Thursday, October 29, 2020

Reserved Seating: FUN SIZE and Wrapping Up Scary Movie Month

 by Adam Riske and Rob DiCristino

The review duo who were reminded that cinema can have no rules.

Adam: Welcome to Reserved Seating. I’m Adam Riske.

Rob: And I’m Rob DiCristino.
Adam: We’re closing out the month of October with a discussion of the outlaw cinema classic, Fun Size.

Rob: Sorry to interrupt so early, but “The Outlaw Cinema Classic” had damn well better be on the slipcover when Scream Factory eventually releases this.

Adam: This is a movie of some fame within the F This Movie! ranks, as you and Patrick have waxed poetic on it with such gusto that it put my expectations for the film through the roof. I finally sat down and watched Fun Size last weekend and if anything, you two under-sold the movie. It’s like a pre-teen Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Anything can happen in Fun Size. I’m all for dangerous Nickelodeon Studio movies (Dickeldeon??? Nope! Dangerlodeon??? Better.). The film starts off with the legendary Keevin making an appearance and while I was prepared by you and Patrick that there was a character named Keevin, you did not tell me that it’s the same actor that played Bo Callahan in Draft Day. This was only the beginning of this picture’s delights.

I am forever grateful to you, Patrick and “Cobwebs: A Gothic Cinema Podcast” host (and friend of the site), Daniel Epler for bringing this masterpiece into my life. I have so many thoughts. Why is Jane Levy not the biggest star in the world? How is Wren DeSantis (Victoria Justice) boring but also someone for whom I would cross oceans of time? Why did the filmmakers not let the mute kid (played by Jackson Nicoll) talk throughout the movie when it’s revealed in the end credits that he’s maybe his generation’s John Belushi?
Rob: First thing’s first: We absolutely need to figure out what Nickelodeon’s equivalent of Touchstone Pictures would be called. It sucks that Nick At Night is taken. Is Nick At Night still a thing? Let’s just go with “Dangerlodeon,” for now, because Fun Size is maybe the hardest PG-13 kids’ movie I’ve ever seen. Mid-level profanity, casual kidnapping and pedophilia jokes, Bo Callahan having kitchen sex with your mom right in front of you, an entire boob-groping set piece, a giant animatronic chicken making fierce love to a Volvo, Johnny Knoxville...I mean, it’s endless. I love your description of it as “dangerous” and the comparison to Harold and Kumar. I was thinking of something like Adventures in Babysitting, too, which is probably not as dangerous as I remember it being, but it has that same kind of up-all-night vibe. Fun Size is like a gateway drug that leads to Can’t Hardly Wait and After Hours.

Adam: It’s weird because the movie isn’t pushing the envelope in comparison to the thousands of R-rated movies we’ve both seen, but Fun Size feels more transgressive simply because it’s a Nickelodeon production. The movie is radical.

Rob: For sure. The longer you watch it, the more it makes you reckon with the expectations you had for a kid’s network television Halloween movie. We have to talk about Kid Belushi, though, about his magical sprite powers and how he reveals the true meaning of Halloween to everyone he meets. Things get so weird so fast that you almost forget about the whole grieving family dynamic from the opening, but there’s definitely this secret thematic undercurrent about him processing his grief by helping Thomas Middleditch right wrongs in his own life. He’s like this Greek Chorus that checks in every now and again to keep every character as morally upstanding as possible. He’s kind of incredible. The post-credits sequence should have been him officiating Fuzzy’s wedding to Sci-Fi Carly Rae Jepsen instead of the weird Jerky Boys and Farts thing.
Adam: I loved the post-credits, though. It comes about 3 minutes after the big moment where the kid drops candy off at his dad’s grave (because they used to go trick-or-treating together and it was the kid’s happiest memory) and then he finally says his first words of the movie to his sister, Victoria Justice. It’s the sweet, emotional beat at the end of the movie. Then in the post-credits, little dude throws that sentiment in our faces and is like “I could talk this whole time.” I felt like I was watching Andy Kaufmann/Tony Clifton.

Rob: That’s a good point. It’s like he resolves his trauma and becomes a character from a ‘90s kids movie. He needs a talking dog and a slingshot. And yeah, Jane Levy pops so hard that you can’t believe they didn’t rewrite the entire script around her. Actually — speaking of One Crazy Night movies — it’s kind of similar to Ari Graynor’s inspired and insane performance in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist from a few years before. She takes a very stock character and somehow gives her enough inner life to make a scene in which (*checks notes*) fumes from the Nair on her butt give a cat an allergy attack (?) really work.

Remember when Chelsea Handler goes to the Keevin party and walks in on the dad reading Fifty Shades of Grey? And then the mom offers her tea and there’s an entire scene in which a pair of WASPs politely scold Chelsea Handler for dating a 22-year-old? AND THEN WE JUST MOVE ON WITH THE MOVIE? Wait. Remember when Alexander Hamilton Guy had a duel with that Dude Bro and shot his fried chicken out of his hand? Because the Dude Bro was...using fried chicken as a gun in a duel? Which was happening? In this movie? I almost watched Barry Lyndon after this was over. It was so strange. And, like, what kind of human being is Johnny Knoxville playing? There are so many head-scratchers. Did you have a favorite?

Adam: Not head-scratchers exactly, but I laughed a lot at the scene where the stereo broke while it was blasting Josh Groban. It’s not revolutionary comedy writing, but the way it’s staged is pretty terrific. The moment I laughed hardest was a throwaway line when Keevin meets up with one of his friends at their house party and the guy says something like “I’m so stressed out. I just worked like 13 hours this week. I’M READY TO CUT LOOSE!” To be honest, this wasn’t a movie of constant laugh out loud moments, but it did that thing where I was analyzing the movie as I watched it and was awestruck by the decision-making. It doesn’t simply break the rules. It’s like it doesn’t even know there’s rules to these types of movies. It was like how people describe Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left where part of the potency is that Craven didn’t grow up watching movies, so he didn’t know you weren’t supposed to go this far. Keep telling yourself, “It’s only Fun Size. It’s only Fun Size. It’s only Fun Size.”
Rob: That’s such a perfect way to describe it. Honestly, Fun Size isn’t really all that funny. But it’s subversive and idiosyncratic and kind of poking fun at its genre as it embraces it? There are so many moments that are just like, “What? What was that? What was the decision-making process there?” They’re never cheap or gross-out bits, though. Like, even that Nair thing I mentioned is just so fucking weird that — even if it’s staged awkwardly and doesn’t quite land — it’s special because you know that it would never have occurred to a lazy or populist comedy writer. Everything feels like someone trying to express something, which lends to it also being such a good-natured, hopeful movie. I mean, all that Def Jam/Mike D. stuff is super sweaty and feels a bit forced, but it’s a deceptively cathartic resolution to that undercurrent of grief I mentioned earlier. Damn. Fun Size really sneaks up on you.

Adam: 2012 was a great year for movies. It’s even better because Fun Size rewrote the rules. Anything else about Fun Size? What do you have left to watch this month? I rented the new documentary Wolfman’s Got Nards, which is about The Monster Squad and its resurgence over time. I also want to revisit Jennifer’s Body. I didn’t like the movie back in 2009 but want to give it another try.

Rob: I revisited Jennifer’s Body after talking with Patrick about it on the Psycho show, and I think it’s a lot like The Catcher in the Rye: It’s not meant to be appreciated by anyone over seventeen. I can intellectually appreciate the craft, but I’ll never speak its language. That’s okay! It wasn’t made for me. I’m still glad that it’s becoming a cult classic.

As for remaining projects, I’ve decided to make my way through Rob Zombie’s filmography in these last waning days of #ScaryMovieMonth. I haven’t seen anything except his Halloweens in the last few years, and I’ve still never seen 3 From Hell or 31. So that’ll be fun. I’d also like to plan a double feature for Halloween night with trailers and snacks and stuff. I probably won’t actually be able to watch the movies, but I’ve mentioned to you before that I want to develop that programming muscle that you and Patrick flex so often. Just two movies, though? It feels impossible. I might try a few different ideas and see what happens.

Adam: Keep me posted. I’m not sure what I’ll be watching on Halloween yet. The drive-in has a triple feature of Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Wolfman so maybe that, but I’m leaning towards staying home and letting Comcast take the wheel. It’s been a great month! I’m looking forward to November and watching non-horror. I somehow have made it the entire month without going outside of the genre.

Next week we’ll be back with a Pacino review for his 2016 thriller Misconduct, co-starring Anthony Hopkins and Josh Duhamel. Until next time…

Rob: These seats are reserved.


  1. the title is on point. it's fun and it's not too long. saw it the week it was released and had a ton of fun. will rewatch :)

  2. This article is almost as good as FUN SIZE.

  3. Never knew Jane Levy was in this. It just became a must watch.

  4. I have not seen Fun Size but you guys made me want to watch it immediately!!!

  5. I am intrigued. Thanks for the fun size review, guys!