Way back in 2009, this music video premiered during my favorite episode of Flight of the Conchords,The Tough Brets. That’s the episode where Bret performs a controversial rap, in which he attacks several other rappers. (“Snoop Dogg is not very good. Ice Cube in not very good….”) When Murray suggests that Bret may have hurt the feelings of the rappers that he called out, Bret forms a gang for protection.
Or, at very least, Bret tries to form a gang. It doesn’t go particularly well, though character actor Seymour Cassel does join up at the one point.)
However, before forming the gang, Bret and Jermaine perform an entire song about hurt feelings. This song is also known as Tears of a Rapper and there’s actually several different versions of it floating around. For instance, in a more recent version, the Maid in Manhattan reference is replaced with a joke about how much Bret loves Zac Efron. One thing that always remains the same is that Jermaine’s family forgot to wish him a happy birthday. Poor Jermaine!
Anyway, I like this music video. I like the fact that when Bret sees that his friends have gone to see Maid in Manhattan without him, Jermaine just happens to be there, trying to hide his face. For the record, Maid in Manhattan is actually a perfect reference because it’s the type of bland film that you would be embarrassed to discover someone had specifically gone out of their way not to see with you. It’s the one where Jennifer Lopez plays a maid and Ralph Fiennes plays a politician. At one point, Jennifer Lopez nearly sits down on a magazine that’s got a picture of Ralph Fiennes on the cover and she tells him, “Whoops, I nearly sat on your face.”
Add to that, everyone’s had hurt feelings at some point in their life and therefore, everyone can relate to this song. For instance, I’ve recently been making an effort to obey all posted traffic laws. Would it kill someone to say, “Wow, Lisa, you actually stopped for that red light! We’re proud of you!?”
I used to love watching Flight of the Conchords on HBO. The adventures of Bret, Jermaine, and Murray (can’t forget, Murray!) helped me get through some very dark times. No matter how down I felt during the week, I knew that I’d have a reason to laugh during the weekend.
I guess that’s why it makes me a bit sad to know that Jermaine and Bret apparently didn’t enjoy the experience of working for HBO. When the show didn’t return for a third season, there was a lot of speculation about what happened. At the time, Jermaine said that the show took up a lot of time and that neither one of them was happy with the pressure to constantly come up with new songs and material. In a 2016 interview, Bret explained that the show “basically stopped being fun. It really wasn’t a decision about money. It was definitely a decision about enjoying our lives.”
I can actually understand the feeling and I am kind of glad that Flight of the Conchords ended on a good note. I mean, the show only lasted two seasons but those were two GREAT seasons!
Of course, you can’t talk about Flight of the Conchords without talking about the music videos that aired during the show. For instance, today’s music video of the day originally aired during the second episode of Flight of the Conchords. In the episode, Bret and Jermaine have to figure out how to live in New York City despite having absolutely no money. (I forget how they manage to pull it off.) In this song and video, they describe what it’s like to live under inner city pressure.
Why does this work for me? It’s both serious and funny. The video strikes the right balance between parody and earnestness.
Well, here’s the time that I know we’ve all been waiting for! It’s time for me to reveal my picks for the 16 worst films of 2016!
(Why 2016? Because Lisa doesn’t do odd numbers!)
Now, I should make clear that these are my picks. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the other writers here at Through The Shattered Lens. In fact, I know that a few of them most definitely do not!
What type of year was 2016? It was a pretty bad one. There weren’t many memorable films released but there was a lot of mediocrity and disappointment. Do you know why 2016 was so bad? I think it’s because, if you add up 2 plus 1 plus 6, you end up with 9, an odd number. For that same reason, 2017 is going to be much better. If you add up 2 plus 1 plus 7, you end up with 10, which is an even number that can be cleanly divided.
So fear not! 2017 is going to be a great year!
For now, however, here are my picks for the 16 worst films of 2016!
Seriously, Hardcore Henry is one of the few films that I have ever had to walk out on. I literally got physically ill while watching the film, largely due to the nonstop shaky cam. Seriously — when your film’s selling point is a technique that literally induces nausea, you’re going to have some problems. Now, before anyone leaves any angry comments, I did make it a point to go back and watch the rest of Hardcore Henry before making out this list. Not only does Hardcore Henry feature a nausea-inducing gimmick but it’s also a rather uninspired and dull action film.
Here are six mini-reviews of six films that I saw in 2016!
Alice Through The Looking Glass (dir by James Bobin)
In a word — BORING!
Personally, I’ve always thought that, as a work of literature, Through The Looking Glass is actually superior to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. That’s largely because Through The Looking Glass is a lot darker than Wonderland and the satire is a lot more fierce. You wouldn’t know that from watching the latest film adaptation, though. Alice Through The Looking Glass doesn’t really seem to care much about the source material. Instead, it’s all about making money and if that means ignoring everything that made the story a classic and instead turning it into a rip-off of every other recent blockbuster, so be it. At times, I wondered if I was watching a film based on Lewis Carroll or a film based on Suicide Squad. Well, regardless, the whole enterprise is way too cynical to really enjoy.
(On the plus side, the CGI is fairly well-done. If you listen, you’ll hear the voice of Alan Rickman.)
Gods of Egypt (dir by Alex Proyas)
I don’t even know where to begin when it comes to describing the plot of Gods of Egypt. This was one of the most confusing films that I’ve ever seen but then again, I’m also not exactly an expert when it comes to Egyptian mythology. As far as I could tell, it was about Egyptian Gods fighting some sort of war with each other but I was never quite sure who was who or why they were fighting or anything else. My ADHD went crazy while I was watching Gods of Egypt. There were so much plot and so many superfluous distractions that I couldn’t really concentrate on what the Hell was actually going on.
But you know what? With all that in mind, Gods of Egypt is still not as bad as you’ve heard. It’s a big and ludicrous film but ultimately, it’s so big and so ludicrous that it becomes oddly charming. Director Alex Proyas had a definite vision in mind when he made this film and that alone makes Gods of Egypt better than some of the other films that I’m reviewing in this post.
Is Gods of Egypt so bad that its good? I wouldn’t necessarily say that. Instead, I would say that it’s so ludicrous that it’s unexpectedly watchable.
The Huntsman: Winter’s War (dir by Cedric Nicolas-Troyan)
Bleh. Who cares? I mean, I hate to put it like that but The Huntsman: Winter’s War felt pretty much like every other wannabe blockbuster that was released in April of last year. Big battles, big cast, big visuals, big production but the movie itself was way too predictable to be interesting.
Did we really need a follow-up to Snow White and The Huntsman? Judging by this film, we did not.
Me Before You (dir by Thea Sharrock)
Me Before You was assisted suicide propaganda, disguised as a Nicolas Sparks-style love story. Emilia Clarke is hired to serve as a caregiver to a paralyzed and bitter former banker played by Sam Claflin. At first they hate each other but then they love each other but it may be too late because Claflin is determined to end his life in Switzerland. Trying to change his mind, Clarke tries to prove to him that it’s a big beautiful world out there. Claflin appreciates the effort but it turns out that he really, really wants to die. It helps, of course, that Switzerland is a really beautiful and romantic country. I mean, if you’re going to end your life, Switzerland is the place to do it. Take that, Sea of Trees.
Anyway, Me Before You makes its points with all the subtlety and nuance of a sledge-hammer that’s been borrowed from the Final Exit Network. It doesn’t help that Clarke and Claflin have next to no chemistry. Even without all the propaganda, Me Before You would have been forgettable. The propaganda just pushes the movie over the line that separates mediocre from terrible.
Mother’s Day (dir by Garry Marshall)
Y’know, the only reason that I’ve put off writing about how much I hated this film is because Garry Marshall died shortly after it was released and I read so many tweets and interviews from people talking about what a nice and sincere guy he was that I actually started to feel guilty for hating his final movie.
But seriously, Mother’s Day was really bad. This was the third of Marshall’s holiday films. All three of them were ensemble pieces that ascribed a ludicrous amount of importance to one particular holiday. None of them were any good, largely because they all felt like cynical cash-ins. If you didn’t see Valentine’s Day, you hated love. If you didn’t see New Year’s Eve, you didn’t care about the future of the world. And if you didn’t see Mother’s Day … well, let’s just not go there, okay?
Mother’s Day takes place in Atlanta and it deals with a group of people who are all either mothers or dealing with a mother. The ensemble is made up of familiar faces — Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, and others! — but nobody really seems to be making much of an effort to act. Instead, they simple show up, recite a few lines in whatever their trademark style may be, and then cash their paycheck. The whole thing feels so incredibly manipulative and shallow and fake that it leaves you wondering if maybe all future holidays should be canceled.
I know Garry Marshall was a great guy but seriously, Mother’s Day is just the worst.
As far as recent Biblical films go, Risen is not that bad. It takes place shortly after the Crucifixion and stars Joseph Fiennes as a Roman centurion who is assigned to discover why the body of Jesus has disappeared from its tomb. You can probably guess what happens next. The film may be a little bit heavy-handed but the Roman Empire is convincingly recreated, Joseph Fiennes gives a pretty good performance, and Kevin Reynolds keeps the action moving quickly. As a faith-based film that never becomes preachy, Risen is far superior to something like God’s Not Dead 2.
Mia Wasikowska (who was so great in Jane Eyre,Only Lovers Left Alive, and Crimson Peak) returns as Alice in the trailer for the upcoming film, Alice Through The Looking Glass! Johnny Depp will be waiting for her. However, Tim Burton (who previously directed Alice In Wonderland) will only be producing this installment. Directing duties will be handled by James Bobin.
The film will be released on May 27th, 2016 but until then, watch the trailer below!