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Red River (1988)
Fair or not, this version will always be compared to the original
I am a big fan of the original with Duke, Montie, Brennan and Ireland. Great performances with a great script and the beeyootefull music score. So, I was a little skeptical when I had a chance to watch it. At first, I was surprised at how entertaining it was. To begin with.
The pros: one thing that often happens with remakes is, the cast overdoes it. They try to adapt themselves to the original performances. Big mistake. Like Jeff Daniels does with the remake of True Grit. He tried to BE John Wayne. He is NOT John Wayne, just a poor copy. In this movie, Bruce Boxleitner played Garth as Bruce Boxleitner, not as Montgomery Clift. The others, the same way. That made the story more believable. I thought that he was VERY good in this part. He doesn't have quite the "angst" that Clift played this role with, but a good effort. Ray Walston does good in his role. Nobody can do Walter Brennan, so don't try. He gives a solid performance. There are a couple of times when they left the old script (I'll talk about that in the "cons"), but they stayed pretty much with the same story line.
The cons: James Arness as Dunson?? BIG mistake! I would have thought of several actors that could have done it better than him. Sam Elliot comes to my mind, he could have done it well, don't know if he was available, but they could have done much better if someone like him could have done it. James Arness had too much "Marshall Dillon" in him. Plus, at the end, he just leaves the part all together and ends up being a bad copy of the Duke. Again, it may not be fair, but when it shows him "wading" through the cattle for the "big showdown", he just does not carry himself as Duke did in the original.
Gregory Harrison as Cherry?? OMG, he was just horrible!! I know, part of the problem was they cast him against his type, and the character just went off the rails over the woman. John Irelands Cherry was a MAN, pure and simple. Harrison portrays him as a spoiled, womanizing brat.
Plot lines: This movie really went off the deep end when they had Cherry go crazy over the woman. Him goading Matt into a gunfight just was ridiculous. He wouldn't have done that, he was a flawed character, but he was still loyal. Plus, him doing what he did, cheated the audience out of one of the great scenes in the original, where Cherry tries to intervene at the showdown between Garth and Dunson and Dunson shot him. That showed how close Cherry and Matt had grown to each other. Big missing part!
The finding of Abilene: it shows Matt and his two scouts looking for Abilene. They are sitting up on a rise and wondering if they will ever find Abilene and wondering if the railroad was there. Then, they hear a locomotive whistle and it come in view, no matter that the tracks are only a few hundred feet away! They could have seen it for a long time! Then, the scene that is missing from the original is when Matt talks to the locomotive engineer and he is so happy. That scene is not there!! A lot is left off from Abilene as well. The scene with the cattle buyer is just so short, but, in the original, you can see how amazed the buyer is and how inexperienced Matt is. This guy could have taken Matt for a big score, but he doesn't do that and gives him a good price. Shows the difference between men of the last century and today. At least how Hollywood depicts it for the movie.
It seemed as if the producers were fixing to run out of film and they had to hurry to finish it.
The ending: YUCK!!! YUCK, YUCK, YUCK!! Does not work as good as the original. It left me very empty. Joanne Dru, in the climax was just so much better than Laura Johnson. A lot of emotion comes through. You can see that SHE KNOWS THEM BETTER THAN THEY KNOW THEMSELVES. And, the part where Dunson and Garth are lying there and "the lights come on" is missing as well. The climax of the movie is just so ...... 80's!! Did I say .... YUCK!!
I thought that, if this comes on again, I might watch it, it wasn't that bad. But, I would cue up the final part on my original DVD, from where they hear the locomotive whistle blowing till the end, and, when it got to that point on the TV movie, cut on my DVD and watch it to the end with Duke and Clift fighting and Tess firing the gun at them. That is a classic end to a great movie.
Rio Grande (1950)
From start to finish, it was pretty bad.
I hadn't seen this movie in about 25 years and couldn't quite remember it until AMC showed it today. I am a big Duke fan, but this one was very disappointing. It was so predictable, from the beginning when he sees his son there as one of his troops and their very predictable "reunion".
The idea of the Apaches raiding across the Rio Grande and the Cavalry not being able to pursue them because of possibly fracturing their relations with Mexico has some possibilities, but it goes flat after that. We might expect the Mexican's being there when they do cross the Rio Grande, but nothing ever came of it and that is very anti climatic.
There are also HUGE plot holes all the way through this and the former Confederate/ Union plot just doesn't do much either. The romance sub plot, which I don't think played as a real sub plot, also was very unsatisfying as well.
But, the one that had me laughing out loud was the "singing choir" that just sang, EVERYWHERE. Okay, the serenade of Mrs. York was sweet, but for the Captain to call for them to sing while they are riding patrol is just too much. I like the Sons Of The Pioneers as much as anyone and Ken Curtis just still amazes me every time I hear him sing and watch Gunsmoke and marvel, but this singing was just too much. Did any of those guy ever fire a gun in this entire movie?
I thought about leaving it a "1", but I can't leave a "1" for the Duke on a western. Now, let me check out The Conqueror and I may change my mind. Unless, we think of Mongolia as being "far west".
The Final Countdown (1980)
You will never find a better movie!!
This is my all time favorite movie!! I know, it is not considered to be a big hit, but it had just about everything that I like in a movie; time travel, war and a big "what if". I am a history buff and that is one of the most favorite things about history. You can argue "what if" all day long! The performances were excellent as well. Kirk Douglas is one of the best actors ever and he really delivers a home run here. And, Martin Sheen! Has he ever not given a great performance? Charles Durning also does a good job and Katherine Ross has always been great "eye candy", but she can act. But, the best performance of the movie was James Farentino. You can really feel the angst that he had as an amateur historian and whether they should stop the Japanese or not? It was really simple for the Captain, but not for him. He knew that his world would change as well as everything else.
And the ending!! All I can say is WOW! The best ever!!
The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)
Hilarious in spots, only okay in others
I just finished watching this on DVD and found it very funny in places. It starts out kinda slow, but gathers steam and has some very funny moments. In fact, one scene stands out as the funniest scene I have seen since the finale scene in "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World" back in the 60's. I absolutely laughed till I hurt!! Without giving it away, it was the waxing scene!! The language is very rough and sex is the pervasive theme of the movie so there is a lot of nudity. You definitely want to keep this one locked away from the kiddies.
Steve Carrell gives a super comic performance and is very believable as the nerdy guy. His buddies are also very good as well.
I would recommend this film, but not for over about 7 bucks.
50 First Dates (2004)
A very entertaining film
When "50 First Dates) came to theaters, I really wasn't interested enough to go see it. When it came out on video, I waited about 2 months to see it until it came down to the $1.99 rental price.
Was I surprised! This movie was so entertaining to me, that I wound up buying it. I only buy about 5 or 6 videos a year, so you can see that I really must have enjoyed it. It won't win any Oscars, but it will make you feel good when you watch it.
I am familiar with the condition that Lucy has here having a cousin who has a similar problem and has had it for several years. I was really concerned with how a production company can play a condition like that for laughs, but, somehow, they pulled it off. They treated the subject matter with dignity showing that the people who have this terrible condition can (and do) have somewhat normal lives. My cousin does it the diary way. She doesn't lose her memory everyday, but at different times. She has gone as long as 3 months in retaining her memory and has lost it on other occasions after 4 hours.
I am not a big Adam Sandler fan, having always thought he was a bit "over the top" in his other films. I thought he was going to do this in this film as well after the first few minutes of the movie. However, when he is shown in the diner with Lucy, he shows that he is really a nice guy who, deep down, wants to find a relationship that is fulfilling with a pretty girl.
Drew Berrymore is another actress that I don't particularly care for most of the time, but she is really a sweetheart playing Lucy. She is just so lovable in this role, it's hard to believe that she has the Demons in her past.
Rob Schneider is very good in his supporting role as is Sean Astin as Doug, the 'roid raging brother of Lucy.
Again, not an Oscar winner, but well worth the $15 or so to purchase it at WalMart.