Sylvester stallone

Cop Land

Year: 1997
Directed By: James Mangold
Written By: James Mangold

RYAN’S REVIEW

This was a Christmas present to myself.  I got a little carried away Christmas shopping online a couple of weeks ago and bought a few movies for myself for good measure. I had seen this movie for the first time recently and was thoroughly surprised by how much I liked it.  I remember when it came out and can’t figure out why it took me so long to see.  Nevertheless this is a really interesting story with a great cast, all of whom delivered excellent performances.

You can say what you want about Sylvester Stallone but I have always been a fan.  The thing I like most about this movie is that I think for the first time I watched him in a movie and was really impressed by his performance as an actor.  This role got him out of his comfort zone and for once he did something drastically different.  I thought it was a really compelling performance and gives us an idea of the potential Stallone had if he had ever branched out more. His career could easily be targeted for plenty of criticism but I grew up with many of his movies and some are dear to me.  I think he is often reaching too far in his efforts to stay in the lime light but I can’t help but admire him on some level.  He has really overcome quite a bit to be an actor and to enjoy the success he has achieved.  When Stallone was born he got stuck in the birthing canal and had to be pulled out by forceps.  In the effort to get him out the doctor accidentally caused paralysis to his face and within his mouth. It’s the reason Stallone has such a difficulty speaking and has that awkward movement with his mouth.  When he initially wrote the film Rocky he specifically wrote it with minimal dialogue from his character to attempt to mask the disability.  If I am not mistaken he has had many operations to try and fix the problem that met with moderate success.  He is capable of much more than he was forty years ago when he was working on the first Rocky. So whatever you think about Stallone keep in mind that the guy overcame quite a bit to get where he is today.

This movie came out as the Stallone/Schwarzenegger power years were becoming more and more distant in the past.  During the 80s and early 90s there was a time when these guys were on top of the world but by 1995 their time seemed to be over.  They have both made efforts to get back into the game over the past several years with some success but things will never be liked they used to be for these guys.  When Stallone made this movie he went against the norm.  He actually gained weight to play the part (40 pounds) and while he does have his moment in the end it’s still not a role that compares to all the other action roles he has played in the past.  He received great reviews for the role but Stallone has actually claimed that the role hurt his career because the weak box office results made it difficult for him to get parts for the next eight years.  I don’t think that is the case, his career was already dragging and in truth he always had his ups and downs.  Anytime Stallone had trouble in his acting career he just went back to the basics, doing another sequel for either Rocky or Rambo.  In the end that is what he did again as nine years after this film he went back to both franchises with a 6th and 4th film for each.  I happen to think Rocky Balboa was one of the worst movies I have ever seen but Rambo wasn’t as bad.  Stallone has found new success with the Expendables of late but the time for a movie like that has passed and I’m not down with those anymore.  As a lifelong fan of Stallone I take the guy for the good and bad but most of the good is long behind him now.  Personally I would like to see him accept his age and go after more roles like the one we saw in this film.  Of all of his films I literally think this was the best he ever did acting and believe that he is capable of doing it again.

While Stallone makes the easiest talking point for this movie there is plenty to be said about the film as well as the rest of the cast.  It’s a mob movie about cops and that’s an interesting dynamic.  Those charged with serving and protecting the rest of us are expected to hold themselves to a higher standard but sadly this is often not the case.  The men who are supposed to be the good guys are often in the position to be as bad as they want if they choose and plenty of them choose to do just that.  It’s a low paying and thankless job that makes the decision easy on men with low morals to begin with.  The cops we see in this film are as dirty as they come and they have all gathered together to live in the same neighborhood, Cop Land if you will.  They run the town themselves while the introverted sheriff is more than willing to turned a blind eye and what is really going on. The sheriff has had an unlucky life in which he was never able to accomplish what he really wanted.  He turns the blind eye because he wants so badly to be part of this group of men he oversees.  He had always wanted to be one of them but couldn’t pass the test due to his hearing disability.  They know what he wanted out of life and it gives them an opportunity to sweet talk him into anything they want simply by including him from time to time.  When the sheriff’s eyes are finally open he rises to his station in life and does the right thing against all odds.  It was a great role for Stallone and he did an excellent job playing it.  It’s really a pity he isn’t proud of it himself.

This is a star studded cast featuring many men regularly cast as mafia men playing the same type of part only in a blue uniform.  Robert De Niro checks in as the dreaded IA officer who polices the other cops.  Harvey Keitel is the big dog leading the corrupt police officers in his crew.  Ray Liotta is the wild card who used to be in with Keitel but now operates on the outside so to speak.  Michael Rapaport has never been an exceptional actor but he has played many exceptional parts.  In this movie he is the officer who screws up royally and becomes a liability for the others.  Robert Patrick is an awesome actor who brings a great presence to any role he plays, in this film he looks ridiculous in that mustache but still manages to pull it off as the enforcer type for Keitel.  Janeane Garofalo really goes against the norm in this one playing a cop and doesn’t bring the same type of character we usually see from her on screen. Making this a true mob movie about cops we also have several cast members in small roles that would go on to play parts on The Sopranos such as Pauly Walnuts, Phil Leotardo, Carlo Gervasi, and Carmela Soprano just to name a few.

I really enjoyed this movie and felt I was at a loss for not having seen it over all these years.  One of the things I liked about it personally, aside from how great Stallone played the part, is that the part of the sheriff reminds me hands down of a guy that I work with.  The Sheriff had this shy awkwardness to him and his mannerisms that are just spot on with a man I work with.  The guy I work with is a character.  For reasons nobody can remember we call him “the Juice” and sometime he comes in flavors.  Depending on his garb, style of hair, or simply something strange that he does we have a variety of names that apply to him.  Such as G.I. Juice, Dr. Juice, The Juicelhoff, Papa Stache Juice, Grizzly Juice, Dapper Juice, and the list goes on and on.  The guy is really one of a kind and he is good humored when we pick around with him.  I can’t stress enough how much Stallone reminds me of our Juice in this movie and that makes it specifically special to me.

photo (10)

Here is an image of the Juice.  This guy is truly one of a kind.  He is the Juicelhoff flavor of Juice in this image.  If you notice the chest hair he exposes us to in this garb you might understand why we call him the Juicelhoff on a day like this.  (We just merged his name with Hasselhoff).  This guy may be different but he has a heart of gold and he brings an interesting character into our lives at work.  I always appreciate the characters in life, because we all have a role to play in the stories we create in our lives.  In our work place this guy is a character that brings a quality we all find endearing and he is a valuable member of our work family.

This movie hasn’t made any noise in the last fifteen years or so and hasn’t had the staying power that other films like it have enjoyed.  I don’t specifically know why but I think it deserves the attention that plenty of others do.  It’s a good movie with an interesting story and a great cast.  I don’t know why it took me so long to see myself but once I did I wasted little time making it part of our collection.  I think it deserves its spot on the shelf and I think it is worth your time to see.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I actually thoroughly liked this movie. It was the least cheesy I have ever seen Stallone. I thought the concept was interesting and the cast was well done. The poster didn’t hold up to the movie for me because…

cop_land

…it’s another montage of characters and scenery. Really the designers just can’t be blamed anymore. The clients are in control. The movie powerhouses are in control. Appeal to this x audience and put in the city. OH we can get more viewers in the theaters if we show five guys on the poster instead of one. Insert eye roll here. I just think simple is better and more intriguing. Which is kind of what you want the audience to feel right? Intrigued? It’s just my little opinion, but I think less is better. Having said all that, this one isn’t as bad as most of the montage posters that I have looked over. It’s not by far my favorite poster obviously but it’s not the worst either.

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First Blood

Year: 1982
Directed By: Ted Kotcheff
Written By: David Morrell (novel), Michael Kozoll, William Sackheim, and Sylvester Stallone (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a good movie that spawned a ridiculous franchise that there is seemingly no end to.  I think this movie makes a statement.  It’s about the treatment of soldiers coming back from the Vietnam War and what their lives became.  It says something about the dangers of a judgmental and ignorant mentality. It’s a movie that set the tone for an entire generation of action films that would follow.  I think the sequels were awful and the second one specifically was an abomination. This is the only Rambo film that is vaguely realistic and the only one that shows an actual real human in the role. That’s what I think makes this one the best of the bunch.  I think it is an awesome movie, and it did so much for the industry.

This movie does make a statement about the Vietnam War and that is one of the things that set it apart from the rest of the franchise.  The movie starts out and we see Rambo making what has obviously been a long walk on foot.  He finally reaches his destination with hope of being reunited with an old comrade only to find that he is out of luck.  His friend may have made it back from the war but in the end it was the war that did him in as he died from a cancer that was caused from exposure to Agent Orange. Agent Orange was a defoliation chemical used during the war to destroy the rain forest and make the enemy more visible.  It had deadly effects all around and I don’t think it is used anymore.  In this scene I think we see some of the best acting from Stallone‘s entire career.  You can see the disappointment on his face, he is crushed by the news that his last friend from the war is gone and that ultimately it was the war that did him in. You can see how broken he is as he walks away when he just throws away the memories he had carried with him since the war.  Those pictures and notes make no matter anymore.  Outside of him they are now just the images and writing of ghosts, they are all gone and Rambo has no reason to keep them anymore.  This blow to his person seems to be the last straw, he is officially broken and it turns out to just be a really bad time to run into an asshole cop.  This movie says more about the war though too.  In the end we see exactly how messed up Rambo is when he gets emotional.  This scene is the proof that the character of Rambo was at one point actually human.  He mentions the protesters when he got off the plane, and tells a short story about his friend being given a bomb by a child in Vietnam that kills him.  The horrors that men had to live through in that war were like nothing we can ever imagine here in our cozy little lives.  It was not fair what these men had to live through as boys drafted and sent.  It was even worse what they came home to but I think that our country as a whole learned a lesson from that time.  Soldiers are more celebrated than ever now and respected as heroes when they came home.  There is much more to it than that, televised media was so young during the Vietnam War, things are just handled differently now all around, but that is a story that can go on forever.

I do think one of the most important lessons to take from this film is not to be so judgmental and ignorant.  Brian Dennehy picked the wrong time to mess with Rambo for sure but he stopped him for no other reason than what he looked like.  He had long hair, looked like a hobo, and I’m sure the sheriff was just trying to stop a panhandler from coming into town.  That is why it is wrong to be judgmental though. Yeah this guy may have looked like a hippie or hobo through the sheriff’s eyes but there was more than met the eye with this one.  There is an old Chinese proverb that the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon took its name from.  It more or less says that there is more than meets the eye with some people.  They may look one way but there is much more there that we might not even know about.  The sheriff in this film judged Rambo as a lowlife without any idea that he was an incredibly decorated war hero.  Even once he found out who Rambo was he continued with an ignorant mentality that made everything so much worse.  He was angry about the death of his friend who really just got what was coming to him, but he can’t accept that.  He can’t accept the fact that he was wrong.  If Rambo didn’t murder his friend and intend on causing problems in his little town then he is the jackass that arrested a war hero for a ridiculous reason, and he can’t accept that.  He is the sheriff and everything that happened isn’t his fault, he was just “doing his job,” so he blames everything on Rambo and even grows to hate the man because of this. As people, all of our lives would be easier if we learned how to accept when we were wrong and try to avoid judging people based on their appearance alone.

I have read that when Stallone saw the first cut of this film that he hated it.  He hated it so much that he made efforts to buy the movie back so it would never be distributed.  When those efforts failed he simply told the studio to cut as much of him out of the film as possible because he didn’t want any part of it.  So the movie that was ultimately released had a lot less Rambo than originally intended and I could clearly see that re-watching the movie for this review. Most of Rambo’s speaking lines and flashback scenes were cut from the movie and this allowed the story to be told by the other characters in the film and not the hero.  This worked out so well when the movie was released that it actually became a model for many action films that would follow.  Where the story is ultimately told by supporting characters and the hero simply does the badass stuff. So while Stallone may have initially hated this movie, what it became did more for his career and the action genre than he could have ever anticipated.  I think it’s ironic if he did in fact try to buy the film back to prevent its release simply because he has gone so far with the character.

While this was a really great movie it did become the beginning of what I would consider a completely ridiculous and embarrassing franchise.  The first film was real and made a statement, everything that came after was simply an abomination.  Rambo: First Blood Part II was an insult to every man that fought and died in Vietnam and I think everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.  If one man was capable of going over there and defeating the Vietcong single handedly then that war wouldn’t be such a black eye on our nation’s history.  Not to mention the fact that there most likely weren’t any POWs left within the country of Vietnam after the war.  I do not know about this but I specifically remember my professor in my class on the Vietnam War saying that the theories of such were all ridiculous.  I also specifically remember him mentioning Rambo as being one of the worst films ever made.  The third one wasn’t much better as it turns out those guys Rambo was fighting with and for ended up being the greatest enemies of the US thirteen years later.  Yeah it was the Taliban that Rambo was fighting with in Rambo III, and it was that organization that funded Al Qaeda when they attacked the US on 9/11.  I can’t remember much about the fourth film outside of nearly confusing it with a horror film because it was so gory.  It was just a fantasy idea by Stallone about a man who can do anything.  While I think that there is a new direction for the fifth film at one time the story that was being planned was one of the most ridiculous ideas I have ever heard.

Stallone owns the rights to a book called Hunter by James Bryon Huggins about a creature created in a lab that is on the loose.  He had planned to make the book into a film for a long time but eventually decided to simply use it for the fifth Rambo.  In this fifth installment the creature got loose and the only man who could track it down was the “world’s greatest tracker” John Rambo.  I really remember thinking that Stallone had really lost whatever sense he had ever had when I read about that. To bring a supernatural element to a long standing and over done franchise is just an act of desperation and poor judgement. The story has been scrapped though and there is something new in the works that I think involves the drug cartels or something else that I remember thinking was a bit more appropriate for a Rambo film.  Stallone’s career has been so crazy lately that he has just seemed desperate to me.  Making a sixth Rocky film was a desperate attempt to get back on top and I thought much the same of the fourth and potential fifth Rambo movie.  The guy needs to just hang it up, although he does seem to be onto something with The Expendables.  I didn’t like that movie myself but I still think he had a great idea with what he did and I am sure many other people did like it.

I am a big fan of Stallone, but I do think he is stupid sometimes and I have spent a lot of time talking about how ridiculous his career has become.  This movie was what made all of that possible though.  The Rocky films were successful but he had not been able to make a hit outside of that franchise.  So this movie more or less made him who he was despite what he initially thought about it. I think that this movie is great and I would recommend it to anyone.  While all the other incarnations aren’t worth the time that was taken to make them, this movie is without doubt more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I think Ryan has obviously said enough about this movie.  Every time we watch it he sits there and tells me how good it is and that I need to pay attention.  I just can’t do it though….it’s a Rambo movie.  Not for me, I think they are all stupid and don’t have anything to say about any of them.  These movies were made for men and have nothing to offer women.

(Ryan so eloquently put exactly what I would have written anyway. Thought it was me? He is so good.)

NEXT MOVIE: Fists of Fury (1971)

Demolition Man

Year: 1993
Directed By: Marco Brambilla
Written By: Robert Reneau and Peter M. Lenkov

RYAN’S REVIEW

It’s movies like this one that led to confusion later in life when I heard about things like due process, warrants, and SWAT teams.  It seemed so understandable as a child that the police just simply sent their most badass officer after the criminal and he arrested him.  You just drop him into bad guy headquarters via military chopper, he wears a beret to look cool, and he runs through the building killing all the bad guys single-handedly.  I also love a movie set only three years in the future with great scientific advancements such as the freezing of prisoners in ice. I still think that is a cool idea though. This movie is ridiculous in so many ways but I still think it is awesome, one of my favorite Stallone films.

I was nine years old when this movie came out, so naturally nearly everything about it appealed to me.  Lots of action and guns, an awesome bad guy that dresses like a member of the Legion of Doom, and lots of cheesy one liners.  Stallone was peaking physically and professionally when this movie came out, it was made the same year as Cliffhanger I say he was peaking professionally but he had recently made Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot! with Estelle Getty. Stallone does well as the hero in this film but I think it is Wesley Snipes who has the better role.  He looks so badass with the bleached hair and I have always liked the name Simon Phoenix.  Sandra Bullock replaced Lori Petty a few days into filming and I think we are all happy with that change.  This was before Bullock blew up, Speed was made the following year in 1994.  Beyond that the film rounds out with a great supporting cast including Denis Leary, Benjamin Bratt, Bob Gunton, and Rob Schneider.

What makes this movie so great, aside from all the action, is the vision of the future it shows us.  While we still aren’t freezing prisoners nearly 20 years later there are a few strange things that came close in the real future.  The film does mention Schwarzenegger as a politician, although he wasn’t President he did become Governor of one of the largest states. Some US Senators did actually propose amending the constitution so he could run for office at the next level (yeah, we elected these bozos). There is also a point in the film where a list of prisoners is shown, next to the name Phoenix, Simon is Peterson, Scott.  This is just coincidental but I happened to notice it when watching the movie back during the Scott Peterson trial.  The other things about the future in this film are what make it so memorable.  Listening to commercials in the place of music, I love the ballroom setting at “Taco Bell” when the piano singer is singing the Jolly Green Giant song. Stallone and Snipes are both ticketed all throughout the movie for using profanity, Stallone at one point even deliberately cussing out a machine to get paper to take to the bathroom.  I think the Seashells thing is hilarious, and the confused way Stallone looks at them.  There are plenty of interesting things going on in this film’s vision of 2032.

I’ve mentioned many times that I am a big fan of cheesy action films, specifically the ones that I watched when I was a kid.  I remember that after seeing this film I immediately began freezing my G.I. Joes in big blocks of ice in the freezer.  I actually sliced my thumb open once trying to impatiently chop one of them out of the ice. I would fill a plastic cup with water, drop my Joe of choice into the water and put it in the freezer. Once frozen I would pop the block of ice out with my Joe imprisoned inside just like in the movie. Demolition Man is a really fun movie that I encourage everyone to watch anytime it comes up.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Ryan has made me watch a ton of movies that he grew up watching with his parents and his brothers. As I have mentioned before, I wasn’t really allowed to watch many films growing up. My dad thought movies were a bad influence and besides that he didn’t really have time for movies himself. We seldom went to the video store (young readers, I know what you are thinking, but it’s true…there used to be these stores that had V-H-S tapes for these things called V-C-Rs, and you could take them home and then return them to the store, whoa, I know mind blown.) Anyway, having said that…over the years Ryan has made me watch many of these sorts of films from his childhood, including Tango & Cash and The Negotiatior. There are plenty more and I am sure that in time we will get to them.

This movie is special to me because we watched it together when we were dating. And here we are 10 years later and we still do the high-five that is in this film. If you have seen the film then you know what it looks like. I like this movie, it is cheesy to a perfect degree just like every Stallone movie is. I recommend seeing it if you haven’t before. It is no Academy Award winner, but it is fun and will provide you many good jokes about what they thought the future would be like.

NEXT MOVIE: The Departed (2006)

Cliffhanger

Year: 1993
Directed By: Renny Harlin
Written By: This movie started out as “Gale Force” (Die Hard in a hurricane), it went through several re-writes.

RYAN’S REVIEW

I grew up in a family that had a thing for cheesy action movies.  Movies like this were our bread and butter, what we sat up watching on Friday nights before we were old enough to drive and go out on our own.  I have to admit I have a special place in my heart for movies in the “Die Hard-genre,” for the simplicity of them.  When the terrorists are just white guys who want money, with no racial or political motives.  You don’t have to be Jack Bauer to handle these terrorist, simple police training a la John McClane will suffice, or in the case of this movie simply being a rescue worker with muscles coming out of your ass will do.

I am a Stallone fan no matter how ridiculous some of his movies are. I do think it’s time for him to hang it up though.  His time has come and gone, it is time for him to move into a different phase of his career.  This movie is one of my favorite of his actually, I really like the “Die Hard scenario” in this setting.  Stallone is an interesting person because he has had to overcome so much to be successful with his face paralysis. During his birth a doctor improperly used a pair of tongs to pull him from the birth canal and incedently paralyzed part of his face, including the insides of his mouth.  In the beginning of his career he specifically wrote the first Rocky with little dialogue to mask his difficulty speaking.  What I really find interesting about him is how he can literally do the exact same thing over and over again on multiple platforms and continue to be successful.  He made Rocky 6 F-ing times and Rambo 4 for crying out loud, and people are still paying to see it. He has gotten old though, as unfortunate as that is, and he needs to stop trying to turn the clock back by juicing.  He was caught with roids a few years ago when shooting Rocky Balboa. Stallone was great in his hey day, but it’s time for him to admit to himself that that time is over.

The bad guy was originally going to be played by Christopher Walken which would have been awesome but he bailed at the last-minute.  I am a huge Christopher Walken fan and I have to think that it would have made for a better movie.  I am also a big John Lithgow fan though, and think that he was awesome as the bad guy in the movie.  Walken may have been a little better, but that’s not to discredit Lithgow’s performance because Lithgow is always good.  He is incredibly versatile.  He was so funny and silly on 3rd Rock From the Sun yet so ruthless and cold as the villain in this movie. There is only one reason I think Walken might have been better, and if you want to know what it is check this out.

Michael Rooker plays the other leading part in the film and I have always been a fan of his as well.  I did not like his most recent performance on The Walking Dead, but I enjoyed several of the movies he was in earlier in his career.  Renny Harlin directed the movie and I have liked many of his movies as well. He is never going to be considered a really serious filmmaker but he has made some great action movies. Like I said though, I come from a household where we spent a lot of time on stupid and mindless action movies.  We owned nearly every variety of the “Die Hard Genre.”

In the aftermath of Die Hard many movies were made with the exact same formula.  A group of white terrorist hijack something in an effort to extort lots of money in a variety of settings.  Let me provide some examples….there’s Steven Seagal vs. the white guy terrorists Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey in Die Hard  on a Boat (Under Siege), Christian Slater vs. white guy terrorists John Travolta  and Howie Long in Die Hard in the Desert (Broken Arrow), Nicholas Cage vs. white guy terrorist John Malkovich in Die Hard on a Prison Plane (Con Air), Harrison Ford vs. white guy terrorist Gary Oldman in Die Hard with the President, on a Plane (Air Force One), even Howie Long had his own Die Hard in the Woods (Firestorm),  and this one of course, Die Hard in the Mountains.  There are probably several I am forgetting, there was one with Van Damme in a hockey arena, ah I could name them off forever if I try.  These movies are all simple, there is nothing to learn from any of them, but sometimes it’s good to just sit back and relax.  These movies come in handy then.

I love this movie and still enjoy watching it, but I don’t know that I can tell just anybody that it is worth their time. It does hold a certain sentimental element for me because when I was a kid playing with G I Joes it was this scenario I always acted out.  My favorite Joe would be the one who had to defeat all the others one by one and all the “Die Hard” movies influenced how the action played out.  This one was a popular one because I could have them climbing of the furniture. So, as I was saying, I can’t say this is worth your time,  but if you give it a chance I think you I will like it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I might have written a real review for this movie. Maybe it could have been the best review I have written so far. But, that isn’t going to be the case here. The night that we watched this movie was the night that The Help came out on onDemand. I had spent all day trying to figure out how to get Ryan to watch it with me. I read the book and missed it in the theaters, so I have been patiently waiting for the DVD release date. Well, after much debate and arguing I guess you already know who won. Instead of getting to watch an uplifting movie about race relations, I was forced to watch Sylvester Stallone try to save a woman who ultimately plummeted to her death. And the whole time I sat there sulking, and thinking about how awesome Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was for making fun of it.

I can’t say if I love it or hate it, because even though I watched it, I wasn’t really paying attention to it, because I was so mad that Ryan won and his pregnant wife didn’t get to watch the movie she had desperately been wanting to watch since finishing the book.

For the record, I still haven’t seen The Help. (I still love him, but don’t you think he owes me?)

 NEXT MOVIE: Closer (2004)

Antz

Year: 1998
Directed By: Eric Darnell and Tim Johnson
Written By: Tim Alcott and Chris Weitz

RYAN’S REVIEW

In passing I’ve noticed a pattern in movies that I have never looked into but garners some need for research.  Frequently during the mid to later 90s two movies were released at the same time that were virtually the same thing.  Off the top of my head I remember these examples: Volcano (1997) and Dante’s Peak (1997), The Sixth Sense (1999) and Stir of Echoes (1999), Armageddon (1998) and Deep Impact (1998), Tombstone (1993) and Wyatt Earp (1994), and of course this movie, Antz and A Bug’s Life both made in 1998. Those 10 movies are merely the ones I can remember specifically off the top of my head, I’m sure I could think of many more if I gave it more thought. I don’t think this is coincidental, but I’m sure there is a fascinating story that practically nobody will ever know about behind it all.  It probably has to do with the big time movie studios and the rivalries that most of us will never know about.  In this case I think Dreamworks was trying to prove a point to Disney, but I know nothing factual about it, just my own personal assumption. I don’t know why I have never researched this trend myself but it is weird.  Typically I only saw one of these movies and didn’t care about the other.  Just about every one of these movies had large and reputable cast.  This one is no different sporting the voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Gene Hackman, Christopher Walken, Donald Glover, and Jennifer Lopez.

Far too often this movie feels like a typical Woody Allen movie but the strength of the story and cast make it worth wild.  Most of the animated movies in our collection have been taken off our movie rack and moved to our daughter’s collection.  This movie remains because it doesn’t seem even remotely like a kids movie to me.  There isn’t anything childish or silly about it, yeah it’s about ants but they are ants with really adult problems.  Z is questioning his purpose in life, the queen is nervous about her arranged wedding, the General is planning a hostile takeover, an entire ant army platoon is specifically sent to their death in battle. These don’t seem like problems young children would understand or care about, and in some cases I don’t know that they are even appropriate story lines for children.  I imagine A Bug’s Life was more kid friendly.  Early on, this was one of the movies that got me interested in animated films, and showed me that they were moving away from the stereotype of being only for kids. These days Amber and I find ourselves loving the movies we watch for Cadence as much as we love the ones we watch for ourselves.  Up, How to Train Your Dragon, The Incredibles just to name a few are fantastic movies that I enjoy as much as I enjoy any of my favorite movies.

Antz is a cool movie and if you have a chance to see it you should check it out.  It’s a funny and interesting film that is easily forgettable because it came out at the same time as A Bug’s Life.  There have also been so many successful animated films released  in the last 12 years that this movie is overshadowed.  Never the less, take it from me, this movie is worth your time and you will probably like it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

There are two types of people in this world, optimistic and pessimistic. The main character in this film, Z is the worst case scenario pessimistic person. We all know them. This movie is really made for adults and contains many real life morals and lessons for humans, set into the life of ants. I thoroughly enjoy the real life questions this movie poses and answers. From the worker, to the fighter, to the queen and the free ant, they all relate to our own human life questions. This movie is worth watching.

NEXT MOVIE: Any Given Sunday (1999)

Movies Not to Watch

Time gets funny the older you get, the joke is that is doesn’t last as long.  Time is special, once you’ve had it long enough it starts to elude you quicker.  Suddenly great chunks of it have passed and you barely noticed.  Personally I try to make the most of my time, I recognize the fact that it has started moving faster and I want to squeeze every drop of life and excitement out of it as I go along.  Movies, Television, Entertainment, they take up a large amount of our time.  I decided to create this section purely to discourage you, to try to help you avoid wasting your time on something not worth it.  When I finish a long movie that sucks now I’m no longer disappointed, I’m angry! I can’t get those hours back and I could have used them for something that was worth it.  If I can discourage you from wasting your time on the crap I wasted mine on, then I feel I am helping society, I am helping you, recognizing that your time is valuable.

Rocky Balboa

For years now this film has been penciled in at the top of my “Worst Movies Ever” list, but I had not yet seen Caddyshack II. Stallone took it too far this time, without doubt.  I mean for every guy that said “this is really stupid” in 1990 after seeing Rocky V there was at least one and a half going “ehhh, it was ok I guess.” At least Rocky V made sense, if nothing else it laid the ground work for a show like “Lights Out” (typical, but really cool show). Rocky Balboa was just stupid.  Why the hell would the heavy weight champion of the world take an exhibition fight so seriously? The guy breaks his hand fighting Rocky but plays through the pain, it just doesn’t make sense.  My personal favorite aspect of the film to poke fun at is the heavy weight champion’s name, “Mason Dixon.” I mean Stallone had given up at that point right?  Thats when you can really see the roids eaten into his brain because he appears to not be trying anymore.  This film is just stupid plain and simple, it was a ridiculous notion to drag a somewhat respected franchise out of the ashes just to piss all over it. Stallone must have been desperate for the money, I’ll give him credit, the guy looked damn good for his age. He was juicing of course, stopped at an airport and caught with the drugs.  I think he was 60 when this movie was made, if he wanted that sixth movie bad enough to do that to himself then to each his own.