Back to the Future – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1985 film Back to the Future.


I’ve heard that some film schools use this movie as an example of the perfect film script. I’m not sure it’s perfect, but it’s very well done. The setup and the parallels are excellent, the technobabble is limited and laced with important information, and everything is resolved fairly well.

There are some anachronisms and a few things that felt like Marty influenced from the original timeline that felt off. Some of the parallels are a little forced and hard to believe.

Score: 1


I love Marty, but his parents are very odd people. Despite having seen this movie a dozen times, I’m still weirded out by the dad’s peeping-tom antics and the mom’s forwardness and flightiness, neither of which were really addressed.

Doc Brown is fantastic and I like the secondary charactrers.

The relationship with Biff and Marty’s dad annoys me because it looks like they’re playing the same script over and over again. I get that it’s for the parallel structure, but it’s a little too specific.

Score: 0.5


The movie has some of the most gloriously cringy dialogue. “You are my density” is sheer genius. The banter and accents are great. I love Doc Brown’s frantic way of talking.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The special effects are at a minimum but used well, the sets are amazing, and the costumes great. The cinematography is beautiful.

The music is one of the most iconic from the time period and both Alan Silvestri and Huey Lewis did amazing in their respective parts.

Score: 1


The whole family was glued to the screen the whole time. The 5yo almost died from second hand embarrassment several times and was very concerned with the changes in the timeline.

I’ve seen this movie a lot, especially as a kid, and it still holds the same excitement and wonder.

Score: 1


A classic 80’s movie with a fantastic cast and great story. You’ll be humming the music and loving every moment.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Ghostbusters: Afterlife – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2021 film Ghostbusters: Afterlife.


A very clever mix of the Ghostbusters formula and the rural “kids on bikes” genre. The story is extremely predictable, but that’s part of its fun.

Score: 0.5


The characters on paper are kinda boring and overdone. Weird kid who’s probably autistic, ghost nut, slacker teacher, horny teens, sad single mother. However, the actors make them lovable, quirky, and just fun to watch.

Score: 1


The strength of the first three movies was their dialogue and this doesn’t disappoint. Self referential and nostalgic enough for old fans, but funny and quippy enough for newer fans.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The special effects are great and I loved the location. If felt grand and rural all at the same time. The kind of place locals don’t see the beauty in.

The music was solid. Did what it needed and used themes from the older films.

Score: 1


I fully expected to not like this one. There were a lot of issues with the originals and I wasn’t in the mood to revisit the same story and cast again. I was pleasantly surprised by the story and cast. Even more by how nostalgic I felt about the whole thing.

The kids loved it to the point where the two year old keeps talking about it.

Score: 1


A fun nostalgic ride with a talented, entertaining, and fresh cast. It’s shiny and new and will tug on all your heartstrings. If you liked the previous three (does anyone really like the second one?) you’ll love this.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Space Jam – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1996 film Space Jam.


The movie is a basic underdog sports story with a little bit of cartoon magic. It’s cute and over the top in a way that only Bugs and pals can handle.

I am sad they didn’t include a proper training montage though.

It’s written in a way that even people like me who know nothing about 1990’s basketball can still follow easily.

Score: 0.5


The main charater is Michael Jordan and he does a great job of playing the cool, Roll-with-it kind of character. The Looney Tunes are mostly alright, although I find the portrayal of Lola Bunny disturbing. She’s a odd combination of damsel, useless, and competent.

Bill Murray playing Bill Murray will always be a treat.

Score: 0.5


There are quite a lot of one liners in this and most of them stick about as well as you’d expect from the Looney Toons. There are a lot of great adult jokes and I love the bits with the basketball players who lost their abilities.

Overall it’s pretty forgettable dialogue.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The visuals are clean and well shot. They are definitely dated by style and by limits of the 3D tech at the time.

The music is wonderfully nostalgic and well chosen for the oomph needed in a sports movie.

Score: 0.5


Despite it’s flaws, this movie is a lot of fun and hits all the right beats for a sports movie. It’s exciting, funny, and overall easy to watch. Both my kids were trying to sing the title song by the end.

Score: 1


Space Jam is a product of it’s time and as such is a strange mashup of timeless sports movie chained to 1996. It’s entertaining and has plenty of background jokes for the basketball fans and the cartoon fans. It’s fun and quirky and easy to watch. In the end, however, it’s also utterly forgettable in everything but nostalgic soundtrack.

Final Score: 3

Meet the Robinsons – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2007 movie Meet the Robinsons.


The story follows the usual time travel tropes. I like that the main character isn’t the main time traveller. The story is happy, uplifting, and something I’ve needed lately, hopeful. It’s a bubble filled retro-futuristic happy future.

This is an incredibly easy movie to watch and it’s one of my comfort films. It was one of the first movies I saw in theatres with my wife.

All that being said, there are parts that haven’t aged well. Mostly little humour things. They use a lot of ableist language when it comes to mental illness, the whole thing with the future wife saying “I’m always right, even when I’m wrong” is weird, and the puppet aunt who beats her husband is a sad reminder that even now male spousal abuse is played for laughs. There’s also a few fat jokes. All of these come off as dated rather than purposefully hateful, but it’s still cringy.

Score: 0.5


The characters are lovable and relatable, mostly. I have a soft spot for Bowler Hat Guy, I too so love checklists. DOR-15 is one of the most terrifying villains in Disney. The interactions between Lewis and Wilbur are excellent.

I’m not a fan of some of the secondary characters. Both for what I said in the previous section and because they feel weird and cooky just to be weird and cooky. That’s not a good character motivation and makes them irrelevant to the plot. You can replace each of of them with any other similar family and you’d get little difference but the bit-gags.

I did enjoy that the lady taking care of the orphanage was a nice person who genuinely cared for her charges. It’s a nice break from the “Evil Orphanage” trope.

Score: 0.5


From, “Keep Moving Forward!” to, “I can’t take you seriously in that hat” this movie has a lot of quotable dialogue that just hits the perfect tone between silly and insightful.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

This movie was pretty. The animation was okay for the time but not great. We watched the blu-ray edition and it did some upgrades to the rendering that make it stand up pretty well. Overall it’s a pretty and colourful movie.

The music in this is fantastic. Danny Elfman did a great job with the music. It’s a blend of 50’s sci-fi and Disney that works. The soundtrack includes a great list of late 2000’s bands doing great songs.

Score: 1


This is an immensely fun movie. It’s never too cringy, and is funny. I can watch this one over and over without getting bored or annoyed.

Score: 1


This a movie I really enjoy. Even more so for the nostalgia of having seen it with my wife when we were first dating. It’s a time travel story plot with a great, hopeful message. Some aspects didn’t age well but they’re secondary to the main story and message.

Final Score: 4 Stars

Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry) Part 1

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Three years ago I made a list of my Top 5 Pet Peeves basically things people do that annoy me. Last year, in the same vein, I made a list of my Top 5 Workplace Pet Peeves.

Now here are topics and opinions that are absolutely guaranteed to make me rant and red faced angry.

If you’ve met me socially, you’ll know I’m pretty quiet unless I’m excited or annoyed. I apologize to anyone who’s had to sit through my rambling incoherent rants.

Top 10 Statements Guaranteed to Make Éric Rant (and Angry)

10. Technology is Bad

You’ve seen the memes and the articles. Cellphones are making us antisocial etc. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good Skynet joke as much as the next nerd, but go too far and you start to sound like luddite.

The articles range from ‘WiFi scrambles our brains’ to ‘computers are killing our attention spans’ and they all have one thing in common. FEAR!

It’s easier to hate on new tech (Voice assistants, Cellphones, Self Driving Cars, Exercise trackers etc) than blame millennials for something. Hating tech has quite literally been trendy forever.

I will argue this with you. We are better off now than we’ve ever been as a society and a race.

9. We Were Better Off in the Past

Cavemen didn’t get cancer… BULLSHIT! They may have gotten it less often because they mostly died younger.

Infant mortality is at the lowest it’s ever been. There is less war now than in the past. The human race as a whole is better off than we’ve ever been.

We have a long way to go, but we’re actually moving… slowly.

8. Organic is Better

Organic produce still uses pesticides.

Organic produce still requires fertilizer.

Organic food isn’t any healthier.

Organic food is grown without the use of synthetic pesticides & fertilizers, antibiotics, or hormones.

In the end there are some positive aspects of organic food, but the advantages (requiring animals to live in fields, avoiding unnecessary hormones and antibiotics) should be standard practices.

Organic food is more expensive because it takes more space and resources to create the same yield of food.

7. Genetically Modified/Engineered Food is Inherently Bad

GMO’s are not inherently bad. Nor is anything else.

As long as humanity has been growing and herding food we’ve tried to make it better. We’ve used splicing, cross pollination, selective breeding, and many other methods.

Altering our food, crops, and methods is the only way we as a species can survive. Take the example of Golden Rice. It’s genetically engineered to include beta-carotene which our bodies turn into vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency in developing countries is devastating and this rice can help fix that.

But for all those that are about less pesticides on your produce, GMOs have been developed to be resistant to pests and grow faster.

How you can see a negative in better food that grows easier, feeds more people, uses less resources, and is cheaper, is beyond me.

6. If You Like This You’re Wrong/Dumb

This might seem silly to some of you, but I have spent a long time being told I’m wrong because I like something.

It’s very trendy and common to hate on things that are popular. Just look at the hate pumpkin spice gets. There’s a certain joy in communally hating something that is popular. I’ve done it and I feel terrible. Sorry Nickelback and Nickelback fans.

It seems particularly bad towards things young women love.

I may have talked about this before

Like I said to Dragon on this letter:

Closing yourself down to the wonders of emotions and excitement lessens the experiences of life.

Anything you want to argue about?

Stay tuned for Points 5-1 on Thursday.

Later Days,


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Book Review

*Edited December 2017* the more I think about it the more I realize how little this book offers other than nostalgia and the less I like it. Fun score brought down from a 4 to a 1.


Hello My Imaginary Friends,

It’s been a while since I did a formal structured review and I’d like to work though my thoughts on this book. (For more information on how and why I review books read my posts Part 1 and Part 2.)

I devoured Ready Player One in record speed (for me) and despite being addictive, I’ve got mixed feelings.

**Warning Spoilers**



I liked

I greatly enjoyed the characters of Halliday and Ogden. They were obviously based off of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, with more than a little Gandalf thrown in for fun.

I liked the over the top villain Sorrento. True mustache twirling baddy, who pulled no punches and didn’t do anything particularly stupid.

I didn’t like

Any of the main characters. The main character was a whiny undereducated obsessive with an extremely unhealthy crush. The love interest was a fantasy geek girl who had similar interests to the main character. She was a wilting flower embarrassed by her appearance and in the end enamoured with the protagonist’s ability to look past it. There was also the token 80’s obsession with the honorable Japanese characters.

The only character that could have been interesting was Aech. Unfortunately what could have been a source of tension and actual character growth was tacked on at the end to show that the main character is an okay guy.

Each character is a stereotype of 80’s movies, tv, and books. I’m not sure if this was intentional but it certainly wasn’t effective at creating well developed or relatable characters. Add in the odd transphobic, sexist, or homophobic comments and I really didn’t like these characters.

For characters, I give it 1 out of 5

Writing Style

I liked

The book suffered from the biggest strength and weakness of the first person narrative. It’s biggest strength is urgency and quick pacing.

The author was great at referencing nostalgia without needing to explain it. The world building was well executed.

The word and sentence construction was perfectly balanced in the exciting bits.

I didn’t like

The biggest weakness of a first person narrative is the narrator. If a reader doesn’t like the main character, it hurts the book, which leads authors to give their characters super-powers that either make no sense or are too convenient. In this case the character had perfect luck and the ability to play any classic video game at an expert level.

For writing style, I give it 4 out of 5.


I liked

I absolutely loved the puzzles and the quest. It was a perfect combination of trivia and classic MacGuffin hunt. The nostalgia was pretty well done and it actually informed the story instead of controlling it.

I didn’t like

It was predictable. It was a classic MacGuffin quest. I could tell you all the notes it would hit and how it would end by the end of the first act.

The nostalgia was awesome but at some parts I wanted to move on with the story not hear more about John Hugh.

I give the story 3 out of 5


I liked

The world and puzzles were fantastic. Both of them drove the plot and the interest. The author did a great job of capturing and referencing the feel and excitement of 80’s nostalgia. The excitement of the hunt was expressed in such a way to make me feel the same need to continue. It’s the mark of an author who really knows how to excite their audience.

I didn’t like

The characters and plot were predictable. The love story was painfully bad and partially toxic. I hate the “demure woman who is obsessed with her appearance” trope. As in all 80’s media where they tried to have a love interest that was the equal to the character, she was better qualified then he was in every way to win the contest.

I give it 1 out of 5 for fun


This is a fun and quick book with quite a few problems. Its thick slathering of nostalgia, exciting puzzle game, and interesting world are the only things that saves it from a weak 80’s quest with weaker 80’s character tropes.

Final score is 45%

In a World of BS This Guy Tells it Straight!

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There’s a movement in the media, politics, and general pop culture; that glorifies simplicity in speech. It’s deeply rooted in a false sense of nostalgia that believes the past was a more honest and wholesome.

This is sadly bullshit, the past was a cesspool of lies, death, hate, and stupidity. Kinda like today.

Why do people have this ridiculous idea that we are unable to speak our minds and that everyone is trying to screw us over now but the past was so much better? That problem is due to three things: Glorification of Americana, Systemic Hate, and Lies.

Flim Flam Brothers from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic
Flim Flam Brothers from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic

Glorification of Americana

Through movies and other media, the time period after World War II has been glorified as a golden age. Arguably it was, if you were a middle class, white male, with no left leaning political views. If you weren’t in that very specific demographic, it wasn’t all that great.

Despite this being a time of travelling salesman bamboozling and flimflamming all over the place, it’s still seen as a safe and honest era. Mostly because of movies and television, but also because anyone alive who remembers it was young and innocent at the time.

It was, however, a great time for racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Systemic Hate

We as a species love to find patterns in everything and even more we love to categorize everything. Once we’ve categorized and separated things into boxes, we then rank or judge value. It’s harmless when we’re talking about fruit, but when we talk about ourselves it gets dangerous.

The idea that certain races are mentally, emotionally, or physically predisposed to specific traits is a complete fabrication. The concept that there’s more than one race of humans on the planet is scientifically unsound.

Unfortunately, culturally, especially in Cananda and the US, we’ve had a lot of problems with hate. Historically there was slavery; recently there’s residential schools. All because of a need to separate or assimilate those who aren’t like us.

Thankfully, we are slowly moving away from such idiotic and barbaric ideas. Part of the backlash against our society becoming less hateful is a backlash against political correctness.

If you are not part of a culture or subculture that is attacked with systemic hate, you can’t understand the hurt that your “only joking” does. To them, the joke is funny because of things they’ve heard. With no one to say, “Hey. That’s hurtful!” systemic hate just keeps going.

Remember that you don’t have to be hateful to say something hateful. Political Correctness is just being a decent human being.


I promised I’d tell it straight, no BS, in the title so here it is:


All these politicians that want to make something great, push Canadian Values, or are saying it like it is; are lying to you. They are appealing to your Hate and False Nostalgia to get what they want. They may be lying to themselves at the same time, but a lie is still a lie.


Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments.

Later Days,


Pluto isn’t a Planet and that’s ok.

One would assume that a generation that grew up in the age of the internet would be flexible and able to adapt to the changes in our world. One would be terribly wrong. From a new Companion on Doctor Who to getting rid of the penny, our generation seems hobbled by nostalgia. The same nostalgia that makes sure Michael Bay has a career.

Go find yourself someone between the ages of 20 and 35 and ask them their opinion on Pluto. You’ll get an earful of sadness for its “Demotion” from a planet.

So What Happened?

Pluto was discovered back in 1930. At the time it was the only other planetary body, after the first 8, we could find. Telescopes improved and we eventually found new objects that looked and acted like Pluto. We even found that some of the objects we thought were asteroids in the asteroid belt looked and acted like Pluto.

In 2006 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) needed to figure out what constituted a planet. They had 3 possible “new planets” (Eris, Charon, and Ceres) and weren’t sure what to do.

They drafted a proposal for what a planet was and it would have seen our solar system have 12-24 planets, in the short term.

Here’s what they defined as a planet in the first draft: “A planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (b) is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet.”

Astronomers estimated that as we observed more of our solar system we’d find that there are over 200 astronomical bodies that fit this description.

The definition went through several drafts and they finally decided on the following as a definition:

The IAU…resolves that planets and other bodies, except satellites, in the Solar System be defined into three distinct categories in the following way:

(1) A planet [1] is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

(2) A “dwarf planet” is a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape [2], (c) has not cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit, and (d) is not a satellite.

(3) All other objects [3], except satellites, orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as “Small Solar System Bodies”.[note 1]


[1] The eight planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

[2] An IAU process will be established to assign borderline objects into either dwarf planet and other categories.

[3] These currently include most of the Solar System asteroids, most Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), comets, and other small bodies.

The definition is pretty vague and is hotly contested among astronomers. For the moment it’s what we have.

Pluto 🙁

This new definition meant that Pluto was no longer a Planet but now a Dwarf planet.

This has prompted endless sad Pluto images and t-shirts. poor-pluto

Pluto now has friends

I’m tempted to say, “Things change get over it!” But that would be me being mean.

Instead let’s reflect on how Pluto used to be the odd one out. Not really an earthy planet not a gas planet. It was like that one Star Trek nerd in a group of Star Wars nerd (trust me this was a big thing 10-20 years ago). But now it’s part of the Dwarf planets and has friends that are the same. Instead of thinking of Pluto being separated from his previous friends, think of it as being allowed to hang out with new friends.

The confirmed Dwarf Planets Friends of Pluto are: Ceres, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.

Pluto is such a good host that there are another 6 Trans-Neptunian Objects, trying to join its club.

There’s even a sub-category of Trans-Neptunian Objects called Plutinos which are in orbital resonances with Neptune, as seen from the current satellite images. I call these its family.

In Conclusion

Don’t think of Pluto becoming a Dwarf Planet as it being excluded from the Planet Club but think of it as becoming the president of the Dwarf Planet Club.

Did you take the reclassification of Pluto personally?

P.S. Kind advise for you: visit Family Funtures for buying nice home telescope, if you like space as I do!:)


The Past was like Totally Better

Nostalgia: Sentimental longing for or regretful memory of a period of the past, esp. one in an individual’s own lifetime; (also) sentimental imagining or evocation of a period of the past. – Oxford English Dictionary

Someday we’ll look back on today and think how wonderful the world was and how horrible it has become. I can say that without exaggeration because it’s already happened. It’s happening right now. (I’m looking at you!)

I think it’s part of human nature that we idolize a time where we think we were happier, where life was simpler, where all the horrible things had yet to happen. We latch onto the horrible things in our lives now and glorify the good things of the past.

It’s not that we forget the bad things but their bite lessens with time. We can see it with less bias. There are two quotes that come to mind and I’ll say upfront that I disagree with Doctor Who.

“Great men are forged in fire, it is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame” – 50th anniversary of Doctor Who

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness, and love.” – Gandalf, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

These two quotes define our cultures beliefs on life. Fire, turmoil, battle, horror, etcetera are what creates great people. It is what makes exciting stories but not people. We don’t define ourselves by our hardships but our successes. When we don’t, we run into trouble.

Back to nostalgia… Nostalgia is our way of whitewashing our past and making sure we mostly remember the good stuff. It’s not that we want to forget the bad but that we want to concentrate on the good. We also tend to make a big deal about stuff that we won’t find important in the future.

A good example for me is writing. When I’m writing I feel stressed to be writing, but excited. I also feel ridiculously frustrated when I first edit. When all is said and done and I have an “almost” finished book (I say almost because my mind will never let me finish. I can always do more.) I feel amazing and only remember the excitement and elation of writing.

In some cases nostalgia is right but in a lot of cases it’s not. The world isn’t worse off than it was twenty years ago. The nineties wasn’t a better time. The internet and technology isn’t leading us to a horrible brain melting doom.

Nostalgia is great, especially with a drink and an old friend, but next time you find yourself saying, “When I was a kid…” stop and try to think of the good things now.

We live in a time of wonder and excitement.

If you need proof:  At the begining of 2014 Biofabrication isn’t Science Fiction.

See you in the New Year my Imaginary Friends!