Year 9, Day 208 - 7/27/17 - Movie #2,697
BEFORE: Luis Guzman carries over from "Keanu", and Adam Sandler's going to get me to Movie #2,700 - turns out there's a whole bunch of new Sandler films on Netflix, just like there was for last year's animated features. I think he made some kind of deal with Netflix, which could also mean that his films weren't good enough to be distributed the regular way, it's tough to tell. Then next week I can start the final 100 films for Movie Year 9, and I'll kick that off with my Documentary Geek Week.
THE PLOT: Two down-on-their-luck guys decide to fake their own deaths and start over with new identities, only to find that the people they're pretending to be are in even deeper trouble.
AFTER: My fall-back excuse here, because the Adam Sandler films are so often hit-or-miss, is that I needed a few more films to fill up those final 105 slots for 2017, and make everything balance out. So really, it's not my fault if I watch a few stinkers here, it's the schedule's fault - plus that compulsion inside of me that feels the need to organize and rate everything, even the bad stuff. But in the end, how else am I going to recognize the good films, if I don't watch a bad one every once in a while, for comparative purposes.
A little web research gives me a wide range of dissenting opinions about Sandler's move to Netflix and away from the traditional studio distribution system. "It's a smart move, because that's where the money is." "He's essentially quitting the business, by signing an exclusive deal to only stream his films." "He's doing this to avoid the critics, who never liked his stupid movies in the first place." Maybe all of these are a little bit true - but the fact is that he signed with Netflix to distribute four films, three of which I'm going to watch this week - and now that deal has expanded to include four more films in the future, so something must be working.
I'm just glad that I started with this one, because it's thematically in the same ballpark as "Keanu", with two clueless guys getting mistaken for two other guys, and then being forced to act tough and think creatively to stay alive. Here the two friends manage to steal some corpses and fake their deaths, which I imagine many people have fantasized about doing, from time to time. (For me, it's usually right after Comic-Con, when I just want to be somewhere like an island with no other people on it for a few days.)
I think there are just a few too many reversals here, like for Adam Sandler's character, where first we're led to believe that he's an FBI agent, then he says he's not, then he says he works in the morgue, then that turns out to not be true, either - then he says he's a guidance counselor, but is he? Eventually I wasn't sure what to believe about his character, who he was or what his true intentions were. Do we ever really find out, after his quest to improve his friend's life then seems to turn into more of a crime or spy story, then that gets linked to a secret formula that may cure a particular disease. Too many reversals or changes in the explanation for WHY this is all happening can leave you feeling like you no longer no which way is up. And that can make the whole exercise feel rather pointless.
Also starring Adam Sandler (last heard in "Hotel Transylvania 2"), David Spade (ditto), Paula Patton (last seen in "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"), Kathryn Hahn (last seen in "The D Train"), Nick Swardson (also last heard in "Hotel Transylvania 2"), Matt Walsh (last seen in "Get Hard"), Renee Taylor (last seen in "Alfie"), Sean Astin, Natasha Leggero (last seen in "Let's Be Cops"), Catherine Bell (last seen in "Evan Almighty"), Jackie Sandler (last seen in "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2"), Michael Chiklis (last seen in "Eagle Eye"), Torsten Voges, with cameos from Dan Patrick (last seen in "Pixels"), Robert Smigel (also last heard in "Hotel Transylvania 2").
RATING: 4 out of 10 fortune cookies