Saturday, October 10, 2015

Invisible Sister Disney Channel Original Movie Review

Oh, snap, Mike is already writing up a review even as I was typing this. No problem, I'll just copy-pasta mine to his. It'll be interesting to see if we have a difference of opinion or not, or if he can join me on our Will Forte-like quest through what little sanity remains on this planet

Ugh, I have to put a quote in here, right? Something that's directly quoted from the movie or at least some sort of snarky comment that sums up all my thoughts or the movie itself? Yeah, whatever. Whatever. - Unknown

A real Halloween treat, isn't it? I say this sincerely, not sarcastically. - Mike

You're supposed to put an actual movie quote in there! - Unknown again

Um..........awesome city? - Mike again

What is it? single-cam DCOM
Where did it air? Well it's a DCOM so I'm guessing, uh, Disney Channel?
Who stars in it? Rowan Blanchard, i.e. the "real" main star of Girl Meets World, and Paris Berelc, i.e. the obligatory hot chick from Mighty Med. Also her name is pronounced "Burr-ells" apparently. Also Karan Brar and other people. Rachel Crow who I'm mentioning mainly because I fondly remember her Nick stuff and we're from the same home town, yay!
Why are we reviewing it? After actually seeing it, you got me, though Mike likes it for what it's worth.

Before I just end up typing the whole damn entire review in italics I better just forget being clever and go straight to it. Invisible Sister is the most disappointing thing I've seen on the network this year, barely edging out Teen Beach 2. On my Twitter timeline everybody's raving about it, or at the very least saying it's somewhere between ok and good. I hope I can see the same movie they saw one of these days. Either that or I really am the only sane person left. On the same Twitter feed there's a bunch of retweets on how Canadian viewers were cheated out because the cable feed cut out nation-wide.

They are the fucking lucky ones, I tell you.

First of all, the opening and closing narrations are too close to Riley's stupid monologues from Meets Gravity, which is the second worst episode of Season 2 next to Tell Tale Tot. It turned out that was a pretty scarily accurate omen. It runs into the exact same problems - it's a bunch of expository dialogue of the character basically informing the audience how we're supposed to feel about her delivered in a very stilted, wooden manner that really shouldn't be the first thing the audience is introduced to in your movie. I'll get more into that a little later, and I'm already imaging the flak I'm going to get for what I'm going to say.

Rowan isn't going to be winning MVP on this one (again more on that in a bit) but Rowan's Cleo is in the running with Jessie Prescott for tonight's Raging Fucking Bitch Award. It was so distracting it pretty much sank the whole damn movie as far as I'm concerned. I know people were hoping for a change from Riley, the perpetually happy-go-lucky naive schoolgirl who can witness an active nuclear missile launch and lead to the conclusion yay! The Sun is going to be on the Earth now! Cleo certainly was that change of direction but...it just didn't work.There's so many problems I don't even know where to begin. How about just the fact that the character was completely unlikable for most of the first 30 minutes of the movie. She spends way too much time being critical of other people with complete lack of irony as she walks around as a personification of goth and emo tropes that became obsolete right around the time Rowan would've been learning to act. As much as Cleo bitches about the walking stereotypes that surround her, she's nothing more but another cynical teen burn-out who has managed to find smugness in being a loner. This is a Monstober DCOM which means I was expecting a lot of fun; this is not starting out as fun. This is tiresome

What exactly does the character of Cleo bring to the table? Let's see...she's smart so that we have an excuse for her to make the movie live up to its title. She's both smug and lazy to the point where she needs to be artificially pushed to come up with a creative direction for her science project (again, leading up to the movie to live up to its title). She's snarky and sassy so she fills that mandatory Disney Channel quota. Ummm, that's all I remember.

Her sister, Paris Berelc (pronounced without that last hanging-c in there, if you'r wondering)'s Molly is...there. As Cleo herself points out she's a walking teen party girl stereotype (the relatively clean, tame version Disney Channel permits) and well she's pretty devoid of character. Do not believe anybody else who tells you otherwise. No, I mean it. I very honestly have no idea what kind of movie the people in my Twitter timeline saw. I'm not fucking kidding.

Speaking of my Twitter timeline, someone said that Cleo is awesome because she "breaks stereotypes of women in STEM fields." No, no, no. First of all if you want that DCOM you want How to Build a Better Boy which is much better than this in all respects. In fact Disney Channel seems to be on a real STEM kick because every DCOM of 2015 except for Bad Hair Day incorporates STEM themes including Teen Beach 2 and Descendants. That doesn't mean it's automatically handled well. Unlike How to Build a Better Boy there really isn't anything here to distinguish Cleo as a true role model for girls who want to aspire to STEM beyond hurr durr plot device.

And that's the thing about trying to inspire girls into STEM fields. You're not going to do that with a Disney Channel Original Movie. In fact by that time it's kind of too late, that ship's already sailed and sunk on its way back to Arendelle. First of all, as someone actually involved in the educational field I find it a little disingenuous to try to push anybody towards one specific field or another that he or she may just flat out not be interested in. When I was a student people tried to push me into math, and guess what, I fucking hated it. People pushed me anyway, I got mediocre to adequate grades, managed to push through high school and even into mathematics-science college courses. Guess what, I still fucking hated math. Yes I appreciate the higher-level math skills that I will probably never, ever use in the future....um, wait, actually I don't seeing as how they're kind of useless to me now. But moreover and more importantly the time to really push those kinds of interests is when they're young, already by the first through second grades, with interesting, engaging and skills level-appropriate teaching and activities. And don't just push math and science, or literature, or the arts over the other - children at that age need complete and total exposure and immersion into everything before their brains "hardwire" into certain preferences by the 5th grade and, for example, pushing them into math or language arts when they hate math or language arts will just be a futile effort worth little better than filling a state education requirement (which is still important, but it's not the type of thing that's going to successfully push for more women in the STEM fields). If you want more women in the STEM fields, you need to make sure girls get good, quality, skills level-appropriate STEM-field instruction no later than the 3rd grade. And good quality skills level-appropriate exposure to reading and literature, and art, and music, and etc. That's why it's so important to have a well-rounded education in primary school, and why budget cuts and pairing everything down to the "bare necessities" of math, science and reading is so dangerous and counter-productive to those very core fields. It's also why I kind of hate the Nickelodeon Kids! presentation on women in the STEM field a few months...maybe a year?...back because it basically totally bought into that sort of thing, exactly what the status quo is just with a little window dressing to make it seems more progressive than it actually is.

Then there's the ridiculous part of I guess Rowan and Paris look and sound enough like each other that Rowan actually passes herself off as Paris with just a mask? Ok, that part was especially bizarre and it was a central plot device to the entire movie. I'm sorry but it just doesn't work. It just comes off as completely ridiculous that you're asking the audience to buy off on this as a key part of successfully pulling off the movie's central plot premise. 

There was one good scene that I was sure was setting the movie up to fall flat on its face where Cleo has to attend a prep rally circle on Molly's behalf. Cleo enters into a darkened gym with all the fellow, uh, rally preppers led by some what's her face played by Nickelodeon veteran actress Rachel Crow (I miss her on Figure it Out! so bad) who are all in costumes as, you see, it happens to be Halloween. They begin with a trust circle where everybody has to spill the beans on their personal feelings and this is where it could get either so cheesy to just be a turn-off, be a mouthpiece for Cleo's I hate everybody because I'm smug speeches, or most likely both and I was prepared to just let the movie hum in the background during Candy Crush. Instead Rowan pulls through with a pretty impassioned speech about what it feels like to be invisible (oh, that's another thing, Cleo is socially invisible which, I'm sorry, the way it's done in this movie is a bit of a ham-fisted analogous connection to the main plot gimmick) that feels like a genuine character moment genuinely touching on and affecting other characters. In all fairness, and at the risk of personal embarrassment (eh, I've done enough of that on this blog as it is, piling on isn't going to change anything) I actually did feel tears well up a little bit. And then we just got...awful, bland, the rest of the movie.

As it happens to be Molly's a major player on her Lacrosse team, where we get a speech about how much Molly actually hates Lacrosse (to the point where she has to take what amounts to over-the-counter medication to calm her anxiety) but loves being on the team. Um, ok. There are other sports you know. Being on a team and feeling like an integral part of a larger whole that's bigger than yourself is important, granted, but if you're getting so nervous and stressed out about it that you're getting physical discomfort over it you might want to see a school counselor. I'm only harping on this because telling girls how not to be invisible and how to function as a team is a major part of this movie's theme so, I don't know, it might be a nice thing to add on to. Anyway, Molly has Cleo sub for her in her Lacrosse team (again, we're supposed to buy off on the fact that they can almost pass as twins) and as it turns out Cleo sucks at it. So Molly rushes onto the field in her invisible form and tackles girls on the other team as if this was the fucking NFL. I mean, obviously professional stuntwomen are doing cartwheels mid-air. Yes, this is another problem I have with the movie that I'm going to indiscriminately bitch about. Really, I don't get the glorification of kid-on-kid violence lately that started way before even Hunger Games. This is a movie that's supposed to be celebrating being different and using that difference to not be invisible, to work as a team, and other politically correct high school literally Disney Channel tropes, so it's a little bit disturbing to have girls just tackle other girls out of the way (illegally, in a manner that could likely cause bodily injury) as a part of this girl power celebration - especially (and this is no fault of the movie itself) since on the day of the movie's premiere there were not one but two school shootings that day. Quite frankly it does kind of give a little bit of a Cleo-as-specially ordained flavor to it, which is an impression I get of Riley Matthews on Girl Meets World, and I'm wondering if it's something inherent to Rowan on the network for some reason.

Ok, to the most controversial thing of all that people will hang me for - Rowan was flat out a horrible actress in this. Paris and Karan acted circles around her. For the first 20 or so minutes of the movie everything she did was completely flat. Her delivery of her lines, including the opening narration, and her entire acting and body language was extremely stilted and wooden. Her voice had a weird inflection (or lack thereof) that made me question if it was a result of actively not even wanting to be in the movie (I can't say I'd blame her). It was like watching someone be in a major production for the first time. Girl Meets Rah-Rah right after this was a breath of fresh air and I don't know if it was extremely atrocious directing or if Rowan is just destine to be typecast into the Riley role forever and she just can't pull off cynical goth with more range than a cardboard box.

So yeah, needless to say I simply did not like this one. I can barely tell you how it ends (it involves some of Molly's OTC meds somehow magically going re-visible) because at that point I had long fucking given up and went back to Candy Crush. I really don't think I'm going to bother to revisit it.

Episode MVP: Well I legitimately can't claim me for sitting through this considering how I pretty much bailed with 15-20 minutes to go. I'm giving it to Karan Brar because I think he really was the best actor in this. Paris was...acting...and Rowan was just stuck doing her Keanu Reeves Meme impression combined with passive-aggressive raging bitch.
Episode Grade: D+. That's the highest grade I can give to something I decided I can't even finish through. It's easily the worst Monstober DCOM I've ever seen in my life - which, granted, is a pretty high bar, but still this is below average even for a normal DCOM. This is nowhere near Girl vs. Monster or Twitches, let alone Halloweentown. I think I'd honestly rather sit through Frenemies. At least that one had a fun musical number in it. It outright boggles my mind why so many people on Twitter love this. I don't see it. I don't think I ever can see what they see. Am I the only sane person on Earth? Have I pretty much just become Will Forte now? 

I really hope Liar, Liar Vampire completely buries this, even though I already know it won't.

I'll leave it to you Mike, if you've bothered to watch this turd bucket at all.

For the sake of time and common sense, I'll just leave my thoughts here. And Unknown, I hate to break it to you, but you really are the last man on Earth. 

This was one of the first DCOMs in a very long time that I actually sat down to watch. And not just watch on my DVR days later, I mean live. It's a rarity these days that I actually get to watch live television. But this movie is simply magical. It put a little twinkle in my belly and an extra spring in my step. It showed me what the world can do when you believe hard enough and everything will come true. Invisible Sister was cosmic, y'all. Cosmic.

But no, I'm just kidding. Invisible Sister is nowhere my favorite DCOM and as of right now, it probably never will be. But last night, I watched it and realized that......it was good. It was genuinely entertaining. Was it funny? Eh, a few decent jokes. Did we have enjoyable characters? I shall say so. Did Rowan Blanchard finally show the world that one day, Riley Matthews will die but her acting will live on forever because she can take on different roles? Indeed.

Unknown, you might crucify me for this, but I was feeling this movie from start to finish. Rowan really shined in her role as Cleo. She could have been a little more developed in terms of her science skills because the majority of her character is a smug little emo brat, but she did well with everything she was given. You saw her slip not once in this movie. She handled emotional moments very well, she played off of her co-stars with ease and she fit into the role of Cleo like a glove. I wasn't thinking about Riley or how she could have stumbled over some of her lines, because what I was thinking about was a young actress who has a bright future ahead of her and can only get better at this point. 

I do have two concerns, one of which could have been a very serious problem. My first gripe is that it feels like the role of Cleo was written for someone older. I know Molly was supposed to be older than Cleo, but a one-year difference is not that much of a problem. Everything about Cleo's personality and mannerisms feel like they belong to someone else, and Rowan is not an actress so gifted she can pull off the age difference like that. Another problem is something that Unknown already pointed out, and I will bring back up: Molly and Cleo look nothing alike. Yes, their height is almost identical, but not only do they have different hair colors and body types, they sound nothing alike. Rowan has a naturally nasal inflection that is extremely hard to miss. For crying out loud, Marlee Matlin would be able to figure out that Cleo is posing as Molly. Suspension of disbelief is a very important part of storytelling. About 95% of the world's stories have some fundamental problems that you have to live with in order to enjoy them. Invisible Sister has one big fundamental problem, and your enjoyment of the movie is contingent upon whether or not you can believe that Cleo can pull off Molly. It is what it is, and it did not stop me from enjoying myself.

The lesson that this movie teaches is really something to chew on. What is invisible can always be visible, and what is visible can always be invisible in the blink of an eye. Cleo was invisible in personality, and her resentment of Molly's popularity and ability to inspire people caused her to become cold and push her sister away. Cleo wanted nothing more than to have Molly's life, and because she lacked the personality for it, she became rude, skeptical, and a loner. Her feelings towards her crush is a perfect piece of evidence for this. She likes the guy and we know it, but she is afraid of being hurt because guys like that are never into girls like her. Molly has everything she could ever want, but it is never enough. She has to work twice as hard to get the academic success Cleo can get in no time at all, and she is just barely able to make the grade. Molly wants to understand Cleo, but she is uninterested in reciprocating. Cleo wants to be seen, but she has to get over herself to do it. Both of these characters know they have their flaws and at the end of the day, you believe they will take steps to rise above them. When Cleo has her big emotional moment, it feels earned. It feels like there was actual build-up to the moment and it paid off. Her being all standoffish and "screw the world, screw my moms, screw my girl" is just her way of coping with something she wishes she could be. Molly is nowhere near as confident as people might think and wishes she could have something solid to fall back on like Cleo does.

Sometimes, we should all accept the invitation to fro-yo. It will be totally awesome city. GO FIGHTING LIONS!!!!! Okay, I completely missed the context of that, but whatever. 

Movie Grade: B+
MVP: Rowan Blanchard stole the show. Trust me, it is extremely jarring to watch this movie and then check out the new Girl Meets World episode. That one sucked, by the way. I really hope the show is just spinning its wheels until next week, where they NEED. TO RAISE. THE STAKES. Okay, that should be a separate post. Yes, Blanchard was gold in this movie and you can come at me for it. I can't knock her performance because I got invested in Cleo's story. Karan Brar is definitely the runner-up, and his natural speaking voice is way better than his current Ravi voice. I don't know why Jessie couldn't just let him drop the accent once his voice started to drop. It sounded awkward then and it sounds awkward now. Still though, Brar was entertaining as George. Paris Berelc was decent enough, especially during her big emotional moment. Plus, she is smoking, but you already know that. Between her, Kelli Berglund, and Sofia Carson, Disney really has some stunning ladies on its roster. 

So in the end, Invisible Sister was a great movie. It will never be as iconic as Halloweentown, but does it really have to be? It was a great 90 minutes and a sign that Disney Channel can still pull off original movies. Then you have Nickelodeon, with a guy pretending to be a vampire and everyone believing him. Whoopee. 


Crucify you? Dude, believe it or not I'm actually pretty stoked that you disagree with me so much on this one! Those are the best reviews, when two guys duke it out for the sake of the reading audience to prove his opinionated and intellectual superiority. Are you not entertained?!?!?! Seriously though, it's me who's getting crucified for this, from everyone who's responded in the comments so far to everyone on my Twitter timeline who's been reading my tweets and responses of how I think this movie sucked and how Rowan sucked. 

I'm going to go ahead and say right here though, that you did make me rethink the whole movie. I was listening to what the movie had to say about (in)visibility on the metaphorical level applies to both Molly and Cleo, but I was dismissive of it, perhaps unfairly. The shy wallflower or the outspoken but still ignored rebel who has to work twice as hard to rise to the cream of popularity, or academics, or focuses all of her energy into academics or social causes because even trying at popularity is hopeless is probably the most common trope in these DCOMs. Mary Mouser's character in Frenemies was that. Bridgit Mendler's and Naomi Scott's and Hayley Kiyoko's characters in Lemonade Mouth were that (an excellent DCOM BTW). Selena Gomes' character in Princess Protection Program was that. Debby Ryan's whole damn second DCOM Radio Rebel was this. Olivia Holt's character in Girl vs. Monster was this, to show that it's in holiday DCOMs too. In fact come to think of it Invisible Sister is just Radio Rebel combined with Girl vs. Monster. Probably most famously Vanessa Hudgen's Gabriella from High School Musical at least had shades of it. I'm not trying to dismiss the movie as being a ripoff of previous DCOMs at all, I'm just trying to explain that, after seeing it a million times, it becomes almost second-nature to just dismiss things and say, oh yeah, here we go again, I know exactly where you're headed Mr. Movie and just be dismissive and easily miss things and not pick up on what's actually happening. 

So, ok, ok, OK, you guys convinced me. The movie's on Watch Disney Channel now so I can go back and try to see things, especially Rowan's acting and go back either point-by-point if I have to in order to show my side, or just get flat-out proven wrong. That does actually bring up another point though - you said this was the first DCOM you've seen live in a while, as it is for me likewise. That's not by choice - ever since I started paying attention to the network, which was pretty close to when Disney Channel first launched the Watch Disney Channel app, I've been watching DCOMs since a week before premiere as they're released on WDC. The first and last DCOM I watched on its "live" premiere was Girl vs. Monster, the first DCOM premiere I've ever seen, and that was mostly because I didn't realize the movie had already been available on WDC beforehand. For some reason though Disney Channel decided to make an exception of Invisible Sister and it wasn't put up on WDC until today. I kind of wonder why. If you ask me it's either because Disney Channel wants to bolster what's called Live+SD (Same Day) ratings, i.e. the ratings of everybody who watched the show as it actually premiered verses OnDemand or on DVR recordings (still the most important rating metric as far as advertisers are concerned) or maybe Disney Channel thought the WDC premiers of Descendants (which got raked over the coals on most "professional" review sites) and especially Teen Beach 2 may have hurt the Live+SD ratings not so much because it stole away people who would've watched the Live+SD airing but because bad word-of-mouth from people who had seen it early spread and convinced many people they weren't worth watching (it doesn't seem to have effected Descendants too much but TB2 very much under-performed from expectations - they were at least hoping it'd match Descendants - and they might have figured bad reviews from places like the IMDb boards and such may have effected ratings). A few OnDemand recordings of Girl Meets World episodes started to be leaked onto Google Docs so that might've been a factor too. 

So yeah, I'm going to go back and at least rewatch some of the scenes and maybe bother to watch the last 10 minutes or so instead of Candy Crush. I'm pretty damn sure I'm going to at least stand by my comments about the Lacrosse scene (how dare those other girls go to that other high school that isn't us and not be main characters in this movie! Let's cause massive physical injury to them and cheer and celebrate in their pain! Also - and I wanted to point this out in my first comments above, but it was running pretty late as it was, thanks Disney Channel's lack of consideration for the West Coast time zone i.e. the time zone Disney Channel's HQ and studios are based in - at least those girls were wearing protective gear. Molly had on a wool sweater and jeans. She might as well have been trying to tackle my non-existent Arizona Cardinals linebacker cousin in full gear while she herself was wearing nothing more but footsie pajamas and see how well that goes.) Call me overly-nitpicky, it's something I've been accused of being before. 

As for Girl Meets World - eh, especially as I never anticipated that really being our main thing I don't see any reason why we can't talk about it here too. Just to let you know I'm with Christian and Sean on this one - I feel the same way about Meets Rah-Rah the same way you and everyone else feels about Invisible Sister. Yeah it had problems but it wasn't a bad episode. If I had to grade it I'd probably say it's a B- or a B and the MVP would go to whoever played the Jenkins cheerleader for essentially being Rowan's stuntwoman in that episode. 

Not that I'm going to pull out the "we'll have to agree to disagree" card but it's interesting that we're on totally different sides on this Night of Rowan Premieres. As for Jessie, that's coming up soon. Where's Thundermans? Where's Bella? I figure I can just tack on whatever thoughts I had on Henry Danger and Game Shakers onto that (spoiler alert: I actually liked them this time, but not enough to dedicate a whole review to them). Also where are you on Gotcha Day? If you haven't seen the episode I can just go ahead and give it to you.

I have seen "Gotcha Day" but not enough to actually remember a lot of it for a whole review so you could swing that my way. As for The Thundermans, it is coming out of hiding very soon. I might actually do two episodes for it to make up for Bella since it CANNOT BE FOUND ANYWHERE. Seriously, does Nick just air the new episode once a week and then expect people to keep up with it? This is borderline criminal. Also, the more Thundermans I watch, the more I realize that it's the best thing Nickelodeon has right now, at least in live-action. The comic timing and chemistry have gotten a lot better. I always say to myself that this show will be appointment viewing but I can never bring myself to do it. I was watching "Are You Afraid of the Park?" tonight and that's when I knew that Thundermans reviews need to become a priority around here. Plus, a theme song that kicks ass. What more could you want? 

I'm also glad you plan to check out the movie again. As for Girl Meets World, I will chalk this up as a no-decision. All I know is that next week, the pressure is on for this show to deliver. They want to build up the Texas episodes as the biggest adventure of all-time, then they better bring nothing but heat to the table. I want an emotional rollercoaster ride. I want something to chew on, I want golden reviewing material. I want Farkle's reaction to his devouring of all that barbecued chicken: MORE. 

On a side note, I watched that episode of Best Friends Whenever. If the show is as entertaining as it was last Sunday, I might have to start making reviews a priority. The crossover was utilized WAY better there than on GMW, Riley and Lucas enhanced the episode with their barrage of jokes, and the time travel thing was perfect for this kind of episode. I know Landry Bender's character tries really hard to be witty, and I guess she's so-so. Shelby was gold, along with Barry. Oh man, Barry. Barry is the freaking man. "When I was fifteen, I dreamt about winning the Nobel Prize. When I was six, I got a screaming deal on a tux." Greatest quote of all-time. 

I even saw some of Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Eden Sher's voice puts a little twinkle in my belly. Man, Disney Channel is really cleaning up with their animation. For the most part. I'm looking at you, Pickle & Peanut.

Huh, that's weird, the stuff I wrote about the book disappeared. I wonder if Mike deleted it by accident. Mike stop deleting my stuff!

Anyway I had said that Invisible Sister is based on a book called My Invisible Sister, which you probably already knew because in the credits sequence it says "Based on the book My Invisible Sister." Which is a little bit of a surprise actually, having come in thinking it was an original concept for the movie. My Invisible Sister actually had been on my suggested reading list from various sites and apps I used but I ignored it because it seemed like an elementary or middle school easy reader (don't ask me how it ended up on my suggested reading lists). Looking up the plot summary on Amazon.com it seems like, well...to quote Jessie regarding her Spencer Boldman-ex boyfriend, wow, you change a-lot! For starters the main protagonist is male, and the Invisible Sister in question seems more akin to an imaginary friend. Wouldn't be the first time though - Geek Charming was changed from the book, Radio Rebel was changed a lot from the book (to the point where they changed the title, the book is called Shrinking Violet), Zapped was change about as much as Spencer Boldman's character from Jessie changed, and the only things the Frenemies movie and book have in common is that the two main characters are named Avalon and Halley.

Having to type the same exact thing twice is mind-numbingly, fist-punch-through-drywall tedious and it totally saps all my fucking energy having to spend all that time writing it in the first place, seeing all that effort magically disappear, trying to remember what I wrote in the first place and then going through that effort again. And when I say it saps my energy, I mean it saps all the energy I need to prevent myself from completely demolishing my laptop (and this blog) in frustration. Mike stop deleting my stuff! Seriously though it's probably because Blogspot sucks super-hard on Donald Trump's unwiped ass sphincter and I've already found a number of alternate blogging options I'm probably going to migrate to. 

17 comments:

  1. I gave my thoughts before, but i suppose i can say more. Wehn you said you didn't like it, i figured you just thought it was meh when compared to other movies. But now you say it's a "turd". Fine, but i don't see it. I don't see it as amazing, or even special, but it's largely inoffensive. It doesn't have the bigger issues the last few DCOM's kind of have.

    Her nature was amusing and her bit about the cliche was amazing. Your rant about STEM was...a thing. Got nothing to say to that.

    Yeah, Rown being Paris is hard to buy but given what we have had to sallow in dCOM's, i can let it slide.

    That scene was pretty solid, nad it along with hte big moment at the end sums up the positive aspects of the film. The Lacross thing is odd...cuz of all the sports they culd have used, they picked that one. Are kids into that, or were they just bored of Football?

    Girl Meets World being after this actually served to show me how much better she is here. She's not as awkward as flightly, and she seems much more confident. Paris was just kind of there, and Karan was alright, but she stood out with her better moments. She can be bland, but it's a DCOM. I've come to expect that.



    I never saw her as unlikable at all. She was pretty normal to me. Besides being a bit closed off, she's fine. Everything the film says about her is informed, which is her biggest issue.

    My Grade is B-, which my go to DCOM grade if it does nothing special. MVP is Rowan by default, since no one else stood out to me. It's nothing special, but it's cute. i also like there wasn't a huge romance. it almost goes there but in the end, it doesn't.

    And no, you have not become Eddy from Lab Rats...heh..get it? ...I'm sorry.

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    Replies
    1. That actually brings up another point in that Invisible Sister wasn't available for early viewing OnDemand either. I wonder if the ratings bomb that was Teen Beach 2 made them change their policies (it was too late to chance policy for Descendants, I'm betting) or if people complaining about how "unfair" it was to have Girl Meets World available for early viewing made them change their policy (thanks, basement dwellers). It's very possible Disney Channel caught wind of how many episodes of Girl Meets World were also leaked (and I don't mean the recent basement dweller's definition of the network putting it up early for viewing through their own means, I mean people literally recording it off an OnDemand recording on their phone and putting the phone recording on Google Docs) and not wanting that for Invisible Sister.

      I'm really not seeing why everybody is giving Rowan so much praise in this one. Someone really needs to explain to me point-by-point if necessary. I thought her acting was outright wooden and stiff. Especially her voice inflection, if that makes sense. To me it didn't seem like Chloe coming out as an organic character as so much as Riley (yes, Riley, not Rowan, Riley) trying to play a cynical Goth role, and Riley just doesn't have it in her. In my mind it makes me wonder if Rowan's acting range is pretty much Riley and...nothing else. I'll be outright enthusiastic if someone wants to school me on otherwise, though. Hey, I have an open mind. I WANTED to like Invisible Sister. Hell I still do! I just, in all honesty, can't.

      I wasn't trying to come off as ranting against DCOMs or movies with an obvious STEM bias, or trying to promote women in STEM. Those are still good! (Or rather, again, it's just another storytelling trope/tool that can be handled either well or in meh fashion). I like movies that try to positively show women in STEM fields! I was just trying to point out that 1.) there are a whole bunch of movies that do it more successfully, in fact on Disney Channel alone you can virtually randomly take your pick and, or movies outside of Disney Channel, 2.) for all the talk of having women become more interested in STEM fields and all the sudden interest in promoting it in the entertainment industry (to pull a Cleo and be soul-crushingly cynical - or maybe just put on a John Oliver hat - it's pretty obvious Disney Channel's just doing it for parental brownie points to help encourage their families to become regular Disney Channel viewers - as one of the largest media corporate conglomerates out there it's the only reason why Walt Disney Inc/Co/Whatever does anything) there seems to be actual little interest or implementation in pushing that interest when and where it matters, in Grades 1-3. By middle school it become exponentially more difficult to convince or teach a child who has little interest in math before to suddenly gain an interest in math, let alone by high school. Not impossible, and it does happen frequently, but "hey let's make it more challenging to prove the naysayers wrong!" isn't a game you want to be playing with a child's education. As it stands right now there is little interest or practical effort in changing the status quo in the grades that matter. That's not Disney's fault or responsibility, and it's not this movie's fault or responsibility, or Rowan Blanchard's, or Paris Berelc's, or Sabrina Carpenter's or Debby Ryan's or Landry Bender's, it was just something I wanted to throw out there.

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    2. As for swallowing the fact that Rowan can pass off as a twin for Paris...eh It was too much for me, it just drove home how ridiculous this movie was. Not the premise - you knew that coming in - I mean the movie itself. I looked up the book this movie is allegedly based on (more on that when Mike joins in) and this subplot does not exist anywhere in there, at all (in fact Cleo's role is actually male in the book). Which means they were under no obligation to try to work this odd plotline in. It's...I'm still trying to wrap my head around why they went this direction. Yes, other DCOMs have asked the viewer to swallow a lot but either 1.) they sucked too (the idea that a hot mean girl wants to break up the relationship between his boy and his...dog.... ala Frenemies) or 2.) they did a good enough job with suspending the viewer's disbelief that it doesn't matter, either through skilled writing in handling the disbelief (usually through worldbuilding, something Christian and Sean talk about in regards to George R.R. Martin in the night's Girl Meets World - you'll have to read their review for context) or diminishing the importance of that plotpoint in the movie so it's not just as big a distraction, or some other means. Just the way I experienced the movie, it fell much, much into to former than the latter.


      The reason why they used Lacrosse is because Girls' Football (at least American football) doesn't exist as a high school sport and, if you don't mind me getting a little political, they wanted to use as "manly" a sport as girls typically play because the most intellectually laziest, straightest, shortest line towards girls' empowerment in entertainment is to simply write girls as if they were testosterone-soaked boys and reinforce the same patriarchal stereotypes they're trying to be fighting against, except it's women buying into acting out the patriarchal stereotypes so even the writers themselves don't notice. I guess there are people who thinks a teenage girl plowing into and dropping another teenage girl onto the grass hard enough to cause injury for having committed the inexcusable sin of being on an opposing high school's team and not having main character shields/plot privilege is awesome and promoting female empowerment, uh, somehow, but the way Molly and Cleo were playing I wouldn't let my 26 year old Arizona Cardinals linebacker cousin (he doesn't exist BTW just making up an example) play the sport. Or, to put it this way, I wouldn't let my actually-in-the-Marines-who-has-actually-been-in-combat-and-shot (not shot at, I mean actually shot) uncle play the sport.

      Eh, I guess the only thing I can really say at this point is that I REALLY wish I could see or figure out why people think this movie is so great. Really. Like I said I WANTED to like this movie. I still do! I'm almost starting to wonder if Rowan has some magic spell or something on nearly everyone else on the planet and for some reason I'm not effected.

      ...and yeah, I watch Lab Rats often enough to get it :p

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    3. To be fair,. i haven't seen the most singing praise ever. Everyone who likes it is the kind of person who is just going to like it, as they are part of that audience. Not mention it has that DCOM stuff that people like, and it has plenty of heart.

      Also, is it odd i tolerate that Frenemies example more?

      That one's concept was stupid it was funny and i enjoyed it, while this was too tame to be all that funny. I think they put it that as an easy way for Cleo to literately get into her sisters shoes and thus strength their relationship or whatever.

      I'm not gonna Rowan was really brilliant here, but she's obviously a lot better here. She just seems like less awkward due to how it's written. But as a said, she's nothing that brilliant here. To me, a Great DCOM performance comes from someone being hilariously ovwer the top and amazing ala Sharpay.

      The reason i'm a bit light on this one as cuz i am very used to DCOM's by now, even more than the shows, so i know the limations and i rarely get mad at the flaws anymore, so i can just focus on the good/decent stuff.

      And since this did nothing horribly wrong or offensive, i was able to call it fine.

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    4. Eh *shrug*. I don't even know if I was coming off that angry beyond a snarky blogger persona. I've seen most of the DCOMs that have been aired this decade and, eh, *shrug*. At this point I think I can only say that I just didn't like it and to me a major part of it was that I didn't think Rowan was that good in it. I've been accused of being "actor blind" before so...yeah, I'll hop onto that as a convenient excuse.

      Frenemies example...you mean an example I used or the Frenemies movie itself?

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  2. I agree with Mike's review. In my opinion, it was actually... good? From the promos it seemed like a comedy that would rely on the invisible effects (obviously) and just be filled with craziness and stunts all within one day (as the 2016 DCOM "Adventures in Babysitting" looks like), but no... they actually went in depth with the sisters' relationship (as expected) so I really, really enjoyed certain scenes like the one at the cemetery and the trolley scene (which had the most generic lines in the movie, probably "I'm actually envious of you!" cringe. But it gave me huge "You Wish!" vibes and I loved it). I'm a sucker for those types of scenes, especially in DCOMs because they're so rare.

    Unknown, I do not understand at all your hate for the movie. But I have to agree that Rowan can't really pull off this kind of character. Is it because of the material she was given? Is it because we're so used to seeing Rowan as the happy Riley Matthews? I don't know, I think by the end of the movie she transformed into a science whiz version of Riley Matthews.

    I don't think you guys brought it up, but I hate how Cleo went through a transformation like Maya Hart did in GMW, mainly wardrobe-wise. Why was she suddenly dressing nicely by the end of the movie? That, I didn't understand... So much for shattering stereotypes...

    Onto something else I /enjoyed/: the cinematography/sets. Remember how I said I liked the cemetery and the trolley scene? Part of that also had to do with the way the film captured it. I love when DCOMs put more effort into things like that. Another cool bit was showing George's bike on the street at the end of the movie.

    And guys, can we at least agree that this was better than Girl vs. Monster? The one that had singing (wtf?) and where Olivia Holt was really annoying in? And it had such a basic moral compared to Invisible Sister... this movie's theme is certainly not something I'd expect in a Halloween DCOM. I really liked this movie especially as a Halloween DCOM because it was so simple and not over-the-top. A simple story that just happened to take place on Halloween.

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    1. Oh, and I didn't check out the GMW episode that followed. I didn't want it to ruin the night, lol.

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    2. Girl Vs Monster kicks the ever loving crap out of this movie. I wrote a review elsewhere, if don't want to see me ranble here:

      https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CEcQtwIwCGoVChMI4PuC1M64yAIVDeBjCh0arwDs&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DGpvdDtd7_c8&usg=AFQjCNG63GLUuFK3y9xND1WcNP-uj7MigA&sig2=eVJ2gV0Ut-OgbMfD6D69Sw

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    3. Yay, someone actually agrees with me, kind of !

      I did love Girl vs. Monster, but maybe I just have the mindset for it. It was dumb fun and chock full of action and I actually liked Olivia's singing.

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  3. I won't have a lot to add to Mike's review, just that i agree. I just saw it as a typical average DCOM, though. It's themes were cool but kind of basic as i have seen this before. You Wish, anyone? It did feel kind of prentions to an extent, which is very uch not new (Cloud 9).

    Oh, and Mike? Due to your intelligence, i keek forefinger you ar roughly 16 until you call a 16 year old girl hot. Then it takes me a bit to remember but not before i get creeped out.

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    1. 17-year-old high school senior here. No need to be alarmed, I'm just trying to make my way through this crazy world.

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    2. Hey Mike, if you see this I can't find the original link to Gotcha Day but hopefully you can live with this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI7YpihN_CY

      BTW I'm sick and tired of Blogspot eating my drafts so I'm thinking of migrating. You ever heard of Kinja?

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  4. I have to agree with Mike, don't know what Unknown was smoking but it was bad stuff. This movie was entertaining from start to finish. It didn't do anything great, but did very little badly. While the entire premise was wacky, we knew that going in so suspension of disbelief on that front was fine. When Cleo was pretending to be Molly during school wearing the mask, it started stretching things, but I could still go along with it. However when it was time to play lacrosse, it should have been clear to everyone on the team that Cleo was playing and not Molly. The lacrosse helmet didn't cover enough of her face to fool anyone that knew her and Molly's body was so much more athletic than Cleo's. That was my real problem with the movie.

    The three leads (Rowan, Paris and Karan) put in fine performances in my view and had good chemistry as well. The kid playing Molly's boyfriend didn't impress me any, but that might be because I found the character pretty annoying and stupid. The other 2 kids to be featured, Molly's friend that ended with George and the kid Cleo liked, also impressed me a little.

    Overall I thought this was a B- DCOM and while I wouldn't go out of my way to see it again, if it's on and I have nothing better to watch, I wouldn't turn it off either. It really wasn't a Halloween movie, but just took advantage of the time of the year to use the costumes I could see this getting aired on Disney all times of the year.

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    1. Having the romantic lead of the female protagonist being played by animated wooden planks is kind of a staple on DCOMs (even Nickelodeon movies). Even when Spencer Boldman played opposite freakin' Zendaya (yeah I might be a Zendaya fan) in Zapped I just wasn't feeling it from him, and he's supposed to have actual talent. The guy playing Albert - the literal robot with no feelings - in How to Build a Better Boy might actually be one of the better ones.

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    2. Oh, and fun fact: the actress playing the girl Karan's George character has a thing for is Rachel Crow, who not only was a staple of Nickelodeon three to four years ago (I forgot what show she was on, not one of the Schneider shows or BTR, that's all I remember) but we're actually from the same hometown! (don't use that info to stalk me now)

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  5. Hey. I'm Nick. You may known me from Twitter as @ratingsnick. I've check out your blog and I really like the way you express your opinion. I really would love to work with you and this blog. Some of my work include my press website: http://disneynickalive.blogspot.com

    I have many blogs on there. I think that I can work well with you two and create more reviews for Nick/Disney shows! Thank you!!

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  6. The Thundermans is a mixed bag. It has charm and can be very good, but it has serious disney envy and the main dynamic can be weak. The main reason people hate it besides the disney envy is that phoebe can get too much abuse and Max often gets away wiht being a jerk, and he isn't too charming. See Change of Art. The writers should take notes from Life with Derek or other shows that did it right.

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Yup it's another "the future of this blog" post but this time we're talking about videos, Patreon and Jim Sterling

So, despite the whole "future of this blog" thing being featured first and most prominently in the title and being the most import...