Good Time Max

 Posted by at 3:52 pm  Comments Off on Good Time Max
Apr 102010
 

James Franco, I want to like you, I don’t know why, but I do. You were alright as Daniel Desario on “Freaks and Geeks.” You were no Bill Haverchuck, but you held your own. I couldn’t of cared less for your role in “Spiderman,” but you really pulled your shit together and knocked one out of the park as the lovably dopey stoner, Saul Silver, in “Pineapple Express.” Even though you haven’t dazzled me, for some reason I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed. But after watching “Good Time Max,” the movie that you co-wrote and directed, I’m throwing in the towel.

“Good Time Max” is a movie about two brothers. Older brother Adam works really hard in school and gets good grades, while younger brother Max prefers to smoke cigarettes and dance on rooftops… and still gets good grades. Alright, skip ahead about 20 years. Max is hard at work dealing drugs until he pisses of the wrong huge black dude by selling him a bogus kilo of cocaine (and also sleeping with his girlfriend). After Max becomes an accessory to murder, he hightails it to California, hitching a ride with his brother Adam who is bound for med school. It doesn’t take a genius to see where this movie’s going. There’s a lot of built up resentment on the part of Adam, because all of his life he’s had to bail out his dickhead brother, and there’s just as much resentment on the part of Max, who just wants to be loved. The two fight inner demons, fight with each other, and eventually learn a thing or two about life and the importance of brotherhood.

If i didn’t know any better, I would have assumed the part of Max was written by a nine-year old. Max is handsome, liked by everybody, and is always the life of the party, but to top it all off he’s also a certified genius. Franco really drives this point home too as he solves moderately difficult math equations (like 36 times 24), lands himself a cushy job writing computer code, and constantly states, “I am a genius.” This would all be fine if it ever went anywhere, but it doesn’t. The genius aspect is completely irrelevant, and though we’re all supposed to connect or relate with Max, I couldn’t feel anything but contempt and annoyance with him, from beginning to end. I think James Franco tried his best, but like swimming against a rip tide, the harder he tried, the worse the situation got.

The cover of “Good Time Max” shows that it was an official selection at the Tribeca, Hollywood, Vancouver, and Austin film festivals, as if having those emblems on the cover will convince you that it is worth watching. I honestly feel that James Franco made this movie in an attempt to grasp hold of some lost indie credit that he never had in the first place. It’s like he pulled a indie movie all-nighter and woke up the next morning thinking to himself, “I could do that.” But he wasn’t going to undertake this challenge alone, so he called up indie darling Merriwether Williams (of Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants and Camp Lazlo fame) to crank out an indie film to end all indie films. It’s not surprising that Merriwether’s only writing experience has been in cartoons, because “Good Time Max” ends up feeling like one big, long, boring live action cartoon.

Don’t waste your time with “Good Time Max.”

I give Good Time Max: an F+ (way to go, genius)

Cashback

 Posted by at 4:38 pm  Comments Off on Cashback
Jan 282010
 

Cashback tells the story of Ben, a heartbroken, young employee of Sainsbury’s Supermarket. When Ben is not busy doing whatever he’s supposed to be doing, he freezes time in order to undress unsuspecting female shoppers. If you think this is the perfect excuse to put a gratuitous amount of boobs in a movie, then you are correct. But guess what else? Vagina! Tons of full-frontal nudity. What could possibly go wrong? You’d be surprised.

The movie begins with a slow-motion shot of a very angry young lady screaming (what one assumes are) expletives. In place of the young ladies screams is a narrative by our┬áprotagonist, Ben. The narrative starts with this opening scene, and it doesn’t stop for nearly two hours! Every single detail of this movie is explained (in further detail) by Ben. Call me crazy, but save that shit for the book. Sure, there is a time and place, but the great thing about film is that it is able to convey all of the unspoken aspects of a film in such a way that a narrative is unnecessary.

Aside from the over the top narration, Ben is just plain boring. I couldn’t care less about this dude. In an apparent attempt to distract us from this point, the writer/director, Sean Ellis, peppers the entire film with outrageous comedic moments. I didn’t find myself laughing once. Every joke in this movie is absolutely contrived. It’s as though Ellis is so pretentious that he cannot allow himself to recognize true humor, and that’s too bad considering the movie is billed as a romantic comedy.

All in all, Cashback is too hip for its own good. If you are in the market for a romantic comedy, check out Out to Sea instead. Seriously, nobody can deny the Walter Matthau/Jack Lemmon power duo. If you are desperate to see a bunch of boobies and a decent amount of trim to boot, watch the first 20 minutes of Cashback. But I imagine you would have a better time finding the same thing anywhere online.

I give this movie: 1 kick to the gonads (out of a possible 1 kick to the gonads)

Synopsis:

Ben, a heartbroken young artist works at a shitty supermarket, complete with a atypical asshole boss, goofy co-workers, and a not so mildly attractive young cashier. While working, Ben often stops time in order to undress ridiculously hot and unsuspecting female shoppers so that he can “sketch” them. Ben is totally bummed about his recent break-up, and spends most of the movie talking about how and why he is in love with the female form. This explanation legitimizes his nasty habit of all but raping ridiculously hot and unsuspecting female shoppers. In a shocking turn of events, Ben falls in love with the mildly attractive young cashier. During all of this, nothing funny happens. The end.

A Second Opinion

I got a joke for you. Okay…what do you get when you mix the narration of “Fight Club”, the tone and abstruseness of “Donnie Darko”, and the character archetypes of Justin Long vehicle “Waiting”? Give up? A six hour long pretentious piece of garbage that plays out like a jumbled mess of watered down bits of much better movies. HA.

But seriously folks, despite all that, Cashback managed to score an extra point with me for having the chutzpah to place not one, but two naked old man farts in between chunks of self-indulgent voiceover within the first five minutes. Kudos, Cashback. Kudos.

-Trent