Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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Watched Hot Fuzz, because it was about to leave Netflix. We loved Shaun of the Dead (which has the same two stars and one of the same writers, Simon Pegg), and this had similar rave reviews, so we took a break from Peak TV to watch. It was pretty good. My wife said she had a hard time taking Pegg seriously as a tough, no-nonsense cop -- and she's dead right about that. I'd probably rate it higher if Pegg were simply taller. Also, here's yet another villain turn by former James Bond Timothy Dalton, and by golly, he is great at it

Also watched Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, because it was also about to leave Netflix. My wife used to be a big Johnny Depp fan, but that evaporated when the #MeToo stories about him came out. But I'd heard good things, so we hit Play. 

I had read the book in college, and while I enjoyed it immensely -- Hunter Thompson was hilarious at turning a phrase about drug use -- it read to me as fiction. I couldn't believe a word of it, because I couldn't believe any of that behavior would be countenanced by hotel proprietors, violated casino patrons and local law enforcement, even in Las Vegas. Also, no one could possibly function with that level of drug use/mixing.

The movie read the same way. Depp was, as usual, a very physical and convincing actor, and Benicio del Toro was a better actor than I expected (as Dr. Gonzo). It was an amusing piece of fluff -- so much so that my wife actually asked after it was over, "What was the point of that?" She's got a point, especially since Thompson's eventual suicide casts a pall over all that misbehavior.

A couple worthy of just short comments:

  • Snatched. Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer play mother and daughter in a loud, dumb buddy comedy. Schumer gets dumped by her boyfriend right before they were to go on a joint vacation to Ecuador. As the tickets are non-refundable, Schumer talks Hawn into going on the trip, and hilarity -- or attempts at such -- ensues. This starts with the two of them getting kidnapped, escaping from their captors, and trying to make their way across the jungle to the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. This was the first movie Goldie Hawn had made in 15 years (her previous one was The Banger Sisters in 2002). It wasn't worth her coming out of retirement.
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. One of my wife's superpowers is that she can instantly, completely forget seeing a movie she doesn't like, as if it was never even made. Oddly, she was totally sure we had seen this one, which we hadn't; we saw the original, but not the sequel. The story here covers two tracks: The newlyweds in the first film now have a 17-year-old daughter who is being smothered by the family and being pressured to get a Greek boyfriend and get married. The other track? Family patriarch Gus discovers the priest who officiated at his wedding to Maria 50 years ago wasn't ordained and didn't sign the marriage license; thus, they aren't legally married. It's an easy fix, right? Except Maria wants Gus to propose, and he's too stubborn to just do it, and she's too stubborn to agree to marry him if he won't, and several situation comedy shenanigans flow from there. The sequel does not have the charm of the original and fails to capture the magic. 

Goldie Hawn appeared very briefly as Mrs Claus in last year's The Christmas Chronicles, with Kurt Russell playing Santa. Oliver Hudson, son of Goldie, also appears in the movie.

Wouldn't they be considered "common law married" by that point, or is that not a real thing?

ClarkKent_DC said:

  • Family patriarch Gus discovers the priest who officiated at his wedding to Maria 50 years ago wasn't ordained and didn't sign the marriage license; thus, they aren't legally married.

...Do people use that concept anymore? SHUT UP about the real facts, BTW! :-)!!!

ClarkKent_DC said:

  • Family patriarch Gus discovers the priest who officiated at his wedding to Maria 50 years ago wasn't ordained and didn't sign the marriage license; thus, they aren't legally married.

The Baron said:

Wouldn't they be considered "common law married" by that point, or is that not a real thing?

It is and it isn't. The wife Maria makes a crack in the movie that they must be married because of "time served."

It appears that Maria and Gus have met all the standards for common law marriage, as listed here in FindLaw: They are old enough to be married; they are of sound mind; they fully intended to be married to each other; they have lived together for a long time; they have commingled finances; they have always represented themselves to family, friends and the world at large as a married couple; and neither is married to someone else.

However, common law marriage is recognized only in seven states and the District of Columbia, and Illinois (where My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is set) is not one of those places. 

I don't remember if I've already mentioned this, but we watched the first two Bourne movies recently. (The third you have to pay $3.99 for, and we aren't going to, on principle.) They were mildly entertaining. Evidently these movies were structured around car chases, because every excuse was made to get Matt Damon, a vehicle, and pursuers into dramatic, vehicle-unfriendly scenarios. There were a lot of foot chases, too, but the car things really stood out. Much effort was made.

I'm well trained to be sympathetic to the lead character no matter what, but something about Damon's face or haircut or acting or something occasionally made me think, "He looks like a thug." Then I'd remember he was the protagonist and shove that thought aside.

It was kinda weird. Maybe as a lifelong nerd I'm also trained to be suspicious of athletic, buzzcut guys who don't seem very smart. They were the bullies of my childhood.

I have seen recently movie is harry potter and This is my favorite movie.


I watched Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese last night. It's streaming on Netflix, and full of great Dylan performances from the tours in 1975 and 1976, plus ones from Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell and more -- back when songs like "Isis" and "Hurricane" and "Coyotes" were fresh and new. It's a really neat movie... but don't take everything in it at face value. In true Trickster Bob fashion, some bits of it are a put-on. 

Finally saw Spider-man: Far From Home. We enjoyed it, but we were both a little disappointed. Maybe it's superhero movie fatigue. And the epilogue... But that's another thread.

Once Upon a Time in America: a brilliantly-made, well-acted movie marred somewhat by a dubious take on Bruce Lee and an ending that leans to Tarantino being unable to stop being Tarantino, even when the movie calls for something else.

Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation: Good as a sort of History 101 of Woodstock.

My Generation: Michael Caine looks back on the 60s as he and England experienced them. Curious note: Caine emphasizes the shift in class expectations, so that guys like him, from the working class, could become famous. This is true of the men giving present-day interviews. The famous women giving present-day interviews were middle-to-upper class.

More (1969): an old drug culture movie set on Ibiza that works well for what it is.

Mid90s (2018): well-made skate kid film with an ending that doesn't quite stick.

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (1999): The second straight-to-video in the turn-of-the-millennium Scooby revival: the first two acts are basically an ep of The New Scooby-Doo Movies with Not-Stephen-King as special guest. The final act goes in its own direction, and has one truly hilarious moment between Shaggy and genuinely evil villain.

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960): We finally saw the influential kitchen sink movie that made Albert Finney's career. I recommend it. Not so much a black-and-white film as a grey one.

JD, we know your meant Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

I did indeed... Although Once Upon a Time in America is also an interesting view.

At least I didn't confuse Crash (1996) and Crash (2004)!

Richard Willis said:

JD, we know your meant Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

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