Don't Breathe is a intense and claustrophobic thriller that showcases Stephen Lang's amazing acting abilities
Morgan is an underwhelming sci-fi thriller that we've seen done better many times before
Kubo and the Two Strings is a beautiful stop-motion Japanese folktale that offers a great story, gorgeous visuals, and a lot of heart for all viewers
What you won't expect from Hell or High Water is how two bank robbers and two U.S. Marshals will all warm your heart as it builds to the inevitable showdown
Suicide Squad might not be a perfect movie, but it is definitely the best in the DC Extended Universe so far. Hopefully this will be the start of a new, better direction

Monday, September 12, 2016

Content Has Moved


I have recently been added as a contributor to a movie review website. Because of this shift you can find all of my content there. I am also still posting video reviews via YouTube, so by subscribing to my channel you'll still get my latest reviews. You can also still follow my Facebook page and Twitter to get directly links to everything that I am posting.

Written Articles -
YouTube Reviews - Unpopped Review YouTube Channel
Facebook - Unpopped Review Facebook
Twitter - @ianhornbaker

Thank you everyone that has supported me thus far. I'm really excited to see what the future holds and I hope that you all stick around to see the amazing things that are happening.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Morgan (Video)

Morgan is an underwhelming sci-fi thriller that we've seen done better many times before.

Don't Breathe (Video)

Don't Breathe is an intense and claustrophobic thriller that showcases Stephen Lang's amazing acting abilities.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How Geeks Became Bullies

I was recently listening to Talking Comics Podcast, one of the many podcasts that I listen to, and a listener brought up a question that I thought was very insightful. The question, although worded slightly differently, was basically why comic book readers, and by the same token all geeks, tend to shun non-geeks even though they may have felt shunned in their own past. Before I listened to the responses from the members of the podcast, I decided I first wanted to get my own thoughts down.

Going forward I’m going to use nerd and geek both interchangeably. I understand that to many there is a difference, but in order to not segregate either group I am choosing to use each word where I think makes my article flow better rather than what is more right.
Growing up, I would have never considered myself to be a geek or nerd. I didn’t read comic books, I didn’t play Dungeon & Dragons, and I didn’t participate in many other activities that are stereotypical to nerd culture. The most I can relate to geek culture is that I grew up watching Star Trek with my father (mainly Voyager and TNG) and I was an active member in my high school band. Being so limited in my youth geek experience, I personally was not bullied very much, and thus I can’t relate entirely to how many felt growing up in geek culture surround by non-geeks. However, now being much more engaged in geek culture, I can definitely see how the paradigm has shifted and sometimes geeks can be the instigators of bullying rather than the victims.

The Mind of a Bully

There are many different kinds of bullies out there, so understanding all of them is something that I think will be difficult to do. However, one thing that is constant throughout all bullies is a feeling of self-entitlement and pride. Bullies tend to pick on those who are “less than them.” So a sports jock may pick on a robotics club member because football is cool and robotics club members just can’t hack it on the field. Or someone who has money and dresses well will make fun of the someone else that has to come to school wearing the same clothes for the second time in a week.

Bullying can also stem from the fear of something different. These types of bullies choose to lessen anything or anyone that doesn’t hold the same ideals as them. The best examples of these can be seen in politics or many Facebook threads. Two people going back and forth trying to prove that the other side is wrong.

No matter what kind of bully a person is, the point of a bully is always to further their own personal agenda and beliefs by stomping out anyone that gets in their way .

The Internet: The First Paradigm Shift

The internet is a great tool. It provides a variety of information, but what the internet also gives is a level of anonymity. Someone, even me, can express opinions from the safety of a home knowing that no one can hurt me directly. However, it also gives others the same anonymity to react to my opinions with their own opinions. This back and forth reaction can create escalated opinions resulting in the hateful internet we are familiar with today.

The fear that many geeks face has always been the physical presence of their bullies. A bully tends to be physically imposing in some sense, whether that is in size, strength, or even the number of friends. However, on the internet, the physical threat is completely eradicated. Suddenly both nerd and bully are placed on the same playing field.

Not only has the playing field been altered, but it’s also been specified. A comic book nerd has the ability to avoid any website that has to do with sports. So anyone that enters a comic book nerds playing field is subject to the thoughts and opinions of any other comic book nerd that participates in the same website.

The Casual Nerd: The Second Paradigm Shift

Over the past few years, nerd culture has come to the forefront of everyday life. With the introduction of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, DC’s Extended Universe, and both of their growing TV presence, suddenly everyone has become a casual nerd. Football jocks that never would have dared speak the name of Captain America, are suddenly rooting for him to take down Hydra, well-dressed girls are now swooning over Thor’s abs and large groups of people that have never even heard of the Suicide Squad have opinions as to the either success or failure of its premise.

Everything that a nerd has loved and longed for is coming true, but at what price? If everyone is getting introduced into nerd culture, where can nerds turn? Where can they go to be understood and accepted? Suddenly, geeks and nerds are feeling invaded by an outside force much like when they were bullied in their youth. So the only thing they feel they can do is differentiate and defend.

The True Nerd: A Nerd’s Defense

A True Nerd: someone who has been a nerd since before it became “cool.” Before Iron Man flew across the screen. Before everyone was looking forward to a Wonder Woman movie. Someone that truly understands the characters, what they stand for and what they mean to true fans. This is where geeks have decided to take a stand.

When a person walks up to a true nerd and says “Oh man, Batman v Superman was so cool. I loved when Batman took out all those guys in the warehouse.” The true nerd responds with, “Yeah, it was kind of cool. Except that Batman would never do that. Batman has one rule, never kill, and he broke that rule several time it the movie. The movie was just not true to the source material. It should have been better.”

In order to feel special again, the geek will cling on comic books, source material, original series, and facts of minutia then argue them to the death to anyone that thinks differently. This is the exact kind of thinking that has created bullies in the past and allows them to thrive in the future. The feeling that they know more or understand more than others. The feeling of entitlement and pride in something that others don’t understand. This is the first step to becoming a bully.

The Geek Bully: The Last Paradigm Shift

The true nerds have just taken a step that they thought they would never take. Rather than accepting the casual nerd into the group and taking delight in the new comradery, the true nerd chooses to take a different road and prove how they are more entitled than the casual nerd since they have been a nerd for longer.

This has been evident with some recent news with the rumored casting of Mary-Jane Watson in Spider-Man: Homecoming. The unconfirmed rumor states that Zendaya, a mixed race actress (if this is not the correct term, I do apologize), has been cast as the previously white and red-headed Mary-Jane. Fans immediately took to the forums, Facebook and Twitter to express their anger at casting someone that isn’t white and doesn’t have red hair. This anger quickly turned into online bullying as others came to the studio’s aid by stating that the race doesn’t matter. The truth or correctness of this matter aside, this type of thinking and acting is what leads a geek to become a bully.

This, and many other actions, are how a geek has become that which they have always hated. A geek that used to be beaten up is now the one beating down other’s thoughts and opinions. The geek that wanted nothing else than to see Deadshot on the big screen is suddenly the one telling others how they are wrong for liking the actors portrayal. This is how the bullied has become the bully.

Geekceptance: Moving Forward Together

From Star Wars to Star Trek, Marvel to DC, or D&D to LARPing, there have always been different kinds of nerds and different levels. When a group of geeks gather together at a Comic Con, no one is looked down on for cosplaying as a Stormtrooper instead of a Starfleet Officer. Someone wearing a Doctor Who shirt does not make fun of the guy dressed as Iron Man. Instead everyone loves and accepts other’s passions no matter how strong they may be. Just because it is now more widely accepted, does not mean anything needs to change.

So instead of fighting about our differences, let’s come together and express joy in knowing geek culture is now common in every home, that everyone can find joy in watching a Marvel movie or that Star Wars is once again back and as good as ever. Let’s move away from differentiating a true nerd from a casual movie watcher. Let’s have geekceptance for young and old, original and new, casual and hardcore. Let’s have geekceptance for all!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Hell or High Water (Video)

What you won't expect from Hell or High Water is how two bank robbers and two U.S. Marshals will warm your heart as it builds to the inevitable showdown.

Kubo and the Two Strings (Video)

Kubo and the Two Strings is a beautiful stop-motion Japanese folktale that offers a great story, gorgeous visuals, and a lot of heart for all viewers.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Critics v Fans Round 2: Suicide Squabble

I first restarted this blog after I saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I wanted to get my opinions out for others to see. However, first I wanted to discuss my thoughts on why critics and fans sometimes differ so much in their opinions on movies. I called my initial post Critics v Fans: Dawn of Opposition.

Now with Suicide Squad just hitting theaters, the critics and fans are at it again with their wildly different opinions. Currently Suicide Squad has a rotten tomatoes score of a lowly 26% with 235 critic reviews and 75% with with 6,592 audience reviews. I also saw the movie and have my own personal thoughts that you can check out on my YouTube channel.

So let's try to break down why critics and fans disagree so much on Suicide Squad.

Differing Questions

This is where we get into the nitty-gritty of how critics and fans can differ so greatly. It all comes down to expectations and the questions they ask.

The best way to describe this is to look at a hypothetical scenario. Let's say that I just saw a movie and two different people are interviewing me, one is a movie critic and the other is a hardcore fan of the comic book franchise the movie was based off of. Let's see the kinds of questions the two would probably ask me and how I would respond to them.

Please keep in mind that when it comes to Suicide Squad I am not completely a fan. Also I am no where near a full fledged movie critic. So while I do personally agree with the responses to these questions, some of the deeper answers are borrowed from other's reviews and thoughts that I read or overheard.

Fan's Questions

  • Was it fun? Yes, the movie started off fun and had enough sprinkled throughout to make it overall enjoyable.
  • Were the characters fun and good interpretations of the comics? Yes, although Warner Bros. took some liberty in the characterization of The Joker, Harley Quinn, and Deadshot, they still had enough to see the connection to the comics.
  • What was the best part? Whenever the characters were interacting with each other. It was just fun to see them all together.
  • Was it as good as the trailer? Yes, you can tell that a lot of the fun that was shown in the trailer is present in the actual movie.
  • Are you happy you saw it? Yes, seeing these iconic characters come together in the movie was overall just a good time.
  • Would you see it again? I think I will. There were a lot of things that happened very quickly that I would like to get a second look at. Also, there are some things that I'm not sure whether I liked it or not and I'd like to see it again to determine my feelings.

For all of these reasons, fans are perfectly justified in giving Suicide Squad the praise they have and the praise that will continue to come.

Critic's Questions
  • Does the story follow a typical 3 act style? If so, does each act move the story forward well? It does, but after the first act the story really slows down and the tone changed. Then the third act becomes a typical light and CG show typical of many modern blockbusters.
  • How is the acting used to enhance the story? Most of the actors do a good job portraying their characters. However, some of characters have no reason to even be present in the story.
  • Were the character arcs realized? Most of the characters end at the same point where they started. By the end the squad doesn't work any more as a cohesive team than at the beginning. 
  • Was the script unique or interesting? Although their are a few funny moments, most of the script is very predictable or awkward.
  • Did the director elevate the script and screenwriting? David Ayer is known for his characters with a dark and twisted back story. While this is hinted at throughout the movie, the humor in the movie often overshadows much of the darker parts Ayer is known for.
  • Was the editing used effectively to depict the story? The editing is often choppy and sometimes confusing by using too many flashbacks.
  • Was the score or music recognizable or appropriate? No, while trying to be interesting overall it simply adds to the choppy editing and randomness.
As you can tell by how I would respond to these questions it is very easy to see why a critic would give it a lower grade.


I know it is frustrating to see a movie you liked, or hoped to like, get a low critic score. Instead of having a knee-jerk negative reaction, remember that the critics are asked to critique on a vastly different set of standards than your buddy in the next cubicle. Instead, find and stick to reviewers that look for what is important to you and go from there. Dollars speak louder than angry tweets and petitions in pushing studios to make more of what we like.