Saturday, December 8, 2018

What's Next On My List? The Pacifier

The past weeks as you know I have been reviewing old movies that have a special meaning to me. This one is a bit out of the box, considering the kind of movies that I have covered on the blog in the past years, but as far as family movies are concerned, it is my absolute favorite and you will see why in a second.

An agent by the name of Shane Wolfe is surprised and attacked while overseeing the protection of an inventor by the name of Howard Plummer. After losing Plummer, he is delegated to protect his family, as the man after him still seek information that might be hidden in his home. In order to blend in, he becomes the nanny of the family, a job which he grows to like as he bonds with this family. In the end, he alone cannot take down the bad guys, but the children are not about to lose another important member of their family.

I am not a fan of toilet humor and the fact is that I am pissed at all of the movies that try to convey that that is the only means of inter-cultural humor available. We know this kind of gimmick of course: a grown man in trouble of taking care of children? A super-nanny? Unlikely adventures of an otherwise boring family? We have seen it all, so I am not so much concerned with how original the story is, but more about the ways they decided to make this different. And after all, it was these tiny but very important details that made the movie so much better. First of all, the girls in this movie are kick-ass! They do not need no man to save them, so much so that the expert private agent needs their help in order to win in the end. 
Second, there is no unnecessary toilet humor. A children's movie is the perfect opportunity to have some disgusting misplaced diaper jokes, but the movie didn't go there. The maximum was a baloney with some mustard. And finally, every single character is likable. The children have personalities, and they are age appropriate, and the way they all warm up to Shane was simply logical. There are a couple of twists and I never saw it coming, they mislead me (okay, I was 14, but nonetheless, the twists worked), and I just genuinely like to re-watch this movie. I think it fell under the radar because it was not meant for a wide audience, I would more like to deem it a 'made for TV movie', but out of those this is still a gem in the rough for me.

Watch it? I think it is perfect for a family night of fun, with a bunch of actors you all know and love today. As I said, it is not the most original story in the history of cinema, but that was not their intent. They wanted a big actor like Vin Diesel doing silly things, and the things he does are indeed cute and silly. But the reason this movie is good, is that him being big and comical is not the only thing that is has going for itself.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Shane Wolfe - Vin Diesel
Principal Claire Fletcher - Lauren Graham
Julie Plummer - Faith Ford
Zoe Plummer - Brittany Snow
Seth Plummer - Max Thieriot
Capt. Bill Fawcett - Chris Potter
Helga - Carol Kane
Lulu Plummer - Morgan York

Saturday, December 1, 2018

What's Next On My List? The Peanuts Movie

When I was a baby, my brother and sister already loved Peanuts, and as a child I wished to grow up to be Snoopy. When you think about it, don't you want to be Snoopy too, when you grow up?

Our story begins on a snow day, after which a mysterious beautiful girl joins the class of Charlie Brown, who tries to get up the courage to talk to her, despite not being very brave. In the background, Snoopy, writes a book about how he defeats the Red Baron in order to save the love of his life, Fifi.

Fortunately, Snoopy has all sorts of holiday specials, which I basically watch yearly. He was a favorite of my brother's, who I think up to today finds that Charlie Brown is his spirit animal. I do have to admit that he is a bit of a clumsy kid, but I find that this movie got together all the instances when this poor kid wasn't a 100%. However, with the inclination that a pink cloud is obscuring his judgment, maybe then lessened the impact of his misfortunes. Nonetheless, he might just be the unluckiest person on this planet... That said, his efforts are in the end rewarded, and that precious beautiful girl he wanted to impress cannot help but notice how hard he has tried over the course of the semester to be a good person, even if it seemed that he was unsuccessful at it.
I have to say that I loved every second of this movie. First of all, I loved how it was not a live action shit, like every childhood beloved that is remade recently. Second, I adored that it perfectly fit into the, let us say, canon Peanuts stories; almost as if it just continued where it left off all those years ago. Third, the animation chosen for this movie was simply delightful to look at. I am glad I waited a bit to watch it, because I needed to be in the right spirits, and since it started with snow, it was the perfect movie to watch with winter and the holiday season just around the corner! Not to mention, that you can continue with all the Peanuts holiday specials in order of release, or the other way around. These stories always get to me, I have to say, this tiny and yet huge universe gets me in tears every single time. I sure wish I had a dog like Snoopy!

Watch it? Definitely, great movie to start the Christmas season with, in my humble opinion. It is a guaranteed hit with the children and if cared for it when you were young yourself, you will be happy to see that the makers cared for this world just as much as you did growing up. Have a great holiday season!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Charlie Brown - Noah Schnapp
Snoopy / Woodstock - Bill Melendez
Schroeder - Noah Johnston
Marcie - Rebecca Bloom

Thursday, November 22, 2018

What's Next On My List? Free Birds

I wanted to wish everyone, even those who do not celebrate it, a wonderful holiday season, and ask them to stop for a moment and be thankful, really thankful, for the things they have. Now, an unlikely holiday treat, a movie about turkey's:

Two turkeys steal a time machine and travel back in time, to make sure that they are not the menu on the first Thanksgiving back in 1621. At first, they are hesitant, but slowly realize that being among their kind might have more to offer than 21st century technology...

I need to say that I am terribly mad at this movie. The animation on the birds is fantastic, but when it comes to the people... not only was the quality terrible, but it felt like I was watching another movie. I understand that maybe that is what they were going for, or at least I hope, showing the ugly within humans, but dear lord it was just hard to look at... and that made me super mad, because this movie had some wonderful jokes. It is essentially a children's movie, but there was some great buddy comedy, and physical humor that did leave me breathlessly laughing at times. But the trailer fooled me, because I thought there would be more jokes, and I definitely did not see coming the horrible animation... To me this movie is just a one-time thing in its entirety, but as far as my favorite jokes are concerned, I could rewatch it anytime. That is also a reason why I know that they had good things on their hands, but it just didn't entirely come together in the end. And, need to admit, the story itself wasn't bad, just the arch of the villains... give me more to care, the only reminder that the evil humans will eat them isn't enough for me. Think of great villains from Disney cartoons, or even Dreamworks: they might not be good, but at least they look good! Give me a real conflict, make me care, get me involved in a story about turkeys! You know you will not make anyone turn over to tofurky... but at least try to do that with good animation. No, I will not let it go.

Watch it? Well, there aren't many Thanksgiving movies out there, so I do recommend a watch, and the little ones waiting for dinner to get done will have something to do for a good hour and a half. It is not one of those cartoons, however, that is intended for a mature audiences. You have seen this story multiple times, but now it is with birds. If you like time travel and funny physical humor, you'll be in for a treat.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Until the item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _

Reggie  - Owen Wilson
Jenny - Amy Poehler
S.T.E.V.E. - George Takei

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What's Next On My List? Something To Talk About

When I decided which movies to review in the next coming weeks, I wished for them to be movies that mean something to me. One of those is the film that made Julia Roberts one of my favorite actresses of all time.

"- What is dignified about kicking somebody in the balls?
- Well, I feel better."

When Grace finds out that her husband Eddie has been cheating on her, she decides to move back home with her little girl. Her father, known for putting his business ahead of his family, forces her to just swallow what happened in order to not ruin his name. His behavior shows his daughters that he is not the man they thought he was, and maybe their mom is a pushover... it is their daughters courage to stand up for themselves that make their mom stand up for herself as well.

"- Are you addressing me?
- Yes.
- Well lick it, put a stamp on it, and mail it to someone who gives a shit."

I re-watch this movie quite often, as I find new layers and new lessons to learn each time. I think I was too little to understand the story at the time, but now, as I having had experiences with cheating, I find that out of the the stories out there that dealt with it, this is possibly the best. First of all, the one thing I think is the psychological aspect of stepping out on somebody: the story focused on the simple fact that lack of communication can lead to distance, which in a marriage can be particularly deadly. I do not condone his actions of course, but there is one scene where he and Grace talk about how intimacy has been dead between them, and that happened without them even noticing. In a following scene, however, he promises to her that he will tell her before things get out of hand again. I do believe that if you are aware of a problem you should face it. I find that there are relationships that are worth saving, and when Grace's sister tells Eddie that one day maybe they will make great grown ups. These two met when they were too young to understand that relationships need to be worked on, but it was not too late as their love for their daughter kept them close to each other. To me, every time, I am moved that Grace finds that no matter what happens, she will not eat shit with a fork and spoon. Her daughter, even if she is hurt by having to spend time without her father, should not be shown that her mother stood by when somebody was betraying her.

"I've got to see a horse about a man."

Watch it? I think it is truly a great movie and I like the idea that we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of our parents if we stand up. It might be a small thing, it might be a big thing, it does not matter. Our parents were thought differently than us, and as time changes, so do we. Many times nobody is left to blame, but one cannot pretend that something is OK if they don't feel that way truly. I love this movie because it taught me both hope and caring, and most importantly, that some toxic people can be within our own family and we are not forced to take shit from anyone.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ 

Grace King Bichon - Julia Roberts
Eddie Bichon - Dennis Quaid
Wyly King - Robert Duvall
Georgia King - Gena Rowlands
Emma Rae King - Kyra Sedgwick
Jamie Johnson - Brett Cullen
Caroline 'Doodlebug' Bichon - Haley Aull

Saturday, November 17, 2018

What's Next On My List? Charlie's Angels

Back when I was a tiny little girl, there was an action movie that made me feel powerful, that made me want to kickass, that made me wish I was the strongest woman alive and I could take down bad guys, and that movie was none other than:

Three girls, Natalie, Dylan and Alex, working for a man known only has Charlie, need to save a man, who turns out to be the villain all along. The girls realize that they have been tricked and use their own resources to make sure that the man who made them the angels, and helped them find each other all those many years ago stays alive.

I do not get the criticism these movies receive, up to today I wished they would have made a trilogy, because I loved this casting, the jokes, the stories, the twist especially, and this was the movie where I got to know Sam Rockwell, one of the best actors I know. Yes, the movie is misogynistic, yes, it degrades women sometimes, but... take a f*cking closer look: They abuse the fact that women are perceived as sex objects, and when they do attack, you do not see it coming. They might not mind the fact that they are perceived as they are, because it also keeps them undercover, able to blend in, which as the investigators and sort of agents as they are, is quite crucial. You do not make fun of the original series from the 70s, and these movies paid homage to the original, something the new TV show from 2011 did not do, nor do I feel like the new movie will either, but I do not want to judge in advance. And then the second movie came out:

The girls are asked to recover two rings, which, when put together give out the list of people who are hidden in witness protection. Way too many people are interested in finding this list, and the villain decides to sell it to the best bidder, but the girls are shocked when they find out who was behind it all.

I have to be honest with you here, not only is this one of the best sequels I have ever seen, but it is definitely one of my favorite movies. When it comes to criticism, I have to go back to my arguments on the first one: the movie knows its audience, in my opinion, because they gave me exactly what I wanted to see. First, this gave me Justin Theroux, who is another national treasure, second beautiful women using what they have to fight another day. They are kickass again, I do not know how to explain it, I am trying to come up with all the things I can to help you understand, even if I am not being very argumentative... I understand that I have nostalgia goggles, but I have just recently re-watched them and I need to say that I was still mesmerized by the layers in it. The movie managed to show three story arcs, from A all the way to Z, with a good villain, several twists and jokes to tell the story. I don't... I really do not understand the criticism, I just looked at the rating on imdb and my question is... what do you expect from these movies?

You would be disappointed if it weren't sexy women. You would be disappointed if they did not kick ass. You would surely also be disappointed if they had some other feminist agenda to shove into your face, but don't you get it? Those last two things are connected! If you make them into completely dumb bimbos, they will not be kickass... Think of you being the writer who has to modernize something but still keep enough elements to know that you are looking at essentially the same thing! How would you go about it? The movie dares to ask questions that the TV show never did, specifically regarding to Charlie's identity. Setting it up in a new modern society will require changes, and you can disagree with me, but I think these movies made the perfect changes for 2000 and 2003. And I hope it is in this moment you realize that there is a huge difference between what we in 2018 expect of our leading women, and what we did at what was essentially still the end of the 90s.

Watch them? I am sure you already have, but I think this is the time to re-watch them. I will always love these movies, no matter what happens and I will not, for the life of me understand why people do not like them...

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

Natalie Cook - Cameron Diaz
Dylan Sanders - Drew Barrymore
Alex Munday - Lucy Liu
John Bosley - Bill Murray
Eric Knox / John McKenn - Sam Rockwell
Vivian Wood - Kelly Lynch
Roger Corwin - Tim Curry
Thin Man  - Crispin Glover
Jason Gibbons - Matt LeBlanc
Jimmy Bosley - Bernie Mac
Seamus O'Grady - Justin Theroux
Madison Lee - Demi Moore
Pete - Luke Wilson