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: FREAKY

FREAKY is the exact kind of movie that I needed to come out in a movie theater right now, pandemic and all. Not just me, but probably one that all horror fans also needed. And some comedy fans as well. Freaky is a scary, blood and guts bonanza of a good time with some big, big laughs that mixes horror and comedy quite masterfully. Some critics are calling writer/director Christopher Landon a future master of the horror genre, eventually joining the likes/ranks of Wes Craven, James Wan, David Cronenberg, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter, etc., but I’m going to disagree with that…to a degree, and put him in a whole different category of his own: he’s the new master of flipping the horror genre on its head. That title was previously held by Wes Craven when he defied expectations and went meta ‘before its time’ with New Nightmare in 1994 and then it was accepted more just two years later in 1996’s Scream. Unfortunately for Wes, those are really the only two movies where he did that successfully, as each Scream sequel failed to light a candle to the wit of the original, and then he had some regular horror clunkers in between like My Soul To Take and co-writing the sequel remake of The Hills Have Eyes 2. Christopher Landon has flipped the horror genre on its head successfully multiple times now and he keeps getting better. He started all the way back in 2007 with the Shia LaBeouf starring, new take on the ‘Rear Window’ movie, Disturbia. He then involved himself with the Paranormal Activity movies, which flipped the horror found footage genre on its head, and right after that he flipped the zombie horror genre on its head with Scouts Guide to The Zombie Apocalypse. More recently, he flipped the Groundhog Day ‘do-over’ genre on its head, giving it a fresh horror spin with Happy Death Day, and then flipped it yet again with the more sci-fi than horror sequel, Happy Death Day 2U. Now here comes Freaky, which flips the horror genre on its head yet again by mixing it with the done to death ‘body swap’ comedy genre, to masterful results.

IMDB describes Freaky with the following, “After swapping bodies with a deranged serial killer, a young girl in high school discovers she has less than 24 hours before the change becomes permanent.” The only question I asked myself after seeing a trailer to this movie, and the question you probably also asked yourself was: how is it no one thought of this sooner? Seriously, I’m very surprised someone didn’t attempt this about a decade ago, but here we are now, and this film is near perfect. After having seen the movie, I can’t imagine anybody else in the deranged serial killer role that suddenly inhabits the soul of a teenage girl other than Vince Vaughn. I called his comeback a few months ago when he had his best comedic performance since Wedding Crashers, in Hulu’s original film The Binge, and now Freaky just solidifies my claims. Forget The Binge, THIS IS NOW HIS BEST PERFORMANCE OVERALL since that 2005 masterpiece with Owen Wilson. When Vince Vaughn isn’t phoning it in, and when you can tell he wants to be in a project and is having the time of his life, that’s when movie magic happens. In Freaky, he lights up the screen, and he does so even before he inhabits the teenage girl’s spirit. Why hasn’t anybody made Vince Vaughn some kind of horror icon until now? This movie puts his tall height and frame to good use, making him look like a horrifying presence with the strength and determination of Jason or Michael Myers. I wonder if Vince Vaughn was Landon’s one and only choice for the role. It wouldn’t surprise me. If I had one complaint about this movie, there is a scene where you’ll really have to suspend some belief when Vince Vaughn and a teenage boy are flirting in a car. It’s a little cring-ey and not that believable, but the scene was written primary for laughs and a big “ewwww”, which it definitely got out of me, so that suspension was quickly forgiven.

And the movie isn’t all Vince Vaughn. The movie has a great earned jump scare of an opening scene. The movie also has snappy dialogue, some great gory and unique kills with tons and tons of blood, great editing, great directing by Landon, great consistent laughs, great supporting characters and performances (especially the teenage girl’s gay guy friend and black girl friend, who flip their genre character tropes on their heads) and the movie even subverts expectations with not having the movie end how I expected it to. In fact, I would say this is one of the most satisfying horror movie endings I’ve seen in my lifetime. The movie also wouldn’t be what it is without the other half of the body swap duo, the teenage girl who is played by Kathryn Newton. When her body inhabits the soul of Vince Vaughn’s deranged serial killer, her acting gives us a master class in what to accomplish in a body swap movie of its type. Switching personalities within a film can be hard to do, but just like Nicholas Cage and John Travolta in Face/Off, Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton pull it off like it’s a walk in the park. I cannot wait to own this movie and watch it again and again, I was that thoroughly entertained and I bet you will be too. You don’t even have to be a fan of the horror genre to get something out of Freaky, as my wife, who HATES horror movies, liked this one quite a bit as well. Movies like Freaky were made for the theater, to share laughter or jump scare frights with strangers in a dark and quiet auditorium. It was nice to see that this movie had the most audience members in attendance since I saw Tenet for the first time back in September. Let’s get more stuff like this back into theaters, so that we can save the movie going experience, and not just be fat asses at home on our phones, not paying attention to the straight to PVOD drivel we have mostly gotten since April.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: LET HIM GO

I lied about no reviews this weekend it seems and yes, this is a real review. I’m not telling Republicans to LET HIM GO because of their loss today, I’m talking about the new drama/semi western starring Kevin Costner and Diane Lane, both giving their best performances since whenever they were both nominated for Academy Awards last. I initially wasn’t going to see this, because I can’t remember the last half way decent Kevin Costner starring movie since Open Range back in 2003, but some non spoiler reviews persuaded me to give it a shot. Since I was basically alone in the theater because most of you are too scared to come out of your bubbles and/or refuse to wear a mask out in public, I got to almost basically yell at the screen at moments. I was THAT into this film. Not just the “fuck you bitch!” characters that you can’t stand or the “fuck you bitch!” cheering moments when an antagonist get their just deserts, but this film also had some emotionally powerful quieter moments where I was almost sobbing and wish I had brought tissues with me into the theater. I am so happy that I’m giving these smaller films a shot that decided to just give it a shot during the pandemic because they knew they’d be lost in a sea of streaming right now. I was worried during the disaster that was Honest Thief, but after this, Come Play, and Synchronic, I almost feel like I’m back to the movies normal again, even without big blockbusters like No Time To Die and Wonder Woman 1984. Sometimes big things come from small beginnings.

Per IMDB, they describe Let Him Go with the following: “Following the loss of their son, a retired sheriff and his wife leave their Montana ranch to rescue their young grandson from the clutches of a dangerous family living off the grid in the Dakotas.” The film takes place in the mid 1960’s, but the cinematography and beautiful landscape makes it look and feel like an old fashioned western. While the movie is quite predictable in the path that it ends up taking and has a few familiar revenge story beats, the rest of the film overcomes those few shortcomings in spades. And not just the bloody satisfying climax, but more the quieter moments of Kevin Costner and Diane Lane acting their asses off, especially Diane Lane. Good lord did she almost make me tear up every scene she was in. The movie I’ll admit anchors me a little biased as Costner and Lane’s characters love their small little three year old grandson so much, that it just reminded me how much my own parents love their little three year old grandson (my son) so much. I didn’t like the movie based on just that though. The acting was good, the cinematography was gorgeous, the direction was top notch, the climax and other smaller moments were intense, the ending was satisfying, I was entertained for an hour and fifty four minutes. This movie had the works. I vote Lesley Manville’s character the most evil and vile movie villain of 2020. I love westerns, and the fact that this felt like one just made me want to go home and re watch Open Range or Unforgiven or The Outlaw Josey Whales or 3:10 To Yuma or Hostiles, or one of the other dozens I hold dear to my heart. Just something about that genre that resonates with me. Simpler times perhaps?

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SYNCHRONIC

How am I supposed to talk about a movie so great, that’s only in theaters right now, when I can’t really talk about it? If I talk about it at all, I’ll ruin the psychedelic trip, and I’ll ruin all the surprises. I guess I could talk about how well the story is told combined with some neat visuals that were done on a relatively small budget, but I just said it, and if I elaborated on it more, yet again, I would just ruin everything. The poster to this movie is beautiful, for some unbelievable reason the trailer doesn’t give anything away, and neither does the description of the film on IMDB: “Two New Orleans paramedics’ lives are ripped apart after they encounter a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects.” It stars The Falcon from the MCU himself Anthony Mackie and Fifty Shades of Grey’s Jamie Dornan, the former giving his best performance since The Hurt Locker, and the latter giving his best performance ever for me, even though I have never watched that critically acclaimed TV series he’s in called The Fall. It’s one of my favorite films of the year so far and while I’m glad I just went, took a chance on it, and saw it, I’m kind of depressed it was released during a pandemic. I don’t think it made shit last weekend and is likely to be out of the theaters next week if not the week after. I am just hoping upon hope that this is discovered when it hits video, ends up as something like the movie Equilibrium with Christian Bale. That film was in the theater for a week before it was pulled, but became a massive hit on home video. Maybe Synchronic’s fate will end up in sync with that.

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, just go see it, or see it when it hits your bubble. I won’t make fun of you scaredy cats this time as long as you discover and gives this a chance when you have a chance to watch it at home. The storytelling in this is perfect, it doesn’t overstay its welcome at a lean one hour and forty minutes, the visuals complement the storytelling and are even more impressive considering the budget wasn’t all that big. I’m not familiar with writer/directors Justin Benson and Aaron Morehead, but apparently they got their visual and storytelling flair with a 2017 movie called The Endless, which I’m going to try to find on streaming and give a chance soon. The movie has several deep layered messages within it that were fun and moving to discover. AAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNDDDD…shit. I’m done with my review. I mean, what more is there to say other than these two writer/directors need to make more movies, Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan need to be given more movie roles like this, and the fact that original movies are still being made and released such as this, even though its in the middle of a butt fucking shitty year, makes me happy. I wish I was hyped up on this more before hand like I was Tenet, then again, I am very happy that Synchronic took me by surprise. Let’s hope the world gets more in sync soon with regular movie releases so we can start to all get back to normal as Synchronic was a masterful trip while 2020 has been the nightmare trip of a lifetime.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: COME PLAY

COME PLAY really works because it isn’t just a cheap jump scare horror movie. It is one of the rare ones that has a deeper emotional core at its center than others in the genre and the jump scares aren’t cheap at all, they are well shot, well choreographed, and well earned. This movie is also rated PG-13 surprisingly…I can’t remember one in quite awhile that worked, especially this shitty year. And this film is surprisingly really entertaining from start to finish. Interested? Wondering how you can watch it? Well, you are going to have to not be a pussy and go to a theater right now unless you wait several months for it to hit video. And this movie does deserve to be watched on the biggest screen possible. Doing so makes the scares that much more effective and the movie is so well shot that you are probably going to have a hard time appreciating it on a device that you can hide in your bra and/or shove up your ass. The emotional core and really good message in this film’s heart I really want to talk about, but in doing so ruins much of the film, so instead I’ll just mention that I appreciated what ideas Come Play tried and successfully, to me anyway, brought up, and leave it at that. What’s even more bewildering is that it did it all in just an hour and thirty six minutes. Usually films tend to be a bit longer when it is more than just trying to scare tweens the dumbest and stupidest way possible. IMDB describes Come Play with the following, “A long-limbed monster named Larry targets Oliver, a┬ánon-verbal autistic young boy along with his family, friends, and classmates by manifesting through their smart phones, computers, television screens and other electronic devices.” Well…based on that description the jig is probably up on the message I was trying to leave vague huh?

Horror/Scary films are made or broken by their scares. Plain and simple. If a horror movie doesn’t scare you, bother you a little, or doesn’t make you feel dread a bit when thinking about it afterward, it isn’t doing its job. I’m kind of numb to horror movies after so many years of watching so many of them, so for me, these films need to have that little extra something if they don’t manage to scare me at all. Which is why I was surprised when Come Play caught me off guard by not only making me jump in my seat, but tear up with its deeper meanings near the end of the film. The acting in this also works, especially when it relies mostly on young child actors reacting to things that definitely aren’t there in the real world. Azhy Robertson as the protagonist autistic Oliver is fantastic here and so is Winslow Fegley as Bryon, his old friend/new bully whose complicated friendship is part of the films special core I’ve been talking about. The two main adults in the film, Community’s Gillian Jacobs and 10 Cloverfield Lane’s John Gallagher Jr. also do a pretty good job, especially the former, who shed her Britta Perry vibes from the moment she comes on screen. I do wish they would’ve given her more screen time and maybe fleshed out Gallagher’s character more, they play Oliver’s mother and father going through a divorce. Their emotional arcs were still earned but just barely. This is writer/director Jacob Chase’s first foray into a theatrical spooky feature. I hope his career gains traction and he keeps getting better like Ari Aster, James Wan or Jordan Peele. He could end up being a master in the genre. If it wasn’t for this stupid fucking year and stupid fucking virus. Anyway, need something spooky to watch today on Halloween or possibly as soon as you have time and you are willing to come to a movie theater right now (especially when going to the gym and/or grocery store is a hundred times worse), then you’ll definitely want to come and play with Come Play.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: HONEST THIEF

HONEST THIEF honestly stole ninety minutes of my life. This is one of Liam Neeson’s low tier action thrillers, down there in the cold depths of hell with Taken 2 & 3. And those three are the only ones that I haven’t watched multiple times, as others such as Run All Night, A Walk Among The Tombstones, Cold Pursuit, The Commuter, Non-Stop, fuck.. even Unknown I’ve enjoyed more than one viewing. Honest Thief looked cheap and felt cheap, and there didn’t even seem to be an effort to cover the cheapness up. There is 5 second establishing shot that was obviously stock footage of an overview of a city and it was so God damn grainy, pixelated, and old looking that it looked as though it was shot in the mid-90s with a camcorder. I literally laughed out loud…at STOCK FOOTAGE. The film has an interesting idea, in which IMDB describes with the following: “Wanting to lead an honest life, a notorious bank robber turns himself in, only to be double-crossed by two ruthless FBI agents.” But the execution of it feels like a high end college student film, complete with one of the worst on screen explosions I have ever seen in the theater, the fire still crackling on the debris looking like an add on from a graphics computer still running on Windows 95. Scenes take way too much time and drag, Kate Walsh’s character is one of the biggest on screen morons of 2020, and that’s including the dumbest onscreen villains of 2020 so far. Yet somehow, this isn’t one of the worst films of the year, as it was still nice to see something in an actual movie theater, and I would take it over the fifty-something-odd piece of shit direct to streaming “films” I have had to endure because of the cocksucker known as COVID-19.

After Tenet and Broken Hearts Gallery, it seems like movies that were supposed to be in theaters are put into five categories:

  1. If a supposed theatrical release is pushed back multiple times, and we still have yet to see it, it is likely that movie is actually great.
  2. If a supposed theatrical release is dumped onto streaming with not much marketing behind it, and dumped for free along side the streaming service you already pay for, it is most likely a piece of shit.
  3. If a supposed theatrical release is dumped onto streaming with a shit ton of marketing, but it costs you an extra $20 to $30 bucks to either rent it for 48 hours or to own it, it is either great, or it’s a giant Mulan piece of shit.
  4. If a movie that was supposed to go straight to streaming, but then ends up snagging a theatrical release due to there being no new releases because New York Governor Andrew Cuomo keeps theaters closed in his state but restaurants and gyms open, and due to the fact he’s an egotistical moron on the spectrum…then that means the studios have no confidence in said film for even streaming and it’s probably a giant piece of shit.
  5. If a movie that was supposed to go theaters still makes its release date at this time, it’s either very meh or a giant piece of shit.

Honest Thief is easily a #5, riding that fence from either falling into a giant pile of regular soil or a giant pile of elephant shit. This should’ve been a direct to streaming movie in the first place. Both the five second grainy stock footage, Kate Walsh’s character, and the house explosion fall into the pile shit while the rest falls safely onto the soil for the rest of the movie. So….meh, but with a little shit on its lip if you wanted me to paint a clearer picture. Liam Neeson at least seems to be always game for all these kinds of films and never phones it in, and that is always appreciated, but everyone else, including recognizable faces Kate Walsh, Jeffrey Donovan, Robert Patrick, and Jai Courtney, seem bored, know what kind of film they’re in, and knows the paycheck coming at the end of it. I’m surprised Kate Walsh said yes to this picture. Her character is literally the most naive dumb ass I have seen in a film recently, and I’ve seen Hubie Halloween. There is this part of the movie where she comes upon and surprises the two dirty FBI agents loading boxes from her boyfriend’s (played by Neeson) storage garage, and even the most generic screenplay would have her character ask false questions and give false answers to see if the agents out right try to lie to her so she can tell Neeson what is going on. But no, she gives out all accurate information that they just agree to and just believes all their bullshit, even though the two actors playing the FBI agents looked bored and don’t even try to sell said bullshit. I slapped my head about 10 times in the theater during that 5 minute scene. The co-writer and director of this movie, Mark Williams, is more well known for being a halfway decent producer of television projects, like Ozark, not writing and directing feature films, hell, not writing and directing at all. He should go back to just producing, as he doesn’t know what the fuck he is doing. This movie is as generic as a generic film can get, let alone a Liam Neeson actioner. It stole my interest with a misleading marketing campaign and theatrical trailer that looked action heavy, and instead was just a straight and cheap drama with a couple of action beats that would honestly make Michael Bay want to kill himself.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE WAR WITH GRANDPA

THE WAR WITH GRANDPA is the worst thing since AIDS. It’s more embarrassing than when I went to the theater with my dad in 2005 and saw Brokeback Mountain. I swear to you…you have my personal guarantee, that watching the likes of Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and Uma Thurman try to skate their way through this garbage was more embarrassing than watching The Joker buttfuck Mysterio in a tent, in a dark movie theater, with my father sitting next to me. At least Brokeback was a good movie. fThis film was shot over three years ago and had several release dates in 2017, but it was shot under The Weinstein banner, which was destroyed when #MeToo happened the back half of that year. I really wish someone there would’ve burned the original negative while the studio was in a disarray or deleted the digital copy off the servers forever. I wish the machines in Tenet were real as I would enter one, literally sit in a room for three years by myself, inverted, until I got to when the movie was finished, re enter a Tenet machine, and then destroy all copies of the movie…only then would I warn top officials of of COVID. Or wait, since The War With Grandpa and coronavirus already happened, does that mean I’ll be unsuccessful in my inverted time trip? Fuck, that’s a head scratcher. What isn’t a head scratcher is that this is easily one of the worst films of 2020, and the only reason I saw it is two fold: 1. I still want to somehow support the theater even though they aren’t releasing any blockbusters and 2. I had to get rid of a free movie pass before it expired. I might as well have ripped it in two than use it.

IMDB describes The War With Grandpa with the following: “Upset that he has to share the room he loves with his grandfather, Peter decides to declare war in an attempt to get it back.” One example of how I can automatically convince you how fucking stupid this movie is: when the grandfather accepts that he and his grandson are going to war over the room, they list rules, and rule #1 of the prank war is NO COLLATERAL DAMAGE, meaning their pranks and other ways to make the other concede cannot and must not hurt other people or their property. That rule is thrown out the window not five minutes later and the characters and the screenplay itself just ignore it and everyone moves on. So if a screenplay can’t figure out a way to obey its own rules…WHAT’S THE POINT OF THE FUCKING MOVIE? This is like a remake of Home Alone meets Jackass and the script was written by Trump after he got autistic for taking experimental drugs after contracting the coronavirus. You also get:

  1. A stupid green screen dodge ball fight.
  2. Pranks that could really cause physical harm or death but instead the characters are unharmed in Looney Tunes like violence.
  3. An awfully paced and edited Christmas themed birthday party climax where people just stand around like fucking idiots watching dumb shit happen all around them.
  4. Repeated heart to heart conversations where others only listen if someone really almost was killed.
  5. Uma Thurman throwing coffee and eventually a snake on the same police officer, where they happen to meet at the same time twice, at the same intersection.
  6. Laura Marano (beautiful as ever but she’s 24 now and cannot pass as a young teen) literally only in the movie for reaction shots of when Uma Thurman, who plays her mother, catches her just making out with a secret boyfriend.
  7. Godfather and Deer Hunter endless references and jokes galore because hey, why not make a cheap joke or a hundred because you got De Niro and Walken in the same movie?
  8. Grown men seeing old man penis jokes…TWICE!
  9. Unrealistic slapstick violence over and over and over and over again
  10. An old man that can’t even work a grocery checkout register who can suddenly learn not only how to work a drone from a 5 year old girl but can also create an online account to an MMRPG and ruin his grandson’s castle in the game that he’s been working on for almost three years.

This is what you get when you adapt a film from an actual kids book, and the guys you hire to do it also wrote the abysmal FAILURE TO LAUNCH. And we can also blame director Tim Hill, who is still depressed after making the Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield 2 movies, and he didn’t sky rocket to film making stardom, so he keeps going all in dumber and dumber, with the awful looking new Spongebob Squarepants movie, and now this. He is on “I don’t give a shit” autopilot here. Maybe he always was. If you happen to stay during the end credits like my dumb motherfucking ass did, you’ll see that Laura Marano only signed the dotted line to do this movie if she could write and sing a new single for it. She’s a good singer, but the song sucked balls. Rob Riggle looks like he wanted to kill himself three years ago when making this as well. And Jane Seymour was in this too? How embarrassing. The only sense of snuggle-y warmth I got throughout the movie was that there were quite a lot of people and kids at my late 9:30 at night Saturday screening, and they seemed to enjoy it as dumb families together, so maybe the theater going experience isn’t dead after this cunt year. If movies like this are the ones to slowly and quietly get people to go back to the movies, so be it. But for me, unless it was free like this one was, keep me far away from it, or I’ll start to really wage war on the pussy studios that keep holding back all the good stuff back.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE LAST SHIFT

THE LAST SHIFT has one of those messages we’ve seen many times before in movies: what are you going to do with your life before it’s too late and you waste your potential? Depending on your age, is it ever too late to change? The only reason this “one time watch” movie worked for me is because of the performances, especially Richard Jenkins, who just left a bad taste in my mouth in the overrated and awful Kajillionaire before this. A big 3rd act incident happens near the end of the movie that doesn’t quite make sense in normal human logic, but that would be my only other complaint other than the familiarity of it all. This is one of those movies, that back in the 90s/early 2000s if you found on a movie channel at one in the morning, while sober, with a midnight homemade or fast food snack in hand, you’d probably watch until it was done at three am. “That was nice but I probably wouldn’t seek out to watch it again.” That kind of feeling. IMDB’s log line summary for the film is as follows: “Stanley’s last shift at his fast food job takes an unexpected turn.” Sigh, come on IMDB, what am I going to do with you? Stanley has been working at this chicken and fish place called Oscar’s for the past 38 years and he wants to move his mother out of the home his brother and him put her in and do something more with the last remaining years of his life. So he needs to train his replacement before he goes, a mild slacker named Javon, who may or may not end up teaching Stanley and/or himself that expectations are overrated and you are just going to walk the same path eventually that you try to divert from, depending on who you are and the color of your skin.

That’s the movie in a nutshell. The film mostly takes place inside the restaurant, with a couple of late shift shenanigans and weird and asshole customers. If you want a straight up comedy in this vein just stick to Waiting… which just hit Netflix this weekend. Their conversations inside the fast food joint are about life that feel realistic and don’t get too preachy. Married With Children and Modern Family’s Ed O’Neil is a supporting player in this, providing some comic relief and also there to get away with saying the R word that you barely have heard in movies this past decade. But it’s the Richard Jenkins and Shane Paul McGhie show here, as their performances make the movie. Jenkins plays an actual a character in this, unlike he empty shell in this week’s Kajillionaire. And McGhie plays a unique slacker with a hidden heart of gold. It takes a pro to pull off that kind of character and it seemed to just come naturally to this new big screened talent. Looking up writer/director Andrew Cohn, this seems to be his first big screen venture, as his career is filled mostly with nonfiction documentary and documentary shorts. I’d say this is an about average is not a little above, fictional big screen debut for him. He seems to possess the traits of a good actor’s director…but maybe he should direct someone else’s screenplay. A minor spoiler, but one of the two gets into a bit of trouble in their job near the end of the movie, and the rational and thought of the district manager I thought was a bit bullshit and unrealistic for the kind of situation that presented itself, especially if you factor in the color of both her and Javon’s skin and Stanley’s situation. Surely the catalyst to the climax could’ve been handled better. But hey, I laughed and was entertained throughout the nice, tight and short 90 minute run time. I am also quite happy that my last new movie viewing this weekend was in a theater and wasn’t a terrible piece of shit streaming film like Kajillionaire or the Secret Society of Second Born Royals, so there’s that.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: KAJILLIONAIRE

KAJILLIONAIRE gave me (an my wife) a kajillion headaches. Not because it was confusing but it was a slog and a half (considering the 1 hr and 47 minute run time) to get through. A quirky film just for the sake of being quirky, which made it overwhelmingly quirky and unbearable. And a really annoying and bizarre performance with an annoyingly bizarre low tone of voice by Even Rachel Wood. There are only really two scenes of actual levity and earnestness in the film, one that doesn’t happen until the last 10 minutes of the movie, and one in the middle that lasts only about 10 seconds before it goes back to being monotonous. This comes out in theaters today (only really Alamo Drafthouse and other independent theaters), and then streaming VOD in about a month, and I am here to tell you to save your fucking money and your fucking time no matter how it’s available to watch to you (even if free). I won a free digital 72 hour screening from Focus Features and decided just to get it out of the way last night. This is supposed to be a comedy (really a dramedy) yet neither my wife nor I laughed once. And when I put on a 2005 comedy that definitely couldn’t be made today (Waiting) and laughed more in the first minute than the atrocity to cinema I just watched…then something is truly wrong. You may go on Rotten Tomatoes and see the critic score to this is in the low 90s, which is a really good score, but I no longer ever trust Rotten Tomatoes, because I think most critics are high off of being able to stay home and avoid COVID-19, so they are giving anything a good review based on that bias.

And you may be saying, “Zach, maybe you just don’t like quirky movies?” Not true, I’m going to review another film later today that just came to Hulu but was released earlier in the year called Babyteeth, where its quirky-ness was in contribution to the story and wasn’t just there to be there. It’s all about context people. Me, movies, and context. If you haven’t gotten that by now with all of my reviews that I write then I don’t know what to tell you. I even warn you whenever I throw context and my brain out the window and just enjoyed what I was watching, so I can’t be any more blunt with you than I usually am. To put this all in another way you’ll understand, Kajillionaire sucked to me. Per IMDB, it describes the movie as: “A woman’s life is turned upside down when her criminal parents invite an outsider to join them on a major heist they’re planning.” This whole family is filled with terrible, terrible con people. Terrible not jut morally, but that they also execute all of these “cons” terribly. What was really offensive about this film to me isn’t just its fake, unearned quirky-ness, it’s also it feels like a cheap knock off of a very good international film that came out a couple of years ago called Shoplifters. That movie even got nominated for an Academy Award. I’ll scoff if this does and protest. Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger are completely wasted as Evan Rachel Wood’s (who is the main protagonist by the way) parents, and they are completely unlikable characters from the get go. Evan Rachel Wood is supposed to be likable but her bizarre bat shit performance made her extremely unlikable to me.

The actress that sort of saves this from being a complete clusterfuck (even though this film right now is in my top 20 worst of the year list) is Gina Rodriguez. She plays the stranger in IMDB’s description of the film above. Her quirky-ness in this film almost works, and she saves a little bit of the movie by being the focus of the two only earnest moments in the movie (These moments are technically spoilers, but you’ll know them when you see them). She is the only one unscathed in this production. I have never seen writer/director Miranda July’s other “quirky” movies or short films, and this movie definitely will not have me search any of them out, any time soon. I mean, this film is just weird to be weird without any context. They live in a cheap little place that overflows with bubbles (they clean this place constantly that’s why the rent is so cheap) from the ceiling because it’s an attachment to a bubble factory called Bubble, Inc. No explanation to what they do other than make bubbles apparently. I understand the films message about family and human attachment, it just went about it in a very awkward, non pleasing, and off putting way. It is very slow pace, with a major heist that in all honesty didn’t make a lick of sense to me. If you watch this movie and end up enjoying it like the critics did, I won’t hark on you. Clearly this movie just wasn’t meant for me. I didn’t connect with it on any emotional level, and the only emotion I shed during it were the kajillion tears of joy that I wept once the movie finally got to the end credits.