Table 19

Ah, Anna Kendrick. She had six movies come out in 2016, and I was disappointed in the five I saw. I am sad to say The Hollars, which looks great, I still haven’t gotten around to.

I used to love Anna Kendrick, since I saw her in Rocket Science and Up In The Air. But her choices that don’t involve singing in the movies have been bad choices, and that really just sucks.

So on that note, I wasn’t rushing to see Table 19. For a lot of reasons, but even the Anna Kendrick appeal was losing its lure on me. At this point it just feels like I should just wait until Pitch Perfect 3 before trying to trust her again.

Camera
And then Kendrick might have more than one person following her around for paparazzi.

Ah the joys of a wedding. What a splendid time where people come together to laugh, sing, dance, be merry, all in celebration of the love of a couple!

Except for those who feel like they had a pity invite or shouldn’t be there. Or maybe people there for alternative reasons. Or maybe you are just Eloise (Anna Kendrick). A month ago you were the bridesmaid, but you bailed out of the wedding due to an awkward situation. You are great friends with the bride (Rya Meyers), but you were also dating her brother, Teddy (Wyatt Russell), the best man. And a month before the wedding, he broke up with you over text. Oh yeah, lot of confusion now over what you should do. ‘

But Eloise still shows up! She decides to come anyways, for her friend, and maybe for rekindling love, but it is awkward. And she is now put at Table 19, with the random people who they couldn’t put anywhere else. The people who came but really, why?

Like Jerry (Craig Robinson) and Bina Kepp (Lisa Kudrow), who own a diner, have a lose connection to a family member of the bride, and sort of hate each other. There is Renzo (Tony Revolori), a high school student looking to just get lucky, who is young and unaware of how to be social. We have Walter (Stephen Merchant), a cousin who is awkward and a criminal. And we have Jo (June Squibb), the bride’s first nanny who they love so dearly, maybe.

Eloise now has to exist in misery with this group of strangers who have issues, while hoping she doesn’t also accidentally ruin the entire wedding.

Also starring Andrew Daly, Amandra Crew, Charles Green, Jay Klaitz, Margo Martindale, Richard Haylor, and Thomas Cocquerel.

Freaks
Oh my god look at these freaks and weirdos.

Table 19 is a shocking film. Not in the extreme graphic language, violence, or nudity way. Not in the amount of laughs that it provides. But how different it was from its advertising, which most people would assume is a comedy with a bunch of weirdos, doing weird stuff. But it was hardly ever funny. There were some amusing bits, but it was extremely lacking on the actual humor.

Yep, we have a drama comedy that is more drama, with a bit of romance. It just drives the film into the average territory as it goes for several genres without excelling at any of them. If you have read certain films this year that I have reviewed, like Get Out or Colossal, I praised them for their genre bending. But the difference between them and Table 19 is that when the genres change, each the movie is awesome on each level. Table 19 is just middling, where the shifting doesn’t help it but hinder it.

Sure, it is realistic. But a lot of the story lines feel like missed opportunities. Kudrow/Robinson story felt like it didn’t help anything, Merchant’s story didn’t feel finished, and Revolori’s plot was just disappointing. The only other character to have a decent story was Squibb, who really brought the whole film together.

Table 19 has some cute moments and the occasional laugh. But the selling points of the film are how Kendrick and Squibb carry themselves throughout the movie, the realism they bring to the whole thing, to give the film a little bit of heart.

2 out of 4.

Cars 3

Ooooh, this franchise though. I hate Cars. And I hate Cars 2 more. They are bad movies. Seriously. They are just cash grabs, they have bad morals, they are just complete shit.

And they are worse because they have led us to having Planes and Planes: Fire & Rescue, which incredibly end up being worse than the Cars movies.

So, I definitely have been not looking forward to Cars 3. A franchise that won’t go away, because their toys keep making them money. This movie on its own could be amazing. It could answer some needed questions and be decent on its own right. But nothing it could do could redeem the monstrosity that are those previous four films.

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And here is a picture of two cars racing.

Cars racing go go go! Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is still doing that racing thing, still kicking butt, winning most of the time, or at least the top 3 with some of his friends, life is easy and everyone else is a bitch in comparison. But then, there is a rookie in the race, he comes from behind and wins. His name is Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer). Why does he not pass everyone until the last possible moment? Why does no one notice a car with an extremely sleek new design? No idea, but he wins.

And then he keeps winning. Then the race cars start getting replaced by the newer models, because they are faster and better. You know, things that make sense. Lightning finds himself finishing the season in a giant crash and he goes back home to find himself. Can he get back into the grove, being the only “old” race car to join the series once again and prove himself? Maybe.

That would be the point of the movie though, I guess.

Returning for vocals in very limited roles include Larry the Cable Guy, Tony Shalhoub, Bonnie Hunt, John Ratzenberger, and Paul Newman (yes).

But also, you know, new characters. Sterling (Nathan Fillion), the new owner of Lightning’s main sponsor, Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), Lightning’s new trainer to get him in shape for the new season, and Smokey (Chris Cooper), the vehicle that trained Doc, along with Lea DeLaria, Kerry Washington, Margo Martindale, and Bob Peterson.

New2
And here is a picture of two cars racing.

Buckle up, buckaroos, because I don’t want to spend too much time talking about why Cars 3 is terrible, but in all likelihood, that is all I will get done.

One of the biggest problems of the Cars universe still glaringly exists for the third time. Where do these cars come from? Are they built in a factory? Is there car sex and car babies born? We know they can be worked on and improved, but only at some point. Given that Smokey’s mentor is still alive, cars also don’t seem to really know how to die outside of Doc, so it is sort of bizarre.

These questions matter because (gasp), newer better racing cars, based off of better designs, meant to go fast and handle corners better, now exist! Why? How? Are some car executives somewhere creating new life forms and taking over, and this is an issue? In Cars 2 the problem was Lemon cars, cars that were basically disabled characters, now it is new cars with a lot of bells and whistles. How dare they come into the world and excel at the one thing they were created to do.

Let me say it again. Our bad guys are new race cars, who are doing really good at racing cars, who were made and designed to race cars and only do that well. They are doing better than Lightning McQueen who, GUESS WHAT, was also designed and built to race cars really good, just decades before then. When Lightning McQueen joined the scene, was he made into a villain for taking out older models from the race world?

No, he was not. So why is it now an issue, when Lightning McQueen helped do the same exact shit in his youth? Because we have seen him in movies we are supposed to halt the natural evolution of a sport (that is designed by a magical car creator or other cars or something), so that he can do what? WIN BASICALLY EVERY TIME! There are 20-30 racers in these race, and these other poor cars apparently never win ever, and we don’t feel bad for them. We are just supposed to feel bad that Lightning is no longer the top of the line. It is not fair for just him, while everyone else just accepts it.

New3
And here is a picture of two cars racing.

Okay, I had to do a whole section to explain why just the even plot and premise for this film is shit. So now let me talk about other issues.

There isn’t really anything in the way of suspense by the end. How it goes is pretty expected, assuming you are paying at least a little bit of attention. However, they decide to let the dumb thing happen by having one of those in film “rule book arguments” when it turns out that what they want to do isn’t against the rules. Usually this is fine, because it is alluded to somewhat earlier in the movie and at least can make sense. But given it is a fictional universe with whatever willy nilly rules, it comes off surprising. It SHOULD be against the rules, it just isn’t because it is convenient to the plot. And this happens twice within the same final race. Not because it is sensical, but because lazy writing.

Thankfully they learned something from Cars 2 and gave us way less Tow Mater, but it is crazy how much of the original characters are just bit parts. I wouldn’t have assumed that Sally is still Lightning’s love interest in this film if he didn’t just once call out that he loved her. They barely interacted and honestly I don’t see Lightning as still being faithful.

Poor Paul Newman died in 2008, and his voice is still being used in this series. Unused audio from the first film existed so they patched it together for some voice stuff in this film, and it just feels downright gross to do that.

Cars 3 is easily the worst Pixar film since Cars 2. Cars 3 does NOT make Cars 2 look like Cars, because Cars 2 is still the worst, beyond worst, Pixar movie by a long shot. And that is technically a positive.

2017 continues to be a below average year for animated films, but Pixar is on a downward slide. Finding Dory wasn’t good, and the The Good Dinosaur was meh. That is three stinkers in a row. They are banking on Coco doing great in November, but it probably will just feel too similar to The Book of Life at this point, so I have no idea what will save them. They are banking on sequels to beloved franchises for the next films after Coco. We just have two sequels though, and will get two more? They need to stop whatever the fuck they are doing, rethink their whole operation, and start getting original quick if they are going to save their standards.

0 out of 4.

Mother’s Day

Garry Marshall is a man with a plan. He directs a lot of films, a lot of them women centric as well. From Beaches to Pretty Women to The Princess Diaries (and its sequel), he makes films about women for women.

But lately he has changed his mind. He has had holidays on his mind. Holidays with a lot of people and interconnecting plot lines. Yes, he is that guy. So he gave us Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and now, Mother’s Day. There was a lot of hope that he would get super into this and give us weirder shit like Flag Day and Cinco De Mayo, but unfortunately he passed away this year and we only will get these three films.

I also could have reviewed this a long time ago. Like, end of 2016. I wanted to watch it and Bad Moms back to back, and so I watched them both to see if they would qualify for my Worst Films of 2016 list. And as you can tell, this one did not make it, it wasn’t that terrible, so instead, I just saved it for the next Mother’s Day instead.

That’s right. I am writing this in 2016. So if my site still exists in May? That would be nice. To date this review further, Obama is still president, I am 27 years old, and I have not seen The Belko Experiment yet.

Gay gay
All of these actresses are currently alive at the time of my writing this as well.

Alright, big cast of characters here we go. And don’t worry, I already decided to not tag any of the kid actors.

Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is divorced, with two kids, but she is still friends with her ex, Henry (Timothy Olyphant), and maybe curious about getting back together. Who knows. Oh wait! He is married now, to Tina (Shay Mitchell), a much younger woman. And the kids love her. And he wants them on Mother’s Day for a little bit too coming up, because hey step mom. Yayyy.

Bradley (Jason Sudeikis), is not a mother, but his wife (Jennifer Garner) is! Or was. She died, in the war, because she was a soldier. [NOTE: Garry Marshall loves having female soldiers in his movies]. He has two daughters, one of them in the mature age, but he just wants to wallow at home. He does still work, he runs a gym, and he has a large group of ladies (Loni Love, Lucy Walsh, Beth Kennedy, amongst others) who want to set him up with friends.

Jesse (Kate Hudson) and Gabi (Sarah Chalke) are sisters and sharing a house together, both working on families. Jesse is married to Russell (Aasif Mandvi) and they had a boy. Gabi is a lesbian, with her partner Max (Cameron Esposito). And their parents (Margo Martindale, Robert Pine) know nothing about the kid or the sexual preferences and show up to surprise them.

Let’s see, we also have Kristin (Britt Roberson), who was adopted and wants to learn about her mother. She is long term dating a guy (Jack Whitehall) and doesn’t want to get married despite having a kid with him. He is a stand up comic trying to win a local club event run by Wally Burn (Jon Lovitz).

And a famous lady who sells jewelry on TV? That is who Julia Roberts plays.

Mom
She is worried her boys might see too much of their new step-mom.

Mother’s Day is exactly as one would expect it. Four or five plot lines, all briefly interconnecting in a big city, all around the holiday of Mother’s Day.

And unfortunately for me, my favorite character was played by Sudeikis. The only of the leads to be a man. And yes, it is because I could relate to him most of all. But also Sudeikis makes me happy in most of larger films, so it is just more him and less me being lame and not relating to women.

Aniston’s plot line was a bit more annoying, as it made Olyphant out to be such a bad guy because it was from her point of view, when it is obvious she is overreacting and getting on our nerves. The “old fashioned parents” being anti-everything also felt awkward in this movie. Character Actress Margo Martindale was such a bad person in the film and she technically never really got better. It ends with her happily telling racist jokes to Russell’s mom basically.

Mother’s Day isn’t bad. It is just emotional drama porn. Julia Roberts is in here because she is in most of Marshall’s films, and it is a very wasted plot line.

But the good news is? It is still way better than Moms’ Night Out.

1 out of 4.

Wilson

Who the fuck is Wilson? Is this a movie about a volleyball?

Those were the only thoughts I had going into this movie. And when I saw one poster, that it would be able a creepy dude. Not just any creepy dude. A creepy older dude, with glasses, and a beard.

I also quickly learned that the movie would be a weird movie, because it was directed by Craig Johnson, who directed The Skeleton Twins. I didn’t love that one, but man, it was weird.

Shock1
How shocking, that it is about a real person, not a volleyball.

Wilson (Woody Harrelson) isn’t actually creepy, really. He is a bit weird. He is weird because he hates the way the world is changing. He hates that everyone is so anti-social nowadays. He wants to communicate with people, even if they are strangers. He wants to just say what is on his mind and let other people say what is on their minds. He isn’t going to be trapped on his phone, or sleeping on the train, he just wants to experience the world. If he doesn’t slow down once in awhile, he might miss it, after all.

And then his best friend moves away, without any warning. Now Wilson is all alone. He has no purpose. Just his dog. No family, nothing. Well, he does have an ex-wife. Pippi (Laura Dern) was with Wilson for a few years, a real piece of work. Then one day she up and left him. Got an abortion and moved far, far away. But it turns out she is in the area again! So maybe he can try and see how she is and get to know her again. Maybe start a relationship so that the hole in his life can be filled.

Speaking of filling holes, turns out she didn’t get an abortion. She put the kid up for adoption and the girl is like, 17 now, living in the same city this whole time and he had no idea! Now Wilson has a family. He has a purpose. He just has to bring it all together.

Starring Isabella Amara as the daughter, along with Brett Gelman, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Cheryl Hines, and Bill McCallum.

Shock2
Apparently this is also the most shocking movie ever, from his point of view.

Wilson was a surprise hit, and surprisingly hysterical at points. The man was just so absurd and so socially weird it was constantly surprising. The main poster shows him standing next to another person at a urinal, with a ton of open urinals. The biggest social faux pas you can do in a restroom, outside of also hold a conversation with them, which he does. And it is a nice scene about families and how to raise your kids. And it ends with one of the funniest, unexpected yet completely expected lines ever. I was laughing way too long at it.

Wilson was great. As a person and a character study. A movie I could watch over and over again and still crack up. An instant classic on just its humor.

But its story could use some work, a lot of work. It feels so long but the movie is only about an hour and a half. It takes awhile to get to the point, and then it goes in several weird directions. Including jail, which lasts a long time for that late in the film. And we even have a post jail tiny plot to take care about. It is a bit disjointed in these regards.

Harrelson does a great performance though and always seems to find new ways to entertain me.

3 out of 4.

Heaven Is For Real

Alright, let’s just get this over with. Heaven Is For Real. Just in time for Easter. My least favorite holiday (note: I dislike most holidays).

Why is it my least favorite? Because I find it the most pointless, and hate that things are closed for it. Not to mention its ever changing day every year. And the shitty movies that deal with it, like Hop, or, well, this one.

Young Boy
This kid acts pretty strangely for a four year old. In fact, I bet he is secretly six.

This story is more about Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear) than anyone else. Todd is a pastor at a small town church in Nebraska. He is super religious, a handyman, a volunteer firefighter, and pretty dang poor. He has bills, but you know, he trusts Jesus. He also has a few set backs that sidelines him for the church for some time.

But the biggest sideback comes from his son, who has a huge fever during flu season. This fever lasts for several days. Turns out Colton (Connor Corum) has had his appendix burst, so he has just been in pain. They take him to the hospital, people pray, he is fine, yay living. But then Colton starts to act a bit weird. He claims he saw outside of his body, that he went to Heaven and met Jesus. He met other family members who were dead, then he returned.

This is all very strange for Todd and his wife (Kelly Reilly) to accept. After all, he never was officially dead ever. Just was under surgery, just was in an induced sleep. But he “knew things that he couldn’t possibly know” so he must be telling the truth! None of this could be based on his upbringing, what everyone else told him was real or anything! Nope, proof, right there!

Also starring Thomas Haden Church and Margo Martindale as an influential couple in the town and church.

Heaven is an Old Man
Ah, the big turning point in the movie! I mean, if I was six years old, maybe.

Don’t worry everyone. This movie isn’t as bad as God’s Not Dead. No, this one at least has some pretty scenes, decent CGI, nice camera work, and better acting. Come on, Kevin Sorbo was always hammy, so he isn’t great now. No, we get Greg Kinnear, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in As Good As It Gets!

There isn’t a lot I can say about this movie either. They kind of go over everything. They literally explain most of the theories as to what could have happened, all of those theories make sense. Then all of those theories get ignored every time the boy says something. The problem with it is that he never says anything that is proof. All of the information that was kind of shown in the trailer? That is basically all the movie shows too. No cutting tape ruining it either. The dad shows the kid a picture of the grandpa when he was younger. “Yep, that is him”. That is all. He doesn’t describe him at all, just declines the old version and picks the young one.

Same with his description of Jesus. I mean, the fact that the Jesus he saw being white kind of proves that it was all just a bullshit dream anyways, right? Right?

My biggest reason why this movie doesn’t get a pass is the ending. It kind of just ends. Doesn’t really prove anything, just ends a little bit after a sermon that doesn’t make a lot of sense. It is an ending that is an extreme let down. The problems faced by them in this movie seem to be ignored. They owe like, 50,000 in bills, stuff going to collections. But whatever. They are having another baby, the town like him, and the movie ends.

For fucking sake, at least finish your dang story.

Overall, I’d say this story has the least amount of things happen in it that I have ever seen in a movie, for it to make the big claim that it does. Like absolutely nothing happens. It also features a lot of people getting angry over nothing and yelling without any real spark.

1 out of 4.

August: Osage County

Here’s a totally non surprising confession.

I. Love. Plays.

And musicals. But that live shit, on a stage? It is great. I especially love plays because the entire focus point of the play will generally always be people conversing with one another. No amazing special effects. Just acting and great dialogue. Mmm, great dialogue. I fancy myself a shitty writer. The only good part about my stories is the dialogue, so I think I need to write plays.

This is me blabbering on, and not talking about August: Osage County, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. So of course it was turned into a movie. Of course it was nominated for awards. And of course, I watched it.

Family
If you look closely, you will see a confused and bewildered Benedict Cumberbatch.

The year: Who knows. The month: Probably August. The location: Osage County, Oklahoma.

Why? Well, Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) has flown the coop, and left his house without notice. Known for being a drunk, he at least hired a maid (Misty Upham) to clean up the house. His wife, Violet (Meryl Streep) is extremely distraught. She has mouth cancer, and is addicted to a lot of pills, so she calls in her family during this time of woe.

We do have a big cast of people coming over. Of course her sister, Mattie Fay (Margo Martindale), is there, with her husband, Charles (Chris Cooper), and their son Lil’ Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch). Her youngest daughter, Ivy (Julianne Nicholson), still lives in the town, so of course she is there right away too.

The eldest daughter, Barbara (Julia Roberts), who left for Colorado, has brought her husband, Bill (Ewan McGregor), and 14-year old daughter, Jean (Abigail Breslin). Her middle daughter, Karen (Juliette Lewis), has brought along her new fiance, Steve (Dermot Mulroney), from Miami.

Lot of faces, lot of family, and a lot of time apart. It doesn’t help that very early on (not a spoiler), Beverly is found dead after he wandered away, so the family is now grieving. Perfect opportunity to air out grievances, abuse drugs, and tell people what is really going on, no matter who it hurts.

Death Laugh
“Oh, he died! Ha ha ha!” Creepy women, yo.

Let’s keep this short and simple, self. I gotta remind myself to not go overboard with these analyses sometimes.

I loved every character in this play. A lot of them are horrible people. But I loved every single one. Every person had a reason to act the way they acted. The movie explained the reasons for everyone eventually, and not much was left open by the end. Sure, there was a general “Where do they go from here?” but that one is completely fine and worth being left open ended. I loved every character, so of course I loved every person acting in this movie as well. They all brought something to the character, and conveyed information with more than just words and loud noises.

That’s right, this is a movie for people who like great acting and a decent plot, nothing more. The plot itself is of the dysfunctional family variety, and even by the end I was surprised to find out some of the secrets that were kept hidden. Sure, they made some plot lines a bit obvious and easy to figure out, but others came from quite far out of left field, it was a joy experiencing them all.

My only issue with the movie is that the beginning felt a tad bit slower, up til the funeral. Post funeral is where the movie really kicks it into high gear, and then stays at that level of intensity until the credits roll.

4 out of 4.