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BWN Nerds’ Movie Review: Ocean’s 8 (2018)

Dave and Greg are BACK with yet another Ocean’s movie…Ocean’s 8! See how the female-centered follow-up compares (and doesn’t), and what the fellas think!



Ocean's Eight

Dave and Greg are BACK with yet another Ocean’s movie…Ocean’s 8! See how the female-centered follow-up compares (and doesn’t), and what the fellas think!

It is time for an encore performance this week. Having finished up our review of the fantastic Oceans trilogy, Greg and I decided to take a curtain call, of sorts, and review 2018’s almost all female spinoff, Oceans 8. It is another excellent installment in the Oceans franchise, there is no doubt about that. But does it measure up when compared to the original trilogy? Read on dear reader and find out.

The Flick: Ocean’s 8

Ocean’s 8 begins eerily similar to the way Ocean’s Eleven began. This time out, it is Debbie Ocean, the sister of Danny Ocean, who gets paroled from prison. During her five years, eight months, and twelve days in the joint, Debbie came up with the idea for a heist that would make her brother proud. Unfortunately, Danny is now deceased. But, similar to her brother, Debbie puts together a team of like-minded women to pull off the caper of a lifetime: To steal the Toussaint diamonds, a $150 million Cartier necklace. To do this, she enlists Lou, her former partner in crime and, perhaps, former love interest to help her. They then go about putting together a team that truly resembles the type of team Danny Ocean put together in the Oceans trilogy, including hackers, pick-pockets, a fashion designer, a jewelry maker, and a professional fence who has been moving stolen goods out of her suburban home for years now. The plot is every bit as ingenious as any that Danny would have come up with and Debbie shares her brother’s air of confidence about everything she is doing. Like Danny in Ocean’s Eleven, there is also a personal element about the heist for Debbie that adds that certain extra element that makes this movie exceptional.

In Ocean’s 8, the plan is to convince film star Daphne Kluger to enlist the services of fashion-designer Rose Weil to design her outfit for the upcoming Met Gala. To cap off the outfit, Rose convinces the caretakers of the Toussaint to let Daphne wear the necklace for the Gala by noting how much exposure such an event could bring to the Cartier family, which has fallen out of the public spotlight a bit over the years. The elaborate plan then involves a bit of food poisoning of Daphne and a switch of the real necklace with a phony. Along the way, the hacker, Nine Ball, has created a blind spot for the museum’s security cameras, while Tammy masterfully organizes everyone to be in the right place at the right time. Amita disassembles the real necklace while the museum is in lockdown and is able to sneak the necklace out in multiple pieces, just in time for Tammy to pull the fake necklace out of a moat in the museum exhibit.

Up to now, Ocean’s 8felt a bit too “paint-by-the-numbers” to me. But it is the last third of the movie that really delivers and made this installment worthy of the Oceans moniker. We find out that Daphne realized early on that something was amiss and she wants in on a split of things in exchange for keeping the girls out of jail. She helps to set up Claude Becker, her date for the Expo, and former love interest of Debbie (who also framed Debbie and caused her to be incarcerated), to get busted with not only a piece of the necklace but to also have to answer questions about why four old ladies who, apparently, did not really exist, made substantial deposits to Becker’s various holdings. On top of that, we also learn that Lou enlisted the aid of Yen, the grease man from the original trilogy, to help with an elaborate side plot to steal numerous other royal jewels that were on display, the value of which exceeded the value of the Toussaint. The women succeed in their endeavors and exit much more cleanly than Danny, Rusty, and any of the guys did in any of the original trilogies’ installments. The movie ends with Debbie at Danny’s tomb where she has a martini and says that she knows that Danny would have “loved it.”

Synopsis/breakdown provided by the man himself, Dave Ungar!

The Nerds’ Take on Ocean’s 8 (2018):

Dave Ungar: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie, especially the final third where things start to really develop before your eyes. I was skeptical at first. Not because the movie had an all-female cast. Not at all. But because it was a complete changeover from the first three movies and the characters I had grown to love (albeit not as much as Greg). The way things evolved as the movie went along felt more like Oceans Eleven than either Twelve or Thirteen felt. I still prefer Twelve over this one, but I would put this one right there with Oceans Thirteen. If there is anything to complain about though, it is that this movie seemed to try too hard to replicate too many aspects of Oceans Eleven. This deliberate attempt to “catch lightning in a bottle” twice scores in some places, but misses the mark in others. For instance, when Lou finds out about Debbie’s plan to ruin Becker, she expresses the same concerns that Rusty expressed to Danny when he learned of Tess’s involvement in Ocean’s Eleven. However, this time around, it felt a bit too forced and just seemed like too overt an attempt to replicate a powerful moment from the original movie.

One place where Ocean’s 8 did not have to take a backseat to any of the other three movies was the cast. On sheer star power alone, Oceans 8 is more than a match for any of the original trilogy. Sandra Bullock turns in a great performance as Debbie Ocean and Cate Blanchett shines as Lou, a very different role when one considers that this is Galadriel/ Hela we are talking about. Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger is utterly awesome, especially once she is in on the heist and her character and demeanor shifts dramatically. Helena Bonham Carter, arguably steals the show as fashion designer Rose Weil. Throw in tremendous performances from Mindy Kaling as jewelry maker Amita, Sarah Paulson as master fencer/organizer Tammy, and Rihanna as the hacker, Nine Ball, and it is easy to see why this movie hits many of the right notes.

Ocean’s 8 did not fare quite as well as its predecessors, either critically or at the box office, which is hardly surprising considering the legacy it had to live up to. That should, in no way, dissuade you from checking it out. There is a lot here to enjoy if you enjoyed the original trilogy, so much so that it would be a mistake for any fan of the Ocean’s trilogy to not check this out. It is another movie I can wholeheartedly recommend as a very worthy investment of two hours of your time.

Dave’s Rating: 4/5

Greg DeMarco: Okay, I am going to update my disclaimer that I have used for the past Ocean’s movies. You can’t compare Ocean’s Eleven to Ocean’s Twelve or Ocean’s Thirteen. It’s simply not fair to either movie to be compared to the greatest movie of all time! (No, I am not kidding.) You also can’t compare Ocean’s 8, which followed the greatest trilogy of all time (shut up) eleven years (don’t think that’s an accident, either) later with a star studded female cast.

On its own, this is a damn good heist movie. Great performances by Sandra Bollock (Debbie Ocean), Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling really stand out, but the entire crew does a great job. Of course we are stealing something, and this time it was (allegedly) the Toussaint, a $150 million necklace that Hathaway’s character was going to wear to the Met Gala.

I love the fact that Hathaway’s Daphne Kluger figures it all out, and basically pushes her way in and gets an eighth of the share. Lou’s (Planchette) sworn enemy Claude Becker gets framed for the crime, and arrested. As is always the case with an Ocean’s movie, there is more than meets the eye. While everything was going down, Lou and Ocean’s trilogy cameo The Amazing Yen (Qin Shaobo) stole all of the jewels on display at the Gala, increasing everyone’s take and helping them all find what they were looking for.

The movie also features a cameo from Elliot Gould’s Ruben Tishkoff, and filmed one for Matt Damon’s Linus Caldwell that was (sadly) left on the cutting room floor. Danny Ocean makes a pseudo cameo that I am going into next.

At the end of the movie, Debbie Ocean visits Danny’s tomb. Now, do you really think Danny’s dead? Because I sure as hell don’t! I was half (more like three-quarter) expecting him to appear from around the corner to embrace his sister, but it never happened. But it leaves everyone wondering: could there be more Ocean’s movies?

George Clooney wanted to go out on top with Ocean’s Thirteen, and two of the original Eleven have passed away. That makes Ocean’s Fourteen nearly impossible to do, considering the people involved. But maybe you get an Ocean’s Nine all-female sequel, where we find out Danny really isn’t dead, and that can lead to, say, Ocean’s Fifteen, where Danny and Debbie lead a group of men and women on a heist that can easily include Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta Jones as part of the crew (hell, they could be in Nine!).

That’s fanboy fantasy booking at it’s finest, but that’s what Tony Khan does on a weekly basis–if Jacksonville Dixie can do it, so can I!

As far as my overall impression, of course I love this movie. I won’t compare it to the other three–especially the first–but standing on it’s own it’s a really good watch. I highly recommend you check it out!

Greg’s Rating: 4.25/5


Overall BWN Nerds’ Rating on Ocean’s 8 (2018): 4.125/5

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Bandwagon Nerds

Bandwagon Nerds #68 – 90s Project pt. 4: Sports



Bandwagon Nerds #68 - 90s Project pt. 4: Sports

The 90s Project rolls on this week as Patrick, Rey, Dave and PC give their top 10 Sports Movies from the 1990s!   The guys cover all kinds of great sports flick ranging from comedies to documentaries to dramas!  WandaVision’s penultimate episode dropped another major Marvel shakeup, the nerds review all of the happenings in Westview and what it could mean for the MCU.  News broke this week of a new Superman film in the works.  Patrick was intrigued, Rey less so.  Could the guys change Rey’s mind.  Finally, the Nerds choose what MCU “mood”  they would be.

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About Bandwagon Nerds

Join Patrick O’Dowd, David Ungar, and a rotating cast of guests as they keep everyone up on all things nerd, and maybe add some new nerds along the way. It’s the Bandwagon Nerds Podcast!

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BWN Nerds’ Movie Review: Godzilla (2014)

No introduction is really necessary for this movie franchise. If you don’t know what Godzilla is, I’m assuming you’re a newborn or live somewhere that just recently got cable. With a slightly adjusted format, the Golden Age Nerd himself, Dave Ungar, flies solo on this review.



No introduction is really necessary for this movie franchise. If you don’t know what Godzilla is, I’m assuming you’re a newborn or live somewhere that just recently got cable. With a slightly adjusted format, the Golden Age Nerd himself, Dave Ungar, flies solo on this review.

The Movie: Godzilla (2014)

  • Metacritic Score: 62
  • Tomatometer: 76% 
  • IMDB:  6.4/10

After Greg and I did a month-long tour of the Oceans franchise, Patrick and I decided that we would get everyone ready for the first really big movie of 2021, Godzilla v. Kong, slated for a simultaneous theater and HBO Max release on March 31, 2021. To do this, we decided that we would review each movie in Legendary Pictures MonsterVerse to lead into the Monster battle to end all battles (for this year anyway) beginning with 2014’s Godzilla, the first movie in the franchise.  A funny thing happened along the way though: Patrick could not find the movie on a streaming service and was too much of a cheap bastard to fork over the cost of even a rental (yes, he gave me permission to call him that). So, being the team player that I am, I volunteered to fly solo on this one and, hopefully, Kong: Skull Island will be on a streaming service next week so Patrick can end his hiatus.

Dave’s Review:

The 2014 version of Godzilla is a reboot of probably the best-known monster franchise in the world. The movie is really a movie in two parts as the first hour is vastly different from the second. So, let’s break this down into parts. The first hour begins with some black and white footage of what appears to be the US military trying to nuke a creature with large spikes running the length of his back. We soon learn that the nuclear tests of the 1950’s, carried out by the US and USSR, were not tests at all, but attempts to kill a creature that is initially called Gojira, but then gets called Godzilla minutes later without any real explanation as to the difference in the names. In 1999, two Monarch Corporation scientists travel to the Philippines where they discover the fossilized remains of a Godzilla-like creature. But they also discover two spores and one of them has hatched and is heading for Japan (you can’t have a Godzilla movie without Japan being involved). Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) works at the Janjira Nuclear Plant with his wife Sandra. Joe sends Sandra into the reactor to check on some readings. A large tremor breaches the reactor. A meltdown occurs and Sandra perishes. The Japanese government quarantines the zone and it is off-limits.

Fast forward 15 years and Joe’s son, Ford, is now grown up with a family of his own in San Francisco. He comes home just in time to be called to Japan as his father has been arrested for trying to enter the Quarantine Zone. Ford goes to Japan and his father reveals to him that there was no tremor 15 years earlier and he feels that “something” caused the reactor breach and the government is hiding it. Joe and Ford go back to their home, located right in the middle of the Quarantine Zone. They discover there is no radiation present and animal life is doing quite well. They are arrested and taken to the remains of the nuclear plant where they discover a cocoon like object that has been feeding off the nuclear reactors for 15 years and emitting increasingly large EMP pulses. Naturally, a winged and massive creature emerges from the cocoon and destroys the base before flying off into the night sky. Joe is severely injured and dies.

The creature is dubbed a MUTO (Massive Terrestrial Unidentified Organism). It feeds off of radiation and heads towards Hawaii, eating a Russian nuclear sub along the way. But Godzilla becomes aware of the MUTO and intercepts it in Hawaii. Godzilla’s arrival causes a massive tsunami and there is widespread destruction even though the encounter between the creatures is relatively brief. That sums up the first hour and you can see the problems that exist. When you kill off Bryan Cranston in the first hour, and you don’t even have Godzilla show up until right at the one-hour mark, you have probably done something wrong.

Thankfully, things get much better in the second hour. We learn that there is a second MUTO and this one is female. She emerges and obliterates Las Vegas. The two MUTOs were speaking with each other and Godzilla picked up on this, which is how he got involved. All three creatures are on a collision course for the Bay Area and the US Military decides that the best option is to lure the creatures 20 miles off-shore so they can be nuked. Ishiro Serizawa, one of the Monarch scientists who discovered the cavern in the Philippines, is well aware that the same strategy failed to destroy Godzilla in the 1950’s. Nevertheless, the two MUTOs and Godzilla have a major throwdown in San Francisco. Godzilla is quite cool in these segments and director, Garreth Edwards, did an excellent job of building up to that moment when Godzilla finally unleashes his atomic breath. Still, Godzilla is pretty much getting his ass handed to him by the MUTOs, until Ford destroys a nest with many unhatched MUTO eggs. The manner in which Godzilla defeats the MUTOs is quite epic, especially the female. Godzilla seems to succumb to his injuries, but he awakens the following morning and lumbers back to the sea as the media dubs him the King of the Monsters and the Savior of The City.

The second hour is filled with lots of great action, cool special effects and, most importantly, plenty of Godzilla. It makes up for a fairly weak first hour. Looking at the movie as a whole though, this is a tough one to place. The plot is a bit more linear than the 1998 version with Matthew Broderick. It makes more sense and doesn’t pull you in too many directions all at once. Still, it is not a plot that plays out very smoothly. The segments with Cranston are good but over far too quickly. Serizawa’s belief that Godzilla will defeat the MUTOs seems to be as random as many other elements of the movie. The MUTOs are not particularly special, as far as movie monsters are concerned, and are actually somewhat lame. On the other hand, the movie does a good job at honing in on the human element, especially Ford’s determination to get back to his family. This becomes the driving force in the second hour of the movie. Ford lost his father; he has no intentions of losing his wife or son as well.

As for the cast, I already mentioned Bryan Cranston, who is excellent in the limited time he had in the movie. Aaron Taylor-Johnson does a very good job as Ford and Elizabeth Olsen, known worldwide now as Wanda Maximoff, does an equally good job as his wife, Elle. Ken Watanabe turns in a solid performance as Serizawa. There are other names and faces you will recognize but I will leave that for you to discover.

So what is the verdict? To steal from Patrick O’ Dowd, the movie is “fine”, It was a decent attempt to simultaneously reboot one of the great movie franchises of the last century, while at the same time kick off a shared universe, no easy task to be sure. It does some things right and others, not so much. The acting is good as is the special effects. Godzilla is as bad ass as you would hope. It’s just not as interesting or compelling as one would have hoped and I pin that on the fact that the MUTOs just were not strong as monster antagonists to Godzilla. In the end, I always ask myself the most important question: Was I entertained? To that I respond yes. If you are a Godzilla fan, or remotely interested in the upcoming slobber knocker between Godzilla and King Kong, I strongly suspect you will enjoy this. It is much better than the 1998 train wreck that not even Matthew Broderick could save. It is far from perfect but it is good enough for you to invest your time into checking out.


Overall Nerd Rating for Godzilla (2014): 3/5

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