AS I LISTENED I THOUGHT IT was an ingenious plan. It was a time before cellular phones and my friend was telling me how her family would take a road trip. When relatives were included on their road trips, involving more than one car, the drivers would create a way of communicating with each other. They would flash their auto lights in a specific way, similar to Morse code, to say they needed to stop for a restroom, a break, gas or a meal. Alternating between the right and left turn signals would mean someone in the car needed to stop at a bathroom. If passengers were getting hungry then the driver would either flash the lights 3 times or tap the brakes 3 times in rapid succession to signal the other driver. I was impressed with the plan and realized the introduction of the smart phone sure made traveling by automobile a whole different experience than what it used to be. If I thought about it I could have questioned why the cars needed to follow each other; but I could understand the reasoning behind forming a caravan. You know, the safety in numbers train of thought. FAMILY VACATIONS PROVIDE A MULTITUDE of experiences. The ones I experienced were predominately for visiting relatives who lived out of state. So, when people talk about the type of vacations they would do as a family, I am curious to hear about them. I remember listening about a family who took nature trips in some of the national parks across the country. There was one trip where they went hiking with their two small children and soon discovered the trail was not geared for a novice; the kids were scared and complaining. I looked up the place where they went and was stunned that someone would look at it and think small children could handle the climb. Heck I was not sure I could even do it! As another example I have some relatives who love getting into the car and driving to obscure tourist type places that you would never find on a “best of” list for vacation spots. They would take a vacation to find the largest ball of yarn or drive to visit the mustard museum in some small town in a different state. Usually they would find a variety of curiosity spots to stop at along the way. I am good with whatever “trips your trigger” for a family vacation; that is why I went to see the latest installment of this animated comedic, family film. FEELING HER FATHER NEEDED A vacation from running the hotel Mavis, voiced by Selena Gomez (Getaway, Spring Breakers), came up with a brilliant idea. She booked the family on a boat cruise. For her father Dracula, voiced by Adam Sandler (The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy), it would be more than just a boat ride. With Andy Samberg (That’s My Boy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine-TV) voicing Johnny, Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms franchise, Afternoon Delight) voicing Ericka and Jim Gaffigan (Chappaquiddick, Away We Go) voicing Van Helsing; this third installment was more of the same I am afraid to say. Little children might enjoy this picture because of all the monsters; but overall, I did not find much humor in the story. The visuals and animation were certainly fun, but they were not enough to support the feeble script. Pretty much a majority of this film was a series of sight gags. Surprisingly there was a message in the movie regarding inclusion, but chances are it will get lost on the youngsters. The only other thing to say about this picture is to make sure you bring a life jacket or a lifeboat because this boat is taking on water.
I am still baffled by the way people’s discriminations overpower what should be the simplest of connections: the love of a person. There have been so many times where I have heard a parent tell their child they wished they would… It could be anything from telling them they should have been an accountant and not an artist or telling them they should marry someone of the same religion. One of the best pieces of advice I heard was to do what you love and everything else would follow, so to tell someone who is an artist that they should be working with numbers makes no sense to me. Now there is nothing wrong with questioning a person’s choices, to be a sounding board for them; however, I become uncomfortable when someone tries to place their values and expectations on another person, whether it be a family member or a stranger. I know this family where the parents have a strained relationship with one of their 4 children because they married someone out of their faith. The pain they caused this child has been long lasting because the young grandkids have not spent much time around their grandparents. I can only imagine how many opportunities they have all missed to create a fond memory or a deeper connection. Love does not discriminate, only people do. Now the reason I am talking about this theme is because it resonated in me and played a part in this animated comedy sequel. DRACULA, voiced by Adam Sandler (Pixels, Grown Ups franchise), could only think about one thing anytime he saw his daughter Mavis’, voiced by Selena Gomez (Getaway, Spring Breakers), and her human husband Jonathan’s, voiced by Andy Samberg (That’s My Boy, Saturday Night Live-TV), baby boy; would he be a vampire or a human? One of the surprises about this movie was seeing Adam being credited as one of the writers. Sure the jokes were pretty basic and straight forward, plus there was a couple of times where I thought they were close to being inappropriate for a family film. But the fact that this film offered a valuable lesson was a shock to me. My favorite character out of the cast was Mel Brooks (Spaceballs, High Anxiety) as Vlad. I thought he had great lines besides perfect delivery of them. As an overall entertaining picture, this one was nothing above average. The animation was fine, the creation of the monsters was creative and the soundtrack was lively. Outside of that, I thought this sequel was pretty much the same thing as the first one. I cannot say I was bored; if I had to tell someone all I could think of was that the film was okay. I did not find anything horrible or terrific; just middle of the road except for tackling an important issue, in my opinion, in a subtle easy way.
This past Oscar season I have discovered new things about myself. From the nearby couple who kept talking during the movie I learned restraint; instead of asking them to look around and notice they are not sitting at home in their living room, I quietly whispered the “shhh” sound. During a particularly tedious film I realized I could do several yoga poses if I lifted up the armrests of my seat. Due to my keen observations I figured out to never sit near anyone who is carrying a large bag, purse or backpack; they inevitably have food in them, from candy to full size meals and cannot help but make munching, slurping or crunching noises. There is one other thing I learned and that is realizing how strong my determination can be. No matter how awful the film, I refused to nap or get up and walk out of the theater. As a result I have seen a whole bunch of movies I would normally never bother seeing. So I am going to try something new here and predict the Golden Raspberry Awards, also known as the Razzies. These awards for the worst performances and picture were started in 1980 by the American copywriter and publicist J.B. Wilson. If nothing else consider this my little gift to you in the form of a cheat sheet on what to avoid, thereby saving yourself time and money. Without further ado please find below the winners for the worst of last year.
Worst Actor: Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger
This was close since Johnny was up against Sylvester Stallone who was nominated worst actor in three different movies. I chose Johnny because he coasted through this role, bringing nothing of value. Sylvester was simply trying not to act his age in boring movies.
Worst Actress: Halle Berry in The Call and Movie 43
With Naomi Watts being nominated for Diana and Movie 43, this could easily go her way. Both women were awful in their films. I did not see nominee Lindsay Lohan in The Canyons.
Worst Supporting Actor: Chris Brown in Battle of the Year
A pathetic performance for a silly film.
Worst Supporting Actress: Kim Kardashian in Tyler Perry’s Temptation
All my classes know not to mention the “K” word; not one family member’s name shall ever be uttered during class. So it kills me that Kim gets the award.
Worst Picture: Movie 43
I was torn here between this film and The Lone Ranger. Both would be suitable for worst film of the year; however, I went with Movie 43 because I found it offensive. The Lone Ranger was simply dumb.
May you avoid these lame movies unless you have a white elephant movie party, where everyone sits around and makes fun of the film.
It starts with the smell as the door is opened. The only thing I can think of is the odor comes across as if it is organic. With untouched upholstery, there is nothing like getting into a brand new car. When I traded in my old automobile for a new one; it had been so long, I almost forgot about that new car aroma. My first week driving around; I considered keeping a pair of slippers in the car, so the floorboard would keep that pristine, unblemished look. In the second month of ownership, the car looked as new as the day I drove it home from the dealership. I remembered the day was a Saturday and I was parked in front of the post office. Returning to my vehicle, I opened the door and settled into the driver’s seat that always felt like it was hugging me. As I leaned over to store my purchased stamps in the glove compartment, the car suddenly jerked back with a bang. Popping my head up above the dashboard I saw the car parked in front of me pull into traffic and drive away. I quickly jumped out of the car to see what kind of damage had been done. Close to the center the bumper was creased as if something had tried to fold it. The once shiny red paint now had white flakes scattered across it like dandruff. My driver side fog lamp was strewn in pieces on the ground. In that single moment all the joy I got from my new car vanished; I would forever be driving an old auto now. Do not worry, I did catch up to that driver and made him pull over so I could call the police; but the damage had been done. These same negative feelings quickly returned to me as I sat and watched this wreck of an action movie. Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight, The Purge) played former race car driver Brent Magra. When his wife Leanne, played by Rebecca Budig (Guiding Light-TV, All My Children-TV), was kidnapped; Brent was forced to follow the kidnapper’s commands, going on a high speed race against the clock to save his wife. Joining him would be The Kid, played by Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers, Ramona and Beezus). At first glance I thought Smurfette had taken human form as Selena. Hearing her swear was just wrong and her tough talk was laughable. The story made no sense, the car chases looked like they were one scene that was spliced into a continuous loop and it was boring. Trying to find something positive to say about this movie, I enjoyed the story’s locale. I am afraid an emergency road crew could not help this poorly made crime film. If you are looking for some excitement you would be better off going to an auto dearlership and test drive a new vehicle.
1 1/5 stars
To be independent and responsible adults is the hope parents have for their children. Though for some it may be hard to let go and allow their kids to make their own decisions. In a recent review I mentioned how my dad taught me how to drive a year before I had driver’s education. What I failed to mention was how he would tell me not to go out driving if it was raining outside. Another thing he would say was not to turn on the radio because it drained the battery. To this day when I call him up to say hello, all he wants to hear is that I am driving straight home. Keep in mind I moved out of the house when I was in my 20’s, but to him that does not matter. That is why this fun movie gave me an extra kick. I found the idea of a classic horror film character being an overprotective parent hilarious. The story was about Dracula, voiced by Adam Sandler (Grown Ups, Reign Over Me), throwing a 118th birthday party for his daughter Mavis, voiced by Selena Gomez (Monte Carlo, Remona and Beezus). Several past scary film characters traveled to Dracula’s exclusive human free resort, Hotel Transylvania; to help in the celebration. But during the festivities Dracula’s fatherly concerns would be tested when teenager Jonathan, voiced by Andy Samberg (Celeste & Jesse Forever, That’s My Boy), accidentally stumbled into the hotel. There were enough gags and jokes for both kids and adults; though some of the jokes were more bathroom type humor. Adam’s voice perfectly matched the Dracula role, along with the fine animation. With a little more substance than the average animated movie, I had a good time at the theater watching this comedy. Who knows, maybe I will finally tell my dad about the time I drove his car with 9 people squished in with me.