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Henry Buck

Red Letter Media Reviews (Plinkett & Half in the Bag)

421 posts in this topic

It's basically a Disney Indiana Jones movie. I mean, just look at the thing: aesthetically it looks like a cross between National Treasure and Pirates of the Caribbean.

The Pirates movies still had balls (I'm not even a fan of the sequels). There's violence, sexual tension and even gore. Indy always had these things. Even Last Crusade, which was generally a lighter flick. That to me was more of a Disney Indiana Jones movie. I don't know what the hell Crystal Skull is. We're still trying to figure it out.

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The only aspect of his review that I did not totally agree with is when he said that you can't make Indy old because it undermines his role as an avatar for masculine wish fulfillment. Now it is true that Indy exists partly as that, but I don't think that's all he is. Though he leads an awesome life, enviable life, he's still in some ways an ordinary man. He's not a superhero who deflects bullets with his skin, and at times Indy faces challenges that test him so thoroughly that he's only able to overcome with help and sheer luck. He gets beat up, he has a pathological fear of snakes, etc. Just look at the ending to Raiders: he spends the entire climax of the film tied to a pole with his eyes closed, not really participating in what's going and essentially lets God do all the work. This is a guy who is relatable as well as admirable, which is why making him an old man can work, if not only because it raises the stakes and the tests his abilities even further. Unfortunately, KOTCS didn't really do this, instead making him seemingly more invulnerable than he was before.

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Even though Indy is at his most emotionally vulnerable in KOTCS, physically he's more invulnerable than ever. There was such potential for a powerful and brutal moment showing that Indy has become too old to keep taking such brazen risks, and it never came. I'm not saying he should have broken his back, but some sort of real injury would have been nice. I mean, every movie had that (well, TOD was more about mind control than physical injury), but in KOTCS all we get is some mopey talk about how life starts taking things away.

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Yeah, the entire movie needed to be a different approach. In KOTCS universe, a scene like that would make no sense. Indy's invulnerability was a joke. There was no getting shot and thrown out of the truck, black sleep of Kali, tank off the cliff or grail temple scene for Indy to triumphantly come back from. He always got his ass handed to him, that's part of the character. He wasn't a super hero type as has been argued since we saw him flying in the fridge. It was clearly taken to a whole other level. Indy didn't even have to use a gun in the new one.

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He starts the film in the back of a trunk and gets pretty badly beat by that Russian guy in the ants scene. That counts.

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Yeah, that "counts" but it doesn't feel right. He gets beat up by the Russian guy but goes right on as if nothing happened (that horrible waterfall sequence). There's no "recovery" moment, no suggestion of fragility.

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Yeah. When you think about the fact that that first punch from the German mechanic knocked Indy on his ass when he was 37, he shouldn't emerge from EITHER fight with Dovchenko (in the warehouse or in the jungle) so fine at 58. In fact, he should be hurting hard by the time that sequence is done. Comparing the aftermath of the tank sequence in LC to the waterfall/"Because it told me to" stretch in KOTCS is cringe-worthy.

Honestly, this review really helped to clarify more issues with the film. Up until now I had been more focused on the aesthetics and the jokiness of the character development. It seems to me that the half-baked family reunion and the lack of intensity and tension are two sides to the same coin: the film goes too far in its pursuit of being a light adventure and doesn't take its story, characters, or situations seriously enough.

I do disagree with Plinkett's gripe on Marion's inclusion--at Indy's age, I didn't mind seeing him ending up in a stable relationship and getting some closure with Marion, who was the only woman in the trilogy we saw with a real relationship. Now, theoretically he could've been married already or something, but I'm fine with Marion returning. He is correct, though, in that her character was largely wasted.

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Well, theoretically he could end up with Willie Scott. But I'm sure Spielberg opposed that idea. ;)

Karol

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RedLetterMedia's new "Half in the Bag" series is easily just as good as the Plinkett reviews, and closely connected to them. It's essentially done in the same style of creepy comedy mixed with trenchant criticism, but the live photography and "real" characters of Mike and Jay add much. There's an ongoing storyline, but any episode is a good watch just for the reviews. I think the second season is stronger because they moved away from laughing at silly, low budget films, and took on more of the big hits.

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Half in the Bag has a nice mix of frank discussion and funny theatrics. I love the facial acting in videos like

and
. You can't get that with the Plinkett reviews. Not saying that one is better, just that I like that Red Letter Media hasn't let itself become a Plinkett review factory.

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RLM has had more positive reception at its other ventures unlike Cinemassacre that got universally scolded for products like Over Analyzers and some of Mike's reviews. I rather liked OA, but a lot of people couldn't grasp that James likes to do more than just AVGN videos, which he's obviously gotten bored with despite making a feature length movie.

Speaking of, I'll have to buy Feeding Frenzy soon.

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Well, this would seem to be the closest thing to an official JWFan RLM thread. I love Best of the Worst and Half in the Bag. Below at 35:58 is the funniest thing I've ever seen on RLM.

 

 

Taikomochi, Not Mr. Big and crumbs like this

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2 minutes ago, E.T. and Elliot said:

Well, this would seem to be the closest thing to an official JWFan RLM thread. I love Best of the Worst and Half in the Bag. Below at 35:58 is the funniest thing I've ever seen on RLM.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceUSZBMeREY

That's one of my favorite moments too.  But my very favorite moment is from this episode at about 44:10

Evil-Lyn likes this

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Why yes there is, it's been posted several times already in the spoilers allowed thread.  What the hell, I'll post it again

 

 

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I think Mike's ego got a good stroking from TFA because Simon Pegg shared his TPM review and likely showed it to JJ, who likely took "Plinkett's" criticisms to heart and essentially made a movie that responded to his grievances.

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3 hours ago, Drax said:

I think Mike's ego got a good stroking from TFA because Simon Pegg shared his TPM review and likely showed it to JJ, who likely took "Plinkett's" criticisms to heart and essentially made a movie that responded to his grievances.

Mike Stoklasa saved Star Wars!

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3 hours ago, Mr. Big said:

Mike Stoklasa saved Star Wars!

I'm grateful that prequels were made so that I can enjoy those reviews. After rewatching those recently, I can honestly see how Abrams and Disney took Mr Plinkett's observations to heart. It is possible.

 

Karol

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A lot of people like to bitch about the way Kirk died. He fell off a bridge and then the bridge fell on him. He was trying to save a pre-industrial civilization that we never saw or would care anything about. But that's not really a plot hole, it's just kinda like, something that's stupid.

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It is interesting how pretty much every key grievance "Plinkett" brings up in the 3 reviews was blatantly addressed with such vigour in TFA. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Lucasfilm/Abrams/Kennedy had full awareness of the reviews. Mike & Jay have mentioned before on Half in the Bag that key figures at Lucasfilm (who remain safely anonymous) have contacted them in the past thanking them for the reviews and assuring them that the right people are sympathetic to the criticisms. That might have been before Lucas sold off the rights to Disney though, so who knows how the management structure changed things.

 

The reason Plinkett's reviews are so effective is the avoidance of lazy nitpicking of the obvious problems (like Jar Jar Binks), instead focusing on the holistic storytelling problems with the prequels. It isn't just criticism like, "CGI SUCKS WAHHH!!", it elaborates on why excessive CGI hurts the storytelling. A lesson Jackson clearly failed to heed with the Hobbit trilogy.

 

Anyway, this review at 25:30 is probably my favourite Best of the Worst moment. I couldn't stop laughing for about 15 minutes straight; Mike was just on fire when they filmed this:

 

https://youtu.be/aA2Z16QiNsE

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12 hours ago, crocodile said:

I'm grateful that prequels were made so that I can enjoy those reviews.

 

Heh, I've thought on this before. They are very entertaining. And the Darths&Droids screencap webcomic.

 

I never got the whole tasteless "raped my childhood" thing because for me Star Wars was always like this. I can however see how many of the ideas could have made for cool space opera movies if they had proper writing in the first place. But I'm just "oh well". I'm "oh well" about Star Wars, Jedi and The Force Awakens, but on a different level. I think those actually bother me more than a complete disaster does.

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49 minutes ago, Brónach said:

Heh, I've thought on this before. They are very entertaining.

 

I would enjoy them more if it wasn't for this utterly grating dumb voice he uses in them.

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Funnily that's supposedly because they thought his own voice and point of view would have been boring and self-important. I imagine they drew more viewers and attention by not playing it straight. Although maybe they could have also done that with a different voice.

 

 

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The Jame Gumb voice is hilarious. And he always keeps me on edge as to what he's going to do next with his kidnapped girls in the basement. Love that stuff.

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5 hours ago, BloodBoal said:

 

I would enjoy them more if it wasn't for this utterly grating dumb voice he uses in them.

 

5 hours ago, Drax said:

The Jame Gumb voice is hilarious. And he always keeps me on edge as to what he's going to do next with his kidnapped girls in the basement. Love that stuff.

 

Yeah, the voice is part of the whole effect and really can't be separated from the final product since it's built so much around the Plinkett character.  It's a psychopath making observant and erudite criticism about the movies he's reviewing, which gives the reviews a great twist by giving an essentially straight-forward assessment while doubling as a comedy skit.  It prevents him from coming off as just another person bashing the prequels.

 

We would have missed out on the Kodak printer challenge :(

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I often wonder if the product placement skits were actually legitimate paid product placement or purely a joke.

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