Film Friday #236

Minions (2015)

This Despicable Me prequel follows the escapades of the Minions in the search for an evil master before discovering Gru. The basic premise is that since their evolution the Minions’ sole purpose has been to serve the biggest bad. Unfortunately for said biggest bad most of the time their general bumbling and chaotic behaviour causes more harm than good and is often fatal. After a terrible run in with Napoleon the little yellow fellas take shelter in a cave where their society initially flourishes but with no one to serve they become so miserable and listless until three intrepid Minions decide to venture into the outside world. With a mission to find a master worthy of them Kevin, Stuart and Bob leave the cave and find themselves in 1960s New York. Here they become embroiled in an adventure involving super-villain Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock) and the Queen of England (Jennifer Saunders). I am going to start this out by saying that I am a massive fan of both Despicable Me movies and a bit of a Minion nut so I was very excited for Minions. That might be why I was so very, very disappointed by it. I expected any story with the Minions as its focus to be pretty silly but I didn’t expected it to be so daft that it was utterly pointless. Scarlet Overkill is an insane female caricature to the point of being unpleasant rather than funny and I couldn’t understand what the purpose of her husband, Herb (John Hamm) was. She’s a fricking super-villian, why does she need a man to be her inventor? And the narrator at the beginning was completely unnecessary. The whole point of the Minions is that they are visual and that you figure out what they are on about without understanding what they’re saying. Don’t get me wrong the Minions themselves have some hilarious moments and Bob in particular is adorable. I just wanted so much more, especially after I rewatched Despicable Me a couple of days before and fell in love with it all over again. If you’re a Minions fan you might want to just stop after Despicable Me 2 and pretend it ended there. 2/5

Stuart's new girlfriend had rather more eyes than he was initially hoping for

Stuart’s new girlfriend had rather more eyes than he was initially hoping for

Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

With the Clone Wars in full swing the Jedi Council sends Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) to get rid of General Grievous (voiced by Matthew Wood), the leader of the Separatist Army. With Anakin (Hayden Christensen) separated from his master he starts to bond with Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) while at the same time plagued by visions where the now pregnant Padme (Natalie Portman) dies. Driven almost insane he seeks Palpatine’s counsel not  realising he is secretly a Sith Lord.  As Anakin realises that the only way he will be able to protect Padme is by embracing the dark side the Jedi Council is thrown into chaos, unbalancing the Force and changing the future of the Galaxy forever. What Episode III needed more than anything was for Christensen to turn in a nuanced, multidimensional portrayal of a young man torn apart by his desperation to protect the woman he loves, his sense of duty and his own desire for power. Instead he spends the entire film stomping around like an angry toddler turning in a performance that is barely even one note. There is no amount of dazzling visual effects, light saber battles, shocking deaths or scenes of Natalie Portman crying (and crying and crying and crying) that can save Revenge of the Sith from the fact that it’s central character is a disaster area. Let’s hope that The Force Awakens can erase it from our memories. 2.5/5

Anakin regretting sleeping on that pillow Obi-Wan had farted on

Anakin regretting sleeping on that pillow Obi-Wan had farted on

Airheads (1994)

All Chazz (Brendan Fraser) wants is for his band The Lone Rangers to make it so he can have the rock star life he’s always dreamed of. Unfortunately Chazz shares his dream with about a thousand other long-haired Sunset Strippers and he’s not particularly keen on hard work. When his girlfriend, Kayla (Amy Locane) dumps him because he’s a loser he decides to prove her wrong by whatever means necessary. With guitarist, Rex (Steve Buscemi) and his drummer brother, Pip (Adam Sandler) in tow, Chazz breaks into a local radio station in the hope of getting DJ, Ian (Joe Mantegna) to play their demo. Of course things go wrong and the band end up taking the station hostage with a couple of very realistic water pistols. As more and more random things get in the way of them playing their demo a media circus ensues that could be either the making or the breaking of the band. I loved this cheesy comedy when I was a teenager and I have to admit I still do now. Seeing rock and roll triumph over the man and the little guy win is always good fun and unsurprisingly Steve Buscemi steals every single scene he is playing the juvenile Rex, desperately in denial over his own aging. Mantegna is also gold as Ian, the quintessential jaded insider and even Sandler is funny in what was one of his earliest roles. There is a subplot involving the radio station turning from rock to easy listening which is amusing enough especially since it involves Judd Nelson playing a slimy record exec. Unfortunately while Fraser is pretty he fades out somewhat in his own film and Kayla has exactly zero character development along with being completely unlikable despite supposedly being his inspiration. If you can look past that and you fancy a bit of 90’s nostalgia this is a lot of fun and well worth checking out. 3.5/5

Nobody cares about your manicure, Pip!

Nobody cares about your manicure, Pip!

I Wish I Was Here (2014)

Zach Braff writes, directs and stars in this family drama about Aidan Bloom a failed actor in a state of arrested development whose life falls apart when he discovers his father, Gabe (Mandy Patinkin) is dying. Under the guise of following his dream, Aidan spends his life attending auditions to play roles like “guy in store 3” and escaping from reality by imaging he is a spaceman on some kind of mission. His wife, Sarah (Kate Hudson) is the family grown up and breadwinner and spends her time doing too good a job of protecting Aidan from taking any responsibility for anything. Their two kids, Tucker (Pierce Gagnon) and Grace (Joey King) attend a fancy Jewish private school that Gabe pays for and spend most of their time catching their dad out swearing. When Gabe announces that he can no longer afford the children’s school fees because of his health, Aidan makes his usual attempts to avoid responsibility but he is forced to start homeschooling his children which brings him into the stark realisation that his life is passing him by and that Sarah might be starting to tire of always having to be in charge. As Gabe’s health worsens both Aidan and his even less responsible brother, Noah (Josh Gad) will have to confront their own mortality as well as their father’s while deciding what they really want to do with their lives. This movie definitely is going to be for everyone because not an awful lot happens, the kids are on the annoying side of precocious and the message of “follow your dream but not at the expense of your family” is really obvious. Despite these flaws and an all too tidy ending I actually really enjoyed it. I found the Bloom family to be charmingly dysfunctional and I enjoyed the relationship between Aidan and Sarah. Patinkin and Gad are both scene-stealers but Hudson is surprisingly good at making you understand why her character would stick with Braff’s despite his constant cop outs. 3.5/5


They see me rolling… in the frozen aisle



  1. Lil and I saw Minions the other day. I thought it was ok, but was a little overlong. And at 90 minutes, that’s saying something. Lily (10) enjoyed it enormously. Like you said, there were some funny bits, and the Minions themselves were great. Just lacked more of a story…

    Don’t get me started on Episode III!

    1. abbiosbiston

      I think I wanted it to be something epic because both of the Despicable Me movies were great and it’s like they just settled for the first lame idea they were presented with.

  2. Great work as always.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Thank you!

  3. I’d never heard of “I Wish I Was Here,” I’ll have to check it out!

    1. abbiosbiston

      I don’t think it got much of a release because it didn’t get a very good critical reception but I definitely think it was worth a watch.

  4. I liked Garden State but Braff’s second film got a cool reception. Airheads sounds a great Friday night film.

    1. abbiosbiston

      I liked Garden State too. I’m not sure I Wish I Was Here is as good but I still enjoyed it. Airheads is perfect for a Friday night in.

      1. Be interesting to see what he does next.

  5. Great post. I can’t stand the minions, so will steer clear of their own movie (haven’t watch the Despicables). Hayden is a horrid actor and he was especiallyy bad in Ep. 3 (so was Natalie Portman, but she’s redeemed herself). The other two don’t sound appealing to me.

    1. abbiosbiston

      Definitely avoid the Minions. You would HATE it. Hayden Chistensen should be ashamed of himself. I feel like they should have recast between 2 and 3.

  6. Great post as always Abs!

    Wasn’t the biggest fan of either DM movies, so I’m not anxious to see Minions.
    Even with HC very hollow acting, I loved the story in Revenge of the Sith and thats because I love everything SW 🙂

    Saw Airheads years ago and wasn’t too impressed

    I wish I was Here sounds really interesting. Gotta add it to my list. Tnx for the recommendation!

    1. abbiosbiston

      I actually agree that the story was great for Revenge of the Sith but the execution was just disastrous mostly because of the acting.

      I think I Wish I Was Here is definitely worth checking out so I hope you manage to get to it.

      1. Got it. Now I just need to decide when to watch it 😉 tnx!

  7. I don’t know, never been a minions fan at all. And I think I am one of the very few people that actually enjoyed Revenge of the Sith, flaws and all. Hope the new movie is a goodie!

    1. abbiosbiston

      I can see why the Minions wouldn’t appeal to everyone.

      I really do think I would have appreciated Revenge of the Sith more with a different cast.

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