Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION (Netflix)

THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION, that just premiered on Netflix this past weekend, is thankfully another solid original from the streaming platform, and yet another movie you probably haven’t heard of. Why is it always the good ones that no one hears about or watches, yet you guys kept jerking off to Hubie Halloween this past weekend? Seriously, has this pandemic gotten you all on the spectrum? HOW HAS HUBIE HALLOWEEN BEEN #1 ON NETFLIX SINCE FRIDAY YOU FUCKING HACKS?!?!? **cools down** Anyway, for every Hubie there is something like this that maybe people will discover weeks, months, or years down the line, especially if it gets an Oscar nomination or two this year. I don’t know if this will, haven’t done much research on it other than that it’s 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. IMDB describes this film with the following: “Radha is a down-on-her-luck NY playwright, who is desperate for a breakthrough before 40. Reinventing herself as rapper RadhaMUSPrime, she vacillates between the worlds of Hip Hop and theater in order to find her true voice.” Although the movie bogs down in some cliches, such as her embarrassing herself the first time she is on stage, the best friend agent, and the unlikely love interest, those aspects are quickly forgiven when you realize this is an excellently told gentrification movie about gentrification and overcoming those odds. This isn’t only surface level in your face gentrification themes like the ho-hum Vampires Vs. The Bronx that came out a couple of weeks ago on the same streaming platform. This gentrification is much more subtle, and it goes deep down under the surface, where it should be.

There are not any recognizable faces in this movie, so try to go in with an open mind, and this movie is also in black and white, which I think added a unique look and layer to the film other than if it had just been in color. There are a few snippets of color, but they are used in the right places to strap down the themes the movie has in store for you. With all of that, and even a tad bit over a two hour run time, the movie is very entertaining and well acted. Radha Black has not only crafted an important screenplay that opens the window a little into her biographical life while hitting home important racial and sex themes, but she even has some solid acting chops and a nice eye behind the camera. I don’t know what made her film this in black and white, but it was definitely a nice touch and makes it stand out from other films in that genre. She also frames shots very well, and moves the camera to character point of view with perfect flow and grace. The freestyle rapping was actually decent, didn’t feel staged or fake and had some nice beats. The film also took its time to get to familiar story beats which made them not so familiar, even when you know what is going to happen at the end of the opening night of her play that was taken over by pretentious white douche bags. The subtle themes relating to Radha’s mother was a nice little footnote in the story as well, very emotional. There is nothing much more to say other than to give this movie a chance if you are looking for a pleasing drama that is smart if you need a vacation from the dumb stupid idiotic same old same old bullshit from Adam Sandler. Come on guys, let’s either get him to do better or cancel his ass altogether. Grow some brains during this fucking shit year.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: AMERICAN MURDER – THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR (Netflix)

AMERICAN MURDER: THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR is a chilling documentary that has no voice overs, no interviews filmed specifically for the doc, it is an hour and 23 minutes of perfectly edited footage from Shanann Watts Facebook posts, texts between her and her friends, and footage we’ve seen on You Tube coming from police body cams and the Chris Watts interrogation cameras at the station. It was just released on Netflix a couple of days ago and it rushed to the #1 spot on Netflix’s Top Ten List immediately. Per IMDB: “In 2018, 38-year-old Shanann Watts and her two youngest daughters disappeared in Colorado. With the heartbreaking details emerging, the family’s story made headlines around the world.” If you live under a bridge, and weren’t watching the news at the time (it was everywhere btw) I’m about to give a big hefty spoiler ending with what happened because I have to explain the outcome of the case to effectively review this documentary. In the end, it reveals that the husband, Chris Watts, killed all three of them (Shanann was also pregnant at the time, so really 4 people) for absolutely no reason other than he was cheating on her and wanted a new life. There is footage of him blatantly lying to police when they are asking him questions and searching his house and he even has the gall to take a fucking lie detector test to try and prove his innocence. Chris Watts is a fucking monster and how he thought he could get away with it, I don’t think we’ll ever know. The fact that this documentary is as haunting as it is and is able to display the facts without any voice overs or new interview footage shot specifically for this film is unbelievable.

This is one of the hardest documentaries I have ever had to watch, as anger seeped through me, especially when it kept coming back to the fact that he killed is two very lovely young daughters and didn’t shed a tear for them until he got caught. In all the footage he looks like he’s a empty shell of a human being. The point of the documentary was to basically show the naysayers that kept victim blaming and saying that maybe Shanann drove Chris over the edge really are that stupid. She did nothing wrong. I know a lot of people have two different personalities, one on social media, and one in person, but all of her posts, texts, what have you in this doc, showed her as a deeply compassionate, loving and caring mother. And that this asshole son of a bitch deserved the three life sentences that eventually get sentenced upon him. The documentary is not too long, it is crisp and tight in what it is trying to say. It doesn’t show any bodies or anything but this is definitely not for the faint of heart or those that get their blood pumping easily from awful tragedies such as this. This is going to be a short review, as all I can comment on is how awful this story is but how well made the documentary is. If I went into specifics, it would just depress and anger me further. However, I haven’t seen director Jenny Popplewell’s other docs, but after this I might search for a couple to see if they are expertly made as this one was. So if you are strong minded, I recommend giving this a watch, as it is a different type of documentary that will have your eyes glued to the screen, and not falling asleep and losing interest like those Unsolved Mystery documentaries that have bland narration and are on the same streaming platform.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CLASS ACTION PARK (HBO Max)

CLASS ACTION PARK is a perfect little documentary that just premiered on HBO Max yesterday. Perfect in its construction and execution. The doc grabs you at first with “holy shit, I can’t believe this was real” laughs and then mid way through the film, keeps your attention by doing a 180 and presenting the cold hard facts of the corruptness and tragedy of it all. It’s not too long and it’s not too short (1 hr and 30 minutes exactly). It makes you want more by the end of it, yet it doesn’t over present its case. Instead it sticks with you long enough after you’ve finished the film where you end up doing the rest of the research on your own. Research that ends up going into too many details, just backing up the docs claims. If this information here to be added onto the movie, say about thirty minutes, making the doc two hours, it would’ve put the casual movie goer to sleep. Per IMDB, it describes Class Action Park as “a documentary that focuses on a dangerously legendary water park and its slew of injuries and crimes along with child safety concerns.” The 2018 Jackass movie Action Point was based on this park. The very much real Action Park was in New Jersey, built in the late 70s, but ended up being more notorious in the early to mid 80s. The first half of the movie presents the park’s origin, and detailed information on specific rides and how dangerous they were. It’s hilarious, “what the fuck”, kind of awful. The documentary is cut and interspersed with actual footage and ads from the park, some not well known celebrities such as Chris Gethard and Alison Becker with their memories of going to the park when they were young (Gethard’s tales are especially hilarious with the way he describes things), and then tales of recollection from the son of the creator of the park and some of the parks employees, high and low.

It’s a very interesting documentary. It makes you laugh, but then it makes you hate everyone involved with the creation of the park, and the upkeep of it. There are rides described (and some shown, either with archive footage or this zany crude original animation) in this film that will make your jaw drop straight to the ground. You don’t know how many times during the film my wife and I said out loud, “how in the fuck did they get away with this?” Luckily, the film answers that question, and even with the political corruptness happening to the United States today, those answers were still shocking to hear. You want to know how bad this park was? I can quickly give you a brief snippet from the doc that will answer that question easily: even Donald motherfucking Trump was about to invest it in back in the 80s before he backed out, deeming that the park was, and I quote, “too nuts.” Donald Trump didn’t even invest in that craziness, let that sink in. And then the documentary makes you sad while angry, as it goes into detail about the 5 deaths that occurred at the park, really focusing on one of those families, the tragedy, and its aftermath. The perfect ending stinger. It brings you in with laughs but then sucker punches you with sadness and anger over the dumb asses that let it all happen. If you aren’t riveted or floored by the end of this doc, then I’m sorry to say that probably no documentary is worth your time, energy and investment. Class Action Park probably won’t win any awards, as this documentary isn’t about poverty, or racism, or injustice, or anything akin to those that do win Oscars at years end, but it is quite effective with the subject matter it presents to its target audience, and at the end of the day, isn’t that a ride worth visiting?

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE SPEED CUBERS (Netflix)

Since it is just a tad past forty minutes, the new documentary on Netflix, called THE SPEED CUBERS, counts as a feature length film, so here I am bringing you a really, really short review to highly recommend this very quick watch to you. The Speed Cubers is about Rubik’s Cube World Competitions to see how fast young individuals can solve one of those puzzles, mainly the 3X3, although they have competitions for the bigger ones as well. Yes, you read that right. Rubik’s Cube solving competitions. The documentary focuses on two of the best if not THE best speed cubers in the world, one normal young adult from Germany (Feliks Zemdegs), and then a little younger adult autistic Chinese kid from the United States (Max Park). I pressed play mainly to see how fast these guys and girls could solve a Rubik’s Cube, and I just couldn’t believe my eyes with what I saw, faster than a fucking bullet it seemed. Absolutely astounding. But with this short feature length documentary, you get more than that, you get a story of two competitors that aren’t rivals at all, in fact they are close friends and both support each other even when one beats multiple world records of the other.

It’s true friendship. And the documentary also dives into the Max’s parents and how they raised him where Max ended up overcoming a lot of the obstacles that come with autism. If this documentary doesn’t put a lump in your throat and one or two tears in your eyes, then you aren’t really a compassionate human being. This documentary is the perfect length, not too short and it doesn’t over stay its welcome. It does warrant maybe a sequel or two where we follow other individuals that compete. I still can’t believe there are competitions with how fast you can solve one of those things, and these guys can solve a 3×3 Rubik’s cube in about 6 to 7 seconds. You literally won’t believe your eyes. Makes me want to get a Rubik’s cube and go on YouTube to figure out the formula for solving one of those. In no way does it want to make me practice over and over and over and over again to solve it in mere seconds. And this skill isn’t pointless, it focuses your mind and harnesses it to be able to solve patterns and strengthen your hand and eye coordination. But I’m 34 God damn years old and although I can still type pretty fast for someone my age, there is no chance in hell these flimsy things could even come remotely close to keep up with these youngsters. Fuck. I’d probably get so frustrated I’d throw the thing out the damn window!