Dragon Ball GT: A Damn Fun Ride

GMS here.  Damn, I know you barely see a lot of me, but I’ve been busy.  First post in a long while, so here goes!  I’m currently writing a review for Frozen and a few other assorted things, but right now I want to address something.  I was talking with a few of my friends who love anime and manga, and we came to the topic of Dragon Ball.  Arguing over how well Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball rate when compared to the fighting manga/anime of today led us to the topic of the GT anime, to which a bunch of my friends went on about how horrible and crappy it is.  Interesting….

Now, let’s all get one thing straight.  GT is bad.

But, is it really that bad? 

I personally really love GT.  Why?  I want to draw your attention to a quote on the back of the GT anime box set, from animenewsnetwork.com: “Dragon Ball GT is a fun ride.”  This is all GT was ever meant to be.  It wasn’t meant to be greater than Z or Ball at all.  Yes, many of the enemies are even more overpowered than even Kid Buu.  And Gogeta SSJ4?  Ridiculous.  The point to all of the overpowered enemies, I think, is to kind of poke fun at the Dragon Ball universe.  A sort of satire, if you will.  I mean, Omega Shenlong is pretty much god incarnate, and he could eat Buu in any of his forms for breakfast and ask for seconds.  You see, what I think Toriyama was going for was to combine Ball and Z into one anime, so as to appeal to those who like both.  And, well, it didn’t turn out that amazing.  Now, I would never consider this as one of the best anime of all time.  But, I think that it is an anime that everyone should see if you are a fan of DBZ, DB, or just anime in general.  There are some great moments here!  The Super 17 arc remains one of my favorite anime arcs ever!  Episode 55, The Heart of the Prince, is actually a really great retrospective on the relationship between Goku and Vegeta.  Piccolo’s sacrifice for the Earth is really moving, just as moving as Vegeta’s suicide in Z.  The Shadow Dragon and Baby sagas are great too!  GT has probably my favorite opening theme in any anime ever (no, not the shitty English one, I’m talking about the Japanese opening.  Give it a listen, you won’t regret it!).  The ending of GT is one of my favorite anime endings ever, as it goes through an entire retrospective of the series, ending with Goku saying goodbye to everyone.  It’s a tear-jerker, and it gets me every time.  Finally, the GT Movie is one of the best DB movies, in my opinion.

That’s not to say GT is without its flaws.  The Black Star saga sucks ass.  It’s terrible.  It’s basically a much lower-grade version of Dragon Ball.  I mean, it’s good for a little enjoyment, but I only really watched the whole thing once.  The Baby Saga is pretty good, but I’d still watch just about any saga in Z over this one.  The Shadow Dragon saga is pretty much crap too, up until the fire and ice dragons and the creation of Syn Shenlong, when it starts to get really good.  Whereas DBZ’s character development is skewered over multiple sagas and characters, far from a perfect way of doing it, GT’s character development is worse: it’s nonexistent.  Neither Goku, Pan, nor Trunks get any character development.  You’d think that when Goku shrunk that this would be an opportunity for some, but he is still pretty much as strong as before, so no.  Pan, first of all, doesn’t get any, and second of all, no one cares about her.  Third, Trunks doesn’t get any either.  Vegeta kind of goes through character development a bit, but it’s the same as before so I wouldn’t even consider it character development.  In the end, all of the characters are pretty static in their development throughout the story, leaving no area for profound development.  In reality, nothing about GT is profound or deep.  You could watch Naruto and find more deep stuff than in this show.

But that’s not the point. 

GT does its job very well: it’s an entertaining anime, with a very shitty, “so bad it’s good” first saga, and then a bunch of really overblown epic sagas following.  I equate GT to Flash Gordon the movie.  It has that same “so bad it’s good” quality to it that I can’t stop watching it.  In the end, I love GT for all of its flaws and triumphs.  GT demonstrates that not every anime can be perfect, some are even terrible, but if you enjoy watching it, than it has done its job.

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K Dog’s American Hustle Review

An old 70’s Hollywood logo with a Seventies song “Jeep Blues” playing in the background, Opening statements stating “Some of this has actually happened” followed by Christian Bale doing the most interesting and complex comb over in film history are the first things we see in the movie American Hustle. An opening that is interesting on many levels that tells me instantly that American Hustle is going to be a unique film.

Directed by David O Russell, American Hustle is a movie that is a retelling of the real life Abscam scandal in the 1970’s but more so about the theme of reinvention, and the idea that everyone needs to con others and put on fake facades to trick others to survive. The movie is in the middle of being a character study, parody, and glorification of the 1970’s and the me-ism philosophy that people in the 1970’s followed. The movie  manages to combine drama and comedy to create a story that is ambitious and messy but ultimately a well crafted story that manages to entertain and tell interesting things about how far people will go to achieve the American Dream.

The plot is basically about the Abscam scandal in the 1970’s and about con artists and how everyone in America, even people who are not criminals, are con artists. The story is about a con man, named Irving ( Christian Bale) who works with a woman named Sydney (Amy Adams) to scam people by selling fake art and giving people fake loans. Both of them are caught by FBI agent Richie Di Masso ( Bradley Cooper) who puts them into custody but makes them a deal that if they help him con corrupt politicians they will both be released from prison. They decide to take down a corrupt politician, named Carmine ( Jeremy Renner) who has a good heart but does corrupt things to support the people of New Jersey. They try to con him by getting a fake Arab Sheik to say that he is rich and trick Carmine in accepting fake bribes. In the background Irving has a young wife named Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) who threatens to destroy Irving’s entire operation as well as Richie’s boss (Louis CK) who is against it all.

Now before I get this review underway I have to point out that I actually liked this movie and was surprised of how much I liked this movie. The reasons I point this out is because there seems to be a divided fan base debating on whether this movie is a masterpiece or whether it is one of the most overrated movies of all time. I happened to like this movie a lot because It reminded me of a movie similar to Goodfellas, and Pulp Fiction, where David O Russell takes some things that made those movies great and puts them in this movie, while adding his own style to the caper genre creating a sort mocking parody movie of the 1970’s but a complex drama with funny and dramatic moments, and complex and sympathetic characters usually not seen in the caper genre. David O Russel’s film is filled with sympathetic and raw performances as well as tight concise direction.  However this movie is not perfect and you will probably be surprised with the things I don’t like about it but first lets look at the good stuff.

The best part about this movie is the performances. Christian Bale is my favorite film actor working today and he absolutely makes this movie and is my favorite performance playing a character that is complex but very likable. Christian Bale gained so much weight in this role and you cannot recognize Christian Bale at all.  Irving is very relatable because of his heart in the movie but he has this intimidating air about him and wonderful subtlety about him that Christian Bale plays brilliantly. He definitely could be the best lead actor performance I have seen all year. Amy Adams is also one of my favorite actresses working today and she portrays one of the best and complicated characters in the movie where you never know what her intentions are throughout the movie, while still looking incredibly sexy throughout the movie developing a complex romance with Irving and Richie. Bradley Cooper plays one of the funniest characters in the movie playing a “fifteen year old in an adult body” who is an FBI agent. He has so much energy and ambition and wonderful chemistry with Christian Bale, Amy Adams and especially Louis CK’s character making some of the funniest parts in the movie due to their opposite personalities. He creates a character that seems like an unlikable character on paper due to his ambition and stupidity but Bradley Cooper manages to make me sympathize him due to his good intentions and funny behavior. Jeremy Renner does a brilliant job as being the heart of the movie due to him actually forming a friendship with Christian Bale and him having very good intentions to help New Jersey even when he is doing stuff illegally. Him not being nominated for an Oscar is beyond me especially considering that Jennifer Lawrence has gotten more praise than Jeremy Renner as well as more praise than anybody in this movie.

Yes my least favorite thing in the movie as well as least favorite performance in the movie is Jennifer Lawrence’s character. I was never on the Jennifer Lawrence love band wagon and though I just liked her in Silver Lining’s Playbook (she wasn’t my favorite thing about that movie) Jennifer Lawrence is horribly miscast and over acts and strains in her part as Rosalyn delivering an inconsistent accent and an annoying and one hit character that just acts crazy and cries and screams a lot. She delivers funny lines here and there and is good, but compared to the other characters I didn’t believe for a second that this was Rosalyn, I just saw Jennifer Lawrence. At times Jennifer Lawrence spoke a New York accent and some times she sounded like a college girl with a normal accent. The biggest flaw I have with Jennifer Lawrence is that she doesn’t take the time to immerse herself and study her roles. I think she is a good actress, nothing more and nothing less but I was not a fan of her in this movie.

Jennifer Lawrence’s character is actually one of the few things I didn’t like about this movie, but the other performances, direction by David O Russell, soundtrack and 1970’s setting are very good. The movie feels very talkative but always engaging because of the wonderful character interaction that feels very natural, and always fast paced. I get the feeling a lot of the dialogue in this movie was improvised and it is so fun to see all of the characters interact with each other because of this. David O Russell always makes it feel like I am watching these characters in real-time. The story may be hard to follow at times but the character interactions and wonderful acting and 70’s feeling makes this flaw not that bad. The movie is very grey, not black and white, with no bad guys or good guys and the fun thing about the movie is watching each  characters subtle acting decisions and how something could give away their intentions on who they are conning. The film can be seen as a comedy, and trust me it is funny, however the movie is also a drama filled with compelling characters as well as sympathetic characters with great performance and good written dialogue. The story is not that good and if you are not a big fan of the story or understand it that much, the story will drag, but if you are a fan of compelling characters and pay more attention to the characters more so than the story, you will love this movie. Also being a lover of the 1970’s helps a lot too because this movie really paid tribute to the 1970’s. David O Russell really made a good movie that is messy filled with so many character types of the 1970’s and wants to study them. In the process he makes a movie with great performances and soundtrack but it is definitely messy on the plot side of things. But a good mess because the flaws are inseparable from its positives. With so much focus on the story the characters probably wouldn’t have the same effect as they had in the movie. The movie is fast and sloppy because it symbolizes the characters and the period of the 70’s. The tone and pacing fit the character interactions and theme of the movie very well. It is a con game where everyone is in for themselves and confused on who they are and what they want in life.

Objective score: 9.3 Subjective score:9.5

Positives:

Christian Bale is fantastic, Bradley Cooper is fantastic, Amy Adams is fantastic, Jeremy Renner is very good. They are fun to watch but always seem to be in character the whole time. This is an acting movie, which means this movie is mostly about the characters and the performances, not the story.

This movie is so enjoyable to see. There is so much detail in every performance that it reminds me of a stage play and each character works off each other so well.

The soundtrack to this film is so good and memorable. It is  up there with Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction, when it comes to a good soundtrack. The soundtrack is symbolic as well as very memorable going with many scenes perfectly.

I love how this movie embraces as well as mocks the 70’s and how the hair styles and characters match a certain stereotype of the 70’s.

I love the hair symbolism and music symbolism this movie has. Makes me want to re watch the movie and analyze the movie.

This movie is fun. Not as fun as The Wolf of Wall Street, but fun enough, there are more chuckles in this movie then laugh out loud moments and I am okay with that because I like subtlety.

A great cameo by one of the best actors in Hollywood.

David O Russel’s direction is fun, concise, and breaths giving you good character direction.

Unlike most other caper movies, this movie has strong female characters. I loved Amy Adams the best and she delivers one of the best and complex characters ever in a caper film who is not just a housewife usually seen in other caper movies.

Mixed Feelings:

There are many things in the film that remind many people of Goodfellas, Pulp Fiction , Boogy Nights, Casino and some people may call this ripping off, I find it homage. A quote Irving says describing the idea of ripping off ” This painting is fake, people believe what they want to believe, because the guy who made this was so good, that everybody thinks that it is real, so who is the master, the painter or the forger.”  David O Russell, proves that he is a sort of con artist himself but nevertheless an artist. For David O Russell gives a homage to the caper genre movies in the past years.

Jennifer Lawrence’s character is not that good in my eyes but many people like her so take my opinion any way you want.

Bad:

The plot is complicated.

The movie is messy.

The movie is a little long but doesn’t drag like Wolf of Wall Street.

The movie drags if you are watching the movie for the plot.

The movie is too overhyped and that makes people disappointed of this movie.

I give this film a nice recommendation for those who love good characters, character interaction, music that is good, great performances and the 1970’s. Next I am going to review a film that many people I know are talking about. An Oscar contender for best picture and a movie that most people say is going to be winning it. I think you know. 12 Years A Slave. I am K Dog, and have fun at the movies.