Fist Fight (*) is a forced confrontation

fist fight

Fist Fight – 2017

Director  Richie Keen
Screenplay Van Robichaux,Evan Susser
Starring Charlie Day, Ice Cube, Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Christina Hendricks, Kumail Nanjiani, Dean Norris

As far as I can tell, this movie exists to show everyone that Ice Cube still has an intimidating frown for people like Charlie Day. Nothing that happens at Roosevelt High School is remotely recognizable to someone who has been in an American high school. This does not matter though, because it’s only happening to finish the job of making Charlie Day’s English teacher seem balanced, relatable and normal.

The excuse that they use for an unrelenting amount of chaos and destruction is that it’s Senior Pranks day. This means porn in the hallway, horses on meth and penises drawn on the chalk board. Charlie is a nice guy, so he puts up with it. Ice Cube is, well…

“I don’t need to be liked. I need to educate.”

Educating means scowling, grimacing, grabbing cell phones and throwing them against the wall. And that is before he attacks the student’s desk with a fireman’s axe. The principal is busy firing whole departments, though, and there is no time for the teacher’s code. The resulting situation pits Cube against Day in the parking lot. After school. With fists.

So at this point, Day’s Cunningham is (finally) distracted. Everyone in the school knows that Cube’s Strickland is going to kick his butt. Then we hear the stories and see flashbacks of Cube beating people in various scenarios.

If I left out any details, it’s mainly because none of them matter. So many decent (and not so decent) actors doing nothing of consequence, it is mind numbing. Bell is there to say even more inappropriate things than she normally does. Tracy Morgan is there to make Day feel even more desperate about his circumstances while he is oblivious to kids making lewd patterns on the lawn. Hendricks is there to be a crazy violent prude. Talk about casting against type. Norris is at once cruel and helpless.

The kids are all living in a plane of existence far above the clueless teachers. They are free to do just about anything to anyone besides Cube. Everything comes up roses for them. Cunningham is desperate to keep his job because he has a wife who is expecting.

On the plus side, there is a nice advertisement for MacBook Pro in the middle of the film. We are made aware that only dumb families don’t have them.

Dumb comedies exist only to set up the next punchline. Every single aspect of the film is a weak excuse to have us see Charlie Day sweat and scream obscenities on the roof. Once in a while we see him repeat himself in class with increasing degrees of frustration. Then we get to see weak joke set ups get muted payoffs further down the line.

If you are Ice Cube, what makes you want to be in a film like this?  It’s a soft touch film with too much swearing to attract the families. He’s asked to make a one liner out of one of his signature works to no effect, and then he’s supposed to make a Charlie Day ass whoopin’ seem believable. Tough sell for a film that is marketed to the 17-22 age range.

This is a lot of words to say a movie is bad.

(* out of *****)

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The Rules of The Counselor

the-counselor-movie-poster

The Counselor – 2013

Director Ridley Scott
Starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Dean Norris, John Leguizamo
Written by Cormac McCarthy

Rule 13: A spec script, or non-commissioned screenplay, is not solicited by anybody.  It must be sold.

Rule 25: A good opening scene, with remarkable visuals and as a bonus incredible sound, gives the viewer hope that they have not taken the first step down the wrong path.

Rule 32: No one in a movie who asks “Are you up?” ever lets the person sleep.

Rule 33: A demonstrative love scene in the first few minutes is pretty much a guarantee the couple is doomed.

Rule 34: White sheets indicate a love that hasn’t been tainted.

Rule 232: Guy watching a girl on a horse prancing with a cheetah is undoubtedly a sign that the grimy stuff being packed at the factory is not girl scout cookies.

Rule 237: Go ahead.  Have the cheetah chase down a rabbit.  It’s never been done before.

Rule 238: With that hair, its doubtful that you remind her of someone else.

Rule 242: Cute chick with the monotone voice saying she doesn’t miss things is a sure sign that she’s not a soccer mom.

Rule 245: It is possible to define women wearing huge diamonds as courageous.

Rule 327: Of course the diamond dealer wants you to understand the flaw in the diamond makes it perfect.

Rule 328: The more one talks about jewelry, the more one realizes they are being sold.  Kind of like a spec script.

Rule 354: Happy sinister couples often make happiness by the misery of others.

Rule 429: “The truth about women is that you can do anything to them except bore them.”  May just mean that you don’t understand the idea of nurture.

Rule 443: When casual conversation becomes more complicated than the end of Matrix Reloaded, then you are losing everyone.

Rule 445: If it’s “a one time deal,” then there is no movie.

Rule 446: It’s usually not a good film if you use the phrase “One time deal.”

Rule 448: When the conversation turns to how your head will be removed from your body, it’s a good idea to move away from the deal.

Rule 450: The guy peeing for no reason in the desert is usually going to be fodder.

Rule 492: It’s not wise to propose to her if she doesn’t notice the cheetah at the restaurant next to the Piano player.

Rule 659: You are a glory qualifies as a wonderful compliment.

Rule 670: Never trust a woman who can tell you how much your engagement ring is worth.

Rule 671: Conversations about confessing your dirty nasty sins to a priest is not a great sign either.

Rule 698: “You don’t know someone until you know what they want.”  Is redundant.

Rule 699: Long hair brings out the monotone voice in Brad Pitt.

Rule 845: If you want a good convict, choose someone who hasn’t been seen for years.  Like Rosie Perez.

Rule 866: It is possible to take Michael Fassbender’s personality away and replace it with the name “The Counselor.”

Rule 877: It’s kind of an axiom that opening a dance club is synonymous with being involved in the trade of another kind.

Rule 890: If one can be implicated in a bad plot, they will be.

Rule 934: Don’t ever go overboard when trying to intimidate a minor player in the plot, unless you want to use that minor player as your lawyer.

Rule 936:: When making a movie about the drug trade featuring a humorless lawyer, it’s a good idea to not have the guy who played Hank in the series that featured Better Call Saul.

Rule 947: If they show a guy who’s heading out-of-town more than 2 times, the guy will not make it to his destination.

Rule 982: They won’t show the signs of all the disappeared until someone’s disappeared.

Rule 1059: Most will finish watching a film just to see the horribly clever death scene.

(*** out of *****)