Posts Tagged ‘comedy’


I’m tickled by Taika Waititi’s sense of humor. Yes, tickled.

After watching Boy, I didn’t need to be sold on Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

But a grumpy, bearded Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) as a gruff outdoorsman was enough to make me ecstatic before the movie even started. As with Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is about an eccentric youth in New Zealand, which is yet another fabulous opportunity to show off that stunningly beautiful landscape. While Taika makes a cameo in this movie as well, he doesn’t get near the screen time or juicy role that he gave himself in Boy.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the story of Ricky Baker—a troubled foster youth in New Zealand.

Oh, and Ricky is a wannabe gangster. Hilariously so. He keeps it gangsta.


The movie starts with Ricky being dropped off at the doorstep of Bella (played by Rima Te Wiata) and Hec (played by Sam Neill). Once Ricky takes a look at this backwoods hole in the wall, he turns right back around to the Child Services vehicle. Ricky gives no fucks—even though this is his last stop before juvy.

Rima Te Wiata is an incredibly endearing presence as Bella, who just loves Ricky unconditionally from the start. Ol’ “Uncle” Hec isn’t quite as caring and nurturing as Bella. Hec is much more comfortable in the bush than he is around other people. His interests don’t exactly align with Ricky Baker.

Sam Neill is an actor with surprising range. Of course, everyone recognizes him for his role as Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park. However, Sam Neill was spectacular in Seasons 1 and 2 of Peaky Blinders—where he plays a corrupt and menacing authority figure with misguided morals and a grudge against Cillian Murphy. In Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Sam Neill shows off his comedic chops as Hec.


While the life of a kid in foster care isn’t exactly uplifting material, that’s the brilliance of Taika Waititi. With his outlandish, sometimes twisted sense of humor, Waititi’s exuberance finds the silver lining to turn a negative into a positive. I truly can’t wait to see more of Taika Waititi’s work.

Julian Dennison holds his own as Ricky Baker. He’s not in the same stratosphere as James Rolleston’s performance as Alamein in Boy. But there are some similarities between those characters. Instead of an adoration of Michael Jackson, Taika Waititi has the young male character infatuated with Tupac—naming his dog after the infamous rapper. Although Julian embodies this particular character well, I’d be surprised to ever see him again. I think it’s a credit to Taika that he’s capable of getting such great acting from young kids.


How can you not feel relaxed and comfortable around that guy?

If you are one of the few who has watched Boy, then Hunt for the Wilderpeople is more of the same. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but Boy was a superior film. Each movie shows off a different aspect of New Zealand and their sense of community. The audience is given a glimpse into what life can be like with the support of family or friends on that beautiful, sprawling expanse of wilderness.

It’s pretty majestical.


4 out of 5 stars


In all honesty, what did we do to deserve Swiss Army Man?

It’s hard to fathom a world in which a movie is made about a rotting corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) imbibed with magical properties that helps a marooned man (Paul Dano) survive isolation and navigate his way back to civilization. Maybe it shouldn’t be such a surprise that the dead body of Harry Potter is enchanted with powers that defy explanation. But here we are. This is a real thing.

If some poor rube mistakenly stumbles on this movie, then Swiss Army Man serves up an instant reminder by beginning with Paul Dano riding Daniel Radcliffe like a jet ski while the corpse’s immensely strong farts propel them across the ocean. Yes, I just wrote that sentence. It’s a genuine description of what happens. I was certain this was a ridiculous dream sequence. I was wrong.


Somehow, I’m fucking ecstatic that this movie exists.

Swiss Army Man is a wonderfully weird independent movie from the minds of Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan. I don’t know how The Daniels pulled this off, but these seemingly random ingredients come together to make an unbelievably outlandish, entertaining movie. The shocking charm of Swiss Army Man is disarming. Who else would have the balls to make this movie?

Many movies have gotten the one-of-a-kind label improperly slapped on them by critics.

Without hyperbole, this movie is truly one-of-a-kind. Nothing else like it exists.

Swiss Army Man is the picture-perfect definition of surrealism.

Paul Dano plays Hank—a man literally at the end of his rope. Hank is alone on a deserted island and ready to hang himself. At that moment, a body washes ashore and gives Hank hope. Once he finds out that the body is actually a bloated corpse with fierce flatulence, Hank then uses Harry Potter’s powerful farts in the aforementioned farting jet ski sequence to find the mainland.


After those first 5 minutes, the boundary between dream and reality was shattered.

If you can make it 15 minutes into the movie, then you are in for a treat for the remainder.

Most of this movie involves Paul Dano’s character trying to bring the corpse back to life and teach him about things that might help him remember who he is or how he got there. I’m not kidding when I say Daniel Radcliffe’s time as an inanimate object is the best acting performance of his career. It’s a miracle that he wasn’t cracking up every second. He’s an incredibly believable dead body.

Basically, Swiss Army Man is like if Castaway just stayed with Tom Hanks on the island. Instead of befriending a volleyball, the main character finds a dead body to be his friend. The slightly reanimated corpse adopts the name Manny and starts to learn how to talk. While Daniel Radcliffe is at his best here when he’s doing a Weekend at Bernie’s impersonation, he gets his fair share of gems.

“If my best friend hides his farts from me, then what else is he hiding from me? And why does that thought make me feel so alone?” — Manny

It’s certainly childish, but I don’t give a fuck. Manny is a robust source of comedic relief as the Multi-Purpose Tool Guy. Paul Dano always brings me great joy, but he’s also extremely goofy. There is no “straight man” in Swiss Army Man. It’s still more than mere shits (and farts) and giggles.

Surprisingly, there’s a good amount of emotion in this movie.


Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe occupy 99.9% of the screen time, but they bring their A-game in Swiss Army Man. Unfortunately, Mary Elizabeth Winstead only appears for 5 minutes. As soon a girl was shown in a small picture on Hank’s phone, I instantly recognized the actress. I know my MEW. As always, Mary Elizabeth Winstead shines whenever she’s on the screen.

Like most movies, Swiss Army Man probably outstays its welcome. I would have been happy if at least 15 minutes hit the cutting room floor. I still love this movie for what it is—a ballsy beacon of creativity. Only a small fraction will enjoy Swiss Army Man, but it will eventually find its audience.

I’m perfectly willing to accept that the events unfolding in this movie are simultaneously 100% real and completely fabricated within Hank’s head. In the end, I’m not even sure what happens. It doesn’t matter. Swiss Army Man literally ends with a character exclaiming, “What the fuck?!”


It’s a fitting bow to wrap it up since I imagine that’s what the audience was saying to themselves at that exact moment. And throughout the entire movie. I know I was doing that.

In good conscience, I cannot recommend this movie to most people. I would be overcome with embarrassment if I suggested an acquaintance should watch this movie. You have to truly trust someone to say they should watch Swiss Army Man. Stoners would adore this movie, and it’s likely a 5-star movie if altered. Watching Swiss Army Man bone sober isn’t ideal, and it’s likely a 2-star movie if you don’t want silly humor. You definitely have to be in the right frame of mind.

Swiss Army Man is sublimely strange. I enjoyed every stupid moment.


3.5 out of 5 stars


Taika Waititi is a name you need to remember. Boy is quite an achievement for Taika, who wrote, directed, and also co-starred in this movie. As a result of Waititi’s work, he’s now directing Thor: Ragnarok. That’s a monumental leap for this New Zealand director, but I have no doubt that Waititi will do a phenomenal job. You can tell the man has a fine-tuned yet frenetic mind for comedy. After watching this movie, I wanted to see his whole catalog, but I also have a strong desire to see more of Taika in front of the screen. I dare you not to like this man. Waititi exudes charisma.

Boy is the story of Alamein—an 11-year-old boy who lives in a small New Zealand town with his grandma, younger brother (Rocky), and various little cousins. Everyone refers to Alamein as “Boy.” He hates it. Boy was named after his father, Alamein, who left when he was young. Forget about good memories, he doesn’t have any memories with his dad. While he still worships his estranged father, Boy’s other idol is Michael Jackson, which makes a little more sense since this movie is set in the mid-80’s. Seeing him try to impress a girl and miserably failing at moonwalking is a subtle, delightful highlight.

The movie is just pure childish enjoyment. It’s like bubbles being blown in your face.


Boy tells fantastical stories of his father, which are acted out in these hilarious daydream-esque sequences. When a kid in school claims his dad is in jail with Boy’s father, Boy tells him that Alamein tunneled out and killed two guards with only a spoon to escape. This movie utilizes humor to distract and somewhat transcend what is actually an extremely sad situation of desperate poverty. Boy is basically an orphan being raised by his grandma and he’s constantly being picked on.

One of the only things that has stuck with him is when a teacher says he has potential.

Boy doesn’t even know what potential means. Oddly, his grandma suddenly leaves for a funeral, which (as the oldest) puts Boy in charge of all the little kids in their shanty. However, Alamein happens to come back home out of nowhere with two guys from his “gang”—The Crazy Horses.

Crazy Horses

Hijinks ensue. It’s clear Alamein is a total shithead. But in a fun way.

Alamein occasionally dons an army helmet with Shogun written on it, which is what he wants everyone to call him. No one takes him seriously. However, Boy still sees the best in him—to the point of delusion. Boy wants to connect with his father, but Alamein really just wants to find his old stash of cash he hid in the backyard before going to jail. Although this movie is an absolute treasure cove of comedic gold, there is beating heart at its core that makes this all possible and feel real.

To Taika Waititi’s credit, this movie is incredibly well-written and the story feels genuine. I always smiled whenever Taika was on the screen. But James Rolleston is the other standout star as the titular Boy. Even the adorable Te Aho Eketone-Whitu is memorable in his role as Rocky. This movie employs a colorful cast of bit characters (amazingly, mostly children) that leave their little marks on the movie.

Rocky, Boy, and Alamein

I’ll concede that this movie isn’t for everyone. Very few can satisfy the whole range of people.

Boy lacks that widespread appeal—especially since some people are completely opposed to any type of cuteness or quirk. This movie also meanders a bit in the second act, but Boy is a remarkable independent film that’s already helped Taika Waititi’s career explode. I’ve been awaiting an opportunity to watch his most recent movie, Hunt for the Wilderpeople—seemingly another zany comedy-drama set in New Zealand. After Waititi knocks Thor: Ragnarok out of the park, I can only hope that success opens more doors for him while also guiding others to watch his smaller independent movies like Boy. I hope Boy finds the audience it deserves because it strikes a chord that warms the cockles.

Boy has been a difficult movie for me to describe. It is intrinsically unique. I don’t know how to really frame this movie and put it into words. It’s a leap of faith. I had no idea what was in store for me when I decided to watch this movie on Netflix. But I’ll never be able to forget it. If you are in the mood for a heartfelt comedy, then take the leap of faith with me and watch Boy streaming on Netflix.

Alamein might disappoint you, but Boy never will.

Taika Kitty

4.5 out of 5 stars

It’s hard for me to trust anyone who has never thought about suicide.

None of us will make it out of this life alive. At some point or another, we will all die.

Wanting some control over when your time is up is a very human thought.

If you’re in pain (of any sort), it’s a natural desire to want to end that suffering. That doesn’t mean you should end your life to end that suffering. But the thought itself is something that we all experience. Anyone with a hint of self-awareness questions their place—why they’re here and how they fit in the world.

Some people just don’t fit and don’t want to fit into this world. We didn’t ask to be here.

Before I Disappear heavily explores these types of dark themes with a very deft hand.

This movie opens with the main character, Richie (played by Shawn Christensen), working his literal shit job cleaning toilets at a nightclub. After opening stall after stall to see the revolting horror show that awaits, Richie finds a girl dead from a heroin overdose. It’s the last straw for Richie—who is still in mourning after his girlfriend, Vista (played by Isabelle McNally), died from a heroin overdose. That drug has ruined his life and he’s had enough.

When he gets back to his apartment, Richie starts a bath and grabs a razorblade so he can join his love in the next life. But then the phone rings. Just like that, he’s roped back into existence.

Red Bath

After 5 or so years of not talking to his sister, Maggie (played by Emmy Rossum), she calls Richie in her time of need and she asks one favor: pick up and look after her daughter, Sophia (played by Fatima Ptacek), while she is unable to do so herself. This mission becomes Richie’s sole reason to live—at least for the moment.

I fucking love this movie. Before I Disappear feels like the movie equivalent of Alice in Chains. The subject matter is inescapably depressing, but it’s enjoyable to sulk and soak in the darkness. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit in a room by yourself with no lights and think about life. That’s the type of odd satisfaction I derive from Before I Disappear. At this point, the number of times I’ve watched this movie is creeping up into double-digits.

Regardless of how many times I watch it, I will never get sick of this movie.

On every repeat viewing, it draws the same strong emotional response.

Richie and Sophia

The heart of this movie is the interaction between Richie and Sophia. I don’t recognize Shawn Christensen, but he is incredibly solid in this performance as a man at the end of his rope. You feel the void in Richie’s soul. That feels like it is completely the result of Shawn Christensen’s work put into the character. Before I Disappear comes off as an intensely personal story for writer/director/actor Shawn Christensen.

This film certainly captures the despair of depression and drug addiction like no other.

But don’t worry, there is still plenty of dark humor to savor in Before I Disappear.

A lot of the laughs come as a result of Richie’s irritation with people. However, the shining star of this movie is Fatima Ptacek as Sophia. Apparently, Fatima is the voice of Dora the Explorer. However, she is phenomenal in this more adult role. With a vibrant presence, you can’t help but smile when she is on the screen. Just by her actions and demeanor, you can tell that Sophia is a goody-goody raised by a strong, independent mother. It shines through in the character. Amidst all of this chaos, the only thing Sophia wants to do is schoolwork.


Richie and Sophia have a perfect blend of odd couple chemistry. You see these characters form a relationship after starting off as relative strangers forced together as a result of this weird situation. Their budding camaraderie is adorable, and they grow closer as the night grows longer. With nowhere else to go, Richie and Sophia explore the seedy underbelly that is Richie’s life in New York City.

Before I Disappear is surprisingly even-handed with comedy and drama, but this movie isn’t afraid to go to dark places. Richie is abrasive, but you still can’t help but like him. He’s a guy with a good heart, and he feels like a genuine person rather than a two-dimensional character. You don’t know the exact destination, but you want everything to work out for this guy on his journey. Even if he just wants to get back to his cold, red bath.


While you are with Richie the entire time, the audience is only fed bits and pieces of Maggie’s story—until near the end when it is a necessity. However, Emmy Rossum makes an impact with her limited time on the screen. When they finally reveal where Maggie is and why she’s there, you experience her feelings and that realization washes over you at the same time as the character. Essentially, her carefully crafted business world is a facade that she is trying to keep from crumbling down. She has to stay strong for herself and her daughter.


Before I Disappear might be a slow build, but it is undoubtedly worth the wait. No punches are pulled in this movie. By the time it was over, I felt emotionally pummeled. I would highly recommend this movie to anyone—especially those who enjoy movies that can make them emotional. I’m not afraid to cry while watching a movie, and Before I Disappear earns its tears. I couldn’t help but experience those same feelings on every repeated viewing.

In my eyes, Before I Disappear is a special achievement. This movie perfectly hits its intended spots and the result provides a valuable refuge from the outside world. Everyone should watch Before I Disappear and it is still streaming on Netflix. If you don’t like this movie, then I don’t think you need to come back to this website.

Ugly Cry Face

5 out of 5 stars


If someone drilled a hole in Charlie Kaufman’s skull and tried to extract a movie idea, then the result might be something similar to The Lobster. Unfortunately, this movie lacks Charlie Kaufman’s signature type of style and substance because it’s in the hands of an inferior talent. The ambition does not match the execution. I wanted to like The Lobster, but this is soulless quirk without any fun.

The Lobster is like a feature-length film version of Asperger’s syndrome.

Why was this movie made? Considering the central theme is about relationships and finding love, The Lobster fails to provide anything worthwhile on the subject. Society pressures people into relationships—that’s about it. This movie has a whole lot of nothing to offer the audience. I don’t like tearing down a movie, but I’ll be one of the lone voices deriding this fresh, steaming turd.

I’m shocked that there are people who enjoyed the experience of The Lobster.

Colin Farrell

Colin Farrell does his best with the material, but the dialogue is entirely too stilted. It caused physical pain to listen to people speak. Kudos to anyone who forced themselves to suffer past the movie’s first act. If you are one of those people, I would love to learn why you tortured yourself.

Before we go any further, let’s just state the premise of the movie for anyone who is unaware.

This movie is set in a future where The City sends single people to The Hotel to find a romantic partner. If you’re not successful within your 45 days, then you get turned into the animal of your choice. David (played by Colin Farrell) would like to be a lobster if he doesn’t find love.

Somehow, The Lobster is a drab, absurdist drama that refuses to provide levity.

More Colin Farrell

I don’t know why you would drag down this preposterous premise by embedding it in a dystopian future. I think we can all realize the ridiculousness and appreciate the absurdity without having to ground it in a gritty, joyless environment. This movie would have been instantly improved by just making this a magical hotel with the same type of consequences looming for failure. Tweak the story by having Colin Farrell’s character unwittingly arrive at the hotel for an extended stay—only to learn he has to find love before he leaves or else he’s turned into the animal of his choice.

You could still touch on the same points while also adding humor to lift up the material.  There is an astonishing lack of laughs in The Lobster.  Instead, this is a tough slog to endure.  This movie figuratively beats a dead horse and it literally beats a dead dog.

Director and co-writer Yorgos Lanthimos handled this movie with zero subtlety.

Despite a 2-hour runtime, there’s a frustrating lack of substance in The Lobster.

I still commend Lanthimos for the audacity of the premise, but I cannot think of one person I could recommend this movie to and reasonably expect them to enjoy it. Personally, I find it much more interesting to think and talk about the idea of this movie than the actual movie.

Leave The Lobster to die its slow, dull death in the grave it dug for itself.


1.5 out of 5 stars


Goodbye World is the most realistic depiction of the apocalypse and its local impact.

Our entire technological infrastructure has fallen apart because of a virus that sent a message to literally everyone—by targeting that person’s contacts and sending the message to their contacts (and so on) in a never-ending cycle. Not only has that caused communication to collapse, but it has snowballed to a complete failure of the energy grid. Suddenly, we are technologically untethered.

What was the message everyone was sending and receiving? Goodbye World.

Within the first 15 minutes, our group of friends is introduced and you start getting bits and pieces of the collapse. However, these people are largely aloof to the impending doom. Except for a few characters caught in major cities, most of them are making their way to a dinner party to their friend’s house in the secluded hills of Northern California. Essentially, the house is a compound with an ample garden and supplies. It is very convenient, but it makes sense in the context of the story.


The core four characters that are meeting up for this dinner party are two couples: Nick (played by Ben McKenzie) and Becky (played by Caroline Dhavernas) as well as James (played by Adrian Grenier) and Lily (played by Kerry Bishe). Nick started a company with James and Lily, but James froze Nick out of the company—because Nick wanted to sell the private data of their users—then James sold the company. It’s a nice, tight way to get these characters to this compound for a reason.

The other friends in this movie are Benji (played by Mark Webber), Laura (played by Gaby Hoffmann), and Lev (played by Kid Cudi). Benji is a radical activist recently out of jail who travels giving lectures, but still lives in the guest house out back. Becky is a disgraced political aide after getting caught on camera fucking the Senator she worked for and loved. Lev is a hacker who is about to commit suicide during the opening of the movie, but he stops when he hears about the cyber attack on the news.

Kid Cudi

Don’t let the cast fool you. There’s not a lot of notable names, but they play their parts extremely well. I hate most movies like this because the characters feel like a collection of actors rather than a group of friends. That dynamic is so hard to capture because every person within the group has a different relationship with each friend. When do you ever have a group of friends where everyone likes everyone? Have you met most people? This movie gives you the sense of history amongst these friends, and their interactions bring those stories to life. It is a credit to these actors and the writing.

Goodbye World earns the honor of most believable movie group of friends I’ve ever witnessed.


To be clear, this is more of a human drama than a movie documenting the collapse of society.

Shrinking the scale is a wise move because you can only show so much in a low-budget movie. You may not see America crumbling, but you get glimpses through the impact it has on people. When society falls, it is people who you have to watch out for at every turn. People will start to turn on you in order to save themselves. Friends become enemies. It is a fight over human nature.

I never felt like Goodbye World bordered on the ridiculous.

For the most part, these friends are kept safe by virtue of location. The house is not remotely close to civilization so they are cut off and secluded from most of the chaos. These places exist, I used to live approximately a half hour from any gas station or store. When things get too cozy and comfortable, a threat is introduced in the form of a sketchy duo of National Guard soldiers.

National Guard

I don’t know why there is so much hate and vitriol for Goodbye World.

If no one else will stand up, I’ll be the one to champion this movie. Goodbye World is built on an interesting concept, and the amazing acting breathes life into the story and makes it personal. I didn’t like everyone and that’s the intention. There are different characters that each person will connect with or despise, but there is plenty to enjoy in terms of both comedy and drama.

As much as Adrian Grenier gets deservedly shit on, Goodbye World is the absolute apex of his acting ability. Although he does sport an annoying top knot for most of the movie, Grenier makes James a believable blend of asshole and well-intentioned husband trying to care for his family. Even Ben McKenzie displays some dimension as Nick rather than his typical flat character type. And fucking Kid Cudi. I love Kid Cudi and Lev is a beautiful bright spot. Goodbye World is almost perfect.

I’ve said it several times before, but re-watchability is an important factor in my enjoyment of a movie. I believe Goodbye World is good enough to earn your repeated viewing. At this point, I think I have watched it at least 5 times. Savor Goodbye World while it is still streaming on Netflix. With a runtime right under an hour and a half, it’s an ideal length. Director Denis Henry Hennelly managed to make something unique with this movie, which he co-wrote with Sarah Adina Smith.

You don’t often get a comedy that packs an emotional punch.

When it ended, I did not want to say goodbye.


4 out of 5 stars


Faults is a fantastic, even-paced mystery that is phenomenally captivating.

This movie starts out as a dark comedy showing you the desperate nature of the lead character, Ansel Roth—played by Leland Orser. Ansel is a specialist on cults and he tours local hotels to give shitty speeches and hawk his hackey book. The opening scene shows Ansel trying to re-use a hotel voucher for a free meal and getting rebuked. It goes delightfully wrong as he has to be thrown out.

Ansel in Mirror

Ansel Roth is a man at the end of his rope. Not quite literally, but he does attempt to suck a tailpipe. Ansel is a broken man, and Leland Orser does a beautiful, masterful job portraying that sense. Leland Orser is a seasoned character actor who typically plays nerdy roles, but he excelled in this larger opportunity playing a complex character like Ansel Roth. Ansel is a failure. Both his marriage and career have failed. One particular case still haunts Ansel because he failed trying to help a family deprogram a woman initiated into a cult. He pushed her too hard and she killed herself.

As a result of his collective failures, Ansel has lost all motivation to move forward.

Claire and Parents

However, he gets a second chance when two parents—played by familiar faces Chris Ellis and Beth Grant—come to Ansel desperate for his specialized help to save their daughter, Claire. For the first time in the movie, you see a light turn on in Ansel’s eyes while he’s eating breakfast with Claire’s parents. Although he blatantly states that he no longer gives a shit, Ansel needs the money and the parents are willing to pay for the job. Naturally, Ansel hires two thugs, they all kidnap Claire from a parking lot, and they transport her to a hotel in a sketchy van. Clearly, these are not professionals.

Basically, the comedy comes to a screeching halt at this point (about 20 minutes in).

However, the lack of dark humor is made up for by a wealth of Mary Elizabeth Winstead—playing Claire. I’ll take that trade-off. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is one of our finest young actresses. She is an amazing talent with range, but she’s hasn’t had a true breakthrough role. I have no doubt she would have had an equally impressive performance as Brie Larson in last year’s Oscar-nominated Room.


Claire comes off as a fragile woman. She is confused about the situation, but not her convictions. According to her parents, she has joined a cult and cut herself off from her family and society as a whole. Claire has joined a group that refers to itself as Faults. A fault is a fracture. From a fault comes a change. Claire feels intrinsically connected and called to this group. According to her description, Faults exhibits all the classic signs of a cult. It is Ansel’s mission to deprogram the cult’s teachings.

Ansel feels obligated to help Claire, but his main motivation is the money so he can pay off his debt.

Terry is his manager who self-published Ansel’s latest book, which he can’t give away. Jon Gries plays Terry in a very understated manner as a tough but effeminate photographer. Despite his job, he still manages to provide the character with the appearance of intimidation. Terry utilizes his close pal, Mick, as the muscle to force Ansel to pay. Mick is played by Lance Reddick, resident alien-looking motherfucker with a voice of gold who I’ll always remember as Desmond Mobay from Oz and Cedric Daniels from The Wire. These two characters are constantly interfering with Ansel’s mission to save Claire.

Ansel can only survive so long having his candle burnt at both ends.

Saying too much more would threaten to ruin the story as this movie transforms into an absorbing mystery to find out who this cult is and what the hell they are doing. Although Claire is the only opening into Faults, Ansel is the key to unlock the door. Can he succeed where he failed before?

Orser and Winstead

Riley Stearns deserve immense praise for pulling off this movie as both the writer and director. His vision came to life and became much more thanks to Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Leland Orser. The interplay between the characters of Claire and Ansel is the core of this movie. A few minutes could have been snipped from the middle to tighten things up, but this movie deserves more praise.

Maybe I just personally enjoy the subject of cults more than most. It is a fascinating topic that Faults touches on and rolls around in—exploring why and how people are drawn to cults. In most cases, it is the cult of personality that lures people in like a siren’s call. In Faults, Ira is the name of the mysterious leader that we never see but their presence is felt anyway. The charismatic leader is often the introduction to make the brainwashing go down smooth. As people, we are very weak and open to this exploitation. While people love to single out Scientology, every organized religion is a cult.

You can all hate me equally for that true statement and sentiment.

Faults is a movie that belongs in your queue. Fortunately, this is still streaming on Netflix. Despite heavily relying on the mystery of unraveling the story, this movie holds up on a second viewing.

Just watch what you say about Faults, there some things we don’t talk about.

MEW Scream

4 out of 5 stars

Sex Ed is a poor man’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin combined with School of Rock.

Haley Joel Osment plays the titular Ed. I didn’t even realize the monumentally stupid pun in the title because I never bothered to pay attention to the character’s name while watching the movie. I could only see Haley Joel Osment, not the character. Ed Cole is a first-time teacher at an inner city after school program for middle school students. Since the kids have no one to teach them sexual education, Eddie decides to be the one to educate them—despite the fact that he’s never actually had sex.

This is fucking spot-on casting. Haley Joel Osment is the most believable virgin.

Sex Ed Cole

I think we can all agree that Haley Joel Osment is not a leading man. He looks like a man-child. It’s probably not fair to child actors, but I feel like it’s impossible for us (the general public) to forget the image we have of them as a child. Haley Joel Osment’s face looks like a shrunken face meme. The size and proportion of his eyes, nose, and mouth look the exact same as a child and adult.

It feels weird that I am the same age as Haley Joel Osment. Because of his tremendous success as a child actor, it just feels like he has been around forever. Haley Joel still has those acting chops. Sex Ed is a charming, engaging comedy that works because of his comedic timing and ability to make you sympathize with his situation. Eddie isn’t a bad guy at all. But he manages to fuck up any opportunity that is presented. He’s a lovable dofus, which is why Haley Joel Osment is a perfect fit.

Short Sleeves

Haley Joel Osment looks like he came out of the womb wearing a short-sleeve dress shirt.

Sex Ed wisely realized the unintentional comedic gold they had on their hands with Haley Joel Osment, and this movie utilizes that extremely well with a childish haircut, goofy sunglasses, and a myriad of short-sleeves. While Haley Joel is the main reason to watch this movie, the supporting cast is surprisingly good. Ed’s best friend is a sex fiend named JT who is played tremendously by Glen Powell. JT is a charismatic weirdo that somehow maintains a fairly normal relationship with his steady girlfriend—Ally, played by Castille Landon. I have no idea if Powell possesses any range, but he is fantastic in this comedic niche. Powell pops whenever he’s on the screen so watch out for him in the future.

Glen Powell

While most of the young actors portraying the students were forgettable, Kevin Hernandez is outstanding as Tito—the younger brother of Haley Joel’s love interest, Pilar. I recognized Kevin Hernandez from Get the Gringo, which is a superb Mel Gibson movie still streaming on Netflix. And he plays a minor role in Short Term 12 (also streaming). In Get the Gringo and Short Term 12, he is basically still a child and is remarkable in those dramatic roles. In Sex Ed, Kevin Hernandez shows his comedic chops by playing a constantly horny teenager who needs Haley Joel’s guidance—ignoring that he’s arguably more experienced than Ed. I think this movie made such a tired old premise succeed because they packed as much comedy as possible into small moments with really good actors.

The other noteworthy supporting cast members were Matt Walsh as Washout, Ray Santiago as Hector, and Chris Williams as Reverend Marcus Hamilton. Matt Walsh is a great improv artist and he delivers his staple awkward comedy when interviewing Haley Joel’s character for the teaching position. You may not know him by name, but you have seen Matt Walsh in one of his million bit roles. If you watch one of the best shows on television, Ash vs. Evil Dead, then Ray Santiago should be familiar from his part as Pablo (Ash’s sidekick). Hector is a different role for Ray Santiago because he’s playing more of a macho tough guy as Pilar’s boyfriend, and he’s a total dick whenever Haley Joel sniffs around. Chris Williams has also played a million different roles, but I’ll always refer to him as Krazee-Eyez Killa from one of the most memorable episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. In Sex Ed, Chris Williams plays the religious parent opposed to Ed’s sexual education of minors. There’s not much scenery for Williams to chew in this straight-laced role, but he serves his part as a plot device to further the story.

30-Year-Old Virgin

Again, Sex Ed isn’t breaking any conventions or doing anything new. But it still holds up on a repeat viewing as an above-average modern comedy. Particularly with this subject matter, the writer (Bill Kennedy) and director (Isaac Feder) should have pushed the envelope more to the ridiculously fun and raunchy. Although they decided to be reserved, the movie was begging for more absurdity.

If you think back on 40-Year-Old Virgin, there are several scenes of Steve Carrell fumbling around awkwardly trying to have sex. I’m not saying I wanted some big-boobed bimbo smacking Haley Joel Osment in the face with her tits, but I wanted to see them exploit what people like me think of him—as a child actor in so many memorable movies like Forrest Gump, The Sixth Sense, Pay It Forward, and even A.I. Artificial Intelligence. I’m sure Haley Joel would like to break that squeaky clean image.

On Netflix, it is slim pickings in terms of quality comedies. Most of my highest-rated comedies are stand-up performances or dark comedies. If you’re looking for some cheap laughs, Sex Ed is at least an option to throw on and enjoy laughing with and at Haley Joel Osment.

I mean, look at this fucking guy.


Creepy Haley Joel

3 out of 5 stars


Hardcore Henry is a stupid name for a movie. We can all agree on that.

A movie that solely features a first-person perspective seems like a stupid idea.

However, Hardcore Henry is not a stupid movie. Although this is absolutely not a highbrow movie, it is quite an achievement in filmmaking for crazy rooskie Ilya Naishuller. I hope that’s not taken as an insult in the Motherland because it’s meant as a term of endearment for this outrageous Russian who made this fucking movie his debut film. I have no idea where Naishuller goes from here.

Sadly, we may never even get an opportunity to see Naishuller’s future work if this flops.

Hardcore Henry deserves better. This movie would have benefitted tremendously with a late release at the very end of summer—hitting people at the tail-end of action movie season with something they have never witnessed. Or perhaps scheduling the movie for a February release (such as Deadpool) would have been a boon to the box office. Anything was a better idea than competing directly against tentpole movies. Keeping the original title of Hardcore should have also been an easy decision. Hardcore Henry’s marketing campaign did not do the movie justice. This is more than a “video game movie.”

For whatever reason, Hardcore Henry has not hit the mark with critics or the audience.

Yes, the first-person perspective is a gimmick. But it is very well-executed throughout the movie.


No one has had the balls to pull off a full-length feature film shot with a GoPro. I have no idea how some of these sequences were pulled off, but the practical effects are seamlessly blended with CGI to make this relatively smooth camerawork. If you are at all predisposed to motion sickness, sit in the back row. As a child, I learned the hard way because the 5-year-old version of myself was dragged to Aladdin and forced to sit in the front row. Needless to say, that magic carpet ride was not so magical. I wanted to throw up and we had to leave the movie. Maybe it’s a coincidence that I hate all Disney movies. But as long as you know what to expect with Hardcore Henry, you should be fine for the hour and a half runtime. While it can get too shaky at moments, I never experienced motion sickness. Naishuller gives the audience just enough breaks at the right times to serve as respite from all the murdering.

Hardcore Henry has a frenetic pace and the kinetic action drives the movie.

With a slow build, there is a nice crescendo leading up to all the ensuing chaos.


The beginning is a beautiful introduction to the premise and plot. As the audience, you see everything from the first-person perspective of Henry. Just as Henry does, you wake up to find yourself being attended to by a sexy doctor named Estelle (played by Haley Bennett). Not so sexy is that you’re missing an arm and a leg. But good news, the doctor is apparently your wife and she can hook you up with cybernetic limbs. Essentially, these limbs are indestructible plug-and-play parts.

The party is almost immediately broken up by a mysterious villain named Akan (played by Danila Kozlovsky) who has fine-tuned telekinetic powers and bad intentions. Akan and his never-ending army of soldiers seize Estelle and Henry’s mission is to get his wife back. If there’s a weak part of this movie, the character of Akan leaves a lot to be desired. A more iconic villain and matching performance would have really elevated Hardcore Henry. Instead, what we got was a weird albino Joker-lite.


The story isn’t remarkable, but it still manages to be an entertaining sci-fi movie set somewhere in a more technologically advanced world. If this was filmed in the typical straightforward fashion, I would still be interested in watching the story unfold. In a sense, Hardcore Henry self-imposes limitations on the story by forcing themselves to film everything in the first-person perspective.

It’s hard to fathom how this got made, but I am glad it did.

Sharlto Copley comes out of Hardcore Henry as the shining star (Jimmy). Copley is not the titular Henry, but he plays several different versions of the same character who helps Henry on his mission. Most of the comic relief in Hardcore Henry is a direct result of Copley’s completely over-the-top performance. Sharlto puts his range on display, and he already proved very capable of performing with just his voice in Chappie. By luck or design, Copley appears to enjoy being part of interesting movies.


Hardcore Henry is mostly a nonstop thriller. When Naishuller needs to give the audience a rest from close-ups of hyperviolence, he still manages to make the events interesting. Considering Hardcore Henry was primarily shot using GoPro mounted cameras, that feat is a worthwhile accomplishment. However, there are few occasions where Naishuller falls a little too much in love with the GoPro.

I whole-heartedly loved the first and third acts of this movie. But Hardcore Henry threatens to stall out in the second act because there’s too much repetition of similar sequences. Henry is in a bind against Akan’s soldiers and he has to fight his way out so he can find his wife. There reaches a point where they almost make you numb to the gory violence. I promise you that Ilya Naishuller will win your heart over with the finale if you stick it through. Near the end, they recognize the absurdity of the story and Naishuller just turns up the volume level to dangerous head-splitting territory.

While this movie absolutely isn’t for everyone, I would be surprised to hear people (who went into this movie expecting to experience mindless action) were not entertained. There are so many thrilling sequences that leave your jaw agape. Just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.


I guarantee you have never seen anything like this movie. Since we’re all drowning in a sea of mediocrity, you should do yourself a favor and bear witness to a cinematic achievement that cannot be replicated. I don’t think anyone will have the balls to try to pull this off again. Even if someone makes an attempt, Ilya Naishuller already set the bar extremly high with the execution of Hardcore Henry.

Eventually, I expect this movie to find a cult audience that will appreciate and celebrate its existence. Hardcore Henry deserves that adoration because it threatens to be different. If you noticed, I haven’t even mentioned who plays Henry. A series of stuntmen and cameramen served the role—including director Ilya Naishuller, which shows some real investment. The whole crew responsible for this movie probably won’t get the respect they deserve, but they can take solace in the creativity of their labor.  Their work will likely scare off anyone else from attempting a full first-person movie.

Despite the commercial disappointment, Hardcore Henry is actually an incredibly pleasant surprise.


4 out of 5 stars


Bad Roomies belongs in the Pantheon of bad movies.

Normally, I would never watch this movie. I don’t seek out bad movies.

But when I was browsing through the Recently Added/Trending Now categories on Netflix, I saw a face that has deeply disturbed me since childhood. A doughy, pudgy red-haired monster that is forever emblazoned in my brain has re-appeared to haunt my nightmares. I shudder at the sight.

What comes to mind when I say the name Ham Porter? The answer should be douche chills.

Ham Porter is the little fat ginger from The Sandlot. His real name is Patrick Renna, but that hardly matters. At this time, Patrick Renna is 37 years old, but he will forever be Ham Porter. Michael Bower will always be Donkey Lips from Salute Your Shorts. Shaun Weiss will always be Goldberg from The Mighty Ducks. It is inescapable. Those actors just need to embrace it at this point.

In my mind, Patrick Renna only existed in The Sandlot. When I stopped watching that movie after the millionth time as a kid, Patrick Renna was dead to me until Netflix mushed Bad Roomies in my face. However, his IMDb page suggests otherwise. I would have never known. Renna had a nice run of guest spots on classic 90s TV shows like Boy Meets World, Home Improvement, and The X-Files. After 1999, I don’t recognize anything that he’s been involved with, but good for him for managing to get work despite his ugly mug and pedestrian acting ability. Patrick Renna peaked as Ham Porter.

Ham Porter

That’s the last time I’ll say the actor’s real name. We shall continue referring to him as Ham Porter for the rest of this review of the very terrible, incredibly cringeworthy Bad Roomies. For all intents and purposes, his character in this movie (Bobby) is basically Ham Porter all “grown” up. Ham Porter has the same face and body proportions as his 14-year-old self in The Sandlot.

My wife wisely pointed out that Ham Porter bears a certain resemblance to Chucky. It is an astute observation. Plus, he looks like my ginger cousin who I once warned not to smile and obnoxiously shake his head in my face—he didn’t listen. It would also explain why his repulsive face had such an impact on me during my childhood. His face evokes a visceral reaction from me every time.

Ham Porter is so fucking creepy. I recoil in horror when he smiles and expresses joy. He plays a disgusting, revolting character very well. Clearly, he’s in his wheelhouse in Bad Roomies. As someone stuck in a perpetual state of adolescence, his character could have easily been called Ham Porter and no one would have batted an eye. Besides, there are so many other worse parts to this movie.

Bad Roomies is uncomfortable and not in an enjoyable, awkward manner. This movie is such an unpleasant watch because it thinks it is so hilarious and outrageous. I feel bad for Tommy Savas—he’s literally the only bright spot of this entire movie as Raymond. He’s roommates with Ham Porter and the story revolves around them finding a new roommate. What are these two going to do?

Ladies Man Ham

Shockingly, they find a girl! Annie Monroe is legitimately horrible as Chloe—unless you are supposed to fucking despise her within the first 5 minutes. You cannot root for or even mildly tolerate any of these characters. None of their decisions make any sense and it’s not like their choices lead to laughs. This movie yields no humor. That’s not good for a movie that bills itself as a dark comedy.

I lasted about 20 minutes before I instinctively reached for the remote to put an end to the misery. But I persevered. I knew this would be a bad movie. I started watching Bad Roomies to discover and study the depth of its awfulness. This is one of the worst movies I have ever watched.

There are no redeeming qualities to this movie. I hate-watched this motherfucker to try to save you from potentially making the same mistake. When you see this movie on Netflix, please do yourself a favor and scroll past Ham Porter’s fat ugly face as quick as possible. Bad Roomies is objectively awful.

This movie felt like the longest hour and a half of my life. The pace is so slow, there is no rhythm or comedic timing, and the attempts at humor are sophomoric. While it wants to be crude and edgy, it’s just unpleasant and uncomfortable to experience on every level. I have already dedicated far too many words to this movie, but its terribleness continued to surprise me as the movie unraveled.

Gross Ham

By the end, the movie goes to such an extent to insult your intelligence. It feels like everyone involved took turns spitting in my face. I was aghast. Typically, I don’t enjoy eviscerating a movie, but Bad Roomies earns every negative word. It takes time and effort to write, direct, and produce a movie. But I need to know, who is this for and why was it made? It doesn’t need to exist.

My rating system of movies uses the 5-star scale to mirror Netflix. I use half-stars to try to futilely add a little more nuance—on Netflix, I’ll round up or down depending on the entertainment value. However, this is an instance where my rating won’t match my Netflix rating because they do not allow you to give a movie 0 stars. Instead of abstaining from giving it a Netflix rating, I settled for 1 star so it would at least drag down the overall rating of the movie for everyone else. Bad Roomies deserves that treatment. I have never wasted my time to write a 0-star review of a movie before, but kudos to Bad Roomies for creating such a steaming pile of shit that it merits mentioning. Fucking Ham Porter.

Ultimately, I blame myself. I don’t like to bring bad movies into my life, which is why I needed this review to salvage some entertainment value. Please heed my warning. No one else needs to be a victim. Goodbye, Ham Porter. It’s not personal, but may I never see your face again.


0 out 5 stars