‘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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Film Forecast Friday: June 1st

On Friday June 1st we have…

1. Adrift

2. Upgrade

3. Action Point

4. American Animals

5. A Kid Like Jake

Julia’s Predictions:

This is an interesting week because for the first time in a while there are no big blockbusters being released. Out of the movies that are being released I think Adrift will have the biggest box office numbers. It has notable actors Shailene Woodley (Fault in Our Stars, Divergent) and Sam Claflin (Me Before You, Hunger Games) in it and I’ve seen a lot of marketing for it.

I think Action Point and Upgrade will do alright. I haven’t heard too much about either of them, but Action Point has Johnny Knoxville (Jackass) in it which will likely bring out audiences. Also, Upgrade is a Blumhouse Productions film and those tend to do well.

American Animals is absolutely amazing and I strongly recommend you go see it. We have already reviewed it, so if you need any more convincing to go see it check out our review!

Finally, A Kid Like Jake which honestly I didn’t know was a movie until today. It has Jim Parsons in it so maybe it will attract some Big Bang Theory fans?

Anthony’s Predictions:

I am beyond excited for Adrift with Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin. This will also be the moneymaker for the week at the box office, even if it will not make quite as much as previous weeks.

I have heard so much about American Animals that I’ve gotten very excited to see it. It has such a unique group of actors in it (including Evan Peters!) so I know that I’ll enjoy it already.

I definitely forgot Action Point and Upgrade were even coming out this week. I don’t really have a high opinion on them but I believe they will do about the same at the box office.

A Kid Like Jake won’t be too crazy spectacular, but should be fun because of Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons, as he is in it.

‘Show Dogs’: An Alright Family Film

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Therese Gardner

Show Dogs, the combination of Miss Congeniality and Beverly Hills Chihuahua that nobody asked for.

In this movie, police dog, Max (voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), has to go undercover at a dog show with FBI agent Frank (Will Arnett) to catch an exotic animal smuggler and save a baby panda.

This movie was exactly what you would expect it to be, but it is a kid’s movie from a newer studio so expectations aren’t exactly high. I will say that I don’t feel like this is the kind of movie that is funny for both kids and parents. Most of the comedy was based on immature jokes that are really only funny for kids. It didn’t have the intelligent, well-thought-out humor of movies like Zootopia that works for any age.

This movie also did not have any kind of bigger message that other kids movies have to draw in the parents. The story really doesn’t have anything interesting or different to keep you engaged if you are above the age of 12.

This movie lacked the heartwarming charm of director Raja Gosnell’s other films like Scooby-Doo. I mean granted Scooby-Doo had the advantage of being about a beloved cartoon mystery gang, but the difference was that it had a likeable main character, interesting story, and compelling man and dog relationship that Show Dogs just lacked.

The one redeeming quality of this movie for me was that the actors really did try even though what they were given was absolutely ridiculous. Will Arnett and Natasha Lyonne, who played the FBI’s canine consultant (yes I am serious) Mattie, put all that they could into these absurd roles and made the emotions of these characters seem more real. The voice actors also did very well and their ridiculous voices were some of the funniest parts of the movie for me.

Show Dogs really is just your average kids movie. If you have a kid or a little sibling, this would be the perfect movie to take them to. However, if you were thinking about seeing this movie because you are a huge dog-lover just wait for Dog Days. Because you’ll be too busy cringing during Show Dogs to even enjoy all the cute dogs in the movie.


My Rating: 63%
Acting: 3.3/4
Cinematography: 1.5/4
Story: 2.5/4
Enjoyability: 2.8/4

‘Titanic’ Makes My Heart Go On

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

When I think of late 90s cinema, there are dozens of movies that come to mind. We have American Beauty (1999), The Sixth Sense (1999), Good Will Hunting (1997), Clueless (1995), and so many others that quickly became classics. For me, however, none touched me quite as much as Titanic (1997).

Titanic is a movie that nearly everyone knows about as most grew up having seen it once or twice. Maybe they’ve even heard about its impressive eleven academy award wins at the 1998 Oscars. No matter how one may have heard of it, it’s a movie that’s touched the hearts and minds of everybody.

Given that everybody knows what the film is about, I’ll keep the summary brief. When poor Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and recently engaged Rose Bukater (Kate Winslet) meet aboard the RMS Titanic, they find love in one another. They build a relationship beyond anything many have seen, but realize sometimes love doesn’t last as long as you may like it to. In their case, however, it wasn’t a break-up that brought this realization.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic was the climax of this movie, and showed – practically in real time – the sinking of the ship and the drowning of the lives on board. Director James Cameron knew how to capture this emotional tragedy and make it so the audience doesn’t even care about its running time (194 minutes).

Titanic 1
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Everything about this movie was astonishing to me and millions would agree. Being able to witness such stellar performances by DiCaprio and Winslet (as well as such notable names as Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, and Frances Fisher) under equally beautiful writing makes any moviegoer fill with joyful tears from beginning to end.

It doesn’t happen often in modern cinema that you see a cast of actors and actresses who are all so individually dedicated to their roles. It was obvious that each wanted to portray their characters with the seriousness that those on the real Titanic would’ve maintained.

Much of this is due to the main man himself, James Cameron (Avatar, Aliens). People are no stranger to the work of Cameron, as he had already released Aliens in 1986, eleven years prior to Titanic.

Not everyone was too confident in him for Titanic (given that the budget was incredibly high – the highest of any movie in history at the time – and that most thought it would be “just another romance flick”), and many lost faith before it had even been released. That concept in itself is a marvel to me given its brilliant reception and continued adoration today.

It’s not doing Titanic justice by calling it a brilliant historical adaptation, when it felt like so much more. It was a near spiritual awakening for most who watched it, whether you’ve seen it once, twice, or two dozen times.


My Rating: 96%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.9/4

Story: 3.8/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

Wiping Away Tears: ‘Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Movies that involve dogs are quickly becoming everyone’s weakness, and animated dogs seem to be making just the same impact.

In the true story Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero, we follow Bull Terrier (or Boston Terrier, it’s been of debate) Stubby and Private J. Robert Conroy (Logan Lerman) as they build a strange but very beautiful friendship in the light of World War I.

To be entirely honest, I’ve been seeing this trailer for months now and I had absolutely no interest in watching it. I thought it was going to just feel like every other animated family movie with very little depth like The Nut-Job. I was mistaken.

I was taken on a journey with joy, fear, and quite a few sad – and happy – tears.

The animation itself was fairly good. It wasn’t the craziest, but it wasn’t the worst. Not every movie can be The Incredibles or Finding Nemo. However, the animation team did everything they could have done by paying attention to detail and creating a war setting that felt all too real. For example, at the beginning of the movie when Stubby was a stray searching the city for food, they show his hunger by very carefully revealing the ribs protruding from his sides.

Throughout the whole movie, Stubby proves himself to be the cutest – and bravest – puppy that has ever joined the U.S. military ranks. In fact, Stubby was even promoted to sergeant during WWI and quickly became the most decorated dog in history before his death after the war in 1926. Luckily for me and my fragile heart, the movie ended just after the war and doesn’t take you all the way to his death.

This film really brought to light a smaller story in the much bigger history of WWI that not many people are aware of. Through its cinematography and story, we see the intensity of the bombs, the mustard gas, and the treachery of the trenches that WWI became known for. We see how one little dog named Stubby saved hundreds of lives.

Sergeant_Stubby_2-thumbs


My Rating: 92%

Animation: 3.5/4

Cinematography: 3.6/4

Story: 3.8/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4

Must Love ‘Isle of Dogs’

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Since the release of Wes Anderson’s animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox, fans have waited for the day that the King of Indie would release another aesthetically stunning stop-motion flick. Well, that time has finally arrived and soon it will capture the hearts of hipsters and dog lovers alike.

Based in the fictional Japanese city of Megasaki, the 12 year old Atari Kobayashi (Koyu Rankin) makes the brave journey of searching for his dog after all canines are deported to the secluded “Trash Island” due to the threat of dog flu. While on the waste dump, he meets a group of Alpha dogs including the stray, Chief (Bryan Cranston), the lone wolf who bites when shown affection.

Despite being different species, the two characters are very much alike. Both are lost orphans who constantly seek belonging, either in people or pets. Atari found a home in his best friend, Spots (Liev Schreiber), when he lost his own. Chief, coming from nothing, found himself in a strong bond with the pack that provided him with purpose. At first distant, the two bond over their lonesomeness while Chief also overcomes his struggles with receiving kindness.

While Anderson’s style can come off as inauthentic to any type of behavior, it allows the film to eliminate what makes humans and animals different and brings them to the same level. The true message and heart rests in the connection between these two lonely characters when they’re both faced with the threat of losing security and friendship. This could happen between any two humans but Anderson further proves that cinematic stories like these can happen between anyone. It isn’t called “a man’s best friend” for nothing.

Between the splendid animation and witty dialogue, Isle of Dogs shines in its original storytelling while Anderson teaches us an important lesson about compassion and camaraderie: we all have the capacity to give and receive friendship even when we feel the most alone.


My Rating: 87.5%

Animation: 4/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3/4

Enjoyability: 3.5/4