Netflix A-Z: The Wedding Guest (aka Barefoot) (2014)

I was in a dilemma as to whether to use this one for Netflix A-Z W selection. Fact is, Netflix calls it The Wedding Guest and everywhere else calls it Barefoot.  BUT, I really wanted to write about it and in a way, it was my selection so I’m sticking with the original plan! Scott Speedman brings back so many awesome memories and I haven’t seen him in anything in forever so I’m excited! 🙂

Lets check it out! 🙂

The Wedding Guest (2014)
(aka Barefoot)


 Director: Andrew Fleming

Cast: Scott Speedman, Evan Rachel Woods, J.K. Simmons, Treat Williams, Kate Burton, David Jensen

The “black sheep” son of a wealthy family meets a young psychiatric patient who’s been raised in isolation her entire life. He then takes the naive young woman home for his brother’s wedding.-IMDB

At this point of writing this review, I think its suffice to say that I’m in absolutely love with this movie.  Currently, I’ve seen it in parts and fully for more than five times. Also, if you were to see this or give it a chance, don’t watch the trailer.  If this movie doesn’t draw audience to it, its because of the trailer.

I have no idea why its ragged on in Rotten Tomatoes, well, probably because apparently its similar to some German movie called Barfuss that I haven’t seen or heard about before, so I have no comparison. It drives me crazy to see such a low rating like 14% and then I ask these lovely people (because I respect their opinion as well), what is the worst movie you have seen? Its more out of curiosity like its all out of comparison although this one is charming as heck if you like this sort of romantic drama/comedy.  Anyways, mini rant over!

Apparently these little indie flicks catch me a lot.  Maybe its because I just find it incredibly adorable and fun and a little dark all at the same time.  The pacing, the characters and the story are all so endearing and personal.  Its like a movie that is carefully split into 4 different parts from introducing our two main characters to the “wedding guest” portion and then to a road trip/escape story and in that process learning more about our two characters and the evolution of their relationship and what makes them actually so different and so perfect for each other at the same time.

Wedding Guest

Continuing on the tangent of the rant and the emphasis on the characters and their relationship, The Wedding Guest is successful because of its charming main characters.  Its also why I don’t think the emphasis of its similarities to another movie’s story makes that much of a difference in the whole spectrum of things.  I fully believe that romance is based on chemistry and when you strip it all apart, romance stories are similar and relatively predictable but rather to add charm to it is what makes it rise above the others.  With that said, The Wedding Guest does a fantastic job at this. Playing the black sheep of a wealthy family called Jay is Scott Speedman, I like him quite a bit and this makes me want to rewatch the TV series Felicity. Its been so long since I’ve seen him in anything.  I believe the last movie was Underworld.  Before we talk further about his character, I think we need to look at the female lead.

Wedding Guest

Opposite of him is the mental patient that follows him called Daisy, played by Evan Rachel Woods who I know from Across the Universe.  Daisy is the star of the show here because she is adorable and naive because this is the first time she is physically connecting with the outside world because she grew up locked up because of her mother. As her story unravels and we learn a little more from her opening up to Jay, we also understand why she ends up at the mental hospital and why no one quite understands her but her character has a huge room for growth and development and her emotions are exceptionally raw and fragile that its easy to connect with her and because of that connect with Jay.

While we can argue that Jay is portrayed as a rather selfish and unlikable guy, he also grows because he sees the world differently because of Daisy.  Daisy trusts and relies on him and believes in him.  Although it is because she doesn’t quite understand the world around him but at the same time, her intentions are simple and straightforward and absolutely genuine that it wakes up something in him and their connection strengthens unexpectedly but beautifully in the most bittersweet way.  For once, Jay is accountable for the choices he makes and it seems to be what it needs to make him conscience about making the right choices even if he doesn’t want to face the problems he wants to avoid.  And his life was a mess and one of the reasons why he decided to go home in the first place.

Wedding Guest

Although the first half of the movie hints towards just building these characters and giving us time to connect to them, its what makes one scene in the middle so powerful and everything that follows fall into place.  Sure, there are little plot holes about the reality of the situation but a movie is still a movie and the feeling The Wedding Guest manages to deliver is still lighthearted, cute but yet so worrying when you know the characters probably will have to separate from each other just because of each of their troubles being an escaped mental patient and a wanted man for violating probation.  We also are reminded of this because another acting powerhouse, J.K. Simmons is here acting as the psychiatrist trying to get Jay to bring back Daisy.  Yet, in all this, The Wedding Guest still manages to keep it happy and funny here and there and hold some meaning to the relationship being built here.

Overall, The Wedding Guest was a pleasant surprise and one that I love so much.  Its as indie as they get but the cast delivers a fantastic performance portraying their characters. The cast is great with Evan Rachel Woods shining above everyone as she captures the naive Daisy.  Its great to see Scott Speedman and just to show how much potential this movie has, J.K. Simmons is in here and I have never seen him in a bad movie to date.  There’s something special here wrapped in funny and awkward moments even if the story seems like its been used before, it doesn’t stop the fact that the patience in building these characters and their connection is rewarding in the end.

Have you seen The Wedding Guest (aka Barefoot)? 

Zootopia (2016)

Zootopia came around a lot faster than I imagined.  I’m going to be honest here and say that it didn’t appeal to me at all from the posters or the snippets that I saw.  My eyes were The Secret Life of Pets, which kind of reminds me a little of Toy Story but with household pets. However, Zootopia is a Disney animation and I love those to bits, even the few not so at par ones over the years. It was time for another theatre viewing! I rounded up my lovely girl friends and we were off for movie night! 🙂

Let’s check out Zootopia! 🙂

Zootopia (2016)


Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore & Jared Bush

Voice Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Stu Lakes, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Alan Tudyk, Shakira

In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a fugitive con artist fox and a rookie bunny cop must work together to uncover a conspiracy.-IMDB

 Going into Zootopia, its obvious that I had no expectations.  Actually, I didn’t even really know what the story was about. The only thing I knew was animals living like humans. Does that appeal to me? Well, I’m not quite sure.  Will it work out? Who knows, right? I went into Zootopia with one hope in my mind: to have a good fun time.  Did it deliver? HELL YEAH! I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.  It was a funny yet heartfelt movie that I found could relate to both adults and some equally cute moments for kids.  Maybe not too young because some kids next to us started squirming around a little impatiently near the last quarter of the movie.


One of the best parts of Zootopia is its production design.  The city along with its districts are thoughtful and detailed.  The beauty of the animation moving one place to the next in Tundratown, Rainforest District, Zootopia metropolis, down to the little country areas where our main character Judy comes from, Bunny Burrow, reflects what they are trying to get across.  Cities can live together but they also keep to themselves in many ways.  There is still a part of the animal complex that will stick to what they biologically need even if the predator and prey complex is no longer there. And that reflects on our reality as well, in many cases.


Another really fantastic aspect of Zootopia was the voice acting and the character designs.  Most of the characters, especially our main characters, Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps are absolutely endearing.  Watching their friendship/partnership grow despite their differences and prejudices was a pure joy.  They had beautiful and touching and really funny moments. A lot of credit has to go to their talented voice cast.  Ginnifer Goodwin does the voice for Judy Hopps and I like her a lot.  Nick Wilde’s voice was done by Jason Bateman who is becoming an increasingly fave of mine. Not to mention, the Mayor is voiced by J.K. Simmons and one of my fave voices here is Bellwether voiced by Jenny Slate.


Its essential when discussing Zootopia to go right back to talk about the humor and the pacing and the message.  For one, Zootopia is funny.  Many jokes and puns might go over the head of the younger children but they still have some funny expressions that will keep them intrigued.  Plus, they use some pop culture references like The Godfather.  At the same time, there is a lot of action going on.  This is an investigation in the end about missing mammals in Zootopia.  There are chase scenes and danger in the horizon.  At the same time, it also delivers inspirational and motivational messages of accepting diversity, pushing away prejudices, discrimination and stereotypes and chasing your dreams even when everyone thinks its impossible.


I’m forgiving towards Disney movies and animations, especially because they are usually geared towards children.  Zootopia doesn’t need to be forgived though.  I’m not sure it will hold up that 99% Rotten Tomatoes score as a memorable Disney classic but it does a lot of things right.  The animation is beautiful, the production design is detailed and thoughtful, the voice acting is stellar and the characters are fun and intriguing.  Its downright entertaining with lots of funny moments and a meaningful message to go with it.  I loved it! It gave me exactly what I wanted and some more.

Have you seen Zootopia? What did you think of it?

Netflix A-Z Double Feature: Dollhouse (2012) & Dark Skies (2013)

A double feature for letter D seems to be so fitting! Maybe not but coincidentally, right before I started this segment I had seen this Irish drama I’ll be looking at briefly called Dollhouse.  Adding on to my original choice of Dark Skies, we’re in for a little contrast of movies here where the only two things in common are that they are movies starting with D and that the director is also the writer.

Let’s check them out!

Dollhouse (2012)


Director/writer: Kirsten Sheridan

Cast: Seana Kerslake, Johnny Ward, Kate Stanley Brennan, Shane Curry, Ciaran McCabe, Jack Reynor

A group of street teens from Dublin’s inner city break into a house in an upper class suburb. The break-in quickly moves into a night of frenzy, scandal and consequence.-IMDB 

I’m not going to spend too much time on this one.  Dollhouse has a good idea.  It does.  It pulls it together with a relatively better ending. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself…again.  Dollhouse is empty.  Its a lot of teens just messing around in this fancy house.  They break the stuff, trash the kitchen, mess around inside and outside. Then they sit around and play games.  Eventually you have a reveal fairly soon about what this is all about because the neighbor’s son drops by to see what is going on with the noise and whatnot.  Then there’s more random talking, trashy dialogue and things kind of go full on crazy once they get high and/or drunk.  There is some meaning behind how certain people have better friendship than others and how there’s something hidden nagging at us the whole way.

dollhouse 2012

Although the whole beginning part really doesn’t feel like much the ending does have a reveal that I didn’t see coming.  Its not enough to make me say that its a good movie and it still feels pretty meaningless.  I’m kind of indifferent.  I know its trying to send a message, kind of a coming of age, breaking free and finding out what’s important, maybe.  It is a little sad because at various points it feels like the teens here each have an underlying personality besides their crazy self with their friends and it wants to get deeper into that but then it never fully commits to building on the characters enough for me to care.

Dollhouse is an empty Irish teen drama who doesn’t build enough of its characters but delivers a good final act which unfortunately still doesn’t help the movie feel more meaningful than it probably was intended to.

Dark Skies (2013)

Dark Skies

Director & Writer: Scott Stewart

Cast: Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett, L.J. Benet, J.K. Simmons

As the Barret family’s peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, they come to learn that a terrifying and deadly force is after them.-IMDB

 Sci-fi horror featuring alien invasion sort of angles have been tough for me. I mean, I love the Alien series.  But, thinking about it now, I haven’t been a fan of anything specific.  The first comes to mind is Signs and I didn’t enjoy that one much.  Let’s just say that I was a little nervous going into Dark Skies.  I didn’t know what the story was about but all I knew was that there are aliens and they are invading this family.  That’s it.  But sometimes, its best to go in blind.  Dark Skies had some super creepy screenshots on Netflix and it had me wondering whether I’d be able to handle it.  As it turns out, Dark Skies is a pretty effective horror featuring alien invasion sort of plotline.  I don’t want to ruin the movie so I’m going to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

Dark Skies has an amazing atmosphere.  Its set up effectively to build tension and give you the proper creepy scares.  From the first moment that strange things happen, it already started freaking me out a little.  Then as the plot escalades and we learn more about what is going on, it was just downright scary.  There was one part that was a little weird in the effects department but I quickly overlooked that as the story took an even crazier turn in events.  Although, I have to admit that the twist they put, I had my suspicions already.  Still, it was pretty nice that a movie was able to pull it off in such a clever way.

Dark Skies

Another thing that makes Dark Skies effective is that they focus around a family and particularly kids.  Kids in any horror just make things creepier.  When they are pulled into the equation, it just makes it more personal somehow.  In this one, there were two brothers in this family, the Barrets.  The kids were overall pretty great in this.  They did their roles really well.

As for the parents, played by Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton, there isn’t much to say.  I personally like Keri Russell a lot.  Its the first time I’ve seen her do horror so I wondered how it would turn out.  As the movie started getting tense, I started remembering that Keri Russell’s scary face is also being nervous and tense but it worked out great here and I enjoyed it a lot.  Her mom character really set the story in motion many times and there’s that one seen which made me hold my breath a little.  Josh Hamilton on the other hand, played the skeptical parent and I think his character was meant to be a little frustrating to watch because he wouldn’t see what the mom was seeing.  However, the contrast in itself is what makes these two characters paired up well.

I guess the surprise here is the little part that J.K. Simmons has in this one but its exactly what needs to be.  He is the alien expert and he exists to tell us his theories.  As always, as small a role as it is, it still had its purpose and it worked out great.

Dark Skies

However, as enjoyable as Dark Skies is, it doesn’t come with no flaws.  The main one being in some of the choices these characters make.  At times, you question their logic.  In the midst of everything that was going on, it sometimes felt that they forgot they were trapped in this weird situation with random things happening or that their children or themselves were in danger.  It seemed a little awkward.

Dark Skies is an effective alien sci-fi horror that works on many levels.  I had some issues with effects and some issues with the logic of certain actions executed by the characters.  However, it does a fine job at building tension and the story itself has a lot of substance.  If anything, it built quite a bit of fear in me that I kept the lights on that night.

Have you seen Dollhouse and/or Dark Skies? What did you think of them? Are there any other memorable sci-fi/horror/alien invasion movies I should check out? 

Any guesses on the selection for E? Think Bollywood! 😉
(I thought about changing it but I’m committing to my original choice)