Thursday, November 01, 2012

Defining Our Marriage, Part 2

Make sure you have read the first part of this entry to know what it is I am talking about.  I'll continue with talking about the events or characteristics that have defined our first ten years of marriage.

Friends and Family:  We have been blessed with amazing friends and family.  Some people don't have family that they are really close to or perhaps, that they don't get to see that often.  Other people may not have a big set of friends with whom they can let loose, have fun, and enjoy wonderful times together.  We are lucky enough to have both and we fully take advantage of that.  I think we have done a really good job at balancing family time with friend time.  Sure, we have had to miss various things because of choosing one over the other, but in the end, it has been a really good balance over these ten years and we have had so many wonderful memories with both groups.

Loss:  At the beginning of our marriage, it was unthinkable that by the end of our first decade of marriage, Jess would have lost both of her mothers already.  Hell, even five years into our marriage, it didn't seem like something even remotely on the radar.  But things took a drastic turn and within a year and a half period, Jessica lost both of her moms.  The deaths, while significant and devastating because we had two absolutely strong, beautiful, courageous women taken from us, are only part of the story.  If anything, the things I will remember will be everything leading up to the actual passings: the long nights, the close calls, the teary goodbyes, the emotions, and so much more.  Through it all, Jess remained as strong as ever.  She could have shut down, she could have let the wave of emotions take over, but she didn't and through these difficult times, she showed me how strong she could truly be.

This is my memory of Jess during these times: keeping a vigil.

Pregnancy:  I wish I could say that the deaths were the only major traumatic events in our first decade of marriage.  Those of you who know us know that not to be true.  In fact we had to deal with this almost the entire duration of our marriage.  Our struggles with infertility have been something weighing on us for years.  It has brought us many days and nights of tears, heartache, worries, and stress.  It brought us to the highest of highs when we finally got pregnant, got an ultrasound, and saw our baby's heartbeat, only to bring us to the lowest of all lows when there wasn't a heartbeat on the next ultrasound.  After years of trying, early miscarriages, and scientific involvement, we thought we had achieved our goal, but it just wasn't meant to be.  I am not sure I have ever cried harder.  We just didn't understand how something we wanted so bad, how something that so many other people get to have, just wasn't happening for us, and this has weighed on us for so long now.  But you know what, we're surviving.  We're kind of getting adjusted to the fact that it probably isn't going to happen for us and at this point, we are starting to be ok with it.  We are blessed in so many other ways and even though there will always be some small part of our heart that will feel empty, we will move on and be happy with everything else we have been blessed with in our lives.

The Nephew: You know, even though we have a small hole in our hearts from not being able to have a child of our own, I have to say that most of that hole has been filled with the birth of our nephew in June of 2011.  It was hard at the very beginning knowing that my sister would be having a baby before we did, but we quickly got over it, almost as quickly got excited for it, and eagerly anticipated his birth.  And he's done more for us than we could have ever possibly imagined.  We love that boy.  Not only is he our nephew, but we are blessed to be his godparents and I'll tell ya, we couldn't have hand picked a better child to call our godchild.  When we are with him, we really don't think about what we don't have any more.  We don't feel any jealousy.  We just feel complete and total love for him and if we are never blessed with a child, he is definitely the next best thing for us.  Heck, when he is acting up, we sometimes feel blessed that we DON'T have any kids.  :-)  But in all seriousness, we love him so much and he is exactly what we need.

Love and Laughter: If there is one thing that really defines our first decade of marriage, I would have to say it is the love and laughter we still share.  Nothing has changed since the day we were married.  There was no 7 year itch.  In fact, things just get better and better.  We still leave each other love notes.  We still say I love you at night, kiss goodbye whenever we go somewhere, and hold hands whenever we can.  Someone once asked Jess, "Wow, you guys still hold hands?"  Of course!  Why shouldn't we?  I mean, we don't try to put on a show and be overly lovely to make others jealous or anything, but that is just how we are with each other.  Alone in our own home, we are still the same way.  We still cuddle almost every night before bed, cuddle on the sofa or lay down so we can get our feet or head rubbed, and give each other loving looks from across the living room.  And we try to make the other one laugh as much as possible.  We're married, but we are best friends in every definition of the word.  We actually enjoy each other's company.  We take pride in the compliments we get sometimes about how we are a great couple.  But we don't do anything special to try to get people to think this; it's just who we are and what you see; the affection, the laughter, the closeness, the friendship - it's really how we are whether people are watching or not.  It has been a wonderful decade and I can't imagine being happier with any other person.

I love you, Jess.  Here is to many more decades to come.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Disturbance in the Force?

Today's purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney seemingly came out of nowhere, at least to me and apparently everyone I know.  Like with anything, opinions seem to be all over the place.  As so many thoughts were going through my head when this came out and more and more thoughts seem to pop up by the second, I thought I would get them all down in a blog post.  If anything, I can look back on this in 2015, the year the next film is set to release, and see how much of this comes true. 

The first opinion I have read a lot is that this will be a disaster as Disney will ruin the franchise, make it too much for kids, etc.  People who have those thoughts have apparently not seen episodes I, II, and III.  Was there ever a film series that took such a drastic change in tone as this series did going from the original trilogy to the new trilogy?  The new series is totally for kids.  Lucas has even come out and said as much.  It's childish with childish jokes.  Yes, C3PO and R2D2 were comic relief in the original trilogy, but not anywhere to the childish extent that the new trilogy has with terribly silly CGI characters.  Not even the Ewoks were that bad.  And why do people automatically think that because Disney is in charge, it will be childish.  I don't know about you, but the general consensus is that the Avengers film was pretty damn good under the Disney brand.  And was it childish?  No.  Someone actually posted that because it is Disney owned, we will probably see people like Justin Bieber and other kid friendly people star in the movie.  C'mon, let's not be asinine here!  Remember that little film called Pulp Fiction released by Miramax?  Not very kid friendly, right?  Who owned Miramax when the movie came out?  Right, it was Disney.

Ok, so if Lucas is gone and can't make any more movies like the newest trilogy, then we can expect nothing but good things from Disney, right?  Well, again, not so fast.  Lucas is gone, but Kathleen Kennedy will be in charge of Lucasfilm now for Disney.  Who is she?  On the outside, she has been a very successful producer for some of the best (or funnest) films in recent times - E.T., the Indiana Jones films, Goonies, the Jurassic  Park trilogy, Back to the Future trilogy, Schindler's List, Sixth Sense, and countless other hits.  Not a bad track record, right?  She's pretty successful and knows about being involved in great films.  But just this Summer, she left her own production company to join Lucasfilm and become his second in command.  Fast forward a few months and Lucas sells his company with the stipulation that Kennedy be the new head of Lucasfilm.  It's just too convenient.  I just have to believe that this has been in negotiations for a while and that she was brought on with the big picture in mind.  So with her in charge, I just wonder how much influence Lucas will have in the decisions she will be making.  Are we really free of the questionable decisions he has been making in recent years?  I am not so sure.  Sure, she could be completely independent of him, but I am skeptical just because of the timing of all of this. 

Ok, so regardless of how we feel, a new trilogy IS coming.  They have already announced that Episode VII will come out in 2015 (which Lucas has already said he has mapped out so being totally free of him appears to be out of the question).  So the question has to be asked - what SHOULD the new trilogy be about?  Should this be set way in the future after Return of the Jedi or should it be close enough to the ending of Jedi so that we can bring back Luke, Leia, and Han?  Obviously, most people want to see these iconic characters back, and really, how awesome would that be to see these people we never though we see again?  Yeah, BUT, the counterpoint is, what if they do come back and they absolutely ruin the characters?  It could be a boost the series needs or it could leave a bad taste in our collective mouths.  I would love to have the lasting memory of the characters be positive rather than bring them back for something embarrassing.  Just know, Ford's wish was always for Han Solo to be killed off so if his character does return, prepare to watch one of the best characters off all time to lose his life.  Not something I am sure I want to see.  Or hey, maybe they will surprise us all and do it right?  But just to be safe, perhaps way in the future is the way to go.  Who knows?  I'd be willing to bet money that we will see two certain droids in the film, for sure. 

In the end, this is all happening and the next couple of years as more news comes out will be quite exciting.  The recent trilogy, despite my thoughts on it in this post weren't the worst movies in the world.  But then again, they weren't the best either.  I enjoyed parts of them, but if they had never been made, if the only part of Star Wars lore that I had in my memory was the original trilogy, I wouldn't be at a loss.  These new movies have a chance to further ruin the original trilogy's legacy or it has a chance to redeem the franchise.  George Lucas created something that is very important to me and then proceeded to tarnish it because of questionable decisions.  With him "somewhat" gone, what will happen next? 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Defining Our Marriage, Part 1

On November 2nd, Jess and I will celebrate ten wonderful years of marriage.  On some days, it seems like it was just yesterday while on other days, it seems like we have been married forever.  I know it is cliche to say this, but these past ten years have been the best years of my life, and our marriage seems to get better and better every single day.  Yes, our marriage has had its ups and downs, but they aren't the normal ups and downs that many couples often make reference to.  Our downs weren't spats, disagreements, etc, but rather they were things we experienced together and got through the only way we know how - together.  But whether they were good things or bad things, there was so much in the past ten years that helped define our marriage and make it as strong as it is now.  In honor of our ten years, I came up with a list of the ten things that really define us as a couple and brought us to the point we are at now.

- Our Furry Kids: As you all know, Jess and I are apparently unable to have children (of course this will be covered later), and so we have filled that hole in our home with furry children.  I was lucky enough to marry someone who loved dogs as much as I did and we have been blessed with wonderful dogs throughout our marriage.  We got Leia a month after we got married and she has been our wonderful, intelligent, spoiled girl ever since.  A few years later we added Orko to our little family and he was such a joy to have.  When we had to put Orko down, it was an absolutely devastating moment in our lives, but the addition of little Winston has filled that gap that we experienced after Orko left us.  We're dog people.  The dogs are part of our family.  Anyone who knows us knows how important they have been in our lives.

Miss you, buddy.

The House: What a source of both happiness and stress our house has given us over our 10 years together!  We bought our house around 2 years into our marriage and it was such a big step for us in feeling like actual adults!  We really have turned this house into our home.  We have, year by year, made it into what makes us happy and comfortable: paved backyard, hardwood floors, spa, paint, etc.  The house is totally us.  But as I mentioned above, it was also been a source of stress for many years.  A few years back, with our initial 5 year loan about to end, we attempted to refinance.  Not having ever been late on one single payment, we got very little help from our mortgage company which led us to seek a 3rd party for help which ended up going out of business and taking our $4,000 with them.  For the last couple of years we have lived under one year fixed mortgages, afraid that at any time, the rate would get so high we would be unable to keep the house we worked so hard to make into our own.  Then finally this year, under a new government program, we were given the 30 year mortgage we had been trying to get for so long.  At last, we can rest. 

Our house in the reflection

Vacations: Jess and I have been BLESSED to have been able to take so many vacations during our ten years of marriage.  Off the top of my head, since we have been married we have been to New York, Oregon, Las Vegas, San Diego, Mexico, Washington DC, Reno, and multiple trips to Tahoe, the Central Coast, and of course, Disneyland.  We have such an amazing time on trips and we really attribute it to the fact that we enjoy each other's company so damn much.  We have so much fun together and are amazed how we never get sick of each other on our trips where we spend so much time together.  And we have plenty of upcoming trips planned or in the works!  We are very lucky.

Job Issues: Jess and I both went to college, we both got degrees, we both started careers, but it hasn't always been as smooth as we would have hoped.  I was only a couple of months into my teaching career when we got married.  I wanted so bad to be a teacher growing up, and I did accomplish that dream.  But the teaching profession wasn't what I had envisioned for so many reasons.  After a a couple of years, I was already feeling it, but by the third year, I could tell I was done.  And it was hard to come to this decision.  I had gone to college for this, spent so much time preparing myself to get to this point in my life and I was going to bail?  It wasn't an easy decision, but Jess got me through it, helped me to come to the conclusion I needed, and basically supported me in whatever I ended up deciding to do.  I wouldn't have been able to get through that decision without her.  Then I tried my hand at real estate which was a very rough year in my life.  Never have I gone through so much sadness, but again, Jess got me through it.  After a year of trying my hand at that, I entered the field where I am now and have been for over 6 years, but if it wasn't for Jess supporting me and letting me know that she was behind whatever I decided, I might have gone crazy.  Jess also had her ups and downs.  From the hospital, to the clinic, to another clinic, and back to the hospital, she has had to deal with many work issues that often times brought her to tears, anger, and everything in between.  But much like she supported me, I tried to have her back in the best way possible and we seem to have both come out for the best.

 The Knee: I really can't talk about work without following up with Jessica's knee issues; something that has definitely impacted our lives during our marriage.  The early years of our marriage were fairly free of knee problems, but in the second half of our marriage, it definitely became a source of constant turmoil.  Mainly due to unlucky genetics, Jess has a degenerative knee disorder that become more and more painful for her.  Many times, and in fact, most days before surgery, she would come home from work crying from the extreme pain she was having.  It affected work, it affected vacations (wheelchair time!), and it affected simple daily life.  One surgery to relieve the pain was cancelled and put off for a few months.  Then she finally had the surgery in June of 2011 and she nearly died in the hospital because of a medication problem.  The surgery led to her being home with me for over 6 months of recovery time.  She's been back at work nearly a year now and while she is still nowhere near pain free, she does have some relief.  It is still bothersome and the pain still can get in the way from time to time, but we are better off than where we started.  But the knee has definitely been the source of many scary and sorrowful times in the last few years.

Come back in a couple of days for part 2...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"B" Gone

Let's finish off the Bs!

Movie Review #38 - Breakdown

You better pray she's still alive. 

I love Breakdown because it's 90 minutes of nonstop action.  Well, it isn't an action movie per say, but a great thriller that never has any lulls from start to finish.  I think part of what makes the movie so good is that it is so believable.  What happens in the movie really could happen to anyone so we can all relate to what happens in the film.  We can all question what we would do in Kurt Russell's situation.

And speaking of Kurt Russell, man, he is just so good in everything he does, isn't he?  Seriously, he's awesome, and I wish he was doing a lot more movies nowadays.  I can still see him as a leading man and certainly, with the revival of 80s action stars, could still be a great action star.  He is so believable as the man desperate to find his kidnapped wife.  Breakdown is cool because it is one of the movies that you find on TV and even though you have seen it a million times, you sit down and watch it.  High entertainment with little need for concentration is a perfect formula for a movie.

7.5 out of 10 cheeseburgers

 Movie Review #39 - Breakin'


Ah, Breakin' maybe the worst movie that I can officially call one of my favorites.  Well, that title may actually go to the sequel.  The story isn't TOO bad, in fact, I think it is a pretty inspirational story once you get down to the meat and bones of it, but it is full of so much cheese and so much bad acting that it would be hard to classify it as anything other than a B movie.

But you know what, I still love it.  I grew up with and and saw it so many times.  I love the soundtrack even though it isn't something I normally listen to.  I love the amazing dancing they do in the film.  I think it is fairly humorous and the characters, while mostly one dimensional, are pretty likable.  And going back to the story, when everything works out for them in the end, I get a giant smile on my face.  I get teased for liking the film, but I have no problem saying how much I like this film (even if it isn't very good).

5 out of 10 cheeseburgers

Movie Review #40 - Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo

We made it, we made it!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Ok, maybe this is the worst of my favorite films.  I at least have to hand it to the writers of the film.  A lot of terrible sequels fall in to the trap of simply rehashing the plot from the first film in a different manner.  This film, while generic, is at least different from the first film.  But it does get cheesier.  The hospital dance scene may be the worst scene in the history of the film if it wasn't for the dancing scene at McDonald's in Mac n Me.
 And the acting seems to have gotten worse.  You would think that acting would improve, but that is not the case.  The director also falls into the trap of, "Well, the story is pretty weak, why don't we just keep putting in song and dance numbers?"  But again, it entertains the hell out of me!  I love these three main characters with Kelly (Lucinda Dickey) at the top because she has the best acting skills of the group and, she's way hot.  I know I didn't pay attention to that as a kid, but now when I see the film, I have a total crush on her.

How is this the only pic of her that came up from the movie on Google?

 While not a good movie, it still holds a special place in my heart.  It is perfect 80s cheese.  Everyone has certain movies that defy reason as to why they like them.  Breakin' and its sequel are mine.  They are memorable and not just for the scene below from Electric Boogaloo.

I'm sorry.  

5 out of 10 cheeseburgers

Movie Review #41 - Brokeback Mountain

I wish I knew how to quit you.

Probably the greatest love story I have seen on film and it is between two guys.  It shouldn't matter, but there are many people who won't see this movie or take it seriously just because of that fact.  I say that their closed mind is making them miss out.  This is an absolutely beautiful movie that was totally robbed of the Best Picture win when it came out.  The fact that it led to so many jokes is understandable considering the world we live in, but for those with an open mind, it is a perfect movie.

While the story is very well written and visually beautiful, the main kudos have to go the acting performances on screen.  This is probably the first time I have seen the movie since Ledger's death and between this and his Joker role, it is devastating to know that we lost such an amazing talent.  He would have been one of the best actors over the next 40+ years with talent like that.  Gyllenhaal and the rest of the cast are also amazing, but it is Ledger who carries this story.  And a what a perfect story it is.

9.5 out of 10 cheeseburgers

Movie Review #42 - Bruce Almighty

God, why do you hate me? 

I have NEVER laughed harder in a theater than I did with this scene. 

Yes, it is goofy and childish, but man, this scene had me laughing obnoxiously to the point that people turned around and looked at me like I had a second head.  If that was the only funny scene in the film, it could be considered a disappointment, but I crack up from start to finish.  Jim Carrey is again at the top of his game and besides the comedy in the film, it also has a lot of heart with a good lesson.  Heck, I would even go so far as to almost call this movie religious preaching because of the lessons learned in the film.  Too bad some church goers would never see it because Carrey is in it.  Very funny without ever getting too far into the silly department, this is one my favorite Carrey movies and overall comedies.

7.5 out of 10 cheeseburgers

Movie Review #43 - A Bug's Life  

 It's the same year after year, they come, they eat, they leave; that's our lot in life. It's not a lot, but it's our life.

For the most part, Pixar makes outstanding movies.  There have been a couple of missteps, but overall, they can do no wrong.  This movie kind of falls in between their great movies and their average movies.  While nothing special (it doesn't have that touching/life lesson aspect that the best Pixar films have), it is cute.  The characters are all fun and it has some great voice over work.  But in the end, that is all it is - cute.  It doesn't stick with me after or make me want to watch it again in the immediate future.  I actually think the best part of the film is the credits where they made some fake bloopers.  When the credits are the most memorable part of the film, the part you don't want to end, I think that says a little something about the film.  Don't get me wrong, this is NOT a bad film, but it is not quite up to Pixar's high quality standards.

6 out of 10 cheeseburgers

Movie Review #44 - Butterfly Effect

You can't play God, son. 

I can't believe that a movie starring Ashton Kutcher stuck with me the way this one did.  I can't believe that Ashton Kutcher did a convincing job as an actor.  But both of those things did happen in this movie and it led to a pretty memorable movie that left me thinking, "What if?" to a lot of decisions in my life.  

This movie does a really good job of making you see how little decisions in life can lead to completely different outcomes in your life.  Of course, they do it to the extreme in a pretty creepy manner, but it gets the point across.  And going back to Kutcher, I actually thought he was outstanding in this film.  This isn't something he should be winning an acting award or anything, but for his standards, he did a really great job.  You really feel for him as he tries to go back and right all his wrongs. 

That leads to me to the final scene in the film.  We saw this film in the theaters and I love how the ending, while not a happy ending, does give some positive closure to the story.  On the DVD we own, it does have the Director's Cut ending which is one of the most asinine endings I have ever seen in a film.  How the director though this was a better ending is beyond me because of how absurd it is, but I am sure happy that with the theatrical release, they chose to not go in that direction. 

7 out of 10 cheeseburgers

Friday, October 05, 2012

Catch Up Mode

I've gotten so far behind in writing, I'm going to make these reviews short.  I mean, really, who of you 4 or 5 readers wants to sit and read 9 long movie reviews right now?  I'll even skip the burger pics so as not to make it look too long.  I promise to maybe never get this far behind again 

Movie Review #29: The Avengers 

The Avengers. It's what we call ourselves, sort of like a team. "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" type thing.

Per the rules, if I buy a movie that falls in a part of the alphabet that I have already reviewed, I have to watch that movie right away.  It wasn't that hard of a task.  Honestly, this is now my favorite movie ever, A title  "From Dusk Til Dawn" has held for a very long time.  What can I say?  This movie was everything I wanted and expected when Marvel started making great movies beginning with Iron Man.  It was a perfect superhero team film and I have absolutely nothing negative to say about it.  And you know what, a TON of people agree with me based on how much it made.  10 out of 10 burgers

Movie Review #30: The Black Cauldron

Oh, I'm sorry. I've ignored you. You did come for the Black Cauldron, didn't you? Good. Then climb in! It will only cost you your life. 

This is the movie that changed it all for Disney.  As far as the movie is concerned, this really isn't a good thing.  This ended up being one the Disney's biggest financial failures for an animated movie of all timeAt the time, it was the most expensive animated movie to make ever and it didn't make back that money.  A major revamp followed and it led a few movies later to the revitalization of  the company with Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.  I remember liking it as a kid, but seeing it now, I see why it was a failure.  Generic heroes, generic villains, and a sub-par plot make this a pretty sub-par movie.  It's not terrible, but it just doesn't seem to have that Disney magic.  4 out of 10 burgers

Movie Review #31: Black Swan

I felt it. Perfect. I was perfect. 

That line, the last line of the film, sums up how I feel about this film.  When I first saw this film, I was so moved by how powerful this film was, I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Although multiple viewings make it lose the tiniest of  luster simply because the shock of what happens no longer surprises, it is still a spectacular film.  Natalie Portman is at her absolute best and totally earned every award she received.  The story is equally amazing and by the time the last act hits, I found myself breathless.  Such a great film.  9.5 out of 10 burgers. 

Movie Review #32: Blade

 You give Frost a message from me. You tell him it's open season on all suckheads. 

This was a really good entry into a really good trilogy of movies.  Although not the best of the bunch, it was a really fun movie that I can still rewatch without being bored.  Wesley Snipes is as badass as ever and if not for New Jack City, it might be his best role.  Stephen Dorff is also great as the villain and the film does a good job of making an action film out of a horror genre.  The best was yet to follow.   6.5 out of 10 burgers

Movie Review #33: Blade II

You obviously do not know who you are fucking with! 

The high point of the Blade trilogy is simply a great film.  It increases the action of the first film but behind that is really impressive story that is a lot deeper than the standard action movie.  It also has a great bunch of supporting characters that really complete the film.  I'm a big Ron Perlman fan and he is as awesome as always in this film.  But again, it is the story and the emotion behind it that really makes this film so great and makes it easily my favorite of the series.  7.0 out of 10 burgers

Movie Review #34: Blade Trinity
So, can we just go right ahead and sign you up for one of our secret Nightstalker decoder rings? 

The third film in the trilogy, while good, is the weakest of the series.  In fact, it is a pretty basic action film with little emotion and a lot of stuff blowing up.  Even Snipes seems to be over these movies.  So why isn't it a total bomb?  Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel.  Biel is amazingly hot in the film and totally believable as an action star.  Reynolds is at the top of his game in the humor department and it as if he took his role from Waiting and decided to just start hunting vampires.  It is these two that make the film more than just a generic action film.  They make it watchable and even fun despite the weak script.  6 out of 10 burgers

Movie Review #35: Blair Witch 2, Book of Shadows

We brought something back with us... 

I'm not really sure why we don't own the first Blair Witch as I really like the film.  It creeped the hell out of me.  The sequel was an obvious cash grab due to the success of the first film, but I liked the first one enough to run and see the second.  Despite being generally hated by most people, I actually don't think it is that bad.  Although centered in the Blair Witch universe of the first film, I really don't think it has enough in common to be considered a sequel, but I think it is adequately creepy on its own.  Just don't call it a Blair Witch film.  5 out of 10 burgers

Movie Review #36: The Bone Collector

I gave you so many clues and you failed

I absolutely LOVE serial killer movies like this.  It's fun to see all the clues come in to place and see the detectives figure them out one by one in order to try to figure out who the killer is. This is another great one.  Now, I wouldn't put it quite on the same level as my personal favorites, Seven and Copycat, it does a really good job of being creepy and thought provoking at the same time.  Denzel is his usual cool self but his role as a handicapped person seems to lighten his demeanor a little more than usual.  Jolie is great in her role too, before she achieved worldwide celeb status.  A fun movie if you are in to that sort of thing.  7 out of 10.

Movie Review #37: Boondock Saints 

Never shall innocent blood be shed, yet the blood of the wicked shall flow like a river.

While I don't carry the same enthusiasm as any other people on this film, I think it is a good movie.  While others consider it their favorite movie or one of the coolest films of all time, I see it as a pretty entertaining film that came out in a time where Pulp Fiction was still in the back of everyone's mind and the cool, foul mouthed, anti-heroes were still all the rage.  Don't get me wrong, I do like it, but I don't put it in the same class as many others.  It's fun though.  It has a pretty good story.  The characters, while WAY over the top, are definitely unique.  It all adds up to a pretty good film.  Maybe not a great film, but a serviceable one.   6.5 out of 10 burgers

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hits and Misses

Some new reviews!  I can't believe I am already 25 movies in and am not even halfway through the Bs!  This may take forever!  Luckily, I am enjoying it.  Have another non-movie review post coming up as well so come back really soon!

Movie Review #25: Big Daddy

Having a kid is great... as long as his eyes are closed and he's not moving or speaking. 

Wait a second, I used to like this movie?  What the hell was I thinking?  Ok, it really isn't that bad, but having not seen it for years, this movie is not as cute as I used to remember.  Nor is it as funny as I used to remember.  It really is just an average movie.  I already reviewed one Sandler movie that ended up being not as good as I remember and now we have a second.  Is this going to be a trend?  Man, I hope not.  Maybe it is a backlash against the crap that he has been putting out lately, who knows.

Like I said though, it isn't a bad movie.  It's kind of cute, but I never did once laugh out loud.  And man, Sandler is pretty terrible as an actor in this film.  When he attempts to look sad and tear up, it's actually pretty painful. It looks like he is holding back a sneeze.  And the kid is pretty damn annoying.  I think the most memorable aspect of this movie is the fact that whenever I see a scuba diver, I still ask if his name is Scuba Steve.  Besides that, it is a pretty forgettable film.  2 out of 5 cheeseburgers

Movie Review #26: Big Trouble in Little China

Everybody relax, I'm here. 

Thankfully, this is one movie that has not lost any of its luster and still holds up as a classic.  Despite all the amazing things this movie has, there is one big reason why this movie succeeds: Kurt Russell.  Russell as Jack Burton is clearly at the top of his game.  He's as cool as an Indiana Jones or Han Solo character to the point that it surprises me that this film never got any kind of sequel on his character alone.  He really is one of the coolest characters in film because of his great lines and awesome charisma.

But as I mentioned, although he is the biggest reason why the movie succeeds, he is not the only one.  Great villains, a fun story, and great cast of supporting characters also contribute to making this movie such a fun ride.  It's almost like a really good comic book, afterall, the large majority of the characters are comical all on their own.  Throw in magic powers, one liners, and a setting that seems other worldly, and you have a fun, but totally unique film.  How they never capitalized on this great film and created a sequel, I will never know. However, it's probably a good thing that they never attempted to recreate this film's greatness by following it up with some rushed, subpar sequel.  A good, stand alone film is a concept that should be followed more often. 4.5 out of 5 cheeseburgers

Movie Review # 27: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Be excellent to each other

Not having seen this in years, I admit, I expected this movie to not be very good any more.  Thankfully, I was wrong.  This movie still is, well, excellent.  Now, let's not jump the gun and call this a cinematic masterpiece, but for what it is, it's perfect.

As much as we make fun of Keanu Reeves for his acting, especially early in his career, he is more believable in this role than Adam Sandler was in the film I reviewed up above.  He's perfect here as is Alex Winter.  And the amount of one liners that came out of this film were popular for many years after the release.  Hell, you could probably still yell, "Excellent!" in a group of people and most of them would know what you were talking about.  As for the film, well, we often complain that films lack imagination nowadays and that all films are too alike, but you have to give it up to this film for having a very unique plot.  And the people they got to play all of the historical characters are all so much fun and totally dive head first into their roles.  The film does still have some 80s cheese to it that doesn't quite transfer over to the modern era, but in the end, this is a fun 80s film that still holds up very well today.  3 out of 5 cheeseburgers

Movie Review #28: Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey

How's it hangin', Death? 

And this is why it is ok to just stop after one movie.  A description of the movie can be summed up simply by the movie titles.  While the first film was "excellent," the second film is definitely "bogus."  While not the worst film, or even the worst sequel I have ever seen, it isn't a very good film.  With the first film, they were able to capture a little bit of magic and put it on the screen.  You do have to hand it to the writers, they didn't just try to do the same movie by going back in time and picking up more characters.  They did try to be unique and go a new direction.  But based on the fact the the new direction ended up not being that good, perhaps they should have tried to just recreate the first film.

The new storyline is just silly.  The main villain is just comically bad.  Bill and Ted have lost some of their dumb charm of the first film and become almost annoying.  It has weird sequences with silly monsters.  It just reeks of an unimaginative, rushed film put out quickly to capitalize on the success of the first film.  The only redeeming quality of the film is William Sadler totally stealing the film as Death.  The guy simply owns every scene he is in and I would have watched a film just following his exploits.  But overall, man, this film just misses the mark.  Of course, if they ever make that rumored third film, I know I'll go see it.  1.5 out of 5 cheeseburgers

Monday, September 03, 2012

Bad Boys and Disney Magic

Movie Review #21: Bad Boys

Don't be alarmed, we're Negros. 

An up and coming action star in Will Smith and a still funny Martin Lawrence made Bad Boys a great movie when it came out.  Looking back on it now, it is still a top shelf buddy cop movie.  Will Smith showed great signs of being the great action star he would later become  (his acting hadn't quite reached the level it is now).  And Martin Lawrence was really at the top of his game here, probably due to the fact that he wasn't resorting to dressing up in Grandma outfits in order to get cheap laughs.  Plus, Michael Bay directed it.  Say what you will about his films, but I love them.  They keep me entertained even as ridiculous as they can get.

Story-wise, the plot is fairly simple, but it really stays fresh because of the banter between Smith and Lawrence.  Simple discussions about a car and cup holders becomes a laugh riot because of the two of them.  I would love to know how much of the dialogue was actually written by the writers of the screenplay and how much was ad-libbed.  I don't want to discredit the job screen writers do, but so much of the dialogue seems so random, I feel like so much of it was thought up on the spot to hilarious results.  And not only is it funny, as an action movie, it DOES have some great action scenes.  I mean, that is what Bay is good at, right?  Overall, this movie has lost none of its appeal and it is still as entertaining now as it was back then while not seeming dated at all.  4 out of 5 cheeseburgers

Movie Review #22: Bad Boys 2

We ride together, we die together. Bad boys for life. 

I'm not sure what took so long, but after 8 years, it was cool that they released another Bad Boys film.  And truthfully, they never missed a beat.  Yeah, they took it to the next level in every way imaginable and it became semi ridiculous, but it was still entertaining as Hell, maybe even more so than the first film.

In between the first and second films, Will Smith had become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and his presence in the film definitely reflects that.  He just oozes so much more charisma in this film than the first one and he takes on more of a serious role than he did previously.  Martin Lawrence, while comical in the first one, is more of Will Smith's foil in this film, being the comedic sidekick to Will Smith's serious cop.  This is not to say that they don't have comedic moments together.  There are plenty!  But they definitely have more defined roles in this one than in the first one and it works just as well.  Martin Lawrence is absolutely hilarious in this one, but he was just probably happy to do a movie where he didn't have to dress in a fat suit. 

As for the action, it takes on a whole new level.  In fact, many reviews criticized the film for being so gratuitous with the violence.  While it may be over the top, it's just for the sake of fun and it is just what you would expect from a Michael Bay movie.  Again, we are not trying to throw this into consideration for an Oscar, but for pure entertainment and action with a great dose of humor, this movie totally gets it done and I would be there opening day if they decided to do a third film.  4 out of 5 cheeseburgers

Movie Review #23: Bambi

It is Man. He is here again. There are many this time. We must go deep into the forest.

After being fairly disappointed with the last two Disney films I have reviewed, I didn't have much hope for Bambi, a movie I haven't seen since I was a kid.  I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the film.  What is interesting is just how simple the film really is.  The plot is so basic and bare-bones, but somehow manages to make such a memorable impact on those who watch it and appreciate it.

I also really like how the "villains" of the film, humans, aren't even seen.  They aren't necessary.  The threat of them are enough to make the point that film is trying to make and enough to try to put the scare into the loveable characters of the forest.  And the characters are really adorable.  They really did a good job with giving them such great personalities in such a short amount of time.  It really is a special film that is full of Disney magic.  3.5 out of 5 cheeseburgers

Movie Review #24: Beauty and the Beast

He's no monster, Gaston, YOU are!

While Little Mermaid ushered in a new age for Disney movies (they had been struggling for a few years with underachieving films), it was Beauty and the Beast that took it to another level.  Upon watching it again, I really do see why it got nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.  Animated or not, there are so many amazing elements in this film: a wonderful story, great characters, and a fun soundtrack.  Like Little Mermaid right before it, the song features so many memorable songs that have been sung over and over throughout the years.  What is great about all the songs is how well they move the plot along.  The songs aren't placed in there for the simple task of filling time.  Each song is essential and make the movie what it is.

But besides the music, the characters themselves are perfect.  Belle is a classic Disney princess, albeit one that can definitely handle her own.  The Beast is perfect as the lovable grump, and Gaston is about as good as villains get in the Disney realm.  And that doesn't even hit on all of the great and memorable supporting characters.  Throw in a perfect, touching love story and you have the makings of a spectacular film that you forget is even an animated film near the end.  4.5 out of 5 cheeseburgers