Movie Monday – Pain and Gain, After Earth

Goodness. Pain & Gain is quite the experience. It’s an interesting combination of humor and tragedy. A bit like the little I know of Breaking Bad (only comparing the first 4 episodes of Season 1; I haven’t been able to get any further. It’s just not my cup of tea in terms of entertainment.) Pain & Gain is charming and terrible, funny and disturbing, all rolled into one. For any that may not know, the plot is adapted from a 1994-1995 true crime story that took place in Florida. Knowing this while watching, I was repeatedly horrified by the ringleader of the crime trio. Even if the story is “loosely” based on real events, Daniel Lugo was a freaking psychopath! I did not know going in that the story was based on anything remotely real; I thought it was just an action-comedy. My horror of the events increased as the movie went on and I imagined the fact that real people did SOMETHING similar to what was being depicted. I feel terrible to have been party to the support of the twisted re-telling of the gruesome deaths of the true victims. Part of me wonders at the intentions of the makers of the movie. If you strip all that away and just look at the movie at face value, it was entertaining and well-done. But I can’t feel very good about recommending it to others. If you’re interested in what really happened, the surviving victim Marc Schiller has written a book. Pain and Gain: The Untold True Story. You can also get some details in brief here if you’re not up for reading the book.

I was unimpressed by After Earth. I might even go so far as to say I was disappointed but actually, I wasn’t expecting much. I knew what the plot was about – father and son (in the far future) crash-land on Earth (which has evolved to kill humans because we abused it and left the planet.) Father is injured fatally. Son must quest out alone in the dangerous unknown to find a beacon to signal their location and effect their rescue. Ho hum. I don’t know why the story idea didn’t even grab me. And, shockingly, Don really liked the movie! Even so much that he saw it without me and was willing to watch it a second time so I could see it. (I don’t think I would choose to watch it again. Granted, he did fall asleep. LOL) All jokes aside, it was ok. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen by far. It just really didn’t have much to offer. I couldn’t stand Will Smith’s stoic military character. I DID get a little tired of Jaden’s hurt and wounded look too. And there just wasn’t a whole lot going on most of the time. If you’ve got nothing else to watch, I suppose you could do worse.

Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.
~ Cyper Raige, After Earth, 2013

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