Movie Review – Overcomer

Movie Review - OvercomerOvercomer is well done in the respect of the quality of production. The acting, directing, writing and pacing was on par for a ‘faith-based’ film. I have absolutely no problem with this movie except this:  who in the world thought Overcomer would be a catchy title? Almost any title would be better, like maybe, ‘Just Pray About It’, a phrase that was repeated ad infinitum during the movie.

The target audience will find this movie inspirational and uplifting. The Kendrick brothers certainly know how to reach out and touch their followers. Good for them.

Faith-based movies have a very specific audience. Those who want the message of their religion spread far and wide, and the Kendrick brothers figured out the best way to do that; at the movies. And it does seem to work.

Here at my home in Asheville, North Carolina, I know that when I’ve been assigned a faith-based movie to review, the theater will be packed. Again, good for the Kendrick brothers.

So after church Sunday, I recommend taking the family to enjoy Overcomer — despite the silly name.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Each Peetime gives you the same amount of time to break, so let your bladder decide.

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

Rated (PG) for some thematic elements
Genres: Drama, religion

Movie Review – The Peanut Butter Falcon

Movie Review - The Peanut Butter FalconAbsolutely: a fantastic movie. I am so happy to unreservedly award an A+ to Peanut Butter Falcon. I smiled the whole time. THIS is how to make a funny, heartwarming film that never overtly panders to maudlin sentimentality.

The laughs are earned, and aren’t always PG. I haven’t enjoyed a dramatic film the way I did here in…years. And you won’t need your tissue box. Thank Thor. It’s just a grand old time.

Coincidentally, I watched Forrest Gump last night for the first time in several decades. I loved it all over again. But Gump (himself), in spite of having many coincidentally fortunate pop culture influences, also experiences gut wrenching loss as the decades play out. Forrest Gump (the movie) is both great…and difficult to rewatch.

The Peanut Butter Falcon spares you this kind of emotional manipulation. PBF is funny, it’s fun, and it’s very, very smart — and makes you wish for friendships like theirs. No matter how intelligent you are or aren’t, you can be genuine and lovable and real. You can be best buddies and have your own secret handshake, and make an ersatz family out of what life gives you.

Just see this movie

Like Tyler tells Zak — who thinks he’s a villain because his family abandoned him for being a ‘retard’ — it’s what’s in your heart that counts. In return, when Zak tells Tyler he’s a good guy, your own heart will grow three sizes that day.

There’s some beautiful lessons to be learned from Peanut Butter Falcon, and I highly recommend everyone — really, everyone — watch and enjoy this fine film. The audience laughed almost continually (as I did), and walked out very happy.

Kudos to the actors, directors, and writers for giving us a yummy late summer sandwich to gobble down in Peanut Butter Falcon.

Grade: A+

PS: Easter Egg found — There’s a Bubba’s gas station/convenience store featured in the film. Nice nod to Forrest Gump. (Also, $1.19 a gallon for gas? WHAT?)

About The Peetimes: I’ve got 3 great Peetimes here. This is a very funny and emotionally uplifting movie, so I’ve chosen Peetimes that show mostly music montages (we love it when that happens). Pay attention to the times listed, so you don’t miss the emotional moments that follow. I recommend the 1st Peetime, if you can use it proactively.

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

Rated (PG-13) for thematic content, language throughout, some violence and smoking
Genres: drama, comedy, adventure, sports

Movie Review – Blinded by the Light

Movie Review – Good Boys – Raunchy Laughs, but Big Plotholes

19 Entry-Level Horror Movies for the Squeamish

Movie Review – Angel Has Fallen

Movie Review - Angel Has FallenI did the Peetimes and reviews for the previous two movies in this series. (And by the way, you don’t need to see or remember the other movies to appreciate this one. It stands on its own pretty well.)

I checked the archives and I gave the first movie Olympus Has Fallen a B+ and the second London Has Fallen a B-. Two very respectable grades for this genre. My memory of the movies is a little vague. I remember the plots, but I only saw them once so I don’t remember the details.

This movie deserves at least a B+. I’m tempted to bump it up in the “A” range, but the villain is a little shaky.

What I liked most about this movie, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, is Nick Nolte’s performance. Let’s just say I’d give Nick an A+ and the rest of the movie a B. Nick doesn’t have a large role, but what he has he owns with some heart tearing monologs.

I have an odd comment about another part of the movie. There’s a scene with Banning driving a semi truck, pulling a trailer, over a curvy two lane road while being chased by police. (This is actually the Recommended Peetime.) What’s odd about it: during the movie I fully expected some wildly fantastic action where Banning would evade the police. That “Hollywood” action that is fantastic, but totally unrealistic. But that’s not what they did. They kept it simple and believable.

Overall, that’s what each of the movies in this series has: a mature script that feels real enough to cover up the unrealistic premise.

Grade: B+

About The Peetimes: I don’t know how you feel about chase scenes, but personally I would highly recommend the 2nd Peetime. It’s one very long chase scene, no dialog, and hardly any action. The tension really builds during the last Peetime. Only use it as an Emergency.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Angel Has Fallen. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for violence and language throughout
Genres: Action

Movie Review – London Has Fallen

Movie Review – Olympus Has Fallen

Movie Review – Ready or Not

Movie Review - Ready or NotReady Or Not, here I come with my review.

This was an awesome movie. I had so much fun watching it, just like playing hide and seek when I was a kid…kind of…we didn’t have all the cool weapons and no one ever died.

I loved the originality. I’m trying to think of another movie to compare it to, but I’m at a loss. It was refreshing to see something totally unique.

The entire cast brought pizzazz to the screen. I lost count of how many lines I laughed at. The delivery and timing was spot on. That tells me not only were we working with great actors, we had great writing and direction.

Let me mention one more thing without giving out any spoilers. I saw the trailer no less than twenty times. I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what I was going to see. I was wrong. Granted, that never, ever happens (me being wrong) but when it does happen, I don’t usually like it. In this case, I was very pleased.

You’ll have fun with this one. I certainly did.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: I have 2 Peetimes for this short movie. The 2nd one is long and has some of the most cringe-worthy scenes, in case that kind of thing bothers you.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Ready or Not. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for violence, bloody images, language throughout, and some drug use
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

First View Movie Review – Jaws 2

jaws 2 chief brody
He always gets his man. Or fish. Whatever: Brody is still cool.

There really isn’t much to say about Jaws 2, from which I expected a little bit more, being the only other “Jaws” film said to be worth watching. I got the chance to finally catch it last night. (RunPee is on a bit of a Shark Movie Binge.)

The original Jaws gets an A+ for brilliance, originality, fabulous chemistry,  deft writing…and serves as an early primer on how to construct a blockbuster around a solid narrative.

Jaws 2 is…not good. But it’s not complete trash, either. I’d give Jaws 2 a C+, which is a tad higher than average, but not by much. I can’t imagine how bad the sequel’s sequels are, and probably won’t bother with them. There’s so many better shark movies to watch, and I haven’t even tapped the campiness that is Sharknado yet.

I won’t belabor this. Jaws 2 had some good follow-up to Jaws, and also some glaring holes…and one big huge unforgivable sin. I’ll get to that in a moment.

What follows are spoilers for Jaws 2, even though you can probably guess how things go down. 

The Good Stuff in Jaws 2

  • The lookout tower. That’s some good continuity. It makes sense Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) would build such a structure and see it manned as a shark lookout. (I wish the stupid mayor would have framed it as a bonus for the visitors..increasing safety, etc, instead of the retread plot about tourism suffering.)
  • Chief Brody had PTSD. They never actually say it, but it’s very clear and present. As it should be with his background. Brody started Jaws 1 with a fear of the water, and seems to have processed that, at least.  But now Brody has to step up again, full of bad shark baggage, and even says to the mayor (and the mayor’s associated jerks) that HE CAN’T DO THIS AGAIN.

And he steps up anyway, still in need of a ‘bigger boat’.

That, my friends, is continuity.

More Good Stuff

  • Having the kids’ boats raft up made logical sense. That’s what would happen in real life, and I was pleased to see boaters being sensible in a dangerous situation. (I used to be a boat guide, for like, ten years. So kudos there.)
  • Cable Junction made for  a novel setting. I wanted to see a final showdown with everyone waiting for rescue on that lump of rock. I didn’t get that, but the idea using the “cable” worked for me, even though everyone in the water should have fried too.

UPDATE: I am reliably told by a scientist that the kids would not have been electrocuted, but that Brody, holding the cable, should have been at least hurt. He wrote: “As for the hypothesis that all in the water ought have died by electrocution, I disagree. The shark was the only path between high voltage (cable) and ground (water & earth), so it had to fry. Past that narrow conductor, the current spreads 3-dimensionally through water and earth, losing intensity extremely fast with distance from the origin, and flowing around high-resistance paths such as living creatures.”

  • Yup, Brody is still bad-ass. I hope he moves off the island to a flyover state without sharks. He can worry about tornadoes or earthquakes, but will be safe from insane predator fish.

Since I won’t bother watching Jaws 3 or 4 or 15, someone tell me what happens next. (Comment section is below!)

jaws-2-beach
Duh duh. Duh Duh. Dun Dun dun dun DUNDUNDUNDUN….you know how it goes.

The Stupid Stuff

  • No characterization happens. I don’t remember anyone’s names except Brody’s and maybe his kiddos. One is Michael, right? Who was the wife? The Mayor? His lackies? It’s not like we cared — they were, as Drax The Destroyer once said, ‘paper people.’
  • No direct reference at all to how Brody saved Amity Island a mere two years ago? He should be a local hero. Not dismissed as a lunatic seeing sharks on every beach, who then gets fired for doing his damn job.
  • It would have been nice to see even a throwaway line about Richard Dryfuss’s character Matt Hooper, and how useful he’d be if he wasn’t off at Greenpeace (or something – I’m easy).
  • Those teens were fungible: I didn’t care who lived or died. I liked the child and his brother (Brody’s kids) because they had actual plot development. But the rest were just…there. As bait.

This is bad script writing. See a movie like Aliens to learn how to make the audience care about everyone in very spare narrative. (For example: you know the relatively minor characters Frost, Vasquez, Bishop, Drake, Hicks, Hudson, Apone, Gorman, and Dietrich, right? Do you know even one of names of the chum teens?

  • The shark looked ridiculous in every scene, both under the water and above, like some floppy rubber…thing. For comparison, the only time Jaws looked silly in the original film was when he attacked the Orca. By Jaws 2 in 1978, the production studio seemingly had no money left for decent effects. If they couldn’t afford to do this right, why bother? I’m guessing because they got Roy Scheider to reprise his role.

(Then they went on to make more Jaws movies with apparently less budget, and spawned an entire cash-cow movie sub-genre….so what do I know?)

The Really, Really Bad Thing in Jaws 2

Okay, W. T. F. ? This shark rams boats, chews metal gunnels, maws through wood beams, and drags a HELICOPTER underwater? Is this some evil nation’s  drone shark with AI implants?

This isn’t how animals behave. Sharks don’t eat boats or upend ships to make people fall overboard. They’re highly specialized predators, but don’t have sentience. Sharks are opportunists who will grab a leg or arm to see if they like it — but they aren’t planners, strategists, or remotely relentless about their prey. If it fights back, there’s plenty of other ‘fish in the sea.’

I allowed for Jaws in the original to attack the good ship Orca, mainly because the rest of the story was so good, and I was willing to accept that this particular Great White was…atypical.

In Jaws 2, the new Great White was just bananas. It was like Die Hard: Shark Edition. Seriously, biting the helicopter pontoons was where I gave up. There’s no reason that would EVER happen: monsters and animals are not the same thing. If they wanted to go nuts like this, then the sharks should have been invading aliens from Rigel 4, or something.

At least in Deep Blue Sea there were….reasons for the deliberate, concerted pack attack.

For reference, this was posted at the bottom credits of 47 Meters Down 2: Uncaged: 10 people die from sharks each year. Ten million sharks die from humans each year.

#MikeDrop

Conclusion: If you loved Jaws (and who doesn’t?), Jaws 2 is an average tier shark follow-up to Brody’s narrative.

Movie Grade: C+

Better Shark Movies, reviewed on RunPee (Except for 47MD Uncaged, which is just dreck…): 

Movie Rewatch – Jaws – Still A Fantastic Blockbuster

The Shallows – First View Movie Review (2016)

Movie Review – The Meg

Deep Blue Sea – First View Movie Review (With YouTube Clips)

First-View Movie Review – 47 Meters Down (2017)

Movie Review – 47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Newie Review – The Reef – Low Budget, Decent, Non Campy Shark Movie

Movie Review – Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

Meet the Real Megalodon

Best Non-Jaws Shark Gems

Movie Review – Good Boys – Raunchy Laughs, but Big Plotholes

Movie Review - Good BoysGood Boys was awkwardly funny. Like really funny. I was worried I was going to pee from laughing so hard, and I can’t RunPee during movies, since I have to get the Peetimes for the rest of you.

There were moments I found myself chastising my inability to hold in my laughter. They pushed the envelope as far as one can be pushed. What I found the funniest was the situations that the boys were getting into was totally over their heads. Them being so young and naive, coupled with the situation, was priceless.

People are screaming over how wrong this movie is. They were scandalized because of the characters being tweens. Sure, it’s not every day you watch little ones swearing like sailors or learning to kiss on a sex doll. But is it any worse than watching criminals kill cops, or a homeless girl turn to prostitution?

There will always be something scandalous on the big screen; that’s what fills the seats. Good Boys is rated R for a reason, folks. Don’t take little Suzy or Johnny; you’re not gonna want to answer their questions afterwards.

The Actors: the Best Part of Good Boys

The actual boys were terrific little actors. Each of them brought just a little bit more spark to the movie. If I were basing my grade on them, it’s an A all the way. My grade faltered a bit due to some gaps in the continuity. There were enough to distract me from completely enjoying the movie.

Good Boys would make a great date night movie, just as long as neither of you are an uptight type. Walk in expecting to see some raunchy jokes, lots of sex toys, and a plot based on drugs.

#DontBringTheKids

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: Good Boys is a really short movie, and they pack a lot of stuff into each scene, which makes finding Peetimes hard. I chose these 2 because they were easiest to sum up without losing a lot of punch. I’ll warn you though, there is humor in every scene, and I can’t duplicate that in a Peetime.

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

Rated (R) for strong crude sexual content, drug and alcohol material, and language throughout – all involving tweens
Genres: Adventure, Comedy

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Movie Review – Blinded by the Light

Movie Review - Blinded by the LightRather than Blinded by the Light being a semi biographical movie about Bruce Springsteen, it was more a movie about race, struggle, bigotry, and cultural survival. But more than that, it was a movie about a father and son who could only hope to bridge the generation gap that threatened to tear the family apart.

The awesome music of The Boss provided much needed breaks from the intensity of the emotions onscreen, but also gave the audience a chance to breathe after some of the stressful scenes between Javed…and basically the rest of the world.

So, if you’re a fan of Bruce Springsteen, you must see this movie. It’s a great date flick, and some of the lyrics of his songs were well placed for effect. I’m most pleased to give Blinded by the Light a solid A.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Blinded by the Light was so beautifully done that getting Peetimes was a challenge. Since it was mainly dialogue driven, trying to decide what was germane to the plot presented a bit of a dilemma. I did get 3 good Peetimes, 2 of which will give you extra half minutes.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Blinded by the Light. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for thematic material and language including some ethnic slurs
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music

Movie Review – Yesterday

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen Will Rock You

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Movie Review – Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Movie Review - Where'd You Go, BernadetteThis is a crazy hard movie to give a rating to. I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it. I was engaged with the story from beginning to end, but wasn’t moved by the resolution.

The characters were well defined and the actors did a great job — every one of them. Obviously, Cate Blanchett is amazing as always, but a shout out has to be given to Kristen Wiig for her nuanced performance of Audrey. And Emma Nelson, the young girl who played Bee, shows great promise.

My problem with the movie lies in the character of Bernadette; namely that she was projected as an elite architect. The problems Bernadette faces aren’t unique, and aren’t limited to only the most talented individuals in the world.

By presenting her and her husband as highly accomplished, former prep-school-attending, wealthy individuals makes it hard for the audience to relate. She could have just as easily been presented an average architect. It isn’t about the talent — it’s about the drive to create: two things that are independent of each other.

In my college days I was an avid, but average, basketball player. I could have earned a master’s degree in physics had I traded in my gym time for lab time. But I loved basketball, and can confidently say I got as much enjoyment and self fulfillment out of playing as any elite basketball player.

An interesting choice the creators took is in giving us Bernadette’s backstory via documentary format. Exposition about a character’s past can be difficult to handle. If it’s too subtle, viewers might miss clues and become lost, wondering why a character is acting in such-and-such a manner. If it’s too obvious, it becomes heavy-handed and feels like a cheat. The documentary was creatively integrated into the story, and split up organically into two separate viewings. Kudos to the writers.

Perhaps this motivated the writers’ choice to create Bernadette as an elite architect, worthy of a documentary, so they could use this form of exposition. Personally, I’d say their choice wasn’t worth making Bernadette unrelatable, but that’s only my opinion.

Maybe I’m the only one who cares about these things. You tell me. Do you think the story would have been better if Bernadette were more relatable?

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: I would recommend the 2nd Peetime. It takes place in the middle of some serious stuff, but during the Peetime nothing much happens. The first Peetime is okay, but not as good as the 2nd.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Where’d You Go, Bernadette. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for some strong language and drug material
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery

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Movie Review – 47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Movie Review - 47 Meters Down: UncagedI watched a lot of shark movies recently to get excited for 47 Meters Down 2. Almost all of them were a good time. Plus, I really liked the original 47 Meters Down. But this sequel is dreadful.

I can’t even begin to tell you just how bad this movie is.

Basically, the undersea premise could have been a grand adventure — an Indiana Jones type film with blind albino cave sharks, patrolling an ancient submerged city, full of secrets and buried treasure.

Instead, 47 Meters Down 2 is  just dumb. Boring. Mindless and stupefying. It’s frequently so dark and murky underwater that it’s hard to see the action. The main redeeming feature: it was short. Why did this movie happen? Who thought this was a good idea? WHY WHY WHY WTF…arg.

Yeah. I think it’s the worst flick I’ve seen in years. (And I watch a lot of movies for RunPee.) 47 Meters Down: Uncaged doesn’t even rate a “so bad it’s good” epithet. It’s not that clever. (Here’s how to do a good ‘bad’ shark movie.)

I’ll make an effort to review this rotten film in more detail later (maybe), but with any luck it won’t matter, since you won’t see it anyway.

More Detail, Barely:

47 meters down 2 uncaged fishbait meme
Fixed it.

In an effort to add more information to this review, I’ll add that there’s zero relationship with the original 47 Meters premise or characters.  47 2 is a meager attempt to launch a shark film franchise out of too little meat. The undersea city concept could have been so cool. What a shame.

The producers should have just named the film Fish Bait and swam far, far away…

Seriously. PASS.

Grade: D-

About The Peetimes: This is a short movie with a lot of action. I have 1 good Peetimes early on, and 1 good for Emergencies later. Since there’s nothing during the credits, you can run out as soon as the credits roll.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of 47 Meters Down: Uncaged. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for creature related violence and terror, some bloody images and brief rude gestures
Genres: Adventure, Drama, Horror

Pro-Tip — SEE ANY OF THESE SHARK MOVIES INSTEAD: 

First-View Movie Review – 47 Meters Down (2017)

Deep Blue Sea – First View Movie Review (With YouTube Clips)

The Shallows – First View Movie Review (2016)

Movie Rewatch – Jaws – Still A Fantastic Blockbuster

First View Movie Review – Jaws 2

Movie Review – The Meg

Newie Review – The Reef – Low Budget, Decent, Non Campy Shark Movie

Preview Movie Review – Bad CGI Sharks

Movie Review – Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable

Movie Review – The Farewell

Movie Review - The FarewellI loved this movie. It was full of emotions and love and laughs; it really has a little bit of everything.

Awkwafina is really proving herself as a very worthy actress. I’ve seen her in many different types of roles now and she has rocked everyone of them.

I’m not usually a fan of movies where subtitles are so prominent, but this one flowed in such a way that I was able to keep up, and it didn’t feel like I was missing the onscreen action.

I’d recommend this one. It was fun stepping outside of my customs and traditions, and watching how other people live their lives with their customs and traditions.

That’s another reason this movie was so awesome: Billi is feeling both sides. She spent a majority of her life in the states, but she hasn’t forgot how her life was in China.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This was a tough movie to do. It’s almost entirely in Chinese, so there’s a lot of subtitle reading going on. I strongly urge you to use the 1st Peetime — the 2nd Peetime is a glimpse inside the father and uncle’s way of thinking. It’s a pretty powerful scene, but honestly, the whole movie is.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Farewell. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for thematic material, brief language and some smoking
Genres: Comedy, Drama