Finding Dory: A review

Finding Dory

Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes
Budget: Estimated to be $200 million

After the abomination of a short preceding Inside Out, Pixar seemed to have stepped up their game. This short, Piper, was about a sandpiper hunting for shellfish. Why not, right? They’ve already done all the work for the sky, sand, and water. The animation was actually superb. Maybe Pixar just wanted to show off how far their visuals have progressed. The rendering must’ve taken forever. The poor intern probably put the short in the render queue and left to finish college before it completed. Anyway, they created a good, self-contained story.

I’ve noticed a trend in all the good Pixar shorts. Guess what they all have in common. They’re told without words—unlike Lava. We should all try applying that advice to our lives. Here, I’ll start:







CommBro Breaker

Okay, I tried. Hard to make a blog without words. Onto a real review:

I really thought Pixar did a good job with the movie. Again, the visuals were a solid “A.” The real trick is pairing that with a compelling story—and they did that admirably. No major complaints in that department.They somehow flushed out an entire, believable backstory for Dory.

In the end, I think the biggest theme of the movie was exploring limitations.  For one, they are fish and limited to water in some form. However, most of the characters—major or supporting—had limitations that reached beyond that, whether it was a physical disability, mental disability, or just mental blocks. They really stuck to that and delivered some corny messages in a palatable way, as opposed to in-your-face and cheesy. Those touching moments should serve as encouragement for those suffering from disabilities and mental illnesses. Unfortunately, it also comes with some suspect lessons. Hopefully kids don’t take it all to heart…like those kids that flushed their fish after the first movie came out. Some drains lead to the garbage disposal unit or a septic tank. Ugh.

The character Hank was essentially a get-out-of-jail-free card for their oceanic obstructions. They could’ve cheated by making him the solution to all their problems. Luckily, they Pixar team put some constraints on themselves, allowing other characters to thrive and problem-solve. That crazy octopus was one of the highlights of the film.

Surprisingly, the movie had more humor than even some comedy movies. And while there weren’t any sharks this time, the movie sure jumps the shark at some point. Towards the end, everything goes wild before it all comes together. It was like one of those well-crafted sitcoms, where everything comes back together to create one final super gag.

Overall, great film. I’d tell you to go watch it, but I bet most of you already beat me to it.

The CommBro Breaker Strikes Back

Nemo was easily the worst part of the movie. Why did they bother to find him in the first place? It kind of makes me think that Pixar knew what they were doing when they made Nemo disappear for half of the first movie. Makes me want Finding Nemo 3 to be Finding Nemo 3: Left in the Aquarium. I’m not advocating for child abandonment, by the way—even if they’re annoying brats.

Hopefully Hank doesn’t go on to join the Flying Dutchman’s crew after after Nemo bugs the crap out of him.

hank davy jones

He would think twice before going onto land again.

Or he could also become Zoidberg. He would get to go to space!

With his abilities, he should really go into acting.

With his abilities, he should really go into acting.

USC and Stevie Tu’ikolovatu

Normally, I wouldn’t write about a single transfer. There may come a day when I’m not bored during the offseason. But it is not this day. This day we write.

If you didn’t catch that reference, I am showing that I’m bored enough to have gone through the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions. Onto better things:

Stevie Tu’ikolovatu. The Silas Redd of defensive tackles.

  • Decent player? Check.
  • Thin at the position? Check.
  • Instant eligibility? Check.

You’ve seen the defensive line’s struggles last year. The beauty of football is that a single man can elevate the entire team. A good DT can draw a double-team from the offensive linemen. That frees up rush lanes for the defensive ends and outside linebackers, giving the opposing quarterback more pressure. More pressure means more mistakes for the defensive backs and linebackers to capitalize on. The better the defense works, the more chances the offense will have to get the ball. More chances equals more points. This is a slippery slope I can support. Can Tu’ikolovatu be that man—that difference maker?

Maybe. Did you just read this far for a maybe? Yes, but I think he has a good shot. Close the case! The esteemed City of Angles has given their stamp of approval!

/facetious (because /sarcasm is too mainstream).

Despite not being a starter with the Utah Utes, Stevie Tu’ikolovatu can be a huge asset to the team. Utah has had a stout defense, particular at the defensive line position group. Tu’ikolovatu has contributed to that—even against USC at some points. As noted, USC needs experience along the defensive line and Tu’ikolovatu brings that factor. In fact, he is a bit more experienced than most college players…at least in life.

The guy is actually 24, going on 25. Somehow, he managed to save some eligibility. He started at Utah in 2009 and redshirted that season. He then went on an LDS mission, returning in 2013 just to sit out with a foot injury. He actively played two seasons, rotating in for 2014 and 2015. After Utah happily invested time and energy into this player, USC swoops in to reap the benefits.

In this post-sanction reality, the logistics behind transferring and scholarships are always some of the first concerns that come up. Yet here I am answering that last. This is not breaking NCAA rules because graduate transfers are allowed to play immediately after transferring. The transfer cannot be restricted as long as they pursue a graduate degree not offered by the first school (which can easily be finagled). But what about scholarships?

USC is back up to the full 85 total scholarship player allowance, but they still have a bit until they hit that cap. So that’s not a problem. The Trojans have used up the 25 initial scholarships for the 2016 class, though. That brings us to the famed blue shirting, the latest and greatest term in a long line of the colorful college football terminology. Don’t worry, there are still less than the combinations for Oregon uniforms.

Former head coach Steve (not to be confused with Stevie) Sarkisian used it a few times and Helton continues that trend. Basically, a player starts as a walk-on, but then are “magically” bestowed a scholarship for the hard work after fall camp.

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And wow, look at that. I just fluffed up a piece about one player transferring into a 500+ word thing. The offseason is as magical as blue shirt scholarships.

By the way, I’m really not that bored. It just fit the narrative, so I ran with it. But anyway. who’s ready for Alabama?

Oh, I guess you can have some stats because I usually throw some into the CommBro Breaker:

Year Total Tackles Solo Tackles Assisted Tackles Tackles for Loss Sacks Passes Broken Up Fumble Recovery Ints TD
2015 28 15 13 6 2 2 1 0 1
2014 8 2 6 0 0 0 0 0 0

He arrives with a touchdown under his belt! How exciting.

X-Men Apocalypse: A review

X-Men: Apocalypse

Runtime: 2 hours 24 minutes
Budget: Estimated to be $178 million

I highly considered doing a full on spoiler-filled review, but ultimately decided to keep the current format. It’s really hard to say a lot of things about this film without it.Yeah, I might be looking for excuses. But this movie’s creators should be too.

Without spoilers, I will mention some cameo moments were handled well, and some were, decidedly, not. Poor Jubilee. Even after the soft reboot, she continues to have inadequate film representation. Will she ever get a fair shake?

The film exuded more of a comic-booky feel, which is a departure from previous Bryan Singer directed X-Men films (X-Men, X2, Days of Future Past). Whether or not that is a good thing would depend on your kind of style. One unfortunate byproduct of that atmosphere were some bad puns and cringe-worthy symbolism. Much like some of the wooden dialouge.

Some of the dialogue felt seemed straight out of a rough draft of a school essay. Jennifer Lawrence certainly didn’t do much to improve those lines. While I generally like her performances in the movies I’ve seen (including First Class and Days of Future Past), her acting came off as lackluster to me in this installment. And it doesn’t stop there.

Bad dialogue can be improved by a good story and compelling characters, right? Yes, you’re right. Unfortunately, the villain was written in a generic fashion and the four horsemen were really just there to look pretty for a majority of the film. I can understand—and even appreciate—deviated from the source material to make historically good characters bad or bad characters good, but were the motivations really there? I didn’t think there was enough evidence for it. Don’t do it just to do it.

When all else fails you, there are still action scenes to keep the exciting going! Yeah, those fell flat too. Some of the fights looked like Dragon Ball Z with X-Men characters pasted over it.

It was a little higher budget than this. A little.

It was a little higher budget than this. A little.

The final fight was especially underwhelming even though that’s what most of the movie was building towards. Even when the choreography was good, it was hampered by the cuts. Their choices for transition points just didn’t help the pacing in the final sequence. It was quite jarring and left a very unsatisfying feeling.

Man, this is getting too long so I’m just going to cut to the CommBro Breaker

CommBro Breaker

The film was a mess overall, but had some extremely good elements and memorable scenes. It started out oh so promising, and then suffered. Before I start prattling on again, I’ll list a few of the big things I found good about the film:

  1. Michael Fassbender’s performance as Magneto (and various Magneto moments in the film)
  2. Evan Peter’s performance as Quicksilver (and various Quicksilver moments in the film)
  3. Various Psylocke action scenes (although far too short)

After everything negative I had to say about the film I would still sum up X-Men: Apocalypse as one word: mediocre. Just like this review…