All right, it is now July (where does the time GO?), but I watched all these movies in June. Honest.
Up until the recent heat wave, this summer was perfectly agreeable for spending time outdoors, so my movie-watching has been sparse. Then came the triple-digit temperatures and oppressive humidity that makes it feel like you’re swimming through a steaming tub of dirty sweat socks, and I retreated to air-conditioned comfort. The downside of that is a bit of cabin fever; the upside is MOVIES! Here’s the latest trio of cinematic samplings.
Goons Are People Too
Based on real-life enforcer Doug Smith’s book, Goon (2011), screenplay by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg and directed by Michael Dowse, is an absolute HOOT! Seann William Scott shines as the sweet bouncer-turned-hockey player who is good at one thing: protecting his teammates.
A must-see for anyone who likes a heartwarming underdog story but especially fitting for hockey fans and anyone who likes Slap Shot(1977).
One word of caution—if you can’t stand the real violence that often comes with hockey, you might not like it here. But if you can, just remember it’s a movie, all the blood is fake, and the story is so worth it.
A Journey of Mythic Proportions
The Fall (2006) is an opulent cinematic journey through a twisted fairytale told by a convalescing stuntman (Lee Pace) to an adorable little girl (Catinca Untaru) who helps him to realize that stories can be changed, and so can real life.
What I love about this film, directed by Tarsem Singh, is not only the visually stunning scenes of the imaginary world (filmed in about 20 countries), but also the genius use of its amazing stars, who are filmed at times in moments of seemingly effortless spontaneous dialogue. I give a truckload of credit to a director who can set up his starts and then set them free in a scene. It works especially well when they are as talented at Pace (Pushing Daisies, A Single Man) and as beguilingly precocious as Untaru.
Like a cross between The Princess Bride and the coming-of-age films of Guillermo del Toro, this is a lovely film for a dreamy, rainy afternoon.
I know, I know. I kind of hated The Hangover (2009), deeming it a wildly inappropriate, puerile attempt to be funny. I could not believe so many people loved it! I agreed to watch its sequel, The Hangover Part II (2011) because it was one of those lazy days when only a stupid comedy will do. And it was free on HBO. Know what? I kind of liked it. My conclusion?
(A) I am losing brain cells at an alarming rate.
(B) I’ve lowered my expectations to meet the new level of entertainment being doled out to the masses.
(C) I might have to give The Hangover (Part I) another sporting try.
Boys and girls, we know the answer for the majority of multiple-choice test questions is C. Here’s to keeping an open mind.
The usual suspects are back, including stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha. The premise is even less plausible and stretched even thinner than in the first film, and yet, it somehow works. And it all takes place in an exotic locale. The gags actually flow smoothly from the plot (though there are gaping holes, like Phil’s wife never even asking where he was). And when Stu solves the mystery, I actually thrilled at his ingenious discovery! (Never mind that Teddy, Mason Lee, is not more upset about missing something … just another of those annoying little plot holes.)
Lesson? Maybe it’s just that sometimes a completely goofy movie is the ticket. I keep hearing the word “Relax.” Or, in the words of Nick in The Big Chill, “You’re so analytical! Sometimes you just have to let art flow over you.”
A Little Down on Jump Street
I was a fan of the original series, and of course own it since I have “everything Johnny Depp ever did.” And Johnny, along with Peter DeLuise and Holly Robinson Peete (original 21 Jump Street colleagues) appear in this supposed modern-day rehas, cleverly titled 21 Jump Street (2012). Ahem.
If it aims to pay homage to its roots, it does so crudely. Jonah Hill carries the comedic aspects of the movie, Channing Tatum struts around supposedly being the “good looking one,” and the rest of the cast is just kind of along for the ride. Though there are a few clever bits (like things NOT blowing up that should), this sophomoric flick ultimately tries too hard and falls short.
Have you seen any of these films? Chime in about what you thought! Or, add something about a worthwhile flick you’ve seen lately.