Thursday 3 June 2021

Rob's Movie Night Roundup - J (Jack Reacher, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot)

At the beginning of the year, my wife and I decided that we'd like to watch more movies. There are 52 weeks in a year, 2 of us, and 26 letters in the alphabet. What better way to choose some movies than to go alphabetically? The only rule: Where possible, it should be a movie that one or more of us had never seen before. Oh, and ideally it should be part of one of the copious online streaming services we're already subscribed to, because why bother paying for a rental when we're not short of options?

Incidentally, if anyone from the big online streaming service providers is reading this (your Notfluxes or your Prims, for example), please make it easier to search for/sort movies alphabetically. Thanks.

Also, fair warning: There may well be movies that appear on this list that you'll find hard to believe I haven't seen before. It happens.

Previous letters are here: A B C D E F G H I


Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins

Synopsis via IMDB: A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims.

Let's get one thing out of the way first: Tom Cruise does not fit the description of the Jack Reacher from the books by Lee Child. Lee Child himself has made noise to that effect, despite being very positive on Tom Cruise as an actor and a human being. I know. I also don't very much care. Tom Cruise plays Jack Reacher in this film and future projects will involve someone else. Let's move on.

I went into this film as a person who's read two or three of the Jack Reacher series, and so was a little confused as to why the ninth book was chosen. Having said that, from the admittedly vague recollection I have of the first two or three books, the Jack Reacher series often tell standalone stories with very little in the way of continuous plot threads from novel to novel. Maybe it didn't really matter which one they chose as any of them would've worked equally well. In any case, they chose One Shot and built from there. I haven't read it, but I'd happily do so if the film is anything to go by.

In terms of overall feel, Jack Reacher feels like a pretty standard action movie fare with the slight oddity of having a more drifter-like protagonist, but Reacher as a character still has all the action movie stuff working for him; he's handy in a fight, drives muscle cars like an absolute fiend (and you can bet that really was Mr Cruise himself driving) and has a keen investigative mind. Cruise, the physical presence notwithstanding, brings all of this stuff across in his own inimitable way. I like Tom Cruise. He's a solid actor, and I get the feeling he's probably a nice bloke to talk to as long as you keep to certain subjects.

In short, the film was enjoyable but I can't imagine myself going back to watching it multiple times. What it does, it does well. It's got some cool action set pieces, the plot has a decent amount of intrigue with a couple of small turns to keep it interesting and it's got Werner Herzog being his unique self *and* Rosamund Pike being awesome. Lots to like, and I almost found myself watching the sequel as the other "J" movie just because it felt like a safer pair of hands than it did going in.

Director: Kevin Smith
Stars: Joey Lauren Adams, Ben Affleck, Fred Armisen

Synopsis via IMDB: Jay and Silent Bob inadvertently sign away their names and rights to the new Bluntman and Chronic movie. Now they head to Hollywood to stop the film from being made. Along the way Jay discovers that he is a father.

However, watching Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is not what we did. While idly browsing Netflix one evening, I noticed that one of the new movies met the criteria *and* represented a film I'd been interested to see since hearing about its production. As a fan of Kevin Smith's movies growing up, particularly Dogma, I have been invested in Jay & Silent Bob as characters since first seeing them in...I want to say Dogma was actually the first one I watched. Certainly Clerks was not the first I watched from his films, I feel like I came to that one later.

But I digress.

I enjoyed Jay & Silent Bob Reboot. It draws a lot of similarities from Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, as the name might suggest, but the story has a lot of heart mainly centered around Jay's newly-discovered life circumstances over the course of the film. With nods to the whole "reboot" formula (which Smith himself knowingly nods to), the movie brings back a lot of actors and often the characters they've played in previous Kevin Smith movies. It made me chuckle a fair few times, and some of the cameos put a big smile on my face (at one point I audibly said "Oh cool, it's Chris Jericho" which I haven't done for a fair few years as I don't watch wrestling as much anymore). It was nice to see the contrast between the first Jay & Silent Bob movie, centered around "Hollywood is making all the superhero movies", and the latest being based around reboots being en vogue. It gives it a certain historical context which I think serves it well, and having Kevin Smith play himself in this film served the story well and made for a few easy lay-up jokes.

A couple of things didn't make a whole lot of sense besides "this would make for a funny set piece" worked backwards, but largely the movie was an enjoyable time for me. However, it was largely baffling for my wife as someone who has never seen a Kevin Smith movie. Some might argue that this is to be expected, but it can't hurt a film to be able to stand on its own two feet independently of other movies. It's not like it's a numbered series, where the previous movies should understandably form part of your watch history going in.

In short, if you're a fan of the View Askewniverse, this is worth a watch and will give you a few laughs. If you're not, there isn't a huge amount here that you can't get from another film.


Did you enjoy the roundup? Let me know! If you have thoughts on the movies chosen and their respective writeups above, you know where to find me. Maybe you don't, but there are buttons everywhere to make that happen. Comments, Twitter, you name it. Moreover, if you want to make use of this movie night format, bearing in mind you're going to have to zip through them or jump straight in to play along, feel free to do the same - I'd love to know what you chose too!

Rob Wade

Rob Wade blogs about stuff he likes. Whether it's video games or geek media for Emotionally14 or writing about speculative theories for future films on Talk Star Wars, the focus has always been on the stuff that brings the most pleasure to his life within media.

Rob is the editor of Emotionally14, and showrunner of the E14 podcasts "The Crazy Train", "The E14 Gamecast" and "Talk Star Wars", as well as the host and guest of a number of pieces on E14's Youtube channel over the years.

No comments:

Post a Comment