John Dies at the End (2013)

johndiesattheendStarring Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman, Doug Jones, Daniel Roebuck, Fabianne Therese, Jonny Weston, Jimmy Wong

Directed by Don Coscarelli

Expectations: High. It’s been too long since Coscarelli had a movie.

On the general scale:
twostar

On the B-movie scale:
threestar


I’m very conflicted in my feelings about John Dies at the End. On one hand, I didn’t really like it at all. I lost track of what was going on about an hour into it, and I was never able to remedy that. It’s also a dark comedy, but I largely found it unfunny. But on the other hand, it’s a cornucopia of insane, wild ideas, impressively brought to life by Don Coscarelli, a truly original filmmaker if there ever was one. This makes John Dies at the End at hard film to talk about or rate, as my feelings are very much all over the place.

… Just like the movie. I could attempt to recount the basis of the plot if I understood it enough to, but I’m really at a loss here. There’s so much playing with reality and time, with one character talking on the phone to another in an alternate dimension, while a different version of the guy calling is sitting right in front of the character receiving the call. In any case (and this isn’t really where the film begins), David Wong is at his friend John’s band’s show, and he meets a Jamaican guy who expands his mind. The film also expands from there, and for those able to keep up and find humor in its wild shifts, you’ve likely found a new favorite movie. I can see a cult springing up around this one in the coming years. It didn’t exactly work for me overall, but I was still able to extract a fair amount of entertainment and interest out of the wild shit that played out before me. There are a couple of moments involving a dog, for instance, that are pure, unhinged gold.

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Super 8 (2011)

Super 8 (2011)

Starring Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Noah Emmerich, Elle Fanning, Bruce Greenwood, Riley Griffiths, Michael Hitchcock, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Basso, Colin Mathews, Amanda Michalka, Zach Mills, Remy Thorne, Glynn Turman, Dan Castellaneta

Directed by J.J. Abrams

Expectations: Fairly high. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the first 3/4 of this one, and I LOVE old Spielberg.


Ready for a rant? I hope so, because I sure am! If I needed another reason to continue avoiding summer blockbusters, I’ve just seen it. Where do I begin? Super 8 is a ridiculously over-the-top, unfocused, hole-filled mess that managed to rub me the wrong way at virtually every turn. This is exactly why I try not to review recent big-budget movies, because they’d all be pissed-off rants and that’s no fun for anyone. If you’re interesting in seeing J.J. Abrams mash a trainload of various elements from the early Spielberg sci-fi films into one movie, then look no further than Super 8.

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