Category Archives: Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: SUPER TROOPERS 2 (pot free and spoiler free!)

I’m just going to break the ice, I think SUPER TROOPERS 2 is better than the original movie. I really do like the original movie (albeit I think it is still maybe a tad overrated), and I still think Beerfest is the best Broken Lizard film. I could go into a bunch of shenanigans about how comedy sequels rarely work, list the handful that do, and explain why they work, but I’ve done that kind of review before and am not going to do it again (I might touch up on it if Deadpool 2 turns out to be amazing). Here, I’m just going to tell you WHY I thought this one was better than the first, hopefully with valid reasons to you, the reader, and without divulging any of the really funny jokes. And I did this all without smoking any weed of any kind (I never have in my life, never have even tried a cigarette). So here we go with my first WTF comment:

If you rewatch the original Super Troopers, it is safe to say (and my friend Daniel pointed out to me right before seeing it) that the only the first 20 minutes of the movie are really funny and memorable, with small dashes of the minor skits of “meow” and the whole Farva/Burger incident along with it. While I still do really like the movie, it is more of a miss than hit affair. Time has been kind to the first film, as when I first saw it, I laughed at the first 20 minutes and was wondering why I wasn’t the last hour and ten minutes not so much. But just like Anchorman, Zoolander, and Cable Guy, multiple viewings is a must to bring a cult classic palette to your movie watching tongue.

With Super Troopers 2, I was consistently laughing throughout the entire thing. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some misses in this film and no, the beginning of 2 doesn’t even near kick the snosberries out from under the original, but the rest of the film does. While it doesn’t repeat any of the jokes from the original, a la the Austin Power movies, the crazy hijinks that they all get into were more hit than miss in this one (although there are one or two nods to the original jokes, but no outright re doing). There is this hilarious bit in where two of our lovable highway patrol men are dressed up as the Canadian border/highway troopers and use French accents to make ordinary words sound like dirty ones that had the whole audience on the floor.

The plot? It is just a means to an end. It’s kind of like the first one, drug related again, but the who-dun-it is sort of different. Basically, the guys are now doing different jobs like construction and what not because they were fired from their regular policing gig they got at the end of the first film because of a “Fred Savage incident” (stay a little bit into the credits to see what hilarity happened with the kid from The Wonder Years and Princess Bride). However, due to some weird ancestral border markers being moved or something like that, a little part of Canada is being moved into United States territory, so for some reason the mayor rehires them to replace the Canadian troopers and transition everyone and everything into the new United States territory. Sounds weird and messed up right? But it is actually hilarious. A bonkers off the wall plot just to merit there being an actual sequel to the first movie, where you get new funnier skits and a bunch of good Canada jokes galore. Eventually the guys find a bunch of different types of drugs stashed somewhere (what each drug does is hilariously brilliant) and they have to find out what is going on.

Anyway, giving even hints to the jokes, for which I am doing, feels wrong, so I won’t give out any more clues. Let’s just summarize by saying you get a bunch of funny celebrity cameos this time around, all the boys in the troop get fair and even screen time with a scene or two or three to shine. Farva, instead of being just annoying in this, is actually annoying and fucking hilarious, having some of the best liners from the two movies combined. Brian Cox seemed to really be in the game this time as, even though he is still the AND name on the poster, he has MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH more screen time in this than he did the original. The movie is silly. Just like the first one, but with better jokes and gags. Don’t go in expecting the greatest comedy plot of all time, just go with a friend and have a silly good time. Just to note, I had really really low expectations for this. I hope my review doesn’t lift your spirits up because coming out of the film you might think I’m insane. But for meow, I really did enjoy myself, and if you liked the first film, you’ll smile coming out of this one too I believe.

 

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: RAMPAGE (no spoilers)

You get exactly what the marketing for RAMPAGE promises you. A glorified hour and 40 minute film where the main citywide ultimate destruction happens within the last 30 to 35 minutes of the movie. And that last 35 minutes is filled with really great CGI, cool destruction scenes, and Dwayne Johnson being this decades Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold would have starred in this if this was made in the 90s. Easily. So what about the other hour of the film. Other than the cool little 5 minute prologue starring Marley Shelton with the best acting she’s ever done since The Sandlot, you get eye rolling set up with stupid bad guy characters, stupid plot devices, laughable dialogue, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan literally walking from The Walking Dead set to film this, not breaking character, but a good guy instead of a murderous psychopath.

Other than the last half hour, the movie is really a ho hum affair. As far as video game movies go (this is very loosely based, basically they took the three monsters and the antennae you are supposed to destroy in the game and tried their best to design an actual plot around it), this would probably be under Tomb Raider and Mortal Kombat. But in the end, is that really saying much? This film was made to buy when it is on sale, and only watch if you have a giant screen and a great giant sound system, and then fast forward the movie and only stop and watch thru the destruction scenes.

And the movie really wouldn’t work at all if it weren’t for Dwayne Johnson and the actual bromance that works between him and George, the Albino Ape that goes ape-shit in the movie. Admit it, The Rock has great charisma (his best movie is easily The Rundown). That’s why half of his movies even work. And he’s not a bad actor. He’s certainly better than Schwarzenegger at his prime.  And Dwayne Johnson definitely hasn’t phoned in a performance yet (he will someday on a film he’s pushed into and doesn’t want to be in). The rest of the acting though in this film is laughable or bad. Bad in the sense that Malin Ackerman and Jake Lacy make the worst bad guys owning a multi million dollar company since….well, actually maybe ever. They are both terrible in this. Naomi Harris is okay but she looks like she’s just filling time before she’s called back on Bond 25.

And now let’s talk a tiny bit about Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He’s is Nice Negan in this. He literally walked over from the set of AMC, and just didn’t break character. Maybe that was the point and why he was hired? Instead of Negan in a black leather jacket, he’s wearing a suit, and instead of a bad, it’s a gun. But the Cowboy drawl is there, and even some of the dialogue seems like it was lifted from cut scenes from a Walking Dead script. He isn’t bad per say, but it was a little distracting and laughable. I did like how his character was actually smart and not some dumb government asshole, I just wish that it wasn’t a Negan-like performance, and it might’ve even been better than Johnson in the movie.

Again, let’s face it, the movie is ho-hum and almost laughably not watchable except for the first 5 minutes, and the last thirty. The destruction is awesome and the special effects are really good. The action cliches are watchable, and it brings me back to watching the best destruction parts in the first Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, San Andreas and even the stupidest shittiest parts of 2012. It’s not the cheesiest of cheese you can get, but it is a whole lot of cheddar. You just have to decide if you are lactose intolerant or not.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: TRUTH OR DARE (no spoilers)

If we were actually playing TRUTH OR DARE and you asked me the question, I replied truth, and then you ask what I truly feel about this movie, I would say, “you know what? Fuck it, I enjoyed it and would mildly recommend it.” Probably shocks you because usually shit like this I throw in my own personal meat grinder. Instead this appears to be more in line with Happy Death Day, being PG-13 horror/thriller films that aren’t really scary at all but are actually a little bit of fun. And that is in thanks to its crazy mythology, decent acting, and one (or two) truly emotional dramatic scenes that had my jaw open for the entire segment. The marketing sucks on this one, but how else are you supposed to market a film like this? If this had been a hard Rated R film we could’ve gotten something truly, truly special.

Instead, we get a PG-13 film bordering on R that’s a little bit of fun but still a lot of potential that the filmmakers didn’t decide to strike upon. I know that PG-13 usually gets the teens into the theater with more bang for your buck (look at A Quiet Place for God’s sake) but I think in the long run this film would’ve been respected more if it were a hard no holds barred R. But if we get one more situational horror/thriller PG-13 movie next year that is a little fun like this and Happy Death Day and that makes up a cool little situational horror fun trilogy, I’m willing to accept the rating and quality of the film…for right now. Sorry, but I’m a sucker for made up non official trilogies.

Anyway, back to the actual movie. The movie works mainly because of the characters. Even at their worst, the characters are actually fucking likable. Oh, and they are fucking smart too. I have never seen so many teen characters in a film make the right decisions before in a horror movie, even if those right decisions still end up leading them to a grisly end. I don’t want to ruin anything, but during one of the dare scenes, I was basically mouthing what the characters needed to do at the screen, and they fucking did it! I was shocked to my utter core. In that one scene, the tension, combined with the right decisions, combined with the decent acting made one hell of a little grab your armrest kind of affair.

The movie also works because of Lucy Hale. I’ve actually met Lucy Hale in real life and she seems more down to Earth than a lot of celebrities of her caliber. I met her a comic con about two years ago and she was so nice to the young ladies that watch her on Pretty Little Liars and she was very nice to me and talkative when she signed my Scream 4 poster and we talked about the recent passing of Wes Craven. Her character here is so likable that when we find out she has a few hidden secrets within her closet, that it leaves the audience shocked, but doesn’t change what we ultimately think about her. Your opinion might differ, but there is a scene of confession from her, that even though she said something very wrong to somebody once upon a time, we are willing to forgive her for all her actions before and during a conversation with another character.

There is another scene dealing with a different likable character, that involves a dare that is very sad and very emotional, and the ending of it made me have a large lump in my throat. I was shocked the marketing has kept this scene out of the film, but kudos to them. The scene stands out and again, you’ll know it when you see it. The only odd man out here acting wise is Tyler Posey, who shines in one scene but in the rest he kind of looks confused like he doesn’t know what kind of emotion to display on screen. Luckily, it wasn’t enough to distract me or take me out of the film. There are a lot of characters in this and each get their own little arcs and the film, whether it kills them off or not, gives them each closure and their own emotional payoff that works.

But the movie isn’t scary at all. The film has really only two jump scares, and they deal with a phone ringing (this cliche has got to end) and a character turning around and someone being suddenly behind that character (another cliche that has got to end). I think the film had ample opportunity to give us jump scares that weren’t force and paid off. I think if the screenplay (which was written by four people, two too many in my opinion) and if the direction was a little bit tweeked (director Jeff Ladlow isn’t the best, Kick Ass 2 was only ok), this could’ve been a truly scary horror/thriller. But I guess with a PG-13 rating you can only go so far.

What really works in the film is the rules of Truth or Dare, the crazy fucking mythology, and the balls of an ending. Like recent horror films, this gives us another non typical Hollywood ending. But this one is more bittersweet and dark than just plain old dark and dreary. I liked that minor change. I won’t ruin any of the rules here, but there are several specific rules to the game in Truth or Dare, and I loved that it wasn’t made up and rules just written on the fly like some horror films try to do. And the mythology is fucking nuts. Yes, there is a true reason why this deadly game is being played by these teens, and even though the reasoning is off the wall bonkers, I liked that they tried to do something different.

So in the end, I dare you to actually maybe check this one out if you have time. It isn’t necessarily a theater watching necessity, but if you want to have a little fun on a lonely Friday or Saturday night, this would easily pass your time. Truthfully though, you might not like it, especially if you are a critical movie critic like me that usually has films like this for breakfast. But if you open your mind a little and see that the writers and everyone involved with this project actually tried to bring an audience what they thought was a decent film, you make actually come to a halfway compromise. It is halfway decent, but it should’ve been Rated R. Unrated Blu-Ray anyone?

 

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BLOCKERS (society won’t let it be called C**KBLOCKERS)

I get it. I get that in the marketing the rooster in front of the word BLOCKERS is supposed to make the older teens and adults this movie is supposed to appeal to let them know that the movie should be called Cockblockers. I get that we have a society too young to read that word out loud on posters and ask their parents exactly what it means and then just keep repeating it and repeating it like its the word of the year and get into some unexpected trouble. But when the opening title comes up at the beginning of the movie, couldn’t they at least just call it Cockblockers? Hopefully the younger audience that the studio doesn’t want to know what the real title is won’t be in the theater, and if they are, they have parents that just don’t give a fuck. Blockers is just so tame of a name, it sounds like a God damn football movie. Fortunately, this is my only complaint about this movie.

And it isn’t a football movie (thank God, we don’t need another), it is a sweet and light-hearted, yet at times really raunchy and hilarious sex comedy where a lot of the cliched roles are reversed. Instead of the boys trying to lose their virginity at prom, it’s the girls, and instead of being just the girls’ story, it mainly features the parents and their desperate efforts to stop their daughters from making  a potentially bad life altering mistake. I loved this movie, I laughed out loud quite a bit, and was glad that they turned a very, very overdone formula into something new and refreshing. I loved all the resolutions and the ending was pitch perfect (if you look up details about this movie you’ll know that what I just said is a pun). It’s a rare sex comedy that is fun for the whole family to go out and watch, albeit a older family with kids in their older teens.

Where Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson should just stick to action films (he’s tried Baywatch and The Tooth Fairy and those didn’t work out too well for him), John Cena needs to stay in comedies (where the action film 12 Rounds and other Direct To Video shit didn’t work out for him either). He completely steals the show in this and has that wonderful comedic charm, playing on the joke and against type that he is a really really really built individual but has the emotional stability of a 11 year old child. We knew he had the  talent in Sisters and Trainwreck, but here he is the star and we get to see his true potential. The butt chugging scene is way funnier in the movie than it is played out in the trailers. In fact, most of the funny bits are saved in the movie and haven’t been released in any marketing yet, even the red band trailers.

You Leslie Mann haters out there that don’t like her that much because she plays the same character in every film, well, this movie won’t do much to change your mind. She plays the same character here again, yet if there is any difference it is that the character isn’t as mean as her previous ones. But for some reason I have always found Leslie Mann delightful, and in this I liked her as well. Trying to fight John Cena for a “King of scene stealing title” would be Mindy Project’s Ike Barinholtz, who shares a blind folding semi sex scene (I will not spoil this) where they play off each other like comedy gold. All three of the parents roles are perfectly cast.

My opinion is the same for the daughters as well. In fact, if you cut this movie apart and compared screen time, I wouldn’t be surprised if the daughters don’t have just a couple of minutes less than their parents. The daughters are played sweetly by Kathryn Newton, raunchy as hell by Geraldine Viswanathan, and mysteriously by Gideon Adlon. I don’t want to ruin Ms. Adlon’s story arc, but needless to say I am glad the marketing hid this pretty well, as her story is the most interesting of the three, while also trying to deal with the past action of her father (Barinholtz). The other two are interesting too, and some parts of their stories didn’t end so cliche, and were quite surprising, which I was most appreciative of.

Kay Cannon, who wrote the Pitch Perfect movies, makes her directorial debut in this (she didn’t co-write the screenplay surprisingly) and she does a zany great job with all the situations and makes directing comedies look easy. I hope she does more of this in the future, and doesn’t write sequels like Pitch Perfect 2 or 3 ever again). I also liked that the movie didn’t resort to the story beat that if the parents wouldn’t have tried to stop their kids, the teens would’ve ended up the same at the end of the night anyway. Movies that try to do that are lazy and have no imagination. This thankfully has a complete point A, to point B, to end at point C kind of story, which taking that and all the hilarious jokes, dialogue, and sticky situations all the characters get in, makes one great Spring comedy that you shouldn’t miss. Don’t cockblock yourself, see this movie, I guarantee you’ll have a fun time.