Beasts of No Nation
I had rare two days off in a row this weekend and needed to fill sometime. I pulled up a Netflix and saw them advertising for Beasts of No Nation. One quick glimpse that Idris Elba was in it and I was sold. Idris is my version of Samuel L. Jackson. I will watch any movie that he is in. I took a second to check on Rotten Tomatoes and saw the audience at the time was giving it a 98%! In about a 90 seconds span I went from never hearing about the movie, to seeing all signs pointing to it being great, including getting some Oscar buzz. I got my hopes up to high. I played the movie thinking it was going to be the greatest movie since Cool Runnings.
The movie starts out painfully slow. We are introduced to a couple characters early who end up getting killed about 15 minutes later. Unclear why we needed such an introduction for a limited role. The town finds out the bad guys are coming and they get most of the women and children out thankfully, because I didn’t need to see young babies getting gunned down. His dad and brother get shot as he watches but the boy is lucky enough to escape town only to get forced to join a teenage army.
Finally, Idris appears on the screen as the kid’s new commander. It took about 20 minutes to long for him to appear in the movie. I am here for him, I want as much Idris as I can get. Idris takes the kid under his wing, they attack a lot of people, and at some point everyone abandons Idris after he appears to go crazy. Smash cut to the boy being at an orphanage and we get a couple minutes of him trying to overcome the trauma from war.
I kept my description short because if you watch the trailer it tells you all you need to know and more. The biggest problem of the movie is language. The movie starts out in some language native to Africa and the sub titles appear below so you can read to follow along. That is perfectly fine. However, at some point it switches to English, but unfortunately the main character who is a young boy is not very good at speaking it.
It makes it hard to watch because you know he is speaking English as you recognize some of the words he is saying, you just can’t understand enough to know what he is saying. It’s like when someone calls you with spotty reception and you only hear part of what they’re saying. You understand what words you hear, you just don’t get enough to form a sentence around them. I would have preferred to watch the movie in a language I didn’t know. That way I could have accepted the fact I won’t understand anything that is being said instead of trying to focus on every last syllable. I don’t like the middle ground where I understand some of it, but not all of it. They needed to keep the subtitles on the screen for the whole movie. That would have helped it quite a bit.
On a positive note it is amazing that you can make a movie like this for only 12 million dollars. That is truly incredible. Also, we see the main character take his sword and swing it at someone’s head as hard as he can. I don’t know if you consider that special effects or if the makeup person was really good but the mark it leaves behind looks so real.
Netflix has the movie rated at about 4.75/5 stars. I would give it a 2.5/5 stars. What I think happens is people are told that this is a great movie and then pretend to enjoy it so they can seem better than you because they liked it and you didn’t. When in reality it is decent, but nothing special.
If you work construction with a bunch of foreigners and understand broken English you will probably love this movie as you will be able to understand it. If you’re like me and are someone who prefers to be able to understand the movies you watch, you will think it was decent. You won’t say you wasted 2+ hours watching, but you also won’t want to watch it again. It’s just good enough to not be a waste of time which is exactly how I imagine this review to be.
I know it sounds like it I am recommending this movie even though it’s under the movie unrecommendation category so let me say this. If you are on the fence of should I see this or should I not? Don’t see it. You don’t need to spend 2+ hours on a movie where you can’t understand what is being said.
A Mile in His Shoes
This movie is about a minor league baseball team who finds a star pitcher with Asperger’s syndrome named Mickey. Not that you could tell by the name of the movie. A Mile in His Shoes sounds like it would be a track movie. A Game in His Mitt would have been a much better title.
For 90 minutes you get to watch the world’s youngest minor league baseball team in the world play. The average age on the team looks like it’s about 17 years old, which has to be against child labor laws. Unless for some reason the creator of the movie thinks you have to be a minor to play in the minors.
The plot of the story is this. Lefty the star pitcher gets jealous of the new kid with Asperger’s because he is taking innings away from him. Lefty’s girlfriend who didn’t look much better than me wearing a wig helps set a trap. The Asperger’s kid is then kidnapped. Eventually the police find out it was Lefty and he is cut from the team. BUT WAIT!!! The championship game is this Friday and Lefty is now on the other team!!! Side note: They probably showed 4 or 5 different games in the movie which seemed to be against the same team spread out over a couple week period. No minor league baseball team in the world plays the same team every other week. Could you not have gotten 9 more extras and made up one more team?? Back to the “plot”. It is the bottom of the 9th and Lefty is up to bat. The only problem with this scene is that Lefty is batting from the right side of the plate. Why is his name lefty if he bat’s right?!?! Very confusing to say the least. Believe it or now Lefty strikes out to lose the game and Mickey is the big hero! Didn’t see that coming.
Note to the director/producer and anyone else who worked on the movie. HIRE ME. I will tell you all the problems with your movie before you finish it. That way we can do some reshoots before the film is locked. How can you make a movie where the 2nd most important character is named Lefty, but bats right? This movie loses all credibly in that scene alone.
I have never acted a day in my life. Except for acting that I like my coworkers. Nothing besides that. I would have been the best actor in the movie. I don’t say that to brag either. That is an insult. I am not sure any of the other actors in the movie had ever seen a baseball. They would throw a pitch that by the form they used wouldn’t have gone faster than 40mph only to have the director smash cut to the catcher who is shaking his hand after catching it. You are allowed to have people in your movie who can’t play baseball if they can act. When you have neither like you did it makes it really tough.
When you film the sequel Two Miles in His Shoes let me know. I will gladly VOLUNTEER my acting skills, my baseball knowledge, and my hypervigilance to help out.
Netflix has this at 4/5 stars and the genre of drama/sports. Unclear how it got that many stars unless it had a really good game of Mario Party.
If we leave it in drama/sports genre I would give it a 1/5 stars.
If we move it over to the comedy department I would bump the rating up the 2.5/5 stars. It is pretty funny even if it was unintentional.
If you’re bored here is the order of things I would do. 1. Watch your neighbor mow his yard. 2. Watch this movie. 3. Watch paint dry.