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Remember Tom Cruise and Michael Caine in Cocktail? Yeah it was an awful movie but leave it to the Japanese to produce a miniseries about bartenders and make it work! Bartender (2011).

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.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2019 in Movie Reviews

 

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JPFmovies teams up with long time contributor Tom V to look at Roadhouse (1989) starring the late Patrick Swazey and Sam Elliot. In the words of Tom V it was a slow decent into sheer B movie hell.

Talk about jumping off the ledge!  After reviewing Rake, watching Roadhouse was worse than a trip to the dentist.  While looking at Roadhouse, Tom V mentioned something very interesting; that is, the film while enjoying some major acclaim from other critics went from an average B rated 80’s movie to a degeneration and waste of celluloid on an awe-inspiring scale.  They very notion of watching this movie sober is a cause of action for the intentional infliction of emotional distress.  The script, acting and other than a brief song from Conway Twitty, this moving end up with a zero-star rating.  Fortunately for Roadhouse Tango and Cash beat it out of every category at the Raspberry Awards where the film was nominated for (but did not win) five Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Patrick Swayze), Worst Supporting Actor (Ben Gazzara), Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay. So, take comfort in the fact that only lounge in the frying pan and burned asunder in the fire.  Tom V wonders if the make-up director was receiving kickbacks from the hair spray industry.  Throughout the film the JPFmovies staff and Tom V was waiting for someone’s hair to shatter due to the excessive use of hair spray.

While performing their research, the JPFmovies research department was shocked by the number of Roadhouse fans and how vocal they were.  For instance, some idiot fan of Roadhouse wrote:

“If Dalton didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him, because we need him. I’m not a man given to hyperbole — in fact, you might say I’m the person least given to hyperbole in the history of the entire universe— but Road House is, without a doubt, the single greatest thing the human race has done from the creation of the world up until the present moment, and I include vaccines and the idea of the talking horse in that list.”

Why? Because of some moronic, simplistic quasi-Buddhist lines like “pain don’t hurt” and “no one wins a fight” that clearly came out of a fortune cookie.  God help us all if he was serious.

Forgive us for jumping in before telling you the reader about the film.  Roadhouse is about a bouncer—yes a bouncer—who is incredibly famous well famous in bouncer circles at least.  So famous in fact that when Dalton a/k/a Swazey strolls into his new place of employment (the “Double Deuce”) people do double takes, whisper and point at him like he was an all-star athlete or rock star.  Oh, did we forget to tell you that he also has a PhD., in philosophy from NYU?

Dalton is hired by the owner of a small dive in some jerk-water-berg Missouri town to clean up the place.  Apparently, the owner came into some money and wants to hire “the best” to turn the business around.  Okay so far that’s a not bad start.  Then it really goes bad the minute Dalton walks into the place.  The bar is nothing short of a chaotic melee along the lines of the most obnoxious WWF wrestling match.

After his initial assessment, Dalton makes some personnel changes only to find out that there is a totally hot doctor working at the emergency room as well as a cartoonish villain that controls this jerk water town as he continually profits off the backs of the average citizen. [21:05-26:35].

Well this can not stand according to the code of the righteous bouncer!  This villain must be stopped, and the hot doctor must be seduced.  Luckily for western civilization Dalton is up to the task!  The villain sees himself as the town’s father telling Dalton that “Christ, J.C. Penny is coming here because of me. Ask anybody, they’ll tell you the same thing!”  J.C. Penny!  Hold the phone this guy is a humanitarian how can someone so generous be so evil?  Our resident villain also employs a platoon of henchmen from a really fat guy who wears suspenders ostensibly to keep his pants up to some criminal that Dalton has to kill using his secret eagle claw technique to literally rip his throat out.  Moreover the fat guy gets taken out by a stuffed polar bear that Dalton pushes on him.

There is so much more to discuss—it would take pages upon pages to completely hammer this movie appropriately.  If you either need a good laugh about something so bad it becomes “good” or are forced to waste 2 hours of your life, then Roadhouse is the film for you.  Remember that at the Golden Raspberry Awards it was nominated in 5 categories but for Tango and Cash it would have swept the prestigious ceremony!

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2018 in Movie Reviews

 

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