Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SPACE JAM – A NEW LEGACY (Spoilers Ahoy, Mateys!)

READY PLAYER SPACE JAM….errrr, I mean CYBERSPACE JAM…errr, I mean SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY is going to do to your kids in 2021, exactly what the original did to you as a child in 1996. They will see one of the most legendary sports players of all time going toe to toe with their favorite Looney Tunes characters to play the ultimate game of basketball with sight gags and cartoonish violence aplenty. They will instantly develop memberberries and claim that this film was their childhood in a bottle. But then in 25 years, that will be the year…2046? FUCK. In 2046, they will realize the movie doesn’t hold up, at all. And they will start to question not only their childhood sanity, but their current one.

Just to set things up, I watched the original Space Jam last week in preparation for today. I thought I remembered 1996 just like it was yesterday: seeing this film in the theater, in awe of how Michael Jordan reacted to cartoon drawings, loving all the zany antics & hilarity. Not knowing that Bill Murray’s 5 minute cameo would be what I would ultimately only remember vividly about the film. Ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages…SPACE JAM DOES NOT HOLD UP. It has a bittersweet beginning with Michael Jordan and his father…it was emotional and sweet then in 1996 but it is now a bit bitter knowing that Jordan’s father was tragically murdered three years prior (our parents rightfully kept this sad shit from us when we were young).

But after that well done little opening, the film is all over the place. It’s not a terrible film by any means. When the film gets to Toon Town and the ‘ultimate game’, the entertainment ramps up to a watchable little romp. The new character of Lola Bunny was too cool for school and didn’t take any shit from bugs. The villain MonStars had a actual character arc. It pokes a little fun at Jordan wanting to play baseball. It has some other memorable scenes here and there (mainly Bill Murray). But…

  1. Michael Jordan can’t act his way out of a paper bag. He shows a little charm in some scenes but ultimately he looks like he doesn’t know what he’s doing, having a hard time interacting with what amounts to a green screen and tennis balls.
  2. The opening credits shamelessly put Jordan on a pedestal (small nitpick but I started rolling my eyes as a 35 year old adult when I re-watched it last week)
  3. There isn’t that much character development with anybody: Jordan realizes…teamwork? And maybe not to play baseball? The Tunes learn to…believe in themselves? I guess? Even though they believe in themselves in the old cartoons that they previously did?
  4. When compared to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, which came out 8 years earlier, the animation and live action isn’t very impressive, especially on the court at the final game.
  5. Any scene with Newman from Seinfeld is unfunny, annoying, and you just want to punch him in the face.
  6. It needed more Danny DeVito voice work. And it needed more Looney Tunes focus & action (but is a masterpiece of focus when compared to this sequel)

I’m sure there is more but I’m trying to do a review of the sequel, so let’s get into it. To be fair, let’s just list the few positives this film has:

POSITIVES

  1. Don Cheadle
  2. The animation and live action blending here looks decent and uses modern technology to its fullest advantage.
  3. A Michael Jordan cameo that subverted expectations made me chuckle.
  4. A Rick and Morty 10 second cameo elicited the biggest laugh of the whole movie for me (I’m a huge fan)
  5. The film does have a couple of set ups and pay offs that worked, specifically dealing with an initial glitch in the son’s game he is designing at the beginning of the film.
  6. A couple of Looney Tunes sight gags here and there made me chuckle (one with the big red hairy Looney Tunes character and one with Wild E. Coyote made me laugh out loud).
  7. Don Cheadle

And that’s about it. I listed Don Cheadle twice because he looks like the only human participant in this picture that looks like they want to be there. He hams it up in every single frame he’s in and he looks like he’s having a grand old time. If he’s not, someone please give him a supporting Oscar nomination, because he could’ve fooled me. He’s also the only actor in the film that looks like an absolute pro talking to what is essentially a green screen and tennis balls.

Now, let’s list off the many, MANY negatives this film has:

  1. This movie is basically a giant Warner Bros. IP ploy. It just bukake’s everything under the WB logo and sun with every pop culture movie and tv character/property their banner owns. They show up EVERYWHERE. AND IT GETS VERY DISTRACTING. The attention is supposed to be on ‘the big game’, full of life and death stakes, but instead, character’s from The Mask, IT, Game of Thrones, Batman & Robin, Hanna Barbera, etc, etc, etc, show up and are clearly visible in the background that I ended up pointing them out to myself so much that I had to rewind the movie on HBO Max and make myself focus on what was happening on the court. How bad does it get? EVEN FUCKING RICK AND MORTY SHOW UP IN THIS FILM! At least the original film only had one pop culture reference that I didn’t get at the time, and that was to what is now my favorite movie of all time: Pulp Fiction. If you weren’t a fan of Ready Player One, the book and/or movie, because of the constant callbacks to other properties, prepare to REALLY, REALLY loathe this film.
  2. That being said, most of the movie relies on the Looney Tunes incorporating themselves into famous scenes and situations from Warner Bros. movies and tv shows like 8 Mile (the rap battle here is so fucking stupid), The Matrix, Casablanca, FUCKING MAD MAX FURY ROAD, the hard R rated film from George Miller, The Cartoon DC Universe etc. etc. etc. Not a spec of originality comes from the Tunes until the big game and even that was drowned out by all the sploodging of WB IP all over my fucking face.
  3. LeBron might have been one of the standouts of the Amy Schumer film Trainwreck, but here, he’s a literal trainwreck. He can’t act his way out of a smaller paper bag than Michael Jordan’s, and he doesn’t really seem like he wanted to be doing this. It screams paycheck. I know Michael Jordan can’t act but some charm at least seeped through in the original that showed he wanted to be in a movie that put him up on a pedestal. LeBron seems like he could care less as long as more money shows up in his hand at the end of it all.
  4. The opening credits, yet fucking again, puts LeBron up on a pedestal. I rolled my eyes twice as much as I did in the original Michael Jordan pedestal opening credits.
  5. There is literally no fucking character development here. What little there is, is just, “I need to pay attention to my son more, a son who doesn’t really want to play basketball. I also need to let him do his dream which is designing video games and not be such a hard ass.” And even that little message is muddled with all the Ready Player One bullshit that was going on around it.
  6. At least the MonStars in the original movie had an arc. They each had distinct personalities and realized they were being controlled by cartoon Danny DeVito too much and needed to branch out as toons on their own. Here the ‘Goon Squad villians’ have no story, no arc, they just show up for the final game with their God like special powers and say a few quips. That’s it. The villains in this, other than Don Cheadle, are completely ignored. And I understand that the villain players are basically just made up on the spot videogame entities created by LeBron James’ fictional son, but come on, some more humanity and back story go a long way. One of the few charms of the original film is that the MonStars steal the talent of real NBA players. And while the NBA players go on stupid hospital/therapy antics when they lose their talent in that movie, at least that was something. Here, it’s completely nothing.
  7. I like Zendaya as a person, actress, and celebrity but her voice does not match the character of Lola Bunny at all here. And it makes me enraged to think that the original voice actress for her (the one that voiced Lola in 1996) had recorded all of the dialogue as this film was being made, only to be dumped post production last minute and replaced by an A-List celebrity. For shame, Warner Bros. Let Zendaya do her Spider-Man and Euphoria thing and have ACTUAL VOICE TALENT VOICE YOUR FUCKING CARTOON CHARACTERS. You didn’t learn your lesson with last year’s SCOOB! and you certainly didn’t learn it here. They don’t need to be well known, they just need to be right for the part. Zendaya is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the right voice for the right character.
  8. Why the fuck is this movie even called Space Jam? At least the first movie they fucking played in FUCKING SPACE against SPACE ALIENS!!! Is it still called Space Jam because it’s supposed to be how much God damn server space that Warner Bros. has on all their IP properties? Why didn’t they just call it CYBERSPACE JAM?!? Either way, fuck that, I’d rather watch blood in my stool.
  9. Our lovable Looney Tunes are mostly in the background in this movie, in the deep deep shadow of Lebron James’ ego. In the original movie, all the main characters had a scene or two to shine. Not here. They are all amusing at times background screensavers as Lebron James doesn’t act right in front of our eyeballs.
  10. As one review on twitter put it: “Some of the reviews of SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY are missing the point. This movie wasn’t made for grown ups, it was made for kids. And if there’s one thing that kids today love, it’s references to Casablanca and A Clockwork Orange.” The reason why I see that a lot of kids might not like this film is the references that will go way over their head like the one above. I understand you can’t put in anything that references Disney but surely you could mention something more updated in these times for the younger crowd…
  11. Ummm…the movie gets very close to saying some naughty words that wouldn’t really fit the rating of this movie. Terms like “son of a glitch” is uttered (when uttered by Daffy Duck I honestly thought he said bitch for two seconds there). And there is one part where Don Cheadle is bleeped as he curses but I could almost clearly read his lips…And this was supposed to be a kids movie?
  12. Speaking of MonStars, they have a 2 second cameo that ruins their character development from the first movie, as they sigh and look depressed when the villains start to lose.
  13. LeBron James’ heartfelt climax speech to his son about his acceptance of his kid wanting to do other things other than basketball and also realizing he’s a shitty father is so cringe worthy it is sure to earn him a Razzie Nomination by the end of the year.
  14. There’s a “death”, “sacrifice”, what have you, that one of the main Looney Tunes characters make in order to win the big basketball game. Basically they risk deletion from the WB Server’s for good. At the beginning of the movie, a son does a specific basketball move with one of his players he created in the videogame he is making, and that move causes the game to crash and the character gets deleted. That is a set up for a pay off at the end of the movie to have a different character do that same move to win the game, but then get deleted. They set it up like LeBron James is going to sacrifice himself, but I knew one of the toons were going to take over and do it and I was seriously hoping it was going to be Pepe Le Pew. You didn’t see him the whole movie and then for him to just pop in the middle of the game would’ve been BOLD. That would’ve been a FUCKING BRILLIANT commentary on cancel culture and a smart and unique way to get rid of that character for good. But no, it’s another main toon. And that “death”, that “sacrifice” is completely null and void not 5 minutes later. You have this emotional scene with a character sacrificing sacrificing him/herself for his/her family (no, it’s not Dominic Toretto) and then act like it is permanent, only for the character to show up two scenes later and just shrug it off spouting, “I’m a cartoon, there’s no getting rid of me!” PATHETIC.

This review has gotten way too long, so let me end it with the following: If you are just a casual moviegoer that doesn’t get bothered by petty things, maybe one with a couple of young children to watch this with, or if you are still a no shame fan of the original, or if you suck down memberberries like Daniel Day Lewis does a hypothetical milkshake in There Will Be Blood, you might find some enjoyment out of Space Jam: A New Legacy.

But if you hated the constant memberberries ejaculating on your face in Ready Player One (novel or movie), if you hate LeBron James, if you didn’t care for the original film back in 1996 and/or don’t care for it present day when you finally grew a brain and learned better, if you are wanting just a bunch of fun and entertaining Looney Tunes antics like you’ve been getting with the charming HBO Max television reboot that has two seasons thus far on the streaming service (please watch that instead)…then you are going to want to avoid this like the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Grades for Both Films:

Space Jam – A New Legacy: 3 out of 10

Space Jam: 9 out of 10 (in 1996), 6 out of 10 (on a re watch in 2021)

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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: 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: 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: 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.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: TENET (Spoiler Free!)

WARNING: If you like to leave your brain at the door before you watch a theatrical movie…I can guarantee you that you probably will not like TENET. You will have to use all of your brain and then some to decipher the many layers of puzzles and enigma’s that this movie has in store for you, so if you are not up to the task, I wouldn’t even bother seeing it if I were you. While I understood most (if not all) of the movie, it is definitely going to require several more viewings before I can put the last pieces of the puzzle in place and enjoy this for the masterpiece of a film that it is. I love deciphering intricate movies and love it when they don’t spoon feed any of it to its audience. It challenges you, which is what some films SHOULD do. Another WARNING: the sound mixing in my IMAX theater in Dallas was terrible, but I’ve heard this isn’t a one off problem. I’ve also been told to see a digital print of it at a NEWER theater to be able to hear ALL of the dialogue that isn’t drowned out by the bass and Ludwig Goransson’s masterful (and future Oscar winning) score. Nolan has had sound mixing issues before, with Interstellar, Dunkirk, and The Dark Knight Rises, so like those, it will probably be fixed once it comes to disc, and even if fixed, will probably watch it once with subtitles on. If you think you can handle those warnings, well then, boy are you in for a treat. I’ll just be blunt now if that’s okay with you: Tenet is my absolute favorite film of 2020, it’s the best film (IMO) of 2020, and I hope it wins most of the technical awards (not sound mixing though) at next year’s Oscars. Is it in my top ten favorite films of all time, did it dethrone Inception at #1? More viewings will have to be required to determine the first question (but probably not even though I still think it’s a masterpiece), and definitely no to the second, but really, are you surprised by any of this?

I’ve been hyping this film for months, even a year, since a cryptic teaser for it was played in front of Hobbs & Shaw, and writer/director Christopher Nolan had barely begun filming the damn movie. I’ve been wanting to see this movie so badly you are probably sick and tired of me talking about it. But to be honest, now that I’ve seen the film and this review will be one of my final written words on the matter, I don’t want to reveal any of the surprises that this has in store for you. I can now only hope that this review won’t be too long (I always say that but you never know), and you won’t get bored by it. I can for sure say that on a visual and technical level, there is no better film making. This film, confirmed by Nolan himself, has less than 300 visual effects shots. That’s lower than the average romantic comedy. That’s insane. And the more practical effects any film has, the better it is going to be, because it is going to look and feel realistic. The score by Ludwig Goransson, who is stepping in for Hans Zimmer because he couldn’t due to Dune obligations, is amazing and I want to own it and listen to it by itself right now. It’s right up there alongside Inception, Interstellar, and Dark Knight (all fucking directed by Nolan) for me as one of the best cinematic scores of all time. The acting is also incredible. John David Washington, son of Denzel, completely sets himself apart from his father in his roles, whether it be this or BlackKklansman. Here, he is charismatic, funny, and almost brought a tear to my eye in the second to last scene. Robert Pattinson, who I was fine with even during Twilight, is fantastic here too. He steals all of his scenes with his accent, dialogue and charisma. and with this and Good Time, I cannot wait to see his eventual portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman and his scene chewing role in this month’s Netflix original film, The Devil All The Time. Kenneth Branagh shows why his film Artemis Fowl sucked so much ass (his concentration must’ve been in this role) as he is a fantastic villain in this, one that combines several James Bond bad guys into something totally unique, hateful, and frightening. But the emotional core of the movie belongs to the great Elizabeth Debicki, who’s soulful performance completes the few details we actually get about her character’s background.

If you were looking for a plot summary in my review, look elsewhere, as I have said this review is spoiler free, but for something quite vague, just look at IMDB’s perfect log line: “Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.” If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ll know that there is something up with inverted like time travel in this movie…but you should really just watch the movie instead of trying to solve things during my review. Speaking of espionage, this is basically Christopher Nolan’s James Bond film he’s always wanted to make, but on time and science fiction steroids. I loved every minute of it…except for the sound mixing of course. Let me change course really quickly here; I want to address some critic’s people’s problems they are having with this movie. Those that are saying its humorless? Get the fuck out of here. This movie has quite a bit of humor, as my friend and I laughed at all the stress reducing one-liners this film constantly had every five minutes. You must be out of your fucking mind if you didn’t think it had humor. “But Zach, the character’s didn’t have any back stories!” Yes, yes they absolutely did, you just weren’t paying attention and/or didn’t get why some of them didn’t seem to. One character is a CIA agent, he probably doesn’t have any family and being recruited into a top secret organization during the movie cements that, he don’t need much back story or family problems with him. Another character’s backstory, if explained to anyone that hasn’t seen this movie, would ruin the entire fucking thing. This character’s backstory is slowly revealed during the movie, which made things really interesting. The main girl protagonist had a tiny but powerful backstory motivation, and so did the fucking villain, so I don’t know what the fuck critics are talking about. They must’ve been too busy trying to follow the “convoluted” plot. Convoluted, by the way, is a word that 75% of film critics use when they can’t figure out the narrative on their own and wish they were spoon fed the plot. I’ve seen reviews for this film use that word way too often, which means that those critics probably need to watch the film several more times in order to understand that they are using the wrong adjective. Also, I think this movie had less expository dialogue and explained much less than Inception did, so why are those that loved Inception but didn’t like this even complaining? In fact, I am inclined to only agree with only one of their harsh critiques…which I don’t need to repeat what that is, as I’ve already mentioned it two to three times.

No matter if you see this film in theaters or eventually watch it when it comes out on home media, if you like intricate puzzles, fantastic visuals, a booming masterful score, pitch perfect direction, excellent performances, and you want to feel like you are on an adventure that you can just escape into (but still not turn your brain off) completely, look no further than Tenet. I loved every single solitary second and backwards second (you’ll see) of it and will definitely be making a couple of trips to the theater to put all of its pieces in place, and then several more times when it hits home media just to enjoy it by myself or with loved ones that are up to the challenge. My wife thought this movie was better than Inception…which was weird for me to hear, but whatever. My friend Josh, who I also saw this with, loved it as much as I did. I would definitely see this in the biggest yet NEWEST theater out there that there is, not necessarily in IMAX as Nolan intended it. If the sound mixing was perfect I would be recommending that format 100%. The visuals are something else, because they feel real and there is not one second of CGI that makes you cringe with how fake it looks, because there is hardly any it in general, and I honestly couldn’t tell where it was implemented. The movie is so much fun, it will take your breath away, and it will make you think about its implications long after the end title card comes up. But if you are one of those that thought Inception was hard to keep up with…uh, that’s like a walk in the park compared to this movie. Christopher Nolan has once again taken us to school, and has shown us there are still lessons to be learned in narrative storytelling, visuals, and almost all other technical film making aspects. Tenet may not be his grand opus (that still belongs to Inception in my mind), but he has made a perfect giant encore, one that you will be talking about more and more for years to come. Tenet is one of the reasons why I love going to the movies.

My ranking of Christopher Nolan films:

  1. Inception
  2. The Dark Knight
  3. The Prestige
  4. Tenet
  5. Batman Begins
  6. Interstellar
  7. Dunkirk
  8. Memento
  9. The Dark Knight Rises
  10. Insomnia
  11. Following

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC

BILL & TED FACE THE MUSIC is eerily similar to a release of a third film in a franchise that came out earlier this year, Bad Boys For Life. Both of them are my least favorite of the series thus far, but saying that is definitely non-heinous. Both films have actors that haven’t been in their roles for a long time. Both films actually have more plot than their previous entries in the series. The movies have sweet messages that are very much needed in this nightmare world we are living in right now. However, both movies are a bit awkwardly directed and maybe someone else should’ve been picked for the job, but hey, you get what you pay for, and these sequels were made on relatively smaller budgets than their first entries. But I mean, even on a small budget, it shouldn’t be THAT hard to get the same actor in dual roles in one frame of a shot, instead of doing a shit ton of shot/reverse shots…right? It sounds like a minor complaint, but considering the Bill & Ted series has to do with time travel, confronting different versions of yourself & that the previous movies were able to get both Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter in one frame when they were interacting with those dual versions…doesn’t that seem a bit…unforgivable? There are so many quick cut shot/reverse shots in this it was starting to give me a bogus headache. But I digress, the rest of the movie is quite excellent, it’s well acted, it’s funny, it ends the series on a pitch perfect climax and has one of the best after credit scenes I’ve ever seen. Highly recommend that you face your wallet and that you try and take this journey or adventure whenever you’ve got the time, and if you haven’t seen any of the series yet, what are you waiting for?

This series is unique by the fact that both Bill & Ted are just lovable, dumb, clueless, yet sweet goofballs that always do their best to try and do the right thing. They don’t really get mad at anybody, they don’t hold grudges, they don’t curse anyone out or fight anyone. IMDB describes Face The Music as such: “Once told they’d save the universe during a time-traveling adventure, 2 would-be rockers from San Dimas, California find themselves as middle-aged dads still trying to crank out a hit song and fulfill their destiny.” In the third entry, they still are very much in love with their princess wives and interact and love their offspring who are just smarter girl versions of themselves (same mannerisms and all). They have spent three decades trying to save the world, and when we finally see them again, 29 years after the last movie, they haven’t given up. They are still that loyal to the cause. That’s what makes this film unique, is that any other franchise sequel would’ve had them estranged from their wives, turned them into jerks so that they could have a redemption story line, and/or be awful parents and then try to turn them into good parents by films end. Nope, none of that, their only real problem in this is that they only have seventy something minutes to write the song that saves the world, and each time they travel into the future to try and steal the song from themselves, they just get further and further from their goal it seems. It’s quite a simple story, but it is one that ties up everything from the first two films and ends the series pretty much perfectly. Speaking of writing and playing the song that is supposed to unite and save the world, everybody and their mom watching this movie knows that the screenplay writers (Ed Solomon & Chris Matheson wrote all three entries thankfully) could never ever write a good enough song to save the world, so how is this movie going to solve that realistic dilemma without cutting to black right before they play it, a cheap move that a lot of other movies would’ve done to get around that narrative problem? Don’t worry, I won’t reveal what the film does, but needless to say, I didn’t see their solution to that problem coming.

At first I was worried that Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter would’ve seemed off when they first appeared on screen, having not played those roles in 29 years. But they haven’t missed a step. They ARE Bill & Ted, and from minute one you know they are going to be the same lovable duo you grew up watching when you were a kid. I won’t reveal much of their adventure here, but needless to say, it tries to combine the adventures from the first and second movies, mix it together, and make them unique for the third, and I say that everyone pulled it off pretty well. When Reeves and Winter aren’t on screen and stealing the show, it’s the actresses that play their daughters, Samara Weaving & Brigette Lundy-Paine that do. They got all of Bill & Ted’s mannerism and ways of speaking down pat. And when all four of them aren’t on screen, Anthony Carrigan, who plays NoHo Hank on HBO’s Barry, steals it out from under everyone else. I dare not reveal who his character is, but he is the most unrecognizable one of the bunch. And other than the too many shot/reverse shots, the special effects work well enough within the context of the film (definitely better than the first two for sure), and I thought the climax was a bit visually stunning. It’s just a solid good film that maybe could’ve been perfect if they had had a different director and bigger budget. Sorry Dean Parisot, but your one great film, Galaxy Quest, will always be #1 in my heart…but then again you had more money there. Bill & Ted Face The Music is just a nice, sweet movie with a good heart that we need right now, because in 2020, unfortunately no one is excellent to each other, and people keep partying on in a bad way, trying to ignore a virus for political and selfish reasons. I can bet we are all wishing for a phone booth time machine right about now to get out of this hellhole. For now, this film will do.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE NEW MUTANTS

Prepare yourselves for one of the only few slightly positive reviews for THE NEW MUTANTS you are likely to ever get. That’s because A. it wasn’t screened for critics, which in turn B. pissed them off, whining about not getting screeners so that they instead just wrote articles on how they won’t review it because they refuse to go to a theater during COVID-19, C. Hardly any reviews at all, and D. Those that did go to a theater to review it were probably biased to write a bad review because of the film’s history and are still pissed off that they didn’t get a screener. So who ya gonna trust? Regular people like me that aren’t quite professional critics that can and will brave a trip to the theaters. And ones that will judge a movie fairly and don’t have an agenda de-testing theaters and trying to essentially destroy their day jobs. So what do regular people think of the movie? Eh, we think it’s okay. In parts it is actually quite good. But it isn’t as bad as real critics are making it out to be, calling it “the worst X-Men film ever,” or “dumb dumb, so fucking dumb.” No, for us that easily goes to Origins: Wolverine or the abysmal, abysmal Dark Phoenix. This movie will unfortunately be known for its history more than the final product: being filmed back in 2017, 20th Century Fox at the time and producer Simon Kinberg at odds with the director, them almost scrapping the movie altogether and starting from scratch, setting up reshoots that never happened, endless delays in its release date, 20th Century Fox being bought by Disney, Kinberg’s awful Dark Phoenix receiving terrible reviews and hardly any money, and then Disney having the original director come back and edit and finish up the film, supposed to have come out in April, COVID-19 fucked things up again, and then just finally dumping the film out when theaters decided to re open even though the pandemic isn’t over.

At the end of the day, The New Mutants slightly works for me because of the characters, the acting, and the 2nd half with the action and special effects was actually quite thrilling. However the story, unfocused tone, and lack of scares really didn’t do it any favors.Per IMDB, it describes The New Mutants as: “Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.” The real big problem with the movie is the story. There isn’t much of one except the relationship journey of the characters as they’re escaping the facility. There are demons haunting them in this “asylum” like place, but there weren’t any demons until this new young patient came along. So it’s pretty easy to figure out the film’s “secrets” and what happens during the rest of it only ten minutes in. After a really awful looking and blurry beginning, and once all the new, young mutants meet, it’s all their about their personalities eventually learning to accept each other and work as a team. The personality angle absolutely works and along with their acting, makes up for what doesn’t work, which is quite a bit. This movie was marketed from the get-go as being a “scary movie” X-Men Universe film. There are some horror aspects in this film, and one or two things work well, such as the tall and lanky Smiley Men (you’ll see), but other than that, there are absolutely no scares in this movie, not even cheap jump ones. It’s the Breakfast Club stuff that works. Since we all know that Disney will now transition the X-Men to the MCU since they own the characters now, this is going to be the last film in this universe.

And even though there are only a few small references to the past films, there aren’t any big cameos from anyone you know, but fortunately the movie’s story ends and doesn’t really set up any sequels. I’m thankful Disney won’t play with and fuck up the timeline anymore than its already been fucked up by pedophile Singer and co. Brand new slate. There is even a nice LGBTQ love story in this, between Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams and Blu Hunt’s characters that was well fleshed out and felt realistic. And Anya-Taylor Joy is bad ass in this as Magik, with her dead on perfect Russian accent. I also enjoyed Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton’s southern twang drawl. Their interactions with each other and their dialogue are the best parts of the film, and kept me interested the whole way through. Alice Braga, as this asylum’s doctor, is kind of ho-hum until near the end of the film. Wish it would’ve given her a little more to do other than just inject the kids with syringes. And again, the 2nd half is much better than the first. The first takes awhile to get going, but once it does it chugs along at a decent pace, and then once the 2nd half hits it was smooth sailing till end credits. The 2nd half had pretty damn good special effects too. Although I’ve heard of conflicting reports about writer/director Josh Boone’s personality, I think I can safely say that I’m happy he got to complete his vision without it ultimately being tarnished by the studio…other than it’s dumped release. It’s not top tier X-Men, it isn’t even middle tier X-Men (see my ranking of all 20th Century Fox X-Men Universe films below), but it was better than a handful of the lower tier…which really ain’t half bad when you think about it. But then again, how hard is it to be better than fucking Dark Phoenix?

My ranking of all the 20th Century Fox X-Men Films:

  1. Logan
  2. X2
  3. Days of Future Past
  4. First Class
  5. Deadpool 2
  6. The Wolverine
  7. X-Men
  8. Deadpool
  9. The New Mutants
  10. Apocalypse
  11. The Last Stand
  12. Origins: Wolverine
  13. Dark Phoenix

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: ALL TOGETHER NOW (Netflix)

ALL TOGETHER NOW has a very generic first half but the move is saved with its emotional 2nd half and a strong performance by Disney’s Moana…err, I mean Auli’i Cravahlo. And when I say a generic first half, I mean generic. Per IMDB’s log line of the film: “An optimistic high schooler with musical aspirations must learn to accept help from her friends to overcome her personal hardships and fulfill her dreams.” I mean…in the words of Chandler Bing…could that description BE any more generic? Let’s try Wikpedia’s description…shit, it doesn’t have one…well what about Rotten Tomatoes?: “An optimistic, talented teen clings to a huge secret: She’s homeless and living on a bus. When tragedy strikes, can she learn to accept a helping hand?” There we go, a little better. IMDB’s log line and All Together Now’s generic poster of Moana and her friends together and laughing in the back of a van is very misleading. Those friends, other than the male love interest, are hardly even in the film. To go a bit further with the description of the film, she’s homeless with her mother and she’s lives in a bus because that is the mother’s job, a school bus driver, and they come back late at night when no one is at the lot and fall asleep in the seats. There are plenty of things that the movie gets wrong in the first half. It’s all very cliched dialogue of how Moana is a good person, doesn’t ever accept help and can hide her secret by distracting people from conversations; of course her mom wants them to move back in with her drunk and abusive boyfriend, and you know the scene where they are supposed to get caught sleeping on the bus to advance the plot further? Nope, not there. Apparently it just happens to the mom off screen and she just tells her daughter they can’t stay there anymore because she was caught and fired. There are also several narratives of a school talent show that Moana was organizing to get the school band a new tuba and then her cliched relationship with a stubborn old white lady (played at least to perfection by the great Carol Brunett) in a retirement home that seemed like it is going through the standard cliched motions. But then the movie sucker punches you, hard. Very hard. Something happens that you don’t see coming.

And I’m not going to reveal it here. You’ll will know what I mean if you decide to take a chance on it. After that low blow punch in the feels, the movie completely pivots, and even though is still a tad predictable where it ends up going, there were still some surprises in store I didn’t see coming, the narrative earns your emotions, and the dialogue and acting from others start to match Moana’s and bring everything together to a solid close. Part of the movie reveals that Moana is a really talented musician (no shit?), and even though she is poor, she gets invited to audition for a top tier music college and she has to fly to Philadelphia for it. And while I guessed correctly some of the threads that were going to end up happening with that trip, I made a grand prediction what would happen to the climax with it, and I was dead wrong. I’m glad the narrative proved to me that I was going a bit too fast with it. All in all, this is actually a half way decent one time watch from Netflix, and if the plot and narrative don’t end up winning you over, Auli’i Cravahlo’s performance definitely will. She is more than just a voice actress, and I’m glad she has proven herself. Looking forward to more (and hopefully better) live action projects in the future. Speaking of performances, Fred Armisen has a bit part in this as one of Moana’s teachers. It is the most straight laced I’ve ever seen in a performance from him, as he’s a weird human being in general. However…some of that weirdness still seeped through and I wish they had cast someone else in that small role. This movie happens to be based off a novel (and he co-wrote this screenplay) by Matthew Quick, who also wrote the novel which was turned into a masterful movie called Silver Linings Playbook. The novel also has a better title than this movie, “Sorta Like A Rock Star,” which makes more sense in the long run the further the movie chugs along. Silver Linings Playbook this is not, but I guess the silver lining to that is maybe it just didn’t need to be. It’s fine on its own.