This week’s Native Nerd reviews include a remake of the 1970’s TV show, “Fantasy Island” a sequel to the original “The Boy” which were both less than impressive. But a major gem has recently come out of the world of Netflix, the episodic series ‘I Am Not Okay With This,’ based on a graphic novel.
Here are my reviews.
My #NativeNerd scoring system
I employ the decimal system to a tenth of a point. So instead of 7 stars, I might give a 7.4 out of ten. Some movies aren’t an eight but deserve a little more than a seven.
3.9 out of 10
My quick quote: “I was looking forward to the revamp of this 1970s classic which I watched obsessively as a kid, but this version without the memorable little person Tattoo and a Mr. Roarke with wrinkled linen clothing, seriously floundered”
Synopsis: The enigmatic Mr. Roarke makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort, but when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve the island's mystery in order to escape with their lives.
“Fantasy Island” was awful. I really wanted to like this movie and suspected they would take a turn toward horror based on the trailer, but this was plain corny.
Several guests appear at the dock of Fantasy Island, which is managed by Mr. Roarke, portrayed by Michael Peña, just simply didn’t work. Michael Peña was simply miscast in my view, as he simply isn’t old enough to portray a seasoned man who has the capability to peer into your life’s shortcomings to grasp your deepest desires.
His clothing at times was terribly wrinkled, unbecoming of a character so intent on illustrating refinement.
The guests chose much too shallow of fantasies, (the wannabe playboys who wanted it all, the wannabe soldier who wanted to fight in combat, the wannabe revenge-taker who wanted to get back at a bully and a regretful unmarried woman who wanted to go back and reverse her marriage proposal turndown) and the Fantasy Island itself — a living breathing entity of sorts — as a whole turned against the fantasy-seekers, was a wholly unsatisfying story.
At a certain point, the fantasy-seekers band together against their black-juice-squirting-eyeball foes (yes, that was a thing) and go forth the same way Scooby Doo’s band of teenagers might venture into a haunted house.
Change scenarios to the hidden caves, and I was reminded of the Sleestack in “Land of the Lost.” I started to look for Marshall, Will, and Holly.
The twist was less than convincing and everything came together at the end in a ridiculous fashion that made little sense.
Sadly, the acting wasn’t terrible, but the storyline just didn’t work.
As one woman in the theater said as the movie ended and the lights came on. “Wow, that was really dumb.”
Sorry folks, I wasn’t a fan.
Now in theaters. (But likely not much longer)
The Boy II
4.9 out of 10
My quick quote: “This just didn’t even hold a candle to the first. The premise was good and could have delivered, but in the simplest way to say it, it just didn’t.”
Synopsis: When a young family moves to the Heelshire's residence, terror strikes when a boy from the family discovers a doll called Brahms that appears to be eerily human.
Well, this movie was a bummer.
The kid was cool. He was a great little actor by the name of Christopher Convery. And I do like Katie Holmes generally-speaking, but this movie didn’t work for her.
So it’s all about Brahms, the creepy possessed doll (or is it really possessed?) that Jude (Convery) takes a liking to after discovering it buried in dirt in the forest surrounding their new home next to the former Heelshire’s mansion.
Add in a bunch of creepy footsteps when you turn your head for a moment, or look into a mirror to see Brahms looking at you, then not when you look straight at him, and you have a great recipe for a scary movie.
But something happened as the movie began to progress, like it was an unstable atom, it began to decay and continued to lose electrons at a dizzying rate.
The movie was a bit scary at first, then just got less and less believable.
At one point Katie Holmes’ character Liza is looking at Brahms, then screams at it as if to shock it into moving or something? Admittedly, it was a fumbled attempt to create a jumpscare.
The family continues to explore the evilness of Brahms, and Jude emulates him more and more until? A miserably bad conclusion.
My nephew Parker and I were literally laughing at the movie at the end for its lack of scariness.
Now in theaters.
I Am Not Okay With This
9.0 out of 10
My quick quote: “One of the best series on Netflix in a long time. I knew I would continue to see the talented Sophia Lillis, and I am more than thrilled to say I was right.”
Synopsis: A teenager navigates the complexities of high school, family and her sexuality while dealing with new superpowers; based on Charles Forsman's graphic novel.
“I Am Not Okay With This” truly is one of the best series I have seen on Netflix — or anywhere for that matter — in a long time.
Sophia Lillis portrays a young female teenager by the name of Syd, who discovers she has a continuously unfolding series of abilities in the midst of attempting to navigate the complexities of high school in a small town in middle America.
It is simply brilliant. All of the young actors, all of the adult actors, the director, the writer, everyone. This is a standing ovation type of series.
I am thrilled to say I was right about the young actress Sophia Lillis in that I we would continue to see her in more productions after I gave her a compliment for her portrayal as Gretel in “Gretel and Hansel in a previous Native Nerd review:
In the review, I wrote: “Gretel and Hansel” has this sense to it. It is a combination of almost a documentary on Gretel, — portrayed by Sophia Ellis, a talented young actress I suspect we will be seeing a lot of in the future.
I really don’t have much in the way of criticisms except maybe I would wish things to unfold a little quicker in the way of revealing things, but then again, isn’t life often this way?
I can’t recommend this enough, it is and likely will be in my top ten recommendations for 2020.
“I Am Not Okay With This” is now available on Netflix.
Follow the #NativeNerd, Vincent Schilling, associate editor for Indian Country Today and a proud movie reviewer.
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