The year 2020 has been the year of the Netflix controversy hasn’t it. First, you had Cuties causing all sorts of problems in America. The Crown has the British government confused about the difference between drama and real-life. More recently, Hillbilly Elegy has been creating some strife thanks to its source material. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, there’s another social media storm. Now, it’s about their latest Christmas release The Princess Switch: Switched Again. Fans have taken to Twitter to share their confusion and, in some cases, outrage that two characters from The Christmas Prince franchise appeared in a scene towards the end. Personally, I didn’t even register, so well done to these people for actually watching the film properly. As we all remember, in the original film, Vanessa Hudgens settles down to watch The Christmas Prince at one point in the film. So, how do these clearly fictional characters turn up in the actual film? It’s a big question but not quite as important as “who cares?” Or even as “why did they even make a second film?”
You’ll no doubt have heard a lot about the second Borat film in the last few days. Mostly because of the outrage about a scene involving Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump’s reaction to it. The President has criticised Sacha Baron Cohen and described him as a “creep”. Of course, this will have done nothing but draw even more attention to the film. Not that it would have needed the help. It’s been nearly 15 years since the first film came out and we were all under the impression that Borat was never going to be seen again. After all, how do you make another Borat film when everyone is in on the joke now? Well, they obviously got round that somehow and, with the film being released on Amazon Prime last week, I had to check it out.
I was incredibly excited the moment that I found out that there was going to be a sequel to Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s Before the Coffee Gets Cold. It was one of my favourite books of 2019. In fact it was number 2. Only beaten by the exquisite comedy of Richard Ayoade‘s examination of the film View From the Top. The first book, adapted from Kawaguchi’s play of the same name, was such an unusual but engaging book. I had never read anything quite like it, so getting the chance to revisit his work was most welcome. It was released at an great moment and really helped pull me out of my reading slump. After taking a week or so to finish The Thursday Murder Club, it only took me a couple of nights to get through this. Hopefully, this means I’m back to normal. Definitely a good thing because my non-review bookish posts ideas aren’t exactly inspiring.
Jumanji: The Next Level film might be the third film to include Jumanji in the title but it is actually the fourth film in the whole franchise. It’s easy to forget that Zathura: A Space Adventure is part of the same universe. Mostly because both the writer of the original books, Chris Van Allsburg, and director, Jon Favreau, wanted to distance it from the Robin Williams film. Favreau, in particular, didn’t like the film at all and wanted to make sure that people knew it. Yet, the studio was keen to show that both films were connected and Zathura is officially the second film in the Jumanji franchise. I’d never actually seen it, though, as I was 17 when it came out. It definitely wasn’t the kind of film the 17-year-old me would have been comfortable admitting to wanting to watch. So, I decided it was finally time. After all, it got a much better critical reaction than the first Jumanji film even if it didn’t do incredibly well at the box office. The opposite of Robin Williams’ film. Was the space adventure actually better or was this another time when the critics were way off in their assessment?
Nobody really expected Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to be any good. At least, nobody who remembered the original 1995 film fondly. Of course, it turned out to be a pretty enjoyable experience. Certainly more enjoyable than the first pictures suggested. Thanks to Karen Gillan’s unnecessarily revealing costume, it seemed as though it was suffering from the same sexist approach as other Hollywood films. It turned out there wasn’t quite so much to worry about and the film made just under $1 billion worldwide. With figures like that, it was inevitable that a sequel would be on its way and, two years later, Jumanji: The Next Level was released. I had mixed feelings about the film. Part of me was really excited to see if they could match or, perhaps, better the 2017 film. The other part was worried that it would go the way of most Hollywood sequels. Wanting something fun and carefree to watch on my holiday, I decided it was finally time to find out.
2019 was definitely the year of Marvel. I know that there were countless great films released last year but Endgame was a movie event like no other. Whatever you think about the film in general, you can’t deny that it was one of the biggest film moments in the last decade. It was the culmination of so many years of work and saw a whole host of characters come together for the biggest superhero film of all time. There’s a reason that I keep crying every time I see the portals scene: all of our favourite characters in one place trying to save the world. It was something that we never thought would work but it did. So, 2020 has a lot to live up to. Can anything next year bring people together in the same way? There are plenty of films coming up next year that I’m really looking forward to so it made sense to discuss them during this week’s Friday Favourites. Obviously, this isn’t all of them but I could have added loads to this list. 10 seemed like a sensible amount.
I watched the first Daddy’s Home film because I have a secret of Mark Wahlberg. And by love, I mean I appreciate how much he’s willing to make fun of himself. It must have been after watching The Other Guys, the first film he did with Will Ferrell. It was so much better than I ever would have believed and Wahlberg was a big part of that. Although, I can’t pretend that I enjoyed the film. I didn’t. I just think the pair were super funny together. Funny enough to make me want to see their next team-up Daddy’s Home. Once again, it failed to do anything exciting and was a big disappointment. So, I decided to skip the festive follow-up when it was released.
Can we be honest for a second? Let It Go isn’t that great a song. It’s a repetitive song that gets stuck in your head. That doesn’t make it the best ever. That makes it unforgettable. Now, I’m not trashing the song. There is something good about it but you’d think it was the best composition to come out of Disney film. Yes, it sounds great and really evokes the film. But compare it to the stuff Disney was churning out in the 90s and you’ll realise it’s not all that. Now, I didn’t want to start this review off in a negative way. I’m trying to present a more positive attitude on the blog these days. But I read a review of this film the other day that annoyed me. It suggested that the big song from Frozen‘s sequel, Into The Unknown, wasn’t as good as the first film’s earworm because it repeated the title 3 times in a row. As if Let It Go wasn’t repetitive because it only repeated the title twice in a row. God almighty! What is the deal with that song? I know it’s got a really positive message but that’s not the reason it was played repeatedly. People see it through such rose-tinted glasses. It annoyed me so much that I almost didn’t want to see the sequel. But I owed my friend for making her see the godawful Joker earlier in the year.
A lot has changed in the 10 years since Zombieland came out. Back in 2009, the biggest name was Bill Murray in his fairly short but memorable cameo. Jesse Eisenberg was a year away from making waves in The Social Network. Woody Harrelson hadn’t exactly been getting the meaty roles back then and Emma Stone was still the up-and-coming comedy star. Now, Stone is an Oscar winner and Harrelson has seen something of a revival. Everything has moved on a fair bit but, surprisingly, all of the main cast have returned for the sequel. There was talk of sorting out a sequel before the first film ever came out but it went through a lot of delays. After 10 years, you have to ask the question: was it still necessary? Back in 2010, there was talk of a new film franchise and a television show. After so many years have passed, what was there to say? Did we really need to revisit these characters? Especially as we couldn’t rely on Billy Murray turning up again to liven everything up.
It’s been 24 years since the first Toy Story film hit cinema screens. I’m not sure if we saw it in a cinema but we definitely had a copy of it on VHS. My sisters and I all loved it. We must have seen the second film in the cinema because we didn’t own a copy of that. And Toy Story 3 came out when I was at university. It was a house outing because all of us had fond memories of the series. Fond memories that were completely manipulated by the story of aging and leaving your childhood behind. That’s exactly what a 22-year-old needed. It’s been 9 years since Pixar left us utterly broken at the scene where Andy waves goodbye to his childhood toys and gives them to the next generation. It was the perfect end to the series. Or so we thought. There wasn’t any need for it but, god, we were excited to see the gang again. There’s something about the combination of Tom Hanks’ voice and Pixar’s unbeatable animation that just makes you feel at home.