• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 101: I Hate Political Commercials


Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup!


Since the Midterm Election is coming up next week, I feel whether you’re Democrat, Republican, or Independent… We should all come to a formal agreement, that we all hate commercials this time of year. Nonstop Political Advertisements shoved down our throats whether we’re watching television or watching a video on the internet… Can a man just enjoy watching a sporting event or watching a Pizza review in peace?!


I feel these Political Advertisements wouldn’t be such a massive pain in the ass to sit through, if these politicians from either side knew exactly what the people actually want out of them. What the People are most concerned about when it comes to these elections is simple: Policy. People want to know in order for them to consider you as a candidate to vote for, what exactly are your policies you’re running on and how exactly will it benefit the everyday working American.


My political affiliation falls on the Independent Side of things… I just tell it like it is, you know how human beings are supposed to be operated, creating a mind of their own which apparently that is something extremely difficult to achieve now a days.


What’s intriguing about this years Midterm Election, is the fact the only thing the Republican Party Candidates have to do, is basically advertised their policies and nothing more than that. You look at how our country has been run by the last two years under Democratic Leadership… It’s been a complete disaster all across the board. In terms of Education, Economy, Crime, Safety, Drugs, and of course of Mental Health… Their policies have done so much harm than good, that they don’t benefit the everyday working American in this country at all and especially the children of this country as well.


All the Democratic Party can run by in this year’s Midterm Election is pretty much just expressing hatred towards the other party and nothing more than that. Why?! Because we’ve now known for the past two years their policies do absolutely nothing to better our society, so how can exactly can they advertise themselves, when they know good and well that their policies don’t help the American people at all?! They got nothing left in the tank, as they hope through hatred and manipulation from Social Media is their last resort to secure votes.


With all that said, you’d think The Republican Party and all it’s candidates would ignore the Democratic Party’s endless hatred political advertisements at hand, as they would just advertise what they can do for the American people if they vote for them?! But turns out: They just do the same exact garbage these people run by, as it’s nonstop hatred against their party on their own political advertisements. There’s a valid reason why people tend to be hesitant to going to the polls: When you’re ran by non stop hatred and not actually valuing policy, more than likely people will continue to stay far away from the polls because why would you involve yourself in extreme levels of hatred?!


Of course voting is important… We all have learned that given the last two years you can say. If you’re going to vote: Do so responsibility. Please research and learn about every single candidate that is up to ballot, as if their policies line up with how you want to live your life in this country, then vote for them. I just can’t wait till I can watch my Sporting Events, Film Review Discussions, and Pizza Reviews without fearing another dumbass politician rambling about nonsense popping up on my screen… Let’s talk about movies, politics always leaves me wanting to punch walls anyways.


Hit the Road Grade: C-


Hit the Road had many rave reviews, which this film has been on my WatchList for sometime now.


Hit the Road does have a several moments here and there, with strong dialogue. I also found Rayan Sarlak playing the child of the family, delivered a pretty good performance as this is probably the best child performance I’ve seen all year. He’s simply the highlight of this film for me, had a ton of energy and brought some fairly solid comedic moments especially when discussing his phone.


The story however… Just didn’t really click with me at all. I understood somewhat of the meaning behind this film, but to me the story rarely ever went anywhere as I found it quite a dull watch for me. I also didn’t understand the choice behind an important scene dealing with the family in the third act, shot from a very far distance. Sure the shot was pretty, however takes you out of the moment as you can’t see from a clear view what the characters are reacting during this moment.


Overall, Hit the Road was meh. I don’t recommend this film, not too often we get an unpopular movie opinion from me but here we are.


Hellraiser (2022) Grade: C


Personally enjoyed the original Hellraiser, but more so have really enjoyed what filmmaker David Bruckner has done with his past two films The Ritual and last years The Night House. David has def made his mark into the horror game, bringing a very disturbing dark atmosphere to the table, which made me have fair expectations for this soft reboot/remake I would say. For a David Bruckner horror film… Hellraiser (2022) is easily his weakest entry thus far in horror, as it felt like a play it too safe kind of horror film.


There are a few things to like about this film. The story at hand while it has several issues at hand, still for the most part was a narrative that made fair sense. You understand our lead character Riley (Odessa A’Zion) whom is struggling with alcohol and drugs, while also struggling to make ends meet would come to wanting to steal an ancient artifact, hoping to secure some cash. I would even say the character development within Riley was also fairly done, as she learned a very valuable lesson that actually helps her overcome her own demons with addiction. Surely Riley felt great within being drunk or being high, but those come with a price as within her own experience with this puzzle like box… She learned not to give into temptation, no matter how great of a reward she could get out of it.


In terms of horror: It felt like watching a crappy pre teen horror film for the most part. The horror elements were purely ineffective for me, it just felt completely watered down as I felt no sense of feeling scared nor disturbed at all, which is uncommon for David Bruckner. Speaking of Pre Teen horror film: The reason this film made me remind me of that caliber, is because the performances by the cast were pretty terrible all around, mainly around the younger group of kids. I just was extremely baffled by the level of terrible performances I was experiencing by just about everyone, maybe Bruckner is better with an older cast because he has gotten good performances in the past, but with this group… It felt like pure amateur hour.


As far as the new Pinhead (Jamie Clayton)... Yeah I didn’t care for it at all. I feel the look and design was ok, if anything it came off as goofy, but what killed it for me was not feeling I’m in the presence of an intimating figure is the voice. The voice felt reminiscent of what you see from Libs on Tik Tok page (Fuck Tik Tok, I watch random clips on YouTube)… Sure these people on that platform shown are terrifying in terms of how gone they are mentally, but for a character like Pinhead I just couldn’t take that entity seriously without laughing with that voice.


Overall, Hellraiser (2022) was just ok. I honestly would skip this film, the original Hellraiser is far more superior than this.


Meet Cute Grade: C


You know you’re not going to lure in viewership with your new original rom com flick, when you have a poorly named titled as Meet Cute… I mean I understand Red Box Entertainment co-produced it, but sheesh come up with a comprehensible title at least.


Meet Cute comes from filmmaker Alex Lehmann, whom has a solid track record including films such as Blue Jay and Paddleton. Alex is capable of making emotional meaningful films, with fairly strong character development, that can be related to an audience. With Meet Cute… There are sprinkles of that here and there.


Highlight of Meet Cute was mostly surrounding the meanings behind this film. There is one meaning centered around, how often we wish we could replay a certain day or memory over and over again, without moving on as we fear things will tend to fail if it continues on. Like our main character Sheila (Kaley Cuoco) she continues to travel back in time over and over again on this particular day, just because each and every time this date went so well with Gary (Pete Davidson) that she never wants to continue on past it, as she fears all will go wrong eventually if she continues forward. 


I feel as most of us whom have dealt with great dates with significant others, that unfortunately lead to an end when we proceed further… We tend to wish we can go back to that romantic night, where nothing can literally go wrong as everything feels perfect. Sure it would be a nice to feel that feeling again, but eventually reliving that same exact moment over and over again without a future in place… Repetition will certainly make it extremely dull and lifeless, as that’s exactly what Sheila later on experiences.


You could also say that there is a meaning in which though your cards in not in your favor, for a happier secure life… It’s better to continue on, than it is to fully give up on it all together. Life is full of grand what if’s, as if we don’t take full advantage of continuing on… Who knows what could potentially happen for our lives, if we just move forward. That whole messaging at hand t’was fairly done, I really enjoyed how the film continues to repeat “It’s ok to be messy”, knowing life is going to be complicated and not have a clear path way all the time, as eventually things will get better in due time.


Meet Cute however has a few flaws at hand. I felt our lead actress Kaley Cuoco delivered a bad performance, as I found her quite annoying obnoxious majority of the time. It’s like she was desperately trying so hard to be funny, but all I gotten out of it was an extremely irritating human beings just giving me a massive headache, which is a shame because on paper this character is fairly written without the bad comedy material written.


Speaking of Bad Comedy Material: I wasn’t feeling the comedy in this film at all. Kind of makes sense since Alex Lehmann is not really used to working in the comedy field, as he’s mostly an emotional dramatic kind of film maker, as majority of the jokes and humor just felt completely flat for me. The time machine side of the story has tons of plot holes, that is extremely difficult to make sense of anything and disobeys it’s rules completely. It’s like they were trying to come up with ways, just how they can extend this film further but all it really did is make the film a bit more complicated and confusing. I would just rather have the whole story taken place on one particular date or two at the most… The whole time loop, mix with all these absurd change of elements made it all very ridiculous to me.


Overall, Meet Cute was just ok. I wouldn’t giving this a watch on Peacock, at least it has genuine meaning to it.


They/Them Grade: D+


A slasher film that feels inspired by Friday the 13th elements, involving a conversion camp… Sure that can work, got a couple disturbing elements of a brutal serial killer and severely abusive human beings .


I was mostly surprised that They/Them was more a drama than it was a slasher horror film. The slasher horror film comes into play more so in the second half, but for the most part a LifeTime style dramatic story dealing with a group of LBTQ teenagers not having a grand time at a Conversion Camp. At first it felt like a welcoming place where everyone felt accepted as the moral purpose is focusing on healing, but then it slowly transitions into a nightmare… Not what I expected.


They/Them felt on the same boat Sorority Row: You know it’s a stupid film, but it’s kind of dumb entertaining to watch at the same time. Most of the characters are one dimensional other than Jordan (Theo Germaine), which were completely forgettable and not to mention characters they don’t even take time to introduce at all. There’s a few cringeworthy moments, including an entire cast doing a really bad musical number to Pink’s Fuckin’ Perfect, a Soft Core Sex Sequence featuring a girl giving oral to another girl, and who can forget a man and a woman dry humping on the bed together while they stare at the preferred gender they do like… I’m not making any of this stuff up, this is what happened in a real original movie, where a streaming service wants people to subscribe and pay monthly to watch.


I will say our saving grace of a character Jordan delivers an actually solid conclusion to their character development, that violence is not the solution. Sure Jordan could’ve acted in a great deal of revenge against these counselors, but Jordan realizes… What better would Jordan be, if Jordan responded the same way as they did?! Don’t really solve much conflict at hand if you continue to do the same thing that leads to absolutely nowhere.


Overall, They/Them was crap. I don’t recommend this film, these Peacock original films are not off to a good start thus far I will say.


Run Sweetheart Run Grade: D+


Run Sweetheart Run made it’s debut at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, eyeing at a potential early summer movie season release in 2020 as well until… The Pain in the Ass came about. Wasn’t expecting this film to be released since it has been shelved for the past two years, but eventually Amazon bought it out as here we are at Halloween weekend.


Run Sweetheart Run delivers an intriguing premise, as if Cherie (Ella Balinska) survives the night from a psychopath named Ethan (Pilou Asbaek) chasing her up and down from the city, then she can move on from him once and for all. The film takes on a theme in which men can get away from doing inhumane things to women, as no one will listen nor take the women seriously when it’s addressed. It’s an important theme to address, however for a film like this… It comes off extremely baffling, as that theme comes off irrelevant due to the bizarre nature of this film.


The concept isn’t half bad as it can be an entertaining cat and mouse game like film, however the rules in which Ethan has full advantage seems all over the place. Surely he has control to manipulate men where they can’t touch him, however then he turns into some kind of super human like figure… Huh?! You can have the supernatural element of manipulating men to having full control of them as it’ll work well into the theme you’re presenting, but anything more than that you completely lose the viewer as it just becomes such a baffling experience, watching rules suddenly shift to where it can’t be taken seriously at all.


I don’t understand why this film cuts away towards crucial moments, where as an audience we need to experience these sequences that are important to the plot or can be effective in entertaining value. You get pumped up for an epic blood bath where a group of people are ready to jump Ethan and next thing you know… They glossed over the scene, like what the hell?! One of the most cringeworthy moments of the film for me was the continuation of breaking the fourth wall… They’ve done it four times and each time becomes more unnecessary than the last.


There’s something about Blumhouse horror films where they try to attempt in touching on an important sensitive matter, then executing such a stupid horror film… We’ve seen it from The Hunt, Halloween Kills, and now this… How about just making a good horror film?!


Overall, Run Sweetheart Run was crap. I don’t recommend checking this one out, for two years of curiosity from the trailer I watched in 2020, I’m left with disappointment per usual. -Mitch Smietana

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