Netflix Diary

a) Despicable Me
Back when this movie first came out last summer my son was just starting to kind of develop his sense of humor, and one day he just totally cracked up laughing at the minions in the TV commercials, so I was kind of excited to rent this and let him see it, or at least a little of it before he had to go to bed. And he did look at the minions and laugh once, so that made me happy. But aside from that, this was a really sweet, entertaining movie. Kinda crazy to see an animated movie where the voice cast is almost entirely regulars from Apatow movies.

b) Predators
I kind of liked how much this movie was driven by the human characters and there wasn't a whole lot of constant Predator action because, to be honest, those things were always kinda boring to me. I would've enjoyed it more if I hadn't ended up reading spoilers about Topher Grace's character beforehand, though.

c) Knight And Day
I really liked how this felt like basically a weird commentary on action movies and how insane all the people and things going on in them tend to be by any reasonable standard, complete with Tom Cruise at his most crazy-eyed, but not in an overly winky meta way. It was just kind of breezy and fun while at the same time totally bizarre, although I kind of tuned out at times so I'm not really sure if it was executed as well as I'd like to think it was.

d) Jonah Hex
In spite of this movie's utter commercial and critical failure, I wanted to believe this would be worth watching on some level and it really just wasn't. It wasn't terrible and there was some kernel of a fun popcorn movie hidden in there that occasionally showed itself, but for the most part it was just weirdly lifeless.

e) Cop Out
As much as people might denounce this as Kevin Smith cranking out a readymade Hollywood movie instead of following his inconsistent and unrewarding muse, it speaks volumes about how much more Jason Lee has sold out and blanded down that when he showed up, I didn't even think about how he used to be in Kevin Smith movies and just thought oh, this lame guy in another lame movie. I actually did kind of like this overall -- Tracy Morgan never quite got his footing or maybe the writers just didn't know how to utilize him, but Bruce is a pro at this flippant action comedy shit and keeps things running relatively smoothly.

f) "Homicide: Life On The Streets," Season 1
This show was a big deal to me back when it was on the air, mainly because they were always shooting around my dad's neighborhood and it was so exciting to see familiar Baltimore scenery on TV, but also because it was a pretty great show and Andre Braugher in particular was just fantastic on it. But in recent years it's been kind of eclipsed by "The Wire" and I'd always meant to revisit it, especially after reading the Homicide book. And it's fun to see the first couple episodes in a whole other light now that I'm thinking of the stories in the book that they're based on and the people David Simon wrote about that the characters are based on. Some of the direction is a little dated, all those '90s jump cuts, but all things considered I'm really enjoying it.

g) Some Kind Of Wonderful
Still working my way through some John Hughes movies I hadn't seen before he died, and he didn't direct this one but it's really so clearly his screenplay, and not necessarily in a good way; the story is pretty much a gender-reversed Pretty In Pink, except not remotely as enjoyable. Mary Stuart Masterson's pretty cute in it, at least, although I was pretty disappointed in Lea Thompson considering she was the bomb in Back To The Future just a couple years earlier.

h) The Evil Dead
Since I've been really enjoying watching "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr." lately I decided to go back to the beginning of Bruce Campbell's career. I'd seen bits of the other two Evil Dead movies but never the first, and a lot of the fun was in just seeing Sam Raimi's low budget beginnings and listening to the commentary tracks (although Campbell's commentary was way more entertaining than Raimi's).

i) Pink Flamingos
Likewise, I've seen lots of John Waters movies and like anyone from Baltimore I consider him kind of a cultural hero, but I'd never seen the one that started it all. And really, I expected after almost 40 years this wouldn't be as shocking as its reputation, but it really is pretty disgusting and over-the-top. And like The Evil Dead, a lot of the fun is in listening to the commentary, Waters tells the best stories.
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