I received a screener for the indie film Flower awhile before it came out, at least a whole month. It seems like they were going hard on the advertisement campaign, at least from the critic level. I of course accepted to watch it, I love online screeners. All of the value of theaters, but in my chair at home.

But really in this introduction, I just want to talk about the plot description. “A sexually curious teen forms an unorthodox kinship with her mentally unstable stepbrother.”

Oh. Oh no. They are going to have sex aren’t they? That is the only thing I am getting out of this, and well, from the first frame of the first scene, I assumed there’d be some forms of pseudo incest in this movie.

Awkward Kiss
Well, that is probably not the stepbrother.

Erica (Zoey Deutch) is a 17 year old girl, and she is obsessed with dicks. Like little kid Jonah Hill in Superbad obsessed, except she doesn’t have one of her own. She also loves blow jobs. Erica and her friends (Dylan Gelula, Maya Eshet) use these obsessions to their advantage, by giving blow jobs to older people, especially those with authority, in order to blackmail them for cash. This is a fun review so far.

Erica is doing it (besides for enjoyment) to raise money to bail her real dad out of jail. In the mean time, her mother (Kathryn Hahn) has found someone new to finally be with (Tim Heidecker). Someone who will put up with Erica’s antics (not in that way).

Well, he also comes with an older son, who is about to get out of rehab. That means Erica is going to gain a soon to be step brother (Joey Morgan), who took lame drugs, has anger issues, and is totally overweight. She still has agreed to be nice to him and to get him better into society. What she learns is that he also claims to have been sexually assaulted by a teacher a few years back.

Now Erica and Luke are going to get together, to get revenge, and maybe form a bond for their dysfunctional family.

Also starring Adam Scott and Eric Edelstein.

Nope. Neither of these people are probably her stepbrother either.

Without a doubt, Flower took my worst fears as to what this movie might be about and ran with them. They were not worried about being a film that had morals or anything to stop them, they just wanted to tell a story no matter how fucked it was. Underage girls talking about and doing blow jobs, blackmail, blackmail, and blackmail. Love of a step sibling, or soon to be step sibling, which is technically not wrong just frowned upon. We´re looking at you Brady Bunch.

And that isn´t even all of the messed up events that occur, just the rest of them would constitute spoilers, and I am not going to do you like that.

Deutch carries this film as our wild lead, straddling the line between extremely in control young person and winging it girl who always manages to squeeze by. She cares not about her reputation, so her actions can become quite erratic and it is a fun film to see.

I was very surprised by Morgan as well, assuming I would hate him, solely based on his looks and backstory. But as a troubled individual, he carried his own weight and they both felt like individually unique star crossed characters.

Flowers is not a great movie. But it is especially out there and a bit weird, which is all I really want and need to appreciate sometimes.

3 out of 4.

Rebel in the Rye

Before Rebel in the Rye, what I knew about J.D. Salinger could fit inside of an index card. Along with the first 200 digits of pi, I am sure. I knew he died, I knew he wrote Catcher in the Rye, and that is it.

Well, I also knew that he came out of hiding at some point recently and made the game show Hollywoo Stars and Celebrities: What Do They Know? Do They Know Things?? Let’s Find Out!, but that is a different story, one that this film surprisingly chooses to ignore.

Needless to say, I have never read Catcher in the Rye. Never came up in my schooling and clearly wouldn’t be a book I rush off to read on my own. I like that fantasy stuff. The only reason I rushed to see this movie as a prescreener was due to the Hurricane hitting Houston and having no films in weeks. But hey, if anyone asks, say I said it was for the lead.

And I can get pissed off watching someone write when I have not been writing for the same amount of time.

A long long time ago, when the earth was still green, a young J.D. (Nicholas Hoult) wants to be a writer. He is a wise alack, and from a rich house, and he has gotten kicked out of multiple colleges already for being a dick. But he gets to try again, thanks to privilege and wealth, and heads off to Columbia University. There, besides meeting with young ladies and party goers, he meets Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey), a professor who gets J.D. to reach his potential and actually write good short stories. He also runs a small short story publication and ends up publishing Salinger’s first work! Hooray! He is a professional writer!

But he wants more. He wants to be published in The New Yorker, the cream of the crop in terms of short stories. And when he finally gets a story good enough for them? Well, they go and offer notes and suggestions. They need his story to have a happy ending, not the dismal one he created. Well, that’s shit.

Other people love the short story though. They enjoy the character he created in that story, and Burnett himself suggests he needs to turn that character into an entire novel. Unfortunately, before that novel can happen, World War II and Pearl Harbor happens, so Salinger instead goes off to war! He sees some shit, he barely survives, and changes as a person. But he kept writing, and after overcoming some PTSD, finally publishes The Catcher in the Rye.

The rest? Well, the rest still isn’t so easy either.

Also featuring Sarah Paulson, Zoey Deutch, Victor Garber, Brian d’Arcy James, and Celeste Arias.

Oh the joy of two men just giggling about words on pages.

Rebel in the Rye is the type of movie made for those who really want to know more about the author of a book they love. Salinger was known as a bit of a recluse, so seeing his story and why he became one is a journey on its own. However, without the context of Catcher, a lot of the film was lost of me.

The good news? I kind of want to read The Catcher in the Rye now, so I guess it cane make money off of me that way.

The beginning of the film took a real long while to get going. The whole thing was full of cliches really up until Salinger finally became a published author. It doesn’t stand apart from any generic 1930’s rich elite story. The acting from all of the side characters isn’t anything special.

However, when World War II happened, the film definitely started to turn. I could no longer imagine the lead as Hoult acting, but as a Salinger type person, so the transformation was working. It also became a lot of a better story, especially with the dealings of PTSD. At that point though, it was too little too late to turn this film into something amazing.

2 out of 4.

Everybody Wants Some!!

Despite my many claims to be in love with Richard Linklater (damn the Before trilogy, making me melt like butter), I actually haven’t seen a lot of his work. Meaning for the most part, his older work has evaded me.

Yes, that includes Dazed and Confused. I know, I know. I such. And yes, it is free on Amazon Prime right now. I still haven’t gotten around to it. The only reason I bring it up is that I heard this film, Everybody Wants Some!! is a spiritual successor to Dazed and Confused. It has none of the same characters, but it is set in the 1980’s instead of the 70’s, and college instead of high school.

See! That’s all that matters right? I am totally ready for a movie that is confident enough to have two exclamation points in its title, with neither of them representing musical status. (Yes, I understand the Van Halen song title connection too, I’m hip guys!).

I’m so hip I want to point out the man nipples on the left. You’re welcome.

Summer is over, it is 1980, and it is time for college. Our main character is Jake (Blake Jenner), a hot shot pitcher from his high school team. He picked this made up Texas college because they are amazing at baseball, and he wants to win and join the MLB. In fact, the team lives together in a couple houses off campus, perfect for partying and beers. His roommate Billy (Will Brittain) is obsessed with his girlfriend at home, constantly on the phone, also a freshman pitcher.

It should be noted there are no baseball games here. This is the fall, baseball is played in spring. Hell, there is barely baseball practice yet. In this film we get like, one practice and that is it.

This film is about athletic dudes, being in college, being bros, and having fun. And a shit ton of hazing, mini-competitions, partying, looking for girls, general house issues and so on and so on.

And of course it features a huge cast. We have smooth talking Finnegan (Glen Powell), philosophizing Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), ultra competitive McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), Roper (Ryan Guzman), and Dale (J. Quinton Johnson). Also a few ladies, Zoey Deutch and Dora Madison.

But also a lot more dudes. Like Tanner Kalina, Austin Amelio, Temple Baker, Juston Street, and Forrest Vickery. And more, but I am tired of linking them.

Several sweet stashes exist in every scene, seriously.

It is really dang hard to talk about just what in the hell Everybody Wants Some!! is about. Thankfully, it isn’t that hard to talk about why the movie is good.

First up, the guys had a lot of personality. Everyone was different, but everyone felt real. I was excited to see Powell and Jenner as major roles as well. Powell played Chad in Scream Queens season 1 and was arguably the best character ever made. Jenner was the winner of season 2 of The Glee Project, which was a reality show to get on Glee, became a main character and apparently is in fucking movies now. Crazy. Jenner did a fine job, Powell was fantastic. Russell also played a wonderful character with an amusing plot line.

The film itself is also decently funny. Again, it is almost entirely just shenanigans between teammates. Hanging out, shooing the shit, hitting the bong, whatever you wanna call it. Just people existing.

It can be a sports movie without really any sports it turns out. It can be a good film despite having no reason to even exist. This is a definition of a “fun” movie for me. Not exploding action blockbusters, which have tons of problems and a bad plot. But a film like this where it is just about fun. And Everybody Wants to have Fun. (Sure, also it can be pretty sexist, but it is going for accuracy of the time, not a statement of how people should behave).

3 out of 4.

Dirty Grandpa

Watching January movies is important for a movie reviewer, but usually I like to wait until near the end to catch half of them. As of right now, once this review for Dirty Grandpa is finished, I only have one more major January movie to watch. Holy shit, it isn’t even halfway through the year!

I am on the “expected to be shitty” ball this year, which means for the most part, the rest of the year should be mostly quality, right? Right?

Another special fact about this review: It is the first review on this site chosen by my Patrons who are at the $5 level or above! There was a poll and everything for what movie would be today, and they wanted Dirty Grandpa. My Patrons are jerks.

If you want to be a jerk as well, feel free to check out the rewards!

Shirtless Efron
I am contractually obligated now to always include a picture of Shirtless Efron if it happens in the movie.

Death! Death is the reason this movie takes place. The grandmother of Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) has passed away, so the family has to get together for the funeral. Jason used to be close to his grandfather, Dick (Robert De Niro) thanks to Jason’s job as a lawyer keeping him busy.

But Jason is getting married to Meredith (Julianne Hough) in a week! And for some reason, his grandpa wants him to drive him to his home in Florida, taking some time off from work and wedding planning.

And guess what? His grandpa is crass. And horny. He hasn’t had sex in 15 years and he just wants to get laid. The good news is that they run into a group heading to Daytona. Shadia (Zoey Deutch), a former class mate of Jason, Lenore (Aubrey Plaza), who needs to have sex with a professor before she graduates (because she said so), and Bradley (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman), their gay black friend.

Sure, Dick lies about being a professor, but if it works it works. Time to force Jason to party and reconsider his life choices and lie to college chicks!

Also featuring Danny Glover, Adam Pally, Jason Mantzoukas, and Dermot Mulroney.

I am not contractually obligated to show suggestive images, but research shows they bring the clicks.

Whenever I come across a new Robert De Niro movie, I tend to cringe. He hasn’t given a fuck for a long time. He is old, he just wants the money. He did all the good movies in his middle ages, and now he does Last Vegas and Grudge Match. Basically, he is a sign that the movie probably will suck.

And the signs, they are still right.

The movie plays out exactly as one would imagine it does, except with fewer naked bodies than one would expect. De Niro says outlandish things for an old man, people react strangely, and repeat.

There are some nice surprises. Mantzoukas was hilarious in every scene and possibly some of the best work he has ever done outside of The League. Pally as the cousin made me laugh. But the majority of the film is just normal “shocking” humor, over and over. Very little of the film feels unique. It had potential if they fully embraced the Dirty Grandpa aspects, but instead it is a soft R and not hardcore, like say Bad Santa.

A skippable comedy easily, but not the worst that January had to offer.

1 out of 4.

Vampire Academy

I am probably going into Vampire Academy with some biases. I am fucking tired of all these mother fucking vampire movies in my motherfucking queue. All of them, trying to modernize vampires, to make them the stars, to not make them evil, to make them just like us but blood sucking, to make them as normal teenagers or college students. Fucking tired of all of it. It is no longer original.

But this one is based on a book, so it gets a pass? Nah, the first of the six book series was made in 2007, so it was just riding the supernatural romance wave that Twilight had created, like all of the other similar books and stories.

“LOL we are totes unique right?”

Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch) is a totally weird teenager. We know this, because she says so, and people who say they are weird are usually the weirdest people. (That is a joke). She is a Dhampir, which has small amounts of vampire associated with it. Not a full fledged blood sucker. No, those are the Moroi, and they are the best of the vampire types. They have royal bloodlines, and generally the Dhampirs serve as their protectors. Like her best friend, Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry), a vampire princess.

Both of these types are mortal. There is a third type, the Strigoi, who are undead and evil and immortal. They are much stronger and cause a lot of havoc, and can advance their species through their bites. They hate the Moroi. There you go, the plot in a nutshell.

The movie begins with them having escaped from the Vampire Academy for some reason. They felt unsafe there, and would rather live in the real world with the Strigoi. But then they get captured and brought back. Lame. High school. Cliques. Prom. Ugh!

Unfortunately, when they get back to school, everyone hates her, including one adulterous whore, Mia (Sami Gayle) who is hopefully behind the threats coming after Lissa at school, and not someone more sinister.

Starring Danila Kozlovsky as Dimitri, a powerful Dhampir bodyguard, Gabriel Bryne as Victor Dashkov, a royal, and Sarah Hyland plays his niece. Dominic Sherwood plays the dark and brooding love interest, Cameron Monaghan a friend vampire who never gets the girl, Olga Kurylenko as the headmistress, and Claire Foy as a missing teacher no one cares about.

Vampa Prom
Technically not prom, because they are their own school thing, we all fucking know it is just prom.

Vampire Academy, the movie, was directed by the man who directed Mean Girls. Fun fact! When I first saw Mean Girls, I knew it was an amazing movie, and it has held the test of time. This director does not mean instant success, although I guess there were some similar thematic moments between the two. In terms of how people react to people.

But the entire plot felt rushed. Everything happened so fast, time changed so quickly. The entire point of the movie was “Hey Vampires! They are just like people, being all catty and shit”. But, as I said already, it has been done to death before. The characters don’t feel unique. Our main gal Ruth is a fast talker, but she never really does enough early on to earn that cocky attitude. Who am I kidding, by the end, she really still doesn’t do enough to earn that attitude.

Certain plot lines began in the movie, and then they just kind of felt forgotten about by the end. I guess they are hoping this six book series becomes popular enough to turn into seven movies (because you will have to split the last one in half), and in books stuff like that happens. But is almost unforgiveable in a movie, in my opinion. The ending itself was a sort of cliff hanger, and it made me feel robbed of an actual story line. Clearly, the story line that was hinted at was way cooler than the one this movie actually gave us, where at no point did anything feel serious or threatening.

Let me just say, having the relationship between student and old dude was also super awkward. Why are you doing this movie? Why?

Maybe the movie was actually okay and I am a bitter old man. Or, or, hey hey, listen. Or maybe. Maybe it just sucks.

1 out of 4.