American Made #review

Tom Cruise movies will continue to peak my interest until he has a string of bad films in a row. Now, you put Cruise in a movie that is based on a true story about a drug and gun runner who worked for the US Government AND Cartels and you definitely have my attention. So, was “American Made” a captivating look at real life events during the 1970’s and 80’s or did this film fail to deliver? Let’s dive in and take a look in this review.


I wasn’t familiar with the real life story behind the film. In fact, I had no idea what I was getting into when I walked into the theater except that which I saw in the previews. So I went into the movie with a pretty open mind since I didn’t have any real expectation for this story. Even still, I found the overall movie bland. The moments that could have been stressful weren’t and the humor didn’t land as well as I believe the director wanted. The visual style was also confusing because the entire movie had a vintage filter on it to make it look like aged footage but then they used playback footage as well. So, we get the story, plus a look back at the back story, at the same time and both look aged but differently aged. I didn’t care for the visual style used to tell the story. It was obnoxious in my opinion.

American Made

The characters were also bland. I’ll probably use that adjective a few more times in this review because that’s how this entire thing felt. Domhnall Gleeson plays a CIA operative and even his performance was mediocre, and again, bland. I can’t say that any particular performance was memorable. In fact, if this movie didn’t have Tom Cruise I’m not sure it would make the money it’s made so far. This is a very forgettable film and that’s unfortunate because of the talent involved.


Overall, the message of the film felt like it was trying to tell the story of how Big Government is bad and uses the character Cruise plays to drive that point home. I didn’t care enough about his character to concern myself with the fact that the different government agencies involved in all the black ops dealings were still successful even though at the end of the film his character is shot in the head because of how the US Government betrays him. Gleeson’s character is promoted and we see how this whole movie was the beginning of what eventually became the “Iran Contra” scandal. So, we go through the whole film only to realize that the point (or message) of the story could be to not trust your government because you could end up dead? I’m not sure. I thought I was watching a movie based on a true story but then the very end felt like a passive aggressive public service announcement for how terrible and untrustworthy the government is. Plus, the end doesn’t make sense. Part of the film we’re watching playback video recordings of him talking about his dealings with the government agencies (CIA, DEA, FBI), so, why does it stop just because he gets shot in the head? He’s not watching his videos. Someone else is and the videos have already been recorded. The end scene of his made no sense to me. He’s already recorded his message about how America is great before he was shot. So the recording wouldn’t stop because he’s shot in the head, because he recorded it before he died. Odd.


American Made” is in theaters now. You can skip this movie. It’s boring. It’s bland. It doesn’t really go anywhere that isn’t predictable and the characters are not memorable at all. I’m not even sure this is worth a Redbox viewing. If it pops up on your TV one Sunday afternoon and you’re too lazy to change the channel than ok, go ahead and watch it. Otherwise you can skip it because chances are you won’t remember much of it after it concludes. I will say this about the movie in closing, it’s better than Tom’s last film, “The Mummy.”


[Spoilers] The Mummy #review

This is the first film in a new monster movie franchise that is being titled “Dark Universe” by Universal Studios. This was meant to set the stage for the monster movies that will soon follow. In this sixth retelling, we get a slightly different but somewhat familiar story that explores the possibilities of the undead wreaking havoc upon the modern world. The important question (I feel) is did this movie set the stage for what’s to come? Let’s dive in and take a look at “The Mummy” in this review…


First, let’s address the important question mentioned above in the opening paragraph and from there we’ll move into the actual film. I believe there might be some confusion as to why that’s the important question instead of “was the movie good?” Almost immediately after this film was introduced it was also stated by Universal that they were creating a shared “monster universe” and were using this film as the initial offering that would take us into this new franchise. Since they (Universal) decided to make this proclamation and start casting for the other films (Johnny Depp as the “Invisible Man,” Benecio Del Toro as “Frankenstein’s Monster”) it only makes sense that we must consider this as we watch the movie. In my opinion, we don’t have the luxury of just watching the movie simply to enjoy this individual film because we know (assumably you knew, maybe you didn’t in which case this whole analysis will be somewhat of a surprise) it’s meant to tell a story and then set up a whole new world. If you started singing “A Whole New World” after reading that sentence shame on you. “Alladin” is a Disney property and we’re looking at a movie by Universal. Never cross streams, people! Wait, that’s a “Ghostbusters” reference and that’s a Sony property. Sorry folks. We’ve gone off on a tangent. Let’s get back on track. Ok, after watching “The Mummy” I don’t believe it did a great job setting up the bigger picture. There’s a scene in the laboratory of “Dr. Jeckyl” where we see a vampire skull, the hand of the “Creature from the Black Lagoon” and more. However, we don’t really get a sense of the terrors that are looming. We are just told that there’s this mysterious group of folks trying to save the world from dangers unknown to the normal person. There was also a reference to a group of knights who were doing the same thing back in Medieval times but I wasn’t clear on if this new group was the modern version of the knights or not. So, in all, I say nay. This movie doesn’t answer the important question. By the end of the film “Nick Morton” (played by Tom Cruise) is not aware of a possible “Wolfman,” “Dracula,” “Invisible Man,” “Hunchback,” Phantom” or more. He simply rides off into the sunset with his partner in crime. I mean that literally. He’s on horseback and rides off like a cowboy in a western. If this were an Uber rating, I would give this the lowest possible score of one single, lonely, star. Throw the tomatoes at the screen and toss your popcorn in the air folks. This aspect of the story stinks.


Ok, Let’s dive into the film as a stand alone picture. Overall plot is that two active military guys, who are also treasure hunters, are trying to locate treasure and almost get killed. In being saved, a tomb is revealed and the mummy is released onto the earth once more to conquer humanity. This is a very simple breakdown of the plot as the movie is almost 2 hours long. This movie should not have been this long. This film should’ve been 90 minutes no more. Cut the the entire “Mr Hyde” scene out of this movie, please. Also, in order for the “mummy” to regenerate she must first make out with people and by so doing they are turned into mummy/zombie things. What?! Yes, mummy make out sessions are happening on the big screen. Halfway into this movie I wanted to play a game on my iPhone. Also, it’s never explained why the character “Chris” keeps showing up as a ghost or apparition to communicate with Nick. It serves to answer plot points about why the mummy is chasing Nick and why she brought him back from the dead but other than that there’s poor writing, bad jokes and not much more. I did enjoy the performance by Sofia Boutella in this film. She’s plays the mummy well and she can deliver some of the creepiest looks and stares in this movie. The 3 films I’ve seen her in I have enjoyed her performance. I’m looking forward to her role in “Atomic Blonde” as well.


This movie might go down in cinematic history as one of the best cast films to be one of the most disappointing films. I did not have high expectations for this film walking into the theater. In fact, my expectations were low and they still were not met. This is not a monster movie. It’s a pseudo action meets horror meets love story that doesn’t work at all in my opinion. If you’re reading this and you enjoyed it, that’s awesome. I’ve been in the arts my entire life. I understand how some people can like stuff and others not. I get it. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I did not. The fact that the main character becomes the conqueror of death, or a mummy, or whatever he is, in order to kill the mummy, resurrect his love interest only then to revive his partner in crime to continue being a treasure hunter… I swear on graves of people I don’t know, this is all part of the story… is so absurd it was frustrating. Give credit where credit is due, there is more than one line about the main character Nick being a bad guy. So why then would a bad guy not continue being a treasure hunter now that he controls death, is fair. However, the movie is ludicrous and disappointing. Cinemascore has this film as a “B-“ and I don’t understand how.


The Mummy” is in theaters now. Skip this film on the big screen. You’ll want to watch it at home on Redbox or VOD simply to understand where this new franchise is going. If not for that, there’s no reason to see this film. It’s not good and I was disappointed it cost me $5. I went to a before noon showing when it’s affordable and even that was more than this film is worth. Fingers crossed the franchise corrects the mistakes made in this film so the rest of the stories are enjoyable.