Category Archives: Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: The Blind Side (2009)

Education, as we all know, unlocks the key to our future. When we don’t have access to that education, that lack of access has the possibility of lifelong consequences.

The 2009 film, The Blind Side, is based on the true story of former NFL player Michael Oher. The narrative comes from the book, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, by Michael Lewis. In his teenage years, Oher (Quinton Aaron) was a young man who had almost nothing. Coming from a large African-American family that was dealing with poverty, homelessness, and addiction. Taken in by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her family, he is being given the opportunity that many of his peers will never receive.

When he shows a spark of interest and the ability to play football, this opens the door to a life path that he never expected.

Without knowing anything about the real people behind the story, it is a tale of seeing potential in a young person who does not believe that they have any. Bullock won an Oscar for the role and deserved it. Her role is that of a mama bear who loves and protects her young ones with a ferocity that never wavers.

There are two perspectives on the movie. The first is that it is at heart, a white savior narrative. From a certain point of view, it is extremely problematic. The other is that it humanizes the white evangelical Christian Republicans. These days, it’s easy to demonize this crowd. This story shows that they are just like the rest of us, even when we disagree on a litany of topics.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies, Politics

Flashback Friday: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

When the sequel to a highly successful film is released, the expectation is that this second narrative will hold up on its own while giving proper respect to its predecessor.

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) is the follow-up to the blockbuster 90’s movie Independence Day. It takes place a generation after Earth was nearly obliterated by an invading alien army. Humanity has taken thorough advantage of the advancement in technology. When the aliens return with revenge on the mind and a military force that has doubled in size, our heroes must once again save the day.

Two generations combine forces. the newbies Jake Morrison (Liam Hemsworth), Patricia Whitworth (Maika Monroe), and Dylan Hiller (Jessie T. Usher) eagerly join the fight. Backing them up are veterans David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), Julius Levinson (Judd Hirsch), former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman), and Jasmine Hiller (Vivica A. Fox). It will take all of them working together to repel the attackers and keep our world going.

I love the first movie. It is everything a film of this nature should be. I wish I could say the same about Independence Day: Resurgence. While the visuals are fantastic, they cannot make up for the meh storyline and unimpressive character arcs. The emotions that I felt while watching Independence Day are missing. It was as if the screenwriters and creative team lost the spark. Unfortunately, it comes off a soulless easy cash grab based on nostalgia, which doesn’t always work.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Independence Day Explosion GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment - Find & Share on GIPHY

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday: Celebrity Deathmatch (1998-2001, 2006-2007)

My favorite thing about satire is that it is a type of comedy that knows no bounds. It can take any form and mock any subject or narrative.

Celebrity Deathmatch aired originally on MTV from 1998 to 2001 and then from 2006 to 2007. The program satirized sports entertainment (i.e. wrestling). Using claymation, various celebrities were put into the wrestling ring, resulting in injuries that can only be described as gruesome and over the top.

Warning: the images may be too adult for some viewers.

What we also have to remember about satire is that what is funny to one person is not funny to another. I do remember when the show was on the air, but it was not for me then and it is not for me now.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review

Flashback Friday: History of the World: Part I (1981)

Mel Brooks is a legend for a reason. His comedy is hilarious, gut-busting, not exactly politically correct, and has kept generations of fans entertained.

His 1981 film, History of The World: Part I is a series of short stories about various times in world history told as only Brooks can. The list of co-stars is impressive (many of whom starred in multiple Brooks movies): Gregory Hines, Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, Cloris Leachman, etc.

Like all Mel Brooks productions, the movie is highly laughable and highly quotable. Every time I put this one on, I know that I will have a good time. Though I bristle at the extreme sexism in the French Revolution section (even when I know it is satire), I love Madeline Kahn’s character during the Roman era. It is Kahn at her best.

The other section that I look forward to every time is the Inquisition. As he did in The Producers, he mocks and takes the power away from the haters while making the viewer laugh.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Madeline Kahn GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, History, Judaism, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday: Work Out (2006-2008)

There are very few workplaces in which reality television has not touched.

The Bravo reality show Work Out aired from 2006 to 2008. The follow-up to another series from the network, Blow Out, the program follows Beverly Hills gym owner Jackie Warner as she both runs her business and deals with issues in her private life. As with every program in the genre, there is lots of drama that is supposed to draw the viewer in and keep them engaged.

Back then, it was appealing. It was a mixture of the beautiful people and their problems. Whether or not those problems were real or manufactured for the camera is another thing entirely. But just because I watched then does not mean I would watch it now.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Television, TV Review

Flashback Friday: Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

When a film is successful, the obvious response from the powers that be is to greenlight a sequel. Whether or not that second film has the same success as its predecessor is not as certain.

The 2003 movie, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle is the follow-up to the 2000 film, Charlie’s Angels. After three years, the Angels- Dylan (Drew Barrymore), Alex (Lucy Liu), and Natalie (Cameron Diaz) have another case on their hands. Led by the ever-faithful Bosley (the late Bernie Mac, replacing Bill Murray), they have to locate and protect two rings that contain information on the Federal Witness Protection Program database.

Standing in their way is the potentially suspect fallen Angel Madison (Demi Moore) and bad guy/Dylan’s ex Seamus (Justin Theroux).

As sequels go, it’s not bad. The problem is that the spark that made its predecessor successful is dimmed. It is entertaining, but not as good as the original narrative.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday: Hope Floats (1998)

After heartbreak, the obvious thing would be to bury your head in the sand and pretend that nothing is wrong. But at a certain point, we have to make a decision as to whether we want to move on or let that heartbreak control us.

In the 1998 rom-com, Hope Floats, Birdie Pruitt (Sandra Bullock) is a former beauty queen whose husband has just revealed on national TV that he is cheating on her. Once the divorce papers are signed, Birdie moves back to her hometown with her daughter Bernice (Mae Whitman). Facing the gossip mongers and former classmates who are loving her public downfall, she runs into an old friend. Justin Matisse (Harry Connick Jr.) has had a thing for Birdie for years and has yet to verbalize his feelings.

As they spend more time together and Birdie starts to open up, she starts to see the possibility of where this relationship could go. But before they can go from platonic to romantic, she has Bernice to consider. Will Birdie be able to date again while being the mother her daughter needs or will she remain in the cocoon of what was?

I really like this movie. It’s a classic 1990’s Sandra Bullock romantic comedy. Though we know how the story will eventually end, I find this film to be charming, entertaining, and deeper than others within the genre.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

3 Comments

Filed under Flashback Friday, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday: The Artist (2011)

The transition in Hollywood from silent era movies to talkies in the 1920s is a fascinating one. Actors who were at the top of the pyramid suddenly found themselves out of work when sound became the new normal.

The 2011 film, The Artist, is the story of this transition. George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is the biggest star in the world. He also has an ego to match. Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) is a fan whose career goal is to be a dancer. During a movie premiere, they bump into each other and she kisses him on the cheek as photographers surround them.

Gaining instant fame, Peppy gets a chance to audition and sees her dreams become reality. But as she becomes a star, talking pictures start to take over and George’s time in the spotlight starts to fade.

This movie is absolutely lovely. It is charming, entertaining and the perfect love letter to the movies.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

1 Comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, History, Movie Review, Movies

Flashback Friday: Radiolab (2002-Present)

It has been said that curiosity killed the cat. But it also leads us to ask questions and perhaps create a better world from those questions.

The NPR and WNYC podcast, Radiolab, has been on the air since 2002. Hosted by Jad Abumrad, Lulu Miller, and Latif Nasser, this show uses curiosity as a launching pad for an in-depth examination of various subjects such as science, news, and history. Known for adding both sounds and music, each takes the viewer in a direction that could be both surprising and educational.

Though I don’t regularly listen to this podcast, they sometimes have interesting episodes. What I do appreciate is the unorthodox approach that is taken in both the topic and their approach to the topic.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

New episodes of Radiolab are released every Sunday.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Podcast, Podcast Review, WNYC

Flashback Friday: Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back (2000)

No one gets through life without a few bumps in the road. The only question is if it holds up back or makes us stronger.

The TV movie biopic, Meat Loaf: To Hell and Back (2000), tells the story of the late singer and actor. Marvin Lee “Meat Loaf” Aday (W. Earl Brown) was born in Texas to a loving mother dying of cancer and a father who was far from parent of the year. As a young man, tormented by his father and peers due to his size and decided to strike out on his own.

Fate would lead him to an audition for a musical where he met future music partner Jim Steinman (Zachary Throne). Together, they would create Bat Out of Hell, which has become one of the best-selling and most respected albums of all time. But while Meat Loaf had incredible career success and a happy family life, his demons were not too far behind him.

As I recall, I enjoyed watching it. It reveals both the highs and the lows in a way that is entertaining without being too heavy, kitschy, or predictable. In telling Meat Loaf’s story, I would hope that members of the audience find the courage to overcome their own demons.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Leave a comment

Filed under Flashback Friday, Music, Television, TV Review