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Suicide Squad (film)

I saw Suicide Squad the other night. It’s the latest film instalment of the DC Extended Universe following 2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I must admit that I was a little weary of spending money to see it after the fiasco that was Batman v Superman and reading all the terrible reviews from critics. But I saw it, and it wasn’t completely terrible. I kind of liked it in fact. It’s not a great movie by any means. There are plot holes, generic villains, and confusing moments, but there are enough good characters, solid performances, and exhilarating action sequences to balance it out. The soundtrack also stands out and makes the movie a little better.

The movie is about a group of convicts that are assembled to save the world from a powerful threat. Will Smith stars as Deadshot, a deadly mercenary with an absurdly accurate shot. Margot Robbie plays Harley Quinn, the psychotic lover of the Joker. Jai Courtney plays Captain Boomerang, an Australian bank robber with a penchant for boomerangs. Jay Hernandez play El Diablo, a fiery Latino who controls fire. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays Killer Croc, a sewer-dwelling monster. And Karen Fukuhara plays Katana, a Japanese chick with a katana. They all are forced to team up to fight an ancient witch demon and her demon brother. And that’s what the movie is about.

Jared Leto is in the movie too. He plays the Joker in a vastly different way than the late Heath Ledger. I can’t really comment on his performance because he was hardly in it. He has like twelve minutes of screen time and only pops up occasionally. He wasn’t bad, he just didn’t make enough of an impact for me to care about him.

There are lots of Easter eggs and DC references for comic nerds to geek out over. It’s a more enjoyable film than Batman v Superman. There are more jokes and likeable characters and they didn’t add an excessive amount of unnessary storylines into the film. Batman v Superman tried to do too much. Suicide Squad lets the story unfold for itself. I would see it again in theaters. DC still has a long way to catch up to Marvel, but this is a step in the right direction.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

  

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The Carlton Dance

The Carlton Dance is a fixture on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It happens when Carlton Banks (played by Alfonso Robeiro) starts wildly flailing to Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual.” His spastic motions ensure a laugh every time. The beauty of the Carlton Dance is that anybody can do it. It looks bad but it’s supposed to look bad so it’s ok to do it. And it’s contagious. Seriously. The next time you hear “It’s Not Unusual” (which happens fairly often if you pay attention), be sure to bust out in the Carlton Dance and start an impromptu dance party. You won’t be disappointed.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Theme Song

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is a popular TV show that launched Will Smith into stardom. It ran for six seasons and now airs in syndication. It’s one of those shows that always seems to be on some channel or another no matter what time of the day it is. The show is entertaining, but the highlight of each episode is the theme song. It sets up the premise of the show and tells the story of how Will’s life got twisted upside down. It involves playing basketball outside of the school, getting in one little fight, and his scared mom sending him to live with his aunt and uncle in Bel-Air. Everyone thinks that they know the whole song, but the show cuts out a few stanzas that you didn’t know existed. You can listen to the whole thing on YouTube if you really want to. I’m not going to stop you. The show is good. The song is better.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Independence Day (film, not the day)

Before Roland Emmerich went crazy and started spewing out ridiculous disaster movies like The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, he made an awesome disaster movie called Independence Day. This was one of the best summer movies of the ‘90s. It had it all: a sweet cast, amazing special effects, and good action scenes. Plus Vivica A. Fox plays a stripper.

The movie stars out with a bang. It starts on the moon and a giant shadow creeps across its surface, steadily heading for Earth. Before long, giant spaceships are hovering over 36 major cities across the world. As we learn about the threat, we are introduced to the main characters. Jeff Goldblum plays David Levinson, a genius who discovers a hidden code that indicates the aliens are going to attack. He goes to Washington, D.C. to warn his ex-wife who works for the President of the United States. Bill Pullman plays the President, a former combat pilot.

Will Smith plays Captain Steve Hiller, a pilot for the Marines. He wants to become an astronaut, and he has a stripper girlfriend named Jasmine (Vivica A. Fox). Randy Quaid plays Russell Casse, he’s a pilot too. Seriously, the whole world gets destroyed, but half the survivors are pilots. If you wanna survive Independence Day, you should start taking flying lessons.

The hidden code that David finds turns out to be valid, and the ships attack simultaneously across the world. Millions of people die, but if you jump into a storage closet in a tunnel, you’ll be fine. That’s how Vivica A. Fox survived. She plays a stripper in the movie by the way.

So the world’s been half destroyed, and we have no idea how to stop them. Will Smith flies around and gets one to crash and then he punches it in the face and welcomes it to Earth. And then he and the alien body get a ride from Russell Casse and his family to Area 51. And the President is there, along with David and all the other people who haven’t died yet. The alien turns out not to be dead, and we find out that they want to take over the world and they want us to die. So we decide to nuke them. And it doesn’t work, and we don’t know what to do. And we seem pretty fucked.

Then David gets an idea. He’ll simply use his Apple laptop to upload a virus to the mother ship to disable all the other ships, while simultaneously the survivors across the world will launch a global attack on the alien ships. Will Smith and David fly to the mother ship, and the President and Russell Casse and all the other survivor pilots take to the skies in a desperate attempt to save mankind.

Not to spoil anything, but we won. We beat the aliens. And David takes up smoking. He probably stops recycling too.

This movie came out when I was ten years old. It was the movie of the summer. It was like my Star Wars. It was an event. And when we went back to school we shunned the ones who didn’t see it.

There are a lot of funny moments and lots of great one-liners. There are also some touching moments, like when the President has to tell his daughter that mama ain’t coming back. Some of the actors do a great job, like Judd Hirsch as Julius, David’s father. Some of the actors do a terrible job, like James Duval as Miguel Casse, Russell’s son. He looks like he went to the Keanu Reeves School of Wooden Acting. I think Bill Pullman’s speech with the bullhorn is one of the best fake president speeches of all time. Oh, and Vivica A. Fox plays a stripper.

Of course there are lots of plot holes (like where’s the Secret Service?) and poorly written characters, but the movie is exciting and fun and entertaining. I like being entertained, it’s fun. I think it’s weird how everyone laughs at Russell whenever he mentions being abducted by aliens ten years earlier. They know that aliens exist now. They should be apologizing for having doubted him.

Independence Day is a cool movie. It was the first time Will Smith saved the world. He does that every other summer now. This was back when it was still special. Seriously if you haven’t seen this movie you missed the ‘90s and I feel bad for you.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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Men in Black (film)

Steven Spielberg produces, Barry Sonnenfeld directs, and Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith are the Men in Black. Men in Black is based on a comic, but I never read it, so I have no idea how faithful to the source it is. This is your basic buddy cop movie, but with aliens and dated CGI. Tommy Lee Jones plays Agent Kay, a member of the Men in Black, a secret organization that controls extraterrestrial life on Earth. Will Smith plays Agent Jay, the newest MIB recruit.

Will Smith annoys me. He plays the same exact character in all his movies… He is cocky and goofy at the same time, and I hate that I don’t hate him. He seems like such a douche, and still seems cool. At this point in his career he already played a cop and he already saved the world from aliens. It was really quite a stretch for him to play an agent who saves the world from aliens. His training sequence in the beginning is one of the highlights of the film. The other potential candidates, each one representing a different branch of the military, can’t think outside of the box. Jay uses his common sense and succeeds in recognizing that aliens aren’t as much of a threat as a little girl with a Calculus book. It’s a good introduction to the MIB world.

Vincent D’Onofrio plays the main villain, a farmer whose body is taken over by a Bug. He does a great job. He is terrifying and intimidating, way more than the giant cartoon cockroach that he transforms into at the end. Tommy Lee Jones is a badass as always.

There are a few cool ideas about aliens and galaxies. The galaxy on Orion’s belt… the reveal that our own galaxy is just one of many galaxies encased in marbles that giant aliens play with… heavy stuff bro. Just hit this joint and think about it. This movie was really just a vehicle for Will Smith to act like Will Smith for two hours. And that song; that fucking terrible song. I’ve been to more than one middle school dance where a bunch of awkward teens stumbled through those steps.

A fun movie and a good start to a decent franchise. The second movie was enjoyable, and the third one looks promising. Josh Brolin as a young Tommy Lee Jones? Sounds good to me.

Critically Rated at 12/17

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