Zach’s Zany FINAL Top 20 Films Of 2020

Hello again so soon! You probably saw this longer post coming though, as I had posted little mini blurbs for my final shittiest films of 2020 list last week. If you are a long time follower of my reviews, best of/worst of lists, what not, you’ll know that my final picks, on both lists, are very rare right before the start of the new year. Usually I will post my worst of list a week or two into January, and then my best of list the last week of January. This is because some 2020 films that qualify for the Oscars are only released in New York and LA right before the end of the year and aren’t available to the little people like me until mid January. As as we all know, this year has been quite strange because of the virus that shall not be named. There are a lot of “Best of 2020” films on mainstream critics list that you won’t see on here and you wouldn’t have seen me review the past couple of months either…mainly because they don’t release to the general public until late next month, or fuck, even late February because of the minor delay in not only the Golden Globes telecast, but the Academy Awards extending 2020 eligibility until late February this oh so special shitty year. I made the decision early on that you won’t see films like Pieces of a Woman, Nomadland, One Night In Miami, and French Exit on my lists because I don’t want to give you a best of 2020 list in late February. Because of the virus that shall not be named, you can’t even see the once blurry line separating one year’s films to the next anymore.

So from now on, even after this whole bullshit virus that shall not be named situation has went away, I will be counting films that I see that are released each year between January 1st 12:01 am and December 31st 11:59 pm central standard time on my lists. If I see a movie that was released between that ‘EXACTLY A YEAR’ period AFTER THAT PERIOD, I will still review them, but not put them on any lists because I don’t feel like pulling my hair out changing them. There are some movies that I don’t want to push off my lists even for other that are better or worse at that point. For example, I plan to see Monster Hunter with my good friend Josh on January 1st. It came out December 18th. So even if it is a giant piece of shit, the shittiest shit I have ever seen, it will not be on my 2020 or 2021 worst list. It’s just a shitty movie I’ve seen stuck in between the blur of all the other shitty movies I’ve seen in my life time that is one giant blur in itself. Another example for a potential great movie, when Nomadland eventually releases in February, and if I actually love the film, it will now be counted on my 2021 best of list. Not 2020. Because of this stupid fucking release schedule. Because these movies MUST be shown in theaters apparently and not just released on streaming for shitty, selfish, and greedy reasons. Everyone has had to adapt this year, and so am I, but on MY TERMS. Anyway, what am I doing still yapping about my rules? You’ve come to read my stupid little blurbs on movies that I’ve done reviews on already earlier in the year. Little blurbs explaining why these films are in my FINAL Top 20 of 2020 list. I promise you that I will not overstay my welcome on most of my small explanations. This is just backing up the list that you saw published a day or so ago on Facebook and Instagram with paperwork.

BLACKJACK 21: BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIE FILM and THE WRETCHED

So instead of a giant, long honorable mentions list, each year I do a “BLACKJACK 21” where, just like a Blackjack perfect 2 card hand, I pick 2 movies that I felt horrible for kicking off my Top 20 list that I would still like to give praise to.

When I first watched BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIE FILM, I laughed my fucking ass off and wanted to sing the praises of the performance that Maria Bokolova made as Borat’s daughter. And it was on my top 20 list for the last two months. Unfortunately for it, and other comedies of its kind, in subsequent viewings, the movie doesn’t quite hold up as well as it did on that first hilarious outing. You start to see the cracks in the film, such as Borat doesn’t really trick that many real people into saying really horrible shit this time around. And finding out that some sequences were staged more than you thought they were doesn’t help either. But, Maria Bokolova’s performance and the character arc of Borat accepting and loving his daughter even though she is a woman, worked better as a story than it did in the original, even though the original’s pranks and laughs still hold up and are much stronger than this sequel’s is. But I still wanted to give Sascha Baron Cohen some praise for making me laugh really hard initially in this shitty shitty year.

And now THE WRETCHED or “The little low budget horror film that could that made a boat load of money in drive-in theaters when regular theaters were closed due to the virus that shall not be named.” It’s actually a decent film and the reason why I mainly wanted to sing it’s praises even though it’s not on my top twenty list, is because after subsequent viewings, the movie is still scary and creepy as fuck, and THAT TWIST ENDING. The twist at the end makes the whole movie, as I hadn’t ever seen a twist like that before and the little tiny clues hinting at it throughout are wonderful to catch after multiple viewings. Quite brilliant. If my list were to extend, The Wretched would probably be #21 and Borat 2 would be #22. I think though they make a perfect movie Blackjack hand for a year where it seemed like the house always won. In this case, the house is the virus that shall not be named.

20. THE HUNT

Let’s call this film the little political commentary that could, shall we? This film has somehow managed to survive my list, even though it came out all the way back in March (then again there are 5 others that have as well, a couple even before March). It also was one of the last couple of films to hit theaters right before the virus that shall not be named shut them all down. When I first saw it, in a theater thankfully, I thought it was good, but not great. But after 3 or 4 subsequent viewings, viewing it each time with a new audience by my side, and getting all the little tidbits and jokes that I somehow didn’t catch before, it turned into a great 90 minute thrill ride.

19. BAD EDUCATION

The only movie on my list that probably should be considered a made for television movie (it was nominated for Emmy’s and not Oscar’s after all). It premiered on HBO exclusively, but you know what? Fuck it, it’s THAT type of year, and I decided that I enjoyed it so, so much (Hugh Jackman gives one of the best performances of his career), and the fact that it was once initially supposed to go to theaters but I think was bought by HBO even before the pandemic, that I’m including it on my list here. It’s a very enjoyable dramedy that is better watched if you don’t know anything about the real life event it is depicting.

18. BIRDS OF PREY: HARLEY QUINN

Yeah, I could spell out the whole title, but 2020 has made me lazy, so fuck it, you know what movie I’m talking about. This movie is one of those to hit theaters a little bit before the shut down that managed to survive my list (this pick used to be Bad Boys For Life, but after subsequent viewings of both, Birds of Prey easily holds up better). Margot Robbie IS HARLEY QUINN. And the more realistic and smaller, more down to Earth, story/vibe that takes place in the bigger DCEU is a delight to behold. And the plot revolving around the catalyst and need for the perfect breakfast egg sandwich? Brilliant.

17. THE LODGE

I’ll put this simply, if you love or hate mostly psychological horror movies like Hereditary and/or Midsommar, you will love or hate The Lodge. If Ari Aster had made this, it would’ve been a perfect horror seasonal trilogy. For right now it is a spiritual horror seasonal trilogy until Ari Aster’s third film comes out. A dark and brooding horror in the winter time with an insane twist.

16. FATMAN

Mel Gibson plays Santa Claus in a realistic down to Earth dark world where a little shit spoiled rich child hires a hitman, played by Walton Goggins, to bring him Santa’s head because he’s pissed he got a lump of coal in his stocking for Christmas. THAT’S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR WHY THIS MOVIE IS ON MY LIST.

15. FREAKY

A entertaining as fuck new spin on the body switch movie by turning it into a Friday the 13th like horror film. It also holds a fantastic performance by Vince Vaughn, and one of the few movies to be released in theaters after they re opened up after shut down. Easy-peasy why this film is on my list.

14. LOVE AND MONSTERS

This was supposed to release Feb 2021, but Paramount upped the date and put it on streaming so they could cash in on people being bored at home. They made the right decision. The movie is entertaining as hell and probably got more eyes on it than if it would have premiered in theaters this next uncertain 2021. I loved every minute of it. Fantastic creature effects.

13. LET HIM GO

Close in its release date to Freaky, Let Him Go also managed to push past the storm and release in theaters after they reopened after the shut down. A modern day Western drama and part thriller that tells a simple story of a couple of grandparents loving their grandson so much that they want to get him away from the dangerous family he’s currently living with ( their son died and his wife married an abusive asshole). This filmed touched my soul because of my parents everlasting love to my son, their grandson, Grayson. The whole movie reminded me of them. It also had some stand up and cheer kill moments in the third act that made me emotional as well.

12. THE GENTLEMEN

The earliest released film of 2020 that is on this list, Guy Ritchie has easily made his best gangster film and general film since Snatch and made up for the very shitty Disney Aladdin remake he had his hand in in 2019. ‘Nuff said.

11. PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

The first of three very recently released movies on this list, Promising Young Woman also braved the theaters during these hard times and managed to turn the comedic revenge drama on its head with not only a powerful performance by Carey Mulligan but a gut punch of a twist ending that you won’t see coming. It will make you or break you, and since it is on this list, it obviously made me.

10. THE INVISIBLE MAN

Another film that hit theaters a little bit before everything shut down. Leigh Whannell managed to give us his best combo written and directed film yet with some expert camera shots, a slap in the face twist scene in the middle of the film that you won’t see coming, and an expertly written ending. Oh, and another wonderful performance by Elizabeth Moss.

9. THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME

This film is either really great for some people, or really meh to the rest. I’m in the great category. This film reminded me of some fantastic dramas of the 90s like Sleepers and The Shawhsank Redemption. One of Netflix’s best original films ever released for sure.

8. SYNCHRONIC

A film that not only braved the storm and released in theaters after reopening, but doubled down by not simultaneously releasing on streaming, in fact, as of this writing, there is no place to watch it (it comes out to buy, rent and stream finally January 12th). But please do watch it eventually, and don’t let anyone ruin the story for you, even though as a hint of what it’s about, it has a tiny tiny….VERY VERY TINY bit in common with my #1 pick on this list. They both do different things with their similar concepts is all I will say.

7. SPONTANEOUS

The best romantic drama of 2020 that has all along tried to be labeled as a romantic comedy, even though it’s story is about a group of students in the same year class at a high school that spontaneously combust into bloody explosions for no reason. A very well written and smart film that I guess you could also label as the best film of 2020 that has a pandemic like plot structure, even though it was made WAYYYYYY before the pandemic in 2019. Excellent performance by 13 Reasons Why’s Katherine Langford as well.

6. WONDER WOMAN 1984

Fuck the haters, I love this film. If you are one of the ones bashing it to death, then you ARE A FUCKING SIMPLETON. I don’t care, I said it. You want to be one of those little assholes that only like your superhero films with clear cut good guys and bad guys in an all out brawl at the end of the film? Be my God damn guest. I want something different, and this “Monkey’s Paw/Wish Upon A Wonder Woman” story fit that bill for me. I’m tired of the same ol’ same ol’ action sequence upon action sequence trying to save the world from a giant baddie story. It’s been done to death. Fuck some of you simpletons. Seriously.

5. THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

An Aaron Sorkin written and directed fantastic dialogue court room drama about a startling event in our nation’s history. You can ALWAYS sign me up for that stuff.

4. SOUL

If there is a clear cut winner this year of film releases, it really isn’t the writer and director of my #1 pick, it’s Disney/Pixar. That’s because, spoiler alert for my list: my #3 pick is also Disney/Pixar. They managed to release two soulful (pun intended) animated films that hit me in the feels with every single frame and made me choke up and bawl with happiness in their climaxes (not to mention Disney basically won my heart already with the 2nd near perfect season of The Mandalorian). One movie asks the question: what is our purpose in life? The other is about family and brotherly love. The latter wins because it made me think of my brothers and my son Grayson and I haven’t cried like that during a film since the end of E.T. I cried just a little at the end of this one though. They are really tied with how well made and thought provoking they are.

3. ONWARD

This came out right before theaters shut down as well. And it didn’t make that much money it’s opening weekend because of the giant fear the virus that will not be named was starting to invoke with people. Fuck that shit, I still saw it in theaters and if you want to know the reason why it is #3 on my list, read my description of #4 again. I love you Disney/Pixar. Always have, always will.

2. PALM SPRINGS

Who fucking knew that a ANDY SAMBERG starring film, one that was also released as a HULU AND NOT NETFLIX ORIGINAL would be #2 on my best of list? Seriously, not even I could’ve predicted that. This films plays with the Groundhog Day formula the best I’ve seen since that original Bill Murray film. It’s funny, touching, smart, funny, well acted, emotional, funny, hilarious, hilarious, hilarious, fun, and did I already mention funny? It’s everything that one needs in a comedy. And it holds up perfectly on multiple repeating viewings.

  1. TENET

Which brings us to my #1 pick, the most non-shocking pick of them all if you even know me well at all…Christopher Nolan’s new time concept thriller. The man loves to play with time. Memento, Interstellar, my favorite film of all time; Inception. He’s a master of the ‘What If Time Were Like This’ concepts. Here is no different. Just like my #6 pick, fuck the haters on this one too. You fucking simpletons either didn’t like it and gave it a bad review for one of several stupid reasons:

a. you were pissed that Christopher Nolan said fuck the pandemic, didn’t have his film release delayed any more and just put it out into theaters even though they were still shut down in New York and California (FUCK YOU CUOMO AND NEWSOM, I HOPE YOU CONTRACT THE VIRUS AND DIE). EVEN THOUGH NOT ONE OUTBREAK OF THE VIRUS HAS BEEN LINKED TO A REOPENED THEATER AND THEIR SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND CLEANLINESS HAVE BEEN TOP NOTCH EVER SINCE THEY REOPENED IN LATE JUNE. AGAIN, FUCK YOU ALL.

b. you didn’t understand the film, because you are a stupid motherfucking dumb ass simpleton. Yeah, again, I said it. Fuck you.

c. again, you are just that stupid and petty

Granted the sound editing and mixing could’ve been better in theaters, but this movie is still a masterpiece in my mind. I’ve seen it multiple times now and I still don’t get bored with any second of it. The regular editing of this film is perfect, the fact that there are less than 300 special effect shots in this is astonishing, almost all practical effects…just wow. That’s all I have left to say: WOW.

If you aren’t one of the simpletons mentioned above, thanks for reading. I’m just going to end it there. Saying anything about how 2021 should be is a jinx in itself. Just keep watching those movies, no matter how they are released…as long as they are released! NO. MORE. DELAYS!

Zach’s Zany FINAL Top 20 Shittiest Films of 2020 (A year that is the epitome of shit)

As Obi-Wan Kenobi would say, “Hello there.” Yes, after a little longer than a month now, I’m back to writing something a bit longer than the little review blurbs that I have been putting out on Facebook and Instagram recently. If you were used to reading my stuff on here and wondering where the hell I’ve been, I’ve been still doing reviews, but on a much smaller scale, two to three sentences, with a number grade of 0 to 10 at the end (have even gone into negative numbers if I truly loathed a film this year). I just got…tired…of saying the same old shit. “Yay,” this movie was good, “boo,” it was bad. No matter what kind of spin I put on my descriptive words, it all boiled down to the same thing. I don’t know why I just stopped, I guess 2020 has finally made me tired after all these years. I also figured I would have a lot more time in my life if I made my thoughts short and simple. If you are bummed about that, I’m sorry…but you can always follow or like my Facebook page, Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews, or you can follow me on Instagram @zachszanymoviereviews. The choice is yours, and I’d be happy to give you a follow back on your business Facebook page or Instagram page if you come randomly give me a follow or like. Fuck Twitter, I got rid of that bullshit two months ago, and I don’t regret it. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. I think two social media options are enough for those that know me. But don’t worry, every once in a while I will come back. Like now. I know this is a little early but I’ve calculated what I have left to watch by New Year’s Eve and I figured it was pretty safe to go ahead and publish this list, as the only handfull of films I have left to watch don’t seem like they are bad enough to be worse than my #20 pick. I will write only a sentence or two of why these particular movies of 2020 are on my hate list, so no need to fret, it isn’t a redo of the 3 to 5 paragraph reviews that just dragged on and on of what I already wrote months ago. So without further ado, without further delay, here are my final top 20 shittiest films of 2020 and why they are a shit cake, covered in a shit frosting year due to COVID, with a shit candle on top with how utterly depressed and moody I’ve been for the past 10 months. Enjoy!

20. YOU SHOULD HAVE LEFT

If you’ve ever wondered how bored you could get with a horror movie that happens to star Kevin Bacon, wonder no more. This is it. While Bacon is fine in it, it’s writer/director David Koepp that maybe needs to take a break from film making, as he gave us yet another haunted house/rental house film that manages to stand out in the sea of them in a bad way…by being utterly pointless…with snores galore.

19. MULAN

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Disney. I could end my quick blurb there but I want to put in a word of how utterly stupid it was of Disney to make this film cost $30 premiere access on their + streaming service, and then release it to regular subscribers a mere 3 months later at no extra cost. Stupid. You thought they learned their lesson when they are releasing Soul on Christmas Day for free yet they are going to try it again with Raya And The Last Dragon in March. Shameful. Oh yeah, Mulan kicks a spear mid air with super human strength into a guy’s chest mid way through the film, and then an arrow at the climax. If that makes you scrunch up your face…then I don’t need to say anything more.

18. HUBIE HALLOWEEN

Adam. Sandler. Netflix. Original. Movie. Got it? Good.

17. SECRET SOCIETY OF SECOND BORN ROYALS

Holy shit, this isn’t even worth watching for free on Disney+. Literally the worst thing that has debuted on the platform. It should’ve been buried at 2 am on a Saturday on the Disney channel.

16. KAJILLIONAIRE

I hate movies that are quirky and odd just for the sake of “art.” Artsy fartsy just for the sake of being artsy fartsy. Gets on my fucking nerves. Especially boring ones that by the time the end credits roll make you want to blow your brains out. Evan Rachel Wood’s voice in this will haunt your nightmares.

15. JOHN HENRY

Not even Ludicris’ golden jaw could save this movie with its utterly ridiculous and terrible storyline of protecting strangers that we’ve all seen too many times before, terrible misogynist dialogue, terrible action, and a terrible frowny face Terry Crews who knew exactly what kind of movie he signed up for.

14. INFAMOUS

Bella Thorne is a terrible fucking actress. There, I said it. But if I was single would I sleep with her? That’s a good question. My answer has been on both sides of the fence on that. I know what side of the fence I’m on with this film though: terrible. Used to be at the top of my worst list earlier in the year, but I kept coming back to the fact that it was at least shot well. It’s social media message though is bogged down in unrealistic resolutions…and again, Bella Thorne is fucking terrible in this movie.

13. DANGEROUS LIES

If you ignore everything else about the movie, and just watch Riverdale’s Camila Mendes walk her gorgeous self around mostly an empty house for 96 minutes, you may survive it? Or you could just watch Riverdale, which I haven’t seen but can probably bet that it’s at least 10 times more entertaining than this schlock.

12. FATAL AFFAIR

Another redo of Fatal Attraction, but with African Americans and horribly written dialogue. Nia Long and Omar Epps should be ashamed of themselves for signing up for this shit.

11. FANTASY ISLAND

This had some promise before the movie starting playing, flipping the classic television show on its head by remaking into a horror/thriller with a character twist I didn’t see coming, but the execution is worse than in a butcher shop on a hot day. As I always end up saying, “Better luck next time.”

10. THE PRINCESS SWITCH: SWITCHED AGAIN

Vanessa Hudgens is definitely a better actress than Bella Thorne. But they both have such a slutty presence on their social media pages, I’m also on the fence of whether I would sleep with her or not if single. Maybe as long as I could call her Gabriella during it? Anyway, this is easily the most cash grabby, lazy, pathetic, stupid, and unnecessary sequel of 2020.

9. THE GRUDGE

STOP FUCKING REMAKING HORROR MOVIES (although this was more of a side-quel), DUMPING THEM IN CINEMAS IN JANUARY AND EXPECT THEM TO PERFORM WELL WITH AUDIENCES. THEY DON’T. BECAUSE THEY SUCK SUPERNATURAL BALLS!!!

8. THE SLEEPOVER

Just lazy and stupid kids horseshit that happens to star a couple of recognizable names such as Malin Akerman and Joe Manganiello, where the kids are supposed to be at the forefront of the film, but the celebrities just can’t help themselves and have to make it all about them. This film was so dumb I wanted a plane to crash into my house and land on me as I watched it.

7. THE MAIN EVENT

(see description for #8 but take out the recognizable names and add a WWE family friendly theme)

6. THE LAST DAYS OF AMERICAN CRIME

What was supposed to be a two and a half hour action crime epic, has hardly any action and a ridiculous premise that constantly breaks its own rules that it sets up. It tries to treat us as if we are that stupid, and I LOATHE that shit.

5. THE LAST THING HE WANTED

What was this movie? I still don’t know. Nothing is explained, Ben Affleck and Anne Hathaway look like they want to kill themselves, and it all leads to a dour and undeserved dumb ending that was “supposed” to be shocking and sad. The last thing I wanted was to have ever seen this stupid fucking movie.

4. THE SWING OF THINGS

I watched this specifically for Olivia Culpo. If you don’t know who that is, look her up and you’ll see why. Never again. Worst adult comedy of the year and maybe one of the worst in a decade. The writer/director of this needs to STOP WRITING/DIRECTING and the editor of this needs to STOP EDITING.

3. THE WAR WITH GRANDPA

Basically the kid family friendly comedy equivalent to The Swing Of Things (and the next movie on this list). Just fucking awful. Robert DeNiro, Rob Riggle, Uma Thurman, Laura Marano, Cheech Marin, and Christopher Walken should be ashamed of themselves and refund everybody’s money that paid to go see this utter disaster. In the middle of the pandemic no less.

2. THE WRONG MISSY

Oh, did I speak too soon with saying The Swing Of Things was the worst adult comedy of the year and maybe one of the worst in a decade? Both films are constantly telling the other to hold its beer. I kept switching it back and forth, but the reason why I put The Wrong Missy higher on my shit list, is because there are some friends on Facebook and in person that actually LIKE this movie and LAUGHED during it. That’s offensive to me. So I’m going to say something offensive to even the odds. If you liked The Wrong Missy, you are probably on the spectrum.

  1. THE PROM

I’m going to get some flack for this one, but I really don’t give a shit. Other than the performance of Jo Ellen Pellman (when if you look back at this and study it closely, even though she’s the main subject of the movie, she’s hardly in it), this movie is offensively bad. Meryl Streep is bad. Kerry Washington is bad. Andrew Rennells is bad. Keegan-Michael Key is bad. Nicole Kidman is bad. James Corden is abysmal and I now loathe him as a human being. The musical numbers are terrible, save for one that just features Pellman, which finally had the other celebrities shut the fuck up and not appear at all during it. That’s the problem with this movie. Other than the “you shouldn’t be afraid of who you are, fight for it, especially if you are a homosexual” message of the movie, there is a 2nd almost as big of message….that clearly states “celebrities shouldn’t make good causes about themselves.” YET THE MOVIE STILL MAKES IT ALL ABOUT THE CELEBRITIES AND NOT THE HIGH SCHOOL GIRL WHO IS A LESBIAN THAT IS TRYING TO GO TO HER PROM IN A BIGOTED AND CLOSE MINDED STATE AND TOWN!!! EVEN THE FUCKING POSTER TO THIS MOVIE IS ONLY CELEBRITIES AND DOES NOT FEATURE ACTRESS JO ELLEN PELLMAN!!! This whole film was a terrible ruse, and I feel sorry for anyone out there that related to Jo Ellen Pellman’s character and how scary it can be to come out to everyone you know and/or love. Especially during the dark times of High School. This movie should’ve stayed a stage play. It makes me curious how that would play out if watching it live. I can probably guarantee you, much better than this. Ryan Murphy needs to take a rest and get rid of his smugness. It’s starting to get in the way of his creativity if it hasn’t already. The Prom is a muddled and confusing mess and I’d rather watch any other movie on this list than it again. Despite its good intentions. Which are still in there despite being surrounded by the smelliest and dirtiest shit you have ever had to endure in your life.

P.S. If the year 2020 were an actual movie, which it seems like it was to some, it would definitely take the #1 spot…no question. Fuck you 2020. I hope Donald Trump rapes and butt fucks you when the door hits you both on your way out.

Thanks for reading. – Zach

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: RUN (Hulu)

RUN is yet another film that was supposed to debut in theaters earlier this year but got postponed because of you know what, Hulu ended up buying the rights back in August, and now here we are. It was originally supposed to come out Mother’s Day weekend in May, which if it would have made that release date, without revealing anything it would’ve been quite fitting and ironic. Let me start off by saying that Run is a good movie. It is tension filled with some incredible white knuckle suspense sequences and masterful acting from both veteran Sarah Paulson and newcomer Kiera Allen. What prevents it from becoming a great film is the fact that the twists and reveals were way too predictable. I know that I’m a good guesser, but if my wife comes into the living room near the beginning of a movie, watches only two minutes, and ends up going, “well this is obviously that and also that is obviously this,” then YOUR MOVIE IS WAY TOO PREDICTABLE. My wife doesn’t really like horror films or thrillers of this nature and if she can come in and guess the reveals to something she can’t stand and doesn’t have a whole lot of knowledge of (even putting into consideration she has learned from the best for 11 years now), that doesn’t bode too well. And she wasn’t even present when the movie got to the reveals an hour later to get the credit she so well deserved (this review is about to be published sweetie, to give you credit where it is due). But, the movie is still too good with every other aspect in its film making to not give it a recommendation. This is one of Hulu’s better originals to be sure.

IMDB describes Run with the following: “A homeschooled teenager begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her.” To give you a bit more background on the movie, without you having to watch a trailer (trust me, don’t watch the trailer), the teenager can’t walk or run, she’s in a wheelchair, and has a bunch of other medical problems, basically preventing her from being on her own outside the house, if at all. Surely you are putting two and two together? If not, watch the very first scene in the movie, which is about 2 to 3 minutes long (the movie is a tight and short hour and 30), and the full puzzle should be glued and/or cemented together for you. It isn’t hard. I was hoping that I was wrong and that the movie was trying to successfully pull a double red herring on me, alas, it wasn’t. What you end up thinking is going on, you’re probably right. Let’s not go too deep into this criticism of predictability anymore, let’s talk about the good stuff. Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen could teach a master class of acting with this one movie alone. Both are incredible, Paulson proving that she deserves to be put on that pedestal so many of her fans put her on, and Kiera Allen proving that she deserves to be put in more projects. This is set in stone especially after the reveals if you weren’t already convinced. Other than their acting, the real reason to watch this movie is some of the incredible, white-knuckle, emotional, tension-filled “action” scenes. To not spoil anything, I won’t give you much context, let’s just say there is a scene where a character scales a roof that is perfect in its execution, and the climax in general was also perfect in its execution along with the character arc conclusion. That’s all I’ll say. The co-writer/director Aneesh Chaganty, who directed the laptop thriller Searching, proves with Run that he has the skills to direct more Hitchcockian thriller things like this and someday even become a household name. While Run on the whole isn’t a blast off, story wise, start in a race against other thrillers with less predictability, it’s a huge head start in terms of effectively executing tension and thrills.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BAD THERAPY

What is this movie? Seriously, I think it’s supposed to be a dark comedy, but there are no comedic elements in sight. I thought BAD THERAPY was going to be something like Bad Moms, Bad Santa, Bad Words, Bad Teacher, or Bad News Bears, movies which actually do pull off the dark comedic aspects correctly, albeit some better than others. However, I wouldn’t put this movie near the same ballpark as those others. Seriously, what…is this movie? It’s dour, dark, and doesn’t balance it’s supposed tone very well at all, in fact it’s close to abysmal if not for some recognizable names in the cast including a decent lead performance from Alicia Silverstone, which needed to be in another movie. Other’s include The Unicorn’s Rob Corddry and Michaela Watkins, playing Silverstone’s husband and their marriage counselor/therapist respectively, and while Corrdry and Watkins give decent performances as well, I feel like they could’ve been great if the script and story wasn’t a giant pile of shit. IMDB lists Bad Therapy as a comedic romance drama and describes the film with the following: “A couple seeks out Judy Small, a marriage counselor; but the counselor is more than what meets the eye.” All you need to know is that this movie is not a comedy, not a romance, not a drama. It’s just…there? The marriage counselor/therapist is a nut job herself and tries to further push the couple’s marriage into ruin. And no, there isn’t some surprise ending where the therapist turns out she knows what she’s doing and the craziness was all an act, like the movie Anger Management had. And there are no redeeming qualities about her by the film’s end, like movies such as Bad Words and Bad Santa had. It’s just a mean, ugly, unfocused movie that has no identity and goes absolutely nowhere.

The only time I laughed in this movie was when the thirteen year old teenage girl that plays Silverstone’s daughter got high with her friend and got caught, and that scene lasts about ninety seconds in this hour and forty seven minute slog of a watch. At times I was asking myself whether I was supposed to laugh, to feel drama, to feel tension, to feel concerned for the characters, and/or to hope the entire thing would get better, and the answer was a hard no each time. There are constant scenes that we don’t see that get told by explanatory dialogue a scene or two afterwards…why not just film those scenes or let us see what is going on before those abrupt cutaways. It made no sense, and I understand that some cutaways are meant to make sense in context of what’s going on, but this movie had no context, so therefore, it doesn’t make sense. Especially a scene where Silverstone’s daughter comes home and discovers something she’s not meant to see. For comedic and/or shocking effect, why didn’t the audience see what she saw? If it was too sexually explicit (which it turns out it wasn’t that bad), there are ways to frame a scene to make something look like something is going on without showing it. If you are dumb enough to watch this movie after my critique, you’ll see what I mean. There are also some supporting characters that have a story somewhere in this movie, but we don’t see their stories plaid out, they are just yelled out to other characters when the movie is almost over. And the climax of the film is pretty fucking stupid too. Characters do desperate things for no rhyme or reason other to say that they are stupid and/or crazy. Stuff happens just to happen because movie. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. It would be too easy of a pun job to end this review just by saying Bad Therapy is a bad movie. Way too easy. I’ll make it a bit zanier and say that if this script had went to a script doctor before it was taken to camera, the script doctor would’ve placed said script on his couch and then burned both until they were a pile of ashes.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BAD HAIR (Hulu)

You can not tell me that the premise for Hulu’s new original movie, BAD HAIR, doesn’t sound interesting: “In 1989 an ambitious young woman gets a weave in order to succeed in the image-obsessed world of music television. However, her flourishing career may come at a great cost when she realizes that her new hair may have a mind of its own.” The movie is about a hair weave that kills people. Plain and simple. Brilliant. I have never seen a movie like that before. It pains me to say though that even though the script and the tone gets the late 80s right, with plenty of fantastic social commentary on the African-American woman and how her hair looks/how she looked in general at the time, the execution of the horror aspects are absolutely abysmal. Especially the editing and the CGI of the hair weave killing people. A. BYS. MAL. I think writer, director, producer, Justin Simien, was just completely out of his element here, directing wise. He’s known for the semi-satire movie and Netflix series, Dear White People, which those are little great features on their own, but he is in no way a horror director. Simply put, what needed to happen was that he needed his script polished by someone in the horror industry and the film needed to be directed by someone well versed in the horror industry. This could’ve been something really really special, but the hammy horror scenes, which aren’t meant to be hammy, I can 100% confirm that, are just plain awful. I would’ve understood and have been more into it if this had been a complete satire or commentary on African-American hair, but the horror aspects in this are completely meant to be taken seriously, they are just directed like a film student who doesn’t have a budget. The Chris Rock narrated documentary Good Hair was more of a horror film than this was.

This movie has some pretty recognizable faces in it: Usher, Jay Pharoah, Vanessa Williams, Lena Waithe, James Van Der Beek, with Unsecured Elle Lorriane providing a strong lead performane as Anna, the young women who is trying to make it in the music television industry. They all give good performance, in fact, I would say that I really enjoyed the tone of the first half of the movie. It’s a very solid social and appearance commentary. But once the horror film takes over, it’s all down hill, and it’s all down hill fast. What are meant to be earned and creepy jump scares are shot and edited to shit, with embarrassing CGI that takes the realism out of everything. The mythology of why this particular hair weave kills people is interesting, but instead of there being an entire scene where the mythology is brought to light, in this case from a Folklore Story Book, that scene is chopped up and spread out, where the story being interrupted 2 to 3 times is a huge disadvantage for some viewers as they could’ve forgotten the information given to them 20 minutes ago. Considering what happens during the course of the movie, the ending is rushed and doesn’t make a lick of sense. I liked that it was visual story ending, a not telling but showing ending, with some obligatory sequel set ups, but a little explanation was required why certain people ended up getting away with certain things and weren’t caught and arrested. Hopefully you get my drift without me completely spoiling it. Bad Hair is half a good movie, but half a mostly bad one…ultimately disappointing with how much potential it squandered because of a likely budget, editing and directing issue. This tale was not woven together very carefully.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE SWING OF THINGS

If 2020 is a giant dumpster fire, then THE SWING OF THINGS is a mini dumpster fire inside said dumpster fire. HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT. I was laughing throughout this whole movie so hard… and not because of the movie itself, but by how awful it was. This film is one of worst sound edited, worst acted, one of the worst edited in general and one of the worst directorial efforts of ALL time. The only reason why I watched the whole damn thing was because…it was a literal dumpster fire and I wanted to watch the entire thing burn to the ground. I’m not listing this as my worst film of the year list because I wanted a title or two you all probably knew at the top, as this is a film I guarantee would elicit a few, “what the fuck is The Swing Of Things?” if it happened to come up in conversation. This is not even a so bad it’s good movie, like Anaconda or Snakes On A Plane, this is a bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad bad fucking movie that the guys at Red Letter Media would be watching and putting up in competition with other bad movies in one of their ‘Best Of The Worst’ segments. If you happen to catch this movie where it is playing on Hulu, or God forbid, be a giant dumb fuck and spend money to rent the mother fucking thing, it’ll probably remind you of really really bad late 90s/early 00’s gross out comedies such as Freddy Got Fingered, Tom Cats, Say It Isn’t So and Slackers. But those films and my worst film of the year so far, The Wrong Missy, are masterpieces compared to this abortion.

IMDB describes The Swing Of Things with the following: “A groom-to-be accidentally books his destination wedding and honeymoon at a swingers resort in Jamaica.” What is even more embarrassing than that awful film premise is some of the names that they actually got to be in this thing. Supermodel Olivia Culpo, Adelaide Kane, Jon Lovitz, and even fucking Luke Wilson are in this, albeit Lovitz for probably an hour of work and Luke Wilson looks drugged out of his mind just to get through the shoot to get that nice paycheck at the end of the day. I wonder if he joined as part of a lost bet? This is one of those “Sandler Vacation” films, meaning that all involved probably jumped on board because a free vacation was in the cards along with the shoot. The jig is up if you go to Olivia Culpo’s Instagram and scroll down to right before COVID-19 hit, as you can see exactly when the shoot took place. One of her stories has her in the same white bikini she wears in the film, talking about vacationing with her real life football player fiancee. By the way, her and and Adelaide Kane were completely hired only for their looks and scantly clad swim wear and other outfits. I’m surprised that neither one of them filed a sexual harassment suit against any of the other cast or crew. The story is really just a back drop to watch how poorly made this movie is. The only way to describe all the bullshit to you is to give you a list of bullet points of the beats that go down in the film:

  1. A seagull has a cigarette in its mouth and says “God Damn!” as a woman in a yellow bikini runs in Baywatch slow motion type fashion across the beach. Remember how I said the sound editing was terrible? They couldn’t even match the “God Damn!” to when the bird opened it’s beak twice.
  2. A flock of regular little birds, instead of chirps, keep repeating “TITS TITS TITS TITS TITS TITS TITS TITS TITS N ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS” in two scenes for what seems like forever.
  3. Dolphins rape people on this island. I shit you not.
  4. For this movie having a premise of accidentally holding a wedding at a swingers resort, there is little to no sex in this movie. No smart sexual humor either.
  5. The sexual humor that is in this movie has been done before, is cheap, ans is resorted to small dildos and little whips being strapped to pens when signing up for activities on the island. One of the older women in the wedding party can’t decide what she wants to do, so instead of tapping just a pen to her cheek to simulate that she’s thinking, she’s tapping the dildo and/or whip on her cheek. Ha…Ha.
  6. For what little nudity there is in this movie (I’m surprised Culpo or Kane didn’t show anything), the camera obnoxiously zooms in on naked body parts of extras. That joke is about 21 years old, first done in Road Trip…no originality.
  7. Does anyone remember Jack Black’s awfully annoying and racist character, Jamaican White Guy, in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer? There is one here too, but add on about 1000% annoyance.
  8. The audio has an echo and/or tries to readjust itself several times in several scenes. If the movie needed any additional ADR, which it did, Luke Wilson obviously said no, as there seems to be someone impersonating his voice in parts that were probably hard to hear audio wise and needed several more takes.
  9. It’s just a bunch of incoherent scenes strung together, and when a possible plot is brought into the mix, whether or not the male fiancee cheated on Olivia Culpo, it’s solved in less than 5 minutes flat.
  10. A girl character loathes this other male asshole character the whole movie and then has sex with him and blows him underwater to get some secretive info out of him and then for no reason is in love with said asshole at the end of the film.

See what I mean? This movie is COMPLETE BULLSHIT. And very misogynistic and degrading to women. How director Matt Shapira, who replaces Uwe Boll as the worst director of all time for me as this movie compared to ANY of Boll’s make them look like masterpieces, got financing for this thing is anyone’s idea. I honestly think everyone knew each other in some way shape or form, and wanted a vacation, and Shapira got Culpo and Kane because he is a giant fucking pervert flashing dollars bills and a fun time in the sun in their eyes. The screenplay was written by five people…let me repeat that…FIVE PEOPLE. It’s like they were on pot and wrote it together over dinner one night, passing the screenplay to the left and instead of trying to fix and expand upon the previous ones work, just added on to it without reading the scenes that came before. Then once shooting began, everything was shot in one take and the editor had absolutely nothing to work with but the bare bones of dailies. The framing is bad, the actors seem as though they tried to memorize their lines 2 minutes before “Action!” was yelled…it’s basically a feature length porn movie with no sex scenes…and even some of those are better than this trash. When you are on Hulu or if you are wanting to rent a comedy on another streaming site and come upon this abysmal disaster, swing the other way. Swing FAR the other way.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BOOKS OF BLOOD (Hulu)

BOOKS OF BLOOD, a Hulu Original Movie that released a couple of days ago, is just generic and bland horror, plain and simple. There are a couple of good yet cheap jump scares and a couple of neat bloody visual shots, but for the most part it is all uninteresting, schlocky cheap, not frightening, and the intertwining of the three stories near the end left a lot to be desired. IMDB describes the movie with the following: “A journey into uncharted and forbidden territory through three tales tangled in space and time. Based on the Books of Blood, a series of horror fiction collections written by the British author Clive Barker, Books of Blood adapts Clive Barker’s framing device story from his novels but also includes brand new stories written for this film that Barker was involved in creating.” In essence, this is a sequel to the much superior film Book of Blood (they went with just an S here, like Aliens did), released in 2009, but more of a reboot/remake as the main story that binds the other two together is the same from the 11 year old film, just rewritten with different story elements and plot twists. Other than a couple of good scares and some neat bloody visuals. the only other compliment I could give it is that it has two decent performances from Britt Robertson and Anna Friel. Other than that, if Clive Barker did help coming up with these brand new stories, which is kind of confusing because the screenplay is credited by two others, then he is truly out of his game, and hasn’t been relevant since his decent novels, stories, and filmography of the mid 80s to early 90s.

I’m just going to list a one sentence little log line in my own words for each story:

  1. The first story involves a professional killer whose latest assignment clues him in on a priceless book, called The Book of Blood, that may allow him and his wife to permanently retire.
  2. The second story involves Jenna, a depressed and hypersensitive girl who suffers from ‘misphonia’ (an abhorrence of sound), and as she learns her mother is about to send her back to the psyche ward, she steals her cash and sets out for Los Angeles and may or may not end up at the BnB from hell.
  3. The last story involves Mary, a psychologist who has gained fame as a skeptic that debunks all theories or beliefs that are not solely scientifically based after she lost her 7-year-old son to leukemia and then met Simon, a potential medium.

The way the stories are linked together before the end credits and the content in them individually are anemic and clumsy. Frustrating too because all the stories show potential but they back off before that potential is fully realized. There are not any likable characters among them all. The best story of the three is the 2nd one which stares Britt Robertson. Even though all the characters are a bit flat, her performance, and along with Anna Friel, who plays Mary in the third story I mentioned, clearly showed that they tried with what they were poorly given. The stories don’t “tangle” organically, as you can tell that a couple of threads were thought up of last minute to try and make the viewer exclaim, “oh so that’s what that was!” I’d like to think that people are smarter than that and also answered with, “Nah, we ain’t buyin’ it.” One of the teleplay writers hasn’t done much, wrote the mediocre The Haunting In Connecticut, and wrote the abysmal Carnosaur and Snoop Dogg’s 2001 horror film, Bones, so with Adam Simon, you get what you pay for. However, the other teleplay writer, Brannon Braga (who also directed), should know better, as he has written some great episodes of television, such as 24, The Orville, Cosmos, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. It doesn’t even seem to be as if he’s trying here. The only thing this movie made me want to do is go out and search for Clive Barker’s 6 ‘Books of Blood’ that were published in 1984 and 1985 and read those. I bet they would make for a great Halloween treat. This ‘book’ I threw after slamming down the back cover in angry angst, hoping that I could draw blood from it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BABYTEETH

BABYTEETH, a drama with a few comedic bits that you can stream on Hulu for free today (otherwise you can rent it streaming), was a nice refresher of mild quirky-ness after the overload of garbage that was my previous movie I just reviewed, Kajillionaire. Babyteeth is still not a perfect or great movie by any means, I think out of 1 hr and 57 minutes about 15 to 20 could’ve been shaved off, the movie has a very strong beginning, very strong ending, and very strong performances. It does lag a bit toward the end of the beginning of the film and the middle of the film, but it makes up for it in the other qualities I just shared. It stars Eliza Scanlen, who has been in a ton of things recently such as HBO’s Sharp Objects, Little Women, and Netflix’s The Devil All The Time and IMDB describes the movie as: “Milla, a seriously ill teenager falls in love with a drug dealer, Moses, her parents worst nightmare.” She is pitch perfect here as a girl that just wants to live her life to the fullest in case she dies. Her parents are played perfectly by Essie Davis and Ben Mendelsohn, the latter of which is becoming one of my favorite actors of all time. He plays it quirky and weird when his character calls for it, but serious yet calm when those scenes come along. It’s because the honest script and dialogue helps the performances, written by first timer Rita Kalnejais, and she doesn’t force the characters to be too abstract and weird. While the characters and situations have their quirks, it is grounded in a sense of dramatic realism where you feel like all of them make true to life decisions and actions.

The movie is directed by Shannon Murphy, who I’m not familiar with, although she directed two episodes of the hit tv series Killing Eve, and she is definitely an actor’s director and has a spark of visual flare, something I hope she can translate to future projects. Unlike Kajillionaire, there isn’t one unlikable character in this, as even though Moses has his fare share of problems, his good heart ultimately prevails. He is played by Toby Wallace who apparently is really good in Netflix’s most recently cancelled beloved series The Society. I’ve seen a few clips of him in that, and needless to say, he’s a damn fine actor when you compare that with this role. My only complaints for this film come before the living situations of all involved are permanently set in stone (that’s all I can say without giving anything away). Milla trying to get Moses interested in her as more than just friends (when they are the only two onscreen) are the scenes that didn’t really have any emotional weight or context for me, compared to the scenes where Milla’s parents are also involved. I think that maybe point A, point B, & point C were the structure of the screenplay, the solid ideas of the story that were cemented in stone before the screenplay was even written, before the connections were made by filling out the tiny details. While getting from point B to point C was fleshed out and solidly told, more time was needed on how to get from point A to point B, as those scenes dragged on too long and didn’t really work for me. But, Babyteeth is still a decent one time watch, if not for the strong ending and beginning, and for all the performances. You won’t be grinding your teeth, wishing for this movie to end, but I suggest to bring some tissues so that tears won’t be hitting them constantly throughout.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: HOOKING UP

HOOKING UP is another straight to video movie that came out earlier this year, and like my last movie review Buffaloed, I just bid my time yet again to when it came on a streaming service that I already partake in. Hence, it just came on Hulu, hence I’m reviewing it for you since 2020 sucks. But this movie does not, it’s actually a decent and cute one time watch with good performances from both Brittany Snow and Sam Richardson, especially the former. The only thing hindering it from becoming a multiple time viewed comedy hit is that it gets bogged down in a couple of cliches near the climax of the film, which makes it drag, until it saves itself with a little less predictable ending than you would think a raunchy sex comedy like this would get. It starts out as just another crude to be crude type movie you’ve seen before but quickly veers into more sweet and emotional territory, which is why this ultimately gets a slight recommendation from me. But only if you have time to spare one afternoon or evening and you are not trying to hook up with someone and trying to have lots and lots of sex during these COVID quarantine times. The jokes land about 60-40, which isn’t bad for something straight to video, and thankfully the sweet stuff lands about 80-20 to make up for the things that don’t work in its favor.

IMDB describes Hooking up as such: “After he receives a new cancer diagnosis and she is fired from her job as a sex columnist, Bailey and Darla take a road trip that forces them to get intimate with their issues, as well as each other.” Simple enough. That description tells you its a sex comedy road trip movie with feelings. That’s what it is. Bailey is also dealing with a recent break up from a high school sweetheart and Darla is trying to get her job back by writing a last chance column for her boss, played feisty by the always welcome Jordana Brewster (I’d have her yell at me any day of the week she’s so hot in this), while trying to come to terms about how her sexual promiscuity has hurt people in the past. Darla last chance column is on Bailey’s cancer journey and she’s writing it behind his back…you see where this is going don’t you? Once that very predictable confrontation scene happens, the movie drags a bit, but like I said earlier, the ending saves it. It really does, as you think it will go all the way in one direction, but it ends up in an “acute” yet more reasonable path. Rather than going for a straight out ending of declarations of forgiveness and I love you’s that are beginning to get annoying in other films at this point, it tries to be realistic enough. To give you a different perspective, my wife watched it with me and liked it much more than I did…so there you go. For me, Hooking Up is like a decent one-night stand, you are ultimately glad it happened, it felt good and you don’t feel dirty afterwards, even though it will probably never happen again.