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The X Files: Familiar (2018)
I can't even begin to tell how stupid this episode was. The idiotic portrayal of law enforcement was so more aggravated than the poor storyline... I just can't get over how bad this was.
So a police officer murders a man in cold blood, on his back and unable to defend himself in from of nearly 20 eye witnesses and gets $5000 bail. Then he goes straight home and takes his gun out of the closet? REALLY? Like they wouldn't have taken all his weapons?
The pure stupidity of how they treated the arrest of this officer overwhelmed the weak story line and just aggravating crap in this episode. This is an insult to the legacy of this show.
If David Lynch Was a Comedian
He might have written this episode.
This may have been the funniest episode of "Rick and Morty" ever. Rarely does a show make an episode that seems tailored to my sense of humor. I don't laugh a lot and it takes a really well made joke in order to get me to laugh. This episode did that.
A good joke knows how to present itself, but it's up to the audience to know how to receive that joke. Every joke in this episode is multilayered and thus needs to be set up rather than just presented. To do this, Rick drops us into the joke with no pretext. Then he presents the layers of the joke, the punchline, and immediately removes us from it. We get no idea how Rick and Morty got in their situation and even less idea what happens after they get out. In some of the scenarios, this can be important.
Furthermore, every part of the memory is part of the eventual punchline. For example, it's funny that the alien gets dragged down to Hell after he dies. But it's funnier because of everything that happens before. The ENTIRE alien culture believes that they have an orgasmic afterlife. They seek out great warriors to kill them. The alien confirms with Morty that they have no evidence of the afterlife, so the alien changes his mind. Rick still goes to kill the alien, but it is killed by a car. Suddenly, the alien is dragged to Hell by three ghosts. Morty realizes that there is plenty of evidence of the afterlife and it's that it is bad. So in the end, the alien has evidence of the afterlife that it is bad and his culture still believes it is good, he runs for his life rather than facing death easily like his people, he is killed by a car rather than a great warrior, and it dragged to Hell rather than to an orgasmic afterlife, and the Hell afterlife is obvious to anyone who has seen a member of his species die yet they still think the afterlife is orgasmic. There's also a reference to Sophie's Choice, which has about six points as to why the punchline ends up being hilarious.
The very fact that I am tired after writing that joke shows how multilayered and hilarious it is.
The episode also know how to put on a mainly comedic episode and to use that episode to put in an important . When Morty hears the squirrels talking, Rick makes a comment that they have to change realities and that they can only do it a few times. The clip then ends, leaving us to wonder "When did this happen?" and "Will this be important later?"
I honestly think this would have been the comedic episode David Lynch would have written. It leaves us with little information about what may or may not be important for the series as a whole. The part about changing realities may not have been important and one of the lesser jokes might have been. Regardless, everything in the episode seems directed at making us laugh, but also to think about why it made us laugh. Which made it brilliant.
Undoubtedly the best episode since "The Rickshank Redemption." This was well written and hilarious.
The Conjuring 2 (2016)
I should have known going into this that I would not be able to enjoy this movie. Although I like James Wan quite a bit, the subject matter of these movies is just not something I can get over. They would have a done a better job if they didn't pretend that this movie was really based on a true story.
The biggest problem with this movie is the depiction of Ed and Lorraine Warren as heroic figures. In reality, they are grimy charlatans who make up stories and exploit peoples' wanting to believe in the supernatural to make money. They have been exposed repeatedly as frauds. However, this movie tries to make them heroes. It's impossible for me to see them this way and this made any chance I could like this movie just go out the window.
Also, there are plenty of recent horror movies based off of supposed real stories. Most of them do a better job of at least not being so outlandish that no one with sense could possibly believe it.
So, let's pretend for an instant that this movie just was admittedly a fiction movie. Let's pretend for a moment that the heroes weren't a couple of slime bag con artists. Let's pretend they presented this film as it was. Would it have been enjoyable? Possibly. Will I ever know? Not really.
Even so, it would not have been scary. But the main point is that if I can not root for the hero, I can not like a movie. And the last think the Warrens are or ever have been are heroes. Avoid it.
The Best Gay Movie Ever Made
I saw "The Broken Hearts Club" when I was 25 years old. I had been out of the closet for 9 years already and had seen about every gay movie ever made. The vast majority of them were painful coming out stories that I couldn't relate to as my coming out was a wonderful time for me. My friends and family loved and accepted me.
The reason this movie resonates with me is because it was the first gay movie I could relate to. So much was captured in the film that was a snapshot of my life. There was the way gay guys sit around all day talking about men. The petty jealousy of ex boyfriends who still want to sleep with each other.
The thing that struck the strongest chord with me, however, was the way Kevin, after being so apprehensive about being with gay people, became completely acclimated to the group. It was my life when I was 24 exactly. To this day I still watch this movie ad it tugs at my heartstrings because it is the most accurate portrayal of gay life as I have known it.
Before and after, no gay movie has been able to do what "The Broken Hearts Club" did so well. It portrayed the newness, the apprehension, the fear, the adventure, the heartache, the friendship and the survival that goes along with being gay. If you're gay, you should watch this movie to see that there are people who can relate to you. If you're not gay, watch it and understand what happens to many of us in our lives. You won't regret it.
Atari: Game Over (2014)
Poor and Misleading Propaganda Piece
I really didn't know what to expect from this film. I had heard about the search for the Atari games buried in a landfill and never gave it much mind after that. Curious as to what happened, I decided to give this movie a look when it came on Netflix.
This documentary is the strangest piece of propaganda I have ever seen. It tries to salvage the reputation of ET The Extra Terrestrial, largely regarded as one of, if not the worst video game of all time. In doing so, it skews factual information and presents minority opinions in an attempt to give this a new reputation.
I grew up in the 1980's and I was very excited when I got ET for my Atari 2600. Being 8 years old, I had seen the movie and loved it and I was so into video games that it seemed like an unbeatable idea. However, after several hours of pain and agony, I gave up on ET. I would come back to it several times later in life, never with any improvement.
This movie skews information to exonerate ET from its role in Atari's "death." When the games are found in the landfill, the narrator remarks that only 10 percent of the games were ET. He then lists other popular games that were found, such as Defender and Centipede. Conveniently, however, the percentages found for any of the other games are not mentioned. They then present this as proof that ET didn't kill Atari. You then get about three people talking about how great the game is, including one guy who you don't know and never will remarking how he'd rather play ET than Call of Duty. Well, so would I and I don't like either game.
The narrator never makes the obvious point that the reason there were more games than ET in the landfill is because the landfill was filled around the end of Atari, Inc's existence. Atari got rid of a lot of unsold games and ET represented a larger portion than any other game.
So, if you want to get an actual unbiased account about this, this movie will not provide that. It's clear purpose is to try to make this horrid video game look good.
Come Back to Me (2014)
Every now and then I'll just flip through the horror section on Netflix and just take my chances with what comes up. More often than not, whatever I come across is just average. Other than that, you have the occasional stinker and the occasional enjoyable movie. "Come Back to Me" was the latter.
Before I discuss why I liked this movie, I want to point out that although I am giving it a perfect rating, it was not a perfect film. The effects were not phenomenal, but they were effective. Nobody is going to win any awards for this movie, acting or directing included. And no one should be having nightmares over seeing this, nor even looking under the bed before going to sleep. It's not scary.
However, this movie works very well. I'll try to explain without giving anything away.
The movie begins with a scene 12 years ago of an extremely bloody (mostly off screen) dispute between a husband and wife. The wife's son, Dale, who seems like a cross between Donnie Darko and Rain Man, seems somewhat interested in the dispute but it's hard to tell exactly why. When the police arrive, the viewer is given the impression that the mother died during the dispute, but Dale doesn't seem to think so.
Fast forward to the present day and we meet Josh and Sarah, a married couple who is having problems conceiving. Shortly after meeting their strange next door neighbor, a grown up Dale, Sarah begins having night terrors. After some extremely odd experiences, some involving Dale, Sarah finally decides to record what is going on while she sleeps. The result is something she never could have considered.
It's no surprise to the viewer that Dale is involved in what is going on. In fact, from the moment you see him, you know that he's not quite normal. But his exact involvement and what is actually going on might be a bit harder to predict.
One of the best parts of this movie is the performance by Nathan Keyes as Dale. Every time Dale was on screen, I felt somewhat uncomfortable. I was not in anyway intimidated by him, but his presence was like the old woman who stops to talk to you and not matter how hard you try, you can't force her to let you go. He's seems completely nice, and in a way he is, so it's hard for anyone to really disengage.
What Dale is really up to is not something that I would tell anyone, as I didn't see it coming at all. But his plans are not the culmination of this movie. It's just a fork in the road that eventually leads to a destination that I thought I saw coming, but it swerved somewhere I hadn't considered.
If you like watching something that is a bit different than normal Hollywood or normal horror fare, watch this movie. Don't raise your hopes, don't lower your hopes. Just watch it with a soupçon of curiosity and hopefully you will enjoy it like I did.
Full House (1987)
I Hate When People Say A Movie or Show is the Worst Ever but...
I have never in my life watched a show that reached the pinnacles of stupidity than the travesty that was "Full House." This is said by taking all of the other wretched shows I have seen in my life into account. There are so many painful programs on the television, such as "The Brady Bunch," "Unhappily Ever After," and even shoddy reality shows like "Joe Millionaire" or "Phenomenon." In spite of the poor horrid productions mentioned, "Full House" manages to remain the worst television show I have ever seen.
Why is "Full House" so bad? Well, other than the bad acting, the writing was atrocious. Every episode ended with someone always being sorry for something while the exact same "awww" sad music playing in the background. Viewers could always tell what was going to happen. Worst of all, no one ever learned a lesson because they would engage in the same behavior in another episode.
Interestingly enough, I actually never had a problem with the Olsens as actors. The true annoyance in the show was delivered by Dave Coulier and John Stamos. Coulier is one of the worst comedians in the history of comedy and his idiotic impressions are more annoying than a legion of Steve Urkels. Each episode also had the inevitable worship of Jesse upon Elvis Presley which bordered on insanity. It's fine to talk about one's idols, but this was the only thing he ever talks about.
In spite of all of this, I have always been able to credit the producers of "Full House" for a wonderful birthday present they gave me. I was forced to see the show as a teenager since my family watched it. The last show aired on my 20th birthday and I have never had to see an episode since then.
So often nowadays, watching a movie at home competes with other activities. My sister usually will be on the internet and listens to a movie. I will sometimes read in or out or play video games while watching. With "Gomennasai," I was totally glued to the screen. Although the first assumption may be that I have to watch the screen because then I can read the subtitles, I actually speak Japanese so I didn't have to do that.
This movie presents a plot that revolves around the power of words to kill. Recently, I had the pleasure of watching the movie "Pontypool," which showed the power that words had to change people into zombie like creatures. In "Gomennasai," no such thing happens. But the words of a certain school girl have the power to curse and to kill.
Kurohane is a very unpopular girl, likely due to her dark and somewhat morbid appearance. Completely rejected by her family, she is also hated by her schoolmates. In a way to antagonize her, the girls in the school decide to torment her by having her write a script for a school production. Kurohane is actually very open to do this because it allows her to experiment with the power of words to kill people.
"Gomennasai" is definitely a movie that has to be right for you in order to enjoy it. The budget was obviously very small and it is a very short movie. However, it thrives on the strength of the screenplay and the actors in the movie. I had no idea where this movie was taking me as I watched it, but it turned out to be a place I was happy to go. Very seldomly does a movie exhibit any originality in today's age. But this film does. It has an ending that ties things together in a way you likely will not see coming. An excellent film that should be enjoyed.
The Twilight Zone: The Jungle (1961)
Most Disappointing Episode
I have to agree with one of the previous reviewers, planktonrules, that this is just a terrible episode. "The Twilight Zone" is supposed to be the realm of imagination and somehow this tale of a business man cursed by African witch doctors had none.
The plot of this episode is basically that a business man and his wife have returned from Africa after developing land there. The husband finds that his wife has been keeping charms to protect the two of them from curses placed on them by witch doctors for the land development. The husband throws them away, and immediately sees a dead goat appear outside his door.
The remainder of the episode, it seems that he has renewed belief in the curses. He points out the superstitions of others. By the end of the night, he is too scared to walk home because he is hearing "jungle" noises. He gets home and his wife has been killed by a lion and he is next. That's it.
I know some people will tell me that I have do not have patience or an imagination. They are wrong. I love shows and movies that leave a lot up to my mind to figure out on its own. I enjoy ambiguous endings and I enjoy slow building suspense. This episode had none of that. It was dull and there was nothing creepy, suspenseful or even interesting about it. Apart from that, and I know it was over 50 years old, but the African stereotypes were rather offensive as well. By far the worst episode of the series.
A Dreadful Movie
I thought all three of the Lord of the Rings films were enjoyable because they, in my mind, improved on the source material. It is not that I don't enjoy the books, they are just sort of dull in my view. The plots are fine, I just have never been a fan of Tolkien's writing style. So, in spite of the differences from the source material, I thought the first trilogy of films was great.
Both Hobbit movies have done the exact opposite. Where the first trilogy cut much from the books, this movie adds way too much that is not part of the story. I am well aware that some of the included stuff is from Tolkien's other work and notes, but some is completely made up by the film makers. There are so many needless action scenes thrown in. They are long, pointless and drag down the story. Then, in between some of the action scenes, we are treated to a glimpse of the actual story.
So, what we get is a movie called "The Hobbit," which almost has nothing to do with the titular character at all. These movies have none of the charm of the book, and none of the light hearted feeling that accompanied the story.
If Peter Jackson, a man I generally have tons of respect for, and company wanted to make a movie with all of their fluff, they could have done it better. They could have done The Hobbit as it was meant to be done and thrown all this trash into a separate movie.
For this second installment, subtitled "The Desolation of Smaug," we do not even get to see Smaug until two hours into the film. And that is a shame because he is really the only good part about this movie. Benedict Cumberbatch was the perfect choice to play the character and he may have been able to save this dismal script if he were in the movie if it was actually a film about him.
But it's not. This is not "The Hobbit." I have no idea what it is, other than a huge failure that the film makers should be ashamed of.
This film was just a complete load of nonsense and should be avoided by anyone who doesn't want to watch a completely pointless movie. I know a few people seem to really enjoy it, but it requires more suspension of disbelief than was possible for me to muster. Also, the talk of a surprise twist ending never happened as the ending followed the plot line perfectly.
Alyce and her friend Carroll go out and get some weird drugs after Carroll has a fight with her boyfriend (or ex). They take the drugs and we are led to believe Alyce pushes Carroll off the roof of her building. Alyce then keeps going back to the drug dealer and goes on a killing rampage that supposedly seems like revenge toward the people who hurt her and hurt Carroll. This would make more sense if Alyce didn't murder Carroll in the hospital before killing anyone else.
The worst part of this movie was the extreme liberties it takes with Alyce's psychological condition. Alyce is clearly not a sociopath. She has many emotions in the movie, including fear and regret when Carroll is hurt. So supposedly her mistreatement by Carroll's family and ex and by a drug dealer and her boss turns her into a heartless sociopathic killer. This is not only unrealistic, it insults the viewer and it trivializes the development of antisocial personality disorder (the correct term for what we consider a sociopath). Alyce's spiral just makes no sense.
I am going to post the "twist" ending right here because if I would have looked it up before, I would have not watched this film. I would like to save others this nightmare. So, after massacring several people, Alyce walks into her apartment and sees two cops and her landlord who obviously are there to arrest her. She looks at them with no realization of the severity of her situation and says "What?" That is the amazing "twist" ending people refer to in this movie. It is completely idiotic.
For the first hour, I actually liked this movie and I was going to give it a glowing review. However, it is impossible for me to believe that the events of a few weeks would be enough to push Alyce as far as they did. Avoid this movie as it is one of the worst horror movies ever made.
Offers Nothing New or Better Than the Original
What was this movie? Some have called it a remake while others called it a reimagining. I've even heard some people refer to it as a reboot, which is silly because that would mean "The Rage" was a credible sequel to the original movie. The fact is that it does not matter what you call it because this movie is really nothing to get excited about.
The original "Carrie" directed by Brian DePalma has sometimes been criticized due to the lack of special effects. In the Stephen King novel, Carrie White ends up destroying the entire town out of rage. King has always rightly defended DePalma's version because the director did very well with the money that was budgeted to him. This new "Carrie" does have more expensive effects.
Where the new movie goes wrong, however, is that it is just a movie about the revenge scene. While DePalma's version concentrated more on the buildup of torment and hope that pushes Carrie over the edge, this new version simply wants us to get to the prom as quickly as possible. There is no tension, no emotion, nothing except a plot that quickly tries to get the viewer to the special effects laden revenge scene.
In addition, the revenge scene is rather tame as well. Carrie's theatrics as she attacks her school mates are beyond cheesy. She looks like she is a dark lord of the Sith rather than a high school girl gone crazy. Although there is a bit more graphic death for Chris than in the original, it comes across as uninspired.
All in all, this was not a bad movie. I gave it six stars because I was not bored. The movie was all right, but it was totally unnecessary. If you want to enjoy a movie version of Stephen King's book, ignore the remakes and re-imaginings. Watch the DePalma version as it is still the superior film.
The Best Season Four Episode
Pinkie Pie is undoubtedly my favorite character in "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic," so it might seem I am inclined to rate this episode high due to that fact. Still, I think this is the best episode they have put together so far in the fourth season.
This episode has everything that has made me love this version of My Little Pony. It contained a heart warming message of friendship. It introduced a new and fun character (played by the great "Weird Al" Yankovic). More than anything, it did not have a cliché plot.
So Cheese Sandwich, an orange pony who acts like Clint Eastwood when he's serious and acts like his voice talent Weird Al Yankovic when he is not, hears about Rainbow Dash's "Birth-aversary" coming up. Rainbow chooses him to throw her party, leaving Pinkie feeling left out. Pinkie Pie must then find a way to not only feel better about herself but to make one of her best friend's party completely unforgettable.
The one thing that stood out the most for me, though, was that this episode did not go with a predictable and cliché outcome concerning the conflict. I won't say more, but by the end of this episode, I was warmly smiling because I was genuinely touched by what happened. If "My Little Pony" continues producing episodes like this, its legacy will live on forever.
Man of Steel (2013)
Mediocre and Disjointed Effort
The latest attempt at making a movie about the legendary Superman has followed the ill fates of all the movies before it. Much like the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, "Man of Steel" reboots the story line to tell us the origin of the hero. However, where "Batman Begins" did this successfully, "Man of Steel" fails in its entirety.
The biggest issue I had with "Man of Steel" is how disjointed the movie was. It begins on Krypton when Kal El is sent to Earth after the failed coup of General Zod. After this prologue, we are immediately taken to see Clark working on an Oil Rig and saving the lives of man other men. As Clark makes his way through life, the viewer is treated (so to speak) to various non sequential flashbacks about his childhood. Rather than follow a linear pattern which is introduced in the film, the modern events continuously and sloppily jump back and forth in the past and present, resulting in a nonsensical mess.
One of the worst things about the movie is the death of Jonathan Kent. It is so melodramatic as the man simply stands there and lets a tornado slowly take him for apparently no real reason. It is supposed to be Kent's wish to save his son's abilities from exposure, but it is a futile attempt. With as quick as Clark can move, he could not only have saved his dad, but with the ample time given by the slow moving tornado, it appears Jonathan could have simply walked away from it. In the end, we end up with an attempt to mimic the scene in "Spider-Man" where the dying father figure passes an important life lesson to his son. However, no real lesson can be derived.
The fight scenes are not even good enough to save this dull movie. They are hard to follow, with the adversaries moving so fast that all the viewers see are flashes of fighting with colors indicating where each character is. They have some good moments but are mostly mediocre and boring.
A oft mentioned criticism of this film is that Superman kills Zod at the end of the film, against the well established moral compass of Superman. This, however, did not bother me at all. Superman was put in a position where he could allow a man to willingly and purposely murder innocent people and the only option he had was to kill the would be murderer. He made the only choice available to him.
While this was not the worst comic book movie ever made, it definitely ranks up high with them. When it was over, I felt nothing for any of the characters other than embarrassment that the writers would saddle them with such a lousy ending. It was painful.
I cannot really recommend this movie, but I cannot dismiss it either. Different people with different likes will have different impressions of it. For me, however, this film was dreadful and I will never rewatch it. A poor, poor effort.
American Mary (2012)
An Exceptionally Poor Try
I was at first a bit hesitant to watch this movie, because the description made it seem like torture porn. Only after seeing many reviews that did not paint it as such, I decided to give it a try. In retrospect, I wish someone would have called it torture porn to keep me from watching it.
Getting that out of the way, I am not labeling this movie as torture porn, but it is the furthest thing from it. I have to commend the filmmakers for taking a concept that screamed of a torture porn plot but avoided making it such. The writers and directors tried to make this film less about the body modifications as it was about the change in personality of the lead character. However, they did such a poor job doing this that they should have just made an idiotic torture porn movie.
"American Mary" is basically a film about a poor med student who begins to take body modification jobs to keep her bills paid. At first she is reluctant to do so, but this changes over time. When one of her former professors drugs her and rapes her, she quits med school and after beginning a long revenge scenario with him, she becomes a very distant shell of what she previously was. The nice girl trying to get through school becomes emotionally blank and immorally bankrupt.
This movie fails because its plot is way too unlikely. Mary's change happens too quickly and it seems to come about as the means for a plot device and not her character. By the time you get half way through the movie, any sympathy for Mary is gone. She has no morals and no redeeming factors.
This is a dreary and boring and terrible film I suggest you skip over.
Survival of the Dead (2009)
A Deep Social Commentary, Don't Listen to Anyone Who Tells You Different.
All I have heard about from everyone is how bad "Survival of the Dead" was and because of this I put off watching it for a very long time. Personally, when Romero came back to making zombie films, I did not expect him to go any further than "Land of the Dead." My thought has always been that one man cannot just continue making zombie films because it's not a genre that is easy to keep fresh. However, it appears to me that stale zombie horror is exactly what people want and is exactly why "Survival of the Dead" was so unfairly maligned.
It is very odd to me to hear someone criticize the plot of a zombie movie, because generally every zombie movie has the same plot. The dead are coming back to life for some unknown reasons, no one ever refers to them as zombies, they attack and eat people in as gore filled scenes as possible and a few people survive. You name your characters a few different names, find a setting that hasn't been used before and add in criticism of the government and voilà... you have a zombie movie.
"Survival of the Dead" does not have a plot that is any more bizarre than any other zombie film every made. Everyone criticizes it for being shallow and silly. I guess it would seem silly to have an island where half the people want to keep zombies alive and the other half want to kill them. But no one is looking at this movie the way it needs to be viewed.
Contrary to what people claim, "Survival of the Dead" is not lacking in social commentary. In fact, it has more social commentary than either "Land of the Dead" or "Diary of the Dead." This movie is not about people who want to kill zombies or people who want to rehabilitate them. This movie is about the inane reasons that governments in this country go to war. We fight over the most idiotic things in this world and not because we believe in them. We do it because we want to fight.
An ex boyfriend of mine who is very against religion likes to assume that religion is the cause of conflict in this world. It's not. If religion did not exist, conflict wouldn't go away. Conflict exists in this world simply because we hold onto it and we thrive off conflict. If religion wasn't there, it would be land, or money. In Star Trek it would be the people with the white side of their body on the left side.
O'Flynn and Muldoon are not feuding over zombies. They are feuding because that is what they feel the need to do. Muldoon claims all he wants is for O'Flynn to say he is right, but that's not what he wants. In fact, it is the last thing he wants because it robs him of a reason to fight. And these two morons continue to fight even after they're dead because it's not about the issue, it's only about the fight.
So anyone who tells you that "Survival of the Dead" is a bad film with no depth needs to actually watch this movie. It makes a point that rings true, especially after a decade of pointless war mongering. This film has the truest message of any of Romero's films and it saddens me that people do not have the depth or understanding of humanities own vulnerabilities to see this.
The Spell (1977)
"The Spell" Teaches a Poor Lesson
"The Spell" is one of those extremely average made for TV movies that tries to work towards a goal, but misses it completely. In observing the progression of horror movies on television, it is pretty typical as to what you could have expected to be shown on television in the 1970's. It suffers, however, from two things: the constant chatter regarding it being a ripoff of "Carrie" and the poor and confused lesson taught at it's end.
The most common thing I have read about this film is how it is a ripoff of "Carrie" and that is true to a degree. Made for television movies have long tried to copy themes from current theatrical releases in order to capitalize on turning the interest into ratings. However, only part of theme is remotely related to "Carrie" in that a girl is bullied and seeks revenge using paranormal powers. Rita, a bullied teenager, has an innate talent for witchcraft which she uses to hurt people who have tormented her for being fat (although ironically, she's only slightly overweight). There are no big revenge scenes or any dramatic buildup like you got in "Carrie." Rita is also not as sympathetic a character as Carrie White was.
But while Rita may not be the most likable girl in 1970's revenge movies, she is definitely maligned. Her father is a worthless and disgusting excuse for a human being. He plays favorites with his daughters and makes it so painstakingly obvious that he not only prefers Kris, but absolutely despises Rita. He makes fun of Rita for being overweight. He heaps praise upon Kris, who is really a spoiled and annoying brat. He refuses to allow Rita to come out to restaurant with the family. He tries to send Rita to England to attend a school, not for her sake but simply because he doesn't like her and wants her gone.
For a movie that gets compared to "Carrie" so often, you'd think there would be a lot of development in the revenge plot, but you'd be wrong. It's a slow moving pace that never really catches the viewer.
The biggest problem with "The Spell" is that it teaches a really poor lesson to it's viewers. There is no doubt that Rita is unfairly treated by both her family and her peers. The movie leads you to believe her mother is on her side, but she's not. After "discovering" that Rita is using her witch like powers for revenge, the mother reveals that she has the powers as well and decides to punish Rita. What doesn't make sense about this is that the mother already knew what was going on. She follows Rita at the end of the movie and witnesses her using her powers and overhears the entire revenge plot. But it is obvious to the viewer that the mom already knows this so why the sudden change in her attitude occurs is unclear. The mom decides to send Rita to England and punishes her for what she did. At no point does the father get punished for his abhorrent behavior. He learns that you can hate someone for absolutely no reason and the moment they become a burden, you can send them away because it's easier for you.
Only watch this movie if there is absolutely no better alternative. It sickened me to see how these people acted and it sickened me more that the wrong person got punished.
The Lost Boys
By the time I began watching TNG, the seventh season was already in progress. Still to this day, I am a TOS Star Trek guy and I didn't want to even experience the second show. As a teenager, my parents started watching it and I caught most of the show. This was one that I missed for some reason.
After the show went off the air, a writer from Entertainment Weekly wrote about each episode of the show, ranking them in order. This was one of the lower ranked episodes and possibly the lowest ranked two part episode. This was due mainly to the treatment of the Borg. The once ultra cool cyborgs which to this day are still the most formidable foe of the Federation (I used the alliteration on purpose)were used so poorly. He referred to them as "the lost boys" of the galaxy, and the Peter Pan reference was accurate.
The show never really makes clear what happened. Hugh explains that the Borg were of one mind and his individuality messed that up. This makes no sense whatsoever. If the Borg are incapable of taking away individuality and placing that mind into the collective, then the Borg cannot exist. Simply what they have been doing forever cannot be done with one Borg drone? And the argument that it couldn't be done with Hugh because he is already a Borg is not valid either. They took the simplest thing the Borg are capable of doing and made them incapable of doing it. It was asinine.
Beyond that, the episode seems to imply that this was an effect that affected the entire collective. It also implies that it was only these Borg. This sets off a chain of events that makes the Borg harder to understand. We start learning that the Borg ships individually are collectives not linked to the whole. Then we are told all ships are linked to the whole. It gets confusing, and it started with this sub average episode.
But even putting the Borg to the side. This episode is disturbing for the experiments that Data puts his friends through. Lore has all the compassion of the Jigsaw killer an making Data do it was sickening. I doubt I'll ever watch this again.
Frasier: Freudian Sleep (2004)
A Total Miss
Having as many episodes as Frasier has, it is understandable that there are going to be some bad episodes. Having said that, there are not really very many. The show was always of such an outstanding quality that they rarely put on a bad episode or even a sub par episode. "Freudian Sleep," however is likely the worst miss ever.
In this show, Ronee and Martin are going to a cabin to spend a weekend. While speaking to Eddie, Frasier mistakenly thinks that Martin invited him and he is so thankful that Martin cannot explain. Ronee makes the same mistake talking to Martin and it ends up having Frasier, Daphne and Niles tagging along.
The rest of the episode involves the characters having bizarre nightmares. Fraiser dreams he kills Niles in a wheat thresher and marries Daphne. Niles has an awkward dream where he can't take care of the baby and Daphne (totally off screen) criticizes and threatens him. Daphne, in turn dreams that she is fat and Niles is sleeping around. The dream sequences are dreadful, not amusing and just way over the top. Martin is the only one who has a dream that makes him happy.
I am not sure what the writers were thinking about this one. The only part that is slightly clever is that since we never see Daphne in Niles's dream, even though she keeps telling him she is coming to the room he is in, shows that Niles has a fear that Daphne will end up being a wife similar to Maris. Other than that, there is no creativity in this episode and it's a shame.
Gettin' It (2006)
Quite Possibly the most Pointless Film Ever Made
I am one of those people who can't do work in a quiet room, I have to have the television on or music playing. I often try to find a movie or a show that is not very interesting so I will only be partially distracted by it. I'd have to say that "Gettin It" might be the least interesting film ever made as it was not remotely distracting.
The biggest problem with this movie is that it has no idea of what it wants to be. It is an obvious attempt at trying to make an "American Pie" rip off, down to the music playing in the credits. However, as cliché as "American Pie" was, it was also creative, funny and a few hundred times more realistic than "Gettin It." "American Pie" offers characters that actually make you care what happens to them. "Gettin It" is unable to do that to any degree. What you end up with is a sex comedy, with no plot, no laughs and the most bizarre, boring and stupid sex scenes ever seen in film.
The biggest problem is that the actor playing Silver is actually very cute and could make you care about him. However he put into a role where he is forced to be the geeky guy who is dating a girl who looks like she could be the head cheerleader and HE is the one pushing for sex. Cheerleader looking girlfriend would rather hang out in the cemetery (I honestly have no idea why that was mentioned but never explained in this movie).
You won't get invested in this movie. If you see it on Netflix and assume it might be worth it for a sex scene or anything else, don't give in. The film makers should make a public apology for allowing this film to exist.
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
When "Nemesis" was first released on DVD, a friend and I rented it and tried to give it a go. If memory serves, we made it past the first thirty minutes and were so bored that we decided not to waste any more of our evening on it. So, I put in on the shelf, so to speak, and figured I would never watch it again. Throughout the last decade I heard both good and bad things about this movie. It was after watching "The Best of Both Worlds" on screen and thinking about Will Riker's career that I only decided to come back to it in 2013. I realized I had neither good or bad expectations left for the movie. All I had was the curiosity as to what happens.
Without any doubt, "Nemesis" is, in my mind, the worst offering put out by the Star Trek franchise. This includes every episode of all five series, the animated series, the movies, and even Patrick Stewart's "Saturday Night Live" "The Love Boat, The Next Generation" sketch. There is little else to describe this film as anything other than god awful.
The plot of "Nemesis" is idiotic and uninteresting. The people from Remus are following someone genetically engineered to be Jean Luc Picard and plan to destroy the federation with a super weapon only after he gets a total blood transfusion from Picard. It's wonderful how all these super weapons just appear out of nowhere. Sounds a lot like something called "The Genesis Effect," but I have no idea where that idea came from.
And a blood transfusion is going to cure his genetic defect? "28 Days Later" originally had a script that would save one of the zombies by having a blood transfusion with a human. They changed this when they realized how impossible it would be to drain out every drop of blood and replace it with totally different blood. Besides, if his defect was genetic, once his body obtained Picard's blood, the blood would not cure him, it would inherit the defect.
Apart from the blood transfusion nonsense, we have many simple laws of physics being broken. Star Trek usually has more respect than that. However, we see the tired science fiction cliché of a hull breach that amazingly does not suck everything out into space right away. Only stupider than that is Data jumping through space towards the other ship, hitting it and finally being able to stabilize himself. Star Trek has always been consistent in their use of the main deflector dish as a means of preventing debris from hitting the ship because even a piece of sand in space would plow through a space ship without something deflecting it. However, Androids seem to not be required to follow this law.
The story of killing off Data was not only useless pandering, it also showcased Star Trek at its worst in portraying respect for life. Having Data sacrifice himself for Picard was obviously the producers' way of trying to replicate Spock's death scene from "Wrath of Khan." It didn't work. It just seemed useless and failed to garner any emotion. Also, rather than try to actually help B-4, who seemed way too simplistic to know he was an espionage device, Data takes the odd route of telling B-4 he was dangerous and then coldly shuts him down. Way too inhuman for Data to do something like that. Also, the implication that Data may be able to live through B-4 somehow is sickening as it adds to Data's early lack of concern for B-4. It has been established that positronic brains are brains of sentient androids, but obviously B-4's sentience is not as important as Data's.
Please just skip this film. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves for making this horrid piece of trash and it should be stripped of the name "Star Trek." This is an embarrassment for the greatest science fiction franchise of all time.
Jug Face (2013)
Mistakes a bad story for being deep.
One thing that annoys me more than anything in movies is that a movie with very little depth to the plot is hailed as being mysterious. From reading most the the reviews on "Jug Face," the consensus seems to be that not only is it a good movie, but that there are a lot of secrets hidden in the movie.
This movie is pretty idiotic actually and those who claim it has re-watch value must have a completely different standard for movies than I do. The tale is completely nonsensical. Yes there are plenty of questions left unanswered, but this is not because the movie is deep and hard to understand. Questions are left unanswered because there are no answers to them. This movie paints a picture that is more like a child's finger painting than a Van Gogh.
What you get is a story about a small community who worships a hole in the ground and routinely sacrifices one of its members to the pit. When you watch the first scene that shows this, you will likely believe that it is a ripoff of Shirley Jackson's legendary story "The Lottery." The townspeople gather around a pit and a potter brings a jug that was molded to match the face of one of the community members. That person immediately has his throat slit and the blood pours into the pit.
The main character discovers that she is the next one to be sacrificed and goes long ways to prevent this. Because of this, more people are killed. You get to see a spirit from the pit show up and see Ada having all these idiotic hallucinations. The best part, however, is the wonderful townsfolk who know the sick stuff this community does and not only do they keep silent about it, they immediately turn Ada back over to them despite her informing them that her community was going to hurt her.
This ending of this film will irritate than make them happy. Ada goes ahead and accepts her fate and dies. Rather than some wonderful moment occurring, she apologizes to a community about to murder her because other people were killed instead of her. She apologized to a bunch of dumb hillbillies who should have left the area where the pit is and refused to participate in the idiotic ritual.
The lesson in this movie is do not protect yourself from being killed because if you do, the people that are trying to kill you will die. A truly worthless and stupid message from an equally worthless and stupid movie.
Nonsensical and Weak Gross Out Film
"5 Senses of Fear" had a marketing campaign that gave me a lot of hope that it might inspire a resurgence in anthology based horror. Although there have been a lot of horror anthologies in the past decade, most have been rather lousy. The directors on the ads for "5 Senses of Fear" indicated they were hoping this would be the movie to put the new spark in anthology horror. I really hope that they are wrong.
The reason horror anthologies work are because they are able to present the most important elements of a scary story without having to include any of the fluff. But I think that a lot of young directors don't understand that. They treat this movie as if an anthology is easier to make because there is less work in making a short movie. A short story often requires more work than a long one because it does not have the time to tell the story and must concentrate on the central theme.
There is really almost no point to this movie at all. None of the stories has an interesting plot and absolutely nothing makes any sense whatsoever. As I sat and hoped each following story would get better, the movie just descended into the ranks of pure and utter stupidity. What each story lacked in plot, it more than made up for in cheap gross out tactics. The most common device is poking out eyes.
The first story was about smell and it probably had the most story in it. A man is giving a bottle of cologne that makes him utterly irresistible to everyone. He tries to use it to get his wife back, but quickly finds it brings him the favor of anyone who smells it. The rub is that it slowly transforms him into a monster as it dissolves his life and flesh away. The shocking twist (and I use this term exceptionally lightly) involves his remains being used to make more of the cologne.
The story about sight has an eye doctor who has the power to induce the power to see through others' eyes by potions he makes from his patients. He uses violent scenes to try and make a patient's boyfriend stop beating her, but it ends up empowering the boyfriend to murder.
Touch involves a blind boy trying to find help for his parents when they are injured in a car wreck. He stumbles upon a man who doesn't like to be touched. This is the only somewhat interesting story in the entire anthology and it is due to the performance of the actor playing the blind boy. He is the only protagonist you can get behind, but this is not enough to save this movie.
Taste is remarkably bad. It involves a lady who offers people a job and them violently kills them when they refuse. She puts on a big stupid mask and the stupidity flies off the screen.
The last film takes the form of a found footage film; the most overused and highly misused form of horror film today. It involves a composer who composes a song that makes people commit suicide. It's idiotic and annoying to watch.
This is one of the most disappointing movies I have ever seen. The plots are thin and remarkably bad even for a horror movie. It relies on gross outs displayed by third rate special effects. You'll find yourself wondering what the directors like so much about poking people in the eyes.
As I mentioned in the beginning, horror anthologies can whittle a horror story down to its bare bones. By cutting the fluff out of the story, a good anthology can present really good stories. This is not one of those movies. It, in fact, does the exact opposite. There are no stories here, only fluff supported by attempts at gross outs. This movie is a remarkable failure and you should save yourself the time of watching it. It is pure and utter crap.
The one star I gave this movie is way more than it deserves.
One of the Worse Episodes
There is little to like about this episode other than how it ends and it is one of the most prototypical 'filler' episode.
This episode introduces Ambassador Alkar, a peace negotiator with a unique ability. He has the power to take all of his negative emotions and channel them through people with telepathic abilities. This channeling of emotions passes the negativity onto his victims, whom he so callously refers to as 'receptacles,' making them unpleasant, aging them rapidly and killing them. He justifies the entire process by claiming that the death of a receptacle is a small price for establishing peace between cultures.
While on the Enterprise, Alkar's receptacle, who he tells the crew is his mother, dies. He establishes a link with Troi, who immediately begins acting very angry. It takes only a couple days for Troi to age almost to her death. When Picard confronts Alkar, he is met with extreme egotism and false justification.
The only thing good that happens is at the end of the episode. Alkar is quite possibly one of the most vile characters ever on Star Trek. The only thing worse than his ability is the way he justifies it and still demands protection from Picard. When Dr. Crusher reverses what he does, there are very few moments in Star Trek as satisfying as when Alkar ages and dies within a minute as Worf watches. The only thing that hurts the viewer is that Worf is way to honorable to laugh at Alkar in Nelson Muntz style as he dies.
The Movie I Wanted All the others to Be
I did not begin to get interested in Japanese horror until around the time that the American version of "The Grudge" came out. Having always been a loyal fan of the horror genre, when a friend told me that "The Grudge" was so terrifying that he came close to wetting himself in the theater, I decided to see it. After seeing it, I have made fun of that friend every year since. Although I enjoyed the movie, there was nothing scary about it.
When I went to college at NIU, I took Japanese as my minor and one of the classes had us watch "Ringu." I enjoyed it so much more than the American version, which was saying a lot since I loved the American version. So began my love affair with Japanese horror and my parallel interest in seeing "Ju-On" in order to see if it were any scarier than the American version.
Sadly enough, although I enjoyed "Ju-on" and the sequel, I was disappointed because it wasn't remotely scary. It was only upon giving the film a second chance that I realized it was not the first film in the series and that the one I am reviewing now is.
After seeing this original offering in the "Ju-on" series, I finally get it. I have been watching horror for over 3 decades and it takes a lot to scare me. This movie actually gave me the creeps. Even though I knew what had happened due to watching the other movies, even though I knew Toshio was a ghost, there were certain scenes in this short film that actually scared the crap out of me.
I think this movie proves that not only does a horror movie not need a huge budget in order to be scary, the big budget can ruin the movie. No CGI and just some makeup on Toshio's face, and the less pronounced death rattle...this was a good and scary movie and definitely the strongest offering in this series. Amazing.