This Film is Not Yet Watchable – April 2023

The coming of spring is usually a joyous occasion. It starts getting warmer, baseball season begins, and we pretend that Daylight Saving Time is a thing that actually matters. Unfortunately, I’m in Los Angeles right now, and the phrase “Atmospheric River” has been a part of our lexicon for far too long. It’s one thing to have a higher than average amount of rainfall during the winter months. God knows we could use it. But the last several weeks have been insane, with more rainy days than sunny ones much of the time, and enough snow in the higher elevations to keep the ski resorts open until JUNE! Even now that it’s officially spring, we’re still getting deluged, and when we’re not, we’re nearly getting toppled over by gale force winds while temperatures don’t reach above 55 degrees. The vast majority of Angelinos literally migrated here from other parts of the country to avoid this crap! It’s why we pay more than Harvard tuition for studio apartments!

So yeah, I’ve been a touch pissy recently, and thankfully, I have this monthly column to project all my pent up bile! We’re one month away from Blockbuster Season, yet we’ve already seen the studios put out feelers with their normal franchise and IP offerings to try to extend that section of the calendar. Almost all of the movies released in that effort have sucked copious amounts of ass, and in a rare sign of progress, audiences are staying home and not rewarding this crap like they usually do. Hope springs eternal after all!

This month features 10 doozies for us to collectively shit on, from bad rom-coms, to dumb looking action, to religious nonsense. And in a first for this series, this month’s “Redemption Reel” is a preemptive rebuttal to a different film that I can already assure you we’ll be seeing in this space next month. We’ve got a lot to get to, so let’s get started. Scarf down as much Arby’s as you can and direct your ass to the nearest poster. This is the April 2023 edition of “This Film is Not Yet Watchable!”

On a Wing and a Prayer – April 7

I’ve made my feelings about religion known more than a few times on this blog, but I really do support the rights of those who find comfort in faith. What I do not abide is bullshit, and this is some of the bullshittiest bullshit to ever be shit by a bull.

Starring Dennis Quaid and Heather Graham for some reason, On a Wing and a Prayer is about the real-life story of Doug White, a middle-aged man who, after the pilot of a private flight died shortly after takeoff in 2009, was able to use his limited flying experience and the guidance of people on the ground to safely land the plane. Now, setting aside the rich guy nonsense about being able to afford to fly private in the first place, this could be really exciting, a literal example of the heroics we’ve seen in movies for decades.

Unfortunately, since this is a Christian film, and because the Whites are Christians, we somehow have to frame this as a divine miracle. This is a perfect example of why I rail against religious movies. You already have an inspiring true story about people coming together to solve a crisis, using the expertise and experience that they’ve learned over several years to save lives. And instead, you’re wasting all that legitimate sentiment by pandering to the pews. This isn’t an instance where something unexplainable happened and well-meaning people attributed it to faith. This is a solid, verifiable case where people acted with gained knowledge, but we’re still giving all the credit to the invisible man in the clouds. It’s like at the end of football games when the winning quarterback thanks God, like he somehow gives a fuck. Oh yeah, God chose you to win and the other team to lose. You’re special. You have won the Almighty’s favor. It couldn’t be that your coach formulated a better strategy, or that you or your teammates executed the gameplan more competently, or that even general weather conditions were randomly in your favor. No, Jesus put down a C-note on you on Heavenly Draft Kings, and THAT’s why you emerged victorious. Fuck entirely off! And just for good measure, what did the original pilot do to not get saved? Don’t want to think about that, now do we?

Also, not for nothing, but by making this a faith-based movie, you do realize you defeat the purpose of seeing the actual fucking flick, right? Once you decide to make a film where God saves the day, it pretty much removes all suspense. No one is going into that theatre thinking, “Ooh, I wonder if God will let these ones die! The suspense is killing me!” At least if you present it in a secular manner there’s a chance at an ambiguous ending. Not here. Even pictures where we know the general outcome, like Titanic, will at minimum craft stories and characters within the larger historical context to try to get you to care about what happens, even though you still know the ship’s going to sink. But when you literally put it in God’s hands, there’s only one outcome, which renders this exercise wholly superfluous.

Paint – April 7

I am genuinely struggling to figure out what the point of this movie is. Is it meant to be satire? If so, of whom, or what? Bob Ross? Toxic masculinity on PBS? A treatise on modern people stuck in the 70s? I don’t get it.

The only thing I know is that this movie appears to be trying way the hell too hard to be a Wes Anderson film, and it’s just not there. None of the characters – including Owen Wilson’s fro-ed out TV painter – has enough personality to elicit a laugh. Deadpan reactions are substituting for quirkiness. There seems to be no real threat or driving force for the story. So the network brings in another painting show host, for competition, I guess? But it’s a tiny PBS station in Vermont. Why would they need another painting show? How could they afford to produce one? In a studio so small (based on the assembled cast members) how would Wilson not have been informed about this newcomer?

None of it makes any apparent sense, and thus I just can’t get on board. What am I supposed to latch onto here? Owen Wilson’s charm? He’s presented as something of an insecure villain in this context, someone we’re not meant to root for, so what am I missing?

One True Loves – April 7

I’ll set the grammatically horrible title aside for now, as the misuse of language is intentional. Instead I’ll just say this. Ladies, y’all need to read better books!

Yes, it’s yet another idiotic romance novel adaptation. This one features Phillipa Soo and Luke Bracey as the two of the most annoying types of people, those who have so much disposable income that they can literally travel around the world on a whim, patronize other cultures, and have destination weddings. My credit card bill says fuck you! When Bracey flies off to Alaska and his plane goes down (IF ONLY SOMEONE HAD PRAYED!), he’s presumed dead and Soo hooks up with Simu Liu, forming an obvious romantic triangle when Bracey turns up alive two years later. THE DRAMA! WHO WILL SHE CHOOSE? WHAT DOES HER HEART TELL HER?

I don’t care, and neither do you. The only thing my heart tells me is that this book would probably be at its best if it stood in for about two rolls of toilet paper. Seriously, women, find better literature and/or masturbatory aids.

Beautiful Disaster – April 12


From the idiots that brought you the After series of diddle books, we have Beautiful Disaster, about a buttoned-up college coed who falls for a “bad boy” because of his rock-hard abs and just HAS to sleep with him and try to change him.

Never mind that literally every word that comes out of this douchebag’s mouth screams, “RAPIST!” It’s okay because he’s hot. In any other context this motherfucker would be featured on Dateline after 47 accusers came forward. But here, no woman can resist his animal charms.

Seriously ladies, if this gets you off, just kill me now so I can stop trying.

Quasi – April 20

Look, I love Broken Lizard. Super Troopers, to me, is one of the last great comedies not made by Edgar Wright. Even its sequel had some charm due to its crowd-funded chintziness. But there’s a limit. Every frame that the trailer shows us of this riff on The Hunchback of Notre Dame looks like it was hastily filmed after-hours at the world’s worst Renaissance Faire. I didn’t laugh at a single joke, and I somehow was able to giggle at Your Highness, which is essentially the same basic concept.

This movie, rightly relegated to Hulu, seems to have precisely two things going for it. One, it’s clearly being released on the right day, given this group’s proclivities. Two, somehow these aren’t the worst French accents on display this month.

Chevalier – April 21

The worst French accents are actually found here. Maybe I was conditioned by four years of studying the language between high school and college, but a convincing French accent isn’t all that hard to do. Hell, if you can even speak a single competent sentence, the accent sort of just comes out. So why the hell can no one get them right in movies? You know something is extremely fucked when Lucy Boynton as Marie Antoinette is the only one who can pull it off, and it ends up being misplaced, as the former queen was Austrian.

Anyway, somehow this movie got good reviews when it debuted at Toronto last year, and I’m honestly baffled. One of the lamest “Based on a true story” tropes is the highly-embellished “UNTOLD true story” variant we have here. Well, seeing as how this is a movie about a violin prodigy somehow sparking the French Revolution as a response to racism, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the vast majority of “untold” bits are completely made up, hence why they weren’t previously “told.” Meanwhile, we have Kelvin Harrison Jr. basically treating the violin like it’s a rap battle. I can picture the theme song now:

The palms of his hands doth be damp with sweat,
His knees begin to buckle, arms sagging under the weight,
The well-appointed woolen pullover is caked with vomit in short order,
It is a pasta dish prepared by his mother.

Yeesh, next you’re gonna tell me that Mozart never really farted on Salieri.

Ghosted – April 21

This has got to be one of the flimsiest setups for an action film I’ve ever seen. Guy goes out on a date with a beautiful woman, sleeps with her, and the next day she won’t return his texts. After hundreds of attempts, he flies halfway around the world to track her down for a SECOND DATE, only to find that she’s an international secret agent and now he’s roped into her mission.

First of all, what the actual fuck? James Bond never has to deal with clingy conquests, so why should our heroine here? Second, this is literally just the pathetic bro inverse of The Spy Who Dumped Me. Third, dude, it’s Ana de Armas. I don’t care if you are Chris Evans, she’s STILL out of your league. She’s out of ALL our leagues. Be thankful for the one miracle you got out of this (it was either that or successfully land a plane) and get on with your life.

Fourth, and most importantly, stop trying to pander to Gen Z by using their slang as movie titles.

Peter Pan & Wendy – April 28

You know how Disney is spending millions promoting its live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, to the point that they even forced the Academy to devote an awful segment to it during the Oscars? You also know how they just announced that they’re already doing a live-action remake of Moana even though it’s not even seven years old, and they’re making a HUGE deal out of it despite the fact that they’re laying off 7,000 workers? You know how every single one of these movies is god-awful?

Well, here’s one that’s being released straight to Disney+ with basically no fanfare whatsoever. That means it must be so bad that even they don’t want you to notice. And it’s not hard to see why. I mean, when the best “joke” you have is a girl introducing herself as a Lost Boy as a means to clap back against gender norms, the situation is well and truly fucked.

Seriously, you know shit’s getting bad when I honestly don’t know which side to pick between Disney and Ron DeSantis.

Big George Foreman – April 28

For the most part, I don’t have a problem with this movie. It’s a rare faith-based film that makes sense in context because George Foreman took up ministry during his first major hiatus as a boxer. I’m perfectly okay with that aspect of his life story, and given that Foreman is still alive, I’m sure he was at minimum consulted on the story beats to make sure that dramatic license was kept to a minimum.

There are two red flags for me. One is that the film’s release was delayed twice, both times for unspecified reasons. That normally hints at a situation where the studio feels like the movie is box office poison, and they’re trying to find somewhere to dump it off so that it’s as little of a loss-leader as possible. Given that this is a Christian film, the fact that it’s NOT being released during Easter weekend but still coming out in April is very suspicious.

The second is that it appears that a sizeable chunk of the plot deals with Foreman’s “Rumble in the Jungle” fight with Muhammad Ali. This normally wouldn’t raise an eyebrow, but it can’t be ignored that Foreman is a Christian minister, this is a Christian movie, and Ali, a converted Muslim, is treated as an antagonist. I can’t help but fear that this will come off as tone deaf at best and insulting at worst. I hope I’m wrong.


With that, we come to the bottom of April’s barrel, “The Worst Trailer in the World… This Month!” This time around I’m forced to return to a (skull-lined) well I honestly wasn’t planning on. I’ve already made fun of horror movie trailers twice this year, and I didn’t really want to do a third in only the fourth month of the year. Initially my thought was to mock Chevalier, but after several viewings, I realized I only had about three good jokes. So I fell back on the shit shovelers we can always rely on: Christianity-based horror, Exorcist ripoffs, and Russell Crowe’s horrible attempts at doing accents.

The Pope’s Exorcist – April 14

Just call him Father Guido Sardoofus!


Finally, as winter turns to spring and hopefully warmth comes back to the world, it’s time for the “Redemption Reel.” As previously mentioned, this month’s recipient charts some new territory, as it’s an example of how to do something right when something else that’s being advertised in the same thematic space is clearly doing things very, very wrong, but the latter example isn’t out yet.

Somewhere in Queens – April 21

Debuting at Tribeca last year, this is the screenplay and directorial debut for Ray Romano, who has long been an insightful voice of gentle good humor when it comes to family life and Italian heritage. Co-starring with Laurie Metcalf, the trailer for the film showcases all the best practices that Romano has displayed for the past 25 years in TV and cinema. There’s heart, comedy, pearls of wisdom, and an earnestness that simply can’t be taught.

Contrast that with the previews I’m sure you’ve seen in theatres recently for About My Father coming in May, starring Sebastian Maniscalco (who also appears in this film). That cringe fest is nothing but wall-to-wall Italian stereotype gags, turning Robert De Niro into a caricature, all for a loudmouth comedian who basically blames his own audience for no longer finding his more ethnocentric jokes funny.

Both of these films deal with perceptions about Italian-American family life. Both are willing to make fun of themselves. But only one is willing to actually do something positive with the premise. The other wants to murder a peacock. There’s a right way to do these things and a wrong way. Based on first impressions, Romano seems to be doing it the right way.


That’s all for this month. Enjoy April at the movies, and do your best to stay warm and dry!

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