Year 9, Day 211 - 7/30/17 - Movie #2,700
BEFORE: Adam Sandler carries over again from "You Don't Mess With the Zohan", as do three other actors (at least...). Because once you're in the Adam Sandler pantheon of actors, you'll apparently never be hurting for work. I'm hitting another century mark today, which is usually a call for celebration around here, but since I'm in the middle of this chain of silly Sandler films, the spirit is dampened somewhat. But still, Movie Year 9 is now 2/3 over, with just 100 films to go - I know it's July, but to me that means that Halloween is right around the corner, and Christmas will be here before you know it.
The real reason for getting back on Netflix tonight and watching this film is that I watched "The Hateful Eight" back in January, and the remake of "The Magnificent Seven" is scheduled for late November, I think - so it would be great in my year-end re-cap to put all three Westerns together - 6, 7 and 8.
THE PLOT: An outlaw raised by Native Americans discovers that he has five half-brothers; together the men go on a mission to find their wayward, deadbeat dad.
AFTER: By now, I've seen all kinds of Westerns - old ones, new ones, serious ones, silly ones. Even within the "silly" genre, there are those that take themselves seriously and maintain an air of possibility (like "Blazing Saddles", right up until the last 5 minutes, anyway) and those that don't, like "A Million Ways to Die in the West", which is full of intentional anachronisms and jokes that work because they're aimed at the modern audience. "The Ridiculous 6" aims right down the middle, or maybe it's trying to have it both ways, I'm not really sure.
If I were to take it seriously, and I'm not saying that I do, it would be a quest where a man tries to raise enough money to save his father from a ruthless criminal gang that are holding him hostage, and along the way he happens to meet 5 "brothers from other mothers" who all have different skills that will aid him in his quest. For extra drama, he's also out to avenge his mother, who died protecting him from bullies. But somehow I don't think I'm meant to take this seriously, because the comedy is in the journey, not the destination.
My secret weapon tonight was 2 strong beers, I figured if I could get just a little drunk - not enough to fall asleep, just enough to get tipsy - maybe I could turn off the rational part of my brain that would say, "Hey, wait, peanut butter wasn't invented in 1865, so that joke can't work..." and just relax and try to enjoy the film, not take things so seriously. For the most part that seemed to work, though when a film relies on a burro with massive diarrhea for its gags, you get the feeling that maybe someone's not exactly swinging for the fences.
It takes the first hour of the film to assemble the team, which makes you wonder exactly how much time these guys have to save their father, and whether there actually is a deadline in the first place. Once joined together as a unit, the brothers then have to figure out the location of their father's "biggest score", which is where the gang is heading. Meanwhile they also have to defeat the "eyepatch gang" which is trailing them and trying to get a piece of the action for themselves. Then they score some more money by ripping off a poker game played by some famous historical figures.
They even have time to play the first game of baseball with Abner Doubleday, who seems to be making up the rules as he goes along, all of which are to his benefit. This might have been the funniest part of the film, especially if you ever wondered who stole the first base or why we have the infield fly rule to begin with. I think this sequence sort of saved the film for me, it was certainly funnier than watching Mark Twain using hip-hop type slang or hearing General Custer make a reference to the film "Home Alone".
The other reason for watching this film was that it somehow appeared near the top of IMDB's ratings on the list of films with 2016 release dates. I can only assume that Sandler fans voted en masse to influence the scores. But it was also one of Netflix's most popular films when first released, and again, I think the numbers are skewed there because people could ONLY see it on Netflix, so since the American movie-watching public is currently engaged in a turf war between the various streaming services, I think that as the options for watching certain films get narrower, the ratings are going to be affected by the exclusivity, now and again. For me personally, with more options open to me now (Netflix and Hulu and Amazon Prime, not to mention Academy screeners), that manages to make things both easier and harder. I can track down more films this way, but this often makes it more difficult to know what to watch next, and also what's going to be available to me in the future, and on which platform to view it.
Also starring Terry Crews (last heard in "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2"), Jorge Garcia, Taylor Lautner (last seen in "Grown Ups 2"), Rob Schneider (also carrying over from "You Don't Mess with the Zohan"), Luke Wilson (last seen in "Concussion"), Will Forte (last seen in "Keanu"), Steve Zahn (last heard in "The Good Dinosaur'), Harvey Keitel (last seen in "Red Dragon"), Nick Nolte (last seen in "Run All Night"), Jon Lovitz (last seen in "Mother's Day"), Whitney Cummings, David Spade (last seen in "The Do-Over"), Nick Swardson (also carrying over from "You Don't Mess with the Zohan"), John Turturro (ditto), Danny Trejo (last seen in "Planet Terror"), Blake Shelton (last heard in "The Angry Birds Movie"), Vanilla Ice, Julia Jones (last seen in "Jonah Hex"), Lavell Crawford (last seen in "American Ultra"), Steve Buscemi (last seen in "28 Days"), Chris Parnell (last heard in "Hotel Transylvania 2"), Jackie Sandler (last seen in "The Do-Over"), Jared Sandler (ditto), Julia Vera, with cameos from Norm MacDonald (last seen in "Grown Ups"), Dan Patrick (last seen in "The Do-Over"), Chris Kattan (last heard in "Hotel Transylvania 2"), Blake Clark (last seen in "St. Elmo's Fire"), John Farley, Tim Herlihy and the voice of Robin Leach.
RATING: 4 out of 10 sacks of flour