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Guy's Grocery Games: GGG Raw (2020)
Season 24, Episode 12
10/10
Backstage at Triple G
1 February 2021
This is one of my favorite episodes of "Guy's Grocery Games" (Triple G) ever. After 7 years on the air, Guy Fieri finally pulls the curtain back to show viewers how Triple G comes together each week. Four excellent judges (always glad to see Antonia!) are brought together to compete in one winner take-all championship that requires them to overcome 3 games (challenges). This time they will play Crazy Can roulette (using ingrediants from a tin can without a label), Think Small (the smallest handcart in the world), and Express Lane-pick a number (9 ingredients or less).

Likely one of the biggest surprises is the fact that after the 3, 2, 1, Go countdown the competing chefs don't get to go shopping yet. Instead they stop filming to change out camera lenses (from wide shots to closer, intimate shots) and the competitors get a complete explanation of the rules from one of the many producers. The judges and competiting chefs provide more insight in what goes into filming an episode and insights into their personal lives and strategy while cooking.

I hope they do more shows like this in the future. Heck, do a full behind-the-scenes special (but please put it on Food Network first, and not just on Discovery+) sometime in the future. Anytime we get to see the regular chefs cutting up and having fun on the show, makes for a better episode. Keep up the great work!
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Downsizing (2017)
2/10
Another Film That Tricked You Into Thinking It Was a Comedy
10 December 2020
This movie is NOT the comedy the trailer makes you think it is. It became a heavy-handed environmental movie real quick, and the story kind of wonders around. Worst of all, there is not a solid ending, the story just sort of stops without a real payoff. Do not waste your time.
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5/10
Orlando Like You Never Want To See It
10 December 2020
The movie is well done, but viewers should be prepared for what they are getting into. It is a hard R due to language. There is not a real plot for much of the film as this is a slice of these people's lives. The ending is ambiguous at best. My wife came up with a good explanation for the ending only after thinking about it for an entire night. This film is not a waste of your time, just be prepared for what the subject matter is in a truly indie film. Know that for these characters, there are no true happy endings. Just continuing to live another day seems to be their best hope.
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Brad's Status (2017)
3/10
Not The Film You Think It Is
10 December 2020
I got this film thinking it would be a tender father and son growing up film. It is not. It is basically a father and son looking at colleges and deciding what they want out of life. This film had a lot of potential to be more, but it just stopped short. Be aware the story does not tie up at the end, instead the film just sort of stops.
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Logan Lucky (2017)
10/10
Why Have You Not Seen This Movie Yet?
10 December 2020
This is a film I try to get almost anyone I know to sit down to watch. If they do give it a chance, then they are always entertained. This is not a movie to take seriously, it is about sitting back and having fun. The accents are over-the-top, but that is part of the fun. This is from the same director who did the Ocean's 11 series. In true-heist fashion, everything will be explained at the end. The cast cannot be beat. If you enjoy a fun, Southern-fried movie (especially if you like racing, and I'm not) then this movie is for you! I can never put into words how enjoyable this film is, you have to experience it for yourself.
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4/10
One Too Many
10 December 2020
They jumped the shark and stayed around too long. This was a fun series, but this film went too far. They tried to make it an action film and forgot what made the movie great in the first place. This new director was a bad choice and they should have had Elizabeth Banks back at the helm like in the 2nd film.
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Tomb Raider (2018)
4/10
Bring Back Angelina Or Just Stop
10 December 2020
Not like the original films, this was a bit of a meh action film. They tried hard, but the action scenes were typical and unbelievable. The storyline was OK, but the lead was miscast and the ending felt like it was rushed. Don't set your expectations too high.
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Passengers (I) (2016)
9/10
A Great Film That People Want to Ignore
10 December 2020
Don't believe the reviews, but don't go in thinking this is the next Star Wars (the reviewers seemed to think so). No this is not a straight Sci-Fi movie. Watch the trailer and know what it is, a romantic movie set in a Sci-Fi environment. Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt are wonderful to watch and are really good characters. Don't miss this film!
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Lady Bird (2017)
2/10
Why all the hype for this film?
10 December 2020
This movie is a fine slice of life film, but did it really need to be made?

Clint Redwine from 92.9 FM explained it better. (BTW, I totally agree with him that The Lone Ranger was a really good film that critics attacked too harshly. ) Here are Clint's thoughts:

About two times a year I find myself on my lonely little movie critic island all by myself. Everyone else in the world is raving about some fantastic work of art that I'm mostly sure is a big pile of steaming crap. Other times, all of the other critics are sure that we have just witnessed the worst movie to ever have the audacity to show its hideous self in a darkened theater, while I find it to be quite enjoyable. This is one of those times.

And this time I'm sure LADY BIRD is a big pile of steaming crap. (Shout out to all of my critic buddies standing at the other side of the candy counter and laughing at me!)

I will say that the acting in this movie is outstanding. There may even be some award-worthy roles. But the plot is so plain, so boring, so generic store-brand vanilla that the acting gets swallowed up by the meh.

Seriously, the plot of this movie, (based on the life and horrific first-world, white-girl, middle-class-family tragedies of Greta Gerwig), is about a girl who doesn't quite fit in at school even though she has friends, has arguments with her parents, wants to move away to go to college, has a couple of relationships that end in breakups, and finally realizes her family is pretty okay.

What the actual #$%@!? This is a movie? Ummm, no. It's basically the life story of almost every single American teen ever.

Truly, there is nothing in this movie that made me say, oh, now I get why we are doing this. It is simply a slice of a boring life.

There is no way I could ever recommend anyone ever seeing this movie, but it has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing, so what the heck do I know. Go enjoy it while I bask in the sun on my lonely island watching THE LONE RANGER again.
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6/10
A Humorous Look At War
10 December 2020
A decent, but forgettable film that (much like this review) doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. It's humorous, but not funny (don't believe the trailers). Basically, it tries to give us a feel of what it is like to be a journalist in Afghanistan. It sure felt realistic, but having never been over there I can only guess at its authenticity. If you enjoy war films and Tina Fey, then you can't go wrong checking this film out.
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8/10
A Very Original Film
10 December 2020
A humorous film with a very original plot. Features some great actors and great performances. Try not to think of it as a morality tale or else you'll think marriage is not that special. It's almost like a "Twilight Zone" or "Tales From the Crypt" episode. Give this film a try!
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7/10
Not Quite As Good As The First.
10 December 2020
This film is good, but may not be as memorable as the first film. Still a funny film, but surprisingly some of the funniest bits are lost in the deleted scenes so make sure to check them out. Very interesting how the film was made (an Indiegogo campaign) so check out the featurette that covers that too. If you liked the first film, then you're still going to like this one.
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Isle of Dogs (2018)
6/10
An Unusual Wes Anderson Film
10 December 2020
Let me say that I really enjoy Wes Anderson films. This is a bit different than his traditional film in that it feels somewhat like a kids film combined with an Anime style film. Kids may enjoy it, but they will not get the subtle humor that lays beneath the scene. Got to say this is no "Grand Budapest Hotel." More like "The Fantastic Mr. Fox." At its heart is an enjoyable story that has a good plot.
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1/10
Couldn't Begin This Film, Much Less Finish It.
10 December 2020
Totally unwatchable. You feel like you've been dropped into the 2nd hour of a 3 hour movie right at the beginning. The characters are not introduced, there is little action, and the dialogue is given with the energy normally reserved for NPR radio. I could not get past the first 20 minutes of this slow boat to nowhere, and my wife gave up on it sooner than that. I never turn off a film before finishing it, but had to break my rule for this one. I see now why Gary Oldman did not get the Oscar for this one, (although he was WAY overdue for that award, go see him in "Darkest Hour" instead).
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8/10
A Close Attempt At A Great Novel
10 December 2020
Warning: Spoilers
First, let me say I LOVED the book. It created a new universe and language that I have not seen since the Harry Potter series. Strangely, this film is NOT the book...but that is okay.

When I heard that in initial reviews, it made me stay away from the theater, BUT I still wanted to see the film. It helped when I read that this is still the same universe, just with a largely different story. Makes sense when you know the author (Cline) also wrote the screenplay. I was blown away with how will the film looked and story that unfolded before me. It was still awesome. But of all the films to recreate, why did they have to pick "The Shining?" That was the most non-kid friendly part of the film. They should have done "Wargames" like in the novel.

See this film AND then read the book. OR book lovers, go into this film with an open mind and you may still enjoy it. Great job, Spielberg!
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Red Sparrow (2018)
7/10
May be best remembered for its nudity.
10 December 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Well the reviews have been rough on this one. This is a different kind of spy film, slow and tense at times, and shocking and horrifying at others. Jennifer Lawrence is wonderful in this film, heck, she is the main reason to see it. The story is plodding and sometimes confusing, but there is a good twist at the end. It is at least more watchable than "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" (love Gary Oldman, but after 20 minutes of that slow boat to nowhere, I had to turn it off & I never do that).

WARNING there is one torture scene that is especially gruesome and hard to watch. I totally was not ready for that. This is a very R film (almost X rated at some times) and is not safe for children. An interesting film that will largely be forgotten over time, but mostly remembered for its exposure of young Miss Lawrence.
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I Feel Pretty (2018)
8/10
An Enjoyable Little Film
10 December 2020
This movie is really good and nothing like what you would expect from the star. Surprisingly only a moderate amount of cursing (not one f-bomb), and a really good message. It turns a mirror towards our very judgmental society and makes us ask some hard questions about how we look at ourselves and others. The main problem is the pacing of the film. It got slow several times and could have used some editing. Regardless, it is a great film and you should check it out.
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The Crown (2016– )
10/10
Review of First Season's DVD
10 December 2020
Wonderful series covering the life of the young sovereign, HM Queen Elizabeth II. This season covers her life from the day before her wedding (Nov 1947) until late in 1956 just after Princess Margaret breaks off her long-term relationship (it happened over 60 years ago, so don't call it a spoiler). The series is very interesting, but can be slow at parts too. Uncover little known or unseen historical events like the operation on King George VI right in the palace (scene was performed by an actual surgical staff recreating the operating techniques of the time), Sir Winston Churchill's fight with one of his portrait artists (an excellent episode that won John Lithgow an Emmy), or the 1952 Great Smog of London that resulted in the deaths of over 10,000 people. This series is certainly worth investing the 10 hours needed to watch the entire season. The only disappointing feature of this DVD release is the almost total lack of special features (big deal - a photo gallery) on this 4-disc set.
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All Saints (2017)
10/10
Great Faith-based film especially for Nashville area residents!
10 December 2020
It is so amazing to see a local story being told in a film. It is even more amazing that our news channels would rather tell you about every house that catches on fire or vandalism in our city rather than tell you about this miracle in our own backyards. Taking place in 2007-2008 in Smyrna, TN this is an inspirational story that seems almost too good to be true. But as you do some digging you will find that almost everything in the film is depicted just like how it happened in real life. It is shocking to learn about the genocide of the Karen people (a state in Burma) and realize that we never hear about this on the national news front. OK, forget the attack on our news channels...this is a fun and family friendly movie. It is so fun to hear about local places constantly in dialogue (Nashville, Franklin, Smyrna, Murfreesboro) and neat to see local areas like the old Music Valley Drive (the Trail West sign can be easily seen) outlet shopping area (boy does something need to be done with that area) being used as a movie location.

See this movie to see what can happen when we start thinking more about others, see it to challenge your faith, but see it because it is a local story that made it to the movie theater!
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10/10
Why not an Oscar nomination?
10 December 2020
This movie is heart-warming and awesome! It is a crime that the Oscars did not nominate (and award it) for Best Documentary.

It reminds us that love is the answer (not in a hippie way) and that we are not that different. The life-affirming message is delivered in a way that both political parties can easily hear and accept and maybe realize that protesting every little thing does not solve the big picture. But do not worry - this is not a preachy film, this about the wonderfulness of Mr. Rogers and his little corner of the neighborhood.

Only once we lose someone do we realize how amazing some of the giants were that once walked amongst us. The peaceful character of Fred Rogers is displayed so brightly in this film that we know that we will never have his equal again. We need someone who is a kid-at-heart that can explain to children that they are important and that their feelings have value. Mr. Rogers even came out of retirement to help adults face the new world that 9/11 brought us. This is a film that everyone should see just to bring a little happiness back in our lives and center our minds about the world around us.
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9/10
Great sleeper hit!
10 December 2020
Excellent film this is much like a Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez film. Several strangers meet at a motel on the border of California and Nevada, each (including the motel) with their own secrets. The awesome ways that their stories intersect is down wonderfully. There should be more films like this! Warning - there is much violence in this film, in case you care about those kind of things.
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Hunter Killer (2018)
7/10
Almost an excellent film.
10 December 2020
A good (but not great) submarine flick. Not sure what is missing, but this almost could have been a great film. There are good plot twists, action is exciting, big name actors, but something is still absent. Found it very distracting that the main villian's rank shoulder boards were badly made. Looked like the red star was badly glued on and ready to pop off all the time. Still, if you enjoyed "The Hunt for Red October," then you will have fun with this modern update of the naval classic.
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4/10
Bad idea for a "children't film"
10 December 2020
It's got a good plot, but it is way TOO scary for a children's film. Having the main character remark that something is "Creepy" is not enough to reduce the terror. Tone it down for crying out loud.
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9/10
Great film for adoption!
10 December 2020
Excellent film showing the challenges and rewards of adoption through the foster system. It shows that the journey is not easy, but building a family never is easy. This film is worth the watch for anyone that has had adoption touch their lives.
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Robo-Dog (2015)
1/10
Not a good film for young, emotional children
18 September 2020
Warning: Spoilers
My 4 1/2 year old loves dogs and robots, so this should be a great film for him, right? Could not be more wrong.

For some reason the filmmakers thought we needed to meet a real dog with a loving family, and then kill it from being trapped in a hot attic. To quote Friends (1994), "What kind of a doggie snuff film is this?" My son was traumatized for the rest of the film. Never mind that the robot replacement saves the day, he had tears streaming down his face the rest of the film. Not sure why he wanted to watch the rest of the film, but he did. Parents BE AWARE of this film's pitfalls before you get involved.
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