‘Bao’: A Brutally Meaningful Showstarter

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you like movies and aren’t completely ignorant, you’ve definitely heard of the seamless Incredibles 2. But we aren’t here to talk about that movie – we are here to talk about what comes before it.

Prior to the Disney Pixar sequel, a short film titled Bao was featured. It was a short with no talking and very minimal sound, but brilliant animation. This, of course, can be expected of the mega animation company behind it.

The creator was a woman by the name of Domee Shi, who wrote and directed the entirety of it. This was the only produced piece on her filmography, but still made her the first woman to direct and create a Pixar short.

The story itself revolves around a woman who is making dinner for her husband – dumplings, specifically – and as her husband leaves for work, the woman is left alone. That is, except for one dumpling that sprouts arms and legs. Don’t worry, it’s not creepy, it’s cute.

It zooms through the life of the woman and her dumpling as he grows up into a bigger dumpling and eventually wants to leave home. This leads to the tragedy of the woman *SPOILER ALERT* eating her child dumpling. Once again, it’s not creepy. Seconds after, it’s revealed that, all along, the dumpling was her son. A son that abandoned her and distanced himself, creating tension when he comes back. It all ends happily when the love of a mother overpowers the fear of him leaving again.

This short film had me in tears before the main attraction even started. I was left shook and half-tempted to leave the theatre to call my own mom. Shi knew how to tug at the heart strings with a self-understood passion that she clearly demonstrated, telling a story with a moral that can only be described as undebatable and astounding. Family is around for a reason, and you shouldn’t cut that unless it’s necessary and healthier.

Even leaving Incredibles 2, I was thinking about this short. The story, the metaphors within, and all the thought that Shi must’ve put into the – for a lack of a better word – incredible journey of a mother and her child.


My Rating: 97.5%

Animation: 3.9/4

Direction: 3.9/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

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100th Day of BFS: The Best and Worst of 2018

To celebrate the 100th day of Basement Film Society, we’ve decided to take (nearly) every single movie that’s come out this year and put them in a list of top 10 and bottom 10.

The lists are based on the ratings that they have been given in our reviews. Percentages will be included in this post, as well. 

Anyways, let’s get started and thank you so much for joining us in our 100 day celebration! We cannot wait for 100 more!

Top 10 Best Movies… so far.

  1. First Reformed (98%)
  2. Hereditary (98%)
  3. Won’t You Be My Neighbor (96%)
  4. You Were Never Really Here (96%)
  5. Tully (96%)
  6. Adrift (95%)
  7. American Animals (94%) 
  8. Game Night (93.7%)
  9. Incredibles 2 (93%)
  10. Veronica (93%)

Top 10 Worst Movies… so far.

  1. 7 Days in Entebbe (56%)
  2. Overboard (53%)
  3. Red Sparrow (50%)
  4. Super Troopers 2 (46%)
  5. Taco Shop (39.4%)
  6. Truth or Dare (36%)
  7. Step Sisters (35%)
  8. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (33%)
  9. The Week Of (19%)
  10. The Kissing Booth (18%)

 

‘The Kissing Booth’ is So NOT Cute

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

Let’s just start off by saying that I know that teen movies are meant to be unrealistic and sappy, but The Kissing Booth was much worse than that. It took those descriptors to another level and made it to where I could care less about any of the characters, even the hot ones.

So basically, it’s about a teenage girl named Elle (Joey King) who develops a crush on her best friend Lee’s (Joel Courtney) hotter older brother, Noah (Jacob Elordi). Pretty basic storyline until you mix in the conflict of Elle and Lee’s rules of friendship that forbids her from dating Noah. Most girls have been through something similar so the story should make for a decent and cute movie. Except for the fact that nothing was believable.

If you don’t know who Joey King is then here’s a little description of how she looks: like a 12 year old girl. If you don’t know how her love interest, Jacob Elordi, looks then here you go: like a 25 year old man. This isn’t to knock King’s looks or anything because I can relate (considering I’m often told that I appear twelve years old) and honestly she fits the teenaged role perfectly. The only weird one was Elordi who I did not believe for a second that he was in high school. He’s 6’5 (give or take), muscular, and overall looks like an NFL quarterback.

So the two of them together seemed very off and resembled more of a brother-sister duo than two lovers. I would’ve rather seen King and Courtney’s characters end up together rather than sit through the awkward love fest that I just watched.

Not only that, but everyone besides the main characters were overly stereotypical. Mean girls acting dumb, jocks treating girls like dirt, nerds being gross nose pickers, and bad boys riding motorcycles and making out with everyone

Blah, blah, blah. The list goes on.

Not only was this deeply unrealistic but the romance was a major eye roll. Every line was something I’d heard from other romantic comedies and was completely predictable. Not to mention the big grand gesture at the end with Noah saying ‘I love you’ to Elle at prom, resulting in her rejecting him to “save her friendship” with Lee. But don’t fret because they end up together, anyway.

I understand that this movie was targeted towards a specific audience (my teenaged sister), but I love chick flicks too. Teen dramas and romantic comedies are my favorite genres which is what The Kissing Booth was classified as. But instead of making me laugh and filling me with wonder, it left me wondering why I decided to spend my time watching this… thing.


My Rating: 18%

Acting: 1/4

Cinematography: 1/4

Story: 0/4

Enjoyability: 1/4

Film Forecast Friday: June 29th

On June 29th we have…

1. Sicario: Day of the Soldado

2. Uncle Drew

3. Escape Plan 2

4. Black Water

5. Woman Walks Ahead

6. Leave No Trace

Julia’s Prediction:

This week there aren’t really any big blockbuster movies coming out.

The movie I have seen the most marketing for is definitely Uncle Drew, and it has a lot of big names in it like Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll, and more. So based on that I think this could be the biggest movie out of those coming out this week.

However, there have been so many big releases this month I doubt any of these movies will make a big impression at the box office. Between Incredibles 2 and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom these movies will have a hard time coming anywhere near the top of ticket sales.

Anthony’s Prediction:

I’ll start with Uncle Drew, which will make the most at the box office this weekend due entirely to its insane marketing and constant advertising on every platform.

Then we have Sicario: Day of the Soldado which is a sequel, so it’ll make nearly as much as Uncle Drew, even if it’s horrible.

Those two are going to be pretty much the only relevant ones this week, given that there hasn’t been much advertising or anticipation for the sequel to Escape Plan or whatever the heck the other movies are.

‘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.

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

 

‘Walk the Line’: Music, Addiction, and Forbidden Love

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Julia Wilson

For today’s Time Warp Tuesday, we will be taking a look at one of the greatest musical biopics of all time (and my favorite film) Walk the Line.

The film follows the ‘Man in Black’ musician, Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix), and his musical career. Along the way, he finds love in his childhood crush and longtime singing partner June Carter Cash (Reese Witherspoon) but with the highs comes the lows. The audience is exposed to Johnny’s demons and faults. We learn about his battle with drugs and alcohol and his affair with June despite being married to his wife Vivian (Ginnifer Goodwin). He suddenly becomes his own villain and becomes stuck in a cycle of addiction and infidelity.

Walk the Line went on to win multiple awards including Best Actress at the Academy Awards. What made this film so great was, in fact, the acting. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon quite literally embodied the souls of Johnny and June Cash. It’s almost like watching a documentary of the famous duo because of the actors’ nearly identical performances. When someone, with hardly any musical experience, can replicate every voice inflection, facial expression, and body movement of a famous musician’s performance then I think it goes without saying that they deserve the highest praise possible.

Along with the musical talent they possess, Phoenix and Witherspoon’s chemistry is both undeniable and honest. Johnny and June had an intense bond that caused him to lose control and hurt June and Johnny’s wife Vivian in the process. This flawed love story is portrayed with the same fierceness it possessed without watering down the moral imperfections. It isn’t the ideal romance that you see in most films, but this also is not a romance – it’s a drama. And that genre leaves all of the ugly parts in.

One of those ugly parts is Johnny’s drug addiction, and the performance that Phoenix gives is too good to not give an Oscar to. As I said before, Johnny becomes the villain in a story where he was the protagonist and his rehabilitation isn’t a pretty one. But Phoenix’s transition between all of them were nearly flawless, and he was able to portray one’s real experience of addiction. He showed the dark side of a man who was once on the top of the mountain and suddenly fell into his own personal hell. (I’m sure you thought I’d make a ‘Ring of Fire’ pun, but that’d be way out of context)

Walk the Line is one of those movies that will never leave your mind after one watch and questions whether fame and fortune is worth the hurt.