25 March, 2014

I Guess Jack Reacher is Pretty Good?

Jack Reacher is the type of action movie I can watch and enjoy with my parents.

It's simple, straight-forward and is wrapped around the same kind of familiar, procedural drive that a good Law and Order episode has. All the while it delivers the kind of justified violence that you don't have to think about for longer than the length of the scene. It's good fun and, as Mark Kermode might describe it, is perfectly fine "Tab A into slot B fair."

It's an average movie with some truly excellent moments. The car chase in the middle is excellent, so is the comic turn of most of the film's goons. Then there's Werner Herzog, collecting more money for three days of shooting than he probably has for his last three films combined (and that's a cause worth supporting). There's a lot worth liking in this film. And it's on Instant Watch. What are you doing for two hours that's so important*?

At the end of all of this, beyond whether or not it's actually a good movie or if it contributes anything to the human experience besides a mild distraction against our inevitable oblivion, Jack Reacher is a film that is paying the mortgage of the guy who wrote and directed The Way of the Gun**.

That's a cause worth supporting. The Way of the Gun is one of my favorite, little underseen movies***. I think it made all of fifteen dollars at the box office and thanks to cult heroes like Ryan Philipe and that one teacher from Boston Public (you know, the one that kissed the hot chick who wouldn't wear a bra?) it's never really burned up the midnight movie circuit.

It's a brutal, mean little movie that has the energy of a Tarantino movie and the kind of gritty violence that Sam Peckinpaugh, for all his faults, had perfected. It also has bar-none one of the best gunfights in movie history. As much as the movie might be a bit too clever and a bit too self-aware, it's worth seeing, if only, for the fantastic showdown at the end. It combines all of the realistic geographic intensity of Heat with the fun of an old fashioned Wild West shoot-out. In a perfect world we'd see more of this type of scene, but because less people saw it than populated Andorra, we got berserker editing and slow-mo instead. Because the world is a son of a bitch.

I also spent a New Years Eve watching The Way of the Gun watching this with a girl instead of actually doing anything fun. I'm not saying it wasn't a good choice or a proud one in the long run, but that should be a testament to how much I like that movie. Or how much of a mess my own life is. Maybe both.

By the way, I'm still looking for the jacket Benicio Del Toro wears at the end of the movie, so if anybody has any ideas as to what it is, send them my way.


I do a podcast called White Guys, Square Glasses. . . which will be changing its name to A Quality Interruption very shortly. WGSG/A Quality Interruption is a podcast about movies. Cruz and I focus on a single film for about an hour, picking it apart, and often getting side-tracked by our dopey ideas on narrative theory. It's a good time. Our newest episode is about Near Dark, another little Peckinpaugh-esque blast of darkness and horror.

I wrote some comics. You can pick up the stories I wrote in two anthologies: Old College Comics Presents and The Freshman Fifteen. It's got my stories, along with the entries of a whole lot of other, often more talented, people. It's good fun and you're supporting indie publishing. Buy one today!

I am also on twitter.


*Also, Rosamund Pike is both talented and incredibly attractive! And we're supposed to believe that Richard Jenkins somehow had a hand in producing her!

**Christopher McQuarrie is writing and directing Mission: Impossible 5? Fuck yeah. Good work, Hollywood.

***I even wrote about it way back in 2008 for my college paper. There's a Two Girls, One Cup "joke" on the opposite page. Lord. Were we ever that young?