Must Come Down Movie Review

MustComeDown

WARNING: SPOILERS

Ashley is a bit of a free spirit who’s just trying to find a good time and his way through life. After quitting his job to travel he’s traveling back to his home town to revisit past memories. Holly just recently got dumped by her boyfriend. She’s also looking for a new job and is confused as to what to do with her life. The two meet at a bus stop and eventually start talking. They bond and help each other over come emotional obstacles.

So I usually don’t like indy movies because they feel pandering or the story is either repetitive of something from it’s genera. This thankfully wasn’t that. It’s a simple love story between two lost souls and kinda dorky people who just want to be loved. For the most part it’s all about subtle moves. Like Holly will lay on the blatant hints of wanting more then a friendship. Then Ashley would brush it off, but would kinda acknowledge it the next day. It was like a cute disjointed teen romance. There’s one scene where she hugged him and started to cry. Then as he left he looked emotionally drained. I honestly think he knew he made a mistake.

To a certain extent there isn’t much of a story. It’s mostly quick montages of people goofing off together. Yes it seems to deal with Ashley’s social awkwardness, but he doesn’t seem all that bad off. He does mention his parents getting divorced, but it seemed to lack detail. It’s obvious Holly just wants to be in love again but would probably be better suited just keeping calm for a while. It does seem to capture the uncertainty of life, that bad alone feeling, and how great it is to just find someone.

PEW PEW!!

PEW PEW!!

The scenic outlay of most of the shots are brief and capture simple details. They’re nicely shot and the simpler they are capture more of the moment between the characters. Its quick cuts go directly to what the other characters were previously talking about and usually winds up hilarious. The musical pacing is great. It reminds me of Garden State because it didn’t use orchestra music to heighten some emotional scene. It would interject random indy bands and it always seem to help make smooth transitions between the characters, especially at parts with no dialogue.

First off I’ll acknowledge my bias towards Ashly Burch. Yeah I like her acting, and voice acting. I originally started watching her in Hey Ash Whatcha Playin. Which she plays Ashly Burch, the character, who’s debatably clinically insane. So this was a little more normal for her. She did well as a worried emotional trainwreck without giving into some of the old acting cliches of the romance genera. There was only one scene of hers that I think she UNDER played, but the script might have been written that way. David Fetzer was funny to watch as a flighty guy who just seemed to like to coast through life. He was weirdly likeable. If anything his character reminds me of ‘that guy’ at all the parties. He’s weird, he dances to his own beat, and thinks about everything a lot. Liberty Cordova was a cute addition to the cast. Her brief parts gave a ditzy kinda feel. It was brief, but cute. Colin Fugit had about 10 lines in the whole movie and he was probably the weakest of the group. Yeah he played a scumbag character but it seemed stale or hesitant. But eh, it doesn’t mean he won’t get better. Most of the other actors had small parts so its difficult to critique them all.

This is a heartwarming movie despite it’s SLOW pace. The cast plays their characters out well and seem earnest. The music was a awesome addition to the movie. It was probably a bunch of indy bands, but every song laced the scene and feeling of the moment so well it’s weirdly soothing. The scenic shots are light and done very well with natural lighting without too much visual interference. Despite it not ending the way I would liked it to, it’s still a beautifully melancholy romance movie for people who struggle to move on. It’s something us diehard romantics wish we could experience at least once, for a little while. For me its something I’d watch on a rainy day.

It’s available as a digital download, to rent, or you can buy a physical copy at their website.

7.5/10

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Silver Linings Playbook Movie Review

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Pat Solantano one day runs in on his wife, Nikki, cheating on him with a man. In turn he beats the living hell out of the guy. Instead of being sent to prison he is sent to a mental institution for 8 months. There he’s diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After he’s released he is forced by the state to regularly attend therapy sessions and his parents have agreed to take him in. While sorting out his life he runs into Tiffany. She’s another person who’s fell on difficult ties and they bond somehow.

There are three kinds of romance movies that are over played completely. One goes on about how different men and women are, despite the fact that they all have the same base urges and needs. Another is the cliché romance movie that is pretty much 90+ minutes of nothing happening except two forced people to develop chemistry between each other and then maybe 10 actual minutes of drama to bring the two together. All actions are usually 100% predictable. The last is what I call a ‘look-at-the-crazies’ drama where people are screwed up so much they need someone else to compliment their screwed up nature or someone else screwed up to make up for their short comings. This movie is the latter and is why I don’t care for it. The past few years have seen a rise in these style of romance dramas and it isn’t a bad thing, but it’s very repetitive.

Most of the ‘laughs’ seem to be driven from the nuances of the characters, like most movies. But with this film all the laughs are from the negative aspects of the character. Let me give you a example: Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) becomes unhinged after being admitted to the mental hospital. He’s assumed to be more vocal and even make a comment on how he doesn’t censor himself anymore. This leads to a lot of the awkward jokes between him and many people. So if he didn’t go to the institution he basically wouldn’t be making a ass of himself left and right. Another is Tiffanys (Jennifer Lawrence) in your face attitude that is suggested to be brought on, or have a stronger presence, due to her late husbands death. This leads to a lot of the follow up ‘laughs’ after Cooper’s character does something. Its classic comedy setup, but the catalysts for the actions might encourage the audience to laugh at people of the same nature or in similar circumstances. That’s why I’m not labeling this as a comedy.

On top of all this movie is the definition of first world problems. Another way to put it is ‘pretty white people with problems.’ This was the same problem many of the WB shows had and a lot of the horrible 90s sitcoms. The first problem with how he went to the mental institution. He went into his own house and attacked a man in congress with his wife. Other parts of the world I have been too would have basically patted him on the back and let him go. However in this story it was seen as a issue and locked him away despite the fact that he had a just reason to be angry. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Another is Pat’s fathers obsession with American football. This risky betting is not only encouraged throughout the film, but unrealistic. This was cliché considering A) he’s American and B) he placed more importance on the sport then his family, most of the time.

Then the Tiffany character’s only flaw is that she dealt with her mourning poorly and is a compulsive liar. One of the flaws about her that they keep bringing up is that she sleep around. Really you slept around? Well boo fucking hooo for you. At least you got to fuck. Most people aren’t born good looking like her, well off financially, in a privileged country like America, nor do they have the ability to pick up whatever genitalia they want for the night. Gee what a ‘problem’ that must be for her. Sure it’s a obnoxious moral ambiguity of hers, and she even admits to liking being a slut, but she admitted to stopping once she got fired from her previous job. So she, through out the movie, was slowly fixing herself. Yes it wasn’t the best way possible, but she was doing something most people can’t: freak out and correct her own behavior. So why all the characters kept bringing her up as a issue, without giving many details, was very irritating.

Also the Tiffany character is too cliché. She seems to know exactly what to do more then 90% of the time. She shows up at just the right times to intentionally force Pat to make some sort of self realization or help his family get their junk together. Now this wouldn’t be so noticeable if it weren’t for the fact that she seems to be the only one to have this magical ability. Pat’s own therapist doesn’t seem to have that much of impact on the story. No one, except her, seems to be able to be anything other then just background characters and their characters don’t serve a purpose at all, unlike other movies of this caliber.

For reference Juno was a lot like this except they were teenagers. Both of Junos parents helped move the story along, as well as 4+ other characters. Now sure the story is based on the love between two people. Although the thing that really helps most love stories shine is the side characters who not only express their own needs for love, but add to the main character(s) own ideals and even help the character see other sides of whatever situation. Yeah there are a few movies that don’t use side characters to this extent, but the self discovery aspect isn’t so lopsided or forced by the other main character. So debatably if Tiffany didn’t exist Pat wouldn’t be recovering so quickly from a failed marriage. Also you can’t continually imply that the girl is screwed up during the movie multiple times and yet have all her actions are near perfect. It screws up her character development due to the conflicting story elements. I mean for crying out loud Tiffany even brings up how screwed up she is multiple times.

The acting, despite the horrible story, was top notch from everyone. A lot of it was Oscar worthy or to revive a few careers. This is probably Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro‘s best performance. Although Cooper still played a frat brother like role. De Niro was refreshing because usually he’s a mobster, or a complete douche. Here he’s behaving rationally and normal and with this role I think it solidifies him as a well rounded actor. I’m not sure if Jennifer Lawrence deserved the Oscar, because I didn’t see the ladies she was competing against in their movies. However she was notably good, despite how I completely despise the hype behind her. She proved she could give a good range of acting in this film, with a few exceptions. Julia Stiles and John Ortiz were nice additions, but their shining moments of acting were sparse and they deserved a little more screen time.

This is the film to watch if you want to see all of the actors at their best. The steady character development is welcoming and will surely draw many in to watch further. However, the draw back is the story. It has pointless long montage scenes. The main drive for many of the punch lines is based upon the characters major flaws and it seems to laugh at them rather then with them. Also the context of the story is terribly forced, cliché, and one character made me question the believability of the story due to their actions. Also a lot of the dialogue is forgettable.

I’m sorry, but this is a really boring story.

5.5/10

Warm Bodies Movie Review

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In some alternate future a zombie virus sweeps the world for unknown reasons. Eventually it leaves more then half the world devastated while the rest struggle to survive. Some zombies eventually learn, or try, to maintain a normal life and try to reform themselves. Some eventually learn to talk while others turn into more violent zombies, known as Boneies. A zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult), while narrating all of this, saves a girl named Julie from the rest of the people his group is eating. He eventually develops a relationship with her while trying to keep her from being eaten.

This is a really cute alternate love story compared to what’s come out recently. However, the movie comes with some mild irritations along the way. Like there’s once scene where R is telling Julie that he won’t eat her. He show’s his horrid mangled zombie teeth and then the rest of the film they look completely fine. Then there’s various discrepancies with the script.

The whole love story behind the couple is interesting, but it doesn’t show them develop much. It shows them basically running and trying to survive half the time. After that they do cute things together, but nothing too big. I know they don’t have much of a dialogue because ones a damn zombie, but it feels like it needed to be beefed up a little since he did learn how to talk. I guess it’s more of a focus on how love “heals all” but it’s really dorky in it’s approach. Also the whole process, and how zombies show their humanity again, is unique to the zombie genera and will probable deter some people from wanting to watch it. However despite all the dorkiness it does bring a warm feeling to the whole movie considering how many characters help bring the two together.

Some of the stronger moments of the film would be cliché if it wasn’t how they carried them out. Like there’s one part where M (Rob Corddry) tries to convene R to eat Julie. Eventually they are loud enough that it calls the attention of Bonies that can hear/smell/see humans better then the average zombies. Now instead of being a complete stereotype and trying to eat her anyway M eventually helps them escape. Then Nora (Analeigh Tipton) instead of freaking out at R she has a really long funny montage trying to help R blend in with the humans.

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Most of the cast does relatively well acting. Nicholas Hoult (R in the movie) does relatively well, but looks incredibly stoned sometimes. Also some of his monotone narration might grind on you after a while. I want to say he narrates more then half the movie. He’s a nice addition to Hollywood due to his different facial aesthetics and his ability. Teresa Palmer was OK but I mostly found her acting mildly bland, but I can’t really hold that against her since I think that’s mostly how her character is writen and despite the fact that this is a ROMANCE movie more then half the movie is about Nicholas Hoult‘s characters struggles rather then her.

However the two that stood out were Rob Corddry and Analeigh Tipton. Corddry brings a softer tone to the horror movie, especially in some scenes. He does really well delivering some of the funnier moments in the movie which take skill since they’re very subtle jokes. To a certain extent I’d like to see him in a Bro-mance, like some of Paul Rudd‘s movies, due to his performance in this. Analeigh Tipton does a really decent job playing the nerdy girl side kick to Teresa Palmer. The only reason I was disappointed with her was due to the scripting. She was only in maybe less then a third of the movie and after being rather impressed with her performance in Crazy, Stupid, Love I thought I’d see more of her. Also John Malkovich does a really decent job as the authoritative father figure, but it’s a role we’re all familiar seeing him in. For whatever reason he brings a touch of ‘smart & crazy’ to the character which is almost one of his trade marks.

If you want something that’s funny, and not some cheesy crap like Twilight, then watch this. It maintains the true elements of a zombie film while still catering to the romance crowd and neither story elements overwhelms the other. Also the side stories don’t take up too much time to explain and don’t get in the way of the main story. It’s really heart warming and light despite some mild gore and violent scenes.

8.0/10

7.3/10 – IMDB

Oz the Great and Powerful Movie Review

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Some spoilers ahead!

Oz is a conman who works as a magician for a unknown traveling circus. They travel where-ever and seduces a few local woman and moves on. On one occasion he seduces the circuses Strong Man’s girlfriend and he comes after Oz. So Oz flees the scene in a hot air balloon and is able to escape. Soon after he is sucked into a tornado and transported to the magical land of Oz.

I like this prequel, but it seems to be missing a certain charm the original had, or maybe it’s because I’m not eight (8) years old anymore. Most of the early on scenes bugged me. For instance there are many scenes that were simply drawn out a tad much. Like in the beginning when Oz first enters the land of Oz there’s a extra long scene of where his crash lands in some lake. In the original Dorthy got shot into the land of Oz and INSTANTLY landed on the Witch. The story didn’t take it’s time on random things. It pretty much started and didn’t have random spacing of things with little importance.

Another was a scene where they’re running from some creature that the witch Evanora sends after Oz, right after he lands and The other odd thing was that she some how knew where he is in Oz. I know she’s a witch, but how the hell is she psychic too? Even if she had some kind of witch power to be psychic like the dialogue was worded strangely and the event lost most of it’s meaning. Also the scene that followed it was the two Oz and Theodora running from the monsters and the bridge randomly starts to collapse under them. That’s just so cliché.

Another was the setting up of Mila Kunis’s character, Theodora. To a certain point it didn’t matter she was in the movie till the very end. It’s insinuated that Theodora and Oz slept together and/or were romantic some how. The scenes kinda fizzles due to lack of chemistry between the actors.

Also the transition Theodora undergoes makes little to no sense. Yes, it’s made very clear that she feels betrayed, or cheated on, but since her character was so blatantly in LOVE with Oz I don’t believe she’d change like she did based only on assumptions, girl gossip between her and her sister (Evanora), and NOT waiting to hear what Oz had to say about it all. Most people that are that in love don’t so readily betray those they love. Now I want to say yes it makes sense because she’s a naive panicky person. But to a certain extent it would only make sense if she was maybe five (5) years old or hadn’t experienced any tragedy ever in her life. So simply put: she’s simply too naive to be believable. The only plus to it is that it does help speed up the movie.

Green is the new sexy.

Green is the new sexy.

As for the acting goes everyone did a decent job. Some people complained that some of it felt fake. Well no duh. It’s a movie! I thought some of the acting was hammed up some to slightly pay tribute to the older 1930s Oz. James Franco shinned as a completely insecure, nervous, womanizing, smart con-artist. He seems to play different roles in just about everything he does and does relativity well. But there were certain parts where. Mila Kunis was super cute in the beginning, to the point of being sicky sweet, and later became a well rounded villain after her transformation segment. Said segment was less dramatic then it could have been due to how the audio came out. Its nice to see her as a villain, but considering half her carrier has been “bad guys” or crotchety women it’s not much of a change. Rachel Weisz does a decent job in a stronger female lead, compared to some of her ‘damsel-in-distress’ roles like The Mummy. It was good to see Zach Braff in something other then Scrubs and did a relatively decent job as a supporting role. However there was a few opening scenes that needed tweeking. However, Michelle Williams soft and warm pretrial of Glinda, the Good Witch, that balanced out many scenes that were almost too cute to stand.

Despite all my griping there is a few laughs to be had. Many had me rolling my eyes with a warm smirk. There are a few that are really subtle in their approach so if you aren’t paying attention you might not notice them. The CGI is a fantastic addition and adds some depth to Oz. It is fun to watch, but realize it has a target audience of children under the age of 13. It’s warm, fun, and has a sense of fun, despite it’s slow paced moments. If you’re willing to see some actors/actresses in roles you wouldn’t normally see them in, go see it.

7.0/10 – I hate my rating is so similar to IMDB’s, but it does warrant a theater visit rather then a 6.0 something rating of “see it eventually.”

7.1/10 – IMDB

Please realize this is a PG movie.

Hitchcock Movie Review

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Hitchcock had a lifetime of making stellar suspense movies and helped the horror genera gain credibility as a art form. Some of his greater works were made with his wife. However, from most of the bios given about him they rarely mention her. In this film it deals with a Hitchcock’s stable wife who struggles with her husbands eccentric personality, worries about the state of her marriage, and the possibility of them being poor. Meanwhile Hitchcock struggles with people problems, actresses who are just bad actresses, worrying if his wife is cheating on him, the stress of possibly going bankrupt, and dealing with unreal American censors.

As you can tell from the previous post the main focus on the movie was the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife. Many complained that they didn’t go into other areas much, like Hitchcock’s obsession with blondes, but this movie wasn’t about his idiosyncrasies. It’s about what a woman will do to stay with a eccentric man who loves her. But I can’t blame them, because when you hear “Hitchcock” you don’t think “love story.” He’s name is so synonymous with HORROR and SUSPENSE that I can totally understand why some people went to the theaters and was disappointed when they got something else. So let me emphasis that this is a melodramatic LOVE STORY, with mild violent themes. Also it should be noted that this is a love story between a traditional British couple. So there isn’t going to be any passionate sex scenes. I hate writing this paragraph, but I’m so tired of seeing other reviewers lose focus on what the movie is about.

Anyway, the movie opens like Hitchcock’s old show Alfred Hitchcock Presents which was a joy to see, and a rather humors to any Hitchcock buffs like me. Through out the rest of the movie there’s about a dozen or more nods to other things which are so subtle I doubt anyone would know what they are. Like the small motions that Hitchcock makes with his wife were actually a big thing since most of the proper gentlemen, of the day, weren’t that affectionate, which is what is seen most of the time in the movie. The most affection that is seen between them is their love for making films and how one will come up with a idea and then the other will either finish the sentience or make it better. One of the notable scenes is spoiled in the trailers. There’s a scene where they’re discussing how to kill Janet Leigh and their emotions and minds pretty much synch up to help make the film better.

The acting upon everyone was good for the character they played. Which is odd since the characters they’re playing were all alive at one time…and not to long ago. Helen Mirren almost outshines Anthony Hopkins. Mirren captures a slowly crumbling woman beyond well and held most of the film with the acting. Hopkins was fantastic as the melancholy monotone Hitchcock, but Hitchcock, as a character, has the charisma and wit, but lacks emotion. All of his actions were subtle and, if you have ZERO familiarity with different kinds of people, then you’ll have no clue what he actually means.

Like there’s a scene with Kurtwood Smith where he plays Geoffrey Shurlock, the USA’s censor at the time, gets rather tense and funny. Smith‘s character gives a laundry list of things that he refuses to let Hitchcock show in Psycho. This is a rather tense scene since Shurlock is giving the very apparent notion that there probably isn’t a chance that Hitchcock will ever get to show his film. So Hitchcock starts making dry humor jokes to just about every complaint Smith‘s character had. Many of these snide remarks were hilarious, but I didn’t hear a ounce of laughter in the whole audience. In the words of the late Rodney Dangerfield, “If it got any livelier in here a funeral will break out.” So it was obvious that people thought he was being rude, or something else, other then trying to be funny and defuse the situation.

The addition of Toni Collete (fantastic in Japanese Story) was a really nice touch since she added a quirky shine to the scene when it was mostly drown in melodrama. Danny Hutson seems to be a smarmy older man in just about everything I’ve seen him in. Not that he doesn’t do a good job, but I’d like to see him in a different role. Then there’s Michael Wincott who is exceptionally creepy as Ed Gein (yeah the serial killer Gein) in the brief appearances he was in. Then there’s James D’Arcy. He was the spitting image of Anthony Perkins in almost every way. With a little more screen time he would have been able to compete with Hopkins portrayal of Hitchcock. It was that good.

Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Biel‘s roles were almost a waste, not only due to all the hype they get, but also due to how little you see them on screen. They were OK as the 50’s stereotypical woman, but they were almost a waste to add in considering most want to see more of the both of them (or at least I wanted to see more of Scarlett Johansson). Let’s say in total that they were on screen for about 20 minutes total, for each woman. Half of that was a speaking part which required acting. So they don’t really do anything for a while 10 minutes, except look pretty. Which is disappointing considering there was probably more interaction between all of them then just that. So much more could have been added to the story that would add to the romance plot, but it feels like it was left out for some reason. On top of that Scarlett Johansson didn’t look a thing like Janet Leigh. She looked like a short haired Marilyn Monroe instead. So her and Biel were the worst two in the group that didn’t look anything like the characters they were portraying. Which is bad, and noticeable, since most the other characters were spot on. But then again this is half of Scarlett Johansson‘s roles when I think she could probably do more. That’s why I say they’re bad. She’s a side character, or less, so she rarely gets the recognition she deserves. I mean they’re both on the POSTER for the movie and they get less then 20 minutes speaking time. That just doesn’t make any sense. So basically this is where a main part of the film fails. It doesn’t develop too many characters and sometimes seems to expect you to know them already.

I enjoyed this, probably more then most, due to the fact that it seemed like a more big homage to creative people in love. Also the melodrama was interesting considering how you only ever hear about Hitchcock and rarely about his wife, in most biographies. The scenes were simplistically done to focus on the actors and they shined when it left them to their job. For those who want to see something other then the usual love story, watch this. Other then that it’s decent to watch to see the differences between yesteryear’s media and today’s perspective on suitable movies to make.

8.0 out of 10

IMDB – 7.1/10 as of 01/12/13

Friends with Benefits Movie Review

Jamie Rellis (Mila Kunis; AKA Goddess Pele) is hunting for a new writer for GQ, in New York. Justin Timberlake is a head writer for some geek magazine in LA. She finds his resume somewhere and offers him a job. In doing so she shows him around the city and they get to know each other. During a flash mob he decides to take a job. During a work day they hang out together and decided to be Friends with Benefits.

First off this had a considerable amount of nudity in it for nearly no reason. Secondly, while trying not to be cliché like most love stories, it does veer off into the cliches a more then a few times. I love Kunis in most of her movies and I’ve enjoyed Timberlake in many of his comedic works, but I didn’t care for this too much. The chemistry between the two was more of a ‘friends’ vibe then the ‘lovers and don’t know it yet’ thing. The beginning of the movie was pretty much pretty people having sex. Great! Thanks for reminding me of something that won’t ever happen for me! Asswipe! Then it strives along of lines of them getting to know each other sexually, which really doesn’t add anything to the story line. Humorous, yes, but not much else. It dipped into why they had problems. It had the usual angry brake up and they got back together through help of Timberlake‘s family and friends. The ending was unique, but it didn’t make up for the rest of the film that dragged a little.

When it dives into the actual story: why they both have commitment issues, it does get interesting. Both reasons were different then most story lines, and entertaining. Both were legitimate reasons, but after seeing that both had so much going for them and the only acceptation was that they didn’t have their ‘true love’ then I could have given a crap. They have so much to be thankful for to the point that it shouldn’t have hurt so bad that they were without that one thing. I’ve done it for 20 some years, both their characters sounded like they did it for at least 5 each. Like 4realz kiddies! Ya’ll just need to build a bridge and get over it already. Yeah both had their struggles with their parents, but their characters seemed to handle them well. So what was the big deal? Seriously, their problems weren’t that bad.

Timberlake‘s acting was actually spot on for most of the melodramatic parts of the movie, be he wavered during some of the romantic scenes. Hey, that’s a difficult thing to fake, so oh well. Kunis was lovely as usual, but a few angry parts were a little toned down. Like where she screams “fuck yourself” and walks away from a guy she was trying to day. It was instant and then dropped off with little angry emotion. Richard Jenkins was a great addition to the cast as Timberlake‘s Dad, and his seasoned acting actually helped carry some of the more dramatic scenes. Shaun White, while slightly funny, was more annoying then plausible as a jerk, but hey, he’s a snow border, not a actor. Jenna Elfman was actually decent as a sassy sister and its good to see her on screen again.

This was a decent film. It had it’s laughs, and guest appearances abound would make you think they ALL LIVE IN NEW FUCKING YORK. It’s worth a rental and would be a decent date movie. I’ll admit I own it, but I don’t know if I’ll watch it much.

6.0/10

IMDB – 6.6