Movie Review – Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Movie Review - Scary Stories to Tell in the DarkScary Stories to Tell in the Dark thoroughly entertained my 6 year old granddaughter. I found myself slightly bored.

For starters, I was expecting a more mature horror movie based on the previews I saw. I didn’t realize that it was from a series of books written in the 1980’s. I wish I would have known that before I saw it.

So keeping that in mind, I gave it a better grade than I was originally going to. I’d compare this movie to the Goosebumps series. It will be a great movie for let’s say, the junior high school kids, perhaps freshman in high school also.

There was a few moments that screams of fright escaped from the audience. One in particular got me too. No spoilers here though. I think this movie would be perfect for a slumber party night.

So if your teen aged daughter or son ask you to take them to see it, you won’t be terribly bored. It has its moments that you’ll enjoy.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: I’ve got 2 Peetimes for you to choose from. I recommend the 1st one. It’s your best choice, but the 2nd is just in case you need it a little later in the movie.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) No rating.
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Movie Review – Booksmart – Whipsmart Nerd High School Anthem

 

Movie Review - BooksmartBooksmart is more smart than bookish, featuring the quirky party-hearty hijinks of a girl duo with genuine chemistry. Moverover, Booksmart, for all its modern nods, felt exactly like a 1980s John Hughes film. I mean that as a compliment.

It’s zippy, amusing, pleasant, and sometimes clever. It’s also sometimes raunchy, but never in an obnoxious way.  Booksmart is a fun film with a great message of acceptance.

But is Booksmart only for girls?

Well, no. NO, no, and no, unless you consider The Breakfast Club or Ferris Bueller only for boys. The two leads are gals — and one is an out gay, albeit absolutely inexperienced — but the cast is filled with many unexpectedly interesting characters, none of which are genuine asshats. It’s NOT a girl-power film. Molly and Amy — being bossy and shy respectively — just happen to be girls. No one finds it necessary to comment on it.

And no one gets tossed into lockers! No toilets swishies, underwear wedgies, or more than mild verbal taunts rear their ugly heads. Booksmart refreshingly features no genuinely mean-spirited bullying. Everyone is accepted as the weirdos we are all ultimately at heart: jocks, nerds, drama geeks, hot girls, druggies, manic pixies, artists, skate punks, whatever. I say refreshingly, since I hope high schools are so accepting of differences these days, even if they don’t want to hang out in the same clique. It’s a progressive message of hope.

Booksmart adds a grace note to the teen anthem pantheon — maybe becoming a sleepover ritual rewatch for young people.

What about that ending?

Nothing really gets resolved at the climax, but life isn’t usually neat like that. Even The Breakfast Club ended ambiguously. Here, we see — with wistful pain for us older folks — that intense high school bestie closeness is usually destined to fade with time. But you know what? The beauty of ‘what was’ can never be erased. (Karen and Betsy, I miss us.)

Do I miss high school? Was I a geek? You betcha, to both questions. And I cherish that time. In the midst of many dumb (and dumber) teen movies, this one’s a keeper.

Grade: A-

PS: As I finish this review, The Breakfast Club’s iconic Don’t You Forget About Me just started on the radio. Coincidence? Probably. But a GREAT ONE. [Fist pump in the air.]

About The Peetimes: This really cute movie has 3 good Peetimes. The 2nd, at 1:04, is the best, but you’ll be fine if you read the synopses for any of them. I tried to avoid the best humor or plot pivots.

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

Rated (R) for strong sexual content and language throughout, drug use and drinking – all involving teens
Genres: Comedy, teen movie

Movie Review – Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase

Movie Review - Nancy Drew and the Hidden StaircaseWho would have thought that Nancy Drew would still be rocking it after 89 years?

This new and improved version of Nancy Drew is perfect for the target audience of today’s prepubescent girl. The movie addresses bullying, body image hating, peer pressure, and the need to fit in as the new kid in school. So it’s a job well done for the writers, and director Katt Shea. Young girls will flock to this movie.

The acting was well done, and I can’t say enough about the performance given by Sophia Lillis as Nancy Drew. She provided most of the comedic relief with her perfect delivery of some hysterically funny lines. The ‘new Drew’ is spunky, funny, rebellious — but in a cute way — and smart, and doesn’t understand the meaning of ‘no’ or ‘you can’t do that’. She’s a great role model!

And it was so nice to see Linda Lavin — of Alice and Barney Miller fame — is still cranking out product at 82 years young.

I whole-heartedly recommend Nancy Drew for kids of all ages, but most especially, prepubescent girls.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: This was a short movie, needing only 1 Peetime. I chose 1 at about half way through the movie: it gives you plenty of time to get back to your seat before the drama picks up again.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for peril, suggestive material, thematic elements and language
Genres: Crime, Drama, Family

Movie Review – Love, Simon

What a great little film. This was like a John Hughes classic from the 1970s, updated for our era of cell phones and Facebook, featuring a coming out plot that’s worthy of the premise.

The actors, the soundtrack, the goofy high school hijinks and wonderfully iconic scenes…it added up to a fantastic nostalgia trip that today’s young people can relate to and call their own. Great humor and pathos. I felt for Simon’s predicament, even though — be real — who hasn’t had intense teen emo experiences? As Simon’s friends properly point out, he’s not the only one dealing with confusing, painful problems. [pullquote]This is ultimately not about sexual orientation, but alienation of all kinds.[/pullquote]

These kids come from privilege (each home is a mansion), but tolerance knows no income, color, gender, or sexual orientation. Race is (mostly) a non-issue in the narrative, focusing mainly on Simon’s angst. And if you’re wondering, there’s no teen sex in this movie; kissing scenes are as far as things go.

Love Simon features a chaste kiss
It’s a sweet movie that doesn’t feature more than a chaste kiss. No one should have trouble with this.

Thankfully, the coming out story isn’t a suicide scenario. Simon’s family and friends are smart, thoughtful people. I say this so you don’t worry about coming home from the theater in tears. Remember — it’s a light John Hughes-type flick. Hughes wanted you to laugh, fret a little, and feel positive in the end. Mission accomplished.

Don’t look for a lot of depth. Still, Love, Simon is the best film I’ve seen so far in 2018.

Grade: A