2¢ After Dark, 2¢ Christmas

Freeform Christmas Originals Vol. 1

Kate (Amy Smart) gets set up on a blind date on Christmas Eve. Both the date and the entire day leading up to it go horribly wrong. Unfortunately for her, once the clock strikes midnight, she’s forced to relive the same day over and over again until she gets it right. It’s Groundhog Day: Christmas Edition. All’s well that ends well with her finding true love for herself and for all of her loved ones.

This movie was fun and cute. One of the better TV movies I’ve seen in a while. 12 days of repetition got a little long, but it was still enjoyable. It has some language. Most of the usual hits are heard including damn, dammit, bitch, pissed, and several misuses of God’s name. Other than that, it’s fine. Stream it now on Hulu.

Trudie:
[narrating] I’m not crazy. I’m a long way from crazy. Doing one crazy thing does not make a person crazy, though I have to admit this isn’t how I expected to be spending my Christmas… and I’m sure it’s not how David Martin planned on spending his.

Trudie’s (Melissa Joan Hart) life is falling apart. She’s 27, doesn’t have a real job and painting doesn’t pay the bills. She also doesn’t have a boyfriend at least not anymore. Not wanting to disappoint her parents again, she kidnaps unsuspecting David (Mario Lopez) at gunpoint and forces him to be her boyfriend for Christmas.

He tries everything to escape and get back to his fiancée including playing along and being the perfect boyfriend to expose Trudie to her family to reveal her for the psychopath that she is and they end up falling for each other by the end.

This movie was so much fun! Like a romance novel come to life. Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart are the pairing I never knew I needed. It’s a rom-com that’s actually funny. It’s a new favorite! It’s Not Rated, but I’d rate it PG-13 for language and sexual innuendo and discussion. Language includes jackasses, Bitch-itis and bitch, What the hell, bastard, ass, damn, and misuses of God’s name. Stream it now on Prime Video.

Trudie: “Doing one crazy thing probably does make you crazy, but it also can make you happy.”
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2¢ Christmas

HBO Max Christmas Originals

Violet’s (Violet McGrew) best friend Kenny’s (Santino Barnard) dad has been accused of stealing Santa’s magical jingle bells. They believe that he’s innocent and they have until Christmas Eve to prove it. They work to go with their older siblings to track down the real culprit.

A Christmas Mystery is as bland as its name. It’s a cute movie. There’s some heartwarming moments and a couple of tear-jerking ones. It’s a harmless family-friendly flick, but there’s nothing special about it to make it stand out from the rest. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. Christoph Sanders was the best part of the whole thing. Please cast him in more stuff. I miss seeing his cute face on my TV on a regular basis. Stream it now on HBO Max.
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Christmas movie director Jessica (Jessika Van) is in the middle of middle of filming her latest movie when Christopher (Josh Swickard), a network executive, comes in to shut the production down. And not just for one movie, but also the entire Christmas programming division. Before she knows it, Jessica’s life starts playing out like all the movies she’s directed, following every single trope and plot device to the letter.

A Hollywood Christmas is a Christmas movie within a Christmas. It’s like watching two Hallmark movies in one. The only difference between this and anything Hallmark releases is the HBO Max label. It’s predictable, but predictable doesn’t necessarily mean boring. Stories tend to have formulas for a reason: Because they work. It was fun to watch. More stories like this please! Stream it now on HBO Max.

Singer-songwriter Gail (Annelise Cepero) is on her way to an iHeart radio singing competition when her van breaks down in the middle of nowhere inHarmony Springs Oklahoma. Since she she has no money for repairs Jeremy (Jeremy Sumpter), the mechanic recommends she teach the music class and prepare the kids for the Christmas Gala. As is typical in a rom-com, Jeremy and Gail fall in love. This leaves her with an important choice to make: her dreams or her new home and romance. And as is typical for these movies, Spoiler alert: she chooses the latter.

A nice heartwarming and emotional story. It was very enjoyable and my favorite out of the three HBO Max Christmas movies. Content issues include several misuses of God’s name and several exclamations using the word hell. All 3 original Christmas movies were good. I hope HBO makes more of them.

2¢ Christmas, Christian Critique, Was it really that bad?, What the bleep was that?!

Christian Critique: The Star

Well, that was a massive disappointment.

Bo (Steven Yeun) wants to do something important with his life like joining the Royal Caravan, but God has a bigger plan in store for him: Being the Donkey that Mary rides to Bethlehem and the hero who’s behind saving Jesus from a really early demise. Yes. that’s the plot. Somebody, please cringe with me.

Christians suck at making faith-based movies. So does Hollywood. Christians not making good faith-based movies is disappointing. Hollywood not making good faith-based movies is disappointing, but expected and predictable. I wanted this to be good. I wanted it to be great. It was neither.
There are major Biblical inaccuracies:

  1. John is already born and in attendance at Mary and Joseph’s wedding
  2. Mary tells Joseph about Jesus after they are married and is far along enough that she has a massive baby bump.
  3. The Wise Men visit King Herod before Jesus is ever born, not two years after the fact. When Herod is informed of there being a new king, he sends a guard with two dogs to track Mary, Joseph, and Jesus down and put an end to this new Kindom before it ever has a chance to start. I wish I was joking.

This movie was like Bible fan fiction. Really bad Bible fanfiction. Written by people unfamiliar with the original source material. AKA THE BIBLE!! I don’t know if the writers are Christian or not. I’m hoping for the sake of the movie that they’re not. Because if they are, this is embarrassing. They don’t even mention Jesus by name until close to the end. He gets name-dropped twice. Other than that he’s referred to as the baby and God’s son. Considering it’s a Hollywood movie, I’m surprised they mentioned Jesus by name at all.
I liked that Joseph was played by Zachary Levi and that the movie showed both Mary and Joseph struggle with the idea of being responsible for Jesus. I thought that was realistic. But that’s all I liked. Other than that the movie was long, I got bored, and stared at my phone which I don’t usually do if I’m enjoying something. Read the Bible instead. It’s better. So much better.

2¢ After Dark, 2¢ Christmas, Was it really that bad?, What the bleep was that?!

2¢ After Dark Gone Sour: Scrooged

That’s an hour and forty-six minutes of my life that I’m never getting back. Ever.

Mean-spirited TV executive Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a modern-day Scrooge (Well, modern for 1988 anyway). He fires someone over a disagreement and treats his assistant and everyone around him like crap. He needs a visit from his dead, disintegrating boss and three ghosts to straighten him out.
Good news: I have a new least favorite movie! Bad news: I had to watch this to find out it was my least favorite movie. Scrooged is mean-spirited, crude, crass, unfunny, to borrow a word from the movie, bleak, heartless, and soulless garbage. It’s a boring trainwreck. The writers were probably higher than a fricking kite. Nothing can save this dismal disaster of a film. I’ve had colonoscopies more fun! But I do have a favorite part: The credits!
The movie is long and the lead is completely unlikable. Language includes words like bitch, shit, damn, and several misuses of God’s name, four times paired with damn along with several other off-color words. Other unnecessary elements include scantily-clad dancers and a woman making photocopies of her butt to pass around the office Christmas party. Frank’s girlfriend is seen in the bathtub, but nothing too personal is shown. She gives him a copy of the Kama Sutra and they flip through it. There’s honestly too many issues to list on Instagram. You’re better off watching something else. Something wholesome like The Santa Clause, Elf, or Arthur Christmas. Anything but this.

2¢ Christmas, Was it really that bad?

Unnecessary Reboot Alert: Not So Sweet Home Alone

OK. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before! A bratty kid gets accidentally left behind by his loud, obnoxious family when they leave on Christmas Vacation. Sound familiar? Yeah. That’s cause it’s been done 5 times before and Home Sweet Home Alone brings the grand total up to 6!

Max Mercer (Archie Yates) is left home alone when his family goes to Japan for Christmas. Days before their departure date, they stop at a neighbor’s house to use the bathroom. While there, Max steals what turns out to be an heirloom worth $200,000.

Neighbors, Pam (Ellie Kemper) and Jeff (Rob Delaney) are desperate to get the ugly doll back so that they can collect the money so that they don’t have to move. They’re desperate. Desperate people do desperate things. Things like breaking and entering. They plan a break-in to retrieve their stolen property. Max overhears their plot and immediately starts scheming and plotting an elaborate booby trap to protect himself and his home from the well-intentioned burglars.

It’s a slightly different spin on an oft-told and worn out tale. Unlike in the classic original story, Pam and Jeff don’t actually want to hurt Max, they just want their doll back. The ending is sweet, but it isn’t worth this long mess of a movie to get there. There’s not much that’s new to keep your attention. It’s long and boring. It tries to be funny but fails more than succeeds at its humor. There’s a great scene where someone is watching a remake of the film that Kevin watched in the original. It’s said that remakes aren’t as great as the Classics and that couldn’t be more true, especially in this case. Maybe it’s time to put an end to the Home Alone franchise once and for all. Because 6 times is 4 times too many. There’s nothing bad about this movie. It’s just not good. At all.

Was it really that bad? Yes, yes it was. Watch it now on Disney Plus. Of course, I don’t know why you would bother with the original sitting right there, but that’s just me.

2¢ After Dark, 2¢ Christmas, Uncategorized

2¢ After Dark: Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Jingle Bells
Drax smells
Bacon runs away
Oh what fun it is to watch
Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday
Hey!

It’s Christmastime and Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) is feeling blue. It hasn’t been easy since losing Gamora, and he’s not in a holiday spirit kinda mood. In an effort to cheer their friend up, Mantis (Pom Klementieff) and Drax (Dave Bautista) devise a poorly hatched plan to travel to Earth and kidnap Earth’s Legendary Hero, Kevin Bacon, and give him to Peter as a present. What could possibly go wrong?!?! I’ll give you a hint. Everything. Everything goes wrong.

The Guardians gang is all here for an outta this galaxy Holiday Special! It all the great things any Guardians of the Galaxy movie has: My favorite group of characters, great humor (Seriously, it’s so funny!), a fun action sequence, and fantastic music including two fun numbers original to the story: I Don’t Know What Christmas Is and Here It Is Christmastime.

I LOVED IT!!! I was smiling and laughing the entire time. It’s so much fun! And as usual, the story is heartwarming in a totally weird way that only Guardians of the Galaxy could pull off! I loved the focus on Drax and Mantis. I love these charts even more than I did before. Stream it now on Disney Plus. If you don’t, you’re really missing out!
A side note for parents: Damn is used 3 times. Shit is used once. Just a heads up in case you don’t want to expand your child’s vocabulary in a new colorful direction.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 comes out May 5, 2023, and I can’t wait. Except I can because I’m not ready to say goodbye to any of these amazing characters yet! Be on the lookout for my reviews of Guardians 1&2 coming in the Spring.

2¢ After Dark, Two Cent Halloween

2¢ After Dark: Ghostbusters Vol. 2: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

After being evicted, Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two kids, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (McKenna Grace) move to Oklahoma and into the old, broken-down farmhouse that belonged to Callie’s father, a man that the community thought was crazy. While there, the kids discover connections to the original Ghostbusters, including a personal connection and try to become Ghostbusters themselves to stop Gozer from being resurrected and completely destroying the town.
PS. To whoever cast Paul Rudd as Mr. Grooberson, the science teacher, thank you for doing the Lord’s work.
This movie is a lot of fun! It was a great continuation of the franchise while being a love letter to original Ghostbusters fans at the same time. The action scenes are a bit darker and the special effects are obviously improved from the 80s. The content issues aren’t any different then they were in the original like language including damn, hell, ass, shit, and several misuses of God’s name. There’s also a few suggestive references and scary images. The action and monster-packed third act is what pushes this movie into 2¢ After Dark territory. I think the scenes featuring Gozer and the demon possession of two characters were a bit darker than in the original. This movie was so good and surprisingly emotional. A Ghostbusters sequel was the last thing I expected to make me cry. This is a legacy sequel done right in every way possible! You can stream Ghostbusters on Starz or get it from Redbox.

2¢ After Dark, Two Cent Halloween

2¢ After Dark Only Murders in Building and Good Omens Season 1

Three strangers, Mabel (Selena Gomez), Charles (Steve Martin), and Oliver (Martin Short) meet after Tim Kono is murdered in their apartment building. They bond over their shared love of True Crime podcasts and decide to start their own, Only Murders in the Building, documenting their mission to solve the mystery behind Tim’s untimely demise. And since Tim was the least liked neighbor at the Arconia, anyone could be a suspect! And the murderer is the last person you’d expect! And that ending… well my mouth hit the floor!

This show was really enjoyable! It starts a bit slow but is full of twists and turns I never saw coming! The main trio are awesome together. There’s great chemistry between them. There’s also a bunch of great comedic moments which is great especially since two of the leads are professional comedians. It’ll be enjoyable for those, like me, who grew up watching Selena on Wizards of Waverley Place. Mabel is Alex Russo as an adult.

The MA rating in this case just means they can swear more. A lot more. Including frequent use of the F-bomb. All the usual PG-13 favorites are here as well like shit and damn just used with greater frequency. There are several misuses of God’s name. You see the gun wound in Tim’s head, and for Conservative Christians, episode seven centers around the lesbian security guard. Other than that there aren’t any other moral issues to navigate. This is 2¢ After Dark title meant for adults only. This review is for season 1. You can steam both seasons on Hulu and there’s a third on the way. PS. This is my all-time favorite layout I’ve ever made! I made it over a year ago, and I finally get to use it! Yay!

The Great Plan is ineffable…or is it?

The Angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) and Demon Crowley (David Tennant) have become entirely too comfortable with their lives on Earth so when they’re summoned to help bring about the End Times naturally they’re reluctant to do so.
Together they come up with their own plan to put a stop to the upcoming Armageddon including influencing the antichrist to be neither good or evil in the hopes that he won’t trigger the Ultimate End. The unlikely friends and ultimate odd couple team up with the eleven year old antichrist to stop Heaven and Hell from having the War to end all Wars.
Based off the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, the show is a true adaptation of the book that includes fun extras that would’ve been included in a Good Omens sequel had it actually been written.
David Tennant and Michael Sheen are a match made in Heaven with equally unmatched chemistry making Good Omens Highly Enjoyable to watch. I suppose if I was a good Christian I would denounce the show for being sacrilegious garbage and stay away from it. However, unfortunately for me I’ve got a love for twisted fantasy tales and enjoyed the show immensely. There’s a lot about the show I could talk about and someday soon I will when I have more time to do so. All I can say for now is that it’s fiction. Fantasy. It doesn’t try to be Gospel Truth and is perfectly aware of what it is: Satirical fantasy. If you take it as Gospel truth, that’s on you. You’re going to have to follow your own convictions on this one. It’s an interesting character study if nothing else: A demon who isn’t all bad and an Angel who isn’t all good. I find that fascinating.

The show’s got some language. Shit is used frequently along with various uses of damn and hell. God’s name is misused and there are surprisingly only 3 F-Bombs. There’s also a sex scene. You see nothing of importance. It’s one hell of a ride! You can stream it now on Amazon Prime. And I’m looking forward to Season Two premiering next Summer and fingers crossed for a Season Three.

Two Cent Halloween

Doctor Who Spooky Review: Midnight and Vampires of Venice

I’m making this a traditional thing with mini reviews of creepy Doctor Who Halloween or Halloween-esque episodes.
Series 4 Episode 10

Midnight: In this companion-lite episode Ten (David Tennant) boards a train for a tour of the hostile planet Midnight. Everyone loses cell service forcing everyone to talk to each other. Ten quickly befriends the other passengers onboard. It isn’t long before things go horribly wrong and an invisible monster invades killing the driver and causing complete chaos onboard. It possesses the body of Sky Sylvestry causing her to repeat everything that everyone is saying doing. This drives everyone to madness that they go as far as trying to kill both her and the Doctor!
I like this episode better than Blink Oops! It’s an interesting look at human nature and how quickly we can turn on each other when we feel threatened.

Series 5 Episode 6

Vampires of Venice: Eleven (Matt Smith) take Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill) on what’s supposed to be a romantic trip to Venice. Things quickly become dangerous when they discover that young women are being tricked into higher learning and being turned into Vampire fish monsters so that their civilization can survive!

This is a really fun episode and one of my favorite Eleven episodes considering I’ve never liked vampires. Fun, funny, and a bit intense. A good reminder that the show was left in excellent hands after David left.

Both episodes will be a bit intense for younger children. You can stream both episodes on HBO Max.

2¢ After Dark, Two Cent Halloween

2¢ After Dark: Moonknight and Werewolf By Night Reviews

Ulysses Bloodstone has died. His death brings the monster hunters together to pay their last respects and for one last hunt to see who will inherit the blood stone and the supernatural power it grants to the one who possesses it. It’ll be a hunt to the death, a bloody one at that, and what the hunters don’t know is that there’s already a monster in their midst.

This is Marvel’s second official foray into the horror genre after Multiverse of Madness and dipping its toes in the shallow end with WandaVision. I normally stay as far away from the genre. It’s not my thing. No thank you. I don’t do scary movies. But Marvel’s expansion into the supernatural and Monsterverse have made it impossible to stay away completely.
Gael Garcia Bernal shines bright as Jack Russell/Werewolf By Night, and I need to see more of this character and actor immediately. I loved the relationship he had with Elsa Bloodstone (Laura Donnelly) and need to see more of that as well. Does it turn romantic? I need to know! And I need to know now!

This special is in black and white, paying homage to horror movies of the 30s and 40s. It’s creepy and dark. Violent and bloody. More bloody than is typical of the MCU while still managing to stay within the confines of a TV-14 rating. There’s violent action scenes. A ritual involving the bloodstone and an incantation is performed to force Jack to turn into a werewolf before the full moon, and then the violence gets turned up a couple notches. It’s bloody. There’s blood spatters on the walls and dripping on the camera lens. Jack bites a guard’s ear off. Blood gushes. Someone loses their head. A couple of people get incinerated by Man-Thing who makes an impressive cameo appearance. I grimaced. My mouth dropped open. I didn’t keep a straight face for most of the 54-minute special. If it had been in color instead of black and white, I wouldn’t have been able to watch. It’s too bad my mom wasn’t here to see it. And despite all that, I enjoyed it. A lot. I wish it’d been a little darker, but then it would’ve earned a TV-MA rating. The only crime I thought this special committed was that it was too short! Congratulations, Marvel, you got me on board with monsters! Normally, I wouldn’t say Marvel isn’t for kids anyway, but this special is especially not. This bit of fun is for the teens and adults. I look forward to seeing these characters again and to seeing what else Marvel can achieve through their Special Presentations. You can stream Werewolf By Night on Disney Plus.

Steven Grant (Oscar Issac) lives a simple life as a clerk in an Egyptian History Museum gift shop. Strange unexplainable things start to happen like hearing voices and blacking out and waking up surrounded by dead bodies with no idea what happened. He discovers that he has Dissociative Identity Disorder and is the host body of Mark Spector and also the avatar of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu serving justice as the deity sees fit as his Moon Knight
Mark and Steven must learn to work together along with Mark’s wife Layla (May Calamawy)to save the world from Ammit’s version of justice by defeating the goddess her and her avatar Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke). Mark and Steven learn more about their origin in the process. PS. It’s heartbreaking.

This show was awesome and my second favorite MCU show behind WandaVision. It’s the most violent MCU show to date and it’s darkest pushing the boundaries of a TV-14 Rating. It’s super fun if you’re into Egyptian mythology and religion. It’s really violent. People get shot and stabbed. There’s hand to hand combat. It’s bloody and you get to watch someone being mummified alive and having an organ removed (I felt a little queasy). There’s a bunch of language with Shit being heard the most along with hell, damn, misuses of God’s name and a partial f-bomb.

As a Christian, I came away from the series with a sense of thankfulness that God doesn’t handle justice the way that the Egyptian gods do. That the God we serve is merciful when we don’t deserve it while the Egyptian ones are cutthroat and ruthless. For example Ammit hands out justice before a crime is ever committed. I’m so glad God isn’t like that or we’d all be in trouble! There’s a devotional in there somewhere I think I’ll write one.

The Supernatural side of the MCU is being built out nicely and I can’t wait to see what’s next! I’d love to see a season 2 in the future. You can stream it now on Disney Plus.