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?
A couple years ago, I saw an ad for 7 Days in Hell while using HBO and I was instantly drawn in. I had to watch that movie RIGHT AWAY and review it ASAP. It looked magicial, and really, it was.
I didn’t know it was so short, only 40 minutes. I didn’t know it was to poke fun at the ESPN documentary series. But I went in, it was short, but I still called it a film and had an okay review.
And now years later, I saw an ad for Tour De Pharmacy. This time I was older, a bit wiser, a bit smarter, and a bit less repetitive. I knew what I was getting in to, and thus I was excited. Why can’t lightning hit twice?
And look, we have more athletes now than a single tennis match!
Tour De Pharmacy tells the story of the 1982 Tour De France, and all of the bizarre happenings that occurred during the race. Including the first time that someone died on the race!
Due to plot reasons, a lot of bicyclists in the race ended up getting eliminated really early on, as it turned out they paid bribes in order to avoid being drug tested. Like, a lot, a lot. As in, only five bikers remained.
We had Slim Robinson (Daveed Diggs / Danny Glover), nephew of Jackie Robinson, who wanted to be the first black athlete in some sport, so he was the first black athlete to compete in the Tour De France! There was Adriana Baton (Freddie Highmore / Julia Ormond), the first woman to compete in the race, but no one knew it at the time, as she pretended to be a man in order to qualify. There is also Marty Hass (Andy Samberg / Jeff Goldbloom), who is actually the first African to compete in the race. Yes he is white, and was an aristocrat, and it pisses off a lot of people that he has taken that first away.
The other two members of the pack were Juju Pepe (Orlando Bloom), a native Frenchman and actual famous bike rider, and Gustav Ditters (John Cena / Dolph Lundgren), a giant muscle man who didn’t fit the normal physiques that one would expect from a bicyclist. Along for the ride is Rex Honeycut (James Marsden), a journalist who will bike alongside the pack, in order to give in person interviews as the race happens!
This also features a slew of other actors, some playing themselves, to tell the story of the 1982 Tour De France: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kevin Bacon, Lance Armstrong, Maya Rudolph, Mike Tyson, Will Forte, and narrated by Jon Hamm.
The more arm muscles have, the faster you go on a bike. It’s fucking science!
If you liked 7 Days in Hell, you will like this movie! If you didn’t, you won’t. Pretty simple. Of course, a whole mess of you might not have seen the first one, so I still have to talk.
Honestly, this is just an absurd parody movie, I love it. It is short, so some of their jokes and moments don’t ever get to go into depth, and that is probably where it excels. After all, there is only so much stupid stuff they can throw in it before a viewer might get tired of it all. I think it was just the right length and zany to amuse the shit out of me, possible amuse the shit out of me over multiple viewings.
Now, despite that? Yeah, there are still some dull parts as well. The film even comments on it, as there were long boring stretches in the actual race that caused viewership to drop tremendously, in the fictional recounting. Making it meta and commenting on the progressiveness however, still didn’t do it for me.
Also, well fucking done Lance Armstrong. His role as hidden informant was a joke that just kept on giving, it surprisingly never got stale. All of the cameos were pretty funny.
Tour De Pharmacy is a relatively smart and quick laugh thrill ride, with only a few moments of slowed traffic to catch your breath.
When they first announced The Angry Birds Movie, you couldn’t have paid me to see the prescreening of it. That is because I was steadily employed when it was first announced. Now, when the actually prescreening occurred, I would have gladly accepted money to go to it. Alas, if I went I would have had to go for free and that still wasn’t good enough.
Now I played Angry Birds before. Yeah, like, in 2010, really early after it came out. I had an Android phone and it was 100% free, with a lot of components to it, so yeah, I played the shit out of it. Then I eventually stopped caring. I hated the space game, hated the star wars one, and well, just stopped caring, and never looked back.
At the same time I was annoyed by all the clothing and merchandising that was suddenly existing. It was just a small phone game, why would someone want a backpack with them on it? Oh well, I ignored it and then hey, six years after the game, a movie appeared.
Needless to say, waiting for it on DVD was always a safe bet for me.
Oh yeah, they really captured his anger there.
Red (Jason Sudeikis), is a bird, and he is angry. Everyone else on this island is happy, but not him. He is pissed off. All the minor things really piss him off. And after a series of incidents, he has found himself face first in an egg, so now the chick thinks he is its daddy. So the family goes to court over the incident and the judge (Keegan-Michael Key) sentences him to Anger Management class, the harshest sentence!
At the class, it is run by a white bird named Matilda (Maya Rudolph). He also meets a yellow bird who is incredibly fast, Chuck (Josh Gad), a big black bird who explodes sometimes, Bomb (Danny McBride), and a very, very large red bird who doesn’t talk a whole lot, Terence (Sean Penn).
But wait! A ship appears over the ocean. On it, a large pig named Leonard (Bill Hader), bringing gifts and technology to their small area. Everyone loves them, except for Red, because his house gets damaged in their arrival and he doesn’t let it go. All of the other birds get annoyed at Red’s anger and basically make him leave. Red decides that something must be up, as more and more pigs are arriving every day. He decides to bring Chuck and Bomb with him on a quest to find the Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage), famed super bird who can FLY to help save the day.
And if that doesn’t work, well, then maybe they will have to fix things on their own before everything goes sour.
Oh, that pig is a king too. Royalty. King Leonard, the majestically hammy.
If you couldn’t tell, I went into this movie expecting to hate it. A franchise that has become both forgettable and annoying, about a game with not a lot of plot. It seemed like a cash grab (and regardless of quality, it is still that). Judging from the animation style, I expected it to be just as annoying as most of the Minions movies have been.
And then I laughed. I laughed quite a few times. I was surprised at how much humor they actually smushed into the film. It has a pretty standard 90 minute-ish run time, but there are so many things going on, almost at all times. It was made for the ADHD crowd. Background jokes, frontground jokes, puns, double meanings, and more. And of course globs of reference humor. The last time I saw this many jokes in an animated film was Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2.
Despite how quick everything went, it still also took its time, surprisingly. It took almost a whole hour into the film before the pigs finally went bad and did the bad stuff, leaving just the last act to chase them down and tear down their city in retaliation, aka, the angry birds game part. Normally that would be an issue but time surprisingly flew by.
Heh, like the birds when you sling them.
The Angry Birds Movie has a shitty title and a shitty franchise, but damn it, it was a pretty funny film and a decent experience. It won’t change the animated world, but it will make you giggle.
Where does one begin when talking about Strange Magic? Well, first of all, it basically came out of nowhere. There were two main “kid” movies out in January. Paddington, which had tons of press and was actually pushed a little bit from December, and Strange Magic which had maybe 1 poster hung up somewhere in America.
I mean seriously, I saw no trailers ever, nothing on TV, no screening events, no kiddy toy promotion with a major realtor or fast food store. Did anyone know this movie was happening? Oh, George Lucas apparently knew it was happening. It was a Lucasarts film, which is now owned by Disney, but apparently it has been in development/production for FIFTEEN YEARS.
Anything that takes that long has to have some bad moojoo on it. Remember Duke Nukem Forever? There is attempting to make sure everything is perfect and forcing a boulder up hill.
And then there is this awkwardly realistic and equally awkwardly not dude.
The movie begins with the (world?) divided into two lands, a fairy land that’s all light and happy, and a bog land that is dark and scary. Immediately you might be thinking of Epic or even Secret of the Wings, it is a popular trope. The movie then begins with a very familiar tune.
Then there is singing. Singing of old songs. What is happening. Oh, not only was this movie mysterious, but it was also a JUKEBOX MUSICAL. So many of the characters sing real popular-esque songs. However there is no theme here like in Mamma Mia and they are just all over the place.
Ugh. Anyways. Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood) is a fairy princess. She is going to get married to Roland (Sam Palladio) but finds him kissing another fairy on their wedding day. So she goes a bit gothic and swears to never love again. Years later, her sister Dawn (Meredith Anne Bull) is in love with everything and everyone, much to her annoyance. Roland is still around, trying to marry Marianne just to control the army and become a powerful ruler.
So what does Roland do? He convinces Sunny (Elijah Kelley), an elf with a crush on Dawn, to get a love potion made so that they both can use it and get what they want. The only person who can make a love potion is the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kristin Chenoweth), who was captured by the Bog King (Alan Cumming), because he hates love and love potions, or something.
I mean, he has a point. They are pretty rapey. Needless to say, shenanigans happen thanks to the Bog King also kidnapping Dawn after she gets hit with the potion. So back and forth they go, singing and dancing, and stopping overall bad stuff from happening. Hooray kids movies and learning to love again!
First we battle in an epic fashion, and then we dance!
How much do you really want to hear strange covers of Sugar Pie Honey Bunch and Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)? You don’t, you are right. This movie is full of songs you might have got to sing for public school middle school chorus classes or hear all the time at karaoke bars. Not having a theme isn’t an issue. Moulin Rouge! had no theme for the songs and they kicked butt.
Honestly, this movie in a vague description sounds like something I would love. I love musicals. I don’t mind fairies. I like nice CGI movies. But somehow this movie managed to fire on zero cylinders. Nothing felt like it worked. Parts of the animation were nice, and other parts looked like complete shit. They had really good voice talent, and wasted it on one of the most boring lists I have ever seen. None of the songs are really trying, they are all super safe and lazy. I Want To Dance With Somebody? Great song. Terribly easy to put into one of these and force a context for though.
Ugh. It ended up not being funny, not looking very pleasing on the eyes, and even made me dislike singing. How that is possible, I won’t ever know. I mean, I even gave Walking On Sunshine a 2 out of 4. This one just felt like an awkward mess. Knowing that Disney now owns Lucasfilms, it must have been in the buyout that they had to help fund or release this movie, and they just tried to sneak it out hoping no one would notice.
I was excited to watch Inherent Vice, because the internet told me to be excited about Inherent Vice. It was some sleek 1970s-esque drama/mystery, complete with Private Eye and missing people. It had a sexy poster and a lot of famous people in it.
I honestly didn’t see too much advertising outside of the internet, but it was also by a well respected director. Paul Thomas Anderson has made quite a few good films, all of them well acted, very well loved.
So despite it taking me, I dunno, two or so months after it first started coming out to theaters, I have finally gotten around to seeing it!
And then, uh, I saw it and left quite disappointed.
I am probably just a prude like this lady here.
Here is what I pieced together.
Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is a private investigator, a man with sideburns, and someone who loves women, drugs, and other hippie behavior. His ex lady Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston) is now sleeping with a real estate mogul Michael Z. Wolfmann (Eric Roberts). His wife doesn’t like the affair and might be planning something drastic.
Also, unrelated, Tariq Khalil (Michael Kenneth Williams) wants Doc to find his friend, a member of an Aryan gang. The man who also is a bodyguard of Mr. Wolfmann. Oh man. The plot thickens.
Either way, these two inquiries lead Doc on a strange and drug fueled path, featuring death, framing, cunnilingus, sex, more drugs, and more drugs again. Also featuring Hong Chau, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Martin Short, Josh Brolin, Maya Rudolph and Benicio Del Toro.
My face when I found out the side burns had their own place in the credits.
I think the main point of Inherent Vice is to tell a decade appropriate story with a decade appropriate amount of drugs and hazy memory. The story feels disjointed because of how messed up the characters actually are. I’d say it is like an unreliable narrator, but I am not even sure who the narrator was, just a woman.
And I hated it. I don’t care how accurate the experience is, it just makes me feel uncomfortable. Which again, is probably the point. But these are feelings I don’t want to feel, the feelings of confusion.
The set is fine. The acting is fine. The music is good. But the story I found impossible to get into. For the most part it just felt like two characters talking to each other and uhh then the next scene. I like dramas, I like talking, I just could do absolutely nothing with this one.
For whatever reason, I know a lot of people who were upset when Disney bought Marvel Studios. They thought it was the end of the good stuff. They thought only bad could come. They said the same thing when they bought Lucasfilm.
I, however, was excited. They weren’t going to mess around with a good thing too much, they didn’t want to spend billions to not make billions more back! But I was even more excited about the potential of a full on, super good CGI Marvel/Disney flick. Yeah. Something with the cutting edge in technology, giving me full on super hero battles, with flash colors and everything the comics promised, and really that live action movies still can’t fully give. So when I found out it was Big Hero 6? Well, I obviously had to look up what the hell that was.
Big Hero 6 is a much smaller property that has a small following. It is most well known for having, at times, Sunfire and Silver Samurai from X-Men in it, but we know that Fox has those rights, so they had to work around it. Disney also wanted to be able to tell a new story and not feel super tied down to any mythos, so messing with a smaller property would work well with that. And hey, if they didn’t have the Big Hero 6 leader in it, they’d probably have to change a lot anyways.
And thus, this animated movie exists, presumably nothing like the (old) comics, and I knowing nothing about it couldn’t have been happier.
Yay surprises and happiness and sunshine flowers!
This story is about Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter) and his trouble with ladies. That’s not true, he doesn’t have troubles, he just doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about ANYTHING really, outside of robots and robot fighting. You see, Hiro is only 14, but he already graduated high school. Bright kid. Has a bright older brother too, Tadashi (Daniel Henney), but he is in college doing boring stuff. Hiro just wants to illegally bot fight and make money that way.
But once he finds out that Tadashi is actually in a really fucking cool robotics program, with really cool people? Yeah, that is when he thinks college might be a good thing, and not just living at home with his Aunt (Maya Rudolph) in San Fransokyo (which you should be able to figure out what two cities were combined for this).
Well, Hiro is able to design super sexy nanobot technology to get himself admission to the school! But when disaster strikes and he loses his invention, he is sad again. Not even his new college friends can help: Go Go Tomago (Jamie Chung), Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez), Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Fred (T.J. Miller).
But when he finds out his invention was stolen and is being used for nefarious purposes, well, he cannot just sit idly by. He has to fight back. And he has to use Baymax (Scott Adsit), the soft robot helper and turn him into a fighting machine! And maybe he can fight back too. And his friends. Yes… Maybe they can be…super heroes.
Shake that sexy butt.
Color? Yes. Fantastic animation? Yes yes. Likeable characters? Yesx3. A plot about science and why knowledge is good and how science can change the world? Hells to the yes.
Watching Big Hero 6, the best way to describe it was having a blast. This Disney film is notable for not having a lot of songs, which might be their goal. They went Tangled, then Wreck-It Ralph, then Frozen, and now Big Hero 6. A lot more “macho” themed movie, if you go by outdated gender stereotypes, so there is no room for silly songs. Just action, humor, and sexy sexy graphics.
This was just a really great both super hero movie and animated family film. That is a hard one to pull off. A lot of great humor and it has a lot of similarities (based on my research) with the comics, but unique enough to make it its own thing. The only issue with it being in the animated field and a Disney flick, is I know that if we are going to get it a sequel, we have at least a four year wait. Can’t have one of these guys every two years, as it will make them compete with themselves for Best Animated Picture, and they don’t want that.
And can we get another shout out to science? Yay science! Some of the tech was inspired by real life advances too, making this futuristic tale also a bit modern.
It is too close to Halloween now, but I expect fully by next year that we will see a lot of Hiro and Baymax duos out and about. Not more than Elsa, but a fair number still.
The Nut Job has the honor of being the first animated movie of 2014, which also means it is both the worst and best animated movie of 2014 so far.
Bask in that position while you can, The Nut Job, because your time on top will fall. It will cascade downward into oblivion, becoming worse and worse as the year goes on, until May. At that point, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return comes out, so it will take the last spot so that you will have some shoulders to climb on. There you will be the second worst until July, in which we see Planes: Fire & Rescue. Whether or not you end up better than the “third worst animated film of the year” is left up to debate. But as of right now, thinks are not looking good.
Seriously, those things on the right look like beavers without the tails?
Surly (Will Arnett) is a purple squirrel, and thank everything he isn’t fucking named Squirrel. I mean, it’s still close to it, but its not Squirrel. Hate lazy family films like that. He lives in the cities park, but he is on his own, with his mouse friend Buddy. He doesn’t believe in collecting food for winter with the rest of the animals. No he wants nuts for himself.
Well, after a freak accident, involving a flying nut cart, the park’s food supply gets burned up in a fire. They blame it on him, despite it not really being his fault either. So the leader of the park, Raccoon (Liam Neeson) wants to avoid a trial and holds a vote for banishment of Surly from the park forever. Also, what in the fuck. Damn it, damn it, damn it. Raccoon named Raccoon? Fuck that.
So Surly has a bad time in the city, but he runs into the holy grail of buildings. A nut shop, with nuts! He could live there forever! But he can’t do it alone. Thankfully, due to the food storage, Raccoon has sent out Andie (Katherine Heigl) and Grayson (Brendan Fraser), the Park Hero, to find more food, and they will help! Also there they bring in a mole, named mother fucking Mole (voiced by mother fucking Jeff Dunham, ugh), and some beaver or something. Definitely bigger rodents.
So yeah, breaking into a nut shop, like a classic bank heist movie. But while this is happening, the “owners” of the nut shop are actually working on robbing the bank across the street by digging under the streets. Mob boss, typical story, everything going nuts. Also, Maya Rudolph voices a dog named Precious.
There is so much wrong with this movie, I don’t know where to begin.
Alright, first, the animation. It isn’t the best quality of CGI in any sense. It has its moments, but mostly it feels like a very strange…video game feel to it? Like they had no heart in the animation and it was something that they had just lying around. I don’t even know how to describe it. It never felt great to me though.
The puns. I like puns. But there are only two groupings of puns here. Referring to things as “nuts!” over and over again. And the Mob Boss talking about how much he hates “rats.” They can be clever, but they both get overused to the point where it doesn’t matter anymore.
The idea of the plot is a good one, but it barely followed any part of the traditional heist movie format. All of the plot is through miscommunication and people being dicks to each other. I am a bit happy to hear Fraser say “Shut the FRONT DOOR” in a PG movie though. That was a bit surprising.
Movie is full of random other bullshit that I noticed. For instance, the bank is across the street from the park. We learn that early on, because that is why the nut cart is there, for surveillance. But also, the nut shop is across the street from the front of the bank too. Some how. What? Fuck you. Makes even less sense when they show the people going on a long journey to stumble upon it, when it should be visible from the park.
More inaccuracies. A dam gets blown up that leads to the city. Explosions, cracked walls, big danger. Doesn’t affect the city at all. The water goes in two directions, one down a lazy river to the park, the other goes down a HUGEEE waterfall where we assume people/animals died. Surly goes down the dangerous waterfall, yet somehow that brings him…back to the park also. Geographically inconsistant.
They have major plot points that are either obvious, or used in terrible unclever ways (re: everything related to the dog whistle).
It was a mess of a movie.
As a side note, people who forgive a movie for being lame might say “Hey, it’s a kids movie, you are being too hard on it!” Kids movie should not be an excuse for poor quality. Pixar proved that a long time ago. Unfortunately, the theater was packed when I saw this. Many families. So many kids. Rarely did any of them laugh. Yeah, a shitty kids movies that kids don’t even enjoy.
Jim Rash and Nat Faxon wrote The Descendants, and graced our screens with its presence in 2011. It was nominated for Best Picture and eventually won Best Adapted Screenplay. It basically made these writers pretty hot commodities.
Look, here are three now!
Summer can suck. Especially if you are Duncan (Liam James). Your parents are divorced, your dad just moved from NY to CA, and your mom (Toni Collette) is dating the biggest douche in the universe, Trent (Steve Carell). Unfortunately for Duncan, he has to head out to Trent’s summer beach house to pretend to give this new family idea a chance.
Did I mention Trent is a douche? He talks down to Duncan, constantly goes off with his friends (Rob Corddry, Amanda Peet) to get drunk or high or both. It is basically his personal summer vacation, where Duncan and his mom are afterthoughts.
But eventually, Duncan finds friendship in the local Water Park. Slacker manager Owen (Sam Rockwell) has decided to take pity on Duncan, give him a job and help him find a purpose in this long dreadful summer. With the help of Owen and the other workers (Maya Rudolph, Faxon, Rash), Duncan learns that there are non sucky things out there in life.
That is great, sure, but will this new found joy in life at all help him with his horrible home situation? Will it help him woo over the neighbor girl (AnnaSophia Robb), who has to deal with her constantly drunk mother (Allison Janney)?
Oh god. He is staring into my soul. What do I do!? Just act natural. Ho hum…AHHH!
Comedy/Drama movies are actually quite hard to pull off successfully. After all, even the strictest of dramas tend to have some minor elements in comedy, and vice versa. But most movies labeled in this category are clearly still one genre over the other, or even worse, weak in both areas to try and find a balance. One of the best examples I could list of a real comedy/drama would be 50/50, a film that made me both laugh and cry.
Nat Faxon and Jim Rash wrote a decent comedy/drama with The Descendants, very enjoyable, but it could have been more dramatic. For The Way, Way Back, they decided to amp up their game, and created a much better film. Not going to lie, I cried three times during it. I can’t say I relate specifically to the scenes in this film, but thanks to an excellent build up with terrific acting from everyone on the cast, the emotions quickly took over.
Steve Carell had to play the biggest jerk in the world, and he pulled it off well. It was quite surprising. Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney carried the comedy for me, while at the same time their characters felt real. Everyone felt real. I love real, even though real characters lead to uncomfortable moments.
Major props as well to Liam James. I can’t say I recognized him in anything before, however he pulled off the awkward/lonely teenager role really well. But hey, apparently he was Young Shawn in the Psych flashbacks, so that is kind of cool.
Turbo is the latest example of a kids movie following a very standard formula. Let’s take some sort of entity and either a) give them an impossible dream (and reach it!), or b) give them some ridiculous flaw (and overcome it!). Like a bird who doesn’t know how to fly. Or a plane that is afraid of heights (and wants to race). Or an overweight comedian who wants to box. Or a snail who wants to race in the Indy 500. Oh wait, that one is Turbo!
Fuck. Let’s get this over with.
Well, eventually Turbo falls into a car engine and gets coated with NOS, transforming his DNA and giving him incredible speed! This also somehow turns him partially into a car, with headlights, radio, rear review lights and stuff. Not sure how that second part happened. Even more eventually, Chet and Turbo find themself caught by Tito (Michael Pena), a down on his luck Taco maker. He works for his older brother (Luis Guzman) and their business is not doing well. Why did Turbo decide to not run away as soon as they were captured? No idea. But he could have.
Luckily, Tito is all into snail racing. Turns out Turbo is stupid fast and he wants to use Turbo to get more business. A very noble cause. So they set off to enter him into the Indy 500, for exposure. Nowadays kids would just make a YouTube video and become famous that way.
Oh yeah, Turbo has his own snail crew to back him up now. There is Whiplash (Samuel L. Jackson), Smoove Move (Snoop Dogg), Burn (Maya Rudolph), Skidmark (Ben Schwartz), and White Shadow (Mike Bell). Of course Ken Jeong voices a tiny Asian nail technician.
This movie is about to get fucked. Seriously. No mercy. Cover your eyes if you don’t like violent imagery.
Turbo made a big deal about getting a yard in 17 minutes. I know it was a yard, because they showed the measuring stick briefly. However, 36 inches in 17 minutes is really slow. Like, really really slow. That is why I went over to WolframAlpha to convert it. Seriously check the link.
WolframAlpha is so amazing it compared the velocity calculated to the the velocity of a garden snail automatically and it is about 33% the speed of the actual garden snail. Great, we have a snail that is statistically slower than most garden snails. Let’s say that factual error can be ignored, fine. Unfortunately, almost every other point in the movie (pre-genetic manipulation), Turbo and other snails are still shown with greater velocities than his trial. Unless it was important to the plot that is (see: the tomato/lawn mower scene).
Come on now, consistency.
[Editor’s note: Apparently IRL and F1 are different things, but similar vehicles. I just know them as “Not NASCAR”. Point still stands, basically.]
The ending bugged me a lot as well. As it is a car race, it involved a pile up of cars real close to the finish. At this point, Turbo and Guy go into a “foot race” type of situation for the finish like, similar to Talladega Nights. But according to official Formula 1 racing rules (here and here specifically), none of it would count and the whole thing feels pointless.
Let’s get to the most important part of the movie. This plot is inherently stupid and bad. I didn’t read the full rules for the Formula 1 racing, so I can’t confirm if there is no rule that would disallow a snail. However, the concept behind it can only be described as cheating and a snail would never be allowed to race in such an event. They have very specific standards for the size of the vehicles, type of protection they need, everything you can possibly imagine. The snail’s dimensions do not match a car’s dimensions. For an extreme example, it’d be like using a Ferrari. Or like doping.
At one point during the race, the announcer screams that he can’t believe Turbo is passing a car from below. I am fine with his reaction, because Turbo is basically cheating. But the announcer is surprised instead that he could fit, even though Formula 1 cars have about 4.5 inches of room underneath them, while a garden snail is at most 1.5 inches tall.
If you hadn’t figured out by now, Guy is the villain of this movie, but only because he wants to win the race too. Just like the other 30ish humans in the race, all doing it without cheating.
I laughed I think a total of two times. The laziness of the plot, the laziness of the details, and the laziness of the character development ruined this movie for me. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt. “America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, bad-ass speed.” Turbo would not have lived up to the former First Lady’s opinions on America or Racing.