Movie Review: Babylon

To review a 3-hour and 9-minute pile of all-time movie garbage like “Babylon”, I thought I would take a new perspective of some random person thinking of seeing this waste of film and talking to someone who had just seen this monstrosity.

So is this movie any good? No. What is it about? I really don’t know, it’s just a series of mostly disconnected scenes. Some scenes with people making movies, and several wild dancing scenes at two parties. So how did this film start? Well, there was this elephant and a man with a truck who thought he was picking up a horse. So they tried to bring this huge elephant up a mountain using another truck to help tow and the tow failed. So what did they do? Two men actually got behind the elephant and tried to stop the truck from falling down the mountainous road, even though the elephant probably weighed 3 tons. Then what? Well, the elephant defecates all over the entire face and body of some poor immigrant. You’re kidding? I wish I was and that was only the beginning of this disgusting movie. As far as the elephant we never find out how they prevented this poor animal from falling to its death, but they do show the animal later in the movie unharmed.

Then a few minutes later at some lavish over the top party, there is a hooker who stands over the huge stomach of a fat man and urinates all over him. Really? Yes really. Some minutes later there is a midget who is riding a – rubber-pogo-stick-penis. A rubber-pogo-stick-penis? I could not believe it either. Then the penis ejaculates all over the crowd of people. Is this a triple-x porn movie? Not as far as I know. But it sure is one of the most disgusting and bad movies I have ever seen. Later in the film, Margo Robbie throws food all over herself and a crowd of people then leaves the house, then comes back in the house and projectile vomits all over an expensive carpet and then continues to vomit all over a bald fat man. The tell-tale sign of a very bad movie, the horrendous vomit scene. That is for sure. There is a huge muscular man who eats a live rat, later in the movie. A live rat? Yes, a live rat. There is also an alligator and Margo Robbie gets bitten in the neck by a snake. Does she die? No, this Chinese woman sucks the poison out of her neck. Sounds like a high point? It just might be considering how horrible this mess is. The ending was very strange, showing excerpts of other movies and some weird graphical images? Why did they show that? I have no idea. All I know is that I wasted over 3 hours of my life, wondering how or why this level of crap was ever made and somehow got Margo Robbie and Brad Pitt to star in this horrific mess.

We all know that the year 2022 is one of the worst years for the stock market, almost as bad as 2008. This has been a direct result of the fake stimulus thrown at the market starting in March 2020 because of the Pandemic. Unfortunately, this is the first time in movie history that in one year, two grotesque movies, this one and “Everything Everywhere all at Once” have been released and given any positive reviews. In fact, Babylon and Everything both have received 6 Golden Globe nominations, even though both movies are piles of disconnected garbage. What is going on here? Has everyone gone crazy? None of this makes any sense, and for all movie fans around the world, we can only hope that this is not some kind of new strange insane trend, where making insane crap is considered good only because it is so different. Next are the Academy Award nominations and we can only hope for sanity to return.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for this waste of 3 hours are an understandable, but innacurate 55%, with my rating 5% and a resounding miss this horrible film at all costs.

Movie Review: The Whale

The actor Brandon Fraser is one of those actors in Hollywood who show all of us just how difficult it is to reach the highs in the acting profession and stay there for any length of time. You are on top for one year, and then your career can fall off a cliff. With movies like “The Mummy”, “Blast from the Past”, and from the 90’s to “Extraordinary Measures” with Harrison Ford, released in 2010, Fraser had an ongoing and lucrative acting career up until this last movie with Harrison Ford. Then, his career went south. We all forget about all the of actors who just don’t have a career for very long, for reasons that mostly include a movie or two that bombed at the box office. When money is lost on a major movie release, far too often it is the actor who is blamed. Movie audiences are fickle and the sudden availability of a perfect screenplay for the exact right actor or actress is never guaranteed – and is unfortunately, a rare occurrence in the movie industry – with the exception of the very lucky few, including Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.

Sometimes something rare can occur, like “The Wrestler”, released in 2008 starring Mickey Rourke, who at the time was no longer a bankable star. Since then, Rourke has had some success, but now is acting mostly in B, low-budget movies. This is the reality of the acting profession – one day you are up and the next day you are no longer viable, or you are out of the profession entirely. With the release of “The Whale”, where Brandon Fraser plays a morbidly obese 600-pound man and then received a 6-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, Fraser demonstrates an acting ability he never has before – only because he never received a miracle role like this one.

For a film like The Whale where the main character is morbidly obese and almost never leaves his couch, this film is probably the first of its kind ever produced. The story of Charlie, played by Fraser is told in an unusual way. Over a period of several days and weeks, Charlie receives visitors and through conversations with them, we find out everything about Charlie’s depressing life, including the reason for his self-destructive constant eating. Charlie makes a meager income by teaching an online writing class – and with every class, he never shows his face to hide the fact that he is so overweight. Brandon Fraser did gain some weight for this role, but most of his appearance was pulled off by some outstanding makeup and an impressive 600-pound fat suit. As with all stories about extremely obese people, it is always hard to understand how many of them can afford the monthly food bills that would be required to maintain so much weight.

The supporting cast in this low-budget movie is mostly unknown actors, including Samantha Morton, Sadie Sink, Sathya Sridharan, Ty Simpkins, Hong Chau and all of them are outstanding in their roles. The only problem with this movie is that the living room and house that is the majority of all the scenes in this movie are as dark and depressing as Charlie’s life. This can be hard to watch for 2 hours but given what this story is all about, what other choice is there? There are millions of people in the world who live lives like Charlie, despite all the human instincts to just look away.

There is little doubt that Brandon Fraser might not only receive an Academy Award nomination for best actor but has the best chance of winning this year. Considering Fraser’s career in Hollywood just a short time ago, winning an Academy Award for this role will be an amazing and unprecedented achievement.

The Rotten Tomatoes are once again way too low 63%, missing the point of this entire story and its uncovering of a harsh reality of life. My rating is a solid 85% for the acting and the way the story is told and a solid recommendation.

Movie Review: Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody

Starting off with any review of a movie Biopic about Whitney Houston – the choice of the title “Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody” is probably the worst decision I have ever seen for a title in the history of movies. What the hell were they all thinking coming up with such a stupid title? Just about any title the producers could have thought of, would be better than this idiotic one for such an important, sad and significant story about arguably the greatest singer of all time.

Some four years ago I reviewed the documentary Whitney a more complete and accurate description of the tragedy of Whitney Houston – mainly because a documentary is a better vehicle for a story about the extreme highs and lows of celebrity than any movie could be.

This movie succeeds in addressing most of the important high and low points of Whitney Houston’s life, although too much of the first half of this film deals with the “more than just a friendship” relationship that Whitney had with Robyn Crawford. Considering all that happened during Whitney’s short life, showing this much of this one relationship misses the most important underlying message of this preventable tragedy: how one person turned a one in a billion talent into a curse that ended her life in a bathtub after drowning because of drug use at only age 48.

So what went wrong? I remember some years ago reading an ESPN report about a high percentage of NBA and NFL retired players who went broke within 5 years of leaving their sport. The reason is that young athletes have no idea how to manage a great deal of money. They spend like there is no tomorrow, like their sports careers will be going on forever. Many of them forget they have to pay taxes – both State and Federal. It was the same problem for Whitney Houston, played very well by actress Naomi Ackie. Whitney spent far too much money, mistakenly allowed her criminal father to manage her career and even steal from her. She paid salaries to too many of her family members. Money was spent to get her husband Bobby Brown out of legal trouble, far too many times. Money was spent on private jets and too many unnecessary extravagances and drug use. Making a great deal of money requires a great deal of responsibility and know-how. Just like so many formerly wealthy athletes, Whitney Houston should have been a client of a very large accounting firm, that managed all of her money, and her career and gave her a monthly allowance. Surprisingly, when you realize the importance of Whitney Houston’s music producer, Clive Davis (played very well by Stanley Tucci), it makes little sense that Clive did not help her with this extremely important aspect of her career – her money.

Sadly, towards the end of Whitney Houston’s life, she was almost completely broke due to decades of financial mismanagement. All of this led to ongoing circles of self-destruction born from too much too young and an innate inability to tolerate all of the horrible things people say and do, that destroyed what should have been an amazing life into a tragic one. This movie forgot to mention that it was Al Sharpton who called for the boycotting of Whitney Houston’s music because he thought it was too white. Big mouth Sharpton forgot that Whitney Houston was a 19 year old child, terrified over having so much fame and fortune at a young age. Sharpton did not care that Whitney was just doing what she was told to do, because she was so young. What Sharpton did care about was stirring up a frenzy at the expense of a young girl – using once again, his huge big mouth.

One highlight of this film was showing Whitney’s two incredible performances on the Merv Griffin show in 1983 and her once in a lifetime performance in the Super Bowl, singing the National Anthem – arguably the greatest musical performance in front of the largest audience in human history. In January 1991 when Whitney Houston hit this incredible high note, there was nowhere else to go – but down. As I wrote 4 years ago when reviewing the documentary “Whitney”, after “The Bodyguard” released in 1992, Whitney Houston had nothing more to prove and should have retired. As the saying goes, hindsight is 20-20.

I can only guess that the very low 48% ratings on Rotten Tomatoes have to do with the too-long running time of 2 hours, 26 minutes, the important parts that were missing from this story, including the jealous relationship that Whitney’s mother Cissy Houston had with her daughter, the tragic end of Whitney Houston’s own daughter and ultimately the completely absurd title. Once again the critics are wrong and I give this film a solid 80% for the acting, the musical performances and the well-told story.