Firstly let us look at what War Dogs is not. It is NOT the latest crazy comedy from the creator of the classic and hilarious Hangover trilogy. Whatever the posters might make you believe, this is a serious adult movie, far closer to Carlito’s Way than to the adventures of Mr Chow and friends. Yes, the posters and advertising for this have been terrible which might explain its low comeback at the US box office – those looking for an hilarious movie about guns and money are going to be disappointed, this is not funny Jonah Hill territory, this is serious going-for-the-Oscar Hill, and he really shines here. Okay now let’s look at what the film is…
War Dogs is a true story of two twenty somethings who discover a government initiative that lets small businesses bid on American military contracts. As Hill explains, these contracts are merely the crumbs from the pie but to two dudes living the high life, they can change everything. Soon they are making serious money, buying fancy cars and properties and then, of course, hubris comes a knocking and everything begins to fall apart as they find themselves out of their comfort zones, one out in Albania doing all the work and the other back in America just hanging out at clubs and trying to get laid.
Hill is an absolutely wonder, you will love him as usual when the film starts but your feelings for him will change as he manipulates the events to suit himself, leaving his partner in the lurch and quite literally bargaining for his life. This friend is played by Miles Teller, who is charming and likable throughout and you will often find yourself wanting to shout “GET OUT!” at the screen as this family man is suddenly organizing a whole warehouse full of illegal ammunition, the funds of which will help him look after his new born daughter.
The film works best when it just revolves around the relationship between the two main characters, until things get more dramatic, not funnier, when Bradley Cooper steps up to the plate to help them with their biggest mission. His scenes are electric and the film adds a new sense of darkness when he is on screen.
War Dogs is an excellent drama, perhaps it will not find its audience on the big screen, but it has ‘Cult Hit’ written all over it and many are sure to find it on DVD and Blu if the advertising department can just put together an honest campaign. Is that SO difficult?
Okay, let’s get the ‘blah blah Spinal Tap’ bit out of the way first. But I am NOT using that as a diss on the excellent Popstar, this is essentially Tap if they were a super massive pop band rather than metal dudes. Again, you will get most out of the film if you know a lot about the genre that they are lampooning, hell as someone who saw NKOTB a number of times and had all their merchandise, I guess I am one of the target audience. And I fucking loved it.
The Lonely Island shine throughout, you might have only encountered them thanks to the classic Everything Is Awesome from the Lego Movie but as soon as the credits end on their big screen adventure, you’ll be checking out everything you can find about these dudes.
Like Tap, the soundtrack works brilliantly whilst also putting a mirror up to some of the most ridiculous cliches of the genre, ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘Bin Laden’ will have you grooving and laughing in tandem.
Of course, a film like this relies upon the lines you remember and start spouting on your way home. Mine are “People are blowing up my Twitter” “Some of those are probably bots” / “You’re my icon. Right next to Jesus and Morgan Freeman.” and my personal favourite “10 seconds? That is a third of the way to Mars!” “30 Seconds To Mars is the name of a band. It’s not a fact.” Brilliant.
It will take a few more watches or a few listens to the soundtrack to get all the clever lyrics involved, though the one that got me was “I’m OJ. I’m Simpson. I’m Martha. I’m Plimpton.” an obscure reference to one of my favourite actresses there, brilliant.
This is gonna be quite a short review as you are better going into Popstar cold, not knowing the huge list of celebrities and actors who are part of telling this hilarious story. The one I will mention is Justin Timberlake, playing the band’s chef and obviously knowing that the film is very much winking at him from his *Nsync days, just seeing him shows that this is a labour of love rather than a campaign of hate against the acts it follows.
If you have ever been to a pop gig, bought a pop record or checked out MTV back in the day when they used to actually play videos, then Popstar : Never Stop Never Stopping should be at the top of your ‘movies to see’ chart right now. Essential, hilarious, classic.
Thanks to my Monkees buddy WizardlyOz for this excellent picture of my favourite Monkee. 🙂
One of the greatest sci-fi movies of them all is back on the big screen next year. TICKET PLEASE.
Her love was a straw purchase,
She heard my heart beat fast and she gave it away.
All the colours became grey
And everything darkened.
Guess it is true that love is blind.
“Gene Wilder – One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.”
“One question might be could one produce a meaningful ‘TV angle’ and have Goldberg’s first match be at Wrestlemania, which is what I would likely prefer. Unless a handful of key matches could be promoted that would increase revenues for all and get Bill sharp for WrestleMania 33.”