Charlie Sheen

Platoon

Year: 1986
Directed By: Oliver Stone
Written By: Oliver Stone

RYAN’S REVIEW

Back in 2003 I was 19 years old, in college, and aggressively involved in the world on a larger scale for the first time. At that young adolescent age my mind was exploding and I was hungry for all the knowledge in the world. For the first time I had stepped out of the world of Ryan (high school years) and started paying attention to the world around me. I was heavily invested in the Iraq War, both politically and emotionally. I was inspired and full of ideas in a way that only the young can be. I’ll never forget the feeling of despair I had when I sat in front of the TV and watched as the Iraq War officially began. I remember that once it had ultimately started I went to my tiny movie collection and put in this movie. I no longer wanted to see the reality of what must be taking place on the other side of the world. Instead I chose to watch the only thing I had that remotely related to the conflict, which was this movie.

Now there are several similarities between the Vietnam and Iraq wars but that had nothing to do with why I watched this film that night. I not only watched this film that night but I watched it every night after for probably as long as two months. This movie drew me in, it taught me something. It was real and a representation of the consequence of such actions. I watched it so much I knew every character in the film and when their character perished. This movie was made by a man who knew, a man who gave up his cushy life to fight alongside the common man who had no choice. This movie was based on the real life experiences of the man who made it, a man who lived through war. That meant something to me as my country entered another war that would undoubtedly lead to dire consequences for so many.

This is the movie that helped me understand war. The movie that taught me that war is more than action and wrong on several levels. There is “the way of war” and it’s an awful thing. No matter the circumstances that bring it about, when war becomes an option it is the innocent that suffer. In the way of war people are fighting for their lives. You have two sides pushed to the extreme and you have people caught in the middle. Who is to blame when horrible and awful things happen? The circumstances are a recipe for mayhem. When war is established life becomes dog eat dog for the people involved. It sucks but that is “the way of war.” Once the point of no return has been crossed the consequences that follow are inevitable.  Wars are fought by the young, especially this war because most of the men serving were drafted. Teenage boys carrying guns through the jungle can’t be held accountable for when they snap under the pressure. The people caught in the middle can’t be to blame because they are just trying to stay alive. There are so many unfortunate circumstances created by war. These things can never be lost on the men making the decision to go to war. People are going to suffer when war becomes necessary, it has to be for good reason or else it is just wrong and there is no justice to it at all.

When I was 19 years old I thought Oliver Stone was a God. Not literally of course but I thought he was head and shoulders above other filmmakers. He was the number one director in my mind and I felt his career was one of the greatest. Those illusions came crashing down a year later when the much anticipated, to me at least, Alexander came out. I had eagerly awaited that movie only for it to claim the highest echelon in the ranking of movies that crushed my soul. That is neither here nor there though as a year prior when I was watching this movie night after night I still had all my hopes and dreams for films invested in this man. Oliver Stone was Private Taylor from this film played by Charlie Sheen. Stone had dropped out of Yale to fight in Vietnam, something admirable that I respected then and still do today. Oliver Stone may be a bit of a conspiracy nut and like all conspiracy nuts he will bend the truth to serve his own purposes but there is still plenty the man deserves our respect for.

I had become infatuated with Stone for the wrong reasons prior to 2003. Like most young adolescent boys I was rebellious and as a movie fan I was drawn to the films that inspired my wild and immature inclinations. I liked to walk the fine line between good and bad and experimented with an aggressiveness that was encouraged by the movies I loved. Stone came into the picture with films like The DoorsAny Given Sundayand of course Natural Born KillersThese movies fueled my endeavors into rebellion, drug use, promiscuity, and profanity. There were several films and filmmakers that had this affect on me but it was Stone I stayed with as I matured from a boy into a young adult. With films like Platoon, Wall Street, Nixonand JFK Oliver Stone inspired me in new ways that molded my personality during the developmental years that continue in college. I have since grown out of the stage I was in when these films inspired me and I no longer see Stone in the same light I did back then. Nevertheless I still hold most of his films in high regard and I will always respect the man. A man that lived the life he does and did the things he has done deserves respect. I know better as an adult than to take everything he made at face value but there are still plenty of things I took away from his films and I appreciate the lessons that they taught me.

I have always found the Vietnam War to be fascinating and prefer the war movies from that era as opposed to the ones from before. There are different themes from those differing generations that I think are important. WWII left Americans with the impression that they were the greatest country in the world and could do no wrong. Many WWII movies I find enhance this theme. As a young man I whole heartedly believed in these all-American ideas as well but when I grew up I felt differently. Vietnam was like a slap in the face to Americans because it reminded them that not only were they not the unbeatable super power who could do anything but they were not even the good guys in some circumstances. Vietnam happened during a time when the children of the Baby Boomers were coming of age and they had different ideas about the state of the union.  The things happening in Southeast Asia were being broadcast on television every evening for the first time and the news was rarely good. It left an impact on the younger generations not only because it was in their face but because many of them were being recruited to fight in the conflict. Vietnam was going on during a cultural change in America. It was not a time where the country united to protect the world for the greater good like in WWII, but a time when the country was bleeding at home and divisions among the public were fueled by the conflict at hand. I feel like WWII films tend to represent the propaganda age of America while Vietnam films represent the realism that the country had to face. Vietnam films usually focus on the reality of war, the consequences that it creates, and the truth that we all need to understand as a people.

This movie taught me many of those truths, and I took them more seriously because the man teaching was one who knew. He was there and had firsthand experience in what he was trying to explain. I still find this film just as inspiring as I did when I was watching it for the first time and I still find lessons in it that we can all learn from. I am no longer the diehard Oliver Stone fan I was in my youth but that is by and large due to growing up. As an adult I am not as infatuated with the stoned and suspicious mind of Oliver Stone. The man’s work is on screen and he made some incredible things, but in the grand scheme of things they spoke to a younger version of myself that went into hibernation years ago before my kids were born. There is often a fine line between brilliance and insanity and Stone danced that line till he fell over into the insane side a long time ago. I am no longer the young and impressionable adolescent who believed in such grand ideas as the JFK conspiracy and believed that with a strong enough voice things in the world would change for the better. The world is what it is; you can only accept it at face value and keep moving forward. Delving into the larger scheme of things is only going to bring you disappointment and amount to wasted time.

There is something from this movie that I always used as an example to suggest Stone’s abilities and it had nothing to do with his take on the war. In this movie Oliver Stone got an impressive performance from Charlie Sheen in the role of Private Taylor, and again a year later in Wall Street. Charlie Sheen is an incredibly interesting person, but that aside, he has never been a particularly good actor. In the years before all his crazy antics in the press I used to wonder how it was that this man was such a celebrity and made such a good living at it. There were so few performances aside from the two already mentioned that I thought were worth anything. Point being, he was not a very good actor. However, I have always believed that a bad actor can be made great in a film by the right director. Hence the impression of Stone I had grew because of the performance he was able to get out of Sheen. In contrast I felt that in 2004 the opposite was true. Despite all the time he had invested in the film Stone made a horrible movie with his Alexander and specifically got an awful performance out of another bad actor, Colin FarrellAlexander, as far as I am concerned, was the end of Oliver Stone’s career for me as a fan because it signified a decline in skill. A couple years prior to Alexander one of the greatest directors ever, Steven Spielberg, had gotten a good performance out of Farrell in Minority Report. If Spielberg could do something that Oliver Stone could not it suggested to me that Stone had lost something, and I still feel like that holds true because in the last 10 years nothing he has done has impressed me as it did prior to Alexander.

Beyond Charlie Sheen this movie offers a very rich cast of actors. Tom Berenger gave one of the best performances on his career playing Sgt. Barnes. The role of Barnes was initially meant for Kevin Costner, who I think could have pulled it off well but Berenger made it his own. Willem Dafoe gave an equally good performance as Sgt. Elias. Dafoe is such an interesting actor and continues even until today to show a range and diversity as an actor that is impressive. Stone intentionally cast Berenger and Dafoe in roles contrasting what the public was used to seeing them play. Berenger, who usually played good guys, was cast as the ruthless and cruel Sgt. Barnes while Dafoe, who usually played villains, was cast as the crusader Elias. An interesting idea that worked well and brought more diversity to the careers of both men.

In the roles of other Sergeants were long time Stone collaborator John C. McGinley and the scariest man ever, Tony Todd. McGinley never reached that upper echelon of stardom but he played so many terrific parts over the years. Tony Todd plays a small part in this movie but his presence in anything should never go unnoticed because when you fail to notice Candyman he comes up behind you with a hook and kills you. Johnny Depp played the translator Lerner in one of his first roles ever. Stone reportedly met with him during casting and immediately predicted his future fame. In fact he considered casting Depp in the lead role of Taylor but didn’t because Depp was so young and unknown at the time. Keith David plays one of the biggest parts of any of the grunts in King. I am a big fan of Keith David and like just about everything he has ever done. Also as another grunt was future Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker whose part was small but shouldn’t go unnoticed.  Kevin Dillon played Bunny, the sadistic grunt who by the end nobody knows what to make of. Dillon probably had high hopes for his career in 1986 but he turned out to be the less famous brother of his not so famous older brother Matt Dillon.

The making of this movie was quite an incredible thing that went a long way with how the final product came out. As a veteran Stone didn’t just cast actors and put them in the jungle. He went farther and put them through an actual boot camp in the Philippines that ended the day before shooting. He didn’t want them to have any down time after the camp because he didn’t want them getting soft again before shooting the movie. It was a rigorous shoot that had some actors feeling like they had actually been in the war by the time they got home. Charlie Sheen reportedly kissed the ground upon his return to the States. These guys went into the jungle and did it the hard way; the way it should have been done to get it right. Even the fun stuff during this shoot was hard on the actors. In the scene where King takes Taylor to “meet the heads” the actors had been actually getting high all day on potent Filipino weed. By the time they actually shot the scene they were all stoned out of their minds and some were even feeling sick. An interesting story that I’ve always figured had to play into the long term drug use of the young Johnny Depp and Charlie Sheen. I don’t know but if I had to guess I’d wager Oliver Stone was the guy who introduced Charlie Sheen to his favorite drug of choice, cocaine. I imagine the Filipino weed was merely a stepping stone for Sheen as he moved onto coke and ultimately…tiger blood.

This movie is important to me because it taught me something that I will never forget. However this movie is important for many more reasons because it was a great movie and it accomplished what it intended to. The screenplay for this movie was written back in the 70s when Stone returned to America and didn’t appreciate how the war was depicted in John Wayne’s The Green BeretsIn that sense it succeeded in depicting a more realistic view of what the war was actually like. It wasn’t alone in trying to send that message as a few films about Vietnam came out around the same time. Most notably, Full Metal Jacket came out the following year. Both are great movies but they should not be compared because they are so different. Platoon was a film about the Grunts while Full Metal Jacket was a film about the Jarheads. The significant difference there was that men were drafted into the army while the marines are a branch made up of volunteers. That makes all the difference as one film is about men who chose to serve while the other is primarily about men who had no choice in the matter.

The Vietnam War was a fascinating chapter in American history and a true example of how history is never used enough going forward. Had the powers that be reflected on history during the development of the conflict in Vietnam the whole thing may have never happened. On the flip side, had the lessons from that conflict specifically been learned the US may not have entered another long war to force democracy down the throats of people who had no interest in it. It is difficult to fight a war on the other side of the world for reasons that mean little to the inhabitants. Guerrilla warfare is hard to combat, the British learned that over 200 years ago but somehow the lesson seems lost on the US. When the enemy can be anybody and can come from anywhere bad things will happen all around to everyone involved. The soldiers fighting under the pressures of their lives being on the line can’t be held accountable for the things that happen nor can the inhabitants who at some point may just get fed up and take up arms against the foreign soldiers in their country. It is the “way of war” and war never goes well. It’s not an action movie and it’s not a video game. When it happens people are going to suffer and someone’s hands are going to get dirty.

Movies are made to entertain but they are so much better when they can actually teach us something at the same time. This movie can do that and I appreciate it more for that very reason. This is a great film and it doesn’t need my stamp of approval on it because it has plenty already. If you haven’t seen this movie then you are missing out. If you don’t know the incredible history of the Vietnam War you are missing out, but you’d need a lot more than a movie to learn about that. As time moves forward things get lost behind us but it is important to never forget the lessons the past has to offer. This movie, for me at least, represents such a lesson and that makes it worth everybody’s time. This is an awesome movie and I think everybody should see it.

NEXT MOVIE: Pleasantville (1998)

Money Talks

Year: 1997
Directed By: Brett Ratner
Written By: Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow

RYAN’S REVIEW

OK maybe this movie doesn’t belong.  Maybe it’s simply a vehicle to showcase the talents of Chris Tucker. Talents which Brett Ratner would utilize to the max in coming years.  I love Chris Tucker, I didn’t watch all the Rush Hour movies because I had seen this one and it was enough.  The guy does a mean Michael Jackson impression; his Tony Montana is good as well but I find that one too stereotypical.  This movie was part of the family movie collection I grew up with so that’s the main reason we own it.  I don’t know if my parents would ever admit it or not but they loved Chris Tucker.  Even Friday sat on the shelf and it was probably the most out of place movie in the family collection. Chris Tucker has fallen out of the spotlight for a long time now but he had a significant role in Silver Lining Playbook so hopefully he is in the early stages of a comeback.

Is it necessary to discuss anything beyond Chris Tucker in this film? 1997 was not a time when Charlie Sheen was “winning” and when you look at his performance in this film you can understand why.  Heather Locklear has never been more than a pretty face.  Paul Sorvino is boss in everything he does but there is only so much he can do to enhance the film.  This film starts and stops with Chris Tucker and that’s all good because Tucker was quite the character in his time. What I love about this movie is it’s more Raw than the family friendly Rush Hour movies ever could have been.  I love the unfiltered version of Tucker in his element.  I thought his performance in The Fifth Element was specifically impressive and I am a loyal fan of whatever he is doing, excluding the Rush Hour movies.

This film reminds me so much of the nineties.  It seemed like the time for movies with lots of language and action with unnecessary explosions. Maybe movies like this are still being made only I just don’t watch them anymore.  I’ve mentioned it many times throughout this blog but it is the type of film I grew up watching.  I like this one by comparison too.  It’s all about Chris Tucker because it’s his humor and personality that drive the film.  The way I see them most of these films were the same.  At the end of the day the only difference was who played the lead role and how many bad guys he killed.  This is different from that as Tucker isn’t a badass killing all the bad guys but I think it still fits in with that same type of film. This has all the witty dialogue of a Shane Black film, enough fire power to compete with any Stallone or Schwarzenegger film, and a car chase with a classic automobile to boot. It works, while not Die Hardesque enough, it still fits with that genre of action films we saw in the 80s and 90s.  That time back before mainstream internet use and before we were accessible at all times by way of cell phone.

This is a fun movie and I have enjoyed watching it again.  It’s an easily forgettable film but if you ever get a chance to see it you should give it your attention.  It is worth your time to see because it is fun.  It’s not suitable for your kids to watch but if your looking for something to kill an evening on your own with you can’t go wrong watching this one.  Chris Tucker makes the most of his opportunity and everyone else does just well enough to keep everything moving along smoothly. Under most circumstances I will tell you not to waste your time with anything made by Brett Ratner but this is a rare, possibly only, exception.  This Ratner film is worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I have seen this movie so many times, but in different pieces as it use to play on television all the time. We all know how stations like TBS get a hold of one movie and play it over and over and over again. This is a silly movie, but is ultimately funny and easy to watch. It is definitely one of those movies that you can watch and do something else, if just for some background comedy. I don’t really know anyone who hasn’t at least seen parts of this flick.

money-talks

Well, it’s a movie poster. I guess the personalities of the characters come through in this poster. And if you didn’t know what money looks like, they illustrate it for you. The typography is red and yellow. RED AND YELLOW. Maybe it’s because anything retail makes my eye twitch. This title even has a drop shadow, so do the typography of the actor names. I think it is quite obvious that I do not like this poster. Not at all. Too staged and too retail-looking. Not a fan. Definitely not the comedic print piece to accompany this comedy.

NEXT MOVIE: Monster’s Ball (2001)

Major League

Year: 1989
Directed By: David S. Ward
Written By: David S. Ward

RYAN’S REVIEW

When it comes to sports movies they are often looked at on a different level.  This movie for example isn’t really a great one but it still manages to be great in its own way.  It has an interesting story filled with interesting characters and is funny enough to stand the test of time. This movie was actually on my mind quite a bit this past fall during the 2013 NFL season.  I referenced it regularly during football conversations when the Jaguars came up saying that owner Shahid Khan was “pulling a Major League on Jacksonville.”  This appears to be wrong at this point since Jacksonville found some rhythm late in the season and managed to get some wins. There was a point during this past season though that I felt the team was so bad there had to be a driving force behind it.

For the first half of the NFL season the Jacksonville Jaguars weren’t just bad but something far and away worse than bad.  They weren’t simply beaten by other teams but murdered, losing by margins of points unaccustomed to an NFL football team.  I thought all of this was intentional and it was this movie that gave me that impression.  The team has a relatively new owner in Shahid Khan (a guy who knows how to rock a mustache) and a weak fan base within its hometown of Jacksonville.  Coupled with the Commissioner Rodger Goodell’s excessive efforts to build NFL support in London by having games played there I thought it seemed practical.  Jacksonville would finish the season so pathetic they had no fans left and their new owner could simply move the team across the Atlantic and Goodell gets the London franchise he is obviously working towards.  Now that the season is over this doesn’t seem so likely and in truth never did.  They did only muster four wins on the year but three of them were in a row and they ended up not being the worst team in the league.  The state of football in Jacksonville is still pathetic, but they showed just enough life to prove they were at least trying to win games.

I think this is a fun movie but it’s never really been one of my favorites.  I don’t particularly like baseball, although watching a movie about baseball is much more bearable than actually watching baseball.  There are fans everywhere but I just don’t get it.  The game is so slow and so little happens but in a movie about it only the action is caught on film.  I admire the people who have the patience for it and their dedication to the sport is impressive.  This movie in fact was made by one of those fans and David Ward has actually said before his motivation for making the film was simply to actually see his team win.  As a Cleveland Indians fan he spent a long time watching his team lose so he wrote a story in which they actually won despite all odds.

I think the biggest problem with this movie, a problem easily overlooked because it hardly matters in the scope of things, is the relationship between Tom Berenger and Rene Russo.  Sometimes a film just HAS to have a love story element to it and the relationship in this film just seems so forced.  It doesn’t seem to really fit into the story at all and I think it is only in there because some producer probably insisted on it. Speaking of Tom Berenger, does anybody out there know what happen to this guy? He made some great movies during the 80s but just fell off as the years started stacking up.  I thought it was really cool to see him in Inception, but the years haven’t been good to him.  I find it odd that of all the actors in this movie Charlie Sheen is the only one that has been able to maintain success twenty five years later.

Sheen may be crazy but he has made bank on that insanity.  I tend to ignore most of it because I never watched Two and a Half Men and cared little when all the drama went down.  After a while it became too odd not to follow though when it came to tiger blood and the hookers and so on. To make matters more interesting is how Sheen managed to leverage all the attention he was getting into even more money with a new show and deal from FX.  I have never been a really big fan because I don’t think he has ever been that great of an actor with few exceptions, most notably his roles under the guidance of Oliver Stone in Platoon and Wall Street.  He does pull off his role in this movie well enough though.  As Wild Thing he fit the bill given he always had notoriety as a bad boy to begin with.  One interesting tid bit is what he did in preparation for the role. Where there is Charlie Sheen there are undoubtedly drugs somewhere close by and even though it was probably completely unnecessary he has admitted to using steroids for this part.  Why he needed PEDs to simply act at playing a sport I don’t know but he did say he thought the steroids helped him take his fast ball from 80 MPH up to 85 MPH.  I suppose a movie about baseball wouldn’t be quite accurate though if steroids weren’t involved some way or another.  Thanks Charlie Sheen, you brought the whole thing full circle.

My favorite actor of this cast is without doubt Wesley Snipes.  I have always been a big fan of his and hate that things have gotten so bad for him in recent years.  His career had already taken quite a nosedive even before going to jail for tax evasion but now that he is out I hope there will be something left for him to salvage.  It didn’t take long for Stallone to help him out with a role in The Expendables 3.  If I’m not mistaken Stallone actually wanted him for the first film but had to cast Terry Crews instead when Snipes’ troubles started.  I doubt a role in the third Expendables movie will do much to get Snipes back into the limelight but it’s a start and I for one hope he gets a chance to make something happen again.  Dennis Haysbert has one of his most recognizable roles in this film playing Cerrano.  I think Haysbert is an incredible actor and specifically loved his role as David Palmer in 24He also has one of the coolest code names ever in The Unit where he is known as “Snake Doctor.” I haven’t seen The Unit since somewhere in season 2 but I thought Haysbert was great in it.  I don’t actually use Allstate insurance but I have to admit every time I get my insurance bill I hear Haysbert’s voice somewhere in the back of my head telling me I should “be in good hands,” and I briefly consider switching companies.    

I don’t think this is a great movie but I do enjoy watching it.  It’s a fun movie and sometimes that’s all that really matters.  I’m sure it is thought of much higher by actual baseball fans so if you enjoy baseball and haven’t seen this then you should check it out.  It spawned at least two more sequels that I haven’t seen but I can’t imagine there is much to another scenario where the team has to overcome being set up to lose again.  This movie qualifies as a classic I think for no other reason than it was well received and it’s about baseball.  There will always be an audience for it and I think that makes it worth your time to see it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I have been watching this movie since I was a little girl. It’s also one of those movies you watch as a little kid and then watch it again as an adult and go oohhhhh a million times. It is a cheesy but funny movie. My family loved baseball when I was younger, mainly because we all played it, so its no surprise that my this is one of my favorite movies to watch with my brother. We can laugh at it even harder just because.

MPW-16167

This is a cheesy poster. It’s hardly review-able because it is almost a joke. This little baseball dressed as a native american and wearing sunglasses to make him “cool.” The only clever part of the design are the baseball stitches. They positioned it so it looks like he has angry eyebrows and a mean frown. It’s a WILD BALL! (See what I did there?) I tried really hard to see what was going on in the reflection of the glasses, but I couldn’t figure it out. I think its a woman and some kind of animal…small dog or cat. I don’t get it. The typography of major league isn’t that bad. A little cliche but I think it works here. A cheesy poster for a cheesy movie.

NEXT MOVIE: The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Red Dawn

Year: 1984
Directed By: John Milius
Written By: Kevin Reynolds and John Milius

RYAN’S REVIEW

The remake of this movie is only days away from release and I felt compelled to watch the original before it is forever tainted by an undoubtedly awful rendition.  I have always thought this was a really cool movie and I have been incredibly angry at the idea of it being remade.  This movie was a good idea but still a far fetched plot even as the Cold War was still going on.  To make a new version now just seems asinine and I will not be wasting my time with it.  An idea like this was the kind of thing you could only get away with in the 80s.  Today it is just a lazy attempt to make money by the studio.  The remake has actually spent some time on the shelf and the studio wasn’t sure what to do with it.  Perhaps this is because it makes no sense; there is no global scale war going on currently and no dangerous enemy out there hellbent on taking over the world. I implore anybody that reads this post to not waste your time on the remake.  Watch this movie because it is in fact worth your time.

This movie may be a bit silly in its premise, but it is nevertheless about an actual real conflict.  That is more than can be said about whatever is hitting theater this Thanksgiving.  I think that this movie is historically significant despite its unrealistic nature.  It is a wild scenario that many people seriously feared throughout the Cold War. I don’t know what the hell the new Red Dawn is about but I know it is about nothing real or anything that actually matters.  This movie was a period piece that has no place in the twenty first century. In this movie we see young men having to face the realities of the world through violence, in an honest fashion.  This movie is powerful and important.  It was a travesty to even consider remaking it and I cannot believe that any studio out there is so desperate for ideas that they actually did it. Not only did they do it but they are banking on it as a holiday release and pushing it really hard with advertising.

This movie had a really superstar cast of up and comers from the 80s class.  Patrick Swayze in one of his finer roles plays the leader of the rebel Wolverines.  Charlie Sheen, in one of his tamest roles plays the dependable and loyal brother to Swayze. C. Thomas Howell probably plays his best part of any that he ever played. I love how ruthless and reckless his character becomes as the movie progresses.  Jennifer Grey and Lea Thompson were both very hot chicks that got gritty and grimy to play the badass girls of the Wolverines. I am a fan of Powers Boothe and liked what he brought to the film as the actual soldier who mentors the fledgling rebels. I also really liked the guy that played the Cuban Commander and how he began to struggle with his position in the conflict.  He becomes disheartened with himself as he realizes he has become the foe he used to face in the field himself. I like that they all fight to the last man and martyr themselves in battle.  I like that they win the battle but the war clearly goes on without them as the movie closes. I think these things add to the realistic nature of the unrealistic circumstances the characters find themselves in.

What I think made this movie really memorable is that it had balls, it was a ballsy story and it wasn’t afraid to kill off all of its stars one by one.  I can’t see this rehashed Hemsworth crap being anything more than a campy wanna-be movie. I like Chris Hemsworth, he was awesome as Thor, but I don’t like him enough to give this new movie a shot.  It’s just such a stupid idea that I can’t stand it.  I keep seeing this preview where Hemsworth says something like “This is just a place to them, but this is our home.” Well there are serveral reasons that is a stupid thing to say. First of all this the United States of F—ing America, it’s not just a place to anyone.  Secondly, there is no army currently threatening the world with war, no powerful nation anywhere capable of invading the United States.  Third reason is the the tacky tone added to the line that’s meant to inspire patriotism but just comes off as lame.  I implore you people to not waste your time this holiday with this madness.  It’s asinine, and this studio thinks you are stupid, they are practically stealing your money from you if you pay to see it.  I’m not sure which studio is responsible for this remake but they are literally banking on the idea that the audience is stupid, that we don’t crave something new and creative.  They looked at each other in some room and said “this movie may not be relevant anymore and the plot might no longer apply to the times but let’s make it again anyway and see if these idiots will pay for it again.” Don’t be that idiot and don’t waste your time with it.

Of course I will not be seeing the movie and if I am utterly and hopelessly wrong then feel free to comment and give me a piece of your mind.  If you have an itch to watch Red Dawn this holiday though I suggest you find a copy of the original and forget about what is hitting theaters. The 1984 version of this movie was awesome and I would recommend it to anyone.  This movie is definitely worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

 I actually don’t mind this poster at all. It is intriguing, and that is ultimately the main goal of a poster. I like the color of the sky and the movement of the ovals in the background. Although I am not in love with the typography of the title, I think they were trying really hard so I will at least give them that.

Overall, not a bad poster. It could totally be worse.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Year: 1986
Directed By: John Hughes
Written By: John Hughes

RYAN’S REVIEW

I have spent my entire life watching and loving this movie, but suddenly it changed for me a couple of years ago. I was student teaching as a final requirement to graduate from college and I caught this movie on TV one night.  When the movie reached the first scenes with Ben Stein lecturing about economics suddenly everything was all wrong.  I had watched this movie countless times and always found that scene to be so funny.  I spent my days like that in high school, staring blankly at a teacher that was up there walking about….something.  Suddenly I found myself on the other side of that classroom and it was weird. I was no longer that dazed off daydreamer but the guy up front talking about….something.  What I found to be most interesting is how the film so accurately portrays that classroom from both sides of the room.  We all remember being that student, bored out of our mind, no clue what that guy up there is talking about, and the clock is moving slower by the second.  I now know what it is like to be that teacher. Standing in front of a bunch of kids talking about something that you find interesting, but no matter what you say there is just a room full of zombies staring back at you, and the clock is moving slower by the second for you too. I had a second period class just like these kids in the movie.  A bolt of lightening could have blasted through the ceiling and into the room and I don’t think they would have noticed.  It was watching this movie that night and suddenly seeing the scene through the eyes of the teacher and not the student that I suddenly realized I was officially an adult.  That realization sucked because nobody is in a hurry to step into the real world and become a real grown up.  I’m glad that it was this film that led me to the realization though, it’s a great movie and I love having another reason to like it.

John Hughes made several great films that will live on forever and this movie is right up there with the best of them.  This movie has been popular for almost thirty years now and I don’t think there is any reason to think that will change any time soon. A parody of this movie featuring Matthew Broderick was this past year’s big time Super Bowl ad and it met really favorable reviews. While Hughes has written many many great films, this was the best of all that he directed.  Although I do really like The Breakfast Club as well, and I have never been able to get into Sixteen Candles but I know many people love it.  There is something different about this film that sets it against the norm for most high school films.  The way that Ferris Bueller stop and talks to directly to the viewer makes him so much more likable and unique. This movie basically is a high school film, but you will find no other high school film like it and that is part of what makes it so exceptional.

Matthew Broderick was iconic in the lead role, and if nothing else he will always be remembered for it.  His career went pretty much down hill for the most part after this film but it doesn’t really matter because he will be Ferris Bueller forever in my mind.  He is so funny and so confident in the role, I really couldn’t imagine anybody else playing the part. He got so much older as his career went on that I think this movie kind of hurt his future career a little bit. In the role that most of us remember him from he is so young and vigorous.  I just don’t think we saw that from him again as his career progressed.  Jeffrey Jones was also iconic in his role as principal Rooney and I think Jones was great in several other films as well but I will not speak fondly of him.  While I may have always liked him he did turn out to be a pedophile so I can say nothing in support of him.  Mia Sara was awesome in this movie, she was so beautiful and seductive in the role.  I don’t know that her career went anywhere after this really but I will never forget her awesome sex scene in Timecop (I was a teenager when it came out, it meant something to me then).  Alan Ruck made this movie special almost as much as Broderick did but he wouldn’t be this good ever again.  Like Broderick too though, he will always be Cameron from this movie. The only other thing he did that comes to mind that I saw was his small role in Speed, but he was in several different TV shows that I didn’t watch.

In supporting roles there are a few people that must be mentioned as well.  Ben Stein once said that when he dies he won’t be remembered for all the books he has written or any of his other accomplishments but for his small role in this film.  When he got to set he didn’t really have any scripted lines, John Hughes just had him stand in the front of the class and start lecturing about economics off the top of his head.  He thought he was being really interesting when he had everyone’s attention but in fact they were all just so thrilled with how perfect it would all work for the movie.  Stein was great in this movie, and he is probably right about how he will be remembered.  “Bueller….Bueller….Bueller…” will be written on his tombstone one day. After all, we own the “Bueller….Bueller…Edition” of this movie.  Stein has always spoken openly about how great this movie is and has many interesting opinions about it.  Jennifer Grey is fantastic as Ferris’s jealous sister Jeannie. I have always like Grey, but I liked her better the way she looked in the 80s.  She appears to look completely different now and I imagine she has had a lot of work done, and I do not think it was necessary.  Also worth mentioning is Charlie Sheen‘s small cameo in the film.  I read that Sheen stayed awake for 48 hours in order to appear like a drug addict but who the hell is he kidding? Sheen only had to show up to work to appear like a drug addict, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he had snorted a few lines right before the camera started rolling.

This isn’t a movie I have to talk you into and it has no need for my validation at all.  I have yet to meet anybody that doesn’t love this movie and that is because it is so great.  This is a movie we can all relate to and we can all admire.  It is fun, funny, and it leaves you in a good mood. If you have somehow managed to not see this movie over the last twenty eight years then drop what you are doing and go after it. I doubt there are many who haven’t seen it though because it is such an awesome movie.  It is more than worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone.

AMBER’S REVIEW

“He’ll keep calling me, he’ll keep calling me until I come over. He’ll make me feel guilty. This is uh… This is ridiculous, ok I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go, I’ll go. What – I’LL GO. Shit.”

AWESOME, classic. I would be utterly surprised if you haven’t seen it, but definitely go for it if you haven’t. One of the best teenager high school movies out there.

NEXT MOVIE: The Fifth Element (1997)