4 Christmases

Posted in Movies on December 6th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I shouldn’t have liked it.  It’s an 82 minute comedy farce co-starring Reese Witherspoon – what’s to like?  But I actually enjoyed the movie 4 Christmases more than I thought.

So why did I see if I thought I’d hate it?  For one, it was the only thing playing at the matinee price and for two, I had a sort of curiosity about the acting abilities of two country music super-stars:  Dwight Yoakam and Tim McGraw.  Actually, having seen Dwight Yoakam in Sling Blade, I’m well aware of his acting skills.  It was such a great performance in Sling Blade that I thought it was Oscar-worthy.  He’s not given much to work with in this movie however, and his role as one of those Leap of Faith-type preachers is not very well developed.  I don’t think it’s any fault of Yoakam, though, but more a testament to the lazy script.

Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon star as a freewheeling couple who don’t see the need to marry since they’re already happy, and they don’t want kids.  The first scenes of the movie really emphasize how perfect this couple’s lives are, and it’s almost sickeningly sweet how well they get along.  Enter their extended families, and they become miserable people.  It begins when their flight to Fiji is cancelled on Christmas and they are featured on the news.  The couple (their names were not memorable) is now busted in their annual lie about travelling to some exotic location for charity work.  They fib about this every year to their families so they can avoid seeing all 4 families (each set of parents is divorcd) for Christmas.  So now that they can’t go to Fiji, they have to visit 4 sets of crazy relatives on one day and yada, yada, anticipated baby jokes and predictable chaos ensues, you get the picture.

For some reason, a lot of Hollywood stars agreed to be in this movie.  And just as I expected, Vince Vaughn was the same in this movie as the characters he always plays.  He can be funny, but he’s not very versatile.  I was surprised that Reese Witherspoon did not get under my skin because for some reason, she annoys the heck out of me, and it’s distracting when watching her in movies.  As far as the country music super-stars are concerned, I consider this movie a waste of Dwight Yoakam’s acting talent, and Tim McGraw was barely in the movie at all.  I read somewhere that he beefed up for the role, and he was hard to recognize, although I don’t really know why he bothered gaining all the weight for a part that hardly has him on camera and with barely any lines.  Other big name actors making cameos were Mary Steenburgen, Jon Voight, Robert Duvall, and Sissy Spacek – maybe it’s just me, but even though she’s almost 60, I still look at her and see Carrie the fire-starting teen from the famous Stephen King horror movie of the ’70’s.

Overall, there was only one scene where I couldn’t even watch because of its ludicrousness, so instead I turned to my husband and whispered, “This is unbelievably dumb”.  Other than that, I was entertained, and mostly because it was a holiday movie, it was fun to sit, watch, and eat popcorn.  I wonder how Christmas With The Kranks will compare.  I’ve heard that one is just awful, yet I want to see it since I read the John Grisham novel upon which it was based.

American Psycho Hellboy… Never Mind

Posted in Movies on July 24th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We managed to fit in some movie watching this week while the kids are with Grandma, and I was attempting to put them all together in a clever blog post title, but it wasn’t to be.  Probably my lack of sleep with the new baby and my recovery process has inhibited my creativity.  I hope to be back in full swing soon, but it will probably take a few months, especially because once I’m feeling better, I have lots of stuff around the house I need to catch up on and as much as I would like blog posting to come first, it doesn’t.  As people keep reminding me oh so helpfully, a c-section is major surgery 🙂  Don’t I know it. 

So the 3 movies we saw this week are Hellboy 2, American Psycho, and Fortress.

I did not like Hellboy 2.  I actually would have left the theater, but I never got around to asking my husband if he wanted to and that was a good thing because he liked the movie.  It gave me a good laugh when we were walking out of the theater and he told me he liked it because we always have the same taste in movies and I really didn’t like this one.  That also means I don’t have much to say about it except that the Abe fish-like character reminds me of C3PO from Star Wars, and I can’t believe the actor who plays Hellboy, Ron Perlman, was also Vincent the Beast in the old Beauty and the Beast tv show from the 80’s with Linda Hamilton.  I thought he was going to be some Andre the Giant huge guy wrestler type, but it turns out, he is just a regular actor.  I suppose my impatience with this movie had to do with the fact that my infection flared up and I was raging with fever yet again in the movie theater.  So even though I felt crappy and wanted to leave, I could not pass up a night out with hubby while the kids were away.  Even if it was to see Hellboy 2…  I’m just glad one of us enjoyed the movie.

Next up is a movie from the early 90’s called Fortress.  It’s set in the future – and it’s always fun to see what people thought the future would be like when the movie was made over a decade ago – and revolves around a corporate owned underground prison (think Walmart does Alcatraz).  The main characters are sent there when they break the “one child per couple” rule.  They had lost their first child, and now they’ve been caught trying to have another, so they are both sent to prison, even though she is pregnant.  This is a fun action-packed movie.  When I looked it up on imdb.com after we watched it, I learned that it is actually a kind of cult classic movie and there are actually multiple endings.  Our version was the less happy of the endings, but I still liked the movie.  It’s kind of violent for early 90’s, and if you look it up on imdb.com, don’t let the keywords fool you.  Let’s put it this way, if I had seen the keywords first, I wouldn’t have watched this movie, but in retrospect, I don’t think there was really much adult stuff in it – just violence and gore, but they didn’t overdo it like they do in some movies nowadays, like the Saw movies for instance.  American Psycho on the other hand…

I will start by saying that Christian Bale was excellent in this movie.  I wasn’t so impressed by him when he was Batman in The Dark Knight, but he definitely shows versatility and depth in this movie.  He plays a Wall Street executive who is just about as big a jerk as one can be.  Also, he has blood lust and likes to kill people in his spare time.  The movie is very strange for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on.  For one, I was confused about what the movie was trying to be.  I guess it’s just a story about this man, an American Psycho.  But at times throughout the movie, the music was strange, and it just didn’t play like a normal movie.  And then there were the constant 80’s references.  I guess it was supposed to take place in the 1980’s, given the characters’ huge cordless phones and constant talk of musical artists such as Phil Collins, Huey Lewis, and Whitney Houston.  Why they would change the time period of the movie, I don’t know, but they did a good job because if Reese Witherspoon (who is about my age and would have been a kid in the ’80’s) wasn’t in it, I would have been convinced the movie was actually filmed in the ’80’s.  And I have to say the end confused me a lot.  I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil anything, but if anyone who reads this has seen this movie, maybe you can answer a question I have.  I don’t think I’d recommend this movie since there are many disturbing scenes and it didn’t seem worth it to me to sit thru them for what you get from the rest of the movie.  I don’t think I’m going to put it on my list of baddies however, but then again, Hellboy 2 isn’t going on there either.  Just 2 movies I didn’t really like and wouldn’t see again, but I don’t feel like I wasted my time watching either of them, and that’s always a good thing.   

No Country For Old Men… When There’s Yet ANOTHER Fog Day!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21st, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We stayed up late watching the Oscar winning movie, “No Country for Old Men” last night, so when the phone rang at 6 am this morning, my husband was overjoyed about the fog delay.  I did not hear the phone at 6, nor did I hear the follow-up call at 8 saying school was cancelled for the day.  I was up by 8:30, since that is the time we have our alarm set and my biological clock won’t let me sleep past then for fear the alarm won’t work and we’ll be late for school.  My husband was shutting off the alarm when I said, “We can’t sleep too long cuz Disney has a doctor appointment at 9:30.  Look at all those delays on the tv for Toledo.  Wonder how we got spared?”  Turns out, we did not, I just didn’t hear the phone ringing and Hubby was wondering why I was taking it so well that we couldn’t sleep in after all.  I don’t understand why it is that every time we have a doctor appointment scheduled for the morning, we have either a school delay or cancellation, meaning we can’t sleep in even if we wanted to.  And of course on these days, the kids always sleep in, whereas on the weekends, they’re up at their usual 7am wake-up-for-school time.  So now, they have yet ANOTHER day they have to make up in the summer, which brings them to July by now?  Dunno, I’ve lost track.

And today’s fog cancellation means we had to drag the entire family into the doctor’s office for our 18 month-old’s checkup – which did not go well.  Remember how I said the kids were going to sleep in today?  That means our 3-year-old, who is a stinker anyway, was not ready to get up, so she screamed from the time she was dragged out of bed until we got called into the doctor’s office.  So of course, the chain reaction was set into motion.  Seeing big sis so upset made Disney upset, and now she was screaming about everything the poor nurse and doctor were doing to her.  All painless stuff too that normally would not have been a problem – SCREAM, measure her head (46.7 cm), SCREAM, measure her length (32.5 in. – tall for her age), SCREAM, weigh her (22 lbs. 14 oz. – normal for her age, but a little on the skinny side because she is long), SCREAM, look into her ears, SCREAM, have her walk across the room to Mom and Dad…  well, actually, walk to big sis Taylor since she was upset with Mom and Dad for being accomplices to all the other horrors in the doctor’s office.  When it was finally over, she was better, and in the end, she didn’t want to leave because she was really happy with a toy they had in the waiting room she was playing with while I was making her next torture date, err appointment.  The good news is that Disney is exhaused from being so upset all morning, so I should get my nap today while she takes one…  hopefully.

Also, staying up late last night to watch the Oscar winning movie was regrettable.  I just didn’t get it.  I think I understood the movie, but not why it won 4 academy awards and got nominated for a bunch more.  I liked other Coen Brothers movies too – Fargo is really good, but this one was not very good in my opinion, and my husband agreed.  Just a story about a man who stumbles upon a crime scene and finds a ton of money, then he spends the rest of the movie trying to outrun the psychopath who is chasing him down for the money.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Tommy Lee Jones in this movie, because I didn’t know he was going to  be in it and I always enjoy his work – from Two-Face in the 3rd Batman movie, Batman Forever to Men in Black, to Volcano and The Fugitive, he’s a pretty good actor and always fun to watch – even in this movie, which I would officially classify as a waste of time.  Sure, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the other stinkers I’ve seen lately, like the Night Listener or Doomsday, the standard bad movies that I judge all bad movies by, but that’s only because it wasn’t as boring as the former and not as gory as the latter.  Academy award winning movies are always a hit-or-miss as far as I’m concerned.  I used to write them off, but when I started giving them a chance, I’ve actually enjoyed some, such as the aforementioned Fargo and As Good as it Gets, to name a few.  Now that I think of it, Coen brothers’ movies are kind of hit and miss also.  Ladykillers was just ok, Fargo was very good, Big Lebowski was average, I didn’t care much for O Brother Where Art Thou, and I’ll have to see Raising Arizona again since it’s been awhile, and I didn’t realize it was a Coen brothers movie.

I think I will skip the other Oscar winners from 2007 – seemed like a slow year.  I might be more open to nominees from other years past though…  a friend borrowed us Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash biopic.  I’m not a huge Reese Witherspoon fan, but I do like Johnny Cash.  Been trying to get Hubby to watch it with me, though I’m as yet unsuccessful even though he admitted we should have watched it last night instead of No Country for Old Men.  Oh, well, now we have some Oscar-winning-film watching experience under our belt for future reference.  YES – the baby is down for a nap, think I’ll join her…  and a side effect of the fog day, actually a GOOD one – no need to wake from my nap by 3:30 to pick up kids!  Now if only the older 2 can settle down for an hour or more to give me peace and quiet…