Month: December 2014

The Outsiders

Year: 1983
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola
Written By: Kathleen Rowell (screenplay) S.E. Hinton (novel)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I found myself surprisingly sucked into this movie when I sat down to review it. It was the first time I had seen it in probably as many as ten years but it was one I saw frequently in my youth. This movie reminds me of my dad because he was a big fan of it and talked of it often when I was young. It has a very large cast of popular young actors from the time. Some of which would go on to be big stars today while others rose to brief stardom before fading away. The movie tells an interesting story about class differences and rivalries during the 1950s.

Francis Ford Coppola made one of the greatest movies of all time and it is one of my personal favorites. The Godfather, for all practical purposes was a perfect film and a masterpiece crafted by Coppola. Aside from that I like very little of what he has done in his career. I hate the two sequels he made for The Godfather, and I have always thought Apocalypse Now to be overrated. I know that I would lose a debate when it comes to my opinion about Apocalypse Now but I will fight till I’m blue in the face over the The Godfather II and III. While I get why Apocalypse Now is a big deal I just find Coppola’s Vietnam hitman mission film to be too long, too dark, and too confusing. Given that opinion I am inclined to consider this my second favorite film by the guy who is a big deal for the one awesome thing he did forty years ago. Truthfully I think the direction of this movie actually brings it down a peg as I think the story and the cast are what make it appealing. For example the typography in the intro is awful; the ending too fails to do anything but drag out the closing to the story.

It’s the story of this deep seeded cultural barrier between the rich kid Socialites and the poor impoverished Greasers that drives the film. The greasers with their leather jackets, switchblades, and greasy hair are the rough guys that bring down society by always causing trouble. The Socs aren’t much better however. These rich kids dress better but they like to get loaded on booze and cruise the bad part of town looking for trouble. When the two sides come together bad things are bound to happen.

The cast of this movie is its greatest strength because it is an interesting thing to look back on. The group of young actors that were cast in the movie would all have their moment in the sun, although some went quicker than they probably would have liked. Ralph Macchio never really did anything after the 80s, and C. Thomas Howell did little after a promising start to his career with films like this one and Red DawnEmilio Estevez would hang on to stardom through part of the nineties but is practically forgotten these days as his famous family members continue to prosper. Patrick Swayze, may he rest in peace, is such a silly actor. I have always thought he was just awful in just about everything and this movie is no different. This was actually one of his first big roles. He looks the part true enough but regardless how good the man might look on screen he has just never been worth a damn as an actor.

This was also one of the first roles for Tom Cruise who would go on to be one of the biggest actors in the business. Even today, over 30 years later, he has yet to slow down as an actor, or even age for that matter. Rob Lowe also has to be considered a big time star today. I do not know why though. I detest him as an actor because I think he ruins EVERYTHING. I used to be a big fan of Parks & Recreation until he showed up and his stupid character just ruined the whole thing for me. As far as I’m concerned, the only time he didn’t suck was in Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me. Diane Lane also had one of her earliest roles in this movie. She would go on to just get hotter and hotter for the next twenty years. It hurts my heart a bit to see her in roles as the older woman now, such as we saw in Man of Steel. However, she is still hotter than any woman her age has any business being and hats off to her.

My favorite role in this movie goes to a guy that can only be described as hit or miss throughout his entire career. I have always liked Matt Dillon in this movie the best. He is the toughest of the tough kids and in his youth you would have thought he would go on to be bigger than all his peers. Sadly that wasn’t the case but he still has plenty to be proud of with what he has accomplished in his career.

I’ve stumbled through this review a bit and still said little of any significance. I like this movie and think it is interesting to watch in hindsight. I think among all the crap its unseemly famous director has made it stands out among the rest. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I think this movie is easily worth your time to see. I think though, if you want more insight to the film you are bound to find a better review from someone more invested in this movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Passenger 57 (1992)

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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)

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)