2022 TV & Movie Reviews: Barry / Cha Cha Real Smooth / Moonfall

Something so great, something so greatly awful, and something pretty good.

Barry (Season 3)

For all of you with complaints that Barry just wasn’t that funny this season, get fucking real. Unless you’re doing a formulaic sitcom, you need to seriously pivot when your show reaches season 3 or 4, in order to remain interesting. No one knows this better than Bill Hader who manages to successfully bring our favorite characters into much darker situations, forcing them into choices that threaten to make them irredeemable. Sure, it’s not as consistently funny as the previous two seasons, but Hader and the other writers sprinkle gleefully stupid but poignant gags throughout while creating these beautiful little pockets of belly laughs that never reduce any character, big or small, to a mere cliche or stereotype. As a director, Hader has really come into his own this season, delivering some of the best-directed and ingeniously crafted sequences TV has seen this year. The cast is all wonderful, with the great Anthony Carrigan finally getting a more substantial story and character arc, while Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, and of course, Hader just as wonderful as ever. The true standout this season is Sarah Goldberg who digs deeper into the role of Sally finally revealing her true true in more ways than one. She delivers a monologue this season that’s incredible and only enhanced with the simple but innovative way its shot, a truly genius bit of collaboration between director (Hader) and player (Goldberg). The first couple of episodes this season had me a bit skeptical, but it sticks the landing in a way few series can. You can quibble about the overabundance of convenient coincidences in the plotting, and sure that’s undeniable, but it’s difficult for me to care too much when it’s allowing the show to dig into issues and shared human behavior with such sobering honesty and insight. Who thought a show about a hitman taking acting classes could be this deep? Grade: A (HBOMax)

Cha Cha Real Smooth

Everything you’d expect from a low-budget, feel-good, Sundance romantic dramedy, and yet the extremely talented young writer/director/actor Cooper Raiff somehow manages to subvert our expectations…at least for the first half. Fresh off his debut, a college dorm rom-com lovingly titled Shithouse!, which was released during the height of the pandemic, Raiff is finally given a bigger budget and actual famous people. Raiff plays a dude freshly graduated from college, trying to essentially begin his life. Working as a “party starter” for kid’s Bar/Bat Mitzvahs at a banquet hall somewhere in the Los Angeles area (real bougey), he meets a woman in her 30s, Domino (Dakota Johnson), and her fifteen-year-old autistic daughter, Lola (Vanessa Burghardt), and strikes up a friendship. Of course, his relationship with Domino has romantic overtones, and they’re both extremely smitten with each other, but he’s so young and she’s married to a dude who is never home. What ensues is a series of really wonderfully acted and written encounters between the two that somehow peters out around the one-hour mark and everything proceeds to wrap itself up in a very paint-by-numbers fashion. Raiff is good and charming as always here, even if he’s just playing more or less the same character he did Shithouse!, albeit a bit older and more cynical. Burghardt, an autistic young actor, is wonderful as the daughter as is Leslie Mann as Raiff‘s mom, but the real headline here is how fucking good Dakota Johnson is. This is her best screen performance to date, without a doubt, creating one of the most sympathetic movie characters of the year. Cha Cha Real Smooth does so much so well that it’s almost crushing it can’t stick the landing. Despite a weaker second half, this is still one of the best comedies I’ve seen this year and firmly sets up Raiff as the next Jim Cummings in indie movie-making. Grade: B (AppleTV+)


Wow, sometimes you’re lucky enough to see something so utterly stupid and lacking in any kind of human logic that it’s a minor miracle it even exists. Shit like Moonfall rarely gets made today, and that’s a damn shame because it’s infinitely more fun than the gratingly self-serious, green-screened schlock of the Marvel universe. So here’s the plot – the moon is a supervillain, much like Jaws or Michael Myers, and it’s going to fall on Earth, killing every person in the world while altering the laws of gravity. A disgraced former astronaut (Patrick Wilson) who clearly doesn’t understand how courtrooms work gets dragged into a mission to kill the moon with his former partner, Halle Berry – perhaps playing herself. A bumbling Samwell Tarly plays a guy who is romantically obsessed with Elon Musk, like he totally wants to fuck Elon Musk and frequently thanks the Lord for his existence, and he has an idea of how they’re going to defeat the moon. You see, the moon is hollow and is controlled by a white dwarf on a farm in the center of the moon. Keep up, idiots. AI has infiltrated the computer systems at the center of the moon in order to destroy humanity and will use the moon as a giant bumper car to fuck up anything that comes in its path. Imagine a scene where characters in space are being chased by the moon, like the moon is a car. You don’t have to, the movie has that scene! It also has a bunch of Lexuses and a good portion of the movie is set in a Lexus dealership. Have you bought a Lexus yet? According to this movie, it is the absolute height of luxury. Moonfall runs a ridiculous two hours and ten minutes, but there is never a second you aren’t enthralled by its unhinged lunacy. Or should I say, LUNAR-cy. Hahahhaa. Get it? Grade: F/A+/Whatever ($3.99 rental on Amazon)

Also Streaming and In Theaters


Under the Banner of Heaven on Hulu

Under the Banner of HeavenHulu

Better Call Saul (Season 6, Part One)AMC+

Atlanta (Season 3)Hulu

The StaircaseHBOMax

Top Chef (Season 19)Peacock

Stranger Things on Netflix

Stranger Things (Season 4, Part One)Netflix

Ozark (Season 4, Part Two)Netflix

Heartstopper (Season 1)Netflix

Severance (Season 1)AppleTV+

Pachinko (Season 1)AppleTV+

Euphoria on HBOMax

The Flight Attendant (Season 2)HBOMax

We Own This CityHBOMax

The Kids in the Hall (Season 6)Amazon Prime

Euphoria (Season 2)HBOMax

The SopranosHBOMax


Jurassic World: DominionOnly in Theaters

Jurassic World: Dominion (D) – In Theaters

Top Gun: Maverick (B+) – In Theaters

Fire Island (B-) – Hulu

Everything Everywhere All at Once (A-) – In Theaters & $19.99 purchase on Amazon

Crimes of the Future (B-) – In Theaters & $19.99 rental on Amazon

The Northman on Peacock

The Northman (B) – Peacock

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (C+) – In Theaters

Spider-Man: No Way Home (B) – $5.99 rental on Amazon

Red Rocket (A-) – $4.99 rental on Amazon

Licorice Pizza (A) – $5.99 rental on Amazon

Bad Trip on Netflix

Bad Trip (C) – Netflix

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (D) – Netflix

The Lost Daughter (B) – Netflix

Don’t Look Up (C-) – Netflix

The Power of the Dog (A-) Netflix

Old on HBOMax

Old (C-) – HBOMax

Drive My Car (A) – HBOMax

Malignant (?) – HBOMax

Nightmare Alley (D+) – HBOMax and Hulu

The Card Counter (B) – HBOMax

Pig on Hulu

Pig (A-) – Hulu

Flee (B) – Hulu

In the Earth (C+) – Hulu

Willy’s Wonderland (B-) – Hulu

Pleasure (B) – $6.99 rental on Amazon

Freddy’s Nightmares

Freddy’s Nightmares (Season 1)Screambox

Freddy’s Nightmares (Season 2)Screambox

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