Call it Cap: Why Captain America is My Favorite MCU Character


I recently enjoyed an MCU marathon this weekend just to prep for Civil War and it occurred to me that not only, and completely surprisingly, are the two previous Captain America films my favorite sub-franchise in the MCU, but that Cap himself is also my favorite character as well.  Something wholly surprising.  I thought I’d take a look at why both he and his movies have become my favorites.

I’m….Captain America…

What makes the Captain and Steve Rogers almost unique in his films is his personality is entirely heroic.  In the first film Rogers is physically frail but has a hero’s heart.  He’s genuinely a good person, something that most superheroes and superhero movies lost sometime in the 90s.  I can remember in the original Men in Black Will Smith’s character mocking the rigid, goody-two-shoes soldier as “Captain America.”  A term that has been largely pejorative as angry, anti-heroes started to co-opt the protagonist landscape.  The idea of the “truth and justice” hero was passé and viewed as simplistic.  Heroes needed to be dark and laconic; almost as bad as the villains to be “cool.”  There was a movement in all of entertainment to shift from the classic “babyface and heel” dynamic (god help all of us who remember the “Attitude Era” of pro wrestling…) to ALL heels, just some are fighting with us and some against us.

It’s a mood that has both carried forward and evolved as films have.  Look how dire and cheerless the Christopher Nolan Batman movies were compared to even the abstract mind of Tim Burton’s.  Even Marvel’s character, who are by-and-large a lot more dynamic (meaning capable of more than two emotions often displayed in DC movies, those being misery and rage) tend to have these traits.  Let’s just look at Rogers’ fellow Avengers at the end of Phase 1.

  • Tony Stark is a chaotic, self-obsessed narcissist who, while lovable, is also capable of profoundly selfish and bad decisions.
  • Thor is literally a god who did some growing up in his first outing but managed to remain a bit of a bull in a China shop man-child for a lot of his story lines.
  • Bruce Banner is simmering with mass-destructive rage, so much that he can be used by villains as effectively by heroes depending on the circumstance.
  • Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton both filling in as socially mal-adjusted killer agents trying to juggle regular human life with decidedly non-regular daily activities.

Essentially they’re all deeply flawed people, “good guys” but the kind of good guys we’re used to seeing nowadays with mixed motivations and lurking dark sides.  Even the Guardians of the Galaxy, who I adore, are all maladjusted outcasts ranging from thieves to murderers, whose negative personalities are mitigated through the humor of the storytelling and their charming personality quirks.

Then there’s Steve Rogers.  We know from the first film he selflessly wants to volunteer for combat in WWII, specifically in the unit in which his father served and died in during WWI.  His motivations are clearly stated as “men are fighting and dying, I got no right to give any less.”  He’s beaten up for his early attempt to stand up for what’s right, even if it’s just to shout down a movie heckler, and throws himself on a grenade during training.  You get the impression that there is a sadness lurking in Rogers and that maybe he’s eager to die heroically after losing his parents and being the little guy in a big mean world.  His obsession with inadvisably joining the army and even volunteering for an experiment with potentially catastrophic consequences shows he has kind of a “nothing to lose” attitude.  And that could have been the “dark side” motivation assigned to him by a lesser team of filmmakers.  There is, however, one statement that proves this aspect of Rogers’ character to not be his main impetus.  So what does drive the First Avenger?

I don’t like bullies…I don’t care where they’re from.

When poignantly asked by Dr. Erskine if he wants to go kill Nazis this is Steve Rogers’ response.  He’s been a victim of bullies.  He doesn’t have a desire to kill them, or even to fight them, he just doesn’t want anyone to get pushed around.  That sentimentality doesn’t change from when he’s a scrawny fellow being punched in an alley to when he’s a super-soldier going toe-to-toe with an entire rogue Nazi Science Division.  And what a sentiment to have.  Having been the little guy he’s always just wanted to be the one standing up for the little guys and through the narrative gains the ability to do so.

Dr Erskine reminding Rogers that no matter how powerful he may get he HAS to remember to be a good man. A message as powerful as “with great power comes great responsibility.”

Rogers is an optimistic hero.  Not one born to be a hero or who goes through a startling 180 degree revelation that provides his heroic compass, like many of the other Marvel characters.  He starts with the moral compass and finally gains the power to act on it.  This isn’t saying he doesn’t deal with tragedy.  He’s an orphan, his mentor and the first person to really believe in him dies.  His best friend becomes a casualty of war.  He never gets his dance with Peggy Carter.  And yet…none of this tarnishes his beliefs or changes his motivation.  It would have been easy for him to chase down and ruthlessly kill the Hydra spy who kills Erskine, if it weren’t for the latter’s last request being a reminder to Rogers to stay a good man.  It would have been simple for his drive against the Red Skull to be motivated by vengeance for his fallen friend, instead he acts completely selflessly again to save the world not seek revenge on the bad guy.  Even though he misses out on perhaps the love of his life, it doesn’t stop him visiting her decades later and still call her “his best girl.”

The look on his face says it all. 70 years later she’s still his “best girl.”

In a world of miserable, po-faced anti-heroes I find Captain America breathes life into the classic concept of the hero.  Not because he’s “good at everything” because he’s clearly not (becoming a super soldier didn’t make him any less socially awkward and he plays in a certain league; Asgardians can still knock him for a loop) but because despite everything he goes through he still tries to be as good as he can and to do what’s right.  And that’s ok.  We need that to offset the number of heroes who have been made brooding and dark.  We need Leonardo to offset Raphael.  Too many heroes suffer from deep emotional issues and have been turned into shadowy, twisted versions of themselves in a desperate effort to be “edgy” in the perverse belief that it makes them more “complex.”  It’s refreshing to see good guys can still be good.  Hell even, Superman, the cultural icon of truth and justice, is a wretched, blue-tinted, humorless bastard in his latest incarnation.  It’s a palpable relief to see Captain America be, well Captain America.

So we know why it’s refreshing to have an old-fashioned hero on film, but why are his movies so good?  We’ll take a look at that next time.

Scare Zone: A Pleasant Horror Surprise

One day while scrolling through my digital movie library, I came across Scare Zone, a delightful little movie. It’s not the greatest horror movie ever, but it’s tons of fun and definitely worth a watch. Here’s a quick review (very few spoilers):


Scare Zone Premise

Have you ever wanted to work in a haunted house during the Halloween season? I have and plan to one year. I think I’d have a blast on the other side of the scenario scaring other people. Scare Zone has a believable premise and plot that show what it would be like to work in a haunted house. A group of people come together for a few nights of ghosts and mayhem, but problems arise when they start getting knocked off one at a time. Yep, it’s a slasher movie!


One of my favorite things about Scare Zone is when Oliver (Simon Needham) assigns everyone their roles. The writers use this opportunity to show the audience each character’s personality and label them in roles you’d find in traditional slasher movies. This is a fast, fun way to introduce a large group of people without going into unnecessary detail and backstory.

I don’t really love or hate any of the characters, which is different because usually I want to see someone get killed. (Trent in the Friday the 13th remake comes to mind.) However in Scare Zone, all the characters are tolerable and most even likable. I will warn you though, some of the acting isn’t amazing. Again, these aren’t huge names, but for the kind of movie it is, everyone plays their part well and you can overlook the quality of the acting.

Likes and Dislikes

Scare Zone is fun. It’s not too dark, it’s shot pretty well, and it honors other slasher movies. The pace usually moves quickly, and you feel like you’re part of the gang. The movie feels real — but not in a doom-and-gloom way, more like a this is what the job would be like, and Oliver is the coolest boss ever way. The kills aren’t overly gruesome or gory, and there’s no suffering. It’s just a good little slasher movie.

With every fair review comes the bad. I only have one real complaint about the characters, and it’s the awkwardness between Claire and Daryl (Arian Ash and Chris Burns). Neither actor stands out, so when they develop a “love interest” relationship, it’s very awkward to watch. I blame this mostly on Claire, and I can’t decide if she’s trying to be awkward or if she’s just not a stellar actress. My other issue is the ending. Scare Zone ends on a positive note, which I’m happy with, but a certain “transformation” seems a bit extreme. I don’t want to spoil it, so just pay attention to hair color and you’ll understand.

Scare Rating

Low if you’re an avid horror movie fan. I didn’t find it scary, but it has its suspense and jump scares. So, if you’re looking for a laid-back, entertaining watch, check it out. At the time of this post, the full Scare Zone movie is on YouTube, and it looks like great quality. Happy watching!

The Ghostbusters: Trailer to Trailer Comparison

So we have a new Ghostbusters trailer and, unless fate intervenes, a new Ghostbusters movie to contend with. My RevPub partner has already addressed the issue of potential sexism with the film, so the intention of this post is to analyze the new trailer, compare it to the original 1984 trailer, and see why the new trailer fails so spectacularly.

What is the purpose of a Film Trailer?

Quite simply to sell or hype a future movie. While it can be argued that sometimes trailers are used to obfuscate a film’s nature or even to misdirect an audience into thinking a film is in a different genre that’s actually not too common. Mostly a trailer is designed to represent the film being advertised and bring the target audience for a film to that film. So what makes a good trailer versus a bad trailer? Let’s look:

Ghostbusters (1984)

The 1984 trailer is a product of its time with Narrator Voice Guy, and general plot set-up voice over, but its tone, substance, and characterization are excellent representations of the film being advertised. Knowing the film like I do (it was one of the only two VHS tapes my family owned for about 4 years after buying our first VCR) there isn’t a moment of wasted time or much content that isn’t relevant to the story of the movie. There is one line I recognize as not being in the final film (Venkman’s statement about being a chairman) but by and large the trailer is the movie. Cut together from pieces of the film, using the film’s now iconic music and symbols. Ghostbusters is known as a comedy but how many comedic elements are there actually in the trailer? We know Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd for their comedic roles and Harold Ramis for his comedy writing and directing but they are shown playing it largely straight in the trailer as they do in the film.  Ernie Hudson is just a fine character actor and Sigourney Weaver a natural leading lady. The tone and narration is that of a horror film, with just a few of the movie’s subtle jokes thrown in (for example the definition of “bad” and the exchange between Zuul and Venkman). But overall the mood and tone are actually quite gritty and serious. No characters are introduced by name and the specific plot isn’t spelled out. It’s about the characters shown in uniform catching ghosts used to entice an audience who would like to see them doing that for 90-plus minutes.

Ghostbusters (2016)

The new trailer starts with promise, though it makes a mistake off the bat stating “four scientists saved New York” (it was three scientists and regular working-Joe Winston Zeddemore). The musical tone is accurate, even if the visuals do the modern trailer trend of dipping into black for every scene change. We see a neon ghost, but who wasn’t expecting CGI ghosts (even though the projected ghosts at Disney’s Haunted Mansion in 1987 looked eerier…) The trailer does the other modern trailer trend of dropping all backing music for a joke then… vomit take, which like my RevPub cohort mentioned is rarely funny. What follows is a character-by-character “here’s what role you fill” sequence with some “here’s the plot” voice over interspersed with…well lame jokes of people hurting themselves, characters involved in some flat comic sequences, and some slapstick routines…

Now perhaps the new trailer is just a bad trailer. But taking this as representative of the film it makes us wonder who is targeted by this film? Original Ghostbusters fans? I can’t imagine. Most of the ones I know who go way back to the GB obsession from the 80s are severely put off. Not by the casting, but by the use of the cast and tone of the movie. The original film as captured accurately by the 1984 trailer, was first a movie about two dorky but brilliant scientists, one slimey but lovable scientist, and one level-headed normal guy pooling their various abilities to stop a catastrophic supernatural event in New York. During the course of that story funny things happened, but usually in subtle ways. (One of the best moments in the film is when Ray demands Gozer the Gozarian leave New York as though her car was illegally parked). Even the famous Slimer moment was…yes think about it…off screen. We hear the scream, saw the ghost charge, then cut to Ray running to Venkman’s aid to find him on the floor covered in ectoplasm (again some subtle humor here as Ray responds to Venkman’s “he slimed me” with “that’s great!”) Almost no gross out humor, some nicely executed entendre, and a story tone that put the spooky side of ghosts first accentuated the seriousness of the situation (people could ya know…die…disaster of biblical proportions ‘n all…) and left the humor to the personalities of the Ghostbusters and their responses to situations.

“Is it the wig or the hat?” – Everything Wrong with the New Trailer

When I think of everything wrong with the trailer I think of this sequence. Kristen Wiig’s character, Erin Gilbert, walks by a display and Kate McKennon’s character, Holtzmann, is posed like one of the items in the display wearing a ridiculous wig and goofy hat. So the question is…what is this sequence doing in the trailer? What does the represent about the movie other than a Scooby Doo level of sight gag? Any logic applied to this scene makes you scratch your head…it’s clear the Ghostbusters are on a call here…so during this case one of their number stopped hunting ghosts to put on a wig, put on a hat, then pose for another member of the team? Maybe the full film will put the scene in context and describe the Holtzmann character as one who really has an affectation for wigs, or hats, or nonsequitors…but in the trailer it’s Lowest Common Denominator humor. It’s designed for a cheap joke that defies the logic of the story and characters (one is a brilliant particle physicist the other a brilliant engineer) established in the very same trailer. And that’s the impression it leaves me with. It’s not a Ghostbusters story like the original film was, but more a series of loose plot points designed to set up joke sequences with the story elements a road map from one joke set piece to another.

Like my RevPub partner I have no intention of seeing this movie. Especially when I learned of all the great ideas (two by Dan Aykroyd) that were passed over to make this one. Many news sites have posted the general public reaction to this trailer and the studio and film makers seem to already be in near panic over the fan response. I’d never wish anyone’s career ill will. Some talented actors, comediennes, and filmmakers are involved in this movie and hopefully their next projects will be better received, but with this project all involved seem to have fundamentally missed what made the original film such an instant classic. Future trailers or the film itself may prove those of us who watched this first trailer with absolute disgust wrong. But I doubt it. And right now this version of bustin’ certainly don’t make me feel good…


The Best Film of 2015: Mad Max Fury Road Part 3

Visual Design:

The term “special effects” has become an ugly one for me in modern cinema. There was a time when SFX referred to make up effects, miniatures, green screen, stop motion, traditional animation, puppetry, stunts, and CGI. Now “special effects” only seems to involve CGI. Even traditional make up effects have gone CGI. Anytime someone says a film had “great special effects” they usually mean it had “good CGI.”

Mad Max Fury Road uses CGI. It uses it the way my other modern action film favorite, Dredd, did: to enhance scenes, NOT to create them. Fury Road, like Dredd and like everything directed by my favorite currently active director, Edgar Wright, uses primarily practical effects. Every car you see racing through the dusty desert, every weird character, all their odd costumes, even the crazy life-threatening stunts, are all actually happening. There is one large CGI set-piece used for the close of Act I, the dust storm. It should be noted that the way this scene was shot it was shot as though on a real camera. The angles are believable the camera never does a Peter Jackson-style swing through the top of the clouds, down through the funnel, then out to the cars. So even though the massive storm is computer creation we believe it to be real because it is filmed as realistically as the really real material.


CGI is again used at the end of the film to enhance one of the movie’s spectacular crashes. Pieces were nudged to make them crowd more, and the debris was enhanced to give the scene an almost wryly comical punch (immediately after one of the emotional climaxes of the film it was well-played). Here again the scene was shot realistically, but items added to enhance the scene in question.

The Crash of the Warrig shows how CGI is used to NUDGE a sequence…not create it…

There is something about having an actual item in front of the camera. It’s why original Star Wars miniature shots and the opening to Star Trek: The Next Generation have a timeless charm, where the lifeless animated creatures from the newer Star Wars films haven’t resonated as much. It’s also why Lucas’ use of WWII fighter footage made such good dogfighting scenes in A New Hope. Everything behaved or was based on reality. Something in our brains tells us that real items don’t behave the way CGI would often have us believe. I’m not one to rail completely against CGI, but seeing what can be accomplished when computer technology is combined with classical practical effects as seen in Scott Pilgrim, Dredd, and Fury Road as opposed to the dead-eyed, green screen covered worlds often encountered in big-budget action, sci-fi, and fantasy films of the modern era.


Editing is horribly abused in modern film. Everyone uses the same tropes (the silence then punch line, the quick shots and cuts in fights, etc) and no one really understands why these techniques are used. Looking at modern fight scenes, even in fun modern action movies like The Expendables, James Bond, or Bourne films, close shots are used with wobbly shoulder-cams and rapid cuts. It’s almost designed to make it difficult to follow. In his documentary My Stunts Jackie Chan pointed out that in old Chinese martial arts films they wanted to see the toes of each combatant. There is a benefit to this as you see the full scene and understand the narrative of the fight. Chan’s films cut much closer, but still many fight scenes occur in wider shots, only changing angles when scenery or a closer shot is needed as an insert for a stunt that couldn’t quite work. Modern editing seems to be making up for the fact that most actors in these films can’t perform the scenes and also making up for the fact that they can’t create scenes that are well choreographed. Watching Max’s fearsome brawl with Furiosa is a treat. It is shot wide enough to see the action. Everything in the story of the fight (Wrestler Brett “Hitman” Hart often discusses the importance of getting the story of a fight clear, each combat has a narrative and the combatants have to tell their part) is obvious and the fight itself is rousing. Max uses subterfuge at first. Then Furiosa uses distraction. Both attack and defend brutally, Max only holding back as he isn’t, by nature, a heartless killer of innocents. Warboy Nux and Joe’s wives, spectators to the combat begin to interfere, pulling Max and Furiosa with chains even tackling them and attempting to provide assistance to their chosen side. In the end, even though the fight is sped up slightly, put it on full fast-forward, and it still makes sense. You know the story of the combat and who has the upper hand and why.

Editing mixed with great direction is even more important. Prior to the fight mentioned above, Max asks for water. Furiosa begins to bring it to him but Max, studying her carefully, decides it’s best if the rather dangerous imperator doesn’t get too close and gestures for one of the wives to bring him water. Then gestures for another to cut the chain that’s binding him. During this sequence nearly no dialogue is spoken but the messages are clear. In a wonderful piece of combined editing and direction, Furiosa (out of focus in the background) is obscured by the wives helping Max. They shift slightly and we see her rapidly charging him, then she tackles him. It’s a brilliant piece of subtle filmmaking that you just don’t see anymore. A perfect “marriage” as it were of editing and directing.

Sound Design:

It’s been said that sound design is one of those things you never notice unless it is done badly; lo-res sounds, poorly chosen effects, a badly cast voice actor can all derail even the best-shot, well-crafted narrative. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film with better sound design. From the rusty roar of engines to the barren sound of the desert, the effects are spot on. Furthermore, the way the sound effects combine the score is even more impressive. Like the famous repeated refrain of Beethoven’s 5th there is a rhythm that appears again and again. It appears when Furiosa knocks dust from the Rig’s intake. When Nux pounds his head on the tank. A repeated “boom” followed by a series of rhythmic booms that almost serves as Fury Road’s heartbeat. Sometimes (such as while Furiosa pounds sand off the warrig’s air intakes) it starts as foley, but is joined with the rhythmic drums of the score. This combination of effects and score are almost wonderfully married in the Doof Warrior, whose guitar strains are both part of the film and part of the soundtrack. Hearing the strains of the warparties’ drummer boy ominously announcing their approach in the distance or over sweeping aerial shots is a great device, to hear it combined with the music during the action sequences suggests sound design that has reached another level. It got everything right in Fury Road and it should NOT be ignored.


So where does this leave Mad Max Fury Road in terms of Academy Awards? A film wonderfully conceived, tightly written, masterfully shot, and beautifully designed? My guess? Without an Oscar. Maybe one for editing or sound design. But none of the “big” awards for which it’s nominated. Why? For one Fury Road is not an “Oscar” movie. Though the Academy has voted for some so-called revolutionary films in the past (though I’m not sure I’d call The Artist that…) it has stayed firmly grounded in typical Oscar bait. Normally traditional. Typically Drama. Portrayals broad and “against type.” It’s why the “supporting” role awards are almost always much more interesting and usually filled with the better performances. So when something entirely traditional (I’m guessing The Revenant) wins everything this Sunday keep in mind that, even though the talented staff and cast of Fury Road walked out of the Dolby Theatre onto Hollywood Boulevard without as many of the little gold statues as they deserve, they do deserve enormous recognition for what they achieved and will hopefully win the vote of public opinion as “The People’s Best Picture of 2015.”

Best Film of 2015: Mad Max Fury Road Part 2

There has been some criticism of Fury Road as being vague or half-conceived.  These assertions prove how lacking in subtly modern film audiences are, and may explain why so many newer films are overly-simplified and artificially written.


The Plot: One argument I’ve heard against Fury Road is that is supposedly has a “lack of plot.” While the characters section from last week dispels that concept easily, there is in fact a main plot it just isn’t an in-your-face, overly intricate, and horribly overly designed story. The makers of the film lay it out like this: The first half of the film is a chase; the second half is a race. That sums it up very well. Theron’s Furiosa kidnaps Immortan Joe’s wives in order to both bring them to freedom and severely and personally hurt Joe himself. Max, used as a living blood transfusion for the sick and dying Nux, is brought along with the Warboy when the Citadel mobilizes for pursuit and all of their paths cross during the action.

Why does this work? Its simplicity is its strong suit. Because the action takes place over such a basic backdrop, the film can focus on characters and the world. As described last week each set of characters has their own subplot, their own story arc which takes place during the film. If the plot was overwritten or absurdly intricate it would have made the plot and all the subplots far too confusing. Or required all of the over-explanation and dialogue exposition that have frequented modern films.


There is nothing wrong with a simple plot, audiences and filmmakers have convinced themselves over the last decade that complexity equals effectiveness. In a lesser film Max would have rescued Furiosa as a child, she’d find out Joe was her father, Nux is her cousin, and two of the wives her half-sisters. And by killing Joe they foil a plot that would have turned all of his followers into mutants. Here the plot is small and personal. The relationships are happenstance and coincidental. It’s as was discussed in the Dredd review: sometimes keeping the story small-scale makes it more relatable to the audience (Dredd’s “Drug bust” line sums this philosophy up perfectly). The world doesn’t need to be in peril if we love the characters enough. Their peril and their stories make it worth it.

The World: This is where the film shines its brightest. The world of Fury Road is incredibly deep and detailed. BUT the detail is never explained it is all inferred, making a fantastical world seem that much more real. What is a “half-life warboy?” What does it mean to be “so shiny, so chrome?” What’s the significance of “McFeasting?” Why do all of these guys spray their mouths with silver before attempting to kill themselves? What does it mean to be “kamikrazee?” What is UP with Joe’s weirdo religious cult? The film never tells you. Well never directly. You can draw the conclusions that will answer all those questions yourself during the movie, but no one ever sits down in an artificial way through strained actors speaking in a way no human beings ever speak with each other. These aspects of life merely are in this world. The characters all seem to understand what they mean and through their actions and context we can figure them out too. Or at least draw educated conclusions.

The never explain why there’s a guy with a flamethrower guitar riding a drum truck and they never need too…

The character interactions also assist in building the world. No one speaks unless necessary.   In a society totally lacking in trust and companionship this would almost certainly be the case and all those who made it to this point would be tough, isolated, survivors. “Imperator” is never defined but we know its significance by the way the others interact with Furiosa. She’s respected and revered. Joe easily calls the leaders of both the Bulletfarm and Gastown, even though it seems to be over their objections. How could this be? Again you can tell this from the context even if no one blatantly says it.

The Kamikrazee warboys.  They have a deep and fascinating belief system.  What it consists of, why they believe it, and all of its many trappings is NEVER explained.  It can easily be inferred but no screen or narrative time is taken up directly or artificially explaining the many facets of their world.

Subtlety is unfortunately lacking in modern cinema. Everything has to be big and operatic. It has to be about your son and revenge and you have to plan and stars align to create remarkable coincidences that are all artificially created of course by the writer. Mad Max’s plot and world deceptively simple. It is quite difficult to make these elements seem random, and random in a way that history supports (more often than not it’s chance that dictates events not fate…) These characters come together to tell a relatively local story of small global impact but high personal import. The story and its characters have weight because of the world in which they inhabit and the value they are all given to us.

In the final post in this series next week we’ll look at the technical aspects of the film and how a modern movie created spectacular scenes using many practical effects.

Valentine 2001: 14 Reasons Why It’s a Solid Slasher Movie

Valentine (2001) has worked its way up my list of favorite slasher movies. I never make a big deal about Valentine’s Day, but it shocks me that so many people hate this movie. Valentine 2001 came out in the same year as some better horror movies – such as 13 Ghosts remake, The Devil’s Backbone and Jeepers Creepers – but Valentine is still a fun slasher and worth a watch.

In honor of Valentine’s Day and to challenge all those who hate it, here are the reasons why it doesn’t suck (contains spoilers):


Boys will be boys. The male characters in this movie are hilariously bad people. Valentine sends a very strong message that finding Mr. Right is almost impossible. Throughout the movie, the girls are trying to find dates, and the pool is filled with egotistical d-bags. That’s the dating world, but the movie doesn’t send a hopeless message. It essentially says it’s ok to be single.

Everyone can relate. The movie starts at a dance with a nerdy, unpopular kid trying to ask several girls to dance. He faces constant, and most times, vicious rejection. We’ve all been rejected, so it speaks to a large audience.

Most of the victims receive creative Valentine’s Day cards. These cards are some of my favorite cards ever and add a nice touch. For example, “Roses are red. Violets are blue. They’re going to need dental records to identify you.” Not only are they creatively twisted, they’re funny.

You don’t feel bad for any of these characters. Sometimes, you feel like certain people should survive a slasher. Not in this one. Most of the characters are shallow and selfish, and most of them get exactly what they deserve.

Valentine keeps you guessing throughout, and there’s a fun little twist. It doesn’t end like most slashers, and the surprise is well worth the watch.

All 90s and early 2000s horror movie fans will love the cast. There are several actors you know from other movies. The Valentine cast includes: Denise Richards (Wild Things), Hedy Burress (Cabin by the Lake), Katherine Heigl (Bride of Chucky), Marley Shelton (Planet Terror, Scream 4.)

Listen to the music because the soundtrack rocks. For all you heavy rock fans, you’ll love hearing Deftones, Orgy, Manson, Rob Zombie and Linkin Park.

Everyone has distinct personalities and issues. One thing current movies lack in general is good stereotyping; there is a reason stereotyping exists. In movies, it often pokes fun at them, and the same is true here. You have the pretty girl, the sweet girl, the chubby girl, the awful artist, etc. All the actors play their parts well.

Never underestimate the nerd. You know who the killer is from the go, but who is he/she 10 years later is the big question. They quickly dismiss the nerd because he “could barely operate a water fountain, much less an intricate revenge plot.” Think again.

The main girls die in the way they rejected the nerd at the dance. I love this. For example, when asked to dance, Paige (Richards) says she’d, “rather be boiled alive.” Guess how she dies.

It fills a niche of horror that has been heavily dominated by My Bloody Valentine, which is hands-down my favorite Valentine-related slasher, but Valentine 2001 isn’t trying to be a great movie; it’s trying to be fun. I enjoy the holiday-themed horror movies, and Hollywood doesn’t do many Valentine’s Day ones, so it’s refreshing.

No one wants an Oscar, including the writers. The dialogue is quick and feels very real. When two characters converse, it feels natural. The writing leads to some sub-par acting, but that’s the beauty of the movie. It’s easy to laugh at the characters and easily recognize the actors enjoyed making it.

Everyone can pick it apart. I rewatched it recently for this post, and at one point I thought, “Who’s house are they in?” There’s a scene where the main girls are in a random house for questioning, and you have no idea whose house it is because you’ve seen where everyone lives, and it’s not there. In another scene, a girl answers the door and looks down before she’s supposed to. It’s those little things that make a movie more entertaining, and Valentine is a great movie to watch alone or with your best friend.

If you love a mindless slasher, check out Valentine 2001. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments, and Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!