Dog’s Movie House: What To Watch – 8/16/19!

First let’s get started with “The Kitchen” a dramatization of a true life mob story that took place in New York in 1978. Melissa McCarthy heads a trio of housewives (including Tiffany Haddish and Elizabeth Moss) whose mobster husbands get sent away for five years in prison for. . .well. . . being stupid criminals. The acting mob boss (Myk Watford) doesn’t take care of them despite promises to the contrary, leading the trio of ladies to take matters into their own hands. They’re so successful they draw not only the ire of the area mob bosses, but their own men when they get out of jail.

It’s great to watch McCarthy and Haddish flex their dramatic muscles and Moss is really good as a former victim turned empowered superwoman. The rest of the cast does good work, but the script is a little too cliché-ridden to elevate the material to classic status. Still, first time director Andrea Berloff shows natural command of the camera and has made an entertaining tale for folks who want their summer fare a little less, uh, spandexy, heh. 3 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!

Next we have a neat little horror anthology film called “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark.” Based on a popular book series, the film is set in 1968 in the midwestern town of Mill Valley. A group of teens looking for a thrill on Halloween enter the condemned (and supposedly haunted) Bellows House, where the young, disfigured daughter supposedly hanged herself but not before composing a book of scary stories. Stella (Zoe Margaret Colletti) actually finds the book and takes it from the house.

Big Mistake!

Turns out the book starts writing new stories (in ink that looks suspiciously like blood) involving her and her friends. Now she has to find a way to appease the spirit haunting them before everyone dies.

Director Andre Ovredal keeps things moving at a quick pace and with the help of co-writer/producer Guillermo Del Toro the movie maintains a very fun, very creepy vibe. The performances are quite good and the creature design is off the hook. The five stories are interwoven seamlessly into the main story and there is a set up for future films in the series should this one do well. I predict “Scary Stories” will be a Halloween tradition for years to come. 4 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!

Next we have the first of this week’s new releases. It’s called “Good Boys” and it’s a raunchy comedy that will have you holding your sides in laughter provided you’re not easily offended. “Good Boys” tells the tale of three sixth graders (Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, and Brady Noon) who are just getting interested enough in girls that they want to go to a “kissing party” held by one of the cool kids in school (Izaac Wang). Using a drone, they spy on the next door neighbor but get caught, losing the drone in the process. The trio then go on a complicated series of misadventures to get the drone back in time to go to the party. Hilarity ensues.

This movie is filthy in all the right ways. Profanity reigns and the three kids get in way over their heads very quickly, but still remain likable no matter how crazy the situation gets. Tremblay, an Oscar nominated actor before becoming a teenager, is the glue that holds the film together, but the MVP is Williams as compulsive truth-teller Lucas. His line delivery along with that high-pitched scream of his had me nearly rolling in the aisle on several occasions. Amidst the humor, “Good Boys” manages to sneak in a few meaningful messages about growing up, dealing with divorce, and the ever-changing nature of friendships. It’s a really good movie, folks, but make sure you don’t take your kids! 4 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!

Finally we have one of the biggest surprises of the year in “The Peanut Butter Falcon.” Written and directed by the duo of Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, this is the tale of Zak, a young man with Downs Syndrome who, after being abandoned by his family, is living in a nursing home in Georgia. Harboring dreams of becoming a professional wrestler, he escapes with the help of roommate Carl (the great Bruce Dern) and starts making his way toward the home of his idol, the Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). Along the way he runs into Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) a young man on the run after the death of his brother has caused him to engage in some foolhardy behavior, making Tyler the target of some pissed off fisherman. The two form an unlikely bond as they venture away from trouble and toward Zak’s dream of competing in the squared circle. They are joined in this road trip by Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) the nurse charged with bringing Zak back to the home. Eleanor is convinced that seeing Zak achieve his dream is the healthiest course of action for her young charge.

While this film has its dark moments, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” may be one of the most uplifting movies you see all year. The main reason is for Zack Gottsagen’s performance as Zak. Gottsagen has Downs Syndrome yet his performance is one for the ages. Zak is independent, upbeat, and very let’s anything get him down. Cynics might call him naïve, but there are more than a few scenes in which Zak knows exactly how other people see him. Most of the time he doesn’t let it get to him.

The other reason is a masterful performance by LeBeouf as the wounded Tyler. At first skeptical and gruff with Zak, Tyler soon learns that his traveling companion is a person with many hidden treasures and that Zak’s optimism is contagious. Shia may have had his issues off-camera, but the guy is a terrific actor. Johnson is very sweet as the compassionate nurse who comes to see things Zak and Tyler’s way. Wrestling fans will recognize cameo roles by Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Mick Foley toward the end of the film. With heart, humor and soul, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” is one of the best movies of the year! 5 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!

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