A bank teller discovers that he’s actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.

Director: Shawn Levy
Writers: Matt Lieberman, Zak Penn
Staring: Ryan Reynolds, Jodie Cromer, Lil Rel Howery, Joe Keery,Taika Waititi, Irkarsh Ambudkar
Release Date: August 13, 2021

Okay, listen here Alamo Drafthouse in Yonkers. I am tagging you @alamogreaterny. This was my experience this past weekend.

  • Ordered a carnivore pizza which has been a staple in my time attending this establishment. However, this time, the pizza was literally uncooked. The sauce was cold and the bottom of the pizza was not nearly cooked enough. The fact I could stretch the pizza like play-doh doesn’t bode well. Also someone knew it was uncooked because they attempted to cut it but couldn’t accomplish it. The gave up have way through…but still sent the pizza out when they know the dough wasn’t cooked.
  • Our waiter screwed up the checks for our entire row. Three times during the movie, various food deliverers delivered to the wrong seat and had to interrupt audience members, including my girlfriend and I, to ask what we ordered. This confusion stemmed to the checks where this waiter literally stood up full in front of my girlfriend during the final 15 minutes of the movie and began asking questions. Not only did the checks come out late, but the process was ruined.
  • Continuing with the bill, I was just given the wrong one. Somehow I was billed for people around me who the waiter and manager on-site (the manager was great, she was good at customer service and understanding, so props) said prepaid. The thing is when I approached the waiter, he got flustered and said “this is the one you took from me,” which is just not true. It was placed in front of me. I didn’t take anything from you. You are mistaken.
  • Child next to me was chewing mozzarella sticks with his mouth open like a dog who just had peanut butter. This child was also slurping his empty milkshake and water glass like a fish dying in the open. Let’s not forget the swirling of the ice like they were employed in a mariachi band.
  • To the mom who I gave death stares to that I KNOW YOU SAW, how about bringing kids to a theater that are behaved, OR, a novel idea, don’t sit yourself against the wall and put your children next to the stranger (AKA ME). Why not be a buffer to not only ensure the experience for those around you is at least tolerable, but also for the sanctity of being a parent and ensuring your kids are just staring at random strangers to their left,

For a movie theater that preaches a great movie going atmosphere where the movie takes precedent, this experience was a satanic breach of your values. To the people working within the theater we were in, you know it was loud and unruly because you contributed to it. You shouldn’t have tolerated the group in seats 1-4 who literally screamed back you to add to an order after they didn’t write it down during the movie.

Also, Alamo Drafthouse, and movie theaters as a whole, we need to investigate the rules with kids at movie theaters. This one may just go out to the parents too. If you are going to bring children into a theater for a movie that is not directed towards kids, then we have to make sure that rules are abided by. Like on blurting out at the screen going “NINJA!” when they appear in the movie. Or you know, social etiquette at the basic level; how to obey the rules of a certain enviroment.

To the Alamo Drafthouse reading this, you are going to ask if I raised a card. My question to you is how do I raise a card when it’s your waiters that are creating the most confusion and ruckus, and what would you have done if I raised the card next to the children next to me? What would be the protocol then?

I don’t give a flying shit if I am appearing snobbish. There are rules for certain atmospheres. If you are in church, there are behavioral norms. If you are in a library, there are expectations. If you go to a movie theater, there are rules that are set. No phones. No talking. No excessive noise.

I feel like Big Brother watching over everyone, but sometimes order needs to be destroyed.

I guess it is time to get to the movie now.

Free Guy has been promoted for years and finally released this summer to solid reviews and strong audience reception. Ryan Reynolds plays Guy, a NPC in a virtual computer world. His persona is proof that artificial intelligence can learn and grow, which is detrimental to Millie (Jodie Cromer) and Keys (Joe Keery) who had their groundbreaking IP stolen by Antwan (Taika Waititi). Millie is trying to secure and recapture the project she and Keys used to work on together and together they need the help of Guy in the virtual world.

Free Guy is entertaining. That is maybe…all it has going for it? There is a lot happening and if you are a tech or video games guy, there are some nice subtle nods that can at least make you grin. However, the story of Free Guy is not good and its execution is super sloppy.

There are so many little continuity errors throughout the movie and many dumpy parts. For example, Keys tells Millie that there is no button for kissing within the game of Free City. Later in the movie, the second time Guy and Millie kiss, it’s Millie, who initiates the kiss. Also, let’s talk about the super shaky lazy writing in the end.

Here is some free help for the movie.

Reynolds does his best to carry the movie with his charisma but sometimes his supporting cast needs to help him. Cromer is wonderful (I may have a crush on her but that is fine). The acting of Waititi is really bad, but maybe it was meant to be that bad on purpose? Buddy (Lil Rel Howery) brings nothing to the movie; I never got any chuckles from his character.

Reynolds’ relentless optimism in Free City has some laughable moments, but the funniest part of the movie illuminates a problem as well.

When Guy is battling Dude (Aaron W. Reed), there are three things that both make and break the movie. Guy is getting his ass kicked until he brings out three Free City power-ups that pander to the audience. We get a lightsaber, captain America’s shield, and hulk’s fist smashing. The quick cut to Chris Evans screaming WTF is a good add-on but it shows how Free Guy needs to pull from IP of other things to get what you want for the audience. I am just struggling to grasp why the movie wanted to go there and needed to go there. It is a people pleaser, but again it seems like lazy writing to get a pop.

It can read as if I am absolutely thrashing Free Guy, but I swear this is not a terrible movie. It is a perfectly fine comedy that I am happy to see once and then forget about a week later.

However at @alamogreaterny, I will not forget the absolutely decrepit experience I had at the movie theater.

STANKO RATING: C+ (2.5/5 Stars)

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