ZACH’S ZANY TV SPECIAL REVIEWS: FRIENDS – THE REUNION (HBO MAX)

If you are a die hard Friends fan like I am, and you can’t really see through the glitz and glamour of what the producers of this special have given you…if wool is constantly covering your eyes and you don’t nitpick shit to death just so that your vision of “crystal clear” is happening while you are watching something you were eagerly anticipating, well then, feel lucky, because FRIENDS: THE REUNION is right up your alley. And if you aren’t fans of the show, well, you already know this isn’t for you.

Let this review come with a warning. Not only are my wife and I die hard Friends fans, but we could kick any of your asses in a trivia contest of the show. We have watched the entire series maybe 6 to 7 times over and can quote lines that don’t come up for another couple of scenes. We have the Lego sets of Central Perk and the recently new released one of the Apartments. We have Funko pops of them, we have trivia games on the show that are so tedious and boring because it doesn’t challenge us. So needless to say, if you tried to one up us on your knowledge of the show, you better bring your A plus game.

But I digress, I’m back to one of my rare longer reviews today (the last one I did was maybe the best & worst films of 2020 5 months ago), but hopefully not too long, to tell you that I didn’t think the Friends Reunion was all that special. And it wasn’t because of our six famous friends, Courteney Cox, David Schwimmer, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston, Matt LeBlanc, & Matthew Perry. They were great, and whenever they were all on screen, just telling stories & reminiscing, it was wonderful. That alone is why I’m giving the whole thing a passing grade, because those parts (and the interviews with the shows creators, behind the scenes footage, and the tales of how they got cast for the roles in the first place) are wonderful. It’s the bullshit filler, it’s fucking annoying James Corden as the host, it’s the blink and you’ll miss them cameos from recurring guests like Maggie Wheeler, Tom Selleck & Elliot Gould (they are literally there for less than a minute), it’s the random celebrity cameos WHO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FUCKING SHOW WHEN IT AIRED & it’s the complete absence of PAUL RUDD EVEN BEING MENTION LET ALONE NOT SHOWING UP…that made this thing an only one time watch for me.

This could’ve been 5 to 6 hours of just the cast (& special guests and recurring cast members that were on/had to do with the show) on the set of Central Perk, or in their apartment sets, or even the fountain location, or a mix match of them all, just talking and reminiscing, and it would’ve been better than what we got here. Sure, there are highlights like the cast actually playing the game again from the episode “The One With The Embryos” (my personal favorite episode), but it is short lived and doesn’t go on for very long. Instead, there were was too much filler. There was too many old clips of the show that I’ve seen a dozen times before. Now don’t get me wrong, showing takes that didn’t make it (for example, Matt LeBlanc’s arm coming out of his socket in the episode “The One Where No One’s Ready) and seeing them react to old bloopers was great, I’m talking about the parts where they are re-doing scenes from classic episodes in a new round table. Instead of just letting the cast do their thing and watching them try to become these characters again on their own (but much older), they inter splice their new performances w/old clips from the show. Hey dumbass producers, any Friends uber fan would know how they performed it back then, we just want to see them solely perform it again now. We don’t need those old clips spliced in as member berries, it ruins their performance that they are trying to complete now. (By the way, Lisa Kudrow was the best of them all, able to slip into character with the high pitch noises so easily even though she’s 57 years old now).

But what was most annoying was the bullshit filler. I’m talking about either:

A. Celebrities like David Beckham or Mindy Kaling, who were never on the show and had nothing to do with its production, telling us what the show meant to them

B. Random fucking people around the world who were never on the show and had nothing to do with its production, telling us what the show meant to them

C. Dumb fucking cameos from Cara Delevigne, Cindy Crawford, or Justin Fucking Beiber (WHO AGAIN HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SHOW! The only extended interview cameo they got right was Reese Witherspoon)

When put together, all those stupid interviews and footage probably consisted of 20 to 30 minutes of the 1 hr 40 minute special…where instead we should’ve just got another 20 to 30 minutes of the core cast just shooting the shit. Listen, I DO NOT GIVE TOO SHITS OF WHAT DAVID BECKHAM, MINDY KALING, OR SOME RANDOM WOMAN FROM CHINA THINK ABOUT THE SHOW OR HOW IT IMPACTED THEIR LIVES. I care about the fucking core cast and how they all got along so well without any drama for 10 straight years. You don’t hear about that shit happening anymore…well that’s not true, I heard The Office pulled off that feat too, and the Seinfeld cast did it, and the It’s Always Sunny gang are still going strong…but still. We still have all 6 core cast alive, and you have them in a room together again? And for the last time? STICK WITH ONLY THEM!

And why fucking James Corden as host? Hasn’t he been controversial as shit lately with his choice of roles and outside fame behavior? Why him? You know what would’ve been the icing on the cake? Fucking Paul Rudd being the host. I guarantee you if the producers would’ve paid him the same amount of $ that they paid the core cast to come back here one last time, he would’ve fucking done it. And you don’t have Janice, Richard, Gunther, Mr. Heckles, or Monica’s parents just to show up for two seconds to say hi. You bring them in for about 10 minutes each to discuss what they love so much about being on the show and share stories as well. I do not care about someone that is currently fucking Posh Spice to say why he rewatches the series every now and then. I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. It should’ve been Paul Rudd as host and the just core cast, recurring special guests and creators in a multi set sit down, just reminiscing. God damn it that would’ve been something spectacular.

And I know some of you were wanting a true reunion special. What I mean is a scripted hour or two hour long episode, with a story line that updates their characters and where they are at (although the reunion briefly touches upon what the cast think their characters would be up to now, which was brief but nice). But we don’t need an episode like that, because the Friends ending was perfect. And to those Gen Z’ers that said that Rachel gave up her dream job for a man, go fucking fuck yourself. She gave up her dream job for HER FAMILY to be together. Not just her, Emma and Ross, but Monica, Chandler, Phoebe & Joey as well (let’s pretend that Joey didn’t move to California and have a shitty two season abysmal spin off series). Rachel, as a character, truly transcended those 10 seasons where she could’ve gotten any big job she wanted back in New York. Fuck your whiny ass woke shit. I’m tired of it.

But if there were an episode, pray tell me, how would it work? They all moved out of their respective apartments, save for Ross and Joey (if you don’t count the spin off series), so you couldn’t really have them in Monica’s Purple apartment again. I don’t know, I’m just glad they left well enough alone. I had an idea if they did do a true reunion special, and I’ll go ahead and share it since I’m just blabbing at this point. If they did a true reunion show, it should’ve went “Bo Peep, Toy Story 4 style”, and maybe had given the character of Joey a proper ending. Although the episode couldn’t have happened now, but instead maybe 7 years ago, on the 10th anniversary of the show ending. It could’ve have Joey still in show business but just getting these odds and ends supporting roles that didn’t really give him anything to do. But suddenly, he’s offered the role of a lifetime that could use his acting talents to his advantage for once, there is only one problem. The movie script is about an older male going through a mid life crisis, and Joey still feels like he has enough youth left in him that he doesn’t want to leave younger roles behind & be type cast as an older actor. So the Friends get together in New York to push Joey to just accept the role and move on from the past. He accepts the movie, and he gets nominated for a bunch of awards & finally gets taken seriously as an actor, even though he hasn’t lost any of his charm. And without ruining any of the other characters, you could have had minor side stories with the other core cast. You could have Monica & Chandler try to visit whoever is living in her purple apartment now, and when they get a look inside, it is messy as fuck and Monica, Chandler, and their 10 year old kids clean it up but they remodel it to basically look like it did before. You could have Mike and Phoebe with a couple of kids of their own, and maybe he or she has some kind of a job offer where they would move out of New York. Maybe the same for Ross & Rachel, but instead where maybe Carol, Susan & Ben are going to move across the country and whether or not they should keep their whole family together. It all has to do with letting go of the past to move onto something new. Something simple, and nothing that completely alters the ending of the original series, but to just give Joey a proper ending, and some other side characters too like Carol, Susan & Ben.

But I digress, that was a pipe dream of mine and it will never happen. I’m here reviewing the reunion special we got and will just conclude my rant by saying that while I was disappointed in it (quite a bit at certain points), I still enjoyed watching it for the most part…but I just wish it was better planned out. I mean, the whole thing was fucking delayed a year by the God damn fucking pandemic…you are telling me they couldn’t have looked at what they had planned and made a couple of changes? This seemed a little last minute put together. Oh well. The special didn’t ruin the original show, it just made me want to watch it all over again for the 7th or 8th time and isn’t that what truly matters?

6.5 out of 10

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: RUN (Hulu)

RUN is yet another film that was supposed to debut in theaters earlier this year but got postponed because of you know what, Hulu ended up buying the rights back in August, and now here we are. It was originally supposed to come out Mother’s Day weekend in May, which if it would have made that release date, without revealing anything it would’ve been quite fitting and ironic. Let me start off by saying that Run is a good movie. It is tension filled with some incredible white knuckle suspense sequences and masterful acting from both veteran Sarah Paulson and newcomer Kiera Allen. What prevents it from becoming a great film is the fact that the twists and reveals were way too predictable. I know that I’m a good guesser, but if my wife comes into the living room near the beginning of a movie, watches only two minutes, and ends up going, “well this is obviously that and also that is obviously this,” then YOUR MOVIE IS WAY TOO PREDICTABLE. My wife doesn’t really like horror films or thrillers of this nature and if she can come in and guess the reveals to something she can’t stand and doesn’t have a whole lot of knowledge of (even putting into consideration she has learned from the best for 11 years now), that doesn’t bode too well. And she wasn’t even present when the movie got to the reveals an hour later to get the credit she so well deserved (this review is about to be published sweetie, to give you credit where it is due). But, the movie is still too good with every other aspect in its film making to not give it a recommendation. This is one of Hulu’s better originals to be sure.

IMDB describes Run with the following: “A homeschooled teenager begins to suspect her mother is keeping a dark secret from her.” To give you a bit more background on the movie, without you having to watch a trailer (trust me, don’t watch the trailer), the teenager can’t walk or run, she’s in a wheelchair, and has a bunch of other medical problems, basically preventing her from being on her own outside the house, if at all. Surely you are putting two and two together? If not, watch the very first scene in the movie, which is about 2 to 3 minutes long (the movie is a tight and short hour and 30), and the full puzzle should be glued and/or cemented together for you. It isn’t hard. I was hoping that I was wrong and that the movie was trying to successfully pull a double red herring on me, alas, it wasn’t. What you end up thinking is going on, you’re probably right. Let’s not go too deep into this criticism of predictability anymore, let’s talk about the good stuff. Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen could teach a master class of acting with this one movie alone. Both are incredible, Paulson proving that she deserves to be put on that pedestal so many of her fans put her on, and Kiera Allen proving that she deserves to be put in more projects. This is set in stone especially after the reveals if you weren’t already convinced. Other than their acting, the real reason to watch this movie is some of the incredible, white-knuckle, emotional, tension-filled “action” scenes. To not spoil anything, I won’t give you much context, let’s just say there is a scene where a character scales a roof that is perfect in its execution, and the climax in general was also perfect in its execution along with the character arc conclusion. That’s all I’ll say. The co-writer/director Aneesh Chaganty, who directed the laptop thriller Searching, proves with Run that he has the skills to direct more Hitchcockian thriller things like this and someday even become a household name. While Run on the whole isn’t a blast off, story wise, start in a race against other thrillers with less predictability, it’s a huge head start in terms of effectively executing tension and thrills.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE PRINCESS SWITCH: SWITCHED AGAIN (Netflix)

Were they even trying with the sequel title or is it supposed to be an homage to Die Hard 2: Die Harder? Doesn’t matter. I’m just going to be blunt, THE PRINCESS SWITCH: SWITCHED AGAIN aka The Princess Switch 2 suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccckkkssss. Awful. Abysmal. About a billion lazy story/script choices, the fake CGI snow is fucking distracting, Vanessa Hudgens new 3rd character is on the spectrum bad, and many other nitpicks that would make this review about 5 pages long. Not going to do that. This movie doesn’t deserve to be talked about that much. This is one of the most unnecessary sequels of all time and nobody involved in this movie is trying to hide that this was a blatant greedy cash grab. I never reviewed the first movie on this Word Press blog, and while it wasn’t the greatest little take on The Prince and the Pauper story that I’ve seen, it was cute enough and serviceable, mainly because of Vanessa Hudgens performance. When she plays wholesome characters, her acting shines…and that’s mainly because she isn’t so wholesome in real life…just look at her almost NSFW social media pages…especially Instagram. Also do you remember earlier this year when COVID-19 started spreading and killing people? Do you remember that she was caught on an Instagram story saying, “well like…people die, ya know?” and a bunch of other questionable comments about the state of the world at that time? I ‘member. But this critique is not going to go into how much of an attention whore, sleazy sexual person and kind of dummy that Ms. Hudgens (and her sister Stella) seem to be in real life, this critique is all about this abomination of a sequel that she got a producer credit on, because “Look at me! I funded money to a project! Look at me! LOOK AT MY GOD DAMN NAME IN THE CREDITS BECAUSE I WANT GOD DAMN CREDIT AND ATTENTION!!!”

IMDB describes the movie with the following: “When Duchess Margaret unexpectedly inherits the throne to Montenaro and hits a rough patch with Kevin, it’s up to her double Stacy to save the day before a new lookalike, party girl Fiona foils their plans.” To take that into context, let’s go ahead and see what IMDB described the first movie as, since I never reviewed it: “Competing in a Christmas baking competition in Belgravia, a Chicago baker bumps into the prince’s fiancée–who looks just like her. They switch lives for two days.” As you can tell, this stretches the Prince and the Pauper story line past the point of it being coherent anymore. I get sequel prospects but did we really need Hudgens getting more money to play a third character, one that I have a feeling acts like she does in real life? The only thing nice I have to say about it is that the shots of two or all three Hudgens in the same frame were decent. And the set decoration is nice. But really? They couldn’t get a fucking snow machine for the outside shots and instead every fucking flake of God forsaken snow is CGI, with barely any of it actually hitting said actors on screen and if a flake happens to “land” on one of the characters, it slowly CGI melts off? Come on, that’s just lazy bullshit film making. Hudgens is a producer now, make her cough up the extra cash for a physical snow maker. Other than Hudgens, who does actually seem to be trying and seems like she wants to be there, (I’ll even give her props for having a dialect coach on set every step of the way to help her with her accents, which are considerably better and less cringe worthy than the first film) every other actor/actress looks like they want to kill themselves for being in this sequel, or they don’t care and over act to just get the shit over with and grab a paycheck at the end.

And then we come to my biggest nit pick with the whole movie: the screenwriters didn’t have anything for the Prince, that ends up marrying Stacy at the end of the first movie, to do so they blatantly don’t tell his character about the new switch for three reasons:

  1. If they told him the switch was going to happen, the rest of the dumb movie probably wouldn’t have happened. THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO LOGICAL REASON NOT TO TELL HIM!
  2. They needed more scenes of the Prince’s character, and the little girl Olivia character (Kevin’s daughter) because the actor and actress were probably paid a good sum of money for the sequel and they didn’t want to waste the both of them. (Olivia knows about the switch but this little girl is tasked to make sure that this PRINCE OF AN ENTIRE FUCKING COUNTRY doesn’t find out. How does he just travel with her with no God damn body guards, does that even make a lick of fucking sense?)
  3. To reiterate 1st reason: BECAUSE MOVIE NEEDED TO HAPPEN.

Speaking of Olivia, the young actress from the first movie was replaced even though the movie takes place two years after the events of the first movie and the first movie is only two years old. There couldn’t have been an aging concern then, so I’m guessing the original young actress knew what a stinker this one was going to be and hi-tailed it out of there. Smart move kid. The plot of this movie is unnecessary, boring, and stupid. The climax and outcome is unnecessary, boring, and stupid. And the 3rd character that Hudgens plays is unnecessary, boring, and stupid. I mean, need I say more? My recommendation is that if you’ve watched the first movie, do not even think about giving this piece of shit a try, instead, switch gears and maybe pick up a book and read The Prince and the Pauper. Your brain will thank you for it.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: MIDNIGHT AT THE MAGNOLIA (Netflix)

Why did I watch MIDNIGHT AT THE MAGNOLIA? Mainly because my last several reviews have been Christmas/Holiday related, I thought it would be cool to post a bunch of new holiday themed movie reviews in a row, and I needed a quick break from my re-binge of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (of which I’m about to be on the 6th season’s very special Christmas episode). Also, Natalie Hall is the main female lead in this and while almost everything I’ve seen her in she’s only had bit parts, I have always found her extremely beautiful. So I thought, “what the fuck, why not?” “Well, how was it, you ask? If I was in ANY other type of mood, I would rip it a new mistletoe. However, since I went in expecting predictable Christmas-y, New Years-y, romantic schlock, it was serviceable. A lot of people that eat up shit like this that don’t know any better will love this film to death. To warn you all meticulously, this is only about half a notch from being a Lifetime TV Holiday movie of the week. A half a notch, so that’s why it is on Netflix, HAHA! Technically since it is a 2020 movie, presto, here is my review of it. If watching a romantic film like this is your thing, where ALL of the acting is over exaggerated and toeing the line of over the top overacting, you can predict what the ending will be minute five, the whole thing looks like it was shot on a $50,000 budget, but it ends up having a sweet message and a good heart, well you are in for a festive treat. But if you are a film Grinch like me, stay far far away unless you had one of those “random boring moods” such as I described above. Per IMDB, it describes Midnight At The Magnolia with the following: “Longtime friends and local radio hosts Maggie and Jack fake it as a couple for their families and listeners from the day after Christmas till New Year’s in hopes of getting their show syndicated.”

 Yes, some of you probably groaned as I did when you read two of those words. A boy and a girl “longtime friends”? There is no way that this happens. There is no way that two people like that in the real world haven’t accidentally had a night of regrettable but hot fucking by mistake. Especially when they have known each other since they were little. You can’t tell me that there wasn’t an intentional boob or penis graze and a drunken tryst of making out a couple of times. The most believable thing in this movie is that the two are radio hosts. Lead actors Natalie Hall and Evan Williams have the voices for radio and the camaraderie friendship depicted in the movie necessary for a real gig like that, where you end up wondering why those two don’t just maybe give up their day jobs and go into that profession. The acting is decent for what it is. Both Williams and Hall and all the other supporting characters match each other in terms of just how close to the ”over-the-top” line of overacting they can get without completely crossing it. And both Williams and Hall have a couple of scenes where they show that they are better than the material that is being written for them. I would’ve rather watched a movie of the two of them hosting their radio morning show for an hour and 27 minutes (the length of the movie). Alas, it was not meant to be. BUT…the movie is upbeat, quick, and moves at an entertaining pace, there is some silly banter between characters that worked. Evan Williams twisted some of the dialogue to work better and added some funny facial expressions to make the part his own, which is always appreciated. I believed in their friendship, even with over 75% of it being very clunky dialogue. Also, even with the short run time, I believed in them eventually falling in love. If you just got mad because I spoiled the movie for you, that’s your problem, and you are a dumbass if you thought it would’ve ended any differently. It has a 6.1 rating on IMDB from 951 reviews, which is not half bad for that website. It just goes to show you, sometimes I can stick my opinions up my own chimney. (PSSST…if you didn’t get that metaphor, by ‘chimney’ I meant my asshole.

Zach’s Zany SPECIAL Reviews: THE LEGO STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL (Disney+)

Obviously the first thing I did after watching Disney+’s THE LEGO STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL was search the net to see if Lucasfilm would consider this special canon. Well, apparently anything that is an officially licensed product, i.e. Lego, is NOT considered canon, although some of the ideas represented in them could become canon down the line as long as they are not in this kind of format. It is and it isn’t a bit of a let down, considering this special takes place AFTER the events of The Rise Of Skywalker, the last film in the franchise and the last established Star Wars linear timeline, and starts with Rey training Finn to become a Jedi. The filmmakers are kind of ‘wink-winking’ to the audience, them knowing we were sort of let down by Rise as a whole, and them trying to wrap up that stupid side plot of Finn never finishing his sentence of, “Rey, I’ve always wanted to tell you…” before he thought they were going to die in that sand pit. They took John Boyega’s answer of, “Well, J.J. told me he was going to tell Rey that he was Force Sensitive, it just never took fruition in the movie,” and made it come true (personally I think they should’ve had a Rey/Finn romance that was hinted at in The Force Awakens, but whatever). Whoa, I’ve gotten way off track, but that’s the Star Wars canon nerd in me. This special is basically the same as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, where a bunch of time traveling shenanigans happen but in the end no event in the Star Wars timeline has ultimately been changed. So it could be goofy canon I guess. IMDB describes it with the following, “Rey leaves her friends to prepare for Life Day as she sets off on an adventure to gain a deeper knowledge of the Force. At a mysterious temple, she is hurled into a cross-timeline adventure. Will she make it back in time for Life Day?” But overall, it’s just supposed to be a fun and funny little adventure that pokes fun at some of the most eye-rolling scenes in the franchise, and with that in mind, it exceeds expectations.

If you take it in as canon, you will be disappointed. And even though I did enjoy this special, I was a bit disappointed that they couldn’t REALLY make up for that shitty Star Wars Special in the 70s and get the new cast together for one last mini-canonical adventure (written by The Mandalorian’s Jon Favreau of course), but who am I kidding? That new cast is DONE right now with Star Wars, and I don’t blame them, after 5 years of toxic fan harassment, I would be too. But this Lego special suffices. It’s a nice and tight 45 minutes with no filler, excellent pacing, fun scenarios, with a sweet and kind message, something we need right now for sure. The only people from the new cast to come back were Billy Dee Williams as Lando and Kelly Marie Tran as Rose (the latter they asked back probably as the first part of Disney’s two part apology of how her character was handled in Rise of Skywalker, the 2nd part being making Tran the lead voice actor in next years Raya and the Last Dragon). Even with a handful of people coming back to voice their animated counterparts, they still only have a handful of lines and do nothing worth writing home about save for a Lando cape/It’s A Trap zinger. The other voice actors they pick and chose from people that were both in the Clone Wars and Rebels animated series and all the voice acting works for what it is. This is just a goofy, action packed, joke a minute special that is trying to make up for the shitty 70’s one that George Lucas had no involvement in that was also about their universe celebration known as Life Day. It also tries to make up a little bit the mild disappointment a lot of us had the way J.J. Abrams and writer Chris Terrio ended the saga. But here’s the rub, I think even George Lucas would approve of this one and wouldn’t even both trying to destroy every copy of it that exists out there.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: JINGLE JANGLE – A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY (Netflix)

Move over Christmas Chronicles, Netflix now has a new (and better) Christmas movie for families to watch together every year, JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY. I doubt that the Christmas Chronicles sequel, which releases next week, will over take this one for me, considering that the first movie is…only okay….sorry Kurt Russell. And if you have a problem with me saying that this is a ‘Christmas’ movie and not using the word ‘holiday’…well, not to mince words, but you can shove it up your butt hurt triggered 2020 asshole chimney. While the movie is shot, cinematography wise, like a television movie, and my wife and I discussed mid way through how this could easily be turned into a Broadway stage play in the future, the rest of the production is top notch. It has a wonderful production design, half way decent CGI for what it is, the musical song and dance numbers were fun and memorable, none of the actors phoned it in, including one of Forest Whitaker’s best performances in quite awhile…it has the Christmas works. Per IMDB, it describes Jingle Jangle with the following: “An imaginary world comes to life in a holiday tale of an eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever.” While the story ends up being a bit familiar (you know, the whole love, loss, redemption one audiences has seen a thousand times), and I would also say the movie is about 15 minutes too long (it’s a heavy 2 hrs and 2 minutes), the rest of the film was joyfully jolly and jovial enough to forgive it’s trespasses and go along with it for the rest of its wonderful journey.

Forest Whitaker is first billed here, and I’m glad that he wasn’t just playing himself in this one, as his character has some quirks to be kinked out, and his performance here earned the believability of his redemption arc. But he is not the true star of the show. That would be newcomer Madalen Mills, who plays his grandaughter, Journey. If it wasn’t for her pure of heart and delightful performance, Jingle Jangle simply couldn’t be what it ultimately is: very lovely. Ricky Martin voices a cute yet suspicious little CGI figurine come to life, whose MacGuffin-ness I dare not spoil here. There is a cute robot named Buddy 3000 that shows up halfway through the film that people are calling the next ‘Baby Yoda’, and although it is cute and made me smile, I think anyone who says that it is in the same ballpark of cultural impact that the new Star Wars character has, is just kidding themselves. The one actor that I felt got short changed in this movie is the other half of Key & Peele, the one that hasn’t won an Oscar, Keegan-Michael Key. He plays a wonderful little villain and has some great chops and can dance spectacularly with the choreography given, but other than his first big musical song and dance number, he isn’t in the film all that much. The climax of his character in the climax of the film is a bit anti-climatic as well, and although the movie had a bunch of very early set ups that were paid off during this scene, it just felt like Mr. Key was shortchanged a bit with his role. But maybe this could be an audition for bigger things for him. I hope it is. Anyway, if you want a decent streaming new Christmas movie because you won’t go to the theater and you’re are finally tired of watching the same Christmas stuff because the walls are finally starting to cave in on your 2020 bubble, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is here to blow some air into it to keep it from completely collapsing.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: HIS HOUSE (Netflix)

HIS HOUSE is an expertly made decent one time watch new original horror/thriller from Netflix. Possibly their best unless someone can name another? One of their highest rated ones on Rotten Tomatoes too. IMDB describes the film with the following: “A refugee couple makes a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, but then they struggle to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface.” In essence, it’s a haunted house movie and said house is filled with the “demons” of their past. Not that we haven’t seen something like that before, but the movie makes it fresh with the refugee angle and the mythology folklore story from their culture. Writer/director Remi Weekes captures the effective and earned jump scares with veteran precision, making it seem like he’s been in the business for years when this is actually his first full length feature. It doesn’t really star anyone you know, unless you are a Doctor Who fan, and even then, Matt Smith maybe has less than ten minutes of screen time in its nice and tight hour and thirty three minute runtime. The acting is solid, the movie has some twists and turns that I didn’t quite see coming, and I jumped on my couch quite a bit from whenever the movie switched to “scare ya mode.” So why am I not singing its praises? Probably because the film didn’t quite earn the character arcs of the refugee couple for me.

And that’s probably because they didn’t show much of their war-torn South Sudan plight. With the tight yet short run time, the movie only shows one desperate live or die situation to convey their hardship, and that’s right before their escape. With all that, it was hard for me to invest in their emotions and plight when the place they are in starts to haunt the shit out of them. Which in turn took away from the big reveal near the end, and so on and so forth. Hard to explain without spoilers, but when the emotional climax finally comes to pass, I uttered, “oh that’s interesting” when I should’ve been, “OHHHHHHH damn, now that’s an ending!” The ending is satisfying, but if another, say, twenty minutes would’ve been added onto the movie, with more of their daily life struggles in South Sudan, maybe even showing some of their early life, His House would’ve been quite masterful. But this a bad film by any means, it’s just not a repeat view for me, because I got everything I needed to get out of it when I watched it on Halloween night. I completely recommend His House, because even though I wanted more, it might be enough for you to invest more into it, especially when the scares are quite great, with an ending that fits with the rest of the film, even if the rest of the film needed to have more meat on its bones. This is a perfect little horror film for direct to streaming, especially when most of them have been overrated this pandemic year, such as Relic. Or ones that hit theaters earlier this year before COVID, such as The Grudge, that ended up being complete and utter shit. Or ones that were supposed to have hit theaters but ended up getting sent straight to streaming, such as You Should Have Left, that were disappointingly dull. Coincidental that those three I just listed are basically all haunted house movies, wouldn’t you say? His House, his unique rules.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BAD THERAPY

What is this movie? Seriously, I think it’s supposed to be a dark comedy, but there are no comedic elements in sight. I thought BAD THERAPY was going to be something like Bad Moms, Bad Santa, Bad Words, Bad Teacher, or Bad News Bears, movies which actually do pull off the dark comedic aspects correctly, albeit some better than others. However, I wouldn’t put this movie near the same ballpark as those others. Seriously, what…is this movie? It’s dour, dark, and doesn’t balance it’s supposed tone very well at all, in fact it’s close to abysmal if not for some recognizable names in the cast including a decent lead performance from Alicia Silverstone, which needed to be in another movie. Other’s include The Unicorn’s Rob Corddry and Michaela Watkins, playing Silverstone’s husband and their marriage counselor/therapist respectively, and while Corrdry and Watkins give decent performances as well, I feel like they could’ve been great if the script and story wasn’t a giant pile of shit. IMDB lists Bad Therapy as a comedic romance drama and describes the film with the following: “A couple seeks out Judy Small, a marriage counselor; but the counselor is more than what meets the eye.” All you need to know is that this movie is not a comedy, not a romance, not a drama. It’s just…there? The marriage counselor/therapist is a nut job herself and tries to further push the couple’s marriage into ruin. And no, there isn’t some surprise ending where the therapist turns out she knows what she’s doing and the craziness was all an act, like the movie Anger Management had. And there are no redeeming qualities about her by the film’s end, like movies such as Bad Words and Bad Santa had. It’s just a mean, ugly, unfocused movie that has no identity and goes absolutely nowhere.

The only time I laughed in this movie was when the thirteen year old teenage girl that plays Silverstone’s daughter got high with her friend and got caught, and that scene lasts about ninety seconds in this hour and forty seven minute slog of a watch. At times I was asking myself whether I was supposed to laugh, to feel drama, to feel tension, to feel concerned for the characters, and/or to hope the entire thing would get better, and the answer was a hard no each time. There are constant scenes that we don’t see that get told by explanatory dialogue a scene or two afterwards…why not just film those scenes or let us see what is going on before those abrupt cutaways. It made no sense, and I understand that some cutaways are meant to make sense in context of what’s going on, but this movie had no context, so therefore, it doesn’t make sense. Especially a scene where Silverstone’s daughter comes home and discovers something she’s not meant to see. For comedic and/or shocking effect, why didn’t the audience see what she saw? If it was too sexually explicit (which it turns out it wasn’t that bad), there are ways to frame a scene to make something look like something is going on without showing it. If you are dumb enough to watch this movie after my critique, you’ll see what I mean. There are also some supporting characters that have a story somewhere in this movie, but we don’t see their stories plaid out, they are just yelled out to other characters when the movie is almost over. And the climax of the film is pretty fucking stupid too. Characters do desperate things for no rhyme or reason other to say that they are stupid and/or crazy. Stuff happens just to happen because movie. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. It would be too easy of a pun job to end this review just by saying Bad Therapy is a bad movie. Way too easy. I’ll make it a bit zanier and say that if this script had went to a script doctor before it was taken to camera, the script doctor would’ve placed said script on his couch and then burned both until they were a pile of ashes.

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.