Memory, all alone in the moonlight. I can smile at the old days. Liam Neeson was beautiful then. One of the greatest experiences of my BMT life was watching Cats in theaters. Watching Memory starring Liam Neeson? Not as much. Last time we caught up with our boy LNeez (as the kids call him) I introduced the Murphy’s Law scale of Liam Neeson films. I know everyone is on pins and needles about where Memory will fall on the Not Murphy’s Law to Murphy’s Law range, but you’ll just have to wait until I give my review of the film. Instead I’d like you to just take a moment and appreciate the fact that in a year where studios literally had no movies, they still managed to look in their film vault and dust off a couple LNeez classic for BMT consumption. Thank you, Mr. Neeson. You did BMT (and thus the world) a service.
To recap, I’m having trouble remembering this film… JK, that was a little memory joke. It’s really LNeez that’s having trouble remembering and that’s no good for the assassin business. Despite this he is still the best in the biz and is tasked with killing a man and a young girl to cover up evidence from a child prostitution ring. The man? No prob… the young girl? LNeez isn’t having that and lets the people he works for know that it ain’t happening, Meanwhile, Guy Pierce and his team of detectives are tracking down the same prostitution ring. They are shocked to find the young girl murdered one morning and start on the trail of LNeez, who they believe is the culprit. The Neez is enraged and begins on a path of destruction. No one is safe, even when he has progressed into advanced dementia before our eyes. He’s hiding out in the abandoned bakery in El Paso where he grew up and tries to keep everything straight just long enough to murder everyone. Go Neeson! The detectives put everything together: it’s a vast child prostitute conspiracy involving the son of one of the most powerful people in El Paso. They rush to a party to save the son, but are too late. They are able to shoot LNeez, but he gets away and turns his attention to the woman at the top of the conspiracy. He is steps away from killing her when his memory betrays him and he is captured. The detectives get evidence about the ring, but it’s not enough. They go to the hospital to talk to Neeson and he tells them he also has a recording… but he forgot where it is. Doh! Just before he is killed in a last ditch effort to silence him, Neeson remembers where it is and tells Guy Pierce. He takes it to the DA who is like “sure we have all the evidence but like… money? Right? Conspiracy and money and sorry?” Guy Pierce is upset but soon finds out that the other detectives in the squad set up the main baddie to be killed, so… happy ending? As long as you like vigilante justice. THE END.
On a scale of Not Murphy’s Law to Murphy’s Law I give this a… drumroll… Not Murphy’s Law! It was closer than Blacklight, though, as this is overall a better made film and has a number of ludicrous plot points. I also think it benefits immensely by having a strong B Plot with Guy Pierce (which is arguably the A Plot). It feels a little like they had two scripts and mushed them together as they run parallel for most of the movie, but it also could just be that they recognized that Neeson needs a team effort nowadays. Really the biggest thing that hamstrings it on the Murphy’s Law scale is that the plot is unpleasant. Child prostitution ring and Murphy’s Law don’t go together. Needs to be lighter than that. I think this was better than Blacklight, but it gets worse and worse as the film goes on. The ending is really terrible. As for Pinocchio, I don’t know what all the hubbub is about. The film looks fine and is basically the same as the original. People seemed to get hung up on the purpose… the purpose was so Zemeckis could play with all his toys. Mission accomplished. It’s not a film for me, but I could imagine some children enjoying the hell out of it. Bright and colorful and musical. Spoiler Alert: kids aren’t the most discerning film critics. Anyway, the funniest part of it is they do a very predictable twist-em-up at the end where they reveal that Pinocchio maybe turned into a real boy, but maybe it’s more a metaphor because he has puppet powers that real boys don’t have… so he’s special in his own way. Very dumb, but very modern update and it’s also where I feel like Zemeckis was like “I’m putting my stamp on this.” Overall, meh, why not?
Hot Take Clam Bake! More movies should be made and set in El Paso. It is the 22nd largest city in the US by population! That’s bigger than D.C., Boston, Las Vegas… shall I go on? Those cities are getting films left and right. I can’t even count how many BMT films have been set in those locations (#23-25 in the US by population, for the record). This isn’t even mentioning Houston and San Antonio… those cities are #4 and #7 on the list. What does San Antonio get? Knight Rider 2000. The disrespect! The coastal bias! Memory is just the tip of a rotten iceberg. This hot take is brought to you by the El Paso Committee for Film Production in El Paso (EPCFPEP). Hot take temperature: Aji Chombo.
‘Ello everyone! Memory? I wished I didn’t have any from watching this movie! Heyyyyyyyoooooo, let’s go!
- Full disclosure: there might have been something wrong with the settings of the television I watched this film on because it looked impossibly bad. Like, one of the worst looking movies I’ve ever seen. And yet a lot of the reviews talked up the director as still having it despite the movie’s obvious flaws.
- I mean, I hope there was something wrong with the television because my god, this film looked horrible.
- At least they didn’t make Liam Neeson run in this one.
- But, he did try and act very specifically like a person with Alzheimers, which involved stuttering a lot, and just didn’t work for me.
- But in the movie’s defense at least they made the very minor effort of having Liam Neeson act at all. Blacklight couldn’t say that.
- Unfortunately they also made the decision to have Guy Pearce act. With an accent. And a goofy wig. I don’t care if it is his real hair, he looks ridiculous!
- The biggest issue with films like these for me is when the subject matter is unpleasant. The systematic abuse of underage undocumented immigrants in El Paso? Yeah, I’ll pass thanks.
- And my god. The ending. THE ENDING. Spoiler, but the ending of the film involves one of the side characters going and murdering the villain of the film and then throwing his knife away as if he has never thrown anything in his life, and then driving to Mexico.
- I can’t overstate just how bad this throw was. It is like this person has never once picked up a baseball or football or anything. He never tossed some car keys to anyone. He never shot a basketball. Nothing.
- I would pay a million dollars if someone released a cut of the film where the only change was that in that scene he tosses the knife away two handed underhand style. I’d call it the Rick Berry Cut. A million dollars.
- Anyways, the reviews of Memory versus Blacklight makes it clear that people thought Memory was trying to do stuff, while Blacklight was just a nothing film. I’m fine with being on the island saying that I was astonished watching Memory, but merely bored watching Blacklight. Memory was doing stuff but like … was any of that stuff good? Ask yourself that.
- My god, is this a Setting as a Character (Where?) for El Paso, Texas. There has never been a more El Paso movie in the history of movies. An actual MacGuffin (Why?) with the mysterious thumb drives which contain all of the evidence … I guess. And Worst Twist (How?) for the big reveal that Hugo can’t throw a knife like a normal human. I’m calling it Bad, the whole film’s premise is unpleasant and the film definitely not rewatchable.
- For a friend we hunted around for the biggest baddest streaming film available in the year 2022, and obviously we settled on the Disney+ disaster of Pinocchio (2022). So, here’s the thing … It’s Pinocchio. There’s a reason people are always like “gimme that Pinocchio! I need more Pinocchio!” and why Del Toro is like “I need to break me off a piece of that ‘nocch’,” you know? The story is fun, the movie is pretty breezy, it looks good. There is a lot to complain about. It’s raison d’etre if you will. Perhaps the sometimes oddly distracting voice actors. The almost always extremely distracting Tom Hanks of it all. Is it the number one Disney film I’ll be showing my child being like “LOVE MOVIES LIKE ME SO THEN YOU CAN HATE THEM LIKE ME!!!!” Nope, there are literally 30 other Disney films this theoretical child will see first. But it was aight. C. Can’t really recommend it as a BMT, but also it isn’t really good and also pointless so…
Read about the sequel Memory 2: Ghost Protocol in the Quiz. Cheerios,