Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: INSIDIOUS – THE LAST KEY (aka Insidious 4)

Writer/directors James Wan and Leigh Whannell are responsible for creating two key horror franchises in the past decade: the Saw series, and the Insidious series. While the Saw series I could honestly watch endlessly, where every new installment I graciously look forward to, the Insidious series unfortunately goes the opposite way, along the likes of the Paranormal Activity series, in that I kind of wish it were to stop now before it really really overstays its welcome. It’s not that INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY is horrible. No, it’s actually not bad for a January release and there are some general frightening moments, it more than likely that for me all the tension is taken out of the film, due to the fact that it is a prequel and I know certain characters will make it out alive so when they are in danger I really don’t give a shit.

What is this trend that we are getting into with horror movies? We have one or two original films, the sequel taking place after the first one, but then we get into prequel territory (sometimes right away with installment 2) because the filmmakers think the audience will give them several pats on the back if they completely connect to the original film in the end. While it was cool for Ouija 2, then shrug worthy with Annabelle 2, it has now become groan inducing. We get it, “ohhhhhhhhhh this shit is so cool it literally picks up where the first one starts!!!” Ummmm….to quote myself, “who fucking cares?” I don’t like prequels in general. Prequels take all the fun out of everything because there are literally no stakes; with the plot or the characters, etc.  We know what eventually happens to the characters. There is the one in ten film prequel journey that makes up for the lost tension, but it is very, very rare.

Ouija: Origin of Evil is one of those. Ouija 2 (but really a prequel) only worked because that it was so good it made the shitty first film look like Gigli. Annabelle kind of works because again, the first film was really shitty and the 2nd film is a minor improvement. Insidious The Last Key is not even close to an improvement over any of the previous films. In fact, after the first film, all the films deteriorate one after the other in terms of quality. Yes, we know that Lin Shaye is usually a good actress, and she was the highlight of the first movie and the only thing redeemable about #3, but in this one, to see her origin story, ehhhh…I didn’t really care. Her origin story is unfortunately relegated to the fact that her daddy is an abusive asshole and doesn’t believe in ghosts so he beats his daughter whenever she says she sees them or talks about her gift or whatever. Certainly writer Leigh Whannell could come up with something better than that.

The film does manage to come up with a couple of twists that I didn’t quite see coming although many of you probably could. And I did jump several times…although I am getting sick of that spirit villain that looks like the arch nemesis of the Powerpuff Girls. And another part of the movie I don’t like is that I just don’t care about The Further anymore. Although the Further came first, it is basically just a rich man’s Stranger Things’ Upside Down with rooms. And while the Upside Down in Stranger Things has established rules, it seems like anything can happen in The Further if it is a plot convenience to get the characters from point A to point B and then they think they are safe at point C. So to some up everything I’m saying in a nice little bow here, the movie is okay, not terrible, not great, I’m just sick of the prequel story nonsense, want a sequel and want more genuine scares.

I still do kind of like Lin Shaye’s sidekicks in the film, played by Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell himself, they are given more to do here, but a lot of their jokes fall completely flat, their charm being the only thing that keeps them memorable. If they make a 5th movie, if the charm goes away, so does my affection for the characters. And the probably will make a 5th movie, seeing that this new one, in one weekend, made back 3 to 5 times it’s budget already. The only way I would care about a 5th movie, is if it is a sequel to part 2. I’m tired of the prequels. I know what Lin Shaye’s character can do, I now know how she started the Spectral Sightings business with her two sidekicks and now I know her origin story as a child. That is enough. Lin Shaye’s story is over, let’s go further into the dark side of The Further and bring about true nightmares again. We should all go by the wise recent words of Kylo Ren, “Let the past die, kill it if you have to.” Time to kill the prequels to Insidious and movie on to true sequels. Otherwise I will not longer go into The Further with the rest of you.

Rank of Insidious Movies:

  1. Insidious
  2. Insidious Chapter 2
  3. Insidious Chapter 3
  4. Insidious The Last Key

Timeline wise how to watch them:

Insidious Chapter 3

Insidious The Last Key

Insidious

Insidious Chapter 2

(stupid right?)

 

Peruvian Chicken Soup

Last week I made Peruvian Chicken Soup and I wanted to share the recipe with you because it was yummy and it was a hit especially since the weather is quite cold in Texas right now (as well as the entire country).  I am going to try and share recipes from around the world with you all year!

This was a very simple recipe that I was able to make quite easily. If I was to make it again I would  just put it into a crockpot and let it slow cook all day so the flavors REALLY come together. Also I think this is more stew like than soup like, if you want it more soupy I highly recommend adding more broth or water.

Prep Time: 30-40 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes or longer if you want to slow cook it (which I am totally doing next time)

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts cubed
1 medium onion
salt and pepper to taste
1 can sweet peas
4 small serrano chilies deseeded and minced
1 can corn
1/2 a cup of chopped cilantro
2 cartons of Chicken broth (or more if you want a soupy texture…)
1 cup uncooked white rice
one bell pepper
4 Yukon gold potatoes (cubed)

Methods: 

If you are going to do the stove top method combine all ingredients into a very large quart pan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40-60 minutes.

If you are going to do the slow cooker method I would cook on low for approx. 6-8 hours.

Serve hot, freeze the rest if you are not going to eat leftover in the next couple of days.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE POST

I had so much fun doing my Worst List rhymes,

I’ll do it again, but instead ring this films’ chimes,

THE POST is incredible, there is no doubt about that,

Assume at this point, Spielberg can direct at the drop of a hat,

But little did I know it would be his best since Munich,

He has had some films where he was wearing his ‘meh’ tunic,

For this one, all his incredible talent shows up on the screen,

His signature moves, his crystal clear movie magic sheen,

This true story is set during the Nixon/Vietnam era in 1971,

The Pentagon Papers about to set the world to stun,

The New York Times technically printed about it first,

But the government tried to stop it, politics at its worst,

Enter The Washington Post, who ended up with the papers as well,

Head honchos Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee, needing a story to tell,

They defied all odds because the freedom of the press was at stake,

1st Amendment rights had to be protected, shake the world awake,

This film is so well made, the story spectacularly told,

Tom Hands and Meryl Streep brought in to add to the mold,

Their acting here is top notch, some of the best in their careers,

They deserve to be nominated, deserving of all the critic’s cheers,

The supporting actors were great here too, everyone on the ball,

Standout being Bob Odenkirk, who you know from Better Call Saul,

But the real stars here are Spielberg and the fantastic script,

The dialogue fast and edgy, all quip and nothing clipped,

Spielberg’s camera shots are a sight to behold,

When he did his famous ‘circle shot’, I was perfectly sold,

That this is easily one of the years’ ten best, a movie for our time,

Donald Trump will hate this film, and with that I’m more than fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seek Joy in what you do

I admit this post is not related to my usual topics, but it is one that is very personal to me today because in a way it is very related to what you do in life and the importance in being happy.

Yesterday, I was verbally abused by my boss over not having enough cups for a meeting.  I was told I was horrible and that I caused more work for her, and pretty much 100% implied I was an idiot.

Here is the best part… She didn’t tell me these things personally she was screaming it to my immediate boss where I not only heard but a girl from another department heard… it was so bad my immediate boss had to tell her to close the door.

So professional….

I don’t think she knows I heard but everyone in the office knows I heard and knows what happened so that makes it so much worse.

I was mortified and yes my pride was a little hurt but this morning I received a lot of perspective on not only this situation but life in general.

My job is not hard at all… I am still very new and I have been here for a few months & I really love everyone I work with… except her.   I even love the organization that I work for as it truly makes a difference.  I help those who are out there saving lives and changing lives.  Since I can’t be on the front lines changing lives this is a close second and truly the best option for me right now.

Anyway I digress,  I was upset, my pride was mangled and to be honest up until a couple weeks ago I thought everyone was happy with me.     I misjudged her and that mistake will not happen again, when you learn an animal is a snake do you keep playing with it? 

Another manager that knows about the entire situation and yes is 100% on my side about the lack of professionalism told me this:

“Don’t let anyone take your joy away as they are not the one that gave you joy to begin with” 

As someone that always has something to say I was speechless.  How many times in my life have I let someone take my joy away from me?  Every time I was talked down to, made fun off… treated poorly?

They do not deserve that, nobody deserves that power over you. 

Here is my takeaway,

I have also had a lot of things done to me and unfortunately I can’t control what people will say about me.  I can’t control a person who lacks professionalism to handle something in a professional manner.  I can’t control if a person makes fun of my shoes because they are not a high end designer or they make fun of my weight gain.  I can’t control if someone feels I ruined their day because I didn’t order enough cups for a meeting.   I can’t control how a person feels about me, I can’t change their perspective.

I can control how I handle the situation and I can control my emotions over it.  Yes it hurts like hell & yes it was very hard to hear, but you know what I am very new at this job and yesterday I was told that I was very helpful in a very frustrating situation, I was also told yesterday by a different person they were happy I was there because I have made things so much smoother for them.  Those are the things that matter, how I help vs what I do wrong.

I also realized that my goal is to teach in China and honestly this is a job to me and I don’t have much to loose.  This is her life and she has everything to loose so maybe not having enough cups was something incredibly detrimental to her.    Her life is this job my life is seeking joy and helping others and I will never let her upset me like that again.

So please takeaway this, if you are not living  your best life please try to seek joy and find your best life, seek what makes you happy and strive for it daily.  You may not always be successful and that is ok, we all have bad days and we can’t win them all, but we can control our days and focus on what makes us happy.  We can make sure those who seek to destroy our happiness, don’t.  Don’t let anyone have power over your happiness, seek joy and be happy in everything you do and do everything you can to live your best life, cause in the end that is what matters.

 

Just escape the cubicle already

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