There are few writers that were more important to the overall landscape of television than Norman Lear. From the 1950’s to today, Lear has been a comedic genius and workhorse whose job it was to show the world different kinds of people, more realistic people, having discussions you wouldn’t see on other shows of the time. These characters would provide us with laughs, first and foremost but also deal with real issues concerning people of the day. The majority of his hits over the years have stood the test of time and become evergreen favourites. That is what makes the original One Day at a Time such a shocking misstep.
I am sometimes taken to task by other reviewers and friends as being too easy on films that I see. I am often more able to find the positives in a middling movie than to outright trash a film. This may happen because of how many much worse films I have seen over the years, be them riffed with jokes on things like Mystery Science Theater 3000, my general ability to enjoy schlock or just knowing how hard it is to make the final product an absolute treasure. Filmmaking is a tricky art that sometimes needs a passing grade with a reliable fast food product style rather than the five star, five-course meal we often wish for.
Daddy’s Home 2 is not a reliable fast food product. Daddy’s Home 2 is gas station sushi, that was purchased on sale. And then left out overnight.
Pixar’s Coco has had a heck of an uphill battle public image-wise to get to the silver screen. The film has had the longest development period for a project at Pixar lasting about six years. At an early point, when the film was named after the Mexican holiday Día de Los Muertos, Disney tried to trademark the phrase causing backlash and the title was changed. Many also balked at the idea that so many white people were going to be making a film appropriating their culture, Pixar hired more Latinos as consultants (including one cartoonist who had previously been vocally decrying the film’s production) some of the songwriters, behind the scenes people and the entire cast, save for John Ratzenberger in his usual cameo. The internet exploded as parallels to another animated film about Día de Los Muertos, The Book of Life were drawn and many considered it a “rip off”, even after Book of Life director Jorge Gutierrez voiced his support for Coco.
Finally, many cast doubt on the film’s quality when Disney decided to forgo the usual Pixar short and replace it with the vastly more marketable 21 minute Olaf’s Frozen Adventure holiday special originally meant to air on ABC. Luckily, the battle is almost over. Mistakes have been rectified and the doubters will be proven wrong as Pixar releases it’s the best film since Toy Story 3.
In recent years, it has been a tough time to be both a fan of DC comics and a filmgoer. After Christopher Nolan’s brilliant and well regarded Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Brothers have had one deeply flawed yet enjoyable film in Man of Steel, two cinematic dumpster fires in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice & Suicide Squad, and one terrific film in this year’s Wonder Woman. Justice League is no Wonder Woman but that may be alright for now anyway.