IT WAS A BIG LOGISTICAL OPERATION THAT I was responsible for, though at the time I had never heard of the word “logistical.” My job was to plan out the route my friends and I would take for Halloween. I considered how long we would be able to stay outside, so persuaded everyone to get an early start for trick or treating. Each of us was dressed up in a costume; I was a pirate. The key to our success I determined was having a home base that was in the middle of the square mileage I envisioned we could cover. It turned out that central location was my house. The area I mapped out was 16 blocks in width and 12 blocks in length. Living in the city, this meant within our territory we would be covering houses, apartment buildings and businesses. In other words, we would be taking in a lot of candy. I broke down the blocks into four quadrants. We would focus on the southeast one first then come to my house to empty our candy filled bags before tackling the southwest quadrant and so on. I thought it was a brilliant plan that would yield massive amounts of candy. As it turned out the plan worked perfectly where all of us had enough candy to last us for months; we were overjoyed. FAST FORWARD A FEW YEARS AND for some unexplained reason my desire to go trick or treating waned. I was not alone for my friends felt the same way. At some undetermined point in time we each lost interest in getting dressed up and going door to door to get candy. We still hung out together, starting at a friend’s house where we now found ourselves on the giving end of Halloween. My friend would answer the front door and hand out candy to the trick or treaters who were perched on his front porch with outstretched arms, shopping bags dangling from their hands. That was us a few years back, but now we were the “adults” handing out candy. We grew up I guess. It is funny how that happened; after years waiting and planning for our Halloween trek through the neighborhood, we now had no desire. Looking at some of the kids’ costumes I recalled how I used to sit and pour over the store catalog, looking for the perfect outfit. After having been a pirate, a vampire and a superhero; I now looked at this holiday with boredom. Even this adventure comedy couldn’t change my feelings. WHILE CLEANING OUT AN OLD ABANDONED house Sonny and Sam, played by Jeremy Ray Taylor (It, 42) and Caleel Harris (Boys in Blue-TV movie, Skyward-TV), found a secret room that contained a single book. The boys did not know there was a reason the book had a lock on it. This family fright film also starred Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids, Blended) as Kathy, Madison Iseman (Beauty Mark, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) as Sarah and Chris Parnell (21 Jump Street, Labor Pains) as Walter. Based on author R.L. Stine’s horror series, this sequel had some fun special effects in a retro type of way. There was something about this picture that reminded me of those Saturday afternoon matinee films I used to go to that were low end productions. With a mixture of slapstick and corny humor I felt this film would only entertain the youngest of viewers; it was rated PG. There was some creativity used for several scenes but overall, I was bored through most of the story. Growing up I was not a fan of candy corn; never liked getting them in my Halloween bag. For me, this picture was a dose of candy corn for the holiday.
1 ¾ stars
THE FIRST TIME HE walked into the room everybody burst out laughing. He looked exactly like a well known movie critic. His costume was not one of those off the rack kinds; he had scoured resale and thrift shops looking for articles of clothing that were as close as possible to the ones the critic wore on television. With the help of a friend who was a hair stylist he not only looked the part but must have practiced for a time to portray the critic perfectly. He already had a good sense of humor so he had the guests at the party laughing at his spot on jokes, mimicking the critic to perfection. The next year when he reprised his movie critic costume it was still cute; but, it did not have the same impact as the first time. The jokes were still good but for the people who were at last year’s party, they sort of had an idea of what type of jokes he would tell the guests. When he returned a 3rd year with the same costume guests were so used to him they had a hard time reacting to his routine. TO TELL YOU THE truth his costume after a few years started to show some wear and tear. I was not sure if he used any of the articles of clothing in his daily life but there was a button missing from his sweater and the shirt color was starting to look darker than the rest of the white button down shirt. It reminded me of a friend who had to wear his older brother’s Halloween costume after the brother could no longer fit into it. We would go out trick or treating together and he would complain about the old costume. The colors had faded and one of the pockets had a hole inside of it. I never said anything to him but I agreed with what he was saying; the costume was old and tired. Who wanted to walk around in something that friends and family had seen a few times before? There really was no fun factor to the costume and the way he felt about it is the same way I felt about this comedic, horror sequel. NOT AGREEING WITH HER nephew’s decision Madea, played by Tyler Perry (Alex Cross, Good Deeds), decided to follow her great niece Tiffany, played by Diamond White (Sofia the First-TV, Transformers: Rescue Bots-TV), to what people said was a haunted campground. Madea would find more than just her great niece in this spooky place. With Cassi Davis (House of Payne-TV, Daddy’s Little Girls) as Aunt Bam, Patrice Lovely (Love Thy Neighbor-TV, Madea Gets a Job) as Hattie and Yousef Erakat (We Love You, Boo! A Madea Halloween) as Jonathan; this sequel did not offer anything new. Fans of Madea will probably still enjoy this movie; I on the other hand did not care for this film. There was a laziness to the script and directing that deflated the humor or what was supposed to be humor. Yes there were a couple of chuckles I admit, but that was it. From my viewpoint Madea has been this outrageous character who will say anything and come across with a strong physical presence. In this picture she just looked and acted tired. The script really was such a mess that I was bored for most of the time. At this point I do not know if Madea should stop going out for Halloween or simply retire and move away to an assisted living residence. How much more could she do?
1 ¾ stars
Plans were all set for you and your friends to meet up at the local amusement park. The weathercasters had predicted good weather and they were right, warm and sunny. You and your friends were excited about going to the park because there was a new attraction. Walking into the kitchen to get something to eat for breakfast you heard your mother talking on the phone. The conversation was just ending and after your mother hung up the phone she said your aunt, uncle and cousins were coming over in the afternoon. You explained your plans but your mother told you it would not be polite to leave when your cousins were looking forward to playing with you. If your cousins were coming over in the morning you were sure they would want to go with you to the amusement park; but coming later in the afternoon, you knew your friends would already be finishing up and going home. Not that you did not want to see your relatives but you were disappointed having to stay at home and miss out on the plans you made with your friends. I have had my share of similar disappointments, plus I can recognize that same type of dejected look on kids’ faces when I walk past the nursery at the health clubs where I teach. The face is easy to spot. You will see a child in the nursery who is older than the other kids. Sitting on the small chairs that look like miniature toys under their weight, the older child usually has their head buried into some type of electronic device as they totally ignore all the little kids playing around them. They are there because their parent came to work out or take a class and they did not want to leave their kid, who they felt was not old enough to be home by themselves. Most parents know their child is too old to be stuck in a nursery. I felt like one of those kids as I sat through this comedy horror film. MADEA, played by Tyler Perry (Alex Cross, Good Deeds) agreed to watch her nephew’s daughter Tiffany, played by Diamond White (Haunted Hathaways-TV, Sing It!-TV), during Halloween. Dealing with an uncooperative child was only a small issue compared to the zombies, poltergeists and creepy clowns Madea would encounter. For the amount of time Tyler has devoted to his Madea character, I would have thought every possible scenario of trouble Madea could find herself in would have been covered. I do not know about this story but I found it redundant. It was the same type of humor and stunts to the point I did not find much to laugh about. With Cassi Davis (House of Payne-TV, Madea’s Big Happy Family) as Aunt Bam and Patrice Lovely (Madea Gets a Job, Love Thy Neighbor-TV) as Hattie, the humor was lost on me. Part of the reason may have been the difficulty in understanding some of the dialog. It was not very clear to me. For those who are fans of Madea you might enjoy this picture. Sitting through this movie was like getting a rotten apple instead of candy for Halloween.
1 2/3 stars