Jason X

jason_x

I’m not sure what bothers me more about this poster. The fact that it spoils the ending or that it promises something that doesn’t happen until the end.

Hello, Spongey here!

Happy 2017 everyone! Yep, it’s finally time for a new for the reviews. This will be an odd year as it will be my first full year of not doing schedule scene by scene reviews. I’ll still do a few, and heck I may do at least one a month, although I have the right to skip a month.

I have crazy plans for this year, even in the big reviews but we’ll get to those as we get to them. So what what will I ring in the new year with? A Friday the 13th Review!

…Yeah, I figured I’d make up for skipping it last Friday the 13th. This time I recorded one off TV back in October so I’d have one to review. I’ll do this for all future Friday the 13th Reviews at least until I bump into a DVD of the ones I haven’t done, which I somehow have not, and I drop by Walmart and Target regularly these days.

The number of ones we have left is wittingly down so my choices are being slimmer, but I knew exactly what to do for this one. One that seems stand alone-ish that is ripe for riffing. The one where he goes to space!

Yeah, Jason had to jump the shark eventually.

This was the 10th film in the franchise, hence the title, and was suggested to the studio in order to keep Jason revealnt while Freddy vs Jason was stuck in development. So yes, this was movie was basically filler.

Which is amusing because this had the biggest budget for the franchise up to that point, being a sort of Sci Fi film and all that. It was sadly a flop and critics as usual didn’t care for it. But of course, it has it’s following of people who enjoy it so the camp value, although I think it is seen as a weaker installment.

The premise alone was enough to get me interested in it, so let’s see what fun I can have with it. I didn’t watch the film beforehand like I’ve been doing, because eh, I think it’s more fun with this movies if I go into them blind.

The director has done nothing of note, and the writer went on to do Drive Angry 3D. Haven’t seen it so I can’t comment. With that said, let’s how many sharks Jason can jump in space.

This, is Jason X

After 3 minutes of logos and opening credits, the movie opens with Jason held up at the Chrystal Lake Research Facility. I guess they figured there’s no point in kill him anymore, but Jason must have lost his mojo to get captured like this and not have escaped yet,.

This business government dude or whoever he is wants to transport Jason to some other place to look into his ability to come back to life so much and this woman tells him just how stupid that is. Well, at least someone has common sense, too bad it’s not the person with the power.

But of course, before they ca take Jason, he escapes and kills some people. If he could do that so easily, why didn’t he do that before? Either way, those idiots got what they deserved. Thankfully, the smart woman escapes and actually manages to trap him in cryogenic pod.

I don’t think I can handle having an intelligent badass in a Sci Fi Jason Movie.

Jason isn’t going down with a fight though and manages to stab her before he gets frozen but she gets frozen too before the damage can kill her, thus freezing them both, That’s less smart but it’s no ones fault so okay.

Also, insert very obvious joke about them being Frozen Today here.

Sometime later, I’m assuming many years, a bunch of people find the place. And we find out that previous scene was in the future too…the far off year of 2010. I don’t get it ,if the movie is about going to the future, why set the first scene in….the future and not the present?

Then again it’s the past to me now but shut up.

Because they are stupid, they open up the pod and find Jason. You know this is really far in the future when they don’t know what a hockey mask is. Eh, I can buy that because I’m not familiar with stuff that was probably more common in the 15th Century or whatever.

One person does know and says Hockey was Outlawed in 2024. I should have a joke for that but I don’t. They find the woman and because movie, they say they can possibly wake her up or bring her back to life, or whatever. It’s a Jason Sci Fi Movie, there’s going to be very improbably things in it.

They take Jason and the Woman back to their ship that they came in and they blast off. Some other people on the ship are told of their find, including the woman. His reaction is…uh…creepy.

She’s cute”

And single”

Ew.

Heh heh eh-I’m so Lonely”

…Okay, that’s funny.

While all this is going on, we get a bit of a taste of the victims, also known as the characters. One is a stoner, and the others are…just jerks, I don’t know.

I’m bitchy as hell when I wake up”?

Did you just wake up?”

Haw haw haw.

The females are naturally unnecessarily skimpily dressed despite the environment, of course. Also, at one point one woman suggests Jason is “hung like a mammoth”, Thanks for that image.

They manage to wake up/regenerate the woman who of course is in a bit of a shock especially when she’s told she’s in the year 2455.

That’s over 400 years’

Yes, we can do math ourselves, thank you.

This head guy tells this other head guy about the woman, in hopes they can make money off her. But he tells him, and us, that this kind of thing is common and the only difference is that she’s a bit older.

…Damn, I want Money”

I don’t know why, but I love that. It’s like the movie itself shoots down his plan before anything can happen. They find Jason to be more interesting, because they not only still remember Jason 400 years later, but can recognize him easily.

They figure they can make money off Jason.

You are one son of a bitch”

Soon to be one rich son of a bitch”

Heh. But chuckled too son becase right after, this woman comes in and says “we have to talk about my midterm” while holding some objects that I don’t feel like describing. Uh….moving on.

After a quick bit with Jason…we rejoin the head guy and that woman and their….playtime. …Okay, the joke was way funnier when it was all just implied.

Daddy wants it harder?”

.Okay, have I turned on the porn version by mistake?

We then cut to two of the disposable student people having “fun”. Okay, I made my porn comment too early. At the same time, Jason gets up because of course he does. He grabs this girl and dunks her head in this stuff that freezes her face, and then he smashes her face on a thing which break her head in two.

Awesome. Now we’re getting somewhere!

Back with The Woman (You know the drill, dumb nickname before the real name is mentioned), we find out they are going to Earth 2 as our Earth became too polluted because of course it did.

She tells the head guy her backstory, and wonders how she can repay him for pretty much bringing her back to life. He says he’ll think of something while putting on a face that scares me for reasons you can imagine.

After finding out the woman’s name (Rowan), we find out one of the people on here is a robot/cyborg person because it’s not the future without one. But enough of that interesting bit, back to Jason.

Rowan is told that he’s here and they think he’s dead, but given his history, she isn’t buying it at all. Wow, even now she’s still somewhat smart.

Sure enough, they see that he’s body isn’t there and at the same time, Jason kills some random dude.

Then we cut to these two guys walking around the ship as they bump into a really terrible CGI monster thing. It’s part of some the game the stoner guy is playing. I don’t get it but at least Jason shows up.

I think we need to reboot”

Give it two more movies.

Jason kills him but it turns out he didn’t as they were jacked into some Vr…thing…which Jason somehow got into. This movie is more confusing and jumbled than I thought it would be.

Up to this point, we had a ton of small things going on until they remembered this is Jason in Space, so now we got Alien but with Jason.

Jason kills this other guy and the stoner while the others get serious about taking down Jason. Now this is actually getting enjoyable, with Jason killing people and everyone trying to take him down. I like the Sci Fi Horror Aspect going on, now that it’s taking affect.

The next few minutes actually get fairly serious as they try to find Jason in this dark ship, and Jason starts killing more people. It’s not unlike any Alien Rip Off you’ve seen but it’s pretty effective, surprsingly. I barely had anything to say during this part because I was kind of interested.

It does get dumb when they think you have Jason once and for all, and this guy gets all cocky about it, making it pretty obvious that Jason’s gonna get up and kill him. But ah well. But it is soon followed by an amusing moment where Jason stabs this big badass dude.

It’s gonna take more than a poke in the ribs to take down this old dog”

Jason stabs him further.

…Yep, that outta do it”

Pfft.

Now all the guys they sent in to take down Jason are dead, making the situation more dire. Jason killing the pilot doesn’t make things any better. Yeah, this is still decently done with how this plays out, even if Rowan is the only character I even come close to caring about.

Because the universe hates them, the ship crashes into the station they were supposed to be docking into, and it blows up. Then Jason breaks into the room the main characters are in! Geez, they really can’t catch a break if all this happens within 10 minutes or so,.

Jason corners Lowe, the head guy and kills him…but we don’t see that and only hear his scream. Oh come on, he was pretty much the main villain aside from Jason with how slimy he was, and we don’t even see him die?

Oh, and this makes him mostly useless, so yay.

By the way, since I’m watching this off TV, the swearing is hilariously censored. It’s the kind where they just remove the words, which is awkward. The captions I have just say [Deleted] which is even funnier.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, this one guy is making out with the android….because they forgot to give her a point. Rowan finds that big badass dude Jason killed and it turned out he’s alive, making that joke I liked pointless.

Jason corners them and then some dude pops up,

Hey, Slappy!”

Insert Obvious Reference Here.

The Android Woman pops up, having been given an upgrade to make her a hot badass…and then Jason kills her right away. Now that’s a funny subversion…but then they ruin it by having it turns out she was faking and she blasts him.

Big Badass Dude pops up, having gotten better I guess given he could barely walk before, and Jason overpowers him. You already did this gag literally just a couple minutes ago!

Discount Android Ripley takes out Jason but we’ve got quite a bit left so he’s not dead. They leave without even double checking and send a distress call which is answered fairly quickly by a patrol shuttle which will come soon. Then to the surprise of no one, Jason gets up.

Actually, no. he is flat out brought back to life by some crap I can’t even begin to describe or care about. It’s dumb enough when this happens between movies like in Part 8, but does it have to happen during the movie? Just feels like padding with it’s execution.

But that’s not all, he is brought back to life as a freaking Cyborg that looks like something out of Power Rangers. He quickly takes care of the android. Well, I hope you enjoyed her 5 minutes of being important. But seriously, Cyborg Jason Vs an Android should have been more epic.

The Patrol Shuttle arrives but they can’t a door open so that badass dude has to take a space walk to fix that. Meanwhile, to distract Jason they create a holographic simulation of Crystal Lake, because why not.

Also, the Android is still alive, she’s just headless now. Again, why not.

Instead of questioning this, Jason takes advantage of a chance to kill a fake girl in a sleep bag, with another fake girl in a sleeping bag. Eh, at least that was a funny pay off. He catches on soon after and escapes which makes that pointless, but it was an okay distraction I suppose.

Brodski, that badass dude, goes up against Jason and they both fall out into the crappy green screen they call space. And that’s the end of Jason for now. Yes, after all that something very quick and rather anti climatic gets rid of him, and they don’t make a deal out of Brokski dying,

Weak.

Jason and Brodski fall towards Earth 2 land in a lake, as we get a shot of his Cyborg mask floating. The end. ….Yep, a bad abrupt ending. Not the worst but a weaker one for sure. It just kind of…stops RIGHT after Jason dies with no real fanfare, or again, anyone caring about one of their friends dying.

Ah well, let’s just wrap this up.

Final Thoughts:

This one was…alright. A bit better than I thought it would be, but also slightly weaker. I mean, it does mostly deliver on what it promises. I say mostly because it is a bit more low key than what you may expect, until the third act with all the cyborg stuff. Maybe they could have gone even crazier, but I don’t mind they approach.

The best parts of the film are oddly in the middle, when it really embraces the Sci Fi Horror Aspect. Sure, it’s nothing new to the genre, but just having Jason there makes it neat. There’s some decent suspense and it is a neat genre shift for what it is.

Everything else is a bit eh. As you expect, most of the characters are boring and even the best one becomes less interesting and cool in the 2nd half. The attempts to be funny are hit or miss, and as I said, the ending is really rushed.

The kills are kind of typical, with a couple exceptions. My feelings changed quite a bit during this, from kind of enjoying for the Sci Fi Horror Aspect and silly-ness to finding it just kind of okay with the weak aspects and certain wasted opportunities.

Which balances out to being…alright. It has enough of what I expected to be passable, but wasn’t quite enough to be called fully satisfying. If you just want to see Jason running around in space, and can tolerate certain issues, you’ll enjoy this. If you’re a fan of the dumber aspects of the series, of course. Anyone who finds the very idea stupid should steer clear. Fans should find this okay but I’d get it if you didn’t find this to be the best entry.

As for me, I think it was an alright one. I don’t regret watching it, but I don’t see myself coming back to it compared to some of the better entries. Still, it was fun to make fun of and was an okay start ot the year.

Grade: C+

Hopefully I’ll be able to cover another one this October. There shall be another Scene by Scene review this month to celebrate a special occasion. I won’t even hint at it, but trust me it’s…something.

See ya.

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The Best and Worst Films of 2016

Hello, Spongey here.

Happy 2017! We’re not dead yet so it’s already the best year ever. Okay, it’s only the first as I write the intro so I have no idea if anything interesting has happened yet. But I’m still here to ring in the new year…with another look back at 2016.

Yeah, sorry but I thought it would be better to do this in January so I can have more time to plan this out. Especially for the best as I had catch up to do. And even then I missed some. 2016 is the year I saw more movies than usual, which of course lead to more general reviews.

I saw 60 plus films. That’s insane, and yes that does count the DCOM’s and Equestria Girls 4. I didn’t’ miss as many as most years, but there’s a few I missed out on, not counting Oscar crap I don’t care about.

Most notably, Arrival. My theater didn’t get so I had to skip it, same with La La Land. It’s also why “Why Him” won’t be on the worst list. Yeah, I’d give a point ot the to for that one but they got The Wild Life which makes me wonder about their priorities.

In spite of that,i saw about everything I wanted to. The ones I haven’t seen like Hardcore Henry or the like I didn’t consider to be must sees anyways. I’m very happy with what I saw and ended up on my best list.

Same with the Worst but we’ll get into that. As a final goodbye to 2016, I’m looking at the best and worst of what I saw in the year. This year was a very mixed bag, but at least the best and worst stick out.

This was a year of surprises, as I’ve said before. The best films were much better than I expected…and the worst were so much worse. Which means both lists will be fun, to be sure.

Enough fooling around, let’s get into it.

This, is The Best and Worst Films of 2016

WORST:

I want to end on a positive note so let’s start with…these. I managed to avoid a lot in theaters since I had better things to do, so only one that I paid for made it on here. Most of these I saw after they came out DVD, after hearing about how bad they are.

I’m slightly more happy with what I saw for the worst list, as I saw almost everything that I thought had a chance of getting on it. Except the ones that aren’t on DVD yet, of course. (Again, Why Him is lucky…for now)

There are some I haven’t seen, but mostly the ones I feel are just gonna be dull rather than Bottom 5 worthy such as Warcraft. I may watch them at some point but I do know I’ll just waste my time if watch them now just for this list.

Still, I was able to watch plenty of crap. As I mentioned in that previous post, Norm of the North will not be on here. I already went detail on it and it is the worst based on the “effort” put into it.

But even without, there was plenty to work with. Without further ado, let us get into these duds. Oh, and warning, these are all comedies. …It was that kind of year.

5. Ride Along 2

This is at the bottom of the list because it is least offensive and it’s the closest to being an actual movie. Keyword being close. The first Ride Along was just mediocre. It was a very typical and forgettable buddy cop with only real thing that was particularly bad. Everything else was just meh.

I expected the sequel to just be more of the same…but it ended up being so much worse. First off, of course the plot is a total rehash. It’s basically the same stuff you’ve seen in every buddy cop movie, including the first one.

I barely even remember the actual plot because there’s really nothing to it. I guess the story isn’t the focus of a movie like this but in the first they at least tried in some spots, here they don’t because it’s a sequel, only here to make money of of those who remember the first one.

The story being a forgettable rehash is one thing, but then there’s the big problem that makes this so bad. It was the biggest issue with the first one and it’s even worse here…the leads. Now, I like Ice Cube and Kevin Heart, infact they were fine on their own in the first film.

Kevin Heart could have a decent silly line sometimes, and Ice Cube was a decent straight man. The best part of the movie was Ice Cube ragging on how annoying Kevin Heart could be. But much like in RIPD (Same writers, by the way), they have no chemistry, because spend the whole movie just bickering in a way that isn’t fun.

Most of it is Ice Cub ragging on Kevin Heart, which can be amusing but gets mostly tiring. Kevin Heart can only be annoying in return and we keep having to be reminded that Ice Cube doesn’t like him.

In the first film, it wasn’t as bad as RIPD in this regard. However, that one had 4 writers and only two were from RIPD. This one..only has the RIPD writers. And it shows. Kevin Heart is useless in this, and the film won’t let you forget it.

Not only does he keep screwing up, like at the very start, Ice Cube rags on so much that it gets very annoying very quick. Hell, Kevin’s wife only convinces Ice Cube to take Kevin to Miami so he can be out of her hair.

I get that he’s supposed the plucky underdog or whatever but for one, we went through in the first movie. Ice Cube had to learn to accept a partner and Kevin had to prove his worth, which in the context of the story, he did.

This just pushes the rest button, hard. Kevin Heart is very annoying in this a lot, always screwing up and Ice Cube is annoying with how he rags on him. In neither film did I ever believe their “Chemistry” as they don’t gradual grow as a team, especially with how this movie resets their “development”.

This wouldn’t be so bad…if the main draw to a movie like this wasn’t the chemistry between the leads. The first movie at least tried and sometimes they worked. Here, it does not. I don’t blame the actors because they are written and directed to be annoying and not have any charm.

These two become very annoying here with how they bicker and there’s no charm to it. And even after all that, the movie seriously ends with another screw up from Kevin Heart, after Ice Cube supposedly learns to accept him. Way to make the entire movie pointless.

Look, the leads obviously need to banter a bit but I know you make do that while still letting them have chemistry. I know because just this year, The Nice Guys proved it! Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling bicker quite a bit, but they do in a way that is charming and while Ryan Gosling is a bit of a wreck, it’s done in a way so that he’s still likable and both actors get to actually be good in their own.

This has traces of this films problems but balances it by pulling it off and being very competent and enjoyable. Something this film is not. I know I’m ragging on this, but there’s not much else to say.

Ice Cube gets a pointless love interest who is pretty dull, the action is fine but remarkable and the plot is a rehash. Also, Ken Jeong is in it because Norm of the North wasn’t enough. Wait, this came out on the same day?

Ouch.

Normally this kind of movie would just be annoying but the leads are just that annoying in this. After the first 20 minutes, you get that Kevin is a screw up and Ice Cube doesn’t like him and that’s all you really get for the whole thing, and anything else is too forgettable and dull to make you forget about that big thing.

As far as positives, it’s mostly small things like a funny line or two, and a couple decent actions scenes. And as I said, the acting on it’s own is fine I guess, but the writing forces them to be lackluster.

As I said, this is at the bottom because it at least is well made, and is actually a movie. It’s a bad movie but at least I can call it a movie, and that’s more than I can say for the Bottom 3 alone.

But it’s still bad. This made money for some odd reason but let’s hope we never see a Ride Along 3-

ride-along-2

God Dammit.

4. Dirty Grandpa

If you know me, you expected me to give this a shot due to the one of the stars, and you also expected me to hate it due to what it is. Well, you’re right. I think it’s impressive that Zac Eforn has managed to break out as a movie star and has even been seen as good in thing like Neighbors.

But he had to hit another roadblock eventually, and he took Robot Di Niro down with him. This movie is bad for all the reasons you’d expect it to be bad. It follows the fomrula of a guy who exists to be a butt monkey has to deal with a jackass that you’re somehow supposed to tolerate, to a tee.

Granted, it’s not as stale as 21 & Over or as anger inducing as Miss March but it’s still pretty bad. But I’ll get the positives out of the way, as they do exist. While the two main actors sleepwalking or annoying…everyone else is actually good.

The supporting cast, most notably Zoey Deutch and Aubrey Plaza are actually kind of charming in their roles. Not enough to save the movie but they are kind of amusing. It’s not too shocking for the latter since she just needs to do what she usually does to be the bright spot in something, but still.

I do feel bad for Zoey though. Vampire Academy, This and Why Him? Yikes. She’s honestly charming enough in at least the first two so it’s sad that she’s stuck in these crappy roles. But while those people provide some charm, everything else fails.

Robert Di Niro embarrasses himself as some guy whose wife just died, so he goes up and tries to get laid. Yeah, he gives some lame excuse but in context it just comes across as him being awful. He’s not as bad as certain people but he’s still not funny, and unlikable.

Speaking of being not funny, this movie is not funny. As you expected, the humor is very crude but not in any sort of clever way. For one, it’s written by a kid who just learned swearing for the first time. Seriously, they say “Fuck” every 5 fucking seconds in this. Fuck.

I’m not saying being crude of swearing a lot can’t be funny. Going back to The Nice Guys, they perhaps say Fuck a tiny bit too much but for the most part, it fits the style they are going for, and it’s not a crutch. It mostly feels natural, instead of childish like it does here.

But my biggest problem with the movie is actually the story…or lack thereof. See, besides the basic set up, there’s really no story for most of the film. You can switch on any scene in the 2nd act and not really be lost.

I can give it slight leeway due to being a silly comedy but even comedies need more story than this thing has. It even gets started too quickly. I can barely remember a lot of the film because so much of it just blends together.

And when there is a story, it’s not much. There’s a a lame liar revealed plot with Zoey’s character and Zac’s wife is a controlling bitch or whatever. It’s all pretty stale and if the comedy or characters worked, I would be fine with that.

The characters are mostly dull and the comedy is too crude so it’s a problem. The movie is mostly crude for the sake of, with Robert Di Niro being too annoying to find likable at all. These two bright spots don’t save it that much because of the crap they have to roped into.

It’s just a bad comedy with barely a story, and some pretty weak leads. As I said, it hardly feels like a movie sometimes due the pacing and writing making every scene feel the same, minus the start and the ending.

To be fair, like any movie, it has a certain audience that will enjoy it. But in this case, so many movies do this kind of thing better that it’s not wroth it. There’s raunchy comedies like this that actually have a tight plot with better characters.

Oddly enough, Zac Efron and Aubrey Plaza teamed up again later in the year with Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. I haven’t seen it but based on what I heard, it’s much better than this, and I heard it was nothing special!

This was one annoying and tedious misfire. It didn’t get higher because I’ve raunchy comedies that piss me off more and I can at least name one substantial positive, which is more than I can say for our bottom 3.

Still, I did not care for this one to much. I didn’t find it funny, the plot was thin if it bothered to exist, and it was pretty annoying all the way through. I expect much better from every actor involved, really.

3. Boo! A Madea Halloween

You all saw this coming. I put up a poll on Twitter to which film I saw the week this came out. I could have seen Ouija Origin of Evil which is supposed to be really good….but you all love watching me suffer so I had to see and write a review for this.

Easily my worst theater experience of the year, and I had a projector incident at Norm! I said everything I needed to in my review, so I’ll make this quick. Here’s from quotes from my review;

Yeah, to the surprise of no one, this was pretty bad. Perhaps not quite as offensive as I expected, but way more aimless. Let’s start with the biggest problem with this movie.

Nothing happens for most it, and it goes on for way too damn long.

There’s one scene in particular that just has Madea and her pals talking, and it goes on FOREVER. I genuinely got anxious in my seat because it was going on for so long.”

As for the comedy, I guess that wasn’t quite as awful as expected, but it’s still not very funny. The humor relies on stereotypes and people rambling about nothing. I will admit I did chuckle every once in a while, which I suppose puts above some other comedies out there, but it’s not enough.”

The only real source of laughter is one of Madea’s old people friends, who is genuinely amusing for the most part in how he just doesn’t care”

Honestly, this whole film feels…cheap. It’s shot like a TV Movie, and there’s no flair to it whatsoever. I have no idea why this is a wide theatrical release.”

Perhaps this isn’t the worst Madea movie, but it looks one of the laziest. There’s barely anything happening for most of it, the actual story is cliché, the characters are unlikable, or throwaways, and almost every scene drags on for too long. “

Yeah, Past Me summed it up pretty well. This movie is incredibly aimless, with barely a story and almost every “joke” going on too long. Dirty Grandpa is slightly more offensive but I can see it appealing to more people. This is just boring.

That scene I mentioned is just…wow. Needless to say, the Midnight Screenings video (which is almost as long as the movie) was way more fun to watch than this. They hated that parlor scene as much as I did.

Only reason it’s not higher is that it didn’t piss me off AS much as out bottom 2, and I had more positives for this. It actually came close to being worse than the number 2 as I watching it, but by the end it was just barely better.

Let that sink in: A Madea Movie didn’t piss me off enough to escape just being Number 3 on a worst list. Yeah.

Still, Madea was pretty bad and I’m not likely to review another live action Madea movie since I think I said everything I needed to say. Speaking of saying everything, I think I’ve said enough about this stinker.

Madea was tedious and not enjoyable at all. Yet I almost have myself to blame for it making a profit. Ugh.

  1. (The Brothers) Grimsby

I noticed every notably comedic actor has that movie where either their star starts to fade because people notice cracks in their shtick, or is simply their first real bomb due to various reasons. Or is just really terrible.

For Mike Meyers it was Cat in the Hat, for Adam Sandler it was Jack and Jill,and for Sasha Baron Cohen, it was this. I don’t have as much experience with him as others, as the only live action starring film of his I’ve seen is The Dictator. Yeah, I saw that but not Borat, I don’t know why either.

I actually enjoyed it because it’s the kind of “offensive” comedy that works due to making fun of everyone and not meaning too mean about it, or at least it was mean in a fun way. It also a speech that’s very relevant right now.

I bring that up because he clearly forgot how to do that kind of humor with this stinker. My god, this one was bad, and the only saving grace is that it’s short. That’s bad since it shows how rushed it is, but at least it was over quickly.

Even with the Mid and Post Credits scenes. Just because this was done by the director of The Incredible Hulk doesn’t mean this is a Marvel movie!

I’m not sure where to begin. It fails for a lot of reasons but because I might do a Scene by Scene review of this at some point, I’ll just quickly sum up the big points. One main reason is the humor.

This is one of those movies that tries REALLY hard to shock. Like, really hard. The writers think they are being incredibly edgy and shocking with a lot of the jokes in this…but they aren’t shocking, they’re just disgusting for the sake of it.

You probably remember Sacha taking an “Elephant” Scene to Talk Shows and such and showing their reactions or something like that. That sums it up all up, really. That scene exists, not because they thought it was funny in spite of how shocking it was, but to simply shock the viewer.

It goes on forever too, it’s meant to go on so long that you find it funny but that never happens. It’s just really gross and uncomfortable. Like, if I saw this in a theater, I’d have to step outside to recover for a second because it was tedious, gross and laugh free.

Although I’m sure given I sat there fine when I saw animated food orogy later that year.

Actually, let’s discuss Sausage Party further. That one also some shocking humor that doesn’t always work but that one at least has a concept It’s status as an animated comedy gives it more a reason for the content and there’s actually more to it, with an actually story with a message it wants to send.

That one has problems too but it has way more going on than this.

Then there’s the horrible Mood Whiplashes. Here’s an example of what I mean. We get the brothers “tragic” backstory which is actually meant to be taken seriously and feels like it comes from a different movie…and it’s followed by a joke where their dicks accidentally touch.

Hur Hur Hurr!

It’s always doing things like that. I’m not saying you can’t have attempts at hear in a raunchy comedy but it needs to mix well, and not feel as out and place and tone deaf as it does here. It doesn’t help that the characters and weak and the actors are given nothing to work with.

Besides Sacha Baron Cohen, we have Mark Strong, Isla Fisher, Penolple Cruz (who did another lackluster spy spoof in 2016 with Zoolander 2), Ian McShane among others. And they are all completely waste, either being given dead materiel or almost nothing at all.

Mark Strong is probably the best as sometimes he’s an okay straight man. But it backfires as seeing someone like him doing the stuff he does ends up being more awkward than funny. He does and suggests doing the most insane shit In a straight away even though it makes no sense for the character.

The script just gives the characters nothing to do, and no one is fleshed out. The brothers don’t have much of a bond, and the story is another one I hardly remember because it’s just not interesting.

There’s other problems too, but I’ll save it for a Scene by Scene Review a bit later this year. I originally wasn’t going to do that because this was Number One at one point but once it got dethroned, it meant waiting until later to go into deep detail

Yes, this was Number One at one point because it just that bad. It was nothing but shocking and gross humor for the sake of, with incredibly weak writing that gives otherwise talented actors nothing to work with.

I think even fans of this kind of humor will find it too weak for their tastes. So many movies do this kind of thing better (including those with Sacha Baron Cohen) that it’s not even worth watching. Although it has a 6.2 on IMDB so…i guess someone liked it, and in that case…rock on.

By the way, Sacha was a writer on this so he deserves most of the blame. Is there anything I like about it? Well, from memory, there’s like one or two chuckles, as most bad comedies have at least one funny moments, and sometimes an actor can be…fine.

That and it goes by quickly so it doesn’t drag too much. Outside of that, there’s not much to redeem it. Besides all the poorly done gross humor, the writing is too messy and the chemistry is too non existent for me to recommend it.

The prospect of watching it again to do that humor fills me with fear, but ah well. Overall, Gimsby is just a dud that is not offensive or shocking in any way because it tries so hard and has nothing to offer otherwise.

This is a movie that has a gag where Donald Trump gets AIDS and I didn’t even crack a smile. That says it all.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS:

Mother’s Day: It’s awkward to talk about this one now that the director died but this would still be low on the DM’s as it’s really just the exact same as New Year’s Eve, which I reviewed, and only slightly worse due to having a bigger emphasis on lame comedy. Otherwise, another over stuffed Halmark card disguised as a movie. Yawn.

The Wild Life: It may not be Norm but this is still a cheap direct to video quality feature with lame characters, and no ending. Seriously, that still pisses me off. (And that gag with the villain still weirds me out)

Mr Right: This movie tries so hard to be quirky that it comes across as just annoying and empty. Anna Kendrick is wasted here and she has no chemistry with her co-star. It’s “Quirky: The Movie”,and the lead is arguably a Mary Sue which is hilarious given this comes to us from Max Landis. But sorry Norty, I’ve seen worse.

The Boss: It’s official: Only Paul Fieg can make Melisa McCarthy good in a comedy. I still like her fine but in Tammy, Identity Thief, and this, she’s saddled with an unlikable character and the director (who is her husband in the case of this and Tammy) doesn’t know when to yell cut. While she was more annoying an Identity Thief is objectively worse with how messy the plot and how just flat the comedy is. There’s writing issues up the ass, like how it opens with her backstory which doesn’t at all play into anything and may as well have been cut. The actors do fine despite being wasted (And you do NOT waste Kristen Schaal!), except for Peter Dinklage, he’s just…sad. After this, nothing will get me to watch a Ben Falcone directed Melisa McCarthy comedy. Nothing!

debbbb

…God Damn It.

Fifty Shades of Black: Another bad parody movie that hardly parodies it’s subject and is mean and not funny. Yawn.

And the worst film of 2016 that doesn’t star a polar bear is…

  1. Meet the Blacks

Where the hell do I even start with this one? There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of it since it had a somewhat smaller release and barely has anyone you’ve heard of. Then fact that it wasn’t quite as big as some of the other films on here is isn’t only real saving grace, and it’s still big enough to justify it being number one.

It has all the problems I usual complain about but put up to 11, as it is one of the incompetently written films I’ve seen in quite some time.

The premise here is this guy moves his family after having made some deals with bad people, and wants to go away from his hustling lifestyle, but of course those bad people come back to bite him in the ass.

That on it’s own doesn’t seem too bad….but here’s our first huge problem: It’s a parody of The Purge. Really. They tell you up front but to be honest, this did not need to be a parody because it’s an incredibly lame parody.

It goes beyond the typical problems of parody movies. Like most of them, it doesn’t really say anything about it’s target and really just uses it as a plot device. There’s plenty of potintel with tHe Purge even for comedy and hell I hear it’s sequels are pretty much self parodies at times.

Yeah, I haven’t seen any Purge movie but it should still make sense on it’s own as The Purge, as I said, is used as a plot device. It’s an excuse for them to not call the police, that’s it. So as a parody film, it fails as it does nothing with the subject and hardly even needed to be one.

But that’s the least of it’s problems. This movie tries to do so many little things and it fails at all them so hard. As comedy it fails because there’s not many “jokes”, per say. The humor amounts to the characters shouting at each other a lot, and it’s just not funny.

The actual jokes usual fail for the usual reasons, bad timing, too annoying, etc. It also tries too hard to be revaltn, like a scene with the KKK (Ripped straight out of Harold and Kumar 2) where someone says it “looks the Oscars”

HURR HURR YOU’RE SO CLEVER.

The film also tries to be some sort of racial commentary, kind of like The Boondocks only not funny or insightful in any way. It just comes across as clumsy, and I swear almost half the line relate to race in some way.

As far as the plot goes, it’s a mess. Plot points just come and go out nowhere, and there’s cohesion at all. If it wants to tell any kind of story, it fails due to just how messy the script is. For just one example, the teenage daughter has this boyfriend or something who hides out in her room and they make a decent deal out of him but spoilers, at one point he goes full douche-y and dies, then he’s never mentioned again.

It sucks because I will miss the character who ruined an almost okay Mother/Daughter scene with an amazing gag of him fapping to it. Seriously.

Of course, the characters have no depth and or in no way charming or likable. Mike Epps get the most and that’s because he’s an asshole. He’s a jerk to pretty much everyone and any development he has is very rushed.

He says he did this for this family and he claims to learn something, but we hardly see it! Any attempts at heart come across as phony and they don’t let them sink in at all. Then there’s a big issue that makes everything else worse…it’s noisy.

That’s a weird complaint but it’s true. The film is almost nothing but noise from the characters constantly talking, to various noises. There’s almost never a quiet moment, even when it’s trying to be suspenseful or “sweet”, which is why those scenes almost never work.

There’s various other issues like how the pacing and flow is bad. There’s a whole section where we get the exact same scene many times just with a different person breaking in. This section is messy, but only because the film itself is.

It tries to do so much that it becomes a huge mess. The story is a total mess and the characters and heart fail hard so it can’t work as a real movie but it fails as comedy because it barley has any jokes and isn’t sure what it wants to be.

Oh, and the acting is meh because they are just given nothing to work with. I haven’t seen these people in anything else so I can’t say if they are good in general or not. The film is very painfully improvised but instead of picking the best takes like a good movie would, they just threw it all in.

It’s not even a mess that’s worth watching because it’s just so boring and unfunny. While watching it, I struggled on where it would fall, it got tied with Brothers Grimsby, but by the end it became worse.

That had more “piss me off” moments but this movie isn’t competent enough to be offensive. In the very lest, that one knew exactly what it was and I can see some appeal with it’s type of humor.

This just has nothing. Even those who like these kind of comedies, or these actors, will find this one so empty of anything worthwhile. That’s perhaps a bit harsh as there exist positive reviews on IMDB but I just mean compared to everything else on here. Something like this shouldn’t piss me off as much as it does but something about it just got me.

It’s so messy, incoherent and fails so hard at doing everything that it got to me even more then Grimsby or Madea. Ironically, Madea gets a mention in this because the filmmakers needed to be reminded of a much more successful comedy filmmaker.

So yeah, it’s pretty damn bad. I likely won’t do a full review for this as I said everything I needed to here and the film sometimes gets to repetitive for that. I won’t rule it out sometime down the line but for now, nah.

I think I said it all. It tries to do many things but fails at doing any of them, resulting in one of the most incompetent films you’ll ever watch. It has almost nothing going for it, it’s not funny and not good in the slightest.

I will stress that even with how much I dislike this, if you actually do like then it’s fine , because even the most hated films can get their fans, so I want to cover my bases here.

It’s my tastes and my taste make this mess the worst film of 2016. Come to think, might be even worse than Norm…

And those are the worst films of 2016, to me anyway. Before I move on, I should comment on something. While doing these reviews, I’ve learned everyone has their tastes. Everyone has their standards for what the worst or bed is. Some really dislike unexciting or bland action films and people like really dislike annoying comedies.

I personally think bad comedies are the worst because they are the hardest to get through and almost never give you a break while at least an action or drama might have small breaks between the bad parts.

But some feel differently and that’s okay. Seeing people’s worst of each year lists make me realize how diverse our tastes are. As long as you recognize that. Some people act their opinion is totally right and people are wrong for having tastes and that’s just wrong.

This an odd time to be preaching this but as I said, seeing peoples tastes just made me think about this. I’m not always the best at getting this but I like to think I’ve grown, So before you bitch about peoples lists, just remember that everyone has different standards. And this goes to certain list makers who are baffled certain films end up not on certain lists.

Okay that’s my rant, onto some positvity.

BEST:

Like with the best and worst things I Reviewed in 2016 post, this will be more of a short list without a tight order. Mostly because I had less to say about these. Still, the order is a bit tighter than in that list.

While I am missing a thing, I’m happy enough with what I saw. I’ll be sure to let you know if I see anything from 2016 that would have been on this list, had I seen it at the time. So here we go with my Top 10.

Rouge One:

While it starts a tad slow, it it picks up and becomes very enjoyable with a somewhat more serious tone, some likable characters, and awesome final act. The good stuff was more than good enough to barely get on over some over stuff, and honestly I think some people oversell the weak moments.

The leads were totally fine, and the start wasn’t THAT slow. Also, I was one of the few people fooled by CGI Tarkin. Shut up.

The Conjuring 2:

The first film was a refreshing Horror Film with how it built up suspense and how even some heart to it. I was worried the sequel would go the way of Sinister 2 but thankfully I actually liked it just as much as the first one.

The first did a better job of building up the suspense, as this had perhaps too many scares early on, but overall this was a very well done Horror Sequel where the family was more interesting than the one in the first film and the scares were just as solid.

Certainly one of those pleasant surprises given how Horror Sequels tend to be.

The Nice Guys;

I talked about this one already with how it does the bickering partners thing pretty well, but yeah, it’s very solid. Perhaps the development could have been stronger in the 2nd him, but it was still a fun throwback with Russel Crowe and Ryan Gosling giving great performances. However, the more refreshing thing is Ryan Gosling’s daughter who is one of the better kid characters I’ve seen in awhile.

Seriously, she manages to have a role in the plot without it being forced and she’s a believable kid while being as resourceful as a kid can be in a movie like this. She was awesome as was most of the film. Too bad it bombed because no one sees the original movies people say don’t exist anymore.

The Little Prince:

Yes, the third act is a bit off but otherwise this is a very charming, well animated film with great moments of heart and a solid message, even if it’s obvious with it. Trust me, without my issues, it would have been at least a few notches higher. Too bad Paramount threw it on Netflix instead of putting it in theaters in the US like it should have gone.

Deadpool:

It has some problems on terms of the overly familiar structure but it was easily the funniest film of the year, with Ryan Renolds making a fantastic Deadpool. His crazy humor is almost always very funny and some of the other characters provide some fun laughs too. Definitely a blast.

Finding Dory:

Of course it doesn’t touch the near perfection of the first, and it’s structure is a bit been there done that, but this was a surprisingly solid sequel where they explore Dory’s character really well by diving into how she deals with her Short Term Memory Lose. The animation is is amazing as ever, as it has a real heart to it with a few near tear jerking scenes. Just goes to show you how Pixar can surprise us sometimes.

10 Cloverfield Lane:

Sequels to Found Footage Movies that aren’t Found Footage are usually terrible, so it’s good that this was very good. Maybe the ending is a tad off but this is otherwise a really solid thiller with fantastic performances by John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, that is really intense all the way through. I hear the next part of this barely connected series is coming in 2017, and thanks to this being good, I’m pumped.

Kung Fu Panda 3:

It’s not as good as the 2nd one and has familiar elements, but it’s still a great end to this trilogy with Po being as likable as ever, with fantastic animation, more of that surprising heart and awesome action with expect from this series and a great ending. Please don’t make another one, this was honestly the perfect ending.

Captain America Civil War:

I have my problems with I bitch about it all I want, but this was still another great Marvel romp with a good two sided conflict where I found myself note sure which side to take, even if Cap is pretty much right. It was a great jumping off point to see the Avengers start to drift apart, leading to good drama and of course some amazing action.

I sadly have not been able to re-watch but hopefully when I’ll do I’ll love it as much as everyone else, instead of just finding it “pretty great”, which is still quite good.

Zootopia/Kubo and the Two Strings:

Yeah, no surprisetS this closes us out. I put this on the Best Things I Reviewed in 2016 list, calling them the best ones I did general reviews on. They grew on me that much. I went into more detail on that post but in short, these animated films showed how strong how both studios can be

Zootopia is the most fun look at prejudice you’ll ever see, and Kubo is a beautiful stop motion delight with plenty of heart. While I’d have to see more and re-watch some, at the moment these are the best films I saw in 2016, as they were the ones I was the most happy with.

I have my issues but they were the easiest to call great on a first watch, so that’s why I put them last. They stand out very among this years pack of films and even with their issues, their bright spots made them very great.

So yeah, I enjoyed them quite a bit.

I usually put Honorable Mentions either before near the end of the list, but I think in this case it fit better at the end, so here they are:

Don’t Breathe: It’s a bit too noisy sometimes, and one character is basically invincble until the plot says so but it’s still a solid thriller with intense moments, a great villain and quite the climax. If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about.

Doctor Strange: While it has that worn Marvel Formula, the solid lead and great visuals save it, making it a fun romp with some cool moments.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: It’s no Harry Potter and has some writing issues, but I found it to be fun with likable characters. This one’s slightly underrated so when it hits DVD, give it another shot if you weren’t crazy about it the first time.

Moana: I have my issues with the Disney Cliches but it was still a pretty fun adventure with good leads fun songs, and beautiful animation.

Star Trek Beyond: I haven’t Into Darkness but I can say I enjoyed this more than Star Trek 2009 and I quite like. Taking a smaller approach works pretty well and the cast is likable as ever, with the new additions being solid. Nothing crazy amazing but it was very enjoyable.

There, those are my least favorite and favorite films of 2016. It was quite a wild year, especially for Cinema. We had to sit through some stinkers but they were worth it to get to the winners.

I can’t wait to get to the ones I wasn’t able to catch yet. I also can’t revisit some of these that I haven’t re-watched yet. This is where I’d end on things…but may as well look at my anticipated films of 2017.

We’ll just go by my most anticipated by each month to make things easier. (NOTE: This can and will change as films get shuffled around or changed, especially in the latter half)

January: Uh…Split, M Night’s next movie. Yes, it coming out in January is worrying but I hear The Visit was good, so hopefully this can really bring him back in top. It sounds interesting, at least.

February: 50 Shades Darker…Just kidding, it’s probably The Lego Batman Movie or John Wick Chapter 2. Lego Batman looks fun and I hear Jon Wick was pretty cool so hopefully it’s sequel will follow suit.

March: Logan. Generic title aside, the direction it’s going in sounds very cool, even if I’m tired of Wolverine at this point. I also hope Kong Skull Island is good, and I pray to god Power Rangers isn’t as bad is could be.

April: Slim pickings so I’ll go with Smurfs The Lost Village. Yes. The trailers are actually pretty solid so far, and it seems to be capturing the magic of Smurfs and being the exact opposite of the lackluster live action films.

May: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. The first was a lot of fun and I hope this is just as good, if not better. I also hope Alien Covenant is good.

June: Captain Underpants. No really. The books had a self aware sense of humor and that still that released makes it seem like they’ll style down perfect. Hopefully it’s fun. I’m also really hoping Wonder Woman puts the DCEU on track and I’m the only one looking forward to Cars 3.

July: Spider-Man Homecoming. Spider-Man was done well in Civil War so hopefully his own movie will give him a lot to worth it. Here’s hoping we get out perfect Spiderman movie. Chris Nolam’s Dunkirk sounds interesting too, and War for the planet of the apes should hopefully be as good as the other films.

August: The Emoji Movie…Kidding. Honestly, I don’t know, nothing looks too promising but I could be surprised. It’s cheap to draw a blank….but hopefully Nut Job 2 and Blazing Samurai are good?

September: By Default, The Lego Ninjago Movie. I can this getting moved but if it’s as fun as that short they had before Storks, it should be good.

October: Ponies aside, Kingsman 2 has my vote. Blade Runner 2049 should hopefully be good too. Huh, quite a bit of action for October but the usual generic horror flicks should balance it out. (Oh, and that next Cloverlfield chapter also comes out around here so that should be good)

November: Thor Ragnorrock. After the first two, they have hopefully learned what works and what doesn’t and creates the perfect Thor film. Pixar’s Coco also looks cool, and I really hope Justice League works out. Sony’s also something called The Star which sounds interesting.

December: Star Wars Episode 8. Obvious yes, but after Force Awakens and Rouge One, I’m pretty pumped. I’ll be a bit…sad in places due to recent events but it should still be fun.

This will change as we find out more about the smaller films, but I do hope these are all good. Now as I said before, there will be fewer general reviews at first but hopefully my money situations gets better so I can see more later on. I will at least see all the animated ones at least.

But there’s 2016, finally done for. I don’t have much to say beyond what I said on that other 2016 wrap up post I did. Ether way, let’s make 2017 a great year. These past few days have been fine so far so let’s keep it up.

I’ve on long enough so I’ll take my leave. Not sure if there will be anything on the blog before the first Scene by Scene review of the year next week. January should be somewhat chill after a hectic December. There’s plenty to look forward to this year in the least. Now I’m done.

See ya.

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Goosebumps HorrorLand-Slappy New Year

horrorland_18

Where’s Olvia Olson when you need her?

Hello, Spongey here.

If things go well, this will be my final post of 2016. Yeah, it’s been a ride but you already know that. It’s now been a year since I started doing the these Horrorland reviews on a regular biases again.

So let’s celebrate it with a New Years themed one. Yeah once again I had good time on a Holiday book. It’s weird an official Goosebumps series didn’t have a Christmas book until recently while they did have a New Years book, with one Christmas scene in it.

Now, I actually reviewed this back on Blogger, in 2011. But it doesn’t count so-

DAN AND SWAMPY: We’re gonna do it again!

This time, we’re going back to Slappy. His last book was…not good, so can he bring it back for this installment? Let’s find out.

The only thing to mention is Goosebumps Gold. See in the early 2000’s, Stine planned a new GB series with that name. It fell through but some titles were mentioned and they got retoold into later books.

Night of the Giant Everything spawned from one I forget the title of, Haunted Mask Lives became Scream of the Haunted Mask, and this book…was one of them. It even still has the same name.

The only that still doesn’t exist that was mentioned is Happy Holiidays from Dead House. Yes, there STILL isn’t a sequel to the one that started it all. I don’t get it.

Here we go!

This, is Slappy New Year

The book opens with our main character Ray and his brother Brandon in HorrorLand. We are told that Ray is embarrassed by his brother because he is a huge wimpy ala Zane in Living Dummy 3.

So why is he doing with Ray to a Horror themed park? I have no idea. Also, Ray says he’s allowed to see G Rated films with Brandon. So you never see a movie ever these days?

Ray hasn’t gone on any rides he finds scary, even if Brandon was of course scared to death. So a horror they don’t know invites them to go to a really scary ride. …Did we not learn anything from the last book?!

They get on a ride that’s pretty much Bumper Cars that move on their own, which is a decent idea for a set piece. It doesn’t end welll and they get shaken up over it. Not to much to say about that.

The guy vanishes and they bump into another guy who invites them a new attraction they are opening. They trust a guy even after what just happened because they are giant idiots. It’s a Hall of Mirrors…which is not new to Horrorland but okay.

They head in and get lost right away and can’t find each other. It’s the same as the mirror scene in the first Horrorland book just without the walls closing in. Eh. They get it and tell the guy what happened but he claimed nothing odd is supposed to happen, it’s just a bunch of Mirrors.

Dun dun dun, don’t care let’s got to the plot. This pre story set piece is taking longer than usual because they do the same scene twice! Thankfully, they move on and find Chiller House where they immediately find a dummy that is clearly Slappy.

Since Arc 2 doesn’t seem to link up with Arc 1 don’t much, I shouldn’t question how Slappy got here …but I will anyway. Ray gets Slappy without thinking too much. Also, I’m already sick of Brandon’s scared shitck. Ray is even kind of dick as Brandon can be scared of reasonably creepy things but Ray just scoffs at all of it.

Needless to say, scoff at him being scared of Slappy will bit him in the ass. That pre plot section was fine but overlong and slightly dull. Hopefully the main plot will be good.

Back at home, we find out Brandon has a SpongeBob pillow. That’s 3 books in a row to mention SpongeBob, what the hell is going on?

Anyway, Ray uses Slappy to scare him for no reason. Our hero, ladies and gentlemen! His parents scold him but just give him a warning for now. Well, Slappy is going to ruin things him. He wants to have a party on New Year’s Eve and he makes his resolutions that he won’t keep.

Ray’s friend Elena comes over (she’s better than the Elena from Ben 10 Alien Swarm but she’s no Elena of Avalor) and after amusing banter, they find those words in Slappy’s pocket and read them. Well, at least now the plot can really start.

Actually, Brandon stops them from finishing the words for some reason. He’s scared yes but he doesn’t know if reading the words can cause anything bad. We all know they will bring him to life, you don’t have to make it so obvious.

Ray scares him to get him out of there (Again, why am I supposed to like him?) and tries reading the words but gets called to help out Dad before he reads the last one. Come on, let the plot start!

Later, Brandon’s room is found trashed and Ray is blamed. Either Slappy was already alive, can come alive more easily, or we’re doing the “pointless first half in a Slappy book” crap again. Please don’t be the last one.

You know the drills, Ray swears he didnt’ do it, no one believes him, yawn. He still just gets another warning. Is this a 3 strikes deal?

The next day, Ray and Elena clean out the basement for the party, when Brandon screams, making them go up and see that his closet has been trashed. Man, you’re not wasting any time on the scary stuff, in the least.

Elena is there to testify for him, as she was in the basement with him the whole time but Mom won’t listen to logic, dang it! Thus, he is grounded and the party is canceled. That was fast. And hey, I was right about the 3 strikes thing.

Oh, and Elena doesn’t believe Ray,…despite what she just said. Sigh. We get a bit where Ray talks about how much it hurts to have no one belve you, which brings me back to Living Dummy 2, which I like.

I don’t like that Ray’s too dickish and that this is rushed.

Mom always says I’m the sensitive one in the family”

…She knows what Brandon is like, right?

That night, Brandon hears creepy noises and eventually comes face to face with Slappy…but it turns out to just be Brandon attempting to scare him. I hate it when I’m right. Sorry, but any book where half of it is pointless gets at least one point deducted.

To be fair, his reasoning isn’t bad. Ray is always scaring him and he wanted that dummy out, so he did all this to get revenge. Which …is fair given how Ray is. He kind of deserves it and it’s kind of awesome that he pulled this off.

It doesn’t make the character worse like in Living Dummy 1, it’s addressed more than in Living Dummy 3 and actually makes some level of sense, unlike Revenge of the Living Dummy. ….However,Ray’s response is to get revenge back and bring Slappy to life for real by reading all the words.

.I got nothing, Ray is awful. Yes, it’s a joke but still, Brandon had a point and it went right over him. Just…wow. Anyway time for the plot to actually begin, as the family goes to Elena’s house for Christmas.

Told you it has a Christmas Scene.

They go there and Slappy mysteriously appears, making the brothers argue over who brought him. We get a nice Christmas scene after that that actually captures the whole big family/friend gathering pretty well, with some amusing moments.

So let’s see how Slappy ruins it. We get the scene where Slappy insults people and they think it’s the main character. This scene is still kind of amusing but it’s also so played out. Slappy then hits Dad so hard that he crumples to the floor.

Damn, Slappy’s been lifting since we last saw him.

While everyone is rushing to help him, Slappy gets up on his feet and runs around, destroying the tree. And despite all that noise, NO ONElooks up and sees Slappy flat out run around, so when gets back in dummy mode, they think it’s all Ray’s fault.

Okay, that was incredibly stupid and contrived. Not only was that a dumb risk on Slappy’s part but there’s no way they wouldn’t see Slappy there. Just…wow.

You ruined Christmas, and you ruined New Year’s Eve!”

Yikes, that’s harsh. Also, the way you phrase it makes it sound like a Arso, Murder, and Jaywalking situation.

Then to press his luck, Slappy bites his nose…and they still don’t believe him! This is getting so ridiculous! In context it almost makes sense but with what just happened, this is just…silly.

Slappy bites him so hard he starts bleeding. And yeah, they still don’t buy it. Just…wow, how can anyone be that dense? Why would someone harm themselves like that?!

At home, Ray talks to Brandon and just from how he’s talking, Brandon decides to believe him. At least he’s smart. They don’t do anything about it for no though, for reasons. The next morning, Ray goes outside and Elena randomly starts assaulting him with snowballs because she’s pissed about last night.

Thanks, I forgot she was mad, that last scene didn’t make it clear enough. This part is so short that it may as not be here.

What I find interesting is that Ray isn’t mad at her, or anyone because he even says he wouldn’t believe them either. He is trying to prove Slappy is alive but he gets where they are coming from.

Huh, that’s interesting. It doesn’t lead to a lot, but it’s interesting how that is there.

After a pointless scene that isn’t worth recapping, Slappy finally reveals himself to Ray for real. He tells Ray he is his slave and all that junk and he smases a vase….right as Mom and Dad happen to come in.

And it still happens just in time for them to not see Slappy do it so they get mad at Ray. Okay, this is not only getting extremely silly but it’s repetitive. We just had this scene! This is supposed to amp up the tension but it just makes it boring!

Later, Ray and Brandon decide enough is enough and they pay Slappy a visit. Brandon even goes in first because he wants to braver. Nice. Heck, he fights Slappy head on when he threatens them with Hedge Clippers!

Whoa, this book finally got good!

Because it happens to be Garbage Day (Insert Clip Here), they try to toss Slappy into the truck that’s passing by. It actually works thanks to the siblings working together. Nice to see my favorite element from Living Dummy 1 and 2 make a return. Actually this reminds of Living Dummy 1 in terms of the pros and cons but more on that at the end.

We’re not done yet as he still have our New Year’s Party. Yeah, it’s back after tons of pleading. It must have been a ton to get everyone to forgive Ray but we only have so many pages.

The party is a decent hit and goes pretty well, but before Goosebumps does a Dance Party Ending…Slappy shows up to extend the plot. Oh yeah, he could climb out if he wanted to. Even I forgot, so I’ll forgive the two.

Slappy New Year!”

Roll credits! Also, you just revealed yourself to everyone now, but I suppose even he doesn’t care at this point.

One girls keeps screaming ‘IT’S ALIVE” like she’s Dr Frankenstein while Slappy does random things. After some fighting, they try to crush him with a tons of paint cans but shockingly, paint cans can’t stop a strong living dummy.

The kids all wisely run out when they get the chance, leaving Ray and Brandon to fight the dummy themsleves. Ray then gets the idea to rad the words again to put him to sleep. Didn’t work in 3 but it was never really debunked in Revenge, so go head.

They try it …and it works, Slappy randomly slumps to the floor. Huh, guess it officially works. I’m acting like these books have enough consistency for enough to be Canon, I’m so silly.

With that, things calm down. The defeat was weak but with how it’s written, the climax is fine. A bit later, Mom says she put the Dummy in the closet. Yes, they didn’t think to throw it away now that he’s dead.

That’s why what happens next is all their fault. Mom says she found the paper with the words and says they were hard to pronounce. Keyword being pronounce.

‘Did you read the words out loud?’

The end. I’m be mad but there’s an epilogue so let’s see the results. …We don’t see her answer and we just have Ray in his room, afraid of Slappy. Guess she did? Come in, make it clear.

Thankfully, Slappy doesn’t come,. Instead the usual happens. The horror glows and Ray is brought to Chiller House.

The game is about to begin!”

Dun dun dun! Now that’s an ending given what’s up next. It’s weird, the ending was the best part but I’ll get to that…now.

Final Thoughts:

This one was…eh. My opinion on this book changes every time I read it but for one, it’s…a mixed bag. I give it credit for trying to recapture certain elements I liked in the previous books. It has Stine trying to get us into the main characters head as all this crap goes down, and the bickering siblings teaming up in the end.

However, a lot drags it down. First, Ray is too unlikable. For most of it, he scares Brandon for really no reason. He doesn’t fully develop, he’s just a jerk until he isn’t. Even when he gets deserving comeuppance, he has to be a jerk about it.

He is better at the end but at random, he doesn’t quite grow. There was a chance to do a solid sibling story but it falls flat because they don’t develop, they just randomly stop fighting. Living Dummy 1 had the same problem, with this being worse since it doesn’t have any originality to back it up.

That’s another thing, the Slappy stuff is getting tired and while the character tries to do mix things up, the main element is dull because we’ve seen it all before. Plus,the events get very contrived and stupid towards the end.

On the bright side, it attempts to be more character driven like the earlier Slappy books, and I actually like the ending. As rushed as it is, the bonding is nice and Brandon becomes a good badass.

So it’s a mixed bag. I almost don’t like due to how botched the writing is, but I appreciate that they tried in certain spots, and I like the ending. Overall, it’s almost good, but also almost bad, making it an even mix of…unevenness.

Take that for what it’s worth. Overall, it is on the lower end on the Slappy scare, about on part with Bride in that. Yeah ,i need to review that someday, I own it now. Still, it’s better than Revenge by a long shot.

Grade: C+

That will finally do it for 2016 on the blog. See you in 2017. At the end of January, Arc 2 comes to a head in the epic finale. Why is Chiller bring them there? Will he be anywhere near as amazing as The Menace?

Tune in next month to find out. Same Goosebumps Time, same Goosebumps Channel.

See ya, and Slappy New Year!

Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Best and Worst Things I Reviewed in 2016

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, 2016 is coming to a close…

NORTY: Thank God!

Actually, this is better

ELI STONE: Fuck 2016!

Yeah, I don’t think I need to say this year was rough….but it was rough. Every year is said to be the worst year ever, but 2016 was especially bad. It’s easy to mention celebrity deaths but those sadly happen every year.

It’s only notable this year since so many unexpected ones happened, most very early in the year. It got pretty crazy towards the end. But even aside from that, bad things just kept happen. Many people say that their personal lives hit plenty problems this year, and that includes me.

I won’t go into that because I like to keep my personal life out of this blog, but yeah, I had my own problems. I think the nail in the coffin this year (for America, for me it was…a personal Thing I can’t mention) was the whole…Trump winning thing.

I like to keep politics out of this blog because just…no, but this isn’t a politics thing. It’s a we “We elected an asshole for president, what the fuck America”, thing. I still have no idea how that happened.

Even saying that might get me in hot water, knowing the internet so I’ll leave at that. It’s just weird how this year turned out, with all this bad stuff happening. Wait, this year saw the premiere of a cartoon all about Murphy’s Law, which is all about whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

Coincidence? ….100 percent yes!

On the bright side, there was good stuff this year. My favorite thing to come out of this year? What I call the LazyTown comeback. See, Stefan Karl, the actor who played Robbie Rotten on that show I haven’t mentioned on the blog in years, got cancer. …That’s not good, but what is good is the Go Fund Me campaign he started.

See a song from the show called We Are Number One had started getting popular around this time so when news of his cancer out, people started memeing like mad, both to share their love for the actor and character, and to spread aware-ness so people could donate.

They reached their goal fairly quickly. On top of that, things turned out so well that Stefan and the other people from the song performed it live on Facebook for everyone as a reward. No, really. Then the composer released the official instrumental for the song among other stuff like the isolated vocals and rejected lyrics.

Allow me to repeat that; A silly preschool show not inspired tons of memes, but those memes essentially helped someone with their cancer….Just…wow. Nevemrind, 2016 was the best year ever.

Hey,at least it was interesting, Especially for the blog. Hey, we’re on topic now!This year I stopped doing weekly scene by scene reviews, and instead switched to doing them when I feel like it.

This lead to more Misc Projects such as lists and more general reviews due to being able to get out to the theater more often. This year for the blog was…actually pretty good. I was able to stretch myself a bit more and doing more general reviews meant I got to be more critical.

I didn’t do as much as I wanted to do but it was nice not having to do a review every single week at least. My reviews in 2016 were much better than last year, and I got to do more notably bad movies.

Despite some problems, the blog actually did okay, all things considered. Although there was one issue…i barely reviewed any good movies for the scene by scene reviews. By my count, I did like ..3 or decent ones, and none of them were flat out great.

Yeah, good things just aren’t as interesting to talk about in this style. I hope to fix this next year, but with less slots to review things, I make no promises. At least I did some good stuff in the general reviews to make up for it.

Despite the lack of good movies, I’m still doing what I did in 2014 and looking back at the best and worst of what I reviewed this year. But this year, we’re not just doing movies. I’m allowing any THING I reviewed.

That’s right. TV Episodes I reviewed on their own, Episodes from Lists, Episodes from the Holiday Reviews, the Horrorland books, films from general reviews, if I technically reviewed it, it’s allowed in this look back.

The Worst list will focus on film while the best will focus on anything I want. This will be so much as I did a lot of stuff this year, some that I love, and some I want to kill with a rusty pitchfork.

So to close out this weird, we’re bidding farewell to some gems and crap.

This, is The Best and Worst Things I Reviewed in 2016

Since I want to end on a positive note, we’re starting with..

WORST:

I didn’t look at ton of bad things that were not movies so I’m just doing a list for the scene by scene reviewed movies. But for fun, let’s look a the worst stuff from the TV Reviews. By that I mean, the 3 notably bad ones

iLostMyMind: I went into big detail on this one but in short, it starts a couple that hsould not have happened, in one of the stupidest plots I’ve ever seen. It’s not funny either.

The Puddin’ Party: Just….why. How. This is a Drug addiction Allegory where his friends make him go back for their own personal gain. This could work in an Adult Cartoon as a Satire of this kind of story, but in a Disney Sitcom, it’s just horrible. I suppose it’s not as personally painful but the 2nd half and the writing makes this one of the new worst Disney Sitcom Episodes, yay.

Babe’s Fake Disease/Scared Tripless: This shows how far Dan Schinder can fall sometimes, with the former having some bad writing that has no focus on telling any kind of story, and has Babe just get away with doing something horrible, and the latter has someone trick their kid into thinking they are dying. Seriously. If I had seen Scared Tripless, I would have reviewed that in place or Tiny Pickles, it’s that bad.

I did some tamer Tv Reviews this year but those turds still managed to creep in. And I already got a new low for January or so but I’m getting ahead of myself. With that said onto the maion feature.

WORST FILMS I REVIEWED IN 2016:

(If you think I’m leaving anything out when I describe the products, then look at my original reviews of them where I went into detail)

  1. The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation

Yep, we’re starting with a sort of recent one. I wasn’t sure which one should go here but since I basically just did this one, it’s bad-ness is still fresh on my mind and it just pained me more than the Runners Up.

But yeah, 2016 was the year or being shocked by things. Plenty of movies and episodes ere so much worse than I ever figured, especially in terms of writing. It surprises me even more after watching the original film which was nowhere near this bad.

I’ve seen some bad kiddie Animalpslotion films in my lifetime but this is up there. The main problem is that the actual conflicts are lame or poorly done. For one, the dog falls in love but she’s a bitch. Then she turns around after he saves her at the end.

That’s it, there’s barely any development for her and the romance takes a backseat to the other crap in the middle. The dog feels like a supporting character in the DOG who saved Christmas Vacation!

The conflict with the Dad is stupid since the Dad is too much of an unfair Butt Monkey, and that other guy who name I forget is just a jerk and I’ve already forgotten all the details. I suppose that’s why this as the bottom.

It’s bad but you’re likely to forget it as they just put no effort into creating anything that sticks. This is a perfect example of a kids film that just doesn’t try. The story is paper thin, and basically turns into a rehash of the first movie, which itself became Home Alone but with a dog.

But as bad as it is, it’s not really offensive. It’s…somewhat harmless I suppose. The writing is messy and doesn’t do much right but…I don’t know why I would expect anything more. This film is almost too easy to make fun of.

So is everything on here but really, the others on here were either more offensive..or were not TV Movies. Yeah, it’s a TV Movie about a dog, would you expect anything more than bad? But still if the first movie managed to have some things I liked, than there’s no excuse for this one.

Will I return to this series? Well the only one I can do is the Easter one, and I will look into it as I wanna see if these movies get worse…if that’s possible. Oh, and there’s a THIRD Christmas one I may look into for next year. Yay.

As poorly written as this film, it’s status as a TV Dog movie makes me slightly less mad at it. While it is still pretty bad, it gets to be a the bottom of the list. This poor dog got off easy, this time.

The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation: Why are these 6 of these?!

4.That’s My Boy

Yeah, no surprises here. Just that it’s lower on the list then you might expect. I have my reasons and I may say less than even the previous section because the reason the film fails is pretty simple.

The film relies on lovely topics like Pedophilia for it’s humor, and Adam Sandler’s character is an unlikable douchebag who doesn’t have to face any consequences and wins in the end because fuck you that’s why.

I give it credit for almost having him learn to be a better father and in the first half he is seen as in the wrong, but it doesn’t make up for anything and the ending pisses all that away. This movie is bad for all the reasons you’ll think it’ll be bad.

I don’t even have anything to say. It has tasteless humor and an really unlikable lead. What’s more to say? For once, my review said it all. I suppose that’s why it’s not higher. It’s bad in the way I expected it to be, as offensive as it is.

The ones higher shocked me more with how bad they were, but I will admit this one is objectively worse than the next one on the list due to how offensive it kind of is. But in terms fo writing there are some worse ones, even on Sandler’s resume.

But this is up there for him. Seriously, what happened? The Do Over was at least better than Ridiculous Six but it was still not very good. Now you’re giving Netflix a bad name! Sigh, maybe you’ll make another decent movie someday.

As long as you avoid crap like this.

  1. Smosh The Movie

This is one of those films where objectively it’s not the worst, but I ust had a personal problem that made it irk me so much. (Sorry IHE but how the fuck is Fred is anyway better than this? This is at least a movie).

From what I’ve seen of Smosh, at had energy and for it’s time was at least different from the usual stuff, even their stuff is now typical. So why is the film so freaking boring?! To be fair, there is some of that Smosh humor with certain jokes and the plot element of them going inside YouTube.

But that stuff isn’t crazy it needed to be and there’s the other problems. I get that they needed this to be an actual movie and just simply just a long YouTube but in execution both the film elements and YouTube elements clash, making the tone confused.

The real story is incredibly boring, safe, and predictable. It’s full of cliches we’ve seen almost every modern comedy and it’s so clear that this was written by Hollywod writers, and not the duo themselves.

This doesn’t feel like a real passion project, some greedy guy saw how much Smosh makes and just put them in this dull movie. It feels like that, at least. Yes, on the surface it makes sense to give the two a typical dynamic, since it’s tried and true, but it’s also really cliché and I hate it.

One is to one dimension and sad to care about and the other is an annoying prick who wins as a result of how terrible he was being. I thought this would have unique problems like Fred, not incredibly typical problems ala 21 and Over.

I can at least say the makers of Fred kept their movies on TV where they belong, this was a theatrical release. Not a huge one but it was treated like a bigger deal than the other “Internet Movies”:.

So it has no excuse to be as bad as it is. On the postive said, the acting is fine and there area few chuckles. It also has it’s tolerable moments and okay ideas. Meanwhile, Fred had almost nothing going for it and was wall to wall annoying, with only maybe a decent actor or two, and John Cena going for it.

I keep going back to Fred but it was just that bad and makes me less mad at this film. I think I’ve ranted enough. Smosh the Movie is a soulles cash in that’s incredibly typical and very boring, with a script that offers little laughs and no logic whatsoever.

This is why the internet should just stay online, as I can say the Channel Awesome Movies are all better than this. And the fact that nobodies on almost no budget made more lovingly crafted features than real Hollywood writers is …sad.

  1. Norm of the North

Yeah, I’m not too shocking with my choices. This one I’ll leave short because really, what more is there to say? Tons of reviews have come out since mine that tore this thing apart even more. The logic is nonexistent, the characters make dumb decisions, the animation is weak, and the whole thing exists for the sake of a dumb down environmental message.

But you all know that. Other reviews spotlighted more problems like how the plot would actually be better if you removed THE MAIN CHARECTER due to what occurs thanks to him .Norm doesn’t plan to stop the bad guy from the inside until that little girls tells him to do so.

I’ll say that I’ve seen more actually offensive films but in terms of the writing, it’s up there with the worst animated films of all time. This film just has almost no effort put into it. There was no attempt to give kids an interesting story.

They just to spread their dumb message and don’t care if the story makes no sense. I’m still dumbfounded by how stupid everyone is in this thing. The fact that this made it into theaters when even the Disney Cheapquels had more of a theatrical flair is just …wow.

But the thing is, if it was direct to Netflix or someone, no one would care about it. Most people would swipe it away and it would take a while for it reach Alpha and Omega Levels of infamy. But just by putting in theaters, they got people to talk about it.

That’s more devious than anything Greene came up with.

I got nothing, except that my upcoming worst of 2016 list will only have live action movies because spoilers, no movie in 2016 was worse than this. Well, one came close but you’ll see come that list.

I agree with Mr Coat, if you’re making a Worst of 2016 and have not seen Norm, change that because it will look empty without it. As I said: This movie is bad

DISHONORABLE MENTION: Leo the Lion

Normally I’d list off my Runners up but I’ll just stick to one, as it came close to being number 5. As it all the problems of the other movies on here: Lazy writing, ripping off a better movie, weak animation, and poor pacing that makes the writing even worse.

It’s a pretty bad animated film but I’ve seen so many films like it that it doesn’t piss me off AS much as some others. Still, it is a bad movie with very weak writing and pacing. The only thing I can add is that recently, the guy who voiced the villain admitted he did this for a paycheck and then he said “Dear God, Netflix”.

I am not making this up. If only everyone involved with these movies was like.

And the worst film I reviewed in 2016 is…

  1. Bluberella

I make movies and focus on the movie’-Uwe Boll

I thought for awhile about what would be number one. For the longest time, I wasn’t going to rank these as I viewed the top 4 as equally terrible for various reasons, mostly due the odd nature of them. I knew this was objectively the worst but I thought it was too easy as this is an Uwe Boll film and he’s an ass who doesn’t care about film making, especially with this film.

…Then I realized that’s exactly WHY this is the worst film I reviewed this year.

On it’s own, it’s incompetent on every level. There is no direction with scenes going on forever, the characters have barely any personality to speak of, the jokes either go on too long or barely exist, and the “story” goes nowhere. It couldn’t even be competent enough to do tons of fat jokes.

But it gets worse when you look deeper. This is a “parody’ of Boll’s own Bloodrayne 3. Not the first one, the THIRD one. This was actually filmed back to it with that one, having the same sets and actors.

Most of the scenes have a Bloodrayne 3 equivalent. I say most because…remember the part where that guy randomly said they were playing music over a scene that was “really boring”? That’s because that scene was from Bloodrayne 3 and they didn’t film a “funny” version for this movie.

So they did that instead of just…cutting it out. Seriously, this film is just that lazy. The fact that it’s just filmed back to back with another movie using the same assets would make me less mad at it…but it actually makes it worse.

The film already wreaked of laziness but knowing more about it after watching Phelous’ review , but wow this is…yikes. There’s literally no reason for this to exist in the state it does.

Every single film I’ve reviewed made with some kind of vision in mind, no matter how misguided it was. There’s some exceptions but almost everything from Bratz, to Norm, to A Serbian Film was made with some kind of effort, in an attempt to create something people will enjoy.

Brartz and Norm at least tried to have a message, A Serbian Film was attempting important political satire. If those films were good, even with the people who made them, they would have added something or at least had a reason to exist. I know most of the people hwo make the films I trash are okay people, at least I assume since I’ve never met them.

From what I can tell from this film and how Uwe Boll acts in general, is not like that at all. When he made this, he quickly threw together some crap with assets from a movie he had already made, and clearly didn’t care at all about giving anyone something good.

Even as a simple comedy it fails, because even simple comedies need to…you know, make sense on some level. The movie feels like a big injoke but I doubt even those who saw Bloodrayne 3 get it.

This is marketed as it’s own movie. It’s not called “Bloodrayne 3 the funny version” or whatever, you wouldn’t know what it is unless you looked it up. A parody needs to work on it’s own and as I showed this does not.

It’s bad enough that it fails on every level, but it’s obvious that Uwe Boll doesn’t care about his audience or even the art of film making. His films tend to show this but I’d say only Postal seems insulting on this level. And even that has some stuff going for it, even that tried!

I’ve always know this about him based on how he acts (Just watch CuteFuzyWeasel’s Feeding the Trolls on him for more proof, or the just the mere fact he once fought his critics) but this just proved it.

Even at it’s best, there’s no effort to create anything worthwhile. If this was a short film or a sketch I wouldn’t mind it, since this is a one note joke, but we’re forced to pay money to sit through an hour plus of it, and the only thing I liked was the main actress who deserved so much better than this.

Not only is it the worst film I looked at this year on every technical level, but on a moral level. The person who made it and how they made it offends me as a fan of media. As I said, even films that offended me like A Serbian Film tried harder. Even creator of other Direct to Video films such as The Buddies film or any Video Brenqudo film try harder and the latter people directly rip off other products!

This is even lower scum than Amazing Bulk because that director can actually take criticism! This has more original assets than that one but hey, I respect that guy, more than Boll at any rate.

So due to barely being a movie and going against the art of media creation on a basic level, this is the worst film I’ve reviewed this year. And one of the couple that’s on my overall bottom 20 or so.

Fuck you, Uwe Boll.

…Okay, let’s brighten up a bit.

BEST:

This list will be different from the worst list. Instead of a Top 5, it’s a whole Top 10. Yeah for once I’m not going one step beyond. Just looked better this time. I wanted to be more positive, so we’re look at 10 awesome things I looked at.

Due to a lack of good movies, this will focus on the TV Episodes from lists and other Misc Things I looked at. Although a film from a General Review may pop up. I looked at a lot of good things this year in my various posts. It’s time to honor them. Oh, and this mostly be in no order. I tried my best to rank them but it still looked weird so keep that in mind:

Streets of Panic Park:

We’re already starting with a Misc Item. Now this is one of the more filler-y things on here, but I think at least one of the Horrorland books deserved it, so why not the big finale to Arc 1?

It does has flaws as a finale, but by Goosebumps Standards, this was pretty damn great. Okay, it’s mostly due to the Villain who is awesome. He’s actually a real threat, with a rather cruel plan, who has been confirmed to kill people and not care about it.

Everything him is just great. Even the silly parts with him that go too far work to create a big threat. His plan is quite clever with how it uses fear and creates solid stakes. This finale managed to create an insane and creepy situation that made me invested in the story.

That’s no small feat for Goosebumps. Yes, as a finale and on it’s own it has plenty of problems with focus and logic, but I can forgive them because the stuff that works shines through.

I was impressed by this book when I first read it and I still think it holds up fine. In general, the Modern Goosebumps books are middle of the road, with few being some of the best or worst of the series.

With it’s situations and villains, this is one of the best. That may not say a lot, but I still like it. Let’s hope Arc 2 ends just as well.

Zootopia/Kubo and the Two Strings

Told you general reviews were allowed. I’ll go into more detail on why I’m allowing this here, in my Bes/Worst of 2016 post, but for now, let’s go into why these were the best films I did general reviews of in 2016.

Civil War is close but I’d need to re-watch since my first impression was based on odd expectations.

Zootopia has really grown on me. I always liked it but I didn’t see as flat out great but after thinking about it, I realized how good it really is. I stand by my criticisms, the plot structure can make it predictable, and the ending is a tad rushed but everything else works.

Besides the usual spectacular animation from Disney, the main characters are great. Judy is instantly likable and she stays likable and interesting throughout the entire film. Nick is fun with his nature and his backstory makes him really interesting.

Speaking of interesting…yeah those themes as interesting. We’ve seen stories of prejudice before but this film tackles it more directly and directly equates to …well, any word that ends in ism of phobia. (Well, not the real phobias that actually mean being afraid the ones that mean you are an asshole).

It even all makes sense with the world they’ve created. The writers are smart to not make Judy above it all, as she her own prejudices, but are simply more under stable due to her experiences.

In these stories, it seems like only assholes fall prey to judging other people, but really, anyone is able to do it, even if by accident. It’s a very smart script with a lot of layers. Almost everything here can be equated to different things and still make sense.

I almost want to find it amazing due to all the good things it has, but those issues do take away from it, just a tad. Including the like 50th “Twist” Villain. To be fair, it adds to the themes fairly well but the character stops being interesting once it is fully revealed, and they barely do anything with it.

I want them to stop this twist villain thing. All of them serve the story but as characters they tend to fall short. But my problem is how often they do them now, ever Ralph they kept doing them until Moana, thank god.

Hopefully their next film, whatever is (Disney has real films slated for 2017 at the moment so idk what’s next) will avoid it as well. Or do it as well as Ralph did. Still, Zootopia is a thought provoking delight.

Kubo, meanwhile, also minus issues preventing it from being amazing but is still great. I have less to say as you’d need to watch it to fully see how good it is, as it’s much easier to spoil it due to have the film is done.

So I’ll uses qoutes from my review as I stand by them:

Minor elements of Kubo and the Two Strings may make it underwhelming to some, especially compared to Lakia’s other works, but for me, the film is incredibly engaging from start to finish.

The animation is outstanding, the characters are enjoyable, and the writing manages to stand out with certain details that make it very interesting. Add in a lot of heart and you have something I find greatly enjoyable.

Now, on an objective level I consider it to be very good, with how it flesh out certain things and all that. But man does the personal enjoyment add a lot. I had a blast with this one and really got into it.

And really, the weak elements aren’t too bad. They are just minor quibbles more than actual problems, because the heart and good elements stand out that much. The problems with Zootopia bothered me more, really.

So even if some elements may not be hugely complex, what they do with it is great in the end.

If you like classic epics like this, you’ll get a kick out of this, along with fans of Laki’s other works. If you need a more original concept, then perhaps you could maybe to rent it depending on how this all sounds to you.”

Kubo really was great. I’ll need to re-watch to really fully know how it compares to the other Lakia, but at the moment is at least their most ambitious in terms of scale. This film did so much right that I’m willingly to ignore it’s problems.

I do find it interesting how people, me included can let generic story or elements slide in some movies and be bothered by them in other. I’ve people who critize this movie for that, also give positive reviews for stuff like Secret Life of Pets.

What. To be fair, execution is important. To some, the execution if that was charming while to me it was average. To me, Kubo was executed very well and worked due to the little details and how emotional it was.

It’s the same reason I liked Sing a bit more than Pets, it pulled it’s story off better than it even with the same problems. It’s also the same reason someone such as Mr Coat find Epic amazing and others find it just okay.

While I may make jokes about people’s tastes, I get it. Yeah sorry about that, this year just got me thinking about that a lot as I gave a ton of B-‘s to films people might like more, or less in certain cases.

Either way, these animated films were great with one being a fun look at bigtory, and the other being another beatifically piece from Lakia. One made tons of deserved money, the other underperfomed While Pets broke records.

Okay, I’ll stop making fun of Pets. It was okay but that makes it worse. Although I do giggle at it making 69 mil. But year, that’s a shame.

I got to review a fair amount of slid films that I saw in theaters, and these films certaintly stood as pretty great.

The Giving G [Sanjay and Craig]

We begin the TV Episodes with…Sanjay and Craig. Yeah, read that post for details. Just ignore the intro, Nick just rendered it null and void, but that’s another story. Either way, their content is improving, with this show’s improvement showing that.

The show has had it’s great episodes, but few reached this level. I still can’t believe I got emotional this show, much less an inflatable Gorilla. But damn, they did it. As I said before, they actually proper build up the ending and make you care about what’s going on, before doing what they did.

Despite the silly concept, you see how the kids connect with the thing and it’s done in a charming way. They also throw in some humor so the whole episode isn’t too sappy, it knows it’s a silly idea.

I like the story element of them fighting with the Dicksons over it. It makes the ending work even better as it’s nice for them to settle their difference, and when you think about, them fighting is what killed it to begin with.

It adds a nice wrinkle to the overall story. As “Sappy” as the entire ending, it manages to really emotional, which is still shocking. I was certainly not expecting this ending and that’s another part of why it works.

So much, this show was an odd surprise sometimes and this episode really shows it, with the characters being spot on, the humor being on point, and the ending being an emotional gut punch I did not see coming.

Hopefully Nick’s business decisions will become more on par with their content in the near feature.

Dad’s Dungeon [Adventure Time]

Speaking of calling out Networks, thank you CN for not advertising the Season 7 finale at all. That aside, this list was daunting as going on, I wasn’t sure if I could find a number one that isn’t predictable.

After re-watching the series, I found a few eps I like more than obvious one. It was between Princess Monster Wife and this but we have some ties later on in this list so I just put my number one choice.

This episode represent all the best aspects of Adventure Time, as I went into in the list. It has a fun adventure with a cool dungeon, it has decent comedy, and a real heart to it with interesting dilemmas for the characters.

There are episodes with deeper conflicts and whatever but this has the fun adventure factor to make it the complete package. It’s a common theme that the number one on my list iis one that “represents/’ the show, rather than one that has the most impressive elements.

I stand by that since it fits, and this list shows that the most. Princess Monster Wife is more impress but this captures the show so damn well, in every way. This is one I can’t say too much more about.

While other episodes feature more impressive elements, with how it combines everything that makes the show great, it is still my favorite episode of Adventure Time, so far at least.

(Oh, and I would be sadder to see it go if it was ending soon and not after a NINTH Season!)

Bloo Superdude [Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends]

I really liked doing this Mini-List because I always felt people gave Foster’s too much crap just because of those bad episodes. It had problems, but I can’t hate it, with episodes like this. Like the above, you can argue for some being better, but I love this one for just how much FUN it is.

The concept of Bloo telling this fantasy story leads to some many creative ideas and a lot of laughs. Having a wrap around with him telling it adds even more jokes and even the ending makes me laugh with how the story was inspired by “real life” events. This is honestly Bloo at his best, being a bit mean-ish but it hurts no one, and he’s really funny. Him bonding with Mac is even kind of nice, and again the ending doesn’t do too far.

This episode is a delight from start to finish, and it proves this show could do plenty of good when it wasn’t mean spirited. As I said, the show had problems but it deserves more credit than it gets.

Bloo isn’t even as bad as everyone says. He was hit or miss but he wasn’t ALWAYS a problem. When he was, it was…bad but it’s not like he sucked in every episode, or it was always an issue. Just saying.

This doesn’t have as much “Artistic Merit” as some of the other stuff on here but it’s here due to how much I enjoy it, especially given how hit or miss the series could be sometime. I’m so glad I revisited the series or else I wouldn’t have been reminded of how good this episode is.

If you don’t have time for the TV Movies and want to see the better stuff from this show, this episode is a must see.

Amending Fences/Crusaders of the Lost Mark [My Little Pony Friendship is Magic]

Yep, a tie because they were very close on that list. Before I move on, I’ll talk about MLP Season 6. Yeah, sorry for now I’m still doing a list for it, I don’t have as much to say. At the moment, the episode I enjoyed the most was A Hearth’s Warming Tail but I do a few such as Gauntlet of Fire are objectivitly better.

Sorry I had to skip Season 6 on a list, hopefully I’ll do Season 7. Especially if it’s the final season. But back to Season 5’s gems. These episodes show the main reasons some episodes tend to be my favorites for this show.

Crusaders of the Lost Mark is the emotional one. It managed to be my favorite by hitting my emotional sweet spot. It had reflection, looking back at how everything the CMC did led up to this. It uses great music to tell it’s story which makes the emotion even stronger.

It hits every emotional note it needs to, and was the most fun I had watching an episode in Season 5. Even objectively, it does a very good job juggling all this and comes up with a great way for them for get their cutie marks which carried over into Season 6 with On Your Marks and The Fault in Our Cutie Marks. (Horrible title, good episode).

It does that problem of rushing Diamond Tiara’s development, but it at least works on an emotional level. It doesn’t bother me as much due to that, but yeah Gravity Falls later did this so much better.

Amending Fences tackles interesting subjects and is the objective best of the Season. It has a very interesting situation of Twilight meeting a friend she accidentally screwed over, and dealing with the consequences.

It does a great job of exploring that and fleshing both parties out. The result is an emotional ride where my only problem was that Moon Dancer looks too much like Twilight, which is such a nitpick.

Both episodes show the ways this show can be great, and they were a lot of fun and gave me great feels. I think they kind of represent the show in a way with the emotion, callbacks, and development.

So yeah, I really like both episodes. That’s another reason I didn’t want to do a Season 6 list for now, no ep quite reached the new heights of these and I think I shouldn’t do something if I truly don’t think it’s worth it, or I have nothing to say.

But still, S6 had gems, just none as great as these two episodes. Some people have various issues with the show (some rational, some …not so much) but as we get episodes like these, the show will always be a cut above the rest.

…Even it is now the only good show in Discover Family, now that they’ve canned Transformers Rescue Bots. Seriously, these guys are worse than CN and Nick Combined. (CH Greenblat shit aside)

(I talked more about the show then the episodes themselves but there’s not much to add, really)

Reflections [My Little Pony Comic]

Another misc item shows up! First off, yeah I won’t do MLP Comic recaps on the blog. I’ll just read them and if I find one interesting, I’ll discuss it on DA or here if I can find a way. I haven’t read any past where I got, but they did an Election Themed one. No comment.

2nd, Linkara did TWO MLP Comic Reviews this year, first of the main series issue with the preachy Captain Planet moral, which deserved it even if he didn’t ate it. Then he did the 2015 Holiday Issue for fun since he found it okay.

Oddly, he did read that Equestria Girls Holiday Comic and didn’t give him much to talk about for no. I have to disagree as it’s still my least favorite MLP Comic at the moment, there’s so much to complain about. But whatever.

With that out of the way, here’s my favorite MLP Comic so far, at least in terms of the bigger story. If this were an episode, it’d be close to my top 10. It’s that good. I get some of the problems people bring up but I don’t care because the rest is so good.

This shows what the comics can do. They let you tell this grand stories you just can’t do in the series. The show wouldn’t let Celestia fall in love with a Mirror World Sombra which let to friction between her and Star Swirl the Bearded.

Even saying that is saying a bit too much. I had to go into spoilers in the post because I had too much to say, so I won’t spoil anything here. But the story gets Celestia the best development she’s ever had, and tells a great story with one hell of an ending.

Everything works to create a good whole with an interesting message about how our flaws make us who we are and tons of emotional moments, including the closest a comic will ever get to making me cry.

Am I overselling it? Yes. Yes I am. But I don’t care because it had a big impact on me, which is amazing for a medium I know little about. The best moments in this hit me even more than of the best episodes of the series, which is very impressive.

It’s problems are so small that I can ignore them to appreciate the hard work that went into this insane story. So yeah, I may be over selling it, but if a comic hits me the way this Arc did, it must be doing something right.

Blendin’s Game [Gravity Falls]

While it was sad to see Gravitas Falls go, it went out on a high note and left a legacy of great episodes, with this one being my new favorite. This is another one I explained pretty well so this will be quick.

It’s hilarious, it has good continuty, some neat stuff, and a pretty powerful scene where Soos decides it’s not worth it to deal with a father whose kind of an ass who never tries to visit him. I’ve now seen that this kind of common but it’s still great to see, and it’s really well done. I still love that scene when he pretty much says “Screw him”, as Dipper and Mabel did more for Soos than his Dad ever did.

It’s a powerful moment without being sappy, as they did the sappier stuff earlier on. This episode just has everything you could want. And as I said, the only issue of it focusing on Soos more than Belndin isn’t an issue since there’s still a lot of him and he gets a happy ending, thus fixing the main issue with his debut episode.

I’m really not sure what I can add about this one. It’s a wonderful episode that has everything that made the show great and then some. Giving even more spotlight to Soos isn’t bad either. It’s pretty great.

Keystone Motel [Steven Universe]

Like with MLP, I’ll go over the previous season that went by very quickly. I didnt’ do a list because my favorites are everyone’s favorites and I have nothing to add. Mr Greg, Earthlings, a third thing. The only wild card would be The New Lars but that’s it. I don’t have anything to the other favorites so it could be a boring list.

But yeah, the ones I mentioned stuck out the most to be, especially with the stuff they bring it up and Bismuth and then Earthlings, and I love what they did with Jasper in it. But that’s all I can quite say. But hey, I said something at least.

Can’t say too much extra about this episode though. It perfect shows what Garnet is going through in this situation, and Ruby and Sapphire are amazing. I especially love hwo they show anger here, it’s not always just yelling.

This is another one that has all the great aspects of the show, by perfectly showing emotion and being a good self contained story while being part of an arc. SU handles arc stuff mostly well. Almost every episode, either to the story or to character development.

Sorry, but no matter how much people bitch, Steven Universe has real filler exept for Say Uncle, the episode they flat out say is not Canon. The episodes people call “Filler” contribute solid development to side characters or attempt to tell a nice story in some way.

I’m starting to hate this belief that if doesn’t have anything big, it’s filler even though it’s not that how that works. By that logic, Log Date, a very beloved episode, is filler and it’s one of my favorites for this very reason, it says more than any big episode ever could.

Sorry, I just had to say that.

Anyway, shitty internet prank aside, Keystone Motel is a wonderful episode that shows why this show is great, even after over 100 11 minute episodes. While we’re on great CN shows, yes it’s sad Regular Show is ending but it had 8 seasons, that’s a great run if you ask me.

…So yeah, it’s good.

The Flower/The Good Deed [Wander Over Yonder]

Tie time again! It is interesting how I did a full on Top 11 for this show when normally I would do a Spongey’s Favorite Episodes, but I liked Season 2 that much. Plus, I wanted to spread more word about it, as it went under the radar during it’s run.

Of course, spreading awareness didn’t quite work out for Penn Zero, which bothers me. But whatever, let’s stop bitching about networks and praise the great work they air sometimes. These episodes have everything that makes both seasons of the show so good.

The Good Deed has a situation that leads to a lot of good gags and is able to test Wander’s character, giving him more development and not just making him happy all the time. This was the first time they started showing the downside to his nature but it says that no matter what. Optimism will win out.

The Flower shows how Season 2 pushed these things further and has the same themes but puts a deeper spin on them. I love that cartoon shave started teaching kids that it’s okay to show your weaker emotions sometimes. First LPS, than Inside Out, now this.

And this episode shows that very well. That scene at the end gets me every single time. Yet another piece of media that got to me when I did not expect it to. I had hard time deciding which one would top this list, and they are so close they may as well both be number one.

The Good Deed only topped it due to being more accessible and feeling slightly more natural as a story. But both are amazing and stand as further proof how far we’ve come in the 2010’s.

While I liked the show from the start, I was not expecting it to begin as a good as it did and while I could have seen The Good Deed coming, no one was expecting an episode as good The Flower.

These episodes where just great and showed how strong this show could be. By the way, the fact that I happened to marathon two Craig McCracken shows to do list their best episodes was actually a coincidence, at least mostly.

I don’t have plans to do PPG to found out the trilogy, but you never know. Either way, he’s got mad talent as all 3 shows prove.

So yeah, these episodes were great and was another pleasant surprise from Disney.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Dawn of the Peck [Bob’s Burgers]/Dan Vs Family Thanksgiving: Yep, these two were my favorites from that list so I put here. One is really funny with it’s creative premise, and the other is an interesting situation for a rather complex character. Both are great Thanksgiving Episodes, as odd as they are.

Salty [Pound Puppies]: This show was mostly just good but this episode stood with it’s likable character and engaging situation. I go into more detail on good this one and how it reprsents the reasons I like the show, so go there. But here, I’ll just say, great job Merriweather Williams.

Steamed [Littlest Pet Shop]: This is the “least” good thing on the entire list but I still really like it due to how it actually developed the Biskits in a natural way and actually has it stick. So many shows, even this one, fail to develop characters like this so I’m glad they pulled it off. It’s sad to see the show go but as least they gave us episodes like this.

Chuckle City [Penn Zero]: Another one that represents it’s show well with great use of the best character, good humor, and a well written message. Also, WHERE’S SEASON 2?!

Morning Rush [Kick Buttowski]: Yeah all of the last few here simply represent the show well, in this case being a high octane take on a situation we’re familiar with. Very enjoyable.

Evil Spirit Week [Randy Cunningham]: And finally we have another of my favorites from a show I like, with Howard being very good in a fun story.

And the last of my favorite things I reviewed in 2016 that we’ll be discussing is…

The Disaster/The Rerun [Gumball]

I wanted to end this with something that is my favorite episode of a show, so here. Yes, I still call this my favorite episode. I keep saying this but man does Gumball surprise me. It from good to great almost overnight.

Seasons 3 and 4 brought the show to such cray new heights. I thought I had the show totally pinned, even after The Routine. …Then this 2 parter happened. Normally the big epic episode wouldn’t be my favorite but still somehow has everything that I love about the show.

I went deep into it but I just have to repeat myself. It’s creative with how the villain ruins Gumball life with a Click remote, and it uses that concept for tons of hilarious creative jokes but milks a lot of drama out of it.

This episode gets really intense and also tells a great story with real emotion in the end. As a cheery on top, it pulls from previous episodes, and has an element that pretty much fixes my problem with my least favorite episode.

That last one is more of a bonus since they only just happen to have one thematic similarity, but still.

I remember my reaction when I first this episode and I was quite blown away. At the time, I did consider that it could be my new favorite, but of course I knew I had to wait and see. Thankfully,it held up and it’s now my favorite.

It is the reason I did that list. I considered doing it before but watching made me want to do it JUST to cover this episode. And spoilers, Season 5 already has an episode that makes me want to do a list for it when it ends.

I may be overhyping these episodes again…but I don’t care, I loved it that much. There’s so much to love on every level. It’s dramatic but they never forget it’s a comedy show, and both elements balance out perfectly in the end. The way the ending plays is strong and hits a nice balance I did not quite expect. Needless to say, it was a fantastic surprise.

And that’s why I put it last. 2016 was all about surprises, good and bad. I’ll go more into this when I look at the best and worst films next week or so but I noticed that a lot of the best stuff in this year surprised us.

TV included. The Flower and Steamed were two examples from this alone which were great on a level I did not see coming, especially from those shows. This applied to whole shows with The Loud House, and certain episodes like this.

That’s why I put it last. I’m not sure if it’s the best thing I reviewed this year. Even more so than The Flower it represents surprise. I was surprised how good Gumball was, and how amazing this episode was.

It surprised me how it could combine every great aspect of this show into fantastic package. So many of my favorite thing in 2016 were things I didn’t expect to happen or be as good as they were, and this episode proved it.

2016 was a surprise for better or worse, but if it gave me this fantastic episode, it can’t be all bad. And that’s why I put it last on my list of best things I reviewed in 2016.

And those were the best and worst things I reviewed in 2016. Sorry this post is a rough, I couldn’t start until after I posted the Elf review so I could be done with what I planned to review in the year.

But I hope you enjoyed this. I hope I can do this next year if I review enough stuff, this is always fun. I enjoyed doing the best more since it gets boring bashing Uwe Boll so much.

2016 was hard but it had good stuff and I think the blog did well, and my personal life had it’s ups like being the last person to get a Blu Ray player. Even if I only did it because so many DVD’s leave out the Commentaries.

I do want to say more in that next post but I do want to say something before the year actually ends. I can bitch as much as the next guy about how 2016 sucked if only because Trump Won (I will NEVER get over that), but I try to be positive.

Really, certain persona life things is the only reason I’m on that bandwagon. If we focus on the positive, we can find plenty of great things from this year, even taking aside media. For every bit of stupid fucking drama over fucking movies, there’s that ALS Ice Bucket thing actually working, or that entire list that’s been floating around on Twitter and Tumblr.

And again, a meme helped with someone’s Cancer!

That’s why I put the best list 2nd even though I had more to say about the worst stuff. I try to focus on the good things no matter what I sat through some crap this year but everything I mentioned above made it all worth it.

So yeah, Stay Positive. We’re all gonna need to do it for the next 4 years. I agree with Eli, let’s #MakeAmericaLaughAgain. As I said, we all need it.

That’s more or less all I have. 2017 might be rocky for the blog as I have tons of ideas but I’m not sure which ones I’ll go through with and I need to fill this place with even less scene by scene reviews than this year.

But there’s plenty to look forward to. A few more lists of best episodes, general reviews, a special celebration of 20 years of DCOM’s (Oh come on, you know I had to) and so much more.

No matter what I do, I’ll try to do as much as I can. January will be mostly a chill month with not too much, (No General reviews planned, gotta save money for the moment) but the rest of the year will be as packed as ever.

I hope you all have a great new year and cheer up, no matter how your year was. Come on, 2016 had a cartoon about being optimistic despite having the crappiest luck possible. Let’s be more like Milo this year.

See ya.

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Elf

elf_movie

Nothing says Christmas like Will Ferell in tights.

Hello, Spongey here.

Merry Christmas, even though it’s only the 19th as I’m writing this intro! Actually, this is posted on Christmas Eve but close enough. Either way, this is our official Christmas Review for 2016. I haven’t had the best luck with these…

2012: Batman Returns. Enjoyable but objectively a mess on every level.

2013: A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas. The only fitting one so far, being a pretty solid film, despite being a Stoner Comedy

2014; Saving Santa. One of the most forgettable things ever. It wasn’t even interesting enough

2015; Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. Just…no.

Yeah, we’ve only had one positive official Christmas Review, and it was for an unconventional movie. This year, I wanted to shake things up. 2016 has been such a bad year for all of us, and that includes the blog.

Not the blog itself, but the movies. The best thing I’ve looked at this year so far was Goosebumps which was still not amazing or anything. It’s just enjoyable to me. The reason I don’t review many Good movies anymore is the new way I review things.

I now only do big reviews if they give me materiel and good movies don’t really fall under that. They’re good, so there’s not much to make fun of and I’ve done most of the good films I can talk about.

But in the spirit of Christmas,I wanted to do something good. I don’t even care if it gives me a lot to talk about, it just needed to be good and upbeat. I think I’ve a good one. This is a 2003 Christmas Film which was one of the earlier starring roles for Will Ferrel.

Shockingly, I’ve never reviewed one of his starring films yet. The only time he’s been on here Is Tim and Eric, ugh. He’s one of those comic actors who can be funny but just needs someone to reel him in.

I can never say he’s half assing anything like Adam Sandler does, but he can go too far. The thing is, he doesn’t have as many infamous movies as others, and his biggest flops, Bewitched and Land of the Lost, has been covered plenty of times already.

Maybe I’ll do Step Brothers or Semi Pro some say but for now, let’s look at an example of him being good, at least from what I remember. As I said, this was an earlier starring role for him and it became a big hit.

It really launched his career, and has now become a Christmas Staple,, being run endlessly on ABC Fa-oh I mean, Freeform. Still think that’s a dumb name. Anyway, it spawned a musical and then an animated version, neither of which I have seen or know anything about.

I have seen this before, because I saw a kid in the early to mid 2000’s. It was pretty much required viewing at the time. I saw a few times at the time but haven’t seen it much in a while. From what I recall, it was a charming enough film.

And since I recall it being decent, it was a perfect fit for a good holiday movie .Here’s hoping it’s still good. Our writer went on to help pen such gems as The Haunted Mansion, Zoom, and Strange Magic.

Yeah. The director had better luck as he went on to…help start the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Iron Man. I’m sure you’ve never heard of it. And even recently had that Jungle Book remake, which was the best thing ever even though it was just okay.

He has variety, I’ll give him that.

With all that said, let’s hope this gives me the Christmas cheer I need. Will it hold up and be a nice way to shake up for that dog movie? Let’s find out!

This, is Elf

The movie opens with an elf about to tell us a story. But first he gives us exposition on how elves in this world work. It works in context to give us an idea on the ideal elf is to contrast with what we see in a bit.

Even all the elves are just grown men in silly costumes. They tried gnomes and trolls but got drunk and poop jokes instead of hard workers. This movie racist against Gnomes and Trolls, who knew?

Our real story begins 30 years ago, after the title sequence. Santa visits an orphanage with a baby who is feeling Rugrats-y and sneaks into his sack. This has to be the worst Santa ever to not notice this kind of thing but we wouldn’t have a movie so okay.

When he gets back home, he finds out about his stowaway. So he could either just put the baby back before anyone finds out, or he adopted the bay thus taking him away from the orphanage, who must going crazy trying to find their missing baby.

…This movie is more messed up than I remember.

Nonetheless, Buddy as they name him grows up and being a human is slower and much bigger than the other elves. He’s nothing like the others. Instead of being an adult in a silly costume like the others, he’s Will Ferrel in a silly costume!

That’s much scarier.

The story telling elf who raised him still treats him like his own son, and even shows him how Santa’s Sleigh works. We are then told that more people stop believing in Santa Claus which is causing an Energy Crisis.

Wait, do they only survive off of people believing in Santa? That raises a lot of questions but I don’t care for now.

Buddy obviously doesn’t fit due to being human, but he actually isn’t really mocked for it. People respect him fine, he’s just slow due to not having the same talents as the others. That’s interesting because it would have been easy for him to be bullied or mocked.

Instead, he feels like the outcast he is without it being too mean. Although he is sent to work where the…Special elves work. No comment. Yeah, we might be outright mocked and they do feel sorry for him but they do realize how limited he is. Buddy doesn’t know he’s a human…until he overhears some elves saying it, because of course that’s how finds it out.

Buddy goes to that unnamed elf who raised, and he explains everything. He leaves out the Orphanage stuff and tells him about his real father. I guess his Santa powers made him find out about that but it’s still odd in context.

Real Dad fell in love with a woman but the woman put Buddy up for adoption, then she died. Yeesh, that’s a bit harsh. Real Dad doesn’t know Buddy exists, which doesn’t make a whole of sense, unless she left him before having Buddy, which itself is a bit messed up.

Buddy’s Dad lives in New York (because of course he does), so he decides to go visit him. And Santa is very much okay with it, without any debate needed. He gives some advice at least.

If you see a sign that says Peep Show, that doesn’t mean they’re letting look at presents before Christmas”

…Oh my.

Because we need a bit more conflict, Santa reveals that Dad is on the Naughty List. Also, Santa is played by Ed Asner who plays Santa a lot so seeing him is no shock.

I joke but this set up is a good one for a movie like this, an elf who is actually a human and his Dad is Naughty. It has plenty of chances for jokes and nice moments. Let’s see exactly how it goes down.

With that, Buddy leaves with no supplies or anything of the sort. …Sure this is a good idea? With no transportation of any kind, Buddy makes it to New York to partake in an amusing montage. We get te usual fish out of water joke, but there’s certainly fun to be had with them here.

Buddy heads to his Dad’s Office as of course he’s a grumpy mean business person. And of course it’s a bit awkward when this man child in an Elf outfit comes in, claiming to be Mr. Hobbs’ Son.

Naturally, he’s kicked out pretty quickly. You gotta love how well Buddy takes it, he clearly doesn’t get what’s going on. Then he just kind of wanders off into some store because the plot says so.

Buddy is mistaken for a worker at the store’s whole North Pole set up, because that had to happen at some point in this, Also ,at one point Buddy says “Oh my God”. Him knowing about God raises so many questions..

Buddy meets one employee there, played by Zoey Deschannel because even a man child needs a love interest. I’ve seen far worse as far as forced love interests go, plus their dynamic is amusing.

Yeah, she’s not too enthused about things but she’s fairly accepting of Buddy’s cheerful-ness at least. Later, Buddy somehow stays after closing without being caught and spruces up the place That morning he hears Jovie, the female worker singing in the shower, which I guess some places like this have.

Well, this is a good a moment as any to bust out a “She’s Nice” Gag:

740full-zooey-deschanel

No idea how long it’s been since I did it, but this is her first appearance on her oddly enough, so there you go.

Buddy seemingly creeping on her on the shower, even if he’s just listening to her voice, is …well creepy though. Especially since we just kind of move on after that. After a couple gags that go nowhere, they do talk about that bit but again, just move on like it was nothing.

The store’s Santa shows up and the gag you’re expecting happens, with Buddy noticing it’s not the real Santa. So of course he tears off his beard and causes wacky hi jinks. I joke but most of the mock works in context and in cases lime this, is crazy enough to be amusing.

This scuffle gets Buddy arrested and he uses his one phone call to get Walter to bust him out. This is a decent enough to make them meet again and discuss the situation.

Walter decides to figure out if Buddy is really is son with a Doctor’s Test Thing. Some of Buddy’s shtick is slightly annoying here with him shouting random stuff for reasons. And of course Walter finds out that he is indeed the father.

So thus James Caan must live with his son who thinks he’s an elf. Sounds more like a Sitcom than a real movie, yet that movie is still better than most Sitcoms I’ve seen lately.

We get an awkward dinner table scene with features Buddy drinking a big bottle of Coke in one swig because…product placement. They naturally think he’s crazy but since he’s his son, Walter can’t get rid of him.

You can imagine how most of the film will go from what has been established. But of course that’s not bad as long as it’s …you know good, and so far I think it is. The clashing personalities make for some funny scenes at least.

He tells him to loose the tights “as soon as impossible”. What happens next is purely his fault: Buddy pulling down his pants just as Walter’s Wife comes in.

…I….j…moving on!

Buddy visits Walter’s other Son right after school and he’s not having any of it with Buddy. Then some random bullies start up a snowball for no reason, other than for Buddy to prove his worth by being able to fight back. It serves it’s purpose in that regard, and is mildly funny.

Afterwards, they talk and we find out Walter is a workaholc, to the shock of no one. I think the cliché kind of works in the context of him being naughty, so I’ll let it slide just this once. Barely. They wind up at the store (spoilers he got fired ontop of landing in jail) where Buddy attempts to ask her out.

I feel really warm when I am around you, and my tongue swells up-”

Okay, I don’t wanna hear the end of that. We just cut to the next scene so I just assume she said maybe. Walter takes Buddy to work the next day on the wife’s request since we haven’t had too many workplace jokes yet.

It doesn’t too long for Walter to send him to the mail room to get off his back. I should mention that while Will Ferell is the scene stealer, James Caan is good too because of just how snarky and fed he is the whole time. Without going too far into Kevin Spacey Cat Territory.

Buddy makes a new friend who is pretty much a stoner and the next scene with them has them talking like stoners. Now that’s funny. Then as this movie is want to do it cuts to the next scene without much of an end to the previous one.

Now Buddy is on a date with Jovie, which ends up being rather cute. Forced or not, the romance here is nice enough in execution. While that’s going on, Walter has this famous author come over because his business is in books, I guess. He’s treated like his big scary hot shot so of course he’s a little person, played by Peter Dinklage.

It being him kind of takes away from the joke, as he is you know, usually awesome..

And of course, Buddy comes in so he can mistake Miles for an Elf.His reaction is pretty funny as he goes from just laughing it off, to actually being offended. It gets to the point where he attacks Buddy.

He’s playing someone who exists just he can be a little person and be offended….and it’s still more dignified than The Boss.

Miles of course, leaves, meaning Walter has lot an important client. Naturally, this causes him to snap at Buddy and kick him out. Eh, I think a less jokey catalyst would have worked but the aftermath is good enough.

Buddy takes a hint and leaves, understanding that he doesn’t belong here. Slightly rushed but better than if he threw some kind of fit over. The other son sees Buddy’s note and goes to tell Walter and calls him out for being a jerk.

He’s in the middle of a meeting, so of course this is the moment where he decides family is more important and yada. The execution is fine, but it’s still fairly cliché. While walking around outside, Buddy happens to see Santa in the sky which at least makes sense and isn’t too contrived.

Santa crashes because the Christmas spirit that gives him power is mostly gone. See, told you that was a bad idea for a power source. It’ll make for a cute climax at least. Walter and other son show up to apologize. Well, that was quick.

On a side note, we see the news covering the stuff going on like the sleigh crashing, an there’s a running gag of two people basically fighting over who is better and who gets to really report of this. It’s so weird but actually pretty funny.

Buddy helps get a part for the sleigh and Walter meets Santa. He just atomically believes it’s him since …well, in this situation, you just don’t ask questions. Oh, and Micheal gets a nice moment with Santa.

They have to get people to believe in Santa so his sleigh can fly, so Micheal brings out the Nice list…er book in this case to show to the news people. Since Micheal lists off stuff that most people wouldn’t know, they can’t really not believe him even if they’re not fully sold.

Jovie shows up and starts singing to raise people’s spirits, thus completing her arc. They sort of telegraphed that with the whole being shy about singing thing (Didn’t I just get this in Sing?) but whatever, it’s a nice scene.

This is thankfully enough to get Santa off the ground and into the air. In it’s full context, this is a nice climax, especially on a thematic level, with every getting into the spirit. I’m glad the closest to a villain were these ranger dudes that don’t do too much.

Papa Elf, pipes in to wrap thing’s up. Okay, the climax might have worked but it looks the wrap up will be rushed. Walter starts his own publishing company and makes a book called…Elf.

Roll credits!

Buddy has a kid with Jovie because the thought of him doing the deed isn’t horrifying at all. So we end with them visiting Papa Elf at the North Pole, as a quick gag closes us out. Well, that was a surprisingly rushed ending for a movie I like.

Ah well, at least it was nice enough.

Final Thoughts:

I will freely admit that this movie is very much flawed and comes close to being a bit weaker….but I still like it. Perhaps it doesn’t hold up amazing well, but I do enjoy it. Let’s get the problems out of the way.

The writing does have it’s issues. There’s some cliches that make this more generic than it needs to be, there’s some contrived elements, and the plot can be a bit too leisurely at times, wasting time on antics, forcing other parts to be rushed.

These things aren’t a deal breaker on their own, but together it can make the film seem slightly poor in terms of writing. Despite that it works and that’s due a few things but mostly 2: Will Ferell and the heart.

As I said before, he never seems to be half assing anything and this shows that. Regardless if you enjoy him here, you gotta admit that he’s really giving it his all. He really throws himself into the role and really sells the characters childlike innocence.

The heart comes from him too with his very attitude. As cheesy some of this is, it’s very heartfelt and scenes that I would usually hate, work decently well. The humor also helps, as there’s plenty of amusing jokes, mostly from Buddy.

Character-wise, every one is mostly just there but Buddy and Walter alone bring that element up a bit. Plus, the actors help make them more enjoyable. This movie is more focused on being sweet and doing silly stuff with Buddy, then being ambitious, but that’s fine.

It has the kind of writing problems that usually result in something I dislike, but the good things make up for it. It gets the Christmas Spirit down part, the acting is pretty good, and has plenty of charm and heart.

This is one of those movies most people have seen by now, but if you haven’t, take what I say into account and give it a shot. Newcomers may not love it, but in the right mindset, you may like it.

While it doesn’t hold as well as some other “Classics’ ,i still enjoyed it, as it was fun to revisit. It’s not quite my favorite Will Ferell starring movie (Megmand is if it counts)…and if Lego Movie counts, it’s that one more so) but hey, I enjoy this fine.

Weird that Harold and Kumar 3 is still my favorite Christmas Movie I have reviewed, but there you go…

Grade: B

It’s always good to review something I enjoy, even if it was flawed. This made for a fine Christmas Review.

With that said, Merry Christmas! Hope you have a good holiday season, especially after this year. This is my final scene by scene review of 2016. I’ll be back in 2017 with a Friday the 13th movie, don’t worry I found out early this time.

In the meantime, the main post I want to do before the end of the month (besides the Slappy New Year Review) is The Best and Worst Things I Reviewed in 2016. Oh boy, that should be fun. Look forward to that.

With that, we’re done here. Again, Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, Happy Shut the Fuck Up and all that.

See ya.

Posted in Christmas Reviews, Play by Play Reviews, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Look at Live Action Nick Christmas Episodes

INDEX:

Hey Dude-Ride She Said

The Weinerville Chanukah Special

Secret World of Alex Mack-The Gift

Adventures of Pete and Pete-Oh Christmas Pete

Kenan and Kel-Merry Christmas Kenan

Journey of Allen Strange-Starwalk

Mystery Files of Shelby Woo-Mystery of the Mice that Roared

100 Deeds of Eddie McDowd-A Very Canine Christmas

Romeo-A Little So’em So’em For Christmas

iCarly-iChristmas

The Naked Brothers Band Christmas Special

True Jackson VP-Telling Amanda

The Troop-The Good, The Bad, and the Ickie Doll

Big Time Rush-Big Time Christmas

Victorious-A Christmas Tori

Bucket and Skinner’s epic Adventures-Epic Christmjas

How To Rock-How to Rock Christmas-

Nicky Ricky, Dicky and Dawn-Santa’s Little Harpers

The Thundermans-Winter Thunderland

Henry Danger-Christmas Danger

Game Shakers-A Reggae Potatoh Christmas

Hello,Spongey here.

Well, it is Christmas Eve Eve as I post this, that means it’s time for our now annual TV Holiday reviews. Back in October, I covered the Live Action Nick Halloween Episodes, as I had covered the Disney ones.

Now it’s Christmas’ turn to be Nick-ified. I don’t have much to say before we dive in. The Halloween Episodes gave me a good idea to expect from Live Action Nick, both old and new. Remember, I’m not as familiar with this stuff as others might, even recent stuff.

I got some surprises…both good and bad. Hopefully this will be better, since it’s hard to screw up Christmas. Although sometimes the later shows will find a way. But let’s be optimistic.

This should certainly be a nice trip through Nick land but I think it’s time to shut up and dive in. There really isn’t that much else to say. That and I just want to get the episodes. Let’s see what holiday cheer the live action side of Nick can give us. Hopefully there’s more gems than coal.

This, is A Look at Live Action Nick Christmas Episodes

Ride, She Said [Hey Dude]

Season 4, Episode 2

Writer: Clifford Flagin

Airdate: September 14, 1990

Christmas Cliches: Christmas In July,

Brad learns the true meaning of Christmas from her friendship with a disabled boy.

This episode was alright. I was wondering how this show would do Christmas and I guess I forgot they could pull what Ed, Edd, N Eddy did. I was expecting them to just cheat a bit but what they did was smart enough.

I was also not expecting the…subject matter of the actual plot. Oh boy, this is going to be awkward. To be fair, they treat the subject with as much dignity as they really could, being a Nick show.

You can kind of relate to Brad here as she (Yes, she because Tomboy) first finds it all kind of awkward and accidentally treats him differently while trying not to do just that, while everyone else just acts normal.

There are some issues here and there with how they handle it, but not for lack of trying at least. And in the end it results in some nice moment, even if there’s some awkward-ness early on.

My main issue with this one is that it’s a tad unfocused. It’s about both the disabled kid and the Christmas in July stuff, and they don’t really connect until the end, and even then it’s only tangentially.

There’s stretches where I forget this is a Christmas Episode and there’s stretches where I forget the kid exists. They connect in the end but only then, they could have done a better job at that.

The Christmas stuff is done well enough. They have some fun with it and it’s nice to see everyone together and being happy. It captures that Christmas in July spirit quite nicely. Although I imagine if every episode is full of the characters acting like Comedians to each other, I may sick of this show rather quickly.

I just wish the plot lines connected more and the sort of main story was slightly better. Also, the ending is pretty abrupt and at a certain point the disabled boy (Wish I caught his name…) just kind of vanishes and they only talk about that side of the story when they get connected at the end.

I’m just saying, the writing gets a bit sloppy. But overall, this was kind of nice, even if it wasn’t exactly great. I feel like if you can forgive some sloppy-ness and are not quite easily offended, you will get a lot out of this.

But if you pay more attention to logic and writing, you might still like it, but it’s not a must see. It is better than I thought it would be based on the summary, but it did have it’s problems. It’s in the very least well meaning.

So yeah, an okay start, I think.

The Weinerville Chanukah Special

Season/Episode N/A

Writers: Marc Weiner, Sandy Weiner, Scott Fellows

Airdate: December 14, 1995

Christmas Cliches: None

I had to miss out on the Halloween episode, but I was able to find this so let’s see what this show even is.

The Weinerville inhabitants are celebrating Hanukkah at the Weinerville Ski Lodge as Marc is on his way there with his family and friends. Two potato pancake-looking Sectos named Nivek and Sinrek are pursued by the evil alien king Antidorkus of the Kerg Empire and crash-land at the Weinerville Ski Lodge where they receive the help of Boney, Socko, and Fluffy the Dog.

That summary is completely accurate. Yeah, this episode was uh….something. I still have no idea what this show even in. I mean, this did have a plot with a beginning, middle, and end. Heck, there’s even plot points that they bring up and they get proper payoffs!

Yet, it flows like utter insanity. This is kind of a Puppet Show but Humans exist, but here we only see Marc briefly since the plot keeps him away and these kids I don’t know pop up to party at the end.

The Puppets are a mix of properly done puppets and just slightly fancy sock puppet, and one has a human head and is a woman but is clearly a man. It’s…creative, at least.

This thing starts with a guy just telling the story of Hanukkah, but then the main puppet appears and butts in with a different story. When he said “It all started in Outer Space” I knew I was in for a trip.

The story itself is kind of a mess, but still has a structure. There’s no explanation for anything going on and no questions aliens popping up. Also, the connections to Hanukkah are forced in once the aliens appear. The bad guys are kind of like the bad king in the story of Hanukkah, I guess.

Now, did I at least enjoy it? Uh…sort of. Half of it was because it was so weird, and the other half was honestly kind of actually fun. There are some good jokes here and there, and there’s a couple catchy musical numbers.

Although some of the craziness is a bit annoying. I swear all the characters yell all their lines. That may bother others more than I. This was odd because I kind of get, and I also kind of don’t.

Above all else, it’s at least….different. I can safely say I’ve never seen this before. Overall, this was kind of enjoyable kind of annoying, and certainly crazy. Do I Recommend it? Uh…maybe. If you can get it the insanity of it, It could be enjoyed in “WTF am I watching” kind of way.

But I can also someone be annoyed by how it never calms down for a second. It’ll depend on who you are. In general, I do suggest you try it out because it’s just odd, but just know it’s…crazy.

But if you want an actually good Nick Hanukkah Special, I’d stick with Rugrats. But if you want something different…this might do it for ya. Let’s hope our next episode is more…normal.

The Gift [The Secret World of Alex Mack]

Season 2, Episode 10

Writers: Ken Lipman and Thomas W Lynch

Airdate: December 23, 1995

Christmas Cliches: Finding the right Gift

It’s Christmas, and Alex and her dad are learning that all the glitz and glamour doesn’t make the holiday. Meanwhile, Dave tries to give Vince a chimpanzee as a gift, but chaos ensues when it ingests a vial of GC-161.

This episode was pretty decent. It’s our first pleasant surprise of this marathon. It was different in the right spots, while being pretty heartwarming. I was not expecting a super powered Chimp, that’s for sure.

At first the pacing seemed a bit odd, since time was split between the parents, Alex, and the Chimp stuff but eventually they came together rather nicely. The Chimp thing gives us an external conflict and leads to Alex not having enough time to get a gift, which helps the ending.

It’s not really perfect, but the stuff that works, works. You know it’s going to work to a “real gifts come from the heart” kind of message but in context it’s pretty sweet. Alex is likable from the start, so it’s rewarding when she learns the message.

You may recall that I found the Halloween episode to be mixed, but this was a lot more even. It seemed slightly sloppy at first, but everything comes together nicely. The characters are likable and get amusing moments, and the plot manages to be interesting enough.

It may seem like I’m talking this up a lot, but it’s not like my favorite or anything. It just happens to one I quite enjoyed. It’s the first one that managed to warm my heart a bit, which is very nice.

The Chimp does kind of help this one, by making it feel like more like this belongs in this show. It is there to do that but fits into the story well enough. Overall, I’m not sure this will blow anyone’s mind but it was surprisingly enjoyable.

It was pretty heartwarming, and had a decently solid plot that combined it’s main elements well. This got me more interested in the show than the Halloween episode, it seems rather interesting at least.

I’d recommend this. We’ll see if it stacks up as a favorite, but it is worth checking out if you wanna watch it. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Oh Christmas Pete [The Adventures of Pete and Pete]

Season 3. Episode 11

Writers: Rob Des Hotel & Dean Batali

Airdate: December 14, 1996

Christmas Cliches: Christmas Scrooge

Little Pete prolongs Christmas for as long as possible after the holiday’s end, in an attempt to keep the neighborhood in a constant aura of yuletide joy. His efforts are threatened by a bitter garbage man who enjoys destroying Christmas trees and the holiday spirit they represent. Big Pete is forced to choose either to help his brother prolong Christmas or put an end to it.

…A Christmas Episode all about Garbage. …It’s like they want me to make the obvious reference. Anyway, this episode was good. It had the same qualities as the Halloween episodes, capturing the spirit of the Holiday while keeping the shows quirky-ness.

I mean, we have an actual villainous Garbage Man who prides himself on being the crusher of dreams. It’s a tad on the nose, but in this context it works. The concept itself is interesting, with them trying to keep the Christmas Spirit going long after Christmas is over.

While I was kind of expecting them to learn that you don’t need decorations or the like to keep the spirit going, what they go for still works. Big Pete even says they can’t quite keep Christmas going all year along but it’s important to keep the Spirit in tact.

Speaking of Spirit, despite being a Post Christmas Episode, it has that Christmas feeling done perfectly. This is another show that gets atmosphere down really well and these Holidays Episodes show that.

You can’t help but get sucked into their cheer as all this is going on. Which does make things more intense as they wonder if it’s worth it, with the Garbage Man refusing to pick up their trash until he gets their Christmas Tree.

Of course they manage to turn this around in a nice way. It does go in the direction you’d expect, but that’s not bad since the result is very heartwarming. They even use music well here, especially in the credits.

I wouldn’t call this the best written episode ever, since it does end up being a bit more traditional than I would have liked, but the crazy stuff in the middle makes up for it. Garbage Man is delightfully evil and he even comes with a kind of catchy song about how evil he is.

Overall, this is another one I enjoyed. When my only complaints are just kind of personal, you know this is a solid one. It does a good job at capturing the Christmas Spirit, and is pretty fun. Gumball would do something like this way later but that’s for next year. (Spoilers, it’s also good).

So yeah, I’d recommend this pretty easily especially for after Christmas, oddly enough.

Merry Christmas Kenan [Kenan and Kel]

Season 1, Episode 11

Writer: Dan Schneider (Oh this is gonna be fun)

Airdate: December 14, 1996

Christmas Cliches: Santa Ex Machina

Kenan has been saving up all year to buy a Christmas present for himself: the world’s coolest mountain bike. To get the last few dollars he needs, he accepts a job filling in as a department store Santa after the other Santa meets with an unfortunate accident.

This episode was good. I kind of talked about this before in that very first Blogger Post which never happened and I still like 6 years later. I’ll get my complaints out of the way: Some of the jokes don’t land, like the running gag of this fake Santa hurting Chris.

Yep, this was written by Dan Schneider alright.

But otherwise, most of this works. It’s mostly a Comedic Episode, but it has the expected sweet moments and while it is cheesy, it works due to the heart and how it’s not the complete focus. But even it not being the focus works since it’s more of the pay off then the actual plot.

The main situation is releatable, with Kenan having to save up to get a present and the ways he does so. While he can be dick-ish about it, it’s kept funny and what happens in the end has him kind of learning a lesson.

There’s a nice mix of fun Hijinkx throughout the episode, especially the stuff at the store. I like how this show can mix it up with Kel sometimes being the crazy one that Kenan bounces off of, and the other way around, while still making them different characters.

But of course, the highlight is the ending where Ken gives up the money he saved up for the bike and spends it on a family on need. I like it because it’s sweet without being overblown. Well, except for the audience D’awwing at it but even in the 90’s, that’s to be expected.

Kenan getting what he wanted is perhaps a bit too much of an ideal ending, but I like to think of it his reward for being so selfless here. It’s nice development for him. This episode mixes Comedy and Sweet-ness surprisingly well, even with all the craziness going on.

While I like this show, it can get too much sometimes but episodes like this strike a good balance. Overall this is everything you want in a Christmas episode like this. Good Comedy and some Good Heart to Balance it out.

I’d recommend it. I could someone liking the comedy less than I did it but I think the ending is enough to make it worth watching. It’s just a nice episode, surprisingly. It’s a classic worth checking out,.

The next one is an episode of Journey of Allen Strange…but I couldn’t find it. I found the Horror one easily but the Christmas one eludes me. Wrap your head around that. Sorry. Instead next up is…

Mystery of the Mice that Roared [Mystery Files of Shelby Woo]

Episode 39:

Writer: John Boni

Airdate: December 20, 1998

Christmas Cliches: Finding the right gift

Christmas is right around the corner, but it’s not very merry at Simple Pleasures. First, someone switches a dinner of salisbury steak with mice, then the restaurant is closed for health violations, and once it’s reopened, some of the customers’ food is spiked with crushed chilies. Meanwhile, it’s Secret Santa time at the police station, and Detective Delancey has set it up so Vince and Shelby will get each other, but neither one knows what to get the other.

This episode was decent. The main plot didn’t have too much to do with Christmas, but in general this was enjoyable and put in Christmas elements when needed. The main mystery was a bit more interesting than the one in the Halloween episode…mostly because the actual payoff surprised me.

Yeah, I actually didn’t see it coming. Maybe I’m just stupid but it surprised me and actual made sense in context. The motivations were clear although it does get slightly rushed after that. I won’t spoil it because it is fun to see how it plays.

The Christmas stuff is in the subject, which is basic, but nice. I think this episode would be better if the main plot was more Christmas-y because it does kind of feel like a typical episode, with a few Christmas references thrown in rather than a full blown Christmas Episode.

But on it’s own, it’s done well enough. Plus, we have Pat Moriata dressed up as Santa which makes everything worth it. This episode is far from ambitious but at least it doesn’t bite off more than it can chew.

It’s simple but it works. Nothing will blow you away but they don’t all need to do that. I do wish there was more to it because I imagine this isn’t a huge stand out episode of this show. I think this is one of those cases where they just wrote a normal episode and slapped Christmas on it because the Network wanted it.

But at least it manages to work on it’s own. There’s not too much wrong with the episode itself. It’s not something that’ll be at the top of anyone’s lists. Some will appreciate this kind of episode, but I do perfer the big ones.

But hey, on it’s own, it works. I guess I recommend it to an extent, just not insanely highly. It’s another that’s not too crazy special but it’s fine.

A Very Canine Christmas [100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd]

Season 1, Episode 20

Writer: Andrew Gottlieb

Airdate: December 5, 2000

Christmas Cliches: A Christmas Carol

When Eddie displays a lack of Christmas cheer, the Drifter takes him on a visit to his past.

This episode was decent, although I do think it could have been better. It’s pretty much your typical Christmas Carol plot, but really trimmed down. I’ll say now that it does work and is nice, but it is hurt by minor things.

There’s this minor subplot with the family that doesn’t really go anywhere and just takes time away from the real story. I also think they could have explored the past further. They show that Eddie was nice at one point but they don’t explain how he got bad.

That’s a bit important. And they only show the past here, there’s no Future. There is the present though and that is the most effective part, where Eddie sees that his family does miss him after he walked out, even if he’s a bit of a jerk..

By the way, where is Eddie’s actual original family? Something tells me the pilot explains it but whatever. The episode hits the notes well enough, but I do think the small issues build up to an extent,.

It is in the lighter side of decent, but there’s nothing too crazy wrong here, and it has enough heart. It just needed better pacing in a few places in order to be truly special. Still, it’s not bad. There’s not a whole more to say.

It’s fairly straight forward. It’s a typical Christmas Carol with the usual Nice moments but it is dragged down but some small issues. I wouldn’t really recommend it too highly, but if you’re curious, it’s not bad,

So yeah, both holiday episodes were just kind of fine. Maybe the rest of the show is better, but this one was at least nice enough.

And once again our next episode must be skipped due to lack of availability. This time it’s an episode of Romeo. You know, the show starring that kid Nick had for awhile. Yeah, I can why I can’t find this one. Oddly, MTV rerun this show recently but not this episode. So unless they do, I won’t talk about this one. Sorry. So instead, next is..

iChristmas [iCarly]

Season 2, Episode 9

Writer: Dan Schneider

Airdate: December 13, 2008

Christmas Cliches: It’s a Wonderful Life

When Carly wishes for Spencer to be normal, a guardian angel shows her a world where this is so.

This episode was decent . It was a solid plallet cleanser for that crummy episode I reviewed recently. There actually isn’t too much wrong here, at least compared to what you might expect. It does what you might expect to see in a Wonderful life episode, but it does it pretty well. The changes in the AU are interesting and are nice mix of making sense and being funny. For example, Sam is in Juvie due to not having Carly to balance her out…and Carly is dating Nevel.

It’s interesting to see how different is, and in the main story, the joke are mixed in well. There is some cruel stuff early on that fades fairly quickly, thankfully. There’s some amusing stuff here, like everything with the Angel, played by that Crash and Bernstein guy I see everywhere.

The set up does kind of have an issue as the thing that makes Carly wants Spencer to be normal is that he makes a tree which catches on fire, burning the presents. I don’t know, I think anyone would be angry about that.

But to be fair, it was a mistake and in general him being “Normal” doesn’t quite sutie him. Still, the set up could have been slightly better. This episode is pretty much a Christmas version of Spongebob’s Not Normal and while not as good, I still like it.

The highlight for me is when Carly snaps, as it’s actual a bit heartbreaking. It’s pulled off rather well and it’s when the plots becomes fairly strong. And of course, there’s a heartwarming ending a Peanuts Homage to close things out.

It’s not quite an amazing episode, but it was an enjoyable one with some nice moments and a plot that works. It’s actually a fine take on this plot as the spin they make fits the show. It is has the odd small issue, but I enjoyed this a bit more than I expected.

I suppose I’ll recommend it. If you can tolerate the show enough, you’ll enjoy it as it has enough to like. I understand if you aren’t too interested in it though. Still, I liked it enough.

The Naked Brothers Band Christmas Special

Season 3, Episode 6

Writer: Polly Draper

Airdate: December 13, 2008

Christmas Cliches: Wanting Snow on Christmas

Nat has the holiday blues since Rosalina’s letters from abroad have a steadily decreasing number of X’s and O’s. If Nat doesn’t find something to give him the Christmas spirit, it could ruin a benefit the band is holding for “Save the Children”, which is hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. Meanwhile, Alex is in a competition with the adorable Timmerman Brothers to create the world’s worst online Christmas video.

This episode was…alright. Better than the Halloween Episode, but it still wasn’t my thing. My main problem would be the conflicts. First, the concept of intentionally making a bad video is amusing but there’s no explanation for why the Timmerman Brothers are happy to have a hated video.

I get that Alex sees the views of the video despite the hate and sees that crappy-ness sells, but I don’t get why the people who made it the video see this as a good thing. Also, they don’t take advantage of this to pull a Springtime for Hitler/Wacky Deli.

In the end, Alex just kind of…stops wanting to do this do learning the Christmas spirit or whatever. There’s not much of a resolution. Then there’s the main conflict of…Rosalinda putting two X’s instead of 3 on her postcard.

.And this matters…why? Seriously, why does it matter? I know that’s the point but they never explain why it matters to him. It’s just so stupid! Why is a kid this young involved in deep romance anyway?

The main conflicts are not that interesting. However, things turn around near the end with Nat’s other conflict of being sick of Christmas and needing to write a song. I kind of liked the pay off for that, as it had a nice message.

Although I don’t think a Nick show made to sell a band gets to do a Anti Consumerism message…

I suppose there’s amusing moments from the bad video. Also, the black guy from Victorious appears here, two whole years before that show was a thing. Neat! He even plays an okay role in the plot.

I suppose this one is kind of mixed. Some parts are stupid, but it has it’s hearts in the right place. Plus, the Mockumentry thing is toned down here. It doesn’t quite pull too far in either direction. Not too good, not too bad, but has it’s moments I suppose.

I don’t know, there’s something about this show I don’t like it. Maybe it’s the style or the plots. Maybe If I watched more I would like it, but these Holiday episodes just didn’t do a lot for more. This one was better but it wasn’t anything too special.

They tried I suppose, but eh, it was just okay. I wouldn’t recommend it. If you’re curious, maybe you can watch it but I would skip it if you don’t have the time. It’s okay but fairly middle of the road.

Telling Amanda [True Jackson VP]

Season 1, Episode 5

Writer: Andy Gordon

Airdate: December 13, 2008

Christmas Cliches: None

Here’s a show I do remember watching back when it was on, but I don’t remember too much about it. It did kind of start Nick’s trend of doing Disney Channel-ish things with their Sitcoms, but I don’t recall if it was any good. Let’s find out!

Ryan sees Amanda’s boyfriend going out with another woman. So he and True decide to follow them only to discover he’s cheating on her. True decides it’s best to tell Amanda, which only makes Amanda mad at her. Meanwhile, Max enlists Lulu to help his accountant with an audit, and Lulu thinks he may be Santa Claus after observing his striking resemblance to Kris Kringle.

There are two things to note about this episode: It starts with someone saying “True Jackson VP was filmed in front of a live studio audience”. Man, when was the last time you heard that? Also, the credits are the kind that have pictures of what you just watched.

I thought this was from 2008, not 1998!

The other thing is that this isn’t actually a Christmas. It doesn’t take place around the time, and the only connection is Santa in the subplot. I only put this on the list because it aired in December.

I’m not sure why they had a Santa plot in a Non-Christmas Episode but here we are. On it’s own, I did enjoy this but as a Christmas Episode…it isn’t one, so it fails. The Santa plot wasn’t even that good.

Mostly because no much comes of it. Oscar finds out he might be Santa but he wasn’t even involved with that plot until that plot! It’s a nice moment but the plot itself isn’t much of a plot. This is just a waste of a Christmas Episode.

But the main plot is actually decent enough. It is a cliché plot but there are nice moments near the end with Amanda facing the truth, and the way she gets sort of revenge on him is amusing. Amanda is basically the Alpha Bitch of the show so of course I quite liked her here.

Comedy Wise, there’s some groaners, but there’s some amusing moments too. I like the running gag of Ryan saying he hated a certain movie then saying he’s seen it many times. It’s funny because I can relate.

Despite some weak bits, the main plot is not too bad on it’s own. It’s nothing I would seek it, but it’s for what it is. However, this was billed as a Christmas Episode, which is why it’s one of the few I distinctly remember watching.

So I kind of have to judge it harshly. Plus, the writers decided to throw Santa in a Non Christmas episode for reasons I’ll never understand. As I said, it’s fine on it’s own but it’s not even a Christmas Episode, which means you can skip it.

I can’t recommend it for that fact alone. On it’s own, it’s fine enough but I doubt anyone would go crazy for it. So yeah, this was a waste of my time, even if it was decent. Once again, this was fine but for this marathon, it can be skipped because of the baffling decision to market it the way it was.

…Yeah, bit of a disappointment.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ickie Doll [The Troop]

Season 1, Episode 11

Writer: Jonas E Agin

Airdate: December 12, 2009

Christmas Cliches: An Ass Kicking Christmas

Jake and Hayley discover that the hot Christmas toy, the “Ickie Doll”, has been invaded by a Vapor Monster, turning the dolls into nasty, violent, living creatures.

This episode was alright. It was actually on the verge of Decent but certain things held it back…mostly the ending but we’ll get to that. The premise is a fun enough one and there’s some decent humor here.

The actors are actually pretty good and have some funny reactions, especially the head guy who name I keep forgetting. In the end, they have to play the accordion to calm down the monsters.

That’s the kind of silly thing this show does and here it works. There’s some fun stuff, and the main conflict is one that works for this kind of show. But then there’s the stuff that drags it down.

Jake wants an Ickie Doll because his bitchy sister wants one and she’ll get him a bad gift on purpose if he doesn’t get her one. Her acting isn’t too good and with how it plays out, it’s just kind of lame.

And from his POV it’s kind of a good excuse for him to need one, since he’s pretty much being threatened. Hayley wants one because her Mom collects them. Now that I say that her reason makes more sense and is nicer, but in context Jake only comes across as dick-ish…because he’s a dick about it.

Yeah, he gets the last one and has to shove it in her face for some reason. If he learned any kind of lesson this would be fine, but he doesn’t. Spoilers, in the end he dos get her the doll once they get them back to normal, and she’s happy.

…But she gives him something bad by accident and Dad gets the good gift. It’s a total accident and she could just set it straight..but it ends here. Yeah, that’s the ending. It’s a rather harsh note that just doesn’t work. Again, she can set it straight so it’s not even as bad as the episode seems to think.

Oh and typing this made me realize Hayley’s deal wasn’t resolved! Once the plot really gets going, they drop it. We never find out if she gets it for her mother, as Jake gets what he wants and no one really seems to learn anything.

It seemed to be building to some kind of message but nope. In the very least, you just resolve the main charecter-based conflict in this thing. Speaking of not going into things, they never explain exactly WHY the dolls become monsters. They kind of hint at it but never go deeper. Is the company evil? What’s their motivation? I don’t know, any explanation that exists is rather rushed.

And I haven’t gotten to the subplot. The head guy and his wife/girlfriend (don’t know which but I’m thinking the latter) bump into a scarecrow monster thing on the rode, and she gets pissed at him because he…screamed like a little girl.

Yeah, a bit of an embarrassing moment is enough for her to not only be mad, but act like a bitch to him. It’s really stupid. Yeah, it’s a bit stupid for him to scream so much but come on, is it THAT big of a deal?

And in the end they resolve that like that…only for her to get him a Ickie Doll which makes him scream due to what happened with them.

Don’t call me”?

And now that subplot was entirely pointless and harsh. Yay! …Wow, I said a lot more than I thought I would. My feelings are very mixed. It’s almost decent due to some enjoyable moments, it’s almost alright due to it’s small issues, and it’s amost meh due to the ending making everything pointless.

I can’t call this bad…but it’s oddly the weakest one so far. It has better moments than some but that ending, man. It makes everything cruel and pointless, and certain things are not resolved or make no sense.

It’s too bad because I almost enjoyed this but stuff like that dragged it down. As such, I can’t recommend it. This show in general could be fun but this episode seems like a weaker one. Most people will be too turned off by the issues to enjoy it.

It’s a skip, unfortunately. But hey, there might be worse ones at least. This however, still didn’t quite do it for me.

Big Time Christmas [Big Time Rush]

Season 2, Epsiode 8/9

Writers: Mark Fellows, Keith Wagner, and Scott Fellows

Airdate: December 4, 2010

Christmas Cliches: Rhyming Narration, Christmas Scrooge

The boys are excited about their holiday trip to Minnesota, but hours before their flight, Griffin insists that they record a Christmas EP, and will not let them leave until it is done. Mrs. Knight attempts to avoid a luggage fee by packing presents and clothes, and Katie tries to give a Scrooge-esque Mr. Bitters some holiday cheer.

This episode was pretty decent. The main thing to note about it is that it’s 45 minutes long rather than 22 and that does play into my one real criticism. While it does handle the time well, there is some obvious padding.

The 3rd segment of the plot is basically split into 2 conflicts for the sake of reaching that time limit It’s not too bad since it stays enjoyable, but it’s something to keep in mind. Perhaps it could have been shorter, but it works as it is.

The plot is split into 4 pieces. They need to get 3 Christmas songs, each giving is a different section of the plot, and Katie’s plot gives our final piece. It’s a smart way to split things up to reach the 45 minute mark while not having too much pointless stuff.

There isn’t too much about each “segment”, really. There’s some amusing shenanigans with them trying to get the songs written and such. The final 2 feature celebrity guests, Miranda Cosgrove and Snoop Dogg.

Huh, Snoop must have some deal with Nick.

The song they do with him as a Discount Alvin and the Chipmunks, with the video having animation by Butch Hartman’s people. Weird, but neat. Although this is still not as good of an Alvin Centric appearance for him as the epic fanfic “Alvan An The Chipmunks 3 The Second Squeakuel”.

Anyway, this captured Christmas better than I expected. They use it for humor by making fun of Live Celebrity Christmas shows and there’s Christmas stuff all over the place. And of course there’s plenty of heart.

The ending, where the two big plots come together, is very heartwarming. More so than I was expecting from this kind of show and I already liked it. Things just work out nicely and it feels somewhat natural.

Despite the length, this was a nice watch. I think it was shorter I would enjoy it just a tad more, but I do like as it is. It’s decently amusing, and captures the Christmas Spirit well, with a nice amount of heart.

There’s even rhyming narration from Ton Kane, who I think really likes narrating. He is good at it.

While this is no masterpeice, I did enjoy it. If you have the time and can tolerate the show, I recommend it. It’s better written than you might expected. The structure works an the ending is quite nice.

I got something out of it, so I’d say it’s worth a look, surprisingly. (Almost makes up for not being a Christmas episode for the other Scott Fellows live action shows…)

A Christmas Tori [Victorious]

Season 2, Episode 12 (Season 3 Episode 1 in production order. Yes, this seriously exists in two seasons somehow)

Writers: Dan Schneider and Warren Bell

Airdate: December 3, 2011

Christmas Cliches: Finding the right gift

It is Christmas time at Hollywood Arts and Sikowitz assigns the gang as Secret Santas to one another in order to get them into the Christmas Spirit. The person who gives the worst gift will be forced to go “Christmas Yodeling” with Sikowitz on Christmas Eve. Tori struggles to find the perfect gift for Andre after finding out she is his Secret Santa. Meanwhile, Trina enlists Robbie’s help to decorate her giant Christmas tree, and Beck loses sleep due to a pesky cricket in his RV. Also Andre becomes a Christmas “Scrooge” after getting a D on a song he wrote for his creative music class.

This episode was decent. As you can tell from the summary, there’s a lot going on here which is both a pro and con. It’s a pro since it means every character gets something to do and it leads to some good bits, but it’s a con because it means the plot is rather cluttered.

I couldn’t even tell what the main plot was until they started fusing Tori’s side of the Secret Santa Plot and the whole Andre song plot. They do mix well enough and it makes for a fitting end to the episode, at least.

The subplots don’t add to much though. Someone catches Beck’s Cricket off screen and that’s the end of that. Although it does tie into the Secret Santa thing in an odd way so at least it’s relevant.

The plots at least actually come together In the end, a bit nicely. There is one problem with Andre’s side of the plot though: It’s never explained WHY he got a D. All they say is the teacher says he got it cuz he deserved. Okay, but why?

While we’re on this, Jade says she went from an A to a D in 8th grade. …………….No comment.

At the end, Tori, Jade, and Cat perform his song, to resolve this and the Secret Santa plot, and boom, this convinces him to give an Andre an A. I don’t get it, the song hasn’t changed from what we know. Maybe it’s the extent Tori went to convince him that made him change it?

I mean, I mean the only difference in the song is that it’s performed by 3 pretty girls in Santa outfit-i think I just found my answer.

…Moving on. Despite some of the issues, I did enjoy this. There’s some amusing moments like when Sikowitz tells them to stop their “ablibed complaining”.. The structure leaves plenty of room for some nice bits, and there’s something about this that I enjoyed.

There weren’t even too many harsh bits, at least none that hugely bothered me for the most part. I wouldn’t say there’s any huge stand out moments Although the song is nice) but there is something about this I liked.

Things wrap up nicely enough, and it did have a bit of spirit without having any huge cheesy moments. It would be nice to have a bunch of sweet moments but what they do for Andrew is good enough.

Overall, this was nothing great but I did some enjoyment due to some amusing moments and a nice enough ending. There might be too much going on, and there’s no big heavy hitting moments but for what it is, it works.

It’s not quite good enough for me to hugely recommend it, but if you’re interested based on what I’ve said, go ahead. It is one of those “you gotta tolerate the show things”, but that goes without saying.

Epic Christmas [Bucket and Skinner’s Epic Adventures]

Episode 19

Writers: Boyce Bugliari & Jamie McLaughlin

Airdate: December 22, 2012

Christmas Cliches: A Christmas Carol

Bucket is upset because this Christmas in Pacific Bluffs it won’t have any snow, but after a Christmas Carol parody, he learns the true meaning of Christmas. (That’s the summary Wikipedia gives. They just get the point, don’t they?)

This episode was…kind of…decent? Yes, seriously. I actually kind of sort enjoyed this one. It’s not great but it actually did some things right, including fixing some of my issues with the show I had in the Halloween Episode.

The main conflict leads to Bucket being a bit of a grump, with Skinner trying to cheer him up and being rather silly. In other words, Bucket is a proper straight man to Skinner’s goofy-ness instead of them feeling like the same characters.

There’s bits of that, but they feel pretty distinct here for the most part. The main reason this worked was that it’s really hard to mess up A Christmas Carol, no matter how bad your show is.

It’s just a nice story and they spin they put on it actually works. Bucket is grumpy due to not having a “tradiotnal” Christmas and he doesn’t get that the Holiday is about being together and not silly traditions.

It’s an okay reason for him to be upset, and thus a good excuse for a Christmas Carol plot. It’s interesting to see how this affects the others. And yes, there are some actually nice moment s here with how he learns his lesson and all that.

There’s even some amusing moments, most of them being with Kelly and Piper. (Hey, a little girl named Piper that I actually like!). They are the only consistently amusing characters so of course they’ll steal the show.

As I said, this episode certainly isn’t great. There’s still some dumb humor, like any joke with Bucket’s no so subtle crush on Kelly. I’ve seen these jokes before and they were never funny. Also, the future could have been worse and we never even see Bucket in the Future.

But for what it is…it’s actually done kind of well. I can’t believe it, but there you go. I guess this story is just that good, even this show can pull it off. It’s far from a classic but it has it’s heart in the right in the place and the ending was kind of nice.

I didn’t think I would like this but I kind of did. Look. I don’t highly recommend this is you’re that agains the show, but if you give it chance…you might find it decent like I did. I’m not gonna act like it’s amazing, but for what they did..it’s fine.

So yeah, it’s a Christmas Miracle. Bucket and Skinner had a decent episode. Guess I’ll have to look more into the show someday, I don’t know. Either way…yeah, I got a solid surprise with this one.

How to Rock Christmas [How to Rock]

Episode 25

Writers: Sam Littenberg-Weisberg & Erica Spates

Airdate: December 8, 2012

Christmas Cliches: None

The gang gets stuck in the mall during the Christmas holiday. They try crawling through the vents to get out, and they end up in a department store. However, things soon get wild when they discover the Perfs are there too.

This episode was decent. Yep, another show that got me more in it’s Christmas Episode than in the Halloween one. This had it’s wonky moments but it managed to be rather nice, especially att the end.

It didn’t start out too great, with Kacey being kind of a bitch and some lame jokes with the side characters, but once the plot kicks in, it becomes more interesting. Kacey wants this necklace to complete her collection, but the Alpha Bitch gets it first, which causes them to fight.

It gets so annoying that the others lock them in a closet until they can settle their differences. Yes, that cliché but it works here in the way that the cliche usually works. Eventually they do start to talk and find out why the Alpha Bitch is the way she is, and it’s done in a way that develops them both kind of nicely.

They actually point out that Kacey is kind of bitch-y sometimes and they address it and kind of fix it. That’s rather impressive. Granted the “Main character is the reason the Alpha Bitch is like this’ thing has been done a lot but it can work, and I think it works here.

It leads to a decently sweet ending that actually managed to capture the Christmas Spirit well. I was not expecting anything too nice here, but there you go. This does some dumb stuff in the joke apartment, like almost anything with the two male friends but the good things kind of make up for it.

The interesting thing about this episode is that thanks to Nick pulling the plug, it was the series finale. And honestly, with Kacey and the Alhpa Bitch getting along, it kind of works as a finale. It wasn’t planned to be, and wasn’t in production order, but it works.

So while it’s far from great, I did kind of enjoyment with it’s character development and nice ending. Would I recommend it? Well, if you want to watch it and it sounds appealing, sure. But I imagine most won’t be able to ignore the dumber moments.

But if you can, go ahead. Like Bucket and Skinner, it was just more enjoyable than I expected. Yet another Christmas Miracle.

Santa’s Little Harpers (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn]

Season 1, Episode 10

Writers: Tim Brenner, and Natalie Barbrie.

Airdate: November 29, 2014

Christmas Cliches: None

During winter break, the children compete against each other for tips to buy a video game console after their parents force them to work at the store as punishment due to snooping for Christmas presents. Meanwhile, Tom and Ann switch positions of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus to see who has the harder job.

This episode was …roughly inbetween Alright and Decent. Most of it is Alright, but the ending is Decent enough, and there is decent stuff inbetween. Yeah, I say off the bat that I liked the Halloween episode more.

That one was somehow sweeter.

I know that the point is for them to learn to not be selfish and stuff, but they still come across as too annoying early on with how they snoop for their presents, which starts this whole plot. They don’t get too much better until the very end.

While the ending was nice, it felt kind of rushed. I suppose they learned their lesson by going through all that chaos but it could have been conveyed better. But to be fair, the nice ending with them learning their lesson is quite nice.

It also connects the subplots which was fairly amusing. Then again I’ve learned anything involving the parents on this show is going to be fair more enjoyable than the main story. Although I don’t kno h ow his cookies turned out well even though he scrwed them up while making them.

Most of the episode has the kids running around trying to fix various messes they made, like when they lose this kid. Some of it amusing, but some of is just kind of annoying. I don’t know, I just couldn’t get into it even though they start acting better by the halfway point.

In the very least, there a nice messaging at the end, so I know this had some heart put into it. I just didn’t find most of it that funny and the ending wasn’t too rewarding since I didn’t’ care as much.

The Halloween Episode showed me that this show can do certain things right, so this episode being just okay is kind of disappointing. Didn’t think this show would disappoint me but here you go.

But there you go. It is well meaning, but just wasn’t totally my thing. I wouldn’t recommend it, even with the nice ending. Most people will find it too annoying to get annoying, and I can’t quite blame them.

It’s kinda nice and is fine-ish, but it’s another one that falls short, and I won’t go back to watch again. Eh.

Winter Thunderland [The Thundermans]

Season 2, Episode 10

Writers: Wesley Jermaine Johnson & Scott Taylor

Airdate: November 29, 2014

Christmas Cliches: Stealing Christmas, A Christmas Carol

After Max is a big grump, he is put into A Christmas Carol parody to show him the error of his ways. See, I can get to the point too.

This episode was decent. It has an off element or two, but in general it is enjoyable and nice. I’ll get the issues out of the way. Of course the episode is about Max learning his lesson but it takes too long for the lesson to really hit him.

He’s seeing how him trying to ruin Christmas but he reacts with happiness the whole time until basically the last minute of the future segment. Thus, his change of heart does feel a tad rushed.

I get that he can’t change right away but perhaps a change over time like in most takes on this story would work better than what happens. He actually seems to get worse in his attempts to steal, Christmas, until the Future Segment.

This kind of effects the pacing and such. This isn’t that big of a big deal because everything else works fine. Like in any take on this story, it’s interesting to see how this plays out, and how this affects others.

Max has always tried to ruin Christmas and they’ve always put a happy spin on it. When he gave them coal, Hank used his powers to turn into Diamonds, which made them rich enough to retire and move to Hiddenville.

Yeah, this is now a prequel explaining how the series got started. That’s kind of neat. I like how each Ghost is just a different version of Phobe. Yeah it would make more sense to have each ghost be a different character, but the different Phoebes are funny.

There’s a lot of Phoebe in this actually. Normal Phoebe, Valley Girl Phoebe, Present Phoebe (as in, she’s dressed as a present), Emo Phoebe and Evil Phoebe. It gives Kira Kosarin plenty of work at least.

And of course, the ending is rather nice. The Bad Future is pretty cool with how everyone is evil except for Nora who is lonely and got kicked out. It does a good job of making Max realize the error of his ways.

Yes, it’s rushed the heart pulls it through. This could have been better but for what it is, it works decently. There’s some amusing moments and the Christmas spirits shines through decently.

It’s another that is fairly simple and while I can my issue bothering people more than I, I think it has enough to make up for that. It’s a decent take on A Christmas Carol that turns it into it’s own thing with some nice heart.

It could have been better, but with how the show is, I’m just glad it’s decent. It’s not a high recommendation due to it’s issues, but I think it has it’s charms at least. …That’s all I got for this one.

Christmas Danger [Henry Danger]

Season 2, Episode 9

Writers: Dan Schneider & Christoper J Novak

Airdate: November 28, 2015

Christmas Cliches: None

When Captain Man gets arrested for committing a petty crime, he is forced to spend Christmas in jail.

( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFrZdmSVvw0&list=PL8J90yu5IMkv52JP7IhyqQ0kNBp8nxz7i&index=10 )

Well, this is interesting, because PieguyRulz featured this on Bottom of the Bakery and went into great detail on it’s problems. That leaves me with not much to say except…yeah, it’s meh. I mean, I don’t hate it like he says, but it’s not very good.

I’ll say the positives first: Piper gets a funny line. That’s a miracle in itself. The ending with them singing a song is nice in concept, and there’s other minor amusing bits here and there. I also like the basic idea of Captain Man being in jail.

The rest though, is a bit messy. Pieguy went into a lot of the issues, but here’s the two that bother me the most. The episode is making fun of dumb laws that make no sense but here’s the thing;

He is arrested for not wearing a hair net while serving food. That’s…not a dumb law. It’s right to not want hair going in your food. There’s a reason most food servers in general wear hair nets.

So he kind of deserves to be arrested ….especially because he knows about the law but refuses to follow it. Yes, he breaks the law on PURPOSE. I don’t know about you, but that’s very deserving of an arrest.

So the entire plot doesn’t work because it’s not a dumb law and he did it to himself. Then there’s my other problem, with PieGuy did go into. The parents hear about Henry being in jail, so he do they get themselves in there like Jasper did?

They assault an officer by taking his walkie talkie than pantsing him. ….Uh….that’s a legit crime, dumbasses. That’s not stupid at all. Again, you deserve to be in jail after that!

These two event single handlely sink this episode because of how stupid they are. The rest is flawed too but if the plot got started by you know, him not knowing of the law he’s breaking, it would at least be okay.

Also, Henry’s Dad Obsessions with Hand Bells is annoying. And of curse Piper is the only one not arrested. Infact, when she finds out the parents got arrested, she throws a party instead of being worried.

She even supposedly gives them the idea to assault they offer, which they follow because they are idiots. Ugh, Screw you Piper.

I feel like the main reason these problems really hurt is that the episode is simple. There’s no subplot or really anything else that happens. It’s just his story of him being in jail and them trying to get him out.

That’s fine but means I must be more critical, and there’s no shortage of things to dislike here. But as I said, I don’t hate it. It sometimes has breaks from being dumb and at least the characters are tolerable-ish. Captain Man is unlikable and Piper is…Piper, but I’ve seen worse.

There are some okay moments, and I’ve seen these problems be done worse. But that’s still not exactly an endorsement. With very little Christmas Spirit and a badly executed plot, there’s not much reason to watch this.

Just because it’s not horrible, doesn’t mean it’s worth watching. It’s not very good .It’s sad because I’ve managed to like the Schindeer Christmas Episodes up to this point, and the D&J Christmas Movie.

I’m just glad Sam and Cat had no Christmas Episode. #YayDay is the closest they get.

I don’t have much to say. I’ve seen worse, but this just fails as a Christmas Episode, and as an episode in general. Skip it.

A Reggae Potato Christmas [Game Shakers]

Season 1, Episode 10

Writers: Dan Schneider, Sean Gill, and Jana Petrosini

Airdate: November 28, 2015

Christmas Cliches: None

Double G is hosting a Christmas special as Reggae Potato, and the producers invite the Game Shakers to participate in it. However, it all goes wrong when Double G’s head catches on fire during the opening number. In order to keep the show going, the children do in the sketches Double G was supposed to appear in.

This episode was…eh. I mean, it’s far from the worst of the show, and it’s sort of better than the Henry Denger one, but by the end, I just couldn’t get into this. The usual problems of the show are toned down slightly, and the premise isn’t a bad one, but it just kind of…meanders.

I will say there were some chuckles, usually coming from some of the actors reactions. Kel gets amusing moments, more so than usual at least. Hell, Hudson actually has a role for once.

I think I know what my problem is: There’s not much of a conflict. Yes, Double G is out of commission, but for one, that bit is kind of dumb. His head is put on fire and him running around prevents anyone from getting to it.

That’s kind of contrived. I think just having him break his leg or something would have been more effective. But then you wouldn’t have the amazing gag of him screaming his off, that was so worth it.

You think the kids putting on the show would lead to conflict, like perhaps they can’t get things quite right or something,. But nope, things go off withotu a hitch and there’s no conflict. Maybe when Kel gets the fire off, he’ll get mad that the kids are stealing his spotlight.

Nope he just joins with no issues. Then he gets caught on fire again and…then it just kind of ends. Yeah, not much of a real ending. I’ll cut them some slack as this was clearly meant to be a simpler episode, but there still needs to be more conflict.

There’s so much you could have done to make this simpler or more interesting, instead it just kind of meanders and ends on a whimper. I did kind of enjoy small bits of this but it was mostly just kind of dull, and the ending makes the writing fairly weak.

I was just kind of…eh on this one. It wasn’t awful, and it was Christmas-y episode, but it just didn’t have much going for it. It has it’s moments and there are worse Game Shakers episodes, but the problems make it just kind of pointless.

At least it had no pretenses of telling a story, which is why the Henry episode was slightly worse. Still, this is a skip, which isn’t shocking at all but still. This is a big fat…meh 22 minutes. A great note to end, on right?

 

And those were the live action Nick Christmas Episodes. But wait, what about the 2016 ones? Well…there arne’t any. No, really. Nick Aired no new Christmas Episodes for it’s live action shows this year. A few animated shows got them but no live action ones.

I’m glad Animation was treated better for once…what the hell, Nick? You’ve been on thin ice ice after the whole CH Greenblat thing and while that is clearly worse, this is not helping at all. Now I had to end this thing with Game Shakers. I hope you are happy.

That aside, these were better than the Halloween ones, for obvious reasons. I got the usual pleasant surprises and some shows continued to impress. There weren’t too many bad ones, although a couple slipped in.

My least favorites were the The Troop and Henry Danger ones. The former is surprising but it has…shrunken on me. On the flip side, my favorites include Kenan and Kel, Pete and Pete, Christmas, and Big Time Christmas. Those stick out of me the most, but there were a fair amount I’m glad I saw.

It was about the par for the course, I guess. With that, we’re done with Live Action Nick. I will hopefully cover next years offerings if they actually have any. It will kind of tie into next years Holiday review plans.

But I’ll go into more detail elsewhere. Next year, we’ll go back to animation and look at Cartoon Network’s Holiday Episodes. Should be fun. I have a couple other surprises in store too but again, more detail then.

I think I’m starting to enjoy doing these a little too much. I already have ideas for what to do in 2018 and 2019 if I’m even around then. I’m going insane. But while I’m still sane, we’ll close this out.

It’s fun doing these and I hope you enjoyed my look into live action Nick stuff. My official Christmas Special Thing goes up tomorrow so look forward to that. I the mean time, hope you enjoy your Christmas over there, or whatever Holiday you celebrate. I don’t judge.

…I’m padding this out so I think we’re done here. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year or whatever. I’m done.

See ya.

Posted in A Look At, Christmas Reviews, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

General Review: Sing

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, it’s time for our final general review of 2016. And also maybe the final one I’ll see in theaters, unless I get an inching to see “Why Him?”.

Closing out this crazy year is an animated feature, the kind of films I started doing these often General Reviews for. I talked about Illumination regarding The Secret Life of Pets, but I think I must say more and reiterate some things.

Films being overt marketed is not a new thing of course, but my god, this company takes it a new level. Ever since The Lorax, they’ve made sure you know they have a movie coming out, with various trailers that keep spammed, and other such stuff.

It seemed to reach a new low with Minions, but then Secret Life of Pets came which had tons of trailers in front of every film I saw it seemed. …But then….this happened. Holy. Shit. I’m pretty sure I got a trailer for this in front of every movie I saw.

Granted, it was usually the kids movie but I also had one in front of Fantastic Beats, which is 13. Frankly, I’m shocked I didn’t get one in front of Sausage Party or something. And then were the constant TV Ads (especially during the Olympics which my brother had on), and othrs such as Brad Jones reported seeing tons of posters for it at the local theater.

It got out of control. I’d like to think it’s not quite the company’s fault, but my thoughts on the company tie into this. If they made really good or memorable films, I wouldn’t mind but their movies…are just fine.

They mostly just make cute and simple films, which is fine but there’s only so much of that I can take. The Lorax is their most ambitious film so far and that’s due to Dr. Seuss’ writing more than anything they added.

I can enjoy their films fine, but they have start being more ambitious, or varied. The fact that they make so much money of merely okay films makes it even worse, I think.

While I can’t say anything about anyone who works there personally, they almost seem ot have some kind of ego. Those Minion are on their logo, there was a Sing ad in Secret Life of Pets, and the trailer for this said “From the maker of Secret Life of Pets”…before that movie came out.

And before they even knew it was a hit. What if it crashed and burned? Yeah, I agree with Brad, someone needs to humble these guys. I’m just saying, either make better movies, or calm down with your advertising.

With that said…i actually have hope for this one. The trailer themselves, promised a more interesting film than usual. Beyond the pop songs, this seems to be an ensemble piece that tells a slightly more interesting story than their usual fare, with different arcs that connect.

There were some groners in the trailer, but some promise as well. One thing that made me excited, is that their first movie directed and written by someone new to the company. All of their films so far were made by people who were there from the start.

But for this one, we have a new guy to share his vision with his. The guy behind The Hitcherhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film no less. So I honestly have hope for this, as the premise has potentiel. Let’s look past all the marketing and give this an honest chance.

Will this be a solid film from the studio that ends the year on a high note, or will it be flat? Let’s find out.

This, is Sing

ANIMATION:

I have my problems with Illumination, and that does kind of extend to the animation, sort of. In general they do go work, but their human characters tend to look off for reasons I’ll go into some other time. So with their films this year they decided to focus more on animals.

With this one, it was a good choice because the animation here is well done. It’s no mind blowing but it’s well made. The settings are basic but decently realized, especially the huge theater.

The world is pretty typical and I feel bad because people will compare this to Zootopia since this is a more mundane world compared to that one, even though the films are like that due to how they are written and focused.

The focus is of course on the character animal. While they are somewhat typical of anthropomorphic, they are still well done. No two animals look the same, and there’s nice variation on the body types, from the small mouse, the somewhat pudgy pigs, to the tall gorilla.

The animation on them is nice and smooth, and allows for plenty of movement when needed. Sometimes this company can mix cartoony with nice looking decently well, and this shows that.

There’s nothing that will blow you away, but the artists did a solid job of creating these varied characters and it helps make the big song scenes more enjoyable. Speaking of, it’s a Jukebox Musical so I can’t do a section on songs, but I will say most are well picked and fit with the story.

But of course, some are just modern pop songs for the sake of it, like…Call Me Maybe. Thankfully that one’s for a quick gag scene but seriously, since when was that relevant?

Overall, Illumination still manages to give well crafted animation, even if it’s not going to blow you away as much as other films out there.

WRITING:

In a world of anthropomorphic animals, optimistic koala Buster Moon is the owner of a music theater that is in financial trouble due to showing productions that have bombed, and his theater is in danger of closing down. To fix this, he hosts a singing competition that will feature animals from all over, most notably a Housewife pig, a son of a criminal Gorilla, a Mouse, and more. Can he save the theater, while the contestants solve their personal problems?

As you can tell from the summaries and ads, this is indeed an ensemble piece that juggle various stories along side the main one of getting the theater popular again. For this studio, that is decently ambitious.

The execution is…mixed, because overall…i kind of did enjoy this, but the writing itself is sadly still the usual “Okay” fare with from this studio, just with more going on. There’s nothing really wrong with the script, it just didn’t quite impress me.

But it is pretty passable. The story offers nothing original at all, but it has some interesting bits, and some parts are just classic stories I like seeing. The main story with Buster is a classic one that is the most interesting plot line, due to it being the main focus.

It’s cliché but a passably told story that does a solid job of capturing various ups and downs, from how he grew to love theater, to how they manage to pull off the big show at the end. It is the most straight forward interesting plot line going on here.

The rest are hit or miss. That has to do with they are balanced and it’s a trick thing to discuss because they are balanced…fine, since each gets a good amount of time to play out. However, they each have the problem of being set up well enough to make me care, but having a rushed pay off.

One example is the one with the Porcupine’s, which actually was the most fleshed out due to how one gets in and the other does not, letting to us some interesting friction. Without spoiling it, she gets fine development but their actual story…isn’t really resolved as well as it could have…if at all but again, no real spoilers.

The others are a bit better off in terms of resolution but again they are rushed. The pig’s is the most complete and it is a decent story with the set up and all that. The Gorilla’s is the most…okay as it’s pretty cliché, but has it’s fine moments, than a rushed pay off.

The mouse..doesn’t quite have one. He sort of does, his story has bits that come back but he’s more for comic relief. That’s fine but with the pacing and writing problems, he could have been cut.

The way they all come together is fine. I do think they do a good job of connecting the stories to the main one to make this a more cohesive story, but it’s clear the struggle to balance them on their own lead to my problems.

Overall, the writing itself is…fine. It has trouble juggle various stories and the big story is cliché but it balances certain things okay and manages to have bits that make me somewhat interested.

I won’t dedicate a section to Enjoyment, but I will touch on it as that keeps it afloat more than anything. This film honestly has a lot of heart. It’s clearly trying to tell some nice stories and create something fun and special for kids.

And while nothing is amazing, there is honestly a certain charm to it. I don’t know, I like the story of these little people that have a passion trying to keep everything afloat. Buster’s story especially kind of held my attention.

They do at least take the time to let certain moments sink in. When things go wrong and they have to make things right, I can’t help but get into it, even though the script isn’t quite making it more interesting than most takes on the story.

The passion involved doesn’t quite result in a great film, but it is a somewhat earnest one. Perhaps it’s my soft spot for this kind of thing, or maybe I just really needed happiness after the year I’ve had, but there is something there.

It can’t bring up the writing but it does keep the film from being flat out average. The writing is…okay, but the effort and heart, while not too special, is at least there.

CHARACTERS:

Being an Ensemble, there are a lot of characters they must focus on. The writing however does lead to rushed development, or little development. Btu on their own, the characters are…fine.

Starting with Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew Mcconaughey, the Koala who wants to get his theater back on top. He’s a fairly likable chap due to his love of the theater and how hard he tries. He’s not perfect as gets a liar revealed part in his story that goes nowhere. But it does make him well rounded enough to be enjoyable, and he works as our main focus in terms of development.

He has an assistant voiced by the director, that is a rather eccentric Iguana. She’s amusing enough with how odd she is, although that’s the extent of her character. He also has this sheep friend voiced by John C Riley who is…there.

I get them out of the way to move on to our contestants, starting with Rosita voiced by Reese Witherspoon. She is the most likable of that bunch as she is a housewife that has to deal with a lazy husband and tons of kids. She’s not complex but likable due to her nature, and her arc is finished passably.

Heck, the husband voiced by Nick Offerman isn’t even a total dick as he just kind of ignores her early on but is still very supportive by the end.

Next is Johnny, a Gorilla who is the son of criminal who of course wants to be a singer. He’s the most generic, with little personality outside of …wanting to be a singer. His ac is also the most cliché. He’s not too bad and he gets some passable moments, plus the heart is there,but he’s easily forgettable.

Next is Mike, voiced by Seth McFarlane. Yes, really. He’s a source of amusing jokes, and while I get that he’s here for Comic Relief, he is kind of useless. His story doesn’t go anywhere and he doesn’t tie in as much to everything else. He’s fun but kind of eh.

Next is Menna, a shy but talented Elephant voiced by Tori Kelly. She’s fine. It’s a typical “shy” arc but I do like bits of her story. That’s all I got, she’s okay.

Finally, we have the porcupines Ash, voiced by Scarlett Johansen, and Lance. They are rockers with Ash of course not being able to quite do what she wants. These two actually have an interesting dynamic, as one gets in and the other does not.

The resulting friction was honestly fascinating to see play out on both sides, and I enjoyed both characters. However, their arc drops the ball with how it’s resolved. You know what I mean if you’ve seen it. Still,they work okay.

The rest, as you expect are just there. They either support one of the arcs like Johnny’ Dad or exist for quick gags or move the plot forward such as the sheep that poses as the sort of villain but not really.

Like Secret Life of Pets, there is some quantity over quality going on here. If one was ditched, I think they could have writing everything better. Meena is the most disposable as even Mike works as a comic relief.

But as it is, this cast does overcrowd things but on their own, they are mostly likable, and maybe you’ll walk away remembering one, even if they aren’t too special

Final Thoughts:

Overall, Sing is another…fine film from Illumination. It boasts solid animation, and a few decent characters and nice ambition, but doesn’t reach higher than simply “Decent enough”. The writing can make some arcs feel rushed, and not quite balance them all the way and some characters feel too bland.

But the heart and honest passion does make this as …passable diversion. It perhaps runs too long for a kids movie, but it’s a decent enough kiddie flick. Is it very flawed in terms of the script? Yes, but it’s rarely painful and provides some nice heart and a cute ending.

It’s another “Cute” movie but I do think this tried harder than previous outings. It’s a step in the right direction, even if their falling still very much show. I recommend this to kids, and people who really like ensemble pieces, and of course singing.

That crowd will dig it, while the rest should just rent in in a few months. It’s middle of the road…but on the high road. Yeah, that’s a good way to put it. I doubt Despiclbe Me 3 will bring this company to great-ness but I hope they get their arc together and try harder.

And for the love of good, cool down on the advertising!

Writing: B-

Animation: B

Characters: B-

OVERALL: B-.

And not only was that the end of 2016, but the end of my 2016 general reviews. Overall, this was a fun experiment and while I had to sit through some stinkers, I did enjoy getting out more often and reviewing these various films.

Now, money will be a together going into the new year, so there will be less reviews at least for the first half of 2017. I will still see as many as I can, and at least all the animated ones. But just now, I may miss out on films I might have seen if I had more money.

In the meantime, sometime in early January I’ll look at the Worst and Best Films of 2016 to highlight the highs and lows of the year, some of which I never got a chance to review but I caught on DVD and the like. That will be fun.

Before I leave, I’ll just copy Ani-Mat some more and give you a taste of what I expect from the animated films of 2017, in real order:

The Lego Batman Movie: Wait, a first animated film of the year that actually looks appealing?!

Rock Dog: Eh, looks generic.

The Boss Baby: Eh, could go either way. Likely might be meh.

Ferdinand: Please let Blue Sky make another great film ,this sounds interesting enough.

Smurfs The Lost Village: Am I seriously optimistic about a new Smurfs movie? Guess getting rid of the live action paid off.

The Nut Job 2: The director is actually aware of what people think of the first one, and he actually plans to address the problems in the sequel…so here’s hoping they pull a Oujja .

Spark: Only just heard of this now but…yeah not having high hopes for a film starring Henry Danger.

Animal Crackers: Odd idea, but could be neat.

Despicable Me 3: Already love the villain, so please be good.

Cars 3: I hope that like Nut Job, they know why people didn’t like 2 and will fix this. Also, it will be nothing like that trailer, just saying.

Captain Underpants: I enjoyed the books as a kid and honestly fine them amusing now so hopefully this will be a faithful adaption.

Blazing Samurai: Sounds dumb but…maybe?

Coco: Should be a nice one for Pixar is Cars 3 doesn’t go too well.

The Emoji Movie: Why.

My Little Pony The Movie: Jokes aside, please be as great as I want it to be.

Keep in mind, more may be announced at the last minute, or be canned. Hopefully next year will be good, in general, not just media. So..

See ya.

Posted in General Reviews, Uncategorized | 1 Comment