About R.L. Naquin
R.L. Naquin is a writer with a variety of tools in her utility belt. She writes! She reviews! And as contributing editor, she helps bring order to the chaos that is Movie Smackdown! When she isn't writing or editing, Rachel likes to read on her Kindle, watch movies, and play games on her computer. Often at the same time. And because she possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Disney, she loves to play Disney Trivia with unsuspecting opponents.

The Smurfs (2011) -vs- The Muppet Movie (1979)

July 31, 2011 R.L. Naquin

Bizarre cameos, nostalgic characters, and jokes aimed at adults, all thrown into Kiddieland — the Muppets franchise has built its success on this format. Can The Smurfs compete in the ring, or are they riding entirely on warm, fuzzy memories of the ‘80s?

Most movies for kids are either cutesy fluff or rapid chains of sight gags and butt jokes. A nod and a wink alluding to some adult, inside joke might get thrown in to keep the grownups from getting restless. In Madagascar, for example, a lemur runs around in a panic yelling “It’s a cookbook!” referring to an old Twilight Zone episode. That one was for Mom and Dad, since few 5-year olds are well-versed in old sci-fi classics. I laughed like a maniac. My kids were unmoved.

On the other hand, there are movies intended for adults and kids to share together. The shorties are entertained, but the adults are rewarded with surprise cameos, grownup quips, and best of all, a healthy dose of nostalgia. […]

Goodbye, Harry Potter

July 11, 2011 R.L. Naquin

Thirteen years ago, J. K. Rowling captured lightning in a bottle and stamped it across Harry’s forehead as his signature scar.

The success of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was unexpected, came out of nowhere, and swept across the world in a feeding frenzy. Momentum gathered, and the first movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was released three short years later. What followed was a phenomenon both the publishing and the film industries will be hard-pressed to duplicate.

This week’s release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has been ten years in coming, and we’ve journeyed far with the characters. From the first movie to the last, change drove the franchise forward. There was nothing stagnant about the characters or the films. […]

The Hangover Part II (2011) -vs- Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004)

May 31, 2011 R.L. Naquin

It’s widely understood that men are little boys who constantly behave badly and get into trouble. Women stand by and judge, often bailing the men out of trouble. Women, of course, are the grownups of the world, while men are too immature to be left alone without female supervision.

That’s crap. Women can get into just as much trouble as men, and in fact, can behave in an equally self-destructive fashion.

In this SmackDown! it’s the boys against a girl in sequel comedies that whisk us away on ill-advised trips to Thailand. The Hangover Part II takes on Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in an attempt to determine which sex is the stupidest.

Can the Wolf Pack take on a lone she-wolf and come out the victorious fools?

That’s crap. Women can get into just as much trouble as men, and in fact, can behave in an equally self-destructive fashion. […]