Hilarity For Charity County Fair

Not a movie review, but a full rundown of an epic night that’s kinda movie adjacent. By the time this posts, I should have a bunch of pix on my Insta, and I also made a highlight of all the stories I was posting live throughout the best night ever. The following is copy/pasted from my FB

Buckle up folks, this is gonna be a pretty longish post about where exactly I was tonight and what craziness I got myself into. (If you saw my Insta stories, you already know some highlights).

A couple of weeks ago, Seth Rogen posted a really bizarre video on Twitter advertising the Hilarity For Charity County Fair. Instead of the annual variety show where his comedian friends all perform, this would be a fair with rides and food and games, which would be run by his comedian friends. I think I had heard him announce it earlier this summer, and I completely balked at the price. I did so again when I first clicked on the add, and then I thought about what other dumb things I’ve spent that much money on. And since I’d been extra good with my budget lately, maybe it’d be okay. Finally justified it by saying I woulda spent that much on Moulin Rouge tickets this summer and didn’t. The list of guests included Tony Hawk, Adam Devine, Ike Barinholtz, Jeffrey Ross, Ilana Glazer and others. Really all I want is a selfie with Adam Devine (not to be confused with Adam Levine)

I was worried how I was gonna afford the night itself (not just admission) but soon found out that food and drinks were all included, and I’d get 5 tickets for rides and games. So I’d just hafta pay for parking and any extra tickets. Totally doable. I checked the list of expected guests and picked out the five that I’d wanna play with. I could skip the rides.

Anyways, I get there, and it really is a (very small) county fair. There’s a ferris wheel and bumper cars and a few other possibly sketchy rides. Casey Wilson is hosting the water squirt game, but there’s also basketball and a rope ladder and the rolly ball thing that I’m terrible at. Foodtrucks are scattered around the back and there’s open bar stations scattered throughout the area. Tony Hawk has just started his skating demo, so there isn’t much room to get a good view. I manage to grab a couple videos of him and decide now’s prolly a good time to get food while everyone is crowded around the half pipe.

While I’m waiting for my Shake Shack burger, I see a sign about a scavenger hunt. I find a card with some clues on it, and I’m supposed to take a photo of 5 signs that will be posted around the area. Turning in all five gets me entries in the raffle. Perfect, something fun I can do that doesn’t require any money or tickets. Takes a little while until I find that last one, but I go and turn them in. As I’m filling out the raffle form, I hear a familiar voice. Andrew Rannells is standing right next to me buying tickets. I still hadn’t gotten a feel for the event yet, so I didn’t interrupt him for a selfie (in retrospect, I totally could and should have), but I figure I’ll catch him at his game booth later (I’d previously mentally reserved one ticket for him).

I figure it’s time to use some of those tickets. No one cool is hosting the games yet, but there’s a long line for basketball, a game I’d play either way. Maybe someone will show up while I’m waiting? Right as I finally get to the front, Regina Hall climbs into the booth and starts giving encouragement to all the players and narrating what’s going on. I manage to sink 2 of 5 shots, which wins me a toy dolphin and Regina congratulates me.

I wander around. Ilana Glazer is now hosting the rolly ball game, but I don’t know that I wanna use one of my tickets on her. Not too long after, Andrew Rannells takes over the water gun game, so I make my way over there. Just before I’m able to move into an empty seat, I spot Nyle DiMarco (?!) on the other side of the game. It’s now my sole to track him down at some point and get a selfie. I use ticket number 2 to play the water game. It ends. I wasn’t sure what was going on or how you could tell who the winner was and next thing I know Andrew Rannells is telling me that I won and I can pick my prize. I tell him to choose for me, and he picks this super blue teddy bear. I’m somehow 2 for 2.

There’s an announcement that Anderson .Paak is about to take the stage. I walk over that way and hang around for a bit, but I’m not really that interested in him. I’m more interested in finding Nyle. Long story short (and absent the stalker-y details), I run into him after he grabs a churro from the cart. I sign “picture” and “please” and he smiles and nods yes. I’d already mostly figured out how to juggle my prizes and purse and phone and am able to snap a selfie. His friend who’s with him offers to take a photo for me and gets one of the most perfect shots I could have ever hoped for. I sign “thank you” and he signs back “You’re welcome” and waves goodbye. He smiles and I melt. No matter what else happens, this night has been absolutely worth every last dollar and ounce of effort.

I’m wandering around again. The concert’s still going, so no celebs are manning the booth. As I walk past the entrance, someone comes up to me and offers me the rest of their tickets. “Are you serious?!” “Yeah, I’m leaving and I didn’t use any” “Oh my God, thank you so so much. I’ve been trying super hard not to use mine all up” “Yeah no problem” He hands me ten (?!) tickets. I continue to thank him profusely, and he grabs his buddy that’s leaving with him and directs him to give me his tickets as well. There are now 23 in my pocket. Not only will I not have to buy any more (at five bucks a pop), I’m likely to not even use up all of them.

I immediately run to the nearest ride, the hurricane. I hadn’t even seen what it does, but I pay a ticket and hop on. Turns out, it was much more intense than expected, but ended up being my favorite. I then go and ride the swings which is not the nice calm swings like Disney’s Silly Symphony. These nearly crash into each other and sometimes you feel like you’re gonna fall out of the seats. While I’m on the ride, Seth Rogen gets on the mic and announces that Jeffrey Ross is roasting people on the bumper cars, the Garfunkel and Oates girls (Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci) girls are on the water guns, and Ike Barinholtz is on the rolly balls).

I leave my swing seat before it’s even fully stopped and run to the rolly ball game. It takes a few rounds until I can get a spot. Jeff Garlin comes over from Skee-ball and trash talks with Ike. I’ve always been terrible at this game, but the first round doesn’t go too badly. Ike calls out my number a few times in the play by play as being in contention for the win. Okay, maybe I’ll try again. Second round, still actually did pretty good. Third time’s a charm, yeah? Um, yeah! For maybe the second time in my life ever I win that game. Ike asks if I like pandas, then asks if I like puppies. I tell them both are cute, but he can pick the prize for me (especially since the last Superman doll at the booth was awarded in the previous round). He hands me a panda that is big enough to eat both the bear and the dolphin from earlier. I’d say I looked ridiculous carrying around these giant animals, but half the people at the fair were in the same boat.

The next while is a bit of a blur. Mostly just wandering and waiting for Adam Devine who has yet to host a game. I play a couple of terrible rounds of basketball. I’m texting friends freaking out about my day and posting more highlights on Insta. Finally, I see my boy at the water guns. After a few rounds, I take my seat. I don’t expect to win right away, but I’ve got a pocket full of tickets and I did miraculously win on the first try before. How long could this take?

I must’ve played maybe 15 rounds (I later counted 10 tickets used, but there were def a few where the ticket taker never got to me). Absolutely NOTHING. A few times Adam offers me encouragement, saying he knows I’m going to win the next one (I don’t). I accuse him of being bad luck. Honestly, I’m just happy he’s talking to me. I stay until he finishes his shift. I stand by the exit and a few people are already lined up with their cameras out. He eventually gets to me. We take a couple photos, then he grips my shoulder and says that he’s so sorry that I didn’t win. He was so sure I’d get it eventually. “Hey no worries. All I really wanted was this right here (gesturing towards my phone and him)” I get some awws from the crowd. But no really, that was the one thing I wanted most going into the evening.

I ride the hurricane and the swings one more time. I’ve still got tickets ,in my pocket. Seth Rogen’s in a dunk tank, but you hafta actually donate to play. That’s not happening. I make a few more laps to see who I run into, but the crowd’s thinning out. I spot Nyle having an entire conversation in ASL with an excited fan and it warms my heart. Eventually Seth announces that it’s closing time so people start to leave. I try to find where he was to make that announcement. I saw him decline selfies earlier in the evening, but maybe now that there were fewer people and less things going on he’d acquiesce? I don’t find him. I keep circling to see if there’s anyone else to meet and they’ve clearly all gone home. I leave and go validate my parking.

While I’m in line, I spot Seth right across the street (his wife’s sparkly jacket gave them away). I resist the urge to run over immediately and wait until I pay for my parking (which by some miracle was only 5 bucks). I’m thinking he went back into the fair, but no! He’s talking to people at sign in. I walk towards him. Security stops me. Says I can ask for a picture, but he could say no. I tell him I understand, and I stand by waiting for Seth to finish his convo with his wife. Someone else comes up from the other side and grabs a picture. He then walks over towards me. I politely ask, and he says yes, clearly exhausted from the long night. I tell him how much fun I had as I thank him and run off. I still had 5 tickets in my pocket

What is my life?!

IT: Chapter Two

In the time since the first IT was released two years ago and the new one opened, I read the book. Actually, I’ve read A LOT of Stephen King during that time (he’s typically heavy in my book rotation and then I got a really good Kindle deal on his whole collection). I really enjoyed the first half with the kids, but I wasn’t as into the adult storyline for the second half (at least not much after the Chinese restaurant). I get that the first half is about a fear of growing up, but I never grasped what the rest meant. And it seemed like a cool idea to revisit these characters, but I was so unsatisfied with where it was going that I ended up mostly skimming the back half of the book. I could barely tell you anything that happened. So I was concerned going into this second film, although the AMAZING cast gave me hope.

It’s now 27 years after we left these kids in Derry in the late 80’s. The kids have left too, all except Mike Hanlon, and they’ve grown up into the lives you’d prolly expect. When strange goings on start happening in their hometown, Mike calls them back one by one. Except none of them seem to remember anything about their childhoods. Once they’re reunited, the memories come flooding back, along with the fear and strange goings on.

If you’ve ever talked to me about Stephen King, the one thing I almost certainly said was that the key to his stories is the characters. I prolly even went into detail about why I love Pet Sematary as an illustration of why his characters are the most important element to his work. His films have been hit or miss, but the ones that focus on character relationships and development tends to be the better ones, and then the horror just falls into place. If the film focuses too much on the horror, it misses the point and the whole thing falls flat (or in the case of The Shining, does make a pretty good horror but is fundamentally a whole different entity, at least one with a different intent and meaning). I feel like IT: Chapter Two was one of those that just got it. It knew that the characters were what you should focus on, and it gave them all the focus and attention they deserved.

Now I get why this film is getting such mixed reviews and criticism, and a lot of it goes right back down to characters vs scares. I loved spending time with each character as they dove back into their history and faced off with Pennywise individually one by one. I was so invested in seeing what their formative memories were and how that manifested into their fears. However, audiences who were just in it for the scares found that whole section overly long and repetitive. I get that. But for me, this was the substance I always feel is lacking in a horror.

The scares themselves left something to be desired. I was literally counting down five seconds to every jump scare. I liked the idea behind each manifestation of Pennywise and they looked amazing from a creativity standpoint, but the execution was a little lazy and overly CGI-ed. The final battle went on a bit too long without anything too interesting happening. I felt like the filmmakers were trying to hard to get this element right instead of just trusting it to work out since they had such a solid foundation with the character work (is there another word I can use besides “character”? I’m getting sick of it)

The other element that this film got right was the casting. People were clamoring for Jessica Chastain to take on Bev and she fit in perfectly. James McAvoy was another inspired choice. However the two of their characters (McAvoy’s in particular) just aren’t that exciting here. They’re meant to be the leaders and the anchors so while they were played beautifully, it was all meeting the very high bar they were set for.

The scene stealer for me was Bill Hader as Richie Tozier (taking over for Finn Wolfhard). Richie is my favorite character in every iteration of this story, and Hader managed to elevate him even further. I’m always gonna like the comic relief, but he was also written with the strongest arc and Hader expertly played every beat. He’s why I couldn’t stop thinking about this film the next day.

Oh and it goes without saying that the other Bill, Skarsgard killed it once again as Pennywise. His expression and physicality are unreal, it’s a shame that the filmmakers felt the need to use so much CGI on him. He could have brought the scares all by himself.

Ultimately how you feel about this film is gonna come down to what you want out of it. Are you just in it for the thrills? You’re gonna be disappointed. Or do you want a horror story that goes a little deeper, almost making you forget about the horror? That’s what you’re gonna find down in the sewers with Pennywise.

IT Chapter Two – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

The Peanut Butter Falcon

I’m gonna let you in on a secret. I actually really like Shia LaBeouf, going all the way back to his Even Stevens days. His antics offscreen might be questionable, but on screen, he’s always proven himself as a fantastic actor and artist. Although that artistry tends to mean that a lot of his choices don’t align with my tastes. Initially, the trailer for this film didn’t really do it for me, but when I started hearing the buzz brewing, I knew I had to go. It seemed like other people were starting to figure out what I already knew about this kid.

LaBeouf plays a small town man on the run who befriends another man on the run. Said friend is a ward of the state with downs syndome who has escaped the facility he’s being housed in so he can chase his dreams of being a professional wrestler.

As cheesy as it is to say, this film is a beautiful story of friendship. My heart was so full watching this that I was very close to happy tears throughout much of it.

Shia had a very strong performance, but it was his buddy played by Zack Gottsagen who was really the heart of the film. I felt every ounce of joy he portrayed on screen.

Wow this was a really weird blog post. I’ll just recap by saying this movie gave me warm fuzzies and leave it at that

The Peanut Butter Falcon – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

Mad Max Trilogy

I mentioned the other day how I went to the Aero theater to see The Great Escape. While I was walking in, I noticed a poster. Mad Max. I had just switched out my Mad Max ticket at Arclight for The Thing so I could go to a movie trivia night. I looked at it a little closer, and it turns out it would be the full original trilogy playing the next week. I Fandango-ed my ticket as soon as I sat down.

Sidebar: while I was sitting there, I noticed a slide on their display that showed Jake Gyllenhaal outside the theater for a Donnie Darko screening next to a picture of him in the movie leaving the movie theater. Because so much of the slide show was of different actors at special screenings, I didn’t think too much of it. I saw the same image before Mad Max. It wasn’t until I got home that it hit me. That was the theater! As in, the theater in the movie was the one I was sitting at!! I replayed the scene on YouTube and the first thing you see is the big Aero sign. And that’s def the same interior. I found this out 3 years to the day since I moved to LA. A major shooting location from my all time favorite live action movie was 15 minutes away from my apartment this whole time. I woulda been there on Day 1 if I’d known. I feel like every person I know in this city has failed me for not informing me sooner. Anyways, moving on.

Similar to what I’m pretty sure I said about The Thing and The Great Escape, I’d been in the room as all the Mad Max movies were playing, but I hadn’t paid much attention. Mea Culpa. I do know Fury Road pretty well, but that wasn’t on the menu that night. So for all intents and purposes, I was watching these for the first time. A friend had warned me that The Road Warrior was really the only one worth bothering with. And it did look like some people may have only showed up for that movie out of the triple feature. I enjoyed the whole ride. But yes, Road Warrior was def the best one.

The first movie took a while for me to get into. The early car chases looked good, but I wasn’t sure why I was supposed to care. Toecutter was a pretty great villain and I enjoyed his screen time. It wasn’t until about halfway thru the movie (when they go on that family vacation) that I started to get invested, and I very much enjoyed the second half of the movie. But overall, the whole thing was pretty thin. That’s okay tho, because in the grand scheme of cinema, it just set us up for the superior film: The Road Warrior

Where Mad Max was a bunch of chaos and thrown together action sequences, The Road Warrior was cohesive and intentional. Every sequence that happened had a purpose. They were all calculated and incredible to look at. The world building is also massively impressive. Mad Max was still in a fairly realistic world. Road Warrior is that post apocalyptic world we usually associate these movies with. The jump in time isn’t that great between the two films, but the jump in the setting was huge. Certainly an action classic that’s gonna endure.

I definitely overheard people talking about skipping Thunderdome. Hell, even the dude that intro-ed the triple feature said he thought he’d be the only one there. If I’m being completely honest, I momentarily considered it. I was already having trouble staying awake thru the end of Road Warrior. There’d be no way I’d power thru all of this movie, and if I left now, I’d get home at a decent hour. But I did have a vague memory of bits of the film from the previous watch (that we’ve alreaady said doesn’t count) and I enjoyed it. I like weird and bonkers. So I stayed. I think it coulda done with less weird and more bonkers.

I actually really did like the first half of Thunderdome. Tina Turner’s character is fantastic. The fight in the thunderdome is one of the best action sequences in the trilogy. And yes, it’s insane. But then we go beyond the thunderdome, and we find the weird desert Lord of the Flies kids. That’s where it lost me. I don’t know what was going on with those kids, but I just wanted to leave them behind in the wilderness and go back to Bartertown. I think if we’d had the full film set there, it woulda been a batshit masterpiece. Instead, it ends up just being weird and dull.

At this point, it was now nearly one AM. Thankfully, the drive back was short.

The Matrix

Was trying to figure out what movie(s) to see over Labor Day weekend. No wide new releases. Some August graveyard stuff I could see, but nothing I needed to get in. Then I saw that there was a rerelease screening of The Matrix in Dolby no less. Best possible thing I could have picked to watch

We know this movie, yeah? I don’t need to explain it? I’ve seen it countless times, but it’s been years since the last one and never on the big screen. The film was simultaneously new and familiar to me. Some sequences on the big digital screen were like I was seeing them for the first time, as bits of dialog popped into my head just in time to mouth along with the actors.

The effects hold up. There’s a few of the more computerized ones that had a slightly less HD quality on the screen, but it still looked flawless. If anything, it was the dialog that didn’t age as well. For every iconic line, there was a clunky use of the word “computer”.

Really all I gotta say is if this is playing near you at any point, go! The first time I saw this movie was on a tiny little TV in the school library over a couple of lunch breaks. A giant screen with a killer sound system is the way it’s meant to be watched, and it makes such an impact

The Thing

Got a message from Arclight that my membership was renewing soon. That meant that one of my freebie tickets (goodfor their Arclight Presents retro series) would be expiring soon. Immediately go onto their site. I find a screening of Mad Max and cash in my ticket. Less than an hour later I get an invite for a movie trivia night that same day that sounds awesome. Then I noticed that I’d somehow missed a listing for The Thing, which I’d been wanting to see on the big screen (it gets a lot of play here, esp in the fall) and it was at a more convenient location. Switched over my ticket (and later found a Mad Max triple feature elsewhere, but we’ll talk about that later). You know, I’m really loving this whole end of summer new release graveyard because the retro screenings I’ve been patronizing have been rather awesome.

Alrighty so let’s take it back to 1982 with John Carpenter at the helm. We’re in Antarctica. Cutting right to it, some type of alien entity sneaks into a scientific base and starts killing off the scientists and taking their place. And by taking their place, I mean imitating them so accurately, no one knows who to trust.

Two reasons why this holds up and is still a rather terrifying film. First, the primary fear is of the unknown, especially not knowing who to trust. That’s a real world type of fear right there, and the implications run deep. Plus that concept has never been illustrated as vividly.

The second is the creature effects. Because sure, most of the time the alien looks like people, but that’s not the only form it takes. Now say it with me all together now: PRACTICAL EFFECTS! That is how to make your film timeless. This still looked amazing all these years later. There was even one bit (with Norris) that made my jaw literally drop, and I stared in awe thru the whole sequence. When was the last time a CGI sequence did that for me?

Sooooo yeah that was cool

Blinded By the Light

Writing this post scared me so much, I’ve put it off for a week. The problem is I was not in a good headspace when I saw it, and some of the plot points triggered some really anxiety introducing memories, and it put me in a weird mood for the rest of the weekend. Just saying the name of the film brought all of it back.

It all started the day before at work. Some stuff got my anxiety and stress levels really high, and I had a very hard time shaking it. Then I caffeinated myself to get thru The Great Escape, which left me with a headache and generally feeling icky. But the big stresser was that day I was at Universal Studios, trying to get one last ride in on everything before my pass expired in two days. Except everything had super long lines. EVERYTHING. So I got there and went straight for lunch, choosing one of the few healthy things in the entire park (the vegetable plate in Harry Potter world). It was disgusting. Afterwards, I was able to breeze thru the studio tour line thanks to a secret single rider queue, but I didn’t get anything new out of the ride. Lots of places were closed and only a couple new facts I hadn’t heard before. Kung Fu Panda didn’t have too long a line, so I did that and decided that I’d otherwise try to wait out the lines at the movie. Surely they’d be better in the evening, yeah?

Set in the 80’s an immigrant boy living in London dreams of being a writer, but his overbearing father demands a better career path. Feeling like an outsider in his home and his school, he’s introduced to a new friend: the music of Bruce Springsteen. The Boss is singing his life like no one else he’s ever known. It sparks his passion life and poetry and everything beautiful he can get his hands on. It’s supposed to be a feel good film, so why wasn’t it for me?

I’m not particularly a fan of Bruce Springsteen. That wasn’t the issue. The thing is, I know exactly how that outcast boy has felt, and I especially know what it’s like to hear a band for the first time and hear your life sung back to you. I’ve worn my headphones like armor and I’ve gotten all my strength to survive the day from music. For me, it was pop punk. Blink 182 was my gateway drug. I connected with their lyrics and felt inspired by their attitudes. That led me to New Found Glory, Good Charlotte, Green Day and others. I would listen to Good Charlotte’s self titled album in its entirety in the parking lot every morning before walking in to face my bullies. This movie took me right back there.

That’s not really a place I want to be. I think it was especially strong since only a couple weeks before I’d seen Blink 182 play thru Enema of the State in its entirety at the Forum, the album that saved my life. So watching the film, I was a mess of emotion and anxiety and then story points like the overbearing dad just hit me even harder. I did not leave there feeling good. Oh and then I got super hungry halfway thru the movie because of course the crappy veggie plate that I only ate half of didn’t fill me.

So maybe I’m not the one to properly review this film. I didn’t enjoy my time there, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good film. I just should have either skipped it or been in a better space when I went.

Oh and then I tried going back into the park. Lines were not shorter, and most of the single rider queues were closed. I just went home. I prolly shoulda stayed there all day

Blinded By the Light – \m/ \m/ \m/

The Great Escape

I’ve lamented the end of summer movie graveyard before. Releases are slow and weekends are long. Thankfully, I live in a town that’s rich with Hollywood culture, and there are lots of little independent theaters and venues that will show classic films. Just as I was thinking that I might have a sadly movie free weekend, I get an email from one such theater. This cute little independent in Santa Monica that I’d been meaning to visit would be showing The Great Escape. This is one of those “movies I should know”. I’d tried watching it once some time back (I think it was when I was making another round thru House and I wanted to familiarize myself with the Steve McQueen that House named his mouse after), but some movies just don’t work at home. I wasn’t focused and couldn’t get into it. As Friday night began approaching, I was worried about the nearly 3 hour run time combined with that previous experience. I was not gonna fall asleep. So I chugged a cold brew on my way out the door. I had the worst headache all thru the movie (this is why I avoid caffeine) but it was absolutely worth it. This ended up being one of the best movie watching experiences I’ve ever had, solely because of the movie itself.

We went straight into the movie, no trailers (although luckily on my way in I noticed their Mad Max poster and will be back there next week for their Max Max triple feature). As each famous name rolled across the screen, the audience erupted in applause. I dug it. An audience who respects the greats (that sure as hell would never happen back home). Other key moments were met with similar adulation as was the ending and end credits. Srsly excited for next week.

Anyways for those of you whose knowlege of film history is unfortunately lacking (hey, that was me a couple days ago), The Great Escape stars Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, Donald Pleasance, James Garner, Charles Bronson among others as Allied prisoners in a German camp during WWII. Each of them has a history of escaping their captivity, so they’re rounded up in a new facility with even more security. Of course they’re all instantly plotting an elaborate plan to escape. Even if they’re not successful, they can at least hope to occupy a large part of the enemy troops who would then be forced to round them up or fortify the camp rather than continue to fight in battle. Win win.

I don’t know what was wrong with my when I’d previously tried to watch this because I was instantly hooked from the first few minutes. This movie is timeless and holds up like it was made yesterday. There’s a great humor throughout the whole thing that’s delicately balanced with the darker events.

But mostly, I loved the characters. They were truly geniuses, showing some incredible ingenuity in their respective responsibilities in the plan. Plus their loyalty to each other and their cause was beautiful. I would love to have spent even more time with them than the short three hours we had together.

And I totally get the Steve McQueen thing. I was cheering for him throughout the whole movie, and immediately when I got home I played my McQueen DVD 4pack back in my watch queue.

Usually when I think about the best movie watching experiences I’ve ever had, it has to do with special circumstances around the film or the screening. This one I would consider among the best simply because the movie was that good, and it was shown in an environment where it was truly respected and appreciated. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly find me chasing down more screenings like this one

Ready or Not

If you’ve learned anything about my tastes, there’s a few things you prolly know. I love a good genre mash up, and I have a very high tolerance for twisted movies. I love gore and dark comedy, and if they’re together, so much the better. I’m always searching for movies that push the limits on both fronts, but it’s tough to get something that truly crosses that line for me. Ready or Not comes pretty dang close.

Grace (an incredible Samara Weaving) is marrying the man of her dreams and inheriting the crazy family that goes with it, the family that has built a gaming dominion that has made them crazy rich (emphasis on crazy). The wedding ceremony isn’t complete until the family gathers at midnight to play a game. Most of the time, it’s harmless, but once in a while, the “bad card” gets chosen. What’s the bad card? Hide and Seek. Bad enough on the surface, but even worse when it’s meant to leave Grace dead by dawn.

The chase is something that is as devilishly fun as it is deadly. The humor is black as night and there is plenty of blood to go around. It’s prolly more than most people can handle. Except, I’m not most people. My limits are pretty high, so for me, it was just kinda teasing that edge without really crossing the line. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every second of it, but I really hoped that it would take things just a hair further (or more than a hair, but that little bit of extra would have gone a long way).

This post feels rather short, but the film really is that simple and to the point. It’s a dastardly good time that is not for the faint of heart

Ready or Not – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Lemme preface this whole thing by saying that I recognize I am not the target audience for this film. The target audience is one of two people: adults who grew up with these books, for whom this was their gateway horror stories or t(w)eens who have yet to experience a horror movie and form whom this will be their gateway horror story. I am neither. I am very experienced in horror and want my films to be as gory and scary and terrifying as possible. What I was really in it for were the creatures. With Guillermo del Toro producing, I knew they’d have tremendous love and care behind them, and I stumbled on a video on Twitter (I think that one’s it) showing their creation and I was excited to see them in action. Except it turns out, they don’t get that much action.

Some kids investigate a creepy old house that’s haunted by a ghost who’s known to tell you stories–the last stories you’ll ever hear. Because kids in horror movies are stupid, one of them steals the ghost’s book of stories. Now new stories are appearing and these kids are disappearing. Spooky, scary?

Again, I was in it for the creatures, but most of them get fairly minimal screen time, which was a bummer. It was especially a bummer because the rest of the film was kinda boring. It’s kinda understandable how cliche and predicable this film was (again, it gets a bit of a pass as a “gateway horror drug”) but I just could not care any less about these kids. There was nothing particularly interesting about them, and nothing particularly unique about how they were handling their situation.

I shoulda stayed home and just finished my Salute Your Shorts binge

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark – \m/ \m/