Film Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

wir2

Death, taxes, and Disney.  3 surefire constants in life.  Disney has made a TON of quality films: Toy Story 1-3 (Pixar but still under Disney umbrella), Lion King, Duck Tales Movie (You better believe that counts), Little Mermaid, the list goes on.  And hey, they’re allowed to have a Black Cauldron,  Chicken Little, or Meet the Robinsons every so often.  Then what happens?  Disney buys Star Wars and fires out films faster than Alexandra Ocasio Cortez fires out her lack of knowledge regarding government structure.  SHE ACTUALLY THOUGHT SHE WAS GETTING INAUGERATED??!! Anyway, some of the Star Wars films were solid (Rogue 1 and Episode 8), and a couple that weren’t (Solo and arguably Episode 7).  But Disney is that guy you want up to the plate with bases loaded and down by 3 in the bottom of the 9th.  They’ll bring it home and make more “feel good” memories for you 8 times out of 10.    

So when they announced a sequel to one of my favorite recent Disney films, Wreck it Ralph, I was immediately ecstatic.  How perfect was the mix of 80’s/90’s video games, humor, and even a message of acceptance for people with physical issues that doesn’t constantly hit you over the head.  I laughed throughout the first film and had to rewatch to see all of the characters walking in the background of all the scenes.  How did I think the sequel holds up?  Well…

Ralph and Vanellope (John C Reilly and Sarah “I don’t mind watching Louis CK beat off as long as that ginger juice doesn’t get on me” Silverman) are back in Litwak’s arcade, hooping it up when Ralph accidentally contributes to the breaking of Sugar Rush’s (Vanellope’s game) steering wheel.  Uh-oh!  A replacement steering wheel costs more than Sugar Rush takes in a year so all the characters escape from the now shutdown video game.  Vanellope and Ralph make their way into the wi-fi router and head to eBay so they can get that replacement steering wheel and save Candy Crush from being taken out of the arcade.  Cue the spam/pop up add jokes, the google autofill jokes, and various internet gags.  After Ralph and Vanellope win the auction for the Sugar Rush steering wheel, they learn that Ebay does indeed cost money.  Ralph heads off to make goofy videos and becomes a viral star with the help of the algorithm, YESSS (Taraji P Henson).  Meanwhile, Vanellope heads off and gets tied in with bad girl/wannabe Fast and the Furious racer, Shank (Gal Godot).  Vanellope wants to drive and Shank tells her that maybe Sugar Rush is not longer for the place for her.  Enter internal conflict of staying with her best friend or leaving for her dreams.  

At this point, this film is solid and just about as enjoyable as the first.  I must say that when Vanellope goes to the Disney section of the internet is HILARIOUS.  She runs into Star Wars characters, priceless.  But when she mets all of the princesses of the Disney films is when this film takes the cake.  Tons of shoutouts, tongue in mouth jokes from Snow White to Mulan to Elsa.  That writing couldn’t have been more sharp.  But I have to say, this film disappointed me when Ralph tries to sabotage the internet with a virus.  It really lost me in the end and I think the payoff was subdued because I wasn’t really on board with that final act.  Is this a fun film?  Yes.  Did I like it?  Yes.  But is this in the same ballpark as its predecessor?  Absolutely not.  

I give it a 6.5 out of 10.

Advertisements

Film Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

images

There are some franchises that motor on because of the success and quality of those films.  See: 90% of Star Wars films, Rocky 1-4 as well as Balboa and Creed, Indiana Jones Trilogy,  (I don’t acknowledge the 4th like no one recognizes the third Godfather), 75% of the James Bond films, and most of the Star Trek films/reboots.  And there are some franchises that people feel obligated to stay with no matter how mediocre or films have become and they still make boku bucks, hence another sequel every 3 years.  See: Fast and the Furious, Saw, Transformers, and Pirates of the Caribbean.   What do some of these franchises have in common?  The first one is fantastic.  The second and third ones, meh.  By 4, you barely keep up with them and skip over them when they pop up on cable (I know, I just made myself look old by still having cable).  Sometimes, they manage to surprise the hell out of you by hiring new writers/director for the 4th or 5th and reinvigorate the franchise.  Fast and the Furious 5 is a perfect example, it brought me back in because it was excellent.  And then I sat through the next 2 oversized turds.  Guess what?  Now you’re hooked for at least 2 or 3 more films. And bang, you’re just like a vegan who came to their senses and started eating meat again.  

Let’s review Jurassic Park.  The first one, very solid but the book ending was MUCH better than the film ending but 8-9 times out of 10, that’s the case.  JP2, not great except the scene where the dino hunters ran through the field of velociraptors and most of them ended up looking like Jenna Jamison’s b-hole when she retired from porn.  JP3 was even worse, not even the pterodactyl scene saved this monstrosity.  And next thing you know, the franchise was shelved.  

But as Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum’s character in 2 and 1/10 films) says, “Life, ahhh finds a way.”  As does Steven Spielberg to jump start a dead franchise.  3 years ago, Jurassic World came out and ran roughshod through the box office like a T-Rex that just ate a Mexican village and is now looking for a bathroom.  What does that mean?  Fire up the sequel machine!!  JW recaptured the elements from JP and did it well with a bunch of cool nods to the first one.  It worked, even though it was just a blatant reboot of the first one.  But I dug it.  

Of all the previews I saw of FK, not one of them made me go, “Hmm, I’m looking forward to playing hooky from work to see this.”  But since I’m an (unpaid) film reviewer, I felt it was my civic responsibility to see this and comment.  FK starts off with the dino island in deep stegosaurus poop; a volcano is exploding and the dinos face extinction, sigh, again.  And of course, screenwriters Colin Trevorow and Derek Conolly, decide to make this one of the few social issues of the film.  Do dino lives matter?  According to Claire (one of the few attractive gingers, Bryce Dallas Howard), they certainly do.  She gets little resistance from persuading Owen (newly single Chris Pratt and who will be bedding GOTG nerds and film extras galore) to come with her to help save the dinos.  Financing the journey is Benjamin Lockwood (Jamie Cromwell) who apparently used to be partners with JP creator, John Hammond, until Hammond had the idea to make an amusement park with dinosaurs.  Standing in the way is Lockwood’s assistant, Mills, who has plans of his own for the Cretaceous creatures.

Here are several problems with this film:  

  1. What do people want to see?  Dinosaurs killing humans in cool ways with a little bit of gore. Yes, I know that a ton of little kids go see this but it’s rated PG-13 which allows them to get away with more.  When people get killed, it’s almost sanitary and really doesn’t scare you nor feel “real.”  
  2. This film DRAAAAGS.  The last 20-30 minutes should’ve been trimmed down, especially the scene you see in commercials where the dinosaur gets into the little girl’s bedroom.  The running time is just over 2 hours but it felt as long as the math section did of the SATs.  
  3. The plot fell into the same formulaic trap as some of the sequels did.  You know who’s dying within 10 seconds of the introduction of characters.  Asshole money- hungry assistant?  Surprise, he dies.  Overly aggressive and mean head of security?  Auf Weiderzehen.  Soldier who hits a woman?  Appetizer for T-Rex.  Just once, let’s see one or 2 of the good guys get picked off and not everyone making it home in time for dinner.  Let’s have the computer nerd get picked off.  Or the cute little girl.  
  4. Do we need a bunch of social issues in a popcorn blockbuster film?  I don’t think so. Do dino lives matter?  Should we let them acclimate into our world?  Is cloning humans acceptable?  And the last reveal was just plain lazy which ties into the ending.  
  5. You see 75% of Jeff Goldblum in the previews which obviously means he’s critically underutilized.  That character was great in the first and second films.  Maybe he didn’t want to do a full role but man, spread his scenes throughout the film.  
  6. JW hatched (I’m a cutup, I know) a hybrid dinosaur to mix things up.  So if it ain’t broke, Universal ain’t fixing it.  Yes, there’s another hybrid dinosaur and I immediately thought, “Ok, back to the well with this idea.”  20 bucks said the next sequel has TWO hybrids and one of them will involve a pterodactyl that looks like Kathy Griffin.  

I found myself over halfway through the film not really caring what happens next.  I honestly got bored through the final encounter.  I’m surprised I’m seeing more positive reviews than negative reviews for this one.  The poster should’ve had Spielberg, BDH, and Pratt holding bags with the $ sign while riding on the back of a Brontosaurus.  Because that’s exactly what this was, a vicious cash grab.  This film opened 60 million less than JW did.  But of course, it will be profitable and they’ll make another one.  Good luck getting me to invest me any more time in this franchise, I’m out.

I give it a 4/10.

Film Reviews: Solo and Deadpool 2

dp2

The Merc with the Mouth is back.  If you aren’t familiar with Deadpool, picture a taller Tucker Max in a red uniform as he slashes and shoots shit up.  This time, he’s back to save a pudgy British mutant whose name is, ahem, Fire Fist.  Yes, DP has a great laugh or 2 about it.  Ryan Reynolds reprises the lead role while Josh Brolin plays Cable, the time traveling badass hellbent on killing said Limey.  But first, we witness Deadpool’s love interest, played by “Gotham” hottie. Morena Baccarin, eat a bullet.  Deadpool wrangles with this loss throughout the film but not without his usual amount of zingers, barbs, and witty repartee.  As we saw in the first one, the Xmen are still trying to recruit him and yes, it’s more of Colossus and Megasonic Teenage Warhead.  Deadpool reluctantly joins the group in hopes of stopping Cable while hilarity ensures.  After being kicked out of the X-Men for extreme force, he creates his own superhero team…X-Force.  I’m not spoiling anything, you’ve all seen this in the commercials.

This films is more of the usual: DP incorporating campy music during fight scenes.  Ball busting on all sides, pulverizing the 4th wall and dropping a well placed self deprecating joke or crack about superhero films.  Cable is a fantastic villain (?) and Brolin handles this as well as he handled Thanos.  And yes, they do make reference to him playing both roles.  DP2 is funnier than the first and goddamn, the post credits scene is hysterical.  However, I felt this one dragged at times, especially in the end.  I liked this but slightly prefer the first one more.  I just felt the first one flowed a little better.  7 out of 10.

solo

And now, the film that shall be on everyone’s hit list for the summer, Solo.  Look, I came into this film with little expectation as I did with Rogue 1.  I walked out of R1, absolutely stunned how great it was.  The previews for Solo didn’t grab me but I said, what the hell.  Moviepass this one and then sneak into DP2 is a hell of a way to spend an afternoon.  Is this legit good or have we completely swung into the dark side of the Disney cash grab?

Han Solo joins Tobias Beckett (no relation to Samuel) and his crew of smugglers/thieves/rogue scoundrels to steal Coaxium (getting tough to come up with names for metals with all of these superhero films) for a gangster name Dryden Vos (played by Paul Bettany.  Good for him taking time out playing Vision and motor boating his wife, the lovely Jennifer Connelly).

Alden Ehrenreich plays everyone’s swashbuckling hero not named Kevin Gootee.  Apparently, those in casting didn’t care that Alden seems to be on the Tom Cruise scale of height.  When Emilia Clarke is damn near eye level to your hero, you might want to consider someone a bit taller.  I’ve read people trashing Ehrenreich’s performance and I think we have to cut the guy a little bit of slack.  Han Solo is one of the top film characters of all time and obviously, Harrison Ford killed it.  You just can’t replace someone of that ilk so you can’t expect someone to come in and take the baton with ease.

We get to see how that scruffy nerfherder and Chewbacca meet and I dare you not to smile when you see that walking carpet onscreen, especially during their witty banter.  There are obviously a ton of foreshadowing nods to the other films and a few inside jokes for uber Star Wars nerds, even a few music homages throughout.  And lastly, we get to see Donald Glover play Lando Calrissian and are shown how the 2 heroes become unlikely friends.  Glover is alright, let’s not break our arms high fiving him for his performance.  We get more sassiness from a robot, l7-37, and even some awkward man-robot sexual tension in this film.

And now the jury will read the verdict:  As I previously stated, I had set a low bar for this film.  And I walked out saying, “It’s fine.”  You’re not going to hate it as you hated episode 1.  But you sure as shit aren’t putting it in your top 5 of Star Wars films, that’s for damn sure.  I write this article on Sunday, May 27th.  The box office numbers are estimated that it made 83 million over the weekend and will hit 101 million on Memorial Day.  This should be the missive that the Disney executives take seriously.  You knew Disney viewed this franchise like Marvel, both money printing presses.  But fans don’t need filler until the next major Star Wars film.  One of my friends on FB said if this came out first, there would never be another origin story.  The success of Rouge 1 definitely opened Pandora’s box for these offshoot stories.  If Solo were to have done well, we would probably be subjected to more origin stories like: Mon Mothma, Salacious Crumb, and Wedge Antilles.  So let’s thank the masses they stayed home like it was the 4th Madea film.  I give it a 6 out of 10.

v1.bTsxMjY4MDI5MztqOzE3NzQxOzEyMDA7MTk4MTsyOTMy

“In a Quiet Place” was downright bonkers.  It’s the story of an alien invasion (I know, BTDT) BUT this type is different.  The aliens rely solely on sound to hunt the human race. John Kraszinski and Emily Blount have a family in upstate NY and they do everything in their power to minimize sound: walk on sand while barefoot, use sign language, as well as colored lights as signals.  Oh, let’s also mention Emily Blunt has to give birth while being as quiet as possible.  If you can still go see this in a theater, do it.  Because there is NO score to this film and hopefully you don’t have any assholes chew on popcorn or open cellophane wrappers during the movie.  It sounds corny but the quiet plays a HUGE role into the film as well your experience in the theater.  Loved it, it’s this year’s “Get Out,” in terms of surprise hit.  7 out of 10.

MV5BMjMxNjY2MDU1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzY1MTUwNTM@._V1_UY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_

“Avengers: Infinity War”…if you haven’t seen it, then you simply hate life.   The film hits the ground running as Thanos decides to stop letting all of the other super villains strike out by taking it upon himself to grab the Infinity Stones.  What’s the big deal?  One snap of the fingers after getting all 5 and then a simple snap of the fingers can cause half of  planets’ populations to die in hopes of slowing down the drain on planets’ resources.  I’d love to snap my fingers and have all improv comedians disappear as well as people who stand at the top of subway steps or in the middle of the sidewalk. BEST Marvel film of all and it has one of the dubious honors of being 2:30 long and at the end, you’re still wanting more.  9 out of 10.

 

NFL week 17 picks ATS

I knew I jinxed myself when I said I haven’t had a losing weekend since late october.  2-5 was not the way to spend Christmas but shit, these things happen.  Hope you enjoyed Star Wars as much as I did.  And I recently did see 2 new films that you may enjoy:  Film reviews: 3 Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri and Darkest Hour And now we go into the last week of the year which is just as confusing as week 1.  Playoffs are mostly set with seedings up in the air which means some teams are half assing it or completely resting their starters.  So I’m going to do more totals or games where there is some meaning.  

The Raiders head to LA for a quasi meaningless game as the Chargers need help to make the playoffs.  So for all you LA residents, get ready for Raiders fans (cholos) to have cockfights in that soccer stadium parking lot of yours.  Let’s get ready for some cold, hard facts.  Oak has hit the under in 5/5, 8/11 on the road (including last week in Philly, one of the 2 I got right), 4/6 vs LA, 13/17 in LA.  Phil Rivers has been focusing more on his 29 kids than scoring points as his team his hit the under in 5/5 and 5/7 at home.  I think Oak +7 is a play

But I like the LA under 42 better.

My NY Giants just have a new GM who already just started cleaning house.  Got rid of the head of personnel evaluation and cut OL Bobby Ross for refusing to practice and play in Sunday’s game.  In come the Redskins off a win and Kirk Cousins playing for a contract.  It’s gonna be cold in Giants Stadium (sorry you Jets fans squatters, it will always be Giants stadium) and let’s see who’s out for the Giants: Evan Engram, Sterling Sheppard, Landon Collins, and Eli Apple.  But I would consider it a positive for the other team if Apple was in because his mouthy mother could cover better than her pansy ass kid can.  This team has ZERO offense which is exactly how many points they scored last week in Arizona.  Oh yeah, JPP and his 7.5 fingers is also questionable.  I’m 0-2 betting against the Giants this year as KC and Den both decided to take a steamy diarrhea dump on themselves in the ONLY 2 Giants wins all year.  Skins are 4-2 ATS or late and 12-6 on the road.  Giants are 2-5 ATS at home and 3-6 overall.  Third time’s the charm.

Take the Skins -3

Minnesota is about to lock up a first round bye if they can take down the Bears.  Shouldn’t be a problem as the Vikings are 9-1 of late, 7-1 at home, and 4-1.  The ONLY thing I’m worried about is the funky number of 11.5 for the Vikings.  I think the Vikings come out flying and shut down the anemic Bears offense.  Bears are 2-4-1 ATS of late, 5-10 on the road, and 1-4 @ Minnesota.  John Fox will be gone before the post game buffet is laid out.  Get ready to say these words in the same sentence: Case Keenum and playoffs.  Here are a couple of fun stats: Vikes are 6-0 for the under as home favorites of 10 points or more. Vikings are under 4/6 of late, 4/5 @ home, and 4/6 home vs Chi.    The Bears are 5-1 for the under as an underdog of 10+ points.  Bears are 4/5 of late with the under, 5/8 playing the Vikings, and 4/6 in Minnesota.  

I really like the Vikings under 38 and the Vikings first half.  I kind of like the Vikings -12 but prefer the other 2 plays.

In one of the top, “who gives a shit” games of the week, the Colts finish the year against the Texans who still look like they’re playing in that hurricane.  This is going to be Chuck Pagano’s last game so the Colts may resemble an NFL team for once.  The Texans have TJ Yates as quarterback this week and I’ll be honest when I say I’d rather have TJ Hooker behind center.  And no DeAndre Hopkins this week either so I’ll play on the sentimentality factor and….

Lay -5 and grab the Colts.

I think the Bengals and Ravens go higher than 40 points this week.  Why?  The trends say under as Cincy has hit the under in Bal 7/10 and 12/18 overall.  But Baltimore hasn’t put up less than 20 points since 10/22.  And Cincy has put up at least 20 in 5/7.  No Vontez Burfect for Cincy either.  Bal needs the game and will want to stay motivated.

Take Bal over 40

In another, “who gives a shit game”, the Cardinals fly (pun intended) to Seattle who actually can make the playoffs with some help.  Cardinals are 4-0-1 ATS of late but they suck on the road, 1-6.  They also have trouble with Seattle, 2-4-1 ATS.  And why doth thou give a dookie about this game?  Because Bruce Arians is supposedly retiring due to health reasons.  And you’re getting 9 points with a team who’s actually trying for no apparent reason.  Yes, Seattle is healthier.  But they haven’t exactly been lighting it up of late, 3-5-1 and 1-4 at home ATS.  I’m tired so no more jokes or analysis.

Take the Redbirds and the 9 free points. 

The lock of the week is the Saints game but not for the reason you may think.  The Saints need this game to ensure a home game.  The Bucs have played well of late but let’s tip my hand a little bit.  Bucs have went under in 5/5 at home and 6/9 overall.  5/6 vs NO and 8/9 at home vs NO.  Saints are 4/5 on the road with the under.  This game could easily be a Saints blowout or a squeaker and I just don’t give 2 flying purple dildos.  But I will guaran-damn-tee that this game…

Goes under 48.5

Kind of debating about: Cincy +9.5, Jets +15, and Niners -3…

Week 15 NFL Picks ATS

5-2 last week, ohhhh baby.  Looks like my daughter gets more than a Hess truck for Christmas.  Just kidding, we make a real living.  And I’ll heavily wager that if you got a Hess truck for Christmas, you had a divorced dad who forgot to buy a Christmas present for you and had to call an audible at a gas station.  So the money came pouring in last week and for the year, I’m 61%.  SIXTY ONE PERCENT, THAT’S FUCKING INSANE.  AND YOU SHOULD BE TIPPING ME OUT FOR THESE GENIUS PICKS!  Feel free to do so at PayPal: Kgootee@hotmail.com

And if you were curious about the new Star Wars film, check out my review here: Star Wars The Last Jedi Review (No spoilers)

I like the Saturday night game, here’s why: KC under hits 13/18 at home.  KC also under has hit in 4/5 as well as when KC plays LAC, the under has hit 5/7.  And LA has hit the under 4/5 on the road and 7/8 games.  

Took KC under 47

You know who’s bad?  The NY Jets on the road.  They got ram-rodded (probably a top 5 gay bar name) by the anemic Denver Broncos.  Yes, Josh McCown got knocked out of the game.  And who came in, Bryce Petty.  I’d rather have Lori Petty or the corpses of Tom and Richard Petty.  You know who’s good?  The Saints.  You know who’s REALLY good?  The Saints after a loss.  Let’s also add that the Saints have had 10 days to prep for this game after yours truly picked Atlanta to cover against them last Thursday.  No Wilkinson for the Jets as he’s truly a piece of shit and probably won’t play a game for the rest of the year.  Jets are 0-5 in road games facing a team with a winning home record.  Jets are 1-5-1 of late.  Saints are 6-2 vs the Jets and 5-1 ATS as home favorites of 10.5 or more.  This line is 16.5 and I don’t give 2 flying fucks.  The Jets will be lucky to score 10 points but that won’t matter because the Saints are scoring at least 35. And here’s why you should take the under as well.  Jets are 6/8 on the road as the under.  Saints vs Jets has the under hit the last 4/6.  

Take the Saints -16.5 and the under 47

Baltimore Ravens are 7/9 with the over and 5/6 on the road.  Cleveland is recently 4/6 with the over.  No Jimmy Smith for Bal so this is a quick and easy pick.

Take the Ravens over 42.5

I may be too in love with this team but I think the co-lock of the week besides the Saints is the Rams.  After a tough loss, they get Robert Woods back and head into Seattle where the defense is more gored than a tourist who ran with the bulls in Pamplona.  The Rams are 6-2 and 4-1 on the road ATS.  They just lost a tough one to the Eagles.  Seattle of late is 2-4-1 and I see the Rams taking control of the division with a win today.

Take the Rams +1.5

You might be asking me about the game of the day which is the shitbag Pats (And I told you that the Dolphins were covering that game but they go and shock everyone by winning outright, go figure) vs the Steelers.  The Steelers fucked me last week by blowing a 2 TD lead and not covering.  The numbers SCREAM Patriots, ESPECIALLY after a loss.  But for some reason, I think the analysts got into my head and here’s a stat for you.  Ben is 6-1 ATS as a home dog.  But here are some other numbers to consider: Pats are 7/9 with the under and 5/6 on the road with the under.  But when the 2 teams play, they go over 9/13 and 5/7 of late. So I think I MAY take…

The Steelers under 54.  This number is climbing and I think the under is the better play but haven’t locked it in.  This depends on how I do at 1pm.

 

 

Star Wars The Last Jedi Review (No spoilers)

starwars

Well kids, it’s Christmas time for us all…unless you’re Jewish.  The new Star Wars film is here which is something EVERYONE can celebrate.  The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.  What do I think?  Glad you asked your favorite film snob cause I have many thoughts.  And before we get started, here’s my rankings of the films so you know my preferences:

4, 6, 5, Rogue One, 3, 7, 2, ——————1.  That’s how bad Phantom Menace is, lower than Batman V Superman or Suicide Squad.  Hell, I’ll put the punching bag known as the Star Wars Christmas above PM.

We start TLJ off in a dark time, the Resistance is getting decimated by the First Order (a La Empire Strikes back but don’t worry, this film isn’t an Empire reboot as Ep 7 was like Ep 4).  Rey is about to meet Skywalker and learn about the path of a Jedi.  And of course, cry baby Kylo Ren is back being tormented by Supreme Leader Snoke how he’s not much of a man with that mask.  Ren then destroys the mask and then destroying my wishes that he’d keep the mask on so we don’t have to look at his stupid face.  And they say bullying is bad, bullying gets shit done…to a degree.  Good news in this installment, not many emo temper tantrums out of Ren!

The Resistance, led by Princess Leia (yes, you’ll spend most of the time guessing if and where she gets killed off to coincide with Carrie Fisher’s death) needs a codebreaker to crack the code of being able to track a ship through hyperspace.  Speaking of Carrie Fisher, they must have paid her for the Force Awakens in gallons of gin and Virginia Slims.  Her voice sounds huskier than mine.  Folks, it’s been a LONNGGGG time since she wore that metal bikini.  But I did enjoy her having a larger role here than she did in Episode 7.  Anyway, the ships’ shields can only hold up for so long as Finn and new character Jane escape to find said codebreaker.  I’ll tell you now that you’ll find Jane ALMOST as annoying as Jar Jar Binks.  Not a fan.  She is going down in the Star Wars annals as one of the most unlikeable characters, I’ll guarantee it.  And there’s a whole 15-20 minutes with Finn and her that on their search for the codebreaker that could’ve been cut.  Meanwhile, Rey attempts to learn why Skywalker became a hermit and no longer a teacher of the Jedi.  We also learn more why Kylo Ren made the choice to commit to the dark side and I found it to be a nice twist.  

Chewbacca doesn’t get much screen time in this one and you’ll find yourself saying, “Where the hell is Chewie?”  There’s also very little from R2 and some of 3PO.  BB-8 does get a solid haul of screen time and he’s enjoyable as usual.   BUT, you also get a couple of cameos, including one great surprise that will easily put a smile on your face.

I will say that this film is a lot funnier than most BUT after the halfway point, I felt that the jokes were becoming a bit overkill.  I don’t need comedic lines like Caddyshack in a Star Wars film.  I just want good story and good action.  By all means, sprinkle a few throughout the film.  But this has a LOT more; maybe more than all of the films combined.  So that was a bit off-putting.  

Let’s also talk about Daisy Ridley playing Rey.  She’s fantastic and for everyone trying to shove female heroes down our throats for the sake of, take note of this.  You know why this works?  Cause it’s natural.  You BELIEVE that this girl can be a Jedi knight and enjoy her journey.  But when Hollywood forces all female reboots or DEMANDS we have more female superheroes just to check a box, people seize up.  When you feel like you’re trying to be sold something, you freeze up and reject it, right?  Well Rey doesn’t do go that route, bravo!

The action scenes are great.  Dogfight scenes are rock solid and the lightsaber battles?  Top notch, top notch!  

Without delving too deeply into the story, a lot of shit goes down in this film that you would’ve expected to happen in the final film.  TLJ will definitely throw you a few unexpected curveballs, some pleasant and even an, “Ahhh shit” moment.  A lot of people were worried that this would be too much like Empire and there are a couple of moments that there are similarities but overall, it’s quite independent of Ep 5.  

This film does drag a BIT; as I said above, there’s easily 15-20 minutes that can be cut.  And you’ll wonder during the final battle why it’s going on so long but it does pay off nicely.  

And now, the verdict.  I really liked this film and I think it’s better than Force Awakens.  Why?  Because it wasn’t a “greatest hits” like Ep 7 was.  It’s dark.  And they do answer some questions but you’ll wish they expounded on more of the story.  The stage was set relatively well and I’m hoping they just close the loops nicely with episode 9.  

I give it a 7.5 out of 10 and in the rankings, I put it after Rogue One and before Force Awakens.

Week 16 NFL Picks Against the Spread ATS

107271

5-4 last week, worst week I’ve had in a while but still over .500 for the week so the streak continues.  But first, Merry xmas and happy hannukah. The picks are coming early as they are a shitload of games tomorrow vs Sunday. Hopefully you have a betting day than Carrie Fisher’s recent plane ride. I have a lot of facts for you but doesn’t meant I’m taking ALL of these games. Check my fb video with my little Aryan offspring tomorrow for the official picks. But I guarantee that the picks I make are from this list.

I’m a student of trends and gut calls. That’s why I’m almost at 63% for the year.  So let’s get down to getting you (and me) freeeeee money!

You know the Jets are garbage and they proved that Sat night against the Dolphins. This week, they face Tom Brady and the Cheatriots. They already locked up a first rd bye. But I don’t see the Jets getting blown out. Jets are 7-0 ATS against the spread vs the pats and  Pats are 12-25 ats when they are favored by double digits. 17 points are wayyyyy too many. Pats will take their foot off the gas by halftime and I don’t care if Ray Lucas is quarterbacking. 

Take the Jets and a mountain of points.

I really like the Colts in Oakland this week. Indy destroyed the Vikes and their playoff chances last week.  Visitors are 15-2-1 ATS in Oakland and the Raiders as a home favorite are 10-24-1. Indy is 4-1 straight up against Oak and they’re getting 3. Shockingly, the Colts still are in the playoff race so this game means something for them.  And surprise, I like the over too. The Indy defense is trash and we know the Oak defense can be suspect. I loved Oak over last week but those assholes fumbled twice in the red zone as well as had to settle for a FG when they were first and goal on the 1. How about cold, hard facts? Indy has hit the over in 6/7 road games. Oak has hit over in 6/7 home games. overwhelming evidence like that has me plunking down cash on both.

Indy plus 3.5 and over 53

The Ravens let the Eagles score 9 points in 10 minutes last week to screw that bet. Then Doug Pederson in his infinite wisdom cuts it to 1 with a TD with :04 left and then goes for 2?  UGHH.  At least I could’ve had a shot in OT.  People shit on Eli for coughing up the ball but Flacco isn’t far behind; if not equal, in this department.  A fumble and pick in 2 different trips in the red zone sure didn’t help last week.  The line is Pitt -5 and that’s just way too high for them. No gut call here, 11/15 of their games have ended in 3 points or less.  Pitt is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 but this train stops cold here. 

Take the silly purple uniforms plus the 5.

The Bears are on fire and Matt Barkley is proving me wrong every week. Bears are 5-0 ats in their last 5 and in comes in Washington off a short week and a complete beating administered by the Carolina Panthers. Bears getting 3 at home after nearly upsetting GB? Why not?

I’m going with the Bears +3

Tampa covered for me last sun night against Dallas. In fact, they almost won. They beat the Saints 2 weeks ago in Tampa. Hence why everyone loved them this week, which scares the hell out of me.  I hate being on the public’s side and I think Saints can win -3 but not confident enough to take them. But here’s another stat: 11/13 of the games between the have resulted in an under. And it’s high this week, 52.

I’m taking the under Tampa 52, yet again.

Didn’t think I would be wagering on these idiots again this season but the time is right. The Rams are home against the Niners and Jeff Fisher is no longer the coach to screw things up with that 80’s porn mustache. The Niners are trash and the Rams came close to knocking off the Seahawks last Thursday. Nine days to prep for a team that hasn’t won since…beating the Rams week 1. I’m inclined to take the Rams -4 but here’s a few more numbers for you: Rams at home have hit the under 6/8 and 5/6 times vs the Niners.

For sure, taking the Under 40 and maybe Rams -4

Seattle has been off for 9 days as well and they’re up against an AZ d that got scorched in New Orleans. Sea on a 2nd straight home game is 22-7 and they’re also 19-4-1 ATS in Dec. the line is 8 and Carson Palmer can poop it up like no other. Here’s another fun fact: az is over 5/5 and 5/5 over on the road.

Probably taking Sea -8 and maybe over 43

Carolina on a short week and when Car and ATL play, 6/7 times are on the under when both teams play.  

I’m going with the under 51.

Packers are 13-1-1 against the spread at home and the Vikings are limping in and without Adrian Peterson.  

I’m taking Green Bay -7

And now, it’s time for my Stone Cold Lock of the Week.  (That’s a big lock)

images

A lot of people are liking Miami in buffalo. Do I trust Matt Moore on the road? He destroyed the Jets last week, BFD. I have Landry in my fantasy championship so I hope he does it again. Let’s see him do this for 2 weeks straight. LeSean McCoy has been crushing run defenses like I was crushing puss a single dude. Those were the days, sigh. BUT let’s talk over/under. Buffalo has hit the over in 5 straight home games. Buffalo has hit the over in 9/10 games. And Miami has went over in 7/8. Those numbers are good enough for me.

Take Mia over 42