Ranking the Disney Animated Canon: 1960’s/70’s

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s 2018 and it’s time to get back to our little quest of Ranking the Disney Animated Canon. Today’s is special because we’re killing two birds with one stone.

Some of the middle decades didn’t have too many films but they usually have enough to warrant a full post. Not so much for the 60’s and 70s. The former has only 3 and the latter has only 4.

I’d feel a bit odd doing a ranking post of only 3 or so films, so today we’re doing both of those decades. 6 films, that sounds pretty fair. Don’t worry, I’m not combining both rankings, just see it as two posts for the price of one.

Anyway, this was a pretty rocky period for Disney. Of course, Walt died in 1966 which as you can imagine shook the company and it a while to fully recover.

This didn’t affect most of the 60’s but boy it did affect the 70’s. As such, their out put in that Decade wasn’t quite up to snuff for some but they at least still had some winners in there.

These two decades were pretty tame compared to what came before, especially the 70’s but they still had some classics. They adopted this sort of sketchy style that isn’t for everyone, but I kinda dig it.

I don’t dig the recycling they sometimes did but it never really took away from the films honestly. Anyway, we’re not mostly in the older ones where I won’t have as much to say.

And my tastes will start rearing it’s ugly head. But hopefully you can why I feel the way I do about some movies. With that said, let’s get into. Let’s see what the best and weakest films of these rocky decades were.

This, is Ranking the Disney Animated Canon: 1960’s/70s

The Sword in the Stone (1963):

And at the bottom for 60’s one is the first bottom ranked one that I still kinda like. This one falls in the “Fairly flawed but still somewhat enjoyable” Category. I get how some really like it and some aren’t too thrilled.

The plot is not exactly complex as it’s done in a basic way with Merlin teaching Wart/Athur stuff. This by itself is fine but the pacing is too loose, and sometimes the scenes make you feel like you’re at school, just with a much cooler teacher.

And the ending with the actual sword in the stone is rushed as a result, and they put in the “main characters get split up at one point” thing for pretty much no reason.

But like we’ll see in these others, there is some charm to the overall product that can make up for it.

Merln is very likable and there’s a couple of fun songs and scenes. It switches between mildly amusing and kind of dull or meandering, like that squirrel scene. I wish it stuck to being all enjoyable but the enjoyable parts do make it somewhat worth it.

The animation also has plenty of life and it helps scenes like the wizard battle at the end. Speaking of, Madadme Mim is another fun character, even if she isn’t one of the best Disney villains ever.

Overall, it’s one you’ll really enjoy or fine just okay. I say it’s Decent. It’s certainly slow and could have been better but it also a decent amount of charm and some likable characters.

In some ways a bit lesser than I first watched it ages ago, but still decent enough to be enjoyable for what it is. But our next two are simply better to me, let’s move on.

101 Dalmatians (1961):

Even though I’m not in love with this one, it was surprised me. I was expecting closer to decent like Sword in the Stone but I’d give this one the full Good. It’s not exactly a high Good but I do like it nonetheless.

The only big thing i can say about this movie is that it’s charming. Like most of these old ones, it can drag, mostly in the middle where we don’t spend as much time with the main characters. But it picks back up soon after.

It’s another one that’s just meant to be cute and it works. The main characters are very likable, and it’s all just very chill and I dig it.

I actually like the 1st act, before they get kidnapped more than most of what comes later. I don’t know, I just like the vibe of this part. And of course Cruella is really enjoyable with how over the top she gets.

Oh and the Cruella Song is great too.

It’s nothing too deep, but of course that’s he point, it works as a charming and cute film.

I do think adding some more interesting stuff would have prevented it from dragging, as that did dock it point or 2. But as it is,, it works than some of the other older ones. I put it above Sword because it ends up more consistent and I end up getting it’s vibe just a bit more.

I can some being more attached to this one than I am, but i still like it fine as it is. It’s another charming one.

Not much more to say other than it came somewhat close to topping the ranking. But after thinking it over, I am going with…

The Jungle Book (1967):

As i hinted, It was hard to chose a favorite between this and Dalmatians but in the end I went with this. Mostly because it’s high points just hit me more.

When I re-visited this one I figured it would be one of those Disney movies that’s light on story and all that but it actually had more to than I remembered. It’s not an epic or anything and it has some of the same issues I go on about but the story has more to than the other films around this time.

Okay, that’s likely more because of the books it’s based on but Walt flat out told the writers to not read the book. Not even kidding. The first version Bill Peet had come up with was more faithful but Walt was like “lolno” and here we are.

I kinda wish we had gotten that version but whatever. The set up of Moglii being found and having to be protected from Shere Kahn is an interesting one, especially when they highlight how dangerous the jungle can be.

I mean he has to deal with someone who wants him to teach him how to make fire and a hypnotic snake voiced by Winnie the Pooh. The episodic nature works in the way as at times it can play a bigger role in the story.

Kahn himself is threatening every moment he’s on screen just with his voice and mannerisms. Not the biggest baddie ever but still decently memorable, and he gives us a half decent climax.

On the other hand, that means the usual pacing issues become worse because you know it can have more of a story. There’s eome nice scenes like when Bagherra tells off Baloo but we also have 5 minute dance parties. I love Louie’s scene but it still goes on for way too long. Same with the Vultures that are sadly not voiced by The Beatles. I’ve seen worse but I do feel like the story needed more agency.

Sometimes you can forget about the bigger elements because they often dick around,. Some of it works, some doesn’t. However, the film still works because it has those interesting elements to keep it engaging.

Plus, it’s just fun. It has a cool style to it, mostly with the music. I like the songs but the music itself is what makes them. Yes, I Wanna be Like You is my favorite. Another big positive is the characters.

They are all surprisingly memorable. Moglii is a good enough lead to follow and the Baloo is just cool. He’s the kind of guy you want to hang out with. Then again, so is Louie somehow so maybe I just have weird taste in friends.

(As my IRC Buddies can attest to…)

Side note, the animation is apparently recycled at points but I didn’t notice it too much. It’s mostly pretty decent to me.

Overall, The Jungle Book perhaps could use more agency but it’s a mostly fun time with some nice moments here and there to make it more interesting experience. The jazzy music and likable cast of characters help round a solid film.

And because the high points are as high as they are, it becomes my favorite Disney film of the 60’s. Barely.

Okay, onto the Decade with more films.

1970’s

The Aristocats (1970):

Once again, I am not surprising anyone. This our film in these rankings I can say I full on dislike. Then again I only 100 percent dislike 3 in total and to be fair, this is the best of those 3.

Mostly because it’s flaws are understandable and are seen in all these others movies, they are just made worst movies. This has all the worse traits with not as many of the high points.

But there are some okay things in this. It does have it’s moments of charm, like with some of the songs. And there’s my favorite part, Uncle Waldo,a drunk cat.

I’m not kidding, he’s actually drunk. He acts like it and they say so. That’s just…amazing. Too bad he’s in one scene and that scene is pointless. Then again, that’s the order of the day.

This movie is mostly just cute cats doing things. There really isn’t much of a story for most of it. Of course the films of this era aren’t tightly written too often but there really is a lot of nothing. Which would be fine if the characters were good but they are mostly bland.

The kid cats are just annoying with no personality, same goes for the Mom and most others. Thomas O Malley is okay but he’s just Baloo again. Same voice too. The butler villain is kinda but more in concept than execution.

The charm can carry some scenes but a lot of iit s just fluff and filler. Heck, even the animation, while decent, is nothing special. Plus, the cat owner lady’s head is really roughly animated for some reason.

Some can get into for the charm for me, it was mostly empty with nothing to latch onto. It has it’s moments but if I want charm, I’d go with most of the other movies in this ranking.

It’s not total cat barf but that cute-ness can only take it so far. Sorry.

The Rescuers (1977):

We talked about the beloved sequel so now we step backward to see where it began. I watched this one before I watched that one so this section will be judging it on it’s own.

Although having seen the sequel, it does make my problems with this one stick out more. Like most of these, this one gets too slow for my taste, especially in the first quarter.

But it can be an enjoyable adventure, with some moments of heart. They at least tried and i can some people really liking it. But it isn’t totally my thing.

I also wish we had more character depth, what we get is a good start but there’s not much beyond the surface. Even the villain who kidnaps the girl isn’t as great as she could have been, I also don’t get why she needs this kid to get the diamond.

So yeah, has enough good to be rated Decent but it is on the low end of that rating, for the most part, at least compared to what it could have been. And since I’ve now seen the sequel, I do know what it could have been.

It is a 70’s movie, so it likely couldn’t quite do what the sequel did but I do think it still could have done more in some places. As it is, it’s simply fine and honestly, I hardly remember most of this movie so if I hadn’t written something about it on DA when I watched it, I’d be really lost here.

Still, I can see some liking it more. Heck, I’ve seen people prefer it to Down Under which I suppose I understand. But for me, it does everything this one does but better.

But for what it is, this one does it’s job fine, it’s just not one I see myself re-visiting.

…Oh and there’s a naked woman in a window in one scene or something.

Robin Hood (1973):

.Now we get to te 2 I full on like, although this one is still in the Decent range. Like the rest of these, some can be mixed but it mostly has quite the audience nowadays and I see why.

It’s pretty fun a fair amount of the time, , especially in the more energetic scenes, but it can also be rather slow, with a bit of padding. Are you sick of me saying that about these older movies yet?

This was done when they were going through some troubles, and it shows a tiny bit, since they fell so behind schedule that they had to recycle animation from Jungle Book and other films. Seriously.

But the animation is decent despite that and the film is mostly fine with some enjoyable stuff. It’s decent because there;s more good than weak but the good stuff isn’t quite great enough to make it fully good.

Robin Hood himself is of course pretty likable and the villain a decent comedic one. Although once again we have a Baloo copy, only this one is even more blatant. Doesn’t help that all 3 characters share a voice actor.

Despite that, the cast is a good one and the climax brings this movie up a bit.

So yeah it’s mostly fun and harmless. Nothing amazing but fun.. …Yeah, that’s all i got. Not that complex of a movie, which can be a good or bad thing for some. I don’t like it AS much as some seem to, but it’s a somewhat high Decent for me, and I do remember various bits from it.

That should account for something, right? Either way, this is a decent little fun tale that is enjoyable enough for me despite some of the usual flaws.

And my favorite Disney film of the 70’s is…

The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977):

This seems like an odd choice, especially compared to the adventured focused film I could have put here.

Especially since this movie is a compilation of shorts that were already made, strung together. Yet it has a better narrative than Sword in the stone and such. Huh.

This one is just charming,. There’s always a charm to Pooh stuff from the new adventures of pooh show to the movies, including the Disney Tons ones. I’m nostalgic for some of Pooh so i think i was going to enjoy this on level and I’m glad it works me.

Not exactly the strongest story, but the charm of it all works. Plus, the stories connect a tad and the ending makes it all nice. It’s nothing complicated but it’s pretty likable and with the solid characters we’ve grown to love. It can be slow sometimes but the nice moments make this a solid watch.

Plus, the narrator is funny.

So in other words, everything I said about the 2011 movie. Both movies are really charming and get over their story problems, even if I kinda have wish we’d have a more focused Pooh movie again like The Tigger Movie which we’ll get to soon, hint hint.

Honestly, the fact that my favorite Disney Movie of the 70’s and my least favorite film of the 2010’s are on par, says a lot about both decades. I normally would put a film like Robin Hood here but this movie has a charm to it that made my like more.

Like with Jungle Book, it has flaws and I don’t love it but it just works really well with the characters and overall Pooh charm. Much like these two decades, it’s not the best written, but has an enjoyable charm that makes it worth watching.

I spent more time explaining how it got to number one rather than “Reviewing” the movie but that’s the kind of movie it is. Either way, it is my favorite Disney animated of the 1970’s.

And those were the Disney Animated Films of the 60’s and 70’s. As you can tell by the length of the sections, this wasn’t the most interesting bunch. They clearly hit a bit of a rut around this time but they still had some charm there, especially in the 60’s.

It got a bit rough at times but thankfully the 80’s improved on these somewhat. Plus, the faves for both decades had enough good things to make me forgive Aristocats.

From here on out, expect these Mini-Reviews to be shorter since 2 of the remaining decades are older ones where I don’t have too much to say about the films. But that’s fine, I don’t need a 500 word essay every time.

That about wraps up this one. Next time, we got all the way to the beginning.

See ya.

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General Review: Paddington 2

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, looks like I got to 2018 general reviews quicker than I thought. It’s funny actually, I am in the same situation I was in last year. Last January I wasn’t sure what I would see first and eventually I saw Split even though I had no plans to at first.’

And it’s happening again, this time with a movie that’s more or less the opposite. Today we have the sequel to 2015’s Paddington. Now, I actually had never heard of this property before the movie so I had no interest either way.

I was worried for the fans since it seemed like it would be another of those kind of adaptations. But thankfully people liked it and after watching a few weeks ago, I have to agree with them.

It had a few of the flaws you might expect but overall it was really charming and also surprisingly funny in parts. It’s not the best surprisingly good family film that’s an adaptation of a classic work of 2015, but it’s still enjoyable.

And now 3 years later, we finally have it’s sequel. This came in the UK late last year but it didn’t come to the US until now so it’s a 2018 movie. Not my first one as I watched Before I Wake over on Netflix, which was really good by the way.

So far this one is getting even better reviews than before, as it has a full on 100 PERCENT on Rotten Tomatoes. At least until Armond White or that guy who gave a Rotten to Lady Bird comes in.

So yeah, here I am. Paul King returns to direct and this time they got an extra writer, who is mostly an actor and only wrote 1 other thing. So will this be even more charming than the first? Let’s check it out.

This, is Paddington 2

Paddigton Bear has settled in with the Brown family and is charming his neighborhood. But through some events, he is framed for a robbery and is thrown in jail. Now he has to survive in there while his family tries to clear his name.

It’s somewhat common for someone to say that a movie put a smile on their face the whole time. I haven’t quite had that experience…but this came pretty close. I won’t build this one up per say as of course there are family films more intelligently thought out and such…but in terms of pure charm, this one tops the first one.

The awkward-ness that comes with the set up is gone now as everyone seems more comfortable. Right from the start, this movie puts on the charm and really gets you to love the lead character.

Everything that made the first film work is back, especially the charm and humor. It’s not laugh out hilarious but it offers some chuckles especially from certain actors. The story is more involved this time on both sides without making it feel like a totally different movie.

Even the action-y climax is able to stay in line with the rest of the film. The subplot of the family trying to clear his name lets Sally Hawkins really shine with how the character is dedicated to helping Paddington, and proven that he was framed.

The rest of the family gets a bit more to do, including a nice callback with the son. I do wish perhaps they could have had bigger arcs but I like what we have as it is. They also make sure that Mr. Brown stays the grumpy straight man he is while also making sure he’s clearly lightened up a tad since the last one.

We also have a fun villain played by Hugh Grant, who gives us a family friendly version of Split that manages that be way better. Maybe not as amazingly over the top as Nicole Kidman but still a good villain.

Our lead really pulls the whole thing together. He’s such a likable presence with how he helps out everyone, even if he can mess up at times. It’s admirable how he sees the good in everyone, no matter how salty.

The way he brightens up the prison is as delightful as everything else in this. Also, the CGI on him looks better, being more cartoon-y while also still looking while he’s there.

I also surprisingly have to praise the direction. Paul King adds some flourishes to the way the film is shot, with some shots looking really nice and sometimes sorta Wes Anderson-esque. It’s not simple point and shoot like a lot of movies like this.

Oh and there’s some emotion here too, including some minor tear jerking parts, especially the ending. As I said, it’s not the smartest written movie ever, and don’t expect it to quite blow you away in the traditional since.

It’s just so darn charming. The lead character is inspiring to even the other characters and it’s the kind of movie that makes you appreciate good people. In a weird way, it’s the movie we need for 2018, you know?

My only complaint I guess would be that it can be too long, among other minor nitpicks that don’t matter too much. Otherwise, this is a worthy follow up to the first that gets by on pure charm along with decent humor, great direction and a really solid cast.

I didn’t even mention Brendan Gleeson, who is also pretty fun in this.

I would certainly recommend this movie. While I would watch the first one as well, it’s not a total requirement in terms of understanding what is going on. Just make sure to keep your expectations in check.

Don’t expect a life changing master work, just expect a charming little movie and you may get even more. It proves you don’t need complex themes or anything like that to make a good family film.

You just need a likable cast and plenty of heart and charm. It tops the first and honors the characters legacy. Overall, it’s quite solid.

Rating: Very Good

I thought about the rating but I decided to be nice. Plus, that ending got me. 2018 is off to a good start already.

As for next time, because of money I have no idea. I l hope next will be Black Panther or Early Man but that could fall through. Either way,it’ll be a fun year. Also check out my new Wimpy Kid review that went up earlier this same day.

See ya.

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

#notmyforcedmemereference

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, we’re two weeks into 2018. It’s been okay so far, but you don’t want to hear about real life events. Because trust me, today’s movie has little to do with reality.

We’re starting 2018 reviews with a movie that you know I had to talk about. If you recall, way back in 2013, I reviewed the films based on the Diary of a Wimpy book series.

I gushed about the books and said films, for their humor and heart. I stand by most of what I had to say….but looking back, I overpraised the movies a bit. They hold up decently well, but they had more flaws than I was willingly to admit.

Some of the book’s humor didn’t translate perfectly, Zachary Gordon could be awkward at times, and they especially had too much filler that’s usually only there because it was in the book.

But still, they were good adaptations and the heart plus my connection to the books makes me still enjoy them after re-watching them for this review. If you also recall, the 3rd film did a good job of ending the series on a good note.

It brought Greg’s develop full circle with a happy ending and they rightfully said this was a good place to end it, plus you know, aging. …So imagine my surprise when 5 years later, we saw the release of a 4th film.

This film’s announcement and trailer got a lot of backlash. Mostly for a certain reason we’ll get to, but mostly because it seemed odd. Barely anyone outside of the books fans remembered them enough for it to be an easy money grab and as I said, the 3rd film ended up on a perfect note.

They could have at least waited until 2020 so they can use it as Nostalgia Pandering Oh and they skipped to book 9 so they can 2 Summer themed films in a row.

The result was that it was panned hard by both fans and Critics and it flopped at the Box Office. I eventually caught it after it hit DVD and here we are. Before we get in, let’s talk about the crew.

David Bowers is still the director, and people like the editor/composer that Dog Days gained stick around. But like with Dog Days, writers got changed to Bowers and…Jeff Kinney himself.

A bit surprising this came out the way it did. So is the film as bad as people say? No. It’s another example of Hyperbole from Critics but yeah, it’s not good. But why is that so? And does it have any good in it?

This, is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

The movie opens with the Heffley family arriving at a family restaurant. They at least get the basic style down right away as like before they start as drawings before becoming real.

Mom wants them to put away with their device during Dinner especially since Greg is currently watching who I am just going to call discount Markiplier. Because that’s who he is.

He’s a plot point too, because this series that was once somewhat timeless now has to be hip for the kids, yo.

Mom announces plans for their big family road trip to Mee Maw’s but .before that plot can happen, another part has to be set up. Manny is stuck in those tube things in the play area and Greg has to save him since he’s the only who can fit in there.

One chase scene later, Greg just ends up with a random diaper on his hand. Because comedy! Yeah, get used to that level of humor. Even Greg’s reactions don’t make it funnier, and those usually could save bad jokes in the other movies.

We then get our title sequence but somehow they even manage to screw that up. Visually it’s as good as ever but for some reason they changed the music so it doesn’t hype you up as much.

They changed composers for Dog Days but still kept the basic score there, so why they couldn’t do it here is odd. Notice how they do something in the same way as the previous movies but the way it’s done makes it feel off?

Yep, that’s this movie in a nutshell.

One thing I will say is I like the the way they’ve updated the drawings in this one. They have a sort of pop up look to them but the basic drawings are still the same. See, that’s how you update something while still having the same feel.

Greg talks to us on his green screen and I suppose it’s time to discuss the new cast. New Greg is honestly okay. Yes, he’s kind of awkward and can’t quite emote all the time, but the same could be said for Zachary Gordon in the 1st and 3rd films, so it’s not a HUGE downgrade.

He goes on about his relationship Mom and yes, that will be the focus in the same ways the others focused on a family member. At least they got that part right.

He then drops that we can find out that Greg’s diaper adventure has become…a meme. Sigh. It’s as lame as it sounds. Also, New Rowley…exists. Rowely is only in this one scene plus the opening so he can’t really make an impression.

Greg’s plan to shake this off is get in a video with Discount Markiplier so people can focus on that instead. He even sends him an email and just gets an advertisement for this Gamer Expo thing he’s gonna be at.

But he sees that as a win and decides he can go there to get in the video. By the way, non of this was in the book but to be fair, the movies have been combining book stuff with new stuff like this from the start.

And it somewhat ties into the Mom conflict they created so its not totally out of line I suppose. It’;s the use of a meme that bugs me here.

Greg plans to sneak off during the road trip to get to the Expo since it’s not too far.

“The Expo is only two inches away from Mee Maw”

“I don’t think that’s how map’s work”

Agreed. Since when was Greg that stupid? That would make more sense with Rodrick.

Speaking of Greg’s character, yes he has once again going to get himself in a big lie for his own gain. You know all that development had had at the end of the 3rd one? It’s all gone.

Nothing that happened there, like Holly, is even mentioned. I get that if you totally keep everything intact, there’s no movie but if you need to wipe away the development to make a movie….maybe don’t make the movie?

This almost feels like a soft reboot since outside of a couple minor things, there’s not too many references to the other movies. Weird. Anyway, the road trip is on!

Now we can talk more about the cast. Tom Everett Scott (hot off of Pup Star) is just kinda there as the Dad. Compared to Steve Zahn, he’s just kinda bland but he tried.

Alica Silverstone on the other hand, is actually the best of the new cast. She seems odd at first but I think she slides into the role pretty well and sells this kind of Mom character pretty well, (at least in terms of acting) especially compared to everyone else who is just there.

Speaking of Susan, she tells them this is a tech free road trip and Greg and Rodrick react by being annoying about it. Seriously, I don’t blame the actors because they were clearly directed to react annoyingly to everything.

And speaking of Rodrick…Yeah, it’s time. Of the new cast, this was the most “controversial” to the point where it started that whole #Notmyrodrick thing. I still can’t tell if that was ironic or not.

But yeah….he’s the worst of the new actors. He’s not totally to blame but since Devin Bostick was honestly the best of the younger actors, this guy is a downgrade. He just looks too goofy to be cool Rodrick and like Greg, he overacts.

Also, he’s written to be too stupid. Rodrick was always kind of dumb but it wasn’t super overplayed and you can tell had has intelligence in other areas, he just doesn’t apply himself. Here…well, we’ll see some examples later.

We then get a travel montage, and in the middle of it Rodrick puts up a sign he somehow made saying “These people are kidnapping us!”. Oh what a lovable scamp he is. Greg joins in too, so there goes his likable.

After the montage, the family passes the time by playing a game where they confess something this card tells them to. Greg uses this to get Rodrick to confess to bad things he does, and of course he stupidly admits to it so he can win the game.

I’d complain but this whole bit of everyone getting him to confess to stuff is actually pretty funny. It has decent timing and escalation, which this movie needed more of it. It’s funnier than it was in the book where the bit just stops after one.

They stop at a store and Greg and Rodrick have to get some items on their list. But of course Rodrick takes over and gets nothing from the list, which at least makes for him compared to everything else.

That night they stop at a hotel which is comically gross. Rodrick’s choice in food just makes things worse. Then he puts a microwave item in what turns out to be a safe.

Okay, has anyone been in a hotel with a mini Safe in it? If that’s a thing…this is still stupid. Yes, it was in the book but it just adds to my point about Rodrick’s stupidity. Hey, I never said the books were perfect,

After some talking, Greg sneaks off to check his phone and Rodrick joins him. Through a very convenient text for Rowley, he finds out about his Expo plans. To prevent him from tattling, Greg invites him along and tells him hot ladies will be there.

“Why is she wearing armor, with a Bikini”?

Haw haw I get it, but why pick the Stupid horny character to do say that line when it would more sense for Greg, or anyone else?

Rodrick agrees to the deal and also Greg turns orange due to a hot tub incident but he wipes it off making that bit pointless. Greg tries to sleep later that night but is distracted by some kids playing with a card outside.

Greg calls them out but they simply act like jerks and push the cart towards him which makes it hit their van and this pisses off their Dad who appears in time to think it’s Greg.

Then one of the kids claims Greg threatened to beat them up. What a little shit. And thus we have a villain. Yes, this movie technically has a villain in “Mr Beardo”. This was in the book but not quite as over the top as it is here.

Mostly due to a certain thing we’ll get to later. Also when he appears a Bond-eque music cue plays for…reasons. It’s kinda funny for how odd it is, I guess.

Greg manages to escape, and the next morning, we see a mouse take some cheese that’s on the ground because…callback. I get that bit because I saw the first movie but not only does it have no reason to be here, but it’ll be just awkward for anyone else, just ask Brad Jones.

The Heffley’s get back on the road and fight over what music to play which leads to some bad comedy. It also leads to Susan trying to get them to learn Spanish through a CD which I only mentioned because it’s important later.

At least they kept the Wimpy Kid tradition of set up and pay off.

They stop at a country fair and after some annoying whining, they split up. But then because movie, The Beardo Family just happens to be there. He quickly runs off because they can spot him and then Manny wins a pig.

Yes, a pig given as a prize. Greg tries to say why he can’t take it but says it in the wrong way, just so he can get guilt tripped into keeping it. Another event from the book that they made stupider.

Speaking of stupid, right after that Mr Beardo sees them and Greg uses this crazy ride to escape his wrath. But that doesn’t help because he somehow is able to get on the ride AFTER it stops moving, which I think breaks so many rules it’s not even funny.

We are then treated to Rodrick giving us slow motion CGI vomit. Because the world needed that. They get off the ride before Beardo does and they reunite with the rest of the family.

Manny shows Susan the Pig he won and of course she isn’t sure about the idea.

RODRICK: I think it’s great we have a pig, because then we’ll get back from him every morning.

….That line was in the book and it was frankly just as stupid there.

Susan finds out Frank wasn’t there for the pig thing due to taking a work call and through this she finds out the men have been using their phones behind her back. A bit early for that reveal but whatever.

She gets mad and lets them keep the pig as punishment, I think. But whatever, that’s all fine I guess. We are the ones who get punished as Greg has to see and we see him mug for about a minute as we waits for them to get to the any nearby rest stop.

And then he pisses in a bottle. For almost a minute as he fills up the bottle and has to get a new one. And then the pig takes a shit.

I have nothing witty to say here. That was painful.

After…that, we get a small bit in the hotel and then we move on to the next morning as Susan lets Frank take a work call. The whole reason this is a big deal is that he says he didn’t wanna tell work about the road trip or something.

Not sure why. I’m sure your wife forcing you into a road trip is a passable excuse to take like a week off. Unless they flat out don’t let him, but that’s not the case, at least from what I can tell.

He needs things to be quiet during his call so of course the others make noise which escalates. This part is taken directly from the book and it’s the only time where they seem to almost get the timing right on a part like this.

My only issue is that it all started with Rodrick putting a random thing in his mouth and everyone responded to that, which proves my point of him being the worst part of this movie.

Okay to be fair, on it’s own that would be fine but stacked up against everything else…yeah.

Anyway, eventually that blows over and suddenly the movie remembers Greg needed to go to an Expo as he changes their GPS so that it will lead them there. That’s actually clever on Greg’s part, so some props there I suppose.

Sadly the pig got involved enough in that last part for the parents to want to give him up to a petting zoo. Well, he was important for all of 10 minutes. …But it was like that in the book too so, fine.

That night we get a scene of them looking over old family photos which is a nice moment…that lasts all of a second before they move on. Weak. At least they tried.

Now it’s finally time to get to the Expo and how do they get there?

“We use Uber”

Sigh.

They arrive and have fun but of course the parents get worried and wonder where they went. They don’t have to worry for too long as just happens to flip to a channel showing the Expo and Greg and Rodrick happen to be on screen.

Man, the contrivances just piled up there. Also, not sure I should comment on them finding this quickly or that this was spoiled in the trailer.

Actually, I’ll comment on this part as she was able to file a missing a persons report when she saw this.

“…Actually, I’d like to report a double murder in about 30 minutes”

Haw haw, she’d get in serious trouble for that comment in real life.

Greg remembers why he’s here but finds out that Discount Markiplier sends that letter to everyone and he has to wait in line like everyone else. Again, Greg really got hit with the idiot stick in this one but I get that one a tad more so eh.

So Greg instead just decides to crash his stream since at least being there is close enough. But of course he has to trip and unplug stuff, which would be bad if something worse didn’t show up in the form of Mom.

I will say I like the part where security Is about to stop her but then they’re like nope. That was funny.

Then his luck changes as Mom mentions Diaper Hands and suddenly it appear Discount Markpilier likes that he has Diaper Hands here as he’s a big celebrity! Them unronically embracing a meme like that…sounds about right.

But that’s dropped since Mom is more important and we get the obligatory 3rd dramatic Wimpy Kid moment. It actually almost kinda works with how Susan flat out gives up on him and just hands him his phone.

It’s not done totally perfectly cuz frankly both sides aren’t the most likable but I’ve seen worse. This moment doesn’t last too long as they get back on the road for more hijinks,

Like how the boat they used to hold extra stuff starts spilling said stuff. Oh and while this is happening they play “Take Me Home, Country Roads”. I was gonna make a Kingsman 2 joke here but it was also played in Logan Lucky and Alien Covenant. All came out in 2017 and hell, the last one came out THE SAME DAY as this one!

What was 2017’s obsession with that song? I’m not complaining but …weird.

Back to the plot, in our amazingly contrivance, the Beardos happen to be around so that they can steal a bunch of the spilled stuff. Yep, Mr Beardo is now a thief instead of an overly mad guy with bad kids.

Okay, book comparison time. Something like this is in the book where their stuff goes missing at a waterpark and since The Beardos are there, they are blamed and stuff happens.

But at the very end, it turns out that Greg simply had the wrong key to the Waterpark locker thing and he had their actual key this whole time, meaning the Beardos were not thieves.

I’m both mixed on the book doing what it did and the movie changing it. For the book, it was kind of an weak gag ending but here they go the opposite and make Mr Beardo this over the top cartoon-ish villain which is also …off.

I get why did it, as they will now get revenge on the Beardos as a family and get that photo album back in the process. It just adds to overall unrealistic nature of this movie.

ANYWAY, the Beardos get away and Mom has a little cry over all this, which while overblown, is a nice moment…. Which is followed by a dumb skit where some birds attack Greg over his food.

You couldn’t put this scene in a place where it wouldn’t ruin a moment?

After that pointless bit, it’s back to “Drama” as Rodrick tells Greg that they expect all this lying from him but not Greg. You think they would after the previous 3 movies.

Also, these are big words coming from someone who not only dumb, but joined him in all of this and didn’t even learn this lesson naturally like Greg at least is.

“She just doesn’t know what it’s like to be a kid in the 20th Century”

…This kid is a lost cause.

Greg apologizes to everything he’s done and goes into a big speech on why they shouldn’t give up. Okay, the sentimentality is going overboard compared to the previous movies.

…But I appreciate the effort.

So it’s back on the road and after a pointless escapade they drive by a motel where of course the Beardos are! I don’t even care at this point. So the family sneaks in to their room and tries to get their stuff back.

The others check their van while Greg checks the room and eventually Mr Beardo comes in forcing Greg to hide in the shower…while Mr. Beardo farts and poops. Comedy!

Okay, long story short there’s a random Psycho parody (which is slightly amusing) and the Heffley’s get most of their stuff and leave. Even with their car breaking down, they are still very close to Mee Maw’s at least.

They could just walk there at this point but sure, push the car so we can get more more antics when the boat, with Greg on it, is separated and lands in Mee Maw’s pool.

“You said you wanted to get your boat on the water this Summer”

Haw haw.

Thankfully, their troubles are over and they can have fun at Mee Maw’s. We barely to get to see any of it because guess what? We’re still not done because this movie simply refuses to end when it should!

Their car is still down and a tower happens to show up…but he speaks only Spanish. …Thankfully Manny speaks it thanks to that tape from earlier! Told you it comes back.

Okay, I like the callback and how Manny is finally useful but man does it feel like a pointless add on with how the movie does it. Either way, he gets their help and of course gets the pig back from the petting zoo.

I don’t care what issues I can point, I just want this thing to end. Thankfully, Greg gives us a wrap up at his cartoon-y background. He says the road trip turned out well and he learned a lesson yada yada.

And with a gag from Mom, the credits finally roll. At least we get another fun credits sequence. But seriously, why does the shortest Wimpy Kid Movie (84 minutes without credits) feel the longest?

There’s a mid credits scene referencing Diaper Hands but I don’t care.

Final Thoughts:

Honestly, the biggest problem with this movie is that it exists. The previous films just felt like everything clicked at the right time, even with their flaws. The 3rd ended on a good note and no one really wanted another chapter.

Especially after 5 years. Due to the natural changes they had to make, this whole endeavor was just going to be awkward and pointless so course the movie turned out that way.

Most of the flaws either came about because of those reasons or the problems the films had to begin with. They are simply made more apparent here. The comedy feels too overblown, the pacing is mind numbing at times and Rodrick and Greg are too stupid.

A fair amount is simply not funny, although only a few parts are especially bad at least. Most of the new feels awkward, sometimes being too over the top while also somehow being too bland, especially New Rodrick.

And in terms of writing, some parts are forced or could have been handled better. The whole Diaper Hands thing is pretty much dropped and people liking him is just a thing that happens. What if maybe his new fame helped him get a few favors near the end?

However despite all that, this movie isn’t THAT bad. You can tell there was effort put into it, as it does at times capture the feel of the other movies. I mean it at least has the same structure of the others.

Some of the casting works, the score is pretty good, and there are a few chuckles and they at least try to have heart. It’s not perfectly done but I give them credit for trying and again, the other movies weren’t exactly perfect with all this either.

Overall, this movie is just pointless. It had no reason to exist and it wasn’t good enough to justify it being made. However, it does have effort and my connection to the series prevents me from disliking it more.

That and how much worse this could have been. So yeah, not as bad as everyone says it has good parts, but as a whole it’s just not that good and it’s overall just pointless.

If they wanted to bring this series back, they should have done a TV Series or something. Either way, this film is just…there. Not horrible and if you’ve seen the others you might as well watch it but if you want something good, it’s not worth it/

Rating: Meh

I likely won’t get a package from Fox after this review but whatever. I was glad to finally take a closer look and re-visit Wimpy Kid again. Not my best work here, but this is one of those “I had to do it” things and I had enough to say.

Speaking of things I had to do…next time it’s Descendants 2.

See ya.

Posted in Play by Play Reviews | Leave a comment

The Best and Worst Films of 2017

Hello, Spongey here.

Happy 2018! After getting through another rough year, it’s good to start a new. Granted, I bet this time next year we’ll be bitching once again but whatever. That’s not important right now.

What is important for this post is film. Last year I decided to take film watching more seriously so I saw tons in theaters and a bunch after they hit DVD. This year I saw less in theaters but was way more deadset on seeing as many contenders for these lists as possible.

As I write this intro, I’ve seen 80, beating my current 2016 record of 70. Yeah, I might have a problem. And yes, that include TV Movies and the like. I’m pretty satisfied with what I saw, at least in terms of what’s out on DVD/Digital.

Most of what I haven’t seen (Rings, Fist Fight, Ghost in the Shell() etc I didn’t think would be good or bad enough for either list so I didn’t feel like pushing it back further than I already am. (Granted, this will go up exactly 1 year after last years but whatever).

There’s some from the end of the year I sadly couldn’t/can’t catch like Lady Birds, The Disaster Artist or The Shape of Water. The last one isn’t in my vicinity yet!

(And for the unseen bad ones, there’s Geostorm and Madea Halloween 2. I bet they are amazing though)

I’ll watch them when I can and report back to you on my other places and say if they made the list. Anyway, with all that said, I think 2017 was a damn good year for movies. The best since 2014, I think.

Mostly in terms of the amount of good ones and a lack of really awful ones but I’ll go into more detail of each in a bit. We had the usual big budget disappointments but a lot more unexpected surprises.

It’s been a wild ride but mostly a good one. Or maybe I just eased up this year, I don’t know. With all that said, let’s take a look at what shined bright and what stunk up our cinemas.

This, is the Best and Worst Films of 2017

(NOTE: I’ll link to my review, if I reviewed the film in question in any way)

And of course, we should take out the trash first,

TOP 5 WORST:

In terms of truly awful ones, there wasn’t that many. Even when I did the 2016 list, we had about 7 or really Bad ones and now it’s expanded to 10 with what I saw after.

This year, I rated 3 as “Mediocre” and NONE were Bad, and even the worst is no Meet the Blacks.

Most of the bad movies this year were bad in a meh way. There were plenty of meh/simply weak films though. Films that were forgettable at best. It didn’t stop people from ungodly“hyping them up”

Seriously, I can;t count how many films I watched after hearing they were so bad and leaving them disappointed. Baywatch, The Book of Henry, The Circle, Birth of the Dragon, and the list goes on.

And do I even need to remind you of a certain movie about the world inside your phone?

If you did really hate those films, that’s fine but there was a lot of hyperbole this year. But what else is new? Anyway, as a result, the first couple are just meh. A fairly hard Meh, but just still Meh.

We’ll get to the real crap, but first the a couple that were kinda bad, but not the worst.

By the way, It is worth reminding you all that no one sets out to make a bad movie and most of these likely had plenty of effort put into them, even the seemingly soulless studio products. That’s why I will list some positives for each one as even some of the worst things ever can have them.

Also, I already covered Bigger Fatter Liar in the Worst Films I Reviewed in 2017 list, so it has to be left off.

Which sadly means we gotta start with…

5.Transformers: The Last Knight

I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to talk about this one, but here we are. This normally wouldn’t even be on here but somehow it’s made way to the bottom of the Dishonorable Mentions and with Bigger Fatter Liar being left tout, here it is.

There’s not really much to say, just copy/paste what I said about 2-4 as I’ve reviewed them already. That’s the biggest problem with Transformers 5. Even more so than ever, it’s on repeat.

It’s all the same crap we’ve seen before, and it somehow becomes the most boring and forgettable movie about giant robots ever made. It still had bad humor, a nonsensical story and wasted actors both old and new.

The only difference, beside a few gimmicks, is that it’s not AS bad as 2 and 3 but while 4 had more annoying parts, this was worst just for how pointless at all is.

Anything new that’s in this is barely in it, because god forbid they shake things. Spoilers, Nostalgia Critic was mostly spot on in his predictions.

You can say this has more competent than a fair amount of the Dishonorable Mentions but this one is the 5TH TIME we’ve been through all of this and I’m sick of it. I only watched it cuz I’ve seen the other ones and even then I waited until DVD and a Twitter poll. It’s still over 2 hours and of boring robots doing boring stuff I don’t care about.

It’s shorter sure, but still too long. The randomly changing aspect raitio doesn’t help either.

It is pointless to complain about these but at least I didn’t give money to it during it’s theatrical run because I just want this to stop.

As for positives, as usual the effects are good and there are decent action beats. And when new things do happen, it’s almost interesting. Isabella Moner’s character was actually almost interesting and she somehow tried harder than most of the adults.

But as I said,.those films are quickly tossed aside for the same old crap,. If you still enjoy these, that’s fine. But at this point, I might skip the next unless I hear they turned it around.

That Bumblebee spin off could be good since it’s a spin and we finally have a director. The director of Kubo, no less! Hopefully, that’s good.

But as for The Last Knight, I’m really hoping it is the last. It might not be the worst of the series, but it’s still an overlong waste.

4.Sandy Wexler

https://spongey444.deviantart.com/journal/First-Impressions-Sandy-Wexler-680710388

God Damnit, Adam. When Adam Sandler started doing these Netflix movies, I’ve been easy on him. Everyone treated Ridiculous Six like it the worst thing ever, but I thought it was just simply kinda bad. I did agree on The Do Over just being kind of Meh though.

Then comes this one, the worst of these. But it really shouldn’t be. From the perfectly fine concept, it should simply be Meh. Yeah, it has Sandler putting on a voice for no reason, he’s unlikable and its not funny but he’s done far worse in those regards.

I can forgive all that but what makes it worse is that this movie is a whopping 2 HOURS LONG WITHOUT CREDITS. Granted, only 2 hours and like a few minutes but that is still insanely long for a simple comedy like this.

So what could have been simply a weak film because torture to sit through, because everything is padded to hell. There’s so many pointless moments to pad out the runtime.

At the 30 minute mark, I wanted it to be over so imagine how I feel an hour and a half later. Most of what’s in it is just simply weak but it becomes so much worse stretched out.

It holds you hostage too, as there’s still crap happening in the credits. I’m not saying a simple-ish movie can’t be on the long side, but it needs to have a good foundation to earn that, like The Big Sick.

But that one also wasn’t a full on 2 hours. It’s not worth going much deeper as the usual Sandler problems are, just made worse by the length. Sandler still puts on a bad performance as some you can’t like and it’s simply not that funny.

I go into other issues in that Journal but for the sake of this list, they aren’t too important. For positives, a couple of the cameos are amusing and Jennifer Hudson is good in her role.

Plus, it’s not insulting to the extent of some of Sandler’s worst so this isn’t Jack and Jill bad. It’s simply a typical bad Sandler film that gets worse due to being waaaay too long for a mostly simple idea.

I will watch the next one, as it is the final film in this deal so hopefully it can be better than this was. Otherwise, stick with real movies Sandler happens to be in, like The Meyerwitz Stories. Now that one was actually pretty good.

This…wasn’t.

3.The Dinner

You’ve probably never heard of this one. Well, neither did I until Brad Jones talked about it and then later Norty did so after seeing them rant on it, I checked it. And it’s the first our of 3 actually bad ones.

I don’t usually full on hate a film for just being boring. I save that for the meh ones where being boring is their biggest offense. But with this one, the boredom is what makes it so bad.

The basic concept is that a bunch of people gather for a Dinner where they talk about their various issues. That idea seems like it could interesting and just a bit dull.

But instead it’s all boring. I honestly couldn’t tell you what they even talked about because I found myself zoning out so hard during this, Nothing they talk about is ever interesting and it doesn’t help that most of them are pretty terrible people.

But not terrible in the interesting way, Whatever point the filmmakers were trying to make just gets lost in the sea of boredom. I can’t say exactly why it was boring, it just so was/

Oh and it randomly becomes about Gettysberg for….reasons. The movie becomes bored of it’s own premise and tries to tie into everything but fails.

I give it credit for at least trying to be a real movie, which puts it above the last 2 on here. But aside from almost trying and having a couple passable performances, this one is just a bore which does nothing with it’s runtime.

Oh and it has one of the worst abrupt endings ever. It pretty much ends without making any sort of point, and it felt like I got nothing out of this experience. It’s based on a book so I imagine this premise worked better there.

But as it is, this film is ungodly boring and talks a lot without really saying anything. It feels like a movie, it just happens to be a bad and boring one.

2.Fifty Shades Darker

…Yeah. This and the first film are usually the kind of movies I avoid but I got curious and threw this one on a poll and since it won, I watched Fifty Shades of Grey first. You know, so I can understand the deep lore.

The first was already pretty bad with how it has pretty much has very little story and of course a pretty toxic depiction of BDSM and the like. They pretty much tried to make art out of porn and while I give them credit for that, it ends up being more useless than porn because of it.

I kept hearing this sequel was easily worse, but honestly I thought it was simply just as bad. That makes it bad enough to be this low of course, but if it’s worse it’s only by a bit.

It’s mostly more of the same. Not much in terms of plot and anything that does happen doesn’t last too long. The main advantage it would have over the first one is that they try to make Christian Grey a bit better this time around.

It mostly fails but they kind of try in the first half. And some of the interesting would kind of making interesting but even with that, it’s still all very forgettable and problematic.

Most middle chapters tend to be drag but this one really doesn’t have too much going and what does happen is wasted or stupid. The look of it is kinda nice but why is a movie with Darker in the title actually brighter than the first one?

Speaking of being like the first one, Dakota Johnson acts her butt off despite what she’s given, while every one else doesn’t try too hard. Oh and while the first one had a good soundtrack, this one mostly does not.

There isn’t a lot to say that plenty of other people already haven’t. Like the first, I could forgive some of the issues if it was more interesting but it simply isn’t. It’s boring, often stupid and has loads of moral issues on top of it.

It’s just bad and a waste of time. I hear the books can be funny bad but these movies are not,. I’m so glad this is all ends next month, hopefully that one can be at least more interesting than the first 2 were.

But as it stands, these Fifty Shades movies are just bad.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS:

10. The Dark Tower: Even as someone who hasn’t read the books, I cna tell this was butcherd to get to a measly 87 minute runtime. It doesn’t make much sense, although some of the actors bring it up, especially Matthew McConahey (don’t care that I butchered that) doing who knows what as the villain.

9. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: I’ve never seen a Guy Ritchie movie but I hear he has a distint style. You wouldn’t tell from this generic crap though, aside from a couple scenes that are jarring because of how stale the rest mostly is. Decent musical score though.

8.Monster Trucks: Like Nine Lives, this feels like a 90’s script filmed in …2014 and then pushed back to 2017. It’s mostly cliche and stupid, although some of the action-y scenes are kinda fun.

7.Spark: A Space Tail: Don’t feel like linking my DA Journal but in short, it’;s insanely bland with surprsingly weak voice acitng, including some from Henry Danger himself

6.Bunyan and Babe: This was was delayed so much it just got dumped on Google Play for Free and you can see why with how clumsy it is, with editing so bad that even the studio logos feel off.

And my least favorite film of 2017 is…

1.CHiPs

This section will likely be longer than the others cuz I was saving everything for this, but my main reason for disliking it on it’s own are simple enough. Anyone who follows me knew I’d dislike this one, and it could be possibly be number 1.

But it’s for slightly different reasons than you might be expect.

This is another in a line of taking cheesy old shows and turning it into an actual comedy. This year alone we also had Baywatch which wasn’t that good but was amazing compared to this.

Even as some one who doesn’t know much of this show, I can tell this is true to the spirit. And from I do know of the show, it seems like you would need to get more creative to create something legit good, but of course this movie is not interested in that.

21 Jump Street started this current trend and what that movie did right was be self aware of what it’s source was while still making something that anyone could enjoy. I haven’t seen the sequel yet but I assume it follows the same formula.

This has no self aware-ness as the story is everything you expect in a buddy cop movie. There’s no attempt to go beyond that and I didn’t care about anything in the plot.

But hey, usually the focus in these is the dynamic. Sadly that fails so hard it makes Ride Along 2 look like Lethal Weapon. It has the usual total lack of chemistry but here neither charioteer has that interesting of a personality.

Dax Sherppard is just kinda there. His schtick of not being able to stand up to his wife isn’t that interesting or even developed that much. Micheal Pena is a sex addict and that’s it.

He doesn’t even learn anything, at least not in a way way that I buy. They mostly bicker and there’s not much of a translation to them being friends. The actors kinda try but they don’t help make this any better.

And as for the comedy, there’s a minute long conversation about eating ass. Yeah, that’s the level we’re on. But the thing is, it’s not quite a total barrage of horrible jokes to the extent of say, Brothers Grimsby.

It’s boring bad with some bits like the eating ass thing. And that’s the main thing that puts this at number one above anything. It’s already pretty bad with it’s weak as hell writing in both story and characters, and the bad humor but in the end it’s like how Norty feels like Fifty Shades of Black.

It’s bad, but it’s not even uniquely bad. Usually that would save it but given how little good there is to begin with, that makes it all worse. It’s very typical in it’s badness but it does enough worse to make it extra bad.

Oh and for positives, there’s some decent stunts, a couple good jokes and the soundtrack is pretty good. That’s about it, sadly. It’s mostly a waste that does all the typical bad buddy cop things and does most of them worse than most.

It’s the 21 & Over of Buddy Cop movies. It’s not even close to Meet the Blacks level but even that one was a bit unique while this wasn’t.

Even if it’s not quite the worst ever, it’s qualities plus it having little reason to exist or be this bad, make it my least favorite film of 2017

Well, that last one was fun to take down. With those turds taken care of, let’s clean our plates with …

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2017:

As I said before, this year was good for movies. The main reason? Well, in 2016 we had 8 films that were Very Good or higher, and 11 that I rated Mediocre or Bad.

2017 had 3 Mediocres and a whopping 14 that were Very Good or Great. Damn. I was amazed when I totaled all that. In terms of quality, the really good’s were mostly on par with my faves at times being even better.

But even on it’s own, 2017 was really solid, even for the big blockbusters. It might because I had a bit of an attitude change when it comes to viewing movies and allowed myself to be more positive, but after viewing some 2016 movies after that change, I still think 2017 just happend to be a tad better.

But regardless of which is better, every year will give us some gems and this had a fare amount. And again,I haven’t seen certain big ones due to only just being released.

As usual, that could change depending on what I end up seeing or even after I re-visit, or re-think some of these, but this is where it stands now. Here we go!

(Oh and this is mostly based on my taste so if your list is different, I just happened to get more out of certain movies. Rankings are pretty abritrary to begin with anyway)

10.Your Name

We start with one some might not totally know about, as this an anime film. I need to watch more of those and since I heard good things about this one, I checked it out and I am glad I did.

The basic premise is that it’s a Freaky Friday Flip with a boy and girl who happen to live far apart. And that’s all I can say because the best parts of this one are the crazy surprises.

Most of it is pretty solid for the nice releationship between the leads but about halfway through there’s a twist that changes things and that’s where it gets interesting.

It gets decently emotional and it’s all really interesitng and enjoyable. It’s hard to be surprised by a film anymore but thankfully certain ones can be under the radar enough for me to not know much going in and that worked for this one.

I wish it was a bit shorter or that some other aspects were developed more, but as it’s a very good and often surprisingly emotional ride. If you haven’t seen it, I’d say check it out.

9.Spider-Man Homecoming

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/07/07/general-review-spider-man-homecoming/

This year was surprisingly good for comic book/superhero movies, mostly because we saw more put their own spin on the genre. In this case, we have one that’s more of a high school movie.

The focus is smaller as Peter Parker goes through his own issues and Tom Holland excellent brings my new favorite Spider-Man to the screen after his role in Civil War.

While it’s not quite as great as Spider-Man 2, it manages to be more even then most Spidey outings with it’s flaws not bothering me as much. Sure there’s some shakey parts here and there but overall it’s a laid back but still very enjoyable and surprisingly funny Marvel entry.

Plus, Micheal Keaton. You can’t go wrong with him as your villain.

8.Coco

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/11/22/general-review-coco/

After Cars 3 didn’t do a ton for some people, Pixar gives another beloved gem. It’s a bit closer to Finding Dory than it is to Finding Nemo in terms of my rankings but it’s still really good.

Despite some pacing/structural issues, it’s a delight with an interesting look at Mexican Culture that has themes that will resonate with anyone. The animation is once again beautiful and the characters all mange to be likable, especially Hector.

Like the best of Pixar, it uses it’s formula well and will make you cry quite a bit especially at the end. Add in a surprisingly good use of a certain twist, and you get my favorite animated film in what was a mostly average year.

Too bad about that snowman you had to watch beforehand though

7.Logan

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/general-review-logan/

The ultimate example of how this year comic book movies really pushed the envelope of what these movies can be.. This latest Wolverine outing plays out more like a dramatic western.

It takes advantage of it’s R Rating to give us some brutal action scenes but it’s not all gore and swearing. It brings Wolverine/Logan to interesting places and Hugh Jackman gives his best performance as the character.

The little girl is used really well, and there’s at least two moments that really broke me, especially the ending.

It can be slow at times, but otherwise this is a very different and powerful film that gives solid closure for the character. I can see this one’s spot changing after repeat viewings, but for now it’s still worth putting at this spot.

6.It Comes at Night

If you follow the definition of Underrated as meaning Quality Vs Reception, then this is the most underrated movie of 2017. Critics liked it fine but audiences were split and it’s not making many best of lists.

But screw it, I kinda loved it. I’ve grown a soft spot for slow burn thrillers and while I found some recent ones I liked fine like Don’t Breath, I hadn’t seen a truly great one recently besides 10 Cloverfield lane.

And this was better, at least in terms of pure filmmaking. The film drops you into this situation and doesn’t explain much because it expects you pick up on it, in a good way.

It’s incredibly intense and you never quite know if you can trust this family that the leads have to help. The lighting uses the darkness really well and even the score is effective since the music getting louder helps the film rather than being a distraction.

Add in a great ending that leaves you a bit shook while the credits roll, and you have a pretty effective horror/thriller. It’s not for everyone but I got a lot out of it.

5.Baby Driver

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/general-review-baby-driver/

Even moreso than the others, there’s not much to say besides what I said in the review. Edgar Wright once again shows how good he is with this fast paced and incredibly enjoyable ride.

This movie is all about the music and editing and it does those really well. It’s just a lot of fine with a great cast of interesting characters. The story isn’t the most original ever and the 3rd act can on go too long but everything is still done really well.

It’s all simply really fun and it proves that style and substance can sometimes go hand in hand when done correctly and Baby Driver is a great ride indeed.

4.Star Wars: The Last Jedi

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/general-review-star-wars-the-last-jedi/

And over a dozen Star Wars fanboy just cried out in anger. A few weeks later and I still love this one and honestly I’ve only grown to like it more as I think about what Disney and Rian Johnson have done here.

It of course has it’s flaws, but no more than most movies do and especially Star Wars movies. I’m starting to be even more bothered by the dumber detractors.

Not the ones who have real reasons for no caring for it, I mean ones who either complain about dumb things no one cares about, or bitch about their dumb head canons being destroyed.

From where I’m standing, this is another great chapter in the Star Wars saga. It does unexpected things but in the same way they always have done since Empire.

Infact, it’s just like Empire in that way. It takes this great world it set up well in the previous film and gives us some crazy surprises that in the end add a lot to the characters.

So it’s odd that the same people who see Empire as the best also complain that this isn’t Star Wars when it totally is. You can your problems but to say that this is flat out not Star Wars feel just a bit ignorant to me.

Especially after all the crap the series has been through, it feels weird that this is suddenly your breaking point. But with all that aside, I really got into this one and feel it improved on Force Awakens in almost every way and it works on a few levels.

It’s far from perfect but for what it did right, it gets a lot of praise from me. I see the flaws some may find, but can you fanboys/girls just calm down already?

3.War for the Planet of the Apes

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/general-review-war-for-the-planet-of-the-apes/

When they decided to reboot the Planet of the Apes franchise, no one expected it to turn out well but here we are. This trilogy has been good from the start but they hit new heights with this one.

This is another one you’ve likely heard tons of praise for (so I’ll keep it short plus I have my review up there) and it’s all true. As usual, it can be slow and some characters don’t get much to do but it’s less of a problem here due to how good the rest is.

It does a great job of both a great film on it’s own and building on what the others established. It can be understood on it’s own but it’s even better if you’ve been with Ceaser from the start.

It’s a gripping story they’ve hold here and it works so well here. The CGi is also some of the most perfect I’ve ever seen, as I did forget I was looking at motion capture creations.

I never thought I’d see an Oscar worthy film with Apes as the leads but it exists and even if I prefer others, it’s still really well done and a great cap to this trilogy.

2.Get Out

It’s the movie that everyone and their mother loves! Except Armond White but he doesn’t count. Like most highly praised movies, I went into this almost expecting it to let me down and wonder why it’s as praised as it is.

But I ended up loving it, dang it. I sadly couldn’t miss this in theaters but after watching it I ended up getting the Blu Ray so it’s all good. This is another one where you know why it’s great but let’s go over the reasons.

Yes, it has some incredibly relevant themes about racism and the like and it tackles it from some unique angles and isn’t preachy about it. But while all this is important, all the focus on it kind of undercuts just how well done this is as a film.

While It Comes at Night is the better in terms of pure horror, this is still a really effective and intense movie. No spoilers, but one now famous fame had me on edge the whole time and it was masterfully done, especially first a first timer like Jordan Peele.

And while I wouldn’t call it a full on Horror/Comedy it still has some funny moments that rarely feel too forced. The acting is also great and they help make their characters either likable or creepy.

The script mixes all this well and creates a solid story with a lot of small details you wouldn’t notice on a first viewing. There’s subtle foreshadowing that you don’t notice the first time but takes on a different meaning when you re-visit it.

It’s like Zootopia in that is indeed relevant with it’s themes but even if you take that aside, it’s a great film on all fronts. My only nitpick would be that at first the payoff was a tad disappointing but only because I had an idea in my head that was bigger than what was realistically gonna happen.

But besides that and other minor bits you can nitpick, I think this is the best put together film of the year. And you know I don’t praise movies for simply being impressive in the moment, although that has it’s place of course, even on this list.

After this, I’m on board with anything Jordan Peele does. On every level, Get Out is simply great.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

15.Brigsby Bear: I expected a dark satire but instead got a really sweet story about how some media effects us. Plus, surprise great Mark Hamil performance.

14.Blade Runner 2049: This is a taste thing because this a thoughtful and worthy follow up that is flat out beautiful, but like the original it’s sometimes too slow for my tastes. Keyword being my tastes, of course. Still quite the achievement.

13.The Big Sick: A very sweet and funny romantic comedy that proves the genre can still be really good. A bit too long though.

12.Gerald’s Game: I enjoyed IT alot but this was my favorite of the Stephen King adaptations we got in 2017. It’s a really good bottle movie that’s incredibly intense with a fantastic performance from Carla Cugino. I can see the ending turning some off though

11.The LEGO Batman Movie ( https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/general-review-the-lego-batman-movie/ ):One of the funniest film of the year that somehow ends up being on the most faithful versions of Batman ever put to screen. God bless Will Arnett (and also Chris McKay for directing this).

And because I’m nice,I also highly recommend Colossal, Wonder Woman, Captain Underpants, The Meyerwitz Stories, and The Lost City of Z. All are worth seeing.

And my favorite movie of 2017 is…

1.Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/general-review-guardians-of-the-galaxy-vol-2/

I was gonna start with a spiel to quickly say exactly why this got to this spot…but I think Norty put it best.

“When I think: What was my favorite movie of the year, I don’t really think: What had the best stuff in it, or what had the least amount of problems. I think what gave me the best overall experience? What did I have the most fun watching What made me forget about all of my problems throughout it’s entire run time?”

He nailed it right there. If I was going by the objective full on best, Get Out would be number one. But after thinking about it, I decided this was my full on favorite cinematic experience of the year

It’s one of those movies that was made for me. It takes characters I already love and takes them to new places while keeping their distinct traits intact. It’s really funny and just plain fun while also being really sweet, sometimes at the same time.

It has all the best qualities of the MCU and doesn’t have some of their flaws, as even the villain is pretty good here. The movie really does juggle the funny and the sweet really well.

That Mary Poppins line is a perfect example, as it funny and fits for the characters but is really sweet as well. That kind of thing is all over this movie.

The same off beat tone from the first is back full force and it results in a fun time with some great and enjoyable action. But it really is the heart that makes this movie.

It uses a story I was starting to get sick of and uses it to good effect, all leading up to an ending that destroyed me. Everything in this film simply works and appeals to me big time.

Sure, not every joke lands and it can feel a bit long but when I look back on the year, this is the film I simply enjoyed watching the most. It made laugh, and feel during most of it’s runtime and left me satisfied.

The first one is about on par with this one but this does impress me a bit more, as it easily could have coasted on the style but instead they built on everything. From start to finish, this movie was simply a ton of fun with also a ton of heart.

It doesn’t have a cynical bone in it’s body and James Gunn really made something special yet again.

It might not be as deep was War for the Planet of Apes, as crazy orginal as Baby Driver or well rounded as Get Out but through it’s style, humor and heart, Marvel has created my personal favorite film of 2017.

And those were my favorite and least favorite films of the year. I had more passion this year so I went on for a bit more on these sections. Hopefully 2018 can be the same.

2017 was a really good year for film as it brought us all these gems, even if we had to get through a few bad ones. It was fun to share these films with all of you.

As I said in the Last Jedi review, there will be far less general reviews in 2018 due to money but I will see what I can and the latter half should have more. I will try to watch as many as I can when certain ones come out on DVD, in the very least.

Speaking of 2018, just like last time I’ll go over my most anticipated film for each month: Note that I don’t have time to research every single movie coming out so I’m going with what catches my eye right away.

January: Proud Mary. My only choice, honestly. Looks like a fun Blacksplotation homage, and hopefully it will be,

February: Tie with Black Panther and Early Man. Marvel and Aardman? Bring it on! …Wait, there’s a YA movie with Debby Ryan in it this month? Nevermind, screw those other movies.

March: A Wrinkle in Time, but also Isle of Dogs and Ready Player One.

April: The New Mutant, the horror vibe seems interesting. Plus, the next Cloverfied-verse movie, hopefully.

May: Gee, will I go with the Avengers movie? Nah, I pick the Mellisa McCarthy comedy with Debby Ryan. …Wait, two Debby Ryan movie in one year? Whoa.

June: Incredibles 2 and Deadpool 2, of course

July: Alita Battle Angel, cuz it looks unique and cool. And of course that Ant-Man sequel…and honestly, I’m hoping the Teen Titans Go Movie is good.

August: Hmmm…The Happytime Murders? It’s basically Roger Rabbit with Puppets. Sign me up.

September: Smallfoot. Another only option, but it should be fun.

October: Mowgli, Andy Serkis take on Jungle Book. It’ll be cool to get a Non-Disney take on this property.

November: Creed 2. Haven’t seen any Rock movie but I hear they are mostly good but this one should be good too. Also, Wreck it Ralph 2 of course.

December: Spider-Man Into the Spider-verse. Seriously Sony, I’m rooting for you on this one!

Hopefully these are all quality films. That should be about it for this post. See you all for what should be an interesting year for me. Tons of post coming your way.

Pay attention to my social medias, to see if any 2017 films I see later creep into these lists at all. Until then…

See ya.

Posted in Lists | Leave a comment

Goosebumps Most Wanted-Son of Slappy

Hello, Spongey here.

Finally time to close out 2017 for the blog, and once again we’ll do it with Slappy. For real this time. Yeah, I tried to do this review last month but the ASCII monster got it.

Don’t worry, I switched to a word processor that doesn’t sick balls.

Anyway, we move on with Most Wanted with another dose of Slappy. This time with a rather interesting concept. Spoilers, the title is a slight fib. I’m glad since the concept makes me think about things I don’t wanna talk about.

I remember really liking this one when I first read it. Does it hold up and how does it compare to other Slappy books? Let’s find out.

This, is Son of Slappy

The book opens with our lead, Jackson, giving us some advice.

“It’s a lot easier to be good than to be bad”

Yeah, I have to disagree. Trust me, it’s easier to be bad, that’s why we kinda need good guys.

Jackson is a good kid. As in, like an actual good kid. He’s nice to everyone and is more or less adored by his parents, and goes out of his way to do all these good things.

He isn’t stuck up about it either, at least he doesn’t seem like it to me. It’s rather interesting to see this kind of good guy in Goosebumps, even if it’s to make later events hit harder.

He even tells us he’s not perfect, so there’s that.

His sister Rachel has none of this, she’s kind of a bad egg who is always told to be more like Jackson. Yeah, I get she must not like that but she chooses to act out and trust me, she gets annoying in the first 60-ish pages alone.

What surprises me is that she tries to be like Terra from Cucko Clock of Doom where she frames Jackson for bad things, but no one falls for it. Now THAT is amazing.

So that’s our set up, should be interesting.

Jackson helps out at the Youth Center because of course he does. After a pointless scene there and a false scare, Mom tells them that they are going to their Grandpa’s for a bit.

It’s only for a few scenes, it’s not a visiting recitatives story. At least it’s something a bit new for Slappy.

Jackson tells us that Mom once was a Comedian which they hammer into this in this scene alone. Most of her jokes here are at Rachel’s expense. Mother of the year, everyone!

Oh, and we find Jackson really likes playing Angry Bi-I mean Chirping Chickens. I don’t know why I got them confused, this is just a game about making chickens fly at warthogs.

Totally different. Also, he plays it on his “portable game player”. Ah yes,. my favorite system.

We are told Whitman is a bit of a collecter and we see that up front when they get to his house. And of course, they bump into a dummy that isn’t Slappy to give us a false scare.

“This is Morty”

I hear you need a very High IQ to understand that dummy.

He shows them his actual dummy collection and of course, he has Slappy. Interestingly, he knows of Slappy’s bad history and his caretaker Edgar, is even afraid of him.

He jumps into the Slappy legend but says he isn’t scared…because this isn’t the real Slappy. He says the real one was destroyed a long time ago. Okay, when did that happen?

I assumed it was one of the earlier Slappy books but I question why someone would make this copy.

“I call him Son of Slappy”

So yeah, this one is a copy. So wil this actually be him or will the copy be evil too thus making the copy thing pointless?

One book version of a montage later, it’s time to leave. But not before Edgar creepily warns them, because the creepy looking guy is never right in these kind of stories, right?

When they get home, Jacksons finds Son of Slappy in his backpack, thinking maybe Edgar put it there. He shrugs it off and now it begins. Also, man is Rachael getting annoying.

She has a bit sympaethic side to to her I guess but she whines so much that it’s kind of snuffing that out.

Jackson then finds the infamous words in Slappy’s jacket thing. Okay, if you want the evil gone, why not burn the paper? Come on!

Thankfully, he doesn’t read the words out loud because he’s smart. But Rachael i9sn’t, so in the next scene she finds out about the words and reads them aloud.

And now she’s on my list, yay.

Nothing happens yet, so he shrugs it off and we move on. He goes to the Youth Center when the head person tells him that are running out of money and need to raise more to save the place.

That’s right, this is a Goosebumps book with a save the Youth Center plot. That’s ,,,,amazing.

Jackson wants to help out by contributing to a talent show, with Slappy of course. Well, I know where this is going.

After a pointless involving making a giant cake or something, we get a dream sequence. Two pointless scenes in a row! At last the latter had Slappy in it.

Later at the YC, they play music with the worst lyrics ever.

“Dance…Dance…dance to the music”

Although to be fair, it is playing for literal children.

Jackson Is doing some art when he feels something come over him. Some force makes him vandalize a bunch of posters…and he enjoys it. Yay, we got the interesting premise and we’re just only 70 pages in.

Once he clams down from his odd high, he lies and tells the people that some dogs did this and they believe him since he’s a good kid. Hey, that angle ended up playing a part in the Slappy formula!

Jackson was pretty much possessed by Slappy there, which is a rather interesting idea. Not sure he did it but we’ll see.

“I was the Son of Slappy”

I wish they didn’t say it earlier, this is a way cooler “And Roll Credits” moment. And yes, the Son part is only metaphorical. Booo.

Also, Slappy actually got to make a slave in a way!

He goes to school and tries to take his mind off all this, but Slappy creeps in and makes him take some test answers. My favorite part is when Jackson actually cackles evil-y and people hear it.

Thankfully no one cares and Jackson goes home where Slappy comes alive. I love he calls him Son, it’s creepy and funny. I do wonder why he calls him Son instead of just making a slave but it makes for a funny title.

Their talk is interpreted by some relatives coming over, which gives Slappy another chance to make Jackson do evil things.

You can guess what happens. Slappy makes him say bad jokes and just be a general asshole. Nothing special but it being Jackson does make enjoyable and interesting.

Slappy is very happy with his work and he tells Rachael all of what has been happening. At first she doesn’t buy but realizes Jackson never lies ever, and believes him.

Holy crap, him being a good kid basically makes us skip the “they don’t believe him” stuff. 10/10!

…And then he tries to prove it and this fails since Slappy won’t move. ..Nevermind, 0/10.

He tries to explain his behavior to his parents but before he can, Slappy chimes in. He basically just insults people in the same way he did before, but it;’s a bit funnier this time I guess.

He then tries to frame Rachel for something and it fails, which is an interesting parallel to what she always does. This book has something interesting things that I feel like it’s under using.

Jackson is grounded and can’t even go to school. I feel like being an asshole is different from an actual medical condition but whatever, I get it.

For some reason, Slappy stays silent during the grounding period. Perhaps to put people in a false sense of security I mean after he calms down, they let him go back to the YC, where I know shit will go down.

And I’m kinda right as right when Jackson leaves the house, Slappy makes him go crazy. After a small example, Jackson goes nuts he and his friends are making something for the YC Bake sale or something.

This is getting repetitive but at least we are getting new situations.

Jackson is nice and skips to the night of the big YC thing as he even admits nothing interesting happened before then. Nice.

Jackson has finally figured how to stop Slappy. See, when Slappy kicks in, he hears a chirp. He figures out that the chirp is coming from his game player. That’s right, that Discount Angry Birds was a plot point.

How Slappy used a game player to control someone, I have no idea. Don’t really care either.

He puts it away so he can sneak off to the YC thing. He also takes Slappy with him to use in the talent show.,..even though Slappy is still alive and just simply can’t control him.

Idiot.

Everything goes well despite that but then the Chirp comes back….from a Canary cage. …So any Chirp lets Slappy control him? How does that work?!

I’d get if Slappy did this through just sheer magic but it’s the Chirp itself that does it! Jackson also says that there’s no way no way to stop Slappy from talking.

I don’t get it, did the Chirp turn Slappy on too? I feel this isn’t explained well, if at all.

So of course, Slappy starts being an asshole to everyone. In the resulting chaos, Jackson tries to use the magic words to make him dead but the paper is blank.

You know, that slip of paper does more damage than Slappy ever will. If someone burned it, none of this would ever happen.

We then…cut to weeks later. Yeah, the “climax” is just over now. Jackson is now really hated to the point where he isn’t allowed in the YC anymore.

It’s kinda sad given how good Jackson is, you gotta feel bad for him at this point. But at least he locks Slappy away. He can’t throw him out cuz he belongs to his Grandpa and the parents won’t allow that.

Okay, that makes sense actually.

….But locking him up does nothing,a s later, he hears Slappy talking to Rachael~ Oh god, I almost forgot this ending.

Basically, we find out Rachel brought Slappy to life on purpose hoping to use him to get revenge and of course that all worked out. She even hid that paper so no one can make him dead.

Unless he’s destroyed normally like he has been before, at least.

“Thanks, Daughter”

Oh great, Slappy’s a parent of both. And yet I’ve still seen worse parents.

They hear Jackson out there and say they know how to deal with him.

“And then I heard a loud Chirp”

The end. Wait…what? Yes, that’s the ending. There’s no true climax with a happy resolution Just a whole bunch of misery for Jackson.

That’s…really interesting, especially what was revealed and not to mention that whole Rachel thing. But we’ll discuss that in.

Final Thoughts:

This one was interesting. I used to love and I almost get why, but I think it could have been better. For a Slappy book, the set up is interesting.

We have a good kid who is forced to act out due to Slappy and this makes everyone not sure if they can trust him anymore. Then we have his bitchy-y sister who clearly just acts out due to being sick of being compared to Jackson.

It’s all pretty interesting but I feel its not used too well. Rachel becomes too whiny to like for most of it and the main thing gets a tad repeptive at times.

It’s not til the ending where it embraces the concept more and it was well done, especially for Goosebumps. But I feel like it would be better if they went all the with it.

I wanted Stine to develop the sibling realtionship more, like he did in Living Dummy 2. It feels like he keeps trying to do that again, but can’;t quite recapture it.

This comes close but isn’t perfectly done. He also does a piss poor job of explaining how Slappy can do this. There’s ways he could have done it but it feels half baked.

Overall, I will say I like it, but just barely. The concepts are interesting and the ending is really interesting for Goosebumps, which almost makes up for how these concepts are wasted otherwise.

It’s at least the first truly original Slappy book. Even the ones that did something new still had the same old tricks, while this was felt fresh. So for it’s flaws, it at least tried something new.

Rating: Good

Yeah, I over hyped this in the past. Come back in 2018 as we will look at the lamest title pun in all of Goosebumps.

See ya.

Posted in Book Reviews | 1 Comment

The Best and Worst Things I Reviewed in 2017

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, 2017 is coming to a close. …Christ almighty, why does every year have to suck now?

Okay, to be fair, 2017 was better than 2016, if only because my personal life was simply just the same and not worse.

It was all more of the same, tragic deaths, Trump being an idiot only this time with power, and just random shitty things happening. The deaths weren’t quite as plentiful…because the Celebs were too busy sexually harassing people!

I mean seriously, I’d say I’m ashamed of my own gender, but if Melanie Martinez is anything to go by, I’m ashamed of women too! Everyone sucks!

So yeah, 2017 was a sequel to 2016. Not being quite as “good” but recapturing that same spirit. It’s still bad, just not AS bad. Hell, like most sequels, it’s just a repeat of what the first one did!

But anyway, in terms of the blog, 2017 was good. It’s my first year where I didn’t have a schedule from the start, which became a schedule of like 1 or 2 a month.

This turned out well for me and I’m proud of most of the reviews this year.  I do wish I did more non review posts like lists and such like I did in 2016, but I did what I could. I even started a new segment!

I did spend most of 2017 trying to better myself. Go into more detail of WHY something is good or bad, and stuff like that.

Granted, it does lead to me wondering if anything I do is good enough given I keep thinking everything I post s either too long or too short. But then I remembered everything I do is garbage and I felt better.

We celebrated 5 years of Scene by Scene Reviews and did some good ones. So of course, it’s time to look at the turds and gems I had to tackle this year.

Once again, I’m allowing anything, be it a movie or a book. Which ones pleased me and pissed me off? Let’s see.

This, is The Best and Worst Things I Reviewed in 2017

 (Note, not allowing General Reviews this time since we’ll be going into detail on some of those next week, wink wink)

WORST MISC THINGS:

 Before we touch the movies, here’s other bad things I looked at …mostly TV Episodes.

Dance Like No One’s Watching Subplot [KC Undercover]: Just…why?

 J.A.M. Session [Henry Danger]: More proof that the crew behind these shows do not care about story, as this episode wastes a good premise on dumb jokes and a very weak non ending.

The Intruder [Lab Rats Elite Force]: A mostly fine show pumps out this turd, where everyone is unlikable but yet one side wins despite being arguably worse. Add in a horribly flanderized Oliver and you got a bad episode. Although the “Subplot” is fine.

Starer Pack/American Fung [Regular Show/American Dad]: These were from my latest bad episodes of Cartoons I like lists. With these I double dipped a bit but these were so much worse than the episodes I had before. One has no point with extremely confused writing and one doesn’t even try to have a point. Pick your poison.

 Talent Show [Out of Jimmy’s Head]: Behold, the show that wasted an okay idea and instead gave us this. This does a terrible job of mixing story and comedy and makes it so both are equally poor. Since this review, I’ve seen the movie and…I wish I saw it sooner because its so much worse, but ah well.

With that, onto the WORST FILMS:

 The Brothers Grimsby will not be here because I looked at it twice already. There’s just nothing to add, even moreso than with these others. Instead, we gotta start with..

 5. Max Steel

 In any other year, this would have not made the list but having to ommit Brothers Grisbsy means I needed to throw in one of the only kinda bad ones. But trust me, this movie is still bad.

It’s just not the worst thing ever, especially in the year that was 2016. This one almost escaped being reviewed, but it had just enough mockable elements to make it worth doing.

The main problem is that it’s boring which is a problem for a Superhero movie. The lead is not interesting at all, and the story is pretty weak all the way through. Every beat is predictable and there’s very little action.

The robot sidekick is also annoying which does not help either. The whole thing is just a slog, and it feels like it was just made as a quick cash grab.

But at least with something like Jem, you see why they made it and it’s source has enough of a following to warrant it existing and the backlash. This however, is based on something not many care about and they put even less effort into making it and marketing it.

Hell, it doesn’t even have enough reviews to get a cringe inducing Rotten Tomatoes Consensus. This could have been the change to get people to care about an otherwise obscure property,  like Marvel often does.

But nope. Instead it’s a boring crappy movie. It has some decent performance and surprisingly good effects for the budget but otherwise, it’s a waste. It’s not even funny bad.

Not the worst, but still bad.

 

  1. Bgger Fatter Liar

 Speaking of things that have no reason to exist! I was baffled when the trailer first dropped and I was even more baffled by the actual movie. With some of these cash grab long after the fact sequels, the first one has a following to warrant the sequel.

This one, not so much. At least not as much as Kindergarten Cop, although this does deserve to exist more than Cop and a Half 2. Yes, that’s a thing.

The first movie wasn’t the best, but it worked due to having a certain charm that came with that kind of early 2000’s kids movie. But this one has none of that, so it makes all the flaws from before worse.

Ricky Garcia is directed by to be a smarmy jackass so I frankly didn’t care if he changed since he wasn’t a charming jerk. Most of the humor is simply not funny, and it does a lot of repeating.

They don’t bother to change enough so it at least has new jokes. The most original thing is the climax, which is rather horrifying. The leads do some pretty bad things which does not make them better than the villain.

This movie does not place in any kind of reality, so shit just happens because the plot says so. All these elements combined to create a pretty bad and pointless movie which little charm, outside of Barry Bostwick having some fun as the villain.

The one is a bit worse in terms of a viewing experience than anything else so it barely escapes being worse but it still had no reason to exist. It has no charm and is mostly just unfunny and at times harsh.

Anything it does right was done better already. I was willingly to give this a chance but it ended up being a flop. Don’t both with this movie, it’s a mostly lame waste of time.

3.Trolland/2.Fantastic 4orce

Yes we have a tie. But I didn’t want to put them in one slot since I had to stretch to include Max Steel as it is. Instead, I gave them a number, we’ll just be doing both in one good.

I’ll focus on the former more because there just isn’t more to be said about Fantastic 4orce. It’s at least somewhat original and ambitious but has the competence of…well, a foreign direct to video movie.

The writing, pacing and editing are some of the worst I’ve seen in any animated feature. It has ambitious at least, but it makes everything worse. It almost feels like a real movie but everything is just so terrible.

But I will say that it’s so baffling that it must be seen at least once. There’s better bad animated movies to watch but this isn’t a bad choice. It’s at least stupid enough to be memorable which is more than I can say for TrollLand.

Oh boy this one. Okay first one, we gotta look at the very cover. Besides lying on almost every level, the title is shown as “Trolland’. Not Troll Land, it’s spelled as Trol Land or Troll And.

Yes, they couldn’t even get the spelling right! And yes, it is shown like that in the actual movie too! Just…wow

Off the bat, I should mention something I somehow did not know: The director passed away around the time of this films’ release. …Yeah, I’m not sure how it didn’t show up in my research.

It seems like he did do decent effects work in the past so yeah, sorry to see him go. I’m even more sorry that THIS was my introduction to him.

I’ve grown to dislike this one more over time. Mostly because in terms of writing, it doesn’t even fail in an interesting way. It’s a very generic story with an extra dash of incompetence that makes it flat out bad rather than Meh.

In a way, it becomes even more worthless than if it were extremely stupid all the way through. It barely manages to be slightly uniquely bad. But then certain things just have to make it even worse.

In my review, I tried to keep the animation harping to a slight minimum so I can prove the rest is bad too, but I still complained about it a lot because just…wow.

Looking at some clips, it only gets worse. The models just do whatever the hell they want, and the mouths never open wide enough. Anytime they need to interact with anything, it never looks right at all.

There’s mistakes so bad even a chump like me can tell you what they did wrong, like when they have Olaf land on the ground but instead of making his model smaller as he lands from the big height was just at, they keep it the same so the scale is all messed up.

You can see this example in the trailer. You get the point, the animation is some of the worst in the CGI Medium, the only okay thing is the designs but even the main troll is too ugly even for this movie.

(According to the credits, motion capture was used. That…explains a lot)

On a pure objective level, Fantastic 4orce and a few others are worse but this one bugs me more because of how incredibly typical it’s issues are, minus the animation.

You can tell barely any effort was put in the visuals of this movie and especially the writing. The only positive is one or two minor ideas, and Chris Daughttry’s performance as Olaf since he’s kinda having fun.

That’s it. And no, it’s not funny bad. The animation is for all of 5 minutes before you just got used to it. I knew it would be bad being what it is, but boy did this thing sink to new lows.

I put Fantastic is worse due to the writing but Troll Land, I find myself hating more. Either way, neither of these are good and aren’t worth your time, unless you really wanna see the fuss is all about.

So yeah…a bad duo.

 DISHONRABLE MENTIONS:

 8.Pup Star: Not as bad as as some of the buddies movies, but it’s still a boring mess with a lot of stereotypes..

7. Surviving Christmas: Some good peromances save this otherwise crappy Christmas feast with a bad premise and a tacked on happy ending.

 6.Mulan 2: The animation is oddly good but it’s still a poor disgrace to the original with some maddening moments

And the worst movie I reviewed in 2017 is…

 1.Not Cool

 Yeah, no surprise here. It was pretty clear this would be the worst one when I did and yep, it was. It’s got a couple okay things in it, like some passable actors but it’;s mostly crap.

Better than Fred the Movie but worse than Smosh the movie. My review went into a lot (perhaps a bit too much..) detail on why this one is bad and incredibly unfunny.

Oh and yes, IHE has now reviewed it…and never mentions that The Chair thing. Weird. At least he pointed out the use of his intro music.

This is one of those comedies that mostly settles for crappy jokes that make fun of everything, but not in a fun way. In a “laugh at everyone that isn’t me” way.

Anything good in terms of plot is from the script this is a version of. Otherwise, it is all terrible jokes and equally terribly pacing and editing. Then we have Joel, the new Tucker.

I didn’t think I’d find a character worse than Tucker but Joel did it. He and the badly done moral that comes with his plot are the icing on a pretty shitty cake.

This is another of those really hateful and crass bad comedies and you know how I feel about those. Any slight charm it possibly has is snyffed out although tose charms do put it above certain movies I’ve done.

In terms of where it ranks overall, I created an overall ranking of every film I’ve done that I’d rate as Bad (keep in mind some are ties) and this ranks at 12. That’s more a testament to what I’ve had to sit through than anything else though.

Either way, it’s pretty bad with tons of problems. I at least got to complete the YouTuber trilogy, and yes I know others exist. We’ll see if I ever do them. This is a good time to mention that I STILL haven’t seen The Cinema Snob Movie but I have seen all this crap.

So yeah, not much more to add other than at least got an interesting review out of it, since I also had to watch Holidaysburg. It really shows how important your personal stamp is, since the same shooting script resulted in two very different films.

Holidaysburg was pretty average for the most part, while Not Cool stands as the worst film I reviewed in 2017, no contest.

Well, now we have those turds wiped clean. It’s time to move on to the gems we got to cover this year. This is the Best Things I Reviewed in 2017

 (If these sections don’t have enough detail for you, see their respect reviews. I’ll say where I covered them, if it wasn’t their own review)

 A Time to Rob and Slam Subplot [Best Friends Whenever] (Reviewed in TV Review Subplot Spectacular 2)

 Yeah, it’s odd to include something like this but this subplot has stuck with me and I’m glad I covered it. I was not excerpting a Disney Sitcom to have a story like this but here it is.

This subplot pretty much attacks all those people who don’t like it when others like a product they happen to dislike. It’s done in a simple way of course, but it works with Barry realizing he has no reason to “correct” him on the movie’s quality.

It’s one of those episodes that was sadly always be relevant, and this aired in 2015. I also like how they made an objectively bad movie yet still did the moral anyway, adding an extra one about how liking bad things is fine too.

There’s also some decent comedy as we find out more about this movie. It’s not the best thing ever but I found it pretty relatable and one that people should really take some advice from.

 The First Day of Summer [LazyTown]

 It was nice to get back to LazyTown after so long. I wish I did this back when the Cancer thing was more relevant but ah well. I still got to do a pretty great episode.

It’s just so unique for this kind of show and gets a bit deeper than you might expect. I wish the show did more odd experiments like this ebcause it paid off really well.

The best episodes of LazyTown did tend to use fun gimmicks or develop Robbie and this has both! This is him at his best as he is developed further and really funny.

This goes through some interesting turns especially with the fly. It’s strange but oddly sweet. The show had some stale aspects by this point so this was a nice change of pace.

Episodes like this make glad Stefan Karl exists and I’m glad I got to rev-visit the show even if it was under sad circumstance. At least he seems to have pulled through for now.

All I can say is, this episode is number one! …Shut up.

 The Grave Escape [El Tigre] (Reviewed in A Look at Modern Nick Halloween Episodes)

 The Holiday reviews don’t always end up in these but this time a few made it and this one was one of the best ones. This one made it into the Marathon post but I got another slot for eps from that so we’re just talking about the one episode.

Dia De Los Muetros episodes aren’t exactly common so I’’m glad the ones we have are generally good. I  think this is the best of the few that we have. So there, in the TV World,, Jorge did it better and in the Film world, Disney did it better. Is that fair?

Anyway, this one has a good combo of story, humor and heart that makes it a really strong episode. Episodes like this and the other one I did showed why this was pretty solid, and certainly unique.

That’s all I got. It’s a great episode.

 Princess and the Frog/Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Reviewed in some movie battles)

 Yep, my new segment shines here. Only the winners are allowed to be here and since Penguins of Madagascar was simply good, we’ll discuss the winners that were really good.

I’ll be talking about Princess and the Frog in the DAC Ranking so we’ll skip that one but in short, it’s great if a bit flawed in places. Amazing Spider-Man 2 is an interesting one.

Oh and by the way, if a go deeper into something I did a general review of, that review is now void and the new one replaces it. Anyway, I still admit Amazing 2 has flaws that prevent me from full on loving it, but I still really like it.

I will never get how it got the rep it has but whatever, at least we can all agree Sony’s Marvel deal was a good idea. Amazing Spider-Man 2 is able to make up for it’s flaws with it’s charm and heart that it displays, especially at the end.

It feels like an actual and solid film with a lot of effort put into it, that Sony just had to mess with a bit. You gotta feel bad for Marc Webb, I feel like he is to thank for the good parts (especially the romance) but because of a few forced parts, people throw him and these movies under the bus.

Whatever, I still think it’s really enjoyable. I get why some, including Clay find it to be just kind of meh, but I personally still like it and don’t quite get the hate it can sometimes get.

It and Princess and the Frog made for some good winners.

 The Doctor Zone Files/A Christmas Peril [Milo Murphy’s Law] (Reviewed in  a Look at Milo Murphy’s Law AND A look at the 2017 Kids Network Christmas Episodes)

 Another tie, since these were from the same show and the latter was in a holiday review. These episodes show how good this series can be. Both feature great comedy with a lot of Murphy’s law antics, but also some really solid writing.

Doctor Zone combines it’s plot elements well and has some nice messages (even if one was done before), and A Christmas Peril was nice with an amazing and hilarious subplot.

That one would be my favorite if both plots are better mixed but as it is, both are great. I hope Milo picks up in Season 2, cuz I want it do well after what happened with Penn Zero. I doubt it but whatever.

Either way, those episodes are great and nothing went wrong with them.

 Hey Hey It’s Knishmas [Chowder]/It’s Christmas, You Dorks [Harvey Beaks] (A Look at Modern CN/Nick Christmas Episodes)

 Yep, 2 from Holiday posts! I wouldn’t say the former was the best in that exact batch (consider a catch all for the other good ones) but I felt these belonged together for obvious reasons.

Chowder’s managed to do a great Christmas episode while still putting it’s own spin things with the mythology and humor. It’s got that solid Chowder humor and the characters are all likable.

But oh man, Harvey Beaks is on another level. It’s just do different, pretty much being 22 Short Films about Springfield meets Fantasia. It handles this concept really well and creates a lot of fun and heartwarming moments.

The excellent animation and music just sell it. It’s such a feel good and unique episode. I had no idea what this was about going in and boy was it a pleasant surprise.

Episodes like this make Harvey’s fate sadder but we’ll talk about that next year. Both of these really make appreciate CH Greenblat even more. He does some great work and both shows are quite enjoyable.

And they both have stellar Christmas episodes.

Twisted Sister/Passing [Powerpuff Girls/Moral Orel] (Spongey’s Favorite Episodes: Marathon Edition)

 And here’s the ones from my Marathon post. It was slightly hard to pick one from this post so I just picked a really good one from both the mini lists here. Both of these spoke to me a tad more than the others on the lists.

Twisted Sister was just a huge gut punch. It’s one of those episodes you expect to be just a normal thing, but then…dang. It’s clche to say something “destroyed” you, but this episode destroyed me more than any episode in that post.

It was unexpected and bold in a very good way. I’m not sure how a family show out away with it but I’m glad they did. I’m a big fan of any show that can pull off something like this without being cruel and they did it.

As for Moral Orel, it truly was the Bojack of the 2000’s with how it starts as a simple satire and gets way deeper. I picked the episode I did since it shows a lot of that and really develops Clay in a way that makes him more interesting.

This is a show you must watch in order but this episode I don’t feel too bad explaining to newcomers even though it’s better once you get to know the show better.

The ending of this episode is especially really interesting and puts a lot in perspective. I really like how they handle him in the show but saying more would be spoilers.

These episodes are big favorites for the shows and are examples of why I like them so much. The other episodes in that post are too but these especially. I love them a lot, and the shows are pretty good too.,

 A Regular Epic Final Battle (Top 5 Regular Show Season 7/8 Episodes)

 Yeah, no shock here. When it comes to this list, I might do more like it. Instead of doing Season by Season lists for shows, I’ll wait for them to end and just combine them together.

I’ll do that with Gumball for sure, as well as MLP. Anyway, this finale truly was amazing. Any problems it has don’t matter or too much because of hood this ending was.

Al the Anti Pops and Space stuff became worth it due to how it all came together. The big battle is freaking amazing and every characters gets somerhing to do.

And that very ending was just perfect. Tons of nice moments, a big emotional gut punch and a fantastic final scene with great use of a great song. I’m glad the fandom was happy with where the characters went to, I figured there’d be a big discourse of one certain thing.

I’m so glad we are getting more real cartoon finales these days. Sure some shows just stop but even in shows that got the shaft like Harvey Beaks, we get real finales that mostly work.

This one is especially important with how important the show was. I hope Adventure Time gets the same treatment.

Overall, this finale is true to his name in the way that’s epic, but like the show itself, it was very much not regular. And I love it.

Wreck it Ralph/Beauty and the Beast (Ranking the Disney Animated Canon: 2010’s/1990’s)

 Yep, we got something I JUST talked about along with another recent-ish one. I’ve done three DAC rankings and two the toppers are worthy of this list so here we are.

It’s interesting how I put my fave films of each Renaissance. They really do represent both of them. Beauty and the Best gets it’s formula right by makng the comedic relief less annoying and by twisting some tropes wheel perfecting others.

Wreck it Ralph manage to be very unique for Disney while still keeping that charm AND everything is well rounded. The story is solid, the emotion is there, the animation is fantastic and the characters are lovable.

I feel like I was a bit tough in some of the Great 2010’s films just for having flaws but only because some people act like certain ones are perfect and then complain Frozen’s flaws like it’s the only movie to weird moments or “plot holes”.

Hopefully I can get over being hyporocritcal like that. Either way, Ralph is my favorite even though I know it’s not amazing or perfect. Although to be fair, only 2 Disney films come close to that for me and those have flaws others make take issue with.

Basically, I and everyone else shoud focus more on how a movie is overall rather than focusing on the pros and cons and shit like that. …Ether way, I love these movies a lot.

These are some of Disney’s best and show why they are so good. Both are highly enjoyable.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

 Horror at Chiller House: Not as good as Streets of Panic Park, but still a good end to an okay arc.

 Halloween [Gumball]: Really balanced Halloween episode with humor and even a bit of heart.

And the last great thing I reviewed this year we’ll be discussing…

 Kim Possible: So the Drama

Finally, something I did a big review of ends on here again. Yes, I literately reviewed Citizen Kane and this still ranks higher. I’m weird. I’ve wanted to do this one for yeas and I’m happy I got to do it this year, thanks to people voting for it.

Kim Possible was one of my marathons last year so I got to watch the movie then, and had time to think of it and thus plan out a possible review. I’m still rather impressed with how the story was constructed.

It’s got it’s minor cracks but it mostly does a good job with the writing and how it balances the conflicts in a natural way., It’s more story driven than what you’d get in the show while still having the comedy/action mix that made it popular.

It does everything a movie like this should do and served as a good way to end the series, until it got renewed of course. I actually think it could have worked in theaters, with a little tweaking at least.

I mean, it’s not perfect but it’s better for theaters than Doug’s First Movie.

Even with minor things I can nitpick, So the Drama is a really solid movie and does justice to Kim Possible while also being a decent family film in it’s own right.

I’m glad I got to review it and it’s a good way to close out my favorite things I reviewed in 2017.

 

And those were the Best and Worst things I reviewed in 2017. I had to rush this a tiny but hopefully I did a fine job here. Overall, it was another crazy review to be sure but I got to do enough good and bad things to make me happy.

What will next year bring? Well, for reviews there will be returns to old friends and enemies, a theme month or 2, and hopefully Pup Star 2. For other stuff, we got lists aplenty.

It’ll be fun. Be sure to come back next week for the Best and Worst Films of 2017. Now THAT will be fun.

See ya.

 

Posted in Lists, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Ranking the Disney Animated Canon: 1990’s

Hello, Spongey here.

With a few days left in the year, it’s time to do at least one more entry in our Disney Canon Ranking before 2017 ends. And here we come to the what is the famous decade for Disney.

The 70’s! Okay, it’s the 90’s.

I don’t even think I need to say anything here. You know what the 90’s were like, all this is pretty well know.

But if you want the short version anyway: After The Little Mermaid, Disney hit their renaissance were pretty much all their films got critical and commercial acclaim.

But of course it’s not quite as rosey as some may think, as they did struggled in the 2nd half. After one film got nominated for Best Picture, they kept trying to get that again by inserting what they thought were completely necessary elements that actually were not needed.

They started trying a bit too hard, if what I’m saying. That’s why most people say the latter half of the 90’s was not quite as good for the most part, but not without their merits.

But just how true is all of this? Are the classics as good as they say? Are the weak ones really that bad? Which ones do I like the most? Today we’ll find out, as we got back to the 90’s, where Disney made some very famous movies.

This, is Ranking the Disney Animated Canon: 1990’s

Pocahontas (1995):

Once again, I am not surprising anyone with my choice for the bottom of the ranking. It’s always seen as the weakest of the Renaissance for a reason, and I agree with the reasons. I used to like it as a guilty pleasure…but I think it’s a bit too boring for that.

I do kinda like it more than some others because it’s at least trying and has some significant positives going for it. Everyone even agrees on the positive.

As usual, the animation is very good especially the colors and backgrounds. The character animation is good too but the faces can look weird at times. And i swear the heroine herself never really emotes. I’m not one to criticize the usually excellent work of Glen Keane, but sorry.

The music is really good, even if the lyrics can be a bit cheesy. Savages and Mine Mine Mine are the best for how fun they are, even with again, with dumb parts. And there are moments where you see the grand epic film they were trying to make, especially with the Savages sequence.

But for the most part, the script sticks to the tired Disney tropes and doesn’t do a whole lot new. I’ve had my problems with the tropes in stuff like Moana but it managed to be an enjoyable flick on it’s own that managed to engage me in the world. This is mostly flat.

They tried their best but i think it takes itself so seriously so they the lack of anything strong makes it mostly dull. It’s situation driven but when it’s forced to calm down, you see how weak the characters are.

The heroes have their moments, like the ending, but are mostly dull and nothing too interesting.

The villain can be fun thanks to the actor’s performance but otherwise, he’s a typical villain. Also, he gets all these guys to kill the male hero and has a goofy sidekick that worships him. Nope, nothing at all like that other movie…

Not even the voice acting is that great. Not bad, just…eh. It’s amusing that Christian Bale is in this. Also it’s so obvious when Daddy Chief turn into Jim Cummings when he sings. He didn’t even try like he did with Scar’s song. That’s a nitpick though.

So yeah, it’s not bad, it’s just mostly dull and feels very repeat-ish. They did try but it feels more like an attempt to get an Oscar than an honest attempt at a great film….Which it was.

Again, there’s a reason Lion King was beloved, but we’ll get there. This one is just simply not that interesting to me and is mostly just a disappointment. However, you can see how they were trying and it has some positives to not make a total waste.

But for the most part, it’s just…Average.. Pretty disappointing coming from this decade.

Hercules (1997)

This is arguably the most Disney divisive film of the 90’s. Some find it forgettable with some bright spots, while some really enjoy it. I’m in the middle. I like it but I’m very aware of it’s flaws.

The first main problem is how generic it can. The basic story is pretty much Superman with Greek gods and it follows every expected beat. Not to an awful extent but it does nothing too new in terms of the basic story.

As a result, Hercules himself is not very interesting. Somewhat likable enough but there’s not much to him, especially once he becomes a hero. A film shouldn’t be dragged down by it’s lead character like this one can be at times.

The 2nd is the modern references. It’s been done way worse but they can be distracting given the setting of the film. Some kinda work like the whole thing with how Hercules getting tons of Merchandise but some are just distracting or not that funny.

It gives the film a somewhat dated feeling, you know? But despite these flaws, there are things to like and appreciate here.

While the art style is a bit simplistic, I actually like it. The backgrounds are not as grand as you may expect but the character animation is really strong at points. Especially with Hades, he’s the best part on a few levels.

And while there are better Disney Soundtracks, the music is pretty decent here. I Won’t Say I’m in Love and Zero to Hero are easily the highlights but the others are decent enough too.

And while Hercules falls flat, the rest of the cast is solid. Hades steals the show making a really fun villain. Not the most threatening but he is a enjoyable comedic villain especially with James Woods voice work.

You also can’t go wrong with Danny Devito as Phill. But the most interesting character is easily Megara. She’s enjoyable with her snark but her whole deal with Hades plus her falling in love with Hercules gives her an interesting arc.

I honestly wish she was the main character as the only reason she isn’t MORE interesting is that we have to focus on Hercules. Yeah, they did too good a job on her to be honest. Still, a good character is a good character.

The cast can bring some solid humor and even heart to make for the more awkward parts of the movie. And despite my complaints about Hercules, he has his nice moments and the ending is decently satisfying.

It’s an enjoyable romp if you can look past certain flaws, and also how it doesn’t follow the myths. But honestly it’s Disney, you shouldn’t expect accuracy. After watching this again

I get some aren’t crazy about it as it has it’s bland/annoying moments. But I personally was able to like it just because of the better aspects like certain characters as I have gone into. As I said, I like it but I am very aware of it’s flaws.

That sums it up pretty nicely. Enjoyable for what it is, but noticeable flawed in some places that makes some people be more ambivalent to it. I see both sides both I like it despite it’s problems.

That’s all I got for this one,. Hercules isn’t quite worthy of the Gods, but for what it is, it’s decent enough.

The Rescuers Down Under (1990):

I feel people may be mixed on this film’s place on the ranking. On one hand, it is sometimes seen as just a solid film and not one of Disney’s best but on the other hand, some really like it and would rank it above the next couple movies.

But after thinking, I decided this is a nice place for it, among the “pretty good but not great” movies. We’ll of course be talking about The Rescuers later on but in short, it was okay but this one is more or less a much better version of it.

Despite being bigger and having updated animation, it does feel like a proper sequel to the first one as it keeps the same basic spirit. (They even both have a villain kidnapping a kid to help find a thing). But it does end up adopting some of the issues it had, at least to me.

I can forgive some slow moments here and there but the biggest problem applies more to this one: The character balancing. I know that’s an odd complaint but I feel the movie gets so wrapped up in the general adventure that some characters more/less screen time than others.

The thing with Bernard and Bianca is handled okay in general but there’s sometimes long stretches without it being addressed and it can be a bit rushed at times. There should have been a more equal balance of character stuff and adventure stuff because as it is, it can be a bit wonky.

Not bad enough to ruin the movie but it can drag it down. Also, the kid is kinda boring but not hugely so.

It also ends a bit abruptly and on a slightly weak note too. But despite those flaws, the movie is pretty fun. It gives me everything I wanted out of the first one and then some. For one, the animation is great. This is the first animated film to be done all digitally and it’s done so well you wouldn’t know this was the case.

Everything just looks so good and there’s some especially good character animation in this. The Eagle is the highlight in this area, especially with that flying scene. There’s some breathtaking moments here and the fact this was only 1990 makes it even more impress.

And while the balancing could be better, the characters are still mostly enjoyable. Bernard and Bianca’s dynamic is a good and both are pretty likable. They introduce this new guy that Bianca seems to like and of course I groaned hard.

But surprisingly it doesn’t go in the typical direction. It could have been resolved better but there’s not much pointless fighting and Bernard eventually proves his worth and they don’t full you into thinking she will fall for this guy.

Again, could have been done better on a writing level but it’s surprisingly not as bad as it could have been. But the best thing about this movie is the villain, McLeach. He’s the perfect combination of threatening and enjoyable, with how over the top evil he is. George C Scott’s voice work and the character animation help this even more.

He’s just a fun villain and parts with him tend to be the most enjoyable moments. But the overall adventure is a fun one in general. They take advantage of the location and again, the animation pulls it’s weight pretty well.

It’s just meant to be a fun adventure and it is. It even has some character stuff to add on to it, even if it could have been done better as I said. I feel like this could have a really good movie instead of a pretty good one.

But ah well. It’s still a fun ride for what it is. It also uses it’s short length well for the most part. Even if that short-ness meant they had to attached a 20 minute Mickey “short” to it in theaters.

Hey, a case where it actually makes sense to do that given how short the film itself is. …Sorry, I had to point that out.

Anyway, I can see it’s become an underrated gem for some. Disney sadly didn’t have too much faith in it and even pulled advertising for it after a couple weeks so even fewer people knew about it.

Thankfully it’s finding more of an audience these days. It’s not one of my favorites or anything \but it is a fun ride. You don’t even need to see the first movie to understand this one, as it’s good enough to stand alone.

So yeah, I don’t love it as much as some do but it is a solid one for what it is. Some weak character balancing doesn’t take away from the overall fun adventure, great villain and stunning animation.

It’s just a solid and fun adventure that manages to be better than it’s prequel to every way. It’s some good fun.

Mulan (1998):

I touched on this one a bit when I reviewed the sequel but now it’s time to take a close look at it.

This was a later one and it has some of the pros and cons of the ones that period. It mostly avoids the pitfalls of some where they hard too hard to be a Disney Classic, as it feels slightly smaller despite the war elements.

However, it has those elements like the forced sidekick. To be fair, while Mushu can be annoying sometimes (Not sure how much of that can be blamed on Eddie Murphy…),he does at least help out and while he does do this for himself at first, you can tell he cares  about on some level, and his apology later on feels genuine enough.

Or maybe I’m just being nice to him because I remember how he was in the sequel

Most of the weak elements aren’t too bad (They at least don’t focus on the romantic side of Shane too much even if that element is sligtly pointless) , they do kind of weaken the overall feel sometimes.

Still, most of it works. The songs are mostly not amazing but are mostly good with a great score. I’ll make a man of you, however, is amazing on pretty much every level.

As I said, it has a somewhat smaller feel which is shown in the animation. It’s simpler but still really strong and it does have solid scale.

I like that Mulan does out of worry for her father, rather than just to teach those boys a lesson or whatever. There’s bits of that which can on the nose, but what they did makes the characters stronger. She’s not the most complex but she is likable and effective.

The others like Shang are likable too, although the villain is surprisingly weak. Cool design but overall a bit forgettable. I can forgive that since the leads are good to make up for it.

It has noticeable flaws that hold it back but the strong elements make it work. They wisely went slightly smaller and it payed off, making for a fun adventure with some decent comedy moments, and mostly likable characters.

Not as great as it could have been, but i still like it. I can easily see some loving it more, or liking it less, cuz…some do, of course. Either way, it is a solid one.

Tarzan (1999):

This is one that’s sometimes beloved, and sometimes seen as just okay. Based on it’s ranking, you can guess I find it flawed but pretty good.

It’s main issue is the same one that a lot of the later 90’s ones had: Trying a bit too hard to be the next Disney classic,. Even if it’s already fine on it’s own, some of them will force in certain elements.

In this one’s cases, some of the comic relief is a bit annoying at times ( Rose O Donnell did not need to be in this) and some of the songs are a bit on the nose at times. (And Trash the Camp is just kinda pointless?)

Plus, Clayton is a weak villain.. He’s a fine physical threat but I think Kerchek was good enough with how imposing he is and how good his arc is.

But of course with all that said this one is still pretty good with a lot of strong moments. It’s a really interesting story with how Tarzan is raised by apes and then bonds with the humans which some apes don’t approve of.

They kind of hit you over the head with it (especially since the biggest one to not approve is a big gorrila, subtle) but it’s still done well. There’s some really nice moments, especially the opening and a certain moment in the 3rd act.

And I don’t care what anyone says, I like Phill Collins and most of his songs here are pretty good. At worst they can be a bit forced, but they are mostly good with Two Worlds and Strangers Like Me being especially great.

I have no idea where his hate comes from, just saying.

The animation is fantastic, possibly some of their best from this period. Mostly the character animation. I mean, the lead is mostly silent-ish so it’s important to get him right and they really did.

He moves really smoothly in parts like the surfing scenes but can have some great subtle moments too. Everything looks good but he especially is done well.

So yeah, Tarzan is pretty solid. Once again some flaws hold it back, which is sad since it has some really powerful moments that make it well worth it. There’s a reason I put as the best of these “Good” ones.

It’s pretty good, just with some problems that prevent it from being really good. I do feel it does deserve more credit in some areas, but I get why some don’t have it as one of their favorites.

Still, it’s pretty enjoyable with some great moments, fantastic animation and some dumb moments. It’s a pretty good one to me.

The Lion King (1994):

And here we go. We start the great one’s with what I call the Frozen of it’s time. Seriously, this one also exceed expectations and became praised as the best thing ever, which caused a backlash that often went too far in pointing out it’s flaws and only hating it cuz it’s popular.

It wasn’t quite as bad as with that one since this was before the internet was a blight on film discussion. Anyway, as you can see, I think It’s great. Flawed to be sure but once again I don’t mind them.

The good and not so good parts are well known by now so I’ll try to make this somewhat short. T

First, the flaws. There’s a few places where things kinda fall conveniently into place like Scar’s plan for example. Everyone has gone into certain things like this and that i guess the moral is a bit weird given he only thinks he has something to be ashamed.

This is all small stuff but sometimes it can be a problem. I don’t see these as too big of a deal, but there are some Disney films with a better written script. I think most of these flaws can be found in about any movie if you search hard anything.

But none of that matters because this movie is epic. I don’t always use that word but it sums up the film. Everything about it feels huge, from the story to the songs. I actually like every song, even if only a couple are truly great. T

The emotional scenes in the story like that ever so famous death scene work due to the scope and how it sucks you in.

It helps that the animation is amazing. Don’t think i need to say more than that, when it comes to the animation. Oh, and the score itself is fantastic. It helps every scene be even more powerful. The epic scope really helps the film be very enjoyable, and makes a simply pretty good script very engaging.

And plus, the characters are generally pretty likable with Timon and Pumbaa being solid comic relief and Scar being a mostly memorable baddie.

So yeah, i guess it’s a bit better emotionally than objectively, but as it is, i still think it is a great movie.

It was pretty unique and in some ways mature for the time . Weird to think it was a side project at the time. So yeah, it has it’s problems but i think it holds up as a Disney Classic.

The main reason it’s not higher is that others appeal to me more even if the next one has easier problems to pin down. While it’s not perfect, The Lion King still has all the makings of a mostly pretty great film.

Aladdin (1992):

Now we’re talking! A lot of people seemed to have this as a favorite as kids but grew up to prefer others, while still loving this one. I am of course on that side.

As usual, we’ll go over the flaws first. The main one is the use of the liar revealed thing. I don’t mind the use of liar revealed but it could have been better.

The way it’s written gives us two “revealed” scenes because Aladdin covers up the first reveal to dig himself deeper. Then Jafar reveals it. We never actually see Jasmine talking to him about it.

We just jump into the climax and we don’t see her getting mad or whatever. Granted, she’d see his worth after he stops Jafar but still, the story feels emptier without a payoff for this.

There’s also the fact that this did help start the “Celeb Voice Actor” trend that we all know today. They existed before but this inspired a lot of the rip offs that followed. I can see “Sienfeld is unfunny” taking affect, so to speak. Not a real problem, but something others may notice.
T
Otherwise, this one is really great. There’s the usual great things, like the excellent animation (with well placed CGI), and soundtrack.

This has the most consistently Good soundtrack to a Disney movie, not one song is less than “Great” to me, honestly.  And of course, Robin Williams own the role of Genie by making him hilarious and a good character with the sweet moments. He typically stops before he actually gets annoying.

The story is mostly solid. I like the various aspects with Jafar having to trick him and the stages the story goes through. Aladdin is very likable and you see why he wants “more”, same with Jasmine. Their relationship is nicely done, as you see why they like each other, even if Aladdin does mention looks.

As kid, you like it for the adventure and humor but as an adult, I can appreciate some of the better written elements and the stuff I’ve gone into. Other films of the period are tighter in the script department but this was always one of the most enjoyable to me and it still is. So yeah, it’s pretty great, even if it’s not perfect.

It’s know for the crazy comedy but it does in a way way that works so it feels classic despite some modern-isms here and there. Even with it’s minor issues, it’s still a really solid and great time.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996):

I had a hard time deciding if this or Aladdin or was better and I went with this one. Mostly because it’s main flaw is not quite part of the story, which I feel makes this one more excusable.

People either love this one or find it okay, and I love it. But let’s get it out of the way: The Gargoyles are annoying and a bit distracting. They don’t ruin anything but they are a problem and I feel they could have been done better, if they HAD to put them in.

Plus, their song is distracting too. . Seriously, it happens after a decently serious scene and Quasi is worried about where Esmerelda is, and after the song she pops up and they never mention that again. It would be less of a BLAM if the song came a bit earlier.

But they/that song are honestly real problem I have with this one. Yeah, some bits seem generic at first but it eventually all builds up to a great film.

Like they would later do in Tangled, they get a lot out of the situation of Quasi being forced to stay up there by Frollo. He’s of course very likable and they do a good job doing their own take on the “beauty is on the inside” thing that they already did ….with the same directors, oddly enough.

As for the whole thing with him not getting the girl, I’m fine with it. In the end he learns getting a girl isn’t quite as important as just being appreciated for who he is, despite his looks. It would have been nice but this works great in the context of the story.

Plus, the sequel proves you should be careful what you wish for on that front. Ugh.

There’s not a lot to say that hasn’t already been said by the other fans. The music is fantastic, the huge scope gives it it’s edge,and Frollo is amazingly despicable as our villain.

The mature themes are handled well and it’s overall a pretty great film overall, even with the Gargoyles. It’s epic and mature in a way that personally outdoes The Lion King.

This feels likes a lot more like an Oscar worthy film than Pocahontas, the one made to win an Oscar. Weird. The heights this one hits more than makes up for the minor quibbles.

It was a powerful risk for Disney and boy did it pay off. Not everyone is into it, but I like it a lot for it’s complex themes and grand story. I dig it quite a bit.

And my favorite Disney Animated Canon film of the 90’s is…

Beauty and the Beast (1991):

…Look, I hate being predictable. I really wanted to put one of the others at the top, since this is one most people put at the top. But after watching them all and really thinking about…this one won out.

But why is this one a huge favorite, to the point where it got nominated for Best Picture?

And at first, that may actually seem odd. This doesn’t seem as epic as ambitious as some of their other films, or even the other 2 animated films to be nominated later on.  After watching it again, i think the reason this is so many people’s favorites, is that it gets basically everything right, while even ones I enjoy slightly more have minor issues in the tropes they use.

Like with Tiana, Belle isn’t even a princess and is mostly a normal relatable person who is strong without trying too be hard to be Female Role Model(Tm). The romance feels more natural due to being the center of the film and we don;’t quite know how long it took in the context of the movie

The comedy sidekicks are a big help and are never distracting, and the villain is just some douche instead of a big villain which is different and is done very well in it’s own right.

It’s a simple story that has a lot of small things down right, to create an excellent script. Some films feature more impressive elements, but this seemed to have everything right, which is why it got so much love.

And i can agree with it’s quality. I don’t think i need to say more because you know why it’s great, and others like Doug and hell even Confused Matthew went deep into better than i ever could.

The songs are consistently great (You know a soundtrack is good when the villain song is not my favorite, and i still love both of them), the animation is of course fantastic, the characters are well realized and all likable, and it’s pretty emotional by the end.

My only real issues amounts to nitpicks that don’t matter…and were addressed in the Commentary. Oh, and rushed ending but it works in terms of emotion.

The film is surprisingly short (only 80 minutes for the theatrical version without credits) which makes it’s high quality even more impressive.

Some others are more “impressive” but tend to have more flaws, while this get everything right and is nearly perfect. Every aspect is done really well and even makes someone who prefers different kind of stories fall in love with it.

Some others get more enjoyment and in some ways, but this is the most consistent and even personally, I ended up liking it the most once I looked back at all these 90’s movies.

So yeah, everyone will have their personal preference, but to me this gets everything right. Some came close but to me, this film is amazing and is easily my personal favorite of the 1990’s.

And that was my ranking of the Disney films of the 90’s. Overall, I think this decade was pretty great. There’s only one I didn’t’ care but I would honestly take it over some others we’ll get to.

And the other lesser Good’s, were pretty enjoyable in their own way. And of course, this this more Great’s than some other decades might, although the number is equal with the 2010’s.

But if you expand that to 1989/2009 when these Renaissance started, then 2010’s has more. But whatever, that’s a subject for another day. Despite some weaker moments, I think this Renaissance indeed is as good as people say, even with notable issues here and there.

Either way, a pretty solid decade and I hope you like my ranking enough. We’ll be back in 2018 where we will have two decades for the price of one!

See ya.

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