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Barney Miller: Uniform Day (1980)
The only episode that paints Harris in a most unflattering light.
When Harris deliberately disobeys a mandatory order for _all_ plainclothes detectives to temporarily go back to wearing light-blue uniforms, it marks him as a narcissistic hypocrite. Someone who thinks he's literally too good to revert to wearing a uniform for any reason other than attending the funeral of a fallen comrade!
Which I find ironic...and not in a good way.
Because, in a previous episode, Wojo faced a similar situation and almost quit the police force, altogether, in protest. But, Harris was one of the others who talked him out of it. With advice that basically translated as "Hey, man! It's only day out of the year."
Maybe Wojo remembered that previous episode, too. Maybe that's why he, more or less, took Harris' side when he told Barney that, perhaps, the good captain had come down a little _too_ hard on Harris. Perhaps being back in full uniform did make Barney deliver his reprimand a little more harshly than normal.
But, it doesn't change the fact that Harris still had it coming!
Because if he had been a real-life NYPD detective, narcissistically defying a real-life version of that order, he would have been kicked off the force in the proverbial New York minute...and deservedly so.
It Chapter Two (2019)
A three-hour sequel that proves longer running time plus a bigger budget does not always equal better.
Where to begin?
Perhaps with the needless prologue where a bunch of teenage Down Eastern rednecks beat up a gay couple in their thirties. Was that even in the original book? I don't think so. And if it was? I still regard it as unnecessary!
Then, there was the constant F-bombing. Is Hollywood employing more script-writers with Taurette's Syndrome? Or were the writers of this particular screenplay just trying to hide the fact that half this movie was so boring, a lot of movie-goers where I went to see this (myself included) were literally starting to fall asleep!
All I know for sure is, if I ran a restaurant where six customers were swearing that frequently and loudly, I would have told them to either shut up and get out, or I'd call the cops. Long before they started killing hallucinatory hobgoblins with expensive restaurant furniture!
The most irrefutable proof that this sucked, however, is the fact that, when the end credits started rolling, absolutely nobody--repeat: NOBODY--clapped for the relatively happy ending.
In short? Rent the original 2-part TV mini-series. You'll find it scarier for what you don't see than what you do.
Ready or Not (2019)
A half-serious horror spoof recently imported from Canada.
I had a choice between two movies on this rainy afternoon. DORA THE EXPLORER...or READY OR NOT. D.T.E. started sooner, so I chose that one.
Boy! Was that a mistake.
After twenty-five minutes of listening to Dora breaking the Fourth Wall, like an adolescent poor's man version of Deadpool, I walked out of the theater and bought a ticket to R. O. N. A mixed blessing, to say the least. But, on the bright side I was able to sit through the entirety of it. And, even better, I was the only one in the audience during the matinee I chose! So, I was able to make slightly sarcastic comments, half out loud, without being shushed by other movie-goers.
A good thing, too.
The first half of this film is only mildly amusing...and definitely nowhere near as suspenseful as the second half. I mean, just the opening shot of all those board games (and one in particular) gives you a pretty good idea what the back story for this weirdo family is going to be!
Then, there's all the swearing.
Were the writers getting paid by the profanity? I haven't heard that many F-bombs dropped since the original CABIN FEVER! Which, if memory serves, I accused the cast thereof of trying to sound like vintage Robert Deniro...with none of his acting talent. Well, the same holds true for most of the cast of R.O.N. The only notable exceptions are Samara Weaving, who's totally new to me (and totally believable as the unexpectedly feisty Grace); and Andie McDowell, the only recognizably big name in the cast.
In summary, then, I give this five stars (four stars better than JENNIFER'S BODY). As in; not bad! But, I've definitely seen comparatively scarier.
Whose Line Is It Anyway? (2013)
Oi vay! You know this show is beginning to stink when even skunks hold their noses!
Seriously, though: how could any agent/manager possibly have thought this episode would jump-start Adrienne Bailon's stalled career? I wouldn't even have remembered her maiden name if not for Wayne Brady mentioning CHEETAH GIRLS! To say nothing of how un-funny Ryan Stiles was as the sportscaster on "Weird Newcasters." And that goes double for Ryan's singing, instead of pitching, during the mail-order record album skit.
In short; the producer, director, and writers should not have messed with the formula for previous proven success. Not unless they're secretly _trying_ to prevent an eighth season!
Operation Christmas (2016)
I just saw this as part of "Xmas in July." Not bad! But, Hallmark did much better with CHRISTMAS CARD.
I don't blame Tricia Helfer or Marc Blucas. They did the best they could with the script they were given. But, Blucas definitely had more chemistry with Brook D'orsay's character in the following year's MISS CHRISTMAS. While Tricia Helfer was more believable as Caleb's divorced mom in 2013's FINDING CHRISTMAS!
I also objected to the scene where the actress playing Olivia's younger sister calls Olivia a coward. As far as I'm permanently concerned, that was an overly harsh term that the writers had no legitimate need to include in the dialogue for that scene. Because, while it might be cowardice for a bride or groom to desert their intended spouse, quite literally, at the altar, it is most definitely _not_ cowardice for any real-life woman, in the same situation as Olivia, to have doubts about taking an active-duty career soldier as a second husband. It is, in fact, an all-too justifiable concern!
Don't get me wrong. My inner hopeless romantic is glad there was a happy ending for both parties! But, I still regard Olivia's sister using the word "cowardice," in reference to Olivia's not-unreasonable hesitancy, as the sign of a holier-than-thou hypocrite.
Which, as far as I'm permanently concerned, makes her worse than a coward.
No CGI gators were harmed in the making of this film.
I'll admit it. I went to see this movie out of boredom. Seriously expecting it to be a bigger low-budget loser than BENEATH and THE HURRICANE HEIST, put together. With no advance publicity whatsoever because it had most likely been intended as a tax loss write-off right from the start!
Boy! Was I wrong.
From the moment Ami sees the first alligator, while trying to drag her dad to safety, I was jumping in my seat, yelping in shock, and then laughing in a combination of relief and self-deprecating embarrassment, like I have not done since I first saw the original JAWS in 1975. In other words?
As summer-time B-movies go, this one earns a B+.
I mean, let's face it. As Canadian/Serbian co-productions go, the English dubbing of some of the actors was just about as sophiscated as the computerized animation behind the gators. Almost undetectably so! After a while, however, the plot-twisting close calls that prevented Ami and her dad from escaping on their own became needlessly redundant. Killing off some of my terrified enjoyment from the first half of the film.
Needless to say, there's a happy ending for all concerned. Especially, fans of Sugar the Wonder Dog! But, if you want to save some money, just wait for the DVD to come out. That way, you can fast-forward past the aforementioned redundancies.
Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)
Not as good as AVENGERS: ENDGAME. But, still a whole lot better than S-M: HOMECOMING.
It starts off with a memorial tribute to the five Avengers who gave their lives, six months earlier, in order to restore the three billion Earthlings spontaneously disintegrated in what has become internationally nicknamed "The Blip." We then learn that the science club of fictional Midtown High School is going on a summer-long trip to Europe. Which includes the cities of Venice and Prague. The next two points of attack for what are supposedly four elemental monsters from a parallel universe. At least, according to Quentin Beck. An alleged superhero from that same universe who just happens to be dressed like a cross between Iron Man and Thor!
Of course, anybody who grew up reading the Spidey comics (especially the issues where Mysterio was the main antagonist) knows that's a bunch of b.s. But, I have to admit: Jake Gyllenhall does a great job making the silver screen debut of Mysterio suitably theatrical. Even the self-serving justifications are appropriately melodramatic!
More importantly, Tom Holland and Zendaya do a nicely plausible job simulating the angst of first-time teen romance. Well, first time for MJ, anyway! Technically, it's the second time for Peter.
But, I still don't like the excessive swearing. Again; only the absence of f-bombs kept this from being R-rated. Hence, my deduction of three stars from what could have been a perfect ten. Particularly, in light of the two twist epilogues that occur at unpredictable intervals during the end credits!
My only other complaint with regard to this movie? The busload of over-indulged preppies who wouldn't stop using their cellphones to illegally record video footage of the movie. Their teachers must've been real-life versions of the dim-witted Harrington and Dell!
Not bad! Though it plays more like a remake of I'M GONNA GIT YOU, SUCKA.
For those of you too young to remember, that was an early Wayans Brothers effort wherein the late, great Bernie Casey parodied Richard Roundtree's original version of SHAFT. Along with every other cliche and stereotype made famous by the "Blaxploitation" craze of the early 1970's! And, for the first half of the movie, Jeffrey Usher (not to be confused with singer Usher Raymond V) is acting like a parody of Keenan Ivory Wayans. Although, not quite as humorously.
The second half becomes more delightfully action-packed, however. Like the first BEVERLY HILLS COP or LETHAL WEAPON!
I'll keep the spoilers to a minimum.
Suffice it to say that the identity of the true Bad Guys was not as big a surprise as one of the older roots of the Shaft family tree. SLJ's tirade, about being mistaken for Laurence Fishburne, is a slightly amusing in-joke. And the swearing in general was so over-abundant, I almost wish there had been a little more female frontal nudity to balance it out!*
Hence, I only award this six out of ten stars. It's an exciting time-killer! But, not much more than that.
I just saw the sneak preview, this afternoon.
And it was well worth sitting through all two hours and fifteen minutes!
The movie begins by referencing the 2014 film (with Bryan Cranston) the same way BvS: DAWN OF JUSTICE referenced MAN OF STEEL. With a flashback told from a slightly different point of view. Namely; a pair of Monarch cryptozoologists whose only son became one of the thousands of innocent by-standers killed in the epic struggle between Godzilla and those giant scarabs.
Fade in, and its five years later. With the couple now divorced...and the mother having full custody of their late son's younger sister.
What follows is more-or-less a spy-fi thriller that has more twists and turns than a gyrating Mothra catepillar. At the same time, it also shows that monsters don't have to be gigantic bugs or lizards with radioactively-based super powers. They can also be (and more often are) so-called "human beings" fanatically--or, at the very least, misguidedly--determined to commit the worst crimes imaginable for the so-called "greater good."
Similar to Hitler ordering the genocide of six million Jews for the "greater good" of Germany.
For those who just want a good dai-kaiju fight, with state-of-the-art special effects, you'll get your money's worth. But, for those who prefer a little human interest as a subplot to their escapist science fiction? You'll enjoy it, as well.
So go see it.
Undeniably, the best episode ever.
I was right! I was right!! I was right!!!
*Commences dancing for joy like Diona Reasonover.*
The writers almost fooled me into thinking I had deluded myself. But, I was right, all along. Ziva David--as played by the inimitable Cote de Pablo--did return as part of a season-ending cliff-hanger. The only remaining questions being: how did she survive that Kort-engineered attack on her Israeli hide-away? And does the danger she so abruptly barged in, to warn Gibbs about, have anything to do with that Canadian pill-pusher the renegade hospital pharmacist was worried about?
The answer to both, of course, will only come next fall.
On a lighter note? I loved the plot twist involving Emily Fornell's dream. It almost makes me wish the episode could have been entitled "Touched By An Ex-wife From Hell!" But, I'm glad they didn't.
It wouldn't have looked right for Roma Downey to sue Belisarius and CBS.
I think even Brian Mills would have his hands full with John Wick!
Once again, it is NYC, 2014. And John Wick's hour-long grace is almost up. He uses that time to get his wounds from JW2 treated by a certain Chinatown doctor. Leading to a martial arts duel that literally pulls no punches!
And that's just the opening sequence.
What follows is a two-hour-long roller coaster ride with Keanu Reeves, as John, calling in old markers owed him so he can get himself smuggled to Morocco, North Africa, for an audience with The Elder. The mysterious Chairperson of the High Table. He wants to plead his case before the guy. But, again, he has to make a diabolical bargain in order to buy himself some time. And therein lies the motivation for all the violent chaos that follows.
In addition to all the regular characters returning from the first two movies, we also have new faces in the form of Angelica Huston (actress-daughter of legendary director John Huston) as someone who divulges another fascinating piece of John's pre-martial back story. Followed by Mark Dacascos, martial arts movie actor extraordinaire, as a sushi-restaurateur/ ninja leader. Emphasis on the slash!
This is why I can't wait for JW4. The writers for these first three films have proven well worth the money paid for their vivid imaginations. As they have delivered one great plot twist after another. For example: the High Table showing itself to be composed of power-hungry hypocrites no better than Santino D'Antonio. Were they grateful that John eliminated a potential threat to their sovereignty? Nope! All they're concerned with is that he broke the letter of their precious "rules."
Rules that apparently can never have _any_ exceptions allowed. And, for that, John and the Bowery King are going to make them pay.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Eleven years in the making...and worthy every minute of the wait.
The movie doesn't waste time with any recapitulation. It assumes we, as the movie-goers, are already familiar with what happened in the preceding movie. And, so, it starts off with a bittersweet opening scene at the Barton family picnic.
As in, Mr. and Mrs. Clint Barton and their three lovely children.
From there, we--the audience--are shown the ultimately fruitless aftermath. Not just three weeks into the future (where Thanos is anti-climactically executed by Thor). But, five _years_ into the future, as well!
I don't want to spoil everything for those of you who haven't seen it, yet. Suffice it to say that the solution to the problem (inspired by Paul Rudd-as-Scott Lang) makes great use of all the past films. Both stock footage and new scenes ingeniously spliced together!*
Of course, this wouldn't be a Marvel film without a little poignancy sprinkled throughout. Cap, as a grief counselor trying to believe every word he's telling to his "patients." Tony Stark, as a man trying to be just as brilliant at being a father as he was an inventor. And Bruce Banner, trying to hang on to the miraculous integration of his brains and the Hulk's brawn.
Of course, there's also some comedy relief in the form of an overweight Thor and an out-of-place Rocket Raccoon!
In short, we--the audience--at the movie theater where we saw this did just as we were supposed to; we laughed, cheered, clapped, and cried. And in all the right places. Especially the climactic battle scene against Thanos' past self...and his army. Of course, being a battle, not all the Good Guys come out alive. A lot of the returning characters (those "finger-snapped" out of existence by Thanos in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR) don't survive this second encounter with him. But, any watery eyes the rest of you get over the sad stuff will almost immediately be cancelled out by tears of joy.
In short? If you go to see this movie, you will enjoy it. I guarantee it. And if you don't? Then, you must've gotten soul-gemmed!
*My favorite scene was Captain America fighting with himself. LOL!
Captain Marvel (2019)
Everything that SHAZAM should have been...but wasn't.
This movie was action-packed from beginning to end. SHAZAM wasn't.
The action was nicely balanced by suspense. SHAZAM wasn't.
The comedy relief was genuinely funny without being needlessly self-parodic. SHAZAM wasn't.
Brie Larson as Carol Danvers kicked butt almost from the start. Billy Batson didn't.
Djimon Hounsou, as Korath, kicked butt almost from the start. Djimon Hounsou, as elderly wizard Shazam, didn't.
And Goose, as the flerkin, was just so irresistibly cute! Mr. Mind, at the tail end of SHAZAM, wasn't.
In short? The money you were thinking of spending on SHAZAM? Spend it on on this film, instead. For the first time, if you haven't seen it, yet. And, if you have? It's definitely worth an encore attendance (like the one I just got back from)!
Tiny Commando (2013)
I just saw the trailer for this on Youtube.
And it was twice as entertaining as the entirety of SHAZAM!
What happened in the interim, Zach?
Reviewer Flashbatmanquestion is half-right.. This movie really is just okay.
I know the producers were trying to make this one a little more light-hearted in mood than the other DCEU flicks that have come before it. But, instead, they over-compensated with humor that can only be described as self-parodic. And, take my word for it; that is most definitely _not_ a good thing!
I was a little kid in elementary school when BATMAN '66 was just a prime-time series simply called "Batman." I was a pre-teen in middle school when Michael Gray played Billy Batson, opposite William Tremayne as Mentor, in the live-action Filmation series called "Shazam." And corny and campy as some of those shows' episodes might have been, the humor was still more bearable than half the intentional jokes in this origin flick. I know; I know! This version of Billy Batson was supposed to reflect a more realistic version of adolescent youth. He's supposed to be living proof that purity of heart is not necessarily the same as morally flawless. Because even the most well-polished diamond still has its share of flaws! And 21st-century Billy is supposed to be just like the title character in the original Disney version of ALADDIN: a diamond in the rough.
The fact remains that the writers have tried too hard to make him the DC/Warner version of Peter Parker. But, that isn't a good thing either. And that goes double for the subtle jabs at the Tom Hanks classic, BIG.
Mark Strong, as Dr. Thaddeus B. Sivana, provides the only semblance of truly suspenseful seriousness. While the transformation of Billy's foster siblings into Mary Shazam, Capt. Shazam Junior, and the three Lieutenants Shazam (to go partially Old School with the nomenclature) nicely balances that suspense with a sense of satisfaction that Billy is finally getting his head out of his self-pitying butt by realizing a true family doesn't always have to be biologically related to you!
In short? If you have kids of your own, ranging from five to fifteen, take them to see this film because they're bound to enjoy it more than you. But, if you're single? Stick with CAPT. MARVEL from Marvel Films. It's 51% action-packed/49% campy. Which is the more preferable ratio for the over-30 crowd (like me).
A great turning-point episode that proves (contrary to popular belief) that "faith" and "trust" are not one-and-the-same thing.
Trust, like respect, has to be earned by everyone _before_ being given to anyone! And the best way to earn it, in general, is to blindly extend a little faith in the hope that the latter is rewarded rather than betrayed.
Which is why both Torres and I were slightly disappointed in Bishop
Torres is an all-or-nothing kind of guy. From his point of view, he's either long-since earned the _complete_ trust of each and every one of his teammates. Or he hasn't. So, if positions had been reversed, he would have been 100% faithful in his belief that Bishop was being framed. It would've literally taken nothing less than those stolen diamonds being found in whatever box Bishop keeps her own jewelry in, at home, before he might believe her guilty of murder and grand larceny! Thus, for Bishop to be even 1% distrustful of him was very disheartening. Especially given all the previous episodes that have strongly hinted at a gradually budding romantic relationship between her and Torres.
Not to mention, the even more strongly implied resurfacing of Ziva David as a season-ending cliff-hanger!
Not bad! Just a little more people-centric than the 1940 original.
Nico(le) Parker and Finley Hobbins, of course, steal half the show as the children of Colin Farrell's Holt Farrier. A former trick rider who lost his left arm to World War I...and who lost his wife to the Spanish flu while he was away. So, all the love they can't lavish on their deceased mother and self-pitying father gets channeled into foster-parenting the CGI baby elephant, Dumbo.
Eva Green, as Colette Marchant (the undeniably eye-catching French aerialist), steals another 25% of the show with the attraction she and Farrell gradually develop for each other. But, the remaining twenty-five percent indisputably belongs to the title character. Especially, when he saves the day during the fire indirectly resulting from the profiteering ways of V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton).
Those who prefer the animated original would be well-advised not to see this film, as the only song from the latter that was kept within the remake is the still heart-tugging "Baby of Mine." On the other hand, I highly recommend it to those who might find it pleasantly refreshing that the Medici Brothers Circus is not unfairly typecast as cruel to its animals!
Malcolm X (1992)
I wish the late, great Senator Lloyd Bentsen had seen this movie.
Because, I would have loved to see and hear him say to Spike Lee:
"I knew the real Malcolm X, Mr. Lee. And you, sir, are no Malcolm X!"
Love, Romance, & Chocolate (2019)
Brittany Bristow's "Belgian" accent needs a lot of work!
Aside from that, I have to go along with the general assessment. Not bad! Especially from this choco-holic's point of view. But, Lacy Chabert has definitely covered this same ground before. In this case? It's like the love-child of her South African eco-lodge movie for Hallmark...and her Xmas gingerbread movie for Hallmark.
Besides which, even as an un-salaried volunteer, wouldn't she have had to upgrade her visa from "pleasure" to "business" in real life?
The Oscars (2019)
And the 2020 Emmy Award for Worst Sound System on a 3.5 hour-long special goes to...
...the ironically named Dolby Theater! At least, where last night's Academy Awards are concerned. I boycotted most of the special, myself. Only tuning in to see who won Best Animated Feature.*
The only other bit I saw is when they awarded Best Foreign Language Feature. That's the part where my folks asked if the volume was see-sawing on my bedroom TV set, like it seemed to be on the one in the living room. To determine whether or not my dad's hearing aid was working properly!
My dad was reassured in less than five minutes. Guess I won't be missing much at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, either.
*Congratulations to SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDERVERSE, by the way.
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
This pushed all the right buttons for me.
First off, there was the CGI and mo-cap . They were absolutely flawless. The best I've seen since FINAL FANTASY: THE MOVIE!
Then, there were the action scenes. Not since the original ROLLER BALL, starring James Caan and John Houseman, have I seen such high-tech gladiatorial fighting.
Last, but not least, was the acting. I was, quite literally, moved to tears in all the right dramatic scenes. Rosa Salazar, as Alita, provided just the right balance of innocence and butt-kicking toughness. Christoph Waltz, as Dyson ido, provided the right combination of paternal love and technological brilliance. Jennifer Connelly, as his ex-wife, convincingly counter-balanced that with a mixture of selfish expedience and buried maternal emotion. And Keane Johnson, as Hugo, provided the most tear-jerking performance of all. A street-wise punk discovering true love for the first time in his own (and previously self-centered) life.
As a bonus? The ending credits are less than ten minutes long! Something I haven't seen since the mid-1970's!!
Long story, short: this movie is well worth your time and money.
Super Bowl LIII (2019)
As a one-time Patriots fan, I can truthfully say that I have only watched two Super Bowls in my fifty-something years of life. Their debut in SB20, in which they lost to the Chicago Bears 45-10. And the over-hyped cure for insomnia that was SB53!
Yeah, I know. Teams that are too evenly matched, defensively, will always result in a low-scoring game. But, restricted to a single-digit tie for three-and-a-half quarters?! Trust me, folks. I am not exaggerating when I say I found myself tuning in the SEC Channel re-runs of Arkansas vs. Georgia and Alabama vs. Missouri women's gymnastic meets with increasing frequency.
And I found each of them twice as suspenseful.
Heck! I was at the edge of my seat when The Crimson Tide and The Tigers, at the end of the first three rotations, alone, were almost tied at 148 points apiece!
So, let me summarize by saying that if any Monday-morning quarterback dares tell me I don't know what I missed, I will unapologetically reply: "Oh, yes I do!"
I didn't think it was going to be possible. But, this blows "Aquaman" out of the water!
When I first saw UNBREAKABLE (the debut film that made Mr. Shyamalan a household--if barely pronouncable--name), I admit that I wasn't too impressed. Yes, the premise of it involved comic books as a sort of modern mythology (and I admit that I'm a bit of a comic book nerd). Namely; that the emergence of "super-villains" catalyze the emergence of their "superheroic" opposites...and vice-versa! But, at the time, I still felt that the film as a whole had been a shameful waste of Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson's talents.
Yet, it's always being claimed that practice makes perfect. And, as Mr. Shyamalan progressed with other works (such as SIGNS and THE VILLAGE, where he started making Hitchcockian cameos), he got his act together in a progressively good way. Unfortunately, he sort of back-slid with SPLIT, which I still regard as nothing more than a slightly innovative slasher flick. One that I might have upgraded to refreshingly innovative if there had been _more_ than one female survivor (similar to the four cheerleaders in Act I of this film)!
He's regained his cinematic footing with this sequel, however.
Fellow reviewer Breneff is half-right. This is both a superhero flick _and_ a psychological horror film. Similar to the 1989 BATMAN film with Michael Keaton! And the initial premise of UNBREAKABLE is expanded upon in a rather fascinating way. If moral opposites attract, why have only these three emerged in this particular universe over the last two decades?
Answer: because of a secret society bent on maintaining an ordered balance at all costs. Even if it means the whole world remains stagnant! But, everything comes with a price. And, in this universe, the price for an increasingly intolerable stagnation is a proportionate increase in chaos. The only way to battle that chaos? Let the real truth come out. Even if it means morality reverts to clear-cut black-and-white (as opposed to murky gray)!
In short: if the moral of this story is that all buried truths inevitably get exhumed--and sometimes sooner rather than later--then, Mr. Shyamalan, I couldn't agree with you more!
So, where was the parade?
When I watch any televised parade, especially one from California, I seriously expect most of the coverage to be devoted to the marchers. Especially the marching bands! Most of whom come from high schools far away from California, requiring them to pay their own way to the big-name parade in question. So I honestly think they deserve more than ten seconds of air time for their performances.
Unfortunately, this year's Hollywood Christmas Parade devoted more time to the on-stage musical acts that, more rightly, should have only served as _interludes_ between marchers! To say nothing of the pre-recorded celebrity cameos that had nothing whatsoever to do with the USMC Reserve toy drive for under-privileged children. Those were "Ludacris," indeed!
The only reason I give this parade two stars instead of the one it more rightfully deserves? The performance by Mike Love and the rest of the Beach Boys. They were the _only_ musical variety act that could legitimately be called high quality.
Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)
Not bad on its own merits. But, definitely not as good as the first!
Intellectually, I understand the moral of the story: even the best of friends eventually go their separate ways, geographically. Though, the same doesn't have to hold true, emotionally, if the friendship is that strong.
Even so, the lack of a clear-cut villain (or, at the very least, tyrannical authority figure) to root against made this feel more like a remake of INSIDE OUT. Or, even worse, a self-parody. Especially, the part where Sarah Silverman sings about her longing to be part of a much-greater racing environment than "Sugar Rush" provides! I know that Alan Menken et al. intended it to be just as serious as the more classic Disney songs (like "I'm Wishing" or "Part of That World"). But, it didn't come across that way.
On the other hand, I did get a few laughs out of the role reversal, where the Disney Princesses worked together to rescue Ralph while simultaneously giving him a make-over to boot. And that goes double for the five-second homage to Rick Astley!
All in all, then? A pretty good way to spend a dreary Sunday afternoon in November with your wife and kids. Just don't expect a knee-slapping laugh riot like the first film.