• Strictly Films

Weekly RoundUp Episode 22: Fourth of July

Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup. Happy Fourth of July everyone! I actually have a memorable Fourth of July back in 2018.


My friends Aaron and Mihran later on in the night of the Fourth of July, invited me towards a night out of shenanigans. They picked me up from my house, as we blasted Kids See Ghosts Cudi Montage on our way to our first destination. Cudi Montage was blasting at the highest volume, as me and Mihran were singing every line at the top of our lungs. This would cause a minor distraction, as well as the road was pitch black... As we almost drifted from our own side of the road, as we almost encountered a car crash!


While Aaron was freaking out about what almost happened, me and Mihran only had smiles on our faces. We thought, “Wow this would’ve been an epic send off from our last moment here on earth!” I mean having our final send off, include being with your best pals, singing your favorite song of that year... Yeah that would’ve been a nice ending. The night continued on as we threw those pop rocks at each other in a parking lot (So Stupid), engaged in a great amount of conversation, spend twenty minutes at Prkway Tavern, and had the worst Steak and Eggs I’ve ever had in my entire life. This would be a Fourth of July I’ll never forget, as I thank Aaron and Mihran granting me a grand night out, while also experiencing an epic near death experience.


It’s a cool thing we didn’t die that night. I achieved my quite a few childhood dreams afterwards, Mihran went on to find the love of his life, Aaron still continued a high class fancy lifestyle that catered to his own personal interests. The Kids Are All Right indeed... Let’s talk about movies shall we!

The Jesus Rolls Grade: F

The Big Lebowski is considered a classic by Joel Coen. It’s a great film with great characters, great story, great sense of humor, as it’s flat out entertaining. Now here’s The Jesus Rolls, a knockoff film giving us a complete story from a character from that film Jesus (John Turturro), whom is an acclaimed criminal, made by John Turturro himself.

It looks like John Turturro didn’t quite understand why everyone loved The Big Lebowski, as we can clearly compare and contrast the quality within both films. If you’re a fan of The Big Lebowski... You’re going to hate this film, as you might express a great amount of outrage against John Turturro. The Jesus Rolls is simply about a criminal that has a journey with a couple of peers inspired by nothing, as we just are given a collection of scenes, with no context into creating a narrative. It feels like a completely empty version of Seinfeld. The sense of humor in this film is atrocious, as I didn’t laugh once. The characters in this film are all extremely obnoxious, as they don’t really act like normal human beings. I can’t tell what I’m suppose to feel when I watch Jesus and his friends go on a journey, that seems like it’s going absolutely nowhere... It’s a bunch of nonsense.

I will say that The Jesus Rolls does have two sentimental moments, one encountering a female inmate getting released from prison Jean (Susan Surandon) and the other being the ending. Unfortunately John Turturro wrecks those moments that have any value towards the film, by adding unnecessary nonsense afterwards that defeats the entire purpose of those scenes. With Jean, Jesus gets acquainted with her son Jack (Pete Davidson) whom also has been released from prison. Where the film could’ve added an emotional impact on the story, by telling Jack about his mother passing... He instead offers Jack to have sex with their pal, whom has had sex with three hundred forty-seven partners, nothing wrong with that just giving context to the scene. So what Jesus has learned from his time with Jean, is to repay her son with pointless sex?! What the hell is John Turturro thinking here? It’s not funny, it doesn’t correlate to what has just happened, it just ruins the entire scene in your pointless story. The ending being Karma Comes Back Around, which honestly would’ve been a nice lesson. But instead... We have to extend the scene longer, as the film doesn’t get the proper ending it could’ve deserve. Everything about The Jesus Rolls feels entirely wrong, as it perhaps is a flat out disgrace to the Coen brother classic.

Overall, The Jesus Rolls is G A R B A G E. I don’t recommend this film at all, thank God for the library as I didn’t have to pay a dime to watch this load of crap.

Family Romance LLC Grade: B-

MUBI premiered Family Romance LLC to kick off Fourth of July weekend, as I was looking forward to this as Ema was honestly very good. What I thought was going to be about a father reuniting with his daughter, as they catch up on lost time... I was caught off guard to find out this man, was hired to be this twelve year old girls’ father, who’s father has been missing since she was sixteen months old. The man whom was hired in the first place, owns the company Family Romance LLC, providing one to impersonate a family member, friend, acquaintance. The concept alone is something particularly different, as I was interested to see how this sort of thing could work.

I felt the connection with the man hired by the mother and the daughter as it felt very personal. As you can tell as things escalated, it was harder for this man to keep up this charade. The film making style is very unique, it’s shot like a documentary but tells a complete narrative, reminds me of this years The Painter and The Thief. I also felt the experience was also pretty cool. You learn about the culture in this setting, as your introduced to some intriguing new discoveries. Like Robot Hotel, the Fortune Teller Machine, and of course how one can rent their own death.

I felt this film should’ve kept the main interest on the man and the daughter, than shifting away time to time. Like we understand the concept behind this business, we don’t to see other examples other than the opening, where a man shoes in to be someone’s father at a wedding. Every time after that when the film shifted away from the man and the daughter, it felt very distracting as I couldn’t care less, other than the woman whom hired the man as they also spend time together. I honestly didn’t care for the final shot of the film at all, it just abruptly ends as it was underwhelming for my taste. This was honestly a cool film, with some bright ideas, as it was an enjoyable intriguing experience.

Overall, Family Romance LLC was a cool film. I recommend checking this out sometime, do check the film makers previous film Grizzly Man as well.

Disclosure Grade: C+

The strength in Disclosure is certainly educating those, whom are unfamiliar with the topic of subject at hand as that is Transgender in Film/Television. I honestly couldn’t believe Transgender in film went back over one hundred years ago. So you do learn a lot from this film, as it was nice to see the collection of films/television they had, as how Transgenders felt about each form of media. There are some effective emotional moments in this documentary, I felt the ending really was impactful.

When it comes to today’s society, one major issue is the tendency to try and create a problem out of every single thing we come across with. When you have a documentary, in which you want people to sympathize with transgenders, so that they can be educated into having a better understanding, so they can be better people... You’re going to have a difficult time, when each interviewer nonstop complains. Some complaints hold value, but then at times it felt extremely over exaggerated, to the point where you felt a great amount of frustration, as your head encounters a massive headache. I wish the people whom were interviewed, weren’t so annoying as they try to create problems that honestly didn’t need to be discussed in the first, it actually does ruin the impact of this documentary.

One last thing: How we critique Film. Just because a film doesn’t hold your own morals and values, doesn’t mean you can entirely disregard the entirety of the film, it’s honestly a complete ignorant way of critiquing film. You have to critique a Film for it’s overall presentation... Just because it doesn’t follow your perspective, doesn’t mean it’s “WRONG”. There is a great amount of ignorance from these interviewers when regarding criticism towards film, as this is a very bad example how people should critique film.

Overall, Disclosure is an average documentary film. I recommend checking this out as far as educating yourself towards the history, just make sure you have aspirin near your counter... You’re going to need it. -Mitch Smietana

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