Room Without a View

Room is not your average story of survival. While most “escape your captor” plots spend the entire movie in captivity, until they escape at the very end. Room only on spends the first act with the characters in captivity. The second and third act is all after they’ve escaped. Which isn’t a spoiler, because it’s in the trailer. Room offers an award winning performance from Brie Larson. She plays a Ma, a woman who’s been held captive for seven years. As great as she is in the role, I would argue that Jacob Tremblay was equally worthy of winning a Oscar. He plays Jack, Ma’s five year old son who’s never experienced the outside world. It was this detail that really drew me to Room. The titular Room is the shed that they can’t escape from, but when they do, that’s when they have to adjust to the world. While the movie can be hard to watch, seeing it through Jack’s eyes makes it feel more optimistic. It really makes you appreciate the world. It’s just a shame the title Room can be confused with The Room. Drop the “The” and you’ve got one of the best movies of 2015.

Ma (right) and Jack (left) in Room

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Ditzy and Ditzier

Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion is a little like a female Dumb and Dumber. Two unsuccessful friends, who live in their own little world, and go on a road trip. Romy and Michele are two blondes who were never all that popular in high school, but at least they had each other. When their high school reunion comes up, they decide to act like they’re successful. By claiming to have invented Post-its. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion is actually a movie that my mom suggested I watch. Which I thought was odd considering the time of its release, the subject matter, and the fact that it was just different than any of my mom’s other suggestions. But Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion is a blast. Mira Sorvino plays Romy, the more level headed friend. While Lisa Kudrow plays Michele, the obvious scene stealer. The movie is rated R, but could have easily been PG-13. Janeane Garofalo’s character is the only one who drops F bombs frequently (leading to many hilarious moments). In the end, the moral of the story is to be yourself. Weather people accept you or not. My high school reunion is six years away and if Romy and Michele taught me anything, its to never lie about Post-it notes.

Romy (right) and Michele (left) at their high school reunion

To Be or Not to Be…

That is the question. Wheather Shakespeare in Love deserved to win Best Picture or not. Shakespeare in Love is a movie I was always curious about. I haven’t seen Saving Private Ryan yet, but I am still surprised that it won Best Picture. Shakespeare in Love is essentially a romantic comedy. Something that almost never wins big awards. However, Shakespeare in Love does have witty dialogue, impressive costumes, serviceable performances, and an interesting premise. We all know about Romeo and Juliet, but do we know William Shakespeare and his love life. Since I’ve studied theatre, I know an awful lot about its history. Back in the 16th century, women actually weren’t allowed to perform in plays. Instead they would have young men perform in all the female parts. That’s something they cover in the movie with Gwyneth Paltrow’s character disguising herself as a man. She becomes Shakespeare’s lover and muse, inspiring he to rework Romeo and Juliet. So that’s everything that works about Shakespeare in Love. What doesn’t work is the fact that the movie might have been overpraised. As I’ve previously stated, this is the movie that beat Saving Private Ryan by winning Best Picture. It’s good, but Best Picture? Some people also claim that Gwyneth Paltrow didn’t deserve to win Best Actress and the same with Judi Dench winning Best Supporting Actress. Judi Dench plays Queen Elizabeth I, and only appears on screen for 8 minutes! Which leads to the discussion of whether a Best Picture winner actually deserves to win all its major awards. Shakespeare in Love has an interesting reputation, but it is worth watching.

William Shakespeare (right) performs with Viola de Lesseps (left)

Winter Wonderland

Snow Day is just a fun snow movie. It’s not deep in any way, shape, or form. Kids get a snow day and just have fun on their day off… That about sums up the movie. As a Nickelodeon movie, it was mainly made for kids. It’s a bit of an anthology with about four stories going on at once. Younger kids try to stop an evil snow plow man from ruining their day, older kids deal with love problems, and parents try to deal with their kids being around. The only big name stars in the movie are Chevy Chase and Chris Elliott. Chase plays a misfortunate weatherman and Elliott plays the aforementioned snow plow man. It’s also notable for being one of Josh Peck’s first acting roles. Snow Day is cliche, predictable, and a little silly, but I do like it. I wouldn’t call it one of my childhood favorites, but it does give me nostalgia. I remember how happy I was when I had a snow day. If you just have fun with Snow Day, then you might enjoy it.

snow day

A whale in the snow

This is Halloween💀

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.

Jack Skellington against the moon

Pantalones Elásticos

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 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.

Nacho Libre in the ring

Can I Take Your Order?

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.

Dexter (right) and Ed (left) at Good Burger

Animation at its Worst

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.

What nightmares are made of

Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots

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.

Charlie (human) teaches Atom (robot) how to box

High School Evil

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 somebody. I think Megan Fox was my main reason for watching.

“Are you scared?”