TV Review Subplot Spectacular 2

Hello, Spongey here.

Time for a quick-ish TV Review. My ideas are piling up again so it’s time to do a sequel to what I did last year. I reviewed 3 subplots last year because while subplots can be bad, they don’t have enough for full reviews, so I put a few together to discuss.

In hindsight, I would have left out the KC one as while it’s bad, it’s not as bad as I had recalled and it’s mostly just eh. This time I’m sticking with ones I have things to say about. I’ve only got 2 this time because I’ll save other ideas I had for some other time.

There’s not a whole lot to say going in, at least until I unveil the subplots in question. See my previous subplot post for discussion on subplots in general. I’ll go into how subplots effect the episode as a whole some other time, this is for when the subplot is just bad on it’s own.

With that said, let’s see how subplots fail us this time.

This, is the TV Review Subplot Spectacular 2: Insert Clever Reference Here

First up, a revisit to a show from last time.

KC Undercover-Dance like No One’s Watching

Writer: Eddie Quintas

That’s right, KC had two subplots, this being more recent. This show is fine-ish in general, but for some reason it fails at subplots sometimes. This one is waaaay worse than Photo Bombed. It’s just….you’ll see.

As for the main plot, it’s fine. It’s a bit odd with KC going Undercover as on old man only for Florence Henderson to fall for “him”. Yeah, but they do make this into kind of a nice story with a good ending. Aside from the pointless Marisa conflict (Didn’t think I’d ask for her to be cut but there you go), the main plot is fine. This subplot though…let’s do it.

The subplot starts with Judy finding Petey, this neighbor kid, playing video games in their upstairs room place. Apparently he just let himself in and she tells him to leave. As he walks away, he drops the controller, which looks like an N64 one for some reason.

“What do you think you’re doing? How would you like it if someone came to your home and threw you on the floor?”

“Please, it’s just a stupid machine”

“What. Did. You. Say?”

And here we go. Before you say anything, remember that one line in Love Ty-angle that basically announced what that story was a parallel to? Well..

“I apologize for Petety’s behavior. You hear about discrimination but you never expect to see it under your own roof”

Yep. Where do I even start? For one, just like Love Ty-angle that just feels…wrong, to have in a show like this, at least with how they do it. The execution makes it even worse. Who just calls a controller a “Stupid machine” like that?

There’s even more issues but we’ll cover it more in the next scene which occurs quite a bit later. Judy’s talking to Petey again about what he said, and asks him to take it back.

“Why? It’s not like machines can get their feelings hurt”

He’s right. I mean, he has no idea Judy is a robot. (Yeah,if you missed the last KC review I did, don’t ask). From his perspective, all machines are just…things so what he did was just kind of a dumb little comment.

“You had your chance…would you please get me some juice from the fridge”

And here’s where it gets worse. She uses her robot powers to make things like the fridge and toaster attack him. Over a dumb little comment. I’d complain but trust me, the next scene makes it so much worse.

She even makes the vacuum go towards him, which makes run out of the house. Hilarious. This subplot seems to just do everything wrong from concept to execution. But it comes to ahead and the 3rd and final scene of it.

Yeah, only 3 scenes of the subplot which is fine, but they are all so short. If you want a quick gag plot to balance out the main plot, don’t give it this kind of subject matter.

That night, Petey tries to sleep when the machines in the room start going crazy. Then Judy comes in.

“What are you doing here?’

“Showing you machines aren’t as stupid as you think”

Before I freak out some more,i should ask HOW IS NO ONE HEARING ALL THIS?! Especially Petey’s Mom! Judy almost blows her cover over a dumb comment! Speaking of which, she opens her head to show her robot parts.

And now she’s scarring a kid for life…again, over a dumb comment. See why I keep coming to that little detail? She forces him to apologize about machines being stupid He does and she’s happy.

“I’m going to assume this is all a really bad nightmare”

He says this as she’s about to leave, meaning she was fully about to leave having known she’s blown her secret on someone. Ugh.

“Can you get me another pair of underwear from the top drawer?’

And we end on a shit joke. How fitting. Because this subplot was shit. Nothing about it works on any level.

The concept is bad and it gets from there. Even taking aside the bizarre parallel to real life racism (made worse by Judy being black…), we have a plot where Judy gets offended by a simple dumb comment and gets cruel revenge that scars him and almost blows her clover.

Even if you weren’t supposed to side with her, it’s still extremely unfunny and just cruel. This is case where I struggle to say more because the problem seem pretty obvious. Yeah, Petey is pretty jerk-y in general but this is just a dumb comment.

Remember, from his perspective, machines are just things and he doesn’t know Judy is a robot. Because he shouldn’t know, it’s supposed to be a secret.

He’s just ignorant, but according to this episode, a simple ignorant comment is bad enough to warrant you getting harsh punishment from someone getting too offended.

Insert Tumblr Joke Here.

Yeah, this plot fails in ways I was not expecting. As I keep saying, I know most subplots shouldn’t be critiqued as heavily as main plots but there’s no excuse for stuff like this. This is the worst of the subplots I’ve reviewed, simply because nothing works, not even the idea.

The cruelty and unfortunate implications don’t help either. One day I’ll get to review a main plot from this show but for now we have this really bad subplot with it’s terrible plot and writing. Yay

Rating: Bad (Full Episode Rating would be Meh. Main plot is about a Decent but this subplot is just that bad).

Now onto our 2nd course which will give me more to say. Because we’re reviewing a subplot that is…good. Yes, we are finally going to review a good kidcom episode on here. I want to do more positive TV Reviews on the club, it’s just harder to find subjects worth going on about scene by scene like that.

But I think this solid subplot is a good place to start. And it is..

Best Friends Whenever-A Time to Rob and Slam

Yep, we’re finally reviewing a part of this show….and it’s positive. It’s not like great or anything but it has an episode subplot I like enough to discuss. I have an idea or two for a negative review, but for now let’s look at this subplot.

The main plot is okay, by the way. Barely remember much of it though, it’s nothing too special but mildly amusing enough. The subplot is far more interesting though.

It starts with Barry and his friend Renaldo as they…well, let Barry explain it.

“Can you believe that the school is allowing us to watch movies at home during school hours simply because we called it Independent Cinema Study’s?”

Not really but it makes for a good subplot. Also, not even good things are free from bad exposition. For today’s movie, Barry picked Spark Dynamo because he thinks they will have fun riffing it.

Already this subplot is releatable.

Renaldo actually turns out to like it un-ironically. Mostly because he’s the dumb one.

“It’s the movie that both started and ended the space western craze of 1993:

Yeah, this has good comedy due to what it centers around. There’s another good joke where do the do “I don’t like it, I love it” thing and Barry admits he saw the love it part coming. Self Aware-ness!

Their female friend Mari shows to get the time she can before she can wallow in Bizardvark and they have her watch with them and see how she feels. We cut to the end, and we see how deep this movie is.

“The universe is always expanding so in a way, we’re all headed west”

TEEN BEACH MOVIE GIRL WHOSE CHARCTER’S NAME I FORGET: “And this thing never won an Oscar:.

Marci says “I see your point”…and just leaves. I don’t get it.

After too much main plot time, Renadlo tries to prove that Spark Dynao is good by reenacting the most epic action scene in it …by using toys like a kid. It works as well as you’d think. To prove it’s bad, Barry pulls out the star himself, Vance Carrow.

I don’t know how we got him (or how he hasn’t aged since 1993) but whatever. I mean, Barry apparently lied and told him there’d be press here but I can forgive the logic because it leads to pretty much the best joke. He wants to Crowd Fund his new movie: Crabnormal Behavior.

“It’s about crabs who ain’t acting right”

I have nothing to add to that. Aside from that he actually does get to make it in a later episode. Nice.

Vance is the 2nd best thing in this subplo. He has some pretty good lines, like how he realizes how similar some of the movie’s lines are to other things. He tells Renaldo the movie is bad and….he admits defeat.

That was fast, but it is a subplot and it works for getting us into the big reason I did this.

“Remember, as Spark Dynamo says, Follow the Yellow Brick Splart!”

After finding out his favorite is actually bad, he’s a bit sad and Cinema Studies is over. Again, slightly rushed but it works. Marci comes over later wearing a skirt made out of garbage. It starts like a dumb joke but leads to our big point.

“You can’t possibly like it.”

“But I do”

This is what makes Barry realize the moral.

“It doesn’t matter if the movie is good or bad. If he likes it, it’s all that matters!:

I’ll give my spiel in a moment, as I’ve got a lot to say, but boy is this something a lot of people need to realize. Later, Barry makes a part of the school cafeteria (somehow) to look like the Cantina from the movie and even dresses like Spark Dynamo.

D’aww.

“I was wrong for not letting you enjoy that turd”

Turd is surprisingly harsh by Disney Channel standards.

“That goat keeps eyeing my garbage skit. And why is there a goat in here?”

Marci would be great at Best Friends Whenever sins. ..Someone make that a thing. And so a bit later, the episode ends with Cyd and Shelby watching the movie for themselves.

I won’t describe because it’s truly an amazing masterpiece for the ages. You must see it for yourself. We even get a trailer for Crabnormal Behavior! And there are crabs over the ending logo thing!

I love it when shows mess with the ending logo’s like that. So anyway, time for my ramble. I think you can tell why I like this subplot. Besides having some decent humor, the moral is a really good, and frankly revleant one.

It’s pretty simple but it’s the details what make it work. I’ve seen some shows do the moral about liking things despite how odd it is (Nerds of a Feather) and even a Liv and Maddie had it’s own take.

But this one is interesting because of both sides. Barry very much represents that guy on the internet who is quick to rain on someone’s parade if they dare to like something they don’t. Some people are just like that and it can be rather annoying.

Barry learns that it’s fine for someone to like something you don’t, no need to be a jerk about it. But what I find interesting is that the movie is shown to be bad. Objectively bad. In these kind of plots the thing is shown to be good or at least just harmless and dumb.

Here, it’s shown to be pretty bad from all levels. Granted, it’s the kind of thing that would get a The Room style cult following, but still bad. Barry gets enjoyment from making fun of it, but Renaldo enjoys it for real.

It’s an interesting angle to approach this from.. They’re pretty much saying it’s fine to like something objectively bad, be it legitimately or ironaclly. Renadlo obviously likes it for real, and that’s fine as we see here.

That’s why this subplot works. It’s a interesting take on an already good moral that makes it even better. It has some logic issues,like how in the main plot Cyd and Shelby go back in time and change things, but the subplot conveniently goes the same way it did before.

Because of course this show has wonky time travel logic.

But thanks to what I said before and some actually good humor, this is a solid subplot with interesting themes and a moral everyone needs to listen to .

Rating: Good

And there we go. These kind of things are always fun to do and it was nice to be positive for once in these things. Even if we had to get through crap to get to it. I will do more double bills in the feature, don’t you worry.

I have my next few TV Reviews planned and next time we’re going back to the land of bad episodes of fine shows. But yeah, be sure to take the latter subplot’s moral to hear. It’s fine for someone to like something for any reason, even if it’s something not liked that much, like a kid’s cartoon, or a dumb old movie.

Or heck, even a Disney Sitcom.

See ya.

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General Review: The LEGO Ninjago Movie

Hello, Spongey here.

…Yeah, it’s been awhile in terms of general reviews, hasn’t it? About a month, I think. There’s two reasons for that. One is that I am cutting down on what I see for money reasons. Sorry.

The other is that I was going to see/review Leap! (aka Ballerina), but due 2017 Hurricane #1, there was enough rain over here for the theaters to close down for a little bit.

And once they opened, I just wasn’t interested in going out of my way see it anymore, since it was only playing in the theater that is further away from me. Yeah, I think my local one learned it’s lesson from Rock Dog about playing small animated movies.

But getting a movie that came out everywhere else 18 months ago and is even out on DVD there is totally fine. Anyway, Leap will have til US DVD. But I’m finally back for a bigger animated film.

Earlier this year we had The LEGO Batman Movie, the 2nd film in the LEGO Movie Universe, as I’ll call it. We won’t be getting the sequel to The LEGO Movie til 2019 but until then we had some spin offs.

LEGO Batman turned out very well but 7 months later, it’s time for another one. This time it’s based on Ninjago. I know nothing about it or the cartoon series it had so I, as well as most, will be going into this blind, with only the other LEGO Movies to compare it to.

I was a tad worried when I heard about this coming this year not crazy long after LEGO Batman. See, while it did to it’s own thing, it did have the dame kind of style as the LEGO Movie, and based on the trailer, it seemed like this would be the same.

And I was kind of worried about burnout. Not just from the fact that we could get sick of this style, but also because we have two of them close to each other. I feel like putting this out next year would work better because we’d have better distance from LEGO Batman.

But I was going to judge it fairly anyway, since having the same style would still make it pretty fun. So far the reviews are not the best (48 on RT as of this writing), and I would make a comment, but I’ll wait til the review is done to see if I agree with them.

Anyway, creative team. We have a whopping 3 directors and between them we have episodes of cartoons like Tron Uprising and just being on the animation on various films. For our

For our 6(!) writers, 2 of them are 2 of the directors and between the rest we have stuff like LEGO Batman, Puss in Boots, and Ghost in the Shell 2017 of all things. There’s at least some talent here.

So is this a worthy entry in the LEGO-Verse, is there that charm fading away? Time to find out.

This, is The LEGO Ninjago Movie

Ninjago is a city that is under constant attack of Lord Garmadon. Who unfortunately happens to be the father of a young teen Lloyd Garmadon and husband of Koko, Lloyd’s mom.The entire city despise Lloyd because of his connections with Garmadon, which puts Lloyd into emotional stress. Lloyd is secretly a ninja along with his friends Kai, Jay, Nya, Cole and Zane and has to deal with how his father is attacking the city a lot.

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, this is a less film than what came before it? But guess what? It’s still good. Not really good per say, or something that will be remembered forever, but for it’s a fun 90 minutes nonetheless.

You can argue the novelty of this whole concept of fading but it still keeps up the enjoyment. And like I said, this wouldn’t matter if this came out a bit later. But on it’s own, it is fun. I get why some not like it as much of course, but it’s far from bad, or even Average.

It’s at 52 right now and just…no,. But anyway, let’s ignore that and judge the film. There’s not much to say for the animation. It’s the same style as the others, just a tad less great.

It’s still really good with how they animate them real LEGO Figures (there’s even some jokes about how weird their “hands” are) It just has less detail, and they cheat with the water again. Not a big deal, just something that takes me out of it.

There’s not much else to say about the animation other than it’s still quite good, just less impressive minus a few moments. Let’s go over the general flaws that do it prevent it from being as great as the previous LEGO films.

For one, it’s predictable. You know everything that’s going to happen from the start, especially with the Father/Son thing. That’s not too bad but don’t expect any crazy surprises in the story itself. Or anything that crazy deep.

Not that every kids movie needs to be crazy deep anything, but just expect a simpler film for this one. It has an aura of being simpler and slightly more kid-y. Don’t worry, there is some stuff for adults, just not quite as much. Especially in terms of the simple themes.

I think this was intentional. See, the movie actually book ends with a live action bit where this kid is told this story by Jackie Chan. The story is there to teach him a lesson. I don’t think it was quite needed but it was a good way to tell us what to expect.

The other flaw is that the other members of the team are useless. Okay, they kick butt but as characters, they don’t have much. They have some good jokes, but it’s a bit odd they have the female lampshade forced in female characters, only for her to pretty be one played straight.

It’s just weird for the team to be there and not do much on their own. Either make it a full team movie or don’t have them, or at least have less of them. It’s another movie where only about 3 characters’ matter (in this case it’s Lloyd, the villain, and Jackie Chan) which can be an issue.

Lloyd isn’t the most interesting, it’s more about what he goes through. I can forgive all of this because the film still works. For one, it’s funny. Not as hilarious as before but it still has it’s fair share of good jokes.

There’s a couple that go on too long but for the most part, I enjoyed the humor and laughed a few times. The best joke is one I won’t spoil, but you’ll know It when you see it. There’s still some clever jokes making fun of itself, even if again there is a tad less of it.

There’s even a funny record scratch joke. I didn’t even know that was possible anymore!

And while most of the characters are just there, they do make it up for it with Lord Garmadon, who is the best character. He’s a lot of fun as the villain and gets the most interesting story moments as he deals with both being evil, and Lloyd’s father.

Speaking of, it does lead to some good heart. Yes, it’s slightly cliché but come on, I think most people will get a few feels here and there. Especially in one scene that I won’t spoil. It does involve the only kind of surprise, even fi it’s a small one.

There’s a genuine heart here that tells us they did put plenty of effort into this. Yes, it’s lesser but clearly it’s that way on purpose. It’s a side project with even less connection to the main LEGO Universe.

(Arguably none, this is just a story some guy tells so it literally is not in the )same world as what that kid has created)

The humor and heart aren’t amazing but do they help make the film. The film is just an easy and fun watch from to start to finish. It starts of a tad slow, and beats you over the head with the themes, but it gets better with in the 2nd half I think.

In the least, it’s fun which to me is what a movie like this should be, Overall, the LEGO Ninjago Movie is good fun. It doesn’t reach the same heights as the other LEGO Movies but it still has the same humor and heart we’ve come to expect.

It is more predictable with mostly average characters but it does have very good animation, solid humor and some decent heart thanks to a fun villain. Can I see why some find a bit disappointing compared to the previous LEGO films?

Sure, but that doesn’t make it bad or anything. No one’s calling it THAT bad, but I don’t like the assumption that being less good than an amazing movie and a Very Good movie, makes this one bad anything.

Whatever, I also still like Smurfs the Lost Village so what do I know. This was a simple review but so is the movie. It’s nothing great, but it is good fun with some nice heart too. Don’t expect too much and you will likely find something to enjoy here.


Rating: Good

In the least, the actual LEGO Movie Sequel should be great. Or at least good. Anyway, what is the next major release I will see?

Oh boy.

See ya.

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Another Cinderella Story

Still a better Cinderella sequel than Cinderella 2

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s September 21, and you know what that means. Yep, it’s my brother’s birthday and I do my annual review for him. You know how this works so we’ll cut to the chase.

Out of the choices I gave him this time, he went with a “Sequel” to something I covered last year. If you recall, I came back from break last year with A Cinderella Story.

It was a retelling of.,…well, you know, that was pretty Tween-y and had one of the most contrived 3rd act misunderstandings I’ve ever seen. It had it’s Guilty Pleasure moments but overall not that good.

Then in 2008, four years later, they made a In Name Only Direct to Video Sequel. Why? I have no idea. I’m not what you could do with a normal sequel but not one wanted what was pretty much a remake.

This is the one I had wanted to cover, due to the star (and the fact that Disney Channel airs it a lot for that reason) but I decided to watch the original first and it happened to be reviewable.

But not it’s time to take on the “Sequel”. This is the most well known of the series because of much Disney Channel pushed it, despite it being a Warner Bros movie.

I guess this one was a hit because we have had 2 other ones since then. Heck, another reason I did the first one was because a new one was coming out. And yes, I’m still upset the 3rd one wasn’t called “Yet Another Cinderella Story”.

It’s finally time to take a look at what this film offers us. Was it worth waiting this long to cover? We’ll see. The director did a In Name Only “Bring It On” sequel. I think he’s found his niche.

Our writers are Erik Patterson and Jessica Scot. I said their names because you might find them familiar. They are a pair of Haunting Hour writers who also done some other things such as this.

Given their more comedic sensibilities on that show, it’ll be interesting to see how their more cinematic work plays out.

With that said, let’s see if they can at least improve on the flaws of the original by more or less remaking it.

This, is Another Cinderella Story

The movie wastes no time using it’s star, as we begin with an imagine spot featuring Selena Gomez singing her big hit song for the movie. It’s very short lived as we are introduced to her character, Mary.

Our Evil Step Mother is Jane Lynch, and she is a sort of washed up Pop singer. We also have the over the top step sisters. Basically the same from before but the step sisters a tad more tolerable this time and I like the Step Mother about the same but a tad more because of her step and Jane Lynch.

She gives us bad exposition explaining that this time it’s the Mom that died and Step Mom took her in. Why she did so, I don’t know. I also don’t know what happened to Dad, if he existed.

Step Mom is know doing commercials for stuff, including something that takes care of Back Acne. It’s called…Baby got Backne. Which leads to a full blown quick parody of Baby got Back called that.

It did not take long to make go “WTF”.

I will admit the quick flash of the side effects is funny. One of them is “increased gambling and sexual urges”You know-for kids!

Later at home, we find out a famous pop singer is going to their school. He is played by Drew Seely. Don’t know him? Well, you know how in High School Musical 1, that so clearly wasn’t Zac Efron during his songs? Yeah, that’s cuz it was this guy.

He’s our love interest despite being 25 at the time, with Selena being 15. …Yeah.

Mary heads to school with her quirky friend Tammy, who is wearing a quirky outfit, totally not unlike that other best friend to a Selena Gomez character.

When they get to school, Joey Parker shows which makes everyone go insane.

“I love Drama, it’s so Dramatic”

Who wrote that.

Joey is with his Black Best Friend who tries way too hard to be cool. Hell, he calls himself “The Funk”. I am not kidding. Because this is a Rom Com, he and Mary meet by literal bumping into each other.

They quickly move on from that and after even Tammy makes fun of “The Funk”, we cut to this dance class place where Selena is on side and the other side can’t see her but I guess she can see them.

Or something, it’s a bit confusing. Maybe it’s a one way mirror or something. Joey shows up to teach them some moves, which leads to this big sequence with him and Mary that was all over the ads for this.

After that, Mary goes home and we find out Mary used to have a crush on Joey Parker and has a video of her as a little girl fangirling over him. The Step Sisters show it to for not reason than it’ll be important later. Kinda.

Joey has dinner with Step Mom that night at the request of his Mom. It goes as well as you’d expect, especially with the Step Sisters hitting on him.

“You’re all nuts”

See, he gets it.

Chaos randomly happens and Mary and Joey bump into each other.

“We can’t keep meeting like this”

Christ, did they just use that cliche unironically?

Moving on, Mary and Tammy are talking about going to the ball. Yeah, for some most of the scenes in the first flow kinda badly but I guess it’s more noticeable when you are recapping it.

I should point that the Disney Channel, which I am using for this review, seems to have made an edit. The captions say say Tammy’s rant here includes her calling the high school “Lame Ass”.

Yeah. Disney can’t have that so she is awkwardly cut off mid sentence. They should have just cut of Ass and kept the rest in. Anyway, Step Mom hears of Mary’s plans to go to the ball so she forbid-es her and makes her clean the house, including her awfully dirty room.

How someone like her lives in a room that bad, I don’t know.

Mary tries to use the power of montage to clean but can’t do it. In the middle of this, she finds…a dog and says they’ve been looking for him since Christmas. …There’s so many reasons this makes no sense and isn’t funny but let’s move on.

Tammy hatches a plan for them to sneak off to the ball, as she gets some guys she knows to clean the room while they are gone. Joke about their reaction to the room and moving on.

Mary and Tammy show up and their more extravagant looks catch the attention of everyone there, especially Joey and the Alpha Bitch Step Sisters. And this time it’s easier to see why they can’t tell it’s Mary at first glance, and one bitch doesn’t say a line that confuses me!

Mary approaches Joey and they dance. I suppose he could be able to tell it’s here when they get so close for an extended period but to be hair, he bumped into her twice very quickly so…meh.

However, Mary can’t tell it’s Joey which is really stupid because she knows him well at this point and that mask hides very little. He takes it off which makes ehr react, and it turns midnight to make things worse.

She reacts badly because she fell on her butt once, even though he clearly was about to say “Hey, its fine” or something along those lines. Anyway, she makes it home just as those guys are finished with the room.

That ball scene felt shorter than in the first. Ah well, it still gets the point across.

Joey wants to find out who the girl is and of course he wants to use something she dropped to do so. In this case it’s a…Zune. No, I am not kidding. It’s one thing if it was a Non-Brand mp3player or iPod or the like. But no, they picked…Zune.

That’s hilariously dated. I mean the idea of it being a music player is an okay way to update it but picking Zune is…dumb.

Anyway, he just needs someone to correctly say the first few songs on the play-list without looking and we’re good. A big line if formed and a few guys are in it. Okay then.

Later at home the Step Sisters tell Mary they figured it was her at the ball. How did they find out? Never explained. Bah. They tell her not to approach him or they will leak that tape from earlier, which now has a point.

Both Step Sisters find out the sisters from her computer (behind each others backs) and approach him the next day. By the way, one of the songs is a Shakira song which is s funny/creepy foreshadowing.

She of course gets them right but he wants to dance with her to further prove it. Which I suppose makes sense and given she says no to his request, I bet he’s wondering how she even knows. He’s just like “go away” rather than “yeah, I think you raided her room”.

HEY WAY A MINUTE, he knows these are the step sisters of Mary and so if they somehow know the songs while not being the one, he should be able to tell it’s Mary by now!

Anyway, after the other sister fails, Mary decides to tell him but she catches him in a bad mode and thinks she’s just another crazy person. He is officially an idiot.

She’s bummed out but there’s no time to mope,. Step Mom has a random party to throw! Tammy had fun with Joey’s black friend with the dumb name at the ball and find each other again here, and find they were each other;s mysery date.

And through that, Black Friend figures out Mary is his girl. Yes,they find each other kind of early (we’re not an hour in yet) and through the annoying friend sidekick. Yay.

Joey shows up at the party and Black Friend tries to hook them up but then the Step Sisters play that video at the exact wrong time which makes Mary run off before he can even say anything.

We know he’s going to be nice about it so why even hold this off? He goes to her and gives her the Zune and sees she is the one he danced with. See, that last bit was pointless.

They have a moment and the next day Mary has an audition for some big dance thing. This is what the plot is about now. They set it up earlier at least but yeah, them getting together a tad early means things get kinda boring from here on out.

So let’s force in a conflict. Step Mom tells the people at the dance thing that Mary broke her legs so the audition can be canned. This is bad enough without being a repeat of the Princeton thing from the first one.

She doesn’t in turn doesn’t tell Mary her dream is dead, she’ll find out on her own later. For now she has to clean so they combine dance with cleaning, and add on a pop song to make the following montage complete.

Said montage is kind of nice, to be fair. They bond some more until one night Mary gets a note telling her to meet up with him. She goes to his place but sees this Alpha Bitch that works with the sisters talking to him.

Which means, that’s right, this is our crappy misunderstanding! It’s not NEARLY as bad as before but…it’s still pretty stupid. I mean, we see what she says: A girl talking to him in his bedroom with him having clearly just woken up.

No clear signs of cheating here, at least not too clear. On top of that, with how nice he clearly has been, even that very day, why would he give you that note just to see this and mess with you?

It makes no sense at all and as contrived as you can get.

Of course she runs off instead of talking to him and heads home. Step Mom seemingly consoles her but is mostly a bitch about it.

This bit does kind of make me wish one version of this story would develop this kind of character more but I don’t think we’ll see it In this series.

She tells her she has no audition, which I suppose she only held off until it was dramatically convenient. But if you are going to put this in the story, it does make more sense to do it here so…sure.

Later, Joey tries to talk to her but she isn’t having in it. She tells him off without letting him get a word in. Once again, the story would be done if they would just have a conversation!

Joey talks to Tammy and finds what he supposedly did wrong and sets Tammy straight. Why do the best friends find out the important stuff before the main characters do?

Then they randomly change the topic to the audition and try to get it back. I think telling Mary what she thought happened didn’t happen is more important.

They come up with this plan to combine the audition and what I suggested, but I stand by what I said. They take her to the dance competition thing and we get a lot of dancing for the next awhile.

Some of it needed for the plot but do we need some random guy and then later Dustin dancing for a few minutes? Eventually Joey gets up there for some filler dancing and he has Mary get on stage with him.

She isn’t happy about the idea due to those contrived reasons and instead of explaining, he just says “get up here” and she does. It’s kind of cool to have a sort of Dance Battle but it’s a forced climax.

Maybe I’ve just seen the “make up during a song/dance number” thing a bit too much in these kind of movies. But oh wait, they don’t make up until AFTER! Yes, after all this is when he sets her straight.

So that dance number happened because we needed some kind of climax. Either have them make up during it to make it more exciting or don’t do any of this at all.

After they make up, Joey announces Mary as the winner even though she didn’t legally enter. Just saying. Then Mary finds out about Step Mom’s lie in a really quick way.

I would call it pointless but then we wouldn’t have Joey asking her to go up on stage at that moment so whatever. With that, things start to wrap up. Mary gets some Dance School Scholarship and goes out to live her dream.

This means she gets away from Step Mom who broke her legs in a pratfall. Her going crazy from Mary leaving is funny and slightly sad. Weird. Anyway, Mary leaves with Joey to cap off this poorly written story.

The End. Man, that got pretty tedious near the end.At least it’s over.

Final Thoughts:

This got weaker on 2nd viewing. But first, how does it compare it A Cinderella Story? Eh, it’s better in some ways, and worse in others. It does some of the main concepts better, and the lack of logic isn’t quite as bad.

The acting is also mostly better. The Cinderella aspect also isn’t quite as forced, even if it does mean it’s closer to being original than any kind of adaptation.

But on the other hand, the plot can be weaker at times, especially with the 3rd act having even less to hold it up at times. It’s also a fair bit blander, while the first did a few more interesting moments here and there.

I don’t know, I do know they both carry the same problems: Bland with a side of poor writing. Being a tween movie, Bland-ness is to be expect, but the only thing I can say about the lead is she’s kind of snarky, and really it’s just Selena playing the role she always played back then.

Joey is even worse and the rest just fill their roles. Some can do play them fine like Step Mom but they are still thinly written. On the bight side, the acitng is good and they can bring some charm to some moments.

On the not so bright side, boy is there no logic here. There’s quite a bit that makes no sense, especially in the 3rd act. The misunderstanding isn’t quite as bad as before but it’s still very stupid.

The entire 3rd act just feels slapped together to me. Some parts do need to be there I suppose but every single step of act 3 fails in some way, right down do the endless dancing.

Not quite to the extent of the first but it’s only barely better to be honest. It wasn’t exactly good to begin with but boy the problems piled on towards the end.

Overall, it’s a tiny bit better in places, but it’s still not good. It has some charm and you can snark at it, but it still has weak writing with plenty of cliches and a very broken 3rd act.

Like the first, you can skip it unless you want to snark at it, and even there’s better options. Never of these movies are THAT bad but they aren’t that good either. It’s an easy concept, I’m not sure why struggle with them.

They have two more shots but we’ll wait until next year to see they do. For now, we have two pretty weak films.

Rating: Meh

Next time, October is coming up so yeah, it’s time for the Halloween reviews. And because timing is amazing this year, we’ll get to start with Jason.

See ya.

(Happy Birthday Antony, once again!)

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Goosebumps Hall of Horrors-The Birthday Party of No Return

Hello, Spongey here.

Well, we’ve come to the end of Hall of Horrors. That was quick, due to the whole 6 book thing. Being the kind of series this is, don’t expect a blow out.

But it’ll be fun either one. This one I’m less familiar with as I read it once and it took a bit to get it anyway. I just recall it being fine. So is it truly fine or what?

After our shortest intro yet, let’s see.

This is, The Birthday Party of No Return

The book opens with our main character Lee telling us hates his friend Cory Duckworth But only because he’s so lucky. Everyone calls him Lucky Duck.

“Duckworth. Get it?”

Sigh.

Lee’s goal is to get some sports scholarship thing that Cory also wants. And so is his female friend that he has a crush on. Hmm, actual semi romance is rare but I’m not expecting How I Learned to Fly here.

By the way, she’s a red head so if she’s a good guy, it’ll be a step forward for Stine.

We see some of Cory being a lucky kid in the house, like when he catches a falling ladder. And does really well during a baseball game and Lee just gets hurt. Cory doesn’t quite jerky per say but the way he talks just make me want to punch him in his face.

Also, don’t expect any Murphy’s Law jokes. Too easy.

Lee goes home where both his parents are teachers at the high school. Dad teaches Chemistry which barely counts as being a scientist! Then his dog vomits.

Lovely.

Sometime later, Lee gets something in the mail labeled as “Instant Good luck”. He thinks it’s a prank for Cory, which isn’t unfair and puts it away. Guess we have to wait for the plot to start.

Instead, have another sports game where things go wrong for Lee.

“I don’t want to make you tense…this win counts big time towards the scholarship”

“Then why did she say that?”

Stop reviewing the book for me.

After that, Lee decides to peek at the good luck thing. It turns out to be Vulture’s Claw and he puts it on as it works like ap pendant. And right after he gets a letter from Pizza Planet.

Is it from the Pixar Branch warning Stine they’ll sue?

Nah, he just won Free Pizza. And after one instance, he believes it. To be fair, that is too odd to be a coincidence but still. The luck continues as he has his favorite dinner and gets
a DS game.

Dad chastises him for not reading instructions, even though I’m pretty sure they put those in game. Why else do you think Manuals are rare nowadays?

He also gets good grades on his report grade. You get the point, tons of good Stinklecrampen comes his way. With all this luck, I see why he has a re-match with Cory. It works and Lee wins easily.

But when Lee gets home, his dog gets his paws on the Claw and while he gets it back, it’s torn up a bit. Even you can tell what’s gonna happen next. Yeah, his good luck turns bad, including his laptop coming on fire.

Yikes, it’s already kind of over the top.

His reaction about right but I think mine would be waaaay worse. Lee notices the claw is minus one flaw but doesn’t think much of said flaw for some reason. Then we get a quick dream scene where not much of note ends, and then another one.

“Was it a nightmare inside of a nightmare?”

Insert obvious joke here.

The next morning he has bad luck with clothes and now he figures the claw has gone bad, he just still doesn’t know why. Later, we get Bowling. Spoilers, it goes bad as he drops the ball on his foot. Ouch.

He finally figures out how the claw turned bad and he gets rid of it. We’re only 70 something pages on so that’s not the end of it. See, Cory’s birthday is coming up and he thinks the claw is the perfect gift.

Now that’s devious. I’d usually be angry …but the asshole deserves it. But wait, if it’s bad lucky, wouldn’t it bad funny if it gave Cory even better luck, as it would be bad for Lee?

Nah, that’s too clever.

“It’s the Birthday Party of no Return for Cory”

Roll credits! Also, ouch, that was so forced it hurt.

Cory gets the claw…but it turns out he already has one, the good version. Huh, that actually makes a lot of sense. And hey, my joke …kinda came true, I suppose.

Of course, he doesn’t just throw the claw away or better yet, swap with Cory telling him this will have better luck being newer. But nah, instead we get more bad luck. Dark cloud you’re standing under, Bad Luck.

He tells Cory the truth and..

“Didn’t you read the instructions?”

Yeah, it turns out it had instructions that Lee brushed off. That line from Dad? That was foreshadowing. Nice. Anyway, kissing the Claw makes it give bad luck and the dog kissed it. Would make more sense to have breaking it be bad but whatever.

I gotta say, Cory is cool about all this. Infact, at this point he isn’t too jerk-ish. He’s kind of odd in that way. A bit later, he walks his dog and he is hit by a car.,

“I died instantly”

NEXT CHAPTER:

“I didn’t die”

LAME.

Instead, it sends him flying because that’s how that works. He surives okay though. He throws the claw away but I think full on throwing it across the street or something would get rid of it easier.

His luck slowly improves but the claw seems to be too close as small bad things happen. Then the claw starts digging itself out. Told ya. Wait, it turns out to be some other random thing. My point still stands.

The next day is the final thing for the scholarship: Football. Lee still needs a better chance so he kisses Cory’s claw. Okay, that’s kind of sick, especially after he was kind of nice to you. He does remember what the claw brought him, right?

It goes the way you’d expect, as both get hurt badly. Oh and the claw appears in Lee’s backpack. K. Luckily, the three (bet you forgot Laura existed, she appears but does nothing too important) are finalist for the scholarship.

Then suddenly he and Cory turn into creatures and fight each other. …And cut to later as Cory says they randomly started fighting and imagined the monster thing. I wish we got to actually see more of that play out instead of it being pointless.

Lee got rid of Cory’s claw off screen so everything seems fine. Laura won because of the whole fighting thing. Yeah, I saw that coming. But there’s one twist with her:

She sent them the claws.

Now that’s a tad less expected. And she kissed them before she sent them. She says Cory and Lee still had good luck for a bit because it takes awhile to kick in. Even though it started right when we saw them get kissed. Maybe it takes two kisses? I don’t know. And yes, she somehow know Lee threw his away and put it in his backpack .So she was kind fo the villain here. Nea.

“Have an awesome Summer!”

The End. Huh, a random ending. I kind of expected more. Where did these things come from exactly? Are they doomed with bad luck forever or what? Whatever.

Final Thoughts:

This one was solid, I think. It’s nothing great but I did enjoy it more than I expected. The main issue is that it does get repetitive. We get it, they have good/bad luck. But it’s not too bad and what happens is interesting.

Not much is explained but it’s scarier that way. There’s not much in the way of great writing per say but that’s not the focus. It’s just about these scary events and a tad into the mystery. There’s some fun stuff that the claw does and the competition gives the story an edge.

Cory is odd though. His nature should make him a jerk and he’s punch able but in the 2nd half he’s just nice all around and they even end as friends. I think Stine was going for him being good but just seeing jerk-ish due to his

I really like the twist. It mostly makes sense and is a good halfway point between expected and unexpected. I like that what it does. No spoilers for anyone who just cuts to the end here, by the way.

It’s a fun but flawed read. Not much more to it than that, but that’s all it needs to be. I think the Nightmare room book Locker 13 did this better but that’s another story, hopefully. So yeah, it’s an enjoyable way to end Hall of Horrors.

Rating: Good

Overall, Hall of Horrors is fine. I like it more than Horrorland Arc 2, as more books stood out. I used to think this had a Star Trek style curse with the odd ones better but it was different as some were better or weaker than I expected.

Claws was my favorite and Night of the Giant Everything was my least favorite. Neither was great nor terrible, just pretty good and Average. Still, better than Arc 2.

It was a fun little experiment. But next, Stine just did another mini-series with a weak gimmick. But more on that as Modern Goosebumps reviews continued. But before we start it properly, there’s something I gotta cover first.

That’s coming soon with the first Most Wanted book coming soon after. Anyway, that shall be all.

See ya.

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DCOM Month 3: The Swap

The_Swap_poster

Kirby Ross. Yeah, that’s all i Got

Hello, Spongey here.

Welcome to the finale of DCOM MONTH 3!

As you recall, I put this up to a vote. So it makes sense that we’d close out with whatever got the most votes.And only 1 got voted on more than once so we’re going with that.

And it’s…a random throw away film. Huh.  I have no idea why either wanted this one, but you got it, my friends.

There’s not much to say going into this one. This aired last year to very little fanfare. They spent so much time hyping up Adventures in Babysitting that this got not much advertising time.

They had some ads but not as much as other DCOM’s. So of course it didn’t do too well.I blame that and that the stars aren’t amazing bankable. We got Kirby Buckets and Peyton list, from Jessie/Bunk’d.

They were trying to pump her up, but that kinda failed. I mean, Bunk’d’s status is TBD at the moment, even if I wouldn’t be mad if it ended (We’ll get to it someday,I swear).

I remember this being fine, compared to what I expected. It’s based on a book but I haven’t read so I can’t say too much. A friend from a blog of his own looked into it though, so here’s a link to it:

http://nickanddisneyreviewed.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-swap-review-young-adult-novel.html

And yeah, this is a Freaky Friday type movie from the company who made Freaky Friday…twice! I recently watched an anime film with this concept called Your Name but I imagine this won’t be as …interesting in a good way.

By the way, check  that one out.

The writers have done little of note, and the director mostly does Kirby Buckets episodes. Fitting. He also oddly has episodes of Workaholics. Weird.

Anyway, is this one any good? Let’s find out.

This, is The Swap

The movie opens with Kirby Buckets himself (I’ll call him that that to be “funny”) playing Hockey, after the obligatory opening pop song which is this case is ear rapeingly awful.

Seriously, its got shitty autotune and everything. I can’t describe it that well, but ouch. We also meet Peyton List who does rhythmic gymnastics or something like that.

Kirby’s problem is that his kind of a jerk and I guess Peyton’s prob;em for now involves the school cutting finding for these kind of things They have a chance of escaping that though so we have our conflicts!

As you can imagine, we keep cutting between these 2 and it’s decently edited to give us a idea of how both sides are.

“Don’t blow it!”

That’s why I say to Disney Channel all the time.

Later, Kirby is playing with these guys who are of course Disney Channel jerks who call him names no one ever says. He breaks his phone and has to get a new one.

“Mom sure did love her sparkles”

…That’s extremely clunky, yikes. I suppose it was easy to tell we had a Dead mom but come on. Speaking of Mom’s, Peyton’s seems to be hippie-ish but at least shes’ kinda hot.

And her friend is named Sassy. I hope that’s a bad nick name,

We also get one a rather recent tiring cliche: Text’s on screen. I don’t know, it’s not a big deal but it’s gotten annoying. What happens here could have been conveyed without it.

Sassy has fallen in with the Alpha Bitches which is now Peyton’s conflict. She even overhears her being a bitch in the bathroom.

“It was super sad when her Dad left”

\More amazing dialogue!

I feel like getting an idea what Sassy was like before would make this stronger but whatever. Kirby and Peyton finally meet and of course talk about how the other sides has it easier.

The nurse makes them shut up and just text about as they just magically have each others numbers.

“I wish I had your life”

Subtle. We’re following Lizzie McGuire logic on this one. And as soon they both say they’d like the other life….they swap….through the phones.

Yep. This makes no sense and spoilers, all their bullshit explanations won’t help at all. Zapped’s phone stuff made more sense.

“What the what?”

Wrong Disney Channel Theme Weekend.

They quickly figure they swapped and of course freak out about it. See, Peyton’s Mom say putting too much emotional energy into an object will make it a totem and give it power over you, which is what we’re going with as our expiation.

Both the phones happened to belong to missing parenting figures, what are the odds? Mom must have been more recent as Peyton’s got a flip phone.

So now they must fake being each other until they can figure out what to do. Them telling each other what to do gives us more clunky exposition.

By the way, Sassy likes Kirby. You can imagine how awkward this is. Speaking of which, the bully guy shows up and hits on Peyton. He looks way older than her. Ew.

That stuff is thankfully short as they now official begin living each others lives. Peyton as Kirby accidentally agrees to “chop the salad” which is not as sexually as it sounds.

It means cutting his hair. Honestly it looks way better this way, it was a rat’s nest before. Meanwhile, Kirby as Peyton asks Mom about the totem thin but just finds out she deactivated Peyton’s flip phone, although that won’t be official until Sunday.

Their real names are Ellie and Jack, by the way. Still won’t call them that though, just had to say it once. He tells Peyton and they both say NOOOO in the most weaksauce way possible.

Things don’t do too well so far, especially on Peyton as Kirby’s side. Especially with Dad being a jerk. The mom thing can only justify him so much but more on that later.

Kirby and Peyton talk about this further which ends up being a nice little moment.Would be less nice if they weren’t having the phone call while Peyton’s body is taking a bath.

Yeah.

They figure they need to improve each other’s lives to get this all back to normal. Kirby’s Dad pops up to take the phone away because jerk. He gets worse as we find out he makes him train hard the next morning.

I do like this part where his brothers actually help him out given we’ve mainly seen them as jerks so far.

Word spreads that Peyton talks to Kirby and the friend that likes him is worried. And right away she’s like “Nah” and backs off. That wasn’t pointless.

Back with Kirby’s body, we get a random moment regarding the dad Mom which is kinda nice in execution. Later, she/he talks to the bully guy and drops a truth bomb about how insecure he is.

I love how this really troubles him..

Peyton’s body slips out to extend the phone plan only to find it was…Dad who canned it. I think that’s going to be a deal later. But that’s not important, Peyton has to fix thing’s with Sassy at some party.

“Why are you friends with this chick anyway?”

Good question.

We see further later that the bully guy has changed. It’s silly but pretty funny. We get a “Getting ready” montage and move on to the party. The bully helps Kirby’s body sneak out to go a get together of his own which is a good payoff for that plot point.

That means we have a contrast with the girl party and the boy party. Yeah, this is like that other “magic phone” movie in a ways, just…better.

Sassy is randomly on Peyton’s ass again, making that previous scene pointless. So now she drops her as a friend for reasons.

Trough some events that confuse me, Peyton’s body says she and Kirby are tight so then he has to show up and they have to pretend to like each other or something.

Then they drop it like it’s pointless and go back to Sassy being a bitch. Peyton finally calls her out which is very satisfying. They go home and we get the scene get a sad song.

Which in execution is effective enough. I especially like the brothers handing him this little note that Jack wrote his goals on. Later, they tell this one friend about this situation and we just skip to him believing them,

They discover they can tap into their original body’s powers because reasons, so it’s possible to have a training montage!

Both of their important events are on the same day (because of course they are) and we get to the day. We get a montage of the two events and we see they have learned to do them rather well.

They find both of their things and yeah there wasn’t much to say about all that.  But even after that, they don’t switch back meaning there is some unfinished business.

Kirby reveals it was Dad that canned the phone contract as he wanted a new family plan.

“…Oh. For his new family”

Ouch.

They sulk off and return to their parents.

“I made varsity”

“Barely and only because everyone else played worse”

Oh good, he’s still an asshole. Meanwhile, Peyon’s mom confronts “her” about the whole Dad thing which leads to a really nice moment. I did not expect some actually nice stuff when I first saw this.

“Kirby” finally confronts asshole Dad.

“Do you even love me at all?”

Needless to say, this part is amazing. The bastard deserves it. They both feel a lot better after that and realize this might be the thing their switch was all about.

They meet up and text each other saying “I wish I had my life back” and boom, it works. And there’s a joke where Kirby had Peyton put on other layers beneath her main clothes because we couldn’t end this without one joke like that.

So now their lives are fixed and things are winding down. Kirby returns home as Dad apologizes for being such a Dick. His excuse is that after Mom passed he felt like he wanted to be tough but ….eh.

This reminds me a lot of Chicken Little, with this guy technically being a worse parent. The difference here is that rant was way more satisfying since this movie blamed the parent more than that one did.

Not that this does it that much better on the Dad end, but at least he directly apologizes.

As for the Sassy stuff, she randomly apologizes but Peyton tells her it isn’t enough, which is good. Kirby and Peyton introduces their parents to each other for a forced pairing.

I hope that realize they might become siblings now.

The end. Yeah, let’s end on that note. That was an okay wrap up, even if it’s clear they front loaded all the good stuff at the end there.

Final Thoughts:

This was a mixed bag but in general, it was better than I expected. The main flaws come from the typical DCOM problems you expect. The explanation of the switch is really stupid and there’s some dumb stereotypes here and there.

There are some plot elements that could have been written better. I like Sassy’s role in the story but on it’s own it feels kind of pointless. I suppose Peyton’s conflict of being sad over Dad wasn’t quite the most eventful but I feel like it could have been handled better.

Most of the flaws, minus the magic crap can be forgiven but they are noticeable with how good some things are. Watching this again, I realize how close to really good this is.

The leads do a good job being each other to the point where I didn’t have that problem remembering bodies have swamped like I sometimes do in these kind of movies.

Character wise they don’t go that deep but that’s fine as the events make up for it. Speaking of deep, that’s what this movies gets right. Their emotional struggles work mostly well.

I say mostly as the pay off is better than the set up. Peyton’s Daddy issues aren’t shown that much but that last scene still works. I like that he never shows up, it reminds of Blendins’ Game where they could have gone through this whole thing but they decide that if he’s not gonna show up, he’s not worth it.

This isn’t nearly as good but it works. Her arc’s also nicely contrast Kirby and despite some wonky parts, they do juggle them both equally. Sassy ends up being beyond salving for now and her Dad is too late but Kirby was able to fix his similar issues before it got to that point.

The actual body swap stuff is typical and it’s clear they cared about the actual conflict more, which I’m fine. There is some okay stuff, with the bully being the best part of the whole thing.

He was pretty funny with how he turned good and all that. He even served a good use later on.

Overall, the most was mixed but in the end I will say I kinda liked it. It had plenty of small problems but I appreciate that they went a bit deeper than they needed to. There’s some nice moments and the ending worked me.

It could have been great but it’s already better than it had any right to be. While Adventures in Babysitting was content to play it safe and rely on star power, this at least tried to take some chances.

It’s not all good but I give them credit for trying. Could have been better, but also could have been far worse. As it is, it was a better on a re-watch and I’m glad we ended on an okay note./

Rating: Decent

So that was DCOM Month 3. A solid selection and none of them were too weak. Proud Family wasn’t too flawed and Adventures in Babysitting at least was a remake of a better version, and the others were downright okay.

So the Drama was the best of course. Thanks for voting, for those that did. Voting stuff usually doesn’t turn out too well but this was fun.

But man am I glad to be back to my normal schedule next time. Next time,my brother’s birthday comes up so you know what that means.

See ya.

 

Posted in Disney Channel Movies, Play by Play Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DCOM MONTH 3: Pixel Perfect

Disney_-_Pixel_Perfect

How to build a better movie

Hello, Spongey here.

Now we come to the reason we did this the first place. This is going up August 23, 2017, the 20th anniversary of Northern Lights the first DCOM. …Kinda, I count it anyway.

And just as I planned it, one of the reviews was going up on this date. Of course that one to be special, so I picked the 50th DCOM. In the least, it’s the 50th by my count. (By Disney’s standard, 50th is Zenon 3 which we’ll get to someday)

I’ve wanted to do this one before but couldn’t. Now I have it off iTunes so it’s finally time to tackle this one. Somehow the 50th DCOM is more interesting and special than the 100th one.

I saw it back when it aired and found interesting and always wanted to revisit it. Now I have for this to review, and yeah it’s really interesting and terms of how it all plays out.

The director has done Halloweetown High and also Spawn and some of those animated Garfield movies. That’s an odd resume.

The writer is Neal Shusterman who my readers recall as doing 2 Haunting Hour episodes but he’s mostly an author and I’ve actually read some of his books and they are actually pretty good.

So we’re in good hands on that front. So is this a good 50th at all? Let’s see.

This, is Pixel Perfect

The movie opens with our main character Roscoe, played by Phil of the Future himself as he’s messing around some of his Dad’s technology. His dad is this super smart guy who mostly dabbles and Hologram stuff and Roscoe is smart enough to be able to mess around in it.

So thus the kid didn’t invent the advanced tech, he’s just doing stuff with a base that has already been made. It’s a small detail but it makes this just a tad more believable.

His first act is to make a Holographic Cat. Yeah. Dad sees this and is miffed he’s playing around and you can already tell there’s friction with these two. Spoilers, it’s mostly Dad being a jerk.

He goes to his friends, who are in a band. Of of them is played by Tania Gunadi aka Sashi in Penn Zero and tons of other roles. I swear she is everywhere these days. She doesn’t do too much here though.

He’s not in the band itself. They’re performing at some club place and this one guy he’s a bigshot I guess is not a fan. Mostly because they have no “presence” or “image”.

He even says they sound fine but it’s not about sound anymore, it’s about image. He’s…got a point to an extent. This was made in 2004 by the way. He does approve of a girl group called Moist Toilette.

Yes.

At home, Roscoe talks to their lead singer Sam who is also the best friend. They think it’s best to get a new lead singer who can do the moves.

“An addition to the band, not a replacement”

You can guess how this will work out.

Anyway, out of context line time:

“How do you deal with all those buts?”

“Ship them off to china”

This is during dinner, as Dad is knee deep work because of course we hit on that cliche. A bit later we get the bad auditions montage.

When it seems like there’s no other choices, in comes this girl who sing and dance! The song here is titled “Nothing’s wrong with me”, which actually has story relevance.

Her name is Loretta Modern. Before I can call that out, it’s revealed she is indeed a Hologram. That’s right, Roscoe has invented a Holographic Woman….to be a lead singer in a band.

Good use of our resources.

“This is just plain weird”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The only downside is that she can’t go outside as it messes her up. At least they thought how some of this would work on some level.

Oh, and yes there are plenty of comparisons to be Made to How to Build a Better boy. This one makes way more sense, for starters. That had a  valid way of exploring this topic but as we’ll see, this has a just a bit more to it.

A bit later we have their first gig at a school dance. It goes well, not much to say there. We got a moment a bit later where she wonders what it’s like outside since she can’t go out. It’s small but our first step to her arc and the themes within.

Also, her acting is…hit or miss. Sometimes she’s fine, other times not so much. Maybe she’s trying to be wooden, being a Hologram and all, but eh I don’t know.

The next day some guy asks Roscoe to hook him up with Loretta and instead of telling him to sod off, he agrees because the guy heard Roscoe’s Dad might be fired and he can talk to his Mom about fixing that.

Yeah, still not a good idea.

He then makes it a double date with Sam because reasons. I don’t know why he’s shocked when she doesn’t like this idea. She goes with it anyway as that is the next scene.

Roscoe gets a call from Dad and he bumps into something so Loretta starts messing up for the “Cover up weird stuff” scene. Despite that, things so reasonably well. That scene was shorter and even more pointless than I expected.

Roscoe asks Sam to keep Lorreta as if she stays at his place, Dad will find her. Given her feelings on her, not a great idea but okay. And yeah, this kind of a love triangle but it doesn’t quite go that route so don’t worry.

Later, Sam makes a rather brutal point about how Lorretta has never had to try and fail, as she was built perfect.

“You’re just water and a few pounds of chemicals…maybe a few more pounds than you really need”

Oh snap!

We then get their next gig where they do a song about being noticed. Yes, Sam wrote it. After the gig we get another moment where Loretta wonders what being actually human is like. It’s nice.

We move to the next gig which could get them signed up for Harshtone Records. That name should clue you in on how much you should trust them.

The performance goes fine until Lorreta randomly starts glitching out.After more it, they automatically assume its a holographic person and the glitching isn’t just part of the act.

“Holographic rock star”

“How cool is that?”

Yep, the don’t freak out over this at all. Because this movie is very realistic. This then leads to a getting famous montage. No, no one ever freaks out over this random band having a freaking holographic person.

Makes as much sense as turning talking chipmunks into a rock band I guess. We briefly see a talk show debate this but that’s it.

Naturally, Lorreta gets most of the attention right up to when they’re doing their first real album. Sam doesn’t like this. No, this isn’t the end of Sam being a bitch. But enough of that, you might wonder how Dad is reacting to this.

Pretty well, given his son invented a holographic person that’s becoming famous. I’d criticize him for not being more upset but now I can get angry because he just sees her as a “good beginning and doesn’t at all see her as a person.

I get that but as Roscoe points out, she’s become a big star and has pretty much saved Dad from getting fired. So yeah I’m on the heroes side, if only because the Dad is an idiot.

Anyway, Loretta wrote a song…made up of other songs.

“Hey now you’re a rock star”

….There’s so many jokes I can make about that. ….Too many. You put one in the comments, my Shreksters.

That’s just there for this:

“You said I was perfect”

“Even perfection has it’s limits”

Ouch. No need to be so harsh.

This is bad enough to make her want to leave and she almost does before realizing stepping outside is a no-no. This is another interesting dramatic moment.

Roscoe promises not to mess with her but she’s still upset. So much so she puts herself in the internet to quick travel to Tokyo. Yep, we to see the inside of the internet.

Not as much as porn as I expected.

Instead, it’s a void full of random images and noise. Okay, that’s kinda accurate. We also have a a literal search engine that she hops on. Plus, a good gag about pop up ads.

She hops off and ends up in the world of Emails. Which is portrayed by those white featureless figures shopping. …Creative?

She attaches herself to one….that ends up being Sam’s. Whoops. She puts Lorreta back in her…can for her but being Sam, she’s a bitch about it.

Later, Roscoe finds out about this and Sam lets her go. He talks to his Dad a bit after that about how he never got re-married. This leads into some talk about perfection does not exist which is interesting and all but slightly forced with how it comes up.

We get a montage of where the lyrics to the song iTunes shows are NOT the song actually playing. Huh.

They head up to Harshtone Records to sign a deal. Of course the higher ups there are assholes, so much so that Dad finally stands up for his son. But it’s too late, they are gonna keep Loretta for their own anyway.

Seriously, who trusts a company called Harshtone to begin with?

However, Daryl Fibs, the guy who picked them is starting to agree with Roscoe on Loretta being a person and gives her the choice to go free if she pleases. She takes it and Fibbs quits the company too.

Well, that conflict ended as soon as it began. Still cool though. And yes, she escapes through the internet which almost gives that scene a  point!

He meets up with Roscoe later and tells him what happened. Because they can’t get to Loretta, they move on to their next gig where Sam tries to take her place but just ends up hurting herself. Ouch.

At the hospital, Lorreta emails herself to Roscoe and she finds out what happened. Loretta then decides to use her…powers, I guess to go into Sam’s brain. You heard me. Because of the wires stuck on there, she can use that go in.

….Okay.

It turns out her brain is all dark and gloomy with Sam in the middle being depressed. Loretta has her strum her guitar and then suddenly it’s all bright. It’s a lovely moment especially with the music but I don’t get what she did.

We get more talk about perfection and how lucky Sam is to be a real person, not limited by being a program. Eventually Sam wakes up…but Lorreta is the one n control of the body.

Yep, she now has a taste of being a real boy-I mean girl.

“There was only room for one of us at a time”

Sure why not. We do this really nice moment where she finally gets to outside and feel rain. However, Roscoe wants Sam back.

“She’s not perfect”

Don’t make me bring out that creepy…thing from Courage.

He says likes her BECAUSE of her imperfections. She’s like “K”, then goes dancing in the rain. Then Lorreta randomly leaves her body right there, leaving only Sam.

Don’t ask me, I didn’t write it.

I make fun but this a really nice moment, if a bit on the nose. With that, Lorreta is gone. To help us through this,we fade to Sam playing a sad song. After it, we see the band has been doing well with Sam as their lead singer.

However, they heard someone chime in during the show and wonder who it is. No  guesses as to who it is. Yeah, it was Lorreta, creepily watching like a ghost.

“I think the Zetabytes have a guardian angel”

I have no idea how that works but okay.

The end! That was an idea ending. Kinda rushed in an odd way. I think they could have done more there, even if there was good stuff there. More on that below, but we’re done.

Final Thoughts:

This movie is mostly good, but I do think it could have been better. Let’s start with the flaws. There’s some elements/moments that really should have been explored more/ditched.

Some get enough like the Dad but I feel like he was a tad too dick-ish here and there. His arc kinda just happens,it’s clear the story isn’t about him but I think they could have used him better.

There’s also the weird love triangle stuff. They kinda close that but at some points Sam is too much of a bitch and at the end, it feels like it was resolved in an odd way.

It does lead to the whole perfection thing at least. And finally, the ending could have had more to it since it seems like it just kinda ends. Yet the 3rd act also feels weird in terms of the structure.

Oh, and Lorreta’s acting is off at points.

Now onto why I mostly like it. It’s certainly ambitious for a DCOM in terms of themes. It’s not amazingly deep but there’s interesting themes but what perfection really is.

For most of it’s nothing new but for the target audience, it’s really interesting. It can be on the nose but the best moments are when it slows down to explore these ideas.

It’s one of those movies where certain aspects, like Sam, work better when it services the better aspects, in this case being the themes. I really like how all the songs actually play into the themes, when they could have all been pop filler.

This movie pretty much exists to explore those things so of course some parts fall by the wayside, like the band members. That’s not too bad but it’s clear whee they wanted to put the focus.

The really nice moments help make the themes stronger to me. There’s some solid emotion here. So overall, I do like it. Most of the things I picked on don’t matter too much and I do admire them for tackling stuff like this in a DCOM in general.

Those who have seem more adult takes on this may not find much more, but for what it is, it has interesting themes and is mostly decent. It could have been a lot better but I’m just glad it’s good at all given it’s a DCOM.

A good 50th, if you mask. Not great, but still good. …Huh, me liking this despite it’s flaws is really ironic.

Rating: Good

Happy 20th anniversary We’re done yet though. Tune in time as we close out DCOM MONTH 3 with the one that got the most votes.

See ya.

Posted in Disney Channel Movies, Play by Play Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DCOM Month 3: Adventures in Babysitting (2016)

Adventures_in_Babysitting_2016_Poster

Melissa Chase and Evie are clearly the best babysitters ever.

Hello, Spongey here.

Welcome back to DCOM Month 3! Time to finally get to live action with a …big on. And by that I mean it’s one Disney called their 100th DCOM!

Oddly enough,I had no plans to review this despite it’s status. It wasn’t as urgent as others as I didn’t have strong enough feelings on it when aired. No one did, really. Even if they liked. There’s not much that’s mile-stoney about it.

It shouldn’t even be called the 100th since if we go by my rules, it isn’t. To be fair, I love that they celebrated with a marathon showing every DCOM ever, including the obscure ones.

They also put them on the app for a time and iTunes. No idea if the iTunes ones are up but I bought Pixel Perfect and You Lucky Dog to keep forever. Yep, I legally own You Lucky Dog in a way.

All this was cool but honestly the fact that they counted it is the only reason it was pumped up so much. It’s pretty average DCOM stuff otherwise, as even with the stars it’s more Stuck in the Suburbs than a Descendants) .

(By the way, I will likely cover the sequel, there’s enough to say I think)

Despite all the hype, the ratings, from what I recall, were pretty Eh. And since this certainly did not suffer from lack of advertising, that’s…bad. But Disney didn’t cry over it so there’s that.

It’s only legacy is being a milestone rather than anything it which is not the best sign. That and being a full on remake of another movie. So much for a Disney Channel “Original” Movie.

This doesn’t have a huge amount to do with it outside of the basic set up that everyone has ripped off already, especially since this has two Babysitters for the price of one, but I felt the need to watch since I already had the outsider POV, I figured I’d ad the other perspective.

It’s good. It’s not amazing or anything but it’s a fun 80s’ teen flick with a pretty likable lead.  Also, spoilers, this version doesn’t have this line:

“Don’t FUCK with the Babysitter!”

With that said, we’ll mostly focus on how this works on it’s own. Although I can tell you this new simply takes the basic set up and does it’s own thing, meaning there’s no point in doing a total comparison.

Anyway, The writer has only written the Nancy Drew movie and the director has …Judy Moody.

This is better than that one. So will this be decent in spite not being the most fitting for DCOM 100? Let’s find out.

This, is Adventures in Babysitting (2016)

The movie opens with Sabrina Carpenter talking to the audience:

“You are smart. You are talented”

Oh, thanks! …Oh, she’s talking to herself for some reason. Nevermind. We get our opening credits which has Sabrina and her co star Sofia Carson doing stuff that indicates their character, with one being tidy and other being messy.

A smell a sitcom! But I guess being on Disney Channel is close enough. And it is to the obligatory Disney star pop song for the movie. Jenny, Sabrina’s character bumps into her love interest for a bit really only to establish that he exists.

There’s one amusing part where Jenny is singing a lot to said pop song. Nice. Sabrina and Sofia arrive at their destination and they properly meet, as we find Sofia’s name is Lola here.

I haven’t quite talked about Sofia Carson yet, as she wasn’t quite huge yet when I did Descendants. We’ll where she goes from her but I like her.

740full-sofia-carson.jpg

For reasons. Yeah you saw that coming.

They are trying to get some kind of “Photography Internship” They chat and we get exposition like how Jenny skipped 8th grade and wants to do this to be more well rounded Lola on the other hand is more interested in the actual art. Also, she seems to be older which makes sense since Sofia Carson is indeed a bit older than Sabrina.

And of course, Jenny is a babysitter. The head guy shows up and he’s eccentric so he won’t do a normal interview. He wants them to “Dazzle” him and go do stuff that shows off their perspective on art.

I’m just gonna assume this doesn’t happen in real life situations like this and move on. They leave but not before accidentally switching cell phones. Cuz one DCOM with that set up was not enough.

Right away, Lola gets a call from Zac the love interest and she reacts to this pretty well. And when she quickly takes of Zac he doesn’t find it odd that Jenny sounds totally different.

This happens again as some calls requesting Jenny’s babysitting service. Lola says yes. I’ll forgive this one as this person doesn’t seem as familiar with Jenny as Zac is.

Lola did that so she can make easy money to pay off a ticket she just got. Kinda smart I suppose, especially since Lola had Jenny say “my friend Lola can do it”, thus covering her bases. Credit there I guess.

Then we find out what I just said was wrong as when we meet Lola’s babysitting kids, the older one already knows Jenny and is excited. Yeah, ew. Here we got a  few younger kids instead of one, but one still has skates so there’s that.

Funny thing, in the original the kid was really into Thor. I’m surprised they didn’t keep that given how big he is now, and all that. Speaking of, they keep her last name cuz why not.

Lola comes in meets the kids, one which is a boy that cooks, because haw haw boys don’t typically do that.

Jenny meets her own babysitting kids, one of which is 2 edgy for you and another is a Toddler’s and Tiara’s reject. So all together there’s like 5 kids. This is gonna be messy, isn’t it?

Speaking of messy, Cooking kids antics starts a fire. Jenny calls her phone and finds out about this and head’s there. Of course she has to bring the kids there. When she gets there it has been taking care of there’s bigger problems.

Not cuz of the whole Lola thing, but because the older kid snuck without anyone noticing, somehow. Now they have to all go out in the city to get Trey.

“No, your parents would kill me”

“They’ll kill you when they find out a total stranger is watching us”

“And whose gonna tell them?”

Beat.

“Anyone have to go the bathroom?’

That would be funny…f it wasn’t lifted right from the original. Huh, they took more than I thought. Speaking of, in both are going out mostly to get someone, although Trey’s case is far less “Christ, give them a hug”-y.

They head off in the Anderson’s car, where we get an out of context line:

“You know what I was doing with my hands when  I was  7?”

They go to a pawn shop where Trey supposedly was. And he was there, and got bought concert tickets from a creepy guy with a sword. Clearly Trey has not heard of stranger danger.

Apparently he went for Pizza or something and they guess he went to his favorite place. A ferret gets loose but before that can be important, they see that their car is being towed.

They catch up to the towing guy but he’s an asshole so he won’t give it back. Even when they say leaving a bunch of kids stranded is bad.

“Time to grow up”

For a DCOM, they are trying to push that all people in real life are assholes.

The two guys from the pawn shop appear and give chase but the kids get away extremely easy. See, these are the bad guys and they stole this ferret and Lola took a pic of them with it which spoils they took it.

Never mind that the kids have no idea of anything bad they’ve done and not many people they know would know about this, or that chasing them only makes things wosre for them.

Yeah, these are the villains. The ones in the original were a threat but these guys are as effective as Home Alone villains.

The kids get to the  pizza place and find Trey right away. Well, that was easy. Movie Over! …Okay, even I’m sick of that gag. Oh and a kid calls Jenny hot. Wrong one to call hot, dude.

They strike some with selling Trey’s tickets to get money for the car and Jenny goes to the bathroom where there’s a throwaway line from some other girl involving a Zac Chase.

Which I bet is the full name that Zac from Milo Murphy would have if the shippers had their way. Wait, Melisa Chase is voiced by Sabrina Carpenter…whoa.

Anyway, after a quick pointless bit, the edgy kid goes to get a Tattoo and she does because that process happens really quickly, right? But that doesn’t matter because the bad guys are back to cause ruckus in a public place.

The kids get cornered in a place where there is some decent suspense, for a little bit at least. But of course they escape somewhat easily yet again. At least they had to do some thinking this time.

“I hate kids”

They get a place where they try to sell the tickets and the bad guys follow them. But as it turns out  a cop there and selling stuff like that in a public place is illegal so she gets in trouble. Whoops.

At the police station, she seems to be let off the hook given this a first offensive but she’s told she needs to be more responsible and yada yada.

She tells him he truth about how she lied to get this job and it’s good that he’s a nice guy or she would certainly get in trouble for that. But she doesn’t and they all leave since a fight breaking out with some people gives them a distraction so they can leave.

Then one of the bad guys shows up and one of the kids kicks his ass. Wow, that’s a new low for a villain in any movie. Then we get a chase scene with that bad guy and that kid and the rest of the kids are following them in the bad guys car.

Why no one is trying to stop this is beyond me.

He gets tripped up and they rescue AJ. Then through ways I can’t even sum up, they wind up in some club place Yeah, we’re at this version of the Blues scene.

This club has the same oddly specif rule of anyone who is here needs to perform, although to it’s credits it’s worded in a less forced way.’But it’s the 2010’s so they have to rap.

Yes. Ever wanted to see a rap between Melisa Chase and Evie? This is pretty much meant to be the big set piece given it was in all the trailers and it’s also where Jenny and Lola really go head to head.

It would have been a big more effective if the rivalry aspect had been built it a tad better and not been dropped for a while due to all this chase stuff. But this part is kinda enjoyable in how Disney Channel it is, you know?

But right after, Lola and Jenny have dropped their little spat so I guess rapping their feelings solved everything?

We randomly get a part with the edgy kid bitching about how she’s never noticed or whatever. Jenny motivates her but I don’t care. Especially since she called the parents a bit earlier and this causes them to just ignore that pointless moment.

But they assume they didn’t answer the call so they plan to sneak into where they are and delete the message, sitcom style. Oh and Mom gets a 100 dollar bill in her coat for some reason, which will help them get the car back. So many convenient things going on.

They go that Gala thing where the cooking kid ends up in the kitchen and kinda helps in there with no one really questioning it. I don’t know,it’s stupid.

Mom currently has the coat they need but they solve this by putting Lola in disguise so she can get close to them. Something akin to this was in the original but she only did it to hide her face and get through the room so it wasn’t as stupid.

After a cringy bit, she gets what she needs but then the bad guys show up for a climax. …And they are apprehended after a very quick chase. Clearly that was the most epic climax in film history.

The kids leave and bond over a job well done. But now it’s time for the most forced 3rd act drama ever. Jenny learns that Zac Chase called her earlier and Lola blew him off. That wasn’t important at all to the overall story but now it is because reasons.

I mean seriously, at this point in this situation who cares about some guy? This is some First World Problems right here. But Jenny gets over as Lola says they can drop by the concert he’s at and set things right.

By the way, if Zac wasn’t so dumb and deaf, he would have known it wasn’t Jenny and this would not be happening. This is forced it hurts.

Jenny tells him what happened and that clears up that drama. Well, that was pointless. But now they have to worry about getting home and Lola apologies for pretty much causing all of this.

It’s a nice moment at least. They perk up and go pick up their car by the person there is being a jerk.

“Don’t mess with the Babysitter!”

Was not expecting the G Rated version of that line. Makes me laugh remembering what it’s a reference to.

They get the car and quickly arrive home which is a mess because we need an extra quick conflict. They clean it up and have a nice moment recapping what they went through.

With that, both babysitters make it to their respective places and things cool down. Oh and Lola gets a date with this cop guy from earlier or something, I don’t care. I care even less about Jenny and that guy from Bunk’d being together.

We return to that place from the start, which even the movie seemed to forget about. Jenny withdrew her application because Lola deserves it more. That’s cool, are we done now?

Well, we kind of are we end with Lola looking at the pics she took during the night, Hangover style. There’s a montage of the kids looking at them ending with one of the Mom’s seeing them. Wah Wah.

The End. Kinda rushed but fitting enough for what it is. Whatever.

Final Thoughts:

I’m not one to dig up old memes but…

“I have no strong feelings one way or the other”

Yeah, that sums it up. This was So Okay It’s Average. At least until the most forced “climax” ever. Otherwise, everything is just…there. I can’t even really think of ways it could have been better, as there’s mostly nothing wrong with it per say.

Maybe it’s because I have a better movie to compare it. Speaking of which, as a remake it’s also fine. It of course changes a lot but keeps the basic set up in tact and all that jazz.

For the most part, it’s just serviceable. There’s some stuff with this set up and nice moments but nothing I haven’t seen before in general. There are certainly too many kids, most of which with no personality outside of one joke like the kid who cooks.

It leads to some filler here and there while just  a couple would work fine. They also involve the usual rushed/pointless arcs. The main duo are fine acting works but character wise it’s what you would expect.

Look, what do I say? Everything is just…fine. As entertainment it’s got moments but it’s not much beyond that. There are some actually problems that hold it back like most of the ending that ends up being rushed and poorly written but otherwise, it’s all…okay.

Not quite deserving of being the 100th DCOM, as Bad Hair Day was at least a better movie of this type. But taking that aside, it’s fine but has flaws that make a bit weaker.

And overall, it’s just okay on a writing level. It’s not really meant to be anything too special but even then it has some kinks to work out. As I keep saying, it’s mostly okay but nothing really worth going out of your way to watch.

It at least had enough to make fun of. If you a more basic DCOM, there’s better ones like Bad Hair Day and if you want a better take on this plot, it happens to be a remake of one!

So yeah, it’s whatever for the most part. Sorry I didn’t have anything deeper to say but that’s how it is. Now you get why I wasn’t interesting in reviewing it but it got voted so there you go.

There’s better, there’s worse but as it is, it’s…eh.

Rating: Average

Don’t worry, our next one is more interesting. Because next week is the day that is the reason I’m doing this and I found a fitting one to celebrate with.

See ya.

Posted in Disney Channel Movies, Play by Play Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment