South Park, The Streaming Wars: Going The Way Of Family Guy And The Simpsons

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Due to a water shortage in South Park streaming services crop up to try and find new ways to supply water to the townsfolk and turn a tidy profit.

This was not a good special and honestly makes me question whether South Park is starting to loose its edge. Recently I have been binge watching all the episodes of the show from the beginning and as such when I compare earlier classic episodes to this I have to say there is a noticeable decline in quality.

My main issues with this special is just how unlikeable everyone is. Both Randy and Cartman, voiced by Trey Parker, are not just being dicks but are deeply unlikeable. One can argue that this is nothing new for Cartman but it is for Randy, who is reduced to a one note cliché here. Honestly, since starting Tegridy Weed the show has really been running Randy into the ground.

Moreover, the commentary on streaming services, here being water distributors rather than tv and film, is paper thin and feels really quite off the mark. I have noticed some people say how angry and personal the commentary feels and they are then using this reading to imply that Matt Stone and Trey Parker are not happy at Paramount +, however, I think rather than that it is just a regurgitation of other tired complaints against streaming. Odder still, the complaints levelled feel like they have come out of the mid twenty tens rather than our current climate.

Overall, watchable but the decline is clear to see.

Pros.

It is nice to see ManBearPig return

A few good jokes

Cons.

Randy is ruined

Cartman is awful

The commentary doesn’t land

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Good Mourning: Machine Gun Kelly Is Talentless, A Guide To Over Indulgence

0.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Hot stinky garbage that shows that some people in this world have too much money and free time.

This film was only made as something to do in-between tours, and it shows at every turn. There is so much wrong with this film that I don’t even know where to begin, perhaps with a general warning that if you value your free time then don’t watch this.

I struggle to even call this a film, it is a series of barely connected scenes that read like the demented ravings of a habitual drug user. Clearly Kelly and his friends thought that they were funny so decided to make this as a monument to their self-love, however, what it is instead is a monument to how deeply unfunny and untalented they are.

This film has a series of toxic messages ranging from your stalker is the only one who truly loves you, to pressuring people into doing drugs in order to prove they are cool. Does Kelly care what impact these sort of ideas and themes will have on his young fans who folk to watch and then vehemently defend this film online? No, he doesn’t care, he thinks this film makes him look good. This is not true.

Kelly seems unable to act in this film at all to such a point that I question why they didn’t just write it so that he was playing a fictionalised version of himself, but that is giving this film too much credit. Worse yet is the series of washed up d listers who turn up for cameos, and perhaps the most sad are the friends and loved ones of Kelly who also star in this film perhaps as a means to satiate him.

The thing that annoys me the most about this film is the meta scene towards the end wherein the film acknowledges how bad it is and tries to get in on the joke. This does not make any of its other failings better and just makes it seem like the intent of the film was to waste your time.

Overall, perhaps the worst film of the year so far.

Pros.

It is not offensively bad

Cons.

It has toxic messages

It wastes your time

It only exists to stroke Kelly’s ego

The meta scene will deeply annoy you

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Flight Attendant Season Two: An Eight Episode AA Meeting

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The plot this time around sees Cassie, played by Kaley Cuoco, seemingly being framed for murder whilst also having to work through her alcoholism.

I enjoyed this season slightly less than the first, and though I do think there is still a reason for this show to exist and that the second season is not totally unnecessary, I do think that the show can do with improving if it is going to go onto a third season.

I liked that Max and Annie, played by Zosia Mamet and Deniz Akdeniz, were given far bigger roles and I thought it was a good idea to even give them their own side stories as well, it really helped to strengthen some of the weaker moments and to add some much needed comedic relief.  

The darker tone and the more intense focus on Cassie’s alcoholism is an issue for the show as far as I am concerned as though it is for the most part good character work it does become a bit too bleak and hard to watch at times, and last I checked this was a comedy drama series. My issue is that this season spent a lot of time focusing on these sad elements and that made it less enjoyable to watch.

Overall, the darker tone and deep dive into Cassie’s alcoholism makes this show hard to watch at times and makes you question whether it is still fun to watch, however, there is still enough good elements to keep you around.

Pros.
Mamet and Akdeniz

An engaging mystery

Fun to be had

The ending

Cons.

It is bleak and hard to watch at times

They give the alcoholism stuff far too much focus

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Orange County: The Definition Of White Privilege

3.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A young man, played by Colin Hanks, has his college/university  transcripts mixed up and so has to go to great lengths to try and get into his preferred institution.

Honestly, I think Hanks is the worst part about this film. He is playing the straight man throughout against everyone else’s craziness but he plays it a little too well and ends up coming across as stiff as a board. Jack Black, Catherine O’ Hara And John Lithgow all fare far better as his dysfunctional family, with Black particularly reminding me just how good he can be in the right role.

There is something so 90s about this film despite it coming out in the early noughties, it is very much of the Jackass generation and I think that is a huge part of why it works. Despite all of the zaniness going on at its heart is a story about a family that loves each other and I think it is this emotional centre that helps this film to be good.

In terms of the humour the film made me laugh a few times but was probably more hit than miss.

Overall, a fun breezy comedy film with a great turn from Black.

Pros.

Black

O’ Hara

The heart

The ending

Cons.

Most of the jokes don’t land

Hanks

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Emergency: The Responsible Thing To Do

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Two college students, played by RJ Cyler and Donald Elise Watkins, plan to go on a seven party tour, however, these plans are turned upside down when a drunken underage girl falls into their care.

This film really didn’t know what it wanted to be. The dramatic elements and the comedic elements worked against each other totally. The drama of the film couldn’t be properly developed as the film spent too long trying to be funny and takes breaks away from its seriousness to try and crack wise, and likewise the comedy is mostly ditched in order to try and make a serious point. Neither thing is done well due to the other.

In interviews, people involved with the film view the shift within it as some what of a subversion, going from what you would think of as a teen sex comedy into more of a political dramatic film with a message. However, it is not as clever as that makes it out to be, basically they have sex jokes for the first half of the film and then force in a bunch of politics in the second half to try and seem deep and to have a point. As you might be able to guess the message doesn’t really land and the whole thing just comes off as pretentious.

There are a few funny lines here and there, hence why the film doesn’t get lower, but for the most part this is a slog to get through.

Overall, nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is.

Pros.

A few funny jokes

A good message, though it is poorly communicated

Cons.

The message is poorly done and feels forced in

The film feels pretentious and smug

The opening scene about trigger warnings is cringey as hell

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The Valet: The Incredibly Tame Wilds Of Star On Disney +

2/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A starlet, played by Samara Weaving, pretends to go out with a valet, played by Eugenio Derbez, in order to cover up the fact she is having an affair with a married man.

Right from the get-go I felt like I had seen this film before, everything about it felt familiar. Some have praised this film for subverting rom-com cliches by not having the two actually fall in love in the end, but again I fell like that has been done before. Moreover, it is not a shock that the two don’t end up together as the film never really even hints at that, furthermore, in the current climate an age gap romance like that would prove problematic and there is no way Disney would do anything to be deliberately provocative.

Weaving has charm that is undeniable, and it really does feel like she is the only one who has turned up here. Derbez who was great in How To Be A Latin Lover feels flat and unenthused, he isn’t the only one either as the rest of the cast including New Girls’ Max Greenfield feel like they are just there for the pay check.

I thought the film was vaguely watchable as it allowed me to turn my brain off, but I would never really say I was entertained during my time with it.

Overall, below average but watchable.

Pros.

Weaving

It is watchable

Cons.

Most of the cast are sleeping walking their way through this film  

It is not funny

It feels obvious and overly familiar

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iCarly: i’M a USA Bae

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, is turned into a doll.

I actually found this to be a fun episode, it made me laugh a lot and I thought the idea of the sexy doll and the lets call it the medieval peasant doll worked well and I liked the message at the end that people are complicated and can’t be easily defined. When the episode first started I thought it was going to be a long drawn out lecture on left wing American feminist ideas, but it didn’t go that way as this show could not handle a topic like that with any proper reverence or nuance.

Moreover, I enjoyed the Freddie, played by Nathan Kress, b-plot wherein he worries that his relationship is in trouble so employs the help of a monkey to try and save it. Yes, the idea is gimmicky and there is no real need for the monkey at all but it al ends up with a sweet ending and that is enough for me.

A downside of this episode is that it brings back Josh Peck’s manager character really just to use him to set up the plot, and to remind us that he and Cosgrove used to star in another show together. I hope that if the show continues to use him it finds a more organic way to include him as currently it feels incredibly shoehorned.

Overall, a fun episode that is a markable high point for this season.

Pros.

The dolls and the franken-doll at the end

The Freddie b-plot

The ending and the moral of it

It is funny

Cons.

Peck feels forced in.  

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Senior Year: Is Rebel Wilson The Female James Corden?

3/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Rebel Wilson plays a seventeen year old who falls into a coma after a cheerleading accident waking up 20 years into the future and having to go back to finish off her senior year.

Prior to watching this I thought it was going to be trash, almost every red flag a film can give you was presented up front, a Netflix original, an adult going back to high school, cliched teens and finally the fact it starred Rebel Wilson. However, once I started watching it I actually found myself somewhat enjoying it and thinking that it wasn’t all bad at all.

The things I enjoyed were three fold, I thought the sentimentality was just right and that it managed to nail the emotional appeal it was going for, I also thought bringing back Alicia Silverstone, of Clueless fame, to play Wilson’s characters prom queen icon who has fallen on hard times was a stroke of genius, and finally the film features Sam Richardson it is very hard to go wrong with him.

However, by no means was this a great or even particularly good film. The mean girls rivalry between Wilson’s character and Zoe Chao’s Tiffany felt forced in and cliched. Moreover, the teen characters who become Wilson’s friends are all incredibly insufferable, they make constant references to contemporary political issues, social media and what it is not okay to say: to make matters even more on the nose in the final scene of the film one of these kids say that they are going to run for office- I groaned louder then I ever have in my life. I truly believe the trio of ageing male writers who put this screenplay together have no idea how kids talk, what they are interested in, or that not every single member of Gen Z is an activist.

Don’t even get me started on the ending dance number that feels like a throwback for the all the wrong reasons.

Overall, not as bad as you are expecting but still not strong.

Pros.

The sentimentality

Silverstone

Richardson

Cons.

All the teen characters

The ending dance number    

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iCarly: iDragged Him

2/5        

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

A bunch of pointless hijinks stuffed into an episode so that the season is long enough to meet requirements.

My, my in my last review I talked about how that episode felt like filler, well believe me I knew nothing then. This episode was a slog to get through and was the very definition of filler in almost every way. There is a flaccid a story about Carly, played by Miranda Cosgrove, and Spencer, played by Jerry Trainor, going on a reality tv competition together only for Spencer to suddenly become competitive and a jerk. Again this season seems intent on ruining Spencer as a character, before this episode these uber competitive tendencies had never come up so why did they now all of a sudden? Simply put because the episode needed some mindless drama.

The b plots don’t fare much better, on the one hand you have Harper, played by Laci Mosley, styling some drag queens for some reason. I did enjoy the absurdity of the Reece Witherspoon theme and how they each wanted to be Reece from different films, however, the novelty quickly wore off. On the other hand there is a Freddie, played by Nathan Kress, and Millicent, played by Jaidyn Triplett, story about a model UN meeting. I think this was the best of the numerous vying plots in this episode as it had a nice message of being yourself and not changing for other people.

Honestly, even with a few redeemable features this episode is not one that you will want to finish.

Overall, if the episode number is too many for the producers and creatives of the show to handle they should cut the seasons down and produce less filler garbage like this.

Pros.

It is not offensively bad

The model UN sub plot has a nice message

Cons.

The continued ruining of Spencer

The aimless feel of the episode

It drags on

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The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill And Came Down A Mountain: Looking For Love In Wartime Wales

4.5/5      

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

Two cartographers, played by Hugh Grant and Ian McNeice, visit a small Welsh town during World War 1 to measure local features, one of which is a large land mass that the locals say is a mountain -however the cartographers think is a hill. Hijinks ensue.

I think you can’t go wrong with young Hugh Grant, maybe Four Weddings but hey that was a fluke. Grant is at his charming best here and plays the tongue tied English man who of course falls in love with a local Welsh woman, played by Tara Fitzgerald, with gusto. You really end up caring about the central relationship but not perhaps as much as you do for the wider community who come together to turn there hill into a mountain. This is a community that has been ripped apart by war and suffering and to see them all come together to try and save their mountain is honestly heart-warming. There are a few moments wherein the sentimentality does feel a little sappy and American but for the most part the heart is just right.

One thing I would note is that it is pretty poor that none of the leading roles are actually lead by Welsh actors. The three leads are Irish and English. Now I am not going to go on a big rant about representation, but it is quite poor that they couldn’t have got an actual Welsh person for this film.

Overall, Welsh representation aside this film is a heart-warming delight.  

Pros.

The romance

The emotion

The ending

It is a lot of fun

Grant

Cons.

The lack of Welsh actors

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