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Angel's Review: Movies
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Posted 11/5/16 , edited 11/25/16

The Little Mermaid, , (May 25, 1992)
Director: Masakazu Higuchi, Chinami Namba Producers: Diane Eskenazi
Fantasy, Romance,
Key Words: Mermaid, Book to Film, Fairy Tale,
Studio: Sunrise Licensed American Publisher: Trimark (1992), Goodtimes Entertainment (1993 – 2005), Gaiam (2005 – Present)

Time: 49 Mins


Lena is the youngest daughter of the King of the sea. She always has adventures with her friend, Vink, a rather careful dolphin. She dreams of the day she goes to the surface and meet her prince even though it is against her fathers wishes. The evil witch Cassandra plans on manipulating her into getting what she wants. She sends her up to the surface to find the prince and fall in love but her intentions will end up hurting her.


My Thoughts: You know, most knock off Disney shows come out pretty close to the original one that Disney put out, but this one was done about 3 years after Disney did their version of The Little Mermaid. In doing so, they also seemed to rip off many aspects of Disney’s version as well as leave out a lot that kept the story actually interesting. Now I have never read the book both of these movies were based off of, so I don’t know what was actually supposed to be in the show, but I do know when one show seems way to close to another.

So the basic plot of this movie is Mermaid Princess falls in love with human prince, goes to sea witch to get a way to turn human, then tries to get said prince to marry her. While the base of this story seems like a very good fairy tale, the way it’s rushed is rather messy. Most all of the show is with Lena being a mermaid and her family. This would be a great idea so we could get to know the world she was giving up for the prince, that is if I could actually remember her sisters or father well enough… but I don’t even think the show had any idea what their personalities were supposed to be let alone names. I feel like most of us getting to know them was a haze of complete boredom.

Then, near the end when we only had about 15 minutes left, we get to a point where Lena goes to the sea witch, Cassandra. She asks for Lena’s voice (though they never explained that her voice was something she actually treasured or was any good with) in exchange for a way to turn human. It is here where I found one very good thing out of this movie, and that’s the fact that Cassandra tells her she will turn into sea foam if the prince marries someone else. It’s a really nice nod to the book and the only charm this movie has as I don’t think Disney really covered that part. I think the closest Disney did was say she would die. Then we promptly forget about Cassandra as she no longer appears for the rest of the movie. That’s it, she has no point left, she isn’t the villain, she isn’t the one trying to kill our mermaid princess, and she isn’t even interested in becoming queen of the ocean. We never hear anything about her after. The 10 minutes after is basically the Prince promising to marry Lena, and then turning to marry a different princess, and flip flop again. If that’s called love, then I want no part of it.

The animation feels very low budget and the characters feel very out of proportion. I know that doesn’t mean much when you are talking artistic license but it just creped me out. Lena has a very big head, but a tiny body, her sisters are all very normal looking, the prince seems almost like he was stretched out, and even the animals just don’t feel like normal animals. You might think I’m a hypocrite for saying the bodies are out of proportion and then say I like the art style of shows like xxxHolic, but this is a tiny bit different. xxxHolic has a style that is consistent throughout its shows, every character has that kind of long, slender design with the small heads. Even if they were to have a bit more mass, they still kept the actual feel. This show… I have no idea what they were even trying to do with the designs. The last thing I’m going to bring up about the look of the characters is the fact that Lena seriously looks like a small child while the prince looks so much older.

The music and voice acting are just amazing… and when I say amazing, I mean I’m amazed how no one thought they were at all annoying. Vink, Lena’s ‘ever so charming’ dolphin has a voice that makes him sound very stuffed up all the time. Most of the music and the sound effects seem to be more generic open domain while the single song that was written for this makes me cringe. It’s like the singer was straining to hit those high notes… and basically the whole song is high notes. I talked about before in my Disney Snow White review how Snow White’s voice was the object of the times with its cutesy high pitched voice, this song sadly has no reason to be that high pitched.

So what do I think of this show? The fact that it was made for kids really doesn’t give it a reason to be done so badly. They waited 3 years after Disney made a killing on its own rendition of the book that I really think they could have done so much better for kids. Both of the movies were made for kids and yet Disney seemed to go for a nice timeless approach, showing how Ariel and the prince fall in love, how they end up going through the struggles together, and don’t leave you hanging with a one screen shot villain. I do give Goodtimes props for doing sort of the careful what you wish for thing but then they fail at keeping that lesson.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Mermaid_(1992_film)

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Posted 1/5/17 , edited 2/10/17


Buta, (Mar 5, 2012)
Director: Kazuhide Tomonaga Producers: Koji Takeuchi
Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Historical
Key Words:Anthropomorphic, Pirates,
Studio: Telecom Animation Film Licensed American Publisher:

Time: 24 mins


When Buta was hired by the pirates, he never thought he would end up helping a little child try to find his way home.


My Thoughts: So this was a very short little movie about a sword for hire and his interesting adventure with a small Kitsune. The story is very simple, wealthy family gets attacked by pirates for an item they have and one of the children is taken away, only wanting to get the item back and get a little revenge for what had happened. Along the way, he hires a sword for hire to help him. The reason I didn’t start out with the sword for hire, Buta, was because the show doesn’t start out with him and yet both characters seem to take on the feeling of what a main character is supposed to be for different reasons.

Let’s talk about the main characters now I guess. First we have the little fox boy who is trying to get his map back from pirates. We never get an actual name for him; just that he is the oldest child of his family so will end up getting the map on his birthday. He is just like a normal child who was raised in a loving home; naïve, kind, and knows what is right from wrong. The second main character is Buta, the sword for hire. He is pretty much the exact opposite of the little fox. He is slightly dirty, worried more about surviving then doing the right thing, and is always looking for a way to make money. This doesn’t make him a bad guy though as the show has tried hard to show that. It just shows the difference between the privileged and the not so privileged without demonizing the two.

There is one group of characters that I sort of feel really did not need to be in the show, and that’s Guppi and her group. Guppi is a female thief who just didn’t seem to fit into the story at all. Her and her group just seemed to pop up every once in a while. I think there are only like three or four scenes with them and it’s just like they were there for comedy relief.

The animation is very beautiful; something I would be proud to put next to Studio Ghibli to compare though I do believe Buta was not made by hand. The colors are very bright during the happy points and pushed back slightly when they need to be in order to match the scene that it was trying to portray. The anthropomorphic creatures are very simple but it almost adds to the charm the movie was trying to portray as this is a movie supposed to be meant for all ages. The only problem I had with the design is that the dried fish did not look like dried fish. It’s a very small problem to me but the final part had it as a main point and I just couldn’t understand what they were doing till the fox said they were dried fish.

The Japanese voice acting was really nice to hear surprisingly. I don’t normally say that as it’s a little harsh on my ears being a non native speaker but this show’s tone was actually quite nice. The story was slow enough that I could read the subtitles fast enough without stopping the show and the voice acting had a nice tone that made it rather enjoyable.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=15036

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Moana, (Nov 14, 2016)
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker Producers: Osnat Shurer
Adventure, Fantasy,
Key Words: Family, Ocean,
Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios Licensed American Publisher: Walt Disney Pictures
Tumblr Link

Time: 107 mins


Ever since Moana was a little girl, she was drawn to the ocean. It seemed to call to her even though her father, the chief, forbid them from leaving the safety of the reef. To bad it seems that the ocean has different plans as it has chosen Moana to help return the heart of Te Fiti before her island is swallowed up by the darkness.


My Thoughts: I am a very spiritual person so when I first heard of a movie coming out that embraced spiritual beliefs and it was made by Disney, I jumped at a chance to watch it. There was two large outcomes I saw for ‘Moana’, one was that I would have to rip it apart piece by piece and talk about how stereotypical the characters were just as ‘Pocahontas’ was, or I could fall in love with it and find that they were very careful in depicting the history of its people. I am very glad I found that the latter was true.

Let’s first get into our main characters. Moana is a very typical style of Disney princess for the 21st century it seems with trying to be overly strong and independent. She might also be the only princess in the Disney franchise to have both of her parents (from what I have seen). Like all good ‘native princesses’ in Disney, she also wonders what lies beyond her island. When she was talking about going off past the reef, I almost wanted to start playing ‘Just beyond the River Bend’ from ‘Pocahontas’ as it seemed the same feel. I know I am starting to make this seem like they created another Pocahontas character, and at first, I really did think they did do that. But the more they pulled me into the story and the more I saw her dedication to her mission she was given no matter how hard a journey it was, the more I felt for her. They seemed to bring so much more into her character that she seemed real and not the stoic one emotion character.

The second main character is the Demigod Maui. Before I saw the movie, I heard a lot of controversy on the way Maui looked and acted saying that Disney made him very stereotyped. Honestly, now that I have seen the show, I don’t think that is the case at all. I will talk about his looks down in the animation section of my review, but right now I would like to talk about the ‘happy go lucky’ personality people were poking at. He seemed happy go lucky in the beginning of the movie, sure, but as you make it through the story, you find that he does have a rather sad side to him. There was also criticism to making Maui seem selfish, one-dimensional, borderline abusive, a buffoon, and Disney’s version of Shrek. I did not feel in anyway that he was like Shrek at all, if I had to pick a character that Maui felt like, I would have to pick Genie. He had this sort of modern feeling to him even though he was in a very traditional world. As for being one-dimensional and selfish, I have no idea where they got that idea. There is a point in the movie where Maui admits that he did all that he was renown for just for the human’s to love him, but if you understood his background, then you would understand why. The reason why he was so against returning the heart that he had stolen was not because he was selfish, it was because he was afraid and I don’t blame him. Even a god would probably be scared of fighting a creature of lava I would think. I don’t really call throwing Moana overboard borderline abusive and the way he acts to her was more of a person who wasn’t used to actually being around people. And the ‘buffoon’ aspect of him was just him having a good time which isn’t a bad thing at all. Overall, it just seemed like people were making a mountain out of a mole hill… or a volcano out of a small mound if we want to keep the island theme.

The only other character that really stood out was Moana’s Grandmother, and how amazing she was. Going back to comparing this a little to ‘Pocahontas’, I saw her as Grandmother Willow. She was wise, almost even beyond her years and the only one who showed no fear of the ocean. There were a few old people that did show up in Moana’s village but many of them seemed as though they didn’t remember the old ways or the stories that were passed down. There was a point that surprised me really early in the movie with her, but saying may just spoil the movie so I won’t say.

I feel like Disney was trying very hard to make a movie that could be open for a TV series at some point. The main part of the show seemed to be the journey to bring back the heart of Te Fiti and not really to build the climax. There were three spots on their journey that built up a nice climax and then we had sailing. I can see a TV series just based on the extra places they could have ran into. The calming sailing parts were nice to see Maui teach Moana a bit in sailing but I don’t know if it should be as long as it was. The same goes for the family aspect of Moana and her village as it took off most of the first part of the movie. I think we met Maui half way through the movie which felt a little strange.

The animation was extremely beautiful and had a lot of detail both to the people and to the land. I did consider how the islands where people lived looked to be very stereotypical tropical islands as they were all so bright and colorful with lush surroundings. I can understand why they did it but there seems to be such a thing of making something so green that it looks fake. I have seen real pictures of tropical places (seriously do wish I could go to the places and see them in person though) and it just never looks as lush as the movies. As for the characters, I am rather surprised that people were so up in arms about the way Maui looked and not so up in arms that Moana looked like those hula girls you put up on your dash board. Not that that was a bad thing, but still. The problem people had with Maui was that he looked like a fat and happy go lucky islander but I just never seen it. He did not look fat to me, he looked beefy which meant strong and able. The demigod pretty much lifted islands out of the sea and hooked the sun for crying out loud, it would be strange if he was a really scrawny looking ‘prince-like’ character. As I said, Moana looked like a hula girl dash board girl and the base stereotype of an islander.

The voice acting was pretty top notch. Dwayne Johnson, The Rock, was the voice of Maui and you could so tell he had fun playing that character. It was fun because even though I knew it was him and have seen him in a lot of movies, I didn’t see him when he played Maui. His voice just fit the character so well. We also had Jemaine Clement as Tamatoa which I thought was a rather interesting pick. I don’t really know what’s up with Disney and making the crabs pretty Jamaican in voice but that’s how Tamatoa seemed to be. Auli’i Cravalho was a very new voice actress playing the part of Moana and I have to say she did amazing. She is the same age as Moana and played the character brilliantly. The music was awesome from the very jazzy show tune style songs to the softer songs about the sea. I especially loved the song about the explorers called ‘We Know the Way’. The song was amazing really felt like a song I would hear from Hawaii.

So after all that, do I think this movie is worth watching? Hell yes! Although it has a slightly similar feeling in the beginning to ‘Pocahontas’, the definitely tried to make this more like a love letter to the Polynesian people (the natives of Hawaii) and those of the South Pacific. Go watch it if you haven’t!

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moana_(2016_film)

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Posted 2/13/17 , edited 3/16/17


Trolls, (Nov 4, 2016)
Director: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dohrn Producers: Gina Shay
Adventure, Fantasy,
Key Words: Musical, Trolls,
Studio: DreamWorks Studios Licensed American Publisher:
Tumblr Link

Time: 93 mins


Long ago, the trolls lived in a tree, singing and dancing to their hearts content. They were happy, full of love and magic… that was until the Bergens discovered them. The Bergens were unhappy creatures who could only be happy when they ate a troll. They enslaved the trolls and once every year would eat them until the trolls escaped.


My Thoughts: I am normally not into musical shows, there are only a few I have watched and liked enough to watch again such as ‘Rent’, ‘Little shop of horror’, and ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ (Surprisingly all of those being live action and not animated). I never been into the movies where people just randomly burst into song or are overly happy but yet I think I might like this one.

To start out, let’s talk about the characters. First we have Princess Poppy, the princess of the trolls. At first, I was really not sold on her character. One of my big turn offs is people like her who are always happy, optimistic, and lives in their own little happy world thinking everyone should be like that. As the movie kept going, I found myself liking her as she sort of mellowed out. From the start, I did love how she was devoted to her friends and family, caring even if she was a bit spoiled. If you look at the deleted scenes, they did have a scene they cut out that could have made her even more a spoiled princess and so I’m glad they took it out.

Our next main character is the paranoid troll, Branch. He is the exact opposite of Poppy, which made the interaction between the two rather fun. My problem with him though is that he didn’t really get enough screen time I think. Sure he was shown with Poppy and his personality also mellowed out on his trip with her, but we never really saw him without her. I think there was only one very short scene where we saw him alone and what he was actually like when he wasn’t putting up his walls. Not to get to deep into my personal life, but I do fight depression a lot. It’s one of the reason’s I don’t like overly optimistic people because I’m slightly a pessimist about myself. I think this was a reason why he was my favorite character.

I think my other favorite character was Bridget who was pretty much just a servant in the castle. She was so very kind hearted, sweet, and yet thought that she could never be good enough for the person she secretly loved. I can’t talk about her to much because of spoilers, but she actually was a rather cute character that sort of called out to me.

When I was much younger, I owned a couple small troll dolls and would play with them a lot. Now that I am older, it’s a fun nostalgia to see them becoming popular again. Part of me does wonder if this was made for kids or if it was made for the nostalgia of the adults with the children thought of afterwards. Almost every part of the show seemed to be a nod to things I grew up with or things my parents grew up with from a lot of the music mixes and references.

The animation style looks like a clown just ate a bunch of craft supplies and threw up everywhere. Let me add these craft supplies are from the 80s late 70s because of the acid trip of colors and shapes going on. To clarify that is not to say its bad at all, it’s more of a ‘what the heck is this’ type of moment with the designs. The trolls fit so well in this world just because of the sort of stereotype hippie personality they have. Everything around them made it look like they were in a scrapbook made of felt, which also made the monsters they encountered look both fearsome and cute at the same time. Also, HUGE props for doing the Glitter stuff. They had to actually make their own engine to deal with the amount of glitter and make it look right. It looked really nice and almost real… and just like real life, it got everywhere…

The music has actually been really nice and I fell in love with the last song ‘I got this feeling’. It’s the one song that stood out the most for me and I normally can’t get it out of my head. The other songs were alright… although again, not a big fan of songs popping out of no where. They seemed sort of forced into the areas but that’s me being picky. I do have to be fair and say that this is a musical movie, and as such it will have stuff like that. I did really like the songs; I just thought that the placement of them was strange. The voice acting was surprisingly really good, and also very surprising for the casting. They have a rather well known singer, Justin Timberlake, as a character that hates to sing. It also surprised me that they had Gwen Stefani, Ricky Dillon, and a couple other well known singers and youtubers as random characters in the film. In fact, the directors also had their voices in the show.

It was a very interesting movie to watch and I would suggest it to be a movie at least to try. It may not be for everyone, and it definitely has not changed my opinion about glitter, but it’s an interesting spin of a classic toy that didn’t really have a story behind it in the first place.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolls_(film)

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Sausage Party, (Mar 14, 2016)
Director: Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan Producers: Megan Ellison, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Conrad Vernon
Black Comedy, Fantasy, Adventure,
Key Words: Living Food,
Studio: Annapurna Pictures, Point Gray Pictures, Nitrogen Studios Licensed American Publisher:
Tumblr Link

Time: 88 mins


Life is good for the food items in the local supermarket. They keep to the rules, praise the gods who walk their aisles, and hope that one day they will be able to head home with them to be showered with all the love and affection they could want. They dream of the day when they could have all their dreams come true… until the sad truth comes out that what waits for them is more horror then heaven. How can these food items survive when everything around them wishes to eat them?


My Thoughts: WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST WATCH?! No seriously, what the hell did I just watch? Someone please explain this to me. We have talking food that believes humans are gods and that will protect them up until we take them home and eat them. What the heck? I feel like if I was drugged up on something, this movie would make a little more sense. *Takes puff of Marijuana and re-watches (Do not condone drug, but Marijuana is legal where I am)* Nope, I still don’t get it all.

Let’s talk about the story first, as I think they started out pretty good. I could see the symbolic aspects that could have been placed within. In the world of the supermarket, food just waits for the day for a god to come and take them away to nirvana. As long as they are good and never ‘sin’ they will end up being taken to nirvana where all their dreams come true. The dark truth however is that they are just taken away to be killed for human consumption. It’s not just food too, its things like toiletries as well like toilet paper and douches… Did I mention this movie was weird?

Anyway, to break down the story (at least at the beginning of the movie) I feel like the story was actually being a satire of religion. Everyone in the store sees the human’s as gods, and the song they sing every morning is supposed to praise the humans to make them happy. They are supposed to make sure they follow all the rules like staying in their package, not have impure thoughts, and one day the gods will take them to a very special place. These religious rules seem similar to the concept of Christianity, Jewish beliefs, basically any religion there is. And with this song, we find out that as time went on, the food changed or added new lyrics to it like ‘killing all the juices’ similar to how the Nazis added the idea that only the Aryan race was superior using religion to justify it. The food products took everything that was said without any proof. Not only that, but they shun anyone who thinks otherwise which does seem to happen when people are not open minded to other religions.

Now, the show would be fine if they actually kept going on that thought, but near the end of the movie, things got over the top weird. I don’t know if it was right after a small number of them found out the truth, or when the whole store found out, but it just went stupid. No spoilers though, so I have to hold back. If it wasn’t for the ending, I could forgive all the stereotypes, the language, and the lewd stuff if there was a reason for it. (I do understand I sound odd saying this as I do like a couple anime with that same sort of humor, but they didn’t try to start out with a reason for being, they just went strictly lewd. This one feels like it was supposed to have a deeper meaning and they just gave up.)

I really don’t want to talk about the characters really, partly because I just couldn’t get around all the stereotypes that they brought in. ‘Firewater’ which is basically whiskey was designed as a Native American, the bagel had a Jewish accent, the lavish had a Arabian accent… you get the idea. We even have Grits that looks and sounds black blaming ‘crackers’ for taking his spot… Again, these are stereotyped aspects from media. I guess I can forgive them because I don’t think any group was actually safe from this type of treatment but still, this is not a show for people that get offended easy.

The animation was actually pretty good which was a big surprise. I am serious, I thought this was going to be like the movie ‘Food Fight’ and make itself look as low budget as possible but that wasn’t the case. The animation was very fluid, the colors were bright and stood out, and even the character designs were creative although very stereotypical to different religions, ethnicity, and even genders. It looked like they put a lot of effort into it that might have been great if the story wasn’t what it was… and not to spoil anything but what the hell was that ending? Anyone who has watched it please let me know, because I don’t understand what I saw.

The voice acting was standard, again with the stereotype accents which made me roll my eyes a bit. There were a couple jokes that did make me laugh a bit but most of them were going very overboard. As I said before, I thought this show was going to be a very witty satire on overly religious people who shut themselves off to the world so in the beginning, I did chuckle and take the show as an interesting comedy… that was until the point they went way over the line and seemed to lose all intelligence. Then I just watched with a blank stare asking what the heck I was watching. The music is mostly forgettable, I could probably pick some of the songs out if I heard them again but I pretty much forgot them a few moments after I watched.

Overall, I feel like this show went from a witty satire comedy to some sort of strange horror movie to try to make people eat less. While the animation and the sound was alright, it wasn’t mind blowing-ly good either. I do feel as though the movie was not as bad as people made it out to be, but it is definitely for a select few who are into that sort of comedy and want to shut their mind off for a bit.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sausage_Party

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Nuts!, (Jan 2016)
Director: Penny Lane Producers: James Belfer, Caitlin Mae Burke, Penny Lane, Daniel Shepard
Biography, Documentary,
Key Words: Mixed animation/RL
Studio: Licensed American Publisher:

Time: 79 Mins


This is a story of a man who had a dream and a cure for impotence. A man who was known as the ‘Goat Gland Doctor’.


My Thoughts: This is a very strange, strange movie. It is about a man named John R. Brinkley who, allegedly, found a cure for impotence by implanting goat testicles into human males. This made him famous in America, not only for this cure, but also for the amount of controversy it brought. The movie is based on a book called ‘The Life of a Man: A Biography of John R. Brinkley’ by Clement Wood. Warning that there are spoilers to the end of this movie in my review. I cannot write about this movie without doing so sadly.

To start with, I guess I should say that this was written as a real documentary. It’s really hard for me to talk about the documentary part of the show as I was actually a bit bored with it up until near the end. From what I could gather from the story line, he built up hospitals based around curing medical problems with goat testicles (mostly male problems), built Radio stations to promote it, and gave to many charities. Many of his patients swore by his work, believing that he had saved them from their problems, so much that he became a bit of a legendary man who could cure the incurable. Sadly he was shunned as a charlatan by his peers, had all his licenses taken away, and had almost everything taken away from him by the government.

This is where the spoiler comes in. The story is based on a real documentary, a documentary on a fraud. The man, John R Brinkley, was not a real doctor who found a cure but was just a quack doctor who sold snake oil. He did do operations with Goat Testicles and a lot of people said his work helped them but there was no medical facts to back up his claims, and in the end was found out. From what I know of, he was the first million dollar fraud.

There wasn’t much animation but what there was wasn’t bad. It was very stylized with a sort of creepy vive. It’s made to look sketchy with a lot of detail and very little movement as though the characters are paper puppets. The rest of it was made just like a documentary with live action people talking about Brinkley along side old photographs and film reels. Although the animation wasn’t bad, it felt like it didn’t fit in together with the rest of the documentary style.

The voice acting… well its boring. I don’t know what exactly it is weather it’s just this strange monotone that everyone has or if its just the documentation itself that got me but I felt like I was about to fall asleep. This movie felt like it was longer then it was and part of it I think was that they had so much stuff that could have just been condensed into a shorter movie. The rest of the voice actors for the animated part were made to be rather stereotyped for the southern states. They also seemed to stumble over their words a lot. Although this made it a little more true to life, it made it hard to listen to and watch with how boring the rest of the show had already been.

So… what I think about this movie? As I said, the first part of the show was boring, and made it really hard to go through it. It only got interesting near the end where he was being called out for being a fraud and how they could catch him in a lie. I know they did a lot of liberties to the story, but it’s the only interesting thing that I found in the whole show. If you are really into documentary’s, then its fine to watch, but I feel like the movie dragged on a little too long.

Rating:


Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuts!_(film)

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