Category: Uncategorized

The Stylist

Click HERE to see my interview with the director and HERE to see my interview with the main star of the film!

One of the scariest concept horror movies you could probably watch this year would definitely be about getting a hair cut. Why the battle of the lockdowns started with people protesting hair care, I don’t know. I haven’t had my hair cut since January (and it is a lot of hair now), but I am not dying from it, you know?

In The Stylist, we are going to have people dying from getting their hair cut. Okay, they don’t die from the hair being cut actually, it is usually the other parts of the body that get cut that really does the job.

But maybe the whole movie is a metaphor? A quiet virus waiting to strike in the most unlikely of places? Let’s run with that.

hair cut
Yeah, I’d be nervous with anyone behind me trying to cut my hair.
Claire (Najarra Townsend) is a quiet hair stylist. She is good at her job. People often compliment her skills. She doesn’t force extra small talk, but does what is required. Hell, some people love her for that, because they can do all the talking.

But Claire also, you know, sometimes, if the feeling is right…kills her clients. You know, ones who wouldn’t be repeat customers, or who wouldn’t have people looking for them, and don’t know they are at that specific shop. Thank goodness these women like to say so much personal stuff to someone they don’t know!

Claire doesn’t just kill them though. she does the full descalping, making sure the hair that was cut is preserved and then she can wear it herself! She can pretend to be another person, yay!

The plot of this movie comes about when one of Claire’s normal clients, Olivia (Brea Grant), is in desperate need of a new stylist for her wedding. This puts Claire into her social circle, with new women friends, and into Olivia’s home. What’s a murder stylist to do, you know?

hair head
It would be creepier if she worse the face too, we all agree, right?

As already mentioned, The Stylist potentially picked the perfect time to come out during the virus issues that have plagued the US this year. But really, any movie coming out now has picked a bad time to come out, so it is a hard balance.

The Stylist was based off of a short of the same name, same director and star, and led to a successful crowdfunding campaign to make it into a full film. In this film, we figure out what is going on with this stylist, why does she do the things she does (sort of), and all of this leads to a logical conclusion by the end.

Because it is a logical conclusion, it does take away some of the weight or shock of its impact, but I am a little disappointed in that what is happening can be predicted with ease.

The film shines in its early moments and in the general creepiness of the lead, when she isn’t even going for creepy, but because she is atypical in her actions that is how it comes across, digging her deeper into despair.

I know so little about hair styling for weddings that I had to ask my wife, “Wait, why would someone get their hair done days before the wedding, don’t they sleep and get messed up with pillows?”. Ah test styling. That is a thing.

Overall, this is a film that works well when focusing on the strong lead acting and strange nature of her job and uh….side job?, telling a story that is believable for the most part, but little shocks along the way.

2 out of 4.

Palm Springs

When Palm Springs hit Hulu, I will admit, I hadn’t heard of it. I knew nothing going into it either, outside of a few key members of the cast.

I’d like to say that the cast was enough to get me to watch it, but that isn’t true. I literally only watched it because I heard good tidings from others about the story and the acting behind it.

This looked like a very skippable movie. Some sort of Rom Com? Let’s just say that I think going in totally blind is definitely a worthwhile endeavor for this one. I do describe what the movie is about and why it is unique in the plot description below, so feel free to ignore that if you’d rather just run in. This is a good time to just check my rating and decide on those merits alone!

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Trust? In swim trunks like these? 

Nyles (Andy Samberg) is at a wedding in Palm Springs, California. His life is aloof, he seems weird, he is wearing non fancy clothes to the wedding His girlfriend (Meredith Hagner) is freaking out about his strange behavior, but he doesn’t care. Nyles has his eyes on on Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the maid of honor. And before he can seal the deal, he gets shot with an arrow by Roy (J.K. Simmons) and that is pretty damn annoying.

After the arrow incident, Nyles crawls towards a mysterious glowing cave with Sarah following, despite his best attempt to get her to leave, and then the next morning, Nyles wakes up to relive the day over again. But this time, so does Sarah.

You see, Nyles has been living this time loop of this wedding he barely cares about for a very, very, long time. Every death, every sleep, no matter what, he goes back to waking up the same bed with his same girlfriend. But now, Sarah is stuck in the loop with him (and so is Roy, which is why he is pissed at Nyles). Well, now at least there are two of them to try and figure out how to get out. Two people who can make the day feel less meaningless. And maybe they can figure out a way out eventually.

Also starring Jena Friedman, Jacqueline Obradors, Dale Dickey, Tongayi Chirisa, June Squibb, Chris Pang, Tyler Hoechlin, Camila Mendes, and Peter Gallagher.

geysey
It took them 400 days of shooting to get the beer spray lined up so perfectly. 

So given the genre and type of film it is, why is this one worth the 4 out of 4?

Well, despite it being a famous type of a movie with a really famous and cherished example of the plot line in movie history, it isn’t that overdone yet. I bet you can’t think of more than five examples of that plot line being used (although there are more than five, but not too much more). People just feel it had peaked early. Well, by having two characters go through this plot, it allows a lot more room for growth and potential, because we have more people who are in on the secret.

It is a brilliant idea, and one that I am surprised (as far as I know) not been done before. It lets us get to know our leads as co-stars and not just one person surrounded by the supporting actors. Samberg is his usual self, but maybe a bit more darker with his tone, because he has been at this for awhile and has practically given up. Milioti was a delight, and watching her journey at the beginning all the way through the end, as a strong independent person, to get things fixed, was great. And it featured a cameo from a professor at Rice University who I know, so that was cool too.

Palm Springs is a unique concept on an old plot, and a refreshing take on it all. Add in two fantastic leads and a great moment from Simmons, this is a top tier film for 2020 (given how awkward this year is) and one that should be experienced.

4 out of 4.

Cuties

Fuck Ted Cruz.

Okay, I am jumping the gun, I will get on that later.

Cuties is a French film that premiered earlier in 2020 at the Sundance Film Festival before all of (gestures around) this stuff happened. It got some awards, good audience remarks, whatever. That doesn’t mean much, people at Sundance sometimes love movies way, way, way too much.

Netflix won the bid for distribution rights, so it came out on the platform this week. That is not before drawing controversy, by releasing a poster for the film, very much more risque and uncomfortable than the French release poster of the same film. It really did one thing, which was enable controversy about the movie, and get people talking, so maybe that “gaff” was intentional. It was a pretty shitty move overall.

Because now the public perception of what this movie is about, versus what the film is actually saying, is at odds, and that is a grey matter pit where Ted Cruz likes to flourish.

face
This is little girls judging you, Ted.

Amy (Fathia Youssouf) does not live an ideal life. She is an 11 year old girl, living in a poor apartment in Paris, with her mother (Maïmouna Gueye) and two younger brothers. She is from Senegal, where her father is at that point, because he is getting a second wife. He is waiting to bring her back to Paris to live in the same house as his first wife and kids, and that makes things very awkward for Amy, who for sure does not like that idea at all.

Amy was raised extremely religious conservative by the standards of Paris, being from another culture, so she feels repressed. When she sees another girl in her building (Médina El Aidi-Azouni) dancing and dressing up, despite also being 11, she is curious. There is a group of these girls (Esther Gohourou, Ilanah Cami-Goursolas, Myriam Hamma) who are popular and fun, and sure mean, but they got style and they like to dance. Amy wants to be in that group, she wants to be free and she wants to explore life!

Well, these girls are a dance troupe and they look up to dance troupes of older women, and those women have provocative costumes and provocative moves, so of course they need to have them too!

Amy has to decide what she wants to do and how far she wants to go, to fit in, to exploit her own self, just to find her own sense of freedom, self worth, and to maybe have friends?

Also featuring Mbissine Thérèse Diop.

posers
We technically find out early on that they classify as posers.

Fuck Ted Cruz. Wait, no, jumping ahead still slightly.

First let us talk about the controversy. The girls in this film are imitating adults they find as popular and fun, so they are imitating their dance moves. At one point a girl takes a picture of her vagina area to post on the internet, and we do not see any aspect of that picture or her actually naked on camera. The girls also talk about penises at one point. That is what I remember.

So the controversy is really over dancing. And that involves twerking, which is apparently the scariest thing known to man since that Miley Cyrus thing. First off, get over it. Second, yes, the dance moves that involve gyrating hips, thrusts, and being on the ground are MEANT to make you uncomfortable, because yes, it is uncomfortable scenes and that is what the damn movie is going for.

It doesn’t take Sherlock to be able to figure out that the movie is not promoting the sexualization of minors, but quite the opposite. The idea of putting young girls in revealing outfits, for dances, for pageants, or whatever, is for some reason still a controversial issue that a lot of people like to ignore, but does and can lead to some bad things. The director, Maïmouna Doucouré, believes women should be in charge of their own bodies AND that kids should be kids without worrying about predators and growing up too fast. They can both be true points.

For the people flipping out over a movie (Which again, partially Netflix’s response thanks to their poster choices of showing the girls in their final outfits, versus just playing dress up and frolicking), but haven’t cared about any of this before seems awkward. The movie shouldn’t be punished, it is the culture that they should be angry about it because this isn’t just some fiction film. This is stuff that is happening, and people can actively be helping change that in their own communities.

I am trying to write this in a way that doesn’t say something actively stupid, but I think I keep going back and forth. I personally don’t care at all about twerking. It is just another dance style after plenty more that caused people to clutch pearls, and eventually people will likely get over it too. I am not saying kids can’t twerk, I am just noting that those angry about what amounts to just dance moves and does not harm the actresses in the movie are ridiculous.

And again, if you are uncomfortable, that is the point, let’s work on making our kids feel like they can be kids until they are forced to be adults. You all are adults reading this, you probably hate it. Don’t make them grow up fast if you want yourself to be able to go back.

So why Fuck Ted Cruz? Because he hasn’t seen this movie, you know he hasn’t, he just read a report, and wants the Department of Justice to claim that Netflix is distributing child pornography, to rile up his older conservative constituents. What the hell is wrong with you man. The point is like at Jupiter levels away over your head at this point.

Also, in general, it is very good story about cultures clashing and how to deal with problems in your home, and how a girl badly tries to make friends to end her own struggles. That is important to note too.

3 out of 4.

Pauly Shore (Screwball McGee) – Guest House Interview

[Editor’s Note: Wow do I suck! This was a phone interview, and the phone interview didn’t save record. It is the right length, but no sound at all thanks to my phone’s settings. I did write notes during the answers to the questions, but not all of the wonderful detail that he gave, so these answers are going to not be as great or detailed as Screwball McGee requested. ]

Gorgon Reviews: Thank you for this interview! First of all, would you like me to call you Pauly or Mr. Shore or something else?
Pauly Shore: I want you to call me Screwball McGee!

GR: I can do that! Definitely one to remember. Again, thank you for the interview. I want to say that I saw all of the 90’s films a lot growing up, so I am a fan, but clearly my dad is a bigger fan of you, since someone had to buy all those VHS tapes. As soon as I got the interview I called him up to let him know and he is finally proud of me.
Screwball McGee: Sweet, dude.

GR: Here is the question I always ask people right away, what is the first movie you remember seeing in theaters?
SM: Ahhhh, fuck man. Let me think. It was probably the Marx Brothers. My mom would take me and Peter down to the theater, right on Sunset Boulevard. Yeah it was definitely the Marx brother films.

GR: Sorry about the recent passing of your parents by the way. You obviously got your start working in The Comedy Store your parents founded and it is said you used to open for Sam Kinison. Do you think he had the biggest effect on your comedy career? Were there other comics you idolized around then as well?
SM: Yeah for sure Sam, watching him was something incredible and unique, his emotion and energy he brought to the stage. But also at the time Richard Pryor, Eddie murphy, and Jim Carrey.

GR: When you developed “The Weasel” character for your show, was it based on someone in particular or just a fictional version of your self?
SM: Oh it is based a little on everyone, my friends, my parents, Sam, random people I’ve met. The community really brought him out, and I was the only doing something like that at the time, with the unique pauses between words and dialect. But I didn’t go out and say “Oh, this is the Weasel idea” and make him, but it just came about all together. Like sometimes when you are setting up a one person show, you don’t even necessarily know what the name of the show is until you actually make the show.

GR: Do you ever get worried that people will never be able to separate “The Weasel”, from you, the real Screwball McGee?
SM: When you get older and past 50, you don’t really worry about how people see you. Adam Sandler said something similar in a quote [Editor’s note: Which I won’t even pretend to write down, but its you know, similar.] You can be all these different things to so many different people.

GR: I guess I will talk about the movie too. Guest House felt like a more R Rated version of your early 90’s work. Is that how you took it too?
SM: This is actually the first R rated film I have ever done, even though my stand up pretty R Rated.

GR: How did you land the major role in Guest House after so long away from movies?
SM: Actually, they brought me n to be like a police officer for the film, but once the director found out that they had access to me, and after he saw my interview on the Joe Rogan podcast, he wanted instead to get me in the lead spot. So he went around and just asked the whole cast and crew if it was fine and everyone loved it, and it went that way

GR: Final question, which of your old co-stars would win in a fight between Stephen Baldwin, Andy Dick, Sean AStin, or Brendan Fraser?
SM: Oh uhhhh, I think Stephen Baldwin, he is a beast.
GR: 90’s Baldwin or now Baldwin?
SM: Either of them. Both of them. Have you seen him and his family?

GR: Thank you again for chatting with me barely about your new movie and more about your life!
SM: You’re welcome, tell your dad I said “hey. “

Guest House

2020 is a weird year, for life, for cinema, for you, likely, in all aspects.

And through the ashes of this year, despite how high they pile up, is this the year that Pauly Shore rises through those ashes? The great phoenix, often spoken about in hushed tones as a relic from the 90’s.

He has been missing from cinema for some time, with the occasional cameo, or playing himself, or documentary series, but as a lead? The last time he was the lead or co-lead in a film was in 1997, something called The Curse of Inferno, which I also never heard about before in my life until typing this up a second ago.

That doesn’t mean he cannot come back and be a force to be reckoned with, for the new movie Guest House. It isn’t like he was just lying dormant in a basement somewhere waiting for a time to strike. Hell, we had Bill and Ted Face the Music just last week, and that was surprising in that it wasn’t terrible, unlike many comedy sequels that have been coming out decades later.

So. There. Is (was?). A. Chance.

shore
“‘Never Tell Me The Odds’ – Han Solo” – Pauly Shore

Sarah (Aimee Teegarden) and Blake (Mike Castle) are not newlyweds, and they aren’t even engaged, but they are looking to get a house together. A big commitment, and something that is only doable because of Sarah’s dad (Billy Zane) helping out, even if he doesn’t approve much of Blake because of his slacker and party past.

After a long search, they find nothing good in their price range, until they found the perfect house. Lots of space, a big yard, a pool, and a guest house! So what is the catch? Oh, there is someone living in the guest house. Randy Cockfield (Pauly Shore), a user of drugs and alcohol, a loud mouth, a exhibitionist, and all together strange person. He was there from the previous owner and totally “about to leave” so that is why the main house is cheap.

They end up taking the deal, because he will be gone soon. And the rest of the movie plot sort of writes itself. Is he actually trying to leave? You know he isn’t. And with squatter rights in California as they are, it would be a long and lengthy and expensive battle to even get him out of that place, so it looks like they will have to go to war.

Also starring Lou Ferrigno, Erik Griffin, Steve-O, Liz Katz, and Chris Kattan.

kattan
How excited am I to see Chris Kattan in a movie? Well…

Okay, it turn out this is not Pauly’s time to rise out of the ashes.

Guest House was certifiably not a great film. Right away, the cinematography leaves a lot to be desired, feeling like it is a made for TV film. It doesn’t go for interesting anything with the camera, and it just feels so dreamy, I guess is a way to describe it.

The main characters? None of them are people we care about. The couple is bad to each other and bad people in general who clearly shouldn’t be together. The husband’s job feels so unimportant, with bad coworkers, so we don’t end up caring about that either.

As for Shore, the third main character, he is playing a meaner and more lewd character than he ever played. It isn’t an R-rated Weasel, it is just a not fun person. I can’t even imagine them having friends that would want to stop by and do drugs? It is hard to believe that level of king party animal.

The events that happen are just contrived, and even the lessons learned at the end are not how I would take it away in real life. It is a miserable situation for miserable people to be in, and we are all losers for having to watch it.

0 out of 4.

The Argument

Sometimes partners argue. It can be over what color the linens need to be, or it could be what color the sheets need to be. It could be over the color of the shower curtain or even the color of a new carpet. I believe couples only argue over colors, if I am not mistaken. I can say that because I don’t fight with my wife.

The Argument film is a straight to VOD picture directed by Robert Schwartzman, who is definitely the brother of Jason. This is actually his third film, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that some famous people joined it, but also, he is from a pretty famous family and probably has tons of clout. I haven’t seen his other films, but one is about a unicorn or threesomes or something.

Anyways, this intro is definitely going nowhere fast, except to this picture right now!

love
Aw, these cute little love birds are going to argue? I don’t see an reason why.

Jack (Dan Fogler) and Lisa (Emma Bell) have been in a relationship for three whole years now. They sometimes fight, but they usually reconcile, but generally there always has to be a winner. Jack is in love and wants to propose to her, in front of their great friends, in a special night in their home. Lisa just finished her role as Constanze in a run of Amadeus, her biggest role as an actress. Jack is a writer, who has written a script for one whole movie!

And after Jack’s friend (and agent) and his partner get to their home (Danny Pudi/Maggie Q), Jack is ready for a quiet and fun evening. But oh no! Another couple shows up. Paul (Tyler James Williams) and his girlfriend (Cleopatra Coleman). Paul was also in the Amadeus play as the lead, and did a lot of flirting with Lisa from their characters, and this makes Jack uneasy.

One thing leads to another, discussions and dancing and drinking, and an incident happens at the end of the night that neither feels they are responsible for. So they are going to create the night, with the help of their friends, to figure out who is actually right, and the other arguments that branch from the festivities as well.

Also starring Karan Brar, Mark Ryder, Marielle Scott, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, and Charlotte McKinney.

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“i’m glad you joined me tonight for a recreation of a recreation again and again.”

When I heard the description of this film, I just thought it would be a strange remake of Rashômon. You know, the classic Japanese film where people retell the story from their point of view and they are all different. That is my effective, yet bad description of Rashômon! Anyways, it made sense that this one would be the same way, but with six people at a small party.

And I was wrong! First of all, which is both bad and good. It is bad, because what they actually did wasn’t great. The main character tries to literally create the night and conversations with the same people, doing the same food prep, without anyone telling his goal first. It is completely ludicrous. The only reason there is buy in from the others is due to their own arguments and trying to work it out together. And again, it is really dumb seeing this apparently night after night after night. That part feels more ridiculous than anything else.

However, it did finally surprise me for the final night of the argument. It changed things up, and it did it in a fun way. I really loved the ending, making the movie go from an average (to bad with the way things were going) to a pretty good one overall. If they could have made the middle part a bit better, we could have had an excellent film. Why even have someone with a “photographic memory” if they are going to barely use the feature?

I especially liked the extras which I kept vague for a reason. Maggie Q and Cleopatra Coleman were some of the better characters from my point of view, and I also really enjoyed Karan Brar, who grew up from some Disney shows apparently.

3 out of 4.

Through Greenland (Gennem Grønland)

Greenland. Green. Land. Greeeeenland.

A country with a lot of mystery, because honestly, they don’t have an army and don’t affect the world in any other way that makes us look at them. That isn’t a bad thing. Just somewhat of a truth. People hear about Greenland mostly when we hear about melting ice sheets and similar topics and that is bad.

Enter Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. You may know him as Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones. You may know him from Black Hawk Down, you may even know him from Wimbledon!

He has a history with this country, but also knows little about it. His dad worked here in the 1980’s away from their home in Denmark, and his wife (Nukâka) is a Greenlander, also an actress and a former Miss Greenland. So he has been to the country, he has met with her family and friends, but he hasn’t really experienced all of what the country has to offer.

So in this five part mini-series, that is what Nikolaj is going to do. Experience the shit out of Greenland. He wants to go Through Greenland, which yes, is the name of the thing.

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Regardless of content, it is a bitchin’ graphic to open the show.

At five episodes with around 45 minutes an episode, there is a lot of Nikolaj to go around. It is spread over a longer period of time of course, with various people he knows acting as camera men and guides along the way. He is visiting towns and communities, both small and really small. A military base! Schools! And places far from the communities as well. The ice sheets to spend the night, to go on a long arduous hunting trip and more.

Nikolaj has always cared about climate change and so it is clear another reason for this series is to focus on the changes that are affecting Greenland that are notable to the residents, who can attest to the melts.

And if you want your content to be in Danish, then I have good news for you. This is a lot more Danish than I expected. It started out misleading, since the first thing he did was go to an American military base, but after that it goes a lot out of the window. I can’t tell you if it is mostly in Danish or Greenlandic, but maybe our host knows the latter and thus naturally can communicate anywhere on the island.

This small docu-series is not going to change the world. But it does offer some insight to a country that is often ignored for its human population. When we speak of Greenland, we speak of ice and emptiness, and ignore that it has its own communities, customs, and ways of life. So it is good that something is putting a stamp on it.

It features Nikolaj going the whole Greenland experience, I don’t recall him saying no to anything really. And it really shows those details which might be a curse or a blessing. I feel at times we spend a lot longer on a scene than necessary, or conversation. As a viewer, you may wonder if they didn’t want to do too much editing? That becomes the problem. If they edited it down, then we wouldn’t see the real country. But then they’d also need more content to fill five episodes. I hope the goal was to showcase the country and then give it the episodes they felt represented their footage, and make it a goal specifically to just pad it to five episodes.

Oh well. Two-Handed Jamie Lannister does manly and impressive things in nature with friends. That is what most people might take away from this.

2 out of 4.

Words on Bathroom Walls

Oh my goodness, some more theaters are opening up and things are getting “national releases” at this point, depending on where you are in the country.

Words on Bathroom Walls was scheduled to come out in late July, but never really moved when the rest of the exoduses began to happen, and then just creeped back barely a month, to find a time it can come out and be appreciated at a social distance.

So this review was written quite awhile ago, is what I am getting at.

Words on Bathroom Walls is a book from the last decade, about high schoolers dealing with issues. That isn’t specific. I think I have noticed a bigger trend lately on high school literature is that they might be able someone who has a maybe misunderstood illness, to give these protagonists a better shake on how their lives run and understanding. Sure, these things have been done before, but they were often not well researched, or went extremely basic with the issues, becoming offensive on their own.

That is one of the main things I will look for with this movie. Does it explain things beyond the stereotype? Does it feel fair? Does it educate and still tell a good story? Has the research been done?

dance
And of course, most importantly, will there be a prom?

Adam (Charlie Plummer) is a senior in high school, and he has now had a real big old panic attack. It happened in Chemistry. It causes a friend of his to get hurt. He started hearing and seeing things that were not there, it was very frightening, and all of his classmates were witness to his meltdown.

You see, it turns out that Adam has schizophrenia, and it all sort of just hit him at once. He can see and hear three main different people in his life. There is Rebecca (AnnaSophia Robb), a free spirited girl, there is Joaquin (Devon Bostick), a horny friend from a 90’s film, and there is a bodyguard (Lobo Sebastian), an intimidating person who is just trying to protect him. And there is a fourth darker voice that he can hear occasionally, and is especially dreadful.

But this isn’t the only thing going on in Adama’s life. He is a senior in high school, and would still like to graduate on time. So he has to start at a new private school. His mom (Molly Parker) was raising him on his own for a long time, so Adam became a good cook to help their family unit out, and eventually she got a new spouse to help out (Walton Goggins), but Adam doesn’t like or trust him.

Adam’s biggest worries are trying to ignore these voices, to appear normal to his new friends and classmates, and survive until graduation. Then he can go to culinary school and be happy. He also has to deal with experimental medication that can clear the voices but might effect him in different ways. And he also has to deal with Maya (Taylor Russell), the smartest girl in school who has taken an interest in him and him to her.

Eventually Adam will realize everyone has baggage, and his just might be harder to cope with.

Also starring Andy Garcia, as a priest,

graduate
oh, I also need my teenage fiction to include a graduation ceremony.

Okay, a movie dealing with schizophrenia, at the high school level, with a cast of characters that include different/voices in a characters head (and appearing around him from his mind) to offer advice throughout it. My immediate thought is, oh no, this is going to be wacky, and they will be a constant source of shenanigans or voices, and this feels stereotypical schizophrenia.

But! They are not throughout the film. Because he is taking trial drugs to help deal with the voices, so they do in fact leave for large chunks and it still can tell a compelling story about living with schizophrenia by making it also a film about dealing with the need to use a drug to better function (and the side effects those drugs can bring). I feel like the schizophrenia was handled with a large amount of respect. When I researched if the author researched enough for their book, I found no complaints by any schizophrenia organizations. So if it is schizophrenia approved, I have to assume it got things right and avoided potential offense, great job team.

Watching this movie actually made me want to read the book, and I still plan on it if I can find a local copy (I do not want to use Amazon to buy it). The book is written from the point of view of Adam telling about his life and stories to a therapist, and so you take the role as the therapist in the book. They do acknowledge that in the movie, and have a few therapist scenes where Adam is talking to the camera instead, to get that same feel, but I am sure it is not as strong as the book, because we get to actually see events.

I thought Plummer was a really good lead for this film and Russell was a great co-lead, with her own problems to deal with, and their relationship felt like it grew at a realistic pace, with realistic pitfalls.

Another shout out goes to Parker, for being a great mom dealing with all of this, and also Goggins, playing an extremely normal role based on what he has done in the past. That of a step-father trying to be supportive of his step-son and doing the right thing, without being able to get really close.

Honestly, this movie packed a lot of punches in the right spots for me emotionally. It told a good story, about schizophrenia, without also only being about schizophrenia. It was relatable for other reasons, and hit me emotionally. I don’t think my high rating is just because of the lack of good films this summer, I hope not, but I definitely fully recommend people giving this movie a chance. Maybe not in theaters, depending on your safety concerns, but whenever it is available at home.

4 out of 4.

The Secret: Dare to Dream

Hey! Come over here. Closer. Closer. I got a secret. Let me tell you it in your ear.

AHHHHHH!

Hah, got you. Remember a decade plus ago when The Secret was a thing? Some book about unlocking the key to the universe! It lead to vision boards, if I am not mistaken. Put positivity out there, and it will come back to you with rewards and money or something. I dunno, I never read the book. They made a documentary about this topic.

And now we get a movie! The Secret: Dare to Dream! It has a fancy subtitle to, you know, daring you to dream. It thinks you are a bitch and won’t take the dare. Come on chicken, bawka bawka. Do it. Dream. They dare you.

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That envelope better have fat stacks of cash.
Negative Nancy Miranda Wells (Katie Holmes) is so goddamn bitter. She has her reasons. Her husband died, and he was an engineer, about to come out with this great invention to make them super rich. But he died. So she is raising three kids (Sarah Hoffmeister, Aidan Pierce Brennan, Chloe Lee) mostly on her own. Her boss at a local fish restaurant is also her now boyfriend (Jerry O’Connell), which makes her feel uncomfortable when he steps in to pay for things.

And he makes her just feel uncomfortable in general, but she isn’t in it for love, just survival at this point, and her mom (Celia Weston) adores him.

This is when Bray Johnson (Josh Lucas) slams into her life. Or at least the opposite, because she slams her vehicle into his. We see Bray being super happy and helpful with people, so he is super happy and helpful with her too. Sure, no worry about insurance, let’s help fix your vehicle. Oh and roof. And other things. Help help help. Thanks stranger!

Why is this guy so positive and obsessed with Negative Nancy Miranda Wells? Can he make her happy?!.

mvp
Jerry O’Connell, playing the asshole boyfriend most of his career.
I definitely went into this film ready to just hate it. Don’t give me this nonsense. The Secret has some good life advice, but don’t turn it into some mystical thing, you know?

The beginning was very much on point with making this movie feel like the 90’s or 00’s. “Miranda Wells has so much shit on her plate! How can it get any worse?!” But you know what? Lucas is very charismatic and sweet. Hard not to get lost in his eyes, his work ethic, and his…secrets.

You see, not only is The Secret about The Secret way of thinking, but there is also a big Secret in this film. We have layers to our secrets.

And that is the reason why my rating dropped. The characters reactions at a certain birthday party came out of nowhere, and became a trope of easy to fix miscommunication makes people mad and upset. But it was even worse, because even with miscommunication, there was little justification for causing a scene the way it occurred. The movie fell back into the trash pit, and stayed there, especially as things fixed them self in one of the most ridiculous ways possible.

Overall, this movie has little going for it and is definitely a decade too late.

1 out of 4.

Well Groomed

How many people here have dogs? Are you a fancy enough dog owner to get them groomed to looking their best? I know I am not fancy enough for that. I have a hard enough time cleaning up my dog’s sleeping area to worry about how pretty she feels. But that is why I cheated and got a dog with short fur that handles her own business.

Assuming you actually get your dog groomed, you might already be aware that there are dog grooming competitions out there! To see who can style their dogs to look the neatest, with the most precise cuts, and best brushed hair, I guess. Well, if you are interested in that, then this is not the documentary for you.

No, Well Groomed goes that step further. Because there is dog grooming, then there is creative dog grooming. Where you take your precious fluffy, and you add color, bling, art style, pizzazz, the whole nine yards. You make them into a real life pinata, or statue, and you show off your “doggy sculpture.”

No really, this is a real thing with competitions and judges, and trust me, people love it.


The dog is now multiple chickens.

The creative dog groomers end up doing a whole lot to make their pets stand out. They dye their hair, they add other accessories, and they still get all the normal grooming aspects, like nails cut and everything in its perfect place.

But is it cruel? Well, it could be. But if you talk to the dog owners, they go out of their way to make sure anything they use is safe for their pets, especially the dyes. They make sure their pet is loved, and only do it to pets that show a willingness for the act. They aren’t forcing a dog to accept it, the dogs look happy to be receiving so much attention, even if they don’t get it themselves.

I will admit, I expected to hate this documentary. It has been available on HBO for awhile, and I never got around to it, but the version I watched is a longer version, with 20ish more minutes of footage, and it was a delightful evening.

The documentary follows four contestants through a normal circuit of competitions, so we get to see them hone their craft and designs, take their ideas and turn it from concept to actual doggo. The women that are seen are very different, at various stages of their careers as competitors, have businesses related to dog grooming and really explain their drive and why they are passionate about this competitive scene. After all, that is what really matters, having passion (and fine, pet safety, get out of here PETA).

Without Well Groomed, I likely wouldn’t have known about the creative side of dog owning. I would have just continued happily with my Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show knowledge (which is close to zero) and been content. But it is fascinating to watch what people can still learn to do as a new form of pet owning, and that we still have somewhere to go creatively as a species. Even if it means dressing up other species.

3 out of 4.
And you can see a video interview with the director of Well Groomed, Rebecca Stern, here!