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Scoob! Review

Video Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures on YouTube

For my whole life, I’ve always been a Scooby-Doo fan. It never gets old to me. I grew up loving the live-action films, so when I heard there was a new movie coming to the big screen, I was optimistic and excited to see Scooby and the gang in theaters again. Sadly, under our current climate, it had to come to VOD, but I was still very excited to watch it. Although I had some wavering expectations, I was very impressed and pleasantly surprised to say that Scoob! is great.

Scooby and Shaggy in the official teaser trailer for “Scoob!”

What’s so great about the film? Let’s start with the fact that it is pure Scooby-Doo goodness. Scooby pops on the screen and you never get tired of seeing him. The animation can be really great at times. Our main characters are really exaggerated and cartoony, so transitioning these characters from 2D to 3D couldn’t have been easy, but they look so good. This style of animation really serves the exaggerated characters well. The script is very good. Scooby and Shaggy go on an adventure that is less about spooks and ghosts, yet they still tie it into the supernatural in the third act.. I actually laughed out loud a lot during the film, but it was less when they made pop culture references, and more when it was just being a Scooby-Doo movie. I also really enjoyed when they had little easter eggs to other Hanna-Barbera properties, such as Captain Caveman having a small role. Ultimately, the film is about the friendship between Scooby and Shaggy. It starts with the first time they meet, and laces the importance of their friendship throughout the movie.

The characters are great, and so is the cast. I’d say the standouts are Frank Welker as Scooby-Doo respectively, Will Forte as Shaggy, Mark Wahlberg as Blue Falcon, Ken Jeong as Dynomutt, and especially Jason Isaacs as Dick Dastardly. Isaacs really does a great job, masking his own voice and truly making Dastardly a character. As I’m not too familiar with Dee Dee Skyes (portrayed by Kiersey Clemons), I was surprised to like her so much. Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, and Gina Rodriguez are also good, but aren’t given too much to do. I wouldn’t say Forte is a great Shaggy, but it’s different, and he pulls off different well.

Scooby, Blue Falcon, and Shaggy on the Falcon Fury in “Scoob!”

There are, of course, things I didn’t like about the movie. Although a lot of the animation is superb, it looks a little less than when it’s not on the main characters. A lot of the “extras” look like they had less effort put into them, but the animation does strangely improve as the movie goes on, even if the animation on the third act antagonist could have been better. One of the characters who I thought was poorly animated was Simon Cowell. That’s right, he has a cameo. A cameo so random and unnecessary, that I wish it was cut from the film. I don’t dislike Cowell, but they could have come up with a much more natural reason for Scooby and Shaggy to be down on themselves. I felt like the movie could have slowed down at some points, but it wasn’t a big deal. They also kept selling the movie as an origin film, when it really only focuses on the origin for maybe ten minutes. I’d say one of the things I wish it did most was incorporate the rest of the gang more. Fred, Daphne, and Velma are fun when they’re on-screen, but they could have had a little more time to shine.

The gang all together for the first time in “Scoob!”

Scoob! is a delightful animated film for fans of the talking dog. While each aspect of the film doesn’t quite hit the landing, there’s no question that it is fun and really entertaining. In the end, it really is a movie for kids, and even if it doesn’t always feel like a Scooby-Doo movie, I think hardcore fans will enjoy it.

Promo Image for “Scoob!”

Final Rating: 7.5/10

Every Spider-Man Film, Ranked

All images property of Sony Pictures

Spider-Man has been my favorite Marvel superhero for my whole life. He’s probably the most relatable superhero out there. Seeing him on the big screen is a wonder to behold, but just because I enjoy watching all the movies, doesn’t mean that they’re all good. I thought I’d take the chance, and respectively rank every Spider-Man film from worst to best.

8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Spider-Man fighting the Rhino in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

Although I loved it upon first seeing it, there’s no denying that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the worst Spider-Man movie. It has some positives, such as great lead performances, nice moments, such as the one with the young kid at the end, and kind of fantastic cinematography. However, the bad definitely outweighs the good in this case. The pretty weak, messy script is the least of which. The plot is jumbled. The biggest offense is shoving Green Goblin and the death of Gwen Stacy into the film, and ultimately taking away from Electro as the main villain. Electro is also very weak, not to the fault of Jamie Foxx, he’s just a bad character all around, with a stupid motivation for hating Spider-Man. We never really learn to care about Peter’s relationship with his father, but they can’t help but remind you that it is supposed to be a focus of this series, without actually getting deep into it. It’s fun, but it’s just messy and kind of dumb.

Final Rating: 6/10

7. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Spider-Man in “The Amazing Spider-Man”

The Amazing Spider-Man isn’t very different from it’s sequel. It’s a little less messy, but also maybe a little less fun. It’s trying to be darker, which in my opinion Spider-Man shouldn’t be. Spider-Man is a bit more quippy and less mopey than the Raimi films, which is nice to see, and I really do like Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, but I’ve seen them perform much better outside of these movies. The film just doesn’t work when it’s trying to be dark and artsy, but it does work when it’s just trying to be fun. Unfortunately, the Lizard isn’t really that interesting to me in this film, and although it’s trying to be different from the Raimi films, I do think it  should have stuck just a little bit closer to the comic book origin. Also, that suit is really bad.

Final Rating: 6/10

6. Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Spider-Man reacting to the symbiote in “Spider-Man 3”

Growing up, Spider-Man 3 was my favorite Spider-Man movie, and probably one of my favorite movies at the time. A part of me still really likes the movie, but it is objectively a bad movie. Shoving Venom and the New Goblin into the plot didn’t help, and of course everyone complains about goth Peter Parker. It’s cringey and probably the worst part about the movie. If they would have just kept it simple, and had Sandman be the only villain, it could’ve been quite good. The Gwen Stacy character and drama with Mary Jane are also really unnecessary, and only used to create further conflict. Either way, Spider-Man has definitely never looked better in this trilogy, and it does have some really fun moments.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

5. Spider-Man (2002)

Green Goblin attacks Spider-Man in “Spider-Man”

Finally, we’re getting into the good Spider-Man films. Spider-Man is a classic. It’s cheesy, but it’s cheesy in a good way. It’s exactly what a Spider-Man origin film should be. The cast is fantastic, with Willem Dafoe being my close-to definitive Norman Osborn, and early James Franco as Harry Osborn. Tobey Maguire is a great Peter Parker, but I don’t think he’s really a perfect Spider-Man, though he has all the right emotions. J.K. Simmons is perfect as J. Jonah Jameson, and Kirsten Dunst gives probably her best performance as Mary Jane here. The film also has great transitions and shots. This trilogy is basically known for the web swinging sequences. I can’t say enough good things about this film, even if it hasn’t aged perfectly, it’s so fun and the script is unironically really strong. It’s really a miracle that they pulled off the first Spider-Man film this well.

Final Rating: 8/10

4. Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Doctor Octopus in “Spider-Man 2”

If Spider-Man was a perfect Spider-Man origin film, Spider-Man 2 is the perfect Spider-Man sequel. As a great sequel is supposed to do, it takes what worked in the first film and raises it, while being different from the first. Every action scene is a spectacle, and Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus is amazing. I really can’t think of one bad thing to say. It’s so emotional and yet so much fun.

Final Rating: 9/10

3. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

Peter Parker meets Mysterio in “Spider-Man: Far From Home”

A lot of people might disagree with me for putting Spider-Man: Far From Home this high on the list. I really love the Marvel Cinematic Universe interpretation of Spider-Man for many reasons, which I will get into more when talking about the first film in the series. This movie is hilarious and has great performances. To me, it’s just another great Spider-Man adventure. It’s an excellent follow up to Avengers: Endgame. While still addressing the sad, climactic event of this universe, It’s likely one of the funniest Marvel movies. I love Jake Gyllenhaal  and he has a lot of fun here. Even though I knew Mysterio was truly a villain because of the comics, I still loved the way they connected his reveal to the MCU. I also really like the direction this series is going, as this movie shows Peter can make it on his own. My only complaints are the bad cinematography, the scene on the bus was kind of dumb, and the post-credit scene was dumb to me, but I liked the mid-credit scene.

Final Rating: 9/10

2. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”

While the sequel was about Peter learning to make it on his own, Spider-Man: Homecoming is about him learning to be a superhero in the first place. This is exactly what I want from a Spider-Man film. This is MY Spider-man, the guy I read in the comics. Tom Holland does an excellent job with the comedy, and his performance all around. Tony Stark is in the film for exactly as much as he should be, and doesn’t take over. Michael Keaton is amazing as the Vulture and probably one of the best MCU villains. This movie shows how Peter reacts to the universe around him. It teaches him how to be stronger.. It’s just a whole lot of fun and I love how it’s portrayed kind of as a high school film.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy, and Miles Morales in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is the most perfect Spider-Man movie out there. Amazing animation, good lessons, amazing spirit. It doesn’t pull any of the punches, while also being appropriate for anyone who watches it. I don’t know if there will ever be a Spider-Man movie that beats it, because it truly understands who Spider-Man is, and can be. Miles Morales gives a different point of view, and I love the voice cast. It’s one of the most creative and different comic book based films. I can’t describe just how spectacular it is and I would recommend it to anyone, no matter what.

Final Rating: 10/10 (Yep, that’s right)

That is my ranking of all the Spider-Man films. As you can probably tell, I take this character very seriously, and he is very close to my heart. The character’s timeless and I never get tired of seeing him on the big screen. We can only hope for the future of this character in the film, and also hope it only gets better. Remember, anyone can wear the mask.

Video Credit: TopMovieClips on YouTube

How Disney Can Help The Simpsons

I still love The Simpsons with my whole heart and watch every new episode, but things need to change before they can't change anymore. With a new owner, the possibilities are

Homer Simpson in a promotional ad for Disney+

The Simpsons has been my favorite show since pretty much the first time I saw it, and it still baffles me that Disney now owns the franchise. If you went and saw Onward in theaters before the pandemic (or have been on Disney+ recently), you know that there was a Simpsons short before the movie. This isn’t the first time this has happened (The Longest Daycare played before Ice Age: Continental Drift), but nonetheless, it was still jarring to see the words, “Disney Welcomes The Simpsons“. Take out “Welcome”, and you have, “Disney’s The Simpsons“, and while I don’t think that they’re ever going to do anything that drastic, there’s no denying that they are embracing the franchise with open arms. If they are this fond of owning these characters, the least they could do is help.

Maggie Simpson and her date in the original short “Playdate With Destiny”

Even the biggest fans can admit that newer episodes of The Simpsons are less than spectacular. I will say that they are getting slightly better. Some new episodes actually are very good, however there are maybe four really good episodes within a season that has twenty mediocre to okay episodes. The cast is getting old, and you can hear it. Aside from Dan Castellaneta as Homer, no one really sounds the same as they did in their prime. Julie Kavner, as great as she is, especially sounds like she is now putting a strain on her voice while voicing Marge. Other cast members of the show have already passed on, it’s unfortunately only a matter of time before someone in the main cast dies. With these issues, this is where Disney can step in.

Homer and Marge in an episode of “The Simpsons”

We already know that Disney has ordered a second Simpsons movie into production. This could be the perfect way to end the series. It could be a tribute to the series as a whole, and almost like an event as big as Avengers: Endgame for The Simpsons. A movie would be the best way to make The Simpsons ending mean something, and the cast would all bring their A-Game for the ending. It would be satisfying. We don’t want one of the main cast members to die so that they have to cancel the show. If that were the case, it would end on a whimper, and not with a true ending. If the creators were smart, they would already have an ending written and recorded, just in case such a tragedy occurs, but ending with a movie would be perfect.

A fan-made image for a potential “The Simpsons Movie 2”

If Disney still wants to keep the franchise going somehow, they could even do Disney+ original Homer shorts or Springfield shorts. Though if they really don’t want to end the show, the simple solution is that they need to hire new, fresh writers. A lot of the new episodes feel stale because they have old writers. They’re not bad writers necessarily, they just seem out of ideas. There are some great, young, budding writers out there who probably have some great pitches, why not give them a chance? I still love The Simpsons with my whole heart and watch every new episode, but things need to change before they can’t change anymore. With a new owner, the possibilities are endless.

Promotional image for “The Simpsons”

Justice League Dark: Apokolips War Review

This movie is the final film in the DC Animated Movie Universe. This series was pretty hit or miss for me as I wasn’t a fan of the animation, a lot of the voice acting, or even a lot of the

Video Credit: DC on YouTube

        This movie is the final film in the DC Animated Movie Universe. This series was pretty hit or miss for me as I wasn’t a fan of the animation, a lot of the voice acting, or even a lot of the stories. Every now and then, there would be a really good one, and I’m glad to say that Justice League Dark: Apokolips War is pretty good, but it doesn’t quite hit the landing, even if it’s a finale.

The heroes unite in “Justice League Dark: Apokolips War” (2020)

        The film does do a lot of things right. The characters are really on point. I’m a big John Constantine fan and Matt Ryan continues to kill it in the role here. He’s probably the best part of the film, and it’s a lot of fun. Superman is also a standout here even as he is depowered. I’m a fan of Jerry O’Connell as Superman, even if he isn’t my favorite voice for him. Batman is very cool, but doesn’t have a lot of screen time. What the movie does really well, is making this whole thing feel epic and final. They don’t hold back on how final all of it truly is, as everything is bleak, brutal, and gruesome. They bring everyone together to face Darkseid, but it’s no use, it seems like there’s no hope. The action in these films has always been great, even if it’s not always necessary. I’d say the script is strong compared to other films in this series, though it isn’t amazing. They are able to fit a ton of characters in the film, and they just barely pull it all off. I’d like to mention that I truly like the ending and it’s finality. It represents what’s for the best.

Darkseid in “Justice League Dark: Apokolips War” (2020)

        As can be expected, there are still quite a few problems with the film. The animation is still mediocre, and it still doesn’t stand well up against any of its predecessors of the past 10 years. I’ve seen fan films with better animation. Hopefully Warner Bros. can step it back up. I’d also say the movie could have been longer and the plot does feel kind of rushed. It could have felt impactful when necessary, without dragging on. The script, while being fairly strong, isn’t nearly as top-tier as DC has been years and years ago. There’s still dumb jokes, annoying characters that feel shoved in just because of popularity, and not everyone that deserves more screen time gets it, in favor for characters that really don’t.. I really think Harley Quinn wasn’t necessary here, even if they wanted to put every character from this series of films into this one, she just didn’t feel necessary. Not to mention King Shark is relegated to a Groot rip-off here. They really just needed to expand the story, make everything a bit less coincidental, and maybe focus on dialogue as a way to get through scenes, rather than action as a transition.

The new team in “Justice League Dark: Apokolips War” (2020)

        Even if it still doesn’t reach the heights that DC has been known to reach, this is still one of the better films in the DC Animated Movie Universe. A really fun adventure with great characters that feels epic and climactic. Truly one I think most DC fans can enjoy. With the lackluster animation and a rushed plot. I still think it’s well worth watching.

Final Rating: 8/10

Bad Education Review

Even if it’s from HBO or Netflix, I’m glad we are getting some new films. The story of a corrupt high school staff is intriguing enough. While this movie wasn’t amazing, I could’ve seen

Video Credit: HBO on Youtube

        Even if it’s from HBO or Netflix, I’m glad we are getting some new films. The story of a corrupt high school staff is intriguing enough. While this movie wasn’t amazing, I could’ve seen myself seeing it in theaters. Let’s get into the good, the bad, and everything in between.

Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney in HBO’s “Bad Education”

        Starting off with the good, Hugh Jackman gives a stellar performance here. His American accent is very convincing, and at first, he really seems like a guy you can trust, a guy you would want to be your superintendent. In fact, I think you still don’t really hate his character by the end of this movie. Sure, he’s as corrupt as anyone else, but he is still somewhat likable, whether that was on purpose or not. Allison Janney is also really fantastic, almost portraying someone you love to hate. I’d also like to mention Geraldine Viswanathan for her great performance. She’s popping up in more and more places, and I’m becoming a fan. You don’t really know what’s going to happen but I’d say that’s a positive. The plot of the movie was actually quite a surprise to me. It sort of feels like you’re in the moment with the characters. There are actually quite a bit of twists, and I didn’t expect that from this movie. The script keeps you interested and surprised throughout the whole thing. The ending is really well done. I also didn’t know it was based on a true story until the end, and that’s not really the movie’s cause, but I still thought it was cool.

Hugh Jackman and Geraldine Viswanathan in HBO’s “Bad Education”

        Speaking about what’s bad, I’d say the movie is a little too slow. It’s not that long, but it feels longer than it needs to be. The plot can lose focus at times. There are some scenes that focus on characters that really shouldn’t be focused on at the time. I feel some characters totally could’ve been cut out, so that we could elaborate more on the main plot. It’s not a huge issue, but the film can seem kind of distracted at times. I care about what a lot of these characters are going through, but it just doesn’t feel important to the main plot. The only other thing I could say is that although I understood the ending, it could be a little misleading to some viewers. Hugh Jackman’s accent does slip in every now and then also.

        Bad Education is really interesting and fun to watch play out. It may not be a movie for everybody, as it’s not this giant, climactic event, but Hugh Jackman is at the top of his game here. His conflict and everyone around him keeps you watching. As everything unfolds, you’re not really sure what’s going to happen next. It’s a simple setup with a complicated turnout. Although it can get distracted at times, the performances and string of events will keep you intrigued.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

May the Fourth Be With You: Ranking the Star Wars Films

In honor of this great day, I thought I would rank every Star Wars film from worst to best (except the Holiday Special for, obvious reasons. I haven't even seen it all the way through, but we all

All Images From “Star Wars” Property of Lucasfilm

Star Wars is undoubtedly the biggest movie franchise of all-time. After all, it has its own holiday. It has made a big impact on me, and a ton of people around me. I can have hours of conversation about it because there is hours of content to come from it. I’m sure no one would have believed it would grow as big as it has.

In honor of this great day, I thought I would rank every Star Wars film from worst to best (except the Holiday Special for, obvious reasons. I haven’t even seen it all the way through, but we all know where it would land on the list). Why is Empire Strikes Back so high up the list? Read ahead to find out.

12. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008)

From “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”

Although it spawned a great TV show. this movie is a gigantic misstep. It’s messy, boring, dull, slow, and dumb. Even bringing back Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Lee couldn’t save it. The opening battle feels like it goes on for two hours. It’s so slow that I started it one June and then I paused it, and finished the movie in August. Ahsoka is more annoying here than ever, and the plot about saving Jabba’s son sounds fun, but is just dumb at the end of the day. There’s like one interesting fight with Count Dooku, but again, it’s just boring and panders too much to a younger audience.

Final Rating: 5/10

11. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

From “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace”

Ah, politics. Didn’t you want that in Star Wars? I sure didn’t. The Phantom Menace is boring and cheesy. The best thing I can say is that the fights are cool, and we got Darth Maul. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are cool characters of course, but the rest of the movie is dumb. An easy target is Jar Jar, along with the racial stereotypes. Just like The Clone Wars, it feels really slow. Podracing is fun I guess, and it’s great seeing Samuel L. Jackson and Natalie Portman, but the simple fact is that the movie isn’t good.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

10. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

From “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones”

I don’t have much to say about this movie. Jango Fett is cool, I really like Obi-Wan in this chapter, and again, the fights are neat. Compared to the others, this film is just fine. Relatively more entertaining than the last for sure. Everything on Kamino is really cool, but my favorite sequence as a kid was the chase on Coruscant. There’s just not much it does right. It’s probably the most forgettable film in the series.

Final Rating: 6/10

9. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

From “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”

I really like this movie. I grew up when the prequels were coming out, so this movie is really close to me. I really dig Anakin’s darkness and transformation. This movie is DARK (in terms of Star Wars). The focal point of Anakin and Obi-Wan’s conflict, and Obi-Wan really wanting to save his Padawan, is the best thing about this film. Everything with General Grievous is awesome as well, but the movie does fall into the same traps as the other prequels.

Final Rating: 7/10

8. Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)

From “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi”

I don’t dislike this movie as much as other people do. There’s a lot of good things about it, and a lot of bad. I think Luke is great in this movie. I was upset that he died, but I thought it was a cool death. This movie made me like Poe as a character, but I hate Admiral Holdo, even though I love Laura Dern. I thought Leia’s death fakeout was cheap. and you could cut out the Canto Bight storyline easily. The rest of the movie I liked, including the third act, the Yoda scene, and Kylo’s fight with Rey against Snoke. I also love Porgs, sue me.

Final Rating: 7/10

7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

From “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

The movie is good, but not great. I love the action, Krennic, and a lot of the film. The problem comes with the second act. I felt really bored during the second act and thought it dragged on forever, but it’s great aside from the second act. I didn’t feel attached to most of the characters though, only some. The final scene with Vader is worth the price of admission overall. It’s probably my favorite scene in Star Wars history. 

Final Rating: 7.5/10

6. Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

From “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker”

It’s a whole lot of fun. It has really memorable, awesome scenes, but it’s kind of really dumb. I don’t know how to describe it but a lot of it doesn’t make sense and is really fan service-y. I still really enjoy it. The only things I didn’t like was Rey and Kylo’s kiss, and the fact that she chose to be a Skywalker. She should have owned her heritage and changed what it meant to be a Palpatine. It ultimately doesn’t feel like a satisfactory ending. I really liked Han’s cameo. It’s a shame Finn was wasted after The Force Awakens.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

5. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

From “Solo: A Star Wars Story”

I really love Solo. Every time I watch it I love it more. I know I’m in the minority, but it’s such a fun romp and feels so different. It’s a fun, fast paced adventure. I loved when Maul showed up, but the reason for Han’s name is dumb. It may not be perfect, but I love it.

Final Rating: 8/10

4. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)

From “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi”

Return of the Jedi gets more hate than it should in recent years. Sure, the Ewoks are annoying and it has pacing issues, but I’d say the original trilogy is pretty consistent. Even with its pacing issues, it is probably the fastest paced film in the trilogy. The opening Jabba Palace rescue and closing duel with Vader are pretty perfect.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

3. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

From “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”

It started it all. It’s almost perfect. I’d say it’s only problem is it’s a bit slow, but we all know everything great about it. I don’t need to say much else.

Final Rating: 9/10

2. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)

From “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”

I think The Force Awakens is amazing. Is it similar to A New Hope? Yes, but there isn’t one scene I can think of that I dislike. I loved seeing Han back. The only other setbacks I can think of are that I really didn’t care about Poe and they wasted Phasma. I loved everything else the movie did though. 

Final Rating: 9/10

1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

From “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back”

IT’S PERFECT. “I am your father”, Hoth, Cloud City, Lando, Carbonite. It’s most people’s favorite for a reason. Just watch it. Right now. Do it.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

I hope you enjoyed my ranking, and just remember it’s my personal opinion. I hope it at least made you think about some things. This is probably the longest I’ve worked so far but it was worth it. I hope you had a good May 4th and enjoy the holiday for many years to come.

Why Ghostbusters (1984) is My Favorite Film of All-Time

Ghostbusters (1984) has been my favorite movie for pretty much my whole life. Why exactly is it my favorite film? Let me tell

All images from “Ghostbusters” (1984) property of Sony Pictures

Ghostbusters (1984) has been my favorite movie for pretty much my whole life. The franchise keeps growing larger and larger with a sequel, video games, two cartoon shows, comic books, a reboot, and another sequel coming next year. Why exactly is it my favorite film? Let me tell you.

The First Time

The first time I watched Ghostbusters (1984) was when I was around three years old. I received it and the second film, Ghostbusters II (1989), for my birthday, but I immediately thought it was a horror movie. Throughout the rest of the birthday party, the cover featuring the “no-ghost” logo haunted me, but my parents assured me that it was a funny movie. I remember the night I first watched it almost perfectly. I watched it alone, and I was scared, but somewhat excited.

From the start, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the TV. The iconic Ray Parker Jr. theme song plays, there’s witty humor mere minutes in (which I likely didn’t understand most of), and then, Eleanor Twitty (The Library Ghost) appears. At first seeming harmless, she then leaps into her monstrous form, frightening me, but I kept watching. It was funny and action-packed. I was around three years old, again, did I understand most of the jokes? Of course not, but I laughed and was already pretending to bust ghosts on my first watch. Ever since that moment, I fell in love with my favorite movie.

Iconic Scene: “Get her!”
The Library Ghost’s terrifying form in Sony Pictures’ “Ghostbusters” (1984)

Why It Works So Well

It’s the perfect blend of comedy and action/science-fiction. The guys are cracking jokes and quipping in the midst of saving the world from a demonic god. The script is also really smart. Perfect timing, pacing, and you actually feel like these guys know what they’re talking about. It seems natural, partly because two of the Ghostbusters themselves, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, wrote the script. The natural feel also comes because the cast is just full of comedic geniuses. Now obviously a Proton Pack could never exist, but they did put some research into their writing, both supernatural and historical.

The characters are relatable. Peter Venkman is the funny guy, Ray Stantz is the heart of the Ghostbusters, Egon Spengler is the particularly smart one, and Winston Zeddemore is the every-man. All of these characteristics also don’t pertain to one character. Each have their own funny and heartfelt moments. Peter, Ray, and Egon, all have doctorates, and each guy has to ask a question every once in a while, There’s just something about it all that simply works, and I never get tired of watching it.

Iconic Scene: “He’s an ugly little spud, isn’t he?”
The Onion-Head Ghost, or Slimer, from Sony Pictures’ “Ghostbusters” (1984)
Iconic Scene: “It’s the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.”
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, from Sony Pictures’ “Ghostbusters” (1984)

Ghostbusters and Me Now

As I said before, Ghostbusters (1984) has been my favorite movie for most of my life, and that love has only grown. It’s the movie I’ve seen the most, and the one I always want to watch. I’ve read the comics and books, I’ve played the 2009 video game a thousand times, and I’ve watched every episode of the cartoons. I have a great love for Ghostbusters II, I didn’t mind the reboot, and I’m intensely awaiting Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Aside from superheroes, Ghostbusters is probably the subject I’m a fan of most. The charm never stops, and in the end, I always smile when someone asks, “Who Ya Gonna Call?”

Video Credit: on YouTube

Extraction Review

An entertaining ride with fun action and performances, Extraction might just be enough to satisfy your hunger for new films. It's worth watching, but what holds it back from being a really good

Video Credit: Netflix

As new movies aren’t currently coming to theaters, streaming service originals and straight to VOD films seem to be our only option. Probably the biggest streaming original release so far is Netflix’s Extraction. Starring Chris Hemsworth and produced by Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo, based on an original graphic novel by Ande Parks and the Russo brothers. It seems to be a big hit for the service, as I know a ton of people have watched it already, and it’s currently holding the number one spot on Netflix.

An entertaining ride with fun action and performances, Extraction might just be enough to satisfy your hunger for new films. It’s worth watching, but what holds it back from being a really good film?

Chris Hemsworth and Rudhraksh Jaiswal in Netflix’s “Extraction” (2020)

Before we get into that, of course we’ll talk about what works with the movie, starting with the cast. Chris Hemsworth gives a great performance full of emotion that shows how smart and experienced his character, Tyler, is. I have to admit I was very impressed with young actor Rudhraksh Jaiswal as Ovi Mahajan, the teen Tyler is sent to rescue. He is able to show a lot of emotion as well through the role. I also love seeing David Harbour pop up, even if he’s only in the film for about five minutes.

Chris Hemsworth and Randeep Hooda in the one-shot action scene from Netflix’s “Extraction” (2020)

Aside from the cast, what really works is the characters and the action. We’ve already discussed how emotional the characters are because of the cast, but Tyler and Ovi are really written well and have good written chemistry. The action is really solid throughout, well choreographed, and well shot, but what really stood out to me is the 12 minute long one-shot scene. It’s easily my favorite scene in the movie, as I am a sucker for one-shot scenes, as I’m sure most people are. This one in particular is very smooth, which is hard to pull off as we move from cars, through buildings, and off of balconies. I liked the ending too, both our final scene with Tyler and the very last scene, but although we’re teased, I don’t believe it will actually lead to anything.

Moving on to what doesn’t work as well, the rest of the cast doesn’t really stand out that well. I’ve seen some people really enjoy Randeep Hooda’s character, but to be completely honest, he didn’t do anything revolutionary with his performance to me. He’s just sort of doing what he can with the script. That’s another thing: the script by Joe Russo isn’t that fantastic. It’s not bad, it’s just not great. The plot is a little basic, and nothing except the very end really surprises you. I am interested in reading the graphic novel to see how they compare. The set pieces are very bland unfortunately. I’d say there isn’t one set piece that stands out besides maybe the bridge, but even then, it just isn’t that memorable or interesting. I think that’s something a lot of action films such as this one tend to struggle with. Another thing they tend to struggle with is exhaustive action scenes, which this movie has. As well choreographed and entertaining as a lot of them are, there can’t help but be some scenes that drag on. You know an action scene has really dragged on when I’m simply just bored watching it.

In conclusion, Extraction is an entertaining, fresh film to give us all something new to watch in quarantine. With really strong, emotional performances from Chris Hemsworth and Rudhraksh Jaiswal, and fun action, it’s worth a watch. Yet it can’t help itself from falling into the trap of other action films with drug on action scenes, boring set pieces, and just an okay script.

Ranking the Joker in Live-Action

The Joker is one of, if not THE best villain ever created. Among his many names (The Clown Prince of Crime, The Jester of Genocide, The Harlequin of Hate, etc.), everyone knows him. Yet the question remains: throughout his many live-action portrayals, who is truly the best? Although it is up to your opinion, I thought I’d attempt answering that very question by ranking each live-action interpretation from my personal least favorite to my personal favorite.

Which Joker is the best in live-action? Easy… Joaquin Phoenix killed it in the role. Keep reading to see why Joaquin Phoenix is ranked #1.

5. Cesar Romero Batman (1966)

Cesar Romero in 20th Century Fox’s “Batman” (1966)

Although starting in the Batman (1966) television series, Romero made his film debut as the Joker in the movie of the same name. While he gives the role his all and is perfect as a classic interpretation of Joker from the 1940s-1950s, the fact is that out of everyone else, he probably represents who the Joker is the worst. Instead of murdering and poisoning innocents, he mostly just pulls pranks and is a general nuisance. Again, great for the Joker of the fifties, but ultimately just falls last compared to everyone else.

4. Jared Leto – Suicide Squad (2016)

Jared Leto in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Suicide Squad” (2016)

If you’ve read my Suicide Squad review, you already have a feel for my thoughts on Jared Leto’s portrayal. I don’t really hate it as much as everyone else does, I just think we didn’t see enough of him to have a well thought-out opinion. From what we did see, I actually did enjoy a lot of his ideas with the character. He was quite menacing and did seem like he might shine as the Joker under different circumstances. What brings him down is all the terrible design choices, such as the teeth grill and the tattoos, and his laugh was pretty bad. He might have wanted to work on his Joker voice a little more as well.

3. Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (2008)

Heath Ledger in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Dark Knight” (2008)

A lot of you may be shocked to not see Ledger at the number one spot or even number two, however, let me explain myself. Ledger’s performance is absolutely amazing and possibly one of the greatest performances in film of all-time. Many people are quick to name him as the most accurate Joker portrayal ever, and that’s where I have to stop you. Ledger was so great because he did something so different. He gets things like Joker’s unpredictability down, but he does everything else so differently that he makes he Joker feel fresh and new. His Joker is scary, and scary because he’s so real. No one will ever be able to replicate what Ledger did, nor should anyone try.

2. Jack Nicholson – Batman (1989)

If I were ranking these by accuracy and not my favorites, Nicholson would easily be at number one. I do believe he embodies Joker the most accurately. He’s scary yet funny, and somewhat charming. I’ve heard a lot of people claim Nicholson is mostly just playing himself, but I don’t see that being true at all. He does everything Joker is expected to do and doesn’t overplay it. The performance is pretty safe compared to the others, but I think it’s so great and kind of overlooked these days. And who can look past that big, pretty smile?

Jack Nicholson in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Batman” (1989)
Video Credit: Movieclips on YouTube

1. Joaquin Phoenix – Joker (2019)

Joaquin Phoenix in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Joker” (2019)

Arguably the most creative interpretation of the Joker put to film, Joaquin Phoenix killed it in the role (which did earn him an Academy Award of course.) Far from accurate to the clown we all know and love, for some reason it does feel accurate in some ways. The costume itself does call back to the comics. Let’s forget about accuracy though, and just look at the performance for how beautiful it is. Even those who aren’t really fans of the 2019 film think Phoenix’s performance is excellent. Even if he doesn’t fully become Joker until the last thirty minutes or so, those last thirty minutes break into instant chaos, and chaos, is who the Joker is.

Video Credit: christine on YouTube

So that is my personal ranking of the live-action portrayals of the Joker. However, none of these are my favorite portrayal of the Joker overall. That answer will have to come another day. For now tho, who knows what’s next for Joker in live-action? It doesn’t have to come anytime soon, but let’s hope it’s another one of the greats. No matter what, always remember to put on a happy face.

Onward Review

Onward is the 22nd film from Pixar Animation Studios, and aside from one or two missteps, they’ve had a pretty solid track record. I was looking forward to this film based off of the cast alone, but the premise was intriguing and just seemed fun. It’s also the last film I saw in a movie theater before self-quarantining. I am happy to say that Pixar still has it, but let’s get into it.

Starting with what I liked, Tom Holland and Chris Pratt give great, emotional performances as brothers Ian and Barley. I’m a big fan of them both, and luckily it doesn’t sound like they phoned it in. I also liked Octavia Spencer as The Manticore, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is always fun, but she isn’t given much to do as Ian and Barley’s mother. The movie is also quite funny. I found myself laughing through a lot of the it. I enjoyed the comparison of magic to modern technology, and how people just saw magic as old-fashioned. Just like classic Pixar, it gets emotional. Although it is about Ian and Barley trying to connect to their father while they can, it is more so about the relationship between brothers. How they are different, but still relate to each other, and how they can fight but still stick together. The movie also picks up the pace quickly, I never found myself feeling bored. It does a great job being entertaining for both kids and adults alike. Of course the animation is fantastic, as expected from Pixar.

If there are some things I wasn’t particularly fond of, let’s start with the fact that this is far from the most creative world Pixar has tackled. We’ve seen many films explore a fairy tale-like world and try to bring some sort of twist to it, and while the world itself isn’t bad, it’s just not as creative as we’ve seen Pixar be in the past. I also thought it was a little too easy for Ian to learn all of the spells, even if he was special. They do the thing where the two main characters have to fight with each other in the middle of the movie to split them apart. I get that it was supposed to bring them back together even stronger than before, but the trope is getting pretty old. Luckily it doesn’t last long. I thought the fairy biker characters were a little annoying, and could have possibly been cut out of the plot.

If you’re someone who has thought that maybe Pixar has lost their magic, no need to worry. Onward is so charming, funny, and may just make you shed a tear. It’s exactly what we’ve all come to expect from Pixar and does not disappoint. It may not be the absolute best thing they’ve put out, but I could see it turn into many people’s personal favorite. It’s funny, heartwarming, and just solid. With a cast that includes Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, and such a personal plot, how could you go wrong?

Final Rating: 8/10

5 Movies You Should Watch During Quarantine

If you are staying at home right now (which you probably are), you’re likely watching more movies while you have the chance. Although I know many of you have lists of what you’ve been waiting to watch, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and recommend some things that hopefully fit all of your movie-watching needs.


Upgrade is a 2018 Sci-Fi/Thriller directed by Leigh Whannell. The plot surrounds a man who is left paralyzed after a mugging in which his wife is also killed. Seeking revenge, he uses a young billionaire’s invention, STEM, to find his wife’s killer. STEM increases his strength and more, but it soon reveals itself to be more sinister than it first let on. The movie is futuristic but simple, and not very long so it gets right into the plot. It’s fun and tense and just feels fresh. If you are looking to get your sci-fi fix, this underrated thriller may be enough to satisfy you.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

If you haven’t watched this yet, get to it! It won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for a reason. Following teenager Miles Morales as he learns what it means to be Spider-Man, he must also stop the Kingpin of crime from collapsing different dimensions onto each other, with the help of other Spider-people from across the universe. The animation is stunning, the cast is excellent, and it’s entertaining no matter your age. The film has been out for more than a year and still feels fresh to me. It’s likely one of my favorite animated movies of all time. Whether you think you’ve seen all that the Spider-Man franchise has to offer, or you aren’t really a fan of comic book films, that doesn’t matter. Into the Spider-Verse is different and amazing.

Beautiful Boy

A 2018 Amazon Prime original, Beautiful Boy is a drama that stars Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet as a father and son who try their best to help get past Nic’s (Timothee Chalamet) drug addiction. It is beautifully shot and told, with fantastic performances. It’s probably the best dramatic performance I’ve seen Steve Carell give, and not enough people talk about it. Simply put, if you want something emotional that doesn’t shy away from serious issues like drug addiction, give it a chance.

Wonder Woman

We all know that it’s important for women to be represented on the big screen, and I believe Wonder Woman is one of the movies to do it best. It shows a strong woman front and center, which is important for women and little girls around the world, but the simple fact is that Wonder Woman is one of the greatest characters in comics, whether you’re a man or a woman. When soldier Steve Trevor lands on the mystical island of Themyscira, Princess Diana must travel to man’s world to help fight in World War I. A lot of movies have a difficult time uplifting women while also not degrading men, however this one shows how great women and men can be working together. The film is filled with action-packed set pieces, great comedy, and some inspiring messages. The film is one of the best things DC has put out in recent years, so enjoy it with the whole family.

Groundhog Day

One of my favorites and just a classic, Groundhog Day is pure comedy. Bill Murray is at the top of his game, working with the late, great Harold Ramis as director, and in my opinion, it’s one of the best comedies ever made. Weatherman Phil Connors travels to Punxsutawney to report on the groundhog’s shadow on Groundhog Day. They stay there due to a blizzard, and when he wakes up the next morning, it’s Groundhog Day again, and again, and again. The gags never get old, so much so that you’ll want to watch it again, and again, and again.

So I hope I’ve been able to recommend some movies you’ll want to check out during the break. I tried to cover many genres to appease your movie watching appetite, and to distract you during the hard times. Stay safe and keep watching movies!

Suicide Squad Review: Looking Back

 A few years ago in August of 2016, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures released Suicide Squad. I was very excited in the lead-up to the film as a big comic book fan, and the film looked like so much fun. After first seeing the film, I did feel disappointed, but since I had been waiting to see it for so long, I saw it as a great and fun movie. In 2020, with my thoughts on the film changed, and no new films currently releasing due to the pandemic, I figured it was as good a time as any to revisit the mismatched group of maybe not-so-super villains.

       Let’s start with what I like about the film. The cast is still superb in my opinion, but let’s talk about which characters come off well. Will Smith brings a lot of coolness and gravitas to Floyd Lawton AKA Deadshot, but also some emotion to the role. His first scene where he is tracked down by Batman (portrayed here by Ben Affleck) is not only swift and cool to look at, but shows how much he cares about his daughter. In fact, his daughter is what drives him throughout most of the film. Margot Robbie is near-perfect as Harley Quinn, so much so that she is in my top three portrayals of the character. She rides the line between crazy and compelling so well without ever getting annoying, which is hard to do for the character. I also thought Viola Davis was a great choice for Amanda Waller because she pulls off being intimidating almost as if it’s natural to her. I enjoy El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman) as well.

       Aside from the cast, there are a few things I also like. All of Deadshot’s action scenes are entertaining, and I often find myself returning to watch those scenes on YouTube. I love the few times Batman shows up, and I kind of wish we could have had more of him in the film, even if it were just one scene more. El Diablo’s backstory was well done, it’s still fun to see Ezra Miller’s Flash cameo (despite recent controversies), and I really dig that short post-credits scene between Amanda Waller and Bruce Wayne. Not to mention that the special effects aren’t too shabby and some of the jokes really land.

       What I think is bad about the film unfortunately really overshadows what is good about it. The biggest problem namely being the plot. The plot itself is one giant, jumbled mess. It starts off strong and promisingly, but falls apart, leaving something wanted. Although it may at first seem like it is just focusing on the characters more than the plot. I’m afraid it doesn’t seem focused on either. The movie isn’t focused. Things happen over here, then over there, Joker pops up for a second to distract you, and he’s gone the next to remind the audience, and the writers, that he’s not the real plot. You either make Joker the real plot or don’t include him at all, especially after hyping him up in every trailer, only for him to be in the movie for ten minutes. They kept the real plot hidden for so long, only for it to be another portal shooting into the sky. I am far from the first person to complain about all of this, nor will I be the last. Over time, I also just really don’t like Killer Croc in this film. Nothing is wrong with the actor (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), but Croc is given nothing to do until the last ten minutes. He has a funny joke once or twice but that’s about it. For such a built man, they somehow make Akinnuoye-Agbaje look small as Croc, it was a huge misstep on the (Oscar winning) makeup department’s behalf. It’s a shame because I was really looking forward to seeing the character.

       There are some things I’m basically indifferent about in the film. Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker isn’t great but it’s not terrible either, I think we really needed to see more of him to form a full opinion, but at least he was somewhat menacing (design choices aside). I also really have nothing to say about the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) or Katana (Karen Fukuhara). Sure, their effects are cool and one is the main antagonist, but they’re both just kind of there. I don’t have as big of a problem with David Ayer’s directing style as everyone else does. It’s definitely the same thing in each of his films, but there’s nothing outwardly offensive about it. It’s just not that unique.

       Suicide Squad could have been great, it could have been a special kind of comic book movie, instead it’s just messy and mediocre. I have fun watching it and truthfully get the urge to watch it a lot of the time, but looking at it critically, it’s just not good. If you’re looking for some fun to entertain you for about two hours, you can pop it on and have a good time, but if you’re looking for a bit more than fun, popcorn fluff to pass the time, you can skip Suicide Squad.

Final Rating: 6/10