REVIEW: Finding Dory [2016]

“Just follow the shells” Even though Pixar’s first sequel Toy Story 2 equaled one of its best movies (many say both sequels did, although I’d argue Toy Story 3 pales in comparison to its predecessors), not even they could keep up appearances with Cars 2 and Monsters University. It’s impossible to hit as many homeruns as they have let alone go back to the well with an idea to hope lightning strikes twice. So after the aforementioned forgettable attempts at continuing fan favorites, anticipation wasn’t high for their return to…

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REVIEW: Vacation [2015]

“I’m as hard as a faucet right now” I smelled trouble as soon as Ed Helms was cast in Vacation as the now father-of-two Rusty Griswold. While the perfect surrogate for Chevy Chase‘s bumbling Clark in a remake of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, he’s a far cry from the character he’s meant to play in this half reboot/half sequel. I made the mistake of rewatching that first entry into the Griswold’s saga to realize it coupled with the equally fantastic Christmas Vacation prove Rusty was always the one family…

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REVIEW: National Lampoon’s Vacation [1983]

“Nothing worthwhile is easy. You know that.” You can’t blame the magazine for thinking movie-making was going to be easy after the success of National Lampoon’s Animal House. But does anyone really remember its two follow-ups National Lampoon’s Movie Madness and National Lampoon’s Class Reunion? I didn’t think so. Something about the latter must have hit someone’s funny bone, though, because screenwriter John Hughes—a writer for the periodical—would get another shot. This time it was in the form of a somewhat established property the producers knew could be successful as…

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REVIEW: Goon [2012]

“Probably giving some single mother herpes in the parking lot” Written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, Goon is their generation’s Slap Shot with Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) serving as all three Hanson brothers in one. Bearing more in common than a full stomach of bloody fisticuffs, each work also finds itself born from the minor league annals of hockey’s checkered history. Nancy Dowd wrote her 1977 cult classic in part from the stories her brother Ned shared about his experiences in Johnstown, PA while these two Canadian alums…

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REVIEW: American Reunion [2012]

“I snagged a pelt or two” Considering the American Pie saga pretty much paved the way for films like Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, it’s a fitting turn of events to see Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg bring the East Great Falls kids back for their thirteenth reunion. Wait, thirteenth? What happened to the tenth? It sounds contrived, but it’s also exactly the kind of stupid idea MILF Guy #2 (John Cho) would pull to relive the days of old and show off his glorious new ‘stache. The…

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REVIEW: American Wedding [2003]

“We should all be so happy” You don’t know how great it was seeing Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas) and Jim (Jason Biggs) shoot down Kevin’s (Thomas Ian Nicholas) latest attempt at the “taking the next step” speech in American Wedding. I love it when filmmakers—in this case stalwart Adam Herz steering the ship with his third director in as many installments—can mock themselves for the formulaic redundancies fans easily pick out. College is over and the East Great Falls boys have officially become citizens of adulthood. The only step left…

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REVIEW: American Pie 2 [2001]

“That’s a lot of flutes” Right when you thought Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) learned his lesson about manipulating the lives of his friends to compensate for his own insecurities, he does it again. Scared to go to college before becoming a man, American Pie followed his misguided pact to ensure his best friends would lose their virginity before graduation. One year later, American Pie 2 brings the whole gang back for a summer break meant to show their success in taking ‘the next step’ having since gotten sex out of…

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REVIEW: American Pie [1999]

“Suck me, beautiful” I’ll admit now that my love for American Pie is rooted heavily in nostalgia. Having first seen it in theatres as I was entering my own senior year of high school, the comradery of its band of brothers cautiously walking together towards graduation and manhood doesn’t quite resonate as much today at age thirty. My seventeen-year old self remembers the performances being a bit more honed and the scripting a tad crisper, but the one thing that didn’t change with an older and maybe wiser perspective is…

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The 84th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Shut up Ryan Seacrest … Like the studio isn’t going to reimburse you. Cry about it #Oscars12 And with a little Bisquick, the 84th Annual Academy Awards show began before the camera even entered the Kodak “Chapter 11” Theatre. The is he or isn’t he banned from the show star of The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen, did what he does best by getting interviewed in character and causing a scene. Ryan Seacrest appeared to be enjoying the joke of it all and remained quite amiable until the comedian…

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REVIEW: Armed and Dangerous [1986]

“I got my Christmas goose early” If a band like Atlantic Starr is singing your movie’s theme song, it’s a pretty easy guess you’re from the 1980s. To most this tag is a detriment but others wear it like a badge of honor. Armed and Dangerous is one such film, letting the likes of John Candy and Eugene Levy run with its simple comedic plot as director Mark L. Lester hones his action expertise in order to destroy a bunch of cars with a renegade sixteen-wheeler, rocket fuel, and guided…

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REVIEW: Taking Woodstock [2009]

“Like ants making thunder” Truthfully, I believe that the thing so many detractors point to concerning Taking Woodstock is my favorite part of the whole endeavor. I thought that the trailers did a very good job of explaining that Ang Lee was telling a story about the behind the scenes construction of the festival, using Elliot Tiber’s story of saving his parents motel and putting their sleepy little town on the map. If you want to see the concert and the music and the artists, rent Woodstock the documentary. Even…

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