Gloria Bell

Many years ago, I saw a trailer for a movie called Gloria. It was a Spanish movie, but it had a lot of buzz and it looked fun. I decided I would put an effort into watching it. I thought about it for a few weeks, then I forgot about it, and went on with my life.

A couple of years ago, a different film came out called A Fantastic Woman. You may have heard of it, it won some awards. I definitely made sure to see it, given its nomination, and I saw it was by the director of Gloria. “Oh yeah! Gloria!” That movie I meant to see and forgot about. I should get on that and see it eventually. And then I forgot about it.

And then, finally, I got an invite to see Gloria Bell. That sounds familiar. And sure enough the trailer brings back the memories of the Gloria trailer, song and all. Oh no, an American remake? Sort of.

Does it count as an American remake if the remake is done by the same director and in his vision? Does it automatically make it inferior still?

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Well, in this case, probably. 
Gloria Bell (Julianne Moore) is in her upper middle ages, basically old, without being, you know, old. She has kids, they are adults and starting their families. She is divorced, she works, she likes disco, and she wants to have a fun life.

But something keeps getting in the way. You know, herself. She sees so many faults in others, and her anxieties get in the way of finding happiness.

Despite this, she finds Arnold (John Tuturro), a man who likes disco and is also divorced. This feels like true love, in her later live, but there are issues. Issues with Arnold’s family and their dependence on him. It gets in the way of their happiness. And no matter what, he can’t abandon his kids and ex just for happiness.

So what’s a girl to dance? I dunno. Dance, dance, dance the night away.

Also starring Michael Cera, Holland Taylor, Brad Garrett, and Caren Pistorius.

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Ah yes, Vegas, city of love, city by the bay./em>

Okay, technically, I don’t know if Gloria Bell is worse than Gloria, since I haven’t seen Gloria. And unfortunately, now that I have seen Gloria Bell, I probably won’t see Gloria ever. It might be better. It might be the same. I don’t know and won’t know because Gloria Bell has turned me so far off from this story, that the last thing I want to see is the story again, but this time with subtitles.

Basically, this is a film that is inspired by the song Gloria. It is a nice song, very catchy, and they use it in the film. And that is the whole story. There isn’t much else of depth. It is not only frustrating to watch this character act that way, but it is boring. I never feel any reason to hope better for her, given her ability to dig her own holes.

Sure being lonely sucks, but she probably just has to be lonely it looks like.

Gloria Bell is forgettable, and bad. I don’t know if it is actually as bad as my rating, but I did feel like hours of my life were wasted at the end.

0 out of 4.

Avengers: Endgame (Spoilers)

Here we are, months after the release of Avengers: Endgame, and I am now ready to post a review. Why the delay? Several reasons!

One, my review when it came out would not mean a damn thing. Who cares? Everyone who wants to see it will go see it, and I wouldn’t convince any one on any side to change their mind. No one was on the fence.

Two, I wanted to wait for it to beat Avatar‘s record. I don’t think it has yet, but I’m tired of waiting. It will break it will silly re-releases, so pretty disappointing.

And three, if I waited a long time, I could do a review with spoilers! Something I have never really done before. A spoiler review can be more specific, and hey, people can agree or disagree. So let’s get on it.

heroes
Together Each Achieves More.

Endgame takes place almost immediately after the events of Infinity War. Half the population is gone, many heroes. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is trapped in space. People are sad. But once Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) shows up, and they get their coordinates on, they all rush over to fuck over Thanos (Josh Brolin) and kill him. Hopefully also undo what he did. And it turns out they can’t. Infinity Stones are broken and gone, nothing can be done except sadness.

Five years later? Life is weird. Heroes are now fat (Chris Hemsworth). Hulks are now Professor Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Captain America (Chris Evans) is just trying to help people. But once Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is able to escape finally from the Quantum Realm, he is disgusted by what has occurred, and has ideas on how to fix what was undone. You know. With Time Travel.

Also starring…everybody. Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Rene Russo, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Danai Gurira, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Jon Favreau, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Sean Gunn, Winston Duke, Linda Cardellini, Frank Grillo, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, James D’Arcy, Jacob Batalon, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ty Simpkins, Robert Redford, Chris Pratt, Samuel L. Jackson, Lexi Rabe, Ross Marquand, Kerry Condon, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong, and Stan Lee

villains“Is that all you got?” Thanos, about the last paragraph, probably.

So sure, I gave Avengers: Endgame a 4 out of 4, despite being a non-perfect movie. Because it is an emotionally satisfying film. I cried, I cheered, I seized up with anticipation, I was serviced so much as a fan. It was a blast and the three hours flew by. The final battle had so many nice moments that were cool and can still be talked about today.

When Captain America was about to say Avengers Assemble, I remember bouncing in my seat for over 10 seconds, grabbing my wife’s arm and just ready to explode. That moment was necessary. It was beautiful.

And of course we lost characters, finally. Steve, despite feeling plot holey, got to live his regular life for once and die once his life was finally over. Tony sacrificed himself for the greater good, to finally fix all of his wrongs. Natasha had a fun suicide battle with Clint that we all knew were coming, and yet, the result was surprising given future movie’s coming out.

Most characters felt like they were given their proper moments to shine and showcase their power, especially the first big three of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor. The throwbacks to previous films and their first fight in Avengers were nostalgic wet dreams.

And sure, a lot of might not be desired. Some newer, strong characters barely got screen time. Captain Marvel was mostly wasted (and despite the fun of the ladies of Marvel moment, it felt awkward because we know she needed zero help). Dr. Strange was left to be a defensive wizard. Of course a lot of this was done because these characters will have more time to shine in the future and are not mid swan song, but it technically also didn’t feel natural/necessary.

Honestly, a lot of the time stuff was silly. It probably could have been shortened a good amount, but again, it featured a ton of fun moments and also gave us the entrance for Loki’s future television show.

Torches were passed, heads were rolled, and franchises collided and will be changed in the future. I just hope this five year advance is handled with care and has a real significance to it. Spider-Man: Far From Home touched on it, but it didn’t go really in depth with it still. I am afraid they will mostly ignore these ramifications later in just a few movies.

Also I should note the forced disconnect of the TV shows and the movies is frustrating. All of the Netflix drama and Agents of Shield ruined us from having even more fun moments. I blame Ike.

4 out of 4.

Booksmart

What’s not to love about the hype around Booksmart? Well, the lateness of this review is one.

This movie I think had three screenings available for me to go to to see it early, and I just could not make any of them. One of them was a night I planned on going, but got bombarded with work and had to stay home. It sucked.

I wanted to see the first film directed by Olivia Wilde, who has had some great comedy moments in her career. I wanted the film that was described as the female equivalent of Superbad, but better and more PC.

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More PC but just as raunchy.

Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein) are top of the line students at their high school. High grades, internships, activities, they want to go to a great college, get great careers, and have great lives.

They didn’t have time for getting high, or drinking, or partying. Very little socializing besides each other. They had crushes and never went after them. They are friends with their teachers, and Miss Fine (Jessica Williams) is their hero.

But it turns out that most of their school associates also have gotten into great schools. The ones who slacked, who partied who had fun. These two sacrificed for years for…nothing. Now it is time to change it. The night before graduation, they are going to experience parties and go for their crushes and lay it all out there, before Amy has to go to Africa for the summer. They need to go through the whole high school experience in just one night. Easy.

Also starring Skyler Gisondo, Victoria Ruesga, Billie Lourd, Molly Gorgon, Mason Gooding, Will Forte and Lisa Kudrow as parents, and Jason Sudeikis as a vice principal.

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Okay, how can straddling a giant phallic object be more PC?

Booksmart was a breath of fresh air. Just like Long Shot felt like a breath of fresh air earlier in the year. Except Booksmart I have strong feelings will stay at my top of the year list the whole year. I can’t imagine seeing a funnier film this year, and that means a lot with so many months to go.

It is just hard to find good comedy films in general that can change the game and offer something new. That give believable reasons for vulgarity and strangeness. That have a plot and growth in the characters. That aren’t just goddamn slapstick.

Out leads have flaws, have arguments, and are people worth cheering for. They are very different and relatable, but more importantly, so are the other “bad” students in their eyes. It isn’t just two heroes here, there are a lot of characters that matter and have their moments of triumph for us to shout for. Not everyone is the bad guy.

I am talking a lot of hype about a movie that technically is a high school party movie, of which the genre is packed. But damn, does this not feel like it fits the current generation so well, without dumbing itself down to whatever-ist level jokes.

Clearly, women are just funnier than men.

4 out of 4.

Guest Review: The Lion King (Chris Smith)

1994’s The Lion King is one of my favorite movies of all time. Anyone who knew me as a child will tell you I watched it constantly. I remember having to buy a second VHS copy due to wearing the first one out. Because of this, I of course had high expectations for Disney’s remake.

These “live-action” remakes Disney has been making recently have varied wildly in quality. Some have been quite good (The Jungle Book). Some have been awful (Beauty and the Beast or Alice in Wonderland). Some have been bizarre (Maleficent). I regret to say that The Lion King is unfortunately one of the bad ones.


Simba can restore the pride lands, but he cannot restore this dumpster fire.

First let’s start with the positives, because there are a few. Timon and Pumbaa are delightful, maybe even more entertaining than in the original. Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen nearly break their backs carrying the film from the minute they come on screen. Some of the other supporting characters are also fun. John Oliver is great as Zazu, while Alfre Woodard does a lot with little to work with as Sarabi. The hyena characters were expanded upon and given a truly sinister edge that I liked a lot.

The music (with some glaring exceptions) is also very good, capturing the same spirit of the original film, but with a cool spin. “Hakuna Matata” and the new expanded version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” were especially good.

Scar was also a highlight. He carries the appropriate amount of menace and I enjoyed the added bits of backstory give to him. Chiwetel Ejiofor is clearly going for a more Shakespearean bent to the character and I think it works well.

Lastly, the effects are gorgeous. The vast majority of the film is photorealistic and looks as if they just took a film crew to Sub-Saharan Africa to film. However, this is a double edged sword, and leads me to the negatives.

circleoflife
Clearly the best moment and all down hill after this.

Hoo boy where to begin? So let’s start with some nitpicks and go from there. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” is set during the day. That might not sound like a big deal, but it took me completely out of the movie. The whole time the song was playing (and the recording itself is great) I couldn’t stop saying to myself “But it’s broad daylight…” It’s the title of the song! One of the most famous love songs in Disney history! How do you make that decision?

Be Prepared” is just completely butchered. It’s very clear that when people heard it was being left out and people complained, they hastily put it in last minute. The tune is bad. The rendition is bad. The whole sequence is really bad and is the exact point in the film where I started to turn on the film completely.

There is also an original song here from Beyonce. I like Beyonce as an artist, but this song just completely sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s also not that good, especially by her standards.

I won’t get completely into plot details, but some changes made here and there are very odd and take some emotional power away in key scenes.

Lastly, but most importantly, the truly fatal flaw of this movie is also one of its strengths: the effects. Somewhere in pre-production, a decision was made by someone to make this movie truly photorealistic in every way, including the animal faces, so that at times it appears you’re looking at a nature documentary. For some scenes, such as the iconic (and still great) “Circle of Life” scene, this works amazingly well. However, the minute any dialogue scene occurs, especially ones requiring a lot of emotion, this decision literally kills the movie dead. Now I know it’s possible to animate realistic animal faces to show emotion. Disney themselves did it in their Jungle Book remake a few years ago. Here, the lack of expressiveness, especially with the lion characters, is definitely a purposeful decision.

The problem is that because the lions aren’t shown being that emotional, the voice actors are clearly having to tone down their performances to match. This is most clearly heard with James Earl Jones, where the difference in emotion between this film and the 1994 film is just staggering. Some of the actors still manage ok. Jones is still Jones so he’s not bad. Ejiofor manages a lot with subtle voice inflection. Donald Glover does a decent job. But for the most part, the lion characters fail to properly convey the weight of what we’re watching. The big test for me is the film’s ending. The original Lion King’s ending never fails to give me goosebumps. With this one, I felt nothing. That is nothing short of failure.

In short, go rewatch the original film this weekend instead. You’ll have a far better time.

2 out of 5.

The Art of Self-Defense

The Art of Self-Defense hit a few festivals before it got its wider release. I had so much hype built up towards it that I will say, right now, I might have liked it more had my expectations been more regular. And that sucks.

It does have a lot going for it. A24, a quirky film where Eisenberg can showcase his talents, and more.

And you know, its about karate! We haven’t had many dojo based films in awhile. The last one I really remember is The Foot-Fist Way. It was another smaller indie film with a weird humor sense. And it was okay. Maybe the real reason this came out is Cobra Kai. People love that series.

Punch
Punch

Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) is a little bitch. Maybe because he has a common lady name, but he is passive, quiet, and lonely. He lives at home with a little tiny dog. He goes to work. He doesn’t go on vacations. Gosh. He is an accountant. Gross.

Well one night he gets home and realizes he is out of dog food. Having to walk to the store in the middle of the night is scary, more so with recent reports of motorcycle people running around and beating people up. Sure enough, he gets mugged, put into a small coma, and in drastic need from rest.

While he is away from work, he wants to change his life. No, not a vacation. Getting a gun! That will help defend himself. But there is a waiting period. While waiting, he instead finds a karate dojo, led by Sensei (Alessandro Nivola), who talks in such a charismatic way. He makes Casey feel special, he gives him goals in life, he gives him a meaning. He is also going to help him become a better man.

But the more and more involved he gets in the class, the more Casey is realizing he is in something bigger than he bargained for.

Also starring Imogen Poots, Steve Terada, Phillip Andre Botello, and Hauke Bahr.

Kick
Kick.

I will do my duty to defy expectations by not talking a lot about how this movie was in terms of the genre. Because it turns out, that ruined it a bit for me. What you can and should know is that it is a Dark Comedy very much so based on the genre.

This is a swell role for Eisenberg. He is able to definitely to act his way into this character and it feels like a natural fit, unlike a lot of other recent roles. Poots really dives down into her character as well, and was unlike any other role I’ve ever seen her in.

I think Nivola is the real star and talking point here. That character is just so unique, brave, and twisted. It is hard to describe and compare him to other roles that might seem similar. It is just bizarre, and I love it.

A lot of surprises are in store for The Art Of Self-Defense, but ones that are welcome to the Sports karate genre of film.

3 out of 4.

Hail Satan?

Eye catching titles means you will definitely acknowledge its existence.

Hail Satan? is about the founding of The Satanic Temple (in 2013) and what the group has set out to accomplish in the years that follow. First and most importantly, The Satanic Temple is different than the Church of Satan. The Church of Satan has existed since the 60’s, but doesn’t really believe in Satan. Mostly atheist members doing stuff for fun, no sacrifices, some magic.

The Satanic Temple is also non-theistic in nature and not running around believing in Satan. However, their goals are social in nature. They are actively fighting for equality, for the separation of church and state, believe in education and freedom. Not radical causes, just thinks set up in our Constitution and amendments, mostly.

They are called The Satanic Temple though for buzz reasons. It gets articles printed, it drives the point home, and sure, there use the imagery because it frankly looks cool.

talk
Horns are optional.

Did you know people still protest things like this? Just the showing of the documentary in Houston at the Alamo Drafthouse had some Christian protesters against this documentary that they have not seen, on title alone.

Except for everyone that matters, this church isn’t a real church. They are doing it to make a point and we all agree on it and its awesome. They don’t think religion should play a part in politics. And to make this obvious, they try and put their religious imagery up when Christian imagery is allowed to make it more obvious for everyone. If the ten commandments get a statue outside of a court house, then they should be able to as well. If they aren’t allowed, they will sue.

Now, putting up their statue would be rad. But they ideally would not want every group to get to have a statue, but no groups at all, so that it can remain separate. And again, this is what people are protesting about stopping for dumb reasons.

The Satantic Temple just wants people to use their brains and follow the laws set out in our constitution, and protect freedoms. And they do it in a fun way.

Now this documentary highlights some of their work and their founding, but overall, it is a rather regular documentary at the end of it. Nothing too eye catching or illuminating by the end. It didn’t change me in any way. It just felt neat. An okay documentary that would be more important for someone who has never heard of this movement before.

2 out of 4.

I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter

Sometimes a court case comes along that captures the attention of America, either because of how terrible it is, or how silly it is. OJ was the case of the century in the 1900’s. We had the Hot Coffee case that the media ran away with and influenced the public about, without going into the real details surrounding the case. We have courtroom drama shows, courtroom drama movies.

We love the law, but we we love it when people break the law and do bad things to have this drama.

I Love You, Now Die looks at a recent case of which you most definitely heard about and have a strong reaction to. Two teens, one dead boy. Suicide. And on his phone, dozens of text messages for him to kill himself from his girlfriend, including maybe telling him to get back into his truck which was how he eventually went out, when he was having second thoughts.

Have you heard it? I bet you have. And from that, we were all thinking the same thing. “That Bitch!”

However, media blurbs and unresearched news might be the real story here.

nowdie
That’s the woman who you are calling a bitch.

The 24/7 news media cycle is constantly going, constantly searching for clicks and ad revenue, because the newspaper is dying. So anything to get people to click your site is great, anything juicy or disturbing. And yes, the facts about this case are disturbing. The outcome of the death is disturbing.

But what about the history? What about the years before that July 12th, 2014 moment? What is the greater context?

This documentary is in 2 parts, overall over two hours long. The first part goes over the case against Michelle Carter, what was argued in court, the texts, and all of that. The second part focuses on the defense, using the same evidence, the same laws, to argue something very different. And of course the second part includes verdicts, reasoning, and the appeals.

And you know what? This documentary reminded me about Hot Coffee. I went into Hot Coffee thinking one thing, and left with a new opinion. Documentaries that can effectually change your opinions are a magical lamp of desire. Most of the time, I either watch because I agree, or disagree and hate it the whole time.

In attempts to remain unbiased, they didn’t have a voiceover reading texts, adding inflections or sarcasm or anything. So there is a lot of reading of the text messages between Carter and the boyfriend and other people involved.

The only reason I am not giving it a 4/4 is because in their attempts to stay unbiased, they got really biased at parts. During some of the text exchanges, they had somewhat scary background images. The faces of the couples distorted, with lots of distortion and strange background music. It made those aspects feel clearly a lot more “evil” versus the more generic backgrounds used throughout most of it.

This documentary does such an amazing job of showing both sides equally and fairly, it is a bit sad to see it mess up a few times on those details.

Either way, this is an important documentary, and one that reminds us to check things out and not just take a shitty news article for face value.

3 out of 4.

Maiden

When I was a young Maiden, my mother had spoken to me. When I was a young Maiden, She told me be weary of the sea.

None of that is true, but it is similar to the plot of Moana. But unlike Moana, Maiden is a documentary and a true story of women power and conquering the oceans like many men before them. More importantly, it is a story about Tracy Edwards, the most bad ass sailor lady you will have ever heard about.

You see, in virtually most sports and specialized professions, they were generally for men only for some time. War, soccer, football, baseball, sailing, being a CEO, being King, you name it. Women have had the short straw. And in every one of these events, one woman had to be the first to break the mold eventually.

The mold to be broken? The Whitbread Round the World yacht race that was held every three years. It would take over half a year to complete, broken into various legs with the groups on the water for over a month at a time. A very expensive voyage, with a lot of obvious peril as well. Tracy wanted to sail around the world and be on a crew! And these men crews weren’t having it, even if she was talented. Eventually she landed on a crew as the Cook, got some experience, but no respect.

So she said screw all these asshole men. I’m gonna make my own crew! And I’m gonna have only women on board to prove we can still be successful!

boats
And, you know, that’s why we have the documentary.

No one believed in the ladies of course. No, they aren’t strong enough, or experienced enough, or what have you. They were a media buzz for years before the race, in trying to secure funding, in repairing a boat, in finding a crew. But of course most people just made fun of them in the media and other teams.

But Tracy put together a team of ladies with various sailing experiences. They practiced as much as they could and they had a plan to work together. And most importantly, they had trust.

Now surely you can just look up the 1989 race and find out how they did, but if you don’t know the results along the way then the documentary will be that much more thrilling. There is a surprising amount of footage, both before, earlier in her life, leading up the race, and during the race that has been put together for this documentary.

What the documentary struggles with is the finer details. I had to look up way too much about the Whitbread Race, and it is clearly a good documentary to give better explanations for it. They were inconsistent when giving details about the various legs of the race. The first few they showed global lines, talked distance and the struggles. And then suddenly one leg had none of that, and I had no idea where they were heading or how long they would be out on the ocean. It just seemed silly to almost have all of the details and exclude information later on.

This documentary is very powerful and inspirational however. It is great timing for it to come out, both 30 years after the fact, and in such a troubling time of vying for equal rights and me too movements. It was inspiring then, and it is inspiring now.

3 out of 4.

Stuber

I imagine that if you want people to enjoy your movie, if you think you have made a fine piece of art, that you realize you need to convince them to spend money and go to see it. So you need posters, advertisements, interviews, screeners, whatever.

And part of the equation just has to be a good movie name. Something long an exciting, something that is visually appealing, just anything, right?

Stuber does nothing for me as a title. Nothing positive.

It screams like a movie I’d want to actively avoid, if I was a normal consumer. Only reason this review exists is because I was invited to watch it. If it was up to me, I would have probably avoided it forever, just on the title alone. Clever joke potential or anything aside, I just hate hate hate this title.

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Sitting up front? That means they feel DTT. Down To Talk.
Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) is an Uber driver and a clerk at a sporting goods store. Yeah, big player. He isn’t even a great Uber driver, which is just his side gig to make more money. He is going to start a woman’s only spin cycle class with his BFF, Becky (Betty Gilpin), whom he is of course in love with.

Vic (Dave Bautista) has spent many months, years even, trying to bring down a drug kingpin named Teijo (Iko Uwais) in LA, bringing in the hard stuff, that heroin. After tragic events, he escapes and he still has to spend all of his waking moments thinking about Teijo. This puts a strain on his relationship with his daughter (Natalie Morales), and everyone in his life really.

Also he is getting old, and losing his eyesight. So he wants to get LASIK, which is great, minus the being blind-ish a few hours after the surgery. And that is of course when Teijo is finally able to get caught again, doing a big drug bust. Aw shucks. Good thing his daughter just taught him about Uber to get to her art show.

Also starring Karen Gillan, Mira Sorvino, Jimmy Tatro, Scott Lawrence, and Steve Howey.

sex
I often contemplate teaching my driver sex moves because I assume their lifestyle.
Now that I have seen the movie and I am past the title, I have to admit, the movie itself also does nothing for me.

Excessive violence can be okay, but the amount of excessive violence in this film never felt believable. It could be partially because of the cop’s blindness for most of the film, but he never feels like he is a great cop, detective, anything. He is a big body that can look intimidating, but Bautista never seems to really match the role given.

On the other side of the coin, Nanjiani is also goddamn terrible. It’d be one thing if he was some sort of perfectionist character who needs that 5 star rating to keep it perfect. But holy shit, he is a bad uber driver and it makes the whole thing uncomfortable. Since he is playing such a passive character, it is hard to root for him throughout the film, just so he can show some growth by the end. But the character is just insufferable for most of it.

In Stuber, the twists are lazy, the violence is easy, and the message is missing. Don’t be a bitch? Go excessively towards your goals at all costs? I have no idea. I just know it was a waste.

1 out of 4.

Adolescence

I definitely feel as a movie reviewer I am more of a sell out. Where are all the weird movies? The straight to DVD films? The C class films? I used to review it all, now it is mostly theatrical releases, Netflix releases, and the occasional VOD. At least my documentaries tend to be less famous.

Well, heres a pledge. More VOD films! I will try to do one a week.

Starting with Adolescence! It is recently on VOD and has a few people you may have seen in other films and had a limited festival run. Remember, straight to video doesn’t mean bad.


Ah yes, youth, the future, old dude. Yes.

Adam (Mickey River) is an uncomfortable high school senior. He is good at writing, but he has a bad home life. His parents (Elisabeth Röhm, Michael Milford) argue a lot, over bills, jobs, fixing the bathroom for over a month, and so on. They are poor, but surviving, and this has made his life rather long and arduous. He is relatively smart though, a great writer and an artist as well. But he doesn’t apply himself for college.

He is also inexperienced with the ladies due to his shy and nervous nature. Somehow he has a really outgoing friend in Keith (Romeo Miller) who convinces him to skip school to go out and meet ladies. He is so smooth, he tries to feed him lines, and eventually a line works! Somehow, Alice (India Eisley) finds him enduring. She invites him and Keith to hang/party with friends.

One thing leads to another, and they are hanging out a lot more, and having sex. One thing leads to another, and they are doing hardcore drugs and skipping out on life, school, and friends! Oh no!

Also starring Jere Burns and Tommy Flanagan.


Manic Pixie Dream Girl? Maybe more just Manic Girl in this movie.

Adolescence tells a familiar story, youth has rough life and it becomes rougher thanks to drugs! And unfortunately, it also tells the familiar story in a familiar way.

The more tragic character in this movie is our girl, Alice, and she is used as a plot point for our male lead to realize that drugs are bad, and sometimes people you love need to be cut from your life. Sure. But again, it is nothing new.

The acting is done well from our two leads which is the main saving grace. A lot of nice yelling and shrieking and sad drug filled moments. It is awkward at times because River definitely doesn’t look like a high school senior, he looks damn near 30 and I have no idea his age now. He might just look really old and be closer to age appropriate, but he stands out for this reason.

This film also helped answer one other question. What happens to the artists who had kid rap names? Like Lil’ Romeo? Well, he is now just Romeo Miller, one of the actors in the movie, and doing his own adult movie thing. Aooarently they can just dop the lil part of their name and go on strong!

Also, bonus shout out to the toilet scene. It was really well framed and shot, best in the film.

2 out of 4.

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