Monday, May 29, 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: Yo Ho Ho, And A Bottle Of Dumb

There are two things about the Pirates franchise that weird me out. First, how the movies don't get hardly any respect anymore. It seems like after the success of the first film, every film after it is met with critical shame. Seriously, each film drops significantly in percentage of critical appeal on RT the more they make them (54%, 45%, 32% and now 30%).  To put this into perspective, Ang Lee's Hulk was positively received by 62% of critics, Final Destination 5 has a 61%, and the new Alien: Covenant has a 71%. The Pirates films have become the Adam Sandler of Summer blockbusters. Granted, Sandler has now earned this right to be in the single-digit percentile... but I argue that the Pirates films do not. They're starting to get a bad rap, but not for any good reason.  We, as a culture, like to shit on things that become "dark horse popular". Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was not supposed to do anything. It was supposed to be a cheap cash grab as people legitimately wrote a screenplay based on a ride at Disneyland. But, with good writing, a great leading character, and fine acting... Pirates was a hit and people loved it. However, as Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow has now become more of a novelty than an actual character, and we now know in real life he's a dirtbag shitsack... somehow we can't accept the Pirates movies anymore or even take them seriously. Just look back on our culture of dark horse popular movies and how people loved them then and loathe them now (Garden State, Juno, Donnie Darko).  I would argue that the Pirates movies are much better than we accept them to be now and don't deserve this animosity we have toward them now. Seriously, go re-watch the original trilogy and (other than the unbelievably awful ending to the third film) they not only hold up, but are just as entertaining and visually impressive as any trilogy or series that is safely secured in the echelon of "popular good". The second thing that weirds me out... that Orlando Bloom is now old enough to have a grown man for a son. Jesus.

Okay. Now that I've gone on a long-winded diatribe about how the twelfth highest grossing movie franchise of all time doesn't get the respect it deserves... I have to tell you that Dead Men Tell No Tales is not a great movie. I knew eventually there would be a movie in the series that just TRIED to be like the other movies, but felt more like an imitation of the real thing than actually being a part of the series. It's like the fifth Die Hard movie (yes, there was a fifth one). Die Hard 5 (I don't even have the energy to care enough to look up the surname) though that putting Bruce Willis in a movie, call him John McClane, blow some shit up and slap a Die Hard tag on it would actually make it worth of being a part of the series. It wasn't. And neither is Dead Men Tell No Tales. Just because we have Jack Sparrow and a gaggle of pirates and a new supernatural enemy... doesn't make it worth to bear the Pirates of the Caribbean name. It's like when you buy your kids the eighteen pound bag of Honey Nut Scooters... while there is the familiarity of Honey Nut Cheerios... there is a huge difference. That's what Dead Men Tell No Tales is... it's "Square Shaped Corn"... not "Chex".

In this fifth instillation, we follow a new good-looking generic white guy who can't act-- small tangent: I actually shouldn't be complaining about good-looking generic white guys who can't act in these movies because they have been a part of the franchise since the beginning. Pirates 1 had Orlando Bloom-- sorry ladies, he's our good-looking generic white guy who can't act ... there's a reason we haven't seen much of him since. Then in the fourth film there was good looking-generic white guy reverend who ends up banging a mermaid and actually living out the plot of Waterworld (I assume). Okay tangent over. Anyway, our good-looking generic white guy who can't act is Orlando Bloom's son, Henry Turner (he's really, really bland and his acting makes Orlando Bloom look like Daniel Day-Lewis). Anyway, we first meet him when the film opens up meeting up with daddy on his cursed vessel The Flying Dutchman. If you recall the second and third movies, Davy Jones was the captain of The Flying Dutchman, a ship that is supposed to ferry souls to the other side. Jones has cut out his own heart, placed it in a chest, and whomever stabs the heart and kills Jones, must become captain of the Dutchman. Well, in one of the worst decisions in any franchise, the writers (who began filming the third movie without a finished script) thought it best to take our ONLY love story (Will and Elizabeth) and make Will stab the heart and forever be doomed as captain of the Dutchman. Now, he can only come on land ONE DAY EVERY TEN YEARS (what the actual fuck, Disney? Seriously... we followed these two for how many years... for this to happen?!?!) Okay... so Will's son, a youngling at the start of the film, finds daddy cursed on the Dutchman and essentially giving up all hope for a life with his beloved and his son. This is when young Henry decides to make it his life's work to find an end to the curse.

Flash forward nine years... Henry has now become good-looking generic white guy who can't act and he's searching for Jack Sparrow to help lead him to... yeah... Poseidon's trident. Apparently, all sea curses can be broken with the trident. Along the way, he meets up with Carina Smith, a strong female character who, because she has an affinity for science, is labeled a witch. She is on the hunt for answers concerning the father she never knew (arguably the worst plotline in the entire movie... seriously dumb). And finally, Capitan Salizar (badass Javier Bardem), a ghost captain seeking revenge on Sparrow for cursing him to a life as a shitty ghost many years earlier. Just like all of the other movies, these individual storylines converge and we have ourselves a new Pirates film. So, what's good about the movie? There's actually a lot that works here. The fact that the new filmmakers, Norwegian directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg decided the first thing they needed to do to save the franchise was fix the Will Turner as Captain of the Dutchman problem was a smart idea. We were betrayed by the third film (which, again, is very good save for that plot element at the end) and the new directors realized this is the first problem that needed fixing. For that, I applaud them. Second, it's gorgeously shot. They have a serious eye for detail. The ghost pirates, especially Bardem, are mesmerizing to look at. The floating/wavy hair of Salazar, as if it was perpetually under water is almost hypnotizing. There's also a lot of fun. There's zombie sharks, and a badass new Pirate ship that literally EATS other Pirate ships. Nearly everything is there to add a new and exciting entry into the franchise.

Yet... there's a lot more wrong with it. Poor casting choices (good-looking generic white guy who can't act, and attractive, strong, quirky female love interest) bog the film down because, not only do they have nearly zero substance behind their characters... it's difficult to care about them. One of the reasons the previous Pirates movie, On Stranger Tides, was received so poorly was the terrible "love story" of good-looking generic white guy and mermaid (awful). This one isn't much better. He couldn't act himself out class with a fake doctor's note and she's trying ever so hard to be as quirky and strong, but it just comes off as obnoxious. I'm an advocate for more strong female characters, but there has to be some talent behind them in order for us to care. Johnny Depp's personal life coming to light in the tabloids doesn't help us care about him, but even he seems to stop giving a crap when it comes to Jack Sparrow. Even though he's always been a very neurotic, drunken, idiosyncratic character... there was always a lot of subtle nuance behind the character. Here... as I stated earlier, he's now become something of a novelty. The only two really good characters are Bardem's Salazar, who just chews through the scenery with his wicked sneer and looks like he's having the most fun on set... and always the magnificent Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa.

The movie seems to also be lacking the charm and wit that the rest of the franchise does so well. On Stranger Tides is the weakest of the previous entries, but the banter of Sparrow and Barbossa is some of the best written comedic relief in the series. Here... it's just lacking. There always needs to be a balanced mix of thrills and humor for a Pirates movie to be successful and the jokes that land in this movie are so scarce I could count them on one hand missing a couple of fingers. Then there's terrible sub-plots (like Carina's father or the use of an actual witch who, after we are introduced to her and become intrigued by her character... disappears from the film altogether). It's just not a well-oiled machine. You can tell the directors were fanboys of the series and wanted to make something that resembled a Pirates movie. Unfortunately, other than fixing the glaring problem of the third film, there's not much more to hold on to here. While I will always be happy to turn my brain off for two plus hours and watch a Pirates movie in theaters in the middle of summer... occasionally there is going to be one that just doesn't sit as well as the rest. I hope this isn't the end of the franchise because it still doesn't really do the entire series much justice... but if this is the type of movie we can expect from future entries... I hope the buck stops here.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Alien: Covenant: The Michael Bay-ing of Ridley Scott

Why do we care about prequels? Sequels I get. We go on an adventure with certain characters we like in movies we adore and then it ends. We want more.  We want to go on several adventures and see where they end up. I get that. But why does anyone give a shit about prequels? They usually don't star anyone from the original films. They don't generally provide any new information other than explaining how shit started here... then got to here... and finally to where the original movie was. Who cares??? Why do we care how shit came to be? Patton Oswalt had a joke once where he talked about how he knows what he likes, he doesn't need to know where it came from (referring to the Star Wars prequels). Then he followed it up by saying... "I know I like Angelina Jolie... I don't need to see Jon Voight's nutsack."And it's true. Who cares how something came to be? Who cares how some pissant named Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader? Who cares how the Scorpion King rose to power to become a shitty CGI version of the Rock only to get beat down by Brendan Fraser? Who cares how the alien from Alien became a freakin' alien??? That's what is ultimately missing from these new line of Alien prequels... a point.

I'd seen Prometheus in theaters back in 2012 and I didn't hate it, but I was certainly let down and underwhelmed. I watched it again a few days ago to prepare myself for Alien: Covenant and I hated it a lot more. The film is a literal mess. So many questions are asked throughout the film that go unanswered on purpose. So many illogical plot elements wrapped around a gorgeous-looking film. They spent so much time attempting (and completely failing at) intellectual stimulation that they forgot to entertain. I was hoping most of what failed Prometheus would be rectified by Alien: Covenant... and some was. However, by the end, you'll realize they fell into the same snare as its predecessor.

We are ten years past the timeline of Prometheus and on a new ship, the Covenant, headed for a planet ready for human colonization. Still seven years from the arrival date, a sonic flare wakes up the crew (and legitimately fries James Franco to a crisp in his hibernation chamber -- not a spoiler... this is basically the opening scene of the movie). They have to fix the ship in order to get back to sleep. However, while doing so, they receive a transmitted message from a planet they've never seen before that appears to also be able to sustain human life. With their captain out of commission (seriously... Franco dies before he can even smile... what was the point?!) the new captain makes an executive decision to land on the planet and scope it out for their colonization. I guess it makes sense to make a snap decision like this without much planning or, you know, science behind it because... well this one's closer. They land on the planet... discover the ship from Prometheus, discover the David android (Michael Fassbender) and shit starts to go awry. Aliens find themselves spawning through humans, and just like the original Alien, begin bursting out of people's chests and eating the shit out of the crew.

Unlike Prometheus, this film is very entertaining. If you can somehow go into brain-shut-off mode, and stop questioning the many, many plotholes along the way... you can actually have a good time. I was even able to accomplish this for 2/3rds of the film and I was genuinely entertained/invested. There is even a good level of high tension in the film. Alien: Covenant is a lot more like the first two Alien films than Prometheus, which we can all agree was a nonsensical bore. Aliens stalk the crew on the ship taking them out one by one with grotesque results. All of this (mostly) works within the scope of the film. Plus, there's the looming threat of the "evil android" (a running theme in the Alien films) and Fassbender does such a great job with the dual android roles of David and Walter that he's legitimately terrifying. Fassbender has actually been the shining light throughout both films. The entertainment factor here is a solid 9/10.

However... that's really all that it is. Had Michael Bay directed the film... it would've been considered above average for him. But, he's never been one of the "thinking man's" directors. But, the fact that it's Ridley Scott at the helm, and he's held in such high regard and esteem in the director's chair... I can't commend him for producing something merely entertaining without any substance. The thrills are there... but they're basically just updated thrills we've already seen in Alien and Aliens. It's nerve-wracking to watch an alien burst through the chest cavity of a human being... but it's been nerve-wracking for nearly 40 years... because we've seen it already. There's nothing new here. There's tension in the hunt and kills of our main alien... but everything happens so quickly and so frenetically that it's hard to tell exactly what's going on. Beyond some crunching noises and some blood spray... nothing else is that decipherable. A few times in the film there were kills that I didn't even know who got killed. And by the end of the film, you'll realize just how predictable everything really was.

Prometheus asked a lot of questions we didn't get any answers to. Alien: Covenant attempts to answer a few of these questions (as well as provide a very shitty and basic reason for Guy Pierce's casting as an old man instead of an actual old man), but it still can't quite climb out of it's own ass. Prometheus tries desperately to disguise itself as something deeply thought-provoking and philosophical and this doesn't necessarily disappear in Covenant. While still trying to get you to ponder deeply about the very existence of humanity... it ensnares itself in its own muddled mythology and provides nothing but bogged down scenes of explanatory dialogue that don't progress the story or make much damn sense. Alien succeeded because it was terrifying and it was able to blend genres as well as incorporate great writing with great actors. This is what I was hoping Covenant would be.

The other problem both sequels have is that there is no one to get invested in. Other than the fact that all of the "scientists" in the movie are complete morons (hey let's not worry about helmets, and let's trample some foreign plants while trying to sneak a cigarette), all of the characters are one-dimensional, minus the Fassbenders. We get a very surface level backstory and look into each character and we're basically supposed to judge them on whether or not they're kind or dicks (no one in these movies is smart, so we're definitely not judging them on their intelligence). Nearly everyone in the movie is married and NO ONE had any chemistry with their significant other. All we got was the identifier (hey... crewperson #2 is my wife! Stay away from my wife, you rascal!) I liked Danny McBride's character Tennessee... because I like Danny McBride, not because it was a good character. Tennessee is exactly who you think he is-- a swearin', drinkin', cowboy hat wearin', southern pilot. He's a caricature, not a character... but I like him because he's Danny McBride. The characters in the original films have substance and we genuinely root for them when they're on the offensive and we fear for them when they're on the defensive. Crewmembers get killed left and right here and not only is it difficult to tell which ones are being offed when... it's even more difficult to care. If the Scott had spent as much time on character as he does on a single scene of one Fassbender robot teaching a second Fassbender robot how to play a wooden flute... the movie might've been a little better.

Like I said... it's entertaining and it's much, much better than Prometheus (I mean... at least this one had actual Aliens). But, when it comes to Ridley Scott... I'm not just looking for entertainment... I'm looking for substance as well. And when I say substance I don't mean a shoddy attempt to answer a philosophical question about the true meaning behind human life... I mean something with even some semblance of coherence. The last twenty minutes or so show signs of life and really resemble that of a true Alien film, but even during the climax there are some seriously laughable moments and it doesn't necessarily feel that powerful. I'd really like this prequel nonsense to get put to bed... or at the very least, just focus on trying to scare the wits out of us and finally connect us to Sigourney Weaver's timeline. It's getting better... it's just not there yet. I'm not even sure where "there" is because for "there" to be the end game... it's best to start with an actual point.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Planet Parenthood

 --Written by guest reviewer Danesh Noshirvan

---No Spoilers. I will warn you when to stop---
The challenging part of this super hero movie (and its predecessor) was that the characters and their storylines are mostly unknown to the average audience. And unlike the upcoming movie Spider-man: Homecoming (A story we are all TOO familiar with after 5 movies) you won’t see Tony Stark flying through the air, making cool costumes, and essentially vouching for the movie in every trailer. The Guardians are on their own. The first movie, released in 2014, was considered risky and should have fallen flat on its face. Director James Gunn surprised everyone when it actually worked. How did it work, though? Was it luck? Will Gunn get lucky twice? Will he try the same formula?
The main protagonist of both Guardians Vol 1 and 2 is Peter Quill, (Chris Pratt-- pretty much Andy from Parks and Recreation). The casting couldn’t have been more perfect. The innocent child-like nostalgia machine from Earth kept the movie grounded and relatable. The first film starts with a fun and adorable dance number during the title credits to Redbone’s Come and Get Your Love-- very charming. Guardians 2 kicked that idea up a notch, but this time with Baby Groot (Vin Diesel) dancing. Behind him are the rest of the Guardians fighting some space-octopus creature with the head of the sandworm from Beetlejuice. It makes for a funny contrast and skips over a battle that does not serve the movie much purpose anyway. From this point on, the movie continues to echo the best parts of the first movie. These comparisons are almost obvious, and look – if it isn’t broken, why fix it? I get it. We can skip over that. They did exaggerate one aspect that was at first hard to get past…
Its barrage of nonstop jokes.
Guardians 2 is funny. In fact, at times it was TOO funny. There seems to be this ongoing theme in the Marvel movies that reminds me of Gilmore Girls. I know, you’re about to tune me out, but hear what I have to say. I firmly believe that watching an episode of Gilmore Girls is no different than listening to nails on a chalkboard while chewing on broken glass. The dialogue is incredibly unbelievable. The Gilmore Girls show takes place in a fictional world where every person encountered is a quick talker, super clever, incredibly witty, and has the ability to improvise a joke at an inhuman rate. Now, I wasn’t saying Guardians of the Galaxy is terrible like Gilmore Girls, but the Marvel movie universe has become oversaturated with smartass, wise-cracking, funny heroes that are always ready for a one-liner. You have Iron Man, Spider-Man, Deadpool, Rocket, Quill, and Ant-Man and the list goes on. At times one has to wonder whether they are watching a comedy or an action movie. Guardians just had way too much comic relief during times where relief wasn’t even necessary. Every scene was always funny and every other line is a throw-away joke. At a certain point, director James Gunn is just showing he’s not confident that he has the audience’s attention. Halfway through the movie, I was starting to get annoyed. I was already writing this paragraph in my head until something changed…
The movie changed. Enter Ego (Kurt Russell), father of Peter Quill. Assumed an orphan up until this point, Quill experiences a range of emotions when he faces a father he never knew. This is the moment where the movie grabs your heart and squeezes out every emotion you have harder and harder until the end. No amount of jokes can save you for how much you’re going to cry. The movie wasn’t oversaturated with jokes. The movie needed contrast for the emotional rollercoaster it’s about to put you through. You’re soon begging for that comic relief.

--- Warning! Danger! Spoilers Ahead! ---

The landscape of Ego’s planet, with George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord playing in the background, is awe inspiring. Your heart is pounding for every character from Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and her tumultuous relationship with her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), Drax and his bottled up feelings for his dead* daughter, or Rocket and Yondu and their search for acceptance. None of their stories compare to Peter Quill’s.
Peter’s storyline is the most heart-wrenching because of that innocent child-like charm I mentioned earlier. It’s easy to see him as a sensitive and vulnerable child and that makes it so much harder to see him get hurt. So, to witness him finally reconnect with his father and play catch with him was sweet and hopeful and it was all Peter had ever wanted. You have to remember, Peter is still attached to his mother. He carries the Walkman she gave him, right before she died, everywhere he goes. His emotional immaturity hinders his ability to move on. To see him reconnect with his father is gratifying. At this point, you forget the movie has no antagonist and enjoy the strong relationships between each character.
Ego explains that he is somewhat of a God, but he specifies that he is god with a little “G”. It’s our first hint at his dissatisfaction. He explains that he started out as a brain floating in space. No, that doesn’t make sense. We just have to move past it. 100% ridiculous even for a sci-fi movie with a talking raccoon and an anthropomorphic, partially-speaking tree. Ego eventually encased himself and became a planet using his unknown floating brain powers (whatever). He then created a human body for himself to travel to other planets to find life. Okay, there is so much that is muddled here. Why is an Earthling’s human body ideal for space travel if they’re not space traveling? How did he just speak English if he has never encountered any life? Okay, we cannot go down this path or we’ll spend a long time here. Let’s just move forward. So, at this point we only know that an entire planet boned Peter’s mom and they had a kid that wasn’t 50% planet or floating brain (whatever). However, he does have creation powers passed down from his father though, but only when he’s near his father’s planet for some arbitrary reason. I’m not complaining, I’m just trying to make sense of it (I can’t).
Rocket and Yondu bond over their lack of acceptance from those around them. Rocket feels he keeps pushing the Guardians away and Yondu pissed off Sylvester Stallone for some reason WE WILL NEVER KNOW WITHOUT SUBTITLES. Sylvester Stallone’s dialogue is hard enough to comprehend with his infamous no-facial-expression-grunt-speak of the Rocky days, but it’s even harder to understand this Orc because his face is also frozen due to plastic surgery. His very first lines on that Tortuga/Hoth planet was completely unintelligible! Anyway, the reason I brought up Yondu is to talk about that whistle-arrow killing the mutinous Ravagers on the ship. Yondu is straight up deadly. He and Rocket walked in a straight line without pause as countless bodies fell from the ship. The retribution is sweet and puts a smile on your face.
Before moving forward, there’s something that I couldn’t just ignore and that’s the subtle hints of misogyny. Look, I liked this movie, but I have to point out something. When the Ravager asked Nebula what she’s going to do with her portion of the bounty, she revealed that her father, Thanos (Josh Brolin), tortured her all her life and she plans to purchase heavy artillery to kill him. Then the Ravager talks down to the daughter of Thanos and says that he thought she was going to get some jewelry or a nice hat to make the other ladies jealous. C’mon… You have strong female characters in your movie, don’t do that to them. Maybe I’m just nitpicking. I can let that one slide because maybe the Ravager character is just ignorant and misogyny is expected from that type of character. Okay, fine. BBBUUUUUTTTT there’s one bit that doesn’t sit right though. Peter keeps propositioning Gamora and insists that they have a special unspoken connection. Without leaving open opportunity for doubt, Gamora says “no” several times. Peter keeps pushing and insists that she is interested in him until she has to physically push him off. It is not made better by the fact that by the end of the movie she gives in to his advances. If you enjoyed the movie like I did, I know you don’t want to accept it, but please don’t try to justify it in your head. It’s not the best message. No should mean no and that’s it.
Anyway, Ego and Peter connect over Brandy You’re a Fine Girl as Ego tells Peter more about himself and his desire to be omnipresent. He wants to go from god with a little “g” to God with a big “G” (hence the name Ego.) While explaining the more sadistic part of his plans he puts Peter in a trance. I assume it’s a trance. He gets space eyes and becomes very mellow. Ego’s powers don’t make any sense so I’m trying my best here. So, Peter is infected with the space-eyes-roofie that allows him to see Ego’s plan. He doesn’t want to be just omnipresent, he wants to be everything. He explains that he traveled the universe and planted himself all over to spread throughout the universe, but he can’t do it without more power and that’s where Peter comes in. He uses the hypnotized Peter as a battery to supercharge his own power and begins his evil plan.
So there you have it. His father is the antagonist. Your heart starts to pound. This is the most brilliant villain/hero relationship Marvel films has ever crafted.
Ego doesn’t want to waste any time. Peter asks again about his mom and that’s when Ego reveals that he never lied about how infatuated he was with her. He tells Peter that he was forced to plant the tumor in her head or he’d never finish his plan.
There’s an audible gasp throughout the audience. He gave her cancer. He killed her.
I love the quick reaction to that news. Peter breaks the trance immediately. Without struggle, without hesitation, and without second thought he pulls out both pistols and fires at his own father until the weapons are empty. Again, that child-like innocence and attachment he has to his mother makes his instant reaction so sweet.
Without going through every detail, the fight scene between the Guardians and Ego is pretty much The Mummy without all the sand. Eventually, Ego is able to use his son Peter as a battery to fuel his onslaught against the universe. Now, here’s the thing. Even though Rocket keeps saying they’re going to save the galaxy again; Ego said he planted himself across the universe over the course of millions of years. When he caused those eruptions throughout the universe, he took out a city on EVERY SINGLE PLANET IN THE UNIVERSE WITH LIFE ON IT. That is probably the most deadly attack with the most body count damage I’ve ever heard of. At this point, they can defeat him and be the heroes, but he still committed the most diabolical mass murder I’ve ever seen in any movie ever.
Yondu teaches Peter how to use his powers by telling him to use his heart. When everything seems lost, Peter thinks his happy thoughts and without any pixie dust, he flies and has full control of his nonsensical space brain powers in his genes! Within Peter’s happy thoughts, there’s one flashback of Yondu teaching Peter how to shoot. It’s only one quick cut away, but at this point it should start adding up. Yondu was accused of constantly protecting Peter, he taught him how to defend himself, and he’s here saving him now. Brilliant. This movie is brilliant and “I’m Mary Poppins ya’ll” was the hardest I laughed in a movie theater. I had popcorn in my lungs.
Baby Groot sets off a bomb to destroy the planet. Everyone escapes except for Peter as he is still fighting his father on the planet. Rocket’s grief leaving Peter behind makes your heart sting again and maybe gets you a little teary-eyed. When Ego is defeated and he crumbles in his son’s hands, I didn’t feel a sense of retribution for his mom. I felt bad that he had to lose his father too. And while Peter sits there alone without any godly powers (or parents), surrounded by what looks like the collapsing Cave of Wonders from Aladdin, you stop and think that this is a really depressing movie and it can’t get any more emotional. Just then, Yondu saves Quill and says the line that makes me tear up even as I write it now, “That guy may have been your father, but he ain’t your daddy.” And unexpectedly, Yondu steals the show. Tears are streaming from your face as he sacrifices himself to bring Peter to safety. Peter screams and tries anything to save him while Yondu embraces Peter as he dies. Peter had to just watch another parent die. The movie ends with Yondu’s funeral where he is finally accepted by Sylvester Stallone, whom I guess didn’t accept him earlier? I wouldn’t know. When Stallone talks, it sounds like the teacher from Peanuts mixed with the little boy from The Grudge. All the other relationships tie together perfectly. Baby Groot never became an annoying gimmick. At the end of the movie he sits on Peter’s lap as they both listen to Cat Stevens’ Father and Son just to give your heart one more squeeze for the drive home.
To sum it up, it’s great. Better than most Marvel films. I really liked it, but I feel like the movie itself is unaware of the universe-wide collateral damage after Captain America: Civil War pretty much focused on collateral damage.
Bonus Points for: Hasslehoff cameo and the use of Howard the Duck.
*She’s not dead ;)  


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Upcoming Best and Worst of Summer 2017

Welcome back to summer movies. It's the time when all we get are big-budget popcorn sequels and pummeled with superheroes, special effects, and very little characterization. However, there are always surprising sequels that look bad, terrible movies that look good, little indie films that sneak in to give us a break from all of the explosions, and a few movies that stand out among the rest.  It's going to be a loud slog through Summer, but suffice it to say that this summer looks much more promising than anything released last year.


Alien: Covenant

I wasn't really a fan of Prometheus, but I'm a huge fan of Alien and Aliens. Alien: Covenant, judging by trailers only, looks more like the original Alien, focusing on the terror of a giant, stalking alien in space, than the struggling philosophical approach of Prometheus. It's got a good cast, and Michael Fassbender is back to accompany our alien enemy and, hopefully, scare the living shit out of us. While I don't expect this movie to be mind-blowingly amazing, I am expecting to be thoroughly entertained.

It Comes At Night


I honestly don't know much about this movie. I watched the sixty second trailer that was a collage of snippets of terror. I have intentionally avoided any further information about this movie because I believe the best horror movies are ones you go into blindly. Horror is a weird genre, in that there are a lot more bad ones than good ones... but this movie is already being highly regarded as one of the most terrifying movies of the year. That's all I need to hear. Hopefully it lives up to the hype.

Rough Night


One of my favorite movies from the 90s is one that is very underrated. It's called Very Bad Things and is an extremely dark comedy about a bachelor party in Vegas where is stripper is accidentally killed. The group of neurotic friends end up burying her in the desert, wind up letting their consciences get the better of them and most wind up dead themselves. It's unbelievably dark, but equally hilarious. Rough Night is essentially the same plot, but from the female perspective. It already looks wonderfully funny... let's just hope they can keep it as dark. Judging by the trailer... it looks like they might.

The Book of Henry

This is a weird one. The trailer for this movie tells me that they're marketing the movie in such a way that they're trying to make you feel like it's a suspenseful thriller. However, the posters and loglines for the movie suggest otherwise. I'm putting this movie in "Best Upcoming" solely on the basis of its cast, its director (who shat the bed with Jurassic World, but slayed it with Safety Not Guaranteed), and the fact that Focus Features rarely puts out a bad film. Hopefully I'm right with this one. Either way, it definitely looks intriguing.

The Big Sick


This is that movie I was talking about... that little indie movie that gives you a breath of fresh air among the slew of CGI explosions and Michael Bay'd-ness. Kumail Nanjiani has already established himself as a comedic staple within the sphere of the fantastic Silicon Valley.  Here, he brings us an almost autobiographical story about the way he met is real-life wife. Produced by Judd Apatow, The Big Sick looks like a great movie that has already generated a significant amount of buzz.  Believe it or not, this is one movie I'm looking forward to almost the most this summer.

The Bad Batch

It's being described as a dystopian love story featuring cannibals. I mean... if that doesn't sell you (which it should) the cast will definitely sell you. Coming from the director of the incredible A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, and Jim freakin' Carrey populate this movie that looks like a combination of Mad Max and... um... something we have yet to see. Seriously, if you haven't heard of this movie yet... I encourage you to seek out its trailer.

Baby Driver

It's funny, Baby Driver doesn't actually look that great to me. If it wasn't helmed by one of my favorite directors (the fantastic Edgar Wright, the man behind Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgram), I'd probably dismiss it as another angsty-teen movie that will be forgotten as quickly as it is released. But, there are moments in the film that look very Edgar Wright-y, and I'll never be one to question his casting decisions as long as he's written the script and is behind the camera. Also, it's already got a 100% on RT with a few reviews already praising the movie as something Edgar Wright could use as his new staple. I have no doubt this movie will be perfect.

Spider-man: Homecoming


I know I've bitched over and over at how tired I am at the Marvel craze. I'm even especially tired of Spider-man. I never even saw the last Andrew Garfield one. But, you can't deny that the new incantation of Spider-man isn't the most charming of anyone cast in that role. Paired with Robert Downey Jr. and allowing Michael Keaton to come on as the bad guy... well, there's just no way I can throw this movie anywhere else on this list. However, it does kind of get under my skin a little bit how much the poster is trying to channel the inner-Deadpool-ness. Marvel isn't going anywhere. So, for now, this is my "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" phase. It will be short lived.

War For The Planet Of The Apes


You know, these movies never look that great to me when the trailers are first released. They become even less appealing when you start to seriously sit down and actually think about the plot. It's even more ridiculous once you've digested that these are movies about humans vs. monkeys and that still in 2017 studios are dropping huge bucks on these movies. But, they're all pretty good. They somehow get a good cast involved, the CGI is mesmerizing, and the story is very engaging. War For the Planet of the Apes is particularly striking to me because now, we actually have a true human villain played by Woody Harrelson. That's enough to encourage me to buy a ticket.



I don't think this even needs to be stated, but this is the movie I'm the most excited about this year. I know, for some reason, people are tired of Christopher Nolan-- but this is a good thing. When you're constantly heralded as the best director of the time... you're gonna get some haters simply because you're that good. I was momentarily thrown off by the PG-13 rating for a war film, but hearing Nolan defend this choice and explaining it's more of a character-driven suspense film rather than an actual Saving Private Ryan-esque war film... I have faith this will no doubt be the best movie of the summer.

Atomic Blonde


Charlize Theron is a bonafide badass. Atomic Blonde looks like a female John Wick and there's honestly no better casting choice of a female John Wick-esque character to helm a hand-to-hand fighting, gun-blasting, f-bomb-dropping assassin action movie than Theron. It looks to be a hard R-rated movie that will give any other "summer film" a run for its money in the most entertaining movie of the year category.  Don't get me wrong, I'm probably going to love Dunkirk more than any other movie, but I doubt I will be entertained by anything more than Atomic Blonde.

The Dark Tower


Stephen King's seven book fantasy epic The Dark Tower series appeared to be un-filmable. However, Ron Howard's company has accepted the challenge. It's going to be a tough go at it, but they've already made the correct steps in casting Idris Elba as the Gunslinger hero and McConaughey as the Man in Black villain. The first glimpse of the trailer also offers a very promising movie. However, I believe it's going to hinge on how balls-out the movie decides to go. If it offers a watered-down PG-13 version of King's story, it's probably going to fail. But if we get the bloody, no-holds-barred version, then we may just be in for a treat.

Annabelle: Creation


I know what you're thinking-- why in the hell would I ever throw this into the list of best movies coming out this summer... especially when the first Annabelle film was absolute trash? Here's why: David F. Sanberg. He's the guy who broke onto the horror scene with the good Lights Out. We already know he has the horror chops needed to make a scary movie with a very scary prop. Also, it's rated R. It's not some teeny-bopper PG-13 joke... this is going to channel The Conjuring and, hopefully, scare the living piss out of us.

The Hitman's Bodyguard


In all likelihood, this movie is probably going to be pretty underwhelming. But an action-comedy, buddy movie with an F-bomb shouting Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds should be nothing less than a hilariously fun ride. However, movies like this tend to be less than what we as moviegoers desire when it comes to the idea of entertainment and fun. Here's to hoping it exceeds expectations.


Transformers: The Last Knight


I know this is going to come as a shock to all of you that the fifth Transformers movie makes the Worst Upcoming portion of the list-- especially with such talent like Mark Whalberg and Anthony Hopkins attached... but, alas, it's true. There hasn't been a good Transformers film since the first one (shut up) and there hasn't been an entertaining one since the second one. They're just loud, obnoxious, and unintelligible Michael Bay load-shots. This one will not be any different.

Amityville: The Awakening


This movie was slated to come out in January of 2016!!! And it had already been shelved for a year before that. These are all signs that this movie is going to be nothing short of an actual mess.  I mean, for one, isn't it going to look strange that Bella Thorne is in this movie back when she was an actual child? It's also PG-13 and at this point, it appears that the studios are just trying to recoup the lost money they spent on this literal mistake. Pass.

Wish Upon


Oh, I hate these summer horror movies. They're cheap cash grabs like Ouija that don't respect its genre, definitely don't respect its audience, and pander literally only to teenagers looking to pull the ol' dick-in-the-popcorn date rape trick on their ("un")suspecting future prom date. I mentioned earlier that I'm excited for the new Annabelle movie because I have faith in the director... well, the director of Wish Upon is directed by the dude who helmed the first Annabelle film. This does not bode well for anyone.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets


It might be that I'm just so sick of seeing this preview, or the fact that Luc Besson hasn't directed a good movie since The Fifth Element, but even if this movie has a halfway decent plot and story and characters and acting... these movies don't produce anymore. There is no audience for it like there used to be. It will be released, it will lose a lot of money, and it will put a stop to any and all sequels that are inevitably being discussed at this moment. If that doesn't convince you, may I remind you of a little "gem" called Ender's Game?

Girls Trip

Rough Night is to Very Bad Things as Girls Trip is to The Hangover II. Where Rough Night looks like a clever spin on a dark comedy, Girls Trip looks like a lazy reincarnation of a trilogy that died the second anyone mentioned sequel. There's literally nothing appealing in the trailer and I couldn't even crack a smile at the attempted "jokes" made. I'm also telling you this has nothing to do with the all-female cast (because, seriously, they should be making more of these types of movies), but don't waste it on lazy writing and obvious jokes of boners and bodily fluids. I expected more from every member of this cast.

Midnight Sun


There's not even a trailer for this maniuplative mess, but something tells me that a movie starring (chuckle) Patrick Schwarzenegger and Bella Thorne, being described as Nicolas Sparks' version of The Fault in our Stars... isn't going to be cinematic genius. Oh, Bella Thorne... on the worst list twice... I guess that's what you get for starting your career in an Adam Sandler movie.


King Arthur: Legend of the Sword


Just like Valerian and any space movies involving pre-teens, there really isn't a market for movies like King Arthur anymore. Just ask Russell Crowe and his Robin Hood remake. But, there is the wildcard factor of Guy Ritchie behind the camera. It could effectively turn a very forgettable and mediocre film that we've seen too many times into something fresh and exciting and new. We'll have to wait and see.


I really enjoy Amy Schumer, both as a comedian and a comedic actor. I thoroughly enjoyed her film debut in Trainwreck, but this one looks like the cash-grab movie and not a movie written with any passion or heart. But, she's always cracked me up and there's something about it that brought Goldie Hawn out of retirement, so there could be something there. File this one into cautiously optimistic.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales


I must be a glutton for punishment because I actually enjoy all of the Pirates movies. I can't actually say that they're all good... but I do enjoy them. However, they've become a bit repetitive and the Jack Sparrow character is the same song and dance without really any growth over the span of four, now five, movies. But, it has a lot going for it. First, there's always the delight of Javier Bardem taking the role of villain in any movie. Then, there's also the news of Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley making appearances in this movie which may... just may... fix the major problem EVERYONE had with the ending of the third movie. If all of that comes together, it might actually revitalize the franchise. If not... it could be dead in the water. Puns are fun.


I really, really want this movie to be good! It's a raunchy action-comedy starring one of the most likable people in Hollywood-- The Rock. However, it's being directed by one of the guys who directed Horrible Bosses, a premise that should've been a home run, but wound up a bit underwhelming. There's also Zac Efron. He showed a lot of comedic promise with his roles in the Neighbors films, but he also had Seth Rogen with him to funny everything up. The movie doesn't look great, but it's such a likable cast and a decent premise that I really want it to be good. Chances are, though, that it'll have a few decent laughs, but really not give us anything more than that.

Wonder Woman


Okay, DC... you better not mess this one up. This is legitimately the FIRST superhero movie starring a woman. So far, the advertising for the movie hasn't been great. I haven't seen this advertised very aggressively at all and the trailers are seriously just kinda blah. This could be a great thing for women in Hollywood, but given DC's track record and their apathetic attitude toward the movie so far... I don't have high expectations. The hopes are high... but damn if it has everything stacked against it.

The Mummy


Unlike Wonder Woman, I seriously hope this movie flops. I'm a purist, okay? I realize that Brendan Fraser's version of The Mummy was also a remake, but that's one of the most fun monster movies ever made. It still holds up today (I know this because I watch it at least once a year). The fact that Universal has begun its own Marvel-esque universe (with monsters instead of superheroes) and have decided to eliminate Fraser's movie from the list in favor of a reboot kinda pisses me off.  So, I want it to fail. However, go look at Tom Cruise's last ten movies. He's on a roll. So... it's probably going to be pretty decent. But, if Fraser doesn't at least get a cameo in this movie... I'm writing it off immediately as a total loss.

All Eyez On Me


I came very close to putting this movie on the Upcoming Best list, but there's just something about biopics of famous 90s rap artists that don't really succeed lately. First, we got the Biggie movie Notorious which was an all-around mess that gave the least honest depiction of a great artist. Then there was Straight Outta Compton, which wasn't bad, but it also didn't submit an honest look into the lives of these people. While the actor playing Tupac looks spot-on, if we're going to be given a movie that praises the man without acknowledging all of his flaws, we're going to be cheated once again. I hope this isn't the case, because the movie looks great.

47 Meters Down

I have no idea if this movie is even going to hit actual theaters, but damn does it look intense. It's a great premise and the trailer shows plenty of suspense and thrills and action to keep anyone who enjoys these types of movies invested throughout. I worry about the PG-13 rating because anyone who likes shark-attack movies knows we like to see a gory shark mauling... however, we were given The Shallows last year... that was PG-13 and was a very well put together movie.

Despicable Me 3


This one I almost actually put on the Upcoming Worst list because I've never really been a fan of the Despicable Me movies. The premise is there, but what's been presented to us is more obnoxious than funny. And now, especially, they're relying too heavily on the Minions (who have far overstayed their welcome) lately that the funny aspects of these films are almost entirely gone. The wildcard here for me is one Trey Parker. The leader of the South Park movement is lending his voice to the villain of the film and there is the smallest of chances (especially if he had any input in the script) that the movie could actually be funny. Then again, Louis CK was a part of The Secret Life of Pets and that movie was just upsettingly bad.

The House

I love Amy Poehler. I love Will Ferrell. It's been too long since either have been in our theaters. And while I don't totally buy the plot of this film as something that could be downright hilarious, it will be nice to see the two of them again in a raunchy comedy that, if nothing else, will serve as a nice distraction from the Summer heat and provide a few side-splitting laughs. I mean, it can't be worse than Daddy's Home could it?

The Circle: Secrets Are Lies, Or Some Shit

-Written by guest reviewer Ashley Green

I need to address a societal oversight, one I am worried will affect too many movies in the future. Emma Watson isn’t a good actor. At her best she is Hermione Granger and at her worst she is an American. The minimal gray area between those characters is where she plays bridge and waits to be cast as another breathy and restless twenty-something she can bore us to death with. I feel like it should be said that as a person, I find Emma Watson to be articulate and lovely. I’m not projecting a strange hate for EDubs with this review, I’m only saying that I don’t think she’s Belle talented, okay? It should also be said that I am in love with Keanu Reeves so my opinion doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that I’m going to spoil the shit out of this movie, so if you really want to watch it (which I 100% do not suggest if quality cinematic experience is something you enjoy), stop reading here. 

************************SPOILERS BELOW*******************

The Circle focuses on Mae Holland (Emma Watson), a breathy and restless twenty-something who works for the water company. Outside of her love for solo kayaking, her family’s struggle with her father Vinnie’s (goddamn it, you deserved better Bill Paxton) MS, and her weird, dismissive friendship with Mercer (Ellar Coltrane), we see that Mae is very bored with her life and feels unfulfilled. Then, at out nowhere, Mae gets an interview at The Circle courtesy of Annie (Karen Gillan), her Scottish BFF, which instantly breaks the monotony of Mae’s life. We are introduced to an intricate world of technology interwoven with the human experience where everything is recorded and archived. Literally everything. Employees spend all of their time at The Circle; they work there, they party there, they live there. It is essentially its own little world. You got health inquiries? Cool, head to the medical building and get yourself a fancy little bracelet that monitors your very existence. Want to put a tracking device in your kid? Awesome. Just cross “campus” and they’ll pop a tracker right into your child’s bone, no problem. Want to see a live performance by fucking Beck? Great! Just frolic through the garden towards the designated concert area and gyrate the night away! And if you’re lucky, you’ll bump into the creator of it all, Ty (hot piece of ace John Boyega) and he’ll pull a bottle of wine out of a bush, tell you all of his secrets, and then basically disappear from the movie altogether! The Circle is everything and newly hired Mae gets to be part of it. What Mae doesn’t know is that incredibly likable Eamon (Tom Hanks) and less-than-likable Tom (Patton Oswalt) are two ginormous turds who can’t wait to invade the fuck out of the world’s privacy. Or does she?

The idea of The Circle is not a bad idea. In fact, it’s a really good idea and something that, if executed properly, could have freaked me out like The Truman Show did when I was a kid. But it wasn’t, and it didn’t. What we are given is a bloated piece of fiction from a 12th grade creative writing class whose author is a seventeen year old tech nerd who has never talked to a girl but insists on making one his main character. Mae is flat, bland, and actually pretty mean…and she’s kayaking like, all of the time. All of the fucking time. She even steals a kayak in the middle of the night and paddles out into the foggy San Francisco bay because she is just so overwhelmed with life and UGH, HAS TO KAYAK. It’s here that Mae almost drowns and you’d think that drowning would be a relatively easy thing to pretend to do, but Emma Watson butchers it. Anyway, thanks to the mini cameras that Eamon invents, known as SeeChange, Mae’s life is saved. For some reason there’s three of them stuck to a buoy that just so happens to be focusing on Mae as she almost gets hit by a huge fucking ship and these three SeeChanges are not only capable of penetrating a blanket of fog, but they are also connected directly to the authorities. Within seconds of flailing about in the ocean, Mae is saved (God forbid one more white girl dies in a tragic midnight kayak accident, am I right?). So Mae is saved and because SeeChange is archived at The Circle, everyone knows about her near-death experience. This is when Eamon and the wildly underused Tom approach her about going “transparent”. She sticks a camera on her shirt, exclaims that "secrets are lies", and begins living her life as a walking, talking live-feed. To make a ridiculously long story short, Mae ruins the lives of everyone she cares about. Her live-feed picks up on her parents banging (and not just banging, but Glenne Headley using a penis pump on Bill Paxton while he talks dirty) and her later invention of SoulSearch, a program that can find literally anyone through the help of people connected to The Circle (think Facebook mixed with Google Earth) kills her “friend” Mercer by causing him to drive his shitty pickup off of a bridge. The good news is Mae mourns him for 4 days and then she’s back at work, live-feed up and running, and decides that exposing Eamon and Tom as the ginormous turds they are is for the good of the people…and also because she just wants to run shit.

The only good storyline within this movie is Annie’s, and I might be biased because I think Karen Gillan is so goddamn adorable, but whatever. Annie is this workaholic who loves her job, but maybe too much. You get a glimpse into her life and it’s interesting. She’s interesting. But our seventeen-year-old author (actual 47-year-old, and former respected author Dave Eggers)  doesn’t give a shit about developing story lines, so he gives her a drug problem and sends her back to Scotland.

I didn’t like The Circle. I think it was a really shitty movie that made me laugh a lot because it just really sucked. The dialogue was bad. The characters were bad. Watching the late and great Bill Paxton shit himself was bad. The random FBI investigation they inserted into the movie to inform you that The Circle was probably definitely breaking privacy laws was bad. The random Judy Reyes aka Nurse Carla from Scrubs cameo was actually pretty good. It’s nice to see her working. But her acting was bad. Basically everything was bad, but some of it was bad in a funny way. Would I watch this again? Sure, if it was turned into a drinking game where everyone had to chug a beer every time there was an unnecessary close up of Emma Watson’s face. That would be a hell of a time! Would I recommend this movie to anyone? Sure, if it was turned into a drinking game where everyone had to chug a beer every time there was an unnecessary close up of Emma Watson’s face. That would be a hell of a time!

D (for Bill Paxton’s dick pump – RIP)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sandy Wexler: I Watch Adam Sandler Movies So You Don't Have To

I've written ad nauseam about the shift in the career of Adam Sandler. I've taken more time to analyze why his movies aren't funny anymore due to the constantly shifting criteria of comedy in an ever-evolving society that Sandler doesn't care about than Sandler actually has writing any Grown Ups screenplay. I've explained why I've subjected myself to watching each and every Sandler movie that comes out. I've come to terms several times that a comedic actor that I once admired (and still do-- though not because of the quality of his films) gives no fucks about much anymore as far as providing entertaining content to anyone with at least one flickering brain cell. So, I'm not going to continue beating a dead horse (a different dead horse than the one who explosively shits all over Rob Schneider in The Ridiculous 6, which is supposed to garner "laughs"). One, because it's redundant at this point. And two, because Sandler's last two films for Netflix (The Do-Over and, now, Sandy Wexler) have provided a hazy glimpse into a future of a more mature Adam Sandler. There are actually vast improvements in his last two films. Not so much in the comedy department... but in the I-don't-feel-like-going-on-a-killing-spree-after-watching-it department.

Sandler's last two films are, in fact, more mature than anything released by him in the last decade... but that's not exactly a compliment. Just because a wet piece of dog shit, over time, matures into a hardened rock-like thing, doesn't mean I'm going to touch it with my bare hands. The Do-Over forewent all of the usual bodily fluid "jokes" in favor of an actual plot, with a few genuine laughs sprinkled in. Sandy Wexler does the same thing. However, just because he's not literally showering in donkey diarrhea or swimming in a pool full of human piss... doesn't necessarily suggest that his movies are by any means good still. They're just more... mature. Sandler plays the titular character Sandy Wexler, using, once again, that terrible baby-coo voice he likes to do every three films or so. Wexler is a talent manager in the 90s, repping some truly terrible acts including a redneck Evel Kenevel knock-off (Nick Swardson) and a creepy ventriloquist (Kevin James). He's a naive, idiot, and for some reason, a compulsive liar-- but this all serves the point that he truly cares about his clients. Throughout the film we get backstory of Wexler from some seriously respectable comedians (all of whom are close Sandler friends) playing themselves.

While watching a cheap kids' show at an amusement park, he discovers brilliant and beautiful singer Courtney (Jennifer Hudson) and convinces her to let him manage her career. Slowly, as her career erupts into superstardom, Wexler falls in love with her. The rest of the movie is their relationship fall apart, come together, fall apart, come together, etc. And while, like I said earlier, Sandler and co. don't fall back on bodily pratfalls as an excuse for comedy, the movie... doesn't really seem to have much of a point. As I watched it, I didn't question why I had subjected myself to yet another Sandler travesty, I started questioning why Sandler cared so much about this story and this character to put so much time and money and talent into a pretty pointless story. It's not funny... and it's not unfunny... it just... is. A movie should have some sort of extra quality that proves why a studio committed to it, but there's none of that in Sandy Wexler. He's a very endearing character, and there's significantly more heart in this movie than there's been in any Sandler movie in the last twenty years, but the only thing missing for me was a point.

Sandler is tolerable (even with the "voice"), Hudson is perfect, and even the side characters (though playing caricatures of real people) don't feel stupid. Sandy Wexler, the character, is actually based on a real person close to Sandler-- a talent manager-- and the movie definitely honors a very sweet, if not severely flawed, human being. And if that is only what Sandler is going for, then my guess is that he succeeded. But that's been the problem with a lot of recent Sandler films. They all feel like an inside joke that we, the audience, aren't privy to. And if Sandler doesn't open up the joke to his fans, I don't know how much more he's going to be able to do successfully.  Then again, I didn't think he'd survive Jack and Jill so what the hell do I know? Sandler is always going to have his die hard fans. In fact, I recently found out that the reason Netflix sought him out and gave him such an outrageous contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars is that Adam Sandler is the most 'searched' name on Netflix. Sandy Wexler isn't going to drive away any fans who have stuck around this long... but it's still not that movie to bring back those who have thoroughly given up on him.

Also-- side note: While the movie isn't exactly laugh-out-loud funny... there is a scene in the movie involving a racoon and a baseball bat that's funnier than anything Sandler has done since Bob Barker beat the shit out of him.