The Hunt (2020): Needs More Swank – Amazon Review

I take a look at the “most controversial movie you’ve never seen.”

SUMMARY

A group of elite “liberals” abduct a number of “deplorables” and hunt them for sport. The liberals include, among others, Athena Stone (Hillary Swank) and Richard (Glenn Howerton), and the deplorables include Moses (Ike Barinholtz), Yoga Pants (Emma Roberts), Gary (Ethan Suplee), Crystal (Betty Gilpin), and Don (Wayne Duvall). It’s Red State vs. Blue State, with the last man or woman standing apparently claiming moral superiority.

These are the prey. You can tell because they are heavily armed. Wait, what?

END SUMMARY

If you recall this movie, it’s probably because it was supposed to get released last year, until they stopped marketing it in response to a pair of mass shootings. This controversy was compounded by the fact that the President of the United States decided that he needed to weigh in on the movie, saying that it was “racist.” This take apparently was influential, despite the fact that the Liberals would be the bad guys in this movie and that political viewpoints are not a race. The release was then postponed. It was then moved to March of this year, with a new marketing campaign based around it being “super controversial.” Due to the fact that I don’t have a great history with films that market themselves around being controversial as opposed to, you know, GOOD, I wasn’t that psyched to see this movie. However, a friend recently told me that he enjoyed it, because this movie was essentially “(politically) moderate porn.” 

This was in response to a movie advertisement. I’m not saying anything further.

Apparently I’m not moderate enough, because I did not enjoy the cinematic experience to an erotic degree. Maybe I own too many guns, or too few, I don’t know, but I just never found the movie that compelling throughout most of it. I think, ultimately, it comes down to how the different sides are portrayed during the film. While the “Liberals” are actually pretty comically liberal, such as having discussions over their own privilege constantly, the “deplorables,” and yes I’m using that word because I think they’re a different group than Conservatives, are not exaggerated enough. One of the most common tropes in a horror movie, and this is mostly a horror film, is that audiences want victims to deserve it. The way that The Hunt seems to handle this is by assuming that the viewer will think that just because these people are conspiracy theorists, we’ll agree that they deserve to die, and that’s… hard. Even when the total situation is revealed at the end, that doesn’t somehow undo the emotional confusion from the first part of the film.

Particularly since our focal character hardly says anything.

Then there’s our main character, Crystal. Betty Gilpin does successfully portray her as a smart badass, but she’s still not that interesting for most of the film because the setting doesn’t allow her to be. She almost always seems to be in control, no matter what is happening, because she’s a former soldier, but until the literal last fight she appears to be too invincible to be a horror character. If you’ve seen the movie You’re Next, you’ll know that the key to having a kick-ass survivalist final girl is that they always need to be on the ropes, even though they’re superior to their assailants. This film doesn’t do that. 

At the end of the film, her hair is barely mussed.

However, there are a few solid points to the film. First, a number of the kills are humorous and surprising, which is always good for a horror movie. Second, the final act is actually really well done, particularly in terms of satire and thriller elements. The conversation between Betty Gilpin and Hillary Swank feels like it was pulled out of a much better script. I was amused throughout the whole sequence, which makes it only more tragic that I was pretty checked out through the first hour. 

I assume they promised Hillary Swank that she’d only have to work for like 10 days.

Overall, though, I just only found this movie to be mediocre. If you can catch it for free, maybe do that, but don’t pay $5.99 like I did. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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15)    Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)

Okay, so, this one might be a little higher on the list than it should be upon repeated viewings, but, frankly, I refuse to apologize. Make your own list if you don’t agree. This is a great show, a great episode, and people should watch it.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a show about the worst people in the world. People said that about Seinfeld when it aired, but this takes it to a level that Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld probably would never have imagined possible. Actually, without shows like Seinfeld, where we don’t particularly think the protagonists are supposed to be “good people,” this show would have died immediately. Instead, it’s carried on for more than a decade. Ultimately, the “Gang” only stays together because no other human beings would ever tolerate their behavior, which is why they tend to spend most of their time in the disgusting bar that they co-own and operate, Paddy’s Pub.

AlwaysSunnyCast.png
It’s a less productive Manson Family

The characters are, in ascending order of awful: Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day), the illiterate, glue-sniffing, stalker Janitor; Deandra “Sweet Dee” Reynolds (Kaitlin Olson), the wanna-be starlet without talent who also is constantly physically violent and an occasional off-screen arsonist; Ronald “Mac” McDonald (Rob McElhenney), the idiotic Christian fundamentalist wanna-be tough-guy (which is why he hides his homosexuality for most of the series) who will betray his friends instantly if it benefits him; Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito), the perverted, disgusting, millionaire ex-businessman who basically is driven by nothing but his own id (because he’s rich enough to avoid real consequences); and Dennis Reynolds (Glenn Howerton). Dennis Reynolds is a psychopath. He manipulates people just to prove he can, believes himself to be a “golden god,” threatens people constantly, and, to top those already great qualities, is a consummate liar, almost certainly an outright rapist, and probably a serial killer.

The show relies on being the anti-sitcom in order to thrive, and it does so with 3 different running themes: 1) The characters are aware of how sitcom tropes usually go, try to use it to their advantage to “game the system,” and fail miserably. This level of somewhat self-awareness makes it more entertaining because it gives us something to measure SunnyFlanderizationagainst. 2) The characters are slowly becoming weirder and weirder, a process usually called “Flanderization” on a sitcom, after Ned Flanders of The Simpsons. Unlike most shows, however, this Sunny not only has characters point it out, but actually makes it clear why it’s happening. The Gang are all alcoholics who dabble in other substances, have serious mental and physical health issues they refuse to address, and, most importantly, they never actually suffer true repercussions for their actions so they have no motive to do anything but get worse. 3) The gang are literally poisoning all the people they interact with. Charlie’s obsession, the Waitress, loses jobs throughout the series. Matthew “Rickety Cricket” Mara starts off as a priest, but by the most recent season he is homeless, severely burned, addicted to all the drugs out there, and has been in more than one dog orgy. Unlike other series where the supporting cast maintains their status, the guests in this show frequently take the punishment which the cast deserves, and more, bringing them down to their level.

SunnyCricket2
Rickety Cricket: Season 1 vs. Season 10

SUMMARY

This episode manages to show exactly how toxic the Gang is through a beloved family pastime, playing a board game. For those of you who had siblings, you may be recalling some fights over monopoly or, God forbid, Risk that almost escalated to violence or verbal abuse. This episode takes that feeling and ratchets it up to eleven. It is revealed that, when they have nothing else to do, the Gang created a game many years ago that they play, called “CharDee MacDennis.” In this episode, they decide to play another round.

sunnychardeelevels.jpgCharDee MacDennis is exactly the kind of game that these crazy *ssholes would create. First, you have to drink the whole time, going from beer to wine to liquor. Second, the levels are “mind” which involves answering questions, creating art, solving puzzles, or just getting random cards that break the game (such as “take the money from everyone’s pockets” or “Dennis and Dee go straight to level two.”). The questions are not actual trivia questions, they’re just opinions they wrote in the 90s (such as: What’s the greatest band in the world? Chumbawumba). The second level is “Body,” which involves physical challenges that are actually dangerous or painful. The third is “Spirit,” which allows the Gang to emotionally abuse each other that it has driven them to be suicidal in the past.

Cheating is encouraged and is not severely punished, but for breaking minute rules of formal play, players are punished with literally potentially lethal consequences. Basically, it encourages dishonestly, while allowing everyone to inflict punishments on everyone else for tiny mistakes. Yes, this is a game that is crafted just to hurt all the people involved, literally on every level.

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And they destroy the losers’ pieces

In this episode, Frank is the audience surrogate, as he is the only person who has never played the game before. Because Frank is a terrible person, as opposed to being horrified, he’s often fairly excited or interested in the game, which allows the audience to overlook the fact that most people playing this game would probably die just for alcohol poisoning. As a kicker, Dennis and Dee’s team has never lost a game, something they lord over Charlie and Mac, and later Frank.

END SUMMARY

This episode both shows us how terrible the current Gang is, but also gives us a vision of the past Gang, because they’re the ones who decided to undertake creating a massive over-the-top game in order to abuse each other. There are only two game pieces because they didn’t consider adding anyone else in, which further cements that these people can only exist with each other. The questions are all opinion based because all of them prefer opinion to any form of actual, verifiable fact… and because all of them are pretty dumb. They even resolve ties by flipping a coin, because “When we were writing the rules, at one point, we just got really bored, and we phoned it in.” Not only are they the kind of terrible people that would make this game, but they couldn’t even manage to go all the way with it.

All comedy comes from pain and this episode is set around a game designed to cause as much pain as possible to everyone involved. This makes the episode pretty much hilarious from start to finish.

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If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.