• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 40: Nate Oats is the TRUTH


Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup! Coach Krzyzewski aka Coach K of Duke University recently questioned if College Basketball should be going on where we are currently at, regarding Covid. Even though Coach K highly suggested before the season started, that College Basketball can not go on another year without a tournament, now Duke sitting at 2-2 Coach K decided to flip the switch.

Nate Oats, Former Head Coach of my hometown’s Buffalo Bulls, currently head coach of Alabama Crimson Tide basketball team had this to say. "Do you think if Coach K hadn't lost his two non-conference games at home, he would still be saying that?” As Nate Oats calls out Coach K, he also had this to say on the current situation.

“We have a whole lot more problems, if we weren’t playing games. We should be 100 percent playing basketball. Nobody talks about the mental issue that comes along with not playing basketball, what are these guys going to do if they’re not playing? I got three daughters, they need to be in school. Like humans aren’t made to sit alone in isolation for weeks and weeks on end. We gotta be careful how we do life, but you still have to do life. A huge part of life for all these guys that I’m coaching, is being in the gym playing basketball. So I think their mental health is in a much better spot playing basketball.”

What Nate Oats has done on the basketball court, regarding the enormous success of bringing Buffalo 3 MAC Championships, an outstanding unheard of 32 win season in 2018-2019, and providing Buffalo their two tournament wins in 2018 and 2019 is an astonishing accomplishment. Nate Oats’ comments against Coach K and regarding the impact a College Basketball season has on these college athletes... I can only tip my hat, as he earns a great amount of respect from me.

This is exactly what we all need as of right now: To be reminded that we still genuinely care about human beings, while also spreading awareness of the Mental Health Crisis we’re currently facing. 2020 has been a brutal year, but more so for the Mental Health Community, we’ve been forgotten and disregarded this entire year, it’s about damn time that someone with a significant popular platform in College Basketball has stepped up! Moments like these make me have hope, moments like these make me want to keep on going as there is promise, that human beings still care about each other.

From the bottom of my heart: Thank you Coach Oats, for spreading the importance of an education, livelihood, and especially the importance of Mental Health. I hope in due time: We all get on board in starting to care about Mental Health, not when it’s convenient or wanting to gain Retweets and Likes from it, when we care about it 24/7 and make it a top priority. God Bless, let’s talk about movies man! I’m HYPED!

Save Yourselves! Grade: B

What brought me attention to this Bleecker Street, Sundance selection comedy was the poster design... Thought it looked cool. What also brought interest was the fact Sunita Mani was in it as well, I like her in the television show Glow.

What I enjoyed about Save Yourselves! in the beginning especially, as this is created an interesting discussion, on how much we can enjoy our lives if we don’t pay attention towards our phones. Like you see this couple simply at peace, as they haven’t paid any attention towards the world around them regarding their phones. Though the world is in turmoil simply by an alien invasion... But that’s how everyday on social media feels like, a disaster then another disaster everyday. So it was delightful having a nice laugh while the world is encountering a disaster, this couple t’was at peace simply by focusing on themselves and letting fear/worries of the world slip by.

When the supernatural element is presented, regarding the poofy things that look like Hedgehogs... It may appear kind of goofy, however it fits well with the comedic tone. What could’ve sabotage the entirety of this film, honestly worked just fine as I appreciated the simplicity of this creature design, while also not becoming a burden on this couple’s journey of reestablishing their relationship, themselves, and their purpose on life.

I liked both Sunita Mani and John Reynolds as the couple Su and Jack, both had delightful chemistry, both delivered laughs for the audience, as also they were delightful to watch based on their performances alone. I enjoy the fact this actually felt like a real couple in today’s world, than feeling like characters that aren’t relatable as they just throw in social media puns to create stupid laughs. Both characters are real people, have real problems, and are trying to find real solutions. This film also does a solid job on character development. Like where these characters started, to where they ended up felt very satisfying to me. They did changed over the course of the film, they became less selfish, more sincere and loving towards the significant other, and as of that they were rewarded... T’was nice.

Only real issue I have with this film is logic issues and some pacing here and there. But for a supernatural comedy, dealing with the end of the world elements... This was pleasantly nice.

Overall, Save Yourselves! t’was a solid comedy. I recommend checking this one out.

Evil Eye Grade: D+

We conclude Blumhouse and Amazon’s collab Welcome to Blumhouse, with a family drama that provides unnecessary horror elements... Why?

The main positive for this film is when it caters towards the family dramatic side of this film, between Usha (Sarita Choudhury) and her daughter Pallavi (Sunita Mani). Pallavi gaining her mother’s approval and respect has always been a challenge throughout her entire life, as she often feels like a failure as her mother is never satisfied with her daughter. Especially when it comes to her being single, as her mother belittles her with the fact she’s not married. So when Pallavi finally meets someone special at the moment... Her mother is still finding new ways to complain, as she is still not satisfied. There’s honestly a solid scene, in which Pallavi is expressing her heartache with her mother, that can be relatable to any mother/daughter relationship, especially my sister and my mother. I think if this film was more centered around creating a family drama narrative and get rid of the horror aspect entirely, this honestly wouldn’t be half bad. Other positives include solid performances by the leading cast, I also really enjoyed Bernard White playing Pallavi’s father as he was an enjoyable comedic relief, that almost played like a member from the audience.

Evil Eye when it comes to the horror elements regarding the flash back sequences and thriller moments... It’s honestly pretty damn stupid and even cheesy. The flashback sequences that come back in and out from Usha’s mind is honestly horrendous and ridiculous to watch, it feels entirely misplaced from what is going on in this story. The twist is honestly predictable from the start, while also creating much confusion as to how this became developed?! The thriller moments are whatever, plays out like a cliche you’ve seen a thousand times before. The message given at the end between the mother and daughter was pretty pointless, I honestly kind of laughed at it because it didn’t teach Pallavi anything going forward. I really don’t understand why they chose horror, like the family drama stuff is honestly good, but they had to wreck the vibe but just adding a stupid thriller that honestly was needed in the first place.

Overall, Evil Eye t’was meh. I don’t recommend checking this one out, 1 good film out of 4 entries from Welcome to Blumhouse... Well, at least we got one! Hopefully next time around next year as I think they’re doing it again, they’ll improve, but at least none of these films were straight up garbage, that’s a sign of relief.

Collective Grade: B+

This documentary from Romania has gotten outstanding reviews and it seems all promising to be nominated for an Oscar, so I had to check it out myself. This all takes place in 2015 in Romania, where a fire let loose at a show nearby a bar/club like setting as seventeen people died... But seventeen more people died while hospitalized, which didn’t make much sense considering they presumed dead days later. So Journalists come to question not only the Prime Minister of the Health Organization, but the entire health care organization as well.

The film making in this documentary t’was pretty great, almost felt in quality like a Neon Rated documentary film, where it doesn’t feel like a documentary. Regarding the substance within the documentary does stand out immensely, as it’s extremely engaging from start to finish. This is honestly a terrifying documentary, as the things that were discovered as to what is going on in the health care system is outrageous. Basically these patients under care were not treated properly at all, in fact they were treated as they were lab rats which cause a serious amount of bacteria inside the victims, to the point where maggots were growing out of a patients ear... Just flat out disgraceful.

For the longest time I never understood why people were so afraid of going to the hospital, but after watching this documentary... Now I completely understand the fear and the lack of trust, people have on hospitals now. It’s also worth pointing out majority of the decision making regarding the health care system in this country, had come from solely politics and not by what is the right decision regarding the health care for the people. If you need further explanation why people lack trust in the health care system and in Health Officials/Experts... This documentary clearly answers it, as in a way we’re kind of experiencing it right now.

Overall, Collective is a great documentary film. I highly recommend checking this one out.

The Boys in the Band Grade: C+

When I read the title “The Boys in the Band” as I see a group of men lined up, as if they were going to drop a fire album... I atomically thought this was going to be a film about a fictional or real life band. So I was completely thrown off in what I was watching, as I gotten something completely different.

The opening of this film introduces many characters and different places briefly, as I come to question... Why?! It felt unnecessary as it could’ve just started off with Micheal (Jim Parsons) and Donald (Matt Bomer), as they get ready for their birthday party, as then we are introduced to all the characters one by one. It just felt an unnecessary over drawn opening that was honestly not needed. Sure there is character development being done in the first half, but honestly felt the first half of this film was boring. There is some glimpse of interest here and there regarding possible conflict and mystery, but throughout the duration of this half it was going nowhere as I was just bored. It’s also worth noting the first half tried to provide some comedic value and majority of the jokes don’t land at all, especially the character Emory (Robin De Jesus) where he was extremely obnoxious and annoying in the entirety of the first half. Don’t get me started on his laugh... That maybe the worst laugh I’ve ever heard.

This film is honestly saved by a rather strong second half, as the investment in this story is rather restored. Once the characters play this game, where they have to call someone they love whether it be currently or from the past... It becomes a way more engaging watch. It’s dramatic, it’s emotional, it’s heartbreaking, there is a great amount of frustration, guilt, and shame building up with our characters... Some great scenes by not only the writing, but from the cast as well. It’s a shame this film suffers from a mediocre first half, but at least the second half gives this film value in being recommended.

Overall, The Boys in the Band is a perfectly fine film. I recommend checking this one out on Netflix, make sure you keep watching because it does get a lot better the last hour.

Fatman Grade: C-

Mel Gibson as a depressed Santa Claus, who will soon have to face off with a Hit Man that is hired for his death... What a dream come true! Surely they saw the box office success from Mel Gibson starring in Daddy’s Home 2, as the studio thought “Ya know that Gibson guy’s movie earned 100+ mill at the box office... Alright let’s get him on board and make MONEY for a holiday film too!”

FatMan had potential to become a delightful guilty pleasure, however it does miss the mark in achieving that status, I’ll explain in a bit but for right now I have some positives. Walton Goggins playing the hit man Skinny Man who kind of hates Santa, however buys his toys off from other people/kids is without a doubt the highlight of this film. Goggins takes this role so damn seriously, that it comes off rather ridiculous, but an entertaining ridiculous. Every scene he’s in he just steals the spotlight, Goggins has always been a talented comedic actor as he does it yet again with this role. Mel Gibson as this depressed gritty Santa was solid as well, he seems like he was having fun in this down and sorrow Santa, who has gave in to the military in order for his workshop to be funded. I liked Marianne Jean-Baptiste playing Santa’s wife Ruth, recognized her right away from In Fabric, she’s a good actress.

For what it’s worth: There is some kind of admiration regarding the creativity and originality behind the story in this film. Yes the story is rather ridiculous and freaking stupid, but however how it’s built in one single narrative... It’s honestly not that bad, as you’re oddly assumed by the whole skeptical of this entire thing.

I think this film could’ve been a whole lot more fun, regarding the action/death sequences however for some reason this film holds itself back from doing so. Despite the third act, most of the death sequences are not even shown as anytime the HitMan attempts in murdering someone, the camera cuts it away... Which I found kind of confusing, especially given the R Rated Bloody Violence description as it’s barely present. Speaking of cutting away to fun sequences: I would’ve liked to see the sequence in which Santa delivers toys to children or how he got that nasty bloody bruise by his hip. When the action sequences is finally presented in the third act... It’s extremely underwhelming, as it lacks the entertainment value I wanted out of this stupid story.

I also would’ve like to learn about where these Elves have come from, while also learning why Santa’s workshop is located in Alaska?! Like there should be more depth in learning about this world, as a fan of Santa Claus shit I just wanted to learn more about this world. For what it is it has it’s moments of hilarious content, but just misses what I am looking for in a guilty pleasure like film.

Overall, Fatman was just alright. I don’t recommend renting this film, I wait till this drops off on a streaming device.

I’m Your Woman Grade: C+

If you’re a woman who’s wants a baby in the worst way... Would you wish to have a baby, even if you’re dealing with a man whom is involved with a crime related pack, as there are many men... MANY MANY MANY MEN, who want his head?!

I’m Your Woman is driven by strong performances from Rachel Brosnahan, Arinze Kane, and Marsha Stephanie Blake. Honestly the entire cast is the best part of this film. I will say that the mystery aspect of wondering what is exactly is going on? What is Jean’s (Rachel Brosnahan) husband involved with? Why does Jean have to leave her house? Why are people after Jean in the first place? So at least you question and are invested the entire time as to learning, to what the hell is going on as you are learning about it over the course of the time. I think the finale was pretty cool, especially the car chase sequence and what follows after.

The biggest problem with I’m Your Woman is absolutely the show rather than tell element as which this film lacks on. We have characters just explaining what is going on, rather than showing what is going on as it gives the film a much underwhelming experience. Like man I wish I could’ve seen all these events take place... Rather than two people have a conversation about it in a diner, as they explain the audience all you need to know. Especially where a hard hitting devastating moment is discovered, as I question why didn’t we get to see how it all happened?! I much rather have seen that moment, than watching people hiding out in a cabin log area, where they do absolutely nothing but talk... Like come on, bring in that A-Game in the thriller/suspense aspect! I also found it dumb founded when Jean cried about a character dying at the end, yet when she’s told his wife passed away four years ago, she simply ignored it and she didn’t even bother saying “I’m Sorry For Your Loss”. You barely had a connection with this guy nor did you care to provide sympathy towards his loss, don’t act like now that you loss someone worth of value, despite not knowing them long. I’m Your Woman had potential to be a really good mystery/suspense film, however there is rarely much there as it’s a rather underwhelming experience.

Overall, I’m Your Woman t’was average. I recommend checking this one out, it’s not a bad watch just don’t expect fireworks. -Mitch Smietana

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