Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pixels Review

At the beginning of this year, as I was preparing to make my annual yearly movie preview I stumbled across a movie that sounded genius. 1980's video game characters are sent to attack the earth and the military turns to some video game nerds to save the day. That immediately put a huge smile on my face and I included that in the good movies section. Perfectly logical? Absolutely not. But it sounded like a whole lot of fun. Perfect Summer movie. Then the trailer was released. We got Pac-Man, we got Donkey Kong, we got Centipede, we got Tetris. All sorts of classic games that everyone loves. Right? Advertising was pretty flawless in my opinion. It looked just as fun as the premise sounded and I was stoked. However, there was a huge number of people that saw Adam Sandler and Kevin James in the trailer and immediately shut off their brains, Rantings began of how both of those two are the worst actors on planet Earth and have never made a good movie in their entire careers and never will. NO!!! Oh the ignorance and stupidity. I immediately began defending both of those two and this movie that looked genius. Pretty soon this movie and me had developed a special connection because I was one of the few that loved the idea and defended its actors. Well, you know that feeling when someone who you considered your best friend does something completely despicable, thus stabbing you in the back, leaving you hurt and broken for years? Yeah that's almost how I feel right now. After seeing Pixels, I totally regret speaking one word in the movie's defense and now I'm going to take out my bitter revenge in this review. Prepare yourselves.

So what of this supposedly genius plot of 1980's video game characters attacking the world with super genius video game nerds saving the day? Yeah, let's back up a bit. It's 1982. Young versions of Adam Sandler and Kevin James steal this girl's huge jar of lemonade money and take it to the arcade with them. Adam Sandler instantly becomes an expert at every game imaginable and that of course leads him to entering the first annual arcade game championship where these boys will be filmed and that film will be sent by NASA into space as a treaty to the alien planets out there. Wait, what? Yeah. That's just said in passing as if its a completely logical plot device that everyone in the theaters is going to buy. So instead of being fun and silly, it's decided to go with the completely horrible and stupid route. Oh but we're not done. Advance 30 years into the future. Kevin James is the President of the United States. Yes, you read that right. Kevin James is the President of the United States. And he is the biggest buffoon on planet Earth who doesn't even know how to read well. How was he elected? Would anyone on Earth decide to vote for this character? Oh yes, comedy. That's what this. It's supposed to be funny. Got it. So anywho, these aliens decide that they are going to wage war by sending these video game characters to Earth and apparently the only people on planet Earth who have played a video game in their lives are these three doofuses played by Adam Sandler, Josh Gad, and Peter Dinklage. Yet all they do is point the gun and shoot. And not even trailed military personnel can aim a freaking light gun at the centipedes.

That's our movie guys. Not this fun, silly adventure where you turn off your brain and enjoy. It was this grueling, painful event stuffed with some of the worst writing I've seen on film this year. This writing is so bad that it rivals such movies like Jupiter Ascending or Strange Magic from the beginning of the year. Haven't seen those? Good. Forget about them. The acting here isn't even the problem. All these bitter Adam Sandler trolls on the internet who say the man has never made a good movie and never will are probably now laughing at me and others who defended this. But do you know what, the man HAS made plenty of good movies. He CAN act when he wants to. Happy Gilmore? The Waterboy? 50 First Dates? The Longest Yard? Click? Bedtime Stories? Hotel Transylvania? These are all good movies by Adam Sandler, several of which he pulled off a great acting performance. I even heard that he was pretty good in last year's Men, Women & Children even though the movie itself was a pile of garbage. Yes, there are plenty of times where he just seems like he doesn't care and is there for the paycheck. This actually isn't one of them. He's fine in the movie. He tries to make it fun. It's not his fault the writing was so freaking bad that not even a great actor could redeem the movie.

Same thing goes for Kevin James. For anyone who says he's never done any good, I'd quickly remind you of this TV show called The King of Queens. That was a fantastic late 90's/early 2000's sitcom. Even if you didn't like him in that, pretty much everyone I've talked to has enjoyed the movie called Hitch, which is one of my personal favorite rom-coms. Even movies like Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Zookeeper, and Here Comes the Boom played very well for the younger audience that it was intended for. Yes, I called his character a buffoon earlier in my review, but that's not Kevin James' fault. He was just written is an unlikable buffoon. Let's continue. Josh Gad. The man is pretty much a legend in a little-known animated movie called Frozen. The voice of Olaf? I was laughing non-stop the whole movie at Olaf's brilliant one-liners. How is it that nothing that comes out of Josh Gad's mouth is even remotely funny in Pixels? Was Frozen just a one-hit wonder for him? Did he forget how to make people laugh? I don't believe that. He was trying in this movie, but the writing was so bad that it was impossible for him to be funny. Peter Dinklage. That little guy is a genius. I personally know him as Miles Finch from Elf. You know, the character that Will Ferrell's Buddy the Elf refers to as a "South Pole elf" or an "angry elf"? Many of you will know him for Game of Thrones. He plays Tyrion Lannister in that. The guy knows how to act. But in Pixels he is just awful. His fault? Nope.

Getting my vibe here? This is one of those films where I could start at the beginning and go scene by scene explaining how awful things were in this movie and I'd still probably miss things. I'll spare you the pain of even attempting that, but just know that this was a painful experience for me. I went to the movie to have fun. I was hoping that I was going to laugh. There were about five minutes in the movie where I had a little bit of fun. That was when they were chasing Pac-Man around New York City. There were a few jokes a I laughed at. Josh Gad sits in Kevin James' Presidential chair. Immediately Kevin James tells him to get out and Josh Gad immediately jumps right back up, making some sort of witty comment. For some reason I found that funny. I chuckled a bit. I don't know if that was supposed to be funny, but it was. But they were trying to make me laugh the whole movie and 99 percent of the time it just didn't work. I wanted to laugh. I wasn't just being a grinch. I love laughing. But this wasn't a funny and it was painful to see them try over and over and over and over. Is this a time where I blame the director? Possibly. Chris Columbus is that man. He has directed such movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Bicentennial Man, the first two Home Alone movies, and the first two Harry Potter movies. He was a writer for The Goonies and Gremlims. So the man is a talented man. Don't know what went wrong here.

I could go on. I could talk about some really awkward things that happened at the end of the movie. I could dive into one of the worst played romances in recent memory. But I'll stop here because I think you get my point. Pixels just doesn't work. If you saw it already, I'm sorry I couldn't warn you earlier. I decided to give my attention to Southpaw and Paper Towns first. If you haven't seen it yet, just don't. If you are part of the crowd who jokes with me that you end up liking every movie that I hate, then look at some other reviews. The movie is at 5.1 on IMDb. It's at 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. Trustworthy YouTube reviewers like Chris Stuckmann and Jeremy Jahns both trashed this movie. Stuckmann even gave this movie a big, fat "F." No one is enjoying this movie, so it's not just me. I saw it because that's what I do. I watch movies and write about them. Sometimes I seek out the bad movies so that I can have fun writing bad reviews. If you are a casual movie-goer, just skip this one. At the very least, wait till it comes to Red Box, Netflix, or a dollar theater where you don't have to spend much money and you can turn it off or walk out without much worry when you realize that all of us were right all along. As a lover of the classic arcade video games that this movie showcased, I was especially frustrated at such a wasted opportunity. My grade for Pixels is a 3/10 and I only go so high because I can tell the actors were trying to make this fun and there were a few brief moments where I had a bit of fun. But mostly it's just crap.


  1. Just saw it tonight. I was expecting to laugh, since nothing about the story could ever be true.
    I didn't have to worry about finding impossibilities because it's all fiction.
    I laughed throughout the movie.
    I think your evaluation is based to much on if it could be true.

    1. What? That comment makes no sense. It's like you didn't even read my review. I didn't expect any of this to be realistic. But you can be unrealistic and still have really good writing and a good movie. I could reference just about any superhero movie or any action movie ever as movies that are amazing that are unrealistic. Not once in my review did I even say or mention this movie being bad because none of the events are plausible