Tuesday, April 26, 2022

RENT-A-PAL (2020)

Denver, 1990.  Forty-years young David lives alone with his elderly mother who needs 24-hour care.  He doesn't work or have any friends.  He also doesn't have any social outlets and the internet hasn't been invented yet, so the terminally lonely David has been trying his hand at video dating.  Things go about as well as you would expect for a chubby middle-aged dude with zero personality and zero ambition.  David's life changes though when he purchases a VHS tape called "Rent-A-Pal".  The tape is nothing more than a funky-looking dude named Andy sitting in a chair talking to the viewer about random crap.  A normal person would take one look at this junk and either keep it to laugh at with friends or roundhouse kick it into the nearest trashcan, but nope, not David.  He becomes obsessed with the tape.

RENT-A-PAL is an enjoyable film with solid acting and a good pace.  It's definitely worth watching.  I was impressed at how skillfully the film presented David's sadness.  That said, the final act is disappointingly weak and while the film is entertaining, it doesn't add anything new to the insane-loner-at-home subgenre.  If anything, RENT-A-PAL kinda seems like a bizarre updated mixture of EVEN HITLER HAD A GIRLFRIEND, REPULSION, BRAINSCAN and a handful of other films.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  I'm all for borrowing small things from older films...as long as you build onto it.  Also, don't present yourself as a horror movie when you're really just a psychological thriller.

This doesn't have anything to do with the review, but on the disc cover there was a critic quote talking about Wil Wheaton (Andy, the guy in the video tape) being a creepy horror villain.  I don't understand what that means because the Andy character wasn't a villain at all or even presented as one!  He's simply a dork talking on a tape.  He was the thing the real life David became obsessed with as his brain melted down.  Like Iris (Jodie Foster) to Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) in TAXI DRIVER.  If it wasn't the Andy tape, then it would have just been something different.  Outside of some off colour commentary and jokes, there wasn't anything odd about the Rent-A-Pal tape itself.  Definitely nothing evil!  You could have given that same tape to Jesse and Chester from DUDE, WHERE'S MY CAR? and it would have be hilarious.  If you don't believe me...the unedited 22-minute video is on the Special Features of the disc.  Watch it for yourself.  It's an innocent and funny ride.

Anyway, good movie. Worth watching, but nothing to get overly excited about.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go change my mother's skin.

Interesting stuff from the DVD extra features...

Tuesday, April 19, 2022


After blowing up half the town of Jerkwater, U.S.A. in the first film, Vietnam War veteran John J. Rambo is tossed in the slammer where he passes the time breaking rocks with a sledgehammer.  Three years later, he's offered a pardon if he accepts a mission to sneak into Vietnam and locate some suspected American prisoners of war.  He accepts, but it's not until he's about to take off on his mission that he learns he's only suppose to photograph the American prisoners, not rescue them.  Things don't go quite as planned.

RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II is one of the best 1980's action movies of all time.  Great acting, awesome explosions, badass sound effects, tons of people getting shot and stabbed and blown the fuck up, torture, memorable bad guys, a very well-written script that keeps the story moving along at a lightning pace, explosive arrows, leeches, strong cast full of familiar faces, a helicopter dogfight, a pit full of pig pee-pee, the guy from Cobra Kai getting kneed in the nuts.  It's awesome!

I could go on about this film for hours, but nobody wants to hear my ramblin' ass bullshit.  If you're interested in the history of action movies and / or American Cinema, then double-feature FIRST BLOOD followed by this film.  Or...if you really want to explode yer ballsack up through the roof of your mouth...double-feature Rambo 2 with DEADLY PREY.

Part 1 - First Blood (1982)
Part 3 - Rambo III (1988)
Part 4 - Rambo (2008)
Part 5 - Rambo: Last Blood (2019)