I was a huge S.E. Hinton fan when I was ten-years-old. I had read all four of her books that were out at the time. I loved the film adaptations of Tex and The Outsiders.
Somehow I never had seen this film before. I remember wanting to see it back in the day but the R rating scared my parents away from taking me to see it. I also remember my dad telling me that it wasn't supposed to be good anyway. I also recall that it disappeared from the theaters pretty quickly.
It is an odd movie for sure. Some thoughts.
- David Gordon Green must have liked this movie. Some of this reminded me of some of his early films.
- Spike Lee ripped off his trademark floating dolly shots from this film.
- This would be a good double feature with the originalSuburbia.
- Tom Waits chewing gum and wearing awesome glasses was a highlight.
- I loved the score.
- It is a bit overwrought at times.
- So smoky! So atmospheric! I loved the black and white. It almost felt a bit noirish at times. That's like catnip to me.
- That creepy cop was amazing.
- It even had a John Cassavetes feel to it at times.
- The occasional splashes of color (THE RUMBLE FISH!) were something else.
- That fight scene near the beginning was so funny in its choreography. Felt like a Michael Jackson video. So stylized.
- What a cast! Mickey Rourke! And Matt Dillon could do no wrong. Dennis Hopper! Nicolas Cage! Diane Lane!
- I can't believe that Coppola released two S.E. Hinton films in the same year. That's crazy to me. Now, I just need to watch The Outsiders again.
- Rusty James!!!!!
Now I wonder if 1985's That Was Then ... This is Now is any good. For some reason, I'm imagining it is terrible.
Better than I was anticipating but not nearly as good as it should have been.
Watching this film through the lens of a 4th grade teacher though, the movie is pretty darn good. I've had a number of students tell me how much they liked it. There are a few effective moments like the one in Cincinnati where a young boy watches his father heckle Robinson and then joins in to impress his dad.
In fact, I liked that entire scene where Pee Wee Reese puts his arm around Jackie - a moment written about in a picture book Teammates that I've read my class many times. It is also a moment captured in that great statue in front of the Cyclones ballpark. And it also serves as a reminder that we have to constantly stand against bigotry and hatred.
Watching this film through the lens of a critical moviegoer though, this movie is just okay. The baseball scenes are not good. The digital effects are colorful but don't feel look very realistic. The score is overbearing. And Harrison Ford is pretty ridiculous as Branch Rickey. His performance felt like someone told him he had to growl like Gran Torino era Clint Eastwood and his eyebrows were distracting. A caricature of a performance.
Chadwick Boseman as Jackie was pretty good though. He captured the quiet fortitude and the seething anger pretty well. His performance was definitely more convincing that Jackie Robinson's performance in The Jackie Robinson Story.
Blue Valentine was okay but a little disappointing. This one has an interesting storytelling structure and looks pretty cool. But I did not have the patience to get past the first third of the film.
I just didn't care.
I'm interested to see what Cianfrance does next out of curiosity. I think his ideas are interesting. But there's just something about his two movies I find a bit annoying and not nearly as engaging as he clearly thinks they are. Cleverness doesn't always lead to great movies.
I don't have much to say about this film other than it is very good. It looked great. I know there is some criticism of it for not telling enough aspects of the revolution but I liked that it didn't try to do too much.
I don't think I'll ever get sick of watching this kind of documentary - guerrilla filmmaking at its best. It helped fill in the gaps for me about some of the post initial euphoria of Mubarak's resignation.
Loved the cast. Loved the dance scenes. Loved the Jennifer Lawrence celebratory singalong. Loved the cleavage. Loved the hair, the curls, and the lack thereof. Loved the clothes. Loved the preview. Loved the De Niro. Loved the sheik. Loved the microwave scene.
But it was just a little too perfect, wasn't it? It felt kind of like a Casino as filtered through Boogie Nights rip-off, didn't it?
The 70s soundtrack was so perfectly Forest Gumpish. Short, loud bursts just so you know that it is the 70s. I know this was based on a true story but, as Dave also mentioned, I didn't buy the motivations of the characters all that much. And the ending felt forced and a bit abrupt.
My favorite review was by Neil Magnuson on Facebook. He wrote, "They should re-name "American Hustle" "Actory Acting Acting Acting!!!". What a pile of accents and shouting and hair. Low rent Scorsese wannabe horseshit.
This was a great followup to The Descendants and a welcome return to the heartland for Alexander Payne after Hawaii and California wine country of Sideways.
There's no Clooney - just a senile Bruce Dern. No sunny colorful Hawaii. Just beautiful black and white of Nebraska. Dern was hilarious. As were Stacy Keach, Bob Odenkirk, and June Squibb. And Will Forte as the straight man was perfect casting.
The movie balances humor and pathos in a nice stew of familial bonds. I liked this movie even more than I thought I would. Scene after scene of well-written characters, hilarious scenarios, and all around good moviemaking.
For what it's worth, don't go to Brooklyn Heights Cinema in the winter because you have to decide between having the heat on or having the screen become all clouded and distorted by the heat. I remember a similar problem the last time I saw a movie there in the winter about ten years ago. The last movie I saw there - no problem. But that was in a warmer month. What the hell Brooklyn Heights?
Directed by Alexander Payne
Brooklyn Heights Cinema
I have fond memories of watching the Morton Downey Jr. show with Richard Judy back in the day. I had no idea what the hell Downey was so angry about but it made for great television. I remember a lot of yelling and a lot of that Guardian Angels doofus.
This movie is insane! It is well worth watching just to see the clips from the show - even crazier than I remembered. Absolutely. BONKERS. No joke.
I had no idea about his crooner Dad or his own failed singing career or the ties to the Kennedys. What the hell did I know? I was a 15-year-old munching on Peanut Butter Crunch on Marshall Manor Drive.
Downey was so much rawer and better than the Glenn Becks and Sean Hannitys out there. They are phonies. This guy was the real Lonesome Rhodes. Such an ego. Completely out of control. He had more in common with Bill Hicks and Sam Kinison than the calculated crap of today's conservative nonsense. The whole scene was beyond surreal.
And while he never had real regrets like Lee Atwater, maybe he didn't need to. That guy did real damage. Downey simply entertained the Secaucus masses for about 18 months. And then was gone.
Directed by Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger
My 2003 review -- "The first hour of this was heelarious, the last fifteen minutes was an absolute trainwreck. But damn that first hour was funny."
Upon watching this movie for the first time in ten years, I didn't think the ending was as bad as I remembered. Maybe it was because I was watching it with the boys and was entertained by all of their questions? Perhaps I'm not as much of a cynical jerk? Perhaps my bar of what I think is funny isn't as high as it was ten years ago? Perhaps a combination of all of these factors?
Darn, that Will Ferrell sure is funny, ain't he?
Some of my favorite Double Trouble questions --
Otis: Let's watch Big Elf, Dad. Let's watch Big Elf.
Sam. Otis! It's not called Big Elf. Just Elf. Dad, why does Otis keep calling the movie Big Elf?
The boys were perplexed by the phrase "Cotton head ninny muggins." I didn't even try to explain it to them.
Sam was quite confused by Newhart speaking directly to the camera.
They kept asking me why Ferrell was taller than the other elves. It took a number of explanations before they got it. Actually, I don't think they really got it until after the movie as evidenced by some of the later questions in their post.
I might have mentioned that elves aren't real.
Sam: Yes they are!
Otis: It would be too hard a job just for Santa, Dad.
Me: Oh yeah. Right. Elves are definitely real.
At one point, Newhart mentioned that New York is a magical place.
Sam: Why did he say New York City is a magical place?
Otis: When he comes to New York, he will realize its not magic.
Otis: Why doesn't the elf take off his elf clothes at night?
Sam: Why is he going to bed early when he's a grown-up?
Otis: Did he tell his dad that he turned into an elf yet?
Me: All of the characters are made up. They are part of the writer's imagination.
Sam: No. Not Santa Claus. He's real.
Me: Oh right. Not Santa Claus.