Sweatpants Theatre: John Wick, Action Flick For Dog Lovers or Art House Film On The Elusive Female Orgasm?


 

I’m a pretty busy guy, my dance card is almost always full. For that reason, it’s taken me awhile to watch John Wick. A movie that almost everyone with a penis in my life* can’t recommend enough. Described as stylish and sleek with lots of death, it totally sounds like something I’d totally be into. While that description is apt and the movie delivers an assortment of ass kickings in urban settings filled with noiry darkness and douchey club lights, there were a few things that I didn’t like.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry this thing is mostly spoiler free, not that there is much of an opportunity for spoilers. In order to have spoilers, a movie must have a plot and landmarks along the journey. Which are two things John Wick tricks the viewer into thinking it has, but does not. What passes for a plot is really just a trigger that leads to an anthology of fight scenes that happen because someone said they needed to. And because there is no plot, there can be no landmarks.

What I Didn’t Like (Besides The Obvious)

Alright, spoiler warning ahead. This is going to be the only spoiler. You’re a smart person, you know what to do.

What kicks off the story is one of those off-beat trigger things that one would expect from Chuck Palahniuk and sound like it would be hilarious if John Cleese and Terry Jones wrote it. However, none of these folks did. So, no matter how quirky and cynically ironic the premise is, it never seems funny. It also doesn’t help that the characters speak about it in serious dismissive tones the entire movie.

Alright, enough beating around the bush, time to rip off the bandage. Prepare thyself for the spoilers. Some twatty mobsters son, played by consummate weeny Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) kills John Wick’s dog. Which is the last gift from his recently deceased wife. Not only that, it’s a puppy! Who kills a puppy? It was a bit too macabre for me personally. Maybe the writers are cat people and think they are super funny because their mom has always told them so. The entire point never seems to spread its quirky wings and ends up being void of dark humor it so craves by the end of the movie. Yet as a dog lover, I was hungry for revenge.

More of What I Didn’t Like

The characters, for the most part, seem to know it would be better to avoid John Wick, but do nothing to improve their chances of survival. It’s almost like a 80’s slasher flick where the viewer roots for the psycho killer. John Wick’s location is always known. Hell, everyone seems to know where everyone is. I mean, they’re old gangland acquaintances. No one seemed to move on up to the west side. Same old haunts, clubs, lofty penthouses. Yet that doesn’t really put anyone in real danger. Not the kind of danger the danger producer’s could produce. Threat is governed and throttled for the sake of screentime. I don’t recall seeing such truly insipid characters since Prometheus.

The plot as a whole, looks like a EKG reading for a patient in stable condition watching C-Span while eating saltines and water. There simply is no climax, just a few people vying for the spot of main antagonist/”the person voted most likely to have their asses handed to them next,” and doing things to piss off John Wick. It was strange to realize that there was no climax. No sense of closure. No tension. John is a super character, I mean an almost zero fault character. There is also rarely a point where he is in a near death situation that he can’t get out of on his own.  When he is – which is hard to believe after seeing him kill one hundred and forty people – the script fixes it easily enough. It just didn’t seem like he should really screw up.

What I Liked

The fight scenes are what this movie is all about. Of course with two stuntmen at the helm, how could they not be. There’s lots of interlacing of martial arts and guns. I found myself wondering how much cooler Equilibrium would have been with action sequences like this. Then I thought, “And the award for Movie Most Likely To Have Benefitted From Being Written By Kurt Wimmer Goes To -”

The Continental Hotel and, in general, the movie’s world building and history are pretty cool. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Well, that was short. Oh well.

The Verdict

I’m not saying that I need my action movies to be so cerebral that they need to be directed by Werner Herzog. Their stories don’t need to be so serious that I ultimately end up seeing Paul Giamatti put Maggie Smith through a table after she does the splits and punches him in the Tom Johnson’s nutty uncles. However, having respect for the story and having believable characters whose actions adhere to what they say is really important.

If it were sex, this movie would be supremely frustrating. Sure, it would be really good looking sex with plenty growling and bangs. But there is no climax! It just drives around the block for an hour and a half, but never really gets you there. And when you think it’s done, it turns out it has another thirty minutes in it.

If you like action movies, check it out.

 


As always, I love the likes, shares and comments.

*Are you cringing.

Gluten Free and Zero Fuchezes

I bought a bag of Sweet Chili Heat Doritos at the store last night. I can’t remember the last time I had some. I typically don’t buy them because they don’t seem to be all that good for you and they are pretty damn expensive. They also don’t last very long around me and last night may have been a record.

I didn’t care about health or cost yesterday. I was tired of the rain. I was even more tired of bad news. Thoroughly dejected, I strode into Safeway and bought some overpriced gamer gourmet goodness. It took every fibre of my moral being to not tear open the bag as soon as I had paid for it. If it hadn’t been raining and I didn’t want wet chips, I probably would have failed. However, I continued to make saving throws against temptation all the way home. Mostly because I had put the chips in the trunk.

As soon as I got in the door and washed my hands, it was on! The place was in disarray because I just dropped everything and started eating Doritos. My wife sent me a text to let me know she was on the bus. This was when I would typically start warming up leftovers. Not this day though, I was eating Do-fuckin-ritos! I just kept eating and eating.

As I did so, I watched the news, but had no idea what they were saying due to the crunching sounds in my head. In the end, it probably didn’t matter anyway. People are upset, people are dying, and something funny happened on the internet. What did matter, was the bag of Doritos in my hand and keeping the supply line open.

Feeling like I should earn my keep, I started to prepare dinner. Every now and then I would grab another chip or two. When my wife got home, she remarked on how many Doritos I had eaten and we ate real food. However, my dinner was basically ruined. As I was pretty much too full to eat. Even so, I still had room for more Doritos after dinner.

Later on, it was time to bake cookies. I had managed to stay out of the Doritos for a good thirty minutes. When baking though, there are no rules. I got back into that bag. Eventually, there came a point where I realized that I could almost see the bottom of the bag. Only a few typical full sized Doritos remained on a bed of crumbs. Half disgusted and partly amazed with myself, I put the bag away. That is until I started to write this and remembered that some still remained.

Jacoby

Usually I like to write posts that are kind of jokey. Other times I like to grump about something that is making me grumpy. This is going to be something different. I started writing this the night we received the bad news. News concerning that big guy pictured up there. For those of you who don’t know him, his name is Jacoby. For those that do know him you may not know that his full name is Jacoby Edison Standard. He is a great dog!

I met him when he was barely two months old and I was hungover. He was at the humane society with his last remaining litter mate. All the rest had already been adopted. His brother was at the front and Jake was at the back. His flashy white socks and Sylvester the cat tail caught my attention. Just in case I hadn’t noticed him though, he puppy pranced toward the gate, trampling over his mate in the process. I remember saying something like, “Well you are cute! Are you a boy or a girl?” I know he didn’t understand me, but on cue he stood on his hind legs, showed me his junk, and proceeded to fall backward, landing on his sibling. I knew I had to have that dog!

I mentioned I was hungover. That is because five days earlier I had to put down my previous dog, Vinny. A dog that I had grown up with. A cute fluffy cocker spaniel that I loved to pieces. I was a freaking mess without a dog. I mean, it was bad. The bouncer at the bar I frequented told me about a litter of puppies that had just been dropped off at the pound. Which, while a great lead, didn’t stop me from getting hammered that night.

So there I was in the visitation room with a nameless dog. We played and tussled. Then he curled up in my lap and took a nap. I was sold and so was he. Eighty bucks and a legally binding promise to get him neutered and we were in my truck. By the time we had driven home, I had decided on a name, Jacoby. Yes, it was inspired by Dr. Lawrence Jacoby, but only because I liked the name.

We were pretty much inseparable, except when I had to go to class or work. I showed him the ropes and he ran with it from there. He loved hanging out with my friends and going with me to adjust the kilns. I found out that he thoroughly enjoyed chewing on stuff and swimming. Long walks were totally in his wheelhouse. Crates, his mortal enemy. He has always been a dog’s dog.

It was those skills and more that he imparted on his brother from another mother, Bleu. Bleu showed up when Jake was two. After one little scuff that left Bleu screaming and Jake in the dog house, they have been best friends. Bleu has never been too far from Jake. We even think that Bleu started carrying his tail the same way as Jake, just to match. Bleu always wanted to be like Jake, eat the same food as Jake, chew like Jake. They look so much alike that we still get asked if they are a mom and puppy. Yes, it is rare now that they are twelve and ten, but it did happen in 2015.

That is why our hearts were breaking when they walked Jake away for the ultrasound. Bleu just laid in our laps morose and making a low moaning sound. His breath changed to short little bursts. We knew he would do that, which is why we had taken him with us so he wouldn’t be at the apartment by himself. We knew he would just lie on the cold, hard floor by the door, which isn’t him.

Right now we don’t know the full prognosis. We just know that one of the hardest times in a pet owner’s life has announced that it will be intruding. For those of you haven’t already called your special someone over or picked them up and put them directly on your lap, what are you waiting for? Go pet them! For those of you who don’t have a special someone, what are you waiting for? Go get one! We are aching, but the only reason this moment is so terrible, is because all the other moments have been so great.