By Paul Anthony
Short stories can be so hard to turn into movies, how can you take something that takes just a few minutes to read into a movie that is nearly one hour 47 minutes long? Sure, stuff has to be added to fill the gaps, but does that make for a good movie? Todau we are reviewing the film Spiderhead that was released on Netflix on June 17th which stars Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett. The film was based on the short story written by George Saunders, which was released in 2010 in The New Yorker. Now going into this film, I never heard of these short stories, so it took me a moment to follow along to the point of the story. Now I know Netflix’s movies can be a hit or miss at times and both Chris and Miles are having a good year with Top Gun 2 and Thor: Love and Thunder. Let’s look in the plot like always first.
At first, I missed what Spiderhead actually was but quickly learned that it is a prison but a prison like no other. Here the prisoner’s roam the building freely and are here to help reducing their sentence. Now being here which was voluntary, they must take drugs that alter their emotions and their perception of their surroundings. The prison is controlled and ran by Steve Abnesti (Hemsworth) who seems like a very nice funny guy who is very understanding. Then we meet an inmate Jeff (Teller) who pretty much says yes to every drug hoping to make a difference from him drinking and driving and killing his best friend. Though we learn later that his best friend’s girlfriend was also in the car and sadly died as well. The first drug we see Jeff use is a love drug that makes him fall for another inmate though he doesn’t like her until the drug takes affect and they both have sex with each other, However Jeff has his eyes set on Lizzy another inmate at the prison which is played by Smollett. Lizzy claims that she is in there for armed robbery. Things start to turn for Jeff when Steve informs him the higher ups want him to pick between Lizzy and Heather to see who Gets the next drug which is called Darkenfloxx which Jeff doesn’t pick but it ends up being Heather and once the drug kicks in she sadly commits suicide and to jeff horror Steve blows it off as a failed experiment. Jeff starts digging around finds out the truth and that Steve has no higher-ups, it’s his company all long and a fight breaks out between them Steve reveals Lizzy’s true crime and that is she accidentally killed her nine-month-old child who she tells Jeff the whole truth, Steve also reveals that both Jeff and Lizzy have been free. Steve reveals also that his parents abandon him and hence why he’s inventing drugs for humans to do what they are told so crimes can go down. Soon the cops arrive to shut the place down, but Steve tries to escape but dies when he flies into a mountain and Jeff and Lizzy leave on the boat.
Okay let’s talk about the character development, I get it Jeff didn’t mean to commit his crime, but we don’t see enough of his back story to see what kind of person he truly was. Lizzy was the same thing; this was big thing to show us to feel sorry for her, but they didn’t do that. Sure, they made her feel sorrow and regret but not enough to feel sorry for her and want her to be a free person. Steve’s story could have been shown as well though, I did enjoy the idea of him being friendly despite his back story. Steve’s charm and Jeff’s reaction provides the laughs though I would have like it more if this was darker film because of the subjects that were in the film. The length was just fine, so was the pace. In the end I am giving this film a B or 80 percent. Though it was above average they could have done more.
By Paul Anthony
Today’s movie I would have to say has caught me off guard, because I swear this was a thriller but when I selected the movie and was reading about it, I thought to myself, what am I getting myself into! Nevertheless, the show must go on. Fire Island is a Romantic Comedy based on the 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice. Now I am say based on and that term is used loosely because this is a modern adaptation and on top of that, the names are changed and so are the genders of the characters and the sexuality of the characters as well, honestly this should just be an original idea. The Noah character is based on Elizabeth Bennet, Howie is based on Jane Bennet, Will is based on Fitzwilliam Darcy, Charlie is based Charles Bingley, Erin is based on Mrs. Bennet, Luke is based on Lydia Bennet, Keegan is based on Kitty Bennet, Max is based Mary Bennet, Cooper is based Caroline Bingley and Dex is based on George Wickham. Hopefully that helps you understand everything. This movie was released on HULU and stars Joel Kim Booster as Noah, Bowen Yang as Howie, Margaret Cho as Erin, and James Scully as Charlie. Now as the movie called Fire Island, which is a real place and is the famous gay village off the south shore Long Island. The film was 105 minutes long.
The movie revolves five friends doing their year weeklong vacation of having fun and living it up. Noah narrates their adventure and the lessons he learns from, but his main goal is to be a good wig man to his closest friend Howie. Things get kicked off in a hurry when they are having drinks and noticed a few other guys checking them out and one of them Charlie keeps his eye on Howie which Noah sees as well and gets them to talk. Boom next night they go to Charlie’s party and have fun there and Noah sparks and up and down relationship with Will but Than Dex enters the picture which complicates things to say the least, even though Will Warns him about Dex, Noah and his friends learn the hard way when Dex’s makes a sex tape with one of Noah’s friends, but Will helps Noah save the day and Howie and Charlie become a couple ending the vacation on a high note.
Now if you are looking for a family comedy, please don’t watch this film and if you are looking for a good laugh, please don’t watch this as well. Look I get the emotional points of the story with the rich and the poor. Now adding for of a modern touch is a great touch as well but that is where it ends with the positive words. The comedy fell way short and the typical stereotype of being gay became more annoying than funny and stretching this to 105 minutes made it even more to watch. Acting was below average at best and therefore this film was below average well for a rating. You guessed it, I am giving it a D for a rating and labeling it as please don’t waste your time type of movie
By Paul Anthony
I guess we can call this Eddie Murphy weekend here at SmashWriting and I say that because today I am reviewing his film and on Saturday I am reviewing the sequel to this film as well which is titled Coming 2 America, creative huh? In the 1980’s Murphy was as hot as anyone with having a good stand up career and being in hit after hit, basically for the new age people he was Kevin Hart of the 80’s. The movie stars Eddie Murphy but the cast was actually stacked with talent, you had of course Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley and John Amos. The film also had Louie Anderson and a younger Samuel L Jackson. Though this film didn’t need Anderson, it should be noted that the studio which is Paramount requested that there needed to be a white person in this film, and truly no there was no need for that. The film was released in the summer of 1988, the film had a budget of just 36 million and managed to make 350 million, now this is the part where I say sequel would happen but we know that is truly the case. I have to admit its been awhile since I watched the film so I needed to watch it over again. Well let’s waste no time and check out the plot.
The plot is simple Eddie Murphy plays the prince of an African country who must get married to a princess which his father has already arranged but this is not what the prince wants and during announcement he decides that he wants to find his own bride though he does not exactly say that. He basically tells his father he wants to go to America to basically have sex. So him and his servant travel to New York to begin the process though they agree that no one should know their true identity. Instead they act like they goat keepers. After failed attempts to meet the queen to be at clubs the two attend a fundraiser where the prince finds the perfect woman for him and her name is Lisa however he must fight for her love because she is already and though he managed to win her heart, he must reveal the truth to her and tell her he is a prince. At this point his father has come to America to find him and bring back home and is shocked to find out what he has been up. Once the prince tells Lisa the truth she runs away and basically he becomes sad and returns home with his family to marry his arranged bride though he is shocked to see that it is Lisa and everything ends well.
Okay now this film is suppose to be a comedy and to be honest I did catch myself laughing at few jokes. “The royal penis is clean” was funny line as well as the good morning neighbors, I never been a fan of Murphy being different characters though they had their moments. With it being a comedy I didn’t expect much of anything else regarding the plot. In the end honestly it was a hit but I am giving it a B but still enjoyed watching it!!
By Paul Anthony
This week we are taking a look at Dumb and Dumber to which would come out twenty years after the first film and 11 years after the horrible film that would be the prequel called Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Het Lloyd. Which was just awful, the fact that, that film made any type of money blows my mind. In any case we finally got a Jim Carrey’s first sequel since Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Well, I was watching this film I began to wonder how I was going to rate this film because of the timeline. Twenty years waiting for a sequel is a long time and styles have changed as well. What was fun in the early 90’s when the first film came out may not the hit thing to do twenty years later. For this film the reviews were more towards the negative side but the film still manage to bring 169.8 million from a budget of 50 million which was higher than the first film, which was only 17 million but given how Carrey wasn’t a big star yet the budget made sense. Now did this film live up to the first film, however it was way better than the Prequel.
The plot pretty much follows the twenty year gap in real life and the film starts with Lloyd being in a mental institution since he found out that Mary Swanson was married, she was the woman from the first film that Lloyd wanted to be with. It is revealed that Harry has been visiting every week for the last twenty years but he reveals that he can’t do it anymore and that is when Lloyd reveals he has been pranking him for twenty years and they head back home together. However it’s not all fun and games because Harry reveals that he needs a Kidney transplant and Lloyd bright idea would be to ask Harry’s parents which would be a good idea except Harry was adopted , however they do give him his mail and there he finds a old letter from 1991 from a girlfriend that reveals she is pregnant, though its not told to them that Harry isn’t the father but the two take the hint that he is and could get a new kidney from his daughter. So they meet up with his ex and the road trip begins. We basically get them screwing up things and pretty much doing the same things they did in the first film to proved the laughs. In the end They learn that Harry doesn’t have a daughter and Lloyd wants to date her, Harry is then rushed to the hospital but reveals to Lloyd that he to has been pranking him and doesn’t actually needs a new kidney. In a post credit scene, they are heading home and throw their milkshakes at a truck belonging to none other than Sea Bass who then decides ram them.
Here is the thing the more I watched this film the more I realized that this film would have been so much better in the 90’s or early 2,000’s when this style of comedy was a big hit and when this film series was still big to us. Doing this film just felt like they were doing this to owe it us. In the end the laughs didn’t hit me as well as the first film did. In Fact the film didn’t do anything wrong and stayed true to the first film but clearly this film was just 15 years late for it to be a good film. In the end I am giving this film a D for a rating. But it was still better than When Harry Met Lloyd.
By Paul Anthony
Back in 2002 we were in the height of the Bow Wow Era and also Jonathon Lipnicki as well, one was a cute little young rapper and the other was cute little kid that was pretty much in the prime of his acting career. So why not get these two kids together and make a film about orphans finding a pair of Michael Jorden’s shoes that some how actually fit and gave him powers to be the G.O.A.T the movie had all the magic and was a good little hit. The film had the budget of just 30 million and mad just around 62 million. so you know what that means, yes a sequel was coming. Sadly Lil Bow Wow grew up and so did Lipnicki which meant that they weren’t going to be in a sequel and worse of all the film would be direct to video which in 2006 these films were still a knock off basically unlike today. the biggest stars of this film was basically Kel Mitchell and Mark Cuban. the film stars Jascha Washington in the lead role where the kid finds the shoes. Now the biggest question of the day would be did this film live up to the first film? I best answer would be no of course but let’s take a look at why it didn’t.
In this film we meet a young boy named Jerome Jenkins Jr, one day playing basketball with his friends, they learn that a streetball team is coming to town and is looking for talent. Needless to say Jerome and his friends aren’t very good even though street ball is in Jerome’s family, his dad is often referred top as a good player though chokes during the big games. One day Jerome finds a pair of shows hanging on a street light, what catches the his eyes the most is the fact that the shoes says MJ on it. And that night the shoes are struck by lightening which Jerome learns has given him more abilities to play basketball but only when he wears them. Soon he starts to gain attention from other people and even joins a streetball team and leads them to the championship game however life isn’t perfect off the court. He stops making time for his friends, he becomes a ball hog which begins to turn his teammates against him as well. Meanwhile Ray who is like his mom’s distant relative friend becomes his agent to get him sponsors but in the long run he was only using him for the money and not looking out for his well being. Finally everything catches up to Jerome and he realizes all the wrong he is doing. In the end he makes it up to everyone he has hurt and screwed Ray with making money.
Okay so we know it didn’t live up to the first film, the film did have some over the top scenes that just didn’t seem like it fit in with the rest of the movie, which made these scenes even more over the top and just hurt the film. The film also tried to recreate the magic from the first film with a new cast which just didn’t happen. The Character of Ray was a joke he was called cousin Ray living with them and really wasn’t family at all. That made no sense. In the end I am giving this film a C for being average at best!
By Paul Anthony
Okay where do I start with this honestly, I am trying to wonder why Netflix keeps making movies with Adam Sandler because at first they were but funny. I mean you could watch them and have a laugh or two but then over time the films have gone down hill, all the way down to this film Hubie Halloween. Now if you thought Jack and Jill was bad, then I have news for you that was good movie compared to this. I almost want to break my normal review format and just say don’t watch this because it is that bad but I still have a job to do and I am going to do it.
In this film we meet Adam Sandler who plays Hubie Dubois who is a lonely Deli worker that lives at home with his mother. Hubie is a nice shy person but gets picked on by everyone in the neighborhood. now at some point his mother now gets tired of telling him to defend himself because he just lets people get way with it. When the bullies start to go missing Hubie sets out after the police who are tired of hum and makes him an official member of a fake unit. he sets out to find out what is going on and of course even when he is trying to help people the other people still make fun of it until they even disappear. All of the events leads Hubie home and there he sees the bullies tied up and finds out that his mother is behind it all and wanted Hubie just to stick up for himself, though he some does the bullies still find a way to make fun of him until they are about to die and then they say they are sorry and find the error of their ways and then just at that point Hubie’s mother disappears making it seem like she was a witch. A year later he moves on with his life and even gets married and becomes the mayor of Salem.
I seriously couldn’t wait to finish this film. The cameos and callbacks to Adams hit movies were a good touch but that is all I can say. The movie barely had a plot and Adam Sandler plays the same character that he has always played and it is getting boring to be honest. Honestly there was brief period where I just stop following the movie because it was beyond stupid to me and I have watched stupid movies but this is the worse one. The sad thing is that this film was dedicated to Cameron Boyce, who starred in Grown Ups one and 2 . In the end I am giving this film an D for a rating and that is being nice. I thought this would be a family movie at least but it wasn’t if your bored then give it a try other than that you’ll be wasting your time watching this.
By Paul Anthony
How quickly can things change for a franchise. One movie was pretty good and now this film. It is like two different stories regarding the film. Now count this as part part two of my weekend with reviewing this series. Let’s keep in mind that this franchise was most likely never meant to be a franchise. At least that’s how it seems to me. The script was on ice for three years and then it became a good film which I did enjoy and gave it a good review, as quickly as I heard of the first film I then saw this film and thought hey why not let’s check it out and well let’s look at the plot first before I say anymore.
The film picks up two years later and Cole is now 14 and a junior in high school. Since the first film no one believes Cole and even his own parents decide that he needs help and maybe then he will tell the truth of what really happens that night. the only one who believes him is his only friend Melanie who now has a boyfriend named Jimmy and his friend Diego and also Boom-Boom . At insult injury Cole has a new classmate who is a total Badass named Phoebe. Just when Cole ready to be shipped off, Melanie decides have him run away to the lake where the teens are having a party, which Cole agrees to, there at the party Cole stumbles in room on a boat where he witnesses Melanie and Jimmy and Diego kills Boom-Boom, which they reveal they are part of the cult as well and now then out of nowhere the cult members return from the dead to complete their mission of killing Cole in order for them to be basically reborn and love again, It is at this point Phoebe comes in the room seeking gas for her Jet ski which Cole uses that as a way out and they escape with the cult members both old and new chasing after them. Once on land Coles reveals everything to her in which he believes she won’t believe him but in a shocking twist she actually does and shares her own personal horror story in a bonding moment and trying to fight off the cult they end up having sex but are caught shortly after that and with the demons taking their blood in which they drink it, they begin to die off and they realize that the two innocents had sex making them no longer innocent. At this point Bee returns to fight Melanie which Bee wins and sets Cole and Phoebe free. Bee tells Cole that it was him confessing his love to her that made her see the light and have a change of heart though she is still a demon she decides to drink the blood which kills her for good. in a Mid credit scene on the beach Bee’s book shows up and is still intact waiting for someone else to find it.
Okay let’s look at some terrible issues with this plot. One Cole is 14 in the 11th grade how is that even possible, next Melanie is in the same cult but when did she join and why. Next Bee looks like an angel but yet she attacked a Fire fighter at the end of the first film so when did she decide to have a change of heart instead of seeking revenge. To me this was clear that there was never meant to be a sequel and they did one on the go which causing the plot to be messed up. the same humor and cast was there but that’s as much of a positive as I can say about the film and sadly giving this film a D for a rating. For everything they did right in the first film they did wrong in the second film.
By Paul Anthony
We are in one of our favorite months of the year, where we love talking about everything that is horror but recently I have been looking into the the new age genre of Horror Comedy. Still not the biggest fan of this but then I came across this film on Netflix and it began to peek my interest so I decided to review this film. Let me make a note here that for this week Sequel Saturday will be the direct sequel to this film, so almost called this part one of the weekend blogs.
The script for this film has been around for a few years now and appeared on the 2014 Black List which rates scripts and labels the best ones that haven’t been produced. With that being said the script turned into a movie just three years later.
The movie revolves a pre teen named Cole who seems to be a shy but smart 12 year old. Sadly he gets picked on from the school bullies but then one day he is saved by an older girl who reveals herself to be named Bee and they develop a friendship though Cole begins to have a crush on her and even begins to forget his only friend Melanie, who actually has a crush on him, though he doesn’t realize this until the end. One day Cole’s parents go out for the night and Bee then becomes not only his friend and his crush but now his babysitter. Bee and Cole has a little party just the two of them, which she hopes he passes out but Cole didn’t take the drugs or alcohol that she had given him. Melanie encourages him to spy on Bee because her friends come over and are playing spin the bottle. Here we meet Bee’s friends, Sonya, Max, Allison, John and Samuel. We quickly learn that Samuel is new to the group and he barely knows them but wins a chance to kiss Bee and just as they were about to kiss Bee stabs him in the head. We learn that Bee and her friends are part of a demonic Cult which feeds on the innocent, which is why she befriended Cole but they learn that Cole is awake and chase after him but he passes out and he awakes tied up and they reveal themselves to him but the cops come thanks to Melanie but the team takes care of them quickly. Cole escapes once again and one by one Cole kills each member until its just Bee and him. Bee tells him the full truth how she sold her soul to the devil to get whatever she wants and in return she must spill the innocents blood but then she decides that she wants Cole to join her but Bee is ran over by Melanie. In her dying breath Cole reveals that he loves her which makes Bee cry before she dies and Cole shares a kiss with Melanie. In the post credit scene a Fire fighter is attacked by BEE.
This felt like a truly a new age film to me and that’s not a bad thing. They mixed in a good story of coming to age but that just used comedy and horror to tell the story. I do think this film has done a good job of using all the elements to tell a story and make a film that all ages can enjoy! In the end I am giving this film a B for a rating and think its a good movie to watch!
By Paul Anthony
It seems like back in the earlier 2000’s Billy Bob Thornton was making a name for himself with his style of acting and that being a mean and yet sarcastic A-Hole, it only made sense that he would be good in this role. 2003 was good year for him and Bad Santa was a hit and could he struck gold again? I think over time this film began to have a cult following but at the time of its release the budget was 35 million and it only grossed 34 million which would make it a failure. I wonder why the budget was so high to begin with, I would have thought this film’s budget would be around 15-20 million, because minus Billy Bob Thornton and Marcia Gay Harden, there really wasn’t any other big name that would command a lot of money, most of the cast was just kids or extras. A lot of times most of the budget will go to graphics or big names stars, which makes me wonder how much Billy Bob was going to get for this film. As I stated this film should have been around 20 million tops. In the end it doesn’t matter I don’t think they were aiming for a series unless the numbers really wowed the studio.
Here we meet Morris Buttermaker a washed up former baseball player who works as a exterminator and wanting to make more money because a coach for a baseball team, which are basically the wild crazy kids of the losing team. Added in the equation the Buttermaker who drinks and flirts with women actually fit in with the kids, he then realizes he needs to put together a winning team after arguing with another coach. They then get a sponsor even though it was a strip club and Buttermaker recruits a girl who is a daughter of his ex and a hot shot kid who can bat and things start to change for the team but then Buttermaker changes his ways when he realizes he is having fun and wants the kids to do the same. they make it to the championship game where Buttermaker pulls his stars. so the others could play the game and they come up just short but doesn’t matter he celebrates with the team for coming in second place with non-alcoholic beer.
Now I never watch the very first film so I can’t compare the two films, I think the best part of the film was Billy himself, the rest of the laughs were far in between with the kids not being actually funny just being kids. Which can be a hit and miss and in this cast was a miss. Now the story was good but the execution just wasn’t there. In the end the film could have been better at the time. In the end I am giving this film a C for a rating. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either. Obviously the film didn’t make a profit so we never got a sequel but as I stated before I don’t think they were aiming for a series.
By Paul Anthony
In every generation there are actors that everything they do is gold and they start to show up in everything and boom they still the show for years to come and right now it is Kevin Hart’s time to touch everything and have it turn to gold. That is just one aspect because for a movie to work you need another person and that other person is Ice Cube who can do magic as well at times. Hart has been around but mostly doing stand ups and making cameos then slowing in a supporting role then made his way to being a main star. In 2014 was one of his first true main role in Ride Along which made 154 million from a 25 million dollar budget you knew a sequel was coming and two years later, we got Ride Along 2. The budget was bigger at 40 million but the profit was lower at 124 million nevertheless it made money, when the profit is lower than the first film, you have to wonder why because there are always more than 1 factor in a lot of cases.
Lets talk about the plot, the film picks up sometime after the events of the first film. Ben played by Hart is now a rookie cop but is at home helping to plan for his wedding. James who is played by Ice Cube is working another big case which he must go to Miami to solve the case which by convincing their LT, Ben gets to go with him to prove he is more than a joke, Now being James’ partner he dubs them the Brothers In Law. Which James can’t stand but in Miami they come across an important hacker played by Ken Jeong who has information to help them but they quickly learn this isn’t a easy task because the main bad guy is a high end person with a lot of connections which he uses to slow them down but nevertheless the brothers in law solves the case and Ben gets home in time for the wedding.
There was no doubt that the laughs did come in this film with the three top stars. However they could have used a few more jokes to keep the laughs going but with these buddy cop films there needs to be some seriousness some where which divides the fans up a little. the action was another case where it just needed to be more to help carry the laughs. The biggest highlight has to be their little twist with the high speed car chase in which Ben uses turn signals to make his turns only to use it against the people that are chasing them. Car chases are too common in films and it is nice to see something different in them. I believe the movie didn’t do as well as the first because one it wasn’t that much better then the first film but also Star Wars returned to the big screen and that film took a lot of the market. In the end I am giving it a B for a grade because A lot of magic was there but it just needed so much more!