Remembering Gene Wilder

I loathe writing these posts with every ounce of my being, and this year I’ve had to write way too many.

I am saddened to learn that Gene Wilder, the beloved star of comedy classics like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory passed away today at the age of 83 due to complication’s from Alzheimer’s.

I’ve always admired Gene Wilder from the first time I saw Willy Wonka as a kid, to the many times I’ve watched Blazing Saddles as an adult. He brought gravitas to the comedic acting that made him so unique and timeless.

The fact Wilder had Alzheimer’s came as a surprise to me, but is still heartbreaking. I lost my grandmother to the disease about a year ago. It is a terrible illness, and I feel so sorry for his family.

Thank you, Gene, for taking us to a world of pure imagination time and time again.

It’s My Birthday Today!

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I’m 22. It was either going to be this or Taylor Swift, but I like cats infinitely more.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your support and camaraderie over the last two-plus years. I know things don’t always go as planned. I’ve had many empty reviews publish and haven’t been able to bring myself to write at times, because if I may be honest, simply writing reviews has become rather boring.

Don’t fret, that doesn’t mean I’m going anywhere.

In fact, I am working to expand my brand! I realized how much I enjoy making videos, so I’m starting to build a presence on YouTube. I’m launching a review show titled The Hollywood Hellion set to debut in September. I will have to spend much more time scripting and outlining what I will say because my speaking skills are very “umm-like-uhhhh.” It’s embarrassing but I promise I will work on speaking with conviction.

In addition, I am revamping my Patreon page. I found that no one is going to pay me for meager blog posts, so I will adjust pledge prices and perks accordingly.

Wish me luck!

SHAMELESS PLUG

If you really want to make me happy on my birthday, tell me which pieces of cinematic sludge you want to see me tackle for Nopevember 2016: Election Year! All you need is a Google sign-in, and you have until September 15th at 11:59 PM EST. After that, round two begins!

And yes, all the Nopevember reviews going to be in a video format this year!

The Darkness

2016, Directed by Greg McLean
Written by Autism Speaks (you can’t convince me that this isn’t a propaganda film made by them)
Starring: Kevin Bacon, Radha Mitchell, David Mazouz

A family returns from a Grand Canyon vacation, haunted by an ancient supernatural entity they unknowingly awakened and engages them in a fight for their survival.

I am 21 years old (in fact, I will be 22 on Sunday.) In my lifetime, I have seen over a thousand movies. I’ve seen God knows how many terrible, awful pieces of celluloid garbage across all genres from all eras.

I can say with pure embarrassment and shame that this is the worst horror film I have ever seen. Not only that, but it immediately cemented its place in the 10 worst films of any genre I have ever seen.

“But Carly, I thought you said The Devil Inside is the worst hor–“

Nope. The Devil Inside isn’t a full movie. Doesn’t count.

The Darkness is completely unoriginal, unexciting, and utterly offensive. It was only 92 minutes long yet it felt endless. I hated every moment of it, and not just because of its lack of effort.

Troubles abound in the Taylor family: the father Peter (Kevin Bacon) is unfaithful, his wife Bronny (Radha Mitchell) has a drinking problem, daughter Stephanie (Lucy Fry) suffers from bulimia, and son Mikey (David Mazouz) is autistic.

The Taylors just returned from a long weekend in the Grand Canyon when Mikey brings home some rocks he found in the Canyon, and strange things begin to happen inside the house that happened in Poltergeist. And Insidious. And The Conjuring. And The Amityville Horror. And Oh, God! You Devil.

Face it. It serves no purpose other than to remind you that you could be watching something so much better.

There is nothing about the actual story that is scary, but there is so much about the film that is incredibly insulting, such as exploiting and stigmatizing Native American culture. But that isn’t even the worst part.

I may have written about this before, but I have Asperger’s Syndrome (a milder form of Autism.) I was diagnosed when I was five, and while I’ve mostly overcome the disorder, I still have some strange “quirks.”

Nevertheless, growing up with the condition was incredibly difficult. I struggled to fit in with my peers, was teased and mocked relentlessly, and felt like a huge waste of space. Worse, autism was treated like some horrible death sentence by kids my age. I once overheard a girl say “If my kid got autism, I’d kill myself.”

Mikey, the son, has Autism. He doesn’t talk a lot and keeps very much to himself. Doesn’t sound too bad, but the treatment of Autism in this movie is appalling. Whenever weird stuff happens in the house, Mikey is the scapegoat. He is treated like a burden from start to finish. In one scene, Peter even googles the link between Autism and the paranormal, implying that us people with Autism are scary freaks of nature.

I don’t even have any words for that, so…

A better explanation can be found on Letterboxd.

People gave Me Before You flak for being insensitive and painting people with disabilities as a burden to society that must be eradicated, but that was the more widely seen movie. If no one affected by Autism is going to be outraged by The Darkness, I’ll do it.

Remember Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which virtually blamed 9/11 on Autism? The Darkness makes me appreciate that movie a little more.

The fact that it’s a poisonous, vomit-inducing feature-length edition of the controversial “I Am Autism” commercial only exacerbates the fact that it’s a wholly derivative “greatest hits” compilation of better horror movies, with the third act nearly plagiarizing Poltergeist.

The cast is great, of course, but did they lose a bet? Could they really not find better work than this rubbish? Kevin Bacon appeared in another horror film I hate with every ounce of my soul, Hollow Man. It’s disgustingly misogynistic and mean-spirited, but at least Hollow Man was well made and actually felt like a movie put out by human beings.

Kevin, I love you, we all love you… do us a favor and fire your agent.

Radha Mitchell also does herself no favors by appearing in this crap. And she appeared in the Silent Hill movie, which I was indifferent about at best.

Nothing MST3K could dig up, no turd that Uwe Boll or Eli Roth could squeeze out, no crappy film among the grosses of crappy films spotlighted by my favorite movie reviewers, no Oscar bait that clumsily deals with autism can compare to this wretched pile of garbage.

This infuriated me like no other film. People with autism and other disabilities have a hard enough time in the world. We don’t need stuff like this ostracizing them from society even further. Especially not in 2016.

If you’re going to watch The Darkness, watch this instead.

Grade: SCREW YOU!


1h 32m, Rated PG-13 for for thematic elements, some disturbing violence, brief sensuality and language.
Studio: Hightop Releasing 

Let the Hate Mail Begin.

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I’d like to thank Wendell at Dell on Movies for hosting and Brittani at Rambling Film for tweeting about it and getting my attention.

So, what is this all about? It’s basically the answers to two very simple yet very complicated questions:

1. Pick one movie that “everyone” loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of at least 75% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you hate it.

2. Pick one movie that “everyone” hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of less than 35% on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you love it.

First, a movie I hate that everyone else loves.

The Lobster

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Yeah, you heard me. I didn’t like The Lobster. Shoot me.

Here’s the thing, though: I wanted to like it. It has a great cast, an interesting and clever concept, and loads of critical acclaim. Where could it go wrong?

If you’ve never heard of The Lobster, it’s basically about a not-too-distant future where finding a partner is mandatory. Single people are sent to live in a hotel for 45 days so they can find a mate. Should they fail, they will be turned into animals.

I respect that it’s an extremely well-made film. It’s directed masterfully by Yorgos Lanthimos and captures the breathtaking Irish countryside, but it simply did not connect with me on any level.

The characters are incredibly bland and the dialogue is ostentatious, and it’s horribly mean-spirited with a problematic message. It reminded me of my often difficult experiences growing up, where if you didn’t have someone, you were no one. I didn’t need a film to remind me that I’m “fundamentally lacking” and might die alone.

Perhaps the most baffling thing about The Lobster is that it’s consistently labeled a “dark comedy” when there isn’t even a shred of humor to be found.  How am I supposed to laugh at John C. Reilly getting his fingers shoved into a toaster as punishment for infracting the rules? Or a woman loudly dying on the sidewalk while Colin Farrell says “I hope she dies so I don’t have to hear her screaming?” Or big bad Léa Seydoux blinding a woman for falling in love?

Can we please stop calling movies that aren’t funny “comedies?”
Blazing Saddles is funny.
Caddyshack is funny.
The Big Lebowski is funny.
Even The Martian is funny compared to this.

I can see where it might be satirical, but The Lobster isn’t funny. It’s morbidly depressing and deeply disturbing. This is the kind of movie Wes Anderson would make if he were placed on suicide watch.

Pardon my language but what pisses me off the most isn’t even about the film, but the potential backlash I’m guaranteed to receive. Nothing, absolutely nothing, angers me more than uppity film snobs who say things like “You’re just too stupid to understand (insert title here), please stick to watching mass-produced garbage like Star Wars.”

First of all, I love Star Wars you pompous jerk!

Second, I’m not stupid. I understand and appreciate dark humor and will not stick to “lowest common denominator” entertainment to satisfy you.

All in all, extremely disappointed and the overwhelming love this movie gets is a mystery.

and now, another film I love that everyone else hates.

End of Days

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Tank Girl’s RT rating was above the 35% cutoff set forth by Wendell, so it boiled down to either this or the horribly misunderstood Nicolas Cage thriller 8MM. I ultimately went with this beautiful disaster, from the director of 2010: The Year We Make Contact.

Where to begin with this hot mess? It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (in a role meant for Tom Cruise) as an atheist cop — and by atheist, I mean he is a former Christian who’s angry with God —  and Gabriel Byrne as a nameless Wall Street schmuck who gets possessed by Satan.

Ahnuld vs. Satan… sounds like a winning combo, right? Wrong. We’re treated to a creepy albino with even creepier hair taunting Robin Tunney on the subway, a horribly CGI’ed satanic orgy where Satan’s lower half completely disappears, and religious symbolism with all the subtlety of a dropped piano.

This action-thriller is about Christine York (Robin Tunney) who is the “Chosen One.” How do we know this? Her name is literally “Christ in New York!”

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Courtesy of Phelous

According to the prophecy, she is to give birth to the Antichrist, so newly possessed Gabriel Byrne spends the whole movie tracking her down so he can “spill his seed.”

Enter Ahnuld, who is sent to protect Christine from such a terrible fate. Aaaaaand hilarity ensues. Ahnuld yells and shoots his way through the film, Byrne seduces women, and Tunney has absolutely no idea what is happening.

I must say, however, it does have some genuinely upsetting scenes and a fairly downbeat ending, but so did The Room.

It’s heartbreaking that so few people know about this Schwarzenegger movie. Everything about it is bad, but it makes for a truly hilarious viewing experience. The more people gathered and more alcohol imbibed, the better it gets.

Sing Street

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2016, Directed by John Carney
Written by John Carney
Starring: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Aiden Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy

A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.

I’m an American with half Irish ancestry and I have a slight obsession with 80s rock, so naturally, Sing Street is right up my alley.

In this delightful movie, Conor Lawlor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) transfers to a rough inner-city Catholic school in Dublin because of his parents’ marital and financial troubles. On his first day, he encounters a strict priest, ruthless bullies, and beautiful aspiring model Raphina (Lucy Boynton.) Smitten, he asks her if she’d like to be in a music video with his band. She agrees, but there’s just one problem… Conor doesn’t have a band.

With the help of his friends and his music-loving older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor,) he begins writing his own heartfelt songs and slowly wins over his dream girl.

John Carney, please never stop making great movies about music.

If you haven’t seen Sing Street, what are you doing with your life? It’s a perfect antidote to today’s CGI orgies with immensely talented young actors, funny dialogue, a heartwarming story, and great, great music to boot. Not just the occasional Duran Duran song that punctuates the action, but the original songs written by director John Carney and musician Gary Clark, who in real life had a hit song in the 80s as part of the band Danny Wilson.

Unfortunately, the final 15 minutes of this movie become downright incredulous. It

Grade: A


1h 46m, Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including strong language and some bullying behavior, a suggestive image, drug material and teen smoking.
Studio: The Weinstein Company

Well, I’m Internet Famous Now!

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Full disclosure: This banner is simply a joke and NOT an endorsement of Donald Trump in any way, shape or form. I have called the man a “dorito-dusted fascist” for God’s sake.

Hey there!

If you are here for the first time because of Brad Jones’s 12 Hour Livestream for “Jesus Bro”, welcome! I hope you enjoy reading my ramblings. I’m overwhelmed with joy that he would promote my site.

Anyway, here’s the deal on Nopevember this year:

  • Choose 10-15 titles from the shortlist of 30. You have until September 15th at 11:59 PM EST.
  • The next day, starting at 8 PM EST, I will announce the top 20. You may then vote for 5-10 choices, until October 28th 11:59 PM EST. The 15 films with the most votes will be given the full Nopevember treatment!

I even took the liberty of making a video describing all the nominees in under 10 seconds, which you may watch here. It’s a crappy Photo Booth video. Forgive me.

Finally, here’s the ballot. Now cast your vote!

Suicide Squad

2016, Directed by David Ayer
Written by David Ayer
Starring: Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Will Smith

A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.

DC super villains: they’re just like us. They go through that awkward emo phase, too!

You know me. If a movie out there is getting bad reviews, my first instinct is “Awww, come on guys. It can’t be that bad, can it?” There’s a part of me that is eager to stand up for the movies that get savaged by critics. I even devote a whole month out of the year watching “Is it really that bad?” films. Trust me, I am no high-dollar snob.

Alas, I can’t stand up for it. Suicide Squad is the cinematic equivalent of a Big Mac: the advertisements make it look delicious and decadent, but when you actually get the product in real life? It’s cheap, hasty, and artificial. The humor is forced, the characters are uninteresting, and it doesn’t feel like a movie, rather, a marketing case study.

Where to freakin’ start???

Maybe I should start with the positives. It is an explosion of neon colors and quite visually stunning, there are great retro tunes (with a catch), and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn is gleefully campy. Maybe not on purpose, but campy regardless.

Sadly, that’s where my positives end.

I did mention that there’s some great classic rock music in the film, BUT — and this is a big “but” — there is too much of it. Nearly every scene is punctuated with some musical cue, especially in the first half. Deadshot (Will Smith) is introduced with “House of the Rising Sun,” and mere seconds later, Harley is cavorting around in her cage to “You Don’t Own Me.” Every character seems to have their own theme song during the first act’s exposition dump. Makes you wonder what fraction of the film’s $175 million budget is simply for royalties.

I hate to join the PC police and descend into a hulk-like feminist rage. I truly do, because PC has gotten so out of control these days. It seems you can’t even inhale sharply without offending someone. However…

It’s 2016. Can we please stop treating women as toys and minorities as cartoon characters? I mean, what is this? The Dark Ages?

It goes without saying that Harley’s outfit isn’t exactly modest. For most of the movie, Margot Robbie is prancing around in sequined panties and a low-cut top. That’s fine with me, but most of the time the camera cuts to Harley, it cuts to her sparkling bum. Never mind Robbie’s wacky facial expressions, because Ayer is more interested in hearing her body talk.

Sex sells, I know, but sexism shouldn’t.

Yeah? That the best you got? Two can play at this game.

If it had an Irish character, it would be a leprechaun that eats potatoes and drinks Guiness beer all the time.
If it has a gay character, it would be Carson Kressley.

Are we just going to ignore the fact that the only Aussie character’s main power is throwing boomerangs and that his name is literally Captain Boomerang? If he were any more of a stereotype, his sidekick would be a kangaroo.

The most important question: how is The Joker?

So much of the movie’s hype went into The Joker, this time played by Oscar-winner Jared Leto, who got so into character he allegedly mailed dead animals to Viola Davis. I don’t think Leto even gets 15 minutes of screen time, and for good reason: he’s not very good! Leto’s Joker looks like Marilyn Manson cross bred with Jim Carrey, and acts so over-the-top he’s more funny than scary. I would say he’s no Heath Ledger, but I can’t even say that he’s no LEGO Joker.

Which is a shame. I’ve been impressed with Jared Leto’s track record up to this point.

Still, Joker is no match for Cara Delevingne’s the Enchantress. Holy crap. Holy holy holy holy crap. All she does is strut around and ignite a giant garbage fire in the sky wearing what looks like a porno version of Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra outfit.

The closest we come to a complex backstory is the relationship between The Joker and Harley. He seduces Dr. Harleen Quinzel into an abusive and manipulative relationship, which is treated without a semblance of delicacy.

I was looking forward to this from the first trailer. It looked like a less humorous Deadpool and I prayed for an R-rating so this could go balls-to-the-wall and not hold back. Apparently, though, that’s too much to ask.

One last thought for tonight, and I want to make this crystal clear with anyone reading this and possibly huffing with rage: I am not a paid studio shill. Marvel did not offer me money to take down your precious DC. In fact, I do not get paid, period. Even if I did, I would never accept payment to lie about liking something. I am but an average Jane living in the suburbs of Pennsylvania, and if something sucks, you deserve to know it.

Grade: D+


Rated PG-13 for for sequences of violence and action throughout, disturbing behavior, suggestive content and language
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures / DC Comics