Into the Wild (2007) IMDB Top 250 Guest Review

Check out my guest post on T9M’s IMBD Top 250 Challenge:

Today’s IMDB Top 250 Guest Review comes from Melissa of Snap Crackle Watch!. Thanks for the review, Melissa! :-) Now let’s see what she thought of Into The Wild, IMDB rank 161 out of 250…

There are still some movies up for grabs if anyone wants to do a guest IMDB Top 250 review. You can find the list of remaining films HERE. See the full list & links to all the reviews that have already been done HERE. Also, if you’d like to add a link to your IMDB review(s) on your own blogs, feel free to use any of the logos I’ve used at the top of any of these guest reviews.

Into the Wild (2007)

Directed by Sean Penn

Written by Sean Penn



Into the Wild (2007), written and directed by Sean Penn, adapted from the book by the same name by Jon Krakauer is a perspective into the life of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). The young man who went into the wilderness of Alaska in search of himself and to shed his city life and roots.

Many people who live privileged lives, ones that are untouched by grief, poverty, never know the reality of struggling day by day. I believe that what McCandless sought was that feeling and that experience of the unknown. When a young person grows up stressed and under pressure by daily life, they don’t know how they will make it another day. All they know is that they have to and one day there may be a better day for them. But growing up he never really had to face any of those moments.

It was only till he got older that he would see that his family was nothing near perfect and that the challenges he put on himself would prove to be a dangerous route. This is one of those stories that touches the viewer to the bone, it’s emotional, exciting and makes you wonder what kind of person what put themselves through this journey.


Abandoning a trust fund, his car, and any material possessions other than those he could carry on his back, McCandless sets out on a passage to reach the Stampede Trail in Alaska. He doesn’t contact his parents, Walt (William Hurt) and Billie MCandless (Marcia Gay Harden), nor does he even contact his sister Carine (Jena Malone) who he was close with growing up. We only see his family in flashbacks, as the movie hints at his past, we see that his parents did not live that idyllic life that maybe he thought existed, but instead had a lot of deep secrets that the family kept hidden.

Throughout his journey, McCandless meets various people on the road. They teach him lessons about life and about forging relationships. Through them he begins to see that there are so many different varied people out there in the world. With traveling hippies Jan (Catherine Keener) and Rainey (Brian H. Dierker) he learns about marriage and what it takes to keep that spirit alive. He works with Wayne (Vince Vaughn) for a while, who he observes as a friendly farmer who gives him a chance to work and earn some money.

Later on he meets Ron Franz (Hal Holbrook) the two enter into an endearing relationship, he teaches him how to do leatherwork and ends up giving him his old camping supplies. It was as if the older man could see himself maybe in McCandless or maybe he enjoyed hearing his idealistic visions about his upcoming adventure. Regardless, he touched everyone he met as much as he appreciated them.


Once McCandless enters into the wilderness, he finds an old school bus that he sets up camp in, it becomes his home in the end. We see his adventures take off, running through the woods and streams, and even killing a moose. It’s as if he envisioned himself as a romanticized version of Jack London himself, getting into adventures and journaling them as an idealistic writer. Everything changes for him in Alaska and his life is turned upside down. The choices he made carry them with him till the end and we see them play out in front of us.

Penn captures the essence of adventure and defeat in this film. It is obvious that he put his heart and soul into the film, as it took two years to make. The soundtrack by Eddie Veder goes perfectly with the sentiments of the film and makes you feel that foreboding loneliness with each scene.


Hirsch was amazing and deserved every accolade for his portrayal of McCandless. This definitely solidified him as a great actor; he carried the entire movie on his back.

I absolutely loved this movie, I enjoy movies that make me think about life and allow me to be introspective. McCandless isn’t shown as a martyr, which I think is important, instead he was simply a young man who wanted to have his own adventures and make something of his life on his own terms, nothing more than that. Overall great film, it is one I could re-watch and probably still garner some nugget of wisdom from each time.



Movie Review: The Intern (2015)

The Intern (2015)
Written and Directed by Nancy Meyers

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Nancy Meyers is known for making romantic comedies that always explore the ins and outs of relationships at any age. With such movies as The Holiday, Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated, her female roles regularly feature smart women who don’t always understand their place in a new or existing relationship. In her new movie The Intern, she takes her usual romantic comedy tropes and places them in a movie about a 70-year-old widowed man Ben Whitaker (Robert Deniro) who tries to get back into the working world via a Senior Internship at an online fashion site under CEO and founder Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway). It’s part of a community outreach program that Ostin signed off on the spur of the moment. Everything she does is on the fly; she speeds through her Google-like office on a bicycle and sometimes makes decisions without much thought.


Whitaker is hired as one of the four interns; he is a current retiree who worked for a phonebook company for over 40 years. His idea of getting ready for work is a lot different than the ones adopted by most people today. He comes in promptly by setting two alarm clocks (yes not iPhone alarms) to wake him up, wears a suit and tie everyday to work and looks sharp as can be for his internship job. To say that he stands out in the sea of guys with zippered hoodies and disheveled hair is an understatement.

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He is paired directly with Ostin who could care less about her interns. She thinks fast, she moves fast and she is the typical working mom on the go. She barely has time for intimacy with her stay at home husband Matt (Anders Holm), forgets to eat, and on runs on a lack of sleep. Ostin and Whitaker’s relationship evolves into where she starts to learn from him. He’s a man with a million life lessons under his belt and slowly, but surely everyone starts to realize that he is an asset to the company and his co-workers.

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First off this is not an Oscar-worthy movie; it’s simply a fun movie to watch. I went into this with zero expectations and came out thoroughly pleased. I thought it was an adorable movie; it has its mishaps and corny moments like when Ben and the interns go to Jules’ mom’s house to steal her computer because she sent her a mean email. Scenes like that were a little misplaced and didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the film.

DeNiro steals the film and shows that he as an actor who is now entering a different phase of his acting career, no longer does he have to just play the dad or the old mean mobster guy. In this movie, he is sweet, endearing and makes every 20-something wish they had mentor like him in their life. Hathaway was good as well, and she and DeNiro had great chemistry together. I would love to see them in another movie again. I also loved the character of Jason played by Adam DeVine, he always delivers and makes me laugh.

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I enjoyed the fact that Meyers explored the topic of women in the workplace and challenged the idea that women can lead companies without sacrificing the needs of their spouses and their relationships. It also showed that women can have complicated lives and things don’t always fit perfectly, but somehow as women we always make it work.

Overall, a fun movie to watch, it has its funny points and times that made viewers appreciate the older approach to living. If you enjoy the rom-com genre with a twist, then this will be right up your alley.


Also posted on Pink Egg Media




Movie Review: Trainwreck (2015)

Trainwreck (2015)
Directed by Judd Apatow
Written by Amy Schumer

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For Judd Apatow’s film Trainwreck, he coupled up with Amy Schumer who wrote the screenplay, to deliver a film that is much more heartfelt and poignant than any of his other films.

I have to say I absolutely adore and love Amy, I feel like she is a voice for all us thirty-something’s out there. After seeing it though, I left feeling disappointed and let down. Maybe I had too high of expectations, but I was not really feeling this film. I wanted to like this so bad, but unfortunately it was not one of my faves.

The movie centers on Amy and her relationship with her father Gordon (Colin Quinn), who is suffering from multiple sclerosis. She and her sister Kim (Brie Larson) were raised by their father and were always taught that monogamy was an impossible goal to achieve in relationships. Amy carries that lesson with her, but her sister does not. She is coupled-up with Tom (Mike Birbiglia) and is helping him raise his son Allister (Evan Brinkman), who is a little eccentric and odd, but totally sweet.

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Amy writes for a men’s magazine and is asked to do an article on an up-and-coming sports physician Dr. Aaron Conners (Bill Hader). Dr. Conners has worked on a bunch of athletes including LeBron James, who stars in the movie as himself, and while working with athletes he is given many perks like free games and introductions to hot women. As Amy goes behind the scenes with him, she sees how cool in a way his life is, yet she still sees him as kind of a geek. This doesn’t stop her though from going out for dinners and drinks with him, which all lead to heavy flirtations and moments of hooking up. Amy does all this because this is what she is used to doing with men. But soon Aaron starts to kind of like quirky Amy and this leads her into a tail spin that she is not used to because as her father tells her in more ways than one that monogamy is not realistic.

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Throughout the film, Amy battles with her inner conflicts to go back to being the wild girl she used to be, to maybe deciding to settle down with someone. He is not sexy like John Cena who she hooks up with in the beginning of the film, nor is he the best in bed, as her sister puts it “you don’t want the best sex you ever had guy” because he is probably in jail. I thought that line was priceless and cracked me up. But the point is she can never be with those types of guys again if she wants to settle down and have a normal relationship with a guy who will respect her.

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This movie had so much potential, so much that I could feel it and grasp it with my fingertips, but unfortunately it was lost with all the cameos of athletes and Saturday Night Live actors. LeBron James had so many lines, I just couldn’t take it anymore. He really needs to stick with what he is the king of, which is basketball. Please stay on the court and off the sound stage.

Bill Hader is one of the funniest actors out there and I felt that I wanted to see him deliver a little more humor into the role. I think he did a great job with what he was given, but I wanted to see him up his game just a tad more. I think if they stopped focusing on all the scenes with athletes and corny moments, he would have had more to work with to his advantage.

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I did like Vanessa Bayer in it, who played Amy’s annoying co-worker. Seeing her do the transition from SNL was great, much better than the other people who just did quick cameos. Larson was great too, she always delivers and I enjoy her dead pan hilarity.

Amy though, despite me not totally loving this movie, was still good, the way she delivers her always made me laugh. I just wished they would have stuck to making this more of a funny movie and had given us less serious moments that just felt so boring in the end. It’s like they would set up the audience to laugh, then totally bring us down and depress us. I guess the trailer confused me, I thought I was in for a funny movie.


I mean my girlfriend and I made this our girl’s night movie of the week, we had expectations. And yes we snuck in some wine and red vines, we were so ready to laugh and ended up falling short in that department. Apatow has given us these funny movies with male-centric roles, so to see a female led one was really appealing to me. I hope that Schumer and Apatow make a do-over movie and come up with something better because I really do believe they still have it in them.

Overall I thought this was an okay movie, one that you should watch when it comes up on Netflix or HBO for free. What did you guys who saw this think of this movie?


Movie Review: Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Straight Outta Compton (2015)
Directed by F. Gary Gary
Written by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff


There are very few biopic films made that cover an artist or performer who is still living. There are a few, but it seems that stories are never worth really telling until the artist has passed or lived their life to almost completion. In other words, a film could not be done until they had a story worth telling. In F. Gary Gary’s film, Straight Outta Compton, he details the rise and eventual break-up of the infamous rap group N.W.A.

The movie covers each individual separately at first and then we see how the friends all came together to create their rap group. Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell) was selling drugs on the street, living the life of a thug with not much ambition. Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins) didn’t know what he wanted; his mother reprimanded him endlessly for not keeping up with school. I loved how they showed him laying down in his room listening to records, like so many young people do even today. All he wanted to do was listen to old school 70’s type of funk and soul music and come up with beats to spin at his next DJ gig.

We see Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) stare down at the white kids at his school where he was bussed into and see him go back to his neighborhood, and the scene drastically changes for him. All the while writing lyrics to rap songs, as a somewhat poet or bard painting a picture in his songs for what he saw on the streets. DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge) contributed so much, from beats to lyrics and we see their influence in the group.


The story really starts with Dr. Dre pushing Eazy-E into the recording studio. Originally he just wanted to be part of Ruthless Records, giving the group the backing to get started with producing their albums. But Dr. Dre saw something in him, Ice Cube handed him his lyrics and before you know it their infamous song “Boyz-N-The-Hood” was born. After this the music poured out of them like emotions and words that had to be heard for the rest of the world.


In 1988 police brutality was running rampant; the Rodney King beatings were soon on their way, LL Cool J, Run DMC and Michael Jackson were on the top of the charts. None of these artists exemplified the streets of Los Angeles, more specifically Compton. An urban city in LA, where as the movie puts it so bluntly people come in and leave in body bags. Their first album Straight Outta Compton was prolific and resonated with the youth of the streets, and put West Coast rap on the map.

From here we see their pseudo manager Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) takes over the business side of their record deal. On the back-end Eazy-E and Jerry worked together to negotiate a contract that would make Eazy-E the most money and leave the other members with much less to their names. Ice Cube soon figured this out and refused to sign with them, leaving money on the table he goes on to pursue his own solo career. The group only put out one more album and that fire that once burned quickly dissolved. The electric energy filled with kismet and force that came from the group with Ice Cube could never be recreated.


My favorite part of the movie is when Ice Cube comes up with the song “Fuck tha Police,” based on his own experiences in the streets and then goes on to perform it at a concert where they were told they could not by the police. They get arrested and taken down and this alone, this so- called bad publicity makes them even more famous than before. It reminded that in those days, there was no social media to make things known to the world every second of the day; it took these huge leaps of conviction, this momentous event to appear on TV for the world to know that it was happening.


The movie then takes us into the rest of the lives each rapper and their eventual rise to stardom or demise as what occurred with Eazy-E. We later see Suge Knight, Snoop Dogg and Tupac make appearances into Dr. Dre’s world of rap. Many of us can watch this movie and remember what it was like to first hear some of these albums, either N.W.A.’s or Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and even Snoop Dogg. I used to wait by the VCR and record these music videos when they first came out and couldn’t get enough of them.

The actors in the movie did a phenomenal job. Newcomer on the scene Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. delivered a great performance. I think it helped that he had his father’s nuances down pat and he really stood out to me in the movie. I hope he stays in the acting business and continues to grow his career. Mitchell gave Eazy-E, a rapper most people think of as a womanizer and a back stabber, a lot of heart and depth and did wonderful. Hawkins also did really well and gave us some really emotional scenes coupled with moments of brevity and fun. And Giamatti is magnetic, you can’t keep your eyes off him, yet you totally hate him throughout the film. It almost reminded me of his performance as Kenny Rushton aka Pig Vomit in Private Parts, which I have always loved.


What I disliked about the movie is the same thing I hated about Jersey Boys, I felt that the first hour was great, I was so hyped up and excited to watch and then I felt like it quickly fast forwarded the lives of everyone. I just wanted to yell and scream, ok let’s slow down here and digest what just happened and delve deeper into the characters. Instead, we quickly get everything that happened to them thrown together rather haphazardly.

Overall I enjoyed the film, the fact that it was rushed made me feel like something was missing, but it was a pretty good movie. I liked it because it embodied a time in history that I thought was worth mentioning because so much of what was touched upon in the movie is now happening today. If you get a chance, check it out and if you are not a big fan of rap or N.W.A., I would say wait to rent it.


And of course the internet is running rampant with memes, these are too funny not to share.










Movie Review: Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler (2014)
Written and Directed by Dan Gilroy


In Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler, he depicts a man, Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has an entrepreneurial spirit that would make Tony Robbins proud and will do anything by any means necessary to achieve the success he believes he so rightfully deserves. Take Norman Bates’ way of smiling his way through conversations, Patrick Batemen’s deadpan somewhat narcissistic way of stating information in a logical and factual way and Travis Bickle’s sense of loneliness and you get the character that is Bloom.


He is a new psychopath, one for the generation that is obsessed with the media and having information at their fingertips every second of the day. With an understanding that people want to see sensational media footage, Bloom takes it upon himself to buy a camera and a police radio transmitter and learn how to shoot videos that he can sell to local television stations. He sees that there is an opportunity to make quick and easy money, he envisions himself as a go-getter and when no one else will hire him, he starts his own company, aptly named Video Production News.

Bloom chases down ambulances and gets in the face of the victims, he is not afraid to get that perfect shot, one where the audience can see the blood and guts of the story. He takes his footage to a local station run by Nina Romina (Rene Russo) who absolutely loves his graphic footage. The bloodier the better in her books, anything that will get her front billing on the news is what she craves and Bloom can see how her eyes light up when she receives that type of coverage.

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When Bloom realizes that other camera men out there like Joe Loder (Bill Paxton) are arriving at crime and accident scenes before him, he gets discouraged, but he makes a plan. We see him go back to his apartment in Los Angeles every day; he parks his car, waters his plants, uploads his videos and watches the news, thirsty to see his own footage featured in the evening. That aspect of the film was so reminiscent to me of the solidarity that encompasses such famous psychologically troubled characters. They live through seamlessly passing the boundaries of normal to psycho not really feeling a disruption in their personalities. In other words, the things they do, the way they behave and treat people does not affect them.


In order to get his company running more efficiently he hires his first and only employee, a young man named Rick (Riz Ahmed) who is willing to do anything to work. He hires him on the spot, and sells the job as internship, as if he would be learning from the best in the business, when in reality he has barely been working at all. The only other job we see him do is sell metal for money at the junk yards. Everything he does and says is ripped from Google searches and put together as his own, as if he was as eloquent and well spoken as a Human Resources manager.

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Rick’s job is to help him with shooting and basically be his navigator in the car. They sit around waiting for the police radio to tell them of the next big accident or crime and they run to get to the locations before anyone else. Bloom is relentless, he realizes that he needs to be the first on the scene and is willing to do so by almost driving other people off the road, running red lights and practically killing other camera men in his path.


What Bloom does is he pushes the envelope and boundaries of reporting. He puts together clips and footage in a similar way to reality shows, edited to tell the truth he wants people to believe. As Nina says, if it bleeds it leads, and he takes that to heart when one night he arrives before the cops and shoots footage that could be considered tampering with police evidence. He deftly leaves out the part where he films the criminals who committed the crime and shows Nina what he found; of course she runs with it and puts it up for the world to see. Causing a commotion and scaring everyone since the crime took place in an upper class neighborhood. What ensues from here is Bloom’s way of fixing the problem, of showing that he takes initiative and can deliver the criminals in the way that he sees fit. Everything is always on his terms in order to make himself seem the most important person in the equation.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays an unscrupulous news cameraman in the thriller Nightcrawler

The best part of this movie is Gyllenhaal’s way of morphing into such a demented person. He delivers each line as thoughtful as possible, but behind the glimmering persona he is perceived to be, it is obvious through his eyes that he is a little off.


Many of the shots are close ups and this only adds to make the film seem so much more real and fast paced, at times it feels as if we are in the car with no seat belts on whizzing through the city and canyons of Los Angeles. The camera angles and cinematography were all beautifully composed and helped give off that dark Hollywood feel to it. The streets of LA are not as pretty as what we see in TV and in blockbuster movies. They are dingy and filled with people, you never know what is lurking around the corner and we get that feeling in this film.


Russo was outstanding and it was great to see her back in films. At times when she would talk to Bloom, she seemed both put off by him, but turned on as well. I liked that she portrayed that duality to her, she wasn’t a meek woman afraid of him, and instead we start to see that maybe she is a little more like him than she thinks. Ahmed played wonderfully against Gyllenhaal, he showed emotion and range and I hope to see him in more films.

Nightcrawler is on Netflix now and I have seen it again a few times and each time it gets better. I really enjoyed this movie, I would say it was one of my favorites of 2014, loved the characters and the fast paced action. This was a fantastic movie in my book and I am not just saying that because I am in love with Jake Gyllenhaal.


Movie Review: Locke (2013)

Locke (2013)
Written and Directed by: Steven Knight


Locke is one of those films that I heard so many people talking about that it piqued my interest, plus it has Tom Hardy as the star. As much as I wanted to love this movie and I do believe it has some merits, it just didn’t work for me.

The premise of the film is simple, a man Ivan Locke, gets in his car on the way to the hospital where his newborn baby by his mistress is about to be delivered. On the way there he is dealing with his job as a concrete foreman, where he is involved on a new, very important project that he must oversee to completion and he carries with him the burden that he must unravel the truth to his wife.


Directed by Steven Knight, the movie is experimental in that throughout the entire film, he remains in the vehicle. He is the only protagonist that the viewer sees at all. Other voices are heard while he talks on the phone with them in his car, but they are never seen. We can only imagine their reactions at the news he delivers and how the other people on the end of the line are feeling.


He must come to the consequences as a man for the things he has done in his past. What he has done to his wife Katrina (Ruth Wilson) and his family and where he will end up, that is the question. On top of the drama that is occurring in his personal life, he is coaching his co-workers to help him with the concrete project that heavily relies on his orders to get done.

The premise is interesting, but I would have preferred to have seen other actors in the film. The reactions of his wife and his mistress would have played out well in the film and this could have been a really exciting one to watch.

Hardy does a great job as an actor; he pushed the envelope and poured his feelings on to the screen. To be able to take on a feat alone, I am sure carried a heavy burden for him and he executed it flawlessly. Hardy has a great way of conveying emotion through his eyes and this ability worked great for this type of movie. I know he won some awards for his work in this film and he definitely deserved all the accolades.


Many of the shots worked from an aesthetic point of view and helped to develop and convey the emotions in the scenes. I liked how the colors of different car lights and the highway created a sort of movement. As if we were driving alongside him and only see the glare of the lights. These colors bounce off his car window and add to give us an idea that in a way his actions are driving him crazy.


Overall, I thought this movie was okay, I understand the artistic point of view and for that I think it did a great job. I definitely give the director and Hardy credit for their work. But I felt bored with the film and I wanted it to end or for something to happen, anything at the halfway point of the movie would have helped. If you want to see it for the artistic aspect of it, then I think it is worth watching, but if you are in the mood for a drama and something enthralling, then you must look elsewhere.

In fact if you are interested in seeing this movie, just watch Luke Abbott’s version that he did for Cara’s blogathan last year and you will save yourself a few bucks and 2 hours of your life.


Update and June Favorites

Hello friends, I feel like I have been gone for so long. My last favorites post and movie review I did was in January (GEEZ) not counting the one I just posted the other day. I have had quite a lot of ups and downs recently, with my family, my mother’s health and my own health as well. For months, no one could diagnose what my mom had, they thought it was so many different things (scary things), saw so many doctors, had so many tests, was on disability and finally as of last week found out what she has and they can treat her (thank goodness). Going through that with her has left me really stressed out. I am okay too, I have had some issues that I am trying to get resolved and finally getting what I need to get better (woo hoo) as of last week. I have had zero energy to do much other go to work and come home and do the same thing all over again. I am finally starting to get back on the horse and get back to watching movies and doing what I love on here. But life happens and things are getting better and I am thankful for that. Ok that was pretty personal, but I wanted to share it because I know you guys won’t judge me.

Well I have still been watching my shows and wanted to share with you my favorites. Also, I’ll be going to Comic Con next week and I will be posting about my adventures and sharing some fun photos.

And here’s a picture of a cute puppy because he’s just too cute not to share.


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