Category Archives: Movie Review

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

I know that most documentaries fly over the heads of modern moviegoers, but surely you have heard of the new documentary, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, which is about the wonderful human being named Fred Rogers and how him and his show Mister Rogers Neighborhood had a huge impact on a lot of people. If you haven’t I’m surprised because they have promoted the shit out of this thing. I haven’t seen a promotion for a documentary this hard since Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Well, I can see the hard push for regular people to see this film, because it is probably one of the best documentaries ever made, it is now my personal favorite (beating out Michael Moore’s Bowling For Columbine and Sick for me), and to tell you the truth, I think that this film should be required viewing, not just be everyone in North America, but by every living breathing human being on this planet.

I’ll admit this right up front, I teared up during this film. Fred Rogers was an extraordinary human being, and after this documentary, I don’t know how anyone couldn’t put him in a top ten human beings of all time list. This is a man that had no skeletons in his closet, no secret crimes committed, not a secret pedophile or homosexual (at the time, hopefully no one would really care about him being a homosexual if he was one now), he was completely the image and stature of the man he gave and showed us on television. A man that had a genuine love for all children and cared about their upbringing and well being, not a mean bone in his body, and used a cheaply made show on PBS to get his message of love and understanding not just to children, but to adults that would watch the program as well. The documentary interviews friends and family, from people that were on the show, and some who were never on camera and only behind the scenes. His sons said they had a wonderful childhood with him, his wife says he was a wonderful husband, everybody who worked with him have fond memories and don’t think one negative thing about him. It is absolutely unbelievable, yet believable. He was basically what we hoped Bill Cosby was…until you know.

This is the kind of documentary we need right now. This documentary shows what the human condition in all of us should and could be. Not to go into any real spoilers or anything but the part of the documentary that made me tear up is right after Fred Rogers died and they were holding a funeral memorial service for him, there were people across the street protesting Fred Rogers, claiming he was a homosexual and/or that he didn’t disapprove of them, and that him and his show made everyone in today’s world feel like they are more privileged than they should be. I almost couldn’t stand watching that scene, knowing that there were human beings that were utterly that stupid and ignorant to be thinking those things and actually having the gall and time to do them. Shows how low our world has sunk. But you know what? If Fred Rogers were still alive today, he wouldn’t hate those people, he wouldn’t want revenge and try to find skeletons in their closets to present to the world. He would probably just smile, shrug, and just go about doing what he kept on doing for so many years. He would probably just say that they were misunderstood individuals. That takes courage, and shows the true measure of men, women, children, what everyone on this world could hold in their hearts if everybody just really tried. The part I am describing sounds depressing, but the documentary is anything but. It is uplifting, sweet, inspiring, endearing, and all the other positive words to describe it that could come out of my mouth right now. It really is one of the best documentaries every made. And if you are reading this and haven’t went out to check it out. Do it immediately.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: AMERICAN ANIMALS

AMERICAN ANIMALS is a pretty good little independent film that is making its way around your local theaters right now. It is based on the true story of four students from Transylvania University that kind of go rogue on their suburban upbringing and decide to steal several very rare, very expensive books from the special collections library that they have at the University. They think it will be easy, since there is essentially no cameras, only motion detectors and the fact that one librarian is the only one that is keeping an eye on the books at all times. They think they have the perfect heist, but little do they realize that even meticulous planning of a heist can go horribly wrong if one thing from your plan doesn’t go as you think. The three most recognizable names from this movie that you might know are Evan Peters (who has been in multiple American Horror Story seasons and plays Quiksilver in the X-Men Films), Blake Jenner (Everybody Wants Some and he used to be married to Supergirl Melissa Benoist), and Ann Down (who is in fucking everything, from The Handmaid’s Tale to The Leftovers to the recent Hereditary).

What I liked most about this film was that even though actors were playing the real people, the movie is kind of a side documentary as well, because they have the real people involved in that heist doing commentary on what they were thinking at the time and why. And some of them might be unreliable narrators. This storytelling device was brilliant and if not included in this movie, I don’t think the film would’ve worked as well. Seeing the students meticulous planning, from how they are going to steal these rare books to how they are going to sell them without getting caught is very well done. The heist itself is a nail-biting extravaganza. However, we’ve seen heist movies that contain both these devices before, but the fact that they added the real people to give side commentary on the action, I thought was utterly brilliant.

Everybody acting wise is good in this film, but Evan Peters is absolutely fan-fucking-tasting. I know an Oscar nomination doesn’t seem likely since a lot of people haven’t heard of this film, but if it were to be some kind of home video sleeper hit right before awards season, I could see Peters getting a best supporting nomination. He is fantastic and steal every scene he is in, and during the actual heist he is masterful. Obviously because the real men that did the real heist commentating on the whole action laid out before your eyes, obviously means that they probably didn’t get away with it in the end. But it doesn’t make it any less fascinating. It only heightened the experience.

So if this movie is playing near you, I high recommend giving it a whirl. I’m a sucker for heist films, and I’m more of a sucker for true heist films. Just to get inside the mind of these people and why they did what they did is something to marvel. Granted, I know they are bad guys, but wait until you watch the movie before you throw rocks at me sympathizing with some bad people. This was a really strong, really engaging independent film. Maybe they can do the real person commentary for more stories like this.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: ALEX STRANGELOVE (Netflix)

ALEX STRANGELOVE I guess you could call the late released stepchild prequel of Love, Simon. Well, not really. It’s a direct to streaming version answer to Love, Simon. Some of the same DNA and story beats but just different enough to be its own thing. The quality and star power of which gives us a not quite theatrical deserving release but not just straight to video so…oh hey there Netflix! Just like my recent review of Set It Up, it is in the better category of Netflix dump fare but will not be that memorable in about a year. It’s predictable, but its sweet. It doesn’t have that edge, but its got the director of the really good independent film The Skeleton Twins. It’s like Love, Simon, but it would definitely be rated R in the theater for plenty of crude humor, sexual situations, and much more cursing. It’s maybe worth your watch once when. I’m making it sound bad, it’s actually quite un-memorably charming.

It’s about the class president of a high school that has a very sweet, very nice looking girlfriend. They were first just friends and he wanted her and she finally elevates it to something more. They haven’t had sex. Then they go to this party together and he has a wonderful time and conversation with a guy from a different school. They make a very strong connection and now with his girlfriend wanting sex, he suddenly doesn’t know who he is or what he wants. It has the cliches of any high school movie. The guy has a really good best friend that is basically a nicer stoner Stifler. Whenever the friend is on screen there is all these stoner antics that you’ve seen before. The girls in this have dirty mouths and can stand toe to toe with the guys. And the film has a very predictable, bittersweet, yet charming heartfelt ending for all the characters.

It does give you a great message about knowing who you are and not afraid to show it. Just like Love, Simon it has a very important message on coming out to your friends and family as well. It is just that Love, Simon came out first and is a lot more cinematic, lovable, and memorable. This isn’t a direct carbon copy, because they were made around the same time, it just has the distinction of coming out several months after something just like it did it much better. But it could’ve been a whole lot worse. It couldn’t not been entertaining. And again, the few new movies you see after a piece of shit like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, are going to look better in your eyes than they would have if no other piece of shit existed. So yes, I recommend this as a one time spur of the moment Netflix watch. Un-memorable in a year charming type of streaming experience.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SET IT UP (NETFLIX)

Oh well lookie here, more passible Netflix fare. And you say, “well at least it isn’t typical Netflix Original Movie garbage?” But then I say, “well, when are we going to get something as grand as Mudbound?” Only once a year? Once every two years? When we used to say directo to video or straight to VOD or a dump movie, we used to mean that we would find it on a shelf of new releases at a department store and nobody ever fucking heard of the movie before because it never went to theaters. Netflix is coming awfully close to becoming known at the platform where people just dump their shitty or subpar or only okay movies. This new “Netflix” film, SET IT UP, is at least part of the only okay movies. This is predictable cliched fare, the only way it is heightened is by the stars: the cute and lovable Zoey Deutch (daughter of Marty McFly’s mom), Glenn Powell (superdouche on Scream Queens), Lucy Liu (former movie Charlie’s Angel), Pete Davidson (SNL and currently “engaged” to Ariana Grande), and Taye Diggs (enter one of his dozen movies here).

The movie is The Devil Wears Prada meets The Parent Trap, in that two assistant/secretaries (Powell and Deutch) absolutely hate their “horrible” bosses who they conveniently work for in the exact same building, but have different professions. Powell and Deutch run into each other and have an idea to get their bosses to fuck/fall in love, so that they are actually happy, so their meanness is kept to a minimum and their bosses lay off them a little bit. Their plan works…but then does it start to work too well as the assistants *coughclichedcough* actually start to fall for each other too? And can a farce and forced relationship between two angry bosses/people actually last? The film should’ve been titled, Cliche It Up.

All of those questions I’m sure you already have the answer to, and you are probably 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% correct. The movie only works because of Powell and Deutch slinging dialogue off each other like nice warm melted butter. Their chemistry really works and anything less would’ve made one hell of an annoying movie. And while Lucy Liu and Taye Diggs are good as playing the “horrible” bosses. They really aren’t that bad. Especially Liu. If it’s really that bad in real life, the two assistants probably would’ve just quit a long time ago. But if they would have here, then there would’ve been no movie. But…you know what…unlike Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom…this movie actually kept my attention. And I laughed pretty hard once at the end when Pete Davidson has a “word” with one of the bosses (he plays Glenn Powell’s gay roommate). So if you have nothing to do, it’s 9:30 on a Friday or Saturday night, and you just want to put on something mindless, however a little bit charming that will keep your attention for a good 100 minutes, you can’t go wrong with this.