Suicide Squad, has been released. I admit, I had high hopes for this one and it certainly is a fine way to get out of the oppressive Carolina heat-&-humidity for two hours, but aside from that, I fear it has little to recommend it. The movie was plagued by rumors of a bad case of "too many cooks in the kitchen" - after the phenomenal success of Deadpool, cast members were rushed back to film some additional scenes to "make it funnier" since, after the less-than-stellar audience reaction to Batman v Superman, DC was desperate to avoid a third straight critical flop.
The film had a big opening weekend, but I predict it fades faster than a firework. The movie's a mess and I'm not sure who to blame. The tone is all over the place, character development is limited to each character getting one pick from the toybox of "tragic character backstories," and could Harley Quinn please wear shoes that are a little more practical for what she's doing? (The booty shorts are altogether another issue - Margot Robbie deserves better and she's going to have a tough, tough time being treated as a "serious" actress while she's taking roles like this. Harley, as I recall her, has considerably more agency and moxie than this lovesick psychopath.) The soundtrack is fantastic, but the way the songs are used makes the movie feel more like a video - there's flash and dash, but there's no there there. And yes, Jared Leto does a nice Joker, but (spoiler!) he's in the film for about ten minutes. It was just disappointing and it could have been so much more.
So why wasn't it? I think it boils down to DC trying to do in six months what Marvel took six years to do. They're too impatient to do a slow, careful build, so you wind up with a hot mess like this. And not all the Marvel movies have been over-the-back-fence home runs, either, but when you're trying to work with an ensemble, it helps to introduce them and give them traits (plural) instead of cardboard dialogue and one note to play. DC wanted this to be their Guardians of the Galaxy. It isn't.
Bad Moms more than I expected to. This one's a rental, but a fun one. There's an unexpected streak of sweet running through this admittedly-raunchy comedy about a mom driven too far by the expectations put on her by her kids, other moms, her work, and her (slacker) husband to be all things to all people, all the time. When Amy (Mila Kunis) erupts, it's cathartic. Everyone who's ever felt overworked and underappreciated will see themselves in this film and if you're a mom, it'll take on a poignant level of "oh God, it's funny 'cause it's true!" Certainly not a documentary, Bad Moms has sympathy for those women who keep the world turning, one car-pool at a time. The filmed is helped by a strong cast (Kathryn Hahn is amazing!) and Christina Applegate as the mom who has it all together and heads up the middle school bake sale like a SEAL Black Ops mission, is worth the price of admission. Jada Pinkett-Smith, however, is criminally underused as a mere "yes, boss" character. Be sure to stay through the credits - there are some wonderful, unscripted bits there with the moms of the main cast.
Stranger Things, start tonight! This eight-episode thriller-mystery is one of the best things I've seen in months and - if you grew up in the 80s, you're going to especially love the nods to your childhood. The events in this movie simply couldn't happen today because no one is going to allow their kids to roam that free anymore. Monsters in the woods aside, that's kind of a shame. (Plus, science teachers just aren't as cool anymore. I blame Walter White. Click here for more information!) Stranger Things will make you consider hanging your Christmas lights early this year, then maybe sitting down with a plateful of Eggos. Winona Ryder, please come back - all is forgiven!