Skip to content

Matt McCabe Posts

MOVIE REVIEW: Bad Boys for Life

Vitals

Release Date: 17 January 2020 (USA)
Studio: Sony Pictures
Official Site: https://www.badboysforlife.movie/
Directors: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Writers: Chris Bremner, Peter Craig
Rating: R
Running Time: 2h 4min
Starring: Will Smith, Alexander Ludwig, Vanessa Hudgens
Genre: Action, Comedy, Buddy Cop
Base Score: 3.5 (All Right)

Review

“Bad Boys” is the theme of the television series, Cops. Way back in 1995, the original “Bad Boys” movie was cool. They were two cops. Cool. They were also “Bad Boys”. Cool. That was the era when buddy cops colored a little bit outside the line. You couldn’t throw a stick in the 80’s and 90’s without hitting a few “bad boy” cops.

That was before the comedy “Hot Fuzz” with Simon Pegg kind of broke all of the stereotypes of the “buddy cop” movie. In an age of sensitivity, we kinda want our cops to follow the rules. Will Smith is getting older. So is the “tough cop” motif.

We know that cars don’t randomly blow up when they crash or get shot up. We know that when people don’t follow the rules, people get fired. We know that when police don’t follow orders, court cases get thrown out and perps are back on the streets.

All of these things are now a distraction when you see them on the big screen. They pull me out of the story as I say, “Really?”

And then there’s the really confusing bit. They sing the “Bad Boys” song in the movie. So… does that mean that this universe also has the show “Cops?” That’s what everybody knows it from, right? When the first “Bad Boys” movie came out, it was kind of a nudge-nudge kind of thing. Here were two cops that were also bad boys. Now they’re singing it? Were they also known as bad boys? Did they just think it was a catchy song? If that were the case, they could have picked a different song.

It’s just confusing, which also pulled me out of the film.

It’s an action movie in the vein of all buddy cops movies from the 80’s and 90’s… just 30 years later. If you like that sort of thing.

On a very personal note, I was disappointed that the Martin Lawrence character and his promise to God. No spoilers, though. I didn’t like the way the whole movie handled God and morality. But that is personal. Other Christians might pick it up, as well.

Modifiers

Is it worth 3D, IMAX, or any other special viewing? A lot of stuff blows up and there’s a lot of explosions. That might be fun to see on a bigger screen. Maybe.
Would I see it again? Nah.
Should I rent it? Buy it? Feel free and skip for six months or so. Rent it on Redbox. It would be an entertaining popcorn night.
Is it family safe? The language is rough. They are trying to be “bad boys” and they talk like it. The language feels a bit forced. I don’t wanna be a Steve Rogers, or anything. No sex is shown. It is just mentioned. Women dress provocatively.
Did it have “the look?” It was definitely pretty, but that’s just because it was shot in Miami, not because the filmmakers did anything besides choose the location. They could have picked any beautiful place in the world. No bonus.
Did it have “the feels?” Nope. It was just an action buddy cop movie.

Test of Faith: The Forgiven 001

Liam shifted his body to pick up the heavy crate, rotating at the hip. Inside his arm, gears whirled and whined. His brain calculated the angles necessary for the move. His manufactured skin could only wasn’t perfect, but he could feel enough. It was enough to get the job done.

The pads of his fingers pressed on the crate just enough to lift it. His brain weighed it for him and reported back—two hundred and twelve point five kilograms.

Liam sighed. Another crate.

He turned again and walked to the other side of the room. He deposited the crate in a precise line with the other crates. One thousand, three-hundred, and forty-seven.

He sighed again. Mission accomplished.

What to do now? How about moving another heavy crate? That’ll be swell!

The voice from the doorway was a very pleasant distraction.

“What are you doing meow?”

The ‘meow’ was probably involuntary. Liam turned his head to nod at his best friend. His voice modulator hummed. “It’s the same thing we do every day, Nicko. Try to take over the world.”

Liam chuckled, but Nicko didn’t notice. He was suddenly fascinated by something on his hand. He stared with furious intent. He licked at it. He shook it. Nope, still there. He noticed that Liam was looking at him. He smiled and waved at his best friend.

“Hi, Liam!”

Liam just shook his head. Nicko didn’t seem to notice.

“Are you ready to do this thing, meow?”

Liam tried to smile. The gears of his face twisted. He hoped it was coming out right.

Nicko was always doing what Nicko wanted to do. You couldn’t talk him out of it. Liam suspected it also came with his mutant cat DNA. It was usually better to agree than argue with a cat-man. Chances were high that he would just forget about it in a few moments.

Time to play along. “You really think the two of us can bust out of here?”

“I have the shuttle gassed up and ready to roll.”

Liam raised an eyebrow. He had really thought this one out. The cat was showing an unusual sense of commitment.

He had secured an escape vehicle?

Nicko purred, “I figured out all the guard schedules. Meow! There’s only three of them between us and the hangar bay. We have to move in the next five minutes to make our window, though.”

Where was this level of focus coming from? He shrugged. At least it will break the monotony.

I can always say the cat made me do it! It was dark humor.

His mind darted through the logic. His brain was enhanced with a little computer wizardry.

Getting caught would likely result in severe punishment, but there is no job lower than “Supply Management.” He did hate his job. Were they going to demote him to a less interesting job?

The whole thought process took a nanosecond. Nodding, Liam shifted his bulk toward the door.

“Only three guards? We better do this thing.”

Nicko exposed his fangs, excited. His throat vibrated in a purr. Nicko was horrible at poker.

Liam willed his body into stealth mode. His footsteps—normally booming—were now almost silent. Of course, it severely drained his batteries and limited his movement to half speed. Stealth mode also changed his volume to a whisper, “Which way?”

Nicko sprang forward. His movements were always silent. He landed with a soft brush of fur, only audible to Liam’s enhanced ears.

Nicko disappeared down the hallway. “Walk this way meow!”

Liam wished he had his guns. This reminded him of his old field missions. He felt naked without his guns. He flexed his fingers.

He moved with ease behind Nicko, gears almost silent. Nice and easy. Like butter…

Nicko had dropped to all fours as he bounded down the hallway. At the next corner, he turned to look for Liam. Nicko waited for a couple seconds, and then disappeared, impatient. Liam smiled and continued his slow, silent walk. He had never seen Nicko this excited about anything.

When Liam finally rounded the corner, Nicko was already at the end of the hall. Liam’s enhanced hearing could make out some voices around the corner. That must be the guards. Nicko was waving at him, excited. He could hear them, as well.

Liam resisted the urge to walk at a normal pace, or to increase his pace. Slow and steady.

There was another sound in Liam’s ear. Nicko was still purring—and not in a quiet way.

Liam pressed a finger to his lips and flashed a scolding glare at Nicko.

He formed the words with his mouth. Oh! He nodded with firm lips. The purring continued. Liam rolled his eyes. You can’t win a battle with instinct.

Liam reached the corner. Nicko pointed at the corner in excitement. Guards, he mouthed.

Careful to keep his steps silent, Liam rounded the corner.

The three guards were facing away from him. Each had a laser rifle at his hip They were laughing, chatting, and passing the time—average guard duty. Liam raised both hands. His mind calculated the exact amount of pressure it would take to smash two heads together like coconuts. He didn’t want to kill them—just render them unconscious. The third guard would be surprised by the sudden attack, and could be subdued without…

“Meow!”

The call was loud and echoed off the walls. All three guards spun to face the sudden sound, raising their rifles. Liam was still steps away from them. His eyes opened wide. He reminded himself to never again take a cat with him on a stealth mission.

Liam’s brain fired at light speed. His body entered combat mode. His movement was enhanced. He needed all of his enhancements. One of the guards was running for the ‘panic’ button on the wall. Liam had moments to act.

A laser blast singed across the borg’s chest. His nasal sensors could detect burning bio-skin. That might have hurt, if he had nerves. Nanites in his chest were already being dispatched to repair the damage.

Liam hadn’t had a good fight since the war. It’s clobberin’ time. He sprung into action before the guards could fire again.

His two hands were already raised. Liam grabbed two of the guards by the heads and slammed them together. They crumpled to the ground.

Liam grabbed the last guard by the belt, stopping him just short of the big, red button. The frantic guard raised and fired at Liam from point-blank range. Pew! Pew! Pew!

Liam grunted. He resisted the urge to snap the small man’s neck. He was just doing his job. He spun the man around like a doll and placed him in a sleeper hold. The man struggled useless in the massive grip. Liam waited until the man slumped to the ground.

In a blur of fur, Nicko bounded past. “Gotta go! Gotta go!”

The need for stealth was past. Liam engaged full pursuit speed. His feet bashed against the ground as he kept up with Nicko. At the end of the hall, the cat man burst through a set of double doors and into the hanger. As promised, a small shuttle waited with open doors. Liam could hear the hum of the engines. Yee-ha, Nicko.

Why I’m Fasting

This is Day 1 of my fasting journey. Current weight: 250.2lbs. Keep watching for the dramatic changes!

I’ve had it. My life is not the way I want it to be. I ate poorly over the holidays. I want to lose weight. There’s a lot of good benefits to fasting, but I really just want to lose weight.

 A few years back, I fasted for 21 days. I lost a lot of weight. It took my life in a new direction. I lost over 100 pounds, and people noticed.

 In the three years since, I’ve kind of floundered. Is it time to go on another fast?

Today I read an article from the fasting expert, Dr. Jason Fung.

“The #1 Rule of Fasting” by Dr. Jason Fung https://link.medium.com/IIipIHiRk3

It’s a good read, but one thing stood out to me:

“…there is no reason to fast for 30 consecutive days just for the sake of argument. Why not do 4 separate 7-day fasts instead? It will have roughly the same beneficial health effects with far less risk.”

Dr. Jason Fung

He’s the “man” when it comes to fasting. If he says I will get the same effect from doing multiple fasts, I’m on-board.

Yes, there’s some medical things I would like to clear up.

I recently discovered I was gluten-intolerant. That’s an interesting story.

I have lived all my life having a tough time with carbs of any kind. At the same time, I craved sweets and breads. When I had a meal of heavy carbs (like pasta), I would feel brain fog and a serious case of the sleepies. A good 15-minute nap and I would be good to go, right?

That’s the way it is for everybody, right?

I work every weekend at a local food bank. My permanent station is the desserts and baked goods. They’re nice to look at and to smell, but for me it is strictly do not touch! We have a couple guests who are gluten intolerant. I hold aside any specially-made goodies for when they come through the line.

Last Saturday, I started talking about gluten intolerance with one of the guests. What happens if you eat gluten? She listed off a lot of symptoms. How do you know if you are gluten intolerant? She said there is a very expensive test, or you could just try some gluten-free goods and see how you feel.

Huh. Really?

That day I took home some very yummy gluten-free pasta. The next day, I ate only the gluten-free pasta. I didn’t want any other variables.

I felt amazing.

I didn’t feel tired, sluggish, or crappy after eating a very large amount of pasta.

So there’s that.

I have since done a lot of research on gluten intolerance. It can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Is that the reason I have the following:

  • MS
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Brain fog
  • Depression and anxiety

Could be. Only one way to find out.

Clean Up Time

I have been eating a Standard American Diet (SAD) for 45 years. Who knows what kind of damage I have done to my system! I think a good fast is a way to clean up any extra gluten in my system and repair the damage.

I have been playing with fasting for the last three years. I’ve done one meal a day (OMAD), intermittent fasting (IF), alternate day fasting, black fasting, and long-term water fasting.

It was a good opportunity to push myself. I was exercising my self-control. I felt empowered by accomplishing something. But, after reading Dr. Fung’s article, I think I might have been risking injury. I will do several 7-day fasts. I will alternate one week on and one week off. The feeding week will restore my backup vitamins and minerals.

In my previous fasts, I have notice almost all of the benefits that the experts talk about. My weight loss was simply amazing, but now I wonder how much of that was being gluten-free. Eating nothing is pretty friggin’ gluten-free!

My focus was razor sharp.

The coolest thing (even better than the weight loss) was the ability to sleep four hours per night! I would wake up fully rested after just four hours of sleep! I’m sure that’s not the case for everybody, because I was hard-pressed to find another example cited online.

Maybe that’s just my side benefit and reason to try another fast.

I will be telling y’all what “day” I am on, in 7-day increments. For the next 7 days, I will be on a straight water fast. The rules of a water fast:

  • Calorie-free beverages are OK (no artificial sweeteners!)
  • Black coffee and unsweetened coffee are OK
  • 100 calories or less per day. That will allow you to put something small in that coffee, if you can’t drink it black.

I have found that hunger comes in waves. If it’s hard, just wait a few minutes and it will pass. Have a coffee.

Another benefit of fasting they don’t talk about? I have learned to listen to my body. That helped me identify that I had a problem with gluten. I don’t think I would have been able to tell if not for the fasting.

I also know what “true hunger” is like. I can honestly ask myself, “Is this a craving, or real hunger?” I also have an easier time stopping my eating before a full-on binge. I can identify “true full” as well.

Check back tomorrow to read about my progress.

MOVIE REVIEW: 1917

Score

4: Pretty Good

Summary

Interesting gimmick, but just another war movie

Vitals

Release Date: 10 January 2020 (USA)
Studio: Universal
Official Site: https://www.1917.movie/
Director: Sam Mendes
Writers: Sam Mendes & Krysty Wilson-Cairns
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h 59min
Starring: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays
Genre: War Drama
Base Score: 3.5 (meh)

Review

I’m not a huge fan of war movies. That’s my dad. War just seems like a horrible waste to me. The more realistic it is, the more it’s just… sad. Yeah, WW1 was horrible. Yes, those men sacrificed a lot. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that the world would be a better place if those men were still in it.

That’s all I’m saying.

I was going to pass on this movie altogether until I saw the gimmick. This entire movie was shot using one take. I know enough about filmmaking to know that this would be a huge undertaking. I had to see them pull it off.

And… they pulled it off. I saw a couple points in the movie where they could have made some creative cuts, but if they said it was all one take, I believe them. Somebody wise said, “Never Google an interesting fact.”

It was a technical achievement, for sure. My favorite was when one character is mortally wounded off-screen. As he dies, his face is visibly pale. In order to pull that off, makeup artists would have had to rush in while the camera was panned away. Really good job, filmmakers!

But then, about halfway through, you forgot about the amazing feat they were pulling off. The gimmick faded away and it was just a gritty, realistic war movie. I don’t much care for gritty, realistic war movies. I don’t care how good your giggles are.

I was interested, but it was still very, very sad. War is pointless.

Modifiers

Is it worth 3D, IMAX, or any other special viewing? If I were filthy rich or a fan of war movies, I might spring for a special screen. It would magnify the intensity of the one-shot gimmick. How did they do that?

Would I see it again? I might see it if somebody else wanted to. I would be focusing on the technical aspect of the filming. I wouldn’t see it again because I wanted to see another war movie.

Should I rent it? Buy it? See it once on the big screen. If you are a big fan of war movies (here’s one for you, Dad), I would buy a copy. That way you can show it to other war-fans and marvel at the technical achievement.

Is it family safe? Besides being realistic war violence, the movie is pretty tame. If you are OK letting your kids see war, you will be OK here. There is some adult language (they’re soldiers), but it’s not “rapper heavy.” I wouldn’t exactly call it “family safe” but it’s not “family unsafe.” Can we call it a “family meh?”

Did it have “the look?” (+.5) Super technical achievement. I hope it wins all the awards.

Did it have “the feels?” It was just sad. War is sad. Somewhere a panda is crying.

MOVIE REVIEW: Like a Boss

Score

2.5: Pretty Bad

Summary

A not-funny comedy. Skip it.

Vitals

Release Date: 10 January 2020
Studio: Paramount
Official Site:
http://likeabossmovie.com/
Director: Miguel Arteta
Writers: Sam Pitman, Adam Cole-Kelly
Rating: R
Running Time: 1h 23min
Starring: Salma Hayek, Rose Byrne, Tiffany Haddish
Genre: Comedy

Review

 Base Score: 2 (pretty bad)

I didn’t go into this movie with high expectations. It didn’t disappoint (because I was expecting it to be bad. It wasn’t bad as much as not good. I would have given it a base score of 3 (meh) but the movie had some actual problems.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start over.

Come see this movie and you could win a trip to Atlanta! Huh? First off, why are you trying to bribe me to see this movie? Is it that bad? Secondly… Atlanta? Is every other city bombed out? Did California and New York get consumed by fire? I don’t watch the news, so I’m not up-to-date on our Trumptastic Nation. Let me go check. Nope. They’re both still there. So let me go back to my second question.

Atlanta?

All right. I’ve done some research (on the Googles) and it looks like they are doing another promotion with a free trip to New York. Ok, ok. I retreat to my first question: “Why are you trying to bribe me to see this movie with a free trip?” And now there’s another question. Why did my area get tempted with a free trip to Atlanta and not New York? Was Disneyland even on the table? Maybe some place in Death Valley?

Ok, so you might have figured it out from review so far. I’d much rather talk about something other than the movie. That’s just how good it was.

Let’s dive right into the problems with the movie. Let’s look at the things that make you go, “Hmmmm.”

Two friends start a company. They have a half-million dollars in debt. They are in danger of closing. An investor wants to bail them out, and they ask for 51% of the company. That seems like a classic “Shark Tank” kind of move. You messed up your finances. You’re being offered a second chance. Why is this businesswoman (Selma Hayek) being portrayed as a less-than-nice person?

She backs down to 49%, on the grounds that the friends stay together. If they have a falling out, she get 51% again. So you know what is going to happen next. And we know the motivation of our angel investor.

I won’t spoil any of the rest of it, but that’s not the only time I cocked my head to the side. I said under my breath, “Yes, that’s how business works.”

The movie was also needlessly sexualized. Were they trying to be “cool” or “gritty?” The jokes certainly weren’t funny, sexual or not. That’s not entirely fair. I chuckled twice. The other guy in the theater chuckled four times. The two women in the theater did not laugh any times, that I heard. For those of you counting, the movie was attended by four of us.

Modifiers

Is it worth 3D, IMAX, or any other special viewing? Please don’t waste your money on a special screening. I don’t even think it’s available in 3D.

Would I see it again? No. I saw it. I’ll never see it again. If somebody recommends it, I will tell them it wasn’t worth it. (-.5)

Should I rent it? Buy it? No need to rent it. Wait a couple years for the “edited for TV” version to be played. Play it in the background while you are having another conversation. It will make good background noise.

Is it family safe? No, not even close. No nudity, but sexual talk and situations. Mild drug use. It wasn’t pornographic, but it wasn’t appropriate.

Did it have “the look?” No, it was just a standard comedy.

Did it have “the feels?” I had a tingle that might have turned into excitement. Then… no… maybe it was gas.

How I Score Movies

I love movies. I have my entire life. A darkened theater is my happy place. I have seen a lot of movies. I have a strong opinion about what makes a good movie and what makes a bad movie. In my experience, most movies are have something good in them.

I don’t like horror movies or very violent movies. I just don’t see them.

Over the years, I have developed a scoring system to tell one movie from another. Based on the old “5 star” method, I rank films like this.

5 Star = Excellent, Must-See
4 Star = Pretty Good
3 Star = Meh, Mediocre, Neither good nor bad
2 Star = Bad movie
1 Star = Horrible, very bad movie

I usually give 1-star ratings to any horror movie I am tricked into seeing. I do not like them, Sam I Am.

I start with this base score, and then I add different modifiers…

Modifying the Scores

Is it worth 3D, IMAX, or any other special viewing? Some movies were made for a huge screen. Others were made for 3D. 3D really shines where there are a lot of particles on the screen at one time. Dr. Strange was a good example of this.

But you have to spend more money to view in 3D, IMAX, or a special screen. For that reason, I only pony up the cash if I know it’s going to be good in that format. Or if the movie played really well in 2D and I’m going to see it again. “The Avengers: Endgame” was a good example of that.

Ultimately, movies are a 2D medium. I don’t hold it against a movie if it’s good or bad in 3D. I don’t give bonus points if it plays well in 3D. I don’t reward the rich, I just call it out.

Would I see it again? This is a good test of a movie’s “strength.” If I want to see the movie again, it’s a keeper. I give a +.5 score adjustment to one of these. On the other end, there’s some movies I actively discourage others from seeing. For these, I will take away .5 points.

Good recent examples are “Spies In Disguise” (a Must-See) and “Midsommar”…. the latter was so horrific, I almost contemplated never seeing a movie again. I wondered, “Is this the current state of films?” I finally returned to the theater (it’s my happy place!), but I no longer make it a point to see every film.

Should I rent it? Buy it? This is another measure of a movie’s strength and staying power. It can also be a measure of a movie’s mediocrity. You might want to skip the large screen and dive into the small screen first. You could have a perfectly acceptable movie that just isn’t worth spending your hard-earned folding money on.

Maybe you should own a copy and add it to your own collection… This is especially true of really good movies or family-friendly movies (“Yes, kids, we can watch ‘Barney Goes to Jail’ one more time”).

If it’s not strong enough for the big screen, I take away .5 points. If it’s worth buying, I add .5 points.

Is it family safe? It’s hard to find a family-safe movie nowadays. Movies are pushing PG-13 and R. It seems like everything wants to be “gritty” and “real.” Bleck.

What’s wrong with a PG movie? What’s wrong with a G movie? I applaud the family-friendly movies with a .5 point boost.

Did it have “the look?” I am an artist. I dabbled in film work. I can spot some dazzling camera work, costume design, and set design. Some movies just have a unique style and look to them. Movies that do a particularly good job get a .5 point adjustment.

Also watch for these films to perform well at the next Oscars.

Did it have “the feels?” I can feel when a movie is good. It hits me right in the chest. If it’s particularly strong, it brings tears to my eyes–not because it’s sad. Because it’s awesome.

Usually, a triumphant moment where characters work together toward a common goal creates this feeling. It can elevate a movie from “pretty good” to “must-see.”

This one is hard to explain. A movie either “has it” or it does not. The first “Toy Story” movie made me cry because it was just so cool.

5+ and 0- Movies

Yes, it possible to have movies that have more than a perfect score or less than a horrible score. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. You have one movie that just has something special. You have another movie that’s many levels of horrible. That’s why we do these here movie reviews.

With an evening movie running $20, you should do a little research.

If you go to as many movies as I do, you should consider Regal Unlimited, but that’s a topic for another day.

What if I Don’t Agree with You?

My movie reviews are polarizing. I don’t know why. I just write what I feel.

Some people really agree with me.

Some people really do not agree with me.

I haven’t seen a lot of in-between.

What kind of person are you?

If you find that you hate my reviews, you’ll find a list of movies that are “Must-See” for you.

Enjoy!

Featured image photo by Nathan Engel from Pexels

This article was also published over at Medium.com