After today, there is only five days left in the year which means there will only be five movies left to watch so making the right choices is very important. I wanted to watch a film that featured the late, great Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting) and so I chose to watch The Birdcage. Armand Goldman (Williams) is a gay owner of a cabaret club called The Birdcage who gets a visit from his only son Val (Dan Futterman). Val tells him that he is getting married, but there is one problem. He is getting married to a girl whose father is a very conservative senator and so he wants them to pretend for a night that they are not gay, but a normal family. Armand agrees to do it, but there is only one problem and it’s his drag queen boyfriend Albert (Nathan Lane). The film also stars Gene Hackman (Enemy Of The State) as Sen. Kevin Keeley, Dianne Wiest (The Lost Boys) as Louise Keeley, Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal) as Barbara Keeley, Hank Azaria (Grosse Pointe Blank) as Agador, Christine Baranski (Trolls) as Katherine Archer, Tom McGowan (Heavy Weights) as Harry Radman, Grant Heslov (True Lies) as National Enquirer Photographer, James Lally (Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead) as Cyril, and the film was directed by Mike Nichols (The Graduate).
First off, I want to start the article by saying how inconsiderate the character of Val is throughout the whole film. He is so inconsiderate to his father and Albert and just about anyone at The Birdcage that he forces them to change who they are. I understand why Robin Williams character Armand did it, but it’s frustrating to watch because you’re like I would’ve told this kid where to go if I was in his situation. That right there is a sign of great writing where you get emotionally involved in the story. So, I am definitely giving kudos to that department as well as the acting which was superb. Williams, Lane, and Azaria absolutely steal the show in the film with their comedic wit and over the top performances. When they are on camera, they make the film that much more enjoyable. What’s up with Calista Flockhart in this film? There is this one scene where she puts on a lot of makeup and she looks like a corpse being drained of all its blood. It’s just that scary looking, but her slim figure is her trademark. The film is just fantastic from beginning to end as you wait to see if they’ll pull it off, but there is a redeeming moment at the end of the film for Val. After that, you will definitely forgive him. I loved everything about the film, this is a classic and one that a fellow co-worker recommended to me and I am glad I watched. I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
One of my all time favorite actors from the 80’s is John Cusack who starred in such great films as Say Anything…, Tapeheads, One Crazy Summer, and even High Fidelity. So, I was cruising through Netflix trying to decide on a film when I came across Grosse Pointe Blank and decided on it for today. Martin Blank (Cusack) is a professional hitman who has sort of lost his way and just needs to be found or at least realize what he wants out of life. Against his intuition, he goes back home to Detroit where he’ll attend his ten year high school reunion. While there, he runs into his old high school sweetheart Debbie Newberry (Minnie Driver) that he ran out on ten years before and he decides to try and fix that relationship while letting go of his lifestyle. The film also stars Joan Cusack (Working Girl) as Marcela, Alan Arkin (Argo) as Dr. Oatman, Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters) as Grocer, Jeremy Piven (Smokin’ Aces) as Paul Spericki, Hank Azaria (Mystery Men) as Steven Lardner, K. Todd Freeman (The Cider House Rules) as Kenneth McCullers, Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead) as Bob Destepello, Mitchell Ryan (Lethal Weapon) as Mr. Bart Newberry, and the film was directed by George Armitage (Miami Blues).
There are things you should know about getting into a John Cusack film that is starring him and one is that Joan Cusack is probably in the film. The second one that you can expect is that the soundtrack to the film is probably incredible so you should pay attention to that. The film featured cuts from amazing bands like Echo & The Bunnymen and The Cure for example. The other thing you should expect from a Cusack film is that Cusack is going to be stealing the show by commanding the screen with his underdog like qualities. No matter the role, you are rooting for him to succeed and that is what I love about his films. This one adds the element that he is a professional assassin which means we get some bad ass action sequences in the film as well. The film itself is absolutely awesome and definitely a film I wish I had seen a heck of a lot sooner than I did. I really loved the fact that Alan Arkin was in the film as the scared psychiatrist who has to continuously deal with Cusack’s character throughout the film. It adds to the overall comedy of the film and Dan Aykroyd definitely does that as the rival hitman. So you can definitely see all the crazy directions this film goes, but it’s enjoyable because the story is awesome. Everybody normal hates the idea of going back to a high school reunion, but hey that’s how it goes. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade because the acting was great and the soundtrack is amazing.
Without looking at a synopsis for a film, I honestly thought when I saw the title Mystery, Alaska that we were going to get a film like Fargo for example. I thought maybe it would be a town with a dark secret, but that is definitely not the case. In Mystery, Alaska, they pride themselves on their ability to play hockey in a town that has sub zero temps almost all year round. One day a former townee (Hank Azaria) returns from New York with news that NHL hockey powers the New York Rangers want to challenge the team to a traditional pond hockey game. The town accepts the challenge with some doubters, but they’ll soon have to realize that there are a lot more internal problems they’ll need to solve before they take on the hockey power. The film stars Russell Crowe (Robin Hood) as John Biebe, Burt Reynolds (Smokey And The Bandit) as Judge Burns, Mary McCormack (Private Parts) as Donna Biebe, Colm Meaney (Con Air) as Mayor Pitcher, Lolita Davidovich (Gods And Monsters) as Mary Jane Pitcher, Maury Chaykin (Entrapment) as Bailey Pruitt, Ron Eldard (Sleepers) as Skank Marden, Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Tree, Scott Grimes (Robin Hood) as Birdie Burns, Rachel Wilson (The Glass House) as Marla Burns, Adam Beach (Flags Of Our Fathers) as Galin Winetka, and the film was directed by Jay Roach (Trumbo).
This was actually a very good film that has the feel of The Mighty Ducks and the look of every other sports film released in that time frame. It’s the true underdog story of a small Alaskan hockey team that does the impossible by playing a pro team. The thing that is unique about this film is the challenges a lot of the actors face in the film like infidelity, corporate takeover, as well as other social issues. Russell Crowe was great, Burt Reynolds was very good, and just about everybody in the film did a great job. I loved the cinematography in the film especially during the big hockey game. These kinds of ideas make you wonder if a game like this would be possible, but I honestly doubt it. The players union would probably never approve of it in the first place. The idea of a spot uniting a town is not so far fetched as sports is a common thread for people and various towns all over America. One of my favorite things about the film is the cameo from Mike Myers (Shrek) who plays a character that is a parody of hockey commentating legend Don Cherry. That was definitely a highlight for me to see him in this film. I know Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 38% rating, but I really enjoyed the film because it was more than just a hockey film. That is why I have decided to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
For today’s film, I only have one question to ask all of you and it’s are you ready to meet one of the most dysfunctional families ever? The film is called Eulogy and it stars Zooey Deschanel ((500) Days Of Summer) as Kate Collins, a girl who is supposed to give a eulogy at her grandfather’s funeral. The only problem is that she doesn’t know what to say and looks to her father (Hank Azaria), a failed actor turned pornstar and his dysfunctional siblings which include a lesbian, an overbearing bitch, and a sleazeball for some memories of the old man which turns out to be a project. Oh not to mention that she has to help prevent her grandmother from committing suicide in this black comedy. The film stars Debra Winger (Urban Cowboy) as Alice Collins, Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond) as Skip Collins, Kelly Preston (Twins) as Lucy Collins, Rip Torn (Men In Black) as Edmund Collins, Piper Laurie (Carrie) as Charlotte Collins, Famke Janssen (X-Men) as Judy, Glenne Headly (Don Jon) as Samantha, Jesse Bradford (Romeo + Juliet) as Ryan, and the film was directed by Michael Clancy.
I have found in the past that some black comedies can be a little hard to digest only because you are trying to find the humor in the film. I think since I have grown up so much and found how crappy life can be, it’s easier to find it now when your cynical. I thought that I have seen some real dysfunctional families in my time, but nothing tops the Collins family who are in for the biggest surprise towards the end. If you like character driven movies, I think this is a great film for characters because everyone in the film is just so darn unique and the personalities of some while typical are just as interesting too. I was watching this film and I did not realize that Debra Winger was in the movie the whole time. She does an amazing job playing the overbearing, hypocritical, controlling sister while the always beautiful Kelly Preston just looks amazing as she plays the lesbian sister. Ray Romano plays your prototypical bonehead, disgustingly perverted, can’t handle feelings kind of guy. Famke Janssen’s character is very witty as she has to be as the controversial soon to be wife of Kelly Preston in the film. Don’t think by all that that Zooey’s character is the only normal one in the film because she has issues of her own as well. The movie has it all from your drama filled subplots that unfold before your very eyes to those moments that you just laugh with. I honestly had never heard of this film, but I am glad that I caught it on HBO when I did. I am going to give this film an B+ for a final grade.