The Gonzo Journals
May 3rd, 2023
Last night, I got in the proper frame of mind and watched Renfield. I had every intention of seeing this in a theater, but idiots kept forgetting they have court ordered visitation which allows me and mine to have a date on occasion. I finally just gave up and watched it in my living room instead. There was a pause button, a bathroom, and Raisin Bran Crunch with cold milk. Best. Theater. Ever.
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, here is the synopsis and trailer:
Renfield, the tortured aide to his narcissistic boss, Dracula, is forced to procure his master’s prey and do his every bidding. However, after centuries of servitude, he’s ready to see if there’s a life outside the shadow of the Prince of Darkness.
This film was directed by Chris McKay who is known for the LEGO movies and his love for classic film nostalgia comes through wonderfully. The sets are beautiful, the action is hilarious, and the gore is over the top in Kill Bill fashion. Who could ask for more?
Well…me? I could ask for more. I could ask that editors tighten up their game just a bit and learn how to make the film flow rather than cut it for the sake of the trailer. Some of the worst things to ever happen to films are editors, in my opinion. A director dares to show us their vision, an actor or actress gives us their everything to make us love the characters, and then some dude with a laptop screws it all up because he has a ten-film backlog staring him down or producers chewing their ass. This film suffers a bit from choppy editing.
Also, I found the overall plot surrounding the side characters to be a little lackluster and forced. Does it make it a bad film? Hell no! The minute Nicholas Cage comes on screen, you’ll forget all about it. He manages to channel Bela Lugosi in speech, cadence, mannerisms, and facial expressions one hundred percent. He is truly the greatest actor of our time and should be celebrated as such. Who doesn’t love Mandy? Raising Arizona? The Rock? Someone nominate this man for President!
The film takes place in New Orleans, which, to me, is one of the most overrated tourist traps in the United States. It smells like ass, there’s abandoned buildings still standing everywhere from Hurrican Katrina, and crime is something a person can major in at their nearest community college. All the local government seems to care about is the tourism surrounding the French Quarter. The wafting stench of piss which surrounds you while you gawk at manicured spooky tourist bullshit isn’t worth my time or money. I know Cage has a house there, or did, so it must’ve been nice to go home every night. Louisiana is always trying to lure film productions there because there really isn’t anything else to offer anyone from a town that almost gets physically erased twice a year. Perhaps Mother Nature is trying to tell them something. No worries, though. I live in Dallas, and it sucks too.
The ‘Ugly’? Ben Schwartz plays the role of a New Orleans gangster’s son, and his part is overacted to the point of nausea. I wanted to throw things at my television every time he spoke. He’s so bad, I now hate both the Sonic The Hedgehog movies. If he continues to act, it should only be as mute characters, which would take work away from actual mute people. In other words, don’t let this dude act anymore. Perhaps I’m overreacting a bit, but dammit, dude. Dial it down a notch. Not every line needs to be delivered like Courage The Cowardly Dog or like you attended the YouTube Minecraft Steamer’s school of acting. Not every line requires a scream. Too harsh?
The ‘Bad’? Awkwafina. A rapper named after a brand of water, but some producer thought it would be cool to change the spelling like a mid-nineties white baby. I’m being serious! My adult child named Destiny started out as Deactuny. She’s an adult now and a teacher. I’m sure she thanks me and mine every day for changing the spelling of her name during the divorce. I truly don’t believe the girls from that era were really trying to be cool with naming people, they were just dumb, and you shouldn’t stick your dick in illiteracy. Yes, insist they pen a short story before undressing them. You’ll thank me later. This role could’ve been played by anyone at all. Someone owed someone else a favor because she phoned her entire performance in like Bill Murray’s forced cameo at the end of Ghostbusters: Afterlife or Luke Skywalker in Episode 9. Problem? She’s not a legacy actor and hasn’t earned the right to be so damn lazy.
The ‘Good’? Hoult and Cage. My god their chemistry together is fantastic. Nicholas Hoult plays the perfect weenie Renfield who is searching for the testicular fortitude to leave his boss. Nicholas Cage picks up the role of Dracula as though he were born to play it. These two are so good, in fact, I was willing to sit through the rest of a sloppy production to enjoy two characters who were long overdue for another meeting. Cage gives us the performance of a lifetime and you’ll hang on every word leaving his lips. Not necessarily for the way it was written, but for the way it’s delivered. I could sit and listen to Nicholas Cage pretend to be Dracula while reading the damned preamble to the Constitution or the ingredients on the back of a shampoo bottle.
A warning? Not necessarily for my likeminded crew, but to those out there who don’t dig a lot of blood and gore. This film went crazy with the red stuff and body parts constantly fly all over the place. If that’s not your cup of tea, you may want to stay away from this one. It wasn’t Terrifier 2, but damn it was up there with some of the most jaw dropping carnage I’ve witnessed on screen in recent years.
Keep in mind that this is just my opinion and I encourage everyone to make up their own mind. I’m not a Goodreads reviewer or anything and I don’t sit around with my Soccer Mom buddies forcing my beliefs on others or else they get the hose again. I’d been in love with the idea of this film since before the first trailer was released and it delivered to me in a very big way. It wasn’t perfect, but neither am I, so I don’t demand perfection. I do demand professionalism, though, and Hollywood needs a bit of a shakeup. Oh, wait. They’re currently getting one. Support the Writer’s Guild (and encourage editors to take their jobs more seriously)!
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