• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 78: My Bike Was Stolen.


Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup!


Been awhile since I’ve done one of these. A part of it has to do with almost the entire month of February, played a little catch up on 2021 films I haven’t seen in order to construct my Best Films of 2021 list, which has been released and can be seen on StrictlyFilms Twitter, FaceBook, or Instagram page. Another part of it has to do with the fact I’ve been occupied with life as a whole. Whether it is being occupied with my day job, occupied with having an experience with life with activities and such, or having a minor bump in the road.


The minor bump in the road came on February 22nd, 2022. It started off as an everyday Tuesday for me. Wake up at 7, shower, eat fruits, take the family friend's dog out, brush teeth, wash my face, get dressed, and onto riding my bike to work. I felt thrilled about the day in general because considering my work schedule being changed to where I get out a couple hours early, I would now have time to head over to the theater and watch a film. It’s refreshing because normally I would have a day, two at the most, to watch films and knowing sometimes with a lot of films released in the week… Sometimes it’s a challenge to get to everything, plus I like to explore my scenery and do fun activities on the weekends. But now because of the new work schedule: I was able to go to the theater four times the previous week, which made me extremely happy.


After work I rode my bike over to the theater, as I parked my bike in my usual spot by the bike rack. Took my keys out of the ignition since it’s an electric bike, locked my bike up along with my backpack, usually I don’t bring my backpack in the theater to create less of a hassle for the employees to check it. As I did all that: I headed into the theater, where I would cop my tickets, purchased a medium popcorn since it’s 50% off on Tuesdays, as I then saw The Cursed.


A couple hours later after enjoying The Cursed, I walked out of the theater, walked over to my bike to head on my home like I normally do. When I got to the spot where I parked my bike… My eyes grew wide, as I was lost for words because… My bike and backpack were gone. Fortunately all my valuable possessions from the backpack were safe as they were with me, all that was in there was a gray tank top and maybe less than a dollar in change, so I’m very blessed that nothing major was stolen in that regard. However… I was extremely bummed about the bike being gone, knowing it’s an extremely valued bike that has brought me a lot of joy and has made me a bit more active in being a much more outgoing person.


I called my mother about the bike being gone, which I was very fortunate she wasn’t mad or anything, as she was relieved that I was safe. Had to contact the security of the place since it’s like a mini shopping complex, unfortunately there was nothing he could do since the complex didn’t carry security cameras so there’s no evidence of whoever had stolen the bike… Makes no sense whatsoever. Had to contact the police, waited an hour till they showed up, and had to file a police report. While filing the report the host or hostess from a restaurant across from where my bike was parked, said there was some kind of suspect hovering around the bike, so I was hopeful it could turn up. Was grateful for the time I had with the police, they were caring and very polite. My family friend drove me home and that was that.


I do wonder how in the world did that bike get stolen, knowing I’ve parked in that spot like over a hundred times as my bike has always been there?! I always lock my bike, as the chances of one coming with wire cutters to have the effort into breaking my lock up was very slim. However: There is a possibility in which I may have forgotten to lock my bike up. I do recall being exhausted that day for whatever reason, maybe I didn’t get a full eight hours of sleep because when I don’t get 8 hours of sleep… I’m just tired, it doesn't matter if it’s seven hours even. So maybe I assumed my bike was locked up, where my lock and backpack were wrapped around my backpack, so I figured I was good to go. Do I believe that happened?! I believe there’s a 50% chance because locking my bike up wherever I am is routine, as I highly doubt I would make a bonehead decision of not locking my bike, but who knows it’s over and done with.


Though this was an unfortunate moment in my life, I however took this moment in which I saw a lot of progression within myself. Normally when it comes to major disappointing moments compared to a moment such as this: There is a very poor reaction as a result of a moment like this. Whether it be expressing a great amount of anger, frustration, panicking, sadness that generates into relentlessly crying… It’s not a pretty sight. My reaction in this particular moment: I’ve never been so proud of myself, knowing I correctly reacted in the most matured way possible. There was no expression of anger, frustration, crying, panicking involved… I was just shocked, feeling slightly disappointed, yet I moved forward looking for solutions on what to do to in this very moment. I focused more on the bright sides because the person in which I wanted to be in situations like this, came into reality as I’m extremely blessed that God has done such many wonders in my life, where I’ve become more matured over the course of time. We understand in some regard the bike is important, however what’s more important is becoming a much better person to where I’m getting closer and closer to being whole, as I felt grateful to finally see great results.


This might seem surprising: But the worst part of this experience is not my bike being stolen, it was actually my experience in telling people my bike was stolen and how they reacted. In a time like this it’s important to not only deliver genuine care and closure for the individual, but to also remind the individual the many blessings that they have in front of them. When I told the few individuals about this moment: It felt as if there was a tragedy that was closer to death. Like it almost felt as if these people were begging me to react poorly and to be extremely upset… They were more upset about this than myself, as I was the victim in this whole ordeal. Of course within a day or two I grew a state of sadness for a good minute, when you’re consistently trying to make someone upset and put into their mind that they should feel horrible repeatedly over and over again… Eventually they are going to be upset because that’s what you want them to be.


I understand today’s society values materialistic things as if they were human beings, shamefully value material things over human beings, however at the end of the day… It’s just a bike. Bikes are replaceable, eventually I’ll get another one like that one and make sure to make major adjustments in terms of locks and such, but at the end of the day a Bike is not a living being nor should it ever be treated like a living being. It’s extremely hard to be upset or feel angry about your bike being stolen, where there are much bigger tragedies going on in the world. If my bike being stolen is the worst thing happening in my life… I must be an extremely blessed human being if that’s my only “tragedy” going on right now.

I got a roof over my head, eating good food everyday, working at a good job that doesn’t require to restrict myself from breathing or hide my facial expression since May 2021 or has no discrimination policy in place, living my dream as a film critic, and to top it all off I’m living in the greatest state in America… How the hell am I supposed to be upset about a bike being stolen, where I got too many blessings to remind me how GREAT I got it?! If you don’t come out a much more grateful human being after all we’ve been through these last few years, I really have no idea what to tell you because… God has given us so many reasons why we should never take life for granted or feel a great amount of ungratefulness, we have it great especially in America. I don’t condone people making others feel awful over minor bumps in the road, be more happy and see all the positives life has in front of you because there are MANY positives in your life.

I’m so blessed to have a mother like my mom. My mother could’ve reacted poorly and had every right to, as she contributed to my bike. But my mother felt very fortunate having my bike stolen was the worst possible outcome out of all this. No harm was done to me physically, I’m also still alive and an extremely healthy being… That’s all that matters to my mother, I’m concerned why everyone else around me acted like an actual tragedy did happened to me?!


The moral point of this story: When unfortunate moments happen in life, always look at the positives in everything because more than often they outshine the negatives. That’s what keeps me at float, over the years I’ve improved as I hope everyone does the exact same thing so they can achieve getting closer to the vision of Christ. Some may ask: Now that your bike has been stolen, why not give it a go in learning how to drive?! Yeah with the gas prices, all the monthly payments, potential car crashes, and traffic… That sounds extremely stupid, especially for an investment. In Florida: You can go anywhere with a bike, there’s no point in driving. Until my beloved bike is returned to me or when I get a new one… Let's Talk About Movies!


Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) Grade: D+


The way my co-worker described her friends experience with Texas Chainsaw Massacre, had me convinced this was determined to be the worst film candidate of 2022. Surprising enough… This film is a bit far away from being a worst of the year candidate, in fact I was a bit surprised.


What Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) at least gets right, is entertainment value as it was a surprise the level of entertainment this film had to offer. The death sequences were surprisingly brutal and throughly entertaining, like at least the film maker knew exactly what he was in for when taking on this IP and figured… Let’s go all out?! Especially the opening murder sequence, where Leatherface snaps the police officers arm off then proceeds stabbing him with the bone of the arm… I mean my eyes lit up, thinking to myself, “OKAY OKAY! WE GOT SOMETHING HERE!” So at least this film actually offers something worth of enjoyment, I think even horror fans will at least find a little bit of appreciation in that aspect.


I know when discussing the plot, one shouldn’t expect much considering this is a slasher horror franchise… But lets call it like it is, the story is a bit absurd. It follows a group of young adults, buying land in the middle of nowhere in Texas, hoping to build a place in which there is no longer senseless violence and to secure peace. As one who has traveled all over the Texas not too long ago… This is a very stupid idea and that it can never work in the town they bought it from. Plus no matter how hard to try, you can never succeed in delivering peace just because you bought a bit of property, you can’t buy heaven on earth as no matter if you run away from your problems… Eventually it’ll follow you, so just make the best of life you have and for Gods sakes DON’T LIVE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE IN TEXAS!


What is the major issue with the story is the fact this film follows the same storyline, done by Halloween (2018). Like I really have no idea what this film was even thinking when bringing that onto the table, it’s completely absurd and where it takes itself… It’s beyond baffling, like it’s the stupidest thing. Are all established horror franchises going to follow a plot line, where the original character has been training their whole life to take down the entity they escaped from?! I’m sure the actors that play the original character are more than thrilled to have their acting career re-established, but NO ONE wants to watch this crap.


I was willing to give Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) a respectful guilty pleasure rating, of a C-. The film delivers genuine entertainment value in gore and violence, the story though stupid is however manageable by it’s short run time, and the fact it delivers some unintentional hilarious moments. Unfortunately: That last shot…. It’s so freaking disrespectful to the original, that’ll make any fans of this franchise especially fans of the original film want to puke instantly.


Overall, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022) was crap, but at least it was kind of fun to watch at least. I don’t recommend this film.

Three Months Grade: B


Coming of age film about a gay teenage boy, going through the grueling waiting process of three months, whether or not he contracted HIV from one whom he had sex with… You don’t see a film with a storyline like this made too often?!


Three Months is a film in which I can honestly admire, by the amount of heart the film maker put into this. I mean by the opening credits with the fun filled animation sequences, filled with a spectacular color pallet… It’s clear the people behind the camera truly cared about this film from the jump.


Story wise felt like any other coming of age film, only with this time around I felt fairly informed by what people such as Caleb (Troye Sivan) go through during this kind of process, as how in ways does one get treated or how they’re are programs made to help one in this situation whether they be tested positive, negative, or continuing the process on whether or not they have it.


The film is a light hearted comedy as well, as I felt the comedy material was fairly done. The jokes were actually not half bad, as there were a couple laugh out moments whether be awkward moments, moments of embarrassment, or moments out of frustration. I enjoyed majority of the characters in this film, I’m glad majority of them felt like real characters as often enough when it comes to films like these, it can feel as if characters are treated as some kind of propaganda tool, here it felt actually real.


For me I didn’t care for the romance aspect between Caleb and Estha (Vivek Kalra), felt like a cliche type of ordeal as well as it felt unfinished as well. Finale to me was so-so as well, expected to feel something yet… Just kind of ends and nothing more.


Overall, Three Months was a solid film. I recommend checking this one out, can be found on Paramount Plus.

The In-Between Grade: B-


You know damn well before my Paramount Plus subscription was set to expire, I had to make a priority to watch the new Joey King film… The number one Joey King fan never takes a break, we out here grinding! Minimal expectations for this Paramount Plus original film, was hoping to secure an average at best chick flick. The In-Between wasn’t half bad, as I thoroughly enjoyed this chick flick.


The story at hand was by the standards of a romantic drama film, however this film takes on a super natural ghost element that is kind of weird, yet kind of works and kind of makes the film a bit more engaging to watch. Like the whole in between ordeal in terms of communicating with a deceased person, before they have their final goodbye t’was interesting. The way it’s handled comes off a bit bizarre in some moments, however I kind of liked it.


I also enjoyed the main theme of this film as it’s all about being less fearful whether it express your feelings for someone or following your passion you have in life. Like so many of us are terrified of failure or things not working out in a relationship especially saying the words “I Love You”, however how are you going to get anywhere in life if you’re always afraid to take on risks that may eventually pay off?! The message at hand was fairly simple, yet it got the job done and fulfilled it’s purpose.


I liked Joey King in the main role of Tessa, this character wasn’t at all annoying as she felt like a relatable teenager whom struggles heavily in going for what she wants out of life. Joey King and her co-star Kyle Allen whom plays Skylar, both had solid chemistry as the romance they display was fairly believable. As Tessa would say, “Love Never Dies”... You know what else never dies?! The Kissing Booth, The Kissing Booth never dies.


Overall, The In-Between was a decent film. I recommend checking this one out, it’s on Paramount Plus. -Mitch Smietana


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