Reviews for Normal People

Hi. I review things.

Review: 2Horrible2Bosses — November 30, 2014

Review: 2Horrible2Bosses

What can I say about Horrible Bosses? It was certainly good, at least in theory. It had some great performances, a decent plot, and was very funny. But it always felt like it was going for an action movie vibe, even though it worked much better as a standard comedy. It seemed like it was trying to hide that it was a comedy at times, even though the comedy aspect of the film was easily the best part.

It was evident from the trailers that the film’s sequel, Horrible Bosses 2, was going for a more straightforward comedy vibe. It even used “Turn Down for What,” the universal symbol of a 2014 comedy. It was a bit of a surprise, then, that the movie actually did have some very good action in it. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

The entire cast of the first movie is back for this one, except Colin Farrell, obviously (he died in the first one). That’s actually a bit of a disappointment, since his role in the first one is easily the only good role he’s ever had. Thankfully, though, the rest of the cast all bring their A-game for this one, including newcomers Christoph Waltz and Chris Pine. In fact, this movie had the best acting I’ve seen in a straightforward comedy in a long time.

This movie actually has a really unique style of comedy, too. It’s a lightning-paced style, peppered with pop culture references and references to the first movie. The problem, though, is that it often feels like it’s trying to imitate the first movie, right down to the totally different yet suspiciously similar plot.

The cinematography is fine, but uninspired. The story is fine, but feels like it’s just going off on a tangent based on the first one. Ultimately, the movie’s two strong suits are its cast and its humor, both of which are top-tier stuff. The whole cast has excellent chemistry with one another, and since there aren’t a lot of decent candidates for best actress this year, I genuinely think Jennifer Aniston might be worth considering, although she’s not exactly the cast’s MVP. There aren’t really any weak links in the cast of this movie, but I think the one that surprised me the most was Chris Pine, who was known in the past for playing Chris Pine in Jack Reacher: Shadow Recruit and Chris Pine in Star Trek. Another big chunk of what I love about the movie so much is the chemistry between the three leads: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day, who really need to work together more, because they have some of the best comedic chemistry I’ve ever seen.

Overall, I give Horrible Bosses 2 and A-. It’s a very funny movie, despite not really justifying its existence very well. Give it a look, be on the lookout for some more high-quality articles coming up in December (both here and on Media Pick), and as always…

liek dis if u cry erfvitm.

Review: Penguins of the Galaxy — November 26, 2014

Review: Penguins of the Galaxy

At one point, I was going to do a ranking of every DreamWorks movie ever. Unfortunately, I lost all my progress about ten entries in, so I wound up scrapping the article. In case you guys wanted to know, my favorite DreamWorks movie is Shrek 2, and the worst is Shark Tale. These are both pretty predictable decisions, and most of the ranking process actually went by pretty smoothly. The one franchise that I had the most trouble with was Madagascar.

The first Madagascar movie is great. The second one is great. The third one is great. If I had to rank them, I’d say 1, 3, 2. Or maybe 3, 2, 1. But also maybe 3, 1, 2. I have very conflicting feelings about these movies. I would say, though, that as a general rule, the films improved themselves creatively and comedically with each subsequent installment. And The Penguins of Madagascar is no exception.

There were a lot of hilarious movies this year, but this was definitely the funniest kid’s movie I’ve seen all year. There’s a really funny running joke where the villain, played by John Malkovich, calls out his henchmen and inadvertently shouts the names of celebrities (“Nicolas, cage them!”, “Drew, Barry, more power!”). The comedy in this movie is actually really clever, to the point that some critics argue that it’s too smart for kids. These critics are dumbasses.

And while we’re at it, I really like the design of the villain. He’s an octopus who wears a very realistic human costume, and the result is a human who moves like an octopus, giving the character a very funny and very fluid way of moving. Although, in many ways, the real villain of the movie is Benedict Cumberbatch’s character, Classified. BeNEDict’s Decumberfied is the head of a team of spies very much like the penguins themselves, with less compassion, more bureaucracy, and a much higher budget. The two teams are constantly fighting over whose mission it is, and ultimately their fight is never resolved, because DreamWorks didn’t know what to do with its own story.

Story- and character-wise, the film isn’t very original, but DreamWorks hasn’t made an original movie in four years (Megamind) and they’re not going to start now. The film’s central conflict is very reminiscent of Despicable Me 2, and a lot of the group dynamics and plot arcs seem to be straight out of Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, which are of course, the same movie.

I guess there’s not really much else to say about this movie. I give it an A. It’s easily one of my favorite DreamWorks movies, and hearkens to the rapid-fire wit of my other favorites, Shrek 2 and Megamind. I highly recommend it. Like if you like, follow if you follow, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…

liek dis if u cyre vritrme.

And yes, I do ship Private and Skipper.

Review: MockingJ. Edgar — November 21, 2014

Review: MockingJ. Edgar

You may remember my glowing review of last year’s Catching Fire, and how I mentioned in the review that I didn’t very much care for the first movie, The Hunger Games, and that the second one solved quite a few of the film’s problems. Well, rest assured, I won’t be comparing Mockingjay Part 1, the third film in the quadrilogy, to its predecessors quite as much. The reason being that it’s an entirely different movie.

You see, the first two movies are about, well, the Hunger Games. They follow the characters as they prepare for the games, and then the last hour or so of the movie is the games themselves. But at the end of the second movie, Katniss breaks the stadium the Games are held in, and is then flown out via helicopter and told they need her help to revolt against the Capitol.

So obviously, there are no games in this movie. Rather, the film is about political espionage. Yes, you heard me. The film is about the revolution and the Capitol using propaganda against each other, each with their own secret weapon (Katniss and Peeta, respectively). Along the way, the Capitol destroys everything Katniss ever loved, but leaves just enough for a fourth movie.

And there’s one of the main issues with the film: it’s part one. The movie does feel like a complete experience, and yet there’s something very hard about judging it on its own. A lot happens, and yet nothing advances. There’s a lot of action, but it’s all brief and forgettable. Why don’t we talk about the cast?

As with the past two movies, excellent performances all around except for Jennifer Lawrence. I don’t even know what it is about her performance I don’t like. If other critics’ reviews are to be believed, I’m missing several layers of it. Her performance is certainly different from her usual self, but there’s an uncomfortable woodenness to it. Out of the rest of the cast, I especially give props to Josh Hutcherson, who failed to prove himself in previous installments, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffmann. You can tell that he was supposed to be very present for the whole movie, but they cut his role a bit short after he, y’know, died and whatnot.

Honestly, this is probably the least noteworthy entry in the franchise so far. The action was very good, but not very memorable. The movie was funny at times, but not enough to be notable. The ending was OK, but seemed to be trying to fool you into thinking it had a point. The story was OK, but a bit hard to follow. Overall, good, but not great.

I guess I’ll give it a B. It wasn’t bad by any means, but in retrospect it didn’t stand out as much as Catching Fire did. If you’re a fan, go see it. If you’re not, go see it, because once again, this is a very different movie. I can’t guarantee you’ll love the movie, but I do recommend it. Like if you like, follow if you follow, you can follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…

liek dis if u cryes eritimr.

Review: Dumb and Darker, Too — November 16, 2014

Review: Dumb and Darker, Too

Hey, you know who I don’t mind one bit? Jim Carrey. Let me take it one step further. I’m a fan of Jim Carrey. Despite his loud and physical sense of humor, Jim Carrey has turned out one great role after another, and despite having… fallen off a bit in recent years, he’s still left behind a lot of classics, like The Mask, The Truman Show, and of course, Dumb and Dumber.

Dumb and Dumber exemplifies dumb humor done right. You’d actually be surprised how hard it is to write a dumb character without simply coming off as a dumb writer. Of course, the brilliance of these movies comes less from the performances of Carrey and Jeff Daniels (although they certainly help), and more from the writing of Peter and Bobby Farrelly. It stands to reason that the duo had a long and prosperous career in comedy writing from then on.

Oh. Oh no.
Oh. Oh no.

Yeah, Dumb and Dumber seems to have been some sort of strange, unreproducible anomaly in the careers of all its talent. The Farrellys tried to recapture the success again with 2012’s The Three Stooges, but the results were pretty much a failure. So naturally, when they announced that they’d be making a sequel to Dumb and Dumber a full twenty years after the first one came out, I don’t think anyone expected much of it.

Then again, Carrey has bounced back somewhat in recent years. He did an admirable job in Burt Wonderstone, followed by the best performance of his career in Kick-Ass 2, followed by a pretty funny cameo in Anchorman 2. It’s a bit unsettling that he has zero upcoming projects on his IMDb page, but that’s an issue for another time. This hot streak simultaneously gave me a little more faith in Dumb and Dumber To, and a little less in Jim Carrey. So, how was the long-awaited sequel to the 1994 classic?

Eh. Now, don’t get me wrong, “eh” is actually a lot better than I expected. I was put off by the Farrellys’ inability to put a single funny scene or line in any of the trailers, but ultimately, I actually found myself laughing quite a bit at this movie. Well, certain parts of it. The first twenty minutes and the last twenty minutes were good. But not the last five minutes. These parts weren’t particularly better than any other part of the movie, and the rest of the movie wasn’t bad for a specific reason, it’s just that these were the parts that were funny.

You see, this isn’t a movie to be analyzed and picked apart. The beginning and end of the discussion is, “was it funny?” And the answer is, “eh.” However, since this is for all intents and purposes a humor blog, I’ll pick it apart for shits and giggles.

So, let’s talk about how bizarrely, uncomfortably dark this movie is. It starts off, as you saw in the trailer, with Lloyd in a catatonic state, which ultimately turns out to be a prank. While this was admittedly a bit funny, it’s still a bit  depressing when you consider that Harry threw his life away to take care of Lloyd, who ultimately was perfectly capable of taking care of himself. Also, within the first scene we find out that Harry needs a kidney transplant. Oh, but don’t worry. After they head down to El Paso to get Harry’s daughter’s kidney, find out that she isn’t his daughter, and Lloyd has dangerous surgery performed on him in Mexico to get Harry the kidney he needs, it turns out that that was also a joke. The movie had us believe that one of the main characters was going to die the whole time, and then in the end there were no stakes at all, because it was all some cruel prank that resulted in innumerable pain and suffering on the part of both of them. This is Dumb and Dumber To.

Also, a few characters from the first movie died, the daughter’s actual father died, the daughter’s adoptive father almost died, Rob Riggle might have died, the deaf kid from the first movie has about a dozen parrots killed by Harry’s cat while the cat was high on crystal meth cooked by Harry’s roommate, Harry got shot, Lloyd had his kidney stolen, and Rob Riggle tried to kill Harry and Lloyd with fireworks, which ultimately resulted in Harry going deaf and Rob Riggle getting hit by a train. After that, Lloyd is forced to finger an elderly woman in exchange for hearing aids for Harry. The long awaited sequel to Dumb and fucking Dumber, ladies and gentlemen.

Despite its prominent displaying in the trailer, the Mutt Cutts van is in the film for precisely five seconds. They get it, and you know the scene in the trailer where they go up a hill and leaps in the air a bit? It immediately falls apart after that. Seriously. It’s never seen again. I think that’s a decent metaphor for what this movie is. It takes what you were hoping for, gives you a faint glimmer of it, and then it just sort of collapses. However, the result is still pretty funny. That’s this movie.

Overall, I give it a C+. See it if you must, I suppose. Like if you like, follow if you follow, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…

Liek dis if u cyr everityem.

Review: Big Scooby 6 — November 9, 2014

Review: Big Scooby 6

Disney is said to have fallen off around 2003, with their notorious piece of shit Brother Bear. This was followed by an even bigger piece of shit by the name of Home on the Range. It seemed pretty clear at the time that Disney was falling fast, just as Pixar was reaching their pinnacle with The Incredibles. Disney went through a slow rebuilding phase, but is ultimately said to have officially bounced back with 2010’s Tangled. And meanwhile, Pixar is said to have fallen off themselves with… 2011’s Cars 2. Huh. I guess Pixar and Disney’s successes are inversely proportional. This means bad things for either Zootopia or Finding Dory.

Anyway, the most recent of Disney’s successes is Big Hero 6, which also holds the distinction of being the first animated feature film based on a Marvel comic. Obviously, there was a lot of pressure on this movie, coming off the tremendous success of last year’s Frozen, being based on a beloved existing property, having a culturally diverse cast of characters that needs to be handled delicately, and boasting a pretty impressive cast, including TJ Miller, Alan Tudyk, Maya Rudolph, and Scott Adsit, who played Pete on 30 Rock, and let’s face it, Pete in everything else. Does the film meet expectations?

Yeah. For the most part, it totally works. It’s action-packed, very funny, and beautifully animated, with a Fall Out Boy-based soundtrack that has me really feeling it, to quote one particularly dank meme.

The one main problem I had with the movie is that I spent most of the run time thinking about how familiar it all felt rather than actually enjoying it. I could compare it to just about every scifi/superhero film of the last thirty years. But the more I started to think about it, the more interesting the familiarity became. Despite being made by totally different people and not being part of the Cinematic Universe, this still manages to be the exact same Marvel movie we’ve seen twelve times. It had elements of Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Winter Soldier, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3 (yes, separate elements of all three), and even quite a few connections to The Amazing Spider-Man. But I think I realized what the main issue with the film’s familiarity is: the team dynamic. This is in all essences the very same team dynamic from Monsters University, Wreck-It Ralph, Parks and Recreation, The Avengers, and even going all the way back to Scooby-Doo. Allow me to explain.

First of all, there’s the Shaggy. Dear god, the Shaggy. In very deceptive ways, every team you’ve ever loved has had its own Shaggy. Parks and Rec, for example, has Andy. I should clarify just what the Shaggy is: the character that is often dumb and doesn’t actually contribute anything, the Shaggy is usually a comic relief side character and is often revealed to be a very valuable asset to the team in a way that he never puts to use. Monsters had its own Shaggy in Art, played by Charlie Day, who is best known for his role on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a show in which everyone is Shaggy except Charlie Day. As I mentioned before, Scott Adsit is best known for his work on 30 Rock, a show in which he plays the “slightly worse version of lead” character. The Shaggy on that show is Frank, played by Judah Friedlander, who is also the Shaggy of real life. Unless you’re talking about the singer Shaggy, who did the soundtrack for the Scooby-Doo movie, in which Shaggy was played by Matthew Lillard, who prior to that movie was best-known for playing Stuart, the killer from Scream. I don’t know where I’m going with this.

The crew also has its own mascot (Baymax/Scooby/Olaf from Frozen/at least one character in every Disney movie ever) In the Avengers parallel, Baymax could also be seen as the Hulk character, the man of few words who gets the most done out of any of them. Another example of this would be Ferb from Phineas and Ferb, who is played by Thomas Sangster, who also plays Jojen on Game of Thrones. The Baymax on Game of Thrones is Hodor, who can literally only say one short phrase, much like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, who has been compared justly to Chewbacca from Star Wars. That being said, there are several very interesting human characters in the film who get fewer words out than Baymax does, making him just about the most talkative out of any of these mascots.

As you can see, this is pretty much the only topic worth discussing concerning this movie. Everything else is good, but nothing else is notably good. One common complaint for Disney movies is that the female characters have unrealistic body proportions, and while a few characters do fall victim to that in this movie, at the very least the male characters are also impossibly hot. Progress!

Now may be a good time to talk about the short at the beginning: Feast. As per Disney standards, the short is better than the actual movie. It tells the story of a man’s love life through the food his dog eats. If that doesn’t make sense to you, that’s too bad. I’ve seen the thing and I still don’t understand how they did it. The animation is beautiful beyond belief, and it tells a very compelling story over the span of a few short minutes.

Anyway, I guess I give the movie an A-. I recommend you see it, but try not to over-analyze it, as I’ve already done that bit for you. MANY reviews coming up, including a ranking of EVERY LIL WAYNE ALBUM, as well as some decidedly shittier stuff over at Media Pick. Like if you like, favorite if you favorite, follow if you follow, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…

Liek dis if u cr yevremitme.

Review: John Wick — November 2, 2014