The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature

Alright, this is an easy introduction. The Nut Job sucked. It came out January, 2014, made an okay money and a sequel was announced for January 15, 2016. Months before that date I noticed it and waited, because I was ready for an equally shitty movie that is easy to trash.

And then January happened, it was nowhere to be seen anywhere, and no one knew when it was coming out. It wasn’t until months later, April 2016, when it was announced it was pushed back to May 19, 2017. Yes, it wasn’t officially delayed until THREE MONTHS AFTER IT WAS SUPPOSED TO COME OUT. No announcements about being pushed back indefinitely, just quietly hidden under a rug. But I was there, I was asking the hard questions. I also don’t know when they finally gave it a name that was different, but they called it The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature, to appeal to…some demographic.

Three months later in July, they announced that Jackie Chan had joined the cast. He joined the cast six months after it was supposed to already be out. There is some real big behind the scene delays going on. It wasn’t until December of 2016 when it was pushed back into August 2017, where it moved around again once I think, but was kept basically the same.

What a production shit show. And to think there is a The Nut Job 3 IMDB page saying a 2019 release date, despite no official announcements at all. Who is in charge damn it?

Ah, the fucking squirrels are probably calling the shots.

This sequel takes place a few years later with the nut store now out of business. And by that, I mean, it was being used as a mob den or whatever, so they probably just never got a new owner and it was condemned. And for some reason this condemned building was never removed of its items, so its basement was still full of nuts of all sorts. I assume it is a few years later, because literally none of the other squirrel and rodent leaders are present in this film, just our main character and crew and some young things, so at some point everyone else must have died out.

Now Surly (Will Arnett) and Andie (Katherine Heigl) are the de facto leaders of this group, I guess. And by that, I mean Andie is trying to teach some baby chipmunks how to hunt for nuts in the park, and Surly and his gang of randoms (Maya Rodolph, Gabriel Iglesias, Jeff Dunham, Rob Tinker, Kari Wahlgren, Tom Kenny, Sebastian Maniscalco) are living in the nut shop basement that has turned to a variable den of sin. Andie thinks they are losing their ability to succeed in nature. Probably true.

Also in this city is a corrupt mayor (Bobby Moynihan). He seems like he has been there for awhile though, based on the way he lives and talks. He keeps getting elected despite being openly and obviously corrupt, and a danger to the citizens. He drives along sidewalks and hurts people while displaying he is above the law, yet everyone is fine with i? Anyways, this mayor likes his city making money and says that every square inch of his city makes money except for one. This is when most people would say “Oh yeah, the abandoned nut shop”. No, he says the park. Meaning he doesn’t know about the nut shop either.

So yeah, he wants to put an amusement park on the park instead, to make money. He begins to demolish stuff, which would be fine because of the nut shop, but the nut shop also blows up.

Now the animals have to go to war with the machines and the amusement park and the mayor. Oh how nutty!

Also featuring Isabela Moner as the mayors bratty as shit daughter (no mom in site, mayor probably killed her to be honest), Peter Stormare as an exterminator, Bobby Cannavale as another dog, and Jackie Chan as a kung fu mouse leading an army of city mice.

That is a sweet ass sign, I would probably go there if I lived in the general vacinity.

“It was a mess of a movie.” – Gorgon Reviews, describing The Nut Job, in 2014. And it easily fits this review as well.

At this point in the review I am already over 700 words, and I haven’t even started to deconstruct its ass down yet.

I already alluded to it, but the mayor character cannot even exist in the world they created. Unless right when the movie starts he just got elected (despite implying longevity), and he was going on a two week crazy spree of fucking up parks and killing pedestrians. But we know it is a lie. For whatever reason this mayor character wanted to make the shittiest park, quickly, to make small amounts of money. But he is clearly a guy with high standards, so he wouldn’t make a park out of used parts, but something nice and shiny that people would want to go to for a long period of time. Another bad plot point.

The park premiers at a big fancy event for the mayor and all of his campaign donors, where everyone is dressed up, fancy as fuck, and rich. Except literally none of those individuals would ever set foot in a park like that. It is extremely ugly and they don’t try to hide it at all. It looks like a park that could give you AIDS just for walking into it.

The animals start terrorizing the park, the rich people hide, but don’t worry, exterminators come and get rid of them all. And the mayor makes these rich people stay. Of course animals quickly break out, come back to the park, and start to rip things up and destroy things with explosions. That point is weird though because 1) The rich people didn’t leave, 2) When things were exploding they carefully only showed the exterminators (who had already finished and should have been gone). Yes, very odd. Although they didn’t show them there, they specifically showed them staying, so a whole bunch of people probably died in this plan and they are just covering it because of badly written PG films.

Speaking of badly written, I am pretty sure that the movie was made, was worse, then they had to change a lot of it. Since Chan was brought in so late, they probably added his plot lines. He wasn’t in the film until halfway or so, and only one scene. Then he was brought back during the crazy end mess. I have to imagine that they just added this shit in, and that is why it was delayed a year and a half. A big waste of Jackie Chan.

The voice work is bad. The movie has absolutely no real feelings behind it. They just patched some shit together, hoping no one would examine to find out that there are holes everywhere.

And goddamn it, where is that little girls mom? Why was the Nut shop ignored by a money hungry government? Why the fuck does Andie the squirrel put up with Surly, who abuses her emotionally and puts her down in front of others constantly? And did the eat the other goddamn squirrels from the first movie?

0 out of 4.

The Secret Life Of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets is just one of those animated movies coming out this year that I gave absolutely, positively, no fucks about. There are animated movies all the time and all of them are competing to be the best.

I wasn’t apathetic because it wasn’t Disney or Pixar. I like a lot of other studios, I am not some weird populist. No, I am apathetic because it is being made by Illumination Entertainment. Before this film, they have made 5 movies and they are all objectively bad. Despicable Me, its sequel and Minions were bad, The Lorax was bad, and Hop was racist and bad.

I only saw the original trailer for The Secret Life Of Pets a few months ago. Outside of the awkward title, it just didn’t look like it would be an original movie. Oh, talking pets? That hasn’t been done before. (Cough)

Now a 25 minute scene on venom drugs in a kids movie? That is new.

The movie takes place in NYC, big place, lot of people, lot of animals. And pets can talk and understand each other. Not just pets, all animals. They have some universal language despite not having the same noises.

Max (Louis C.K.) is a loyal house pet, taken as a puppy from a box for free by his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper). He is greatful for her and waits almost all day in front of the door when she leaves. He has a ton of friends in the apartment complex and across the way who like to hang out while the owners are away. There is Chloe (Lake Bell), a fat cat, Mel (Bobby Moynihan), a pug, Buddy (Hannibal Buress), a dachshund, and a bird Sweet Pea who I guess doesn’t talk, just chirps.

But then Katie comes home with a surprise. She comes home with Duke (Eric Stonestreet). He is big, he is wild, and he is taking over the alpha dog status from Max. So Max wants to get rid of him. He wants to destroy the place so Katie will take him back to the pound. They begin to fight with each other more and more, and sure, yeah, somehow it ends up with them both now out of the apartment, collars lost, just trying to get back home.

And they are in New York City. Everyone knows it is a rough and tumble place for strays. You all saw Oliver & Company. On the streets they have to deal with animal control, the League of Flushed Pets (run by a bunny voiced by Kevin Hart), and shit like water.

Also featuring Jenny Slate as the puffy Gidget who lived across the street and was in love with Max, Albert Brooks as Tiberius, a hawk, and Steve Coogan, Dana Carvey, Tara Strong, and Michael Beattie.

New Dog
Duke could straight up eat Max. And Katie. And me.

Like I had feared, The Secret Life of Pets doesn’t offer a whole lot to the animation genre. The animation isn’t state of the art, with the quality looking more or less the same as the first Despicable Me film. This time there are only four or five important human characters, so their awkward proportional bodies isn’t super distracting like it is for other films. We just get slightly exaggerated pet bodies, which is a bit easier to accept.

About half of the film reminded me of Toy Story, the first one, the one that came out 21 years ago! New pet (toy), they argue and fight, both pets (toys) get lost from home and face near death to get back. Hell, there are a couple of scenes where they even have to chase a car where one or the other is trapped.

Nothing was surprising about this movie. It is incredibly simplistic and places where they could have added conflict and a bit of emotional connection are just nothing. Duke had an older owner and they attempt to find them during their time in the city. Without spoilers, things don’t go the right way. Perfect time for a nice emotional scene, but it is rushed through and another bullshit conflict is added. Bullshit conflict to move the plot is lazy, and this film is full of it.

One more complaint paragraph before some pros, don’t worry. The ending was a complete mess too. From the quickest phone call animal control response ever, to the unnecessary all out brawl between pets, to a no real stakes rescue, to the third or fourth time of the animals driving crazily vehicles, it just ended on so many bad notes. And yes, a brawl to solve a big issue is shit. Grown Ups 2 did it, and this movie did it just for a quick joke. Especially when an easy explanation could have fixed everything and taught some better morals.

Cat Face
Unrelated fun fact: An Andrew WK song appears in this movie. Party, party, party!

“But why with all these issues did you give it an average rating?” Well, surprisingly the voice acting saved the shit out of this movie. Kevin Hart as a bunny? I didn’t know I needed that in my life. His voice works great in animated films and his antics get less annoying when he isn’t the lead. Jenny Slate has been annoying to me in her last few films, but her as the Gidget was also pretty great. Albert Brooks as a hawk is the final amazing aspect of the voice acting. All three brought their A-game and brought it on hard.

The animation wasn’t completely average in every area either. The scenes with the snake, both seen above and as a sort of password felt really cool. They worked the 3D really well to make these animals pop out in unique ways. And shit, there was a dream sequence about sausage featuring the finale song from Grease, and it was a visual explosion of wonder.

The Secret Life of Pets won’t win awards for story, visuals, or make a lot of money. But the cast do the best with what they are given and technically make the best film Illumination Entertainment has ever made (in my eyes).

I still don’t want a sequel, because the entire idea behind all of this is just so uninspired. It feels like a straight to DVD animated film, just with some top tier celebrities to voice the animals.

2 out of 4.

Delivery Man

I have failed the movie going public tonight.

Tonight I have seen Delivery Man, but I did not watch Starbuck, the foreign movie that this one is based on. It isn’t super foreign, because it is set in Canada, but it is the French part of Canada. Plus, the director and writer of Starbuck made this version too! Really, it is just some strange re-imaging with a star in the US that people might want to go see.

Well, they might have wanted to see five years ago.
David (Vince Vaughn) is a piece of shit. It sounds harsh, but he really is. The movie makes sure you know that early on, by showing him rack up parking tickets, fail at his job delivering meat, disappoint his family, disappoint his girlfriend, and get turned down for loan applications. He owes some thugs about 80,000, and no way to pay it back.

And there was a screw up a fertility clinic about 20ish years ago. David donated sperm over 600 times in a few years, under the name of Starbuck, and because of its high quality, it was given to and successfully birthed 533 children. Over 100 of them are suing the company and David to determine his identity, believing their right to know their biological father is far more important to his right to privacy. Huh.

Who wants to be known as the guy with 500 kids? Especially when his girlfriend (Cobie Smulders) is pregnant and can’t imagine him ever being a father.

Basically his life is falling apart and he has no idea how to fix it. Maybe he can fix the lives of others? Despite his best interests, and the wishes of his lawyer (Chris Pratt), he decides to check out the profiles of a child, just one at a time, and see if he can help out their life in any way while remaining anonymous.

Clearly a plan that won’t backfire.

His immediate family includes his father (Andrzej Blumenfeld), and two brothers (Simon DelaneyBobby Moynihan) and some of his children are played by Jack ReynorDave Patten, and Britt Robertson.

Really, if all you want is Chris Pratt in bath robes, then this is the movie for you.
From what the internet tells me, this is actually a scene for scene remake of Starbuck, so I don’t feel too bad not getting to watch the original before this one. The last time I attempted to do something like that was when I watched both Death At A Funerals back to back, and that was just awkward.

Speaking of awkward, that is this movie in a nutshell. It touches on a lot of personal and serious topics, but generally in a strange way given the circumstances of this film. I find it hard to categorize it as a comedy, because although the idea is silly, the jokes are really few and far in between and it gets really dramatic. If you go in expecting a laugh a minute, you will be disappointed.

Vince Vaughn plays a screw up who has his heart in the right place. The reason that sounds familiar is that he always plays those roles, because he is somewhat believable at them. I am not sure how to describe the emotions I felt during this movie, but I can tell you they were there.

I think the movie did far too much disservice early on by making me hate the main character. It was vague on a few important details, like just who was after him for money and why they were surprisingly passive over 7-9 months. The passage of time was very hard to follow, when months would pass for his character without letting the viewer know. Certain problems ended up getting solved too easily and David had a surprising amount of money to give to use for his kids, and gas, and shopping when he owed so much cash in the first place.

I can’t say for certain if this film will stick with me in the long run, but for now it is a decent attempt at trying something new (well, a remake of something new), and I can applaud it for that. It also does a good job of teaching about the potential horrors of sperm bank.

2 out of 4.

Mystery Team

Mystery Team I have been waiting for awhile to watch, so as soon as I found it reasonably priced, I pounced on that shit and watched it right away.

Mystery Team
Despite the picture, this movie is not about child predators.

The mystery team consists of Donald Glover, the master of disguise, D.C Pierson, the brains (or a guy who memorized a bunch of weird facts as a kid that no one cares about), and Dominic Dierkes, the brawn (because he has to fit some role). They founded the club called the Mystery Team when they were just kids, solving mysteries for 10 cents a case. Most of the time their cases are similar to Encyclopedia Brown in nature, but finally, when they are seniors in high school, that shit gets real.

A little girl stops by after they successful find out who was poking pies, and wants them to find out who killed her parents.


Well they take it anyways, because damn it, they are real detectives. Even if her older sister (Aubrey Plaza) thinks it is the stupidest idea ever at the time, because, well look at them. This leads them on the biggest case of their lives. But is it the final case of their lives?

(That was my subtly implying will they die? Or will they just retire? Whatever.)

To get into a Gentleman’s club, you must dress like a Gentleman.

This also features Bobby Moynihan and Elle Kemper (The Office) in smaller roles, as these people were part of their internet shorts.

The movie is overly very ridiculous. But I thought it great in that regard. It is the type of movie I would love to quote to others, if I thought anyone else would know it. Some may say one liners cannot make a decent movie, and to that I say nothing. Valid point. But the characters all have great chemistry with each other. I actually choked a bit on a drink at one point, from unexpected laughter.

But then again, if you see this, you could think it is the dumbest movie ever. I say risk that chance.

3 out of 4.