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Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)
An early reader
See Dick work.
See Jane work.
Dick and Jane are married.
They are successful.
They have a son.
They have a nice house.
They have a Latino housekeeper.
The housekeeper teaches Spanish to the son.
The son speaks Spanish.
See Dick get promoted.
The pompous CEO is a crook.
See Dick take the fall for the pompous CEO.
Jane quits her job.
See Dick and Jane out of work.
Dick & Jane turn to crime.
As a plot device, they decide to rob the CEO.
See the robbery get botched.
See Dick & Jane fund the company's pension plan with the money from the robbery.
Yay. See the end credits.
Okay, so you've got the plot. Beyond that, Dick and Jane careens from one scene to the next. One barely connecting with the last one or the next one. The whole thing is terribly episodic in nature.
Jim Carrey didn't bother to bring his "A" material, he just seems bored and slightly ashamed of the whole thing. But heck, when you're getting paid $20 million plus, why bother. Tea Leoni is frantic. I guess I would be frantic not to get blamed for this flop.
There's just something sort of off about Dick & Jane. Carrey and Leoni aren't funny and have little chemistry. The script isn't funny. And it's not well-plotted.
But it may be bigger than that. The reality of Dick and Jane is, perhaps, a little too real. Maybe it's just not funny for people to lose their jobs in an Enron-like situation, when real-life still lacks a happy ending.
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
I want to preface this by saying I love action movies. Kill Bill vol 1&2 are two (one?) of the most amazing movies I've ever seen. I held an emotional investment for The Bride, wanted her to kick ass, and ultimately kill Bill. And yet the end was bitter-sweet because it had depth with her killing her mentor and love. Just an amazing movie experience, and now you have a sense of what I'm looking for in a film.
So there's been a lot of hoopla about JJ Abrams taking the helm on the Mission Impossible franchise. Abrams is best known, of course for creating TV's Felicity, Alias and Lost.
This is my problem: the plot of M:I 3 is all too familiar because I'm pretty sure I've seen it before.
Anyone remember the first season of Alias? The first episode begins with our spy being held captive and tortured. Then for the rest of the season, the plot flashes back to bring us back up to speed as to how the spy got there in the first place. You also find out that the spy's fiancé is in the dark about the espionage career, and is put into jeopardy because of it.
Now, I know it's been ten years -- yes, ten whole years since M:I 1, but does anyone remember that plot?
Right, someone in the agency is the bad guy.
And in M:I 2, one of the bad guys is a former IMF agent gone bad.
So for 3 out of 3 Mission: Impossible movies, one of the the bad guys comes from IMF. Dude, I think there's something rotten in IMF.
You'd sort of like to imagine that when Abrams came on board, that he might have watched the first 2 movies and thought, "hey, let's not do that again."
And the surprise twist is hardly a surprise -- trust me, you can see it coming a mile off. I was hoping for something slightly more clever like Julia (Michelle Monaghan) being the villain or that Owen Davian (Hoffman) never really existed and was always a woman in a mask & a suit.
Alas, no evil Francie in sight.
As for the acting, Philip Seymour Hoffman does a creepy enough job but he's not in the movie enough. His part ranks slightly above a cameo. Why have Hoffman if you aren't really going to use him? Cruise is bland. I understand some audiences have clapped when he's being beaten to a pulp. There's some odd awkwardness in how much Monaghan looks like Katie Holmes. Anyone else in the movie is of no consequence.
There's also been a bit of press about Abrams fleshing out the M:I characters. Yeah, well if you want to consider, "I'm saying a poem about my cat who ran away," character development, more power to you. How droll.
And for something based on a clever TV show about team work, M:I 3 still misses the boat. Probably the scene that comes the closest to the original MI is the one in Vatican City. There's some nice team work to accomplish the mission, and it's not all about blowing stuff up or shooting people.
If you're looking for a clever, funny, well-plotted action movie for the Summer, this isn't it. If you want to see a re-tread of plots from previous Mission: Impossible movies, other action movies, and various TVs shows, then this is a fine popcorn flick.
The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
Not quite a "found comedy"
Dukes of Hazzard was not as much of a "found comedy" as I had hoped it would be. Not quite dumb enough to get a good MST3K going. Obviously, I didn't have high expectations for Dukes of Hazzard, and wow was I right.
Acting-wise everyone's all over the map. Jessica. Simpson. Cannot. Act. Her dialect borders somewhere between Southern, Ditz and Barbra Streisand's Brooklyn. Johnny Knoxville is Johnny Knoxville. Not even trying to act. Seann William Scott is, however, brilliant but lacks support from any other actor in the film.
(spoilers ahead) The "plot" (such as it was) revolves around Boss Hog wanting to strip mine the Duke's farm. Now, I can quibble about the look of the land and how you don't strip mine a valley -- you strip mine the side of the mountain. And I could quibble about how the area they showed was not Northeast Georgia, where one might actually find some coal -- it was of course, shot in Louisiana. I could also argue that downtown Atlanta is not known for its numerous palm trees -- since the downtown scenes were obviously filmed in New Orleans. But I'll leave those aside.
But the kicker was when Boss Hog (Burt Reynolds) boasted that he was going to start the drilling in Uncle Jesse's (a very, very baked Willie Nelson) bedroom.
Drill? Really? Burt. Hello?? Knock, knock. Burt, did you read the rest of the script? Strip mine. When one strip mines, you STRIP away the land. You do NOT drill. Besides drilling would be less damaging to the land as opposed to striiiiiiiping it away. People might not be so ticked if you were drilling on their land.
So if you can handle the balance of a funny performance from Seann William Scott vs. shoddy directing, women who are dumb, drug references, lame acting, sexual overtones, old-fashioned Southern racism, and lame screen writing, then Dukes of Hazzard is yours to enjoy.
Men in Black II (2002)
What happened to Barry Sonnenfeld? He made three great and funny films: Addams Family, Addams Family Values and Men in Black and then what? Did he have a nervous breakdown? Lose his funny friend who was the true inspiration? Who knows? Wild, Wild West is crap, Big Trouble wasn't much better and Men In Black II just plain stinks.
And I'm not sure what's happened to Will Smith either...is it just that we've seen his schtick in an action movie (Independence Day) and in a comedy (Men in Black) and it's just not interesting any more? Maybe if he'd do something in a different genre, he might be funny again. Will go find a musical or mystery -- please don't do anymore comedies. You are no longer funny.
In any case, Men in Black II is the longest hour & a half I've spent in a theater in a long time and I want my time back. Bad plot, characters who were developed in the first film fall completely flat in the sequel, and no one's funny. Oh yeah, and there's a lame, unfunny cameo from Michael Jackson -- who cares?
If you've seen the trailers, you've seen the best parts: the post office with the human/alien beatbox dialogue; Frank singing in the car, and J's quip about the white "auto pilot" driver. Skip the movie, see the trailer again. Trust me, the trailer for Men in Black II is the
Miss Firecracker (1989)
Independence Day for Miss Firecracker
"Physiognomy": the act of judging people by their physical appearance.
As in her first film, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Crimes of the Heart, Beth Henley has created a collection of off-beat Southern Gothic characters. These characters seem familiar like old friends (or more like black-sheep cousins), ut the film goes beyond its representation of these endearing characters to explore deeper themes, to ask whether appearances are really important.
The Miss Firecracker Contest, is superficially, a comedy about a small town Southern beauty pageant, in which Henley reflects in a sardonic manner on how and why women put themselves through such contests. The pageant, however, merely frames the action. The play is ultimately about appearances. Henley introduces the idea that women shape their identities and bodies in terms of the opinions of other people, and the more important issue of breaking away from stereotypes in order to discover your personality. The beauty pageant is even held on the Fourth of July -- Independence Day.
All of the women in this play, except Popeye, define themselves in relation to the contest. Staying with Henley's successful formula of an insecure heroine who searches for acceptance from society and her family, The Miss Firecracker Contest is dominated by the beauty queen "wannabe," Carnelle Scott (a role created on stage by then little-known Southern actress Holly Hunter). Carnelle is not merely competing for the crown; she wants to win the contest so that she can win acceptance from the town of Brookhaven, Mississippi, shed her tawdry reputation, and leave the town in a "crimson blaze of glory." Carnelle's own name even expresses her sexual nature -- the derivation of her name, "carnal," means pleasures of a sexual nature.
Her cousin and idol, Elain, is a self-absorbed former pageant winner -- a Scarlett O'Hara for the twentieth century -- still living off the glory of her youth. Even Tessy Mahoney, one of the two ugliest girls in town, takes pleasure in the authority of the whistle and clipboard she wields as pageant coordinator. Of the women, only Popeye -- with her coke-bottle glasses -- is more concerned with "seeing" than with being seen. An admirer of beauty that transcends physical appearance, she serves as a mirror through which others may see their own self-worth.
The Miss Firecracker Contest continues Beth Henley's examination of the South -- and especially of small-town Southern women. In pursuing this theme, she is following in the steps of earlier Southern playwrights, such as Lillian Hellman and Tennessee Williams. And like Southern author William Faulkner with his fictitious county of Yoknapatawpha, Mississippi, Henley appears to be establishing a physical universe and a cast of familiar characters for her canon of plays.
The Catlins (1982)
Does anyone remember this show other than me?
Catlins was a great daytime drama set in Atlanta which followed the intertwined lives of the Catlins and their arch-rivals, the Quinns.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person who remembers this show, of course not only do I remember it -- I still have a few episodes on tape. Scary as it may seem, I taped Catlins after getting our VCR in 1984, and have held on to the few episodes I captured for over 15 years now.
Anyway, Catlins told a great story and it was sad when TBS yanked it. Sorry more people didn't see it.
Is there any vote lower than a 1?
This is an abysmal remake. The script is horrid. Robin Williams
flops. Time is too valuable to waste on this movie
Delightful, witty, and amazing!! A must see.
This short film from the Aardman animation tape is incredible.
Imagine William Shakespeare acting out his plays in total
silence -- what a challenge. So now you get the chance to
figure out all of the plays he's referencing!!! I'd classify
this as the ultimate Shakespeare final or the brain teaser of
the century. Unfortunately it's really too bad this video is
out of print. I'd buy 3 copies.