Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Back on track.

Back in the day, my brother and I took a train ride to Chicago – bright and early. We don’t live too far away, but far enough for it to be a 2-3 hour ride by rail. Why? Well I’ll tell you. We were headed to audition to be extras in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. If we made it, we’d likely get paid for our time, and we’d get to have an experience like no other. So we waited in line for roughly six hours. They had us sign disclaimer and information paperwork in case we actually got the roles of extras. Get this, they actually had a section of the paperwork dedicated if you want to volunteer your car to be in the movie to like, blow up or something. Anyways, we get our pictures taken and we’re sent on our way. We didn’t get the parts.

The third and original final part of the franchise introduces us to the dark side of the moon, where long ago, Transformers landed – hence why there was a race to the moon. The United States had to get there first to document what alien nature landed there so long ago. Turns out it was Sentinel Prime (Leonard Nimoy). The Decepticons want what was on his ship on the moon – which are beacons that will allow Cybertron to co-exist with Earth, which also means destruction and enslavement of humans – but they can’t activate the beacons without Sentinel, so the Autobots must protect the humans and make sure those Beacons never go off, which also means waking Sentinel Prime.

I may not be the best at explaining the plot of this movie, but it is good and it’s something you just have to see for yourself. It is clearly a lot more solid in its pacing and structure. There are subplots, but thankfully they aren’t focused on as heavily as they were the last time. Instead, everything was dependent and revolved around the story about Sentinel and the beacons. It’s amazing how when you clear things up plotwise, how memorable and ultimately better a movie can be. This and the first movie are a lot of fun, but the first is still the best. They had to make sacrifices in order for this movie to be any good, and those sacrifices are noticed.

Obviously, the soundtrack isn’t nearly as good as the first. Lincoln Park’s song just didn’t fit in as epicly as the previous two movies – but it’s not just the music. The film just feels so ridiculously long, because it still heavily relied on action. There was story, but without the heart and humor of character development and interaction, there was just something that ultimately felt off about this movie. It’s definitely better than the second, but my god it feels long. The character development and interaction in Dark of the Moon wasn’t horrible, but it fell short of both the first and second movie in that regard. This could be because of Rosie Huntington-Whitely, who took the place of Megan Fox. They both aren’t the best actresses, but Megan Fox looked the part while Rosie didn’t. She and Shia just didn’t have the same chemistry and it felt a bit rushed and forced…so I didn’t believe it.

Obviously the look is nice, the new Transformers are fun, but at this point the action does feel repetitive, as fun as it is. Not just the action, but pretty much everything feels slightly stale like we’ve seen this crap before. If you haven’t seen any of the previous movies, that’s a different story, but because you have…it just doesn’t affect you like it should. Plus, I was annoyed with Megatron’s involvement in the second movie…you can bet I was sighing when he showed up in the third too.

The Good:

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is miles better than the second film. It’s clearer, it follows a set path, and it has a more solid plot that they follow throughout.

The Bad:

The heart and humor of Shia’s initial personality in the series was pretty much gone at this point. Instead, they focus on the fact that he’s just…there – and they figure that’s all that matters. His presence is great, but it’s only great based off of how he played the role to begin with, which was nervous and awkward – and it was hilarious and welcome.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
What a mess.

I still have yet to see the fourth in the franchise, but from what I remember from the first three films in the Transformers saga – I disliked the second one the most. I couldn’t remember why exactly, so I popped it in and gave it another try, and for the most part I now remember what was so bad about it. It’s definitely a forgettable movie, but now I can explain the reasons behind that. While people will tell you the whole thing was just a horrible idea, I disagree – I just think the execution was way, way, way over-the-top. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had a good idea somewhere in the muck, and I’m here to try to dig that out.

Alright, so apparently there have been Transformers on Earth for centuries, and they built this machine that they were never able to turn on. The Decepticons are now ready to turn it on, and it’s basically the humans and the Autobots job to stop them. Once again, the Autobots need to find Sam Witwicky, because he has a shard of the AllSpark – which implanted the Cybertron language into his brain – and they need that to find the location of the machine – and the key to start it.

I tried my best to explain the plot, because to me, that’s the main plot – the stuff in Egypt. However, that doesn’t even start until the movie is 90 minutes through. The stuff before that was mostly very episodic subplots. Stuff like Sam going to college, and the Transformers working for the military. Stuff like Sam and Mikaela’s relationship – saying the “L” word and such. Things like humanoid Transformers and hilarious scenes of Sam trying to balance the symbols he sees in his head. Then of course, there’s Megatron’s return and the political advisor that wants to banish the Autobots, because he thinks they are the problem. It just never stopped, and was so, so messy.

They even throw Sam’s parents into the main plot just for more laughs, instead of keeping them as the comedic relief. For that, they introduced the twin Autobots that kept cracking jokes.

I’ll tell you how I would have made the movie:

  • It would have had college as a setting, not a plot
  • It would have had a cameo by Megan Fox, not a supporting role.
  • The symbols that Sam saw were really unique, I would have kept that, as it lead to the main plot.
  • The main plot would have been about the Fallen still, and the Matrix key, which takes place a majority in Egypt.
  • Then it would have ended with a bunch of new, unique Transformers – including the megazord guy and the humanoid transformer(s). Boom. End of movie.

What I would have cut:

  • No political advisor guy trying to banish the Transformers – isn’t that in the third movie anyway? Just keep it there.
  • No Megan Fox whining about Sam not telling her he loves her. I know you need character development, but don’t make it with Megan Fox, who no one cares about anyway.
  • No more AllSpark and Megatron stuff. – I know he’s the main baddy, but they offed him in the first, this just felt like recycled stuff we’ve already seen in the first and it annoyed me…it’s already long, let’s not make it longer, alright?
  • No Sam’s parents other than comedic sides – keep them out of the main action plot.

If the movie went with the pacing I would have chosen,  it would have been shorter, yeah, but it would have made a lot more sense, wouldn’t have been as messy, and it would have still kept the cool elements. I do like the humanoid Transformer, but because the movie is so forgettable, no one cares anymore. I also like the basic story about the Fallen, but it took so long to get there that again, I don’t care anymore. The execution of the film was so horrendous that what was actually good – was watered down to the point that absolutely no one cares about – it just gets old and boring really fast.

The Good:

Somewhere in the muck lies a solid story – which was a new, unique threat in a new setting with new Transformers. The comedy in this was also pretty good, especially with Shia and his symbolic visions. I also like the idea of a humanoid Transformer.

The Bad

However, everything that is good about this film is so horrendously executed that it just doesn’t matter anymore. It tends to feel so drawn-out and so boring because there are so many useless subplots. In a way, it’s God-awful, but at the same time…I want to give credit to what is honestly good…even if the crap watered and flattened it out to almost nothing. 

Transformers (2007)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Probably the best.

Now, I was never one for the cartoon or the Transformers toys…not really…but the whole idea really was fun for a kid – from what experience I do have of them. I don’t understand why anyone would watch a show when you could have real-life toys that actually transform. The whole idea behind the transforming was so cool, in fact, that my brother and I used to make our own transformers out of paper…it’s hard to explain…but for what it was, it worked. When I heard they were making a Transformers movie, I can’t remember how I felt, but I had serious doubts. At that point, Hasbro hadn’t made too many movies, and I thought they were seriously reaching in terms of finding new movies to make…but I can’t forget my reaction after seeing it – it was so cool.

Now, the story is really about Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf). Sam is the descendent of a man that came across the first transformer, buried in ice. Turns out years ago, a giant cube called the “AllSpark” landed on the planet years ago, and both good and bad robots alike are trying to get to it. They are transformers, alien robots that disguise themselves in modern cars. The good ones are trying to get to it to destroy it, while the baddies are trying to obtain it to build an army of more robots on earth. For the AllSpark has the ability to make any inanimate and mechanical device into a transformer. And Sam Witwicky has had the location of the AllSpark on him this whole time.

In all honesty, there’s a lot to the plot. It’s a little crowded, but not too much. You can still understand what’s going on, it just seems like it could have benefited off of a much simpler story, but I digress. This is the role that I believe Shia LaBeouf was born for, before he went and lost his fruity loops mind. It was up to this point that I loved him, and the whole world was claiming that he would be the new Tom Cruise…and I believed it. It was such an awesome transformation on his part – starting out as the nerd on Even Stevens to the coolest kid in theaters. It was pretty impressive, and I couldn’t wait to see him in his next movie. That’s what this franchise gave him, and he went and destroyed his entire career. Just saying. Weirdo.

Anyways, I used to absolutely love this movie, and in some regards, I still do. It’s a heck of a fun film that people of all ages will most likely adore for different reasons. At the same time, I don’t think the series really needed any sequels, knowing in retrospect where it went. I also don’t think anyone was asking for a fourth…but hey. We’ll get to that later, but as it is, this is probably the best movie in the series. It had the best characters,character development, which goes into story, interactions, and holy cow – the comedy and music was really good in this installment. There’s a lot of solid reasons to watch it, but primarily – it’s just a lot of fun.

It mostly failed in trying too hard in terms of looks. You’ll probably see me saying this about every movie, but it really is a huge flipping car commercial – especially for the darn Camaro. Besides that, the entire look of the movie makes you think these guys were tanning in preparation of the film – just to look orange and sweaty. It’s not a horrible look, but it does seem like it’s a little over the top sometimes. The only other complaint I have is Megan Fox. You girls are kind of right…she does suck at acting. The one upside I have to say about that is that – she fits right into the film. Her character of Mikaela weirdly fits perfectly into the franchise, regardless of how bad she actually is at acting. It simply doesn’t matter.

The Good:

Transformers is where it’s at…it really is. When you look at the whole series, this is probably the best movie in every angle. It’s action-packed, it has a good story with a solid background, it has memorable, attractive characters. It has some really funny moments timed perfectly. It also has an amazing soundtrack.

The Bad:

It focuses really hard on trying to look nice, and it does most of the time, but it’s blatant commercializing of the Camaro was a little obnoxious. There’s also not a ton of heart and soul in this one, not that there needs to be.

The Expendables 3 (2014)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Hey. I liked it.

Sequels rarely get better, but it happens sometimes, and in my honest opinion…that’s what we have with the Expendables franchise. The first film never really had the best bearing. It was an all-out action film, but it lacked something rather significant – humor. Now, they added the missing element of humor in the second film, and it was pretty funny in a couple parts. They kept that subtle humor in the third as well, but in my honest opinion, they also secured the story, action, and overall character focus. The Expendables 3 is another example of a good time in the cinema.

I’d go through the list of stars, but you know as well as I do that that would take forever, so I’ll just say that – almost everyone reprised their roles in the third film. Those who didn’t were more or less shrugged off as Expendables that died. The story this time revolves around baddy Stonebanks (Mel Gibson), who did his part years ago in creating The Expendables with Barney (Stallone). They thought he was dead all of these years, but it turns out he’s alive and kicking – and basically the group’s arch nemesis. They have to find him and bring him in, but Barney realizes that the danger involved could make this be the last mission ever.

There are so many recognizable actors in this film, but that was expected, of course. It’s more or less an ensemble cast film – more focused on casting than anything else, but it somehow works. I’m always worried that the film will get so mixed up in trying to give everyone equal focus that it’ll feel crowded. It happens all the time, because everyone needs equal screen time because they are famous…but not in Expendables 3. No, these films have always done a pretty good job at keeping the focus on Sylvester Stallone’s character, and how he perceives his group. It’s weird, because when they do that (as they should), I don’t care how many other people the films cast…because they clearly will never stop making these movies…and for some reason or another, I don’t care. I think they’re a ton of fun.

When they have a great balance between action, story, characters, and comedy…this series can go on forever. The action was intense and never for a second felt old or repetitive. The story was a very basic revenge plot with a hint of history between the characters that holds it firm enough to enjoy. The characters, of course, are always more or less exaggerated versions of themselves, and I love it, and of course the comedy is subtle self-aware comedy that just accentuates the tone of the movie so well. It’s not Oscar material, and they realize that – they just have fun with it, and in turn, so does the audience.

At the same time, the movie screams guy movie. I actually just watched The Notebook last night, which screamed chick flick…and this more or less holds the opposite effect. The acting may not be amazing, the production was clear with it’s intentions, and it’s a little juvenile. I mean, it’s just a bunch of random, unimportant people dying and things blowing up when you look at the heart of it…but I don’t care. I had fun watching it.

The Good:

Sylvester Stallone has got his bearings pretty well for the third film in the franchise. The action, story, comedy, and character focus was very much on par this time, so it didn’t feel as crowded and clumsy as the previous installments.

The Bad:

If you want to be technical, there’s no real substance in any of these movies. There can’t be. This is not an emotional franchise, it’s a guy’s guy movie with explosions, cars, and violence. It’s a lot of fun, but there’s no real reason to return to it in the end.

Memorable Quote:

Arnie: Get to the choppa!

The Notebook (2004)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Chick Flick King

Chicks! Come, unite, and praise your false god, The Notebook. Yes, yes, it’s not that nuts, but girls everywhere absolutely cannot get enough of this movie. I’ve seen it before, it’s not horrible (like many guys would like to believe), but it’s also not as great as girls would like to believe either. It’s honestly somewhere in the middle. So I decided to sit back down and watch this movie that every guy clenches his teeth to get through, to decide what exactly it is that drives guys away and pulls girls in.

If you aren’t all that familiar with the story, it goes a little something like this: an old man is telling a love story to an old woman in a nursing home. The story is basically about this attractive guy (Ryan Gosling) and attractive girl (Rachel McAdams) falling desperately in love and experiencing together the ups, downs, and imperfections of love itself, becoming once again, a movie that defends the ever-popular theory that love conquers all. It’s sweet, it’s sad, it’s sappy, melodramatic, and pretty much the exact definition of a “chick flick”.

Great, now that that’s out of the way, why do guys hate it so much? The great thing about this answer is that…there’s so many different reasons for guys to hate this movie, and none of them are what girls think…which is basically – guys are just jealous because they’ll never measure up to the men in the film. No. The real reason for, I’m sure a lot of guys, is that it paints an improbable portrait of the perfect male body. Notice I didn’t say impossible – it’s definitely possible, but this film makes nearly every girl on the planet cry out with – “Why aren’t you like him!?”. Guys themselves don’t care if they measure up or don’t… because it’s just a movie. They just never like it when a third party tries to convince their girls that they aren’t good enough for them. In short – it’s irrational and annoying.

I personally don’t hate the movie, I actually like it…but I’m far from loving it. The main reasons that I dislike the film have to do with plot. Like I said, it really is the exact definition of “chick flick”. I’m not sure if they were trying to have a secret reveal throughout the movie, but to me it was predictable from the very moment it began…like I already knew absolutely everything that would happen. So it’s predictable, but it’s more than that. There’s no real goal. There sort of is with the old couple, as that’s the most interesting element, but I couldn’t care less for almost anything regarding the younger couple.

Okay, so why do girls love it? In short, it’s because of the emotional scenes. To branch that out a bit, it’s because, to be fair, they were really put together very well on a professional level. Whether girls realize it or not, they appreciate all of the hard work put into making an emotional scene perfect. The acting is remarkable, the lead-up is very realistic – as are the living and family conditions these people go through. Not only that, but the chemistry is completely on par. The message is loud and clear, and it is delivered with precision. I understand why girls cry…there are certainly tear-jerking moments throughout the film. However, as incredible as the acting and the emotions are displayed in the film, that is not enough for me to say that I love it.

Emotional scenes are great, but when a movie focuses more on that then anything else, we have a problem. I feel the same about movies more interested in visuals. It’s imbalanced, and to me, that’s a problem.

The Good:

Girls can’t help but love the movie, because it’s the perfect go-to movie if they are in need of a cry session. The emotional scenes portrayed in The Notebook were clearly put together very, very well.

The Bad:

Guys, however, won’t really like it because it often has the tendency to color women’s perspective on who men are now versus who they think they should be. It is also an incredibly sappy and predictable story.

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Reaches younger audience.

There was a time in my life where the position of an oncologist was something I would have liked to have pursued. I’ve gone as far as looked into schooling, because cancer victims have always had a warm place in my heart, even though I’ve never known one personally. To make a long story short, any field in medicine is very competitive and tedious, so I eventually went a different route. So it shouldn’t really be surprising to hear that I like movies that represent cancer – especially if done in a tasteful light. The Fault in Our Stars is a movie that I know has made an impression on a certain audience, but I’m not sure I personally fit into that group.

The film introduces us to young Hazel Grace, played by Shailene Woodley. She has a bad lung and is prone to cancer, and is understandably friends with a bunch of other cancer-prone teens. One of those teens is Gus (Ansel Elgort), who recently lost a leg to cancer. He’s a very life-loving kind of guy that stares death in the face, but it’s his personality and attitude that ultimately wins her heart. When they hear from their favorite author in Amsterdam, they seek the author out before they die in order to answer some unanswered questions from his book.

Can I just put something out there, because I haven’t seen anyone mention this yet…Ansel Elgort plays her on-screen brother in Divergent…which of course came out earlier this year. I know they aren’t really siblings and that they only play the parts in a completely different project, but I can’t help but see the other characters when they get intimate…and so it’s strange. Not only that, but Shailene has also starred in another romance with another Divergent co-star in The Spectacular Now. I guess it’s just a fun fact, but if anyone is like me, even by a small amount, that kind of connection can hinder the overall experience.

So anyways, back to the review – I did like it, but I think it suits a younger audience than it does an older – specifically speaking, a young adult market. Every character that actually holds focus in this film is young. It ranges on discussion topics, and yes, some of those are serious, adult-like topics – but what is really powerful about this film is the connections and chemistry between characters. I could connect with the characters on some level, but it’s obvious to me that it wasn’t meant for someone in my age range. It was meant for a younger generation. So the heart-tugging moments in this film aren’t super impressive.

I will say that the cancer was presented in a tasteful, believable light, but compared with the acting…let’s just say there were faults in the stars. The acting wasn’t horrible by any means, but we’ve seen better representations of similar stories. At the heart, it’s a beautiful story – no doubt. Everything about young love, and living with non-stop struggles is very moving. I guess if I was younger, it would connect with me more.

The Good:

The Fault in Our Stars is a very moving film that is targeted towards a younger audience either experiencing the same issues with love or with sickness. Either in themselves or with people that they love and care for.

The Bad:

It doesn’t fit a completely wide audience. The focus of the film centers on a young couple, and it’s that age range that the film directly affects. However, as easily-watchable as this film is, it’s not as good as it could have been.

The Random:

The characters in this movie totally spend time at a Barnes & Noble Café. In Indiana. Which is where I work. and live.

Maleficent (2014)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Interestingly clever take.

Eight years ago, I was in the only high school play I ever took part in, Sleeping Beauty. Now, the funny thing was, if I wanted the role of Prince Charming, I can almost guarantee I would have gotten it, but I didn’t want my first kiss to be fictitious, so I chose the comedic side, “Hero”. Hero is a character written for that specific variation of the story, and he basically saves the day (hero), not Prince Charming, so it was a different, altered version of the original story. So I’m not against creative liberties, and I was definitely looking forward to Maleficent for the same reasons. It’s not the best movie in the world, but it’s fun. I just wished “Hero” would have showed up.

Angelina Jolie dawns her spikey horns for the role of Maleficent in this alternate take on the original story. She grew up more or less loving life as a fairy and the idea of true love’s kiss. She was in love with this boy named Stefan, but when Stefan grew older, the promise of the royal throne was too tempting to ignore…so he betrayed her and cut off her wings. In return, she cursed his only daughter – so that on her 16th birthday, she would fall into a sleep…a sleep she would never wake from. The only problem was throughout the years, little Aurora began to grow on Maleficent, but the curse couldn’t be taken back.

I’ll start with the bad and go from there, because I wasn’t a huge fan of how the movie started. I was a little confused on the overly-wordy backstory. I mean, there was a lot of narrator stuff explaining everything. There were wars and feelings and character development…it was material that could have been used in a completely separate film, and it felt really rushed and really confusing trying to sort through. The film’s acting was also way too over-the-top being a Disney film based partly on a cartoon. You can bet that there wasn’t a huge demand for exemplary acting ability, so there just wasn’t.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the casting. On one hand, these were really great actors that almost everyone will recognize. On the other hand, I just don’t think they fit the roles very well…any of them, really. Angelina Jolie looked the part, but there were some scenes here and there that were laughable in terms of acting…but a lot of that was character writing. Why curse a child, only to have the curse effect her on her 16th birthday? Why not just curse the baby into a slumber, logically speaking? The beginning of the movie didn’t make a lot of logical sense.

Now, the rest of the movie I liked for a variety of reasons – mostly speaking, story and character development from a different angle. It teaches you a lot about what love actually is, versus what love is in the original Sleeping Beauty and practically every old Disney cartoon. The view here was really heartfelt and honest. It’s something I’m glad they went with, but it’s also about the idea of misunderstood people. The idea of being different not necessarily being bad, and how the bad things people do to us aren’t always “evil” but instead done out of pain. At the heart of the thing, it has a lot of soul…even though it’s obsessed with visuals.

The visuals, of course, were trying very hard to look really nice, but cartoony in animation at the same time. I’m not going to say they are bad visuals, but I will say that a lot of it was unnecessary. Most of the scenes with Maleficent throughout the film was just her having various fun with her various fairy powers. That’s it. I respect the heart of the film, and what it was going for, but a lot of the film feels really unnecessary.

The Good:

The best part of Maleficent is it’s heart and boldness to do something else with a classic story. It’s entire view on love and a broken heart is really powerful.

The Bad:

I won’t say anything is absolutely horrible, just more along the lines of “trying too hard” to be something that it’s not. They were clearly more obsessed with making it look nicer all around, in both the CGI and acting; picking actors that aren’t right for the roles purely out of their celebrity status. Sharlto Copely, in another example, is an incredible actor, but him in the role of the king was just stupid.

The Wedding Singer (1998)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Where it began…

This film was selected from ‘The 250’

Ah yes, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, our two love birds. It wasn’t that long ago when they were both on The Tonight Show promoting Blended. Jimmy Fallon had them sing together and it was sweet, and Adam Sandler decides in the moment to sing “Grow Old With You”. Drew Barrymore had absolutely no clue that he was going to do it, and she actually teared up. That should give you an idea of what kind of chemistry these two have, for the last 16 years, no less. It all began with The Wedding Singer, and in my opinion, this is probably the best out of the bunch.

“Dave, you idiot, tell us what it is about!”

I’m glad you asked. The Wedding Singer introduces us to a wedding singer – Robbie Hart. He was left at the altar because his fiancé missed the good ol’ days of his rock-stardom, and the separation left him as a sad, strange little man…and he had my pity. Turns out the wedding waitress (Drew Barrymore) is clearly his perfect match, and she asks him to sing at her wedding. He, of course, proudly says yes.

This is probably the best of the bunch because it has the perfect concoction of romantic chemistry. 50 First Dates had some really great chemistry as well, but the plot kind of forced the guy to start at square one every day…which is funny, but not the best it could be. Blended was again, really good, but it was more about the kids than it was about each other. The Wedding Singer had the best presentation through and through. However, this is where it gets tricky, because the one flaw it had was originality. Watch it, you’ll see…it’s pretty cliché.

I mean, it’s a basic comedic romance. A man and a woman are clearly in love with each other, but for whatever reason aren’t with each other. It creates comedy and tension. We’ve seen it before a thousand times, but I think it works because the entire flow of the film is very, very unique. You love the characters, you love the music, you love the colors and the costumes of the ‘80s…it all fits really nicely. You have movies that really annoy you for going the same route, but this was set apart from the others. It’s unique and memorable, and it is really funny.

This was before the time where people hated Adam Sandler, and it was before he basically became a parody of himself. I found his character in this film to be interesting. He clearly had Adam Sandler’s dialect when yelling, but his character had such a soft-spoken, normal voice when talking that you can hardly even tell it’s him under all that hair. Let’s be honest though, Drew Barrymore was just Drew Barrymore.

The reason you’ll watch this isn’t just for this reason or that, it’s because you want something funny to watch with really great chemistry. You might also want to watch something special or something with a phenomenal soundtrack. Whatever the reason, the heart or the shoes, you’ll give this film a hundred and two views.

The Good:

The Wedding Singer is where it’s at in terms of romantic chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore. Their interactions with each other, the soundtrack, and the comedy is enough to overlook…

The Bad:

Which, of course, is a really simple and cliché story with absolutely nothing unpredictable.

The “trilogy”

  1. The Wedding Singer

The Help (2011)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Eat my what?!

There’s something very interesting about movies regarding racism. We have so, so many films covering the same topic, but there’s something about them that doesn’t feel overdone. All of them, or at least the ones I’ve seen, have been dealt with in such a fresh, respectful light – and even the stories are all surprisingly original in my opinion. I’m not sitting at home and saying, oh god, another one? The Help was one of those movies that I was planning to watch at some point, but for some reason or another, the opportunity missed me and I got consumed in other things. I finally saw it, and of course I liked it.

Chances are, you already know the story for The Help, but if you haven’t seen it, it goes a little something like this: A young, inspiring author by the name of Skeeter (Emma Stone) is apparently the only white person on the planet that actually cares for the African American community, while everyone else are racists. Anyways, in order to get a writing job, she decides to give a sample of her writing by writing a book about house maids, and the hardships they go through on a day by day basis…the problem is that it’s so controversial that no one really wants to help her write it…yet she needs more than a dozen maids to finish the book.

This is such a great movie to tug on your heart strings, as are numerous civil rights films. It was so subtle, but so strong. It didn’t need to take you into the middle of a march with Martin Luther King Jr. to get the point across, all it needed was a small, random town and one influential young person. Skeeter is such a weird, goofy name, and yet…a fantastic character that proves that one seemingly unimportant person can make a magnificent difference just by doing something different: caring. It’s like an underdog story, because she truly is a brave and bold hero that makes a big impact for the right reasons, despite the clear risks involved.

The racism in the movie was so horrible, and I think a part of that reason was because it was primarily seen coming from women, which is more or less rare in movies. Bryce Dallas Howard, for example, is an actress that I really like, but she made me hate her here. She was such a hateful, ignorant person – or like Aibileen says in the film – godless. But again, she is such a great actress and she pulls it off amazingly. Speaking of the acting alone, the whole flippin’ cast pulled off something spectacular. If you’re like me, you’ll probably get sucked right in and believe that this was filmed in that time period. The only thing that doesn’t have the same effect, in my opinion, was Emma Stone…but that’s just me. I’m just used to seeing her in films taking place in the present. She did great in The Help as well.

The Good:

I wasn’t so sure about The Help before I saw it, but I’m glad that I did see it. It has a great message, and that message is presented through a strong presentation. The way they present hate and racism through the eyes of the modern woman was chilling, because of the way we’re brought up to think about the innocence of women. The story itself was also a subtle and relatable one that makes you truly care about these maids.

The Bad:

Honestly, not a lot. I’m not the biggest fan of movies taking place in the past. If people gave it a shot, I’m sure they’ll love it, but there are elements about the movie that aren’t super attractive, like film-length and the melodrama associated with the trailers might turn people away. So I guess the worst part of the movie is just the marketing and film-length.

Neighbors (2014)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Keep it down!

When it comes down to Seth Rogen, he is almost always playing the same guy in everything that he stars in, but his fanbase that are actually willing to see his movies won’t care. I personally wish we’d see a really different movie than what we’re used to, but I’m not picky enough to complain the whole time. He’s still a pretty funny guy, so I say let him be who he wants to be! Neighbors is another movie where he’s more or less the same doof, but I think it has it’s moments.

Our film today introduces us to Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne), a happy couple who has just had a baby and moved into a nice neighborhood…or at least that’s just how it begins. Not long after, a fraternity moves into the house next to them, and starts creating a little too much noise. Mac and Kelly are worried about their baby getting irritated by the noise, so they ask the neighbors to turn it down a little – which begins an all-out feud. Think Deck the Halls, but something at least a little better written.

Here’s what I don’t like about this movie, because it’s not perfect…no where near, really. It’s a really plain and overused comedy plot. It’s the age-old conflicting interests, so you have to ruin each other’s life story, and it’s always a game at who can come up with the next craziest idea. That’s great and all, but I wanted something a little better. It may be a classic movie trope, but it’s really cliché. What they did with it’s fine, but in the end, there wasn’t a lot of originality involved in the foundation of this flick.

That being said, I did somewhat like the comedy here. It was that same bold, random, crude, creative humor that Seth Rogen is typically seen accompanied with. So again, he may be type-casted, but at least he’s a type-cast that knows what he likes to do. There are just some of the most random and vile jokes throughout this film that hand me laughing out loud. At the same time, the humor isn’t exactly fresh. We can go into this movie knowing exactly what to expect and get exactly that…so if it’s originality you want…you’re not going to get it.

The Good:

I’m going to keep this review short, sweet, and to the point – Neighbors isn’t amazing or original, but it still has that classic Seth Rogen comedic flavor, and his interactions with Zac Efron are pretty funny, for what it’s worth.

The Bad:

There’s really not a lot that will bring me back to watch the movie again. It’s unoriginal and completely cliché in it’s story progression. There’s also not any real character development – the people are just – there. Also, there’s a lot of inappropriate jokes that a lot of people will feel disgusted with…including scenes with the baby.  Other than that, the over-the-top physical humor will probably feel out of sync with the rest of the movie, which is more or less realistic

The Ü

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