Sunday, August 25, 2019

Against the Crowd Blogathon 2019: My Entry

We've reached the last day of Against the Crowd Blogathon 2019. Thank you to all of the entries I've received so far and any that I will get today. And so, it's my turn. I feel like I should warn you before I start. I'm way against the crowd.

You guys love this first movie, but I...

I am a pretty big fan of Steven Soderbergh. I've seen a bit less than 20 of his movies, and I love most of them. His Contagion is, in my opinion, one of the best horror movies of the 21st century. Yes, I consider it horror. Haywire is one of the most underrated action flicks of the decade.

I also love basketball. I've had long conversations on the sport in real life, with real people, lots of times throughout the course of my life. I've occasionally ranked all-time NBA players by position. And I'm a long-suffering New York Knicks fan. I've gotten my disappointment from them in many different ways over the years. There was the heartbreak of being an O.J.'s Bronco chase away from the championship in 1994. I dealt with Michael Jordan ripping my heart out in the playoffs, year after year just before that. More recently, there was the steady decline of the Carmelo Anthony years. And now there's totally incompetent ownership in place.



A basketball movie.

When this one hit Netflix, almost instantly, everyone started saying how great and profound it is. It also received tons of praise because it was shot on an iPhone.

A basketball movie. A basketball movie directed by Steven Soderbergh. I couldn't click play fast enough.

My happiness dissipated pretty quickly after that.

This is one of those movies where the premise is interesting, but delivered in the driest way possible. It's a dialogue driven film, but instead of the conversations intriguing and drawing us in, they just drone on and on and on...and on...and get the idea. It follows high level sports agent Ray (Andre Holland) who has hit a rough patch in his career. Things aren't helped by an NBA work stoppage in the form of a lockout by the owners. Ray's top (only?) client is a top draft pick, but can't make any money until play actually starts. Ray strategizes and eventually comes up with a world altering solution. Sounds well and good, except for the fact that it's boooorrrrrriiiiinnnnnggggg. The almost total lack of a score doesn't do the film any favors, either.

While all that's bad, the movie could be saved if about 20 minutes or so were lopped off. These 20 minutes consists of documentary style interviews with actual NBA players. They mostly speak about making the transition from being a college ball player to a professional one. In other words, they have nothing to do with the movie.



The one good thing about this movie? The iPhone. It's damn pretty to look at. Not so fun to watch.

Let's flip this coin, Let's get to the side that you guys hate, but...


You people are weird.

Let me explain who I'm talking about when I say 'you people.'

The trailer for The Happytime Murders hits the internet and explodes. I especially mean the Red Band trailer. It features Melissa McCarthy and a bunch of foul-mouthed muppets. Everyone involved is behaving crassly and dropping four-letter words like there's no tomorrow, McCarthy included. Social media was ablaze with people who watched the trailer, laughed their asses off, and began praising Hollywood for making such an irreverent movie, and one that seems to go against everything we've come to expect. And it's even directed by Brian Henson, the son of the legendary Muppets creator Jim Henson. Who better to send it up!

Then the movie came out.

The movie features Melissa McCarthy and a bunch of foul-mouthed muppets. Everyone involved is behaving crassly and dropping four-letter words like there's no tomorrow, McCarthy included. The internet was set on fire again. However, this time, it was filled with a bunch of people condemning the movie for I mean, what were you expecting? You saw the trailer. You knew what you were going to get. You watched it, then hated that it gave you what you knew you were going to get. What do you even want, anyway?


I went in hoping to see Muppets cussin', and doing all sorts of outlandish things. I got that. I figured the story would be a paper thin thread that really set us up for one ridiculous scene after another. Yeah, that's what it was. I even expected to be, and even hoped it would be, relentlessly stupid. It's definitely that. It gave me exactly what I thought it would!

And 'you people' bashed it for that. I came across so many reviews complaining that it should have given us more than muppets behaving badly. Why? To satisfy your cinematic snobbery? Get over yourself. If you can't, that's fine. However, next time you see a trailer for a movie featuring a muppet shooting silly-string semen all over a room and the end of a sexual encounter, don't watch it. If you do watch it, don't crush it for not being an enlightening piece of art. You know what, never mind, just don't watch it. Save it for those of us who can tap into our inner juvenile. We're occasionally childish, and we don't care.

Thanks for hanging out and going against the crowd with us.


  1. I still haven't seen High Flying Bird as it's one of the few recent films by Soderbergh that I have yet to see though lately I haven't been watching a lot of new films lately. That little clip of the Muppets having sex does make intrigued about The Happytime Murders.

  2. I enjoyed reading your take on both of these neither of which I've seen and from the sounds of them I won't be.

    While I respect basketball as a tough competitive sport I can't say I'm a fan and the only movies about it that I recall liking were the Harlem Globetrotters movie, Hoosiers and Hoop Dreams. This doesn't sound like it is anywhere near them so I'm content to not find time for it.

    The other one just simply doesn't sound like it's for me.

  3. I haven't seen either of your picks. Honestly, I'm not sure I've even heard of High Flying Bird, how did I miss this?

  4. As soon as you said the film was shot on an IPad, that was it for me..or is that IPhone...Either way, I would hate it. I am not a big Steven Soderbergh fan either nor a basketball fan so...that`s no. As for stupid, muppets, politically Incorrect and Melissa McCarthy..I am all for that. Heck the small snippet you show here made me laugh, so i will watch your second pick for sure

  5. I haven't seen both movies but I'm thinking of giving The Happytime Murders a shot.

  6. This is funny. I actually liked High Flying Bird more than I ever expected and found The Happytime Murders to be too....ahem...relentlessly trashy for my taste. But that's why this is such a cool Blogathon idea!

  7. Ahh bummer, sorry HFB didn't hit for you. The technical aspects of that movie were the big winning factors for me, but you're right, it's a... lot... of... talking. I'll have to rewatch it soon and see if it holds up for me.

  8. I was kind of into happytime murders too. And now I kind of want to inflict the other movie on Sean. I'm actually surprised he hasn't watched it...or has he?

  9. I was surprised the trailer for The Happytime Murders was allowed to be shown as a preview in the early evening at my local cinema with kids in the audience. I had no idea Brian Henson, the son of the Muppets creator Jim Henson, directed it.I prefer muppets that aren't horny.