Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: JOHN HENRY (Netflix)

JOHN HENRY already has my vote as the most awful misogynistic film of the decade, and will probably remain that way by the time December 31st, 2029 rolls around. How this movie got released post #MeToo is downright fucking shocking. It is THAT bad. I can guarantee you though that it just received my coveted “Worst Film of 2020” award. I didn’t think anything would beat the almost equally shitty ‘The Last Thing She Wanted’ (coincidentally but not surprisingly both Netflix films), but this one did by a mile. I think instead of another one of my typical 3 to 4 paragraph reviews explaining why this film is the worst and most offensive film since Surf Ninjas, I think I’m just going to list not only awful shit that is said, but the awful shit that goes down in it. I’ll try to be vague enough not to give away any spoilers in case you were still interested in this after I rip it a new asshole. Per IMDB’s log line for John Henry, it stars Terry Crews and Ludacris and it is described as such: “When two immigrant kids on the run from his former South Los Angeles gang leader (Ludacris) stumble into his life, John (Terry Crews) is forced to reconcile with his past in order to try and give them a future.” Sounds sane enough but a little familiar right? WRONG. Here is some of the shocking bullshit that happens in this only hr and 30 minute movie:

  1. Ludacris has a gold plated jaw. It’s laughably stupid looking. He’s only in two-three scenes.
  2. An entire conversation that involves ‘gay panic’ takes place for several minutes in a van between two gang members. This ‘gay panic’ conversation also somehow incorporates the film ‘Human Centipede’ into the argument.
  3. For about 5 minutes, at the beginning of the film, female vaginas (they use the p word in the most derogatory fashion) are compared to how delicious Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits are. No, that’s not a joke. I. SHIT. YOU. NOT.
  4. Right before a character is about to be blown up, he yells, “I’m ____________, and my dick was legendary.”
  5. When one character is teaching another character how to correctly hold a gun, “Steady now, just like you would place a hand on a woman’s titty.”
  6. Women are called “bitches”…I don’t know how many times. Probably more than Django Unchained used the N word.
  7. A character gets shot in the head, but it turns out he’s okay, bullet just grazed him.
  8. Terry Crews rips his sleeves off while holding a sledgehammer as dramatic Western music plays in the background.
  9. Ludacris forces everybody who works for him to exclusively dress in white track suits.
  10. The film literally stops halfway through so we can get a montage of random places in Compton.
  11. Terry Crews flirts with a woman as he debates what brand of feminine products to buy.
  12. Ken Foree, who spends the majority of the film in a wheelchair, magically stops being a paraplegic during a gunfight because “adrenaline.”
  13. (Enter one of the awful and stupid things that happens in this film I forgot here here, because I’m sure I forgot something.)

The movie is tonally all over the place. If this movie was meant to be a satire, I could maybe, ONLY MAYBE, see one or two things on my list work, like the gold plated jaw. But no, it takes everything that happens in it seriously, and it wants the audience to take it seriously as well. But we can’t. The film doesn’t make any God damn fucking sense. Yes, there are a few allusions in┬áJohn Henry to the folklore hero John Henry, but very few, and they are more insulting than they are homages. Co-writer and director Will Forbes and co-writer Doug Skinner, who have never written or directed a movie before, shouldn’t be allowed to ever make one again. Terry Crews and Ludacris are decent people in real life and they try and breathe as much life as they can into these poorly written characters, but it was all for naught. The gang accents are laughably bad, the violence is too “looney tunes” to take seriously, and even the original rap music written and made for the film was impossible to get into. It’s just a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very awfully made film. On all levels. There was no saving this screenplay and whoever fronted the money for this thing to get green lit should be banished from Hollywood forever. And I really really really really hope that when Terry Crews and Ludacris, fuck…any actor/actress in this production, cashed their paychecks in from this movie…I hope they felt ashamed. ABYSMAL.


Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE WILLOUGHBYS (Netflix)

Netflix sure is stepping up their game when it comes to animated originals. THE WILLOUGHBYS is a fantastic, fun, original, yet weird kids movie that premiered back on the service in April, yet I didn’t hear about it until a recent visit to a friends place in Oklahoma for the weekend. I saw the release date was 2020, and following a recommendation from those friends’ kids that weekend, I decided to check it out. Boy am I glad I did. I’m glad I also waited to watch it with my young son and my wife, because we got to enjoy it together as a family. It’s based on the book by the famous Lois Lowry (I have never heard of this till now, who knew, right?!) and per IMDB it describes the film as: “Convinced they’d be better off raising themselves, the Willoughby children hatch a sneaky plan to send their selfish parents on vacation. The siblings then embark on their own high-flying adventure to find the true meaning of family.” And the whole story is fast paced loveliness with a dash of weird. It has colorful characters, morals about family that don’t try to hit you over the head with the messages, nice original animation that wasn’t trying to rip off anyone else’s work, and fantastic voice work from everyone involved, including, but not limited to: Ricky Gervais, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Terry Crews, Maya Rudolph, Alessia Cara (with a wonderful singing voice as well), and Will Forte (who really needed this, as his portrayal of Shaggy in the disappointing Scoob! just recently released seemed to be trying a bit too hard). This and Onward are the only two memorable animated films of the year so far.

This might only be a 2 paragraph review, as I don’t really want to spoil any of the surprises this film has in store for you and yours. Just know that other than the ending, this families predicament is far from predictable. Some wacky shit happens, some really cute shit happens, some dark shit happens, people are accidentally killed (well, if you see certain scenes from my eyes they did), tears will be shed, and smiles will be spread from cheek to cheek. This 2nd time director, Kris Pearn, whose first effort was Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, is not a newbie to the animation world, as he worked in the animation departments for a ton of projects like Arthur Christmas, Open Season, and the very underrated Titan A.E. He and his crew do wonderful work here, as this is a film I can see revisiting with my family over and over and over again. After this and Klaus at the end of last year, Netflix really has something going on correctly with their animation productions. Why can’t they take that positive momentum and apply it to the original film department? Or hell, even what they choose to buy from other studios to put on their platform? Needless to say, I’ll always be weary with a new live-action Netflix original. However, I’ll be eager to press the play button if a new release from them is animated.