Category Archives: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Spotlight (2015)

The purpose of religious observance is to provide community and structure to the ins and outs of our daily lives. That does not mean, however, that some within the clergy will use their power for less than honorable means.

The 2015 film, Spotlight, tells the story of how a group of journalists at the Boston Globe discovered that the Catholic Archdiocese was covering up a decades long child molestation scandal. Led by Michael Keaton, the team includes Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Brian d’Arcy James. Taking place over the course of a year, the audience is taken on a journey to uncover the truth and the lengths that were taken to cover up what the church would have preferred to remain hidden.

When this movie originally came out six years ago, I tried to see it in the theater. There is a reason why it was sold out. It is gripping, intelligent, and a bare knuckle ride from start to finish. This is why we go to the movies. It is also a reminder of why journalism is so important and can never be overlooked.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Throwback Thursday: Freaky Friday (1976 and 2003)

The only way we can truly understand someone else is to walk in their shoes.

In 1976, the movie Freaky Friday was released. In 2003, the reboot hit theaters. When a mother and her teenage daughter switch bodies (Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster in 1976 and Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan in 2003) for a day, the only way to return to normal is to see the world as the other sees it.

I like the unique appeal of both films. Besides the comedy of misunderstanding, the narrative comes from a genuine conflict that the mother has no idea what her daughter is going through and visa versa.

Do I recommend them? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Meet the Fockers (2004)

Meeting one’s potential or future in-laws can be a harrowing experience. You want to be yourself, but you also want to prove that you are the right person for their child.

The 2004 film, Meet the Fockers is the sequel to Meet the Parents (2000). Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) are engaged. Now that they have cleared the hurdle of her parents, Jack (Robert De Niro) and Dina (Blythe Danner), the next step is his parents. Compared to the straight laced, middle of the road Byrnes, Bernie and Rozalin Focker (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand) are very out there. Can these two very different set of parents find a middle ground and ensure that their children become Mr. and Mrs.?

Like it’s predecessor, this film is a satire. The comedy comes from the fact that the Fockers are a complete 180 from the Byrnes. My problem is that while it is funny, it relies a little too heavily on Jewish stereotypes when it comes to Hoffman’s and Streisand’s characters. While the cast is top notch, the script does not match the on-screen talent.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

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Throwback Thursday: American Wedding (2003)

First come high school. Second comes college. Then comes wedding bells.

The final film in the original American Pie trilogy is American Wedding (2003). Jim (Jason Biggs) and Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) are engaged. Anyone who has planned a wedding knows that it is not a simple process. There are too many things that have the potential to go wrong. That potential grows tenfold as Jim’s buddies step in to ensure that the day itself goes smoothly and Stiffler (Seann Williams Scott) puts together a bachelor party as only he can.

It felt like a natural end to the series and the emotional growth of the characters. You can only go so far with this stage in life before it gets old. The best writers know when it is time to tell new stories, it was time to close this book and start a new one, so to speak.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist (2016-Present)

The news does not stop when the traditional work week ends.

Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist premiered back in 2016 and has since become a regular part of the NBC schedule. A weekend offshoot of the long running talk show The Today Show, host Willie Geist walks the viewer through headlines of the day.

It is a pleasure to wake up to this show on Sunday morning. Geist has an every person quality to him, making it seem as if he is having a one on one conversation with the audience instead talking into a camera beaming into millions of televisions across the country.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)

When a film series reaches its finale, it has to have to important narrative aspects. The first is it own unique challenge to the characters. The second is that the ending must feel right.

D3: The Mighty Ducks premiered in 1996. The third film in the trilogy, it takes place several years after The Mighty Ducks (1992) and D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994). The team is now in high school. They are freshman at an elite private school in which they are strangers in a strange land. Their antagonist is the varsity team, who are not exactly welcoming to the latest additions to the student body with open arms.

Looking back, the problem with this particular film is that it feels like the screenwriters didn’t give it their all. It feels like for the most part, it is a carbon copy of the previous movies in the trilogy. Some aspects were changed, but the changes are almost cookie cutter. The unique energy that the first and second films had is not completely diminished, but it is not as bright as it could have been.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

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Throwback Thursday: True Caribbean Pirates (2006)

When it comes to certain era and personalities in history, there are two facets of the story: the myths that persist generations and centuries after they lived and the reality that is not always Hollywood-ized or convenient.

The 2006 History Channel documentary, True Caribbean Pirates, is the story of four legendary 18th century Caribbean pirates. Henry Morgan, Blackbeard, Anne Bonny (and Calico Jack Rackham and Mary Read by extension), and Black Bart Roberts. Interviewing historians, writers, and presenting filmed depictions, these elusive characters are presented in full color to a modern audience. It presents not just the expected imagery of the lives we expected them to live, but the pitfalls as well.

This is one of my favorite documentaries. It is entertaining, educational, and a window into a world that these days is seen to be more romantic and heroic than it actually was.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama

History is both fascinating and truthful, if we are willing to listen.

In 2013, The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama premiered on PBS. Hosted by British born historian Simon Schama, this mini-series talks about Jewish history from the ancient world to today.

I love this series. Schama obviously knows and loves this subject, but does not present it in a way that boring or academic. It is vibrant, alive, and relatable to our time. Regardless of faith or knowledge of the topic, the viewer (at least I did) will learn without realizing it.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Throwback Thursday: Dumb and Dumber (1994)

We all enjoy a good laugh. It is the best feeling in the world, especially after a long and difficult day. But the thing about comedy is that it can also be subjective. What is funny to one person falls flat for another.

The 1994 Dumb and Dumber is one of the classics of the 1990’s, Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and Harry (Jeff Daniels) are the best of friends. They also not the brightest bulbs in the box. When Mary (Lauren Holly, Carrey’s IRL ex) one of Lloyd’s clients leaves a briefcase in the limo he drives for a living, he and Harry go on a cross country journey to return it to her.

Sometimes, you just want to laugh. You don’t want to really think about it. Dumb and Dumber is one of those films. Even re-watching the trailer, I could feel my stress and my anxiety leaving my body, if only for a few minutes.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Throwback Thursday: Fools Rush In (1997)

When it comes to love and romance, it has been said that opposites attract. However, that does not mean that compromise and putting in the hard work to make the relationship last can be put aside.

In the 1997 romantic comedy Fools Rush In, Alex Whitman (Matthew Perry) and Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek) are as mismatched a couple as you can get. Fate brings them together in Las Vegas. Three weeks after a one night stand, Isabel discovers that she is pregnant. Before they know it, Alex and Isabel are married. The ceremony was the easy part. Now they have to learn to live with each other and get along with their new in-laws. Which as many married couples may tell you, is a battle in and of itself.

This movie is cute. It is the type of rom-com I would watch on a day that I needed to relax and get out my head for a little while. The comedy is also helped by the cultural differences between the main characters. It would be easy to present Alex as a typical uptight suburban white guy and Isabel as a saucy and spicy Latina. While the stereotypes are there, they are merely the backbone of who Alex and Isabel are. They are given ample room to grow well beyond the expectations the audience has for who they are and where their story will go.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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