The Big Sick

Earlier this summer, if you have friends in the 20’s, you probably know of someone who was talking about The Big Sick. They would have recommended that you see it RIGHT AWAY in theaters, because hey, it is an indie movie and they need to make their money back to produce more good films!

I know I was hounded, but that is because people know I watch movies and made sure I went out and saw this one.

And then I decided to wait a few months before dropping this review, just to see how many more times would people tell me to watch and review The Big Sick. The total count was 7, quite a large number, larger than any other film that has ever been requested. You know, because most of the times I just go and review the movie and not wait on it.

I just think it is interesting that basically everyone who saw it, made sure other people would go and see it too. It is like it was a guerrilla marketing ad campaign or something.

“Oh you are buying pasta? Will you eat it after you go see The Big Sick?”

Kumail (Kumail Nanjiani, yes playing himself), is a stand up comic living in the Windy City and generally he is poor and happy. His best friends are all stand up comics (Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant), and he lives with another one (Kurt Braunohler), but he isn’t as funny. Kumail is also an Uber driver! Good times for mad cash.

At some point after a show, he meets Emily (Zoe Kazan) in the bar. He tries to flirt with her, it goes okay, and they have a one night fling. But it is nothing serious. Won’t continue. Until it does! It keeps happening, despite her busy graduate school schedule, they just cannot stop doing the sexy and the dating.

Kumail has commitment issues though. You see, his parents (Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff) are traditional, and want to set him up with a traditional Pakistani arranged marriage. He doesn’t want it, but he plays along, because he loves his family, and if he dates a white woman he will be ostracized. So he is afraid of getting too close to Emily. So he doesn’t want to even meet her parents (Ray Romano, Holly Hunter) when they are in town!

This leads to issues. This leads to fights! But most importantly is the title of this movie. The Big Sick. Because throughout all of this, Emily gets sick. Really sick. A sickness that no one understands and is life threatening. The type of thing that can really bring people closer together. Well, not the sick person, but everyone around the sick person.

Also starring Adeel Akhtar!

If I had to have celebrities play my parents, this would be an ideal pairing.

This is a very personal story for Nanjiani, which shows. He clearly has passion in this movie and he wants people to know about the struggles that his wife went through and what began their relationship. After all, the best comedians drawn upon their own lives to help relate their work to other people, building a connection and having a good old laugh about it all. Even though it can be scary, even though it can be intense.

Romano and Hunter were FANTASTIC as the parents of Emily. They, too, felt wonderfully real and open about everything. I imagined them as a real couple quite easily, wearing the fear of concern on their face, while dealing with the awkward situation of a pseudo-boyfriend. It was great acting from those three.

What I really didn’t connect with at all was Kazan as Emily. After the fact, I realized that I recognized Kazan from other films (like the wonderful Ruby Sparks!) but forgot about them all in this movie. I just naturally assumed that maybe she wasn’t an actress and was also playing herself, as the love interest of Nanjiani. That makes sense. If he casts himself, he would cast the other main character of the story.

But it wasn’t. And the only reason I assumed this is because I did not think she did a great job in the first half of the film at all. It seemed like someone uncomfortable with acting. It is hard to explain, but she just didn’t work for me at all.

The movie is charming, it feels realistic, and it is overall wonderful. But at times it really did just feel like a regular RomCom and not something that elevated the genre. It was definitely a good entry in the genre, just not one I loved a lot. Although the 9/11 joke had me rolling, which is why I was sad to see it as part of the main advertising after the fact.

3 out of 4.

Ice Age: Collision Course

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

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

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

So many god damn characters now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 out of 4.

Ice Age 4: Continental Drift

Ice Age Fucking 4: Continental Fucking Draft. Much like Madagascar movies, I had to watch a few of these films real quick before seeing the latest installment. I saw the first one a long time ago, but 2 and 3 I never really go to, because I never really liked the first one. Might have just been old bitter teenager phase though, so might rewatch it as well.

Either way. I have been up to my neck in these guys this last weekend, so lets just get straight to it!

Marathoning these things could explain why I find the teenage girl Mammoth Peaches strangely attractive.

Manny (Ray Romano) the mammoth, is living the good life. With the help of his “half opossom” wife Ellie (Queen Latifah), he is busy raising his ~teenage daughter Peaches (Keke Palmer). Diego (Denis Leary) the sabretooth is still kicking ass, kind of lonely. And Sid (John Leguizamo) the sloth is still crazy. But at least his family came to visit! Just to drop off his grandma (Wanda Sykes) who is also ‘crazy’.

OH WHAT THE FUCK THE GROUND STARTS TO BREAK APART AND THE SHIT IS HITTING THE FAN. Sid, Diego, Manny, and Grandma Sloth find themselves on a small ice chip floating down the sea, with plans on reaching the rest of the herd at the ‘land bridge’.

They have to get there while being chased by a (geologically quick as fuck) slowly moving massive wall, that uhh, represents something. Peaches wants to fit in with the other teen mammoths, especially cute Ethan (Drake). But he has nasty ass ho friends (Heather Morris, Nicki Minaj), and they all hate other things. So she might have to disown her best friend a molehog named Louis (Josh Gad) to do it, but hey, whatever. I’m sure he will understand.

Back on the crazy ass main adventure, uhh after giant storms, they run into pirates. Because why the fuck not.

Captain Gutt (Peter Dinklage…!) an ape like creature, named for his tendency to rip open animals from their gut to their neck, wants the sabretooth and mammoth to join his crew (on a floating ice, yes). That is how his crew was formed, saving animals mostly, and them wanting to work for him. There is a song and everything. It includes Shira (Jennifer Lopez), a white female sabretooth tiger (yes that means exactly what you think it does). Some sort of bunny (Aziz Ansari), a kangaroo (Rebel Wilson), a large Sea Lion (Nick Frost) and many other smaller critters.

So their big plan involves escaping from them (At every corner), trying to figure out how to get back home to save their families and friends from certain doom. How they’d save them once they get back? Who knows, thinking ahead is for lame people.

Captain Gutt
Arggh, a band of ice pirates, rag tag sailors, scurvy, etc.

Ugh. So uhh, first off, as you may have guessed, this movie is full of bad science. “But it is a kids movie…!” Get that excuse out of my face. That seems to be the go to response when filmmakers would rather be lazy and make a poor movie with little to no value. That is sad though, because the original Ice Age had tons of science facts on their side. It actually took place when there were Mammoths and Sabretooth Tigers and even Humans. Sure, during an ice age too. That was around 18,000 BCE. Well, this movie is arguably a few years later than the first, with the birth and growing up of the mammoth baby. But yet Pangea splits apart in it? Something that began 200 million years ago, but instead is represented as something 20k years ago? That is a few magnitudes off, fuck that shit.

It is a popular notion in education. Get an idea in their head, and every few years, fix it a bit for them until it is actually correct. But why not just always be correct? You know, so the kids don’t feel lied too?

Either way, this movie had WAYYYY too many characters. I left out some pretty big names, because small roles because I was just tired of adding more.

It also did bad on its own self pacing. Would show a few days in time with the main cast, then 5s with the rest of the families. Their story lines being mostly one of a normal middle school drama that we’ve all seen before, and happens the same way every time. I guess they took a cue from Madagascar and decided to get in on that interspecies lovin’.

I’d say the CGI was better than the previous ones finally, but most of it was just ridiculous ice boats floating on random storms and water. And narhwals.

1 out of 4.