2: The Big Sick Review


(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Parental Warning/Heads Up!: This film has a good chunk of adult jokes, cursing, and might not be suitable for younger viewers. Viewer’s discretion is advised. Thanks for reading this.

A genre I find struggling and stumbling across the finish line many times are films of the comedy/romance genre. Sure, there are plenty of films with great romantic chemistry between characters, but films in the comedy/romance genre don’t tend to have a lot of variety to them, and while there are plenty of classics in the genre, not many know how to keep it fresh and interesting. At worst, most romantic comedies tend to come off very cookie cutter, and on the rare occasion, unintentionally come off as the characters being really terrible people. It’s tough, since you want to have an amazing story, or a very well-executed story with characters you want to invest your time into and want to get together. I definitely don’t find romance-focused films to have a lot of rewatchability, but I have definitely found a few that make me want to say “play it again!” What films am I talking about? For this review, it’s the 2017 hit The Big Sick, which was directed by Michael Showalter, produced by Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel, and written by Emily V Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani.


The Big Sick talks about the real life story of how our star Kumail Nanjiani is a Pakistani standup comedian in Chicago. While trying to get his big break, he meets who would be his future wife Emily V. Gordon, who in this film is named Emily Gardner, played by Zoe Kazan. They hit it off, and become romantically connected, while he has to deal with his family trying to hook him up with Pakistani women. One day, Emily gets dangerously ill, and ends up in a coma. Kumail not only has to deal with that, but also her parents played by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter. Will Emily make it out alive? What will happen when Kumail interacts with her parents?


This might sound clichéd and film snobbish, but The Big Sick’s greatest offering is how much heart and soul is in this story. When you hear about a movie coming out that is based on a real life story/event, you get thoughts of the studio romanticizing the entire event or turning it into propaganda for a certain group of individuals. Thankfully, this is not the case with this story. Everything from the acting, the writing, the jokes, to the arc of the story felt genuine. No one is acting like caricatures of the tropes you see in romantic-comedies. Even the members of Kumail’s family in the film would normally be played as the butt of the joke, but are not.  It’s refreshing to see a romance story that’s more grounded. Yes, I love films like Moonstruck that have more comedic characteristics and expressive characters, but playing it grounded was needed for this story.


The actors all worked off each other well, and the comedy was really funny. I mean, I wasn’t holding my sides or out of breath, but the jokes were legit hilarious. So many comedies these days want to have the comedy stars adlib their lines, and it gets tiring when the director doesn’t tell them to stop or try out different takes. I think what makes it all work is that the film isn’t trying to make some out-of-touch fantasy setting like The Back Up Plan. Everything from the small talk to the awkward words of wisdom all connected to me while I was watching. I have been in situations where good comedy came out of small talk, and talks of wisdom ended up not sounding as good out-loud. I also think the story works because of the actors themselves. I am not fully familiar with Kumail, besides some voice-over roles in films like LEGO Ninjago and his guest appearances on HarmonQuest, and I was curious if he could hold the film as the lead. To my happy surprise, Kumail was funny, charming, kind, and incredibly likable. This is definitely one actor in Hollywood that you should be following.  Of course, the actress playing Emily, Zoe Kazan, does a great job with a believable quirkiness to her, and as many people have pointed out, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano nail it as Emily’s parents. Both have some of the best acting in their careers. Don’t worry, Ray, your performance here makes up for the last couple of Ice Age films. Seriously though, this film has some of my favorite performances of 2017. They do a great job balancing out the comedy and the drama. When the characters are feeling good, you can feel that, and when they are hurt or in pain, again, you feel that.


It’s good, as a film critic, to point out the pros and the cons for every film, though, I can’t really find anything that would be considered a deal breaker. Maybe the film is a touch long at almost two hours? Then again, I can’t really think of any scenes I would cut out. While this film does expand on a familiar formula, some of the more “predictable” sequences did come up, but due to how the overall film was executed, the story had me hooked. I’m trying to find something that I could really say hurt the film, but The Big Sick set out in its goal to tell a compelling and loving story about how Kumail met Emily, and it did a fantastic job at what it set out to do.


The Big Sick was wonderful and charming. I was so happy it was a case of a good trailer that ended up with an amazing movie, and one of my favorites from 2017. I have to hand it to Kumail for taking a genre of film that is hard to make good these days, and make a real-to-life story about him from his days as a stand-up comedian, his relationship with his family, and Emily, to even her parents. It’s widely available on Amazon Prime for free, but even if you don’t have Prime, buy the movie. Kumail and Emily hit it out of the park, and they made a movie that will definitely make me want to play it again!

1: From Dusk Till Dawn Review


(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Parental Warning/Heads Up!: This film is not meant for kids! It includes swearing, violence, nudity, graphic content, guns worn around the groin, sex, cursing, gore, and so on. Do not show this to your kids. Viewer’s discretion is advised. I will also be talking about the movie as a whole, since I can’t talk about it without spoiling it.


When I was picking films to review for Play it Again, I wanted to not pick typical super-cheesy or sleazy schlock. Even when it comes to making schlock, there is an art and proper execution for making B movie-style films. Sure, you can be more violent, over-the-top, self-aware, or sexual, but it doesn’t mean you can slack off in the other departments. It’s why I found the perfect film for this whole philosophy of well-made B movie entertainment that is more A-grade than B-grade. What film is that? It’s the Quinten Tarantino-written and Robert Rodriguez-directed, From Dusk Til Dawn.


The story follows two brothers, Seth and Richie Gecko, played by George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino. They are running away from the police after pulling off a heist, killing some people, and taking a bank teller hostage. They stop at a hotel, and end up taking a family including an ex-priest, Jacob Fuller, played by Harvey Keitel, his daughter Katherine Fuller, played by Juliette Lewis, and his adopted son, Scott Fuller, played by Ernest Liu. The two brothers end up using them to get across the border to Mexico. Seth tells the family that they are going to a strip club called The Titty Twister to wait for his “business” partner to arrive there at dawn. Unfortunately for them, after seeing a tantalizing dance from a stripper, played by Salma Hayek, they end up finding out, along with the other truckers and bikers, that The Titty Twister is a hive of vampires! Stuff hits the fan, and they have to find a way to survive until dawn. They team up with a biker named Sex Machine, played by Tom Savini, and a Vietnam vet named Frost, played by Fred Williamson. Can they make it out alive, or will the vampires be having an “all you can drink” buffet?


The first criticism I hear about this film all the time is the tonal shift. At first, it starts out as a fairly serious and imposing crime thriller. Every scene with the two brothers and the kidnapped bank-teller is filled with constant dread, due to how violent the two can be. Then halfway through, it turns into a B-movie with a stripper joint being the den of a horde of vampires. I can understand that being very jarring to some people, but at the same time, did people not see the shootout at the beginning of the film? Yeah, it had its serious moments, but it was also fun to watch, as you wait to see who pulled the trigger first. I can respect that back when this was released, this was jarring, and people didn’t like getting caught off-guard due to the sudden change, but if you sit back, and let it happen, it turns into one of the most entertaining tributes to B-movies of all of cinema. I think some people forget a lot of B-movies would have sudden change in tone or plot, and a lot of them are fondly remembered. There is just something so tantalizing about watching this film from start to finish.


From the quick witty writing of Tarantino, to one of Robert Rodriguez’s best directorial works, it’s a blast to watch all the characters work off one another to survive until dawn and to not be bitten or turned into vampires themselves. All the characters are memorable, and all have pretty great lines. It’s easily a film I quote when I’m talking with friends or quoting it back and forth with my parents. Yeah, I had cool parents who loved movies like this. The bar scene is especially memorable as you start from the dusty roads outside the bar, a loud and maniacal Cheech Marin, who is in this film three times, barking out that the girls are hot, and you walk in with the killer rock band, and Danny Trejo being your bartender. Of course, one of the most iconic scenes is the sexy and sultry dance done by Salma Hayek. It’s a bit sleazy, but it’s a strip joint, there is no Build-a-Bear Workshop built in. For the most part, the practical effects for the vampire make-up are superb, as everyone looks disgusting and monstrous. They even throw in a rat monster, just because they could. Some of the early CGI-dissolves look dated, but you don’t really focus on that when Tom Savini has a revolver gun around his groin and isn’t afraid to use it.


Even through all this madness, there is still this emotional investment with making sure everyone makes it out alive. While some characters get the short end of the stick, like Frost, you still feel bad for anyone that gets bitten or killed. It’s weird to say you stay emotionally invested when this sounds like an utter schlockfest, but you do. I wish some characters could have stuck around a little more, we could have gotten some other monster designs, and seen the sweet weapons in the final confrontation used more, but I don’t have a lot to complain about.


From Dusk Til Dawn can be sleazy, jarring, scary, funny, full of cursing, blood, and action-packed vampire killing, but that’s also why I love it so much. It knew how to execute everything, and it makes for one of the craziest rides of 1996. I know this film got a sequel, a prequel, and a retelling of the entire mythos in the form of a TV series, but really, all you need or really want to see is the first movie. It’s widely available, and if you are into fun movies with a unique flavor to them, then by all means, pick up this awesome gem. As far as I can tell, From Dusk Til Dawn might be one of my all-time favorite movies, and is easily one where I will be saying, “Play it Again, Cam!”

Play it Again, Cam! Introduction

So, as a critic, I have been reviewing animated films for two years now, and covering gaming for 10 years on my website, camseyeview.biz. However, I feel like if I am to grow as a critic, I need to review something else. If I want to expand and widen my audience, I need to review the next evolution of animated films, live-action films! However, my opinions on most movies don’t really go down a different path, than what most people think of the films that come out every year. I loved Moonlight, Mad Max: Fury Road was fantastic, I didn’t like Baywatch, I thought CHiPS was the worst movie of 2017, and you get the idea. I had to decide where I wanted to go with these reviews, and then it came to me. I was going to review movies that I found to be not only good, but ones that made me want to say, “Play it Again!”.  A lot of my favorite movies every year are the films that make me go “I want to see that again”. Yes, the Oscar films are usually pretty good, but I never find myself wanting to rewatch them. I want to tackle those films I won’t get sick of. These are your Logan Lucky, your From Dusk Til Dawn, your Ant-Man, your Uncle Buck, and your Moonstruck, etc.. Sure, some of them might be major award winners, but they will mostly be the films that the Academy might avoid giving awards to.

So, here are the rules. The films in question are chosen by a highly intellectual team of me, myself, and I. This means that these reviews are going to be of my subjective opinion. If you don’t agree with it, that’s fine, but do not get at me for liking a movie you didn’t. Oh, and to be clear, just because I don’t find it rewatchable, doesn’t mean I hate the movie itself. It simply means that it’s a great movie that I don’t want to watch again.

The next rule is that the films that qualify for these reviews must be at the very least 75-100% rewatchable. This means I won’t choose films that some critics like to say “only watch for the last 20 minutes”. I find that way of thinking damaging to film criticism, since who wants to spend money on a movie to simply watch the last 20 minutes? I never want to suggest a movie that’s only partly good, because I’d rather you spend money or your time watching a film that only has a few flaws.

The third and final rule (for now) is that I won’t be covering animated movies. I already do that with The Other Side of Animation. It has to be live-action and only live-action. I might bend the rules if there is an animated sequence in the film, but if it’s half-animated and half-live-action, then that’s going to The Other Side of Animation.

I hope you enjoy these reviews!