Daddy’s Home 2: A Ho Ho Horrible Holiday ‘Comedy’

Daddys Home 2 follows the occasionally used formula of turning a comedy sequel into a holiday escapade. An almost always disastrous decision (just look at A Bad Moms Christmas), it will surprise no one to hear that Daddy’s Home 2 is a comedic flop. With the first Daddy’s Home being a mediocre and forgettable comedy, this installment had no intentions whatsoever in surpassing it.

Will Ferrell plays his usual man-child schtick, and Mark Wahlberg plays a tough guy. Together they co-parent a set of forgettable child actors, who are disappointed they always must do two Christmases. That’s when Ferrell and Wahlberg get the bright idea to do a joint Christmas, as well as invite both of their dads in on the excitement. Their dads unfortunately consist of Mel Gibson (a stereotypical racist) and John Lithgow (a mirror image of Will Ferrell). From here, wacky and predictable hijinks ensue.

The only clever bit in the film involved a below the belt jab at Liam Neeson and his typical style of movies. Apparently in this universe, Neeson starred in a terribly bloated action film called Missile Tow (Get it!). From my guess, this is some kind of holiday version of Taken or Non-Stop. Pretty humorous nonetheless.

Daddy’s Home 2 suffers from the same ailment as every other bad comedy. That being, it’s not funny. It’s constantly caught between trying way too hard to be comedic and not trying at all. Sometimes there are moments of slapstick humor that are painfully long, and at other times there are scenes where I’m waiting for a punchline that never comes.

And by the end of Daddy’s Home 2, few of the characters went through any sort of change or revelation. They’re all still horrible people, yet the film accepts this and just decides to end on a poor note. Nothing is gained from watching it. In fact, all Daddy’s Home 2 really did was shine a spotlight on the limitations of these actors and actresses.

There was one particular scene in the film that really rubbed me the wrong way, and I think it really captures the mentality of Daddy’s Home 2. It’s when the entire cast gathers at a movie theater towards the conclusion of the movie. Will Ferrell’s character stands up in front of a crowd and makes a comment on how everyone came to the theater with someone they love. Except, of course, one man in the back, who came to the movie alone on Christmas. Will Ferrell then makes a passing remark on how this man is sad, and somewhat pathetic.

Well, movie, Christmas for some isn’t so joyful, and is quite lonely and depressing. So, when you make a shoddy, low-quality, unfunny, sloppy joke such as that, you come off as a huge dick.

Bottom line, this movie sucks.

The Verdict: F

-Zachary Flint

Transformers: The Last Knight Review

What else is there left to say about the Transformers series? The films are long, poorly written, and entirely too predictable. Yet, they continue to be made, profiting more and more money with each sequel. Despite this unfortunate truth, I will attempt to honestly review the film all the same.

The film takes place shortly after the events of the previous installment, where humans are at war with the Transformers. And with Optimus Prime now gone, it is up to Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg) and a mysterious society led by an English lord (strangely played by Anthony Hopkins) to save the world. Our lead cast must now travel to the ends of the world to recover an ancient artifact with the power to end the war against Transformers.

To start, Transformers: The Last Knight is about as tired as a film can get. The story arch, action scenes, and overall sequence of events have become beyond predictable. I easily guessed what would happen next throughout most of the film, until the plot got so convoluted that I stopped caring.

There are so many characters shoved into this film that I found it hard to get invested in any number of them. We are never given enough time to get to know the protagonists, and the scenes dedicated to character development are written so terribly that it’s almost hard to watch.

To make matters even worse, instead of having the audience learn about the plot and story along the way, literally every detail of the film is spelled out in big chunks of exposition. At least forty-five minutes of the film’s runtime is solely made up of characters explaining things. It goes on for so long that I started getting confused with where the plot was going.

The story itself is needlessly long and bloated, with plenty of pointless characters and shoehorned action sequences. The filmmakers even attempt to throw in a lame, forced message about being a hero that is so ridiculously vague that it can’t be taken seriously.

The action is so nonstop, flashy, and on such an epic scale that, I’ve completely run out of awe for the effects. When you’ve seen the same flashy stunts and special effects time and time again, nothing is going to get you pumped up.

The climax of the film, in usual Transformers fashion, was filled with giant robots and soldiers fighting other giant robots. The visuals around this point became so cluttered and messy that I could hardly tell who was bad and who was good, everything just looked the same. A stunt here or there looked kind of cool, but most of the action in the climax was just more of the same from the rest of the film.

The ending of Transformers: The Last Knight is by far the most disappointing conclusion in the series. We get little to no payoffs for any of the characters, and are only left with that vague message about being a hero. Even for a Transformers film, this was a sloppy and rushed ending.

Transformers: the Last Knight was offensively bad on multiple levels, and was directed incredibly poorly. It’s an insult to the intelligence of audiences everywhere, who deserve a much better movie than this. One can only hope that Transformers: The Last Knight is tipping point for viewers, where the film series slowly starts to turn less of a profit for these dim-witted, asinine filmmakers.

The Verdict: D-

-Zachary Flint

Patriots Day Review

Patriots Day is a biopic film directed by Peter Burg and hosts an all-star cast, including Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, and Kevin Bacon. It depicts the Boston Marathon Bombing that took place on April 15, 2013. For those who do not know, two young terrorists set off pressure cooker bombs during the 2013 Boston Marathon, which resulted in the deaths of multiple people and injuries of many others. A large manhunt ensued to find the terrorists following the bombing.

Our film begins with brief introductions to all of our main characters, all leading up to the Boston Marathon and the bombing. The majority of Patriots Day focuses on the manhunt for the men responsible for the attack, as we continually shift focus between many different characters.

To put it plain and simple, Patriots Day is the kind of film the makes you feel proud to be an American.

Patriots Day asks, and answers, what it means to be patriotic. All too often we lose faith in humanity when horrible acts like this are committed. However Patriots Day reminds us that for every asshole in the world there are hundreds of good people. We the audience get to see the city of Boston work together and really care for one another in these tragic times. We see police working with citizens, citizens working with police, the whole works. It felt good to see a movie stating that there is still good, brave people in the world. People willing to help each other in a time of crisis.

At about halfway into the movie the film turns into a crime drama scenario. It’s a race against the clock to hunt down the suspects of the bombing before they get the chance to do it again. From here the film takes on many crime show stereotypes, but in the best ways possible. We get a few small chase scenes, some dramatic detective work, and other general stuff you see in popular crime shows. Some events and scenes were a bit predictable in this area, but my interest and investment in what was happening on screen never waned once.

Patriots Day does a good job at intertwining real video footage from the bombing as well as surveillance footage of the bombers. It gives the film an even more realistic edge to it. I know Patriots Day is just a dramatization, but the film felt very real to me while viewing. I could tell that the filmmakers did their best to make the bombing feel as real as possible, including a lot of very gritty scenes.

All the performances are as expected in the film. Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, and Kevin Bacon all give very good performances as Boston law enforcement officials. They all really added to how emotionally moving that Patriots Day is, especially Wahlberg and his poignant scenes.

Patriots Day ends with some monologues from the survivors of the bombing as well as police officers involved in the search for the terrorists. I felt this was both a good and fitting ending to the film. The survivors and police said some very strong and important words on terrorism, bravery, and caring for one another.  It ends on a strong and uplifting note that, like I said, was fitting to the tone already established.

If you get the chance, go and see Patriots Day. It’s a good representation of the tragic events that took place back in April 2013. It has some amazing performances by great actors, a strong message, and stays true to the source material. Patriots Day is a good choice in film for anyone with a strong sense of patriotism.

The Verdict: A

-Zachary Flint

Deepwater Horizon Review

I’ve recently noticed that with Hollywood dramas, particularly those based on true events, there is a certain level of dramatization. This almost always occurs so that the film can maintain interest for the audience. However, I believe there gets to be a point where, like Sully, the dramatization gets a little overbearing. Where drawing out the events starts to work against keeping the audience engaged and inevitably hinders the story. I at times felt this way with the film Deepwater Horizon.

Deepwater Horizon depicts events relating to a real-life oil rig that, on April 20, 2010, exploded due to a blowout. The explosion and the fire that ensued killed eleven workers, and began the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The film stars Mark Wahlberg as Mark Williams, one of the workers on the rig who experienced the explosion. Deepwater Horizon co-stars Kurt Russell and John Malkovich.

Deepwater Horizon, in some aspects, comes off as an overblown Hollywood drama. That’s where I believe most of the hate for this film will come. At times it gets very repetitive with the dramatic explosions, followed by bodies being thrown, followed by people onlooking in fear.

The film even got to the point where I could tell when the next explosion was going to happen. The music would build up, completely stop, then out of nowhere something else explodes. So the extent to which this bothers viewers will rely on how willing they are to suspend their disbelief for a film based on true events.

Despite the problems, Deepwater Horizon manages to be many good things. It can be funny, intense, emotional, and suspenseful. Those behind the camera really knew what they were doing and just how to make a compelling film.

The best part about the film are the great acting jobs from all the lead protagonists, especially Mark Wahlberg. His Southern accent and well developed onscreen personality makes him connect with the other characters very well. Kurt Russel is great too, as the stern boss who won’t take crap from the BP higher ups.

The dialogue written for Mark and Kurt is made to keep the viewer interested, even when there really isn’t anything going on. The first hour of so of the film relies on the cast and the dialogue being interesting, and it is! The content is witty and fun, and I already mentioned how great all the actors are.

All the action in Deepwater Horizon is filmed very well. So when things get intense, the audience feels right along with the crew. My heart was racing at various moments of the climax, even though it was a little predictable.

Anyone who loves Hollywood dramas depicting real events will like this movie. Those who’ve grown tired of overblown, predictable action movies definitely won’t enjoy this movie as much. As for me, I liked Deepwater Horizon in all of its overly dramatic glory.