Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cool Runnings

Cool Runnings (1993)
Directed By: Jon Turtletaub
Written By: Lynn Siefert, Michael Ritchie, Tommy Swerdlow, Michael Goldberg
Starring: Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, John Candy, Raymond J. Berry
Rating: PG
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I told you guys. I (we, my baby bro Josh included) watched a lot of movies over the weekend. This isn't even the last one. But I just thought of a way better way to start this here goes.


If you haven't seen this movie before, that should be all you need to read to head straight to Amazon Instant Video or wherever you need to go to watch this movie. But I'll do a review anyway :)

Synopsis Time:

This movie is actually based on a true story. I had no idea, until I was doing my research. Of course, the actual story happened much differently, and this version was very...disney-fied. This movie is about a Jamaican sprinter, Derrice Bannock (Leon; Get Rich or Die Tryin') who is the favorite to win the summer  trials and represent Jamaica in the Olympics. He is in competition with a few other Jamaican sprinters, including Junior Bevil (Rawle D. Lewis; Spy Hard) and Yul Brenner (Malik Yoba; Why Did I Get Married?). But as the three aforementioned sprinters are out to an early lead, Junior trips, in turn tripping both of them, and crushing three Olympic dreams with one fall. Derrice, however, is not ready to give up so easily. While "demanding" a re-trial at the Jamaican office, he sees a picture of his father with Irv Blitzer (John Candy; Uncle Buck) and is told a story about how Blitzer thought that Jamaican sprinters would be great at bobsledding. Derrice then seeks out Blitzer, and with the help of Bevil, Brenner, and his "best pushcart driver on the island" best friend, Sanka Coffie (Doug E. Doug; Shark Tale) (who is also the comic relief), Derrice sets out for the Winter Olympics....and is met with adversity on the way!

Thinking Time:

The last time I saw this movie was probably in 6th or 7th grade. I distinctly remember watching at one of those "you're a good student" parties that I rarely got to attend. But as far as movies go, it's actually really great. Of course, as I said before, It's a Disneyed up version of a true story, but the story is still an inspirational one. The comedy is clean, fun, family friendly, and it's an enjoyable movie altogether. It's quotable, and has that certain nostalgic quality about it. ABC-TV described it as "Rocky on Ice!" and that's a description that's hard to argue with. The acting is pretty great, actually, because most of these men aren't, in fact, Jamaican. These are things that occur to me now that never did in the 7th grade. It's altogether a really well-made film, despite its cheesiness (which is only amplified by being in 2012, as opposed to 1993). This, also, was one of the last movies John Candy made before he passed away. Some other current film-industry greats that take part in this movie include Hans Zimmer, who did the soundtrack for this movie, well before he was made famous by Gladiator and Pirates of the Caribbean, and Jon Turtletaub, who has gained a lot of fame since his bobsled days by directing the National Treasure franchise. There is a lot of quality film industry work put into this movie, so those are definitely two more in the "watch" column.

What Can We Learn From It?..Time:

What I learned from this movie is simple. Besides the traditional "follow your heart" "stand up to your father" "underdogs rule!" sort of motif that Disney has always got going on, I took this away:

Sometimes, your life will drastically change course. The way you've assumed that you're entire life is going to go just trips you up, and you have to use your only skill set and start over completely. I can relate a little bit, and I know that I'm not the only one. Sometimes, as this movie proves, the change can work out for the better. If you roll with the punches like these guys did, you're probably going to be alright. I make no guarantees, but...probably. :)

Also, I learned that half naked guys will sometimes be belly-surfing on a skateboard down your hallway in your dorm, at your Christian college, singing the bobsled song....


Okay. I really think you've heard enough (Sorry about that last mental image, though). Add it to your list if you've never seen it, and even if you have, you're probably about due for a re-watch. I've got a copy right here next to me if you're interested :) Watch this movie. Pay homage to John Candy, and find out what the heck these other guys are doing now-a-days. The whole thing is quite a trip. 

Thanks for reading, guys. Please, as always, leave your feedback, comments, and clicks on the clicky buttons. I really appreciate it! 

God Bless,


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Benchwarmers

The Benchwarmers (2006)
Directed By: Dennis Dugan
Writers: Allen Cover, Nick Swardson
Starring: Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Nick Swardson
Rating: PG-13
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This past weekend was kind of a "movie weekend" for me. After a Friday night with The Avengers I moved on to a sillier weekend. This is one of my all time favorite "stupid" comedies, The Benchwarmers.

I'm sure most of you are turned off just by the look of it. But, Happy Madison (Adam Sandler's production company) produced this movie, so if you are a Sandler fan, well...this is right up your alley.

I saw this movie for the first time in 2006 in theatres (and owned it since it's 2006 DVD release). I believe I was finishing up my junior year in high school. I was a with a group, and don't remember entirely who I was with, except I distinctly remember that Drew Allen and Ben Bradley were there...but I digress.

What it's about:

Clark (Jon Heder; Napoleon Dynamite) and Gus (Rob Schneider; The Animal) stumble upon a kid getting bullied on a baseball field. Gus runs them off, and finds out that Clark has never played baseball, because if he went near a baseball field as a kid, he'd get bullied. They make an appointment to come back out and hit some balls, and Clark brings Richie (David Spade; Joe Dirt) who has also never played baseball, along with him. They run into some kids upon their return that are obviously bullies, and the bullies demand that the field be given up. Gus says "we'll play you for it". Even though Clark and Richie are incompetent, Gus wins the game for them. Afterwards, they are approached by Mel (Jon Lovitz; Rat Race) who wants to start a movement to teach bullies all across the world a lesson. They agree, and begin a round robin tournament with the meanest teams in the league.

What I think:

The whole movie is really, really hilarious. It has that quotable quality that only some films have. The comedy not only uses words but is also very physical, and I'm a huge fan of physical comedy. My brother Joshua and I watched this together over the weekend and laughed constantly throughout. The message (like most movies involving or produced by Sandler) is a positive one, speaking out against bullying and encouraging people to stand up for themselves. The movie has lots of children in the cast and speaks to children, so with a little parental bleeping, (or maybe the TBS version) this would be a great family movie to watch together.

Sidenote: One of the best tools this movie possesses is the former professional athletes who have roles in it, like Bill Romanowski, Sean Salisbury, and Reggie Jackson (or as Mel says "Reggie Reggie Oxen Free"). Their participation adds not only to the comedy but to the validity of the message. 

What can we learn from it?:

It's been said already: Bullying. It's happening everywhere and it has to stop. It happened to me as a child, and my self worth even into my 20's has been crippled.  One of the hardest things I've ever had to do is turn my head away from what other people think, especially about me. I am proud to say that I've recovered from that part of my life, but some scars take a long time to heal. 

I'm getting off topic a little, but I find that I very rarely disagree with a message that an Adam Sandler movie carries, and this one is no different.

To sum it up:

This movie is worth watching. It doesn't have particularly good ratings on IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, but trust me on this one. If you've agreed with me on any of my other reviews, you'll enjoy this movie. It's funny, only slightly inappropriate (let's face it, movies today are way worse) and it has a good message. Do whatever you have to to watch this movie at least once. It's not Oscar quality, but then again, who cares what they think? :)

Please let me know if you read this!! I hope you enjoyed it! As always, comment on Facebook, on here, or at least click the little clicky boxes below! I have at least two more reviews coming soon, and thanks so much (again) for reading!

God bless!


Monday, October 22, 2012

The Avengers

The Avengers (2012)\
Directed By: Joss Whedon
Written By: Zak Penn, Joss Whedon, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stellan Skarsgard
Rating: PG-13
My rating: 6 out of 5 stars (Hey, it's my blog)

Hang on just a minute..


Okay, I had to take a nap really quick because I was exhausted after typing all of those names. The Avengers is a star-studded film, and it's probably the only star-studded film to come out this year that will be any good. I reserve the right to be wrong, of course, because if there is a sequel to New Years Eve, then, well, The Avengers, better just give up their Oscar hopes then and there.

The Avengers, for those who could possibly not know, is a Marvel comics story based on the combination of several different Marvel stories. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson; Pulp Fiction) is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., who at one time was starting an initiative (The AVENGERS initiative) to put together a team of extraordinary heroes. That has since gone down the drain, but when faced with a threat from Asgard named Loki (Tom Hiddleston; Thor), he must act. He immediately loses one of his best men Clint "Hawkeye" Barton (Jeremy Renner; The Bourne Legacy) to a spell by Loki, as well as his number one scientist when it comes to the "tesseract" (which I grew up knowing to be defined as a wrinkle in time, but in this case apparently is a powerful little space box), Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard; Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man's Chest). Down those two, and with a S.H.I.E.L.D. base destroyed, Fury, with the help of Agents Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders; TV's How I Met Your Mother), and Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg; Iron Man 2). They call in Natasha "The Black Widow" Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson; He's Just Not That Into You), and she immediately heads off to Calcutta to recruit the leading scientist in his field, and occasional green rage monster, Dr. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo; Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). Meanwhile, Agent Coulson visits Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.; Iron Man) while he's with his assistant-turned-girlfriend Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow; Shallow Hal). Tony is reluctant but eventually "comes in" to "assist Dr. Banner". Nick Fury visits longtime frozen super soldier, Capt. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans; Captain America: The First Avenger) and asks him to lead this team of (some say misfits, I say) superheroes, against Loki. After Loki is apprehended is when Thor (Chris Hemsworth; Snow White and the Huntsman) arrives, and that's when the real adventures/battles/avenging can begin.


That was a long one. I thought my last one had a confusing synopsis paragraph. Geez Louise.

Now for the review....

In all seriousness, I do not know where to start. 

Okay. Number 1, the first time I had seen this movie (at midnight in 3D in theatres with my beautiful now-fiancee and homely looking brothers), I had not yet seen Thor...or at least all of it. Now that I have seen it, the whole plot-line of The Avengers makes a lot more sense!

Number 2: This time I watched it with my buddy Graeme, who wants to make movies some day, so that was definitely an enlightening experience

Number 3: It's really fun to watch Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, especially while hurling Pulp Fiction quotes at the television while watching....not that I would know.

Now for the real stuff:

This movie is brilliant. The writing is fantastic. Nothing was over-the-top about it. The acting was all great, especially for playing such far-fetched characters. The bright spots for me were definitely Downey Jr. and Ruffalo. Ruffalo had not yet been in a Marvel film, and handled it brilliantly. Downey Jr. is ALWAYS brilliant, and he didn't disappoint. There were some funny moments, some moving moments, and some down right sad moments, but all of it fell together brilliantly. There was an always funny Stan Lee cameo, as there are with most of the Marvel adaptations, and it was just all around enjoyable. If you love superhero movies, Marvel comic books, or just plain entertaining action films...Go see it. I'd recommend seeing Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, and The Incredible Hulk first, but even if you don't, you will still be entertained.

I think that The Avengers should receive an official Oscar nomination for best picture. I'm not saying it will actually win, but it's behind only Titanic and Avatar ranking as the 3rd highest grossing film of all time. Titanic WON Best Picture, and Avatar was nominated, so I think The Avengers still deserves a fighting chance, don't you?

Anyway, thanks for reading. I know it had been about a month since I wrote last, but I'm actually like 3 movies behind, so expect some more this week sometime :)

Please comment somewhere/somehow (at least click the little clicky boxes down at the bottom and I'll be eternally grateful :)

Thanks for reading. God Bless!