Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CLOUDS (Disney+)

I’m surprised that with CLOUDS, Disney didn’t send a box of tissues to every Plus subscriber with the instructions on the box reading, “Open, then stick directly to face before pressing play.” Good lord that son of a bitch mouse has rarely tickled any of our balls to make us laugh until we cry but he sure has punched us in the gut a shit ton for the same effect. Here’s the good thing though with this movie, the acting and story EARNS those tears instead of going for forced and cliched feels that have tricked many a young millennial time and time again. Every studio is guilty of this, even Disney, but every studio is also capable and has made films that are worthy of your sobs. Like this one, as Clouds is easily Disney+’s best original film to date, not that it has had that much competition. But be forewarned, YOU WILL BE CRYING NIAGARA FALLS BY THE END OF THIS FILM. If you don’t, then you are probably a Trump supporter. IMDB describes Cloud, which is based on a real story, with the following log line, “Young musician¬†Zach Sobiech¬†discovers his cancer has spread, leaving him just a few months to live. With limited time, he follows his dream and makes an album, unaware that it will soon be a viral music phenomenon.” The movie doesn’t try to make you cry right off the bat, absolutely not, as that Zach knew the severity of his situation and just tried to live a normal life anyway. He also seemed to have a very earnest and winning personality, as he seemed to inspire a lot of people in regular life before he went viral. He wasn’t all ‘woe is me and give me attention’ because I’m in pain, he was inspired by the power of music, happened to just think up of a song, recorded it, uploaded it to YouTube, and his story just spread fast, in a good way.

And the acting in this movie reflects that greatly. You probably don’t know him, but actor Fin Argus is phenomenal here. He brings something to Zach that feels unique and genuine, which makes you root for his character to ultimately live even though you probably know the end fate. He isn’t the only great acting job here. Sabrina Carpenter, who plays his musical as well best friend, completely makes up for Netflix’s piece of cliched film Work It that came out a couple of months ago, and proves again why she was too good for Girl Meets World. Lil Rel Howery, who plays the TSA agent friend in Get Out tones down his Kevin Hart persona and brings some heartfelt personality to his inspirational teacher to Zach role. Tom Everett Scott, who was the go to good guy role in the mid 90s, gives us his best performance since That Thing You Do! Madison Iseman made up for the recent Welcome To Blumhouse Amazon Prime film Nocturne that came out earlier this week, playing the girlfriend with the heart of gold here. But the truly impressive performance here, is surprisingly Sydney Prescott herself, Neve Campbell, giving us her best performance ever, and completely shedding her horror ‘Scream’ Queen role. She plays Zach’s mother, and while the role could’ve ended up being very cliched and typical ‘mother’-esque from another actress, she transcends those preconceived character beats and makes the mother a different kind of sympathetic character. It’s hard to explain what I mean, but I guarantee you that by the end of this film that you won’t see an ounce of Sydney Prescott in her performance. GUARANTEE IT. The film is also based off of Zach’s mother’s book ‘Fly A Little Higher’ and I don’t think the person that wrote the screenplay, Kara Holden, or the person that directed it, Justin Baldoni, have done much else but they both did a pretty good job here, Holden trying to write past the cliches and giving the audience something that feels a little more real and inspirational, and Baldoni matching that script with filming fantastic performances. I loved a little moment in the movie where Sabrina Carpenter’s character reads a shitty comment that some asshole left on their YouTube video. Zach’s dialogue and response to it were perfect. Clouds is the perfect tearjerker right now that has nothing to do with COVID-19. Will probably even make you forget about it for two hours, and you’ll download the film’s song the title came from immediately afterward.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: WORK IT (Netflix)

Holy shit…if I was really that lazy I would just go back and copy my review of Feel The Beat, paste it on here, change the names and move a couple of things around a bit and BOOM!…you have my review of Netflix’s new and yet…**groan**…another dance competition movie…WORK IT. Starring a former Disney star/singer/actress that is too good for this shitty material. I mean…really Netflix? Feel The Beat was less than two months ago, and you are going to put out yet another dance competition movie in so short a time that it is literally comparing rotten apples to rotten apples? You could’ve held this thing till January and still had some of your pride intact. But no, because of coronavirus, you are running out of shit to put on the streaming service, so here we are. “But Zach, Feel The Beat was more like a family friendly version of Bad News Bears meets a competition movie where as Work It is more of a high school Pitch Perfect homage.” Um…no, they are the same film, they both have almost the exact same plot beats (they even fucking advance from the first round due to technicalities, this film actually uses that word for fuck’s sake!), they have the exact same formula, and since there is little to distinguish one sack of crap from the other…it is called a RIP OFF. Work It is a rip off. It is almost the exact same film Pitch Perfect is, but dancing instead of acapella. Is there a love interest for our protagonist? Absolutely. Is there a dumb bad acting asshole villain from a rival dance team? Does a bear shit in the woods?

The director of Work It is the same director as…NOTHING! That’s right, Netflix couldn’t even hire an good experienced choreographer where it would’ve given them a nice shot and pushed their limits a little working on something like this. Nope, they went for the safe and easy cheap option and hired someone with little to no experience with the subject matter. And the screenplay writer has only written one other screenplay…the critically and commercially slammed Ugly Dolls of last year. And now we get to Work It, which IMDB lamely describes as: “When Quinn Ackerman’s admission to the college of her dreams depends on her performance at a dance competition, she forms a ragtag group of dancers to take on the best squad in school…now she just needs to learn how to dance.” **YAWN**. Let’s look at IMDB’s description of Pitch Perfect, shall we? “Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.” It’s. The. Same. Movie. Look, this movie is so mediocre I was guessing what would happen ten minutes before it happened and every time it ended up proving me correct on screen, my wife, who was watching the film with me, kept giving me the finger. On about the 4th or 5th time my wife gave me the same hand gesture for “fuck you, I hate it when you are right,” I said, “look sweetie, you’ve been with me for 11 years, I’ve taught you all about this Screenplay 101 laziness bullshit…don’t hate the player, hate the game.”

Now let’s get to you Sabrina Carpenter. I’m going to talk directly to you except that I know you are never going to read this because you don’t take common folk like me seriously. So I’m just talking to myself. But alas, I have to say…YOU ARE TOO GOOD OF AN ACTRESS TO BE ACCEPTING SHITTY ROLES SUCH AS THIS JUST TO PROMOTE SEVERAL OF YOUR ORIGINAL SONGS FOR YOUR SINGING CAREER. You were easily the best part of this movie. I know you can dance in real life and the way you pulled off having to act like you didn’t know how, was quite believable. Look, you were good in The Hate U Give as the friend/bigot villain and right when Girl Meets World premiered, everybody watching the pilot episode with me said you were too good in it to actually be on that show. Fire your agent, and get someone that is going to take your talents a little more seriously. You are the only reason why I made it to the end of this film. That and some of the dancing was fun to watch. But the mediocre cliched love story, the cliched plot beats, the cliched dialogue, the really bad predictability bogged down the movie too much for me to have even pressed ‘Play’ in the first place. I don’t know why I did, maybe because I had nothing better to do? Fuck you coronavirus. At least it looked like you had fun making this movie Sabrina, everybody else knew what they were in and looked like they wanted to dance themselves to death. Netflix, stop producing or financing this kind of rip off content. You are better than this. You need to work it to keep our subscriptions.