Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: HOLIDATE (Netflix)

HOLIDATE is only serviceable because of its R rating. If anybody were to ask you what movies would have been complete shit if not for its R rating and crude humor, you could point to Holidate without any hesitation whatsoever. I can’t imagine this film being Emma Roberts’ Valentine’s Day PG-13…or even Vanessa Hudgens’ Netflix PG rated The Princess Switch, or Vanessa Hudgens’ Netflix PG rated The Knight Before Christmas…or Vanessa Hudgens’ Netflix PG rated upcoming The Princess Switch: Switched Again. Don’t worry, Vanessa Hudgens is not in this, but Emma Roberts is, and is probably the most likable she’s ever been in a film for me…well, except for most of Scream 4…sorry, I’m just randomly stating shit. I was totally ready for my first line of this review to be “gag me with a shit covered spoon” but I’m coming out saying “eh, I’d watch it again if someone put it on.” IMDB describes Holidate with the following: “Sloane (Emma Roberts) and Jackson (Luke Bracey) hate being single on holidays where they face constant judgment from their meddling families. So, when these two strangers meet, they pledge to be each other’s “holidate” for every festive occasion in the year ahead.” Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand you can probably guess how it ends. At least the movie had the balls to make fun of itself knowing how it was going to end. Holidate is the perfect movie for adult couples during these shitty pandemic holidays, but only perfect if you watch it together, like I did with my wife. If you watch it by yourself, you may pick at the pine needles so much that they will fall off fast from your tree of enjoyment.

Despite the rom-com wholesome title, this movie is far from family friendly. There is a shit ton of language, crude humor, and the only thing missing was full on nudity. The movie works because of Emma Roberts and NOT A HEMSWORTH Luke Bracey’s chemistry in the movie. They are fantastic together, making you want to shake the hand of the casting director. The movie also felt more authentic as a gross out romantic comedy with a woman’s voice because the movie was actually written by a woman! Much more realistic than the constant crude humor and profanity coming out of the actresses mouths in the recent American Pie: Girls’ Rules, which was written by two men. The directing could’ve used some work and the budget could’ve been given more umph, as the most impressive set designs and shots consisted of the interior of a mall for a couple of scenes, but the dialogue, jokes, and acting were impressive for a movie in its genre. The movie made me laugh the hardest with the most simplistic gross out joke, which I’m just going to say the line here. To give it some context: Emma Roberts comes upon her ex near the beginning of the movie, with his new girlfriend in tow. He mentions how him and Roberts used to be lovers and the new girlfriend proceeds with saying: “How lucky are you?! Isn’t he great in bed?! He’s like The Terminator only I’m the one that keeps on coming!” I rewound just to hear the joke again and the perfect line delivery by actress Nicola Peltz. Let’s wrap this up like a Christmas present shall we? Other than a few pacing and awkward moments near the end of the movie, I enjoyed it for what it was, more so because I watched it with my wife. It’s the perfect little Holiday one hour and 43 minute getaway treat from the shitty real world. And that’s far from a lump of coal that 2020 has given us every fucking day since March.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE BABYSITTER 2 – KILLER QUEEN (NETFLIX)

Any streaming service should know that you might have a problem with about 75% of your original movies, when two of the best ones in that 25% include evil babysitters, cult group sacrifices, blood, guts, gore…and Bella Thorne. The Babysitter was a huge sleeper surprise hit back in 2017 for Netflix. No one ever thought that writer/director McG would make his best film on a streaming platform known for it’s 3/4ths of mediocrity, sometimes just plain bullshit. But that film is an absolute blast, and you could tell McG was having a grand ol’ time having fun and not trying to be too serious but letting his creative juices flow at the same time. Instead of ending up with something like Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, which felt like he tried too hard with too many quick shots, cuts, fast edits and manic energy all over the place, he realized with a streaming service not breathing down his back to just breathe and take his time a little. There’s still manic energy in that film, but it’s focused, works to the films’ advantage, but most importantly, it lets some scenes breathe. For being less than an hour and 30 minutes, it still felt like we got to know all the characters and it let scenes take their time when they needed to, and not when they didn’t. The movie even put Samara Weaving (who played the titular babysitter) on the map. THE BABYSITTER: KILLER QUEEN, with director McG returning but also dipping his hand in the screenplay this time, is not only as good as the original, but even better in some parts, narrative wise, than its predecessor. It’s just plain fun. Definitely the pick me up I’m betting the $30 Mulan on Disney+ Premiere couldn’t provide.

If you are interested in this movie, and haven’t seen the first one, try to not watch any trailers for either film, just expect a hard Rated R film with a bunch of blood, shocks, and surprises, and you are good to go. The trailer for the first film shows a little too much, and the trailer for the second film shows a little too much as well, even if it is revealing things more in between the lines than outright and is a bit better at hiding its secrets. Just read these two IMDB descriptions of the first two films, and you are good to go to just press play: The first film – “The events of one evening take an unexpected turn for the worst for a young boy trying to spy on his babysitter” and the second film – “Two years after Cole survived a satanic blood cult, he’s living another nightmare: high school. And the demons from his past? Still making his life hell.” Pretty much almost everybody comes back from the previous movie, and the way the movie eventually gets to the typical sequel formula, that is possibly killing these demons one by one in the most gruesome way possible, isn’t so typical. In fact, there are two big story shockers in the movie that I didn’t see coming. This sequel blindsides you with the fact that you didn’t really know any of the characters that much in the first film, and expands upon them a little, with development choices that completely make sense in context to what we knew, or didn’t know, previously. You’ll see what I’m talking about when it happens. At first you’ll be confused and say: “wait, what?” And then with about two minutes of thinking it’ll turn into: “holy shit, it makes sense, can’t believe they pulled that off!”

Combine that with the more of the quippy dialogue that references pop culture and different movies that we got from the first film. Combine that with more of that zany energy and laugh out loud moments/jokes that we got from the first movie. And combine that with (Randy from Scream 2 would be proud) more gore, more kills, more carnage candy that us core audience just expects from a sequel, and you get something just as good if not better in some ways than the first. It’s not Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, or Terminator 2 kind of superior, in some ways its better and some ways its the same, the perfect double feature if you will. Judah Lewis is back as Cole, and even though he looks much, much older than he did the first time, in the almost 3 year gap since the first one (only two years later in the movie for high school purposes) he hasn’t lost any of the geeky heroic-ness mannerisms he had. Emily Alyn Lind gets much, much more screen time in this film, and it certainly doesn’t go to waste. Jenna Ortega is the film’s fresh face, and her performance in this is a warm welcome considering she just signed on to play a lead in Scream 5. The supporting demons still haven’t lost a step. Hana Mae Lee, the silent girl in the Pitch Perfect films, is as cool and weird as ever, Andrew Bachelor gets more screen time here to full effect (the movie even pokes fun at itself that he does get more screentime), and the Robbie Amell shirtless jokes here definitely hit harder and are more belly ache laughter inducing than the first one.

The weakest link is…no surprise…Bella Thorne. I think she is very limited as an actress in general, and having one film high up on my worst list of this year, Infamous, I wasn’t expecting her to win me over here. But I thought that since she was decent in the first movie and that McG gets the best out of his actors, that she would be decent in this one again. However, I think social media fame has gotten the best of her as she has some weird line delivery issues in the sequel, but thankfully she’s not in the film that long. Not all of her line delivery is weird though, just a couple of moments that could’ve used another take or two. Then again, Ken Marino is in this again too and has a different movie high up on my worst list this year, The Sleepover, but here he’s fine and not that annoying. **********MAJOR SPOILER WARNING FOR THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH, SKIP TO NEXT ONE IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS MOVIE OR THE TRAILER************************************************ Let’s get to the elephant in the room for those that have watched the trailer or heard news about this sequel when it started filming. Where is Samara Weaving? It showed she survived the first film in a mid credits sequence, but in the promotional materials and the casting call sheet about a year ago, her name is no where to be found. Luckily, not to worry. The end of the trailer teased her return, and the film delivers. And even though it is more of a glorified extended cameo, she’s still a very important part of the story it turns out, and I’m glad that getting famous off of the film Ready or Not didn’t go to her head and she didn’t just abandon the franchise she was known for being the true star of. ********************************END OF MAJOR SPOILERS************************************

Like I said, The Babysitter: Killer Queen is a whole lot of just plain fun. Something I and many other people might truly need right now. I’m surprised that this sequel wasn’t more heavily promoted. Were they afraid it wasn’t good and just more of the same, but not as good in its execution? Granted you have 4 writers compared to the first’s one, but they managed to come together to deliver something just as entertaining, and didn’t treat us like sequel idiots that so many sequels tend to do. McG definitely didn’t slack on this one either. He treats it like a rip roaring, actually fun and adventurous reunion of sorts even though it’s only been 3 years and not 10 like some lame high school ones tend to be (I didn’t go to mine, that’s how lame it sounded). The movie starts strong, doesn’t lag and doesn’t let up until the end credits. Speaking of end credits, make sure you stay through just the mid credits, as just like last time, there is another short scene that possibly teases a third film. Even though if they just ended it here, it would be fine. But if they do make a third one, hopefully they have more tricks up their sleeve and introduce another unique and realistic way to continue the story and still have Cole just battling his same demons all over again. Last time, it all took place in a house, here it is mostly a rocky and watery terrain in the middle of nowhere. Maybe shakes things up and the next one be at the high school or even college campus? The possibilities are endless. Thankfully with this spectacular sequel, if everybody does come back again a third time around, both cast and crew, the trilogy could still end up being…killer.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE F**K-IT LIST (Netflix)

THE F**K-IT LIST, an obviously play on The Bucket List, is not the worst thing to come to Netflix? If that question sounds to you like a back handed compliment, it kind of is. It’s watchable, it’s a movie, it’s not abysmal…but would I ever watch it again? Probably not. It’s just…there. It makes you wonder how movies like this get made yet there are a bunch of good low budget scripts out there desperate to get green lit, but for some reason or another they don’t. This movie could’ve been much better than it is. Instead of being The Bucket List, where Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman actually do a lot of the things they write down, the protagonist in this movie video blogs a bunch of stuff that he ends up not doing, but goes viral anyway to inspire a lot of kids to do their own F**k-It lists in life. If the movie had shown him doing things on his list and then in turn getting more viral, the film’s message might’ve actually been earned and had been clearer. This review is going to be insanely short because I don’t know much to say about it. The actors and actresses are decent and you even got some recognizable names such as Jerry O’Connoll, Natalie Zea, Madison Iseman, Andrew Bachlor, and Peter Facinelli, that do a fine job in their small roles. But the real problem is that you have to suspend belief in a lot of what happens in the film, specifically the choices of the protagonist.

This is a long synopsis, but per IMDB, The F**k-It List is described as: “Brett Blackmore is a high school senior whose exemplary GPA and college resume hides the fact that he’s unintentionally sold his childhood for a future he’s not even sure he wants. When his high-school senior prank goes wrong, his life crumbles before his eyes. In frustration he launches the F**k-It List – of all the things he wishes he’d done but was too afraid. The list goes viral and touches a nerve with teenagers everywhere, exposing the educational-industrial complex as a money-machine designed to encourage anxiety-ridden parents to sell their kids into years of Tiger-Mom style servitude. Brett decides he’s going to break free – and make a run for a future of his own design.” Let’s get to the suspension in belief shall we? It’s really the only problems I have with this “okay” film other than Brett not doing much on his list. First off, the “senior prank goes wrong” scenario, is really not his fault. A couple of kids sneak into the school to hack into the computers, possibly to change some things (doesn’t really say), and one of the idiots steps on a gas pipe and breaks it. They go and get Brett to see if he can help, but he can’t and tells them all to get out of there as the room starts filling up with gas. The whole fucking school explodes (no one is hurt or killed) and he takes the rap. Yet…it wasn’t his fault? If I was him, even with a future I didn’t want, there is no fucking way I would’ve taken the rap for that extreme of shit. Also, the actor that plays Brett Blackmore, Eli Brown, is way too good looking and looks like he has a “fuck it” attitude in his face to be believable as a valedictorian let alone a decent kid.

Also, Brett doesn’t get arrested and the only consequences for his decision to take the rap is that he doesn’t get his high school diploma and that the 7 out of 8 ivy league colleges he was accepted to, take back their offers. But then that doesn’t really matter anyway as Harvard eventually reaches out after he goes viral and asks him to send an essay to possibly get into their elite college anyway. It’s very bizarre and while the film takes it seriously and not as one big joke, there is just no way in fucking hell any of that would happen, other than going viral…maybe. I get the messages of the future of young adults, how we need to make our own life altering decisions and to not just follow the wishes of our parents, but I don’t think the events that happen in this film warrant morals of that type. It’s just a very odd, yet somewhat watchable film. In fact, you’ve seen this teen angst film plenty of times before and needless to say, all those other films do a better job with the content than this one did. Add to the insult and injury? The co-writer and director, Michael Duggan, was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for being a producer of Law & Order. How…what…did….did he like bang his head and get the idea for this weird movie, or did he watch The Bucket List high and thought he should make a teen movie about it but a play on words? I have a feeling those questions would elicit answers that were more interesting than this film. Man, some of these title I keep hitting play on, I’m saying “fuck it” myself. I need to start thinking things through.