I firmly believe whoever was the first person to try chocolate and peanut butter together was a friggin’ genius. I assume his last name was Reese, or maybe that was his first name. Or maybe it was a her. The ladies are pretty good at that whole taste thing. Male or female….friggin’ genius! I have yet to find a combo of those two together that don’t work. Some, however, do work better than others. Reese’s PB eggs are just this side of perfection. Reese’s PB miniatures are good but not as good as the regular cups. Butterfinger’s newest entry in the candy saga are okay but just a little off to me because they want to be both a PB cup and a Butterfinger’s candy bar. Reese’s Pieces are okay, but I actually can pass on them. I have this whole chocolate to peanut butter ratio theory to explain it, but I won’t bore you with that.
Instead I’m going to bore you with my thoughts on a couple of movie combos that Hollywood has had some success with. Well, that is until this month.
The first “Combo” is Liam Neeson and “family member peril” movies. Now we all know that Taken is the Peanut Butter Cup of this combo. Neeson made a wonderfully tortured, distraught bad ass. While the movie had issues it was fun and exciting. Then he made Taken 2, Non-Stop, Taken 3 and Taken 4. Oh hold it he didn’t make Taken 4, instead he made Run All Night.
Run All Night is the same formula only with more peanut butter (PB being men) and very little chocolate (Chocolate being women). Neeson plays a drunken ex mob hitman. This is a huge departure from the washed up ex CIA hit man from the Taken series. His son witnesses his boss’s son commit a murder and Neeson has to save his son and in doing so he kills the son of the mob boss. Madness ensues. People make threats. Bullets fly. Ghetto tenements catch fire. People die.
It stays true to the formula, right down with the happenstance of the one honest cop in all of NYC (not my real feelings on New York’s finest, just the way Hollywood always plays them) catching the case. Who would have thought it? Well, except for everyone watching the movie. There is not one moment of this movie that is a twist, except for the fact that it’s the first action movie out of Hollywood without a twist in a long time
The second combo is Sean Penn and political dramas. Penn can do the whole drama thing so well. If Milk is the Reeses’ Peanut Butter Egg of this combo, then his latest, The Gunman is the Butterfinger’s Cup. It wants to be a political drama with some great action and danger involved. It just wants to be so much and it fails. But it’s in a beautiful package. The majority of it takes place in Spain, and wow is that a beautiful country.
I’d love to tell you the plot, but I’m not for sure that I can do so without you thinking I must have misunderstood it. It’s just that convoluted. Penn can’t decide if he wants to play a character with deep emotions or a character with one bad ass attitude or a character with some sort of weird brain tumorish thing. Javier Bardem is maybe the bad guy, but who knows. Idris Elba is billed as the second star and has all of five minutes in the film, and I can’t name an actor who couldn’t have played this part. And then there is Jasmine Trinca, an Italian actress, who takes the role of educated beauty in peril to a whole new level of cliche moron. I was totally rooting for a bull to get her in the final bullfight scene. Don’t ask how they end up at a bullfight, they’re in Barcelona, where else would they end up.
Both of these movies can satisfy your need for peanut butter and chocolate, but after watching them you might find yourself craving a peanut butter egg or at least some Peanut Butter M&Ms. You know the candy with the right ratio of PB to chocolate.