Friday, December 30, 2011

Game Night

Jumanji
Director: Joe Johnston
Cast: Robin Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt, Bradley Pierce
Released: December 15, 1995



Zathura
Director: Jon Favreau
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Dax Shepard, Kristen Stewart, Tim Robbins
Released: November 11, 2005



Zathura is not a sequel or prequel to Jumanji, but both films are connected as they are both based on books written by Chris Van Allsburg (who also wrote The Polar Express) and both are about board games that come to life. However, besides that, the two movies are not connected.

Jumanji's journey begins all the way back in the 1860s where we see two adolescent boys looking scared and burying a wooden box that is emitting a steady banging sound. Fast forward one hundred years later where we see young Alan, who will grow up to be Robin Williams, but is now played by Little Man Tate. He's about twelve years old and gets beat up by the bullies at his school because he's been hanging out with one of the bullies girlfriend, Sarah, who will grow up to be Bonnie Hunt, but is now played by the girl who will go on to play the lead in Legally Blonde on Broadway. His dad is really strict with him and wants him to attend an all-boy's private school. Fun fact: his mom is played by Patricia Clarkson.

Alan hears the drumming sound when he's walking home from school one day and finds the wooden board game. (Evidently, those two boys from the 1860s didn't bury it so well as it only takes him a couple of minutes to dig it up). He brings it home and just as he's about to start playing, Sarah stops by to apologize for her boyfriend for beating him up. He invites her to play, but she says she hasn't played board games since she was a little girl, but is intrigued by it, so she stays and plays with him.

The game has wooden pieces that move themselves after the player has rolled the dice. When they have landed on a square, they receive a card that has a rhyme on it and literally does what it says. Because of this, Alan is sucked into the game and will stay there until another player rolls a five or an eight. This of course traumatizes Sarah and she runs screaming out.

Fast forward to the present. Or, at least, to 1995.

Before she was T-T-T-Torrance, Kirsten Dunst was the young blonde girl with braids named Judy. She and her younger brother, Peter (Bradley Pierce who is probably most well known for voicing Chip in Beauty and the Beast) move in with their aunt (Bebe Neuwirth) in Alan's big and creepy old house. Before they are about to leave for school, they both hear a loud drumming sound coming from the attic. Their aunt doesn't seem to hear it and they both tell her they can wait for the bus without her and when she leaves, they both race upstairs and find the game and start playing. Neither of them are too freaked out when they find monkeys terrorizing the kitchen or when a lion suddenly appears in the same room as them. Judy thinks it's part of the game, that what they're seeing is just a special effect.

Speaking of special effects, I remember being amazed at them when I first saw this movie in the theaters, but they haven't aged very well. They're impressive for their time, but now they look pretty antiquated.

Peter rolls a five and Alan (now Robin Williams as it's been awhile) appears with a beard and ragged clothes. He's been living in the jungle and is elated when he finds out he's home. He seems to think he's still a kid as he runs around the house trying to look for his parents. He finally understand what's going on and tells Judy and Peter the only way to make all of this stop is to finish the game, but they need Sarah to do this. They find her and have to force her to play with them. She's become sort of a recluse as everyone thinks she's crazy since she told the police what really happened to Alan.

The four of them continue to play the game throughout the movie and have to endure a stampede of wild animals (probably one of the most iconic scenes from the film); vines growing all over the house; quicksand; a monsoon (indoors, nonetheless); and a hunter named Van Pelt who is trying to kill Alan. I didn't realize this until now, but the same actor plays both Van Pelt and Alan's father.

Of course Alan wins in the end, just after Van Pelt has taken a shot at him and he and his gun and bullet get sucked back into the game along with all the wild animals and natural disasters that has occurred. There's a bit of time travel because Alan and Sarah are suddenly there younger selfs and are back at his house the night they started the game. They remember everything that has happened and when we return to 1995 again, they are married and meet Judy and Peter and their parents who have not yet died in the  car crash yet and they convince them not to go to Canada which is where the accident occurred.

While Jumanji had a jungle theme, Zathura had a space theme. The movie is confined to one location while the characters in Jumanji were all over the town. We meet Walter and Danny (Hutcherson and Bobo (that poor kid with a last name like that!)) brothers who don't exactly get along. Their dad (Robbins) has a meeting to go to and gets their older sister (a pre-zombie, oops, I mean Twilight, Kristen Steward) to watch them. She says she will, but goes back to sleep.

Danny, the younger one, finds a big rectangular box in the basement and brings it up to reveal the game of Zathura. While Jumanji was made out of wood, Zathura is made out of plastic. He asks Walter if he wants to play, but his older brother is more interested in watching TV, so Danny decides to play by himself. Instead of dice, the player has to crank a dial and the arrow points to a number which is how many spaces the spaceship game piece passes. A card shoots out and like Jumanji, it has a little rhyme and whatever it says on the card literally happens.

Their house becomes a spaceship, so thus the reason for the confined space. They have to fight an evil robot and other space monsters and meet an astronaut (Shepard). They go through some pretty periling things, and like Jumanji, there's also a bit of time-traveling in this one, but it's more complicated and doesn't make any sense. It turns out that the astronaut is actually Walter as an adult. Back when he played the game with his brother, he got a Shooting Star card which meant he could wish for anything he wanted and he wished for his brother to never be born. If that's the case, then how is younger Walter playing the game with his brother. It didn't make any sense.

You know what game-come-to-life movie they should make next? FIREBALL ISLAND! Now I know Jumanji and Zathura weren't based on actual games (duh), but I know they made a game into Jumanji after the movie (how disappointed do you think the kids who received that were?!), but Fireball Island would make an awesome movie if it were done in the same vein as Jumanji or Zathura. 

For those of you not familiar with Fireball Island, the point was pretty much to get your guy from start to finish without being knocked over by a fireball (i.e. a red marble). I forgot what triggered the fireballs, I think it was if you stepped on a certain colored stone or picked a certain card. But that was always my favorite part : to see the fireball knock someone down. It was also great when someone was standing on one of the bridges and the marble would knock them into the water, haha. I just know it would make a really exciting movie! Hmm, maybe I should start writing the screenplay!




FIREBALL ISLAND!! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Breaking Dawn book review

I've finished reading "Breaking Dawn" which means I've finished reading the entire series of "Twilight!" Please help me celebrate by viewing my videos! I even brought the champagne and Aqua music!






Okay, at 1:07, I say that Edwards thinks Jacob will listen to Bella. Well, I meant that Edward thinks Bella will listen to Jacob. I probably had too much champagne at that point! 




Thursday, December 15, 2011

Childhood Christmas Classic

Home Alone
Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, John Candy
Released: November 16, 1990

Oscar nominations: (I had no idea this movie was nominated for any Oscars; probably because I didn't start watching the Oscars until 1995-ish).
Best Score - John Williams (lost to John Barry for Dances with Wolves)
Best Song - "Somewhere in My Memory" by John Williams (lost to "Sooner or Later I Always Get My Man" by Stephen Sondheim from Dick Tracy)

I'm going to try to make it a tradition to review at least one holiday movie around this time of year. Two years ago I reviewed Elf, last year I reviewed Love, Actually and this year I opted for a favorite of mine from my childhood. I remember seeing Home Alone in the theaters and just thinking it was the funniest thing ever. I still think it's pretty funny (the whole gag with the statue outside the house always falling down when it's hit by the airpot shuttle or pizza delivery car never fails to make me giggle and I love the scene with the pizza delivery boy and the video. "Well, sir, you have to pay for your pizza!") I have to wonder, though, if I would still like this movie if it came out in this day and age.  It came out when I was  in fourth grade, so of course I was the target audience for it. Obviously the entire cast would be changed as they would all be too old and there would be little changes made to make it more current. It's funny because I was watching the commentary with Chris Columbus and Macaulay Culkin (which they recorded about five years ago) and they sort of joked that if the movie were made today, it would be over right before the family gets to the airport because with all the security measurements they would never make it on the plane, especially if they just had minutes to spare. Not to mention that they would all have cell phones to contact Kevin. Macaulay also joked that he wouldn't be in it because he was 26, unless he was living in his parents' basement and they forgot him on their trip to Paris. Who knew Macaulay Culkin was so funny?

How bad of a mother is Catherine O'Hara in this? I mean, who forgets their own child when leaving for a trip? I do think the movie does a good job of making it as realistic as possible. Yes, most mothers would not forget their own child, but for the sake of the movie, they do set it up as you can see why they just forget about him. First, there was fifteen people in that house (which looked like it could hold about 100 - that is a really nice house). Then we have it set up where Kevin gets in trouble (and I can totally empathize with him for having an older provoking brother) and has to sleep upstairs in the attic alone. Then there's a storm and the power goes out and everyone wakes up late and is in a mad dash to the airport. And of course we have Kevin's neighbor friend come over and he is accidentally counted as Kevin. (I loved that kid - "Does this van get good gas mileage? Does it have four-wheel drive? Does it have automatic transmission? How much horse power does it have?") So I can see how it's possible they would forget about him. The one thing that didn't really make any sense was after Kevin's mom lands in Paris and gets in touch with the police back home and they send an officer over to check on him. It didn't make any sense that he didn't say he was the police and didn't go in and check to see if the kid was hurt or something. But I guess if that had happened, the movie would be over.


I mentioned earlier how funny I thought this movie was when I was a kid and it still makes me laugh but it's only now watching it as someone older and wiser do I realize what a warped little kid Kevin was. (Maybe it was watching Angels with Filthy Souls). Some of the things Harry and Marv have to endure when they attempt to rob Kevin's house are almost things Jack Bauer would think of to torture terrorists! The blowtorch to the head, the hand touching the hot knob, the hot iron in the face, the bare foot on the nail (oh, that scene always makes me cringe), and the bare feet stepping on those glass ornaments. Not to mention both of them falling down the icy steps.

I don't know how Kevin cleaned up the house because his mother (and the rest of the family) arrived home the next morning. He must have been up all night - or maybe he called a cleaning service! I always get a little teary-eyed when Kevin is reunited with his mother and well as when he sees his scary neighbor reunited with his family and when he's walking outside and sees a happy family together at Christmas and he's all alone. It's so sad!

I think Chris Columbus is a little clueless. Here is a funny exchange between him and Macaulay during the commentary. (And remember, the commentary was filmed around 2006-07).
Columbus: I think he went on to be in a popular kids' show (referring to Kevin's red-headed brother, Jeff).
Culkin: Yeah, The Adventures of Pete and Pete.
Columbus: Is that still on the air?
Culkin: Uh.....no.

Is Pete and Pete still on the air? Is he serious? Dude, Michelle Trachtenberg was on that show before she was on Buffy and she first joined that cast in 2001! Trust me, it's been awhile since Pete and Pete has been on the air. (It ran from '93-'96 according to IMDb). That just made me laugh.

To go back and answer my own question about whether I would like this movie if it came out in this day and age? Probably not. It wouldn't have the nostalgic factor!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's Time To Meet the Muppets

The Muppets
Director: James Bobin
Cast: Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, Jack Black, The Muppets
Released: November 23, 2011
Viewed in theaters: November 28, 2011



This is my history with the Muppets. When The Muppet Show was on air, I wasn't even born when it premiered and way too young to watch it when it ended. I have seen episodes either from re-runs or videos, but even then it's been awhile. I am very familiar (and love) the theme song because I have it on my iPod. It's a very catch song (and they do play it in the movie). How can you not love it?



I remember watching the animated series Muppet Babies, which thinking back now, doesn't make any sense because the Muppets are puppets and puppets can't be cartoons. But I digress. And of course I'm sure I've seen many movies the Muppets have starred in, but the only one I can remember seeing  is A Muppet Christmas Carol which I saw in the theater nineteen (!!!!) years ago. Oh, and of course I watched Sesame Street when I was a kid and Kermit was on that show often if I remember correctly. I go back and forth on who my favorite Muppet is, but I have a soft spot for Rowlf. He's really adorable AND he's a piano playing dog! You guys, I totally want a piano playing dog. But I do love Kermit. And Gonzo. And Beaker. And Animal! ANIMAL!

At the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to brothers Gary and Walter. Gary is played by Jason Segel, who also co-wrote the movie. Walter is played...by a muppet. Don't ask me how they're brothers. We never meet the parents, but it did make me wonder how that would work. It's like when I read Harry Potter and wondered how Hagrid's father could be a human and his mother a giant. And these are for kids! I didn't know why they didn't make Gary and Walter best friends, but it was funny when they did a montage of them growing older, Gary would keep getting taller and taller and Walter would stay the same height.


"Maniacal laugh! Maniacal laugh!"
Being that Walter is a muppet, he is a fan of the Muppets. He's ecstatic when Gary invites him along to the trip to Los Angeles he's planned with his longtime girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams, who doesn't have much to do besides be adorable). They go on a tour of the Muppet Studio but find it's abandoned and dusty and while hiding, Walter overhears an evil oil tycoon (aptly named Tex Richman (played by Chris Cooper)) telling his cronies his plans for tearing the entire studio down because there's oil underneath. If you've ever wanted to hear Chris Cooper rap, this is the movie for you! Yes, you read that right!

Walter relays the news to Gary and Mary and they find Kermit and convince him to get the Muppets together to try to save their studio. The entire gang (Fozzie! Miss Piggy! Gonzo! Rowlf! Animal! Scooter! Beaker! Dr. Bunsen! Swedish Chef! The two old dudes from the balcony! And the others!) reunite and put on a telethon to help raise money. The show is reminiscent  of The Muppet Show, only it's called The Muppet Telethon. My favorite moment of the telethon was when the chickens squawked Cee Lo's F--- You (Cluck You?) Now I will never be able to listen to that song without hearing a bunch of chickens clucking.


It's a sweet movie, but not overly saccharine. There's plenty of laugh out loud moments that don't resort to stupid and juvenile jokes, but not all the jokes work all the time, especially the meta jokes. The only meta joke that did make me laugh was when they were going across the country finding all the Muppets and after they had picked up three or four of them, one of them suggested to Gary that they do a montage to make it go faster. There's also an ongoing gag with Kermit's butler, '80s Robot.  I loved how everyone calls Kermit "Mr. The Frog."

I really didn't care about our human leads that much, but since they were there they had to have a plot. It's just Mary thinks Gary is finally going to propose to her, but he becomes so busy with helping the Muppets with their Telethon that he forgets that it's their anniversary and blah, blah, blah. Their story coincides with Kermit and Miss Piggy who have been separated for awhile (Miss Piggy was found in Paris as the editor of a fashion magazine where she became like the Meryl Streep character in The Devil Wears Prada, in fact Emily Blunt plays her assistant), but they reconcile in the end.

There's plenty of celebrity cameos, but not as many as I thought there would be. There's your Whoopi Goldberg for the older folks and Selena Gomez for the youn'uns. I don't think Jack Black would be counted as a cameo. Even though he plays himself he has a big role in the movie as the Muppets kidnap him because they need a celebrity host for their show.

I forgot to mention this is a musical, but you probably already knew that. Of course a movie about the Muppets wouldn't be complete if "The Rainbow Connection" and "Mah Na Mah Na" weren't sung. I may have been too young to watch The Muppet Show, but even I'm familiar with those songs. The main song of the movie is called "Life's a Happy Song" and it's just as cute and jovial as you would think it is. I also loved Amy Adams rocking out to "Me Party". ("I'm having a me party! A party by myself! Me party! I don't need no body else!) Kermit singing "Pictures in My Head" almost got me choked up. Okay, I'll admit it: even though I didn't cry, I did get a little choked up a few times during the movie.

Obviously if you're a fan of the Muppets or grew up with them, I definitely recommend this movie. It is really cute and brought back memories of my childhood. I kind of want to see it again!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My preciouuuussssss!

Ahoy there! I know it's been awhile since I posted an actual review. Admittedly, it's been because I've been a bit lazy, but also because I've been busy and distracted with something called life. And because in my downtime I haven't been watching many movies, but rather catching up on TV and reading what has to be the worst book ever published in the history of the world, Breaking Dawn, the final (thank god!) book in the Twilight series. 

So what better to come back with a triumphant return with not only one, but THREE movies (although you could argue they're just one really long movie put together). Not only are these movies very popular but the ten year anniversary of the first movie is coming up. I'm talking, of course, about The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Sean Astin, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, Liv Tyler, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Bean, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, John Rhys-Davies, Hugo Weaving, Ian Holm
Released: December 19, 2001
Viewed in theaters: February 2, 2002

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (lost to A Beautiful Mind)
Best Director - Peter Jackson (lost to Ron Howard for A Beautiful Mind)
Best Supporting Actor - Ian McKellen (lost to Jim Broadbent for Iris)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens (lost to Akiva Goldsman for  A Beautiful Mind)
Best Cinematography (won)
Best Art Direction (lost to Moulin Rouge!)
Best Costume Design (lost to Moulin Rouge!)
Best Sound (lost to Black Hawk Down)
Best Film Editing (lost to Black Hawk Down)
Best Visual Effects (won)
Best Makeup (won)
Best Song - "May It Be" by Enya (lost to "If I Didn't Have You" by Randy Newman for Monsters, Inc.)
Best Original Score - Howard Shore (won)




I haven't watched The Lord of the Rings trilogy since early 2007 and with the upcoming 10th anniversary of the first movie coming up, I thought what better time to watch them again. It's almost funny that I'm a fan of LotR (well, the movies anyway), because I almost never saw the first movie. I remembered way back in the summer of 2001 when I knew there would be two movies coming out later that year based on very popular book series that I had not yet read. One, as you may have already guessed, was Harry Potter, and the other, of course was LotR. Because I wanted to be with the times, I bought both first books of those series, so when I saw the movies I would know what was going on. Reading Sorcerer's Stone was no problem. I read it in a day and soon devoured the following three books. However, Fellowship of the Ring was a different story as I just could not get into it. The writing was too heavy and tedious for me and there were so many characters to keep track of and this whole Middle Earth place was so confusing to me. So I flung the book aside and never picked it back up...for awhile, anyway. December came and I didn't see the movie. Towards the end of January I was becoming more curious, hearing everyone talking about it and all, but didn't think I would understand it, not having read the book, not to mention I wasn't sure I could sit though a three hour movie that I might find dull. My brother, a Tolkien geek, assured me that I didn't need to read the book to understand what was going on, so finally, on 2/2/02 I decided to see it. I was living in a small town at the time which only had one old movie theater with two screens and the seats weren't very comfortable, so I knew I would be in for a long, painful and excruciating experience if I didn't like it. I was really expecting to hate this movie and usually this IS the kind of movie I hate; however, it turned out I loved it and was dying to see the second one as soon as it ended! (And, hey, I only had to wait ten months while everyone else had to wait a whole year!) And I finally picked up the book and read it and actually understood what was going on having seen the movie.

The first movie obviously sets up the story and introduces us to the nine members of the Fellowship as well as some other characters. For me, the movie doesn't really start until Frodo and Sam embark upon their journey and after the Fellowship is introduced, then that's when the movie starts to get really exciting. Even if you have never seen the movie (gasp!), everyone knows the plot. Basically Frodo is in possession of an evil ring and has to travel to Mordor to get rid of it and there are A LOT of obstacles along the way.

I have to give Peter Jackson and all the other people who worked on these films a lot of credit. Think about all the costumes, makeup, set designs, set locations, music, visual and special effects they had to work on! And let's not forget the daunting task of adapting all three of the books into screenplays! Ten years later and the effects still hold up pretty well although some of the computer graphics are a bit obvious. But just watching the movie makes me exhausted thinking of all the long hours and hard work that was put into it.

Just one small nitpick: at the beginning of the movie we learn the date is September 2, 1400 (Bilbo Baggin's 111th birthday!) I really never paid attention to this before, but this time while watching I thought it was odd when Frodo and Sam are sleeping on the ground and Sam is complaining about how uncomfortable he is and Frodo tells him to imagine he's sleeping on a soft mattress. Uh...did they even have mattresses (did the word even exist?) back then? Didn't people use to sleep on stone slabs?!?! I mean, I'm no history expert, but I always thought the mattress was more of a modern invention.

He's so pretty - it isn' fair!
With so many characters, it's hard to choose just one favorite. I love the humor and mischievousness from Merry and Pippin and how they're always hungry. "What about second breakfast?" I've seen FotR probably about five times now and I ALWAYS laugh after Merry and Pippin announce they're going to join Frodo on his quest and Pippin asks, "Where are we going?" Gandalf is awesome (as is his cane which I've dubbed the Staff of Awesomeness) and he has Shadowfax, the most beautiful horse in the world, and the best lines. ("Keep it secret, keep it safe!"; "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!"; "Fly, you fools!"; "Fool of a Took!")  The elves were my favorite among the different races of Middle Earth. Arwen is so gorgeous with her dark hair and alabaster skin. She even CRIES beautifully and gracefully. Liv Tyler sounds so different in this movie than how she normally does. And great casting there. She is so amazingly stunning; she really does kind of have these elfish qualities. And Legolas!  He's just so damn pretty! Look at that face! That hair! Those ears! Whenever he's on screen, I'm like, "Ooh...pretty...pretty...so, so pretty!" I'm just so mesmerized by him. Not only is he pretty but he has amazing archery skills and is quite agile.

As much as I love those characters, I have to say my two favorites are Sam and Aragorn. Sam is such a sweet hobbit! There were several times during the trilogy when I wanted to give him a big hug and a big bowl of stew. I think Sam was a little gay, I mean, c'mon, it was so obvious he was in love with Frodo! I always think of that joke on The O.C. when Summer asks Marissa, "Remember that movie the guys showed us? About the gay guys on the mountain?" and Marissa immediately responds matter-of-factly, "The Lord of the Rings." Oh, that was great. That will never not be funny. But in all seriousness, Sam was the heart of the movie and he was the one who stuck with Frodo through thick and thin even when Frodo was being a jerk and needed to be slapped over the head with a frying pan. (I know, I know, it was the damn ring...) Then there's Aragorn who is so smoldering that I nicknamed him HRH (His Royal Hotness). Haha, I remember when my theater had this huge poster of him hanging up and I'd just stare at it. Best poster EVER in the history of cinema! It's no wonder both Arwen and Eowyn (and I think Legolas just a tad!) were in love with him. He looks damn good for 87! But just the way he looks isn't the only reason why I love him (well, it's a big reason, though!), but he's definitely an important part of the trilogy and he has mad sword skills.

Top row: Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Boromir
Bottom row: Sam, Frodo, Merry, Pippin, Gimli
My favorite scene is when the nine members of the Fellowship are crossing the Bridge of Khazad Dum (had to look that up; I'm not that much of a geek!) I always tense up when they're running across the narrow path over the deep chasm and come across the gap in the steep steps and have to jump even though I know they're going to be okay...well, most of them. There's some nice foreshadowing when Gimli warns the others that he doesn't need any help and how, "Nobody tosses a dwarf!"

Part one ends with Gandalf falling to his assumed death, Boromir getting killed, Merry and Pippin being taken by the orcs, Sam following Frodo to join him on his continued quest to Mordor to destroy the ring, and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli off to save their little friends. To be continued...

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Same people from the first movie, Miranda Otto, Bernard Hill, David Wenham, Brad Dourif, Andy Serkis, Karl Urban
Released: December 18, 2002
Viewed in theaters: December 25, 2002

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (lost to Chicago)
Best Art Direction (lost to Chicago)
Best Sound (lost to Chicago)
Best Film Editing (lost to Chicago)
Best Sound Editing (won)
Best Visual Effects (won)


The Two Towers is my favorite movie in the trilogy. I may or may not have seen it more than once (um, or twice ::::coughcoughorthreetimescoughcough::::) in the theaters in two weeks. I like this one the best for several reasons: we are introduced to new and intriguing characters such as Eowyn, King Theoden, Faramir, Wormtongue, Treebeard, and, of course, Gollum/Smeagol. I hadn't quoted a character as much as Gollum since 2000 when I went around shouting "TIMMY!" all the time. I like how the movie is divided into three different stories so the pacing is a little quicker and you get a change of scenery with each storyline. Here's a fun fact if you've never read the book: Tolkien divides the book into three sections and you read about Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli first, then you read about Merry and Pippin meeting Treebeard, then you read about Sam and Frodo meeting Gollum. That might not be the right order because I don't have the book on hand, but the point I'm trying to make is that Tolkien didn't intersect the different storylines. Peter Jackson was smart to do that!

This one is also my favorite because the Battle of Helms Deep was my favorite scene in any of the movies (and this is coming from someone who usually hates battle scenes in movies, but this one was pretty cool and epic). I love the friendly rivalry between Legolas and Gimli when they're counting how many orcs they've killed and the callback to the first movie when Gimli allows Aragorn to toss him onto the bridge and tells him, "Don't tell the elf!" This film also features three of my favorite (albeit very short) clips. One is the scene where Aragorn is opening those huge double doors in slow motion when he has returned to Helms Deep. Let's not kid ourselves: that was pretty hot. I have not yet met another female who doesn't love that scene. Whoever edited in slow motion is a genius. And the other two are Legolas scenes, you probably already know which ones I'm talking about: When he slides down the steps on his shield during the battle and the one-handed vault onto his horse. Let's not kid ourselves: that was pretty freaking awesome! Haha, I remember when I saw it in the theaters and there was this guy sitting in the same row as me and he went, "WOW!" Wow, indeed, buddy, wow, indeed.
  
Right after the movie's release, I conducted a "scientific poll" on a message board I frequented back in the day. It was titled "Who's Hotter: Aragorn or Legolas?" Legolas won. Damn teeny-boppers ;-) I remember this one girl said she debated for two hours trying to decide who indeed was the hotter one and finally settled with Aragorn.  Haha, I love it. Here are some of the other answers people wrote down: (I voted for Aragorn, btw). 





LEGOLAS!!!!!!!! ooooohhh could eat him up he's so pretty. I don't really go for the always dirty, can't make up his mind about which freaking woman to marry sort of guy.

Oh, don't make me choose! :-\
Um... hm... uh... *whimpers* I...can't...decide!
Aragorn's smoldering and HOTT.
Legolas is sexy in this poetic, beautiful way.
Oh jeeze. *bites lip*
I'm gonna go with...
Legolas.
I like his ears and he has pretty hair. 

I'd say Aragorn has it going for him.

Legolas. I am a boy.  Is my vote counted? 

Legolas is pretty like a wintergreen mint but Aragorn is a cinnamint! I choose Aragorn! (but I also like Legolas!) ARAGORN!!!

LEGOLAS!!!! HIS HAIR IS SO......SO.....PRETTY!!

ARAGORN HANDS DOWN! OF COURSE HE'S THE HOTTER ONE!

LEGOLAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he's my husband, he just doesn't know it yet, lol.


Obviously Legolas won the poll, but clearly Aragorn is the real winner as he had two ladies (and I still maintain Legolas was in love with him too!) after him. There's a lot of Aragorn/Legolas fanvids on YouTube and this one has to be my favorite:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gd71dfxnjE4
Leggy consoles Aragorn.



I would be remiss if I didn't mention the creepy Gollum/Smeagol conversation. It was disturbing, funny, and heartbreaking all at the same time. Gollum was a revolutionary character; you really had seen nothing like him on the screen before. I also loved Sam's speech at the end - so sweet. Almost reminded me of another speech Sean Astin gives during one of his movies. "Down here it's our time! It's our time down here!" If you weren't a child of the '80s, I'm talking about The Goonies.  

Part two ends with Gollum leading Frodo and Sam onward towards Mordor with malicious intentions. To be continued...

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Same people from the first two movies, John Noble
Released: December 17, 2003
Viewed in theaters: December 25, 2003

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (won)
Best Director - Peter Jackson (won)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens (won)
Best Art Direction (won)
Best Costume  Design (won)
Best Film Editing (won)
Best Score - Howard Shore (won)
Best Song - "Into the West" by Annie Lennox (won)
Best Makeup (won)
Best Sound Mixing (won)
Best Visual Effects (won)
(Yes, it won EVERYTHING!) 




Let me tell you a true (and stupid) story: right after The Two Towers had just been released, I was all giddy and excited for Return of the King, so myself and another online friend who also frequented the same message board as me decided we would do a countdown to RotK....starting in January 2003. I've found the original message, which you'll notice was written on January 9, 2003!  



Countdown to ROTK
Author: *********
Date: 01-09-03 13:48

LOL, this will be the first of MANY MANY posts to come. Sara and I will take the time each day to post how many more days until December 17, or when ROTK comes out! To me, this is very good time to pass the many days of waiting! And so, the first official "Countdown to ROTK" post -

342 days to go! *throws confetti*

Welcome all, to the longest year ever!


When we got to 299 we were excited we finally reached the 200s. I think we quit after four months! 

I once wrote a post about how Return of the King was one of my most memorable movie experiences. If you haven't read it, you can find it here at #9.


Pretty, but should not be
credited third! 
I still think this movie has way too many endings and I think it should have ended after Frodo does the voiceover of how they returned home after being away for 13 months. There. The end. We don't need the other ten millions endings you tacked on, Peter Jackson! I do love the credits and how instead of getting a black screen like the previous two movies it's a white background and you see sketches of the actors as the characters they played when they show their names. It's a very cool curtain call. It also helps that "Into the West" is my favorite song of the three original songs. I don't know why Liv Tyler is credited third though! She's right behind Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen, but she should at least be behind Viggo Mortensen and Sean Astin too. 



The scene that always gets me is when Frodo and Sam are almost to their destination and Frodo has grown tired and weary and Sam declares, "I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!" and he picks up Frodo with a determined look on his face. That should make even the cruelest of people shed a small tear, because seriously, if that scene does not get to you, you obviously have no heart or soul!

My other favorite moment is when the Witch King tells Eowyn that no man can kill him and she takes off her helmet and declares, "I am no man!" before killing him. That got a huge cheer from my audience when I saw it in the theaters. 

I've mentioned before that the effects are amazing, but I'm beginning to think they ran out of money by this movie because there's a shot of Eowyn and Merry on a horse and when they show a close up of the actors you can tell they're using green screen, it's that obvious and bad!  

While I liked Gollum in the second movie and felt sorry for him at times, I really hated him in this one and was glad when he got his comeuppance. I thought it was strange he didn't scream when he landed in the lava as I would imagine most people would scream if they were covered with hot, boiling lava. When Frodo and Sam are escaping from Mount Doom, it totally reminded me of the (very old school, circa 1992) PC game, "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis" (the greatest game ever) when Indy and Sophia are escaping from Atlantis. In both scenarios, there's lava everywhere and things are crumbling down around them. 

These are amazing movies and by the time you finish them you are exhausted, but you feel strangely satisfied. They really let you escape and take you into another world. I highly recommend them and this is coming from somebody who's not really a fantasy fan. Sure, I've read and seen all the Harry Potter books and movies, but other than that and being a fan of the LotR films, I could care less about the fantasy genre. If you've never seen these movies, you must give them a chance because they are amazing. I would daresay that they are among the best movies of the aughties! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Video Review



I haven't done a video review in awhile, so I thought I would do one on an amazing movie I recently watched:




I apologize for saying "like" so many times - that's a huge pet peeve of mine when people do that and I  didn't even realize I was doing it until I watched the video. Also, that huge crash you heard in the second video was my cat - he banged my door or something.

Friday, September 30, 2011

X-tra Ordinary

X-Men: First Class
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon, Rose Byrne, Jennifer Lawrence
Released: June 3, 2011


Warning: spoilers

When it comes to the X-Men, my only knowledge is the first three movies which I've only seen once. (I've also seen Wolverine - big mistake, but I like Hugh Jackman!) I've never read the comics or watched the animated series. I've enjoyed all the movies (well, except for Wolverine, obviously) and this one was no exception (or should I say X-ception? Haha!) 

It takes place in the early '60s and we meet Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) before he became Professor X (played by Patrick Stewart in the previous films) and Erik Whoever (Michael Fassbender) before he became Magneto (who Ian McKellen played in the other films). Before they were enemies, Charles and Erik had to work together to stop the bad mutants from starting World War III. As far as super powers go, Charles definitely has Erik beat. Erik can move objects with his mind, which, okay, that's cool and it did come in handy a few times in the movie. However, Charles can read minds (and he can control at will whose mind to read), have conversations with people inside their minds, freeze people in time, and who knows what else. Team Charlie! 

I can understand why Erik becomes evil because his mother was killed right in front of him as a young boy, so it's understandable why he has a bunch of pented-up rage. I don't understand why both young mutant girls decided to go to the dark side. First, when Kevin Bacon leads the bad guys to the government building where the young mutants are being guarded, Angel doesn't put up a fight and just decides to join them and it was like, "Really?! Really?" Like I said, I've seen the X-Men movies, so I knew Mystique was a bad "guy", but how she got there makes no sense to me. She and Charles are quite close and have a brother/sister relationship, but at the end of the movie, after Erik nearly kills thousands of innocent people (but Charles manages to stop him), he asks who wants to join him, and Mystique decides to go with him and Charles is like, "Okay, that's cool. I know that's what you want to do." Um, hello, Charlie? But you're letting one of your closest friends join the bad side! 

Mystique has one of the coolest powers of all the X-men (or women, in her case). She's a shift shaper and can turn into anybody she wants. At first I was a little confused that 1960s Mystique was played by 20 year old Jennifer Lawrence and Mystique in 2000 was played by late 20s Rebecca Romijn, but it's explained to us that she has genetic make up that makes her age quite slowly. We also find out that Mystique was the one who suggested the nicknames Professor X and Magneto for Charles and Erik. 

There's a few fun cameos: Rebecca Romijn and the best is Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It was unexpected and really funny; they made nice use of their one F word in the PG-13 movie. 

How about that death scene with Kevin Bacon? If anyone had to be killed in that manner, than he certainly deserved it - he was the one who killed little Erik's mother right in front of him, after all.  I have to give the movie credit; I've never seen anyone killed like that. That made me cringe! I will never look at a coin the same way again. 

I was really entertained by this movie and the special effects were amazing, though in ten years they'll probably look awful! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's all Gwyneth's fault

Contagion
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law,  Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow
Released: September 9, 2011
Viewed in theaters: September 22, 2011



Warning: some spoilers

If you already hate Gwyneth Paltrow, like I do, then you will hate her even more after watching Contagion!  Not only do we find out that she's cheating on her husband (Matt Damon) in the first ten seconds of the movie, but she's the reason this fast-killing virus spread to the United States after returning from a trip from Hong Kong where the virus originated. She infected thousands of people who died, including her own six year old son! Good job, Gwynnie, good job!

Luckily, her husband is immune to the disease and even luckier, his daughter was with his ex-wife. There is widespread panic as many people fall sick and entire cities and towns become ghosts towns with stores being unable to operate without people to run them and those who are still healthy start rioting and breaking into stores to steal food and other equipment. Matt just wants to leave the city with his daughter before she gets infected, but they are quarantined.

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, at the first sign of the outbreak, a doctor (Laurence Fishbourne) sends an expert in viruses and epidemics (Kate Winslet) to Minneapolis, one of the first cities to get infected (Gwyneth's hometown). Let's just say, she should have worn a mask more than she did. (I always thought those masks looked like they couldn't keep germs away).

We also have Jude Law who plays an obnoxious blogger who thinks the government is lying to everyone and that they are keeping vital information from the public about how they can be helped. On a shallow sidenote, you can definitely tell Jude is British because he has some messed up teeth! I guess some stereotypes are true.

Marion Cotillard, who is so very, very, very pretty, plays a doctor with the World Health Organization who travels to China to see how the disease originated. I was worried about her because she is also shown not wearing masks at times and they did a lot of close ups of her touching item after item after item after item. I don't want to spoil her storyline, so I'll just say I was a little confused with how they wrapped it up.

This was a decent movie, but it was a tad bit on the boring side at times. Reviewers kept saying that this movie will scare the daylights out of you because everyone gets sick and germs are everywhere!!! Eh, whatever. I was fine. I even used the restroom at my theater after the movie ended!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where's Al when you need him?

Source Code
Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright
Released: April 1, 2011


In order to talk about this movie and discuss things that I find interesting (and confusing!), I have to spoil this movie, so if you have not seen it yet, you have been warned. There are going to be some huge spoilers revealed. I repeat, you have been warned! (By the way, it is a movie worth checking out, so go see it first and then come back and read this, because I would hate to have ruined it for you!)

Okay, so have you seen the movie? Good. If you haven't, I'll explain what it's about and maybe that will get you interested in seeing it before I really start spoiling things (which I need to do to really go in depth about this movie). Jake Gyllenhaal is sleeping on a train and wakes up quite disorientated. It's clear he doesn't know where he is or why he's there. He's looking around wildly and the woman sitting across from him (Michelle Monaghan) asks him if he's all right. It's clear that she knows him, but he doesn't know who she is. She keeps calling him "Sean" and he tells her his real name is Captian Colter Stevens and she just sort of laughs him off. He goes into a bathroom and when he looks in the reflection, it is not his, but a stranger's. The train ends up being blown up and he wakes up in a pod. On a TV screen Vera Farmiga is asking him if he found the bomb. Colter is very confused and soon learns that there has been a terrorist attack on the train and he's been sent to relive the last eight minutes as one of the passengers on the train (who was picked because he has the same body shape and was about the same age as Colter) to find who was responsible so he could stop a more massive attack on the entire city of Chicago. (Please don't ask me to explain the logistics of the situation...)

He keeps going back to this man's last eight minutes and with each one you get a different scenario, so it was kind of like a serious Groundhog Day. With each scenario, you got a clue to who wasn't involved and you learned something new each time...like that fact that Colter was actually dead, but they were keeping a part of his brain alive so he could go on these missions. Don't ask me how that works.

Eventually Colter does find the bomber and he relays this information and the police and FBI are able to stop the suspect before he blows up an entire city. His mission was to stop this, but he wants to go back one more time and save everyone on the train because after going back so many times, he has fallen for Christina, his pretty companion. He does end up saving her and everyone else and he suspects that after the eight minutes this time, he'll die and the real Sean will be saved too, but no, Colter is still alive, but he's still inside Sean's body, so everyone thinks it's this Sean guy, but really it's Colter who's controlling him. Well, what about poor Sean? Everyone else on the train got to live, but that poor schmuck is the only one who had to give his life that day and not only that, but some stranger has inhabited his body and will have his girlfriend and his family confused...(and even more confused when they notice that "Sean" is acting differently), they'll never know that the REAL Sean is dead. Doesn't seem very fair to me! Now as an audience member, I know we're not supposed to care about Sean since we never met him and only see what he looks like for a split second.

There were many elements of this film that reminded me of Quantum Leap and while watching the commentary, the director said the same thing and he got Scott Bakula to voice Colter's father, so I thought that was cool.

I did like the movie, but it kind of gave me a headache and I felt bad for Sean!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bowler Hats Needed

The Adjustment Bureau
Director: George Nolfi
Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie
Released: March 4, 2011


The Adjustment Bureau is part romance, part sci-fi with a dash of politics. Matt Damon plays David Norris, a young New York politician who's running for the state Senate. Before a big speech he has to give, he meets Elise (Emily Blunt), a ballet dancer, and immediately feels a connection with her, but is unable to get any contact info because she has to leave before security catches her because she had been crashing a wedding in the same building he's to give his speech. He had been down in the polls, but meeting Elise inspired him and he changes his entire speech so it's more him speaking and not the correspondents who help him with what he should say and should wear to appease the voting public.

It just so happens the next day he runs into Elise on a bus and is thrilled. They start up a conversation and she gives him her number. (Personally, I don't know what he saw in her - I thought it was extremely immature when she took his phone when someone was calling and answered by saying, "He's not here", and even more immature when she dropped his phone in her coffee. Like that's totally charming.)

Men With Hats
One morning David walks into his office building and notices that everyone is frozen and sees a group of men he doesn't know dressed in suits and bowler hats. Like anyone in his situation, he gets freaked out and starts running and calling for help, but the group of men sedate him and he wakes up to find himself in a huge abandoned warehouse. The leader of the group tells him they are part of the Adjustment Bureau and that they "are the people who make sure things happen according to plan". He tells David that he wasn't supposed to see them just now; that he should have spilled his coffee, gone back to his apartment to change, and had been ten minutes late. He tells him that if he tells anybody about them, that he will erase his entire mind and he will not remember anything at all or even know who he is. On top of all that, he tells David that he was never supposed to run into Elise on the bus and that he is never to see her again and burns the paper with her number on it.

Even though he only has Elise's (first!) name to go on, David doesn't give up trying to find her and three years later sees her walking down the street while on the bus and runs out to talk to her. She thinks that he had just blown her off all that time ago and doesn't believe him when he tells her he lost her number. She agrees to have lunch with them and the Bureau is alerted and quickly tries to come up with ways to separate them. They succeed, but David is determined and still manages to get to her with all these roadblocks in his way.

Why is the Adjustment Bureau so adamant about keeping David and Elise apart? Because separately they would have turned into extraordinary people. David is destined to be President, but could never be if he stayed with Elise because she is too much of a free spirit. Elise is destined to be one of the world's most famous dancers, but if she stays with David, she'll only be a ballet teacher for young kids. David is fine with giving up that dream to be with the woman he loves, but when he learns that her dream will never be fulfilled, he walks out on her while she's in the hospital after she sprains her ankle (something the A.B. made happen). I didn't understand why he couldn't just talk to her and say, "Look, I'm worried that if we stay together, I'll hold you back from being a great dancer and I think we should split up." She would have either agreed or not cared if that happened. Seriously, who cares if she never became one of the world's most famous dancers. There's nothing wrong with teaching ballet. She could always choreograph awesome dance movies like Center Stage! Can anyone even name a famous ballet dancer because I sure can't.

Eleven months pass and he finds out that Elise is getting married to her ex-boyfriend and decides that he does want to be with her (make up your mind!) and with the help of one of the members of the Bureau played by Anthony Mackie, he finds a short cut to get to the courthouse where she is to be married. The members of the Bureau have the cool ability to walk into one door and appear at a totally different location when they cross the threshold. Anyone who is wearing a bowler hat can do this. I loved the scene where he's running through doors and trying to dodge any of the members; I thought that was really well done.

Good movie, I really did like it despite some of my complaints. Personally if I were given all these signs that I shouldn't be with someone, I would take them all into account and be like, F it! They must not be worth it. That power with the hats is pretty cool though; that walking through a door and being closer to your location would come in rather handy, especially during the winter so I wouldn't have to drive in snow!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

July 15th

One Day
Director: Lone Scherfig
Cast: Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess
Released: August 19, 2011
Viewed in theaters: September 1, 2011


I saw this movie with my mom and we had both read the book by David Nicholls. We both agreed that if we had not read the book, we would have been a little lost. (Not as lost as, say, if I hadn't read any of the Harry Potter books and seeing the last movie).

Before I go into my review, let me tell you about our audience. My mom and I were the first ones in the theater and more people came in right before the film started. Four older ladies sat right in front of us, a couple sat in the same row as us, and two people sat right behind us. The theater wasn't that small - there was plenty of room to spread out! Not only that, but the four ladies sitting in front of us TALKED THROUGH THE ENTIRE MOVIE! Ugh, it was really irritating. I kept hearing one of them ask the other something and felt like saying "Well, if you just watch the movie and STOP TALKING then maybe you'll know what's going on!" Of course they probably hadn't read the book.

The movie is about Emma (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter (Jim Sturgess) who start a relationship of sorts the last day of their college graduation, which is July 15, 1988. They're only friends at first, but there's the hint that they could be something more. We see their relationship evolve each year on July 15 for the next twenty years. Well, it's supposed to be twenty years. In the book, the first chapter starts in 1988 and the last one starts in 2007. The tag line on the poster reads "Two people, twenty years, one day". Well, the only thing thing is that while the movie starts in 1988, it ends in 2011! I can understand that they want to be current, but that drove me a little crazy because they're LYING on the poster! 1988 - 2011 does NOT equal twenty years! They should have have re-worded the tag to "Two people, twenty-plus years, one day".

Each time they want to establish it's a new year in the movie, they do a clever way of placing the year on the screen. I remember one was written on a wall and another is written on a computer screen. It kind of reminded me of the clever ways Heroes used to show its titles. (Loved season 1 of that show, but it just wasn't the same after that!) Some of the years go by pretty fast. While you may get a good twenty pages for each year in the book, in the film, you might only get five (or less!) minutes. Obviously in the book, Emma and Dexter are more fleshed out.

One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Dexter is having dinner with his girlfriend's (not Emma) family and they're very rich and snooty and she has younger twin brothers who are being little snots. They play a parlor game called "Are You There, Moriarty?" and if I had seen the movie without reading the book, I would have been very confused. The book explains the parlor game and it's a lot funnier when he accidently injures his girlfriend. Her twin brothers are also a lot funnier (and snottier!) in the book.

It was fun to see the fashion and technology and hear the music for each year. That was one of the things that the book couldn't really show.

Word of advice: you might want to bring tissues with you to the theater. I won't say that you'll cry happy tears or sad tears because I don't want to spoil anything.

It was a nice movie, but the book is better. I would advise to read the book first, then rent the movie when it's on DVD.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Wind Beneath My Wings

Beaches
Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey
Released: December 21,1988

Oscar nominations:
Best Art Direction (lost to Dangerous Liaisons)


Is Beaches a chick flick? One might say unequivocally so. Is Beaches a schmaltzy film? You could say one of the schmaltziest ever. Are there problems with the script? Most definitely yes. Did I cry my eyes out while watching it? I am not ashamed to say that yes, yes, I did. Do I know every word to Wind Beneath My Wings? Who doesn't?

In a one sentence summary, Beaches is a film about the friendship between two women that spans over thirty years. Cece Bloom and Hilary Whitney meet on the beach in Coney Island one summer as eleven year olds and strike up a lifelong friendship. The two girls couldn't be more different. Cece is from the Bronx, a rough and tumble kinda New York girl with an attitude and wants to be a STAH! She sings, tap dances, acts. Her mother is the typical stage mother and Cece calls her Leona. Leona's played by Lainie Kazan whos' probably best known for playing the mother in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but she also played Andrea's grandma in Beverly Hills, 90210. I should also note that young Cece is played by Mayim Bialik. If you don't know that name, shame on you! She only played the titular character on  Blossom that was on 8:30/7:30 central time Monday nights on NBC right after The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the early nineties. Is it weird that I can remember what was on Monday nights on NBC twenty years ago, but I couldn't tell you what's on Mondays on NBC presently? And if you still have no idea what Blossom was, maybe this will refresh your memory:




Hilary is from San Francisco and comes from a rich family. Her mom died when she was young and her extracurricular actives include horse back riding and ballet, activities that young, proper girls do.

Hilary and Cece exchange addresses and keep a correspondence, writing letters to each other often. We see them grow up and graduate college and they're still writing each other. Now this is the first problem with the script I have. There is no way that two eleven year old girls that live on opposite sides of the country are going to write each other for that long after they've just spent, what, half a day together? Maybe they would write to each for a few months after meeting, but it would eventually stop.

Fast forward to Bette Midler as older Cece who is a struggling performer and Barbara Hershey as older Hilary who is a lawyer and has decided to defy her father and move to New York to visit Cece. Apparently they never sent pictures of themselves to each other because Cece doesn't even know it's Hilary when she approaches her at a nighclub Cece sings at.

After that, the rest of the movie revolves around this cycle: they fight, they cry, they make up, they cry again. I swear, that must happen four or five times in the movie! The first time is when Cece likes a guy (Macaulay Culkin's dad from Home Alone), but he likes Hilary in return. Hilary ends up marrying a lawyer when she goes back to San Francisco for awhile (more letter writing!) to take care of her sick dad and Cece marries Mr. McCallister. By the time Hilary returns to New York with her new husband, Cece has become more famous and she and her husband are now living in a lavish penthouse. The two haven't seen each other in awhile and another fight breaks out. Hilary says it's because they've fallen apart, but Cece accuses Hilary, saying that she's broken apart. Eventually they make up down the line. (More crying! And hugging!)

I watched the commentary with Garry Marshall and he mentioned that he wanted to make this movie because most people didn't want to make a movie about the friendship between two women and how he was interested in that aspect. He then went on to say that he finds women friendships fascinating because, according to him, when men fight, they won't speak to each other for years, but when women fight, they've made up in a couple of hours and are shopping! Not only is this extremely sexist, but I find it quite untrue. I'm no expert, so I'll just pretend to be: when guys fight, they just need to hit something (like each other (see, I can be sexist too!)), but I think females hold grudges way longer than guys do. If you piss me off, I will not talk to you from anywhere as long as a week to eternity. To be fair to the movie, when Cece and Hilary had their biggest fight, they didn't talk to each other for months and Hilary ignored all of Cece's letters, so it wasn't like they were BFFs again after a couple of hours and SHOPPING! Shopping makes everything better!

Both of their marriages fall apart. Hilary catches her husband with another woman (eating breakfast) and Cece's husband feels like he comes second to her career. This bonds the two lifelong friends together again and Cece finds out that Hilary is pregnant. She is beyond ecstatic as both women have mentioned how much they would love to have kids. Hilary has a girl...who grows up to be a psychotic ballet dancer. Sorry, couldn't resist a Black Swan joke! Actually, Darren Aronofsky or whoever cast that movie is a genius because during Beaches, I was struck by how much Barbara Hershey looked like Natalie Portman, especially after she got sick. (Hmm, did I just inadvertently diss Natalie Portman?)

That's right, bring on the terminal illness that befalls one of the friends. Hilary has some heart problem and after spending the last moments of her life (minus in the hospital) with her daughter, now six or seven, and Cece on the beach, she eventually dies.

This is where I lost it. Between the montage with Bette Midler singing "Wind Beneath My Wings" Hilary's daughter, Victoria, sitting forlornly at her mom's funeral, and Victoria's tear-stained face while petting her cat for comfort, I was a sobbing mess. Sooo glad I was watching this alone!

Cece tells Victoria that her mother said she wanted her daughter to live with Cece in her will. Wait, what? What about her dad? Even Cece asks Victoria if she wants to live with her father and Victoria says she's never met him! They didn't really explain it well, but either Hilary never told her ex that she was pregnant or he knew about it and didn't want anything to do with his child. In either case, it makes one of the parents look like a jerk. So Cece adopts Victoria and that's the end. Cue "Wind Beneath My Wings" again.