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. 

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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Netflix Review – The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend (Interactive Special)

THEY ALIVE, DAMMIT!!! IT’S A MIRACLE!!!

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

It’s been a few years since the end of the show and Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) is a successful author and getting married to her English fiance Frederick (D–Censored for Surprise–e). Her former roommate Titus Andromedon (Tituss Burgess) is trying to get his film career started with the help of his manager, Jacqueline White (Jane Krakowski), and his former landlady Lillian Kaushtupper (Carol Kane). However, Kimmy finds a book in her backpack that forces her to once again deal with her nemesis and former captor the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon “Sexual Dynamite” Hamm). 

I’m not saying you should pick Make Out, but… It’s Ellie Kemper.

END SUMMARY

I’ve enjoyed most of the Netflix Interactive specials so far, from Black Mirror’s film Bandersnatch to the Carmen Sandiego episode, although, honestly, the best thing they’ve put out in the format is probably Minecraft: Story Mode. However, in a lot of ways, this one is the most fun because it’s really just like an extra-long and meta-textual episode of Kimmy Schmidt

Lots of fourth wall breaks. Including one where they try to repair it.

Unlike Bandersnatch, which was largely based around playing through it a number of times to get all of the various endings (including some that were only accessible on a second or third playthrough), Kimmy Schmidt decided to make it fairly easy to get through on the first viewing. Since the episode’s framing device is a choose-your-own-adventure book, whenever you have a choice, you typically either get it right or you get to a dead end and the show resets back to the divergent point so you can go forward. If anything, it’s actually more fun to make the wrong decisions throughout the episode so that you can see all of the hilarious alternate endings. Theoretically, you can get to the end and get one of what I think are 3 wrong endings, but it’s actually harder to NOT get the happy ending in this particular instance. 

The dress is the most crucial decision ever. EVER.

As to the episode itself, I’m impressed with how well they managed to keep the timing of the humor despite how often the episode has to stop for 10 seconds to give the viewer a chance to select the next scene. A lot of that is just that all of the actors in the show are amazingly talented comedians who have a natural sense of timing and tone, but also the writing is appropriately snappy.

So much talent in one room.

It also helps that this serves as the epilogue to the show that manages to, seemingly canonically, add an extra happy ending onto the tale of a woman who deserves it. Even though we have never met Kimmy’s fiance before now, D—– ——–e manages to be charming, hilarious, and just as weird as Kimmy, making it a match made in heaven. Titus and Jacqueline similarly get a nice final chapter to their story that feels earned. Lillian… well, she’s hilarious and doesn’t need another chapter. 

The reverend gets another chapter of being amazingly funny and horrible.

Overall, I really recommend it to anyone who watched the show. I will give you two tips: 1) Try to skip the intro song. You will be pleasantly surprised. 2) When you get the option to spare or kill someone… kill them all the ways you can. You will be VERY pleasantly surprised. 

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.