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Movie Reviews Movie Mark Originals Exciting Editorials! Lists of Awesomeness Movie Horror Stories

Don’t Call it a Comeback

No, seriously, let’s not call it that.  I’ve made a “comeback” several times, only to disappear shortly thereafter.  But this feels different.

I’ve been re-reading old posts and articles of mine recently, and I must admit that I’ve found them quite entertaining.  I think 2004-2007 truly were the glory days of The Movie Mark.  Once I helped launch Josh Brolin’s career into the stratosphere, well, I haven’t had the same drive.  Once that particular goal was accomplished, what else was left?

“I want to be a famous Rotten Tomatoes reviewer!  I want to make money off this!  I want to be quoted on DVD cases!”

In order to do all of that, I had to be something I wasn’t.  The “Johnny Betts” that you know and love had to compromise.  But a compromised Johnny Betts is not the Johnny Betts you know and love.  Sounds like the beginning of a Christopher Nolan movie.  The fact of the matter is, I’ve already been quoted on the back of Chinese bootleg DVDs.  What more could a guy ask for?

I think it’s time I got back to writing for the love of it, for the reader’s enjoyment, and for the ridicule of stupidity across this nation.  And let’s face it – this nation becomes more stupid by the day.

So how about I just go back to being awesome and displaying that through my writing?  Sounds like a plan to me.

Now if I can round up all seven of my previous readers then I’ll be off to a start.  Not a good one, mind you, but it’s a start…

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Baggage ClaimEverybody likes free stuff, right?  And I know you freeloaders well enough to recall that you LOVE free movies.  So guess what?  I’m giving you an opportunity to see a movie free, before anybody else.

Head to the Baggage Claim Screening Info page NOW to learn how to claim your pass.

Only 25 passes are available, and it’s first come, first served, so hurry!

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Movie Review: Smokin’ Aces

Smokin' Aces Review

As many of you know, the old incarnation of The Movie Mark contained almost 500 hilariously insightful movie reviews.  It would be a shame for all of that hard work to be lost in the bandwidth abyss, so what better way to constantly update TMM than to recycle my classic reviews?  No need to thank me and shower me with praise; I’m just doing my civic duty.

With all the negative fallout regarding the shameful announcement of Ben Affleck as the new Batman *tries to control gag reflex* I decided to find some reviews I did in which Affleck made an appearance.  He had a mere cameo in Smokin’ Aces, but my review is hilarious, so that’s what I’m posting today.  So go read the review and enjoy!

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Mini-Review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Burt Wonderstone

When I originally saw the trailer for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone I thought, “Looks dumb, but it’s got Steve Carrell, Jim Carrey, and Steve Buscemi so it might turn out to be pretty funny.”

Was I going to spend $10 a pop to see it at the theater and find out?  Come on.  You know me better than that.  This immediately got thrown into the “future Redbox” file.

So as is typical with most of our Redbox rentals, Kim and I received a text with a free code.  As we perused the available titles, the only one we could agree on was Wonderstone.  It was late, a week night, and neither one of us was in the mood for anything too deep.  We figured this would fit the bill for a “100 minute late night time killer.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “Why only a mini-review?  Why not treat your loyal readers with one of your beloved classic full reviews?”  Because in the interest of full disclosure, I never finished the movie.  “Really?  Was it that bad?”  Well, let’s just say the first hour was that uneventful.

The Incredible Bore Wonderstone would probably be a more apt title.  Kim tapped out after about 30 minutes and headed to bed.  But me?  Oh you know me.  I’ve gotta get my money’s worth out of that free Redbox code!  I made it through an hour.  I remember a scene where Olivia Wilde tells Steve Carrell that she wants to be his magic partner and he chooses to try to find a famous magician instead.  The next thing I remember is waking up in my recliner, drool running down the side of my face, and the DVD on the menu screen playing the same 20-second music sample on a loop.  That explains the weird dreams.

What I did see was fairly mundane stuff.

The premise is Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carrell) is a kid on the path of a lifetime of bullying until his mother buys him a magic kit.  Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) becomes his best friend and magic partner.  Fast forward to their adult years and they’ve got a great thing going until they realize their old-school style isn’t bringing in the crowds any more.  Steve Gray’s (Jim Carrey) edge-walking tactics are now all the rage.  An insane mixture of Criss Angel and David Blaine, Gray is a street magician who likes to entertain the masses by not blinking while mace is sprayed in his eyes and holding his pee for days on end.

There are a handful of laughs sprinkled throughout what I’ve seen so far.   Jim Carrey only has about 5 – 7 minutes of screen time in the first hour, but his character is by far the funniest.  Wonderstone is just an obnoxious, over-the-top, unlikable character.  Which begs the question – was Will Ferrell not available?

Part of me is curious to see how it ends, not because the plot has riveted my attention but because I’m interested to see if it gets any better.  The problem is Kim and I have a wedding to attend tonight.  I’m not sure on the time yet, but if I get home and can watch this on 1.5x speed and manage to drop it off at Redbox on the way to the wedding (gotta get it returned by that 9:00 deadline!) then I’ll finish it and write a formal review.

But if I don’t manage to beat the clock, well, I doubt you or I will lose any sleep over it.  In fact, I might hang onto a few brain cells.

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Way Way Back

The Movie Mark is back, baby!  And I’m back with free stuff for you.

I’ve heard the cries.  I’ve heard the screams.  I’ve heard the pleas.  And you know me – I aim to please.  So let’s get this party started again, and let’s get it started with a free movie screening!  Sign up here:

The Way, Way Back Screening

You know what to do.

I’ve been gone way too long, but I’m ready to rock and roll once again.

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Movie Horror Story: No Love for the Tool Man

Jungle 2 Jungle

Have you ever wondered what kind of crazy things movie theater employees have the joy of witnessing?  Well, my good friend Amy C. was nice enough to share a time when a janitor went crazy on a Tim Allen cardboard standee. Check it out and see if you can figure out why there was No Love for the Tool Man.

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The Superman Travesty That Almost Was

Cage Superman

If you’ve read The Movie Mark much then you know that Batman is my favorite superhero.  I’ve never really been a big Superman fan.  I enjoyed Smallville, but all the movies have pretty much been garbage.  Let’s face it; Superman Returns was little more than a waste of $250 million.  However, I must say that Man of Steel looks really, really good.  I’m sure in no small part due to Christopher Nolan’s input.

But as bad as the previous Superman movies have been, did you know that the Superman averted a crisis in the 90s that stands as the “too close for comfort” cinematic equivalent of the Bay of Pigs?

“Really?  How could it have gotten any worse than Superman 3 with Richard Pryor?”

Yes, that was pretty bad, but get this: we almost had a Superman movie directed by Tim Burton, starring Nicolas Cage.  I’ll give you a moment for the laughter to subside…

Now if you want to see a small glimpse of how bad this could have been then check out the video of Superman’s light-up suit below.

I can only assume that he would’ve been most useful at Raves or disco joints.  The movie was to be titled Superman Lives.  I can neither confirm nor deny that the closing credits would’ve included Superman (in the light up suit) dancing to Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive.

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Confessions of a Movie Screener

The magical press row.  Pass counterfeiters.  Bathroom solicitations.  I’ve seen about everything at advanced movie screenings.

“Bathroom solicitations?”

Yes.  There was one guy who would regularly approach me in the bathroom at a screening and pitch me his idea for an Avengers movie.  We’ll get to the full story soon.

One of the first things I’m asked by friends and acquaintances when they find out that I attend the advanced movie screenings as a member of the press is, “What’s it like?”  Oh it’s like 20 shades of magical, hilarious, and strange all melded into one glorious experience.

You’ll be happy to know that I’ve decided to declassify my experiences and share them with you – my faithful readers. That’s right; all seven of you.

The stories will be a recollection of my personal experiences combined with a fusion of real-life characters who sound too outlandish to be true.  As the old saying goes, truth is stranger than fiction.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll applaud.  Or hopefully at least one of the three.

Stay tuned.  I’ll debut my first confession next week.

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Trailer: Youth Group Movie

Christopher Shawn Shaw and comedian Thor Ramsey are currently trying to secure funding for their comedy/satire Youth Group.  You can check out their Facebook page
for more info.  You can view the trailer below.

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Coming Soon: The Lone Ranger


Lone Ranger

Plot:  Native American warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp) and man of the law John Reid (Armie Hammer) are opposites brought together by fate and must join forces to battle greed and corruption.

Growing up, I was a huge fan of The Lone Ranger, so you’d think news of a movie would excite me, right?  Well, the problem is I don’t trust Hollywood.  I don’t trust ol’ H-town in general, but my skepticism kicks into high gear when my childhood memories come into play.

And let’s be honest – the sting of the CW’s Chad Michael Murray version was still fresh on my mind, despite the fact that was 10 years ago.

I saw the casting choice of Johnny Depp as Tonto to be an inspired one, but Armie Hammer as the man behind the mask?  Eh, I wasn’t sold.  He was fine in Reaper and the Facebook movie, but as the Lone Ranger?  Call me biased, but I was hoping for Josh Brolin.  Alas and alack, the man can’t star in EVERYTHING I suppose.

Then came rumors of Werewolves, Wendigos, and budget delays (oh my!), and I really lost interest.  In fact, I haven’t kept up with the movie since.

Then my brother sent a text the other day asking if I was going to see the movie.  My response:

“I doubt it.  I’ll wait until it comes on Redbox.  Doesn’t it have zombies or aliens or something weird in it?”

Werewolves and Wendigos were the rumors, as mentioned above, but my brother informed me that he didn’t think it had anything strange like that, and he said the trailer looked pretty good.

So I went ahead and watched all three trailers, and I have to say it looks like it’ll be a fun, CGI-heavy, popcorn-munching Summer blockbuster in the vein of Pirates of the Caribbean.  I can live with that.  I know some were hoping for a dark, gritty take, but come on, let’s count our blessings – werewolves and Chad Michael Murray are nowhere to be found.

Check out the latest trailer below and let me know what you think.

The Lone Ranger will hit theaters on July 3rd.

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