I saw two new comedies over the past weekend and both films happened to give the opposite effect that I was expecting when going in. While one was underwhelming considering the cast is one of the best ensembles I have seen in a while, the other I think will be one of underrated movies of 2018. Can you guess which is which? People watch and view movies for their own reasons and what they want to pull from it. I do my best to go into each film with an open mind and remember that while my opinion is being presented for everyone to see doesn’t make it the only opinion nor do I represent the opinion of others. This review will be a true testament to how I review movies from an entertainment value perspective.
First up is Ocean’s Eight, directed by Gary Ross and starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and many more. Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, No relation to Frank Ocean, but relation to Danny Ocean as siblings. Recently released on probation she goes back into her old habits and gathers an all-female crew to pull off a heist at the Met Gala in New York City.
Don’t you just love it when siblings in movies always have the same first name initial? As if we wouldn’t believe they were related unless their name started with the same letter. With movies being remade or rebooted with a gender swap angle, Ocean’s Eight is the latest culprit to try on the gender swap and let the ladies shine in their own heist movie mostly dominated by men.
This comedy had a couple of chuckles or I guess I should say reasons to chuckle. 17 years after the first Ocean’s Eleven remake, I have forgotten how much conflict, struggle, or fair match against their target and everything including the law stopping them for completing their mission but these ladies were able to pull it off without even breaking a sweat. From an entertainment perspective, this can be viewed as not much of a thrill ride or even witnessing from a third person looking in. I said to a friend after watching this, “Someone could have told me what happened in this movie from beginning to end in the office by the water cooler and I would have felt like I was there.” The term, “You had to be there.” Doesn’t apply in this case. To see it being done on the big screen is a little entertaining but not what I expected or even wanted to see on screen. I didn’t need some action movie or even a big chase, kidnapping, or whatever. Just something other than here is the plan, go team, accomplished, smile, and all dreams come true.
Did I spoil it for you? Did you see this movie turning out anything but? Point is, even when you know the ending, it’s the journey that makes it worthwhile and I gotta say that watching the film didn’t provide enough pizzazz to recommend this title in theatres. Now, I will say this, I am a man. I am not a woman and I think that comes into play when watching this film. I think that I could be missing something and not seeing this movie for what it is: fulfillment, liberating, powerful, strength, hell even just recognizing that whatever men can do, women can do to without any complications.
You can also say that if this movie didn’t give you enough fun or excitement through the film for your amusement or conflict to their goal, you can look at it this way; by being a women in a man’s world is conflict enough to overcome. Women struggle to be seen as equals which also includes the same opportunities as the men. For once, watching a movie where women not only overcome these obstacles that would usually suggest a man needs to be involved but to do it flawlessly with no complications. I think that female movie goers will enjoy seeing this scenario being played out on the big screen and rejoice in finally seeing a movie that isn’t covered with testosterone.
Back to the entertainment value, it’s a bore. It’s a bit of a bore and I wish it wasn’t because there are some talented women in this movie all with range in their careers I expected a lot more interaction and playful banter between them all. I was a bit underwhelmed with the movie. This is a definite rental at best. Use your movie pass if you got it. MVP’s in the film include Anne Hathaway in a role she was born to play. Awkwafina, the pickpocket, and Helena Bonham Carter, as the anxiety driven fashion designer. I do welcome a follow up if they come up with a good story.
Now comes Tag, which features more men but that is not why I enjoyed this movie more than the former. Tag, I believe will become one of the underrated movies of 2018. While this movie didn’t make too much at the box office, you don’t hear much about it pre or post release. The advertising for this movie was horrible so no one knew about the film to begin with. You know what, the child at heart told me to see this movie and I am glad I did.
Tag is based on a true story, if you can believe that, based on a post on reddit that told the story of 5 friends who for 30 years have been playing the same game of tag. For one month each year the game continues and at the end of that month, whoever is IT has to live in shame for the rest of the year. This film tells the story of the group getting together to take down the one that has never been tagged, Jerry Pierce, played by Jeremy Renner. Not only has he not been tagged but this is his last year playing. So, the rest of his friends, who are played by Ed Helms, Hannibal Buress, Jake Johnson, and Jon Hamm does every trick in the book to try and tag him before the month is over.
This movie was a lot of fun. The players in this film were cast very well. All of them funny both with physical comedy and with dialogue. Hannibal Buress and Isla Fisher made me laugh the most in this crazy comedy. I haven’t seen Isla Fisher this crazy and funny since Wedding Crashers If you look pass the surface of just endless chase scenes and toilet humor jokes, there is an actual message here and a nice heartwarming story. This game to them keeps their friendship alive and an excuse to see each other and be in each other’s lives. I will say that after watching this film, I wanted to hug my closest friends or call them up and say hi. It also made me want to play tag again.
I didn’t think it would happen but I laughed more than I thought I would watching this film. The choreography alone with the chase scenes and the way Renner maneuvered himself from getting tagged were great. Of course, this movie comes with its many faults and repetitive execution. Overall, people really won’t know how well this movie is unless they see it. The trailers don’t do this movie a justice. To top it off, after you have seen all the crazy stuff these people tried to do to get them to win, you would think all of it was made up for the film. Then you are shown actual footage of the men who this movie is based on play the game. Footage of many of the shenanigans you witnessed in the film. It elevates the authenticity of this movie and make it even more enjoyable and worth the watch. You understand why a movie like this can be made.
Director Jeff Tomsic, I believe did a great job in capturing the fun that we all remember having as a kid who had the opportunity to play this kids game. Also, the film was a nice reminder that it is okay to be a kid sometimes as well and just have some innocent fun with your friends. This movie I don’t fully recommend as the humor is for those that want to turn off their brains for a while. Its not the best written comedy lately but from an entertainment perspective. I enjoyed watching this film and how it turned out when it was all over. To take a true story like this and make it into a film I think is good work.
Ocean’s Eight 2 ½ out of 5
Tag 3 ½ out of 5
So, there you have it. From a writer’s angle and what movie has the better deep message or concept ended up being the lower score than the other. The film made more money, has better star power, and comes off as a spin-off to one of best ensemble cast put together in one film. Entertainment value is what counts for me and I was slightly more entertained with Tag than Ocean’s Eight. I hope that this review gave you a bit of an insight into the type of movies these two films are and helps you make the choice if either or both are the right movie for you to see during your next day off or free time.
Comment below your thoughts on the films if you saw them and make sure to follow this blog for future reviews and of course updates on the podcast Movie Geek & Proud. New episodes every Wednesday. Thank you for reading and remember, every movie has at least one fan.