Tag: Allison Janney

The People We Hate At The Wedding

I have had to write this title, The People We Hate At The Wedding, at least 10 times now in my life. And every time, it just feels wrong. I don’t mind long titles, but the “We” really throws me off, because who are the we? Are we the viewer, the we? Are we acknowledging that the leads in the film are the people we hate?

Because the title feels like something that the character should be saying. But at the same time, it is clear from the poster, that the main characters are the characters that should be hated. Are they hating on even more characters? Are they aware they they should be hated for their behavior?

I think it might be a better title if We was replaced by You. Then it has more of a documentary feel. We know we are watching and supposed to hate them. It is a movie showcasing them!

It turns out that my grumbles towards the title, despite loving the three leads, was just the start of my issues.


Hey look, it’s those people we all agree we hate.


Donna (Allison Janney) and Henrique (Isaach De Bankolé) got married and had a kid in London, named Eloise (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). But their relationship didn’t last, so they broke up and Donna went back to America, where she got married again (Andy Daly), and had two kids, Alice (Kristen Bell) and Paul (Ben Platt). They would get to see Eloise when she visited once a year, and got to do American cuisine like Taco Bell. They were an okay family, but Eloise was rich, and Alice/Paul were not, and it seemed to just get worse over the years.

So now that they are adults, and miserable in their lives. Alice is in a strange relationship with her boss (Jorma Taccone), who is rich, but also, you know, married. Ben is in a relationship with Dominic (Karan Soni), who apparently wants to experiment with a more open relationship. Their mom, Donna, is single again. And she doesn’t really talk to any of her kids.

But they all get an invite to Eloise’s wedding. She will pay for a lot of the trip too, but she wants her whole family there. However, her extended family is upset with her, or the situation for various reasons. And when miserable people conglomerate together, where they feel more miserable, then you’re gonna have a bad time.


more people
Here are more people. Should we hate them too? 

Comedies can be hit and miss, depending on the subject matter. Wedding movies are similar. For example, six years ago we got Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (oh hey, something else starring Pitch Perfect alumni). It wasn’t loved overall, but I had a good time with it and laughed a long with. Unfortunately with this film, I just could never care about their experiences. 

The protagonists are in sad situations, but none of them feel relatable. So I don’t care about their downward trend then eventual growth throughout the film. Instead it is more of a “well, miserable people deserve to be miserable” sort of attitude I had. “Oh no!…anyways”

It just feels like absolutely no joke landed. I don’t know if it is because of how unoriginal the story felt, or if it was just poorly paced or what. I do know that I wasn’t shocked at any point of the film. Once it was fully set up, it was predictable where would be by the end of the movie. 

There are no stand outs from the cast. It is nice that they let Ben Platt be gay on screen, which hasn’t happened a lot. But the movie itself is as forgettable. Just like the actual phrasing of the title. 


1 out of 4.


Breaking News in Yuba County

Turns out Yuba County is a real county, in California, not near the bigger cities, but up North. It assumed it was a made up county, but there are a shit ton of counties out there in the US, so might as well be a Yuba county. Hell, there might be more than one Yuba County, and only the California one do people care about because the other one is in Idatana or somewhere else.

So for Breaking News in Yuba County, it is supposed to feel like some average sized place, with commodities and businesses and a news, but not a big ass city. Just a regular village in the middle of nowhere. 

What kind of news would be Breaking News in a place like this? Cupcake sale? Doggy parade? Maybe 20 dead in a mall shooting?

Who knows, the sky is the limit, and in this movie, characters are going to have to die I guess. 

“No please, don’t kill Jimmi Simpson, anyone but him!”

Sue Buttons (Allison Janney) is getting old, and her life is stuck in a rut, but it is her birthday, and she is going to enjoy it, damn it. But the people at her work do not remember her birthday. Her husband (Matthew Modine) doesn’t seem to remember her birthday, and runs out on her in the morning, and doesn’t respond to texts to meet up with her for her birthday dinner reservations! Shit. It turns out he was cheating on her. And when she confronts him in the motel room while doing the dirty deed, he seems to have a heart attack, and dies, right then and there.

Well damn. Birthdays. She is shocked, and a bit dumb struck on what to even do. But she doesn’t call the cops to tell them what happened. Nope. She decides to hide his body instead. Then the next day she can report him as missing.

You see, in the news lately, there has been a little girl missing, and the parents have been all over the news, quite famous really, and everyone is caring hard for them. So she is going to report him missing, knowing that he will never be found. Then she can be in the spotlight. She can be famous. People will care for her.

This main plot line is intermingled with quite a few others, including extortion, mafia crimes, news reporters fighting for scoops, and more. 

Also starring Mila Kunis, Regina Hall, Awkwafina, Wanda Sykes, Ellen Barkin, Jimmi Simpson, Keong Sim, Juliette Lewis, Clifton Collins Jr., Samira Wiley, and Bridget Everett

Step 1: Lie. Step 2: ??????. Step 3: Fame

Who doesn’t love a good dark comedy? A whole lot of people getting offed, in ridiculous ways, while also maintaining a level of humor and plot of quirky individuals. And honestly, a lot of big names in this cast to potentially get whacked. And that is half of the fun in these films.

But I also honestly thing the lead character in this story is so unpleasantly bland that it is hard to fully enjoy this movie. Like many films, the side characters make it work. The strange workings of the very odd plot. The bad decisions people make. Obviously the main character is meant to be bland and having pretty damn superficial goals, and it is a bit rage inducing. 

A movie can intentionally have characters not fun to watch, but can’t also be mad if we think they aren’t fun to watch. Janney is a great actress and really gives it her all to make this person unbearable. And I can’t bear it.

It is a shame because I do like a lot of moments in this film, but it is just one I don’t think I would ever want to revisit despite the fun events. Fuck, Collins Jr. as a ruthless killer for the mob and he is so great at it. Sykes mostly plays her self but she does it so well. Kunis could have been more ruthless in her role as a reporter and someone close to the scene, but they need a few people to not be outrageous I guess.

Breaking News in Yuba County, watch it once, enjoy parts of it, then move on. 

2 out of 4.


Sexual harassment in the workplace should never be tolerated or allowed (or anywhere, of course). And yet, the idea has always persisted and continues to be found out. It must fucking suck.

With the amount of people in positions of power, for hiring and raises, being men who feel like they can do anything without punishment (because they have already been doing it for so long), it creates a scary life to be in for those who get pushed around by these men.

Bombshell is about one of the first big news stories that came out, involving highly famous names and individuals, including those who were less famous but very powerful. This is not just Stan down the hallway. This is people who helped make and produce billions.

And it turns out this bigger moment, which helped spur on and really start the #MeToo movement, started at Fox News.

Fair and Balanced doesn´t mean a damn thing in those doors. 
Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) of Fox News fame, had a bone to pick with Republican candidate for President Donald J. Trump. He hated women, despised them, it was clear, so she wanted to ask him a question about that fact, with lots of quotes to back it up. And she was ignored, but more importantly, the rabid trolls of his fan base turned on him. That was odd. He wasn’t even likely to get the nomination, she just wanted to bring him down a peg.

It turns out a lot of the Fox News fan base liked Trump the most. And that was the beginning of the end for her career there. And it is all thanks to Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) who is about to sue Robert Ailes (John Lithgow). He has been sexually harassing women for years for women to move up the ladder at their network, and even for those who resisted, he still was mean and cruel to them for years. Even Kelly.

And during the investigation, Margot Robbie plays a fictional newer hire, who is just starting to get the stares and attention of the man on the 2nd floor.

Also starring quite a few more people. Like Richard Kind, Josh Lawson, Malcolm McDowell, Connie Britton, Ben Lawson, Kate McKinnon, Allison Janney, D’Arcy Carden, Tricia Helfer, Mark Duplass, Jennifer Morrison, Alice Eve, and Brigette Lundy-Paine.

You go girl, bring down the empire. 

Before watching Bombshell, I wondered if this movie would be this years The Big Short or maybe even Spotlight. Both true stories, both deal with big issues in very different ways. And since this movie involved a lot of breaking the fourth wall early on to set up the scene, and quick cuts, zoom ins to faces, or whatever. A really frantic film.

And yet, given the subject matter, the real situations of sexual assault, women coming forward by the droves to talk about how they were treated by a few men in power. To think this movie mostly talks just about Ailes, and only hints at the Bill O’Reilly sexual scandals that also occurred and came out around the same time.

Bombshell is a combination of both films. I laughed quite a few times, and I cried at least twice. Robbie admitting to her friend about what she did for the man broke me down, and watching an earlier first meeting scene with him was incredibly uncomfortable.

I hated this film for telling the truth and it hurt me in my core. This film is incredibly triggering, and also important at the same time.

The fact that this takes place at Fox News is a really central aspect of this story. The channel itself is pure, conservative trash, and not really news. We all know that. But that does not mean that people there are all bad people and deserve to be sexually assaulted. No one does. These big names have hurt others over and over again with their words in a quest for ratings and fame. And we can also agree what happened to them should not be tolerated.

4 out of 4.

The Addams Family

When I first heard that Oscar Isaac was set to play Gomez Adams, I was ecstatic. Perfect! I love it! Let’s do it! Probably one of the best actors who could play him after Raul Julia did it in the early 90’s!

And then they announced it was actually an animated movie and he was just doing voice work.

Ohhhh….boo. What a waste. Anyone can be Gomez in terms of voice acting. That almost seems to imply that if they eventually do a live action one in the next decade, they probably won’t pick Oscar Isaac for it now. And life is disappointing.

Not off to a good start, The Addams Family animated movie.

But thanks for focusing on making sure Morticia was boob focused most of the film?

Not wanting to start with our house of weirdos, this film starts with the marriage of Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) in a likely eastern European village. But alas, their families are labeled freaks and they are chased out of town by torches and saved by Fester (Nick Kroll). They decide to start their family far away, somewhere no one will find them and disgusting. An abandoned mental asylum they find in New Jersey!

Now thirteen years later, they are loving their mountain top paradise, surrounded by swamps, raising their kids Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) and their man servant Lurch (Conrad Vernon).

Things are happening quickly though. Pugsley has his mamushka coming up to prove to all of his family he can protect them with a sword so all of the extended family is coming.

And then? The fog disappears! It turns out someone drained the swamp and put up a perfect community below the mountain. A perfect city with perfect citizens called Assimilation, that Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) is fixing together to sell as part of some reality show. And this sudden big scary castle on the mountain is not going to help her one bit.

Also featuring Snoop Dogg, Bette Midler, Titus Burgess, and Elsie Fisher.

Oh and Wednesday joins public school and becomes a trend setter.

Giving us a prologue for The Addams Family it turns out is completely unnecessary. Is it cute? Sure. But it also tells us their house is an asylum, not a MUSEUM, which is not only in the old theme song, but literally that theme song is used in this movie as well. Unacceptable.

This Addams Family cartoon didn’t go far enough. Enough in like, any direction. They didn’t have too much shocking or spooky or weird, as a lot of it is just replaced with explosions, from bombs and boulders.It was just very tame. And in terms of humor, actual good jokes were few and far in between. I watched it with a very full theater with a lot of kids, and rarely were there chuckles.

This is a film that is played way too safe. I am not saying they need extreme dark humor, or to make it not family friendly. They just didn’t do really anything with this large and interesting cast of characters. Gomez is a bitch. Morticia doesn’t really do much at all. Pugsley and Wednesday look a bit too weird and don’t feel like real characters.

Come on Oscar Isaac. Demand a reboot with you playing the live action lead now.

1 out of 4.

I, Tonya

Tonya Harding is currently living in infamy, as the most famous figure skater ever. More people know her name than Nancy Kerrigan. More people know her name than the other figure skaters since then and before.

Tonya Harding was one of first people to be sensationalized around the world thanks to the emergence of the 24 hour news cycle. Yes, she was involved in a terrible scandal. A scandal we have never really seen before or after, or if we did, it was a lot more subtle and professionally done.

I, Tonya is a film more about the once incident that will forever define her life, unfortunately. It is about her youth, her skating career, her relationships, and sure, some time after as well.

And about her happiest moment, in which she was clearly, very goddamn happy.

Tonya Merigold Bethany Harding (Margot Robbie) (I made up those middle names) grew up poor and unloved, which is really how she was most of her life as well.

Her mother (Allison Janney) was the one who spent most of her time raising her, with a lot of failed marriages, men who could no longer stand her. She was beaten, but her mom still put most of her money into skating lessons, because Tonya showed skills at the young age of three. Tonya was crass, a red neck, vulgar, and everything that her mother taught her to be.

This led to some contention in the ice skating community, who demanded their skaters be princesses. She was often not treated right by the judges, even if she landed the hardest of tricks perfectly.

A hard life led Tonya to a hard man, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan), a couple of people who married their first love when neither had a strong education. More beatings, more of a shit home life, and yet still, Tonya succeed on the ice.

All of this led up to the 1994 Winter Olympics, and I am sure you heard a lot about that one.

Also starring Anthony Reynolds, Bobby Cannavale, Bojana Novakovic, Caitlin Carver, Julianne Nicholson, Paul Walter Hauser, Ricky Russert, and Mckenna Grace as little Tonya.

The real torture is probably how long it took to do her hair.

I didn’t really know what to expect going into I, Tonya. Again, I really only understood the woman behind the incident through parodies and Weird Al. I knew it was classified as some sort of Dark Comedy, and usually Dark Comedies aren’t based on real events, even if they say they are. I also know that this whole thing is from Tonya and companies point of view, Nancy Kerrigan had nothing to do with this film, so there was a chance of bias.

And so I tried to look at it objectively, just as a film, telling a story, not worrying about how it matched up with real events. Like how I did for The Greatest Showman. And yet it was hard to do that as characters constantly broke the fourth wall to tell if these things really did or didn’t happen, and I don’t just mean the documentary feel of the film for some parts.

But at this point I am stalling. I, Tonya was masterful cinema in my eyes. It took a tragic and strange event and gave it human qualities. As far as I am concerned, Tanya Harding was a tragic figure growing up and very misunderstood. She had to struggle a lot through poverty, physical abuse and mental abuse from those who loved her, and yet she still became a success. And fuck it, I believe she wasn’t involved with the incident at this point. Movie has set my mind to a certain point, and I just feel so incredibly sad about it all.

I, Tonya made me laugh a ton, made me cry, but more importantly, it made me think. That sounds like a canned response, but it made me think about what it means to be a celebrity, what it means to have your lives completely under camera all the time, and how you aren’t allowed to ever be weak unless you want to be trampled.

Except when it comes to Trump. The mockery is justified.

4 out of 4.

The Girl on the Train

I did plan on watching The Girl on the Train when it came out, you know, in 2016. I knew it was based on a pretty famous book, it had a lot of mysterious elements, and it might have been a spiritual successor to Gone Girl. The book and movie are not done by the people who did Gone Girl, but similar elements were apparently there.

However, I missed the screening, and then my wife said she really wanted to see it also. Just after she read the book first, because that is what normal people do. It took a year later, but she finally picked up and read the book in only about a week, which let us thankfully still watch it thanks to Redbox. It is great when they have oldish movies on there (and yes, I realize it is within a year of coming out, but it still feels really old).

Hooray trains!

I found her! The girl on the train! Did I solve it!?

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is a woman who happens to be an alcoholic, and she rides a train to and from work every day. And on this train ride, she has become obsessed with another woman. She can see her in her house, this Megan (Haley Bennett), living a life with her lover, happy and free. Or at least that is what Rachel invents for her life.

Rachel is a drinker because her husband, Tom (Justin Theroux) left her. He married Anna (Rebecca Ferguson), had a kid, all of the things that he could never do with Rachel. And it turns out that Megan was their nanny for the little kid, unsure if Rachel knew this fact.

Well one sad day, Rachel decided to get off on that stop, seeing that Megan was with another man. This could not be! She was perfect! And now Rachel was drunk and upset.

The next thing Rachel knew, she was awake in her home, with blood on her hands. And news that Megan was missing.

Was it Rachel, blackout drunk and angry? Could she have killed someone?

Also starring Luke Evans, Edgar Ramirez, Darren Goldstein, Laura Prepon, Allison Janney, and Lisa Kudrow.

The Girl on the Balcony was a much sexier title, but too close to Man on a Ledge.

The Girl on the Train is told from three different points of view, Emma, Megan, and of course Rachel. The timelines are a bit out of whack, for dramatic sake, in order to amp up all the mystery. After all, if we saw Megan’s point of view when she died, there would be no story to tell!

The false leads don’t end up pissing off the viewer, but really just make sense as the story unfolds. It is not an easy mystery to guess ahead of time, although enough hints really are there. I made a lot of intentionally stupid guesses just to mess with my wife, but when the final reveals occurred I wasn’t surprised in the least.

The issues with the film are just…hard to explain. It feels so bland. The acting isn’t bad, it is just mediocre feeling. The story doesn’t end up feeling as great as it is built up to be. It was maybe over hyped by the advertising or the pacing of the book, because the movie felt rushed and just average.

I think more details in the story would have gone a long way. More drives for the characters and just more things for them to do. It took a long time to reveal not too much, and just felt like a lot of potential that was never fully reached, unfortunately. Let’s hope the sequel, The Old Lady in the Shoe does a bit better.

2 out of 4.


Like a lot of people, I am beginning to mistrust Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy.

Paul Feig did give us Bridesmaids, sure, but The Heat didn’t feel right with me. He also has his strange obsession with McCarthy, so when it was announced he would do a Ghostbusters reboot, it was obvious he would be casting her in it. McCarthy has had a few terrible movies, namely Identity Thief and Tammy, where it seemed through all her work she could really only play one type of character.

So of course when you see a trailer for a badly named movie like Spy, you assume it is going to be one long running fat joke. Where it is absurd that she should be in the position she is in and you know, more fat jokes. It isn’t an absurd assumption, given that is what Tammy was, a movie McCarthy even wrote for herself, unable to get herself out of her own type casting.

If this was a gif, you all would hate me.

Being a spy is a tough job, but thankfully you have a handler back at HQ who helps you out on each and every mission. Bradley Fine (Jude Law) is a spy, and a damn good one at that. But he wouldn’t be anywhere without his handler, Susan Cooper (McCarthy). She helps protect him from surprising bad guys, helps him escape, and just keeps him aware of all of his surroundings! Things can still go wrong, sure, like when Bradley accidentally kills Tihomir Boyanov (Raad Rawi), who is supposed to be the only one alive who knows about some tiny nukes that he wants to sell. Whoops. Oh well, other than that, they are a great team!

Until he dies. She wasn’t too helpful then. He was killed by Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), daughter of that other dead dude. Looks like she knows where the nukes are! She also knows every single spy that we have on record, names and what they look like, so it is incredibly unlikely of any of them being able to get close to her. Now Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) has no idea what to do, so she agrees to let Susan go undercover to find out more information, with her best friend Nancy (Miranda Hart) serving as her handler. She is supposed to avoid Rayna and instead follow Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale), but, you know, shit happens.

On top of the whole, being a spy thing, she also has to deal with the fact that some of the agents have quit. Namely, Rick Ford (Jason Statham), one of their best, and he wants revenge on Rayna since knows all about him. Too bad she also is the only one who knows about the nukes! Can’t let her be killed as well. Oh golly gumdrops.

Also, hey! We have Will Yun Lee and Zach Woods.

I normally only comment on facial hair, but come on, this is astounding.

Good news, everyone! Spy is not just one long fat joke. Sure, independently, on your own, you could giggle when a larger person does something athletic, but that is on you buddy. No, these jokes come from a deeper level. A lot more of them are based on how she has the body of a middle aged cat lady and the like. Way better than fat jokes.

In all honesty, Spy ended up being a pretty funny movie. Byrne still seems to have come out of nowhere in the comedy world, but she is still knocking it out of the park. Statham was in this movie and he was able to play a very Statham character. And yes, McCarthy of course carried it very, very well.

The action was also pretty decent. I didn’t know how it would end either, because they set it up pretty early that anyone could be killed, not to mention them wanting to earn the R rating.

One thing the film lacks is rewatchability, as in, I don’t ever see myself buying the film because I know I will never be in the mood again. But our female leads are fantastic, even Hart, and Statham provides some nice laughs as well.

3 out of 4.


Me and Illumination Entertainment don’t get along. They had one of the most racist kid movies in recent history with Hop, a bad Lorax, and the Despicable Me series. I thought the first film was bad, but at least I liked the minions.

Then Despicable Me 2 came out. They heard we liked minions, so they gave us a bunch more minions. It ended up being bad as well, full of shitty humor and too much minions, not enough good story.

But that made Universal, the distributor, a shit ton of money. More money than any other film they had distributed, so of course we needed MORE. More what? More Minions of course! “Fuck Gru, give us Minions!” They are now super advertised, with tiny shorts before movies, awkward commercials, lunchboxes, pencils, everything. They are printing money by having tiny yellow creatures on them that speak gibberish and sing gibberish covers of famous songs.

This film was also pushed back, but not for delays. Originally scheduled for end of 2014 release, they went with the mid-summer release instead because it had been making them pretty dang good money.

Enough money to take down Disney World? We will see…

Minions is a prequel to the Despicable Me movies, about how the large group of minions (Pierre Coffin, all of them) came into existence and how they eventually met Gru. Turns out they are basically large single celled organisms, and never really evolved into bigger and better things. Instead they were followers. Instead of looking for just the biggest and strongest creature to protect them, for whatever reason they looked for the most “despicable” person to follow, because the minions are apparently evil as fuck, despite never doing anything evil.

The minions went throughout time, following bad guys and always pissing them off or killing them from their ineptitude. Until they had to go into hiding where they made their own minion community! It was safe, but boring. It wasn’t until three minions, Kevin, Stuart, and Bob, set off to find a new big bad boss did anything change. Aka, the 1960’s. Their travels eventually introduce them to Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) and her husband Herb (Jon Hamm), who are about to steal the crown from Queen Elizabeth (Jennifer Saunders) and take over the country.

But if the minions want in on being her slaves, they gotta prove themselves first. You know, doing evil stuff and doing the job for her. Easy peasy. And if they fail, well, eventually they will find Gru right?

Also using the voice talents of Michael Keaton, Allison Janney, Steve Coogan, Geoffrey Rush as the narrator, and Hiroyuki Sanada as “Sumo Villain” because that is all they could give him, I guess.

If this was called Minion Pie, this scene could be the day that the minions died?

Watching the trailer for Minions, I had hope. It looked like it could actually be a funnier movie and maybe make me laugh. Not having to worry about the awkward bad guy + kids situation, we could focus on a better more interesting plot of shenanigans and tomfoolery. Tomfoolery we may have gotten, but not the kind of tomfoolery one would want.

The movie made me laugh just one time in 90 minutes, which is obviously a bad sign. The jokes weren’t clever. Their only attempt at appeasing the adult audience would be the several songs they included for the minions to gibberish sing, all of the songs older of course given when it takes place. But even that is incredibly lazy. That joke is more of a “Haha, do you get it? You know this song right? This is funny because it is something you know but minions singing!”

This is not to say that I am angry at the fact that they don’t speak any real language. That is part of their character design. But to have a movie focus so much on them talking to others and each other, feels terrible. We can assume everything they are saying, sure, due to the weird way their language works. But it feels more annoying than anything. They rely on side human characters and narrators to actually explain plot points, because for the most part their main characters cannot.

Additionally, having them focus on three random minions to give them some sort of personality just annoys me that the other dozens of characters are ignored. I would have rather seen them work as the cohesive group, going full on henchmen, not just a couple guys on a bad road trip.

I am surprised that it ended with them actually meeting young Gru. I figured it took place in the late 60’s so they could justifiably fit in 3-4 more Minion movies pre-Gru to milk the franchise more. A Minions 2 with young Gru would be annoying, because it gets rid of all of his character development (but maybe it would actually make him evil? That’d be a shocker). For now though, our next film with them would be Despicable Me 3 out in a few years, which promises more of the same, so it will probably suck.

I am a bit annoyed that this will probably make so much money, especially if it makes more than Inside Out, a superior film in almost every conceivable way. The success of the film just means that minions will still appear everywhere. Yes, that includes the strange memes going around that have the minions as the main picture, and then some random joke text, that has abso-fucking-lutely nothing to do with the franchise at all that old women and dumbasses share on your facebook page.

1 out of 4.


Whenever I read the title of this movie, I imagine the adds for The Dump furniture store. And I put it in the voice of Duffman from the Simpsons.

Hopefully you just did that too.

The DUFF might be the final January movie of the year for me to watch. Sure it came out end of February, but you can tell by looking at the poster that it wanted to come out in January, but too much suck existed in that month so it got pushed back.

Who would delay us from watching this cheaply made porno movie for so long?

Bianca Piper (Mae Whitman) is a DUFF, but she doesn’t know that and doesn’t even know the acronym. It stands for Designated Ugly Fat Friend, which every group of girls and guys has. You don’t have to be literally fat or super ugly, you just have to be less than all the other friends. This way your group of hotter thinner friends have a sort of gateway to them. If you are DUFF, you are easy to talk to and can give information about your better friends, for hook up purposes or whatever. Steven Lynch sang a song about them before they had a fun acronym.

Either way, Bianca has Casey (Bianca A. Santos) who is good at computers, hot, and good at sports and Jess (Skyler Samuels) who is into yoga, smart, and journalism. Well, they are all into journalism. Although they are totally real friends, they are also so totally DUFFing her.

She learns about the term from her next door neighbor, Wes (Robbie Amell), who is now totes max hunk but still talks together since they have been friends for so long. So once she finds out, she bails on her friends and decides to change things. She is going to be awesome on her own. She is going to unDUFF herself. But she doesn’t know how. So she works with Wes. He will help her get better and be able to talk to Toby (Nick Eversman), and she will help him pass Chemistry (so he can get scholarships, go to college, shit like that).

But wait! There is also Queen Bitch, Madison Morgan (Bella Thorne), who wants to be a future reality star and is working on being a youtube star first. She wants to ruin things and muck things up. That seems like an important plot point.

What is not important are the parents and teachers. Allison Janney is Bianca’s single mom, who is now a self help guru about getting over divorce! Chris Wylde and Ken Jeong play teachers and Romany Malco the principal.

house friends duffshit

The DUFF, in all reality, is a made for TV movie that for some reason someone put in theaters. There is nothing exceptional about it in any way. It is a comedy, but it doesn’t make you laugh. It is a high school movie, but it doesn’t offer anything new. Here is the IMDB description:

A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF

Social pecking order revolution? That means she is going to turn the school on its heels, probably with her sweet journalism skills, to make the DUFFs the cool kids? What? No where close? It is literally her just trying to make herself seem cooler to talk to a boy? Oh. Okay. Well that is kind of…two thirds of every high school story. Fuck.

I mean, the social pecking order revolution story line would have been just some angry kids wish fulfillment fantasy in real life, but at least it would have attempted to do something not normally done outside of Revenge of the Nerds. Instead this was just…boring if I had to say anything. And it had a couple of people involved I actually know of. I liked Mae in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Parenthood. She just doesn’t do much of anything in this movie.

1 out of 4.

Get On Up

What is going on with Chadwick Boseman?

For the most part, he is relatively new to the movie scene. He has had a bunch of temporary roles in TV shows, mostly one offs. But then he got to play Jackie Robinson in 42. Then he got to play a highly sought after draft pick in Draft Day. And now? Now he is doing another biography, but this time not an athlete.

He is going to play James Brown, because of course, Get On Up is his story.

Damn Chadwick. James Brown and Jackie Robinson? Who will he play next, Oprah Winfrey?

Open Wide

James mother fucking Brown (Boseman). A cultural icon from the 1900s, a man who seemingly was around and performing forever, and in the news for sometimes less than glorious reasons. He came from humble beginnings, living in a small shack in the woods with his mom (Viola Davis) and dad (Lennie James). After that, he was working for Ms Honey (Octavia Spencer), a madame. After that? Prison.

That is where he met Bobby Byrd (Nelsan Ellis), not a prisoner, but a local singer, and James impressed him with his own unique sound. Next thing you know, he is part of a gospel group dabbling in that R&B, and eventually the dabble takes over and James Brown and the Famous Flames become a thing. The rest? Well, you know. Drugs. Wars. Marriage. Kids. Drugs. Friendships. Drugs. Egos. The story basically writes itself.

Featuring a bunch of people, who I will try to write in order of importance: Dan Aykroyd, Jill Scott, Craig Robinson, Fred Melamed, Brandon Smith as Little Richard, and two small cameos with Allison Janney and John Benjamin Hickey.

Final Form
And this isn’t even his final form.

When I left Get On Up, I felt good. I didn’t know that I would. I felt nice too. Not sure how to describe the nice feeling, maybe sugar and spice? Hard to say.

Either way, if I can say anything about Get On Up it is that it is certainly entertaining. A lot of energy was put into the film, especially early on where it seems to go everywhere hard and fast. The movie isn’t told in a linear order, splicing in scenes from his childhood through a slight narrative of events, and finishing those events when the film felt like it. It also featured some breaking of the 4th wall, allowing Brown to narrate his own story to the audience and explain things.

But the real stars of the film are, well, the stars of the film. Chadwick Boseman and Nelsan Ellis. Holy shit. First off, Boseman, knocked it out of the park (its a baseball metaphor, get it?). When he was Mr. Robinson, I thought he did okay, but it didn’t seem like a lot of acting going on. He acted the shit out of James Brown though. He had the voice, he had the moves, he had the charisma. I was a little bit skeptical, but he did a really amazing job.

Nelsan Ellis? I don’t watch True Blood, so I don’t know a lot about him, but the amount of heart in his role was incredible. He looked so sincere about everything and my emotions tended to match whatever he was feeling versus Brown’s emotions.

Some aspects of the film were disappointing of course. All of the music in the film is actual James Brown recordings, so no we don’t get to hear Boseman try out that voice. Probably impossible, I guess.

It didn’t go a lot into his troubles with the law in the last decades of his life, but gave you enough to figure it out.

This film doesn’t make out James Brown to be a saint (probably because everyone knew he wasn’t) and mixes the good with the bad and a whole lot of soul.

3 out of 4.