Hello JPFmovies fans and welcome to another review of something a little different. The JPFmovies staff remembers watching Tom Cruise and Michael Caine in the 1988 film Cocktail and wondering just how low Michael Caine could go after his stellar performance in Blame it on Rio (1984) and rolling our eyes at the thin plot, predictable ending and an overall shitty film—but of course earned a ton of money. After that fiasco, members of the JPFmovies staff were certain that we had seen the last of media glorifying bartenders who, according to Michael Caine were “the aristocrats of the working class.” However, in our relentless efforts to review the good, the bad and the ugly the JPFmovies staff was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon Bartender (2011) a Japanese mini-series based on a manga of the same name.
Ryu Sasakura (Masaki Aiba) is a bar tending prodigy who won a European cocktail contest. He got into an argument with his instructor and was fired. In a state of dejection he came back to his native country of Japan. He finds work again in Tokyo and also meets Miwa Kurushima. Meanwhike, Ryu Sasakura is able to listen to his customer’s problems and help alleviate their worries with his special cocktail mixes including work and love and family troubles, one drink at a time. Our bar tending prodigy even takes on a disciple and enters him into a contest—only to have his lose magnificently!
Why is the Japanese series tolerable? Because it does not portray the bartender as some flamboyant circus performer out to land a babe, some cash or another material recompense but a person who takes his craft seriously and listens to his patrons without judgment while providing honest, simple advice. He even goes so far as to track the water used in a customer’s hometown to make the drink authentic. What more could you want in a bartender? No Ryu was not flinging glasses three feet in the air while dancing to some 80’s rock, he made his drinks with precision, attention to detail and an eye to match the booze with its drinker. A consummate professional. This is not a heavy and gritty film that makes you sweat, but a nice lite series that provides a decent respite from the world today, much like going to your favorite watering hole. Take a few hours and watch it, you will be glad you did.
The JPFmovies staff and longtime contributor Tom V. discuss the current state of the American film industry.
Hello again JPFmovie fans yeah, we know our staff needs to bring some more game to the table so here is a fresh start. As anyone who has followed the JPFmovies posts over the years will tell you we have taken the position that Hollywood churns out nothing but crap. However, after a recent discussion with long time contributor Tom V., we have refined our position, what follows is our discussion with Tom V:
JPFmovies: It is nice to hear from you again. During our last meeting about potential reviews you and the JPFmovies staff were considering when you brought up some excellent points. You have a different take on why the state of the Hollywood film industry is what is it is today.
Tom V: Yes, I do on several fronts. Look at the advertising/marketing budgets of films like “Fury” an excellent film in my opinion versus some Transformers movie for example.
JPFmovies: Could you expand on that a little more. I mean it sounds like you think that Hollywood has become nothing more than a giant spreadsheet and a bunch of focus groups.
Tom V: Yes, that is exactly it. Hollywood no longer backing classics, they will reluctant will. Movies like Mutiny on the Bounty, Casablanca, Good Fellas and Reservoir Dogs. These films are either not made anymore or the studios simply don’t invest in these types of films the way they used. They seem to have a sixth-grade focus mentality because that is what seems to sell because these films are costly babysitters.
JPFmovies: Well what has happened to the talent that made some of the best movies in history like Sir Ridley Scott’s original Blade Runner, Blackhawk Down or Kill Bill?
Tom V.: Over the past couple of years you’ve seen the talent move to Netflix, Amazon Prime and other independent film outlets. What Hollywood has been regulated too are comedies with singing animals and politically correct films, action films more about the more expensive special effects scenes and other formula driven rubbish.
JPFmovies: OK so you see all of the talent migrating (both actors and writers) to the new business models like Netflix and Amazon—do this that Hollywood with adjust to these changing times?
Tom V.: It will never happen Hollywood seems to be stuck in a holding pattern of mediocrity.
JPFmovies: Ok why don’t proven directors like Scott, Tarantino or David Lynch get the resources they deserve?
Tom V.: Because it doesn’t sell as many tickets as a formulaic Transformers movie despite the obvious merit of films like of Blade Runner 2 because their focus groups projected lower profits. That film for instance should have been made by Netflix or Amazon because it would have been funded and promoted much better.
JPFmovies: So, you believe that the free market has allowed companies like Netflix, Amazon, AMC and others to think outside of the box and make great entertainment for far less money.
Tom V.: Yeah sure. Amazon and Netflix are on the cutting edge but don’t have the resources to go toe to toe with a company like Paramount—yet. For instance, the Netflix series Marco Polo was an amazing series had to be canceled because of the $100,000,000.00 price tag for another season—which for a company like Netflix or Amazon which could have probably handled the costs, but they wisely spread those resources to other programs.
JPFmovies: What are your favorite series to date from Amazon and Netflix?
Tom V.: Marco Polo for sure from Netflix and Man in the High Castle from Amazon. And even these films sucked, at least I would have avoided robots beat the crap out of each other yet again.
JPFmovies: Do you have any predictions for the upcoming Raspberry Awards?
Tom V.: Too early to call.
JPFmovies: What can we expect your next review to be?
Tom V.: I think it will be Brad Pit’s 2014 film Fury—which cost $68,000,000.00 and took in approximately $211,000,000.00, so these good movies can in fact be profitable. This film defied the odds of the Transformer garbage.
JPFmovies: Any closing remarks you want to tell the audience.
Tom V.: The only way you can change the mediocrity of Hollywood is with your pocketbook.
JPFmovies: Thank you for your time. And we look forward to your next review.
Posted by JPFmovies on March 31, 2019 in Movie Reviews
Tags: advertising, Art, budgets, comment, commentary, directors, film, focus groups, Hollywood, life, marketing, mediocre, movies, script, stories, writing reviews