Movie Review: The Breaker Upperers

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The Breaker Upperers * 2018 * Not Rated- Probably PG-13 for Language, Nudity and Adult Situations * 82 Minutes 

😸😸😸😸🌑  Rated 4/5 Happy Lap Cats

Spoiler-Free Review:

As the poster above says, 6 different times, The Breaker Upperers is hilarious. It is, first and foremost, a wacky comedy that’s not afraid to go for the laugh in whatever situation it finds itself in, whether that’s with a newly pregnant woman becoming nauseated while sharing the news with a friend, or engaging in drunken karaoke on a party bus.

Actually, those situations are likely to end the same way, so maybe that wasn’t the example of opposites I was looking for.

The great thing about this film is that, while it’s a wacky, screwball, sort of romantic, sort of musical, sort of dark, comedy, it’s also real. It’s the kind of female-oriented film I’ve been looking for on Netflix, as I’ve watched their romantic comedies pile up over the last year, almost all so laden with stereotypes and misogyny that I can barely manage to finish one viewing. The two female characters at the center of this film are just people, living their lives, not heroes, not villains, not stereotypes, and not trying to be any of those things. So are the rest of the characters.

The Breaker Upperers was written, directed by and stars Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek, two multi-talented women from New Zealand, who have been friends for many years in real life. In the film, they play Mel and Jen, who have also been friends for many years. Mel and Jen own and operate their own business, the titular Breaker Upperers, who clients hire to do the dirty work of ending a relationship when they can’t or don’t want to do it themselves.

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Maniac Season 1 Episode 1: The Chosen One! Recap

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I’ve gone back and forth on whether to write about Maniac, Netflix’s new black comedy which was created by Patrick Somerville and Cary Joji Fukunaga and stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, but I decided to wait until I’d watched the whole thing before making a decision. During the first few episodes, I thought I wouldn’t, because it reminded me of Legion and other surreal, but aimless, shows that I’ve been burned by in the past. Professional reviewers were even comparing Maniac to those shows. But as the season continued, Maniac became something else.

Maniac is a surrealistic, quirky, scifi black comedy that can get very dark and can go off on tangents that don’t make sense at first. It’s also, at least for now, a limited series, which means it’s written as a self-contained story. And what Maniac is, at its heart, is a lovely, optimistic, long form, indie romantic comedy, with a beginning, middle and end. Both indie films and works of surrealism have difficulty coming to a satisfying conclusion (and sometimes even commercial works do, looking at you, Castle Rock S1!), so the ending of Maniac is a major accomplishment, in my book.

I kind of fell in love with this show, and it appears that I’m going to have writer’s block until I write about it. There are 3 other partial recaps in my drafts folder that are going nowhere right now, so let’s give Maniac a try, shall we?

Like most Netflix shows, and many other shows as well, the first three episodes serve as an extended introduction to the season. In episode 1, we get to know Owen Milgrim (rhymes with pilgrim, which is a seeker or wanderer), played with depressed, understated misery by Jonah Hill. You feel like he’s always on the verge of crying, and it’s taken a monumental amount of strength for him to reach this point in his life. He’s been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but refuses treatment.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 3 Episode 7: Getting Over Jeff Recap

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This week’s episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a mixed bag, continuing the trend we’ve seen all season. Paula takes center stage with the A storyline and, for the first time ever, the title, which refers to Paula’s lost high school love, Jeff Channington, rather than Josh Chan.

Donna Lynne Champlin and Paula are deserving leading ladies, and the show reminds us that they are both the types that Hollywood normally forgets can be more than best friends. By giving Paula her own hot ex-boyfriend, and letting her live that fantasy out, they acknowledge once again that romance isn’t limited to certain ages or body types. That message never gets old.

None of the other storylines can live up to the glory of Paula singing about Jeff’s penis in the grocery store aisles complete with back up singers and suggestive vegetables. Josh is still trying to grow up, Rebecca is still trying to please her doctor, and Darryl and White Josh are still at a crossroads that they can’t navigate through. Stuff happens during the episode, but, other than Paula, I didn’t feel like any of them had made any tangible progress by the end.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 Episode 13: Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?

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Welcome to the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 Finale. Things just got a little more “Ex” and a hell of a LOT crazier. This episode definitely answered its title question, Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith? I don’t think anyone saw the answer we got coming, though.

The previously on… reminds us that Josh called Rebecca weird when he broke up with her at the end of camp, and that she’s always felt that marrying Josh would make her problems magically go away. He’s not just the person who makes her feel loved. He’s the arbiter of normal. If Josh says she’s normal, then she’s not crazy or weird.

We find Rebecca sitting on her couch texting her dad. It’s word for word the same as her first text to Josh when she arrived in West Covina. She’s hoping to spend time with him before the wedding. Paula arrives with Rebecca’s wedding veil, which she’s made for Rebecca. They take a second to marvel over the fact that Rebecca managed to nab Josh Chan. Then they duet on a punk metal song called What a Rush to Be a Bride. There might be a bit of underlying panic and anxiety in the room. They go back to cooing over wedding accessories.

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No Tomorrow Season 1 Review and Analysis/ Season 2 Speculation

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No Tomorrow Season 1 is Now Available on Netflix

I really love this show that manages to be both optimistic and a dark comedy at the same time. It’s filled with unique, quirky characters who still feel like real people in real situations. I’ve actually known multiple people in green card marriages, some of whom fell in love, some of whom didn’t. We’ve all known, or been, people stuck in dead-end jobs, unfulfilling marriages, or having midlife crises. I’ve known several people who changed careers and decided on something nontraditional, like Evie’s dad and Timothy, or had an unusual second job, like Deirdre. They had to work hard and face their own and everyone else’s doubts in order to succeed. No Tomorrow infuses these common scenarios with new energy as Xavier sweeps through and wraps everyone up in his enthusiasm, encouraging solutions as creative and life affirming as he is. It doesn’t work out equally well for everyone, every time, including for Xavier, but that’s part of life and risk taking.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 Episode 12: Is Josh Free in Two Weeks? Recap

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This week, Rebecca goes into full melt down mode as she tries to plan her wedding by herself. She has very little time and no idea what she wants her wedding to be like, other than “normal.” The episode highlights Rebecca and Nathaniel’s unhealthy goals in life. Rebecca needs to feel normal, or at least appear normal, by marrying the normal boy in a normal wedding. Her standard of normal isn’t even well-defined in her own mind, making it impossible to reach. Nathaniel’s standard of manhood is very well defined. He needs to live up to his father’s unrealistic ideals, or die trying.

Rebecca spends the episode on what amounts to random busy work, flailing around in an unorganized way, trying to recreate other people’s weddings. Her disorganization is notable in someone who is known for being a top-notch attorney, which requires a high level of analytical and organizational skill. This is self-sabotage.

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No Tomorrow Season 1 Episode 6: No Debt Remains Unpaid Recap

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Evie and Xavier start the episode with the sacrilege of destroying a ceramic lawn gnome. I know it’s not cool to like gnomes, but Amelie’s dad and I have a thing for them, ok? It’s hard to watch one be murdered in cold blood. They also cross two more items off of the apocalysts: #124) Lawn Bowling and #281) Break stuff for the hell of it.

Evie stops by her parents’ house and discovers that they’re getting ready to rent it out. Dad’s new acting career isn’t taking off as quickly as they’d hoped, and finances are getting tight. Evie thinks about it overnight, and decides to cross #58)Repay Mom and Dad off of her list by asking them to move in with her. Mom and Dad both seem cheerful about the move, but it turns out that Mom is really worried. She’s upset that Dad quit his job and put them in financial jeopardy without talking to her. She doesn’t want to say anything to Dad, though, because he’s so happy that his aura is yellow! Yellow, Evie!

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No Tomorrow Season 1 Episode 5: No Regrets Recap

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Evie and Xavier begin the episode by crossing “shopping cart slingshot” off of Evie’s apocalyst, which is something you most definitely shouldn’t try at home. Evie ends up face first in beach sand, which, why?? At least end up in the water. This is one list item that didn’t look worth it to me.

Back home, Evie and Xavier look through their lists and make suggestions for their next adventure. Evie suggests #36) sleeping in a blanket fort. Her mother never let her as a child, because her mom was afraid she’d suffocate. That explains a lot. Xavier’s corresponding item is #544) have sex in a blanket fort. Because of course it is.

But first, Xavier wants to go back to Evie’s #17, which she keeps skipping over: Get Francis “Fern” Fernberger’s forgiveness. If Evie works on that one, he’ll do one of his hard ones. He’s originally thinking of #1259) Tell Evie how I really feel. Screw non-monogamy. But Evie’s phone blows up with notifications from multiple dating sites, so Xavier makes a quick switch to #88) Return Wes Hofley’s baseball card.

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No Tomorrow Season 1 Episode 4: No Holds Barred Recap

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We start this week with Xavier’s apocalyst item #115)Try Bone Marrow. Evie refuses to even try, and not because she’s a vegetarian. Xavier equates the marrow to his philosophy of life. As in, suck the marrow out of it. We could probably end the episode here.

But, we don’t, of course, because even a low rated show has ad time to sell, and Joshua Sasse hasn’t taken his clothes off in a while. Whoops, there goes his hot coffee, down his front and toward his “nether regions.” Luckily, he and Evie are right next to a large public fountain, so Xavier strips and jumps in. Evie’s much more worried about the public scene Xavier is making than about the 3rd degree burns he’s trying to avoid. Personally, she’s giving me flashbacks to my mother-in-law, who was also always very worried about “what the neighbors would think.” Someday Evie will happily join the ranks of old ladies who enforce middle class social norms with an iron fist and a velvet glove. For now, Xavier asks if anyone in the crowd is bothered by him being mostly naked in the fountain, and everyone is happy with the situation. I’m quite okay with it myself. He reminds Evie that she’s going to miss out on a lot in life if she never pushes her boundaries.

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 Episode 11: Josh Is the Man of My Dreams, Right? Recap

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Much to Dr Akopian’s dismay, Rebecca and Josh are still engaaaged. But, the devil winds are a-blowin’ into town and they bring all manner of strange thoughts with them. Well, I don’t think Karen’s thoughts actually got any stranger. Just even more inappropriately public.

I can’t help but feel like Rebecca’s taken a huge step backward this week, while Paula took a couple of steps forward. Rebecca ignores every warning sign the universe and her psyche send her, to the point where we get a brief reprise of You Stupid Bitch. That song is the lowest of low points for Rebecca, and it’s incredibly painful to hear even one line of it. Paula, on the other hand, learns some things from Rebecca and Daryl, and makes some positive changes in her own life.

It’s windy in West Covina, this week. Welcome to the desert, kids. Rebecca’s seen weather before, though. She’s all about her ring, which is a family heirloom, but it was bought back for her by Josh and he put it on her finger and proposed and she said yes OMG!!! High pitched SQUUEEAAALL!!

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