Movie Review: ‘Harriet the Spy’

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Oh, I remember fondly of the 1990s movies, especially the ones that were made from Nickelodeon. Those VHS tapes were orange and you weren’t anyone unless you had a couple of orange tapes in your collection. One of the first movies made by Nickelodeon was “Harriet the Spy.”

Released in 1996, “Harriet the Spy” was an adaptation to the book series of the same name. It also introduced the world to Michelle Trachtenberg, the girl who would go on to be the whiny brat that will end the world in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and a bitch on “Gossip Girl” (who isn’t a bitch on that show, am I right?). The movie also introduced children to Rosie O’ Donnell, who was/is still the face of the Kids Choice Awards for many. Rosie hosted the award show from 1996 until 2004.

The movie follows Harriet M. Welsch (Trachtenberg), an inspiring writer that literally creeps on people and writes down what she observes because her nanny Golly (O’Donnell) told her that she needs to write down everything if she wants to become a great writer. Everything is good in her life until her nanny is fired and her life is turned upside down. Harriet must overcome and adapt to the changes to her life as her parent’s think she is crazy, friend’s turned on her, and she doesn’t have the support system of Golly.

The movie itself isn’t a bad movie at all when you take out the nostalgia. It was cleverly written so that parents/adults will enjoy it while still catering to their child demographic. It’s also a kids movie that doesn’t suffer from any major plot/storytelling issues. Usually it suffers from “how does this happen?” But it doesn’t occur here. Everything happens in the real world. The outcome and the cause and effects of the actions are how they would actually happen in the real world. The only real thing that wouldn’t happen is Harriet pretty much getting off without any trouble for terrorizing her classmates. She cuts off a classmates ponytail and nothing happened to her at school.

As an adult, this movie is an extremely fucked up movie, which is why it’s the perfect kids movie. Golly is allowing Harriet to commit several crimes like breaking an entering and stalking. I totally understand and okay if it was in a public place, but some of these are just wrong. Like at one point, she’s starting into a store from the back alley and watching one of her friends have struggle to buy groceries. How is that okay? Golly is also the one that tells her to write down all of her observations which are just sometimes mean and cruel. She rudely wrote about how her friend’s father should just get a “real job.” Her white privilege shows so bad. Harriet has carves a hit list style list of all the people she “wants to get revenge.” I’m very shocked this is kids movie.

Where the movie fails is with some of the adult acting and how the adults were written. The only good adult was Golly, who had slightly questionable morals. An example of this was Harriet’s teacher. There’s a scene where a girl spills paint on Harriet on purpose. The teacher thinks the children are being helpful by grabbing paper towels but it’s very obvious that they are spreading paint around and making it worse. Another example of this is when the parent’s instruct the teacher to make sure Harriet doesn’t have her notebook when at school. The teacher literally pats her down in the middle of class, which no one would do because it’s demeaning and embarrassing. It’s stuff like that hurts the movie. Especially when everything else is true to real life.

“Harriet the Spy” is a classic movie that will bring on full nostalgia trips. The movie is well done in most aspects, especially when it comes to making the kids movie also appeal to adults with the writing. The writing and acting of the adult characters/actors is what hurts the film. It’s the most unbelievable part of the film that is based in real-time and does it well.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Show Review: ‘School of Rock’

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So I got lazy didn’t feel like changing the channel and watched what TeenNick calls a marathon of “School of Rock.” I’ve decided to do a review of the show because I have a lot of thoughts on it, especially when I saw the movie it’s based on.

Based off of the 2003 movie, which is the only good Jack Black movie, the show is loosely based off of the movie. By loosely, I mean it barely follows its. I was going to do a dirty joke there but this is a children’s show. Dewey Finn pretends to be his best friend, who happens to be a substitute teacher and forms a band out of kids at a prep school in order to win a contest. The takes more of an episodic approach to the plot of the movie, which is understandable due to it’s a series. This creates more back story and development for the characters. It’s just bad they really don’t do that.

 

Special Military Family Screening of Nickelodeon's iCarly: iMeet The First Lady

Miranda Cosgrove, “iCarly,” played Summer in the 2003 Movie

Before I get into details, I understand this is a kids show and what I’m going to bring up really doesn’t matter to them. I’m reviewing the show as a whole. The show isn’t bad but rather trying to be more than it should. What made the movie great was the fact that it was different from what was out there and if they would have kept to the flow with the movie more, then it would probably have stood out. Instead, it just looks like another attempt to produce stars. The show itself is a mixture of “Glee” and Kidz Bop into a 30-minute format. While I understand that it’s going to be hard to not perform covers, but it would have been nice to see a few original songs. It would make it stand out. The musical performances aren’t bad but they seem like they are trying too hard. The people are talents, especially if they are actually playing the instruments, which I doubt. But they aren’t anything to cry home about.

 

One performance that stands out is them performing Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack,” video embedded below. It was a more rock take on it but the vocalist isn’t anywhere near capable yet of hitting the notes that Demi does in the chorus. She tries but it just sounds like karaoke. Also, they are performing songs that are considered pop songs. If they were “School of Rock,” then they would have more of rock-based songs on the show. I get that they are trying to keep the songs geared towards the kids, but this could be the chance to introduce hundreds of amazing rock songs to people who wouldn’t listen to them.

It’s a children’s show so the acting and writing are not so great. If it was a Dan Schneider production, which I’m shocked it’s not, then it would be better. The children aren’t really believable because they are really around the same age. I looked up the ages of them and one is 17 years old while the lead singer is 13 years old. They are supposed to be playing 12-year-olds. That is the biggest flaw besides the music. They could have cast better so that everyone was at least closer to the age in the show. A 17-year-old isn’t convincing enough to play a 12-year-old.

The worst part of this show is that it could be so much more that what it is. I don’t know if it was the creators or the network, but it really could be way better. A televised concept of “School of Rock” has so much potential when done well. This isn’t a good attempt. Especially when there was plenty of concepts introduced in the movie that they could bring into the series and still make it appeal to kids. I hope they reboot it and make into what could be.

Overall, it’s a decent try by Nickelodeon to create stars and pretty much reboot a movie. It just falls flat and doesn’t capture the magic that the base work had when released. It also has an identity crisis as it’s trying to be like “Glee” but still be faithful to the movie it’s barely following. While it’s not geared towards my age group, it could be better. Also, props to me for not comparing it to the original too much.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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Let’s talk about parenting on ‘Rugrats’

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We need to have a real talk about the parenting that was happening on “Rugrats.” Before you even say “It’s a just a cartoon,” you may be right but that doesn’t mean you should ruin the fun. Besides, it’s un-American to not poke fun on cartoons we grew up on. Now, I’m not an expert but the parents on “Rugrats” make me look like an expert.

The parents on “Rugrats” just make me shake my head. Like, I understand keep tabs on your children at all times is hard but they might as well just leave them and go to the store all by themselves. How do you leave your children in a toy store and mistake them for stuff animals? Even if you were just mildly paying attention, you should notice when they aren’t moving. Like, who in their right mind would confuse your child for a stuffed animal?

Let’s talk about Grandpa because I don’t think he should watch these children because he’s not watching them. He’s just sleeping away as they are playing in what are very dangerous games. If he’s sleeping that much, maybe they should take him to a doctor in order to see why he is always so tired. It very unhealthy for him to be sleeping for that long. I don’t care how old you are, he’s pretty much like a cat and just sleeping over the recommended amount of sleep that a human needs. He’s literally just falling asleep as soon as he sits down. How is that healthy? He also sleeping through it all. He must be a very heavy sleeper if he slept through Angelica and Tommy having a “sword fight” on his face. How the fuck does one sleep through that?

While we are on the subject let’s talk about the time he let the children escape the house on the Reptar Wagon and they were missing for about two days. How the fuck did the police not take these children away? Like the media was involved and so was the police, there was some neglect involved if you don’t notice your children drove off. The police should have at least investigated the situation and found him unfit. And how come no one reported a bunch of children driving a Reptar wagon? Is it the entire “Rugrats” universe that is stupid and dense?

Let’s also talk about Stu Pickle’s and his inventions. A lot of those inventions are supposed to be for “children” but they end up being dangerous. Why do the other parents still constantly bring their children to a house with dangerous inventions that are supposed to be for kids? He made an army of robotic dolls that terrorize the children. He’s also always getting hurt by something? Does no one care or do they just push it under the rug?

And how the fuck is the dog better at watching the kids than the parents? Like Spike is the true parent of all these kids. He’s watching them and protecting them. He’s also making sure they aren’t killing themselves. Not to mention, he occasionally feeds them as well. Let’s just give custody to Spike because he’s a better parent then all of them. Sure, it’s strange but these kids will be way better off with the damn dog.

The only good parents are the Carmichaels. Remember Suzie and her siblings? That’s a family that has their shit together. It’s probably because of Suzy’s mom literally does it all. She studied cooking, learned how to fly a plan, and she’s also a cardiothoracic surgeon who also dabbles in pediatrics. All of this was done while having like five kids.  What doesn’t that bitch do? And how unrealistic is she setting the expectation for her children? No one will be able to do that. They might as well just come to the conclusion that they will never be like their mother.

Of course, according to legend, all the children take place in Angelica’s mind and all the parents are fucked up due to all their children either being dead, injured, or never born. So I guess it’s expected that they are horrible parents then. If you don’t know the conspiracy theory surrounding “Rugrats” then you need to look that shit up because it’s dark and deep.

Man, the parents need to go through proper training because Lipschitz isn’t working for them. Also, Dr. Lipschitz doesn’t know shit. But that’s a rant for another day 🙂

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Invader Zim is coming back!!

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Oh, it’s a great day to be both scary and happy. The cult classic “Invader Zim” is coming back in the form of a television movie. One of the most popular Nickelodeon shows of the early 2000s, it’s one of the many “revivals” the channel is doing. And it’s about time.

For those who aren’t aware of the masterpiece of “Invader Zim,” the series follows Zim. Zim is an invader who was tasked to take over a “mystery planet,” also known as Earth. In order to take over the planet, he goes undercover at a school as a human. Comedy ensues as Zim and his robot GIR, who is the real star of the show. The show features the “scheme of the week” as Zim and GIR’s plan unravel due to their own misfortune or the only two humans that realize that Zim isn’t who he appears to be. Yes, people are caught up in their own crap too much to care about a dangerous invader in the show as well.

Canceled in 2002, the show quickly got a following after new episodes aired and re-run aired on one of the many Nickelodeon channels. The show even got its owned convention, that’s how popular it was. The show freaked the shit out of me. Literally, I thought it was the creepiest show ever and this was before I saw “Ren and Stimpy,” which is a very much f’ed up show. I found it funny and yet, I didn’t want to watch it because the art style was dark and just added to the creepiness. The characters were slightly deranged and that just made enough for me to go “yeah, not going to happen.” I was mainly too lazy enough to change the channel #FirstWorldProblems.

While nothing is really set in stone about what the premise of the movie will be, they did release a small teaser to show nothing has changed and that is just so disturbing and yet, I’m excited about it.

Here’s the teaser for you to enjoy:

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