Saturday, April 30, 2016

Hang Ten, Dude!

Point Break
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, Lori Petty, Gary Busey, John C. McGinley
Released: July 12, 1991

I would love to know who pitched this movie and how it got greenlit in the first place. Let's have a group of surfers....and make them bank robbers! That is the plot of this movie, basically. We first meet FBI agent ("I AM AN FBI AGENT!") Johnny Utah (Keanu Reeves) who, along with his partner, Angelo (Gary Busey, who I'm only familiar with from Celebrity Apprentice), decide that he's going to infiltrate the bank robbing surfers and try to get into their crowd so he can stop them. Since Johnny Utah is the younger, more athletic (he is a former quarterback for the Ohio Buckeyes, after all), overall better looking one, they decide that he should be the one to work his way into the surfers' group. Although it certainly would have been funnier if Gary Busey tried to. 

Since the group of robbers are wearing rubber masks of former presidents (and even call themselves the Ex-Presidents), Johnny Utah isn't exactly sure which group of surfers are the bank robbers since this is L.A. and there are a lot of surfers in L.A. The Ex-Presidents have robbed 27 banks in the last three years, but to keep from becoming caught, they never rob the vault, only grab the cash in the drawers so they can be sure they're out in 90 seconds. Although they wield guns, they have never killed anyone. Angelo figured out they were surfers because one of them mooned the camera with "Thank you" written across his butt and he could tell by the tan line that he was a surfer. They also found traces of sand left at the crime scene.

Johnny Utah attempts his first try at surfing and nearly kills himself. He is saved by a female surfer (Lori Petty) who screams at him for being stupid. After tracking down her license plate number, Johnny Utah finds out her name is Tyler and finds out where she works so he can ask her to give him surfing lessons. Through her, he meets Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) who is the charismatic leader of a group of surfers. He and Tyler are a bit of an item, but not since other women openly flirt with him right in front of Tyler. I didn't really get their romantic dynamic. But surprise, surprise, Tyler will end up falling for Johnny Utah anyway. I did find it peculiar that Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze didn't have the other's roles. I feel like Keanu would have been better as the surfer dude, I mean he's Keanu Reeves for god's sake. But Patrick Swayze does have the  long, blond beach hair, so you gotta make him the surfer! 

Johnny Utah (don't you just love that name?) gets in good with the group and quite likes his new friends. Of course he does since his only other friend is Gary Busey! Speaking of Angelo, he leads Johnny Utah and some other agents on a raid in a house where a group of surfers are gathered. Johnny Utah had a nasty altercation with them earlier when he ran into one while he was surfing and one of the guys punched him. While he was using the beach shower, the same guy and a group of his friends came upon him with the intent to beat him up, but luckily Bodhi showed up and told them to stand down before punching the guy. Johnny Utah and Bodhi followed the car with the fist-happy surfer and thought for sure they had there bank robbers. These guys are not the bank robbers, but rather involved with some serious drugs and were all loaded with guns. There's a big shootout and Johnny Utah gets awfully close to a blade of a lawn mower when one of the bad guy pushes his head towards it. This freaked me out and I had to turn around so I wouldn't see anything too gruesome. But right before he's about to get his pretty face chopped up, Angelo shoots out the motor with his gun. Whew! An undercover cop gets really angry with them because they messed up his assignment because he was this close to finding out where the drugs were coming from. 

Well, if you haven't guessed by now (and, uh, spoilers ahead!), Bodhi and his crew of surfers are the ones pulling the bank jobs.  Johnny Utah begins to have his suspicions about them and while at a stakeout at a nearby bank, he and Angelo nearly miss another heist when Angelo has Johnny Utah go into a nearby sandwich shop and get him two meatball sandwiches because he can't shut up about how great they are and how hungry he is. Seriously, this scene must go on for five minutes! When they see the four masked men, they shoot out their back car window and chase after them. Their car gets stuck as the Ex-Presidents turn into a gas station where they firebomb their car so they can get a new one and Johnny Utah runs all the way there to try to stop them. The three other guys are in the car waiting for Bodhi (in a Ronald Reagan mask) to get in, but instead, he and Johnny Utah have a wild goose chase, running through houses (like actually going inside the house from the front door to the back door). It's a pretty exciting foot chase, I must say. Johnny Utah sprains his ankle after jumping from a long drop and it's clear he can't chase after "Reagan" anymore. We see a close up of the eyes behind the Reagan mask and know it's Bodhi. Well, duh, they wouldn't spend this much time on the chase if it was just some random guy Johnny Utah was running after! 

Now that Bodhi's gang know that Johnny Utah is an FBI agent (He is an FBI AGENT!), the other surfers want to get the hell out of town, but Bodhi has other plans. He blackmails Johnny Utah into joining him on a bank robbery by telling him that someone has Tyler (oh, and she's pretty pissed about how Bodhi lied to her) hostage and the only way he can free her is if he available in the next twelve hours to call it off. So Johnny Utah has his hands tied and is forced to rob the bank with the others. Only since there is no extra Presidents masks (what, they couldn't get a George Bush mask for him? Surely they had those in 1991!), Johnny Utah has to go in sans a mask. This time Bodhi decides he's going to get money from the vault and while doing this, an undercover cop who was one of the customers in the bank at the time, tells the bank security guard to back him up and shoots at one of the surfers...I think it was Brodi's brother who is shot and killed....or maybe it was one of the other surfers who gets shot and killed and Brodi's brother gets shot, but manages to escape...I don't remember! Brodhi kills the undercover cop and somehow manages to escape to an airfield where he has a plane ready to take off for Mexico. Johnny Utah follows him and Angelo is also there and there's a big shoot out. Johnny Utah doesn't want Angelo to kill Brodhi because he needs him alive so he can tell him where Tyler is. Angelo gets shot by one of the other surfers and Gary Busey and his teeth are hamming up that death scene so much that I was laughing...probably not a good thing to laugh over a death scene! But it was hilarious.

Johnny Utah ends up on the plane with Bodhi, Bodhi's bleeding brother, and the pilot. Johnny Utah begs for Bodhi to call off the kidnapping of Tyler and to let her go before he jumps out of the plane just in case something happens, but Bodhi ignores him and jumps out after he's sent his brother. Since Johnny Utah is now a skydiving expert since he's already skydived once before in his life (in an earlier scene), he jumps out of the plane without a parachute and tackles Bodhi in the air, puts a gun to his head and tells him to open the parachute, but Bodhi refuses to open it, saying Johnny Utah needs to open it and in order to do so, he has to drop the gun. Guess who ends up opening it? Yep, Johnny Utah has to sacrifice his gun in order to save their lives. So Bodhi gets away with the money (even though his brother is now dead) and Tyler is safe. We fast forward a year later where FBI agent Johnny Utah has finally found Bodhi in Australia where he's surrounded by cops. There's a huge storm and the ocean has 50 foot waves and Bodhi begs him to let him surf one last time because he was going on about how he wanted to surf that one perfect wave, so Johnny Utah lets him go and we see Bodhi paddle out in the death wave and I guess it's up to interpretation what happened to him, but I'm guessing he probably drowned.

This movie has a lot of fun action, but for the most part, I didn't understand why this movie even exists. Did you know there was a Point Break remake that came out just last year? I mean, was the world really clamoring for a Point Break remake? It does have some interesting history as it was directed by Kathryn Bigelow who would become the first female to win the Best Directing Oscar for The Hurt Locker and later go on to direct Zero Dark Thirty. I feel for a surfing movie there wasn't enough surfing, but I guess if I always wanted to watch a surfing movie, I could watch Blue Crush. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I Should've Been a Cowboy

City Slickers
Director: Ron Underwood
Cast: Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern, Bruno Kirby, Jack Palance, Patricia Wettig, Helen Slater
Released: June 7, 1991

Oscar nominations:
Best Supporting Actor - Jack Palance (won)

Spoilers for a 25 year old movie! I don't like to take any chances. 

I'm more than halfway done with my 1991 reviews! I figured since this won an Oscar in an acting category, I should rewatch and review it. I have to be honest: as with Father of the Bride, this movie wasn't as good when I saw it the first time as a kid. I am a little surprised that Jack Palance won the Oscar because comedies hardly ever win Oscars for anything. Although, Hollywood loves to give veteran actors the Oscars, especially in the Supporting category. He was nominated for Oscars two times before this, both in the '50s. While I remembered that Curly, the character Palance plays, dies, I forgot that he died with at least an hour of the movie left and he really doesn't show up until half an hour into the movie so we're lucky if we have at least 30 minutes of the best character in the movie. And that's what Curly is: the best character in the movie. I do remember Jack Palance came back in City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold to play the twin brother of Curly. I haven't seen that movie in a very long time and I can't imagine I would like it if I wasn't too keen on the original! 

Well, hi there, lil Jake Gyllenhaal!
The movie is about a man named Mitch (Billy Crystal) who just turned 39 and is having a mid-life crisis. He works in radio advertising where he sells time to different companies so they can promote their products on the air. He realizes just how lame his job and life are when he's invited to speak about his job at his son's school and goes on a tirade about how these kids should be grateful for what they have because it's just going to get worse. He then proceeds to describe for them what their next seven decades of life will be like. With each passing decade, everything goes downhill. Playing his son is Jake Gyllenhaal in his film debut. He must have been nine or ten when he filmed this. Interesting his first movie would feature cowboys and horses when he would go on to be in Brokeback Mountain more than a decade later....although he does not partake in any of the roping and riding in this movie. 

At his birthday party (which he wants to cancel, but his wife (Patricia Wettig) insists he have it), Mitch's two friends announce that their gift to him is a two week cattle drive from New Mexico to Colorado. His friends are having their own mid-life crises (is that the right plural form of crisis? IDK!) Phil (Daniel Stern) is married to a woman he clearly does not care for and the feeling is mutual...don't ask me why these two people are married if they can't stand each other! She is very controlling of him and has an icy personality. His father in law is a bully and expects him to help him at the grocery store he owns. Ed (Bruno Kirby) has never been able to settle down and get married and seems the older he gets, the younger his girlfriends get. He has recently married a beautiful model, so I'm not understanding how he's having a midlife crisis! Some people are never happy. During the party, a 20 year old who works at the grocery store with Phil arrives to tell him that she's "late" and this is how Phil's wife finds out he's having an affair. I have no idea how the 20 year old found out where Phil was that night and even if she did know, why would she announced that to him in a roomful of people, including his wife? I know it's for the benefit of the movie, but it does not make any sense. This is the best thing that could have happened for Phil because his wife divorces him and he's fired from the job he hates. At first, Mitch wasn't thrilled about the cattle drive and told the others he couldn't go because he promised he would go with his wife to Florida to visit her parents, but she tells him to go, that she doesn't want to happen to them what happened with Phil and his ex-wife. 

So the three guys head out to New Mexico where they meet the other people who have also signed up for this adventure: an African-American father and son who are dentists, two Jewish brothers who have their own ice cream line (think Ben and Jerry's), and an attractive woman whose traveling partner bailed on her at the last minute and she's having second thoughts about whether she should stay and everyone implores her to. Before leaving for Colorado they are given riding lessons and learn how to rope calfs. Mitch is the only one who can't seem to, ahem, learn the ropes, if you'll excuse my bad bun. The married couple who own the ranch are not riding with them, instead they tell everyone that they'll see them in Colorado...I guess they got a head start in their car? However, they
decide to leave all these "city slickers" with two unruly cowboys who like to get drunk and randomly shoot their guns at empty beer bottles. We first see how slimy they are when they're trying to "help" Bonnie, the sole attractive woman with her roping skills and pretty much implying that she won't be able to do it because she's a woman. Mitch goes over to try to help her, but doesn't have much luck, because, let's face it, Billy Crystal isn't exactly imposing. Instead, he gets showed up by Curly, who may be nearly forty years older than him, but he is a head taller and a lot more imposing for an old man! He throws a very long knife (Crocodile Dundee would be proud of it!) at one of the guys, nearly missing his groin and tells him they better behave. Needless to say, everyone is scared of Curly.

Curly doesn't have much time for Mitch, which I don't blame him, because on the first morning of their cattle drive to Colorado, he decides he's going to make coffee with an electric coffee mixer and ends up scaring all the cattle and they run away and trample over the camp. I would be pretty angry too! Curly wants Mitch to go with him to help him round up the cattle and Mitch and his friends are sure that Curly is going to kill him. There was a funny line where Phil says if Mitch doesn't come back, then he's going after Mitch's wife. Of course Curly does not kill anyone and over a few days he and Mitch bond with Curly telling Mitch he needs to find that "one thing" that will make him happy and he's the one who needs to figure out what that one thing is. 

In one scene, Mitch has to help Curly deliver a calf and Curly wants Mitch to reach "inside" and pull out the calf while he holds the mother down. I remember this scene because they actually show the calf coming out and it was pretty graphic when I was a kid watching this! After the calf gets cleaned up, he is very cute and Mitch names him Norman. However, the mother cow is dying and Curly shoots him, thus Mitch adopting the calf and feeding him. Not long after, Curly dies while sitting up in some rocks. Mitch thinks he's just "sleeping" while keeping an eye open to watch the cattle, but no, he is indeed dead. I don't know what the husband and wife team were thinking sending them out with an eighty year old trail supervisor and two drunk and misogynist cowboys? Because now with Curly out of the picture, the two unruly cowboys can go back to being jackasses and they get drunk one night and start shooting off their guns. After they take Norman with a gun (and this scene made me so nervous as a kid!), Mitch goes out to try to talk to them. However, it is Phil, who hates bullies because of his former father in law and ends up with one of the guns and threatens them. Nobody - humans or animals - were hurt in this little altercation. They finish the rest of the cattle drive and Mitch, Phil, and Ed all go home changed men. Phil even has a glimmer of a romantic start with Bonnie. Mitch brings Norman back with him after hearing the cattle they had all herded were going to be slaughtered and sold as steaks. He plans to put Norman in a petting zoo. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cold Hearted Snake

Sleeping With the Enemy
Director: Joseph Ruben
Cast: Julia Roberts, Patrick Bergin, Kevin Anderson
Released: February 8, 1991

Sleeping With the Enemy is similar to Double Jeopardy and Enough where a young woman is married to a guy who turns out to be a monster. This movie probably has more in common with Enough since Ashley Judd's husband never beat her in Double Jeopardy....he only cheated on her and framed her for his "death". You know, "only"! Unlike in Enough, where we get the five minute "courtship" between J-Lo and her soon-to-be abusive husband before they get married, Laura (Julia Roberts) and Martin (Patrick Bergin) are already married and live in a HUGE house on Cape Cod. Also married to Martin is Julia Robert's hair which is a character all on its own. Seriously, her hair should have had second billing! Even though I had never seen this movie before, I knew of it and I knew what was going to happen so I figured she has such long hair because she's going to cut it...which she does, but it's still really long after she cuts it, but it is ridiculously long in the beginning. I don't know how she could stand it, especially living on the beach where the wind is whipping your hair every which way. That would drive me crazy!! And she only wears it braided in one scene. Anyway, why am I complaining about her hair style when I should be complaining about the man she decided to marry! Oh my God, this guy is a complete jackass! Yes, he beats her which is horrible, but even if he never laid a finger on her, I would still think he's a complete douche. He has this really weird OCD complex where EVERYTHING has to be just right. He makes a big show of "reminding" Laura that the three hand towels on the bathroom towel rack need to be in just the right order and placed just the right way. The cans and boxes of food in the kitchen pantry all need to be alphabetized and facing the front and stacked neatly. Everything has to be PERFECT at all times or else Laura will get a beating. And if Martin gets an inkling that Laura has been talking to the handsome doctor with the sailboat, then she will get a major beat down, only for him to "apologize" the next day with a bouquet of roses. 

Now what would possess a woman to stay with a man like this or get married to him in the first place? Laura does explain this to the audience through a woman on the bus when she finally does make her escape. She says before they were married, Martin was very sweet and kind to her and this violent behavior didn't happen until after they were married. And I guess by that point it was too late to leave him because he pretty much had her under lock and key and never let her leave unless it was the three times a week when she was volunteering at the library. She does ask him if she can work there full time and he goes, "Do you not love your house? Why would you want to be working all the time?"

You're probably wondering how she made her escape if he was always watching her. Well, I'll tell you. They go sailing with the handsome doctor one night (which Martin seems okay with even though he (wrongly) thinks his wife is having an affair with him, but whatever). Laura never goes on boats because she has a fear of water because she almost drowned as a child. Uh...she sure is living in a bad place, then! But Martin thinks this will be good for her and help her overcome her fear. On the night they go sailing, a big storm hits and Martin and the doctor have to try to get the boat in order. This takes a few minutes and when Martin looks back to where his wife was sitting, she is GONE! He screams her name and shines a flashlight, trying to find her. But what he doesn't know is that instead of working at the library, Laura has been using that time to take swim lessons at the YMCA in order to plan her escape. Now I don't know how she knew the doctor would take them out on his boat. Supposedly there's a fan theory out there that says she and the doctor had planned this. The doctor is only in a couple scenes in the movie and we never see him and Laura interact. I know this movie is based on a book so maybe there's more to the story there. Or maybe it was just coincidental and this was the perfect opportunity for Laura to make her escape. She hides behind a buoy while Martin is shining his flashlight and the only thing he finds is her lifejacket.

There is a HILARIOUS scene when Martin gets back home and he shatters one of the glass windows of his massive home with a statue, steps outside and yells, "LAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" I was cracking up! It was so overdramatic. And he literally screams it like that too.

So Laura returns to the house in the middle of the night because she already had a stash of cash and a packed suitcase. I wasn't sure if Martin was in the house at the time because even though it's a huge house, it seems really dumb to return. I thought for sure he was going to wake up and she was just going to narrowly escape, but we never see him. She even takes off her wedding ring and flushes it down the toilet. I was screaming at my TV, "What are you doing?!?" First of all, if he's in the house, he's surely going to hear the toilet flush! Second of all, why not throw the ring into the ocean...duh! I thought for sure this was how Martin finds out his wife is still alive. He will find the ring later, but it's not how he finds out. Luckily, Laura manages to escape without any problems and gets on a bus bound to Iowa where she settles into her new life. There, she rents a house and gets a job at the library. Oh, and she also visits her mother in an assisted living residence even though she told Martin her mother was dead. I didn't really get that part. 

Martin discovers his wife isn't really dead when he gets a call from her swim coach from the Y expressing her condolence and he's like, "What are you talking about? Laura never took swim lessons. She didn't know how to swim!" And the woman says, "Your wife was into gymnastics too, right? That's how she said she got all those bruises." Well, since Martin was always beating on her, he knew she had a lot of bruises and that indeed was his wife. And right after the scene he discovers the ring in the toilet. He then goes on a wild goose chase to try to track Laura down and this is when he discovers her mother is still alive.

Meanwhile, Laura has changed her name to Sarah and meets her next door neighbor, Ben (Kevin Anderson) who comes off as a little creepy when he accuses her of stealing the apples from his apple tree, but then says if she makes an apple pie she can bring it over tomorrow night when he makes pot roast. I thought it was a little too soon for Laura to go into a relationship (and so did Laura, but he was a little forceful), but I guess it was a good thing he was in her life as I'll get to that later. Laura is a little standoffish around him at first which makes TOTAL sense as she just got out of a horrible, abusive relationship, but then she starts to warm up around him. Ben is a drama teacher at a local college and takes her to auditorium one evening and there's a montage of her trying on different hats set to "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Runaround Sue". It is the strangest thing to have this cute little montage in the middle of a psychological thriller. It's like they had to have a Pretty Woman-esque montage since they had Julia Roberts and this was her first big role after the movie. 

Ben gives Laura a disguise so she can visit her mother. He turns her into a man by giving her a fake mustache and a man's wig. However, her "man's voice" is the worst excuse I've ever heard. She didn't even try to attempt to deepen her voice. But she is able to visit her mother without any questions and tells her mother it's her. I should mention that her mother is blind. It was really funny when she's feeling her daughter's face and her fingers run over the fake mustache and she gets this really concerned look on her face and Laura has to explain she's in disguise. While she's visiting her mother, Martin is there at the exact same time and there are close moments when they almost run into each other, but they never do. At one point, Laura is using the water fountain and Martin is right behind her. The fountain isn't working right so Laura has to hit it a few times so when Martin goes to use it, it hits him right in the eye. 

He has asked the receptionist to let him know if a young woman visits Chloe (Laura's mom) because he wants to "surprise" her and right after Laura leaves in her disguise, the receptionist tells him that a woman hasn't visited Chloe, but a young man just did and he goes tearing after her. Um, I'm pretty sure they're not allowed to divulge that information. I can't remember if this was before or after he almost smothered Chloe with a pillow when he was pretending to be a police officer and asking her questions, saying how her daughter was in trouble and he needed to know where Laura was. She tells him the info he needs and he almost kills her, but luckily the nurse comes in with her pills, so he's just acting like he's fluffing her pillow and puts it back behind her head. 

So far by this point, the movie isn't too scary. The only time I felt any real suspense is when she went back to the house to get her clothes and money because I was for sure she was going to be found out. But the next scene when she goes home after Martin has discovered her freaked me out! They were using all the scare tactics in the world. I kept going, "OMG! OMG! OMG!" First of all, she goes to take a bath and she notices that all her hand towels are perfectly lined up. We had seen a scene earlier in her new house where she at first makes her hand towels look neat, then she purposely messes them up as well as just throw her cans of food into her pantry. So had she hung up her hand towels neatly out of habit....or was there somebody in her house?? We then get a lot of fake out jump scenes where she sees her closet door is open and she creeps over to check it out, but right before she does the fire alarm goes off because she forgot about her toast...dumbass! She then checks her is the scariest scene involving a pantry I have ever seen! She opens it up....and it's all messed up just like she initially had it. Whew! But later....she opens the pantry again and it's ALL ORGANIZED!!! Plus her kitchen hand towels are orderly too. I was for sure Martin was going to sneak up on her, but she just turns around and he's there, but it wasn't a scare jump. He has a gun and is about to use it when there's a knock at the door. Remember when I said it was a good thing Ben was in her life? Well, at this moment he pretty much saved her life. Martin tells Laura to make him go away and hides behind the door with the gun pointed at her while Laura opens the door with the chain still attached and says it's not a good time for him to come over. It is SOOOOO obvious that she's in danger and I thought for sure he was going to call the police, but instead after the door closes, he breaks it down and attacks Martin who proceeds to knock him out and is going to shoot him, but Laura manages to get the gun away from him. There's a struggle, but Laura ends up with the gun and is pointing it at him and calls the police telling them she just shot an intruder, then shoots her husband AT LEAST three times and then falls into a heap beside his body, dropping the gun right by him. But guess what? He's not dead yet! He has just enough life left in him for him to grab the gun and point it at her and shoot her. Luckily she used all the bullets and there was none left. Everyone knows that after you kill (or "kill" a bad guy), you never put your weapon by them! Cuz chances are they're not quite dead yet! But then he finally dies. And she can finally live her life with Ben. Let's hope he's not a psycho! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Going to the Chapel

Father of the Bride
Director: Charles Shyer
Cast: Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Martin Short, Kimberly Williams, George Newbern, Kieran Culkin, BD Wong
Released: December 20, 1991

I remember seeing this in the theater and liking it well enough, but after watching it again recently, I found it to be very saccharine. I also didn't understand why the father, George Banks (Steve Martin) was freaking out so much that his daughter was getting married. I can understand he thinks it's pretty soon since she announces she met someone when she was living abroad in Italy and they've only met six months ago, but he seems to be having a hard time of letting his "little girl" go. I feel like most fathers would be happy if their daughters met someone they loved and it would be an added bonus if the guy was financially stable (and this guy was more than enough financially stable!) 

So it's funny that when I first saw this I had no idea who Diane Keaton was (I was barely eleven, how was I suppose to know who she was?!) and when I saw that her name was behind Steve Martin's (I DID know who he was!) in all the promotional posters, I just assumed she was the actress playing the bride. Makes sense to me: the movie is called Father of the Bride, therefore the two title characters must be the two first billed actors! I don't know how long it took for me to realize my mistake. Of course, Diane Keaton plays Nina, the wife to George. The bride, Annie, is played by Kimberly Williams (now Kimberly Williams-Paisley) and this was her first movie role at the age of twenty. I mean, that's pretty cool to act with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton in your first movie. 

After Annie announces she's getting married to a man she met when she was in Italy, her mother is happy for her, but her father immediately starts asking her questions such as what does he do (he's a computer programmer who's very good at his job and very rich), how they met, how long they've known each other, etc. I can understand where the guy is coming from. It would be one thing if Annie came home and said she met a really great guy and they're dating and things are getting serious, but she comes home and drops the bombshell that she's getting MARRIED! So I can understand why he was a little concerned, but even after meeting Annie's fiance, Brian (George Newbern) and seeing he's a stand up guy and cares for Annie, George is still resigned about his daughter getting married. 

The entire movie is about planning the wedding and George's reluctance about it. I can't really blame him when he learns how much this thing is going to cost. Even though the Banks live in a nice house (although it's not a huge mansion like the new in-laws live in!) and drives a super nice car, he acts like they are poor and can't pay for the wedding. However, this wedding seems like it's going to drain them of their life savings so he goes about making some cut backs, such as cutting the original 500 people invited to the wedding to no more than 150. Which makes sense to me...who needs 500 people at their wedding? Who even knows 500 people? The Banks have the reception at their house and the wedding planner, Frank (Fraaaanc) and his assistant (played by Martin Short and BD Wong) insist on the most ridiculous things. They're going to build a tulip garden and a pond for swans; they start sawing away the ceiling in the house to make room for more light. I would most certainly not want people coming into my house and start messing around in it, just hacking away at the structure! George does not understand why the cake (pronounced a totally different way by Franc!) has to be $1200. And I agree. I love weddings; I've been to a few amazing ones in my life, but I don't understand why people spend a fortune just for one day! It's completely ridiculous! 

Speaking of ridiculous things, there's a scene where George and Nina go to meet Brian's parents (without Annie and Brian there, which I thought was really weird) and they live in Beverly Hills in the biggest mansion on the block. When George uses the bathroom, he sneaks into an office and starts looking at a checkbook sitting on a desk, only to find he's trapped because one of the three dobermans who live there is growling at him and he has to crawl out the window and Nina is the only one who sees him when he's climbing down, so she has to distract Brian's parents. Then somehow, George still has the checkbook in his hand (I don't know why he didn't leave it on the desk!) and it somehow gets thrown into the pool and he has to try to reach for it and while he's doing that, two dogs from each side of him attack him and he falls into the water. It's completely ridiculous and we never hear the repercussion of what happened! The only thing we hear about it is when Annie and Brian have had a fight and she tells her father that Brian told her this crazy story about what happened and of course its' all true. Annie seems a little high strung because she was about to end her engagement with Brian just because he bought her a blender for their kitchen. She thought it meant he wanted her to be his little housewife and she's all about being an independent woman, but as Brian explained to George, he knew Annie liked a banana smoothie and just wanted to buy her a blender just in case she ever wanted to make one. I mean, if you were willing to end your engagement over THAT, there's no way that couple is going to last! But of course, George talks to Annie and she forgives Brian and the wedding is still on. Ha, if I were her dad, I would be like, You're damn sure the wedding is still you know how much I've already spent and all the construction work they've done on the house? 

The wedding at the church is very nice and one of the last moments George shares with his daughter when he walks her down the aisle because at the reception at the Banks' he can't seem to have a chance to talk to her. At the reception, their house is crowded with people and for some reason when they're about to eat, he has to stand in think they would let him go to the front of the line since he's the freaking father of the bride! His wife seemed to be able to get her food pretty fast. Then, since there are so many people, the cops come to tell them they need to have all these cars removed from the premise because they don't have a permit to double and triple park all these cars on the street. You would think they would have realized this BEFORE the day of the reception and gotten on that. So George gets his young son, Matty (Kieran Culkin) and his little friend to move all the cars onto lawns. 

It's announced Annie is about to throw her bouquet before and and her new husband are to leave for their honeymoon. George tries taking a short cut, but he just misses her by moments. She does, however, call him from the airport...from a pay phone, haha, oh, 1991! She calls to tell him thank you and that she loves him. Aww, how sweet, but seriously, she couldn't find him at the wedding to say these things? 

This movie has some humorous moment and some sweet moment (like when George plays basketball one on one with Annie while the song "My Girl" is playing), but overall, I found it a little flat. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

We Didn't Start the Fire

Director: Ron Howard 
Cast: Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, Robert De Niro, Donald Sutherland, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rebecca DeMornay, Scott Glenn, J.T. Walsh
Released: May 24, 1991

Oscar nominations:
Best Sound (lost to Terminator 2)
Best Sound Effects Editing (lost to Terminator 2)
Best Visual Effects (lost to Terminator 2

Backdraft is probably the most famous movie that features firefighters. Well, it's the only one I can think of besides Ladder 49. I have seen it before, but it's probably been ten or fifteen years. It's about two brothers who followed in their father's footsteps as a firefighter, but they don't get along. They are Stephen (Kurt Russell) and younger brother, Brian (William Baldwin). I knew a Baldwin was in this, but for the longest time I thought it was Stephen Baldwin (there is a Stephen Baldwin, right?) because I kept hearing the name "Stephen" in the movie and just associated that name with the Baldwin in the movie, but then I looked it up to double check and it's William. Seriously, I can't tell those Baldwins apart if you lined them up...the only one I really know is Alec. Fun fact: Brad Pitt was up for the role of Brian.

The movie starts out "twenty" years ago in 1971 when Stephen and Brian are kids and their dad is about to be a hero and put out another fire. He manages to save a little girl from the fire, but something terrible happens when he goes back in and there's an explosion and he dies. This all happens in front of little Brian's eyes who was there when it happened. I was so confused because the dad was played by Russell and he died within the first five minutes of the movie. I'm thinking, Uh, why did they bill Kurt Russell first when he's only in the movie for five minutes? But he also plays Stephen as a grown up so he is in the movie for more than five minutes. But I just thought that was weird. I'm sure there are examples where the same actor played a parent in the past, then played one of the grown up children in the future.

Stephen has no fear and will take on a fire head on and doesn't always listen to rules and protocol. One of the most famous images from this movie is when he goes into a burning building before they've got the hose ready. He knows there's a child in there and he knows there's no time for the hose to be set up. He is hailed a hero, but often chided for his reckless behavior. Stephen is separated from his wife, Helen (Rebecca De Mornay) who he still has feelings for, but she is fearful of his life. They have a young son.

Brian was out of the firefighting game for awhile, but has come back to it. On his first big fire, Stephen tells him to stay at his side, but during the fire, Brian sees a human and ends up leaving his brother's side to rescue a life. Only it turns out the life he "saved" was a mannequin. There were a few in the building that was on fire, so it must have been an old department store. When he comes out with the human form wrapped in a blanket, the photographers take photos, thinking it's a real person. His picture is in the paper and he is hailed as a hero even though he knows the whole thing is a fraud.

Once grown up and firefighters in Chicago, they must find out who is behind a series of malicious fires being set and killing people. De Niro plays the veteran firefighter and arson investigator who is on the case. I didn't really like this plot line of the story. We already have a movie about firefighters; why do we need to add a murder mystery to it?

It must be a requisite for movies with firefighters in them to play the song "Heat Wave." Because that song was also played in Frequency where Dennis Quaid played a firefighter.

The fire scenes were very impressive. I have strong respect for firefighters who go into burning buildings to save people. I could never do that! I was a little confused that Stephen could go into burning building without a mask...seemed kind of dangerous, but maybe they wanted the audience to be able to see his face. Apparently, one of the cameramen wore a flame-retardant suit and went into the fire to actually shoot from a firefighter's POV. The film is a little overheated (pun intended!) with its plot, but overall has a nostalgic feel to it...even though I never saw it in theaters, I do remember it when was released.