Thursday, January 19, 2012

Varsity Blues

Varsity Blues (1999)
Director: Brian Robbins
Writer: W. Peter Iliff
Starring: James Van Der Beek, Jon Voight, Scott Caan, Ron Lester, Paul Walker, Amy Smart
Rating: R
My rating: 4.5 (out of 5) Stars!

Here we go. Only been a day and already on two round 2 of "The Archives Report". Trying to stay busy while looking for a job and watching a lot of series and movies. It didn't take me long to stumble through "The Archives" looking for movies I hadn't seen yet, when I settled on Varsity Blues

Varsity Blues has everything you want in a movie. Football, Women, and Cussing.

Just kidding.

But seriously. It has all that. And more.

Varsity Blues is the story of the West Canaan Coyotes, and their worshiped coach, Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight; National Treasure, Holes) who has become obsessed with winning and nothing else. So obsessed that he puts his All-American quarterback, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker; The Fast and the Furious, She's All That), in danger. 

And inevitably, danger gets the better of Harbor, when Kilmer puts a concussed Billy Bob (Ron Lester; Good Burger, Not Another Teen Movie) back on the offensive line and he falters, causing a career-ending injury to Harbor.

Thus the reigns go to back-up, academically proficient, and altogether underrated quarterback John "Mox" Moxon (James Van Der Beek; Dawson's Creek, Rules of Attraction), and he surprises the West Canaan world by winning his game. And, despite the coaches lack of faith, "Mox" gets his best friends Billy Bob, running back Wendell Brown (Eliel Swinton) and wide receiver Charlie Tweeder (Scott Caan; Ocean's Eleven, Entourage) on his side immediately, with the rest of the team at their heels. Although, he has to win over (or maybe just, win back?) the support of the oh-so-common "football movie female", Lance's Sister, Julie (Amy Smart; Road Trip, Just Friends)

I won't give away more of the plot than that (for those of you who haven't seen it), but as you can probably guess: it thickens.

I watched this thinking that it was just another football movie, and I was partially right. There is always a superficial feeling that football movies give when the team wins. It just happens, but looking for that off the bat...I wasn't disappointed at all.

My biggest compliment to the whole film would have to be the acting. All of the parents and adults in the football town were (to the best of my knowledge and experience) hauntingly accurate. Their obsession with living vicariously through their children and letting the football team get away with anything was something that I can't say I never witnessed first hand. Of course, we can't forget that Mox's folks ignored their non-football-playing son until he all but started a cult. 

I thought that Lester, Caan, Swinton, and Walker played the supporting roles and football-playing best friends beautifully. Each with their own element to the character, and each one delivering something beautiful to the film.

Amy Smart honestly showed me some of the best acting I've ever seen from her. I thought everything I'd seen of hers was good (being a big fan of Rat Race and Road Trip myself) but her role in this movie blew my mind.

But of course, toss the big trophies on over to Jon Voight and James Van Der Beek. Voight, being the upstanding, experienced, brilliant actor that he is, was expected to be good, but this ruthless coach (who nearly kills 4 of his players) was more than I expected out of Voight. Brilliant is the only word I have to describe it. 

And Van Der Beek's "Mox" was a 1999 Tim Tebow...with a little more of the real world on his shoulders. Don't get me wrong, I love Tim Tebow, but Mox was a better football player and struggled with some different things. His genuine nature, lovable, courageous spirit, and knack for always doing the right thing, even when it was so easy for him to do the wrong one (and he had good reason to) was what made his character so great for me. And of course, now that Tebow's out there, we know that this character isn't as much of a stretch as one might originally have hypothesized.

All in all this movie was great. The soundtrack was great (highlighted by Green Day's "Nice Guys Finish Last"). The story was real. I felt what the characters felt. I got on the edge of my seat during games, and I cheered when the fans did. If that's the goal of a football movie, then I say mission accomplished. Not as "Disney" as Remember the Titans..but then again...what is?

Thanks for listening/reading! Feedback and Similar/different opinions are always welcomed! Love ya!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Take Me Home Tonight

Take Me Home Tonight (2011)
Director: Michael Dowse
Writers: Jackie and Jeff Filgo
Starring: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Chris Pratt
Rating: R
My Rating: 3 (out of 5) Stars

 Look!! One day later and I've already made good on my promise!!! Here is my first entry about the 2011 film Take Me Home Tonight, starring Topher Grace (That 70's Show, Spiderman 3), Anna Faris (The House Bunny, Scary Movie), Dan Fogler (Fanboys, Balls of Fury), Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four, Bedtime Stories), and Chris Pratt (Everwood, The OC, Moneyball). With notable appearances by Michael Ian Black (Run, Fatboy, Run), Demetri Martin (Taking Woodstock) and Michelle Trachtenberg (Eurotrip).

This movie actually had some ringing truth in my real life, because it's about recent MIT graduate Matt Franklin (Grace) at the end of the summer, working at a video store, and trying to figure out where to go and what to do with his life. I'm going through a similar thing's January and none of my friends are home. Matt, his best friend Barney (Fogler) and his twin sister Wendy (Faris) are sort of in the same boat, except Wendy has a soon to be fiancee (Pratt) and Barney got fired from his job as a car salesman (and never went to college).

Their lives are changed "forever" when Mike's high school crush, Tori Frederking (Palmer) comes into the video store where Matt works, and she (not knowing he works there) tells him he "should come" to Kyle Masterson(Pratt)'s party.

Anyway, I don't want to spoil the whole movie for you, this all happens in the first 10 or 15 minutes. I just wanted to give you my thoughts:

I thought it was a pretty good movie. It wasn't quite what I expected, though. Topher Grace plays a lovable, little bit smarter version of Eric Forman, which was actually refreshing to see. Anna Faris plays her role well, though her commitment and love for the ex-frat boy Chris Pratt didn't really work for me. Faris and Pratt both brought their game to the characters and fit the film well, but their relationship didn't make sense. Teresa Palmer playing the "high school crush" was a great choice and she did a great job.

What I expected from this movie that I didn't get was more comedy. Grace's Matt Franklin was good, but I was hoping for a bit more Eric Forman sarcasm. Dan Fogler also brought his comedy brilliance to the table, but I just don't think the writing was enough.

Bottom Line: This movie was well acted by all of the main characters and the smaller roles. I thought the writing left something to be desired. This movie would've been more successful, however, if it had played more to the comedic strength of Pratt, Grace, and Fogler. Their characters, though, were all lovable and the story was actually pretty moving. My one wish is that they would've pushed either more to the comedy side or  to the dramatic side, because otherwise this is just an 80's version of She's Out of My League. But if you want a good form of mild entertainment with a few good jokes, I'd recommend this movie. It had the potential to be great, but all in all was still just good.

Oh, and they never used "Take Me Home Tonight" (the song) on the soundtrack. Although I must admit the songs they used were pretty good.

That's my first review. Hope you liked it!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Welcome to "The Archives Report"

This is a new blog by renown author Nicholas Allan Hogan (the First. Yes. Hulk Hogan's son was the second. No, neither is pictured above)

It is a movie review blog, but at the same time a unique one. What, you ask, is so unique about it?

I, (the aforementioned "renown author") have a movie collection that reaches upwards of about 400 films. These are mostly DVD hard copies and a few digital copies. I keep my hard copies in two big binders that my first college roommate affectionately referred to as "The Archives". (Hence the blog name, "The Archives Report"). These are not all classic movies that everyone knows and has heard of. In fact, this collection ranges from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to Star Wars, to Lethal Weapon.

Yes. It's true, I will be reporting on new movies too, but only as I see them. I will not be going out of my way. I will be reporting on mostly movies from my archives that I haven't seen (which is a lot, for movies I own) and TV shows (by season, not by episode).

Anyway, please show your interest by following this blog. I plan to get started right away...since I'm a month out of college and still jobless. :)