March 30, 2016

Zootopia (2016)

Gennifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman

Remember when Inside Out happened and everyone claimed it was so fantastic because it managed more adult themes with creativity while still appealing to young audiences? This is the movie I expected Inside Out to be.

Without wanting to sound hyperbolic, Zootopia is one of the best Disney movies ever made. Seriously. It's hard for me to compare the "classics" with their hand drawing and beloved musical scores against the newer, CGI types, but if pressed to make a list, I would rank this in Disney's Top 5.

For one thing, it has no love angle. With few exceptions (Brave, Brother Bear, Cars, Chicken Little), there is always a romance angle. And it always involves a girl and a boy. So it makes this movie, which deals with some heavily politicized issues, even more progressive by omitting the issue altogether.

If you already watched this movie and missed the political points it was making about race and gender... well, for your sake I hope you are a child. The movie delves into societal expectations, gender stereotypes, women in the workplace, and racial tensions, among other things. Except it's done with cute, furry animals to make the topic seem more accessible and relatable to a wider audience. It's bloody brilliant. Who doesn't feel badly about discriminating against this guy?!?

It goes so far beyond the typical "cheaters never win" or "be true to yourself"-type morals that come at the end of kid's movies. This is a full-fledged adult movie, hidden behind a hoard of really cute characters. 

Final word: The only way I could love this movie less is if Disney decided to spoil it with a sequel. Oh, damn.

March 22, 2016

The DUFF (2015)

Mae Whitman

There's nothing quite like a high school movie to remind you how old you really are. Like, did you know Mean Girls is 12 years old? Drive Me Crazy is 17 years old. The high school kids I work with don't even know what those movies are. Sigh.

So for the new generation of kids obsessed with acronyms (YOLO!), comes The DUFF, which stands for "the designated ugly fat friend." The concept has been around since forever (if you don't think your friend group had one, chances are it was you), but parlaying it into a movie is actually a pretty decent idea. I mean, it's difficult to keep coming up with original twists on the classic "ugly girl gets hot popular guy" story. And at least in this one, the main girl isn't saddled with glasses and a ponytail. (Though they do make her wear overalls. I mean, really?)

If I wanted to delve past the superficial and give more meaning to this movie than it probably deserves, I would commend it for not changing the appearance of the main girl. She doesn't get a traditional makeover, where she suddenly becomes hot by cutting her hair or dressing in skimpy clothes or whatever. Instead, she embraces her personality and style and accentuates that part of her in order to gain confidence, which in turn, makes her more attractive. Is it done in a completely cheesy and predictable way? Yes. But in a relatively shallow movie about high school romance, that kind of statement shouldn't be overlooked. It's a far cry from high school rom-coms of the 90's, anyway.

Final word: In a genre of She's All That and 10 Things I Hate About You, it holds its own.

March 13, 2016

Accidental Love (2015)

An ungodly number of famous people

I literally don't understand Jessica Biel's career. Actors in Hollywood are generally either attractive or a good actor. Or at the very least, related to someone already famous in Hollywood (cough, cough, Emma Roberts). So I ask, how has Jessica Biel managed to sustain a semblance of a career for this long? Sure, everything she's in is terrible (have you ever actually sat through an episode of 7th Heaven?!?), but she still keeps getting cast in things! How? Why? Is this some kind of conspiracy?

So you might be wondering why I chose to watch this movie in the first place. The answer? I was home alone, on a Saturday night, and too tired to search through my free OnDemand movies for something halfway decent. I thought this could be a fun, brainless movie I could mock endlessly later on.

I actually feel so sad for having watched this movie I almost can't bring myself to mock it. Knowing I spent 100 minutes watching this travesty makes me depressed about my life choices, the movie making process, and anything else hyperbolic enough to get the message across that this movie is not to be watched under any circumstance.

Jessica Biel aside, how did this movie get made? This is worse than TV movie standards. It has no drama, no comedy, no acting, no script, no anything. It's as if they just took a bunch of famous and semi-famous people and stuck them on a movie set together, giving them only a general ridiculous premise of a plot. What. The. Fuck. It's movies like this that make actual scriptwriters want to burn something in anger because this movie was made.

Now excuse me while I attempt to drown myself in my own tears to forget anything and everything I just watched.

Final word: I actually lost respect for every single person involved in this project. Except Jessica Biel. I had no respect for her in the first place.