Against The Crowd Blogathon 2017


If you've spent any time here, you know how much I love Dell and his blog. He and his co-host KG are bringing back one of my favorite events, the Against The Crowd blogathon! This is my 3rd year participating.(2015 and 2016) Here are the rules in his own words:

1. Pick one movie that "everyone" loves (the more iconic, the better). That movie must have a score of 75% or more on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you hate it.

2. Pick one movie that "everyone" hates (the more notorious, the better). That movie must have a score of 35% or less on rottentomatoes.com. Tell us why you love it.

3. Include the tomato meter scores of both movies.

4. Use one of the banners in this post, or feel free to create your own.

5. Let us know what two movies you intend on writing about in one of the following ways:
Comment on this post
Comment on KG's Movie Rants
Tweet me @w_ott3

Tweet KG @KGsMovieRants1

Now, I was ready to tear apart the live action remake of Beauty and the Beast then I saw it was at 71% and didn't qualify. I didn't think it was that low. (though it deserves lower) Since the Planet of the Apes trilogy just finished in spectacular fashion, trilogies have been on my mind lately, and one particular one is always hailed as being the one of the best: Toy Story. 

But you know what?

Fuck the Toy Story sequels. Toy Story 3 in particular. 





I'm supposed to feel nostalgic about this. I was Andy's age when the first Toy Story came out. I could relate, and I loved it. But now I'm an adult and I'm supposed to feel all weepy about the toys no longer being needed? Sorry. You offered nothing new.

Toy Story 3 follows the same basic formula but manages to be even more annoying than the 2nd film. Its villain is just Toy Story 2's villain in teddy bear form. It's all just a rehash of a sequel that already didn't work. Someone grows up and abandons a toy, someone gets taken, they must break them out, token barbie doll joke. Rinse. Repeat. I will never understand why this trilogy is so highly regarded when two of the movies are trash.

At least films like Finding Dory tried something new when using the same formula. Speaking of trying something new, let me bring you back to 1992 and a cartoon who dared to be different and got shit on for trying:

Rock-a-Doodle

Okay, I'll admit this film starts off on a really corny live action note and has a typical precocious child protagonist. But one thing it did that Toy Story 3 couldn't even dream of; it dared to be different. 

Rock-a-Doodle has some church bell sized balls. It has a magical owl that turns a boy into a cat. A singing rooster, a chicken who is essentially being forced to be an escort among other things. There's drinking and heavy themes. I can't think of a single cartoon that even comes close to being similar to Rock-A-Doodle and I'm surprised to see it has such a low tomatometer rating. This wasn't bad. The songs were catchy and it was creative. You know who can't say that? Toy Story 3

Thank you for reading Against The Crowd: Petty Cartoon Edition. Thank you, Dell and KG for hosting!

Thursday Movie Picks: Rescues

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves needs your help. 

Okay, I couldn't help it. To be fair, I didn't pick movies with damsels, but here are some films that I really enjoy where someone had to be rescued. 

1) The Martian

Watney gets left behind on a mission to Mars and NASA has to spend probably a trillion dollars to get him home. I loved the book and the movie, and you know what, I like that the HFPA put it in the comedy category at the Globes. Fight me. 

2) Argo

What's so amazing about this movie, a real life rescue mission about six Americans stranded in Iran in the 80's is how even though you know the ending, the film makes it feel like something could go horribly wrong. That's masterful. 

3) The Rescuers

The Rescuers: Down Under came out during my life time, but this one came out in the 70's, and I thought it was the sequel when I was a kid. I didn't realize this one came first. Everyone seems to love DU more, but I've always had a soft spot for Penny getting rescued in this one. 

Review: The Glass Castle

I'm not like you.

The true story of Jeannette Walls (Brie Larson, Elle Anderson, and Chandler Head at different stages) and how she grew up in poverty with her nomadic parents (Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts) before becoming a journalist in New York City.

Before I knew there was a movie in production, I read Jeannette's memoir of the same name after reading about another family forcing their children to live in poverty. I couldn't put it down, I finished it in one day. Jeannette Walls is a better person than I am, because I don't think I would've spoken to my parents ever again after leaving them. Once I learned a film was coming out, I was excited about the cast, but I had one fear: That the movie would somehow romanticize her experience.

And they did.

The Glass Castle gets the melodrama treatment that the memoir didn't have. Everything has been made to look "neater." When Jeannette was three, she severely burned herself cooking hot dogs, here she's about six or seven. When her father "teaches" her to swim (this time in a public pool, not a pond like her memoir) she's a pre-teen, where in real life she was around seven or eight. The children look cleaner, their house less severe, and the film omits the fact that they actually were in school most of the time. Their mother even teaches at a school they went too at one point, but that's left out so the film can have a big "we're in this together!" moment where the children make the decision to go to school themselves. 

Don't get me wrong, the movie does capture how awful that family had it when they didn't need to, but it's polished for moviegoers. It's not as ugly as reading it. They left out and changed so much of what made it compelling. 

That being said, the cast is really good. Harrelson and Watts are perfectly cast. Watts especially shows little spurts of Rose Mary's selfishness that the film didn't really go into, but was prominent in the book. 

Skip the film and read the book. It's far better.

Recommended: No

Grade: C

Memorable Quote: "I couldn't find a good one for you, so you'll have to write one yourself." - Rose Mary (Naomi Watts)

Ranking Don Bluth's Films


As I was writing my post on little seen 90's shows, I couldn't help but think of Don Bluth. He is a legendary animator who walked away from Disney and made his own films with varying results. I've seen all of his feature films with the exception of Bartok the Magnificent, a straight to DVD spin off of Anastasia he did. He didn't write all of these films, but he directed them. Here are my rankings of his films from worst to best.


10) A Troll in Central Park

I used to love this movie when I was a kid, but when I happened to catch it again when I was older it just did not hold up. One thing I always appreciated about Bluth's films growing up is they were a little creepy, and I liked that. But the animation in this one is creepy for all the wrong reasons. 

9) Titan AE

It may seem strange that this one is so low, but honestly it's not memorable to me at all. I think I actually remember more from A Troll in Central Park even though it's ranked lower. This one probably did what it was supposed to do, but it completely left my brain after watching. 

8)The Pebble and the Penguin

I'll give this movie one thing, it made the killer whales and leopard seals look terrifying. I find most penguin cartoons make them looks too cutesy even though they're the enemy, but this didn't even try to go for that. But the main character is annoying and it definitely shouldn't have been a musical. Those songs left just about everything to be desired. 


7)Thumbelina

Like I talked about in my 90's post. I'm sure this would not hold up if I watched it again now, but I bet it's unintentionally hilarious.

6)Rock-A-Doodle

I like this one. People call it a hot mess but it's so different and the songs are catchy. I still feel the same way watching it now. You'll be hearing a bit more about this one in a separate post. 

5) An American Tail

My husband have gotten into a few debates about this one. It came out in 1986, so he was barely one and I wasn't born yet. The sequel, Fievel Goes West came out in the early 90's, so both of us saw that one before going back to this. He prefers the sequel, where I always liked this one better. We have the same debate about The Rescuers vs The Rescuers Down Under, and again, I like the older one better. There's just something more beautiful about it.

4) The Land Before Time

Ahh, the original. Done before its million sequels besmirched its name. This really was a masterpiece to me as a kid. I was so bummed when my own child couldn't get into it at all. I remember Little Foot always getting on my nerves, even more so with the sequels (Yes, I watched about 5 of those before I grew out of them) but that never distracted me from how much I liked this one.
Though it's sad to me now for reasons I'll elaborate on when I get to #2.

3) Anastasia

This was Bluth's "Disney Princess" Anastasia was a beautifully animated film with a scary villain, an animal side kick, and just about everything else you could ask for. "Once Upon A December" is still one of my favorite songs to come from an animated movie.  

2) All Dogs Go To Heaven

You'd think I wouldn't be able to handle a movie about dogs literally going to heaven with how sensitive I am about puppy death in films, but I love this movie so much. But the thing that makes this and Land Before Time sad to me now is the voice actress Judith Barsi, who was tragically murdered at the age of 10, along with her mother by her father. She voiced Anne-Marie here, and Ducky in Land Before Time. I can't help but think of her. She didn't live to see either of those movies released.

1) The Secret of NIMH

The undisputed champ for me. I like the film far better than the book. There is something about this cartoon that still makes me gravitate towards it. It's probably because it's so dark, and I tend to like those types of things. But I liked how Mrs. Brisby didn't think she was brave enough to do anything, but ends up saving her family and many other's lives. Plus, the villain in this was freaky, and I appreciated that even more after finding out that entire part of the book didn't exist.  

Thursday Movie Picks: Summer Blockbusters

This week's theme from Wandering Through the Shelves celebrates everyone's favorite popcorn flicks: Summer blockbusters. There's so many to choose from, so I'm going to pick the ones that had memorable theater experiences for me. 

1) The Dark Knight

One of my all time favorite movies, I'll never forget the reaction of the audience when The Joker did his pencil trick. Gasps, "oooohhhhhs" then everyone clapped. I love moments like those, even if I barely heard the dialogue that followed.

2) The Avengers

I consider May a "summer" month. I'm in the super small minority that actually likes Age of Ultron better, even with its flaws. But I had so much fun seeing this in theaters, the audience about died when Hulk punched Thor out of frame during the big battle of New York. 

3) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I love the Planet of the Apes prequels, and I went with this one specifically because of the above gif. Everyone in my theater sounded like they were laughing nervously at this. Like okay, there's an ape, riding a horse shooting machine guns. That's awesome, but kind of terrifying, right? I think Koba may be one of my favorite villains ever. 

Bonus: Iron Man, not for my theater's reaction during the film, but during the mid credits scene when Nick Fury showed up. Someone in a perfect Sam Jackson/Dave Chapelle impression yelled out "A MOTHERFUCKING SHARK ATE ME" 

Review: Detroit

They're kids...

The Detroit riots of 1967 are the focus of this film. Mainly, the incident at the Algiers Motel is the focal point of the story. We follow a security guard, Dismukes (John Boyega) who is just trying to do the right thing and is caught in the fray. There's Larry (Algee Smith) and Fred, (Jacob Latimore) the former an aspiring singer who grab a room at the motel after being told they cannot go on stage during the riots. Julie (Hannah Murray) and Karen (Kaitlyn Dever) are the lone two white females that are stopped at the hotel. Greene (Anthony Mackie) a returning army vet trying to find work is also stopped among others at the hotel. Police Krauss, (Will Poulter) Demens, (Jack Raynor) and Flynn (Ben O'Toole) make their night a living hell. 

I always appreciate movies that teach me something new about a time in history. I learned about the Detroit riots, but never specifically what happened at the Algiers Motel. It's cruel and sadly still a possibility today.

History lesson aside, the film is quite messy. It's never bad. It's actually a very good film, however it feels like you're watching three different ones. A history lesson, a triller, and a rushed courtroom drama. The three pieces don't blend well together. It also has the strange feeling of dragging, yet also feeling rushed. At a 2 1/2 hour run time, this film his hefty and could've used some trimming. Yet the trial, the 3rd part of the film is wrapped up so quickly I can't decide if that was a bad move because I knew nothing of the lawyers or a good one because I didn't want to sit there for another half hour. 

Acting wise the film is amazing. The two stand outs are Algee Smith and Will Poulter, the former, an amazing singer (though it teeters on melodrama in a few scenes) who's entire outlook on life and his career are trashed by this one night. Poulter I'm so used to seeing as a goofy innocent dude that it was almost jarring to watch him as this racist piece of shit. It's nice to see Game of Thrones alum Hannah Murray get to flex her chops a bit too, and Anthony Mackie is always a welcomed presence. Boyega is also very strong, though sometimes I wonder what exactly he was doing there. (Yes, he's a real person but I was constantly wondering why the police and national guard allowed him to remain at the motel)

Regardless of the film's missteps, it's certainly worth a watch and features outstanding performances from a very talented cast.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "I'm just looking for work." - Greene (Anthony Mackie)

Thursday Movie Picks: Crime Families

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is all in the family. And these families all commit crimes together. There's a lot of really obvious picks here like the Godfather that I haven't watched in ages so I avoided going that route. Here's three I like.

1) Eastern Promises

This is one of my all time favorite movies and is firmly in my top 5. Semyon's family deals in a lot of shady things, mainly forced prostitution. 

2) Animal Kingdom

These Aussies are, you guessed it, also doing shady things down under. And they're lead by the wonderful Jacki Weaver as the matriarch. 

3) Oliver & Company

And to go a little lighter - a family of stray dogs that steal things. But they're adorable and one of them is voiced by Billy Joel so of course we don't hold it against them.