Lisa Cleans Out Her DVR: Guilty Pleasure No. 33: In the Mix (dir by Ron Underwood)

Back in January, I had to get a new cable box.  Sadly, when the boxes were switched, I lost everything that I had saved on the DVR.  Over a hundred movies and TV shows were wiped away!  However, I did not let this get me down.  Instead, I decided to take advantage of the fact that I now had a lot more free space by literally recording anything that looked the least bit interesting.

Well, the day of reckoning has finally arrived.  It is now March 21st and the DVR is nearly full.  So, for the next few weeks, I am going to clean out my DVR and review what I watch!  Now, I can’t say how long this is going to take.  In the past, I’ve always given myself unrealistic deadlines.  So, this time, I’m not giving myself a time limit.  Instead, I’m just going to start watching what I’ve got recorded and hope that I’m done by 2018.  We’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, I started things off by watching the 2005 mafia romance film, In the Mix.

I recorded In The Mix off of Starz on March 16th.  I did this despite the fact that I’ve actually seen In The Mix quite a few times.  In The Mix, which is technically a beyond terrible movie, is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine.  It’s a bit like From Justin To Kelly or On The Line.  Even though all my instincts as a movie snob tell me not to do it, I can’t help but watch it.

In the Mix stars Usher as Darrell, the hottest DJ in New York.  Every woman wants him and every man wants to be him.  However, all Usher wants to do is hang out with the family of the local mob boss.  It turns out that Don Frank (Chazz Palminteri) was friends with Darrell’s father and Darrell is now friends with Frank’s son, Frankie Jr. (Anthony Fazio).  Frank hires Darrell to DJ his daughter’s birthday party.

(Frankie, Jr. is a white kid who wants to be black.  Personally, I think there’s probably an interesting story in the idea of the son of an old-fashioned Italian mafia don who idolizes — or appropriates, depending on how you look at it — black culture but Frankie, Jr.’s characterization pretty much starts and ends with him saying, “Yo.”)

At the party, Darrell quickly falls in love with Frank’s daughter, Dolly (Emmanuelle Chriqui) and Dolly likes him too.  Especially after he takes a bullet that was intended for her father.  While Darrell is recuperating at the mansion, Frank tells Dolly that she can’t go outside unless she has a bodyguard.  Dolly says that’s fine as long as the bodyguard is Darrell.

And you know what that means!  It’s time for a makeover montage as Darrell gets a whole new wardrobe!  Yay!

Anyway, the plot is about as predictable as the casting of Kevin Hart as Usher’s comedic sidekick and Robert Davi as a sinister gangster.  Dolly and Darrell fall in love but you already knew that was going to happen.  You also probably already guessed that Dolly already has a boring boyfriend named Chad (Geoff Stults) and that Darrell has a crazy ex-girlfriend named Cherise (K.D. Aubert).  And, of course, Frank is not initially happy with the idea of Dolly leaving her rich lawyer boyfriend so that she can be with Darrell.  However, Darrell eventually gets a chance to prove himself by rescuing Dolly from some rival gangsters and he’s welcomed into the crime family.  Of course, he gets shot a second time.  “If the ghetto’s so dangerous,” he says as he lies on the ground, “how come I keep getting shot by white people?”  Everyone has a good laugh as they wait for the ambulance.  That’s the type of movie that In The Mix is.

As I watched In The Mix, I realized that it was actually a lot worse than I remembered and yet, I still enjoyed it.  Why?  To be honest, it all comes down to Usher and Emmauelle Chriqui, both of whom look really, really good and who have enough chemistry that they can overcome an amazingly clunky script.  You reallydo believe that the two of them actually are into each other and you hope that things will work out for them because they’re such a ludicrously attractive couple.  In The Mix is an incredibly shallow and silly movie but the stars both look good when they kiss and, ultimately, that’s what a movie like this is all about.

That said, in the future, I probably won’t bother to set the DVR for it again.

Previous Guilty Pleasures

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  21. Hawk the Slayer
  22. Battle Beyond the Stars
  23. Meridian
  24. Walk of Shame
  25. From Justin To Kelly
  26. Project Greenlight
  27. Sex Decoy: Love Stings
  28. Swimfan
  29. On the Line
  30. Wolfen
  31. Hail Caesar!
  32. It’s So Cold In The D

Playing Catch-Up: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (dir by Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone)

Have you heard of Conner4Real?

If you haven’t, you’re probably just old or else you don’t keep up with what’s happening in the world of popular music.  His real name is Conner Friel and he used to be a member of the Style Boyz.  Of course, the Style Boyz eventually broke up.  Kid Brain became a farmer.  Kid Contact became a DJ.  And Kid Conner — well, he became Conner4Real and he became a bigger star as a solo artist than he ever was as a Style Boy.  His debut album, Thriller, Also, broke records.

But the follow-up, Connquest … well, Connquest wasn’t quite as acclaimed.  In fact, it was hated by just about everyone.  This is despite featuring classic songs like:

Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song)

Mona Lisa

and Equal Rights (featuring P!nk).

Fortunately, when Conner4Real was facing his greatest existential crisis, a film crew was present to record his struggle.  For those of us who were fascinated by the career of Conner4Real, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is a chance to see how Conner dealt with everything from his terminally ill pet turtle to the elaborate marriage proposal ceremony that led to Seal being attacked by wild wolves.  We would have gotten to see Conner and his manager defeat a swarm of mutant bees but, unfortunately, that happened right after the only time that Conner’s manager asked the film crew to stop filming.

Oh well, these things happen.

So, as you should have guessed from all that, Popstar is not a serious film.  It’s a mockumentary, with the emphasis on mock.  It was also one of the funniest films of 2016, a spot-on parody of the silliness and pretensions of fame.  Conner is a combination of Justin Bieber and Macklemore at their shallowest, a well-meaning but thoroughly empty-headed singer.  In fact, if Conner was played by anyone other than Andy Samberg, he would be so annoying that the film would run the risk of being unwatchable.

But fortunately, Conner is played by Andy Samberg.  It’s hard to think of anyone who plays dumb with quite the same panache as Andy Samberg does.  There are plenty of lines in Popstar that shouldn’t work but they do, specifically because they’re being delivered by Samberg.  He brings just the right amount of sweetly sincere stupidity to the role.  Almost despite yourself, you find yourself hoping that things will work out for Conner and the other Style Boyz.  Conner may not deserve to be as big a star as he is but it was obviously going to happen to some idiot so why not a sincere one?

Samberg is not the only funny person in Popstar.  The movie is full of funny people, from Sarah Silverman to Bill Hader to the always underrated Tim Meadows.  It’s also full of celebrity cameos and I have to admit that I usually tend to cringe when I see too many people playing themselves.  But in Popstar, it works.  One need only rewatch something like Zoolander 2 to see how well Popstar pulls off its celebrity cameos.

Sadly, as funny as Popstar was, it was also one of the biggest bombs of 2016.  (The trailer, it must be said, did not do the film justice.)  However, I expect that it will soon develop a strong cult following.  In a few years, we’ll get a sequel.  It probably won’t be as as good.

Oh well.  These things happen.

What Lisa Watched Last Night: The Super Bowl Half-Time Show

As I type this, it is a little after midnight which means that technically, I did watch the Super Bowl Half-Time Show last night.

Why Was I Watching It?

To be honest, this was the first Super Bowl I’ve ever actually seen.  I’m not totally sure but I think this was also the first time that I’ve ever actually seen an entire football game.  I wasn’t planning on watching the Super Bowl.  As a matter of fact, I had already turned down an invitation to go to a super bowl party at my sister Megan’s precisely because I had decided I had no interest in watching the game.  I also turned down an invitation to go watch the game with Jeff’s family.  Instead, I thought I’d simply take advantage of everyone else watching the game by spending all of Sunday on a nice, big shopping spree.  However, about two hours into that spree, my asthma started to act up so I came home early, turned on the TV, and there was the game.  So, I left the game on while I did some online shopping (I nearly bought this until I noticed that it cost $725!) and then once I got onto twitter, everyone was talking about the game so I continued to watch the game and I ended up having so much fun commenting on it that I ended up watching the entire thing.  I do have to admit that I was, for the most part, completely and totally lost as to what was going on but no matter.  I had fun.

Anyway, once I started kinda watching the game, I realized there was no way I couldn’t watch the Super Bowl Half-Time Show. 

What’s It About?

Apparently, every year, some other band plays the Super Bowl during half-time.  This year, the band turned out to be the Black-Eyed Peas.  I have something of a girlcrush on Fergie.  Or at least I did until I saw the half-time show.

What Worked?

Uhmm…maybe this would work better if we start with what didn’t work.

What Didn’t Work?

Pretty much the entire show.  The Black Eyed Peas have been performing this exact same show for a few hundred years now and they could pretty much do it in their sleep which is what they appeared to be doing here. 

However, just saying that the Black Eyed Peas looked bored — well, that doesn’t begin to explain why this show inspired thousands of people to stare at their TV and scream, “Turn it off, turn it off, turn it off!” like George C. Scott in Hardcore.  It’s not just that the show was bad — it was that it was bad in so many different ways and, in each case, it stretched the boundaries of what had previously been considered to be a believable level of failure.

Hence, not only appeared to have been replaced by a robot but he appeared to have been replaced by a robot that was actually Cartman underneath a cardboard box.  Fergie — who, in the past, I felt never got enough credit (her performance in Nine was one of the few exciting moments in that film) — was not only pitchy but actually sounded like she was auditioning for American Idol.  The two other Black-Eyed Peas were — well, who really cares about them?

Then you had the dancers in the neon costumes who all looked like they had wandered off of the set of Tron.  And, seriously, do we really want to be reminded of Tron at this point?

And then, just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, Usher showed up.  “Look,” I said to my cat, “Usher’s still alive.”  “Meow,” the cat replied.  Usher sang a few notes that pretty much evaporated in the stadium and then jumped in the air and did the splits.  Which I guess would have been impressive except for the fact that he’s Usher and guys aren’t supposed to be able to do the splits like that.

I’m sure I could come up with a few more things that didn’t work but, quite frankly, I think my mind is repressing them right now.

What Worked?

Twitter.  In the nearly two years that I’ve been on twitter, I have never seen everyone as united as they were in their general ridicule of the Super Bowl halftime show.  So, in a strange way, the Black Eyed Peas brought the world together for about 15 minutes.

Here’s a few of my own tweets from the Half-Time Show:

Uhmm…is the half-time show a tribute to Tron? Where’s Jeff Bridges?

lol, Fergie couldn’t wait to get away from the rest of the Black Eyed Peas.

The Black-Eyed Peas are reminding me of that Stop Smoking Act from that episode of South Park.

The reason the crowd is cheering is b/c they can’t hear the Black Eyed Peas. That stadium is huge.

Oh good. I was just thinking that only Usher could save the half-time show.

And so, sadly, ends my girlcrush on Fergie.

Oh My God!  Just Like Me! Moments

I can’t sing that well either.

Lessons Learned

The Black Eyed Peas are about to reach that point where they end up with a reality show on VH1.