Reminiscence – This is another one of those delayed films due to the pandemic but definitely a push back on not getting sued as the film comes from Westworld series creators Lisa Joy and her husband Jonathan Nolan who’s brother Christopher has left the Warner Bros. family over the release of his film Tenet and the streaming schedule. Just judging by the trailer, this movie looks like it commands a big-screen viewing and has a Tenet or Inception look to it as well. The film is a future-set sci-fi that follows a private investigator of a different sort that navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client that quickly moves from being a simple lost and found job to a life-altering obsession. The cast is so great in this with Hugh Jackman leading and Rebecca Ferguson and Thandiwe Newton in supporting roles. I’m excited for this one.
Paw Patrol The Movie – Every nightmare for the parents of the last eight years has finally come true as the gang from the Paw Patrol have now landed themselves in a big-screen film that will have their faithful fan base tugging at their moms and dads begging to see it. Yes, that’s right, Ryder and his team-up pups have been upgraded and become more textured with their feature film debut and, although it has a few jokes that may land with adults, it’s very much business as usual. The story follows the gang as they move to Adventure City to keep tabs on the sleazy Mayor Humdinger who has gained leadership over the big city in an uncontested election. The movie features some guest voice work from Kim Kardashian West, Dax Shepherd, Randall Park and Jimmy Kimmel and, thankfully, doesn’t overstay its welcome to the point that you want to be euthanized. Honestly, I expected a lot worse.
The Night House – Well, it looks like David Bruckner has joined the chat for horror stories infused with real emotion and emotional trauma, joining the ranks of filmmakers like Ari Aster because this new film lands with such resonance that it is completely undeniable. The director of The Ritual and a couple of stories in the horror anthologies Southbound and V/H/S also uses character actress Rebecca Hall so effectively that it will make you mad they killed her off in Iron Man 3 all over again. The film follows her as a recently widowed woman, still reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, who is left alone in the lakeside home he built for her. She tries as best she can to keep it together but then nightmares come, disturbing visions of a presence in the house calling to her, beckoning her with a ghostly allure. Against the advice of her friends, she begins digging into her husband’s belongings, yearning for answers and what she finds are secrets both strange and disturbing, a mystery she’s determined to unravel for her own peace of mind. This film’s scares are so original and unpredictable, chilling you to the bone in a way that feels incredibly fresh. I’m really jealous of anyone who gets to experience this movie in theatres because atmospherically it is in an elite category in my opinion.
The Protege – When I initially saw this trailer on the big screen before F9 I have to admit that it really did nothing for me at all. You can tell me it’s from the producers of John Wick and use a cool version of Amy Winehouse’s You Know That I’m No Good but you can’t take the generic dime a dozen contract killer action trope out of it, I feel like I’ve seen it all before. The film has a pretty solid cast with Maggie Q, Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson follows Anna who was rescued as a child by the legendary assassin Moody, played by Jackson, and trained in the family business to become the world’s most skilled contract killer. When Moody is brutally killed, Anna vows revenge and is entangled with an enigmatic killer (Keaton with all his greatest nuances) whose attraction to her goes way beyond cat and mouse. This movie quite easily annoyed me as it is just as cookie-cutter as it looks and comes from an older world adage of the only way a strong female character like this can be made is to have her be a femme fatale. I’m so sick of this and it really ruined everything about a film that, besides that, doesn’t really have an ounce of originality and a dumb script to match it.
Sweet Girl – This looks like a movie absolutely geared to hit you emotionally and hit you hard but at least it has Jason Momoa in the lead to help soften the blow a bit. The film features the live-action Dora The Explorer Isabella Merced in the main role alongside Aquaman, an actress with a career on the rise and the large platform of this Netflix dramatic thriller’s release can get her swiftly higher on that ladder. The story follows Momoa as a devoted family man who vows justice against the pharmaceutical company responsible for pulling a potentially life-saving drug from the market just before his wife dies from cancer. When his search for the truth leads to a deadly encounter that puts him and his daughter in harm’s way, his mission turns into a quest for vengeance in order to protect the only family he has left. The film is the debut for director Brian Andrew Mendoza who has been the producer on many of Momoa’s projects so it’s good to see a film that makes lead actor cohesion with this that gives me the ultimate hope for it being great.
Annette – The veteran pop duo Sparks have had a hell of a year with their Edgar Wright-directed documentary becoming a huge success and now their passion project that was decades in the making finally got its release now, directed by the incredibly idiosyncratic filmmaker Leo Carax. The film drew such acclaim that it got a long standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival, which is always a good sign. Starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, the story is set in present-day Los Angeles and follows Henry, a stand-up comedian with a fierce humour, and Ann, an internationally renowned opera singer. Together, under the spotlight, they form a happy and glamorous couple but the birth of their first child, Annette, will turn their lives upside down as she is a mysterious girl with an exceptional destiny. This film is an incredible blend of absurd comedy and mindblowing fantasy that meet in the middle of two fantastic performances and, I know it won’t be for everyone, but being on the Amazon Prime platform gives it such a wide arc of roping in the proper audiences which is the deep cinephile. As a person who just discovered Sparks with the documentary, this just solidified my absolute love for them.
Demonic – Neill Blomkamp is a filmmaker who I adored with his first film but has honestly had a series of films afterwards that signified a few diminishing returns creatively. The South African writer and director who is based in Vancouver now debuted with District 9, moved on to the Matt Damon sci-fi action Elysium before his Die Antwoord Short Circuit like story Chappie and now moves to the horror genre for this tech-heavy exorcism movie that has everything aesthetically going for it. Not featuring any big stars, unless you’re Canadian and love Carly Pope, the story follows a young woman who unleashes terrifying demons when supernatural forces at the root of a decades-old rift between mother and daughter are ruthlessly revealed. I really wanted to like this movie a lot but it feels like a better idea within the concept and maybe realized as a short film but a fully pieced feature film just ran out of steam slowly but surely. I can see why this movie was retooled to be a smaller release because it just isn’t to the calibre of the big boys. That said, I still yearn for Blomkamp’s success.
Cryptozoo – I spent the majority of this movie wondering what the hell was going on but I really had to admire the filmmaking scope and imagination I was seeing on screen in this insane little animated film. Definitely borrowing some atmosphere from the Ralph Bakshi films of the late seventies and early eighties, writer and director Dash Show is full of big ideas, existential curiosity and cosmic wonder which is exhibited in every frame of this, tinged with a little dark humour and cynicism. It’s hard to encapsulate this film but I will say that it follows what is called crypto zookeepers as they try to capture what’s known as a Baku, a dream-eating hybrid creature of legend but the ensuing search has them starting to wonder if they should display these beasts or keep them hidden and unknown in their own worlds, safe from outside harm. As I said, this movie is hard to wrangle in any commonly perceived way but the ambition of the storytelling is limitless and it’s hard not to take anything away from it in the end.
Rare Beasts – Being a big fan of the new Doctor Who when it premiered on BBC with Christopher Eccleston. I was introduced to the fresh and beautiful face of Rose Tyler, played by British pop star Billie Piper, an easy to identify crush. I shed tears when she said goodbye to the Doctor and even continued to watch her show afterwards, Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, for obvious reasons. Now she has written and directed this new film, her debut behind the camera and a story she has labelled as an anti-romantic comedy. She stars in it as well as Mandy, a mother, a writer, a nihilist and, above all, a modern woman in a crisis. Raising a son in the midst of a female revolution, mining the pain of her parent’s separation and professionally writing about a love that no longer exists, she falls upon a troubled man, Pete, who is searching for a sense of worth and belonging in a fight to give his perceived mundanity meaning. Oh, I also have to mention that Pete is played by the brilliant Leo Bill who is phenomenal as Charles Darwin in Tarsem’s The Fall. Getting back on point, I really enjoyed this movie and thought that Piper fleshed out a good character story that immediately had us caring about her plight which is always the shortcoming in movies like this. I feel like she has a pretty solid directorial career ahead of her.
I Carry You With Me – Moving for anti-romance to the broken heart of having to leave a romance behind to find your calling, this new drama comes from the acclaimed director of Jesus Camp and The Boys Of Baraka, Heidi Ewing, in her narrative filmmaking debut. The film is a love story that spans decades, starting from a chance meeting between two men in Mexico and after a time being together ambition and societal pressure propel one of them to journey to America to chase his dream of becoming a chef. The distance between the two soulmates starts to change both of their lives in different ways as very separate adjustments start to reshape their souls in a film that is based on a true story. Ewing absolutely nails this film and infuses it with an undeniable emotional richness that resonates long after you’ve finished watching it. What a special film!
Howling Village – The creator of The Grudge series, Japanese writer and director Takashi Shimizu, has returned to give you something more to fear than yowling cat boys, creepy shower scenes and a stair sequence that rivals The Exorcist. Does it have the longevity to kick off another franchise? I would say it’s definitely a possibility if the Americans get their hands on it but I have to say I was intrigued just based on Shimizu’s name. The story follows a young psychologist who visits an infamous haunted and cursed location known as ‘Howling Village’ after her brother goes missing to investigate his disappearance and uncover her family’s dark history that is attached to the legend. I will say that I enjoyed the film for its ingenuity that can only be attributed to the Japanese creator but I feel like he has so many different elements going in the story that it kind of gets lost along the way to his finish. To be honest, I might need another pass at it but the effects are pretty cool.
Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard – It looks like I’m going to be a bit contrarian to the reviews that have already been given for this Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson action-comedy sequel but it’s a hill I’m willing to die on. It probably helps that I really liked the first movie and think that Reynolds and Jackson have great comedic chemistry and Salma Hayek is pure joy but here we go. Following the events of the first film we pick up with Reynold’s Michael Bryce still unlicensed and under scrutiny from the bodyguard association who is forced into action by Darius’s even more volatile wife, the infamous international con artist Sonia Kincaid. As Bryce is driven over the edge by his two most dangerous protectors, the trio gets in over their heads in a global plot and soon finds that they are all that stands between Europe and a vengeful and powerful madman named Aristotle Papadoulpolis, played by Antonio Banderas. The story isn’t anything new when it comes to odd-couple style action fun but it is riding on the shoulders of these three actors and I feel like it largely works for the duration of it. I’m not burnt out on the comedy stylings of Ryan Reynolds yet, he’s still a British Columbian treasure.
The Water Man – David Oyelowo is an Academy Award-nominated actor who has steadily impressed with every film I’ve seen him in, quickly becoming a favourite. HE impresses further with his debut feature film, which he also plays a supporting role in. The final result is a great family drama adventure driven by imagination, resting on a great thread of hope. The story follows young Gunner, a boy driven on a mission to save his ill mother, played by Rosario Dawson, by searching for a mythic figure who possesses the secret to immortality, the Water Man. After enlisting the help of a mysterious local girl, Jo, they journey together into the remote Wild Horse forest but the deeper they venture, the stranger and more dangerous the forest becomes. Their only hope for rescue is Gunner’s father, played by Oyelowo, who desperately tries to catch up with them as a wildfire bears down on them. This movie had me for the long run, well-plotted, beautifully filmed and with great character development to it. There are really about two minutes at the end of the film that, to me, is its biggest failing but aside from that I thought this was a great debut for a promising filmmaker.
The Truffle Hunters – I really don’t know if you can make a truffle hunting-related film that would have the same resonance as the recent Nicolas Cage film Pig but it’s probably unfair to say of this Italian film, it was made last year. I should also preface this review by saying that this movie is a documentary and definitely not a grief-driven odyssey through the Portland culinary underground and offers a more grounded story of life’s work and legacy. The story takes you deep in the forests of Piedmont, Italy, where a handful of men, seventy or eighty years old, hunt for the rare and expensive white Alba truffle which, to date, has resisted all of modern science’s efforts at cultivation. This movie played at the Vancouver International Film Festival last year and gave an interesting glimpse into a world that I was definitely on the outside of and presents it in a fascinating way. It is gorgeously filmed and, honestly, made me sad that I was watching it at home and not at a venue screening.
Riders Of Justice – Always, always, always trust in Mads Mikkelsen. This is a tried and true mantra but it is doubly affirmed when this incredible actor does films with writer and director Anders Thomas Jensen who he has already collaborated on Men And Chicken and The Green Butchers, both amazing movies. This new film follows Mads as recently-deployed military man Markus, who is forced to return home to care for his teenage daughter after his wife is killed in a tragic train accident. His grief seemingly unattainable. he finds focus when a survivor of the wrecked train surfaces claiming foul play. Markus begins to suspect his wife was murdered in a conspiracy with a ruthless organized crime group and embarks on a revenge-fueled mission to find those responsible. This film is incredible, filled with dark humour, explosive violence and consistent character building in a story that could have come off contrived. Jensen and Mikkelsen have delivered another instant classic and Mads is for sure the most formidable man on screen these days.
Shook – Oh yes, I love it when the Shudder originals make their way to DVD in an almost reverse way because it is an invitation for stragglers who haven’t gotten a subscription to finally make the plunge. Trust me, it’s always worth it and I’ve never regretted mine for a moment. Actually, mine’s free so that’s a moot point. Anyways, this film follows Mia, a social media star who becomes the target of an online terror campaign and has to solve a series of games to prevent people she cares about from getting murdered. Not knowing if she is being pranked or if the game is real, she fights to find the truth as well as for her own survival. To be honest, this movie feels like it was missing a gear in so many different ways. It didn’t have a skilled enough cast, a studious enough execution and the resolution felt so weak compared to the setup. Jennifer Harrington did a great job on her episodes of the AppleTV+ show Dads but this one did not net me anything.
Stay Out Of The Attic – The second Shudder released film to come out this week, I had to censor the title down a bit as the real title is Stay Out Of The Fucking Attic which I like a lot better but for obvious reasons, it couldn’t be used. The film shares a bit with another Shudder releases film with Maisie Williams out of the United Kingdom called The Owners, which I thought was better but let me refocus here anyways. The story follows a group of ex-cons-turned-movers who are are convinced by their new creepy client to pull an all-nighter in his old Victorian mansion but as the night progresses the evil contained in the house starts to unleash on them one by one and, you guessed it, the attic is a real no-go. This movie relied way too heavily on jump scares and gross-out moments to get itself into your head and it felt like such laziness. It was a swift reminder that a little bit of character development can go a long way, especially in the horror genre.
Analog Love – Who didn’t love making mixtapes? As a huge music lover, this medium and the generational improvement of making burnt CDs was a total pastime of mine and seeing this documentary show up on my list filled me with a gleeful nostalgia. Through a series of conversations with people like the legendary Henry Rollins, L7’s bass player Jennifer Finch and more, the film illuminates the art of making mixtapes, the creation of their flow and the construction behind them that gives it meaning plus gives the history of how we got to this form of borrowed art. The film is using a fascinating subject matter to build on but it can’t get past the talking-head style of documentary filmmaking and, doing it on a microbudget, it really seems to lose its kitsch value really quickly and becomes monotonous. This is aside from Henry Rollins who I could listen to talk to for days on end. Seeing his live-spoken word show is still on my bucket list.
Little Q – Nothing wins an audience over quicker than a cute dog movie and, even more so, a cute puppy movie. It’s rare that the international film market jumps into a kind of manipulative film like this but, instead of an American production, this film is from Japan and is based on a novel called Goodbye, Khoru. The story follows a recently blinded chef who reluctantly forms a bond with his seeing-eye dog, conflicted to relinquish any control of his life to anyone, especially a dog. As time passes, the two grow closer in a film that is so endearing thanks to great onscreen animal work as well as a passionate performance from acclaimed actor Simon Lam. This one will really go for your heartstrings.
Midnight Diner – The second piece of Asian cinema to his blu-ray this week is this Hong Kong drama that not only features the legendary Chinese actor Tony Ka Fai Leung in the lead role but he was behind the camera to shoot it as well in his debut as a director. I have to say that the acclaimed actor must be a foodie at heart because the story he chose to make his filmmaker mark with is destined to make you hungry so fill up before you watch, trust me. The film is set in a little restaurant in an inconspicuous lane of Shanghai that opens every night at midnight, run by a fifty-year-old owner who makes a select menu each time and gives every guest their time to tell their story. The film is really bare-bones, wears everything on its sleeve and I think that is where it wins the audience over. It is predicated on the human condition while exuded over a steaming plate of beautiful food and it is evident that Tony has taken little tidbits from all the creators he has worked for over his career to create this special story. Not many people are going to see this one but those who do will be fulfilled.
A Discovery Of Witches: Season 2 – This is a mixed production between Amazon Prime and Shudder that piqued my interest with the involvement of Watchmen’s Matthew Goode and Australian actress Teresa Palmer but I just never got around to it until I was sent this follow up season on blu-ray, prompting me to stream the first one. The story follows Diana Bishop, a scholar and an unwilling witch who discovers a lost manuscript while studying at the Bodleian Library. The discovery invites chaos into Diana’s life as soon she is surrounded by daemons, vampires and other witches who are desperate to gain what she has found. Her only hope is Matthew Clairmont, a doctor, researcher and vampire who becomes a reluctant confidant in a dangerous new life. So far, so good with this show that has definitely caught on with the fantasy crowd and a third season is definitely on the horizon.
Steve’s Blu-Ray & DVD Geek Outs:
La Piscine – I always feel a little bit classier when I start out my geek-outs with a Criterion film as it always lends a bit more credibility in this department. It’s even better when the film is a brand new discovery for me that I can impart to you, my reader, and this week’s leadoff is exactly that. La Piscine, which translates to The Swimming Pool, is a tense romantic drama from 1969 by acclaimed writer and director Jacques Deray that has a rich and insane behind-the-scenes history to it that is too much to contain in this write-up. The film follows lovers Marianne and Jean-Paul who spend their vacation in a villa on the French Riviera near St-Tropez. Marianne invites her former lover, Harry, and his teenage daughter to stay and tension rises between them, especially when Jean-Paul seduces the young woman in a storyline that is definitely more than a little uncomfortable. This is a fascinating piece of French cinema history under the microscope of possibly the greatest release company on earth.
John Wayne 14-Movie Collection – The Duke gets a box set to display every film that made him a star, maintained that status and then secured his legacy as a film legend. Personally, my uncle would be a huge fan of this fourteen film set if he didn’t already own them all on VHS and probably DVD now. I’ve seen his collection and his oldest son is named John Wayne Stebbing just to secure the uber-fan level but that’s enough of my personal history. This set has some of my favourite John Wayne films in it like True Grit, Big Jake, McLintock!, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and others I have yet to discover like Hondo, Donovan’s Reef and Hatari! I will say that the Duke wasn’t the greatest actor by any means but the production level was always top-notch and he was, without a doubt, the biggest draw of his time.
The Descent Part 2 – Neil Marshall’s The Descent is an absolute subterranean masterpiece that is so effective with claustrophobic moments, night vision and pitch-black scares and creature effects that will infuse your nightmares with cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers. Yes, I just referenced C.H.U.D. Although not directed or written by Marshall, this film is still pretty cool and brings back star Shauna Macdonald for another cave run. She plays the sole survivor of the last film who is forced to lead authorities back into the cave to prove that her story is the truth. Of course, the reality of her truth comes crashing down on the non-believers as they are picked off one by one in another fun and gory romp that knows when to turn off the lights and freak you out. I still have fun with both of these movies.
Wrath Of Man – The worst thing you can do heading into this new Jason Statham and Guy Ritchie team-up is to watch the trailer which will completely sell a different type of film than you are getting and one totally askew to anything the Snatch filmmaker has made before. The film follows Statham as a new security guard for a cash truck, who surprises his co-workers when he unleashes precision skills during a heist, head-shotting every armed assailant sent to rob the truck. The crew is left wondering who he is and where he came from and eventually, through intricate flashbacks, the marksman’s ultimate motive becomes clear as he takes dramatic and irrevocable steps to settle a score and exact revenge. This movie is blisteringly violent, takes no prisoners and is filled to the brim with tough-guy bravado and I loved every moment of it. Statham just plain rocks in this movie and the cast around him is immense, including CSI guy Holt McCallany, 2000s heartthrob Josh Hartnett, Jeffrey Donovan, Scott Eastwood and more. It’s gritty and brutal but a great two-hour thrill ride.
Super 8 4K – Ten years ago this year writer and director J.J. Abrams was invited into the Amblin family after Cloverfield and allowed to play in that sandbox of mystery and the results were a damn good sci-fi thriller adventure that I don’t think got enough love. Its ad campaign played with the great viral mystery that got the salivation for his previous monster movie to a fever pitch and the fact that trailers steered away from spoilers of any sort was such a refreshing thing, especially now. The story was perfect for movie lovers too as the main characters were young fledgling filmmakers, set during the summer of 1979, who witness a train crash and investigate subsequent unexplained events in their small town which includes the escape of a top-secret government capture. The special effects are incredible and the cinematography from the great Larry Fong brings you back to those movies in the 80s that got you loving blockbuster films. 4K also gives a beautiful hug to this film that I hope gets more love now with this special edition.
The Chair (Netflix) – With her success on the series Killing Eve, which seemed to lend to co-star Jodie Comer getting all the television awards out there, Sandra Oh is certainly a character of note and one who is kind of must-see which is a long time coming for the Canadian actress. Now she brings her star power to this new Netflix series that comes from debuting creator Annie Wyman and actress and also a debuting creator, Amanda Peet for an interesting new comedy-drama. Oh plays Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim, the first woman of colour to be the Chair of the English department at the prestigious Pembroke University. Navigating her new role, she is faced with a unique set of challenges that her race and gender pose and finds herself being the only Asian in the whole faculty. This has so much potential and features a great cast including the stalwart Bob Balaban, indie darling Jay Duplass and David Morse who is always great in everything. This might catch fire and become another big hit for Sandra Oh. She deserves all the acclaim she gets.
Heels (Crave) – I feel like I’ve been waiting for a good scripted series about wrestling and I think it’s finally here. This is not a slight to GLOW at all as I really love that show but it feels like more of a historical microcosm of a series that was playing off something real while this is a look at indie wrestling in a modern world and I am totally here for it. The show is about the men and women who chase their dreams in the world of small-town pro wrestling, set in a close-knit Georgia community. It follows a family-owned wrestling promotion as two brothers and rivals, Jack Spade and Ace Spade, war over their late father’s legacy. In the ring, somebody must play the good guy, and somebody must play their nemesis, the heel but in the real world, those characters can be hard to live up to or hard to leave behind. With only one episode in the bank, it’s maybe a little premature to say that this is one of my favourite shows this year but, as a massive wrestling fan, it just might be and I think non-fans will pick up on it too.
Growing Up Animal (Disney+) – The partnership between Disney and National Geographic has been a total blessing in disguise as the new original shows and movies have all been incredible. Nature filmmaking is seriously at its finest with the expertise and drive of the people behind Nat Geo and the money and scope of Disney and if all the shows are going to be as intriguing as this one, bring it on, please. This show is going for the kids with the cute angle, following the story of baby animals from their time in the womb to their first steps towards independence, showing their characteristics and tenacity. Yes, you read that right, baby animals. I’ve heard that if you give this show a bad review an army of cute baby cubs, ducks and more come and maul you to death. I believe Disney is totally capable of that.
Truth Be Told: Season 2 (AppleTV+) – AppleTV+ is continuing down the path of following up their original shows with second seasons and it continues on with this pretty intriguing show. The show stars Octavia Spencer as a true-crime podcaster who attempts to solve the mystery surrounding a family patriarch’s death and gets roped into a deeper conspiracy along the way. Featuring a great cast around her, including Aaron Paul, Lizzy Caplan and Mekhi Phifer, this show might just be the thing we want to satiate out mystery cravings before Steve Martin and Martin Short take it n a comedic route with Selena Gomez in a couple of weeks on Disney+. Oh, you didn’t know about that? Then consider it a tease. Getting back on track, the show comes from Justified and The Good Wife writer Nichelle D. Tramble who I think learned a lot on those shows and it really comes through on this series.
Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens: Season 2 (Much) – An actress that is perpetually always on fire, including Disney films, her role in the Jumanji sequel and an upcoming Marvel film, Awkwafina is worth every moment you are going to give her. This show is a story very close to her heart as it is the embellishment of her true story and has her playing Nora, her real name, a Flushing, New York native who is trying to figure out her life as a young adult with the help of her dad and grandmother. Awkwafina created the show which started as a ten-episode that I thought would be a one-off limited run and became one of my favourite shows of the last ten years. Awkwafina is hilarious, but her dad, played hilariously by BD Wong, and the Grandma, Lori Tan Chinn, constantly steal the show. Chinn is my not-so-low level MVP of every episode.