Reviews written by registered user
|9 reviews in total|
While far from perfect, at least this movie featured worthy
performances, plus an intriguing (if complicated) plot line and some
good old-fashioned heart.
"Frequency" tells the story of John Sullivan (Jim Caviezel), a down-on-his-luck cop in Queens (circa 1999) whose life apparently spiraled southward after his fireman father (Dennis Quaid) died on the job thirty years earlier. The movie doesn't explore John's unfortunate circumstances much; he's shown arguing with his girlfriend once, plus he drinks some, and Caviezel makes a few sardonic comments and looks bitter. But this lack of development can be forgiven for two reasons: one, Caviezel possesses such a genuine sincerity that it's hard not to like his character, despite the fact that we don't really know him; and two, John discovers the ham radio early on into the film, setting up the most intriguing part of the premise. What ham radio? Why, the very radio which belonged to Frank, John's father! John starts to fool around with the radio one day. He picks somebody up, much to his surprise ... and lo and behold, the person he's chatting with about baseball and Queens is his father Frank -- all the way back in 1969!!
These scenes -- with Caviezel, Quaid, and the radio -- are definitely the highlights of "Frequency." The scene in which the father and son's identities are revealed to one another is engaging; particularly charming and poignant is the scene where a present-day John talks to his 1969 family (including his younger self). Thanks to the radio, John is even able to warn Frank about that fire and prevent his father's death!
Regrettably, after this history-altering incident, the film became more than a little ... confusing, to say the least. Frank appeared to still be alive, but I was unclear as to whether he was living in the 60's or the 90s's. While John's warnings that cigarettes will become the true cause of his dad's death send a positive message about health, this doesn't really go anywhere.
Even more puzzling is the big serial-killer subplot revolving around John's nurse mother. I knew the killer was stalking nurses, and I knew that as Frank tried to stop him, he became a suspect himself -- but my clarity ended there. Again, WHEN was the killer killing?! Was John's mother alive or not?! In fairness, I watched "Frequency" on an airplane... so some of my confusions could very well have resulted from the interfering loudness of the plane's engine, or the interruptions of dinnertime. I have to say, though, that I think writer Toby Emmerich simply tried to squeeze too much into his script. The serial killer plot was unnecessary. The relationship between Frank and John made for an interesting enough film.
My other gripes are minor and mostly have to do with a bit too many close-ups of eyes and such. Overall, "Frequency" DOES have a lot going for it!
Supporting performances by André Braugher (who somehow manages to look exactly the same age in 1969 and 1999); Elizabeth Mitchell; and Noah Emmerich are on the mark. I liked how the movie hinted at the importance of familial relationships. I'm not really a baseball fan, but I didn't mind the baseball elements in this movie... which were sort of quaint. Plus, I've always had a weird fascination with things like ham radios.
Finally, as I mentioned earlier, Jim Caviezel shows he's one to watch for in this earlier starring role. His own father had a brush with death some time before this movie, and it's evident in his performance that the subject matter is close to his heart. You can see the sincerity in his eyes! And that makes it hard to criticize "Frequency", although once the serial killer plot starts up the movie becomes simply too confusing to really get involved with.
All in all, "Frequency" is a movie that starts out great and slips into being merely good. However, good is good! You don't need to make a huge effort to see it, but if and when you DO see it, I'm sure you will enjoy yourself.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I might be biased because this was my favorite movie as an
eleven-year-old (it even spawned a crush on boxer/actor Tommy
Morrison)and brings those childhood memories rushing back each time I
watch it. But "Rocky 5" happens to be my favorite of the Rocky movies
... that I have seen. Granted, I still have yet to watch the original,
but none of the second, third, or fourth Rockys had the heart and
actual story (albeit a cheesy one) that "Rocky 5" has.
"Rocky 5" is directed by the same man who made the first Rocky movie (John G. Avildsen) and stars Sylvester Stallone (you're kidding!), as now ex-boxer Rocky Balboa. Rocky damaged his brain in his previous adventure, so this film has him in retirement mode. Unfortunately, Rocky's brother-in-law Paulie (the reliable Burt Young) has also managed to inadvertently swindle Rocky out of his money. Nevertheless, Rocky takes his wife Adrienne (Talia Shire), son Robert (Stallone's real life son Sage; who was a young boy in "Rocky 4", but is suddenly about 13 in this one, despite the time passage of a month or two, tops), and even hapless Paulie and moves them to the rough streets of Philadelphia -- his hometown -- so that they may start a new, peaceful life.
Then trouble comes along in the form of young Oklahoma boxer Tommy Gunn (real-life boxer Morrison), who had been more or less stalking his hero, Rocky. Tommy casually meets up with Rocky and asks to stay with him in his home and learn from him. Rock's more than happy to oblige when he sees the boxer's talent. Soon Rocky is caught up in managing this boxer, and keeping his own talent and image up through Tommy (ignoring his jealous son in the process). But some bad guys, led by an ersatz Don King character named Richard Gant, and who can offer Tommy more money than Rocky (plus a red-headed bimbo!)... notice Tommy too, and persuade him to join up with them. Tommy is naive and confused, but he finally does join forces with the Bad Guys. This wounds Rocky's soul. Still, he keeps his faith in the youngster until Tommy commits the "never-been-done" act of saying (on national television) he has someone to thank ... then pausing, leaving Rocky sure Tommy is going to say his name ... and then, of course, thanking Ersatz Don King instead. Finally Rocky fights his last battle, against Tommy. This climactic scene is perhaps the most entertaining one in the entire movie, courtesy of Ersatz Don King! ("Touch me, and I'll sue you!", he warns Rocky.)
The action scenes are well done. The acting isn't too bad either-- I'm no Stallone fan, but he's good with the Rocky character, and Morrison gives a fairly auspicious acting debut, considering. Fans of the original Rocky might not think this fifth chapter of his tale does the character justice, but I think many will find this watchable in a campy, guilty-pleasure sort of way.
"Julian Po" can be described as a darkly comedic drama with romantic
undertones. Mostly, though, "Julian Po" is just strange.
The film stars Christian Slater in the title role and, in terms of a very basic plot, somewhat resembles Hal Hartley's "Henry Fool." Like Henry, Julian wanders into an unnamed town and turns its residents' lives into a frenzy. However, unlike the joyfully arrogant Mr. Fool, Julian is glum, mysterious, and basically wants to stay anonymous.
A 30-year-old bookkeeper, he apparently was on his way to the sea when his car broke down, and he decided to stop in the little town. He checks into a broken-down hotel and immediately his presence strikes up curiosity in the weirdo townspeople. Thanks to the redneck-ish hotel manager ... the town mayor, his wife, the sheriff, the priest, etc. are all soon aware of Julian. They are also very suspicious of him! Some of them think he's a drug dealer, and the mayor's wife also convinces many of them that Julian is some sort of serial killer and has come to their town to kill again. Finally, they confront Julian in a restaurant, bombarding him with questions and demanding to know why he is there. Julian blurts out his answer; he did in fact come to the town to kill somebody ... himself.
This is where the movie gets really odd. All of a sudden, the townspeople are fascinated by Julian! They start stopping by his hotel room to chat and bring gifts. They confide their darkest secrets; they also come to Julian for advice, and take what he tells them to heart. A whole bunch of the townspeople, led by a gang of young boys, literally follow him around everywhere. The hotel manager presents him with a gun to do the deed, and an old woman even starts taking bets on which day Julian will "off" himself!
Julian is baffled by this, and vaguely annoyed, but mostly he humors the townsoddballs. And when a pretty young woman named Sarah comes to his hotel room, tells Julian she has been waiting for him all her life, and starts kissing him ... he's thrilled. (*spoiler alert*)Unfortunately, Julian's relationship with Sarah leads her to take her own life, as some kind of love proclamation. The townsfolk aren't happy with this; as a result, they more or less force Julian to do what he came to do.
Quirky as that story might sound, surprisingly "Julian Po" works. I've seen the film a few times now, and it's one of those movies I like a little more with each viewing. Writer-director Alan Wade succeeds at both of his jobs, particularly with his offbeat script. And Patrick Williams' score is lovely, haunting, and effective.
However, the strongest of "Julian Po"'s assets are its characters -- and the talented cast that brings these characters to life. Christian Slater is fabulous as Julian! Tunney brings a nice intensity to her portrayal of the sweater-knitting Sarah.
Also noteworthy, in smaller roles, are: Cherry Jones as the hotel manager's mute housekeeper sister who may or may not have a crush on Julian (though her inquisitive eyes and perpetual frown might bug some at first); Allison Janney as the gossipy, busybody mayor's wife, Lilah Leech; Jeremy Jordan as Bobby, a mechanic who wants to be a movie star -- despite the fact that he says "Are you talking' to me?!" in the same tone he says everything else; Dina Spybey as Bobby's mousy blonde wife, who pledges to do anything for Julian; and Zeljko Ivanek as the men's clothing store owner -- who confesses to Julian his crush on Leon, the town sheriff. Many members of this cast are staples on Broadway, and that shows in their performances. ("Julian Po" is in fact very play-like.)
I must also give mention to young Io Tillett Wright. Miss Wright is a girl, but if I didn't happen to know that fact ... well, let's just say her portrayal of a boy named Walter makes Hilary Swank in "Boys Don't Cry" look like the girliest icon of femininity. Wright looks like a boy, walks like a boy, talks like a boy. I guess it's a testament to Wright's acting skills, but it did make me wonder -- why not just cast a boy?
There are a few things wrong with "Julian Po" that make me unable to rate it higher than I did. One big problem I had with the movie was its portrayal of the town pastor. At first, he is just kind of overearnest. Later on, though, a talk with Julian leads to a sermon in which the pastor announces, with great zeal, that he doesn't believe in God. This is yet another similarity the film shares with "Henry Fool" ... but at least in 'Henry' the pastor was more of a doubter ... and not an out-and-out goon like the pastor in this movie. Granted, almost everybody in "Julian Po" is a goon -- but, still, I do get tired of almost all religious characters in movies being played as evil or foolish. It's so unoriginal. Religion does not always make someone a bad guy.
But my other gripes about "Julian Po" are mostly minor...e.g. the film takes awhile to get into. Overall, if you're a fan of small quirky movies, "Julian Po" is worth checking out. And if you don't like it at first, give it another chance...it just might grow on you.
I was relieved to find that Peter Bogdanovich's 1985 film "Mask" was in
no way the ultra-depressing somber fest I envisioned it to be. Paying
only vague attention to the movie when it began to air oh-so-creatively
on FX one day, I quickly grew absorbed in the life of Rocky Dennis, the
extremely deformed (his skull is large and mishapen due to "lionitis")
teenage main character (wonderfully portrayed by Eric Stoltz) -- a very
likable and easygoing guy who hardly let the rudeness that came his way
affect him. Hence, most characters in the movie liked Rocky. Nobody
made a freak show out of him, which was relieving and a definite plus!
I even tolerated Cher in the first half hour or so (she plays Rocky's tough, drug-struggling mother Rusty) and her motorcycle-gang pals. The biker character Bulldozer, who "doesn't like to talk", was very appealing. Sam Elliott was also quite good as a love interest of Rusty and father figure to Rocky. I enjoyed seeing Rocky interact with this special group of friends, and I grew excited with him when he planned his trip through Europe with another teenage boy. Cher's Rusty just had a strange appeal in the first part of the film; the way she didn't take any "b.s." from the principal of Rocky's school (who tried to condescendingly suggest he go to special school) was admirable and root-for worthy.
However, in the middle of the movie, when Rocky started to develop an interest in girls -- and more specifically when Rusty turned to drinking and drugs -- "Mask" took a turn for the worse. I regret to say that the Rusty character became very boring very fast, and that far too much time was spent on her. That first time I watched it, I couldn't even make it to the end of the film. It literally put me to sleep! BUT ... one day, when I noticed that "Mask" was once again playing on FX, I decided to give it another chance. I tuned in just as Rocky was going off to a camp for blind kids, and, thankfully, discovered that "Mask" lifted itself out of dullness as soon as its main character was the focus again and not his mother. I don't usually think Laura Dern is some genius actress like many seem to, however the romance portrayed between her character Diana and Stoltz' Rocky is very sweet. I especially liked the scene when Rocky taught Diana colors and textures in a camp kitchen, using a hot potato for "red" and some cotton for "billowy." Diana's parents turn out to be the ones who treat Rocky the worst in "Mask", but their discomfort IS admittedly realistic.
If you get bored by the middle, hang in there. All in all, "Mask" is a film worth watching! I haven't seen it in awhile, but I look forward to seeing it again... particularly after becoming acquainted with Jens Lekman's song 'Rocky Dennis's Farewell Song to the Blind Girl', which is an absolutely beautiful love song and a perfect companion to this film.
I waited over a year and a half to see "Bandwagon" -- and by the time I
finished viewing it, I had: developed an even further appreciation for
the talents of Kevin Corrigan and Doug MacMillan; discovered some
wonderful new actors and a promising new director; and determined that
North Carolina and its surrounding states were lovely, must-add places
to my future vacation list. Most importantly of all, I left this movie
thinking that I really, really wanted to be in a band!
"Bandwagon", in short, is about a band (the tag line even reads: Finally- A Movie About a Band). The band is made up of four twenty something guys who call themselves Circus Monkey. The film chronicles their climb from garages, to clubs, to touring (under the advising of a mysterious road manager), and finally to that big hookup with a record label and decision whether or not to "sell out." Now I've never been a member of a band myself, so I can't say how realistic the story is (though it certainly seems to be relatable and accurate). All I know is that this movie is a heck of a lot of fun!
"Bandwagon" marks the feature-film directorial debut of John Schultz (the original drummer for North Carolina band the Connells). You may recognize Schultz as the director of that Melissa Joan Hart mockery, "Drive Me Crazy". Please don't let that keep you from seeing this film, if so! Schultz' endearingly low-key style is quite evident here, and you don't have to be a teenager to enjoy it.
Even better than Schultz' directorial work are his script and characterizations. It's rare that you'll find such detailed and appealing personalities in one movie! Each member of Circus Monkey is likable and distinct. We have Tony Ridge, the singer-songwriter, who is as committed to his music as he is shy. Tony plays every song with his back turned to the audience (he even practices in a different section of the garage than his band mates, so that they don't see him!), and writes all those songs to some girl named Ann. He's played by Lee Holmes, who looks a little like Christian Slater with spiky blonde hair, and who has an intriguingly soft spoken voice that's very nice to listen to! Then there's Charlie Flagg, the long-haired, big-mouthed drummer who's pretty much into the band scene for the girls that come along with it. Charlie works in a record store, and his garage is where Circus Monkey gets their start. He's played by Matthew Hennessey, a newcomer who captures the mellow slacker essence of his character flawlessly. Thirdly, Eric Ellwood is Circus Monkey's bass player, a trouble making "time bomb"; he gets fired from his job after a fight with Charlie's cynical, whiny sister. Eric is played by Steve Parlavecchio, another big-star lookalike (he's a dead ringer for a short Brad Pitt) who quickly grew as appealing as his co-stars (despite some early scenes that hinted at annoyingness.). Finally, we have Wynn Knapp, the spacey drugged-out guitarist who loves to fish and has a mind "somewhere between the tangerine trees and the marmalade skies." Wynn is played by Kevin Corrigan, the only even somewhat-recognizable name in this cast. Corrigan, a gifted actor and one of my favorites, makes for the perfect Wynn. He's a master at that "lovably odd" thing (and he does a very respectable Southern accent), and this is one of my favorite performances from him!
The only other major character is road manager Linus Tate, who is brought to life by Connells member Doug MacMillan, in his first acting role. Linus, according to Wynn, brings bands to great and exciting peak levels, then mysteriously disappears until he emerges with a brand-new band. When said band becomes Circus Monkey, Linus goes fishing with Wynn, carries around a huge book (the scene where the band members finally find out what that book is is one of many great ones!), and mostly is just there for Circus Monkey ... letting them know when they're on "in five", and quietly guiding them. MacMillan's mellow, North Carolina drawl is as pleasant to listen to as his singing voice, and he gives a performance equivalent in likability to the others! Overall, the entire cast has a wonderful chemistry (particularly Corrigan and MacMillan), and even the minor characters (such as the front man for Circus Monkey's horror-show rival band Spittle, and Ann herself) are entertaining.
The movie takes place in Connells territory (Raleigh -- until Circus Monkey start touring, and then we see Nashville, Alabama, South Carolina, and other beautifully-shot Southern places). I doubt "Bandwagon" is actually autobiographical of the Connells' early days, but it's kind of fun to imagine that, since I'm a fan of their music. Like I said, it's easy for me to imagine ANY band relating to the experiences Circus Monkey go through ... that first failure of a show, the diners, the van, the first college station interview, being billed as Circle Monkey, that first jubilant time hearing your song on the radio, etc. etc.
Of course, a music movie wouldn't be much of a music movie without the music! The "Bandwagon" soundtrack is thoroughly enjoyable, and largely courtesy of musicians Bob and Greg Kendall. As Charlie says in the movie, their tunes go beyond straight pop, but aren't quite hard rock ... "ultrapop", he labels them. Think Paul Westerberg, or the Connells themselves.
I can never shut up about the films I love most. I love this film. Watch it yourself; "Bandwagon" is a blast!
I intentionally gave my review a generic title, because "Suspicious
Agenda" is a BEYOND generic "action thriller"; with its has-been star,
gazillion swear words, and rather thrill-free action scenes, Clay
Borris's little adventure in movie-making here is just waiting to be
programmed into that Late Late television time slot. Which would be
perfect, since it's bound to cure the insomnia of anyone up at that
hour. I mean, look at the title: "Suspicious Agenda". What the heck
does that even mean? And should we even care?
I couldn't answer the first question. Honestly, I have no idea what the majority of this movie is about. Most of the actors muddle through their curse-filled lines like they're reading them for the money ... which I'm sure was the case, but still. Show some personality, guys! You may be D-minus actors, but you're never going to move up on the proverbial list if you play your part with all the enthusiasm of a sleeping sloth. I kept fast-forwarding scenes, wanting to see some life, or something other than rehashed wannabe scenes from "NYPD Blue." The only semblance of life, however, disappeared halfway into the movie; and finally I just fast-forwarded to the end, so I could see his name in the credits and remind myself that there WAS a reason for my (*snicker*) spending money on this (a whopping $2.99, at half.com. That's about all the movie is worth.)
So who is this bright spot, without whom the thought of spending a mere second (much less cent) on "Suspicious Agenda" would never have crossed my mind? His name is Zachary Throne; he is an Unknown, yes, but undeservedly so. You might have caught his portrayal of Jim Steinman in VH-1's 2000 Meat Loaf biopic, "To Hell And Back." In "Suspicious Agenda" (released six years earlier), Zach plays a different kind of oddity, this psycho greaseball named Simon. On the plus side, he's a cross between appropriately creepy and delightfully over-the-top. He's far and away the character with the most charisma, plus the only actor who looks like he's into the story. On the negative side, much of Zach's 12 or so minutes of screen time occur at the very beginning of the movie, and might mislead you into thinking "Suspicious Agenda" will be entertaining. It's actually... not. But at least Zach's scenes are.
The video box doesn't even mention Simon; it just says some junk about vigilantes, and a cop "with a troubled past." In fact, it says "Agenda" is supposed to be about SIX cops. Wha?!?! The only one I even remotely remember is "Tony", and not because he stood out, but because he interacted with Simon. The parts with the two of them are pretty easy to follow, actually. Tony, Mr. Troubled Past (he's played by Richard Grieco) wakes up one morning to a phone call. Then he has to leave his naked bimbo and go try and stop Psycho Simon from killing a diner-full of hostages. Simon doesn't believe Tony is really Tony, until Tony shares a sleazy vignette involving Simon and known only to the two of them. Simon proceeds to grin and swear and remind Tony that he (Tony) "went a little CUCK-oo!" (I just love the hammy way Zach Throne says that. Also "we have a re-LA-shun-ship!") Tony's attitude toward Simon changes from calm and a bit condescending to fighting (and maybe ... killing) mad. Simon leaves the diner, blah blah, Tony beats him up, they have a car chase, Simon cackles and makes KISS-like tongue gestures, and for some reason the camera keeps showing close-ups of Zach's Converse-like shoes.
Finally, after a few boring Simon-less scenes, he shows up cackling at the police station to accuse Tony of police brutality or some such whatever-ness. This (*spoiler*) act ends in his eventual torture and death. I guess this is where the vigilante stuff comes in. "We're" supposed to assume Tony did it, but like it would really be that obvious. Unfortunately, the rest of "Suspicious Agenda" is so astoundingly DULL that I didn't care enough to find out who the real killa was. Maybe one of those mysterious other five cops. Who knows. The only other thing I took notice of was the presence of some actor name Byron Chief-Moon; I'd previously never heard of him, yet he just happened to appear in both movies I ordered from half.com that time.
I wouldn't advise others to pay money for "Suspicious Agenda." Well, maybe $2.99 but no more than that. Filmed cheaply in Canada (naturally), the movie debuted on Showtime and might still play on there. If not, I'm sure it pops up every now and then as some station's Late Late Movie. As I said, it's perfect for such a thing. I can't even quite recommend it, although watching Zachary Throne will make it an at least somewhat worthwhile investment if you have some strange desire to watch forgettable D-movies...
My fiancée and I were at Blockbuster one night, looking for a movie,
and he pointed to a bunch of titles that held absolutely no interest
for me. I didn't want to look rude, so I picked the least
offensive-looking one, a movie about journalism that looked like
something I might be able to at least sit through. The movie's cast
screamed 'Hip! Independent!' but I figured if I could browse the
Internet at the same time, I wouldn't die watching "Shattered Glass."
It started out not-so-promising. I remained on the Internet, and
glanced up every now and then to see Hayden Christenson (as reporter
Stephen Glass) acting whiny (and delivering his lines in a rather flat
voice) and Melanie Lynskey acting the way she always does in movies.
Still, something made me keep glancing up, and soon I became engaged in
the story of the rather-unlikable Stephen and his adventures at the New
In case viewers weren't aware, we find out fairly soon into the film that Stephen's popular news stories aren't quite what they seem. In fact, he's blatantly making them up ... and the movie really begins to PICK up when a geeky hacker at a rival, smaller (online) magazine notices the inaccuracies in Stephen's latest piece. That hacker and his co-horts make it their mission to set things straight... and it's not long before Stephen has turned from a young, hip reporting Superstar, popular with his staff, to a pathetic, crybaby, excuses-making mess.
The actors in this film aren't typically my favorites, but I don't really hate them, either -- and they're in top form here. Surprisingly, the actor I tend to dislike the most (Steve Zahn) is the one responsible for getting the movie going (as the hacker who outs Stephen) and thankfully, he's much less flamboyant than in other roles. Melanie Lynskey and Chloe Sevigny, both reporters and staunch defenders of Stephen, don't show us anything they haven't before, but they're decent and believable. Hayden Christenson, despite his oft-monotone voice, felt whiny and prissy throughout most of the film... but in the end it worked for his loser-ish character. And Hank Azaria manages not to offend as a well-liked editor who gets fired by the New Republic boss in favor of a guy who's not so beloved by the staff.
The new editor, Chuck, is played by Peter Sarsgaard -- and he's the actor who impressed me the most in this film. I've read a lot of gushing reviews of his performance since watching it, and I'm actually glad I watched before reading (since sometimes gushing reviews tend to turn me off). But Sarsgaard is excellent here as the stuffy, square Chuck. He, Chuck, knows the staff members resent him; he also strongly suspects that Zahn & co. are right about his star reporter, and Sarsgaard perfectly captures that awkward circumstance of knowing you're unpopular and knowing you have to make the right decision even if that decision will be as unpopular as you are. I doubt if I'll go out and rent all of Sarsgaard's films, but he actually made me wonder more than once "who is that actor?" which is rare. I give him props for a job well done! Other than the somewhat-slow beginning, the movie's most noteworthy flaw is that some of Stephen's fantasy sequences seem a bit overdone. However, there's one ongoing fantasy of sorts that might not make much sense at first yet makes perfect sense at the film's close (and nicely coincides with Chuck's status in the workplace).
I thank my fiancée for pointing to this movie.
The makers of this genuine Southern-fried film personally sent me a
copy as a thank-you for making a website about one of its stars. I feel
blessed and very lucky to own it! Ray McKinnon, Walton Goggins, and
Eddie King are all perfect in their roles; and the film nicely achieves
its blend of humor and quirkiness, with an overall serious message...
Goggins and King play the O'Dell brothers, Tommy and David. One day, Tommy calls in the Accountant (McKinnon) with the intent to help save their family farm. And, well, he gets a little more than he bargained for! The Accountant eats a lot (pickled eggs, anyone?) and drinks a WHOLE lot. He also prefers to tap out his figuring with his hands and feet, rather than use a calculator. He holds some very interesting ideas about Southern culture, but perhaps the most bizarre thing about him is his suggestion for David on how to preserve the farm. (Bizarre, yet not unheard of!)
McKinnon proves himself three times here, as writer, director, and star. I loved his accent and Scottish dance, and I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future! Goggins is, as always, fabulous (and very different from his character Shane on 'The Shield.'). He also does a great Billy Bob impersonation. Eddie King, whose filmography looks much smaller than his co-stars', matches them line for line in acting talent; he's just right as David, and has great chemistry with both McKinnon and Goggins.
Finally, I must mention the soundtrack, which effectively makes use of songs by Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Michael Hurley. (Also worth looking out for is the Drive-By Truckers' song "Sink Hole", which does not appear in the film yet was actually written about it.) Overall, the film is a must-see and a deserved Oscar-winner. Kudos to Ginny Mule pictures...may we see much more from them in years to come!
I've never seen the first two "Major League" movies, and I have no
interest in seeing them. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of Scott Bakula.
So why did I watch "Major League: Back to the Minors"? Why did I go so
far as to BUY it?! Because of an actor named Walton Goggins, that's
why. Familiar to most people as Shane on 'The Shield', Goggins appears
here as an arrogant baseball player named Billy 'Downtown' Anderson who
proves to be the true talent in his minor-league team (the Buzz).
Bakula stars as the coach of said team (downgraded from the major
leagues). Also appearing (although I wasn't familiar with him at the
time I purchased this) is Kenny Johnson (Goggins's co-star on 'The
Shield' and former real-life housemate). Johnson portrays, rather
hilariously, a team member named Lance "The Dance", who uses his former
ballet skills to help him play ball.
Other team members include a pair of twins with the same first name, a guru-type guy who wears a black hood, a surfer dude, and a geek named Doc who looks quite a bit older than most of his teammates. They're misfits, to be sure, but they have heart and spirit and all that good stuff, and throughout the film it's up to Bakula's Gus Cantrell to put these things to good use. Will he? I'll just say "guess" (and something tells me your answer will be correct).
"Major League: Back to the Minors" doesn't quite make it up to hilariously bad caliber; however, it does manage to pass the time. I was quite amused by Johnson, and snickered at silly aspects like subtitles when a foreign man was speaking perfectly understandable English. I would like to have seen more of Goggins, but his few scenes with Bakula are genuinely good for a movie such as this. (However, Bakula's character tended to annoy in his other scenes, particularly by making dumb statements like the one about his "large white buttox." I also didn't care for the scenes where his tertiary Love Interest tried -- and failed -- to have a personality.)
All in all, worth a look if you're a Bakula fan, or a fan of 'The Shield', or just a "Major League" completist.