‘Shrek’ Me Up: A Look Back on the Childrens’ Classic

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

For this Time Warp, I decided I would touch on one of my absolute favorite animated movie franchises. That, of course, is the Academy Award winning film, ‘Shrek’. It’s still funny to me to be able to say “Academy Award winning” to the classic swamp-dwelling ogre that is my man Shrek.

Many who haven’t seen this iconic film may ask why it won Best Animated Feature in 2002. Well, those who have seen it can tell you exactly why.

The mean green fighting machine Shrek (Mike Myers) is an angry ogre who just likes to be left alone, as most people nowadays. But once love comes along, that changes, as with anyone who suddenly finds love. Shrek’s love didn’t come suddenly, of course. It came after a long journey with his new friend – whether or not he likes to admit it – a donkey, whose name is, well, Donkey (Eddie Murphy).

The love interest/self-hating princess in the movie is Fiona (played by Cameron Diaz), who loves throwing tantrums at every moment she can. You may think that it’s obnoxious, but it becomes very easy to love her by the end.

That is the overall plot of the entire first movie, but they do so well developing all the relationships within it. Being able to meet dozens of fairy tale creatures who annoy Shrek to the brink of absolute fury is, even if it’s not to Shrek, completely hilarious to watch.

Half the enjoyability of this movie revolves around the supreme soundtrack that plays throughout. I mean, we have songs like “All Star” by Smash Mouth and “Bad Reputation” performed by Joan Jett. That sells it right there, doesn’t it?

It’s an undeniably enjoyable movie and impossible not to love. It sparked a sequel that is debatably better than the first if not just as good. It’s one of those movie franchises that anybody will want to watch on a lazy afternoon in the summer, with their kids for a family movie night, in the middle of a snowstorm in the winter, or pretty much at anytime. That is how I define a classic.

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The Realness of ‘BoJack Horseman’

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

For our first ever TV Talk we are talking about the Netflix original series BoJack Horseman. The show currently has four seasons with the first one premiering in 2014 and the most recent one having come out last year. It has also been confirmed for a season 5 which is rumored to come out later this year.

This series follows the once star of a 90’s sitcom, BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett), as he tries to piece his life together and make a comeback.

BoJack Horseman is one of the most authentic portrayals of human emotion I have ever seen in a TV show. It has honest depictions of not only addiction and mental illness, but also the general ups and downs of life and not knowing what you really want out of life.

Throughout the series BoJack tries time and time again to make himself happy, but always falls into the same pattern of self-loathing and alcohol and drug use. But what makes BoJack’s development particularly interesting is how he adapts and changes throughout the series and tries his best to right his wrongs.

BoJack is definitely not the only character in the series with this kind of authentic development. Every main character in the series has their own battles that they have to overcome, and the ups and downs of their emotions really do an amazing job at showing what life is really like.

Not only does this series have these real and relatable displays of human emotion, but it is also able to effortless weave in comedy throughout. This show’s humor is somewhat satirical in its nature with its way of poking fun at Hollywood and society as a whole.

Another element of this show that I find particularly refreshing is its continuity. For instance, in the first season someone steals the D from the Hollywood sign, so for the rest of the series it is now called Hollywoo instead of Hollywood. The show does a great job at not abandoning tiny little details that came about from certain storylines and sticks with them. It’s almost as if as the series progresses there are more and more inside jokes and Easter eggs from things that happened earlier in the series.

Finally, I have to talk about this show’s animation because just wow. It is beautifully done in a way that makes the show so aesthetically pleasing to watch. It is detailed in the most unique way, and is one of my favorite parts about the show.

Overall, BoJack Horseman isn’t afraid to show real struggles that real people go through. It is able to show these struggles while still maintaining its comedy and satirical elements. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that will keep you laughing throughout and is an absolute must-see.


My Rating: 94%

Acting: 3.5/4

Animation: 3.8/4

Story: 4/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4

 

‘Deadpool 2’ Shows Exactly What Superhumor Should Be

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Deadpool is back at it again with his morbid sense of humor the entire world has come to love in Deadpool 2. This time, he comes with an even more complex story with long-term complications.

In this one, Deadpool (obviously still played by Ryan Reynolds) finds a new villain that he must defeat to save a little kid named Russell (played by Julian Dennison) – or “Firefist” if you ask him – as he struggles with, like, self-identity or something. Basically the X-Men version of puberty.

Regardless, Deadpool is as funny as ever. But it all started with something that most movies don’t put a ton of time in anymore – marketing. Deadpool 2 created dozens of alternate covers for its movie as well as replicas of other movies that were replaced with Deadpool himself. On the cover of War for the Planet of the Apes, Deadpool is seen riding the horse. It’s these marketing decisions that helped build the anticipation for this movie.

I have no complaints about the acting in this movie. Reynolds, the young Dennison, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, and all the other actors/actresses’ portrayals of unique characters were executed excellently. They each brought a lot to the movie no matter how much or how little they appeared in it.

Deadpool is known for his dark humor, which he plays very well. From comparing the new villian Cable and Thanos to understating the power of Hawkeye, Deadpool really brings the shaded joys to the MCU.

Even the cinematography was awesome in this movie. They used tons of different sets and locations to show all the different situations Wade Wilson manages to get himself into while still keeping the feel of his universe.

Finally, the writers hit the bullseye with a story that really has the ability to hook the audience. It jumps around, sure, but a lot of superhero movies do that nowadays. And who are we to complain about that after watching The Avengers: Infinity War.

That’s right, if you liked that story, you have no place to say that Deadpool’s was bad.

Deadpool 2 was definitely better than the first. That, right there, is a huge accomplishment within itself. It incorporates the X-Men storyline better than the first (shipping Deadpool and Colossus with every piece of my soul), and the humor worked even more thought out, adding in constant pieces of attitude towards the MCU. It just knew how to build on characters they already had as well as add in ones that would benefit the story (Brad Pitt may or may not make a cameo appearance… go find out!). Deadpool 2 is easily one of my highest recommended movies of 2018 thus far.


My Rating: 91%

Acting: 3.6/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3.6/7

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

‘Flower’: A Great Dark Comedy…Until the End

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Flower follows rebellious 17-year-old Erica Vandross (Zoey Deutch) as her and her friends Kala (Dylan Gelula) and Claudine (Maya Eshet) attempt to be vigilantes who catch men who have sex with underage girls, and blackmail them into giving them money.

Erica is living with her mom Laurie (Kathryn Hahn) and her mom’s boyfriend Bob (Tim Heidecker) when Bob’s son Luke (Joey Morgan), who has just got out of rehab, moves in with them. As Erica and Luke grow closer, he joins Erica and her friends as they try to take down Will (Adam Scott), a former teacher who allegedly sexually assaulted Luke. Things quickly spiral out of control.

One of the best parts about this film was its comedy. It has the perfect amount of dry humor that makes you laugh while considering the film’s central theme of inappropriate sexual relationships. The comedy in this film was so successful because it served a purpose by connecting to the central theme of the film.

Flower featured a phenomenal cast, and it showed. The performances in this film were amazing. Zoey Deutch’s delivery of her lines was perfect. Her character said so many absurd things and she gave them this dry, sarcastic delivery that fit the character perfectly. Additionally, all the actors had amazing chemistry. They all fit together just as they needed to for the story, and it made the characters and the story so much more engaging.

Honestly, I was absolutely loving this film…until the end. Up until about the last 10 minutes of the film, it had been amazing. It was funny, had some stellar acting performances, and an insane story that kept you on the edge of your seat. The plot was working so well and then all of a sudden I was like, “wait, what is happening right now?”

I won’t spoil what the ending is, but let me just say it is very abrupt and will likely have you wondering why they went the route they did with it. I’ve thought about this a lot since I’ve seen the film and I think they really were just continuing their commentary on inappropriate sexual relationships, but it just didn’t work for me. I think there were a lot more plausible endings that would have worked much better and still kept the central message of the film.

Flower is mostly a great film. It wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries. It was funny, showcased amazing acting performances, and was captivating. Although the ending was quite disappointing, the movie as a whole was pretty dang good.


My Rating: 86%

Acting: 4/4

Cinematography: 3.3/4

Story: 2.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4

 

‘The Death of Stalin’: Murder and Violence Is Funny

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Russia in the 40’s and 50’s was a place of government corruption and utter tragedy. Most films about this Communist country consist of spies and executions including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Bridge of Spies. But what if satire was added to something that is known to be tragic? That is exactly what Armando Iannucci’s film The Death of Stalin does so perfectly. It paints Russia and it’s most notorious leader as comical without glossing over the historical violence.

Surrounding the death of Joseph Stalin, the disorganized members of the Central Committee fight for the position to replace their beloved leader. Among them are an opposing Nikita Khruschev (Steve Buscemi), a mousy Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), and the barbarous Lavrenti Beria (Simon Russell Beale). Once their leader passes, Khruschev strives to prove Beria’s guilt and crimes against humanity while Malenkov remains painfully neutral.

To understand why this film achieves the dark comedy aspect that it does, you have to look at the direction and cinematography that enhances the performances of its incredible actors. The men and women in the film also use an abundant amount of profanity to add more humor because what’s a comedy without “f*ck”.

There are many scenes of quick and dirty murder that flood the story. Police and soldiers shoot innocent people in broad daylight without remorse. But the execution and interrogation scenes makes the audience the most uncomfortable with their own judgement of what’s funny. You can see victims being pushed down stairs and distinctly hear soldiers shooting them all while Beria casually walks and talks through the halls of the secret jail. Its swift and happens without a flinch from its actors but with an uproar of awkward laughter from it’s audience.

Other scenes include the organized chaos that ensues when the Committee members find Stalin nearly dead, on the floor, and covered in his own urine while the clumsy middle aged men struggle to bring the heavy leader to his bed. With all of the doctors in the country either executed or jailed, they manage to pluck the former ones off of the street fearing for the safety of their lives.

Why is all of this funny? I might have an idea. Maybe the casualness of it all makes the chaos and violence seem more normal. We laugh when we see that the characters aren’t phased by the gruesome acts that are happening around them. But, it’s laughter caused by our own confusion of why it is funny.

Explaining why this film is amusing is a huge struggle but that is what comedy does best. It makes people question their own sick sense of humor. The Death of Stalin uses this to make audiences uneasy with their laughter and turn Russia’s history into a satire that puts the ‘dark’ in dark comedy.


My Rating: 87%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 4/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4