Thunder Force (2021)

Thunder Force is a Netflix Original that takes place after a cosmic ray event leaves sociopaths with superpowers. Years later, two estranged childhood friends reunite as an unlikely crimefighting duo after one invents a superpower formula. Let’s consider the pros and cons of Thunder Force…

Pros: Although I’m not a fan of the comedic elements, the heart in this movie works. The relationship between Octavia Spencer and her family, is where this movie rises above the goofiness and says the most. Aside from good triumphing over evil, a prevalent theme is making the most of the cards you’re dealt. After Octavia’s parents are tragically taken from her as a child, she channels her grief into finishing her parents’ lifelong work. This comes full circle by the end, when she is relieved to finally say that her parents work is finished. Lastly on the positive side, this movie has a clean and polished finish. It’s no Avengers, but when it comes to showing super power action, the CGI is spot on.

Cons: This contrived plot could have gone into some fun areas, but the movie only seems interested in giving Melissa McCarthy a vehicle to… Be funny? I’m honestly hesitant to call this a comedy at all because of how forced every attempt at humor is. Secondly, the dialogue is equally as terrible. This mostly stems from the improvised sections played for cheap laughs, but regardless, it’s comedically bad. Lastly, this movie is painfully predictable. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more paint-by-numbers underdog superhero flick.

I give Thunder Force a C+. Where the comedy falls flat, the heart and action somewhat make up for it. If you’re looking for a lighthearted superhero flick without the baggage of a cinematic universe, this is decent option. Happy Watching!

GRADE:

C+

4/10

Pros/Cons

  • Production Value
  • Theme
  • Dialogue
  • Originality
  • Plot

Where to Watch

I mean, how could you not love Thunder Force?”

Bad Trip (2021)

Bad Trip is a buddy comedy, following Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery on their road trip to New York. Along with a few scripted scenes are elaborate pranks meant to catch the unsuspecting bystanders off guard. Let’s consider the pros and cons of Bad Trip…

Pros: This is a unique movie that operates in a similar fashion to Borat. Hidden cameras follow the actors around, but they’re the only ones in on the joke. I appreciate the semblance of a story underneath all the pranks and improv, but it is gimmicky. However, whether you’re a fan of the shock humor or not, the acting is commendable simply because of how audacious it is. Tiffany Haddish gives an especially unhinged performance as the ex-convict who chases Andre and Howery across the country. I think the comedy mostly works because the main cast is the butt of all the practical jokes. No innocent bystanders are humiliated, if anything the bystanders are saying what the audience is thinking most of the time. I think the genuine reactions from these onlookers are hilarious and add depth to this otherwise shallow film.

Cons: First and foremost, the humor is admittedly not for everyone. If you’re not a fan of Borat or Jackass, you’re not going to find much to like here. The shock comedy that is used time and time again is exhausting and even gross at times. The biggest criticism I can levy at Bad Trip is that some of these pranks are just taken too far. Although the credits make it a point to show the bystander’s realization that they are extras in a movie, these crazy situations can easily traumatize people. The most impressive thing about this film is that no one sustained life threatening injuries or is getting sued.

I give Bad Trip a C+. Although some scenes are painfully cringy, you can tell there’s a method to Eric Andre’s madness. Overall, there are plenty of laughs throughout, but your enjoyment will largely depend on your sense of humor. Happy Watching!

GRADE:

C+

4.5/10

Pros/Cons

  • Originality
  • Acting
  • Length
  • Cringe
  • Plot

Where to Watch

“Dude, what the fuck?!”

Little Otik (2000)

Little Otik, AKA Greedy Guts, is a haunting story about an infertile couple who decide to raise a tree stump as their child. And as the synopsis would suggest, you’ve probably never seen anything quite like this movie. It’s a surreal dark comedy by Czechian director Jan Švankmajer. Let’s consider the pros and cons of Little Otik… 

Pros: I appreciate this film’s structure as well as the themes it tackles. Maternal instinct is heavily represented, with Božena experiencing everything a normal woman would during pregnancy and early parenthood. Secondly, Jan Švankmajer does a great job showing the vastly different perspectives on this conception. We get Božena’s warped view, Karel’s reluctance and disdain for the situation, and their neighbor’s joy and concern. Most fascinating of all however, is the neighbor’s suspicious daughter, who eventually uncovers Otik’s real identity. Lastly, the animation is used purposefully and the practical effects are disturbingly realistic!

Cons: Firstly, I had a difficult time finding this movie. It’s not streaming on any platforms that I’m aware of, and the best version on YouTube with subtitles is a measly 240p. Besides availability, this movie runs about two hours long, which feels a bit excessive for the story. I can think of at least one character I’d take out all together, which leads me to my last con. Although the characters in this film are thoroughly developed, some of their decisions made no sense to me. For instance, the neighbor’s daughter knows how dangerous Otik is, but she still releases it from it’s cage.

I give Little Otik a B. It’s thought provoking and unforgettably unique with it’s delivery. I wasn’t being hyperbolic when I said you’ve never seen anything like it, but I hope you do like it! Happy Watching!

GRADE:

B

6.5/10

Pros/Cons

  • Animation/ Effects
  • Direction
  • Themes
  • Availability
  • Characters
  • Length

Where to Watch

  • Not currently streaming on any major platforms.
  • I found this movie on YouTube, but recommend finding a better version.

“I should have cut him up right away.”

Star Wars: Palpatine Meme

This Palpatine Meme quote is taken directly from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. After a young Anakin Skywalker heroically saves the day, Senator Palpatine greets him with a pat on the shoulder and a few encouraging words:

“We will watch your career with great interest.”

This meme can be used in a multitude of situations, and it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Because *spoiler* if you know anything about Palpatine, you know that he’s watching Anakin’s career for all the wrong reasons. However, I like to use this Palpatine Meme whenever I see an up and comer that really has that X factor. You know it when you see it, and those people deserve to be acknowledged! Let me know when you like to use this meme in the comments below!

Star Wars: Palpatine Meme

Did You Know?

Did you know that Movies, Games and TV Shows are full of little obscurities and sometimes even profound truths? Well it’s true, and probably what keeps trivia games alive! Anyways, I wanted to create a new category dedicated to highlighting these fun facts! “Did You Know?” posts will attempt to point out the lesser known things about our favorite medias. Maybe you’ll learn something new, I’m sure I will!

Godzilla vs Kong (2021)

Godzilla vs Kong is the 4th movie in WB’s MonsterVerse and it’s as action-packed as you’d expect! The story follows several groups of people that aim to understand these two iconic titans and restore balance to the world. Let’s consider the pros and cons of Godzilla vs Kong…

Pros: Firstly, I appreciate the direction by Adam Wingard in this film. Not only are there powerful and breathtaking scenes, but it doesn’t rely on the previous films to tell the story. Secondly, the special effects in this movie are top notch! The CGI allows the monsters to express a wide range of emotions through just their faces, and it’s never distracting. Lastly, although I’m not a fan of many of the character choices, the actors are able to sell it in a convincing way. I’m especially charmed by Kaylee Hottle, who plays a deaf child that communicates and bonds with Kong. I hope to see her in many more American Sign Language (ASL) roles.

Cons: The human characters are given plenty of screen time, but they’re mainly used to provide either exposition or a common enemy for the iconic creatures. And while it’s plausible that humans could engineer a formidable opponent for both Godzilla and Kong, it does make the title slightly misleading. Even with a misleading title, the story is still very predictable. Overall however, I’m glad these two titans found a common enemy and are able to accept and respect each other’s place in the world.

I give Godzilla vs Kong a B. This exciting monster flick hits all the right notes and gives me hope for the future of this franchise. Happy Watching!

GRADE:

B

6.5/10

Pros/Cons

  • Acting
  • Direction
  • Special Effects
  • Characters
  • Plot

Where to Watch

  • HBO Max with Subscription
  • In Theaters!

“Kong bows to no one.”

Blockbuster Party Game

Blockbuster might be a relic from the past, but it’s also the name of this extremely fun board game! Movie trivia has never been more engaging or entertaining! Let’s consider the pros and cons of Blockbuster Party Game…

Pros: Firstly, the simplicity of physical board games can’t be replicated in any other medium. The social engagement that comes with a game like Blockbuster is priceless and leads to memorable moments every round! Secondly, the rules are easy to follow. The winner of the head to head round, draws 6 movie cards. They give the 3 “hardest” cards to their opponent and then both players place the cards face down on the board. Even though your opponent may choose the cards you’re playing with in a round, you get to decide if you want to quote it, act it, or use one word to describe it to your team. This allows for a high replay value, because even after you get through all 72 movie cards, you can always reuse them with a different approach to help your team guess the movie!

Cons: Movie buffs are going to have a clear advantage in this game over casual moviegoers. However, this is where people can get creative and use the ambiguous rules to their advantage. For instance, the “quote it” section allows you to make up a quote if you’re unfamiliar with a movie. This is especially useful when you don’t think your team will be able to guess an obscure quote. The last time I played, my teammate was trying to describe Taxi Driver in the “quote it” section. He could’ve said something like “You talking to me?” and that would’ve been enough, but he made it even easier. He said, “I work in a yellow car in New York” and immediately everyone knew it was Taxi Driver.

I give Blockbuster Party Game an A+. Rarely do my two passions of games and movies collide in such a good way, but the Blockbuster board game is the perfect blend of both! Happy Gaming!

GRADE:

A+

10/10

Pros/Cons

  • Engaging
  • Replay Value
  • Rules
  • Fairness

Where to Buy

“A movie game for anyone who has ever seen a movie”

Wonder Boys (2000)

Wonder Boys follows Grady Tripp, a professor and once accomplished author who’s going through a bit of a rough patch. During the week of WordFest, Grady’s wife leaves him and his editor, played by Robert Downey Jr. arrives to hound him over an unfinished novel. Let’s consider the pros and cons of Wonder Boys…

Pros: Michael Douglas is playing against his usual Wall Street type, but he carries this movie with an endearing performance. Tobey Maguire plays an awkward yet gifted student in Grady’s class, and is also able to shine in several scenes. The chemistry between these two tormented individuals is riveting and gives the audience a reason to be invested in their characters! Lastly, I appreciate the tone and theme in this movie. It’s clear that Grady is having a difficult time, and while he does his fair share of wallowing, he still supports the people around him. Eventually it’s his friends that show him how far a little support can go, and this message genuinely resonated with me.

Cons: This movie is a delight overall, but it takes a while to get going and leans heavily on the narration throughout. Although I’m typically not a fan of narration, this movie uses it to it’s advantage by providing a window into Grady’s poetic mind. Lastly, the plot feels chaotic and stagnant at times. Including the dead dog storyline which is played for laughs, but is morbid and doesn’t add much to the story.

I give Wonder Boys a B+. The plot is messy like Grady’s life, but the ending delivers a brilliant payoff that wraps the story up nicely. If you are or ever were an aspiring writer, this story will surely inspire you! Happy Watching!

GRADE:

B+

7.5

Pros/Cons

  • Acting
  • Characters
  • Theme
  • Narration
  • Plot

Where to Watch

“Take a bow, James!”

Palm Springs: Gif

Although Palm Springs is a relatively newer film, this gif stands out as a fun moment in the movie. Andy Samberg casually dancing is gold in and of itself, but I also enjoy the hint of that smirk on his face. It’s the smirk of a man who’s ready for anything because he’s relived the same day so many times, he knows what to expect.

I like to use this gif when I’m feeling groovy or am invited to a gathering. Because if I show up to a party, I guarantee that I’m dancing like this. No shame whatsoever!

What’s your best caption for this Palm Springs gif? Let me know in the comments!

Palm Springs: Gif
Palm Springs: gif

Top 5 Movie Snacks

Food easily increases our enjoyment of movies, but how much thought have you put into your movie snacking habits? It’s usually a good idea to have a “plan of a snack” before getting to the theater, whether you intend to pay full price for concessions or sneak them in yourself. This list is meant to help you narrow down your favorite theater treats, so you’re prepared for your next visit! Let’s take a look at my Top 5 Movie Snacks!

5. Candy Pieces

The key qualifier here is “Pieces”. Because while many people like all forms of candy, bars aren’t going to last you as long as pieces will. By candy pieces, I mean snacks such as: M&M’s, Skittles, Gummy Bears and so on. The ability to space out your snacking throughout a movie is crucial, and candy pieces lend themselves well to achieving this goal. Candy is also easy to smuggle into theaters via your pockets or purse. Not that I condone that, of course…

Candy Pieces

4. Nuts

Nuts

If sweets aren’t your thing, nuts can also be a satisfying snack during a movie! Nuts are a salty treat that offer more nutritional value than candy while also keeping you full and focused. There are dozens of nuts to choose from, my favorites are: Almonds, Cashews and Pistachios. Combine your favorite nuts and candy pieces together to make your own movie trail mix!

3. Jerky

Jerky might not be your go-to choice, but if you’re looking for a protein packed snack that will keep you full, jerky is a good option. Jerky comes in many forms, but the packaging is usually loud to open and adjust while eating. I’d recommend opening this snack before the movie starts to avoid any sideways glances in your direction!

Jerky

2. Soda

Soda

Possibly the most divisive “snack” on this list as it’s the only non-food item, but soda still deserves a spot. It’s been ingrained, at least in American audiences, to “let’s all go to the lobby”. And if you arrive at your theater early, you will surely see an advertisement for one of these bubbly beverages. Sneaking a fountain drink into a movie isn’t practical however, so you’ll probably need to purchase it from a concession stand. Either way, you’ll need deep pockets! If you’re not a soda drinker than the refreshment of your choice can fit in this spot! Staying hydrated gives you better focus in general, so I highly recommend a beverage whenever watching a movie!

1. Popcorn… Duh!

At this point, movies and popcorn are inseparable. It’s also, coincidentally, a very hard item to sneak into a theater. Whether it’s by design or chance, most people will rationalize the expensive concession prices to buy this perfect snack! The great thing about popcorn is that it’s light (depending on the amount of butter you add), and can keep you munching throughout a movie. This combination of quiet and constant snacking makes popcorn the ideal movie snack!

Popcorn

There you have it! T-Man’s Top 5 Movie Snacks in all their glory! Let me know what your favorite snack is and if you plan to bring any on your next visit to the theaters! Happy Snacking!