Take a Drink: for every video diary entry/voiceover (hang on we’re about to break your liver).
Take a Drink: for each Jem appearance/disguise switcheroo/character with hair in their face.
Take a Drink: every time Erica is a dick to someone.
Do a Shot: when arguments are resolved by the POWER OF HARMONY.
Take a Drink: for every makeover montage/robot cameo/when Stockholm Syndrome sets in.
Take a Sip: for each super fucking lame YouTube clip moment/montage.
Shotgun a Beer: WHEN MAGIC EARRINGS SAVE THE DAY.
Also, Pour a Little Out: for Molly Ringwald- she’s still alive! Who knew?
I have GOT to stop junk-punching old ladies who hog the elliptical machines at the YMCA because, after my latest box office assignment, I’m pretty sure that karma has junk-punched me in return by making me review Jem and The Holograms. So, naturally, I convinced Hawk Ripjaw, kitten wrangler to the stars, to join myself, Felix Felicis, Kardashian whisperer extraordinaire, in debate co-reviewing this latest angst-ridden shitsicle. So welcome back to the one, the only, the Felix-Ripjaw Debate Presents: Jem and The Holograms. Batten down the hatches and crack open a keg because it’s about to get real… real boozy.
She Said: Jem and The Holograms follows Jerrica Benton (Nashville’s Aubrey Peeples) aka “Jem” as she and her sisters face losing their home to foreclosure but WAIT THEY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SAVE IT JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME when a viral video of Jem singing causes global insanity.
He Said: A viral video created because Jerrica looks at the “Are you sure you want to delete this video?” screen on her camera and is like “Durr idk how this works” and then her sister uploads it. This whole movie could have been avoided.
She Said: Jem is soon thrust into the limelight by the wasted talent of Juliette Lewis’s (girl, you are so much better than this) cold-blooded record exec Erica Raymond (the gender swapped Jem nemesis of the 1985 cartoon’s Eric Raymond) as she plans to use, abuse, and throw the girls away just as soon as she squeezes every last dime out of them.
He Said: It’s testament to how amazing Juliette Lewis is that I got so heavily invested in how much of a slimy villain she was.
She Said:But wait again! Jem and The Holograms still have to follow the trail of clues left by Jem’s dead dad (via robot SYNERGY) to help Jem realize her TRUE POTENTIAL AS THE VOICE OF A GENERATION LOST WITHIN THE CRUEL CLUTCHES OF SOCIAL MEDIA.
He Said: Don’t forget that this shitty half-finished robot is apparently her genius inventor dad’s “greatest creation!”
She Said: Will Jem find her voice?
He Said: Don’t care.
She Said: Will she get the guy?
He Said: Don’t care.
She Said: Will Erica Raymond (probably) get her comeuppance?
He Said: DON’T. CARE.
She Said: Will Hawk and I ever recover from this experience emotionally?
He Said: *gazes into the middle distance*
She Said: Let’s just be clear. There wasn’t anything “good” about Jem and The Holograms, but there WERE shades of the less shitty about it.
He Said: SHADES?? *Fifty Shades PTSD seizure* #triggered
She Said: Of the two characters that didn’t make me wanna stab my eyes out repeatedly (comedic sad sack, Valet Of The Damned Frontman aka Nicholas Braun- the for some reason uncredited valet to Erica Raymond- and Secretly A Fan Of Jem Even Though He’s A Grown Man Security Guard aka Veronica Mars alum, Ryan Hansen) one of them, the security guard, actually made me laugh with his still-tired-but-one-of-the-better-jokes-in-the-film bit about pretending to get an autograph for his daughter but really wanting one for himself.
He Said: It’s not even that good of a joke, it’s just that I had gone so long without some external source of happiness that I was desperate for anything.
She Said: Honorable mentions also to the super dated, but still adorable, 70’s YouTube video of Squirrel Riding A Jet Ski and the bland, watered down Lady Gaga musical numbers.
He Said: I mean, the music was… pop-y in that sort of socially engineered numbers game of having enough people like it that the rest don’t hate it by way of pure statistics?
She Said: The songs were trite, rhyming bullshit at their best, but at this point the Stockholm Syndrome had kicked in so I honestly didn’t hate them; I was probably curled in the fetal position humming along by the end. I can’t remember. I think I blacked out.
He Said: I was totally into the part where she ditched her friends and had a super emotional song about not being able to go back and it was intercut with old home videos of them as kids. I was getting some sort of savage enjoyment from the anguish and would have been totally satisfied with an ending that faded out right at that part.
She Said: HOLY MOTHERFUCKING PLOT HOLES, BATMAN! Where should we start?
He Said: How about the one that made me wish I had gotten my intestines ripped out before getting thrown down a hill headfirst? Or is that not specific enough?
She Said: Okay, firstly, I don’t care if you farted Jesus out your b-hole holding sparklers that emitted world peace and a cure for cancer, it would take more than one night on YouTube to score a record contract/Nobel peace prize.
He Said: You mean a girl singing with acoustic guitar isn’t the freshest shit ever?
She Said: Jumping over that shark, what parent is gonna spew “let’s be strong for each other” as a SOLUTION TO GETTING THEIR HOUSE REPOSSESSED?
He Said: BEING STRONG FOR EACH OTHER DOESN’T PAY THE FUCKING BILLS, THIS IS WHY YOUR BUSINESS IS FAILING AND YOU’RE LOSING YOUR HOUSE.
She Said: Then, and I love you Molly Ringwald, what parent would let their POSSIBLY UNDERAGED DAUGHTERS JET OFF TO ANOTHER CITY SOLO?
He Said: Hell, she doesn’t just let her, she more or less tells her that she’ll hate herself forever if she doesn’t do it.
She Said: I mean, we never really know how old the girls are but odds are good not all of them are over eighteen.
She Said: Next up, hurdling over the giant obstacle of believing Jem’s father built an incredibly advanced robot (the bastard baby of Wall-E and Echo) on his deathbed in his garage filled with clues to lead his daughter to the realization that she was loved beyond all measure by him, with the clues still in place YEARS LATER, to remind her to be herself because that’s the true meaning of- HEY WAIT DID ANYONE NOTICE THAT JEM HAS A SISTER? LIKE A REAL, BLOOD-RELATED SIBLING BY THE SAME PARENT THAT THEIR FATHER DOESN’T SEEM TO GIVE TWO SHITS ABOUT? NO? OKAY, COOL.
He Said: I didn’t even notice until you pointed it out that her sister pretty much never factors into anything that Dad does. It’s all Jem this and stupid Jem robot thing that, it’s amazing that Kimber didn’t turn into a supervillain herself.
She Said: Plus, Jem and the Holograms continues to beat a dead horse by using the whole video confessional narration device (which has been done to death) NOT TO MENTION THEY DON’T EVEN RELEASE IT LATER ON… For fuck’s sake, people, I’ve Dubsmashed more original content. Then comes gaping plot hole after gaping plot hole, building up to the most despised cinematic finale device of all time, the deus ex machina, by which lazy screenwriters tie up loose ends in the most frustrating way possible. FML.
He Said: “Oh, bad guy is about to win? Good thing I have this piece of paper that magically solves everything!” We all saw it coming, but that doesn’t make it any less shitty.
She Said: Why did I just watch a movie where the characters didn’t even really fight for their best interests, to then have a happy ending handed to them on a silver platter? (and that’s not a spoiler because if you for one second believed this tween feel-good flick would have a realistic ending you’re high AF).
She Said: Jem and The Holograms had to have been co-written by my eighth grade diary and rabid squirrels hopped up on crystal meth/earnest optimism.
He Said: No one’s eighth grade was THAT rough.
She Said: One of those will fuck you up and it’s not the crystal meth. Close your eyes.
He Said: Only because you can’t do anything through a computer screen.
She Said: Got it? Good. Now imagine every single thing a Care Bear or your high school guidance counselor ever said to pull you back from the edge of teenage angst/all the feels.
He Said: Things don’t get better and alcohol is your only friend?
She Said: Yes. Now open your eyes and projectile vomit onto a blank script titled Jem and The Holograms. Congrats. You’ve just been credited as a writer for this film.
Here are a few “gems” I managed to write down before the whiskey shakes set in:
“You know we’re not alone… Alone… We can be alone together.” –Jem
She Said: UM I DON’T THINK YOU KNOW HOW BEING ALONE WORKS.
He Said: She might have been having a seizure. That volume of glitter face paint can’t possibly be healthy.
“Come on, you gotta jump sometime.” –Rio
She Said: OH MY GOD STOP TALKING RYAN GUZMAN NO ONE CARES JUST BE PRETTY OKAY?
He Said: Ryan get that Disney-ass bullshit out of here. We’ve seen The Boy Next Door.
“There are some ideas… Some voices too special to be hidden.” – Somebody
She Said: Cards on the table, I don’t remember who said this; I was just hoping to be stabbed in the eye at this point.
He Said: Now that you mention it… that could have literally been any of the characters in the movie. Also, we are not all special snowflakes and most of us will probably die alone.
She Said: The characters in Jem and The Holograms are caricatures of one-dimensional cardboard cutouts.
He Said: I’ve seen cardboard cutouts with more personality. At least some of those have that creepy “it’s eyes are following me” sensation.
She Said: They have no depth, no motivation beyond what the plot decides they need in order to propel this laboring beast over the finish line where it, and any nostalgia you had leftover from the 80’s, could finally die.
He Said: I got jealous when my PHONE died while live-tweeting this.
She Said: Jem and The Holograms tries to hide an undercooked plot and shallow characters behind the glitter and flash of harmonized, cookie-cutter performances and strobe lights on an empty stage of hollow expectations.
He Said: It had all of the depth of a two hour music video from a rising Spotify artist.
She Said: Not to mention, in a flick hyping up girl power and the magic of being yourself, Jem never fully realizes her potential until she’s led to it with a trail of clues from her dead dad (gaining his posthumous approval) alongside an eleventh hour save from her pseudo-boyfriend Rio… Both men. Where’s the strong female role model for Jem to look up to?
He Said: You’re not wrong—if the movie needs one thing, it’s that. But you’re expecting way too much out of these writers for it.
She Said: We have the pushover Aunt content to let her teenage niece solve all their money problems and the nefarious, razor-sharp record exec with boobs poised to exploit Jem’s talent and then throw her away. Bravo, ladies, bra-fucking-vo.
*cough* SOCIAL COMMENTARY *cough*
She Said: Wolf of Wall Street clocked in at 180 minutes, every second of which never felt long enough because that gritty, coke-fueled roller coaster ride grabbed you from the first minute and never let go until after the credits had rolled, leaving you to stagger out into the theater’s parking lot looking for the nearest bar and post-coital cinematic cigarette.
He Said: Your analyses never fail to amaze me.
She Said: Which is why, when Jem and The Holograms weighed in at 118 minutes I wasn’t even a little bit surprised because I FELT EVERY GODDAMN SECOND OF IT.
He Said: IT WAS THE LONGEST MOVIE EVER.
She Said: I weeped, I wailed, I threw both expletives and shoes at the screen (all of which I could do because the theater was dead-empty save for myself… ON OPENING WEEKEND).
He Said: I, too, was alone in my theater. I spent most of the time experimenting with the most uncomfortable positions I could come up with in my seat.
She Said: The lengthy runtime might have been excusable had the film satisfied both longtime fans of the 80’s cartoon it was based upon and/or newcomers looking for family-friendly theater fare. Both ended up disappointed and wise to the bullshit-bait-and-switch because both Hawk and I ended up flying solo at our screenings. This Jem and The Holograms adaptation (lack of quality aside) massively diverged from the source material so much so that it was almost unrecognizable.
He Said: Shit happens when you get the director of Never Say Never to direct your band drama.
She Said: The cartoony, over-the-top action and futuristic flash was swapped out for a hollow commentary on teens, social media, and the pitfalls of fame… All of which we’ve seen, and seen better films on, before.
He Said: Buzzfeed has better commentary on social media.
She Said: Jem and The Holgrams failed to be a quality adaptation and it failed to be a fresh take on the source material.
He Said: I haven’t felt this much dread about a review in years, or been so profoundly angry at the result in equally as long. DAMMIT FELIX WHY DID I AGREE TO THIS.
She Said: BECAUSE WHEN ONE OF US SUFFERS, THE OTHER ONE HAS TO AS WELL… Also, the only thing this film succeeded in doing was stealing two hours of my life that could’ve been better spent learning how to rap battle or taking a class in how to recognize vegans on sight (hint: hemp skinny jeans).
He Said: No bullshit, I did know a girl who had a hemp dress. We haven’t been friends in awhile, for… unrelated reasons.
She Said: Take a hard pass on this and go check out Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak instead, I hear that shit is nuuuuuuts.
He Said: I can confirm there aren’t any Instagram montages.
She Said: If you can stifle the urge to flee the second the credits start to roll, Jem offers a mid-credits scene way scarier than any Halloween flick ever made because it TEASES A SEQUEL TO THIS SHITSHOW. Or not. Fleeing is also a valid life choice.
He Said: I’ll never escape from the memories of this movie.