ENCINO MAN (1992)

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Elizabeth

The bottom line is, I love Encino Man so much that I hardly know where to start. I was 4 when it was released in theaters but I have no idea how old I was when I first started watching it, but it was definitely young. And Encino Man is fairly clean, besides the occasional vague reference to pot and breasts (ie “melons” and “gonzongas”), it’s pretty PG.

Encino Man is about a high school senior named Dave (Sean Astin) who, for whatever reason, is determined to make a name for himself before high school ends. His best friend, Stoney (Pauly Shore) tries to convince him otherwise, making the valid points that high school is practically over and no one gives a shit anymore. Is it weird that Pauly Shore is the voice of reason in this movie? Especially when his opposition is Sam from Lord of the Rings? Yeah, it’s kind of weird.

While building a pool in his backyard, Dave stumbles upon some ancient pottery, then cave paintings, until finally he finds a frozen caveman. They put the ice in the garage, it melts, and out comes Link (their name for him), played by a mostly mute Brendan Fraser.

One thing I find particularly funny is how, when Dave and Stoney bring Link to school, all the guys are skeptical and all the girls immediately want to have sex with him. I guess that’s sort of a stereotype, at least in movies, but Brendan Fraser looks good in this movie, and you best believe if, when I was a high school senior, a young Brenden Fraser was suddenly a student at my school, I would also be literally jumping on him, just like Robin Tunney’s character does.

The rest of the movie are the inevitable hijinks that ensue, eventually ending with Dave getting his pool and his girl, and Link’s cavewoman wife also coming back to life. Which I always thought was adorable . . . and still think is adorable. I’m not sure what Chris thought of this, though he did laugh at parts, because I know that a good chunk of my love for Encino Man is purely nostalgic. It was one of the VHS tapes my family owned and was a favorite of mine, my mom, and my sister. Who knows how many times we all watched it together. It even made my mom appreciate The Beastie Boys, because she thought one of their songs was in it, even though it’s not! So really, doesn’t Encino Man make everything better?

I also like Encino Man now post-high school (and other stuff) because it sort of reminds me of that feeling of second semester of senior year. When the weather was beautiful and I already got accepted into college and straight up stopped caring about the majority of my classes. I can admit that now that I’m 26, right?

Christopher

This is a movie I have always wanted to see, cause it’s a cover I always saw at Blockbuster, but never got around to watching. It’s actually pretty funny. I’m not a big Brendan Fraser fan but put Sean Astin as the main protagonist and I’m game.

I think what I liked most about this movie is how much Elizabeth loves it. It’s definitely because it’s something her family watched multiple times as a kid. It just reminds me of my family.

JACK FROST (1998)

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Christopher

I watched this movie a lot when I was a kid. To be fair, it was my sister’s VHS that she must have gotten some Christmas. This movie is beyond dumb. Mostly it’s just way too sad of a story to me. I really hate thinking of death and it used to freak me out even more when I was young.

This movie is pretty terrible but I really found it enjoyable to watch. It’s one of the crazier holiday movies. Now I just want to watch the horror movie of the same name.

Elizabeth

So, Jack Frost is about a kid’s dad who dies and comes back to life as a snowman, which is supposed to be some kind of miracle. Uhhh whut?

Okay, so Michael Keaton literally plays Jack Frost, who is the lead singer of a band literally named “The Jack Frost Band.” They make him out as being this deadbeat dad, but I don’t buy it. He misses one of his son’s hockey games to record a song. It’s shitty that he didn’t tell anyone about needing to miss it, but that’s not that big of a deal. To make up for it, Jack promises his family that they’ll spend Christmas in their mountain home (so they’re rich, right?), but at the last minute gets called away because his band might get a record deal, which we’ve been led to believe is the #1 thing Jack has wanted for his career. The family freaks out. Obviously, this is bad timing. But is it that big of a deal? Am I biased because I don’t really care about Christmas? It just seems ridiculous that he’s supposed to throw away everything he’s worked for just because it’s December 25.

I guess because he’s such a terrible father, Jack dies in a car accident. A year later, his son, Charlie, plays a harmonica Jack gave him, which prompts Jack to come back to life . . . in the form of a snowman? So, he’s being damned, right? That’s the only thing that I can think of. What’s also weird is that when Jack comes back, he doesn’t seem to understand that he’s dead and reincarnated. But it’s a year after he died. So I guess time does stop when  you’re dead and all, but obviously in this universe things don’t stop as far as the soul is concerned, so I don’t understand why he didn’t know what was going on.

Ugh. Jack Frost is boring. And the animation of the snowman is suuuuper creepy. DUMB.

DECK THE HALLS (2006)

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Elizabeth

So, Deck the Halls is about two totally insane men with wives and families who push each other deeper into madness . . . which is also a fun family Christmas movie?

Because seriously, Danny DeVito plays Buddy Hall, a car salesman who is obsessed with the idea of his house being seen from space. Apparently in this universe there’s a Google Earth type of thing, except it’s live. So Buddy takes this obsession on a Close Encounters of the Third Kind type of thing, not giving a shit about his family and doing whatever it takes to light his house up with so many lights it can be seen from space.

In the meantime, this disrupts the extreme obsessive compulsive behavior of his neighbor, Steve (Matthew Broderick), who is apparently the “Christmas guy” around town for reasons that I never quite got. Both Buddy and Steve just end up crazier and crazier while their families watch. Fun!

Also, I know Kristin Chenoweth is a famous Broadway person, but her speaking voice is nearly unbearable. Seriously. Probably the best part about this movie was that Alia Shawkat was in it, which was also one of the saddest parts because she’s awesome and this movie . . . is not.

Christopher

This is just one of those films where they really had no idea what they were doing. It’s difficult to tell whose side you’re supposed to be on. I guess both? Everyone seems really mean to each other for no real reason. Can’t people just be blunt with each other sometimes? And characters only realize stuff to help the plot. Mathew Broderick can’t see cords running from his house to across the street until the last act?

Deck the Halls is a complete mess and maybe it’s because I now live in Texas where it never feels like Christmas but this movie never really made me feel like it was a Christmas movie. Which is weird ‘cause Christmas-y stuff is in every single shot. I guess I need more love and passion in my holiday movies. Or this movie is just bad.

GROWN UPS 2 (2013)

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Christopher

Finally got to see this!! Or at least I got to see all of it (Elizabeth might have missed the last part.)

If you guys have been reading this blog than I think everyone is aware that we, or at least I, really enjoy watching Adam Sandler movies, especially if Kevin James is in it! I’m not quite sure why but my best guess would be that I really did liked both of them when I was little and now, it’s crazy how they both seem to have sold their souls to the devil.

Grown Ups 2 is no where close to a favorite Sandler film, but it’s a follow-up to one of the best, Grown Ups. I think this film could have been far better, in terms of watching, but there really wasn’t much of a plot. I guess it’s just about Sandler and his friends getting used to living back in their childhood town? The whole movie is basically our main characters running into characters from their high school past.

I think the other thing I had a big problem with is that this film is very nice compared to his other ones, especially Grown Ups. The first Grown Ups was Sandler making fun of all his friends and everyone else being too scared to say anything to him. Grown Ups 2 is just too nice. I wanted it to be more like the first where everything was an insult and every other thing had to do with Kevin James being fat.

The other thing that was off about this film is that Rob Schneider’s character wasn’t in it at all. In fact, I don’t think they even mention him. I read somewhere online that it was due to his wife being pregnant but I really think there is more to it. He and Sandler must be at odds right now or something. I look forward to learning more about that in the future.

Overall this movie was boring, and long, like most of his movies are, or seem to be. Not really worth it but I’m still glad I saw it.

Elizabeth

Just like Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2 is a huge piece of shit. The only good thing about it was the sequel didn’t have Rob Schneider in it, which the filmmakers still fucked up because his character (a main character in Grown Ups) isn’t even mentioned in Grown Ups 2. God.

BLACKFISH (2013)

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Elizabeth

As eye-opening as it was, and as much as I agreed with its message, I did not think Blackfish was that great of a documentary.

It focuses on the inhumane practices of SeaWorld and the inhumane ways they acquire and keep whales. Which was interesting, because even though I’ve never had any interest in SeaWorld, I just sort of assumed it wasn’t that great. I had no idea it was actually that bad and could be that cruel. But despite the documentary mostly being about SeaWorld, it really doesn’t give us much information on them. Who owns it? How did it start? Why can they keep up these practices? At the end, there’s a statement saying that SeaWorld wouldn’t provide information for the documentary, but still. I sort of feel like they filmed all this footage, and then found out SeaWorld wouldn’t cooperate, so they just had to go with what they had. They pretty much only talk to former SeaWorld employees, all of whom, except maybe one, seem to now be totally against SeaWorld. I feel like if you want your documentary to sound like a documentary and not a PSA, you need to show both sides, and within those sides, show varying opinions. They talked to a few experts here and there, but mostly hearing from former employees got sort of boring. We get it, SeaWorld does terrible things. But why were these people involved for so long? What was the turning point for them? I think the focus of Blackfish was so narrow that it made it less interesting.

I also kept thinking that the whales came off as bad guys here. The stance of the documentary seemed to switch between whales being bad and humans being bad. Obviously, it’s sad that whales have killed people and I wish it wouldn’t happen. Buuuuut they are wild animals. CALLED KILLER WHALES! Sure, it’s sad, but I don’t really see where whales are really to blame for killing anyone. The trainers would talk about how they have such good relationships with the whales, that they’ve raised them, etc etc, seeming to forget that they pretty much straight up kidnapped these baby whales from their mothers. The documentary makes a point to show how emotionally advanced the whales are, which leads me to believe that these humans can think all they want that their relationships with the whales are good, but as far as the whales are concerned, humans are their captors, not friends.

Blackfish is certainly enlightening in a lot of ways, and I’m glad that it’s making people more aware of what’s up with SeaWorld. But as a documentary, I was just sort of disappointed with it.

Christopher

This appears to be bringing a much needed awareness about the terrible things that go on at SeaWorld. It’s very scary and shows that they have been doing something terrible from the beginning.

That being said, this is a terrible movie. The message is very important, and this movie gets that across but the whole movie is all from people who used to work at SeaWorld. We never at any point talk to the people who own SeaWorld. The documentary, at the end, mentions that SeaWorld never agreed to be interviewed, but could they really not do any kind of research of their own? This movie was made completely off ex SeaWorld Employees and Youtube videos.

I think the best way to express how I feel about this movie, is think of watching The Thin Blue Line and then Blackfish. It would be like watching Citizen Kane and then watching Snow Buddies (the 2008 Air Bud puppies movie.) This movie is just really poorly laid out. Just because you have a great topic to make a documentary about doesn’t really mean you should be the one to make it.

This movie is not good and should have just been a 21 minute special. I also have a big problem that their big moments of the film are watching people get attached by the KILLER whales. I cleaned my kitchen through most of the last 30 minutes.

I also saw, on my own (both on Netflix):

Snow Buddies – Awful but still more enjoyable than Blackfish.

Paper Soldiers – Very racist but does have Jay-Z in it for 2 seconds. And still more enjoyable than Blackfish.

JUDGE DREDD (1995)

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Christopher

Since I recently watched Dredd I was really interested in watching the old Judge Dredd with Sylvester Stallone. I’ve never read the comic, it looks cool but if it’s anything like this movie, it might not be that good. We’ve been watching a lot of Sly movies, it feels like, but this was one of the worst. it was pretty terrible but it was mostly boring. And Rob Schneider is in it? As  the tiny comic relief. Pretty awful, but again mostly boring.

Also, I wasn’t expecting this movie to be as put together as it was. For whatever reason I thought it had a budget of $100 but it’s very obvious that that is not true. I think people just really hate this movie, absolutely no one ever talks about it.

Not really worth watching.

Elizabeth

THIS MOVIE WAS BORING AND STUPID.

FRANCES HA (2012)

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Elizabeth

My interest in seeing Frances Ha definitely would come and go. I wanted to see it when it first came out, then I didn’t really care, then I was interested that it became a Criterion, then I didn’t really care. Then it got nominated for a Golden Globe, so Chris and I finally watched it.

At first, I was not into it. It reminded me so much of annoying rich kids that I went to art school with, as well as the annoying rich kids I was surrounded by when I lived in New York for a summer.

But, this might sound crazy, but I feel like Greta Gerwig’s performance as Frances is somewhat similar to Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance in There Will Be Blood. In that I mean because they both start off as seeming like one kind of character, and then they slowly and quietly turn into a character that’s just straight up crazy. Frances Ha really surprised me in how good it was.

Christopher

I definitely started this movie not liking it at all and really hating Frances. But as the story evolved it turns really good. And Frances is still annoying, but I found this movie to be extremely relatable. Many of the reasons I loved Spring Breakers seemed to be present in this film? I’m not even really sure what that is, I think they both just capture the generation I think I’m part of so well?

Frances is basically homeless and kind of just hangs out all the time. She dances but doesn’t really seem that into it. I think that was the biggest problem I had with it. if I did not have a job you better believe I would be making art all the time. Also, in many ways I think I’m jelous of the kind of life she has. But I think I would be miserable in her shoes. I guess I just wish I was at a point in my life where I don’t have to think about money all the time, and I wish I did have more free time to create, cause I don’t get that kind of opportunity at work.