Goosebumps – 2 Stars

Directed by Rob Letterman

Mini Review


Look, no one really expected this to be any good, did they?  At least, not from a critical point of view.  I imagine that people who really loved the book series when they were younger might enjoy the nostalgia attached to seeing Slappy come out of a book and cause havoc through a small town.  Kids may also enjoy the mixture of slapstick comedy and light-scares, but the parents may struggle to cope with Jack Black’s flat performance and inconsistent accent – as much as the general predictability of the whole thing.  It wasn’t terrible; just not particularly good.

Goosebumps. 2015.
(Fantasy/Adventure. Blu-Ray.)
Soon after moving out of city life to suburban Delaware, a teen befriends the class clown and unwittingly unleashes his neighbor’s spooky secrets upon the citizens.

The Goosebumps book series always erred toward the side of goofy rather than actually scary and the film absolutely does the same, to similar lukewarm effect. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love a good spooky family flick, but this one just doesn’t have all the magic. Jack Black does great (although not a stretch for his skills), Jillian Bell from Workaholics is pretty hilarious, Ken Marino shows up (and that’s about all he does; underused!), and the kids are all decent enough. The special effects are occasionally surprisingly good (even if 90% of the badass monsters only show up for a second of actual screen time), the main plot is simple-yet-fitting, the pacing is spot-on, and the cinematography is quite good. Despite all this talent and polish, there are some telltale third act problems that tend to be the folly of many a big-budget studio picture. A few massive leaps in logic and “suspend your disbelief” moments skew an already pretty absurd movie into “too silly” territory for me, personally. To the casual or younger viewer however, this likely won’t present a huge issue but I guess, like the book series always was for me, this film also doesn’t really capture any true wonder. Just decent.
Pictured below: a bunch of dope monsters you only see for a frame or two.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank


Movie Monday: Goosebumps

What’s it about? There are some books that should never be opened. Or at least that’s the premise behind Goosebumps, which follows a teenager who teams up with Stine’s daughter after he opens a book and starts a cascade of big bads being released upon the town.

REVIEW: The Lost Girl ★★✰☆☆ by Jessica Tuckerman

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I’m not really sure how to feel about R.L. Stine’s The Lost Girl. I grew up on Goosebumps books, my favorites being the choose your own adventure stories (like Return to Terror Tower).

I liked the plot:

Lizzy Palmer, the new girl, is the hot topic at Shadyside High. Michael and his girlfriend Pepper make friends with her, but as they get closer the stranger she is… and more attractive–at least for Michael.

After a snowmobile accident Michael’s friends start getting murdered. Pepper is convinced that Lizzy is the murderer but Michael doesn’t believe her.

Tragic Story.

Unthinkable betrayal.

Over 60 years ago.

Or 70 years ago. Because that’s kind of up in the air.

I have a lot of issues with the timeline involved. 70 years ago it was 1950, which makes the current year of the book 2020. In 2020, Michael is a senior in high school, which makes him 17, maybe 18, and means he was born in 2002 or 2003. Michael’s grandfather died in 1985, 35 years after he had Lizzy/Beth’s father murdered and 17 to 16 years before Michael was born.

But Michael talks about his grandfather like he knew him. Specifically, he describes him as a sweet old blind guy.

I also had issues with Beth Palmieri (aka Lizzy Palmer). #1: It’s blatant that’s she’s the same person. What other reason could we have for seeing the flashbacks to 1950? Plus, she’s crazy. Right from the get-go. Insane. No easing into it. She’s always lost, she knows the main character’s name and where he lives, stabs him with a needle, and is always sort of aloof. #2: She’s a witch? Or telepathic? When she first talks about her “tricks” (her word not mine) that’s all they are. Just a little thing she happens to be able to do. Then later it turns out that her grandmother taught her these “tricks.”

Ultimately, I feel like there’s an entire novel’s worth of information missing. I really felt like I was reading a sequel and not a stand alone piece.

Now, I grew up on Goosebumps by R.L. Stine. I loved them. Ate them up the same way the monster in the basement ate kids from the neighborhood. I was excited to see the Fear Street series, R.L. Stine’s YA version of Goosebumps. And it started off appropriately: crazy detailed, dark, action packed, but then the plot holes got a little bigger and I fell right through one and out of love with The Lost Girl.

But-I did still enjoy it. Hence I gave it 2.5 stars. I’m really right in the middle on this one. I think you should give it a chance, but I’m not guaranteeing that you’ll love it.

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