Category Archives: Movies

Thoughts On The 20th Anniversary Of Titanic

On December 19th, Titanic turns 20.

Titanic is basically the story of a fictional upper class Juliet and a lower class Romeo set on the real ship. Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a poor artist who wins a ticket on the Titanic over a game of cards. Rose Dewitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) is a socialite who is unhappily traveling with her mother and fiance back to America. Fate brings them together, but can fate and love keep them together as the ship sinks and issues of class and wealth get in the way of a happy ending?

I was a teenager when this movie hit theaters. Like many teenagers back then, I thought the movie was, well, perfect. There was romance, drama, class politics, beautiful period clothing, and on top of it all, one of the most infamous naval disasters in modern human history.  When I look back at the film through the eyes of an adult, the luster is slightly gone, but this film will always have a place in my heart.  While James Cameron is not the best screenwriter, the narrative and dialogue could be much worse. Of course, it helps that Leo and Kate’s on-screen chemistry (and off-screen BFF relationship) is indisputable.

Titanic is one of those movies that 20 years later, I still know by heart. There are some movies that will always mark certain times in our lives. Titanic will always be a reminder of my teenage years.

I think I may watch it again, not just for old time’s sake, but because it’s still a pretty good movie.

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New Randy Rainbow Video-“She Was SIXTEEN GOING ON SEVENTEEN (Roy Moore Was 32)”

In light of the Senate race in Alabama tomorrow and the fact Roy Moore, an accused child rapist could win the Senate seat, Randy Rainbow has put out a new video. Appropriately and hilariously adapted from the song “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” from The Sound Of Music, the song points how skin crawling it is that a man in his thirties would want to date underage teenage girls.

I would hope that in light of the multiple accusations that have been released, that the Alabama voters would vote with their heads. But hope often only springs eternal, especially in our current political climate.

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Flashback Friday-40 Days And 40 Nights (2002)

Recovering from a breakup is never easy.  Especially when we thought that our ex was the one we would spend the rest of our lives with.

Matt (Josh Hartnett) is unhappily single.  He has not gotten over his ex-girlfriend, who is now engaged. Matt tries to get over her, but no matter how hard he tries, she is always on his mind. In a last-ditch attempt to finally get over his ex, he decides to give up all forms of sex for Lent. Then he meets Erica (Shannyn Sossamon), who might just be the one. The problem is that Lent has just begun and trying to be celibate is only the beginning of Matt’s problems.

I have mixed feelings about this movie. On one hand, the narrative is not the cookie cutter romantic comedy. But on the other hand, the narrative is not entirely unique.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday-Swimfan (2002)

Stupid mistakes are part of life. The question is, what will the consequences of those mistakes be?

In the 2002 movie, Swimfan, Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) has it all. A promising swimming career, a past that is behind him and a solid relationship with his girlfriend, Amy Miller (Shiri Appleby). Then he has a one night stand with Madison Bell (Erika Christensen).  Ben tries to make it clear to Madison that he has a girlfriend and is not interested in her, but Madison does not seem to care. She only wants Ben and will say and do anything to have him.

 

This movie is best described as Fatal Attraction set in high school. It’s not entirely bad, but the narrative and characters are a little cliche for me.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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The Shape Of Water Movie Review

The story of a romance between a human female and a non human or super human male is not new to readers or audiences.  This basic narrative has been rebooted many times over in many different ways for generations. The question is, can the writer or writers make their narrative stand out from similar narratives?

The new film, The Shape Of Water, takes place in 1962 Baltimore. Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a mute woman who works for a government facility in the janitorial department. She spends her time with her co-worker and friend (who talks enough for both of them),  Zelda (Octavia Spencer) and her middle-aged bachelor neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins). One day, a new classified experiment arrives the facility under the control of Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon). Elisa and Zelda are told to keep their time in the laboratory short, but Elisa’s curiosity gets the best of her.

The experiment is an Amphibian Man (Doug Jones), who Mr. Strickland would like to kill and experiment on. But Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) has a conscious and a secret reason for keeping the creature alive. Can Elisa save this creature and how will that forever change them both?

Using a fairy tale, Beauty and The Beast motif, this film is one of my favorite in 2017. I loved the basic fairy tale narrative blended with life in the early 60’s. Both The Cold War and The Civil Rights Movement are so seamlessly blended into the plot that the audience forgets about the history lesson they are receiving. I would not be surprised if this film did well come awards season.

I recommend it.

The Shape Of Water is presently in theaters. 

 

 

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Add Another One To The List Part VII: Geoffrey Rush

The list of prominent men accused of sexual assault or harassment by their female colleagues continues to grow. The newest name on this list is Australian actor Geoffrey Rush.

Rush, star of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, has stepped down from his role as as president of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts because of claims of inappropriate behavior by female staff.

The fact is that male privilege has gone unchecked for far too long. We are so ingrained, as a worldwide culture to not only show preference to men, but to look away and/or call women names who have had the balls to speak up when men have taken advantage of us sexually.

Frankly, it’s about bloody time that change is finally happening. If it makes some people (especially men) uncomfortable, then so be it. I would rather be uncomfortable and know that we are finally seeing real change rather than go back to watching the same sh*t happen all over again.

I could go on, but I think the skit from Saturday Night Live last night says it all.

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Thoughts On The 20th Anniversary of Anastasia

*Warning: this post contains spoilers read at your own risk.

On November 21st, 1997, the animated film Anastasia hit theaters.

Loosely based on the myth that Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia somehow survived the murder of her family in 1918, Anya (voiced by Meg Ryan) is an orphan who wants nothing more to find her family. Two con men, Dimitri (voiced by John Cusack) and Vladimir (Kelsey Grammer) convince her that she is Anastasia. Unbeknownst to Anya, there is a reward for the safe return of the grand duchess to her grandmother, The Dowager Empress Marie (voiced by Angela Lansbury). Neither Dimitri or Vladimir had any plans of splitting the reward with Anya, if she is believed to be Anastasia.

While this is happening, Rasputin (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) has risen from the dead and is eager to finish what he started ten years ago.

I look at this film, as I do its 1956 predecessor starring Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman, as a what if version of history. Especially in regards to the fact that Anastasia and Dimitri lived happily ever after. Marriages between commoners and royalty did not happen in that period.

Granted, the remains of  all of the Romanovs were not found and made saints of the Russian Orthodox Church until after this film came out. This left wiggle room for the screenwriters to use the myth of the surviving Anastasia as the skeleton of the narrative.

As a narrative loosely based on a myth, it’s a reasonably good film. But to hold it up as historical fact requires a bit too much for me.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Flashback Friday-Legend (1985)

One of the great things about movies is that they can take us to places that we could never go to in our daily lives.

In the 1985 movie Legend, Darkness (Tim Curry) wants to destroy daylight and create a world where only darkness reigns. To do so he must kill the last of the unicorns and marry the fairy princess Lili (Mia Sara). Lili happens to be the significant other of forest boy Jack (Tom Cruise).  Jack must both save Lili and prevent Darkness from taking over the world.

I have mixed feelings about this film. While the magical elements add to the supernatural reality of the world in the film, the narrative is completely predictable. My issue with the film is also that Mia Sara’s character is the typical damsel in distress/hero’s love interest.  There is nothing more to her other than to the girl in the film.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Late Throwback Thursday-A Goofy Movie (1995)

When you’re a teenager, the last thing many of us want is to be hauled halfway across the country by our parents.

In 1995’s A Goofy Movie, Max Goof (voiced by Jason Marsden) hates nothing more than to be embarrassed by his father, Goofy (voice by Bill Farmer). He also has a crush on Roxanne (voiced by Kellie Martin). To impress Roxanne, Max makes a promise that seems impossible to keep. In addition to the promise that will probably never become reality, Max is also dragged by his father on a cross-country road trip.

Goofy has always been on of those Disney characters that has always seemed to be on the periphery. It’s nice to see that he was given the spotlight without having to share it. I commend the creative team for trying to reach an older audience by creating a new character that they can relate to. My view of the film is this: if you’re a pre-teen or a early teenager, the movie is fine.  It’s not exactly intellectually stimulating, but not every movie has to be. But if your adult, this film feels too simple and too predictable.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Thoughts On The 26th Anniversary Of My Girl

Yesterday was the 26th anniversary of the initial release My Girl.

Set in 1972, Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) is a young lady on the verge of her teenage years. She lives with her widowed father Harry (Dan Aykroyd), who runs a funeral home and spends her free time with her best friend, Thomas J. Sennett (Macaulay Culkin). Life seems pretty steadfast, but things about to change. First there is her father’s new girlfriend, Shelly DeVoto (Jamie L. Curtis) and then there is Vada’s crush on her much older teacher, Mr. Bixler (Griffin Dunne). It’s going to be an interesting summer.

This movie, is both unique to two distinct groups of audience members and universal, if such a thing is possible. For those who were Vada’s age in the early 1970’s, it’s a trip down memory lane. For my generation, it is a reminder of our late preteen years and how long ago that feels. But it is also universal because we were all that age once and we all had to deal with a new set of complications and grey areas that we were not aware of previously.

The movie also has a killer soundtrack with some of the greatest songs ever produced.

I can’t believe it’s been 26 years since this movie hit theaters. If you haven’t seen it, I would recommend that you do. I would also recommend that you have a box of Kleenex nearby. Trust me, you will need it.

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