Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I've Lived the Life of a Man

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Sunday after blogging last time, I watched yet another ESPN 30 for 30 documentary entitled “No Mas” about the historically awkward boxing match in November 1980 between Sugar Ray Leonard & Roberto Duran. The movie is the story of Ray (and everybody else) looking for answers as to exactly what happened 33 years earlier. A little background for you… in 1980, Sugar Ray Leonard was seen as the pretty boy champion of boxing with his flashy moves, incredible smile & marketability. Then along comes this Panamanian boxer by the name of Roberto Duran whose nickname is “Hands of Stone” and just has a gruff, determined underdog look on his face the whole time… and basically with some tutelage from promoter Don King… he starts talking a LOT of sh*t leading up to their inevitable match. Think the premise of “Rocky III” with the great Clubber Lang talking sh*t to Adrian at a press conference for Rocky’s statue… cuz that kinda happened between Duran-Leonard in real life. Anyway, they fought… and Roberto Duran won the EPIC first fight in a decision… and was the champion of the world & Panama’s favorite son. So the inevitable rematch came just a few months later (different times back then), but Duran was living the high life in Panama & New York City, was rumored to be out of shape, Leonard had the “Eye of the Tiger” as it were… and basically in the 8th round, with Sugar Ray out to a comfortable lead on points& just showing off pretty much… Roberto Duran did the absolutely unthinkable… he said “No mas” (“No more”) and just QUIT in the middle of the fight… and the boxing world LOST THEIR F**KING MINDS!!! You don’t quit!?! Fighters don’t just quit?!? QUIT??? WHAT??? Anyway, if you’re interested in boxing history, check it out… I ugh… it’s not for everybody. I’m not going to lie. It’s one of those 30 for 30 that’s primarily for sports fans… where they have the ones that are more for everybody (like “Survive & Advance”). It was pretty good though.
Sunday night, Izzy & I watched one of her mom’s favorite movies of all time that we stumbled upon on Netflix from 1947 entitled “The Ghost & Mrs. Muir” starring the legendary Rex Harrison (“Doctor Doolittle”, “Cleopatra”, “My Fair Lady”, “Agony & the Ecstasy”, etc) & “Heaven Can Wait” hottie Gene Tierney. The story is set in 1900 near London where a young widow (Tierney) rents a beautiful seaside cottage in the countryside… and finds out that it’s haunted by a salty sea captain (Harrison). Now, instead of getting scared off by the captain’s shenanigans… she’s intrigued by him… and they start to form a relationship… and she writes down his life story for a biography (where the term “ghost writer” comes from?) to sell to a publisher to help her afford & stay at the cottage. I don’t think I need to tell you that… she starts to fall in love with the full apparition… but alas, she is a young supple widow… and he is a floating pile of charismatic ecoplasm, so they can never be… or can they? I thought this movie was a great little treat & I can see why Izzy’s mom loves it… and I’m probably going to using my Rex Harrison voice for the next week or so because… why the hell not? I highly recommend this movie if you can handle black & white as well as stirring dialogue.
Okay, so one of my favorite things about watching old movies… is not only listening to the writing because… it’s SO completely different that most of what you hear in movies today. The characters & actors actually seem educated. I know… mind blown. On top of that though, I like to think how it would be if they tried to release this movie nowadays… and whether it’d work. For this one, I could just see the trailer in your head… and start rolling my eyes almost immediately. Picture if you will… a beautiful isolated seaside cottage, waves crashing, a motorcar pulls up and out steps Olivia Wilde (with an English accent) in turn of the century garb gazing up this vision of a cottage with those giant eyes of hers… then the real estate agent played by Chris O’Dowd takes her through the house, giving the details of the estate in a nervous manner… and then it happens, the ghost BELLOWS… sending Chris O’Dowd in a cowardly jaunt, shutting the door behind him with the lady inside (fun fact: pulled straight from the movie). She then follows him outside… and he spills the beans about the previous owners… including the captain who allegedly committed suicide. Wake up… the sh*t gets good in a minute! After the warnings, she looks at the cottage… smirks… and says “I’ll take it (or the proper English alternative)” Then she’s arranging her belongings in her new home, maybe a shot of her daughter prancing around… and then, the ghost bellows again. “I’m not afraid of you! We’re just going to have to learn to live with one another!” Then the ghost reveals himself… HUGH LAURIE!!! That’s right, I’m starting Hugh Laurie’s return to movies… in the role he was BORN to play. It doesn’t care where the movie goes from there… that’s your trailer… and the title… wait for it… “Ghost Writer.” You’re welcome, Hollywood! By the way, I didn't realize that they were on "House" together until I tried to find a picture of them together... incredible coincidence. I never watched "House" but it's still a great idea...
But $teve, what is this movie that you’re pitching? Is it a stupid ass rom-com across dimensions & time like “The Lake House”? Or just a comedy about a ghost who helps out a family like “Ghost Dad” was supposed to be? OH!!! I know… it’s a supernatural thriller where Mrs. Muir helps the Ghost Captain to find his murderer!!! HOLY SH*T WE’RE MAKING A PERIOD PIECE REMAKE OF “GHOST” WITH OLIVIA WILDE & HUGH LAURIE!!! Quick!!! See if Kerry Washington is available to play the carnival medium who can communicate with… oh wait, shoot, she can already see & talk to him… we gotta work a black woman in here somehow for demographics… OOH!!! She has a servant, right? (hiss) Wait, never mind… that’s not going to work… we don’t need that kinda guff from the NAACP…” Hold on, Hollywood!!!! Stop right there. You’re jumping the gun on this awesomeness… and this is why I kinda like older movies, it’s actually about the story… and it’s open for interpretation. Yes, this movie will seem a little dated in many ways… but it’s nothing incredibly awkward (except maybe one scene where there was a guy at the beach standing awfully close & behind Mrs. Muir’s daughter Anna after carving her name in a plank) just a little slower pace, there’s a complex relationship going on with seeds of simplicity that everyone can relate too, a complete & utter lack of explosions… it’s just a good story, probably based on a play or something since there’s only like 2-3 locations, but it’s weird to think how movies like this was completely BOMB at the box office for the most part. Oh well, that’s what Netflix is for I guess. Good luck with this one, Hollywood!!!
Monday night, we watched “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” starring… well, the only guy that I really recognized was the evil CEO/President from “Robocop” playing… well, spoiler alert, an evil CEO/President. The main guy (played by Tom Atkins) seemed to be a poor man’s Dennis Farina but pretty good… and it was written/directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, the guy who brought us “Stephen King’s IT” (insert Tim Curry clown joke). It’s the 3rd installment of John Carpenter’s classic “Halloween” movies… except this one doesn’t have Michael Myers, the unstoppable killing machine from the first two. No… they just went completely separate from this one. Why? Apparently John Carpenter wanted to stop making the pseudonymous slasher flick & get back to the title… Halloween. No more drunk teenagers being stupid & getting chopped in half… no, this time around it’s getting back to what makes the season of Halloween so special… commercialism. Oh, and mass murder of course. The main story really starts out with a man brutally murdered as he lay in his hospital bed by a mysterious silent assassin, who then casually walks out of the hospital, goes into his car, pours gasoline all over himself, lights a match, Michael Bay explosion! The doctor wants answers! The hot daughter of the victim wants answers too! So they team up to find answers… and what’s their clue? A Halloween mask… and the man’s dying words, “They’re going to kill us all!” Who? Who’s going to kill us? Why? How? When? I’ll stop it right there… and please feel free to check it out. It’s not a great movie… but it’s a good little Halloween flick… and it’s really fitting for the season too. It seems to be John Carpenter’s stab at the commercialism of Halloween, mocking the whole materialism of the holiday vs. it’s original meanings (or at least one interpretation of it) and it’s even complete with the catchiest jingle you’ll ever hear & some masks that… frankly I kinda want one… they look like top quality stuff, especially compared to most of today’s masks. You missed this year’s Halloween screening… but maybe put it on the list for next year.
I’m not going to spoil anything about this movie because I think you should check it out with some friends for a few laughs… but there’s one part in particular that really gets me. Around the end of act two, the Doctor & the Hot Daughter pose as a married couple at one point… and check into a motel room. Yes, immediately I heard the washboard from the bow-chicka-bow-wow music as they drove the car into the parking lot too… but they kinda gave it a decent amount of time for their relationship to develop (about 45 seconds) before they hit the skins. Normally that doesn’t bother me… but it’s just when you really think about the context that it really starts to get to me. “Oh doctor old enough to be my father with an ex-wife & 2.3 kids of his own, I know that my father died from his face being ripped off because I had to identify the body earlier today (wait, how did she do that again?)… and I know that we’re looking for his killers in an entire city filled with possible company agents… but you I should’ve told you when you brought me to this horribly designed motel room that nothing gets me hotter than the combination of family tragedy, gore, 80’s moustaches, floral pattern bedspreads, imminent danger & fairly wealthy replacement father figures… get inside of me!” You probably don’t even need a flashback to know her backstory… the real question is when’s her next shift at the Hungry I Club? Or was it the father or creepy uncle that molested her? Too far? Maybe… but yeah, that’s just how my mind goes in ridiculous situations… to ridiculous conclusions.
Tuesday night, I FINALLY watched "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" after... well, it flopped at the box office & I think only had one showing in the Bay Area when it came out in September... but yeah, it stars a lot of people including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin, Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke and others. This is the long awaited (like... nine years) prequel to the original "Sin City" directed by Robert Rodiguez & graphic novel creator Frank Miller. I could tell you the plots... but honestly, it's a healthy mix of odd noir storytelling with plenty of narration, superstrong mythical figures with obvious weaknesses, bad guys that keep drilling in the fact that they're pure evil incarnate, and the real star of the show... VENGEANCE!!! If you haven't seen the original, go check it out... like right NOW!!! As for the sequel, I'd saw check it out if you liked the original... that being said...
What I Liked:
  • Straight out of the Comics - The movie is beautifully shot (yes, I know it's green screen) and looks like it's ripped right out of the graphic novel that it's based on. It's essentially black & white... with a few accents of color (more than the original) but overall... absolutely beautiful.
  • The Cameos - There are some great cameos in this movie... Powers Boothe is a pretty prominent role in this movie but there's also a day or two of shooting from Jeremy Piven, Christopher Lloyd, Ray Liotta, Dennis Haybert, Juno Temple, Lady Gaga, Christopher Meloni, Jamie King, Jamie Chung, and the great Bruno (Bruce Willis) among others.
  • Rated R - Now, the movie is rated R... and for good reason as nobody under 18 should see this movie probably... but for as ultra violent & strong in adult themes & situations as it is... the blood is just white splotches... the language isn't nearly as bad as it probably could be... lots of language degrading to women but it's no Scorsese production.
What I Didn't Like:
  • The Whole Johnny Storyline - Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Johnny... a gambler who can't lose... and not to spoil the whole storyline... but I think it was just 20 minutes of filler that means absolutely nothing to the rest of the movie... or really anything of interest or art noir or anything really... other than "Hey its JGL in this movie & sh*t happens.
  • Stacy Keach Cameo - When I saw Stacy Keach's name in the intro sequence... I was totally hyped. Then... he was allegedly in the movie... at least his voice was... and a SH*TTON OF FLUFFY!!! Think Fat Bastard + the whole Klump family and movie it all into the face like he's a Carnivale float... pretty disappointed. Oh... and it's for less than a minute I think. If it's the only way to get Stacy Keach into this movie then... ugh... I hope he made a lot of money.
  • Not as Enthralling as the Original - Now, I know the original has its flaws & I can accept that... but this prequel just was not enthralling. It seemed like... even the music was turned down... all of the male characters in the movie as complete idiots & all of the women are evil and/or stupid tricks... I almost kinda want to root for the incredibly despicable evil bastards that apparently run Sin City. Overall, I'd say check it out... but not as good as the original & obviously has it's flaws.
Anyway, that’ll do it for this entire of movie reviews… hopefully you find them informative… or at the very least entertaining. Later this week, more beer related activities… so until next time, have a great day everybody!!!

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