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A Kiss Before Dying

Decent movie for the price
For five and a half bucks, how can anyone say this is a bad movie? "A Kiss Before Dying" is a sub-par thriller which is predictable to the point of being laughable. I agree that this isn't the best movie ever made, but it's far from the worst. I was easily taken by Sean Young's performance. She did rather well for the material she was given. The same goes for Matt Dillon, this role proved that he's adept at playing a slimeball. The other name of fame is Max Von Sydow and I wasn't annoyed by his performance. He was on screen for only two or three minutes at a time. What I really liked was the instinct and persistence of Sean Young's character. She put her nose to the grindstone and did not let go of it. By the end, I was glad to see her character was finally vindicated of its nagging doubts. The ending was clunky but correct. As a few of you have stated before, the performances were stiff and Young and Dillon had little chemistry between them. I wish James Dearden and his producers could have worked out the bugs before submitting a finished product. The writing was decent since the story was easy to follow and the eventual outcomes could be predicted far in advance. By my logic, this is your standard, by-the-numbers remake of a classic thriller. The product we're given is decent but far from complete. I give it a score of six.

Here ends my rant!


Not a classic...unless you're comparing it to a pile of brown smelly stuff
I don't know where to begin with this piece of unadulterated schlock. I didn't watch this movie entirely but I did watch most of it. There is too much to complain about in this movie to care about it. I only liked this movie because I saw my favorite CSI character playing a similar sort of role and that is only one of three reasons I like this movie. William Petersen is a decent actor on the small screen, I don't know about the big screen though. He tried way too hard in this unintentional joke of a movie. I like the scene where the killer had the one FBI agent tied to the wheelchair. I didn't expect the agent to become a fireball while traveling back to his car. Michael Mann can write a good-intentioned torture scene, that is if you want to intentionally torture yourself. In my mind, I don't why anybody likes Michael Mann or any of the stuff he creates. He squandered one too many opportunities for some stars to shine and it drove me bonkers. Dennis Farina wasn't able to pull off any of his trademark irony and Brian Cox couldn't muster any creepiness to save his performance. As somebody astutely pointed out, Michael Mann was trying to make Miami Vice on the big screen. I believe he blew half the flipping budget on the set decor. It was heart-wrenching to watch this film. If you liked this movie, you should be ashamed with yourself. As for this movie, it gets a score of 3.

Here ends my rant!


I "saw" this movie and it was demented
"Saw" is a film that be revered as one of the better serial killer-slash-mindscrew films of this decade. While "Saw" obviously suffers from a lack of logic and experience, it's hard not to give James Wan and Leigh Whannell pats on the back for making such a twisted, bankable flick. I was left chilled to the bone by the ways that the Jigsaw Killer operated. I have to say my favorite torture game was the one with the safe, candle and the red numbers on the wall. For me, it appeared that these guys must have studied their inspirations in order to make a film that would leave you saying "That was a scary movie".

There were three areas of success in "Saw". The gritty, demented and all-out distressing setting for the core scenes of the film is the first success. Elwes and Whannell's characters both agreed they were caught in a really crappy situation and the rotten restroom helped fuel that idea. I don't think there was any other possible setting that could have been used to play the game where those two were the victims. The second success was the pacing of the film. It was slow at first but it was accelerated up toward the climax. It set the perfect mood up for the lesser astute viewers to be enthralled by the inevitable twist at the end. The third success was the twist. The twist is one of the best realized moments in recent cinema history. I must say the killer was the last one I ever expected. Even if anybody expected anything about the third person in the bathroom, I don't think anybody could have possibly known whom it was. Those three things make this movie a worthwhile viewing pleasure.

Like any movie, there are a few off-putting things about it. The violence is sadistic and killer is deranged; this is a movie for those with strong stomachs. Cary Elwes did a 180 on me (going from killer in one movie to victim in this film) but his performance was scary to say the least. He may be the most unintentionally annoying on Earth. I think his heart was in this film but his acting style is a taste that many will never acquire. He failed in 'Saw'. Speaking of Elwes, the acting for this movie was all over the place and I blame the inexperience of the filmmakers. They were out to make an entertaining film and acting was probably second to plot, mood, and theme. There are also too many parallels to Seven and Silence of the Lambs in 'Saw'. I did not really this movie as an homage to them as much as I 'saw' it as an almost-intentional rip-off of both films.

Overall, 'Saw' is a better written and better made serial killer-slash-mindscrew film. It isn't as good as 'Seven' or 'Silence...' but it's far better than the likes 'Twisted', 'Taking Lives' and 'Gothika'. While these boy wonders have made an imperfect debut film, I see them becoming better with time. For what it is, it is dark, demented, moody, fearful, and above all impressive. In the great realm of cinema, expect this to be lodged under cult classic. 'Saw' deserves a score of eight.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

I was onto this stuff before it was famous...
Back in high school during my junior and senior years and I would watch "The New Detectives" and "FBI Files" on the Discovery Channel. I would even tune into "American Justice" and "Cold Case Files" on A&E. I initially refused to watch CSI because I knew I would end up liking it even though it takes some extreme liberties when it comes to presenting the field of forensics. The main thing I don't like about CSI is that they can solve crimes in one or two nights while the real cases on the shows presented above takes months and years to reach full closure. The time-line of the CSI is distressing and some of the gadgets they come up with to solve the crimes are outside my realm of thinking. I didn't know they had a spray to check for gunshot residue and so on. Yes it nice to see that the art and science of forensics get some needed exposure on the world but at the same time, it almost completely neglects the human element. It goes strictly for objectivity while "Law and Order" (I used to watch reruns of this show all the time on TNT) played up the subjectivity of the law. I prefer the human drama involved and CSI attempts to play with it somewhat, but "Law and Order" is far superior at it. Besides that, my fears came true several months ago and I am now a CSI fiend. I watch the reruns and I own two DVD sets of the show (seasons 1 and 3). My favorite character is Gil Grissom and my favorite episode is the first one with the 'blue paint' killer in season 3. There are so many twists that it takes a person trained in plot analysis to foresee them coming. It's fast, it's dashing, it's almost all smoke and mirrors. It's probably the most easily consumed TV show out there right now. I really prefer shows that challenge my intellect and show all the correct details and that's why I started with the Discovery Channel and A&E. If you want flash/bang/whiz, go for CSI. If you want drama, go for Law and Order. If you want the straight dope, go with COURT TV, Discovery, or A&E. The straight dope is usually the best stuff to go with because it is the truth. Sometimes the truth is harder to digest. CSI is well-made (well-acted and well-written) and I actually applaud Jerry Bruckheimer for making a great move this time. I give CSI a deserved A-grade for entertaining me, which is the purpose of any bit of entertainment to begin with.

Denis Leary: Lock 'N Load

Leary Rocks and Rolls!
Denis Leary strikes again with his second standup special and it's downright hilarious! Leary changes his style up a bit with by being slightly more reserved in his actual performance while unloading a wholly unexpected yet highly entertaining closing musical number. All of his bits were polished and delivered with blistering passion. I don't care what Leary rants about as long as it's delivered in his psycho-contorting motions and crack-driven vocal stylings. My favorite bit was about his family and how artistic his daughter was. For anyone who owns the CD, they cut that part out of the bit. I found this excellent special on the DVD rack at the place with the low prices and the smiley faces tacked on the walls. I was shocked to no end when I found it but I knew I would be entertained. Denis Leary never fails to do that. While funny as hell, this is secondary to 'No Cure For Cancer'. Still, it's by Denis Leary and that is worth ten reasons right there. So, ten reasons give a score of ten.

PS: Will there ever be another Denis Leary standup special? Has anybody heard anything?

Here ends my rant!

Talk Radio

I Should Have Paid More Money...
When it comes to movies, I don't easily discriminate between crap, pure crap and masterpieces. I believe this movie is an absolute masterpiece and it's hard to keep me entertained for more than 90 minutes. This movie ran SLOWER than Mystic River and Harry Potter 3 combined and I still managed to stay riveted to my seat. For me, it was the passion that Eric Bogosian put into his performance. It's extremely difficult to pull off such a stunt and manage to garner any positive effect from it. Bogosian probably nailed one of the toughest single-man performances in modern cinema. I didn't have any respect for Bogosian until the end of the film. The entire monologue minutes before the inexorable climax was the turning point, it was the key that turned me around. This man hit a point so low that he knew he could never recover from it. The corporate boys congratulated him on the performance. His blistering prose made even the slimiest one in the cavalcade shake his head in awe. It made me realize that personal integrity and hypocrisy don't matter in the world of talk radio, even in the corporate world for that matter. Stone may have been pushing some uber-liberal agenda but it was the actual movie and production that got my attention. Oliver Stone is a minor master of the moody. The final third of the film had probably the best lighting and cinematography I have seen in any film. Stone artfully makes the DJ booth feel like five-by-seven cell in a nineteenth century prison. Visually speaking, it appears that Bogosian's only friend is the black foam that absorbs his routine vitriol. He speaks and it doesn't speak back. It's a sad metaphor considering the way he treats the people who handed him his success. Stone and Bogosian carved out a stunning film of a man who is trapped in both a prison of walls and a prison of self. This man is confined to his own volition and he can never escape it. The scene that made me realize his conundrum was when he was unwilling to his ex-wife back. He preferred his own prison instead of the world on the outside. Every story has a conflict and it came down to the simplest of all conflicts: man versus himself. 'Talk Radio' presents this conflict in an intelligent, gripping, and artful fashion. There are no hidden messages in this film and the progression of events should be expected by any astute viewer. I just leaned back and let my mind be grasped by this film and I loved it. It's unheralded, unseen, and it will never receive its due recognition. Let's hope it stays that way because gems deserve to be found and then hidden again. It's a gem because I found it in the discount DVD bin at my local Wal-Mart store. For $5.50, it was worth the half-hour I spent digging trying to find it. I did and I got more than my money's worth. This is one of the best movies ever made and that is worth ten reasons alone. Ten reasons give a score of ten.

Here ends my rant!

Little Black Book

Please Throw The Book At Me...
...and give me a black eye. Of any and all pieces of media that I have ever seen, heard, touched, tasted and smelled, this is the worst piece to have the word 'black' in the title. There was no book, and it wasn't black. If it was meant to be a 'black comedy', then it fell on its face because it stumbled over a black cat. I shall cease the punspeak and continue my commentary in the accepted normalspeak.

There are some decent aspects to this pile of bunk and those reading this shall be spoiled: (1) Kathy Bates was probably the only ray of sunshine in this hopeless crock. She was sadly underplayed in my mind and she should have stolen this away from the cutesy starlet. (2) I have to say that Holly Hunter is still in top form. She can play a conniving b**** better than anyone that I have seen in quiet some time. While she isn't up there with Sharon Stone, she did prove the point that certain parts of the working world require backstabbing to survive. If an actor can make a philosophical point and make it well, then the performance is well-done I believe. (3) Extending the second reason, the climatic sequence was the best in the film. It came from nowhere in my mind considering certain hints were being dropped (Hunter's going-along with the plan, the Working Girl movie poster, Ira's obsession of the little black book idea). Maybe a more astute viewer could have seen it but I did not. I believe it was carefully plotted, written, acted, and filmed in order to incite a deep emotional reaction from the viewer. Is it just me or did the entire cast and crew read Aristotle before the sequence was shot? I could be missing the point but I am from the school that suggests philosophy is the underpinning of all human understanding. Three reasons give a score of three.

Now for the negativity: (1) Brittany Murphy blows like an untied balloon. She blows like the bitter cold winds that sweep across the high plains of North Dakota in the dead of winter. She can't act and she hasn't acted well in anything (except for Just Married, that was funny). I think this role could have been better for someone like Scarlett Johannsen. If she dyed her red locks blonde and chopped it short, she could pass as a Diane Sawyer wannabe. (2) What has happened to Ron Livingston? He is truly a no-hit wonder as far as I can tell. His best performance was in Office Space but that was a defeaningly silent failure at the box office. He had no heart in this movie despite whatever extending circumstances might have caused not to have it. (3) Carly Simon was used and abused in this movie. Maybe it was a mutual you-save-my-relevance-to-history-while-I-can-fill-up-my-bank-account-kind-of-agreement. Plainly, I believe the greatest chanteuse of the 1970's is trying to extend her relevance span much like Styx did with Adam Sandler in 1999's Big Daddy. It's pure exploitation for the sake of keeping the cash cow happy. (4) I hated the premise of this movie from the outset. Why can't the heads behind this film realize that the biggest questions cannot be answered? The question is, should past secrets stay buried or be revealed? The answer is BOTH, end of story! It depends on every relationship and every circumstance involving those relationships. She should have let the situation alone despite everything else involved and the world would have been at ease. That is why I hate doubt; when you are at ease, everything is right with the world. (5) I leave the psychobabble for more common sense themes. I hated how the character of Joyce got screwed because she was the one we were meant to root for. In fact, the other two women (the self-absorbed doctor and the shallow, vane model) didn't deserve the screwing either. While the situation was complex from the outset, they didn't deserve any of the attention. If you are outside the situation regardless of your flaws, then you don't deserve to be sucked in and then burned at the stake. The characters Murphy and Hunter played both deserved to be burned at the stake. (6) This movie attempted black comedy and failed miserably. It tried to express some opinions on the insatiable American appetite of reality TV and the cruelty of the world of television. I would think films like Network and Broadcast News (even Ringmaster with Jerry Springer) would profess those opinions in better ways. If this movie had marketed itself as that and the heads behind this film went more the jugular, this movie would been much better. I think if James L. Brooks had at least directed this movie and cast somebody like Holly Hunter or Scarlet Johannsen in the main role, then we might have something to talk about. (7) The ending was a farce so nothing more needs to be voiced.

Overall, this movie bites and I felt cheated for the most part. I did laugh in a few places but it just made me cringe over and over again. Somebody treated me out, so I waited until the end of the horror to make my opinions known to the world. When it's free, who says you can complain? If anyone out there has a little black book, burn it now so your significant other can never find it. If you are in a relationship that is more worthy than anything you had prior, why hold on to the past? It's the kind of stuff that makes Hollywood rob us of our hard-earned money.

Taking Lives

Won't You Take Me Back Again?
To the beginning of how and when this psychofest started. It all started on a whim to see "Twisted". Then, I progressed on toward "Gothika" and then the aforementioned. By the end of it all, I don't ever want to see a serial killer for quite awhile.

This review will be littered with spoilers...

Here are my reasons: (1) I did like the introduction. It was a crazy yet satisfying setup. It was shown in the previews but I never expected the scene to pop up that early in the movie. It was the best scene in the movie despite the all-out horror it involved. (2) Another snippet from the previews was the hand coming out from under the bed. I could tell when it was coming but I still jumped. D.J. Caruso does have a way of setting up certain scary moments. (3) Best performance in the movie I felt went to Ethan Hawke. His try at being a psychopath was at best decent. He is no Hannibal Lecter or John Doe or even a Bone Collector. I felt that he was the only saving grace for this movie and that is an overstatement. (4) I know I shouldn't be saying this but it was nice to see Tcheky Karyo in a role where he wasn't the enemy or the butt of the joke. It tells you how big a fan I am of him. This is only a cosmetic reason. Four reasons give a score of four.

Now, for the downsides: (1) Angelina Jolie was sadly wasted and I mean sadly. She isn't the greatest actress on the face of the Earth and she doesn't strike me as one who cave to misjudgment so easily. Even though I was wrapped into the story and I didn't see the 'twist', it was still bogus. She strikes me more as the @$$-kicking, doesn't-put-with-any-sort-of-s***-kind of actress. Watch Tomb Raider and Foxfire to see what I mean. She was emotional eye candy and nothing more. (2) Kiefer Who? I was reminded of the conclusion to Phone Booth in where the actual person showed up at the end for thirty seconds. Same problem here, what was the point? Was there even a point? How desperately does a semi-famous actor like Kiefer Sutherland need work? He would have been the better killer. (3) As much as I like gratuitous sex, that scene really sunk this film. Like the last point, there was no point. It was a useless plot element that went against the nature of reality. The cop/killer romance plot game is better suited for something like "Basic Instinct". (4) The ending was sick to an exponential degree. Even if the sex scene was supposedly the key to the story, it still makes me want to hurl. He should have been killed with a piece of piano wire in my humble opinion. The only good aspect of the conclusion was the fact you needed somebody as mentally numb as the killer to do something like that. (5) Olivier Martinez is a wimp, enough said. (6) After we find out who the killer is, went actually went down was a letdown. I got to easily sucked into it and I shouldn't have. My fault in going so I don't deserve my money back.

In the end, this movie was a major waste of time, talent, and money. Of all three thrillers mentioned, "Gothika" has the most promise but that is where it ends. If you want a great crime thriller, watch "Zero Effect", "Mystic River", or "L.A. Confidential". If you want a great psycho thriller with Angelina, rent "The Bone Collector". If you want to keep your sanity, stay away from this film.

Those are my thoughts.


No Hole In My Head...
In the area of movies based off of screenplays from some other area (or whatever the title for that Oscar is), "Holes" has credibility. I think it is better to have the author create the screenplay because the author is the creator of the material. If the author can't write a screenplay to save their life, then have the author and someone fluently talented in the area of screenwriting create it. Aside from that, this review is about "Holes".

The reasons start here and a spoiler maybe found within. (1) Louis Sachar is an excellent author and it turns that he can write a screenplay. I watched the movie and then read the book and both didn't reek incoherence or stupidity. Some people just have natural talents that can transcend mediums. (2) The best performance award goes to Shia LaBeouf for his portrayal as the main character. He "dug" himself into the role. I wanted to see his character vindicated before the conclusion. (3) To ratchet up the suspense a bit, Andrew Davis was brought in. This is the man that made Harrison Ford run hard and run fast. He also can make Steven Seagal smash some heads. As for this film, he made Shia and the rest of the boys dig some holes. In other words, he can make an "action-packed" movie and make it well even if "action" isn't the main genre isn't "action". (4) My second favorite performance goes to Jon Voight as Mr. Sir. Sometimes a goofy role brings out the best in a performer. When Voight uttered the line "Once upon a time...", I must have laughed for half a minute because it was so funny. He is capable of comedy and he should investigate a few more roles that let him to exercise that talent. (5) Tim Blake Nelson is very solid whenever he is given a solid script. This is probably the second best role I have seen him in (second only to 'O Brother Where Art Thou?'). (6) I love the choice of settings for the movie. I didn't know California was that dry or that barren. I guess population and land area figures both can be misleading. (7) The overall look of the movie made me want another bottle of water. One could only imagine digging a hole in that barren area for half a day. (8) The rest of the cast should deserve a box of Kudos bars as well. Sigourney Weaver, Henry Winkler, Khleo Thomas, Jake M. Smith and the rest of the bill were tapped because of their talents and it gelled very well. Great cast even though it was anywhere near ensemble. (9) I like a movie that doesn't explain anything right away. When Stanley got clocked in the head with those baseball cleats, it made me want to see how weird the events could get and that is a key ingredient in making a good movie. (10) Disney Pictures (not Touchstone, DISNEY!!) needs to make a few more of these mature juvenile films. It was palatable for me and I am a college student. The last mature juvenile Disney film I saw was "Something Wicked This Way Comes" and "Holes" possibly exceeds it (like the election in 2000, it's still to close to call). Disney can make greatness if they decide to expand on this genre and keeps artistry in mind over milking a cash cow when they see it. Ten reasons give a score of ten!

All in all, "Holes" is one of my favorite Disney films and probably one of the best this year (granted this movie may not be Oscar material but whoever said Oscar material is the best material?). In terms of being a movie from a book I have read, this ranks behind "Fight Club" on my list (which is on top). For being a film I saw in 2003, this is in the top five (somewhere behind "Mystic River"). Compared against "Harry Potter", Stanley Yelnats easily takes a shovel to Harry's head and brings the final death blow with a smelly sneaker to Potter's nose. Everybody should see this movie because it both informs and entertains. Here ends my rant!

The Order

I am on the fence...
I saw this movie on opening night for that the fact that Brian Helgeland was writing and directing it. Helgeland is an excellent screenwriter and an Oscar winner to boot. When I first saw the previews, I figured this movie would be as dark, cynical, and twisted as his greatest effort (helping adapt James Ellroy's mammoth novel LA Confidential with Curtis Hanson). It turns out that I was nearly disturbed out of my seat by watching this film.

First off, here are my reasons (spoilers): (1) As I mentioned before, I am a fan of Brian Helgeland. He is an awesome screenwriter even if his directing credentials have come into question. (2) The best performance award goes to Benno Furmann. He easily stole this film away from Heath Ledger without much effort at all. He has a knack for playing foreboding and underhanded characters that you feel sorry for. See the film "The Princess and the Warrior" by Tom Tykwer for more evidence. (3) It was good to see Peter Weller on screen again in a decent evil man role. The last good bad guy he played was in "Firstborn" nearly twenty years ago. (4) The lightning, backgrounds, settings, and cinematography were perfectly set and made for this movie. If there is one thing that Brian Helgeland knows, it is how to make a dark movie. His talent for choosing the right technical cast payed off immensely. (5) As much as the romantic aspect was not needed, it was pretty clever. This is the first film I have ever seen or heard of where a priest falls in love with a mental patient. I have to say that is pretty original. (6) Mark Addy is always good for comic relief. He provided the right touches of humor when necessary. (7) Believe it or not, the plot of the film was rather interesting. Seven reasons give a score of seven.

Secondly, the downers involve (1) the main performances. Heath Ledger playing a priest. Even though suspension of disbelief is needed to watch this movie, I could suspend it enough. He is way too young to play a priest even a renegade priest with years of experience under his belt. As for Shannyn Sossamon, she was not believable enough to play a mental patient. She is more believable as a web page designer. Another downer is (2) how much is took from "Stigmata". This was a subtle rip-off as opposed to all-out. The originality comes in much closer toward the denouement. This is connected to my third point, (3) this movie pretty much rips Christianity a new one. I guess every so often a movie comes along to challenge current preconceptions about any and all things and this time the largest faith in the world got caught in the crosshairs. It really irked me but I know their are bigger things that Christians have to worry about than a movie that came out of Hollywood bashing their faith.

In conclusion, this is a movie where the discretion is up to the viewer. If you love darkness and foreboding, this is your movie. If you have issues with Christianity, this is your movie. If you are a Christian of any branch, avoid this film at all costs. You may regret watching this and curse Brian Helgeland until the day he passes on. As for me, it was iffy and could have been better.

Here ends my rant!

Hey Arnold!

Remarkably Intelligent
Of all animated shows on Nickelodeon in the post Ren and Stimpy era, "Hey Arnold" is the most intelligent of them all. For a cartoon show that grabs the attention of youngsters in late childhood and even early adolescence, this show is surprisingly and intelligently mature. This is the only show I have seen where the main character shows maturity at an age earlier than most would expect to see it. The maturity level of Arnold reminds me of someone in early high school. Throw in a few other intelligent aspects (a great supporting cast, some gritty animation, and some stereotypes worth skewering) and a great show is created. My favorite episode is where Arnold refuses to cave to pressure from the principal after seeing the principal get mooned. That was a funny episode. "Hey Arnold" gets a deserved A+ for being a great show. Here ends my rant!

Hable con ella

Fates Run Together...
In other films I have reviewed, I have stated that I am a fan of international cinema. This is the first film I have seen by Pedro Almodovar all the way through (I happened upon "All About My Mother on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation station that is seen on my basic cable system). I think he is a very talented director and he really has a way of telling stores that involve fates intertwining. This is a very good film.

Here are my reasons (spoilers): (1) The opening sequence of the film is an exemplary metaphor. The ballet scene sets the tone and pacing of the film and it foreshadows how the film will play out. (2) At the beginning, we see two men sitting next to each other at the ballet. These two men are brought together through very odd but plausible circumstances. The actors who played both Benigno and Marco anchored this film with their excellent portrayals of men drawn together by extraordinary happenings. They reminded me of people I might actually meet on the street. (3) For the performances to work, they need plausible circumstances and the audience needs to see how they came together. There respective stories are told through flashbacks and forwards and those flashes don't offset the pacing at all. The editing is well-done and I didn't feel that I missed anything that may have been important. (4 and 5) These reasons run together. Pedro Almodovar is a master of his craft. It seems his MO (at least in recent films) is telling stories of intertwining fate and he succeeds immensely. He is a master hand at directing and writing films. The Oscar he received for writing and his nomination for direction were both deserved. (6) My favorite aspect of the film was Marco and Lydia's relationship. This aspect of the movie seemed to be the most realistic. They are drawn together because they suffered traumatic heartbreak. The scenes they shared on screen didn't seem forced or at all implausible. This was a screen couple that truly loved one another. The scene after the wedding supports this logic. (7) As the film the came to a close, I was surprised at a couple of interesting twists that happened. By the final ballet scene, I was thinking that this was the best to end the film. It was a bittersweet yet hopeful note. (8) I love fate-driven movies. It seems that most of the films that I have seen from Europe are of the fate-driven variety and they are all good. Eight reasons give a score of eight.

The major downfall of this movie is (1) the action of Benigno with Alicia. Those moves he made repulsed me to almost no end. It is hard not to feel sympathy for his character but that still doesn't excuse what he did. Despite that, those actions were needed to push the story to the seemingly correct resolution. I guess some sort of damage has to be instilled in at least one character to tell a great story. A smaller downfall comes in (2) the silent movie sequence. I really like symbolism but that scene was just out there and almost sadistic. I am not a fan of seeing women being messed with while they sleep. I believe the same logic applies as above as to why this sequence was needed.

Overall, I really liked this movie despite the rather sick content that ran through the last half of the film. I guess Almodovar likes to push boundaries like any real maverick filmmaker. I have seen almost two films by him ("All About My Mother" turned me off after I found out who the boy's father was) and for the better parts, they were awesome. Even with the questionable content, they are still much better than some of the prime-time TV I catch occasionally. Pedro Almodovar is one of the best filmmakers from Europe in the industry right now and he can make a very good fate-driven film with ease. Here ends my rant!

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

I need an editor...
Sometimes when I write reviews for films, I write faster than I think and I leave out some key prose along the way. Here is what I really wanted to say: "Greek Wedding" deserved the Best Original Screenplay Oscar NOMINATION it received. The script is cleanly and sharply written and a lot of love was put into it. The other correction is that it is refreshing to see a romantic comedy that DOESN'T have a gay character in it. Most of the romantic comedies I have seen in the last five years have this aspect (that doesn't mean that they all suck {I love Chasing Amy and My Best Friend's Wedding}) but it was a change of pace and that isn't always a bad thing. Those are my correction, so this is where my rants end.

Brigham City

Another spin on a flamed-out genre
How many people out there have seen the movies with this plot?: "A small town is the setting for a complicated mystery involving murder (one or multiple) and the town is forever changed because of it." It seems to me that this branch of suspense fiction is running out of ideas. Enter Richard Dutcher, accomplished independent film-maker from the Beehive State, and his latest release "Brigham City". I viewed this movie late at night and I was surprisingly riveted (easily entertained actually) to the television screen and I stuck it out.

Here are my reasons (spoilers): (1) Richard Dutcher anchored this film and he easily took away the best performance. (2) Although Dutcher's writing skills doesn't have the quirkiness of Joel Coen or the humor of Kevin Smith, it does work here. Dutcher's may not be a born screenwriter but he knows his way around his own backyard and his faith. (3) The best aspects of the film were the scenes dealing with faith. Any denomination of Christianity (if they claim to be or otherwise) has the same sorts of problems in all their churches. Services can get boring and lifeless and Sunday school can feel like regular school. Dutcher's smashed that aspect out of the park. (4) I like the message that this film sends you away with and it is "even the protectors are imperfect". Dutcher's pep talk in the town square was basically an incite to undermine the Constitution of the United States. The sequence just before the end is the other real bit of evidence to back up the claim. (5) Tayva Patch had the best female role in the movie. For some reason, she was the least annoying of the bunch. (6) Despite all the red herrings this movie throws at you, I didn't suspect the real killer at the denouement. (7) It was good to see a rather sanitized movie for once. Not everyone swears like Jay Phat Buds, not everyone is a sex fiend like Prince, and not everyone is a violent freak like The Terminator. For an indy film, "Brigham City" is a light that glows in a different color. Seven reasons give a score of seven.

The downers included (more spoilers) (1) Wilford Brimley. He was on the screen for less than a minute at a time and his character had no development. He basically says "HI!" and then gets popped in the head. Was he a needed asset? My guess is no. (2) Near the end, where did this sudden revelation come from about the killer? There were plenty of plot holes here to keep a movie hater busy for weeks. Finally, (3) Did this film really suffer from an acting allergy? Even Dutcher's performance felt a bit grainy at times and he was the best one of the movie. It must be a matter of perception I guess.

Overall, "Brigham City" is a thoughtful entry into a rather flamed-out genre. What keeps it afloat are questions of faith it brings up and the almost solid mystery story. It doesn't take a lot of brain cells to watch this film and it isn't paced out rapidly, so you could fall asleep to it. It is definitely an interesting peek inside the Mormon way-of-life (though possibly overblown, I am not an expert) and how tragedy affects it. I got to see a side of Americana that I hadn't seen before and I don't regret seeing it. Maybe someone else might like to give it a try on that note alone. If you do, you won't be too terribly disappointed. Here ends my rant!


The Force Is Strong With This One
When it comes to being serious, this film is frivolous with it. Of all stupid comedies I have ever seen, this one takes the Lombardi Trophy. It a smattering of silliness, sageness, and suaveness and all of these elements are harmonious with one another. "Mallrats" is Kevin Smith's least serious film but one of the most hilarious. I recommend this movie to all fans of stupid comedy because it is not your average stupid comedy (like Dude, Where's My Car or Dumb and Dumber).

Here are my reasons (spoilers): (1) The soliloquy given by Jason Lee in the first two minutes of the film is one of the funniest yet sickest stories of all time. I couldn't contain my laughter if I died trying. I taken with the movie from then on. (2) Speaking of Jason Lee, this man is the inheritor of the title of "smart-a** comedian" from Chevy Chase. As I heard Lee rant, I was easily reminded of Chevy Chase but with a more caustic and angry visage. If Lee finds the right comedic roles from here on out, he could be remembered as a comedic legend. He also had the best performance in the film. (3) The silliness of "Mallrats" is done in exquisite fashion. The characters of Jay and Silent Bob provide the needed stupidity to Jason's Lee intelligent ranting and hilarity. I love the scenes where these boys try to turn the stage into rubble while trying to take out the head security guard. That is a recipe for multiple laughs. (4) The suaveness of "Mallrats" comes in with the tackling of some very adult issues in a really lighthearted fashion. The aspect of a fifteen-year old female doing every man in the neighborhood for research on a manuscript detailing their shortcomings is pretty heavy and almost sadistic stuff. The film pulls some interesting punches on the issues of sexual inadequacy, drug use, youth and authority, parenting, slacking and so on without falling into preachiness. If "Mallrats" had gone had tried to be serious while trying to also be slapstick, it was have fallen even further away from critics and the masses alike. (5) Kevin Smith has a knack for smart and realistic dialogue. He must be an expert eavesdropper because he had to do some sort of research to hone his wordsmithing ability. It doesn't matter if that thought is correct or not because the dialogue rules either way. I have heard people quote this movie word for word and to me, it means the writer did something right. (6) Ethan Suplee's battle with the Magic Eye poster is a jewel among all comedic sequences ever made. I really loved it when he just lashed out at those who could see the sailboat while he couldn't. Even pure, raw desperation can make for hilarious moments. (7) Ben Affleck did well as the smarmy, annoying shop manager who goes after Shannen Doherty. His pre-JLO work is among his best stuff. (8) Every town that has a 'good mall' must have a 'dirt mall' and that set of scenes really hit home for me. I worked for nine months in a 'dirt mall' and it was fun. It was one hundred times cleaner than the 'dirt mall' in the film but everybody else shopped at the big mall on the south end of the city I work and play in. It made me feel nostalgic. (9) I loved the denouement of the film. That set of sequences shows that a master hand is at work. (10) That master hand belongs to Kevin Smith and he is very talented at creating films. Even at his least serious, he can make something that will make you feel good and not stupid at the same time. The true stupid comedies always make you feel this way. Ten reasons give a score of ten.

Overall, "Mallrats" is a stupid comedy to be reckoned with. It is silly like "Happy Gilmore", sage like "Rushmore", and suave like "Raising Arizona". It is rare to find a comedy that balances all three of these traits perfectly and "Mallrats" succeeds immensely. It is all right to keep your brain on here and it is also all right to turn your brain off as well because this is entertainment as it's finest. Here ends my rant!

Raising Arizona

True Comedy
"Raising Arizona" is a king among the genre of comedy. I have been a big fan of the Coen Brothers ever since I first saw "Fargo" and this is by far the purest comedy they have made (made really for laughs but also made very smartly). Of the comedies that came out in the 1980's, this is one of the most original and stunning (much like Caddyshack and Back To The Future). If anyone watches it, they are in for a treat that they will remember for quite a while.

Here are my reasons (spoilers): (1) Nicholas Cage plays the best character of his career as H.I. "Hi" McDonnough. He convincingly played a complex, difficult yet funny, resilient "reformed" armed robber involved in a kidnapping plot gone horribly awry. He easily had the best male role in the film. (2) Holly Hunter is just great as Ed, the hard as rock ex-cop who has been struck barren. She plays her character menacingly and lovingly and it was very believeable. She had the best female role in the film. (3) If there was ever a movie that takes a simple plot line (like the kidnapping of a child) throws into a blender with a few extra ingredients (like the actual reason for the kidnapping) and something comes out that this really good. The plot of the film is very original and something that was unseen in film before that. Quite a nice piece of writing I must say. (4) My favorite scene of the film involved the chase scene that lasted for ten-some minutes and it was all over a package of diapers. I was reminded of the fight scene from "They Live". Besides that, it was probably the quirkiest and funniest chase ever caught on celluloid and it must have inspired many others like it. (5) One aspect of this film I really did like is that toddlers have the effect of making even the most hardened criminal go all mushy inside. That is a sign that someone out there believes that humanity capable of love even if it does bad things. Wishful thinking is sometimes a good thing. (6) A staple of most Coen films has been John Goodman and he does well here as Hi's buddy. As he screams, you wonder if he is either acting tough and acting as if he has constipation. (7) I love the cinematography in this movie. The multiple angles and multiple cameras that were used produce some very nice shots including both Hi and Ed running seperate directions from the car before it exploded. The Coens know how to use the camera. (8) The elaborate sets used in this movie help the set the scene for how weird it would become. The Arizona house was a colorful and wide-open space and it could suggest that this is foreshadowing since the movie was colorful and it was wide open as to where it would end up at. (9) I have never seen a movie with an eleven-minute introduction before. It was an awesome sequence and one of the best the sequences I have seen in a Coen film. One of the funniest as well. (10) The denouement of "Raising Arizona" seemed well-suited to me. As I said earlier, wishful thinking is a good thing and there are people who are willing forgive out there if something is done against them. Ten reasons give a score of ten.

This is a very positive film with a very positive feeling. It has a lot of heart even though the initial setup was a kick in the stomach. The characters are treated with care and respect and I sympathized with them. This a true comedy and an inspiration to other quirky comedies out there now. Anyone and everyone should watch this movie and laugh and smile because it had that effect on me. Here ends my rant!

Scooby Doo, Where Are You!

I Finally Get It...(spoilers)
"Scooby DOOBY Doo" is my favorite line from that rather intriguing fifteen minute little show called "Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law". It hits home in describing this rather flatlining animated program. While innovative in subtlely slamming the "turn on, tune in, and drop out" crowd, it suffers just because it is directed at young kids. The monsters like Mr. Hyde, The Creeper, and The Phantom (the classic ghost) are the spooky bad guys that are supposed to frighten everyone excluding those capable of abstract thought and that is where it suffers. I finally realize that liked this show in my early days and in adolescence but this show just stinks now. I finally understand all the jokes and they aren't really funny anymore. The shows falls into sad predictability and even a few setting and plot changes could eliminate that aspect. The adult-oriented humor is great but the show overall is pathetic so it gets a deserved D-grade.

If you want a real funny show that is just too weird to be predictable and it has a lovable dog, turn to "Courage The Cowardly Dog". It will save your sanity. Here ends my rant!

Sixteen Candles

Cut The Number Of Candles In Half
"Sixteen Candles" is to teen flicks what "Steel Magnolias" is to chick flicks. I accredit the idea that "Sixteen Candles" is the direct cause as to why I was a fan of the teen film deluge of the latter half of the last decade. If someone watched this movie and couldn't find any bit of it funny, then that person has put their sense of humor into question. I laughed almost all the way through it and it was the very first time that I have seen it. It is a great film.

Here are my reasons (spoilers): (1) John Hughes is a film-making savant. He writes with a subtle, kind hand and treats his characters with humility. He directed "Sixteen Candles" and it worked well. His talent is also evident in his other films. (2) The best performance of the film goes to Anthony Michael Hall as The Geek. He stole the movie away from Molly Ringwald and I think that move saved it. He was a fair balance of complete dork and wise old man and his other side helps him get the hottie in the end. He had the most comedic moments and they didn't suck at all. Hall's comedic performance is one for the ages. (3) "Sixteen Candles" is definitely a movie that suffers from a political correctness allergy. Gedde Watanabe is just funny as Long Duk Dong. I know the performance stereotypes East Asian males as oblivious to American culture but it was difficult not to laugh because the performance was stupid in the first place. I personally believe the character of Long Duk Dong was poking fun at East Asian stereotypes. I hate political correctness anyway because it is just another convienient form of lying. "Sixteen Candles" pokes fun at both PC and stereotypes and it succeeds immensely. (4) I love the scenes where the Geek was jousting with his buds (John Cusack as one bud in one of his first performances). The point that illustrates this line of logic is the scene where The Geek wants the picture of him and Caroline in the Rolls Royce. I was almost on the floor laughing after that. (5) The scene in the boys bathroom and the unveiling of the panties had me laughing so hard that my head almost became detatched from my neck. The dramatic music was an especially sweet touch. (6) Even though John Hughes isn't known for drama, at times he does a touch for it. The scene between Molly and The Geek is easily on the best scenes in teen movie history. I am sure that many adolescents knew what those two were going through when they first saw "Sixteen Candles". It is probably one of the few movie scenes that has also transcended time as well because adolescents will always be going to through same feelings and doubts in the years to come. (7) Molly Ringwald is a decent actress and her role in this movie shows that she does have talent. It is kind of sad that she didn't get to go on to superstar status but not all is ever lost. She is will always be remembered as the perky redhead who got felt up by her grandmother. (8) I felt that the denouement of the film was executed nicely. It was a nice surprise that the geek got the hottie and it was expected that the birthday girl got the dream guy. All in all, how else such a none-to-serious teen movie end? Eight reasons give a score of eight.

One downer was (1) the unnecessary scene of the wedding dinner. I don't think it really had a place in all the teen angst. I may be wrong because I am not John Hughes, but it felt out of place to me. The other downer was (2) the nudity on screen. I like nudity on the screen as much as the next man but was that really necessary to? I guess it was just another way Hughes had to appeal to the boys in the audience and it worked. I guess that is why the PG-13 rating came into effect two years after the release of "Sixteen Candles".

Overall, I think this a truly great teen film even though I rated it below some of my other personal favorites. Without this movie, I couldn't like "She's All That", "10 Things I Hate About You", "American Pie", "Loser" and even "Y Tu Mama Tambien". "Sixteen Candles" is the perfect 80's film that doesn't delve into any social issues or seriousness (watch "Risky Business if you want that). This movie will age gracefully with time and it will never be forgotten. Here ends my rant!

12 Angry Men

Always watch the classics!
I haven't seen too many classics in my time and I am particularly fond of this one. When it comes to the justice system and political jousting, this is probably the best movie ever made. Jury deliberations are always held out of public view and it was interesting to see how they could possibly go. Granted that this movie is a work of fiction, I found it to be one of the most realistic films of all time as well. This is a dramatic legal classic and I can see where Scott Turow and John Grisham got some inspiration for their respective career choices maybe.

Here are my reasons (some spoilers may be revealed): (1) The performance of Henry Fonda anchored this rather extraordinary piece of celluloid. It was one of the first film roles that really preached political correctness and it was done with both levelheadedness and style. At the time, Fonda took on the underdog character in a completely new and different way and that made it the best performance in the movie. (2) This was a movie filled with a lot of excellent performances and the next best one goes to E. G. Marshall. To me, he was the actual conservative of the movie (sorry Mr. Cobb). His views were exactly opposite of Fonda but he kept a sound mind. He logically challenged Fonda at every turn but he never lost his cool. While Ed Begley and Lee J. Cobb played the "conservative" roles (more like fascist bigots in my opinion), Marshall kept his emotions in check and kept with the cold logic (much like Fonda) and that is why I found his performance to fit the bill of true conservative. (3) Another great performance was done by Joseph Sweeney. He proved that old men know their stuff. He reminded me of my maternal grandfather who is a very learned and observant man himself. Sweeney definitely stole a few scenes from both Fonda and Marshall. He definitely should have been nominated for a supporting actor Oscar. (4) Keeping with the same logic, I really liked George Voskovec. He provided the outside perspective in the movie. The tense scene he had with Jack Warden was the most emotional moment in the film next to Lee J. Cobb's breakdown before the end of the film. Granted the nationality of his character was unknown, it goes to show that people of all ethnicities share the liberal views on very tenuous issues. (5) The fifth best performance goes to the man who played Quincy for seven seasons on the show of the same name. What made him stand out was the fact that he didn't vote not guilty right away even though he was a slum survivor like the defendant in the murder trial. That is a point that those of the same background will always feel sorry for one another. That role was put into the movie to reinforce the sense of reality that the movie was trying to portray. (6) Even though I haven't seen a lot of his films, I found Sidney Lumet's direction of "12 Angry Men" to be Oscar worthy. He definitely cared about this movie and it was maybe the best film he ever had the chance to helm. (7) This movie was spectacularly well-written. Some of the scenarios couldn't have come about without a great writer to do it. Reginald Rose did a great job in coming up with an excellent screenplay and an excellent set of circumstances to play around with. His talent is evident with the fact that the old man pointed out the last fact and the leader of the non-guilty side didn't. (8) The cinematography made me feel the heated claustrophobia that the jurors were suffering through. Throw in a few lighting switches and a small change in dramatic effects and you have an emotionally-charged picture. I was really intrigued by the close-ups on some of the actors. You could really sense the raw emotion all those men felt as they debated away on such a weighty decision. It was beyond words at some moments. (9) This truly was a summer movie. The heat coming into a confined space and the rain coming down at night signaled this thought. I am not a big fan of typical popcorn films and I believe this a needed reprieve from that. I watched this film during a summer thunderstorm and I had to smile at the poetry behind it. It will make anyone blink a couple of times. (10) Not only is this a summer film, it is a time capsule film. Nowadays, no one could get away with making a film about a jury filled with only white men. Men and women from all standings would have to be thrown into the mix to satiate the public and the hounds of political correctness (aka most of Hollywood anyway). I wasn't offended by this movie at all even though it lacked politcal correctness in terms of the times we currently live on. At that time, it was legally acceptable to do as such and the times eventually change. This film captures the late fifties' mentality on the legal system, political correctness, and class struggle perfectly. Ten reasons give this movie a score of ten.

Overall, I found "12 Angry Men" to be a classic that everyone from all walks of life should watch. Not only does hit hard on the times in which it took place, it makes a lot of good points on the unfairness of the legal system and fallability of mankind. All sorts of political opinions and logical paths were followed but it was easy to understand and it made "12 Angry Men" all the better. It should not be missed! Here ends my rant!

Johnny English

Broken English
"Johnny English" is a broken movie and I just wanted it to end. As The Cranberries would say, "let it linger" and it just lingered. As The Rolling Stones would say, "let it bleed" and it just bled. It should have taken what The Beatles said, "live and let die". Here are my reasons for despising this movie (spoilers contained within): (1) Rowan Atkinson could never hold a candle to John Cleese, Eric Idle or Graham Chapman because these are British comedy masters. I find Bean's sense of humor to be a stale of loaf of bread. It might kill a duck someday. (2) Natalie Imbrigulia is another unfortunate to be caught in the eye candy role. Her entire talent is wasted in a role that could be filled by any model wannabe that flunked out of high school. Too bad the world of movies is more about flashy s*** as opposed "indigestable" substance. (3) Speaking of s***, if I ever see another s*** joke on screen, I will take a sharp object and slice the screen because s*** jokes are just s*** to begin with and I have seen too many of them (insert any other title you can think of here). (4) As for more wasted talent, how could John Malkovich have ever agreed to make this movie? Isn't this the same John Malkovich who played himself in "Being John Malkovich" and the rather psychotic dualist in the unfairly underrated "Mary Reilly"? How could such a good actor play such a lame villian? His performance in "In The Line of Fire" beats this sad excuse of film villainy into the ground easily. (5) I know movies are fiction but the plot was so GD ridiculous that I would have shot jellybeans out of my mouth if I had eaten them at certain times. For crying out loud, all of British citizenry would rise against their newly crowned King if they ever found out that their homeland would be turned into the modern-day equivalent of colonial Australia. I wish some writers would use common sense when they write a stupid comedy. (6) I hate repititive jokes like English's gun falling apart at the pull of the trigger. Those jokes get tiring real fast. (7) All the jokes could have been easily anticipated and that took much away from the movie (like there was much to take away from to begin with). (8) The romance angle wasn't needed in this movie either. Some really sad comedic heroes should be left on the short end of the stick (I think this should have happened to Billy Madison {and I really like that movie too}). The narration at the end of the movie said Johnny English was going on his most arduous mission yet and I said it was to lose his virginity. As I said before, writers need common sense when they write a stupid comedy. Eight subtracted from ten is two and thus that is the score I give this movie.

The upsides were (1) the theme song by Robbie Williams. It gave me a fair warning that I was wasting my time in the first place. (2) The other upside is the performance of Ben Miller as Bough. He was the funniest character and he one of the better second bananas I have seen on screen.

Overall, this movie sucks and I suggest it be avoided at all costs. If you ever see another British films, try the works of Danny Boyle or the works of Monty Python because they are smart, dramatic and sometimes funny (depending on the mood of the movie). Don't ever see this movie because you will be crying at the end because you tortured yourself and you never get your money back. Here ends my rant!

Harvard Man

Morality Lesson...or Really Bad Trip?
I am a fan of the offbeat independent genre of filmmaking and I found this to be a rather interesting entry into it. I really like morality tales but I feel a bit ripped when the ending doesn't end with a crash and burn (much like Risky Business or The Graduate). What does save this movie is the first ninety percent of it. Here are my reasons (some spoilers contained within): (1) I loved the sharp dialogue in this movie. Some of the lines that I heard throughout the film I will probably remember for quite sometime. (2) Adrien Grenier's performance was excellent and the best in the film. Seeing him go through that acid trip was enough for me to recommend him for an acting award. The words "Oscar Clip" should have been blinking at the bottom of the screen. (3) Sarah Michelle Gellar was enticingly evil as Grenier's boyfriend. Even her alter-ego would probably want to stab a stake in her heart. (4) The acid trip sequence is about as messed up as any sequence I have ever seen in a movie. As I saw Eric Stoltz's face become visually distorted, I felt like I had dropped acid myself. (5) The philosophical value in this movie is about as heavy as gold. I love it when movies inject philosophy into the plot of a film because the film is then acknowledging that something is supposed to be learned by watching it and therefore it isn't stupid. Most mass-produced movies don't have this phenomenon. (6) The most surprising aspect of the movie goes to Al Franken. He is the last person that I would ever expect to do a cameo in the movie and I don't think his talent was wasted or misplaced. (7) This is the second movie I have ever seen by James Toback and I found his style of filmmaking to be an acquired taste (much like that of Paul Thomas Anderson). He did a splendid job directing this movie however. (8) I found the choppy cinematography to a blessing. If the cinematography hadn't matched the somewhat choppy story to begin with, it would have sank even farther in my mind. Eight reasons give a score of eight.

The downers I thought were (1) the choppy editing and (2) that sad excuse for a denouement and I believe they are interlocked. Granted the editing was rather sub-par I believe, it was needed to accomodate the screenplay. In order not to blow anything at all, they need to cut and paste it in that manner but the job was unfit anyway. I blame the denouement for that, if there had been a nice crash and burn at the end (much like Donnie Darko and The Dangerous Lives Of Altar Boys) the film wouldn't have been so choppy to begin with. All movies that are made to send a strong moral should have the character suffer a big loss in his or her life that they have to live with forever. Granted the ending does have some of that, it didn't really pay off in that manner and I felt a little cheated.

Overall, I found "Harvard Man" to be an engrossing and disturbing film that interlocks philosophy, drug use, and crime into almost nicely wrapped package. If the ending had paid off, it would have been almost flawless. Here ends my rant!

Punch-Drunk Love

What was this? Can anyone even try to explain it???
"Dromedy" is the perfect word to describe or to not describe this film. A dromedy is my own acronym for dramatic romantic comedy but that doesn't seem correct to put "Punch-Drunk Love" in that box. It is just too weird, unhinged and offbeat to be inserted into that category.

I really liked this movie and here are my reasons (spoilers herein): (1) I am a die-hard Adam Sandler fan and I believe the Barry Egan is the best one Sandler has ever tackled. Sandler has shown that he is a malleable talent and that he is even open to career advice. (2) I am not a big fan of PT Anderson (I found "Boogie Nights" to be a rather rancid piece of celluloid) but he has a knack for filmmaking and he shows his talent off here very well. (3) This has to be the weirdest story I have ever seen on film and that is a compliment. I was reminded of "The Cable Guy" when I watched this film but I wasn't repulsed either. (4) Of all the women that Adam Sandler has had by his side, Naomi Watts is the least annoying and by far the most likeable. Since she wanted to understand Sandler's rather extraordinary character, she was easy to cheer for. (5) Whatever the meaning or non-meaning behind the opening scene, it woke me up and from then on, I was riveted to my seat. (6) The fight scene was the best I have seen on screen since "They Live". It didn't seem contrived at all. (7) I really liked the confrontation scene between Sandler and Philip Seymour Hoffman. I hadn't felt tension like that since I saw a man goes through an odious insulin reaction. (8) Even though Adam Sandler decided to go through a major metamorphisis, he still kept his rage intact. His rage is his best comedic aspect but it was channeled here in a much different way. While he pummeled a TV producer for laughs in "Mr. Deeds", he pummeled an innocent bathroom for head shakes and hands over eyes. It was nice change of scenery. (9) I have never watched a movie that had me wanting to see what would happen next with that much anticipation. It was too weird not to turn it off (much like "Donnie Darko"). (10) I love the fact that "Punch-Drunk Love" wasn't excessively drawn out. The pacing was exceptional and the length was perfect. Ten reasons give a score of ten.

Overall, this is my favorite Adam Sandler movie as that is saying something. I am a big fan of Sandler's non-jerk roles and I am a bigger fan of Sandler's outside-the-box roles and there has only been one of those. Adam Sandler dared to do something different and it paid off in terms of respect and credibility. If he hadn't branched out into other sorts of roles, he would typecast as "the funny jerk loser" forever much like Daniel Radcliffe is to Harry Potter. Given a hand by one of the strangest directors currently out there, he now has his chance to build on his newfound glory and I hope he succeeds greatly.

Here ends my rant!

Space Jam

A Popcorn Flick...nothing more
I first saw this film upon release back seven years ago. It was good for a popcorn flick but not if you were looking for something with a little more psychological bite (like Fargo, released in the same year). Here are my reasons (spoilers herein): (1) I love the Looney Tunes and I will always be a fan of them no matter how inept and lame the next movie they make is. (2) Michael Jordan's performance is OK for a first attempt. (3) The special effects are well-done. (4) The entire sequence where the players try to figure out how they lost their talent almost had me on the floor laughing. (5) Charles Barkley uttered the line "I'll never go out with Madonna again" while praying to God is the single best adult-oriented line in the movie. (6) They couldn't resist taking a shot at Disney as well. (7) The best performance in the movie goes to Bill Murray. He is relentless when he is on screen and it pays off. Murray's cameo is one of his better roles pre-Rushmore and one of the best cameos of all time. Seven reasons give a score of seven.

As for the downsides: (1) Not much was given to plot development but there wasn't much to begin with in the first place. (2) Creepiest performance goes to Wayne Knight as Stan. He was like Wormtail in the Harry Potter series. (3) Those little aliens are really annoying and whiny. I prefer the villains to have a bit of a backbone even if they are puny.

Overall, "Space Jam" is just another popcorn flick that is perfect to kill a weekend afternoon with. Michael Jordan should stick to his day job which isn't ironically playing basketball anymore. As for mixing cartoon characters and real-life characters into movies, thankfully these films are few and far between. I suggest other titles like "Rushmore" and "Fargo" among others and this should be picked out as a last resort.

Here ends my rant!

Beavis and Butt-Head

I was laughing and cringing at the same time
I didn't get to see "Beavis and Butt-head" until about the third year of broadcasting. Even with that, I lived in an area where MTV was nonexistant up until two months ago (I live in a small boondock town). I had to drive ten miles to the nearest video store to find the tapes but it was worth the waste of gas. This is a perfect brain-drain comedy toon to chill out too. I was laughing so hard when I first saw this show back in my teen days and now I am cringing while laughing now in my adult years. I love this show because of it's subtlety. Granted that some of the stuff that those boneheads did wasn't subtle, what they said was subtle and I laughed hard. I found it really funny that they would verbally joust and call each other really stupid names. Everything they said needed to be heard a second time because I couldn't believe they had said it and I wanted to know what they would say next. Maybe the animation wasn't the greatest in the world but the characters were quite out there and original. It reminded me of a couple teens that I had run into in my high school class. I really love this show and I think it is one of the greatest TV shows and one of my all-time favorite animated shows. Even though it is off the air, it lives on in lighter form (like Ed Edd N Eddy) and it ages gracefully with each new viewing. I give "Beavis and Butt-head" a deserved grade of A++ because it was original, hilarious, and disturbing. May it live on and keep corrupting those who view it.

Here ends my rant!

Denis Leary: No Cure for Cancer

Best Stand Up Special Ever!!!
I saw this special edited down a while back on Comedy Central. I recently rented this special again after I bought the very funny but edited CD (the entire special wasn't put the CD, don't ask me why that happened). (spoilers) My favorite bits involved NyQuil as being "the thirteenth f****** step" and his rather personal monologue involving his father and his son (that was classic). I think the best bit was in the first five minutes and "A**H***" has become a comedy song classic. Overall, I think this the best stand up comedy special of all time and that is worth ten reasons alone. So, ten reasons give a score of ten. Watch it, re-watch it, and memorize it because it is that funny and memorable.

Here ends my rant!

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