Bad Moms

Bad Moms thankfully came out the week before or during my vacation in the summer. A glorious time where I missed, frankly, a lot of terrible movies.

I am judging Bad Moms not just by its cover, but by the actresses picked, the trailer, and the marketing they went through. I read it was originally going to involve Judd Apatow and star Leslie Mann instead, and that made the previews make a lot more sense. It looks like a movie he would make about this subject, if it was more dramatic and had an additional 45 minutes or so.

But to come out with this film, with the lame title, the same year Dirty Grandpa [Editor’s Note: This made more sense when I said Bad Grandpa, but that was years ago. I am too lazy to change this joke]? As Bad Santa 2? Come on, we all know 2016 sucked, but was it really necessary to make so many bad films?

Drinking
The worst thing a mom can do is drink when her children are 12 years past breastfeeding, don’t cha know.

Amy (Mila Kunis) is a hard working mother. She makes breakfast, she works extra hours at her part time job, she comes home and makes dinner, she volunteers with the PTA, she takes her kids (Oona Laurence, Emjay Anthony) to after school activities and helps with all of their projects. Her husband (David Walton) has a relatively easy job, but it brings in the money. Except he doesn’t help with all of the extra stuff, leaving it all on her.

And then she finds him jerking it to a cam model, live, and he has been doing it for 10 months now. So she wants a break. She kicks him out and goes out drinking. She meets Carla (Kathryn Hahn), another single mom (with a much older kid) and they have a blast. They eventually gain Kiki (Kristen Bell) as well after Amy defies the PTA president (Christina Applegate) in front of the entire PTA. Kiki is even more overstressed and needs to have fun.

So you know, they go and have more fun. They make their kids make breakfast, do their own work and start focusing on themselves more. I know, very bad moms indeed. And when the PTA president gets angry at Amy’s kids for defying her, Amy decides she is going to run against her and promise a whole lot less work.

Also featuring Jay Hernandez as a single dad who Amy likes. And J.J. Watt as a soccer coach. And Wanda Sykes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Wendell Pierce, and Clark Duke.

Stores
Bad moms apparently are real big jerks in grocery stores.

Damn it, here I am, spending my time, trying to watch what might be the worst of the worst in 2016, and then I find myself wasting time with Bad Moms. Because Bad Moms isn’t the worst of the worst. Is it great? Hell no. But it isn’t downright terrible either.

Yes, I am disappointed that I didn’t hate it more, but it had a handful of amusing moments. Sure, Hahn’s character was just terrible. Bell has done better way before. And Kunis never feels believable in this role. Technically the best person in their role might be Applegate as the stuck up, stereotypical, PTA President. Which is a weird place to see her career at the moment.

Bad Moms is full of wish fulfillment, and of course the message that moms matter too, so they should have fun more and let their kids grow up without them always holding their hands. And that dads should be involved. A fine message, but something that feels like it doesn’t need to be said at this point in human history. Maybe 30-40 years ago.

It is jam packed with the latest party tunes, to date this movie further in a few years. There are several party montage scenes, at the bar, at the grocery store, and a much longer one of mostly average looking middle aged women partying like a college party. And that almost seems to be the entire point of the film.

Bad Moms isn’t terrible, it just is far from a great or even a good or okay movie. Better casting and better jokes would have went a long way with this film.

1 out of 4.

The Boss

Almost every single introduction joke I could think of for The Boss was incredibly lame. There are way too many Boss-based pop culture references that every single one became cringey at just the thought of them. I don’t think there is a single good joke or reference I can make without the readers closing their browser in anger.

If Kelsey Grammer and Tony Danza were locked in a room all night, even they couldn’t come up with something clever to make a chuckle.

Money
Although they would have made something at least more appealing than this turd.

Michelle Darnell (Melissa McCarthy) was an orphan kid and no one wanted her. She got returned a lot. Must be too much spunk. But now, as an adult, she is wickedly rich and famous. I can’t actually tell you what she does, but she is famous and sells stuff. She also sells her image, women love her, she is a rock star and she knows how to put on a show.

But then she gets arrested. For insider trading crap, even though everybody does it. But she is rich so she doesn’t have to go to jail for years, just has to post a bond and honestly, I think everyone forgets about it. Claire (Kristen Bell) doesn’t forget though. She was her assistant for years and never got the raises she deserved as a single mom. With the arrest she had to find a new job and quick. And now Michelle is showing up to sleep on her couch.

Long story short, the daughter, Rachel (Ella Anderson), is in an off shoot girl scouts group. Michelle sees how much they make selling cookies, but dislikes that the girls don’t make anything out of it. So she makes her own alternative off shoot girl scout group, but this time the girls can get commission on their pastry sales and Michelle can also make a lot of money. Hooray money!

Also conflict about other business people, Michelle being not super nice, and girls beating up other girls in the streets. Starring Peter Dinklage, Tyler Labine, Kathy Bates, Cecily Strong, Kristen Schaal, and Eva Peterson as a tall teenage girl.

Gang
Because all out brawls make the best scenes in comedies.

I really need to harp on this. In my eyes, a comedy reaches the lowest levels of its potential if it resorts to an all out brawl between parts of the cast. It was the conclusion of Grown Ups 2, and the most advertised portion of The Boss. As you can see, it is hilarious because there are young teenage girls in the fray, along with overly concerned mom, all dressed super funny. Ha ha ha!

Anyways, outside of that scene there is little else I remember about the film. Wait, I remember Melissa McCarthy making fun of Kristen Bell’s boobs for a long time. And I remember never laughing.

A comedy without laughter is like torture without pain. Wait, no, it actually IS torture and very painful. Sorry, messed that up. The Boss offers nothing new to the movie experience, not even the comedy movie experience. It is a complete waste of space. Thank goodness Ghostbusters also came out this year and was at least mediocre, or else McCarthy would have had her worst year since starting this recent trend.

Don’t watch The Boss. After reading this review, don’t remember anything except for the last line. Just a disappointment all around.

0 out of 4.

Zootopia

2016 has a sizable collection of animated movies coming out this year. I’d list them, but that makes for a boring read.

A common theme I see is the classic “Animals doing human people things.” We technically had it with Kung Fu Panda 3, but it was at least set in the past. This year there are at least three major films with this theme in modern times. Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing. It seems excessive, so it probably is.

Needless to say, this made me worried for Zootopia. I had only seen the first teaser trailer, and a lot of posters. It looks un-original. It looked like last year’s The Good Dinosaur. Something they slapped together after a few years, but instead they are anticipating their other film to win awards. That one being Moana.

But then again, Walt Disney Studios hasn’t let me down since The Princess and the Frog. Clearly I should just shut up and watch the movie.

Sloth
Obligatory Non-Animated Sloth Related Clip.

Despite most of the advertisements I have seen, our main character is not the fox, but actually a bunny! A female bunny, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), with big dreams and aspirations. She wants to leave her farm and small village and become a cop! She wants to work in Zootopia, the main mammalian metropolis where so many life forms come together to live and work together to build something great. Of course there has never been a bunny cop before and her parents (Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake) will miss her a lot, but she wants to help other animals!

You see, in this world, humans never happened, all the mammals evolved to be human-esque and resist those primal urges to kill or be killed. Somehow still, despite the hundreds of years, stereotypes still exist for predators and animals. Go figure.

Well she makes it, but Chief Bogo (Idris Elba, an Ox) doesn’t care and makes her a meter maid. After getting herself into trouble and being extremely pushy, she is eventually able to join the big case. Quite a few animals, all predators have gone missing and no one has any leads on any of them. So Judy has only 48 hours to try and find Emmett Otterton, or she will resign from the job. Sucks.

To help her, she blackmails a fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to help her follow up on some leads. And of course, they become a completely opposite duo that is able to miraculously solve the case and do what no one imagined they could do.

And of course this is a big cast. So let’s not ruin it by talking about who does what and just give the list of names: J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate, Kristen Bell, Raymond S. Persi, Maurice LaMarche, Nate Torrence, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Shakira, and of course Alan Tudyk,

Jag
And this guy is our new Olaf/Baymax/Horse from Tangled.

Somewhere, a little cartoon mouse with ears as as big as his head is slowly lighting a cigar, laughing to himself. Walt Disney Animation studios has been in the game for eons at this point and they know what they are doing. Sometimes their advertising may be suspect, but their current main line of films since the CGI era has not had a bust yet, and it was apparently wrong for me to think otherwise.

Zootopia for the most part was a very well done and enjoyable film. Scenes were incredibly detailed, especially during a night time rain storm in the jungle. There was incredible detail put into the streets of the main city and from what it looks like, they may have gotten an accurate scale of all the animals big and small. That is a huge undertaking in a film, instead of everyone just being of similar height ranges to human, a rhino or ox or giraffe appear much larger than our normal bunny point of view. In fact, I first thought something was wrong and things were being exaggerated by the animators because the reality is quite jarring.

Better yet, Judy Hopps is an awesome character. She is inspiring, she is funny, she does more than what anyone expects of her. And hey, Nick Wilde ends up being a complete character as well. A great dynamic duo, both with their own dreams and goals and neither being a cheap stereotype (although, yes, a lot of characters are cheap stereotypes).

MM
Your mom’s a cheap stereotype.

And the movie is funny as well, it had jokes for everyone. Meta Disney jokes were there, especially when it came to Alan Tudyk’s character, movie/TV references (Breaking Bad!) and clever puns. I was almost dying during the Sloth scene, but apparently they turned 80% of that entire bit into a trailer. I’d suggest not watching that and letting it happen naturally during the movie.

It also happens to be about racism/prejudice or even a poor/rich sort of dynamic. It handles the topic with care and kids will be able to understand what is going on and the consequences of these sorts of actions.

Despite how much better it was than my imagination, it did still have some annoyances. The Gazelle played by Shakira, named Gazelle, felt incredibly cheap every time she was on screen or playing the new song just for this movie. More of a money grab than the Trolls from Frozen, but they were mostly just boring. The twists in the plot are relatively easy to catch far in advance. Not the minute small details, but figuring out who is behind the disappearing animals. A disappointing amount of time is spent pre-reveal, when an earlier reveal would have done wonders for building up the bad animal.

CGI movies take a long time to make and come out. But I don’t want to wait a long time to see more of these characters. They should turn this into a TV show, but not a cheaply done one. And fast. It easily works as a police procedural, and they’d have great content for years. Zootopia on its own is definitely recommended, and gives me a small amount of hope that maybe some of the other animated films this year won’t suck too much.

3 out of 4.

Veronica Mars

Alright everyone. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale.

This is the moment a lot of you may have been waiting for. Veronica Mars has finally been given a movie.

For those who weren’t blessed with experiencing one of the better TV shows of the mid-2000’s, Veronica Mars ran for three seasons before getting canceled. It was one of those shows that was critically acclaimed, but suffered with ratings. It also didn’t help that the third season was a lot different from the first two (college), with several minor arcs instead of a big one. It also unfortunately ended on an awkward unfinished cliff hanger. Not as awkward as the series finale of My Name Is Earl, but awkward nonetheless.

But that isn’t the only crazy thing about this movie! No, it was funded by Kickstarter. Warner Bros. wouldn’t green light the film, so the cast raised money. They wanted $2 million to make the movie. In ten hours, the $2 million was raised, a record for the website. In the month time frame over $5 million ended up being donated. Needless to say, there was a lot of hype around it. Because of the Kickstarter, not only was the film released theatrically, it was also released same day Video on Demand, and the movie being sent out to all who backed it at the same time. Wow.

I will admit some bias. As a fanboy of the TV show (and as a Season 3 apologist), there is a good chance I like this no matter what.

Ride Of Feels
Total nostalgia overload aAAAAGGHHH11!!~

Guess what! It is time for Neptune, California’s favorite high school class to have their ten year reunion. Turns out after the third season of the show, Veronica (Kristen Bell) switched out of town to Stanford. Yeah. She got real far away. She went to law school and now she is about to get a high paying fancy lawyer job at NYC. But just when she thought she was out, they pulled her back in.

That’s right, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) is being charged with murder. He was dating another former Nuptunian, don’t worry about her, she had two episodes in the series. She eventually became a pretty famous pop star, and now she was found electrocuted in her own bath tub. Logan says he is innocent and for whatever reason, Veronica believes him.

So she is back in town. Her dad (Enrico Colantoni), still a P.I., the police force still inept, and her friends Mac (Tina Majorino) and Wallace (Percy Daggs III) are still by her side. Will this be her final case, something she swore she would never do again?

It also features more returning cast members than you can shake a stick at.

Piz (Chris Lowell), Dick (Ryan Hansen), Gia (Krysten Ritter), Weevil (Francis Capra), Leo D’Amato (Max Greenfield), Deputy Sacks (Brandon Hillock), and Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino).

Also featuring some new faces, played by Martin StarrJamie Lee CurtisJerry O’Connell and Gaby Hoffmann.

Friends
Yay, BFFs, still after 8 years of not really talking. They too must be raging on nostalgia.

Going into this movie (despite my fanboyism) I was still a bit skeptical. I am used to the plot taking 22 episodes to solve, not one in less than two hours. I thought the plot might feel rushed/forced and I wouldn’t get enough cool clues along the way.

Well, after seeing it, I think the story really does work. It has twists and turns, there are multiple plots, and they did a few things I definitely would never have seen coming.

At the same time, this film might actually be accessible to those who haven’t seen the TV show. I wouldn’t suggest seeing the movie first still, because the show is phenomenal (What are you doing? Go watch it now!) but everything you need to know gets explained in the plot. You won’t get every character reference or throwback joke, but you can still get by.

Still, this film only seemed to arouse my appetite without bedding it down. What I (and everyone) really wants now is new seasons to continue the story onward. From what I can tell, there is absolutely nothing in the works but a small web series and that is all we are getting.

With just the length of a movie, although the story was good, it just didn’t feel like enough for me. Now I might find myself living in denial that it is truly over and done.

Veronica Mars is an excellent film continuation of a TV series, but I would argue it doesn’t match the quality given to us from the first two seasons. Alas, perhaps my lofty goals were set too high.

 

3 out of 4.

Frozen (Disney)

Frozen, not to be confused with the survivor horror movie of the same name, is the first Walt Disney Animation Studios film since Wreck-It Ralph. You know, because Planes was made by a lesser Disney studio, not their main one.

It is also based on “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Anderson, which explains why they gave they call this movie that over in Europe. Anderson is kind of a big deal over in Europe. I have only heard bits and pieces of “The Snow Queen,” so this film will be a complete surprise story wise for me!

Girls!
LOOK. TWO WOMEN. TWO DISNEY PRINCESSES. SUCH MADNESS!

Frozen is about two sisters, Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell), both princesses in their castle home. However, the sisters are quite different. Elsa, the eldest, was born with magical powers: the ability to make ice and snow from her hands! Anna is completely ordinary in the magic regard, but she has a big heart. Unfortunately, after an accident, Elsa is forced to remain hidden from the rest of the world, for they will not be able to understand her powers. This means she also is kept as a secret from her sister.

Years later, Elsa is set to officially become the Queen, meaning the Castle is opening its doors for one day only. Surely nothing can go amiss in a single, nice summer day?

Well, her secret rears its ugly head and she accidentally sets the city in eternal winter! During her escape to live in the mountains alone, she also accidentally traps all of the visiting ships in the fjord (first time used that word in a review) It is up to Anna to save her! And Hans (Santino Fontana), a prince she just met and totally got engaged to in a day, and Kristof (Jonathan Groff), an ice maker who lives alone with his reindeer Sven. And Olaf (Josh Gad). A magical snowman. Don’t worry about him.

There are also trolls! And an evil Duke (Alan Tudyk), which would be the third villain played/voiced in a row for Tudyk, after Wreck-It Ralph and 42.

Guy Yo
I wonder if he is going to warm her icy heart with a cool island song?

It turns out that Frozen is basically a full-fledged musical! Hooray! It features eight unique songs (although the length of a couple are pretty short) and one amazing reprise of a song. Of course, like all Disney movies with singing, most of them are in the first half, with the second half left to just plot development and action.

I was also a bit worried that this movie would tease us like Disney did with Enchanted, by casting Menzel but not letting her actually sing a song. Thankfully, she got a solid 2ish songs overall (one full one, and two shared ones). Bell is given most of the singing work, and she really knocks it out of the park with her voice.

I was amazed at the world that was created for this movie, which showcased the beautiful snowy (and summery) landscapes that Finland/Norway had to offer. The ice effects from the Queen were gorgeous and really popped from the screen, but not in a gimmicky way.

Story wise, I don’t think this has actually anything to do with “The Snow Queen” tale that it is based on, so it is practically a new story that will seem fresh to audiences.

Frozen did have some annoyances. While watching, more and more characters seemed to be added to the adventure, knowing at least a few of them served just as a way to sell toys, but that is the way Disney works. The animation style for the human characters felt a bit off from the rest of animations in that everyone looked like a literal doll character. It was like an improved version of the style used in Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse. Yes, I have seen an episode or two of that show for comparison sake.

Overall, I really enjoyed every other aspect of the story than the few parts I listed above. It does a great job of avoiding cliches. The film surprised me over and over as I couldn’t tell where the story was taking me.

Plus, this film isn’t about some man coming to save the day, it is about sisterly love in the face of adversary. Okay, well, I guess there are some male heroes still, but that is beside the point.

Frozen is the last animated movie of the year (unless you actually include Walking With Dinosaurs) and a must watch for people who enjoy happiness.

4 out of 4.

The Lifeguard

Oh Kristen Bell. You are a big star. Why are you in this movie, The Lifeguard, something I have never heard about and went straight to DVD?

Is it Dax Shepard‘s fault? I bet it is Dax’s fault. He is a jerk. Don’t let him put you in bad movies. You are lucky you avoided Brother’s Justice. I swear, if Hit and Run had been horrible, those two movies would have killed his career.

Just saying. Watch out Kristen.

Bello
“No, you watch out! No one talks bad about MY MAN!” – Kristen, if she were a proud black woman.

Leigh (Kristen Bell) is going through a midlife crisis. She went to college, was valedictorian, but ended up quitting her New York job and moving back to Connecticut, her home, where she last felt happy. By mid life crisis, I should note she is less than 30, so this is just some other weird event in her life. Or she is not going to live past 60. Shit.

Either way. Sad times, so she goes to live with her parents again, and rekindle with her old friends (Mamie Gummer, Martin Starr, Joshua Harto).

Heck, she even gets a job as a lifeguard. Her old high school job. Making over 9 bucks an hour. Hooray!

But then something strange happens. During her identity crisis, she finds comfort in another individual. Someone who goes by the name of Little Jason (David Lambert), son of Big Jason, the pool owner. They start a fling unexpectedly, and have copious amounts of sexual intercourse. And he is only sixteen.

Love love
Yep. Sixteen! True love, yo.

Sometimes it is a good idea to do that gender reversal thing for romance movies. Does it still work if an older man was the lifeguard and it was a sixteen year old girl? No, heck no. That’s bad. Very bad. Kristen has a really creepy character it turns out, and no one around them realizes it until one individual does by the end. Good ole society, being programmed into thinking that is at least a bit okay. She just represents someone in society.

The movie took awhile to get to the love interest between her and the kid, slowly building up, as she just wandered around her home trying to find stuff to do. And guys to do, I guess.

Too slow. This movie dragged on, for a story that ended up being pretty simple. The thing that gets me is that none of the characters really feel believable. They try to explain why she quit her job and moved home, but it just didn’t seem correct. I couldn’t believe it. It is like they had the idea of someone move back home, but not a great reason why and it was an after thought.

The later scenes between her and David Lambert were pretty steamy, I will give it that, but at the same time, it felt incredibly weird. Damn gender reversal analysis. It ruined a potentially good thing.

No, I am not saying the movie would have been good without it. Too slow, too much meh acting, too much nothing over all. An easy one to skip over and really I’d rather pretend it didn’t exist.

1 out of 4.

Movie 43

The thing I love most about Movie 43 is how easy it will be to review.

I mean, part of the point is not knowing much about the movie ahead of time before you see it. So I don’t have describe all the skits, just the main plot that tries to hold it all together.

Shit yeah! Oh, and so many tags. I am gonna tag the shit out of this movie.

Nozzle
I don’t have any obligation to tell you what Halle Berry is going to do with that Turkey Baster!

So here is the basic story, which is a piece of shit excuse to give you this movie. Sorry, that sounds negative. The point of this movie is a series of short skits all put together, that is all. Trying to put a plot behind them all? Probably won’t work well, but it technically gets to be the movie plot.

A crazy asshole (Dennis Quaid) is having a meeting with some big movie executive (Greg Kinnear). Why? You know fucking why, to sell a movie of course. Greg doesn’t like it, the movie is vulgar and bad, but when a gun is brought into the equation, maybe he will listen. Also featuring Will Sasso and Common.

What vulgar skits? We got Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet on a blind date, where Hugh is basically perfect. Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts are homeschooling their kid, Jeremy Allen White, and trying to give him the realest depressing experience ever.

Anna Faris wants Chris Pratt to poop on her. Kieran Culkin and Emma Stone are awkward.

Richard Gere doesn’t understand why people are sticking their dicks in the iBabe, nor does Jack McBrayer the scientist. Only person who gets it is Kate Bosworth.

There is a speed dating convention in the DC universe, with Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Bobby Cannavale, Kristen Bell, and Leslie Bibb all playing parts.

Jimmy Bennett is on a “Date” with Chloe Grace Moretz, who gets her period, and the older brother Christopher Mintz-Plasse freaks out. Seann Williams Scott is mad at his best friend Johnny Knoxville, but to make it up for him, he found a leprechaun (Gerard Butler).

Am I almost done? Fuck no!

Halle Berry and Stephen Merchant are on a blind date playing truth or dare! Terrence Howard says the same joke about black people and basketball over and over!

BUT JUST YOU WAIT. THERE IS ONE MORE SCENE. AFTER THE CREDITS.

I was surprised too. Because this scene didn’t have any previews in the trailers. So I will just say Elizabeth Banks and Josh Duhamel.

Batman!
Just seeing all those links man. It makes me dizzy.

Maybe I talked about the skits too much, maybe I didn’t. But basically all I mentioned was information you can learn in the trailer, which is unfortunately a lot of it. Problem is, some of the better jokes I already knew were coming and it ruined it a bit for me. I knew about most of the Home School scene, but I still thought it was one of the better ones. Poop quest ended up being better than advertised as well. My favorite scene, however, was the Batman based speed dating, but that could just be because I am a comic nerd. Either way, Jason Sudeikis made that scene his bitch, and I want more of that.

The movie started pretty uncomfortably too, with the blind date scene. No one really laughed right away at the sight gag, but eventually they just threw it in our face enough that it became funny.

I understand the movies only purpose is to do outrageous things, without a plot, but I am upset about the main story line. I hated how it ended. Pretty much a cop out. Even more strange is that only the American version features Quaid and company. Apparently international versions star three unknown kids searching the internet for a fabled movie and finding these clips. Pretty dang weird.

Yeah, most of it is dumb ass jokes, but eventually you just have to give in or else you will have a bad time. Easier to accept the laughs than to ignore them.

Unfortunately, it is still a pretty shit film, in the grand scheme of things. So there you go! Maybe watch with the buds eventually, while drinking, when it is rentable. That would be a better idea.

1 out of 4.

Hit and Run

I am pretty sure I heard about Hit and Run first from Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell. Do you know them? They have been a couple for a few years, since they met on When In Rome. Both very delightful people that make me laugh. Well they wanted to do a movie together, damn it, where they can be in love on screen too!

FACE PUNCH
Fun, face punching, bloody love.

Annie (Bell) and Charles Bronson (Shepard) are living in the middle of no where California. They have been dating for a year, but they really do love each other so much. Heck, Annie has a PhD in Conflict Resolution. What? Yeah. But she is teaching dumb sociology because she can’t run her own program anywhere. Until now. Her boss (Kristin Chenoweth) has to make some cuts to the department, and she is too awesome for them. Luckily, she set her up with an interview at UCLA, to run her own program there and have a real job with real monies!

The only problem is the city. LA. Turns out Mr. Bronson is in the witness protection program, and yes, he is from LA. That is literally the worst possible city to have the job at.

But he doesn’t care. Screw it, he will drive her to the interview himself. It has been four years for him, it shouldn’t matter at this point. She knows he is in witness protection, so even if his secrets come up, she should accept it right? Nope. Not if he used to be the getaway driver for his bank robbing friends (Bradley Cooper, Joy Bryant, Ryan Hansen).

Unfortunately during this routine trip to LA for an interview, Annie’s ex boyfriend (Michael Rosenbaum) gets a bit jealous, always has been, and actually figures out his real identity through his cop brother (Jess Rowland) checking up his old car’s plates. So course he contacts his old buddies, who he ratted out and are now free (technicalities), causing a race to LA with lots of guns and crazy chase scenes. Not to mention the Marshall assigned to check in on Charles (Tom Arnold) going along for the ride as well.

Rape Jokes are Funny
Oh no, looks like the find them and have an uncomfortable sex talk scene!

Hooo boy. This movie ended up actually having a lot more car driving chase scenes than I thought. Nothing to the level of Fast and the Furious craziness, of course. No, those people use NAS and stuff. Just straight up old school racing is what it felt like, with a soundtrack to match. They were thankfully exciting.

I also need to give a lot of props to Tom Arnold, he hasn’t been doing as well on the humor, being mostly a spaz in all of his recent roles. Well, it is true for this one too, but it works really well for once.

I was annoyed every once in awhile, I thought Bell’s character didn’t make that much sense, based off of her background. I don’t think anyone would actually assume someone was lying to them by not telling them about their witness protection circumstances. Probably laws about that stuff! But I found it pretty funny, with some nice chase scenes. Some over the top, unbelievable characters too. The ending wasn’t my favorite, just felt a bit weird. But hey, most of it was awesome!

3 out of 4.

Big Miracle

Big Miracle? Some whale movie?

Originally I wasn’t going to watch Big Miracle, but then I remembered I watch everything. “Oh yeah! Might as well watch it asap then,” I thinks to myself.2

This is the best intro I have wrote for a movie.

Bitches
Bitches love whales?

Based off of actual events in the 80s (and thus I don’t know about it), this takes place in a very Northern Alaskan village. Yes, that means Eskimos. For whatever reason, Adam Carlson (John Krasinski) is a reporter in their town reporting on random shit, for the main Alaskan news. People love him there, overall nice guy. He finds one extra report before leaving though, thinking people will love it. Turns out three California Gray Whales are trapped under the ice! The vast water froze quicker this winter, and three whales are sharing a small hole, miles away from the ocean to breath from. Damn, that is sad.

This story gets LOTS of attention. Wildfire amounts. The director of Greenpeace Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore) is already around protesting the selling of territory for oil, and of course the guy who bought the land for Oil (Ted Danson). Also tons of media shows up, including Jill Jerard (Kristen Bell) who is willing to take any story to get a leg up. The head reporter at their department (John Michael Higgins) thinks it is silly though.

Fuck, even the government gets involved! Cold War is still looming, and the government gets a Russian ship nearby, made for cracking ice to help. Because they have no idea how to help these things. Initial tries are failing. Even bring in some boys from Minnesota with ice melting technology meant for rinks to try and speed up the process. Eventually they get the only idea that might work. To constantly make holes in the ice a few meters apart, big enough for the whales to come up for breath, and lead them to the ocean, hoping that they follow said holes.

Sounds crazy? Well because it is. All the locals and news reporters end up helping, including Tim Blake Nelson playing some guy from Alaska! The main kid in the movie is played by Ahmaogak Sweeney, as they had a lot of real locals play the appropriate parts. But will the Whales follow? Will the Russians save the day? Will anyone die along the way!?

Big whales
Hopefully none of them decide to jump on the ice. That would suck.

So, in terms of Family movies involving saving animals, this one is actually quite refreshing. True stories can be annoying like in Dolphin Tale, where the just poop on everything that matters and give a random inspirational tale nothing like the real events. But this stuff seems to be a bit more spot on.

First off, the main kid in the movie isn’t even the main character? Everyone seems to play an important role, and it isn’t from a kids point of view, like most “family movies”. That is cool.

Secondly, the oil people arent the bad guys. Literally everyone helps out in this movie. And people don’t even need convincing, all sides actively work together and want to save the whales. Sure, some also enjoy the positive PR, but damn it, there is no one stopping them and reluctantly letting it happen. No, it just happens.

I will note I found it weird that everyone seemed to be against letting the locals kill the whales for meat. Kind of rude. Their logic was sound, and would supply them food for quite awhile. Oh well, we love guilting other cultures into living like us.

But yeah, this touching story actually was a good watch, with mostly believable characters. Had some normal family jokes you would have guessed, but overall was pretty decent.

3 out of 4.

BONUS TEXT!

I wrote this review in June, 2012, the summer before I moved to Iowa. I lived in North Carolina at the time, and Blockbuster I worked at was already closed. So I had even more free time for films, and watched anything I could.

In Iowa, I met my now wife in the summer of 2013. Days after I met her she had to fly out to Alaska to go to the funeral for her uncle, Randy Roosdett. Why is any of this relevant? Well, he apparently was an extra in this film as an oil man. And that is kind of neat.

Serious Moonlight

When I saw the cover of Serious Moonlight I thought it looked like a dumb Romantic Comedy. I mean, it really had nothing going for it. I clearly didn’t look too closely, or else I would have noticed something very amiss.

Regardless, the reason I originally picked this movie to watch is because I liked the secondary actors more than the main ones. Dont worry, if they werent in the movie, I would have probably still watched this movie, but more likely months from now instead of right now. I get to have some control over what I watch!

Tape
You readers are smart. You can probably figure out the amiss part. I totally missed it.

Timothy Hutton is the main guy and he in his house, with tons of flowers and leading a path of rose petals to the bedroom. His wife, Meg Ryan, will be there tomorrow from a business trip, and he wants to surprise her. With a note. Telling her that he is leaving her, to go to Paris, and to feed his fish. Damn. But in the middle of the note, she returns home early, and he is like…shit.

She quickly becomes sad at the news, and demands that he stay put so they can talk about this and work it out, but he refuses. He doesn’t care. So she gets mad and throws one of the vases at him knocking him out. Whoops. He then wakes up and he is duct tapped, very solidly, to a chair, with Meg Ryan vowing to win him back and will convince him to stay home.

Holy shit Meg Ryan is crazy in this movie. But you already figured that out. Turns out he was seeing someone else, a much younger woman, Kristen Bell. (Good choice, sir). Well. Eventually more shenanigans happen, and he is transferred to being duct taped to the toilet (this way he can pee. Problem solved). But when Justin Long eventually comes to the house to mow the lawn, seeing the vulnerable position they are in, he decides he is going to rob the place. Knocks out Meg Ryan, and ties her up too, while making the house his own.

Oh man!

moonlight toiler
Really, the toilet thing is just a smart idea.

So, the best people in the movie ended up being the main two stars. I knew Kristen Bell and Justin Long’s roles wouldn’t be as big, but man, Meg and Timothy really took the cake. They felt so believable as a couple that was on its last ropes, their conversations with each other felt so real.

The movie has problems though. I figured I knew how it would end about halfway through, taking away some suspense. And if they get back together, I can’t help but think it won’t last long. After all, the guy really hated their marriage, and it seemed like unfixable problems at that point, so I feel like they will just pop back up again later, making him miserable. Or at least more sneaky if he decides to leave again.

3 out of 4.

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