Tag: Odeya Rush

Cha Cha Real Smooth

If there is one thing we like here at Gorgon Reviews, it is a good title. And I certainly refused to look up anything about the movie, Cha Cha Real Smooth, once a poster and description was released, because I didn’t care. I just wanted to see the movie on its own, with no knowledge at all going in.

Now, for everyone else, here is some knowledge going in after the fact.

Like that the director, writer, and main star is the same guy, Cooper Raiff, and this is his third film. His first film was Madeline & Cooper, but it isn’t even an hour long, and his second film is Shithouse. Yes, both of them are also directed, written, and starring him.

For whatever reason in Raiff’s life, he found himself in the position to be able to make movies and star in them, so good on him. You know, assuming they don’t suck. And I am trying to manifest positive energy that this title isn’t wasted on a poor film.

meat sticks
Mmmmm. Meat Sticks.

Back when Andrew (Cooper Raiff) was a kid, at a Bar Mitzvah, he was in love. It was with a party starter. A person employed by the parents of the party to successfully get individuals to be dancing and make sure everyone had a good time. She was everything to Andrew. And she turned him down, you know, age difference.

Now, years later, Andrew is an adult! He has finished college and has a job at a local fast food joint and moved back in with his parents. He wants to go to another country, to chase the woman he loves, but he is broke. Instead, he finds himself at another Bar Mitzvah party to chaperone his little brother (Evan Assante), and hang out with another girl (Odeya Rush) he knows. For reasons, and alcohol, Andrew finds himself the life of the party! He makes sure everyone has a great time and now finds himself potentially landing into his own business as a party starter during this busy Bar/Bat Mitzvah season.

Also at that party, he meets Domino (Dakota Johnson), a woman who seems far too young to have a kid at this party. But yep, she has a kid, Lola (Vanessa Burghardt), who was older than the others, and autistic, and hard to actually get to dance and let go. So Andrew makes that one of his missions. It doesn’t hurt that he likes Domino too. Even if she has a fiance.

Cha Cha Real Smooth is about a man finished with college, constantly falling in love with women older than him, who is having a hard time accepting his home life, his social life, and trying to find an eventual direction moving forward.

Also starring Brad Garrett, Leslie Mann, and Raúl Castillo.

Why do we even test for Autism, when we all know that headphones is the main giveaway?

I want to get one thing noted right away. Did you know that the girl playing our Autistic character is actually Autistic? It was apparently a big concern of the filmmakers, to make sure we had some good representation here, and not some gross minstrel show of offensive stereotypes. I don’t even think it was something that was hard for them to accomplish. I am starting to think Sia didn’t even try for the movie Music. I am thinking she lied to us!

Raiff is entirely charismatic and adorable in this film. He has a Ben Wyatt like smile and glow to him when he is excited. He seems to really care about his brother and mother, even if he is still overall drifting. I think it would be awfully hard to not be invested in his story, even when he is making obviously poor choices and going down uncomfortable paths.

The story itself is relatively strong, piecing together the subplots in a nice way to coincide with our main story of a young adult drifter. The dialogue itself is also well thought out. The family bonds felt believable. The tough situations for many characters didn’t always have easy answers, even if the morals were technically easy to sort through as a viewer.

This is a comedy/drama that does a good balance of both. It made me sad, it made me guffaw, and it made me feel. Unrelated, I did go back and see Shithouse because of how much I liked Cha Cha Real Smooth. I definitely didn’t like it as much as this one, but it still had great emotional scenes so it was a good building block to his third directed film for sure. I look forward to Raiff’s next film, and I hope he keeps directing and writing them!

4 out of 4.

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig is one of the modern queens of the independent film. I don’t know if she has even starred in anything main stream yet. She is like Lena Dunham, if Lena Dunham didn’t have Girls as a breakaway success.

I knew it wouldn’t be long before she broke out of just starring and writing into the directing game, but little did I know that she actually directed a movie in 2008, before I knew who she was. That is how indie Greta Gerwig is, people. Something called Nights and Weekends, that she starred in, wrote, and directed. It didn’t really get noticed, and so it took almost a decade later before she tried again.

This brings us to Lady Bird, a probably pseudo autobiographical story about her growing up, but this time she isn’t starring in it at all! Just focusing on the directing and the writing. Looks like Gerwig has grown up after all, allowing someone else to get some of that indie spotlight love.

Although from the looks of it, Gerwig could have played both of these roles.

Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is a young girl, just 17, a newly senior in high school, and she needs to make her mark. She lives in a poor family, with an overburdened mom (Laurie Metcalf) and a chill and happy father (Tracy Letts). Also in their small home is her older and more pierced brother (Jordan Rodrigues) and his girlfriend.

Lady Bird, who decided that is her new name several years prior, goes to a private Catholic school thanks to a scholarship. Most of the kids there are rich, except her best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein). Lady Bird wants to get out of Sacramento, a hell on Earth to her. She wants to go to the East Coast, where there is some culture. A nice liberal arts place. Except she is poor, she doesn’t make good grades, and doesn’t have discernible talents really.

Guess she will just have to experience life on her own before then. Finally dating, maybe having some of that sex, maybe living out her other wild fantasies while she has the chance. Screw everyone else, Lady Bird is in it for herself for once!

Also starring Stephen Henderson, Bob Stephenson, Odeya Rush, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Lois Smith, and Jake McDorman.

Apparently these dreams involve a house with shutters and freedom.

Oh, I only guessed it was maybe autobiographical, but honestly a lot of elements in this just scream out Gerwig Gerwig Gerwig. Ronan isn’t playing Lady Bird, she is just playing Gerwig, a free spirited individual who is bigger than her body and station in life. Lady Bird eventually grows up into the character that Gerwig plays in Damsels in Distress, after she has moved on, gained that confidence, and is ready to inspire others.

So Ronan is acting as Gerwig in this movie. Now that it is obvious, we can all move on and just examine the rest of the film.

The movie itself is very funny, with more than one eccentric cast member. I don’t even know how I feel about Chalamet’s character, but I am very glad he is in there, while enraged at him almost every single time. This is only the second film I have seen Hedges in (After Manchester By The Sea), and thankfully his characters are very different so he can show some range. And Metcalf is downright stunning as the mom character. Sort of like a more intense Lois from Malcolm in the Middle, who also has less assholes to deal with.

The film lives and dies with Ronan, who of course delivers everything. It is great again to see her doing such different roles, from the recent Brooklyn and The Grand Budapest Hotel. If I had any issues, it did feel like it just went on a bit too long, starting to tell a story that didn’t feel as necessary.

Overall still a solid comedy, a good coming of age story, and a bunch of quirky weirdos from 2002 ready to entertain.

3 out of 4.


I feel strange reviewing Goosebumps in the month of December. THAT’S NOT THE RIGHT THEME.

Well, I had to cancel my eventual trip to see Goosebumps in theaters back end of October. Things were crazy. And now things are crazy, but a bit less. So while some people are thinking of Star Wars or Christmas, I can think about scaring little kids.

After all, what are the holidays, if not for scaring little kids?

Back to the film, I read probably 75% of the main Goosebumps books when I was a youthful lad, and I watched every episode of the TV Show. Hell, I’ve been watching the episodes on Netflix slowly for the past two years. It is great to see how shitty the effects are now, but how much they scare the kids. And occasionally you get to see Ryan Gosling out of nowhere, so that was fun.

Needless to say, I was nostalgia-ing pretty hard, so I couldn’t wait to see what weirdness they went with for the new film.

A whole lot of white people. Makes sense.

Zach (Dylan Minnette) and his mom (Amy Ryan) are moving to the best place to be a kid. Discovery Zone! Wait no. He is actually now in Madison, Delaware.

New school, new high school life. And a crazy aunt (Jillian Bell) who is way too energetic also now nearby. What’s not to love?

Oh hey, his neighbor is a teenage girl. That’s a plus. Because he is a boy and boys like girls. Hannah (Odeya Rush) is homeschooled and her dad (Jack Black) is very protective and won’t let Zach interact with her. Fuck.

Let’s cut to the chase. The dad is totally R. L. Stine. Yes the “real one” who wrote all the Goosebumps books. And he has original manuscripts of all of his books in the house locked up. What’s that? If they open it up, the bad creature comes out! Holy fuck, shenanigans! Magic and stuff! And eventually Slappy, the doll is released (also voiced by Jack Black), and he decides he should open all the books around town, burn them so they cannot be recaptured and fuck all the shit up. Because Stine wasn’t letting them wreck things. Fuck that small town up, hard.

Also with Ryan Lee as the weird male friend and Ken Marino as creepy gym teacher.

All these monsters and the scariest one is still the clown.

Okay, without taking off the nostalgia glasses, I can say I was a bit disappointed. Especially when “all” of the books are unleashed upon the town into one big army, my main thought was “Yes! Let’s see all the other bad guys! Even the lame ones!” But no, they added only a handful of villains, with mostly zombie hordes to make it look bigger. So I was disappointed I didn’t get to see more Goosebumps staples. I am mostly shocked I didn’t see a haunted camera and there was only a vague reference to a mask. Bring out the props, damn it!

Nostalgia glasses back off. On its own, the film felt relatively safe. It had a few in jokes for adults more aware of the series that would fly over the heads of new kids. Hell, there was an R. L. Stine cameo that I found incredibly hilarious and well placed. But for the most part, nothing too crazy or unexpected happened. The main character was generic.

There were still a few good scenes though. The abominable snowman in the hockey arena was very tense. The first lawn gnomes attack was great. And I enjoyed the shocker and the werewolf. Slappy makes since as the big bad guy, only in that he has a voice, but he didn’t do enough creepy things on his own.

I will say this. When the first trailer released, I made a guess on a twist that would happen near the end of the film, and I ended up being correct. It is something that avid Goosebump readers might also have figured out before the movie, due to book plot lines and character names. It was just one of those tidbits that just popped in my head, seemingly out of nowhere. So once the twist occurred, it didn’t land too strongly.

As I was saying. Perfect Christmas film.

2 out of 4.

The Giver

Raise your hand if you never read The Giver?

Since I am writing this before you read this, and it is the internet, I can properly assume no one raised their hand when I asked the question. Seriously. This is one of those books that tends to frequent everyone’s elementary or middle school experience. I know for certain I had to read it twice in middle school thanks to moving in between.

I don’t have an issue with them turning a literary classic into a movie like a lot of weird people do. No. I am just annoyed that this introduces biases to my review. I try my hardest to make sure the movie review only takes the movie into account, not to compare it to the book or whatever. The best way to do this is to rarely read books. Hell, a good friend basically demanded I read Ready Player One, but I knew it was becoming a movie, so I had to decline a few times. But damn middle school. Messing up my biases. At least I didn’t love the book, only thought it was okay.

But turning everyone into a wannabe pirate was probably a good change.

In this future world, the world was ruined by something I think they called The Ruin. Now people live in communities and celebrate samness. They all dress the same, have similar households, age at the same time, all that fun stuff. No one gets extra toys or unique anything. Shit, they all get their bikes at 9 years old.

Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is about to turn 18, and thus find out what his job is going to be for the rest of his life! He has no idea, because he has never really felt like he liked anything in particular. Well, turns out Jonas is fucking special. He gets to be the new Receiver of Memories! Yay!

Yeah, the job title doesn’t sound as cool as nuclear physicist or body builder, but apparently it is one of the highest jobs of a society. After all, his friends Fiona (Odeya Rush) and Asher (Cameron Monaghan) got stuck with nurturer and drone pilot (Wat) respectfully.

The Receiver of Memories is the only person in a community who knows about the world before hand. Who knows about colors, emotions, war, poverty, hunger, love, happiness, grief, warmth. All of this stuff. And Jonas is going to have to experience this all for the first time and become a member of the council to supply a wisdom that everyone else is secluded from. And the guy who previously had the job (Jeff Bridges)? Well, I guess he is The Giver now.

Also, Meryl Streep is the Chief Elder, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes and Emma Tremblay make up Jonas’ family unit, and Taylor Swift is also lurking around.

Yep! There she is! For her minute or so of screen time!

For all those book lovers, loving this book is not a good reason to see the movie. That’s right. It is very different from the book. Feel free to complain elsewhere on the internet, for I don’t care.

What I do care about is a movie telling a good story, even if it changes from the source material. And you know what? This one doesn’t.

First off, the film is rushed. The movie is 94 minutes with credits. That means it is under an hour an a half, and it has to spend time building up a world/society, having a character learn everything is wrong, and of course, try to change things. That is definitely not enough time. Some people say this movie was finally made because of the recent success of other dystopian teen movies. They have various qualities that make them a success, but they are all also well over two hours in order to tell a complete story.

A lot of this movie feels half assed, especially from Streep and Holmes. Apparently Bridges was trying to get this movie made for decades and I guess he was the best part, but he was surrounded by crap. On an overall spectrum, I wouldn’t even put his performance as great.

Shit, even the editing was bad. I remember a scene with the sister after dancing, she says a line but her mouth doesn’t move, only smiles. That was super awkward.

Fans of the book will hate this movie because it is different enough from the book. In reality, they should hate this movie because it is a shitty movie.

1 out of 4.

The Odd Life Of Timothy Green

You know what sucks? Getting pregnant. Yes, not being pregnant, but getting to that point. I can tell you I have never been pregnant, and probably never will be pregnant, so I have to assume it is a pretty hard task to accomplish.

So why not make a movie about that, and little kids popping out like plants. Why not tell us about The Odd life Of Timothy Green?

Holding all this shit
“Oh shit, its hard to hold all these morals! They are dropping everywhere!”

The movie begins with Cindy (Jennifer Garner) and Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) at an adoption agency? Apparently it involves a lot of forms and an interview to plead their case. Under prior experience they have just “Timothy” listed, so now we get a flashback movie! Kind of a bummer, because it then kind of gives away how it ends. But eh, family movie.

The actual story begins with Cindy and Jim finding out they definitely can’t get pregnant. They spent a lot of money, but it won’t happen. Probably Cindy’s fault, who knows. Instead of moving on, they decide to have one drunken night, fantasizing what their kid would have been like. Funny, good at some sort of instrument, not athletic but will score the winning goal for a big game, lover of love, etc. They put this all in a box and bury their son in the garden. What’s that? Freak rain storm? Only over their house!

Hey look, a naked muddy boy is now running around in their house. Dude also has leaves coming out of his legs. That’s more normal. And his name is Timothy Green (CJ Adams). That is their last name! He is a plant with the last name of green. ARE YOU UNDERSTANDING THIS PEOPLE? MAGIC MAN, MAGIC!

Well, after a lot of awkwardness, they decide to not call the cops and just you know, have a son. Too bad they have a giant family picnic the next day and surprise, a kid! Hey, even Jim’s disapproving father (David Morse) showed up, but mostly to terrorize the kids. Cindy has her successful sister (Rosemarie DeWitt) with her multiple successful children also showing up, being all successful and shit. What a bitch.

Either way, Timothy quickly falls head over roots in love with some Joni (Odeya Rush), a girl who is a bit alternative. But hey, friendship. Because we all know what is going to happen to Timothy soon. That is right, he loses a leaf. Interestly enough, he has as many leaves as there were papers in that box. He lost a leaf as soon as he was able to make that uncle dude laugh, and they did want him to be as funny as that uncle dude. I wonder what could happen when all of the box is fulfilled and his leaves lost?

There is also the plot line of the town pencil factory going out of business, and maybe their boss (Ron Livingston) stealing Jim’s idea to save the plant! Oh, and everyone’s favorite actor/rapper with an annoying name Common plays the soccer coach.

That is why that asshole is wearing those socks. Covering up leaves and shit. So now he is the asshole swimming in socks instead. He should fit right in.

Basically, this was your typical family movie about discovering yourself, and a magic entity in your life, albeit temporarily. Laughs are had, lessons learned, and what it means to be a good human. I think.

Despite all that, I guess it was mildly entertaining. The movie also monkey paw’d me right in the throat, and I did not see it coming. Honestly, once I saw their box of attributes each represented a leaf, I immediately knew a few scenes that would happen. But maybe they don’t happen the way you expect em too. They might even have all this build up, just to fuck with you. Totally monkey paw’d.

2 out of 4.