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Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
No Mystery about it, this one's a winner
Manhattan Murder Mystery provides a strange combination of suspense and comedy and is able to blend the two very well. Even during the most tense of scenes Woody Allen is able to provide comic relief and take the edge off the situation.
With such a dark, twisted storyline it's hard to believe that some comedy could be successfully inserted, but the comedy is more than successful in this film. With all the laughs you can expect from a Woody Allen movie and a suspenseful twisting plot, this is a movie that really can successfully crossover the two genres quite easily.
The direction of Allen is superb in the dramatic scenes, putting the audience right where it needs to be to feel the full effect of the situation. There are great performances from Woody as his usual neurotic self and Diane Keaton as his nosy but quick-witted wife who get into believable scuffles over her inquisitive nature. Alan Alda is wonderful as Allen's friend who is just as intrigued as Keaton. Anjelica Huston also plays a great part as a nonchalant writer who gets involved in the chase.
Allen is able to provide a wonderful fusion of genres in this film, I highly recommend it.
8 out of 10.
Straight Line (1990)
No-See Mr. T
Celebrated Thespian Mr. T comes to the screen as TS (Too Strong) Turner. The best thing I can say about this sorry excuse for a film is, well...stay far, far away. Mr. T's choice of clothing is comical and the use of his mohawk as an accessory is also fun. He wears it slicked back for special occasions and up for the rigors of every day life as TS Turner.
TS is faced with the dangerous gang that roams the streets doing terrifying things like yelling and throwing things during mayoral debates.
The acting is poor and the story is worse. The movie's pacing suffers and makes things drag out for way too long. It also has a very corny feel to it throughout.
I put this movie right up there in the list of the worst movies I have ever seen.
1 out of 10.
Side Effects (2005)
Decent Look at the Inside
Side Effects is a movie that really suffers because of its budget. I think with more money there could have been more done to make this movie better. It basically ends up being an OK movie with a good heart and brain.
The movie plays up the ridiculousness of the American pharmaceutical business and does a good job of it. The story is really alright and I only have minor qualms with the script. The acting (aside from Heigl, who was great aside from her strange tantrum scene) is poor at best and some of the shots had me shaking my head. There seemed to be an inordinate amount of closeup shots of actor's faces in this film. I started realizing about halfway through the film how everything felt like it was zoomed in when it was just one person on screen.
The movie's got a good moral to it and I enjoyed the Madison backdrops, but with a little better funding and maybe some better editing and camera work, it really could have been a better film.
5 out of 10.
Nacho Libre (2006)
Nacho misses his big moves
Jack Black really isn't all that funny in this movie. That's all there is to it. It's got a few scenes which are pretty funny, but most of the jokes are played out and just not very funny. I wasn't expecting much from the storyline but what I got was even less. Some of the wrestling sequences are alright and are well-filmed, but as a whole I just didn't think this movie delivered.
Some scenes are overly done intentionally to get a laugh, but in many (if not all) of these scenes they just completely miss their mark. Nacho, for some reason, has a tendency to pass gas at any opportune time (and there are many in the film). I'm sure this is an example of something that is supposed to be funny, but it just doesn't work.
The story is uplifting at least, and there's a good message with Nacho trying to do his best to help out the poor orphans that he cooks for, but the movie is ultimately very passable.
4 out of 10.
Woody does it again
I like Woody Allen movies. With that said I found it hard to dislike much of anything in Manhattan. The cinematography is brilliant. The film is just so beautiful in it's widescreen black and white presentation that I'd hate to see it in any other format. the story is good and replicates a lot of what Allen was going through or would eventually be going through in his life. Isaac (Woody) has a relationship with a 17-year old girl, but he knows that can't last (or can it?) and wants to find something else. Enter Mary. Even though Mary is involved with Yale (who himself is married), Isaac finds her intriguing and isn't sure what to do.
Meanwhile he has quit his job as a television writer and is working on a novel that seems to be going nowhere. He needs to cut back on spending and has to move to an apartment that makes strange noises and has brown water, but Isaac loves the town as much as ever. Just like the rest of Woody's movies, great characters abound and while there isn't a ton of action in the plot, it still is a very satisfying story.
8 out of 10.
Over the Hedge (2006)
Rockin' the Suburbs
Over the Hedge is a cute movie that takes no prisoners in mocking suburbia and all that comes with it. The storyline is adequate and the voices are well done. Steve Carell's Hammy the hyperactive squirrel can be a little irritating at times but in the end is a very lovable character. He also stars in a great scene after he chugs an energy drink. Wandy Sykes is stellar as Stella the skunk.
The movie is a fun, heartwarming tale of family and togetherness. When RJ the Racoon (portrayed by Bruce Willis) steals a bear's supply of food he has a limited amount of time to re-gather all of that food or face the angry bear's wrath. When he stumbles across an unsuspecting mishmash of a family of animals he sees a golden opportunity to gain some assistance in his task.
Ripe with riffs of suburban American life, Over the Hedge delivers a good family film that is as much fun for adults as it is for kids.
7 out of 10.
The Break-Up (2006)
Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston's on-screen chemistry isn't really all that great. Luckily for them, that's a huge part of this movie. I'll admit that the trailers for this movie were misleading. They made the film look like a laugh-filled comedy, which it definitely is not. The film is a solid drama with great realism and some laughs mixed in. The story wanders a little at times and seems to drag at times, but it really is a compelling character study as the two leads break apart and their relationship spirals with it.
I liked the movie but I could have liked it a lot more and with all the awkward situations I'm not sure it's one I'd like to see again. The film is very realistic and is definitely worth a watch.
6 out of 10.
Toy Story (1995)
The one that started it all
Toy Story is a gem of a movie from Pixar that is still as visually impressive today as it was when it was originally released over a decade ago. Computer animation was a new thing at the time but Toy Story proved that the medium was more than a novelty act and was going to be around for a while.
Woody (Tom Hanks) is Andy's favorite toy until Buzz Lightyear, a spaceman voiced by Tim Allen, arrives on the scene. To quote Randy Newman's song from the film, strange things begin to happen to Woody when he loses popularity with the other toys and is accused of trying to kill Buzz out of jealousy. Soon things go awry for the toys when Sid, Andy's sadistic neighbor, gets a hold of Woody and Buzz. The toys have to learn to work together and forge an alliance in order to survive.
Great story and voice acting all around makes Toy Story a classic.
9 out of 10.
Adults and children alike should be offended by this offering
Sometimes children's movies don't appeal to the adult crowd. It's a rare exception, though when a children's movie offers nothing to children. I guess if you want to see an animated movie where some strange animals serve up pop-culture references every few minutes, or one where the jokes are so shallow they have to rely on not only a flatulent moose but also a flatulent train.
The moose is a character who had me confused. His lips never move like the rest of the characters, but he does talk, and nobody can apparently hear him. I'm not sure if he's supposed to have an inner monologue or what, but it doesn't make sense.
The "all star" voice cast seems to have phoned it in on this one, with Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Fallon, and Jon Stewart delivering less than solid performances. William H. Macy is alright as Brian the snail. I'm not really sure why they decided to have Kylie Minogue (who is 38) provide the voice of a young girl, but it sure sounded off to me.
On to the plot. The animal friends have to battle an evil spring-type thing that lived in a merry-go-round but was set free when some young kids were frozen inside of it. They have to use a map to find the jewels that control the merry-go-round before the spring guy does. Somehow he is able to know the exact location of these jewels anyway, which is also very strange.
Anyway, this movie gets the dubious distinction of being without a shadow of a doubt the worst animated movie I have ever seen.
2 out of 10.
Well, it definitely is Dumb
While this film's predecessor is not exactly the height of cinematic achievement, it blows Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd right out of the water. Sure, they were able to find some guy who looks like Jim Carrey to play Lloyd, but they weren't able to make any semblance of a movie out of this mess.
Bob Saget steals the show in this movie, and he only has a maximum of two minutes of screen time. Eugene Levy is completely wasted in this film as corny joke is followed by corny joke and laughs can't even be forced to follow them.
If I had to sum this movie up in one word, it would be quite simple: Terrible.
1 out of 10.
Bad Santa (2003)
"Let me fix you some sandwiches"
"Bad Santa" is a rare film that can take a magical occasion for so many people, namely Christmas, and turn it into a depressing, shocking and utterly fascinating hour and a half movie. The film has so many great comedic moments that I can't even begin to list them all. Just the idea of having a mall Santa who goes from town to town with his partner (an elf), poses for the entire holiday season and eventually robs the places blind is a brilliant one.
Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) is a mall Santa who is everything you would expect Santa not to be. Willie is a terrible person who shows up to work routinely drunk, has sex in the front seat of his car (and the plus-size ladies' dressing rooms) with his Santa suit still on, yells and swears at the kids that come to see him and (to top it all off) is a criminal. Sure Willie had dreams and still does, but it seems knocking off malls every holiday season provides just enough money for him to get by.
When he and his dwarf accomplice Marcus (Tony Cox) show up in Phoenix, Willie is befriended by a child with seemingly no friends (it can't be easy to make friends when your name is Therman Merman). Therman adores this Santa, and since he is home alone with only his seemingly sedated Grandma watching him, it isn't long before Willie has moved from his hotel to the Merman house.
John Ritter is great as the mall manager who wants to get the newly-hired Willie out of his mall after noticing just how awful of a person he is. Bernie Mac is also excellent as the head of mall security who isn't exactly on the level, either.
After befriending Therman (even though Willie doesn't know his name through almost the entire movie) Willie starts to soften up just a little. In the end he's still the same bitter mall Santa criminal, but he opens up a smidge to the kid and shows that anybody can have a little bit of nice in them, especially on Christmas.
7 out of 10.
Johnny English (2003)
Jesus is coming, look busy!
Rowan Atkinson does about as good of a spy he can do in "Johnny English," and while the film provides enough laughs, some of the story and jokes just fall flat. In a miraculous turn of events following Agent One's surprising death, every last one of the other English spies are killed in an explosion. All except one, that is. Johnny English at long last gets his chance to live out his dream as spy extraordinaire, saving the day and wooing the women. The fact that English is clearly out of his element and utterly clueless is pretty much expected.
While the plot seems decent enough for an actual spy movie, some of the problems are pretty glaring. A lot of the jokes are seen coming from miles away while the plot twists are also very predictable.
Don't get me wrong, the film is an admirable spoof of spy films and I found it to be pretty funny. There just seemed to be too many breaks in the comedy and too many predictable, cliched scenes for me. This is probably a pretty good movie for kids who like comedy and spy films as it is pretty tame (except for the painfully unfunny "crawling up through the toilets" scene).
Overall it is ok, nothing great but not too bad.
5 out of 10.
Gangs of New York (2002)
The Blood Stays on the Knife
"Gangs of New York" takes us back to a time when America was a young country and New York was divided. Those who felt they were "native" Americans did not want immigrants to enter their great country, spawning hatred between groups all over the city where many of them landed. In the story we see how much of the town is run by one man, with William Cutting ("Bill the Butcher," played marvelously by Daniel Day-Lewis) being the most feared and well-respected man of the "five Points."
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Amsterdam Vallon, who as a boy watched Bill the Butcher kill his father in one of the Points' great battles. Now a grown man, he returns to the Points to find Bill pretty much running the show. He gets on Bill's good side and eventually becomes his number one man, all the while still plotting for his father's revenge.
While there is a lot of gratuitous violence and gore, the film does an excellent job portraying life as it was in New York. You can be sucked in to the time of the movie, and even though the setting is much before our time you don't need a textbook to understand how things were run and what life was like.
I've never been a big DiCaprio fan, but his effort here (along with his performance from "Catch Me If You Can") have made my opinion start to waver a little. He is good as Amsterdam, and believable in his actions and expressions. Daniel Day-Lewis is simply phenomenal as Bill the Butcher and really should have won the Best Actor Oscar. Overall, I feel this was the best film of 2002 and really was robbed at the Academy Awards.
8 out of 10.
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
OK movie with lots of problems
"The Butterfly Effect" marked Ashton Kutcher's debut into more "serious" acting roles. While most of the time he came off as believable there were a handful of scenes that just didn't work. He sure is trying, and it really isn't all that bad for his first attempt. The movie has some pretty interesting story developments and makes you think. However, a lot of the time spent thinking is over the plot holes that just don't seem to make sense.
Evan Treborn suffers from a disease where he blacks out events of his life and can't remember them. Through reading through the journals that he keeps Evan is somehow able to go back in time and change events. His decisions later influence the future and how he and his friends turn out. Apparently the changes only effect major events, as Evan can still go back to his blackouts after things have already been changed.
The film is an interesting science-fiction trip, but the story just fails to make sense sometimes. It's a solid effort, but it really comes out way too buggy.
6 out of 10.
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Very Important Film
Ben Franklin once said "Those that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." I think this quote does a great job of summing up a lot of our nation's problems these days. After the terrorist attack of September 11th, the United States as a whole was scared. What resulted was the giving up of freedoms so that we would feel safe from these evil terrorists.
Michael Moore looks at how the Bush Administration, in his eyes, has used fear to push its agenda forward. Now while this is a very topical issue and this film is a must-see, there is a problem. Much of America won't see this film based on principle. Conservatives don't want to go see the Republican President and his polices bashed for two hours. I in no way want to take sides in this argument or talk down at either side of the political spectrum, but there is a point.
People need to stop being so narrow-minded. This is a very important film about the leaders of our country, whether you agree with Mr. Moore (a lot of people don't) or you are a huge Bush supporter (a lot of people aren't). This film should be viewed by everyone, no matter where you are on the political spectrum because it is so important to know what the people you trust to lead your country are doing.
"Fahrenheit 9/11" combines news clips, stock footage and new stuff shot by Moore to bring his monster to life. The film is very entertaining and very thought provoking, to say the least.
Michael Moore's view is obviously skewed and this is something he doesn't deny. If he had it his way Bush would be out of office already, or better yet wouldn't have been in office at all. But what he does here, much like "Bowling for Columbine" is bring up important issues and present the facts that go along with them. Some will argue that these facts aren't too factual, and sure Moore will try to make things sound better for his perspective, but Mr. Moore is a good film maker and also a very good investigator.
This is a film that should be seen by everyone, the sad thing is that this is a film that won't be seen by everyone. Whether you like Moore or you hate him, I recommend you at least watch the movie and then draw your own conclusions. At least have an open mind and see what people have to say, that's what this country was built on.
8 out of 10.
Mystic River (2003)
Recently I was asked what "Mystic River" was about. I couldn't really say. If I tried to get in to all the plot intricacies it would take me a half hour to tell the basic storyline, but otherwise there was no way to give a real feel for the movie. "You have to watch it," I said. I think this movie is on so many levels and with so much happening, a simple little summary doesn't do the film justice.
Sean Penn, while I'm not completely convinced deserved an Oscar, did a wonderful job portraying the angst and desperation that Jimmy Markum feels. Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins are spectacular in their supporting roles. The cinematography from director Clint Eastwood is beautiful and the story is great. There are so many things to like about this film that I found it impossible to not love it.
The film is centered around three friends. We see them in the movie's opening as boys playing street hockey in Boston. Jimmy (Sean Penn), Sean (Kevin Bacon) and Dave (Tim Robbins) are just being boys when a man posing as a policeman comes and takes Dave away. Dave is left in a cellar with only a sleeping bag and abused for who knows how long until he can escape. When Dave returns to the neighborhood one on-looker refers to him as "damaged goods."
Twenty five years later all three men still live in Boston, but their lives have taken them in different directions. It takes a tragic event to bring them back together, when Jimmy's daughter is found dead. Sean, now a cop, is working on the case and Dave, one of only a few people to see Jimmy's daughter that fateful night, is a prime suspect.
Kevin Bacon does a great job portraying Sean, who doesn't let anyone into the inner turmoil of his life. Occasionally you get a glimpse in, but that is it. He pushes people away, including his wife. Dave is portrayed by Tim Robbins who is able to play Dave perfectly. Dave seems to have a burden on him at all times. A man who was robbed of his childhood, it never seems as if Dave is always there. Robbins is able to show how Dave is in a different world from everyone else. He plays wiffleball with his son every day, and his son is the only one who doesn't see him as damaged.
Overall this is a great film. It's not typical Hollywood happy endings and makes you think long after the credits roll.
9 out of 10.
Drowning Mona (2000)
"I've seen people more upset over losing change in a candy machine."
This movie isn't without its quirks. The town of Verplanck, New York is over run by Yugos, everyone has them and everyone has personalized license plates. Something else everyone in Verplanck has is a hatred for Mona Dearly, and when she suddenly turns up dead after someone cuts her breaks, everyone in the town is a suspect.
While the movie contains some funny moments they are too few and far between and a lot of the jokes fall flat on their face. It's a decent comedy, but it tries to hard to intertwine a serious mystery plot. Will Ferrell is pretty good as Cubby the Funeral Director (who runs a funeral home with a giant "As Seen on TV" sticker on the sign) and Jamie Lee Curtis turns in an excellent performance as Rona the waitress. Other than that, there's nothing too special about "Drowning Mona."
4 out of 10.
The Weekend It Lives (1992)
When I watched "Ax 'Em" I found myself wondering one simple thing: How did this movie get distributed? Honestly, it is that bad. The film quality and sound quality are non-existent. Honestly, I've seen better quality from a VHS camcorder in a dark room recording Barbies. The plot is so asinine that I can't believe Michael Mfume actually got as many people to be in it as he did. I guess the best comparison of this movie is "The Evil Dead" made by Sam Raimi and a bunch of his friends (including Bruce Campbell) when they were in college. You could compare it to that, the only difference is while "The Evil Dead" is extremely well done for its budget and limited crew, this movie is just plain awful.
The title is spelled differently on the box than it is on the movie itself. There is really no ax in the movie at all, there is a small hatchet though. Words are misspelled everywhere in the movie's introduction. The opening credits look like something that could have been made on a 1986 camcorder and there is no editing. The same scene appears in the movie twice in a row. You really can't understand anything that the characters say, the sound is that bad.
The movie starts out with a bunch of young people dancing when a "Yo Momma" contest breaks out, and from here it actually goes downhill if you can believe that. When a group of characters like Rock and Breakfast go on a trip to a cabin in the middle of nowhere they are stalked by some guy. I'm not really sure if there was some connection there, but it was just basically some guy whose family was killed or something and now he's out for revenge.
This is a good movie for people who like bad movies. There are many parts that are so bad they are funny, although usually this isn't a good things in movies. If there was a way to give this film a zero I would.
1 out of 10.
Great Summer Comedy
Will Ferrell just has a knack for making people laugh. Throughout his career he has been everything from the cowbell player of the Blue Oyster Cult to an elf to even Robert Goulet. In "Anchorman," Ferrell plays pompous Ron Burgundy, a four-time Emmy winning news host in San Diego. Set in the wonderful 70's (and with a fantastic soundtrack to boot), Ron has to deal with the competition of other networks and if that wasn't enough a new female journalist (Christina Applegate as the sultry Veronica Corningstone).
Since there is a large sex barrier in the newsroom it is tough for Veronica to get a decent subject to report on, let alone do anything without being hit on by almost all of the her male counterparts.
As funny as Ferrell is as Burgundy, Steve Carell steals the spotlight with his performance of weatherman Brick Tamland, who has an IQ of 48 and refers to South Dakota as the "Middle East." The other members of the news team include Champ Kind (David Koechner) as a cowboy sports reporter and Paul Rudd as man on the street Brian Fantana.
While the movie's plot is outrageous at times, it has to be expected when you walk in the theater. The comedy more than makes up for the plot lapses and the tension between the rival news teams and the star cameos in the flick just add to the fun.
All in all "Anchorman" is a great light summer comedy that one just can't help but be entertained by.
7 out of 10.
The original "Psycho" is one of my favorite movies of all time and is one of the many gems from the great work of Alfred Hitchock. This is not that film. While Director Gus Van Sant copied Hitchcock's work shot-for-shot (with one obvious addition that seems to be way out of place and is just plain disrespectful of the original), it cannot even come close to the original. What I want to know is why was this done? I know remakes have been big in Hollywood for some time, but give me a break.
Van Sant obviously didn't try to change anything around from Hitchcock's vision, in fact he tried to copy it exactly. This leads me to one startling conclusion. Gus Van Sant thinks he is a better director than Alfred Hitchcock. What else would be the point of completely remaking this classic shot-for-shot? He thought he could do it better than the master.
This film is an utter disgrace and should not be seen by anyone. This is the theoretical relieving oneself on the ashes of a great original. The film has no originality and dreadful casting. There was nothing wrong with the original and you do not try to fix something that isn't broke.
The only thing I wish is that I could rate this lower than a 1. This film is pure garbage.
1 out of 10.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Dude Abides
Little needs to be said about the film "The Big Lebowski." It has one of the greatest cult followings I've ever seen and the movie is chock full of one-liners. The Cohen brothers are able to deliver yet again with a great piece of Americana twisted around a wonderful comedy. The Dude (Jeff Lebowski, played by Jeff Bridges) is your average unemployed stoner whose number one hobby is bowling. His friends and teammates are Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), a Vietnam veteran, and Donny (Steve Buscemi), who is never allowed to get more than a few words in.
The Dude becomes involved first with a vandalism at his apartment, then later tangled in a web of robbery, extortion, kidnapping and pornography. The film provides good mystery and thriller vibes along with the mounds and mounds of comedic moments.
This is a movie I recommend everyone see, as long as they can handle the "F Bomb" being dropped a momentous 281 times.
8 out of 10.
"We all go a little mad sometimes, haven't you?"
Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" is one of my favorite films of all time and the best horror film I have ever seen. Hitchcock does a great job of telling a story with a film, not necessarily pointing everything out to viewer, but keeping the viewer on their toes the whole time. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is the heroine of the story who steals $40,000 of her boss's money and flees the city. Twists and turns abound as Marion is followed by a police officer for much of her trip neither her nor us knowing what he knows or why he finds her suspicious.
Eventually Marion meets up with Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) who runs a run-down hotel much like any you could find along any highway anywhere in the country. What follows is one of the most famous scenes and events in motion picture history. If you don't know yet, I won't ruin it for you.
Hitchcock is at his best messing with the audience's heads in this flick, in my opinion right up there with his stellar story in "North by Northwest." The film is a great thriller and a great horror film that takes you on a roller coaster throughout all the events that take place.
Not much can top "Psycho" and I'm not sure if there is anything that could be done to improve it. It is just that good.
10 out of 10.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Spidey's Back and Better Than Ever
"Spider-Man 2" is definitely a rarity. It is one of a very limited number of films that outperforms the original. What "Spider-Man" brought in action, drama and comedy is all back and even better. The second installment in the web-slinging series delves more deeply into Peter Parker's mind (and heart) and brings a lot more drama into the film with it. The mysterious relationship with Mary Jane Watson, along with the stress of working, paying the rent on his less-than-spacious apartment, and his grades slipping leads Peter to rethink his purpose in life.
Peter decides that he has too much on his plate and needs to do what is important to him. This leads to a great scene in the movie with the musical accompaniment of BJ Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head."
The amazing special effects from the first movie return and are even more awe-inspiring this time around. The action is just as good and the story is better. The transitions from heart-pounding action to heart-wrenching drama are extremely well done and makes the movie likable on so many levels. The film did a good job tying up all the loose ends while still leaving some openings for the third installment.
This is a good summer flick for people of all ages, there really is something everyone can appreciate in the movie. I don't think fans of the original or of the comic book series have anything to be disappointed in from this effort.
8 out of 10.
American Splendor (2003)
Who is Harvey Pekar?
In a time where every comic book hero from Spider-Man to Hellboy has his own movie, American Splendor is a unique film from a unique comic that ends up incredibly well done. Harvey Pekar is your everyday depressed file clerk until he finally decides to do something about it. His outlet is creating comics of his life. When he meets up with "Fritz the Cat" creator Robert Crumb at a garage sale he suddenly has a connection and even someone to illustrate his life's happenings.
Harvey is no Peter Parker or Clark Kent and neither is his character. People can associate with him though and his comic books become successful. The film has great cuts between the actual Harvey (also narrating the movie) and the character played wonderfully by Paul Giamatti. The interactions of the real people the film is based on are perfect. You can instantly appreciate the characters that much more by seeing how they are almost identical to their real-life counterparts.
"Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff," Harvey says to Crumb when he is pitching his idea. Complex enough to follow Harvey's happenings from waiting in line at a grocery store behind an old Jewish woman to his multiple appearances on "Late Night With David Letterman," keeping the audience entertained and enthralled at an average Joe's rise to semi-stardom.
How fitting is it that while more popular comic book adaptations are on the big screen, underground character Harvey Pekar and "American Splendor" stand head and shoulders above them all?
8 out of 10.
Major League II (1994)
Little League Sequel
I tried to like "Major League II," I really did. Its predecessor is my favorite sports film of all time. Where the first film worked on so many levels where baseball fanatics and casual or non-fans could enjoy it, the second fails miserably. This movie is basically a dumbed-down version of the original.
Most of the original crew is back, except for Willie Mays Hayes' sudden transformation into Omar Epps (who tries too hard to be Wesley Snipes). Roger Dorn now owns the team, Jake Taylor is a coach and both Pedro Cerrano and Rick Vaughn have gone soft. The premise of the movie is basically the same as the original "Major League." The team was good at the end of last year, starts out lousy and now is trying to get to the playoffs again.
I won't go into the ridiculousness of a catcher who can't throw a ball back to the pitcher being on a Major League roster or a right fielder who practices yoga-type exercises in the field during play. Like I said, I wanted to like this movie but I just couldn't.
"Major League II" is a rehashing of the original with the same basic plot and less comedy. I still get fired up about the Indians rise to a contender in "Major League," but by the end of "Major League II," I found myself not caring how this team did at all.
4 out of 10.