I USED TO SIT QUIETLY BACK and watch his buddies try to emulate him. There were three of them who would follow him all around the school. I will admit he had a certain swagger that made the other students in the school move out of his way. To me, he was just a big bully. His friends knew better than to ever contradict anything he said or did; they went along like sheep following a shepherd. I came close to becoming one of their prime “victims” for abuse and entertainment. One of the friends for a short time did focus on me, hoping to start a fight to impress his friend. I knew better than to get involved when any of them were together; it would have been a lose situation for me all around. Until I built up the courage to fight back, I would daydream about the different ways I could hurt this one friend. I wanted to be someone else who could intimidate a person just by my looks, meaning muscular and tall. When I saw who was getting picked on from this group, I noticed it was usually a more introverted student who did not necessarily look like most of the student population. Let us face it, if someone was wearing something considered unusual, that could not be found in any current fashion magazines or commercial advertisements, they usually would become an easy target. THERE WAS ONE STUDENT IN PARTICULAR who was this group’s favorite prey. The poor student did not have a chance; he was short with a slight build, who had unruly hair and wore what looked like hand me down clothes. The level of abuse that was inflicted on him ranged from a single shove into a locker door to punching him in the stomach followed by spitting on him. No boy ever came to his defense, only a couple of girls would try to defuse the abusive acts. One day we were sitting together in the bleachers and talked about our similar experiences with bullies. He said he wished he could have one day where he could take revenge on all those who attack him. I asked what type of revenge, curious to know if it was like my own thoughts on how I could get even. Throughout the class period we joked about the things we would do, each time getting more and more outrageous with the means we would use to get even with our abusers. I would be lying if I did not say one of us wished we could do what the high school student found herself doing in this comedic, horror thriller. AFTER BEING THE TARGET FOR SEVERAL fellow students, a mystical dagger transforms Millie, played by Kathryn Newton (Blockers, Big Little Lies-TV), into a different person, who only has one thing on their mind. With Vince Vaughn (Fighting with My Family, Term Life) as The Butcher, Celeste O’Connor (Wetlands, Selah and the Spades) as Nyla Chones, Misha Osherovich (The Goldfinch, History-TV) as Josh Detmer and relative newcomer Emily Holder as Sandra; this movie had more entertainment value than I would have imagined. I thought Vince and Kathryn had great screen presence and really dug into their characters in a campy and fun way. Vince especially did a good job to stay on the edge of being a real character instead of a caricature of one. The script was part satire and part homage to slasher films. Now there were a few bloody scenes, but they were quick to pass. For those who wished they had fought back the bullies in their life, this film may tickle your past fantasies of fighting back in a very dark way. The one part that doesn’t seem to have been addressed in reviews is the fun way the writers showed attraction goes beyond the surface.
I GRANT YOU, THEY DID LOOK somewhat odd to me. They had moved into the neighborhood during my 4th year of elementary school. The house the family had purchased was a 2-story wood frame with a large wrap around front porch. I remember when they painted that porch because some of the neighbors were put off by it; the family painted it a pine green color. I never really understood why some people were upset. The only thing I could think of was maybe it was because all the other porches on the street were either unpainted or painted in 1 of 2 colors, either white or brown. There were 7 family members: 2 parents and 5 children. All the kids looked alike and looked like their mother. They each had the same color hair; the girls had the same style of haircut just as the boys shared the same. Each child wore the same style of glasses, perched the same way on their noses. Their teeth were oversized to the point where it looked like they could not close their mouth all the way. Some of the kids in the neighborhood referred to them as Bugs Bunny. To finish up their identical look, they all wore the same style and color of clothing. PERSONALLY, THEM NOT BEING ENROLLED IN the neighborhood school added to their perceived strangeness. But despite that, the siblings never came out to play with any of the other kids in the neighborhood. I would see them in their backyard at times when I would cut through the alley to a friend’s house. They would be huddled around some object; I could not tell if it was a toy or some type of device. Other times I would see them spread apart, each doing their own thing like reading or exercising and when I say exercising I mean jumping jacks or sit-ups, some type of calisthenic activity. Keeping to themselves and all looking the same just made people feel uncomfortable. Without getting to know them, rumors started to pop-up in the neighborhood, such as they were a medical experiment, or they were doing something illegal. And of course, the kids in the neighborhood started whispering different remarks about them being inbred and mentally challenged. It was not until I was in college that I discovered via the local newspaper that the parents were scientists and each child was excelling in their schooling, from being PhD candidates to mathematical whizzes. I was shocked; on the surface they may have been odd, but they certainly had already achieved more than many of the families in the neighborhood. The family in this biographical, comedic drama might seem odd to you but wait until you see what they do. PASSIONATE ABOUT WRESTLING RICKY AND JULIA Knight, played by Nick Frost (The World’s End, Paul) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones-TV, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), taught their children everything they knew. However, when a once in a lifetime chance became available would their hard work pay off? This movie’s story followed a typical theme; but, the script provided some fresh takes on it. With Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth, The Commuter) as Saraya Knight, Jack Lowden (Mary Queen of Scots, Dunkirk) as Zak Knight and Vince Vaughn (Couples Retreat, The Break-Up) as Hutch; I thought the acting really sold the story, especially Florence’s and Jack’s. For me, Vince was the only one that I did not connect with since he was doing his same type of character that I have seen before. There were fun moments in this picture that kept the story from sputtering out. What added to my enjoyment was seeing clips of the actual Knights at the end of the film. One may think they are an odd bunch, but I salute them for finding something they can be passionate about and holding out for their dream.
From my various job experiences I have witnessed some pretty cutthroat dealings. Unless the company you work for has a unique, one of a kind type of product; there will always be someone else who will try to outdo your company. The majority of salespeople I have encountered really are the company’s foot soldiers. One can also say they are the circus performers who do acrobatic twists and turns in order to please their customers as they try to “seal the deal.” I know I could never do sales because I do not have the temperament for it. From all my business dealings I could work with any customer until I discovered they were dishonest. Once that happens I lose all respect for them. There are certain products or stores I will not go near because of the way I was treated either as a customer or vendor. Even if a company’s salesperson meets with me and during our conversation speaks negatively about their competitor, it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Some people say just by definition the word job has no place for fun; I disagree with that type of thinking. Sure it can be hard work, but I feel there needs to be something fun about the workday to keep people motivated. On the other hand I have seen where some individuals have had way too much fun. DESPERATE to land a big business deal and save his fledgling company Dan Trunkman, played by Vince Vaughn (Couples Retreat, Delivery Man), flew to Europe with his employees Mike Pancake and Timothy McWinters, played by Dave Franco (Warm Bodies, 21 Jump Street) and Tom Wilkinson (Selma, The Lone Ranger). With stiff competition going against them the three workers were willing to do anything to win the business. Let me say right at the beginning; consider the movie trailer for this comedy to be its highlights reel. I understood what the story was trying to do, but I thought it lacked imagination and originality. There were several times where I was simply bored. One of the main issues for me had to do with Vince’s performance. It was no different from the past several roles he has performed; they were all the same and it drove me crazy. He really could use a fresh team around him that pushes him to stretch his acting ability. I will keep my fingers crossed for him since he will be starring in next season’s drama series, True Detective. Tom Wilkinson was his usual good self and I believe this was the first time I really thought Dave took ownership of his role. As a movie reviewer I am forced to see many “bad” films; I could have used combat pay for my time with this one.
1 3/4 stars
Walking down the grocery store aisle can be dangerous for me. Besides my desire for foods that are not the healthiest, my eyes can easily spot the words “new” and “improved” on any package. When it comes down to it I am a marketer’s dream shopper because I am easily swayed to try new food items. If they fit into my world of approved foods I am always adventurous to bring home new stuff and taste it. Sometimes I hit the jackpot when the product tastes so good, I do not want to brush my teeth for hours, letting the sumptuous taste linger in my mouth as long as possible. Other times it is a bust and I bring it to the office, hoping someone will get a positive experience from it. When it comes to a product’s packaging that claims a new fuller taste or improved flavor, I am aware it is more of a gamble. I have been disappointed when I brought the package home only to find the improvement consisted of shrinking the size of the food. To make matters worse, I can see it was done to make the package look fuller, but the net weight was reduced and I am being charged the same price as the former package. Stuff like this ticks me off as I am sure it would you too. I have to tell you I felt the same way about this comedy remake of the French Canadian film Starbuck, which I reviewed here previously. This American version starred Vince Vaughn (The Internship, Couples Retreat) as David, a delivery driver who discovered he was the father to 533 children, due to a mixup at the fertility clinic he donated at years ago. If a film studio wants to do a remake I do not have an issue with it. However, if it is going to be done I expect to see and experience things differently than the original; otherwise, what is the point? The biggest flaw in this movie was Vince Vaughn. I am tired of him playing the same role now in every one of his movies, it does not provide any entertainment value to his films. Supporting characters Brett, played by Chris Pratt (Moneyball, Wanted) and Emma, played by Cobie Smulders (Safe Haven, Now I Met Your Mother-TV) at least tried to act in this dud. Another thing that annoyed me was the obvious manipulation of emotions the writers were trying to do in the script. It did not work for me. Save your money by skipping this film and go rent Starbuck instead.
1 3/4 stars
The people who believe there is no age discrimination in the work place are the same ones who think their employer will always be loyal to them and never lay them off. I am here to tell you that is not the case. Listening to my friends’ ordeals in their search for a job, the baby boomers are under attack. One friend only got a job after he whitened his teeth and dyed his hair. Another one hired a trainer and a stylist to lose weight, tone up and update his wardrobe. No matter where they went the person interviewing them usually was a couple of decades younger. I have encouraged them to let their personalities come out if it is appropriate, because I believe humor can work to their advantage. In this comedy co-workers Billy McMahon and Nick Campbell, played by Vince Vaughn (The Break-Up, Fred Claus) and Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers, MIdnight in Paris) were forced to look for a job after their company closed down. By some stroke of luck they landed in the internship program at the internet company Google. Not used to the high-tech ways of doing business, the two friends only had their sales skills to stand out from their younger competitors; but would it be enough? I wanted to sympathize with the characters Vince and Owen portrayed, they were easily relatable. The acting, however, was stale; Vince played the same character he has played in his past several films. There seems to be a trend starting where movie stars are being credited for the story, like Will Smith for After Earth and now Vince Vaughn for this movie. Based on these two films, it needs to stop because the scripts have been dreadful. I did not find anything funny here because the jokes were generic or maybe I should say geriatric. It is sad, but the trailer for this lame film should be considered the highlights reel. I am always being told you cannot believe everything you read on the internet. It seems that goes for movies these days that claim they are funny, but really are not. One would think with the internet company at their disposal, the writers could have looked for examples of humor to incorporate into this mess.
1 2/3 stars