• Strictly Films

Weekly Roundup Episode 97: Companies not in Good Faith


Welcome to another edition of Weekly Roundup!


In Bo Burnham’s comedy special/film Inside, there’s a two minute skit of Bo Burnham as a Social Brand Consultant. In a quick summary of the skit: It’s basically Bo poking fun at companies, putting their two cents on matters going on in the world.


There was a beautiful time in the world where companies were nothing more than just everyday businesses, offering you products or a service that’s worth your convenience. Companies moral focus is to satisfy any customer that is brought in to their business, making sure whatever they’re selling was good in quality, and that’s really just about it… Pretty simple and effective business model that’s easy to follow and to secure an objective at hand. Like many people back in the day and even a large majority now: No one cared what the company stood for or cared what their perspective is on things going on in the world, majority of people just cared if whatever service is good in quality.


So what exactly changed the simple business model of just executing quality and customer satisfaction?! Pretty simple: Social Media. Around the early 2010’s: Social Media began to rise and rise into popularity amongst people in the world, with apps such as FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram being heavily used on consumers. Social Media was nothing more than a fairly easier way to go on about socialization, especially those who struggle socializing. Mark Zuckerburg admits on the Joe Rogan Podcast that social media’s main purpose is to build connections and nothing more than just that. You can even say Social Media was a scapegoat to have some time away from reality and just be as foolish as you can be, without much judgment… The things people gotten away with saying and somehow no one really cared.


But the worst possible thing that could happen to Social Media did happen: It got taken seriously. I’m not sure when exactly was the pivotal moment, in which Social Media helped influence everyday decision making or brought everyone align on what kind of point of view should they be having… But once that happened, it truly made society turn from the absolute worst. So many people and so many ways of thinking however you felt on matters that aren’t accepted by the majority, suddenly had a say in which one should be abolished from this world completely.


It’s amazing to me just how much of an influence Social Media has on everyday life or what direction society takes moving forward. It’s amazing because how exactly are you suppose to let those, whom don’t live outside a computer screen determine what is right from wrong, but more importantly what is acceptable or not acceptable?! There’s a reason why these last 5-10 years have become the most toxic we have ever experienced in humanity… If you let people who lack a great level of knowledge of how life works determine how life should go about, expect not so great results.


I find Businesses sharing their two cents on important matters… Interesting. It’s Interesting because in my opinion: These Businesses should remain completely neutral. It’s one thing for an Owner, CEO, Manager, Employee to form their own opinions, morals, values, and beliefs on their own time… But to speak for an entire Business?! It’s completely unnecessary, but more so a risk that rarely seeks much rewards.


I’m going to be completely honest: Most of these Companies that do put their two cents in on important matters, majority of the time if not all the time is not in good intentions whatsoever. I feel whenever there’s an extremely important matter going on in the world: These Companies use these matters as an opportunity, to hopefully cash in on benefiting in marketing their brand and nothing more. The way a Company thinks nowadays is they feel if they chime their two cents in the discussion, which majority of time is often leaning towards whatever the majority feels and not how they personally feel… They could possibly produce more sales and really nothing more than just that.


The risky part of this business model is the fact companies need to understand: If you’re going to make any kind of statement towards an important matter, you have to be consistent. That’s why there’s a great level of frustration on majority of these companies that put their two cents in, whether they’re for the matter or not for the matter: They know it’s not in good spirits because they’re not consistent, they only put their two cents in when it’s a trending topic so they can benefit from marketing. That’s why this business model is not a really smart way of doing business, as it can only showcase just how phony these companies really are… Look at Ben n Jerry’s being exposed on their stance on Palestine, they never cared about that matter, they just hope to secure sales in their product as a marketing scheme and nothing more. 


It’s such a pure disgraceful way to capitalize off the pain of others or the pain people go through in partaking in these important matters, just to benefit off your own brand… Whatever happened to decency?! That’s why majority of people hate Corporate America and hate big companies: They don’t care about humanity or what goes on in the world, they only care about satisfying their own greed and nothing more than just that.


As we’ve come to see in the last few years: Businesses whom remain completely quiet or neutral on important matters, as their main focus is on customer satisfaction, quality of their service or product… More than often are much more profitable, than companies that do put their two cents in. Why is that?! People would rather support a business to be more focused on their own business, than to shift their focus away from business. No one cares how businesses think about anything going on in the world because it’s completely irrelevant.


I feel I come off as a hypocrite because I talk time to time about important matters, however I’m not speaking for the entire brand of StrictlyFilms, I’m speaking for myself. The only important matter StrictlyFilms is involved with is solely on Mental Health… The only other matter I associated with it was a few charities I helped contributed, but I made a mistake speaking it for the entire brand as I do apologize as I should’ve just spoke for myself.


My advice for Companies going forward: Just shut up and produced a quality product/service. The more focused you’re on the product/service: The more likely you’ll gain great profits, it’s a Win Win situation. Let’s talk about movies!


Goodnight Mommy (2022) Grade: C


In 2014: Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz made their way with a striking, unsettling, and disturbing horror film GoodNight Mommy. Though the film financially didn’t received tremendous wealth, it however received critical and audience acclaimed, as it was a pretty well made horror film that succeeded in storytelling and especially effectiveness in horror. 


2022… An American remake arrives from Amazon Studios?! Why?! I literally had no idea this film existed till the week of, as I was strangely confused this film was made. Considering how well made the original film was… I don’t understand the moral purpose of an American remake existing, other than satisfying those whom are too lazy to read subtitles. Looking at the images of Naomi Watts playing the mother: I wasn’t really looking forward to watching this at all, as I was ready to trash it. Thankfully enough while the original is far more superior, as least this one is tolerable and attempts at being different in a way.


From the looks of Naomi Watts as the mother: I felt alarmed by just how clean her mask looks, not to mention her whole look looks too clean. In the original what made the mother much more effective in terms of creating a disturbing atmosphere, is the way her surgical mask looks and especially facial structure… It feels unsettling to look at, which makes the horror sequences even more disturbing when she’s around. Here in this American remake: It just looks extremely clean, as you don’t get that same unsettling feel like the original, in fact I would say it lacks a sense of effectiveness of feeling frighten by this woman, as she’s nothing more than a crazy lady. You can even say the surgical mask looks more like a robbers mask.


The story at hand changes a little bit compared to the original, as it’s not a shot for shot remake thankfully. However it still lacks in creating an effective horror like atmosphere. What made GoodNight Mommy (2014) appealing to audiences is how disturbing the film felt, how it’s extremely effective in creating a well made psychological experience. 


Here: The horror is barely to be found, other than a couple meh dream like sequences that really don’t do much for anybody if we’re completely honest. While the physiological element is in play, I feel it’s much more explained to the audience, rather the audience think for themselves. Like GoodNight Mommy (2014): You can admire the fact the audience tends to question whether or not if that is their real mother, whether or not the kids have mental issues of their own. Even looking back: I completely was unaware what actually happened, as my mind still was at question in a good way. 


In this film: The film basically tells the audience all the answers they need to know, without actually thinking for themselves, as it’s not as effective physiologically speaking compared to the original. What makes a good psychological horror is the audience continues to question everything around and make theories of their own how they feel might’ve happened, just explaining to the audience is just a lazy way to go around doing it.


I’m at least thankful this wasn’t a shot for shot remake, as a film on it’s own it’s at least not half bad to sit through. But comparing both films: You much prefer the other film, as that film excels on all areas.


Overall, Goodnight Mommy (2022) was just ok.  


The Catholic School Grade: C-


Based around a horrific event known as The Circeo Massacre, we’re introduced to many boys whom go to a Catholic School, as anyone could possibly be the monsters whom partaken in this horrific nightmare.


I guess the main interest of this film perhaps showcases though all these boys go to a well secured school, in which are taught Catholic values: Anyone of them can be the criminal at hand, as it doesn’t secure them as saints. Characters that are introduced have demons of their own, you can have an intelligent geek whom is obsessed with death or an innocent young man whom enjoys playing with a sword, as he plays around having it near his mother. 


There’s also some fairly well thought out dialogue moments, in terms of what dark thoughts these young men encounter going about life. Some of it made clear sense as pretty much any sinner will have to encounter troubling thoughts someday, some of those thoughts can often be triggered by simply having normal human reactions. We don’t justify them as an excuse, but you can understand the turmoil one mind goes through as if they allow the sin to consume them… It can truly turn for the worst.


The film felt extremely unfocused for my taste, as within all these characters introduced, there’s really not much consistency in terms of character development. It’s sprinkled across many characters, as when a character discusses characters faith for the future… You’ve completely forgotten their names and such. I felt more focus should’ve been on the three main monsters whom committed these crimes, rather than have the focus spread around a lot of characters. Even some characters didn’t really make much of a difference to the storyline at all, you understand the choice by the filmmaker, however sometimes characters aren’t worth investing much time to at all.


As a working narrative: It really feels lackadaisical. Sometimes you’re at question simply what is the narrative even about, as at points it feels like a collection of random scenes. Especially when the film highlights a time frame before the facts… Most of the time I kept questioning that whole title sequence throughout. I felt it was setting itself up for a potential court case like situation, where anyone could be the victim, but it turns out at the end… They already caught the criminals at hand, so that whole countdown felt irrelevant.


Overall, The Catholic School was meh. I don’t recommend this film, not only unfocused but it’s also is upsetting in terms of truly disturbing content.


Running the Bases Grade: D


Was on my way to the theater to catch a later afternoon showing of Confess, Fletch when it turns out they took that showing away the day of… So I had settle with this sports film. This film is a fairly low budgeted sports Christian film. Though my religious beliefs do have similarities towards the Christian faith, however these kind of films are hit or miss for me. Even though a good chunk of these films have an important feel good message they would like to spread, sometimes get held up due to filmmaking, acting, or even a not so well written story.


Couple positives to point out with Running the Bases. I actually appreciated the sports coverage this film has to offer, as there is some fairly executed sports sequences that at least entertain the audience a bit. I wish the sports coverage had a better constructed narrative to follow, as what kind of in game situation are we witnessing, but other than that baseball and sports fans will at least appreciate the film at least receiving some fairly done sports coverage.


I felt Luke Brooks (Brett Varvel) developing a prison inmate, teaching him the core values within the Gospel, with a simple yet effective Ace of Spades reference was nicely done. I felt the whole finale sequence was rather touching, had a couple nice heartwarming touching moments.


Running the Bases however follow the same exact problems I fear for these kind of films. The film making quality looked very cheap and amateurish. The acting while isn’t the worst I’ve seen compared to other films of this nature, I can’t help to feel there are some really bad cringe worthy acting moments. There’s one unintentional hilarious moment in the beginning, where a younger Luke receives a scholarship… That whole emotional sequence between him and his mother was so over the top and poorly acted, as I honestly cried laughing which should never happen in a moment like that.


I feel the silliest thing about this entire story for me is what inspires the title Running the Bases. You see: Luke lost his brother due to a heart condition, as before and after a game he runs around the bases in his honor and also paying glory to God as well. Well apparently because one of the leaders of the school district Michael Jamison (Todd Terry) was offended, that Luke gave his son a Bible… Now it’s a criminal offense if one makes a religious gesture on the field. 


I call it silly because Luke is basically getting fined, for literally just running around the bases and nothing more… Do the writers know that there are baseball games, in which the game consists of running around the bases?! If what Luke is doing is a criminal offense: Then that would mean that baseball games are criminal offenses themselves… Do you get what I’m saying?! I felt this whole ordeal is complete insanity and unrealistic, like it’s the goofiest thing I’ve ever seen, like I would just rather have a basic sports story than have that silly element to the table.


Speaking of which: I don’t understand why Luke is mostly in the wrong when it comes to spreading the Gospel. It’s not like Luke is causing a major distraction with his religious beliefs: In fact he’s much more tame, courtesy, and respectful compared to others. He really just speaks about God on a very rare occasion, like I don’t understand why there are people up in the air crying that he’s some kind of problematic person.


While there is a properly development of one getting acquainted with the gospel, there is also an extremely poorly development of one getting into the gospel. It involves Michael’s son, as the way he suddenly gets influenced to follow God… It’s extremely rushed. One doesn’t follow Christ just atomically wants to follow the word, by one reading a couple pages in the Bible… It takes a fair amount of time, practice, while also feeling inspired through experiences.


Length is also an issue, as running on a two hour run time, it should’ve been cut a good thirty minutes or so. They’ll be sequences that drag and drag on, while also this film desperately tends to attempt comedy with unnecessary goofy and awkward sequences… We don’t really need these completely random comedic sequences, just tell a straight forward moving sports story and nothing more for the love of God! 


Overall, Running the Bases wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s simply not a good film. I don’t recommend this film, if you want to watch a great Christian Sports film may I suggest Woodlawn would be the go to. -Mitch Smietana

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