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Sister, Sister (1994)
My Favorite Show of all time
For what it was, I found Sister Sister to be a positively ideal show. It's main strength is in having an all-around great cast, with Tia and Tamera Mowry as the teenage twins. The fact that those two were great actresses is really what made the show work, that such young people could come off so realistic and with so much charm and cause you to care about their lives. Tim Reid and Jackee Harry were excellent and hilarious as Ray and Lisa, the parents, and Marques Huston was stunningly memorable as next-door neighbor Roger Evans. Rarely does a show of its type have so much laugh-out-loud funny material, unlike similar shows such as Full House, which doesn't deserve the number of comparisons it's received to this show. I admit the show is less than perfect, particularly because of the downgrade in quality in the last two seasons as the show started to focus on plots involving the girls' boyfriends and the parents in new relationships, but there are definitely good episodes to be found in every season. Only two seasons have been released on TV, and the show is not in regular syndication, but all of the episodes are on YouTube, so I'd highly recommend checking them out. Some of my favorite episodes include Guardian Angel, Daddy's Girl, Father's Day, The Tutor, and many more.
**** out of ****
Double Wedding (2010)
Low-grade vehicle for Tia and Tamera
As the all-time biggest fan of Tia and Tamera's 90s show Sister Sister, I've been watching some of their other films together, and this one ranks among their worst. Double Wedding proves to be utterly predictable, which is not necessarily a problem in itself if the cast is likable and the story is pleasant and you actually want it to end the way it looks it's going to. However, Tia and Tamera Mowry have lost all their charm here, meaning that they lost what made Sister Sister work so well for them. There is almost no genuine humor in the movie, and none of the cast is likable. It's so obvious how it's going to turn out that it simply isn't any fun at all. Watch some of the twins' older movies or go back to Sister Sister and enjoy yourself rather than wasting your time with this.
* out of ****
The Talk of the Town (1942)
Very good film with excellent message
I am very fond of films that are genuinely funny or otherwise entertaining yet have a redeeming life application for the audience. "The Talk of the Town" is one of those films, and while I admit it is not a perfect movie, it is enjoyable and memorable nonetheless. Cary Grant plays a man suspected of starting a local fire and must hide out at Jean Arthur's home, while a law professor (played extremely well by Ronald Colman), who is rooming at the home, must not find out who Grant really is. Countless twists and turns make for a movie that entertains and ends well for all. Colman is absolutely brilliant, and it's shocking that he did not receive an Oscar nomination for this film. Jean Arthur is very good, as usual. Cary Grant is not necessarily the best he's ever been, but enjoyable anyway The movie isn't perfect, it drags at times and there are some mildly mishandled scenes, but toward the end it becomes all worthwhile. What a lesson the professor learns, that the law is not meant to be studied only but truly written on our hearts, to be lived out. So applicable to my personal Christian faith. The ending was slightly weak and abrupt, but I recommend this film nevertheless. Maybe not one to watch multiple times, but memorable in its own way.
***1/2 out of ****
Only You (1994)
Beautiful romantic comedy that reminds me of watching movies for the pure pleasure thereof
I am a fan of the romantic comedy genre, not because every one of them is great (because probably a majority are not) but because when I find one that I like, I am more satisfied that I would be with almost any other genre. "Only You" is a great romantic comedy. I recognize that there are a ton of things about the plot and some of the characters that I could nit-pick, but so few of these films are well done and have enough emotion to leave me satisfied and happy that I see no point in complaining. The film basically involves Marisa Tomei being led to believe from her teenage years than her destined lover is a man named Damon Bradley, and when she is engaged to another man, she receives a call from her fiancé's high school alum with the same name. Convinced he's the man, she flies to Italy to meet him and instead meets Robert Downey Jr, who has immediately fallen in love with Tomei and claims himself to be Bradley. Naturally, not a perfect film, and plenty of minor flaws, but I must say that this one was less predictable than the average film of it's type. It's mildly funny, and most importantly, it has, in my opinion, a perfect ending, the most important element of a romantic comedy for me. Beautifully scenic, mostly being shot in Italy. I'm not claiming the film to be flawless, but see it without super high expectations and you'll be pleasantly surprised. This film reminds me of watching a movie simply for enjoying it rather than criticizing it.
***1/2 out of ****
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
"Here Comes Mr. Jordan" is a near-perfect romantic-fantasy-comedy about boxer Joe Pendleton (Robert Montgomery) taken to heaven by mistake fifty years before his time and must return to earth in a different body to continue his boxing pursuits. When he returns in the body of a rich man, he falls in love with a troubled woman and desires to help her. The film was remade later as "Heaven Can Wait," which was definitely enjoyable but lacked the same emotion and brilliance of this film. Honestly, I was nearly in tears during parts of this film, because I found some beautiful pictures of my own Christian faith in the story, particularly Mr. Jordan's (Claude Rains) statement that all good things had been ordained for Joe, that no matter what, everything would turn out as had been perfectly planned for him (God is not mentioned, but I couldn't help seeing His hand in this story). The romance was much better in this film than the remake, and I actually cared whether or not the main characters ended up together. It's also entertaining and very funny, and I laughed more here than I did at the other film. Already on my list of favorite films, I cannot recommend this enough for it's humorous, romantic, and inspirational value. Great film! **** out of ****
Chances Are (1989)
More potential than is actually lived out
Ordinarily I really enjoy movies like "Chances Are," but I wasn't quite satisfied with this one for a few reasons. The first half was pretty well done overall, with Alex Finch dying and being reincarnated in a new body (played by Robert Downey Jr.). He meets up with his wife (Cybill Shepherd) and friend (Ryan O'Neal) and his daughter, who is now grown up. The scenes with them meeting again and Downey rediscovering who he once was are well done, and there is a good amount of emotion and happiness once Shepherd finally believes its really her husband reincarnated, but from there the film goes downhill. There are several sex-related scenes that turned me off completely, especially Downey and Shepherd wanting to get together again despite the difference in their age now. After that, however, the film manages to end in the most satisfying way possible, considering the circumstances of the plot. I was disappointed because I did not expect the film to become so immoral by the end. There was great potential with this story, and the scenes in heaven are well done. There is a good theme song sung by Peter Cetera and Cher, but ultimately the film is not great. For a better, similar film, try "Heaven Can Wait." Decent, but I really kind of wish I hadn't seen it because of the scenes in the second half.
*** out of ****
The Fortune Cookie (1966)
Simply a great film bettered by great acting
This is one of the most thoroughly enjoyable, well-made, and well-written films I've seen lately. "The Fortune Cookie" stars Jack Lemmon as a reporter injured while covering a football game and Walter Matthau as the wise-cracking lawyer trying to sue the hospital and football player by faking the injury to be worse than it was. They cannot shake the feeling, however, that they cannot fool everyone all the time, and much of the film consists of spies sent out to prove that they are faking it. There is excellent character development in this film, which comes mostly from Lemmon's interactions with the football player who must endure the guilt of the injury. What keeps the film entertaining is the constantly brilliant humor that fills every scene, though the plot is not overly funny by nature. If you like Jack Lemmon, you will enjoy this film, as he does a great job as always, but the film is a must-see for Walter Matthau fans, as this is the role that won him his supporting actor Oscar, well deserved. He wisecracks the entire time, which makes him one of my favorite actors, but in several of the scenes in his office, he even gives somewhat of a Groucho Marx-like role as he talks to himself and his co-workers. This is likely my second favorite film directed by Billy Wilder, behind "Sunset Boulevard" of course. Close to perfect, and only slightly flawed by the unnecessary plot elements of Lemmon's ex-wife. A unique, intelligent comedy that teamed up Lemmon and Matthau, and highly recommended to lovers of comedy, old movies, and just about anyone.
**** out of ****
A lot of the time I avoid sequels to successful comedies, but "City Slickers II" received some fairly good ratings, so I decided to check it out. Unfortunately, I found this film just not funny or emotional enough, and it felt a bit unoriginal. There are some things that had potential, such as Billy Crystal thinking he sees his old friend Curly at several places, as well as his dream at the beginning of the film, which was worth a few laughs. One problem is that the jokes just do not feel original here, and this film uses the exact same gag from the previous film in which Crystal mouths the words his mother says when she calls on the phone. Neither Crystal or Daniel Stern is very funny here. Jack Palance is pretty good, but not flawless as with the previous movie that won him an Oscar. One downfall to this film is the addition of Jon Lovitz, who cannot act and behave like a child most of the time. There were good scenes, such as Palance discussing his relationship with his brother and such, but ultimately the film becomes cheesy and anticlimactic. There are some fairly off-color scenes as well, one thing that earned this film a PG-13 rating. If you want my advice, stick with the original, a funny film that had good jokes, emotion, and even some lessons, and somehow felt like an original, good comedy.
**1/2 out of ****
Move Over, Darling (1963)
In some ways better than "My Favorite Wife"
As you may know, "Move Over Darling" is a remake of the Cary Grant/Irene Dunne film "My Favorite Wife." This film copies the original almost scene-for-scene, with a few changes. I'm torn on which film is better all around, but this version fixes a few things that bothered me about the original. First of all, the reunion between the two main stars at the hotel toward the beginning is more romantic and emotional here. Also, I didn't like the ending of the original film, which felt tagged on and unsatisfying, whereas the ending to this film wrapped everything up nicely and pleasantly. This film has much better co-stars, including Don Knotts and Thelma Ritter. The only reason I do not say for sure that this film is better than the original is the fact that the original was a very funny film, which is not to say that this is unfunny, but the comedy simply doesn't measure up to the brilliance of Cary Grant. I recommend both versions, and while the original provided more laughs, this gives more emotional satisfaction, but both are enjoyable. Just don't watch them side-by-side or you may feel like you just saw the same film twice.
*** out of ****
Throw Momma from the Train (1987)
In a world where so little is funny anymore, we need movies like this
We're living in sad times today, in which it seems like every comedy movie and TV show is painfully unfunny and inflicted with cheap, crude, or poor humor. Most people don't know what it means to really laugh at a comedy, and these people desperately need to watch "Throw Momma From the Train." I say with little hesitation that this is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, from beginning to end. The comedy is so unpredictable and twisted just enough to make us laugh out loud many times throughout. Don't be fooled by the murder plot. The plot is not serious enough to make us care or worry about what's going to happen. The story involves a young man (Danny DeVito) who wants to get rid of his annoying, grouchy mother (Anne Ramsey, nominated for an Oscar in a role that was completely flawless, in my opinion) and does so by killing off Billy Crystal's wife, whom Crystal wanted dead for stealing his novel. I don't want to spoil the jokes and gags in this film, but all I can say is that you must see this film if you want to laugh. Fast-paced and genuinely, a real treat to comedy lovers, and the type of film you just do not see today.
***1/2 out of ****