• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 72; Crushes on Christmas


Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup! I feel like people are expecting me to go on rant, considering what’s been going on with a few parts of the country… It’s the holidays, let’s keep our mind away on pure evil, and let’s focus on happy vibes.


Considering it’s the holiday season: I think about the good ole days when I was a young man in middle school or high school, trying to figure out what to get my crush for Christmas. There’s always a common question when it comes to this matter: Why buy a girl something if you’re not dating them?! Of course one argument would be why not give someone a gift on Christmas just because?! It’s awesome to be purely selfless and to go out of your way and make someone’s Christmas, by thinking of them… I’m sure a lot of people would be more open to this, if we aren’t all so attached to our greed. Regardless of crushes in mind: There’s something about the rush and adrenaline you get when going out of your way and get someone a Christmas gift, you get so excited as you envision their joy when you give them that special gift.

I think as a young man, it was important to give any girl I really had strong feelings for because… They gave me purpose. School and life can be really hectic sometimes, it can thoroughly drain your mental state in so many ways, my high school experience really drained the living hell out of me. However truth be told: When you have strong feelings for someone, it can really take the weight off your shoulders, as solely on the thought of that special someone can bring you to another day. You can say having a crush can be a real life savor, you have something to look forward to each and every day, as you have a significant reason to be joyous about waking up another day… May sound silly to some, however who really cares long as you have something to keep your spirit alive, that’s all that matters.


The first time I ever gotten a crush something for Christmas would be in 8th grade, where I had a crush on this girl named Vicky. Normally I don’t condone with the whole “Just give them money” idea of gift giving, but considering I was a teenager and also didn’t make much of an effort to talk to Vicky as far as getting to know her more… I decided to make her a card and leave twenty dollars in it. Before Winter break I was looking all over for Vicky in the halls to give her the card, however she was nowhere to be found so I handed it off to my friend whom they were close friends with.


Before returning for Winter break I had a cold and missed a couple days of school, which brought assumption from my friends and Vicky especially that I moved and that was my final goodbye… Well what do you know? Eleven years later and people still act like it’s the end of the world when they catch a cold. Anyhow as I returned, all my friends came up to me as they were over exaggerating about me giving Vicky twenty dollars for Christmas, as they felt I should accept her giving me back the money. That left me confused because: Why would I want the money back?! To my young mind and to my mind as of now: Money is just a piece of paper. However money does at least make tings happy, so at least there is some good in it. So here I am as a fourteen year old boy, figuring I’m going to give this girl who makes me excited about going to middle school twenty dollars for Christmas… I get that she’s not my girlfriend but who cares, if someone makes you happy and excited about life, there is nothing wrong with giving a nice gesture.

So as my friends tried to make me all worried about Vicky confronting me about the ordeal, I avoided her in the halls. The way my friends were making it out to be was Vicky was going to yell at me for giving her a Christmas gift… I’ve had people yell at me for going about life normally before, so I understand why I be nervous. So Vicky and her friend found me at lunch time, as Vicky confronted me about the Christmas gift. She offered to give me back the gift, as I refused because I told her it was Christmas, it’s all yours. She then told me I was the sweetest as she gave me a hug… She gave me 20 hugs that whole school year, so of course giving her that gift of twenty dollars was well worth it.


A few years later I would have another opportunity to give a crush a gift on Christmas, as Taylor came into the picture. As a lot of my peers and acquaintances know: Taylor was like everything to me when I was seventeen. Though Taylor would not wish to proceed in dating me, however we’ve had quite fun times considering she had no interest in me. From going to homecoming together, baking cookies over at her house, to even attending my first live rap performance… We were definitely not distant, we actually were like good friends.

We decided to spend Christmas together over at her house, which was a major big deal to me because… Spending Christmas at your crush’s house?! Have I died early and went to heaven?! I got her the Justin Bieber perfume set, she’s a major Bieber fan so of course this was probably at the top of her Christmas list. Surprisingly enough: I would not leave empty handed, as she gave me Chanel Cologne. I’m not sure how people are when they receive gifts from others, but to me I cherish them ever so deeply especially when it comes from my crush. It’s been eight years and I still have like a half of bottle of Chanel left from that same Christmas… It’s only used for special occasions, I mean it was given to me by a special girl so it’s only right.


I do miss those days of being extremely energetic of giving a crush a Christmas gift… I miss having a crush in general. Like yeah sometimes as an adult not having to spend any money on anybody does help your bank account… However keeping money solely for yourself is utterly pointless sometimes, like we save however we increasingly become ever so stingy about spending, likely at the end of the day more than likely we don’t do anything with it and don’t better ourselves in anyway. Sometimes we give to people whom are not grateful or don’t deserve it, but at the end of the day… Giving truly betters the soul, as if you at least create joy for the sake of giving to someone, that’s all that matters.


So to all the guys whom ever felt like they were a dumbass for giving a girl they really liked a Christmas gift: Be proud of yourself, even if she wasn’t the one or didn’t appreciate you the way you want to be appreciated, you did the right thing and you’ll be rewarded greatly in due time. Hopefully in 2022 I’ll actually have a girl in mind for Christmas shopping, it’s pretty dull without letting the paper fly during this time of year… Let’s talk about movies!

No Time to Die Grade: B


No Time to Die caps off the Daniel Craig era of James Bond films, believe it or not this is my first James Bond film I’ve seen in a theatrical setting… Given the popularity and magnitude of this franchise, I’m just as surprised as y’all. I’ve liked most of the Daniel Craig James Bond films, the only one I didn’t like would be Quantum of Solace. My expectations were given to a bare minimum for this final film, I thought the main trailer was pretty bad so I had my doubts.


I’m so grateful for the fact No Time to Die was actually a pretty solid conclusion to the Daniel Craig James Bond films, as I had a blast with this one. It’s a pretty exciting and epic conclusion, filled with tons of well executed action sequences including car chases preferably the beginning sequence. It’s a thoroughly entertaining film, I had a fun time given everything happening in the film.


Daniel Craig delivers as James Bond, I really enjoyed how this character continues to evolve within each film, as you clearly understand what his mind is going through this long enduring journey, making his way to a very satisfying yet saddening conclusion. I thought the romance aspect between Bond and Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) was done very well, Bond really reflected throughout his journey from past romantic flings, as this given moment in the ending he just couldn’t but say… Enough is enough. Rami Malek as the villain was surprisingly not half bad, maybe a little goofy here and there, but given it’s James Bond I thought he did a pretty good job.


Daniel Craig did a superb job with these films, I still go with Casino Royale as my favorite of the bunch, but No Time to Die was a throughly satisfying ending and I’m happy I got to see it in a theater.


Overall, No Time to Die was a dope film. I recommend checking this one out, it’s available on RedBox now.

Good on Paper Grade: D-

Don’t you just hate bad stand up comedians?! How bout bad stand up comedians that attempt in trying to reenact the Seinfeld formula in the beginning seasons?!

Good on Paper features a stand up comedian named Andrea (Iliza Shlesinger), who won’t date this good friend of hers by the name of Dennis (Ryan Hansen) because he’s unattractive by his outside appearance, however they have a well established connection. Though Andrea is not in any shape or form attracted to Dennis: She gets super drunk with Dennis, as they end up having sex… Why did Andrea do this considering she doesn’t like Dennis like that?! Nobody knows, what’s more confusing is why does Andrea want to be Dennis’ girlfriend after sleeping with each other?!

Andrea is honestly a pretty obnoxious unlikable character, not only is she extremely unfunny and I mean EXTREMELY unfunny, but she’s also not the sharpest tool in the shed. Anyone with half of a brain can catch Dennis on a series of lies within the first couple minutes being around him, as he’s not that convincing of a liar. For some reason Andrea just believes Dennis because he appears as a geek who dresses nice, so he has to be a rich banker ya know?! The problem is Dennis continually lies and lies and lies, to the point where you know nothing what he says is at all convincing… As someone who works at customer service, I know a thing or two about being a good bullshitter and Dennis wouldn’t last an hour in the business.

It’s an extremely dull comedy film, featuring two unlikable characters, with surprisingly obnoxious supporting characters, as the film also half assed a message that was poorly developed… It was quite an exhausting experience.

Overall, Good on Paper was terrible. I don’t recommend this film.

The Alpinist Grade: C+

The Alpinist is another documentary featuring the most daring human beings alive… Mountain climbers, only this time around we’re going in the snowy mountains of Canada. I was looking forward to The Alpinist considering I liked Meru and Free Solo, I think these human beings and their insane bravery of climbing these dangerous mountains are quite amazing… There’s something about climbing a dangerous mountain where you can potentially die, makes me excited about life, wish I could do this.

The Alpinist does have some minimal interest, I think the main climber Marc-Andre Leclerc t’was an intriguing persona and how he became influenced to climb mountains and such. He was a friendly kind fellow however he’s socially awkward so climbing kind of gave him that comfort food, to tolerate with the world around him, which others feel he was kind of odd compared with the rest of the crowd. You can tell he was a special guy and it really spoke volumes how he climbed these mountains just for the fun of it at ease, while others saw it as a competition.

The Alpinist however didn’t quite excite me the way the other two films did. I feel because the main person of interest didn’t necessarily had a purpose in completing these climbs, therefore the film isn’t thoroughly exciting compared to the rest, as it felt like their lives depended on finishing climbing their mountains, while Marc-Andre… Kind of just went with the flow, whether he completed it or failed, so the tension wasn’t there for me.

Still The Alpinist is a fine story featuring a wonderful being at play, living life to the fullest for the fun of it.

Overall, The Alpinist is a perfectly average film. I recommend checking this one out on Netflix.

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street Grade: B

Surprising enough: No Elmo featured in this documentary… That’s ok, the one character that truly matters in Sesame Street is Ernie.

Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street t’was a genuine documentary that tells the history of Sesame Street, of how it was created, why it was created, how did it get funded, and what was the goal of the show?! As the creator mentioned: Sesame Street intentions was suppose to create a fun atmosphere for kids to learn how to count, learn the alphabet, learn the English language, and learn the basics of life and such to where a child can understand. They weren’t trying to sell them on anything, it was more of an open safe space for everyone to learn and to feel accepted in this world… Especially for the unprivileged kids, it was a wonderful concept that soon became a sensation.

You get to learn valuable information about the characters and those whom worked on the puppets, it t’was all very fun and fascinating stuff, especially learning about my favorite pals Burt and Ernie. I did wish they did discussed how they thought of the show as of today, as the show of today kind of goes against what it stands for, as they are trying to sell products for children or an agenda as well.. Times have truly worsen I must say.

Overall, Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street t’was a solid documentary. I recommend this film, it can be seen on HBO.

The Summit of the Gods Grade: B

Didn’t think I get another film about mountain climbers… But here we are! Only this time around: It’s a fictional narrative that’s fully in hand drawn 2-D animation.

The 2-D animation t’was pretty good, you always feel refreshed as you take a nice breather from the typical 3-D animation styles we’re so accustomed to seeing. The story at hand t’was solid, I do believe there is minimal issues between going back and forth to present day and the past, but it held it’s own.

As far as what I got out of this story: I felt it was more towards the true intentions of one, whom embarks on an unusual passion one has. Like the main character wasn’t climbing these mountains just to have records or have his name on newspaper headlines as the first to climb so and so, the true intentions were to live and die climbing these mountains because it gave him purpose as the world around him didn’t give him much to live for. That’s probably how most people feel when they have a strong passion for climbing: It’s truly living life to the fullest, it’s what gives them that edge to pursue great challenges ahead, even if they may not see tomorrow.

Overall, The Summit of the Gods t’was a solid film. I recommend checking this one out, can be found on Netflix.

Last Call Grade: D-


I think the most interesting about Last Call is how in the world did this film managed, to get Jeremy Piven a television icon and Bruce Dern an acting icon?! I say that because this film is…. Pretty bad all around.


It all starts with the cinematography: It’s comparable to one whom discovered a JVC hand held camcorder for the first time. Just the way the film looks feels truly amateurish almost like a poorly made student film, like the sets and how the shots looked was… I’m just surprised this film actually had some talent behind it and was able to get IFC films to disturbed it.


The story at hand is even worst: It’s an extremely dull comedic drama. The comedic portion is awful, I don’t think I laughed once as it’s got some extremely embarrassing comedic bits, including a girl drugging a jerkoff to have him gag on a dildo… That’s what were working with I guess. The drama aspect is suppose to be a feel good film, for all the small towners trying to maintain their small businesses and town, from being overtaken by corporate America and in this case a casino. See the message is cool, however how it’s developed is done extremely poorly, as by the time you see the dedicated wording at the end, you realize you never once felt it. Like the town is a dump that lacks any passion or pride, it’s a regular town with regular people that don’t really do a whole lot to make it worth wild. I don’t think there’s not much else to talk about here, it’s just a really bad straight to DVD quality film that can be found in a $2 bin at Walmart some day.


Overall, Last Call was horrible. I don’t recommend this film. -Mitch Smietana


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