Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Week In Movies - Did You Hear the One About the Tramp and the Fat Kid?

Dirty Girl (2011) It's rare that I see a trailer for a film on a DVD and then end up watching that movie a week or so later, but such is the case with Dirty Girl. I thought the trailer looked pretty cool and it just so happened that it was released to DVD on that same week. I popped it on my Netflix queue and it was in my mailbox the next week. And I'm glad it was because I really enjoyed it. It's the 1980's and the class slut gets paired up with the class fat kid to do one of those projects where they have to pretend to be married and take care of a sack of flower. I always thought that was a cool project, and they did it in the 8th grade at my school...except the year I was in the 8th grade they decided to take a break from it. So, I never got fake married. But I was the class fat kid and I would have been all about being fake married to the class slut. So perhaps in a way, this is kind of a fantasy piece for me - but the movie is really good besides that point. There's a great 80's soundtrack and some genuinely funny and touching moments as these two kids from opposite ends of the high school hierarchy become good friends. I'm always a sucker for a happy film with an upbeat pace, and I'm always a sucker for movies about friendship...and sluts.

(500) Days of Summer (2009) I also loved this odd romantic comedy that actually manages to break the conventions of a romantic comedy. Zooey Deschanel is perfectly cast as the beautiful new girl in the office, Summer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt takes a liking to Summer and she likes him, but she is quick to point out that she's not interested in a relationship. Eventually, the two arrive at a crossroads where one wants more than the other. The story is told out of sequence, but not in a confusing way. There are several clever scenes that play with the audience's expectations of storytelling. It's all a really fun movie and well done all around. I could not have enjoyed it more.

Beauty and the Beast (1991) OK, I love this movie...I think we all know that. It's easily in my top 5 favorite Disney films of all time, possibly in the top 3. I've been super jazzed about seeing it in 3D but alas with one kid afraid of 3D movies and a busy schedule between my wife and I, it just worked out better that I took the kids to see it at a theatre in the next town over that had one 2D showing a day. And you know what, I don't think I need the 3D...even though it would be cool to see the ballroom scene in three dimensions. When my buddies and I were young animation geeks, the computer generated chandelier in the ballroom scene just about literally made our jaws drop! I've seen Beauty and the Beast in the theatre 5 times now, not to mention an additional time on the IMAX screen back in 2001. Plus I've seen the Broadway production, the Ice Show, the Walt Disney World stage version...I've seen this story in many mediums, but you just can't beat seeing on the big screen - 3D glasses or not!

The Hangover Part Two (2011) By now you've probably heard that this follow up wasn't that good. It's pretty darn funny, almost as funny as the original. The real problem is that the story is EXACTLY the same as the first movie. Sure, the guys get into different wacky misadventures but the story structure is just a retread of the first film as the same three guys go back and try to piece together the drug induced antics of the night before. Same story, different town (Bangkok this time) and equal laughs, but just not a good sequel.

Cindy and Donna (1970) Another drive-in "classic" that I was thrilled to get a chance to see. Yet again, this trashy drive-in flick is just about completely unwatchable except that the ending is so great. I'll give it away because I'm sure no one reading this is ever going to see it. Cindy and Donna are stepsisters, Donna is slutty and Cindy is just discovering her womanhood. Cindy watches her sister get it on with everyone from her boyfriend, her boyfriend's friends and yes, even Cindy's father. Cindy's father is also having an affair with a teenage prostitute, that storyline literally goes nowhere but I thought I'd mention it. So then Cindy decides she is ready to make the big move into adulthood and it turns out Donna's boyfriend is more than happy to help out. While they are getting it on on the sofa, Donna walks in and sees them. Donna's boyfriend takes a moment from having sex with her sister to pick Donna up and violently toss her outside. Donna cries and runs into the street where she is promptly hit by a car and dies. Cut to Cindy riding on a swing, for one last panty shot...THE END. It's profound, people!

Cinderella (1950) Simply put, a masterpiece of film making and the epitome of everything that a Disney animated film should be!

Class (1983) This flick doesn't know if it wants to be a raunchy teenage comedy or a mid-life crisis drama. It's neither, as Andrew McCarthy unknowingly has an affair with his roommate's (Rob Lowe) mother. There's no point to this movie although I suspect to 1983 audiences seeing Jacqueline Bisset's naked body roll around in the sheets with a guy half her age was a point worthy enough of a ticket price.

Classic Commercial Sunday - A Day At The Park

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sonic Meets Flo

For whatever reason, the kids and I are big fans of Flo the Progressive Insurance Gal. We're always excited when we catch a new chapter in her never ending adventures in some sort of weird insurance store where you buy insurance off a shelf. Anywho, the latest commercial from the insurance company features Sonic the Hedgehog (of video game fame!)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Useless Movie Watching Trends From 2011

This is utterly pointless, but since I've kept track of every movie that I watched in 2011 - I was curious to see how my viewing habits broke down as far as movie ratings and the age of the films I've been watching. Who cares, right? This is just the kind of thing I like to do...

Decades; movies from
the 1930's - 2
the 1940's - 11
the 1950's - 12
the 1960's - 19
the 1970's - 20
the 1980's - 31
the 1990's - 14
the 2000's - 17
recent years 2010 & 2011: 80

For a movie buff, it's kind of lame that I watched so many more recent flicks than older ones, but I really burn through the Netflix discs and my wife and I have finally started watching a lot more movies together. She's not quite as interested in the older fare as I am, but I'll jump at the chance to watch a film with her - and I can stomach romantic comedies so we don't have a hard time finding things to watch.

G - 30
PG - 46
PG-13 - 26
R - 56
made for TV movies - 7

Honestly, I'm really surprised I watched that many R rated films. My tastes in film run rather immature but I did get into a big streak of watching 80's teen comedies and 70's drive-in flicks, so I guess that explains that high number. Since I have kids, I get a pass at seeing 30 G rated flicks but let's be honest - the number would probably be around the same even if I were not a father.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Week In Movies - You Shouldn't Hang Me On a Hook, Johnny. My Father Hung Me on a Hook Once. Once!

Johnny Dangerously (1984) As far as comedies go, this has got to be one of the all-time most unsung hilarious pictures ever made. A great cast led by Michael Keaton along with Marilu Henner, Joe Piscopo, Peter Boyle, Griffin Dunne and Dom Deluise...just to name a few...spoof 1930's gangster pictures. Now, most of us ain't really seen enough 1930's gangster picture to spot a good parody of one - but this movie is chock full of solid gags from beginning to end. As the film opens up we see a city street from the past. The subtitle at the bottom of the screen tells us it's 1935...and then a car in traffic runs over the subtitle causing it to crumble in the street. That's the first joke in the movie! The first time I saw it, I knew I was going to be hooked on the whole movie from minute one. I used to watch this great flick every chance I got on HBO back in the day. I hadn't seen it in a while, so it was great to revisit it and laugh myself silly. Look it up on Netflix Instant if you ain't ever seen it - or if you just need a good laugh.

An Extremely Goofy Movie (1999) Another under rated gem, the direct-to-video sequel to the also under rated A Goofy Movie from 1995, finds Goofy's son Max off the college where he butts heads with the big fraternity on campus. Goofy finds himself also on campus as a new student and falls in love with the school librarian. This is really a solid animated film, with no singing but plenty of groovy disco tunes take make up a pretty awesome soundtrack.

Winnie The Pooh (2011) Bob Howdy, this is a really good movie. I was excited to see it again as my theatrical screening last summer was severely dampened by a very obnoxious child in the row in front of us with even more obnoxious parents. I really enjoyed it a second time around and my kids once again laughed themselves uncontrollably. Afterwards Elias declared the movie "Hilarious" which is an honor he has only also bestowed upon "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs"...which he's seen 1 million times. Pooh's latest movie has a running time of 63 minutes, the actual movie itself wraps up at 57 minutes with the remainder of the time dedicated to a very creative credits sequence. It's honestly, a perfectly paced film. In some of the DVD bonus features, there are deleted scenes which the director said were cut because of pacing problems. If he put out a 63 minute movie, and removed stuff due to pacing...he should be in charge of editing every Hollywood movie from now on! Good stuff all around! See it.

The Tigger Movie (2000) So then we revisited Pooh's initial return to the big screen which I loved when it came out and I've seen it several times since. It's still a really good movie, the first time the Hundred Acre Wood gang was treated to a full-length narrative instead of shorter stories tied together. The problem with The Tigger Movie now, is that the 2011 Winnie The Pooh did such a perfect job of creating a newer version of Pooh and Co. that this older flim seems a little less sparkly than it did 12 years ago. Still, it's alot of fun with a pretty good story and an exciting climax plus original songs from Disney's original songwriting team, The Sherman Bros.

The Last Starfighter (1984) I borrowed the VHS of this flick from my buddy Joey Carwash about 15 years ago and have never watched it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I sold the tape at a yard sale somewhere along the line. Not to worry, Joey has the DVD now. I didn't watch his tape, and I hadn't watched it off my TiVo since I recorded it over a year ago. I finally broke down and watched it this week. It's one of those movies that really isn't very creative or interesting, but it just has a certain charm about it that makes it watchable and memorable. If nothing else, this movie is notable for being the last screen credit of the original Music Man himself, Robert Preston. It was also one of the first movies to deal with video games which was such a big deal back in the early 80's. I know I had first seen this when it came to HBO in `85, didn't think much of it then and quite honestly not that big of a fan now either.

The Smurfs (2011) There are chunks of this movie that are so dumb and have nothing to do with Smurfs, it's still kind of irritating that this is the best they could conjure up for iconic characters like Papa Smurf and the gang. Yet, there are some fun moments sprinkled throughout the picture and it has it's heart in the right place so for a PG rated family-friendly comedy, it's ok.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Week In Movies - Happy New Year

So nice to start off the New Year with a handful of wonderful films...

The Help (2011) I really, really enjoyed this movie. Emma Stone is awesome along with a whole bunch of other great actresses whose names I don't know off-hand. Stone exposes the hypocrisy of the way southerners treated their hired help back in the 1960's. This story is told with humor, drama and wonderful characters - an overall really good movie worth seeking out. It's in the movie rental boxes now.

Our Idiot Brother (2011) Superb ensemble cast including Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, T. J. Miller and Zooey Deschanel. The title is a bit misleading, as you think you're getting one of those super silly Judd Apatow-style films but even though there are some goofy moments this is a nice story about unconditional love and the innocence of good hearted people. It take a while to find it's grove, but the film has a very satisfying ending. Good stuff.

Midnight In Paris (2011) There's alot of positive press surrounding Woody Allen's latest film. I believe it turned out to be his highest grossing movie yet and once again there is quite the Oscar buzz linked to this picture. I guess with all the hype going on, and being such a Woody Allen fan I was expecting to be blown out of the water but the story of Owen Wilson somehow going back in time each night to 1920's Paris just didn't manage to live up to it's hype. Still, it's a good film and filled with all the charm of wit of most of Woody's pictures.

The Onion Movie (2003/2008) This sketch movie based on the popular humorous newspaper was apparently filmed in 2003 and then shelved for most of the decade only to finally surface unceremoniously on DVD in 2008. As you should know by now, I'm a big fan of the sketch film genre, a rarely visited style of film making these days. The Onion Movie, in my opinion, is one of the better ones. The fact that they try to give the film a little bit of a plot and structure, but then it still veers off in many different directions just makes the randomness of this movie all the more fun. There's plenty of running gags throughout including Steven Segal as himself staring in a new movie called ****Puncher. That's good comedy.

Monte Carlo (2011) Dear Self, Stop watching movies just because there's an attractive girl in the lead, especially when the movie is aimed at the sleepover set. You're wasting your time watching silly movies like this, with thread bare storylines, minimal humor and zero creativity. Sure, Selena Gomez is pleasing on the eyes but you don't need to spend two hours of your life watching her and her friends parade around Europe. Honestly, there isn't any ground that wasn't covered 10 times better in The Lizzie McGuire Movie (Now that was a good flick!)

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Classic Commercial Sunday - #82

This was only 25 years ago! Can you imagine them even attempting to do this today...?

Monday, January 02, 2012

My Week In Movies - The Rest of 2011

The Bishop's Wife (1947) I saw this holiday classic for the first time last year and really enjoyed it. I was glad that I revisited it again this year. Not only did I not get around to many other B&W Christmas goodies, this is just a really good Christmas movie. You can't go wrong with Cary Grant - and in a whimsical role as an angel sent to bring a couple back together - it's just one of the great classic films of all time. There's plenty of Holiday Cheer on hand including a terrific ice skating sequence, plenty of footage of old department stores and some nice caroling. A great holiday flick that I look forward to watching again next Christmas.

Deck The Halls (2006) It's hard to imagine there was a time as recently as 2006 that Danny DeVito and Mather Brodrick were allowed to headline a major studio film, but such was the case in this oft-aired Holiday tragedy of film making. DeVito and Brodrick play rival neighbors who argue over Christmas decorations. It starts out funny enough, but looses steam about 15 minutes in and then just meanders on forever with endless sequences of runaway sleighs, explosions and pratfalls. This is not a Christmas movie I will feel the need to revisit ever again.

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) I'm gonna admit, I didn't really want to watch this because there was so many other Christmas movies that I wanted to get to, but my kids really wanted to watch it and I'm not one to deny them Muppets. And after about 2 minutes into the film, I remembered how awesome this movie is. It's not in the same league as the first three Muppet movies, but it's a darn good Muppet production nonetheless!

Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) Basically the first movie, just reshuffled and with a different bad guy but in the end it worked. With a few solid laughs, some awesome action sequences and a breezy pace this silly sequel turned out to ultimately be satisfying.

Three Amigos! (1987) I always forget how much I love this movie. My kids saw it for the first time and they totally got it. It was a proud night of parenthood.

That's Entertainment (1974) Part film history lesson, part 70's time capsule; this is an ultra-entertaining look at the MGM Musical of Hollywood's Golden Age and it reminds you once again that "They just don't make `em like they used to!"

Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas (2011) Yes, again. It was on Christmas Eve night and I ended up sitting on the floor with my wife and watching the entire thing again. I wasn't as productive as I should have been, hours before Santa's arrival, but I did laugh a dozen or so times again at this well done TV movie. I think I'll buy the DVD if it ever comes out.

December Movie Count: 14
Best New Movie: That's Entertainment
Best Rewatch: Ernest Saves Christmas
Worst Movie: Deck The Halls

Final 2011 Movie Count: 203 Movies!!!
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