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Scary Movie 3 (2003)
Turn your brain off and have a good time.
2 November 2019
Objectively, this is a terrible movie, and the sense of humor is really dumb. However, I cannot deny it's really really funny. This movie was a laugh riot when I was a kid, and believe it or not I actually found it even funnier on rewatch as an adult. I laughed really hard, way harder than I should have at a lot of the old jokes I remembered and new ones I never noticed before. It's hard to get a real involuntary laugh out of me, and I involuntarily burst out laughing 10 or 15 times, which is a lot for me. Assigning a numerical score is hard; it's a 3 in terms of objective quality, but an 8 or 9 in terms of entertainment value, so I'll meet somewhere in the middle and give it a 5/10. If you're a fan of stupid humor and just want to turn your brain off and have a good time alone or with friends, this movie'll do the job.
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Hostel (2005)
Decent buildup, silly final act...
2 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Last night was Halloween, so I knew I needed to watch a horror movie. I went with Hostel, one of the films infamous for helping start the torture porn craze of the 2000s. I guess I'm satisfied, but I have no desire to watch it again, either.

Two Americans are backpacking across Europe with an Icelandic guy they pick up along the way. On a train from The Netherlands to Slovakia, they meet a man who tells them about a hostel with lots of hot girls. Slovakia in this movie is painted as some battered post-communist wasteland. Even in 2005 I doubt literally everyone was driving 80s Eastern block beaters. The first half hour of this film is somewhat meandering and plodding, with a subplot of the shy guy not wanting to get laid that goes nowhere. At least the Icelandic guy is funny.

Unfortunately, the Icelandic guy goes missing, so the other two try to find him. Every fishy character they meet is the most obviously evil looking guy and the ominous music plays, but besides a little cheesiness they build up the mystery pretty well. The cinematography/direction is particularly on point here. When one of the Americans is captured, the first torture scene is surprisingly held back and effective, and that quick shot of the Achilles heels always makes me cringe. The acting is good across the board, with the exception of the final guy/main character Jay Hernandez, who wasn't very convincing IMO. He convinces one of the sketchy girls from the hostel to take him where his friends have gone. He gets captured and tortured, and this is where the film goes off the rails.

In the final act of this movie, the torture scenes are so grotesque and over the top, it crosses the line of being scary or disturbing and starts becoming comical. I'm sure there was some intentional really dark comedy in there, but stuff like the German guy slipping on the ball gag and chainsawing his own leg, and the Japanese girl with her eye hanging out of its socket made me laugh. The implausible stuff our hero does from killing a dozen people to fitting a leather glove over his hand with 2 missing fingers without screaming in pain was also funny to me. On top of that, during his escape, he coincidentally boards the same train the Slovak man from earlier just happens to be on. The revenge deaths are satisfying, I'll give the movie that, but it's all just so, so silly.

Though an enjoyable watch, I don't feel the need to ever see this movie ever again. It has a plodding beginning, decent rising actions, and crazy ending that I found both genuinely and ironically entertaining. Feel free to give it a watch if it seems like your kind of thing, but there are much better slashers and torture porn movies out there.
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Doug DeMuro (2013– )
Doug is the type of guy to make quality YouTube content
22 October 2019
I discovered Doug Demuro around late 2014/early 2015, when he had about a quarter million subscribers. Not like I found him under a rock, but you know what I mean. At first, I wasn't impressed. Most of Doug's early videos were just him conducting various social experiments with his Ferrari 360. He came off, to me at least, as some Philly suburb guy who managed to find a heavily depreciated exotic car and wanted to flaunt it, which turned me off.

Slowly though, the focus of his videos shifted to car reviews, placing particular emphasis on their unusual "quirks and features". As time went on, the videos got longer and more in-depth, and starting in summer of 2017 he implemented a "Doug Score" to track how well each car performs in both "weekend" (or "enthusiast") and "daily" categories. Each video follows the same general format: "THIS", intro, quirks and features, "see how it drives", and Doug Score.

What sets Doug apart from a lot of other car YouTubers is his no-frills, no-nonsense production. No annoying dubstep, no 10-minute vlogs that go nowhere, no begging for likes and subscribers. It's just a guy and his camera, talking about the car he's reviewing that day, and exploring every nook and cranny of it.

When it comes to shows like this, the presenter and how they present everything carries most of the weight of the how enjoyable the final product will be. Top Gear UK series 1-22 is my favorite TV show, not because of the cars necessarily, but because of Jeremy, James, and Richard. Those 3 guys are the backbone of what makes the show work. It's like Rush; Rush IS Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart; without all 3, they're not Rush anymore. Their chemistry and humor made everything so natural and fun. Watching an old episode of that show makes you feel warm, like you're hanging out with friends. Once they left, the show completely fell apart, and I started watching The Grand Tour instead.

Doug emits a similar vibe, albeit with a very different sense of humor. He's a tall, gangly, nerdy guy, but he owns it. He makes some dumb jokes and throws in some dumb music cues, but it's still charming in a delightfully awkward way. You can tell he has a love for the automobile, but also a geeky fascination with weird cars. His geeky, G-rated sensibility has spawned various "Doug is the type of guy" jokes. His enthusiasm is contagious, though at times it can be hard to sustain a viewer's interest in 30 minutes of paging through the owners manual of a 1990s minivan. His audio quality is inconsistent, which may be a result of the camera he uses. Despite the lack of production value, Doug's content is thorough, relaxing, and sometimes ironically funny. He's YouTube's favorite car geek for a reason, and he's covered a wide enough variety of cars that anyone even remotely interested in cars will stumble across one of his reviews for a car they're looking for.
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Great but not for the faint of heart
14 September 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This movie has been in my watchlist for years, ever since Horrible Reviews included it in his Most Disturbing Movies Ever series. I finally got around to watching it and I don't really know how to describe the experience. This is a slow, character-driven, thematically complex film with a great twist. I included a spoiler warning because I think saying a film has a twist will make you anticipate it. Luckily I didn't know, and like all great twists you don't see it coming, it's shocking when you find out, and makes total sense in hindsight. The acting is mostly subdued but classy, which makes perfect sense for the story. The disturbing aspect doesn't really kick in until the second half, and I give them credit for how f'ed up they went with it. Even after one viewing I can tell there are many layers to dissect concerning sexuality, personal identity, revenge, and power. The only things holding it back for me is it drags in the middle, the presentation while well shot was fairly standard, and the ending felt pretty abrupt. If you're a fan of disturbing movies and/or quality films in general, I'd say it's worth a watch. I really don't want to say much else, you really just need to see it for yourself.

I rate it an 8/10 because it's better than an 8 but not quite a 9 and IMDb doesn't allow ratings in half star intervals.
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I give it 2 frostbitten amputated fingers out of 10
14 July 2019
I don't know about this one, guys. This movie is incoherent, has a lot of stupid character decisions, there's absolutely no subtlety with the colors whatsoever, 15 minutes could have been shaved off the runtime, and some of the editing choices are appalling. The cinematography isn't bad and they seem like they were trying their best with the given budget and script. I don't really see it as a so-bad-its-good movie, its just kind of lame, dumb, underwhelming and forgettable.

I give it 2 frostbitten amputated fingers out of 10.
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Norbit (2007)
A weird, uneven comedy
6 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I loved this movie when it came out, and just rewatched it for the first time in years. Norbit is a sporadically funny, unevenly paced, and weirdly mean-spirited comedy.

To give credit where credit is due, the acting is surprisingly good, especially from Murphy, who's unrecognizable as Rasputia and Mr. Wong, no doubt in part to the Oscar-nominated make up, which is jaw-droppingly convincing. Terry Crews, Kat Williams, and the rest of the cast are a million flavors of fun, except for the actress who plays Kate, who's just going through the motions of the stereotypical undeveloped love interest.

The first 20 minutes or so are good, with a good pace and consistently funny jokes, but it quickly peters out and doesn't really gain momentum again until the last 15 minutes. In the meantime, we go from location to location, seeing Norbit try to woo Kate despite Rasputia's terrorism. There's a laugh here and there, mostly from sex jokes, race stereotypes and Rasputia's comical, almost superhuman displays of strength, but the majority of the film instead focuses on Rasputia verbally and physically abusing her husband. Since the minute they met, she's felt the need to control Norbit. He may have had some connection in the beginning, but the more time he spends with her, the more shallow and selfish she reveals herself to be. He tries to leave her after she cheats on him without remorse, but lies about being pregnant to get him to stay. Despite cheating herself, she cannot stand the thought of Norbit with another woman, one who happens to bring him genuine joy.

I can see what the filmmakers were trying to do here; they wanted to make a comedy with heart that also came from a genuine place and showed a real struggle all too many people face. It could've worked really well, but the end result is too inconsistent, dumbed down, padded out, and above all, ugly. Ugly on the eyes (Murphy's characters) and ugly at heart. The end result is more depressing than funny, and there just isn't enough meat to grab onto (besides Rasputia lol fat jokes) to make it anything worthwhile.

I think a 4/10 is fair.
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One of the most underrated TV shows of all time.
31 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I absolutely adore Ned's Declassified. It's not just the best live action Nick show, it's one of the best TV shows of all time, period. That's some lofty praise, and I'm going to do my best to articulate why I think this show is so fantastic.

A good place to start is the presentation. I'm a big fan of presentation. There have been many tween/teen sitcoms that break the fourth wall like Saved By The Bell, but those shows have very standard presentaion that doesn't set them apart from the pack. Ned's Declassified is so unapologetically bonkers and over the top, with a ridiculously fast breakneck pace. Everything is so intentionally cartoony and unrealistic, with the dramatic and comical music cues and wacky sound effects. The science teacher is always seen in a white lab coat. Lisa Zemo uses allergy nose spray in every single scene she's in in the first two seasons. The nerds wear khakis and coke bottle glasses, the bullies wear black leather jackets. The vice principal wears a siren hat! This may come off as juvenile or lazy to some, but I think it fits the shows tone perfectly, as it's from the perspective of middle schoolers who, though probably not as imaginative as elementary schoolers, can still have active imaginations. The style is so insane, it makes you overlook logical inconsistencies and accept the way this universe works. You can tell some of the same people who worked on the Fairly Odd Parents worked on this too. The fact that the show is shot from many different angles helps maintain the illusion that the sets aren't really sets and keeps you immersed in this world, as opposed to the traditional sitcom setup where it's obviously three walls on a stage. With 11 minute episodes (and one 45-minute series finale), every second counts so not a moment of screen time is wasted. Without this presentation, this show would just be a male Lizzie McGuire.

Another important aspect is the characters. The writing on this show is great. Through all three seasons not one character has a single out-of-character moment. It's a school survival guide, so very few episodes take place outside of the school, eliminating the risk of being bogged down with too many subplots and keeping things tight and focused. There's nothing I hate more in family films and TV shows than one dimensional bullies, but even all the bullies in this show are fairly well developed. They aren't just antagonists, they're often seen interacting with other students and teachers normally like many real bullies. I like how they try to keep the extras consistent throughout the series, with many of them being characters with speaking roles (and even though they're not doing anything in that scene, I love that added attention to detail). The acting is great across the board; depending on the character and what they're going for, everyone is either just the right level of over the top or reserved. In season 3 there isn't just a love triangle, but a love octagon. It's surprisingly easy to follow, not too forced, and all resolves in the end. I think the mix of elementary, middle, and high school problems makes it more relatable to a wider audience, making the rumored high school spin-off series unnecessary in my mind. I appreciate how the series ends with Ned and Moze getting together, and they decided not to continue the series with the two best friends in a relationship (unlike Kim Possible).

The most important aspect of this show is that amongst the chaos and wackiness, there's still a relatable, down to earth element to it. Like a previous reviewer mentioned, it's so unrealistic yet so realistic. The chemistry between the students, how kids bond with certain teachers better than others. Almost every character is a stereotype, but they all have distinct personalities and allow the audience to find a little bit of themselves in each of them.

Ned's Declassified is a show unlike any other I've seen. The creator tried to emulate this same style in Big Time Rush, but it simply didn't work as well because this style could only work to specifically capture the mindset of the students and faculty at the manic, colorful, and innocent James K. Polk Middle School, not the cynical world of stardom and the pop music industry. Besides being funny, well written, tightly edited and paced, uniquely presented, and with a lovable cast of characters, it's a show that kids will find relatable (in not immediately obvious ways) and adults can still find thoroughly entertaining. It may be because I'm a crazy person, but this is one of my all time favorite TV shows and I genuinely believe it's one of the best and most underrated sitcoms of all time. Absolutely a 10/10 from me!
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Part Timers (2016)
The Perfect Theme Song
11 March 2019
This series is okay. It's very hit-or-miss; sometimes it's really funny and other times it's just lame. I'm bumping my rating up to an 8 purely for the opening theme. Its one of my all time favorite theme songs.

This is America, land of dreams Everyone can climb higher (not you though, you're stuck here...) Cause you're part timers (yeah!) You can do anything (as long as its not hard) And you can go anywhere (as soon as you get a car) You'll be a huge success (come on, that's not who you are) You're a part-timer cursed with full-time dreams And this low-paying job is as bad as it seems, bad as it seems What the f%$# are you doing here (Oh wa-oh) What the f%$# are you doing here (Ah-ah-oh) Seriously, dude? (like what the f%$#?)

It perfectly describes the struggle and state of mind of so many young people who feel trapped in dead end jobs. As kids we have all these big aspirations and many of us even go to college to get a shot at pursuing these aspirations, but in reality a lot of us don't get very far in life. Sad but true. I realize this song was probably written as a joke and I may be looking for something that isn't there, but it's just too unironically real.
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Everybody Loves Raymond (1996–2005)
Ignore the negative reviews, Everybody Loves Raymond is a step above your average sitcom.
6 March 2019
Everybody Loves Raymond is a show that has always spoken to me. It's hard to put into words, but I think it's ultimately because ELR is more honest and down to earth than your average sitcom. Many of life's conversations, arguments, and memorable moments stem from the small and mundane, and many of the show's episodes are rooted in this philosophy. There are episodes dedicated entirely to what tissues you use, finding an interesting dinner conversation topic, or moving a piece of luggage left on the stairs. There's an episode where a car crashes through Ray's house, and the primary point of contention is the wallpaper they put over the new wall.

The show strikes an ideal, believable tone; its not sappy like Full House or The Brady Bunch but not comically mean spirited like Married With Children (though that show is also quite funny). The characters aren't so much real people as they are ideas of how we perceive our equivalent family members. Just slightly exaggerated enough for comedic effect, but still believable. For the most part the characters are well developed and engaging. The actors all share a lot of chemistry and make these seemingly mundane premises very entertaining. Marie and Debra in particular can feel a little one dimensional and one note, which is really my only big complaint with this show.

While there's nothing super special about the presentation, there were a couple things that stood out to me. The fact it's shot on film gives it a warmer, more endearing quality than if it were shot on tape like every other sitcom. This is also one of the few shows with a laugh track where the canned laughter doesn't bother me for some reason.

Fun fact: My life almost became this show. Before I was born my mom was looking for a house and one of the houses she looked at was right around the block from my grandparents' house. That gave me an even bigger soft spot for this show.
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Harakiri (1962)
So Close To Perfection
17 February 2019
Seven Samurai is pretty great, but I think Harakiri is even better. This tale of a ronin seeking revenge and exposing the flawed samurai code is so close to perfection. The story is engrossing and despite the slow pacing it's never boring. What the production lacks in scale it makes up for with emotional intensity. The sparse, ominous score is perfect for this film. The direction and cinematography are masterful and the camera's slow pans and zooms really butter my croissant. The editing is great and purposeful too. There's not a single weak performance but Tatsuya Nakadai in the leading role steals the show.

My only complaints are with some of the pacing and fight choreography. There's a standoff scene in the middle that could have been cut (since it felt like a cheap way to build tension and it wouldn't make sense for them to continue waiting afterward) and the long flashback could have also been trimmed. The film is 2 hours 13 minutes but I think exactly 2 hours would have been perfect. From a fight choreography standpoint the one-on-one fight scenes were well done but climax was shaky. There were many interesting ideas and moments in there, but also several points where I was like "okay, how did they not strike him there?"

Harakiri is an outstanding film that deserves more attention. If you haven't seen this film check it out. The Criterion restoration is absolutely beautiful. I intentionally kept this review vague since it's best to go into it knowing as little as possible. With a few thousand more ratings, this film would be pretty high up on the IMDb Top 250, and I'd be delighted to see it there.
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Dinosaur (2000)
Objective 5/10, 7 For Nostalgia
16 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I loved this movie as a kid, so I decided to check it out for the first time in many years. Besides the nostalgia rush, here's my thoughts as well as a few things I noticed for the first time:

Dinosaur is one of the weirdest, most tonally inconsistent movies in Disney's filmography. On one hand, they're trying to play it safe with the talking animals, comic relief lemurs (which were nowhere near close to evolving at the time of the dinosaurs), and common character archetypes such as the stubborn leaders, bland female love interest, and naïve but determined hero. On the other hand, they're also trying to give it a realistic nature documentary asthetic. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the filmmakers were inspired by the superb 1999 BBC series Walking With Dinosaurs. The film uses CG animals against live action locations just like the miniseries. Predators hunt, kill, and eat their prey and the violence is about as realistic as you can get with a PG rating. Walking With Dinosaurs was able to get away with taking it a step further and showing actual gore since it was touted as a nature documentary and not a family film. Perhaps this mashup was intentional. The film's major theme is that everyone thrives when we stick together, look out for one another, and utilize our different strengths. Those who believe in the survival of the fittest at one point or another wind up isolated and eventually eaten. Kron is depicted as a jerk, but of all the talking dinosaurs his behavior is closest to a real animal. There's a good scene between Plio and Bruton in the cave discussing this topic.

The first five minutes of the film are 10/10 material. With no dialogue, the opening has so much atmosphere and charm. Had the storytelling been entirely visual, this could have been a genuinely great film. Once those stupid lemurs start talking, the movie instantly plummets from a 10 to a 3. Upon rewatch as an adult, that whole lemur courtship sequence and "hot stuff" nonsense made me physically cringe. Once the meteor strikes the film bumps up to a 6 and stays pretty consistent throughout. I appreciate genuine peril and suspense in a kids' movie, and Dinosaur's use of predators as primary antagonists is simple but effective. The Carnotaurs have an awesome and scary design. You can tell they really wanted a T-Rex, but didn't want to rip off Jurassic Park, so they simply took a Carnotaurus and made it twice as long and with a beefier build. Even still, the devilish horns over its eyes and ridged, scaly bodies haunted my nightmares more than any other therapod.

When you revisit films from your youth, you're bound to find logical flaws you never noticed before, and Dinosaur is no exception. A small gripe is why Aladar didn't instruct Baleen to make more water when the thirsty herd charged in to drink from that one puddle. It would've been easier to just make more of those puddles with her giant feet than to put those dinosaurs in a single file line. Another big gripe is when Aladar goes to the former passage to the nesting grounds. He and his group of stragglers make it to the nesting grounds though the cave, and find that the old way has been blocked by fallen rocks. Aladar then turns around and goes back through the cave. When he gets out he turns RIGHT, the OPPISITE direction the herd was going in the first place. Aladar is such a flawless blank slate of a character, I would have loved a deleted scene where like 20 minutes later he stumbles across the dry lake they passed earlier. That would have been funny. Well, funnier than Zini.

I have no problem with the standoff scene itself since herding together and intimidating predators is a real defense mechanism real herding animals use. What I do question is how Aladar knew to do that. Is it instinct or learned? In either case they never establish it. I wish the film was longer so it could build a stronger relationship between our speaking characters and show more buildup of the predators to make them even more threatening. At 82 minutes with credits, the film FEELS short, like they could have added another 15 minutes to the runtime without it affecting the pacing one bit.

On a story level, there's some cliches like the villain falling to their death, but I think the biggest problem is no one has an arc. Our hero is the same at the end as the beginning. Most of the characters don't really learn anything. The only character who grows or changes is Bruton. Possibly Nera too, since Aladar's influence on her may have made her more sympathetic toward the baby iguanodon pair. And let's not forget the seminal Zini arc, where at the beginning he can't get a mate but at the end he happens to get bestowed with a harem of females. Yar may be a grandpa but are you sure you wouldn't take him instead? At least he doesn't single-handedly drag this movie's score down an entire point.

Reviewers on this site seem split between thinking the animation is good or bad. For the most part, I think it's great. The animators were able to make realistic looking dinosaurs while at the same time giving them facial expressions and emotions. They integrate the dinosaurs into the real-world environments very well, going so far as to add subtle touches like the log bouncing slightly as the oviraptor runs across it, or practical sand moving with an iguanodon's feet. This movie came out 15 years before the Jurassic World movies and still look better. My only complaint in this department is that there's a lot of repeated character models in the herd. I understand this in the wide shots, but I vividly recall one close up shot in the standoff scene with the same three identical iguanodons. Another topic that seems to come up is how some dinosaurs talk and others don't. I like how the predators don't talk, as it makes them harder to read and thus more frightening. They aren't necessarily villains, but rather a force of nature, animals that need to survive. Url the Ankylosaur is a weird one though, as he acts like a dog. Some reviewers are forgiving of this, but this always seemed weird to me.

This type of film comes along every 15 years or so: someone wants to make a dinosaur movie where none of the characters talk, but the studios force them to make them speak anyway. It happened with this film, it happened with Walking With Dinosaurs 3D, and I'm pretty sure The Land Before Time and Yhe Good Dinosaur as well. I'd love a movie like that. One that takes its time with atmosphere and visual storytelling. It's not so much a flaw as it is missed opportunity, and most of my complaints with Dinosaur are opportunity-based. The dinosaur bones are there, but there's no meat on them.

Dinosaur is a well shot film with an excellent score, great effects for the time, good voice acting, and a genuine sense of peril bogged down by out-of-place corny dialogue and comedic relief (mostly from one lemur) and a cliché-ridden script. I still enjoyed it all these years later if it appeals to you at all, you'll probably like it too. Objectively it's a 5 but my nostalgia bumps it up to a 7.
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Dinosaur (2000 Video Game)
Oh my goodness, this game is so bad!
16 December 2018
I'll admit I'm not much of a gamer, but of the limited number of console games I have played, this is probably the worst. I enjoyed the movie, but how exactly does one make a video game out of Disney's Dinosaur? The answer is not very well.

I'm hard pressed to find anything likable or with any semblance of quality. The graphics are awful even for its time, and the clips from the actual movie they show make the graphics look that much worse by comparison. The background songs are these annoying electronic tracks that make me yearn for James Newton Howard's score from the film. The controls are awkward, the level objectives make no sense, some of the foes are annoyingly hard to beat, and above all else the gameplay in general is just dull and boring. This may be a personal gripe, but I hate games where you can't move the camera. There are bonus features that show basic facts about the dinosaurs featured in the game. Some list lengths in feet and others in meters, and some of the information is flat out wrong. For example, it says Carnotaurus first appeared 200 million years ago. I guess technically the evolutionary lineage could go back 200 million years, but this is very misleading as Carnotaurus itself didn't appear until the mid-to-late Cretaceous. On top of all that, the game is incredibly short. If you know what to do, you can beat it in less than an hour. The only positive I can think of is the voice acting isn't bad, and even then the dialogue can be really annoying at times with "woohoo!"s and "ready to go!"s. These poor actors are simply doing the best with the material they're given.

Unless you played this as a child and want to revisit it for nostalgia, I see no reason to seriously recommend this game to anyone.
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I have a theory:
21 November 2018
I think the filmmakers are trying to eradicate all evidence of this movie's existence from the internet. Here's why:

I have an aspiring actor friend who used to live in western Maryland (where this film was shot) and had a number of extra and supporting roles in various films and TV shows shot across the northeast US. His position allows him to hear about all these Z-grade indie films made by local filmmakers that almost anybody else would have never heard of. One day, he showed me a trailer for Radioactive Flesh Eating Foliage, a no-budget horror movie filmed in the mountains of western Maryland about trees attacking people. The trailer looked hilarious, with scenes that were supposed to be girls being attacked by trees when clearly it was obviously someone off camera poking them with sticks.

Out of morbid curiosity, I thought I'd give it a try (as I do with many bad movies), but this movie is impossible to find. I've scowered the internet and I haven't found any place where a DVD can be purchased or where it can be streamed. Even torrents and illegal downloading sites that claim to have it don't actually have it. Even the trailers were deleted from YouTube. It's like this movie was erased from the internet.

Were the filmmakers ashamed or embarrassed of the final product? I resorted to contacting one of the actresses on their professional website (since they were selling autographed posters for this movie, the only items related to this movie for sale anywhere). She politely responded that she ran out of convention copies and had no idea where I could find more. My only shot at ever watching it would be if a used DVD popped up on eBay someday.

If any of the filmmakers happen to be reading this, please make this movie available SOMEWHERE, even if it's something as simple as selling copies on eBay. I know you sold copies at conventions, so why stop trying to sell it?
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Painfully Average
4 November 2018
I feel like I need to say something. Not only is this in the IMDb top 250, its very close to the top, sitting at #38. This means its higher than Das Boot, The Shining, The Pianist, and more than 80% of the other incredible films on this list. I don't think every movie in the top 250 is a masterpiece, but most of the ones I've seen attain a certain level of quality that sets them apart from your "average" movie. I rented this movie hoping it would at least be good, but I didn't even get that.

There's not much to say other than every aspect was competently done but nothing exceptional (that goes for the story, performances, production value, and direction). My only real complaint would be that our two leads are a bit one dimensional. Why are rich people always stereotyped as loving classical music and listening to nothing else? Driss is a bit too erratic and clueless to be believable, but that's just me.

Clearly I'm missing something because everyone seems to love this movie. If you want to check it out, I won't stop you. It's put together well enough to be enjoyed, but for me personally it left little impact, and I can think of literally hundreds of films more deserving of such a high spot on this list. I give it a 6/10, and a generous 6 at that.
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Most Sufficient Movie Film For Stronk Glorious Motherland
19 October 2018
This may be my favorite aircraft documentary series besides the Secret (blank) Aircraft of WWII episodes of Modern Marvels. The first thing to love is the narrator, whose thick Russian accent and frequent mispronunciation of English words and improper grammar are an absolute delight. It's charming, relaxing, and even unintentionally funny to listen to. This series is worth checking out just for this guy's accent alone. In terms of content, what sets this documentary apart from many aviation documentaries is how comprehensive it is. Unlike many series such as Great Planes or Wings of The Red Star which cover mostly military aircraft and maybe a couple popular civilian models, Wings of Russia covers military aircraft of all types, passenger aircraft, emergency vehicles, helicopters, training aircraft, and even ground effect vehicles (something I didn't know existed until watching this series). Also to be commended is the unbiased attitude/approach. Some western-produced aircraft shows, most notably Dogfights, are quite one-sided and annoyingly patriotic. Wings of Russia does not feel like propaganda at all. They have no problem objectively stating the pros and cons of a plane whether its eastern or western. I highly recommend this series to anyone even remotely interested in aviation. Such a wide variety of topics are covered, there's sure to be something in here for everyone. Even if you're not, the amusing narration will suck you in anyway!
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Great Beginning, Great End, Dull Middle
25 September 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I rewatched this movie for the first time in almost 10 years to see if it still held up. Did it? Kind of. The first 20-30 minutes are great, the last 20 minutes are great, but the middle really drags.

Everything from the beginning of the film to the point where the knights split up is superb. The false opening, the second false opening, coconuts, swallows, "tis but a scratch", monster hand turning the book pages, the Trojan bunny, that stuff was great. Once the knights split up, the movie screeches to a dead halt for 40 minutes. The scenes were basically unrelated skits that meandered about to pad the running time to theatrical length. This wouldn't be so bad if these scenes were at least funny, but they weren't. I didn't laugh or even chuckle once through this whole stretch. Sir Robin, Galahad, Lancelot, none of it did it for me. The Knights Who Say Ni was the only somewhat humorous thing, mostly because of how stupid it was. Once they reunite, things start picking up again. The killer bunny, The Man From Scene 24 at the bridge, intermission, getting arrested, all classic stuff.

Had the middle section been heavily trimmed, this could have been fantastic, but that middle section really bogged the movie down to just "very good" for me. Apart from the humor, I'll say the film looks good given its small budget, and the foggy locations give it some nice atmosphere. Comedy can be very subjective, so how much you enjoy this film is dependent on your sense of humor. If you're not a fan of British humor, you're going to hate it, but if the first half hour grabs you, you'll probably enjoy it.
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Pyewacket (2017)
A Decent Little Horror Movie
21 September 2018
I finally got a chance to check this movie out, and I feel I should say something level-headed given the mixed reviews. Lots of 10/10 and 1/10 reviews without much in the middle. I've seen my fair share of horror films, from masterpieces like The Shining and Rosemary's Baby, to camp like the Leprechaun series and Death Bed: The Bed That Eats. For a small independent production, I think this was a decent little horror movie, albeit with many flaws. Here's the good and bad:

The Good: The acting was pretty good overall. I appreciate how this movie didn't stoop to any cheap tricks to scare the audience. There are no jump scares (except for one edit that could debatably be called a fake out). It showed a surprising amount of restraint, relying on a slow escalation of events to build suspense. By not showing much, it makes your imagination run wild, and that's what makes it scary. If anything, I actually wish they had shown even less of the demon. It's nothing mind-blowing, but it's on the right track.

The Bad: The film looks cheaply made. The music and camerawork were serviceable but nothing great. Characterization was weak overall, though development between the mother and daughter was okay. The suspense built up pretty well for a majority of the runtime, but when you actually see the demon it's not very convincing. That CGI fire was pretty bad. Why didn't she show her mom the broken chair and door after that chase scene? In the hands of a more meticulous filmmaker with a higher budget, this could've been an A24 horror film like The Witch or Hereditary, but Pyewacket simply isn't on the same level.

If you're a psychological horror fan and/or an indie horror fan, I's say this movie is worth a watch, but don't expect to be blown away. If getting startled by something popping at the screen is the only thing you consider scary, this isn't for you.
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WHY?! Why do people keep watching this?
20 August 2018
Every weekday growing up, my mom would record this and The Bold And The Beautiful. The entire time, I kept wondering: Why? Why do people watch these shows? They're so terrible. They're so bland, boring, and devoid of personality. I can't pay attention for more than six seconds without immediately realizing that the dialogue is some of the worst stilted mush ever put on television. Who the hell talks like that? The acting in these shows ranges from passable to pretty worthless. I'd imagine it's because they're not trying since these actors are handed such rubbish scripts rushed out daily. The plots are so convoluted and melodramatic, you can tell they're making it up as they go along. All the sets look cheap. The direction, cinematography, and music are all flat and uninteresting. No aspect of the production is remotely competent, let alone good.

My mom still watches it because she's been following it since 1972, but I see nothing to entice new viewers. These soap operas are nothing more than background noise and something to fill daytime slots on Channel 3. Don't watch this. Almost anything else on TV right now is better than this.
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Strangely Unsettling
14 August 2018
I'm not much of a gamer; besides my PC, my old PS2 is my only gaming console. I recently dusted it off and spent my summer going through my old games, including this one. Upon replay, the greatest aspect of this game for me is the unsettling, anxiety-inducing atmosphere.

As Jack, you have the first-person perspective of someone in this scenario. You know that primal fear instilled by our ancestors of being helpless and hunted in an unfamiliar environment, worrying about encountering a lion, tiger, or saber-toothed cat armed only with spears? This game gave me that same sensation multiplied by a factor of five. I say that because dinosaurs are a lot more intimidating than plain old lions, tigers, and bears. I got very anxious in a level with a lot of Venatosaurus or juvenile V-Rex where I'm low on ammo or don't have a gun at all. Spears aren't very helpful if there's more than one dinosaur. When you're out in the open and you know a big predator is running toward you, your immediate instinct is to run for shelter. It's not just the situation; the game's presentation and stellar atmosphere make it particularly eerie. Many environments are misty/foggy so its hard to see more than 50 yards ahead a lot of the time. The noises they make before their silhouettes appear in the distance are unsettling. There's no health bar, ammo count, or map in the corners of the screen to distract you, allowing you to be more immersed in the situation. Subtle, quiet, and unnerving music cues also help. Some levels that stand out to me are "Hayes", "Brontosaurus", "Venatosaurus", and "To The Lair".

Other than that, here's the rundown of what I liked and didn't like.


-Everything mentioned above. -Very good graphics for a PS2 game. -The world genuinely feels like an extension of the King Kong (2005) universe. -Creative liberties with the story are taken, but on its own it works just fine. -Great music.


-Kong's controls are clumsy and consequently his levels aren't very fun. -Character's mouth movements often don't match what they're saying. Even by 2005 standards that's pretty bad. -As Jack, the right analog stick doesn't let you look around fast enough for my liking. In an intense, immersive moment, I kept feeling the desire to look quickly, as if it were my own head. -I like the idea of the burning bushes but they burn way too quickly (then again they could be super flammable Skull Island plants). -The game is quite short (I beat it in less than six hours on my second playthrough) and unfortunately the lack of upgrades or new levels or other cool things to unlock means there isn't enough replay value to keep me coming back. Besides those four levels I mentioned earlier, there's nothing else I'm dying to experience again. Even that feeling of being prey I mentioned before dwindles once you know how to navigate each level.

This game is worth a playthrough for the atmosphere, but I wouldn't pay a lot for it. I got my copy used and you shouldn't pay anything more than a used price for it. I'd give it a 6.5/10; it's better than a 6 but I'm not sure if I want to round up to a 7, either.
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Smosh (2005– )
What happens when you sell your creative integrity?
28 June 2018
Your YouTube channel goes down the tubes, that's what!

Let me start by saying I'm only rating their 2005-2013 videos a 7. All things considered it would be a 6 or 5.

My friend introduced me to Smosh in 2009 and was immediately hooked. The appeal of Smosh's earlier videos was in their simplicity and accessibility. They had so much charm because you could tell there were no cynical intentions; it was just two best friends having fun by making these simple and silly but very fun videos on this new website called YouTube. The classic age of Smosh, around 2005-2009, was extremely amateurish, with a low resolution camera, awkward acting, and bad effects, but they at least made up for it with the humor.

Around 2009 or so, they really hit their stride, leading to the golden age of Smosh, around 2010-2012. They got a better camera, a few friends to help, better effects, and Ian and Anthony had clearly gotten much more comfortable on camera. This is when they had the highest, most consistent quality content. Sure their videos had higher production value, but you could tell the heart of the show was still these two best friends having fun making these wacky videos. The humor kept getting better and better, and even more absurdist and juvenile. The screaming and yelling was more pronounced here, but never got overbearing.

Slowly, around late 2013 and into 2014, the feel of the entire show began to change. The regular cast was expanding. They stopped filming in their house (a staple of all their earlier work) and were clearly using sets. The humor started changing, too. The insane, absurdist humor was slowly morphing into typical sarcastic millennial humor. It turned out Ian and Anthony stopped writing their videos and instead hired interns to continue writing. The overall quality of their videos slowly began to decline. Smosh had gone from a YouTube channel all about two friends having fun making silly videos to a cynical money-hungry business. Smosh was solidified as a brand when Anthony officially left, citing disappointment in his lack of creative control. Had this happened 5 or 6 years ago, Smosh would have been declared broken up or on hiatus, since he and Ian were the sole creative contributors. Today it's a different story. Ian remains as part of a large new ensemble cast that is projected to have actors come and go over the years and essentially turn it into an unfunny YouTube SNL.

I hope Ian and Anthony can work together in the future outside of Smosh because their chemistry, enthusiasm, creativity, and innocence were what made their older videos so great. Even in their more recent videos where they react to their old videos, you can still see the spark in their eyes.
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Sardonicast (2018– )
10/10 should be on Pornhub
31 May 2018
The most ambitious crossover event since Infinity War, three sardonic internet reviewers join forces to create Sardonicast, a podcast all about movies. Meet Adum, the gay furry, Alex, the hater, and Ralph, the closeted filmmaker/college student by day and jenkem addict by night.

The general format of every episode generally goes as follows:

News/Recent events in film and the internet

Discussing new films in theaters

Discussing the film assigned from the last episode

Answering Q&A

Assigning a new film for everyone to watch and discuss in the next episode (each host rotates with recommendations)

Adum is the unofficial leader of the group, often driving the discussions. Ralph talks the second most since he has the most film making experience. Alex usually talks the least, mostly because he hates everything, including himself, and spends a majority of the episodes brooding and thinking about all the things he hates about his co-hosts. Alex hates numerical scores, something Adum and Ralph both use to grade movies. He also hates furries, and the fact that Adum is one sexy horsie boi just infuriates him even more. He hates superhero movies, a frequent discussion topic. He hates the English language, the very language the show is in. He hates the human race, of which Ralph, Adum, and even himself are a part of! Not to mention he hates YouTube, the very site their videos are uploaded! This palpable tension creates a sexually titillating atmosphere that really butters my croissant. 10/10 would recommend to anyone who loves sexy bois talking about movies.
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Stealth (2005)
14 May 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I'd recommend Stealth to any aviation enthusiast. Not because it's a faithful and heartfelt tribute to the military pilots of yesterday or today, or even because it's quality cinema. I recommend it because it's so bad it's good.

To this film's credit, the CGI holds up really well and I appreciate the scale of the production in some scenes such as use of the real USS Abraham Lincoln and practical explosions. On the special features it shows they took pictures of the inside of F-18s to make the inside-the-plane transition shots more accurate. Besides that, this movie is just plain STUPID! If the events of this movie actually happened, it would trigger World War III.

Let's start with the fictional F-37 Talons: how do these things even fly? The trailing edge of their variable geometry wings in the extended position becomes the leading edge in the retracted position. How would they generate any lift in that configuration? Also, isn't variable geometry kind of a Cold War relic? You don't really see it on new aircraft anymore.

Lt. Gannon drops the bomb in Rangoon out of pure ego, something a real military pilot would never do. EDI apparently becomes evil after a lightning strike. That's not how technology works! I love how EDI cranks up the music to drown out Gannon like an angsty teenager. What exactly was their flight path on the second mission? They're presumably in the Indian Ocean, flying north to bomb a target in Tajikistan, then fly east presumably over China to...North Korea? Why? EDI breaks formation to bomb an imaginary target in Russia and Henry chases him. EDI flies low and starts zigzagging through a canyon. I don't pretend to be an expert on dogfighting tactics, but I'm pretty sure one of the first strategic things they teach you is you have the advantage when you're above and behind the enemy aircraft. Why would you not only give up your advantage but endanger your own aircraft by flying after them? Why use a missile in such tight quarters and not a gun?

Wade has to bail out over North Korea. First of all, this American military pilot decided to fly over the most vehemently anti-capitalist nation on Earth? Second, what's the range on these planes? That trip must be like 5000 miles by now without refueling. It's a fighter-bomber not a Boeing 767! Sure Gannon and EDI refuel but we never see Wade do it. Wouldn't a self-destruct on a military aircraft have to manually operated and not automatic? That'd be dangerous for the pilot. When Wade ejects the aircraft blows up right over her so she's chased by debris the whole way down. The plane would still be moving forward after she ejects so even if she only had 5 seconds the plane would be like a mile away when it exploded.

EDI and Gannon are intercepted by and shoot down Russian Flankers. Your planes are Mach 5 capable! Why not outrun them? Have you forgotten about the MiG 25, the fastest fighter jet in the world, and the accounts of them avoiding confrontations by simply accelerating away? Not to mention two American planes penetrating Russian airspace and shooting down three Russian fighters probably wouldn't be great for foreign relations. It took me years to finally figure out Capt. Cummings wants everyone who knows about EDI killed since they don't really develop it. Not to mention Gannon and EDI bombing the DMZ to save Wade. I couldn't think of a faster way to start WWIII with Russia and North Korea.

And oh yeah, 1 is not a prime number! What was the point of that whole lucky prime number thing anyway?

I didn't even mention the simplistic and unlikable characters, something other reviewers seem to have covered. Overall, this film's plot is so stupid its actually funny. If you love military aircraft, Stealth is so bad it's good.
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Lost in Adaptation (2014– )
Overlooked Book/Movie Review/Comparison Series
5 March 2018
The Dom (the host and name of the YouTube channel this series is uploaded) deserves a lot more attention and subscribers. Lost In Adaptation is his series where he compares adapted novels with their respective films and TV series. Each episode generally covers what the film does the same, what the film changes, and what the film leaves out altogether. Additionally, he looks at both the books and films critically to see if the adapted changes were made for better or worse. I appreciate the breakneck pace of his videos and quick funny jokes. Unlike a number of Channel Awesome series, the skits are sporadic, very short, and never kill the pacing of the video. I recommend this series to anyone who loves books and movies, and I'm surprised more people haven't checked him out!
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The Prestige (2006)
Stop Rating Christopher Nolan Movies a 10!
23 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Christopher Nolan is an undeniably great filmmaker and every movie of his I've seen I'd give at least a 7...

...that doesn't mean everything he does should be on the IMDb top 250, let alone this high up! I feel like everybody rates Christopher Nolan's films a 10 simply because he directed them. It irritates me to see movies such as this and Interstellar so high up on this list when (although they're both fine movies) there are so many other (in my opinion) objectively better films that deserve those slots.

I pretty much only wrote this to complain about the inflated scores on most of Nolan's films, but I'll talk briefly about the film. The acting was very good and the presentation was nice but nothing spectacular. There aren't many specifics for me to complain about besides the ending, which is why this review has a spoiler warning. The ending makes the film contradict itself. Basically it turns out Christian Bale was playing a pair of identical twin brothers the whole time. Hugh Jackman gets Christian Bale hanged, only to get shot by Bale's twin. His twin was the reason he was able to perform the teleporting man stunt so seamlessly.

This goes against the whole philosophy Bale's character was preaching! Its stated multiple times that the reason Bale could perform the trick so seamlessly was because unlike Jackman, he supposedly wasn't using a doppelganger. But then at the end it turns out he WAS using a doppelganger the whole time! JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE AN IDENTICAL TWIN DOESN'T MEAN YOU'RE THE SAME PERSON! YOU'RE TWO DISCRETE ENTITIES! YOUR CLAIM IS A LIE!

In essence, the rest of the film is great but the stupid ending tarnishes the experience as a whole.
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The Cavern (III) (2005)
0/10 Absolute Garbage
1 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Not only is this the worst horror film I've seen, its one of the worst films, period. The majority of the film is an abysmal assault on the senses, but the ugly, repugnant ending is what really seals the deal.

This is a "special" kind of movie in its badness. Its not so bad its good. Its not so bad it can be riffed on (seriously, try it and you'll be hard pressed to find anything to make fun of). Like other reviewers have stated, its just plain unwatchable. I seriously question the mental well-being of anyone who found The Cavern legitimately entertaining.

Let's start with the filmmaking and script, which are astonishingly poor. The film is set in Kazakhstan, even though its referred to as Russia in the movie itself and on the IMDb plot summary. I didn't know the Kazakhstani wilderness looked so much like the California desert. The characters are all bland and uninteresting, so we have no reason to care about them. Why would one of the characters go caving on the anniversary of the death of a loved one's death as a result of a caving accident? The lighting is just terrible; all the scenes in the cave are lit only with headlamps. This wouldn't be so bad if we could tell what's going on, but none of the light reflects off the cave walls since its always shining directly into the camera. The epileptic flash photography sequences don't help, either. This makes for a very disorienting experience. My best guess is they were attempting to recreate The Descent, a cave film that also used no studio lighting. Here's the difference: The Descent was made by competent filmmakers who knew how to utilize the low light levels to create suspense while still showing the audience what was going on. The blinding headlamps coupled with the frantic editing in The Cavern make the narrative almost incomprehensible. There were a couple dumb moments I was able to pick out, though. One of the characters suggests they douse their headlamps so the creature won't see them. That would do literally nothing since cave-dwelling animals are typically blind and rely entirely on their other senses. Another character suggests they split up. It may be a horror cliche, but splitting up is one of the worst things you can do in a situation like that!

So far the movie has been really bad. But the ending? You ain't seen nothing yet!

In the final scene, the two surviving girls wake up naked by an obviously fake CGI fire in the cave, wrapped in animal fur blankets. They find a picture from 1980 of what looks like a 10-year-old boy. Rather hilariously, they eat some cooked meat only to find its the charred remains of one of their friends. A caveman with a burnt face is revealed to be the attacker. In a confusing flashback, its revealed that the boy in the picture survived a plane crash and decided to become a caveman. How has this boy (who I assume had no survival experience at the time) survive more than a week? This raises so many more questions like how does a normal human move giant rocks by himself, see in the dark, and survive gunshots? The creatures in The Descent had abilities and weaknesses within reason, and the fact they evolved in caves was a believable excuse as to why they were so good at moving in the dark. The fact the monster is a normal human is absolutely stupid.

But wait, it gets worse...

Up to this point the film has been insultingly stupid and incompetent, but the last 20 seconds is where it goes from abysmal to morally reprehensible. The last 20 seconds is a blast of badly edited shaky cam and screaming. I had no idea what was happening, and I assumed he killed them. Then I looked up the plot summary on Wikipedia and it turns out that he killed one and raped the other. I went back through that final scene frame by frame and could (vaguely) make out that that was indeed what was happening.

Here's the problem: you can't end your movie mid-rape! Not only does it make for a deplorable, dissatisfying experience that leaves a sour taste in the viewer's mouth, but it simply doesn't work artistically. What do most movies have the The Cavern doesn't? The answer is elevation. I have no problem with unhappy or unsatisfying endings. Films like Se7en, John Carpenter's The Thing, Funny Games, and even The Descent may not have happy endings, but they all serve an artistic purpose and give the audience something to think about. The ending of The Cavern makes me think if a rape victim saw this, the last thing they'd see before the credits is a reminder of what is most likely the most traumatizing experience of their lives with no light at the end of the (both physical and metaphorical) tunnel. I have no problem with the inclusion of a rape scene as long as there's a point. Honestly, the fact that the rape scene is the ending is what bothers me so much. I wouldn't be so mad if there was more after the rape. If, for example, the scene suddenly cut to black and was followed by a sequence of killing the beast and finding a way out, it wouldn't be the greatest thing ever but it would have at least given this dumpster fire some kind of elevating resolution. Some connection between the main characters entering the cave (which looks vaguely like a vagina) and two of the characters having consensual sex early on in the film with a dweller of the cave having non-consensual sex may be intended, but you can't just end a movie there!

I rarely ever give a movie a 0 because to do so implies I can't understand how anyone could get anything positive out of the experience. However, The Cavern really is THAT BAD to me.
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