Author: passionforpopcorn

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

The Lost Husband

Ok, imma be real, I totally thought this was a Netflix original movie that just got released this week. Turns out this movie premiered in April..?! and it was just, like, a regular movie?! bizarre.

Anywho, it’s nice to see Josh Duhamel in his typecast role again! A rugged man with a mysterious past who needs a woman to find his true, sweet, loving self. But what makes this film quite the original movie is that Josh Duhamel plays a rugged FARMER who has a mysterious past and who meets LIBBY and then becomes this very sweet, loving man. Mind blowing.

Leslie Bibb and Josh Duhamel in The Lost Husband (2020)

In a nutshell, this movie is basically “PS I Love You” combined with “Hope Floats” with just less romance and more depression. QUITE THE DRAW.

Popcorn Rating: 2 popped corns

It’s just a bit too sad and a bit too “been there done that” for it to be a 3 popped corn movie. It’s already forgettable and I literally just watched it.

The Truth Hurts,

PFP

Work It

DON’T JUDGE ME. I watched the preview and realized 4 things:

  • This seems like a bad version of “Step Up”
  • This seems like a dance version of “Camp Rock”
  • This seems like the cast of “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”
  • This seems like the teenage level of romance of “High School Musical”

I’m hooked.

Now I do have a few things I need to get off my chest with this movie. So I’m providing you with a Pro/Con list. I will start with the Cons because I want to end on a high note. Not necessarily because this movie has more Pros than Cons, but quite simply because it’s 2020 and we need to end things on a positive note these days. AMIRITE.

Cons of “Work It” the Netflix original film:

  1. I literally CANNOT handle the teen/parent relationships that these movies insist on having. I just hate it. The parents are either way too chill, way too oblivious, or way too strict without any explanation which then paints parents as being “unfair” or “crazy”. Teenagers should have strict parents!! However, parents need to explain to their kids WHY they’re being strict otherwise the movie just paints them as a villain. Why do parents always have to be the villain?? Why can’t the sassy, rude, flunking-out-of-school teenager be the villain for once?! I am just so annoyed that the parents in these movies are always so embarrassing to watch because they either have no backbone or no reasoning and it’s just disappointing.
  2. The “Juilliard” character was too much. I get that he’s a diva but can he be a less aggressive diva? I needed him to be more diva-lite. I honestly fast-forwarded his scenes.
  3. There were some MAJOR inconsistencies with the so-called “knee injury” that Jake Taylor, the main male character, had. Um if your injury was so bad that you had to stop dancing and instead teach toddler dance classes, why is it that you can still perform at at the “Work It” finale? I AM CONFUSION.
  4. No way are Duke admission interviews even close to what happened in this movie. Bet you 5 million dollars that Duke is going to get an incredibly sad batch of kids applying this year after they watch this movie. False hope is never a good idea, NETFLIX!
  5. The final dance was honestly very confusing. I did not understand the concept. ALSO how is it that Quinn, the main girl character, became the star dancer? Did we forget that she was THE WORST like 10 minutes before that scene? I don’t understand how the final dance ended up featuring her. SOMEONE EXPLAIN.

Pros of “Work It”:

  1. This movie basically has everything you need to feel good about wasting 2 hours of your life. It’s got a great soundtrack, 4-5 very entertaining dances, a funny best friend, and a main character that really glows up by the end. Is that not the whole package or a Netflix teen movie?
  2. I genuinely enjoy watching bad dancing, so the first 45 minutes of this movie were highly entertaining for me. Also, it made me want to go to a wedding. Not sure how those correlate….
  3. The retirement home scenes were the best. Old people are awesome which reminds me STAY INSIDE, WEAR A MASK, COVID IS REAL, STOP KILLING THE ELDERLY.
  4. I loved all of Jake Taylor’s tattoos. Yummy.

Overall, this movie is exactly what the preview paints it out to be. It’s got stupid teen love, over the top high school dances, witty characters who are clearly older than they are supposed to be in the movie, and slammin’ tunes! I highly recommend for everyone to watch this on a Friday at 7pm with popcorn, sour patch kids, a glass of wine, and your PJs. Oh and please be alone. DO NOT watch with friends. Way too embarrassing. I’m embarrassed for you for even asking.

Popcorn rating: 3 popped corns

Truthfully Yours

PFP

Love Wedding Repeat

I legit can’t remember the last time I watched a romantic comedy and hated it this much. And that’s saying something because my bar for what is considered a truly horrible movie has to stoop below Camp Rock 2.

Love Wedding Repeat (2020) - IMDb

Basically this movie is a more frustrating and less funny wedding-version of ‘Groundhog Day’. However, instead of doing that fun montage of Bill Murray waking up day after day, stealing money, taking a piano lesson, and eventually getting laid, this movie basically makes you re-live the absolute WORST parts of a wedding 4 times until the final outcome (which is excruciatingly painful) results in {Spoiler Alert} one kiss. THAT’S IT! No proposal, no spontaneous wedding, not even an “I love you” – you sit through 2 hours of mediocre British comedy and you leave with one. stupid. kiss.

Luckily Olivia Munn is gorgeous and her character is remotely tolerable because otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to come up with one positive aspect of this movie.

Popcorn Rating: 1 popped corn – for Olivia

Watch if you enjoy disappointment and wasting your time.

Best

PFP

1917

Do you remember the first time someone showed you a GoPro video and you were like “Whoa, that’s so awesome, it’s like I’m floating above you and seeing what you’re seeing but not experiencing it which is cool but also I’m getting seasick so please edit this to 30 seconds.” That was this movie.

Now those of you in the “cinema world” are probably thinking ‘Hey, this movie is a work of art and you need to pipe down.’ I HEAR YOU, but also, I dare you to watch this while having popcorn, drinking a cherry-cola icee, and stress-eating sour patch kids….cause you WILL feel sick. Which was my personal experience.

1917 (2019 film) - Wikipedia

Here are 3 things about this film that were great followed by 3 things that were NOT great. It’s a short list because I actually liked this film a lot, but I will also never watch it again because I felt like I was on a bad blimp ride.

3 Great Things:

  1. The storyline was amazing and the acting was truly incredible.

2. I literally cannot believe this was all filmed in “one shot” – I don’t actually believe it. But who am I to call Sam Mendes a liar.

3. I loved that this film did not shy away from showing the weaknesses/power struggles of the British side in WWI, while still making it very clear that Germany is the bad guy. YOU GO GLEN COCO.

3 Not Great Things:

1. Why was the “one shot” cinematic feat necessary?! Honestly this goes back to how I feel about “The Artist” being a movie (and also winning an Oscar) – it’s totally insane. I get that silent movies are “cool” and that there hasn’t been one in a while….but ya know why?? CUZ WE HAVE SOUND YOU LUNATIC! Why would we ever want a silent film to come back again?? Is it so the orchestra can feel more important?? Cuz quite frankly, I’ve been in orchestras and we don’t actually care. What we DO care about is the fact that we just spent 3 hours READING a 30 minute dialogue cuz you guys wanted to type it out instead of SPEAKING IT!! It’s like if ABC came out with a new season of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, but it was be available on the radio. Do you wanna know who’s NOT watching/listening to that new season? ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE.

2. I have a hard time with movies that make you tired. I get that it’s probably some sort of major movie challenge to get your audience to feel the way the main character feels, but it was too much. By the end of the movie I needed a nap, and quite frankly I just don’t enjoy movies that literally exhaust me. If I wanted to get tired watching people do things, I’d just go to the gym.

3. I needed more screen time of the older brother. 1) because he’s yummy and 2) because…actually that’s it. He cute.

Popcorn Rating: 4 popped corns

Overall, I do believe everyone should see this film ONCE. That’s all you’ll want to do anyhow. Watch it one time, feel tired, be impressed with Director Mendes, and then go home, take a nap, and watch Grey’s Anatomy on ABC.

Truthfully Yours,

PFP