A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) Film Review


It’s the Wild West and things are pretty horrible. Albert (Seth MacFarlane) is a sheep farmer (although not very good at it) and a coward. After his girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) dumps him, he wants to leave. He cannot be convinced to stay by his best mate, Edward (Giovanni Ribisi) or Edward’s girlfriend, Ruth (Sarah Silverman), but when a new lady arrives in town he is convinced to stay. Little does he know that Anna (Charlize Theron) is the wife of the evil Clinch (Liam Neeson) and he is in deep trouble. Plus, now Louise is dating the creepy mustachioed Foy (Neil Patrick Harris) can life get much worse?

I thought that I would get a few laughs out of this, but (like with Ted and Family Guy) be left with the bitter taste of casual misogyny and racism. I’m quite torn by Seth MacFarlane’s humour – he pushes things too far, but that often makes me laugh. Was the ‘I saw your boobs’ song at the Oscars misogynistic or just funny? I thought it was just funny. But there are plenty of other examples of humour that I find quite unpleasant.

Luckily, that nastiness seemed to be lacking in this film. Sure, there are not really great roles for women, but that seems to be fairly normal. In fact, my favourite moments on the screen were between Sarah Silverman and Giovanni Ribisi. Who could not love a couple that is waiting to have sex when one is an extremely popular prostitute? Oh, and every moment with Neil Patrick Harris – how marvelous to have a real, old school, over-the-top, magnificent, mustache-twirling villain?

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would watch it again with very little encouragement. It’s just plain funny, (mostly low-brow, with the odd very clever remark, but why would you expect much more?) with good writing that balances the line of living in the time but having a total awareness of the future. Apparently, everyone else hated this film. It’s only got one-and-a-half stars on Rotten Tomatoes. Huh.

Wreck-It Ralph (2012) Film Review


Thank goodness that some kids films are awesome. I love taking my nephews to see films, and a lot of them are tolerable; some are appalling (but I pretend to like them) and then there are the golden few that I really love. Like Wreck It Ralph.

Wreck It Ralph (John C Riley) is the bad guy in an eighties –style computer game in an arcade somewhere in the US. When the arcade closes at night, the various characters can go hang out in bars, or visit each others’ games, or even attend self-help groups. Ralph is unhappy because he is the villain of his game, and even when the game is shut down, the other characters snub him. He is told that when he gains a medal, he will be able to join their party, so he sneaks into a war game and scores himself a medal. However, he accidentally ends up in the world of Sugar Rush, a super-sweet car racing game, and ends up pairing up with Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) to get his medal back and save the day.

Whether it is the references to the games I loved as a child or the sassy dialogue, this film just got me. It was funny when it needed to be, a bit sentimental, but generally fun and got me laughing as much as my nephews.

Wreck It Ralph was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animation and a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.