The Worst

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Now the third installment in Keanu Reeve’s JOHN WICK trilogy has made it into cinemas, I can think of no better time to share my thoughts a mere half decade late on the original film that lit the wick five years ago.

Put simply, I have no hesitation in declaring JOHN WICK (2014) underwhelmed me to the extent it was immediately relegated to my WORST FILMS OF ALL TIME / HALL OF COMPLETE SHAME list.

If that’s too ambivalent for you let me make it even clearer: I did not like this film – even a little bit. ‘Utterly Ridiculous’ is the best description I can use to sum up a story based solely on 100 minutes of non-stop slaughtering all because someone killed the title character’s puppy at the beginning of the film. I’ve seen some quality revenge films in my time but this is definitely not one of them.

CaptureIt’s a pity because the fight choreography in this movie (correction – the fight choreography IS the movie) is next level eye-candy stuff: a complete knockout in every sense of the word. Yet without well-drawn characters to cheer or boo for and something resembling an engaging, possibly twisting plot, it’s simply all desert and no main meal. That becomes unsatisfying well before the end credits roll.

I get that stripped-back movies like JOHN WICK  (MAD MAX 4: FURY ROAD is another example) which deliver spectacularly on the promise ‘never a dull moment’ represent pushbacks to the traditional Hollywood rulebook insisting that movies, no matter what their genre, be padded out with needless subplots, predictable romances and unnecessary character super tropes (eg the troubled teenage daughter, the beautiful girlfriend who delivers the moral speech which gets the main character back on track etc).

But in the case of JOHN WICK and it’s cartoonish, hard-to-like-or-take-seriously-for-a- single-moment main character, the experiment just doesn’t come off – at least for me. If I want to see a stripped-back actioner spotlighting a no-nonsense person on a single-minded, succeed-at-all-costs quest, I’ll call on Denzel  – THE EQUALISER 1 (2014) and 2 (2018) – or alternatively go retro with a dose of snarling Kurt (Russell) – ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981).

Not being one to hold a grudge (very unlike John Wick himself) here’s the trailer (anyway) for JOHN WICK 3

All this pent-up negativity brought on by a movie now five years old – a movie that deserved to be forgotten the moment it ended but somehow managed to linger in my subconscious simply because it was SO DAMN AWFUL – got me thinking about  some of the other film turkeys I and others have endured over the years.

Movies can be relegated to the fifty cent bin for a variety of reasons – (A) they’re turtle slow (B) they’re silly but not in an entertaining way (C) they’re populated by unlikable or worse still bland characters it’s impossible to care about or relate to (D) the landscape is literally riddled with plot-holes you could likely drive a wide-load prime-mover through that you might possibly have been prepared to overlook had it not been for the presence of any combination of the aforementioned A, B or C.

There are plenty of movies that disappoint because for a variety of reasons they fail to meet our expectations. That is not what is being talked about here. These movies are true stinkers from start to finish. Here is my dirty dozen list of WORST WATCHED MOVIES

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The only small consolation with that list is that half of them I saw via free passes. Not hard in retrospect to work out why they were free-pass movies. Before leaving this subject for good I thought I’d patch in what might be called a ‘bonus’ list. A bit of quick research on my part revealed these films are amongst a sizeable list of ‘D’ grade celluloid that regularly makes it onto critic’s and filmgoer’s ALL TIME WORST MOVIES lists.

Of those mentioned here I’ve only seen two – THE SWARM (1978) and THE IMPOSSIBLE (2012). While I can confirm THE IMPOSSIBLE was truly wretched, by comparison THE SWARM was watchable and even entertaining in parts. Then again, that movie, about a killer bee invasion of Texas based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Herzog  (1927 -2010) was produced and directed by movie mastermind Irwin Allen, the genius behind LOST IN SPACE, so admittedly I might be a little biased there.

Here’s the list –

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P.s And then there’s this…  Go ClICKETY CLICK HERE

Pss. News is that JOHN WICK 4 has already been given a scheduled release date of mid 2021.

Psss. In the interests of journalistic balance click HERE for a really, really positive review of JOHN WICK 3.

 

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Silent Rage

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I can feel it.

Bit by bit, year by year, I’m slowly turning into that funny little man with the red earmuffs from the tv series GET SMART – Albert J. Pfister (the ‘P’ is silent).

Pfister was the fanatical anti-noise campaigner who determined the only way to eliminate the noise of the world was to eliminate the world itself.

THE Pfister

Pfister developed the silent explosive NITROWHISPERIN. His other inventions included a very quiet shotgun, a silent phonograph record, sound-absorbing wood and a cuckoo clock which Max described as having laryngitis.

Yep, this little gnome-like man was determined to silence a noisy world.

And so it appears am I.

Regular readers will remember my skirmish back last year with the organisers of ParkRun  (HERE) That difference of opinion centred on the disputed right of some runners to inflict their over-amplified music on others by deliberately choosing not to wear earphones. The jury’s still out on who came out on top in that one.

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Albert J. Phister and I have a lot in common (not counting his preference for bow ties).

Now the war drums are sounding again.

This time there’s a canine involved. A barking canine. A late-at-night barking canine. A will-not-stop-for-anyone-late at night barking canine.

Weird thing is it’s not the neighbour’s dog.

And when I say ‘neighbour’ I mean left, right, opposite or behind.

It’s not even from anywhere in our street.

Nor anywhere from the next street along.

Believe it or not the source of all the noise is a dog that’s chained up in it’s back yard on a three metre leash in a street 500 metres away! Living pretty much opposite a large public park that at night-time collects and amplifies noise like the Grand Canyon has its disadvantages and I believe I may have just found one of them. Or, better said, this un-neighbourly ‘wide-open-space’ megaphone echo-effect has found me. Tracked me if you like.

About 10:30pm the other night I was on high alert while manning the single-person operation I have dubbed Neighbourhood Noise Watch. I’d been unable to sleep due to fear of losing count of the number of barks coming from somewhere outside in the darkness (I stopped counting at 158 and the continuous ‘bow-wow’ had already been in full swing for at least 20 minutes prior to that).Capture 55Closing our front door gently behind me, I headed off on my search in a pair of thongs, bathed in moonlight while a gentle night breeze caressed my face. I felt like a cross between some kind of late-night vigilante and the local neighbourhood Sherlock Holmes. I was determined to find the source of the disturbance, and when I did, I was amazed just how far from my own house I’d had to travel to find it.

There was only one other person to be seen at this ungodly midweek hour in the street I’d come to be standing in the middle of.  It was a person going up the front stairs of their house only two or three up from the slightly overgrown property hosting the raving canine lunatic still going like the clappers.CaptureAs I  strained in the near darkness looking for someone else who might actually be bothered that something every bit as loud as a fire-engine’s emergency siren was letting loose full blast under their very nose (incredibly every resident of this apparent ghost street had either gotten so used to the barking by now they were past caring or they simply preferred to adopt the ‘someone else will deal with it’ approach) I at last spotted the lone figure scurrying up their front stairs under a protective cloak of darkness.

I called out to the person in a bid to perhaps find out if they knew anything about the chained-up dog and it’s owners (who were obviously not at home) but suddenly they were in their house with the door closed behind them faster than you could say “There’s a weirdo on the street late at night who wants to talk to me”.  Before scurrying inside though I know they heard my “Excuse me” but chose to ignore it.

With my recon over and the address of the house hosting the distressed lonely angry bummed out border collie now inscribed on a scrap of paper, I began the fresh-air walk back to CONTROL headquarters, keeping my eyes peeled all the while for any strays of the human kind that may have been wanting to launch a surprise sneak attack on a do-gooding neighbourhood noise vigilant such as my good self.

The next day while still in the throes of deciding my next move with the freshly gathered noise intel, I stumbled upon an app called BARKUP!.

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In summary here’s how it works –

BARKUP! allows neighbours to anonymously notify the owner of barking incidents through an automatically generated letter. If the owner chooses to register on BARKUP! any future reports made will be logged directly on the owner’s account.

A letter is posted to the owner’s address with instructions for registering on the BARKUP! website. On their account owners can see further details about the time, duration and type of barking for all recorded incidents.

The dog owner has a summary of all reported barking incidents on BARKUP! They now have the opportunity to reply to the reporting neighbour by choosing from pre-set responses. This communication is anonymous. When they are registered on BARKUP! all further reports will go directly to their account and they will be notified by email. No further letters will be sent to their address.

The website notes unresolved barking issues need to be referred to local council.

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The only problem I discovered about BARKUP! is that presently it’s only available to residents of the city of Ipswich (the next closest city to where I am in Brisbane). That means my next Bobby Fischer style move on this particular chessboard is still in the planning stage. And that means this post has little choice but to end on this note…

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Ps. Think I’m a serial complainer do you?

You’ve imagined nothing until you’ve read this article about a man who filed over 6000 noise complaints against Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C. in a single year (2015). That sanity-robbing figure works out to be an average of 17 complaints a day for 365 consecutive days. Read the story HERE

Pss. The noise-hating character of Albert J. Pfister featured in the 1968 GET SMART episode SPY, SPY, BIRDIE. Pfister comes knocking on Max’s apartment door asking him to sign a petition asking for the world to rid itself of excessive noise. Max refuses, declaring  quiet to be ‘Un -American’.

The episode runs for 24 minutes but Pfister makes his appearance from the beginning so the first couple of minutes should be enough to give you the idea.