• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 91: Dawn FM


Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup! I feel like talking about… Music. I don’t feel the need to form a grand opening or come up with something purely deep, because truth be told… We understand how impactful music is to all of us, doesn’t need a full detailed explanation. We listen to music when we want to feel joy, want to dance, or feel the need to relieve any kind of rough time we’re currently dealing with, as we want to let out a massive cry which I just did ten minutes ago… Music heals all. I just want to talk about an album I really enjoyed, I feel time to time on a monthly basis I’ll do one of these, where I just talk about music I recommend.


The Weeknd: Dawn FM 8/10


It’s quite amazing how the first major album release on the first Friday of the new year, is still currently my favorite project of the year seven full months into 2022. 


The Weeknd dropped a really good album back in 2020 After Hours, which helped people ease the heartache, anxiety, and pain of the beginning days of the pain in the ass. I would say After Hours caught some listeners by surprise, considering the fact the single After Hours looked like the album was heading into Trilogy territory… I felt people weren’t expecting a much more matured version of StarBoy vibes, mixed with My Dear Melancholy vibes as well. Still: After Hours was a pretty damn good album, highlighted by a chart smashing hit with Blinded Lights, while also that album led The Weeknd a SuperBowl HalfTime Show Gig on top of it all.


Dawn FM I had considerable expectations. I felt Take my Breath being the lead single… Gave me a great amount of doubt. Don’t get me wrong: The song grew on me when I listened to the album as a whole, but as a single alone it just doesn’t really grab onto me, gaining excitement for a new project. So you just hope it’s on par with After Hours but doesn’t entirely sound exactly the same as After Hours or heading into StarBoy territory.


I didn’t think The Weeknd would be able to top After Hours even, but here we are putting Dawn FM in the “Best Weeknd Album” debate, as this blew me away. I love how this album felt like a complete project, the transitions were smooth from song to song, as production on this is so fun, groovy, and energetic. It’s really felt like stepping into a 70’s NightClub, where the vibe and energy only speaks the essence of dancing, hip outfits, as the aroma of sex is punching you dead center in the face… Says the Virgin.


Gasoline makes you feel like you’re stepping into a time machine, as the swagger The Weeknd brings in that late 80’s hip hop vibe of talking, the computer generated sounds, while closing the deal with excellent vocals is out of this world. There’s quite many club bangers to discuss with Dawn FM. You got the energetic club bangers with How Do I Make You Love Me and Sacrifice, that demands your body and feet to get DOWN on the dance floor. You got Out of Time where it makes you feel close and intimate with a significant other or a girl you just met at the club, as your bodies absorbed within each other feeling the vibrations of the tune. But you also have a “Crying in the Club” banger with Less than Zero, where it not only makes you dance in joy by the uplifting vocals, but when one listens closely to the lyrics… It makes you want to drop down to the floor in tears, as you run quickly to your phone, to tell your past lover you fucked up as you’re all to blame for you two falling apart.


I’m not typically a fan of skits in albums, but the couple skits on this album are SUPERB. You have a cool skit with Quincy Jones A Tale by Quincy, followed by an emotional wholesome deep conclusion with Jim Carrey Phantom Regret by Jim… Both are thoroughly interesting, engaging, and fits extremely well with the album as it doesn’t come off as a distraction. I thought the album was great start to finish, it’s just a well made project that’s fun and moves extremely well evenly paced with even transitions. I really felt the only song I didn’t care much for was Best Friends, the vibe of that song doesn’t necessarily mesh well with this album in my personal opinion.


Dawn FM honestly feels like The Weeknd’s audition to put on a residency headlining show in Las Vegas. Dawn FM is not the typical overly explicit Weeknd album you’re used to hearing, this is honestly the most tamed and clean project he has released thus far in his entire career. Back on the topic of discussion: You can say this felt like an audition for a residency show, simply due to the fact this album works for a lot of demographics to enjoy. Not only can I see the typical 20’s-30’s loving this album, but I can see a much older audience from a 50’s-70’s age group as well, as it’s an album that certainly brings groove and a fun time as that’s exactly what Las Vegas is looking for.


Dawn FM is a great album and still is my favorite project of 2022 thus far, as I highly recommend this album. As far rankings go for Best Weeknd Album of all time: Tied for second with KissLand, I still think Trilogy is his best work hands down. How great of an album this is?! For someone whom has already seen The Weeknd live in concert, where I was in the front of the stage, capturing a full selfie with him… This album influenced me to buy tickets for his upcoming concert in Las Vegas, as I have to see the album performed live. I’m bummed out about Doja Cat having to leave the tour due to her tonsil surgery, however The Weeknd knows how to put on a great show so it should be EPIC at Allegiant Stadium. Well: It’s time to talk about movies!


All my Friends Hate Me Grade: B


My mother looks over the television screen, reads the title of the movie, laughs and sarcastically says, “Well that’s uplifting.” She’s right, not too sure what made me choose a movie like that, since I’m going through depression.


All My Friends Hate Me felt like an unusual presentation of a slow burn, where you’re expecting for something massive to happen in the end, as everything builds up to get to that conclusion, when it turns out that massive thing at the end is entirely different.


This film felt like a well crafted story about the current mindset of an everyday human being, whom goes through a terrible state of paranoia. Thinking the worst things possible is bound to happen, betrayal, or feeling the urge that everyone is out to get you.

The theme really clicked with me when the film described that our main character Pete (Tom Stourton) hasn’t seen his friends for five years, as his friends claimed Pete has entirely changed as a person, as he was much more fun, carefree, and can take a joke. You look at our world as how it has changed over the years… So have the mentality of human beings drastically changed.

Human beings are now more in tuned with stress, anxiety, paranoia, and especially extreme measures of guilt, where even the slightest little mistake that could perhaps resurface can make people harshly criticized you in the worst way possible. All my Friends Hate Me is pretty much a great study of that nature, as how it’s seriously affecting the mindsets of human beings.


What I love about All my Friends Hate Me is the fact continually tries to build up, that there is this big secret plan these friends are trying to pull off against Pete. Like the way his friends pulls these jokes and pranks on Pete…. I honestly would be in the same boat, feeling something sketchy is going on too. Yet when it comes down to it… His friends are just a bunch of pricks, like Pete was when he was younger as well, as back then he was able to take a joke and go aligned with the foul dark humor of his friends. There’s going to be many viewers whom are disappointed where this film concludes, however I found the conclusion quite satisfying as it caters to a greater messaging behind it all.


The humor in this film was dope, if you’re into dark humor you’re going to really get a kick out of this. In a way the horror element was crafted very well, as it really messes with your mind, as you do end up with a bunch of “What the Fuck” moments as well. In a way: The theme is terrifying to think about, in terms of where the human mind of today’s time period is currently at. I mean there’s a reason why Pete is involved with therapy and taking calm pills… Living in today’s world and the way society is structured, can make one’s mind feel paranoid and afraid for every little damn thing, that doesn’t need the slightest care. I actually related to this movie as I’ve had serious paranoia issues, where I always believe people are bound to do the worst to me… In my defense people have done some pretty messed up shit, where it has left my mind in total confusion of what is genuine or just bullshit.


Overall, All my Friends Hate Me is a striking solid horror/comedy film, that I feel is going to age well over the course of time. I recommend checking this film out, can be found on HULU, but be warned this film isn’t for everyone.


The Gray Man Grade: D+


After The Russo Brothers weren’t critically successful with last years drama Cherry, they return back to the action scene with a CIA action packed thriller The Gray Man. They may have returned to a genre that has made them successful, however The Gray Man is about on par in terms of quality with Cherry… In fact I actually preferred Cherry over this.


Cherry at least The Russo Brothers took a risk, by changing a different direction in terms of genre and especially storytelling. With The Gray Man… It feels yet another bland generic action film you’ve seen about a thousand times before. Within the first thirty-four minutes of the film, I’ve decided to take a nap as the film was making me sleepy… I watched this in the middle of the day, as I didn’t come back to it later on in the night. Then again near the last forty minutes of the film, I paused the film as I looked through Instagram for a good fifteen minutes. It really felt like an uneventful dry action film that I really couldn’t care less what was going on.


The action in this film was executed quite poorly, as not because it’s PG-13, but more so the film making and choreography was kind of atrocious. It moves EXTREMELY too fast where you feel like the action sequences were on fast forward, as you can’t really quite make of what you’re watching. I believe there’s one brief action sequence I liked, which involves some kind of knife trick in the near end, but other than that the action was a bit too dull for my taste.


For whatever reason this film has humor and the humor was not good at all, it kind of threw off the tone for this film completely for me. Not only is the humor not good, but the dialogue is poorly written as well. There’s one technique of film making I did not like at all, that involves some kind of drone moving aerial shot that was getting real annoying to experience.


The only performance I thought that was actually good was Ana de Armas, as it felt like she was the only one taking her role seriously, as she was quite enjoyable to watch. Chris Evans playing the antagonist looked like a complete dork, as he literally butchered every scene he’s in with his unfunny approach, that makes him out to be a cartoon character that can’t be taken seriously at all. Ryan Gosling didn’t had a bad performance, I do feel he was just miscasted in this role, even more so during the entire time I wish I was just watching him in Drive instead.


Overall, The Gray Man was crap. I don’t recommend this film, just watch Drive or watch No Time to Die if you’re looking for an exciting action film that features Ana De Armas.


Halftime Grade: B-


The documentary film centered around Jennifer Lopez’s journey to her halftime Super Bowl appearance was a fine quality watch I would say. The documentary briefly showcases Jennifer Lopez’s life in terms of making her way into show business, her dating life, and some of her success. It felt more like cliff notes when the film puts it’s attention on her life, as the film wants you to get to know little of her, as the main focus is on the Super Bowl performance, which was nicely done.


When the film centers it’s main focus on the Jennifer Lopez’s journey to the Super Bowl, it is actually an intriguing watch. Lopez had an EXTREMELY BUSY schedule to execute this performance. Planning and rehearsing the performance is a lot of time consuming as it is, however now you have her film Hustlers which was getting a lot of award season recognition for her role in the film, as Lopez had to bounce back and forth from Miami to California.


We go through the complications of Lopez executing her performance, as she had to share the stage with Shakira. Minimum time is given to each artist so they have to do the best they can within a six minute window, as Lopez has many grand ideas as it was extremely difficult to get her entire vision into play. You can understand the frustration Lopez is going through, a lot of time is given to rehearse and planning, but now you have MORE restrictions into place as it can be an immense challenge. I respect the fact Lopez wasn’t mad at Shakira at all, sometimes in this case one can become envious in this situation, however Lopez kept it cool as she had to make the best of it.


The way the documentary is structured in the editing field can be a little out of sorts at times. Also felt the visual style felt like a typical Netflix documentary style. The finale where Jennifer Lopez is singing on the inaugural day of Joe Biden becoming president… Not too sure why the film ended on that note. We can talk about how poorly aged that moment was for Jennifer Lopez, regarding Biden/Harris’ immensely failed administration, not to mention Lopez complaining about Trump’s handling immigration in the film yet Biden’s handling of immigration in comparison is equally if not worse. But disregarding all of that: That whole performance had nothing to do with the HalfTime portion of the story, so why exactly is this sequence in the film?! Doesn’t serve no purpose in the film whatsoever.


Overall, HalfTime was a fairly decent film. I recommend checking this one out, can be found on Netflix. My friend whom is a professional dancer by the name of Devyck, appeared a couple sequences in this film, rehearsing with J-Lo and the aftermath of the HalfTime show. Devyck really has come a long way from defeating me at the talent show… Great to see him doing well these days. -Mitch Smietana

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