The Map of Tiny Perfect Things: Groundhog Day, Teen Romance Edition – Amazon Prime Review

I feel like I’ve seen this movie over and over again.

SUMMARY

Mark (Kyle Allen) is stuck in a Groundhog Day Loop that’s 16 hours long and has been there for long enough that he can roughly predict the events of the morning: His sister, Emma (Cleo Fraser), will call him a loser, his father (Josh Hamilton) will do a crossword puzzle, his friend Henry (Jermaine Harris) will lose at a video game, and a girl named Phoebe (Anna Mikami) will need directions. After being stuck for a while, Mark asks Henry for advice. Henry suggests that, like in Groundhog Day, Mark needs to get a girlfriend. While trying to find a loop that makes Phoebe fall for him, Mark is interrupted by Margaret (Kathryn Newton), a girl who is also stuck in the same loop. Together, the pair come up with an idea to escape the loop: Find all of the tiny, perfect moments that life has to offer.

The awkward car ride is not one of them.

END SUMMARY

I think I would have liked this movie more if I hadn’t seen Palm Springs last year. This movie is somewhat original in its use of the trope, but it just gets completely overshadowed by the darker and better-written version. While the characters are implied to have been in the loop for a while, they have not yet hit the nihilist period that often defines all of the films with this premise. As such, this film doesn’t ever feel like it explores its characters as fully as other movies using this trope. We also don’t really get any idea of how long the characters have been in the loop, but it feels much shorter than most other films like this. Hence, we don’t get the same feeling of character growth that we usually would.

Then again, teens might not be big on character growth.

The two leads both do a great job of conveying their confusion, mixed with excitement and worry, about their situation. They’re at a vulnerable time in their lives so they don’t immediately treat the time loop as an opportunity to do insanely dangerous or adventurous things like many people in such films. When they meet, they were both completely unaware of each other and the only thing they have in common is the situation. Their relationship feels natural even though they don’t have the kind of chemistry that makes us feel like they instantly connect. Even when it seems like they’re getting along, they never have the kind of passion we expect from these films. Instead, it’s a growing friendship that doesn’t necessarily feel like it needs to become romantic and that’s refreshing to me.

Partially because she starts off wearing Alex Mack’s wardrobe.

The thing that bothers me most about the film, though, is that they propose that finding all of these nebulous “perfect” moments might end the loop. They then spend the rest of the movie trying to somehow scientifically justify this solution. It’s kind of ridiculous and, while I do understand that it adds a little meaning to the film, I also just couldn’t quite get over it. 

Also, she’s trying to be an astronaut. She should know how science works.

Overall, though, it’s a pretty good movie. Just not Palm Springs good.

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Freaky: Genuinely Fun Horror – Amazon Rental Review

A girl and a masked slasher switch bodies. Hilarity and gore ensue.

SUMMARY

For decades the people of Blissfield have been attacked by the Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughn), a masked slasher. During one of his newest attacks, the Butcher acquires the dagger of La Dola. The next day, he attacks local teen Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton), who manages to survive after being stabbed in the shoulder after her police officer sister, Char (Dana Drori), arrives and scares the killer away. The next day, Millie awakes inside of the Butcher’s body and vice-versa. Now the murderer is plying his deadly trade in her body and she has to convince her best friends Nyla and Josh (Celeste O’Connor and Misha Osherovich) to help her get her body back before the high school is a bloodbath.

Be afraid of the teenage girl, Vince Vaughn.

END SUMMARY

Taking place in the same universe as Happy Death Day and its sequel, apparently, this movie also took that film’s idea of “take a comedy premise and make a horror film,” this time combining Freaky Friday with Friday the 13th. The film even drives this home by having the events take place on that day, making it quite literally Freaky Friday the 13th. It’s with that kind of deliciously terrible humor that this movie starts and it just keeps going from there. 

With tributes to many of the great slasher moments in history.

A lot of this movie’s success is due almost entirely to Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton. Each one has to play both the villain and the heroine and they both nail it. Vince Vaughn’s portrayal of a teen girl in the body of an aging serial murderer (complete with above-average strength) is so perfect that you can even understand why some of the characters in the film start to buy it so completely. Kathryn Newton, on the other hand, has to play Jason Vorhees if he was a cheerleader. She’s cold and ruthless and wants to kill everyone, but also, she weighs like 98 pounds, something that makes many of her attempts to commit homicide genuinely comical.

Although some are still scary.

This movie is further proof that one of the best ways to make a comedy movie is to take a ridiculous premise and treat it completely genuinely. Yes, this dialogue is pretty funny and the movie benefits from that, but most of the humor really just comes from how sincerely everyone plays this absurd idea. 

I mean, I admit that it helps that I find Vaughn very naturally funny.

Overall, if you’re a fan of horror or dark comedy, this is a must-see. 

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.