The Wrong Missy (2020) – The Wrong Movie

Released: 13th May
Seen: 17th May

The Happy Madison film company logo might as well be the poop emoji for what it represents as a marker of quality. Every now and then they’ll release something decent, the corn kernel of their cinematic output that’s just overwhelmed by a monsoon of shit that spews out of that company like water from a fire hydrant. It’s almost like they’ve set a challenge to make the laziest comedies known to man and milk people’s love for a pack of former SNL bad boys as much as they can. Their films are also, effectively, creative excuses to go on long trips on company money to fancy locations where they can basically have a vacation between making what they claim is a movie. Since the end of 2015, shortly after the release of the infamously awful Pixels, every movie from Happy Madison is a Netflix exclusive but because Netflix doesn’t seem to have quality control, we get films like The Wrong Missy which are almost clinically designed to make me hate life itself.

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Stargirl (2020) – Aggressively OK

Released: 13th March
Seen: 26th April

In 2000, Jerry Spinelli released the novel Stargirl to critical acclaim. The book was a New York Times bestseller, won multiple awards and even had a sequel called Love, Stargirl. It even got adapted into a stage play and has led to the creation of groups known as Stargirl Societies, designed to encourage young people to be themselves. With all this acclaim and cultural impact, a film adaptation was somewhat inevitable and since Disney is a mega-corporation with a streaming service in search of original content it seems only logical that they would be the ones to take the ball and run with it… or, in this case, take the ball and casually walk down a footpath with it while whistling music by The Go-Go’s.

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Z-O-M-B-I-E-S 2 (2020) – Braaaaiiiiiinnnnss

Released: 18th April
Seen: 20th April

You know, I’ve tackled a fair few streaming networks over the years. I’ve dealt with Netflix originals, Stan originals and Shudder originals but I’ve somehow managed to avoid Disney Plus originals because none of them really leapt out at me. I almost watched that Lady and the Tramp remake but… well, I suffered through three Disney Remakes in one year, I’m allowed to skip one of them. There are a few original films on there but I figured they weren’t going to be that important for me to need to look through… and then the world decided to malfunction and every cinema closed, so I may as well throw the Disney Plus originals into my diet because why the hell not?

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I Still Believe (2020) – You’re Unbelievable

Released: 12th March
Seen: 16th March

About 2 years ago I talked about a film called God’s Not Dead 3: A Light in the Darkness, a biblical sermon disguised as a film made by people who don’t know how films work. In that review, I made the point that a film is going to need more than just religion to work for me. Sure, religion can be an element, but if the entire thing is basically a sermon then I’m not going to be kind to it no matter what the religion is. Enter I Still Believe, a biopic (of sorts) about a contemporary Christian musician named Jeremy Camp and how he met his first wife while making his rise to fame. In theory, this film does what I’m talking about. Faith is a huge factor in the story but there is a story outside of the faith. In theory, I’m OK with this. In practice, it’s a hard pass from me.

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All The Bright Places Header Image

All the Bright Places (2020) – A Little Dim

Released: 28th February
Seen: 29th February

All The Bright Places Info

Sometimes when I pick a movie to review (because until I can turn this into an actual job, I still get to pick which ones I see and when) it’s often based on just how much effort I feel like putting into them. If I feel like I have the time and mental capacity to fully understand and articulate the various issues in a two-and-a-half-hour-long exploration of a political structure, I’ll go find one and if I feel like I need to let out some well-earned snark, I’ll find a 90 minute animated film that gives off the impression that it’s going to be bad and go to town. Sometimes though I have the time available but don’t want to really have to think about something too heavy so thank god Netflix is there with a teen romance film where I literally need to put in zero effort because who the hell even needs to think about one of these things? So that’s what led me to pick the teen romance drama All The Bright Places, thinking “Oh, this is going to be easy. I won’t need to think or handle anything heavy, it’s a cheesy looking teenage romance” and then I clicked it and… they tried to touch on heavy subjects, why does this happen to me?

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: P.S. I Still Love You (2020) – It’s nice

Released: 12th February
Seen: 26th February

To All The Boys I've Loved Before P.S. I Still Love You Info

In 2018 Netflix released To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, a teen romance movie based on the 2014 novel of the same name. The movie itself was very sweet simple little teenage romance movie that excelled due to its sublime casting and innocent story. The entire plot revolved around Laura Jean (Lana Candor) who would write love letters to every boy she ever had a crush on but wouldn’t send them. It was basically an innocent writing exercise to get the feelings out of her system. The conflict comes when Lara’s younger sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart) finds the letters and sends them out to the named crushes. Lara wrote five letters and the first movie dealt with three of them. It was also a relatively complete story so it probably didn’t need a sequel, but we have two more letters to deal with so that’s how we got here.

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I Lost My Body (2019) – And No Body Lost Me

Released: 29th November (2019)
Seen: 1st February

Netflix really has been trying hard to push some good high-end properties lately, which is a nice change from what was scarily becoming a pattern that would leave me screaming “Why did you pay money for this?”. Partially they do this because they know that other services are popping up that’ll offer high-end products that they will inevitably need to compete with and the best way to prove that is to own properties that will get them Oscar nominations. They don’t even need to win, they just need the nomination. You can tell their attempt has worked pretty well since this year Netflix has almost a half dozen films nominated for some award. Best Animated Feature contained two of those nominations, the first being for Klaus and the second for this weird little gem that’s… well, it’s different, I’ll give it that much.

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Little Women (2020) – Effortlessly Charming

Released: 1st January
Seen: 18th January

Remember how stunned we all were when we heard they were doing another version of A Star Is Born? Four versions of the same movie seemed insane, right? Remakes are one thing but multiple remakes are something else. Well, I bring this up because Little Women, according to IMDB, has been adapted 25 times. Think about that for a second, a book printed in 1868 has been adapted, on average, once every six years since the original publication of the first volume of the novel… and considering that the first adaptation doesn’t pop up until 1917, it’s probably adapted once every four years. Basically, this is here to explain why I cannot in any way give you a fair comparison between every version because there are far too many for me to even try it. I also can’t tell you how it compares to the book because I didn’t read it when most people do. As far as this review is concerned, no version outside the 2020 adaptation by Greta Gerwig exists and it will be judged on its own merits. I cannot tell you if this is a truly great adaptation of the original novel that’s going to make you feel as though you are living the lives of the March sisters as you imagined them from the source material. I can tell you that it’s just a damn sweet movie that made me all warm and happy inside.

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Marriage Story (2019) – Love And Divorce

Released: 6th December
Seen: 7th December

This year I don’t think I’ve been that kind to Netflix original movies. As I look back, most of the year I’ve called them anywhere between average to awful with very few bright spots on the way. It almost feels like I was picking on them but I probably wasn’t any meaner to them than any other production company, they just happen to be the one where I have to visit a site labelled with their name so it’s easier to associate them with the bad product. I can’t forget that I saw Sextuplets on Netflix, it started with their logo and the only way to see it is to go to their site. Meanwhile A Dog’s Purpose, my worst film of 2017, has associations with Universal, Amblin, DreamWorks and Walden Media and I don’t even think of it as being a movie by any of those companies, I just see a bad movie.

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Last Christmas (2019) Give It Away

Released: 7th November
Seen: 2nd December

2016, as a year, is generally remembered as a total dumpster fire where all forms of joy and happiness went to die. Entire nations turned on themselves and decided to do objectively stupid things like leave a certain European union or elect a pumpkin man that was assembled in 2013, had already begun to rot and somehow gained racist sentience (with that one sentence, I do believe I’ve gotten rid of the exact kind of reader one would hope to get rid of) and on top of that it seemed like every other day a celebrity that we loved died, culminating in the shocking death of George Michael on Christmas Day. Yes, there were more shocking deaths after him, but I need to save those for when the time comes to talk about the next Star Wars film. Anyway, naturally with a legend like George Michael there was a whole back catalogue of music that someone was inevitably going to take and turn into a tribute to the late performer. You would hope that they would make a film that was as joyful and cheeky as he was, something to celebrate his life… instead, they made a film that is the definition of saccharine and looted George’s pockets for discarded songs.

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