Virgin Movie Review — Daddy’s Home

Will Ferrell in Daddy's Home
Heeeeeree’s Daddy!

Sometimes you just feel like watching a dumb movie. That was my deal tonight — I wanted to see something I hadn’t seen before, and Daddy’s Home was on. And yep, it’s a silly inconsequential flick, but it was a mostly pleasant experience for an evening when you just want to relax and chill.

Will Ferrell is great at being a doofus, and Mark Wahlberg managed to evoke a bit of charm here and there, despite playing a complete asshat. I can’t complain much, as some of it was even clever…like the opening credits where the little girl’s holiday drawings illustrated how she gradually became less antagonistic to her step-father. That was a good use of exposition. I liked “random guy” Griff, who basically moved onto the couch of the family’s household, Tumor the wackadoodle ‘ugly-cute’ dog, the “scary” fourth-graders gag (that bit gave me a genuine laugh), and out-of-left-field stories from Ferrell’s creepy boss. I thought the kiddos were great little actors, and the wife got in some fun lines here and there.

That’s the good. There was also quite a bit of bad. The shtick of the battling fathers got old really fast, and by the middle of the movie I felt bored and restless. The plot needed to go somewhere besides Ferrell being a loser and Wahlberg being too cool for school. It seemed like Wahlberg’s character knew everybody, and everybody loved him: how very convenient. By the time the movie hit the Lakers scene, I was over the constant one-upping-ness and rote predictability of the plot. I don’t blame the actors here, who I think did what they could with what was written.

I don’t like cringe humor, and Daddy’s Home had that in spades. This would frankly never be the kind of film I’d pay to see in the theater, but it worked for a light bit of home entertainment.

Movie Grade: C

Movie Review – Daddy’s Home 2

Movie Review – Mid90s

Movie Review - Mid90s

First off, I’d give Mid90s a solid B. It’s a strange, unhappy little movie. I think it’s worth a watch, but it’s NOT a comedy. Ignore the hype saying that.

This is a slightly artsy slice of life about a 13-year-old skateboarding kid who makes some seriously bad choices. I even put an Alert Peetime in there, for disturbing imagery.

The main character, Stevie, is a nice, intelligent boy, who slowly learns to be a thug. I don’t remember my 90s being like this.

I was a young adult, having the time of my life while rock climbing, backpacking, and studying at the college I loved. My friends and I talked about how we were going to save the world, about quantum physics, about Star Trek The Next Generation, and the spiritually transcendent beauty of the wilderness. Grunge was the music of the day, and even now, I feel happy and nostalgic when I catch the wifty notes of Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins,  Soundgarden, and Collective Soul. Good times. Not so for Stevie, his mother, his brother, or his friends. I wanted to shake these people. This isn’t a film about the 90s at all, in spite of the title. It’s a treatise about youth skateboard culture and the pain of low-income adolescence in Los Angeles.

Oh well. [pullquote]Every actor — all the kids, and Stevie’s mother — did a fantastic job, creating believable and interesting characters, people you wanted to root for, but also understood to be complete train-wrecks.[/pullquote] You know how you drive past a highway accident and can’t look away, even though it’s none of your business and you’re holding up traffic? That’s how this felt.

At the climax of the film, there were some interesting, unflinching filmatic choices. You’ll notice those beats as you see them. (I’ve never quite seen that kind of thing before.) The denouement was a proudly defiant and energetic anthem to teenage angst. Then it very suddenly ends.

[pullquote position=”right”]I applaud how the director chose to conclude the narrative. While nothing was fixed or finalized, it was a bizarrely satisfying roundup on everything coming before, seen through the eyes of a gang of rebellious, awkward, rude…yet strangely likable teens.[/pullquote]

The thing is, these slacker kids and their story isn’t really tied to the era. Besides the clothes and the music, this story could be transplanted to the 50s, the 70s, or any decade from the last century. It’s all before the digital age (note “Fourth Grade’s” prominent camcorder use – no cell phones are in evidence), so the setting could be any time before the new millennia.

Should you see this film in the theater? I’d say to save your money and wait for it to land on Netflix. The setting doesn’t require a big screen, and the story rambles in a low-key fashion.

In any case, this is worth seeing eventually. You’ll walk away a bit sad, and definitely more thoughtful.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: I have 3 Peetimes here. I would have had only 2, but the middle one is an Alert Peetime, indicating a potentially disturbing scene. Use that only if the description in the meta would be upsetting to you. The 1st Peetime is at the 45 minute mark and shows teens partying. The 3rd Peetime is the best: at the hour mark, you get 5 minutes to duck out, and all you’ll miss is a long night of two boys skating. 

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Mid90s. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Movie Review – Johnny English Strikes Again

 

Movie Review - Johnny English Strikes AgainThis movie wants to be Austin Powers. It’s the same set-up, the same cringe humor, the same British secret service bumbler who nevertheless gets the job done (in spite of his inherent ineptitude). The difference: Austin Powers is ten times more amusing. Rowan Atkinson tries, and sometimes succeeds, but mostly seems to be resting on his Mr. Bean laurels.

Granted, I didn’t see the original Johnny English films, and maybe those were hysterical enough to warrant a threequel.

Johnny English Strikes Again had a half-baked plot, propped up by a few amusing set pieces. The Virtual Reality sequence was certainly a highlight. I’d see the movie just for that cute and wacky scene. (I loved seeing English using baguettes like fighting staffs.) But the rest of the film went like this: English makes a mistake, his servant Bough would quietly fix it and take no credit; then English would preen. End scene; repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Fade to black.

The genre is getting a bit full anyway. Now we have a whole range of Brit intel movies, on a seriousness continuum from the (modern) James Bond movies, to the less straitlaced but still cohesive storytelling of The Kingsman, on down through the mediocre levels of Johnny English, to the bottom of the deliriously silly level with Austin Powers.

I just don’t see a need for Johnny English. And I think the audience agrees with me. Who sat in the theater on opening night? Me. And one or two other people. Whereas my earlier showing of Mid-90s was packed.

But, as I said, there were a few good moments to be mined. English teaching the kids how to be spies was cute. The aforementioned VR scene was great. There was a message buried in the film about how the world of espionage has changed with the advent of cell phones and cyber space. How we view technology will never be the same as Bond’s good old analog days, and it’s a nice bit of self-awareness for a spy movie to recognize this — it’s gone beyond nifty pens that become grenades (although, granted, this is tossed in there too). And there’s an interesting contrast between the iconic red Aston Martin spy car and the more useful hybrid. The world is changing, and spies have to adapt.

I might be making this movie sound better than it is. Let me rest your noggin: I gave this film a C-. I doubt it will last more than a week in the theaters, but it might have some life on streaming platforms. My suggestion: if you LOVE Atkinson, Mr. Bean and/or the first two Johnny English films, by all means see this in the theater. Otherwise, this is an easy one to skip. Save your money.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: Here are 2 good Peetimes, where were you won’t miss any of the best humor or action. Both are 4 minutes in length and nicely spaced apart. 

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

Movie Review – The Sisters Brothers

Movie Review - The Sisters BrothersWhen I saw this movie yesterday, I really disliked it. I thought I’d sleep on it and see where my mind was later. I still dislike it.

Yes, it had an amazing cast. How can a movie with an ensemble like this not prove to be outstanding? I’m going to blame this on the writing. The story was okay at best and the pacing sucked. This movie dragged so bad that I’ll be honest…I nodded off twice  in the middle of the day.

I was under the impression it was going to be a funny movie. Luckily, the amazing John C. Reilly did in fact have some funny moments. In my opinion, he is the only one that pulled that off. The rest of the cast didn’t make me laugh at all. Reilly is the sole reason I’m giving this movie a C and not a D.

I’m at a loss on anything else to say; this movie sparks nothing in my mind. It was that boring.

Grade: C-

About The Peetimes: This movie is slow moving with a lot of dialog. A lot of the dialog is hard to hear. It’s one of the movies where you need to pay very close attention the whole time.

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

Movie Review – The Old Man & the Gun

Movie Review - The Old Man & the GunSince The Old Man & The Gun is reported as being Robert Redford’s swan song; it seems only fitting that he reprises his most beloved character. As I sat in the theater, completely captivated by this movie, all I saw was the Sundance Kid, nonchalantly robbing one bank after another. So come on, Oscar committee, let’s honor this amazing actor by sending him off to retirement with one more Oscar for his mantle. And by no means would this be a ‘mercy’ Oscar, TOM&TG is an Oscar-worthy film.

The acting was superb, the directing was excellent, and the pacing was well done. The chemistry between Redford and Sissy Spacek was a beautiful addition to the movie. You could see the  admiration Redford’s character, Forrest, had for Spacek’s character, Jewel. This was the work of a really good actor and director.

Even though this is a ‘based on a true story’ movie, it doesn’t follow the real story exactly, but is still put together in a way that does give us insight into the life of Forrest Tucker.

All in all, I loved this movie. There was very little cussing, very little blood, and no nudity, so take a break this weekend and go see this remarkable film.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: The Old Man & The Gun is an evenly paced movie, making it easy to get 2 good Peetimes. Both are of equal length, so let your bladder decide which is best for you.

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

Movie Review – Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

 

Movie Review - Goosebumps 2: Haunted HalloweenGoosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween was a cute movie that brought many laughs from the theater. I think as far as Halloween movies out there for families, this is a great choice. We took our five year old granddaughter and she loved it. There were two moments she jumped due to a shock scare, but the rest of the time, she was just enjoying the cool Halloween costumes and decorations.

I had not seen the first Goosebumps, so I rented it and watched it the night before we saw this one. I kind of wished I hadn’t. My one and only complaint was that Jack Black’s part was really small in this one. He was only in the last few minutes of the movie, and he was awesome in the first film. I’m really curious why his role was so small.

There are endless possibilities for more Goosebumps movies. I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to more. You can’t go wrong for family night with this one. Happy Halloween!

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: This is a super short movie. I only submitted 2 Peetimes, due to the very short run time..

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. (What we mean by Anything Extra)

Every Stan Lee Cameo in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

stan-lee-cameos-in-marvel
Stan Lee with his new Borg implants.

We all know about Stan Lee. He’s one of the big name co-creators of Marvel Comics, is a co-producer and co-writer for the movies,  and seems to be a little bit nuts. He’s been inducted into the Sci-Fi & Fantasy Hall of Fame.  He’s also, in one way or another, in every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie since Iron Man 1 introduced the modern superhero film. For a man who’s 95 years old, we’ve kind of got a wee crush on him and his wacky humor.

Just for fun, here’s the entire complication of Lee MCU cameos, from 1989-2018, plus a special appearance in the fabulous music video Guardians Inferno. [pullquote]You’ll have to sit back and enjoy all this as a sort of mini-movie, since it takes a half hour to view it all.[/pullquote] We’re not including his X-Men Marvel cameos here, or from any prior Marvel franchise (those other Spidermen, or the Fantastic Fours), or even the ones in Deadpool, since this article is long enough. We’ll pull those together for another time.

What’s cool about this Stan Lee mini-movie is that Marvel has confirmed Lee has an actual character within the MCU — as a Watcher Informant.

But, one of these is reportedly Lee’s absolutely favorite MCU cameo. Can you guess which one, before it comes up?

2008 – Iron Man

2008 – The Incredible Hulk

2010 – Iron Man 2

2011 – Captain America: The First Avenger

2011 – Thor

2013 – Iron Man 3

2013 – Thor 2: The Dark World

2012 – Avengers

2014 – Captain America  2: The Winter Soldier

2014 – Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 1

2015 – Avengers 2: Age of Ultron (THIS is Stan Lee’s favorite MCU cameo. The reason? It’s a subtle two scene event, where he asks Thor for a drink, who responds by saying it will kill him…and then is later seen being carried out. Blink and you’ll miss it.)

2015 – Ant Man

2016 – Captain America 3: Civil War (This is the infamous “Tony Stank” Fed Ex scene)

2016 – Dr. Strange

2017 – Lee’s two-part cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 (Seeing both makes his ‘secret character‘ make sense.)

2017 – Taking place between GotG2 and Avenger’s Infinity War, this video is just plain fun, giving Lee his full celebrity due (not a canon part of the MCU).

2017 – Spiderman: Homecoming

2017 – Thor 3: Ragnarok

2018 – The Black Panther

2018 – Avengers 3: Infinity War.  This is leaked footage and pretty new, so it’s not as clear:

2018 – Ant Man and the Wasp  — JUST IN!….UPDATE, next day: this is no longer available…blame Disney, who went in and blocked it. Poopers.

Allrighty. Here’s another version. Let’s see how long this one lasts. The scene is short and cute.

Updated again: Really, Disney? You know we’re just going to keep posting these, so peace out! Here we go again:

More will be added as the saga continues and the clips become available. Sources say Lee hates to fly, and it’s getting harder for him to do these appearances, so he shoots a bunch of them back to back now. I hope he sticks around long enough to see the saga through. (Although at this point at the box office, it may never end. Everyone reading this could die before it’s done.)

Which is your favorite Stan Lee cameo? Comment below!

Stan Lee – His Marvel Cameos are a Secret Character

More Marvel Articles on RunPee:

Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy 

Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2

Deadpool is (sort of) a Cross-over Character Between Marvel Franchises

Movie Rewatch Review – Ant Man

I really used to like the original Ant Man. I thought it was underrated, charming, funny, and a lighter take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And that’s how I remembered it until my rewatch last night.

What I forgot: since it came out, a lot more amusing  and enjoyable MCU films came along, ones that made me laugh harder, thrilled me visually, and set up characters I cared for in a visceral, deeper way. [pullquote]Now, having rewatched Ant Man’s 2015 origin story after having viewed top of the line films like Thor: Ragnarok, the Guardians films, Black Panther, Civil War, Spiderman, and Infinity War, I’m suddenly underwhelmed. [/pullquote]Paul Rudd as Scott Lang does what he can, but aside from his sweet little kid, I didn’t feel much of anything for anyone else. I cared more for poor Antony the Ant than the cast of people, which isn’t a good sign.

And the plot. It was just about another set of guys in another set of suits. Really. [pullquote position=”right”]A guy of dubiously good morality in a tech suit, plus a clearly definite bad guy in a meaner suit, exploiting the tech. Am I describing Iron Man or Ant Man?[/pullquote]

We now have normal guys in suits up and down the MCU — Iron Man, War Machine, Falcon, Ant Man. (Batman is the same, but hey, different universe.) I’m not sure we needed to put Wasp in yet another suit, but it’s a gal, so that’s new. Yay?

Some indirect spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War follows. 

Who else dons supersuits? Spidey finally has a cool tech version, and so does the Black Panther, but those are also dudes with legitimate innate superpowers.  And lest I forget, Bruce Banner now sports a Hulkbuster Suit, for days when the rage monster refuses to come out and play.

Back to Ant Man. What really sets him apart from the other suit guys are two things: he’s got an ant army, and can move back and forth between many sizes — from normal, to tiny, right up to gigantic (making him “Gi-Ant Man”), and then back down to the subatomic, in the Quantum Realm.

Now, let’s pick this apart. At a normal size, he’s really just a cat burgler with engineering skills wearing in a leather jumper. We didn’t see him do the Gi-Ant thing until the (far superior) Captain America: Civil War. [pullquote]His role in the Quantum Realm was so short that it wasn’t more than a cameo excursion. (Hopefully, in Ant Man and the Wasp we’ll get a lot more quantum goodness.) So, what did he really do in his origin story?[/pullquote]

Well, Scott had a cool fight with Falcon: it was brief, but fun, and he was adorably fan-girly in meeting an actual Avenger. He had cute scenes learning to control the various ants and bonding with Antony. Um. Hmmm. He kissed a girl in an awkward transition. And the bad guy smushed some sweet little lambs, which I forgot happened and never want to see again.

So, what about those ants, anyway? I was able to stop the screen and write it all down. Keep in mind most of this entymological science is totally made up:

  • Crazy Ants (control electricity)
  • Bullet Ants (really painful bites)
  • Carpenter Ants (great for transport and flying)
  • Fire Ants (can get in and out of difficult places)

So when the critters show up in the next movie, you’ll know which ants do what, for what its worth. But what I’m really looking forward to is seeing how the Quantum Realm relates to the larger Avengers storyline. I mean, it HAS to. Because another stand-alone plotline would not be very satisfying after what Thanos just did to the universe.

It’s still a well constructed movie; it’s just not very exciting. I don’t mind a ‘small’ story — I often prefer it — but it has to be good.

Movie Rewatch Grade: B

Read more on RunPee: 

The Ant Man Movie — Sexism and Real Ants

How the Quantum Realm Offers Possible Insights to Avengers 4

 

Tour the Millennium Falcon with Lando Calrissian

I’m really chuffed to show off this little video, a real treat — a tour of the brand new Millennium Falcon from Solo: A Star Wars Story, with that other double-crossing, no-good swindler of a space rogue, Lando Calrissian. Donald Glover (the new Lando, smarmily stealing Solo’s film) is in all his elated glory here. His custom-designed Falcon is in dapper shape, something we never got to see elsewhere (typical lines: “What a hunk of junk,” “You came here in THAT thing? You’re braver than I thought,” and “That’s garbage!(….)The garbage will do”).

Glover proudly introduces a fully stocked wet bar, gleaming gaming table, bouncy bed, extensive cape closet, and all the bells and whistles of his surprisingly white, clean, and shiny party-barge. Captions with arrows depict everything you see within. This is pretty fun viewing:

Movie Review – Tag

What a darn cute movie. I’m enchanted to learn Tag is based off a true story of some kids who decided never to grow up. The entire theater was PACKED at the first showing, and everyone in the theater not only knew a lot about the film going into it, but were very much into the playful spirit of things, whooping it up, laughing and cheering. The audience clearly had a fantastic night at the movies.

Even during the trailers for completely unrelated movies, they howled and clapped. During the preview for horror flick The Nun, at the jump scare, one person got up and ran around pretending to be the nun/ghost/whatever, and people squealed, excited and happy. I actually wondered if the entire theater-going crowd was high (this IS California). They were that rowdy and playful. It made the viewing experience unique, and added to the fun.

The cast seemed to have having as much of a ball as the audience. Everyone gave it their all. Jeremy Renner stands out as the unstoppable, never-caught tag hero (not caught in 30 years of annual play!), but really, the entire ensemble just killed it.

[pullquote]I foresee a lot of old friends starting their own games of life-long tag. [/pullquote]I want to play too. This is absolutely worth seeing. You’ll laugh and feel young again.

NOTE: Make sure to stick around through the credits for a charming and very silly version of the Tag guys singing “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” by the Crash Test Dummies. What a bunch of goof balls. Loved it.

Movie Grade: A-

RunPee Meta: I gave you 3 good Peetimes, each of a decent length, where you won’t miss any of the best chase or humor scenes.

Related, on RunPee: Did you know Tag star Jeremy Renner filmed this movie with two broken arms? And yes, he broke them on set. Read what happened