“Sorry to Bother You” is an amazing film. It has elements of Terry Gilliam in how the reality that is presented is warped, giving scenes a surreal feel. This is Boots’s first major film and I love how he takes a surreal approach to everything. It follows the feel of a Gilliam film like “Brazil” or “The Fisher King,” where a character down on his luck is put through a warped hell and comes out of it transformed in some way. The pervasive sense of wrongness and fear that is always on the edges is another part of Gilliam’s films that “Sorry to Bother You” has emulated well. These aspects are essentially what happens here, but add analysis of race, class and privilege. It is Boots Riley’s first film (he also wrote as well as directed it) so I’m curious to see what he does in the future. If his other films are anything like this, I’ll be a fan. This is easily one of the best films I’ve seen this year.
The story follows Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield), who takes a job as a telemarketer in order to pay the bills. He soon rises in the job when he adopts a “White Voice.” His bosses take advantage of the fact that his friends and girlfriend Detroit (Tess Thompson) are part of a protest group called “The Left Eye,” leaving him with a choice of joining his activist friends or becoming part of the greater conspiracy, which he soon discovers runs much deeper and is more twisted than he ever expected.
The Cinematography – This is a beautiful film. Color is used as a theme and from it there are many scenes that feel dreamlike when the colors are bright and vibrant. When there is danger or tension things go dark and the colors become muted or draped in a sickly pale light. This is how it is when Cash is among the wealthy in the WorryFree CEO’s home. The bright colors are muted and darkness covers everything. Doug Emmett did a great job.
Passing and Voice – A major theme of the film is the idea of passing and privilege. Cash moves up when he starts using the “White Voice.” In the film David Cross is dubbed over Lakeith Stanfield. He does this on the phone when telemarketing and the higher ups notice as the whole point of Telemarketing was finding people who could make the calls for war and exploitation on a global scale. The higher ups are nearly all white males illustrating privilege, and the only way Cash and other people of color can pass with the higher ups is speaking with their white voice. The way it is described by one of Cash’s coworker Langston (Danny Glover) is talk like you don’t have a care in the world. All your bills are paid and you don’t need the money, you’ve never been fired, only let go. It expressed privilege so well and the mentality behind the mindset of not having to care about anyone except yourself.
The Characters – The characters are what makes this film work the most. Cash is a guy who hasn’t had a successful job ever, so the temptation of moving up is easy to see him take. He’s in an existentialist crisis questioning what it means to live and who he is, and when the rat race of power is offered, it is easy to see why he would take it. Tessa Thompson’s Detroit is also shown to be more complicated than the revolutionary artist, as during her show she adopts a British “White Voice” among clients as she sells her work. Yeun’s character Squeeze is also amazing as well as the revolutionary who cares about Cash but is also trying to get with his girlfriend showing that his heart might be in the right place with the other Telemarketers and unionizing but he’s still a sleaze. I loved how they all played off each other and the Corporate bosses were fun in their obliviousness or sociopathy. Armie Shammer as the main antagonist and CEO of WorryFree is especially creepy in how he is charismatic and unhinged.
The Degrading Nature of Reality T.V. – One of the running realities of the world of “Sorry to Bother You,” is a show called “I Got the S#*@ Kicked Out of Me!” The show is in the style of Maury or any of the other countless competition shows where the contest gets humiliated in a physical and degrading way. Cassius goes through the show to reveal the conspiracy behind the corporation WorryFree that tricks people into lifetime contracts where they are provided food and shelter but have to work on site and have their freedom and agency given up. They are being used for more nefarious means that Cash finds when the CEO of the Corporation wants him to be their agent among the protests.
The Exploitation of Labor – Another core message of the film is that those with power and privilege don’t care about the workers, and there are systems in place to keep that it going. From the trap of the golden elevator and being able to “support” protests without ever having to join or speak up. Cash is offered this choice that he takes it. The conspiracy that is revealed is that the workers are being transformed into Horse People (equisapiens) so that they will be stronger more efficient workers. Cash is even turned into one when the CEO wants him to be their MLK and trick the species into following WorryFree’s will. The system doesn’t hold at the end after Cash free’s the equisapiens and the protestors are attacked by the police. At the end, we never see if the telemarketers ever got greater rights, tying the fight to modern day with the seeking of rights for workers and the fight against labor exploitation.
This is a film that I’d highly recommend. It is easily one of the best films of the year. I have a spot for surrealist films and films with a point. “Sorry to Bother You,” accomplishes both and is a beautiful film with complicated characters. I can’t wait to see what else Boots Riley creates, as he truly has an eye for cinema and is an extremely talented writer. I love a film with layers and depth that not only are entertaining but have something meaningful to say. Boots Riley is an activist and that comes out in this story, and he does it in a creative way that elevates the piece beyond more than just entertainment. I really enjoyed the final twist as well, which I will not spoil here. Seriously, check this film out.
Final Score: 9.8 / 10 Only reason it wasn’t perfect (though it gets close) is that the ending kind of tapers off and the transformation that Cash goes through from a man in crisis to high on privilege is a bit fast. If it had been a more gradual transformation the film would have been perfect.
“The Lobster” is a film that could have been a favorite film had it been more succinct, knew more clearly what it was trying to say and had cut some of it’s scenes down. It isn’t a bad film but the longer the film went on the less I liked it. It started out great and by the end was merely good. The whole idea of critiquing courtship, love and relationships is really cool, and there was so many ways this film could have worked. Non-spoiler thoughts, it is worth checking out, it just isn’t great, it is only good.
The film was directed by Yorgos Lanthimos who also was one of the writers and producers. The other co-writer was Ethymis Filippou and the other producers were Ed Guiney, Ceci Dempsey and Lee Magiday.
The film takes places in a dystopian future in which all people must be in a marriage or else they are transformed into animals. They also hunt the loners a rebel group who lives outside the hotel. The story follows David (Colin Farrell) who finds himself single when his wife leaves him for another man forcing him to find a partner in 45 days or else he’ll be transformed into the animal he chose, a lobster.
The Pros: The World – The world is cool and left me with questions…what lead the world to become only run so that marriage is what matters over all else? The idea that people could be transformed into animals is really cool as well and the film does a good job showing that presentation (and leaving the question open if the transformations ever really happened). So there is a lot to like about the world.
The Premise – A person having 45 days to find a partner is a fascist dsystopian world is an interesting one. There is so much you can do with it.
The Cinematography – The cinematography is a beautiful and does a great job giving the film a modern feel but also an older feel too, which is the nature of dystopia. This is the future but has reverted to a twisted version of the past.
The Characters – The characters are interesting and most of them manage to be 3 Dimensional even though their names present them as concepts.
Lisping Man – John C. Reilly is good at non-comedic roles! In this he plays the Lisping Man who is insecure because of his lisp and wants to fit in to the group. He is punished for masturbating at one point and has to put his hand in the toaster when it is turned on. It is implied he is changed into an animal as he would have been punished after David steals his stuff when he hunting David after David has become a loner.
Hotel Manager – Olivia Coleman makes a wonderful villain. She is empathetic and harsh and in the end meets her own tragic end when her husband claims to love her but shows he will shoot her if it means his survival, destroying their relationship which was the plot of the Loner’s Leader.
Heartless Woman – The Heartless Woman is a great antagonist as she kills David’s dog that belonged his brother and we see her cruel to all those around her. She is transformed at the end so is given a just end.
Loner Leader – The Loner Leader is driven to destroy all relationships (except her parents). I never got her motivation as it seems her and the Maid are together at one point, but then she kills her to keep control over the Short Sighted Woman…I liked her as a character but her lack of motivation was a con.
the Maid – I liked the Maid. She saves David from the Hotel and works with the Loners, even though their leader has the Short Sighted Woman kill her to keep control over the Short Sighted Woman. I got her motivation though, she was in an abusive relationship that society kept her in, the Loners were her out.
Short Sighted Woman – Rachel Weisz is a good actress and is pretty intense in this where she communicates in commands at first but grows to have communication through eyes and hand signals with David when they are getting around the Loner rules about no relationships. She is blinded by the Loner Leader at one point which leads David to rescuing. I hated that she had her agency taken away and never had a name as she was the one telling the story and is set up to be David’s equal.
David – Colin Farrell is a pretty fantastic actor. In this he is a bigger awkward guy who doesn’t get people but shows he will do anything to have connection and to survive…to a point. At the end we never know if he stabs his eyes with the butcher’s knife to stab his own eyes out so he and the Short Sighted Woman can be blind together.
When Commonality Leaves in Relationship – All the relationships are based on past commonality or false commonality (one person creates bloody noses on himself so he can be with a girl who actually has that problem). I think that is the need for connection and how commonality is that first step. This plays it to it’s absurdest conclusion.
The Awkwardness of Courtship – The awkward courtships show how people will work in any social environment no matter how unhealthy (the loners and the hotel) to find and be with someone and how it is awkward within the confines of communication allowed and on the dependence of commonality in order to communicate.
The Cons: The Pacing – The pacing was all over the place. Some scenes lingered way too long, at one point after the Hotel it feels like it should be over and other scenes are short like when the Short Sighted Woman and David get together. This film needed a better editor.
The Ending – Does he cut out his eyes or not? If they want to leave it ambiguous, why not when he escapes the Hotel since the Short Sighted Woman serves no purpose within her own agency.
The Narrator – The narrator interjections from the Short Sighted Woman were annoying at times. I kept looking for the character but she doesn’t actually appear for a long time.
The Short Sighted Woman’s Story and Dis-empowerment of a Lead – This character is made blind and everything she does is for David. At times it looks like she wants to escape because she has a desire to do so but that stops after she is blinded. She is someone who has been out in the wilderness a lot longer, she deserved to have more of an identity that didn’t revolve around David.
This was a good film but the cons eventually overwhelmed everything else. A more powerful concept film could have achieved the same purpose in a lot less time. A perfect ending would have been him escaping the hotel and leaving the rest up to mystery as even the Short Sighted Woman is never given name, even though she is the narrator and seems to be set up as a main character when we see that she is a loner and can give that perspective…that never happens though because she is more concerned telling David’s story, and as great of job as Colin Farrell does, detached characters can only give so much before they become boring. His character eventually suffers from this due to pacing. I would still recommend this film though, for what it is, it is worth checking out.
Final Score: 8.3 / 10
The Coen Brothers continue to make gold. This film is a really good satire that isn’t as great as some of their older films, but still would easily make my Top 10 Films of the Year (whether it’d make Top 5 remains to be seen). This is a film that captures the Coen Brothers’ humor, western feel and detachment that makes up so many of their films. It also does a great job illustrating the craft of making a film and all the art and messyness that goes into it as it explores it through the lens of Hollywood’s “Golden Era” during the 1950s.
The film was written, directed and produced by Joel and Ethan Coen with the other producers being Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.
The story involves Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) the head of Production at Capitol Pictures and the drama of the life he lives as his star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) of “Hail, Caesar” is kidnapped, the pregnancy of one of his star actresses DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johansson) and two rival gossip column sisters Thora and Thessely (Tilda Swinton) which puts the choice Lockheed Martin is offering him as an out into perspective as he must make a choice to take the offer or stay with Capitol.
The Pros: The Cinematography – The cinematography is beautiful as old style ways of filming are captured…whether it is the epic open shots of the Roman Epic “Hail, Caesar” or the small black and white of the comedy western Doyle is in, or the stark, sterile large rooms of a Laurence production. Roger Deakins truly does a fantastic job.
The Soundtrack – The soundtrack is amazing too. Just like with the cinematography all the different styles of 1950’s films are captured. From the epic trumpets of “Hail, Caesar” or the more action adventure of Doyle’s western. Carter Burwell did a great job once again.
The Writing – The Coen Brothers are great writers and though there is a narrator we never see narrating the life of Mannix, it never interferes with the story going on. We are shown and not told most of what happens and that is part of what makes the brothers so great at what they do, as the script is usually the strongest part of their films.
The Characters – The Characters are easily the strongest part of the film. This film was really well cast and each of the side characters has their moment to shine at different points.
Laurence Laurentz – Ralph Fiennes is wonderful as an uptight director doing Victorian style films who has to use Doyle, a cowboy with a very strong accent as the star of his show. Over the course of his scenes you see him slowly lose control of his calm nature and finally explode at Mannix before keeping Doyle to only two lines to make the film work. He really is a fun character.
Thora and Thessely – These two (both played by Swinton) are a lot of fun as they reveal the underbelly of everything and the drama. They have a relationship with Mannix too in that he does throw them bones to keep scandals from getting out of hand. I wish we could have seen what got them into the circuit as they are both extremely driven.
Baird Whitlock – George Clooney plays the naive star who gets kidnapped by a communist cell of writers and comes around to their way of thinking. He’s an example of the pseudo-intellectual (like many cell) except he’s largely an idiot and you get the idea he’s doing what he’s doing for the attention as him going on benders and getting into trouble is a huge part of his character. He gets his act back together though after Doyle rescues him and Mannix knocks some sense to him as we see that all he really wants is to be a star (and the attention that comes with it).
Hobie Doyle – Alden plays Doyle who was a rodeo guy who was picked up by Mannix and when he got the chance to sing became the star of westerns. He’s a kind and naive guy like Baird but also serious about his work. He doesn’t make it out of being in the westerns and he likes it that way as it gives him a chance to celebrate the western background he comes from. He’s the hero of the picture besides Mannix as he is the one who finds Whitlock and brings him back to the studio.
Joseph Silverman – Jonah Hill is awesome as the no-nonsence fixer who is a legal person so that Moran can get legal control over her child. They end up falling in love though as she’s tough and he fits what she wants in a man as they get married and leave the child behind and send it into foster care.
DeeAnna Moran – Johansson is awesome in this role and I wish we’d spent more time with her. She doesn’t care about anyone but herself and is a huge diva but in the end finds love with the most un-person person, showing that there is more to her too, though she is still extremely selfish and the character we’ve known all along as she has her child go into foster care rather than raising it. I wish we could have got more of her backstory. She steals every scene she’s in.
Eddie Mannix – Josh Brolin plays are main guy who is a rough manager facing a choice of stability with Lockheed or the chaos of the studios and making pictures. In the end he stays as he loves the challenge of it and feels he is main for it as he is made to be the Christ Figure as he is born in light (Film) and will live forever because of it. He is a smooth operator and is able to fix everything, which in the end we learn is why he likes to do it so much. It’s difficult but he’s good at it.
The Satire of Hollywood – The satire is in layers, whether it is the sisters focusing on stupid actor pairings and hookups, the communist cell intellectuals are aren’t changing anything and just hanging out in a vacationesque home and how every film we see captures the hammyness of those early productions where everything was big and overdramatic.
The Celebration of Hollywood – The very things that are being satired are celebrated too as the humanity of characters is shown. “Hail, Caesar” is a film I would watch as it has heart to it and the overdramaticness fits the film, same with the westerns that are played largely for comedy but find something more sometimes. In each thing being satired there is a celebration of the arts and film and this is shown the most when Mannix chooses Capitol Pictures of Lockheed (Where the guy kept insulting films as useless and a dying industry), making this one of the biggest love letters to the art of cinema and Hollywood’s past and present.
The Cons: Pacing – At times it goes really slow and this really hurts the overall quality of the production and keeps it from rising higher.
The Communist Cell – I felt that these guys weren’t explored as well as they could have been. They were a group of intellectuals who never got beyond that and that was a shame given that they kidnapped a person because of their beliefs.
More Character Exploration – If the script had been tighter we could have explored more of these characters more. In my opinion Manix is one of the weaker characters of the story and because the focus is on him we lose sight of the fascinating characters like Moran or the Sisters who had a lot more potential to be explored within the confines of the script.
This was a solidly great film and well worth checking out. It isn’t the greatest of the Coen Brothers films but it doesn’t need to be. Within the confines of the story it explores all the themes and characters it means to and it presents it beautifully through the soundtrack and cinematography. This is a film well worth your time and I’m glad that this was the film that kicks off my film reviews for the films of 2016.
Final Score: 9.2 / 10
“BoJack Horseman’ Season 2 is a masterpiece. The lack of focus during the first 1/3 of Season 1 isn’t there and all our characters have arcs and we get to know what motivates them more. The darkness in our characters never leaves either, but we get moments of hope that show the other side of being alive. It’s easily one of my favorite Seasons of a show and I am really excited to see what they do in Season 3. Raphael Bob-Waksberg really created an amazing show.
The story picks up with BoJack starring in “Secretariat” but in turn finding the ugly underbelly of making a film as well as his own demons rising to the surface as he plays a character so much like himself. Elsewhere an old flame comes back into Princess Carolyn’s life and Diane has the chance to take her writing around the world to help people. Throughout it all old phantoms return as characters discover they can’t go back to the way things were.
The Pros: The Animation – The animation continues to be top notch, especially in the scene that they show as a continuous shot before Mr. Peanutbutter begins his new show.
The Soundtrack – Jesse Novak continues to make a great soundtrack that so greatly expresses the sadness and intensity our characters are going through. It manages to be apathetic but let us feel at the same time.
The Writing – The writing is fantastic! The depths of our characters are explored and we get to know more of why they are the way they are. BoJack and the main cast get the best development but there are even some amazing minor characters whose motivations and desires we come to know and understand.
The Characters – Outside of the themes and writing, the characters have always been the strongest part of this show and this season does away with a lot of the references to actually explore our characters and really show what it is they want out of their situations.
Beatrice Horseman – Beatrice’s mom says she’s sorry. It doesn’t change how abusive she is but her having some level of responsibility is powerful (she calls BoJack after his book comes out). It’s powerful and she expresses the brokenness of BoJack and the cast so well as we see how broken she’s been her entire life as well. Wendie Malick did a fantastic job!
Rutabaga Rabbitowitz – Rutabaga is the highly ambitious character who doesn’t want to face consequences. He’s a smart and nice guy but he uses Princess Carolyn as a mistress and never divorces his wife even when he promised to do it when he and Carolyn would make their own Agency. He faces the consequences though as Carolyn sets down boundaries and leaves him leaving him to pick up the pieces of his own life.
J.D. Salinger – Salinger fakes his death in this universe and ends up being pulled into network television and it is awesome! He comes up with a reality show where celebrities are mocked and the depths of humanity can be explored which leads to BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter fighting verbally and in turn revealing BoJack’s envy of him and his pride. Alan Arkin was perfectly cast for the voice actor.
Herb Kazzaz – Stanley Tucci gives a lot of life to this fascinating character who we see as the idealist man making a show, to screwed by the studio and BoJack and dying of cancer…but we see moments of joy with him, BoJack and Charlotte and when they were all young and hadn’t been eaten up by Hollywoo and changed or moved on from Hollywoo (Charlotte). His funeral is a major episode as it turns out his book he was writing sucked so his friends decide to keep it unpublished to save his legacy.
Wanda – Wanda is BoJack’s girlfriend for a while as she was in a coma for 30 years so she has no idea who he was so she treats him like she would anyone else. Things don’t go well though as she is committed and loves what she does while BoJack is listless and she is caring while he is always lashing out which eventually leads to her dumping him. She was a great character. She works in television and producing shows for the network and is an owl.
Kelsey Jannings – Kelsey is the director to “Secretariat” and she is awesome! She has no patience for BoJack but they actually do connect at times and we see she is a pretty great hardcore feminist and makes great art but when she tries to tell a great story with the film, the studio comes down on her and fires her. I hope we see her character again though, she helped BoJack face himself and to use his craft to grow.
Todd – Todd is Todd. He has more adventures in this, from making his own Disneyland and eventually leaving to join a Improv Group that is also a cult that he ends up being rescued from by BoJack as Todd is the one good part of BoJack’s life and the one time he did something good for someone else and it wasn’t for any ulterior reason.
Princess Carolyn – Princess Carolyn really gets her direction in this as we see her leave “Vincent Adultman” when his charade of being an adult stops working as he tries to be Vincent’s son and Vincent and after Rutabaga comes back into her life looks beyond her job where she’s under appreciated. Her arc is complete when she prevents Rutabaga from doing the same things and kicks him out of the new agency when his emotional blackmail tendencies become apparent to her and the fact that he isn’t going to leave his wife for her and never planned on doing so. Amy Sedaris is great.
Charlotte – Olivia Wilde plays BoJack’s old friend who he was interested in but moved on and now has a family and life in New Mexico. When he tries to get with her she lays down the boundaries clearly and after kicks him out when BoJack tries to get with her daughter. She is tough in this and gives us some great wisdom too as she makes BoJack aware of the tar within himself and that we always carry that with us. You don’t mess with Charlotte and if BoJack contacts her or her family again, he’s dead.
Mr. Peanutbutter – Mr. Peanutbutter’s arc is really finding his self-respect as we see in flashbacks that his past wife was abusive. We also see how supportive he is too and even though he and Diane clash at times (he does things for her and for himself in regards to parties and big events and always goes big) but that at the end of the day he just wants to be with her and that the shows and things he does are just ways to keep busy, since for him life is pointless and we all die but if we keep things interesting it isn’t so bad. He also confronts BoJack over his kissing of Diane last season and forgives BoJack for his envy and the kiss. Mr. Peanutbutter really grows as a character and is shown to be one of the most stand up guys in the series along with Princess Carolyn and Kelsey Jennings.
Diane – Diane goes abroad to help in a war torn nation and tell an eccentric billionaire’s story after she isn’t used at all in the film “Secretariat” and finds that she it isn’t for her as the billionaire’s ego is too large and the events are way too traumatic. This leads to her living with BoJack and lying to Mr. Peanutbutter about what she’s doing. It’s sad and we see what happens when your dream isn’t what you expect. BoJack helps her get her life together though as when he returns to New Mexico he begins cleaning up his life and tells her she should too. We see her in her darkest here as she is drunk and high all the time watching “Horsin’ Around.” It’s sad but she gets out of it and finds a job working on the media side for Princess Carolyn.
BoJack – BoJack like Diane discovers “Secretariat” is not what he expected, especially when the Studio drastically changes the story and fires Diane, leading to him leaving the set, being dumped by Wanda for being a dick and going to New Mexico to try and get together with Charlotte as being with her was the last time he was happy. It doesn’t work and he messes up big when he takes advantage of her daughter by not setting boundaries and we see just how broken BoJack is. In the end he returns to Hollywoo and rescues Todd as he discovers Todd was the one person he did something nice for for no other reason than to be nice. He also starts working on himself and begins running and we’re left with the possibility that things can get easier. He is also being asked to be in a New York play from someone he knows from his past.
Dreams are not Always What They Seem – For both Diane and BoJack the dreams they had where not what they expected. For Diane she found she wasn’t cut out to be abroad in war torn areas of the world and for BoJack he wanted to be in a story that was actually good, which wasn’t “Secretariat” after the studio changed it. He also discovers this again when his dream of being with Charlotte is shown to be a delusion that is only hurting himself and those around him. You can’t go back to what’s already happened.
You Can Never Go Back – This is a huge theme and really defines BoJack’s life in a big way as he tries to be friends with Herb after 20 years of no contact, he tries to get together with Charlotte and run away and finds that doesn’t work either. He is always trying to run backwards but it only leads to more pain because time didn’t stop, only he did.
Everyone Is Broken – Everyone on this show is broken, even Mr. Peanutbutter who has huge insecurities and has been in past abusive relationships (and can be super passive aggressive). The characters who are wise have made peace with this like Kesley or integrated it like Charlotte and Carolyn by the end. The rest are just trying to get by ignoring it or running from it.
Things Get Easier – The season ends with a runner telling a collapsed BoJack that it get’s easier. This is the bright moment in the series and shows that in all the brokenness and despair it can get easier to face and to deal.
This is one of the best seasons of television and I’m really excited to see what Netflix does for Season 3. If you like dark and powerful shows, this is the show for you. The characters are complex and interesting and feel real. There weren’t really any cons this season since enough minor characters were major in regards to the plot and explored that they balanced out the joke characters. The themes are also powerful and timeless too and show even in things being difficult and hard and dreams not being all they are cracked up to be, that things get easier. Living gets easier, and sometimes that’s enough.
Final Score: 10 / 10
“The Wedding Squanchers” is a powerful ending to a good season. In this we get to know a lot of the characters and have one of the most powerful endings to any animated show. Next season feels so far away. I also finished watching this on the same date in the future that The Doc and Marty traveled to in “Back to the Future Part 2” it just took a while for me to have the time to update the reviews. “Back to Future” inspired this show as Morty is like a younger and less innocent Marty and Rick is very much a more unhinged sociopathic Doc Brown.
The story involves the wedding of Bird Person and Tammy and all that comes out of it when it is revealed that Tammy is an agent sent to bring down Bird Person, Rick and all his friend’s the Federation considers terrorists. The Smiths must make their escape.
The Pros: The Wedding – The Wedding is wonderful and all of Bird Person’s colorful friends are present. The wedding ends in tragedy though revealing Rick once again being right on Weddings being just like a funeral.
Tammy – Tammy reveals she’s been an undercover agent the entire time and even manages to nearly capture Rick. It is only Squanchy getting Squanched that manages to defeat her but we still don’t know if she’s dead or not. Honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she is still alive.
Bird Person – Bird Person has been through some heavy stuff and was a pretty lonely guy. I think that is how Tammy was able to take advantage of him in the first place as it was at a party where everyone was getting drunk and Bird Person was probably dealing with some major PTSD from all he’d been through. R.I.P. Bird Person. You will be missed.
Squanchy – Squanchy rocks! In this we see him get Squanched and help save the Smith’s. The Wedding takes place on his world too. The guy is a major stand up guy. I hope he survived Tammy’s betrayal.
Beth – Beth is going through a lot of loss in this as we see how Rick leaving her has left her broken and selfish to the point that she isn’t able to listen to Bird Person sharing some pretty traumatic stuff. By the end of the episode she is broken as Rick is gone from her life again.
Morty – Morty is pretty aware in this as we see him reach out for Rick to stay since he knows how it will affect Beth as well as himself. He is really great in this even though he isn’t core except for the end.
Rick – Rick is a good guy in this…he goes to his friend’s wedding and loses him and we see why is so detached and bitter…and in the end he turns himself in to save his family…showing that at the end of the day Rick has good. Free Rick!
The Ending – Nine Inch Nails’s song “Hurt” plays over Rick turning himself in and being put in a high security cell. It is so sad as Morty and Beth are especially feeling the pain of Rick being gone while Jerry is happy to be given a government issued job and Summer is numb.
Jerry and Summer – These two are just victims and don’t really do anything to help or hinder Rick’s choices as in the end we see that his decision came from love and not guilt.
This was a great episode and easily the best episode of the season. Rick turning himself in and the death of Bird Person were actually sad events…our time with these characters has made us care about them and we still get wonderful dark comedy and action inbetween. This is part of why this show is so great.
Final Score: 9.6 / 10
Poor Morty, such good intentions but unaware of the deadly consequences of some of his actions as he doesn’t know galactic politics or how other species view humans or organics. This episode really shows what happens when Rick isn’t around to keep Morty in check (where we usually see the reverse being the case) and it is a lot of fun, though the next episode is better.
The story is about how Morty saves a gas being that adopts the name “Fart” and the consequences of that as they try and get it home. Jerry was also aboard the space ship as it was when Morty was learning to fly it and he is left at the Jerry Day Care that Rick’s set up for Jerrys in order to keep them safe.
The Pros: The Jerrys – The Jerrys are funny as they choose to stay in the day care and our Jerry does too after the outside world is too confusing and frightening. They are interchangeable too as at the end two get mixed up but the point is made that it doesn’t really matter. All Jerrys are the same in the end.
Blips & Chitz – This is an arcade that is a lot of fun as you have the chance to live a fake life and make choices for your character and the game ends when you die and you are graded on the choices you make. Morty chose to go back to his father’s job while Rick takes his character off the radar. It looked like an amazingly fun arcade.
The Fart – The Fart gives Morty happy trips but in the end wants to destroy organic life as it’s species sees organic life as a virus that needs to be exterminated (whether it sees Morty as an exception is never stated) leading to Morty finally killing it.
Rick – Rick just wants to have a good time and has a lot of fun at the arcade while berating Morty for his stupid decision the rest of the episode. In this we see how aware he is of other aliens most likely being threat if they are under security.
Morty – Morty learns a hard lesson in this that he doesn’t always know the situation of what is going on as the Fart he saves plans on exterminating all organic life once he takes it to the portal back to it’s dimension. This leads to him killing it and realizing just how much he doesn’t know.
The Cons: The Assassin and Rick the Weapons Dealer – Could have been developed more. It was great he loved to kill and seemed like a fun guy but they set him up to be a lot more than a one-off character. Rick being a weapons dealer is not fully explored either, which is a shame as the show usually goes into depth when issues like that are brought up.
This was a good but not great episode as the fact that Rick is a weapons dealer is never fully explored nor the assassin he sells the weapon too (who seemed like an interesting character). The episode would have almost worked better just staying at Blips & Chitz as the story potential behind the different games would have been extensive.
Final Score: 8 / 10
“A Rickle in Time” kicks off Season 2 and actually stands really strong on it’s own. In this we get a glimpse of Rick’s good side as well as giving us the full consequence of what happens when you mess with time. It’s really well done.
The story involves Rick, Summer and Morty dealing with the consequence of time being frozen as it fractures around them leading to them possibly being erased from reality while Jerry hits a deer facing Beth and Jerry to solve the issue and deal with Beth’s control issues.
The Pros: Fourth Dimensional Beings – These guys are in charge of policing time and it is one of them who gives Summer, Morty and Rick the collars they eventually use to escape back to reality. They have sentient guns and are powerless without the guns as one is beaten by Rick, though they are immortal so even if they are beaten they cannot die.
Summer – Summer deals with not being Rick’s favorite (no one is) and we see that she is as much part of the adventure as Morty now as she is the first to escape the collapse.
Morty – Morty nearly dies in this but Rick risks his life to save him helping Morty realize that deep inside Rick really does care…which further develops his relationship to his grandfather.
Beth – Beth deals with her perfectionist tendencies as she does everything to save the deer Jerry hits. In this we see her learn to let go when the only way to save the deer is to admit she is wrong and not qualified, though she can’t the chance to save the deer in the end and succeeds.
Jerry – Jerry’s cowardice is shown (he says if the police ask Beth should be blamed since his Ice Cream was Rum Raisin) but we see he can be smart as he gets some guys and fakes a Federal law to get the deer away from a hunter and his lawyer. Jerry really comes through as a good guy in the end.
Rick – Rick’s selfishness is on full display (him trying to kill his grandkids and himself) to his selflessness (risking his life to save Morty) showing just how complex he is and the fact that he is growing and does care about Summer and Morty, even if he denies it.
This is an episode that really kicks off Season 2 on a high note and is well worth checking out. The character moments are awesome and all the family members get some sort of development. The animation is also in top form as is the comedy per usual.
Final Score: 9 / 10
“Rick and Morty” is a show I highly recommend and after I finished Season 1 I started watching Season 2 so there will be more reviews later on in this amazing animated dark comedy sci. fi. The characters have depth and get developed over time and no matter how dark the show goes, it never stops having fun. Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon created a wonderful show and I’ll go into more depth on what I enjoyed about Season 1 and where it fell short.
The Pros: The Comedy – The comedy is hilarious! There are some brilliant satires in episodes (“Lawnmower Dog” satirizing both “Planet of the Apes,” “Inception” and “Friday the 13th.” As well as countless others. The comedy is both random but also has some great setups as well as character cons end up leading to some pretty good payoff later in relationship to other characters and the surrounding environment.
The Universe – The Universe is rich! From alternate dimensions and times, The Council of Ricks, Bird Person, the Meeseeks and the countless aliens and governments Rick comes into conflict with throughout his anti-authority adventures.
The Characters – The characters are wonderful and memorable and the family and their relationships develop over time in relationship to Rick and Morty who are the characters who primarily drive the plot.
Mr. Meeseeks – Mr. Meeseeks are created to solve problems and after they stop existing. Their entire existence is pain and when they try and help Jerry improve his golf game they come to see it as impossible and end up taking hostages and growing desperate in a stark contrast to their initial kind and supportive nature. I really hope we see these guys again.
Jerry – Jerry is an idiot and his arc is really becoming comfortable in the fact he is not smart and becoming comfortable in that as well as his role as a father and the fact that his wife loves him even though they clash a lot and are in a failing marriage. He’s an idiot but he’s sympathetic when he isn’t arrogant.
Beth – Beth is the high achiever and a staunch defender of her dad. She is the one helping Jerry develop into a better person and dealing with her perfectionist nature and learning to let go. She hasn’t gotten there yet but throughout the show we see the strange, extreme circumstances Rick’s or Jerry’s actions bring about bring her closer to that place.
Summer – Summer is Morty’s sister and her arc is dealing with the fact that she was a mistake and learning to accept that life is chaotic, strange and hard and at the end you die. This ends up making her a great Rick companion as Morty learned this over the course of the series too. She also doesn’t have the moral core Morty has either, best shown in “Ricksy Business.”
Rick – Rick is a sociopathic mad scientist whose moral core is Morty, his grandson and travel companion. Rick learns to care about Morty and the family over the course of the season and we see him see those small relationships and appreciate them in the overwhelming abyss that his the rest of reality. He’s also an anti-authority rebel which makes his relationships with alien governments entertaining.
Morty – Morty is like Marty to Rick’s Doc Brown and is the moral core of the show as he helps Rick care about people and life even as Morty goes through that same process of learning himself when his selfishness destroys the reality he starts out in. It is this arc that gives him a bleak view of existence but improves his relationship with Rick and his family. He is pretty mature at the end though he still has his wide eyed idealism that defines the character, even given all he’s been through.
Rick and the 4th Wall – Rick breaks the 4th Wall on multiple occasions and talks directly the audience telling them to watch next week or buy a product. It is hilarious and fits into the fact that Rick is aware of everything and that is why he is crazy and nuts.
The Cons: The Cliffhanger Ending – In “Ricksy Business” Rick freezes time so they can clean the house after the party and that is where it ends with them still cleaning. There isn’t a complete arc for this reason in regards to Rick and Beth in relationship to Rick as they were in conflict with him from the very first episode.
For a show that is all about subtle arcs and callbacks ending the show on a cliffhanger ended up being the only con. It achieved it’s purpose as it made me watch on to see what happened but it did detract from the overall narrative. It is strong though and easily one of the best animated series currently on television. I laughed through most of it and the only episode that was weak was the one where they had gender stereotypes. The rest were at least 8’s and there were many that were high 9’s. My favorite episodes were “Lawnmower Dog,” “Meeseeks and Destroy” and “Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind.”
Final Score: 9.5 / 10.
“Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind” is easily one of the strongest episodes of the series, and also one of the darkest. In this we see the depths our Rick will go to use people and also how underneath it all he does care about Morty. It’s really well done and the dark of the episode makes the light moments our characters get all the more powerful.
The story involves the Council of Rick’s arresting our Rick for the murder of Ricks in other dimensions. When our Rick escapes to find the real culprit a hunt goes on for him as the Rick’s hang out in the Rick C-137’s Dimension with his family. The Rick behind it all is later found but all is not as it appears to be.
The Pros: Jerry and Doofus Rick – Doofus Rick is really kind and sweet and he becomes best friends with Jerry as they both aren’t very bright and are bullied by all the other Ricks. They have a lot tender moments building things and talking before Doofus Rick eventually has to go. This was a great mini-arc as Jerry finally connected to a Rick.
Beth and the Ricks – The Ricks love Beth and Beth loves the Ricks as they all compliment her and we clearly see that there is no one Rick loves more in the world than Beth, no matter what dimension he’s in.
Evil Rick – Evil Rick is messed up as we see him torture Mortys to mask his signal and we learn of his plan to drain our Rick of his memories so he can become smarter and continue doing his own thing. Eventually the Morty’s turn on him after our Morty frees him and he is beaten to death.
The Morty’s – The Morty’s have a religion and live in despair and pain (the one’s trapped by the Evil Rick) but when our Morty comes he is seen as the Good Morty and liberates them from Evil Rick and Morty. It’s a powerful scene and we learn later when we find out Evil Morty is behidn it all that though the Morty’s are seen as stupid they have more potential than the Rick’s pretend them to have. They are more than cloaking devices for the Ricks (which is how our Rick explains the role of a Morty to be).
Our Rick and Morty – Morty doesn’t trust Rick through much of this episode as he learns just how twisted so many of the Rick’s are and how they just use Morty as a cloaking tool from their enemies. After he and the Morty’s save Rick though they reach some sort of balance as our Rick calls him “The Mortiest Morty,” since he’s the “Rickiest Rick.”
Evil Morty – Evil Morty was behind it all and is a twisted guy who is still out there. He was willing to torture his own selves in order to hunt down and kill Rick’s and was controlling Evil Rick all along. Whatever plot he has further down the line, will not be good. What an awesome villain.
This is one of my favorite episodes and shows just how twisted and wonderful this show can get. We get to see the psychology of Morty and Rick further as they get contrasted with the ones from other dimensions and we find just how much of a hero our Morty truly is as well as the fact that Evil Morty is still out there and was twisted enough to torture other versions of himself in order to hunt down and kill Ricks.
Final Score: 10 / 10 Perfect episode.
“Raising Gazorpadorp” is one of the weaker episodes I have watched so far. The Gazorpians are just stereotypes and we never see much character development but Summer who actually gets to go on an adventure! There are great ideas here, especially with Morty becoming a father, but it doesn’t end up going anywhere.
The story involves Morty being bought a sex robot he wants that leads to him accidently creating a child with it that is half-Gazorpian. Summer and Rick go to the planet and find Male Gazorpians are only violence while the women are a calm, peaceful and violent society in their own right.
The Pros: Summer – Summer figures out the Female Gazorpians quickly and saves her and risk by their initial compliment of her top she was wearing be the key thing. She shows she is a could companion in this and saves them.
Rick – Rick deals with his sexism in this and it is implied that he will adventure with Summer in the future as she did save his life. He is hilarious in this too with how much of a rebel he is to anyone around him and the fact that his first thought is to kill Morty Jr. and his sarcastic comments about naming “it” are pretty funny.
Okay: Morty and Morty Jr. – Morty’s son wants to conquer the world like all Gazorpian males and his arc is becoming an artist in the end and making peace with his dad Morty. It was predictable and just wasn’t all that funny. It felt contrived.
The Parents – Jerry and Beth act passive agressive to Morty as Morty is seen as Jerry’s failure and Summer as Beth’s failure so Morty is expected to fail and Jerry gives Morty an “I told you so.” When Morty Jr. goes on a rampage.
The Cons: The Gazorpians – They are just stereotypes (women hate farts and are passive aggressive, men are aggressive and obsessed with sex) and it doesn’t go anywhere. I never felt the jokes paid off.
This is an episode that isn’t really needed. The only reason I could see for watching this is Summer makes a good travel and adventure companion for Rick and helps him grow in regards to his sexism. Besides that, you aren’t missing that much.
Final Score: 4 / 10