Welcome Honey Poppers to our first Movie Monday Review! Mondays have never been a good day for most, so we hope to make them a little bit brighter!
Every Monday we will be reviewing a different movie. Go figure.
New, old, funny, scary, weird, award-winning, or downright unwatchable, we don’t care! We’ve got a lot of time on our hands and an affinity for films so we’ll be covering them all! We’ll let you know which ones might be worth checking out for late-night dates, ones to watch with or without families, and ones we think might be best if removed from our piled-up movie lists.
Our first order of business …
We’re gonna catch a killer. And no, it’s not us.
This might’ve been a 2021 release, but our first review takes us on a trip back in time. Back before most of us were even born.
The year? 1990.
The cast? Stellar.
My rating? Um … Well … It’s complicated.
Let’s get into it!
The Little Things
The Little Things was released on January 29, 2021, and is available for streaming on HBOMax. Streaming on this platform will end on February 28, 2021, so if you are itching to see this one – you still have time.
Directed by John Lee Hancock, the same director from The Highwaymen, The Blind Side, and The Rookie, his latest venture behind the camera takes viewers on his darkest creation yet.
What’s It About?
This film follows Deputy Sheriff Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) as he returns briefly to his former L.A. office to collect a DNA sample from LAPD. Get in, get out. But while reminiscing with friends from his old life, he’s slowly roped back into a case gone unsolved during his stint as a detective. One that slipped right through his fingers and harbors certain little secrets he hopes to keep under wraps.
Standard fare for a crime thriller appearing at a strange time. The Little Things comes in late off the tail end of a gold rush for this genre. But there was a point between 2019 and 2021 that people stopped caring about Ted Bundy. It might’ve been when we discovered David Fincher’s Mindhunter is most likely finished. Or maybe from this craze of true crime documentaries (Ted Bundy Tapes, Don’t F*ck With Cats, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez, The Confession Tapes, and others) the market for serial killers became oversaturated. We put Dennis Rader to rest and put serial killers in the past.
We no longer wake up in sweats from terrible nightmares of the towering 6’9 Edmund Kemper.
And most of us hardly notice yellow Volkswagen Beatles anymore.
It’s hard to believe our strange fixation with true crime will ever completely go away. These fads tend to be cyclical. However, it is undoubtedly a strange time for a big-budget Fincher-Esque crime thriller about a serial killer.
Denzel Washington showed that he’s still got it. He kicks ass in every role and we really believed this character’s inner turmoil because of his abilities on screen.
Jared Leto redeemed himself after his role as the Joker in Suicide Squad.
Although his character in The Little Things was a strange mix between Ted Bundy and Charles Manson. There’s even a copy of Helter Skelter in the character’s possession. He played it well, combing a perfect blend of humor and creepiness.
We would’ve liked to see more done with Sparma. Throughout the film, there were references to religion and God, and we thought this might play a bigger role in Leto’s character. After all, he looks like a Jesus impersonator. We thought maybe in the end, a cult-like following would reveal themselves, but there was no such adoration. Though the heartthrob Leto might bring in this kind of following through the box office.
So What’s The Big Deal?
Hard to say. We think the Little Things is a good movie, for what it tries to be. We even think it’s worthy of joining the likes of Seven, Silence of the Lambs, Zodiac, The House That Jack Built, and others in the lexicon of serial killer thrillers. Not quite to their tier, but somewhere between The Strangers and Gone Girl.
We say that because The Little Things follows the genre like an instruction manual. It plays it safe and paints by number. And while this works to some degree in establishing familiarity between the story and the genre, this also overshadows the unique qualities the movie brings to the table.
The biggest complaint we have is that The Little Things is reeeeeeally inspired by David Fincher’s Seven.
Inspiration is a good thing. And hardly anything is truly original. But this is a love affair impossible to miss. There have been comparisons made between the two films’ openings and central characters. We’ve noticed both. But the biggest aspect we noticed was the conclusion.
The final act begins when the young detective (Rami Malek) is lured away by the suspected killer (Jared Leto) to the final resting place of the killer’s purportedly most recent victim. The killer and young detective drive out to the desert, far from anyone, and once there, the killer psychologically torments the young detective and tricks him into killing the killer.
And how does the killer do this?
In Seven: John Doe kills David Mills’ pregnant wife and delivers her head to him in a postal box.
In The Little Things: Sparma threatens Baxter’s family.
The worst part is The Little Things had so much potential. It brought unique tropes to the genre and threw in some surprising twists. But by the time the twists were revealed, we’d already mentally checked out. We just didn’t care enough. We felt cheated. The Little Things had so much going for it.
Yeah, it was similar to Seven in that it had a young, naive detective mentored by a more seasoned veteran on his way out from the job.
Yeah, the opening scene was similar to a couple scenes from Zodiac.
But as Denzel Washington says in the movie, “It’s the little things.” Maybe a few similarities could get by as homages. But the little things added up and made a big revelation clear: it was too inspired.
Do you agree with our review? What were some of your likes and dislikes about the movie? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @TheHoneyPOP! You can also hit us up on Facebook and Instagram!
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Featured Image Source: Facebook @JaredLeto