Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island: Savior of the Franchise – Netflix Review / 13 Reviews of Halloween

Let’s just admit that this is the best Scooby-Doo movie.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-ish?)

Mystery, Inc. has broken up. Daphne (Mary Kay Bergman) has a hit TV show with her cameraman Fred (Frank Welker). To celebrate Daphne’s birthday and her new supernatural investigation series, Fred invites Velma (B.J. Ward), Shaggy (Billy West), and Scooby-Doo (Scott Innes) to reunite for one last ride. Unfortunately, despite looking for ghosts, all the gang finds are people in suits trying to steal things. The gang eventually winds up in New Orleans where a woman named Lena (Tara Strong) invites them to see Moonscar Island where her employer, Simone Lenoir (Adrienne Barbeau) has a real haunted house. The gang starts to encounter some strange happenings, but is it ghosts or a hoax? Hint: It ain’t a hoax.

The unmasking goes a bit awry.

END SUMMARY

Between 1969 and the present, there have only been 9 years in which no new Scooby-Doo media was released. Six of those years were between the end of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo in 1991 and this movie. The franchise was potentially on its last legs, aside from Cartoon Network’s occasional reruns and its annual 25 hours of Scooby-Doo marathon. But, it did well enough on repeats for the network to give this film a shot. It was assembled by people who had mostly worked on more serious shows than the traditional Scooby-Doo, like Swat Kats: The Radical Squadron. In fact, this film was basically a recycling of an unused script from that show. Because of that, this movie went in a new direction for the franchise: Legitimately kind of dark.

Not just in the art style, but yes, in the art style as well.

It’s not just that the zombies are real in this movie, it’s that by this point in their careers, Fred, Daphne, and Velma no longer even consider the possibility that magic could be real. While there had been some real ghosts or monsters in some previous Scooby-Doo works, most of them involved Scrappy-Doo instead of the human gang. When Velma and Fred encounter things that seem supernatural, they immediately move to debunking it, comparing it to other times that they’ve dealt with manufactured mysticism. The only ones who still appear to be humoring the idea of real ghosts are Shaggy and Scooby, which makes it better that they’re the first ones to encounter the zombies, because no one believes them. Despite the fact that the zombies are real, though, there is still a legitimate mystery as to why they’re attacking and how they came to be. 

It helps that this is a version of the gang that is really good at solving regular mysteries.

The soundtrack to this film is great. The theme song was performed by Third Eye Blind and there were two original songs in the film composed by the band Skycycle, “The Ghost is Here” and “It’s Terror Time Again.” I sometimes still find myself humming the latter whenever I see any kind of horror montage. That’s actually part of why I picked this film, even though the request was actually for “The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo.” The other part was that the only movie of 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo came out recently, and it was not great.

Since this film came out, Scooby-Doo has had five more series and thirty-eight more films, including Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, one of my favorite series ever, and it would not have been possible without this film reminding people that the franchise still had untapped potential. If you ever had any love for Scooby-Doo, give this film a try. If you have never seen Scooby-Doo, this is the best pond to dip your toe in. 

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Idle Hands: Not Quite the Devil’s Work – Amazon Review / 13 Reviews of Halloween

Stoner gets dealt the worst hand ever.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Anton Tobias (Devon Sawa) is one of the laziest human beings on Earth. He lives with his parents, doesn’t have a job, and just generally smokes pot all day. Shortly before Halloween, his hometown gets attacked by a serial killer that claims Anton’s parents (Fred Willard and Connie Ray). Anton, however, is so oblivious that he misses the bloodstains around the house for several days. After trying to get weed from his friends Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson) and failing, Anton finally finds his parents’ bodies. Mick and Pnub come over and discover that the killer is, in fact, Anton, or, more accurately, Anton’s right hand, which is now possessed by a demon without his knowledge. The hand (Christopher Hart) then kills Mick and Pnub and tries to kill Anton’s cat, making him run into his neighbor and crush, Molly (Jessica Alba). The two end up making out as Anton covers for his murderous hand. Mick and Pnub come back to life as zombies and the three have to stop the hand from sending Molly to Hell, with a little help from a druidic priestess named Debi (Vivica A. Fox) and Anton’s neighbor Randy (Jack Noseworthy). 

Fun fact: Mick and Pnub are more successful as zombies.

END SUMMARY

I haven’t seen this movie in years, but my first thought on re-watching it was “man, Devon Sawa does some really good physical acting.” Throughout much of the movie, the humor is that he can’t control one of his hands and that he’s constantly fighting against it and he pulls it off pretty well. I know that later in the film, when the hand is cut off, it is played by Christopher Hart, the same actor who played Thing in Addams Family Values, but my understanding is that while it’s attached, all of the strange, angry, and inhuman motions were by Sawa. It’s not quite the level of comedic ability of Steve Martin in All of Me (which everyone should watch) or the amazing robotic movements of Logan Marshall-Green in Upgrade or even the horror/comedy of Evil Dead II, he still does a great job of playing a guy who is literally fighting his own body. I think the fact that I could even try to compare it to all of those great performances speaks highly of his acting. 

Honestly, it’s impressive how much you don’t doubt it.

Anton’s character is fairly different than most horror protagonists. His possession is seemingly a punishment for his sloth and, in order for that to make sense, he has to be far lazier and stupider than almost any normal slacker. He’s so oblivious and focused on getting high that he misses the obvious signs that his parents have been murdered. This level of ridiculous exaggeration should make him unlikeable, but Sawa plays him so naturally hapless that you can still end up rooting for him. 

He’s not a great guy, but he’s not a murderous demon.

Seth Green, Elden Hanson, and Jessica Alba are all great supporting roles. Green and Hanson are both the perfect “slightly more productive” stoners to act as comic relief. Their easy adjustment to being involved in the supernatural, particularly after being resurrected, is particularly humorous, and they’re both naturally great at delivering absurd lines in an amusing way. Alba’s main role is to somehow justify being attracted to Anton despite the fact that he literally never removes any article of clothing he’s wearing in the film over several days. Somehow, she almost makes it seem viable by seeming like she’s kind of an odd duck herself. It’s still insane that any woman, let alone this one, would want to sleep with Anton, but at least her performance lets you move past it.

Fun fact: He hasn’t bathed in 5 days and she wants him bad.

The movie itself suffers from a lot of issues with pacing and never quite nailing the tone. The opening to the film plays out like a legitimate horror movie, but the rest of the film is a farce. Debi and Randy only show up for a few minutes and, with anyone less than Vivica A. Fox, would be completely forgettable. It also relies more on the fact that it has a naturally ridiculous premise to keep it interesting than quality writing. Still, I find the film pretty funny for what it is and I think the hand serves as a pretty decent monster throughout. I can say that it deserves more than the 15% it has on Rotten Tomatoes.

She is a foxy lady. I won’t apologize.

Overall, I’m not going to say that you need to see it, but it’s worthwhile if you’re a horror/comedy fan.

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Ginger Snaps: The Only Metaphor for Womanhood Men Might Understand – Shudder Review / 13 Reviews of Halloween

A teenage girl starts to find her body going through changes.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Brigette and Ginger Fitzgerald (Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle) are sisters who have long had an obsession with death. They even have a death pact which is supposed to be enacted when the two turn 16 if they haven’t left the suburbs. Despite the fact that Ginger, the older sister, is almost 16, she has yet to hit puberty. One night, while on their way to take vengeance on a bully, Ginger gets her first period. The blood attracts a creature which has been behind a number of dog killings in the area and Ginger is attacked and bitten before the creature gets run over by a car belonging to a local drug dealer named Sam (Kris Lemche). 

Oh, hey, teenage girls who look… normal.

Soon, Ginger starts to undergo a number of strange transformations. She starts to become aggressive, her wounds heal fast, grows hair in strange places, has heavy menstrual flow, and finds a tail coming out of her backside. Naturally, she’s told that it’s all part of becoming a woman. However, Brigette realizes that there is truly something wrong with her sister. She and Sam have to try and stop Ginger from really letting her wild side run free… or eat anyone. 

END SUMMARY

If you’ve read this blog before, you’re aware that my favorite horror films are ones which use the medium as a way to address actual issues. This film is at the pinnacle of horror metaphor films, being a satire about how society treats women, particularly women’s health. The film can somewhat be represented by the scene in which Ginger and Brigitte explain Ginger’s symptoms, but all of them are dismissed by the school nurse as being parts of “becoming a woman.” In fact, any time that a person who doesn’t believe in the supernatural is told of Ginger’s condition, they assume it’s just part of puberty.

Ginger’s bloodlust from her lycanthropy is mirrored by her awakening sexuality. Carnivorous and carnal are constantly intertwined. As she grows more lupine at times, she also grows more confident and feminine at others. It’s made even more blatant when it’s revealed that the two ways to infect people with the disease are through biting or through sex. As her body and behavior change without her having any conscious desire for it, she becomes both more interesting and more repulsive. I swear that werewolves were created just for this metaphor. 

Ginger OH SNAP

John Fawcett, the director and co-writer, wanted to make a female-led horror movie and approached screenwriter Karen Walton about it. She essentially only agreed on the condition that this film treated women in the opposite way that the genre usually does. I think it would be hard for someone to say that the movie didn’t live up to that promise. Ginger and Brigette are both well-crafted characters who have way more personality than almost any main characters get in a horror movie, let alone female characters. They’re oddballs, but they’re believable. Their relationship is the core of the movie because they’re extremely close and it shows even when their friendship becomes progressively more strained. Focusing more on this than much of the traditional horror is one of the strong points of the movie. It depends heavily on the performances of the leads and they nail it so hard they got two sequels (well, a sequel and prequel).

They seem to have such a strong bond.

Overall, this is just a fabulous movie and I really recommend it to everyone. It’s not as scary as many horror films, but it will change your perspective more.

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Futurama Fridays – S7E3 “Decision 3012”

People somehow believe a crazy theory about a President’s birthplace.

SUMMARY

Nixon’s head (Billy West) runs for a third term as President, because as a person without a body, he is exempted from the Twenty-Second Amendment, somehow. Leela (Katey Sagal) is the only member of Planet Express who doesn’t support Nixon (because Nixon gives out free beer). Leela decides to try and help candidate Senator Chris Travers (Phil LaMarr). Travers has a lot of progressive and common-sense views, which naturally make him extremely unpopular. Leela helps make him more of an everyman and eventually he wins the primary, becoming Nixon’s opponent. Everyone at Planet Express backs him, except for Bender (John DiMaggio), who conspires with Nixon to ruin Travers. Bender tries to find some dirt on Travers, but the best he can do is say that Travers’ middle name “Zaxxar” makes him sound like an alien. Based on this, Bender and Nixon start a rumor that Travers was not born on Earth and that he refuses to produce his “Earth certificate.” 

He sure looks like he was born on Earth.

Leela insists that Travers produce his Birth Certificate, but Travers says it’s just a way to distract from the issues. She goes to find his birth certificate anyway, only to learn that Travers has not been born yet. He is, in fact, from the future, having been sent back to prevent a robot uprising (led by Bender) that will be caused by Nixon’s mismanagement. Leela realizes that she can show Travers’ birth on television as a promotion to prove that he was born on Earth. It works and Travers wins the election. Leela asks Bender why he’s so calm, only for Travers to disappear and Nixon to now be the winner. It turns out that Travers can’t win the election, due to the paradox: If Nixon doesn’t win, Travers won’t be sent back. Only Bender realized this up front. Leela tries to say they almost made a difference, but in the new reality they never even left Planet Express. Nixon gloats, saying that he always wins.

END SUMMARY

This episode really doesn’t age well. It’s based on a very specific thing from the news that even people in 2020 have started to completely forget about, that there was a movement claiming that Barack Obama, the President of the United States, was not born in the US. Much like this episode indicates, at least some of the theory was derived from the fact that Barack Obama’s middle name, Hussein, sounded “foreign.” The most recent time it came up was when Barack Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, had to answer for the huge amount of time and money he spent promoting the completely unsubstantiated and easily disproved theory. It hasn’t really come up since and likely will be consigned to the dustbin of history in a few years. 

Obama didn’t provide a live video of his birth, however.

The ending of this episode, while it could easily have worked, actually doesn’t make any sense. Travers is shown to use the Time Code from Bender’s Big Score which was explicitly a paradox-correcting time code, but not one that prevented alterations of history. In fact, that film is all about Bender repeatedly messing with the past. As such, Travers should have been elected President, but then should also have been killed off because there were two of him in the new timeline. I do admit that it was funny to have Bender, the one who traveled through time the most of the entire cast, be the one who not only realized what would happen, but to be counting on it.

Well, Bender sure has a nice Death Army. And hat.

Overall, it’s not a bad episode if you remember what it’s mocking, but it doesn’t hold up as well otherwise. Perhaps the only thing that holds up well is that a candidate making rational points will basically be ignored by the public. I’m gonna go cry now.

FAVORITE JOKE

Honestly, there aren’t many I like in this episode. The funniest thing for me is Travers’ nominating convention which has a bunch of the states and countries of the Future. Some of the better ones include: Old Zealand (which is a big island in Denmark in 2020), Panem (the Hunger Games’s version of America), R’lyeh (where Cthulhu lies dreaming), Waterworld (like the movie), and Tri-State Area (which the mad scientist on Phineas and Ferb keeps trying to conquer). 

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 104: A Farewell to Arms

NEXT – Episode 106: The Thief of Baghead

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Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts (Season 3): The End Comes Now – Netflix Review

This show lasted only one year, but it deserves a lasting legacy.

SUMMARY (Spoilers for Seasons 1 and 2)

It’s the future and humanity kind of wrecked Earth, making giant mutant animals into the dominant life form of the surface world. Kipo Oak (Karen Fukuhara) lived in an underground community, called a burrow, until she was thrown from it when it was destroyed by a giant animal. She soon met other surface survivors: The feral Wolf (Sydney Mikayla), the mutant pig Mandu (Dee Bradley Baker), the con man Benson (Coy Stewart), and Benson’s immortal bug friend Dave (Deon Cole). Together, the four manage to find the remainder of Kipo’s burrow and, eventually, rescue them and Kipo’s father (Sterling K. Brown) from the evil mutant mandrill Scarlemagne (Dan Stevens), only for it to be revealed that Scarlemagne was not the only threat. Now, the humans and the mutants must unite to deal with Dr. Emilia (Amy Landecker), a mad scientist who wants to destroy all mutantkind.

Also, Kipo can turn into a megajaguar now. It’s awesome.

END SUMMARY

This has been one of the best shows of the year and I am legitimately sad that it apparently only gets three seasons. However, I also have to acknowledge that it had a fantastic and emotionally powerful ending. It may have been but a brief candle, but it burned brighter than many series that lasted twice as long. Despite that, I don’t think Kipo ever got the same amount of praise as other shows like She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, a series that I genuinely thought didn’t have the same level of quality storytelling as this one (although it also had a hell of a final season). 

The show manages to do a lot with a giant four-armed monkey.

I don’t think I really acknowledged this before, but this is one of the few shows that I’ve seen in a while where there are no white people in the main cast (aside from Dee Bradley Baker who makes pig noises). The show itself never really makes any acknowledgement of race at all, which meant that what normally would be a major accomplishment in representation mostly went unnoticed. It can’t even be attributed to the source material, since Benson, in the webcomic, was a large bearded white guy, as opposed to the thin gay black man that he became in the show. I just want to give the show its due.

It also has one of the best subversions of the “awkward crush” storyline.

The key to this series was the worldbuilding and the sincerity. It takes place in a world that, while it is a dystopia with things like “death ivy” and ruined buildings everywhere, also is filled with creative creatures that have amazingly vivid designs. There are Megabunnies, sentient colonies of tardigrades that can create psychic projections, and even Bees that communicate by dubstep instead of normal dancing. They throw in some giant corgis just for the extra cuteness, because why not? Then, rather than having a bunch of overly dramatic protagonists, we get a bunch of kids who are just trying to make the best of things. Moreover, the show’s protagonists tend to survive better because Kipo is willing to make friends with mutants and work with everyone, rather than Benson’s previous method of stealing or Wolf’s “attack first” mentality. It presents us with two people who are surviving (three if you count Dave), but by the end of the series it shows us that cooperation and harmony lead to everyone thriving. The show genuinely wants to point out that we are stronger together, but it does it through solid narrative, rather than trying to inject morals. The last season is realistic about how hard it is to get people to work together, but it is unambiguous about the merits.

Friendship Alliances are the strongest alliances.

Overall, this show was a great addition to all-ages animation and I will miss it. Goodbye, Kipo, you did great.

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The Craft: Witches Be Crazy – Amazon Review / 13 Reviews of Halloween

Welcome to the 90s, when Neve Campbell was everywhere.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

High Schooler Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) moves to Los Angeles with her father (Cliff DeYoung) and stepmother. She quickly draws the eye of the three local “witch girls:” Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Bonnie (Neve Campbell), and Rochelle (Rachel True). The three need a fourth to complete their circle and discover that Sarah has natural abilities. They ask her to join them and explain their deity, a primordial force called “Manon.” At the same time, Sarah goes out with Chris (Skeet Ulrich), a local boy, who immediately proves himself to be a crapbag. The four witches each cast a spell to help them get what they want, but they soon find out that magic can have a lot more consequences than they expect. Deadly consequences.

She makes Cyclops’ glasses look good.

END SUMMARY 

So, I was given the choice by request between either this or Practical Magic. I chose this and I regret nothing. I first saw this movie when I was 12 and thus started my crush on Neve Campbell and, thanks to her and Fairuza Balk’s Nancy, goth chicks in general. It was fairly formative, is what I’m saying. Despite that, I do have to acknowledge that this isn’t the greatest movie, but it’s probably top of my list of “young girl gets supernatural powers and hijinks/mayhem ensue,” slightly edging out Blake Lively’s sister Robyn in the 1985 movie Teen Witch. This movie is significantly darker than that one, of course, but I still consider them in similar veins.

There’s more comradery here… at first.

Actually, it’s the darker elements that make me remember this movie. First, we see the darkness that drives each of our main four girls. Sarah feels guilty because her mom died giving birth to her and thinks her dad resents her, leading her to be suicidal and depressed. Nancy lives in a trailer with her mom and abusive step-dad. Bonnie has severe burns on her body that she feels make her a monster. Rochelle is mistreated by Laura (Christine “Marcia Marcia Marcia” Taylor), the racist captain of the dive team. Each of these background stories is wildly more exaggerated than most films would do, but since it’s a movie with real magic, the disbelief is already suspended. Then, we see the decline of each of the girls as they indulge in their fantasies. Sarah enjoys teasing Chris who is now in love with her. Nancy gets a nice new apartment and gets rid of her step-dad, but starts to crave power. Bonnie becomes vain from her new appearance (although, this one is more implied than shown, since she still looks like Neve Campbell in the 90s). Rochelle gets revenge, but eventually regrets it so much her own reflection won’t look at her. It’s a basic plot, but it’s just how far they’re willing to take each storyline that sets it apart. 

Also all the snakes they used.

Mostly, though, it’s the aesthetics and the insane imagery that make this movie. The costumes evolve with the characters, going darker as the characters do. Then there are shots that just come out of nowhere, like a toilet full of mealworms or a beach full of dead sharks. They’re powerful images that stick with you. The CGI is very ‘90s (AKA bad), but many of the practical effects shots are solid and hold up well. Again, it’s how over-the-top the film is willing to go that matters.

Let’s see if the sequel this month is willing to go as far.

Overall, I still liked this movie. It’s not going to win any awards for best screenplay, but it was the second best movie with Skeet Ulrich and Neve Campbell that came out in 1996 (admittedly, comparing it to Scream might be a tad unfair).

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Addams Family Values: The Creepiest Family in Film Returns – 13 Reviews of Halloween/Amazon Prime Review

One of the few sequels I like better than the original.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Gomez and Morticia Addams (Raul Julia and Anjelica Huston) welcome their third child, Pubert (Kaitlyn and Kristen Hooper). Unfortunately, the older siblings, Wednesday and Pugsley (Christina Ricci and Jimmy Workman), don’t take well to the new child, attempting to murder him, as Addams are wont to do. To help, the Addams parents hire a nanny named Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack) who is, in reality, a serial murdering black widow. She seduces Gomez’s brother, Fester (Christopher Lloyd). When Wednesday becomes suspicious, Debbie has her and Pugsley sent to summer camp under relentlessly chipper Counselors Gary and Beck Granger (Peter MacNicol and Christine Baranski). Fortunately, the Addams family can handle more than a mere serial killer and a summer camp. Also featuring Christopher Hart as Thing, Carel Struycken as Lurch, and Carol Kane as Grandmama.

They don’t usually come out during this time of day.

END SUMMARY 

I am a fan of the original Barry Sonnenfeld Addams Family movie from 1991, but it’s more for the stand-out scenes than the film as a whole. The plot of the original film was pretty incoherent and is wrapped up by one of the strangest series of dei ex machinae in history. Still, the cast was so good that it was still incredibly fun. This film has the same cast, but also comes up with more entertaining things to do with them and a more compelling plot. It doesn’t hurt that the slightly lighter tone here allows for some more varied, but actually ultimately darker, humor.

And some great quips.

I really can’t understate how perfect the casting was for this film. I don’t think I will ever envision Morticia Addams as being anyone other than Anjelica Huston. She was born to play the role. I mean, I loved Carolyn Jones in the live-action series, but Huston nails it as hard as Hopkins nailed Hannibal. Raul Julia and John Astin are both very different but equally good portrayals of the ultimate loving husband, although Julia unfortunately was sick during filming and it does make his performance a little less energetic than the first movie. Christina Ricci proved herself to be an incredible Wednesday in the first film, but in this movie she also has to play Wednesday dealing with both puberty and her captivity within a camp that promotes “normalcy.” Honestly, the scenes of the kids rebelling against the counselors are some of my favorite gags. Christopher Lloyd’s portrayal of Fester always surprises me because it’s so very different from any of his other iconic characters, but he disappears into it just as much. In this, he has to be the lonely man who believes he’s found love and is willing to constantly overlook the obvious red flags. Speaking of red flags, Joan Cusack was a great addition to this cast. Her ability to play a sociopath who is able to put up with the oddities of the Addams family and, in fact, able to manipulate them presents an actual, believable obstacle to the perfect family. 

The best marriage in film.

It also is impressive that this movie can get away with so many of the jokes it does. The older Addams children repeatedly attempt to murder a baby, only to be thwarted in borderline slapstick ways. If it weren’t for the cartoonish nature of their attempts, we might be put off by the infanticide. Similarly, after Wednesday leads a revolt at the summer camp, it’s implied that at least some of the children have been killed and that the counselors are going to be roasted to death on a spit like Saint Lawrence, but it’s mostly offscreen and played for laughs by every character, so you can ignore it. The darker and more dryly humorous tone of the first movie only allowed for dark references to the horrors, this movie gets to show them off. 

Still better for MacNicol than “The Powers That Be.” Remember that 90s kids?

Overall, just a great movie and a fantastic sequel. It’s still my favorite incarnation of the Addams family. 

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Get Duked!: Take a “Fun” Walk in the Highlands – Amazon Prime Review

This was one of the funniest dark comedies of the year.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Three delinquents named DJ Beatroot, Dean, and Duncan (Viraj Juneja, Rian Gordon, Lewis Gribben) are taken to the Scottish Highlands by a teacher named Mr. Carlyle (Jonathan Aris) in order to try and win the Duke of Edinburgh award. They are joined by a shy kid named Ian (Samuel Bottomley) and given a map of the Highlands that they must navigate in order to qualify for the award. Carlyle drives off to the campsite that they’re supposed to reach and leaves the boys, who reluctantly set out while getting high. Unfortunately, a well-dressed man wearing a mask (Eddie Izzard) and his masked wife (Georgie Glen) are both watching the boys. It turns out that in the Highlands, someone is out to hunt the most dangerous game: stoned teens.

They have a bit of a rough day.

END SUMMARY

This film is a solid blend of slapstick, trippy visuals, and satire with a dark premise like “rich people hunting poor teens for sport.” Well, not exactly for sport. It turns out that there are certain British people who just enjoy culling the population of “underachievers” and, being rich and bored, they decided the fun way to do that is to hunt them down in Scotland with antique rifles and weird masks. It’s obviously not a fair fight, as they have guns and the boys have a “well-sharp” fork, but it probably doesn’t help that the main characters are all pretty stupid. Despite that, they do sometimes come up with creative solutions to their problems, which is, appropriately, what they were sent on the walk to do.

Not great on the map reading, though.

Eddie Izzard, the biggest star in the film, doesn’t get a ton of focused screen time, but when he does it is used to the utmost. He plays his character, who the boys believe to actually be the Duke of Edinburgh, as the perfect blend of upperclass twit and raging sociopath. He never breaks his calm and happy demeanor, even when the boys do manage to successfully counterattack. Instead, he and his “wife” just continue to joke about the situation. 

The masks are creepy as hell.

One of the funniest parts of the film is how it represents the local police officers who get caught up in the events. They’re so rural that their biggest concern at the beginning is the local bread thief. As they get more involved with the case, they continually misunderstand the already ridiculous events and it just keeps getting funnier every single time until it finally comes to an insanely satisfying conclusion. 

Same with DJ Beatroot’s attempts to become successful.

Overall, I really recommend this film. It’s pretty hilarious.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad: Two Enchanting Tales Make One Great Film – 13 Reviews of Halloween/Disney +

This movie is 71 years old and still holds up.

SUMMARY

The film is two different stories with two different narrators. The first, “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, is narrated by Basil Rathbone, the British actor most famous for playing Sherlock Holmes. The second, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving, is narrated by Bing Crosby. 

I still want them to adapt the Canterbury Tales.

“The Wind in the Willows” follows, loosely, the same plot as the book. J. Thaddeus Toad (Eric Blore) is a wealthy landowner who tends to get caught up in fads and act recklessly to the point that he is constantly on the verge of bankruptcy. His friends are Angus MacBadger (Campbell Grant), who looks over his finances, Ratty (Claude Allister), a river rat, and Moley (Colin Campbell), a meek mole. It turns out that Toad has been obsessed with traveling carts and has been destroying much of the countryside with his horse, Cyril (J. Pat O’Malley). The pair eventually get wrecked by a motor car, leading toad to become obsessed with automobiles. To stop Toad from spending more money or being more reckless, Ratty and Moley lock him inside Toad Hall, his mansion, but Toad escapes and supposedly steals a car. At the trial, Cyril testifies that Toad had traded Toad Hall to a gang of weasels for the car and that Mr. Winky (Ollie Wallace), a barman, had witnessed it. However, Winky testifies against Toad, convicting him. Toad escapes from jail and, together with his three friends, steals the deed to Toad Hall back from Winky, who is revealed to have lied in order to keep the house. 

They’re an eclectic bunch.

“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” similarly, follows the story pretty well, but with some adaptational changes. Ichabod Crane (Bing Crosby) is the new school master of Sleepy Hollow, New York. He mostly gets along well with the townspeople, despite him secretly being a manipulative and opportunistic glutton. However, he falls in love with Katrina van Tassel, the beautiful daughter of the wealthy Baltus van Tassel, and draws the ire of Katrina’s sweetheart Brom Bones. While Brom is strong and aggressive, Ichabod is smart and quick, often avoiding the bigger man’s attempts to deter him. The two attend a Halloween party and Ichabod attempts to woo Katrina with his dancing and sophistication, but Brom concocts a plan. He tells a vivid story of the Headless Horseman, a ghost who rides through the Hollow to take heads, terrifying Ichabod. On the way home, Ichabod is chased by the Headless Horseman and never seen again. Brom and Katrina marry soon after.

That guy knows how to eat at a party.

END SUMMARY

When I think about my favorite Disney movies, I somehow always overlook this film, but it really is an underrated work of the studio. Disney originally was going to just do an adaptation of The Wind in the Willows, but due to WWII and some financial trouble, Walt Disney himself ended up shelving it, thinking it wasn’t good enough to make money. Eventually, a new team took on the project and it was scaled back to half of a movie and paired with the Legend of Sleepy Hollow to make a feature-length film. Despite the fact that the two films have completely different genres, styles, and themes, or perhaps because of that disparity, each of them stands out brighter than they would have alone. 

They do both have great chase sequences.

Wind in the Willows is animated in the traditional Disney style like Bambi, Dumbo, or The Jungle Book. It’s pretty light in tone, although the scenes of Toad being imprisoned and escaping are darker than I remember. Still, Toad’s enthusiasm during the chase and his unwillingness to be too scared of the police while fleeing from them does keep it fairly upbeat. The scene of them attacking the weasels and Winky at Toad Hall might be one of the Disney sequences that put the characters in the most immediate mortal peril, but it’s done in such a slapstick fashion that you hardly think about it. The short is entertaining and contains both one of my favorite songs from any Disney film (below) and also my favorite lawyer joke perhaps ever. During Cyril’s testimony, the prosecutor is cross-examining him and the following exchange happens:

Prosecutor: … Then how did he get the motorcar?

Cyril: The only way a gentleman gets anything: The honest way.

Prosecutor: And what is the honest way?

Cyril: Ha-ha, I thought you wouldn’t know that one, guvnor.

Perfect.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, on the other hand, is done mostly in watercolors and resembles a painting of rural New England from the time period. While the characters are still animated in the Disney style with cartoonish exaggerations of the features, particularly on Ichabod. While it’s dark in tone, it still starts off pretty light. The only voice, aside from the chorus, is Bing Crosby, which showcases his charming voice and naturally amiable narration. However, that really only sets you up for his total absence from the last act, when all you have is the haunting sounds, scary music, and the headless horseman delivering a chilling laugh. The second story does also include more subtle elements than the first. Like the fact that Katrina is using Ichabod just to make Brom jealous, or that Brom Bones’s horse is almost certainly the horse that the Headless Horseman is riding. It implies that, perhaps, the entire ending was just a man trying to get rid of a rival. 

One of the best villains with only like 5 minutes of screen time.

Overall, just a great film. Give it a try.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Hubie Halloween: It’s Adam Sandler, What Did You Expect? – Netflix Review

I mean, it’s definitely not the worst thing he’s done.

SUMMARY

Hubie Dubois (Adam Sandler) is a deli worker and the local loser of Salem, Massachusetts. Every Halloween, Hubie takes it upon himself to be the town monitor to ensure that Salem enjoys a safe and happy Halloween. This, naturally, gets him mocked by everyone from the local rich jerk (Ray Liotta) to the principal (Tim Meadows) and his wife (Maya Rudolph) to the local policeman (Kevin James) to his own junior co-worker (Karar Brar). Only local hot-girl-turned-hot-woman Violet Valentine (Julie Bowen) stands up for him. Unfortunately, this year, an escaped mental patient (Rob Schneider) and a possible wolfman (Steve Buscemi) threaten the celebrations and it’s up to Hubie to stop them.

These kids apparently think this is a fun idea.

END SUMMARY

Did you guys watch Uncut Gems? That movie where Adam Sandler plays a man who keeps having to live on the edge and risk it all because he just can’t be happy otherwise? I think that character was based on Sandler, except that Sandler keeps wanting to test exactly how little effort that he can put forward in order to get a movie to get more watches than the average Best Picture Winner. At least that’s how I explain Jack and Jill and The Ridiculous 6. This movie is not as bad as those, mostly because this movie tries to pull much of its style and humor from Sandler’s older work like The Waterboy, but it suffers from the fact that, at 54 years old, it’s harder to consider Sandler a viable scrappy young outsider. Also, his performance which had previously been the oddball has now devolved into the person who clearly has been avoiding any attempts at maturing. The movie attempts to justify it by saying that Hubie is sweet and honest, but you can be both of those things without being the level of awkward and off-putting that Hubie is. It becomes even more bizarre because the film depicts him as simultaneously socially inept but also hyper competent. I’d say that it’s a form of autism, but since most of the movie’s “humor” is laughing at Hubie’s inherent awkwardness, I’d like to dissociate the performance with any real human conditions.

They use the sheet from the Waterboy for this gag.

The film is a needlessly complicated mess at times as an attempt to conceal the “mystery” of what is actually threatening the town. Hubie also randomly encounters minor sub-plots that require him to pull out his “Swiss Army thermos,” one of the most ridiculous conceits in an Adam Sandler film. It’s a thermos that can do anything the scene requires, from vacuum cleaner to grappling hook, and yet somehow the rest of the movie is pretty grounded in reality. The fact that Hubie built something that defies all practical engineering should have made him wealthy and famous, but everyone chooses to ignore the literal magic bag he holds. The film also suffers from the Sandler trope that the most beautiful woman in the area is already in love with him for no reason.

He also wields a paddle. Don’t ask.

Despite all of these problems, it’s nowhere near the bottom of the barrel for an Adam Sandler production. The cast is filled with talented people who are somehow able to pull a laugh every now and then out of even the most inane lines or scenarios. Sandler himself has several quality moments, mostly when he’s trying to be sincere rather than goofy. The end of the film was actually one of the more surprisingly wholesome ones we’ve seen and it does have a pretty decent message. 

There’s a good Harley Quinn joke.

Overall, I still would recommend watching something else, but if you’re an Adam Sandler fan, this will make your Halloween spooktacular.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.