Movie Review – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

 

Movie Review - Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindelwaldI don’t know what happened with this movie. It looked great from the trailers, and looked like the story would make sense. The film itself, though, was a big beautiful mess. I’m not even sure what I saw.

I’m essentially a Harry Potter expert. I’ve read the books dozens of times, seen the movies even more, visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and traveled to places filmed on location in both London and Scotland. I belong to a Harry Potter Meetup group, and have different wizard outfits, cobbled together over the years. I’ve made wands. Blah blah blah. All this to make it clear when I say I don’t understand Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. It’s a painful feeling.

It’s not even just me. I went with a fellow wizard friend, and he was disappointed and lost too. After the film, we tried to figure out what the movie was about, why the characters did the things they did, and were both just puzzled.

We saw the movie in IMAX at a select early screening with reserved tickets in a packed theater. Everyone there was a big HP fan, ready to have an exciting time. We started out applauding and cheering when different things occurred onscreen, like seeing Dumbledore, during the Hogwarts scene, when different creatures showed up, and when certain early secrets were revealed. However, as the movie wore on, the audience got more and more quiet. By the end, you could hear a pin drop. There was no final applause, which spoke volumes in its silence. People filed out with no fanfare or excitement. Basically, JK Rowling’s biggest fanbase seemed alienated.

I’ll probably see this a few more times in the theater — and it really is a pretty piece of work. I hope to figure out what the plot was about and why the characters did the things they did. I’m positive I’ll have better things to say about this film then. But in the meantime, I’ll say this: if I couldn’t follow the weird, convoluted, and very messy narrative told here, I doubt the casual fan will know what to make of it.

Grade: C

About The Peetimes: I attended a premier showing before the film officially opened. (I had to drink my hoarded Felix Felicis Potion to get this ticket.) While this is great news for RunPee fans, I will admit this was the hardest movie ever for me to get Peetimes. The film moves at a breakneck pace, with too many characters — many of whom were brand new and didn’t make any sense in the film. I added 2 Peetimes, in any case. The 1st is better, at 39 minutes in. The 2nd, at 1:16 will also serve. Neither of these scenes have any interesting action or fantastic beasts.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Virgin Watch Movie Reviews — Rocky 1 through Creed 2

Rocky is something I’ve heard about for all my life, but to be honest, I had never seen any Rocky films. The first Rocky related movie I watched was Creed in 2015, and I thought it was a pretty good movie. Now, as Creed 2 is about to be released, I took on a project to watch all of the Rocky films.

To set the stage, going into this I know very very little about Rocky. I knew the following things: 1) It takes place in Philadelphia. 2) Rocky is a boxer. 3) He runs up some stairs as the iconic Rocky song plays in the background.

Rocky (1976)

Wow! I am truly amazed at how amazing this movie is. I’m also really surprised at how a movie that is now more than 40 years old has such a great storyline and cinematography. I can only imagine how viewers at the time felt about it.

I think this first movie did character development very well. I think that Rocky is a very charismatic, charming, and funny character. He really allowed me to get sucked into the movie and really feel for the character of Rocky. In terms of movie theme, for a sports film about boxing there was very little time spent boxing. I will say that the boxing scenes were spectacular. I was cheering from my couch!

On top of this, I learned so much from Rocky: 1) A split decision does not mean it’s a tie! 2) There were 15 rounds (then) in a boxing match. 3) If a boxer is down for 10 seconds, then the other boxer wins the whole match (not just that round). One question still unanswered: did Adrian truly believe that Rocky could hear her through the crowd and the reporters swarming him?? 🤔

Grade: A

Stay tuned for Rocky II. I’ll be adding these reviews here as I binge through the franchise.

Movie Review – Creed

Shani Ogilvie

Watching movies in theaters is an indescribable experience for me. This, doing laundry, and visiting the Container Store bring me true joy. When I’m not watching movies or getting Peetimes, I like keeping up with the latest technology, learning to code, and building things. Career wise, my passion lies with improving access and equity within the health, tech, and social sectors.

Movie Rewatch Review – Patriot Games

classic patriot games with harrison ford
Another Sean Bean bites the dust

Patriot Games was always on my list of favorite films, up until some other good stuff came along (like the Harry Potter films, the Lord of the RingsThe Hunger Games, and even The Martian) to push it off my personal Top Ten List.

Still, it’s a very fine movie. Really! The soundtrack and Enya crescendos rocked. It was a fine emotional family journey. It just hasn’t aged as well as it did before the Information Age kicked in. The amazing things we see the CIA do are simply no longer that amazing.

It’s like, “Yeah, yeah, re-task the damn satellites;  I could probably do this from my cellphone.” And the stand-out moment, where a cold analyst says, “That’s a kill,” well…it was a bone-chilling line at the time. But after a few long decades of CIA intel flicks, this doesn’t have the resonance it once had. We’ve become  immured to deaths we see from afar.

Don’t take this as a political statement: we now only feel sad when the “good guys” die. Who’s to say who is good, and who isn’t? For far-away people caught up in a crusade that means everything to them and nothing to us, they must die. Fox Mulder of The X-Files understood the US government wasn’t as benign as they wanted us to believe. I’m just glad they destroyed the desert cell they intended to, based on absolutely no evidence and Jack Ryan’s hunch. (A sunburned man and a girl in a tank top. Really? Do we that casually wound and mass-murder in the name of justice?) [/end rant]

It was also filmed in a world of graininess. The climactic night scenes were hard to decipher, even though from my years of rewatches I knew this film like I knew my face in a mirror. Harrison Ford pulled a perfect performance, and was awesomely reunited with James Earl Jones — his first major role since the voice of Darth Vader — in a film where Sean Bean makes one of his early many, many, many (MANY) movie deaths. (What a thing to list on top of your resume. Sean, my Boromir, I love you anyway.)

All this to say that what was once an A+ film has dropped, through no fault of its own, to an A-. We’ve had so many better films over the ensuing decades. How could I say this is a better film than the last batch of Mission Impossible flicks?  Or Jason Bourne‘s journey? Just because I have a super soft spot for Patriot Games doesn’t mean it’s still the best bag of chips in the vending machine.

Movie Grade: A- (I feel terrible giving this a lower grade on my rewatch. Thank goodness Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Jaws, are still perfect films!)

NOTE: I need to rewatch the prequel Hunt for Red October, which I recall as an incredible film, even though Jack Ryan (and his wife) were played by other actors. I recall that the threequel was not up to snuff.  Thoughts?

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Virgin Movie Review – Gone Girl (with Spoilers)

Gone-girl-actors
The girl is back.

I feel physically unclean after seeing Gone Girl. Seriously. Please excuse me while I take a scalding shower….

Okay, I’m back. Very clean. HEY, past this point, there be SPOILERS in DETAIL about Gone Girl.

I think I washed the stench of evil from my skin. Eeeeevil. E-VIL. The ‘girl’ is the scariest psychotic imaginable. Sweet Holy Moses, Gone Girl was an intense experience. I shuffled through a lot of emotions, viewing it. Initial interest, a pervading sense of depression, to thinking I guessed the secret, to being lost in layers of deceit, experiencing a bit of boredom in the middle…then with more depression seeping in, and finally ending on a note of mesmerized fascination as the two leads went head to head in a battle royale for power (Amy) or life (Nick).

And you know what? By the end, smart as Nick is, Amy wins in every way that counts. Back to feeling depressed. Fade to black.

To start, I was very much a Virgin to Gone Girl. I heard nothing about it, save that people liked it. I’d thought maybe kidnapping was involved. But most consistently, nobody — nobody — would tell me what it was about. They’d say, “I can’t discuss it without spoilers.” To which I felt, “Screw that: there must be something you can tell me.”

I guess I should thank all those folks, since if anyone had given me a rough outline of Gone Girl, I never would have seen it. And I’m glad I did, even though that woman makes my skin crawl. I like thrillers and dislike drama, and this one walks a line somewhere between both genres.

The cleverness of the plot is based on a somewhat dismal viewer realization: that no one in Gone Girl are nice people. Not the estranged couple, or Neil Patrick Harris’ character, Amy’s parents, her various neighbors, the story-chasing news casters, the lawyer (although at least he’s jovial about it)…I’ll make an exception for the sister and the detective. I actually kept waiting for the twin sister to kill Amy at the denouement, maybe offscreen, freeing up her brother and getting satisfaction for ridding the world of a very, very dangerous woman. One who should NOT be raising kids.

This is a bit glossed over in the end, but if I was the husband, I’d spend the next few years planning the perfect murder, before Amy terrorizes and ruins their child. (And I speak as a pacifist. Some psychopaths are too dangerous to keep alive.)

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike were perfectly cast: I believed in their characters, the narrative, their pain, their violent tendencies. I felt like a voyeur at times, intruding on people’s private, very dirty laundry. Some details you’re better off not knowing about your neighbors, friends, co-workers, or even your spouse. Some people are too steeped in rot to be redeemed. Sometimes a thing is too broken to be fixed.

This is a hard one to grade, since it’s both an excellent flick, and one that’s intensely unpleasant to sit through. Is this a masterfully told, extraordinarily acted, awful film?

It’s not really my genre. I love a good thriller and a mystery, which this has in turns, but tonally it’s suffused with creeping dread and claustrophobic horror. Hitchcock would love this story. It’s almost too dark for words, even though the plot very much works, within the boundaries of flashback structures, the flow of acts, a distinctly non-linear narration, and an ending that makes you want to do bad things to bad people for good reasons. When it concludes, it’s sudden and unexpected: you’re left with only the pervasive sense of being trapped, for life, in a lethal, gilded cage.

[“I say they should take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.” — Ripley, from Aliens.]

Movie Grade: B+

(A Virgin Movie Review is one where we haven’t seen the movie in question when it came out, and watched it with no particular expectations.)

Read the original RunPee Review of Gone Girl by RunPee Dan.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Movie Review – Overlord

Movie Review - OverlordOverlord wasn’t bad; it wasn’t great but it definitely wasn’t bad. At moments it bordered on campy, and then would flow back into a shoot ’em up thriller. It reminded me of the video games my husband plays. It has that type of feel, not quite real, but with a storyline you hope ends up with the good guys winning.

The thing that jumped out at me the most was the blood and gore. They did a bang-up job on making things look really creepy. Once you get to see the supposed zombies, you’ll understand. The way they look — and for sure the way they move. That was impressive.

As long as I stay in the mindset of this being borderline campy, I enjoyed it. The first half of the movie really drew me in, but they kind of lost my attention towards the end. There was way too much time spent on loud explosions and useless gore. If they could have thrown in a little more story and less action I would have scored it better.

I don’t know that I’ll watch it again, but I at least don’t feel cheated out of my time and money. This movie might just make it into a date night movie category. The guys will enjoy the action and violence, and the girls will enjoy pretending to be scared and hiding in their dates’ necks. That’s a win-win situation.

Grade: C

About The Peetimes: This is an action-packed movie. I tried to choose Peetimes that kept you from missing any of the ‘wow’ moment scenes. I recommend using the 1st Peetime. The 2nd Peetime is short and involves some action.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Overlord. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Christene Johnson (RunPee Sis)

RunPee.com owes RunPee Sis a huge debt of gratitude. She sees any movie needed with no complaints and has done so for ten years (even basing Thanksgiving and Christmas family festivities around the seeing films). In 2015 Sis ran the entire RunPee enterprise herself, while RunPee Dan, Jilly and Mom went traipsing off to Europe. Sis is the spider in the web holding the RunPee family together — besides being a funny, well rounded person, and a joyous pleasure to be around. Her favorite films start and end with horror (which thank goodness she’s happy to see, since most of us don’t have the stomach for it) — but also likes silly comedies, sad dramas, and musicals of all types. If you’ve used a Peetime for a scary film, you probably have RunPee Sis to thank for it.

Favorite movie genre: Horror, horror, and more horror. The more disturbing, the better. Period.

Bio

Movie Review – The Grinch

 

Movie Review - The Grinch
Max the dog was cute. So was Fred the Reindeer. So, not a total loss.

It’s time to cease re-doing The Grinch. Full stop.

I can’t believe I was sucked into thinking this movie would add anything to the tale that wasn’t done perfectly already in the 1966 Xmas Special. What can I say, except to watch that perfect, iconic 26-minute version again, and to skip this bit of ‘meh.’. SKIP IT. YOU HEAR ME? It’s simply not good. Everything funny was shown in the trailer, and anything emotionally resonant still lies in that long ago Special that still holds up, after all this time.

If you want to feel touched by the Grinch’s heart growing three times, return to the original, and use that as your annual holiday touchstone. You’ll get misty-eyed, and walk away feeling good about life. Not so with this flick. This Grinch had great animated hair, and that’s all I can really say about it.

Moreso, egregiously, none of the genius grinchy musical numbers made it into this feature. It’s too bad, as I was ready to sing along with the audience. This was a just a big waste of time. I’m actually mad about it. STOP rebooting the Grinch, Hollywood! Is anybody listening?

The entire Cindy Lou Who subplot was a boring, meandering, meaningless misfire. Her “big” question for Santa underwhelmed, and her friends had no personality. What was the point of introducing them?

I honestly don’t know why the producers thought they could improve on the animated classic with this dreck. Even the lamented Jim Carrey live-action version was better, and that’s saying a lot.

I LOVE the classic Grinch story from Dr. Seuss, but can’t understand why this 2018 movie was necessary. Stick with the 1957 book or the 1966 TV special, and you’ll understand why this story is so important, so enduring. Loneliness and alienation are real concerns, and that first story offers hope for us all, even if we are sometimes humbugs where Christmas is concerned.

What did work in this film: Max the dog and Fred the reindeer. They had the most laughs from the young audience. As for the Grinch, not even Benedict Cumberbatch could make this film work.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: This is a short movie, and only 2 of the Peetimes are workable. The 1st one is really nice and long. The 2nd is fine too. Don’t use the 3rd Peetime if you don’t know the story of the Grinch — it’s just for emergencies.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Grinch. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

The Grinch Who Keeps Stealing Christmas

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Movie Review – The Girl in the Spider’s Web

 

Movie Review - The Girl in the Spider's WebIt’s a sad fact: sometimes a good book can make a not so good movie. Such is the case of The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

The pacing was frenetic, making the plot hard to follow. There were scenes that went by so quickly, I hardly had time to incorporate them into the movie in my brain. Most of these scenes were filled with gratuitous explosions or implausible car chases that hurt my brain.

I didn’t feel there was any chemistry between the characters, and in my heart of hearts, I don’t think the actors had fun in making this movie. I most certainly didn’t have fun watching it.

TGitSW could have been shot in black and white, and it wouldn’t have made a difference. There was very little color, except for a brilliantly red outfit worn by Camilla during a portion of the movie. And speaking of the red outfit: hats off to Sylvia Hoeks for running up a snow-covered hill while wearing six inch red stilettos. You go girl!

I’m assuming that the target audience are those who have read the book, which I have not. How well did the movie follow the book? Did the personalities of the book follow the personalities of the movie? I don’t know, because I haven’t read the book and probably never will.

I did find it interesting that the movie opened with a ‘Me Too’ moment, showing Lisbeth emasculating an abuser by hanging him from the ceiling, and tazing the creep ’til he literally peed his pants. The icing on the revenge cake was when Lisbeth mostly depleted his fortune by transferring funds into a private account for the wife. A lot of people would consider this scene worth the price of admission. I did! I believe that TGitSW would have been so much better if tazing psychotic husbands had been the plot of the movie.

My bottom line…….wait for the DVD.

Grade: D+

About The Peetimes: This movie was almost non-stop action, making it difficult to get good Peetimes — however, I managed to find 2 action scenes that were easily summed up.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Girl in the Spider’s Web. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

RunPee Mom is our emotional bedrock. Without her, we never would have lasted a decade as an app. She’s our cheerleader, a source of unconditional love. She also works cheerfully and tirelessly, seeing any movie we ask of her, writing interesting reviews, and being our…well…MOM. Her genres of choice include kiddie flicks, animated movies, emotional dramas, historical features, war films, diverse biographies, and even dense, diabolically plotted thrillers.

Virgin Movie Review – Get Smart

get smart movie
Less than smart.

Maybe I’ve been watching too many spy movies this month, but I was bored during this otherwise okay comedy spy film. We have a lot of US spy films, like the Mission Impossible series, RED 1 and 2, the Patriot Games trilogy, and Jason Bourne’s franchise. I recently reviewed a glut of British spy movies too, covering James Bond, The Kingsman, Johnny English and Austin Powers. I’m kind of spied out.  I know there’s more spy movies out there, but I have to ask myself WHY? Do we all secretly want to use cool gadgets and murder with government consent? Does this make us a little bit evil, somehow?

In any case, Get Smart is based on a TV franchise my mother watched back in the day, and something I sat through as a child, for lack of anything more charming onscreen. I recalled the Shoe Phone, the Cone of Silence, the Telephone Booth entrance (a gag reused recently in Harry Potter of all things), and how the Maxwell Smart character made endless silly mistakes, yet carried the day in spite of it all. Smart is booksmart, but not really skilled in the field. In the Get Smart movie, Steve Carell plays the smart/dumb role with aplomb. Kudos to him.

For the rest of the cast, it was kind of an excuse to show up as a “Hey, I know that guy” trope, thinking that was good enough. (Clue: It wasn’t.) Anne Hathaway was over-cast and made no sense being in a silly feature like this. Don’t get me started on the total waste of The Rock’s talents. Why they agreed to show up for Get Smart is something I can’t understand. There’s also a very strange cameo with a beloved actor, who has a tiny scene while hidden in a tree on the White House lawn. I have no idea what that was about, but I won’t spoil it for you here. Look for him, and tell me if you think the scene added anything to the plot.

The best role went to the amiable Alan Arkin as the head of Control. I love his voice, and how he can be an average sort of fellow who never-the-less has a commanding presence. That worked. Not brilliantly, but good enough.

I did enjoy the dance-off scene, and Maxwell’s adorable partner. When she flipped the bird to the pretty little mean girls, I gave a small cheer. Not to say that fat jokes are cool, but it was pleasing to see her cut a rug with Max on the dance floor. The scene where Agent 99 and Max gyrate around deadly laser beams was a cute take on the the old trope. And I liked the nod to the old Bond movies with the Jaws-type henchman character, who they call Easter Island Head — which I totally see. The skydiving segment uncannily pre-dates the recent HALO jump on Mission Impossible: Fallout, but not with the panache of Tom Cruise’s real-life stunt.

Basically, Get Smart is a non-offensive movie that thinks it’s funnier than it is..however,  my mother laughed a lot. Personally, if I’m going to watch a spy spoof, I’d prefer Austin Powers or The Kingsman. Still, Get Smart is better than Johnny English. Ah, the power of faint praise. 😉

Movie Grade: B

(A Virgin Movie Review is one where we haven’t seen the movie in question when it came out, and watched it with no particular expectations.)

Cruise’s HALO MI Dives: 106 jumps at 25,000 feet, w/broken ankle

Best Bond and Bond Parody Intro Songs

Fantastic Theme Music from the Entire Mission Impossible Franchise

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Virgin Movie Review – RED 2

Not even Anthony Hopkins could save RED 2
This time the band didn’t bother coming together.

Well, now. I recently re-watched RED 1, and loved it. I gave it an A. So maybe you can understand my disappointment when I say this sequel was the pits. It made almost no sense, even with Anthony Hopkins doing his usual bang-up performance, acting his heart out in a film so completely narratively lacking. What the hell happened here?

Sometimes a sequel isn’t warranted, even though the original left on-screen hints there was more to come. They should have stopped right there, leaving their future to our imagination. RED 2 (still shorthand for Retired, Extremely Dangerous) has none of the charm or style marking the first film. I want to shake the producers for making this dreck happen, for forcing it into existence. WHY?

The original great ensemble didn’t come together. Most of the main characters were completely sidelined or missing entirely. Our ex-Russian KGB expert came in and out like a pee break (as in, his role was like a 3 minute Peetime over the course of the film). Helen Mirren fared slightly better, but had only one or two lines with any of the warmth she showed before. Sure, she can shoot like nobody’s business, but her role was frustratingly fungible and spare. She acted like she knew it. Paycheck time, I guess.

Morgan Freeman’s absence was sorely missed. I know he had stage 4 cancer in RED 1, but hell, this is a movie; they could say it went into remission and no one would bat an eye. Why make continuity a thing when your second best character is missing, without a single line bemoaning his off-screen apparent death? He’s still acting in 2018, so its not like the actor died. My best guess is Freeman read the incoherent script and passed.

Which leaves us with Bruce Willis and John Malcovich turning the ensemble into a duo. It’s like a band of two reuniting on a cruise ship gig because the rest of the musicians retired. This time, Willis and Malcovich have no chemistry at all all. They barely looked at each other. In fact, Malcovich only had on-set chemistry with Willis’ love interest Mary Louise Parker. She did her usual quirky fun job, but it couldn’t save RED 2 from a poor overall performance. 

Who else appeared? David Thewlis (Professor Lupin from Harry Potter), Catherine Zeta Jones, some cringingly bad bad guy whose name I can’t be bothered to look up, and Byung-Hun Lee as Han, the new mercenary who’s Death Incarnate all movie long, but turns into a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Softie in the end. The transition didn’t work, though, unlike Karl Urban’s good turn in RED 1.  Thewlis was quite good as The Frog, and should have been in more scenes. Zeta-Jones…well, looked good. As a past flame for Willis’ character, she pulled off a workmanlike job. The script didn’t give her much to work with. Too bad. Too bad for everything: I was really looking forward to this sequel.

What good things can I say? The cool soundtrack from the first didn’t happen for the 2nd. The plot skipped and jumped; the actors mumbled most of their lines, and the plot was made of Swiss cheese. I still don’t know what the Red Mercury bomb was supposed to be — it sure didn’t make a lick of sense. Wait: these aren’t good things.

Let me try again. Willis and Parker were fine together. Parker’s pleasant presence provided the most laughs. The gag about the gang stealing Han’s plane was amusing, with a good payoff.

The worst crime in this crime movie: it wasn’t funny. RED 1 is all about the fun. There’s enough other, more serious Gun Movies out there if that’s what you want. I hope RED 3 is never a thing. Let these RED ex-agents finally retire.

Recommendation: Pass.  Stream it free, if you must. It’s a much longer movie then RED 1, but that didn’t make it better.

Movie Grade: D+

Note: A virgin movie review highlights films from the past that we haven’t seen before, unlike a regular review from a current film, or a rewatch review from something we’ve seen previously. 

Movie ReWatch Review – RED

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

The Grinch Who Keeps Stealing Christmas

He's still a mean one.
He’s still a mean one.

With the newest incarnation of The Grinch arriving under our trees (albeit a bit early) this season, we thought it was time to take a look at the history of this mean green creature, who is both dastardly and oddly sympathetic.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas  (1957) – The original kid’s book by Dr. Seuss is beloved, and for very good reasons. It started it all, showing us a grumpy Gus who hates the holiday (shades of A Christmas Carol). He steals, he lies, he abuses his dog Max, and breaks Cindy Lou Who’s trust…but eventually hears the joyous music and comes through in the end. This is an allegory for humanity, in a real way. We can be mean, we can hurt others to hide our own miserable loneliness…but if we open ourselves — just a crack — to others…well, we might learn to belong after all. Who hasn’t known this kind of profound alienation? Who doesn’t secretly dream of being accepted despite the petty crimes we’ve committed? The message hits us right in the feels. Dr. Seuss knew it. This is among the three top stories he gifted to generations of children. (Along with The Lorax and The Cat in The Hat. Can’t argue with those.)

How The Grinch Stole Christmas –  A faithful and rousing rendition of the Dr. Seuss book, the animated 26-minute special from 1966 is definitely something…yes, special. Growing up with this, it was a traditional treat to rewatch it every year, as a child. I still watch it now to herald the holiday season. Good animation, great songs (I can still sing the refrain), and a story to make your heart grow three sizes in the end. A+ work.

The Grinch (2000) – The live action version with Jim Carrey dropped on the scene to a mostly poor reception. (It seems Carrey doesn’t always have the magic touch.) I recently watched this for the first time (um, as in today, to get ready for the upcoming rebooted animated Grinch), and thought it was…lacking. Middling, dank, arbitrary, and a bit sour. Ron Howard himself directed, and usually produces great films. What happened to the color, the joy, the fun? Not everyone panned it, however. The Wikipedia reports, “Despite mixed reviews that often compared the film unfavorably to the 1966 special, it won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and was also nominated for Best Art Directionand Best Costume Design.”

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018) – Did we need ANOTHER Grinch? Why reboot this one; it’s been done enough, surely? In spite of my fears, every time I saw the new animated trailer in theaters I smiled and giggled in spite of myself. It looks a world of better than the live action version. I think they might get it right! I’m not the kind of critic who wants to see the same darn themes rebooted every few years, but agree Pixar knows how to craft a film. The trailer looks charming and fun: I’m all over it. If it doesn’t suck, it might put this story to bed, finally. NOTE, after seeing the 2018 movie: it didn’t. Here’s my Grinch-like review.

Watch The Grinch Trailers, to get you in the proper mood for the Mean One this Christmas: 

The Final Grinch Trailer:  

Movie Review – The Grinch

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.