Top 5 Underrated Animated Films

Hey Peoples!

What are your favorite animated movies? The Lion King? Frozen? Shrek, maybe?

Rather than harp on how great these films are (and they are), I thought I’d talk about 5 animated movies that deserve more credit. While not all of these films are perfect, they have moments of brilliance. These moments are definitely enough to deserve another look.

To show you what I mean, underneath each film, I list the element that makes each of these films worth a watch. Then, I follow that up with some discussion. And away we go!


5.) Strange Magic


Best Part: Unconventional Romance

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. What is this movie doing here? It’s got terrible reviews and was a complete bomb for George Lucas (yes, the George Lucas.) The bland cover songs don’t help either.

However, it’s the core love story that makes it worth a watch. Strange Magic is an animated re-imagining of Shakespeare’s “A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.” The movie is full of magic and misdirection. Charming romantic entanglements elevate it from its basic plot-line and characters.

The main love story is the one that stands out the most. No spoilers, but our heroine Marianne (voiced by Evan Rachel Wood) falls for the guy you least expect. This creates a really fun twist that benefits the movie overall. So, for the combination of good CGI-Animation, an assortment of average-but-nice songs, and a satisfying surprise, Strange Magic is worth checking out.


4.) Hercules


Best Part: Meg’s Story

Most people would say The Hunchback of Notre Dame is one of Disney’s most underrated films, primarily for its darker tone and bittersweet ending. I agree, for the most part. However, Hercules has one thing Hunchback doesn’t. . .Meg!

In my opinion, Marvel’s Thor films are better when seen through Loki’s eyes, rather than Thor’s. The story is more compelling, and the stakes are higher. The same goes for Hercules. After Hercules gets his goal of becoming admired by the world, there’s nothing left for him to do. That’s where Meg steps in. Without her, the movie would just fizzle out.

Meg is a slinky, sarcastic vixen who, despite her manipulation, cares deeply for Hercules. She’s not a typical good-two-shoes Disney princess, which already makes her stand out. But it’s her backstory that is so fascinating. In the movie, she pledges herself to Hades to save the man she loves from death, who ultimately ends up dumping her for another chick. Now, Meg is eternally bound to serve Hades. She gets the opportunity to be released, if she can just lure Hercules for Hades to destroy. Too bad love gets in the way.

It’s Meg’s motivation, it’s her goals, it’s her doubts, and it’s her sacrifice[s] that make this movie better than it seems. If you have seen Hercules, or if you haven’t, focus on Meg the next time you watch. I think you’ll find it to be a much more rewarding experience.


3.) Anastasia


Best Part: Soundtrack

I mentioned this movie’s soundtrack on My Top 10 Movie Soundtracks list, and there’s a reason it shows up again here. The music is amazing! Every song pops. The tracklist is so memorable, it makes up for the movie itself.

Anastasia is almost as good as a Disney princess movie. Almost. The heroine is likeable, there’s romance, and thanks to Bartok (voiced by Hank Azaria), there’s humor as well. My problems with the film stem from the animation of the characters. The art style is fantastic – when it pertains to the environment. It’s less impressive with the character models of Anastasia and Dimitri. Their faces just aren’t right.

But, luckily, where the movie stumbles in animation, it makes up for with its soundtrack. In fact, the soundtrack is so good, Anastasia is now a Broadway musical. Just take a listen to my favorite song off the soundtrack, “At the Beginning”, a duet sung by Richard Marx and Donna Lewis and you’ll see what I mean:

Next time Anastasia catches your eye, don’t watch. Just listen!

2.) Rise of the Guardians

Best Part: Jack Frost

If you haven’t seen Rise of the Guardians, this holiday season, it’s time. When I first saw R.O.T.G. it didn’t impress me. I found the character interpretations rather strange. A Russian Santa Claus? An Australian Easter Bunny? Odd, don’t you think?

That is, except for Jack Frost.

Jack was the sole saving grace of this film at the time. While few movies have utilized the character of Jack Frost (my favorite being Martin Short’s devilish version in Santa Clause 3), R.O.T.G. has the definitive version. Jack is charming and mischievous, and has a strong back-story.

In the movie he’s a teenager who falls into a lake trying to save his sister and becomes the cold mischief-maker that is Jack Frost. He joins the Guardians to help take down Pitch, a villain bent on bringing eternal darkness to the world. A solid plot-line that’s enlivened by Jack Frost’s involvement.

Another thing that really brings Jack to life is his voice actor. Chris Pine voices Jack, and he completely sells it. Due to the age difference, Chris’ voice makes Jack sound older than he is and he captures that sarcastic spirit that makes Jack so lovable. Honestly, he wouldn’t have been my first choice, but after hearing him, I wouldn’t want anyone else.

Overall, it’s one character that makes this movie well-worth a watch. Next time Christmas comes along watch Rise of the Guardians and try not to fall in love with Jack Frost!


1.) Megamind


Best Part: Love Story/Emotion

My #1 underrated animated film is this little gem that came out 7 years ago. Megamind is a criminal, and his movie is criminally overlooked. His case is a case of bad timing. In 2010, the year Dreamworks released Megamind, Illumination Entertainment also released the first entry in their juggernaut franchise, Despicable Me. Not only that, Despicable Me came out months ahead of Megamind. Both films revolve around two supervillains who undergo a dramatic change.

What works in Despicable Me is the familial bond between Gru and the little girls he comes to love. What works in Megamind is the romance. When I first saw both of these movies, I actually preferred Megamind for two reasons.

1.) There was a love story. Sure, Gru gets the girl in Despicable Me 2, but I never felt his relationship with Lucy (whose name I had to look up, I couldn’t even remember it) was well-developed or memorable. That’s not the case with Megamind and Roxanne Ritchie. These are two people who need each other. Megamind wants to be loved and Roxanne doesn’t want to be alone in a time where evil is reigning over the city. When Megamind disguises himself as a human, we get a glimpse of his own humanity and this shows the character for who he really is, which leads me to my second reason.

2. Emotion. We get so much emotion from these characters, it almost breaks your heart. When Roxanne discovers Megamind has tricked her, when Megamind discovers Tigthen is truly evil, when Minion (yes, ironic, huh?) worries about Megamind and their crumbling friendship, sadness is visualized so often. You really start to care about these characters because they care so much about what they’ve done and who they’ve hurt along the way.

That’s why I love this movie. It could be funnier at times, yes, but Megamind works far better as a animated dramedy than a pure comedy. The humor is sporadic and light, dashed over the drama at its heart. And this movie has a lot of heart. So watch it with fresh eyes and you’ll find a much deeper story lingering under a blue disguise.


What’s your favorite underrated animated film? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading! See you again, real soon!


Top 7 YouTube Channels

Hey guys!

Today’s post is going to shift focus a bit. I’ve been talking a lot about movies. Favorite this, underrated that. But I also like to watch YouTube videos. Don’t you?

I don’t tend to watch films on YouTube, but there are a few channels I love watching throughout the week. Today, I thought I’d present what I think are the funniest, most enjoyable channels to tune in to. Who knows? You might just want to subscribe!

But before I get to my Top 7, I wanted to give an honorable mention to one channel in particular:

Honorable Mention: WatchMojo

WatchMojo would have made my list (likely at #2) had the quality of their videos not dropped in the last year. I used to watch their videos all the time. They really are the definitive Top 10 list YouTube channel, so if you love Top 10s, definitely check out their older videos.

They also have an affiliate channel called Ms Mojo which makes up for some of the lackluster content. However, it doesn’t the change the fact that WatchMojo’s videos have dulled recently. They proudly proclaim they’ve been “running out of ideas since 2006.” I think they finally have.


Thank you for your patience. Your Top 7 List will begin momentarily. BEEP!

7. JelloApocalypse

This is a channel I discovered while I was making this list. As a huge Pokemon fan, I came across one of their videos titled So This is Basically Pokemon on my Recommended page.

I’ve provided the video below. If you’re a fan, please watch it.

It’s amazingly accurate, right? I’ve been playing Pokemon for more than a decade and JelloApocalypse totally gets it. He also does other videos in the So This is Basically line such as Overwatch and Adventure Time. If you really like the content, you can go to his Patreon page and help him create more videos just like these. Also, I recommend his short Welcome To. . .series. Welcome to YouTube is hilarious!

6. PhantomStrider

This YouTube channel is all about animation – Worst Cartoon Characters, Best Nick Shows, Worst Animated Sequels. If you want you’re Top 10 list on a strict diet of cartoons and kid’s shows, then PhantomStrider’s got you covered.

Now there are a lot of Top 10-based YouTube channels on the web (*cough*<Watch Mojo>*cough*), but what I like about PhantomStrider is his goodwill towards all shows. He knows his list is full of personal opinions, not facts. He may hate something you love and vice-versa, but as he says, these are just his “silly opinions.” He’s just a sweet Australian/Canadian (you read that right) who likes to talk about cartoons, including international cartoons.

If you’d like a peak at what he does, here’s a short video:

5. BlameitonJorge

BlameitonJorge is sort of an acquired taste. It’s an odd mash-up of List videos discussing lost media and urban myths. Basically, if you want to know about what happened to that episode of Ren and Stimpy that you haven’t been able to find anywhere or you’re really into that Japanese creepypasta someone told you about, then this is the website for you. Once you’ve seen what he has to say about “A Day in the Life of Spongebob”, you’ll never look at the show the same way again.

Here’s a link to one of his most popular videos, 40 Lost or Banned Episodes of Kid Shows – The voice-overs may often be a tad ominous, but the info is so fascinating, you can’t help but come back for more.


For kids grossing out over disgusting food, for teenagers struggling to remember the name of that popular 90s song, for people of all ages trying hard not to laugh at hilarious viral videos, this is REACT. It’s a channel decided to people’s immediate reactions to various aspects of pop culture, from movies, to music, to games, to television. Whether happy, sad, surprised, or just plain confused, we see all ages learn something about themselves and the culture we live in.

I mainly watch it for the segments titled “Do They Know It?” which are a series of videos asking millennials how well they know pop culture from the 80s, 90s, and 00s. They quiz adults on modern culture as well, but the teenagers give the greatest reactions. You realize how little they know about the time just before they were born.

There’s also another series in which REACT staff members battle each other to see how fact they can guess songs and movies. In that case, the inverse is true. I’m shocked at how much they do know! And how lightning-fast! Sometimes they know a song after hearing 1-second played. I can’t do that and I know a lot of songs.

What makes REACT so great is the ability to test your knowledge against your friends and family. In a way, it’s inteREACTive!

Try it out for yourself:

3. Dorkly

Dorkly is an odd amalgam of discussion videos with strange titles such as “10 Inappropriate Scenes in Kids Cartoons” and “7 Creepy Movie Sex Scenes that will Scar You For Life” and what they call “Dorkly Bits.” In these videos, they take gaming’s most iconic 8-bit characters, such as Sonic and Mario, and recreate their worlds to poke fun at them. These videos are so clever and so short too. Most are less than 2 minutes.

I keep coming back to Dorkly is because of their Pokemon Dorkly Bits. I’ve already mentioned I’m a huge Pokemon fan, and Dorkly does it right. They know Pokemon in and out and it shows. Here’s an example:

In addition to the Dorkly Bits, one of their most popular series involves a Pokemon trainer named Rusty who strives to become a Pokemon Master. However, his adventures are less admirable and more deplorable in nature. But they’re funny! Recently Dorkly has resumed his exploits in the Kanto region so check those out as well!

2. ERB (Epic Rap Battles of History)

Have you ever wanted to see Elvis Presley take down Michael Jackson in a killer rap battle? How about Batman facing off against Sherlock Holmes? If you answered yes, then ERB is the perfect channel for you.

Collaborators Epic Lloyd and Nice Peter take on the personas of dozens of historic and pop-culture icons, in a throw down of shady rhymes that will leave you gasping for air. Their name says it all – their raps are EPIC! Sadly, you have to wait for their seasons to start which often takes a year or so. Oh well, it’s worth the wait!

Note: Please be advised their videos often contain explicit language.

Here’s a link to one of my favorite videos:

And without further ado, my absolute favorite YouTube channel of all time. . .

  1. Screen Junkies

I am a certified Junkie! This is the absolute best movie-inspired YouTube channel ever. Hal, Dan, Nick, and the rest of the gang highlight a series of 3 weekly videos, each just as awesome as the last.

First, are there Honest Trailers, clever critiques of films that are quite funny and very truthful. You’ve probably seen at least one, but if you haven’t, here’s one of my favorites:

Next, is the Screen Junkies Show. This is a show hosted by Hal Rudnick who discusses best/worst movies and often-times interviews celebrities about their films. Once you’re hooked by the Honest Trailers, it’s a great way to get to know the group (and they’re awesome!)

Last, are Movie Fights. Movie Fights pits 3 members of the group against one another to debate such pressing questions as “What’s the Best Spielberg movie?” and “What’s the worst remake?” The videos tend to run over an hour, but luckily you can skip to a particular fight with links at the end of the video.

If all of this isn’t enough and you want a little more Junkie, you can pay $5 a month and access tons of content as a Screen Junkies Plus member. These are exclusive videos you can’t get on YouTube. That’s definitely a plus.

Overall, if you love movies the way I love movies, check out Screen Junkies. You won’t be disappointed.


So that’s my list. What are your favorite YouTube channels? Tell me in the comments.

I’ll see you next time!




5 Films to Put on Your Radar in 2017

Hello again, everyone!

Recently I compiled a list of movies I’m looking forward to the most this year and split it into 2 parts –  Part 1 and Part 2. Most of these movies are pretty high profile. However, there are many films that do not get the same attention, that get pushed under the rug and swept away with all the dust bunnies.

Well, I’ve dusted off a few of those bunnies and look what I found in their fur!  5 Movies that probably aren’t on your radar, but definitely should be!

Thanks bunnies!

  1. Table 19 

Summary: A romantic comedy about a woman who attends a wedding and gets stuck with the guests the hosts likely regret inviting.

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Steven Merchant, Craig Robinson


Radar Reasons: First of all, take a look at that cast! Lots of funny people. Stephen Merchant is a riot, and Anna Kendrick is a sweet, awkward charmer. Plus, it comes out this Friday, March 3rd! The reviews so far haven’t been great, but I still want to grab a seat at Table 19. I hope you do too!

2. Colossal

Summary: A sci-fi film about a depressed woman who can control the actions of a Godzilla-sized creature wrecking havoc in Seoul.

Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens


Radar Reasons: The trailer! Totally threw me for a loop. What seems like a typical romantic comedy becomes an intriguing film with a unique concept and limitless potential. It’s always a good thing when you’ve watched a trailer and still wonder what’s going to happen next. Will she use the beast for good or bad? Seek justice or revenge? Reviews so far are positive, so we’ll see how this one fares at the box office once it opens on April 7.

3. This Beautiful Fantastic

Summary: A fantasy film about a children’s author who strikes up a friendship with her mean, elderly next-door neighbor.

Cast: Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Tom Wilkinson


Radar Reasons: I like this one because it’s a fairy tale of sorts. And because it’s British. The smaller production value adds to the simplicity of this sweet, romantic fantasy. Plus, the fact that my aspiration is to one day be a successful children’s author makes me already have something in common with the lead character. This (hopefully) beautiful fantastic film arrives in theaters March 10.

4. Their Finest

Summary: A British comedy about the filming of a propaganda film that embellishes the truth surrounding the Dunkirk evacuation to enhance soldier morale during World War II.

Cast: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy


Radar Reasons: Ah, I did it again! Another British film, but this one’s more obviously a comedy. With a lot of wit and a dash of romance, this looks to be a fun British farce. And if you’re wondering, the reviews thus far have been positive. Note: The poster is the UK’s release date. It comes out April 7th in the U.S.


5. The King’s Daughter (also called The Moon and the Sun)

Summary: A fantasy film about King Louis XIV’s plot to capture a mermaid in order to possess immortality and his daughter’s attempts to save her.

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt, Benjamin Walker

Trailer: Not Available

Radar Reasons: When was the last time you saw a movie with mermaids?  If your answer is The Little Mermaid, then you’ve probably been waiting a very long time. I came across this one when I was compiling this list, and I’m glad I did. Based on the book The Moon and the Sun by Vonda McIntyre, The King’s Daughter looks to be an epic fantasy/romance/adventure with a bit of royal intrigue. It was originally going to be released in 2015*, then was moved again to 2016, but it now looks like it will finally come out this year. Flippers crossed!


Well, those are my 5 picks for this year. Are there any that pique your interest? What under-the-radar movies of 2017 should I put on my radar? Tell me in the comments!

Happy March!


*Source: Lincoln, Ross A. “Paramount’s ‘The Moon And The Sun’ Off Schedule, Release Set For ‘Same Kind Of Different’.” 20 Mar. 2015.


My Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2017 – Part 2

Hey guys,

I know you’ve been waiting all week for it, so here it is — Part 2 of My Top Most Anticipated Films of 2017 list! If you haven’t read part 1, here’s the link:

My Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2017 – Part 1

I’ve had a lot of fun compiling this list and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. Without further ado, here are my Top 5!


5.) Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Star Wars made a triumphant return with Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Now, the intergalactic adventures of Rey, Finn, and Poe continue! I couldn’t be more pumped!


I have been a Star Wars fan for over a decade now. Although I initially didn’t like Episode IV, once I saw Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, I was hooked. They just got better and better after that.

Wait, did I just say they got “better and better”? Yes, I did. Nowadays, I regret saying that I preferred the prequels to the sequels, but at the time, they were fun, visually stunning films that modernized the franchise. The difference in quality is more apparent to me now, but I’m glad those films existed. They brought the franchise into the 21st century and inspired a new generation of fans. If we didn’t have them, maybe we wouldn’t have Episode VII. Food for thought.

Regardless, The Force Awakens was stellar. I really liked the new characters, particularly Finn and Poe, and I’m very curious to see how they’ll evolve over these next two installments. Plus, it’ll be fascinating to watch what happens to Kylo Ren as well, being the big, dark enigma of the franchise.

Will it live up to the expectations? No clue. J.J. Abrams isn’t directing Episode VIII, so that could be a bad sign. Still, he didn’t direct Rogue One either and look how successful that was! With two well-received films in the pipe, I, and probably many other fans like me, are confident that this franchise will satisfy audiences for years to come!


4. Untitled Disney Live-Action Fairy Tale

This one doesn’t even have a title and I’m excited about it. If you read my 5 Fun Fairy Tales post, you know I’m a big fairy tale fan. We live in an age where Disney live-action fairy tales are all the rage (see: Cinderella, Maleficent, The Jungle Book, and Pete’s Dragon.) With one of them coming out in March (and maybe also coming up on this list?), Disney decided to stake out a date in July for this little question mark. So, why has it made this list?


The mystery! What else? We don’t know anything about it! It’s the possibilities, and the lack of any real information, that make this entry so intriguing. Some of these possibilities include Mulan, Pinocchio, and even Dumbo. /Film has compiled this list of other likely candidates.

While all of them would be interesting, I’m particularly intrigued by Cruella and Maleficent 2.  Maleficent was great and I’m curious about what she’s been up to. As for Cruella, although I always despised the character, she could end up becoming a fascinatingly flawed character. Still, I think it’s going to be harder to make her relatable than it was with Maleficent due to the whole puppies-as-coats thing. Besides them, Genie, Prince Charming, and Rose Red also sound good. And what about the live-action version of The Little Mermaid? And The Lion King, one of my favorite movies of all time? So many possibilities! Looking forward to the announcement. Fingers crossed!


3.) Kong: Skull Island

In less than 3 weeks, Kong is going to hit the silver screen. And it’s going to be big! Now I’ve never been a King Kong fan, but Kong: Skull Island looks really cool. Here’s why:


Tom Hiddleston. I’m a huge fan of Tom and I’m particularly interested to see how he’ll do as the lead in a big blockbuster like this. It’ll be some new territory for him and I hope he comes out ruling the cinema (Get it? King Kong. Ruling. Royalty Puns!)

The Trailer. The film’s action and scenery look spectacular! We’re going to get Kong right where we want him, in the jungle along with plenty of other wild creatures fighting for supremacy. Plus, nice use of “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Are we getting a throwback soundtrack? Maybe?

The only thing I’m not a fan of is the war-vibe the film is giving off. One of its posters is even modeled after Apocalypse Now. I’m not into war films and I only like M.A.S.H. because it’s funny. In other words, don’t give me Ape-pocalypse Now. Just give me the King! Still, the trailers have been explosive, and because of John C. Reilly, a little bit humorous, so maybe it won’t be too dark.


2.) Beauty and the Beast

Reread Number 4 on my list. This one should come as no surprise. Beauty and the Beast is one of the most enchanting and lovely fairy tales of all time. Disney is finally giving it a live-action face-lift while still retaining its classic, old-world charm. From the costumes, to the sets, to the special effects, there are many reasons why this film looks like another fantastic entry in Disney’s recent live-action re-imaginings.


The casting. We’ve got Emma Watson as Belle, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere. PERFECTION! I couldn’t have chosen better myself.

New songs. Turns out, we’re getting new material from composer Alan Menken, who worked on the Disney animated version of Beauty and the Beast back in 1991. One is a brand new song that will be sung by the legend herself, Celine Dion! With the lovely duet of the title song  from Ariana Grande and John Legend already released, I can’t wait for the rest of the soundtrack!

Disney. It’s Disney. Need I say more?

Kong: Skull Island and Beauty and the Beast both come out next month. Looks like March is shaping up to be a pretty good movie month!


Before we get to the Number 1 on my list, here are a few honorable mentions:

Wonder Woman – Sleek trailer. I like the casting of Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. However, D.C.’s not doing too well right now, so we’ll see how it fares.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Not a huge Pirates fan, but I have enjoyed some of the films in the series. Javier Bardem looks perfectly dark and creepy as a ghostly pirate. Yet the quality of the Pirates franchise has waned a bit since the original, so I’m not sure if this film will go over too well with audiences.

The Mummy – I really liked The Mummy with Brendan Fraser. It was a fun action/adventure film, perfect for a Saturday morning. I think that’s why I’m looking forward to this film with Tom Cruise. I keep hoping it’s going to have some of the fun of the Brendan Fraser film, but if not, it’ll help launch a really cool Universal Monster film franchise, so there’s that.


And now, my Number 1 pick. . .

1.) Thor: Ragnarok

The third installment of the Thor franchise is my Number 1, Most Anticipated Film of 2017. Why? One word. LOKI! Okay, well he’s the main reason, but I’m happy to say there are a few more reasons why I think this Thor is going to be something really special.


The Director. Taika Waititi is the director of the indie films What We Do in the Shadows and Eagle Vs. Shark (both funny, strange films that I recommend.) A sense of humor is something the Thor franchise is in desperate need of. While Thor: The Dark World had some funny moments thanks to Loki, once he *Spoiler Alert* “died”, there wasn’t much left to chuckle over. With Waititi at the helm, this could be the most surprising entry of the Marvel Universe.

Hulk vs. Thor. Who doesn’t want to see Hulk and Thor in a gladiator match to the death? We’re going to get to visit of planet of Hulks too? AWESOME!

Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster. A genius with a pension for games, crafting all kinds of challenges to conquer his opponents. C’mon, who doesn’t love to see Jeff Goldblum playing a charismatic genius? MORE AWESOME!

Finally, the mystery. Just like my 4th entry, there’s so very little information about this film and that’s makes it all the more exciting. We’ll hopefully get a trailer at San Diego Comic Con this year, but in the meantime, it’s fun to think about the potential of this one. Bring on the trailer, people! I want to see this puppy in action. November 3 can’t come soon enough!

Oh, and tell me you haven’t at least once substituted “Ragnarok” in the theme song to “Fraggle Rock.” Well, you’re about to. . .


That’s it! My picks for 2017. Will they be successful? Will they be good? What do you think? What movies are you looking forward to this year? Tell me in the comments.

See you again, same Grinch time, same Grinch channel!

My Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2017 – Part 1

Hey everyone!

Today I’m giving you my top 10 most anticipated films of 2017! It may be a tad late, but as none of these films have released yet, my picks are still good. I have to admit it was unusually hard coming up with 10 films that I really wanted to see this year. Unlike in past years, I found the slate of films very limited. However, there are a few I simply can’t wait for. There’s so much to say about these films, so I’ve split this post into 2 parts. Here are numbers 10-6. . .

10.) Justice League

To kick off this list, we have the most recognizable super-heroes in the world in the epic team-up, Justice League. Just knowing that we’re going to see Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg in the same film boggles the mind! That’s more than enough to deserve a spot on this list.

So why is Justice League so low on the totem pole? Two words. Zack Synder. Sorry, but neither Man of Steel nor Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice was very good, in my opinion. I don’t have much faith in Zack after these 2, primarily because of their tone. They’re too dark. Where’s the fun? Where’s the humor? Marvel has Tony Stark. Who does D.C. have?

Well, possibly, The Flash. The one bright spot in the Justice League trailer is Ezra Miller as the Scarlet Speedster. If you’ve seen the first trailer for Justice League, you can see that he is (hopefully) going to be the film’s comic relief. In these movies, we desperately need someone funny, and I think Ezra’s the one to do that. He may be the only thing that’s good about this super-hero team-up.

If not, may the movie be like him and speed to the credits!

9.) Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets/ The Greatest Showman

Now I know I’m cheating here, but these two films are about even on my anticipation scale. One interested me because it looked cool, the other because it sounded cool. Likewise, I know very little about both of them so I’m tentative to rank them any higher.

First: Valerian. This sci-fi film is based off a French comic book series published from 1967-2010. Valerian, and his partner Laureline, travel through time with a dose of humor and politics thrown into the mix. I’ve never read the comic books myself, so my official introduction to the series was really through the trailer. If you haven’t seen the trailer, please do. It’s stunning! The Beatles’ song “Because” plays in the background, delivering a hazy, stoner-vibe to the sci-fi action. Plus, hey, there’s Rihanna!

Overall, the special effects look fantastic and I love knowing that there’s an original sci-fi summer blockbuster to get excited about this year. The fact that it’s directed by Luc Besson, who directed The Fifth Element is a definite plus. Let’s hope Valerian is more that and less Jupiter Ascending.

Now let me introduce to you. . .The Greatest Showman! Starring Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, this musical centers on P.T.’s rise to fame and the subsequent creation of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus. Talk about weird timing! The circus is officially closing this year after 146 years in business. What a coincidence! Hopefully, the film will be a fitting tribute to the circus’s monumental impact as well as to its creator.

The reason I’m intrigued? It’s a musical, that’s why! This could have just been a regular biopic and it still would have been worth a watch, but the fact that it’s a musical greatly enhances its appeal. Hugh has a solid background in musicals, from his days performing The Boy from Oz on Broadway and then, more recently, in the film Les Miserables. Combined with a circus aesthetic, this could be the kind of visually-arresting showstopper that Moulin Rouge and Chicago were back in the early 2000s.

A mind-blowing sci-fi flick and a big-top musical. Which do you think is going to rule the cinema?

8.) Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me is a warm-hearted, funny, charming animated film that introduced the world (and me) to the lovable, goofy Gru. After a sequel and a prequel, Gru is back in Despicable Me 3, facing off against a new foe — Benjamin Bratt. Oh, wait no, sorry! I mean, Balthazar Bratt, an 80s child star who seeks WORLD DOMINATION! Not only that, Gru discovers he has a long-lost twin brother. . .Dru! Plus, the minions will be getting into some shenanigans as well.

PHEW! That’s a lot to digest! I love Gru, but even I think the film’s already a little top-heavy. However, the real problem I have is something that’s stemmed from the beginning of the series. You know how they say Marvel has a villain problem? The people love Loki, as do I, but they find Marvel’s other antagonists unremarkable. Outside of Gru, that’s how I feel about Despicable Me‘s villains. They’re kind of loony, without being overtly funny. I mean, I like Vector, but was he memorable? What about Scarlet Overkill? Or El Macho? The truth is I actually had to look up their names because I couldn’t remember them. That’s how little they stuck with me.

Maybe Balthazar Bratt will break the curse. Either way, as long as Gru’s there, I’m happy. Cue Pharrell!

7.) Let It Snow

No, this is not a Hallmark movie, although there is one that shares the same title. This Let it Snow is a film based on the popular YA novel of the same name. It focuses on 3 different stories, all centered around teens in love during the holidays. I read this book back in 2009 and I really liked it. Granted, the first story was the best, but I think it’d be fun to see all three stories weaved together into a feature film. Another Christmas film to add to my wintery collection!

Unfortunately, there is no poster or trailer yet, so it’s hard to judge a film like this. There’s not even a cast listed on IMDB yet! And it’s coming out in November! It makes me a little wary, but it should be a fun, romantic holiday treat regardless.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Another group of superheroes hits the big screen this year, this time, for a second round of hijinks. The Guardians of the Galaxy are back, and if you’ve seen the trailer, they look better than ever! More Laughs! More Action! More Baby Groot! It looks like a rollicking good time and I’m super-stoked for the next killer soundtrack. The first one was so good, I’ve listened to it many times. I can’t wait for more 70s classics!

Honestly, I think the only worry I have is the worry that everybody has about a sequel. Will it live up to its predecessor? But, hey, even if it doesn’t, a few great songs, some one-liners, and a couple of awesome superhero clashes in space will be enough. Just seeing these guys again is enough for me. As long as they stay true to who they are, it’s going to be great.

Summer officially begins May 5!


Next week, I’ll have my part 2 to this list. See you then!


5 Fun Fairy Tale Films

Hello everyone,

Love fairy tales? So do I! They’re short, deceptively simple stories that immerse you in faraway lands filled with princesses, evil stepmothers, and talking animals. In addition, fairy tales are “didactic”, to use the English term, which means they teach a lesson (thank you, college!)

Films often transform these fairy tales, making them more complex and mature in the process. Such rich source material lends to some fantastic film opportunities. Characters have back-stories, more formidable adversaries, and greater emotional range. Sometimes a wholly original tale is created. Through this constant reinvention, fairy tales continue to charm audiences young and old alike.

This list compiles some of the best fairy tale films over the last 30+ years. Like a house made of candy, these 5 fairy tale films are sweet and satisfying. So, nibble away!

5.) Penelope

This story is a charming, modern-day fairy tale that is so cute, it’ll make you squeal! Christina Ricci plays the lead character Penelope, a girl cursed with the nose of a pig. In order to break the curse, she must be loved by a blue blood, like herself. After meeting the scruffy, yet dashing Max, she learns that true love is just like her — so much more than it appears.

A twist on Beauty and the Beast, this is a wonderfully sweet movie about loving yourself, embracing who you are, and finding your voice. I recommend reading the book first (that’s what I did and I finished it in a day and a half — it’s awesome!), but if you’re not a big reader, then let this be your movie pick-me-up.

Fun Fact: Reese Witherspoon not only appears in the film; she also has a producing credit!

4.) Howl’s Moving Castle

Hayao Miyazaki. If that name means anything to you, you’ve hopefully already seen this movie anyways, so you can move on. If not, you’re in for a real treat! This anime film centers on a lovely romance between Sophie, a girl cursed into old age by a witch, and Howl, a handsome, yet vain wizard.

This is the movie that really got me interested in Miyazaki’s work. Since then, I’ve seen everything from his major films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke to his older, yet still wonderful films, such as Porco Rosso and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Of all of his films though, this is my favorite due to the beautiful love story at its core. Thematically, it comments on aging and war, but it does so with a big heart and a dose of magic.

Fun Fact: In the English version of the film, Christian Bale voices Howl (and he does a really great job of it, too!)

3.) Legend

No, I’m not talking about the Tom Hardy movie from 2015. I’m talking about a fantasy adventure film, 30 years its senior, starring Tom Cruise and directed by Ridley Scott. Legend combines the love story between a princess (Mia Sara) and a forest lad (Tom Cruise) with a classic fairy tale setting (that includes unicorns, dwarves, and yes, even fairies) to create this epic fantasy adventure.

What really stands out about Legend is the lush cinematography, which seems far ahead of its time. Not only that, there’s the earth-shattering performance of Tim Curry as the Devil. You heard me right — Tim Curry. . .as the Devil! He’s equal parts dark, sexy, and genuinely fascinating. Like he is in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, yet somehow, less creepy.

Fun Fact: There are two version of this film – the theatrical release and the Director’s Cut. I’ve only seen the Director’s Cut all the way through, and though it’s slow-moving, I’d still recommend that version over the original because of the extended Meg scene alone. However, if you want a good overview the differences, this post does a great job detailing them.

2.) Labyrinth

Since David Bowie’s death last year, there’s been a lot talk about Labyrinth, including hints of a possible sequel. All I can say is — it’s about time! Labyrinth is a trippy 80s fantasy about a young girl named Sarah who has to endure a dizzying labyrinth in order to save her baby brother Toby from the evil clutches of the Goblin King, Jareth.

I really like Jennifer Connelly in this film; there’s an earnestness in her character’s attempts to overcome her fears and to embrace her childhood. Yet it’s David Bowie who steals the show as Jareth, playing him with devilish charm as he tries to lure young Sarah into loving him. It may have been a flop initially, but just like Legend, Labyrinth‘s accrued a cult status over time that is definitely well-deserved.

Fun Fact: This CineFix YouTube video uncovers nine surprising facts about the film, one of which is that both Michael Jackson and Sting were up for David Bowie’s role. I’m so glad Bowie got it!

1.) Stardust

We’ve come to the cream of the crop, the best of the best, my absolute favorite fairy tale of all – StardustBased on the novel by Neil Gaiman, this is a thoroughly magical, whimsical, funny, twisted ends-of-the-earth fantasy adventure. It’s the story of Tristan, who promises the girl he loves that he will bring her a fallen star in order to win her hand in marriage. Upon finding the star across a wall to another realm, Tristan has the surprise of a lifetime when he discovers the star. . .is a girl named Yvaine! Together they embark on a journey back to his home, while eluding the threat of evil witches and greedy princes bent on using the star for their own selfish desires.

While I thoroughly enjoy both Claire Danes and Charlie Cox (of Daredevil fame) as Yvaine and Tristan respectively, one of the stand-out performances here is from Robert De Niro, who plays a pirate with a surprising secret. I also really enjoyed Mark Strong as Septimus and Michelle Pfeiffer is the perfect choice to play the villainous Lamia.

In my eyes, fairy tales reach their pinnacle with Stardust. I hope to see other films that soar this high in the near future.

Fun Fact: Stardust has garnered some very interesting awards, including Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy at the 2008 Empire Awards and Overlooked Film of the Year at the 2007 Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards.

What do you think? What’s your favorite fairy tale film? If you love these movies as much as I do, tell me about it in the comments.

Sweet dreams!

5 Comedians I’d Like to See Make a Big-Screen Comeback

Hey guys!

We’ve seen it happen before. John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler, Michael Keaton in Birdman. Movies that brought back some of Hollywood’s big hitters and gave them another shot at stardom, with varying levels of success. Since I’m more of a comedy fan, I decided to compile a list of 5 comedic actors I’d like to see make a similar return to the silver screen. I’ll tell you why I’d like to see them back and what I think would be a great movie for them to return in. Without further ado, here are my picks:

5.  Johnny Knoxville

To kick off this list, we’ve got someone who’s been kicked in the nuts countless times. It’s Johnny Knoxville! I’ve always been a big fan of the insanely painful stunts from the show Jackass and its subsequent films. And Johnny was always my favorite. As Jackass‘s poster boy, Johnny took the hits like the best of ’em and even managed to carve out an acting career. His credits include The Dukes of Hazzard, The Ringer (a very underrated film), and Bad Grandpa (which is actually quite funny, smart, and sweet, surprisingly.)

Honestly, I think Johnny’s a really good actor. Not too long ago I was fortunate enough to see him in the buddy-comedy-action film Skiptrace, where he co-starred with Jackie Chan. If you’re a Johnny Knoxville or Jackie Chan fan, I’d definitely recommend it. Johnny cracks a lot of zingers and Jackie’s action sequences are solid too. But again, another underrated film. I’d love to see Johnny get a big role that gives him the success that some of the other comedians on this list have received. He’s filmed two movies recently (Above Suspicion, Weightless) and while neither are comedies, maybe these will put Johnny in a different trajectory for stardom.

What I’d love to see Johnny in: Despite the fact that Johnny might be changing course, I’d think it’d be fun to seem him in another film like Bad Grandpa, where the reactions of the people are real, but the events are fictitious. Still, I think I’d most want to see him do another comedy like The Ringer, that mixes humor and romance, and gives Johnny a chance to show another side to him.

4. Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane is not for everyone. His humor is sick, it’s twisted, it’s crude, but you know what? I like him. He’s cheeky, he’s irreverent, and then he does things that are totally out of the box — such as do a few well-received crooning albums. And a Christmas one (which I just happen to own!)

While his televisions shows have been popular, Seth’s transition to film has been a little rocky. Ted was a huge success for Seth. Well, his voice anyway. His face hasn’t proven so successful on-screen. When he actually did appear in a film  (it was so nice to finally see his handsome face), it was in the commercial flop A Million Ways to Die in the West. Then, after realizing his voices were more well-received, Seth went behind the camera again for Ted 2. Since then, nothing. To me, all of these movies had their moments and it showed a guy who wasn’t afraid to show a sweet, even corny side amidst all the dirty jokes.

What I’d love to see Seth in: a movie he has in the works called Logan Lucky sounds like a fun movie to get him back on track. The race track! The synopsis on IMDB says, “Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina.” It also stars Adam Driver, Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, and Sebastian Stan. Looking forward to that!

3. Mike Myers

The man behind Shrek, Wayne Campbell, and Austin Powers. And. . .that’s it. Well, as far as film success goes. Mike tried films like The Cat in the Hat, The Love Guru, and View from the Top, but they just weren’t as well-received as his 3 main men (well, 2 men and 1 ogre.)

Of course, Mike Myers is an SNL giant. His time on Saturday Night was hilarious, and it launched his career into super-stardom. His characters differed wildly, from Simon (who likes to do drawings!) to Dieter (from “Sprockets”) to even Linda Richman (from “Coffee Talk.”) He’s done so much in his career, he doesn’t have to do anymore. Yet, I would just love to see Mike return. As a child, he always made me laugh and as far as Canadian comedians, there was only one person above him (coming up on this list!) With talk of a fourth Austin Powers film and a 5th Shrek film on the rise, I’m getting pretty excited that Mike could come back in a big way.

What I’d love to see Mike in: Austin. Just bring back Austin. And the world will be right again.

2. Jim Carrey

Am I really having to talk about Jim Carrey? The man who defined my childhood with Ace Ventura, The Mask, Liar Liar, Batman Forever, and of course, How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Are you serious? Alas, that is what the 21st century has done to the man of a 1,000 faces. It saddens me to think that Jim Carrey isn’t in the spotlight right now. He should be.

Throughout my childhood, Jim Carrey was everything when it came to comedy. If you asked me who my favorite actor was (before I was really familiar with Johnny Depp’s work), I would have told you Jim Carrey. In fact, I wanted to marry Jim Carrey (and Mike Myers, and Bob Saget, and Rowan Atkinson, but I digress.) I loved men that made me laugh, and Jim always made me laugh the hardest. To not see him in a big, comedy blockbuster is almost criminal. He’s made a couple of films recently  (The Bad Batch, True Crimes), but no comedies since Dumb and Dumber To. Like Johnny Knoxville, he seems to be headed in a different direction with his career. I just hope he doesn’t completely move away from comedy.

What I’d love to see Jim in: a loopy, smart comedy a-la Liar Liar, where Jim gets full comedic reign. Liar Liar was so perfect because the writing was sharp, and Jim was able to deliver lines in almost a sing-songy fashion while using great physical comedy to his advantage. I loved Fletcher Reed. Give Jim another Fletcher Reed.

  1. Pauly Shore

Pauly Shore? Really? Are you kidding me? No, I’m not. I’m going to tell you flat-out. I love Pauly Shore! I first saw him in Son in Law over a year ago and I was never the same. Okay, I was the same, but seriously, it’s a funny movie. It had a good message, and even a surprising feminist slant. I was so impressed, I ended up watching Encino Man, Jury Duty, In the Army Now, and The Curse of the Inferno (why that appeared On Demand, I have no idea.) I liked them all for various reasons, but one thing really stood out to me.

If you’ve ever seen Pauly in at least one of these films (and actually sat through the entire thing), you’ll realize that he never plays his characters too. . .obnoxiously. He’s usually very sweet, quirky, and a little zany. He’s just him, and what I like about him, is that there’s always a swell of pity and empathy that you feel for his characters. Plus, there’s usually a redemptive element to them as well. If he does something wrong, he makes up for it. He’s never purposefully out to hurt anybody; he just wants to have fun. Like a puppy that made a puddle in the house. He was just running around and licking your face. You don’t want to be too harsh on him, right?

That’s why Pauly deserves another chance. Plain and simple, he was funny and he’s been out of a the spotlight for awhile. It would be great if Hollywood gave him the opportunity that I think he deserves.

What I’d love to see Pauly in: a comedy, a-la Son In Law, that allows him to mine his weasel-type character and modernize him. Maybe something a little self-reflective, where he’s having to fit into 21st century. Or maybe, as it’s been hinted at, an Encino Man 2. Either way, I think he deserves another chance at the limelight.


What do you think? Agree? Disagree? What comedian would you like to see make a big-screen comeback?  Tell me in the comments.

See you next time!