The Nightmare Before Christmas is every bit a Halloween movie as it is a Christmas movie. Which is why I never know when to watch the movie. If I watch it around Halloween, there’s still a lot of cheerful stuff in it. If I watch it around Christmas, there’s still a lot of creepy stuff in it. Frankly, there is no right time to watch it. The Nightmare Before Christmas was neither written nor directed by Tim Burton. He came up with the idea, but he didn’t have the time to work on it. Despite that, it’s still one of the best Tim Burton movies ever made. You’d even say that it was the movie that spawned several other creepy stop motion kids movies. Which is why it’s only 1 hour 16 minutes long. Who hasn’t seen The Nightmare Before Christmas? Goth icon and Pumpkin King Jack Skellington gets tired of the same old Halloween Town traditions. Feeling that something’s missing, he stumbles upon Christmas Town. He’s so impressed that he decides to hijack Christmas and do it himself. Which involves kidnapping Santa and filling presents with creepy things. It sounds worse than it actually is. We also have Sally. A living rag doll who develops feelings for Jack and is also the only one making any sense. The Nightmare Before Christmas is also filled with many delightful songs. The best ones being: “This is Halloween” and “What’s this.” Throughout the years The Nightmare Before Christmas became a cultural icon. Whether you watch it on Halloween or Christmas is up to you. It does a brilliant job with both.
Nacho Libre has the weird offbeat sense of humor as Napoleon Dynamite, but it never quite reaches those levels. Though it was popular and even successful at the time of its release. I was unaware that it was the same director when it first came out. I eventually learned that it was and I probably should have figured it out. I watched the movie in my 7th grade class and I liked it. My hispanic english teacher is actually the one who showed it to us. It’s just odd enough to appeal to my sense of humor. Nacho Libre centers on a “Mexican” deacon who dreams of being a wrestler. Jack Black is clearly not Mexican, but I can overlook that. The wrestling itself is so absurd that I can’t help but laugh. Whether it’s the white actor cast as a Mexican or the handling of the Catholic church, I can see why it was semi controversial. Nacho Libre is no Napoleon Dynamite, but I still enjoy it.
Good Burger is one tasty movie. I was a little young when All That was at the peak of popularity. So I never knew this sketch from the show. I did watch Kenan and Kel though. Any bit of the show I watched was hilarious. The preview for Good Burger was on a VHS tape for one of the many Nickelodeon shows I owned. You remember, the tapes were orange. Anyway, I didn’t watch Good Burger until I saw it in one of my 6th grade classes. It was hilarious then and it’s still hilarious now. I know there are some people who think the movie is unfunny or sophomoric, but they aren’t fans. All That, Kenan and Kel, or Nickelodeon fans will all agree that the movie satisfies. Good Burger is about the titular fast food establishment facing a crisis when a new place opens across the street named Mondo Burger. They become successful again when Ed creates a sauce that brings in the customers. I’d still like to know what’s in that sauce. Ed, played by Kel, is easily the most hilarious character in the movie. Kenan plays Dexter, he’s funny in his own way. So yeah, Good Burger is definitely not deep, but who cares. When you’re a kid, this is a must watch. I’m a dude, he’s a dude, she’s a dude, we’re all dudes, hey.
Foodfight! is without a doubt, the worst animated movie ever made! I’m not even exaggerating. If you’ve never heard of it, you don’t know how lucky you are. This cinematic abomination known as Foodfight! was first thought up way back in 1999. It was intended to be a Who Framed Roger Rabbit? style film. You know, a world with real life fictional characters, but staring made for the movie fictional characters. They wanted to release this travesty of filmmaking (in theaters) back in 2003. Due to production problems, it wasn’t released until 2012 (on DVD luckily). That would explain why the movie’s stars are so many people who used to be famous back in the late 90’s to early 2000’s. So what makes this trip through insanity so bad exactly. Take one look at the regurgitated animation and you’ll know. Despite the $45 million budget, it looks like somebody made it using early video game cutscenes (every character is lifeless). Nearly every character is an offensive stereotype. They all speak in not so subtle sexual double entendres. There are fart jokes, sexist jokes, Nazi imagery, and blatant commercialism. Barely any of the brands are real with only a few exceptions. The poster is woefully inaccurate. Do not under any circumstances watch Foodfight! It will give you nightmares.
To this day, I’m not sure if I really like Real Steel or not. The movie is sort of a feature length version of a Twilight Zone episode named “Steel.” I love the overall concept of robot boxers in the future. It’s something that I can imagine happening. That is if the technology progresses to that point. Until then, we just have stuff like robot rumble. I felt that the robot fighting was the best part of the movie. Hugh Jackman and most of the other actors give good performances too. The rest of the story was a little iffy for me. An ex boxer has to look after his estranged son while also managing his own fighting robot. They eventually find a robot in the garbage named Atom that may or may not be sentient. The movie does a really poor job of clarifying that. I guess my biggest complaint is the running time. Real steel is 2 hours and 7 minutes long. There are just too many unnecessary moments, subplots, and characters. It’s trying to be the next Rocky, but with robots. Still, Real Steel interested me enough to get me to the theater and even own it on DVD. So I guess Real Steel did something right.
Jennifer’s Body had a lot going for it. Fresh off the heels of her Best Original Screenplay Oscar win, Diablo Cody brings us a teen horror comedy. While Juno’s (see review here) dialogue was fresh and creative, Jennifer’s Body almost feels like a parody of itself. Not that it’s bad, just a little ridiculous. Megan Fox gives one of her sexiest performances to date. She plays the titular Jennifer. A cheerleader who gets possessed and has to feed on male students to survive. This type of monster is called a succubus. Amanda Seyfried plays Needy (a little on the nose), Jennifer’s plain best friend. Both their performances keep the movie from completely sucking. Even if there was an out of place lesbian liplock. I wouldn’t exactly call Jennifer’s Body bad. It’s not that scary really and I wouldn’t call it a comedy either. I’m not sure I understand making a possessed cheerleader movie after a pregnant Oscar Bait movie though. Still, Jennifer’s Body is likely to appeal to somebody. I think Megan Fox was my main reason for watching.
It’s Black Friday everybody! You know what that means. Spend Spend Spend! I thought I’d review a movie that represents the absolute worst of Christmas materialism. Jingle All the Way is all about buying a popular toy that every kid wants for Christmas. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a father who forgets to buy the toy last minute and hastily tries to find one. The toy in question is a superhero named “Turbo Man.” A name that actually holds a lot of meaning for my brother. There’s a lot to unpack here, no pun intended. Jingle All the Way is one of many comedies Arnie starred in as he was doing less action roles. His most quotable line by far is “Put that Cookie Down, Now!” I recommend listening to the remix, it’s a riot. Sinbad is also there in a role so over-the-top that it upstages Arnold himself. There’s also Jake Lloyd in his Pre-Anakin days. Now I’ve given you every reason to avoid this movie. However, I actually really enjoy Jingle All the Way. Arnold Schwarzenegger is always entertaining, even in a Christmas movie. And as a Christmas movie, I don’t expect them to all be winners. The main problem is the tone. Jingle All the Way doesn’t know whether it wants to be witty satire or wacky slapstick. The ending is an extreme shift in tone. Other than that, Jingle All the Way is a fun nonsense Christmas movie.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m thankful for each and everyone of my loyal readers. Today’s review is a great big helping of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The only Thanksgiving movie I can think of. Thanksgiving isn’t really a holiday that offers itself to a lot of movies or specials. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is more about the journey then the destination. Specifically, a man trying to get home to his family by Thanksgiving. Steve Martin plays that man and on his way he meets John Candy’s character who makes his life a living nightmare. John Candy actually delivers one of the best performances of his career. They get into all sorts of shenanigans. The funniest being when they have to share a hotel bed. They first travel by plane, then by train, and of course by automobile. This is actually a John Hughes film. Which makes it his first movie not starring teenagers. Planes, Trains and Automobiles is rated R, but it’s actually very harmless. There’s literally one scene that makes it R, but it’s so funny that the movie benefits from it. Steve Martin’s character gets so frustrated that he lets out a long stream of F bombs (18 by him, 1 by the woman he talks to) in about a minute. If you haven’t seen Planes, Trains and Automobiles, I recommend checking it out. After you’ve finished your turkey of course. 😉
Dances with Wolves is a 3 hour long sweeping epic. I had always heard stories of the movie Dances with Wolves. About how it was really long, because Kevin Costner didn’t know how to make short movies. He developed a bit of a reputation for that. I knew I one day needed to see his first and most successful movie as a director. My teacher showed my class part of the movie when I was a Junior, but didn’t watch the movie in its entirety until just this year. Dances with Wolves is one of the best movies you’ll see about Native Americans. It’s about a Lieutenant named John J. Dunbar who transfers himself to a post in the western frontier. While there he meets a wolf that he names Two Socks and eventually a tribe of Sioux. Much of the films runtime is dedicated to his attempt at communicating with and understanding their culture. Despite a lot of the dialogue being spoken in Lakota, you really come to understand the native people. By the time the American soldiers show up again, you definitely hate them. Dances with Wolves was one of the first films to depict a person abandoning their own culture for another. It was also responsible for revitalizing the western genre at the time. In the end, Dances with Wolves received 7 Oscars including Best Picture. Sure it’s long, but I was fully immersed in every minute of it.
Sunset Boulevard is one of the greatest movies about movies ever made. Sunset Boulevard is also one of my mom’s favorite movies. She had always told my brother and I to watch it. So I finally watched it this year and I loved it. The best thing about the movie is how timeless it feels. It may have been released in 1950, but you could replace Norma Desmond with any aging actress and it would work. So here’s the story, a struggling screenwriter happens upon a silent era movie star in a secluded mansion. The actress is Norma Desmond. A woman who still believes herself to be a star. She even says: “I am big, it’s the pictures that got small.” She lives alone with only her butler Max by her side. Joe the struggling screenwriter soon finds himself in a predicament between the loving generosity of Norma, his job as a screenwriter, and a fellow screenwriter he falls for, Betty. We get to see many aspects of filmmaking explored. Sunset Boulevard is also responsible for many firsts. Cecil B. DeMille is one of the first directors to play himself in a movie. It’s one of the first movies to be narrated by a dead character, one of the first to feature a cougar, and one of the first to portray mental illness. I’m so glad my mom told me to watch it. Sunset Boulevard is brilliant. Even managing to get nominated in all four acting categories. If you’ve ever loved movies, you’ve got to see Sunset Boulevard.