Tag: Steve Zahn


This is one of the many reviews that have come out of WorldFest in Houston. Check the WorldFest tag to see them all!

Opening the festival was Blaze. Now, last year the opening film was LBJ and about a famous person I actually heard about before, with bigger names attached, and a goddamn amazing director.

This one is about a vague country star who never reached his full famous potential, died pretty young, and is directed by Ethan Hawke, who has not done a lot of directing.

This is a good film for a biography, because I would rather learn a shit ton about someone who I haven´t heard everything before. Biographies should actually teach us about new people things. That is, assuming their story is actually worth hearing. I´m looking at you boring biographies about famous people that are just…well, shit.

Oh cute, matching outfits with no one around to say its cute.

Blaze Foley (Ben Dickey), or Michael if you knew him before he was trying to become a famous singer, had a soul that was built for telling stories. These stories were generally musical in nature, which made it a good thing that he also could play that guitar. He had a life of growing up with song, thanks to his family being part of a traveling family band.

The story that we hear about in Blaze is his whole adult life’s tale. About how he met his future wife, Sybil (Alia Shawkat), a Jewish actress who appreciated the woods as much as this large cowboy. In fact, they lived in a shack in the woods for several years rent free, living off the land and no electricity.

We get to see him moving to the big cities with the intention of selling his tunes and making it famous in the country music scene. Including leaving his wife behind to tour with a friend (Josh Hamilton) in an old truck down the south. And also their move to the bigger city of Chicago to tackle the blues crowd, since he figured his music was sort of country and the blues, given how sad they all were. We also get to see him get a record contract, and coincidentally, let that all go to shit as well.

This is all juxtaposed with his final concert, which was recorded life, the day before he was shot and killed protecting a friend.

Also starring Wyatt Russell, Sam Rockwell, Charlie Sexton, Steve Zahn, and Kris Kristofferson.

Life is like being on the back of a truck. You know, fast and no seat belts.

Blaze is a slow burn, which is not what the title implies. Blaze implies a film where everything happens quickly and maybe even burns out, well before it should have. Which is a good metaphor for Blaze the person. But is it a metaphor if its his name? I don´t know how hyperboles work.

The film telling the story interlaced among big moments, early moments, and still ending with the natural ending was a great choice. Getting to hear his ¨friends¨ tell stories about his life provided a great tool for exposition, and the fact that the rest was presumably based on his wife´s book of his life gave it a very personal touch.

As a music fan, I can say it was a bit of a low point for me. I never was really engaged in the many songs sung, as they were all so slow and soulful, and felt more akin to background music while the stories unfolded. Hard to change the music if it is based on a real source though.

Overall the story just felt okay to me. The reason it ended with such a high rating though was due to the acting, especially from Dickey and Shawkat. I don´t actually know Dickey from anything else, but he transformed into this Blaze character, along with all of his imperfections. It never felt like an actor, it just felt like this artist I was completely unaware of.

Blaze is well acted, and tells the story of someone you also likely don´t know. It is debatable if it is a story that needs to be told, but hey, they told it anyways.

3 out of 4.

War For The Planet of the Apes

The “of the Planet of the Apes” films have been met with some pretty critical acclaim in the last few years, especially after the rebooted Planet of the Apes film was so dismal.

And hey, for Rise? I totally agree. An amazing film, great acting and a plot that made me cheer for Apes instead of just humans. Just a silly romance subplot stopped it from being a great film.

Unfortunately, Dawn just didn’t really do much for me. It was an okay film, but I believe it received more praise for being a pretty standard plot, but with Apes instead of tribal humans. Some cool moments sure, but it was also forgettable.

I had no idea what to expect for War, but I would hope with a long run time, it would put an end to humans once and for all, so the Ape society can begin to grow into what we already know is the end goal.

Which is horses and apes riding horses in the future, right?

War is set only a few years after Dawn, where the apes have mostly gone into hiding in the woods. Koba (Toby Kebbell) is the one who started the fighting with the humans, and Caesar (Andy Serkis) ended it. A few apes are still pissed off and left to rabble rouse, but the rest of the apes just want to live alone. However, humans don’t give a fuck, blood was spilled, and they want revenge. So they keep venturing into the woods, hoping to take out Caesar and the rest of the apes will scatter.

Thanks to a scouting mission, a few apes found a desert on the other side of the mountain where the apes would be able to flourish. Humans are super dying out so they are likely to leave them alone.

But leave them along they don’t. A small raid enters their compound hoping to get Caesar, but get some other apes instead. Boo, hiss. Caesar mad. Caesar wants revenge on the soldier in charge of the humans in the area (Woody Harrelson). So he takes his very small band of soldiers on a potential suicide mission.

Starring Gabriel Chavarria as a human soldier, Amiah Miller as a human deaf girl, and a whole lot of people as apes. Like Judy Greer, Steve Zahn, Terry Notary, Aleks Paunovic, Devyn Dalton, and Karin Konoval.

“Well, are you feeling lucky…Ape?”

Trilogies usually go one of three ways. There is the the rare but incredible trilogy that is amazing with every iteration. There is the more common trilogy where the sequel surpasses the first and the last film is a let down. Or there is a trilogy where it starts off good, and each iteration loses a bit of its soul, giving us a worse and worse film.

And a lot of you would assume this might be the second trilogy because people loved Dawn, but to me, this is the third type of trilogy. Dawn was okay, War was kind of shit.

At almost 140 minutes with War in the title, you would expect a giant battle to, most likely, bring about the end of mankind to start this whole Planet of the Apes thing. Maybe. Well, the Caesar journey with his band takes awhile to follow the humans. On the way, they have another Ape who can talk who joins them, and a deaf girl. This part drags, and even when they make it to the human encampment it drags. I found myself falling asleep, despite being an early screening and having finished an energy drink before it.

The ending is about the apes being enslaved and needing to get to get broken out of a prison system where they are slaves, and the humans are fighting with each other. There is also a new iteration of the Simian Flu, that causes humans to lose their voice and potentially become aggressive, reverting them back into a more primitive form.

The ending break out is not a brilliant plan. It involves the humans being incredibly incompetent. When plot necessary, apparently no one is standing guard at the military compound, so a little girl can walk in and have a long conversation. When necessary apparently a guard will behave like someone who has no military training, and no one else will be on guard duty. When necessary, the fighting between humans will stop enough so that the humans can fire on some apes that none of them were able to notice even escaped. This scene includes a soldier that is so upset with these apes, that he cannot stop firing despite a looming other human threat, that he cannot turn around to get his own grenade launcher. When necessary, an ape looking for redemption will use a weapon to take out a single human, instead of just doing the more obvious move to complete the task that Caesar was trying to complete. When necessary, a giant deus ex machine straight out of Mulan will save the day, but this time no daisies are involved.

The ending is a mess, the middle is a bore, and the beginning is predictable. I didn’t even get into the ridiculousness of the Simian Flu change, and deciding to have a girl who was deaf for real, not deaf for flu reasons. War for the Planet of the Apes is a waste of a film that tried to go a deeper, personal route, and just left feeling a bit superficial.

1 out of 4.

Captain Fantastic

That’s right, there are two Captain movies this year. But Captain Fantastic isn’t a superhero in the normal definition of the word, but if you think about it, he is still a hero to the intellectual community out there.

Which you shouldn’t be thinking about yet, because this is the introduction.

I will note that this film has Viggo Mortensen penis in it, so for those Lord of the Rings super fans, this should really get you on board.

Family Funeral
And their outfits are even fantastic!

Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife, Leslie (Trin Miller) have decided to say fuck modern society and to live in the woods. In fact, they made this decision a long long time ago. And at this point, they have six kids. Bodevan (George MacKay), Kielyr (Samantha Isler), Vespyr (Annalise Basso), Rellian (Nicholas Hamilton), Zaja (Shree Crooks), and Nai (Charlie Shotwell). Unique names of course, so they can be unique people in the world.

Speaking of being unique, when I say living in the woods, I mean totally outside of society in Washington state. They hunt and grow their own food. They teach their kids to learn about the world, to be socialists, humanitarians, free thinkers. They train them to survive, to hunt, to build their endurance, to think through dangerous situations. They are teaching them many different languages and how to play many instruments. It is an intellectual smorgasbord.

And then Leslie dies. By her own hands, suffering from a form of PTSD after their last child died. And now they are in a strange situation. Because of how they live, her body is sent to her parents (Frank Langella, Ann Dowd), a rich couple who never approved of her life style choices and of course her husband. They are all the way in New Mexico and the father has threatened to take his children if he shows up, child endangerment laws and all, blah.

Fuck that. They are trying to give his wife a normal, casket, Christian burial. But she is Buddhist and had explicit instructions in her will, and they are not honoring that. So he has to load up their bus and take his family down to New Mexico, through civilization, where the hardest training is yet to come, for all of them.

Also starring Kathryn Hahn and Steve Zahn.

Learning how to break and enter into a house can be the difference between life and death, technically.

It is hard to classify Captain Fantastic into a few genres, it turns out. I called it a Black Comedy, but it really doesn’t even fit that bill, and Black Comedy is usually the “weird films that are uneasy and funny catch up” category. A serious drama, comedy, absurd movie maybe. Not Rubber absurd, but it just comes out with such completely counter culture points of right off the back it can take you by surprise.

None of the philosophies or ideas expressed in the film are new of course, they are just taking an idea to the extreme and seeing how it plays out. It leads to a unique film and one where the viewer is happy to take the journey.

The cast of characters is wonderful, with at least 4 of the children having pretty distinct personalities. It is harder for the youngest two of course. Mortensen plays a dad trying to do what he thinks is the best for his children, and it shows. The acting is phenomenal all around, with plenty of smaller amusing scenes and intellectual arguments to show the good and bad of their situation.

The ending is a bit weird, but he movie is entirely weird, so that shouldn’t be too surprising.

If you want an intellectual, weird, and slightly morbid film, Captain Fantastic is for you. If you don’t want any of that, then you might not like good films.

4 out of 4.

The Ridiculous 6

How many movies does Adam Sandler do in a year? Usually one right? Maybe two?

Well this year, he stars in three different movies. The Cobbler, Pixels, and now The Ridiculous 6. Sure he is getting older, but those private yachts aren’t going to pay for themselves. And as he does more and more films, he gains more and more friends to have to support on his army of yachts.

This film is a Netflix original movie. Last year he signed a four film deal with the company, and so it will be awhile before his films are released theatrically again.

And uhh. I guess this is Adam Sandler’s take on a western, with a name similar to those other western and samurai movies.

There are rag tag groups and there are shit groups. This group is worse than the later.

White Knife (Sandler) grew up never really knowing his father or his mother. But he is half Native America, despite looking white. And yes, her is freakishly good at using knives. Name explained, boom.

Then one day, an old guy comes to town. Frank Stockburn (Nick Nolte), a famous bank robber who was notorious throughout the land. Turns out that is his real daddy. But he needs help. Members of his former gang are going to kill him, unless he pays back money that was stolen from there. The gang is now lead by Cicero (Danny Trejo), and they are ruthless. Frank lies to them about the location, so that White Knife aka Tommy can get the money and put it in the spot before the bad guys get there. Then, after saving his dad’s life, he can enjoy some of that sweet ass quality time he has been hoping for. So he will run off and do that, before he gets married to Smoking Fox (Julia Jones).

Along the way, Tommy finds out that his dad really did get around, by meeting several half brothers. There is Ramon (Rob Schneider), half Mexican with a burro. There is Lil’ Pete (Taylor Lautner), who is half retarded and well. Yeah. Herm (Jorge Garcia) is half…Mongolian or something. He speaks gibberish. There is also Chico (Terry Crews), half Black and a piano player! And finally, Danny (Luke Wilson) who is half an alcoholic and half an American traitor.

Remember when I said Sandler had friends? Yeah, a ton of them are in this movie.

Chris Parnell. Blake Shelton. Harvey Keitel. John Turturro. Jon Lovitz. Nick Swardson. Saginaw Grant. Steve Buscemi. Steve Zahn. Vanilla Ice. And Will Forte!

Lautner’s tooth gap is played by Steve Carell!

I almost forgot to mention the controversy! You know, where Native American extras walked off the set because they found the humor to be racist and demeaning. One would say that isn’t good publicity, but of course we know there is no such thing as bad PR.

In fact, Netflix can only gain from a raunchy Sandler film. No one will cancel their account because it exists, but they will get more international audiences who love the shit out of him still. Win for them, no matter how terrible a film is.

But in all honesty, this film isn’t even super terrible. No, it is really fucking…slightly below average. Sandler’s character is a bit boring, which is true for a lot of his things lately. He is just playing an every guy, who happens to be good at knives I guess. The only reason to watch the film is for the rest of the 5 brothers.

Taylor Lautner playing what amounts of Simple Jack? Fantastic. He was the best part of Grown Ups 2 and one of the best parts of this one as well. I have been know to enjoy Schneider, and I think his performance is one of his better ones lately (again, not saying a lot). Garcia and Crews felt a bit underused, especially Garcia. His character didn’t even make sense.

But really, the movie has bottom of the barrel. I only laughed occasionally, the twists were obvious, and it was just far too long. It looks like they really did try to make a good western parody, but you know. Poop jokes. Under using actors. Some racism. You know what you are getting going into the film, I suspect.

1 out of 4.

The Good Dinosaur

Pixar! What are you doing? This seems highly unusual!

They had Inside Out come out earlier in the year. The year being 2015. But this is another Pixar movie, The Good Dinosaur, coming out in the same year. Don’t they know that this will mean they are competing against themselves for animated film awards?

Oh well, that is because this Pixar film was supposed to come out in 2013. But delays occurred. Serious delays that pushed it back a year, and then another. The whole story had to be redone from what they initially thought about, as there were apparent serious problems with the script. Not only that, but the entire voice cast, except for Frances McDormand was replaced earlier this year. Some crazy shit went down into getting this film out.

Either way, this is the first time that Pixar has released two films in the same year. The next time they do this is in 2017, with the release of Coco and Cars 3. That year, however, they won’t be competing against themselves since they know that there is no way Cars 3 will win anything.

Oh no, there are 3 T-Rexs here. This just make me think of how bad Cars 3 will be, noo!

What if the asteroid that hit the earth 65 million years ago didn’t happen? Well, then the dinosaurs wouldn’t have been wiped out. And lots of other things would have happened, like we would never have had the rise of mammals, humans probably wouldn’t exist, and no one would be able to make lame Nickelback jokes anymore. But let’s ignore the many things that would change, assume they stay the same, but also dinosaurs still exist.

That way we can meet Poppa (Jeffrey Wright) and Momma (Frances McDormand), some sort of “long neck” dinosaur species (Apatosaurus). They have three eggs and they are about to hatch! We have little Libby (Maleah Nipay-Padilla, who I assume does the voice the whole time, not just the baby. Shitty IMDB stuff going on), strong Buck (Marcus Scribenr), and Arlo (Raymond Ochoa), the runt. Having kids is great, because they work a farm, and now they can expand their corn farm and get even more corn food to survive winters and have a wonderful home!

Let’s just say, eventually, some tragedies occur, due to the very explicit foreshadowing, so next thing we know, Arlo is far from home and on his own! Well, there is also this random human toddler, Spot (Jack Bright). See his name? He is basically a really smart dog.

They have to get back to the farm before it is too late. Before what is too late? Well, basically death. This area has a bit of volcanism, large bugs, scary winged dinosaurs, scary big mouthed dinosaurs, scary cryptic dinosaurs, and giant ass storms that make shit flood and get all sorts of scary. SCARY!

Also featuring the voices of Peter Sohn, Steve Zahn, A.J. Buckley, Anna Paquin, and of course, Sam Elliott.

Sam Elliot plays the whisper of the wind on the grass. Or at least that is how smooth his voice is in my mind.

Cutting to the chase, The Good Dinosaur is a very safe movie from the Pixar perspective. It was just a journey film between two unlikely entities. A buddy road trip movie. Sure they had their differences, but working together, their strengths were doubled and their weaknesses were, lets say cut down a small bit.

Early in the film was a bit dull, and I was worried it would finish with an average rating. Then we started to meet a few characters. The triceratops scene and the bad fruit scene were basically back to back and had me in stitches. Then we had the scary flying things (I don’t know if they were pterodactyls, so I won’t call them that). They were cool. But the T-Rex’s were just cowboys and a bit boring at that. Elliot voice be damned.

The Good Dinosaur had a few touching moments, but only made me barely cry just once. I was never able to connect to it emotionally like I could Inside Out. And hey, there was a death scene, and it was intense as fuck. About the same level of intensity as when Mufasa kicked the bucket in that one movie.

I was weary of the animation style, with cartoony dinosaurs/people and hyper realistic backgrounds, but it was amazing to watch it on the screen.

Again, The Good Dinosaur has some amazingly funny parts. The animation was great, but the story overall was very plain, not very original. Given their production problems, it is clear they just really wanted to do some dinosaur film. Through all the rewrites the film probably gradually became simpler and simpler, until we got the mostly unoriginal story line. It’s a shame, but at least we have Inside Out.

2 out of 4.

Knights of Badassdom

Ah, LARPing. An easy subject to make fun of. I have never LARP’d, because actually LARPing involves having a character, having stats abilities and stuff, and doesn’t necessarily involve just hitting people with swords. I have done the thing where I hit people with swords though.

Movies that feature LARPing generally are just overall parodies of them, never really getting the actuality of it all (like anything nerdy in films). Recently I watched Lloyd the Conqueror and it didn’t trash on the subject. Still probably far off, but at least it wasn’t just making fun of it. I imagine this movie, Knights of Badassdom will do the same thing, but with a bigger budget and bigger stars.

There is an obvious joke here, but I will be the bigger man and not make it.

Some friends like to role play and have eventually elevated their play to the next level to involve LARPing. After one of their friends goes down with a paintball injury, Hung (Peter Dinklage) and Eric (Steve Zahn) need another member for their team before the big even this weekend!

Which is where they find Joe (Ryan Kwanten), their old friend, wallowing in misery. His girlfriend (Margarita Levieva) just broke up with him. He used to play D&D with them, but stopped. Using the power of drugs and alcohol, they convince him to join their band for the weekend. The rest of their team includes Lando (Danny Pudi), Gunther (Brett Gipson), and Gwen (Summer Glau).

But early in the weekend, Eric accidentally casts a spell from a book he found that unleashes a succubus upon the festivities. Weee, real demons!

Also featuring Brian Posehn for one scene, and Jimmi Simpson as the Game Master. Nerds, every single one of them.

In case you are curious, yes, the lightning bolt joke makes it here too.

Arguably, this is some sort of “horror comedy” or “black comedy,” I have heard it described as both. The only issue I have with both sides is the comedy element. I remember a couple amusing scenes, maybe, but most of it was sans chuckles. That sucks! I know most of the actors in this. All of them are amusing in their own way and definitely are “nerds” in terms of roles they play normally, so I believe that they are nerdy in real life as well.

But this film is just disappointing. Again, very few laughs. If there were more laughs, I could forgive the mediocre acting or plot or whatever. Kind of cool fight near the end but it isn’t enough to save it. Definitely a passable movie. I can’t even bring myself to describe it more than what I have done already.

1 out of 4.

Dallas Buyers Club

I am pretty sure since last summer, people have been hyping up Dallas Buyers Club. Basically, right after Mud came out, that is when people started to talk about the revitalization of Matthew McConaughey‘s career. After all, no one thought that in 2008 this RomCom asshole would ever really be a serious or dramatic actor.

But even Magic Mike had its strangely characteristic moments. This year is clearly McConaughey’s best. Besides Mud, he was also in The Wolf Of Wall Street, about to star in an HBO show True Detective, and of course nominated for Best Actor with his role here. Yet all I really knew ahead of time was that he lost some mad weight.

Weight Loss
For comparison, let’s look at him chiseled up and erotic dancing!

Way back in the 1980s lived a man, Ron Woodroof (McConaughey), a man who liked to gamble and ride in rodeos. Then he was diagnosed with AIDS. AIDS? How can that be? He hates the gays, definitely isn’t one himself! Must be a mistake. Fuckin’ doctors.

Well, it wasn’t. Dr. Eve (Jennifer Garner) predicted he would have only 30 days to live. She put him in a trial, where half of the patients would receive ACT and the other half placebo, and he started to feel like shit. Cocaine that he started didn’t help either. Eventually, when he is almost dead, he finds himself at the hands of Dr. Vass (Griffin Dunne) in Mexico, who lost his license. He hooks Ron up with some better drugs than ACT, stuff that actually works, and wouldn’t you know it, three months later, he is still alive and kicking.

After being alive, he realizes that the hospitals suck, and that he could sell these drugs in America for sweet fat cash. You know, saving lives at the same time, but also that cash. The drugs he uses aren’t legal, just not FDA approved, so it is totally doable. With the help of his now transgendered woman fellow AIDS friend, Rayon (Jared Leto), because she has contacts, they set up the Dallas Buyers Club. You just pay for a monthly membership, and the drugs come free.

That’s some straight up U-S-Mother Fucking-A right there, I tell you what.

Denis O’Hare plays another doctor, trying to fuck over Ron for fucking over his tests, and Steve Zahn plays an old friend of Ron’s, pre-AIDS.

And now for a fun game where we play “Spot the Leto!”

Jared Leto hasn’t been in a movie since like, 2009. So he decides to go back into some acting and what do you know, he wins a shit ton of awards. And yet still, that is still not as surprising as McConaughey’s rise to dominance. Much like people are now saying it is weird to say that Jonah Hill is a two time Academy Award nominee, soon we might ignore the fact that McConaughey was in Failure To Launch.

But I talked about that enough.

Yeah, there is some incredible acting in this movie. And it is a fucking good story. True story, sure, but the story itself is a good one. The loopholes, the fights with the FDA, the drug smuggling, the SURVIVING. Ron survived for 7 years after they said he would die, thanks to his actions, which also helped saved the lives of many more people.

The fact that it was nominated for so many things shouldn’t be a surprise I guess. I liked it a lot, and I guess so did the rest of the world. Fantastic performances, did I mention that?

4 out of 4.

The Great Buck Howard

The Great Buck Howard is definitely one of the movies I bought just because of the cast list on the front, and not really knowing anything about it.

I can definitely say I have heard zero things about this movie ahead of time, which means I can ruin that moment for you if you watch it with this review. Hooray!

clap for me
Kind of like ruining a mentalists act. The claps will fade :(.

Turns out, this movie is actually about Troy Gable (Colin Hanks). He doesn’t like his place in life. Law School just is not fun. It sucks. His dad (Tom Hanks, yep) forced him to pick this path though. So he says enough is enough, walks out of law school, and time to find his calling.

Maybe a writer? Sure, but it doesn’t pay. So he needs a job for bills while he thinks about writing. Why not the stage manager of the Great Buck Howard (John Malkovich), a mentalist who he has never heard of. Sure, he has apparently been on Johnny Carson 61 times, but that is old.

Now he just travels from small town to small town, with a loyal fan base who love his acts and cheesiness. Troy quickly learns what to do from Alan (Adam Scott), the soon to be former tour manager, who eventually quits and leaves in a rage. Okay, so apparently Buck is not really so great, but more of a dick. But its a job, and why not stick around?

Well, he gets to see a struggling mentalist make it through life, without missing a beat. Just takes it all out on Troy. He even has an amazing act, where he has audience members hide his “fee” for the night, while he and his staff is away, and without fail he can find it every time. If he cant, it gets donated back to the town.

Even the build up of his new trick, putting a record number of people to sleep at a time. The problem is, shit keeps going wrong. His press person is out of town, so he is stuck with a rookie girl (Emily Blunt), has crazy drivers (Steve Zahn), and a generally apathetic manager (Ricky Jay).

Fan hit the shit
Here is a look as shit hits the fan. Pretty hard.

I was worried about this film, just because it was John Malkovich in a PG setting. But what the fuck was I thinking? This is John Malkovich! He does things awesomely, and you can’t help but watch.

His character of Buck Howard was definitely an interesting one to watch, and clearly the most important part of the movie, despite it being a journey of discovery for Colin Hanks’ character. He is based on the The Amazing Kreskin , who was known for finding his fee pretty much every time (but nine, oddly enough).

Did I mention Malkovich kicked ass as this character? The rest of the cast was pretty decent as well. Especially the outrageous locals at some of the shows. It is hard to describe why this film is so great, but the only word I can think of is charming, I guess. The cast works well together, and it is strangely interesting despite the subject matter. Give it a chance, and maybe you will love it.

3 out of 4.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

Finally. Finally I can say I am the last Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie…or am I?

This version, Dog Days, takes place after seventh grade, but during the summer before 8th. Shit, that means if there is only middle school for these books (guess), then they can still do another one next year.

Four movies in four years, kind of ballsy. Or maybe it is just easy for this type of ‘epic novel’.

Summer? Time to get fucked up and ride some rides.

So yeah, get stoked, time to meet up with Greg (Zachary Gordon) again! But now that school is out, he has one goal, to play video games. Lamely enough, he is playing some dumb wizard game, and apparently thinks it will take all summer to beat it. Well, maybe he sucks at life.

But his dad (Steve Zahn) is not a fan. Summer is good weather so he must be outside! Physical fit stuff, oh well. And he better not piss off his dad this summer, because he just learned about some prep/obedience/military? school that starts in the 8th grade. You know, which Greg is about to be in. So of course Greg fails to get his game on after the first day, and pisses off his dad. Oh well, according to the mom (Rachael Harris), it is partially the dad’s fault. He needs to spend time with his son!

But they have nothing in common. Camping, reinactments, fishing, blah. Thankfully, Greg lies again and says he has a summer job at the local country club. But really he is just going there as Rowley’s (Robert Capron), trying to impress Holly (Peyton List), by lying to her a bunch. She meant to give him her phone number, but never finished writing it. Unfortunately, throughout the summer Greg is too much of a pansy to bring that up and get the missing digits to actually get his girl.

Chirag (Karan Brar) is still an Indian kid stereotype, Patti (Laine MacNeil) is still mean, and Fregley (Grayson Russell) is still unpopular.

Rodrick (Devon Bostick), despite what happened in the last film, is kind of a dick again, and uses his brother to get into the country club.

Can Greg not screw up everything he touches, and get a good relationship going with his dad?

I can’t tell. They look pretty much the same, so they must be awesome.

Remember what the sequel did with the first? It made it better, and also feel more realistic. You think both Greg and the brother grew with that movie, and it felt kind of awesome. Well I think that is what they meant to do with this version. But instead of the boy and older brother relationship, it would go to the boy and his father relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, it definitely happened, but the execution felt wrong. Just felt wrong the entire time. The threat of boarding school, and Greg’s inability to not be a dick. Like, he made progress in the last movie, but it is almost as if they were just kidding and no progress was made at all. His brother was kind of a dick to him (not as complete, but still not very nice). Just felt like they robbed the characters of their development.

Literally nothing really goes as planned in this movie, and to me it seemed like that most of Greg’s actions were caused by an inability to think, even though they generally portray him as a bit smarter of a character. But nope, bad choice after bad choice, and still, despite learning lessons in previous films, wanting to be cool and treating his friends like crap.

Way to go Greg, you really are starting to suck. Other minor announces, like Patti yelling out the score during tennis, and scoring it wrong (but seemingly correct? She was calling shit a point that wasn’t close to being a point). Also, Greg’s inability to get the last two digits of Holly’s number, all because he couldn’t just say, “Yo Bitch, finish that message”. Especially if he was right by her, and other people were talking that involved neither of them, he couldn’t figure out how to talk on his own I guess. Just made me pissed off.

1 out of 4.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules


Another Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, that is what you are thinking right? And with such a demanding subtitle of Rodrick Rules, there is no way it could actually fail.

Especially if all of the major cast are brought back, minus one notabale change. You know, because Chloe Grace Moretz had to become too much of a big deal to continue these movies. Or something. But that is an assumption. Hell, I don’t even know if the events in this movie or the others are actual book events, or just made up. So I guess her return doesn’t matter.

Roller Disco
I guess they took that new bitch to a roller disco. Bitches love roller discos.

Remember Greg’s (Zachary Gordon) quest for popularity? Well, he still really isn’t popular. And he kind of still wants to be. Some would say that means he didn’t learn anything at all from the first film. But don’t worry, his quest for popularity at least doesn’t cause him to destroy his friendships again. Even though there are some mean pranks (like pretending that Chirag (Karan Brar) is invisible the whole film, as a big practical joke that the school joins in. Kind of a dick move, Greg).

He is real friends with Rowley (Robert Capron) still, just tries to avoid the fact that he is into magic now and wants to have Greg as his assistant for a talent show. Don’t be gross, Rowley. And of course Patti (Laine MacNeil) is still an unobtrusive whore, and Fregley (Grayson Russell) is still a gross loser.

So what the fuck is new? Well, there is the new girl, Holly (Peyton List) who is way too cool, and thus impossible for Greg to attain. He has to become cool himself. But he is lame, and not cool, so kind of sucks. But turns out there is a way to become cool, and that way is through his brother Rodrick (Devon Bostick).

The mom (Rachael Harris) actually devises a system called Mom Bucks to try and get them closer together, but it doesn’t really work. Thankfully, they end up bonding over an illegal house party the brother throws, since Greg was willing to cover for him. Hells yeah. That is when Rodrick starts teaching him how to be cool. Gives him a list of rules to follow (yeahhh). They aren’t all good, but damn it, they are trying.

Hopefully the dad (Steve Zahn) doesn’t find out about the party, causing a lot of other problems to occur, and banning Rodrick from performing at the talent show. That would surely drive a wedge in the friendship and coolness factor.

So I guess the title could be from Rodrick either being awesome, or his list of helpful hints. But where else might the title have come from? Hmm.

So uhh, shockingly this movie wasn’t that bad. I know, this is going to sound strange. But it was definitely better than the original one. Sure, it was still more of the same in terms of children shenanigans and some silly humor. But it was definitely just better.

Greg wasn’t as much of an asshat, and way more likable of a person. The relationship between him and his brother, obviously a major part of the movie, felt pretty real. Had some unusual circumstances come about, but just felt correct.

Maybe it is just because I have an older brother and it all made sense because of that, but they really hit the nail on the head.

So this movie actually is enjoyable, if you are in the kid mindset of course. So hopefully the third one is even more better!

3 out of 4.