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Movies Blog

The Hack Stamp: FREE BIRDS

by Scott Renshaw
- Posted // 2013-11-01 - It's an animated movie about turkeys. Most critics didn't like it. Guess how the lazy ones described it.

Yes, Free Birds is the kind of movie for which The Hack Stamp exists: a movie with ready-made metaphorical catch phrases for the reviews. And that means plenty of references to the alternate meaning of "bird commonly served for Thanksgiving dinner":

“Frozen, undercooked and sorely lacking much in the way of ‘all the trimmings,’ this turkey isn’t ready to serve.” – Roger Moore, McClatchy News Service

“Although it seldom approaches the inspiration of its plucky premise … Free Birds nevertheless manages to avoid being branded a holiday turkey.” – Michael Rechtshaffen, Hollywood Reporter

“Yup, you guessed it, folks. This one's a turkey!” – Teddy Durgin, Screen It! (The exclamation point is helpful in case we might miss the wit involved.)

“[T]here’s no way to cover up what this movie is: a turkey.” – Chris Hewitt, St. Paul Pioneer Press

“This is a turkey of a film for the whole MSG-addled family, undercooked to imperfection.” – Jim Tudor, TwitchFilm

But let's not forget ways to incorporate other Thanksgiving-dinner-related references:

Free Birds should get stuffed.” – William Bibbiani, Crave Online

“Month-old mashed potatoes wouldn’t leave behind as questionable an aftertaste as Free Birds…” – Justin Chang, Variety

“The next hour is ... totally different and is as dull as Thanksgiving leftovers.” – Gary Wolcott, Tri-City Herald

“Even fresh, Free Turkeys [sic] is lame; it probably fares even worse as leftovers.” – Drew Taylor, IndieWire

“[T]here’s little reason to be thankful for this undercooked, over-stuffed effort.” – Liam Lacey, Toronto Globe and Mail

“A stale turkey hash that heaves a lot of ingredients in the oven but never turns on the gas…” – David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Enquirer

Wait, what if you want to suggest that a film about turkeys might put you to sleep? Hmmm...

“Watching this film, however, is like getting a hearty dose of L-tryptophan.” – Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

“Think of how sleepy you become after Thanksgiving dinner and you’ll know the effect of Free Birds…” – Matt Pais, Red Eye

“…the real problem was that Free Birds just seemed a little slow (maybe it's all the tryptophan?)”—Kathy Jakicic, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Then there's this uniquely delightful mixed metaphor:

“It would be too generous to call Free Birds a delight, but if you’re up for a bit of an unusual flight, by all means dig in.” – Mark Meszoros, News-Herald (Willoughby, Ohio)

Yes, by all means: Dig into this flight, mmmm ... flight.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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