“It’s a good lie.”

A Review of the farewell

Photo Credit: businessinsider.com

This may be the most difficult review I will ever have to write for a movie.  Lulu Wang has created art which crosses all thresholds and is relatable to any audience. The Farewell is masterful in dredging up familiar moments.  Moments which include the happiness of family gatherings to the horrible, gut-churning acceptance of a reality where cancer may soon take your patriarch. 

Its portrayals of the ridiculousness of how families deal with both marriage and death are both different yet recognizable.  Even though this family is predominately of Chinese origins, any race or culture can understand and appreciate the events happening on the screen in their own lives.  Even the dinner scenes have those similar bickering moments between relatives we’ve all had to be witness to.  This is a film whose emotional connection to its audience may be unmatched by any film which has ever come before it (and I do not say this lightly). 

The superb casting works hand in hand with the script to create a family unit that comes across as being real and not one haphazardly thrown together to be portrayed on the big screen.  I would be very surprised and disappointed if Awkwafina does not garner a Best Actress Oscar Nomination for her portrayal of Billi, the somewhat somber and cynical grandchild of the bubbly and full of life (and also unfortunately cancer) Nai Nai, played by Zhao Shuzhen.  The supporting cast also help to carry the burden of Nai Nai’s cancer (as they refuse to tell her as to not scare her to an earlier grave) throughout the film.  Their interactions help show every side of a family trying to deal with the ever-looming presence of death including humor, guilt, and heartbreak. 

The vulnerability presented in The Farewell is as unnerving as it is beautiful.  This along with the ending scene, which is almost a guarantee to elicit the waterworks, is why I am calling this the best film of the year and it is only September. 10/10 long cries. YoungYoda out.

(P.S. This review is purposely short as words are difficult when it comes to the emotional intensity of this film.  My suggestion is to go watch it and understand where I’m coming from.  Much love.)

Another Shark Tale…But Different

A Review of ‘bad cgi sharks’

Photo Credit: Bad CGI Sharks

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a fan when it comes to the B-movie genre, especially when it is one which involves sharks.  My eyes have been on the receiving end of too many badly acted, directed, and written scripts that have possibly dropped my IQ further than the copious amounts of alcohol I had consumed while day drinking in college.  Sharknado to me is almost as bad as the plastic surgeon hired by Tara Reid and if you listened to my comments on “The Nerd Corps” podcast, then you know my disdain of ‘The Meg’, which I refused to watch.  If I wanted to see Jason Statham punching and running from a large object, then I would just watch Hobbs and Shaw.

Where many of these movies falter is that they either don’t know they’re a horrible b-movie shark flick, or they do know it but bad acting and heavy-handed action sequences overpower the slight comedy sprinkled in (which, unfortunately, generally comes across as corny).  ‘Bad CGI Sharks’ however has decided to flip this and instead of relying on overpriced action sequences, they instead inject a far more comedic approach, relying on the dialogue (comedic not character) and a brotherly love story to be their foundation (they also throw in a magic Italian director who has the power to basically do whatever the f*ck he wants, which is kind of cool and more believable than a payphone existing in 2019).

Through the film, I found myself caring about the brothers and their story.  Matthew, being the more serious of the two, is made to deal with his estranged brother Jason who has basically downed 20 redbulls and is set free in Hollywood with his only dream being to make a Shark Movie they had written when they were eleven.  The dynamic between their two personalities helped set the tone of the film as both must work together while being chased by floating 3-D monstrosities that continuously fail to render. Because of this, Matthew learns to open up more and have fun while Jason realizes that not everything in life is sunshine and rainbows (just most of everything).  The brothers grow closer through each scene as they barely escape the pixelated jaws hunting them. 

I must also bring up the infinite entertainment value brought on by the continuous (what I like to call) “under the radar” jokes.  Those jokes which on paper probably aren’t seen as funny, but the dry humor and perfect delivery make me belly laugh into oblivion each time (Go watch Talladega Nights for more instances).  The best example of this is when Matthew is speaking with his boss, saying how his brother is ruining his life, and catches a glimpse of the self-motivation poster his employer has tacked up behind her.  He proceeds then to recite, “I want to learn…grow…and…suck…seed.” Now, many of these jokes are sprinkled throughout the film and their addition is a definite positive for any viewer who has the sense of humor of a prepubescent boy (which means me).

Bad CGI Sharks doesn’t shy away from what it is (hell, it’s the name of the movie) but barrels forward with low quality land?…hover? shark villains pushing our story along with a massive amount of comedic flare and a heart-warming journey.  Jason Ellsworth, Matthew Ellsworth, and Matteo Molinari have created something rather unique in a genre filled with the rotting filet-o-fishes of shark movie pasts.  Because of this, I’m giving Bad CGI Sharks a solid 8/10 rating.  YoungYoda Out.