Beverly Hills Cop (1984 - DVD)

While I'd seen bits and pieces of Eddie Murphy's mid-80s star vehicle that skyrocketed his movie career before, I'd never seen the whole movie until now, and the only thing I remembered was the "banana in the tailpipe" scene. Murphy plays a resourceful, though somewhat-insubordinate Detroit cop, Axel Foley, who experiences culture shock when he travels to Beverly Hills, California, to investigate the murder of a close friend. While I generally enjoyed it, it's sort of a weird movie that's stuck halfway between being a goofy comedy and a serious cop drama. It wasn't originally intended as a comedy (with Sylvester Stallone being originally cast for the leading role), but without Murphy's involvement, it would just be another standard cop flick.

If it wasn't passed off as a comedy, some scenes just wouldn't work. Several times (at least four if I remember correctly) the way Foley's "resourcefulness" is portrayed is by having him yelling and acting like a psycho while "in character" (though all of his characters act the same). When the villains throw him through a glass window, my thought was that pretty much anyone he pulls this routine on would more realistically react that way than believe him and do what he wants.

The story contains some energetic chase scenes set to lively 80s pop music, but tends to slow down in the middle. (So, am I right that the strip club scene had absolutely nothing to do with the main plot and was just a gratuitous strip club scene? Those bad guys they busted there weren't related to the main villain in any way? That's what it seemed like.)

One complaint of Roger Ebert's that I disagree with is his eternal "stupid cops ruin the whole film" mantra. #1. They aren't that dumb, and #2. This is a comedy and it wouldn't be as funny without them.

I am slightly alarmed by the film's "morality" - that it's okay for police to file false reports under the right circumstances or have a drink on the job. I know, it's a comedy, but... really?? And the other moral is, "You can't make money in art." Maybe that's a better one to take away from it.
Rating: 3.5/5

The Hangover Part III (2013 - Theater)

First of all, I'd like to mention that I skipped The Hangover Part II because I heard it was too much of a rehash of the first one, only not as funny. So, we went to see Part III at a drive-in theater. As a comedy, Hangover III does have some incredibly funny moments and lines of dialogue. As a story, though, it is completely off the rails and makes literally no sense in parts. Spoiler: If that wasn't really Chow's house, then how did he know where the gold was hidden and how to beat the security system??

While it's good that they didn't just do another "hangover" rehash, what takes its place is essentially one big Bourne-wannabe chase plot. The first one had a mystery that was at least somewhat-intriguing and for the most part, was just a silly comedy. Now, you've actually got characters and animals being killed. (And yeah, Beverly Hills Cop had some violent deaths, too, but at least that movie established itself from the get-go that it was partially a gritty cop drama.) The firt one at least had something of a character arc for Stu. The epilogue of III rather undoes it - it can make one reconsider that maybe Stu's witchy girlfriend had a point.

There was a recent discussion on my forums about how people often use "Show, Don't Tell" as a criticism of wordy internet writing. Someone else said that "Show, Don't Tell" really shouldn't be considered a universal rule and that good writing is more about knowing when to show, and when to tell. That's something this movie's writer(s) should've taken to heart - the implication of what happens to the giraffe in the commercials is far funnier than actually seeing it play out on the screen.
Rating: 2.5/5

Iron Man 3 (2013 - Theater)

Ever since I saw The Avengers, I'd been interested in seeing an Iron Man movie and I got my wish, at the same drive-in theater, no less (though I didn't have trouble seeing it this time because the movie wasn't as dark and the sky wasn't as light by the time it showed at the second half of a double-feature with Hangover III). I have to say that the humor and Robert Downey Jr.'s smarmy portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man is the only thing that really makes this movie work for me on any level. Though better as an action movie than what Hangover III tried to be, it's a textbook example of a plot whose "big reveals" cause everything before them to make no sense. Spoilers: If that was the real explanation for the Mandarin, then how come no one recognized him? Surely, either his family, friends, or someone who had seen him perform or worked with him before would know him? And if Stark had been keeping a stockpile of Iron Man suits all this time, why was he so intent on using one that didn't work right?

I also have to wonder why the onion-bloomin' heck does Marvel Comics seem to think the idea of an amputee wanting to regenerate a lost limb is evil? There's the Lizard from Spider-Man and now this movie. I wonder what disabled people in the audience think when they see things like this.
Rating: 2.5/5



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