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Acting is my passion and I hope to make a living at it. But I will never stop doing what I love.
RIP IMDb Message Boards.
This list is how I honestly feel.
Big Bully (1996)
Has Aged Well.
At the time, Big Bully was a critical and commercial failure. The 4.5/10 on this site even proves how unlike this is. But after rewatching it in a time that has changed a lot since then, it is safe to say that Big Bully is really not a bad film.
Rick Moranis decided to take a vacation from acting in 1997 to spend time with his family. The vacation turned permanent when he realized he didn't miss it. So seeing him in one of his very last films is a treat. It is also good seeing the likes of Don Knotts, Carol Kane, Tom Arnold, and Jeffrey Tambor.
David Leary (Rick Moranis) was a geeky kid who had weird friends, making him the perfect target for bully Rosco "Fang" (Tom Arnold). Rosco picked on David mercilessly up until middle school. Rosco stole a "moon rock" from a traveling science exhibition and David turned him in when he found out he was moving to Oakland. It was the happiest day of David's life: he gets even with Rosco when he gets sent to reform school and he escapes his clutches once and for all. Fast- forward about 25 years later. Rosco is a passive middle school tech teacher living with his trashy family. David is a single parent who hasn't found much commercial success with his acclaimed books. He accepts a creative writing teaching position at his old school. After seeing his son bully a geeky kid, David realizes that the geek's father is Rosco. When Rosco also discovers that David is back, Rosco gets carried away with reenacting pranks from when they were kids. Their immaturity grows and things get out of hand, leading to David getting suspended. After David confesses to Rosco that he turned him in for stealing the rock, Rosco's recent string of hazings turn more serious.
I know that this may be a bit of a long summary, but that's because almost each and every component that makes up this film is nice. Its not great, but certainly not bad. The jokes aren't stupid, just not laughable. In comparison with other recent comedies, this IS great and IS hilarious. But at the heart of the film are two dudes that have unfinished business. I would say that the only major flaw that this movie has is when David and Rosco finally make up. Other than that, I found just about every scene to be believable and the development and chemistry between the two leads to be fine.
I think that remaking this would be good.
What About Bob? (1991)
Not a Masterpiece, But Still Fun.
My views on this film are a bit lower than most. A bit of it comes from my own experiences with psychologists and a bit comes from true masterpieces of similar films. Either way, I can't deny the wonder that the movie brings.
Bill Murray stars as Bob Wiley, a role I think is his best and the one he should have received an Oscar nomination for. Bob suffers from depression, severe anxiety, and phobias towards just about everything. He is funny enough to laugh but serious enough to sympathize. His latest shrink had enough of him and caused him to quit the practise. But before the guy does, he appoints Bob to Leo Marvin, played by Richard Dreyfuss. Leo agrees to meet Bob just to see who he will be dealing with when he gets back from summer vacation. Their brief meeting gives Bob hope and Leo gives him a copy of his latest book "Baby Steps." All Leo wants is to spend some carefree time with his family at their cottage and make his guest appearance on "Good Morning America" a success. But Bob becoming overly attached threatens all of Leo's plans as he crashes the cottage. The family loves Bob but Leo grows to despise him, sending Leo on the brink of insanity.
The relationship between Bob and Leo is awesome. Being with a loving family is just what Bob needs, but is annoys Leo to death. I did think that the progression of Leo into madness. Leo wants to destroy Bob once and for all. The family loving Bob was also well done. But Bob progressively getting better was something that seemed to to be the thing that the writers just wanted to get out of the way. Bob's progression into normality was all-too quick. With as many problems that Bob has, it would realistically have taken him much longer to get at the stage he's at.
The one flaw that I think made this movie suffer was Bob and Leo not reconciling. Bob loves Leo, but Leo's hatred of Bob remains. I know that this isn't much of a "buddy-movie," but having Bob and Leo becoming friends would have made the movie great. That would have added morals and sentimental values. It would have made the heart grow. Check out Planes Trainer & Automobiles, Rain Man, Big Bully (I know it sucked, but the ending saved it), and 3 Women, these films are great examples of reconciling that saved the movie. Leo learning to love Bob back would've brought him out of his self-centred world and the movie would have worked as more than a comedy.
So have stated why this movie is good and not great. This movie being good is enough where I wouldn't mind seeing it again.
Can't Hardly Wait (1998)
Much Better Than Most Others in this Genre.
There's a total of about 15 minutes in this film that does not take place during the time of the most out of control high school party of the year. Party central is an isolated place where recent high school graduates raise hell and where they all learn more about themselves. What makes this so much different and better than most party films is how well it knows to handle...almost everything!
Several high schoolers star in their own stories that make this film what it is. We get to care about these characters right away. They're not super deep that they're Oscar material, but still deeper than most in other flicks. There's four major stories: Seth Green plays a wigger desperate to have sex and gets locked in the bathroom with Lauren Ambrose's character (who some people think is the only smart one). There's no telling when they get together and break up, only that they do it many times. Charlie Korsmo stepped out of retirement for one last hurrah before having a decorated education. He plays the geek of the class named William. He and his two other geeky friends have a plan to crash the party for revenge, but he just gets loaded and becomes a ladies man. The heart of the film involves Jennifer Love-Hewitt's character named Amanda. Her longtime high school boyfriend, the jock and pretty-boy of the class just broke up with her to date college girls. Meanwhile Preston, who has always had the hots for her and believes in fate, is ready to make his move on her. This is the bulk of the film where the needed seriousness comes from.
All of the songs used in this film are awesome. Some are new, and some are old, some are rock, some are pop. There's a variety, unlike nowadays party films that strictly go by dance tunes from the past year. But most importantly, the film knows exactly what to do with these characters and exactly how to make them and their situations likable. They are so much more than your average dumb party-goers. Love-Hewitt's story is the best, but Korsmo's is the funniest. It is his best performance.
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Five Easy Pieces was Jack Nicholson's breakout role. He was a minor character in Easy Rider the year before, but even so he was better in this. This hinges on a great performance as it is a character study of young life in the late 60s and early 70s.
Nicholson plays Bobby. He used to be a great piano player. Now he works at an oil rig by day, and fools around with women at night. He doesn't want anything big in his life. He just runs away from things when the going gets tough. When his sister--also a pianist--informs him that their father is on the verge of death, Bobby decides to pay his dues and visit his family.
This is an episodic film. The first bit deals with Bobby working and having fun. His friends are dumb and his mistresses aren't bright either. A good start.
Then the film starts getting better when he reluctantly takes his girlfriend (Karen Black) on the road with him. They pick up two hitchhikers and the adventure begins. Now this isn't entirely a road movie but it sure is fun.
The last episode is Bobby with his family. They live on an island in the middle of nowhere. He is an outsider to them both literally and emotionally. He must contend with a family he hasn't known for years, but at the same time revisiting his childhood has its benefits. Bobby hasn't played his old piano in years, but playing some "easy pieces" again really takes him back. That's how the film gets its title: he plays fives pieces on the piano that are easy.
The end of the film is both ambiguous and fitting. I'm not ruining anything, just creating awareness.
Five Easy Pieces is a wonderful character study of an isolated man who is a very mysterious human being. Is he autistic? Does he suffer from depression? Questions like these stir up when the viewer gets a look at Bobby's unpredictable responses. Nicholson plays the part perfectly and almost won an Oscar for it. (He lost to George C. Scott for Patton who was better.)
When I say the movie is worth seeing for Nicholson alone, I really mean it. I don't think that the movie as a whole is as great as it could have been. The introduction with Bobby's habits aren't bad. It was an okay build-up. But the road trip bit really could have used some more work. I'm not saying they should have run over a deer, but just add some more things to it. They pick up the hitchers and go to a restaurant where Bobby has an outburst. These two sectors could really have used finesse. It never seems like the movie takes off. The road trip bit seems to be when the film tried to take off, but it never reaches its full potential. When Bobby eventually does make it to his family, this is when the movie really gets its mojo. Sure the first two thirds could have been jazzed up, but it just give the end a higher value. Having said that, I even think more finesse could have been used in this last part. If the movie was jazzed up with finesse, then I would have given it a higher rating. If it sounds like I'm bashing it (which I'm not) then it is only because I think it could have been that much better.
Regardless of any criticism I give Five Easy Pieces, I can't deny the positive qualities it has. It is a classic and near masterpiece. For similar films I recommend The Last Detail, Easy Rider, About Schmidt, and The Bucket List.
One of the Best Manias of Recent Years.
Like last year, this WrestleMania was a total of seven hours in length. I see Mania being the longest ppv of the year, but I personally think that six hours should be the bear maximum. I think this is the reason people criticized the second half of the show while praising the first half. Luckily for me, I recorded this and I went to be so I was less fatigued.
Seems like once every few years, WrestleMania is held outside. I know people praised the hell out of WrestleMania 31, but 90% of that took place in the burning sunlight where the pyro-technics and cool lighting were invisible. In terms of general looks for an outside WrestleMania, this was the best.
The kick-off show was two hours. First of three bouts was Neville and Austin Aries for the Cruiserweight Championship. These two men have revived the entire division. I wanted Aries to win, but I didn't mind the victor being Neville. 7.5/10
Second was the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. It appears that WWE is starting to push some new stars. Patriots footballer Rob Gronkowski even got involved in the match helping Mojo Rawley be the last man standing. I love Battle Royals and this was handled very well. And I am happy Mojo won. 8.5/10
The Intercontinental Title being defended in the pre-show was not a good move. It is too important. Because of this, Baron Corbin and Dean Ambrose refused to perform to the best of their abilities. Corbin sucks, but the match could have actually been good. Ambrose won. Worst match of the night. 4/10
The first of the main show was AJ Styles vs Smackdown commissioner Shane McMahon. This was probably the most acclaimed bout of the night. Certainly the perfect opener. Glad AJ won. 9/10
Kevin Owens defeats his former fake best friend, Chris Jericho for the US Championship. The storyline with these guys in fantastic. So was the match. 9/10
Bayley retained the RAW Women's Championship in an elimination match with Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax. The Diva matches at Mania aren't usually very good. This is a major exception. Bayley's moment was wonderful. 8.5/10
A triangular ladder match for the tag team title was next. Enzo & Cass, Sheamus & Cesaro, and The Club would be carrying the tradition of Edge & Christian, the Dudley Boyz, and the Hardy Boyz. Before the match started, the New Day (the hosts) announced another team being inserted. Suddenly, the Hardy Boyz' music hits!! They are currently in a legal battle with TNA over their "Broken" gimmick, so we won't see that for a while. Team Xtreme won! The match was insane and the Hardyz' return was unbelievable. 10/10
The matches seemed to be getting better. But the mixed tag team bout with John Cena & Nikki Bella against Mia and Maryse proved otherwise. This was no different than the average match on RAW. And the build-up was great! Cena and Nikki won, followed by a heartfelt marriage proposal. Because of the proposal, I'm giving this bit 7.5/10.
Seth Rollins against Triple H was the RAW match I was looking forward to the most. Many people didn't even like the match, but the great story was brought into the match, so I loved it. All of Seth Rollins' accomplishments were made possible by Triple H. He later formed one of the most dominant trios in WWE history with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns called "The Shield." Seth eventually sold out and joined Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's power-abusing and unfair "Authority" faction. I hated that faction with a passion. Last year, Seth got legitimately injured in his knee and was out for several months. Upon his return, Triple H prevented Seth from winning the vacant Universal championship. The building hostility and subtle change in both men (both for the better) was great. Seth got injured again by Samoa Joe a few weeks ago, so that just added. Done rambling! Seth won! 8/10
Randy Orton against Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship. Was another letdown that could have been great. Images of maggots and cockroaches on the ring were so awesome and original, that ultimately saved this match. Randy won. 7/10
Next up was Goldberg against Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship. This dates back to the 2004 Royal Rumble where Lesnar cost Goldberg the match. This led to their infamous disaster at WrestleMania XX. Nothing wrong with Goldberg winning, but the match stunk royally. Fast- forward 12 years and they meet again at Survivor Series 2016 where Goldberg beat Brock in just over a minute. Nobody wanted them to face off at Mania for the title for three reasons: their match thirteen years earlier sucked; the match would be too short; both are part-timers. Brock Lesnar's victory over Goldberg here is the only clean win over Goldberg in his entire career. Brock is a one- trick pony and the match wasn't that good, but I'll give it a pass. 6.5/10
Next was a six-way match for the Women's Championship. Naomi won. Definitely the lesser of the two Diva matches. But this was enjoyable. 7/10
The closer was Roman Reigns against the Undertaker. People have been hating on Roman since the Shield broke up, but his victory over Undertaker legitimized him being hated. Taker then retired. It made sense for this to close the show as WWE's greatest performer and Mania's main man called it quits. Remember WrestleMania 24 when Shawn Michaels retired Ric Flair? This is a similar case, but much more important. Both Reigns and Undertaker have done better matches, but this was actually quite good (aside from a botched Tombstone-reversal). 7.5/10. Thank you, Taker.
This Mania was full of so much emotion that it probably turned fans off. I loved it! There was very little not to like with this.
Saving Christmas (2014)
It IS As Bad AS It's Made Out To Be!
Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas officially joins Santa Claus (1959), Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, and Santa Conquers the Martians as the worst Christmas films ever made. At least those films had a few moments that were so-bad-they're good. This is an insult to intelligence! It currently stands at number 2 on this site's Bottom 100. I would place it top 10...there's just a few other films I've seen that I found worse.
Let me start out by saying that I am a practising Catholic. I don't claim to be an expert on religion or the Bible as humility on the subject needs to be kept. Kirk Cameron could really use some of that too. Let me also say that there have been a few interviews where I agree with what Cameron debates. But this film made me lose all respect for him.
Saving Christmas looks like a mockbuster. A "mockbuster" is a low-budget (sometimes micro- budget) rip-off of a huge film being released at the same time that is meant to capitalize on the bigger film's success. They look like they have a budget of $4. This movie literally looks like a micro-budget film. It stars Kirk Cameron playing himself who's hosting a Christmas party. The scenes that show the party are agonizing. The acting is unbelievably bad! His brother Christian is sick of the materialistic nature that Christmas has become and wants to put "Christ" back in "Christmas." He hides out in his car to do some thinking where idiotic Kirk comes to talk to him about his insecurities. This is the plot and it doesn't sound that bad eh? Only Kirk Cameron and company could take a subject worthy of discussion and spin it out of control.
So what's so bad about the story? Sure the acting is horrid and the budget is low, but that's not the worst. The majority of the movie takes place in Christian's car with Cameron doing voice-overs in dramatizations of what he's taking about. Those dramatizations are very bad and unnecessary. It could have been a "My Dinner With Andre" style and kept the camera on them the whole time, but nooooooo. The technological issues are bad enough, and these little scenes just add fuel to the fire! And what Kirk talks about are all wrong and make no sense. The first thing that Christian complains about is the materialistic possession in Christmas and Kirk says all that stuff is great. Right away that's wrong. And he just goes on to randomly and falsely talk about Jesus' birth without even saying how that ties in with Christian's issue. Next is his shpeel about Christmas trees. Again, wrong explanation! And Kirk saying why Christmas is celebrated on December 25 is wrong too! Studies show that He was born around August. And that goes on and on with what feels like forever.
Kirk Cameron's buddy in Christian director and pastor Alex Kendrick who I think is great. He could not save this mess. Any self-respecting Christian or anybody with half a brain can see that this is not a good film. It practically makes a mockery of the Messiah! Cameron caused a backlash with what he said was done by "atheists." It's not just atheists, it is also Christians that know better than you, Kirk!
Instead of making a movie about Christ in Christmas, get somebody who knows their stuff to do a documentary on the subject.
In & Out (1997)
A Huge Letdown.
As a huge fan of Kevin Kline and the others in this movie, I must say that this was below them. It obviously wasn't going to be as great as A Fish Called Wanda or as funny as There's Something About Mary, but geez! This movie is like eating potato chips with no flavour that are overly saturated with salt.
I totally love Kevin Kline and he actually does a good job in this. He plays a high school English teacher named Howard Becket who is the most loved teacher in his school. Things seem to be going great for him: he's up for teacher of the year, he's about to finally get married (to Joan Cusack), and his old student Cameron Drake (Matt Dillon) is the favourite for an Oscar win. Drake's Oscar-winning role is him playing a gay soldier, and when he wins he thanks everybody including his "gay" teacher Howard Becket. So of course, everybody thinks it to be true. Is Howard hiding something? Does Howard not know himself?
One thing that stung this movie was its predictability. It became very evident when Howard officially declares himself gay and what gags would come about soon after Drake's speech. But predictable or not, none of the jokes were funny! The only part where I giggled a little bit was at the climax. Other than that, very few times did I even crack a smile.
As I said, Kevin Kline is fine. His sheer talent as an actor made the character of Howard Becket somewhat interesting. Howard pulls off some partially gay vibes that are extremely subtle and easy to miss. Only the most talented can do subtle traits at this level. He was perfect. But the lousy script prevented him from pushing it to higher ground. The same years as this saw Kline star in the phenomenal flick The Ice Storm. Watch that and skip this.
The supporting cast is good too. Joan Cusack was nominated for an Oscar. If the film was better, she could have won. Tom Selleck was fun in this, but nothing special. Howard's students were good and so was Bob Newhart.
Kevin Kline and company couldn't save this, they just made it worth watching until the end. THat's why the rating out of 10 isn't lower.
Ladri di biciclette (1948)
It Must Be Said, This Is An Overrated Film.
I'm not saying this is a bad film. It is actually quite good. The acting and story are marvellous. I just don't like how much people praise this and call it Italy's greatest film. It's got nothing on films like La Dolce Vita or Life Is Beautiful. I do agree that this is the best Italian Neo-Realist film, but that was an overrated movement with just one of two well-known films. I'm not trashing this, I just don't think it deserves such high praise.
The Italian Neo-Realist movement was around post-WWII that focused on the country's oppression, using real people instead of actors, on-location shooting, and other shenanigans to capture the most real feeling. That being said, the technical aspect of this was good but nothing special. pretty good. Not as inventive as the French New Wave era a few years after, but still fine.
The movie's premise is what makes this film so good. The Ricci family is dirt-poor, but Antonio manages to get a job putting up posters around Rome. The only thing he needs to provide is a bicycle. If no bike, no dice. A few weeks before, he sold his bike in order to secure his finances. Now he is in desperation to buy a new one and earn a living to bring his family out of poverty. This first act that gives us an idea who the family are is perfect in terms of building up exactly who they are. During his first day, his bike gets stolen. His son, Bruno, and friends help him try to find it. There is no proof of who stole it, and with all the bikes in the city, they're looking for a needle in a haystack. Sure they are seeking a bike, but it is more than just a bike. It represents the family's future and what Antonio needs. Along the way, Antonio and Bruno's relationship between father and son grows as they try something that will take such a long time to do.
I totally get the deal with what the bike represents and the father-son relationship. And people often call the ending one of the saddest ever. I easily agree. But what do I have a problem with in this film? A man searching for the source of what he needs the most sounds like excitement will be stirred up. And especially in such a oppressive time period. There aren't any turns-of-events like there should be and not much unfolds. Antonio finding the culprit is all there is in terms of new information being brought to the table. There are some good scenes other than that, but they aren't awesome nor do they help advance the story. The drama could have been kept, but an increase in complexity and furthering the reach of the story would have made for a much better movie deserving of all the praise it gets. Maybe have Antonio steal someone's bike and successfully get away with it for a short period of time. Just a thought.
But nonetheless, what we have is just alright with me. The actors are fine and I really like the general premise.
Scale of 1-10: 7.5/10
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Did You Really Expect It To Be As Good As 1991's Version?
1991's adaptation of Beauty & the Beast is my favourite animated film. I honestly do think it is the best ever. No disrespect to Toy Story or Snow White, but the 1991 classic has such beauty and raw power that has an undeniably strong emotional impact. Sure there have been other adaptations of Beauty and the Beast, but none of which was a remake of the cartoon. When I found out that a live-action version of the cartoon would be made, I was thrilled. My favourite animated film ever is being made with real people! The Jungle Book and Cinderella are the recent live-action versions of Disney classic and they soared high. Okay maybe I'm babbling, so I'll get to the point: 2017's live- action version of the beloved Beauty and the Beast is good but not great.
Emma Watson dons the role of Belle. She was good, but not great. In fact, she may be the worst cast in this. Dan Stevens is almost perfect as Beast. For the costume he gets, there was no getting better. Luke Evans is pretty awesome as Gaston (I think that's how it's spelled). Josh Gad was great as his sidekick. And Kevin Kline was wonderful as Belle's father, Maurice. But how well do these character's mesh with everything else?
In the first little bit, Belle is popular and Gaston wants to marry her. The movie takes off when Maurice stumbles into the Beast's castle. Honestly, the whole chunk before that isn't all that special. The beautiful scenery and looks are what carry it...and the whole movie. This first bit didn't seem to have the joy and spirit that the 90's version had. It's rather bland. It doesn't suck, it just doesn't have much of a reaction on the viewer.
When Maurice winds up at Beast's castle, he becomes his prisoner. Belle rescues him and she takes his place. Now the movie is taking off and we're at the point where the cool things happen. All of the animatronics of the accessories were sweet and the castle itself looks wonderful. And of course, everybody's a sucker for the romance between Belle and Beast. The only flaws were that the magic was lost. The little furniture things were cool but not awesome, the scenery wasn't enchanting or glamorous, and it was all too dark. I was expecting the look to be as enchanting as the live-action version of Cinderella from 2015. This one got lucky a few times, such as (obviously) the "Tale As Old As Time" scene. In terms of looks, that Cinderella wins.
The other stuff that deals with Gaston is rather generic. When him and the town's people invade the castle, it is the battle between him and Beast that is actually the worst part of that scene. There was nothing special or intense about it like the cartoon had. With all this upgraded technology, they should have made it as awesome as the cartoon! But whatever, the payoff when Beast and all the objects turn back into humans is wonderful.
So the movie doesn't have the magic or charm that the 1991 cartoon had. So the pacing was off (almost fifty minutes were added, a simple fifteen or twenty would have been enough). So it was dark. The movie still has stuff going for it. The imagery is beautiful, the romance is strong, the music is fine, etc. Maybe they're not at the level of the old one, but this still does almost all those well enough. And the flaws I listed are reasons this movie wasn't totally fantastic and why I may not call it one of the year's best.
Nonetheless, I recommend it. It's hard not to compare, but this is too good to ignore.
This Movie Makes Me Feel So Good About Myself!
Feeling like a million bucks; high on life; all of these phrases apply to me whenever I watch the single most underrated film of the 50s: Sabrina. It stars Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina alongside Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, and is directed by Billy Wilder. After seeing these quick facts, it was pretty evident that this movie would be great. But I had no idea that it would be at this almost unreachable level.
This was the movie that made me fall in love with Audrey Hepburn. Her father is the chauffeur to the wealthy Larrabee family. She grew up with the hots for the son David (Holden) but he never noticed her. She spends two years in culinary school in Paris and returns home a knockout. I'd say the sole flaw of this movie is Audrey Hepburn is too beautiful for David not to like her back. Her look when she returns is not that much different. But whatever. When she returns, David finally takes notice to her and they start a romance. But he is already engaged to a woman who is right for the family business. But David is a playboy who is a little bit irresponsible. His older brother Linus (Bogart) is a workaholic who happens to also fall for Sabrina soon after. Which brother is right for her? Which one will she pick?
Something I love about this film is it actually makes me laugh. I mean actual belly laughs. Maybe not as frequent or intensely as Wilder's Some Like It Hot, but close. And the romance that blossom in the love triangle is so beautiful as we watch the love and characters grow.
It honestly doesn't matter who Sabrina ends up with. The movie makes too much love and glory to be disappointed by her decision.
Easily one of my ten favourite films of the 1950's.