Yet Another Look at my Screw Ups

Hello, Spongey here.

6 Years ago, I did two posts looking at some of my screw ups. Yes, 6 years ago, back when I had only been doing this for like a year. I already had quite a few mistakes I wanted to own up to, and now it’s 2019.

…There’s more to cover. I’ve wanted to do a Part 3 to this for years now but one draft got lost so I just gave up. But during 2018, a l lot of my mistakes were haunting me. So I figured I’ve finally come back to my favorite subject: How much I suck!

All jokes aside, this one will be different. I only have a few fact based mistakes because those don’t bother me as much, and plus I’ve tried to make less of those. That and I keep forgetting which ones I’ve made.

This will be either focused on whole reviews that sucked or more abstract issues I have. Some of you may be worried about all the self flogging I keep doing but this is where that all ends.

I think after I have some of this off my chest, I’ll feel better and be ready to really move and jumping into a future with a better me, Some of these I’ve already moved on from but I need to address why they were a problem to begin with.

And hey, this may help some people wanting to get into reviewing, by showing them everything NOT to do. Because if I learned anything this past year, is that seeing the mistakes of others helps me learn how to grow more than looking at role models.

I’m weird like that. With that said, let’s see what I’ve managed to get wrong this time.

This, is Yet Another Look at my Screw Ups

10. The 41 Year Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sara Marshall and felt Superbad about it/The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

We’re starting with some fact mistakes so minor that I felt I would tie them. There’s another one after this but it’s a slightly bigger deal to me so here we are.

The first one shall be quick. The credits of 41 year old waste of time had a dance number I thought was a reference to the a similar one from The 40 Year Old Virgin. You know, the movie this is a parody of.

But nope, it’s a reference to Slumdog Millionaire. While you could say the style should have tipped me off, this movie has flat out nothing to do with Slumdog and I hadn’t seen it so of course I wouldn’t make the connection.

This kind of explains the Indian guy now though. This is an example of me screwing up only because of how stupid the film is. Still, should have looked it up a bit more.

The other one is more on me. In The Mortal Instruments, there’s a twist where it turns out Clary and her love interest were actually siblings, with their father being the villain.

Yeah. I said there I read up on the books to see how this is handled and I found out that it turns out the villain lied about the sibling so they hook up, making all that kind of moot. But I didn’t need to do that becaus…this was revealed in the movie.

Granted it as a clearly ADR’d at the last minute line, but it’s there as someone tells the villain to lie to them about this.

As weakly as the movie handles it, I should have caught it before I went on like that. You can thank Cinematic Excrement for catching that one. Now to be fair, Clary and Jace don’t find this out so that icky-ness is still there to some extent.

I’m still not sure why incest needed to be hinted at in a YA story to begin with but yeah, should have paid better attention this time. This is why watching the move once beforehand is a good thing.

Granted, it doesn’t always help but here it would have been a wise thing to do. So yeah, both dumb mistakes that are dumb even if the movies themselves are also quite dumb.

Side note, did the Shadowhunters show ever go into…all that? I only saw the pilot episode. It was better than the movie.

9. A Cinderella Story

I somehow managed to make two mistakes in this one, and a commenter was one the one to point it out. Yeah,I didn’t expect to be called out for making a mistake in a Cinderella Story review either.

Anyway, when Hilary Duff shows up at the ball, the Alpha Bitch goes “Love the dress, hate her” or something along those lines. I took that to mean she knew this was Hilary and so I added to the list of reasons the film’s set up is so contrived.

And while the commenter did freely admit this was a guess, looking back it is kind of clear that she means she is jealous of whoever is in that dress and doesn’t know who it is.

While I still think this could have been shown much better (I mean, how else is someone gonna interpret it based on the execution?), I do think it’s pretty obvious in hindsight. The movie may be contrived, but it’s not THAT bad. For the most part.

The other mistake is near the end where i say that the male friend ended up with the Alpha Bitch during the wrap up. Nope. She did try to go after him but he rejects her and goes for some goth chick instead.

This one goes by pretty fast but Wikipedia mentions it so this is another case where I should have caught it. The latter mistake doesn’t matter too much but if I’m gonna make a big deal out of something,I should think about it a bit more.

And I watched the movie beforehand this time and I thought over some of the other stuff I called out,so there’s no real excuse this time. But yeah,that does it for the fact mistakes.

Now onto the less excusable stuff,starting with a few entire reviews I gotta talk about.

8. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

A review this somewhat recent has no right to be this bad. I can see why I didn’t mind it at the time but looking back it’s almost as annoying as the film itself.

It’s one of those times where I should have seen the movie first so I could list think of ways to vary up my complaints. My main problem with the movie is that most of the scenes barely any humor.

And while I did try to say more, that’s really all I said. I kept getting annoyed at the lack of substance and as a result I get annoyed reading it. It felt like I couldn’t find more to really say about it.

Granted, there’s not you really can say once you’ve established the films basic flaws so there wasn’t much point in this one. At least this got a strong reaction out of me, which puts it above other reviews I suppose. However, this one got flat out annoying because I keep repeating myself.

But on top of that, at the start I say the show isn’t my thing just based on some clips. I likely was jus trying to say my impressions but I feel some random clips aren’t enough for me to totally say it’s not appealing.

I should have said it doesn’t seem like it could be my thing, which is distinctly different. I did explain myself better in the Worst Films I reviewed in 2014 list but the review itself still could have been so much better.

This entry is the most filler-y but I feel this example of me being repetitive needed to be called out. There are worse reviews are far as lacking substance goes but this one was more annoying than some of the other examples.

I get what I was going for, but if I saw the movie beforehand, I may have either skipped this one or put more effort into it. Either way, it’s pretty bad.

7. A Serbian Film

….I wasn’t ready. Now I actually like this review more than the Tim & Eric one, but frankly the sections I did on it in other posts served as far better reviews of the movie.

Now to be fair, this was a request/dare from someone and if it weren’t for that I may have passed on it. It was late 2012, I was still trying to figure out how not to angry at children’s films.

What made me think I could do an exploitation arts-y movie? The outcome of this was really predictable. Of course I’d flip over the gross shit and focus on that.

I did the best I could but I should have done this a few years alter doing more reviews and watching other reviewers like Brad Jones who do this stuff more often.

Reacting in an over the top way Is exactly what the movie wants and exactly what every other reviewer would do. Pretty much any other reviewer who got to this before me did a better job.

Again, I later did a better job of explaining why it sucks without getting weird about it. I explained why the gross stuff fails and why it certainly does not help the story at all and why the movie is pretentious trash to me.

I haven’t touched anything like this since then, not even outside of the blog because I think so many other reviewers do it better than I could. I do know more about this stuff and why this example seems to fail.

But I’m still not into this kind of thing and really only dive in sometimes, and stick to what I’m used to. I branch out sometimes but as far as actually reviewing movies, I leave shit like this to the experiments who can get more out of it.

But if I do ever come back to this kind of movie, I will do a better job and try to explain myself better instead of getting angry at the gross parts. …But yeah, this move still sucks, even if A Frozen Christmas gave me more respect for it.

And now for the real problems I have/had.

6. Getting too angry

This one is somewhat low because I don’t think I’m as bad with this as you might think but it’s still worth talking about.

I started the scene by scene stuff in 2012 when the whole angry reviewing thing was thankfully not as big, as even the ones who started it were trying to be more intelligent. However, I still enjoyed accentuating the negative here and there.

Some of my early reviewers like Inspector Gadget 2 had me getting worked up simply because that was still to be expected in a sense. I’ve never really faked my anger so much as I kind of exaggerated it a tad for the sake of humor.

There are some reviews I’ll come back to and wonder why I felt the need to get upset over a movie. Usually my point still stands but I should have given that caps lack key a break.

I just think in you should only get angry when the product deserves it, or when it’s funny. If you get angry too often, no one will take you seriously because you do it too often and for the dumbest reasons.

That said, some of my angry reviews work like Miss March. Perhaps it was over the top but it was at least funny and it was quite fun to write for me. But otherwise I try to have fun with my negative reviews while not blowing a gasket.

Getting angry can be fun but try not to overdo it. The angry reviewer shtick is no longer cool so don’t have it bleed into otherwise normal reviews. My general review of Man of Steel had me randomly being angry at a thing that actually wasn’t too bad simply because everyone else was doing it.

There’s a time and place for anger but sometimes I overdid it a bit. You may notice my reviewers are a bit more chill these days with me having a bit more fun with the bad movies, because I feel I’m just better off that way.

It’s dumb to get angry at a Pup Star movie for example, I’d rather just snark at it and explain why it sucks. I’m far from anti angry/negativity (frankly I’d rather have a balance instead of being a one trick pony) but going too far is really annoying.

But speaking of doing things because others did it…

5. Copying from other critics

Okay, copying might be a strong word but there’s no doubt I’ve been “inspired” by others in the past. In the reviewing world it’s impossible to really stand totally so of course most people who don’t have a crazy gimmick will take inspiration from somewhere.

The problem arises when you act too much like your inspirations or don’t really add anything that new. I do tend to like certain things reviewers I like do enough to do them myself and sometimes that results in me being a tad too much like them.

I covered some of this in the anger section where I’d get worked up over things because others did. Then you have a few of the early TV Reviews which I will had a certain Enter influence, before I branched out and complained about other problems. Although episodes with a lot of annoyance/unfair treatment of characters do still get to me the most since I judge based on enjoyment and that stuff manages to have more direct annoyance to me than simply a weak story.

And while this wasn’t on my blog, over on DA I did do a bit overboard with the notepages and such. I don’t have against doing one sometimes but now I want my DA focused on strictly review stuff where I can explain myself more. I also saw how flawed those notepages are by design when A Frozen Christmas couldn’t even get 30 points, WTF?!

Nowadays when I borrow an idea, I’ll either do my own spin on it or will try to review it in my own way. I think the Bad Episodes of Cartoons I Like lists hopefully succeed for this reason.

I think the reviewing community is moving past that phase where people just copy whoever the most popular guy is. There’s always going to be cheap copycats but I’m seeing people do their own thing, even if they may cover similar subject matter to others. In general, at least.

My focus on bring more critical than funny does prevent me from doing anything too crazy but I do try to just review things however I want, without copying others. At least not intentionally.

Even in the Scene by Scene reviews, I ain’t going full NC (thank god) anymore. So yeah, there’s nothing wrong with being inspired but you should do that without just being a total copy.

Sticking to someone else’s shtick is just going to be a weakness in the long run and this is something I’ve really had to learn overtime. Regardless of how well I’m doing, I’m at least trying to do things in the way I personally want to do them.

And yeah, next one.

4. Overly Long Reviews

I’ll fittingly make this one short as it’s kind of self-explanatory. There was a period in my first few years where for some reason a lot of my reviews where way too long.

It was mostly the scene by scene reviews, as I’d quote things too often and take too long to sum things up. Plus the final thoughts sections were also too long.

How long is too long is subjective I guess but a lot of these did not need to go on as long as they did. The 2013 reviews had this problem the most, I guess to make those 77 reviews really count.

This also applied to my lists as I would sometimes spoil too much.. The Phineas and Ferb Season 3 list had this the worst and it’s why future lists of that kind tended to be more vague when I describe things.

You can also be too short but that hasn’t been as much of a problem for me. Long reviews can work if the reviewer can hold your attention for long periods of time and even if I am one of them, most of my long reviews did not need to be so lengthy.

My whole thing of always watching the movie first does mean I can plan ahead and truncate things when I need to instead of repeating myself or anything like that.

Maybe some find still my stuff too long but I’m generally better at keeping the length of these under control and making sure most of what’s there needs to be.

It’s a fairly hard balance to strike but hopefully it’s not as bad as it used to be.

3. Dull/Pointless Reviews

Here’s one you should all be aware of. This is part of the reason I keep changing how often I do these Scene by Scene reviews to begin with.

The main issue with that format is that it relies on the subject matter being interesting enough to recap or the reviewer being good enough to recap it while still adding jokes/insight.

For me, I kind of need the material to be interesting/varied enough in terms of what happens in it, be it good or bad. This is why I generally watch the movie once beforehand to see if it is worth it now.

Somehow it took me until 2016 to realize that. Sure, it was fun sometimes to see my first reactions to things like Movie 43 or Jack & Jill but then of course you have the many times I didn’t know the movie would give me nothing to work with.

Fun Size, Silver Surfer and even Punch Drunk Love are just a few example of reviews where I simply didn’t say much in the recap portion because there wasn’t much to say.

A far more talented/funnier reviewer than me can make stuff like that work but as you can tell, I’m not more talented/funnier. This can seep into more recent reviews like Elektra where I didn’t have as much say to say I thought but I needed to a bad real movie to fill up the month.

If I had watched the film first for ever review, I may not have even made it 100, much like 300. Although my dumb 4 day schedule that I still don’t know how I kept up for that long played a part in this as well.

Not every review can be of a big movie that gives me a lot to say of course but the amount of dull pointless reviews is still bad. Some of them only existed as tie ins to upcoming release which I’ve done less of and made sure the tie ins I do are good ones.

Like most things on here, I’m not perfect now but I at least don’t pad the blog out with these dull reviews as much anymore. I don’t mind a filler review sometimes but I did far too many of these.

I now try a bit harder to make sure I can say something about the movie before I bother to review it, and don’t flood this place with too many dull pointless filler reviews.

And yeah, that’s all I can say on the matter.

2. Lack of Proofreading

Here’s a totally new screw up I’ve never brought up before! ….Yeah, I’ve talked about my various spelling/grammar errors before, even back in the first screw ups post.

I think it’s time to really discuss how those even happen. They’re all mostly just dumb typos and I do indeed know how to spell everything I screw up, at least for the most part.

I know that goes without saying for most people but some don’t always get it and I just needed to say that. There’s some mistakes that were real like how the whole Its/It’s thing that most people screw up sometimes. Plus, I haven’t always nailed every single word in my early years.

I’m actually a pretty fast typer and I tend to just type without really looking too hard at the keyboard and you can see the results of that. I’m still not sure how a lot of these mistakes even happen sometimes, as they can get weird with me forgetting key words.

And as the title of this section says, another reason I didn’t exactly proofread these posts. Maybe I’ll see some stuff right before it goes up or I’ll reread some posts for fun and then go to edit them because the errors annoyed me.

I have no clue why it took me until last year to read through these a bit before bothering to post them. I don’t like to read over my work too much once but now I kind of have to put a little more quality control in these, especially since it’s what I put a lot of my time into.

I tend to do things kind of quickly so that’s how these kind of happens. I still have to do it a bit harder but at least I’m putting more effort into proofreading these.

Mistakes are going to happen no matter what, it’s that I need to catch them before to post these for all 2 of you to see. Especially the big posts that really matter to me.

So hopefully now you get this stuff happens and that I will try harder in the future. Even if I’m still not perfect, at least I’m taking the steps to make sure dumb mistakes like happen like often.

Because my only other option is having a proofreader and yeah, that wouldn’t look great on me. Granted I don’t look great now but I’m trying dammit. Anyway, expect more of that proofreading in the future.

(By the way, WordPress has a Proofread feature I do use but it doesn’t catch every kind of mistake so there you go) (Also, I carefully went through this section but watch an ironic mistake slip through anyway)

And our final screw up we’re looking at is from..

1. Grown Ups 2

…This is going to be awkward to discuss. No, I’m not talking about that tribute at the end to someone who turned to be a sex offender. As embarrassing as that is, I couldn’t have known that at the time.

It’ll seem kind of small and dumb but it’s something that looks pretty bad on me. Okay, this is back when I’d put pictures from the film in the post pretty often. Like, all the time. It wasn’t always needed.

You may recall that whole “She’s Nice” gag which would involve a picture of an attractive woman. That in itself Is just a dumb gag so stuff like that being in this review shouldn’t be a huge deal in general.

But the thing is, I sort of criticize the movie for the fan service a fair bit and yet here I am, playing right into it. I can’t tell you exactly what was going in my head in 2014 but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t being a tad meatheaded when I threw those pictures in the post.

It’s worth noting this post is one of my most viewed and based on the phrases people tend to google to find this blog….yeah, I think things are adding up. (That happens a lot see also Scooby Doo of all things) It’s mostly just typical stupidity on my part but the blatant hypocrisy is just…bad.

I generally don’t think the “She’s Nice” stuff is too bad given it was mostly for laughs but things like this do cross a bit of a line. It’s far from the worst example of this sort of thing (and hey, most of it was when I was a literal teenager. God, I feel old already) but it’s still bad.

As I said, it seems small and dumb but it’s another thing I did since other reviewers either did this sort of thing or made these sort of jokes. Most of them I can view as sort of harmless but some get rather creepy and in 2019, that looks so much worse.

It’s another one of those I’ve cut back on as I’ve grown up. Again, some of is just jokes but some of it is more creepy than truly funny. Either way, this example from this review was just short sighted and hypocritical on my part.

This is the last one we’re discussing because it’s the one I was the least comfortable admitting, while all this other stuff I’ve talked about before on some level.

But if there’s anything I’ve done plenty of lately, it’s look inside myself and admit mistakes I’ve previously didn’t even want to address. I’m not sure how big of a deal this one was but it took a bit to really address so that’s why it’s number one for me.

But just like everything else here, I’m admitting it and have basically moved past it. Hopefully I can keep that in the future.

And those were even more of my screw ups. I likely won’t do another of these, as I’ll just address any upcoming mistakes in other places. I’ll admit I can be too hard on myself but all of these are things I do need to work and I’m glad it’s all out there.

I won’t pretend like I’ll ever be totally perfect or totally 100% fix every mistake I’ve made but I’m always taking steps to improve in every way I can. Some of it is easier to fix than others and it can be hard to tell what really needs fixing or what I’m just over thinking.

But most of these are indeed problems I’m hopefully moving past. I feel like I’m repeating myself so we’ll wrap this up. Moving past your flaws is not always easy but hopefully you can admit them and try to fix them as best as you can.

You won’t please everyone so it’s best to try to be as good you personally want to be. You should still listen to others and see if they have a point about how you present yourself but the most important thing is if YOU think you’re doing well.

In short, fix your flaws as best as you can but don’t always sweat it too much because you’ll just go crazy if you try to tweak every single little thing someone has a problem with.

Every year it seems like I’m learning something new that helps me improve in some way and this will continue into the future. I’ll never be perfect and I’ll be making jokes about myself but I’ll try to be generally happy with who I am while still keeping all of these mistakes in mind so I can move past them.

…So yeah, I suck but I’ll try to suck a tiny bit less going forward. Hope you enjoyed this bit of self loathing and let’s make this year a far better one now that I’m getting past all this stuff.

See ya.

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Ranking the Animated films of 2014

Hello, Spongey here.

We’re almost done with this crazy project, my friends. We are also starting 2019 right with a year that is sure to make up for 2013 being weak. I remember this being an interesting year and even before diving in, I know it is.

For one, Pixar bowed out for first the time in awhile, which gave other studios some more spotlight. Don’t worry guys, you’ll be back with a vengeance next year. This year is also notable for having a fair few smaller movies with limited releases, and I had to decide which ones were big enough for me to cover.

But anyway, onto the awards. The Oscars nominated Big Hero 6, Boxtrolls, How to Train your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. A generally solid bunch and BH6 won which I’m honestly still a tad upset about. Aside from a certain toy based movie being left out, them going with it does kind of show a bias which usually doesn’t bug me here but with how even more beloved a couple of the others are, it does stick out.

Ah well, it’s not like they matter too much. The Golden Globes made up for it by including LEGO Movie and giving it to Dragon 2. The Annies nominated all of the above, along with Bill Plympton’s “Cheatin'”. Dragon 2 won here too, so the Oscars stand out even more here.

But Awards aside, this year had some crazy surprises so let’s dig in and see which ones stood as good ones.

This, is Ranking the Animated Films of 2014

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart: Not quite a big enough release for me to cover, but it looks fine

Mune Guardian of the Moon: Some french movie that does look kind of neat

Rainbow Rocks: https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2014/10/01/movie-review-rainbow-rocks/

Scooby Doo Frankencreepy: https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/scooby-doo-frankencreepy/

The Pirate Fairy: https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/the-pirate-fairy/

The Swan Princess 5: https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/the-swan-princess-a-royal-family-tale/

The Seventh Dwarf: I only remember this one for the Mr. Coat video on it, which basically became a touching tribute to co-director Harald Sieperman. Also Peyton List is this, neat.

Not the biggest list, but ah well. Onto the proper movies!

BAD:

Legends of Oz Dorothy’s Return:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/legends-of-oz-dorothys-return/

Yeah, no surprise here. As I said in my review, this take on Oz was pretty uninspired and lacked much magic. Or good writing for that matter. This could have worked but it ended up being just annoying to me. I don’t usually go hard on these sort of things but this got me with how dull itwas.

It’s far from the worst, but it as still pretty weak.

MEH:

The Nut Job:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2014/08/21/the-nut-job/

I think I’ve said what I need to about this movie. It’s a creative premise done in a fairly weak way that isn’t that funny or interesting. But it has funny moments and decent animation, and it s overall totally just forgettable and harmless.

To this day, I don;t know why certain people got so up in arms about it. It’s not very good, but it’s nothing truly awful either. There is that “mean spirited” complaint (which needs to die btw) but at least Surly’s nature is intentional and personally that aspect isn’t nearly as bad as in some other movies.

But hey, they at least fixed some of this in the sequel…which was still hated on for…reasons. Oh whatever. At least we’ll have Psy. Yeah, that’s still stupid.

Planes Fire and Rescue:

Another one I covered well enough. It improves on the first one with some nice moments, but is mostly just a dull re-hash. The only thing to mention that is the show I say is a Cops parody was actually a CHiPs spoof.

I only mention this screw up to say that yes, that one clip was indeed better than the actual CHiPs movie. That is all.

AVERAGE:

Postman Pat The Movie:

This is one of the limited releases I wasn’t sure if I should include or not. Eventually I figured it was big enough and the result was…something.

Full Disclosure: I didn’t grow up with this show so I knew very little going on, but I could tell what they got right and wrong. It was a bit better than I expected at points given the kind of movie it is. Its heart is in the right place with a fine message and some nice moments with Pat.

They also try to include some clever humor and some of it did work, like the video the villain shows for a reason I’ll get into. Also, when we see a newspaper we see that the story was written by “Nicole Dubuc” which is a nice shoutout to the movies actual writer, who is usually better than this btw.

On the flip side, there’s some dated things like a Simon Cowell parody. But then there’s the plot which involves someone making Postman Pat robots which he eventually wants to use to take over the world. …Yeah, I’m just gonna assume the show never had an of that.

It’s just so odd and it is clear they didn’t know how to fill this out. The whole thing with him getting famous is cliche but could work fine on its own. There’s also this other guy who I think is trying to kill Pat, which is also weird.

Almost as weird as the Dalek cameo. Did I mention David Tennant is in this as well?

Eventually the movie gets rather dull and odd, with an overlong climax and dance party ending. And while the animation and art style is decent enough, I can see why this was a limited release as there’s nothing here that warrants it being a theatrical release.

There is some  okay stuff in here, but a fair bit of is over complicated and just weird for a Postman Pat movie. It didn’t quite bug me enough to be called bad or meh, but it’s not likely to please many people due to the weird plot and such.

Not to bad for kids and it has some clever humor, but overall this isn’t worth delivering.

(Side note: At one point Pat gets a movie deal and according to one article we see, one of the potential directors is “Bay” .Now THAT, I would watch)

Rio 2:

I talked a bit about this in my 2014 review retrospective, but now’s the time to actually give this movie a fair review. I wasn’t fond of it the first time but now I wanted to give it a chance, as I was hoping to like it. That didn’t quite happen, but it’s not a huge bust either. It’s just…well you can see right there.

The first movie managed to make up for a weak story with strong energy, which I just didn’t quite feel as much here. Taking place in just the Amazon might have played a part, but maybe if the writing was stronger this would be less of an issue.

I wouldn’t say there’s a ton going on, so much as the movie seems to get a bit distracted at times. Alongside Blu and Jewel finding Jewel’s father, we have Nigel trying to get revenge, while Will i Am auditions animals for a thing, and also loggers are here too. Sometimes I’ll forget about some of these as the movie does too.

I appreciate some of the main story like how Jewell’s Dad’s distrust of Blu is more of a slide rather than him flat out hating Blu from the start. But there’s also this sexy male bird he sort of competes with but not really. Also, Jewel’s Dad trusting him again is a bit rushed.

While I don’t find the logger’s part of the lot preachy per say (I think it serves to show that some humans can indeed be bad, even if not all are. Plus it is a real thing that happens in the Amazon so it makes sense as a conflict) but the head logger guy is super over the top and it kind of takes away from the realism compared to the human bad guy in the first one.

Speaking of bad guys, Nigel is weirdly ineffectual here. He isn’t even that involved in the climax until they remembered to throw him in. But to be fair, he’s still as amazing as ever with his rendition of I Will Survive being an all time classic. Gabbi is also a fun character thanks to her animation and Kristen Chenoweth’s voice work.

The songs about on par with the first one with Poisonous Love of course being the highlight. And the animation is even better with the right colors, lighting and even some decent cinematography at times.

Rio 2 is a bit better than some other animated sequels of it;s kind with it at least trying to add some interesting stuff with the same solid songs and great animation, along with a new enjoyable additions. But it ends up trying a bit too hard some aspects of the main story as weak,and it gets distracted with side elements that don’t always mix well with the main story.

It’s okay I guess, but the first movie simply did a better job of overcoming it’s narrative shortcomings with more energy and a tighter script. It’s certainly better than the Ice 4 and 5 but I personally think Ice Age 2 and 3 are better and more enjoyable Blue Sky sequels.

(Side note, Kate Miccuci voices the babysitter in the opening. Of course. Also, the fact that I failed to mention the kids tells you everything you need to know about how I feel about them)

GOOD:

Penguins of Madagascar:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/06/24/penguins-of-madagascar-vs-minions/

Here’s one I can skip due to covering in a movie battle. But yeah, it doesn’t top its first 10 minutes or so but it is still a fun time with good cartoon-y animation and decent humor. It could have been better (and honestly i like the TV series more) but it is a solid attempt to give these side characters a full feature.

That is all.

The Book of Life:

Reel FX returns with the help of El Tigre creator Jorge R. Guiterrez to bring us a huge upgrade compared to their debut. I wouldn’t call this a classic or anything, but it is fun.

It’s another movie where the basic story drags it down, as it is mostly just a love triangle and honestly I wasn’t too invested in a fair bit of that. There’s also the dad who wants Manolo to do a thing he doesn’t want to do, yawn.

I think the next movie on here did  a better job of getting more its slightly weak sstory, but this was still good despite that. My other problem is they perhaps a tried a bit too hard to make Maria  a “Strong Independent Woman” eve tough I still generally like her.

But even with all that, I still liked most of the characters enough, and there’s some nice bits of heart here. La Muerte and Xibalbia as easily the highlight due to their fun chemistry, and the scenes in their realm in general is where the film as it it’s most enjoyable.

The scenes outside of there aren’t quite as good but that whole section is lively and creative enough to make up for it. I like the old legend nature of the story, as it excuses a few of the cliche and it is also why I don’t mind the wraparound segments.

(Speaking of them,this is the 3rd animated film of this year after LEGO and Rainbow Rocks to mention Taco Tuesday. Huh)

And of course there’s the animation. It has a really unique style to with the wooden puppet-y designs as well as the look of the land of the remembered. The visuals offer tons of creativity, and even the El Tigre art style pops up at times. Along with a neat El Tigre if you’re looking for it.

So even when the story is lacking, the creativity in the animation can make up for it. And that’s really all I can about this one. The basic story is very been there done that, but the director’s passion is felt through the whole thing.

There’s enough heart, amusing moments and great animation to make this a fun time even if it’s not one that sticks with me a ton compared to other movies. I really wish Reel FX would make another movie, besides just doing the animation of other people’s movies like Rock Dog, they proved with this movie they can really bring it.

But before then, I can enjoy this fun little flick. And he, I got through this without bringing up Coco. …Damn it!

The Boxtrolls:

Lakia returns with their weakest offering, tat still manages to be pretty enjoyable. Honestly, the flaws come due to the nature of the story they picked rather than it having any really big issues.

The story is a typical Tarzen-ish tale with a boy being raised by something non human, in this case it’s the titular creatures. He befriends an upper class girl who shows him the human world and her father is not a very attentive one.

Also their relationship isn’t quite as developed as it should have been. But they still manage to make this an enjoyable take on this story, despite a few dull spots. Eggs is a likable enough lead and The Boxtrolls are pretty cute, but it’s the villain Archibald Snatcher who steals the show.

Ben Kingskley gives a really fun performance but even on a writing level he works. The reason he’s doing all this is to give in with the “White Hats” and their whole cheese tasting hing. He’s full on allergic to cheese but he goes about doing this anyway.

Frankly, the White Hats are the real villains as they shut out anyone who isn’t like them and cause Snatcher to do what he does. It’s not exactly new or subtle commentary but it is smart and works for the greater message that you don’t have to be what the world wants you to be and all that.

The henchmen are also fun even if their running gag of them wondering if they’re the good guys gets a bit old. Love their mid credits scene though.

Beyond that, the animation and production design are top notch with creative designs these huge sets that they’ve created. Much like other studios, Lakia will always impress with the visuals even with the script is lacking in places.

The Boxtrolls doesn’t do anything too new but they make up for it with impressive animation, a great villain, and some charming characters. I enjoyed this a bit more on re-watch now that I knew what I was getting into.

Still not their best work, but it is worth a watch for some solid family entertainment.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman:

You might recall the dark time I reviewed the live action Jay War movies like George of the Jungle. I thought they were actually pretty good and this can be added to the pile of good takes on classic source materiel. While it’s not one of Dreamworks best or anything, I do have a soft spot for it.

Right away they captured the feel of the original cartoon pretty well with Mr. Peabody’s personality (and puns) and all that. The leads are portrayed well with them having a nice relationship. It’s the heart of the making and it works as they go into how they care about each other, as well having fun interactions when they go back in time.

The idea of people not finding dogs fit to adopt humans is a tad odd but I think it works in the context of the story and there is some decent drama they get out of it, even if some of it is rather cliche. The humor is pretty good with some of the historical figures being highlights, like Patrick Warburton. Man, he really is in everything.

Speaking of voice actors, while the celebs like Ty Burell are good, I gotta give Max Charles (aka Harvey Beaks) major credit too for being really good and natural as Sherman. This kid is really good and I hope he gets all the roles.

Side note, I appreciate this movie for briefly reuniting Ariel Winter and Zach Callison. I’m also amused that the very same scene has Peabody calling her a “precious princess”.

That makes for a good transition to bringing up Penny, who brings the movie down for most people. I n general I think she works fine as she ends up serving a fine purpose to the drama but I will admit she gets useless near the end as they just forget about her. The romance is also fairly pointless, but I don’t find her too annoying at least.

There’s a few things like that which are thrown in since they are expected for family films, but aside from those things this movie is solid. The animation is of course quite good, bringing the design to 3D pretty well and all that. It’s typical good CGI animation but it is still good.

This movie respects the cartoon decently enough and adds in a good father/son relationship along with good humor and voice acting. It does exactly what it needs to do and is a fun experience all around. It’s not a great feat or anything but it’s fun and a slightly underrated as far as recent-ish Dreamworks movies go.

Oh, and it juggles the time travel “logic” with the story and humor decently well, which is a nice bonus. Take that, Free Birds!

(I suppose Boxtrolls is more consistent this hit slightly higher highs for me so yeah)

Big Hero 6:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/ranking-the-disney-animated-canon-2010s/

And for the last time we have a Disney one I can skip due to covering it in the link above. I wasn’t sure to where to put this one has it does have serious flaws but it also has a lot that I really enjoy. It appeals more to me than our next two but also has more flaws.

So there you go. Either way, it’s a solid movie with plenty to enjoy, even if it isn’t anything amazing.  (The series is worth checking out, by the way. It mixes everything a tad better at times, and is pretty fun)

The Wind Rises:

It’s Gihbli time, with Miazaki’s kind of sort of but not really swan song. This one is different as it is’s a fictionalized bio pic of aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi. One thing you gotta know about me is that I tend to find most bio pics, even the more acclaimed ones, simply pretty good. I tend to appreciate them more than I really like them.

That does apply to this one, as it can be a bit dry and long. Its two hour and does feel it, mostly in the mid section as opposed to the 3rd act. There are minor actual complaints, like how some of the dialogue between him and his love interest being a bit wonky, and while Joseph Gorden Levit is generally fine, sometimes he can be a bit stiff.

But otherwise, one is solid. This is a fairly romanticized take on this kind of story but it does generally work with some effective moments like the dream sequences. I did care about Jiro here as he doesn’t like his plans being used for war and we see how much he cares about his work.

The romance ends up taking up a lot of this but even that was sweet enough to work. There’s some lovely moments here that elevate beyond a typical example of this sort of thing, as corny as it can be. The animation naturally helps but the music is also really strong and makes a lot of these scenes even more effective.

It has some of the usual pitfalls of a bio-pic as well as some small issues, but this still ends up being a pretty solid film that mostly got me invested in this story with some effective scenes, elevated by strong animation and music.

Not totally in love but I can still appreciate it due to what it gets right. If it sounds interesting, I’d say check it.

(Also, Young Jiro gives out 2nd Zach Calison role for this year. Neat)

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya:

Ghibli  film #2, Two Gibhli’s in a row, with this one being a bit more unique to say the least.  This is a time where I try hard to justify it being where it is as you may think it should be lower based on what I have to say, but hear me out.

The biggest problem with this movie is that it is two hours and my god does it feel it. Hell,, it felt even longer. This is mostly felt in the mid section where it gets into other stuff that isn’t connected too much to the bigger story.

So many bits drag and there really was no reason for this to be as long as it is. The story isn’t especially complicated in general so it feels like they did it for the sake of it. That’s sad because a lot of this is really effective.

The start with the man raising the bamboo princess  is super charming as we see her grow up.  It’s interesting to see her grow up and go through certain hard ships and there;s some really effective and powerful moments.

Especially the ending. There’s a twist and it leads to an ending that’s a bit of a downer and it works quite well. Just like Wind Rises, there’s some good use of music that really elevates this as well.

There’s also the sketch-y art style which can be uncanny at times but is mostly really striking. There’s some great stuff in here so it sucks that it ended up shooting itself in the foot a tad with how padded it can get.

I have loved long films before though, so I do think some parts do genuinely not really add too much, like the whole thing with the suitors needing to get her these items.  But with that said, it is a pretty good movie with plenty to like.

It has charm, heart, a striking art style and some really beautiful moments all over the place. If it wasjust a bit shorter/tighter in quite a few places, it could have been a classic for me. But it’s cool if it is for all 100% of these guys on RT.

Which I guess puts on the same footing as Paddington 2, nice.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya will either be a masterpiece of merely a pretty good movie, but either way it is still pretty memorable and interesting in the least. Check it out to see where you fall.

GREAT:

Song of the Sea:

Finally time to finish up the Cartoon Saloon movies with their 2nd effort, and my personal favorite. This one of the movies that I was looked forward to seeing when I started this and man did it end up being as good as I wanted to be.

For the first half I was enjoying it but I figured it would just simply be pretty good. The simplistic nature of just this girl finding out she’s this sea person (a “Slikie” as they call them) was preventing it from reaching greater heights, even if it was more even than Secret of Kells.

But as it went along, we find out more about what is going in and man does it get interesting. At the start we see that Saoirse and Ben’s Mom left them early on and they’re stuck with and a jerk-y grandmother.

When we find out more about all this, it gets deeper and more interesting. Ben (who started off pretty douchey) starts bonding with Saoirse slowly grows as a person, which ended up being earned which impressed me given how he acted before.

The entire 3rd act really pulls this film through. It hits some emotional highs and ends in the perfect way. Certain element aren’t the most original or can seem a bit rushed but by the end it all comes together really well.

The way they wrap this up makes for any of the minor flaws it had before. Even a few of the slightly rushed moments like this one characters change of heart, still works given the circumstances and what they were doing.

And just like their other movies, the animation and atmosphere are strong. The style is a bit smoother than in Kells which works quite well, and the music really add a a relaxing and solid vibe that is enjoyable to get lost in.

While it did start with a couple drawbacks, this ended up being a strong film. Song of the Sea is just beautiful with it’s visuals, atmosphere and story that gets more interesting and emotional as it goes on.

If someone lie me could get won over despite some potential weak-ness, than it must be doing something really right. All 3 of their films have been solid but this stood out as their best one.

Definitely another indie gem worth a look.

How to Train Your Dragon 2:

This is another big one I’ve been itching to re-watch to see how it holds up. And yeah, it held up quite well. I actually saw this in theaters but for some reason I never talked about it, but now here’s my chance.

Dispute losing Chris sanders, they managed to keep a lot of what I praised about the first movie intact and then some. They still do a great job of making yo feel the characters and understanding why they do what they do. There’s still strong interactions, both the funny and emotional ones.

This world is still a great one, with a strong sense of community, even if there is less of that as it is set outside of Berk for most of it. The story is pushed further as Hiccup meets his mother (it’s been 4 years, not a spoiler anymore) and they explore more of their relationship with dragons.

Admittedly, the whole thing with there being no real bad dragons is a bit idealized but it still works in the context of the story. While we’re on minor flaws, some of the supporting cast is sidelined and the pacing isn’t quite as tight as the first film.

But there’s some good moments with them and it’s still a good length, without being too long in the grand scheme of things. All the high points plus those are able to make up for some nitpicks like that. These movies have a atmosphere to them that makes them really appealing to me.

The interactions, the stunning animation, and John Powell’s music really makes these movies so enjoyable and engaging to experience. There’s a lot of moments were they just let you soak things in, and there’s plenty of strong emotional moments.

The villain manages to be genuinely threatening (mostly due to Djimon Honsou’s performance), and while they give him a backstory, they don’t redeem him. Hell, Hiccup keeps trying to reach out to him but he refuses as he is still set in his ways. Just like Panda 2, that is so refreshing to see.

Hiccup’s arc of wanting to be a good chief is a strong way, especially wit how the ending plays into it. Oh boy, the ending. Without spoiling anything, they do something very few major animated films do and it really works. The emotional moments hit hard here and the ending is the biggest example of that.

So while the first movie was tighter in a few places, this sequel still does a great job of keeping the quality intact. The themes are explored further, Hiccup grows nicely, and there’s still some strong emotion along the top notch music and visuals.

I want to finally watch the TV Show just to see more of this world I don’t quite want the upcoming 3rd one to totally be the end of it for me. But yeah bring on that 3rd one, as these films are great so far.

But even with the great-ness of that one, my favorite animated film of 2014 is…

The LEGO Movie:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/movie-review-the-lego-movie/

Yeah, I hate to be obvious but whatever. Dragon 2 came a bit close but this not only y had less nitpick-y issues but also gave me even more joy. For once I think my older review holds up fine (minus the mention of Jake…) so I won’t say too much.

Especially since you know why this movie is as good as it is. It’s incredibly creative, very much, has tons of re-watchable and celebrates creativity and has a great twist that explains the nature of everything going on.

It’s another one I’ve grown to like even more as time goes on. It’s exactly my kind of movie, having some deep stuff while still just being plain FUN. If you want to ignore the deeper stuff, you can just enjoy all the madcap fun.

They easily could have not realized the creative potential with this idea and just made another kids movie but instead we got this endlessly fun family film. So yeah, it does basically everything right as far as I’m concerned.

Can’t wait for the sequel but for now, we have my favorite animated film of 2014.

And those were my favorite animated films of 2014. Yeah, this was an improvement over 2013. The weaker ones were a bit better and we had plenty of strong entries. The top 2 alone make this year a a good one but some quite strong indie gems plus a some fun Disney/Dreamworks entries rounded things out nicely.

We had a solid variety especially as far as styles go. These movies managed to be better than expected in some ways, with my favorite being a big example. As far as this decade goes, the top few put this on the upper end for me, even with some of the flaws in a few of these.

Overall, 2014 was pretty solid and really shook things after the letdown that was 2013. I don’t wanna diss that year to much as it had movies I enjoyed, but my 3rd favorite of this year was better than my favorite of that year. Yep.

It’s weird that a year without Pixar ended up being solid but there we go. With that, we have one to go. Next time we finish this epic project with 2015, I year don’t quite know what to expect from despite recalling many films from it.

Either way, join me then to wrap this all up.

See ya.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Animation, Lists | 1 Comment

The Best and Worst Things I Reviewed in 2018

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time to close out another year on the blog. I got out my negative thoughts on 2018 yesterday, with an emphasis on trying to look on the bright side. So this year we’ll just cut to the good stuff.

2018 was actually quite the landmark year for me in a few ways. I started trying to improve the blog a tad (which you’ll read more about next week) and I somehow got 3 thousand subscribers on YouTibe and a random Wimpy Kid video I did hit 1 million views.

Not even kidding. Too bad I also became too invested n the blog to do many YT videos, ah well. As far as the blog is, we did pretty well. I once again finally did a few more really good movies and I think the reviews turned out pretty decently.

It was business as usual in a good way, with a few experiments here and there that I hope to also do in 2019. I wanna try to balance the usual stuff I do with some fresh spins, at least best as I can. And also I did my 300th…and 303rd review.

But before we look to the future, we must first look at the past. I reviewed plenty of things as always, so let’s see which ones stood to me, for better or worse.

Both lists will be…fun to discuss, to say the least. So let’s dive in.

This, is The Best and Worst Things I Reviewed in 2018

TOP 5 WORST FILMS I REVIEWED:

I won’t talk about Misc things as I didn’t touch on too many aside for some just simply bad stuff like Flushed in Space or Doogal. Maybe next year I may just put it all together instead of just covering the bad movies I did in the Scene by Scene reviews, we’ll see.

The bad stuff was about on the same level as usual, with a few surprises. You all know what the number one will be but for fun, let’s build up to it anyway. 5.

5.The Treasure Planet

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/303rd-review-spectacular/

We’re sadly starting what will be a weirdly positive section on a downer note. The director Rumen Petkov passed away a few months after I did the review.. He was lesser known so that’s why this death didn’t trend on Twitter or anything.

But man, that timing. He proved with his Cartoon Network work that he had plenty of talent and his style is certainly unique. He made a few shorts that I found which are more or less the same thing as this, even with the same sound effects.

This movie is pretty bad on all fronts: The animation is extremity only, the tone is confusing, the story is even more confusing and the ending is just…what. I got a slightly better understanding of what it was going for when I reviewed but there’s still so much that makes no sense or is very poorly explained.

I’m still not sure how much of that can be blamed on the dub. Some comments on both the movie and a couple of reviews say there was more of a sense humor that either could not translated well or was not translated well,

But the movie also seems to be trying something somewhat deep at times, and the dub does have some jokes like “You don’t turn me on, that’s for sure!” that feel a bit out of place. Or maybe it fits perfectly, I feel like the dub can really only get so much blame.

The Bulgarian version is on YouTube but with no subs, so if someone could make some, that would be great. But either way, this movie could honestly also go on the best list because I don’t think I’ve had this much fun with a bad movie n a long time.

The crazy animation and sound effects really keeps the laughs coming and the strange tone and atmosphere do keep me invested in a weird way. If only to see if starts making sense.

And on top of that, this did feel like people trying to make a unique and cool movie, they just didn’t have the experience or budget to make It…work per say. So as bad as it is, it at least likes an attempt at a movie, which is more than I say for other animated movies of its kind.

So for all the entertainment it brought me, I have to give it credit that puts it above the other movies on here. Thanks a bunch of Rumen, this movie was certainly a…treasure of sorts.

4.Yoga Hosers

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/11/23/yoga-hosers/

I flip flopped on this one’s placement but regardless of where it fells this is sitll one of the more disappointing bad movies I’ve reviewed.

This review is more fresh on my mind than these others, so I’ll keep this short. Kevin Smith has made some pretty flawed films but they usually have some decent things to keep them from being bad or even mediocre.

 Tusk and Red State were Average movies bordering on Meh for me so Yoga Hosers jumping straight down to Bad is really surprising for me. Kevin Smith is someone who I keep gaining respect for as time goes on so this movie is especially sad.

Even taking that aside the actors are all trying and can score some laughs that the script does not provide on its own, even when they are forced to have really bad accents.

But outside of that, this was a hard one to get through, which makes me glad it was short. Even in the review I got a bit repetitive at times because the movie just wasn’t going anywhere.

It has a funny premise that it refuses to do anything with, which makes me wish they waited a year to make this cuz you know it would have more nazi killing now. Instead they focus more on jokes about Canada existing.

The leads are unlikable in the annoying way and a lot of the scenes either drag on or serve no purpose ontop of not being funny. It was just a lot of noting and when it tried to make a point, it did it so badly I thought it was an Anti Critic thing when it actually wasn’t.

Or at least, not as much as it seemed. Usually this would be higher since it’s a a bad modern comedy, but honestly the respect I have for it keeps it from being higher on this list.

It isn’t offensive for the most part and I can tell they were trying something new, even if failed. That doesn’t excuse it from being bad of course, but if it had a lesser crew working on it, it would be so much worse.

Nothing to really add, I think i said what I needed to the first time. It’s an annoying mess from a director who is better than this, but it could have been worse, eh?

…Sorry, had to get one in. Moving on.

3.Maximum Ride

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/maximum-ride/

Movies that are merely boring don’t usually get much scorn from me. Even when they are poorly made/written, I just call them dull and move on. This movie however went above and beyond to annoying me.

It doesn’t piss me too much of course but it still sucks. There are elements of the premise I kind of like but I feel like they’re all from the book and were likely far better executed there.

Aside from those ideas, the only positives are things I find to be funny bad, like the actor playing Ari or some of the crappy effects. And that’s the thing, this should be a hilarious movie.

But sadly only a few moments are funny, everything else is drop dead boring. It should be funny bad due to the acting and script, manages to be the worst kind of poorly made movie where it doesn’t even get so terrible it becomes hilarious.

It comes so close at times, like with the incredibly stiff dialogue and such, but it just can’t get there. So much of the movie is so flat and dry even though it wants to be “deep” at points, or get into some interesting ideas.

But it ends up hitting a lot of the YA bullet points, made worse by dull/sloppy directing that also creates some really bad performances that suck you out of the movie even more than the script does.

The thing that gets me the most is that studio clearly wanted to put the bare minimum into bringing this book series to the screen. They knew it had a following that wasn’t quite even to Percy Jackson levels and decides to just give it a small budget and throw it in onto VOD with a limited release, and a crew that didn’t have much experience.

Oh and then they only adapted half the book for good measure. At least with most bad adaptation, they go all out production wise and just had weak writing or some executive meddling here and there. Every aspect oft this one just screams “we didn’t care”.

I hate saying things like that but I’m sure the crew did what they could, the studios and executive just clearly wanted to get this out so they can say they made It.

The only reason it isn’t higher is because the next movie annoyed me more and this at least has a few hilarious moments. It’s not like that overall but at least it has its moments.

But despite those moments, this felt like a cheap cash in that did not care about giving this book the treatment it deserves. Even if the book sucks, the fans deserved something with real money behind it.

But instead we got a rushed and poorly made mess with a few funny parts thrown in. Yawn.

Oh and yes, Brad Jones did indeed cover this through a Patreon request. I do not know the requester but thank you for spreading the word of the ride.

2.Show Dogs

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/show-dogs/

You all saw this coming. From the first trailer, I knew I’d review this and I ended up seeing it on the big screen. Honestly, I expected it to be a tad worse but boy is it still pretty damn bad.

When I look back on the movie, I do wonder if it’s really that bad but when I watched it again for the review, it all came back to me. It’s more or a slow burn kind of bad compared to other animal movies but when it picks, it’s truly something.

There’s not much I can add to this one, me and so many others (like IHE, thanks) went into why this movie sucks. It’s another direct to video quality movie on the big screen for bad effects, a confusing world and dumbed down writing.

The humor is juvinile, the actors were given no direction most of the time, and it hits so many cliches in such a stupid way. Not to mention being annoying with an unlikable lead.

Oh and of course there’s the lovely ball fondling scene that may be “child grooming” but its still just…wrong. It’s so stupid in every way you can think of, and once again only has a few funny bad moments.

It annoys me, but not quite to the extent that some other movies do. It it is easily the worst films of 2018, but it doesn’t touch Meet the Blacks, Jack & Jill, or even Madea Halloween 2.

It has a better idea of what it’s doing than those and was easier to watch, so it at least has that going for it. I can’t even really be bothered to hate it that much, especially since Big Momma’s House was a harder sit, even if this is technically worse.

It’s not funny bad, nor does it have enough good stuff to be simply meh, so it’s basically useless. Raja Gosnell has made some bad movies but even for him this felt like autopilot.

It’s just a stupid and bad dog movie for little kids that isn’t even that appropriate for them. With all these “qualities”, there really is no winning this dog show.

DIS-HONORABLE MENTIONS:

10. Elektra: A pointless and dull spin off of a far more enjoyable Superhero movie.

9.Pup Star Better 2gether: About as good as the first one, can’t wait to review the 3rd…and 4th.

8.Furry Vengeance: Possibly the worst environmental movie ever made simply because it made me want to root against the animals. It’s insane but at least kind of funny bad.

7.Harriet the Spy Blog Wars: Furry Vengeance is technically worse but this gave me less enjoyment and a far more unlikable lead. While it’s not quite a DCOM, it’s still the worst one and I can’t see them “topping” this.

6.The Swan Princess A Royal Family Tale: This movie was honesty far more enjoyable the others on here because of how crazy and oddly ambitious but the story is such a damn mess that it belongs this low. Can’t wait for 6!

And my-screw it, you know what it is.

  1. A Frozen Christmas

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/a-frozen-christmas/

Well, duh. It’s the movie so bad I had to change my format to describe how bad it is. I went on for awhile about how this…thing reached a new low I did not know was even possibly for anything I’ve reviewed.

I don’t even want to g on for too long because I went pretty deep into why this movie is so wretched. I don’t like to truly hate movies because most of the time, the crew tried their best or it will some things that work.

Or in the least, the creators will try to make something reselmbing a film with substance. This movie goes against everything I stand for as a film fan. There’s nothing wrong with Yule Log type stuff but usually it tells you up front that this is it’s purpose.

Honestly, this generally is “Better” than Ms Paint Alice and Braver/Tangled Up but at least those count as movies on their own. Well, not Tangled Up but at least each segment it has counts as a full story that is at least trying to do a spin on a classic.

This is just children reading public domain stories while you look at a bad screensaver, with reused CGI models that change all the time. Yes, the trailer does try to tell you the nature of it but I thought they would at least try to actually put the stories against some actual animation at least.

Cartoon Network’s YouTube Channel put up a video that is a Christmas Screensaver with audio from their shows. I bring this up because tells you it is indeed a screensaver that is clearly to be a yule log you can put on while you do things.

This proves what I said about how they could have put some of these contents on YouTube and they would at least be honest about what they’re doing. But okay, now I wanna touch on the company who made this.

They are WowNow Entertainment and they make even more things outside of Evan’s work. I already talked about how some of them are basically the same as this, with some having less substance than this movie.

You heard me. You know that Gingerbread men dance segment? It seems like some of their movies are just that kind of stuff, with one example being Haunted Transylvania 2. Christ, these titles.

Unless my good pals rope into a Rabbit stream, I don’t plan to sit through those things but what I skimmed through somehow managed to sink lower. They are slightly more honest but they are sitll over an hour long and are sold as movies.

Having to pay for shit like this should be a crime. I know I’m going on about this but this really pisses me off. Even movies like Norm of the North are still trying to be movies and even the Video Brenquedo stuff like Rapunzel can either be funny bad, even if it is overall trying to cash in on a real movie.

No one sets out to make a bad movie and even some of the mile shit I’ve ever seen can have some value. Rip off movies tend to be the exception to the every filmaker tries” thing but this manages to make those look good.

It has no value on any level. Even for kids who don’t demand much will catch on very quickly and frankly deserve something made with at least SOME effort. Speaking kids, those kids (who again, make up the films content) not being credited has to violate some law, right?

The creators clearly only cared about rushing out something to trick grandma’s, but didn’t even bother putting any effort in the most basic things.

 Maybe I’m being too harsh, especially since I can saw I’ve been more annoyed watching shit like Fred the Movie but that’s because this has so little substance that it’s impossible to be anything but bored.

And like I said, if didn’t have a phone I would have just quit and skipped the stories, aka the meat of the thing. It’s the only time where pissing me off more with the actual contents would have made it better.

And this is all in the name of Christmas joy for kids. Fuck this movie, I put more effort in the review and this section than they did into the actual thing. And for perhaps the only time in any review, that hyperbolic statement might actually be true.

I didn’t care for it.

TOP 11 BEST THINGS I REVIEWED:

With those…gems out of the way, onto some real gems. I reviewed a lot of great things this year, thanks to a few new projects like the Requested Reviews. (Sorry not doing more, I’ll make room in the future)

So much so that it was a pain ass getting this down to 11. I really wanted to make it 10 to distance myself from You Know Who (Yes, I’m still calling him that) but I couldn’t life for the life of me cut off any of the things I wanted.

And that’s after I made a few of these a tie, so yeah. Without further ado, here’s a few things that made getting through this year just a bit easier. In order of when I covered them, here they are.

(Oh and general reviews aren’t counted again but spoilers, Infinity War and Spider-Verse would be on here if I weren’t saving them for later)

Get Out

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/01/06/the-best-and-worst-films-of-2017/

It feels so nice to include something from my best of the year lists on here. I re-watched this one back in October and it’s still great. Jordan Peele packs in so many little details and bits of foreshadowing you won’t notice on the first viewing.

Blumhouse has been killing it lately with plenty of solid films that just let directors run wild, but this is great even for them. Upon re-watch it has some slow spots that prevent me from saying it’s like a 10/10 but that’s the only real problem .

It’s not often a horror movie this good becomes so mainstream but this really deserved it. It combines horror, thought provoking commentary and solid writting to create a well rounded and great experience.

And yes, I’m hyped for Us. I think it could be even better, especially since it seems like it will be pretty different in terms of themes and not just be Get Out 2. Either way, I’m looking forward to it, and plan to re-visit this movie a few more times.

Guardians 2 is sitll a bit more my speed but this is the best 2017 film on a film making level even over a year later.

Mary and Max

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/requested-reviews-1-american-cinderella-and-max/

Starting these requested reviews was a pretty great idea as it lead to me watching some movies I wouldn’t have seen otherwise,. This would have been skipped in the 2009 post but thanks to one of my friends, I saw it and I loved it.

I knew very little going in so it ended up being a pretty pleasant surprise for me. It was unique, charming and pretty dang emotional with how the ending plays out.

Since this post, I’ve seen more Indie Animation and this still stands as one of the best examples of it. It’s allowed to do its own weird thing and it stands out as a unique and emotional ride.

I actually got the requester to watch some Indie Animation he hadn’t seen before one movie we’ll get to) and it’s neat that I got someone to check something out after he did the same for me.

I don’t have much to add from what I said to be honest. I knew nothing going on, and quite this unique surprise. Check it out.

The Avengers

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/superhero-month-the-avengers/

It feels good to be placing Scene by Scene reviews in these best lists again. Superhero Month didn’t turn out that well because I just sort of padded it out with reviews I wasn’t totally happy with, especially Elektra.

But this turned out well, and it was fun to see how well this holds up. Despite being far from the deepest comic book movie ever, it does exactly what it wants to do amazing well.

It’s the ultimate fun movie but it isn’t stupid. It isn’t super smart but it is well written and manages to have themes and character depth. Said depth isn’t super deep but it is there.

The fun comes from both the well directed action and the character interactions, as we see how they work off each other. There’s some solid emotional beats and everything just works really well.

It checks all the boxes for a perfect Summer Blockbuster, despite a few elements being slightly shortchanged so they can flesh out other parts. It is the kind of movie that was impressive back when it came out but it still holds up.

Mostly because it takes me back to when stuff like this was less common, or there was less of a need for it to be super deep. It just needed to be big and big it was. We’ll see if Endgame beats this out but at the moment I do enjoy this the most of the MCU movies just for how tight and fun it is.

Winter Solider is at the top of my ranking but mostly for how it combines fun and a very solid script and real themes. This is the most fun re-watchable MCU film by far and I’m sure to re-visit it even more times.

Oh and the tagline for this review had my wondering how to feel about not thinking of a good tagline. I’d say I don’t feel too good. I’m not sorry.

At the End of the Worlds [Penn Zero]]The End and the Begiining [Harvey Beaks]

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/02/18/top-5-penn-zero-season-2-episodes/

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/spongeys-favorite-episodes-harvey-beaks/

Okay, so I tagged Sam Levine when I posted the Penn Zero list and he actually read it and tweeted back but for some reason I can’t find that tweet, even with Advanced Search.

I’ve found other tweets he’s sent me as I have tweeted at his stuff before which is neat but I wanted to link to proof of him reading my work but sadly, it seems to be gone somehow.

But anyway, I had to this one so I didn’t need to make a painful cut and plus it makes sense as they are both amazing series finales that I covered in a list. With all the shows endng these days, we keep getting finales but thankfully they keep being great, usually.

It’s interesting how different these are, as they reflect their shows quite well. Penn’s is a 44 minute epic with a huge battle that involles many dimensions. It’s like Infinity War and Spider-Verse but on a TV budget.

Harvey’s is a 22 minute small scale story about letting go and finding family. Both work very well and manage to be emotional while capping of two solid seasons of animation.

Penn’s feels like a finale to a show that has been going for longer than it has but in a good way. It’s just as good as finales for longer shows which makes it pretty impressive.

Everyone gets a moment and there’s plenty of laughs along with the tears. Although it does partake in a cliche I’ve noticed that cartoon finales do a lot tese days,you know what one I’m talking about if you’ve seen it.

But hey, they use it because it works. Harvey kind of uses it but in a different way that caps things off well. When I first both, I was worried they may not hold as the best on a 2nd viewing.

But they managed to shoot to the top of the lists for me, because of how well they turned out. Harvey gets extra credit as it easily could felt like the forced ending it is but the way it plays out makes me totally satisfied.

That’s quite a feat for a simple show like this. While I liked Carence’s finale fine, I do wish it was more like this one, where it’s given time to breath and end well.

Both fit their shows well and had an emotionally satisfying ending to two solid shows. Harvey was a better show overall to me but Penn Zero was still a creative and fun show that ended on a great note.

While I wish both got more seasons, I’m glad they ended as well as they did. I’ll be covering 2018’s carton finales next year (wink wink) but until then we got these excellent picks from 2017.

Be it epic or simple, both these finales ended their shows on a strong note.

King of the Carnival [Elena of Avalor]

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/a-look-at-elena-of-avalor/

I don’t have much to add to this one. This episode shows off how surprising the show can be with its writting at times, even with some forced moments.

Those forced moments do bring down the show in many episodes but usually they make up with it with where the stories end up. How you view this show’s episodes depends on how much you like the destination.

This is why I dislike Party of a Lifetime, it’s contrived but doesn’t even have a good story to back it up. This episode does as it gives us a better picture of who Esteban is.

I love how they have Elena tell him exactly what he needs to hear despite her not knowing what he’s really upset about it. It’s a cleverly written scene and was a great cap to his dilemma, while leaving the door open for more development to come later.

Not to mention the fantastic song that goes into his feelings very well. This episode represents Elena perfectly: Does things that are like Sofia, but in a more mature way that has a story element, even if it has a couple clunky moments in Act 1.

It’s a strong showcase for Esteban and I can’t wait to see how he develops in the future. Also, Snow Place like Home was great too.

Coraline/How to Train Your Dragon/Kung Fu Panda 2

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/08/05/ranking-the-animated-films-of-2009/

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/ranking-the-animated-films-of-2010/

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/ranking-the-animated-films-of-2011/

We’ve got a 3 way, because I didn’t want to pad this list with movies from the ranking nor could I pick a favorite. Plus, these 3 provide us with some decent variety.

These rankings have allowed me to re-visit some movies to see how they hold up and these 3 really did. Coraline was a very unique start for a unique studio that managed to be incredibly creepy along with a solid story and likable lead.

I actually flip flopped a bit on its place in that ranking but after really thinking it over and looking back on it, it guess got better even though usually this kind of movie wouldn’t top Up since I’m such a Disney shill.

How to Train Your Dragon is the ultimate proof that having cliches won’t bring the product down if the writing, direction, and visuals are working together to create an amazing experience. Yes, it has a few that can bring it down and I’ve complained about cliches before but simply having them isn’t bad.

I talk a bit more my love for this franchise when I discuss the sequel in the 2014 ranking which has already been written, so I’ll just as I love the world they created her (with the help of a book series) and move on.

Kung Fu Panda 2 basically represents everything good about Dreamworks. A well cast lead, beautiful animation, and some real emotion while making sure that the comedy that is there is actually funny and well placed.

.Dreamworks can struggle with these at times but with the Kung Fu Panda movies, they basically nailed it. The only issue they have is a lack of development for the rest of the furious 5 but I do think most of them at least have a few memorable lines that almost makes up for it

Coraline is the most unique mainstream animated features out there and the latter two combine some typical elements with excellent exeuction very well. KFP 2 is my favorite of these but that’s just because it ticks all my boxes, so to speak.

All were a delight to re-visit though. I’d also like to give a shout out to Persoplois for being a indie movie that topped a Pixar film for likely the only time ever. And I still really like Rataouille so that’s quite the feat for me.

So yeah, I go to look plenty of solid films through these rankings and these stood out as being especially creative, engaging and even emotional. Good stuff.

Shaun of the Dead

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/shaun-of-the-dead-vs-hot-fuzz-vs-the-worlds-end/

This was a very interesting movie battle indeed. I had seen each film exactly once and thought Shaun was the weakest. But then after re-watching them and taking my notes, my mind changed and here we are.

All the movies in this “trilogy” were great but this has everything that made them great without too many of the little issues the others had. There’s still a few nitpick-y things that prevent it from being full on fantastic but it’s still strong.

Not too much to add as I went pretty deep into why it works, as well as why the others work too. It’s a fun zombie spoof with great direction and solid drama on top of all that.

It started the trilogy on a strong note and it was a note that couldn’t be topped. …That is all.

Dream Boat [Clarence[

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/09/16/spongeys-favorite-episodes-clarence/

I’ve been wanting to talk more about this one since it aired. This post more or less existed so I could talk about it, only with a few others. This show had its strong stories but this one really hit me.

Sumo is super likable here and it was interesting to his home life and how he ends up building this boat. It’s just a nice and emotional 11 minutes that gives Sumo a great story that easy to love.

This is one of those “lists” where my top pick was pretty easy to choose, and hopefully you see how it’s like that for me after I went into it. This little show told some good stories over its wrong and in the end this early one was my favorite.

I will say I like some of the list toppers from this year a bit more but one is still great and my favorite episode from this show…as you can tell by now.

Fish Out of Water[Bojack Horseman]/The Ultimate Enemy [Danny Phantom]/Most Improved Player [The Good Place]

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/11/20/spongeys-favorite-episodes-marathon-edition-2/

Ah yes, more marathon goodness. Not the best selection but these episode are all time greats. These episodes/shows already get plenty of praise but they do really deserve it.

Bojack is one of those shows I keep expecting to have hype backlash but it never happens which is shockking for something so beloved. Where’s it’s bad fanbase or overly long video on why it’s bad?!

But that shows how great this show is and this episode shows off a lot of why without me needing to go into tons of backstory. It’s amazing while being simpler than some of the other episodes.

Not to mention telling a story without much dialogue. Ultimate Enemy shows why people like it when kids shows get dark. There’s been a backlash against shows like this being dark since some don’t do it well and I totally get it.

Maybe even some think this one goes a tad too far given how dark it gets but to me the writing is strong enough to make it work. . It has solid themes to back it up alongside a cool guest star and an awesome villain.

That one plot hole is a bit annoying but otherwise this special is great. The Good Place episode is interesting because it’s easier to talk about the series as a whole so really picking any episode is a tad pointless.

But this one was easy to discuss and talking about any episode past Season 1 would be pretty hard given Season 1’s twist. It’s the Cabin in the Woods of TV…complete with Drew Goddard as a producer.

That actually explains a lot.

But anyway, this episode shows off the shows strength and despite not being the most epic ever, it is my favorite of the main marathon episodes I had on there because of just how much I enjoy what the show has to offer.

I did a DA journal going into my thoughts on Season 2 which says more about how the show works, without giving too much away so go there for more: https://www.deviantart.com/spongey444/journal/The-Good-Place-Season-2-Thoughts-761700877

(Side note, the latest episode was so good and D’Arcy Caden needs all the awards)

So yeah, all these episodes are highlights of solid shows and made me glad I do these marathons. The pickings weren’t as strong as last time but these were still great episodes of television nonetheless.

Still not sure if I’ll do a Marathon Edition next year but if I do, hopefully the episodes I cover will be as good as these.

A Pinky and the Brain Christmas

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/12/23/a-look-at-warner-bros-cartoon-christmas-episodes/

I knew this would be the best of the batch going on and I was glad it held up so well .It has all the makings of a classic with the great humor and incredibly emotional ending.

It’s up there with some of my favorite Christmas episodes, if only for how even it is. It has so much going for it without too much I can nitpick. Maybe flaws exist but I personally didn’t have any real issues with it, especially compared to some of the other other episodes I covered.

It’s a well balanced episode that shows how strong these characters are and the ending is a very nice bonus. So yeah, a great Christmas episode that made me glad I did these to close out the big Holiday Episode reviews.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Bambi [Ranking the Disney Animated Canon: 1940’s]: Still not totally taste but still a solid slice of life with the ever famous death scene.

Superman [Requested Reviews #2]:  A highly enjoyable classic Superhero movie, can’t wait to check out the sequel…and maybe the others if I’m brave.

The Breadwinner [Requested Reviews #4]: More really good Indie animation. Cartoon Saloon is really killing it,  as you’ll see more of in the 2014 ranking.

The Cabin in the Woods [Scream Vs The Cabin in the Woods]: Very well written horror satire, not much to add here.

The Nightmare Before Christmas: A few pacing issues doesn’t cover up the amazing creativity, songs, and animation.

And since we’re going in order, that means the last thing we’re covering is…

The Faith [Gumball]:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/12/30/gumball-the-faith/

To you I just reviewed yesterday….but I actually wrote the review about a month ago to get it out of my system. And also because I knew it would end up here and I wanted some distance.

What more can I add after all…that? This episode coming out when it caused me to get more personal than usual and that alone makes it an interesting one. But even taking aisde, this episode is sitll great.

I will admit Gumball get slightly bogged down in thos edgy jokes to get points from people who don’t expect that from a cartoon, but I do think it’s those people on Twitter who just make the show seem more based around that than it really is.

This episode is a perfect mix of that kind of humor while still being positive and sweet. I’ve always liked the show for mixing those and this episode really sums it all up, while also being a perfect reflection of what a lot of us are going through these days.

There are a few episodes that are “better” but this is my new favorite Gumball episode just for doing all this and helping me a little bit. That sounds corny as hell but it is true.

But again, taking all that aside it is a very creativity, fun and uplifting episode that shows of what makes the show work, even 6 seasons in. It will be the last season so hopefully it goes out on a high note, after giving us gems like this.

It’s a great episode that made for an interesting final proper review of 2018.

And those were the best and worst things I reviewed in 2018. I had to rush this at the last minute but hopefully you enjoyed this. 2018 was an odd year for the blog but I covered tons of things I’m glad I finally looked at.

2019 will also be odd as shift some things here and there. The monthly Goosebumps reviews are ending to cut some fat, and that animated film ranking will end with 2015 in February.

That gives me more room to do some things I want. I hopefully plan to experiment a bit while generally being the same as always. I’m trying to fix certain issues I have which you’ll hear more about in the first post of 2019.

But either way, I hope to cover some neat things in the coming year. 2018 has been pretty mixed to say the least but at least we can go into 2019 with some hope and at least one of the changes I’m trying will stick.

With that said, I hope you all have a great new year. I don’t have as many eyes on me as video critics (thank god, to be honest) so I’m happy with whatever I get and yada yada yada.

That’s about all I got. Join me in 2019 for whatever gems and turds come my way.

See ya.

Posted in Lists | 1 Comment

Gumball-The Faith

“I just need you to be a little more positive, okay? You’ve been such a debby downer the past few years that it’s starting to ruin you a little bit”-Norty (sort of)

Hello, Spongey here.

2018 is coming to a close and…I’m tired. Not of the year itself, but of just…everything in general, ever since 2016. Since then pretty much everyone has been complaining about each respective year in some way.

It’s the same thing ever year: “Man this year sucked but there was some good so let’s try to make next year better” but then the following year sucks too so we repeat the cycle all over. I joined in all this and now I’m getting tired.

But in a way I can’t really blame everyone. Each year has crazy things but the social media age has made it easier to know about things we wouldn’t know or care about before. Between that and my personal life, things pile up to the point where I want to complain about it.

Sometimes I even make Deviant Art Journals where I go into my dumb inner problems I don’t like talking about!

There’s the things that sadly happen every year like tragic celebrity deaths and big tragedies, along side our current president and his pals being the worst, but then this year I had more personal stuff I can’t get into (which made this year worse than 2017 which had a lack of that stuff).

Oh and there’s the little issue of perhaps my biggest initial inspiration turning to be a scumbag, along with the rest of his scumbag website. Meaning a huge part of what I base my life around (reviewing films) is just tainted now.

All of this stuff combined does make it hard to not go through this every year, but I think it really needs to stop. Looking on the bright side can be incredibly different but said bright side does exist. Good things still do happening, and we also need people that can look on the bright side more easily. Constant pessimism is never healthy.

And that’s where this review comes in. I am not one to review some random cartoon episode since that’s the job of other people But I…really just NEEDED to talk about this. I was going to wait until a Next Best Gumball episodes to cover it, but given the message I think this review needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Gumball is a show that’s gotten a reputation on Twitter for all the “loledgy” jokes it can make sometimes but that really doesn’t paint the right picture. The thing that makes it good is that it can both do that and still have tons of sweet moments with a strong family dynamic.

This episode really sums up the nature of the show, while also giving us at timely message that frankly everyone needs to hear right now.

This will basically be an analysis on that as it is what made me want to do this review but I’ll still makes jokes and go into why it’s a great episode even aside from that. Either way, let’s dive into this rather special review.

This, is The Faith

Writers: Ben Boquelet, Tobi Wilson, Joe Markham, Jack Bernhardt, and Cariad Lloyd

The episode starts with the Wattersons watching the news as a new color has been discovered…but the TV goes black and white when they show it. And already the episodes concept is being used for good comedy.

But it’s not quite the TV’s fault as Anias walks in, having turned black and white as well. Nicole reveals it was black and white at the super market and yet it’s only just now effecting their house.

Only I could nitpick an episode this good.

As it turns out, the whole town of Elmore has had all the color sucked out of it which is already tuning things upside down. Like how Rocky’s blind date said she would be the one in gray. Again, using the concept for good jokes.

But it’s not just stuff like it, as someone tells the two that the “nice boy” who did the recycling has given up so a hole in the ozone has been burned. Yeah, this episode shows off the shows ability to put a silly spin on stuff like that while still telling a story as we’ll see.

That same kid seemed to do everything around here, so chaos spreads like the ducks he used to feed going bonkers. Oof, Elliot better watch out then. We get a few more good jokes out of this, as well as some suspense as they have to find this kid in an Elmore that has gone mad.

They did an episode sort of like this with Larry only this goes in a different and more dramatic direction. That kid also ran the scouts, so when Gumball and Darwin bump into them they have gone all Lord of the flies, which is kind of awesome.

Thankfully they haven’t earned many badges so that get out of that comically quick. They find a spot where it is constantly raining and it turns the kid who gave up is Alan. He’s this balloon guy who is always upbeat, much to Gumball’s anger.

They don’t get along much which has lead to some episodes with him at odds and frankly they tend to be mixed as the joke can get old. But that makes this one even better. Alan giving up is a pretty big deal, as you can see by how many things he did for the city.

“What have you lost, Alan?”

“My faith in the world”

Usually when I say “Releatable”, it’s a joke…but I think a lot of people actually can agree with him. The world has gotten so bad that Alan now thinks it’s pointless to even try.

“People don’t change. Goodness knows I try to stay positive and turn the other cheek but what happens when you run out of cheeks to turn?”

Seeing this really is heartbreaking, mostly because it is happening to a lot of us these days. We’ve seen just how bad things can get, and sometimes I can really agree what he’s saying here. I’ve seen positive characters feel a little down, but the nature of this really puts this example in a different league. Gumball is part of the problem as he still acts like a bit of a dick, even with how hard Alan tries to be friends with him.

So the nature of the world has even made the most positive guy in Elmore give up. How is Gumball going to fix it? With a song of course! And here is where the episode went from really good to truly special for me.

First off, this would only be number 2 on the journal I did since I think Nobody’s a Nobody has better flow, but this still is still amazing. The first half has Gumball going over all the reasons the world kind of sucks now, while throwing in some minor positives.

“The prospects for society are turning for the worst, the environment is suffering and cannot be reversed. But the nasty kid who makes everyday so rough, in the end gets hit by karma which will kind of make you laugh”

That part alone got a bit too real for me but damn if it’s not catchy.

“Life ain’t perfect it’s meeh, some bits are okay but most of it is BLEEH”

This song does not sugar coat the truth at all, so how exactly is Alan supposed to feel better? He gets a little verse to show of his voice that has him ask that. Said voice is amazing by the way.

“If you stop halfway up the mountain you will never see the view…You’ll wonder how on earth you can put up with all of this, then you’ll come across a memory of perfect bliss”

And that’s the message: Yes, everything can kind of suck but that’s exactly why we need people like Alan to look on the bright and bring a little happiness to the world. Even people like Alan can find that hard to just by thinking of a good memory he get happier.

Just with this reminder, Alan brightens up and the city is colorful again. And on top of all that, Gumball finally admits they are friends. Well, after a gag where he seems to stomp off.

“Eh, maybe a little”

D’aww, that’s the perfect the cap to all this. And now to dive further into the message.

Final Thoughts:

This could have been more an essay format but I did an experiment already this month so this is how we’re doing it. This episode, mostly in the song, really impacted me.

For one it really shows the creativity the show has, with great comedy that it gets out of tis black and white world. Both sides of the show are seen here, being cynical but still positive in the end.

But unlike most episodes it uses that to tell a moral, one that may one of the most important I’ve seen. It reminds me of Tommrowland, which has a similar message about how we need to actually work towards fixing the world instead of just complaining about. it. That movie came out in 2015 and has aged sadly quite well. This episode’s moral is simpler but just as effective for me.

Staying positive is incredibly hard sometimes, even for some of the more positive people out there as Alan shows here. But we need people like Alan who can brighten things up just by existing.

The song shows him brightening up just by thinking of a good memory, and small things like that can help you. It can be a bit more complicated that at times but generally looking at the bright is helpful, no matter how small those bright spots are.

As Gumball said, if you stop halfway up the mountain you will never see the view. The message is quite simple but the way the song tells makes it really impactful. It makes it clear how hard it can to be positive, but you still have to try.

The nice part at the end is really powerful thanks to how the lyrics are, along with the singing and music. Everything comes together to create something special. This episode aired in February and coming off 2017, it was already very well timed.

But boy has it become more important the more this year has gone on. It will likely be relevant every year, so this review isn’t going to age at least. Full Disclosure. I come back to this a lot. Not just when I need some music, but when certain things happen.

Sometimes I feel like Alan, thinking too much about all the crap going on both in my life and the real world. Infact, I got the idea for this review after I went to this song after a pretty bad bout of self pity, which was after some more bad drama came up.

I’ve had media have an impact on me, but not many do that too much lately beyond just giving some extra joy in some way. This one flat out gives me a message to keep in mind. It really is that real compared to others that done things like this.

Although I will admit that Norty video I quoted at the top ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2ZPzkhoUf4 ) has kind of helped me too as it goes more into why we need to stop focusing so much on the negative, no matter how hard it can be.

(UPDATE: He did a new video that is frankly even better and serves the same purpose as this review does. Thanks, man Here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKIBDLLzr6E)

I’m not saying to never be negative because of Yin and Yang and all that, but focusing so much on it is not going to solve anything.

So…yeah, this episode is pretty important to me. It shows that even the best of us can be bring brought down by how bad everything bad. We have no idea if things will get better, but they won’t improve unless we can pick ourselves up and do something about it.

It’s simple but incredibly effective with what I got out of it. Not many media can do that, but leave it to Gumball to do it by doing what it does best: Giving us some positvity despite some snarky humor poking fun at society.

Thank you Gumball, you’ve genuinely managed to help me a little bit this time.

Rating: Great

It’s not often I use these posts to preach but this episodes moral just made me wanna do this. I don’t normally ask for you guys for anything, but I’d like you to mention some positives in your life you can think of when you feel down. Because that’s what this episode is all about. Almost every negative can come with a positive.

I’ve had ups and downs with the blog, but at least I’ve done an interview with an actual person in the industry which some bigger reviewers don’t often to. I still have some great online friends/family I can come to that somehow can tolerate me.

I put on a facade of being pretty joke-y but I’m got as many personal issues as anyone else (as you can tell by the fact that I had to go to some cartoon song and an Internet video to remind me of the good in the world. And also that journal. This post was mostly written a month ago) so things like that really do help me out.

Bottom line, every year can kind of suck but let’s try to look on the bright side because all this negativity can get tiring. As the song says…

“So keep following the light, no matter how much your breaks. Cuz this sad old world will need your hope, to fix it when it breaks. And at times when you can’t take I, and you want to day to end. Take my hand and you will find, life is beautiful, my friend!”

See ya.

(Sorry to get cornier than usual…but that’s what this year has done to me, hope this was good either way. See ya for the Best/Worst Thi

Posted in Animation, TV Reviews | 2 Comments

Goosebumps Most Wanted-The Lizard of Oz

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, it’s finally time to end the Most Wanted series, with one of the last reviews of the year. This series has been a pain in the butt to review  but I’m glad we can end it and move on to…the same but with a different gimmick.

I’ll give my wrap up plus an announcement at the end, so we’ll just dive in. Will Most Wanted end with a bang? Or at least be actually interesting? Oh boy, we’re in some something if it’s anything like I remember it.

That said, let’s finally finish and see if this one will be wanted.

This, is The Lizard of Oz

The book opens with our main character Kate Lipton telling us about how her parents quit their jobs to sell miniature horses. And right away we seem to have stepped into a Simpsons or Family Guy episode.

Seriously, this is the kind of random dumb thing Homer would do, we’re off to a great start. Kate thankfully knows how stupid this is and to the surprise of no one, 3 months later they have not sold a single horse.

“Middle Village Is a pretty small town. And people just don’t have room in their backgrounds for miniature horse”

You’d think two adults would have thought of that, but hope. These are already the stupidest parents in Goosebumps but oh boy do things get interesting with them.

They turn their farm into a petting zoo but that doesn’t work either. So of course they’re next plan is to go to Australia and find a Lizard. Wait, what/

“Australia, Dad says, is the place for lizards”

Dang, should have brought Noddy in for this one to tell you you’re wrong.

They go to some Lizard preserve where at one point Dad claims one is attacking when it is not. And he just went from “Stupid” to “Assholes”, joy. They plan to start a lizard farm, which is in line with their other choices so far.

This random guy pops up while they’re looking and says he has a lizard they might be interested in. He does not work for the reserve “Anymore”. I’m sure he’s trustworthy.

The lizard is more or less the mean fellow you see on the cover, but thankfully he isn’t much of a meat eater. And he wants to sell them some lizard eggs instead anyway, since they will be easier to take care of. He also brings up that they will be easier to get through customs.

I know most horror stories require the characters to ignore obvious warnings to get the plot started, but this is really pushing it. At least Kate is again thinking all the obvious things, like maybe doing research on these lizards of this Dr. Clegg follows.

She doesn’t say those out loud though, but I bet she’s at least nervous and expected her parents to think of these first. Before I can beat a dead lizard, Clegg’s assistant pulls Kate over and says not to take the egg.

She’s interrupted so this warning can be as vague as possible.  (Also, we never find out what her deal is) So with that, they have some eggs and the next day they’re headed back home. Then Mom and Dad say….this:

“You know, a lot of times Australia is called Oz. That’s because an abbreviation for Australia is Aus. And Sydney is sometimes called the Emerald City’”

“Like the City in the Wizard of Oz.”

“That;s right. So…guess what I have in my lap here? The Lizard of Oz?”

….

“That’s lame”

Agreed. I think I should apologize to Suicide Squad, holy crap. They turned a title drop into a Dad Joke, that’s….something.

Anyway, back home they turn a room into an Egg Hatching room and we get another chapter break caused by Dad randomly playing a dumb prank. We’re only 30 pages in and I’ve ranted about this terrible dad many times, that’s a good sign.

“What’s funny Kate, is that you always fall for them”

Ugh.

The next day at school, Kate tells everyone about her trip.

“I finished with my selfie of-”

And 0/10, worst book ever.

A classmate named Adele (Yes) is of course a bitch and doesn’t believe her about having this egg so Kate wants to invite her over to see it. This is bit dumb but I guess Kate had to some of that stupid gene.

“What was I thinking?’

At least she’s self aware.

So later they go to Kate’s house to take a peek at the egg. But of course they go further and start holding, which leads to it being dropped. And of course Dad shows up right at the very moment.

…But it turns out he switched the Lizard egg with a regular egg as a joke, with plans to pull it later. …I don’[t even words anymore, and we’re really only in the first quarter of the book.

Dad shows them the real egg but he has a sneezing fit when a takes it out, so he ends up dropping it for real. Wah wah. Even worse, nothing comes out and all his plans are down the toilet.

I’d be a tiny bit sadder if it were not for…everything else he’s done, frankly. Kate being sad does a better job of making me sad. She cleans up the mess when she finds a tiny creature in the broken shell that really should have been there when it dropped.

He’s a tiny cute little guy that ends up biting Kate. Oh boy I just remembered where this goes and that will be fun when we get to it. The wound is cleaned up and the little lizard is put in its proper place.

Things calm down and go out for dinner, but Kate starts to notice her skin looking a bit cracked, dun dun dun. But she has to brush it off for now as she has to go to school to do work for the play.

This wasn’t mentioned at all before now, by the way. She did forget so I guess that’s their excuse but come on. Anyway, I’d rather make fun of how the teacher is named Mr.Coatley. Seriously.

If the next teacher is called Mr. Enterly or something, I’m out.

Adele is there and doesn’t believe Kate about the lizard being real cuz we’re still on that. Kate then sees she has these weird lines that form patterns on her arms.

And just like the skin thing, it’s just brushed on so we can move on to the next scene. Is this another book where all the interesting stuff is skipped for no reason? Anyway, a few days later they have some press over to see the legendary lizard they have.

Then Kate takes cues from Swampy by eating some bugs. Ew. This one they actually do linger on, which is lovely. But hey, turning into a lizard is a neat idea so at least we’re getting somewhere.

I do like how she doesn’t want to spoil Dad’s big day by getting him worried about her problem, it’s nice on her part. Even if I could not care less about Dad’s big lizard.

She tries to take her mind off this by showering but that just exposes her lizard skin more. Thankfully the reporters are gone but Dad seems to be missing too. She goes to his room only to find a giant lizard man.

Darn, hate it when that happens. …My only other joke would spoil a pretty crazy twist, okay?

She goes downstairs and eventually finds Dad, right as he is about to leave an important business thing. I don’t doubt that business things that require to drop everything this quickly do happen but it adds to how contrived this book can be.

Oh and Mom has been visiting an aunt who is currently sick, if you wondered why she hasn’t been mentioned by me in awhile. At least her not anything is explained. The brother is so useless I’m only mentioning him now, and only to point out how useless her is!

While Dad is out, Mrs. Overman will take care of the kids. Okay, that’s just a lyric from Ocean Man. When he leaves, Kate tries to get Freddy to believe her about the lizard man she saw but he refuses to even check the room again because he is just that useless.

He’s also annoying, even by Goosebumps sibling standards, so I’m glad he isn’t useful. She looks around and finds nothing, then Overman pops up for a false scare. She let herself in and somehow no one heard her and she she couldn’t find Freddy despite him being in his room which I can’t imagine is that far from the entrance.

Okay, I’m getting nitpick-y but I notice these things more when not much else is really going on. The next day at school, things are fine until it is time for gym where her weird skin would not be welcome.

She’s able to get out of changing but she still gets some lizard urges, like crawling on all fours. And wah wah, Adele happens to see it and film it. You just know some sick weirdo would fap to that video.

Kate comes up with a dumb excuse and then we just move on. Adele claims she won’t post the video and even Kate knows she’s lying but we’re still gonna move on? Whatever.

Later at some Kate continues to fight with her lizard nature which is actually pretty interesting and are the best scenes in this book. There’s a part where she lashes out at Freddy which is the first time he’s actually been useful for the plot in any way.

While they do move on, we do get her lashing out at the lizard who seemingly started all this. Weird how she’s only just now remembering him. Thankfully after I say this, she figures she needs it to possibly find a cure so a chase begins.

She gets him back in the cage but she’s still worried about possibly being a lizard forever. Again, these scenes actually work pretty well, especially compared to what lead up to it.

She goes through some photo albums to work on a school project to get her mind off things, but of course she finds something scary A photo of her captioned “Almost Here”, next to a photo of an egg that says “can’t wait to see my baby”.

You can already tell what the twist is now but we’ll humor the book for a bit longer. Before they can react, that lizard man shows up but soon turns into….Dad.

Yep, the twist is that Dad is actually a lizard person and so are Kate and Freddy, hence the egg photo. He’s the lizard man from earlier, which makes me wonder how he teleported so quickly but whatever.

They had been meaning to tell the kids but they ended up finding it out this way, while Mom was gone helping their Aunt hatch a new egg. That bite did nothing Kate and she was turning because it was time.

It’s not Freddy’s time hence why he’s still fine. Dad regrets not telling them before he left for Canada, so that really was work stuff and not lizard stuff. Even he doesn’t know where this lizard family thing comes from and his whole lizard obsession was him trying to look more into that.

So yeah, it’s a girl who cried monster thing, with this twist making a tad more sense and looking a tad better on the monsters part I suppose. I’m mixed on this twist. On one hand, it is a rehash of other books (even one from this very series) and actually does explain part of why Mom and Dad were so crazy about lizards.

…But as usual, I have problems with it. I get it, he admits to having a hard time telling his kids so I can’t be too hard on him for it. But this really doesn’t explain why they dropped their job to sell freaking horses, which has nothing to do with lizards.

Them trying to get rich off lizards was a cover up, I get that. But they still really should have told their kids the real reason or did a better job of not looking like fools.

There’s also the matter of playing cruel pranks for no real reason. Hell, seeing him clearly caring about his lizard children makes that so much worse now! So while this makes him slightly better, I’m still calling him one of the worst parents in Goosebumps history.

ANYWAY, Kate just sort of accepts this and is only worried that Adele still has that video of her being a lizard which Adele is blackmailing her with. Their solution? To crib from Girl who Cried Monster some more and invite her to dinner with plans to make her the dinner.

Somehow that isn’t the worst thing Dad has done in this, at least Adele kind of deserves it. More so than Mortman, even if he actually did do something wrong despite what certain reviewers might say, sorry.

Thankfully, when the time comes to eat her, she’s so scared she deletes the video right away so there’s that. She runs off, with the family hoping she’s not dumb enough to blab about lizard people.

Then they stare at some mice, while wondering what to have for dinner. The end. …Yep, that’s it. I like that we have a happy ending but it feels so…abrupt, like nothing mattered that much.

Not the worst ending but still mixed. Just like this damn series.

Final Thoughts:

This book was…not very good. It was about as bad as Dr. Maniac Will See You Now, to be honest. Usually these will start with a good idea but it takes way too long for it to even flirt with a good idea.

It gets alright when she starts getting lizard urges as Stine does a fine job of putting us in her shoes, especially as she has to hide this from the public. And the twist explains a few things fine and the very ending is at least not weirdly cruel for no reason.

But most of this just kind of sucks. The plot only happens because the parents are impulsive idiots for no reason, and nothing every feels natural. It’s not even for the sake of a good premise as that doesn’t kick in until she starts becoming a lizard.

The book is mostly a waste, with a poor set up, a terrible dad, and some useless side characters. Freddy is annoying and barely serves any purpose in the end.

The stuff with her fighting her lizard stuff is the only reason this one isn’t worse. It’s less creative than Maniac but also has a better ending, so it’s a draw. The sad thing is that this could have worked as a weird coming of age story.

Instead, it’s a waste with a few good moments here and there. Not the worst Goosebumps book ever, but it’s pretty weak.

Rating: Meh

MOST WANTED THOUGHTS:

This was a longer sub series and that did not help it. Honestly, it was mostly fine but the amount of books makes the lack of stand outs worse. There’s some I quite enjoyed, like 12 Screams of Christmas and Frankenstein’s Dog.

However, almost all of them wasted good ideas. Even the best ones drop the ball before they can become something truly special. Yes, these books are for children but that hasn’t stopped Goosebumps from giving us some good stories here and there.

How I Learned to Fly, The Haunted Mask, The Haunted School are all pretty solid stories that use their ideas well. And even modern ones like Help We Have Stranger Powers are great.

I still like most of the entries in this series, and what I say does not prevent them from being solid books in their own right, but they had so many chances to make them great but they didn’t take them.

No book here rose above “solid”, even the one I somehow used to love. I had fun with some of these, but I struggled to review some of these because they either didn’t give me much to work with or doing so many of these took a toll on me.

Most Wanted didn’t even live up to the name, very few had famous villains or even memorable ones. Hell, this one has no villain! Except Adele I guess.

Add some needlessly long specials and you have a series that’s perfectly fine but more often than not wastes good idea son merely decent books, with a few stinkers. Some of the first for the series in quite a while.

A fine series made annoying by wasting good ideas and have no major gems. Sigh.

 

With that done with, I have an announcement to make. Doing these monthly reviews has been fun but tiring. You can tell I’ve been suffering burnout as not every book is fun to discuss like this one was.

One of my 2019 goals is try cut out the fat on this blog, so to speak. I often can’t do posts I want to do because I have other posts I feel obligated to make, like these monthly Goosebumps reviews.

I enjoy these but then burnout is real and spoilers, I’ve read the next few books and they won’t fix the issue. And honestly these don’t get many views and no one cares TOO much about these. And even if am having trouble making some of these interesting.

So starting January 2019, these monthly scene by scene Modern Goosebumps review are over. HOWEVER, once SlappyWorld ends and I have them all, I will be doing a post where I review them all in one sitting.

I actually wanted to do this for Horrorland but thought this was would be more fun but now it’s taking a toll on me. I personally think cutting these out will be REALLY helpful in the long run.

And you’ll still get reviews of these eventually, you’ll just have to wait a fair bit. I will possibly say some thoughts on Twitter if you’re really interested to see a teaser but otherwise I’m holding off until I get all the books and in some way and it’s all done.

And hell, I may do a review one for old times sake. Plus, I got some Series 2000 and Fear Street books in my closest I haven’t touched yet. I’m in no way done with Goosebumps, I just want to cut the fat from this blog so I can focus on what I truly want to do.

And also I’m reviewing that Goosebumps movie sequel you already forgot about, Stine ain’t out of the woods yet. These reviews are fun, I just want to shake things up so hopefully you understand and will enjoy the Goosebumps content you will get even if it’s not the same as before.

Thank you all for reading these Modern Goosebumps Reviews and stay tuned to my look at SlappyWorld when that finishes. Check back soon for a special review and really come back tomorrow for my Best/Worst stuff I reviewed list.

See ya.

Posted in R.L Stine Reviews, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Nightmare Before Christmas

At least this Santa stays on model

Hello, Spongey here.

Merry Christmas, everyone! As per tradition these days, we’ve got a good movie to cover for our big Christmas review. But because 2018 is such an offbeat year, we’re doing an offbeat movie.

It’s one that doesn’t even really need an introduction because of how big it is. What started as  a mildly successful 1993 stop motion movie became a huge phenomenon and a fixture of two holidays at once!

That means plenty of people do question what is so special about it, but generally people just enjoy it. And of course we’re go through it, makes jokes, and see how it holds up.

I did watch a fair bit as a kid but I haven’t seen it a while so we’re see if it’s truly great or just simply fun. Even though Tim Burton come up with the idea (which is enough for promotional stuff to slap his name over the title), directing duties went to Henry Selick, who would later go on to do Coraline.

And also Monkey Bone but we’re forgive that one. But seriously, where did we go? He’s great, I want him back. Anyway, the writer wrote a few of Tim’s movies like Edward Scissorhands,

She also wrote Welcome to Marwen so this is an unintentional tie in to that.

So how well does this nightmare hold up? Let’s dig in. And also see why it’s totally a Christmas movie and not a Halloween movie, don’t @ me.

This, is The Nightmare Christmas

The movie opens with narration telling us about holidays.

“You probably wondered where holidays come from?”

Certain people and cultures who came up with the traditions that eventually morphed into holidays?

But nah, in this movie holidays come from these worlds in these trees. How did the real world get the holidays from here? Doesn’t matter, let’s just go into the Hallloween world known as Halloweentown, where Marnie is nowhere to be found. 0/10.

Instead we get our first song, This is Halloween where introduces us to the crazy citizens of this world. I love it because it’s very catchy and shows off the movies amazing and creative visuals, but I hate because it’s the best song in the whole thing and now all the other songs feel weaker as a result.

This big routine was part of a show they put on every Halloween, lead by Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King. It went quite well as you can tell from their reactions.

“You make wounds ooze and flesh crawl!”

These guys must have some weird kinks.

Jack is a bit less enthusiastic as he’s had to do this every year for god knows how long, so he goes off to sulk. And sing about it, of course. Jack’s Lament has Jack giving us a more proper introduction to him as he goes into what he does but also why he’s getting tired of it all.

It does a good job at doing all that, not much to really say. Except that Danny Elfman sings for him and he’s good at it.

So we’re not that far in and we’ve already got all this dumped on us with two songs. Not the best pacing ever but the songs do a pretty good job at filling that time so things aren’t TOO rushed, even if they are compared to most movies.

But for a musical this generally works. Anyway, this song is being watched by a woman named Sally, voiced by Catherine O Hara, who is a rag doll person who lives with an evil scientist dude named…Evil Scientist. Creative.

We saw a brief bit of her a tad earlier as apparently some “deadly nightshade” she slipped him wore off. Nothing says perfect family entertainment like attempted murder in the first 10 minutes!

The best part is she’s done this before, nice. Much like Jack she’s tired of her situation and wants more, because this is still a Disney movie after all.

Speaking of which, Jack keeps sulking until he stumbles upon the Forrest of holidays doors. But wait, the opening showed us the full forest with the Halloween door in it, so shouldn’t the Halloween world only show their door which will take to this hub? How is the hub in both places?

Jack opens the Christmas door which takes him straight to the snowy wonderful world of Christmastown. And now this is officially a Christmas movie with some Halloween bits, not the other way around. Again, don’t @ me.

This gives our next song, What’s This?, which has Jack exploring the town and all the wonders it has to offer. It’s very fun and shows off more of the creative visuals and catchy tunes.

But while he’s having fun, the residents of Halloweentown are freaking out because he’s gone missing. I love how pathetic the mayor is by the way, he even says as an elected official he can’t make decisions by himself. Insert your own witty political joke here. Oh and Sally tries to murder her “dad” again, perfect family entertainment.

Jack returns from his trip and calls a town meeting to tell everyone where he’s been. This leads us into a song where e goes into everything he saw. It’s one of the weaker songs due to being just exposition rather than a real song but it’s still fun due to the lyrics.

They like the idea of Christmas, mostly because Jack sells Santa as some sort of fearsome red king. Jack then tries to look further into Christmas to find the deep scientific meaning of it. And also Evil Scientist locks Sally in a room but she escapes.

Yeah, there really isn’t much to say about these scenes. Except that the music itself, even outside of the songs, is quite good and tells the story a bit better than the writing does.

Jack gets cooped up in a tower doing his work, which causes the citizens to start up the next song where they question where he is and Jack sings about not having the “key”.

“Or perhaps it’s not as deep as I’d been lead to think”

Nah, you just don’t have a high enough IQ to-…nah, that joke is dead. Anyway, the song itself is good, not much to really analyze. So back to recapping: Jack decides that the folks of Christmastown shouldn’t have all the fun, and that he should run things.

“This year, Christmas will be ours!”

Oh boy. It is interesting how in most stories that start with someone becoming tired of a routine, it doesn’t quite lead to them so over their head that all this upcoming craziness happens. He had the right idea until he decided to just take it over.

Meaning he’s almost kind of a villain here and likely would be if not for someone we’ll meet soon. Jack calls upon 3 keeps named Lock, Shock and Barrel to kidnap “Sandy Claws” which of course leads to a song about it.

It’s sort of a villain song so of course I love it. Very catchy and fun in a messed up way. I like the part where they say they think if they fail Jack will beat them “black and green”, just more wholesome family fun.

A bit later, they bring Santa to Jack but it turns out they got the Easter Bunny by mistake. Okay, I really wanna see Nightmare Before Easter now. They made this mistake because Jack just told them to “go through the door” and didn’t tell them there was more than 1. Or what Sandy Claws looks like. Yeah, this is all on you, buddy.

The kids leave and the monsters start to really gear up for Christmas, with a song of course. It’s another fun little song, nothing deeper to look into. Don’t worry, the next one will stand out much more.

After the song, the kids get it right and bring Santa to Jack. I love how he’s being all nice and trying to make sure he’s comfortable, even while he’s having him kidnapped so that he can take over his role.

But Santa won’t be too comfortable as Lock, Shock,, and Barrel take him to their master, Ooogie Boogie. He’s this creepy green sack dude, voiced by the Bigged Lipped Alligator himself. And with him comes our proper villain song, which is amazing.

Not only does Boogie have a great design they take full advantage of, but Ken Page is really having fun here as he has horrible things cooked up for Santa. This guy who clearly loves doing horrible things and they have tons of fun with It. There’s also some really fun lighting here.

It’s weird that it took well over 40 minutes to meet the villain but at least he makes a grand entrance. Once he’s made it, Jack heads out which makes Sally sad as he’s ignored her warnings.

This makes her break into her song, which is our slow song. It’s fine but it’s always been my least favorite one, just cuz it’s more “nice” than anything special. That and the romance angle with Sally is the least interesting part of the movie, especially compared to everything else.

After she belts her heart out, Jack makes his rounds which of course involve giving horrible creations that end up attacking the kids and It leads to some fun mayhem.

It doesn’t take long for the freaking military to be called to take him down, because they work weirdly fast. During all that, Sally goes to Boogie’s place and distracts him with her sexy leg.

Seriously, that’s exactly what happens. She even leaves her leg there as Oogie tickles it. I’m not kink shaming but geez. Jack is shot down and one totally clever joke about the movie being over later, he is left for dead. Well, deader.

He’s not deader though, as he’s just a bit hurt but feeling good enough to sing a tragic song about how everything’s gone wrong. It really works well as a sort of “fallen hero” song, especially when it kicks up as Jack cheers himself up again.

It’s very effective and enjoyable. Although I have to mention the part where he says “My god” which raises so many questions. But anyway, he leaves to go rescue Santa.

“You were dead! You must be double dead!”

Eh, deader sounds funnier.

This leads to a really fun climax in Boogie’s lair where Jack is quite the badass. It is a tad too short though as it doesn’t take long for Ooogie Boogie’s sack to full, revealing that he’s made of bugs.

And I guess that’s enough for him to run away and then die. I love how no one reacts too much to this and it just cuts right to Jack asking Santa for forgive-nesss. Yeah, the pacing isn’t great.

“The next time you get the urge to take to take over someone else’s holiday, I’d listen to her!”

I love how much of an asshole Satna he is. Can’t say I blame him with all that he’s been through. Santa goes to fix things, and our heroes head back home. Jack’s return comes with a few reprises that nicely start to wrap things up.

Santa makes it snow in Halloweentown which makes them embrace Christmas without almost killing any kids. And also Jack and Sally have a moment on his hill, which is quite nice I guess.

It makes for a great final  shot at least. A great final shot too as the credits roll right after that. It’s been awhile since I complained about a rushed ending, huh? Well, it works emotionally at least but it could have been better.

(But seriously, that wasn’t even 75 minutes without credits, dang)

Final Thoughts:

That held up pretty well. I wouldn’t call it an amazing movie by any means but it is a lot of fun. It’s biggest problem is the short runtime, which causes some aspects to feel rushed.

The romance, while a bit nice, feels slapped on and Oogie enters the story a bit too late. And of course the ending is rushed. They generally do a good job using the songs to fill the time but it still could have been longer.

But despite that, this manages to be really good. Of course the animation is incredible with tons of imagination when it comes to the designs. This is Halloween alone feature more creativity than most movies have in their entire runtimes. The songs help a lot being very catchy and telling the story in solid ways. Even the score itself is strong.

The story is pretty simple but it is a decent one, as there’s a fun angle with how Jack ends up ruining Christmas while simply being inspired by it. It could have been longer to go a bit deeper into certain songs but what we have here does work.

The movie is so much fun it manages to overcome some of the little issues I would usually be more bugged by. Moments like the Poor Jack song so through a simple progression in a solid way.

But yeah, it can feel rushed so I wouldn’t blame people for liking it less. It’s a movie where the highs are good enough for me to forgive that. I wouldn’t call it a great film due to those flaws but it is a really good one and I can see why some do call it great.

It works as a rather twisted Christmas movie. And also a Halloween movie if you wanna be like that. Either way, it’s good fun.

Rating: Very Good

It flip flopped a fair bit but eventually I decided I enjoyed it enough for that. Definitely holds up better than Elf and The Santa Clause as far as good Christmas movies go.

Merry Christmas, my friends. This was a good way to end our 2018 Scene by Scene reviews. How will the 2019 ones start? Well, we gotta start with a bang. Something I frankly should have done sooner but sadly couldn’t.

Oh boy, that’ll do.

See ya, and Merry Christmas!

Posted in Animation, Christmas Reviews, Scene by Scene Reviews, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Look at Warner Bros Cartoon Christmas Episodes

INDEX:

Batman TAS-Christmas With the Joker
It’s a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special
Animanics-Twas the Day Before Christmas/Others
Animanics-A Christmas Plotz
Tazmania-No Time for Christmas
A Pinky and the Brain Christmas
The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries-It Happened One Night Before Christmas
Freakazoid-In Arm’s Way
Batman TAS-Holiday Knights
Animanics-The Christmas Tree
Pinky, Elemyra and the Brain-Yule be Sorry
The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries-Feather Christmas
Static Shock-Frozen Out
Baby Looney Tunes-Christmas in July
What’s New Scooby Doo-A Scooby Doo Christmas
Justice League-Comfort and Joy
A Mucha Lucha! Christmas
Krypto the SuperDog-A Storybook Holiday
Tom and Jerry Tales-Ho Ho Horror
Batman The Brave and the Bold-Invasion of the Secret Santas
MAD-The Da Grinchy Code
MAD-Undercover Claus
The Looney Tunes Show-A Christmas Carol
MAD-Fantastic Four Christmases
Teen Titans Go-Second Chrristmas
The Tom and Jerry Show-The Plight Before Christmas
Teen Titans Go-The True Meaning of Christmas
Be Cool Scooby Doo-Scary Christmas
Teen Titans Go-Teen Titans Save Christmas
Be Cool Scooby Doo-Scroogey Doo
Justice League Action-Party Animal

Unikitty-Top of the Naughty List

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, now it is time for our official Christmas episode review roundup! I explained before why we’re doing the Warner Bros Cartoon ones this year, so back to that Halloween post to see why, if your’re not caught up. This should be more fun than that one as we have more episodes, and thus more variety.

And by that I mean we’ll have fewer Teen Titans Go Episodes in a row to deal with. But will these episodes be any good? What will the highlights be? Let’s dig into this big feast and find out!

This, is A Look at Warner Bros Cartoon Christmas Episodes

Christmas With the Joker [Batrman TAS]

Season 1, Episode 2

Writer: Eddie Gorodetsky

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: November 12, 1992

After escaping Arkham Asylum on Christmas Eve, the Joker takes over Gotham’s airwaves and terrorizes the city for a crime. He challenges Batman and Robin to find his hidden TV studio and free his hostages – Commissioner Gordon, Detective Bullock and Summer Gleeson – before midnight.

This episode was good. It’s not a big heavy hitter per say but it was pretty enjoyable. This episode was actually the first  appearance of Mark Hamil’s Joker and he makes a great first impression. His very first scene has him breaking out of Arkham with a Christmas tree after singing Jingle Bells Batman Sells.

This episode establishes Joker as a threat that will still be very fun to watch. You can tell it is an early episode since the plot isn’t super complicated and arguably could have been told in 11 minutes. But what they do with it makes it enjoyable.

Them going around the city to stop the Joker’s stuff makes a fun plot, and they get a lot of the Christmas imagery. It’s a good example of the whole Butt kicking Christmas thing. Side note, I love how Bruce has never seen It’s a Wonderful life because he couldn’t get past the title. Nice.

It doesn’t do anything amazing but it is a a fun time with a solid set up and a good introduction to a great version of a classic foe. If you want a more action-y holiday episode, this is a solid fit to check it out, even if won’t be one of your all time favorites.

It’s a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special

Season 3, Episode 20

Writers: Sherri Stoner, Deanna Oliver

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: December 6, 1992

Acme Acres has a problem since Buster Bunny is considering quitting Tiny Toons. Before Buster can throw himself out of the picture, his guardian toon angel shows him the consequences of the TV show if he never was the star in the first place.

This episode was decent. It’s an enjoyable take on the Wonderful Life story, but I do think the pacing takes away from it a bit. It takes too long to actually get to the plot so it doesn’t have quite as much time to play out as it needs, and even the wrap up is a bit too long.

It’s 22 minutes so this isn’t a big deal but it didn’t have quite the impact it could have. What we get works well enough, life how Plucky is now the star and that stuff is pretty funny. It’s just the pacing does make it more enjoyable than full on impactful.

But I don’t think it was meant to be taken super seriously so it works an enjoyable story. Also, the reveal of who the rabbit angel actually is, IS pretty great.

It takes too long to get going and it’s not one of the best takes on this story I’ve seen, but they still have fun with the idea and also include a decent song at the end. Some of the hit or miss impressions Night Ghoulery had are still here but overall this was enjoyable.

Not great but still fine.

Twas the Day Before Christmas (and others) [Animaniacs]

Season 1, Episode 49

Writers: Randy Rogel, Tom Ruegger, Deanna Oliver, and Tom Minton

Runtime: 22 minutes (the Christmas segments don’t toTal up to that but whatever)

Airdate: November 29, 1993

Slappy tells Skippy a story about the studio’s plans to deliver Christmas presents to the Warners, with Ralph standing in for Santa Claus.

This episode was good. Well, rEally it’s the first segment that I really like. Jingle Boo is okay but it’s just another Chicken Boo segment, but with a nice happy ending. There’s also a Great Wakoritti segment that’s fun but just there.

So yeah, it’s the main segment that sticks out. It’s told in rhyme and they have a lot of fun with mixing those in with the jokes. There’s also good use of some of the other characters, and it all comes together to make something pretty funny. Not fantastic per say but pretty good.

I’m a sucker for rhyming and this does that pretty well. The other segments are okay but the first segment makes the episode worth watching. It’s fun, check it out.

A Christmas Plotz/Little Drummer Warners [Animaniacs]

Season 1, Episode 50

Writers: Randy Rogel, Paul Rugg, Earl Kress, Tom Ruegger

Runtime: 22 Minutes overall

Airdate: December 6, 1993

A Warner version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with the Warners as ghosts and Thaddeus Plotz as Ebenezer Scrooge./A retelling of the birth of Jesus, set to several familiar carols.

This episode was good. A Christmas Plotz is the main segment here and it’s a pretty good take on A Christmas Carol. It’s fairly straightforward but the format is really good, from Slappy’s cameo to what Baby Plotz was like. The latter really got me good.

And for a 11/15-ish minute episode, it does tell the story decently well. The ending is as effective as it could be, even if it of course focuses on the jokes. It’s a decent mix they strike here, even if the humor is the reason to watch it.

Little Drummer Warners is odd as it plays out like a straight forward telling of the birth of Jesus, just with the Warners. There’s not many jokes until their song at the end. But oddly enough, it’s pretty effective. I’d say I like IT more than the full animated film version we got last year.

I would have liked a more comedic take, but this one oddly works. Overall, a strong segment and one oddly effective one makes for a pretty solid episode that I enjoyed more than the other one. And even if you find the latter segment dry, the first has enough humor to make up for it.

Both make for a solid episode worth seeking out.

No Time for Christmas [Tazmania]

Episode 40

Writers: Mark Zaslove, Art Vitello, Mark Evanier

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: December 25, 1993

With everybody in Tazmania getting ready for Christmas, Taz makes a trip across the Outback to deliver gifts to his friends.

This episode was fine. It’s generally decent but it didn’t quite knocks my socks off. My main problem is that it feels like an 11 minute plot stretched to 22 minutes. The plot works fine but it’s not especially complicated and they have to pad it out a lot to get it to this length.

It’s a very simple story so there’s no need for the extra time. Otherwise, IT was indeed fine. It’s not especially great in terms of comedy or heart but it does fine in both camps. There’s some funny 4th wall jokes (like how Taz’s sister says the episodes title doesn’t give her an excuse to be thoughtless) and Tazis pretty likable with how He just wants to spread Christmas cheer but everyone is more focused on other things.

It leads to a nice ending as it works. It’s just a story this simple doesn’t need to be this long, ya know? Nothing here is anything that special compared to some of these others, but as it is is perfectly fine. It’s somewhat a skip in the grander scheme of holiday episodes, but if you’ve never seen it and are curious, it wouldn’t hurt to try it out if you’ve seen most of these already.

Just don’t expect anything grand.

A Pinky and the Brain Christmas

Season 1, Episode 9

Writer: Peter Hastings

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: December 13, 1995

Brain builds a toy based on him called a “Noodle Noggin Doll”, which has the power to hypnotize people so he can order the world to obey him. Taking a job as one of Santa’s elves, he puts the doll on every Christmas list in the world, so that every household receives a doll so he can take over the world.

Eh, this episode was fi-oh I’m not fooling anyone, this episode was pretty great. You’ve likely heard praise for this one in other places and this place is another one of them. I wasn’t sure how well it would hold up but it ended up still being really good.

The main plot is a solid one and it allows for plenty of good jokes. Brain and Pinky’s chemistry is strong and gives us most of the best jokes, but they are some clever zingers like The Brain’s Donner Party comment. Pinky is one of the better dumb characters out there as he is actually likable and doesn’t usually hurt anyone besides The Brain, who usually deserves it.

This shows off that off really well, especially with the ending. Yes, it’s every bit as emotional as I remember and was a nice cap to the story. And in contrast to the previous episode, they actually fill the 22 minutes up nicely and it actually goes rather quickly in a good way.

I personally don’t have any problems with this one. All the jokes land, the plot is solid, and the ending is relaly nice to see. It’s got everything you’d want out of a Pinky and the Brain Christmas special and is the definition of a must watch.

So yeah, it’s good.

It Happened One Night Before Christmas[ The Sylvester & Tweety Mysteries]

Season 1, Episode 10

Writers: Tim Cahill and Julie McNally

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: December 16, 1995

Granny tries to figure out who has her brother’s $8,000 he made from his company.

This episode was the definition of…okay. It had some pros and cons but overall it did nothing too special in either direction. The best way to describe is that it’s like those Tom and Jerry movies where they do a bunch of slapstick while a real plot is happening in the background.

It’s far more than enjoyable than those as there is some decent humor at times, but it’s the same kind of thing. The mystery isn’t meant to be that unpredictable so it kind of lives on the humor which is just…fine. I liked some of the rhyming narration but there’s weird gaps without it.

The Christmas element is mostly just set dressing, as it could have just been a winter episode. I’m not expecting anything too deep out of this kind of show though, so it’s not the biggest deal. It’s just the average-ness would be easier to be fine with if maybe the Christmas element was stronger.

As it is, this was just there. It was perfectly fine to watch but it didn’t get much of a reaction out of me and it didn’t seem too different from your typical episode. It’s not painful or anything, but if you want a memorable Christmas tale, this is a skip.

Although I will give the show this: The them song is pretty catchy.

In Arm’s Way [Freakazoid]

Season 1, Episode 10a

Writers: Ken Segall, Paul Rugg

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: Decmber 16, 1995

Freakazoid’s Christmas shopping is interrupted by Arms Akimbo’s crime spree.

This episode was good. The Christmas element is somewhat ditched near the end and isn’t too strong, but it s at least there. This episode isn’t one of the funniest I’ve seen but it was pretty amusing. It’s fun to see him juggle shopping and crime fighting and being far more interested in the latter.

It leads to some good jokes and the punchline is a funny cap to a running gag.It’s pretty simple but still filled with good humor.After our previous episode, it was nice t o watch one with a lot of personalty.

There’s not really much to say here. I wouldn’t put it too high on your list as it is short and simple, but if you’re interested it is decently funny. Not my favorite but still fun.

Holiday Knights [Batman TAs/The New Batman Adventures]

Season 3, Episode 1

Writer: Paul Dini

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: September 13, 1997

Three Holiday themed segments: Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn kidnap Bruce Wayne and use his credit cards for a shopping spree, While shopping for a gift for her father, Barbara Gordon spots a group of shoplifters that turn out to be portions of Clayface, and Batman and Robin race to stop the Joker from killing the crowd at the Gotham City New Year Celebration.

This episode was decent. It’s a fun collection of stories, even if nothing stands out too much. Compared to Christmas with the Joker, it’s slightly less memorable but I still enjoyed it. This sHow is really good at atmosphere and this episode shows that off pretty well.

Each story is about the same quality wise, they are all solid and enjoyable. There’s no deep themes or anything like that but they use the Holiday well and the baddies get some fun moments in. It doesn’t have a lot of memorable stuff in it, especially compared to the shows other episodes like this but it was still an enjoyable watch.

The biggest drawback is that isn’t too memorable and won’t stick in your head as much as others. But in the moment it is enjoyable and that’s all that matters. Christmas with the Joker is the more memorable choice, but this one isn’t too bad either.

The Christmas Tree [Animaniacs]

Season 5, Episode 7a

Writer: Nick DuBois, Kevin Hopps, Randy Rugel, and Tom Ruegger.

Runtime: 12-ish Minutes

Airdate: April 25 (?), 1998

“This is starting to turn into a comedy routine. Without the comedy”

After Slappy’s tree is cut down and taken to New York City for use as the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, she drives everyone crazy trying to get back to sleep.

This episode is good. It perhaps runs a tad long but otherwise is a fun one. There’s some classic antics with Slappy trying to get rid of all this, and there’s some good laughs. The Christmas setting helps to make it stand out more, even if it is ditched by the end when she goes against this CEo.

Much like Scare Happy Slappy, it’s enjoyable with it’s simple antis that use a holiday setting. My review is also simple: If you want a funny cartoon that also happens to be a holiday one, it’s worth a look. The other Animaniacs ones are better, but this is a solid choice too if you want.

Yule be Sorry [Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain]

Episode 6a

Writer: Jon P McCann

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: December 12, 1998

fter Brain gets angry at Pinky and wishes that Pinky was never his friend, he has a dream that shows him what things would really be like if they were in Acme Labs with Elmyra instead.

This episode was actually kind of decent. I say kind of because it’s not very funny and wasn’t quite that good but for what it is, it was honestly fine. I helps that this one is more about the heart, as The Brain realizes how worse off he would be without Pinky.

In the dream he sees that while things with Elmyra are bad, they would be worse without Pinky to help out. I do like the reflection on the past year he does at the start, and at the end he learns to suck it up for for the holidays.

It’s far from a great take on this kind of story but there is some sort of sweet stuff here. That said, it’s not a must Ese. Yes, it it is surprisingly nice at times but the writing is far from the strongest and plenty of other episodes do similar things much better. And aside from a few of The Brain’s comments, it’s not that funny.

But still, I give them credit for trying at least compared to what I expected. So while I wouldn’t put it on my list, at least know that the Pinky Elmyra and The Brain Christmas episode is actually kid of okay.

Feather Christmas [The Slyvster and Tweety Mysteries]

Season 4, Episode 7a

Writer: Carolyn Gair-Taylor

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: December 12, 1998

During the holidays in New England, Granny and the gang helps get back a little girl’s bird that is delivered to a pet shop that the parents sent it to.

This episode was every bit as okay as the other one. It improved in some ways as there is more focus on the comedy than the mystery, so it feels a bit more balanced. Being shorter helps in that. The thing with Sylvester trying to get on the nice list gives us most of the humor and it works…okay.

Where the episode loses me is the ending. There’s a change of heart… i think, that is so rushed that it just cuts to him being willing to do a nice thing, with no transition at all. And the whole situation with the girl is weird. Does Tweety belong to her or what?

It’s implied to be that way with how they react but then it cuts to them all back home like normal, I don’t get it. So yeah, this was mostly okay like the last one, being slightly better until the ending which was just poorly written and confusing.

Just like the last one, it is not too bad to watch but there’s nothing really worth going out of the way to see. It just…exists. Nothing too bad, nothing too good. It’s just a thing that exists, with the only truly memorable thing being the theme song. Moving on!

Frozen Out [Static Shock]

Season 2, Episode 5

Writer: Len Uhley

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: Febuary 23, 2002

Virgil’s attempts to balance out his duties during the Holiday season are made more complicated by a bang baby called Permafrost, who has ice powers.

Remember how I talked about an episode of this show in the latest Marathon Edition? There I talked about why the show’s better episodes work and this episode is an even better example of that. Yeah, this one is good. This episode has some nice holiday stuff, but it’s mostly actually kind of heavy.

Permafrost’s whole deal is that she is homeless, so this episode basically becomes about the homeless plight.It’s a bit “Very Special Episode”-y at times but otherwise they do a good job of handling it. It’s not hard to feel sorry for her as she always acts timid and makes it clear she doesn’t really want to be evil per say.

Then we get her backstory which is just…dang, it goes beyond a haha perfect family entertainment joke. I won’t spoil it but it’s kind of dark in a way that helps the story. She ends up being a really sympathetic and interesting character, and Hyden Walch helps with this too.

It all comes together in a nice ending that pushes the good message well. This episode is a tad corny at times but it ends up being pretty effective, especially emotionally. I might actually like this more than the episode I talked about, so I’m glad I got to talk about it.

It’s a bit heavier than some other kids show episodes you might watch around this time of year, but it’s still very much worth seeking out.

Christmas in July [Baby Looney Tunes]

Season 1, Episode 12b

Writer: Lisa Medway

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: October 1 (!), 2002

The babies pretend it’s Christmas to surprise Lola.

This episode was decent. It was an improvement on the Halloween episode because the characters actually almost feel like themselves. It’s clearly toned down but their personalities do shine through at some points and there is some funny moments. Plus, some nice stuff at the end.

But it takes too long for them to even bring up Christmas, so there isn’t enough for that stuff to be fleshed out. The episode left me with a “Oh, it’s already over?” feeling. So it’s even the most fitting for Christmas In July (it’s no Fa La La La Ed) but on its own, it’s fine.

It has some decent jokes like the reason why Lola doesn’t wanna play house and a nice ending. Nothing special but not a bad watch overall. Not one I’d go out of my way to see due to the problems, but it’s not ad at least.

(Side note: Apparently Daffy rejects Taz’s playtime suggestion because they’re just babies. I’m not sure I want want to know what he said)

A Scooby Doo Christmas [What’s New Scooby Doo]

Season 1, Episode 10

Writers: Jonathan Collier, George Doty IV, James Krieg, and Ed Scharlach

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: December 13, 2002

Scooby and his pals arrive in a town where Christmas is not celebrated because a headless snowman terrorizes the residents, so the amateur sleuths set out to solve the mystery.

This episode was decent. It’s mostly typical Scooby Doo stuff but the Christmas elements adds a little something to it. The mystery is nothing too crazy but they use the winter setting well enough and the concept is a fine one. For the most part it’s nothing that special but the execution makes it enjoyable.

The main thing that makes it stick out is the ending. It’s super corny but in the nice way, and it is a bit unique for Scooby Doo which is nice. In short, the Scooby Doo Part is fine but the Christmas part is what makes this one decent.

It’s not a must see by any means, but it’s fun with a nice ending. If you want a Scooby Doo Christmas Episode, this will fit the bill nicely but I’d skip ahead my reviews of the Be Cool ones to see if those are more fitting for. EITHER way, this isn’t high on my list, but I still enjoyed it okay.

Comfort and Joy [Justice League]

Season 2, Episode 23

Writer: Paul Dini

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: December 13, 2003

After saving two worlds, the members of the Justice League decide to take a break to celebrate the holidays.

This episode was good. It’s unique for this show as it is the only single episode, rather than the two parters it usually did. It’s also considerably lighter than most episodes, to the point wheere it is a bit “kiddie” for lack of a better word.

Even the lighter episodes before this were a bit more serious than this one, which is mostly a corny and cozy holiday tale. On its own it works, but in the scheme of the show it can be a turn off. But besides that, I really enjoy this one.

It’s made up of little stories like Hawkgirl showing Green Lantern how her planet celebrates, and Clark Kent taking Martian Manhunter home for the holidays with him. Oh and there’s also the Flash trying to find a toy for some kids, and the toy is of a rapping farting duck. Yes.

The whole thing is rather corny but so cozy and sweet that it works. They really capture the Christmas spirit and a lot of scenes have that cozy feeling, especially in Martian Manhunter’s plot. It’s the kind of episode I want to put on every year in the background because it’s good as fun background noise, while still being very enjoyable when you actually watch it.

The kiddie nature of it along with some of the corniness takes away from it a little bit, it’s still a really nice Christmas episode that I’d recommend for those who want something especially nice. Some have more an edge but sometimes you just want something really nice.

And this really fits that bill.

A Mucha Lucha! Christmas

Season 3, Episode 11

Writer: Ray DeLaurentis

Runtime: 22 Minutes

AirdatE: December 11, 2004

Rudo Claus, Santo Claus’ evil twin brother, and his team of Chupracabras tries to take over Christmas by giving only those who’ve been bad gifts. Only Buena Girl is left to rescue Santo Claus.

This episode was good. It definitely stands out with its focus on Luchadore stuff and that helps make this one unique and enjoyable. It’s able to have that Christmas spirit but in a more fun way. Even the obligatory cheesy moments work because it’s followed by a fight, but not in the cheap way.

Rudo taking over Christmas leaves to some fun moments with everyone going bad to get presents, even Ricohet himself. That adds a little something to the plot and adds some stakes. Compared to the other Mucha Lucha episode I reviewed, I was more invested and found it pretty unique.

I wouldn’t say it does anything amazing per say but it used the show’s unique style to it’s advantage and created something unique but not too crazy. I wasn’t expecting much going in but this ended up being a creative and fun episode. Their version of Christmas was amusingly different while still feeling familiar enough.

(They hang their Leotards instead of Stockings, that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about)

So if you want something unique and enjoyable, with a nice moment or two than this is one to check out. It’s not one of the best”unique” ones either but compared to some others and what I expected, this was a pleasant surprise. Check it out.

A Storybook Holiday [Krypto the SuperDog]

Season 1, Episode 26

Writer: Matt Wayne

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: December 5, 2005

Kevin buys a book for Melanie when his relatives come to visit. Desperate to get away from them, however, he accidentally reads a spell that sends him inside the book. It’s up to Krypto to go after him now.

This episode was fine, but it didn’t really have much to do with Christmas. Yes, he has this thing with learning to accept his crazy family but the main bulk with the storybook stuff doesn’t connect to it that much. He just randomly is told the lesson and is sent home.

The story stuff itself is fine enough, with them going into classic stories like Hansel and Gretel. It’s not especially great but it is enjoyable enough. It’s all perfectly acceptable with some decent humor, even if it is clearly for kids.

I just don’t get why this is a Christmas episode, it could have been a normal “going inside books episode”. If you’re looking for that, you’ll get some enjoyment here. If you want a Christmas episode, you won’t get too much out of it.

Ad yeah, that’s about it. Fine on its own, but doesn’t connect much to Christmas. That’s all I have to say about that.

(Side note, I’ve seen shows that say the title out loud, but this one also says the name of the writer and director too. Neat?)

Ho Ho Horror [Tom and Jerry Tales]

Season 1, Episode 8a

Writer: I didn’t check when I had the chance and I don’t wanna go back to look

Runtime: 7 Minutes

Airdate: February 10 (?)?, 2007

Jerry enters Tom’s dream and turns it into a nightmare, resulting in both of them trashing their entire house in their sleep.

This episode was decent. It’s  basically Christmas Sleepy Time with Tom and Jerry and it was amusing enough. It didn’t outstay its welcome and the slapstick was pulled off well. It does feel restrained due too the clean animation but I’ve seen worse.

The dream thing gives them a chance a to be a bit more creative and it is amusing. I’m not sure it took enough advantage of the Christmas setting but there is rhyming narration at least. So yeah, for a quick little short, it’s perfectly fine.

It’s not high on the list due to how short it is, but as a short it was decently fun to watch. Nothing great, but fine.

Invasion of the Secret Santas [Batman the Brave and the Bold]

Season 1, Episode 5

Writer: Adam Beechen

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: December 12, 2008

Batman teams up with the Red Tornado to battle Fun Haus, who plans to ruin Christmas with his arm of toys.

This episode was good. It really reminded me why I remember really liking this show, and why it was a shame it had to come out the same year as The Dark Knight. Like most episodes, it’s silly but only in that comic book-y way rather being totally stupid humor.

I wanna marathon this show so that I can hopefully cover it further in a marathon edition so onto the episode on its own. My only real complaint is that Fun Haus is a bit too much like the Joker, so he doesn’t stand out too much.

Otherwise this was a lot of fun while of course also being rather sweet. Red Tornado is a robot so he doesn’t get the Christmas spirit and tries to find it. The way that arc concludes is pretty nice and Batman also ties into it well.

We actually get a flashback to his childhood and while adding more to his backstory can be pointless and annoying, I feel it mostly adds to the theme of the episode.  Although the line about him being their “little detective” is dumb and on the nose.

I really enjoyed this. The action was fun and it had the Christmas spirit with some nice moments I wasn’t quite expecting. It feels true to the spirit of Batman while being a bit on the silly side, of course.

If you’re up for something action-y AND nice, this is an easy recommendation from  me. Also, there’s a cute Baby Doll cameo, what’s not to like?

Da Grinchy Code [MAD]

Season 1, Episode 12

Writers: Kevin Shinick, Kirill Baru, Aaron Blitzstein, Steve Borst, Susan Clarke, Jacob Fleisher, Marly Halpern-Graser, Ben Joseph, Zack Kahn, Matt Lawton, Heather Maidat, Mason Steinberg and Eric Zimmerman

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: November 22, 2010

A “man who looks just like  Tom Hanks with bad hair”), Nicolas Cage, and Indiana Jones are brought in to figure out who stole Christmas in the town of Whoville.

This one is odd, as the entire episode isn’t Christmas themed. Just this one big skit and a few small gags in the middle. They go more all out in the other ones but this has enough for me to cover it.

Anyway, it was decent. It’s one of those skits they do for the pun but they do go all out with the rhyming narration, and they do some funny things with it. The jokes that relate to the Grinch work better than the Da Vinci Code ones but it still works.

There’s an amusing twist and yeah, just a fun take on the Grinch with the obligatory 2000 version reference  thrown in. For just a skit, it’s decently funny and amusing.

I’d say just watch all the MAD ones if your’re gonna throw on this one to get more bang for your back, but this skit is still solid on its own.

FROST/Undercover Claus [MAD]

Season 2, Episode 15

Writers: Kevin Shinick, Aaron Blitzstein, Steve Borst, Matt Lawton, Marly Halpern-Graser and Greg White

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: December 12, 2011

On a Christmas vacation,  Woody and the gang end up on the island of misfits toys after they fall out of their plane./Santa decides to go undercover one of the elves to see how hard their jobs are

This one was decent, not much to say really. The first skit is a fun mashup but I found it more amusing than funny. I actually laughed more at the other stuff, like the bit with a kid getting a time machine.

And while I know nothing about Undercover Boss, it’s more about general jokes with Santa going undercover and they are decently funny. Like how he picks a silly Elf name when the head elf guy is just named Mitch.

Nothing too hilarious, but the jokes are decent enough and nothing flops so I’d say it is a fine watch.Nothing too more complicated than that. And also I’ll say a wrap up when I get to the last MAD one.

But yeah, a slightly weak first skit aside, this was decently funny.

A Christmas Carol [The Looney Tunes Show]

Season 2, Episode 10

Writer: Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf & Rachel Ramras

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: December 4, 2012

When the overwhelming heat zaps everyone’s enthusiasm for Christmas, Lola decides to stage a production of A Christmas Carol to renew the town’s holiday spirit.

This episode was pretty decent. I wouldn’t call it the most engaging plot ever and it could have been a tad funnier, but otherwise I quite enjoyed this. Lola was usually funny on this show and here she works without going too overboard.

She has her heart in the right place, and her only crime is making a bad play. As Santa says at the end, it still took effort and that should be acknowledged. Wait, this episode has a message about not getting mad at people just for making bad art? I think of people online should watch this one.

Anyway, Lola could have been annoying enough to not earn sympathy but thankfully I feel they avoid that. Daffy’s subplot with him trying to find Santa isn’t quite as good but it has some good jokes here and there.

I couldn’t exactly quote anything here but there are some funny moments, most of them coming from Bugs deadpan reactions to  Lola. So yeah, this captures the Christmas spirit well and has some moments along with a nice ending.

I’d say it is worth checking it out, and is better than you may expect. Also, the song is pretty good, not much else to say.

Fantastic Four Christmases/Red & White Collar [MAD]

Season 3, Episode 20

Writers: Kevin Shinick, Justin Becker, Aaron Blitzstein, Susan Clarke,
Marly Halpern-Graser, Heather Maidat and Mason Steinberg

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: December 6, 2012

Can the Fantastic Four stop fighting the villains and enjoy Christmas together?/Santa Claus teams up with the FBI to solve a case of breaking and entering, which was committed by his own elves.

This one was decent, but this is a case where the middle skits were a lot funnier than the main ones. The first one has decent use of the Fantastic Four villains but otherwise was more amusing than funny. And the latter one was just kind of…eh.

I had never heard of White Collar much less seen it so any novelty value from that stuff was lost on me, and even on its own comedy just isn’t quite there. I did chuckle at the at the last joke though.

The middle skits on the other hand did get some laughs out of me, like Frosty thinking his weight loss program will work on humans. (“What’s a human?”).Plus, Dana Snyder is in quite a few of them which is neat.

So yeah, the middle skits make it worth it but the rest is just okay. I’d suggest either watching all of them at once or only watching Da Grinchy Code if you want your MAD fix. These are mostly fun but nothing I’d go out of my way to see on my own.

Still, they are there and aren’t too bad.

Second Christmas [Teen Titans Go!]

Season 1, Episode 35

Writer: Amy Wolffram

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: December 4, 2013

The Titans are excited about Christmas, but when it ends they fool Starfire into throwing a second one.

This episode was decent. I had seen this one before so I already knew it was one of the good ones for this show. It actually does manage to be rather nice, as it it even starts with the Titans really enjoying Christmas.

Thus why they can’t wait for next year and decide to trick Starfire into doing a 2nd one, as she overhears something wrong and that gets us into the plot. It’s a bit off of them but it doesn’t come across as too bad with how they handle it.

The ending  does sort of forgive them a tad too much but it isn’t too bad as the ending is both rather nice and rather funny. Plus, they actually build up to it!  Despite the comedy, this episode does have a nice vibe to it.

Starfire’s excitement is enjoyable and as I said, it ends on a nice note. There’s a couple off moments that prevent it from being a fave for me but I still enjoyed it. And I would suggest checking it out if you have time.

We’ll see how they handle Christmas in their next outings but for now, this was nice.

The Plight Before Christmas [The Tom and Jerry Show]

Season 1, Episode 14b

Writer: Charles Carney

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: July 16, 2014

While celebrating the holidays with Beatie and Hildie, Tom and Jerry destroy their Christmas tree and must go out to obtain a new one. In the process, they help out Santa Claus by delivering presents for Christmas.

This episode was generally decent. It decent energy, surprisingly strong music and solid heart. The tree part of the plot is sort of ditched when Santa shows up, but they do resolve it somewhat at least.

There’s some nice stuff with the duo at the end, and no this doesn’t ruin them because we know they’ll be back at each others throat in the next episode. It was just nice to see them care about each other just this once. (As long as they don’t go full Tom and Jerry movie, ugh)

I’m not sure why they are with witches but whatever. Also, some strong rhyming narration! So why did I say generally? Well, there’s only one real problem and it’s a big one: The animation.

They do try to have some energy but for some reason the animation itself is really stiff. Which isn’t good for a slapstick cartoon. Granted, there isn’t a ton of it here but when they try it early on it does not look good.

Mucha Lucha is a flash cartoon from almost a decade prior to this show and it looks much better, that’s a problem. Now, I did get used to it but it did ruin the impact of some of the comedy at times.

Plus it’s an issue with the show itself and not something unique to this one episode, at least from what I can tell. So if you wanna watch this one, keep that in mind. Some won’t be able to look past it, which is fine.

But if you can, this episode has enough to like despite the stiff animation. It’s pretty alright.

The True Meaning of Christmas [Teen Titans Go!]

Season 3,Episode 19

Writer: Ben Gruber

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: December 3, 2015

Fed up with never getting presents from Santa, the Titans head to the North Pole to take themselves off the Naughty List … by any means necessary.

This episode was eh. Finally, a weak TTG episode on here. It’s in that mold where they set it up like they will teach a  moral but don’t, or in this case, teach a bad one for comedy. That’s fine but they do a bit too much to the point where it isn’t funny. We get it, you don’t wanna teach morals.

This episode is supposed to be a parody of the typical “true meaning of Christmas” stories but simply isn’t very funny. It’s played a tad too straight for the comedy to work, and they clearly aren’t trying to say Christmas is only about presents and all that.

There’s some amusing moments with them at the north pole, and a catchy theme tune for Santa but otherwise this didn’t do too much for me. And while The Titans being on the naughty list makes total sense with most of the show, it really contrasts with how they were in the previous episode.

Then again, this show isn’t exactly about continuity so whatever. So yeah, this is a skip. It’s parody moral that isn’t very funny but at least the first Christmas ep was actually good. Stick with that one.

Scary Christmas [Be Cool Scooby Doo]

Season 1, Episode 14

Writer: Jon Colton Barry

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: December 10, 2015

The gang visits the town of Rockwellville in search of a Christmas mystery, but all they find is a pterodactyl who seems to have nothing to do with Christmas. Meanwhile, Daphne, who is tired of having her December 25th birthday overshadowed year after year, tries to convince the gang to celebrate her birthday instead of Christmas.

This episode was decent. The joke of Fred wanting to tie the mystery into Christmas got old after awhile and I wouldn’t call it great, but it was decently enjoyable. The mystery generally isn’t anything special but the comedy does work here.

I especially like the running gag about Fred’and his epiphanies. And while they could have done a tad more with Daphne’s side, it’s still fine enough and adds to the nice ending. I wouldn’t say it does anything too special but it was enjoyable and nice in the end.

This show generally does a fine job mixing in the typical mysteries with some unique aspects, and this episode isn’t the best example of that but it does work. Not the best one, but worth a look. And the only thing left to mention is three side notes:

  1. I swear they play a bit of the Spy vs Spy music at one point.2. Normally someone mentioning

2.Usually someone mentioning a Tri State Area would mean nothing to me, but knowing the  writer (literally in this case), hmm….

3. The mayor is voiced by Esteban from Elena. Seriously, he used the same voice and this was half a year before lol.

So yeah, it was decent.

Teen Titans Save Christmas [Teen Titans Go!]

Season 4, Episode 6

Writers :Aardon Horvath and Micheal Jelenic

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: December 1, 2016

Santa quits Christmas and stops giving presents because he can’t have the other holidays, so the Titans try to save Christmas.

As you can tell from that summary, this is indeed a sequel to Halloween v Christmas so I guess you should watch that one first since it was decent.

This one was fine though.I had a hard a sort of hard time following the premise but once it got into it, it was enjoyable enough. It is typical “failing to be Santa” stuff (although Robin actually getting fat and having heart problems was…something) but it was amusing enough.

Santa being a villain is now odder after watching the True Meaning episode where was not evil but it’s still a fun enough idea. I didn’t enjoyed as much as Halloween v Christmas for overall this had enough amusing moments and was an interesting premise.

I feel like I should had more of a reaction to it but while Second Christmas is the TTG ep to check out, this one works fine too, especially compared to True Meaning. That is all.

 

Next is supposed to be a Wabbit episode…but once again it is impossible to find,  unless you want me to get a “free” trial on the Boomerang add that you still gotta pay for in a way. I spent like an hour trying to find it and I’m really not interested in jumping through hoops for just one episode so screw it. Sorry.

Scroogey Doo [Be Cool Scooby Doo]

Season 2, Episode 14

Writer: Tom Konkle

Runtime: 22 Minutes

Airdate: November 30, 2017

The gang visits Britain so Velma can give a speech, but they are quickly sidetracked by a man named Scrooge, who claims to be plagued by three phantoms. While trying to solve the mystery, Velma quickly discovers that the ghosts aren’t there for Scrooge, but rather for her. Giving the Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol a new spin, the three ghosts of Christmas try to show Velma that the gang is holding her back in life.

This episode was good. It is a tad confusing though, as this is actually a retelling of a Christmas Carol set in that time period of the 1800’s, meaning this is an Alt Version of the Gsang but they act so exactly that same that you wouldn’t quite know that this is what they were going for even though they do remind you of that.

That kind of makes it hard to totally get into the story given it won’t really effect the characters in the present. But despite that, this was a fun take on the story. Right off the bat there’s a funny cold open with Scrooge calling out the ghosts for being rather rude.

They nicely combine good jokes with a decent story as Velma eventually realizes that her ghosts are actually wrong. Yeah, that’s a new spin that I quite enjoyed and felt was nice. The reveal of who did this and why works even with intentionally convoluted it is.

It also leads to a pretty funny ending on Scrooge’s side of things. Once you realize what you’re going into, this is a funny spin on A Christmas Carol that gives us a nice story of its own.

I wish the time period stuff was made a bit more clear but otherwise this is a solid one that is worth checking out. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a pleasant surprise.

Party Animal [Justice League Action]

Episode 46

Writers: Paul Dini and Tim Sheridan

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: December 2, 2017

Determined to finally throw a successful Christmas party for the Justice League, Green Arrow finds his plans thwarted when Plastic Man brings a tranquilized Solomon Grundy to the gathering as Plastic Man didn’t want to make a scene while trying to incarcerate Solomon Grundy at S.T.A.R. Labs during their Christmas party.

This episode was good. It felt oddly crowded despite being mostly lax but otherwise it was fun. There’s some funny stuff here like how Green Arrow thinks he has a bromance with Batman.

That’s a bit different from what you may expect from that character but it works. I was worried Plastic Man would be annoying but he’s not in this too much. There’s some okay action, and Grundy actually ends up adding a nice element to it.

There’s a generally lax feeling to this one, even with some of the stuff going on later in it. It’s not mind blowing or anything but it was decently funny and nice. I wanna see more from this show, what I’ve seen of it was actually quite good.

But yeah, a fun one worth watching.

And finally..

Top of the Naughty List [Unikitty]

Season 1, Episode 39

Writer: Ben Gruber

Runtime: 11 Minutes

Airdate: December 21, 2018

Unitkitty and pals try to stop Master Frown from stealing Christmas.

This episode was good. Although oddly enough, the officially summary mentions them telling Frown stories of his past but nothing like that happens. There is a bookend with him telling this as  story to his minion though.

But what we have is still fun. Nothing especially amazing, but it was just all very fun. This show’s style of humor and pacing is the kind you need to be in the mood, but it mostly works for me. It’s just so infectiously fun that i can mostly get wrapped up in it.

It helps that this episode is more action-y. Hell, there’s even a Die Hard reference. It only references the true classics. Speaking of Christmas, i will say it doesn’t embrace the spirit as much as the series being what it is, but it still is a fun time.

Others embrace the spirit more but this was still a fun time.  Much like the LEGO movie, it does feel like something a child would come up with, in the good way. Side note, the trailer for LEGO 2 makes a direct reference to this show, so I guess it’s canon?

Either way, simple but fun episode. Not my favorite on here, but worth a look if you want something silly and fun.

 

And those were the Warner Bros Cartoon Christmas episodes. I very much enjoyed these more than the Halloween ones. There were a couple weaker ones like the Sylvester and Tweety one, or the 2nd TTG one but for the most part these were at least decent.

Hell, even the Elmyra one was fine. My favorite was easily Pinky and the Brain but I also quite liked Static Shock, Brave and the Bold, and the Animanics ones. Those are all worth adding to your annual viewing, but there are others I enjoyed here too.

I’m not sure what the future holds with EB Cartoons, they don’t have too much going on besides TTG and Unikity but hopefully they get some better shows that can have good holiday episodes.

But speaking of the future, this is sadly the end of these holiday episode reviews. I’ll still review each year’s new episodes but that’s about it. I’ve covered just about everything, at least everything I feel I’m qualified to review.

In the future I plan to do a full update of that crappy Christmas specials list, where I will hopefully get o include some stuff from all over like some live action adult shows. But outside of that, I’m out of themes.

Which is good, I was getting tired of doing all this work every year. Plus, it will add to my goal to control the number of posts I do each year, which I’ll talk more about some other time.

It was still fun to do these though. At least doing each year’s episodes will give me a bit of that fun, seeing what each show does with holiday episodes. So yeah, it truly is the end of a rather short era but it was fun.

I’ll see you tomorrow for my positive Christmas movie review. Until then, that is all I got.

See ya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in A Look At, Animation, Christmas Reviews | 2 Comments