Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Week In Movies - Did I Mention Herbie is Awesome

Waiting For "Superman" (2010) I watch alot of documentaries so I can confidently say that I didn't think this movie was all it was hyped up to be. Sure, the problem with this country's public school system is horrible and something that everybody should be concerned about. But as a movie, this film played more like an extended news report than a feature film. It bounces all around from topic to topic and never really offers any solutions or suggestions on how to fix our problems. Every once and a while, one of these documentary films breaks into the mainstream film market and it's usually something to sit up and pay attention to, but this one felt like it was more the issue that was getting all the attention instead of the actual film product. It did win the National Board of Review Best Documentary prize, but it wasn't even nominated for an Oscar or Golden Globe. Perhaps the biggest problem with me and this film is that I have children in the failing United States public school system, so there wasn't much this film opened my eyes to. Rated PG - there's a few casually dropped "hell" and "damn" as well as some smoking.

The Virginity Hit (2010) Here's an example of a film trying to do something different but then not having any actual material to back up the idea. Instead of making another run of the mill, generic teenage sex comedy - the filmmakers here decided to film their tale as if it were all shot by the kids in the story. It's American Pie for the YouTube generation, except unlike American Pie: it's not funny. There is virtually no point to this movie about a group of guys who set off on a quest to get their buddy's V-card punched and videotape the whole experience. There's not much to laugh at in this picture and you just can't get by the fact that the cast was obviously picked for their resemblance to the dudes from Superbad. Just a horrible excuse for a sex comedy with too much going on and none of it being funny. Rated R for language, sexual situations, drugs and nudity.

Chloe (2009) Last week we watched Julianne Moore in a gay marriage having a straight affair. This week we watched Julianne Moore in a straight marriage have a lesbian affair. I have to say, as far as affairs go I preferred the later. But as far as movies, this wasn't so hot. Moore suspects her husband, Liam Neeson, of being unfaithful so she hires a hooker, played by Little Red Riding Hood herself Amanda Seyfried, to attempt to seduce her husband to see if he's get it in him. The affair between husband and hooker goes a little too far and Julianne Moore gets caught up in the heat of the moment. A little too much actually as she also finds herself in bed with the prostitute. It was actually a pretty decent film, but it's just got that little missing something-or-other that makes it feel like a direct-to-DVD movie instead of a full fledged feature film. It's in heavy rotation in all the Redboxes, so that about sums it all up. We watched it on Netflix streaming. Rated R for very heavy sexual themes including situations and language. There is also a bit o' violence too.

Herbie Rides Again (1974) To prepare myself for meeting Herbie face to bumper at the Antique Auto Museum this past weekend, I popped in my copy of the second of the five Herbie movies. I don't know if I could say I have a favorite of the Herbie films, but this is a real solid entry as Herbie helps an old lady save her home from an evil land developer. (As you know, I have a soft spot in my heart for cinematic evil land developers.) Hollywood legend Helen Hayes, whose onscreen career goes back to 1917) stared in this hit movie. It was her first comedic role and she grabbed a Golden Globe award nomination for Best Actress thanks to it. And that's no small task when you are sharing your screen time with Herbie. What is also interesting is that Mrs. Hayes chose this as her next role after winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her previous role in Airport. If you haven't seen a Herbie movie in a while, or if your kids aren't familiar with him, you should pop on in for a solid night of family entertainment. Rated G.

Zapped! (1982) The comedy powerhouse duo of Scott Baio and Willie Aames started here in this comedic spin on Stephen King's Carrie. I was 9 years old when this movie came out, yet somehow it feels like it's always been on my radar. I've always wanted to see it, but it's just been one of those films I've never caught up with. The poster/box art promises Baio with super abilities to make girls skirts fly up. What a great premise to base 90 minutes of entertainment on! Unfortunately, there's not one single skirt flipping scene in the entire movie. In fact, Baio's character doesn't use his telekinetic powers for much of anything. There's some really good moments and one-liners in this hit teenage comedy, but overall it's kind of a dud. The principal of the school is played by Robert Mandan who you might remember as Chester Tate on Soap, but to me he'll always be Jack Tripper's father-in-law on Three's A Crowd. (I love that show!) Mandan provides some great moments in a subplot involving the principal using a dating service. Overall, don't promise me a movie with the plot of making girls skirts fly up and then don't deliver! Rated R for language, sex and nudity. There is also some drug use.

Weekend With The Babysitter (1970) I've been into some drive-in classics lately, reading about them and tracking some of them down on DVD. This one keeps coming up as a minor classic, it's actually a follow-up to The Babysitter from a year earlier. The first half starts off pretty interesting but then it just drags on for the second half. Candy, the babysitter, shows up for the evening just as Mrs. Carlton is getting ready to take her son to her mother's house for the weekend. It turns out Candy has her dates mixed up! Candy ends up sticking around to hang out with Mr. Carlton. They discuss his work, they go to a bar and then they get high in the back of a van. (Vans were like entertainment centers in the 70's.) The next day, Candy and Mr. Carlton spend an ungodly amount of time riding motor cross bikes. Then they have sex. On the third day, they go and save his wife who is now held captive on a boat by some drug lords. All in a weekend's work for The Babysitter! Rated R for language, violence, sex & nudity and it's the 70's so there's drugs too.

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