A New York Christmas Wedding: It’s a Wonderful Bisexual Life – Netflix Review

It’s not quite the LGBT Hallmark movie it advertises, but it’s got some good points.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Jennifer Ortiz (Camilla Harden/Nia Fairweather) is a former Goldman-Sachs trader who has recently left to work as a veterinary assistant and is engaged to a man named David Wilks (Otoja Abit). During a dinner with her future in-laws (Tyra Ferrell and Tony D. Head), Jennifer finds David’s mother is insisting on controlling the wedding plans. Frustrated, Jennifer goes for a run and witnesses a man named Azrael (Cooper Koch) get hit by a car. Jennifer walks with him and he promises that tomorrow she will have changed perspective. She wakes up the next day only to find that she is engaged to her former best friend Gabrielle Vernaci (Adriana DeMeo). Gabrielle and Jennifer had a falling out when they were in High School and Gabrielle had died soon after. It turns out that Azrael is an angel and has transported her to an alternate Earth for a few days to show her what life might have been life if she had made some different decisions earlier in her life. Unfortunately, it seems that in this reality Jennifer and Gabrielle’s wedding is being complicated by Gabrielle’s desire to be married by their childhood priest Father Kelly (Chris Noth), who is barred by the Catholic Church from marrying two women. So, which wedding will Jennifer end up seeing?

That’s not the face of a woman having fun with her future in-laws.

END SUMMARY

I admit that I was really intrigued by the advertisement and premise of this film. While the idea of waking up in another world where you made different choices has been done to death, I actually think this movie distinguishes itself by having such a massively pronounced difference between the two realities. Jennifer’s life with Gabrielle wasn’t just different in the sense of being engaged to a different person, almost every aspect of it had diverged. Most films with this kind of premise take some stance about people ultimately being who they are no matter the circumstances, but Jennifer doesn’t have the same job, history, or social life in the alternate world. In some ways, I think that’s probably more accurate to how things would actually play out, so I give the film credit.

First reality Jennifer would not have worn that dress, and that’s a shame.

Actually, I give this movie a decent amount of respect for several things. Obviously, it should be respected for being an LGBT entry into the “Christmas Made-For-TV Movie” genre, something that is woefully light. Perhaps even more interestingly, both of the leads are bisexual, which is also an underrepresented class outside of Cinemax at 2 AM. It’s also one of the first movies in the genre in which the two leads are Black and Latina, even among heterosexual films. It also does a great job in casting. Not only are the child versions of the two leads both very well done, but most of the background cast actually looks appropriate for the location (Queens, NY). They’re not all the standard “above average” extras that we see in most Hallmark Christmas movies, and they’re much more diverse.  All of the performances between the leads seem sincere and the dialogue is much more natural than you would expect from a film like this. 

The Sassy Gay Angel somehow works pretty well.

Part of the weakness of the movie is that it appears to have decided to pull a bunch of extra weirdness out of nowhere and for almost no payoff. I can’t really describe it without spoilers, but let’s just say that for a movie involving an angel sending a person to an alternate reality, they still made some very odd choices. I’ll also have to say that the film does suffer a bit from trying really hard to force its message more than it probably should. Then again, it’s a message that doesn’t impact me directly, so maybe it would seem more apt if it did. Oh, and the camerawork and some of the editing is fairly amateurish. Most of the time it fits in fine with the movie, but sometimes it gets distracting.

Some of Chris Noth’s decisions are right, but also sadly unlikely to be true.

Overall, I will say that this movie is about 50% good and 50% weird and off-putting. I almost say it should be watched just because it is different, but it also just kind of drops the ball about two-thirds of the way in.

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.

Dash and Lily: A Cute Tale of Quirky Young Love – Netflix Review

Warning: Don’t watch it after December 1 or you’ll lose Whammageddon. 

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Dash (Austin Abrams) is a deeply cynical 17-year-old bibliophile still angry at his parents’ divorce and his father’s general selfishness. One day at a bookstore he finds a red notebook left by a girl named Lily (Midori Francis) for a worthy boy. Intrigued, Dash follows the book’s instructions and the two start a relationship based entirely on leaving messages and tasks in the red notebook. Dash is helped by his best friend Boomer (Dante Brown), while Lily is encouraged by her brother Langston (Troy Iwata) and her Great Aunt (Jodi Long). 

Yes, she has a candy cane phone case.

END SUMMARY

I admit that this show played heavily on my personal influences. While it’s a bit ridiculous for a pair of 17 year olds to be so determined to try and find true love, the idea of meeting someone through a ridiculous series of mostly literature-based exchanges appeals to me. The two lead characters are both avid readers that have used books as a form of escapism, something that appeals to me as both a cinephile and a library patron. Also, both of the leads are super awkward in their own ways, something that, without getting into it too much, I might be able to relate to.

The boots help.

The story is told typically by alternating viewpoints of the same events, something that can be extremely enjoyable when done right, and this series actually pulls it off pretty well. The first two episodes, especially, provide a large amount of fun revelation when we see what Dash believes about Lily and then we are shown who Lily actually is. Due to the structure and the nature of the show, the two leads are almost never actually in the same scene, meaning that they are often playing off of what the other person has written, rather than off of their actual performance. It’s fully to the credit of the leads that we can read their faces just as well as they are reading the missives from their potential paramours. Also, they’re both just the right level of “cute” to allow you to believe that two people in their mid-20s are both high school seniors.

This party is clearly filled with young people, right?

The supporting characters are great, particularly Boomer and Langston, but I also think that Lily’s grandfather was played well by veteran actor (and the first live-action Shredder) James Saito. Boomer is the only really close friend of Dash who is an upbeat extrovert in contrast with Dash’s sullen introversion. We also see other friends of Dash’s ex-girlfriend Sofia (Keana Marie), who clearly like her more than him (and let him know it). Langston is probably the funniest character in the show as he is a gay college dropout who constantly pushes Lily to do ridiculous things. 

Langston is amazing.

Overall, it’s a pretty fun series. My only warning is that they do play “Last Christmas” by Wham! in the first episode, so beware of losing Whamaggedon. 

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.

Supernatural: One Last Ride – Netflix Review

After 15 years, the Winchester brothers finally come to the end of the road.

SUMMARY (Spoilers. So many spoilers)

Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) lost their mother, Mary (Samantha Smith), to a demon when Sam was a baby. Raised by their father, John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and his friend Bobby (Jim Beavers) to be monster hunters, Sam eventually left and tried to live a normal life. When John disappears, Dean and his brother reunite in order to find him. They then end up fighting a bunch of monsters before finally killing the demon that took their mother, Azazel (Frederic Lehne). Then they fight that demon’s boss, Lilith (Katherine Boecher). They’re joined by an angel named Castiel (Mischa Collins) and together they fight the Devil (Mark Pellegrino). Then they fight the archangel Raphael (Demore Barnes) and the Leviathans, monsters so horrible that God banished them to Limbo. Then it’s God’s scribe Metatron (Curtis Armstrong), a knight of Hell (Alaina Huffman), another king of Hell who is also a dead Scotsman named Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard), God’s evil sister (Emily Swallow), some Brits and the Devil again, the Devil’s son (sort of) (Alexander Calvert), and then finally they fight God himself (Rob Benedict).

But there was always Sam and Dean.

They die a lot, but eventually they actually manage to be the last men standing. 

END SUMMARY

Supernatural’s originally intended plotline ended ten years ago with the defeat of Lucifer and yet that didn’t even slow the show down. There’s a meme online that describes Supernatural as “redneck Dragonball Z” in the sense that every season we’re told that the thing that the boys are fighting is the biggest threat ever and yet the next season the threat is even bigger (with some exceptions). That’s not inaccurate, but the fact that eventually the enemy they fight is literally God (yes, the creator of everything himself) makes me respect the cliche more, since they carried this trend all the way to its logical, yet absurd, conclusion. Also, at least they had the good sense to kill off each of the characters multiple times (I think the Winchesters have died collectively at least a dozen times without counting time-loops), but then I remember that is ALSO a Dragonball Z thing. Maybe it’s that the two shows really contain one very similar theme. Both series are about the ability for people to grow and overcome any challenges through effort and determination. 

Also, there’s some later plotlines on time-travel and alternate universes.

That theme may be the thing that I most like about the series. In Supernatural, there is always a solution to any problem if you work hard enough and learn enough. It’s not just that the Winchesters kick a lot of monster butt, they also constantly are dedicated to reading the lore about all of the enemies that they fight. Sure, ultimately, they have to stand their ground against a horrible monster and stab it through the heart with a thrice-blessed shard of obsidian or whatever, but what worthwhile problem can you solve without exposing yourself to danger? It’s not like the boys always know they’ll come back from the dead, in fact they often assume it’s the last time, but they still stand up and fight the good fight. They hunker down, read a ton of books on the subject, formulate a plan, then put everything on the line to solve it. I FEEL LIKE THERE’S A SOLID LESSON CONTAINED IN THIS.

Rowena literally studies enough to end up a queen.

Then there’s Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Without them, this show would have failed outright. Their chemistry is as good as any onscreen couple, which is possibly part of why people have shipped them together despite their characters being siblings who have nothing but brotherly affections. Everything about their interplay tends to work, from the comedy to the drama to the tense emotional moments. When they added Mischa Collins, rather than detracting from the duo, it heightened it by giving the pair more time to show how they interact with other close parties. Dean and Castiel may be close as it gets (possibly in canon), but his relationship with Sam is still distinct. No matter what guests showed up, and there were some great ones, the core was still Sam and Dean.

Although Felicia Day could have gotten her own show.

I’m going to opine briefly on the final episode of the show, so if you don’t want spoilers, just know that I will always recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy. Even if you don’t like some of the episodes, and there are some that are definitely weaker than others (*Cough* racist truck *cough*), the series as a whole is strong. It didn’t last 15 years for nothing.

Not the best part of the show.

As to the finale, I know a lot of people were disappointed. I will admit that I wasn’t happy with it either, but I do have to say I understood why it was a let down and I don’t think it was actually the fault of the show. If you aren’t living under a rock or reading this in the year 2045, you are probably aware that in 2020 the world was struck by a pandemic known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and much of the planet was forced to avoid large gatherings of people. You know what usually requires a large amount of people in a single place? Filming a television show. Even with the final drone shot of the series in which the cast and crew say goodbye to the audience, there was a clearly reduced number of people present for the shoot. And I think that’s what really caused the problem for the finale. 

Fortunately, Impalas can’t get Covid.

I think what they were going for, an episode dedicated solely to Sam and Dean, was actually a great way to send off the series. Their bond, as I said, was what kept the show going. The decision to ***SERIOUSLY, SPOILERS*** kill Dean off for real was basically inevitable. Dean Winchester was never going to quit fighting until he could literally fight no more. Sam, on the other hand, could live a normal life. It was inevitable that Dean would go first, particularly since he spent his whole looking after Sam. I wasn’t upset by that and I was genuinely kind of moved by the scene between them. I also appreciated the cameo by Christine Chatelain from season one as well as by Jim Beavers as the “real” Bobby Singer, but the fact is that for a show that lasted 15 years to only give us two cameos in the last episode while name-dropping a half dozen others is a bit of a let-down. The absence of Castiel, Jack, and Mary Winchester was especially notable. However, I think that really just comes down to the impossible choice that the show had: Finish with who was willing and able to be quarantined to shoot the finale safely (within the budget they have for the episode), or just don’t finish the show. They couldn’t reasonably ask for everyone to just come back after COVID was over, because there was no telling when that will be. So, they had to scale it back to what they could get. The final “drive” montage was even the perfect time to show all of the old familiar faces one last time and have those final send-off scenes, but they couldn’t pull it off. I think the show deserves credit for trying and forgiveness for having a logistically impossible task. And while it might have been a bit of a let down, it wasn’t a BAD episode. It was just smaller than it should have been.

Everything about this shot is majestic. Especially the paychecks.

Overall, I still love the show. It’s been around almost my entire adult life, and I will miss it dearly.

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.

Schitt’s Creek: It Was Worth The Trip – Netflix Review

I finally got through the series and it definitely was time well spent.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) is the multimillionaire owner of a video store empire. His wife, Moira (Catherine O’Hara), is a former soap opera actress and they have two spoiled adult children, David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy). Unfortunately, the family discovers that their business manager has absconded with all of their money and has failed to pay their taxes in years, leaving them essentially penniless. Their only remaining asset is a town that Johnny bought for a young David as a joke: Schitt’s Creek. The family moves to Schitt’s creek and into the local run-down motel managed by Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire). The very eccentric and nouveau riche Roses quickly start to find themselves in contact, and occasional conflict, with the locals, including idiot Mayor Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott), his wife Jocelyn (Jennifer Robertson), upbeat waitress Twyla (Sarah Levy), local garage owner Bob (John Hemphill), local veterinarian Ted Mullins (Dustin Milligan), councilwoman Ronnie (Karen Robinson), and later local businessman Patrick Brewer (Noah Reid). However, the town and the Roses both start to rub off on each other, and maybe everyone gets a little bit better.

That’s it. That’s the show.

END SUMMARY

I know I was late to this game, but I can say that, having watched the entire series, this show is absolutely worth the time to get through. I was told up front that the first season was weak, and it definitely was in retrospect, but the actors are so good that you can honestly get through the first few episodes based solely on that. A part of the slow start is that they were more focused at the beginning on the original pitch of the show, which was “what happens if you put a reality show family in a small town.” While that premise is funny, the show really starts to hit its stride when the main characters start to actually realize how crappy they are as people and genuinely start to change. It adds a level of sincerity and emotion to the show that allows for the humor to really impact the audience because it’s now contrasted by solid drama. 

Also, it has a Cabaret episode and it’s wonderful.

The amount of comic talent in this show is second to none. Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara have been together in multiple Christopher Guest movies and their chemistry continues on the small screen. While Johnny is often the straight man of the family, which suits Eugene Levy, O’Hara plays a ridiculously over-the-top former actress known for her eccentric grammar and pronunciation choices. If you think someone saying the word “baby” can’t be funny, she will prove you wrong. Dan Levy and Annie Murphy start off as being insufferably annoying, but quickly evolve into fun and compelling characters. It helps that David is usually accompanied by Stevie, whose deadpan snark is perfect with David’s melodrama, while Alexis is usually paired with Ted or Twyla, both of whom are so positive that they balance out Alexis’ general aloofness. All of the supporting characters help to round out the town, although I admit that I never quite got into Roland. He’s generally just too stupid to be enjoyable, which is only redeemed by the fact that Chris Elliott is naturally brilliant. 

They’re a fun group.

Aside from the cast, the strength of the show is that it manages to constantly subvert expectations in the absolute best ways. Any time that you think they’re about to fall into sitcom cliche, they manage to surprise you and turn it into something else that’s brilliant and funny. It seems like that’s one of the most consistent elements and it’s something that’s rare for any show. The fact that it only gets better as the show goes on is even more rare. 

They also have this scene, which is amazing.

Overall, just a great show.

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.

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey : It’s Cute, Just Go With It – Netflix Review

As with most things, Ricky Martin’s vanity is the cause of the trouble.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Jeronicus Jangle (Justin Cornwell/Forest Whitaker) is an inventor and toymaker who owns a store called “Jangles and Things.” One day he receives the final component to his greatest invention, a living doll called Don Juan Diego (Ricky Martin). However, Don Juan resents the idea of being mass-produced, so he convinces Jeronicus’ apprentice, Gustafson (Miles Barrow/Keegan-Michael Key) to run away with all of Jeronicus’ blueprints and become a toymaker himself. Because of the theft, Jeronicus is unable to invent anymore, causing financial hardship. His wife, Joanne (Sharon Rose), dies, and he grows distant from his daughter, Jessica (Diaana Babnicova/Anika Noni Rose), who moves away. 

It’s your standard brightly-colored inventor lab from a kids movie.

Years later, Jangle runs a pawn shop with his self-appointed apprentice Edison (Keron L. Dyer). His granddaughter, Journey (Madalen Mills), comes to visit him. It turns out that she is also an aspiring inventor and is determined to help her grandfather finally turn things around. 

END SUMMARY

This movie’s advertisement ran on my Facebook page over and over again for three or four days straight so I am hoping that by watching it I have purged myself from that particular algorithmic nightmare. Fortunately, the movie itself was pretty great. I’m not going to say it’s an instant classic, although I imagine some families will hail it as such, but it certainly was a lot better than I would have expected. Like many Christmas movies, it starts with the framing device of a grandmother reading to her children, however, the book is actually revealed to be an incredibly intricate clockwork device that apparently provides moving visuals as she tells the truth. That cues you in pretty early that this film is going to have a magical element, but not the one that we usually associate with Christmas. 

They have a pretty awesome house.

This movie runs on artifice and mathemagic. Yes, I’m serious. This movie pretty much allows for you to do anything and build anything as long as you can do the math right. The difference is that math in this film includes quantities like “stupendous” or “impossible,” and somehow these can be used to do things like create targeted snowballs or flying robots. It’s done in a very visually creative style and by couching it in a pseudo-scientific premise, the film doesn’t dive into full-on magic. It doesn’t quite match the steampunk aesthetic, being a little too far into the modern age, but it does have a distinct set and costume style that is easy on the eyes.

With the right equation, you can break physics. Somehow.

The musical numbers are actually a lot better than I expected, particularly Keegan-Michael Key’s opening song “Magic Man G.” They’re not your typical Christmas songs, but that’s to be expected from John Legend and Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars’ songwriting partner. They’re energetic, they’re fun, they’re clever, and they never feel cheap or cliche. The message of the film about never giving up and the power of belief is great, as is the lesser message of the power of forgiveness. Parents watching with their children should find them inspired and also enjoy the fact that there are a number of fairly adult lines in it, mostly about how Jeronicus needs to start thinking about romance again with his love interest, Ms. Johnston (Lisa Davina Phillip). Plus, it’s just cute.

Key is a great villain, despite how lovable he is.

Overall, just a great movie and a solid addition to the Netflix Christmas lineup.

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.

i’m thinking of ending things: Charlie Kaufman Needs to be Tempered – Netflix Review

The acclaimed writer takes his third shot at directing and he probably needs to talk to Spike Jonze again.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-ish)

A young woman (Jessie Buckley) is thinking of breaking up with her boyfriend, Jake (Jesse Plemons), while on a trip to meet his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis). Jake is a pseudo-intellectual who constantly attempts to quote poems, but often gets them wrong or incomplete. The same is true of most of his opinions; they’re either ripped off from other sources inaccurately or he fails to fully have them. He seems to have broad knowledge of culture, but it turns out he mostly only knows a few specific things. The young woman tries to introduce herself to Jake’s family, but all of her versions of their relationship seem completely irreconcilable. The young woman’s identity seems to change frequently, as do Jake’s parents. Throughout the movie, we also see an elderly janitor (Guy Boyd) who works at a school in the town near Jake’s parents’ house watching kids practice Oklahoma!

Lots of patterns everywhere.

END SUMMARY

I can’t really discuss this movie without somehow spoiling it, but I also don’t know that it hurts the experience. Here’s what I can say without spoilers: much like Kaufman’s previous movies he both wrote and directed, Synecdoche, New York and Anomalisa, most of this film is not literal. You’ll pick up on that pretty early when you see the characters change their appearances and names. The truth of what the film is about is only revealed towards the end and is just subtle enough that you might miss it if you’re not paying attention. I’d also advise you to watch through the film because the last thing you hear might change the film a bit. 

The world is cold. Also, it’s snowing.

A lot of this film is enhanced if you happen to know all of the pop culture that is being referenced, but most of it is pretty specific. For example, about five minutes of the movie is dedicated just to a John Cassavetes film and Pauline Kael’s review of it. If you didn’t immediately know who both of those people are, you’re going to probably be a bit confused during that portion. I mean, you can still enjoy it, but it’s distracting. Some stuff like that happens throughout. 

I mean, the other changes can be distracting.

Overall, if you’re a die-hard Kaufman fan, by which I mean you liked his previous directing works, you will probably enjoy this. If you liked Adaptation or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this might also be up your alley. Otherwise, this might be a little too much Kaufman. 

*****SPOILERS*****

So, as the movie reveals, the Janitor is just the older Jake. Having completely failed to do anything that he wanted to do with his life, Jake now spends his days imagining the world in which he was smart, funny, accomplished, and had the girlfriend that his parents always wanted for him. As the movie goes on, we see him imagine progressively more ridiculous things, including winning a Nobel Prize (using the speech from A Beautiful Mind) and performing a song from Oklahoma! By the end, we see that Jake has had a complete mental breakdown and is murdering his own mental image. That’s when the movie’s title, which was apparently about the girl dumping Jake, instead becomes about Jake taking his own life. 

The aesthetics are fun.

The surreal nature of the way this film is done is a reflection of Jake’s broken mind. Like many people, Jake feels that he never got the life that Hollywood and pop culture seemed to promise him. He’s resentful of the gap between what he wants and what he actually gets. However, it becomes clear that he mostly is just an entitled loser. He mimics what he hears rather than thinking for himself and produces nothing, but he still wanted all of the rewards. It’s a very sad tale that is even more sadly relatable to many people nowadays. 

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.

Holidate: A Rom-Com for Psychopaths – Netflix Review

Seriously, someone needs therapy.

SUMMARY

Sloane (Emma Roberts) has a family that is completely obsessed with getting her hitched to a good guy. She insists she likes her independence, but they refuse to stop setting her up at every holiday. She discovers that her Aunt Susan (Kristin Chenoweth) has Holidates, guys who she sees specifically for holidays so that she doesn’t have to worry about showing up alone. At the same time, Jackson (Luke Bracey), a golf instructor from Australia, has a very bad date on Christmas and decides he doesn’t want to deal with holidays anymore, since he can’t visit his family. He and Sloane meet up between Christmas and New Years Eve and the two agree to be each other’s Holidates over the course of the next year. 

I wonder if they’ll get together?

END SUMMARY

While this should be a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy with a goofy premise, what sets it apart is that I have never seen a movie this mean-spirited before. Everyone in it is a sociopath. Sloane’s mother is not the stereotypical mom who wants her kids to be married, she apparently is incapable of having a different conversation with her daughter. She constantly calls her with new men and tells her that the thought of being single is equivalent to accepting dying alone from cancer. They even try to make the “someone to be there during chemo” thing into a sweet acknowledgement later in the movie, but that joke appears to have been written both by and for a person who has a head in their fridge. At the same time, everyone in her family isn’t much better, something the film drives home painfully and repeatedly. Then there’s the initial “bad date” that turns Jackson off holidays. The woman he’s with is a ridiculous exaggeration of the typical “too quick to love” character. Instead, she refuses to listen to a thing she says, acts then mentions some massively inappropriate sexual things in front of her parents. It’s like none of the people in this movie can even consider being empathetic or appropriate.

Like certain costumes to an Easter brunch.

The script does have a decent amount of self-awareness when it comes to tropes or cliches, but not enough to end up avoiding any of them. The main characters keep discussing what happens in movies, including the ultimate failure of friends with benefits, but as it is a romantic comedy, you know that’s what’s going to happen by the end. The two leads have a surplus of chemistry, too, which only makes it more ridiculous when Emma Roberts says things like “no one is ever really not looking to date.” She’s pointing out that no one is ever going to immediately deny someone they’re genuinely attracted to just because they have other obligations, then spends the movie doing exactly that. It’s like Babe Ruth calling his shot, only he predicted he would hit himself in the testicles with the bat.

This is when the bat hits the nuts.

Overall, this is a film to skip during the holidays. All of them.

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.

Aunty Donna’s Big ol’ House of Fun: Best Sketch Show in A While – Netflix Review

Three Australian YouTube comedians get their own series and it’s hilarious.

SUMMARY

It’s a sketch show. Each episode has a loose theme and the general premise is that three men, Mark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane, live together in a house despite their general incompetence and insanity. Guests include Ed Helms, Scott Aukerman, Weird Al, Kristen Schaal, and some other people who apparently wanted to break into the Australian YouTube watcher market.

Drumming on a crotch is the opening gambit.

END SUMMARY

This show is one of the funniest things I’ve seen. I haven’t genuinely had to pause something because I was laughing too hard in a long time, but I had to do it about once an episode here. Many people state that the secret to comedy is surprise and these three men have taken that lesson to heart.  Many of the set-ups in this series seem to be inspired by children’s television, with the characters acting clueless and having things like a talking dishwasher or a cowboy roommate. It takes these nonsensical setups and tries to play them straight while also interrupting them with completely unrelated jokes. The fourth wall is more of a suggestion, with the characters breaking it to narrate, make asides, or just flat-out comment on production. 

Also, random Olympic Christmas.

Possibly the most impressive thing about this show is that it pulls from literally every level of comedy, from puns to clever references to sight gags, and does it in a way that will guarantee almost anyone will be entertained. Even if you don’t like one joke, you’ll probably enjoy the next one that’s five seconds later. Perhaps the funniest bits are when they take a traditionally childish thing like drumming on pots and work in ridiculously dark or adult jokes. The characters have no consistency whatsoever, but this is one of the rare cases where that works to their benefit. Any character can be the straight man in one scene or the wacky one in the next. They frequently play multiple characters in the same scene, with episodes involving them talking to alternate versions of themselves. 

Parties spontaneously appear and die.

Overall, seriously, you just need to watch this show. It’s 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.

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.

In The Shadow of the Moon: It’s Not About Vampires – Netflix Review

A seemingly immortal killer strikes every nine years with signature markings on the neck. 

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

In 1988, Philadelphia Police Officer Thomas Lockhart (Boyd Holbrook) and his partner Maddox (Bokeem Woodbine) are investigating a series of deaths. The victims appear to have died of blood loss and are found with strange holes on their necks. Lockhart’s brother-in-law Detective Holt (Michael C. Hall) leads the investigation. As Lockhart confronts the suspected killer (Cleopatra Coleman), she reveals that she knows Lockhart before seemingly dying. Nine years later, Lockhart finds out that a similar killing spree begins and that the suspect still appears to be the same woman. Only time will reveal the truth.

Yes, Dexter is a detective in this.

END SUMMARY

This movie surprised me on a lot of levels. Admittedly, the reveal of what is happening becomes clear pretty early on, but having a movie where the mystery actually spans decades is pretty great and I can say that you probably won’t guess the full extent until at least halfway through. The ultimate reveal of why the events of the movie happen is fulfilling, even if it ultimately might leave you with a bit of contemplation about the real world and morality. 

There’s a lot of stuff about society that will scar you.

The film hangs on Holbrook’s performance and, fortunately, he’s up to the task. As the movie goes on he goes from ambitious family man all the way to homeless nutcase and hits most of the steps in between. It says a lot that the film can jump nearly a decade at a time and still have you follow the protagonist’s journey without really having any issues. Coleman, on the other hand, pulls off a performance that requires a number of things being just ambiguous enough to keep the audience waiting at all times and does it well. The way that director Jim Mickle focuses on the appearance of the world and the characters changing in ways that quickly communicate the when and where of the jumps helps quite a bit. It also helps that the dialogue doesn’t play up the ‘80s or ‘90s too much, instead letting advances in technology do most of the talking. 

Guns mostly stay the same.

The script does suffer a bit from trying to make sure that everyone is caught up at the end, because it goes through a meticulous description of what we’ve just watched and most of it should already have been known to both of the parties involved. Still, they use that opportunity to give us some more visuals that we otherwise likely wouldn’t have seen that do help drive the point of the film home more. 

Some aren’t subtle.

Overall, I really liked this movie. 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.

Blood of Zeus: It’s Clash of the Titans Animated and That’s Not Bad – Netflix Review

The most accurate part of the show is that Zeus being horny destroys everything.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

In the beginning there were the Titans. The Gods came next, smiting the Titans, but in response the Earth spawned the Giants. Eventually, the Giants were banished to the underworld and the Gods began to rule over humanity. 

The giants had a lot more variance in body type.

Heron (Derek Phillips) and his mother Electra (Mamie Gummer) live outside of a modest Polis in Greece. He and his mother are shunned because the city has been covered by clouds since the day they arrived. The only one who seems to care about them is a local old man (Jason O’Mara). However, it turns out that Heron is actually a son of Zeus, and that he is one of the only things that can stop the army of demons, people who have eaten the flesh of the dead Giants, and their leader, Seraphim (Elias Toufexis). Also, Zeus’s affair to produce Heron ends up causing him to have to deal with an angry Hera and a ton of other terrible stuff.

He’s got a bow. That’s helpful.

END SUMMARY

This is a soap opera, but, let’s face it, so is most of Greek Mythology. There are secret siblings, long-lost relatives, and affairs everywhere. Also, the Gods are even more dysfunctional than they are in most of the media adaptations. Zeus cheats on his wife so much that Benjamin Franklin probably had his picture on the wall as an inspiration, but I don’t think his wife ever went Hera’s route and constantly tried to kill his lovers and children. Hera killing someone because of Zeus’ d*ck was a leading cause of death in ancient Greece, slightly behind “plague” and before “Sparta” (come at me, Spartans). If there is one thing this show gets right, it’s the fact that mythology was the equivalent of trashy reality television as often as it was about epic tales of heroic deeds.

Hera is very good at revenge killing.

The rest of the story, though, is a blend of the generic mythology storyline. Demons are trying to awaken the giants and kill humanity and the Gods are forbidden to directly interfere… except that they absolutely will break that rule by lawyering it to the point of absurdity. I know that you didn’t see the movie Immortals, and you’re the better for it, but that’s almost exactly the plot of it. Both even have Zeus pretending to be an old man to mentor a kid. They also both end with pointless casualties as a result of the gods not being able to interfere until too late in the story. The rest of the film, though, contains the kind of scenes of the Gods looking down over humanity and the weird and fun imagery that’s reminiscent of Clash of the Titans

The demons look pretty cool.

The show is pretty ambitious in its scope, going through a really large amount of story in under four hours of total screen time. The animation is highly stylized, but I think it’s pretty great. It’s reminiscent of the animation in Castlevania, which makes sense as they’re from the same studio, but it’s distinct enough to be its own animal. The voice actors do a great job of adding extra layers of emotion when the dialogue might have fallen short. 

We even get a nice stylized flashback of the Gigantomachy.

Overall, it’s a pretty good show. I recommend it. 

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.