Val’s Movie Roundup #13: Hallmark Edition


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Cupid, Inc. (2012) – Okay, who would have thought that Jamie Kennedy would actually be decent as Cupid? This is the guy who taught us how to survive a horror movie and was in Son Of The Mask (2005). But yep, he plays Cupid and does a good job. But he really isn’t a big part of the film all things considered. That falls to Joely Fisher. The deal is that she has to get a new couple together by Valentine’s Day, then she will find her true love. If Jamie Kennedy showed up and told me that, then I would probably ask him if I should see Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone (2005), but she takes him up on his offer. The rest can be boiled down to four words: It’s a Hallmark movie. Believe it or not, this is my first Valentine’s Day Hallmark movie, so I guess it’s the best one I have seen. I’ll tell you this, it’s much better than Gabe the Cupid Dog (2012).

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Fixing Pete (2011) – This one is kind of like Recipe For Love, but not as good. This has dark haired Brooke Burns who is tasked with making over a frat boy looking guy for his upcoming book tour. People often complain about female stereotypes, but this one has the male stereotypes in spades when we are introduced to Pete (Dylan Bruno). Luckily, that doesn’t last long and the two move closer and closer to each other. It’s nice, but if you can find Recipe For Love, then watch that instead.

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Murder 101: New Age (2008) – Once again it’s time for the Van Dykes to solve a murder. This time there are four of them. We’ve got Dick, Barry, Shane, and Carey. As the title suggests, the New Age movement plays a part here. Apparently, after The Nanny, Charles Shaughnessy joined the New Age movement. Basically there’s a room with him dead and gun in his hand while the only other people there are in a really deep meditation. So who killed him? It goes from there. I can’t believe it took till my third Murder 101 movie to realize that Barry Van Dyke’s character is not a cop, but a PI. Not sure then why the Van Dykes seem to just take over the investigation, but who cares. All that matters is that there is a scene where you get to see Dick Van Dyke play tennis on the Wii. When I saw that, I knew my life was complete. Actually, there are several humorous lines surrounding technology. Better than the mystery movies you get from Hallmark nowadays.

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Dad’s Home (2010) – Been awhile since I watched Mr. Mom (1983), but I think it’s probably quite similar. Except kill off the Mom and set it during this generation’s Great Depression. Really, that’s it. We watch him as he settles into his new role as a stay at home dad while looking for work. Before he had a nanny that took care of his kids, but she’s let go after he’s let go from his job. Not sure why she was let go though since he somehow is able to keep this very expensive home and cause of the ending where I swear he decides to not work again. Of course, there has to be a romance thrown in. The hot and nice blonde teacher takes a liking to him and things progress. The only thing that was memorable was when dad interviews for a job at a tech company. The head of the company actually refers to Social Network Accounts as SNAs. I couldn’t even find that in Urban Dictionary. He asks him if he podcasts. I also swear he asked him if he was on Orkut. That’s the social network that was really popular in Brazil. He also asks if he “does Twitter”. What? Was this intentional to show that the guy was actually clueless about the industry he was in or did the writers not know what they were talking about. Or were they trying some feeble attempt to make fun of tech companies. I think it’s the feeble attempt one since they mention a company acupuncturist. Grow up! These are jokes I would expect from a standup comedian. You can skip this one.

Val’s Movie Roundup #12: Hallmark Edition


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Finding A Family (2011) – This movie is about a kid named Alex (Jared Abrahamson) whose mother has serious mental problems. She has a great degree, but her mental problems absolutely cripple her. As you can guess, they create major issues for her son who has to live with her day after day. Ultimately, Alex has himself emancipated. He wants to go to Harvard and works hard in school to make this work while not forgetting his mother. Then he decides that he really does want a family and starts writing to people asking them to take him in. It’s a nice story that really only had one issue and a minor personal complaint.

The issue is that I have some experience in this area and the depth to which his mother’s mental problems should affect him, don’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like The Blind Side (2009) where they gutted and flattened two amazing people, but it’s noticeable. The other thing is a minor complaint. In the old days you did receive a letter from colleges you applied to telling you whether you were accepted or not. However, I applied in 2006 and we was never sent a letter. You checked their website to find out whether you were accepted or not. This film was made in 2011. I know it’s more dramatic and familiar to go with the letter thing, but it’s time to move on.

You’ve seen it all before, but if you want to see again, then check this one out.

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Generation Gap (2008) – There really isn’t much to talk about here. You’ve seen this plot a million times before. We meet Dylan (Alex Black) who is just too much for his mother because of a few scenes of rebellion. His Mom, played by Catherine Mary Stewart, calls up her father played by Ed Asner and dumps Dylan on him. After a few scenes of Asner acting like a dick, which he seems to think he is entitled to do because he’s old, both him and the kid calm down. The film does three things: 1. Asner and the kid come to realize that despite being different ages, they both occupy the same time and place on Earth, 2. Asner hooks up with Rue McClanahan who sounds weird without her Southern accent, 3. The kid also gains a romantic interest.

The only other noteworthy things are that they age Asner by about 10 years to have his character able to have been in WWII. The other is that the kid walks in on Asner and three other guys playing Halo. Pretty funny. Remember that scene in The Wizard (1989) where Beau Bridges is supposedly playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but we now know thanks to AVGN that he was probably playing Winter Games for the NES? Well, they actually show that Halo is what is being played and I wouldn’t be surprised if Asner and the others were actually playing.

This one is cliched, but okay.

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Expecting A Miracle (2009) – This is a weird movie. It seems to be nice and have it’s heart in the right place, but there are some odd bits. It introduces us to a couple played by Jason Priestley and Teri Polo who have been trying to get pregnant. It seems that the couple has tried IVF several times, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of sex whatsoever. Did they try that?

To try and calm down, they take a vacation and wind up in a small Mexican town that seems to consist only of a courtyard. Cheech Marin is here along with some other characters who conveniently speak English. There is a kid who has something wrong with his leg and is convinced that a special ceremony is going to fix it. This is the kind of place populated with people who are like the magic negro/eccentric characters that turn your life around simply by coming into contact with them.

Polo is told a line that basically says God decides whether you will have kids or not. Okay, but does that mean God also controls the adoption process which is brought up numerous times during this film. Maybe it’s the film’s way of saying that God sometimes is trying to tell you that it’s not necessary to pass on your genetic material, but instead to save a poor kid who needs a family and people who will love them.

The rest is harmless and kind of nice, but then comes the ending. The kid in the village is miraculously cured of a condition with his leg during a ceremony. The couple talk about adopting him. At the very end, they are at home working through the adoption process, talking about how much paperwork there is to adopt a kid. The wife goes to the bathroom and takes a pregnancy test. She’s pregnant! Then there are the credits. Did they have sex? Was it IVF again? Did they still follow through and adopt the kid? No answers.

It’s nice and everything, but I can’t honestly recommend it. Just a little too weird and relies on people’s assumptions about the nobility and happiness about simple rural communities.

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Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses (2007) – Another Hallmark murder mystery, but just like Murder 101, this was good. As always, I’m terrible about following the plots of these movies. It all begins when a horse is kidnapped. Once again, Dick Van Dyke is brought in to help with the case. Barry Van Dyke is back again as well, but this time Shane Van Dyke joins in on the fun. This is your standard murder mystery movie in the vein of Diagnosis Murder, Murder, She Wrote, and Mystery Woman as opposed to recent movies like Wedding Planner Mystery and Garage Sale Mystery. This one’s fine.

2013 In Review: The Best of SyFy


It’s been quite a year for the SyFy network, even if the network’s most widely-seen original film, Sharknado, was actually one of their weaker offerings.  As a proud member of the Snarkalecs and a Snarkies voter, I’ve certainly enjoyed watching, reviewing, and live tweeting all of the films that SyFy and the Asylum have had to offer us this year.

Below, you’ll find my personal nominees for the best SyFy films and performances of 2013.  (Winners are listed in bold.)

End of the World

Best Film

Battledogs

Blast Vegas

*End of the World

Flying Monkeys

Ghost Shark

Zombie Night

Best Actor

Neil Grayston in End of the World

*Greg Grunberg in End of the World

Anthony Michael Hall in Zombie Night

Frankie Muniz in Blast Vegas

Corin Nemec in Robocroc

Tom Everett Scott in Independence Daysaster

Best Actress

Maggie Castle in Blast Vegas

Lacey Chabert in Scarecrow

Kaitlyn Leeb in Grave Halloween

*Maika Monroe in Flying Monkeys

Ariana Richards in Battledogs

Mackenzie Rosman in Ghost Shark

Best Supporting Actor

Barry Bostwick in Blast Vegas

William B. Davis in Stonados

Brad Dourif in End of the World

Dennis Haysbert in Battledogs

John Heard in Sharknado

*Richard Moll in Ghost Shark

Best Supporting Actress

*Shirley Jones in Zombie Night

Nicole Munoz in Scarecrow

Jill Teed in Independence Daysaster

Jackie Tuttle in Flying Monkeys

Dee Wallace in Robocroc

Kate Vernon in Battledogs

Best Director

Griff Furst for Ghost Shark

Robert Grasmere for Flying Monkeys

John Gulager for Zombie Night

W.D. Hogan for Independence Daysaster

*Steven R. Monroe for End of the World

Jack Perez for Blast Vegas

Best Screenplay

Shane Van Dyke for Battledogs

Joe D’Ambrosia for Blast Vegas

*Jason C. Bourque and David Ray for End of The World

Silvero Gouris for Flying Monkeys

Paul A. Birkett for Ghost Shark

Rick Suvalle for Scarecrow

Flying Monkeys

Best Monster

*Skippy from Flying Monkeys

The Shark from Ghost Shark

Robocroc from Robocroc

The Scarecrow from Scarecrow

The Tasmanian Devils from Tasmanian Devils

The Zombies from Zombie Night

Battledogs

Tomorrow, I will continue my look back at 2013 with my picks for the 16 worst films of 2013!