Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan: Don’t Eat Blue Ox – Amazon Prime Review

Who didn’t want a Bunyan-centric horror film?

There are times in your life when you see something so majestic, so beautiful, and so mysterious that you just can’t help but stare with your mouth agape. This movie’s title was that for me. I mean, I remember the period in the 90s when they churned out a bunch of fairy tale-themed horror movies like Pinocchio’s Revenge and Snow White: A Tale of Terror or the video game American McGee’s Alice, but I definitely didn’t think we’d reached the point of doing a folk hero horror film. It’s kind of brilliant, because Paul Bunyan is exactly what this film’s title promises: A giant with an axe. He’s basically a villain from a D&D campaign but wearing the clothing of a Midwestern dad. My biggest question is whether or not this is going to be the start of a folk hero horror shared universe. Will we soon be talking about an undead Pecos Bill gunning down teens and cyborg John Henry taking revenge on humanity? Will this lead to the horror version of that movie Tall Tale in which all of them battle to the death? As this movie is now eight years old, I’m guessing not, but hope springs eternal.

Will we see the Babe vs. Widowmaker fight that we all need?

The movie starts off with a flashback of a group of loggers whose outfits definitely don’t match the time period eating a massive wall of meat. If you can’t guess where this is going, don’t worry, the movie only gives you about 90 seconds before a giant man (Chris Hahn) murders all of the loggers. It then jumps to the modern day where a bunch of kids in a reform program for first-time offenders are being sent into the woods under the supervision of Sergeant Hoke (Tom Downey) and guidance counselor Mrs. K (Kristina Kopf). The five kids are Marty, Trish, Zack, Rosa, and CB (Clifton Williams, Jill Evyn, Jesse Kove, Victoria Ramos, Amber Connor). Their personalities range from bad boy to bad girl to generic horror protagonist (CB). If you’re looking for depth, good news, other movies exist. These characters are here to die in interesting ways involving a giant man and they don’t need to be believable for that.

They’re five teens in a creepy cabin. What could go wrong?

While in the woods, the group encounters local crazy hermit Meeks (Joe Estevez), but after he earns his cameo money as the only name in the film, he is driven away. While hiking the next day, two of the teens find a skull from a giant ox and steal a horn. Naturally, this was Babe the Blue Ox’s resting place and they’ve just pissed off Paul Bunyan. He follows them and kills Trish by bisecting her vertically, which is admittedly the kind of stuff that makes these movies worthwhile. When Hoke tries to fight back, Bunyan kills him by splitting him in half horizontally, because he’s not an axe giant if he doesn’t use that axe. The survivors escape to a cabin, but Bunyan destroys their van. They’re joined by Meeks who tells them that Bunyan was born with a condition that makes him gigantic and also long-lived. He was imprisoned for murder when he killed the loggers for eating Babe. He got bigger since then. 

He’s about to give Trish a splitting headache.

They try to return the horn, but Bunyan just uses it to kill one of the teens, because he does NOT care anymore. Bunyan smashes up the cabin and kills yet another of the teens, so now we’re just down to CB, Marty, and Mrs. K. They’re joined by CB’s dad, who is the sheriff of the town, and he incapacitates Bunyan with tranquilizers. Meeks takes Bunyan’s side and shoots Marty, but Bunyan continues not to care and murders Meeks. The giant chases all of the remaining cast over a bridge in time to be shot to death by a militia. Turns out that a big human still doesn’t do well with hundreds of bullet holes. And now he’s dead, since, again, sequel unlikely. Also, since the writer/director, Gary Jones, hasn’t done anything since, I’m guessing he’s not building his own cinematic universe.

You thought the T-Rex was scary to outrun? Well, it is. But this guy has an axe.

This isn’t the worst B-movie I’ve seen by a long shot, but it definitely was trying a bunch of stuff that it did NOT have the budget for. Some of the scenes of Bunyan holding people or interacting with them look super fake. I will say that Bunyan himself actually looks pretty good for the money. The design looks like a person who is both deformed and also has been suffering from living outdoors for a century. The characters are mediocre, but at least the kills are kind of fun.

If that looks like a man holding a Barbie… it probably is.

Overall, it’s not a top-tier B movie, but it’s fun. 

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 (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

SOLOS: A Mixed-Bag with a Must-See – Amazon Prime Review

Amazon Prime brings us a Pandemic show that has its ups and downs.


It’s an anthology of sci-fi stories with each episode being composed (mostly) of a single character. They range from a time-traveler talking to herself, an older woman venturing alone into the edges of space, a man meeting his double, a woman who doesn’t remember why she’s in a waiting room, to a woman who hasn’t left her home in twenty years because of a pandemic. The themes often involve death, time, or, weirdly, farting. The stars are: Anne Hathaway, Anthony Mackie, Helen Mirren, Uzo Aduba, Constance Wu, Nicole Beharie, Dan Stevens, and Morgan Freeman.

Naturally, Morgan Freeman narrates.


So, when this show started, I really liked the first episode. After all, it’s Anne Hathaway talking to herself and Anne Hathaway is just so darn fun and charming that adding more of her is still a great time. The jokes can be a bit hackneyed, but, again, when Anne Hathaway is being hackneyed, she does it with such sincerity that you really believe it and you’ll laugh even at jokes about 2019 pop culture. The second episode, though, blew me away. Not only is Anthony Mackie hilarious when talking to himself, when it comes time to do the dramatic moments, he makes you feel it. He feels like a man genuinely trying to convey how much he values his family and how much he regrets not doing it sooner. He’s trying to tell himself about what made his life great and that it wasn’t what he expected. It broke me a bit, to be honest.

The man has talent.

Unfortunately, while the rest of the episodes continue to bring great performers out, it seems like the scripts started running dry after that. A lot of jokes are kind of repeated (So. Many. Fart. Jokes.), a lot of the themes get run into the ground, and, honestly, the show starts relying too much on the settings rather than just using them to explore human emotions. Uzo Aduba’s episode, which focuses on a woman who has been living in her house since a global pandemic mandated isolation, might have been funny but it really hit too close to home right now.

Hathaway wins the best set, though.

Overall, the show itself isn’t the best thing out there, but you really should watch the first two episodes. The second one for sure.

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 (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Cougars, Inc: Beautiful Women Paying Mediocre Men for Sex – Amazon Prime Review

This movie advertises No, literally. 


Sam (Kyle Gallner) is an unruly student dumped at a prestigious boarding school for his senior year. He quickly starts to connect with the dean of the school, Dan (Jim Belushi), and makes friends with a few other students, including Jimmy (Ryan Pinkston). While he starts to do better in school, he finds out that his playmate mother is no longer covering his tuition. He tries to make a date with his crush Courtney (Sarah Hyland), but it doesn’t happen. Depressed, he goes to a bar and ends up connecting with an older woman named Alison (Kathryn Morris). Hearing his troubles, Alison gives Sam a check. He then pitches her an idea for her to get some of her friends (including Denise Richards) to pay him in order to sleep with his friends. Soon, Sam is caught up in dating Courtney, sleeping with Alison, and trying to manage an escort company. Eventually, he tries to shut the company down, only for him to find out that Denise Richards and Jim Belushi are his girlfriend’s parents and to find out that all of his friends are now pissed at him. He drops out of the school, only to find out that Courtney is headed to the same place and they reconnect with no one being charged with anything and Dan being happy with Sam anyway.

Yes, this guy screams “so good at sex you’ll pay for it.”


Did any of you have a classmate in your freshman year who insisted that he got laid, it’s just that he sleeps with older, more mature, hot women? It’s the same guy who had a girlfriend in Canada in high school. Well, good news, he wrote a movie. This film’s basic premise is that older women, who are only in their early forties and are clearly all models, would be willing to spend a lot of money in order to sleep with 18 year old men who are nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing. There are so many problems with that, I’m not even sure where to begin.

A group of clearly desperate women who could not get laid by just going to a bar.

I wasn’t really sure who this movie was for, aside from people who want to see MILF pornography but don’t know that the internet exists, until about 30 minutes in when the boys are starting their business. They watch an actual ad for the website, almost in its entirety, and then decide that this is the exact market that they are aiming for and thus can use it to find clients. Then it hit me: This film was clearly just supposed to be an ad for that website. It even changed its title during production to better match the name, because the film was originally called “Mothers Little Helpers.” Admittedly, the title change might be because “Mothers Little Helpers” is basically a giant ball of hot nausea in my stomach, but I think it’s clearly related to the website.

I get the same nausea from imagining Jim Belushi and Denise Richards together.

If you’re not familiar with it, was, and appears to still be, a website dedicated to hooking up older women with younger men. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that in principle, but their ads were generally pretty cheesy and made it feel dirtier than it probably needed to be. This movie suggests that all of the women on that site are A) gorgeous, B) in their early forties or lower, C) enthusiastic to have sex with 18 year olds, and D) willing to pay the young ones for the pleasure. Truly a marketing masterpiece. The idea that this was just marketing for a website also makes the complete lack of actual decent plot in the film more understandable. Entire chunks of what would normally be character development are avoided through the narrative device of answering a questionnaire. It literally skips over any of the non-forced interaction between Sam and Courtney by showing a few sketches and stating that they’re dating. Not that I don’t mind using a narrative device to avoid tedium, but when you use it just to skip back to hot women banging not-so-hot men, then you know what your film is and you’re just trying to get it in the can.

Ninety percent sure this woman was in the film at some point.

Overall, this was not a good movie. Not even a so-bad-its-good movie. I genuinely think it’s just a commercial. Although, it’ll probably work on college kids, so… maybe it’s a good commercial?

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 (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Poltergay: This is Real and French – Amazon Prime Review

A haunted nightclub starts to affect a couple’s relationship.


Marc and Emma (Clovis Cornillac and Julie Depardieu. Yes, Gerard Depardieu’s daughter) are young, recently married, and new homeowners. However, it turns out that their house used to be the site of a literally underground spot in 1979 called L’Ambigu. As the name apparently suggests in French (I don’t get it, but apparently it’s a joke), the nightclub was a gay disco. One night, during a foam party, the foam machine malfunctioned and exploded, killing a number of people, including five of the most enthusiastic dancers, whose remains were, somehow, not found: Michel, Salopette/Shaggy, Gilles, Ivan, and Bertrand (Philippe Duquesne, Lionel Abelanski, Jean-Michel Lahmi, Georges Gay, Gilles Gaston-Dreyfus). In the present, it turns out that Marc can see these fantastic phantoms, but Emma cannot, nor can Marc’s friend David (Alain Fromager). This leads Emma to think Marc is going nuts from being secretly gay, something that results in her leaving him when he accidentally hits her father with a shovel.

He shovels well.

However, Marc finds out that he’s neither crazy nor closeted when he discovers that any “pure” straight man (a man who has had no homosexual contact) can see the ghosts as well. Now that he starts to bond with the ghosts with the help of paranormal expert Professor de Sorgues (Michel Duchaussoy), the five poltergeists agree to help Marc win Emma back. Eventually, they succeed and even open up the world’s first intermingled living and dead gay disco. 

Romance involves spectral voyeurs, I guess.


Most of my “B Movie Saturday” selections are based around the high standard of “whatever has a funny title” and you cannot tell me this movie doesn’t nail that particular requirement. I’m surprised that a movie with that title didn’t come out during the ‘80s, although I imagine that anything coming out back then with this title would probably have been insensitive to the point of being unwatchable. Instead, this movie starts off feeling like that kind of film, then somehow manages to subvert most of your expectations enough that it ends up being pretty entertaining. Also, despite being labeled a “horror” comedy on Amazon Prime, the only thing horrifying about this movie is that the ghosts are kind of perverted and invasive of Marc’s privacy (including watching him and Emma have sex and photographing him nude), although they’re from the 1970s, so I guess consent has come a long way.

Or maybe it’s okay to grope if you’re dead. I dunno.

The only comment I saw about this movie before watching it was a complaint on Amazon that all of the ghosts are reminiscent of the overly flamboyant gay stereotypes that populated cinema for most of its history. The word “mincing” was used in the statement, which might be why it appears to have been pulled since. The thing is, I think that’s really only true of the characters in terms of appearance. All of them are dressed in their finest, but of course they are, they died in a nightclub. They all have very different personalities and, while they do mostly enjoy messing with Marc, they all appear to be doing it for different reasons. Hell, Gilles even insists throughout the movie that, despite all appearances and his love of looking at nude men, that he’s straight and was only at the club “for the dancing.” This would be a lousy running gag if it weren’t played so seriously and if it didn’t end with him meeting the ghost of a dead Roman who died in a bathhouse that he was at “just for the bathing.” The two hit it off, naturally, and both quickly drop any pretense of being straight. It’s kind of an interesting character arc, particularly when the movie hints at why, even after dying, Gilles is so hesitant to admit his sexuality.

There’s not a lot of subtlety in the outfits, to be fair.

The key to the movie is that it is just campy enough, just caring enough, and just well-written enough to keep you hooked throughout. You do start to like all of the characters and want them to be happy.  Yes, a number of parts of the film are goofy as hell, but they’re the right kind of light-hearted comedy that never feels like they’re punching down at anyone. It’s a fun film and that’s clearly what they wanted to make. The biggest downside appears to be that many of the jokes in the movie don’t work as well when you have to read them. However, even with the subtitles, you’re going to have a good time.

And yeah, there’s the obligatory Village People scene.

Overall, a pretty solid foreign comedy.

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 (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Stripped to Kill: Surprisingly Progressive in Some Ways – Amazon Prime Review

This movie is filled with nudity but treats its female characters decently (by 80s standards).

SUMMARY (Written while drunk)

LAPD officer Cody (Kay Lenz) and her partner, Heineman (Greg Evigan), are working undercover in a low-rent neighborhood. They then find a stripper named Angel (Michelle Foreman) being thrown off of a bridge and then burned alive. LAPD pretty much immediately indicates they don’t really care about this, but Cody agrees to go undercover at Angel’s strip club to try and find the killer. Cody competes in an open stripping contest and wins by rigging the audience with cops who, the film notes, really were enthusiastic about the “look at strippers” assignment. Your tax dollars at work. She then gets hired when another girl, Cinnamon (Carlyle Baron), gets fired for drugs… and subsequently murdered. Cody starts to befriend some of the other girls at the club, but doesn’t get particularly close to Angel’s lover Roxanne (Pia Kamakahi). 

Undercover, uncovered.

Heineman starts to look into possible suspects, including the local pervert Pocket (Peter Scranton), a man named because the girls notice he has a hole cut in the pocket of his pants. Some of the other girls, believing that Pocket is the killer and that the cops don’t care about them, because they’re viewed as sex workers, beat the crap out of him, only for Heineman to discover that Pocket is actually missing a hand and thus couldn’t be the killer. Cody’s superiors find out that she’s still undercover and order her to quit, but she continues behind their backs, hoping to defend the other girls. Cody and Heineman eventually bang, because of course they do, and then they fight, because of course they do. Cody eventually meets Roxanne’s brother, Eric, and, suspicious, searches his place. She discovers that Eric has killed Roxanne (who was going to run off with Angel) and has been taking her place, including stripping using a pair of latex breasts. He chases her with a gun and eventually ends up back at the club where Eric starts shooting people randomly. Eventually, Cody covers him in gasoline and he burns to death when he shoots her. Heineman arrives and saves Cody from the fire and they probably bang again after the credits. 

This guy is basically useless to Cody, so I assume they break up after.


Last year I reviewed Ida Lupino’s movie The Hitchhiker. It’s a pretty timid horror film to the modern audience, but at the time it came out it was pretty unique. Part of that uniqueness is that it was the first film noir directed by a woman. While that film only had male characters, it still had an approach exploring the emotions and lives of the characters that didn’t happen much in films back then. In 1982, Amy Holden Jones and Rita Mae Brown came up with a low-budget film called Slumber Party Massacre under the Pope of Pop Cinema himself, Roger Corman. That movie came off like a less-scary Halloween, but it’s gained a cult following because, unlike most horror movies, the victims all came off as real people. What I’m saying is, women-directed scary movies, while they were rare back then (and now, honestly), tended to have a different approach to character development that set them apart. This movie takes that up a notch by treating strippers as actual people, something that I think even modern cinema is hesitant to do.

A progressive film.

While it’s pretty clear that the massive number of strip routines that feature in this movie, often intercut with other scenes, were probably one of the selling points to producer Roger Corman (yeah, same guy), they are actually treated as empowering, expressive, and artistic. It’s clear that Writer-Director Katt Shea (who would later make the film Poison Ivy), really considered strippers not just to be people, but talented performers. That stands in direct contrast to most ’80s horror. While the scenes are still done in a way that clearly cater towards getting men to fork over their paychecks, they’re damned impressive physically, particularly when we get to compare it to some of Cody’s original, very clumsy routines. 

She’s good at acting uncomfortable.

I’m not going to say that the actual acting or plot of this movie is great. The performances are often very flat and, while the twist ending doesn’t come out of nowhere, the fact that so much of this movie is occupied by strip routines does mean that there is not a lot of story. The character development between Cody and the other girls at the club is great and believable, while most of her interactions with Heineman are not. However, this movie is, at least, something different for the time period and it worked towards humanizing a group that most movies considered expendable. That’s something to be respected and I do recommend watching it for that reason.

Although, minus points for the trans person being a psycho killer, I guess.

Overall, if you don’t appreciate the feminism, you’ll appreciate the boobs, so… something for everyone?

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 (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Them (Covenant): Racism is Still Bad, But Also Spooky – Amazon Prime Review

Amazon brings us a tale of a black family being tormented in the 1950s.


Black couple Henry and Livia “Lucky” Emory (Ashley Thomas and Deborah Ayorinde) move with their daughters Ruby and Gracie (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Melody Hurd) to the white neighborhood of East Compton in Los Angeles. Immediately, they are set upon by their white neighbors, particularly the local queen bee Betty Wendell (Alison Pill). While at first the Emorys are just tormented by the racism, harassment, and degradation from their fellow East Compton residents, it soon becomes apparent that there is something more unnatural at play. Over ten days, the Emorys are slowly driven to the edge of madness and maybe even beyond.

The calm before the storm.


Does everyone remember Lovecraft Country? How about the movie US? I think before people condemn this show for being a rip-off version of those, it’s important to note that this show was actually put into production before those came out. It’s supposed to be an anthology by season, similar to American Horror Story. Unfortunately, due to the length of production (also Covid), this show came out after US (which it would probably not have been compared to directly aside from the title) and after Lovecraft Country (to which it cannot help but be directly compared due to the subject matter and the time period). Naturally, this show wouldn’t need to worry about that if it was better than either of those properties, but it decidedly is not. While Lovecraft Country ties racism directly into the origins of science-fiction and cosmic horror through the works of noted racist H.P. Lovecraft, this show instead just kind of throws out “people are racist here, so now magic?” ***SPOILER*** It doesn’t help that one of the final reveals kind of suggests that the racism in the neighborhood might be related to an unholy covenant from the 1800s, which means that some of the neighbors’ actions might not have been their fault? That kind of undercuts some of the events. ***SPOILER-END***

And, of course, the disturbing imagery abounds.

The main thing that seems to be mentioned repeatedly in reviews of this show is how over-the-top the violence gets and that’s a fair complaint. While I’m not against violence in television, particularly if it’s done to give the viewer an accurate image of historical violence, this show ends up taking it to a deeply uncomfortable level without it adding anything to the message. I did see some people commenting that the acts done to drive out the Emorys at the beginning of the show seemed too extreme to be believable, to which I would say that no, those are all things that were actually done to drive out black people from white neighborhoods and I think making sure people understand that is important. It’s the supernatural violence and the exploitative way the later episodes handled it that neither entertain nor keep the story going.

They have not had a nice week.

The performances in the show are well done, particularly Deborah Ayorinde as Lucky, a woman who has just lost one child and is now thrust into a situation that threatens her other children. She has to play a person who is constantly being pushed more than someone can handle and yet knows that if she shows it she’ll be condemned even more. Alison Pill, on the other hand, plays a character who doesn’t do most of the violent acts in the show but is still almost certainly the most despicable. 

She does a great job of soulless cheer.

Overall, the show was good at the beginning but really starts to get too much towards the end. 

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 (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Invincible: A Solid Adaptation of a Great Comic – Amazon Prime Review

The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman’s teen hero comes to the small screen.


Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) is the son of realtor Debbie Grayson (Sandra Oh) and writer Nolan Grayson (J.K. Simmons). Oh, and Nolan is actually Omni-Man, the world’s greatest superhero. Before his 18th birthday, Mark finally gets his superpowers and adopts the superhero moniker of Invincible. Now armed with flight, superstrength, superspeed, and the ability to make bad jokes mid-fight, Mark tries to live up to his father’s example. He works with the Teen Team, a group comprised of the Robot (Zachary Quinto), Atom Eve (Gillian Jacobs), Rex Splode (Jason Mantzoukas), and Dupli-Kate (Malese Jow). Shortly after this, the Guardians of the Globe, the most powerful superteam on the planet, are killed, leading the world to need the Teen Team and Invincible to start picking up the slack, as new threats seem to be constantly on the rise.

He doesn’t fly super well, but he tries hard.


I loved the Invincible comic, as it was a story in which the main character dealt with real problems, hero problems, and the intersection between what a superhero is supposed to do and what would actually help people. Mark grows a lot over the series in believable ways that sometimes reflect his loss of idealism and often demonstrate that this loss allows him to evolve his sense of right and wrong without being broken by the weight of trying to take on the world’s problems. Also, the writing was pretty funny. Naturally, when I heard it was getting an animated adaptation, I was very excited, but also concerned. Invincible, while it was well-done and liked by many comic fans, didn’t have a lot of mainstream success. Typically, this means two things can happen in an adaptation: Either they’ll change everything (hoping the new version gets more attention) or they’ll just adapt it as closely as possible (since not enough people know what’s going to happen for it to matter). 

The trailers included some iconic comic scenes, making me think the latter.

Fortunately, this show seems to be eschewing both of those and giving a mostly-faithful adaptation with enough differences that comic fans will not be sure where it’s going. The story is mostly the same as the comics, so far, dealing with Mark trying to come to terms with being a superhero and also being a teenager. His insecurities about living up to his father’s example are a bit more exaggerated in the show, but that will likely change a bit during this season. There’s a mystery angle going on in the series that didn’t really happen in the comics and I’m excited to see if they play it out the same.

Whatever gives us more Omni-Man.

The voice cast in this show is as good as it gets, possibly rivaled only by DuckTales (woo-oo). Steven Yeun gives a ton of extra personality to Mark and J.K. Simmons as Superman with a mustache is nothing short of awesome. The supporting cast of the Teen Team has a ton of talent, and their expanded roster includes veteran voice actors Grey Griffin and Khary Payton. Walton Goggins plays the uptight and slightly shady head of the Global Defense Agency, Zazie Beetz plays Mark’s love interest Amber, and there are too many other great cameos and recurring performances to count, including Mahershala Ali, Clancy Brown, and Mark Hamill (Applause). 

Clancy Brown voices a demon detective. Perfect.

Overall, give this show a shot if you like solid superhero stories. I can’t wait for it to keep going.

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 (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Sound of Metal: You Have to Lose to Find – Amazon Prime Review

A drummer who starts to go deaf tries to move forward with his life.


Ruben Stone (Riz Ahmed) is a drummer in a heavy metal duo, Blackgammon, with his girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke). They live in an RV and travel the country playing together, but Ruben suddenly seems to lose his hearing. When he’s diagnosed, it’s revealed that he can only hear 20-30% of the words that are spoken to him. He is told about cochlear implants, but they are prohibitively expensive and not covered by his insurance. Putting even more pressure on the situation, Ruben is a recovering heroin addict. Lou, upon finding out, helps Ruben get into a shelter which is run by a deaf recovering alcoholic named Joe (Paul Raci). Joe informs Lou that only Ruben will be allowed to stay there, and proceeds to start helping Ruben learn how to be deaf, including learning ASL under a teacher named Diane (Lauren Ridloff). However, it’s not so easy to get over the life you once had.

He’s very focused, as you might guess.


I honestly hesitated a little bit in reviewing this movie. Not that it isn’t a good film, in fact it’s fantastic, but this film features a controversy which I don’t seem to fully understand (mostly because I’m not deaf). This movie brings that conflict to the forefront, and it’s whether or not cochlear implants are an affront to deaf culture. In the film, much like in real life, cochlear implants are viewed by many deaf people as a way of destroying their culture and treating deafness as a handicap. I’m going to try to avoid weighing in on that too much beyond saying that it is an issue that the film addresses.

Pictured: Controversy.

There are really two central reasons that this film succeeds: Great sound editing and Riz Ahmed. As to the former, this is some of the best sound work that I’ve heard since A Quiet Place (which, notably, did NOT win the Oscar). The film has to convey what Ruben is going through, which is not quite deafness in the way that many movies portray it (where everything is just silent). If you’ve seen the horror movie Hush, for example, the film goes completely silent when scenes are portrayed from the protagonist’s P.O.V. Sound of Metal instead has to portray everything as muted, but not consistently so, because Ruben’s ears are not equally damaged. This would be an amazing film to watch in a theater, but, of course, this year is not the time for that. If you’ve got surround sound, though, this is the time to use it. As to Riz Ahmed, he just nails it. He has to play a person who is going through a massive life change which affects everything and, somehow, he always seems believable. He’s scared, he’s curious, he’s worried that he’s going to be tempted back into drugs, and he’s always feeling like he’s lost something. 

His scenes with the deaf kids are amazing.

The major supporting character of the movie is Paul Raci as Joe. Raci, who apparently was born to deaf parents and thus has about as much understanding for deaf culture as a hearing person can, constantly comes off as trying to touch Ruben’s heart in an attempt to make him feel whole. He’s not trying to tell him to get over it, nor even to accept it, he’s just trying to tell him to exist as he is. It’s amazing that he can do this while also appearing to be the kind of badass that would have punched his way through Vietnam if the Army hadn’t given him a gun. He takes no shit, but he gives a lot of affection and understanding.

The face kinda sums it up.

Overall, this is a great film and I really 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 (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

The Goes Wrong Show: Unbelievably Funny and Creative – Amazon Prime Review

A British Comedy theater company brings us a hilarious concept that somehow doesn’t get old.


Welcome to Play of the Week, a program in which the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society attempts to put on an original play every week and broadcast it live to the whole of the UK. The troupe is led by director Chris Dean (Henry Shields), and includes the “great” actors Robert Groves (Henry Lewis), Dennis Tyde (Jonathan Sayer), Max Bennett (Dave Hearn), Sandra Wilkinson (Charlie Russell), Vanessa Wilcock-Wynn-Carroway (Bryony Corrigan), Annie Twilloil (Nancy Zamit), Trevor Watson (Chris Leask), Jonathan Harris (Greg Tannahill), and a studio audience who is apparently having a great time. Unfortunately, it seems that the members are never quite able to get all of their ducks in a row. The actors forget lines, the stages are improperly built, and, occasionally, someone gets arrested for petty crimes. 

They’re a talented bunch.


Back in 2015, when the world was so very different, the “Mischief Theater” debuted “The Play That Goes Wrong,” in which a troupe attempts to debut a The Mousetrap-style mystery play that, as you would guess from the title, goes completely off-the-rails. It was apparently a hit, because the people behind it were given this show in which they have to do exactly the same thing, over and over again, without it getting stale. Sure, you may think that doesn’t sound that difficult, but how many ways do you really think a play can “go wrong?” Saying the wrong lines or missing cues can only be surprising so many times. Unbelievably, this show manages to keep coming up with refreshing, original, and genuinely hilarious every episode. Granted, there are only 6 episodes at present, but even that is damned impressive.

Sometimes there’s fire.

Part of the reason the show works is that the cast are phenomenal. It takes a lot of talent to act, believably, like someone with no talent, and most of the cast have to not only do that, but to do that in different ways every time. Additionally, the physical stunts on this show sometimes border on the insane. Characters will fall off of the second story regularly, a thing that looks much more impressive when you see the insane buildup. They also will routinely get knocked around by other cast members (on purpose or on accident), get shoved through walls, and get catapulted across the stage. The fact that they’re recording this in front of a studio audience makes it even more impressive. 

Sometimes it’s a hair issue… or something more.

Another solid trait is that each episode has some sort of “prompt,” which has nothing to do with the theme of the play. For example, they need to stretch for time so they are adding words to the script. Each of these prompts means that there’s already something that is “off” about the play, which makes it even more intense when the actors not only have other things go wrong, but also still have to keep the prompt going. 

A lot of the time, it’s that the set designers got drunk at lunch.

Overall, it’s a great show and I really recommend checking it out. One of the funniest shows I’ve watched in a while.

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 (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

One Night in Miami: A Fake Story of Four Real Men – Amazon Prime Review

A football player, a civil rights activist, a musician, and a boxer walk into a hotel room.


It’s February 25, 1964 and boxer Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) defeats Sonny Liston (Aaron D. Alexander) for the first time to become the world Heavyweight Champion. Among the observers in the audience are: Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), who is currently at odds with Elijah Muhammad (Jerome A. Wilson), the head of the Nation of Islam; Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), who is currently coming off of one of the greatest NFL seasons of all time; and Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom, Jr.), who has recently been playing to predominantly unsupportive and all-white audiences. The four men agree to meet up after the match in Malcolm X’s hotel room, where personalities clash, friendships and loyalties are tested, opinions and passions are shared, and a lot of history might just have been made… if it were real. 

There is a photo of Muhammad Ali taken by Malcolm X on that night. Really.


It’s always hard to address films like this where the people involved are real, as are many of the events depicted or referenced, but the actual conversations that are the focus of the story are fiction. This story is really just a study in what happens when you throw four major personalities into the same room. All of these men were legends in their respective fields and their contributions are still well-known. Malcolm X is frequently referenced as a civil rights leader during one of the most tumultuous times in US History (which will probably end one day), Jim Brown still holds 10 NFL records and appeared in a number of great films, Sam Cooke’s songs are still covered frequently, and Cassius Clay, as Muhammad Ali, is probably the most famous boxer of all time. It’s amazing how well the movie points out their extreme talent and success while still pointing out that they faced challenges that no white person would face. There’s a particularly disturbing scene between Jim Brown and a man played by Beau Bridges which is, apparently, directly lifted from Jim Brown’s autobiography. 

Some variety in the attire, to be sure. All stylish, very different.

As with most movies that take place largely in one single location, the film’s strength is in the performances. Each of the four leads has to both represent a known historical figure and also to stand up to the performances of each of the others, which is a hell of a challenge. All four, though, pull it off amazingly. Eli Goree manages to portray Cassius Clay as both the self-promoting egomaniac that he was in public and also as a person with doubts about his conversion and about his life in general. Aldis Hodge plays Brown as a bit of an outsider to the group, with the least radical agenda, but an ambition beyond just being a football player (even though he was one of the best). Also, he nails the voice. Kingsley Ben-Adir captures the persona of Malcolm X as well as almost any actor does, but he adds a wonderful level of vulnerability that many portrayals don’t. Leslie Odom Jr. manages to not only play Sam Cooke, but give several great song performances while doing so. It’s not surprising that he earned a nomination. 

He’s so damned talented.

The one thing that this movie does portray, even if indirectly, is that while these are all great men, they are also deeply flawed people. They all have their own selfish tendencies, their own flaws, and their own opinions about their roles as representatives of the black community. They all have their own fears and ambitions and I like that they feel like four real people, even if their public personas often dominated their lives. It takes a lot of control to make a movie that walks the line between making them legends and making them men and Regina King managed it in her directorial debut. Amazing.

Hail to the Queen, baby.

Overall, it’s a great film and I really 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 (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.