Well, we recently went the through the films I am excited about in 2021, let’s take a look in at some films that I am less interested in, in 2021. As I noted in the column the other day, there is a lot to look forward to in 2021, but there is also just… a lot. With the good comes the bad, and, while I don’t wish to become a hater, in some ways, movies are a zero sum game. When money goes to a movie budget, that money is gone. When someone makes an eighth Bourne movie, that money is not available for a second, much more entertaining, Edge of Tomorrow. So, while I don’t really want to bury films like Matrix 4, I find it frustrating that we have to endure another one of those, when the last two were horrific. That money could go toward making an awesome original concept or make a good movie on the docket that much better. And this is coming from a fake internet personality whose alter ego (who I love) is STARRING in Matrix 4.
I know this list will probably hurt someone’s feelings, but just know this, these are movies “I” don’t want to see. This isn’t a situation like when a thousand males gave a bunch of female-centric movies low reviews on IMDB because they were “terrible” which was just code for “Not targeted at me at all times”. I understand that there are plenty of people who will like these movies, and I understand that several of these movies are probably not geared toward me. That doesn’t stop me from wishing I could take their budgets and redistribute them to other people and other places. Also, these don’t really follow any one formula or idea. These are just movies that are meh to me.
As the namesake of the movie’s star, I should probably be more supportive. There are a lot of problems with this, though. The original movie has already had two terrible, way over-CGI’ed, sequels that took a concept already bordering on the absurd about 5 levels past sanity. What made the first Matrix so extraordinary were the wild special effects, set in a fairly ordinary world. The Wachowski’s thought this meant that people wanted less actual acting, actors and practical effects and basically turned the last two movies into discombobulated CGI video games with more exposition than Sherlock Holmes describing how great he is. It is really no different than Chris Carter thinking the thing everyone loved about the X-Files was an overly intense obsession with “truth” and “aliens” and not the chemistry between the leads and the tongue-in-cheek drama. I don’t think the Wachowskis have learned anything, mostly because, in all the time since, they haven’t managed to produce a single movie (unless you want to count V for Vendetta, and I don’t) that has moved the zeitgeist in any way. It has been too long since the original, the original has since been surpassed repeatedly by better movies and the whole concept is tired.
Sherlock Holmes 3
This continuation of a long dormant series sees our hero played by the debonair Brit Robert Downey Jr. (wait what?). After a short break to film 18 Marvel movies: Downey. Is. Back. The first two Holmes movies were sort of spicing up of the legend of Sherlock Holmes by adding in some (a lot of) mediocre action set pieces. Sort of like if you put a Die Hard after 3 inside a Murder She Wrote episode. Robert Downey Jr. makes no effort to be British whatsoever, and Jude Law makes no effort not to be British, so most of the films are just sort of an ethnic stalemate. Thankfully, during Downey’s ironic sabbatical, no one has put together a magnificent and untouchably brilliant portrayal to remind you what it SHOULD look like. While the plot has not been released that I can find, I am certain it will adhere to all the basic tenets of Americanizing some other country’s work. Also, this is the 255th version of Sherlock Holmes, so I am sure this will be the culmination of several lifetimes of building to perfection. Oh, shit, that wasn’t the right trailer. Dammit.
Mission Impossible 7 The real trailer for this one is not available yet, but this will do. While this movie franchise has finally reached the Jewish number of perfection, I highly doubt this entry will be regarded as perfection. I actually like the Mission Impossible franchise overall. I have seen all of the entries at this point, but really, none of them (other than the first) stick out besides the occasional wild Tom Cruise stunt. Quick, tell me the villain’s name and what the macguffin was in number 4. Or 5. At this point, the franchise is slipping further and further into irrelevance, as it slowly checks all the Austin Powers’ boxes. This franchise has already died once (after 3), only to be revived, and now it is fading back to irrelevance (just like it’s brother Fast and the Furious). What makes this stand out more than Fast and the Furious to me, is that it is so similar to a bunch of other genre flicks (Bond, Bourne, Kingsmen, John Wick etc.). FATF has the distinction of tapping into car culture, a broad ethnic base and employing The Rock and Jason Statham, two much more enjoyable stars (Vin Diesel is fairly unlikable, and not as interesting as either of the other 2). I just don’t think this one is going to point me toward anything new or interesting. This franchise needs another reboot.
Space Jam 2
I actually don’t have a problem with Lebron James, or the idea of making this, I just don’t think we view athletes the same way we did when Michael Jordan made the first Space Jam. At that point, media was very limited in what it reported about athletes. Players like Jordan were mostly deified, with the occasional piece of bad press here or there that everyone ignored. We never saw the fake home life projected in the first Space Jam and thought, oh, that’s bogus. We were trained to view athletes as superheroes back then. Well, they weren’t then, and they aren’t now. Except now, there is 24/7 wall-to-wall coverage of them, exposing every wart, fetishizing tearing them down for their sexual, political, spiritual, mental, physical and psychological shortcomings. We moved from treating them like Gods to treating them like gods. We are less interested now in the building up than the tearing down. I just don’t see how Space Jam works now. I hate sports movies to begin with (another personal preference), but this is especially true in the current climate. We don’t really have universal sports superstars anymore and certainly not one that we hold above the others. The closest we have come in the modern era was Lionel Messi, but when he failed to deliver the World Cup, the haters started to sprout up everywhere. Even players as universally benign as Russell Wilson, Steph Curry or Serena Williams have groups of detractors. To me, athlete “worship” films like this are a symbol of a bygone era. I don’t think it works today.
We don’t need any more of these for a while, but here we are. Yet another version of Cinderella is here to poison the minds of little girls into thinking that they need to find a prince to save them from the problems in their family. This is one of the least empowering stories (coming in a half step ahead of Beauty and the Beast) in the entire canon of “princess tales”, yet is the one that seems to be repeated the most. It’s the Christmas Carol of the non-Christmas movie season. There are 40!!!! versions (and about 20 by Disney) of this that have been made. That is 39 too many. This version is going to be a musical. I can’t stand musicals (personal preference moment), but this one is especially unappealing as it is being co-written by long standing turd in the punch bowl James Corden. We don’t need this. I won’t watch it, and any self-respecting woman can probably find something better and more empowering to watch than this.
Tom and Jerry
I am surprised to see this IP raised from the dead for a new installment. This show suffers from the same problem that plagued James Bond after Austin Powers. It was satirized into oblivion. When James Bond returned, it had to return as a much darker and more serious version of itself to render the Austin Powers jokes less demeaning to its brand. Tom and Jerry was satirized by the Itchy and Scratchy segments on The Simpsons. The Simpsons poked fun at the ultra violent nature of the cartoon by ramping that violence up even farther, to the point of madness. Therein lies the problem for a reboot. Instead of going sillier, like Austin Powers did, Itchy and Scratchy already went darker. The only option for Tom and Jerry is to tone the violence… down. That leaves… well, nothing. Tom and Jerry was an awful cartoon that celebrated vindictive violence and sadism. While there are a few parts of the country that will probably enjoy that in the current climate of America, I certainly won’t, and I won’t let my kids either. If you weren’t 100 percent out, let me point out, it’s an animation/live action hybrid. Yikes. It’s a hard pass here.
This is Marvel Puzzle Piece 26 and, unlike the other Marvel Puzzle Pieces this year (Shang Chi, another Spiderman, and Black Widow), this one feels very much like you will be watching the movie equivalent of the scroll from Star Wars. I feel like, just based on reading the synopsis, this film simply exists to exposit a bunch of Marvel flotsam and jetsam so they can tie it into their larger plan. The characters involved are relative unknowns to the common fan, it is going to be very CGI heavy, the villains appear to be another uninteresting horde, Angelina Jolie is not really a draw anymore, and the plot just sort of feels like non-sense. I am sure they will drop in those precious “Easter Eggs” Marvel fans love so much (and Marvel Puzzle Piece 27 will make 28 percent more sense if you watch it), but the best Marvel films are always about a cult of personality. The action sequences are generic, the CGI is dehumanizing, and the villains are almost all uninteresting (credit here to Loki and Killmonger… and no one else). Marvel movies work because of the massive fun we get palling around with Robert Downey Jr., Ryan Reynolds, Chris Pratt, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Mark Ruffalo, Paul Rudd, and Benedict Cumberbatch. It’s not a coincidence that I didn’t list the other major Marvel leads, Brie Larson and Scarlett Johansson. That’s because they made them as un-fun as possible. I highly suspect this will be the case with Jolie too, who I just don’t see being presented to us as “fun”. This is a flaw at Marvel, and I am stumped as to why female leads can’t be fun. Marvel has this obsession with placing women as the “kill-joys”, the “responsible one”, the “wet blanket” and the “vengeance-fueled one”. As long as this is the case, their movies with female leads won’t be as good. Put me down now as the person advocating for Anna Faris, Jenny Slate or Sarah Silverman to be the next lead. Or… best of all, give us a Shuri movie. She was great. Put this movie’s budget on top of the budget you had in mind for that. And put the budget for the next Ant Man into it too. As for this one, save 20 bucks and just read words like Celestials, Deviants, humanoids, Kronos, Dragon of the Moon, Jack Kirby and Valkin in Wikipedia. I just did.
Right out of the gate, I am going to say, I just don’t like torture porn horror movies (personal preference). I am even willing to say… most people don’t. Enough people do, however, to keep this genre going, and we get another entry into the Saw series this year. I want to give credit right now to where it is due. Having Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson be in this, at least gives it a fresh approach. More than any other movie on this list, I just don’t understand… why? What is the surprise at this point? The first one (which I saw) at least had a somewhat interesting twist at the end. Even that was just a bad cover of Seven. We all lost interest in M. Night Shyamalan when we realized he was just going to keep doing twist movies with bad CGI, bad dialogue, and boring concepts. I have lost all interest in this franchise that keeps going down the same paths. Psychopath killer loves to see people torture themselves and others. He’s not who you think though, it’s a surprise! And he has helpers! And they are a surprise! Wait till you see this crazy way we thought of for people to kill themselves! Sorry, I’m all set for life at this point. I’m sure there is some 20 year old out there who is going to be stoked to see this and all of this will be new to him or her. Congrats young man or woman. You too can be sick of this in 10 years after another 8 of them.
Speak of the devil! M. Night Shyamalan returns in a movie about a beach that turns people old really fast (and it isn’t Siesta Key!). Sorry Manoj. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me eight or more times, shame on me. I already saw you do this schtick with The Happening. Spoiler alert, it was the wind. Or the trees. Or something. I don’t know. The script made no sense and the acting was awful. Just like with most of your movies. You aren’t going to pull me back in, just because you make some mediocre sequels of Unbreakable. We have all seen the shameless self-promoting, the tiresome exposition, the over-rated actors taking the bait, and the twist. Did you know there will be a twist? The beach is the one getting old, not them! The ocean currents are spreading dark matter to stop global warming! The beach is actually on Mars and it’s 2088! Seashells are evil! NOT THIS TIME.
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (no trailer yet)
I find Nicholas Cage’s career very funny. I don’t think that he means for this to happen. After all, he was once a respected actor. He has an Oscar. If there is one thing Sesame Street taught me, though, it’s that some Oscars stink. If you haven’t noticed, he has descended in a near perfectly straight arrow from prestigious actor, to action movie only star, to bad action movie only, to VOD only, to Japanese commercial pitchman, to tabloid curiosity, to being in a “Christian” movie. Well, now we are at the very bottom. Cage is starring in a movie as himself, doing things his movie self would do 4 iterations ago. I love when actors are self-aware, but this doesn’t feel like that at all. This feels like he isn’t in on the joke. I don’t have any idea why he would be. He has been living on another planet for decades, and while I sort of love and admire him for that, we are starting to reach to the point where I feel like his handlers are taking advantage of him. I want to like this idea SO MUCH. But I can’t do it. I have reached the point where it just feels like I am piling on a dementia fueled old man, and it feels wrong. I think I am going to sit this out. Although… I reserve the right to change my mind…