HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE BABYSITTER (2017)

CAST

Judah Lewis (Point Break)
Samara Weaving (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Bella Thorne (Amityville: The Awakening)
Robbie Amell (The Flash)
Andrew B. Bachelor (Fifty Shades of Black)
Emily Alyn Lind (Lights Out)
Hana Mae Lee (Pitch Perfect)
Leslie Bibb (Iron Man)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)

Twelve-year-old Cole Johnson is a naïve teenager who tries to fit in with everyone else. When he is bullied by his neighbour Jeremy, his babysitter Bee stands up for him and draws them away from him. The following day, when his parents go out for an overnight stay at a hotel, Bee and Cole spends quality time together until after 10.00pm. About 30 minutes or so later, Cole is encouraged by a text from his best friend Melanie to go see what Bee gets up to after he “goes to sleep”. To his surprise, he sees what looks like a harmless game of Spin the Bottle, as Bee passionately kisses each of her friends as part of a dare. However, as she kisses a nervous nerd called Samuel that she met the other day, she pulls two daggers from behind her back and spears them into his skull, spewing blood into golden goblets. As Cole sees this, he freezes in shock and, in a fit of fear, hurries to his room and ties his bedsheets together and throws them out the window. Unfortunately, shortly after the remaining members of the cult (including Bee) take a blood sample from him, Cole momentarily passes out.screen-shot-2017-10-03-at-12-39-34-pmLater, Bee and her posse question why he was spying on them. He, on the contrary, asks them why they are doing this. Bee claims that the blood sample was part of a “science project”, but Cole refuses to believe her. Just then, the cops arrive at the house and one member, Allison, is shot in her left breast, leaving a bloody wound. Max, a muscular quarterback jock, impales a cop in the eye with a pole, whereas Bee slits the other cop’s neck, again spraying blood into John’s face. As Cole re-attempts to escape, he is briefly pursued by John, but accidentally pushes him over the banister and he falls and lands on the floor with a trophy impaling his neck.Pursuing after Cole, Sonya and Max find him in a Crawlspace, where he lights a firework at Sonya but it misses her; he then traps her inside just as the firework explodes in a fireball and kills her. Max finds him and chases Cole up to an old treehouse, where after a brawl, the boys fall with Max hung by the rope, exposing part of his spine.Fresh, violent but also funny, The Babysitter is a love letter to the slasher genre. Turn off your brain and enjoy this nice experience.

REVIEW: DAYBREAK – SEASON 1

Colin Ford in Daybreak (2019)

Starring

Colin Ford (Push)
Alyvia Alyn Lind (Revenge)
Sophie Simnett (The Lodge)
Austin Crute (Booksmart)
Cody Kearsley (Riverdale)
Jeanté Godlock (Sell Out)
Gregory Kasyan (War Dogs)
Krysta Rodriguez (Bakery in Brooklyn)
Matthew Broderick (Election)

Matthew Broderick and Sophie Simnett in Daybreak (2019)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Chelsea Zhang (Titans)
Andrew Fox (The Eight House)
Zoe Biggers (Prism)
Charlotte Benesch (Greanleaf)
Virginia Asbury (Cents)
Jade Payton (Izombie)
Natalie Alyn Lind (The Gifted)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Joe manganiello (Justice League
Mather Zickel (Bones)

Colin Ford, Austin Crute, and Alyvia Alyn Lind in Daybreak (2019)While so many producers and networks are preoccupied with creating the next Walking Dead or Stranger Things, Netflix has looked back further, specifically to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, for its new series Daybreak. That’s not to say the post-apocalyptic comedy-drama is in any way a copycat — while there are “ghoulies,” you won’t find a single vampire — but it is a worthy successor to the cult favorite in terms of its wry self-awareness and exploration of the high school experience through a supernatural/sci-fi lens.Cody Kearsley and Jeanté Godlock in Daybreak (2019)Loosely based on the series of graphic novels by Brian Ralph, Daybreak is set in Glendale, California, in the months after a nuclear apocalypse reduced most adults to “goo,” and turned those that remained into mindless, zombie-like ghoulies, sentenced to endlessly repeat the last thing they said before the attack, no matter how banal (“There’s a sale at Lululemon”). That leaves the teens and children to fight for survival in a world that’s part Road Warrior, part Lord of the Flies, part Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, with heaping helpings of irony and dark humor.Krysta Rodriguez in Daybreak (2019)Colin Ford (Supernatural, Under the Dome) stars as Josh Wheeler, a 17-year-old transfer student from Canada who finds that his outsider status serves him well in the End Times. He navigates the territories staked out by high-school cliques turned tribes (The Jocks, The 4-H Club, Disciples of Kardashia, and so on), while stockpiling supplies and searching for Sam Dean (Sophie Simnett), the love of his life who was separated him the night of the attack.Daybreak (2019)Like a post-apocalyptic Malcolm in the Middle, Josh routinely breaks the fourth wall in the first two episodes to serve as the audience’s guide to this bizarre, new world, in which two-headed crows scrounge for morsels, doomed contestants compete in “American Ninja Idol” for the entertainment of the leader of The Jocks, and the bogeyman-like Baron Triumph prowls the streets on a motorcycle, capturing kids to eat. Despite Josh’s determination to remain a loner, he falls in with Angelica (​Alyvia Alyn Lind​), a precocious girl with a flame-thrower and malleable morals, and Wesley Fists (Austin Crute), a former jock turned pacifistic samurai seeking redemption. Together, they form a compelling central cast that is, luckily, more than mere archetypes of young-adult drama. (Likewise, Matthew Broderick as the “woke” Principal Burr and Krysta Rodriguez as the beleaguered Ms. Crumble prove to be more than cookie-cutter authority figures.)Jade Payton in Daybreak (2019)Although Ford is joined by other narrators in subsequent episodes, he bears the weight of the world-building, and carries it well, addressing viewers as if they’re participants in this offbeat adventure. If Ford weren’t so charming, and Josh weren’t such goofy, endearing everyman (everykid?) Daybreak would likely stumble out of the gate. However, the series’ success doesn’t owe all to him; when the narration, and the focus, shifts to other characters, Daybreak still works — and works well. While Daybreak doesn’t blaze any new trails, in either teen comedy-drama or post-apocalyptic fiction, it has a great deal of fun exploring the tropes of both. The wasteland of Glendale is high school writ large, with the adolescent pecking order weathering the nuclear attack (and even thriving in its aftermath), and teens seeking a place among the cliques, not merely for social acceptance but for their survival. It’s no coincidence that a shopping mall, kept pristine even as society crumbles, emerges as an oasis for the outcasts.47e9a30a87171a0193c6ca7ae9218bd5119bad1eWith the ghoulies, Daybreak introduces a zombie-like menace that wisely sidesteps the familiar threat of The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later and the like. Sure, they’re revenants, of sorts, but the repetition of their frequently silly final words (“How do you pronounce ‘La Croix’?”) goes a long way to diffuse any sense of dread. Angelica goes to great length to differentiate ghoulies from zombies, noting that while their bites may leave scars, they won’t transform their victims (a knowledge bomb that arrives a bit too late for Josh). But, as is so often the case in post-apocalyptic fiction, the real danger isn’t the monsters but the humans, whether they be The Jocks or the cannibalistic Baron Triumph.b1dc4-episode2bstill2b3Witty, self-aware and endlessly entertaining, Daybreak offers something for everyone: teen angst (and romance), samurai action, Mad Max-style car chases and, yes, metatextuality, all in one, enjoyable bundle. It’s a post-apocalyptic Buffy the Vampire Slayer for 2019, only, y’know, without vampires.

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: GOOSEBUMPS (2015)

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CAST

 Jack Black (School of Rock)
Dylan Minnette (Lost)
Odeya Rush (The Giver)
Ryan Lee (Super 8)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street)
Steven Krueger (The originals)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)

Halston Sage (The Orville)
Karan Soni (Deadpool)
Jason Davis (Reprisal)

Goosebumps (2015)
Zach Cooper and his mother Gale move to the town of Madison, Delaware. While settling in, Zach meets his new neighbor Hannah and her father, known as “Mr. Shivers”. Zach and Hannah become quick friends, but Mr. Shivers frequently warns Zach to avoid contact with them. At Madison High School where Gale works as the vice-principal, Zach befriends Champ, a socially awkward student. The next night, Zach hears Mr. Shivers and Hannah arguing, followed by Hannah screaming. He calls the police, but Mr. Shivers assures the officers that the noise came from his television. Fearing Hannah is in danger, Zach tricks Mr. Shivers into going to the police station for further questioning and breaks into his house with Champ’s help. The two find a shelf containing many Goosebumps manuscripts, all of which are locked. Zach unlocks one of the books, but when Hannah discovers them, Zach drops the book, releasing the titular character of The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena that breaks out of the house. They pursue the monster to an ice skating rink, where Mr. Shivers appears and imprisons it back into the book.
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On the way home, Mr. Shivers reveals that he is Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. He created the stories as a child to terrorize the people that made fun of him, but the monsters came to life and became uncontrollable, so he had to trap them inside their manuscripts. Returning to the house, they find Slappy from the Night of the Living Dummy, which was accidentally unlocked before, waiting for them. Angry at being imprisoned, Slappy burns his own manuscript and flees in The Haunted Car. They are attacked by the lawn gnomes from Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, but when Stine and the kids try to smash them, each of the gnomes reform, making them realize that they can only run away.
Slappy releases several monsters, letting them rampage under his command. Zach suggests Stine to write a new book that will trap every monster, but he can only do it with his special typewriter which is at the high school. On the way there, Brent Green from My Best Friend Is Invisible and the giant praying mantis from A Shocker on Shock Street attack Stine’s car, so they are forced into hiding. The titular Werewolf of Fever Swamp pursues them into an abandoned supermarket, only to be run over by Zach’s aunt Lorraine.
As they cut through the cemetery, Zach notices that Hannah glows blue in the moonlight. After evading the Graveyard Ghouls from Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls, they manage to make it to the high school. There, Zach privately questions Stine about Hannah, and Stine reveals that she is a Goosebumps character (from The Ghost Next Door) he created to cope with his loneliness, of which she is seemingly unaware. Stine finds the typewriter and starts writing a new story based on the events around them, while Zach leads the students in fending off all the released monsters that are storming the building. Slappy confronts Stine and breaks his fingers with the typewriter case before the story is finished.
Stine, Zach, Champ and Hannah board a school bus and go to an abandoned amusement park. There, Slappy lets out the blob from The Blob that Ate Everyone. Stine then hands the book and typewriter to Zach, and distracts the blob by allowing it to devour him alive. Zach finishes the story, but is reluctant to open the book because Hannah will also be sucked inside it. Revealing she knew the truth about herself all along, Hannah opens the book, sucking Slappy and all the other monsters into it; she bids farewell to Zach with a kiss before she is also sucked in. Sometime later, Stine has started working as Zach’s English teacher. After class, Zach is surprised and delighted to see that Hannah is there and Stine reveals to Zach that he wrote her back into existence with another book. She and Zach kiss and leave school together while Stine burns Hannah’s manuscript, making her permanently real. As he prepares to leave the school, he sees the typewriter typing by itself inside its display case. To Stine’s horror, Brent Green has evaded imprisonment and begins writing a story titled The Invisible Boy’s Revenge.
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It’s a fun story even if you are not aware of Goosebumps, but I’m sure if you are a huge fan, you’ll get a real kick out of seeing some of the monsters from your favorite books/TV epoisodes make an appearance on the big screen.

REVIEW: IZOMBIE – SEASON 5

Rose McIver in iZombie (2015)

MAIN CAST

Rose McIver (Power Rangers RPM)
Malcolm Goodwin (American Gangster)
Rahul Kohli (Happy Anniversary)
Robert Buckley (Killer Movie)
David Anders (Alias)
Aly Michalka (Two and a Half Men)
Bryce Hodgson (Kid Cannabis)

Rose McIver in iZombie (2015)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jennifer Irwin (Bad Teacher)
Daran Norris (Veronica Mars)
Quinta Brunson (Lazor Wulf)
Tongayi Chirisa (Crusoe)
Francis Capra (Heroes)
Jessica Harmon (The 100)
Robert Salvador (Arrow)
Jade Payton (Good Game)
Adam Greydon Reid (Sanctuary)
Aaron Craven (The Predator)
Emy Aneke (The Drive)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Bones)
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Airplane)
Jackie Debatin (Switched at Birth)
John Emmet Tracy (Fifty Shades Freed)
Christie Laing (Arrow)
Stephanie Lemelin (Young Justice)
Gage Golightly (Teen Wolf)
Ryan Devlin (Veronica Mars)
Bill Wise (Boyhood)
Magda Apanowicz (Caprica)
Bill Dow (Stargate SG.1)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Eddie Jemison (Waitress)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)
Laura Bilgeri (The Recall)
Valerie Tian (Juno)
Carrie Anne Fleming (Supernatural)
Doug Hutchison (The Green Mile)
Nick Purcha (Cold Zone)
Hanneke Talbot (Star Trek: Discovery)
Nemo Cartwright (Descendants)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Chris Lowell (Veronica Mars)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Colleen Winton (Van Helsing)

Anyone hoping that Seattle’s new leadership would help ease zombie-human relations on iZombie was out of luck during the show’s fifth and final season. Sure, Peyton is now the acting mayor, and Major is a far more benevolent Fillmore Graves commander than Chase Graves. But six months after the Season 4 finale, the city’s problems remain: There aren’t enough brains to feed the undead, and tensions between humans and zombies are at an all-time high. When a video of the undead chowing down on a human woman’s brain goes viral, things only get worse. Even Blaine — who is living lavishly like a rock star — finds that his brain-smuggling business is in trouble. The border agents he’s paid off to look the other way are no longer OK with zombies, meaning Blaine’s operation isn’t delivering like it used to. And as he explains to Liv and Clive — whose wife Dale is pregnant! — when zombies get hungry, he gets sad. And when he delivers less brains, he’s less wealthy, which makes him even sadder.As per their deal, Major puts the pressure on Blaine to bring in the goods. “It’s why people are willing to pretend you’re Jack Sparrow and not Jack the Ripper,” Major reminds him. So Blaine kidnaps the five border security guards and threatens to turn them into zombies and kill all their loved ones. Four of them agree to resume their partnership, while the fifth never returns to work, if you know what I mean.Daran Norris and Aly Michalka in iZombie (2015)Meanwhile, the zombie-hating Dead Enders are going to extreme and violent lengths. A human man approaches one of the activist leaders at her food truck and is given a location and time. He then drives a van armed with explosives into a security checkpoint, killing several Fillmore Graves soldiers. With all the chaos, it’s easy to understand why Major is inundated with applications from people wanting to leave Seattle. At the same time, Liv is reviewing hopefuls who want into the city, including a video from a teen boy who’s terminally ill and stuck in a terrible foster home. When she sends Not!Weevil to get him across the border, Liv’s cohort finds a surprise waiting for him: two little girls from the foster home, who are also in need of saving. Even though he doesn’t have IDs for the girls, Not!Weevil takes all three kids with him. But alas, one of the other passengers on the bus tips off the police to the girls hiding in the bathroom.Rose McIver in iZombie (2015)Back at home, Ravi consumes the brains of a Vinnie Jones-type macho man and goes all aggro. Thankfully, he has a very understanding but no-nonsense girlfriend in Peyton. On the downside, he doesn’t get off to the best start with his new liaison on the cure, seeing as how he mostly just yells at her. The other doctor figures out the condition needed to derive the cure, but the real Ravi warns her that it would put 300 children’s lives in jeopardy. She eventually comes around to his side and keeps the information from her bosses. and thats just the opener.Rose McIver in iZombie (2015)The remaining episodes of the season bring some laughs, some sadness and more brain eating fun from our favorite Zombie. with the series coming to a close it will always remain a quirky entertaining show with a lot of heart and will be missed.

REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 4

Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)

 

Starring

Kristen Bell (The GOod Place)
Jason Dohring (Izombie)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)

Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Percy Daggs III (American son)
Francis Capra (Heroes)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
David Starzyk (Bring it On 5)
Adam Rose (Santa Clarita Diet)
Ryan Devlin (Big Shots)
Julie Gonzalo (Freaky Friday)
James Jordan (Wind River)
Dawnn Lewis (Izombie)
Sarah Hyland (Modern Family)

Cody Renee Cameron (The Neon Demon)
Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Good Place)
Patton Oswalt (Two and a Half men)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Westworld)
Izabela Vidovic (Supergirl)
J. K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Tyler Alvarez (American Vandal)
Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica)
Mido Hamada (Unknown)
Kyle Secor (The Flash)
François Chau (The Tick)
Logan Miller (Escape Room)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Patrick Cox (2 Broke Girls)
Rodney Rowland (Legacies)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
Clark Duke (Kick-Ass)
Jacqueline Antaramian (Side Effects)
Paul Karmiryan (In The Vault)
Lukas Gage (American Vandal)
Christopher B. Duncan (Legacies)
Patrick Wolff (Starship Troopers)

Chino and the ManIn Hulu’s revival of Veronica Mars, the title character (Kristen Bell) visits one of the many men she put behind bars as a teenager. Realizing that she’s still working as a private investigator, he snipes, “That was your job in high school, right?” Television shows are a product of a particular time in the lives of their characters, creators, and audiences. One of the biggest problems with the recent trend of belated-sequel seasons is that they try to act like nothing has changed for any of those groups when, say, a 32-year-old Rory Gilmore shouldn’t still be acting like a 20-year-old. This issue should be especially acute for Veronica Mars, which in its original run drew much of its power and verve from presenting a hard-boiled gumshoe who looked like she had just quit the school dance team. (She had, actually, in the wake of her best friend’s murder.)Chino and the ManBut the new eight-episode Hulu season is keenly aware that its heroine is stuck in neutral. It’s less surprising for her as an adult to be doing stakeouts and fending off gangsters at gunpoint. But it’s also sad and self-destructive — in a very film-noir kind of way — that she’s retreated to the role she had before she was old enough to vote. When her high school frenemy Weevil (Francis Capra) asks what’s wrong with her, she cracks, “You know, there are a range of opinions.” She spends as much of her narration beating herself up for mistakes and character flaws as she does helping us follow the complicated case that’s brought her back to television. And Bell is just as charismatic, vulnerable, and slick with the banter as she was when she could pass for an 11th-grader.newgirl-ep708_sc9-ray_1203_originalVeronica creator Rob Thomas presciently set the original series in a California beach town with no middle class — only the ultrarich and the people who work for them. The setting works even better amid our present-day class warfare, and the plot involves a series of bombings that may be connected to a movement to drive out the city’s few remaining mom-and-pop businesses. Chief among the early suspects: “Big Dick” Casablancas (David Starzyk), a real-estate mogul (and holdover from the original series; he’s the father of Ryan Hansen’s Dick) publicly insisting that “we need to get back to a better time.” There’s a healthy mix of new faces, including Patton Oswalt enjoying his celebrity as witness to the first bombing; J.K. Simmons at his most charming as an ex-con now working as Big Dick’s enforcer; Kirby Howell-Baptiste as a bar owner Veronica befriends; and Izabela Vidovic as a teen reminiscent of Veronica back in the UPN days. And Veronica of course works the case with her beloved father, Keith (Enrico Colantoni, appealingly relaxed as ever, even as Keith battles health issues), while still trying to make things work with high school flame Logan (Jason Dohring, who apparently lives at the gym now).9a8851bc-3c87-458d-9481-8e4ea386bca3-vmars_101_md_2021r_fThis is the second time Bell and Co. have returned to this world: A 2014 movie introduced us to Veronica as an adult. Perhaps because the film was funded by Kickstarter, Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright (who also co-wrote the new season) leaned hard into fan service, with a mystery that was largely an excuse to bring back as many old favorites as possible. It was fun in spots, but a violation of the bleak noir ethos of the original series, which was at its best when it denied the audience what it wanted and gave them what the story demanded. The Hulu version also features a host of familiar faces, like Max Greenfield as Veronica’s ex Leo (now an FBI agent looking into the bombings), but they turn up only when the plot calls for them. And the ending to this new mystery feels satisfying both to the narratives and to the themes of Veronica’s life as a woman who can’t stop looking for the truth, no matter how much it hurts.Keep Calm and Party OnThe conclusion is darker than some fans may want, but feels like a necessary corrective for this new phase of our heroine’s life. It’s a terrific return to form for one of television’s all-time great underseen gems

REVIEW: VERONICA MARS (MOVIE)

CAST

Kristen Bell (Frozen)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Francis Capra (heroes)
Percy Daggs III (Izombie)
Chris Lowell (Enlisted)
Tina Mojorino (Santa Fe)
Enrico Colantoni (Powers)
Gaby Hoffmann (Wild)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Brandon Hillock (Villains)
Martin Starr (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Amanda Noret (City Guys)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Duane Daniels (Murder on Vine)
Lisa Thornhill (Rush Hour 3)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Justin Long (Mom)
Dax Shepard (Hit and Run)
James Franco (Spider-Man)
Eddie Jemison (IZombie)
Jessica Camacho (The Flash)

Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring in Veronica Mars (2014)The world of cult TV is a peculiar one. Television shows are canceled all the time, but through the world of DVDs, Netflix, and Amazon, shows pulled from network schedules before their time now have the opportunity to grow a loyal, faithful audience long after the grass has grown over their graves.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2014)Those fans often wonder if they’ll ever see their favorite characters again, and every once in awhile that wish comes true. Seven years after it was canceled, Veronica Mars, which became a cult phenomenon since it premiered its last new episode on The CW in 2007, returned for one more mystery, this time on the big screen. As any true fan can tell you, Veronica Mars was a witty, one-of-a-kind teen noir series that tackled everything from rape and murder to class warfare.A social outcast after her sheriff father (Enrico Colantoni) wrongfully accused a very rich, very powerful man of murdering his daughter (who was Veronica’s best friend and the sister of Veronica’s boyfriend), Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) was largely on her own in a town full of obnoxious and privileged children of movie stars and CEOs. But the Southern California town of Neptune was divided along class lines. Veronica didn’t fit in with the popular kids, known as the 09-ers, after her father’s wrongful accusation, but she didn’t fit in with the working class either on account of her former association to those same 09-ers. She became a fierce, independent teen whose weapon of choice against her enemies was her mind, her wit, and the occasional stun-gunning. Each episode of the series tackled a new mystery for Veronica to solve, while an overarching larger mystery unfolded over the course of the entire season. It’s not every day a series like Veronica Mars shows up on TV, and so it makes perfect sense that Veronica Mars in its film incarnation be as unique as the series from which it was born.veronicamarsFunded by fans via a Kickstarter that broke several records and reached its goal of $2 million in less than 12 hours, the Veronica Mars film was a labor of love for all parties involved. The movie, which looked great despite not having had the funds it would have had if it had been completely backed by the studio, felt like an extended episode of the TV series. Some people might look at that and see a failure, but to any Veronica Mars fan, that’s the highest form of praise. Instead of an ending, the movie felt like a brand-new chapter recently discovered at the end of a favorite book.Series creator Rob Thomas has always been cognizant of the fact that the film would not exist if it weren’t for the fans, and has said on more than one occasion that it was imperative that they make a film that would do right by the fans who donated their hard-earned cash to bring this beautiful work to life. And that’s what he did. He created a film that he knew the fans would love. And he should know, because he’s probably the series’ biggest fan outside of Kristen Bell herself. Without Thomas and Bell keeping alive their dream of one day shooting a film, fans might have given up hope of ever returning to the seedy seaside town of Neptune, California.Kristen Bell and Ryan Hansen in Veronica Mars (2014)By the time Veronica traded in her pin-straight hair and fancy New York lawyer duds for the jeans, jacket, and beach waves uniform she wore for three seasons, it was clear Veronica was never going to go back to the seemingly perfect life she had in New York with Piz (Chris Lowell). It doesn’t matter if everyone knew going in that she’d end up choosing Neptune over New York and ex-boyfriend Logan (Jason Dorhing) over Piz, because it’s exactly what the fans wanted to see. It’s what the fans paid upfront to see. It’s the open-ended ending the fans waited seven years for. In short: The film delivered.rs_560x415-140311131242-1024.Veronica-Mars-Kristen-Bell.ms.031114_copyThe movie, which followed the first case Veronica had worked since she transferred to Stanford after one year at Hearst College, and which happened to coincide with her 10 year high school reunion, felt exactly like that: A reunion. Because Thomas wanted to please the fans, the movie attempted to bring back as many original cast members from the series as possible, from the still-bitchy Madison Sinclair (Amanda Noret), to the dirty and shameless Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino), who might actually be living in a van now, to the effortlessly charming Deputy-now-detective Leo (Max Greenfield). The movie was a parade of familiar faces, but to fans of the series, it felt a bit like home. Each time a character appeared on screen, it was a wink and a nod to fans.Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring in Veronica Mars (2014)It makes sense that the person to pull Veronica back to Neptune and the private eye world was Logan. He’d been part of the reason she’d left town and their self-proclaimed epic love story was left unfinished. If I take issue with anything in the film, however, it would be the way in which it portrayed her relationship with both Logan and the job of being a private investigator as a drug. Over the course of the series, it was clear her relationship with Logan was toxic, but Logan has grown up and matured considerably in the nine years since we last saw him. Yes, he was quick to resort to violence when Veronica’s sex tape played at the reunion, but that doesn’t change the fact that Logan has come very far since his self-destructive days. He joined the navy and became a pilot. He became a stabilizing force for his girlfriend, Carrie Bishop, whose murder was the central mystery of the movie.Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring in Veronica Mars (2014)Keith’s vocal opposition to Veronica leaving New York and the opportunities there felt real and were grounded in reality. He’s a father who only wants the best for his daughter. But it was never going to happen. The mystery of who killed Carrie Bishop wasn’t the most exciting or intricate case Veronica has ever tackled, but once again, the movie had to find a way to work in a case that would draw Veronica back to Neptune, as well as find a way to work in the cameos fans desperately wanted to see in a short, finite amount of time. Revealing Martin Starr’s new character Stu “Cobb” Cobbler to be Carrie’s murderer made sense, because having it be someone fans knew and loved would have been crushing to the audience. The fact that Dick really never knew the truth about what happened to Susan Knight on that boat was in line with the Dick that fans have come to love or come to love to hate. In short, everything that happened in the film felt just right.Success in this industry will always be measured by how much money a film makes, and there is a special dollar amount the movie must bring in to warrant a sequel, but to fans of the series, none of that really matters. It was never about the money, it was about seeing Veronica, Logan, Keith, Wallace, Mac, Dick, Weevil, and Piz again. Veronica Mars’ success will never be measured in dollar signs, but in whether or not the film made fans happy, and to that end it definitely succeeded.

REVIEW: PLAY IT AGAIN, DICK

Play it again dick poster

CAST

Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Kristen Bell (Frozen)
Enrico Colantoni (Powers)
Kyle Gallner (Smallville)
Amanda Noret (Bunny Whipped)
Percy Daggs III (Izombie)
Christopher B. Duncan (My Name Is Khan)
Rose McIver (Izombie)
Daran Norris (Team America)
Robert Buckley (Killer Movie)
Ryan Devlin (Deck The Halls)
Francis Capra (Heroes)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Chris Lowell (Enlisted)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Lisa Thornhill (The Family Man)

piad7This online series of short 10 minute episodes is worth watching, especially if you’re a fellow Marshmallow. Though it’s less spinoff and more meta with a humorous look at the industry through the eyes of a “Dick” like Ryan Hansen It’s fun to watch with most of the actors and characters we all love making appearances. So if you’re up for seeing some of your favorite actors and characters from Veronica Mars, then this is a must see – even if it’s not ‘quite’ Veronica Mars.

Photo: CWThe series takes a fictionalized version of Ryan Hansen (who plays Dick Casablancas – rich party boy) as he tries to get a Veronica Mars spinoff series off the ground about Dick as a private eye. This interpretation of Ryan is closer to Dick in personality than perhaps what he’s like in real life, which creates a familiar atmosphere for the fans.

Photo: CWHowever, what makes the series work and ultimately hilarious is how it pokes fun at the industry itself. In real life, there’s no way the Dick Casablancas show would make it on the air. Dick as a private eye? And when the fictionalized Kristen reveals how silly she thinks the idea is (and only agrees to be on it because she sees Ryan as a brother, not to mention the zero chance of it getting picked up), we can’t help but agree and laugh at her predicament.rs_560x415-140922161834-560.Play-It-Again-Dick-Ryan-Hansen-Jason-Dohring.ms.092214In a clever scene, they have Ryan pitch his show to real life CW executives as he somehow convinces them to give him money to make the pilot. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Where I stand, the more Veronica Mars content the better. By having this online series, it keeps the show relevant instead of in the archives of the past. Here’s to hoping for another future movie, or even better a limited series order. Till then, we all have Dick. And  it is fun to watch.