Throwback Thursday-Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)

For all of the wonderful qualities that America offers her citizens, there is a dark underbelly that is difficult to address.

That is, unless your Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Borat).

Mr. Cohen’s 2006 mockumentary, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, is a satire of an foreign man’s view of The United States. It also exposes the squeamish arenas of our culture that few are willing to truly look at.  Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) is a journalist from Kazakh TV. He has been sent by his producers to make a documentary on what it is to be an American. While watching television, he comes across a Baywatch rerun and becomes obsessed with Pamela Anderson to the point of finding her and marrying her. 

It takes a bold comic to go all out into a character like Borat. Borat is not the most likable of characters. But it also takes a bold comic to reveal the truth. And boy, does he reveal the truth.

I absolutely recommend it.


Throwback Thursday-Blast From The Past (1999)

The Cold War was a scary time in The United States. Americans genuinely believed that the Soviet Union were at any moment aiming nuclear rockets, ready to kill millions.

Adam (Brendan Fraser) was raised in a bomb shelter. His parents, Calvin (Christopher Walken) and Helen (Cissy Spacek) believe that the nuclear war between America and the Soviet Union started in earnest. They raised their only son in the shelter. After 35 years in the bomb shelter, it is the only world that Adam knows.

Adam is sent to the surface to get food and supplies. He is extremely surprised that not only is the world intact, but it has changed since his family went underground. He also meets Eve (Alicia Silverstone), who is the cynical ying to Adam’s naive yang. Eve agrees reluctantly agrees to help Adam find the food and supplies that he needs.  As they work together, something changes within their relationship. Will they end their partnership once Adam has acquired what he has come up to the surface to find or is there something more?

This movie is not completely subpar in terms of the romantic comedy genre, but it’s not the best that the genre can offer audiences. The chemistry between the two leads is questionable during some scenes. But it’s cute, which in terms of the genre, means it not all bad.

And the swing dancing scene is very cool.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Throwback Thursday-The Brady Bunch Movie (1995) & A Very Brady Sequel (1996)

The Brady Bunch is without a doubt classic television. It was the gateway between the surgery sweet predictable domestic/families comedies that came before it and the programs that came after it that was closer to real life.

After several decades of reruns, the television show was brought to the big screen. In 1995, The Brady Bunch Movie premiered. A satirical take on the television series, the movie places the sugary sweet 1960’s/1970’s  Brady Bunch characters into a mid 1990’s cynical world. Mike (Gary Cole) and Carol (Shelley Long) need to raise $20,000 within a week. If they don’t, they will loose their house to their scheming neighbor Larry Dittmeyer (Michael McKean). As usual, it is up the Brady kids to save the day.

This movie is dated, but in a good way. For fans of the original series, the in jokes and wink, wink, nudge, nudge nuances are built in. For those looking to skewer The Brady Bunch in a satirical way, that is also built into the script.

A year later, the sequel premiered.

A Very Brady Sequel (1996) answered the question that The Brady Bunch never seemed answer: What happened to Mike and Carol’s previous spouses? Roy Martin (Tim Matheson) arrives on the doorsteps of the Brady’s house claiming to be Carol’s first husband.  Roy is easily embraced by the family, but he may have more in mind than reuniting with his supposed ex-wife and daughters.

Riding on the satirical wave from the first film, this film dives even further in the Brady lore. While it is not as good as the first film, it still holds up as a decent entertainment.

I recommend them both.

Throwback Thursday- Jurassic Park (1993)

Science and mother nature are wondrous things. Their creations can be beautiful and dangerous. It becomes more dangerous when man enters the equation and starts to mess with science and mother nature.

Michael Crichton’s startlingly real 1990 novel, Jurassic Park can be boiled down to two sentences: don’t mess with mother nature. Mother nature always wins.

In 1993, the novel was adapted into a highly successful film. A new theme park has opened. It’s name is Jurassic Park. The park’s shtick is that cloned dinosaurs have been brought back to life after millions of years. The park’s human visitors can marvel at creatures who they have only seen in pictures or whose bones litter the world’s museums. But then the power goes down and the animals are in control.

This movie scared the you know what out of me back in the day. The story itself is enough to startle the living daylights out of some audience members, but the special effects made the audience jump out of their seats.

I absolutely recommend it.


Throwback Thursday- Mommie Dearest (1981)

Adopting a child is a mitzvah. But that does not mean that the adopted parent is emotionally prepared for the child that they are raising.

On the surface, Christina Crawford may seem like a lucky young lady. Adopted by film star Joan Crawford, Christina and her brother Christopher were given many of the material comforts of life. But that does not make up the abuse that she alleges in her 1978 book, Mommie Dearest.

In 1981, the book was adapted into a film with Faye Dunaway playing the screen star and Diana Scarwid playing the adult Christina, remembering the abusive childhood she lived through.

This movie is pure camp. But the abuse, especially if one has experienced similar childhood events are frighteningly real.

I recommend it.

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