The Girl He Left Behind Review

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It’s time to look at an old school war film about a guy who tries to sabotage the army from the inside. Andy is a pretty spoiled main character and while the film tries to give him a character arc, it just doesn’t work. Still, the film is pretty good despite that. You just aren’t rooting for the main character for once.

The film starts off with the lead kicking the game winning field goal. Unfortunately he is broke so his Mom has to give him spending money for when he hangs out with the heroine. It’s a nice gesture and this isn’t a bad thing per say. What makes this a bad set up is that Andy takes advantage of her generosity by being reckless. He breaks the heroine’s car so he has to spend a lot of money to fix it. Everyone has had enough so he is sent off to the army. That’s when the lead decides that he will do everything he can to leave the army by sabotaging his platoon at every corner. Can the army make a man out of this kid or is it too late?

It goes without saying that Andy makes things miserable for everyone. The platoon is naturally expected to keep their barracks clean or their squad leader will get chewed out. Well, the lead decides to leave the guns unlocked and the coats unpressed. This effects the whole squad and the lead just tells everyone to deal with it since he won’t be stopping. He’ll even go and fight with anyone who tries to stop him. Unfortunately he is a pretty good fighter so it’s tough for the average joes to stop him. The lead also goes and steals their money for his own amusement.

Interestingly enough, the film doesn’t really try to make you empathize with the character until the final minutes of the film. He shows no real remorse and doesn’t do anything to make it right to the platoon. So then there is no reason to like the main character at all. Giving this guy a general position? Now that’s just crazy and I feel bad for his underlings. The army just promoted the wrong guy over someone who was likely a lot more qualified.

That’s why the fight scene near the end of the film was probably the best moment in the movie. We finally got to see the main character put in his place. I’m definitely glad about that since an army officer who trains diligently every day the way the commander does should definitely be more than a match for a random cadet. You can’t skip training and still hope to be the best.

Meanwhile you’ll feel bad for the heroine who has to put up with this. She just wants to study hard and retire early. Unfortunately that isn’t really an option with this lead. While she made the right move in breaking up with him early on, she made a mistake in getting back together each time. She should have just left well enough alone and I’m sure she would have been happier.

The rest of the characters are definitely on point. The commander of the main character’s platoon is definitely a lot of fun. You certainly can’t say that he doesn’t have personality. His lawnmower examples were always solid. Then you have the other army commanders who gradually realize that the lead is a real problem. There is a nice sense of unity among these guys.

The script is top notch here, but you would expect nothing less. The characters dish out a lot of witty one liners. The voice acting for the characters is pretty solid as they all tend to sound sarcastic at different points. While Andy is definitely a bad character, his confidence does lead to a lot of nice comebacks. He definitely isn’t afraid of throwing a little sarcasm at everyone around him. I suppose if you are going to play the role of the villain it is almost a necessity. I do hope he was forced to give the money back to his teammates at some point down the line though. You just can’t have someone like that as a commander otherwise. The ending is definitely the weakest part of the film. There’s just no way Andy should have been allowed to stick around the way that he did.

Overall, While the main character definitely goes a little too far with how immature he is, it doesn’t take away from the film’s solid writing and pacing. It’s a fun enough story and it definitely does show the army as being a lot nicer than you would see in other films. The lead wouldn’t have gotten away with nearly as much in a different movie. If you haven’t seen any of these classic army comedies before then I would definitely recommend checking it out. It’s a nice all around film. Some parts haven’t aged as well as others, but that’ll make it a very authentic retro film.

Overall 7/10

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Lisa Review

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It’s time to watch one of the gutter films. These are unique in the sense that it takes effort to churn out a film this terrible. Of course, you can probably guess how bad it will be as soon as you read the plot synopsis so at least the film wasn’t being deceptive about its story. With nothing going for it, Lisa was in a tough situation from the start.

The film starts off with some of the most stretched out credits I’ve seen in a long time. Usually if the credits go on this long it means that the film is stalling for time and trying to get out of playing the actual feature. It’s like a bunch of warning bells since most quality films skim through the credits or at least give you some fun backgrounds and music to distract from how monotonous it is. We also get our first look at the villain murdering someone.

Then we cut to the main character. Lisa is tired of being a kid and wants to get into some real trouble for a change. She has decided to be a stalker who collects as many names and addresses as possible. Unfortunately she isn’t a very smart stalker and doesn’t see how this could possibly backfire. It definitely paints her in a really bad light. Especially since she lives in a bit of a seedy area and should at least be aware of the news. She ends up stalking the main villain which ideally leads to them matching wits as he tries to figure out who she is from the prank calls while she keeps phoning without any real goals.

I say ideally because nothing of the sort happens. The villain isn’t smart enough to figure it out and Lisa isn’t smart enough to keep her identity to herself. She tells him her name and where to find her. Of course she uses her mother as the scape goat instead of herself. That leads to the climax where they have to fight off this guy and the whole time you’re just hoping that Lisa gets grounded for this.

The film does its best to make Lisa unlikable from the start. She comes off as an ingrate and is always trying to wreck everyone’s day. Her friend’s family was trying to have a nice vacation until she had to come and ruin it. Then she keeps trying to remind the mother of her past and uses it as ammo against her. Definitely a very petty person and without any common sense to guide her Lisa basically plays the role of antagonist as well. I can’t stress enough how bad it makes her look to try and set her mother up with some random guy. If this were a rom-com it would turn out all right as the guy would turn out to be perfect, but life certainly isn’t quite that clean and tidy.

There’s not a whole lot to say about this film since the cast is super small and the plot is so basic. There are no likable characters here so you can’t root for anyone. The Mother is the only reasonable character here and even then she isn’t given a lot to do since Lisa drags her down the whole time. She at least tries to fight at the end while Lisa mainly panics. If the film could have less crying and more planning in the climax that could have at least helped the film end on more of a high note. As it stands, this film just ticks all the boxes of a usual thriller without trying to do something about it. It’s dark and realistic but with no heart or any reason to watch. If you want a similar story you can simply turn on the news which is usually what you would try to avoid.

Overall, Lisa is just another installment in a long line of terrible films that try to sully the cinematic experience. I’d recommend staying far away from this film and watching something with more quality like Jingle All The Way. You’ll immediately notice the big jump in quality when it comes to the writing and really every other section as well. There’s just nothing that Lisa does right.

Overall 0/10

Honey and Clover Review

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There are some series where you immediately start to think that something was off. This is one of them and most of it all boils down to the art. Right from the beginning you can tell that it’s an unconventional art style and one that you automatically associate with a grittier title. It lets you know that this series will probably make some big mistakes and you wouldn’t be wrong. More on the art later.

The series has quite a few characters and plot lines. The general plot though is that there are a group of characters in a town. They all know each other through other people or directly and as such bonds have started to form. Takemoto is known as an average guy all the way through. He’s not bad at anything, but not good at anything either. One day an art prodigy known as Hagu shows up and Takemoto decides that he will be a better man. Then we are introduced to a ton of love triangles which all intersect to the point where everyone has a rival. Can they all end up as friends despite this or will their bonds be shattered?

So lets address the biggest problem right off the bat. Hagu is one of the main characters of interest as Takemoto, Morita, and Shuji all like her. The thing is, the manga always draws her to look like a little girl while everyone else is basically an adult. Takemoto was 19 and the others were older than him I believe. Hagu is around their age as well but never seems like it. I forgot in the series if it was ever stated that there is a reason why she doesn’t grow or if that’s just the art style but then the series goes a step further by making her act like a kid as well. Either way, it makes the romance hard to endure and every time it pops up you’ll end up cringing. Lets face it, it’s hard to do a good roamance at times, but even so it’s possible. This series just absolutely could not pull it off and the art destroyed any chance that it had. Hagu’s design just seems like a mistake and if the author wanted to go with this look, then she should have at least acted more mature.

I also can’t say that I liked Hagu as she made the wrong calls. So, this series also deals quite a lot with romance and the rebounds. Hagu actually does like one of the 3 characters, but she goes with a different one because he gives her the best chance at recovering her career. It’s portrayed as a good option, but that just seems fake then. She’s basically using the guy. We have several characters in the series who are totally fine with that, but it’s still not a quality romance. Even though drawing is her life, Hagu also has many different moments where she is unsure if that’s what she wants to do so I wonder if she has what it takes for the long haul.

Then another bad character is Mayama and his entire subplot. So, he has always liked Rika and has been stalking her for years. He looks through her browser history when she is gone and does a lot of crazy things inside her apartment when she’s not around. It’s all played off for humor, but the series does portray him as a rather warped individual who should be considered as more of an antagonist. Rika does lead him on and gives him one night stands to keep him entertained, but that’s no good either. Rika has a tragic past and just can’t cope with it at times. While she is still to blame, Mayama is just as guilty for ignoring this to his convenience. This was another romance that I could certainly not get behind and the guy was just a terrible character.

Then we have Takemoto who is also annoying. At one point he bails on everyone to drive around the country and re discover himself. Kind of a selfish thing to do if you think about it since he didn’t tell anyone where he was going and is gone for a very long time. When he comes back the first thing he does is confess to someone when he knows that she doesn’t like him. Fortunately she rejects him instead of playing along for a while like some other characters, but it didn’t help Takemoto’s case. Even by the end once she has made her decision he has a tough time letting her go.

The same thing is true for Yamada. She likes Mayama, but he has chosen Rika over her. So, Yamada decides to rebound with Nomiya, but even at the end of the series she can’t get over Mayama. Nomiya is fine with that, but that still means that he will just be the rebound. It’s not a very fun role and even if he doesn’t mind it, once again I can’t call this a quality romance. By the end of the series it felt like every character had to settle for the backup or being forever alone. Takemoto wanted Hagu and ended up with no one. Morita wanted Hagu and got no one. Hagu wanted Takemoto but got Shuji. Yamada wanted Mayama but got Nomiya. I guess Mayama and Shuji got their picks though.

Morita is another bad character. At least he is rather quirky and eccentric as he runs around doing his best to annoy everyone while getting rich. He actually is a genius and knows how to succeed which is good, but then he goes around causing trouble for everyone. Rather then talk to Hagu openly he runs around calling her a creature and doesn’t get serious until the final volume. It’s way too late by then if you think about it. As mentioned earlier Yamada is basically using Nomiya which doesn’t help her case. It’s fine if she can’t get over Mayama, but then just staying by yourself until the feeling has passed is the right choice.

Nomiya’s no good as he approaches Yamada once she is in a vurlnable state which basically just seems like it will help his odds. That’s not the heroic sacrifice play that I would have liked to have seen. At leas stay in the friend zone or something. Rika’s no good since she can’t make up her mind. She clearly likes Shuji more than Mayama, but ultimately needs Mayama for work so she makes compromises. She should have kicked him out once she found out about the shady stuff he was doing. Shuji’s also no good because his romance comes out of nowhere and he seems way too old to be honest. The guy’s been a teacher for a while so no matter how you slice it there is an age gap here.

Going back to the romance themes, one of the issues that the characters keep struggling with is the fact that they can’t get over their initial pick. At the end Takemoto gives a monologue wondering if it was all pointless or if it was a good thing. At the end he decides it was a good thing and finally moves on. He’s the only one who made the sensible choice in the end. See, if you fall for someone who’s taken or who simply doesn’t feel the same way, you don’t just keep pestering the person until they finally give a half hearted okay and get together with you as a last resort. You also don’t just use someone as a rebound while mentally picturing that you’re with the other person. No, the best thing to do is get over it as soon as possible and if that’s not working then create some distance. Eventually you’ll be over it and until then just bluff for a while and put on a tough face. Not letting the other person find out is the right thing to do because that will just put that person in an awkward position. The thing is, most of the cast is too selfish to go along with any of that and they all end up doing their own thing.

As mentioned, one of the reasons why this manga scored so low is due to the art. It just looks utterly terrible and is one of the worst art that I have ever seen for a manga. It’s not dead last, but it’s probably bottom 5. The art looks unfinished and everyone appears to be constantly blushing. That’s something you’d expect more from an anime which also doesn’t work. I’ve already mentioned the Hagu thing to death, but changing that would have certainly helped the score as well. The humor doesn’t work either since the characters are so unlikable. Even though the series is 10 volumes it definitely does drag for quite a bit. The commentary on romance in general was ambitious so I’ll give the series some props there, but it was just incorrect the whole time.
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Overall, Honey and Clover is a series that I highly advise staying away from. It’s just not a good series but you could probably guess that based off of the synopsis. If you like a lot of drama and romance then you may enjoy it, but if you don’t then you’ll know to stay away. I’m not a big fan of those two genres mixing myself so it’s not really a surprise that I didn’t like it. Still, I can certainly say that the series was a little worse than expected. It certainly would have been better as a romance comedy than a drama in this case as it takes itself way too seriously with all of the wrong choices. There is a lot of dialogue, but often times it is about nothing in particular. It’s just characters hanging out, but they aren’t saying anything exciting.

Overall 2/10

Jerry Maguire Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.
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It’s time to look at one of the oldest Tom Cruise films. This was back before he was climbing towers and taking down whole organizations in the MI series. It’s definitely very different from his other movies. This is a fun one but a film that also has its share of flaws. It’s time to look at a day in the life of Jerry.

Jerry is a great sports agent. He’s always been able to snag his athletes and get them to sign him on for the big money. Thing is, his company helps so many people that they don’t get quality face time with their agents. Jerry decides that things need to run a little differently around the office and releases a memo that they should treat the players better. He is quickly fired as a result and Jerry decides to start his own business in response. One girl from the office, Dorothy, decides to go with him. Can they succeed against such a big company?

The sports part of the film is definitely its strong suit. The montage of Jerry trying to contact a bunch of players was a lot of fun even if most of them wouldn’t come through for him. It’s so well done that you even don’t mind the rival who is definitely the antagonist here. The guy makes for a pretty solid villain overall. He has a lot of confidence and certainly a good amount of connections as well. Deciding to fire Jerry at a cafe was also a smart move to endure the lead wouldn’t fight back. It’s under handed for sure, but I’d expect nothing less from corporate.

Meanwhile Jerry is just a fun character to have in the lead as well. He is great at bluffing and acting confident even when that is certainly not the case at all. He certainly made a memorable exit when he was leaving the company and lived up to his own memo about giving his players a lot of face time. Jerry did his best to be fair. Where he falters is in the romance angle. He was already with someone prior to the film starting so you know that she is going to lose out to Dorothy. Usually the films either make the old flame super mean or super nice depending on if they want you to be sympathetic or not. In this case I think they were going for the former but it didn’t work. The lady was brutally honest at times but she was also dependable and just seemed like a solid character. She was also willing to make the relationship work but Jerry was adamant about them breaking up. Keep in mind that later on he talks about the exact opposite since he is apparently no quitter. It was hard to believe him by that point. At least she hit him with a nice combo before leaving.

As for the romance with Dorothy I naturally couldn’t go for it. Of course they couldn’t simply be professional co workers who were friends without taking it a step further right? It had to be a cliche romance. It’s unfortunate because it continues the narrative that you can’t stay friends in such a scenario. It also escalated quite quickly and the actual scenes take way too long. They drag and drag as they pull down the film’s score.

Then we have Dorothy’s kid who is super annoying. He is basically just around to get everyone in trouble and/or guilt trip them. He hangs up the phone on Jerry’s biggest client which turned out to be okay of course but if he client had taken offense and left that would have been it for Jerry’s career. Everything works out for the kid of course but he puts himself into a lot of bad situations so it’s hard to really feel bad for him. His emotional scenes also don’t work so basically any scene with him out the film to a halt.

Meanwhile with Dorothy herself she wasn’t a bad character but not a particularly good one either. On one hand I do appreciate the fact that she stuck up for Jerry by leaving with him even if it wasn’t the most financially responsible thing to do. She made a stand and stuck by it. She was supportive through the company’s tough start and put in the work. Then the romance set in and that was that.

Let’s talk about the best character here, the football player. He is very loud and always talking but the important thing is that he speaks his mind. No one ever has to guess what he is thinking because he will spell it out for you. He is trying to make sure he secures a good future for his family while at the same time working on his game so it’s tough. He is taking a gamble on Jerry the same way that Jerry is getting everything on him. Both characters have a mutual benefit here so naturally they stick together quite closely. Jim is a good friend to have and without him Jerry would have been doomed right from the start.

It was also nice to see the Cowboys dominating the competition in the climax as well. The movie quickly cuts away before the Cowboys steal the win to spare Cardinal fans the tragic flashbacks but from the scenes in screen you can probably tell that they seem to have the edge. The Cowboys were a very intense hard hitting team back then and didn’t lose many games.

Overall, This was a pretty fun film but the romance did hurt it quite a lot. Those scenes would be quite painful and take away from the really fun first half. Considering that this film was handling a lot of genres I’d say that it did pretty well. If it took out the romance drama and focused on the sport comedy part it would have been a lot better. As it stands I would still recommend checking the film out. It does feature the iconic Tom Cruise run near the end which I was starting to think actually would not make it.

Overall 5/10

The Time Traveler’s Wife Review

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It’s time for another romance film, but I’m afraid that this one is pretty bad. It probably has the worst use of time travel that I’ve seen yet and the characters are no good. There are a lot of betrayals on both sides and we even have the classic “I can go through time but I can’t alter it except for when I do” kind of time travel logic. That’s still the worst kind to be honest. There isn’t much that’s nice to say about this movie so you’ve been warned.

The plot follows a guy named Henry who is a time traveler. The problem is that it isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies. Henry can’t bring his clothes with him nor can he control where he teleports or when it happens. He could be stuck somewhere for minutes or months. Then there are different versions of him teleporting all around as well which complicates things further. There is no rhyme or reason to his teleportations although it also seems like he can control them to an extent as well so that may be up for debate. He just wants to have a normal life so he finds Clare when she is a kid and hangs out with her all through the years so she grows to like him once she is an adult. Henry now feels like he has won at last, but his constant teleporting threatens to end their relationship once and for all.

There’s a lot of dubious actions here by all parties involved. Fortunately there are only 2 real characters who have a big role here, Henry and Clare. Bad news is that both of them are pretty iffy. Lets start with Henry as his issues are pretty self explanatory. He used time travel to really improve his odds with Clare which is definitely not a legitimate tactic. In the present when Clare tracks him down he doesn’t even know who she is, but is very quick to ignore that so they can have a moment. This guy is definitely very easy so is Clare sure that she wants him? Well, yeah since through time travel she knows what will happen and who is she to defy destiny? Henry continues bouncing around time and also doesn’t know any boundaries so he decides to read her diary without permission so he knows exactly where to teleport and what to say. The guy is bad news and the characters did warn Clare about this. He also has an operation so he can’t have any kids without telling Clare first since he didn’t want to talk about it. Great.

Then we have Clare. She knew all about the teleporting and the various risks before getting together with Henry so she certainly can’t pull the “I didn’t know” card. The problem is that she basically still pulls it towards the end as she states that she just can’t handle this anymore. It’s a little late to be saying stuff like that now. Then she decides to get around Henry’s operation by cheating on him with his past self. That’s definitely a very iffy thing to do. The morality of that is certainly pretty negative and both characters just keep dragging each other down.

Also, a recurring theme in the film is that Henry keeps seeing a vision where he ultimately ends up dying. Then he should at least know to brace himself for the teleport right?He even knows what day it will happen at the very end but still looks around like a deer in the headlights at the end. At least duck or something, anything could have potentially saved his life there. Instead he just made everything go according to plan. The film would argue that it was simply unavoidable, but I never bought into that.

Overall, The Time Traveler’s Wife is just not a good film. The characters are super annoying and this is one of the worst versions of time travel that I have seen in a long time. They really made the power be as bad as it possibly could and it doesn’t help that he is using the ability in the wrong way. With nobody to root for and a plot that isn’t interesting, the film just doesn’t have anything going for it. You’ll want to give this one a hard pass and it serves as another reminder that romance-dramas typically aren’t very good.

Overall 2/10

You’ve Got Mail Review

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It’s time for a relatively modern romance film from back in the day. Naturally romance isn’t exactly my favorite genre, but at least it also deals with small businesses vs corporate control which is more up my alley. It’s not a bad movie but as with most in this genre it does start out better than how it concludes. If the friend zone card had been played then that may have worked out a little more.

The film starts off by showing us Kathleen’s life. It’s rather plain at the moment and she needs someone to vent to. That’s when she reveals that she has been talking to someone online using a chat room in secret. This has been pretty good for her well being and the guy in the computer enjoys their talks as well. It’s all anonymous so nobody has to be any the wiser and even the two people in the chat don’t know who each other is. That’s when Kathleen’s life is turned upside down as a new book store shows up to run her out of business. They believe in the Wal Mart strategy of starting prices low to put all of the local shops out of business before raising prices again. The leader of this company is named Joe Fox and he is determined to destroy Kathleen.

Well, he does say that this isn’t personal but who would actually believe that? What Kathleen doesn’t know is that Joe is the person she speaks to on the phone. He didn’t know it either for a little while, but finds out before long. He has to try and keep this secret from her, but can he do it? It’ll be tough but Joe didn’t become a rich CEO for nothing, he’s still got a chance here!

The whole point of the dynamic is that both characters don’t know that they are actually confiding in each other. That should have stayed the focus for most of the film instead of Joe finding out and then tricking Kathleen for the rest of the film. I think the movie would have been a lot more fun if this had been the case. It is interesting to see Joe playing so many different roles of course, but it can also be a little dicey.

Also, we can’t just forget the fact that of course corporate wins because they always do in these kinds of scenarios. Kathleen was put out of a job so it’s hard to see her get so friendly with Joe right afterwards. At first he plays the friend card so they just hang out platonically but that never seems to last in these things. They may as well be honest with each other and just say that staying friends was never in the game plan for them. The actual romance just doesn’t work at all.

Fortunately the writing isn’t half bad though. For the most part the humor lands and the characters aren’t that annoying. I think Kathleen had the best supporting cast. Her reporter friend Frank was good for a while since he is so paranoid about everything and always trying to take shots at technology. The only tricky part here is how quick he was to try and leave Kathleen for another reporter. That’s where you end up losing all respect for the guy. Kathleen’s co-workers were also pretty fun and they did their best to be useful. Even when Kathleen’s mystery man seemed to be a crook they were very supportive.

Meanwhile Joe just had 2 characters on his side. The first was his friend who would walk him to the diner when Joe was feeling scared. He seemed like a reasonable guy, but didn’t get to appear much. Then we have Joe’s friend/maybe wife so seemed like a reasonable character until the very end where she suddenly wasn’t. That was the film’s forced way of leaving both Joe and Kathleen open but it was basically plot convenience there.

As for the two leads themselves, they weren’t bad. Joe is certainly ruthless in taking down the small businesses, but I guess that is his job so like the guy said, it just wasn’t personal. Of course you shouldn’t just leave your ethics at the door either so it’s complicated. Kathleen was also a reasonable character and put up a valiant effort in trying to stop Joe’s company. It’s just a shame that she couldn’t claim victory here.

Overall, You’ve Got Mail was a pretty fun film that was mainly held back by the unnecessary romance. Really, just take away the romance and you’ve got a better film. It could have easily ended when Joe put her out of business. If you want a happy ending then just have her get rehired by them. I think that would have made for a more wholesome film and would have given the characters more dignity as well. You still just can’t fall for the person who put you out of business. That’s just too much to buy into. If you want a decent rom-com to watch then this is your ticket. It’s a good bet to watch this one since typically the genre can be a little dicey.

Overall 6/10

Muscle Beach Party Review

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I’ve seen quite a few beach movies in my day, but never have I seen one about a group of Muscle dudes trying to take over the Beach from the crew. It’s a pretty interesting dynamic because you just aren’t sure who to root for. After all, which party is more sympathetic here? Probably the crew and that’s saying something. It’s certainly not any better than the other beach films, but it can make for some decent entertainment at times.

Frankie and the gang are hanging out at the beach like usual when the film starts off. Dee Dee wants them to eventually get married while Frankie insults the very concept. He believes that people should mess around with each other but stay available in case a better offer comes along. Sure enough, one does. A rich Contessa shows up and decides that she wants Frankie. Frankie’s eager to go with her and ditch his beach band. Can Dee Dee stop Frankie from doing this..and does she want to?

This film’s certainly old and you can tell that it is because of how Frankie acts. As I mentioned he believes being married is sort of like being trapped and the film never really plays this off as one of those “He’s totally wrong” angles. No, it’s just something that’s to be accepted and Dee Dee is the one who has to compromise and allow him to keep his freedom. She really looks bad in this film all things considered as Frankie gets to do whatever he wants with total freedom while she can’t get away. In all of the other films if she ends up with someone else than Frankie steals her back. In this case Frankie was totally willing to leave her for good, but then he was told that he would never be quite as rich as the Contessa so he went back to Dee Dee for the rebound. It’s just not a good look and both of them come out worse for it. Dee Dee shouldn’t take him back and Frankie certainly won’t get any sympathy from me for all of this. I was hoping she would finally dump him here.

The Contessa isn’t really any better. She buys a whole body builder team just so she can be with one of them, but then ditches them over night for Frankie. She doesn’t seem like the type of person who would actually be very loyal so I couldn’t feel bad for her either at the end. She definitely should have fired her manager for messing everything up though. It wasn’t even an accident, the manager intentionally sabotaged her chances with Frankie. In comparison, the other manager (Fanny) was okay I guess. At the very least he wasn’t afraid to challenge his opponents. The downside is that Fanny’s not very smart and quite a bit of his screen time is for proving this. So much for this guy.

The body builders are also poorly developed characters. They’re all built, but that’s their only character. They act like puppets most of the time as they only move when they are told too and the poses get old very quickly. You also can’t take them seriously since Frankie is able to get past all of them even once he was cornered. If these guys can’t even beat a normal teenager then what good was all that training for? I do have to give the film some credit for not pulling a cop out with the climax here. The teenagers actually had a real fight for a change with the body builders and it may be the best fight of the series. There was another film where we had a big fight scene, but I dare say that this one managed to come out on top. It is a little cheesy that the body builders didn’t win though.

Unfortunately as this is a beach film there is a considerable amount of fanservice. Certainly enough to drop this film to low tier territory. You just can’t go a single scene without something sketchy happening. Some of it is used for running gags, but that doesn’t really help its case. Then the villains also seem sketchy at times and it just doesn’t make for a good mix. This is why we need more films to take place somewhere colder like Russia. Then the films wouldn’t have this issue.

Of course at the end of the day what really hurts this film above all else is the writing. The film just doesn’t flow very well and none of the characters are even remotely likable. They all try to outdo the other in terms of who can make the worst decisions. Instead of being loyal the friends will even watch as you are dragged across the beach. That’s definitely not cool even if the opponents are doing their best Superman impressions. Not to mention that the muscle men are outnumbered quite badly.

Surprisingly we didn’t see Eric Von Zipperman as for once the actor played someone else instead. I can’t say that I missed him,but his iconic yell was always pretty fun to have around. There’s not a whole lot more to say about this film as you get the general gist of it. It really promotes the whole rebound play angle and that’s the part that really doesn’t age too well. You simply can’t be so easily swayed like Frankie is and still get such a happy ending. Maybe one day Dee Dee will realize the truth.

Overall, Muscle Beach Party is everything that you think it will be. The film hits all of the Beach tropes and then some. As a result you can also pretty accurately predict everything that will happen as the films have a very solid flow chart at this point. Frankie makes Dee Dee jealous, she returns the favor, he actually gets together with someone else, Dee Dee pretends to, Frankie goes even further, Dee Dee finally leaves, Frankie chases her,…then start from the first step. It’s not a great formula. Well, at least Frankie does warn her every film that he wants to stay free so in a sense she knows what she’s getting into. Their plot still needs some closure though. Instead of recommending this beach movie I’d recommend you watch something very wholesome like Mortal Kombat!

Overall 2/10

Morning Glory Review

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It’s time to look at a rom-com about an early morning news show. I’ve never bothered to watch one myself as if I have to wake up that early in the morning it’s because I’ve got to dash out or have to catch Grand Finals in a tournament. It’s an interesting option though and I suppose it’s good that people have something good and wholesome to watch at that hour. It’s a pretty fun film that had some good potential, but ends up squandering more of it with a rushed romance subplot. Take the rom out of the rom-com and this movie would have been a lot better.

The film starts off with Becky having a good day at work. She has to get up extremely early for her job, but she’s used to it and also enjoys it. Unfortunately she is fired due to corporate wanting to cut down costs and adding someone in from outside the company. Fortunately Becky gets hired by another Early Morning show, but this one has really been under tough times and will soon be cancelled. She has to get the ratings up very quickly or she will be fired once again. To do that she will have to switch up the daily routine of talking about nothing and getting the station to report real news. The first step in this process is bringing back Mike from his unofficial retirement.

Right away Becky is introduced to the politics of the workplace. It’s handled pretty realistically with all of the unwritten rules about who you can and can’t talk to depending on the situation. It really depends on where you work of course, but there are always intangibles to get used to and then the work will go smoothly. Alternately you can try to be oblivious or just boldly ignore the rules and have fun. Work should be fun so just keep that in mind and the rest will fall into place. Becky notices that some of the workers aren’t actually working and that’s part of why the show is going downhill. As such, her first order of business is to fire someone. After that she looks for Mike.

See, Mike is actually hired by the company, but he refuses to work so he is currently earning 6 million dollars just to stay at home and play golf. I forgot that TV reporters are paid so much, but either way it is crazy to see a company effectively throwing away 6 million dollars on someone who doesn’t work. That’s probably the most unrealistic part of the movie if we’re being honest here.

Becky has to use some extreme measures, but before long she gets the station back in shape. She did a really good job of growing into the position considering that she jumped from entry level into being the big boss instantly. That shows how desperate the company was, but also that she had the talent for it all along. The end of the movie is a little iffy though. She is offered a position at a better company where she will be making significantly more money. It’s always a tough call of course, but do you go with the job where you were very close to being fired and have absolutely no job security, but get to hang out with your friends, or go for the big bucks? I don’t really think the latter choice is wrong in this case, but of course it’s ultimately her choice. I do think if you like a job enough then the pay doesn’t matter much, but I certainly do factor job security into that.

The only weak part of Becky’s character is the romance with Adam. So, Adam shows up out of nowhere and they immediately hook up. It’s especially odd since she was only around for like a day and had a pretty big position in the company but he didn’t care. The guy’s a freelance worker, but still, I’d figure that you don’t hit on the boss day 1. My mistake. This romance is just so terrible through and through. Adam is the personification of bad advice as he tries to tell Becky not to take her job too seriously and throws her phone in the fridge so she can’t use it. Even by the end he’s a bad influence and he never got to be even a remotely good character. The romance alone took this film down 2 stars as it was just soooo bad. It’s also basically just an excuse for fanservice as otherwise the film had played it straight. Well, we did have the guy who got fired and his unnecessary gimmick, but at least that didn’t last long.

Mike is portrayed as a really unlikable guy who is super stuck up and the film succeeded on that angle. It’s impossible to root for this guy and the only reason he shows up at all is for the money. There’s nothing heroic about this guy and he just brings in a bad attitude to the company the whole time. He’s an entertaining character of course, but strictly as the villain. I don’t really buy into the cheesy turnaround at the end. Heroic or not though, he is probably the most entertaining part of the film.

Then we’ve got Colleen who has lost all faith in the show and believes that Becky is doomed. I guess this is for good reason since apparently none of the other bosses did very well. At least she was the most open to trying new things though. Without her the show wouldn’t have had a chance. Not much more to say about Adam than what I already covered so we can skip this guy. One of the worst characters in the film. Then we have Lenny who has been with the company for ages, but decided not to move up. He likes his current job since he doesn’t have to work at all and lets everyone else take the risks. Definitely a smart character since sometimes going up isn’t necessarily the best thing to do. Then there is the big boss Jerry. The actor always does a good job of just talking nonstop without taking a breath and that’s what makes the character fun. Jerry doesn’t actually get to do all that much besides that so it’s more of a glorified cameo appearance than anything. Still a very fun character.

As I keep mentioning, the film was just a lot of fun. The writing isn’t amazing or anything, but it manages to deliver on a lot of the jokes. The film doesn’t drag on either so the pacing was well kept as well. The first half does beat the second, but that’s how it is in almost all rom-coms as the second half gets a little more serious since the film has to wrap up at some point. It never gets too weak though, it’s just that the romance scenes really destroy all of its momentum. If you enjoy rom-coms then you likely won’t mind the scenes much so they shouldn’t really impact how much you enjoy the movie.

Overall, Morning Glory is a good ride through the world of TV Broadcasting. The film manages to get quite a few big names in it. Certainly more than I would have expected. The plot is fairly unique and I do like how for once the main character didn’t mess everything up. The trope here is usually that the lead is in over her head and by the end of the film learns how to be a great leader. Here, Becky knew what to do from the start and just kept making the show better and better until it finally surpassed its limits. That’s the kind of main character you want to have. She was almost good enough to save the film.

Overall 5/10

The Greatest Showman

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It’s time to look at a fairly recent film that did quite well for itself. I’m sure many people have heard of the famous Barnum circus for which this film is based off of. When I was a kid I went to a few circus shows, but it didn’t really follow me as I entered my teen years. I sort of just grew out of the circus. It’s certainly impressive with how they are able to perform the acts many times over without an incident but it just isn’t as exciting as a nice arcade or in this case, watching a movie about a circus. The Greatest Showman is a fun film even if the main character adds some unnecessary drama.

So the film starts off with Barnum having a dream where he is the greatest showman on Earth. Everyone loves his shows. Then he wakes up in reality where he is a commoner who works for the rich. Everyone disrespects him and his father dies from all of the pressure. Barnum decides that he will be a great man someday. He gets a nice 9-5 job and ends up marrying his childhood friend Charity. They are low on money, but still have a good life. One day Barnum loses his job so he decides to gamble on the circus. Now he can make his dream a reality. His circus is a very different one as he decides to only hire people with a unique act. A lady with a beard, a guy with tattoos, a guy who is short, the Wolf Man, etc. He gets them all together and the show is a big success. Still, it isn’t enough. Barnum wants to keep getting more and more famous no matter what it ends up costing him!

You can probably already guess how this can get a little dicey. Barnum had literally achieved his dream. The show was amazing and he was rich enough to quickly move into a castle. Then he decides to risk it all by letting the fame get to him. He ditches the people who got him this far to go on a tour with a rich celebrity. He even comes close to having an affair on the side. He manages to avoid making this mistake, but isn’t quick enough to prevent the singer from pulling him into a scandal. It adds some extra drama and suspense to the film, but honestly it wasn’t needed. Perhaps the film would have been a little too happy otherwise I guess, but they could have just kept the whole circus in flames scene and that would have delivered the necessary tension.

So, I can’t say that I liked Barnum. When you achieve your dreams and still aren’t satisfied, then it’s tough to sympathize with a character like that. He learns the error of his ways by the end, but it was awful late for that. They probably should have just restarted without him. A shame since he was a quality character for the first half of the film. His wife Charity was certainly more enjoyable than him. She kept it real throughout the film and never let herself get corrupted. She defied her extravagant lifestyle and risked it all to live the life of a pauper. I can’t picture Barnum making the same decision.

Philip was the other co-star here. He decides to also put aside his rich life to have fun at the circus. He is a fun character but his romance started a little too quickly. He falls for one of the performers almost instantly and even then he can’t stay strong after hearing the super singer Jenny who apparently ensnares everyone while in the act. Philip is a charismatic character, but he needs to have more willpower than that. I can see why Anne was worried about starting anything with him after such a moment and I don’t blame her.

In general I can’t say that the romance here was all that good. Perhaps sticking to just one romance plot instead of having 2 would have helped. The main character one I can understand and it did take years so it’s not like they married out of the blue. Philip’s romance on the other hand just feels tacked on. What happened to keeping up the friend zone while at work? They don’t have time to be getting distracted like this.

As this is a musical there are quite a few songs in here. For the most part they are pretty solid. I think the cicus troup probably can’t sing quite as well as the main characters but they do well enough. The best song in the film is certainly the one in the bar between Barnum and Philip. The bartender there was low key the best character in the film. I like how he always had the drinks ready and would slide up and down the aisle as he followed the dance. He knew that he was going to make a lot of money out of these 2 guys and he was absolutely right. When there is a buck to be made you can’t afford to hesitate. That’s what it means to be a true performer. They should have hired the performer to get an act. I do have to say that if I were Philip I would have certainly turned down the offer though. Losing everything just to get to be in a circus? I dunno, doesn’t really seem like a tempting offer to me.

Overall, The Greatest Showman is definitely a pretty fun film. There is a short period in the film where it starts to get rather somber and dramatic, but for the most part it’s pretty lighthearted. The first half of the film probably does beat the second half, but it’s still a good all around film. It never drags on and the cast is likable for the most part. They all simply lack willpower and the conviction to see their dreams through to the end. Better luck next time in that regard I guess. I’d recommend checking out this film especially if you like musicals but also if you like a good time at the circus.

The Awful Truth Review

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It’s time to look at an old romance comedy film. It’s definitely an interesting film with a premise that may not be the most original, but at the time I’m sure there weren’t many other titles quite like this one. It’s handled rather well and I was glad that the dog looked good the whole time. The Awful Truth is a fun movie and that alone is enough to put it above many other films in the genre. After all, this genre usually only worked back in the old days when the writing could handle such a plot.

The film starts off with Jerry getting a tan. He was supposed to have been in Florida for the last few weeks but it turns out that he went somewhere else instead. Jerry figures that with this tan nobody will ever know the truth. His friend happens to run into him so the cat is out of the bag, but the guy agrees to keep the secret. Jerry arrives home, but his wife Lucy isn’t there. She shows up hours later with Armand and states that nothing happened between them. Armand’s car just broke down the road so they had to walk back the old fashioned away. Jerry doesn’t believe such an old excuse and Lucy also pieced together that he wasn’t actually in Florida. Since both suspect that the other may have been cheating they decide to call for a divorce. It will take a while for the divorce to be finalized though so until then they just move to different apartments. Both of them decide to go for a rebound, but can they really get apart from each other so easily.

Naturally a film like this has both parties continue to escalate their attempts to sabotage the other. Usually you will have 3 questions about this. 1. Who started it? 2. Who escalates past the point of being reasonable first? And 3, who is the one who decides to be the better person and apologize? Well, I have to say that Lucy is guilty of the first two and Jerry of the 3rd so you can see who I was rooting for here. Granted, we really don’t know what Jerry was doing in the first scene of the film. I’m inclined to think that he wasn’t cheating and he just didn’t feel like going to Florida but lying to your wife is never okay in any circumstance. Lucy’s story was rather cliche and hard to believe, but it’s safe to say that she was being true to her word. I do think that having Armand escort her all the way home was a bit much though and the guy seems like a jerk.

How do you walk into someone’s house with a big grin like that? Armand seems to think that he owns the place and as he didn’t grow up around here he also doesn’t understand many of the subtle signs about staying away. He has to be told to get out before getting the message. When he shows up the last time I was definitely rooting for Jerry to knock him out. This guy just seems suspect the whole time and I can see why Jerry would be opposed to the lessons after this.

Going back to the start, Lucy was quick to suggest the divorce though so that’s why I have to say that she was guilty of starting this. They could have talked things out instead of being so rash. You could make the case that talking things out was exactly what Jerry was trying to do at first. Next up is who escalates the issue and that’s barely even debatable in favor of Lucy. Lucy goes on the rebound first as she decides to go with Dan. Keep in mind that she doesn’t even like the guy and is just using him to get to Jerry. Jerry is a bit obnoxious by playing with his dog so loudly, but that’s extremely minor if anything and Lucy probably deserves it for stealing the dog away. She doesn’t play with Mr. Smith (The Dog) at all so she just wanted him to spite Jerry. Jerry is always playing with him and we see throughout the film that he really cares about the dog. Jerry got Dan and Lucy to leave so he was finally able to enjoy himself.

While Jerry does tease Lucy quite a bit, he doesn’t ultimately stand in her way. In fact when Dan’s mother starts trying to sow seeds of doubt in Dan’s mind about Lucy Jerry is quick to defend her. Yeah, he overdoes it with the praise and Lucy doesn’t feel that it’s sincere but it does convince Dan and the Mom that it’s okay. If it was the reverse situation Lucy wouldn’t have done the same. What further proof is needed than the later scene where Jerry is trying to have a good first impression on the family of his latest girl. Lucy shows up and acts drunk as she keeps making Jerry look like a liar. She makes him look terrible the whole time until he is dumped and then she gets him in trouble with the cops for no reason. Finally she refuses to apologize at all in the end so Jerry has to be the bigger person about it.

Long story short, I wasn’t a fan of Lucy. She seemed to be a lot more mean spirited and possessive compared to Jerry. She has every right to be a little upset that Jerry didn’t trust her more in the beginning, but aside from that it seemed like she was just holding a grudge the whole time while Jerry actually moved on and supported her. I liked Jerry, but of course he did have his faults. He is a chronic liar and is just as guilty of the rebounds as Lucy. At least he is a very amusing character though as he is always making one liners and subtly insulting the side characters.

Meanwhile, Dan is the most important of the rebound characters. It’s almost a shame since he is portrayed as a very nice guy. The issue is that he was absolutely desperate to get Lucy as he even tried making friends with her Mom to have an opening into the house. He doesn’t understand when he is being insulted either and so you can’t root for the guy. Not to mention that he should have stuck up for Lucy if he was serious about her instead of letting the Mom slander her name the whole time.

What the film does really well is handling the snappy dialogue. It’s one of those things that I have always liked about the old films. The dialogue is really back and forth with characters getting better strings of dialogue in a few minutes than some films have for their whole duration. That’s definitely no small feat. The film’s pacing is also really good so you won’t be getting bored either. It’s just a very strong all around title and probably one of the best romance films that I’ve seen. At this point it’s safe to say that if you want to watch a good romance film, always make sure that it’s part comedy. That just makes the genre a whole lot better.

Overall, The Awful Truth is a fun film. It also finally has one of the characters explain the concept of a rebound which is spectacular since most films have it happen without acknowledging this. If you just divorced someone and are looking at someone new within a few days then you know that something went terribly wrong. I recommend checking this film out even if it’s just to appreciate that line of dialogue. Still, it’s hard to picture you not enjoying this film at least a little bit since it’s just a lot of fun.

Overall 7/10