Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Jack Reacher

Superbad bowl of vanilla ice cream Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) teams up with a comely defense lawyer (Rosamund Pike) to defend a former soldier who may or mayn’t have shot five random people. What deadly conspiracies, possibly involving Werner Herzog, might they uncover? Have a scorecard at the ready and put on your thinking cap, because, according to one Netflix reviewer, “The plot is intellectual which offers reasonable amount of brain challenge.” Nuff said...sort of.

  • Only knowing the title of this movie, you might think it was: 
    • An Adam Sandler vehicle about a man who can telepathically control a certain type of cheese. = -3pts
    • A straight-to-video spinoff of Ja Creature, the classic Jamaican horror film. = +4pts
    • A Hallmark TV special about a young man who struggles to live a normal life after he discovers his arms are too short for masturbation. = +10pts
  • Opening sniper scene is pretty chilling. = +12pts
  • District Attorney Rodan? RAWWWK RAAAWWWK! = +7pts
  • The guy arrested for the shootings may be Cate Blanchett’s transgender doppelganger. = +6pts
  • Lines in the film that sound dirty, but actually aren’t:
    • “Get Jack Reacher.” = +2pts
    • “How do we find this Reacher?” = +2pts
    • “Excuse me sir, there’s a Jack Reacher here to see you.” = +3pts
    • “That’s right, I know about Reacher.” = +4pts
    • “You don’t look like a Jimmie.” = +7pts
  • Helen and Jack suffer from facesdriftingtooclosetogetheritis. Side effects include sexual tension, quivering lips, and almost kissing Tom Cruise.  = -7pts
  • WERNER HERZOG! Hopefully, the next plot twist involves him lifting Tom Cruise’s ego over a mountain. = +23pts
  • Avoiding product placement by going to a store called Default Auto Parts. = +3pts
  • Jack Reacher mansplains abusive relationships to an abused woman. = -13pts
  • Using a guy’s head to beat another guy’s head. = +12pts
  • Jack Reacher only drives when he can steal a car. = +6pts
  • You’ve just watched a man you’ve never seen before step out of his car, while it is still moving. This man lets his car keep rolling and crash into other cars, maybe other people. The cops speed by, chasing after the car. You decide that the best thing to do is to hand your hat to the man, to help him blend into the crowd. You are a strange person. You make strange decisions, and the people around you are also strange, because they have all been watching too, and have silently decided that they agree with you. The best thing to do at this moment is to protect this stranger. Protect him from lawfulness. = -25pts
  • Did Robert Duvall just leave the counter of his gun range unattended to hang out with Jack Reacher? = -5pts
  • Helen Rodin, best defense attorney ever, attempts to help her client by getting tazed in the elevator. = -9pts
  • “I’m going to beat you to death and drink your blood from a boot.” = +7pts
  • Roping a kindly old Robert Duvall into a deadly shootout. = -8pts
  • Robert Duvall turns out to be a crappy ally with bad aim. = -5pts
  • Fortunately, the villains are also crappy shots, firing at random rocks and trees. = +6pts
  • Sneaking up on the bad guys in the inconspicuously giant and noisy quarry truck. = -3pts
  • Throwing your gun down to beat a guy in a fair fight.  Then when he’s down, killing him anyway. = +0pts (+9pts For keeping half your promise by using your boot to do so; -9pts, For not drinking the blood like you promised.) 
  • Jack Reacher threatens villains with lines we’re not quite sure make sense, like, “I was born in October. When I get to my birthday I’ll pull the trigger. One, two…” = -2pts
  • Werner Herzog, no! Do not kill Werner Herzog! Werner Herzog has the most interesting character in this movie! He’s also WERNER HERZOG. DO NOT KILL – NOOOOOO!  YOU BASTARDS!!!! = -23pts
  • Jack Reacher doesn’t care about “the law” or “proof,” just “what’s right?” This, again, is strange person thinking. Audience members who agreed with this sentiment at test screenings received free psychiatric evaluations at the door. = -6 pts

Total Score: +5pts
Available on: Netflix

The problem with Jack Reacher is that it grabs you at the beginning, and then at some point, lets you go. After an hour or so, you realize you’ve spent a good amount of time staring at your ceiling, thinking about dinner, but you can pick up the plot thread again, no problem. That’s too bad, because there’s a serious issue in Jack Reacher worth considering: Is it really ok to accept Jack Reacher, the character, as a righteous vigilante? He’s a superman who comes out of the woodwork to dispense judgment as he sees fit. Usually, we accept this sort of behavior in superheroes because they wear funny costumes, but we aren’t allowed the benefit of a funny costume to distract us from the shady ethics of Jack Reacher, because Jack Reacher is Tom Cruise, and he’s too hot to ever be wrong, right? We’re supposed to take it for granted that he’s a good guy, that’s why. And if you ever see Tom Cruise step out of a moving vehicle and try to hide from the Feds, you’d better hand him your hat, and play it real cool, because we’ve all pitched in good money to support this guy’s career. Come on, baby. Don’t fear the Reacher.

Score Technician:  Alex Pearlstein

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