The Other Sister

Year: 1998
Directed By: Garry Marshall
Written By: Alexandra Rose and Blair Richwood (story), Garry Marshall and Bob Brunner (story and screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a nice and heart warming movie. It’s not the type of movie I typically go for and truthfully it wouldn’t be in the collection if not for Amber. I don’t dislike it though. It’s funny at the right times, dramatic at the right times, and it tells a nice feel good story I appreciate when watching.

One of my favorite actresses of all time is Juliette Lewis. She was in many movies I specifically loved during the 90s and I always thought her performances were specifically impressive. I remember 2003 when I saw her in a really small role in Old School it occurred to me that she hadn’t been in anything in a while. I remember thinking she was really hot with the blonde hair, although it was never something I thought about her before. I also remember wondering why she was doing such a small bit part in this film that bore no significance. Now, eleven years later, I feel like I still haven’t seen her in anything significant in the longest time.

Looking back over her filmography it seems that this was one of her last big time roles. Not to sully the significance of the content of this film and by no mean any disrespect to the mentally handicapped, but when I think about this movie and Juliette Lewis’s career in the aftermath this is all I can think of:

Insensitive? Yes, but there just seems to be a correlating factor there. I love Juliette Lewis, she was Mallory Knox after all, but I miss her. As to her performance in this movie I think it was hot and cold. Sometimes I don’t like her portrayal but there are some scenes in which she really brings it. She was a fearless actress in her day, and if I’m not mistaken she has a really interesting life story too. I read about her years ago but haven’t reviewed that in a long time so I can’t remember any of it accurately.

Giovanni Ribisi’s career also seemed to turn south after his role in this movie. I have always liked Ribisi with the exception of his role on Friends, when he more or less played the same character we see in this movie. I think Ribisi plays the better part in this movie actually. I like what he does with the Daniel character. He is hilarious when it comes to sex and heartwarming when it comes to love.

Tom Skerritt plays a great part as the father in this movie and Diane Keaton is appropriately shrewd as the overbearing WASP mother. I remember it was weird for me the first time I saw Annie Hall because I had only known Keaton from this later stage in her career. At this point she generally played characters exactly like the one we see in this movie and after seeing some of her earlier work I had a completely different perspective of her.

This is a nice movie. It’s a feel good movie and if you are looking for a film that will offer you a pick me up you can’t go wrong with this one. This movie is easily worth your time and if you find yourself watching it you will enjoy it. It’s not a film I frequent or often find myself recommending but that doesn’t take anything away from it. It’s just not the type of film I typically watch.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I love this movie so much. My brother and I must have watched this film a million times growing up and I can still quote it word for word. We still can randomly spit out a quote when we are around each other and know exactly what movie we are talking about.

I think this movie is incredibly sweet. It shows that love is an emotion that transcends mental capacity. It completely pulls on your heart strings and makes you root for them to make it. Diane Keaton played a incredibly over bearing mother, and watching again as a mother, it terrifies me into not wanting to be like that. She is the character change through the move however and learns to accept that her daughter is who she is and isn’t going to change just because her mother wants her to. Another side note here before I move on to the poster, I have always been an incredibly strong gay ally. It’s more about equal rights for all and everyone should be treated equally and given the same benefits regardless of who they are who they love. This was one of the first films I remember seeing that involved a lesbian couple. I may not have understood at the time, but now I see how they were showing that struggle of a controlling mother trying to avoid the obvious fact that her daughter was gay. It’s an important issue that has been going on for a long time and I just wanted to put it out there, it’s important to accept and love your children as they are, whoever they are no matter what.

the-other-sister-movie-poster-1999-1020233096

See? Doesn’t this poster just melt your heart? No? Just me?

There is nothing very special about this poster, it just simply shows the two main characters engaging in a sweet pose. The typography is also nothing to special, and in fact probably could have been a little more playful with the “other.” Overall, the poster is ehh, but the movie is endearing and melts my heart every time.

NEXT MOVIE: The Outsiders (1983)

chucky

Sons of Anarchy Finale Prediction

First of all, I’d like to express how stoked I am to have seen the Sons of Anarchy/Shield crossover more or less come to a close. I had been hoping for something dramatic with Michael Chiklis in the show but I’ll take what they did. It was awesome to see him make an appearance in the show even if it was simply a small cameo.

I was blown away by the second to last episode and continue to be impressed with the closing of this show. Now that revenge has been had there is still one more episode to close everything out with. I think I know how the show is going to end and I just want to throw the prediction out there while we are all eagerly awaiting the last episode.

I think that it is pretty obvious Jax is losing his patch. Nothing was definitively conveyed to us as to what was said in the meeting of the Presidents but it seems pretty obvious Jax is out. He just hasn’t told his club yet as he still has matters that need dealing with. There is still Robocop to deal with. His betrayal is not one Jax is like to let slide and he will exact his revenge in the same fashion he has all through the show. He will kill the shit out of Barosky and then begin the steps of stepping down and turning himself into authorities. There is no where else to go for Jax and he has crimes to answer for. He will willing prepare to turn himself in but will never make it to prison.

I think in the final minutes of the show, when we have forgotten about the possibility of anything else happening, Jax will be killed by Chucky. Chucky will not understand or accept the killing of Gemma and when he finds out what happened he will kill Jax in revenge. Gemma is after all his “best friend” and he “loves her.” Chucky has gotten more screen time in this final season than any in the last several years. It was all to set this up as most of his dialogue this season has specifically conveyed his feelings for Gemma.  I love Chucky with his awkward conversations and hilarious prosthetic fingers. Mind you, he still has his trigger finger and that will be the digit he uses to dispatch Jax and close out the show.

 

For this series to end Jax has to die and I think that would be a great final scene to close it all out. I will miss this show. I do not know where I will turn for a gritty action driven crime series. Kurt Sutter should be proud of what he has created in this series and I hope he has another idea stashed away to blow us away with in years down the road.

Orange County

Year: 2002
Directed By: Jake Kasdan
Written By: Mike White

RYAN’S REVIEW

Here is another movie that simply doesn’t belong.  I fell victim to the easy deals offered by Amazon Prime and ordered it at a really cheap price.  I remembered that I didn’t like it when it came out but thought it was worth a second chance.  I remembered thinking this movie meant something, that it had to be important because of all the people involved but despite myself I just didn’t like it.

This movie gave me every reason to think that young Colin Hanks was on the way to following in his father’s footsteps and on the way to being the next big actor.  Tom Hanks had yet to start slowing down in his career and his son was a spitting image of him in this movie full of famous comedians.  This movie wasn’t much of a hit but I thought it represented more to come from Colin Hanks.  After 12 years though I feel safe in saying that was a completely false assumption. Hanks has been part of some great things over the years, most recently the stellar first season of Fargo on FX, but he has never risen anywhere close to his father’s level.

This movie co-starred Jack Black who was largely up and coming at the time and it sported cameos from many big players.  Making brief appearances in this movie were the likes of Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, John Lithgow, Ben Stiller, Kevin Kline, Lily Tomlin, and Leslie Mann.  I thought all those names meant this was significant.  I thought it meant that this movie was better than it actually was but I was wrong.  Having watched it again for the blog I just can’t help feeling the exact same way I felt when I watched it at 18.

This movie has a laugh here and there but it’s not a good movie.  I won’t go as far as to say it’s not worth your time to see but you could undoubtedly find something better to do with your time when faced with options.

NEXT MOVIE: The Other Sister (1999)

Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Year: 2003
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez
Written By: Robert Rodriguez

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie made it into the collection by way of the “Mexican Trilogy” pack that came out with its counterparts El Mariachi and DesperadoI am a huge fan of Robert Rodriguez and loved his first two films when I was younger. As I have gotten older my love of exaggerated action movies has faded and truthfully I found this film a bit disappointing when it came out. I was in college at the time and I was really excited to see this franchise return to the big screen. The movie fits in with the trilogy really well but I have never found it overly impressive.

I appreciate the style of Robert Rodriguez and his efforts to make incredibly badass Mexican heroes. I grew up watching and loving action movies. When I was younger, exaggerated action only fueled my adolescent imagination and El Mariachi and Desperado were two I specifically got into. Robert Rodriguez, along with others like Renny Harlin and John Woo, really had a knack for these kinds of movies. Now that I’m older though I’m not so into them. If it was a film I fell in love with as a kid then I still get into it but when it comes to something new it just seems silly to me.

This movie came out right around the time that I could just no longer tolerate such films and even it’s connection to two others I loved couldn’t get me on board with it. I think there is plenty to like in this movie and it is cool as only a Robert Rodriguez film can be but it’s just not one I’m interested in anymore.

Johnny Depp does his best to be super cool in this movie and he has his moment in the end when trying to take on the bad guys in a gun fight with no eyes. I think the movie centers around his character far too much though. The Mariachi, “El” that is, just isn’t in this movie enough and when he is he is just far too supernatural. When this movie came out Johnny Depp was still the cool guy for my generation. The same year this came out he was also in Pirates of the Caribbean and I have never felt he was the same since. Since playing Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp has been an agent of Disney and lost the cool guy persona my generation came to love. Gone were the movies like Blow and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, to be replaced by a series of films in which he seemed to wear progressively more and more make-up. A trend that continues in his career and marriage with Disney. He was still cool in this movie but I have never been a huge fan of his portrayal of this overly cheesy and catty CIA operative.

There isn’t enough of Salma Hayek here either and when she is it’s a bit too exaggerated. Now all can be forgiven in the face of such a flawless beauty but there is just not enough of her in it. This movie isn’t lacking in cast at all and in fact I think it is the saving grace of the film. I may have outgrown this type of movie but I can still appreciate it for what it is. Rodriguez never fails to get a terrific cast together. In this movie are many of his regulars such as Danny Trejo, Cheech Marin, and Julio Oscar Mechoso among others. Rodriguez takes a lot of pride in his heritage and I admire his loyalty to it when casting films.

Antonio Banderas is as cool as ever in the hero role. A bit too supernatural this time around but it is a role he pulls off well. As I said earlier though, there isn’t enough of him in this movie as too much of the film focuses on Depp’s character and near the end too much screen time is dedicated to the other mariachis. Why try to make Enrique Iglesias into a badass when he is only going to take screen time away from a guy like Banderas? I like Mickey Rourke and Willem Dafoe in this movie. I have always been a fan of Dafoe. He was everywhere when this movie came out if that offers any explanation as to how he got this role and it didn’t go to an actual Latino actor. Eva Mendes is flawlessly beautiful but has never really been able to rise to any big time roles.

This movie is what it is. It’s an overloaded action movie that will suffice if that is what you are in the mood for. There are better movies for the occasion but you could do worse by not giving this one a chance. It has plenty of moments to appreciate and keep you interested. I don’t know this this movie is really worth your time but if you are a fan of the series it is still a must see.

NEXT MOVIE: Orange Country (2002)

 

Once Upon a Time in America

Year: 1984
Directed By: Sergio Leone
Written By: Harry Grey (novel) six different men are credited with the screenplay including Sergio Leone.

RYAN’S REVIEW

One of my favorite things to do in the past was browse the movie sections of stores or stroll through a video store to look at all that was available. I loved looking at all the options and picking out something I wanted to buy or something to rent. Sadly as time has moved on this is something I have lost the opportunity to do. Movie sections in stores are shrinking at an incredible rate and video stores are all but nonexistent these days. The closest anything comes now is the recommendations suggested to me on Amazon. I find myself sometimes just scrolling through the images presented to me looking for something I want. I rarely find an older movie that I want and don’t already own but sometimes I see something that I think I should have seen and never did. That’s how this movie came into the collection. I was eventually worn down by Amazon and clicked that order button one day just taking a chance. It was a mob movie and it starred Robert De Niro, James Woods, William Forsythe, and Joe Pesci. Throw in Sergio Leone as director and I found myself wondering how I had managed to miss this one over the years.

Now, after spending three days to watch this movie that has a running time of 3 hours and 40 minutes I came away with only one thought in mind. If you want a looooonnngg and confusing mobster film then this movie is head and shoulders above The Godfather II. I’ll admit that after watching this movie I wasn’t sure exactly what had happened. That’s due in part to the fact I tried to watch it in three different viewings and truthfully when I was sitting down to watch it my attention wavered frequently because the movie is so slow. Nevertheless, even without knowing the ins and outs of the plot I still felt like this movie was better than De Niro’s more famous mob movie from ten years earlier.

I had never seen a Sergio Leone film. His trilogy of spaghetti westerns has long been on my to-do list and I have known his name and reputation for quite a while. When his name popped out to me on the Amazon image I thought it was high time I actually see one of his films. I found his film quite impressive truthfully. Far too drawn out at times and the story telling could have been better but all that was made up for in spades with savage and exciting action. I don’t care for the portrayal of rape in the film because it seems altogether too casual to me. Not necessarily the rape of De Niro’s true love Deborah but of the woman in the bank more so. What he did really offended me, and I specifically didn’t like how everyone was so nonchalant about it as the film went on.

De Niro is a great actor who does incredible in this movie playing varying ages but I don’t like how rapey he is. It was a bit of a shock to me to see De Niro raping women like he does in this movie. I don’t know why because over the years I have seen him do so many violent things in films but this seemed like a line I hadn’t seen him cross before. That’s not all that makes his opium smoking Jewish gangster an unsavory character among all the others he has played in his career, but it is what bothered me the most.

I specifically liked James Woods’ portrayal of Max and wish he had taken more mobster roles in the past. I like James Woods but more often than not he is playing the wrong character. The immediate parts that come to mind are the pimp he plays in Casino and the trainer he plays in Any Given Sunday. Not his fault because both of those characters were specifically written to be disliked. There are plenty of his films I have yet to see and roles like the one he had in this movie give me reason to look forward to them.

I was partially sold on this movie by presence of Joe Pesci in the cast. I am a huge Pesci fan and feel like I haven’t seen enough of him in his career. The opportunity to see him in another mob film was so appetizing but I have to report that I was let down. Pesci is awesome as ever in this movie but his role is merely a cameo. He is only in the movie for maybe 5, 10 minutes tops. A big disappointment but I’ll take anything I can get from Joe Pesci because he isn’t like to make more movies in the future.

I only bring up The Godfather II because so many people have the audacity to call it great. I call it confusing, slow, a weak story, and practically absent of anything exciting. This movie can be a bit confusing too as it is all over the place in both time and tone. However where this movie makes up for all its faults is in the action. When the fire gets lit in this movie explosions happen and it’s hard to predict what might happen next. The action in this film is graphic and worthy of praise. The movie sets the tone early by starting with a bang before it drags out hopelessly but when things do happen they happen in a big and exciting way.

I specifically liked the scene in which the gangster pulled the old switcheroo on the Police Chief’s baby. The whole scene is incredible. Danny Aiello is so good in the role as a father of four daughters who has had his first son. I love how excited he is to have finally had a son and how much of an ass he is in explaining to his daughters that they now more or less don’t matter because a boy has been born. The shock on his face when he opens up the diaper to see a vagina staring right back at him is hilarious. When De Niro calls with demands it is the easiest thing in the world to get done because he has all the leverage in the world against this man. The real punch line comes after De Niro hangs up the phone and his associate tells him he actually lost the list of baby numbers they used to switch the kids around. Even funnier, and horrible as the same time, is how De Niro just shrugs it off and they decide that any random baby boy will do.

Buying this movie was a shot in the dark for me. In the purchase I’ll call it a swing and a miss but it wasn’t a complete waste. I didn’t really like this movie but I liked enough about it. I am glad to have seen it if for no other reason than that one scene with Danny Aiello was awesome. I also love any opportunity to bash The Godfather II and this movie offers the opportunity to do so. I sincerely think that film is awful despite what anybody says. I loved the first one, it’s one of my favorites of all time but the sequel is garbage. The third film is even worse. There are parts of The Godfather II that are cool. The flashback scenes of a young Vito Corleone that were part of the original book were cool but as I said in my review, everything that happens at present time is awful. If you want a movie like The Godfather II that is better then check this one out. Otherwise I can’t say it is worth any of your time. However, there are few films that are this long that I will ever suggest are worth anyone’s time.

NEXT MOVIE: Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)

 

Old School

Year: 2003
Directed By: Todd Phillips
Written By: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstong, and Court Crandall

RYAN’S REVIEW

Ah, what a funny movie.  Is it even possible that more than 10 years have passed since it came out? Just yesterday I was a willful youth and this was the funniest thing I had ever seen. In 2003 I was young and living out my very own Benjamin Braddock scenario of youthful confusion about life and what comes next.  I didn’t care about much back then, but I lived for the movies.  When this movie came out I saw it in the theater at least five times and I laughed harder every time I saw it again. Oh the days when life was different and the hammer of responsibility hadn’t fallen with all its weight.  I love this movie because it takes me back to a time when things were different, and because after all this time it still makes me laugh.

This movie had a really rich cast of comedians and they all made a point to have their own moment or two.  At top billing the three headlining the movie all took this opportunity to seize the limelight.  For years after this movie Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell would make every attempt to recapture the magic they had him in this movie. In that scenario Vaughn was more successful than Ferrell despite how much money the latter has continued to make.  Luke Wilson wouldn’t achieve the same success as the others but this movie definitely made his star brighter.

If there was a problem with this movie it’s that I think it gave Will Ferrell too much notoriety.  I thought Ferrell was hilarious in this movie but his strength was in the type of role he played here.  A funny man among other funny men.  After this movie came out he ballooned as a top billed actor and I have never felt he was funny enough to carry a film by himself.  I have more often than not found his movies to simply be stupid and liked them less and less as they continued to come out.  Anchorman was wildly successful while I was in college but I just never got it.  I specifically remember thinking all my friends were just high and laughing at it because they thought it was supposed to be funny.  I didn’t get it, and little else he did in the years following resonated with me as a fan.  I am not discounting Will Ferrell’s talent, he is a funny man. Yet, I think he shined brightest in a movie like this where the story didn’t center around him and he was simply part of it.

What might be so surprising about this film is that it never landed a sequel.  It was talked about for years with all the other men of this budding group being involved in the next installment.  Rumors abound that there would be a rival fraternity in the next film featuring the likes of Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, and maybe Jack Black I can’t remember.  Somewhere along the line it never happened though and to this day has managed to stay sequel free despite other such installments like Ron Burgandy or Dumb and DumberOf course never say never with a comedy though.  This was a really successful movie and I doubt the chance of making more money on it will be ignored forever.

This one doesn’t get old for me and I laugh as much now as I did when I saw it over a decade ago. If you haven’t seen it you have missed out on something funny. Specifically something far funnier than everything that came out in the aftermath of its success from some of its stars. If you are looking for something that will make you laugh then you can’t go wrong with this one.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Oh I love this movie. It is still so funny to me, even though I have watched it so many times. All of these funny people in one place in such a ridiculous scenario. A frat house for adult guys. It’s like their dream come true.

oldschool

This poster is pretty good. There is a blur effect in the background, which is pretty clever because they are pretty much drunk for the majority of the movie and isn’t everything kind of a blur after that much binge drinking? The typography is very collegiate with also helps push home the plot of this movie – the college fraternity. It’s nothing very special, but I think it works for a movie like this.

NEXT MOVIE: Orange County (2002)

Interstellar

Amber and I don’t get out to the theater that much these days. Life with two full time jobs and two rapidly growing children leaves us with little time for such a luxury. It requires the movies chosen to watch to come with a lot of confidence that it will be worth seeing in the atmosphere that has become such a rare chance. Amber surprised me last week with tickets to Interstellar and I was thrilled. I had even told people recently that it there was a movie worth us making to trip to the theater to see it was that one. Christopher Nolan’s newest had all my confidence that it would be incredible and mind blowing. I knew little of what to expect and appreciated that all the more. After such films like Memento and Inception I was certain that this movie was going to be a window into the future of films. Something that would be visually stunning and exciting in ways I could never have imagined.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was wrong. I walked away bewildered and confused as I check the IMDB rating and saw a high rating of 9.0 out of 10. What did these people watch? I was walking to my car feeling like I had just watched a three hour Lincoln commercial. This movie bored me out of my mind. I specifically feel like it was nothing but a lot of monologues, a lot of crying, and an extremely long running time devoid of any excitement. I actually spent the last 15-20 minutes begging Amber for us to just get up and leave. At a certain point I was just so disappointed I didn’t care how it ended and had no interest in waiting to find out. Unfortunately I suffered through that ending that did nothing to change my already established opinion.

I think the biggest problem with this film is the story. I can appreciate that it was merely a platform to showcase the possibilities of certain scientific advancements but that isn’t good enough. They weren’t amazing enough to compensate for how everything unfolded. I think the biggest problem is how Matthew McConaughey comes to pilot the NASA mission. After a really long set up he figures out some coordinates by looking at the bookshelf and deciphering the code left on the wall from fallen books. OK, I could stick with them through that. Despite how strange that it is it doesn’t compare to how stupid it is when he is arrested at the super secret NASA facility before they more or less say “hey since you are here, can you be out last hope to save mankind?” Did the super secret NASA people not have an actual plan in place to the point they’ll just put everything in the hands of the guy that unknowingly showed up at the gate unannounced? Weak, and frankly I expect better from the Nolan team.

Another big problem I had is the role of Matt Damon. Does he qualify as the antagonist of the film? I think the character wasn’t really that bad of an idea but weak if that is all you are going to offer the audience. Here I was waiting for something to finally happen in the movie and when he makes his move I felt like he was just getting in the way of something that should be getting a lot better any moment now. When the realization that he was all that was going to happen actually donned on me I was so disappointed.

Now, another thing I just can’t deal with. I am no physicist and only vaguely familiar with science in general, but can it really be possible to convey advanced physics by way of Morse Code on a wrist watch? When his daughter figures everything out so quickly I just wanted to throw my hands up in disgust because it was all just so stupid. The new undiscovered fifth dimension being love made me want to scratch my eyes out. It immediately made the whole thing even worse than I felt like it had already been. Who knows? I get the idea that the whole thing hinges on technology and understanding that we haven’t yet acquired but it does nothing to make me hate the movie any less.

I do hate it too. I can find no other emotion for something that amounts to such a complete and utter disappointment. Christopher Nolan you let me down, I still believe in you but I consider this far and away your worst film. I think the robots were cool but that is the only good thing I can say about this movie. When I saw the trailer and the scene in which waves are mistaken for mountains I was so hopeful. I thought it was a glimpse of the possibilities and couldn’t wait to see what else was in store. The imaginative nature of the idea that on another planet waves might behave in ways we would never consider seemed like a taste of more to come. It wasn’t. I couldn’t even appreciate that scene because I was so excited about what else lay beyond that hadn’t been glimpsed in the trailer.

If you watched this movie and loved it please explain to me why. I was just so utterly bored and disappointed that maybe my opinion is overly negative at the moment. If this wasn’t an incredibly boring movie in which little actually happens tell me I need to see it again. I will need strong encouragement to ever try to get through this again. If you are on the fence about seeing it I would suggest you jump to the “No” side and spare yourself the loss of ignorance. If you don’t know how boring it is you can’t feel the disappointment I personally felt. If not then seek another opinion or make your argument by leaving a comment.