Movie Review: Jem and the Holograms – It Was Crap, and Not Just Crap, But Insulting Crap

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Being a good 20 years older than the vast majority of an audience is never a comfortable feeling. Though for this one, I glossed over my unease in order to revel in some nostalgia. As a child of the 80s, I grew up with Jem and the Holograms and was really looking forward to seeing one of my favorite cartoons go live action. I was willing to sit with a bunch of giggling tweens to make that happen.

Then I watched it and said, “Whoever wrote this clearly never saw the show.”

Aubrey Peoples (ABC’s Nashville) plays Jerrica/Jem, a teen who dreams of sharing her music with the world and lives with widowed mom (Molly Ringwald), younger sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott) and foster sisters Aja (Hayley Kyoko) and Shana (Aurora Perrineau) somewhere in generic California. After posting Jem singing a song on YouTube, the teen is thrust into stardom. She catches the eye of Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis, enjoyably chewing the scenery), the rapacious CEO of Starlight Music, Jem is presented with an offer she can’t refuse. On account of her mom is about to lose the house.

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They ruined it. There is no sign whatsoever of the actual holograms that made Jem so flipping popular to begin with. It was a sci-fi show. Jem lived a secret life and with a touch of her magic earring, became a superstar rocker. She could disappear just as easily and used that to her advantage when dealing with her real arch nemesis. The Misfits.

The closest thing this movie has to sci-fi was a nonsensical robot that made beeping noises.

Are you flipping kidding me? You know why no one ever made this into a movie before? Because they didn’t have the technology to create it. Computer animation, which could have been used heavily in this, wasn’t around yet. Then, we finally got the technology to do this series justice and what did they do?

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Stripped out everything that made the show unique and turned it in Hannah Goddamn Montana.

There is not a damn cliché they didn’t show into this one. Jem learning the hard way the music industry is cruel and friendship is more important. Having no choice but to help because the house is going into foreclosure and everyone’s depending on her. Her ‘music’ being cheapened because of commercialism.

And toss in a bunch of testimonials from teens who don’t exist, gushing about how much Jem means to them, and seriously…I was ready to burn down the theater.

It was an insult to the old cartoon, and too cutesy, cutesy, sugary sweet to be accepted by teens today. It was just plain stupid and obnoxious. This movie literally could have been any other movie. Nothing about it made it Jem. Seriously, it would have been like naming “Entourage” “The Transformers” and expecting no one to notice.

It was crap, and not just crap, but insulting crap. They shamelessly used the name of a popular 80s show and then made no attempt to actually adhere to the formula of the original.

And that’s why it flopped. A movie that cost about $5 million to make pulled in an embarrassing $1 million its opening weekend and never even placed at the box office.

And I’m glad. Because that’s what you get for ruining my childhood favorites.

So Jem the original, worth the watch. This pile of garbage? Not even remotely. I’m not sure what it is, but it sure as hell ain’t Jem.

We Gave it: 1 Star: Official Movie Trailer and Movie Poster Below

1 star

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Movie Review: The Boy Next Door – A good movie could have been great with a bit more work

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I had no idea that Jennifer Lopez was still making movies. Despite my misgivings (I still haven’t fully recovered from Gigli) I have to say, The Boy Next Door wasn’t half bad. In fact, it was kind of a throwback to those psychological thrillers that were so popular in the 90s, like The Temp or The Hand the Rocks the Cradle.

Lopez stars as a newly divorced teacher named Clair Peterson. After sewing some wild oats and engaging in a one night stand with 19 year old Noah Sanborn (Ryan Guzman), Peterson’s life takes a turn for the worse. Turns out, Sanborn is bunny boiling nuts and proceeds to stalk and harass Peterson right up to a climactic and deadly confrontation.

Now that I think about it, this movie is a lot like Fatal Attraction, only with a bit of a role reversal. The one major problem I see with it is the way Noah just suddenly went from 0 to nuts at the speed of light. See, in Fatal Attraction, you could see there was some bad stuff coming from Glen Close’s character, from the way she set up meetings, to how immediately clingy and crazy she got.

With Noah, there is no warning. One minute, he’s the nice kid tending to his invalid grandfather. The next, he’s full on psychotic. There are no signs as to what was coming. I think if there had been a bit of build up, even some subtle signs that Noah was a bit nuts, it would have worked.

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On top of that, Lopez’s character decisions make her a hard woman to sympathize with. Yes, I know Noah is allegedly 19 (though he doesn’t look like any 19-year-old I’ve ever seen) but he is in high school. The fact that a teacher in her 40s just happily jumps his bones is kind of disturbing and a little bit of me was saying ‘this chick had it coming’ when Noah starts to stalk her.

While this movie is getting thoroughly panned, I don’t think it’s quite that bad. In fact, I found it pretty stylish and thrilling. It had a few tense moments and I enjoyed it. As far as psycho factor goes, this movie was right up there with Fear.

I think the main problem is the lack of character development. It’s hard to see why Lopez’s character would risk everything to get naked with a dude half her age. It’s hard to see why Guzman’s character goes completely nuts out of nowhere. There should have been more buildup in order to make that relationship a bit more believable. After all, this kid seduces her in the first 20 minutes of the movie. I’m around Lopez’s age, and there is no way some high school kid is getting into my pants that quickly.

It’s not a terrible movie. It’s just the way the film moves so rapidly from relationship development to stalking isn’t realistic. If they’d drawn that part out a bit, this really could have been a Fatal Attraction. The problem is it didn’t really make it there. No character development made it harder to believe and a good movie could have been great with a bit more work.

WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

3.5 stars

 

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