When We First Met

When We First Met is a time traveling based Netflix original movie, and honestly, one I only really went out of my way to watch because of the cast members.

Because it sounds like Friendzone the movie, and the friend zone is fucking stupid.

I told my wife the only way that this film could be maybe good is if he realizes this whole time travel thing is bullshit and that he needs to let life happen as it is, so that it feels a lot less rapey.

In general I prefer my comedies to not get rapey.

Apparently they time traveled back to World War II.

Noah (Adam Devine) really loves Avery (Alexandra Daddario). She just thinks he is a friend. You see, three years ago they met at a party and had a wonderful night. It was special. They had so much passion! And yet it ended with a hug. The next day, Avery met Ethan (Robbie Amell), they fell in love, and now they are getting engaged to be married soon!

Sad times, guess it wasn´t meant to be, Noah! Time to take it all back in, count your chickens, whatever, and move on. Psyche! Time to get wasted, cry, and be a nuisance. Somehow, this leads him to a photobooth that takes him back three years to the day they first met.

Oh wonderful! Time to fix everything and make them fall in love, or at least have some sex. But, shenanigans, it turns out that messing with time can have some consequences.

Also starring Shelley Hennig and Andrew Bachelor.

These business outfits probably came from my closet.

Look, I don´t need to waste too much time on this review. The film never really feels original. It never really feels super funny (although occasionally amusing). Our main character is a total dumbass. He believes he had the perfect first date with this lady, except he couldn´t kiss her to seal the deal. So one would imagine if he goes back in time to ¨fix things¨ he would recreate everything the same, but also, you know, kiss her or make his intentions clear.

But no. He wants to recreate himself every time. Ultra cool, ultra dick, ultra successful, all these iterations are just awkward and pointless. He is apparently a man of extremes only. It was like a really bad version of Bedazzled. Yes, I am saying that Bedazzled isn´t bad.

The film is very predictable as well, which is only an issue because nothing else really works for it. The acting is poor, the plot is poor, the jokes are poor, and if you also already know what is going to happen, then you are left wondering why you are watching the thing in the first place.

When We First Met reminds us that just because it has a time travel component does not a complex movie make.

1 out of 4.

The LEGO Batman Movie

If you are new here, I have rallied against animated films so far this year. We just had a summer with Cars 3 and Despicable Me 3, both incredibly bad to super bad films. And these are our tent pole films for the year more or less!

There is very little hope of animated films saving it by the end of the year, but I openly acknowledge that I had not yet seen The LEGO Batman Movie. I know a lot of people enjoyed it, our first LEGO movie since The LEGO Movie.

But I am one of the people who only gave The LEGO Movie a 3 out of 4, it was no where close to being my favorite animated movie of the year, but it was quality and hilarious, I give you that. Despite that, I was never looking forward to this movie. I was disappointed to hear it as a sequel.

I want some new original LEGO content, not relying specifically (mostly?) on pop culture content from a single established franchise. I also acknowledge that the previous LEGO film was FULL of pop culture content, but it wasn’t entirely. This just feels…well, unoriginal.

Now that brightly colored chap, he seems like a great way to take any brooding franchise.

Ah yes, Gotham, city of villains and crime and 1 super rich dude and some vigilantism. Batman (Will Arnett) is the best and everyone loves him! But he lives a life alone, mostly hanging out in his house, sometimes interacting with Alfred (Ralph Fiennes). But you know, just being a lone with all his money, cool gadgets, and lobsters.

He is still really good at fighting crime though, and even when the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) gets a shit ton of villains to work together to blow up the city, Batman still stops them. Even worse, Batman refuses to acknowledge the Joker as his greatest villain, his foil, his reason for Batmanning. So now the Joker feels bad. Batman just shuts the door on everyone!

However, with a new commissioner in Barbara Gordon (Rosario Dawson), they are going to focus less on Batman and more on actually catching these bad guys who still terrorize the streets. And you know, maybe focus on getting them fixed instead of just imprisoned. And shit, it starts to work, so Batman has even less to do and no one to hang out with in his increased downtime. Except for Dick Grayson (Michael Cera), whom he accidentally adopted.

Of course eventually some stuff happens and things get really bad, but Batman has to learn to work with others if he is going to defeat this new threat!

Featuring an incredible slew of famous people doing extremely minor voices, because YOLO. Seriously, most of these people have like, 1-2 lines, or grunts, or one scene.Again most, there are like two people thrown in here who have slightly more lines. Totally pointless for the most part still, so, whatever. We got Adam DeVine, Billy Dee Williams, Channing Tatum, Conan O’Brien, Doug Benson, Eddie Izzard, Ellie Kemper, Hector Elizondo, Jason Mantzoukas, Jemaine Clement, Jenny Slate, Jonah Hill, Kate Micucci, Mariah Carey, Riki Lindhome, Seth Green, and Zoe Kravitz.

And just think, that wall of text is just the famous people you know who did voices.

Right away in the film, we get introduced to the Joker and his plans to take over Gotham once and for all, with a giant team of villains on his side, which are all presumably real Batman villains. Action, fighting extreme. I was shocked it happened so early, but since this film mostly deals with Batman’s loneliness, we needed to just get him doing Batman stuff, so we could see him existing waiting to do more Batman stuff.

And that part was just…okay. It didn’t connect with me on an emotional level or anything, because this is a film focused on comedy, so it went for quick jokes instead. And to contrast the opening, the ending is long and even more action packed. Even more villains, many more than you’d expect in a Batman movie, and explosions, and action and…

Being overwhelmed. That is what this movie felt like. It went to the extremes early on, then it went to the extremes in the end. In the middle, it is mostly lowkey, plot stuff. My body didn’t enjoy the “rollercoaster”. It failed to find a middle ground, and frankly, basically all of the action felt so excessive that it was not enjoyable from my point of view.

The best parts of the film were just Batman interacting with Robin and Barbara, regular dialogue for regular jokes. But the majority of the plot was off, along with my earlier complaint. It was an okay film when it comes to entertainment, but not one I am rushing off to buy and talk about over and over, like The LEGO Movie.

And now, also this year, we have The LEGO Ninjago Movie? This is based on their own IP, so hopefully they stick to their own stories to give a good film and don’t rely so heavily on other franchises pop culture references.

2 out of 4.

Ice Age: Collision Course

After I saw the first Ice Age movie, I avoided the rest. It was okay, I just didn’t have any interest in future films.

But then I became a movie reviewer, and in 2012 Ice Age 4: Continental Drift came out, so I had to watch several movies in a short span and my brain became fried. Every film got less and less scientifically accurate.

After a few years I figured we were safe, but no, since Blue Sky Studios has practically no other films coming out, we were given Ice Age: Collision Course, involving outer space. Another frontier for science to be destroyed in.

So many god damn characters now.

Look at all the people I get to talk about. Our original Ice Age crew is still around. Manny (Ray Romano), the mammoth. Sid (John Leguizamo), the ground sloth. Diego (Denis Leary), the saber toothed tiger. And by this time most of them have lovers and extra friends. Manny has Ellie (Queen Latifah), and her two opossum brothers, Crash and Eddie (Seann William Scott, Josh Peck). Diego has Shira (Jennifer Lopez) and they are only briefly thinking about kids. Oh and Sid is all alone, technically.

But Manny and Ellie’s daughter, Peaches (Keke Palmer)? She has found a long term boyfriend as well now. Julian (Adam Devine), a mammoth who wants to marry Peaches and move her far away from the family. That sucks for the parents, but it would be great for the movie, because this cast of characters is already too large.

Scrat and his nut help cause a series of events that begins to hurtle a giant asteroid towards the Earth, putting a damper on their parties. The giant crew quickly runs into a weasel, Buck (Simon Pegg), who is some sort of extreme adventurer and smart entity, who has been living in an underground paradise. He believes the asteroid is being attracted to the Earth at a certain spot and that if they get there, they can stop it. But with him also comes a group of evil winged dinosaurs (Nick Offerman, Max Greenfield, Stephanie Beatriz), who also escaped extinction. They want the asteroid hit so that the mammals will die out and maybe they can rule again.

There you go! I think I got the basic plot in there.

Also featuring voice work from Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Jessie J, Wanda Sykes, and Michael Strahan.

Ah, Simon Pegg, always the light in the darkness.

The pattern seems to continue. Check mate, science. Once again, every further Ice Age film in the franchise decides to take a big poop on science, despite starting off strong. I will say that some of the past discretions are more egregious, most notably being off on Pangaea splitting up by 155~ million years or so. This time, we are being threatened by a meteor, going to destroy the planet. One that is going to hit the same place that killed the dinosaurs, and a previous mass extinction event. The MAJOR plot point is literally just to bring up a real event, and repeat it to give it an old ancient past feel, I guess.

Not only that, but they then go on to imply that events in this film would be responsible for Mars becoming a desert, life less planet RIGHT AFTER saying it would have happened billions of years ago, completely vandalizing our poor time line.

One isn’t supposed to get bent out of shape when faced with inaccuracies in a forgettable animated film, but when the film series used to be accurate and is still trying to showcase science, it gets quite annoying. What hurts me even more so is that Neil deGrasse Tyson not only lends his voice to narrate a few aspects, but they even make a character that is a flash in the pan to look like him for a couple more lines. Damn it Tyson, this movie is not helping get people smarter.

Outside of the science issues, this cast is way too large. No one gets killed off, everyone stays alive, and no one is leaving. So it started too big and then it grew further into the movie. It is beyond manageable and no one can really shine or matter. Not even the original trio. Okay okay, the new guy Buck shines a fuck ton in this film, and they thankfully make him interesting, but it is certainly not enough to save the movie in any way.

And yet, this is not the worst animated film of the year. This isn’t even the worst animated film of the year to imply coldness. Ice Age is lucky Norm of the North exists to give us more context.

1 out of 4.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

Mike. Daveeeeeee. Two pretty bro names. Played by two people who can be pretty bro-like. Maybe a match made in Heaven.

For the most part I tend to miss new comedies that come out because they normally screen against films that seem more important. Not necessarily better films, because they could go against worst movies, just more “important”. Like the first biographical movie of some famous person, or literally any musical, or a blockbuster, etc.

But hey, I got to see Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates! Aka Zac Efron‘s third comedy released this year and it is only halfway done, holy crap. When did Efron become such a comedic working star? Was it…Oh yes. It was with That Awkward Moment when he posed almost completely naked on top of a toilet. That was probably the moment.

“This movie is sexist! It should have been called Lady1 and Lady2 Need To Get Their Free Vacation On!”

Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) are brothers who like to party. They finished school, but have made their adult living selling liquor to bars, which sounded cool, and is cool! But also unfulfilling. Blah blah blah, family drama, Dave is actually a good artist but he just wants to hang out with his older brother and chill hardcore. And their younger sister, Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) is getting married! To Erik (Sam Richardson), yes a black man, and their wedding is in the wonderful Hawaii. However, there are concerns over Mike and Dave’s party behavior from Jeanie and their parents (Stephen Root, Stephanie Faracy). Every time they get drunk and hitting on women, disasters strike and they ruin the party.

So they give them the task that they have to bring wedding dates. Some nice girls, so they will flirt with them and not hit on everyone else and ruin things. They post an ad on craigslist, this gets them pseudo famous, and it gets Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) and Alice (Anna Kendrick) interested. Free vacation! Alice is down in the dumps, what, with getting left at the alter and all.

They decide to dress up, look nice and make up jobs and meet Mike and Dave to convince them to take them to Hawaii! And hey, it works. As you knew.

Of course, they are “hot messes” and only help riley up Mike and Dave more. Hooray destination wedding!

Also featuring Chloe Bridges as the Maid of Honor, Lavell Crawford as the Best Man, Alice Wetterlund as the bisexual cousin, and Kumail Nanjiani as the very foreign massage artist.

Hell, I’d be willing to go to Hawaii as their dates as well.

After watching MaDNWD (that’s the beautiful acronym of this movie title), my first thought is that I really wanted to see Wedding Crashers again. However, I had no desire to ever see MaDNWD again.

I don’t think this is a bad movie, I just think it had a lot of decent potential and it was wasted on more immature comedy elements. Devine is the “Extreme” brother, so everything he does is at the highest levels to garner a reaction. It is just over the top, but for the most part no one else reaches his level. Efron tries at times, but his character is given a lot more of the more natural humor and Devin is playing just the exact opposite.

I liked Efron and Kendrick in this one (barely with Kendrick), but mostly just hated the Plaza and Devine characters. Devine is meant to be annoying, and hey, it works. Plaza is still going hardcore into these extremely crude characters, briefly starting with The To-Do List and hardcore into Dirty Grandpa. Neither were super funny and that is half of their dang cast.

The funniest scenes were the ones that weren’t spoiled by the trailer. They shouldn’t have shown the ATV scene, such a waste. The massage scene was my favorite, along with the “boring” scene. But for the most part, the plot went almost exactly the way you’d expect it to go.

No surprises here. Occasional laughs. Some full frontal female nudity and a whole lot of butts.

I do wonder though, where the hell was the Bocce competition? I was really excited to see Bocce in a popular big release film. But that shit got trailer mentions and no actual screen time. Booooo.

2 out of 4.

The Final Girls

“Final Girl” is a term given to the last surviving female in a horror movie. This woman may have been in danger the whole movie. But somehow by the end she has enough gumption to slay the killer, or escape the building, or whatever. Hell, Ripley is a Final Girl.

Enough horror film had this happen for it to become a trope at least. I actually never heard about it until this year. Not just because of the movie The Final Girls that I am about to review, but because there was another movie also out aroudn the same time called…Final Girl. Yeah. It is pretty damn easy to get these ones confused. I haven’t seen such close titles for real unrelated movies since A Late Quartet and Quartet.

Now I will see Final Girl, some day. I have to given how easily it is to mistake The Final Girls. But to make matters even more confusing, they also share an actor. Somehow, Alexander Ludwig decided it’d be a good idea to be a lead in both films.

With an amazing shocked face like that, there’s no question how he landed the roles either.

Amanda Cartwright (Malin Akerman) was in a series of horror films back in the day, but now she is just struggling to find a job. All people remember her for is her role in Camp Bloodbath, now a cult classic, but a movie she doesn’t like too much. But this isn’t her story. You know, because she dies in a car crash early on in the film. Her daughter, Max (Taissa Farmiga) was also in the car but she survived.

Since then, life has been lame. Her best friends brother, Duncan (Thomas Middleditch), has apparently promised that Max would show up to a special screening of Camp Bloodbath. She agrees, reluctantly, as long as her friend, Gertie (Alia Shawkat) comes along. Chriss (Alexander Ludwig), a male friend who is totally into her, also comes along, which means the local bitch, Vicki (Nina Dobrev), who used to date him tags along as well.

And since this is hard to explain, I will be succinct: Some shit went down, and now they are trapped in the movie. Good news: Max can reunite with a version of her mother, that’s cool! Bad news: a masked man is trying to kill them all! But now that they are in the movie, it is harder to predict what would happen. Their mere presence changes the plot line for good, so they can’t rely on their movie knowledge to win this one.

Other campers are played by the likes of Adam DeVine, Angela Trimbur, Chloe Bridges, and Tory N. Thompson.

Honestly the only thing you need to be good at in a horror movie is your scared face.

Remember Cabin In The Woods? That was a genre bending, horror comedy that a lot of people didn’t know how to react to, but has eventually been accepted as a great and unique film. Cabin in the Woods is hard to define. The Final Girls is not hard to define, because I can look at it and say “It is like, Cabin in the Woods, kind of!”

A comedy horror means two things: It is usually funny, and it is usually not at all scary. They all just become parodies of horror without the fear behind it and this is honestly no exception. There are maybe “scary” moments, sure, but no one watching it will find it scary as per the norm.

Instead, The Final Girls should be judged on its comedy and it should be valued highly. Witty and fun, the cast of characters, and movie character stereotypes allow a lot of good deaths that follow and exploit common horror tropes. This is a PG-13 movie, which I feel limits some of the extremes they could have gone to, which is a shame. But the final fight scene felt nicely epic, some of the deaths were pretty creative, and the constant allusions that they were in a movie and not just a strange story were a very nice touch.

Overall, The Final Girls is a pretty good movie experience, and I hope they don’t mess it up with sequels. Hell, I like Alexander Ludwig now, and that is after I also saw When The Game Stands Tall.

3 out of 4.

Pitch Perfect 2

What up Pitches!!

First of all, I accidentally themed this week. I present to you, Yay Women Week. It should be self explanatory.

I was excited for Pitch Perfect, for like, the year before it came out when I first heard about it. I love it when people make music with their mouths. And I liked a lot of the people in it.

So of course I was excited about Pitch Perfect 2. Well, assuming they had a plot that made sense. I was excited about the additions to the cast and the fact that Elizabeth Banks was directing. But I didn’t understand why certain cast members, who should be gone and out of the picture, have returned.

Rawr. Don’t make a nonsensical movie for familiarity sake! It is a big problem with high school and college movies or shows. I am looking at you Glee. You needed to let your members move on not take it away from high school.

But again, I will forgive it if the plot makes sense. But only then.

Or if I really like the music. That trumps a lot of potential bad other things.

The Bellas are back, Bitches! Like literally, most of them are still on the team (Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Shelley Regner, Kelley Jakle) and even Chloe (Brittany Snow) who refuses to graduate. The only newish member is Flo (Chrissie Fit), who is an immigrant and thus fulfills a lot of new joke material, offensive or otherwise.

Three years later, this is their senior year, and they totally won the next two years of competition too. However, while doing a nationally televised performance, some bad things happen, and the Acapella committee is going to disband their group to make sure everyone knows that things are bad. They can’t recruit, they can’t compete in the national title, nada.

Well, apparently every four years, there is a world competition though. And the winner of the American National always gets to go the next year, so they at least get that right. And sure, if they win, they can keep their team. If you follow the film time line, that means the Treble Makers would have competed in it the year Aubrey (Anna Camp) blew chucks, but you know, continuity things. They do get a new member in Emily (Hailee Steinfeld), because her mom was a Bella. She likes to sing her own music.

So there you go, a very simple plot. Beat all the other countries at singing, especially those very sexy, very well choreographed and amazing German singers in Das Sound Machine (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, Flula Borg). Oh, but maybe there is more? Maybe Beca also has to worry about her life after college and actually becoming a music producer with intense internships? Yeah, jobs are still important!

And you know, this movie features a shit ton of people. Of course John Michael Higgins, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt and Adam DeVine. But also Katey Sagal and Keegan-Michael Key! And some of the Tonehangers with new people! And other cameos I don’t want to spoil or tag! And that Pentatonix group! And the Green Bay Packers!

I assume everyone in this picture is Aaron Rodgers.

I am officially flooded with actors, I think I can avoid tagging anyone in my next two.

Let me start off by saying that I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to give this a 4 out of 4. So when I talk about negatives, remember I still enjoyed the movie overall. It is hilarious. For the most part the songs are good. Sure, a few songs features I might absolutely hate in real life, but I got over it. I mean, fuck, the final song out of no where made me all teary eyed, just like the first time. I am actually mad I can’t get the soundtrack immediately to see if they messed up a few songs like he first movie. The friendship chemistry is fantastic. They “Expanded” on the Riff Off game from the last movie, in a new and probably better way. I laughed a ton. The analysts got even more dicey!

But my issues. Ugh. Most of my problems come from a misuse of the cast. Skylar, my favorite part of the movie, felt like he was barely in it. He got one main song, and was in the pseudo-Riff Off. But that was about it. He was so pointless, and he didn’t even talk about movies. Other Bellas, namely Cynthia-Rose, Lilly, and Stacie, felt like they barely had any lines or reason to be in the movie. The former got to sing a bunch, but their jokes went way way down and felt wasted. Even Ben Platt technically got less screen time. So many individuals who were there but didn’t seem to matter. THey tried to fit too much in the movie.

Hailee was wonderful though. Sure, they tried to force this weird Flashlight song down our throats. The original I kind of hate, but by the end of the movie, the few different versions seemed to grow on me. I am probably still going to grab this movie day one on Blu-Ray and watch it again and again, although arguably it is of some lesser quality than the first film.

3 out of 4.

Pitch Perfect

Uh oh. Pitch Perfect. A movie with an overload of things I like!

Singing A Capella? Check. Anna Kendrick? Check. Remixes and mash ups? Check! Pseudo-satirical analysis of the college life style and “Gleeks” in the high school crowd? Check mate.

You mad?
Don’t even get mad glee lovers. Its all just jokes. Jokes and raps.

This movie takes place at the fictional Carolina University. Probably somewhere in North or South Carolina, who knows. There are four main groups on this campus, a madonna group, a pot head group, The Treble Makers, and the Bellas, an all lady group who only sings women songs from before 2000. Kind of lame. But somehow they made it to the national championships, along with the Treble Makers, lead by Bumper (Adam DeVine).

Unfortunately, Aubrey (Anna Camp), the captain of next years squad blows it during their first number and they become a laughing stock. So much that they lose all of their members, except for Aubrey and the second in charge Chloe (Brittany Snow), and have to rebuild from scratch.

Enter Beca (Kendrick). Freshman, doesn’t want to go to college though. She wants to move to LA and become a famous DJ and produce songs! She loves mashing up music on her computer, but her dad and roommate don’t see the point. She also hates singing. But hey, her dad gave her a promise! If she can put forth effort into joining a group and actually giving college a chance, if she still wants to leave after a year, he will move her out to LA himself. Hells yeah!

So she joins the Bellas, who are more ragtag than ever. Yet for whatever reason, Aubrey refuses to take advice from others and makes them do last years set again. Over and over. Every competition. Can’t even spice things up. Unless you count letting Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) have a solo. They also have a rule of no fraternizing with the Treble Makers. Too bad another Freshman, Jesse (Skylar Astin) has the hots for her and won’t leave her alone. He joined only thanks to the obsession of his roommate, Benji (Ben Platt) who didn’t make the team for being “weird”.

But can the Bellas regain their former glory and win nationals again? Will this just be another stereotypical movie where the ending is obvious, along with relationships? Could John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks be any funnier as commentators of A Capella groups?

Don't be mad, be crotchy
Women power! And etc.

I think my favorite character in the movie ended up being Jesse. Why him? Well, he is a guy who really likes movies. Wants to work on soundtracks for them though. Loves the Breakfast Club the most. People who like movies and can sing tend to be awesome people. Just saying, ladies.

After watching Pitch Perfect, I think my biggest complaint is that there wasn’t enough music. I immediately got the soundtrack after I saw the movie, but I was disappointed there wasn’t full versions of some of the songs, and a few of the songs felt a bit more polished than the movie counterparts. You probably wont get the full effect of the movie if you aren’t familiar with a lot of the more popular songs the last couple years, because knowing how a song normally sounds is half of the fun.

Like recognizing the Cups song Anna Kendrick did, seen here, popularized on the internet before hand. Most of the songs and videos appear to be on YouTube, so if that is all you care about, you are set.

But if you want some funny scenes with your a capella songs, some love dialogue, and a few more cameos that I didn’t feel like mentioning, then go see this movie with your friends.

3 out of 4.