“An American Pickle” is directed by Brandon Trost (The Disaster Artist, This Is the End) and stars Seth Rogen (Neighbors, Sausage Party) and Sarah Snook (Predestination, Steve Jobs) in a film that takes place over a span of a century. We start off by seeing a character by the name of Herschel Greenbaum. He’s immigrating to the United States, he’s got a wife, but when a factory gets condemned, Greenbaum falls into a vat of pickles and stays there for a hundred years. After escaping, he meets up with his only remaining descendant, Ben Greenbaum, also played by Seth Rogen. From here on out, the two get to know each other and slowly reveal their notable differences of how they go about daily life.
This movie was originally supposed to come out in theaters. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sony, who produced the movie, gave the distribution rights to Warner Bros., which lead to the film going straight to HBO Max, the new streaming service that has been around since May. “An American Pickle” is the first original movie to hit the service, although the film has been theatrically released in countries outside the United States.
The concept of “An American Pickle” honestly intrigues me, partially because I admire Seth Rogen as an entertainer. Whether he’s doing voices, maybe working behind the camera or in front of it, Seth Rogen can do no wrong. So getting to see two characters played by Seth Rogen was an oddly charming idea to say the least. Granted, the world has seen two Adam Sandlers on screen before in 2011’s “Jack and Jill,” which ended up being one of the most critically panned films of the past decade. Let me just say, I have not seen “Jack and Jill,” although I’ve heard enough about it to know that I should never witness it. But I am glad I saw “An American Pickle.” From the very first scene, this movie has this weird charm to it. It’s almost as if Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, and the directors behind “The Wizard of Oz” had a lovechild of some sorts. Of course you get some of the modern comedy flair in “An American Pickle” as well, but as I watched the movie, I felt like I was watching something that I couldn’t really get anywhere else. There seems to be an odd, but interesting blend of satire, heart, and informative messages about the importance of family and modern culture.
I got to admit, for a film that has Seth Rogen involved in one way or another, this is surprisingly light and sweet. It has its moments of commentary and controversial humor here and there, but nevertheless. Having seen some of Seth Rogen’s other work (for the most part), there doesn’t really seem to be much that warms the heart if you will. Not really much that feels calming. “Long Shot” comes close to being in that category though. In fact, a lot of Seth’s films seem to have a quick and snappy pace to them. And this one is no exception. Maybe that’s a Seth Rogen trademark, and I kinda like it. Although when it comes to “An American Pickle” I should not have been too surprised given how the film clocks in at around 89 minutes.
They say that if you talk to yourself, that is perhaps a sign that you’re crazy, right? Well, if Seth Rogen happens to fall into a pit of craziness, I’d say it’s worth it because he gives not one, but two likable performances. The two characters he plays can easily be differentiated even though they come from the same bloodline. They also feel like they have easily detectable individual personalities. I will say, Seth Rogen’s voice that he does for Herschel, the older character he plays, is almost on the goofy side, but it works for what it is. It’s like the rest of the movie, simply charming. It’s not supposed to be real, it embraces the fantasy factor, even though it does involve some things that are happening in our world right now. Such as our attachment to technology, vlogging, political controversy, and so on.
This movie is directed by Brandon Trost, who is a name that I am sort of surprised I have not heard so much about. Trost has worked with Seth Rogen for some time because he is a cinematographer on a lot of his movies including “Neighbors,” “The Interview,” and one of my all time favorite comedies, “The Disaster Artist.” However, “An American Pickle” is Trost’s feature-length solo debut. For the record, he has a brother by the name of Jason Trost who co-directed 2011’s “The FP” alongside him. “An American Pickle” on the other hand is a solo project. I really like Trost’s vision of this film. It’s incredibly wacky, super fast-paced, and it almost feels like a live-action cartoon, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I say that because if turn on something like “Bob’s Burgers” or “Family Guy,” there’s a good chance that they don’t waste a second using dead air. This may be a huge exaggeration, but “An American Pickle” almost feels like it belongs in that category when it comes to how it is paced. Granted, given how this is live-action, there’s a lot of time spent where dead air or beats are perhaps used, but once the movie starts, it feels like it refuses to stop. In fact, there are various portions of the score, composed by the legendary Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) that accompany this movie’s quick pace.
Looking back on this movie though, I will admit, I don’t know if all the commentary portions of the film will sit in my memory forever. I’m probably going to remember “An American Pickle” more for how good of a production it was despite being done by a first time director doing a movie without somebody else, and Seth Rogen doing two likable performances. Even though this movie does touch upon a lot of commentary that I liked in the moment, I don’t know if it will be something to be permanently implanted in my memory. I will also say though, even though the movie itself is fast-paced, and I kind of like that, there’s a lot that happens in a certain twenty minute period that feels like we’re getting to the end of the film’s second act lickety split. It’s almost as if the movie wants to end without diving into what could possibly be a moment to breathe. Although in all seriousness, I definitely recommend an “An American Pickle” and if you like Seth Rogen, you’ll like this movie. If you have a Roku or Amazon Fire player, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to get HBO Max, but it is available on other platforms including cable, Android TV, Samsung Smart TVs, Apple TV, and game consoles. There are ways to watch this movie, but because society is insane, we can’t have all of them.
In the end, “An American Pickle” is ridiculous fun, but it’s hard to tell at this point if I will remember it by the end of the year. Granted, it has the benefit of being the only original film on HBO Max right now, but still. I really liked Brandon Trost’s vision, and if he has any more solo projects he wants to tackle as a director, sign me up! Seth Rogen, per usual, is really good here. He’s a delight on screen as not just one, but two characters. Bravo! I’m going to give “An American Pickle” a 7/10.
Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I will be reviewing the movie “Summerland,” which I just saw in the theater. It is playing in some places, but it is also available on VOD if you want to give it a rent. I can’t say much about this movie, but something interesting might happen in my review. Just letting ya know… Be sure to follow Scene Before either with an email or WordPress account so you can stay tuned for more great content! Also, if you are interested, check out my Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “An American Pickle?” What did you think about it? Or, did you get HBO Max? What are your thoughts on the service so far? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
“Long Shot” is directed by Jonathan Levine (Snatched, Warm Bodies) and stars Seth Rogen (Sausage Party, The Disaster Artist) and Charlize Theron (The Fate of the Furious, Atomic Blonde) as the two work together while one of them, specifically Charlize Theron, tries to become President of the United States, although in reality this would actually never happen because Theron was born in South Africa, but still. While Theron is busy with her work in trying to promote herself as a likable candidate, Rogen joins alongside her as her speechwriter. Unfortunately for Rogen however, his journalistic background does not mix with serious politics.
I saw some bits of marketing for this movie before checking it out and honestly, it looked charming. The two leads are extremely likable so if you put them together, OF COURSE I would be there to see them on screen. If anything has been proven in recent years, if your name is “Seth,” you have a knack for comedy. Seth MacFarlane, Seth Green, Seth Meyers, and the main guy here, Seth Rogen, just because of your name, you are all SETH for life!
Aaaand, since my name is Jack, it appears that I’m not.
In fact, part of me actually forgets sometimes how much I really appreciate Seth Rogen. To me, it’s hard to point out a bad project from him. I even liked “The Guilt Trip!” I’m sorry, but it’s true! Even a formulaic and repetitive sequel such as “Neighbors 2: Sorority Uprising” worked for me. I love his tendency to push the barrier when it comes to comedy, as seen in movies like “Sausage Party.” I liked that movie so much that I saw it twice in theaters! I kind of regret not buying the Blu-ray when it came out, especially considering how I still don’t own the darn thing. In fact, his name helps me for his projects now, because Amazon has a show coming out called “The Boys.” I’ve seen and heard what it is about, but since I have a high dedication to movies, I don’t have much time for TV. Then I saw Seth Rogen’s name attached just recently, and now I want more of this project. It’s similar to another Seth, specifically MacFarlane. I am not much of a Trekkie. I like “Star Trek,” but I am not that religious to the franchise. Once I saw Seth MacFarlane attached to “The Orville,” the series had me hooked.
But we’re not here to talk about TV, we’re here to talk about film. So how was “Long Shot?” It certainly lived up to my expectations. I have to say that it certainly has a vibe of a Seth Rogen film while also being its own thing. Going into “Long Shot,” I have heard somewhere, I can’t remember the exact source, that this is a good date movie. I didn’t go to this movie with my girlfriend, in fact, to this day I can never say I’ve had one. Not that it matters, but having seen “Long Shot,” this is certainly a perfect way to describe it. “Long Shot” is a hip, cool, funny romantic comedy that really puts a lot of emphasis on the comedy. And by romantic comedy I don’t mean chick flick, it has a flair that feels very unisex going on masculine. Sex jokes galore, but luckily just about none of them feel cringeworthy or forced, which as a movie critic, is something that I tend to appreciate nowadays, especially when it feels like you have seen everything when it comes to comedy. Because comedy in movies, at least to me, has either become all sex jokes all the time, or physical mishaps that no pun intended, fall flat, or just plain cringe. “Long Shot,” much like some comedies from last year such as “Game Night” and “Tag,” sort of quenches my thirst like Gatorade.
I already dived into Seth Rogen as a person, but let’s dive into his character. I really like the direction which they took him, he’s a barrier-crossing journalist that leaves his job, which eventually leads to his working relationship with Charlize Theron. He’s not really that formal, which is something that he has to get used to overtime, which leads to a hilarious outfit change when his character, specifically named Fred Flarsky, travels to a foreign country and has to look presentable to a foreign audience.
As for Charlize Theron, I have to give a lot of credit, not necessarily to her performance, but everyone behind the makeup and costume departments of production. It seems like they had a lot of fun trying to come up with how Charlize Theron would present herself if she ever got into politics. It kind of feels like a stereotype, which really works for her character.
Speaking of politics, the president we see in the start of this movie (Bob Odenkirk) is actually kind of hilarious. Granted, there is not much to say about him, and he is sort of one-dimensional, but when he is shown early on in the film, his character reveals what he wants to do with his life. He wants to become a TV star, which makes sense as he was watching himself on TV early on. The more I think about it, the more I enjoy this idea for a singular motivation because you see all of these people acting in one thing or another and they play a president. You never think they are going to become the President of the United States, and now you have a president who wants to go in the realm of television. The more I think about it the more I go, “Yeah, that thing from the movie. Dope.”
And to be honest, I did not have many theories about “Long Shot” going into it. You know, aside from it pleasing me. Why’s that? Well, the movie’s title does not rhyme with “Avengers: Endgame.” But let’s say I had to go back and analyze any previous thoughts I had going into “Long Shot.” I didn’t think that this movie would become as serious as it did. I won’t say when, and I won’t say how, but this movie does become a fantastic parody of how politics works. In some ways, it really is all down to the marketing, and you can’t please everyone, sometimes including yourself. Charlize Theron has this plan to save the planet and not everyone in the world is onboard with it. As a viewer, I was onboard with the idea, but that has probably nothing to do with the movie and maybe more to do with my worldview. And speaking of worldviews…
This movie manages to parody on our media. It doesn’t dive too deep into MSNBC and CNN, but as for Fox News, it hits the organization hard. Granted, I don’t like Fox News, and I think what they did to Fox News in this movie is hilarious, but it also makes me think that this movie is going to piss some people off. I know some Republicans and they are nice people, but I wouldn’t take them to see this movie. Not that this movie is propaganda, but I would rather take someone who doesn’t watch Fox News everyday and bashes on the “fake news media.” And as for my thoughts on that, let’s just admit it, everyone has an agenda and no matter what organization you belong to, there are always guidelines and you are not always going to knock each report out of the park, let’s just be honest about that. Yes, there is a lady that is trying to run for president. And you know what? That’s not even the real propaganda of the movie, which I actually really appreciate. Although it does occasionally attack the Republican Party, the political system as a whole, and even Donald Trump. Because there is a line in the beginning of the film that I actually found rather funny when it came to Charlize Theron’s character wanting to run for president and guy pointed out that nobody wants to know what the president does to their hair, shortly after, he takes that statement back. I kinda like that joke.
In the end, “Long Shot” is a fun movie. In a time where President Orange is in office and he’s trying to get people to see less work from Hollywood, he ain’t stoppin’ me from prompting you guys to check this out. Well, then there’s “Endgame,” in which case, I truly wish this movie luck. The movie brought in a billion bucks for Disney, so yeah. I seriously wonder how much money it’ll lose, if anything. In all seriousness though, if all of your theater’s showtimes for “Endgame” are sold out and you don’t have any kids in your party, consider giving “Long Shot” a chance. I’m going to give “Long Shot” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! Pretty soon I am going to have my review up for “Shazam” and for those of you who don’t know, I got the opportunity to watch “Long Shot” for free, and the same goes with another film that is set to come out next week called “The Hustle.” For those of you who have seen the film “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” this is a remake of that film and I have passes on me for that film. I might go see it next week depending on whether someone decides to come along with me. Be sure to follow Scene Before with a WordPress account or email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Long Shot?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your favorite Seth Rogen or Charlize Theron movie? For Rogen, it would probably be “Kung Fu Panda,” which until recently, I might have never known he had a voice in, and for Theron it might be “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Let me know your picks down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
Alright fellow moron followers, it’s that time! We’re gonna talk about sex! And to do that, we’re not just gonna go over my thoughts for the movie “Blockers,” we’re gonna be doing a usual promo. Sex may be fun, hot, and climactic. You know, unless you’re Genevieve and Paul. If you’re Genevieve and Paul, sex is not all fun and games! It’s work! Hard work! No! They’re not f*cking porn stars! They’re in a YouTube series where they’re trying to conceive! Watch them… in “What the IVF?!”
“What the IVF?” is an all new series on YouTube that goes over one couple’s long journey to conception. Watch Genevieve and Paul as they deal with various struggles and small victories! As time passes, they realize, them becoming parents will only become a reality if they push themselves to the limit instead of just having sex and having a natural procreation method. Not to mention, getting injected with tons of needles. You can find the latest videos from Genevieve and Paul on the “WTIVF?” YouTube channel. Also be sure to hit the notification bell and subscribe for all new content! Their latest entry to the series involves a fertility appointment, and things just don’t go according to plan. If YouTube doesn’t satisfy you, check out all the other “WTIVF?” social media profiles and the series’s own website. All links are down below, tell em Jack Drees sent ya, and now let’s continue getting sexy!
“Blockers,” or C*ckblockers, as the promotional material implies, is directed by Kay Cannon and stars John Cena (Trainwreck, The Wall), Leslie Mann (Knocked Up, This Is 40), and Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad, Neighbors) as three parents who get together who try to stop their daughters from losing their virginities on prom night. Basically if you watch the movie, take the concept for “American Pie,” add in some elements of modern-day s*it in there, change the gender of the teens in a pact to get laid, and make the parents bigger parts of the story, and you get “Blockers.”
This movie is the directorial debut of Kay Cannon, who is mainly known as a writer and producer when it comes to her work in Hollywood. Cannon has written all three “Pitch Perfect” films, and produced the two sequels. I only saw the first one, I thought it was one of the worst comedies I’ve ever seen, even though a number of people seem to like it, but it certainly kept me from seeing the next two movies. Cannon also wrote several episodes of “New Girl,” which honestly, I need to still watch! They have reruns now, so I have a good opportunity on my hands. As I went into “Blockers,” I didn’t expect much, and my low expectations had partially to do with Kay Cannon, who I imagine, is a rather nice woman, but as far as I’m concerned, I didn’t like her s*itty movie from about six years ago. But hey, if were sitting in a chair in a coffee shop, having a coffee with her, I wouldn’t feel like I was tied to that chair. How someone is as a writer and someone is as a person are two completely different ideas! And luckily, in terms of how this movie was not only from the perspective of director Kay Cannon, but also the perspective of writers Brian and Jim Kehoe, it was so much better than it deserved to be! Seriously, from some of the advertising, I was somewhat convinced that this movie would be mediocre at best, but I walked out thinking to myself that I watched a movie where “American Pie” and “Revenge of the Nerds” had a lovechild! Is this movie a masterpiece? Heck no! But not only did I have a fun time, part of me feels that this movie goes over some very important themes. But before we get into why I’m craving this movie like ice cream, let’s dive into negatives.
First off, this movie has a ton of points where I nitpicked the hell out of it. I won’t go into extreme detail because it seems rather spoilery, but he biggest standout to me is when Ike Barinholtz’s character said he’s never watched anyone have sex before. My first thought after hearing that line was, “You’re a grown man who has impregnated someone, and raised a kid.” There’s not one point in your life where you rented something from the adult video store? I don’t know, That’s how he comes off to me. The more I thought about it, maybe he was just referring to in-person sex, but it doesn’t change how that original thought popped into my mind. Another thing I sort of didn’t like, is one joke that kind of makes fun of “Fast & Furious” and Vin Diesel. While it was somewhat executed well, audiences have seen a joke similar joke to that almost three years ago now in “Vacation.” Granted, that movie from what I heard was trash, but having promotional material, I imagine some people might watch this movie, witness this joke play out, and view it as perhaps less funny than if it was had “Vacation” never happened. I remember witnessing other various nitpicks, but I’ll be real with you, I can’t exactly recall them off the top of my head. It just goes to show how many positives there are in this movie compared to negatives.
Let’s talk about the three parents in this movie. You have the recently mentioned Ike Barinholtz who plays Hunter, whose daughter goes by the name of Sam, played by Gideon Adlon (The Real O’Neals, Z Nation). Hunter used to be married, but after reveals of him cheating on his wife, divorce happened. Barinholtz did a great job playing a very hyperactive, overenthusiastic, and somewhat aware dad. And by somewhat aware, I mean in terms of how teens communicate. This is something that the movie dives deep into. When the other two parents were trying to decipher whatever it was the teens were trying to say based on what was being typed out and shown on an accidentally left open laptop, Hunter was basically helping the two parents out with knowledge. To add some hilarity to the mix, Hunter treated the text reading like a puzzle, and some lines given in context to that were nothing short of lovable. I was totally able to buy him as a single parent and his connection with his daughter, especially towards the end of the film, was believable and charming.
Speaking of divorced parents, you’ve also got Leslie Mann’s character of Lisa. She is portrayed as this somewhat kick-ass, caring, and memory-sharing mother. She gave birth to a daughter named Julie played by Kathryn Newton (Paranormal Activity, Lady Bird), and their chemistry was totally believable. Mann’s character definitely delivers a fine performance of a parent who is somewhat concerned about the future of her child, and when it comes to overall concern, Lisa shines more than any other character.
Now we have an interesting character, and when I say that, I mean in terms of who plays him, not so much of how he’s laid out in terms of overall characterization. We’re about to talk about a little someone in this movie.
AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA!
How is John Cena in this movie? I’ll be completely honest with you, I don’t know. I couldn’t see him. He wasn’t anywhere in sight.
OK, I saw him.
John Cena plays the character of Mitchell, and he’s basically this overprotective father. His daughter goes by the name of Kayla, who in the movie is played by Geraldine Viswanathan. Out of each chemistry between each main parent to their daughter, this one was believable as well, but if I had to choose the one that is the least believable, I’d pick this one for now. Here’s why. I’ve done some research regarding this movie. John Cena is white, and he was born in West Newbury, Massachusetts. You’ve got Mitchell’s wife, Marcie, played by Sarayu Blue. She was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and she kind of looks like her family has an Indian origin. As for their daughter, the girl who plays her is from Australia. She might look like a mixed race child, but something feels off. Again, I’ll mention, most of my problems in this movie are nitpicks. John Cena though gives a great interpretation of a father and in some ways, reminds me of my own father a little bit.
Moving away from mature people, let’s move onto the movie’s three main teenagers. As you can see in the image above, they’re standing along with three guys, all of which you can probably guess are their prom dates. The three girls, Kayla, Julie, and Sam, have great chemistry and I buy them as best friends and dates to their boys. I’ll also have you keep in mind that part of that great chemistry may have resulted from the very thing that happened at the beginning of the movie. The film starts off with a montage in 2005, when the girls meet in kindergarten, otherwise known one of those times when you realize your life is about to go through a downward spiral of crap. The montage itself was sweet, effective, and illustrates the point that these girls are best friends maybe without having to make you question it. Their setup to actually plan on simultaneously declare their quest for virginity loss, might be a tad bit rushed, but you could also make the argument that they’re teenagers and teenagers often rush into things and I can totally get that. Maybe, and I’m not being sexist here, I would have believed this if the girls were actually boys. Because in real life, people usually think of boys talking more about sex and losing their virginity than girls do. In fact, this movie an interesting topic that I often think about in relation to that, which we’ll get to in a bit. But in all seriousness, girls, after seeing this movie, I want to know, would you say that from experience or personal thought that girls talk about sex and stuff like that as much as guys? Maybe in a positive light? I seriously want to know because this movie is honestly just making me think and I kind of want some experience or two cents from someone who would apply in the realm I’m referring to.
By the way, the girls’ dates were all pretty cool to watch here, but my favorite teenage boy in the movie has to be Kayla’s date, Connor. He’s played by Miles Robbins (The X-Files, Mozart in the Jungle) who not only does a great job with the character, but I also have to give kudos to the writers. The movie sets up Connor as someone who Kayla likes, but not as someone Kayla’s father likes. Granted, in some ways, it almost makes her father look like a dick, but it didn’t really take too much away from the movie. Listen to me, imagine if I were taking some girl to prom, I pop into her house, and the girl’s father looks at me and I have the hairstyle Connor has, there’s gonna be some s*it going down soon. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, but I’m not Kayla’s father.
Now let’s dive into this movie a little bit deeper and talk about how it tackles some issues regarding teens, parents, those kinds of people. You have many movies out there that might as well be quests to losing one’s virginity. Movies like “Porky’s,” “American Pie,” and f*ck, I’ll say it, “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Out of these movies, I’ve only seen “Porky’s” and “American Pie.” From what I’ve seen, I wouldn’t say they’re terrific. “Porky’s” almost seems like a good background movie in some cases, and “American Pie” was enjoyable, but I didn’t really connect to any specific character. Maybe it takes a couple watches, but I will admit, I didn’t enjoy that movie as much as I thought I would. Also, when it comes to these “virginity loss quest” movies, they’re usually from a male perspective. I will bring up that “Blockers” has all male writers, but the director for this movie was a female. To me, this brought an interesting balance in terms of what both genders thought of teenagers and sex.
When it comes to the parents, they’re obviously worried. John Cena comes off as very overprotective, not just because her daughter’s virginity is going to be taken, but perhaps even because it’s going to be taken by a guy whose hair probably doesn’t even belong in this world. Hey! I never said that! I’m not John Cena! Connor seems like a nice guy who knows that he wants his first time to be special, but hey, parents will be parents.
Leslie Mann is going through a bunch of worries when it comes to her daughter. She’s going to college soon and the mother is concerned of losing the kid she raised forever and ever. She wants her daughter to go to a local college and stay near her mother, but this girl wants to go to UCLA, and that’s just an upset to her. Oh yeah, and her daughter’s on a virginity loss quest, don’t forget about that! By the way, her daughter is technically the one to jumpstart this whole quest!
Ike Barinholtz, as mentioned, doesn’t even live with his daughter. Like Leslie Mann’s character, he’s divorced, but he lives alone without a child. And when it comes to his daughter, not only is he concerned about her being in this sex pact. He’s worried about her sexuality. Sam, the daughter of Ike Barinholtz, is gay. She’s going out with a boy. We actually see her worried about this and have a desire towards a certain girl later, but Ike’s character doesn’t have that knowledge.
This movie as a whole dives really deep into a ton of the main characters and unleashes little figments of their personality. It’s a sex comedy that doesn’t feel like a comedy where sex is bound to happen and it’s really all you think about. It’s almost more like “Revenge of the Nerds” in some ways because that’s a sex comedy, but it also dives deep into the characters and their own little individualistic traits to get you to care about them. There’s not many people who feel like they are just written on a page or cookie-cutter. This feels like a vision. Sure, it has that typical studio comedy feel, and it is complete with tons of Apple product placement, but the characters in this movie all have a chance to shine.
I will also admit, I was watching this film alongside my mother, and I was wondering how awkward it would be for the two of us. For one thing, I was not expecting much out of this movie, but also another thing is that I’m eighteen years old. I gotta say this movie came out at what might be a proper time for me. Relying on numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age for one to lose their virginity according to them is 17.1 (both males and females). Sex is something my mother and I don’t talk about, and why would we talk about it? What… benefit… is there to life… of having a sex-related conversation between a parent and a child? It’s gonna do nothing except make one of us want to exit the room! My mother actually reads this blog, and I’m trying to get inside her mind. What if there’s one day she finds out about me having sex? Sure, maybe when I’m an adult maybe that’s natural. OK, well, I’m technically an adult at this point, but certain members of society would probably still refer to me as a child or teenager. I’m willing to bet a number of adults know that teens, especially ones in my gender, think about sex all the time, but they always see us doing it as dangerous or horrifying. As a teen, I get why, but I feel like that no matter what gender the characters are, whether it’s the kids I’m talking about or the parents, this movie does a fantastic job of not only highlighting the thoughts of the young and the old when it comes to teen sex, but it also seems to add a nice touch by not choosing a side in this debate and calling one right or wrong. This feels like a film, not propaganda. I don’t know if it will open much discussion between kids/teens and parents about sexual activity, but maybe it will develop some along those lines with maybe close friends.
In the end, I honestly couldn’t have gotten more of a surprise from “Blockers” than I already have. “Blockers” feels like one of those movies that we as a society didn’t really deserve, but someone was nice enough to let us have it. I’d love to thank Kay Cannon for directing the hell out of this, and I’m sorry that I called your other movie a piece of crap. I’m gonna give “Blockers” a 7/10. Thanks for reading this review! Next week I have a week off from school, giving me more opportunities to go to the theater and see something. Maybe I’ll go see “Rampage,” “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” “A Quiet Place,” “Isle of Dogs,” we’ll have to find out! Also, be sure to stay tuned for my review for “Mission: Impossible II” which will be up by the end of the month! Stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, what did you think of “Blockers” if you saw it? Or, what is your favorite sex comedy? Me personally, I gotta go with “Risky Business.” It feels natural, the characters are great, and the music is awesome! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
“The Disaster Artist” is directed by James Franco (Spider-Man, 127 Hours), and is based on a true book written by Greg Sestero. This movie also stars James Franco alongside his brother, Dave Franco (Neighbors, Now You See Me), and Seth Rogen (Sausage Party, Pineapple Express). “The Disaster Artist” revolves around the making of the 2003 disasterpiece of a film, “The Room.” The book which this movie is based on is written by a cast member of “The Room” who played the character of Mark (played by Dave Franco here). So, essentially Greg is one of the main characters, and he meets Tommy Wiseau (played by James Franco) in an acting class. The two form a bond as time passes, which leads them to try tackling their dreams in Hollywood together.
I just want to get two things out of the way. I’ve never read “The Disaster Artist.” I almost picked it up once, but I put it back before taking it. However I did watch “The Room.” I managed to find it on YouTube and someone had a post showing the movie from beginning to end. I watched it recently and I TOTALLY see what everyone is talking about. From the cheesy and poorly written dialogue, the so-called acting, and the establishing shots of San Francisco that feel like something out of say, “The Golden Girls,” this movie is a mess, but it was so f*cking fun. The movie itself, is capable of having most of its viewers say it’s terrible, but at the same time, it kind of has a feeling that other bad movies don’t give you. This is more along the lines of a movie like “Batman & Robin,” where it’s bad, but you can also have some fun watching it because of all the cheese. It’s not like watching “The Emoji Movie.” For the record, that movie did not suck ass, it sucked EVERY ass. “The Disaster Artist” is like neither of those films. This is because “The Disaster Artist” is definitely one of 2017’s best films! Not only that, but it also has to be one of the most ironic films I’ve ever seen! “The Room” is in a word, abominable. “The Disaster Artist” is in a word, admirable. It’s amazing how “The Disaster Artist,” a movie based on the making of one of the worst movies ever made, specifically the kind where it’s so bad that you have to experience it, became one of this year’s best movies, a film so good that you have to experience it. And I did. I’m just gonna warn you, I’m gonna be digressing here, and it’ll be a matter of time before my actual review of the movie appears on here. And I know a reason why a lot of people are here is to read my thoughts on “The Disaster Artist,” not to hear about my personal life. So if this bores you, makes you want to stab yourself with a knife, encourages you to go on a killing spree, or makes you want to jump out a window, DON’T DO THOSE THINGS, and instead, either stop reading the post and rethink what you’re doing in life, or just skip ahead to the next paragraph where I get back on track. So let’s move on.
I’m a high school student currently living in eastern Massachusetts. It took me three weeks to see this movie. I wanted to see it right away, but I had other things going on at the time. Then “winter break” came, note the quotation marks, stating sarcasm of how my winter break lacked any time to sit down and relax. Due to a complicated schedule, I was somewhat worried that I wouldn’t get to see this. I did however once time was on my side, not to mention my father’s. There were barely any times available and the closest town I could go see the movie was Somerville. I don’t usually go to Somerville to see a movie, I’ve only done it twice. In fact, I barely go to Somerville period! But I did it, because I was committed. That and I had gift cards to AMC Theatres that I felt would be useful for an occasion such as this. Somerville is nearby as far as I’m concerned but I barely go anywhere that’s urban, I’m usually in the suburbs when I go to movie theaters. It’s easier parking-wise, it’s easier in terms of traffic, not to mention there are theaters that are closer in terms of distance and time. I like the AMC in Somerville better than some theaters I go to (except price-wise), but I think the auditoriums are nice and the sound’s amazing. Traffic and time to get to the theater weren’t an issue for my father and I. Parking almost did however. My father’s vehicle can’t fit in garages, and admittedly, I didn’t mention to him that Assembly Row, the plaza where the theater happened to be located, was mainly garage based. There is parking available in non-garage areas, but it’s a busy place, not to mention it was a Saturday night and the following day was New Year’s Eve. The unusual trip to Somerville, was worth it from the quality of the movie alone.
Out of all the films I’ve seen this year, this one is BY FAR the funniest. Not only that, but it also managed to be rather serious. One thing that I imagine some people who know about “The Room” might have expected walking into this film was the possibility that it might mock Tommy Wiseau to the tenth degree. The movie, in terms of its screenplay, makes almost anything Tommy does on screen hysterical, but I wouldn’t say it makes fun of him. Tommy, at the time which this movie takes place, is a mystery man. He goes on saying to Greg Sestero that he can’t talk about his interactions with Tommy to anyone. We as viewers don’t even know that much about his background. We don’t know how the money that went into the making of “The Room” appeared. It’s explained that this movie took $5 million to make. That’s what I recall the film’s screenplay suggesting, but according to IMDb it cost an estimated total of $6 million to make the flick. Speaking of IMDb, if you look at Tommy Wiseau’s page, it says he was born on October 3rd, 1955 in Poznag, Poland. According to the Wikipedia page dedicated to Tommy Wiseau, it says he gave an age in interviews after the release of “The Room” that would suggest he’s either born in 1968 or 1969. He claimed to have lived in France a long time ago, he grew up in New Orleans, and he had an entire family in Chalmette, Louisiana. Greg Sestero’s identically titled book, which James Franco suggested in an interview based on the words of Tommy is “40% true,” suggested that his brother’s girlfriend obtained copies of Wiseau’s immigration papers, which said Tommy was born earlier than he claimed. Rick Harper, AKA the creator of “Room Full of Spoons,” a recent documentary based on the making of “The Room,” did research on Tommy Wiseau’s background, coming to the conclusion that Tommy is Polish and originally from the city of Poznan. In November 2017, Tommy confirmed in an interview he was originally from Europe. The following month, he was interviewed by Howard Stern. He mentioned he speaks French and happens to be Catholic. While we may be progressively getting more and more information, the man’s still a mystery, and the movie does a very good job at telling that to its viewers.
Just for your information, the earliest this film actually released was on March 12th, 2017. According to IMDb, it was a work-in-progress at the time. I can’t say how much of the film was released to the public, if it wrapped it’s filming entirely, how much editing got done, none of that, but it was a work-in-progress. This was shown at the time to those who went to “South by Southwest.” The next release was on September 11th at the Toronto International Film Festival, and IMDb doesn’t have it labeled as a work-in-progress unlike the release for South by Southwest. The movie for what I recall, never mentions Poznan, or Poland in general for that matter. Despite the film lacking that detail, it does a fantastic job of explaining the total mystery that is Tommy Wiseau.
Speaking of Tommy Wiseau, let’s talk about him as a character, not to mention the guy who plays him. Tommy’s played by James Franco, who also directed this film. This is without a doubt, one of the best performances ever given by James Franco. As mentioned, Tommy Wiseau is mysterious, and Franco captured that quite well. Franco also had an accent that Tommy gave all the time, and he didn’t sound like James Franco like you’d hear in content such as “Freaks and Geeks” and “Spider-Man,” where does give passable performances, nothing groundbreaking, but you can still see that shred of Franco. Here, he turns into Tommy, giving perhaps my favorite performance of the year. There are a number of performances I admired in 2017. Some of my favorites include Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard in “Blade Runner 2049,” Ryan Gosling as K in “Blade Runner 2049,” Ansel Elgort as Baby in “Baby Driver,” Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in “Wonder Woman,” Tom Glynn-Carney as Peter in “Dunkirk,” Fionn Whitehead as Tommy in “Dunkirk,” Jayma Mays as Dana Sibota in “American Made,” and Holly Hunter as Beth in “The Big Sick.” I just saw this film, so this could change, but James Franco as Tommy Wiseau might be better than just about every single one of these performances I’ve listed. Am I overhyping this? I really don’t think so! It might be a tie between this and the recently mentioned performances by Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill until further notice. The future will probably provide more certainty.
In fact, in terms of direction, James Franco outdone himself as well! “Spider-Man 2” may be my favorite film with James Franco in it, but out of all the films he’s worked on, this may be the one which James as an individual worked the hardest on. All of the actors seemed like they had no problems on set while they played people who had problems on set. The film is well shot and well lit. In fact, towards the end of the movie, it actually shows “The Room” during its premiere, and not long after that’s over, we cut to two side-by-side moving images. One is actual footage from “The Room” and another is recreated footage, which was specific for this movie. That footage contained actors playing the characters originally played by other actors. Some examples include Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games, Journey to the Center of the Earth) as Denny (originally played by Philip Haldiman), Zac Efron (Neighbors, High School Musical), who played Chris-R (originally played by Dan Janjigian), Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher, I’m Dying Up Here), who played Lisa (originally played by Juliette Danielle), Dave Franco who played Mark (originally played by Greg Sestero), and let’s not forget James freaking Franco, who played Johnny (originally played by Tommy f*cking Wiseau). Is this my favorite film of the year in terms of direction? I wouldn’t say that, but it is close however.
Going into this film, I knew a lot about “The Room,” but based on various scenes, I picked up on some things I didn’t expect to pick up on involving “The Room” as a movie. You know how you notice an extended amount of the movie’s runtime, the characters are playing football? This movie kind of goes into that.
This movie is more than just something that’s telling the story of the production behind another movie. It’s also a story about friendship. As mentioned, Tommy Wiseau isn’t being mocked throughout this picture, and I really appreciate the film going in that direction because it made you understand Tommy as a person. Not only that, but this movie also has a major focus on Dave Franco’s character of Greg Sestero. This is almost a lot like “Lord of the Rings” in ways. Think of Tommy Wiseau as Frodo and Greg Sestero as Sam. Tell me that comparison is terrible. They’re there for each other, they respect each other, they even do a pinkie swear in the film, which occurs more than once to be accurate. As friends, they decide to make a movie together.
As Tommy and Greg make “The Room,” it’s clear that they don’t do know s*it on how to make a movie. When the two are trying to get cameras to shoot the movie, they decide to buy them, not rent them. While buying cameras isn’t exactly something that hasn’t been done for movies before, it’s traditional for people to rent them. Not to mention, when they’re asked if they want 35mm or HD, they respond saying they want both types of cameras. They’re lit differently, they work non-identically, and it might result in a weird final product depending on how things go. Overall, their friendship is shown in this film to the tenth degree and I love it.
In the end, “The Disaster Artist” takes an absolutely horrible film, and incorporates it into a different, astoundingly incredible film. The story behind “The Room” is honestly, a movie I never asked for, but once I heard about it, and saw the teaser trailer for it back in July, I was instantly in anticipation mode. On paper, this idea sounded amazing. As a final product, this idea is even better. Before I give my final verdict, I’m gonna let you in on a little fact. My dad and I saw this movie together, he went to see this film without watching, or even knowing all that much about “The Room.” He walked out of the theater alongside me, saying he enjoyed the film. So ultimately, you don’t need to watch “The Room” to appreciate this film. You can do it if you want to, which I must say if you do, is an experience, but it’s not necessary. However, I imagine at least knowing about “The Room” or watching it might add it a bit to the movie. With that being said, I loved this movie and it’s undoubtedly one of the best of the year. I’m going to give “The Disaster Artist” a 10/10. One last thing before I go on with a wrap-up, this movie has an end credit scene, so stick around after the credits if you don’t want to miss that. Anyway, thanks for reading this review, this is one of my favorite movies of the year, and speaking of that, once 2018 starts, one of the earliest published posts on this blog will be a countdown of my top 10 BEST movies of 2017. This movie will have a spot on the list for sure. I won’t say which, because it could change, plus I might go see one more 2017 movie in the theater and review it. That potential movie by the way, is “Downsizing.” One list I assure you this movie won’t be on, is my top 10 WORST movies of 2017, which I plan on releasing after I reveal my top 10 BEST list. Stay tuned for more reviews, and also stay tuned for those upcoming countdowns! I can’t wait to finally release them, because I have so much fun making them! I want to know, did you see “The Disaster Artist?” What do you think about it? Did you see “The Room?” What are your thoughts on that? Or, what are some movies that you personally think are so bad that they are actually good? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!
(FROM THE ROOM)
JOHNNY: I did not her, it’s not true! It’s bulls*it! I did not hit her! (throws water bottle) I did *not*. Oh hi, Mark.
You can laugh, you can cry, you can express yourself, but please don’t hurt each other. –Tommy Wiseau