Month: September 2015

Halloween Season 2015

We’ve made yet another pass around the sun and the season of the Autumn Equinox is upon us. We have football every Sunday, cooler weather, foliage beginning to show and the coolest holiday of the year fast approaching. For the month of October we will again be putting aside our journey through the collection to once more focus the whole month primarily on horror films.

As far as I am concerned Halloween trumps the other holidays because it’s just for fun. Thanksgiving has too much regular family drama for practically everyone and the two months of Christmas are just too relentless, and costly. If you remember New Years you didn’t start the year off right and Easter can hardly be considered cool. Halloween on the other hand is exciting, cost-effective, fun for adults and kids, and provides plenty of films to get us in the right mood.

For the rest of the month we will be reviewing only horror films and have several new ones lined up. Coming up this month are some personal favorites  and a couple of classics thrown in for good measure. If time allows we may even revisit a favorite or two from the past. So if you are looking for the perfect horror movie to get in the mood for the season then keep in touch for coming updates or check out the links below for some reviews of Halloweens past. If you want even more you can always click on the horror category for all of our reviews within the genre.

House of 1,000 Corpses One of my favorite horror movies and it gets me every time. I’m often disappointed with most of Rob Zombie’s other films but this first one was his best in my opinion.

Dawn of the Dead One of my favorite movies of all time. To this day I don’t think any movie has realistically ever captured the real horror involved in a zombie apocalypse.

Halloween The ultimate movie for the season. A movie that could never be matched, even from countless sequels or a horror fanatic like Rob Zombie.

Nightmare on Elm Street A classic that was too good to be remade. It was groundbreaking with effects and scary enough to stand the test of time.

In The Mouth of Madness A practically forgotten movie that I have always really enjoyed. Sam Neill is great at horror.

Event Horizon This movie is absolutely gut wrenching and can scare the hell out of anyone.

The Hill Have Eyes Terrifying movie that should have never been remade.

Candyman This movie scared me so bad when I was a kid I couldn’t sleep in the dark for two months.

Night of the Living Dead A classic that brought on the age of zombies that we live in today.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space This one I just listed for fun. I enjoy a good ridiculous movie now and again. This one is as ridiculous as it gets.

Poltergeist  This is an excellent movie that should have never been remade. Also a rare PG horror film that can actually scare you.

Planet Terror This is one of favorite movies of all time. I only list it because technically it is a horror film although I’ve never associated it with Halloween because this one is an anytime movie.

This is just a handful of what we have to offer here. If you are interested in more definitely check out the Horror category to the right of the screen and stay with us throughout the month for more.

All the pumpkins seen in pictures were done by my lovely and talented wife over the past few years. My personal favorite, of course, is the Dawn of the Dead pumpkin and I insist it be done every year.

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Ridley Scott on Deckard in Blade Runner

As the talk of potential sequels to the classic sci-fi picture (click on link to see our original review of Blade Runner) ensue the director Ridley Scott has plenty to talk about. Especially the more people want to talk to him about his anticipated sequel to Prometheus.

Recently he has been quoted as verifying that Deckard is in fact a Replicant and we will get clarification in the sequel. This bothers me because I feel like it is simply catering to the popular myth from the movie. Given more than 30 years have passed without that question actually being answered I am even more certain that this turn in direction is simply to satisfy all those who just really wanted to believe it.

I am a fan of the movie and also read the book by Phillip K. Dick, not that it mattered what happened in the book at all. I do not feel like it was even possible for Deckard to be a Replicant despite Scott’s recent comments or the thirty plus years of speculation.

The main reason being this; if Deckard was a Replicant, he was the worst made robot of all time. Throughout the movie he literally gets his ass handed to him time and time again. He only survives the actual Replicants by the skin of his teeth and in fact gets lucky pretty much every time he faces them.

So my question is, how is a Blade Runner who can barely handle the real Replicants supposed to be one himself? Had Deckard actually been a Replicant wouldn’t he have been able to go toe to toe with these human looking machines with more ease and efficiency? His job is literally to hunt them down and he has so much trouble defeating them. Not only that but had he been a Replicant one of his peers should have been able to spot him. In fact when the Replicants show up on Earth Deckard is actually the second choice to find them as the first was murdered during the Empathy Test (going off memory, I’m pretty sure that’s what it was called).

No, Deckard was much too human with his oh so human attitude of rebellion against authority and lust after the Replicant Rachael. I will be excited over the sequel regardless and look forward to whatever they come up with but I just think this turn in direction is a cheap ploy to get people more invested. They are finally setting the record straight on the matter but I think they are submitting to popular opinion rather than doing what they originally had in mind.

Sound off with comments if you have any thoughts of your own on the matter.

Remember the Titans


Year: 2000
Directed By: Boaz Yakin
Written By: Gregory Allen Howard

RYAN’S REVIEW

I sometimes find myself in the oddest of situations in life. Just so happens this time I’ve found myself all alone in a house that literally sits atop a mountain in the Appalachians. What did I bring with me to assist in occupying time on this getaway? Well Halloween is approaching so I bring all the horror movies we have set aside for the month with me. So, I’m on a mountain, desolate area, completely alone and on my own watching a series of movies where people in this exact situation I myself am in get haunted or traumatized. Well after three in a row I found myself in need of a feel good movie. Fortunately I brought a couple of our “R” movies and this feel good movie just happened to be up next. Can’t think of a better pick me up right now.

I don’t generally go for these feel good movies because they are all the same. This one came out when I was in high school though and it left an impression on me. Aside from Any Given Sunday there are no other football based movies we own save for this one. I am a fanatical NFL fan who loves football at all levels but I don’t usually like movies about football. Granted, like any normal guy, I cry my eyes out during Brian’s Song but as of yet that one isn’t part of our collection, though it should be. This is a rare exception to my standing idea of football movies because of how its release correlated with my own age. It is a good movie though.

This movie is also against the grain for me because I hate the racial content. Racism is the product of ignorance and it’s an ugly thing to watch. I find this feel good vibe to it off putting as well because things just aren’t that simple. It troubles me to no end that in the year 2015 things not only aren’t getting better but they literally seem to be getting worse. We learn nothing from the past and as a society in general we lack understanding of one another.

My tone is all off in this post. I do like this movie but frankly I’m just pissed off at it now. Here I tried to use it as a pick me up and all it has done is made me cry for the last thirty minutes. Damn this Disney football film with its Brian’s Song moments.

The cast of this film is very strong, even though I think Denzel Washington and Will Patton both overdo it a bit now and again. The young Hayden Panettiere is adorable and awesome. I like the chemistry Wood Harris and Ryan Hurst had on screen. Both have managed nominal success as actors but honestly back when this came out I expected more out of both of them. I like Will Patton an awful lot and I think he fits this role well. I think Denzel is great as Coach Boone but as I said earlier I think both actors overact in this one. They both lay it on a little think too when it comes to either choosing sides or being understanding of one another. I feel like what they do in this movie pretty much amounts to a dick measuring contest neither is willing to back down from.

In my efforts to achieve a pick me up with this movie I hopelessly failed. I wanted to lift the gloom of so many scary films back to back but only found a gloom of different sorts. I wanted good vibes but only got the tear jerking moments of people dealing with adversity and overcoming personal differences to work together. So this movie did nothing but piss me off this time around. If you’ve seen one of these typical Disney movies about sports then you have missed nothing. If you like these type of movies then it’s one you should definitely see it. Otherwise I wouldn’t call it worth anybody’s time. I like it because it got me at the right time and place 15 years ago but I’d have most likely never seen it had that not been the case.

NEXT MOVIE: Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reign of Fire

Year: 2002
Directed By: Rob Bowman
Written By: Gregg Chabot, Kevin Peterka, and Matt Greenberg

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie came out during my senior year in high school and I was really surprised by how much I liked it. When I had heard about this movie coming out about dragons I specifically remember talking about how stupid it sounded. At that time I still worked in the upstairs of the movie theater part time and also at a video store. I lived and breathed movies with a snobbish mentality about what was and wasn’t good. I felt like I knew whether something was going to be good or not before it came out and had a really arrogant attitude about it. I remember feeling like I had been distinctly wrong about this movie and I have never forgotten that.

As odd as it is, the fact that I found a lesson with a lasting impression in this of all movies is ironic I know. A movie I have learned something from always has a place in our collection no matter what it is about. I have heard this movie receive a lot of criticism over the years but I have always felt like it was unjust. Yeah it’s a movie about dragons but it was taken seriously enough and it’s a well made movie. It has been part of our collection for more than ten years now going all the way back to the beginning and I still feel like it belongs.

I like this movie because it is a different type of post-apocalyptic story. Yeah some might think it silly that the setting is brought on by dragons but at least it is a unique idea. I love the scene early on in which Christian Bale and Gerard Butler are acting out a classic scene from Star Wars and the children are shocked and awed by the story. It’s cute how the kids react and how Bale jokingly takes credit for making up the story. You have all the necessaries for a post apocalyptic scenario here. Food is a need getting more and more difficult to come by as well as other basic supplies like bullets. Communication has broken down to the point that our main characters wonder if they are the only people left. Throw dragons into the mix and I have never quite figured out what people didn’t like about this movie.

This movie put Matthew McConaughey on the map for me. As Van Zant he was more of a badass than I thought he was capable of. I really liked his tattoos in this movie. I also has little knowledge of Christian Bale at this time. He, in time, would prove to be quite the capable actor to my surprise. Something I never realized until this viewing is the pre-300 Gerard Butler. Looking at him here you would never believe the guy had it in him to be King Leonidas.

Truthfully, I somewhat think this movie falls apart as it comes to a close. I still like it and think it offers plenty of excitement but I guess I understand the criticism now that I’m not 18 anymore and humbled in my own arrogant assumptions. The effects are cool and there is some creative action worthy of watching. The scene when the Americans take on a dragon in air is specifically nice. If you missed this one over the years though I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. If you happen upon it randomly there are worse ways to spend your time. I’ll always consider this worth my time but I’ll leave it to you what you do with yours on this one.

NEXT MOVIE: Remember the Titans (2000)
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Red Sonja

Year: 1985
Directed By: Richard Fleischer
Written By: Robert E How.ard (character), Clive Exton and George MacDonald Fraser (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

Right now I am actually sitting down to this movie for the first time since it made its way into the collection. It is a somewhat newer purchase and I ordered it on Amazon for nostalgic reasons. I remember this movie when I was a little kid in love with the movie Willow. At that young prepubescent age I was moved nevertheless by the bold beauty of Brigitte Nielsen with the fiery red hair of Red Sonya. Not just that, but when I was five I thought anything involving swords was awesome.

I remember this movie coming on TV when I was really young and my mom let me watch it. I remember her telling me about how Brigitte Nielsen was married to Sylvester Stallone. She would talk about Stallone and Schwarzenegger when this movie was on and it left an impression on me that made a difference later on.

I’m seeing Brigitte Nielsen now for the first time as Red Sonya, fighting and defeating an Asian sparring partner. She is such a powerful looking woman, so tall and intimidating. Beautiful in a way that befits a warrior princess of sorts. She may not have been the type of actress that was ever going to win awards but her casting as Red Sonja is on par with Dolph Lundgren as He-Man in Masters of the Universe

I was under the impression Schwarzenegger was merely in this movie as a Conan cameo but I see now that I was wrong about that. I really didn’t remember this movie well when I indulged myself with an impulsive internet purchase. I find it odd that this is the movie Schwarzenegger chose to take on following The Terminator. Had it not been for his role in Commando he could have so easily been typecast into that Conan type role which would have went nowhere as the 80s progressed.

The young Asian actor in this movie is none other than Ernie Reyes Jr. That’s right, this little prince of whatever is actually Keno from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze. Which was not a good movie, but when it came out I was at the age that qualified it as the greatest movie ever. In 1991 I was 7, I thought Secret of the Ooze was one of the coolest new movies I had seen, except for Hook maybe.

The sets in this movie are interesting. Yeah they are cheesy but at least they are real. In the scene where the bad guys are in a room full of lit candles for example. That’s the kind of thing that can be done digitally now but back in 85 some poor person had to painstakingly light all those candles because in the 80s they had to actually make the sets. I’m not suggesting that what they did in this movie was great or anything, just pointing out the merit in actually putting in the work.

OK full disclosure, as hard as it will be to believe, I fell asleep watching this last night. It’s now the following morning and I don’t know how the movie ends. Sad to admit it, but I’m actually OK with that. It’s a sad thing to admit I watched a movie I own and not only don’t know how it ends but have no interest in actually finding out. That being said I don’t think I can tell you this movie is worth your time as I won’t bother giving up anymore of mine.

Last thing worth mentioning is the long standing efforts to do a reboot to this film. At one time Robert Rodriguez was attached with Rose McGowan set to go fiery red and swing the sword. Too bad it didn’t get done because I think McGowan is awesome and Rodriguez no doubt would have made a cool movie.

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NEXT MOVIE: Reign of Fire (2002)

Rebel Without A Cause

Year: 1955
Directed By: Nicholas Ray
Written By: Stewart Stern (screenplay) Irving Shulman (adaptation) Nicholas Ray (story)

RYAN’S REVIEW

I first identified with this movie when I was in high school and watched it in a film class. I was after all a teenage rebel without a cause myself and I found it interesting that a movie made so far before my time could have such an effect on me.

Until seeing this movie I had seen the era of Leave it to Beaver as just so. As a happy-go-lucky time when the dads works, the mom’s happily went about housework and the kids were always enjoying themselves. To see that, even during this era I perceived as a golden time, kids were just as unhappy and unnoticed by their parents as they were in my own time opened my eyes a little bit.

One of the things that annoy me the most in life is the perception that things are always getting worse. When people get nostalgic and say the world is going to hell, “it just wasn’t like this back in my day.” Maybe in the 50s the kids dressed more respectably, but they still liked to get loaded and get into trouble. There wasn’t an internet to teach them how to do things but they never failed to experiment until they figured it out. Kids were ruthless and they bullied one another just like they do now it just wasn’t something that ended up on the news every time it happened. Depression was just as common yet unnoticed or misunderstood most of the time. I think that the frustrating and confusing period of adolescence we all must endure is a thing that transcends time and generations. This movie serves to remind us of how things are as they always have been even without the devices today’s youth can’t live without.

This is a notable movie for so many reasons but the one that I always think of the most is the tragic deaths of both the lead actor and actress in this movie. James Dean of course died shortly after the making of this film in a reckless car crash that martyred him into a cultural icon. Natalie Wood on the other hand died many years later under mysterious circumstances that are still questioned today. Dean’s death was his own doing. He had been warned and just couldn’t help himself from living on the edge for that thrill. He liked to race cars and died doing what he loved. It was an unfortunate death that came far too soon for a young promising actor but there is something to dying in the act of your passion. What happened to Wood was just tragic and awful. She of course drown while partying on a boat with her husband Robert Wagner and Christopher Walken. Something has never smelled right about what allegedly happened to her and it is entirely likely she was beaten up and murdered by her husband. Nobody knows what actually happened on that boat aside from the people who were on board and their version is all we have. It has been questioned by many.

They were both applauded and awarded for their performances in this film, but in truth I have always felt they were both over acting a bit. James Dean specifically has always seemed a bit over dramatic in this movie to me. I think that mostly has to do with how refined acting on-screen has become as an art in the 60 years since this movie came out. Granted Humphrey Bogart gave performances flawless enough to stand the test of time in movies like Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon but I don’t get that from Dean. He is undoubtedly super cool and it would have been interesting to see how his career might have developed but in this film I have always felt he laid it on too thick at times. “YOU’RE TEARING ME APART!!!”

The role of Sal Mineo as the disturbed Plato is a very interesting one. This kid so obviously has issues and nobody to help him with them. He is raised by a housekeeper as his father is long gone and his mother is often away on trips. He is so desperate for attention, companionship, and friendship. When he gets a tiny taste of it his mind runs away with it and it becomes something different in his mind. He makes things up and they become real for him. He is lost and all alone in the world and when his end comes it is both tragic and relieving. Plato was very troubled, and it’s unlikely his new friends were the answer for what ailed him. In the beginning of the film he is at the prison because he was shooting puppies. The guy is somewhat endearing during the movie but you really have to ask yourself what kind of guy takes a gun and shoots puppies; they’re only like the most cute and innocent creatures on the planet. He may have bonded with Jim Stark but that guy had problems that were going to get someone hurt eventually.

This movie tends to be a bit over dramatic most of the time but it gets the point across and I like the message. It’s a great movie with performances that will be remembered for all time, over dramatic or not. I feel like watching this movie is like seeing a play on-screen but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is a classic movie and it is worth the time of any serious film fan.

NEXT MOVIE: Red Sonja (1985)….embarrassing I know.

 

Ransom

Year: 1996
Directed By: Ron Howard
Written By: Cyril Hume and Richard Maibaum (story), Richard Price and Alexander Ignon (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie made it into the collection when I first started shopping on Amazon a few years ago. I bought a used copy of this movie for 4 cents. I figured that whether I liked it or not, and I liked it just enough, I had to see what was going to arrive in my mailbox for just 4 pennies. I marveled over Amazon for weeks afterwards when I received not only the movie but a DVD that was in good condition. I remembered this movie because it was part of our movie collection growing up. My family was made up of big Mel Gibson fans, mind you this was back in the 90s; years before he became publicly known as that crazy guy. I considered it for a moment and figured this movie was worth each one of those pennies. In truth it cost a bit more because of the shipping and handling but when I tell the story it was only 4 cents.

When I sat down to watch this movie I reverted back into a mind frame from my youth. A time in the 90s when Mel Gibson was the greatest, Rene Russo was still beautiful and sexy, and Gary Sinise was an actor that everybody wanted to see more of. That mindset made this the perfect movie to watch but nevertheless I don’t think it stands the test of time. At least when it comes to being exceptional. If you want to see more of the same with actors that were really good in 96 then this is your movie but you won’t find anything crazy in this one.

In 1996 the duo of Rene Russo and Mel Gibson was something Hollywood really wanted more of. They had hit it off with great chemistry in Lethal Weapon 3 and I can never express how much Mel Gibson was THE MAN in the 90s, everybody loved him. We don’t own the third installment of the Lethal Weapon franchise because I hate when a franchise established on an R rating goes to PG-13. I think the 3rd Lethal Weapon suffered because of it; as did the 4th when they got even farther from the true nature of the franchise. When it comes to Russo and Gibson in this movie I don’t think the chemistry is really there this time around. They seem to turn on each other way too soon for one. They may look good together but I don’t think they lived up to that rep with this movie.

I am a big fan of Gary Sinise, but I really don’t like the role he took on in this movie and I think it was this film that generally stopped the momentum he had built up prior and since Forrest GumpIn this movie he is a bad guy, and not even the kind of bad guy that you relate to and like. He’s the sleazy cop that does something dirty for the money, and in addition to that betrays his companions and murders all of them to claim the reward himself. This role was a momentum killer for Sinise’s career and that sucks. I thought he was a good actor. My favorite role of his was actually the TV version of The Stand when he played Stu Redman. I’m a big Stephen King fan and I have always envisioned Sinise in the part when reading the book.

If you haven’t seen this movie you haven’t missed much in truth. It’s a fairly typical kidnapping movie with a little bit of Mel Gibson impulsive insanity thrown in the mix. You must keep in mind this is long before his crazy side was ever revealed to the public, this was during his king of the world years. It’s an alright movie just nothing exceptional. If you’ve seen this movie before I think it is easily worth four pennies of your own money. Otherwise I don’t know that it is really worth your time to see it.

NEXT MOVIE: Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

 

 

 

Raising Arizona

Year: 1987
Directed By: Joel and Ethan Coen
Written By: Joel and Ethan Coen

RYAN’S REVIEW

I actually remember catching clips from this movie as a kid in the 80s on HBO. Long before I ever knew who the Coen brothers were or before I ever saw the movie with an understanding eye. It’s an interesting thing I like to consider and a memory I smile on. It makes this movie more endearing to me in an odd way. I think this is a delightfully charming movie that has always gotten better with each viewing.

I’ve always thought of this movie as full on Coen. In that I mean that it has all their greatest qualities rolled into one. It is funny in an intelligent and interesting way with a script that could only come from the Coens. There are interesting characters and action sequences that come out of no where but manage to be both exciting and funny at the same time. I have always loved the Coens and own a great many of their films. This one happens to be one of my favorites yet I find it hard to really explain why. It’s such a smart yet silly movie. I think the dialogue is the reason for that. The characters we watch are generally stupid but they speak in humorous creativity with an amazing vocabulary.

There is good Nicolas Cage– and bad Nicolas Cage. These days we don’t seem to see much more than the bad version but in 1987 and as H.I. McDunnough Cage is really funny. He’s so simple yet well spoken that I find it hilarious. That hair that he has is awesome and he rocks it with a look of pure stupidity on his face that makes me laugh every time. When he goes back to armed robbery and steals the Huggies I think he is part of one of the greatest action sequences ever. One that only the Coens could have concocted. The panties hoes, the shooting, the chasing dogs, and then the ending series of turns that leads them back to the Huggies is a work of sequential harmony.

My favorite performance in this film actually goes to Holly Hunter though. She has such a great accent in this movie and I love her womanly dramatics. My favorite scene is when she is in the car with Nathan Jr. after the kidnapping and she suddenly screams out “I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!!!” as she begins to cry hysterically. I think it is a hilarious scene and I do think Holly Hunter manages to steal the screen often in this movie. Her accent is remarkable. I love her from the get go when she mentions how her “fi-ance” had left her. She is flawlessly funny in this movie.

The Coen’s have always had a knack for including an out of the ordinary character in their films that leaves an impression on the audience. In this movie that character is Leonard Smalls played by Randall “Tex” Cobb. Smalls is such a scary guy that H.I. considers him a demon formed right out of his own sin to hunt him down and punish him.  When Smalls proves to be an actual person with demands of his own I think it only serves to make him more badass. He is such an intimidating man but when he snatches the fly out of the air right in front of Nathan Arizona’s face it puts him over the top. Smalls as a character is one of the best things about this movie and I love what he brings to the story.

John Goodman has been a favorite of the Coen brothers going all the way back to this film in 1987 and continuing until today. This is not my favorite collaboration he has had with them but he is hilarious paired with William Forsythe as an escaped con who figures out his old buddy H.I. is hiding something. He is so great from beginning to end from breaking out of the prison in the rainstorm to the prison robbery with Nathan Jr. in tow. It really funny in the end when he and Forsythe simply crawl back into their hole to go back to prison.

This is a one of a kind movie made by some of the most interesting and talented film making brothers to ever get behind camera. As with most of their movies it offers wit that you won’t find anywhere else and a story that is unlike anything you have seen before. I love a movie that gets better the more you watch it and that is the case most of the time when you sit down to watch something made by the Coen brothers. This movie is without doubt no only worth your time but worth plenty of it and I would recommend it any day of the week to anyone.

 

NEXT MOVIE: Ransom (1996)

 

 

Fear The Walking Dead

I looked forward to this show for a long time after it was first announced. As a huge fan of The Walking Dead comic I naturally find the television adaptation of the series a bit disappointing. I still like the show but only when I consider it separate from the base material. The Walking Dead can get really slow at times and I explain to people all the time that they have to slow the series down with “filler” episodes in order to avoid catching up to the source of the story. The show is rapidly catching up to where the series is in current publication and I can’t see Robert Kirkman spoiling his series like George R.R. Martin has done for HBO with Game of Thrones. So if they catch up with the comics what are they to do but let this cash cow dwindle and earn only what they can get with syndication?

With this new original series I saw so much potential because it doesn’t have to slow down with filler episode. It isn’t limited to the base material like its big sister series is and there is nothing but budget to hold it back from being nonstop excitement. For example, in The Walking Dead if nothing else we can be certain that nothing will happen to either Rick or Carl, as far as their lives are concerned that is. Granted they surprised us all by killing off Andrea but she was a much different character than we see in the comics. Nevertheless this new series has the opportunity to do anything and surprise us in ways that the original couldn’t hope to do.

After watching the third episode of Fear The Walking Dead I still see plenty of potential but I am nevertheless disappointed above all else. To start, I think the show would take a big step in the right direction by immediately killing off the junkie son, the dad, and the mom. The sister is alright, the dad’s old family is cool, and obviously this new Latino character is going to be awesome but they should just ax the rest of them quickly. They are hopelessly unlikable characters that do more to annoy us as viewers than hold our interest.

Let’s start with the junkie son, played by Frank Dillane. I have a big problem with this guy because I specifically hate watching anything involving junkies. That aside, I think everything else just serves to harden that opinion. Why would anybody under the sun ever listen to a junkie during a crisis? The guy keeps saying things and almost stands as the leader among the small group occasionally. Why is this guy even allowed to talk at all? The guy is lucky he wasn’t strung out and in an alley when the shit started and eaten by a zombie. He has no business throwing his opinions around like he knows anything other than the addiction that guides his thinking. In a crisis situation, or any situation for that matter, a junkie is nothing more than a liability. What’s this guy doing when nobody is looking? Well he’s doing what junkies do, searching for his next fix. Whether he is searching desperately through a bathroom  for anything he can get his hands on or taking a screwdriver to his neighbors windows he is just not worth the trouble. This guy is a loser and I cannot stand him. When his mom protests him crushing up the Oxy pills, you know the ones she risked her life to steal for him, he looks at her and says “Whose the expert here?” That kid isn’t the expert, he’s the junkie trying to get there faster and he is not to be trusted. Maybe if they did what they should have done and fed him to the Asian zombie neighbor maybe she would have been preoccupied when her husband came home and not had to be shot in his arms with him completely unaware of what is going on. The guy can’t even make it through half an episode before begging for more in a really annoying scene that captures how pathetic this guy is. Come on AMC get rid of this loser character, or at the very least cut his lines by 75%.

The dad, played by Cliff Curtis, I just don’t really like. Can’t really put my finger on what it is specifically but he just rubs me the wrong way. He’s kind of rude at times and overextending at others. I could live with him though whereas I can’t stomach the junkie at all. The dad still has potential to evolve as a character but so far he seems hopelessly unprepared for both life and the situation at hand.

The enabling mother on the other hand, played by Kim Dickens,  I have no interest in seeing her character evolve. She just seems to always say and do the wrong thing. Whether she is stealing narcotics for her junkie son or simply suggesting a wildly out of place family board game while her neighbors across the street get murdered I just think she is ridiculous. If she so stupidly asks “what’s going on?” again I’ll be somewhere throwing my arms up in disgust.  In episode 2 when she is pleading with someone over the phone about how her some needs meds because he is in pain I wish the person on the other end of the phone would say, “mam, you’re son is a loser junky, tell him to grow some balls and kick the habit like a man.” It makes a lot more sense to just steal drugs and keep getting him high to avoid the inevitable. I really don’t like the mom or her son.

I really hate these characters but not all of them. I think the daughter wins by comparison simply by not being annoying like her family. The angry teenage son from the dad’s first marriage seems cool and I think he may have it more together than his father does. I also like his mother too, played by Elizabeth Rodriguez, because she exhibits strength and the potential to be a great character. The Latino barber, played by Ruben Blades, is obviously on his way to being a badass of the apocalypse but he has it right about his companions. They are weak and this show would be better off to weed them out sooner rather than later.

Despite my disappointments I still see enough to keep me interested and I think the show will develop into a fantastic series in time. I look forward to where it is going and I look forward to the next season of The Walking Dead that will come out next month. However, the only thing I simply can’t wait for is the next Walking Dead Wednesday when the new issue of the comic comes out. If you haven’t started reading what actually started this whole thing you are really missing out.

Rain Man

Year: 1988
Directed By: Barry Levinson
Written By: Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass

RYAN’S REVIEW

The vast majority of the movies I grew up with were found on my own or I came by them through my mother’s side of the family. My father, despite his job while I was growing up never really got into movies as I or others in my family did. He’s not the type to get anything from a movie and they rarely mean very much to him. Sometimes though, an occasional film will stick with him. Sometimes they are the most unexpected of films but that’s not the case with this one. My dad, always the Tom Cruise fan, loves this movie and even to this day may quote it on a daily basis. Not even two days ago I heard him running through the warehouse yelling “V-E-R-N!” to a group of guys quietly trying spell it out in their heads and desperately trying to figure out what the boss wanted of them. Now, most of these kids were not even alive when this movie came out, oh how the time is flying, much less familiar with one unmemorable line from a classic they hadn’t seen. I got a kick out of watching the confusion created for these youngsters who are mostly in their late teens or early 20s but the point is that after 27 years my old man still has this movie at the forefront of his mind.

I don’t think it’s the kind of classic that holds up quite like that but it is a classic regardless. My point is that this is a classic movie that most movie fans have seen but here I witnessed a group of kids completely in the dark and even unaware of the film altogether when it was explained. One of them in particular, who had specifically been made to feel dumb over the whole thing, came up to me later and so pitifully asked, “what’s a vern?” I laughed and told him not to put too much thought into the old man’s references and for the love of God never mention the Timewarp or anything from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. If he did I would hold him personally responsible for what followed. For reasons I will never understand my dad is really into that one too (it should be noted that I know for a fact drugs aren’t involved and I often tell him he’s the only sober person who likes that movie). He’s so into the movie that it is embarrassing and I have literally had to hide my face in shame many times when he completely uncharacteristically breaks into song and dance at the mention of the film.

My point being, this movie reminds me of my dad more than anything else. Which is ironic given it’s about a guy with a tumultuous relationship with his father. All fathers and sons have layered relationships that can create animosity from both sides but I generally think it’s a typical thing. I think when it comes to fathers and sons they are more often than not too much alike yet too different at the same time. Under those dynamics the circumstances can create a variety of different outcomes.

I bought this movie a couple of years ago because Amber had never seen it and I felt like it was good enough for the collection. Nevertheless it’s not a movie that’s ever really meant much to me. I think Dustin Hoffman gave an outstanding performance and I appreciate the awareness it brought to a largely misunderstood condition at the time. Truth is, I’ve never been a fan of films about the mentally handicapped. I appreciate and respect the mentally disabled and my opinions about films focusing on them often give people the wrong idea. I feel like the films always have the same message in the end; which is that these people matter and we shouldn’t treat them like they are insignificant. I know that and I believe in that but I don’t feel like sitting through every actor’s efforts to win an Oscar by taking on the part. All the inevitable hallmark moments in between only meant to make our eyes leak bother me too. I’m a sap when it comes to movies and I try to avoid crying when it’s abundantly clear to me it is going to happen. I don’t really feel like this movie falls into that category, but generally speaking that’s just how I feel about movies of the subject matter. I feel like this about several types of films. For similar reasons I don’t watch movies about junkies, and I don’t watch movies about sports for a different but similar reason in that they are all the same.

In the case of this film I do feel like it is an exceptional movie. Although, if I’m not mistaken, it exaggerated Autism to a severe degree but if it brought more awareness to the condition it’s still a good thing. I think Dustin Hoffman proved he was still one of the greatest actors out there when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor with this part. I grew up knowing Hoffman mainly from this role, granted I never realized he was Captain Hook in Hook because of the costume, so I was really surprised to find out how notable of an actor he really was back in the 60s and 70s. Hoffman is an actor who didn’t age well, but he kept getting roles because he was that damn good as an actor. I’ve never been a fan particularly but I respect him for what he has accomplished throughout his career.

This is actually the role I have most associated with Tom Cruise throughout my life. In this movie he plays such an unbelievable asshole and he does it so well. Almost too well to the point it makes me think this is who he really is. Given this is the role I grew up knowing him from it should be easy to understand why I have always despised him as a person. It easier to understand if you learn a little bit about the guy and listen to what he’s all about but that isn’t the whole story for me. I think Tom Cruise is a terrific actor but I despise the man. I think that he is the guy we see in this movie and that’s the base of my dislike for him. I have enjoyed so many of his roles and cannot deny his talent but I just cannot openly support a proponent of Scientology and all the madness that this man is involved with. As much as I love to hate the guy though he is good at what he does. Even in this film as an unbelievable asshole he wins us over in the end by actually connecting with his brother and being less of an asshole. The change of Charlie Babbitt in this movie is what makes it endearing. The performance of Hoffman is what makes it great but the change we see in Cruise’s character is what makes it lovable. Tom Cruise is a total douche, but he knows how to win us over and no matter how much I dislike him I can’t help but admit how talented he is.

I came into this movie with an attitude that was less than enthused. I have to admit it though; this is an endearing movie that wins you over in the end. It’s inspiring to see this asshole learn to be a different person by finding out he has a brother and connecting with him despite all odds. I like that kind of character arc and I always feel like I learn about myself a little as I watch a character learn and evolve into a different person. It inspires me to think about who I am and how I can be a better person myself. Charlie Babbitt was an unbelievable asshole, but if you asked him he probably wouldn’t say so. Some of us can be blind to who we actually are because we are arrogant and selfish creatures by nature. Truth is we can all be better. I certainly can at least and I strive to be better on a daily basis; it should be noted I don’t always succeed. I’m a big believer that when we stop getting better we are simply getting worse. I don’t see a plateau and I don’t want to. I want to always be aware that no matter what I am doing I can always be better.  I appreciate movies like this that make me think, and the lessons I can take from watching someone else learn a little bit more about himself.

This movie didn’t get nominated and win Academy Awards simply because Dustin Hoffman started counting toothpicks. It was well-recognized because it is a great movie. It’s funny, dramatic, and interesting throughout. I think it also gives an interesting glimpse into the world of 1988, which I had never noticed until watching it now, in 2015. If you have already seen this movie I think you might find yourself as surprised as I was when I watched it again. If you haven’t seen it then you should check it out. It’s a great 80s movie that is worth your time to see.

NEXT MOVIE: Raising Arizona (1987)