‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Review (Spoiler Free)

Going into the latest CGI Monsterverse film Godzilla: King of the Monsters I knew I was fighting an uphill battle. Monster movies are generally not my favorite movies, and I haven’t enjoyed either of the last 2 in this franchise. However, I assumed at least the visuals would look good so it would be entertaining on the IMAX. Sadly I was mistaken. It looks like the response is quite divisive on the film but I thought it was awful. You may love it but it was not for me. That’s for sure.

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There are so many problems with Godzilla: King of the Monsters but let me go over a few that especially stuck out. The first and least important problem is the asinine script with characters making nonsensical choices. Yes it’s a dumb monster movie, but we spend a lot of time with these people, so it would be nice if it was at least semi-coherent and logical. Especially Vera Farmiga’s character was a giant continual face palm.

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Second, I’ve long complained that action movies have become one long set of sequences of characters staring at screens. This is no exception. Almost every scene with the humans they are either looking at a glass encasement or staring at a screen. This is not interesting or exciting. Towards the end we have some emotional scenes with characters but they feel under-served because we haven’t gotten to know them beyond seeing them stare at screens.

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Finally, and most surprising, is the disappointing visuals. I think you can see from this gif how cloudy and murky the cinematography is. Every scene is raining and dark so you can’t see what is happening. To make matters worse the point of view is often from the ground up which is difficult when trying to see the action of these big creatures. The editing is also absolutely awful. The fight scenes are constantly cutting away into extreme closeups and mid-shots. Very rarely do you get a good wide shot to really see the fights or the full creatures. Isn’t that why we are there to see monsters fighting?

It wasn’t a big surprise to me when I found out one of the 3 co-editors is the editor for Transformers: the Last Night and Transformers: Age of Extinction- two of the worst edited films I’ve ever seen. And then the cinematographer usually does comedies like The Hangover. It was truly baffling.

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Another annoying aspect is millions of people are dying in scenes in Mexico, San Francisco and Boston, and yet we only seem to care about a handful of humans. It reminded me of San Andreas where the only person the screenplay cares about is The Rock’s daughter and everyone else can die. I think most people would be a little upset if the world was being annihilated and there was mass carnage? Call me crazy. Like I said Vera Farmiga (and Charles Dance) characters were especially bad in this regard.

The only comparison I can make is with 2017’s Geostorm but that film had more of a spirit of fun about it than Godzilla: King of the Monsters and the visuals were fine. This was just a badly made film. You might enjoy it and I hope you do but it’s definitely not for me, and I think I’m done with this Monsterverse for the foreseeable future.

I recommend seeing the Chinese film The Wandering Earth instead. It’s on Netflix and provides much better nutty spectacle than anything you’ll get here

2 out of 10

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Current Mini Reviews

It’s time for another edition of my Current Mini Reviews where I give shortened reviews of recently released films. If you are new to the site you are going to think I’m a super big grumpy pants because I didn’t like any of the movies being covered. Sometimes that’s the way the movie Gods see fit to provide, and it’s a good thing because it makes me grateful for the great films! So here goes:

The Sun is Also a Star

First up is The Sun is Also a Star. This is a romantic YA drama based on the book by Nicola Yoon. I actually read the book and enjoyed it. I thought both Natasha and Daniel were well developed and interesting characters and that helped me care about the instalove gimmick. Unfortunately as you can see in my youtube review the movie did not work. The director used too many gimmicks with spinning cameras and heavy-handed narration that got in the way of the characters. Without their development the romance felt very corny. The two leads are pretty people but the script didn’t work for me.

Frown Worthy

3.5 out of 10

A Dog’s Journey

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Don’t worry this is not a sequel to A Dog’s Way Home, which came out in January, and I gave a marginal recommendation to. No, this is a sequel to the 2017 film A Dog’s Purpose, which I didn’t enjoy, but this manages to be even worse. This is a PG family film, and we get multiple dog deaths, human deaths, parental abuse, alcoholism, a toxic teenage relationship, car crashes and cancer. Good grief! The only thing I liked about the movie aside from the cute doggies was the relationship between Kathryn Prescott and Henry Lau. I’d watch them in another movie- maybe a light-hearted romantic comedy and not this massive downer…It makes Old Yeller look like a laugh-fest.

Frown Worthy

2 out of 10

The Dead Don’t Die-

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Last year I loved the delightful indie zombie Christmas musical Anna and the Apocalypse. It was creative, funny and sweet. It even made Best Films of 2018. So when I saw a trailer for The Dead Don’t Die I got very excited. The trailer was hilarious, and I love the cast. My hope was it was going to be a Wes Anderson meets Zombieland film. Unfortunately I was very disappointed. The Dead Don’t Die was an unfunny, self-indulgent, frustrating experience. The cast is woefully wasted, and they strain for the few laughs the script offers. The metaphors are also rammed in to the ground by narrators and characters breaking the 4th wall. It is my first film from director Jim Jarmusch but the critics at Cannes and other places don’t seem to be enjoying it either, so it appears to be a just a big miss. It’s frustrating because it had so much potential and it all falls flat.

Frown Worthy

3.5 out of 10

Wine Country

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In recent years Hollywood has produced several popular comedic films starring and geared towards women. Whether it is the Bad Moms movies, Girl’s Trip or Bridesmaids these films have an audience. Unfortunately the successes for that audience are few and far between. In the latest from Netflix, Wine Country, a lot of funny women are brought together for little to no laughs. It boggles my mind that so many talented people like Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, Ana Gasteyer and more could all get together and produce so few jokes. It felt like an R rated version of a sitcom episode stretched into nearly 2 hours. I also am so tired of the trope that women doing raunchy or outlandish things is inherently more funny than when a man does the same things. It’s so lazy and that’s how I would describe Wine Country. Buyer beware!

Frown Worthy

2 out of 10

So there you have it. 4 pretty terrible films all in the same month! I bet you’re not so jealous of my job now! If you get to see any of these movies let me know what you think. Thanks

Worst Movies of 2018

It’s that time of year when I present my worst movies of the year list and this year I decided to do things a little bit differently. Instead of a strict bottom 10 I chose to spread the wealth and talk about a bunch of groupings of films I disliked. You can watch the video above to hear more of my explanations but here they are for the blog

Blockbusters that Stunk!

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My first category is big studio releases that fell flat:

The Meg– disappointing shark movie that took itself seriously when its trailers promised camp. Instead of being fun it was mega-boring

Pacific Rim Uprising- removed any of the artistry or interesting choices of the original and replaced it with loud hard to visualize action filled with annoying characters

The Nutcracker and the 4 Realms- I was so hoping this would be a fun surprise but it was a dud. There was no conflict and most of the Clara was watching stuff happen (even on stage sometimes). Boring!

Once Upon a Deadpool- I’ve never seen either of the Deadpool movies and judging by this PG-13 version of Deadpool 2 I don’t want to. It was boring, unfunny and the acting by many was weak

Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald– This whole movie was a crime. I felt exhausted after I saw it. There were so many plot threads and characters and none of it made a lick of sense to this muggle. Worst fantasy film I’ve seen since Warcraft.

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Romantic Comedy Duds-

Everyone knows I love romantic comedies but when they fail, they fail badly:

Destination Wedding- what everyone hates about romcoms all in one movie. Both characters were miserable and irritating and did nothing but argue for 2 hours. No chemistry and one of the least sexy sex scenes I’ve ever seen.

Little Italy- the leads were decent but the humor fell so flat with its constant sex jokes that were not funny. The stereotyping and plot were terrible. Yuck!

The Kissing Booth- an awkward film where the director seemed to linger the camera over its teenage protagonist in uncomfortable ways. Both male leads were terrible especially her BFF who was the worst

The Spy Who Dumped Me- this film has some decent action but it swings so strongly between slapstick comedy and extreme violence that I was very turned off by it. Let’s just say it was not for me

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Adaptations that Bombed-

Some of my favorite novels were adapted in 2018 but unfortunately not adapted proficiently:

Wrinkle in Time- what a disappointment. With such a cast, budget and promising director to get this dud. They failed to capture the spirituality of the novel and put in place speechifying where Meg is told she is a warrior instead of coming to realize it herself. The plot was muddled and George Wallace irritating. It just failed

Little Women- I’m up for a modern take on Little Women but not one where they turn Jo into an obnoxious judgemental jerk, which is what this version did (amongst other problems)

Sherlock Gnomes- after Sherlock series 4 sucked so badly I guess everyone decided it was time to follow suit with awful Sherlock Holmes stories like Sherlock Gnomes. This movie was irritating in so many ways especially the villain

Ophelia- I kept having to thwart my laughter at this ridiculous feminist take on Hamlet with Ophelia outwitting all and storming the castle along with the Queen’s secret twin who lives in the forest brewing potions…Embarrassing

Robin Hood- could have been a dopey action movie but it wasn’t even that. Everything from the costumes to the action to the script to the terrible acting was so misguided. I don’t know what they were thinking?

White Fang- some nice animation is hurt by a long, brutal exploitative dog fight sequence I could not forgive. The child next to me was in tears. It was way too much. No thank you

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Gravitas that Failed

My next category is films that were presented with gravitas as great and innovative that failed to entertain or please me in any way. Unpopular opinion time!

Annihilation- some claim this scifi/horror film is a masterpiece but I thought it was a slog that couldn’t decide what it was trying to say so it just keeps piling on metaphor after metaphor to the point of exhaustion. None of the character motivation was well done and aside from pretty visuals it didn’t work

Fireworks- this anime is obviously trying to rip off Your Name (one of my favorite movies) and it failed. It is all over the place storywise and the characters make strange choices. The romance feels off. The animation is pretty and then terrible at spots. Just bad.

Bohemian Rhapsody- Freddie Mercury should be an interesting character but in this film he is so bland and generic rebel rocker it irritated me. Plus the script was so bad having his wife explain his sexuality to him and have him reunite with a boyfriend, make up with his family, and play Live Aid all in the afternoon. Give me a break

Gotti- John Travolta decided to play mob boss Jon Gotti as a ill treated persecuted civil servant in this ridiculous movie. The non-linear storytelling doesn’t work. The script, makeup, cinematography and everything else is terrible. Not even so bad it’s good.

Winchester- a haunted house movie with potential but instead it was just very boring

Life Itself- the movie that put me to sleep so hard I actually started snoring. It was a snooze but it was also surprisingly cynical and not hopeful abotu life at all. Everyone either gives up or kills themselves. What a heartwarming message…

MTKZ- some people think total chaos is creative. I don’t. This movie was completely random from the first image. Everything from the characters to the story to the visual choices felt like an assault on the viewer and was exhausting.

Sorry to Bother You- I was with this movie for the first 30 minutes and then it went completely off the rails once they get to this party. The movie felt like it was trying to be 12 different movies and especially once it went equine it completely lost me

Journey’s End- a war movie where the soldiers talk about rations a lot. I never need to hear about rations again. It was so boring.

The Party- a comedy with no jokes. Like seriously I didn’t see why any of these pedantic twerps talking at this party was funny. I just didn’t get it.

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More Animation I Hated-

I mentioned some animated films I disliked already but these 3 were not great:

Duck Duck Goose- the worst movie I saw in 2018. It is garish and unpleasant in every way. The jokes with the Chinese people and the cat were bizarre and I just wanted the whole experience to be over as soon as I started watching it

Lu Over the Wall- a movie that is so spastic and insane that it made me nauseous. This director made another bonkers movie this year The Night is Short Walk On Girl that really worked for me but this one was too much. Plus, the story that it had felt like a ripoff of Ponyo so I didn’t even have that.

Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies- a weird fantasy animation made to teach lessons to evangelicals but if you aren’t in that group it will not engage you either with the songs, story or morality.

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Two Bad Comedies

Finally I will end with 2 comedies that didn’t make me laugh:

Night School- Tiffany Haddish is not on my good side after both of these films but especially Night School where she shrieked her way through her performance.

Uncle Drew- I know other people found this funny but I didn’t laugh one time. The lead character is unlikable and I wasn’t interested in the sports story. A real dud.

So there you have it! There are my worst films of the year

If you are dying to know what the actual bottom 10 is here goes:

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Pottersville Review

There are some movies that defy description. That you watch and then sit in stunned silence after wondering what you have just witnessed. This year’s Pottersville is such a film. As someone who watched 35 Hallmark original Christmas movies this year as well as films on Ion, Up and other questionable networks, Pottersville is the worst holiday film of the year and one of the worst I’ve ever seen. There is some argument to be made for ‘so bad it’s good’ entertainment but right now I’m just baffled by it and even more baffled that so many great people cosigned to be in it. It’s a festive train-wreck that must be seen to be believed.

Let’s start off with the fact that one of the great actors working today, Michael Shannon, leads this film. He stars as Maynard Greiger a simple general store manager who goes home one day to find out his wife has become a furry because country life is boring. Let that sentence sink in…

I have no problem with furries to be honest. Whatever people like to do in their free time is fine with me but the way this movie uses them is so weird and mocking in tone but then sincere is perplexing to say the least. They somehow got Christina Hendricks and Ron Perlman to play the furries! What on earth?

The devastated Maynard then decides to spice up his life by dressing up and becoming Bigfoot, which sends the town into a flutter. I repeat- what on earth? (And he drinks from a pee fountain at one point).

Then Thomas Lennon shows up as Brock Masterson, host of a Bigfoot hunting reality show and it is so bizarre. He flails about the forest with a bad Australian accent and it seems like he should be a crazy person but he’s not. He’s just in this movie. There is one scene with him defecating outside while talking to one of his producers that goes on forever. The attempts at physical, mad-cap comedy are so bad it defies description. I just couldn’t believe this is a thing that was made by top tier talent?

There is also the Christmas aspects to the film, which are bizarre. Like how about the many references to It’s a Wonderful Life? Because that’s the first movie I think of when making a list of silly holiday comedies. Also the ever-present strange holiday soundtrack that is surprisingly traditional for such an anarchist movie. And I’ve seen about 10 ‘save the ____’ Christmas movies this year but this expects you to feel warm and fuzzy about this ‘Bigfoot’ sighting literally saving the town when its dilapidated town mill becomes a tourist attraction. What on earth?

Pottersville is one of those movies that is very difficult to rank because it is so bad it is fascinating and must be seen by all. Do I rank this over a mediocre bad movie like The Emoji Movie? Pottersville is worse than Emoji Movie but it is worse in more interesting ways. People were trying to make a holiday classic and it failed spectacularly where nobody was really trying to make a great movie with Emoji.

The only thing I can think to compare it with is last year’s 9 Lives but this is even stranger narratively. I just don’t know what to say or how to adequately describe this film.

It is available on Netflix so watch it for yourself and see what epically bad movies can achieve.

By the way check out my podcast on Hallmark movies I’ve been doing with my friend Amber. I’m super proud of it.

Let’s Talk About Bad Movies

Recently I put 2 movies in my bottom 10 of the year that other people seemed to enjoy- Glass Castle and Dark Tower. Since doing so I heard from a number of people say something to the effect of “how can you have The Emoji Movie ahead of them”. My rankings move and flow so they may end up above Emoji but placing them below it is completely valid.  I also have Lady Macbeth in my bottom 10 which I’ve gotten some flack for. Thing is there are a lot of ways a movie can be bad. A movie can be offensive, lazily made, boring, poorly written or acted to name a few reasons.

Recently a critic I follow did a video criticizing Jeremy Jahns for liking Suicide Squad but disliking Dunkirk. I don’t agree with Jeremy on either film but the argument is complete nonsense. He says in the video that if the character development in Dunkirk is a problem for Jeremy than maybe he’d like character explanation like in Suicide Squad.  The two films are completely different in totally separate genres and can’t be compared. What works for a person in a comic book movie is not going to work for a gritty war movie. It’s ridiculous. Implying that the same exact criteria makes a good movie for all genres is nonsensical and I’m sure he knows that. It’s just a quick way to take a cheap shot at someone with a different opinion. I’m sure he has reviews you could say “how could you like ….but dislike…”

Someone might say to me ‘how could you give a higher grade to a Smurfs movie than Lady Macbeth? The two movies are completely different for different audiences. Smurfs Lost Village has flaws but it is beautifully animated and had some nice heart to it. I think it is worthy of my B-. Lady Macbeth looks pretty but there is no chemistry which is essential in this type of gothic romance. It’s like having Wuthering Heights with no chemistry or connection between Heathcliff and Catherine. That would be awful. Because they have no chemistry their choices are increasingly idiotic, which then makes the thriller part of the movie not very thrilling. Smurfs mostly succeeds at being what it is trying to be where Lady Macbeth in my opinion doesn’t.

Same is true with Glass Castle and Me Before You. Both movies are trying to be inspirational stories with hashtags like #liveboldly but the way they tell their stories ends up offending me rather than inspiring. It’s not like I am going to say ‘well your movie greatly offended me but the acting was good so I forgive it.” That makes no sense.

Let me go over my bottom 10 from 2016 and explain to you the various reasons they stunk for me

10. Mothers Day- Terrible unfunny script that doesn’t celebrate Mothers or Motherhood

9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2- the worst kind of sequel. Thinks let’s do everything from original but twice as big

8. Nine Lives- can laugh at how bad it is but still poorly made and he’s not a bad Dad and doesn’t deserve to be turned into a cat.

7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children- one scene of exposition after another creating a real snoozefest.

6. Alice Through the Looking Glass- same as Miss Peregrine’s but more annoying.

5. Me Before You- morally offensive film that thinks manic pixie dream girl can fix all of life’s problems

4. Batman: the Killing Joke- a movie that believes a woman is a tool for the screenwriters to victimize and animation sucks

3. Warcraft- some neat special effects can’t save a movie that was so confusing my head hurts just thinking about it

2. Norm of the North- incompetently made in every facet. Animation, voice acting, comedy, story, villain all are awful.

1 Do Over- an excuse for Adam Sandler and buddies to go on vacation. Racist, sexist, homophobic all in one.

So do you get the idea? You can dislike movies for lots of  reasons and just because a movie is well made doesn’t mean it can’t suck and be on my worst of the year list. It’s my list and I decide what I do or do not like.

Worst Movies of 2016

All right.  The gloves are out. It’s time to take out the trash with the worst films I saw in 2016! I still have some best movie candidates to see so that list may not be for a while but I felt pretty confident in the junk. So here goes! (this is very therapeutic for us film fans!)

15. Suicide Squad-

Incompetently made. Doesn’t feel finished. Hated the Joker. The first act of the movie is Amanda Waller sitting at a table looking at binder. Enchantress was horrible. The script was full of inconsistencies and problems. The fact it made so much money is proof people will see anything with a superhero label on it these days except Fantastic 4.

suicide squad cereal14. X-Men Apocalypse-

This movie annoyed me more than any other live action superhero movie of 2016. It had a fractured story interrupted by callbacks to better XMen movies. It ditches the metaphor that makes the franchise special in favor of a big boring villain in Apocalypse. This is the kind of movie that made me turn against superhero movies for 3 years after seeing Green Lantern. And we get to see Pyslocke in a skimpy outfit fighting at Auschwitz. Just no

xmen apocolypse213. The 5th Wave

One of the most cynical movies I saw all year. I hate these dystopian teen movies and this is one of the worst. It is violent and boring with a twist that is so obvious. None of the characters have any personality or heart to them especially the males. It’s awful. My only hope with it is that with it and Allegiant doing poorly we won’t be getting any more of them.

5th-wave12. God’s of Egypt

White washing issues proved to be the least of this movie’s problems. There is some ‘so bad it’s good’ enjoyment to be had here but holy cow this is awful. Everything is over the top and ridiculous and unintentionally humorous. The characters are inconsistent. Entire storylines do not matter and are forgotten by the script and the acting is hilariously bad.

gods of egypt411. Huntsman: Winter’s War

Sequels to bad movies are typically a bad idea and that is certainly the case with this movie. It can’t decide what it wants to be. It is part sequel, part prequel, part Frozen rip-off and all bad. The acting is awful from normally reliable actors like Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt. The production does look pretty good but the story makes no sense and you just feel embarrassed for all involved while watching.

huntsman-winters-war10. Mother’s Day

It’s a shame Garry Marshall had to leave us with this dud. He could be a great storyteller but this has nothing insightful to say about mothering or motherhood. All of the mothers depicted are caricatures who oddly do almost no mothering in the film. It wasn’t funny. The performances are awful and 2 parent characters are shockingly offensive and not in a funny way.

mothers-day9. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

I LOVE the original Greek Wedding film. It’s honestly one of my favorite comedies and so I was so disappointed by this sequel. It’s one of those sequels that decides to take anything that worked in the original and make it ten times bigger; thereby, ruining what worked so well. The acting was bad. The writing was bad and it really ticked me off.

greek wedding28. Nine Lives

There is some bizarre ‘how did this happen?’ value in Nine Lives but that’s about it. It’s one of the laziest movies of the year. They can’t even get the meowing right in your cat movie. The thing is the Kevin Spacey character isn’t a bad dad. He works a lot but he is actively trying to bond with his daughter and holds a meeting to decide on her birthday present. The script takes some bizarre turns and it’s incompetently made in every respect.

nine-lives7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

This movie bored me more than any movie I can think of in a long time. I sat there hoping it would end. Every scene is characters explaining things to us and I just didn’t care. All the performances are flat and boring. Even Burton’s usual magical touches are nowhere to be found except for a scene with skeletons. He’s really lost all of his edge as a filmmaker. It makes me kind of sad.

peregrine46. Alice Through the Looking Glass

A follow up to the 2010 big hit was a miss at the box office for a reason. The story is beyond stupid with the catalyst for both films turning out to be a lie over tarts! #Tartgate. Johnny Depp is annoying in it and everyone else looks bored. There’s weird touches that come off as grotesque like vegetable people being eaten instead of magical. It is a joyless enterprise which is sad for Alice!

alice-through-the-looking-glass-poster-alice5. Me Before You

I admit this movie is well made but it really offended me. The assertion that suicide is a valid, even brave, choice for those dealing with quadriplegia is offensive and disgusting. We don’t see the lead character go to therapy or try living a full life. We just see the manic pixie dream girl hired to care for him take him to concerts and the beach and then his decision is supposed to be valid? How about you give him a job or help him contribute? It’s most morally repugnant film of the year

me before you64. Batman: the Killing Joke

Speaking of morally repugnant, I have another candidate in Batman: the Killing Joke. This movie takes the graphic novel and turns it into a disgusting portrait of female victimization. Barbara Gordon has no autonomy as a character. She is a tool for the screenwriters to move around whenever they need her to be raped, beaten, and demeaned. The gay character is embarrassing. The supposed relationship between Batman and Batgirl is right out of a soap opera and the interesting questions of the novel are barely addressed. The animation is also very mediocre.

Batman-The-Killing-joke-movie-poster3. Warcraft-

The most befuddling movie going experience of the year. I had no idea what was happening most of the time. I didn’t understand the world or the rules of the world. The characters all looked the same and the conflict between the two groups was confusing. It was boring and the acting was really bad especially from the human characters. I want to give it credit for its scope but I really cant because the story made no sense.

warcraft52. Norm of the North

Quite possibly the worst animated film I’ve ever seen in the theaters and I’ve seen Strange Magic and Home…Everything about this movie is awful. Awful story, characters, writing, jokes, sidekicks, villain, villain plan, animation, etc. You get the idea. It’s the stain on what was a pretty amazing year of animation. Only film I have nothing nice to say

norm1111. The Do-Over

I wish Adam Sandler could have a do-over on his career. This isn’t even a movie. It’s Sandler and his friends going on vacation and filming hateful stuff. The story is awful and mean-spirited. There isn’t one laugh. It’s misogynistic, hateful, homophobic, disgusting and the story is so flimsy it seems hard to believe anyone agreed to air it. It may go down as one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

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My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (Review)

greek wedding2Guys I feel genuinely sad. While everyone else is bummed out over an underwhelming Batman v Superman this weekend, I’m sad about My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.  It kind of broke my heart. 😦

I love the original Greek Wedding from 2002.  It’s one of my favorite comedies of all time.  Why does it work?  Because it is focused on one character Toula and her becoming an independent woman and getting married.  Along for the ride are her parents and crazy family.   The writing is funny and most people with loud obnoxious families can relate to what Toula goes through.  I certainly could.

So now all these years later we get a sequel and like  most comedy sequels it is a disaster.  Whether it be Dumb and Dumber 2, Zoolander 2, Caddyshack 2, most comedy sequels suck.

greek wedding3What did Greek Wedding 2 get wrong?  Well…

To begin with it decides to not focus on one person’s story but it splits up the focus on a variety of subplots.  We get Toula and her stale marriage, her daughter Paris going to prom, Paris deciding what college to go to, her parents finding out they aren’t actually married, her cousin revealing he is gay, her father wanting to be related to Alexander the Great, her trying to plan her parents wedding etc.  The list goes on.

None of these plots are given ample time by the screenplay to grow and be more than a sitcom.  It’s like I could practically hear the laugh track in the background behind every situation.

They also take jokes we liked from the first film and run them into the ground.  For example, Toula’s Aunt Voula has a great joke in original about a growth on her neck.  Here we get 3 jokes about her body including one about having one working ovary. Another example is Toula’s father and his making all words Greek.  In the original you get it twice.  Here it is repeated over and over again.  Same thing with the windex and the awkward sex talk/ sex situations we get at least 3 times.  All of these jokes land with a thud.

greek wedding7They even bring back Toula getting taunted by the girls at school over her strange lunch from the first one.  I wanted to say ‘let it go!’  Toula had moved on from such nonsense and become a strong woman and it felt petty and kind of judgemental on her part.

As I was watching I got angrier and more irritated.  So much so, I almost considered walking out of the theater. It was such a disappointment to these characters I loved in the original.

The other problem is they forget that the crazy family antics were relatively spaced out in the original.  A ton of time is spent on Toula, her and Ian’s relationship, their courtship and nice quiet moments between Toula and her brother, mother/family etc.  The craziness made you laugh because it felt believable within the context of a wedding or big family event. Weddings are nuts for big families.  That’s believable.

greek wedding6Here it is so overdone.  For example, Paris has a college career fair at school and the entire family- cousins, aunts, uncles, all come.  This becomes annoying instead of funny because it no longer feels like a heightened version of reality.  I mean there are a lot of grandkids in that family and if everyone comes to every college fair/minor activity than they must not get much done.  It is believable for a wedding or big event, not every day life.

greek wedding5The other disappointment in the film is Nia Vardalos’ acting  She’s wooden for much of her line delivery and her and John Corbett seem to have lost the chemistry that made them so great in the original. Her responses are either bland or way over the top. It’s one extreme or the other.  There is a scene for instance when she out of nowhere unleashes at her neighbors who are watching the commotion next door.  It frankly felt bizarre.

Other elements don’t work like the wedding being stopped because Toula’s father is tipsy at the alter.  You just feel sad for Lainie Kazan’s Mother character and I think the movie wants us to laugh.  Either way we haven’t spent enough time with her character to be emotionally invested in the situation.  It just ends up feeling awkward and uncomfortable.

greek wedding4Another example is they are setting up for a wedding and out of nowhere a man tells the Joey Fatone character something like ‘well, at least he isn’t hiding any more’ and it turns out they are partners. There’s nothing wrong with that storyline in the film but it is literally shoehorned into a cleaning scene and then quickly dispensed of- leaving no laughter or emotion for the audience.

It’s like they thought they had to give everyone in the family (even the Grandma gets a storyline) a subplot so they all leave us under-served and frustrated.

But most importantly they didn’t make me laugh. Family hijinx aren’t in and of themselves funny.  It has to be balanced amid people we care about or it is just annoying and that is the case here.

Lainie Kazan does her darndest to squeeze some emotion out of her desire to be proposed to by her husband but again the movie doesn’t focus on her enough leaving me unmoved in the end.

Some people on my facebook liked the film and that’s cool but it really bummed me out.  I know technically speaking Norm of the North and The Choice are more poorly made movies but as far as disappointing me My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 is the worst movie I’ve seen in 2016.

At the very least it begs the question- YOU HAD 1 JOB AND THIS WAS THE BEST YOU COULD DO AFTER 15 YEARS!!!!  Darn it all…

Overall Grade- F

Gods of Egypt Review

gods of egypt5Where the line is drawn between bad and entertainingly bad I really couldn’t tell you?  Why did I laugh my head off, for instance, in Gods of Egypt but sit there in agony at Norm of the North? I literally have no idea.  Gods of Egypt is a terrible movie but maybe it was my audience because we were cracking up.  You might say it’s deliciously awful.

If Gods of Egypt were a low brow sci-fi channel film it might make sense but the fact this atrocity cost $140 million to make it boggles the mind.  It attempts to be an epic sword and sandles story about Ancient Egypt but it ends up being a horrible cg-fest with inconsistent characters and a story that makes no sense.

It’s kind of about an Egyptian God named Set (the God of Darkness evidently but it is never really clear what his powers are or what he is trying to do except TAKE OVER THE WORLD!).  He has a brother who is King and a nephew Horus who is about to be coronated at the start of the film.  There is his Grandfather Ra the God of Creation, Thoth the God of Wisdom, Hathor the Goddess of Love (I think),  also 2 commoners in love Zaya and Bek.

gods of egypt4But as silly as those characters sound it means nothing with bad writing.  Characters like Hathor seem to change powers whenever is convenient.  I was never even clear who was named what or what they did.  That’s how muddled and poorly developed EVERYONE was.  The dialogue is laughable and the story has so many scenes where I was like ‘why are we here? what is going on?  how did they get here etc?’.  There’s scenes in the afterlife that seem to assume a certain understanding of the steps of Egyptian spirit world because there didn’t seem to be any clear rules about death or judgement.

gods of egyptThe special effects- holy cow are they awful.  It has some of the worst green screen shots I’ve ever seen especially when they are supposed to be flying or riding in a chariot.  The powers make no sense.  One minute they are flying.  One minute they need their eyes.  One minute they don’t.   Horus makes a whole journey to get water from Ra and then it is dropped and spilled, never to be talked about again.  Most of the special effects are kind of fuzzy looking and I’m sure it is even worse in 3D and like I said the green screen is so bad.

They also have gold blood, which was a creative touch.  The action scenes were so badly staged all you could hear was someone in the sound mixing board hitting the ‘thump key’ over and over again. There are two mortals Bek and Zaya who are around so Zaya can be dead and Bek can be Aladdin stealing Horus’ eye back for him.  There is no chemistry or bond between anyone or epic feel to anything.  It feels like a video game.

gods of egypt2The acting is so bad. Gerard Butler continues his horrific slide of awfulness in a performance that had me laughing in its ‘evil bad guyness’.  Nikolaj Coster-Waldau continues the streak of Game of Thrones stars being awful in movies not called Cinderella in the lead as Horus.  He’s so bad.  Just grumbling around and snarling with one eye covered.  The women are horrible and mainly seem to be there to sacrifice for and have sex with the men.  Rufus Sewell is an embarrassment.  And Chadwick Boseman gives a whole room of terrible performances as Thoth.

gods of egypt3It almost has to be seen to be believed.  I can see Gods of Egypt playing at festivals for bad movies.  I think Riff Trax definitely needs to do it because there is so much material to mock.  My whole audience was laughing from start to finish.  The sad part is we weren’t supposed to be laughing (which probably makes it even funnier).

So in the end Gods of Egypt is terrible but I can’t say I wasn’t entertained- just not in the way the producers hoped.  Unless you like very silly movies it’s a definite skip.

Overall Grade- F (C if you just want to make fun of it)

Oh and the whole whitewashing controversy of the film- if only that were its greatest problem. The producers would be clicking their heels if that was people’s only complaint. Expect this to be an Egyptian sized bomb.

 

The Choice Movie Review

the choiceOnly have a sec tonight but wanted to share with you all my review of the latest Nicholas Sparks’ movie adaptation- The Choice.

You can probably tell from my expression in the thumbnail I strongly recommend you not make the choice to see The Choice.  I liked last year’s Longest Ride and gave it a B-.  I thought they had good chemistry and the story wasn’t half bad.  But this is just awful.  Terrible acting, writing, and chemistry between the leads.

The strangest thing in my eyes was the cakey, odd make-up and sullen lighting.  That’s something these types of movies usually nail.

Instead of seeing The Choice, make the choice to find Brooklyn instead.  Now that is a great romance!

Overall Grade- F