The Christmas Setup – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2020 film The Christmas Setup.

Story

Borrowing partly from indie slice of life and partly from Christmas romances, this is an easy to watch mix of the two. There’s a mystery and a little angst, but overall wasn’t too bad. There are two parts that I didn’t like. I hate the trope of forcing a character to go on stage and then they rock it. If someone doesn’t want to do it, they shouldn’t be pressured. The second time it happened the character didn’t even do what they were supposed to.

I did however love the mirroring in the story of the train station and the main characters. That was cute and awesome.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Fran Drescher plays the perfect meddling mother. She’s never hurtful and she’s somehow always respectful. A nice change of pace for this character archetype. The rest of the cast is both pretty and easy to watch. The characters are believable and overall pretty authentic. I really liked the dynamic of the brothers and how they had to work at understanding each other.

I also like that the main couple being gay didn’t add to the drama but still influenced the character’s stories and conversations.

Score: 1

Dialogue

This movie had an interesting effect. I laughed and loved the clever dialogue… but I don’t remember any of it. It was fast and clever and never took itself seriously.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The movie was well shot, the clothes were fantastic, and locations were stunning. That being said, I wasn’t a fan of the “Northern Lights” scene that looked pretty fake.

The music was good if not memorable.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie was fun to watch. It kept my 18 month old completely enthralled. I’m thinking it was the banter, but it could have been my popcorn. The entire family liked it and I hope there will be more like it in the future.

Score: 1

Overall

This is an adorable Christmas love story that is made all the better by wonderful dialogue and authentic representation. I liked this one and look forward to buying a copy for annual watching.

Final Score: 4 Stars out of 5

Josie and the Pussycats – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2001 movie Josie and the Pussycats.

Story

Let me start by saying this is the most 2000’s movie ever. This is a movie that predates smartphones, 9/11, and MTV no longer playing music videos.

The plot could have been pulled straight from a comic book from the 90’s, the main message is literally explained, and it can’t seem to decide if it wants to be family friendly or not.

The movie is riddled with sex jokes (I mean really ‘backdoor lover’?), puns (the band ‘Dujour’), and patented 2000’s anti-commercialism (buy stuff to make you unique not to be like everyone else).

This is thoroughly a pre X-men and Spiderman comic book movie. Hammy, fourth wall breaking, and terrified it’s audience won’t get it’s messages.

Score: 0

Characters

After 15 minutes I turned to my wife and said, “Ah the 2000’s where female characters were finally allowed to be 2 stereotypes.”

The three protagonist are: Josie (Rock Star, mechanic), Valerie (Activist best friend), and Melody (Animal loving Ditz).

The rest are pretty much the same, Allan Cummings eats up the scenery as does Parker Posey. They ham so much and seriously make their characters work.

Are they balanced? No. Are they an attempt at social commentary? Maybe… Are they likeable? Yes mostly.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

Trite, silly, and downright hilarious. The dialogue in this movie is written to both date it and make it wallow in it’s own silliness. From the code words based off of old rock songs, to the puns, to the line, “I’m here cause I was in the comic” This movie doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to silly dialogue.

Somehow it manages to skirt quotability.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The movie goes out of its way to push the anti-commercialism by including over 70 brands as product placement. It’s coloured and shot like a comic book and genuinely pretty.

The music is good, if repetitive. I’m sad that none of the cast actually performed the songs.

Score: 0.5

Fun

This movie is a condensed feel of my teen years and brings back good and bad memories. It was a more innocent time and because of that I really enjoyed re-watching this.

There’s a little cringe in there but overall the music and corniness make it a lot of fun.

Score: 1

Conclusion

This movie is a snapshot in time of what the late 1990’s early 2000’s was like. Before the world was changed by 9/11 and everything thing else the 2000’s brought.

It’s fun, but not the greatest movie. I feel the messages and lessons get drowned out by the ham.

Final Score: 2.5