If you haven't noticed, 2020 has affected - or should I say infected - every facet of our lives. One of the industries hit hardest was film and television. While, one would assume we are sitting on a backlog of movie releases shot as far back as 2018, our exploding need for entertainment may have prematurely drained that tank.
When Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon ran low on quality content, you noticed people's taste dipped to accomodate the need. Shows that no one would normally watch, became top 10 hits because we simply ran out of shit to watch. Movies ranked below 5 out of 10 on IMDB became Oscar worthy films as lockdowns grew and folks got bored.
So I made of list of the Worst Movies of 2020. These turds range from watchable to potential CIA ops designed to torture enemy combatants.
The Call of the Wild - Watchable on a cross country flight to distract you from the snoring dude next to you. But the CGI is outlandish. The dog is fake, the scenes are green screen, and you quickly realize this could have been animated film narrated by Harrison Ford, and it would have felt more watchable. There's a lack of continuity with Buck. He can seemingly pull off acts of superhero strength, but also get foiled by a fuckin' rabbit and quakes in his boots when anyone grabs a stick because he suffers from PTSD? This part of the book could have used a "Death Wish" twist where he sees red and just starts ripping these fools apart for threatening him with a measly baton.
Downhill - It's hard to watch Will Ferrell and Julia Louis Dreyfus simultaneously not be funny and not act well. It's a really long-winded way to see why money can't buy happiness. Boom, you've seen the film. Crisis averted.
Hubie Halloween - There's a few hilarious scenes, but they come at the dignity of yourself as to why you are laughing. It's because you're at the end of your rope. You...not the movie. You are old enough to remember all of Adam Sandler's characters and remember how funny they once were and realize those characters didn't age well. Hubie's character feels like a combination of Bobby Boucher, Macgyver, and Rainman. Setting another unrealistic example of a dude that would normally be relagated to a psych ward or assisted living facility, into landing the hot girl from High School. But, there's moments of brilliance, sprinkled in it that make it almost worth watching.
The Wrong Missy - It's funny...but if you met someone like Missy in real life, you'd call in an airstrike on whatever godforsaken town she's from. David Spade is just David Spade being David Spade. He has the acting range of a pile of lumber. Lauren Lapkus is just having a blast being obnoxious and I can't blame her. Why not? Get paid to be a horrible human? Sign me up! Nick Swardson looks like a used car salesman but comes packing some witty one-liners. That's about it. Watch it, but don't say I didn't warn you.
#10 Guns Akimbo - I had to watch this movie in 20 minute bursts. It felt like the crew got all hopped up cocaine and coffee and said "fuck it, it's time to shoot!!" It's got a lot working for it, but you'd be hard pressed not to get motion sickness or burned out on jump-cuts and inexplicably violent scenes that are seemingly unanswered by the world around them. Like if 3 cars were shooting at each other down the busiest street in your town, you'd likely see a news conference, right? Or if you lived in an apartment and you heard a bunch of furniture getting smashed around upstairs, you'd probably call the cops. If you are a fan of slickly shot films, go for it. You will love it. If you are a someone who does not dabble in opioids, you may not.
#1 The Kissing Booth 2 - My wife...she made me watch this 2 hour Hindenburg of a film and it took me days to forgive her. She brought up the fact that I kinda enjoyed the first one. Not falling for that one again. I don't know where to begin. I just hope Joey King doesn't get typecasted into trash like this from now on. She's better than this. Anyway, we are brought back to this coed private school for rich kids where the girls are seemingly forced to wear uniforms with skirts so short, butt cheeks are hanging out. Everyone is either 12 or a cover model. Oh, and the main character's sidekick just happens to drive a FUCKING GT350 SHELBY?! I harped on that for a good 10 minutes. Factor in the HORRIBLE acting, the glaring issue that she selfishly intervenes in her BFF's relationship, and that this girl magically falls for the new male model/senior that appears out of nowhere. Look, this movie screams white privilege, promotes selfish behavior, and is a fucking terrible concept to introduce to today's youth. They have enough problems. I can't unsee this thing. But you can save yourself. Don't hit play. Don't you dare give them a reason to keep this series going.
by Steve Figueroa
Movie Title: The 2nd
Main Actors: Ryan Phillippe (Shooter), Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers)
Synopsys: Baby diaper filled with Indian food? Yeah, kinda.
Look, there's nothing more I love than 'Merica and Freedom. And this movie has that by the truck load. But what it doesn't have...is a simple storyline to follow.
From the jump, you're under the impression that Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's joined forced to create the ultimate gun porn blowing it's load all over your TV. Within the first few minutes, you get introduced to who will obviously be good guys; Phillipe and his African American partner (and if you guessed he won't make it past the 10 minute mark in this blood soaked b-movie, you win!) So, after they are ambushed by a swarm of bad guys because they are assigned the detail of protecting some government official played by William Katt of the best show from the mid 80s - The Last American Hero!
So, his buddy is killed but you will have to assume this as even though the terrorist who emerged from the ambush vehicle to kidnap William Katt seemingly wanted to take him alive, there was a dude with enough fake explosives on him to level an apartment complex (btw whoever put that fake bomb kit together should be beaten with a hammer, it looks like they strapped water bottles of piss and fishing line to a clock!) who decides he wants to trade Vic Davis (Phillipe) his hostage (Ryan's partner John) for Jeffers (William Katt) and when he hesitates....the terrorist decides "ah fuck it!" and hits the button and this adorable little explosion went off. Reminded me of the time my wife decided to start the grill on her own and I heard this "woomph" and bright light flashed and all I know is came back with PTSD.
Fast forward after what you'll have to assume is another loss to Phillipe and he's gotta pick up his son from College. But, unlike literally every estranged father-son relationship plot, these two seem to adore each other! That one had to be Cabela's idea. Bass Pro shops snuck in a lot of Fishing references to make up for it.
He gets there and discovers his son as befriended the hottest girl on campus who happens to ALSO have a security detail. Because guess what? She's the daughter of a Supreme Court Justice! Isn't the timing of this just spectacular? I mean really? Now, I know what you're thinking, I'm about to give the rest of the movie away since this review is jam packed full of spoilers, right? WRONG.
For the remainder of this film, you have no idea why in god's name these people are trying to kidnap and/or kill this poor girl can't help but feel bad for his effeminate son who's too shy to just ask this girl out, and instead now has to get wrapped in some sort of international debacle where people with FUCKING ROCKET LAUNCHERS appear out of nowhere, to kidnap a college girl.
At one point, I had to rewind and double check I didn't black out and miss something because I was failing to see where the connection to the title and the storyline were.
The title is The 2nd. Which implicates this movie is about protecting the 2nd.
Yet the bad guys use every weapon in the US arsenal to force a Supreme Court Judge to decide the 2nd Amendment is unconstitutional because (and I forget where they mention it) but the CIA director's daughter was shot by someone who may have been exercising his 2nd Amendment rights. But it's only mentioned once and in passing.
Which makes you wonder what the hell was the point of setting all this up?!
Now, this entire time, Ryan Phillippe and his son are getting the living shit beat out of them by this band of hapless bastards from the 4 corners of the earth, causing car cashes, motorcycle wrecks, stabbings, and the like. So towards the end, his character looks like they filmed this all in one night and he legit looks like he needs medical attention.
Then, out of nowhere, we are snapped into a night scene of the Ritz Carlton in L.A. from a drone pilot who can't keep a straight angle or editor who has a slipped disc in his neck not to be able to level that field of view out. This would indicate we are going to go inside that hotel. But oh fuckety no we are not. We are magically transported into the obvious 20th century home with entryway stairs and a daylight scene where the last remaining henchman is waiting for the CIA director to teach him a lesson....about what? I have no idea...because he just shoots him and quotes this line about how three people can only keep a secret if two are dead.
Lastly, we're taken to the hospital to see what kinda swiss cheese Ryan Phillippe and his son have been rendered by their night of violence, only to find the son on oxygen and Phillippe in no sort of distress at all. Is he an Avenger? Do his wounds heal instantly? Why is the son all smashed up and the girl who brought all those troubles his way walks in like nothing happened. Leaving Phillipe no choice but to say "alright, have a good time you kids" and you think...ahhh yes, this catastrophe is almost over.
But nope... they got approved for 1 hour and 33 minutes and Ryan will be dammed if they are going to waste any of it.
So, as he walks out, he's greeted by SOME RANDOM RUSSIAN HITMAN and his henchmen! I had to pause and check the clock to be sure I wasn't being punked. But the dude says a cheesy line, Ryan looks around at this small army amassing in the hospital lobby and says "fuck it!" and roundhouse kicks the nearest guy!
The screen goes black, the credits begin to roll, and I immediately realize the director, producers, backers, distribution company, and everyone involved getting this movie out there did it just to mess assholes like me. People who sometimes take movies too seriously.
Sure, it's a complete Hindenberg of a film. Top to bottom. Shit explosions, terrible acting, the Russian loses his russian accent twice and it's obvious, and about the only redeeming quality of this turd bucket is the fight scenes which are pretty good.
I've seen better CGI in adult films and better acting in homemade snuff videos. But if you want to help Casper Van Dein get his career back, we gotta support these low budget movies because I think he really has potential as a action villain.
And Phillippe proved his chops in Shooter much better than anyone else could have imagined. So...kudos.
If you have $5.99 to blow and enjoy 80's shit-tastic action movies, this one is for you.
By Steve Figueroa
Back in 2016, the world was gifted the Korean Horror gem, Train to Busan. While many in the U.S. didn't get to see it until it's debut on DVD in 2017 by Well Go USA distribution company, it won fans and critics over with it's smooth delivery, slick editing, quick-witted humor, and gritty action.
Fast forward to 2020 and the studio decides to release a follow up to that incredible film. However, reminiscent of everything else this year - it started off ok, then just spiraled out of the control into a cesspool of CGI drift sessions, teen-smartassery, and planting the seed that the epidemic somehow put North Korea in a situation where they are seen as victors in all this.
Makes you almost wonder if there wasn't a little poli-dicking going on with the script to write that part in. But I'll make this review quick and easy to dissect.
If you are a fan of the style of zombie movie you got with Train to Busan - shaky camera, real humans, lots of chase scenes at a real train station - you will not like the CGI/Green Screen diarrhea you'll have to sift through in order to just enjoy a horror movie. This was just too much.
First off, you'll get the feeling that the guys from Fast & the Furious were brought in to consult on ideas on how to annihilate thousands zombies in a modified... KIA SORENTO!? GTFOH. I own one and I can't say I believe it would fair well in this situation. But in Peninsula, you are put through what feels like 40 minutes of Tokyo Drift style action, handbrake yanking, physics defying car stunts where thousands of zombies are mutilated by this Dom Toretto-tuned Kia. Piloted by what can only be described as a professional drifter, sitting in a rear projection studio instead of....say an actual street at all.
There's so much CGI, they could have just eliminated the use of humans and made this an anime and you would only lose about 20 minutes of human interaction.
Honestly, it ruined the entire movie for me. And don't get me wrong, I love CGI when used to fill in the blanks, or make slight corrections to a scene. But for this movie, it's CGI from top to bottom. In between the CGI, we find enough time for a small band of inexplicably well armed bandits who host a zombie-cage-death-match for money, using victims they pick at random. A clear rip off of Mad-Max. Director Yeon Sang-ho could have swung for the fences and gave the zombies squeaky toys for feet and it would not have made this situation any worse.
The final climactic scene made me want to tap out 10 minutes before the credits rolled. But geometry and cartoonishly bad symmetry left a terrible taste in my mouth.
The reason the world fell in love with Train to Busan in 2016 was that it felt real. This disease spread fast and you watched it real time. We loved it then and we would have loved it even more now considering our current state of events.
But, this film really went all in on the CGI to give the viewer the ominous feeling of dystopian nightmares that are pandemics. And I can agree the idea of a powerless city overrun by zombies is frightening enough, they could have done so much more with so much less.
The CGI aside, the acting is...well, it's par for the course. It is likely the saving grace of this film as you'd be hard pressed not to enjoy the hilarity that little Lee Re brings to the table. Pop Singer and actress Lee Jung-hyun plays the older sister and pro-drift teen, bringing laughs and insight into what it would be like to be a teen girl, big sis, and risk taker during a global pandemic.
Gang Dong-won plays the title character who enters the infection zone and sets off this insane chain of events in search of some crap for a gangster who offers top dollar. Which makes this movie all the more unrealistic as the team they assemble doesn't seem to have an incentive to help each other out of this mess in the first place. If someone offered you a million dollars to enter a haunted house and retrieve a bag of diamonds, wouldn't you wanna do it with a team you knew would be qualified and incentivized to get each other at least out of house? Not in this reality.
So, if you can ignore the cgi and plot-holes, Train to Busan 2 - Peninsular -isn't the worst thing you'll see this year. But don't say I didn't warn you.