The Valero Verdict: Dumbo

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, Dumbo, the live action version of the very well known Disney character.


  • Michael Keaton and his horrendous accent. I just didn’t get why he needed the accent and not only didn’t get it but it was terrible. Just every time he spoke, I wanted to walk out.
  • Danny Devito was well casted, he fit the role of the “Carny” Max Medici perfect. He was a lone bright spot of this film.
  • The movie had some real old school colors and tones to it, thought the visuals and the cinematography were well done in this film.
  • At time this movie was very boring. While Burton does a good job of getting you invested in Farrell and his kids, at the same time there was just some extremely boring parts of this film.

The Verdict:

* & 1/2 out of ***** stars

Predictable, Underwhelming, Boring and just an OK film. A few bright spots in DeVito/Farrell/Parker/Hobbins/Green, this film lacked the fun that all Disney films bring to the table. The doesn’t have much to work with and it shows throughout. And I’ll patiently wait for someone to explain Keaton’s HORRIBLE accent.

Should You See It?: If the kids are kicking and screaming and want to see this, take them to see Us instead, you’d rather them have nightmares instead of you.

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: Us

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, Us the highly anticipated second movie from Oscar winner Jordan Peele.

  • Lupita Nyong’o was brilliant in this film. Both version of her. She played a wide range of emotions all wrapped up in both of her characters. She’s riveting, smart, and a down right bad ass in this film.
  • This movie is EXTREMELY CREEPY!!!!!
  • Typical Horror movies like to have way too many funny moments in a film, not this one. It had it’s comedic relief in Winston Duke but it was perfectly timed comedy, not over done.
  • We are early in the year but let’s go ahead and hand Michael Abels the Oscar for his Score in this film.
  • Peele’s writing is damn right scary, I have never been captivated in a Horror film the way I was in this. I was creeped out all while battling with the inner thoughts in my head about overcoming

The Verdict:

**** 1/2 out of 5 stars

To be able to tell a compelling story within a creepy horror movie is not easy at all. This movie was the battle within us all and how we can overcome that. Most horror movies focus on “jump scares”, killings and satisfactory ending, this movie was the complete opposite. Peele gives you a reason to care about the characters, he puts Lupita in a position to just do what she is good at and act her ass off.

The rest of the cast was great, the Score is perfection (I expect an Oscar nomination), its visually haunting, edited to perfection and Peele has officially made me want to never go to the fair again.

Should You See it?: What are you waiting for? Peele is turning himself into one of the best Writer/Directors in the world. The story within the extreme craziness is worth the price of admission alone.

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

The Valero Verdict: Fighting with My Family

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, Fighting with My Family, the movie based on WWE Diva Paige.


  • The casting of Florence Pugh turned out perfect, she played Paige very well, especially the Paige of the early years. She was very Raw in the film which is what she needed because Paige was in a very Raw position starting from the bottom of the WWE. Very good casting.
  • Nostalgia from the Rock was fantastic. While not in the film a whole lot, you did get to see some old fashion Rock lines that were classic for his many years in the WWE.
  • The opening of this movie was absolute brutal to watch as a former professional wrestler, I get these guys were “rookies” but man, the in ring stuff was brutal to watch.
  • The story flows very well, it tells the story you are wanting to see, with the 1st act setting the story, the 2nd bringing you the challenge and leaving the 3rd act to bring it all together to get us our feel good ending.
  • Vince Vaughn was good in this, but it felt so weird seeing him in a role of this nature.

The Verdict:

*** out of ***** stars

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this movie but it’s one of the feel good stories that you can really get behind and cheer for throughout. The Rock brings some fun humor to the movie, Pugh does a fantastic job as Paige, and the rest of the cast packs a nice punch as well.

Should I see it?: Yes. I think no matter if you are a wrestling fan or not, this is a well written movie with solid story telling, you laugh, it pulls at the heartstrings and you cheer in triumph at the end.

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.

Trailer Reaction: Ma

The trailer for MA landed yesterday and I am here to breakdown my thoughts on it.

  • First off, HOLY CRAP. I had absolutely no clue about this movie coming out.
  • Octavia Spencer take MY MONEY!!!!! She looks like a certified crazy psychotic lunatic!!!!! And I am totally here for it.
  • Look kids in movies are always getting a bad look, ask random stranger to buy booze, they do and boom invite you to their house to throw a party? Kids these days.
  • I’ll be honest it looks like a typical Horror movie, jump scare, don’t do this/they do it type movie, they pay the consequences for doing it. I will say that Spencer had me sold, because honestly this movie provides minimal interest for me with an unknown in that role.

Ma hits theaters May 31st

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

Trailer Reaction: Aladdin

So the official, official trailer for the Aladdin movie has hit and man has the social media world set fire.

So I am here to breakdown my thoughts of the trailer.

  • The music/score throughout the trailer was fantastic. I really enjoyed the variety of the tone as the trailer went up and down. Which honestly isn’t shocking, Disney is well known for great scores.
  • The BIG REVEAL…… Man did set the social media world on fire last night with some amazing commentary and amazing memes. Including my favorite (only cause I made it)
Will Smith vs. Paul Giamatti (From Big Fat Liar)
  • My initial thoughts are WHAT DID YOU REALLY EXPECT? I mean honestly? What did you think a Live Action version of a Cartoon Genie would look like? – I do believe Will Smith could bring a lot of the comedy that Robin Williams brought to the table, I look forward to his performance.
  • This is going to be one BEAUTIFUL film, just from the snippets in the film that we get to see, it’s artsy and very colorful.
  • I really have my concerns with this film being a live action but honestly from the trailer, it really sold me.

Aladdin hits theaters May 24th.

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

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?

Thinking Out Loud: Serenity

So I went to the theaters to see Serenity, it’s been a little while that a movie has had such drastic differences in opinion, either people liked the film or they hated it.

I decided to have a little fun with this review and jotted my thoughts down as stuff transpired during the movie, it was more of a running blog. I will share my thoughts throughout the film as I saw it and my overall review of the film will be at the bottom.

THIS IS HEAVY ON THE SPOILERS, so if you want to just see the review scroll on down to the bottom or check out my review here: https://letterboxd.com/rickygangster/film/serenity-2019/

Off we go!!!!!!!

Matthew McConaughey voice has really become the same on every movie 

McConaughey takes his fishing way too seriously. Pulling knifes on these guys.

Suit guy just took off his dress shoes to walk into about 3 foot deep of water. 

Oh, well hello Diane Lane

Her cat is missing, please someone call John Wick, or does he only care about dogs? 

So wait, he’s hooked this tuna 4 times since New Year (don’t know time frame) but that seems like an awful big letdown? McConaughey has been friend zone by this tuna and he doesn’t even realize it.

McConaughey just fired his buddy and blamed not catching this fish on his dead wife, that’s brutal.

Well Hello Blonde Anne Hathaway.
 
McConaughey didn’t show up to his high school reunion? What? Really? No way? Doesn’t know what Facebook is.

Frank doesn’t seem like a swell guy

Oh snap, Anne had McConaughey baby? Son looks like neither one of them? That’s weird. 

Hathaway is hiring baby daddy to kill the husband? 10 million cash? Sweet. 

So wait, he lives in a he lives in a ship container? That’s kind of cool, also takes showers in the ocean? That doesn’t seem fun. 

I have seen a whole lots of McConaughey butt in the last few minutes.

Now I have seen his package, and he is underwater and is seeing things. 

What in the world is happening? He is running the table that has water in it, and he’s kid is too, they are talking to each other.

This is getting weird. 

Hello Jason Clarke!!!!!!! I love this guy!!!!! 

Naked Anne Hathaway.

Clarke is analyzing her body, dissecting scratches, yikes. He’s a dick.

These recliner seats with seat warmers are rather comfy. 

Wow, he beat her with his hands and the belt for an hour and half, wow, yikes. Clark is really a dick. 

Well that was a fun first exchange between Clark and McConaughey, it was intense, spot on, the right amount of words were said, the acting was perfect, and the point was made. 

Lane is a tad jealous of Hathaway. 

Hounsou is a solid actor, he is a perfect supporting actor. 

Wait the son hears him through his computer? Wait what? Again. Weird. 

Side note: fishing doesn’t look fun, my uncle rocky took my when I was a kid, I enjoyed it at that time but now? Nope. I’m good. Plus I don’t eat fish, so why fish? Right?

Clarke is such an amazing villain. Just the mannerisms, the voice, I just love every single thing he does in these types of roles. Very Gatsby like here. 

If I didn’t find a way to catch fish all day, I would kill you. 

Again intense scene between the two, Clarke plays the asshole, talking about his son, not knowing it’s his son, being just a straight dick, and McConaughey using very little words. 

Hathaway is playing a nice damsel and distressed. 

Damn, McConaughey took the bait, him seeing the welts on her back, yikes. 

Hathaway is fucking nuts, I mean who didn’t see these two eventually getting it on. More McConaughey butt. 

Strange briefcase dude has finally caught up with McConaughey, at 2:30 in the morning. 

So wait, this guy is selling him a fish finder at 2:30 in the morning? Shits fishy. (see what I did there) 

This escalated quickly!!!! Weird dude knows everything. Wtf? It’s a game? He’s son made a game with him in it? Holy shit, this just got twisted. 

Wait was that a dream? The hell? 

Welp, one big map, with just that island on it. This is a big mind ****. 

Are these the same fields from Signs? 

So now McConaughey thinks it’s a game, but it might not be a game, but it might be a game.

If you are reading this, I am just as confused as you are. 

What light goes Red, Yellow, Green? Is that a real thing? 

Wait Clarke got his ass kicked, best buddy Duke saved the day!!!!! What kind of name is Baker Dill anyway?

This movie is twisted. This is how I like my thrillers. Still don’t know what they hell is going on.

Oooooo back to the Signs fields are back.

Hathaway is a nuts, she’s absolutely nuts. 

I love the fact this Reid Miller guy shows up in a suit and tie but refuses to get his dress shoes dirty.

McConaughey became a much better driver in a span of 5 minutes. 

BIG TUNA IS BACK… WARNING BIG TUNA IS BACK

Holy shit this movie is deep, this kid created the game to have the balls to kill his abusive step dad holy shit.

My god, I love this movie. 

And now he changed the game so he can be with his dad, no you’re crying. 

Just spoke to a lady walking out, she put it really good, “that’s one you are going to have to ponder for a while” 

Overall Thoughts:

**** out of ***** stars

I am completely and utterly blown away by what I just witnessed.

The pace of the movie was spot on, I felt every act and every sequence came at the right time. You were left guessing for quite awhile but you were left enough throughout to nibble on.

Several twist including the big one, that was a really turning point in the film that I really loved and honestly didn’t really see coming.

I will say the writing in this, man its deep. And to be honest you wonder if this comes from a place that hits at home. But this movie is absolutely crazy, and crazy for all the right reasons,

The acting was just perfect.

Clarke (who will one day play in a movie I write), he is one of my favorite actor that always brings his A game to the table. 

McConaughey and Hathaway both were really strong in their roles.
The rest of the cast, Hounsou, Lane and Strong were all spot on and all played their roles.

Go into this film with an open mind. Just do it. It’s a top notch thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. 

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.