The Guilt Trip (2012)

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Director: Anne Fletcher
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Production Companies: Paramount Pictures, Skydance Productions
Stars: Barbra Streisand, Seth Rogen
Genre: Comedy

What It’s About: A man takes his mother along with him as he travels cross-country trying to pitch his new organic cleaning product, with the hopes of reuniting her with an old love interest.

How I Watched It: Alone in my apartment.

Thoughts: Andy (Rogen) visits his mother while out making a pitch for his new organic cleaning product.  While visiting, Joyce (Streisand) tells Andy all about her first love AKA “the one who got away”.  He comes to find out that he is actually named after this guy. She wanted to name him after someone that she loved so deeply. Shocked and somewhat curious, he tracks this guy down on the internet. Then, Andy plots out a surprise reunion for his mother with her long-lost love by adding a stop on the end of his business trip, and then inviting her along. They set out for a week-long journey with plenty of interesting stops along the way.

Alright. Well, Seth Rogen is adorable as always.  This isn’t his usual obscene and awkward stoner role, but he’s still pretty funny.  After all these years, Streisand’s still got it too.  Pairing these two together was one of the best mother/son pairings I’ve seen on screen in a long time.  They click incredibly well, and look the part too.

This movie is the typical story about an overbearing mother and her kid overcoming their differences and learning to love each other more.  There really weren’t any big surprises along the way.  A few heartfelt moments thrown in, which were nice.  What’s great about these two in these roles, is that they know how to keep it simple.  None of their acting was too in your face–pretty understated comedy.  They act like an actual mother and son would–they don’t get into outlandish situations that seem completely unbelievable.

That being said, the pacing seemed to drag a bit in certain parts of the movie.  I started to lose interest.  I started paying attention when they went to a Texas steakhouse and had her eat a 50 oz. steak, only to earn the affections of the ever-hunky Brett Cullen as Ben. He makes a fine lookin’ cowboy, if I do say so myself.

**SPOILERS**

They have ups, and they have downs. Eventually Joyce finds out that Andy brought her along so that she could reunite with Andrew, and she gets upset because she thought he wanted her there to spend time with her.  But they patch it up REALLY quickly, and head off to see him anyway.  They come to find out that the Andrew Margolis that they tracked down, was actually the son of the man they were searching for.  The real Andrew died several years before.  Upset and shocked they settle in to talk to Andrew.  In walks Andrew’s sister.  Her name is Joyce.  Dawwwwwwwwwww.  **feels**

My Rating:  Meh.

It had its funny moments.  I had its heartfelt moments.  I didn’t hate it, but it’s not something I’ll ever re-visit.  Just a fun, brainless watch to fill up some downtime.

Where Can I Watch It?:  Available on Netflix Instant, Amazon Instant, VUDU, iTunes

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Bad Milo! (2013)

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Director: Jacob Vaughan
Writers: Jacob Vaughan, Benjamin Hayes
Production Companies: New Artists Alliance, Floren Shieh Productions, Duplass Brothers Productions
Stars: Ken Marino, Gillian Jacobs, Peter Stormare, Patrick Warburton, Stephen Root
Genre: Horror/ Comedy

What It’s About: A man with unusual stomach problems learns that he has a demon living in his intestines.

How I Watched It: Alone in my apartment.  Evening.

Thoughts: To boil it down to brass tacks here, Duncan (Marino) is getting a lot of strange stomach problems whenever he gets stressed. One day he discovers that he has a small demon living up his butt.  The demon comes out to play and terrorizes people who have caused him stress.

This movie is…strange.  XD  I knew what to expect going into it, but it still managed to surprise me.

One thing I can give praise to in this movie is the special effects.  The creature, AKA Milo, is adorable yet terrifying and really creates some hilarious moments.  Most of the effects in this movie appeared to be practical, which is always something to be praised.  Kudos to Fractured FX for their work on this film.

Pretty solid comedic performances all around.  Ken Marino was great as the lead in this–just a normal down-to-earth guy….stuck working in a 9-5 office job….with a demon up his butt that pops out and kills people.  But it really was well played.  He didn’t make it too over-the-top, which was a necessity for him to be successful.

Shout-out to Peter Stormare who plays Duncan’s shrink, and also to Stephen Root who comes into play as Duncan’s father.  I don’t even really know what to say.  This whole plot line and all of the characters in it are just ridiculous.

My Rating:  Meh.

It had it’s funny moments, and I loved the creature effects.  However, the sheer amount of toilet humor in this movie gets tiring after a while.  And yes, I understand that you HAVE to have toilet humor for this plot, but still.  I feel that I may have enjoyed this more in a group setting

Where Can I Watch It?: Currently available on Netflix Instant and Amazon Instant.

Demonica (2014)

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Directors: “Insane” Mike Saunders, Jason Bolinger  Assistant: Chris Simmons
Written By: “Insane” Mike Saunders, Chris Simmons
Production Company: Prescribed Films       !!FOLLOW THEM HERE!!
Stars: Linnea Quigley, Joseph Roark, Katie Lynn McDowell, Daniel Hampel, Alicia Bricker, Sam Garles, Cassie Heller, Elizabeth DehneNick Zmuda, Rachel Russell

Genre: Horror, Comedy

What It’s About: A group of kids in the 1980s get stuck in a skating rink overnight, and are killed off one by one by demons.

How I Watched It: The movie’s premiere event!  In a theater with over 100 people.

Thoughts: Okay.  I’m gonna do my best to not be biased, because I personally know the fellas that put this together.  Also, let it be known that this movie is much more home-grown than the titles I’ve done so far.  Small budget–but lots of heart.

The movie starts in a tavern, sometime in the past.  We see splendid performances from Keokuk’s own Nalani Proctor and Dustin Neill. There’s a dark figure in the corner who is wearing an amulet and turns out to be a demon.  Nalani is the first to bite the dust in the movie, the first of many.  The demon starts attacking everyone and turning them into demon minions, and then in comes a gypsy to save the day!

Then fast forward to the 1980s. Some kids walk into a shop which is owned by an old gypsy played by none other than scream queen Linnea Quigley!  Sweet. Always fun to have famous cameos. Then this fella Richard (Joseph Roark) eyeballs this fancy necklace on the counter….OH SHIT!!  Is that the demon amulet!!??  Of course it is…and of course he steals it.  XD  Awesome setup.  You already know that shit’s. goin’. down.

Then we shoot over to the skating rink which is just FULL of loopy characters.  We see Terri (Leah Morrissey) at the register and Walter Paisley (Justin Beahm) at the skate counter.  Hilarious characters.  Then there’s John (Daniel Hempel) the lonely janitor. What a scene-stealer. And….let’s not forget the side-story of the two roller derby girls (Cassie Heller and Elizabeth Dehne) that sneak into basement of the rink to try and steal a derby trophy that they wrongfully lost.

Anyway, in walks Richard–turns out this place is owned by his father (Mark Burk).  He goes to try and scam his dad out of some booze money, and in turn is forced to stay in and close up the rink because pops is off with his new lady, played by the lovely Jill Emmert. Then Richard calls his over-bearing girlfriend Laura (Katie Lynn McDowell). When she hears that he can’t go to the party they had originally planned, she is not happy. So…Richard comes up with the plan to send the staff home early so him and his friends can party after-hours at the rink. The party-goers consist of Richard, Laura, Laura’s sister Monica (Alicia Bricker), David (Sam Garles), Vicky (Rachel Russell), and Tim (Nick Zmuda).

Okay.  Phew!  Now, that’s the general setup before shit starts hitting the fan.  I don’t wanna get into any spoilers, so yeaaaaaah. Now, performances.  I love the acting in this movie. Really well done, and so full of heart. I’ll try not to be too long-winded here and just highlight a few of my favorite characters:

Daniel Hampel’s portrayal of John the janitor is hard to not love.  This guys face is just…priceless.  He is oh, so animated and entertaining to watch.  Some of the best physicality I’ve seen from an actor in a long time.  He just steals every scene that he’s in.

Sam Garles plays David, one of the kids who comes to party at the rink.  He takes the role of “party animal” and 5th wheel (even though Laura brings Monica along).  Such a comedian.  Again, much like Daniel, stealer of all the scenes!

Cassie Heller kicks some ass as Sara, one of the roller derby chicks.  The banter back and forth between her and Elizabeth Dehne (Wendy) is a lot of fun to watch.  “Fuckin’ A, Wendy!”

Big nod to Jill Emmert for her work in the costumes–they looked great!  Totally 80s.  And another nod to Matthew Clay for composing the music.  Sounded great.  One of my favorite moments is a slow-motion walk later in the movie, and his music just makes that moment golden.  Also a BIG kudos to Steven “Flyboy” Tracy for his work on the effects in this movie.  Some really outstanding gore effects in this movie.  So much punching through….and biting!…..and…..oh.  I can’t tell you.  😉

My rating:  Huzzah!

If you’re not a fan of low-budget horror movies, this might not be the flick for you.  I, however, love low-budget horror.  I adore this film.  And getting a behind-the-scenes look into all of the hard work and love that went into it makes me love it even more. Great job ladies and gents.

This one’s not available on DVD just yet, but hopefully you’ll be able to get your hands on it eventually.  If you follow the Prescribed Films Blog you can stay up-to-date on that process.  I’m sure that I’ll be spreading the word when it happens.  🙂