by Alan Yudman

After seeing I FEEL PRETTY all I could think was, “I Feel Shitty”. Yeah, it’s trite and lame but I couldn’t think of another more appropriate reaction.

Amy Schumer works on the website of an enormous cosmetics company. She sees herself as average looking, and wishes she was beautiful. She uses products, watches YouTube videos and reads magazines all to try to be more attractive. She has two average looking friends (Aidy Bryant and Busy Phillips) who commiserate in their averageness.

The MacGuffin here is that Schumer hits her head when she falls off a bike at spin class and whens he wakes up she believes she is beautiful. She’s the only one who sees it. But immediately acts like the beauty she sees in the mirror.

The problem is I saw where this was going almost immediately. That is only a good thing when the movie is executed perfectly, or in such a unique fashion that you look past that flaw. That is not the case here. I knew exactly what was going to happen and what the consequences would be. That made the time pass slowly and excruciatingly.

The message is a good one. Inner beauty is more important than physical beauty. Real friends value you for who you are not what you are. But it is a message mired in a mediocre script and blase direction.

It’s too bad. There are some funny lines and funny scenes. But they never hang together in a story. There are also great performances from Schumer, Michelle Williams as the beautiful CEO of the cosmetics company and Rory Scoville as Schumer’s love interest. The fabulous Aidy Bryant is wasted here. She is not given enough to do. See THE BIG SICK for what she can bring to a small role. Here she is merely the “ugly friend” (and ugly is a stretch).

I FEEL PRETTY could have been so much better. Instead it is pedestrian and poorly executed. I feel pretty certain this is not worth seeing again.


by Alan Yudman

If you have daughters, BLOCKERS may not be a movie you want to see. Here’s the premise: Three high school senior girls who have been friends throughout their school years make a pact to lose their virginity on prom night. So, yeah. If you have one or more daughters this will stress you out.

But for everyone else, or parents with a sense of humor about it, this is one funny way to spend an evening. I’ve only discussed half the premise. The rest is this: the parents of those three girls find out about #SEXPACT2018 and make it their mission to stop them art all costs. Those three parents are Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz and John Cena. They are a hilarious threesome. Mann is a single mom whose beautiful, popular daughter is the first to commit to the plan. Barinholtz is a divorced and absent dad whose daughter is reluctant mainly because she knows she is a lesbian. Cena is an overprotective stay-at-home dad who doesn’t even acknowledge what is right in front of him.

Mann is always the perfect comic actor. In this case she thinks she and her daughter are best buds and can’t imagine she wouldn’t have discussed this with her. Barinholtz is the stereotype of the absent Dad— permissive and trying to do what he can to win his daughter’s love. Cena is really finding a niche in comedy. His roles always play off his physique. In this case you’d expect him to be the tough, no-nonsense dad. Instead he is the most sensitive of the three.. crying at every key moment in his daughter’s life. It’s a running joke and works every time.

This isn’t the best comedy ever. It has its flaws. Barinholtz’s motivations aren’t clearly drawn. Cena’s status as a stay-at-home dad is presumed and not defined well. The girls motivations are pretty thin and the individual resolutions to their nights seem a bit unearned. But there are a ton of great scenes and great jokes that make you accept those flaws as minor.

The three girls are all solid. Kathryn Newton is having a year. After supporting roles in two Oscar nominated films (LADY BIRD and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI) her star is definitely on the rise. She does nothing to change that in her role as Mann’s daughter Julie. Gideon Adlon (yes, daughter of Pamela Adlon) is Barinholtz’s gender unsure daughter. But the one who steals the show for me is Geraldine Viswanathan. She plays Cena’s “jock” daughter Kayla. She has to display the most range of the three friends. and Visnawathan nails it all. She is definitely the breakout star in this group.

Kudos to Director Kay Cannon and the writers for a portrayal of a young lesbian character. I’m sure there will be critics of how it is sort of brushed off and not really “dealt” with. Here’s a thought. Maybe that’s progress. Maybe treating it as just another story and not attaching huge political or emotional consequences to it means that we are more accepting. Hey, any sign of hope in the era of Trump is worth noting.

Cannon has plenty of comedy writing credits from 30 ROCK to the PITCH PERFECT films. She does a great job directing the action.. keeping it light most of the time and serious when necessary. Looking forward to her next film.

BLOCKERS isn’t going to win any awards, but if you’re looking for a laugh or a dozen in less than two hours, then this is the movie for you.


by Alan Yudman

Marvel has taken a shotgun approach to the themes of its movies. From the self-serious (any Captain America movie) to the ponderous (any of the Avengers movies). From the comic (Guardians of the Galaxy 1 & 2) to the meta (Deadpool). Rarely have they touched on any subject that is of great import to current society in a real way. That is until now. BLACK PANTHER checks that box in marvelous fashion.

I’ve spent days attempting to write this review. Then i realized I cannot fully appreciate how great it is or may be. I cannot fully appreciate the messages it is sending about being black in 2018. I never could. I can be empathetic to its message. I can understand the points it is trying to make but I can never feel it in my bones. And this is a film that is deeply felt. Again, that is very weird for a movie in the superhero genre.

Marvel seemed to be taking a chance in handing the reigns of this origin story to Ryan Coogler who has made exactly three full-length feature films. But was it really that much of a risk? He is the young genius behind FRUITVALE STATION and CREED. It should have been safely assumed that this would be the most thoughtful, socially significant Marvel film we’ve seen.

What really helps focus this film is the goals of the heroes. King T’Challa is not trying to save the world, just his little corner of it. We first learned about Wakanda in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. We saw his father die in an attack on the United Nations and learned a little about Wakanda’s rich deposit of Vibranium, the material Cap’s shield is made from.

There are several tension points. T’Challa’s (Black Panther) internal struggle on how to be a good king, a job he was not quite ready to assume. There is pressure from Wakanda’s tribes on what kind of country they want to be. Continue hiding in plain sight from a world that believe it to be a third world African nation or share its secret power to help lift the oppressed. That conflict is put to the test when Eric Killmonger shows up to challenge T’Challa’s right to the throne. Killmonger’s goals may align with those who want Wakanda to reveal itself, but his motivation comes from hate not altruism. This thoughtful script (co-written by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole) raises issues of isolationism, nationalism, jingoism, racism and altruism that are prevalent in modern American society. It is nearly impossible not to notice the parallels.

And all this is wrapped in a great superhero movie. As I’ve written before, one of the things I want to see in these movies is the main guy using his powers. There are several great set pieces featuring Black Panther being his Black Pantherist. There is cool tech on display and the hero being, you know…heroic. They are not destroying worlds or demolishing cities. it’s small and wonderful.

The cast is simply amazing. There is not a weak performance to be seen. Chadwick Boseman does great work as Black Panther. He is thoughtful, but not weak. Confident but not cocky. The other highlights for me were Letitia Wright (T’Challa’s sister Suri, who is also the genius behind Wakandan tech), Michael B. Jordan (Killmonger), Daniel Kaluuya, Danai Gurira (Okoye, the head of the Dora Milaje an all female unit in charge of protecting the King) and Winston Duke. That’s not to diminish the other performaces, but those all were a notch above.

I feel odd talking about it being a nearly all black cast. That shouldn’t be a thing we have to mention, so now that I have I won’t talk about it again other than to say BLACK PANTHER’s shattering of box office records should put to bed any notion that race has any impact on those who buy tickets. If the movie is good, they will show up no matter what.

BLACK PANTHER shatters so many stereotypes, all while being politically current and entertaining. That is what makes it a film you must see.


by Alan Yudman

For a movie set in the shadows of Disney World, THE FLORIDA PROJECT owes nothing to any Magic Kingdom. Sean Baker (TANGERINE) has figured out a way to tell a story of people living on the margins. The live near Disney, but that is close as they will ever get to the tourist attraction. Close enough to see, but not be part of the fantasy.

The adults act like children and even though the kids act like children, they are forced to care for themselves like the are adults. These are people left out by the rest of society. Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite) are forced to live in a motel located just down the street from Disney World. They have no place else to go. Halley is barely an adult herself and earns what little money she has selling perfume, or hustling stolen park wristbands or just simply hustling. It is a miserable life. Bobby (Willem Dafoe) is the motel manager who is also sort of a de-facto babysitter. He doesn’t want the job, but someone has to keep an eye out for the kids who run around the motel and neighboring businesses with abandon.

The kids start out uber annoying. I kept thinking to myself, “why can’t anyone control them”? But then as things move along, you realize that no one can control them. There is no one to control them. They all are from single parent homes. The parents are working. It’s summer so they have no school to go to. No family to stay with. They would have to scramble and climb just to reach the top of the crack they fell through in society. It is sad and pathetic and gut wrenching. You wait for someone to come to help. But there is no help coming. Only county child welfare officials who are doing whatever they can, but they come off as the bad guys, or the worse guys, because there is no good guy here. Only Bobby seems to be trying to do the right thing, but even his efforts are minuscule in the grand scheme of things.

So you must be wondering by now, why should I watch this pathetic story. Because it is magnificently executed. You hope against hope that things will get better. You root for something good to happen. Baker draws you into this world he’s created and makes you care about these broken people. Brooklynn Prince is amazing. I mean, she is acting like a 6-year-old. How Baker corralled that into such a wonderfully touching performance is a feat to behold. Bria Vinaite is an Instagram star. So how did she land this? I don’t know, but she is fabulous. You feel how much she cares for her daughter, but also how lost she is in the world. Dafoe’s nomination for Supporting Actor is richly deserved. Usually he plays the villain or some kind of oddball psycho. Here he plays the nice guy, totally against type and he is wonderful.

THE FLORIDA PROJECT is a tough movie. It is full of brightly colored buildings and dimly colored people. It is a film i keep thinking about. Thinking about how people could live like this because it is so outside my experience. And great art should make you consider worlds you are not familiar with. It should make you reckon with it. And that’s what makes THE FLORIDA PROJECT such a great film.


by Alan Yudman

From the first moments, the first frames of film you see, it is obvious THE SHAPE OF WATER is going to be a feast for the eyes. Star Sally Hawkins’ Elisa floats down to her sofa in an apartment apparently full of water. it is balletic and soothing. What is not so obvious right away is how Guillermo del Toro uses that languid beauty to set up a drama that is equal parts romance, monster movie and cold war spy thriller.

Hawkins is a mute janitor at some kind of government ocean research lab. Her life is routine. She wakes up, makes breakfast, takes a bath and goes off to work. She also keeps track of her neighbor, Richard Jenkins. He is another lonely soul in a film loaded with them. One day the lab is buzzing because of the arrival of a new “project”. The mysterious container is wheeled into a lab and a curious Elisa puts her hand on the glass window and something jumps at the glass.
Later Elisa finds out it is some kind of amphibious man that is ominously referred to as “the asset”. Michael Shannon is the government agent in charge of the project. He treats the “asset” without compassion or regard for its wellbeing. He is focused on results, getting something out of it before the Russians discover it. He walks around with an electric cattle prod which he uses viciously in one brutal scene. Michael Stuhlbarg is a scientist in charge of studying this amphibious man.

Elisa finds a connection with the creature. Her non-verbal communication works to her advantage. She is not constrained by language. The connection soon turns to love. And when she learns the creature is doomed, she devises a plan to rescue him with the help of Jenkins and her fellow janitor Octavia Spencer.

At its heart THE SHAPE OF WATER is a romance about lonely outsiders who find each other. Each main character has an “otherness” about them. Elisa is mute. Jenkins is a gay, former graphic artist who apparently had some kind of drinking problem. Spencer is African-American (in this time frame, she is an outsider). Shannon is alone in his own villainy. Stuhlbarg has his own outsider story that is too key to the plot to reveal here. They find themselves intertwined trying to deal with the ultimate outsider, a sentient fish-man. But their interactions are all unique, for love or country or loyalty.

del Toro weaves the three themes I mentioned earlier without a hiccup. The stories come together flawlessly. The message is clear, but he doesn’t beat you over the head with it. The visuals wash over you like the water that is a running idea throughout the film. It is engrossing. You are sucked in by the romance and beauty. You are kept intrigued by the spy thriller elements and the desire to see if love will indeed conquer all.

I had a couple of small issues with the film. One involves what I thought was a completely unnecessary scene where Jenkins hits on a counter-boy at a pie shop. I didn’t need to know more about him. It was a little distracting. The other involves a climactic scene between the creature and Elisa. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it didn’t feel honest to what we had come to learn about her.

The acting is beyond great. Hawkins is marvelous in a role where she doesn’t speak at all. Jenkins is the audience’s conscience, but is a subtle guide. Shannon is menacing and evil. For me, he is what I call a phone book actor. He could read the phone book and I’d show up to watch. Stuhlbarg gives another riveting supporting performance (see CALL ME BY YOUR NAME). And Octavia Spencer is good, but doesn’t get enough to do. And please do not dismiss Doug Jones’ work as the amphibious man. He and Andy Serkis are masters of this type of acting and it should not be overlooked,

del Toro is a genius in the genre of monster movies. The HELLBOY films, PAN’S LABYRINTH and PACIFIC RIM are examples of how he is more about shock and awe. He is about heart and feeling. It really is a wonderfully amazing skill to make these types of films more accessible to everyone. THE SHAPE OF WATER has everything an Oscar voter could want. And that is good news for audiences too.


by Alan Yudman

There is little doubt that Aaron Sorkin is among the best screenwriters. But he’s never directed a movie. Until now. Sorkin makes his directorial debut with MOLLY’S GAME. And it mostly works.

Jessica Chastain is Molly Bloom, a former champion moguls skier who is forced to retired after injury. Her plan is to go to law school. She moves to Los Angeles and in need of a job hooks up with a connected guy who runs a back room poker game. She realizes she has an affinity for running the games and a natural camaraderie with the players. She eventually moves on and runs her own high stakes game. Molly is too trusting and that causes her to lose the L.A. game and she moves to New York where she starts over. There are much shadier characters involved and eventually she starts skimming money for herself. That’s where she bumps up agains federal law. Who knew it was legal to run a poker game as long as you didn’t take a piece of the pot. That’s where she got in trouble with the feds.

But this isn’t only about the poker games. In flashbacks we see she was always a rebellious child, testing her demanding father (Kevin Costner) and growing to hate him for pushing her. Side note, her brother is Jeremy Bloom, former Olympic champion who also had a short NFL with the Eagles and Steelers. Molly is kind of out on an island by herself. She has no “muscle” to collect on outstanding debts. The stress has forced her to start taking drugs. It all is going quite sideways when the Feds finally arrest her.

Chastain is fabulous. It’s a great part for her and she is a natural for Sorkin’s rapid fire dialogue. She has to carry the movie and it rests easy on her shoulders. Idris Elba plays her lawyer. Man, he is just a great actor. In everything. Even bad movies, he’s the shining light. The Sorkin banter between him and Chastain feels organic, even if the style can seem a bit stilted. MIchael Cera also has a great small role as an anonymous Hollywood actor who plays in Chastain’s game. He’s got a darkness in this role that I don’t know that I’ve ever seen from him.

The script is fabulous. I am biased. I love everything Sorkin writes. I’m envious, jealous and in awe all at the same time. But his directing… well, let’s just say that is a work in progress. His sometimes word heavy dialogue needs some kind of balance from the director. But you don’t get that here. It’s most annoying in the opening scenes of the movie where Chastain is skiing and explaining everything and well, I didn’t get lost but it was a lot of sensory input. When he doesn’t attempt to imprint a style on the direction is when it works best. The movie is also a little long.. could have lost about 20 minutes. Some may not like the emotional payoff between Molly and her father, but it worked for me. I got choked up. Maybe I”m getting soft.

Sorkin’s writing is a sure thing. The directing right now feels a little like he’s bluffing with a pair of 3’s. But sometimes the guy with the worst cards wins the pot. And in this case, MOLLY’S GAME is a safe bet.


by Alan Yudman

It is hard not to like THE POST. Spielberg, Hanks, Streep. Its success and quality are pretty much a guarantee. But the question, “does it work?” has been nagging at me for about three weeks. The answer is not cut and dried.

The publicity sells the movie as the story of the Washington Post’s publication of the Pentagon Papers and a flag waver for journalism. That’s part of it. The other part is the story of Katharine Graham, the late publisher of the Post. Graham inherited the paper from her father, Eugene Meyer. When he stepped down he appointed Katharine’s husband, Phillip Graham as publisher. But in 1963, Graham committed suicide. That left Katharine in charge. She was a Washington, D.C. socialite and while she ran the paper, the movie portrays her as an unsure figurehead who relied heavily on the board of directors for guidance. At the time of the Pentagon Papers, The Post was preparing to go public for the first time. Any controversy could scare off the banks backing the offering.

In the middle of this corporate drama, the New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers. This was a classified analysis ordered by Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara evaluating the U.S. role in Vietnam. Basically, it detailed deception and lying on the part of Presidents going back to Harry Truman about what was really going on in Southeast Asia. And it was buried. But Daniel Ellsberg in a fit of conscience, and some might say patriotism, leaked the contents.

The Washington Post’s irascible editor Ben Bradlee did not like getting beat by the Times, but when a court order prevented the Times from publishing any more of the Papers, they were leaked to the Post.

That long explanation sets up the dramatic tension in the film. Should Graham publish and risk the public offering which will help the financially strapped paper or should she play it conservatively? It’s no spoiler to say The Post published.

The “how the sausage is made” part of the movie is ok, but kinda falls a bit flat when compared with movies like SPOTLIGHT or ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN. Those make the process more dramatic. And because that’s not the total focus of the film it doesn’t get enough time to breathe. The part that totally worked for me was Katharine Graham’s story. Her evolution as a leader and a woman in power sent a sublime message, especially in these times where women’s treatment in the workplace is the focus of so many ugly stories. Graham was friends with Robert McNamara, so the dynamic was not just about the Post, but about her breaking free of her circle of privilege. That, plus the overarching message about the necessity of press freedom in the era of Trump made the movie work.

There are great performances all over. Meryl Streep is Meryl Streep. She hits the right notes without making Graham seem too “pearl clutching” or too badass. Bruce Greenwood is fantastic as McNamara. He’s got him nailed. It was a great, yet important small role. Tom Hanks was very good as Bradlee. But it took me a while to come around to that conclusion. First, I cannot think of Bradlee without thinking of Jason Robards’ Oscar winning performance in ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN. So, it took me a while to forget I was watching Hanks and get into his performance. But like Streep, he is fabulous in just about everything he does.

In the end, I enjoyed the movie very much. It fell flat on a couple of counts for me so I can’t say it was one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. Steven Spielberg put another project on hold to rush THE POST out this year. He thought it was that vital for people to know the story. Maybe if the movie was allowed to bake for another few months, some of the problems could have been ironed out. But given the current political climate it is immensely important.


by Alan Yudman

The fist word that comes to mind after seeing PHANTOM THREAD is “luxurious”. The second is “disturbing”. From BOOGIE NIGHTS to INHERENT VICE, the latter is Paul Thomas Anderson’s specialty. Visually stunning works of art that have a darkness just beneath the surface. His latest is no different.

The film washes over you like one of the couture dresses Reynolds Woodcock creates for the best of British society. Daniel Day-Lewis is the fastidious dress designer. He wants his life just so. He must control every aspect of it.. even his his soon to be former belle who confronts him at breakfast one morning and is gone by the afternoon. That so upsets Reynolds that he heads off to his country home. While eating breakfast (the most important meal of the day and of this movie), a waitress catches his eye. He flirts, they have dinner, he makes her a dress.. a romance is born. That waitress is Alma, played by Vicki Krieps in a dazzling performance. She has to match Day-Lewis scene for scene and holds her own dueling with one of history’s greatest actors. Holding Woodcock’s business and life together is his beloved sister Cyril, whom he calls “my old sew and sew”.. get it? Lesley Manville is also marvelous. She knows when to push and when to just go along with Woodcock’s eccentricities for the good of the business. Other characters flit in and out of the film, but it is built around these three.

It’s not hard to identify PHANTOM THREAD as a love story. How Alma falls in love with Reynolds because he lavishes her with beautiful dresses and a fine life. But she bumps up against his anal-retentiveness and tries to change him. That’s where the movie gets dark. But it is done with such style and good humor that you don’t see it coming.

It could be easy for the style to overwhelm the substance here. But Anderson would never let that happen. He uses the style to enhance the substance. The sweeping camera shots in Woodcock’s house/studio. The way the dresses flow land billow like great waves crashing over the film. The production design and cinematography are married to the score and the sound design. Jonny Greenwood’s score is marvelous and brings that sense of style and luxury to ever scene. The sound design is amazing. Every pull of a thread, every piercing of a piece of cloth, every scrape of knife of toast or chewing of food is enhanced and helps set up the tone and story. The art direction, the cinematography (Anderson is the uncredited man behind the lens), the wardrobe. It is all absolutely perfect. Nothing extraneous. Everything serves the story.

Anderson shot this in 70MM. I can’t imagine this in any other format. The use of film over digital is another perfect choice. The warmth and depth of color and imperfections cannot be matched by digital. And they fit this film perfectly.

Day-Lewis announced his retirement earlier this year, meaning that this is his final film. It is a typically outstanding performance. He has all the quirks and mannerisms of an eccentric designer down perfectly. His look, his choices cannot be matched by any other actor. When they take close ups of his hands, you can see scars from being poked by a needle. That is next level preciseness. That’s what makes a great actor. That attention to detail and he will be sorely missed.

PHANTOM THREAD takes a dark and disturbing turn in the final third of the film. It’s not unpleasant, but fits given how it was all set up. It is Anderson’s special genius to tell those kind of stories so well. He wraps the audience in beauty, but somewhere there is a Phantom Threat waiting to be pulled. That’s what makes his movies great. And that’s what makes this film one of the year’s best.


by Alan Yudman

A friend once asked me if I had seen THE ROOM (see link). I hadn’t so he loaned me his DVD copy and told me to “enjoy”. Yeah… enjoy is the wrong word. It is generally considered to be the worst movie ever made. It has become a favorite of midnight screenings where people dress up like the characters and throw things at the screen. But the story of how it was made and the man who made it are more compelling than anyone realized at the time. That story inspired James Franco, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg to make THE DISASTER ARTIST. And we are all better for it.

This is the story of Tommy Wiseau. I’d tell you who he is, but even 14 years after he made this steaming pile of doo doo, no one really knows who he is. He speaks with an obvious Eastern European accent, but insists he is from New Orleans. He financed THE ROOM out of his own pocket, but no one knows where he got his money. See, a mystery. Wiseau meets Greg Sestero in a San Francisco acting class. The pretty, but largely untalented Sestero is impressed by Tommy’s passion and he two hit it off and decide to move to L.A. to become actors. Here’s the problem, they are botah terrible and cannot get hired. So at Sestero’s urging, Tommy makes a movie on his own. Voilá, THE ROOM was born.

This is the best thing I have ever seen Franco & Co. do. It’s not their usual half-funny stoner comedy. This is a compelling story that is well told. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber adapted the screenplay from Sestero’s book about the making of the original movie that he co-wrote with Tom Bissell. Franco takes that script and breathes even more life into it. But it’s not just his direction. He plays Tommy and it is a spot on imitation of Wiseau. He has his speech patterns and accent down perfectly. I don’t think he his mocking him, it is a loving portrayal. Sestero is played by Franco’s brother Dave, in my mind the better Franco. He hits the notes perfectly.. embracing Sestero’s lack of talent and passion for acting. The film is also loaded with small roles for great comic actors. Rogen (less of Seth is always preferable), Melanie Griffith, Sharon Stone, Judd Apatow (as himself), Paul Scheer, Hannibal Buress, Jason Mantzoukas, Megan Mullaly, Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron, Ari Graynor, Jacki Weaver…. that’s only a partial list. Each one is fabulous.

It’s obvious the regard Franco has for the source material. Each re-shot scene from THE ROOM is spot on. It’s an exact duplication (stay for the credits and you’ll see what I mean).

Even if you have not seen THE ROOM, you will be able to appreciate THE DISASTER ARTIST for what it is, an incredibly interesting story that is very well told.

I only have one more thing to say… “I DID NOT HIT HER, IT’S NOT TRUE! IT’S BULLSHIT! I DID NOT HIT HER! OH, HI MARK”.


Editors note: I am reposting my review of THE ROOM because of the release of THE DISASTER ARTIST. A review of that film is coming soon.

There are movies that are so bad that you have to watch them just so you can say, “yeah, I saw that…. 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back. THE ROOM is just that kind of movie. It’s billed as a “black comedy”. All the humor here is unintentional and at the filmmaker’s expense. The plot is pretty simple. Johnny and Lisa are engaged. Johnny is loving (even though his accent and long hair make him appear to be a Bond villain), Lisa is a manipulative bitch who doesn’t love him anymore and wants to sleep with Johnny’s best friend Mark. Wait, didn’t I see this on “Days of our Lives” in the ’80’s? That’s it, that’s the plot. Oh, but the execution. That’s where this goes from simple to simply horrible. Characters just all of a sudden show up with no explanation. Then they disappear just a quickly, never to be seen again. The dialogue is wooden and at times makes absolutely zero sense. The acting is well, some porn actors are better (not that I’ve ever seen any). And speaking of “porn”, there are soft core sex scenes sprinkled throughout the movie that are scored like some power ballad by a failed ’80’s hair metal band. You should wear a neck brace to guard against the sudden turns the movie takes without warning. In one scene Lisa’s mom drops a bombshell about her health in the middle of a conversation like she’s talking about the weather. And Lisa reacts like that’s exactly what her Mom just told her, “Dear, it’s going to be sunny tomorrow”. Then there is the 18-year-old kid who is Johnny’s charity case, paying for his school and apartment. And we’re supposed to believe Johnny’s doing this just because he’s a big softie. Oh, and footballs. The guys are forever tossing around a football for no apparent reason, I suppose because “that’s what guys do when they get together”. It’s inexplicable. Then, in the final scene the whole thing takes a huge turn that really makes no sense whatsoever. Maybe you could watch this and play a drinking game.. take a shot every time Johnny laughs like an idiot or Lisa acts like a bitch. Better yet, drink before you see THE ROOM. I probably should have, it would have been easier to swallow. — Alan Yudman