For today’s challenge film, I wanted to watch a film from the great Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, American Graffiti) and I happened to stumble on one playing on TV. The name of the film is Mr. Holland’s Opus and Dreyfuss stars as the title character in the film. Glenn Holland is a struggling composer who has to take a job at John F. Kennedy High School as a music teacher in order to make ends meet. What he doesn’t expect to happen to him is that he is going to find fulfillment as music teacher as he helps others discover the beauty of music while he struggles with issues at home. The film also stars Glenne Headly (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) as Iris Holland, Jay Thomas (Mork & Mindy) as Coach Bill Meister, Olympia Dukakis (Look Who’s Talking Too) as Principal Helen Jacobs, William H. Macy (Thank You For Smoking) as Vice Principal Gene Wolters, Alicia Witt (Cecil B. Demented) as Gertrude Lang, Terrence Howard (Lee Daniels’ The Butler) as Louis Russ, Damon Whitaker (Ghost Dog: The Way Of The Samurai) as Bobby Tidd, Jean Louisa Kelly (Uncle Buck) as Rowena Morgan, Joseph Anderson (Whacked!) as Cole Holland, Balthazar Getty (The Judge) as Stadler, and the film was directed by Stephen Herek (Critters).
This is one of those films where the main character changes over the course of the film and at one moment finally realizes what he has accomplished. He definitely goes through some trials and tribulations during the film as he wants to be a composer more than a teacher and he has trouble dealing with the fact that his son is deaf. All of these things definitely makes him grow as a person and the amount of love he receives is amazing. The film follows his thirty year career as a teacher from 1965 to 1995 and you see the changes in music styles along with pop culture which is cool and the film stays hip with what actually happened in music current events. For every decade though, there is a student that he helps realize their potential (e.g. the death of John Lennon). Richard Dreyfuss is an amazing actor to begin with and you see that in this film. I love how the film makes him age over the course of thirty years to make it more believable and the fact that they used real deaf actors to pay his son is amazing as well. That definitely makes the film feel more authentic instead of paying a hearing actor to play a deaf person. One thing that boggles my mind is that Richard Dreyfus lost to Nicolas Cage at the Oscars for Best Actor. Nevertheless, this is an amazing film that you should definitely check out if you are a fan of Richard Dreyfuss or a fan of amazing stories. With that being said, I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
There are times when you have too many movies to watch that you miss one at the cinema every now and again. Today’s film, Jane Got A Gun is certainly an example of a film that didn’t last long at the box office and I missed my chance to see it then. Jane (Natalie Portman) is trying to live her life like any normal woman in post civil war New Mexico with her husband and daughter. Things get very complicated for Jane when her husband returns home with several gunshot wounds from a past that has finally caught up to them. In order to protect her injured husband and make a stand, Jane will enlist the help of an ex-lover (Joel Edgerton) to help against the man bringing all the havoc. The film also stars Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) as John Bishop, Noah Emmerich (The Truman Show) as Bill Hammond, Boyd Holbrook (A Walk Among The Tombstones) as Vic Owen, Rodrigo Santoro (300: Rise Of An Empire) as Fitchum, James Burnett (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails) as Cunny Charlie, Sam Quinn (Transcendence) as Slow Jeremiah, Alex Manette (Lee Daniels The Butler) as Buck, Jenny Gabrielle (Employee Of The Month) as Whore, and the film was directed by Gavin O’Connor (Pride And Glory).
I want to start this off by saying that Joel Edgerton is becoming one of my favorite actors in Hollywood. I have yet to be disappointed by anything that he has put out whether it was a film he strictly starred in or had something to do with the story, etc. Joel Edgerton was one of the screenwriters for this film and I have to say that it’s kind of an unorthodox western in which the back story is being told while the story is unfolding. One thing that I thought was cool was that I had no idea that Ewan McGregor was in the film and he is the antagonist of the film. He does such a great job playing the villain in the film and in fact I thought everyone from Portman to even a person with a minor role did a fantastic job. The last western I watched didn’t make the top 25, but this one definitely has a chance because I liked everything about it. The difference between westerns today versus the days of Eastwood and such is that the kills look a lot more realistic with the abilities we have now. The story structures and the subplots are all the same as they were before, but now they get a little more creative. To make the story even more of a happy ending, they throw a little twist at the end that was a little lame (I’ll admit), but it didn’t bother me at all. The film is available at Redbox now so if you love westerns then give this one a chance. I am going to give the film an B for a final grade.
I was looking for something to watch and I typed in Matthew McConaughey’s (Killer Joe) name on Netflix and stumbled upon The Paperboy. I am a huge fan of Matthew’s independent films so it was a natural choice to check this one out. The film stars Zac Efron (Neighbors) as Jack Jensen, a paperboy for a local Florida newspaper that is owned and operated by his family. Jack’s brother Ward (McConaughey) is a writer for the Miami Times who comes home with a fellow writer named Yardly (David Oyelowo) to investigate a case where a man named Hillary (John Cusack) may or may not have been falsely accused of crime and sent to Death Row. They are doing it as a favor to a woman named Charlotte (Nicole Kidman) who has been writing love letters to the man. Things get complicated when Jack falls in love with Charlotte and things he didn’t know start to unravel. The film also stars Scott Glenn (Urban Cowboy) as W.W. Jansen, Ned Bellamy (The Shawshank Redemption) as Tyree, Nealla Gordon (Lee Daniels The Butler) as Ellen Guthrie, Macy Gray as Anita, John Fertitta (The Iceman) as Sam Ellison, and the film was directed by Lee Daniels.
I just noticed that I have reviewed a lot of films for this challenge that have featured actors that starred in the film The Shawshank Redemption. I don’t know, I just thought it was a nice little tidbit. Anyways, I have to say that I truly enjoyed the film and the fact that Macy Gray narrates the story. It’s a story that seems like bright story that will feature someone getting saved from execution, but it’s not the case as the film just gets dark. There are so many spots in the film that get dark real quick like the scene when Efron’s character discovers his brothers dark little secret. Zac Efron does an amazing job in the film as it mainly focuses on him and his love for Charlotte. Nicole Kidman still looks fantastic after all these years as she was 44 during the filming of this film. John Cusack plays an amazing hick in the film as he is essentially a swamp person and David Oyelowo does a terrific job playing a con man newspaper editor (You’ll see exactly what I mean when you watch the film). I have nothing but good things to say about the film that is gritty, intense at times, and innocent as well. Every actor in the film does one heck of a job and I really enjoyed the editing of the film which I think helped. There is a pretty intense prison visitation orgasm scene between Kidman and Cusack that you’ll have to check out that can get awkward. The film is currently on Netflix and it’s worth checking out. I am giving the film an A- for a final grade.