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.

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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.