Category Archives: DVD Faves

2010 the year we make contact

As BabbleOn 5 begins a new year of movie reviews, I thought it would be fitting to review the sci-fi classic 2010: The year we make contact. I watched it on New Year’s Day again and found its message of hope a perfect way to start off the new decade.

2010, a direct sequel to Stanley Kurick’s 2001: A space odyssey, picks up summarizing the events of the previous movie. Made in 1984, the US and Soviet tensions are at an all time high and the world on the brink of nuclear war.  A monolith is discovered similar to the one in 2001, however this version is massive and in orbit near Jupiter. The US and Soviets must put aside their differences to launch a joint expedition. Once the crew arrives they board the derelict ship, Discovery, and attempt to solve the mysteries left unsolved nine years earlier.

2010 does a fantastic job setting up the multiple tensions between the US, Soviets, the super computer Hal, and the enigmatic aliens. It’s hard to know who to fear more, the seemingly omnipotent beings or the unsettling calm A.I. Hal 9000. Being less cerebral than it’s predecessor, 2010 balances the art and adventure much better As brilliant as 2001 was, there were still many critics that were turned off by its creative approach to story telling. 2010 appeals to a larger audience for both the left and right-brained sci-fi enthusiast. It’s a slow plodding plot which serves the story line well and there is still enough action to maintain your attention. 2010 has a similar feel as Ridley Scott’s Alien in its gritty and realistic art direction. This is pretty bold considering that in 1984, the world was at all time Star Wars high demanding swash buckler adventures.

What I loved about 2010 is the mystery. While there is resolution, there is still so much unexplained and left to the imagination. It doesn’t try to deliver a typical Hollywood ‘we come in peace’ message where everything ties up in a nice bow. Rather is allows you to dwell on the possibilities of the unknown and hte potential of mankind. 2010 really does capture the spirit of adventure that was characteristic of the space program of that era. It’s something that I feel we have lost today. We don’t look up in the sky anymore which is too bad.

As I mentioned earlier, 2010 ends on a message of hope for the future. Something that we could all use. This movie is not for everyone. It’s slow-paced but worth the wait. I give 2010 a 4 out of 5 Babbles.

If you are interested in other sci-fi movies similiar to 2010, check out Alien, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Solaris, Moon, and Star Trek the Motion Picture.

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Dexter: Season 1 DVD

Cold.

Calculating.

Emotionless.

Disturbingly likeable.

But enough about me, today I want to talk about Dexter, the star of the original Showtime series of the same name. I realize that the show first aired in 2006, but I have just discovered it, thanks to the Black Friday machinations of my fellow Babbler, Johnny. He, Jeff, and I have been unfolding Season 1 over the last couple of weeks, and I think I can speak for them as well as myself when I say that I like what I see.

Dexter (Michael C. Hall) is a forensics expert, employed by the Miami police department. His specialty is in blood, and his expertise comes not only from his professional work but also from his personal pastime. Dexter, you see, is a serial killer. He kills cleanly, carefully, and conscientiously; only the bad guys who go unnoticed by the law or escape the hands of justice end up on his radar and in his collection. He avoids detection himself by maintaining a façade of caring brother, loving boyfriend, and all-around nice guy.

Therein lies the rub. Dexter is a cold-blooded killer, liar, and probable psychopath. For all of that, you can’t help but like him! Mr. Hall skillfully wields both sides of his character’s personalities such ambidexterity* that you can never forget his true nature, yet you are willing to overlook it. In fact, despite his complete lack of societal ethics, it is hard not to cheer for him as he accomplishes what the police cannot.

Dexter is supported by a cadre of clever characters: Harry, his foster father who (via flashbacks) helps Dex understand his place in society. Deb, his foster sister, a rookie homicide cop who swears like a sailor and has no idea what her brother really is. Rita, his emotionally fragile girlfriend with a dark note in her own past. Sgt. Doakes, a hard-nosed detective who senses something awry with Dex. Masuka, a fellow forensics expert is played to comedic effect by C.S. Lee (whom you might remember as Buy More manager Harry Tang from TV’s Chuck).

I highly recommend Dexter, Season 1, even as I haven’t finished watching it myself. Be advised that the show does contain adult themes, strong language, violence (duh), and occasional sexual situations. That said, Dexter is extremely well-written, acted, and produced, and fully deserves its 3.5 Babbles.


3.5 / 5 Babbles

*Pun fully intended, and no doubt what the writers had in mind when they named the character.

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Twilight

In an effort to be pop-culture relevant, the BabbleOn crew spent the last two days immersing in the vampire, teen angst phenomenon of Twilight. Realizing that we were limited in our criticism of both movies (or books), it was time to expose ourselves- no matter how painful it would be. So after embracing my inner teen, I will proceed with first Twilight then with the second movie Twilight Sage New Moon to follow.

If you are one of the dozen or so irrelevant souls on the planet that haven’t heard of the Twilight phenomenon, first let me say that you are probably one of the fortunate few. But second, let me give you a brief synopsis of this first movie.

Lonely, ordinary 17 year old Bella moves to a small town and meets dark, brooding, and enigmatic Edward. After discovering his secret that he is a vampire, they fall in forbidden love and stare into each others eyes till the credits roll. That’s pretty much it.

As sarcastically, subjective as I sound, I really did attempt to go into this with an open mind. None of us read the books so we have to judge these solely on what’s presented on-screen. Like any adaptation, I assume it falls short so I tired to compensate while judging this with as much grace as possible. With that said, I thought this first Twilight movie was atrocious. As a concept I understand the appeal, in fact I recognize the real brilliance of the story in light of its target audience. However, on a technical and screenplay level it failed abysmally. The problem is that while swimming in the mire of uber-emo, teen mopy world, the basics of good filmmaking are neglected. The acting and dialogue was clumsy mumbling at best. The drawn out emotional moments between Bella and Edward are handled with such a heavy hand that you forget why they are in love. In fact, this movie seems to be less about what true love is and more about being in love with love. The director, Catherine Hardwicke, replaces genuine chemistry between actors with gothic, flirty eye games between Bella and Edward. Most of the movie really felt like an underworld version of 90210 with a heaping scoop of ‘emo’ generously poured all over it.

With a blue, drab filter, Hardwicke gives Twilight a distinct look, although not very original. Visually, she also mistakes excessive slow motion for artistic style which gets old pretty quickly. I’m not sure if it’s a casting or art direction issue but Edward’s family of vampires just look silly with their caked on makeup and cat-like eyes. And for a supposedly super sexy species they just looked like a circus clown freaks. The ‘TV’ quality of special effects hurt the ‘super-fast’ action scenes and the ‘wire-fu’ work across the tree top was laughable.

There is a potentially amazing movie buried under all this teen drama, emotion and frustration. However, Kristen Stewart’s Bella is such a black-hole of self absorbtion, that it is difficult to see anything beyond it. Robert Pattinson’s Edward stares are more looking inward, celebrating his own handsomeness than his love for Bella. I did not enjoy this movie. Not so much because of the Twilight madness or even the teen-centric themes, but because it is a poorly made movie. The CW could have pumped this one out which means it lacked a cinematic presence needed to for me to be emotionally converted to join the masses of Twi-hards. Out of all the Babblers, I am probably the most vulnerable to teen love movies, but not this time. This felt more like a 90 minute visualization of a fantasy rather than something substantial deserving it’s cult following.

I give the first Twilight movie a 1 out of 5 Babbles.

Listen to our podcast on New Moon and the Twilight phenomenon

You can read my review of Twilight Saga New Moon here:

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House of Sand and Fog…and Boredom.

Well for the first time in about three weeks I actually watched a movie. At the behest of my fellow babbler I watched the House of Sand and Fog, a dark, depressing little film that came out in 2003 and stars Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley. The story is based off an adaptation of the book by Andre Dubus and directed by Vadim Perelman. I like dark movies and I had heard a lot of hype about this movie so I decided I would check it out.

House of Sand and Fog had been nominated for 3 Oscars, a Golden Globe and numerous other awards as well. To be honest, I can’t understand why. I was not impressed with this movie to say the least. To start things off, the pace is ridiculously slow and never really changes the entire movie. I kept asking myself, when is this going to speed up? Only to find out it never really does. I understand that the pace is part of the way that the director tells the story, but there never really an established reason as to why use this slow pace ALL the time. Plenty of dark movies are made at a faster pace and only occasionally slow down.

Secondly, the plot to me was just not that compelling and lacked any real point. At the end of the movie I just asked myself why? Why this movie was even made? What is the theme or point of it? I know dark movies have dark themes and usually don’t have a happy ending and I am fine with that, but there is usually some point to the darkness, something that the audience takes away. (Man’s hubris or greed, or bad humankind treats each other etc.) I just really never got anything out of it.

Lastly, there is the imagery of the sand and the fog. Perelman works the fog in a descent amount, especially using elapsed time to show the fog in a dramatic effect. However, there is no real connection to the characters and the fog. There are plenty of opportunities to tie them together in a creative manner, but Perelman completely fails to do so. As for the sand, there is no attempt whatsoever to tie it to the movie.

 The only real redeeming part of the movie is the cast, namely Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley. Kingsley turns in a fabulous performance with his portrayal of Behrani, a former Colonel in the Iranian military who fled to American when the Ayatollah took over and is now forced to work in demeaning blue collar jobs to get back on his feet. The interaction between him and the other characters is well directed and has many poignant scenes. Of particular note is one scene where he desperately prays to Allah for the life of his son.

The other half is Jennifer Connelly. She is a bit weepy but a solid actress who portrays Kathy, a girl who loses her house to Behrani in a county estate sale to pay her back taxes. The plot involves her fighting against Behrani in an attempt to regain her property. I will be honest here; Connelly’s performance is good but not standout. The main thing she adds to the movie is her total hotness.

 I know critics will disagree with me. For some reason this movie was highly acclaimed but that is Hollywood for you, they also loved The Thin Red Line. The movie did spark a debate about the nature of Indy and small budget films, which House of Sand and Fog supposedly fell into.

 When I criticized the film, fellow babbler Johnny proclaimed, “but it is an Indy film, not a big budget film” which led me to this debate. If Indy films are supposed to be better than “Hollywood” films, then how come we give them an excuse for mediocrity by claiming, “Oh it’s an Indy film?” It is an interesting debate and you babblers can discuss this amongst yourselves.

In the meantime I give this movie 2.5 Babbles.

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Battlestar Galactica: The Plan

ThePlan

(*No spoilers*)
The BabbleOn 5 crew have been devoted fans of the recent Battlestar Galactica series produced by the Syfy Channel. We consider BSG to be one of the finest series ever produced by Syfy- which is saying very little. But even by network or cable standards, Battlestar ranks easily among the best (we considered calling ourselves Babblestar!).  The dramatic series ended after a self-appointed 4 year run much to the regret of its fans. Producer Ron Moore wanted to end the series on their terms- I can respect that. To help with the bereavement, the makers created a couple of 2 hour specials to tie up loose ends in Caprica and The Plan. We all watched The Plan the other night so I wanted to share my thoughts on it for other BSG fans out there.

  • The goal of this special was to show what the cylons were attempting to do behind the scenes- what worked for them and what plans did not.
  • It starts with the original mini-series and jumps around throughout the run of the show.
  • The perspective and story is told from the’skin-job’ cyclons, primarily through Cavell played by Dean Stockwell.
  • There is a lot of footage used from the original series with additional ‘before and after’ footage. This helps set up what and why certain events happened.
  • Ultimately, there is a common thread that is revealed that explains how the cyclons plan was compromised that affected the outcome of the series.

Overall, I enjoyed this two-hour, sci-fi distraction. It brought an interesting perspective about the happenings on board the Galactica and helped fill in some unknown information. I wouldn’t say it brought startling revelations but some interesting twists. The Plan would ONLY appeal to hardcore BSG fans. If you have not seen the series then you would not like this movie. An after being off the air for a year, I would also say it was hard to remember a lot of the series details. So this might have been better served to be watched right after a fresh viewing of the 4 seasons. If anything, it just reminded me of how much I missed the series and how I wished it was still on. So for moderate to novice fan I would pass on this ‘fill in the blank’ back story tale. However, the BSG fans still in denial, check it out and re-live the dream….’so say we all!’

I give it a 3.5 Babbles out of 5
Ratings3.5of5

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Boondock Saints: Revisiting a classic

Boondock Saints
In preparation for the imminent release of the sequel (10/30), the Babblers hit the living room box office this weekend to return to director Troy Duffy’s instant classic, Boondock Saints. Jeff and I were already well acquainted in the McManus brothers, Connor (Sean Patrick Flannery) and Murphy (Norman Reedus), but this was Johnny’s introduction to the movie that gave vigilantism an Irish accent.

Despite its being released in 1999, I had never heard of this movie when I saw the DVD case lying on a friend’s bookshelf in 2005. I asked him what it was about and he, incredulous that I knew absolutely nothing about it, shook his head and said, “I don’t even want to ruin the surprise.” Well, it’s 10 years old now, and the statute of limitations on spoilers has expired!

Set in Boston, the film revolves around the aforementioned McManus brothers and the extraordinary circumstances in which they find themselves. When a bar brawl involving the brothers leaves a couple of Russian mobsters (bent on closing the bar) with some rather unfortunate, embarrassing injuries, Connor and Murphy are forced to defend themselves from the bandaged, revenge-seeking Russians with the clever application of gravity and a commode, with fatal results. Investigating the ensuing crime scene is FBI agent Smecker, brilliantly played by Willem Dafoe.

Found innocent of any wrongdoing, the brothers then take to the streets with a little inside information and a lot of guns, determined to do what the law cannot – to take out the bad guys permanently. Described in the local newspapers as angels, they adopt the roles of those divine messengers, and the message they bring is “Death to the corrupt.” As they move from scene to scene, executing those whom they see fit, they firmly believe that they act with the blessing of and as the hand of God. Agent Smecker follows their trail of blood, unable to see how the crime scenes are related and who is responsible for them.

Boondock Saints, though visually dated (Smecker is shown wearing a Discman in an early scene), still brings several tasty dishes to the table. The non-linear storytelling is my favorite. It’s not quite as brilliant as Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction or Kill Bill, but neither is it as staccato. The film is generally forward-moving, but incorporates flashbacks seamlessly into the sequences of events. Every time you’re about to think, “How did they get there? What happened?”, director Duffy jumps backward just long enough to tell that story. He engages the viewers’ imagination and cognition, and forces them to think about what’s going on behind the scenes.

The characters of Boondock Saints make for great cinema. The brothers McManus are funny, serious, tough, scrappy, faith-driven, and, for lack of any better descriptor, unapologetically Irish. (Well, Hollywood Irish.) They take their hits and give as good as they get, even when they fight one another. The chemistry between the actors lends credence their characters; they really do act like two brothers who love each other. And, though I cannot comment on it personally, a female friend who joined us for this screening made note several times throughout the movie that Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus in tight jeans are reason enough to watch this film.

As good (and apparently attractive) as Flannery and Reedus are, they couldn’t match Dafoe for his dramatic, operatic turn as Agent Smecker. Had the McManus brothers only known of Dafoe’s crime, they might have turned their attention on him for stealing absolutely every scene he was in! In the middle of a crime scene, Dafoe tunes out the world and loses himself to the arias of investigation and forensics. He dances through the scenes, recreating the acts of destruction as though he fired every bullet himself. The construction and execution of these scenes are fabulous. For these few scenes alone, I regret not seeing this in the theaters!

Boondock Saints is part action, part social commentary, and all awesome. It gets 4 out of 5 Babbles.

Ratings4of5
4/5

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Halloween special: Trick ‘r Treat

Trick or Treat 01

At the Long Beach Comic Con last month, I was able to see a special screening of the horror movie Trick ‘r Treat to an amped up audience. Trick ‘r Treat, directed by Michael Dougherty, is an independent film that was just released to DVD. In the dark tradition of Creepshow and Tales of the Crypt, this movie tells several intertwined stories of horror that all occur on Halloween night to innocent treaters.

I will be first to admit that I am not much of a horror fan. I grew up watching a lot like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. Now as an adult, horror has lost a lot of its appeal. I have little to no interest in seeing all the newly re-imagined slasher films nor the SAW movies. I don’t mind the blood-n-guts, when used right, it can be very effect in any movie. However, to sit through a movie just for the blood-n-guts, does not interest me. So as you can guess I am not going to give this movie high marks- but please know this is coming from a non-horror critic.

For an indie flick, the production value was surprisingly high. This didn’t feel cheap to me or quickly processed. I could tell director Michael Dougherty invested a lot of time into the look and feel of the film. The blood is ample but not too overboard. The music and sound effects are very strong. There is a large and likeable cast. The creep factor is fairly solid too. I think the best part I liked was  the twist endings for each of the vignettes. Now the here comes the blood…

Trick or Treat 02

I ended up walking out of the film about 3/4 of the way through. The disturbing element that made me not enjoy this was the extreme violence towards children. We are not talking teenagers but kids 8 to 12 years old. They are poisoned, beaten, decapitated and eaten. It started to make me a little sick, especially since I was sitting right in front of an 8 year old boy at the screening (come on parents!). Part of it is because I am a father of young kids, another part is the fact that we are starting to become desensitized to hurting kids in our culture. I usually can separate myself from the movie experience but I had to draw the line with this one. So I left and had another Babbler tell me what happened. So while many elements were solid, I don’t think I would recommend this movie just from a moral standpoint. So for me, I would have prefered a trick over this treat.

I give it 2 Babbles out of 5.
Ratings2of5

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The Black Dog of Patrick Swazye

Black Dog 2

With Patrick Swayze doing in depth research for his role in Ghost 2, and everyone is lauding his work on Dirty Dancing, I would like to a moment to remember him for movie I am still trying to forget: Black Dog.

It came out in 1998 and Swayze plays a trucker who is forced to run an illegal load for the mob and must find a clever way to thwart them without getting into trouble with the law. I must admit I got suckered into seeing this movie by my good friend and Babblon5 reader Andrew McMahan, but hey what are friends for?

The warning that I should not see this movie was that it stars Meatloaf. I hate Meatloaf, even with ketchup. (Ba-dum-bum) As a general rule, don’t see a movie with a guy named Meatloaf in it. The second warning was that it stared Randy Travis as well. Something about musician-actor crossovers just doesn’t work very well. (With a few exceptions like Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg etc.) The last warning was that it was a movie about trucking which speaks for itself.

Anyhow, this movie is pretty lame and probably not how Swayze want to be remembered, yet this movie has still scarred my soul. For the record, the term black dog is a trucker term. It refers to an imaginary black dog that truckers who are tired from a late night long haul think they see and swerve to miss, thus getting into a wreck, which is ironic since this movie was a wreck.

It did however give us this great line from Randy Travis, “You saw it didn’t you, last night, you saw the black dog.” 

If TNT does a Patrick Swayze marathon, skip it, he is in the dog house for this one.

Surprisingly they did not use the great Led Zepplin song “Black Dog” in the movie. I guess they didn’t want to defame it.

It’s been years since I have seen it so it isn’t fresh in my mind, but I would probably give this half a babble out of 5.Ratings0.5of5

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Catch Me If You Can

Guest BabblOn reviewer: Kevin Kim of Hour9 

tomcheck

NOTE: spoiler alert

Last weekend, I was able to watch Catch Me If You Can on cable syndication. Though I had watched it before, I had never seen it from beginning to end and realized that I never caught the full essence of the movie. If you don’t know anything about the movie, it’s “a based on a true story” flick, directed by Steven Spielberg, about Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his exceptional con-artistry starting at the age of 16 and eventual amassing of over $2.4 million dollars (in real life).

The beginning of the film is the most powerful part of the film and really sets the backdrop for all the things that Abagnale does and works for in this movie. Abagnale idolizes his father (Abagnale Sr., Christopher Walken) who himself was a smooth talker, but also loses their home due to a series of tax frauds. This creates a downward spiral for the Abagnale family, with a divorce and ending with Frank running away from home at the age of 16.

Frank runs away from the pain of his parents’ divorce and into the illusion of being somebody else and using someone else’s money in order to get his parents back together. He goes on to impersonate a pilot, doctor and lawyer as well as learning how to write and create fake checks. DiCaprio plays each part to the T, where I really believed he could be each persona and bought into how well Abagnale could learn and study the intricacies and details of each profession. He does it perfectly.

leo

He’s eventually caught by Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) the FBI agent who had been tracking him down for years. He goes to jail for a short time, before Hanratty realizes that he can be an asset to the FBI and their check fraud division where Carl and Frank eventually become good friends.

The movie ends with a scene of Frank and Carl together with rolling credits about Frank’s real-life information. After effectively bringing down other check-frauders in the U.S., Frank goes on to create a company that has helped over 14,000 companies with fraud prevention issues.

I loved this movie so much more after seeing the beginning. The greatest part of  the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. is that the initial pain of his parents’ divorce and the relationship he worked so hard to bring back together, was actually the source of his greatest contribution to society. If he never suffered the pain of his parents’ split, there would be no impersonating, no check fraud, none of the check fraud prevention strategies on most of our checks today. Maybe Frank Abagnale wasn’t running away from being caught by the law, but being forced to face his pain and live in reality.

Frank Abagnale paid his debt to society.  By being forced into reality, he went on to change the world by helping prevent the very thing he ran from…being himself.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5 Babbles
Ratings4.5of5

Special thanks to Kevin. You can visit his blog at: Hour9

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Patrick Swayze: Dirty Dancer

patrick-swayze

Hollywood was dealt another blow with a loss of another beloved icon of the 80′s in Patrick Swayze. Swayze died yesterday at age 57 after a year long battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Despite enormous success a couple of decades ago, Swayze did not live the typical Hollywood, high profile life. Instead he would submerge himself in his private life between projects. Some in the public (especially the young generation) may have forgotten about him, but not me.

While Swayze was apart of some big roles like The Outsiders and Ghost there was another special movie that really connected with me in my youth- Dirty Dancing (1987). I remember when the movie came out, I was 16, full of hormones and lost in the tumultrous years of teenhood. My first thoughts was that it was another silly romantic comedy that so embodied so many movies in that era of cinema. So I dismissed it. It left the theaters and it wasn’t until my friends and I rented it (on VHS) that it caught my attention. The funny thing was that I didn’t really watch it that night. Dirty Dancing was playing in the background while we all just hung out and goofed off. There were girls in the room and I wasn’t going to let a movie distract me from the attention of the ladies. However, occasionally I would glance over at the TV and would briefly be interested. I wanted to watch more but didn’t want the other guys to think I was too interested in this ‘chick flick’. Since I was the one that rented the tape, I took it home with me that night- and watched it all over again.  

dirtydancing

I loved this movie. I never admitted it in my teen years but I bought the tape and watched it dozens of times throughout high school. I bought the records (yes records and yes there was two of them!). Dirty Dancing was the late 80′s generation version of Grease. It was a coming of age story and about overcoming fear, family, and traditionalism with courage. As a young artist, I remember identifying with Swayze’s character of Johnny Castle (without the muscles or good looks!). His character was made to create even if that meant pain and sacrifice. Dirty Dancing was also about breaking out of the bonds of family and believing in yourself. Topically it was typical teen drama faire but it did it with heart, soul, and a fantastic soundtrack. It had a powerful impact on my life during those formative years. I used to day dream about saying “no-one puts Baby in a corner…” to the dad of a potential girlfriend someday. While this post is not a Dirty Dancing review, I will take the opportunity to give it 4.5 out of 5 Babbles and encourage you to watch or re-watch it again.
Ratings4.5of5

Swayze died like the character he portrayed in Dirty dancing; a man of character, passion, and love. You will be missed Mr Swayze. Thanks for dancing and thanks for not leaving Baby in the corner. I end my post with an excerpt from the LA Times about him:

The truth is, Swayze just never fit the Hollywood hunk mold, though he had that reddish brown hair, blue-sky eyes, chiseled cheeks and equally chiseled abs going for him. There were no strange eccentricities, no sex tapes to be leaked. He was, by all accounts, a professional on set, a worthy colleague for any actor who played opposite him whether friend or foe; kind to the crew; generous to a fault; sentimental and not ashamed of it.

Maybe that’s in part because Swayze was really never raised for this world. A Houston native who grew up dancing and riding horses, he married the love of his life, Lisa Niemi, when they were still young. They stayed together more than 34 years, until the end, spending their time just outside L.A. Swayze’s values were rooted in this country’s heartland ethics, and like his Texas twang, they stayed with him, he held them close. The actor had no taste for the tabloid culture and until he was dying, it had no taste for him
 

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I Like You Man? Or I Love You Man?

I love you man

Well this week I gathered around the ‘ole flat screen, high def. TV with the roomies and watched I Love You Man. I have to admit, when it came out I didn’t think it looked very good, but after it got decent reviews and was recommended by several friends, I went ahead and watched it and you know, I didn’t love it, but I liked I Love You Man. It was fairly clever and enjoyable.

Not a lot of big star power in this one, the biggest name is a slightly lost looking Andy Samberg, but also noteworthy is J.K. Simmons and Jon Favreau. Additionally, up and coming Rashida Jones stars as Paul Rudd’s boyfriend. You may recognize her as the new little darling of NBC, having starred in The Office for a while and in Parks and Recreation. (Is that even still on?)

This movie basically follows the life of Peter Klaven, a man who has had nothing but girlfriends his entire life and now, with the approach of his wedding, realizes he has no guy friends to be his groomsmen/best man. He then embarks upon a quest to make such acquaintances. Enter Sydney Fife (Greg Levine) the quintessential guy’s guy. He is rude, crass and a total slacker. He is exactly what Peter needs.

They soon hit it off and their misadventures begin. From drunken binges, Rush concerts, late night rock outs and even a fight with Lou Ferrigno, the two quickly bond and learn quite a bit about friendship a long the way.

This movie is funny and clever and explores the perverse inner workings of male friendships. (aka the Bromance) It is pretty crass at parts, so I wouldn’t let the kiddo’s see it, but otherwise it worth a rental. Girls will get a lot out of it as well, since not only does the movie explore the guy’s friendship, but it also explores how Peter fiancée must learn to deal with this new aspect of his life as well.

One thing I did like was that the movie really embraces male friendships in a realistic way. To many movies suggest that because a couple of guys are close, they must be gay, but this movie dealt with the issue in a comedic yet honest way. I have to admit, I love my guy friends like brothers. I probably wouldn’t be here now without them and Babbleon5 is even a result of some of those friendships, so it was good to see a movie that pays tribute to such camaraderie.

One thing I didn’t really like was Andy Sambergs roll in the film. He stars as Peter’s younger gay brother. Normally I like Samberg but he just seemed a little lost. I expected more out of his character. At any given point I fully expected him to burst out into the crazy antics he is known for but nothing really ever developed. It is like waiting for a bomb to go off that never explodes. To be fair, he didn’t detract from the movie, but he never really added much to it either. It seems rather obvious they just added him in for some name recognition.

In the end I would recommend this movie for a nice fun evening at home. Call your buddies over, play some cards, crack open some brews and then cuddle together on the couch and hang out with your dudes.

I give this movie 3.5 Babbles.

Ratings3.5of5

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Amélie – Far better late than never!

This weekend found Jeff, Johnny, Rhino, and me at the OC Fair in Costa Mesa, CA. After wandering the fairgrounds, peeking inside Weird Al Yankovic’s brain, and consuming turkey legs, grilled corn, and deep fried comestibles, we retired to the house to watch a movie. After deliberating for several minutes, we decided on Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain, or Amélie. As it so happened, I was the only one of the group that had never seen it, but the other fellows liked it so much that they were all eager to see it again.

I can see why all of my friends fell in love with Audrey Tautou some eight years ago. Playing the title character, she is absolutely delightful in this movie; she is imaginative, funny, quirky, cute, and absolutely adorable. As this was my first exposure to Ms Tautou, I’m not sure I can separate the actress from the role, either! (Though to be fair to actress Flora Guiet, the scenes depicting a young Amélie, though few, were as funny as the rest of the film and set my expectations high.) Continue reading

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