Category Archives: Sucks ass

Jay says; seriously, don’t even bother.

My Little Pony: The Movie

I was once a My Little Pony playing girl but the truth is, My Little Pony left fans like me behind a long time ago. It was rebooted in 2010 and found a surprise demographic: not just the expected little girls, but grown men as well. What the heck? These fans, who call themselves by the shudder-worthy nickname “bronies”, were brought to my attention in the 2012 documentary, Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Ponies.  It’s fascinating to watch in a train wreck kind of way and if you have to choose between it and this animated film, definitely definitely go for the documentary.

Anyway, whatever these adult fans see in the series is beyond me. And though I’ve now racked up 11 nieces and nephews between the ages of 2 and 9, there is not a single My Little Pony fan between them. To whom does this series appeal?

The film opens up with The Go-Go’s We Got the Beat playing – or is it? In fact, the lyrics giphy (1)have been tampered with. What I thought might be an appeal to our inner 80s kid turns out to be just an extended pony play on words. The song plays as Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship (the horse community has a stunningly high proportion of royalty vs subjects), is preparing Equestria for a festival of friendship when the party’s invaded by a dark force, led by Tempest Shadow and The Storm King, who encase the upper pony echelons in rock and prepare to do some evil, conquery thing to the happy go lucky ponies.

So the “Mane 6” (Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity) go on a journey that I suppose the creators have sold as “exciting” and “unforgettable” but in actual fact, My Little Pony: The Movie has no discernible difference in quality between its theatrical release and whatever passes for acceptable on early-morning kids programming. It feels like an extended episode of something really shitty, with bland, cornball songs thrown in for good measure, spouting predictable lyrics about working together and how anyone can do anything if only the put their mind to it (actual song titles: We Got This, I’m the Friend You Need, Time to Be Awesome). The main characters are all voiced by the same no-names who do the morning cartoons but new characters developed strictly for the film are voiced by the likes of Emily Blunt, Zoe Saldana, Sia, Taye Diggs, Liev Schreiber, Uzo Aduba, and Michael Pena, which in no way makes the film even remotely more watchable, and in fact, Emily Blunt isn’t even doing her own natural accent, so she’s easy to miss.

The ponies pay lip service to the sharing and caring type shenanigans you’d expect but when the chips are down, some pretty entitled bullshit really drives the plot. The good news is, you’re only likely to be subjected to this if you’re a parent, and there’s truly no other reason to watch it except under duress. And any road trip longer than an hour with kids under 10 counts as duress. The hard part is, I know that in lots of houses with young kids, certain movies get stuck on repeat. At my sister’s house, it’s currently “Woody” (Toy Story) and “Choo Choo” (The Polar Express), which aren’t too bad all things considered. But even Oscar winning fare gets tedious after its eleventh straight viewing. If you’re currently living through a similar My Little Pony scenario, may Pegasus help you.

 

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The Little Hours

What if nuns and priests were foul-mouthed and raunchy? Writer-director Jeff Baena apparently has these kinds of thoughts all the time, and he decided to write a whole movie about it, a 30-second punch line stretched to an agonizing 90 minutes.

Three young nuns are having an unhappy time in a convent in the middle ages. the-little-hours-still-1_31377951785_o-1200x520Alessandra (Alison Brie) was placed there by her father (Paul Reiser), because it’s cheaper than paying her dowry, but no amount of needle point can replace the touch of a man. Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza) is secretly a witch who thinks a nunnery is a great place to recruit vulnerable young women into the coven she shares with her her lover (Jemima Kirk). Ginevra (Kate Micucci) is generally pretty oblivious but when a sexy deaf-mute (Dave Franco) is brought into the enclave by Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly), it shakes things up quite a bit.

Despite a pretty talented cast, I think my review could have ended after the first paragraph. There’s just not enough here for a whole movie. I didn’t laugh once. You have to do more than cuss anachronistically to earn my praise. It seems to think that the genre is joke enough in itself but the farce has no target and the film has no point.

Santas For Everyone!

My Santa

Santa’s son Chris is on the prowl. He needs a wife, for some reason, and he’s searched thirstily in “Chicago, New York AND  Miami” – which seems like an unusually wide net, though I suppose if a humble little Asshole such as myself could have visited all of those gleaming metropolises, I guess Santa must have at least as much access. Anyway, the point is he’s hard up, until he meets plucky single Mom Jen, who’s bitter about Christmas ever since her ex chose that exactly holiday on which to leave her. Anyway, the more Chris falls for Jen, the more magical Santa powers he inherits from his Dad – like uncooking turkeys, and upcooking cookies, that kind of thing, super logical stuff.

Anyway, Jen’s heart remains unconvinced until her dead mother sends a sign, and then guess what: she becomes Mrs. Claus? Yeah, I don’t know: but fun fact – Chris is played by Matthew Lawrence…you know, Blossom’s Joey Lawrence’s younger brother? Star power!

 

Dear Santa

As you know, every good Christmas movie needs one of two things: a single mom, or a dead mom. In this case, there’s a dead mom, with the mom slot open and waiting to be filled – that’s the one and only thing Olivia is asking from Santa this year. And so it turns mail fraud into a fortunate situation! It just so happens that on the very day Crystal is cut off from mommy and daddy’s vast fortune, she happens to find Olivia’s note to Santa on the sidewalk (thanks a lot, negligent mail carrier!), and since the only way she can think of to fund her lifestyle is to marry, she decides to pursue the widower for all he’s worth.

The hilarious thing is that handsome widower Derek “owns a soup kitchen” cause, you know, that’s a thing that people own. Just the kind of small business that would keep a family comfortable. So spoiled Crystal sets about impressing Derek by donating her best fedoras and Walmart-brand spices to the homeless – and then competing shamelessly and degradingly against another woman she believes to be a love interest of Derek’s. It’s a humiliating movie for women and humankind, but a real boon to the makeup and costuming departments, who outfitted all the homeless extras with real nasty teeth. But fun fact: it’s directed by your teenage crush, Jason Priestly.

Small Town Santa

Dean Cain is  small town sheriff Rick (real heroes don’t wear capes – wink) and a real Christmas grump. When Santa “breaks” into his house on Christmas Eve, he pulls a gun on him before throwing him in the clink! But Santa’s got his number: Rick wasn’t a good husband and is maybe even deluding himself about being a good dad. All his daughter wants this Christmas is for him to be around but he’s too busy feeling sorry for himself to come through for her.

Can “Doctor” Santa successfully shrink sheriff Rick from inside his cell? And can he escape it in time to deliver presents to all the good boys and girls the world over? And why is he wearing acid-washed jeans? It’s nail-biting thrills, thrills, thrills. AND WILL ANYONE FIND JESUS? (He’s missing.) A not-so-fun fact I’m totally stretching for: this movie co-stars Christine Lakin, one time star of Step By Step, a forgettable part of ABC’s TGIF Friday night lineup.

 

So what we’ve learned today: Christmas movies must have a single mother or a dead mother, and both if they’re serious about it. Some sort of eviction\foreclosure scenario is also preferred, as is some sort of 90s teen sensation you forgot existed. But if your standards are low, low, low, you just might find yourself entertained for the holidays. But probably not.

 

The Worst Thing on Netflix

There’s good stuff on Netflix, and plenty of bad, and then there’s the stuff that only Sean could find during his endless scrolling – find, and watch. What he subjects me to on Netflix could probably be defined as spousal abuse, and there’s no better evidence than Pup Star: Better 2gether.

Now, as the rest of you can probably guess from the “clever” use of the number 2 in the word together, this is a sequel. Have we seen the first? No we have not. Did we even know that a first one exited? No we did not. Did we start with the first? Of course we did not: we jumped right in to the complex world building of the Pup Star universe and took our chances.

Tiny is an adorable little Yorkie who apparently in a previous film, won the hearts of MV5BZTk4MjMwNWEtMmVhNy00YTdmLWIzNmYtNWE5MDU5OGNmYWU5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDQ0MDI4OA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_America and the Pup Star singing competition. This film she’ll have to defend her championship BUT some gangsters are getting in her way! They dognap Tiny and replace her with a street-smart rapping Yorkie who looks identical, called Scrappy. Scrappy says “yo yo yo” a lot, usually in front of “rap lyrics” that sounds like they’re being read directly from a Hallmark card. But anyway, Scrappy’s a ringer who will pose as Tiny only to throw the competition at the last minute. Meanwhile, Scrappy gets pretty comfy cozy in Tiny’s lavish lifestyle, and Tiny makes some new friends hanging with Scrappy’s rap crew.

This is NOT a cartoon, folks. They’re real dogs with moving lips superimposed onto their faces. They speak English and are understood by humans. There are dog characters with racially-based personalities and names like Guido and Rasta. There’s a disconcerting amount of human-based slapstick. And there’s a very confusing ‘cameo’ by Dave Coulier. I found I could only take the nonsense for a max of about 10 minutes at a time so we actually watched this movie over a series of 7-10 nights, over a period of maybe 2 months.

Why though? Especially when we have our very own cute and cuddly Yorkie at home.

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That’s Fudgie. He was a unicorn for Halloween. He’s an amazing dancer.

 

 

What’s the worst thing you’ve been duped into watching?

A Christmas Prince

This movie is so fabulously, unashamedly horrible I want to go into an eggnog-induced coma after slitting the throats of all involved with reindeer antlers and mistletoe whittled down to shivs.

It is EVERYTHING you know it will be, every damn cliche in exactly the right order. An American editor-wannabe-journalist for an unimportant magazine is for some 7ab3c50a33e196331a602d78c376a5996e35266breason sent to a fake European country for her first big assignment to cover some royal crisis. Last year on Christmas the king died, leaving his throne vacant. It should rightfully go to his son, who never wanted it. He’s spent the last year being a shitty playboy millennial across the globe and but he’s only got until Christmas this year to claim the throne or risk it going to his cousin, who actually wants the job and only seems to be marginally less a dick than Prince Richard.

Meanwhile, Amber’s big, serious journalist tactic is to lie her way into the palace and pose as a tutor to Richard bratty little disabled sister and then surreptitiously take pictures of the royal family with her iphone while wearing Converse to prove she’s quirky AND relatable AND out of her depth! And she’s accident prone, the plight of all beautiful heroines because it’s the only flaw that doesn’t cause ugliness. Of course she falls for the Prince because not only is he blandly white boy handsome, he’s also kind to orphans! But her lies are quickly snowballing and she’s also not very good at her job so her cover could be blown any day now – especially with a conniving Lady Something or Other trying to make sure she’s the next crown Princess, no matter which dude becomes King.

I know you’re wondering this so let me get it out of the way: YES, there’s a makeover. Yes there are horses. Yes there’s a cookie baking montage.

So get your ass in gear, A Christmas Prince isn’t going to watch itself! Then come back here and use the comments section to roast, roast, roast.

Daddy’s Home 2: A Bad Dads Christmas

I made up the subtitle to this film, but the sentiment stands. Just like A Bad Moms Christmas, Daddy’s Home 2 takes a middling comedy and churns out a sequel that nobody wanted or deserved, and sets it during the holidays just to ruin one more thing while they’re at it.

MV5BZmZiNjE1YWMtNzZhNy00OTdkLTk4MWQtNTUxM2U5OWJhNjdhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjA4MDAzNTg@._V1_Brad and Dusty are in a pretty healthy place since we left them in the last movie. They’re successfully co-parenting their collective brood. But when the kids complain that two Christmases tend to halve the joy rather than double it, they plan a “together” Christmas that will likely be the death of them all – especially because their dads get in on it too.

Will Ferrell’s dad is played by John Lithgow and Mark Wahlberg’s dad is played by Mel Gibson and together they got one single laugh out of me, and spoiler alert: it’s the same exact laugh from the trailer. There’s just the one in the whole damn movie. The fact that the other audience members laughed at all made me wonder if they weren’t all ringers, plants Paramount to trick me into thinking this was a slightly better film than the piece of complete crap it is. I’d rather get coal in my stocking than this movie on Blu-Ray.

 

TIFF: Downrange

A group of 20-something kids are driving through some deserted part of California when they experience a tire blowout. They’re carpool strangers but the sniper\serial killer hiding in a tree doesn’t care about that. He’s going to ruthlessly pick them off one by one whether they’re going to die in the arms of strangers or not.

Welcome to Midnight Madness at TIFF, folks! Director Ryuhei Kitamura is back with another offering and he promises that this one is buckets and buckets of a bloody good time.

Anyway, what more can I even say? 6 actors, an untold number of bullets, and a sadistic MV5BYzgwM2Q2YzAtM2M0ZS00MGNiLTkzNWYtNDg3ZmI5MTJhODBlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjEwNTM2Mzc@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,801_AL_director who loves to really probe each and every gaping wound. It’s not enough to kill them, we must make them suffer, and the audience along with them. Every hole blown into every body must be explored. Former body parts hang like meat curtains. Quick deaths are verboten. Noisy, sucking, death rattles are preferred. And even dead bodies are not safe: there are still plenty of ways to disrespect them, hard.

That said, I felt like the director oversold the insanity of this piece. It takes a while for the killing to start but once it does, there’s absolutely no tension in this film. The onslaught is relentless but it’s so consistent you’ve really got nothing to worry about. It’s hard to be properly scared of something so unequivocal. There is, however, plenty of syrupy prop blood to soothe your black soul, and all the bugs to go along with it. Plus, a score actually derived from the rhythmic firing of a rifle. If you don’t like gore, you won’t like this film. If you don’t like bad acting, you won’t like this film. But if you’re the kind of person who just wants to pass the day watching strangers get brutally slaughtered, Downrange is an obvious choice.

 

The Outcasts

Jodi and Mindy are a couple of … nerds? geeks? kids who just don’t fit in? But they do have each other, which is not quite enough when their high school’s resident Mean Girl pulls a nasty prank. They vow to get even, and their brilliant plan involves uniting all the school’s Great Unwashed – every band geek, gamer, stoner, and whoever else resides on the outskirts of the Popular Clique. The popular gang only exists because the rest of the outsiders are fractured. Put them all on the same team and suddenly they’re the dominant group. Whoa, reversal! Will high school ever be the same again?

5x3tw-Y6XMQG2KXH5-Full-Image_GalleryBackground-en-US-1490285390734._RI_SX940_Jodi (Victoria Justice) and Mindy (Eden Sher) are our bike-helmet wearing heroes, but that doesn’t mean we know much about them. Even in a movie that champions the outcasts, we still relegate them to the thing that labels them: Mindy is the supersmart, MIT-bound nerd, Jodi is the aimless dreamer, there’s the guy who wears a cape to school, the guy who exists just to dance, the girl who’s obsessed with Paris, the girl scout…lots and lots of one dimensions.

The Outcasts can best be described as “harmless” – it adds nothing to the high school movie genre and is light on its message of inclusivity. The only mild amusement I derived from the movie was in reading the slogans on everyone’s tshirts. I was forgetting it before it was even done, and that’s probably for the best.

The Dinner

As a book, I very much enjoyed The Dinner. It’s fascinating and controversial but hard to talk about without giving everything away. Same goes for the movie I suppose, but the most important takeaway is that the movie is very, very bad. Read the book. It’s a gut punch page-turner. The movie fucks it all up.

First, the book is Dutch. The movie of course makes the characters and setting American (even though half its stars are Brits). It’s about two couples who meet at a very fancy schmancy restaurant to discuss their problematic children. Paul (Steve Coogan) is a history teacher with some mental health problems; his wife Claire (Laura Linney) is a cancer survivor. It’s hard to say who is more protective of whom. Paul’s older brother hero_Dinner-2017Stan (Richard Gere) is a politician poised to become an even more powerful politician, as evidenced by the aides who can’t quite allow him a moment of peace or privacy during the dinner (not that he objects); his wife, aka, his second wife, Katelyn (Rebecca Hall) raises his kids so that he can govern unencumbered and expects to be rewarded. Their sons have recently been involved in a crime that is making its way around Youtube. They are thus far unidentified but now the parents must decide how to handle things should they found out – or should they remain undiscovered.

The dinner is filled with tension, not just because of what their boys have done, but because of the strained family dynamic between Paul and Stan. And because Paul is uncomfortable with all the pomp and circumstance surrounding the haute cuisine. The dinner is constantly interrupted by flashbacks, many of which actually detract from the story. The book is really about morality and the thin veneers we hide behind in “civilized” society, and the tension ratchets up as more and more secrets explode like bombs dropped among the gold-rimmed china. The movie doesn’t manage to retain much of what makes the novel great. The characters are repugnant because they’re stripped bare of any pretense. The worst has happened, their primal, parental instincts have been activated – anything can happen.

But the movie just drops the ball. It’s a complete waste of time that doesn’t even know what to do with itself. It has maybe the worst, most abrupt ending that I’ve ever encountered, and it made me want to interrupt their dinner by swinging an angry cat around by its tail. Fuck y’all.

West of Sunshine

A deadbeat dad picks up his son to spend the day. Scratch that: the deadbeat dad forgets to pick up the son, gets an irate phone call from his ex, and son reluctantly goes with him with dad finally shows up.

Of course, this day which must now be spent with his young son is also the day on which Jim has promised to pay back a loan shark. Jim has problems with dogs and casinos and gambling all his family’s money away. He’s not a great guy. And now he’s got to watch 35654-west_of_sunshine_1____photo_credit_thom_neal-h_2017Alex while also evading violent criminals. Instead of getting his son to safety, he drags him into all kinds of terrible scenarios which they often escape by the skin of their teeth. The thing about crazy loan sharks is that they don’t really allow for excuses. They don’t make special allowances for a child. It’s pretty clear that Jim doesn’t really rearrange his life for his son either. So that’s awesome.

Things don’t go well, and Jim gets increasingly desperate. Of course, I believed that things still went better than he had any right for them to. I wanted to see this guy crushed. The script seems to believe Jim is undergoing some sort of growth but I was just so steaming mad at the risk he took with his kid, the constant harm he dangled him in front of, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t forgive the guy.

Little Alex seems to lean toward forgiveness, and that made me mad too. Mad on behalf of all the single mothers who work so hard to provide a loving and stable life for their kids only to have their deadbeat exes waltz in when it’s convenient for them and fuck shit up. Not all dads are crap, but far too many are. They act like they can also divorce their kids. And the kids will still want to adore their fathers, because he’s dad, and isn’t he awesome? Meanwhile mom gets all the flack. Because life isn’t fair. This movie doesn’t bother to really point any of this out, but it’s my honest reaction to it and I never warmed to the film, or to the dad who never redeemed himself in my eyes. I am slightly endeared by the fact that Jim is played by Damian Hill and Alex is played by his real-life stepson, Ty Perham, a really cute kid with apparently no prior acting experience. I hope they had more fun making the film than I did watching it.