Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Episode 14: "Memphis Belle"

"Memphis Belle" receives the distinct honor of being the first movie watched on our new monster TV. It will forever be remembered for that, at least for this writer.

Anyway, "Belle" is based on the true story of a B-17 bomber and its crew who successfully completed 25 missions during World War II. After their final mission, the crew was brought home to the States as heroes and (most) spent the remainder of the war selling bonds. The real-life Memphis Belle was recovered from a scrap yard in 1946 and, after years of being a mainstay near the city it is named for, is currently undergoing restoration.

The film follows the crew as they prepare for and subsequently go on what will be their last bombing run. Each of the 10 crew members is extremely well cast. Sean Astin (pre-"Rudy"), Matthew Modine, Harry Connick, Jr., D.B. Sweeney, and Billy Zane (pre-"Titanic") all play their parts to a tee. Perhaps the biggest star at the time, Eric Stoltz, shows here why he was considered to be a contender for The Next Big Thing. His portrayal of Sgt. Danny Daly brings depth and poignancy to the film. David Strathairn and John Lithgow, respectively, play the crew's commanding officer and the Army PR guy brought in to sell them to the American public. No one involved is a true movie superstar of any sort but all together they make a strong, competent team.

It's been a while since I had watched this movie and I was quickly reminded of why it works. There are really only 12 characters in the whole movie but each of them is, for lack of a better term, incredibly HUMAN. John Lithgow is a little out there but the rest of these guys seem like your next door neighbors. And that's why "Belle" works where other war-era movies fail. It's not just that you root for the characters, it's that you BELIEVE in the characters and you feel like you know them. During the action sequences, which are spliced together with real footage from WWII dogfights, you get tense and you care about the boys in the plane. Aside from "Saving Private Ryan," (which is like the Michael Jordan of modern war movies) I feel comfortable calling "Belle" one of, if not the, best. A+.

Best character: Eric Stoltz, Danny Daly
Connick (in his first film role) and Astin are both excellent as well.

Best scene: The Letter Reading scene
Straithairn drags Lithgow into his office and forces him to read some of the letter he has received from those who've had a loved under his command die. The words are spoken over real dogfight shots, making a very powerful and sobering impact.

Best line:
McVey - "Has anyone seen my St. Anthony's medal?"
Daly - "Isn't he the Patron Saint of lost things?"
McVey - "Ya I can't find it."
(For all it's merits, "Belle" is not exactly a quotable movie.)

There needs to be a Blu-Ray version of this soon,

"Memphis Belle" through Lindsey's eyes:

So I'm writing the review for this WAY later. We watched this a couple of weeks ago and I'm the worst wife ever. I've been totally bringing this project down with my busy work schedule. I love how I read his review and thought, "This was the first movie we watched on our new TV?" That right there, shows how much movies mean to Brian and not so much to me. Brian helps me stay aware of the movie world.

I have mixed feelings about this movie. I definitely appreciate it and I understand why people like it, but I was soooo incredibly stressed out the whole time. In a movie like that, I need to know what happens. I was too drawn into the characters that I just couldn't enjoy the movie because I was afraid of death. Gosh, I'm nervous in my heart just thinking back on that evening.

When I wasn't stressed out, I was trying to figure out where I had seen all the characters before. Goodness, there were a lot of familiar faces. While watching the movie, I inserted lines in my head from their past movies. "The Cutting Edge" guy yelled out "Toe Pick!" occasionally throughout the flight. Then the nerd from "Can't Buy Me Love" yelled out "Look, it's the African Ant Eater Ritual!" as they flew over their target. I've got to keep myself entertained when my mind wanders.

I would definitely recommend this movie and MAYBE I would like it more the second time, now that I know what I'm getting myself into.

"The Cutting Edge" may replace "Rockin with Judy Jetson" on my list,


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Episode 13: L.A. Confidential

"L.A. Confidential" is a crime-thriller set in the 50s. It follows the detectives of the LAPD and the cast of characters that surround them. Every one of the characters, with the exception of Golden Boy Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), is dirty in some way, but the corruption of some exceeds all else. And that's kind of how "Confidential" goes: everyone is dirty and at times it turns into a circle of betrayal. Yet the characters (for the most part) are so likable and so smooth that you don't mind rooting for a dirty cop, just as long as he's not as dirty as the next one. In fact you kind of don't like the one clean cop because he's such a tool. Eventually, through some incredible investigate twists and turns (and one of my favorite "I'm dying but I'm going to trick the bad guy into outing himself to everyone else" scenes ever), the real bad guys are exposed and the good guys, though flawed, shine through. It is a stylish piece of film noir that is, in all honesty, fun to watch despite it's subject matter. (I really don't even know what "noir" means, I just feel like it's the type of description that a film like "Confidential" would garner.)

I have to commend Lindsey for sitting through this movie without falling asleep or playing Hearts on her iPhone. When I think of "Confidential" I think of how slick it is and how well it flows. It moves seamlessly from scene to scene, the settings are spectacular, and the dialogue stylishly works that classic 50s vocabulary without getting too bogged down. The performances by Pearce, Russell Crowe (before he was really Russell Crowe), Danny Devito, and especially Kevin Spacey are incredible; incredible enough to make an awful actress like Kim Basinger look so good that she even won an Oscar. But I forget how convoluted the story line is and how hard it can be to follow. I love that type of movie where you really have to pay attention to connect the dots, where you have to know all the character's names to understand what's happening. As long as it's an entertaining story, I am always in for that type of movie. Lindsey, on the other hand, is not. The fact that she was still awake when "Confidential" ended is a testament both to the movie's strength and Lindsey's commitment to this little experiment. (That is, this blog, not our marriage. :)) B+.

Best character: Jack Vincennes, Kevin Spacey
Not even close. Mid 90's Kevin Spacey is incredible (as we'll discuss when we get to "The Usual Suspects").

Best scene: The "Rolo Tamosi" scene
No spoilers here but when someone dies and utters the words, "Rolo Tamosi" to his killer, I kind of got chills the first time I saw it, knowing that those two little words would lead to the villains demise. Brilliant.

Best line:
Ed (after Bud hangs the District Attorney out a window to get a confession): "Was that how you used to run the good cop/bad cop?"

Russell Crowe owes his career to this movie,

"L.A. Confidential" through Lindsey's eyes:
I can see why people like this movie. It was interesting and entertaining, but I don't care to see it again. The only movies that I am willing to see over and over are comedies and horror/suspense. That is why this experiment is just a little dreadful at times. I would never pick out a movie like this. I'll sit through it, but the whole time, I'm ready for the ending so I can start talking again. It's just not my thing.

"L.A. Confidential" caught my attention because of the time period. If it was set modern day, I would have been incredibly bored. I love that 50s glamour. I also really loved the house that Kim Basinger lived in. I thought about that quite a bit during the movie. There were a set of curtains that draped in the middle of a doorway, very interesting decorating idea. Everything looked so elegant...for a Hooker House.

Brian was right, it was hard to follow at times. I whispered several questions to Brian when my mind came back from thinking about curtains and attempted to follow the movie. I liked how it all came together and it didn't make me too stressed. The ending wrapped up nicely and I only had a couple of questions once it was all over. Overall, it was pretty good for what it was. "Confidential" held my attention for about 75% of the movie.

Brian...I'm ready for a comedy,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Episode 12: "Can't Buy Me Love"

I apologize for the lateness of this review. We watched this a month ago and I'm just now taking the time to write. "Can't Buy Me Love" is one of my favorite childhood movies. Oh the plot is just perfect: cool high school teenage girl dates the nerd, so that he will pay for her fancy outfit that was ruined by wine. Seriously, every little girl dreams of being a cool high school teenage girl with a white suede bikini/mini skirt outfit. That Cindy Mancini. She was captain of the cheer squad and the most popular girl in school. Cindy Mancini was my goal. Actually, in my heart, it's still my goal. Even though I am now an adult with a career, I still look up to That Girl. I will always admire that cute, popular, high school cheerleader.

Sadly, watching this movie with a bunch of adults, killed my love. It is definitely "made for tv" movie quality, along with most movies I adored as a kid. The whole entire crowd bashed this movie. They are still bashing it. Seriously, I was the only one who wasn't tortured. Where did all of those fans go? For so long, I couldn't find a girl around my age that didn't adore this movie. Even at my high school dances, my friends and I would set aside a song for the African Anteater Ritual. I needed the support of my fellow Cindy Mancini fans during this viewing. After watching "Can't Buy Me Love" with this crowd, my memories of this movie aren't all joyful.

I may be too sensitive for the critcism of this project after all,

I...I have very little to say about this movie. Seriously, readers, heed this warning: DO NOT watch this movie. I totally get why adolescent girls loved this movie growing up. I do. I understand everything Lindsey said about it. But trust me: absolutely NOTHING good can come from watching this if you are over the age of 12. I beg you to listen to me. There were at minimum two girls besides Lindsey in our viewing party who grew up loving this movie. And both of them were on suicide watch by the end of the night.

It is terrible. This is how terrible it is: Our friend, Laura Beth, was heading to Africa for a for a few weeks and we told her she could choose the movie we'd be watching since she was headed out of the country; it just had to be from Lindsey's list since it was her turn. When "Can't Buy Me Love" mercifully ended, I was kind of mad at Laura Beth for picking this thing. I know that makes no sense but that's how bad it was; it confused the "logic" portion of my brain with it's terribleness.

The most shocking thing about this movie is that two people involved with it actually have legitimate acting careers! Seth Green is featured in his really ugly youthfulness and has gone on to a funny, productive career (soon to be killed by appearing in the John Travolta Poo-Poo Special of the Year, "Old Dogs). And headlining-star Patrick Dempsey has managed to squeeze out a career despite having this trainwreck on his resume. That's the best or worst thing about Hollywood, however you want to look at it. If you're a good enough looking human, you will get multiple chances at this Showbiz thing. I guess that's the moral of the story. Or something like that. I'm not really sure because I'm still kind of messed up by the terribleness of this movie. F.

I bet Seth Green doesn't claim this movie,

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Episode 11: "The Goonies"

When I questioned Lindsey to see which of my potential list-worthy movies she hadn't seen, "Top Gun" and "The Goonies" were 1 and 1a in terms of freaking out that she'd never seen them. Look, I know my wife. I know and understand why she hasn't seen "Tombstone" or "The Untouchables." And I know humans, so I know why she hasn't seen "The Legend of Bagger Vance" or "61*." But "The Goonies" is A.) an 80's classic, which she is (obviously) the master of and B.) a kids movie from the decade in which we were kids. I feel like pretty much every kid in America born between 1978and 1989 saw (and loved) "The Goonies."

Needless to say I was pretty excited about this one. I even busted out my "Goonies" t-shirt in the ultimate sign of nerdom. (Check that: even nerdier is the fact that at one point or another, I've owned a minimum of 3 "Goonies" related shirts. Boom. Roasted.) And after the absolute DEBACLE that was "Can't Buy Me Love" I was thrilled to see that no one went home disappointed in their movie viewing experience this time around.

From start to finish "The Goonies" is an adolescent males' checklist of Movie Awesomeness. A car chase. Comedic villains. A band of unlikely, underage heroes. A maze-like contraption designed to perform a mundane task. Pirates. Treasure. A fat kid with a funny scream. A retarded lummox who goes from scary to part of the family... You get the point. It's PERFECT.

Is "The Goonies" cheesy? Sure. Is the entire movie completely and totally over the top in every single way? Yup. Do we care? Absolutely not. "The Goonies" is such a classic that you even overlook the editing goof near the end in which Data references a scene that was cut from the final print because Steven Spielberg realized how truly terrible it was. "The Goonies" doesn't take itself too seriously, almost celebrates it's ridiculousness, and yet manages to throw in a TON of truly funny scenes, lines, and performances. There's just too much awesomeness to talk about here. Just get a copy and watch it again for yourself. A.

Best character: Everyone except for the girls. Seriously, who needs the girls in this thing? When I was a kid I couldn't figure out why they put up with the girls but now that I'm older...I still don't get it. They should have left those girls behind at the wishing well. They contributed NOTHING to the treasure hunt with the exception of idiotic screams and looking like Marcie from "The Peanuts." Stupid.

Best scene: The "torture" scene.
This is a no brainer. Chunk telling the Fratelli's everything he's ever done in his life, from pushing his sister down the stairs and blaming it on the dog to the culminating statement below, makes me cry from laughing every single time. Brilliant.

Best line:
Chunk: "But the worst thing I ever done: I mixed up a pot of fake puke at home and then I went to this movie theater, hid the puke in my jacket, climbed up to the balcony and then, t-t-then, I made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa. And then I dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then, and this was horrible, all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other. I never felt so bad in my entire life."

Also "Sloth love Chunk."

Do the Truffle Shuffle!

"The Goonies" through Lindsey's eyes:

Oh I have lots to say about this post. First, I have totally seen "The Goonies" before watching it with Brian. Brian insists that I hadn't seen it before because I wasn't obsessed with it. I couldn't really remember it too well to give all the details of the movie. "The Goonies" was one of those movies that came on Saturday afternoons on channel 27, after "Teen Witch" and before "Lucas." I never had much interest in the movie, so most of my attention went towards looking through my Tiger Beat magazine instead of watching the show. I'm not sure why I didn't care for it, because it totally seems like a movie that I would have loved. I guess there wasn't a cute boy and the girls were totally lame, so it got pushed to the side.

Speaking of the girls, WHO IN THE HECK DECIDED TO PUT THE GIRLS IN THIS MOVIE?!!!! UGH! Worst characters ever in a movie. OK that one girl with the short hair cut, totally looked like Anthony Michael Hall. I think it would be really funny to see that girl kiss Anthony Michael Hall, I don't think I would be able to tell them apart. It would look like he was kissing a mirror. Then the "pretty" girl was straight up annoying.

Finally, can you believe I married a guy that has owned THREE Goonies shirts? The ONE Goonies shirt is definitely not my favorite item of clothing in the closet. Man, when I found out that he had previously owned two before this one, I just about lost it. What a nerd ;) Well, I guess I have no room to talk. I have three bins filled with costumes in our closet.

"The Goonies" was my 4th favorite Nintendo game,

Friday, October 2, 2009

Episode 10: 61*

I have to believe "61*" is the least seen movie we'll be reviewing during the course of this endeavor. (With the possible exception of "Rockin' with Judy Jetson" which, unfortunately, I think Lindsey will have to cut from her list since apparently not even Hanna-Barbera has a copy available.) "61*" is a made-for-TV movie, even if it was done for HBO, that unfortunately just about everyone has missed out on.

This film, directed quite well by Billy Crystal, follows New York Yankee outfielders Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris during their famous home run battle. If you're unfamiliar with this story, in 1961 Maris and Mantle both had a shot at breaking Babe Ruth's record for home runs in a season (60) and essentially chased each other for the entire season. Maris eventually became the champion, finishing the season with 61 home runs, which was the major league record until the Steroid Era brought Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds to the top of the list.

This is (from my understanding) an extremely faithful and accurate account of the events of that season and it makes for a highly enjoyable viewing experience. "61*" is not so much about the baseball action as it is the relationship between Maris and Mantle and the stress both players (particularly Maris) felt through the course of the season. Maris was completely trashed by the New York media and fans who wanted Mantle, the consummate Yankee who oozed charm and charisma, to be the one to set the record. The stress became so much that Maris actually started losing his hair. Yet despite this potentially awkward and contentious situation that the two men were thrust into, by all accounts they became very good friends on and off the field, even living together for a time.

"61*" is a wonderfully acted movie. Thomas Jane is absolutely PERFECT as Mantle and Barry Pepper brings just the right amount of emotion to Maris, a man who was often criticized for being too robotic. This really makes me sad for Pepper, who is one of my favorite actors who never gets a good role (Jane is another). Every time I watch this movie or "Saving Private Ryan" I am left to wonder what his career might have been like had he not been in the Worst-Movie-In-History-Candidate "Battlefield: Earth." I truly believe that took the wind out of the sails of his career, so to speak. *Sigh* Another career ruined by John Travolta. Someone really needs to stop that guy...

But I digress. I could seriously go on and on about this movie. It is my favorite sports movie of all time. I get Sports Tears every time I watch it and I truly enjoy the relationship between Mantle and Maris. For those of you who aren't into sports or sports movies, I would encourage you to watch the movie anyway and go into with an expectation of seeing a great Buddy Flick that happens to develop over the course of a baseball season. If it can make a lifelong Yankee hater root for a Yankee, it can make a non-sports fan like sports (at least for a couple of hours). A-.

Best character: Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane)
This is really a toss up because Pepper is fantastic as well. But I know more about Mantle and Jane's interpretation of the man is spot on.

Best scene: The curtain call
Call me a sucker, but the Curtain Call and Tip of the Hat in baseball is one of the coolest things in sports. After Maris hits number 61, his teammates force him back on to the field for the standing ovation from the crowd. This, along with his teammates ovation after he fails to hit 61 earlier in the season, definitely bring a Sports Tear to my Sports Eye.

Best line:
Mantle (after Maris hits home run number 59): "What happened? I was on the john."

I didn't even bother to see if I spelled "McGwire" correctly,

61* through Lindsey's eyes:

Since the beginning of our journey, I have NOT wanted to watch this movie.  I didn't know what the movie was based on, I just knew that it was a title with numbers only.  Titles that are pure numbers totally intimidate me and lose my interest.  If someone tells me to see,  lets say a movie called "47" and it is the best movie in the world, I would never see it.  Why in the heck would I see a title that just has numbers?!  That tells me nothing.  I'm the kind of person that picks up movies and books by looking at the title and cover.  It may be a terrible plan, but that's what I do.  Also, even though Brian hates this, I'm not going to refer to this movie with quotation marks around it.  I just can't bring myself to put quotes around numbers and an asterisk. 

Even though this movie title has numbers AND it's about sports, I really liked it.  I TOTALLY wasn't expecting it.  It really was more about the story of the players, rather than watching baseball.  I even cried, which actually doesn't say much.  I mean, you're looking at the girl who cried while viewing Home Alone for the first time. 

There are a handful of baseball movies that I've experienced in life, you know THE CLASSICS, "The Sandlot," "Little Big League," "Rookie of the Year," "Angels in the Outfield," "A League of their Own," etc.  This is hard to say, but I think 61* falls right under "The Sandlot" and slightly above "Rookie of the Year."  I know what you're thinking, how could an HBO-made-for-TV movie rise above the clever "Rookie of the Year" with that amazing pitching arm?  Well folks, I was surprised too, so you may have to just check it out for yourself.  Let me know your own ranking for those AMAZING baseball movies out there.  Overall, I was able to pay attention the whole movie and I didn't notice the time, so two thumbs up.

It's weird to look at Anthony Michael Hall as an adult,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Episode 9: "Sixteen Candles"

I love 80s movies. I just love the 80s, everything about it. I wish more than anything that I was a teenager during that period. So, of course, I'm a fan of "Sixteen Candles." Growing up, I had seen bits and pieces of it for a while, since it was always playing on TBS or TNT. I hadn't ever seen the whole thing on TV, which led me to my first "Sixteen Candles" rental.

When I turned 16, my BFF Kristen and her mom hosted an awesome slumber party at their house for my birthday. Like every great slumber party, we had great food and took a trip to Blockbuster for some slumber party rentals. I was so excited because this would be the day I finally watched "Sixteen Candles" AND it was my 16th birthday. Gosh, I thought this was a great idea. I was the only one.

That weekend, there was another big event that competed with my 16th celebration. "My Best Friend's Wedding" was released on VHS. Sure, I liked the movie ok, but I didn't love it like everyone else did. I didn't watch that scene with the people randomly singing at the dinner table over and over like most 15-16 year old girls. I didn't get the soundtrack so I could sing and dance to that dumb "Wishin and Hopin" song. I was either talked into renting it or someone bought it for me as a present, I can't quite remember. My great "Sixteen Candles" idea was quickly drowned by the hype of Julia Roberts. My "Sixteen Candles" experience on my 16th birthday was booed and "My Best Friend's Wedding" was shoved into the VCR.

I don't remember most of that party. I'm sure I had a great time and I know my friends were really great. The only thing that I can truly remember about turning 16 was hating "My Best Friend's Wedding" and realizing that most of my friends didn't care about the 80s like I did. I was a loner. I wasn't the popular kid at my own 16th birthday. I began to relate with Molly Ringwald and pouted a little. For MY 16th birthday, I didn't get a cute Jake Ryan like Molly, I got a pet fish that died by the time I opened my presents.

Jake Ryan is WAY out of her league,

So I've totally seen parts of "Sixteen Candles" about a dozen times in my life but I've never bothered to follow through with it. Also, I'm not sure but I'm pretty sure that this is the movie that a certain youth minister who shall remain nameless tried to show us at some sort of gathering. It got turned off within 10 minutes, leading to a lot of, "I don't remember it being that bad!" comments. To be fair, I might have made the same mistake. How in the world this got a PG rating is beyond me. Somebody must have owed John Hughes a major favor. I'm pretty sure this is the film that led to the PG-13 rating.

Anyway, I've got to say I wasn't all that impressed by this movie. I have the feeling that two things have happened with this movie: 1.) it brings forth nostalgic feelings for anyone who saw this movie growing up and therefore has been made out to be better than it is. I know I'm guilty of this with movies like "Can't Hardly Wait" so it makes sense; 2.) because of point number one, "Sixteen Candles" has been grandfathered into a "classic" status that it maybe doesn't really deserve. This happens A LOT with comedies because people just remember laughing a lot when they were 16 or 18 and haven't stopped to think about whether or not it holds up. See also: "Animal House" and "Caddyshack."

Personally I'd probably be in the same boat with the rest of Lindsey's 16 year old friends: I'd rather watch "My Best Friend's Wedding." I think that it's a funnier movie quite honestly. Sure, Julia Roberts has been in my top 5 celebrity crushes since I was old enough to have a crush and was only recently bumped from number one status (Rachel McAdams). But really it's all about the characters. I don't love any of the characters in "Sixteen Candles" which is a HUGE letdown for me given how great Hughes was at creating characters in his other films. "Ferris Beuller," "Planes Trains and Automobiles" and "Home Alone" are a few of my all time favorite movies and the reason is that, between all the over the top ridiculousness, the characters are phenomenally appealing. I did not feel the same way about Samantha Baker or her wacky friends as I did about Kevin McAllister or Del Griffith. It's not a bad movie by any means and I had some laughs. But a classic it is not, at least for this guy. B-.

Best character: How about I just go with John Cusak's character just because I like John Cusak.

Best scene: The wedding scene.
The bride passing out all over the place was pretty funny.

Best line:
Ginny - "I really love Rudy. He is totally enamored of me. I mean, I've had other men love me before, but not for 6 months in a row."

Keep the change ya' filthy animals,

Friday, September 4, 2009

Episode 8: "Unbreakable"

There are two reasons why people don't like "Unbreakable." One, they don't like the ending or two, it's not like "The Sixth Sense." If you fall into category one, then OK, we can agree to disagree. If you fall into category two, I don't think we can be friends anymore.

"Unbreakable" was M. Night Shyamalan's less heralded follow up to the world beater that was "The Sixth Sense." Had it come out before "Sixth Sense" or been one of his later films, I think it would have garnered a little more success. Everyone wanted Shyamalan to replicate (or maybe even duplicate exactly) "Sixth Sense" and when he (shockingly, I know) made a movie that stood on its own and was in many ways different from "Sixth Sense," people revolted. Stupid.

The thing about Shyamalan's movies, though, is not the big twist at the end. He usually throws that in there to keep "Sixth Sense" fans mildly happy. His films are character studies and "Unbreakable" is no exception. There are only 4 real characters in this movie and he develops each of them methodically. Sure, one of them is a closet super hero and one of them is potentially crazy, but those facts are almost afterthoughts to the evolution of the characters and the intersections of their lives. What you have here are very real life issues (father-son relationship, husband-wife problems, mid life crisis) explored in the context of a man discovering that he essentially has super powers. The relationship between David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and his son Joseph is particularly well done.

"Unbreakable" is a fine film that deserves a second chance if you saw it in the context of, "This is going to be the next "Sixth Sense!"" You've got Bruce Willis at his best and Samuel L. Jackson before he went crazy. (Seriously, look at his post-2000 IMDB page and find the good.) Shyamalan's shots are, as always, BRILLIANT and his use of color is just as legendary here as it is in "Sixth Sense" and everything else he did up until "The Happening." It is an excellent precursor to the dark superhero movies that have become all the rage of late and highly underrated. B+.

On a side note, my DVD kept skipping so now I have a legit excuse to buy it on Blu-ray. There's a bright blue lining to every annoying DVD screw up.

Best character: Elijah Price, Samuel L. Jackson
It's not often that I compliment Jackson's acting anymore as he's become a walking parody of his former self. But here he is pitch perfect as the crazy comic book guy.

Best scene: Bruce Willis and his son lifting weights
Simple shots like this exemplify Shyamalan's brilliance. It just makes me wish he could do that consistently for the whole movie in his post-"Village" work.

Best quote: Audrey Dunn (Robin Wright Penn) - "No shooting friends, Joseph!"

I have two broken fingers right now so I guess I can't be Unbreakable,

"Unbreakable" through Lindsey's eyes:

"Unbreakable" is one movie on Brian's list that I've always wanted to see and I have no idea why I hadn't seen it before now. I love M. Night Shamalama movies. I even tried to like "The Happening." My Home Friends and I always make a big deal about seeing his movies. One time, we even stayed in a burning building, hoping that they would put the fire out, so we could see the midnight showing of one of his premieres. So, I was actually thrilled to see this one.

I was totally into the movie while we were watching. I was creeped out by the characters and I refused to let myself wander to discover the "surprise" ending. Then we got to the end, and well.... I definitely replied "That's it?" I liked the idea of the ending but I felt like I had just watched the end of a lawyer TV show or Unsolved Mysteries, where they type out on screen the happenings of the characters following that scene. As Brian likes to compare moments to, it was like an SNL skit. They just don't know how to wrap it up. So it ends with an awkward jig on camera.

All in all, I thought it was a good movie, I just needed five more minutes of wrapping up. I didn't need necessarily a bigger ending, I just needed more screen time, rather than the "Where are they now?" type-up like on "Intervention."

"It's like I'm walking on sunshine,"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Episode 7: "Drop Dead Gorgeous"

I absolutely love beauty pageants. I'm known to host a party every year for Miss America. So when "Drop Dead Gorgeous" came out, I knew it was a movie for me. "Drop Dead Goregous" is a mocumentary (which I love), I say it's similar to the Christopher Guest movies. This movie has several recognizable folks such as Brittany Murphy, Amy Adams, Kirsten Dunst, and Kirstie Alley. Several times, I have made a comment referencing to this movie and Brian has been clueless. Each time I ask, "Wait, have you seen 'Drop Dead Gorgeous?" He has shown great reluctance during these conversations. I hadn't seen this movie in years, so I was a bit afraid that I only remembered the good parts. Well folks, after watching it again several years later, I have confirmed it, this movie is all that I remembered, hilarious.

There are many funny lines and moments in the movie. I became excited as I watched it, only remembering the funny scenes immediately before they were about to appear. I found myself giggling and maybe grabbing on to Brian's leg to indicate his attention as something hilarious was about to happen. My personal favorite scene includes last year's winner, in a wheel chair, and singing in the pageant as she's rolled around on stage. Oh so funny. AND, I'm proud of myself, Brian laughed out loud, a lot. That's a great accomplishment.

Now that he wasn't tortured during "Drop Dead Gorgeous," maybe I can convince him to watch Miss America and Toddlers and Tiaras with me. Wait, what? No, of course I don't watch that terrible show about baby beauty pageants....

"Toddlers and Tiaras" clip on teeth creep me out,

First of all, there is NOTHING creepier than "Toddlers and Tiaras." Every time it shows up on "The Soup" I get a little creeped out and I think there's got to be a CPS agent out there who doesn't have much to do who could just take ALL of the pageant kids away to a better place.

Anyway, "Drop Dead Gorgeous." I admit this film had two strikes going in: 1.) It's about a pageant. There are plenty of things in this world that I am not personally interested in but understand the appeal. Pageants are not one of them. 2.) Top billing for this film went to Kirstie Alley. I didn't really realize this until the opening credits rolled and the first name across the screen was Alley to which I gave a pained grunt. So even though I came into this movie predisposed to hating it, I shockingly must admit I highly enjoyed "Drop Dead Gorgeous."

I am a huge fan of the mockumentary. "The Office," "Best in Show," whatever, I almost always love them. There's something very straight and simple about the mockumentary that lends itself to genius. "Gorgeous" is no exception. You've got everything you need for a good mockumentary:

1.) An obscure section of the population. This time around it's the pageant girls in the Mount Rose, Minnesota. This is completed by some fantastic accent work by everyone involved except for Denise Richards. She's is to this movie what Kevin Costner is to "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves;
2.) A feud. There has to be a feud. Michael Scott has Toby Flenderson for example. In this case it's the rich girl whose mother runs the pageant versus the nice girl from the trailer park.
3.) Plucky comic relief. Even straight, witty comedy such as this has to have one character that is over the top and makes absolute brilliant statements with every line. This time around it's provided by the GREAT Allison Janney.
4.) An anoerexic former champion on the brink of comedic death;
5.) Amy Adams.

OK the last two don't have to show up every time but I'm not going to lie, it wouldn't hurt.

"Gorgeous" is surprising well written, well acted, and well shot. In a world where talentless toolbags like Stephen Sommers ("GI Joe") are not only allowed but encouraged to continue making films, I'm having a hard time understanding why neither director nor writer have done anything of note in the 10 years since this movie came out. This is a little taste of satirical hilarity that I highly enjoyed. B.

Best character: Loretta, Allison Janney
Genius. Allison Janney is GENIUS.

Best scene: The talent portion of the competition.
One girl demonstrates the various barks that different dog breeds make, Kirsten Dunst has the most unabashedly edited dance numbers of all time, and Denise Richards sings to a stuffed Jesus. Amazing.

Best quote:
Amber: Mom! Mom!
Fireman: Whoa, are you family?
Loretta: No, she's just yelling "Mom, Mom" because she has Tourettes."

I have Vasoline on my teeth to make my smile brighter,

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Episode 6: "The Blues Brothers"

Having been born 3 years after the release of this film, "The Blues Brothers" is one of those movies that finds itself on what I like to call the "My Dad Was Right List." You know those things, whether it be movies, music, books, or whatever that your dad makes you be a party to and you think it sucks. And then one day you're not 9 anymore and suddenly these things make sense. I'm sure I enjoyed parts of "Blues Brothers" as a kid because how could I not but the humor didn't really register. At some point I guess I watched it on my own and immediately recognized the genius of this film.

I feel like if I was in my early 20s in 1980, "Blues Brothers" would have been "Anchorman" for me and my friends. There are so many absolutely BRILLIANT quotes that I don't think I would have been able to stop myself from using them in daily conversations the way I do with "Anchorman." The part of the blog where I pick my favorite quote from each film will actually be difficult this time around because there are so many great lines. I think I'm a pretty funny guy until I watch a movie like "Blues Brothers" and just marvel over how someone came up with these lines and these ideas.

The thing about "Blues Brothers," though, is its simplicity. I'm a big fan of witty dialogue and hidden jokes-within-jokes like you find on "Arrested Development" or "30 Rock." But the problem with witty humor is if it isn't done correctly it comes off as stale and labored. Therefore it's often not funny, it's just witty for the sake of being witty. With "Blues Brothers" you have a ton of jokes and funny moments that are straight and to the point. There is no wasted word or movement. I think the makers of the film just get that it's funny that the Blues Brothers sneak around in sync to the tune of the song being played inside. Or when a cop just shouts, "Son of a (gun)" and shoots his gun after crashing his car. Or how in EVERY SINGLE car chase the cop cars follow the Bluesmobile no matter what destruction will result from such a move. The physical comedy and the simple joke are big players in "Blues Brothers" and it works so incredibly well.

You do have to suspend reality to really appreciate this movie, however. There are THOUSANDS of things that happen that are impossibilities. But just go with it. These guys are on a mission from God! So why wouldn't there be a whip on the wall when the band is singing the theme song from "Rawhide?" Why wouldn't Ray Charles be able to "see" a kid trying to steal a guitar? Why wouldn't Carrie Fisher be able to get her hands on and subsequently fire an RPG into a building? "Blues Brothers" is a comedic masterpiece that I think just gets better the more times you watch it. A+.

Best character: Carrie Fisher, Mystery Woman
I love the straight delivery Fisher goes with for this character. She's angry and out of control but she's also very deliberate and efficient. Why shoot someone with one bullet when you can just as easily use an M-70 flame thrower to blow up a propane tank?

Best scene: The first gig
There's a lot of great shots in this film and gosh I love the car chase through the mall! But for me, the scene where the Blues Brothers Band plays at the redneck bar is perfect. I love the way in which Belushi delivers his lines, I love the whip, I love how the number of bottles being thrown doesn't change from when the crowd is angry to when they're excited, and I love the guy crying at the end of "Stand By Your Man."

Best line:
There are oh so many to choose from.

Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?
Bar lady: Oh we got both kinds: country AND western!

I hate Illinois Nazis,

"The Blues Brothers" through Lindsey's eyes:

I totally should have seen this movie years ago. I had seen clips of it and it's been on while I was in the room, but never have I sat down to watch the whole thing. This is totally my kind of movie. I liked it, but I didn't laugh near as much as the audience I was viewing with. Well, let me correct myself, I wasn't laughing near as much as the boys I was viewing with.

I loved the music references, it was so fantastical. I was really excited when the opening credits labeled a "choreographer" that contributed to the film. I had no idea there was dancing. For those familiar with the movie, didn't seem to care so much about those things, they put their focus on the Car Humor.

Apparently, there is this whole type of humor that I've never acknowledged before, Car Humor. Car Humor occurs when a film entertains the crowd by car crashes, dumps, and flight. I scanned the room during the Car Humor scenes and it was the guys crying with laughter. A couple girls chuckled here and there, but I guess we aren't wired to appreciate Car Humor like guys.

I didn't laugh out loud too much in this movie, but I believe I will the more I watch it. I think it's going to be like Monty Python for me. I didn't truly laugh out loud often during my first viewing, if I did, it was to look cool. The more I watched it, the more I appreciated the humor. Now, I don't think I will ever quite get Car Humor, but I'm willing to give it another try. Great movie, definitely recommend it.

Finally...a comedy from Brian's list,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Episode 5: "Into the Wild"

This time around we take a break from "Movies That Everyone in America Has Seen Except Lindsey" and move to "Into the Wild," a film that a lot of people have unfortunately missed out on. My first real contact with this story came sometime during high school when the book this film is based on was on a list from which I had to choose one to write a report about. I passed on "Into the Wild" and if memory serves I instead picked "Dune" which I later scrapped for a repeat reading of "Brave New World" because...well, because "Dune" is awful, awful reading when you're up against a deadline. Anyway, "Into the Wild" remained on the fringe of my mind grape (thank you, Tracy Jordan) until sometime in 2007. I finally picked up a copy of the book and read it in about 2 days. When I got a chance to watch the film version I found it no less captivating than it had been in print and thus, it makes the list.

"Into the Wild" is the true-life story of a trust fund kid who is so adamantly against materialism and the safety of structure that he decides to go off the grid, so to speak. He burns his ID and all the cash on him and essentially becomes a transient for the rest of his life. The story follows his travels from California to South Dakota to Nevada to the Gulf of Mexico and ultimately into the tundra of Alaska. Along the way he comes across a number of interesting and, in some way of their own, fellow transient people who impact him and in turn are impacted by him. It is that true kind of mix of adventure, idiocy, bravery, and heartbreak that couldn't be made up. What I love the most about this film (and the BRILLIANT book it is based on) is the difference in opinion people have about this kid. He's either a complete idiot or a hero and there's really no gray area.

I'm honestly not sure that the majority of the women out there can truly GET this movie (or the book). There is something instictively male in this movie that trumps "Die Hard" or any other blow-em-up-shoot-em-up film. That spirit within man, that little voice that says, "You know what would be better than filling out a spreadsheet today? Killing a moose," shines through so brightly in "Into the Wild." It's a voice that 99% of the guys out there have heard at one time (or hear all the time) and we seem to just GET why this kid did the things he did. An idiot or a hero, it doesn't really matter, the point is he DID it and we understand why.

There's just a lot of significance to "Into the Wild." There's some interesting commentary on community and what that really means and there is a lot to be gleaned here about what lengths someone will go to compensate for the lack of familial support. It is a BEAUTIFULLY shot film and regardless of whether you "get it" or not, it's an incredible movie that has been seriously overlooked. A+.

BEST CHARACTER: Ron Franz, Hal Holbrook
I loved the Vince Vaughn character here, too, but Holbrook was absolutely perfect in the role of the surrogate grandfather. Had he not been going up against Javier Bardem's Anton Chigurh ("No Country For Old Men") I think he would have won and deserved the Best Supporting Oscar he was nominated for.

BEST SCENE: Chris departs for Alaska
I dare you to watch this scene without getting teary-eyed and understanding exactly what I'm talking about concerning how good Holbrook was in this. I am not kidding when I say this scene, when you see it for the first time, can rip you apart. In fact, check out what Bardem had to say about it in '07.

The best line is actually inappropriate so...
"When you forgive, you love. And when you love, God's light shines through you."

"Happiness only real when shared,"

"Into the Wild" through Lindsey's eyes:

As Brian said, people would either view this kid as crazy or incredible. I personally think, there IS a little gray area. I don't consider him crazy, but I think throughout his journey, he was led to instability. I have a bit of a different view on this, because of someone so close in my life, that I really see in this character. I look at the main character and I feel like I know him. I don't think I could ever truly understand those desires of a male to have that freedom, but I can at least recognize it. I don't think a male is crazy to set off on a journey that leads him to many different places in the world. From what I've witnessed, I think the male can't think about anything else until he takes those journeys. Eventually, I hope the journey takes a rest and maybe mini-journeys can just occur throughout life, so that he can be closer to those who love him.

Maybe some men have this desire in their heart more than others. I look at couples where the woman wants her husband "wrapped around her finger" and just destroys his manhood, which is absolutely disgusting. I see parents that are so overprotective with their children that they can't let them go, so they can explore the ways of their heart. This movie is a perfect example of those feelings. Everyone has felt bound by something or someone at a point in their life. Their way to freedom may not be a wilderness trek to Alaska, but may be fulfilled by stepping away from family or starting a new job. If you can sort through the "this guy is crazy" feeling, I think everyone can relate in some way to this feeling of desired freedom. I would definitely recommend this movie, especially to guys. I have no desire to watch this movie ever again, but I appreciate it.

I bet this kid would be great at Oregon Trail,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Episode 4: "Whatever it Takes"

"Better Off Dead" may be the best movie I have on this list. It sure was hard finding movies to put on this list because Brian has seen just about every movie ever made. It's pretty sad when I couldn't even put "The Jetson's Movie" or "The Parent Trap," because he has already seen them. I've got to start figuring out a way to make watching some of the lame movies fun (for the rest of the crowd). I love watching the movies because of my first love for them when I was a kid/teenager, so I don't require more entertainment.

I hadn't seen "Whatever it Takes" probably since college. I just always remembered the movie for it's moments that made me laugh out loud. I still enjoy some funny parts, but I didn't love the movie as a whole as much as I remembered. The best part of the whole movie is the carnival scene. Watching a little kid get knocked down by a teddy bear 3 times his size brings on the America's Funniest Home Video humor. I don't know how many times I've rewound that one scene. The editing is actually quite horrible during that part, which makes it even better.

"Whatever it Takes" is the classic 90s teenager movie, just above "She's All That" (in my opinion). If you're like me and you enjoy entertainment about high school, then put on your spaghetti strap shirt with mary janes and indulge in this movie. ALSO, it has Shane West in the movie. Who doesn't love "A Walk to Remember?" ;)

"I love you Brian Ryan,"

Lindsey did a pretty good job of describing this "film." It is a very typical, predictable, teen film that falls well short of being funny most of the time. (At least not funny when it's supposed to be; I had a few laughs where I'm sure the director didn't intend for me to laugh.) This one, however, had the distinct misfortune of missing the Teen Movie Boat, as it came out in 2000 which was a year AFTER the big boom on this type of movie had ended. I was aware of "Whatever it Takes" when it originally came out but obviously I never got forced into seeing it like I did with so many other films of this genre.

There are two distinct reasons, in my opinion, why "Whatever" is so much worse than all the other teen movies of its time. First, it has a TERRIBLE soundtrack. Where would "She's All That" or "10 Things I Hate About You" be without, for the time period, a solid soundtrack? A few catchy hits tend to drown out the awful, awful dialogue that pops up so frequently in these movies. Second, there is no legitimate comedic relief. Without Seth Green "Can't Hardly Wait" probably bogs down pretty quickly. In "Whatever it Takes" you've got three or four characters who are all trying to fill the comedic void and unfortunately none of them are, in any way shape or form, legitimately funny.

What I did like about "Whatever" was the game our little crowd played of "who can tell exactly what's about to happen based on the brilliant way in which the director uses foreshadowing." (Note: I used brilliant sarcastically. Stop reading this right now if you didn't catch that.) In the first 10 minutes of the movie we find out that there is a swimming pool under the basketball court at this school and so of course we all begin to guess how this will play out later. Spoiler alert, the court gets opened up during prom! Who knew?! The laughs were many. (Note: this is your second warning about sarcasm. I'm not kidding.)

Other than that, I got two things out of this movie. One, I finally understand a couple of the quotes some friends of mine used a lot in high school (I'm talking to you, Sarah Weaver Wilcoxson). And two, I had time to count the number of DVDs and Blu Rays I have in my collection (255 plus TV seasons). So on the whole, a pretty productive night. Sadly, when I saw Lindsey's list I placed "Whatever it Takes" in the "I might not hate that" category, simply because I had heard of it before. This makes me nervous for the rest of this experience. C-.

There is no best character, line, or scene in this one,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Episode 3: "Better Off Dead"

"Better Off Dead" is one of those movies that you have to be in a stupid humor mood in order to appreciate. The whole movie is just bit after bit. It goes from one random "funny" scene to the next and they don't really tie together too well. This movie was made back in the day when the California Raisins were cool and starting off a movie with a cartoon was genius. Just about everything that represents cheesy film making of the 80s, was also included in "Better Off Dead" and THAT my friends, is why I love it.

This incredible 80s movie has just about every component that I love about cheesy 80s flicks, except for maybe an impromptu organized dance scene. Wait, I think that does happen, but with hamburgers. It is set in the 80s (check), about high schoolers (check), it involves a nerdy neighbor (check), roller skates are used as a transportation device (check), the main character falls in love with the nerdy girl while chasing after the cool girl (check), awesome one-liners that I'll save for Brian to talk about (check), and John Cusack.

I'm not going to go through step by step like Brian is so skilled at doing, while talking about this movie. It's not my style, Brian is the much better film reviewer. I will just say, if you haven't seen "Better Off Dead," you should. Well, you should, if you like quoting movies. This movie is in my top ten favorite movies to quote. With all the bits, it gives you MANY awesome quotes. Now, my husband can finally understand when I seem to have more of any angry tone as I say "I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS!"

It's a great day when I have a purpose for talking about "TWO DOLLARS,"

When Lindsey picked "Better Off Dead" as her portion of Friday night's double feature, I found myself torn between dread and relief: dread because I couldn't see how this could be a good movie in any way but relieved because...well, you've seen the list she's put together! There are some wretched movies on that list. At least this one has John Cusak in it.

But I'm happy to report I truly enjoyed "BOD." It was insanely jumpy, going from one scene to another that seemingly had nothing to do with each other. But on the whole it was pretty funny. As Lindsey pointed out there were a number of GREAT lines that I will surely add to my Quote Repertoire and I always like a quotable film. John Cusak is at his best in a role that he has essentially played in every movie he's ever been in since this film was released in 1985. (I'm not sure why it doesn't bother me that John Cusak is the exact same character in every single movie he's ever been in. A part of me thinks I should bash on Cusak at every opportunity but I can't bring myself to do it, he's too likeable. Jerk.) And, hey, can you really call it a classic film if it doesn't have a claymation hamburger scene that pops out of nowhere and has no real bearing on the film? I thought it was possible to have a great movie without such a scene before I saw "BOD" but now I'm reconsidering.

Perhaps the best facet of "BOD" is that you think it's just another 80s teen movie, ostensibly about a geek finding love with a foreign exchange student. But no, dear readers, the real focus of this movie is competitive snow skiing! That's right. While some 80s movies might allow the required "Challenge Between the Geek and the Jock" to center around football, basketball, or even karate, "BOD" chooses the ever popular "sport" of competitive skiing. And let me tell you, this is the best competitive snow skiing film I've ever seen (if only by default because, for the life of me, I can't think of another movie that falls into this category). Also, watching "BOD" gave me an excuse to use the "John Cusak is actually both John Cusak and Joan Cusak" joke series I've been working on since I saw a similar bit on Conan. (You would have to be in the room for this series to work but let me tell you, it was pretty amusing.)

Best Chracter: Yee Sook Ree (Yuji Okumoto)
The English speaking part of the Asian brothers that Cusak is always attempting to race. I loved the Howard Costell impression. Brilliant.

Best scene: The fruit throwing scene.
Monique is standing outside her house, throwing oranges or apples or something like that at a street sign. Why is this my favorite scene? Because her throwing motion is AWFUL and there's no chance the object is going further than 3 feet yet she is clearly zinging this fruit at somewhere around 93 miles per hour. This led to the discussion of who has the worst throwing motion: Monique, Tim Robbins in "Bull Durham," or the old pitcher in "Major League?" We all agreed Tim Robbins was the worst.

Best line:
I can't choose one. I just have to list them both.
A.) Lane Meyer (John Cusak): "Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky."
B.) Black guy, after watching Lane ride by in a dump truck: "Now that's a real shame when folks be throwing away a perfectly good white boy."

A highly enjoyable, classic 80s movie. B.

Someone should write a movie centered around curling,

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Episode 2: "The Untouchables"

"The Untouchables" is an all time classic. It's action packed from the start and you have to imagine it was pretty shocking to 1987 audiences. I mean, it's not like every movie blows up a little girl within the first 5 minutes. What separates "The Untouchables" from a lot of action movies, however, is the pacing. When I was setting up the GFR schedule and attempting to keep too many of the same type of movies from being viewed right in a row (I know, I'm a freak), I put "The Untouchables" in the "slower action movie" category because there aren't really THAT many big action scenes. But I'd forgotten how well the movie flows between action and drama. Director Brian De Palma does such a good job of spacing out the true action sequences while still keeping the intensity alive through the "slower" scenes. It never seems slow or dragged out. In addition, there are at least 3 scenes that, in any other action movie, would be the most memorable of the movie. They just happen to be overshadowed by one of the best scenes in the history of film.

The only down side to "The Untouchables" is that it kind of makes me want to go back in time, stop the Hollywood clock in 1987 and change the future for the film's biggest stars. This is Kevin Costner's breakout role, the first time he headlined a movie that did anything. He's excellent as the hero Eliot Ness and I'd like to warn him about things to come, like the fact that he'll go from one of the industry's most bankable stars to the guy who spent 180 million dollars on "Waterworld" and one of 5 Elvis impersonators in "3000 Miles to Graceland" (shutter). Like Costner, this is Garcia's first big role and probably the best of his career (with the exception of "The Godfather III"). I'd like to grab him and say, "Hey Andy, you know how you're a great actor and all? How 'bout you do something, anything meaningful in the next 15 years?" Just check out his IMDB page, it's insane what his "Talent to Good Film Ratio" is.

Sean Connery gives us what is unquestionably his best performance in the role that won him his only Oscar. "Untouchables" makes you really regret the way his forced retirement of sorts has come about. I'd like to tell him about "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" and beg him not to let his career end on THAT. It's also great to see De Niro in a role that isn't a washed up cop. It's not his fault, really, that he's been relegated to insignificant films for the last 13 years, I'd just like to ask him to not take so many of them so that he can preserve legacy. He could have stopped acting after "Sleepers" in 1996 and the only thing the movie world would have missed out on would have been "Meet the Parents," which of course spawned "Meet the Fockers" which of course made lots of people commit suicide. (Sorry Jason.) It's tough to watch "The Untouchables" and its stars and know where they all are now.

Best Character: Jim Malone (Sean Connery)
No question about this despite great performances all around.

Best Scene: The train depot shoot out
Again, no question about this. There are several INCREDIBLE moments in this film but the train depot sequence is mind-blowing-good.

Best Line: Malone to Ness: "You wanna know how to get to Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way." This line probably won Connery an Oscar so it has to taken precedence over some other tremendous lines.

Best action-gangster movie of all time. A+
- Brian

"The Untouchables" through Lindsey's eyes:

I had never heard of "The Untouchables." Seriously, never. We started the movie and I had no idea who would even be in this movie. It's not like Brian could just say, "you know, the one with Kevin Costner." It did not ring a bell at all.

So we watched it and it immediately got my attention when a cute little girl BLOWS UP! Then later we have this whole dramatic scene with the baby in the carriage. My question is, what does the writer have against babies and kids? Did we really need TWO dramatic scenes with the wee ones? Yes, yes we did, because it got my attention. As I said in the previous post, I will measure these movies by my attention level. I actually could follow along ok. I didn't pull out sudoku, so that's a good sign, right?

I thought I was doing really well with my attention until the very end. I finally listened to some of the many comments that my friends were making with "Connery" thrown around. I thought for a few minutes, "Why in the world are they saying 'Connery'? It's not like Sean Connery is in this movie or something." I listened more to the comments, then I caught on. Sean Connery WAS in this movie. He wasn't in any scenes at the time that I connected the dots. I thought, "Oh, THAT one guy must have been Sean Connery. I like him, he was good." I whispered to my dear husband about this discovery and I think at that moment he may have REALLY regretted marrying me. That's right folks, I watched a whole movie with Sean Connery, THE most recognizable actor in the world, and I had no clue. Also, my husband loves me enough to not announce the ridiculousness in front of all our friends. It's pretty embarrassing and ridiculous, so you can now laugh in the privacy of your own home and maybe laugh at me the next time you see me. I have enough self-confidence, I can handle it.

All in all, "The Untouchables" is higher on this list than "Tombstone." As much as I want to be a true Texan, maybe I just don't love westerns and their accents, I just can't understand them. I can understand the speech of a kid that can't say his /r/, but I can't seem to handle the accents of the cowboys.

I'll take "SWords" for $400,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Episode 1: "Tombstone"

We begin the Great Film Retrospective with one of top 10 movies of all time, "Tombstone." I would hold up this film as the best western of all time (blasphemy to some) and in the running for best action movie of all time. Beyond an over the top scene here and there it is essentially flawless and features a number of lines that are iconic.

I first encountered "Tombstone" in the 7th or 8th grade. Each year as we left for camp, my buddy Kyle and I would pick out a bunch of VHS tapes to take with us because his parents had a mini van with a TV in it (long before everyone and their dog had a mobile DVD player). On the way to camp we'd stay a night or two at his grandparents house which was a grand old time filled with playing cards, watching movies, and eating frozen canned peaches (I still miss those). One year we stayed up way too late watching "Tombstone." I knew I loved this movie from the first scene and my attachment to it only grew as the film progressed. When the movie ended, Kyle and I went downstairs to get a drink before we both passed out (being up after midnight was still a pretty big deal at this point). We got out some grape juice and, while searching for cups, came across a couple of shot glasses. In true Doc Holliday fashion, we filled the shot glasses with grape juice, chugged them, and slammed them back to the table upside down. You can imagine the laughs two 8th grade boys got out of this when they were up too late watching an R rated movie.

"Tombstone" is one of those movies that I've watched over and over again. My DVD copy is getting worn out which kind of makes me happy because it means I have an excuse to replace it on blu-ray when it finally comes out. It never grows old for me and in fact, some scenes just get better over time. This was the perfect movie to start The Great Film Retrospective.

Best character: Doc Holliday
This isn't even up for debate. Val Kilmer not only gives the best performance of his career, he gives us one of the iconic performances in the history of film. It is an absolute crime that he was not nominated for an Oscar here, especially in a year in which John Malkovich got a supporting actor nod. John Malkovich.

Best scene: When Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) ambushes the cowboys who have come to ambush him at the train depot. This is the moment where Earp frees the beast so to speak. You know from the look on his face and the tone of his voice that things are about to get serious.

Best line: It would be too easy to go with the film's tagline, "I'm your huckleberry." But no, the best moment of dialogue is:
Cowboy (approaching Holliday with knife): "You're so drunk you can't see straight. In fact, you're probably seeing double."
Holliday (whipping out a second revolver): "I have two guns. One for each of you."

An absolute classic. A+


"Tombstone" through Lindsey's eyes:

I've had no desire to see "Tombstone" because it's a western and all actiony. I knew it was a "good" movie because everyone I've ever talked to has said that it is. Sure, it may be "good," but the question is, will I actually pay attention. This may be how I rate the movies during this experiment. I will tell you what went on in my brain, instead of paying attention to the storyline.

The movie starts out with a wedding scene, which turns into a shoot-em-up scene. I would have been so ticked if some group of cowboys interrupted my wedding by killing people. Then I began to notice the actors that I actually knew like Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. The real excitement came when I saw the actor that I care about, Jason Priestly. Oh Brandon Walsh, trying to live his life as a tough cowboy. He couldn't get away with that rough crowd while wearing his dumb bowler hat. I think people wearing bowler hats are SOOO not intimidating. I also spent half of the time thinking that John Corbett was Paul Rudd. For some reason, I get those actors confused. It totally doesn't make sense, I know.

All in all, my response to the movie was "I can see why people like it." I paid attention to about 60% of the movie. I asked how much was left, I pulled out Sudoku, and even took "notes" so that I would pay attention. I'm just not cut out for these movies. I definitely appreciate them. Now that I'm an adult and I don't have to impress anyone, I can just finally give my honest opinion. I get bored with westerns and guns. If I had to watch a western shooting movie, I would choose "Tombstone."

Looking forward to a movie that doesn't require my 100% attention,

The Great Film Retrospective Begins

I think it’s safe to say that anyone who knows me knows I stinking love movies. The vast majority of my “entertainment” money is spent on either going to the movies, renting a movie, or buying a Blu-Ray (I’ve moved on from DVDs). I’m not sure exactly when this started or why, really, but as far back as I can remember I have been fascinated by the silver screen.

Lindsey is slightly less interested in the motion pictures industry. Sure, she’ll see a movie now and then and she’s got a few that she really loves. But whereas I’m likely to pop in one of the 200+ movies that I currently own when I’m just sitting around the house, she’s far more disposed to watching whatever fine programming MTV and The Food Network have to offer at the moment. Being the movie connoisseur that I am, I can link just about any real life situation to a film and issue an appropriate quote or comparison. (I’m not sure if this is a gift or a curse because I’m sure there are plenty of people in my life that want to punch me in the face when I throw out a quote. My apologies to those people.)

So, you can imagine how many times I might drop a quote or make a reference to a movie in my conversations with Lindsey that she doesn’t get. Sometimes she points out, yet again, that she’s never seen “The Shawshank Redemption.” Other times she pulls a Katie McBroom and just nods politely with a small laugh and hopes I just move on without calling her out for not knowing what the heck I’m talking about. The number of CLASSIC movies that Lindsey is unfamiliar with is less frustrating than it is shocking. How anyone from our generation can miss out on seeing “Top Gun” at least once in their lives is beyond me.

But there is a second side to every story. While I am the king of all films of the past 20 years, my knowledge of 80s movies, especially those geared towards kids and teenagers, is extremely lacking. When made for TV movies were the order of the day, I was too busy playing basketball or attacking my brother with a plastic machine gun to take in such films. Likewise, almost all 80s teen movies that made retro comebacks in the early 90s, such as “Sixteen Candles,” were of little interest to me. Lindsey has a plethora of knowledge concerning such films, a knowledge that is rendered completely useless with me because I’ve never even heard of a lot of them, let alone seen them. (Truthfully I’m not sure anyone who didn’t grow up with Lindsey knows about some of these movies, with the possible exception of Micah and Sarah.)

To that end, Lindsey and I have struck a deal. We both made a list of films that were in someway significant to us that the other hadn’t seen. We’ll be watching these films over the next few months and, as is the inclination of both of us, we’ll be writing about the results. I’ve termed this experience The Great Film Retrospective and set up a blog to follow the events that come of this little experiment so as not to clog up Facebook with even more self serving dribble than already comes across your front page every day.

This is a win-win-win situation, as Michael Scott would say. First, I get to share some of the greatest films the world with Lindsey and she gets to see them. Second, she gets to share with me some of her childhood favorites that no one has ever seen. Third, I get 30 chances to see if in fact there is a worse movie than “Cabin Fever,” my vote for Most Awful Display of Filmmaking Ever in the History of the World. If you’re interested in seeing the reaction of a 27 year old adult taking in “The Goonies” for the first time (no, I’m not kidding) or what an adult male might do when subjected to “The Babysitter’s Club” (no, I’m not kidding), feel free to take part in TGFR. Maybe you too have never taken in the absolute greatness of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” or you just want to bask in the glory of “Die Hard.” Either way, stop by the house, bring a snow cone, and get ready to take in some of the best (and worst) movies your local Blockbuster has to offer.

My List:
300, 61*, Blues Brothers, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Crash, Die Hard, Friday Night Lights, Heat, I Am Legend, Into the Wild, Iron Man, L.A. Confidential, Memphis Belle, Monster, Inc., Raising Arizona, Road to Perdition, Rounders, Serenity, The Alamo (2004), The Ghost and the Darkness, The Goonies, The Incredibles, The Legend of Bagger Vance, The Shawshank Redemption, The Sting, The Untouchables, The Usual Suspects, Tombstone, Unbreakable

Lindsey’s List:
April Fool’s Day, The Babysitter’s Club, Better Off Dead, Big Business, Breakfast Club, Burnt Offerings, Camp Cucamonga, Camp Nowhere, Can’t Buy Me Love, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Ever After, Godspell, Grizzly Man, Happy Birthday to Me, Life is Beautiful, Rockin’ with Judy Jetson, She’s Out of Control, Sixteen Candles, The Chipmunk Adventure, The OC, Troop Beverly Hills, Waiting for Guffman, Whatever it Takes, White Christmas, Wish Upon a Star

“Big Business” stars Bette Midler. No I am not kidding,