Category Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

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.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM (minor plot spoilers)

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM is the worst entry in the Jurassic Park series. I dinoshit you not. In order to enjoy this film, your brain must not only be completely off (with no reboot button visible), but you will have to suspend your belief more than you ever have when it comes to plot points and convenient timings. It is lazy screenwriting at its worst. The CGI is a leper’s bukkake containing AIDS right to your face (sorry for the gross vision, but it was that bad). I know that there are only so many things you can do with dinosaurs running around in present day, but they came up with this?!? The first 30-40 minutes while they are on the island trying to rescue the dinosaurs is actually not bad, with a solid intro that tries to go toe to toe with the great Velociraptor intro from the first movie (the first one still rules all). But then once they leave the island the movie turns into some horrible cliched ridden B-movie haunted house mansion adventure schlock that happens to contain dinosaurs. This is a complete bridge movie, with a sort of not really cliffhanger (be sure to stay through all the credits if you want to see something extra, I didn’t think it was worth it though) to bring us a third movie that I now expect could actually get more ridiculous than what we got here. Or it could actually be a fun yet serious science thriller. Universal, it’s up to you, just fire screenwriters Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly and bring someone new in to think of something fresh.

Now in this paragraph I’m going to go into minor spoilers and I am going to point out the biggest motherfucking plot hole this series has had to offer. If you don’t want to know anything about the plot, skip to the next paragraph. What I do reveal here doesn’t go far beyond what they have shown you in all the tv spots and all the trailers. Basically, on the original Jurassic Park/World island, Isla Nublar, a dormant volcano has now become active and is about to blow, killing all the dinosaurs on the island. The government and Jeff Goldblum (nothing more than a glorified cameo here so don’t get excited, he literally probably shot this in an hour) declare they aren’t going to do anything and to let extinction take its course. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) from the last film, even though she went through hell and back in the last movie, doesn’t want these creatures to die. In walks some suit that represents John Hammond’s old partner (an old partner we have never even fucking heard of until now) and says that they will do a secret rescue mission and bring the dinosaurs to a different island sanctuary with no volcanoes, no tourists, no trouble and let them live out their lives in peace. Claire gets Owen (Chris Pratt) to come back because Blue (the only surviving smart raptor from the first World) is still there and he feels like he is the only one that could get him out of there peacefully. So yeah, they go and do their thing and rescue some dinosaurs, while the volcano explodes of course because you need heightened unrealistic lava based action sequences, and low and behold, betrayal happens. The suit wants to auction off the dinosaurs to billionaires and the highest bidder takes and does whatever they want with them. L. A. M. E. Laughable Ass-lazy Mind-numbing Endgame. Having people bid on dinosaurs (and they go much cheaper than you would think) is the worst screenplay idea in the long sad history of bad screenplay ideas. And that is where I will stop. The rest of the movie basically takes place in a giant mansion of this former partner to John Hammond’s house, where they bid off the dinosaurs, and if you’ve seen any of the trailers, you can probably guess where it goes from there. BUT! This whole plot is rendered moot (unless I am forgetting something about a previous film) What about Isla Sorna? That’s right, Site B, the island that was heavily featured in The Lost World and Jurassic Park III. If that island is still there, where the dinosaurs are flourishing…I mean, do you get what I’m saying, everything is rendered useless. They could’ve just let the dinos die with the volcano without any risk to themselves and get the dinos from the other island. Now to be fair, I could be forgetting a line from Jurassic World where they stripped that island bare and got all the dinosaurs to Nublar, but I don’t think I’m mistaken. If I’m not, it’s the biggest plot hole I have seen in a movie in quite some time.

Hey! Welcome back! If you skipped my paragraph, please, after you see the movie, I encourage you to go back to this and re read it to see if you agree with me about the blatant obvious plot hole. Or if I’m wrong about it, please let me know. I did leave out some twists and turns. One of these twists (you’ll know it when you see it) some are claiming is the worst stupid twist in the Jurassic Park series. I however, thought it was the least ridiculous plot point in all the ridiculous shit that happens in the movie. In fact, the movie only has one true emotional great epic scene. It is the very last scene on the island, I’ll only say you might tear up, and I’ll leave it at that. Why couldn’t the movie had more emotion like that? When it cuts to black and we are on the boat toward the big giant stupid mansion house, I got extremely bored. I didn’t feel any tension, any excitement or any fun. In fact it started to turn into a rolling my eyes and looking at my watch affair. The only watchable things in this movie is Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, and their good chemistry. And maybe a couple of scenes with Blue. But that is it. You get your cliched one child that is attacked by dinosaurs and is on the run (could we please have a Jurassic World film with only adults please?). Every single character does every single cliched ridden dumb decisions you could possibly do in a movie about dinosaurs co-existing with man. No character is actually smart here. There is one scene of a hunter wanting a tooth off a dinosaur for his necklace that is so fucking stupid I wanted to tear my hair out. What is really funny, is that if Claire and Owen weren’t even in the picture, everything might have gone smoothly and much less chaotic. Who knows? Also, how many times is the T-Rex going to come in and conveniently save the day? It’s getting old. Do the screenwriters not know how stupid it is now to keep repeating it? Also, I’m so God damn tired of the genetically mutated dinosaurs, like the Indonomous Rex in the last one and the Indoraptor in this. Stop with genetically mutated shit and stick to the dinosaurs that are real and that we know and love.

And the CGI is so bad, it just looked like everything, even the house was just Star Wars prequel level green screen crap. What the hell happened to the cool animatronics from the first two films and some of the third?!? It felt like the animals were actually there. With this, I didn’t even feel like the actors were even on a real island in this, or in a real house. It just screamed SET, SET, SET, with GREEN CURTAINS TO ADD SHIT IN LATER!” Why am I not blaming director J.A. Bayona, whose last two films The Impossible and A Monster Calls are little independent masterpieces? Because, the film screams studio rushing and involvement. Once that release date is scheduled, studios don’t like backing down. Did they even read the script to this? I have a feeling they didn’t. It felt like rush directing just to get to a deadline. Universal knows that dinosaurs sell no matter how shitty the film is, so they just greenlit it, told the director to hurry the fuck up with a shitty script, and he did the best he could. If he ever has a film with real time on his hands in the future and it is as bad as this, then I’ll start blaming him. What’s really funny is that Jurassic Park III is better than this, and they were writing the script as they were shooting that movie! Thank God Lucasfilm and Kathleen Kennedy read the script of Trevorrow’s Star Wars Episode IX and subsequently fired his ass. I shudder to think how he would’ve ended that trilogy.

Life did not find a way with this film. Life farted away. Constantly and annoyingly. Now, for my last little bit. If you want to go see this movie, I absolutely encourage you to do so. Don’t let anyone like me or a real profession movie critic get you down on a movie you are excited about. You might actually still enjoy it! I think of films too critically sometimes, and if you like this Jurassic World sequel, just chalk it up to that. I’m just simply stating my opinion on this. And my opinion is that I found multiple things to like in each of the Jurassic Park films, even the third one, and I think the first film is still a masterpiece and one of my favorite films of all time. I found almost no joy in this sequel. Kids will probably love and chomp this movie up. For me, I think this franchise has finally dried out. Unless they can bring us an epic third film that will prove me wrong and can end the series with a bang. But there is not much left you can do with dinosaurs. This movie is the archiological proof of that.

My ranking of the Jurassic Park movies:

1. Jurassic Park
2. Jurassic World
3. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
4. Jurassic Park III
5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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

TAG is just plain fun at the movies. Just like Blockers a couple of months ago, tt isn’t going to change the face of comedies of Hollywood, it isn’t going to win any awards, and it probably won’t spawn a sequel, but man is this film a lot of fun. And the weird thing is that critics haven’t been kind to this film. I don’t get it, were they just in a bad mood while watching it? Anyway, it is loosely based on a true story of friends that have been playing the same game of Tag for 30 years (they only play it every May each year). It is revealed that the best player of the game, the one who has never been tagged, is getting married in May, and then wants to retire from him perfect game, so the other players feel like they will finally be able to get him at his most vulnerable. There are rules, there are amendments to those rules, and there are no girls allowed. The movie has an excellent cast: you’ve got Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Jon Hamm, Hannibal Burgess, Isla Fisher, Annabelle Wallis, Thomas Middletich, Leslie Bibb, Rashida Jones, and doing his first comedy since his film debut in National Lampoon’s Senior Trip, Hawkeye himself, Jeremy Renner. You can tell the cast had a lot of fun making this.

This movie is very good-natured, with just the right amount of crude humor thrown in. It isn’t just simply a dick and fart joke movie with the tag storyline tacked on. It’s about relationships, togetherness, fun, and life, with an occasional dick and fart joke thrown in. The best parts are the inner monologues of the players as they try and finally tag Renner, who plays that character that has never been tagged. Renner’s inner dialogue is the best, in how he finds out when one of his friends is tailing him and about to tag him and what he needs to do to avoid it. All of the main players get pretty equal screen time and each has their moments to shine. Isla Fisher has her juiciest role since Wedding Crashers, playing the wife of Ed Helms, who is so competitive that she tries to help with the game even though she can’t tag or be tagged herself. And I love the fact that while Annabelle Wallis plays a Wall Street Journal reporter that is at first trying to interview Jon Hamm about his company but finds that this game of Tag is the more interesting story, doesn’t get a tacked on cliched love story. She is strictly there for the ride, and I appreciate the screenwriters feeling that she didn’t need more. If there was one complaint its that while Hannibal Burgess gets plenty of screentime, he doesn’t really get a full arc. It is hinted at what his arc could’ve been at first, but then it is quickly ignored and while he is in the movie and has plenty of comedic moments, they are just moments, and don’t really add to his characterization.

There isn’t much to say about this film other than go see it and enjoy the surprises the film gives you. I couldn’t go into the acting of everyone, but I feel that everyone was playing a fun version of themselves. While one aspect of the games ending I did find predictable and guessed it would happen before seeing the movie, there are certain aspects of the ending that I didn’t expect and it tugged on my heart strings a little bit. The film does go a little dark in two places (you’ll know where they are) but they are just toeing that line of going into full on dreary, the movie knew how to play those moments and it doesn’t come off as distasteful or over the top. Tag is fun, so take a couple of friend or family members and go. If it wasn’t for a couple of dick and fart jokes and several use of the F word, it would’ve made a decent PG-13 comedy too (which you don’t get much of nowadays). Or if you can’t see it in the theater, watch it with those close to you when it hits streaming or disc. I recommend it fully and is one of the nice surprises of the summer.

My first 90 days with VIPKID

So when I first started researching VIPKID I knew a few things based on searches.

A: The interview process was tedious

B:  Even after going through all of that you have no guarantee of getting booked.

So once I was hired I was still stressed out that I would never get bookings.  I wanted needed this to be my full time job and I need the valuable experience in order to get teaching jobs abroad.

So to be honest I was expecting to wait a month or two before I even got a class but even  with that mindset I still opened up every single time slot, you know just in case someone actually wanted to book me.

The first two days I didn’t have a single class… then suddenly I was booked two trial classes… I was excited I was going to FINALLY teach a class so I got up 6 am got myself super pumped up and excited to teach and both NO showed.

Side note: When I was booked those two classes I was frantically searching how to teach trial classes… I had no clue those even existed when I first started out.  I will share my tips about trial classes soon! 

Another side note trial class no shows you only get paid half and I remember thinking yeah… I am going to have to start putting applications in places because well you know… bills and money.

So I waited and then suddenly I was booked more trial classes and I taught my first class 4 days after opening up time slots.

Then my first Friday overnight came and I taught 15 trial classes.   In fact, I taught my favorite kid that day (he is still with me and I teach him 3 days a week) granted about half no showed but half showed up.   I was still wary at this point because even at this rate I was not going to make enough to support myself.

I had  pretty busy Saturday with trial classes that weekend as well.

Then I had 6 trial classes sign up and I received the sign up bonus and VIPKID threw me more trial classes the following week and I experienced my first booking frenzy.

What is the booking frenzy? Mondays at 10 am (Beijing Time) VIPKID opens up the schedule for parents to book teachers.   The highly sought after teachers will often report getting booked solid within minutes.

I had opened up 100% of my spots again and was shocked to see 8 people booked me for major course that week.    I was also booked quite a few trial classes.  2 of the major course kids were kids I had taught trial classes to the previous weekend.

Side note:   You will often hear teachers complain about trial classes.  NOT ME.   I take that class and I throw 800% in to it because if they like me they will remember me and book me.   In fact, I will say 85% of the regulars I have came from a trial I taught.   They are very important if you wanted a booked schedule. 

I had 51 classes booked that first full week with VIPKID.  That included opening up every day with short notice bookings and working Friday and Saturday overnight.

I am not going to give you a break down of my weekly booking numbers because that would be very boring but I will flash forward to this week which is the week that I hit 90 days with VIPKID.

I am booked for 81 classes this week & that is with me shutting down over 100 spots over the course of the week to catch up on some much needed sleep.    I am officially at 40 hours a week which is where I wanted to be.  This does not include any last minute bookings I might get.

So why did I get booked when other teachers who started around the same time as me are still waiting for their 20th class?

I think it is because of a couple of things…  granted VIPKID doesn’t have any published data and some teachers will tell you it is random and just takes time… but after talking to the teachers who received a lot of bookings right off this is what I have gathered.

  1.   I was certified for level 2 & 3 and trial classes.

Simply put lower level students require a LOT of energy and a lot of people do not have or want this certification.  A lot of the people who are complaining about lack of bookings carry a level 4 or higher certification and do not have any beginner level certifications.   You will eventually get bookings with a level 4 or higher, but I have found most students at this level have a regular teacher they love.   I have exactly 4 regular level 4 students and 0 regular level 5 students.   The regular 4’s found me when they needed another teacher for one class and  I managed to win them over BUT they do still go to other teachers from to time so they are not 100% committed to me.   I have yet to receive a level 5 booking that wasn’t a trial.     While I know a lot of people do not want to teach younger students I think it is crucial at least at first to suck it up and teach 7 year old children.   Once you get established with older students and classes a lot of people will drop their level 2 and 3 tag.   I love teaching younger kids and just received my Pre-VIP tag, I personally think younger students are SO much fun and learn much faster.  Plus they keep my schedule busy.

2.   I opened my schedule up 100% that first week AND second week and if I am going to be honest every week since starting at VIPKID.

When I was researching bookings one of the tips I read was to open up as many spots as you physically can that first week of working.   Even if it means you get less sleep.     I figured what the hell I wasn’t working so why not?     I know a lot of people work full time jobs and opening up 100% is impossible but simply put that is not the case for me.  If you can manage overnights on your couple days off I really think it will benefit you.

VIPKID is going to throw you trials when you first start (if you carry the certification) and if you have more spots available the more trials you can get.  Trial conversion is also a thing so give it 800% believe me if you act like you do not want to be there it will show and the parents will no re-book you.

I still leave my schedule open 100% for the booking frenzy.  Once that frenzy is over I look at my schedule and I may make adjustments to give me a random night off or if I have a trip coming up I won’t and take the last minute bookings especially since now it is Summer and every day is about to be peak time.

So what are my stats in my first 90 days?

608 classes taught

15,200 minutes of teaching 

329 Students Taught

To see my 90 day update screen shots check out my Facebook group!  I post everything I can on this group and it is dedicated to getting you hired!    Just simply request to join and I will add you.  I share anything and everything I can VIPKID.  I am 100% obsessed and I really think with the right support you will be obsessed too!

Want a person to help you through the crazy process that is VIPKID?   Use my referral link and I will be there to guide you!