Raya and the Last Dragon

OK I have recently been on an animation kick. I don’t know if it’s because all the new live action movies have to do with death and destruction or if it’s just because I still like to pretend I’m 9 years old and believe in dragons. Whatever the reason, I have been devouring these new Disney+ films like it’s my job. So here goes my review of “Raya and the Last Dragon”.

First things first – I can tell that I am getting OLD AF because Raya’s dad was looking REAL FINE. I hate to break it to you, but there will come a day when you watch ‘The Little Mermaid’ and you will find yourself whole heartedly agreeing with King Triton because you realize that a 16 year old disrespectful mermaid really should NOT be allowed to become human and run off with a man she just saw on a boat. Oh, and don’t you dare judge me on finding an animated character attractive, I KNOW there be men out there looking for a real life Kim Possible.

Secondly, Awkwafina as a dragon definitely gave Eddie Murphy a run for his money. Trust me, I do not say this lightly because it would be blasphemy for me to casually compare anyone to the high caliber of acting that is Mushu, but my honest opinion is that Sisu (last dragon) is basically the Mushu for Gen Zs. Mazel Tov, you get a sassy dragon for your generation. FUTURE PREDICTION: If Awkwafina can land a role voicing a donkey, she can happily end her career.

Thirdly, I am really enjoying seeing Disney create less princesses and more female warriors/adventurers. It gives me all the feels. Also, I think we have definitely spent enough time in Europe, so the new exploration of Asian animated characters is really filling my cup!

Lastly, this film has strong “Guardians of the Galaxy” vibes and I was into it. I’ll prove it to you below. Please take note that I will die on this hill:

Gamora : Raya = main female warrior

Star-Lord/Peter : Sisu = comic relief and best friend of warrior

Drax : Tong = Large yet sensitive man

Groot : Little Noi = character that doesn’t speak but helps out loads

Rocket : Boun = chatty Cathy ,small in stature, and also adds comic relief

Nebula : Namaari = Evil nemesis that eventually turns to good for Gamora/Raya character

Thanos : Virana = The always evil character

Well, there you have it. I highly recommend watching this movie especially with your children as long as they can handle giant armadillo hamsters and somewhat aggressive sword fighting.

Popcorn Rating: 4 popped corns and an extra kernel for the dad *wink*

Snaps for Disney.

Truthfully Yours,

PFP

2021 Quarter 1 Watchlist

Hello. As a movie enthusiast, I constantly struggle with: To Watch or To Blog? That is the question! And for anyone who follows me attentively, you would probably be able to answer that I most often choose “TO WATCH”! So for anyone that cares to see what has been on my Watchlist recently – I have been logging the movies I have watched this year. I have dated them as proof that I have no life and a quite obvious movie-watching problem. You may also notice that I have had a few phases of “Based on True Story” movies, “Animations” (still in that one), and “Netflix Comedy Specials”.

I am posting this to be judged but also to justify why my posts have been slow this year. I plan to remedy that soon, but for now, enjoy my vice – I am at 64 movies to date:

Movie List 2021

January

  1. The Social Network 1/5
  2. Catch Me If You Can 1/8
  3. The American President 1/10
  4. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape 1/10
  5. Four Christmases 1/11
  6. Julie and Julia 1/11
  7. The Hustle 1/12
  8. Monty python and the Holy Grail 1/14
  9. Searching for Bobby Fisher 1/15
  10. Onward 1/20
  11. What to expect when you’re expecting 1/21
  12. Onward (2x) 1/24
  13. The 41st Day 1/25
  14. Free Solo 1/28
  15. Wall Street 1/29
  16. Bitcoin documentary 1/30

February

  1. Concussion 2/1
  2. Hook 2/4
  3. Bombshell 2/4
  4. The Founder 2/5
  5. Eat, Pray, Love 2/6
  6. The Dig 2/6
  7. Hillbilly Elegy 2/7
  8. Eurovision 2/10
  9. Focus 2/10
  10. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society 2/12
  11. To All the Boys: Always & Forever 2/13
  12. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2/13
  13. Kung Fu Panda 2/13
  14. Ides of March 2/14
  15. Mystic Pizza 2/15
  16. To All the Boys: PS I still love you 2/15
  17. To All the Boys I’ve loved before  2/16
  18. Work it 2/17
  19. Remember Me 2/17
  20. The Kissing Booth 2/18
  21. The kissing booth 2 2/19
  22. Pirates of the Caribbean 2/20
  23. Someone Great 2/21
  24. Amy Schumer: Growing 2/22
  25. A Walk to Remember 2/22
  26. Always be my Maybe 2/23
  27. Brian Regan: On the Rocks 2/25
  28. Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia 2/25
  29. Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark 2/26
  30. Michelle Buteau: Buteaupia 2/28

March

  1. Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife 3/2
  2. Ali Wong: Baby Cobra 3/5
  3. John Mulaney: Comeback Kid 3/6
  4. Raya 3/7
  5. Step Up 4: Revolution 3/10
  6. Crazy Stupid Love 3/11
  7. Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King 3/12
  8. Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter Life Crisis 3/13
  9. Dads 3/13
  10. Daniel Sloss: Dark 3/14
  11. Frozen 2 3/15
  12. Soul 3/16
  13. The Big Short 3/20
  14. Ice Age 3/21
  15. Dr. Strange 3/24
  16. Tarzan 3/26
  17. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez 3/28
  18. Emperor’s New Groove 3/31

Be at peace with your unhealthy habit!

Truthfully Yours

PFP

Soul

HOLY CRAP HAVE I BEEN WAITING FOR A BAND DIRECTOR MOVIE LIKE THIS!! Yes, I am aware that we have “The Music Man” and “Music of the Heart”, but to have an animated jazz band teacher movie out there in the world is just. the. best!

See the source image

I am tempted to just give you all the FABULOUS commentary that my very lucky husband got to hear while I watched this movie with him. HOWEVER, I’m just going to give you the highlights of this film that resonated oh-so-dearly with me!

Highlights:

  1. I nearly died at the opening credits because the middle school band cover of the “Universal” theme song was literally GOLD. Very similar to the classic “flute fail 20th century fox” video. IYKYK.
  2. I LOVED the conversation that the little trombone girl (she was amaze balls, btw) had with the young soul #22. It was basically reverse psychology on a 12 year old, which yes, 100% works 100% of the time on 100% of middle schoolers. #lifehack
  3. I thought the “in the zone” concept was so deep! They showed a scene where people that were “in the zone” sort of floated into the “soul world” but they were just moments away from becoming an obsession monster (not the actual term, but how I remember it). Unfortunately, I think a lot of musicians end up flirting between the two places all the time! I know no one asked, but in my personal opinion, if you meet somebody who starts justifying their selfish actions using the words “but that’s what I’m passionate about” they’ve already crossed the line. Welcome to the dark side.
  4. I genuinely hope that this blue glowing animation is exactly what our souls look like in heaven. cuzzzz THEY CUTE.
  5. As heart breaking as it was….having Joe Gardner (main character) realize that his whole life basically amounted to nothing because all he did was wait for something better to come along instead of living in the moment, was probably the best moment in the film. BUT ALSO it was like at minute 30 so that was weird.

Final thoughts on the movie: it is NOT what I had expected. Legit thought this was going to be about a music teacher in heaven. NOPE. However, it’s very insightful, very moving, and extremely entertaining. 2 thumbs way up.

Popcorn Rating: 4 popped corns

Truthfully Yours,

PFP

Onward

I know, I know, I’m late to the ship, again. But can I just say this: I HATE when movie trailers don’t do the actual movie justice! And I mean that in both directions – I hate when movie trailers aren’t as good as the movie (i.e. “Onward”) but I also hate it when the trailers make the movie seem better than it actually is (i.e. every Christmas movie on Netflix). I remember a bunch of my friends saying that “Onward” was SO GOOD, but I also heard that same review for “Brave” and “Cars 2” and I was less than impressed with both of those…sorry not sorry.

Onward | Disney Movies

HOWEVER, I ended up watching this movie twice within a 48 hour period, which is something I haven’t done since the 3rd grade when I watched “Mulan” everyday for a week. This one’s gonna be a rave, so instead of going off in paragraph form, imma do my usual thing and give you a list. Bon Apetit:

Reasons to watch “Onward”:

  1. Every single person with a sibling can relate to the “I can’t believe how embarrassing it is that I’m related to you feeling”. And if you have NEVER felt that feeling it’s because YOU were the embarrassing one. It’s just like that saying in college: “Everyone has a weird roommate, and if you didn’t, it was you.” Because of this super fun fact about life, this brother dynamic is all too accurate and also incredibly heartwarming.
  2. This Elf Mom is quite frankly the DOPEST mom ever to be committed to an animated film. Not only is she a friggin Mighty Ass Warrior, but she is so supportive of her kids using magic to bring back their deceased father, aka her late husband, that I honestly think she needs to be nominated for an Oscar. How freaking chill do you need to be to encourage your boys to see their dad AND still communicate well with your also (oddly) chill boyfriend, Mr. Fabio Police Centaur Man.
  3. Chris Pratt. Need I say more.
  4. The names in this movie were absolute perfection. Guinevere is hands down the best name for a van. Corey the Manticore….brilliant. And Barley and Ian is like Bert and Ernie 2.0. AMAZEBALLS.
  5. Without spoiling this movie too much, the scene where Ian sits on the cliff with the bottom half of his dad and starts looking at his list, was quite honestly the most moving animated scene I’ve watched since the furnace scene in Toy Story 3. IF YOU KNOW YOU KNOW.

Long story short, if you have a sibling, a mom, a dad, a board game, a van, and/or a manticore, I HIGHLY suggest you watch this movie. It can ONLY make your day better. I promise.

Truthfully Yours

PFP

Searching for Bobby Fischer

Has anyone else fallen prey to all the chess hype that’s happened ever since “The Queen’s Gambit” has been featured on Netflix? CUZ I HAVE.

In all honesty, I usually equated people who played chess to the people who played Dungeons and Dragons…but LET ME TELL YOU, these chess players are crazy ridiculous super intense. Also, their brains must look like one of those 8×8 Rubik’s cubes that no one can actually solve cuz it’s impossible.

I have a few pet peeves about this movie so I’ll start and end with those. The only positive comment I’ll make is that I loved seeing Laurence Fishburne as a NOT Morpheus. Quite refreshing. Alright, onto the little annoyances in this film:

1) I cannot stand it when a movie title just doesn’t make sense. Yes, okay, I get that after I’ve seen the film that they are “searching” for the next “Bobby Fischer” and that there’s also a pseudo plot going on of “where did Bobby Fischer go?” BUT if you title a movie “Searching for a famous person”, I’m gonna expect that the movie is about said famous person. NOPE. It’s about a completely different kid that’s good at chess….LIKE Bobby Fischer. And also, nobody was actually “searching” for him. This kid’s dad aggressively sought after a coach who happened to have taught Bobby Fischer. Please get a new title for this film.

2) CHESS PARENTS NEED TO CHILL.

3) I wish that this chess movie would explain a little more about chess. Yea I get that at a certain point you can’t teach the audience how to play, but a little chess strategy would have gone a long way. The only thing I learned was to not bring out your Queen too early….unless you’re in a championship game, then do it, use a pawn to get your queen back and then win. right?

4) The certificate scene was too much. If you haven’t seen the movie, there’s a scene in which the chess coach has told the young talented not-Bobby-Fischer that he needs to earn these Master points to get a Chess Master certificate. THEN halfway through the movie the coach gets frustrated with the kid cause all he cares about are the points (as any competitive 7 year old would) and so the coach starts throwing the certificates everywhere saying they don’t matter and that his points don’t matter and that nothing matters except for the art of the game of chess. It was very aggressive and very uncomfortable and that poor boy just needed some dang points and this horrible coach just killed all the happiness in this movie.

5) I would like to see a movie about competitive checkers.

Popcorn Rating: 3 popped corns

This movie wasn’t bad, but it was just not fun to watch. The little kid didn’t even seem to like playing chess and all the adults in this film need to take parenting lessons. Except for the mom. She was great. Basically, if you were addicted to “The Queen’s Gambit” like me, just go play chess instead of watch this movie.

Truthfully Yours,

PFP

A California Christmas

Not gonna lie, I was pretty excited that Netflix came out with a California themed Christmas movie. Not that I don’t like snow and white Christmases or big puffy jackets, but I was looking forward to a movie that resembled what my Christmases look like: sunny, clear skies, and Christmas lights on palm trees.

To that end, this movie totally delivered. In other regards (like storyline, characters, and script) this movie was basically a combination of “Hope Floats”, “New In Town”, and “She’s the Man” with a sprinkling of “The Prince and Me”. Spoiler Alert: this movie summed into one sentence goes like this: Rich boy needs farm girl to sell her farm to him, so he pretends to be a farm hand to trick her, they fall in love, he gets caught but chooses to not buy her farm and she very quickly forgives him and they kiss.

Yes this summary doesn’t include the fighting or the romancing or the unfortunate back story to our beloved farm girl, but that’s for you to see and for me to keep out of this review.

Even though it was incredibly predictable and the plot has a very “been there done that” chick flick feel to it, here are a few things I loved about it:

1) I LOVE the fact that the two main characters are husband and wife. Yes, they are married, NOT brother and sister- I googled it. Even though it’s a bit unfair that they didn’t have to act incredibly hard to be in love, is there anything better than watching a real couple be a real couple on screen? John Krasinksi and Emily Blunt. Enough said.

2) I am all about a strong mom, fun sister, and independent woman dynamic, so this movie ticked all those boxes for me!

3) I genuinely love seeing pretty men struggle to do manual labor. Even if they are just acting. It’s super satisfying and I can watch that ALL DAY.

4) Finally, (another spoiler) I’m so glad the mom didn’t die!!! Ugh. I hate when movies just get sad for no reason. So I’m super glad that (even though she is sick the whole movie), she didn’t actually die at the end. It would have been too much and completely unnecessary. Way to have self control, Hollywood!

Popcorn Rating: 4 popped corns

Most definitely one of the best Christmas Netflix films out there. It’s got some humor, lots of intrigue, and classic, reliable, predictable and oh so satisfying romance. Snaps for Netflix.

Truthfully Yours,

PFP

The Prom

I’m not quite sure what I just watched. Was this a comedy? A drama? A musical? A teen flick? RomCom? Based on a true story? Well after 1 google search this movie is apparently a cover of a Broadway show that I’ve…..never heard of. So instead of doing more research on the show, I’m just gonna stay blind and give you my thoughts on this film.

The first thing that caught my eye was the cast list – WOWZA did we have some heavy hitters! Meryl! Nicole! Andrew Rannells! Kerry Washington! WHAT?! But then we have James Corden….

Now, the trailer makes it seem like these ex-Broadway stars are going to make some sort of show about “The Prom”. Not so much. It’s basically about ex-Broadway stars trying to become unpaid PR activists for a high school girl who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom in Indiana during a time (might be modern day) when Indiana was (is?) anti-lesbian. Interesting plot…. so I was curious how this was going to play out- will they succeed? Will they fail? Will Indiana just stay….well….Indiana? Side note – Kerry Washington playing a bigoted PTA president was just NOT believable. So, nice try Kerry, but we know you’re too good for this role.

So after being shocked by the cast list and properly confused by the storyline, I have some thoughts on this movie:

1) THANK YOU for casting teenagers that can actually sing. And by “teenagers” I mean, the 20 somethings you casted as teenagers. It was appreciated. If I have to hear one more Disney star pretend to be able to sing just because somebody cast Russell Crowe as Javert, I’m gonna scream.

2) Most of the songs in this musical did not make me want to barf.

3) “Love Thy Neighbor” had a very strong “Book of Mormon” vibe to it and it kind of was the best one. Also, you cannot go wrong with a song featuring gospel tambourine AMIRITE?!

4) Yes, this movie had some plot holes – like how did she get 8 million views on a homemade video….not buying it. BUT I appreciated the fact that a lot of the movie had some really REAL moments: when James Corden has a hard time forgiving his parents, when Meryl Streep traded her Hampton house for a spot on her ex-husbands show that ended up NOT happening, and when Nicole Kidman didn’t actually chose the prom over her career- cuz that would have been extra dumb.

5) Lastly, as much as I love Keegan-Michael Key. He can’t sing. When you’re funny, talented, and tall, you can’t ALSO expect that God would give you the gift of singing. It’d be too much. So take what you got and just be happy with it!

Popcorn Rating: 3 popped corns

Overall, James Corden shouldn’t play a gay American ever again, but luckily he played opposite THE QUEEN aka Meryl, so this movie wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Truthfully Yours

PFP

Holidate

I’m just gonna go ahead and state the obvious: this movie sucks. One merely has to watch the first 10 seconds of the trailer to realize that this movie will be terrible, but alas I not only finished said trailer but also then proceeded to watch…. the entire movie. It was kind of like eating those Harry Potter Bean Boozled jelly beans. You keep eating more thinking that there’s bound to be at least one good one in there, but NOPE, it’s just earwax and vomit ALL DAY.

I genuinely hope everyone reads this review first before attempting to sit through this monstrosity of a film. I don’t really have a pro/con list ready to go because I haven’t come up with any Pros yet, so instead I’ll just summarize this movie in 3 sentences:

1) Two losers in their 30s both need dates to holiday parties because they hate commitment and also no one likes them.

2) Between a fun laxative scene and a dramatic Cinco De Mayo, they fall in love but don’t want to admit it because apparently being in love is not for losers.

3) There is the most cringe-y “profess my love” mall speech you will ever see in your life and then they kiss and travel the world together with money they don’t have from jobs they don’t go to.

THE END

Popcorn Rating: 1 kernel for the laxative scene

Don’t watch this. Just rewatch “The Holiday”.

Truthfully Yours,

PFP

Her

OH MY! This movie is cray. I don’t even know where to begin. Now I’m not sure if my desire to watch this film 7 years after it was popular was due to the pandemic and thinking that maybe watching Joaquin Phoenix fall in love with a computer would make me feel better about my quarantine life, but nonetheless I chose to watch this movie, and oh do I have thoughts.

Her (film) - Wikipedia

Thoughts in order of appearance:

1) I would benefit ASTRONOMICALLY if there was a company that wrote/returned letters for me. I am horrible at writing thank you cards, birthday cards, all cards really, and if I could pay someone to not only remember to write cards for me, but also write them well and not in the car 5 minutes before the party, I would come off as such a better person.

2) I can’t remember the last time I saw Joaquin Phoenix in a role where he was this awkward. I can’t decide if I prefer him as the Joker or Johnny Cash. Either way, this role makes me uncomfortable.

3) I am somehow enjoying Scarlett Johannson as a computer. Her voice is oddly soothing. But I’m low key also picturing Black Widow saying all her lines and it’s much cooler.

4) NOPE NOPE NOPE. It’s one thing to have weird computer/human phone sex, but you start bringing in human props….IM OUT. My level of discomfort is immeasurable.

5) Ugh. Joaquin. You live in an era where people are wearing computers in their ears and no one is writing letters anymore, OF COURSE she’s “seeing other people”. Naturally, a computer can’t actually “see” anybody, but still, I can’t believe you’re being this jealous of a computer. Also, you fell in love with her?? I just. I mean. I can’t.

6) Ok, movie’s over. I feel weird. I feel sad. I feel uncomfortable. But I also feel like this could be America in 20 years. Yikes. I hope Zuckerberg doesn’t watch this.

Popcorn Rating: 3 popped corns

This is definitely a conversation piece FURSURE. Whether you actually WANT this conversation to happen, however, is an entirely different matter. I will say, though, that Joaquin had quite a compelling performance, but the concept was almost too on-the-nose for what might happen in the future. Overall, it just made me wildly uncomfortable, almost at the same level of when I watched “The Thomas Crown Affair” with my dad. I recommend this movie to anyone who also liked “Lars and the Real Girl”, and if you don’t know what that is, then just pass on both these movies altogether.

Truthfully Yours,

PFP

Mulan (Live Action 2020)

YOU BEST BELIEVE I PAID TO WATCH THIS MOVIE. As an Asian-American girl who cut her hair in the 3rd grade so I could look just like “Fa Mulan”, I have been anxious and giddy about this movie coming out. Not only was I excited for the main character to actually be Chinese (unlike so many films where the “Chinese” main character is actually mixed), but I was also excited that the storyline would reflect more of the legend of Mulan rather than the Disney animated film. Also, who doesn’t love a little martial arts combined with magic?

Now, per usual, I had a few issues with this film because I am judgmental and hard to please. However, overall I will say that this movie was great and I sincerely appreciated the moral lessons of courage, strength, and truth! Plus, who isn’t a sucker for a Father-Daughter-Duty-Honor-Love plot line?!

Yifei Liu in Mulan (2020)

Minor Issues I had with this film:

  1. Everyone had a different accent. Now I get that China is a big country. I’ve seen a map. However, Hollywood, you couldn’t just make it easy on the ears and just tell all the actors to sound the same? Y’all know actors have to master linguistic courses, so everyone should be able to match accents. Or at least have similar accents within one family! Mulan and her father spoke so differently it was like she was from Boston and he was from Alabama. I’m not convinced you live together.
  2. I’m just not sure if we needed THAT much screen time of the bad guy, Bori Khan. In Disney films, if the bad guy is clearly bad – aka he wears all black, has scars on his face, rides a black horse, and is mean to everyone, you don’t really need to go out of your way to give him a back story. WE GET IT. I wanted more time with the cool witch lady.
  3. Near the end of the film, after Mulan confesses to being a woman, the General welcomed her back WAYYYYY too quickly! He banishes her from his troop, she comes back with news that the emperor is in danger, and then he PUTS HER IN CHARGE?!? I’m not buyin’ it. He threatened to EXECUTE her if she came back. EXECUTE. Like KILL HER. But she comes back with some hot goss and now she’s THE LEADER? Plot hole, Hollywood. No me gusta.

Reasons I loved this film:

  1. Mulan is LEGIT. I love how they added the Qi aspect to her – not only is that incredibly culturally sound, but it also adds that magical aspect that I love about both Disney and legends in general. Thought this touch was brilliant.
  2. I am a major fan of the female empowerment in this film! Not only is it cool to be a female warrior in this film, but they’re better than all the other warriors, which is basically exactly how I predict I would be in a combat situation as well. Though no one test my theory, please.
  3. The sort of love story happening between Mulan and her soldier friend was cute, but I am so grateful that they didn’t kiss at the end! What a great, realistic, and non-cringey way to end the film. The awkward handshake was just perfect enough to leave you wanting more and yet also so happy that nothing more actually happened. Bless.
  4. The soundtrack is BRILLIANT. Using the themes of all the original Disney Mulan songs in an instrumental version is literally genius.
  5. Jet Li is the emperor. Well done.

Popcorn Rating: 4 popped corns

In conclusion, this was a super solid live action remastering of the original Mulan movie. As distracting as the myriad of accents were from the cast, the storyline, moral lessons, and straight up female bad-ass-ness was superb. Highly recommend even if you haven’t seen the original Disney film, though that also makes you a Philistine, so be better.

Truthfully Yours,

PFP