Tuesday, August 11, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

For the most part Hollywood has done nothing but bastardize almost everything I loved as a child.  Let’s run down the list.  Star Wars?  Check.  Transformers?  Check.  Friday the 13th?  Check.  Daredevil?  Check.  Texas Chainsaw Massacre?  Check.  Red Dawn?  The remake is set to be released next year.  Indiana Jones?  Indy may have been flushed farther down the crapper than any of them.  All that is really left for them to fuck up at this point are “Magnum P.I.” and Lego’s.

Because of this track record, I was taken aback when I first heard they were making a G.I. Joe movie.  However, I do have to admit that the resulting film, G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra, isn’t as bad as I anticipated.  The movie is not good.  I don’t want to be misunderstood on that point.  G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra is not good.  It is simply not as bad as it could have been.  I didn’t hate this as much as I felt like I should.  I’m conflicted on that matter.  I am sure it will take years of intense therapy for me to fully come to terms with these feelings.

The vast majority of the acting is atrocious.  That’s what you get when you fill a movie with the lesser Quaid (just for the record Randy is the superior Quaid), Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller (who, to be honest, I only know from my subscription to US Weekly, not actually from any acting work), and a Wayans.  Sure Jonathan Price is there, but he’s only onscreen for a minute or two, and doesn’t play much of a role except as a set up for the inevitable sequel.

The story is stupid.  The plot bounces all over the place, and from one minute to the next the script can’t decide whose story it actually is.  It is like they are trying to make this an ensemble piece with main character, and failing miserably.  There are flashbacks all over the place, and the fucking movie even starts in France in 1641.

But you know what?  You didn’t pay your ten bucks at the multi-plex to see masterful acting.  You didn’t say, “Hey, let’s go see G.I. Joe” to get a coherent, tightly written plot.  You want to see shit blow up.  I know this.  You know this.  And the filmmakers are well aware of this. 

Stephen Sommers, who directed the Mummy movies, which I also didn’t hate as deeply as I felt I should, doesn’t waste a lot of time.  The entire movie is action action action action action.  This movie is about shit happening.  They can’t be bothered with things like making the audience care about characters.  No.  There is a chase scene to choreograph. 

G.I. Joe succeeds here where movies like Transformers totally fail.  There is action.  They’re lucky if they get to fit in a character’s name.  I don’t care what the big dude with the machine gun is named.  Do you?  Of course I could get into the nitpicky, they-left-this-character-out, they-shouldn’t-have-done-this-with-that-character stuff, but I’ll leave the fanboy minutia to someone else.

As opposed to so many recent action movies, G.I. Joe has a lot of action, and it isn’t bad.  What I appreciate about the chase scenes is that they feel real.  How often do we see a silver Mercedes chase a black BMW through crowded metropolitan streets, and neither one even gets a scratch?  Here when they barrel through a crowded intersection in the middle of rush hour, you know what happens?   They get hit by a car.  When they weave in and out of traffic, sometimes they don’t quite make it and get nicked by the fender of a Chevy.  There is an actual sense that the characters are in danger, or that something bad might actually happen to one of the central characters.  No one in this movie feels like too big a star to die.

I actually really liked the Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow fight sequences.  There is a very simple reason why, because they got people who can really fight.  Ray Park (X-Men) and Byung-hun Lee (A Bittersweet Life, and one of the most physically beautiful men alive) actually know how to fight.  So instead of getting quick cuts of Jason Statham throwing a punch and an extra reacting to said punch, we get something that closely resembles two guys actually fighting and actually trying to kill each other.   I love that.  There is woeful lack of that edge in most modern action cinema.

One more thing that I have to mention is that the climactic scene, where the Joes attack the COBRA base, is really just one long homage to Return of the Jedi when the Rebel Alliance attacks the Death Star.  Seriously, think about it when you watch this scene.  I’m not going to go into the specifics, and at first I thought it might just be me, but no, it is one thing after another, and I’m pretty sure that’s what they were going for.

I know I sound like I really liked G.I. Joe, but I didn’t.  It is not a good movie.  Trust me, there is a bunch of dumb ass shit I can, and probably will, rant about for years to come.  At best it is a decent summer popcorn movie.  But here is my main point.  G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra is not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I admit that I was pleasantly surprised.  If you have the choice between this, and the new Transformers movie, go Joe.  You’ll enjoy the experience more, I promise.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Hangover

By this point you have probably heard all of your little buddies talking about how great The Hangover is.  Shit, fully half of their stunted conversation is most likely quotes from the movie.  You smile and nod and act like you know exactly what they’re talking about, but you don’t, and inside, that makes you feel woefully inadequate.  You rationalize not seeing the movie by telling yourself that you’ve already heard all the funny parts anyway, and that Chad, Brad, and Clancy, have hyped it up so much that you won’t find it nearly as funny as if you had gone in cold.  (I know this latter emotion well.  I was afflicted by it the first time I saw Anchorman.  There was a point where everyone I knew had seen it, and subsequently told me it was the funniest movie ever.  When I saw it I had expectations that could not possibly have been met by any film created by humans, and was understandably a bit let down by the entire experience.  One week in January 2006, I happened to go visit a friend in Reno, Nevada during the worst snowstorm in some time—according to some accounts it was the worst since 1986, other’s claimed it was the most snow they had seen since 1916.  Somehow, two bands worth of fellow Seattlites also managed to get snowed in with us during the final leg of their tour.  With nothing to do, and nowhere in particular to go, a dozen smelly people camped out in a living room and watched and rewatched movies.  One film we screened every time someone else came around was Anchorman.  And from that experience, a deep appreciation of content and artistry was borne.)

The premise of The Hangover isn’t anything original.  Three friends and an awkward future brother in law (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha, and Zach Galifianakis—who I’ve been told I look like, and I can’t tell if that was meant as a compliment or a slight) go to Vegas for a bachelor party.  Mischief and tomfoolery ensue. 

This isn’t Bachelor Party, though I certainly could have stomached a cameo by Adrian Zmed or Tawny Kitaen.  This isn’t Bachelor Party 2, or even Ninja Bachelor Party.  Two things set this movie apart from its predecessors.  One, we don’t see any of the wacky misadventures.  None of the participants remember a single thing from the previous night, and we piece together the puzzle alongside of them.  This is not the first time that this device has been used, but it is employed here to great effect.  By the end we feel like we’re one of them, we feel like we’re along for the ride.  It is an interesting way to create an emotional investment in the audience, and it works very well.

The second thing that distinguishes The Hangover from other Vegas films, and from other bachelor party films, is the level of depravity that the characters sink to.  It is truly impressive the depths they dive to.  I simultaneously want to hang out with these men, and weep for humanity that they exist.  Sure, we know the uptight dentist with the shitty girlfriend is going to get married to a hooker, but it is more than that, so much more.  Watching Mike Tyson air drum to Phil Collins is worth the price of admission.

I know your friends are wrong most of the time.  Let’s be honest here, they’re idiots that you only hang out with so you can feel smart, and feel good about the choices you’ve made in your life.  But this time they do happen to be right, The Hangover is really fucking funny.  You like Old School, you like Role Models, you’re not really that much smarter than your friends.  You’ll like it to, promise.  So, sneak away on your day off and see a matinee.  You won’t regret it, and your boys will never have to know that you waited so long. 

And don’t worry, despite what you think, they didn’t ruin all of the good parts for you.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens

Let me get this out of the way.  I don’t like Shrek, nor do I endorse any of the subsequent films, musical stage productions, or whatever capitalistic ventures created unbeknownst to me in order to flog one more shiny nickel out of that already overtaxed film franchise.  Shrek was boring, derivative, and predictable, and I have spent fully too much of my life defending my stance to the world at large, who view me as something between Idi Amin and Jeffery Dahmer.  Either way, I still eat people.

Monsters vs. Aliens, the latest 3-D offering from DreamWorks, suffers from a similar predicament.  Perkiness personified, Reese Witherspoon, voices Susan Murphy, who is about to marry dreamboat known as Paul Rudd, who plays a self-centered, low-level newsman with delusions of grandeur.  Of course we see what a tool he is, why can’t Susan?  It’s just oh so frustrating.  She deserves so much better.  Luckily for Susan, moments before the nuptials go down, a meteorite hits her.  This of course turns her giant.

After a brief, Godzilla-ish rampage, she is subdued by a super secret government agency that is so super secret simply mentioning its name is a federal offense.  For fifty years they have worked to keep the existence of monsters under wraps and out of the public eye.  General W.R. Monger, voiced by Keifer Sutherland, heads the clandestine agency.  While I’m happy that the wayward spawn of Donald Sutherland is finding work these days, he is really just rehashing the role he played on an episode of “The Simpsons” in 2006.  He was a colonel then, so I guess it is different.

Once Susan is captured, and rechristened Ginormica, she meets all sorts of wacky monsters voiced by various celebrities who are wacky and hot at the moment, like Seth Rogan, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, and Rainn Wilson.  While I enjoy most of these people in other capacities, here, they all get annoying in their own special way.

Aliens show up and of course the only way to defeat them is to employ the monsters.  This is where we’re supposed to learn that just because someone looks different from us, doesn’t mean that they are bad, or completely useless.  I don’t know if you would have been able to get that point from the movie, it’s pretty subtle.

This movie is trying way way way too hard to be the kid’s movie that adults also like.  Movies like this are too precious for their own good.  Steven Colbert as the president sounds like a good idea, right?  That is until he whips out a synthesizer and plays “Axel F,” betters known as the theme from Beverly Hills Cop by my boy Harold Faltermeyer, to welcome the aliens to earth.  Really?  I’d try to blow us up too.  How about an Al Gore, global warming, An Inconvenient Truth reference?  Check.

Monsters vs. Aliens thinks that it is really clever, but it is forced and tiresome.

This is one of those movies with like seven credited writers, and lord knows how many scrip doctors and ghostwriters hiding out behind the scenes.  It feels like every single person involved had their own favorite few lines and tried to cram them all together with the rest.  The result is understandably a mishmash.  We wind up with a hackneyed story without any real focus, and flat, boring characters.  We learn all the appropriate heavy-handed lessons about believing in ourselves, learning the value of people who value us, and what true friendship is.

Like usual, if you’re into this sort of movie, you’re much better off skipping Monsters vs. Aliens, and watching whatever new offering Pixar brings to the table.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

At 5:30 AM, sitting in a mountain-themed airport bar, desperately waiting for the magical 6 O’clock hour to roll around so we can restart the drinking most of us only stopped a few hours earlier, our conversation turned to possible in-flight entertainment.

“Last time I flew to Mexico,” I said.  “The movie was College Road Trip with Martin Lawrence and Raven-Symone.”  Side note, it was followed by episodes of “The George Lopez Show,” neither of which I watched.

“It will probably be something like Paul Blart:  Mall Cop,” replied one of my travel companions.  We had a good laugh and checked to see if we were any closer the time when they start selling us booze.

Low and behold, as soon as we’re airborne, bound for Houston and ultimately the high mountains of central Mexico, we get the announcement that the in-flight movie will actually be one Paul Blart:  Mall Cop.

I can’t stand Kevin James, who plays the titular character.  He is not funny, a fact I feel completely comfortable stating due to the regrettable number of “King of Queens” reruns I’ve watched thanks to an undying love of Leah Remini that dates back to a two episode guest stint on “Who’s the Boss?”

Now I was hard up, too tired to read, to lazy to dig any of the collection of spaghetti westerns I brought with me out of my bag, but there is still no way in hell I’m going to intentionally watch this unfortunate blockbuster.  But when you’re exhausted and sleep deprived and there is a little blinking box that you have devoted most of your life to dangling in front of you like a seductress, sometimes your eyes just automatically drift that way.

Since I didn’t listen to it, I made up my own version.  Here is what I think happened.  Paul Blart is fat.  No shocker there since that fact seems to make up most of Kevin James’ schtick.  Paul Blart is a mall cop.  Again, not surprising, it is in the title.  Paul Blart wants to be a cop but continually fails year after year, primarily because he is fat.  I can only assume that he is the butt of a running joke in the police department.

In addition to this he surrounds himself with wacky sidekicks from the mall.  There is a stereotypical Jew, a weed smoking Indian fellow reminiscent of Kumar from the Harold & Kumar movies, and a guy who is so incredibly overweight that he makes Kevin James look positively healthy in comparison.  The two of them apparently get into a nacho eating contest at a bar.  There is also the cute girl that works in some kiosk, and who Blart secretly pines after.

Blart screws up at every turn, mostly because he’s a jackass, but for some reason we are still supposed to root for him.  We are supposed to feel his pain and want good things to happen.

Then some extreme sports enthusiasts take over the mall.  Again, I wasn’t listening or paying much attention at all, so I don’t know why, but I suspect it was so they could swap hostages for their bros who have been wrongly imprisoned for riding a jet ski into a municipal fountain or something stupid like that.  But seriously, it’s like a Mountain Dew commercial went terrorist and occupied a mall.  There is a skateboarder, and while I’m not sure what tactical advantage that would give you in this situation, there is a pitiful excuse for a chase scene between him and Blart on a Segway.  Of course Parkour is the new big thing, so there are a also a couple of them, as well as a guy on a BMX who pointlessly leaps over things on the abundance of launch ramps that this particular mall seems to have randomly scattered throughout the food court. 

I’m not a professional mercenary, but I would hazard to guess that in a situation like this, where you and your crew are attempting an armed takeover, it would behoove you to have a bunch of guns.  Maybe I’m making assumptions again, and talking out of turn, but arming myself would probably be one of the first things I would do.  That’s just me.  Not these guys, mind you, they seem to have a woeful lack of all things firearm.  Curious.

So these guys take over Blart’s mall, and kidnap his girl, all while he plays a shredding game of Guitar Hero at the arcade and notices nothing due to his complete ineptitude.  Because no one else can or will, Blart fights back, much like a portly, not in any way badass, Bruce Willis.  I assume he wins and gets the girl, but I’m not sure.  I lost interest after he jumped his Segway from building to building then fell through a skylight into a ball pit.  That is usually how these things end, with everything all hunky dory.  People who saw this movie expect certain things.

I have one final assumption.  Through sheer valor, risk, bravery, and courage, I’m sure that Blart earned their respect and was offered a position on the police force, his lifelong dream finally realized.  But I also assume he turned down this offer in order to stay at the mall, where he really belongs, with his new lady and assortment of freaks and weirdoes who are like family, in order to keep the mall safe for future generations of consumers.  We thank you Paul Blart:  Mall Cop.

Fortunately, by the time The Pink Panther 2 with Steve Martin (remember when he was funny?  I miss those days) came on I was finally able to scrounge a few minutes of blissful sleep when the child behind me wasn’t kicking my seat.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Son of Rambow

It’s the early 1980s and First Blood is awesome.  And I’m not the only one that thinks so.  Two British school lads have my back on this one.  Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) is shy and reserved.  I should also mention that his family is part of some wack-a-doo sect called the Brethren, and his mother has headscarves in every shade of bland known to human kind. 

Will is not allowed to watch TV, have outside friends, or do anything that even remotely resembles fun.  There is, however, a little rebellious streak somewhere deep down inside.  He makes flipbooks out of his notebooks, and the pages of his bible are covered with drawings of fantastic creatures and brilliant colors.  It’s there; it just needs to be developed.  Enter resident badass, Lee Carter (Will Poulter).  He’s the worst kid in school—think Bart Simpson but without those wussy pangs of guilt or remorse when he does something really fucked up.  Lee Carter steals and lies and uses his older brother’s video equipment to pirate movies.

It turns out that Lee Carter is also a burgeoning filmmaker.  After he cons Will out of his dead father’s watch, he bullies the smaller boy into doing all of the stunts for his entry in the Screen Test Young Filmmakers contest.  The two boys end up at Lee Carter’s house, and when Lawrence, the vaguely abusive older brother/pseudo-guardian shows up, Lee Carter forces Will into a rowboat that dangles from the ceiling.  While Will is trapped in the rafters, a TV plays a bootleg copy of First Blood.  As with many of his generation, Will’s worldview is forever changed for the better by the onscreen mayhem.

After that, shit is on.  Will dives headfirst into the job of stuntman, and the two decide to film Will’s story “Son of Rambow.”  This entails Will jumping out of a tree with an umbrella, being shot at with a crossbow, and swinging into the middle of a river though he is unable to swim.  Lee Carter saves the drowning boy, and the two reluctant friends become blood brothers.

Along with this newfound sense of freedom and adventure, Will has picked up a couple other things from Lee Carter.  He lies to his mother, shoplifts, and generally does everything that he is not supposed to do.  Brother Joshua, a repressive Brethren elder who wants to spiritually do it to Will’s mom, takes notice of the changes and tries to put the kibosh on that.  We can’t have anyone having fun or being friends with outsiders, now can we?  Now in full on rebel mode, Will is having none of that noise, and the Brethren threaten to excommunicate the whole Proudfoot clan.  Mom is torn between the love for her son and her stupid stupid faith.

At school, Lee Carter finds a way to bring Will’s “Flying Dog” (which is just that) to life.  It starts off beautifully, and ends even more beautifully with a ruined school science lab, and a teacher with a pair of scissors up his nose.  Lee takes the fall and gets suspended, and all of a sudden everyone, including French exchange student Didier, want in on the film. 

Didier is super cool.  He has floppy hair, wears red pointy boots, and listens to Depeche Mode and the Cure.  Pubescent girls want to do things with him that they don’t quite understand, and uptight adolescent British boys want to be him.  He also has the clout to get a ton of people involved.  Will gets drawn into this new world of afterschool parties with Pop Rocks and New Wave.  Lee Carter says bollocks to this, and the two start to feud.

While filming the final scene at an abandoned power plant, everything goes totally to shit.  The fight comes to a head, and Lee Carter quits and storms off.  Will gets thrown from a crashing Jeep, lands in a vat of oil, and is trapped by falling debris.  Everyone else freaks out and scatters, with the exception of Lee Carter.  He comes back to save Will, but claims that he only came back to retrieve his brother’s camera, which is now in pieces.  We can tell it is a bullshit excuse, but Lee Carter is much too tough to show emotion.  Then some more of the rickety old plant collapses on top of Lee Carter and crushes the shit out of him.  All in all, no one had a very good day.

Lawrence visits Lee Carter at the hospital, but unable to cope with his own conflicting emotions, just gets angry over the state of his camera.  In the car he realizes that his little brother is all he has.

Will tries to visit, but Lee Carter ignores him.  Someone else won the Screen Test Young Filmmakers contest and Lee Carter must sulk.

Mama Proudfoot realizes that her son needs to be allowed to be himself, and must be given room stretch his wings and all of that good stuff that kids need.  So she gives a big ol’ heave ho to the Brethren, and creepy ass Brother Joshua, who I suspect is into little boys.

When Didier and the other French kids get back on their bus to go back to France, we see that all of the other French kids think he’s a pretentious douche, and that he is all alone and is actually a lonely sad child, not the suave, world wise party boy lothario he pretended to be.

Now that those subplots are tied up nice and tidy, we can get back to the heart of the story.  Lawrence picks Lee Carter up from the hospital and drives him to the movie theater.  The marquee says this showing of Yentl will be preceded by a special short film.  Lawrence sits his brother down, and low and behold, the short film is Son of Rambow.  Holy crap, I didn’t see that coming.  Lee Carter is embarrassed, but as the film goes on the audience roars with laughter, his touch and brooding fa├žade melts away, and his enthusiasm for the project comes out.  There is even some new footage at the end.  Lawrence has taken on the role of the evil scarecrow and includes a touching message to his little brother.  The crowd gives an enthusiastic round of applause at the end, and Will shows up to usher his blood brother out of the theater.  Seriously, who the fuck wants to watch Yentl?

As predictable as the end is, Son of Rambow manages to be funny and touching.  The kids, all of them—which is most of the cast—are spot on.  I didn’t want to slap a single one, which is something special since I want to slap almost every kid I see.  Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) aren’t breaking any new ground here, but overall this movie is probably better whatever garbage you were going to watch tonight.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Wrestler

It seems appropriate that Bruce Springsteen wrote a song for the end credits of The Wrestler, since the entire movie feels like a Nebraska era Springsteen song come to life.  The entire movie is drenched in sorrow and defeat, and you squirm in your seat as you watch characters that have no hope of ever getting out of the swamp that is their life.  The town is bleak, and so is the outlook.  It’s about as sunny and cheerful as Darren Aronofsky’s earlier smile-fest, Requiem for a Dream.  Thanks for the pick me up, Darren, I’m going to go kill myself now, but kill myself in the best possible way.

Mickey Rourke is a grizzled train wreck of a human being.  Holy shit he looks grim.  I guess having your face caved in during an ill-fated, ill-advised professional boxing career will do that to a guy.  Rourke plays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, nee Robin Ramzinski, a Rowdy Roddy Piper-esque professional wrestler who was once popular enough to sell out Madison Square Garden for his legendary, and career defining match against “The Ayatollah.”  His signature move, by the way, is amazingly called the “Ram Jam.”  I just thought you would like to know.

Predictably, the “Ram” has fallen on hard times.  He works part time moving boxes at a local grocery store where the boss gives him a rash of shit, and on the weekends he travels around the New Jersey area plying his trade in small shows at high school gyms and such, dreaming of making it back to the big time, but just barely getting by on the few dedicated fans who actually remember his name.  It just doesn’t pay to have dreams in a movie like this; it is only going to get you in trouble.  In his spare time, Randy gets locked out of his trailer, sleeps in his van, and pines for Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), an aging stripper at a local titty bar called “Cheeques.”  I think Marisa Tomei was put on this earth to play the role of an aging stripper that loves eighties buttrock.

Randy has a hardcore match with the “Necro Butcher,” that involves a barbwire wrapped crutch, lots of broken glass, thumb tacks, a prosthetic leg, and a ladder.  Did I mention the staple gun?  Yeah, there is a staple gun.  Necro Butcher ends up with a five-dollar bill stapled to his face.  The fight scene plays out mixed with a doctor digging various detritus out of Randy’s flesh after the match.  The scene is incredible, and effective, and also inexplicably gory.  It isn’t horror movie, arm getting hacked off with a chainsaw gore; it is very real and uncomfortable gore, the kind of gore that makes you cringe.  The couple directly in front of me in the theater got up and walked out during this scene.

After he has been thoroughly cleaned out, the Ram goes to take a shower, only to have a heart attack on the way.  The years of hard living and steroid abuse have taken their toll on Randy, and the doctor tells him that being a professional wrestler is no longer a good idea.  With barely a whimper, the wrestling career of Randy “The Ram” Robinson comes to an unceremonious end.

Having lost the only thing he knows, not sure of what to do, or where to go, Randy goes to Cassidy, the only person who is ever nice to him.  She tells him that at times like these you need to be around family.  He tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood).  It seems to go well for a minute, but then he inevitably screws the pooch.  At one point, broken down and in tears, Stephanie tells him that he is “a living, breathing, fuck-up.”  That pretty much sums it up.

At a show, as a spectator, Randy finds some of the love that he is unable to attain from either Cassidy or his daughter, and decides that the only place he ever has, or ever will belong, is in squared circle, under the bright lights, in front of an adoring crowd of drunken wrestling fans.  They are the only family he has ever had.  They are the only ones who have ever truly loved him.  He then makes the generally reckless decision to participate in a match that celebrates the twentieth anniversary of his legendary duel with the Ayatollah (played by professional wrestler Ernest “the Cat” Miller), who now owns a car dealership in Arizona.

Cassidy finally accepts the love Randy tries to give her.  She tells him as he is about to walk through the curtain into the spotlight.  It is, of course, too late.  He has to go to his people, to the one place that he has never been hurt.  She is unable to watch.

Randy gives a stirring speech to the packed auditorium, and despite the obvious troubles with his heart, the match goes on.  He climbs to the top of the turnbuckle, salutes the crowd, and leaps into the air, delivering one final “Ram Jam.”

Mickey Rourke is perfect.  This is one of those roles that couldn’t have been anyone else.  He essentially lived this life, and it translates to the screen like nothing else he’s ever done.  There aren’t any of the visual gimmicks that abound in Aronofsky’s other films.  He took the script from Robert D. Siegel (former editor of The Onion, oddly enough), and told a straight forward, gritty, and powerful story about people searching for love and belonging, only to be swept out to sea by the inevitable, inescapable current. 

One side note, the music is awesome.  There are songs from Accept, Quiet Riot, Slaughter, Cinderella, and Ratt, among others.  Axl Rose even did something cool for once in his shit eating life.  He gave the filmmakers the rights to use “Sweet Child o’ Mine” for free, because they didn’t have the budget for it.  See, even Axl Rose is redeemable.