Rated Greg’s Top 5 Paul Rudd Performances

  1. Brian Fantana – Anchorman
  2. Cactus Bill – Mute
  3. Chuck – Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  4. Bobby Newport – Parks and Rec
  5. Josh – Clueless

Netflix’s Mute is mostly a miss. Written and directed by Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie), the film follows a wordless Alexander Skarsgard as he roams a Blade Runner-type Berlin of the future looking for his missing girlfriend. There are some interesting ideas and the movie looks great, but for some reason it never really gets you going or pulls you in.  It’s just Skarsgard going door-to-door, intimidating and occasionally beating up various thugs who might know where his lover is. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that basically the plot of the Double Dragon arcade game?


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Even with unlimited quarters, DD got old after a few levels and unfortunately the same thing happens here.  If there’s one and only one saving grace to Mute, I have to say it’s the relationship between Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux’s characters, Cactus Bill and Duck respectively, who are two best friend surgeons operating on the fringes of the Berlin criminal network.  These guys are honestly the only reason I wanted to post about this movie in the first place.  A good gauge as to the quality of a film is how often I think to look at my phone while watching it, which I did quite often during Mute, but every time these two popped up on the screen that phone went right back down.



While I was definitely disappointed with the overall product, I did leave thinking I would absolutely watch a 30-minute spinoff sitcom featuring the nefarious MD’s.  They’re that entertaining.  But what’s funny is, only after listening to a recent Marc Maron podcast with Duncan Jones did I learn that Rudd and Theroux were written as direct tributes to Trapper and Hawkeye from MASH.  So I guess they were purposely going for that type of aura.  MASH was before my time so it was lost on me, but in between moments of Maron repeatedly bringing up the director’s famous dead father, Jones talks about how he was always weirdly curious of what a sinister MASH would look like.  Apparently it’s fairly obvious to anyone who grew up with the show the moment Rudd and Theroux are introduced.  Anyways, I think he’s on to something.  If you enjoyed MASH you may want to check this out, while understanding that it’s not exactly a good movie.  Grade: C



Rated Greg’s Top 5 Unexpected Action Debuts

  1. Bruce Willis – Die Hard
  2. Will Smith – Bad Boys
  3. Keanu Reeves – Point Break
  4. Uma Thurman – Kill Bill
  5. Liam Neeson – Taken

A few years ago, I watched this movie called Imperium about a young FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate a dangerous white nationalist group in present day Virginia.  This logline seemed like a promising enough thriller at the time….. until I realized that the tough guy with a gun was being played by none other than Daniel Radcliffe (aka Harry Potter).  It just didn’t work.  I believe Radcliffe to be a charming actor (shout out to the rom-com What If?) but not every movie star is meant to be an action star.  I mean, I don’t recall Matthew Broderick or Michael J Fox ever picking up a gun?  They may have well of casted Michael Cera.  It would have been the same result (perhaps it has something to do with child stars).


Where am I going with this?  Oh yeah, so a recent big release, Annihilation, brought on similar reservations because it had Natalie Portman wielding an assault rifle front and center on the poster.  This seemed like a bit of a stretch.  Isn’t she basically the same size as Anna Kendrick?  Fuck it though, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt.  If director Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later) has faith that she can pull this off, I was willing to give Annihilation a shot.

Loosely based on a popular science fiction novel of the same name, Annihilation follows Portman and four other military-trained scientists as they brave a quarantined piece of land in the Everglades to investigate a cryptic occurrence of marines gone missing.  The first act is a mystery, the second act a horror, and the third a batshit, avant garde art film, but I’m getting ahead of myself.


Did I mention the team of five is all female?  Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Tuva Novotny round out the impressive starting 5.  Having male escorts on the dangerous mission into the wilderness isn’t even considered within the plot, which I think is cool.  And nor should it have been by the way, as you can officially add badass onto Natalie Portman’s acting resume after this film.  There are images in Annihilation that might provoke thoughts of an all-female Ghostbusters, but the dark and despondent tone will quickly push those thoughts right the fuck onto oncoming traffic.  If anything, I’d compare it to an all-female The Grey, one of the most underrated movies this decade (or at least the first two acts).

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Two thirds of Annihilation is held down by three fantastic, perfectly executed scenes that I’ve thought a lot about since my first #moviepass experience at the PG Plaza theater. One includes the best use of Crosby Stills and Nash in a movie to my recollection, another involving a purely one of a kind animal attack as hinted in the trailer.   But because the third act is sooooo out there, I have a hard time recommending this film to just anyone.  It was publicized that even Annihilation’s distributor Paramount thought the film might be too smart for it’s own good, so much so that they hedged their bets on the financial prospects of the film, releasing it wide in America but selling the international rights wholesale to Netflix.  If you’re into really strange, off kilter stuff like 2001: A Space Odyssey or better yet Twin Peaks, sure give Annihilation a whirl, but Rated Greg has never been on that wavelength.   Grade: B+

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May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers


A month ago you could have asked me to list 50 musicians that I’d like to see a documentary about, the Avett Brothers probably wouldn’t have been on that list.  It’s not that I don’t like their music, I just don’t think about their music…at all.  I’ve stuck more money into jukeboxes than I’d care to tally, but not one time did I ever stop on the Avett page for even half a second.  The sole reason I watched this documentary is because it was directed by Judd Apatow and produced by HBO.

They did a good job.  May It Last is really well done and as I was watching it, I realized the Avett’s have the perfect level of fame for a documentary.  I’ve heard of them and for the most part can tell if a song is theirs, but I also knew nothing about their personal lives or where they came from, so much so that I wasn’t even positive that they are actually brothers (they are).  The music scenes are fine, but I was much more drawn to the bits on family, North Carolina upbringings, and life on the road.  It’s a gentle and tender 100 minutes that will make you feel good.   If you like music docs and/or folk music you should check this out.  HBO On Demand.  Grade: C

2018 Oscar Predictions

When it comes to the Academy Awards, Rated Greg becomes Jaded Greg.  A four hour telecast with a history of championing mostly out of touch movies does not have me excited for Sunday night.  I mean, when’s the last time you thought about The King’s Speech, or even Argo?  I’ll admit last year did buck the trend and get things mostly right, but part of me fears the voters will reverse course faster than me in the produce section.  Nonetheless, here are my predictions for the 2018 ceremony.

Best Picture

  • The odds-on favorite: Three Billboards (9 to 10 odds)
  • What will win: Dunkirk
  • What should win:  Get Out*
  • What deserved a nomination:  I, Tonya

Years from now after there are Get Out video games, Get Out lunch boxes, and an annual Get Out college football bowl game, people will wonder how on Earth Get Out didn’t win Best Picture.

Best Actress

  • The odds-on favorite: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards (1 to 25 odds)
  • Who will win: Frances McDormand
  • Who should win:  Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
  • Who deserved a nomination:  Charlize Theron – Atomic Blonde*

I know I’m out on an island on this one, but I believe stunt work should be just as valued in the acting category as a powerful soliloquy.

Best Actor

  • The odds-on favorite: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour (1 to 25 odds)
  • Who will win: Timothee Chalamet – CMBYN (in a shocker)
  • Who should win:  Timothee Chalamet
  • Who deserved a nomination:  Robert Pattinson – Good Time*

Pattinson showed 80’s De Niro level potential in Good Time.  I’m as surprised as you are.

Best Supporting Actress

  • The odds-on favorite: Allison Janney – I, Tonya (1 to 6 odds)
  • Who will win: Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird
  • Who should win:  Laurie Metcalf
  • Who deserved a nomination:  Bria Vinate – The Florida Project

Best Supporting Actor

  • The odds-on favorite: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards (1 to 8 odds)
  • Who will win: Sam Rockwell
  • Who should win:  Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project*
  • Who deserved a nomination:  Ray Romano – The Big Sick

Not enough is being made that Willem Dafoe was pretty much the ONLY professional actor in The Florida Project.  Without him I don’t think that movie works nearly as well as it does.

Best Director

  • The odds-on favorite: Guillermo Del Toro – The Shape of Water (1 to 10 odds)
  • Who will win: Guillermo Del Toro
  • Who should win:  Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
  • Who deserved a nomination:  Sean Baker – The Florida Project

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • The odds-on favorite: James Ivory – Call Me By Your Name (1 to 14 odds)
  • Who will win: Dee Rees – Mudbound
  • Who should win:  Aaron Sorkin – Molly’s Game
  • Who deserved a nomination: N/A*

This is the one category I have zero beef with.  The fact that they nominated Logan for a screenplay award sure throws a wrench in my “out of touch” accusation.

Best Original Screenplay

  • The odds-on favorite: Jordan Peele – Get Out (1 to 2 odds)
  • Who will win: Jordan Peele
  • Who should win:  Jordan Peele
  • Who deserved a nomination:  Taylor Sheridan – Wind River

Best Cinemetography

  • The odds-on favorite: Blade Runner (1 to 8 odds)
  • Who will win: Blade Runner
  • Who should win:  Blade Runner
  • Who deserved a nomination:  The Florida Project

Best Visual Effects

  • The odds-on favorite: Blade Runner (9 to 10 odds)
  • Who will win: War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Who should win:  War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Who deserved a nomination:  Logan


I also updated the 2017 Rankings below:

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