The Valero Verdict: Breakthrough

Welcome to another edition of the “The Valero Verdict” movie review. In this I will give you a quick movie review with a couple of bullet points of which I either liked or disliked. I will end the review with rating of the movie and a short overall thoughts.

On the docket today, Breakthrough – the true story of John Smith, a young 14 year old boy who fell into a lake and was presumed dead but the power of prayer turns what seemed like the end into only the beginning for him.

  • Chrissy Metz – You really felt the connection she made between her and the character she was portraying. The emotion that had to go into this performance was not easy at all, she was just fantastic in this movie.
  • Topher Grace was another solid addition to the cast, a super change of pace from his last role. He was enjoyable in this role.
  • Faith based movie can be very cliche from time to time. In reading and fact checking the movie, they didn’t “Hollywood” a whole lot of the movie. Which really makes the movie that much better.
  • This movie was very well paced, it never felt like it was dragging out and honestly if you look from the outside looking in this movie could have been very boring. Roxann Dawson did an amazing job of putting the pieces together to keep you interested.

The Verdict:

*** out of ***** stars

This movie will pull at the heartstrings from start to finish. The power of faith is a beautiful thing and it was on display in this movie. To read the true story for it to be portrayed with accuracy as they did, this movie was really good. Metz was truly magnificent in this role and truly embody the role of the mother.

Should You See It?: Yes, the power of Prayer is something that can and needs to be heard among people of all ages. (Just bring some Kleenex)

Subscribe to the Valero Verdict podcast on all your favorite Podcasting apps. Check it out here: https://anchor.fm/thevaleroverdict

Tell me what you thought of the movie, hit me up on here or talk to me on Twitter @RickyValero_

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The Valero Verdict: The Kid

Welcome to another edition of the “The Valero Verdict” movie review. In this I will give you a quick movie review with a couple of bullet points of which I either liked or disliked. I will end the review with rating of the movie and a short overall thoughts.

On the docket today, the Vincent D’Onofrio directed film about a young boy who witnesses Billy the Kid’s encounter with Sheriff Pat Garrett

The Kid is Rated R and in theaters now
  • Dane DeHaan is perfect as Billy the Kid. He just has this perfect witty, sarcastic charm that can’t make you not like him. He was in the movie with some heavy hitters and held his own on every occasion
  • The introduction to Jake Schur….. I was totally impressed by not only this kid’s ability to act but to show some raw emotion in some really tough to watch scenes. For his first movie ever, I was shocked that this kid not only was as good as he was but really stole the show. Which was impressive considering the cast.
  • Ethan Hawke. He is easily becoming one of the best actors of our generation. We are truly blessed every time this man is in a movie anymore.
  • D’Onofrio directed a very well shot, very well told and very well put together film. When it started slow, I was concerned, but as all the pieces started to come together, you understood why the slow build. The payoff was well worth the wait.
  • The little things, like the shootouts. There aren’t many of them but when they happen, they mean something and they are brilliantly shot.

The Verdict:

**** 1/2 out *****

I am not a huge fan of Westerns but D’Onofrio knocked this one out of the ball park. With each Act came more and more layers to peel off with such a massive payoff at the end. You can’t help but come away from this movie satisfied. From DeHann to Schur to Hawke, the acting was top notch. One of the best films of 2019 so far.

Should You See It?: Well it’s only sitting in roughly 258 theaters right now, but if you get a chance to see it, do it. Ignore the bad reviews on this film and go see this movie.

Tell me what you thought of the movie, hit me up on here or talk to me on Twitter@rickygangster

The Valero Verdict: Cold Pursuit

Welcome to the first edition of the “The Valero Verdict” movie review. In this I will give you a quick movie review with a couple of bullet points of which I either liked or disliked. I will end the review with rating of the movie and a short overall thoughts.

On the docket today, Cold Pursuit, the action packed movie starring Liam Neeson.

  • The score of this movie had a very “western” feel to it, but the movie set in the Colorado Blizzard, it was kind of weird.
  • Tom Bateman was a fantastic bad guy in the movie, they did a fantastic job of making him a big time douche bag and making you buy it with every moment he was on the screen.
  • I was a big fan of the “ruthless” side of Liam Neeson that we really hadn’t seen. He really just kicked some ass without asking a whole lot of questions.
  • One the flip side of that, my one big bone to pick was that you really didn’t have a background story on how Neeson’s character was such a “bad ass”. He turned Citizen of the Year to Cold Blooded Killer in a span of 10 minutes. I know his son got murdered but still, a little background goes a long way.  
  • I was a massive fan of the “RIP” of the characters after they died, it was a nice little touch.

The Verdict:

** ½ out of ***** star

The variety of plot holes aside, it wasn’t a bad movie. The revenge plot is beaten to the grave at this point in Hollywood, especially in Liam Neeson movies but this was a little different which made it a tad enjoyable.

Should you see it?: I wouldn’t rush out to the theaters to catch this movie but I do say it is certainly RedBox worthy.

Thinking Out Loud: Miss Bala

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Thinking Out Loud where I take running notes throughout the movie.

I went to see Miss Bala, I really had semi-low expectations for this movie but I’ve been proven wrong plenty of times over movies that looked awful.

This will be obviously SUPER HEAVY on Spoilers (mind you not a whole lot of twist or turns in this one), you can check out my non-spoiler review here: https://letterboxd.com/rickygangster/film/miss-bala-2019

Well with all that mumbo-jumbo out of the way.


Here we go…

(Only person in the theaters, this movie is going to make billions)

We’ve got fashion week folks, oooooooooooooooo he just said honey we ain’t paying you to think.

Fashion show people seem so mean.

We’re going to Mexico and in this movie there are no walls.

Based on a Spanish language film? Had no clue.

Sisters are excited to see each other, dancing and now reminiscing over old pictures and drinks.

He bought the kid a toy, he said holy shit. Yikes, parenting is not a plus here.

Miss Baja America …. I think I could win

Cheese anyone? (I deserve a model contract)

OMG FRIENDSHIP BRACELETS

Oh, she just got her but grabbed, dudes are dicks. She’s in the bathroom and now dudes are breaking into the club.

She’s American, sooooooo they let her go? Interesting.

They are now shooting up the club, Bala is running outside and now tried to call the best friend.

She left the best friend in the club? Wow worlds worst best friend.

So wait, she fell asleep in the diner? And just woke up? And they let her? I’m confused.

She got in a cop car and said she saw everything and the cop said when we get to the police station tell them everything. Hahahahaha he pulled over and said he was going to get his lunch and walked into a hotel and she just sat in the car. LOL

She’s in deep shit now. The big boss is now interrogating her.

He’s cutting deals, she helps, he lets the friend go. I totally trust him.

He’s now making her drive a car to some random place, (obviously scene from trailer) we about to blow up the safe house. She doesn’t seem thrilled that she had a part in that. He signed her up for the pageant, ha.

He gave her one of those Motorola flip walkie talkie phones.

She broke free, she’s now running in heels, and ran towards a guy, welp. This ain’t good. Oh wait, it’s the FIVE-O.

He’s awfully handsie for a cop, and a dick.

Cops making promises that I’m sure he can’t keep.

This is like taken but with a female lead. The little kid turned on her phone to find games on that old ass flip phone only to get her in trouble with the big man.

So they’ve now taken over her house, to save one of their fallen soldiers.

Ummm he’s making her take his boots off, cause he’s had a long day. He’s making her strip, I mean he’s making sure she ain’t wearing a wire duh.

Oh no, Rueben is dead!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I just got to know him. (As the lifeless body they tried to save in this random ladies house)

He’s now telling stories about a girl he knew in high school.

They strapping money to her, Wolf of Wall Street style. Loading her car fully of dope.

Homie sidekick has some issues with the American, he’s going to gut her Godson like a chicken, that’s a little harsh.

Driving through the border looks like driving through downtown Nashville during rush hour traffic.

Anthony Mackie has arrived. Does he make good movies?

DEA has a mole inside his operation.

So a powerful guy in Mexico and she’s going to try and get him arrested by setting him up? She does understand other bosses exist? Dumb American.

GUN FIRE, repeat GUN FIRE …. she’s making a run for the double doors!!!!!! The cops lied, repeat the COPS LIED…. shocking. No cop was waiting for her. The cop just said she was on her own. Wow.

I get it, she saved him after he got shot but hundreds of bullets flying and not one hits him, unreal. One thing that really bugs me about action movies.

Anyone remember the Mole TV show? That was I think on Fox? That was such a good show.

Set the kitchen on fire and now going through the phones and replacing the chip in another phone. Smart move. That was single handily the best part of this whole movie.

He’s teaching her how to shoot. AR-15 made in the USA comment felt forced.

This is extremely boring. And now we get story time.

Damn she put the police bug inside the chicks phone, damn. That was predictable.

I seriously skipped nap time to see this movie.

They found the best friend, she’s being sold as a sex slave. Sounds like a very familiar storyline.

She had to win Miss Bala American, get invited to the party and get in the police chiefs bedroom, he kills him and she gets her best friend. Sounds really easy.

She WON OMGGGGGGG SHE WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She’s awful with these fake ass tears.

The sisters have reunited!!!!!!!!!!! She just realized that her new boy toy is a liar. Duh. I am absolutely shocked he was lying to her.

Gun fire everywhere, LOUD NOISES ….. LOUD NOISES

Oh man. She’s fired a gun once and now she’s about to shoot everyone. BIG EYE ROLL.

Oh no, she shot him. Didn’t see that coming.

Anthony Mackie is a cop, that kind of surprised me.

Shoot gun once, shoot bad guy and now work for the CIA… cool

Overall Thoughts:

* out of ***** stars

This movie was super predictable from start to finish. It has become so frustrating that in ALL action movies trained shooters can’t seem to shoot a target in the middle of the field.

The story was bland, lacked a lot of substance, it felt very Taken like. Nobody will mistake any of this cast for award nominations any time soon. It was just really lazy writing, poor execution, and overall poor movie.

Maybe catch it on RedBox?

Date Night Review: The Upside

Welcome to another edition of the Date Night Review, where I give you my review of the movie, my wife gives her thoughts and we collectively help you decide if this movie is worthy of a Date Night.

I will dive right in, give you the Good, the Bad and my overall thoughts

The Good

Kevin Hart/Bryan Cranston: This pairing just works for all the reasons you think it would work. You have Cranston who can be very witty but at the same time he can bring a very dry sense of humor as well, mix that up with probably the funniest man in the planet in Kevin Hart, you have a solid on-screen duo.

Hart: He plays a struggling Dad who has paid for his mistakes by losing out on the raising of his son. He really embodies the role well, I think he shows a little of his acting chops you don’t get to see in some of his over the top funny roles. He makes you feel all the things you need to feel, whether he makes laugh, whether he pulls at the heart strings in the moments he realizes the mistakes he’s made.

Cranston: These roles are not the easiest to play, to play a role in which you have no body movement really, where you just basically can move your face. I have really wanted to see Cranston break out of some sort after how amazing he was in Breaking Bad, while these might not have been that groundbreaking, I do think it’s a step in the right direction.

Nicole Kidman: You know I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Kidman in this, I didn’t get the vibe she would be in this a whole lot and honestly thought she was really good in this. She fit in well with the duo (not acting wise, she’s a rockstar) and really brought some good stuff to the film.

The Funny: I won’t spoil anything but the “Penis Scene” is one of those just hilarious moments in movies that you will be talking about for hours after the movie is over.

The Bad: Predictability? Maybe?

Overall Thoughts


*** 1/2 out of *****

It won’t go down as one of the best movies of the year but it certainly will go down as one of the most heartfelt movies of the year.

The directing, the pacing, a fun redemption/overcoming story to fire along a solid on-screen combo makes the movie really enjoyable.

The Wife’s Thought’s: Great movie! I knew it would be a feel good movie but didn’t anticipate the true friendship that was formed. They forced each other to self-evaluate and their banter kept me laughing the entire movie. Thumbs up!!!

Date Night Worthy: Absolutely, a fun, warm, heartfelt movie? It’s the key to the perfect Date Night movie.