock makes fun of Channing Tatum and his crappy, duck-faced catch phrasing. Bruce Willis shoots stuff and blinds people with his bald pate.


Whereas I’d been originally excited as Hell when I saw Cobra Commander in his battle helmet and thought “The bastards might have gotten it right!” The studio’s decision to pull this and release it next year has completely sapped my interest. And this is coming from a guy who owned at least 3 years worth of G.I. Joe toys in the 80s. I’m still more excited for the G.I. Joe Kre-Os than this mess.

The Threeway: Top 3 Things Missing From My Geek Resume (Adam’s Take)

I know I’m a geek. I’m the guy everyone calls when they get that “Star Trek” question in trivia. Need to know the lyrics to the “Silver Spoons” theme song? I’ll sing it to you. Trying desperately to remember which 80s robot with an acronym name was on the show “Small Wonder?” I can give you the breakdown (and remind you of the one from “D.A.R.Y.L.” as well).

But, even I have gaps in the geek resume. It’s like that scene in “Jurassic Park” where they tell you what DNA is – and how there were missing pieces in the Dino Code. If Seth Green or Chris Hardwick are the geek gods, then I’m the DNA offshoot. Instead of a complete code, I meshed in extra “Star Wars” novels or something. Hell, I hadn’t even seen all of “Wizard of Oz” until a few years ago.

So, what’s missing? Continue reading

Friday Diversion: Die Harderest

Here at Sweep-the-Leg we know that work time is precious. A time to put your head down and get be productive. Work harder, get ahead. Well…then there’s Friday afternoon. We all need a diversion on Friday afternoons. Today’s diversion…My wife knows I’m a true romantic at heart. I even have our Valentine’s Day date for next year planned out. What a better time/event/occasion to unleash the fourth sequel to the greatest Christmas movie ever told?  I give you the first trailer for “A Good Day to DIE HARD.”

OK, so some thoughts on this…This looks more like “Live Free or Die Hard” than “Die Hard.” And Bruce Willis is mugging for the camera waaaay too much (hell, even the still the clip above freezes on). Both of those sadden me a bit, but I can deal with it.

The thing that I really like? Like more than anything? The coolest thing about this trailer that makes this movie worth existing? Turning “Ode to Joy” into a fracking ACTION THEME SONG! Seriously, how cool is that?

The Threeway: Top 3 Fictional Bands (Adam’s Take)

Interesting topic for this week. Fictional Bands. Are these made for TV bands that became great (The Monkees)? But, also the bands that released music, even though they are fake (yes, I think so). Or, is this an accounting of the greatest fictional bands, even if we never hear their music (maybe).

For instance, Stillwater was going to make the list for me (from the movie “Almost Famous”). We never hear them play (I can’t recall) and the narrative never tells us if they, as a band, go any farther. Off the list they go. Additionally, Wyld Stallyons will (according to “Bill and Ted”) save the world with their music. But, the world’s still going to Hell, so obviously they haven’t fulfilled their destiny. Who made it, well, on with the countdown:

3) The Commitments – The movie “The Commitments” follows the beginnings of the band of the same name. How they form, the troubles and tribulations they have, etc. The movie is very good (although you need an Irish to American English dictionary to get through all the slang). The music from the movie is incredible. The music was played by the actors (including the amazing vocals by then teenager Andrew Strong) and it’s a tape I wore out in high school (which is amazing since I was listening to pretty much 90% hair metal at the time).

2) Steel Dragon – The movie “Rockstar” is many things (most of which are AWESOME) but, for me, the best thing about it…the music of Steel Dragon. Steel Dragon is the prototypical 80s Hair Metal group – loud guitar, lyrics that make no sense and giant sets with pyro at the concerts. They are always in excess. The soundtrack to this movie contained a handful of Steel Dragon songs (all from the movie) that all found a permanent home on my iPod. Musically, I never evolved from the 80s, and Steel Dragon fits in perfectly.

Continue reading

Perfect Movies: The Introduction

The thing I love about movies is that they are subjective. To a degree. You can have your favorite movies and they may be great or awful. You can debate the merit of any movie based on how much you like it. Hell, I love “Hudson Hawk” and will argue with anyone who tells me it is anything other than sheer awesomeness (yes, I know, I have a critical blind spot for all things Bruce Willis).

But, loving a movie is far different than a movie being great. I often distinguish between movies and films. Movies are popcorn fare, film is art. Movies have explosions, films have character and depth. You can have a great movie (“The Avengers” for a recent example) and a great film. It’s rare the two collide, however, into something more.

That something more is what this series is about. That something more is when a movie is truly perfect. When every aspect comes together without any flaws. Where every frame is shot correctly. Where every plot hole is covered up. Over time, Anthony, Janie and I will all write about what we consider to be “perfect” movies.

We’ll also run “Counterpoints” to them. As one person’s “perfect” movie is bound to be met with opposition from someone else. Why? Because the term “perfect” isn’t taken lightly. There is only room for nitpicking. There are thousands of movies that I love – that I don’t consider “perfect.” To name a few:

  • “Aliens”
  • “Spider-man 2” (or, really, any super hero movie)
  • “Titanic” (although I’d argue that it is really close)
  • “Godfather II”
  • Any of the “Lord of the Rings” movies
  • “Fight Club”
  • “Terminator 2”

I could go on, but you get the point. Or, maybe you don’t. Maybe you would debate that “Aliens” (for instance) is perfect. That’s the beauty of it. You can argue it and we could have an interesting debate. And, in the end, all we could do is influence each other’s opinions for there is no real right or wrong answer (except that “Aliens” isn’t perfect. I love it completely, but it is flawed).

Let the debate begin!