Month: March 2018

Terms of Endearment

Year: 1983
Directed By: James L Brooks
Written By: Larry McMurty (novel) James L Brooks (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a movie that I would never normally go for and in fact had never even heard of it until about six years ago. I was listening to my favorite morning radio show when I heard about it. A funny conversation about the movie caught my attention and I sought out the film to see it for myself. When I saw this film for the first time I was really impressed with the drama of it all. The performances of Jack Nicholson and Shirley MacLaine were very strong and I felt it qualified for a place on the shelf.

Years ago I was riding around listening to my favorite morning radio show, The Two Guys Named Chris. They had gotten a big celebrity interview with Jeff Daniels and spent all morning teasing it. As I drove along and listened to the host, Chris Kelly, interview Daniels he spent most of the time talking about this movie I had never heard of, Terms of Endearment. At one point he asked Daniels what the Oscars were like to which Daniels replied he didn’t know because he had never been invited. He apparently was the only actor not nominated for his role in the movie and it led to an awkward exchange that had me laughing all the way home.

With this interview leaving me laughing I had to see the movie that had amassed so many awards the year before I was born. Little did I know that while the interview left me laughing this movie would inspire very few laughs and in fact I’m unashamed to admit I cried my freaking eyes out. Watching it this time around was even worse because I find myself the head of a family of five and the heartache hits home so much harder.

I dare you to watch this movie and keep your eyes dry. If you manage it I’d question whether or not you actually have a soul because this is the type of movie to suck you in and then bring you to your knees emotionally. As we watched it I literally found myself trying to look away so I didn’t cry my eyes out in front of my wife, but I failed and the tears fell.

I bought this movie and added it to the collection after seeing it for the first time because of the emotional response it got out of me. As life carries on you can almost become numb to things over time but movies like this remind me that I’m still alive because it makes my emotions bleed through my eyes.

Another reason I bought this movie was because I simply marveled at Jack Nicholson. I have never been a fan, and I always admire an actor I don’t like that manages to win me over. One of my favorite lines in this movie is from the scene where Shirley MacLaine went to his house for the first time and mentioned that his home was a bit egotistical. It is decorated heavily with space and astronaut stuff. His reply was something like “there are only 100 astronauts in the whole fucking world and I’m one of them!” That he had a right to be egotistical was hilarious to me and I love that line and scene.

Months later….

OK so we started binging Game of Thrones and it took us a couple of months. Somewhere along the line this post got lost in the shuffle and I couldn’t begin to tack on a finisher now. I don’t even have the energy to read back through this sad and unfortunate film to proofread it so excuse me if there are typos in it. It’s a tough one, but I think it is definitely worth your time under the right circumstances.

NEXT MOVIE: Thank You for Smoking (2005)

 

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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Year: 2003
Directed By: Jonathan Mostow
Written By: James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd (characters written by), John Brancato, Michael Ferris, and Tedi Sarafian

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is where our journey in this franchise ends, because there is nothing worthy of the collection that follows. After 12 years of waiting for a potential sequel to Judgement Day we finally got something that sported some good things and some bad things. I think the story for this film was really the strength and it was a fantastic idea that made sense in the end. However, they simply couldn’t have done a worse job in the casting of an adult John Connor.

I think that a new terminator coming back in time to take out not John Connor himself but his top lieutenants was a great idea. I think the action that follows is both exciting and up to par with the franchise. The car chase scene in the beginning was especially well made and if I’m not mistaken Schwarzenegger funded part of it out of pocket to get it that awesome (though he made so much money to come back this was an easy decision for him). I thought it finally made sense in the end how this weak and pathetic John Connor ended up as the leader of the human resistance. It was that interesting twist at the end that impressed me.

The problem with this movie is so big that it threatens the film as a whole. Despite all the great action, despite Schwarzenegger bringing his A game to hold on to any credibility he had left in a changing industry, and despite the well conceived story there was just nothing that could quite overcome the casting of Nick Stahl as John Connor. I get it if they didn’t want Edward Furlong back, or if they couldn’t get him. I don’t see how the kid from T2 grows up to be the guy we see in this movie. Furlong played a tough and street smart kid who looked totally believable to rise in the future. He was reloading weapons and hacking into bank accounts in Judgement Day like a 10 year old badass. The man we see in this movie is a pussy plain and simple. He spends most of the movie bitching about everything and he comes off as overwhelmingly pathetic. He is unsure of himself and wears that on his sleeve but most importantly he is just lame, even threatening to kill himself at one point.

In fact, Claire Danes was much more badass in the role of Katherine Brewster, who would grow up to be John’s second in command and wife. I really liked that since John was off the grid that a terminator had been sent back to kill the young versions of his future lieutenants. It’s a cool concept that makes sense but John coincidentally crossing paths with this new terminator is a bit lame. Had to bring the story together somehow right? I don’t know that it was really necessary to make the new villain a “T-X” instead of a Terminator we had already seen. I mean how do they keep making upgrades in this future that keeps getting stopped or delayed? They had to up the ante somehow, but I think it is a typical mistake to do so.

I mentioned that Schwarzenegger brought his A game to this movie and he did. The physical condition he was able to get into alone at his age (56) was impressive but not as impressive as his contract. His contract was an unprecedented amount of money, something like $29 million as well as a part of the proceeds and plenty of perks. Making things even more interesting was the fact that this movie came out the exact same year Schwarzenegger took office for the first of his two terms as the California Governor. In this movie I think he again leaned too much on an effort to be funny but it didn’t bother me as much as it did in T2. I actually thought he had a bit more edge to him in this movie when he was clear about not being the same terminator and having no obligation to John beyond his mission.

After taking eight years off of acting to focus on his side venture political career Schwarzenegger got right back into the mix of things when his term ended. Not only going back to his bread and butter, action films, but even becoming the terminator for a fourth time in the God awful Terminator: Genisys. He continues to work toward yet another sequel, albeit this time with James Cameron’s involvement (allegedly), but nobody wants him to at this point. Schwarzenegger is a man of great ability to succeed and I have no doubt that he will eventually find a new niche in the world to make himself even more famous and wealthy. Hell, with the way things are going in this ass backwards country there may finally be that new Amendment passed that will allow him to run for President.

This movie isn’t bad, but it simply isn’t James Cameron and that makes such a difference. James Cameron, as my brother pointed out in his T2 rebuttal is the Jesus Christ/savior of the movie industry. I’ll never forget sitting in the theater watching Avatar years ago and realizing what James Cameron had accomplished. In this current climate of declining theater attendance there is less and less reason to go to the theaters these days. Yet when I watched Avatar I saw the future. I saw that James Cameron had created not just a visual spectical, but a reason to leave the comforts of home and go to the theater. Avatar was a movie that could only be properly seen in the theater. Take away Cameron’s 3D effects and you had nothing more than a Pocahontas story with blue people, but in the theater with those glasses on was an effect that couldn’t be recreated at home. Of course that has been an impossibly long six years ago with little change to the industry. However, with three sequels coming out in tandem in the eventual future there is still hope to see how Cameron changes the industry permanently.

Cameron’s absence in this franchise started a downward spiral of quality to the Terminator brand. There was a TV show, The Sarah Conner Chronicles, and it wasn’t bad but the fourth film was. I remember being really excited to see Christian Bale as John Connor in Terminator Salvation and being so disappointed in the movie I literally got up and left the theater. I was interested in Genysis when it came out but not enough to venture out to the theater. I was really intrigued by the Schwarzenegger vs. Schwarzenegger fight the movie sported but it wasn’t good enough to overcome what was simply a really bad movie. I sat patiently through the movie when we rented it but threw my hands in the air in disgust at the end when Schwarzenegger was “upgraded” to a T-1000.

This franchise took a lick with Genysis but as long as Schwarzenegger is backing it there is really no end in sight. It’d probably take a few bad movies to put it to rest but there is always the inevitable reboot so I wouldn’t expect them to leave the Terminator to rest in peace any time soon. So I’m inclined to say this movie is definitely worth your time because this is probably as good as it gets for the franchise. It’s all downhill from here, or truthfully it’s been all downhill since the first film came out but it at least stayed interesting through three films.

NEXT MOVIE: Terms of Endearment (1983)