General Review: How to Train Your Dragon The Hidden World

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

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2019/01/05/ranking-the-animated-films-of-2014/

Hello, Spongey here.

Time for another animated sequel. This time we have the 3rd and final chapter of the How to Train your Dragon series. I still haven’t seen the TV Show but the first two films alone were enough to make me fall in love.

I’ve gone into the movies before so check the links above to see some full thoughts on them. But in short, they take cliches we’ve seen before and breathe life into them with astonishing visuals and tons of emotion, alone with some great lead characters.

The first two set a high bar so I’m ready to see how they close things out. This has been delayed a tad so the 5-ish year wait has been killing me. And from the reviews, it seems like I have a lot to look forward to.

The director of the 2nd one comes back to also write this one, so not much to mention in terms of creative team. He did a great job of keeping the ship afloat last time despite the lack of Chris Sanders, but can he close us out well?

Let’s see.

This, is How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Now chief and ruler of Berk alongside Astrid, Hiccup has created a gloriously chaotic dragon utopia. When the sudden appearance of female Light Fury coincides with the darkest threat their village has ever faced, Hiccup and Toothless must leave the only home they’ve known and journey to a hidden world thought only to exist in myth. As their true destines are revealed, dragon and rider will fight together—to the very ends of the Earth—to protect everything they’ve grown to treasure.

I’m happy to say we have another great animated trilogy on our hands, as this ended the saga on a great note. I will say it’s slightly weaker than the first 2 but just barely and my problems are pretty small.

My main ones are that some elements like Toothless’ Mom aren’t in it as much as I would have liked, and the thing with him not sure about getting married isn’t dwelled on that much and is just sort of resolved. And the comic relief is a bit more annoying, especially Ruffnut and Tuffnut. They aren’t in it too much at least but there is one bit where I was on the villain’s side for a bit.

But outside of that, this was really strong. The thing that holds this is all together is Hiccup. He’s really grown through this series and we really see how he’s trying to handle being the chief and getting everyone to safety.

This series has always done a good job with pacing, giving us time to really soak in what is going on and giving us small character moments and that continues here. His arc is done well even if you can guess how it well end based on the tone of the trailers.

His bond with Toothless is as adorable as ever, as is Toothless’ bond with the light fury. I’m not keen on random romances but this one mostly worked as they were simply cute and we didn’t have to go through all the usual stuff. Speaking of romance, I found Astrid to be a stronger character this time, being cool and have some nice scenes with Hiccup.

The villain is a bit too similar to the baddie from the 2nd one, but I found him to be decently charming with how he’s more strategic, and F Murray Abram did a pretty good job.. Then we have the animation, which again is astounding.

DreamWorks started using a new software on this one and you can tell, as they pack in some even more beautiful shots and landscapes. The characters look a bit cleaned up, and it all looks really good. The flying scenes are still epic and the direction/cinematography is top notch.

I don’t know if I mentioned that Roger Deakins helps with these movies but even if I did, I have to mention it again as his influence shows. And like the other movies, this was pretty emotional.

Especially the ending, as you would expect. That one scene from the 2nd one is still the biggest emotion moment in this trilogy, but the ending to this still got me. They did a wonderful job here giving Hiccup and Toothless the wrap up they deserve.

I wouldn’t say it adds anything groundbreaking besides keeping what the others did, but it still adds some fun stuff like seeing Hiccup’s journey and the cute romance. I’m glad I haven’t seen the show, since I do wanna spend just a bit more time with these guys.

I’m more or less repeating what I said about the first two so I’ll wrap this up. How to Train Your Dragon 3 closes us this trilogy really well by keeping the excellent leads, animation and pacing that made the first two enjoyable. Hiccup’s arc is well realized and we get some fun new additions.

Some aspects could have been used better and the comic reliefs can be annoying, but otherwise this was a great end to a great series. Following these characters for almost 9 years has been a treat and it ends quite well with an emotional wrapup.

If you liked the others one, check this out as it ends things well. If you were more mixed, I’d give it a chance but just knows this isn’t likely to change your mind too much, depending on what your problems were.

But for everyone else, it’s worth checking out to see how this all ends. It’s nice to have another strong animated trilogy alongside Toy Story and Kung Fu Panda. It also started DreamWorks Universal Era on a strong note, so that’s also cool.

Rating: Great

Man, two great animated films to start off the year. Hopefully Nick can keep that train rolling, but before then, we’ll look at a Marvel.

See ya

(Seeing the Univeral logo in front of a DreamWorks will take some getting used to lol)

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Posted in Animation, General Reviews | 1 Comment

Huevos: Little Rooster’s Egg-cellent Adventure

220px-Un_Gallo_Con_Muchos_Huevos (1)

It’s not very egg-cellent

Hello, Spongey here.

We’ve reviewed quite a few forgien animated movies on here, mostly the bad ones. I feel bad for that since I know there’s plenty of great foreign animated movies that are often overlooked in favor of stuff like Fantastic 4orce.

I’m adding to that today but the thing to note is that sometimes things are lost in translation to a poor dub. It’s not always the case but sometimes it is, just look at any Weinstein dub.

Today’s case isn’t quite as extreme but it does seem that some of the more positive reviews of the original Spanish version cite the clever script as their reason for enjoying it despite a weak story.

Needless to say, the English dub isn’t very clever. This was released in U.S. theaters in a subbed version (way to fuel the Sub vs Dub debate) but eventually got an English dub sometime later.

I sadly couldn’t track down the original version but apparently that one was funnier and a tad edgier. And there’s a reason for that. See, this started life in the early 2000’s as a series of web shorts that were aimed at adults.

They got popular enough to warrant a couple of movies in the late 2000’s they never made it to the states, due to the “edgy” content. Something tells me they hadn’t seen any adult cartoon ever.

Either way, in 2015 released one in the US that that carried a PG-13 rating, at least in its Spanish form. This US Dub is clearly meant to be a bit more kid friendly, but still has some adult jokes.

But they’re the usual kind of adult jokes they’d pepper into kids movies to make it look more adult than it is. Yeah, quite a bit of history behind this ultimately crappy little movie.

I watched it for my post on the animated films of 2015 and as you know, I had to much to joke about so here we are with the full review. I want to preface it with saying that I know some stuff may have been better in the Spanish one but the English version as it is was just not good to me.

I still think they could have done a better job with it but just know this is all in good fun.This

English version was directed by the person behind the Planes rip off Wings, and the English writers were also mostly on that, along with movies of that nature. Not the best sign.

With ALL that said, why doesn’t this egg adventure crack me up? Let’s see.

This, is Huevos: Little Rooster’s Egg-cellent Adventure

The movie starts with someone narrating a story about some sentient eggs that were trapped at a giant’s house, as the giant is preparing to eat them. This just plays out like a kid friendly Sausage Party to be honest.

They are saved by an egg superhero and we see this is a story being told to some egg kids.

“And I might have pooped a little”

Putting your best foot forward with the humor, I see.

“And that’s how we became The Breakfast Bunch”

So you’re a weird Breakfast Club parody no kid is gonna get?

Then we get random movie references, like the narrator getting things confused with a movie with…Egg Norton.

Yep, we’ve got puns. The real life version of this guy he’s pumping up is just his roster friend Rolo, voiced by Zachary Gordon. One thing I should mention before I forget is that the lip sync on Carnie, the guy telling the story, (voiced by Jason Mewes) is way worse than everyone elses.

The lip sync is generally fine but for some it almost never matches up, especially early on. It’s weird.

While I’m putting out odd things, I must wonder how this world of anthropomorphic eggs and roosters works. It really pushes that “Which came first question” harder, is what I’m saying.

And one of the characters is Bacon. There’s no reason he’s a bacon, and there’s barely any other living foods. We just have…a Bacon for no reason. And there are humans here, so that makes it worse.

Rolo fears he can’t live up to these stories, but it doesn’t matter because this is isn’t really relevant again. In a vague sense it is but this whole opening is technically pointless.

There’s a hen who has the hots for him, because of course we have a generic love interest. They have a chat and it’s awkward as you’d expect, and also there’s a frog there.

“Everyone’s a critic”

No comment.

We find out that Rooster boxing is a big deal, and we see one rooster losing a match, along with his farm home. I only mention this because the newspaper reporting on this has the headline “Bad Mother Clucker”.

Yeah, that’s what I was talking about in the intro. In this version the adult humor just feels weirdly out of place.

The next morning, we see that Rolo can’t crow very well. Someone in a kids-ish movie can’t do the thing his kind is known for doing? What a fresh concept! His Mom hears it as lovely at least.

After what feels like way too long of “Hurr hurr he can’t crow”, we get another cliche as the farm they live on has to be sold due to money issues. They must raise money to save the farm.

“Maybe we sells Rolo’s voice box on Eggslist?”

Sigh.

“We place a bet at the arena”

Yep, they’re going into Rooster boxing, as suggested by the rooster leader, voiced by Keith David. So they take the mailman’s motorcycle in a Gilligan cut and head into town, as Bad to the bones plays. Sure, why not.

Then we randomly cut to these two rats who have “the munchies”, so they go after the rooster’s when they see them…very slowly. We keep cutting back to this “subplot” even though it adds nothing and is never funny once.

Trust me, I’m doing you a favor by skipping them from now on. The leads arrive at some bar/club place, which has the arena under it. We get more winning humor:

“There’s some bad eggs in here”

“That was me, Taco Tuesday”

That doesn’t even make sense. In the middle of this, that hen girl tries to talk to Rolo but he’s distracted by his thoughts of being a rooster boxer. Yep, we’re throwing in that cliche while we’re at it.

They are taken in to see the …Eggfather. How much dust did you have blow off that one? By the way, Dee (the love interest girl) is Keith David’s daughter and she says her dad is a “Brave cock”.

Yes. I’m surprised it took them this long to say that for me to snicker at.

“Who are you, Chika dee?”

“Dee”

“As in Chika Dee?”

“Without the Chika”

“But you’re a chicken”

“Eggfather, the name is dee”

“No, my name is Sheldon!”

I hate all of you right now.

Eggfather wants to talk to Keith David, so the others so back into the main club as a sexy peacock is singing. This causes Rolo to do his best Tex Avery Wolf impression, while Dee is right there. It’s not funny and it’s making me like Rolo less, what a deal!

“You have nice sweet peas”

He said that on accident but it’s still some perfect family entertainment. Yeah, I’m too lazy to fully do it this time. By the way, apparently she’s voiced by Alyson Stoner which creates an…interesting image.

Of course, Sweet Pea’s boyfriend is a jerk, and also the evil boxer Rolo will have to fight against in the climax. Anyway, Keith David made his deal with Eggfather but part of it is that Rolo has to be the one to fight for his farm.

So now Rolo must train to defeat his jerk-y ememy. Yeah, our main story here is rather cliche which would fine if it was well told and the humor was good, but alas.

Keith David explains his backstory, which is shown in 2D animation. It’s not a crappy CGI movie if it doesn’t show off some 2D that just makes you wish the whole movie was like that. Seriously, the animation in this bit is really smooth and whoever did it did do a great job at least.

Keith David was this big fighter until a super fast duck defeated him. But he thought it was a strange rooster even though he is clearly a duck, but that was revealed right after anyway.

He became a laughing stock and now they’re looking for the duck to get some special training. An okay backstory, not much to comment on. They go to the forrest and find this big gather of ducks.

They’re currently watching….a rap battle between Soup Duck and LLQuack J. I want to die. Rolo is forced to go up there to make me want to die harder.

“Everyone knows only ducks can rap!”

Ah yes, a common stereotype. This scene adds a lot to the plot, as you can tell. Also, someone says something I can’t fully make out by part of it is “Jay and Silent Bacon”

Get it?!

The rap battle switches to a normal battle as he gets his ass beat. While they heal up, they bump into a crazy egg name I’m too lazy to type out. They ask him to help them find a certain duck and he goes on a tagent.

“We got ducks with green feathers, blue black orange, glow in the dark, tootie frootie, we got kind sized, queen sized, double twin inflatable and many more!”

He’s extremely unfunny, as you can tell.

“Aflack, Daffy, and Darkwing!”

And he brings out the obligatory pop culture references, joy. He reveals that his dad was the duck that beat Keith David and he went missing some time ago. Instead of trying to find him to see if he’s dead or something, Crazy Duck agrees to train Rolo.

“Season 3 of DuckTales on DVD, woo hoo”

Please stop.

The next morning, we of course get a training montage, set to the Rocky music because originality is for suckers. At least we finally got to him training…a mere 50 minutes in.

After a quick break, there’s a 2nd montage of him trying to fly which goes nowhere as he goes back to training his fighting skills. The movie basically makes up for lost time by putting all the training in this one long section.

Eventually, Rolo figures that he should harness the powers of ducking to go by and this is witnessed by a vulture who goes back to Sweet Pea, as we find out she’s a villain.

Okay, I didn’t see that coming but it also comes out of nowhere and doesn’t exactly add a lot given we already have enough conflict with the fight. Back to Rolo, Crazy Egg tells him he has to crow, so they’re boned.

“You’re way worse than Happy Feet!”

They call it a night, and the next morning vultures attack the farm. Rolo randomly ends up learning to fly here because we gotta resolve that conflict before resolving the actual conflict.

Also, in the middle of this chase scene, Carnie shits himself. Lovely.

They escape the vultures so now it’s on to the big fight. After a rough start, Rolo starts doing pretty well. The fight’s not too bad and it doesn’t give me too much to talk about since nothing that stupid happens and him winning just sort of happens because he belives in himself, and yada yada.

So he wins and gets with Dee, cuz he just randomly got over being into that one girl in that one scene, whatever. On top of that, the human who owns the arena is arrested.

“You’re racist! I’m a victim”

….I don’t even know how to respond to that. This guy is white, by the way. Side note, we find out the humans can’t understand the animals but they still do all this stuff and clearly know they have smarter thoughts and all that.

Our heroes got the farm back, and Eggfather is col with all this. But we have other pointless plot lines to wrap up, as Sweat Pea is brought in as they find out she was behind the vultures. She doesn’t even get a real climax, she is just brought in having randomly been found.

With that hasilty wrapped up, we get our dance party ending to show out of touch they are. Then with that super rushed ending, the credits roll but they want to hold us hostage so we get a mid credits scene wrapping up that stupid subplot with the rats.

But then we have a POST credits scene where Crazy Duck’s Dad randomly shows up and reunites with him. He was eaan by an alligator and went out…the back.

We’re done here.

Final Thoughts:

Well, that was something.

I’ll start by saying the animation is decent. It’s nothing great but the rendering is solid and the movements are solid enough. The human designs are off but they aren’t in that much so I don’t mind it too much. Not exactly amazing animation, but it’s well done.

Some of the voice acting is also good. The rest is pretty poor, Some of this can be blamed on the dub as a lot of the jokes are really bad, with lame pop culture references and some characters like Crazy Duck being annoying.

But that rat subplot was in the visuals so I can’t blame the dub for everything. Either way, the story is super weak. I can live with it being cliche but the don’t do much with it and they pad it out with pointless subplots that go nowhere and don’t gel with the main story.

The characters are interesting and carry the story that well, so I can’t exactly get invested in what is doing. It’s one of those movies that is boring and quite off the wall, but not in the good way that can be weirdly enjoyable.

Maybe the original script was stronger but the English one is a mess, along with the lip syncing but more often than not doesn’t match what they’re saying.

This isn’t one of the worst animated movies ever or anything, but it’s such a mess with a weak story and lame jokes. I stand by having it as the weakest animated movie of 2015, was at least Strange Magic was ambitious.

As I said, maybe something was lost in translation but either way they didn’t do a good job of translating and the result is a pretty mess and weak movie. Far from the worst I’ve seen but still not very good.

If you can track the original version down, just watch that instead. I imagine it’s at least a little better.

Rating: Meh

Did I need to do a full review of this one? Not really but it was still fun.

As for next time, I think there’s movie from 2018 I need to finally get out of the way.

220px-Goosebumps_2_Haunted_Halloween_(2018)_poster

See ya.

Posted in Animation, Scene by Scene Reviews | Leave a comment

General Review: The LEGO Movie 2

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s finally for our first general review of 2019. Not the first 2019 movie I am seeing overall, as I saw the majesty of Norm of the North 2 last month. But now I get to start jumping into 2019 to see what it has to offer.

We begin with the start of a new year in animation. Remember when the first animated movie of the year was usually bad? That stigma seems to be gone thanks to LEGO Batman and Early Man to a lesser extent.

And speaking of LEGO, it starts us off again. After some spin offs, we finally have a direct sequel to that 2014 gem. I’ve talked about the first one enough, so you know it’s highly creative and well written in pretty much every way.

Ever since then people have been wanting a direct sequel but it’s been a bumpy road getting there. They’ve changed writers and directors here and there so some have been worried it wouldn’t quite have that same magic in a way.

This time our director is Mike Mitchell, who we’ve talked about before when it comes to stuff like Chipwrecked and Surviving Christmas. At least he has the less bad Trolls and the classic Sky High.

Phill Lord & Chris Miller return to write, which gives me some hope. Now that we finally have our direct sequel, it is another fun and surprisingly interesting time? Let’s see.

This, is The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

5 Years after the events of the first movie, he Duplo invaders have turned Bricksburg into a post-apocalyptic wasteland named Apocalypseburg, and continue to invade periodically. Eventually someone kidnaps Lucy and the others, leaving Emmet to save them.

I’ve seen mostly two reactions to this sequel: Either people love it, either as much as the first or just a tad less or they find it merely good, as a notable step down from the first. I went in expecting the latter…and ended up being on the former side.

Oh, it I lesser than the first but only in the way that most sequels like this tend to be. But it’s still a great effort that is highly enjoyable. I actually don’t have too many issues with It. I mostly just found the first movie to be a bit tighter and funnier, with more varied locations.

I did think one character’s deal could have had a more complete wrap up, it got a bit swallowed up by everything else going in the third act. But the wrap up still works pretty well otherwise.

It does basically use the same template of the first movie, as an existence they were used to is disrupted and they had to go on an adventure. Things build up to an insane 3rd act that is incredibly emotional and deeper than you’d expect.

I personally didn’t mind that, as they’re just sticking with what works. Plus, it still has all the effort and heart of the first movie and it’s not a total soulless rehash. It works in all the same ways the first movie did, meaning I don’t have a ton to add to what I said about the first one.

While it slightly less funny, it’s still really funny. There’s plenty of funny moments, mostly coming from poking fun at tropes in stories kids come up with (at one point they use a CPD which stands for Convenient Plot Device. Nice) as well as background gags.

But I found that the funniest jokes come from the characters and their actors. People will Will Arnett and Elizabeth Banks are still really fun in their roles, and Tiffany Haddish works as the totally not evil villain.

But Chris Pratt really steals the show here, even more so. The story forces him to learn some new lesson, leading to even more great jokes that come from him trying to toughen up. But then you have his counterpart Rex, who is a hilarious parody of other Chris Pratt characters.

The animation is still on point with how it makes it look like stop motion, and after the spin offs it’s nice to see more attention to detail while those cheated a bit with the little things like water. They especially have fun with Tiffany Haddish’s shapeshifting.

Oh and once an animated movie by Warner Bros is randomly a musical. Thankfully, the few songs are really good to the Catchy Song to my personal favorite, Tiffany Haddish’s “Not Evil”. Yeah, no surprise that one’s my favorite.

I was really enjoying this movie for most of it but it’s the third act where it shines the most. It goes on for a bit too long but otherwise this is where the movie’s theme becomes more clear and they go into in a really nice way.

Just like in the first, it really hit me and the themes of growing up (no spoilers how they go into it, just saying they do it) and how it plays into both worlds. Speaking of, the first movie was more ambiguous with how certain things work, while that goes a bit more out the window here with how things play out.

That didn’t bug me since there’s still some ways you can spin it to make sense also it’s a movie about toys, don’t think too hard about it.

Overall, The LEGO Movie keeps up the charm of the first movie with the same solid humor, likable cast of characters voiced by actors giving great performances, creative animation, and big heart with themes a lot of people will releate to.

It’s a step down but a step up from the spin offs. As much as I really like LEGO Batman (which is confirmed to take place between the two main entries, by the way), this was better constructed to me, personally.

It’s another wonderful adventure that celebrates the creativity of LEGOs, while adding some extra fun bits and some neat themes. If you enjoyed any of the other movies on any level, this is a must see.

I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did, being a sequel and all. Thankfully, everything is still awesome. This confirms that Mike Mitchell can be a really good director, if the script gives him more to work with.

So yeah, a bit less but still awesome overall.

Rating: Great

Yeah, I expected a light Very Good at best too, but Lord & Miller continue to surprise me. They’ve proven to only being really creative writers, but can also work well with others and let them shine as well.

I still enjoy Solo well enough but do I wish we got to see their version. (#ReleaseTheLord&MillerCut). Anyway, see you in two weeks for the followup to my other favorite animated film of 2014!

See ya.

Posted in Animation, General Reviews | 1 Comment

Ranking the Animated Films of 2015

Hello, Spongey here

Well, here we are . We’re finally at the end of our crazy project. After 2015, I started reviewing the major releases as they come out so thus this is our stopping point, It feels weird to be finally almost done.

Almost as weird as it is to be so close to the present. I remember reviewing some of these when they were relevant! Anyway, this year again has old favorites coming back while Disney bows out so Pixar can have two tries.

It’s an interesting year in terms of what came to bat, so we’ll see how it turned out. Awards wise, the Oscars nominated Inside Out, Anomolisa, The Boy and the World , Shaun the Sheep Movie and When Marnie was there. One of the more varied groups at least, and of course Inside Out won.

The Golden Globes nominated Inside Out, Anomolisa, Good Dinosaur, The Peanuts Movie and Shaun which is a less varied group but still solid. Inside Out still won. The Annies…had the exact same group as the Globes and the same winner. Huh, that was easy.

With all that said, how does this year stack up? Will it be a good one to end on? Let’s see.

This, is Ranking the Animated Films of 2015

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Barbie in Princess Power: https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/barbie-month-princess-power/

Hell & Back: Adult Stop motion film that looks pretty bad.

Looney Tunes Rabbit’s Run: DTV Looney Tunes thing that I heard is fine.

Equestria Girls Friendship Games: I did a VLOG on this but it sucks so short version is that it’s not as good as Rainbow Rocks but still pretty solid.

The Nutcracker Sweet: I watched this back in 2017 hoping to review it since it’s from the same director as Fantastic 4orce but it just turned out to be super boring. Yawn.

Regular Show the Movie:  https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/regular-show-the-movie/

Tinkerbell and The Legend of the Neverbeast:  https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/tinker-bell-and-the-legend-of-the-neverbeast/

Top Cat Begins: Prequel to a Mexican Top Cat movie that totally didn’t get a limited US Release I forgot about.

Now for the movies, for the last time.

MEH:

Huevos: Little Roosters  Egg-cellent-Adventure:

So you might be wondering what the hell is this. And…that is an excellent question. This is a Mexican animated film that indeed got a decent theatrical release. But despite being covered by Midnight Screenings, no one else I follow that covers animated films has talked about this movie.

It’s…something. So much something that…it’s gonna be the next scene by scene review. Sorry, but I just had too much to say for a sort section. I’d be going off on random tangents that wouldn’t gel with my overall coverage.

But I’ll give you the short version: It’s a typical underdog story that gets so bogged down in weird-ness and dumb jokes that it fails to develop the characters into people worth caring about, including the lead.

The jokes are mostly just dumb and odd, and the plot gets weirdly complicated at times. The animation is decent for the budget though, as is the acting despite a clearly somewhat butchered dub.

The odd thing is the American Theatrical Release  was Subbed which I have to respect. Sadly, I saw the dub which wasn’t the worst but had the hallmarks of bad dubs, like random pop culture references.

When I do the review, I’ll do further research but for now I just know this is a weak movie that was just a random mix of elements.  (The research I did for this section sent me down an interesting rabbit hole that will interesting to discuss in the review). Not the worst thing ever but I couldn’t justify putting it higher.

I’ll explain myself more in the review cuz there’s a fair bit to say but for now, just know it’s quite the odd, if slightly respectable, failure.

Strange Magic;

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/strange-magic/

No surprise here. I still give this movie credit for at least being ambitious (and very well animated) but it’s also still a mess with weak covers and  a really weak romance.

I haven’t really thought of it much since my review so it’s not one I hate but it is an odd mess. I suppose it’ll find an audience but like people, I found it messy and a bit annoying. Nothing terrible but nothing that good either.

It gets credit for ambition but not too much else. Meh.

Home:

2014 was hard for Dreamworks, as their movies were starting to lose money. As a result, this was their only offering for this year and it needed to be a hit so they could stay afloat.  So it’s sad that despite basically help save them, this movie is one of their weaker efforts.

The thing about this movie is that unlike most Dreamworks movies, this is aimed squarely at kids. The story, characters and overall tone is more kiddie than usual for them and there’s not much for adults.

It’s based on a kids book so that may have had something to do with it but either way the movie is clearly made only for kids. But since there exists movies like this that are still good, I still feel okay judging  it for the most part.

It’s certainly harmless for kids and has its heart in the right place, but it’s still not very good. It hits every beat you expect from a movie like this as these mismatched leads learn to get along.

Ooh is a screw-up everyone has to learnt to like since everyone makes mistakes (he just happens to make a ton, including accidentally leading their enemy to them) and Tip is the human who needs to find her Mom as she got taken by the Boov along with the other humans.

Neither are that deep and the former is a bit annoying thanks to his broken English that gets old very fast. I don’t hate him or anything but I didn’t exactly warm up to him either. Tip is better but not fleshed out much and Rihnina’s stiff performance didn’t really help much.

Their antics are mostly childish with the humor being pretty lame. The twist with the Gorg can be seen coming a mile away and  the villain gets lame jokes and doesn’t really make an impact. Despite driving home for the morals which are really hammered in.

And what was the point of casting Brian Steppanek if he’s not even gonna speak English?! I did kind of enjoy Matt Jones aka Gunther from Kick Buttowski though.

The concept of these aliens invading and this girl having to find her Mom is a good one and I wish they focused more on that instead of all the kiddie antics that hog the screentime.

That said, the animation is of course well done with some creative designs and plenty of pretty colors. It’s at least appealing to look at most of them. And there’s a few funny moments and even a few nice ones.

There’s nothing in here that’s bad for kids and I’ll gladly take it over Shark Tale. However, it pretty much caters only to those kids and most adults will find this rather trite and annoying.

It’s not the worst but it did get on my nerves at times and felt longer than it was despite being rather short. I’m glad it did so well but I wish it was better. Dreamworks is better than this so it is a tad sad to see a movie like that which feels so…dumbed down at times.

The Netflix series is supposed to be much better but until I see that,  my only experience with this world is rather…meh.

AVERAGE:

Minions:

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

And here’s the other side to that battle. This is one of those movies I can see people liking more or less than me given it’s nature, but as always I put it right in the middle. Sort of, it’s actually on the lower end of average for me.

It’s only really saved by a few funny moments like that villain family that needs a spin off movie right now. But as I went into detail on, it just doesn’t do a good job of showing me that these guys deserved a full movie.

I could forgive the lack of substance if I found it funny, but it didn’t quite do it for me. It’s not bad but still easily the weakest fully animated Illumination movie. I’m sticking with Penguins, sorry.

GOOD:

Hotel Transylvania 2:

I’ve reviewed the other two so I guess it’s time to go over the middle chapter. I talked about it when I reviewed the 3rd  one so this is gonna be short.

This is my least favorite of the trilogy as the story is weaker due to feeling more like 2 TV Episodes stitched together. After a strong first half, the 2nd half isn’t quite as good with less laughs and a weak rushed ending.

And as cool as the climax is, it’s pretty arbitrary and I don’t like how they had Dennis indeed get his fans. It gives Drac what we wants, and it makes his whole “I don’t care what he is” bit ring a tad hollow.

But despite that,it’s still enjoyable. The animation is of  course even better here  with great expressions and solid timing that leads to some good laughs. I actually like Mavis a bit more here as she deals with being a parent and figuring out which side Dennis should fall on.

There’s still some decent heart and Genndy still brings a lot to it, even though he had less control this time. Thankfully, it’s not too obvious despite Sandler being a writer on this one. That’s pretty amazing in itself, to be honest.

So despite some weak writing near the end, this still proves to be a solid sequel that keeps the solid animation and comedy intact. It’s the one I’m the least likely to re-watch as the other two balance the story and humor a bit better but this was still was fun to re-visit.

Not a great sequel, but still a fun time for me.

The Good Dinosaur:

This was the first year Pixar had two films while one was highly acclaimed and made a bunch of money, this was sadly one of their “okay’ ones. But it also was their first true flop which was a pretty big deal, even if they made up for it with their next one.

This is of course of their simply Good ones, but like all of those it’s a bit more complicated than that. It’s a solid movie with some great moments that doesn’t quite rise above “solid” despite those moments. I do think it is a solid movie and honestly a bit better than some give it credit for.

I see the flaws we’ll get into but I have to wonder why some flat out crap on it. At worst it can be seen as kinda generic but nothing painful or even that boring. But anyway, this movie has an interesting concept that is mostly just to serve the story it wants t tell rather than really exploring that idea.

That’s the big thing that turns everyone off but once you realize that it won’t go deep into the whole “Asteroid missing the Dinos” thing, you’ll hopefully get more into it. There’s some oddities like the whole Western bive that may be distracting but it generally works with the whole thing they’re going for.

This is mostly a coming of age story as Arlo has to learn to overcome his fear after a storm kills his father (in a brutal scene but also a weird edit). While Arlo is far from Pixar’s strongest lead due to being a tad too simple, his story does kind of work as we see him get past these challenges.

This movie can be pretty brutal to him sometimes and they do a good job showing how dangerous this land is. I enjoy some of the side characters (especially Steve Zahn) and there are some striking moments. The boy and his dog story with Spot can clash at times but other times it adds to Arlo’s journey nicely.

This even has some of the strongest emotional moments of the weaker Pixar film, like the final scene with Spot. Oh and the backgrounds are some of the most beautiful you’ll ever seen in a Pixar movie, just wow. .That said, I agree that the characters look too cartoon-y and it does clash quite a bit.

Its biggest flaw is that it can struggle to juggle some of these elements, and the general story is fairly cliche so some beats are fairly predictable. There are some dull spots, or times where I wish it fleshed out an element more instead of this sometimes odd hodge podge.

But I do think it mostly keeps a solid focus on Arlo’s journey as he overcomes his fear and all that. It’s slightly messy but a bit more focused than some say. It mostly knows what it wants to do, it just throws in some elements that can feel out of place.

While plenty of animated movies go through production troubles, this case really shows and I wonder how it would have been if it stayed on track. But despite that, it’s a solid adventure with some standout moments, decent characters and lovely animation. Oh and the music is great too.

The story isn’t the strongest and I see where it can be disappointing, but overall it’s a fine movie to watch. …But I agree there’s no reason for it to be called The Good Dinosaur. It does reflect the movie, as it is indeed good, at least.

The SpongeBob Movie Sponge out of Water:

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/the-spongebob-movie-sponge-out-of-water/

I’ve covered this one a fair bit, so I can skip past it.  The script is far from the strongest but as  fan it’s still a pretty fun time with good humor and all that. It doesn’t match the first one at all but it makes a few minor improvements where it needs to at least.

Not an all time favorite but still fun. And yes, I’m interested in the 3rd one despite the odd set up.  But even it sucks, at least we have have two good SpongeBob movies to enjoy.

Shaun the Sheep Movie:

This is going to be super sort as I don’t have much to say about this one. Aardman brings Shaun to the big screen with a simple but fun little movie.

They refreshingly use no real dialogue so the visuals can tell the story and jokes for them. That also means the movie is short which is good as it could have outstayed it’s welcome.  It drags a bit at times already so it’s good that it ends before it can tiring.

This is just a fun movie as the sheep get into antics after the farmer loses his memory. The farmer’s deal gets a subplot that nicely break things up and is pretty funny in its own right.  There’s nothing at all complicated but the story is well told with fun escalation and even some nice moments.

It does exactly what it sets out to do and is just pretty funny. I’m more partial to dialogue humor so thus I like other comedies more but this is up there for Aardman as it’s pretty enjoyable.

And…yeah, that’s about all there is to it. It know what it wants to be and is pretty fun to watch. And it does all this without real  dialogue which is respectable. Look, this doesn’t give me much to work with and those who like it more would be able to say it more.

It’s simply a fun time and there’s not too much wrong with it. There’s s a sequel involving aliens coming out later this year so hopefully that will be just as enjoyable.

…Yeah, I’m out, it’s just good.

Boy and the World:

Here’s a Brazilian film that got an Oscar nomination. I had no idea what to expect going in and it ended being quite the experience. It’s a fairly short (less than 80 minutes without credits) movie that runs on atmosphere and has very little dialogue.

The thing that sticks out about right away is the animation which combines drawings and digital animation to create a style that changes quite a bit but in a good way that keeps you mesmerized. It’s hard to describe but it’s a 10 on a visual level alone.

Story wise, it’s mostly simple as a boy’s father has to live for work and eventually he runs away only to end up in a weird world that he gets caught up in. The way they focus on the animation and atmosphere keeps it afloat as the boy goes on trying to find his way back somehow.

Then near the end it gets a bit more complicated as things happen that throw off what you thought was more clear cut. It’s not super complicated per say but it does get a bit more abstract and my stupid brain still had to use Wikipedia to keep up.

Granted, it becomes pretty clear at the very end so I would have picked up eventually. I’m making it sound more complicated than it really is, I’m just stupid.  I was still into it as it was all pretty engaging and the visuals alone kept me intrigued.

It has some solid emotion and is a highly enjoyable journey. Some will declare it a master work because of how it conveys the themes it gets into while some like me will just simply enjoy despite some confusing parts.

Either way, it’s a very unique movie  for those who want something different that may resonate with them a fair bit. It’s hard to say anything too deep as it is best  go in blind due to the things it throws it you

But just know it’s very interesting, visually incredibly and quite the enjoyable and emotional journey, even if some it can be hard to keep up with. It even drags a bit, which tells me it could have worked better as a short.

But as a film, it’s still really good. It’s on Netflix so those who have it can freely check it out if you wish.

VERY GOOD:

When Marnie was There:

The director of Areiety gives us Ghibli’s most recent film as of this writing. I knew basically nothing going into this one so it ended up being a pretty pleasant surprise.

I will say that off the bat that much like Song of the Sea, the first Act or so is just simply good as there’s not too much going. It’s generally nice and is needed to allow us time to breathe before we get into the big emotional stuff, but it can be slow and make the film feel longer than it is.

And while we’re on the flaws, it’s a bit pointless to cast John C Riley as someone if he’s not gonna do do much. But anyway, this is a really nice movie. It seems like a basic friendship story between Anna and this mysterious girl named…well look at the title.

But as it goes on but wee see it goes a bit deeper than that. The friendship is really nice and we see how troubled their lives are. Anna is rather awkward and is forced to live with some relatives on top of some other stuff they go into later. And I dont really wanna say much about Marnie as part of “fun” so to speak is finding out more about this mysterious girl.

It’s a bit of a mystery in a way as we find out more about her.  The big twist really ends up telling quite the emotional and interesting story that kept me engaged. The final twist does end up make me look back on a previous scene in…a weird way that I wanna joke about but ya know, spoilers and all that.

It’s a really nice movie that is also quite interesting with twists that make the story more interesting than it seems.  The animation is on point as you’d expect and the dub is decent, if nothing amazing.

(Anna is voiced by Halie Steinfeld who did certainly get a bit better after this. Also Marnie is Netflix Sabrina, neat)

It starts out slow but when it gets going, it’s an emotional and engaging ride that far more interesting than the set up suggests with a great friendship at the center. Where it falls on your ranking depends on who you are, but I’d put it fairly high as far as their works go.

No matter how you rank it, it’s still a highly enjoyable and nice watch. Didn’t know what to expect and I go a really solid surprise out of it.

Anomalisa:

I was unsure where to rank one but the more I thought about, the more I figured this deserved to be higher than Marnie. Given the kind of movie it is, it had an easy time getting me to really liking it.

This was an uphill battle as it is basically a stop motion Cinephille movie and those don’t always sit well for me. But against all odds, it really worked for me.

I haven’t seen Charlie Kaufman’s other film he directed but I have seen some of the ones he wrote, and between the previous two I was into Eternal Sunshine more than Adaptation and this was much closer to the former.

It’s about  a man who is at a hotel to do a speech at a convention and is dealing with how he abruptly left an old flame years ago. He bumps into a woman named Lisa he falls for. It sounds simple but it’s the details that make this really interesting.

See, every character besides Micheal and Lisa are voiced by the same actor (Tom Noonan) and also have the same face. Yes, this includes the female ones and the kids.While some slight comedy that comes from this, it’s basically there to show how everyone is just becoming the same in his mind. (And he does a good job too, making certain dramatic moments work despite the voice clearly being off)

See, this movie is great at taking things that sounds quite …well pretentious and makes them pretty engaging. The way it’s directed and the way the story plays out makes the themes resonate quite well and the story generally works on a surface level as well as a deeper one.

So it’s not like the story only works as a metaphor, it is a solid simple story and the themes add a lot without being too try hard. I actually had an easier time following this than Boy & the World which I was not expecting.

It’s another movie where I don’t wanna give away too much as it’s interesting to see how things end up playing out. It’s ultimately more complicated than it seems and I did find myself thinking a bit more about  it than I usually do with these sorts of movies.

That’s not to say this is dumber than most smart movies cuz I understood it or anything like this, the stars just aligned this time. The stop motion is pretty good with  the puppets being pretty expressive and well done, especially given the budget.

The direction sells all this, and I have to shout out co-director Duke Johnson who previously worked on Moral Orel, which certainly shows. It has some of the dull spots I expect from these kind of movies and the part where Lisa says people don’t tend to fall for her proves Hollywood Homely is even a thing even in Indie Movies.

But aside from things like that, this was a very engaging movie that explores the story well with interesting themes, along with good animation and some great direction.  It’s a case where I get why others rate it even more highly but I still really liked as it is

GREAT:

The Peanuts Movie:

This movie is basically a miracle.It’s one of those times we assumed it’d be a corporate cash grab full of bad jokes that disgraces the source materiel. But just like Paddingon before it, it ended up being both respectful and really good.

You can tell they really wanted to get this right and that the Shulz’ made sure they got it right. Really, the only problem is that it can get a bit vignette-y and play a bit like a greatest his collection. And even then most of the scenes do add up to a greater purpose and I’d say only a couple bits feel like hey’re thrown in cuz you remember it from the specials.

Although as fun as the red baron scenes are on their own, they can break up a pace a bit too much, like the ones near the end.

It generally doesn’t break new grounds for Peanuts but what it doss is still quite strong. they got the mood just right, from the use of 2D animation at some points to Christophe Beck’s excellent score. They use all the characters well and the child actors are all on point.

The animation is of course amazing with how it translates this world to CGI wile still having a @D look to it. Blue Sky was breaking CGi boundaries before it was cool. There’s a lot of little details in the animation to enjoy.

The movie is just generally fun and highly enjoyable but really makes it great for me is what they do with Charlie Brown himself. They show off how much of a screw up he can be but always show him getting back up again, even if he does doubt himself at times.

Some of the scenes that seem pointless end up showing how he helps others or is a good person. Some of this is to impress the Little Red Haired Girl (voiced by the sister from Dog with a Blog) who ends up giving us the big moral that helps make some of the previous scenes more important.

There’s something Charlie Brown finds out that most movies would have him find out early on and then make a liar revealed plotline out of it. I don’t hate those plots like some do and it could have worked but they actually have him find it out later and then right away he tells everyone the truth. Even when he’s at the top of the world, he’s too much of a nice guy to keep secrets.

And the screw up stuff plus the sad scenes prevent him from getting too perfect o latch on to. That gives the movie an inspiring message about picking yourself back up and how just being a good person will pay of in the long run. It’s what makes this a great movie instead of a pretty good one.

So yeah, I like the happy ending. The way it’s written makes it work and it’s not like Peanuts was ultra depressing anyway. It would be odd for a family film like this to have a downer ending.

It’s not the highest great ever but the way it captures the Peanuts style plus the way they write the message makes this a pretty strong film and easily my favorite from Blue Sky. Like Charlie Brown himself, it’s not perfect but it’s still able to do some great things.

(And it even makes a Meghan Trainor song work okay. That’s even more amazing)

And my totally predictable choice for favorite animated film of 2015 is…

Inside Out:

Yeah, no surprise here. It’s the movie that made people love Pixar again and everyone praised to high heaven. This one has been analyzed a fair bit and I agree with all the praise so hopefully I can keep this short.

Unlike Good Dinosaur, I did a First Impressions Journal when it came out and I was interested to see how well it would hold up. It holds up quite well. It’s easy to get sucked up in the hype when  a film this good comes around a studio that had been simply solid films for the past few years but it honestly is that good.

I’ll admit this did make me notice that formula Pixar likes using (character in a pretty good place ends on a road trip of sorts of someone with a clashing personality) and as such it can be easy to tell where certain elements are going especially the moral which they make a tad too obvious at times.

But that’s my only real complaint. This is one of those movies that ends up packing in a lot into an 86 minute (without credits although even those are great)  runtime and takes you on a fun and emotional journey.

It uses a concept we’ve seen before and really goes all out with it, with many scenes doing some fun things with it from that whole weird abstract scene to the amazing scene of Fear riffing the bad dream movie.

I agree with pretty much everything people say about this one. All the voice acting is on point, every charecter is enjoyable in some way, the humor is great and of course the animation is as top notch as ever. The design of this brain world is very creative and it contrasts nicely with the outside world.

And yeah, the moral is super important, as obvious as it is. Every emotion is important including sadness and bottling all that up to fake being happy is not healthy.  They showcase this very well and it leads to a pretty tear jerking ending.

Also, Bing Bong is the best. He’s funny without being annoying and he ends up being really important when he could have been useless throwaway. More movies could use characters like him.

It’s  a brilliant idea executed really well with plenty of creativity and a well written story that has an important message. A few clumsy moments in the setup and a well worn formula isn’t enough to distract from how great this movie is in pretty much every aspect.

Even a few years later, this still holds up as a great Pixar film and not just a good one with too much hype. I’d see why someone would think that but you can put me with those who still love. I’d put it quite why on my ranking, along with Up.

That Pete Doctor sure is good, eh? But yeah, it holds up and Pixar is finally back to topping these lists as they made my favorite animated film of 2015.

And those were the animated films of 2015. Overall, this year was simply solid. An average 2015 animated film is the definition of fine, it seems. They would get the job done and too much more, but the best ones managed to go one step beyond what I expected of them.

Likewise, the less than good ones managed to sink lower than I thought they might, which kinda sucks. But the ones that stand tall did surprise me on some level. The Indie movie made me think, Marnie had some interesting twists, Pixar’s gem holds up and Blue Sky made something I personally called great.

2015 was a fine year for animation with a few reaching solid heights and the weakest ones were thankfully not too terrible compared to the worst of the last few years. 2015 wasn’t one of the really strong years like 2009 or anything but it wasn’t 2013 or 2005 either. It got the job done and still managed to have some really good surprises as well.

Perfectly balanced and a solid year to end this project on. Man, it feels to wrap this project up as it feels like I’ve been doing for both awhile and not that long. I’m glad I took more time for these later on and still manged to finish sooner rather than later.

This was a daunting project at times but it as overall a lot of fun. I got to re-visit some films I hadn’t seen in awhile and finally some I had been sitting on for awhile. I wasn’t always sure which Indies to cover and when but hopefully I got most of the more interesting ones.

I mostly kept to the heavy hitters. I’m sorry if I skipped some you may have wanted me to cover, I hope to check out a few of those. I know I should have covered From Up on Poppy Hill since it got a decent release. Whoops. (Go ahead and request certain skipped foreign/indie ones incase I forget to check out some)

At least  I got all the major wide releases, that’s the important part. I’m pretty proud myself for finishing this thing, but don’t expect anymore long term projects like this for awhile. Expect less stuff like this, and more things like the MCU posts as those are far easier to deal with.

And they don’t cut into other projects. This pretty much wraps it up for my journey through animated films. I’m still doing general reviews for all upcoming ones, in case you’re wondering. No point in stopping that.

That’s all I got for this project.

See ya.

(But wait, you might recall I never ranked the 2016 ones in the Sing review like I did with the other final reviews of 2017 and 2018. So let’s fix that, with direct to video films in italics:

BAD:

A Frozen Christmas

Norm of the North

TrollLand

The Wild Life

MEH:

Underdogs

Ice Age 5

Rachet and Clank

Angry Birds

AVERAGE:

Trolls

The Secret Life of Pets

DECENT:

Sing

Sausage Party

GOOD:

Equestria Girls Legend of Everfree

Storks

April and the Extraordinary World

Moana

The Little Prince

VERY GOOD:

Finding Dory

GREAT:

Kung Fu Panda 3

Zootopia

Kubo and the Two Strings. (Yep, I decided I like this easily a bit more now) (Now bye for real. Wait, this started with open parenthesis so shouldn’t this end with the closed one?)

Posted in Adam Sandler Reviews, Animation, Lists, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Best and Worst Films of 2018

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s finally that time again. January is almost over and I’m only just now getting to talking about the previous year of film. Yeah, I wanted to postpone it a bit more to make sure I’ve seen what I want/need to. I was already pretty fine with what I’ve seen but I still wanted to get through some praised films that were on my radar…plus I was waiting for A Star is Born to hit Digital.

2018 has been another really good year for movies. I’d say 2017 was generally better when it comes to the movies I really liked but 2018 was just as solid in places. We had noble experiments and original ideas with some sequels/remakes that proved even those can have creative visions.

You didn’t have to look too hard, as major releases proved to be sold and I was more aware of the smaller movies due to getting into certain circles. That has its downsides but I’m glad I gave some more out of the box films a chance, as that lead to me seeing some really good movies.

And even the bad stuff was less bad, but we’ll get to that. Not everything was perfect but the stuff that was good was strong. I also still saw a ton with over 80 at the time of this writing, with some I still plan to check out as I’m writing this just in case.

When it comes movies I haven’t seen, it’s mostly stuff that isn’t on DVD yet that I didn’t feel like waiting for like The Favorite or If Beale Street can Talk, not to mention the sure to be classic Holmes and Watson. There’s some I didn’t quite get to that I didn’t feel I needed to see yet, like The Predator or Fallen Kingdom but I’ll get to them, I may even see one of those while I’m in the process of making this.

I’ve delayed this enough anyway, no reason to delay it further. I’m as sick of people going “I haven’t seen everything” as much as the next guy, but sometimes I just wanna get this out and at least I went more out of my way than most people might.

I don’t see this changing quite as much in the future as some of my other lists, minus some of those awards season movies. So yeah, a lot to get through so let’s see which movies shined the brightest and stunk up the room the most. In my opinion anyway, my tastes aren’t always the same as most people.

Or they are cuz I’m a normie. Without further ado….

This, is The Best and Worst Films of 2018

(Or Favorite/Least Favorite to be more exact)

TOP 5 WORST/LEAST FAVORITE:

The bad stuff this year honestly was wasn’t as bad as usual. It was mostly full of movies that were fairly bad but had some aspects that made them better than they might usually be.

Even my number 1 (Show Dogs), isn’t quite the same level as Jack & Jill or even Madea Halloween 2. Well, not counting a certain direct to video movie(ish) movie we’ll cover someday which is….something, and from a director we’ve had a bad encounter with before.

I’m generally not super passionate about the weakest movies of the year, so these sections will be mostly short because that’s how little I care. That and I’d like to focus more on the good stuff as there’s way more to go through there.

So let’s quickly get through the less than stellar films, aside from Show Dogs since I reviewed that one already.

5. Game Over, Man (dir. Kyle Newacheck) (Yes, I’m doing this for all of them this time, mostly to credit the good ones but I wanna be equal so..)

Netflix has had an interesting year. They got better in some ways with stronger content but they also had even more controversies and quite a few stinkers. They’re taking great strides to let certain creator’s works get seen by more people.

That means for every Ballad of Buster Scruggs, you might get something like this. That’s bound to happen and I won’t bash them for this one, I just really didn’t like it.  This is brought to us a lot of the same people from Workaholics, a shown I’ve only seen bits of.

Their talents are wasted here. It’s a comedy take on Die Hard which sounds fun but like a lot of bad comedies, it amounts to being about a bunch of assholes spewing crude things for the sake of it.

The group as a good back and forth early on (kind of gave me a Sunny vibe) but it does not take long for that to just turn into crude jokes about jizzing on condoms or whatever. I’m no prude by any means, but at a certain point this movie just has gross or violent things happen for no reason.

There’s a scene where one of the goons stabs someone in the dick after they are being gross, which is cool until they show us the dick. Was that really needed?

On top of that, one of the characters is a generally rude asshole that we’re supposed to feel sorry for when the others call him out for it. And they just sort of make up with no one really learning anything. It hits those cliches I’ve gone on about before.

If I personally found it funnier or the characters were more enjoyable, I may have let these things slide but alas, barely any of this was funny or enjoyable. I kind of liked some of the side characters like these two goons or this woman who works for the hotel, but they either do nothing or get tossed aside too early on.

It’s one of those movies I just got more sick of as it went on, and yet it has the balls to end on a sequel hook. If that happens, I hope the comedy and writing are at least a bit stronger.

The direction is better than most of the movies on this list, which kept it  from being a bit lower. But despite that and the people behind it, this is a stinker that just makes me want to say Game Over..Man.

And speaking of Netflix…

4. The Kissing Booth (dir. Vince Marcello)

My memory of this one isn’t the strongest, which is odd since the story is tighter than the more aimless entries on this list. That shows you how big the impact of this one is.

It does a lot of things bad teen movies do, including the style trying too hard to be in your face and tap into what they’re into these days. The first act is really bad because of just how crappy the pacing is, not allowing you any time to soak anything in.

The only other thing I remember is that the love interest borders on abusive with an angry problem, so of course that’s who Joey King ends up with. This isn’t like 50 Shades or Old Fashioned we’re talking about, but it borders on that and I didn’t like that.

Joey King is likable enough but man does she need a better agent as she deserves to be in a movie that will use her well, as er horror movies were bad and this is even worse. Although at least Wish Upon was funny and Slender Man was….less annoying, I guess.

The fact that I can’t remember anything else about this one kind of tells you everything. A crappy teen movie with unlikable characters that mostly a disservice to its audience.

Netflix has found success with its romcoms (including this one) but there are better options on there than this. I hope so anyway.

3. Life of the Party (dir. Ben Falcone)

I put The Boss in my Dishonorable Mentions for the worst films of 2016. I think this movie is much better than The Boss (sorry, Brad) but this ended up on the actual  list. That tells you everything about how bad the bad movies in those years are.

This is a movie where the nature of it bugs me more than anything. Melissa McCarthy’s character is at least somewhat likable, and some of the supporting characters can add some amusement. And yeah, that includes Debby Ryan as the Alpha Bitch.

I swear it’s like I wished for her to get more exposure this year on a monkey’s paw.

But while it is better The Boss due to being a bit less unlikable, it’s still petty poor. This movie relies a lot of improve, which is fine but a lot of bad comedies seem to think that’s a replacement for actual comedy/story.

Thus, there’s barely a story here as everything feels aimless. There’s no sense of where this story will go or end, besides just her finishing college.

It avoids certain cliches but doesn’t replace them with anything either, like how they don’t focus on her daughter being embarrassed so when they try to go into it near the end of act 2, they just brush by it so nothing feels like it matters.

It doesn’t offend me as much as some other comedies, but it annoyed me with how it failed to take advantage of its cast. It’s aimless and just not funny for most of it.

I think Melissa McCarthy can be likable and enjoyable,, and even here there’s some of that. But sometimes she just picks this scripts that let her just coast and don’t offer much. I haven’t seen Tammy, but between this and The Boss, her husband needs to step up his game.

Maybe his next one will be good, it has a chance. Even with the presence of Jams Corden. This however was just, weak.

2. Woody Woodpecker (dir. Alex Zamm)

Here’s one you’ve heard about. For a random Brazilian cash in on a popular cartoon character that was direct to DVD over here, it has plenty of hate and people like IHE have gone into it.

Hence why this will be super quick. It’s everything we complain about with these kind of movies, and the only real highlight is them getting a real voice actor (Eric Bauza) to do a decent Woody impressions. And I guess it’s no Alvin 3 or whatever.

Woody is annoying rather than funny, the live actions aren’t that great and nothing here is especially interesting or fun. Plus the direction is poor at times. Really, what else should I say? It’s a bit better than some but it’s especially dull and many years too late.

The only really good part is the random Woody cartoon they shove after the credit. The cartoon itself isn’t one of the greats but it’s amusing which is more than I can say for the actual movie.

Just watch IHE or Pan’s review for more details on why this sucks, there’s not much to it. It’s just pointless and dumb, not being the worst but not being anything good either. Meh.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS:

10.Night School (dir. Malcolm D. Lee): A way too long unfunny comedy with wasted talent, yawn.

9. Fifty Shades Freed (dir. James Foley): It’s the best of the trilogy as it has some “funny” moments but it’s still bad for the all the same reasons, next./

8. Status Update (dir. Scott Speer): An incredibly uncreative wish-fulfillment story with an added social media spin that is of course weak with uninteresting characters. Might be worth a full review someday.

7. Little Italy (dir. Donald Petrie): Another aimless comedy with a charming Emma Roberts and annoying Italian stereotypes.

6. The 15:17 to Paris (dir. Clint Eastwood): A short real event is made into a full movie where the events before than don’t really add anything and cast the real life people even though their performances end up being quite bad. Add in a random ADHD thing at the start and you’ve got a waste of Clint’s talents. Hopefully those pecans are better.

And my least favorite film of 2018, besides Show Dogs, is…

  1. Father of the Year (dir. Tyler Spindel)

Adam Sandler’s Netflix movies have been improving a tad with The Week Of being merely meh. Thus, Happy Madison decided to make up for it by having a Non-Sandler Netflix movie that is just…quite bad.

I noticed a lot of the bad comedies this year (like Uncle Drew and Action Point) were aimless. They didn’t seem to know what to do with most of the runtime and it made them especially dull to watch. Life of the Party was way but this is the worst case of it.

The plot is that Matt Shively and Joey Bragg’s fathers get into a fight. And yet the movie focuses on basically everything else EXCEPT that fight. There’s so many scenes that don’t really connect to what the movie is supposed to be about.

Maybe some of this connects to some great purpose but it was so lifeless a lot of the time that I didn’t care. The only real thread I remember is Joey Bragg’s romance with Bridgit Mendler. Yep, she’s in this and honestly she is the onlt reaosn it’s not worse than Show Dogs.

She’s really charming in this and it makes me wish she was in better movies because she could go places. This is the first thing she’s been in movie wise since that cut cameo in Muppets Most Waned and when she returns its in…this.

The rest of the actors are either wasted or not given much direction , and the comedy is mostly ramble humor that is more painful and dull than funny. There isn’t even a shock factor to the bad aspects of this like in some other Happy Maddison movies.

Aside from maybe the Extremely Discount Ready Player One antics near the end but aside from that, I remember so little from this. I’ll take it over the Bucky Larson’s of the world, but this still has nothing to remember.

It’s not one of the worst movies ever but it’s especially aimless and has nothing to remember. And it has nothing that good to make up for it, and wastes a charming Brdigit Mendler as well.

All this makes my least favorite film of 2018, and it’s only a few steps above Show Dogs in some ways, to be honest.

TOP 10 BEST/FAVORITE FILMS:

Now this one will be more fun. There was a lot that I really liked this year, so it was a bit harder to decide what goes where. But I’m pretty happy with this list and the general order, for now at least.

So let’s dive into the movies that made this year easier to through. (Links will be given to full reviews if they exist, at least for the main list since those sections will be shorter)

10. Mission Impossible: Fallout (dir. Christoper McQuarrie)

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/07/27/general-review-mission-impossible-fallout/

It’s impressive how much this franchise keeps topping itself. This has everything that makes this series fun with less of the flaws. The plot doesn’t exactly matter but it’s still a decent one with a god cast and Tom Cruise risking his life for our enjoyment.

The action is insane, and that theme is still one of the best ever. I’m not sure how the series can top itself further, but I’m curious to see how the recently announced next two entires try.

9.Before I Wake (dir. Mike Flannigan)

You likely haven’t heard of this one an I don’t blame you. This was shot in 2013, kept on a shelf, put in festivals in 2016, then finally dumped on Netflix in January 2018. It’s a shame as this was another strong. horror movie for the year.

Between Occlous, Ouija Origin of Evil and Gerald’s Game, Mike Flannigan is proving to be one of the next great horror directors. He knows how to make creepy stuff that also has good family drama.

I’m a sucker for that kind of thing in horror movies and this has that. It’s combination of creepy stuff and good drama is on the typical side compared to other movies but his direction still makes it really good for me.

I was unsure of its placement as I haven’t seen it since January and i remember it less than a certain other movie I saw that month. It doesn’t give me much to say. The reviews were mixed and I think it’s due to the ending.

I think it works but I can see how it can be corny for some. That does keep a bit low but otherwise this is another really good Mike Flanngaan movie. Don’t worry, I’ll remember more to say about the others.

8. Paddington 2 (dir. Paul King)

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/general-review-paddington-2/

I wish I could aput  movie this charming higher and maybe I’ll re-think this in the future but for now this is a good place for it. This is the definition of a feel good movie as well as a top notch sequel.

Paddington is such a likable character and his optimistic and cheerful attitude is very infectious. We further see how he has improves the lives of those around him and the entire thing is so delightful.

The direction is tight and a cut above most family films, and it has good humor that will please the whole family. Kids will enjoy the antics and silly moments while adults will appreciate the little touches and everyone will enjoy how nice it is.

It improves on the flaws of the first and creates a very charming followup that will make you happy, which a good movie like this should do.

7.  Thunder Road (dir. Jim Cummings)

Not, not the Jim Cumings you’re thinking of. Yes, more than human exists with that full name, weird. While I am more open to watching some more indie movies, I don’t wanna go too crazy or I’ll keep finding new ones and these lists will never come out

I did check out some I heard especially good things about, and this one I pretty much had to watch after the director followed me on Twitter., I hadn’t even spoken about the movie but it was still nice.

Anyway, Jim stars as a cop who just lost his mother and also has to deal with taking care of his daughter. A movie with a guy taking care of his daughter isn’t anything new but the execution of this example is so strong.

Being a much smaller movie, there’s nothing too flashy and it’s pretty focused on just the main plot, so there’s not much in terms of extra subplots. That can make a tad dry and repetitive at times but the way everything plays out makes up for it.

Jim’s character is the main focus so he had to be great and he really is.  He has troubles dealing with a lot of this, and he captures this really well He brings some light comedy that helps make him feel more real.

The opening scene is basically just a live action version of that one Bojack Hoeseman episode and it’s great for the same reasons as that episode.

The ending helps bring it all together and it there’s some really emotional moments that got me. Some minor aspects of the ending might be ideal for some but the reason it all makes up for it, at least to me.

Thunder Road is just a very human movie, and it ends up being a really compelling drama with solid bits of comedy in there. Tied together by a strong lead performance, and you have one of the best overlooked movies of this year.

6. A Quiet Place/Hereditary (dir. John Krasinski/Ari Aster)

Oh yeah, we got tie between two great horror movies. I couldn’t pick which one I like more so here we are.

Starting with A Quiet Place, if you’re going to complain about “plot holes”, I’d advise you to watch CinemaWins video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qvAAxeevbo ), specifically 13:19 as it addresses all of  the ones people think exist/matter. That’s all I’m gonna say on that matter.

This movie has a strong set up and uses it for plenty of intense scenes. The direction is really good at making things intense, as making noise will alert these monsters. They also create a solid family dynamic, and it basically was made for me.

I really cared about these characters as John and Emily Blunt pull off great performances that make get into their dilemmas.  The score can get a bit too sting heavy but otherwise it works well, alongside the great sound mixing.

And while the ending is cool, i was a bit abrupt and took me off guard at first. Those gripes aside, it has enough intense moments and strong directing to make up for the little issues.

Hereditary also has a family dynamic but it’s an A24 movie so it’s of course focuses more on the dramatic element of it, along side the solid creepy stuff I expect. It has some fairly messed up stuff that really works to make it scary and man did I not expect one as she captures her e of the kids from Naked Brothers Band to actually be a good actor.

Speaking of actors, I very much agree with the people who think Toni Collete was snubbed at the Oscars. She’s amazing in this as she captures her descent into madness really well. Everything in this movie works but she is what makes it as great as it is.

My only problem is the ending. It arguably ditches some of the themes it was building up and I see how that ruin it for some. However, it’s still a decent ending and works on its own, I just wish it connected to the rest a tad more like in something like The Babadook.

Otherwise, it’s great and another one others have gone into a fair bit. Which one is better? Eh. Hereditary is technically better written but AQP appeals to me a bit more even though it has more minor issues.

I’ll call it a draw, I think of both are great for similar and different reasons. Both do what they set it to do really well and you can an argument for either being better. As long as you don’t use one to bash the others who those who like the one you like less, of course.

Either way, both are strong horror movies from this year.

5. A Star is Born (dir. Bradley Cooper)

I remember people groaning at the idea of there being yet another version of this movie…and I hadn’t even heard of the other versions, so I didn’t have to be won over exactly.

This does come with a few asterisks, like how it does go through beats you might be familiar with just through other takes on this kind of story, or how perhaps more focus could have been given to Ally in some parts. But any issues like that it has, they manage to get over with just how well executed it is.

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have excellent chemistry right off the bat and make their characters very enjoyable to watch. The best parts are  when they directly interact, as we see them both sharing love scenes and going through some hardships.

The parts where they simply hit the expected beats are weaker and even the scrip sometimes yada yadas through it since we all know where this is going. Thankfully, the strong direction pulls through all that.

Bradley Cooper is another first time director who can stand toe to toe with the masters with how he uses lighting and makes a 2 hour movie feel shorter. Yes, I got through a 2 hour movie and don’t think it’s “too long”, it’s a miracle.

The 3rd act is the strongest as we see how Jack’s alcoholism affects him and those around him. Even if more focus could have been given to Ally, they show how she feels and the ending is really emotional.

It takes a story we’ve seen before and breathes new life into it with strong leads, great direction and some real emotion. And great music, Shallow has that Oscar in the bag, let’s be honest.

And if you’ve never seen any of the other screen versions, you’ll find even more to appreciate as this is a great introduction to the story, I can vouch for that. I’ll check  out the other versions someday, but for now this one is great.

4. Blindspotting (dir. Carlos Lopez Estrada)

I had my share of pleasant surprises in 2018 and this is the biggest one. The subject matter made me unsure if it would be done well and boy was I wrong in being unsure.

It’s about this named Colin guy on parole who witnesses a police shooting that starts to haunt him, and his friendship with a guy named Miles becomes strained. This is one of many recent movies about race and I feel this is one of the better ones.

The focus on a certain character and event makes it simpler as it explores the themes that come about from this, most notably police brutality and white privilege.  It does a great job of exploring these things in a thoughtful way.

The way things pay out did actually get me to think about the themes after I watched it, which doesn’t always happen. Especially with the ending  where e confronts the cop, it’s really intense.

This movie is also surprisingly funny with the style and the interactions with the two friends. It combines interesting themes and style to create a really engaging experience. We also have an excellent performance by Daveed Diggs which was another big snub,.

My only pedantic problem is that can be aimless at times and forget about the main plot. But thankfully even those parts are enjoyable and everything else makes up for it.

If you’re one of the many people who skipped out on this one, give it a shot as it’s much more interesting than you might expect. Easily my favorite overlooked movie of the year.

3. Black Panther (dir. Ryan Coogler)

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/general-review-black-panther/

This is one that could go have gone either higher or lower than the previous one but my normie tastes made me put it higher for now. This is a great example of how the MCU can change it’s formula while still feeling like it’s part of the same universe.

Wakanda is a well crafted world with an interesting culture and a solid lead. There’s some actual themes here it explores, as well as a great villain that is actually a compelling character who is kind of right.

I’ll talk about the spoiler-y elements in the Phase 3 post but for now I can just say this avoids being a typical Marvel movie, even with the costumed hero and action scenes. The slow burn nature of it makes me like others more but it’s still one of the more genuinely strong MCU entries.

And thus earned that Best Picture nod, feel free to @ me.

2. Avengers: Infinty War (dir. Joe and Anthony Russo)

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/04/27/general-review-avengers-infinity-war/

Once again I’l talk more about certain aspects in the phase 3 post, mostly how I feel about it post Endgame. But for now, here’s some quick words on it.

Before a certain other movie came along, this was such an easy number one for me. Sure,  I would have liked to see more of certain people and the events of Endgame may have an effect on how I view the ending of this one but it otherwise does so much right.

It’s such a huge movie but still manages to flesh everything out as much as possible, with plenty of good interactions, and great action.  Thanos manages to live up to the hype by being a great threat as well as being more complex than he appears, while still clearly being a villain.

And of course there’s the ending, which is still quite the gut punch. Maybe it’ll get undone, but I’ll wait and see before bitching. Plus, I hope there’s a nice middle ground between keeping the effects and just undoing everything.

Regardless of what happens, Infinity War is still epic with plenty to love.  It sadly got dethroned but at least it’s still number 2. …That’s good in this case.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Because I feel like it, I’m extending this to 10 since there’s some I?= wanted to shout out I couldn’t fit into if it was only 5.

20. Searching (dir. Aneesh Chaganty): There’s a twist that arguably takes away from the point a little bit and feels like a CSI episode but otherwise this is a strong movie that uses the whole “desktop” angle really well with the editing and pacing add a lot to the story. Plus, John Cho is great.

19.Ralph Breaks the Internet/Isle of Dogs (dir. Rich Moore & Phil Johnston/Wes Anderson): Two really solid and creative animated films that had some flaws keeping them from being great but one proved to be a worthy sequel and the other was another well crafted tale from Wes Anderson.

18. Game Night (John Francis Daley & Jonathan M Goldstein): There’s some writing issues here and there but it’s still one of the most enjoyable studio comedies in years with a great cast and strong direction.

17. Love, Simon (Greg Berlanti): It gets off to a rocky start but it eventually becomes a sweet movie with likable characters.

16. First Man (dir. Damien Chazelle): This is not my kind of movie but leave ti to Damien to craft a strong story about Neil Armstrong that explores him well with his usual excellent direction, and surprisingly good pacing for a two hour movie, even if it can still be dry at times.

15. Tully (dir. Jason Reitman): I’ve been getting into this director lately and this is another really good movie for him with  a great lead performance by Charlize Theron and surprising ending.

14. Eighth Grade (dir. Bo Burnham): Even I don’t quite relate to some of this as others do, A24 does it again with a well executed exploration of that awkward time with Elsie Fisher being extremely good…minus that Rick & Morty reference.

13. The Old Man & The Gun (dir. David Lowrey): The very definition of charming with a good style with both the thief and cop being likable, and Robert Redford giving a great performance.

12. Incredibles 2 (dir. Brad Bird): It doesn’t match the first one due to a reused plot at times and a weak villain but Brad Bird’s excellent direction and writing makes this still a really fun sequel.

11. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (dir. Morgan Neville): I apologize to Fred Rogers for having to knock off the actual list but this is still a really good documentary that shows just how amazing Fred Rogers was.

And my favorite movie of 2018 is…

  1. Spider-Man; Into the Spider-Verse (dir. Peter Ramsey, Bob  Persichetti, Peter Ramsety & Rodney Rothman)

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/general-review-spider-man-into-the-spider-verse/

Okay, full disclosure: Over on Letterboxd I rate movies higher than 4 to indicate an “Amazing” movie, despite generally ditching the rating. I don’t show off the rating on here since the lie can be thin and I’d prefer to just put all ones higher than Very Good as Great. On LB I just allow myself to be more specific.

I say this to bring up that the in terms of release date, the latest movie I had given this rating was How to Train Your Dragon 2 in 2014. That was broken by this movie.

I knew I would really enjoy this movie but I wasn’t ready t love it as much as I do. And in the month and change since I saw it, I’ve grown to like it more even more as I find out about new details. I can only imagine how repeat viewings will go.

Pretty much everything about this movie appeals to me, from the innovative animation, to the characters, to the tons of details that really help flesh out the script. It’s easy to peg this as a movie people are only into for it being different, but it really does have a ton to offer beyond the visuals.

It has a few been done themes but it really breathes so much life into them and uses
Spider-Man’s legacy to its advantage. Even the parts I wish were fleshed out more worked well and can e used more in a sequel at least.

The movie’s whole vibe is really fun but the extra details make it a clear labor of love that has so much put into it. It’s been too long since I’ve seen any movie be as good as this one. It doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of other animated movies or superhero movies of course, it’s just nice to see something new that is this good.

Overall, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse does fresh things with familiar concepts and is a huge breath of fresh air due to the script and unique visual style. Even if it ends up getting milked too much, this first movie will always be special for what it does.

And that is why it is my favorite movie of 2018.

 

Well, those are finally my least favorite and favorite movies of 2018. Sorry it took a bit but at least it’s here now and I’m quite happy with it.  Can’t wait to get to the movies I wasn’t able to see before this post.

2019 will be even slower than last year because money is a big issue but I’ll see what I can do. And as usual, we’ll end with my most anticipated movie for each of the upcoming months.

January: …A bit late but it was Glass. Wasn’t able to see so I hope I like when I get to it. 

February: How to Train Your Dragon 3, also LEGo 2 and Alita Battle Angel.

March: Us, and Captain Marvel. And of course, A Madea Family Funeral.

April: Avengers Endgaeme, duh. Also, Missing Link and Pet Sematary.

May: John Wick  3, as well as Brightburn and Godzilla King of the Monsters.

June: Dark Phoenix, and maybe Men in Black International and Toy Story 4. 

July: Far From Home, and possibly the new Tarentino one. 

August: New Mutants, if it comes out this time.

September:   It Chapter 2,

October;  Addams Family/

November:  Knives ut, and of course Sonic.

December: Star Wars Episode 9.

And that finally wraps it up for this one.

See ya.

Posted in Lists, Live Action Movies Based on Cartoon Reviews | 1 Comment

Zombies

#MakeSeaBrookGreatAgain

Hello, Spongey here.

2019 is almost in full swing by now, with two posts taken care of. Now to dive into our interesting first Scene by Scene review of the year. We have a Disney Channel movie I should have done a lot sooner.

I was going to do something special for this one but that sadly fell through and I decided to just do it normally. I’m glad to at least be finally doing this movie as I’ve been thinking plenty about it ever since it aired.

This aired back in February and given the marketing, it seems to be another would be franchise. I’m surprised we hadn’t any announcement of a sequel but maybe they’re waiting for Descendants to dry up.

It’s no secret DCOMs are generally rather corporate, and a fair few of them are made to spawn franchises, filled with stuff they think the teen audience will enjoy. But this one seems to be even more so.

Even for me this one was a bit much on that front, and there’s a lot of things to joke about or pick apart. Hence why I’ve been really wanting to talk about this movie.

It’s based on a pilot for a series called Zombies & Cheerleaders, which is a slightly better title then the generic as hell one we got. This is also notable for being a rare DCOM that went through a director change.

Originally it was announced to be helmed by the Teen Beach guy but he got downgraded to Choreographer while Paul Hoen took over in the directors chair. The fact that they replaced him with someone who does DCOM’s a lot and is usually just reliable is rather telling. (Sorry Disney Brain)

The writers have done nothing. So, how does the channel that brought us High School Musical and Descendants shake up the zombie genre? Just how messy is it? Let’s dive in.

This, is Zombies (aka Z-O-M-B-I-E-S)

The movie opens with a neat graphic novel style opening that explains the backstory. Well, it’s neat until you realize the idea for using that style was probably taken from iZombie, the first of many times you’ll be reminded of something else you’d rather be watching.

We’re told about the city of Seabrook, which was a perfect town until an accident in a power plant created a green cloud that turned people into zombies.

“Brain eating zombies”

This is a bit intense for Disney Channel so naturally this is the best part and the rest will not be as interesting. They eventually build a barrier to keep out the zombies and then things just kind of go back to being perfect on their side.

That was 50 years ago and in that time, Zombies have been able to cool down to the point where one was even giving us some of that narration. This is Zed.

“And yeah, I’m a Zombie”

And as everyone else joked, you look like Jared Leto’s Joker.

Zombies have this Z Band that gives them these pulses that keeps them from going into mindless brain eating mode. But despite being able to be civil, they still gotta stay on their side.

If you’re thinking this is some sort of commentary, oh just you wait.

“Now Zombies can lead happy lives and have handsome but humble kids”

Well, there’s something I’d rather not think about.

So yeah, we have a backstory that leads to certain people being closed off from the rest of the world but now they will be allowed to go to school in some form for the first time.

Totally nothing like Descendants.

We are then introduced to our Human lead, Addison, played by Meg Donnelly who is actually pretty good and likable In this. She elevates at least some of this stuff and I hope she goes on to be in better DC content.

She’s a normal teen, minus her natural white hair she has to cover up. When I first watched this, I thought there would be some big twist explaining why she has white hair. Nope, it’s never explained and is only used for some weird forced metaphor later on.

She’s only afraid of others knowing about because Seabrook just hates anything different. That’s pretty lame. After all that info dumping, she and Zed finally leave for school as we get our first song.

Because of course this is a musical. This first song, My Year, isn’t too bad and works fine as an opening song establishing what they want and all that. Well, except for the kinda sloppy rap stuff. The choreography is decent though.

After the song, we are introduced to the Alpha Dick, Bucky. Yep, they made the popular person villain a dude, how progressive of you. Thankfully he is as over the top and enjoyable as I expect these kind of characters to be. And he has the extra layer of being Zombie Racist, basically.

Speaking of the zombies, they are forced to be in the basement and can’t try out for anything. I assume they have to use different water fountains as well. Zed tries to sneak out but trips which makes him groan right in front of someone, which causes some big panic.

“These drills are offensive and driven by Zombiephobia”

And all the subtly this could have had goes right out the window. Yeah, they’re gonna try to pull a Zoootopia but this is much more like Bright. This isn’t the worst idea by itself, but the forced way they try to pull it off makes it pretty…muddled, to say the least.

Addison heads for the Zombie safe room which some reason has no one else coming to it despite all the panic. Zed runs in there too and we get our meet cute, as they can’t tell the other one is a human/zombie at first due to the dim lighting.

But even when the lights come on, she sees he isn’t a horrible monster and even kind of cute. Yes, we’re going full Warm Bodies. Yay for Necrophilia! And with the whole element of the sides they are on not wanting them together, it’s also High School Musical.

There, now our rip off/rehash stew has all the ingredients and now we can start mixing.

Zed goes to Football tryouts and while he is of course rejected, I have to wonder why he was allowed to approach them when the Zombies are supposed to be in the basement. I do like this coach though, even if the joke of him not being good at pumping up the team was funnier when Milo Murphy’s Law did it.

We move on to cheerleading tryouts as we get song #2, Fired Up. It’s fine even if it serves less of a purpose than some of the others. We get to see more of Bucky being amazing though.

Seriously, I love how full of himself he is and how he switches from being super serious to more joke-y. His acting is sort of fake but in that fun Alpha Bitch kind of way. He’s better than all the other fake stuff in the movie at least.

Through this, we do see how harsh they are to anyone different in general which is fine but I feel like them being harsh to Zombiea already kind of justified (in universe given the backstory at least) on its own without the other in your face stuff here.

Addison and her friend I don’t care about (and is never important again) make the squad, and for their initiation they must commit a hate crime, I mean egg ZombieTown. Some person shows up that makes Bucky drive away so he doesn’t see them not doing it after this makes them notice how Zombies live.

That’s one of the more effective scenes, I’d say. Less muddled than a lot of the rest of this. The next day, Addison apologizes to Zed since he saw her last night. Nothing interesting here, so onto a pep rally.

“Cheer is contagious”

“So is Pink eye”

Okay, Zed’s female friend is the best character that isn’t Bucky.

Bucky pulls out a Spirit Sparkler to piss off the zombies because it’s been established they hate fire. I thought that was a Frankenstein’s monster thing but okay.

This sets off Zed’s male friend who is closer to monster zombie, and he accidentally makes Zed fall and on land on his Z Band. Thankfully he gets to it before anything can really happen here.

Zed ran through the crowd to catch Addison, so now the coach wants him on their turn. That was a very quick and weird turn of events. But this is important as they will help put Zombies in a better light as long as Zed helps this struggling team win.

Bucky sees this and I just love his reaction here. I also love how peppy he is through all this, and again how he switches on and off.

Zombies are now allowed to eat in the main cafeteria and Addison tries to have a moment with Zed before being pulled away. By the way, she tries to speak in “old zombie tongue” which is another thing that raises too many questions.

A bit later they meet up and talk about their problems, which leads to them going back to their first meeting place. Cue love song! As far as these kind of songs, it’s cute enough but that’s about it.

I’m not crazy about the stale romance stuff but I’ll take it over the forced allegory stuff. We cut to a football game which doesn’t go as well as they had hoped. So Zed has his female friend mess with his Z Band so he can go into zombie mode a tiny bit so he can basically cheat with zombie steroids.

I can’t see this going wrong at all. I mean seriously, he says he wants to do what is good for zombies but this is like, the opposite of good for zombies. But it works as they win and he gets back to normal in time, all set to a background pop song that’s more 2008 than 2018.

So with that, zombies start to aget bit more accepted which does not sit well with Bucky who swears they will not win again. Cue ironic montage of them winning a lot!

My only comments for this montage are that Bucky is still amazing and while I like thay the newspapers we see actually do come with full real articles, they blatantly repeat one of them because they didn’t want to do too much work for something only an internet nitpicker is gonna care about.

After the montage, Addison is invited to a thing in Zombietown that night which is basically just a rave where she sees more of Zombie Culture. I find it interesting how the zombies created their own culture given they started as just humans. That’s something they could have explored, just saying. Anyway…

“You like a good girl with brains?”

“You know that’s super offensive”

Oh yeah we’re back to that. And the character who says this is black, oof. Or does that make it better? I have no idea.

Then out of nowhere they break into our next song, Bamm, which has them singing about nothing, really. And this is the song they were pushing hard, even before the real marketing started. That said, it is easily the most memorable and catchy song at least.

“This is zombieland”

Well, you’re already reminding me of better movies, may as well add another to the list. Wait, I thought it was Zombie Town. Speaking of, the lighting does help this scene look kind of cool compared to some of the other visuals in this.

Addison talks to Zed’s female friend and goes on about how different zombies are from how she was taught.

“Look at you, you’re cool, smart and pretty”

“You think I’m pretty?”

SHIPSHIPSHIPSHIP. Er I mean….yeah, looks like they borrowed something else from Descendants. Speaking of shipping, Zed takes Addison aside and they have a reprise of their love song for some reason.

Their love is interrupted by them caught by the authorities, who bring Addison home to her upset parents. I love the bit where she says this was over a boy and the cop is just like “I’m out of here”.

Then the scene just kind of ends as we move to the next day where some of the cheerleaders find out that Zed is cheating. Mostly because he was dumb enough to just be freely discussing this with his female friend. They tell Bucky about this, right after he was bowing down to a trophy case and asking the cheer spirits for a sign.

I love this movie.

They’re able to quickly and quietly take Female Friend’s high tech thingy she uses to control them so they can of course use it. Preventing him from using it would be the easiest choice so he can’t cheat and thus get more popular but spoilers, they do something dumb with it because they’re evil.

At the same time, Zed messes with it so he can become much less like a Zombie, so Addison’s parents will approve of him. Okay, this desperate move at least makes sense with the themes and all but I do have to wonder why the parents aren’t questioning why was she was in ZombieTown with a human boy.

They go on a date at a place that has a “wide variety of vanilla” which would be clever if Addison didn’t say that was “so seabrook’”. Keep it subtle, guys. After some talk, we get to the big final game of the season.

Addison cheers Zed on despite what Bucky thinks. The combination of her determinism and Bucky’s…bucky-ness, makes this a fun moment. Speaking of, his crew messes with the Z Band so that his monster side becomes even stronger, along with else who hulk out and cause a bunch of trouble.

So their solution basically just caused more trouble for everyone, great job. Yeah, them not thinking this trouble is the point but…well okay, I’ll kind of let it slide given who they are.

The thing is, messing with the Z band on purpose is the only reason their “true nature” came out, which does make their zombie racism seem a bit sillier. Which is arguably the point given how ultimately silly real racism is.

I’ll give them points there but the way is executed just makes thing like this kind of dumb. Anyway, they get calmed down and are taken away. This causes her to get preachy and tell off the humans for creating this monster. This movie is so deep, man.

This makes her launch into another song where she “stands strong” and she finally takes off her wig. It’s not too bad as far as these kind of moments go, the on the nose-ness makes it enjoyable at least. I love how during the main part of the song, everyone in the background is just walking around like nothing is happening

They boo her and we just cut to Zed, who is just telling us how he feels. He does this a lot and it’s pointless.
The incident at the game causes some changes, like Bucky trying harder to purge Pro Zombie people and their Z bands being changed so that they can’t mess with them. But who cares about the latter, Bucky is getting even more insane which is amazing.

And we’ve still got the cheer championship I just learned/remembered was a thing. Perhaps the announcers can fill us in.

“You can say they’ve been cheertastic.”

“Well you can could say that, I wouldn’t. Because it’s a made up word”

I already said “I love this movie” so I won’t repeat myself.

Zed’s female friend (whose name is Eliza, don’t worry I know this now) plans to sabotage the thing and Zed explains why this is a dumb way to counteract the racism. Then after a talk, they all walk away and I guess either Eliza dropped it or they just forgot to reverse anything she likely did.

Bucky’s team does rather poorly since tons of people got kicked off so this little Zombie girl who I keep forgetting about comes in with a cheer. This causes to go out there and inspire change to embrace their differences and yada yada.

They tell Bucky about they’re doing and offer him a chance to realize how wrong he is and change and he declines. Because yeah, deep-seated prejudice like this doesn’t change overnight and some people won’t change.

They lead their revolution without him and put on a big show with zombie cheers, which comes with a neat reprise of Fired Up. Then in the middle of it, the zombie girl approaches Bucky in hopes to again get him on their side.

…And it works! Yep, he’s just like “okay” and joins them. Guess you can throw away all my spiel, we’re running on TrollLand logic where years of racism and prejudice can just go away cuz a little girl said pwease. I know this is a Disney Channel movie but come on, at least have the big Alpha Dick be unchangeable.

If you’re going to have an instant change, at least have one part be slightly realistic. But whatever, one song later everything is super cool. Even Addison’s parents and the like are just cool with Zombies now, despite no transition. With that, we get our closing narration wrapping up the story.

And all they tell us is stuff we already knew or can see on screen. With that, the credits roll over the dance party ending (set to a Bamm reprise) because this isn’t enough of a Discount Kenny Ortgeta movie.

Or maybe the credits guys want this to end as much as we do. Then it just ends, with the most rushed wrap up to a movie like I’ve seen since the last time I bitched about this.

*express frustration in Zombie*

Final Thoughts:

Well, that was a movie.

Even by DCOM standards, this is such an obvious cash in. Every element feels like it was tailor made to reach a wide audience, with tons of things the DCOM audience has proven to like in the past.

Then they added a racism angle because that’s big right now. Even the sometimes garish aesthetics feel like someone chewed up the Descendants sets. On both an artistic and script level, this is pretty messy.

The main story elements end up feeling under cooked despite how much they try to focus on them. The love story for example is all just very typical and is just there to lead to the racism stuff.

It reminds me of just how much better these things are done other movies, like how High School Musical combines the love story and the “showing the rest of the school that people who are different can get along” stuff in a somewhat less forced way.

Complaining about the themes being in your face is a bit pointless in a movie like this and while I can tolerate some sugarcoating, this goes overboard with it. Everything is so in your face and blatantly explained that I can’t really think it about like I should.

There’s some elements that can be interesting but the execution and especially the really lame ending snuff that out. I don’t think it’s offensive so much as it is short sighted and not thought through that well.

I hate to bring up Zootopia again, but it actually wrote a compelling story with strong characters that worked well with the themes, knowing when to be more subtle and when to be more obvious so that you can find aspects to actually think about rather than it all being spelled out for you.

With all that said, the movie gets so wrapped up in all this that it can be charming in that Disney Channel way. The actors are trying their best and clearly are putting some heart into this, and the musical numbers can be fun with how they go all out with them.

There’s some legit amusing moments, mixed in with things that are funny because of how over the top they are, like basically everything Bucky does. That plus some nice moments do make this a fun ironic watch at times that I of course can’t get too mad at.

It does sink lower than some DCOMs on an artistic level but I will say the “good” things do make more enjoyable and fun to riff than stuff like Read it and Weep, even if this is messier.

It’s an odd mess with some charm to it, and some especially blatant corporate elements. It doesn’t have much in terms of brains, is what I’m saying.

Rating: Average

Well, that was fun to finally go through. It’s especially interesting when it comes to ironic enjoyment and how it all comes together. I had fun both joking about and looking into why it’s so odd.

And hey, it offers more fresh things than Freaky Friday 2018 did, to be honest. Next time, we’re going back to the world of foreign animation. Oh boy.

See ya.

Posted in Disney Channel Movie Reviews, Scene by Scene Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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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