Sunday, June 26, 2005

Forrest Gump - 1994

Yet another great movie (what a year!). This movie chronicles the life of a very sweet man with a room temperture IQ who happens to be present at the largest events of history. From meeting Elvis to repeated trips to the White House he sees it all. This movie fits the boomer lifespan to a tee and most of been like a greatest hits album for that generation.
But what makes it great is the central theme of the movie. Love denied. Worse than that, love acknowledged but rejected. Forrest has fallen in love with his gradeschool friend, Jenny. She's suffered abuse while young and subsequently turned to a path of destruction. The yin of Forrest's purity and the yang of Jenny's darkness is quite striking. And heartbreaking.
The soundtrack of this movie is outstanding. Kind of a popular soundtrack of life from the late 50's to the late 70's. Paired with very good cinema the effect is striking.
Seen this movie about a half dozen times and was struck for the first time by the Vietnam era Washington DC protest section of the movie. The anti-war parallels to our modern day are unmistakable. That we haven't gotten to the quasi military groups like the Black Panthers yet is a saving grace. Let's hope we never do again.

Four Weddings and a Funeral - 1994

I've struggled with putting a review of this movie together. It's not impossible, but just hasn't come together. In it's place, let me just say a few things and then some notes. This is a great comedy. One of the best of the 90's. Long thought that the Oscars should seperate out dramas and comedies when handing out awards. They could make it a three movie nomination like they do with animated films. The comparison between a top shelf comedy and a top shelf drama are just too difficult. In the end, the seriousness of the drama almost always outweighs the lightness of the comedy. A perfect comedy would place second to a great drama. (Expect more on this with 'Private Ryan' vs 'Shakespeare in Love'.)
First film I saw Hugh Grant in and you can count me as a fan. The dialouge is witty and fun. The delivery is utterly charming. I'll leave his general attractivness to women in general but he seems to score well there.
Andie Mcdowell is really not very good. Pretty to look at but a poor actress. Usually bad actresses pick bad movies, but she seems to be the exception. 'Four Weddings...' and 'Groundhog Day' are both very good movies in spite of her.
This movie seems to be like 'Big Chill' in that it launched a number of careers into higher orbits. Simon Callow (Gareth) is probably the best of the cast and I wish I had colored waistcoats like his. His partner, John Hannah, is also very good.
The music in this movie is pretty bad. The Gershwin covers in particular are awful. Nothings perfect, right?
Overall a very good movie.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

AFI's 100 top movie quotes

Watched the special on TV last night in which AFI released their top 100 movie quotes of all time. Well, watched parts of it. A trip to target wiped out the middle. Here's the list. I'm tempted to go through it and critique but time and not having seen all of the films will stop that. But a few things: Often thought they got the second best line from a movie.
78) "Open the pod bay doors, HAL" from 2001. Isn't "Hello Dave" more memorable? and 88) "Listen to me, mister. You're my knight in shining armor. Don't you forget it. You're going to get back on that horse, and I'm going to be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we're gonna go, go, go!" from On Golden Pond. More memorable line: "Norman, you old poop." (If you just said it in your mind, your head wobbled didn't it?)
And some very good quotes were missing. How about "As you wish." Or "Luke, I'm your father." Still an interesting list.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Pulp Fiction - 1994

This film hit the movie scene in '94 like a bomb. The dialouge was brilliant. The action was compelling. The shocking moments were shocking. A truly great movie. (And one of the films I was most wondering if it would live up to it's reputation over the years.)

The first inovation that Pulp Fiction popularized was in telling the story out of order. One of the final scenes is shown first and then the movie wanders in time until it comes back to complete the opening. Along with that is a first rate soundtrack. And this from someone who wishes the 70's would dry up and blow away. Throw in some acting and some of the most interesting scripts of the entire decade and there you have it.

Two notable acting bits in this movie: Samuel L Jackson is at the very top of his game here. This will be the role that he's remembered for and with good reason. The other top notch job here is done by Bruce Willis. I'm constantly surprised at how a good of an actor he really is. He'll probably remembered for some crap like 'Armageddon' which is a real shame.

I should probably mention John Travolta but he really wasn't anything special in this movie. Not bad, but in retrospect, not enough to refuel his career. And Tarantino's bit role is borderline painful to watch. Not the side of the camera he belongs on.

I'm curious which scene jumps to people's minds when they think of this movie. The scene with the gimp or the shot in Uma Thurman's heart? Leave answers in the comments.

Quiz Show - 1994

A good movie, but short of great. Very well acted and thematically it would have fit better in the 1993 grouping than in the 1994 one. The story involves a game show in the early 60's that's become rigged. In an attempt to increase ratings, certain players are given the answers to the questions so that they can keep winning. The movie shows the plight of Herb Stempel (John Turturro) who is given the answers, fame and money, only to have the rug pulled out from under him.

The next player given this treatment is Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes) a teacher at Columbia who is overshadowed by his father. He is seduced into the scheme and the lure proves too big for him to resist. In the end, he can't live with himself getting away with it and he admits his wrongdoing before a congressional committee.

The acting in this film is very good throughout with the notable exception of Martin Scorsece. (Why do we think that directors should be as good as actors in front of the camera? This theme continues this year.) Fiennes is very, very good in a difficult role. Turturro is also very good. But the person who steals this movie is Rob Morrow, the investigator. As he hears someone try to buy him off, he simply smiles at the suggestion, completely blows it off and says "I'll have to get back to you on that". Priceless.

While the acting is good and the story is well told, the basic underlying premise falls flat. As is noted, regardless of whether the games were fixed or not, it's only television. In the grand scheme of things, it just doesn't matter.

Couldn't help but think of Ken Jennings of Jeaporday fame. I have no reason whatsoever to think that his amazing streak last year was anything but legitimate. But if I found out differently, would I care?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Now the tale can be told...

We've just completed a big weekend. My sister was in town for her wedding reception. She got married back in February and this was the first time we got to see her. Along with a large amount of the rest of the family. That was Saturday and and it was a wonderful day (as long as you don't mind dodging tornadoes!)
Sunday morning we had invited both of our families over for brunch starting at 10a. We left at 745a for grocieries, leaving my dad, brother, sister-in-law and the cutest nephew ever at the house. And didn't return. At 10a my friend Jodi arrived and gathered everyone together. She handed them envelopes containing...our wedding invitations. Date set for June 12th, 2005. Today! The got into cars to head down to a park we had selected and watched us be wed.
Surprise! We had taken advantage of my family being in town to tie the knot. We couldn't be happier. It would have been great to have everyone we know and love be there but this really made for a simpler task.
Pictures follow with more on the way.

Surprise! Posted by Hello

And a kiss! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

80's lyrics test

found here. I scored 70.5, the FP Fiance scored 89. What can I say, she's better at this than I am.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Lack of posts

Apologies for that. I blame this. And a trip to Iowa where I saw this. But I'm still here and I still have things to say:

One of the reasons for starting this blog was to talk baseball and I haven't really done much of it. The reason is simple: superstition. The last couple of times I've written about my Sox they've gone on losing streaks and that was worrisome. For some reason sports brings out that out in people. Spoke to a friend of mine who happened upon the 1998 NFC Championship game while she was living down in Texas. Extremely casual football fan, she kept watching and got drawn in. As the game progressed, she had to keep changing clothes while trying to find the right ones to keep the Vikings lucky. She's a normally sane person. Really. And this isn't uncommon amongst sports fan.
But I've decided to overcome that write anyway. Expect more baseball related stuff. And football as that gets closer. The FP Fiance has decreed that I can't get caught up in Viking stuff until at least August. Which is sensible. But hard.
Early June finds my Sox with the majors best record. Not just their divisions best. Not just the AL's best. The best record in the whole shebang. Which means nothing at this point. They must step the pace back up if they want to maintain the lead they have. The Twins have kept pace and gained some ground back over the last three weeks. Let's look back at my predictions.
1) The blah performance of the Yankees has been the bigger story than any rivalry. Could turn around, but I've been wrong so far.
2) Santana and Nathan have fallen back a bit from last year, but the rest of the starting staff has stepped up. The Indians have decidely not taken that next step. Must be awful to be a Tribe fan this year.
3) The White Sox pitching has been phenomenal (less so lately). The health of the pitching still concerns me. Nothing concrete, just past expierience.
4) The A's have been horrible so far. But I'm not willing to write them off just yet. I've seen then comeback too many times before.
5) The Nat's are currently leading their division. We'll see how the rest plays out.
6) The Cubs are currently 5 games over .500. Both Prior and Woods have had injuries. And yes, they've had more attention than they deserve.
7) Waiting on this. Now I'm wondering if Bonds will play at all. Ever. And for the record, yes I think he knowingly took steroids. And I think that will always taint his stats. Fifty years from now, he'll be dismissed by baseball historians as a chemically enhanced cheat. And that's really a deep, deep shame, because he has been amongst the best in baseball most of his career. If he'd simply stayed natural and faded (as is usual) he'd still have been a lock for the hall of fame.
8) They might be wondering, but not really that often. The homeruns have been lessened for my Sox. The one from Thomas yesterday was a beaut, though.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Was it a big truck that hit you???  Posted by Hello