Archive for the BATTLES Category

Movie battle… The Road House remake

Posted in BATTLES with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2023 by Ross McG
Dalton was delighted to hear the Rosses were writing about him again. (MGM)

Ross McD and Ross McG must have been living under two separate rocks the past few months, because they’ve only just found out that 80s classic Road House is getting a remake.

One Ross thinks it’s a great idea, the other… not so much.

It’s time to get loaded in the Double Deuce and start fighting…

Ross McG: FOR

“You’re too stupid to have a good time.”

Back in the late ’80s, there was one VHS every 10-year-old kid wanted to get their grubby hands on. It had two magical words in its title, and under them were two more magical words: “Patrick” and “Swayze”.

And that film was… Dirty Dancing.

Don’t be fooled by the wave of nostalgia that has washed over movie culture the past 20 years ago proclaiming DD as the ultimate “chick flick”.

In the few years after Dirty Dancing was released in 1987 when it was finally available to rent on video, boys were gagging to see it just as much as girls.

On VHS, Dirty Dancing was rated 15, which back in the late 80s promised three things: boobs, blood and bad words. Even the title sounded grimy. It became a myth.

Anyone who claimed to have seen Dirty Dancing was cornered in the school playground at break-time. “Is it really dirty?” we’d ask. “Is the dancing any good?”

Now, it seems laughable that the movie was some kind of prepubescent forbidden fruit. On the film’s IMDb Parents Guide page, under the “violence and gore” section, one of the warnings reads: “Two men fight”.

Hmmm… now what if there was a Swayze movie where that was the ENTIRE plot?

While they stupidly wouldn’t admit to loving the wonderful Dirty Dancing, teenage boys – and, as Swayze’s legendary bouncer James Dalton calls them, “40-year-old adolescents” – worshipped Road House.

This is a movie that, incredibly, lives up to its endless set of legendary taglines. Exhibit A? “The dancing’s over. Now it gets dirty.”

This is a movie where Dalton rips out a man’s throat with his bare hands. This is a film where Sam Elliott plays Sam Elliott. This is a film featuring the music of the late great blind guitarist Jeff Healey. This is a film in which Jackie Treehorn himself, Ben Gazzara, one of American cinema’s most esteemed actors, plays one of its downright meanest villains. This is a film directed, appropriately enough, by a man named Rowdy. This is a film in which Swayze utters the immortal line, “Pain don’t hurt”.

They just don’t make ’em like this any more. Except… now they do. Road House is getting a redo. And I for one am delighted.

They really should remake Road House every 10 years, not every 35. Every generation needs its Road House.

The remake is being directed by Doug Liman, famous for Swingers, the first Bourne movie, that one where Tom Cruise dies every day and that other Tom Cruise one where he smuggles cocaine. In other words, it’s in safe hands.

And who is going to replace Swayze? Come on, you can’t replace Swayze.

But there’s only one man for the job of trying to match him.

It’s his Donnie Darko co-star, Jake Gyllenhaal, of course!

Anyone who believes ‘pain don’t hurt’ has clearly never shaved their armpits. (MGM)

In his heyday, Swayze went from Dirty Dancing to Road House to Ghost to Point Break to To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. He’s remembered as an action tough guy, but if you look up “versatile” in the dictionary, you’ll find the definition of the word “versatile”, which is what he was.

Gyllenhaal is cut from the same cloth. I can’t think of a top-line male actor with a more varied – and mostly successful – output in recent years.

Zodiac, Prisoners, Nightcrawler, Nocturnal Animals… these are films with Gyllenhaal performances that will be talked about for decades.

But to slide into Swayze’s bouncing boots, you have to have action chops, and the signs are that Gyllenhaal will follow up his unhinged performance in Michael Bay’s Ambulance with something equally entertaining in Road House 2.0.

Recent set photos and footage, in which Gyllenhaal crashed an actual UFC weigh-in (his character is a former fighter turned bouncer), show that he is ripped and ready.

Gyllenhaal plays someone called Elwood Dalton, who could be the original Dalton’s son, nephew or just some other guy called Dalton, who cares? This isn’t Star Wars – everyone doesn’t have to be related to everyone else.

This is Bar Wars. And it’s about to get brutal, bloody and, who knows, maybe even booby. All over again.


“Never start anything inside unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Let me start by saying I’m not against reboots or remakes at all. Yes, they are easy to shit on as lazy and pointless, but sometimes, there is a fair enough reason.

Sometimes the OG is in a foreign language, and an English redo might open it up to a larger audience who balk at subtitles (think The Ring, or Oldboy).

Sometimes, they try something fun like a gender switch (Overboard) or a live action version of an animated film (take your pick from Disney).

Sometimes it’s a classic horror looking for younger audiences who didn’t grow up with it (A Nightmare On Elm Street, Psycho, Carrie, The Thing).

And sometimes, it’s a casting choice that’s worth the try (David Harbour as Hellboy? Sure! Nic Cage in The Wicker Man? Absolutely!)

Allow me to also clarify, that each and every one of these remakes and reboots were totally shit. Or at very best, paled to transparency in comparison to the original.

I didn’t say I liked reboots. But I am not against them trying.

But there is a category of movie that should not, under any circumstances, be remade or rebooted.

And that is Patrick Swayze movies.

Ross McD, right, welcomes McG, left, around for another game of Wii Sports. (MGM)

Patrick Swayze movies are perfect. They don’t need anything. The only thing they should be “re”-ed, is re-released. As they are.

Did NOBODY see the desecration that was the second Point Break? Did NO ONE ELSE sit through that blasphemous second attempt at Dirty Dancing?

Who DA FUK can — with one sad-eyed look — say “I don’t wanna fight you but I will totally remove your throat with my bare hands if I have to”?

James Dalton literally invented the Mortal Kombat fatality. You don’t f**k with him, and you don’t f**k with his film.

It’s a real shame… Ross McG and I were only just discussing how Jake Gyllenhaal had yet to make a bad film, putting him in a rare category with Leo DiCaprio, and no one else.

You would think Swayze’s Donnie Darko castmate would have a little more respect. I guess not.

I love Gyllenhaal. I like the idea of the modern UFC setting. As an Irishman, I am even obligated to like Conor McGregor. He is undoubtedly the greatest fight salesman of all time. But can he sell this film? I highly doubt it.

If you’re willing to so shamelessly cast someone just for clout… well, you deserve the box office ground and pound you are bound to receive.

Seriously, stop disrespecting the Swayz with this shit.

If you’re not careful, they’re gonna remake Ghost with Channing fecking Tatum or something…



Movie battle… Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Posted in BATTLES with tags , , , , on February 21, 2023 by rossvross
No one was pleased to see Ross McD and Ross McG turn up at the pier together. (Netflix)

You wait six years for one Ross v Ross blog post to come along, then two turn up in a matter of weeks.

That’s what we at RvR Towers call prolific.

You have to go all the way back to 2011 to find the last time Rosses McD and McG had a proper online cinema scrap, when the latter successfully argued against the former that Dirty Dancing kicks Footloose’s Bacon-shaped behind.

Well, from a rasher of Bacon to a slice of onion, one made out of glass. That’s right, Rian Johnson’s hugely divisive Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is getting the movie battleground treatment.

Is it a work of genius, as Ross McD claims? Or is it the pile of muck that Ross McG declares?

Let battle commence…

Ross McD: FOR

“It’s a dangerous thing to mistake speaking without thought for speaking the truth, don’t you think?”

Ross v Ross has been dormant for a while.

Over the past decade, Ross Senior has been trying to coax me back into our infantile debates… but if truth be told, I just didn’t have the fight in me any more. I just don’t care about films as much. I am jaded.

I think Rise of Skywalker was perhaps the last straw for me. A film franchise I adored. A film franchise I have tattoos of. A final film I actually crashed my car rushing to Burbank to see the media preview screening of. My insurance premium went up… for that?

It’s been so long since I really enjoyed a movie. I mean, really enjoyed. And then I saw Glass Onion. Twice, within 24 hours actually.

I excitedly texted Ross McG. “Hey did u watch Glass Onion?”

“Yeah,” he replied. “It was shit.”


Fine. I’ll take the bait.

Ross McD pretends to enjoy watching Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. (Netflix)

Glass Onion is, in my opinion, the most enjoyable film of the past decade. People who claim not to like Glass Onion are doing so just to be contrarian.

“It’s stupid,” claims McG. “It’s predictable. It’s pretentious.”

I have some news that may come as a shock: It’s supposed to be stupid. It’s supposed to be predictable. It’s supposed to be pretentious. These are literally the whole point of the movie.

FFS, Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc even spells it out in the film’s conclusion (spoiler): the only reason the world’s greatest detective (Batman aside) was stumped, was because the plot was so f***ing stupid.

OMG! Ed Norton is the bad guy, and was just pretending to be nice?? You figured it out? Well done! He’s played that exact character in like 10 films.

An identical twin sister? The most hackneyed, weakest deus ex machina in the history of whodunnits? Yes.

Watch it again. All the clues are, as writer/director Rian Johnson promises, all right there to see. The first suspicion I had was the chess endgame puzzle, with all the pieces still on the board. “Wait that can’t be right?” I thought at the time. “How did none of the characters notice that?” No time to dwell on it. The film has moved on.

Turns out, no one noticed it because all the characters are stupid.

Glass Onion is a stupid film. A glorious, hilariously self-deprecating, sumptuously shot, superbly acted, cleverly concocted, outrageously fun, stupid film.

I’ll ask McG to name one better whodunnit. The real predictableness here will be McG’s answer of Clue.

How can you not appreciate the silliness of Glass Onion, yet revere Clue? Because you haven’t got one, that’s why.


“NO! It’s just dumb!”

Anyone catch a superb and atmospheric new murder mystery movie that dropped on Netflix over Christmas and New Year?

This whodunnit had a Hollywood A-lister bringing his A-game, a wonderful cast of supporting actors, eye-catching visuals, a director with a solid back catalogue, a script at times funny and frightening – but never boring – and a genuinely shocking twist.

Yeah, I flipping loved The Pale Blue Eye too.

Sadly, McD and Me aren’t here to talk about Scott Cooper’s little-heralded gem, where Christian Bale’s detective gets to grips with a real-life master of mystery, Edgar Allan Poe, brilliantly played by dastardly Dudley Dudsley himself, Harry Melling.

No, instead we’re stuck in a f***ing onion.

Has a film been less deserving of all the internet ink spilt about it? Not since The Last Jedi, anyway.

Hate or really hate Star Wars 8, you had to at least hand it to director Rian Johnson for trying something new with a franchise that rarely strays from its now tedious triumvirate of sandy planet/space chase/shiny stick fight.

But in Glass Onion, the follow-up to the rather enjoyable but now sullied Knives Out, Johnson doesn’t really try anything at all.

Ross McG was stunned to see Ross McD back blogging after nearly a decade. (Netflix)

This is modern filmmaking at its laziest, filled with immediately outdated references (Face masks! Twitter storms! Jared Leto’s tea!), needless cameos (Yo-Yo Ma! Serena Williams!) and painful miscasting (Kathryn Hahn as a governor!).

That the script for this mess is nominated for an Oscar is almost as big a middle finger to cinema as the one Johnson aims at his audience.

Just because you spend your movie proclaiming how everyone in it is stupid, doesn’t mean your movie isn’t stupid too.

Movies with stupid characters can be amazing – Dumb & Dumber remains a masterpiece, for example – but a movie with stupid characters that are impossible to like, or care about, just ends up grating.

Johnson could have allayed this somewhat had he decided to put any mystery into his murder mystery, but even if you cared about who did it, finding out whodunnit just doesn’t quite do it, does it?

By spending its crazy long running time lecturing its audience on how glass-eyed they are, Glass Onion becomes a totally joyless experience, sucked of any sense of wonder so often conjured by even the most basic movies in this genre.

Ross McD got one thing right though: I would say Glass Onion is no Clue. Problem is, it’s not even Murder Mystery, yeah that’s right, the one with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, also dumped on Netflix.

Apart from the Frank TJ Mackey reference, I can’t think of one reason to recommend Glass Onion. Sorry Benoit, I’m drawing a complete… Blanc.

What would happen if Alan Rickman’s characters in Love Actually and Die Hard switched places?

Posted in BATTLES with tags , , , , on December 16, 2016 by Ross McG



This article first appeared on

It’s rather strange, given that he stars in two of the greatest festive films ever made, that Alan Rickman once declared on screen that we should call off Christmas.

Let’s put the late, great Rickman’s bah-humbugging in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves aside for a moment, however, and concentrate on his roles in Love Actually and Die Hard.

These two very different Christmas movies (one says you should follow your heart; the other that you should follow terrorists around in your bare feet) have one thing in common: Rickman rocks.

In Die Hard, he plays Hans Gruber, an exceptional thief and lover of nice suits who uses his benefits of a classical education to hold up Nakatomi Plaza in LA on Christmas Eve.

In Love Actually, he is Harry, a disgruntled middle-aged MD of a design agency who dabbles in a spot of extra-marital flirting with his secretary before holding up a queue in Selfridges in London while buying some jewellery.

In many filmgoers’ eyes, both characters are as villainous as Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham, but have you ever imagined what might happen if Hans and Harry swapped movies?

No? Well that’s too bad, because I have, so you’re just going to have to lump it.











It’s Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. NYPD detective John McClane (Willis) turns up at his wife’s work in Nakatomi Plaza. Little does he know that an armed gang of German thieves have taken over the building. And little does he know that he isn’t the only unexpected guest at the party, pal…

Harry (Rickman) was in the building giving a design pitch to Nakatomi president Joseph Takagi, but couldn’t get out again to catch his flight back to London because someone got stuck in the elevator.


Now, John and Harry will have to put their differences aside and team up to foil the heist. One enjoys exercising in nothing but a dirty vest; the other prefers a fine wine while wearing a trench coat. Can these two unlikely heroes come together to save the day?

It’s not going to be easy, but taking down terrorists at Christmas never is. It’s time to lock… and load. Let’s find out what happened When Harry Met Johnny.

The pair are kept apart initially by a series of explosive events. McClane, the ultimate lone wolf, must go to the rooftop of Nakatomi Tower to save a group of hostages by waving a machine gun around.


Harry came out to the coast, got together with someone, had a few laughs (Pictures: Fox/Universal/Metro)

Meanwhile, Harry is downstairs having a dance with Mr Takagi’s new secretary. The conversation turns to seasonal gifts. He quips: ‘Christmas shopping, never an easy or a pleasant task.’

It’s high-octane stuff.

John eventually turns to Harry for help, calling him repeatedly on his walkie-talkie to ask for back-up. Harry, however, isn’t interested.


That secretary is giving him all the signs so he makes up some lame excuse to McClane and hangs out downstairs a little longer.

John isn’t very happy about this.


John is obsessed with taking down terrorists, but Harry just wants to get the girl. Christmas is a time for romance, he tells his new pal, even in a tense hostage situation.

In the end, Harry has to make the ultimate choice – does he save his new partner’s life when he is staring down the barrel of a gun, or does he take the chance to pop back down to the party and ask that secretary how far away her apartment is? Or does he just scream like a big baby?

pic - love actually/ die hard

Harry thinks he and John might need some more FBI guys (Pictures: Fox/Universal/Metro)

Harry’s decision is eventually taken out of his hands, when the secretary reveals she is the mastermind behind the heist. He takes it all in good humour, telling her: ‘Right, the Christmas hostage crisis. Not my favorite night of the year, and your unhappy job to organise.’

She pulls a gun on Harry and it looks like it’s curtains for our unlikely hero, especially as John is picking glass out from between his toes in a bathroom.

But Harry has a surprise up his sleeve… or, rather, taped to his back. He pulls his own weapon and points it at her. They stare into each other’s eyes for a second… squeeze their fingers on the triggers… and then… BAM! They throw their weapons to the ground and embrace, before having one last dance.


Their love has overcome machine guns, rancid vests, bloody feet and terrorist takeovers.

The lift is finally working again, so they take it down to the bottom floor and prepare to get on that flight back to London.

John is waiting downstairs. Watching them walk out the revolving doors, hand-in-hand, McClane lights a cigarette, smiles and whispers to himself… ‘Happy trails, Harry.’










It’s five weeks before Christmas, and the British prime minister David Something (Hugh Grant) is banging on about how great airports are. He obviously hasn’t been through passport control post-Brexit. ‘Love is everywhere,’ he says. ‘Love actually is all around.’

At that precise moment, 27 passengers vomit, and a mysterious figure steps into the arrivals hall.


It’s Hans Gruber (Rickman), and he has travelled to London to do one thing: pick up some new suits at John Phillips.

But when he spots the prime minister hanging around the airport without his security detail, Gruber seizes his opportunity.

Posing as a German diplomat, he persuades Call Me Dave to bring him back to 10 Downing Street.


Most. Awkward. Double. Date. Ever. (Pictures: Fox/Universal/Metro)

After the PM has stopped flirting with Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) for a few minutes to concentrate on slightly more important things, like running the country, Gruber pulls a gun on him and subjects him to a humiliating ordeal.


Gruber has concocted a plan – and the only person who can help him fulfil it is the prime minister. He wants to track down the most annoying people in Britain and erase them from the face of the planet.

Under unspeakable duress and forced to listen to the Girls Aloud cover of The Pointers Sister hit Jump (for My Love) for more than two minutes, Dave cracks and surreptitiously enlists the help of MI5 to allow Gruber to carry out his plan.

Within seconds, the military intelligence agency has supplied the contact information for Britain’s most irritating inhabitants.

Gruber is aghast as he rifles through their files. There’s this guy…

(Picture: Universal)

… and this guy…


… and this kid.


Gruber is more determined than ever to complete his mission. He pays a visit to ageing rock lothario Billy Mack (played by Bill Nighy doing Bill Nighy) and makes him dance at gunpoint, just like he did with the PM.


‘I’m going to count to three… there will not be a four.’ (Pictures: Fox/Universal/Metro)

But the old geezer’s moves make Hans think of the true meaning of Christmas. He spares Bill Nighy (Bill Nighy) but vows to take retribution on jewellery salesman Rufus (Rowan Atkinson).

However, when he arrives in Selfridges, Christmas shopping is in full swing and there’s no way he can kill Rufus in front of so many potential witnesses.

Unfortunately for Hans, MI5 are now on to him, and a dozen agents pile into the department store and a shoot-out ensues.


Gruber does his best to shoot the glass at the front of the store so he can make his exit, but then someone catches his eye.

It’s Sarah (Laura Linney), and Hans bubby decides he wants to be her white knight. Emitting one last blast of covering fire at MI5’s finest, he dives across the shop floor and whisks Sarah away from danger.

She invites him back to her place and they fall truly, madly, deeply in love. He has a read through Time Magazine while she takes a moment to contain her excitement at meeting such an eligible bachelor.


And then he turns on the charm…


… and tells her he wants to give up his life of exceptional theft for her.


She asks him his name. ‘Bill,’ he says.

‘What, Bill Nighy?’ she asks.

‘No darling. Not Bill Nighy. Bill Clay.’

After spending four weeks together, Hans changes his name legally to Bill and walks out of the deed poll office a new person.


He and Sarah celebrate by going to a local school’s Christmas production, and Hans/Bill doesn’t kill anyone, not even that little obnoxious kid playing the drums. In fact, he removes the bullets from his gun as soon as he takes his seat.


Hands up if you love Hans (Picture: Fox/Universal/Metro)

And finally, filled with intoxicating combined joys of love and Christmas, he cannot resist posting an update from his newly renamed Twitter account…












Godzilla 2014 v Godzilla 1998: Who is the best Godzilla?

Posted in BATTLES with tags on May 12, 2014 by Ross McG


Gigantic mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fearsomest Godzilla of them all? Hollywood doesn’t do shame, so when they pilfer the idea for Japan’s greatest movie monster, why not do it twice? In 1998, we had Godzilla and now in 2014 we’re about to have… wait for it… Godzilla. Catchy title. But can the new Godzilla, released this week and directed by British director Gareth Edwards, knock its older counterpart out.

1. Tagline

Say what you like about the 1998 Godzilla movie – and pretty much everybody who saw it has – but it had a stonkingly good tagline: ‘Size does matter’. Simple and succinct, it’s a real belter. Does anyone know what the tagline for the new Godzilla movie even is? One of them is this: ‘The world ends. Godzilla begins’. Uh, isn’t that a bit of a spoiler? And it’s inaccurate – Godzilla was beginning (in modern Hollywood terms, at least) back in 1998. Ironically though, new Godzilla is three times bigger than the old one.



The Tweety Bird reboot had got way out of hand. Or foot.

2. Music

The new Godzilla has a score by the wonderful Alexandre Desplat from the last two Harry Potter movies, but come on, old Godzilla has Jamiroquai with Deeper Underground and a terrible CGI video. And it has Puff Daddy shouting at Jimmy Page’s guitar. It’s a no-brainer. Come on, say it with me… ‘AH-HUH… YEAH. AH-HUH… YEAH.’ Anyone else think Puff says ‘Tom Hulce’ instead of ‘time halts’ in this song? No, just me? Ah okay.


3. Dialogue

There’s a few decent lines in the new Godzilla trailers. One is Ken Watanabe’s ‘The arrogance of man is thinking nature is in our control… and not the other way around.’ That’s a good one. But is it as good as these gems from Roland Emmerich’s earlier Godzilla?

– ‘Negative impact? That’s the goddamned Chrysler Building!’

– ‘I’ve always wanted to join the French Foreign Legion.’

– ‘That’s a lot of fish.’




Mmmm… fish!

4. Cast

While watchers of old Godzilla have to make do with the charisma-free zone that is Matthew Broderick, they do receive a double treat in return: The Simpsons alumni Harry Shearer and Hank Azaria – the latter even references his yellow alter-ego, bartender Moe, by moaning ‘Aw jeez’ at one point. Alright, so new ‘Zilla has Bryan Cranston post-Breaking Bad (reckon Walter White could probably defeat Godzilla on his own) and I love David Strathairn in anything, but then old ‘Zilla pulls its trump card: Jean Reno. Jean Reno doing Elvis.


5. Godzilla

Unfortunately, the 1998 Godzilla looked pretty dreadful, like a velociraptor dressed up in a Godzilla costume. It was rubbish. And it had a face you wanted to punch. New Godzilla, on the other hand, just looks like…. well, Godzilla. Some seriously good creature design has gone into this bad boy. Love his mountain range of spikes on his back and his relatively tiny mouth. It just looks real. This isn’t a documentary, is it?



Cool Godzillas don’t look at explosions

The Big Spy Battle… Bourne v Bond v Salt v the two blokes from Spies Like Us, as well as some other ones

Posted in BATTLES with tags , , , , on February 28, 2012 by Ross McG

To mark the release of spy v spy flick This Means War (yes, it’s finally being released: all those adverts on buses and the annoying 10-minute previews before movies you actually paid to see weren’t for nothing you know), starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, Ross McG does some spy v spy action of his own. Or spy v spy v spy v spy v spy v spy v spy action. Continue reading

The big giant end of the year New Year’s Eve battle

Posted in BATTLES with tags , , on December 13, 2011 by rossvross

Last year we had Valentine’s Day, this year it’s New Year’s Eve, which is released this week. A dozens-strong all-star cast turn up, shoot a couple of scenes, get paid, movie execs make millions, audiences have one potentially crap film broken down into lots of nice, easy-to-manage little pieces – everybody wins. Be warned though: Christmas Day, All Hallow’s Eve, St Patrick’s Day, St Swithin’s Day, A Random Person’s Birthday will all follow. Here, Ross McD and Ross McG from pit the cast against each other. Continue reading

Dirty Dancing v Footloose

Posted in BATTLES with tags , , , , on September 30, 2011 by rossvross

The Footloose remake is on the big screen… the Dirty Dancing remake is in the pipeline. What better time then to revisit the originals with an 80s face-off featuring Sunday shoes being kicked off and Swayze’s shirt being ripped off. Ross McD and Ross McG pit these two dancing giants against each other. Read the arguments below and decide which movie is best. Continue reading

Alien v Unforgiven

Posted in BATTLES with tags , , , , , , , on August 18, 2011 by rossvross

To mark the release this week of genre mash-up Cowboys & Aliens, Ross McD and Ross McG are pitting an epic western against a scary sci-fi in this week’s movie battle. So slip on your chaps, strap your laser gun to your holster and get ready for one hell of a fight. And remember: in space… no one can hear you scream for your rifle… Continue reading