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Movie Review Monday: Super 8



Mike Finkelstein likes to make home movies (no, not like Anthony Weiner or Kim Kardashian, you perverts…).  One day, he said he found something on his footage that everyone had to see!  Suddenly, the Air Force arrived at his house and took him away.  That’s the last anyone ever heard from him. I’m sure he’s fine, but just in case, he thankfully left on the computer his review for “Super 8”

PLOT: A group of young friends circa 1979 decide to make a zombie movie to enter in a film competition.  But when they witness a massive train crash that causes people to go missing and the US Air Force to arrive in their small town, they realize they’re caught in the middle of something much deeper, and the answers may be on the footage they caught with their Super 8 camera.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: SUPER 8 was shrouded in mystery for a very long time.  When its viral marketing campaign started, people were wondering…was it the next CLOVERFIELD?  Was it going to be handheld?  What amazing monsters/crazy science fiction was JJ Abrams going to throw in this time?

What a pleasant surprise to see that it was none of that, but something so much more.  We had a small idea of where we were headed when we got the first full length trailer, but it’s really only when you settle into the theater seat and get about ten minutes in that you get this feeling and longing for a better era of movies.

In a time where films are too often mindless and created just for a quick profit, SUPER 8 creates a tribute…a love letter you could say…not only to vintage Steven Spielberg (it’s crazy to say vintage since the time period was the 1980s, but it really is the truth), but to filmmaking in general.  We see Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney), a young boy who just lost his mother in a factory accident.  Four months later, his father, the Police Department Deputy, is working constantly to escape his grief (classic Spielberg daddy issues).  Joe spends all his time with his friends, trying to help his one friend, Charles, finish his monster movie for a film competition, all while falling for the ‘lead actress’, Alice (Elle Fanning)

And that is where the heart and soul of the film is.  Forget the monster aspect for a minute.  Forget the aliens and the Air Force and one of greatest crash sequences ever put to film.  This is the coming of age story of these children.  We are brought back into the worlds of such classics as ET, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, and THE GOONIES as the group tries to take care of each other and save each other from what is going on in their small home town, and it is absolutely beautiful.

Now, remember, you wouldn’t be able to have all this if it weren’t for the tween actors.  I dare you to name another movie in the past decade that was so beautiful acted by an ensemble of preteens (and no, I don’t count Miley Cyrus or any Disney brat acting).  Joel Courtney came to Los Angeles to visit his brother, and hopefully land a commercial audition that would get him $100.  He left that state with SUPER 8, and rightfully so.  He has all the emotions and presence of any other actor in that movie, child or adult.  Elle Fanning may only be 13, but the girl definitely has her sister’s talent, especially in one of the more beautiful scenes between her and Courtney, as Courtney watches her act (I couldn’t stop smiling at their cuteness).  I have to mention Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Zach Mills, and Gabriel Basso, because each and every one of them added a layer of friendship and innocence without which this movie wouldn’t have been what it was.  If there is any proof that you are born with talent, it is in this group of six.

As for the man behind it all: JJ Abrams brought us “Lost”  He created a gripping, insane monster movie with CLOVERFIELD, and the best MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE out of the entire series.  The man has a vision for everything he does, and it comes through here as well.  The imagery and landscape is absolutely beautiful, and there are so many storylines to squeeze in, from both Joe and Alice’s fathers’ issues with their kids and each other to all the kids’ relationships, and yet he’s able to do it all without it feeling forced or strained.  Spielberg said in an interview that he feels it isn’t fair that SUPER 8 is being called “Spielbergian”, because this is Abrams’ moment and revelation.  While it may be a testament to Abrams’ talent to get that comparison, Spielberg is still right.

The only minor issues that I would say I had with SUPER 8 had to do with the monster.  I can’t give too much away, but I’ll just say that it seemed too…CLOVERFIELD-ish.  Maybe this was intentional (i.e. INDIANA JONES 4 and the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS aliens), or maybe I’m jaded from seeing CLOVERFIELD, but because of that, I couldn’t feel any remorse.  Add on some pretty violent moments that I don’t think I would have ever expected from ET (hell, they changed out all the guns for walkie-talkies in that one!), and it throws you off a bit.  Was I expecting something cuter?  Not sure.  Was I biased, thinking of it as a Spielberg movie when I shouldn’t have?  Maybe…I just wasn’t expecting something so mean looking.

Overall, though, SUPER 8 delivered big time.  It came a long way from what we originally thought it would be, and that is okay, because it became something so much more.  The young cast is enthralling, the backdrop is beautiful, and we walk out of there wishing that every movie of today would have that same sense of depth and heart.  And while Steven may not want it to be thought of as “Spielbergian”, after watching it, you’ll feel like the film belongs on your shelf right next to ET and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS.


Mike’s LIKES:

1) THROWBACK TO AMBLIN: For anyone who has grown up seeing ET, THE GOONIES and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, this brings you right back with its nostalgia.  This is a love letter to Spielberg, and it’s done magnificently and with the same heart and soul that we experienced twenty years ago.

2) CHILDREN ACTORS: The rule in Holly wood is never to work with animals or children.  Here, we don’t just have children, but five very fine actors who bring some wonderful emotion to their roles.  Each one deserves a mention of their own.

3) SO MANY STORYLINES AND IT ALL FIT: There has been a major problem recently (especially in superhero movies) of overcrowding a film.  Here, it’s actually remarkable how many storylines and side notes are fit in, and each one is given ample time to breathe and be fleshed out.  Only from Spielberg.

4) DAVID GALLAGHER: I knew I recognized him!!  Simon from “7th Heaven” is a pot head, horny hippie!  It’s hilarious!


1) FLESH OUT THE MONSTER: I can’t say much, but let’s just say that with so much back story for the monster, I would have loved to see him with the kids a little more to show a personality.  Also, he looked remarkably close to the CLOVERFIELD alien…

2) GRAPHIC DEATHS: For an Amblin movie with this subject (again, can’t give away much), there were some pretty graphic death scenes in here.  Even I was surprised that it seemed more science fiction than family oriented…


1) This was Joel Courtney’s first acting role.  He traveled to Los Angeles to visit his brother, hoping to get a commercial and $100, and ended up landing this part.

2) Elle Fanning is actress Dakota Fanning’s younger sister.


The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst



Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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Priest Accidentally Forgets To Turn Off Filters Before Live Streaming Mass



The internet is having a field day with the innocent mistake of biblical proportions.

With new social distancing guidelines, many churches have closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And while that doesn’t justify all the wine you’ve been chugging during your self quarantine, it does have many people practicing their faith from their homes. One Italian priest was just trying to recite a little prayer for his followers when he accidentally left a filter feature on during the broadcast! In the clip the priest is digitally adorned with a space helmet, workout gear, a fedora and sunglasses and more.

Social media went nuts for the video, which has now gone viral. One comment reads “He just doubled his holy power.” Another reads “Father, Son and Holy Influencer.” One commenter couldn’t resist a good pun and said the video is having a “Mass effect.”

Enjoy your daily blessing and take a look at the funny video below!


Priest in Italy live streams mass, activates filters by mistake from r/funny

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Danny DeVito Passionately Urges New Yorkers To Stay Home…And Twitter Agrees!



For the love of Danny DeVito, stay home!

The world is in a dark place right now and I am not sure how much more bad news we can handle. That’s why when I saw Danny DeVito’s name trending on Twitter I froze. Our great nation could very well crumble if anything bad was to happen to such an icon right now. With extreme trepidation I clicked on the social media link and was relieved to see that good ol’ Danny boy is just strumming up hype because he is passionately urging New Yorkers to stay home.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been driving New Yorkers to stay home and has taken every precaution short of shutting the state down completely to help prevent the virus from spreading. Because New Yorkers can be hard headed, it doesn’t hurt to have some famous friends reiterate your message. Big names like Lala Anthony, Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller have all made appearances on Cuomo’s social media pleading with New Yorker’s to heed the governors warning. Only one celebrity was able to make it to Twitter’s trending page however and that was none other than Danny DeVito. DeVito’s message is simple…stay home! In the two minute video, DeVito reminds fans that it’s not just up to the elderly to isolate themselves. “Young people can get it and they can transmit it to old people and the next thing you know – I’m out of there” says the actor. We must save him!

Twitter went into a frenzy with many users agreeing that we need to stay home for Danny. One user wrote “When Danny speaks, I listen.” Another passionately wrote “If you idiots kill Danny DeVito I SWEAR TO GOD.” One promoted DeVito from the icon status I previously awarded him and said “WE GOTTA PROTECT WORLD TREASURE DANNY DeVITO.” 

Take a look at the video below and for the love of the newly minted national treasure, stay home!


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