Daily Archives: November 7, 2014

Flashback Friday-City Of Angels (1998)

In recent years, Nicholas Cage has not, in my opinion at least, made any decent movies.

16 years ago, this was not the case.

In City of Angels, Seth (Nicholas Cage) is an angel who guides the newly departed to the next life.  In the operating room, as Seth is waiting for his next assignment, he believes that Dr. Maggie Rice (Meg Ryan) is able to see him. Having the power to make himself seen by humans, Seth makes himself visible to Maggie. While developing the relationship with Maggie, Seth meets Nathaniel Messenger (Dennis Franz) a former angel who fell to earth and became human.  Deciding to see where the relationship with Maggie could go, Seth takes a chance and leaps. But what he does not anticipate is the repercussions of his choices.

What I like about this movie is that it is romantic without being predictably or overly cheesy. Meg Ryan and Nicholas Cage have excellent chemistry.  While movies about a supernatural being and a human (Yes, Twilight, I am looking at you) could turn out to be schmaltzy and predictable, this movie is not. It is an adult romance with all of the traditional hallmarks of a romantic drama, but it is not boring.

I recommend this movie.

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Flashback Friday-That Thing You Do (1996)

The history of popular music is littered with one hit wonders. For a short time, these performers dominate the music industry. Then for any number of reasons, their followup work is not successful and they join a long list of artists who are known as one hit wonders.

In 1996, the movie That Thing You Do, told the story of a fictional rock band who had one hit in the 1960’s and then disappeared from the industry.

The Wonders, a small town band from Pennsylvania has not had a lot of success outside of playing gigs at local restaurants and community college dances. When drummer Guy Patterson (Tom Everett Scott) joins the band, things begin to change, especially when they are noticed by Mr. White (Tom Hanks) . But egotistical leader singer Jimmy Mattingly  (Jonathan Schaech) could be the obstacle to their success as Guy begins to develop a friendship with Faye Dolan (Liv Tyler), Jimmy’s girlfriend, who is moonlighting as the band’s stylist.

The music for this movie is very catchy. While the story is slightly predictable, it is still a fun movie that is extremely enjoyable.

I recommend this movie.

 

 

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Flashback Friday- Empire Records (1995)

There is something nostalgic about the pre-internet, pre-itunes, mom and pop independent record store era in music. Those were the days when one had to go to a record store to find the latest album of their favorite artist.

In 1995, the movie Empire Records, told the story of an independent music store trying to get by in an increasing corporate business world and the personal crisis of the store’s employees.  The owner of the store, Joe Reaves (Anthony LaPaglia) is trying to keep his door open and his staff employed. His staff includes Debra (Robin Tunney), Mark (Ethan Embry),  Corey (Liv Tyler) and Gina (Renee Zellweger).

Empire Records had a then up and coming cast with mid 1990’s music that such an integral part of the era. The story of the small business owner trying to keep their doors open in the face of continued pressure to become a part of the corporate machine also stands out.

And for your viewing pleasure, Renee Zellweger singing seven years before she played Roxie Hart in Chicago.

I recommend this movie.

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The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)- Grease 2 (1982)

Grease is a classic. A light and frothy 1950’s high school romance between a greaser and a good girl, it has not left our cultural consciousness since it premiered in 1971. In 1982, four years after Grease was transferred from the stage to the screen, the good people who run Hollywood decided that Grease needed a sequel. Grease 2 was born.

Two years after the original greasers have graduated, there is new senior class. Michael Carrington (Maxwell Caulfield) is the new kid in school.  Stephanie Zinone, leader of the Pink ladies (Michelle  Pfeiffer), can only date greasers, according to the rules the social high school hierarchy.   Stephanie is becoming unsatisfied with her relationship with Johnny Nogerelli (Adrian Zmed), the leader of the T-Birds.

Stephanie kisses Michael based on a dare. Michael becomes infatuated with her. To get her to see him, he learns to ride a motorcycle, changes into a leather jacket and faces a potential rumble with the T-Birds.

This movie tries very hard to live up the reputation of it’s predecessor. The concept is there, but this movie isn’t. There are references to the original movie, with some of the original actors coming back for cameos or smaller roles. Despite the talent of the then young cast that includes Lorna Luft (Judy Garland’s daughter), the movie is not good.

Were the critics wrong? No.

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