Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy was a film that I went back and forth on many times before settling on watching it. At the end of the day, I didn’t really know much about it except for the fact that it was getting a lot of awards buzz. Overall I am glad that I checked it out though I am still unsure as to how I feel about it.

For his whole life, JD Vance (Owen Asztalos) has dealt with his mother Bev’s (Amy Adams) rollercoaster lifestyle of using drugs. Together with his sister Lindsay (Haley Bennett), they always hoped something would change. Lucky for them they had their Mamaw (Glenn Close) for help if they ever needed.

When he’s older, JD (Gabrile Basso) has finally managed to get away from his toxic upbringing and is studying at Yale University. Trying to make a name for himself with the support of his girlfriend Usha (Freida Pinto), he is surprised when he receives a call from Lindsay that his mother has had an overdose. Unsure of what to do, he eventually finds his way back to the life and home he left behind so many years ago.

Amy Adams slayed her role as Bev. I have seen quite a few of her films and this one was on a completely different level from what she has done in the past. Glenn Close, similarly, was also a standout. I definitely agree with everyone who has said that this is the year they will get their Oscars. The whole transformation set that in stone.

Now this is where my confusion comes in. I’m just not sure the effect that this film had on me. It is a film about substance abuse and how so many people grapple with it on a daily basis and I think it’s a good thing that Hillbilly Elegy decided to focus on the topic. I’m pleased that it was illustrated in such a raw and realistic way.

I guess what I’m saying is that the movie was hard for me to watch at times. It made me sad and left me with a heavy heart. At least that means that the message was brought across properly.

Rating: ♥♥♥


I decided to check out Dreamland on a whim. I didn’t know anything about it until I was scrolling through Apple TV+. It’s definitely not something I would have usually watched, but I’m always up for trying something new. Not to mention the fact that it would be good fodder for the blog. I just wish I had more positive things to say about this one because it lacked in every department.

Allison Wells (Margot Robbie) is wanted for a bank robbery that ended badly. In order to get away from the cops, she flees and finds solace in the Evans’ barn. Here, she meets son Eugene (Finn Cole) who has always dreamed of becoming a bounty hunter, and ultimately, leaving behind the town he calls home for good. Together they team up to help each other achieve their dreams.

One saving grace for an otherwise slow and boring movie was Margot Robbie. She shines in everything she does and she helmed this picture well. Additionally, Finn Cole was also impressive. Despite their chemistry, not even they could save the overall experience.

Another thing I liked was the old school Hollywood vibe that I felt while watching. The costumes, the scenery and atmosphere did help transport me to another time and place. That is something that I always want from a movie and it was delivered here.

Everything else unfortunately didn’t work for me. The pace moved like a snail and I felt like it took forever for something to actually happen. At least Dreamland wasn’t a very long film because I don’t think I could have handled much more of it.

Rating: ♥♥

The Princess Switch: Switched Again

I have no idea where Netflix comes up with the ideas for these movies because they truly astound me every time. It’s not that they are supposed to be amazing. In fact, they are usually pretty awful. But that’s part of their charm and the sequel to 2018’s The Princess Switch was one I had been looking forward to for a long time. Whatever they were about to throw at me this time – three Vanessa Hudgens – I was ready!

When Duchess Margaret (Vanessa Hudgens) unexpectedly comes into inheritance of the throne of Montenaro, a rift is caused between her and Kevin (Nick Sagar). Believing they are better off apart, the two decide to go their separate ways. However, seeing that the two are clearly still in love with each other, Margaret’s look alike Stacey (also Vanessa Hudgens) steps in to help. With the assistance of her husband Edward (Sam Palladio) and Kevin’s daughter Olivia (Mia Lloyd), their plan seems to be foolproof. Or is it?

Enter Magaret’s cousin Fiona (again Vanessa Hudgens). A raucous party girl who never quite fit in with the royal family, she wants what Margaret is about to get – the crown. And she’ll do whatever she can to get it even if it means ruffling a few feathers along the way.

This was…a lot. I thought having two Vanessa Hudgens was enough, but adding another one into the mix proved to be confusing. I guess I have to give her props for playing three different roles and all off of herself no less. While the addition of Fiona was an interesting one, her accent was pretty questionable and at times had me rolling my eyes. Same with Margaret. They weren’t believable at all.

The rest was just mediocre. I enjoyed the storyline enough, but it wasn’t anything special. If anything, it was pretty predictable. I found myself a bit bored at times and I’m not sure if that was because of the not so great acting or the plot overall.

Still, The Princess Switch: Switched Again is mindless fun for everyone to enjoy. It was a proper sequel that lived up to my expectations and that’s really all I wanted at the end of the day. Despite how bad it was, I love it all the same.

Rating: ♥♥

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Expect a lot of Christmas themed movies coming up guys! There isn’t much else out there these days. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey was not originally on my radar which is strange. You’d think it was right up my alley considering the fact that it’s also a musical. Something about it just didn’t appeal to me straight away and I probably wouldn’t have watched it if it wasn’t for my husband. But you know what? I’m so glad I did because it was pretty awesome!

Jeronicus Jangle (Justin Cornwell) is the world’s most successful toy maker. Supported by his wife (Sharon Rose) and daughter (Diaana Babnicova), he knows he’s going places in his life. When his apprentice Gusatfson (Miles Barrow) decides to steal all of Jeronicus’s ideas, Jeronicus is left with nothing.

Fast forward several years later and Jeronicus (Forest Whitaker) isn’t doing well. His wife passed and he made his daughter move away. He also opened a pawn shop in order to make ends meet. Gustafson (Keegan Michael Key) is now the word’s best toy maker and living out the dreams that Jeronicus once had. But then Jeronicus’s granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills) comes to visit and his life is turned upside down. Together they must put aside their differences so they can once again be a family.

I have no idea why I didn’t want to watch this. There are so many good things about it! First of all, the music. All the songs were written by John Legend and were performed amazingly. This is the type of production I’d love to see on stage in a room full of people. The energy was electrifying.

Similarly, the costumes and make up were A+. I felt like I was in a whole other world because these people were so life like and animated. In addition, the sets and special effects were also on a whole other level and unlike anything I had ever seen before.

I also liked the change in cast members to depict how much time has passed in the story. There was some fabulous talent there with old and new names alike. Ultimately though, it was the family aspect that I enjoyed the most. It was believable, relatable and truly gave me all the feels.

Overall, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is the best movie you could hope to see this holiday season. It has so much to offer and may even leave you with tears in your eyes.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥


I love movies that have to do with Christmas and I was very excited to make Holidate my first of 2020! I had built this one up in my head, not going to lie. It looked really cute, funny and I have been a fan of Emma Roberts for ages. Suffice to say there was a lot at stake. And despite what the critics have been saying, I actually liked it and it lived up to my expectations.

Sloane (Emma Roberts) and Jackson (Luke Bracey) are fed up of being alone for the holidays. When a chance encounter at the mall occurs, they decide to become each others’ dates for every holiday in the year going forward. It seems like the perfect set up! Guaranteed dates with no strings attached. What more could they want?

Of course nothing turns out according to plan. As Sloane and Jackson get to know each other better, they realise that there may be more to their arrangement than they originally thought…

This movie has everything you need for a festive holiday treat. I already mentioned that it was funny, but I wasn’t expecting to be in stitches throughout the whole thing. While much of the humor was a bit on the dirty side, it worked well with the overall tone of the film.

Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey had great chemistry and certainly make for a picture perfect couple. Some other well known names such as Kristin Chenoweth, Jessica Capshaw and Frances Fisher rounded off the cast nicely. Chenoweth, however, was the standout as Sloane’s crazy aunt Susan.

What I liked most about Holidate was how fun it was. It didn’t take itself seriously which is important. Not to mention the fact that holiday movies aren’t supposed to be award worthy. As long as they put a smile on your face, that’s all that really matters.

Rating: ♥♥♥.5

On The Rocks

I think we all know by now that I love a good comedy. On The Rocks was one that was well executed and had all the right ingredients necessary to make me laugh. What I didn’t bargain for was the feelings that came with it – and how I was able to take something away from the overall experience too. I like when that happens!

Laura (Rashida Jones) is a young mother who seemingly does and has it all. A career as a writer, two adorable daughters and a very successful husband who just launched his own business. Sounds perfect right? It is, until Laura starts having suspicions that Dean (Marlon Wayans) is cheating on her. He goes away a lot, is always staying late at the office and one of his colleagues seems to be more than just someone he works with.

When Laura reconnects with her estranged playboy father Felix (Bill Murray), the two embark on an adventure all around the city to try and catch Dean in the act. As they spend more time together, however, they learn not only more about themselves as individuals, but about each other too.

In addition to this film being laugh out loud funny, the writing is incredibly smart and witty. Writer and director Sofia Coppola has always been known for her talent and her latest creation is no exception. I love how she takes a normal, every day relationship and makes it relatable to the point where you can really see yourself in these people that are on screen.

My favorite aspect of all was the father daughter relationship between Laura and Felix. I definitely appreciated both of their characters’ flaws and found that they had believable chemistry. Some of you are aware that I have a very strong relationship with my own father so this movie actually turned out to be super personal for me. I wouldn’t be surprised if other people in my position feel the same.

On The Rocks is a well done comedy that ticked all the right boxes. I really did enjoy myself throughout and loved how much heart it had too. I highly recommend it!

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

The Witches

This was probably the best movie I could have watched to end my previously dubbed spooky season. I remember reading the book of the same name by Roald Dahl when I was a child. Though I never saw the 1990 version of the film, I knew the reboot would make it to my list. It was a ton of fun and I enjoyed myself for the most part, but I also think I will have nightmares for about a week. No joke!

When a young boy’s (Jahzir Bruno) parents die in a car accident, he moves in with his grandmother (Octavia Spencer). Though it takes some time for him to move past what has happened, he and Grandma’s lives begin to fall into a decent routine. That is, until they encounter a coven of witches.

The catch about the witches, however, is that they absolutely loathe children and will do whatever they can to get rid of them! Together with the help of Hero Boy’s pet mouse Daisy (Kristin Chenoweth) and new friend Bruno (Codie-Lei Eastick), the gang must do whatever they can to stop the witches’ plan.

Let’s start with the good. The Witches is the perfect family friendly film. There are many laugh out loud moments, plenty of hijinks and you really are kept on the edge of your seat. There truly is something in it for everybody.

Another positive was the cast. Big names that I mentioned already were joined by Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci and Chris Rock. Each are brilliant in their own right and really do add to the overall enjoyment of the film. In fact, I probably would not have checked it out otherwise. And then there is the outstanding make up, costumes and special effects that really do put the film on a whole other level.

Unfortunately there was one main aspect that I can’t overlook. Despite the fact that there was too much going on at times, I simply couldn’t get over how creepy it all was. The witches were unlike anything I had ever seen before and I still don’t know if that’s a positive thing. There was something else as well, that prompted me to sit in fear for an hour and forty minutes, but I don’t want to spoil anybody.

On the whole, if you are in the mood for something (creepy) the whole family can enjoy, I’d say give this one a go. I would just give your kids, and yourself, a warning before you do.

Rating: ♥♥♥