Barbie in Princess Power – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2015 film Barbie in Princess Power.

Story

They tried really hard to mush together a superhero plot and a fantasy plot. Both are derivative with little of interest beyond a forced moral of cooperation. There were some pretty major plot holes that made the whole movie not make sense.

Score: 0

Character

A princess, her cousin, and her personal inventors? an evil adviser to the king, overbearing parents, and adorable kids. Every character in this movie is a cliché. I’d also say that the Rube-Goldberg physics of the world are practically a character.

Mostly it’s a bunch of really whiny privileged people whining.

Score: 0

Dialogue

The best part of the movie was dialogue borrowed from superhero movies. There were some nice nods to Christopher Reeves and other movies.

Other than that, it was pretty clipped and shallow.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

I’ve watched about six of the Barbie movies at this point and I understand they are supposed to be dolls and that the animation isn’t fantastic. I’m willing to forgive that mostly, but the physics in this are pretty bad, clothing doesn’t move, hair does odd things, and jewellery looks painted on. Worst was their faces, every female character looked like they’re faces were collapsing in on themselves. It was disconcertingly like the late stages of an eating disorder.

The music was a nice surprise; the pop track was catchy and not too bad. I also liked the score, it had a lot of influences from superhero movies and made the scenes significantly better than they should have.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The movie wasn’t a lot of fun. It was frustrating and made me want to scream at the characters.

That being said, the silly physics and pratfalls were entertaining. Especially to my youngest, who just loved Bruce the Frog.

Score: 0.5

Overall

One of the weaker Barbie movies. It tries too hard to be cute and not hard enough to fun. The character development is as hollow and vapid as the characters themselves. The music was good and there were some ridiculous moments that weren’t bad.

Final Score: 1.5 Stars out of 5

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

Snow – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2004 movie Snow.

Story

At times the movie is brilliant and others you wonder how that story point got past editing. It’s a bare bones slightly goofy plot. The world building is interesting and other than a few cringy moments it’s great.

I like the near complete reversal of traditional gender roles in holiday movies.

Score: 0.5

Characters

Nick is at times a clueless goofy idiot and at others a wise loving Santa… It’s a role that should be hacky and terrible but is made believable by Tom Cavanagh. (Seriously this role shouldn’t work, but he makes it not only likeable but one of my favourite versions of Santa.)

The rest of the cast is perfectly suited and well acted. Ashley Williams manages to play up the humour of her attraction to Nick without ever coming off as lewd.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

It’s a made for tv movie from the mid 2000’s the visuals are okay. The cinematography is bare bones and the special effects are mostly limited to the mirror and a flying reindeer. The costumes are very well done, especially the Santa Suit at the end.

The music is fantastically well thought out. I’m not humming the themes but they were perfect for the characters and had a quirky cheerfulness that saved some scenes from being too serious or too scary.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is clever and adorable. Also very dorky. I loved that we went from, “Nick… name… mine… my name is Nick.” at the begining of the movie to, “The first time I saw you I forgot to breathe.” near the end.

Score: 0.5

Fun

My wife and I have been watching the movie yearly for a decade and a half. It’s a Christmas staple that I enjoy. I’m not sure my kids liked it as much.

Score: 1

Overall

The movie is both adorable and aDORKable. The actors elevate what could have been a weird and uncomfortable movie into something lovely and fun.

Final Score: 3.5

A Christmas Movie Christmas – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2019 film A Christmas Movie Christmas.

Story

This is one of my favourite sub-genres; the transported into a movie movies. (I reviewed Teen Beach Party that falls in the same sub-genre.)

Post-wish, the story follows the traditional Christmas movie tropes with a lot of wry commentary. At times it was ridiculously cheesy. The story itself was passible and held a few tiny surprises.

Score: 0.5

Characters

The stereotypes of the Christmas movie world were amped up at the beginning and slowly started to become grounded as the movie moved forward. I really enjoyed the lampshading of the stalkerlike behaviours of some of the men. Santa was perfectly mystical.

The main girls managed to rise beyond the tropes of “The Meek escapist” and “The Jaded one who really wants to believe”.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The wry humour and lampshading made this movie. The dialogue pulls together the ridiculous concept and elevates it beyond just cheese.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The cinematography wasn’t amazing, but the set design was amazing. They amped up the “fake christmas town obviously filmed in summer” to a new level of absurd. Using cotton balls as snow and plenty of impractical clothing. The outfits were also really pretty; loved the sparkly sweaters.

The music was okay for what it was.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I laughed and smiled the entire movie. It was light and entertaining. A perfect Christmas romance that managed to be nicely self-aware.

Score: 1

Overall

If you enjoy Christmas romance movies this is probably for you. I loved seeing the tropes and stories through the lense of pseudo-real people. The wry dialogue and hammyness were all perfectly well done.

Final Score: 3.5

Happy First Birthday Pegasus

Dear Baby Pegasus,

It’s been a year since you joined us in the world. A thin, long, and adorable bundle. It’s been a year filled with learning, tears, love, fear, and lack of sleep… but enough about the state of the world. (Yeah I know I sort of recycled this joke from your sister’s first birthday letter, but it works.)

I’ve had the privilege, most father’s don’t, of seeing you grow up this year. Other than a week where you went to visit friends at the end of October, I’ve been with you every day. It’s a gift I’m really lucky to have. I mean I wished I could work from home but I didn’t expect to be because of a global pandemic (cursed genies).

You’ve grown and changed so much since you were born. You went from a fragile looking little baby to a well built toddler. You’ve learned all kinds of things and have been adorable throughout.

I love seeing your personality grow and form into who you’re going to be. So far, you’re as stubborn as your sister with less of a temper. Although you sure hate being told no.

You are the reigning champ of horror movie style screams. It’s impressive and painful. Currently you’re using it for everything from asking for more food to not getting your way. I’m hoping it’ll get better when you learn to talk.

When you smile, the genuine joy makes everyone else smile. It’s infectious and makes my heart sing. I love it when you slow down enough to snuggle. It’s a lovely warm feeling.

The world is hurting right now and a lot of people are having issues. I’m hoping it’s a prelude to healing, but I have no idea what the world you’re going to grow up in is like. I do know that I will be there as long as I can and I count myself infinitely happy and proud to be your Papa.

Happy First Birthday Little Pegasus,

Your Papa

George of the Jungle – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1997 movie George of the Jungle.

Story

The story is riddled with puns, fart jokes, 4th wall breaking, and silly slapstick. Some of that is good, some of that is bad. It’s a story that doesn’t take itself seriously but has some interesting things to say as subtext. Great moments where the script flips the tropes on their heads, especially those of toxic masculinity and ignorance.

Score: 0.5

Characters

George is a lovable idiot with a better understanding of how to respect others then the rest of the characters.

Ursula was the stand in for the every man-character and bland because of it. The rest were a mixture of tropes and silliness.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue in this, specifically the narrator, makes me laugh every time. Despite the silliness, the movie does a great job at not overdoing the dialogue. It’s not perfect but it’s certainly quotable.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals were okay. Scenery was pretty and the special effects held up well.

The music was so 1990’s it hurt. Even the theme song was a punk rock late 1990’s cover.

There was nothing special here but nothing terrible.

Score: 0.5

Fun

I have fond memories of this movie as a kid. Brendan Fraser is charming (as always) and the movie still has some of my favourite gags, but also has a lot more crotch punch and fart jokes then I remembered.

Score: 0.5

Overall

This is a fun movie, not great, not terrible but definitely fun. It has less awkward sexism or racism than a lot of movies from it’s time, and even has some good feminist messages.

Final Score: 2.5 Stars

Dear Pegasus – Your Sister

Dear baby Pegasus,

You’re two months old, as of yesterday, and you’re starting to congeal. I mean you’re no longer a large adorable lump. You’re smiling and cooing and showing preferences. You’re tracking people when they talk and even reacting to us when we look at you.

I love the look of happy relief on your face when I come get you in the morning.

In a lot of ways you’re like your sister was, smart, tall, and absolutely adorable. You also sleep really well, which is awesome. But in a lot of ways you’re quieter and more chill. I really hope that continues.

At almost three years old, your sister is dramatic, brave, loud, exuberant, clever, stubborn (oh so stubborn), and constantly questioning authority. I’m extremely proud of her even when I’m frustrated.

I was afraid that her drama and loudness might keep you up, scare you, or accidentally hurt you. So far she’s having issues understanding your personal space, but you don’t seem to care. Your biggest smiles are reserved for her. When she comes to help change you, you stop squirming and smile at her. It’s adorable how much she loves you and how much you seem to adore her.

I have no idea what either of you will be like in the future but I really hope you two are good friends. I hope the excitement and joy you feel being together stays.

Your loving Papa

Top 5 things Keladry says adorably wrong

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Most of the time when my daughter says things wrong, I correct her. That doesn’t stop me from appreciating how freaking adorable they are.

5. Dandad

Her Grandad is both awesome and one of her favourite people. He was the first person she called by name after Mum. She still had trouble with G’s and R’s.

It’s also one of the only names that haven’t changed.

4. Lepts Hand

She can tell her left from her right, most of the time. Honestly that’s better than me. But for some reason the FT sound escapes her.

3. Bool / Bootiful

She can say beautiful. She just doesn’t. It’s too cute to keep correcting. She also has trouble with blue, but that’s consistent. Oddly, she’s fine with bleu…

2. Boblaws

She already has a level of brand awareness that is impressive. She can tell by logo if we’re going to Walmart, Independent, or Loblaws.

She still says boblaws though…. And it makes me giggle and smile every time.

1. Vegetable Park

This one is really cute but completely random. The park near our house is called Alphabet Park, but she refuses to call it that. It’s always Vegetable Park.

Hope that made you smile,

Éric

Top Five Ways to Argue Like a Toddler

Hello my Imaginary Friends,

This could easily be an article about how to argue on the internet but it’s not. I’m here to teach you the valuable skill of arguing like a toddler.

5. Where is…

I was prepared to answer why, what, whom, and even how… but repeated instances of where, I wasn’t ready. Here’s the way it typically goes.

Dragon: Where is Granny?

Me: At home.

Dragon: Where is Granny home?

Me: Same place it always is.

Dragon: Where?

Me: *Says address*

Dragon: Where is that?

Me: If we go down the street and turn left it’s at the end of that street?

Dragon: I can’t see it. Can you show me?

The trick with this is to keep asking the same question no matter how absurd it sounds. Really throws people through a loop.

4. Scream louder

Trying to talk to my wife from another room is now followed by, “Don’t yell at MUM!” the same thing happens if my wife replies; “Don’t yell at PAPA!”

If I say something to her sternly my daughter sometimes counters with, “Don’t yell at me.” Then she yells louder over me, ignoring what I’m saying.

This is advanced, and definitely common online. The goal is to just keep saying what you’re saying while telling people to stop being mean.

3. Walk away and pout

When she knows she’s done something wrong but doesn’t want to admit it, she’ll pout and walk away. Stand in a corner or just glare at us from across the room.

Me: Please pick up your toys before dinner.

Dragon: No.

Me: Please pick up your toys.

Dragon: No.

Me: Now.

Dragon: *Walks away and pouts*

You wouldn’t think this was useful in adult life or online, but suddenly turning around and ignoring someone throws all the power to you for a small amount of time.

2. Ask again… and again and again

She normally does this if she really wants to eat or do something. She’ll say, “I NEED candy!” I’ll reply with, “Not now” or “no.” She then says, “Can I have candy?”, “Candy?”, or she’ll repeat I need. The less attention we pay to her the louder and more repetitive she gets.

This is similar to 4 but more insistent. When using it, make sure everyone knows what you want. Over and over again.

1. Because Yes/No

This is quite possibly the hardest possible thing to argue with.

Me: Why did you throw your teddy bear?

Dragon: Because Yes.

Or

Dragon: I NEED orange!

Me: You just ate 2 oranges. Do you really need another one?

Dragon: Because yes?

Because Yes and Because No, will stop the conversation and make the other person question why they’re arguing with you. It’s a wonderful way to argue when you don’t really care about educating but really want to annoy.


Okay so arguing with a toddler is very similar to arguing online. I think I might start using #1.

Later days,

Éric

Happy First Birthday Dragon

Dear Baby Dragon,

It’s been a year since you were born. It was a time of change, learning, crying, and general confusion… but enough about me.

The first few months, we were worried that if we mixed you in with other babies we wouldn’t be able to tell you apart. It was a great relief when we found the freckle on your left hand. Now you’re old enough to tell us from the other parents so we’re good.

It’s been a fantastic year with you. I was lucky enough to spend the first nine months of your life with you and I wish it had been longer. You grow and change every day, it’s wonderful and terrifying. Since I’ve gone back to work you’ve learnt how to walk, say, “Hi”, sort stuff, and climb up and down furniture.

If the stories your Grannie and Gramma have told us are true, you are right in the middle of your mom and I in terms of personality. Your mom was a ridiculously clever baby with a calm and happy temperament. I was an average baby with an exuberant and happy temperament. You are just as clever as your mom and just as exuberant as your Papa. You also have the stubborn streak that runs in both families and a temper that burns hot and quickly fades.

You already have a mischievous side. When you know you’re doing something you’re not supposed to, you look at the closest adult and smirk. You both want to do the thing and also get chased. I hope you grow out of that before your teen years.

Your Mum and Grannie are covered in bruise from your sharp little teeth. Teething hurts and you bite a lot. You’ve left your dental impression on, toys, furniture, family, walls, your crib, books, and clothing. I really hope you grow out of biting soon.

You frustrate me at times but more often you warm my heart. You’re warm, happy, talkative, excited, and just wonderful. I’d love to take credit but it’s all you.

You give the greatest hugs, they are filled with affection and I hope you never grow out of that.

It’s been quite the year and I’m so proud of you. I’m enjoying watching you grow and become you. It’s something that I will enjoy for the rest of my life.

I love you little Dragon,

Your Papa