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Review: I Am Chris Farley

Aug 11 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]219746:42540:0[/embed] I Am Chris FarleyDirectors: Derik Murray & Brent HodgeRelease Date: August 11, 2015 (VOD & DVD)Rating: NR  I Am Chris Farley is an interesting mix of interviews and video clips, most of which appear to have been ripped from VHS tapes. They span his time at Second City all the way through his various film appearances. It periodically cuts to an interview with David Letterman which is probably supposed to be representative of his success... but looking at his eyes, I only saw fear. The bulk of the film is made up of interviews. School friends, family, other actors. Big names, small names, no names. There were so many of them that I often forgot who the smaller names were. It seems to be intended for TV (made by Spike), as every so often it decides to reintroduce them with new title cards. Every 20-30 minutes or so, after they're back from the commercial break. I wish they'd done that more, honestly. But at some point, it didn't matter if that was the guy who was with him at Second City or the one who played Rugby. They're not there to serve themselves. They're there to help document Chris Farley. The whole thing is pretty straightforward. It starts with his youth and ends with his death. We're walked through the kind of person he was and the near-inevitability that he would end up a star. He was the entertainer, always looking for the spotlight. Of course he was. He was Chris Freaking Farley. And, as I sort of knew but very clearly learned, he was really flipping funny. But even if you know that, there's a lot of interesting stuff to be gleaned from these interviews. He used to be a jock, for example, super into football and rugby. He was an excellent improvisor but he never wrote any of the sketches he was in. He was the mold that everyone else used to make beautiful sketch sculptures. And oh what a mold he was. [embed]219746:42544:0[/embed] You could argue that I Am Chris Farley is a little on the shallow side. It's not until the last fifteen or so minutes that his death even comes up. Heavy on the happiness and nostalgia and then just a little bit of, "Also, the bad." And it's something I'm sort of conflicted about. By virtue of this fact, I Am Chris Farley is not really an accurate representation of who he was. If he was in and out of rehab, then a couple of mentions towards the end are hardly enough to accurately depict his struggle. This is a whitewashed version of Chris Farley. But I can also appreciate the desire to not dwell on the negative. It makes the film less of a historical document, but I also don't think that makes it somehow less worthwhile. Just go in with your expectations in check. This is how people want to remember him, all of the good times they had together and the laughs that everyone shared. This is about the idyllic version of the man – the myth and the legend. I think that's okay. I honestly do. There's something unfortunate about it, perhaps, but this was a man who just wanted to make people laugh. He wanted to be famous so he could go make sick children at the hospital happy. That's the stuff people want to think about and remember. Everyone has their flaws... but sometimes ignorance is bliss. I think this is one of those times.
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Some version of him, anyhow
When I went into I Am Chris Farley, I couldn't have honestly said that I was a fan of his work. Not because I didn't like it, but because I didn't know it particularly well. I'd seen some stuff over the years, but I miss...

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PSA: Save big on Ghibli blu-rays/DVDs at Best Buy & Amazon this week


Somehow Spirited Away still isn't on blu ray yet
Feb 16
// John-Charles Holmes
To celebrate the release of Studio Ghibli's most recent film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, on home media this Tuesday, retailers Amazon.com and Best Buy have rolled out some crazy good prices for previous Ghibli DVDs and blu-...
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Jingle 2

First teaser for Jingle All the Way 2


Nov 03
// Nick Valdez
You know how Larry the Cable Guy rolls his eyes at the end of the teaser? That's pretty much how I'm feeling right now. Thank Jebus it's only thirty seconds long...and direct to DVD. At least it's easier to avoid that way. P...
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UPDATE: Grand Budapest and LEGO together at last!


Jun 13
// Matthew Razak
UPDATE: We've figured out what the teaser is for! To promote the releases of Grand Budapest Hotel and LEGO Movie on home video, Ryan Ziegelbauer and 8 other artists put together a Grand Budapest made entirely out of LEGO bri...

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New Releases

New Releases, week of 4/19/14: Ride Wit Me Edition


Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Nut Job, Ride Along and more on Home Video
Apr 15
// Nick Valdez
Looks like we've finally left the Oscar season as this week's home video releases range from interesting to, well, Ride Along. First off, there's Philomena, Wrong Cops, and The Secret Life of Papa John's KFC's Cinnabon's...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 4/12/14: Smog County Edition


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, August: Osage County, Grudge Match and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Apr 08
// Nick Valdez
This week's new releases have every audience covered. The big releases include The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (which I'll never see), August: Osage County (which my mom wants to see), Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 3/29/14: Dances With Wall Street Edition


The Wolf of Wall Street, Odd Thomas, Chinese Zodiac and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Mar 25
// Nick Valdez
The Wolf of Wall Street releases on home video this week. I'm especially curious about it since I labeled it my "Top Film of 2013," and I can't wait to see if it holds up. Other big titles: Chinese Zodiac, starring Jackie Cha...

Enter to win a Veronica Mars DVD and hat!

Mar 13 // Liz Rugg
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[This contest is now over! Congratulations to our winner, smurfee mcgee! Thank you to everyone who entered, and be on the lookout for more contests in the near future! -Liz] Attention: Veronica Mars fans! Can't wait to get yo...

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New Releases

New Releases, week of 3/8/14: The Hunger Edition


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, 12 Years A Slave, The Grandmaster and more on home video
Mar 05
// Nick Valdez
It's another good week of home video releases as the Best Picture winner, 12 Years A Slave finally hits. Along with that we have the best part of The Hunger Games saga, Catching Fire, Wong Kar-Wai's The Grandmaster, and if al...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 2/22/14: Nice Day for a Wedding


Game of Thrones Season 3, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Pervert's Guide to Ideology and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Feb 18
// Nick Valdez
Earlier this year I had finally caught up on Game of Thrones. Never seen the show before now, but after some boredom and prodding from others, I finally gave the show a shot. I was instantly hooked and blasted through three s...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 2/8/14: Movie Buyers Club Edition


Dallas Buyers Club, About Time, Escape Plan and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Feb 04
// Nick Valdez
As the best of 2013 continue to release on home video, we've got another particularly interesting week. First off is Dallas Buyers Club (a film filled with such great performances, it made my Top 15 of 2013 list), then About ...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 2/1/14: San Francisco Rush Edition


Rush, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Jan 28
// Nick Valdez
This week's still a good week, folks. Heading up our new releases are Rush (which was conspicuously nominated for a Golden Globe), Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (which is conspicuously nominated for an Academy Award), Cloudy ...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 1/25/13: Oh Captain My Captain


Captain Phillips, Blue Jasmine, Machete Kills and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Jan 21
// Nick Valdez
Like last week, it's time to play catch up as the best and brightest of 2013 continue to hit home video. We have Captain Phillips, which Tam Honks seems to be wonderful in, Bad Milo!, the only film about a butt demon this wee...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 1/18/13: Really Good Week Edition


You're Next, Lee Daniels' The Butler, The Spectacular Now and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Jan 14
// Nick Valdez
Looks like last year's award winnings movies and indie releases are finally hitting home video. And each of them is worth a watch. First off there's You're Next, a horror film that came out of nowhere to become one of last ye...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 1/11/14: Run Away Already Edition


Runner Runner, We Are What We Are, Big Ass Spider! and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Jan 07
// Nick Valdez
This week's home video releases are full of smaller films that may or many not be that great. There's the one that stars Justin Timerlake and Ben Affleck, Runner Runner, there's one with a big ass spider, Big Ass Spider! (yes...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 12/21/13: The Lone D Edition


The Lone Ranger, Prisoners, Ain't Them Bodies Saints and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Dec 17
// Nick Valdez
This week's home video releases involve a bunch of movies we regrettably did not get to review here on Flixist. First off there's a movie only Liz saw apparently since it tanked so bad, The Lone Ranger. Secondly, there're two...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 12/14/13: #FAMILY Edition


Fast & Furious 6, Despicable Me 2, Man of Tai Chi and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Dec 10
// Nick Valdez
It's a big week for home video releases. First of all there's the elephant in the room. Fast & Furious 6 hits home video after the tragic death of Paul Walker. The silver lining in all of this is when you buy it (and...
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Part of sales of Fast & Furious 6 going to charity


Dec 04
// Matthew Razak
Since the death of Paul Walker things have been very up in the air with Fast & Furious 7, but Universal is stepping up and creating some good out of it. A percentage of the sales from Fast & Furious 6's Blu-ray/D...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 12/7/13: Sequelitis Edition


The Wolverine, The Smurfs 2, Drinking Buddies and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Dec 03
// Nick Valdez
This week's home video releases involve two big sequels: one revered, one reviled. The Wolverine (and subsequently a re-release of the entire X-Men series so far) hits DVD and Blu-ray while the less said about The Smurfs 2, t...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 11/30/13: T-RED-ing Lightly Edition


Red 2, Breaking Bad's Final Season, The Canyons and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Nov 26
// Nick Valdez
This week's biggest home video release isn't a movie, it's a TV show. Breaking Bad finished its final run of episodes a few months back and now it's finally available on home video. I haven't seen the final episode yet, so I ...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 11/23/13: F**king Planes Edition


The World's End, We're the Millers, Planes and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Nov 19
// Nick Valdez
I've been salty toward Disney's Planes since it was first announced. Its very existence angered the hell out of me. A Pixar dropped spin-off of an ailing franchise originally meant for home video but was released to theaters ...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 11/16/13: Turbo Man Edition


Man of Steel, Turbo, Paradise and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Nov 12
// Nick Valdez
This week's home video releases just remind me that I need to see Jingle All the Way again, and the upcoming holiday season is just making that worse (check back with Flixist in December for a big holiday thing). First off th...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 11/9/13: Grown Hobbits Edition


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition, White House Down, Grown Ups 2 and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Nov 05
// Nick Valdez
This week's home video releases are especially important if you're interested in sequels or TV show box sets for the upcoming holiday. First off, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition hits home video ju...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 11/2/13: Gettin' RIPPED Edition


Monsters University, R.I.P.D., Byzantium and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Oct 29
// Nick Valdez
This week's new home video releases include a few we didn't get to review here on Flixist, but they're still notable nonetheless. First off there's Monsters University, Pixar's first (and hopefully only) prequel. The film was...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 10/26/13: Only Barbie Forgives


The Conjuring, Before Midnight, Only God Forgives and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Oct 22
// Nick Valdez
There are lots of big home video releases this week. On the new side we have Before Midnight (the third part of the Before trilogy), Only God Forgives (a film that Hubes (RIP) didn't like but seems to resonate with others), T...
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New Releases, week of 10/19/13: Jaeger Bomb Edition


Pacific Rim, The Heat, Maniac, and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Oct 15
// Hubert Vigilla
Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim hits stores today, meaning the movie may turn a decent profit yet on top of the Chinese box office returns. By far, this is the biggest new release this week, with The Heat starring Sandra Bul...
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At the Superman 75th Anniversary panel most of the discussion was on the legend of Superman and the comic book itself, but we got to check out two things from the upcoming Blu-ray/DVD release of Man of Steel, which lands on N...

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New Releases

New Releases, week of 5/12/13: Pocket Monster Edition


The Hangover Part III, After Earf, Crime Day and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Oct 08
// Nick Valdez
Pokemon X and Y are releasing this week, so that's all I've been thinking about for awhile. I remember movies are a thing, but now that Pokemon is going to be like a portable version of Pokemon Stadium, I'm all bout this. Pok...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 10/5/13: Mermaid Tattoo Edition


The Little Mermaid, Wizard of Oz, This is the End and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Oct 01
// Nick Valdez
You ever feel like the stars align just for you? That's what I'm feeling with the home video releases this week since almost everything pertains to my interests. First of all, The Little Mermaid (otherwise known as the best D...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 9/28/13: Iron Mensch Edition


Iron Man 3, Room 237, The Dark Knight Trilogy and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Sep 24
// Nick Valdez
The biggest home video release this week is most definitely Iron Man 3. I didn't like the film as much as most folks did, but it has its charms I guess. Whatever. If Iron Man 3 isn't your bag, then luckily there's a good amou...
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New Releases, week of 9/21/13: World War Hee Hee Edition


World War Z, The Bling Ring, The East, and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Sep 17
// Hubert Vigilla
The big new release of the week is the in-name-only adaptation of World War Z. Once maligned and expected to tank, the movie wound up being profitable and there's talk of a sequel. Other big new things this week include Sofia...
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New Releases, week of 9/14/13: Star Trek Into Extras BS


Star Trek Into Darkness, Frankenstein's Army, Justice League - Flashpoint Paradox, and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Sep 10
// Hubert Vigilla
The big new release this week is Star Trek Into Darkness, though you may feel a little ripped off if you buy it. And no, I'm not referring to the derivative storytelling or the fan-fiction vibe of the script. You see, the bon...
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New Releases

New Releases, week of 9/7/13: Sabrina's Cat Edition


Now You See Me, From Up on Poppy Hill, The Lords of Salem and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Sep 03
// Nick Valdez
When the Sabrina the Teenage Witch show aired as part of ABC's TGIF lineup, I thought it was the neatest show (but Boy Meets World had it beat, hands down) since the animatronic cat on the program was named Salem and was voic...
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New Releases, week of 8/31/13: The Replacements Edition


The Great Gatsby, Pain & Gain, To Be Or Not To Be, and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Aug 27
// Hubert Vigilla
I know there was some crazy stuff that happened in the music industry over the weekend that everyone's been talking about on the internet, so I figured we should address the matter here on Flixist. I'm speaking, of course, ab...

Review: The Happy Life

Aug 20 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]216304:40577:0[/embed] The Happy Life (Jeulgu woon Insaeng | 즐거운 인생)Director: Lee Joon-IkRating: 13+Release Date: 8/20/2013 (DVD)Country: South Korea  The first act of The Happy Life is boring. Ki-Young (Jung Jin-Young) is unemployed and bored with life, but after attending the funeral of an old college friend, decides to get the band back together. It's been twenty years, but he is able get Sung-Wook (Kim Yun-Seok) and Hyuk-Soo (Kim Sang-Ho) on board after a bit of pressuring. Unfortunately, that funeral was for their singer, and they need a fourth member. Luckily for them, their dead friend's son Hyun-Joon (Jang Keun-Suk) is a freaking rock star and joins the band. Active Volcano is back, baby. But all of that takes way too long to happen. Things are happening in the first thirty or so minutes, but there's no real hook there. It's not bad, but it's not particularly good either, and it seems like The Happy Life just doesn't know what it's trying to be. I picked up an out of tune ukulele that was sitting next to me and just started strumming on it, trying to pass the time, asking myself: Is it comedic? Is it dramatic? Is it supposed to be interesting? There's a band on the DVD box. Why aren't they rocking out? This is dumb. But then things pick up. As soon as the band starts to play together, and they go through their big song, "Explosion," I was interested. By the time Hyun-Joon added his vocals to the mix, I was hooked, and I stayed that way until the credits rolled. The film found its footing, and I'm so glad that it did. The thing that makes The Happy Life work so well is that all of the actors are the ones playing their instruments. These aren't four actors who have been told to fake it; they're four musicians who also happen to act, and though I haven't been able to watch the special features and confirm, it definitely seemed like the recordings were live. Even if they weren't, it felt that way, which is good enough for me. It also helped that they were very enjoying themselves. Especially Kim Sang-Ho on the drums. He was a ton of fun to watch. It was like they were a real band, coming back together for the first time in 20 years and reminding themselves of just how much they loved what they had been doing. Fortunately, their performances offstage are great too. Even in that boring first act, it's never the actors that are the problem, it's all pacing. I correctly and unfortunately guessed that the film's title would be somewhat ironic, so there was definitely time for the older actors to shine (Jang Keun-Suk's character doesn't have a ton of personality, but his smile is gosh darn adorable). Again Kim Sang-Ho is the standout here, in part because his character is the most tragic. The best thing about these big emotional moments, though, is that they play into the music. One particularly poignant song comes after a crushing scene for Hyuk-Soo, and it's brilliant. Every note becomes meaningful, and  Plus, the music is pretty awesome. Unfortunately, the film's soundtrack doesn't appear to be available anymore, but maybe this new release will convince them to do another run. I'd buy it, especially if it featured the various versions of the songs. The song "Explosion" is played five or six times over the course of the film, but every single one is slightly different. Different singers, extra guitar, at one point an entirely different band, and these things keep that one, extremely meaningful song from becoming repetitive and boring. Each time, I listened for the new variations, and that was always awesome to hear. It's also part of the reason why I felt like it was being done live, because those little changes are what make live music so great. I will undoubtedly watch The Happy Life again (probably soon), but there's a pretty good chance I will skip over the first few scenes. If the film were half an hour shorter and condensed the "Getting the band back together stuff" into ten to fifteen minutes, it would have been a much tighter package that allowed for the drama to happen without getting bogged down in it. It all pays off in the end (the final song and everything that surrounds it is amazing), but I wish it hadn't been so front-loaded. And I'm not really mad at the film so much as the people who might start watching it and stop, thinking it's something far less awesome than it is. It gets better. It gets so much better. So see it. See it and love it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go put my drum set back together, and then play the hell out of it. [The Happy Life has been released on Region 1 DVD by 5 Points Pictures. It can be purchased here.]
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We're getting the band back together!
I've been playing music for years off and on, but I've never been particularly great at it. Mostly I play the drums, but even before my multiple wrist surgeries I was no Neil Peart. Now I'm just kind of useless. I look at my ...

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New Releases, week of 8/24/13: Starzinger Edition


Epic, Peter Pan, Amour, Satyajit Ray, and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Aug 20
// Hubert Vigilla
When I was a kid, I used to watch the same three or four episodes of Spaceketeers (aka Starzinger) on a VHS tape over and over again. I never knew how the series ended or where the story was going to go, but I just kept watch...
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New Releases, week of 8/17/13: Olympus Edition


Olympus Has Fallen, A Band Called Death, The Muppet Movie, and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Aug 13
// Hubert Vigilla
The big new release this week is Antoine Fuqua's White House Down, starring Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman. Oh, sorry, I meant Olympus Has Fallen, starring Channing Tatum as Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx as Aaron Eckhart, and R...
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New Releases, week of 8/10/13: Sing Sly Sing Edition


The Place Beyond the Pines, Oblivion, Rhinestone, and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Aug 06
// Hubert Vigilla
A pretty big batch of new releases and re-releases on DVD and Blu-ray this week, with the biggies being The Place Beyond the Pines, Oblivion, Mud, To the Wonder, On the Road, West of Memphis, and the execrable Aftershock. Oth...
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New Releases, week of 8/3/13: NY Drafthouse Edition


G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the Criterion Collection release of The Devil's Backbone, and more on DVD/Blu-ray
Jul 30
// Hubert Vigilla
Guys! The first New York Alamo Drafthouse is opening this weekend! Sure, it's up in Yonkers and a bajillion miles from my apartment, but I'm going to do my darndest to get up there. It's staff training weekend, so there'll be...
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F**king Wings

Trailer for Disney's Planes knockoff, Wings is not a joke


F**king Wings.
Jul 26
// Nick Valdez
In one of the weirdest moves in recent home video history, we have the newest trailer for Lionsgate's Wings. Wings is a ripoff of Planes, a Disney direct to home video sequel to Cars that is getting released in theaters...

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