Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Heaven Couldn't Wait For You

My Girl
Director: Howard Zieff
Cast: Anna Chlumsky, Macaulay Culkin, Dan Aykroyd, Jamie Lee Curtis, Griffin Dunne
Released: November 27, 1991
Viewed in theaters: November 28, 1991

SPOILER ALERT!!!  (I don't know why I need this because I feel like everybody knows what happens...but just in cases!) 

OMG, you guys, I love this movie so much!! This was my favorite movie as a kid, and, no joke, I probably watched it AT LEAST 30 times within two years of its release date (and I only saw it twice in the theater). Needless to say, I did own the VHS (hehe....that's a video tape for those of you who don't know...and if you don't know what a video tape is, go Google it!) Surprisingly, I don't own it on DVD. I don't know what happened to the VHS copy I had....probably wore it out since I watched it so many times! The last time I saw it was nine years ago so it's been awhile but of course I remembered everything since this movie is pretty much embedded in my brain. As I watched the movie, small details came back to me such as the grandmother randomly bursting into song or the hippie couple in the poetry class. 

I think I related to this movie because I was the same age as Vada (Anna Chlumsky), the main character. We probably only had one thing in common (we both liked to write) as I would never randomly just go to the doctor like she always did. Since she grew up in a funeral parlor and her dad, Harry (Dan Aykroyd), is an undertaker, Vada is obsessed with death and dying. She always thinks something is wrong with her and that she must be dying hence all the trips to the doctor's office (to which she even questions him if all his medical certificates are even legit.) 

I read the film's novelization before I saw the movie so I knew what would happen to Thomas J (Macaulay Culkin), Vada's best (and only) friend. But I wonder if I hadn't already known, if I would have picked up on it because there are so many clues! First of all, the whole girl's life is surrounded by death since her dad is an undertaker and her house always has a dead body in it whether it's in the basement getting embalmed (so creepy...I would freak out too if I got locked in that basement!) or if it's in the funeral parlor on display for a service. Then we get that scene where a small coffin is coming through the house and she asks her dad if it's for a child and he says, Of course not, that it's for someone who was really short. Then we get that scene of her and Thomas J in the garage when they come across a photo of her deceased mother and heaven is brought up and Thomas J asks her what she thinks heaven is like and and she explains to him this wonderful place to which he replies, "That doesn't sound so bad." Looking back, it's pretty obvious she's going to lose someone close to her. 

The film takes place during the summer of 1972. I'm not sure if there was any significant reason why that year was chosen. I had no idea it took place in the '70s when I first saw it, I had just assumed it took place in "present day" 1991 so I was a little indignant when I found that out because how can I relate to kids growing up in the '70s? As much as I would have loved to see it take place in '91, the film would be significantly different as there are little touches that add to the decade it's set in. Obviously, the soundtrack for one thing. Also, her dad watches All in the Family and there are references to The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. And the wardrobe is very '70s. The one character who wears the most '70s style clothing is Shelly (Jamie Lee Curtis), the makeup artist who gets a job at the funeral parlor (only she thinks it's a beauty parlor when she interviews for the job and is a little skeeved out when she realizes her mistake, but takes the job anyway). She's always wearing something crazy like bell bottoms or denim jumpsuits with lots of loud, ugly colors that you can only find in the '70s. 

Vada is not having a very good summer (and it's about to get a lot worse!) After Shelly starts working at the funeral parlor, her dad begins to date her. Vada does not like this because she is no longer getting all of her dad's attention and because she does not want a replacement for her mother who
died when she was a baby. But having another female in the house turns out to be good for Vada who is usually around males all the time because Shelly teachers her to put on makeup (she's always wearing a ton herself) and when Vada finds herself "hemorrhaging" one day, she starts to freak out because she thinks she's dying (of course!) and Shelly has to explain to her the joys of being a preteen girl. (Was Vada sick that day in health class when they separate the boys and girls and have a talk with each group?) Shelly is also the one to be worried about Vada's "sicknesses" and tells Harry she's concerned about her, but he thinks it's just a phase she's going through.

Harry and Shelly get engaged, but we don't see the proposal onscreen, instead we find out the same way as Vada: when they are at a carnival and Vada wins a fish in a ring toss and while Shelly is holding the bag with the fish in it, Vada notices the diamond ring on her finger and asks Shelly where she got it with adding hopefully if she won it. (Um, I don't think so!) That's when her dad tells her they have something to tell her and Vada is very upset by this news. She decides to run away and after spending hours in a tree, she decides to go home and as she hops down, the camera pans to show that she was in a tree in her own yard the whole time!

Vada steals money from the secret stash Shelly keeps in her trailer. But this is before Vada finds out her dad is dating Shelly so it's not out of spite, but rather out of desperation as she needs $35 to pay for a writing class that her teacher, Mr. Bixler (Griffin Dunne), who she has the hots for, is teaching over the summer. I love the scene when she gets out her class photo where she's looking adoringly at her teacher and starts singing "Wedding Bell Blues". She asked her dad for the money but he refused to give it to her because she's always starting different hobbies, but never sees any of them through. When you put the DVD in, there's a journal on the home screen where you can select to play movie or go to a scene and this confused me so much because for the life of me I couldn't remember Vada keeping a journal so I figured I just must have forgotten about it (blasphemy, I know!) but there is no journal! That didn't make any sense! She does have a notepad she takes to the writing class so that would have made more sense. A mood ring or a bee hive would have made more sense!

Her first day at the writing class is so funny because she's this young kid in a class full of grow ups who are writing about very adult things. I love it when after that guy reads his poem about "You did not smell my rose, you did not see my painting", etc., that one woman goes, "Maybe she was out of town." And I love the awkward look on Vada's face when that blonde hippie woman is reading a poem about spending a night with her boyfriend, who's also in the class. "I can't fight it, there's no point. I wake up and light a joint." And after that Vada reads her cute little poem about ice cream. And I love the scene where they're all in a circle holding hands, trying to feel each other's "auras" and the one guy gets jealous when his girlfriend is having a moment with another guy.

The mean girls in Vada's neighborhood make fun of her for being friends with the dorky Thomas J and when the nice, new girl invites her to her dad's movie theater, they snide her and tell her not to invite Vada or she'll have to bring her boyfriend. I never understood why Vada was such a recluse for being friends with him. I mean, yeah, he was a bit of a pansy because he was always worried about getting in trouble with his parents (like that night of the bingo game when Vada wants him to come with her and he says he'll get in trouble if he's out by himself after dark) and he was allergic to everything (like chocolate....and bees) and he was accused of being a pacifist, but he didn't seem that bad! He seemed a little naive and dumb at times (like when Vada decides to run away to Hollywood to live with The Brady Bunch and he wants to live with them too and she tells him they already have enough kids so he'll have to live with the Partridge family and he's like, "Ooh, really?") and he definitely lets Vada push him around (her threatening to punch him if he doesn't close his eyes before they kiss), but I never understood why the other kids were always so mean to him. Even Vada is pretty horrible to him too and she's suppose to be his best friend. She is definitely the alpha of that relationship. Don't get me wrong, she is very fond of him, but she can be a bully towards him. They never explain how long they've been friends or why they're friends as they're so different, which I thought they did, but I guess I remembered wrong. (Maybe that was from the book?)

Macaulay, no!!!
My Girl is the first movie I remember completely bawling my eyes out. Like, I was a total wreck when I first saw it (and I was prepared for what was going to happen, but it will still so sad!) I have since cried at countless other movies, but this was the first one where I remembered having to brush the tears out of my eyes so I could see and tears were streaming down my cheeks one after the other. This movie is very traumatizing! After watching it the other night for, oh, I don't know, the 50th time perhaps, I thought of a way the filmmaker could have made the death scene even more effective. So we already know the scene with the bee hive and the missing mood ring has already been established when Vada and Thomas J are playing with their new water syringes and Thomas J starts knocking down the bee hive because he wants one (um...I guess he didn't know he was allergic to bees?) and Vada notices her mood ring is gone so they start looking for it until Thomas J looks up and sees the swarm of angry bees and yells for them to "run for their lives" (no kidding, kid!) Then several scenes later we see that scene where Thomas J goes back to the woods to look for Vada's ring and he finds it, but not before all the bees start attacking him and there's an ominous slow-mo shot of his glasses falling off.  So what I would have done is take that scene out completely as well as the next scene where a police officer comes to the house to speak to Harry. (I never did understand why the police came to their house...wouldn't they have gone to Thomas J's parents' house? Why did they need to tell the undertaker?) So by this point you know something serious has happened. I think it would have been way more effective if the audience was finding out exactly the same time as Vada when her dad tells her. Just imagine if it had went from the scene where Thomas J asks Vada if she'll think of him if she doesn't marry Mr. Bixler then to the scene where her dad comes into her room to talk to her. Can you imagine the gut punch that would have? Let's make this sad movie even more sad! When her dad comes in, you can tell he's very upset and he's acting weird because he asks if the fish she's feeding is the same one she won at the carnival. Well, duh. We already know from the two previous scenes we saw that something horrible happened to Thomas J and we are pretty much confirmed his death by the way her dad is acting, but just imagine if we didn't have those scenes. We would have no idea why her dad was acting this way. That scene is already so sad the way it is, but just imagine if we were getting the devastating news the same time as Vada!

Usually from this scene until the end of the movie, the tears are streaming down my face nonstop but whenever I watch it, there's always just some little moment that makes me sob even more. The first time I saw it, it was his parents' expression at his funeral after Vada has come down and starts yelling for someone to put on his glasses that really got me. This time it was when Judy, the nice new girl, comes to the door and tells Shelly she wants to tell Vada she's really sorry about what happened to Thomas J. I'm sitting home on my couch, just crying and thinking, Oh, what a sweet girl! :::sob!::::
Oh! And let's not forget the scene where Thomas J's mother returns Vada's mood ring to her and Vada tells her that her son will be okay because her mother will take care of him. I might just start crying right now! Oh, and the poem about the weeping willow, of course. Gets me everytime. This movie is so sad, you guys!!! But I love it so much! 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Increase the Peace

Boyz n the Hood
Director: John Singleton
Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Angela Basset, Nia Long, Regina King
Released: July 12, 1991

Oscar nominations:

Best Director - John Singleton (lost to Jonathan Demme for Silence of the Lambs)
Best Original Screenplay - John Singleton (lost to Callie Khouri for Thelma and Louise)

Spoiler alert....there are characters who get killed in this movie that heavily features gangs!

I first saw this movie in 2009, months before I started this blog so it had just missed the cut off date for me to review it after seeing it the first time, but I figured now would be the perfect time since I consider it a culturally relevant film from 1991. At 24, John Singleton was the youngest director ever to get a nomination for Best Director. That's really young and this was not only the first movie he directed (well, duh, he was only 23 when he directed it!), but it was the first thing he directed, period. I had always just assumed he did music video work, but IMDd lists nothing previous to Boyz n the Hood. 

I was curious to see other young directors (as in under 30) who have also been nominated for directing Oscars. Alright, so after doing some research on Wiki, I'm back with some cool facts! Nobody in their twenties has ever WON a Best Director Oscar. The youngest winner was 32 years old, some guy named Norman Taurog for some movie called Skippy. This was back in 1931, so back then he probably would have been considered old, haha! In more recent times, the youngest winner would probably be Sam Mendes who was 34 when he won for American Beauty in 2000. (He is the third youngest Best Director winner). That's still a whole decade older than John Singleton who has held the record for the youngest Best Director nominee (and remember, there are more nominees than winners overall!) for the past 24 years. Before him, the youngest Best Director nominee was Orson Welles who was 26 when he was nominated for Citizen Kane in 1941 (hmmm...I always pictured him as an old man!) Since him, there's been a handful of 29 (M. Night Shyamlan! Ha! Remember when he was nominated for one for The Sixth Sense?) and 30 year olds (Spike Jonez for Being John Malkovich and Jason Reitman for Juno).  Okay, sorry, I just like statistical facts like those. It is very impressive that John Singleton was nominated when he was that young.

Another interesting fact about his nomination (and this one shocked me a little) is that he is the first black director to be nominated! I was thinking, Wait a minute....Do The Right Thing came out two years BEFORE this movie...did they forget about Spike Lee? And then I had to double check and found out he wasn't...oops.... Then I was thinking, what about Sidney Poitier? He was surely nominated for Best Director, right? No....he did win for Best Actor (that must be what I was thinking of), but has never been nominated for any directing work. I mean, maybe I shouldn't be that surprised....this is the same organization that was called out for being racist at this year's Oscar ceremony! So John Singleton holds two pretty distinct Oscar firsts.

The movie starts in 1984 when our main character, Tre Styles, is ten years old. He lives with his mother (Angela Bassett) in South Central L.A. who is going to school for her masters. Tre is a bright kid but, because of the aggressiveness he sees in the older kids around his neighborhood, he gets into a lot of fights because that's how he's learned how to act when he wants to intimate someone or if he doesn't agree with someone. His mother told him if he gets into one more fight, then he will be sent to live with his father who lives in a rough neighborhood. I felt like he would have gone to live with his father regardless since his mother was so busy with going to school and completing her work. His father (Laurence Fishburne - yes, his parents are Ike and Tina Turner!) Furious Styles (yes, that is his name; no, he's not a superhero) is a strict parent, but tells Tre he is lucky because most of the boys in his neighborhood don't have a father to teach them responsibility like Tre does.

Tre becomes fast friends with three other boys his age in the neighborhood: Doughboy (whose real name is Darren, but they call his Doughboy because he's fat, I guess); Ricky, who's Doughboy's half brother (they have the same mother, but different fathers, neither which is in their lives); and Chris. There's a scene where the four boys are walking along a train track and one of them asks the others if they wanna see a dead body. Sound familiar? Okay, that cannot be coincidental! That is so Stand By Me! There's even a fat kid in the mix! The dead kid they see is even in a similar position as the dead kid in Stand By Me; kinda hidden in the brush. Only the dead kid (well, he's more of a dead teen, but it's all semantics) in this movie was shot by a rival gang member while I think the dead kid in Stand By Me was hit by a train, right? I don't remember...and I've seen that movie many times. That's really sad. It's sad that I don't remember is what I mean, but it is also sad that a kid died from getting hit by a train. Anyway, I'm getting way off track...haha, I made a pun. Anyway, very cool John Singleton is a Stand By Me fan.

In one scene, two police officers come over to the Styles house after a burglar has fled after Furious shot at him. There's a white cop and a black cop and you think the white cop is going to be a racist jerk, but he just asks for the statement and when he goes back to the car, it's the black cop who is racist, pretty much telling Furious that he wasted their time since nothing was taken and that it's too bad he didn't shoot the perpetrator so there would be one less n-word to worry about. When the cop says hello to Tre, Furious tells him to go back in the house and the cop asks him if something is wrong and Furious replies, "Yeah, there is. It's just too bad you don't know what it is." This cop will come back later and he will not have learned his lesson.

The movie jumps forward seven years to "present" day 1991 where Tre is now 17 (and now played by Cuba Gooding Jr. BTW, does anyone know how to pronounce his name? I'm not sure if it's Cue-ba or Koo-ba because I've heard it said both ways. I've always pronounced it the same was as the country). Out of his three childhood friends, he's become closest to Ricky (now played by Morris Chestnut). There's a reason for this. Doughboy and Chris were caught shoplifting and were sent to juvie. They were there for seven years which seems a little extreme for minors unless they were caught with guns, but we're really never told the whole story. After the time jump, the first scene we see is a welcome home party for the two kids. Doughboy is now played by Ice Cube and Chris is now in a wheelchair (and played by someone not famous, or I should say by someone who did not become famous). They're both gang members, both affiliated with the Crips party. (Which probably explains why Chris is paralyzed since he was shot.)

So here's something crazy: Laurence (or "Larry" as he was credited!) Fishburne is only seven years older than Cuba and he's playing his father! Furious is suppose to be a young father as he was seventeen when Tre was born, so when Tre is ten, the age difference makes sense since Furious is suppose to be 27 and Fishburne was 29 when he filmed this. If they did age Fishburne in the time jump (to the ripe old age of 34!), then I didn't notice anything. But you have to remember Fishburne was playing someone older than he actually was and Cuba was playing someone younger than he was as he was around 22 when he filmed this. I can't imagine anyone other than Laurence Fishburne playing Furious, though, he is so good. I read that Eddie Murphy was offered the part or considered for it. Thank God that didn't happen...I can't see that at all!

When I re-watched this, I remembered that one of Tre's friends died at the hands of a gang member and for the longest time I was convinced it was Doughboy (and technically he DOES die, but it's off screen), but as the movie went along, I realized I had remembered wrong and that it was Golden Boy Ricky who gets shot. It's really no secret that Ricky and Doughboy's mother prefers Ricky over Darren. Ricky has gotten the opportunity to get a scholarship to USC to play football and the scene where his mother tells him that if he gets in, then he will be the first person in their family to attend college, that's when I knew he was the one who was going to die. And I was right.

There's a scene earlier in the movie where the four guys are at a street racing event and Ricky gets in a scuffle with a Blood member. (We know he's a Blood member because he and his other cronies are wearing red). The Blood member is walking past Ricky and shoves him and they get into a fight and Doughboy asks the Blood members if there's a problem as he's flashing his gun to them. The Blood members eventually leave them alone, but a few minutes later, the leader shoots his gun in the air, scaring everyone away.

Tre and Ricky drive back home together and on their way back they are pulled over by the cops. The very same cops that came to the Styles house seven years ago when there was an attempted robbery. That racist black cop I mentioned earlier? Still a self-hating racist cop! If Tre recognized him, I couldn't tell. But what are the odds that he would meet up again with the same cop from seven years ago? And they live in South Central L.A. where there must be tons of cops all the time. It seems a little implausible that he would run into the same two cops from his childhood.

The Blood member is still angry at Ricky for confronting them and has somehow found out where he lives and the other boys see their car in their neighborhood and know nothing good can come out of
this. Ricky doesn't think anything of it; he just thinks they're trying to scare him. Um, they're in a gang...they will kill you over anything! It's so stupid...you can accidentally bump into someone or say the wrong thing to someone and the next moment you're shot dead. Ricky may have been book smart (he did get a high enough SAT score to get into USC), but I don't think he was as street smart as his brother. He's just standing out in the alley scratching some lottery tickets. I'm thinking, get your ass somewhere where you're not out in the open! But like I said, he didn't seem to be too concerned about his safety. Tre sees the Bloods first and yells "RICKY!" to warn his friend, but it's too late and in a very brutal scene he is shot dead. His friends take his body back to his house. Now while his friends' and his girlfriend's reactions were heartbreaking, it was his mother's reaction that really got me. At first, she is confused as to why everyone is screaming and crying and when she sees her son's body on her couch (and thank goodness it had plastic over it!), she breaks down and pleads for him to wake up. Really sad stuff.

Drenched in his friend's blood, Tre goes to his house to get his gun. His girlfriend, Brandi (Nia Long) sees him and pleads for him to tell her what's happened to Ricky but he won't talk to her. Furious tells him he can't leave this house or his life will be over, everything he's worked for to try to get out of this town for a better life. Tre tells him he won't do anything but ends up sneaking out to join Doughboy and the others to get revenge on the guys who killed Ricky. However, Tre realizes his father is right and he doesn't want to go down this path of violence and asks for them to pull the car over so he can get out.

Somehow, Doughboy and the others manage to find the Bloods eating outside a fast food place. (The town they live in must not be that big... or maybe gangs have their favorite hangouts?) They kill all of them in the parking lot and Doughboy personally gets out himself to "finish the job" while the other guys are yelling at him to get back in the car before they get caught. The next day we see a scene with Doughboy talking to Tre saying how he knows his days are numbered since someone will want to seek retaliation for the lives they took...although how would they know it was him since he killed all the people and there are no witnesses? Maybe the one Blood leader took notes. Who knows how this gang stuff works. But he's right and we see text written on the screen that Doughboy was murdered two weeks later. As this is shown, Doughboy is walking across the street after talking to Tre and vanishes. It's another shoutout to Stand By Me when it's mentioned River Phoenix's character dies and we see him disappear. Except I thought Doughboy was suppose to be the Vern!

Tre was able to get out of L.A. when he is accepted to a college in Atlanta along with his girlfriend.

It's a respectable movie for a first time director though things are a little heavy-handed at times. For instance, the very first scene shows a neighborhood and the camera lingers on a stop sign for a few seconds. The message is very blatant! 

Monday, March 21, 2016

'Hook' Me Up

Five years ago I reviewed ten teen movies that came out when I was a teen. (I reviewed them in April and May of 2011 so you can check them out in the archives if you so desire). I decided it was about that time to review ten more movies with a theme and this time, I thought, why not go with ten movies all from the same year? For a lot of cinemaphiles, I know that 1994, 1999 and 2007 are huge movie years. (Just between you and me, while there are certainly movies from 2007 that I like, I never saw it as a huge movie year). I almost thought of reviewing ten movies from '99, but decided not to since it already gets a lot of attention (perhaps another time though?) I wanted to do a year that has a lot of great movies, but also never really gets talked about that much as a great movie year.

The year I chose was 1991. Yes, good old nineteen hundred and ninety one. While I do remember seeing movies in the theater prior to this year, this was the first year I remember seeing quite a few movies in the theater. A lot of these choices do have some nostalgia factor towards my childhood (like the one I'm reviewing below). There are a few I will review that I didn't see in the theater because I was way too young, but did eventually see them later and really liked them. There are even a few that I will be seeing for the very first time (like a certain Oscar winning movie!) Just click on the "1991" tag after you read this review and check out some of the other AMAZING movies from 1991 that I've already reviewed such as Terminator 2, Thelma and Louise, Beauty and the Beast, Fried Green Tomatoes, JFK, and The Prince of Tides. (Well, maybe that last one isn't so amazing, they can't all be great movies. But even that movie has a certain 1991-ness to it, for a lack of a better word).

So let's hop into the DeLorean and go back to 1991 for the next ten reviews! Our first stop is...

Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Smith, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Charlie Korsmo
Released: December 11, 1991

Oscar nominations:

Best Art Direction - Set Direction (lost to Bugsy)
Best Costume Design (lost to Bugsy)
Best Sound Effects Editing (lost to Terminator 2)
Best Makeup (lost to Terminator 2)
Best Song - "When You're Alone" by John Williams and Leslie Bricusse (lost to "Beauty and the Beast" by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman)

While I remember seeing this movie in the theater, I really don't remember what I thought of it. I don't have any recollection of loving it, but I also don't remember hating it. I'm sure I thought it was long because I was surprised to find out when I watched it on Netflix last week that  it was two hours and twenty one minutes. That seems a bit long for a movie aimed at kids. Not that it's just for kids, but I guess it's a family movie. I definitely feel like there are places you could trim 21 minutes so you just have a nice, even two hour movie.

There have been a ton (probably over a ton) of Peter Pan adaptations for film and TV. To be honest, I think Hook is the only one I've seen...I don't think I've even seen the actual Disney animated Peter Pan movie that's from 1953. Well, I probably have seen it but don't remember since I was probably a kid when I last saw it. And I did see that season of Once Upon a Time when they did a storyline about Peter Pan. And I also saw Finding Neverland, but wasn't that more about the author? Well, the point I'm trying to make is that I'm not really a Peter Pan fan. However, I do like the concept of Hook which is what if Peter Pan grew up? In this world, Peter Pan is Peter Banning (Robin Williams) and he is married to Wendy's granddaughter. He's a lawyer (I guess that's why he had to change the last name or otherwise nobody would take him seriously!) and has two kids, Jack and Maggie. The catch is that Peter doesn't remember who he really is. His daughter's school puts on a production of Peter Pan and that doesn't ring any bells for him. He doesn't go around bragging to his kids how he used to live in Neverland with the Lost Boys, pirates, and mermaids. (If he did, they'd probably think he was insane!) Instead he has become someone who is so wrapped up in his work and doesn't have time to go to his kids events. He promised his son he would attend his baseball game, but wasn't able to because of work.

"Peter, you've become a pirate!" 
He and his family fly to London to attend an event honoring Grandma Wendy (Maggie Smith) for her charity work with orphanages. Wendy is 95 and while watching this, I was thinking, wow, Maggie Smith looks like she was in her 80s when she filmed this...but I knew that was impossible because this movie was filmed 25 years ago and that would mean she would be well over 100 and I know she is not that old! (A quick look at Wiki told me she's currently 81). She was actually 56 when she filmed Hook and was made up to look older. I had no idea who Maggie Smith was until she played Professor McGonagall, so I'm sure I believed that a 95 year old woman was playing that part when I saw it as a kid! Wendy remembers who he is and is aghast when he yells at his kids for bothering him when he's on the phone. I have to side with him on this one; there's nothing more annoying than when you're trying to talk on the phone and the people in the same room as you can't give you the respect you need!

When Jack and Maggie are kidnapped by Hook (Dustin Hoffman) while Peter and his wife are at the event with Wendy, Wendy has to remind Peter of who he is by showing him the book his story is  based on. Of course, he doesn't believe her. Later that night we see a small glowing object that we all know is Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) flutter in, trying to get his attention, but annoyed and thinking it's a really big firefly, Peter takes a rolled up newspaper and starts swatting her. Luckily (and for some odd reason), Tinkerbell has the strength of the Hulk and grabs the newspaper and starts swatting at him! For a movie that is a quarter of a century old, the effects of fairy Julia Roberts in contrast with life-size Robin Williams still hold up. There's some pretty clever gags such as she makes her home in a doll house. The one thing I found weird about Tinkbell is that they altered her voice. At least, I think they altered her voice. It sounds very squeaky. There's no way that was Julia's real voice! They must have wanted it to sound more like it was coming from a fairy. With her super-human strength, Tinkerbell flies to Neverland, carrying a passed out Peter Pan in a blanket.

The set of Neverland looks like it would be really fun to play on, like if it was a big playground, but it looks like it would be a pain in the ass if you were working on this movie. There's a lot of extras (which include many kids who are NOT good actors!) and there's just so much stuff going on all the time. Hook wants to have a duel with Peter in order for him to get his kids back and when Peter takes out what Hook thinks is a weapon, it's actually his checkbook and he asks Hook how much he wants for their return. Tinkerbell tells Hook that Peter needs three days of training in order to regain his memory and then they can have their real duel and Hook agrees to these terms.

Tinkerbell takes them to the Lost Boys who are all making fun of him because he's old and out of shape. They really don't have the right to call him out on the latter because one of the Lost Boys is downright fat and needs exercise way more than Peter! However, Peter slowly starts to remember who he is (and he can fly!). Now when someone wants to fly, all they have to do is think of one happy thought and they will soon be soaring in the air. To no one's surprise, Peter's happy thought is his children. Duh. Who didn't see that one coming? However, Hook has gotten to Jack (Charlie Korsmo) first and is trying to make him into a mini-Hook. Also, if you think Jack looks familiar, he would later go on to star in Can't Hardly Wait (part of my ten teen movies that came out when I was a teen - look at that, full circle!)  as the nerdy teen who wants to take revenge on a bullying jock at a party, but instead ends up getting drunk and singing a Guns 'n Roses song.

By this time, you're getting a little tired and thinking, Okay, it's time to wrap up. Peter has gotten back his children and now all he has to do is defeat Hook....but we get two psyche outs where we think he's going to, but doesn't, because he doesn't want to kill someone in front of his children, I guess? IDK. But on the third attempt (ugh!), it's SuperWoman aka Tinkerbell who kills the pirate by dropping a huge statue of a crocodile on him. Peter is able to fly him and his children home. Thank God...I was sick of being in Neverland! They are reunited with Grandma Wendy and the wife/mother and everyone is happy. I think Peter even quits his job, but I can't remember for sure, but it seems like something he would do.

Oh, here's a fun film fact: this film was Gwyneth Paltrow's debut. She has a ten second role as young Wendy. She still looks exactly the same. However, I doubt she will grow up to be as cool as Maggie Smith (she didn't!). Have you ever visited Gwynnie's site, Goop.com? I was snooping over there for poops and laughs and it just made me roll my eyes! Apparently she thinks women (I say women because pretty much everything on there is geared towards females) who follow her are all rich....and maybe they are. You can buy stuff on her site, but it's so expensive! She sells these "dusts" that range from $55-$65. There's "moon dust", "brain dust", "spirit dust", "sex dust".... what is this stuff? I mean, nobody actually buys this crap and believes it works, right? RIGHT?!??! There's a recipe for a "morning smoothie" and it begins with reasonable ingredients like almond butter and and almond milk, but then it says you need one of those "dusts"...who the eff is going to pay for a $60 smoothie??? Not to mention some of the other ingredients include things called "ashwagandha" (which is $17) and "cordyceps" (which is $35). Not to mention all the other ingredients. I bet this smoothie comes out to almost $1000! So ridiculous. Go away, Gwynnie the Pooh! Nobody needs you or your stupid, expensive smoothies and "dusts!"

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Hook has its fun moments, but is way too bloated (like that fat kid!) I really can't compare it to other Peter Pan movies because I haven't seen any of them. I suppose it's better than the one that came out recently because I heard that one is just plain awful. However, I'm not sure how it compares to the one with Jason Isaacs.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Be The Flame, Not The Moth

Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Cast: Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, Oliver Platt, Lena Olin, Natalie Dormer, Charlie Cox
Released: December 25, 2005
Viewed in theaters: January 12, 2006

This movie had a bit of an unfair advantage when it was released because it came out around the same time as Brokeback Mountain and that was the movie Heath Ledger was (rightfully) getting all the attention for. I saw Brokeback Mountain two days before I saw Casanova and the former is so, so, so, so good and the latter is....not so good. It's an enjoyable little film in its own right and it's probably unfair to compare it to Brokeback Mountain just because they both star Heath Ledger and came out around the same time. So I'll compare it to some of Lasse Hallstrom's other works and say I didn't like it as much as I liked Chocolat, The Cider House Rules, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, or Hachi: A Dog's Tale. The problem with Casanova is that it has no substance. First and foremost, this movie is pure eye candy: the setting (the film is shot and takes place in Venice and it definitely makes you want to visit the historical Italian city); the costumes (SO gorgeous!); the location they used for the Bruni's home (I loved the pink walls of their living room); and the classical music (ear candy?) And the casting director must have had a daughter who was a teenager circa 1999-2001 because if you asked any high school or college aged girl around that time who her Hollywood crush was, I'm willing to bet nine times out of ten she would say Heath Ledger. (Every tenth girl would probably say Freddie Prinze Jr. (blah!!)) In fact, if you go back and read my review of Ten Things I Hate About You, you can read about my experience when I watched it when I was in college with a bunch of other girls for our dorm's movie night. Good times, good times. So what I'm saying is that Heath was a good choice to play Casanova, however I am surprised he took the role because he liked to challenge himself and wanted to get away from just being another pretty face. This role for him seemed pretty simple and didn't really require any heavy lifting, so to say, on his part. I'm sure a big incentive for him to take the role was because it was filmed in Venice! 

Of course since this movie is about the famous lover (or manwhore, whatever you want to call him!), Giacomo Casanova, then you need the strong, beautiful, feminist woman who is against everything Casanova stands for. This is Francesca Bruni who is played by Siena Miller. Francesca is a big advocate for women's rights and writes books about feminism under a male pseudonym. She is engaged to be married to a man named Paprizzio (Oliver Platt) who she has never met. Her mother (Lena Olin) wants her daughter to marry him because he is rich. Francesca is about the only woman in Venice who doesn't fall for Casanova's charms, so of course he ends up falling in love with her. He knows she is to be married to a man named Paprizzio and reveals himself as her fiance. 

Young Margaery Tyrell
While it's pretty predictable how the movie will end, there's many cases of mistaken identity, especially with Casanova pretending to be Francesca's betrothed. Meanwhile, as himself, he's engaged to the beautiful, young blonde virgin who Francesca's brother, Giovanni (Charlie Cox) is in love with. This was my third time watching Casanova, but the first time that Victoria, the young blonde virginm looked familiar to me. I looked her up and she is played by Natalie Dormer aka Margaery on Game of Thrones. The last time I saw Casanova was in 2009 and Game of Thrones didn't premier until 2011 (although I only just watched the first four seasons of it last fall). 

There's a funny/amusing scene where Casanova's at Carnivale and he comes across Francesca's mother and Victoria's father, and of course, they both think he's marrying their own daughter so he has to be careful of the conversation and keep it ambiguous. He does confess his true identity to Francesca and she becomes angry with him because she could never love a man like him, but of course she does still love him (and meanwhile the real Paprizzio has ended up with her mother...though he was a bit older than Francesca!) 

Jeremy Irons plays Pucci, someone who has a lot of authority around that time in Venice and arrests Casanova because he has taken the blame for writing the illegal books that Francesca wrote. (This was when she knew she was in love with him). However, she confesses she wrote the books so both she and Casanova are set to be hung. Since his true identify was revealed, he is sentenced to death for his promiscuity. But his mother and stepfather come to the rescue when his stepfather pretends to be the Cardinal and reveals that since it's the Pope's birthday, he has granted a pardon to all people sentenced to death on that day. While Casanova is escaping with his parents, Franesca, her mother, Paprizzio (who is helping them escape on his large boat), Giovnni, and Victoria (yes, it does get a little muddled with all those characters!), the real Cardinal arrives and Pucci and his men try to chase after all of them. In the end, Giovanni decides to stay back and be Casanova so the real Casanova can escape with the woman he truly loves and spend the rest of his life with her, awww. And even though Giovanni did marry Victoria, the girl he's been in love with for so many years, he continues on Casanova's legacy and sleeps with many other women...even though he's married to the love of his life! What a jerk!!! But I guess he has to keep up his reputation for being the famous manwhore. 

Lasse Hallstrom said the movie had an R rating because of the under the table, uh, fellatio scene, even though you don't actually see anything beside the table being knocked around. I saw The Ugly Truth a few months ago and there's a scene where Katherine Heigl is wearing these panties with a vibrator that is controlled by a remote control and while she's out to dinner with a bunch of people, a kid gets his hands on the remote and starts pushing the buttons (don't ask!) and that scene was a lot more obvious that something was going on with her and a lot more raunchy! The sex scenes in this movie make the sex scenes in Game of Thrones look triple X rated! While you know what's going on, there's no nudity and every thing is strategically covered. If anything, Casanova should have received a PG-13 rating or they should have just gone all out if they had already gotten an R rating with that one scene.

While a very visually stunning movie, it is very forgetful. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


The Land Before Time
Director: Don Bluth 
Voice Talent: Pat Hingle, Bill Erwin, Gabriel Damon, Judith Barsi, Will Ryan, Candace Hutson
Released: November 18, 1988

The last time I saw this movie was when I was a kid and I saw it in the theaters in 1988. The only thing I remembered about this movie was that it had dinosaurs in it. And I remembered the little dinosaurs were often being chased by the Big Bad (a literal "big bad!"), a T-Rex they aptly called Sharp Tooth.

I forgot how depressing this movie started off as and continued to be until the end. Remember in Finding Nemo when the mother and Nemo's other siblings are eaten by a predator? Well, at least Nemo still had his father! In this movie, both of Little Foot's (the young brontosaurus whose kind are called "long necks") parents are killed when the "earthshake" happens. (In case you couldn't figure it out, an earthshake would be what we would call an earthquake today).  Actually, I think his father was already out of the picture because they just showed his mother and his grandparents...so maybe his father died earlier? 

The entire land is going to hell. Everything is drab and dry and there are no places to eat vegetation or get water. Little Foot's mother has told him they are going to a place called The Great Valley which has an abundance of food and water and is a picturesque place to live. Little Foot quickly learns from his parents that each type of dinosaur keeps to themselves after he is shunned by a "three-horn" (a triceratops) for trying to play with her. Her name is Cera and of course she was my favorite, because, c'mon! 

They are both chased by Sharp Tooth and Little Foot's mother comes to the rescue knocking him over with her long tail, but he is still able to jump on her back and attack her. This is when the earth starts breaking apart and forming different continents....I mean, I'm sure this took a process of a million more years and didn't all happen in one day, but this was when it all started! There's a huge crack in the earth that divides Little Foot from his grandparents and Cera from her parents. Little Foot is able to reach his mother, but she is too weak to move and gives him some words of wisdom and encouragement before she dies. Just watch this and wait for the tears to fall!

Naturally, Little Foot becomes depressed and stops eating for a few days. He wants to team up with Cera to find the Great Valley, but she's very stubborn and arrogant and doesn't want help from anyone. She's a bit of an a-hole. I was thinking, remind me again why she was my favorite character? Oh, right, because we share the same name. Little Foot meets a "big mouth" (a saurolophus - they have platypus qualities) named Ducky who likes to say "Yep, yep, yep!" and a "Flyer" (a pteranodon) named Petrie who, despite having wings, cannot fly and is too afraid to try. They are all trying to find the Great Valley so they travel together. They're also joined by a stegosaurus named Spike after he is hatched (and becomes three times bigger than any of the others seconds after he is born!) who doesn't talk, but just grunts. He is mostly there to be used as strength. 

Cera is also going the same way and finds out that Sharp Tooth, who we last saw being thrown off a cliff with the swift thrust of Little Foot's mother's tail, is not dead, but very much alive. She meets up with the group of young dinosaurs and tells them that he's still alive and how she faced him and isn't afraid of him at all because she's such a liar and a little brat! She was totally petrified by him. Knowing she has a reputation for being a liar and a showoff, Little Foot doesn't believe her about Sharp Tooth being alive. Cera spends the night with them and all the dinosaurs except for Little Foot cuddle up to her to stay warm for sleeping  and poor Little Foot is shivering until the other dinosaurs move and join him and then poor Cera is left shivering until she decides to join the others and they're all an adorable pile of cute little baby dinosaurs. 

They come to a tree with plenty of leaves and make a ladder so Petrie can fly up to grab some branches. The always so stubborn Cera decides she's going to get her own food and doesn't need any help so she wants to get her own food. She does this by running and ramming her horns into the trunk of the tree. Nothing happens, so Little Foot drops some leaves onto her while she running into the tree and she is very smug about getting food "on her own".

Cera has now joined the others on their journey to the Great Valley but convinces them they need to go one way while Little Foot says they should go another way. By this time they've had an encounter with Sharp Tooth, so knowing that Cera was right about him being alive, the other dinos decide to join her while Little Foot continues his way on his own. (Cue "You Can Go Your Own Way!")

While Cera and the others cross a tar pit, Ducky becomes stuck in it and Petrie and Spike attempts to rescue her. Hearing their cries, Little Foot runs to their rescue. (Good thing he wasn't too far away!) It's a bit of a traumatic scene; there's a lot of scenes that seem really scary for little kids. I don't really remember what my reaction to this movie was, but I guess it's a good thing this movie didn't scar me for life! (And it's a good thing I was clueless about something for a very long time, but I'll get to that later...)

After Little Foot and the others have fallen in the tar, they disguise themselves as one big scary dinosaur and scare off some "dome heads" (pachycelhalosauruses...I probably spelled that wrong!) who are attacking Cera. She is also scared of the mystery dinosaurs and they make fun of her because she's going on how brave she is all the time. I felt a little bad for her, but she did totally deserve it. She runs off in a huff. The other dinosaurs decide it's time to get rid of Sharp Tooth once and for all and decide to use Ducky as bait ("Oh no, no, no, no!") Their plan is to have Little Foot and Spike push a boulder onto the unsuspecting T-rex and hit in the head or drown him or something. For some reason a brontosaurus and a stegosaurus cannot move a boulder (this must have been one heavy boulder!) but luckily Cera comes to the rescue and helps them push it over while Petrie rescues Ducky. There is a tense moment where we think Petrie have died and the other young dinosaurs are very sad but I knew they weren't going to make this already depressing movie even more depressing! And thank goodness they don't because Petrie is all right and is reunited with his friends.

The rest of the movie is a lot happier as they reach the Great Valley and Little Foot is reunited with his grandparents and the other young dinosaurs are reunited with their parents. Spike, who was born an orphan, has been adopted by Ducky's parents and is now the "big brother" to her and her siblings. 

This movie has some serious pedigree. It was directed by Don Bluth who is a legend in his own right in the animated world. He had directed An American Tail and The Secret of NIMH before this movie and All Dogs Go To Heaven a year later. It was executive produced by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who I'm sure you've heard of! James Horner composed the music and Diana Ross sang the theme song which never seemed to catch on, but it's a very beautiful song. 

Okay, if you're a child of the '80s and don't want your childhood to be ruined, don't read anything further! And don't look up any of the young cast.  

Okay, so I was looking up the younger cast on the IMDb to see if they ever went on to anything bigger, but nobody became really famous. They mostly did other voice work or commercials or TV appearances. The youngest was Candace Huston who voiced Cera. She was born in 1980...and she was the youngest! Oh my goodness! Gabriel Damon, who voiced Little Foot was born in 1976 so he's almost 40! Don't you feel old? When I looked up the young girl who voiced Ducky, Judith Barsi, I saw she was born in 1978, but had died in 1988 at the age of ten! Of course I was shocked she had died so young and assumed she must have died of cancer, because a car accident seemed too awful. But not only did she NOT die of cancer OR a horrible accident like a car crash, but she was MURDERED by her OWN FATHER!!! WHAT?!?!?!? What a MONSTER! I read that he murdered his daughter and his wife in their sleep; shot Judith in her head, then burned the house down and killed himself. I guess he was a raging alcoholic and jealous of the money his daughter was making from her commercials and voice work (she also voiced the main character in All Dogs Go To Heaven) because he couldn't hold down his own job. I'm sure there's a True Hollywood Story somewhere out there about this. Her grave even says "Yep, yep, yep" on it because Ducky was her favorite character...which makes sense since she was mostly in commercials and just random TV guest spots. The Land Before Time came our four months after her murder. It's just really sad to think that when people were watching Ducky and hearing her (well, I think Ducky was suppose to be a boy even though he was being voiced by a girl, but you know what I mean) voice, they probably didn't know the child behind Ducky's voice had been murdered at the age of ten by her own father only four months prior! Or maybe they did know...I don't know if this made any headlines in the news because I was too young to care/read about the news back then. I was completely unaware of this until I saw the movie just a few weeks ago and decided to look up the cast. This movie was already pretty depressing as it was and this just made it all the more depressing! 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Not-so-Safe House

Panic Room
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Jodie Foster, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, Dwight Yoakam, Kristen Stewart
Released: March 29, 2002
Viewed in theaters: April 6, 2002

This is one of those movies that take place all within 24 hours and pretty much within the same location. No, not just the panic room, but the entire brownstone home the panic room is in. The movie starts with single mother, Meg (Jodie Foster) and her eleven-year-old daughter, Sarah (a pre-Bella Swan (and therefore more tolerable!) Kristen Stewart) looking at a gigantic four-story brownstone home in New York's Upper West Side. Needless to say, Meg must have gotten a lot of money from her rich ex-husband in the divorce, because, damn, that house is humongous for just two people! We are introduced to the panic room within the first five minutes when the realtor shows it to them. It is connected to the master bedroom and is made of steel and concrete which surrounds it on all sides. It looks to be a little bigger than a walk-in closet and has a toilet (extremely important!), a security system that includes surveillance cameras and screens that show every room in the house (and since there are about a hundred rooms, there are a hundred screens!), a separate phone line, and a PA system. And to make sure nobody can get in, a heavy steel door that can only be opened from the inside. 

Okay, so I guess the entire movie doesn't take place within 24 hours because I'm sure it took a few days for them to sign the papers and move in, but once they are moved in (and this all happens within the first 15 minutes of the movie, THEN the movie takes place within 24 hours, hell it takes place in one night!) Since they have just moved in, the house is pretty bare, it is mostly filled with boxes that have yet to be unpacked. The whole color palette of the movie is very muted neutral colors like whites, grays, and blacks. The entire look of the house is very drab, but I suppose it helps to set the tone of the movie. 

Meg and her daughter have moved in earlier than expected and this is bad news for them and the three men who are planning to rob their home because they know there is three million dollars in bonds in that house, more specifically, they know it's located in the panic room. They are played by Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto, and Dwight Yoakam. Burnham (Whitaker) is a manufacture of the same kind of panic room that was installed in this house and know how they operate; Junior (Leto) is the grandson of the previous owner of the brownstone and therefore knows about the bonds; and Raoul (Yoakam) is the ski-masked man brought in by Junior to help them out without the knowledge of Burnham. They easily break into the house without either female hearing anything since the place is so damn huge! There's some cool shots of the camera going through the keyhole of the front door. Burnham is the first to break in and quickly notices the tenants have moved in earlier then scheduled and wants to back out, but Junior refuses. 

Meg wakes up around this time to use the bathroom. She uses the panic room for light (wouldn't it just be easier to turn on a bedside lamp?) and doesn't notice the three men on one of the screens until she comes back to her room and goes to turn off the light. She runs to grab Sarah and the three men try to stop them as they go into the elevator (yes, there's an old-fashioned elevator in their new home!) Sarah tells her mom they need to go to the panic room and of course they both manage to get in and shut the door right before the burglars reach them. Meg immediately goes for the phone to call the police only to discover this particular phone line hasn't been set up yet. She uses the PA system to tell the men that they need to leave and that she has just called the police. Calling her bluff, Burnham tells Junior that he knows for a fact that the phone lines have not been hooked up...as none of the other phone lines in the house have been hooked up either. Since Meg and Sarah can't hear them, Burnham grabs a notepad and writes that what they have come for is in the room they're in, but Meg has let them know that they are not coming out no matter what and to get out of their house. There's a funny moment when Meg tells her to say "f***" and Meg screams the expletive and Sarah says, "No, Mom, say "Get the f*** out of our house" so Meg has to say the line right this time. 

Junior starts to scream at Burnham, asking him how they can get in there and Burnham tells him that if they could get in there, he would never have a job since the whole reason of a panic room is not letting anybody in! He says they have to figure out a way to get them to come out. Junior and Raoul start to whack away at the bottom of the panic room (and you better believe this house will be trashed by the end of the movie!), but Burnham tells them that even if they get through the concrete, they still have a thick shield of steel to get through. He has a much better idea where he will pump gas from the propane gas tank into the air vents. Raoul goes to turn the gas on even more but Burnham tells him they just need enough to scare them, but Raoul refuses to turn it down. 

Meg and Sarah are able to find a very tiny window they can breathe through for air. Meg is trying to duct tape the vent and she is near the vent for quite awhile that it's a miracle she didn't pass out! When it's clear the tape isn't going to help them, she decides to go another way. She throws Sarah a fire blanket, tells her to "get down" and takes a lighter and ignites a huge fireball that travels through the vents. The guys can hear something is going on and Junior stupidly presses his head against the wall and I'm thinking, Oh, Jared Leto, please get your pretty, pretty face away from there! The fireball (which is so obviously fake, but I'm sure looked realistic in 2002!) hurdles through the vents and burns Junior's face. Ouch. Needles to say, he is pretty enraged. 

Sarah starts using a flashlight to send SOS signals and when her mom asks her where she learned that, she replies, "Titanic" which I thought was funny and made sense. The shades are up in the house across the street and you see the guy get up and saunter over to the window. You can tell he's more annoyed by the flashing light than worried about what it might mean and he pulls his shades down. 

There's a tense scene where Meg makes an attempt to grab her cell phone which she last left on her bedside stand. When she sees their intruders are all downstairs having a heated conversation, she makes a run for it. In the ransack the burglars have done to their home, her bedroom is a mess and her phone is not on her bedside table and she has to take a few minutes to find it. She discovers it under her bed and is reaching for it (reminds me of when I'm trying to get my cat when I need to take him to the vet and he has hidden under the bed (oh, he knows when he's going to the vet!) and I have to reach with all my might to grab him because he's right dab in the middle! And at least phones don't move even further back when you try to reach for them!) While she's reaching for it, she knocks over a lamp and the three men start to hightail it up back to the master bedroom and just miss her by a hair.

Meg calls 911, but when the operator answers, she says, "Please hold." What the hell? Since when does 911 put you on hold? So instead she calls her ex and his new girlfriend answers. Fun trivia: the voice is provided by Nicole Kidman who was suppose to be in this movie, but had to back out. This isn't one of those movies where only one certain person was born for this role, so I would have loved to have seen it with Kidman, great as Foster is. Meg barely has time to tell her ex that there are intruders in her house when the phone goes dead. He gets the message and arrives at the house just minutes after Raoul has shot and killed Junior. They show her ex on the cameras as leverage to make them come out. It is only when Sarah, who has diabetes, goes into a coma shock and Meg needs to grab her insulin. She thinks the coast is clear and that her ex's limp body is the one near the bedroom, but it was actually Raoul wearing her ex's coat and he and Burnham get into the panic room with a nearly comatose Sarah. Raoul gets his hand stuck in the door as it's closing and Meg pleads for Burnham to give Sarah the shock which he does because he's the only one of the three men who has a conscious.

The police arrive because Meg's ex had called them and Meg has to talk them away and tell them everything's okay. The two men find the millions in bonds (and now they only have to share them two ways instead of one, but that won't last for long as we'll soon find out!) They use Sarah as a hostage as their way to get out. Burnham manages to escape, but Meg has whacked Raoul in the head with a sledgehammer and he falls over the railings, but somehow manages to climb back up the stairs and starts to attack Meg. Sarah, who has her insulin needle, leaps onto him to jab the needle in him, but he just flings her into the fireplace like she weighs nothing. We see Burnham is about to climb over the fence, but he hears the struggle and screaming of the two women inside and goes back to help them. It's a good thing to because he is able to kill Raoul seconds before Raoul is about to kill Meg. The police, who must not have wandered very far, come back and arrest Burnham. He may not have gotten the money, but I do hope his sentence was shortened since he DID save their lives....sure they would never have been in this mess if they never decided to rob them in the first place, but it was established early in the movie that he was never a bad guy...mostly just a greedy one. He never wanted to hurt anyone while Junior and especially Raoul didn't care if anyone died. The police never recover the bonds, instead they get blown away by the wind so the neighbors will find a nice surprise in the morning!

And after living in their house for one night, they decide to move! I hope they found something a little more suitable for only two people!