As a child of the 1980s, John Hughes was a staple of my early years of movie watching. He was the writer and director of some of the best comedies that the decade produced. To me, however, his legacy will always be two of the greatest teenager centric movies ever made, “The Breakfast Club” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Unfortunately, Hughes died a decade ago, and the high quality of his teenager centric movies hasn’t been produced or matched since. Sure, we had “Superbad”, but that was all the way back in 2007. And there have been critical darlings like “Eighth Grade” and “Lady Bird”, but I didn’t find anything special about either movie. So I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered “Booksmart”, which is pretty much the female version of “Superbad”. Sure, it’s not on par with “Breakfast Club” or “Ferris Bueller”, but it does capture the tone of Hughes’ work.
It’s been roughly a month since the Streaming Wars have picked up steam with the release of Disney Plus. In my last review, I said Netflix still has a few aces up its sleeve, with the instant classic that was Klaus, which I still claim is a must see for this and every upcoming holiday season until the end of time. But behind the scenes, one man has fired shots at Disney, or at least one brand under the House of Mouse. That man is none other than Martin Scorsese. Recently, the filmmaker has belittled the Marvel Cinematic Universe every chance he can, claiming the movies aren’t “real cinema”, that it’s a minor miracle that the actors are able to give good performances with the lackluster material they have to work with, and that each installment is more of an “amusement park ride” than a film. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before, what with the countless movie reviews and think piece articles that are always claiming that “superhero fatigue” is coming any day now, only for the latest three Marvel movies to gross a billion dollars or more each. Mister Scorsese has every right to his opinion, however, it is humorous that he claims that the MCU is what is ruining cinema, when many critics say the same about the outlet that is hosting his latest film, Netflix, the scourge of the movie and television industry, according to Scorsese's friend, Steven Spielberg. This is Netflix’s biggest original film since Bright, a movie that had me puzzled at the time if it was a sign that Netflix had made it big as a studio because they got Will Smith, or if Will Smith had truly fallen as a star that he’s doing a movie for Netflix. But is this new movie any good though? Let’s find out.
The Streaming Wars has began with the arrival of Disney+ (literally no one cares about Apple TV+), and everyone’s jumping at the chance to dunk on Netflix, the streaming service that started it all. I get it, many people directly link Disney to their childhoods and want to bask in the warm glow of nostalgia. However, my childhood is more closely linked to the Ninja Turtles, He-Man, GI Joe, Thundercats, Voltron, Ghostbusters and the like, properties that Disney (thankfully) doesn’t own (or at least not yet). The arrival of Disney+ really didn’t mean much to me, outside of morbid curiosity, and with reports that customers’ accounts are already being hacked and sold, I’m glad that I won’t be joining the service anytime soon. The fact that the term “Disney Plus and thrust” now exists is enough of a reason to stay away. So while everyone else is proclaiming that they are canceling their Netflix accounts or writing opinion pieces about if Netflix is still worth it or not, I’m here to tell you that yes indeed, you should keep your Netflix account, just in case.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. I remember back in 2000, watching the first Charlie’s Angels movie in theaters, mostly to see Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu (Drew Barrymore was also in the movie, but whatever). Nineteen years later, I saw this new Charlie’s Angels in theaters, mostly to see Ella Balinska and Naomi Scott (Kristen Stewart was also in the movie, but whatever). Each trip to the theater had a funny backstory to it. In 2000, I was with friends and they were conflicted about watching the Angels movie, or seeing Little Nicky instead. After much protest, I managed to convince them to see the Angels movie, since I had no desire to sit through ninety minutes of Adam Sandler talking in that annoying voice of his. For the current movie, I was going to be driven to the theater, but the family member serving as my driver was about to take a shower right before we were supposed to leave, I had to run around like the house was on fire in order to stop said shower and get to the theater on time. Slightly amusing personal stories aside, this current movie was… polarizing to say the least.
Hollywood is in the business of making unrealistic stories become realities. Unfortunately, studio executives have been in this business for too long, and as a result, they set unrealistic expectations for their products. Many executives wish for a franchise that can be dusted off the shelf every couple of years, have a new installment made, and the cash cow be milked for decades to come. Terminator is just not that kind of franchise. The first two installments were timeless classics (I prefer the second movie though), but they told a story that came to a natural conclusion, with nowhere else to go. But of course, that never stops Hollywood, and so three sequels/reboots were made, and sure enough, two of those three movies were just more of the same of the first two movies. Now, for what could be one last time, a sixth installment is trying to catch lightning in a bottle, and frankly, they missed yet again.
As children, we all had our daydreams about what would happen if our favorite fictional characters were to ever meet. A personal favorite of mine was if all the Saturday morning cartoon shows of the 1980s were to team up in an epic crossover event. You would be hard pressed to come up with a superteam that would be more beloved and rooted for than that of Transformers, He-Man and She-Ra, The Real Ghostbusters, GI Joe, Thundercats, Voltron, My Little Pony, Jem and the Holograms, M.A.S.K., DC’s Superfriends, Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Unfortunately, our childhood minds didn’t understand the complexities of intellectual property copyrights, which would stop such inter-promotional stories from happening due to legal battles over which company would get how much of the profits. Thankfully, we’re living in a world where the Avengers movie franchise has grossed over $6 billion across four movies, and now every company wants in on that sweet crossover money. One such example is this pairing of Batman and the Ninja Turtles, which would have completely blown my mind… had I seen it when I was twelve years old.