Not much for us this week, probably because of Labor Day so I’ll start with Ma which I actually haven’t received yet, but did see at the theater. I can’t talk about the bonus features or how it looks on home video and normally I don’t write about something I haven’t gotten (yet), but this movie has stuck with me ever since I saw it and I want/need more people to check it out. It is bananas and I’ve been talking about it every week since its release. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this and I’m super happy about that. The best part is, it’s not even a good movie. In fact none of it is believable and there are huge tonal shifts, but good Lord I think I might love this movie. It’s so ridiculous you won’t believe what you watched. Octavia Spencer gives her all in a movie that doesn’t deserve her all. You expect it to go one way, her taking everything out on the teens she invites to her house, but it’s more a revenge thriller with some laugh out loud violence and Spencer’s eyes out acting everyone else in the cast. There is a nice build up that you think takes the movie in one direction then it goes way, WAY off the rails and I wanted to high five everyone in theater. Does Ma have plot holes a mile wide? Yes. Does it completely forget about storylines and points it makes by the end of the movie? Also yes. Do I care they go out of the way to talk about missing jewelry and then forget about it minutes later? Nope. Octavia Spencer mixes Sissy Spacek in Carrie with Kathy Bates in Misery to give us the latest horror crazy and I had a blast with it. Go watch it, don’t care about its filmmaking or storytelling and just enjoy!
Sticking with that theme of not so great filmmaking, next is Dead Don’t Die in Dallas. Don’t confuse this with Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die although both are about towns being over run by zombies. This is, um, something I’ve never heard of and I can understand why. The oddest thing is that it’s being released by Mill Creek Entertainment best known for film/TV re-releases not necessarily new movies, but maybe they are branching out. This is about a miracle pill expected to cure all diseases and colds, but turns people into the undead. The only survivors are the local pastor, his wife and closeted son, a transgender who immediately butts heads with the anti-gay pastor, a Lesbian, and the closeted son’s boyfriend. A few others show up throughout, but that’s the main group. It’s shot like a grindhouse flick with missing scenes and gritty style, but overall it wasn’t for me. I appreciate the attempt, but the characters and bad acting were too much to get over. The pastor was a walking cliche. The acting completely took me out of the film and the post-production effects, muzzle flash and “kills” were laughable. I’m sure this will go on to cult status in parts of the film community, but I just couldn’t get into it because of the acting.
Third we have Martin Clunes’ Islands of America. I haven’t seen Martin’s previous Island series, but I do know him from shows like Manhunt and Doc Martin. This 4 episode set is really fascinating. Martin checks out the different islands of the United States starting in Hawaii of course. He does the touristy spots, but also goes to lesser populated areas where the natives still have traditions. Then he goes to Alaska and Kodiak Island to see grizzlies. He heads to California and sees seals and sea lions. Then he goes to Louisiana and visits the Tabasco company. He salsas in Puerto Rico, relives history in Roanoke and sees ponies cross a stream in Virginia. He visits Coney Island in New York along with Ellis Island. Then he hits my home state and Martha’s Vineyard talking about Jaws and finally ends up in Maine and the cluster of islands that 20-50 people call home. I thought it was very entertaining and also highly educational. When he was in Hawaii it was in 2018 when a volcano was actively erupting. I knew nothing about the pony island and Roanoke has always fascinated me. Clunes makes a great host especially as a Brit learning American history like the pig war in the 1800’s between Brits and US soldiers. Very cool stuff.
Sticking with TV, NCIS: The Sixteenth Season is out this week. I’ve never really been a fan and after 16 seasons I’m sure you know whether or not you are too. My mom is and still very much looks forward to the show every week. Heck she watches the reruns on syndication so clearly there is still an audience. I watch the show when the DVDs come my way to review, but beyond that I really never got into it. Season 16 opens with Vance still missing and Gibbs (Mark Harmon) as acting director. Other episodes include a bomb going off near the home of a Navy officer and reality TV star, a 50 year old recording possibly overturning a conviction, a newborn baby is discovered after the death of a Navy vet, a missing person’s case is reopened when a kid is found in a storage unit, Gibbs and Bishop are on a submarine that goes radio silent, Torres wakes up in a boat covered in blood, and more. The show continues to get solid ratings for CBS so I’m sure it will continue on.
Last we have Bull Season 3. My mom liked Michael Weatherly on NCIS so she followed him to Bull. It’s a show I don’t mind, but again I don’t watch until it hits DVD. It’s coming back for a fourth season so all the controversy around Weatherly and former costar Eliza Dushku must not rank higher than ratings. Season 3 opens with Bull recovering from a heart attack. Other episodes include Bull serving jury duty, a white female police officer shoots a black man in a woman’s bathroom, a former patient goes on trial for killing her brother, Danny’s boyfriend might get deported, his friend Nathan is tried for his wife’s murder, a bounty hunter kidnaps the wrong person, a step-mom is accused of murdering her step-daughter and more. Weatherly is a TV staple and he’s good here, I just wish I liked the show more.