Day 310 & Day 311 & Day 312 – Tucker and Dale vs. Evil & Spring Breakers & The Devil’s Candy

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Movie Title: Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 29 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a delightful horror-comedy romp through hillbilly infested backwoods. It is almost certainly a parody of movies like Wrong Turn where good old fashioned country people are portrayed more or less as monsters. They have superhuman strength. They are inbred and mutated. That is exactly how the college students in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil perceive the country folk around them. They look down on them and they think that they are all out to rape and murder them.

However, Tucker and Dale are much simpler than that. Tucker (Tyler Labine) just wants to talk to some girls and go away for a nice long weekend while Dale (Alan Tudyk) is just looking for some quiet time fishing with his friend. They also plan to spend some time fixing up their new vacation home cabin. The horror tropes begin immediately at a gas station where the college students are attempting to buy beer and continue when Tucker and Dale arrive at the cabin. It was the outpost of a group of serial killing hillbillies that slaughtered some college students twenty years ago.

What follows is a comedy of errors as the college students perceive the hillbillies as murdering psychopaths and the hillbillies think of the college students as deranged lunatics that are part of a suicide cult. The beautiful Katrina Bowden plays Allison, a girl who ends up torn between the two groups. It is a very funny movie with great gags that play on every imaginable horror trope. But, it also has a message that reminds me of an Elvis Costello song where he asks “what’s so funny about peace love and understanding?”

Verdict:

It is a movie that I think is perfect for the divided and fractious America that exists today. Everyone should see it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Spring Breakers (2012)

 

Movie Title: Spring Breakers

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

On the surface Spring Breakers is a very dim movie. Four nondescript college girls want to go on spring break, but they are broke. Instead of getting a job or doing something productive they hold up a restaurant which somehow gets them enough money to go to Florida for a week (though it feels much longer in movie time.) While they are in Florida they party until they are arrested. They spent the night in lockup. In the morning the judge tells them they need to pay a fine to be released, but they are out of money. A man who named himself Alien (James Franco) is watching in the court room for just such a scenario. He bails them out and tries to recruit them into his growing crime organization.

This description probably makes it sound like there is a general coherence to the plot of the movie. There isn’t. I scarcely even knew any of the character’s names. I only realized that Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens were playing two of the lead characters. The movie is stylistically rich, but plot light. The first thirty minutes is more or less a compilation of nattily clad people in various party scenes. The movie then wanders from bizarre image to bizarre image. Alien laying in a bed surrounded by weapons while the girls take advantage of him by pretending guns are sex toys. It is strange. There is also a great scene where Alien plays a piano by the pool while they collectively sing a Brittney Spears song.

Despite its shallowness Spring Breakers has style and a message. There is always something colorful moving or otherwise occurring on screen. It is a brash movie. But it is also about the vapidity and shallowness of an entire generation. No one needs to do anything to survive. It is all about the surface and the most shallow processes of thinking are driving a lot of people through their lives.

Verdict:

It is definitely a movie worth seeing. There are beautiful people, pure oddities, and comedy too. Yet, it is all so sad. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: The Devil’s Candy (2015)

 

Movie Title: The Devil’s Candy

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 19 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Holiday Inn Express – Worcester, MA

Review:

The Devil’s Candy is a demonic possession horror movie with some fun stylistic elements. Jesse, Zooey, and Astrid Hellman have all just moved into a new house in rural Texas. Jesse is a painter. Zooey is a hairdresser. Astrid is trying to make it in a new school where she is a misfit. The family is very into metal and all the music in the soundtrack is metal music. They have just bought their dream home with the natural demonic movie catch that the last family that lived there all died. An old woman fell down the stairs and her distraught husband blew his brains out or so the realtor claims. Never trust a realtor.

The mysterious piece is the couple’s son Ray Smilie. He was committed to an asylum and living at home. He plays loud music to keep the voices away. He is unhinged. He comes back to torment the family. At the same time, Jesse is hearing the same voice as Ray and it is shaping his artistic output. The artwork he creates is incredible, but also deeply troubling. The two are bound to clash, especially when Ray takes an interest in Jesse’s daughter.

Verdict:

It has great flair and a reasonably strong final act. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (2018)

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