Forgotten Film Round-up #2 – Netflix edition

My original plan was to watch a bunch of DVDs that reside in my collection, but I’d hadn’t gotten around to actually watching. This is still something I’m working on, but it’s worth noting that I also have a fairly bloated Netflix queue.

Through really, who doesn’t? People without jobs. That’s who.

There’s a lot of great original content on Netflix these days, and the queue just seems to grow at much faster rate than I can actually watch the shows and movies that I’m adding. But I have been chipping away at the films that have been languishing on there for a long time.

This is the story of those films.

#1 – The Hole

Let’s get this out there right away: this is a children’s movie. It is classified as a horror film, but all the main characters are children, there is a very small amount of violence, and there is no nudity in the least (probably for the best, in this case). I did not realize this until about a half-hour into the film.

However! That might be for the best, because I actually really liked The Hole. Despite the lack of things I usually look for in a horror film (gore and breasts), there was a lot to like about it.

The Hole is the story of two brothers and a neighbour girl who find a mysterious hole (gasp) in their basement. It contains nothing but blackness, and objects dropped in never make a sound. But once they’ve looked into the hole, weird things start happening around them.

The main conceit of the movie is that whatever force resides in the hole is using the kids’ fears against them. This makes it a little more relatable than your standard horror film. People face things like regret, irrational fears, and abusive family members every day. It’s not often that someone has to run for their life as a corpse in a hockey mask stalks them.

I did really like that while the beginning of the movie was a cohesive whole (get it???), it sort of spun off into three separate vignettes as each of the kids confronted and conquered their fears. They all continued to interact with each other throughout, and they can all see each other’s fears, but each of the trio has to go it alone in their respective final battles.

It’s not a particularly scary movie, but I could certainly see it being frightening to children. Which makes it difficult to nail down its target audience. The young ones might be too squeamish, and teens would likely balk at it for being too tame. For Ryan, though, it was juuuuust right.

Also it was directed by Joe Dante, who did the Gremlins movies and Small Soldiers. So that really just cements the theory that The Hole was made with me in mind.

#2 – Trailer Park Boys: Don’t Legalize It

Perhaps the truest injustice here is not that it took me a year and a half to finally watch this movie, but rather that I just watched it on Netflix instead of buying the DVD. Though since the last two seasons of the show were Netflix exclusives, I suppose I’ll never own the complete collection anyway.

Materialistic woes aside, I quite enjoyed Don’t Legalize It. That’s not saying much though, as I haven’t encountered any TPB media that I didn’t enjoy. Ricky, Julian and Bubbles are some of my favourite characters ever, and their escapades always delight me.

If I had to come up with a single major gripe about the film, it’s that it has the same flaw as the two other TPB films: it doesn’t fit into the show’s canon. Yeah, I know, I’m being a picky nerd instead of just enjoying a thing for what it is. Or not, because I don’t really care. But there is a shrill little voice in the back of my head that is constantly shrieking about the inconsistencies between the show and the movies.

Plot? Oh, let’s see. The gang is out of prison and all working on their own little schemes. Eventually the band gets back together, with Lahey and Randy intent on getting them thrown back in the slammer. Sound familiar? It should, because that’s the overarching plot of every season and movie (except for season nine). It’s a loose framework to hang all the jokes on, but it’s fine.

What separates Don’t Legalize It from the rest is that it’s a little more ambitious. There are many emotional moments to balance the comedy throughout the film, which in fact opens with a funeral. Bubbles in particular will probably tug fairly hard on your heartstrings, as he’s even more down on his luck than usual this time around. Additionally, the boys are on the road for at least half of the running time instead of being confined to the trailer park, which makes for a nice change of scenery. It’s not quite a road trip movie (which I typically adore), but it’s as close as TPB will get.

If you don’t already appreciate the Trailer Park Boys, you’ll probably have a tough time digging on this movie. Otherwise, I’d give Don’t Legalize It a hearty recommendation. If nothing else, Lahey might be at his very best while suffering from a stroke and the effects of “the white liquor.”

Okay, his second-best. But it would be impossible to top the Liquor Snurf.

#3 – Gone Girl

Apparently, this article’s theme is “movies that absolutely nothing in common with each other.”

Gone Girl is my ex-wife’s favourite book (or, one of them? I don’t know. I was a crap husband), and last year she had gotten me to the point where I was looking forward to watching the movie with her. Then things went to heck. But I still diligently added it to my queue, out of a misplaced sense of sentimentality or something. Maybe just a need for closure. However, its two-and-a-half hour runtime scared me away up until just yesterday, when I was looking for a third movie to put in this spot and it happened to be the first film that showed up in the queue. So what the heck, I didn’t have anything else to do.

The first thing you should know is that I think Gone Girl was an excellent film. I watched it all in a single sitting, didn’t fall asleep even once, and that should be proof enough. It was enthralling. The characters were deep, the score was perfect, and the story was so full of twists and turns that my head boggled. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, my imagination captured by the mystery.

That said, it left me more deeply unsatisfied and disturbed than any other movie in recent memory. I want to say more, but I really can’t.

The most I can provide is a basic plot summary: a dude’s wife goes missing. He is suspected of killing her. That’s the first act. The second act starts showing what happened to her, which is shocking enough, but then the final part of the story goes completely off the rails and will tie your stomach and emotions up in knots.

Also, Tyler Perry was wonderful. Just perfect. Didn’t see that one coming.

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