Sun Dogs (2017)

Sun Dogs
Director: Jennifer Morrison
Writer: Raoul McFarland
Cast: Michael Angarano, Melissa Benoist, Allison Janney, Ed O’Neill, Eric Christian Olsen, J.R. Ramirez, Alexander Wraith, Xzibit, Jennifer Morrison
Seen on: 21.3.2021

Content Note: ableism, suicide

Ned (Michael Angarano) has one goal, and one goal only: he wants to join the Marines to fight against the terrorists who caused 9/11. He has been trying every year for three years since 2001, not realizing that he will never make it because of his disability. When he makes yet another attempt, the recruiter Master Sgt. Jenkins (Xzibit) tries to let him down easy by sending Ned on a mission at home, not anticipating that Ned takes this mission absolutely seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he even convices Tally (Melissa Benoist), a rather lost, young woman, that the mission is very real and that she can help.

Sun Dogs is sweet and warm, but I wasn’t entirely comfortable with it, I have to admit. Despite that, I’d say that the good outweighs the bad here.

The film poster showing the film's main characters. Front and center Ned (Michael Angarano), saluting while clutching a mascot head.
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Haywire (2011)

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Lem Dobbs
Cast: Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor, Michael Angarano, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Mathieu Kassovitz, Bill Paxton, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas

Mallory (Gina Carano) works for Kenneth (Ewan McGregor), a private contractor who leases his people to the government for special assignments. But during the last job, something went wrong and suddenly Mallory finds herself on the run. At a small rest stop, her former partner Aaron (Channing Tatum) catches up with her but she kicks his ass and gets away with Scott (Michael Angarano), a rather willing hostage whom she tells her story to.

I really, really enjoyed Haywire – I was actually surprised by how much. It’s an engaging, intelligent and stylish thriller with good fight scenes and a really cool soundtrack.

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Ceremony (2010)

Director: Max Winkler
Writer: Max Winkler
Cast: Michael Angarano, Uma Thurman, Lee Pace, Reece Thompson, Jake M. Johnson

Sam (Michael Angarano) is a children’s books author whose books are neither succesful, nor actually for children. To catch up with his old friend Marshall (Reece Thompson), they head on a weekend trip together. Or at least, that’s the reason Marshall knows. In fact, Sam wants to crash the wedding of Zoe (Uma Thurman) and Whit (Lee Pace) to convince Zoe that Whit is an ass and she should be with him.

This movie seems a bit like a RomCom, but it definitely isn’t, not even an indie one. It’s more tragic than funny (apart from Lee Pace who is funny all the way through, despite a really bad [and badly written] English accent) and never achieves much momentum.

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Sky High (2005)

Sky High
Director: Mike Mitchell
Writer: Paul Hernandez, Robert Schooley, Mark McCorkle
Cast: Michael Angarano, Danielle Panabaker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Steven Strait, Kelly Preston, Kurt Russell, Bruce Campbell

Will (Michael Angarano) is the son of the Superhero couple, Jetstream (Kelly Preston) and The Commander (Kurt Russell). Unfortunately, Will himself doesn’t seem to have any superpowers. Which wouldn’t be that much of a problem if his first day at Sky High wasn’t coming up, the Superhero High School. Pressure is on: with parents like that, everybody expects great powers from him. When he gets there with his best friend Layla (Danielle Panabaker) and his powers still don’t kick in, things seem to go from bad to worse.

Sky High is a pretty standard high school movies and despite the added superpowers and the occasional poking fun at superhero tropes, it doesn’t really get geeky or even nerdy. Nevertheless it’s nice and fun.

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Red State (2011)

Red State
Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Cast: Michael Parks, John Goodman, Michael Angarano, Nicholas Braun, Kyle Gallner, Melissa Leo (and for all you TV people: Kevin Alejandro and Marc Blucas)
Part of: /slash Filmfestival

The teenagers Travis (Michael Angarano), Billy-Ray (Nicholas Braun) and Jarod (Kyle Gallner) answer an online posting from a woman looking for group sex. She agrees to sleep with the three of them. What they don’t know is that the woman – Sara (Melissa Leo) – is bait from the local fundamentalist crazy church. The church kidnaps the three boys to judge them for their sins. But while the church – headed by Abin Cooper (Michael Parks) – enjoys their business a usual, the shit is hitting the fan and a police team is preparing to storm the church.

The movie has some very strong moments and a great second half. But I can’t help but feeling that the movie could have been better.

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Gentlemen Broncos (2009)

Gentlemen Broncos is a film by Jared Hess, written by himself and Jerusha Hess and starring Michael Angarano, Héctor Jiménez, Halley Feiffer, Jennifer Coolidge, Jemaine Clement and Sam Rockwell.

Benjamin (Michael Angarano) is a huge SciFi fan. He especially admires the writings of Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement). When he gets a chance to submit one of his own stories for Chevalier to judge – a story about Bronco (Sam Rockwell), a kind of space cowboy – the last thing he expects is that Chevalier steals the story. At the same time his story about Bronco gets adapted by local prolific but amateur filmmaker Lonnie (Héctor Jiménez) who takes some liberties with the story.

Gentlemen Broncos doesn’t work half as well as it should be. Even Sam Rockwell falls flat (!!!!). Jemaine Clement was wonderful, but most of the time the film just misses its notes for me. It’s humor is just a tad too immature and the good ideas are stretched a bit too far.

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