Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE SOCIAL DILEMMA (Netflix)

Believe it or not, some people have been clamoring for a sequel to The Social Network for years. There have been rumblings of a direct sequel for about a decade now and also talks of film ‘spiritual’ successors based on the creations of Snapchat, Google, Instagram, Twitter, and even Pinterest. Alas, we still don’t have a true companion piece to the masterful David Fincher film, probably due to the fact that the creation of all those other social media accounts I listed probably don’t have as interesting as an origin as Facebook did. Until now. And while THE SOCIAL DILEMMA is a documentary first and foremost, combined with about 10 to 15 minutes of stupid and hammy fictitious drama footage, the cause and effect correlation between The Social Network and this film is extraordinarily impactful. Those of you on the edge of going off the grid and deleting all of your social media accounts but were looking for a real good reason to do so, watch this film immediately. All others, like myself, while it might not get you deleting all of you presence, you might consider changing the way you behave on all your platforms, so you don’t succumb to the depression and anxiety a lot of people experience on the internet today. Per IMDB, it describes this film as such: “In a new documentary-drama hybrid, The Social Dilemma exxplores the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.” To answer your first question, no, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t one of the people interviewed and sounding the alarm…but definitely expect him to show up and be talked about at some point during the movie.

This documentary would’ve been a masterpiece if it weren’t for the stupid, god awful, hammy drama portion of the hybrid. The drama portion of the film stars The Binge’s, Vacation, and Santa Clarita Diet’s Skylar Gisondo and his fictitious family navigating the impact of social media in their lives. The mom realizes what it is doing to her family, and when she tries to take phones away or make deals with her children to keep off their phones, one of Skylar’s sister’s does something to get her phone back that I don’t think even the nastiest young kid would do in front of their family. While Skylar’s part in this is a little bit more realistic than that of his sister, the ending of his story and obsession is so god awful you will want to ask the filmmakers why they even put those parts in it in the first place. The drama portion also stars Mad Men’s Vincent Kartheiser as a “social media data researcher and manipulator.” It’s stupid too, and if you are confused what I mean by that, you’ll know it when you see it. We didn’t need dramatic fictitious reenacments played out, just the facts. You are going to want to fast forward through them just so we can get back to listening to these real social media creators explain how they should’ve seen this dystopia coming from a long way away while they were trying to create a utopia of digital connections. The documentary portion of this is perfect, not only does it state the facts, and prove beyond a reasonable doubt what it is doing to our society, but it gives you a shit ton of solutions of how we can get out of it. And yes, it even talks about both sides of the “fake news” debate coin. We should’ve gotten 15 to 20 minutes more of that and cut out the dramatic fat. I won’t talk about the movie anymore, as you should just seek it out and find it on Netflix and watch it when you can, as it is required viewing…except for what I already recommended that you fast forward through. Doing that won’t cause any kind of dilemma.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE BINGE (Hulu)

THE BINGE is almost literally the same movie as Good Boys…but On Drugs. But don’t worry, the kids are 18 in this, and considering the year this takes place in, I’m surprised that they didn’t just use the characters from that movie and have that be the title of the sequel.The Binge is also a sort of, semi-parody of The Purge movies, described so eloquently in IMDB’s log line for the film: “Set in a time where all drugs and alcohol are illegal, the only day anyone can participate in the “fun” is on Binge day.” The year is 2032, where teenagers that just hit 18 don’t even know what a keg stand is anymore. You’d think maybe it should’ve been ten more years into the future (2042) for that notion to be believable, but believe me when I tell you this, to enjoy this movie, completely leave all logic and reasoning at the door before you hit PLAY. This is a teen comedy if there ever was one. There are drug jokes, dick jokes, sex jokes, crude humor up the wazoo, almost as bad if not worse of the amount there was in Good Boys. Other than The Purge angle, this movie is completely unoriginal. It’s about three friends, one who wants to ask his school Principal’s daughter (who he’s known since he was a kid) to prom. One of them just wants to go to this annual Binge party, take place in a competition there called The Gauntlet, and have sex with one of the hottest girls in school. The last one is that token weirdo that says random ass shit with dead pan delivery we’ve come accustomed to in films like this. You HAVE to watch this movie in a good mood (or at least be able to want to be in a good mood), because if you do, like I did, you are going to have a fantastic and hilarious time. If you aren’t in a good mood and don’t want to have a fantastic time, like most regular critics are with the film, you are just going to rip it a new asshole in terms of originality and the fact that the movie doesn’t do nearly enough to develop how a day like this might really play out in the real world. At least today, I don’t care how unoriginal this film was and we are living in a country that doesn’t give two fucks what it does during a pandemic right now, so I certainly don’t want to watch something that is eerily reminiscent of what we are going through. I just wanted to laugh and I haven’t laughed this hard since last month’s Palm Springs. To conclude this introductory paragraph, Hulu is KILLING IT this year with original movies. I just put The Binge on my top 20 list, and along with Palm Springs, I don’t think I see a Netflix film on there. That’s saying something.

Two out of the three friends are from the recent movie Booksmart, and the main main protagonist Griffin, you might recognize as Skylar Gizondo. He stole the show in Booksmart but really stole every scene in Netflix’s great original series that was cancelled too early, Santa Clarita Diet. He plays it straight here…until he’s on drugs and alcohol. The other two teenagers, played by Dexter Darden and Eduardo Franco, get their moments to shine and made me laugh constantly. Speaking of playing it straight, Vince Vaughn is in this and he plays the school’s principal and the father of the girl that Griffin wants to ask to prom. Mr. Vaughn, even though being the ‘and’ in the opening credits, is in this much more than you initially probably think he would be. At first Vaughn plays the typical stuck up father old man role that hates the annual Binge night (although still with that stinging classic improv from him that makes you do several double takes to understand what just came out of his mouth), but as every minute of the movie ticks by, and the more scenes he is in, the Wedding Crasher comes out of him, and by the end of it he ends up being the funniest he’s ever been since that classic 2005 film. It’s just a really funny fucking movie. There is so much random shit in it, such as really funny auto-correct texting jokes, a giant bar multi-person bicycle, and cocaine in a cow’s eyeball that, for an hour and 38 minutes, made me forget about these shitty times the whole world is going through. I didn’t expect a masterpiece. Sure, you are going to have to suspend your believe in how much drugs and alcohol some of the lead characters do and somehow they still A. survive and B. seem sober the next minute. Especially involving one part of The Gauntlet competition where you have to snort as much cocaine as you can and when you aren’t snorting you have to do an Al Pacino Scarface impression. Yeah, I shit you not, that is in this movie. There is even an end of second act random drug trip lovely musical sequence. The film right now is doing TERRIBLE critically, it’s 22% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is one time where I completely disagree with the critics. They are especially being too harsh on the film, and you can tell all of them completely brought their brain into the mix when they hit the PLAY button. They are calling it irresponsible, inate, and wasted potential. I have a feeling that some of these critics just can’t be put into a good mood right now. I understand. But you have to WANT to be in a good mood to enjoy a film like this. And trust me, with 2020, every minute I want to binge on a high of good moods.