Day 357: He Got Game (1998)

hggOne of the greatest actors to come out of the 1990’s is Denzel Washington (Malcolm X) who is money when it comes to his films. He has a movie called Fences coming out on Christmas which is gaining a lot of critical acclaim, but to celebrate his career, I decided to check out He Got Game. Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel)has been in jail for six years after the death of his wife which has forced his son Jesus Shuttlesworth (NBA Legend Ray Allen) to be the man of the house. You see Jesus is also an unbelievable basketball player for his high school who hasn’t made a decision as to where he wants to go or do after high school. Jake is given a chance to exit jail to try and convince his son to go to a certain school so that his sentence can be cut short. The film also stars Milla Jovovich (Zoolander 2) as Dakota Burns, Rosario Dawson (Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis) as Lala, Hill Harper (CSI: NY) as Booger, Zelda Harris (The Baby-Sitters Club) as Mary Shuttlesworth, Ned Beatty (Deliverance) as Warden Wyatt, Jim Brown (Mars Attacks) as Spivey, Joseph Lyle Taylor (The Dark Knight Rises) as Crudup, Bill Nunn (Spider-Man 3) as Uncle Bubba, John Turturro (The Color Of Money) as Coach Sunday, Roger Guenveur Smith (American Gangster) as Big Time Willie, and the film was written and directed by Spike Lee (Malcolm X).

he-got-gameThis was one of those films that you are kind of glad they only made one just because one of the main actors was kind of awful. The film’s story is actually a very good story that kind of takes a look into what happens when someone from a poor area has some talent and has to deal with vultures trying to get theirs. But as I said before, Ray Allen is kind of an awful actor who has his moments in the film, but is also one of those guys who shouldn’t have transitioned into films.Now Denzel on the other hand puts on one heck of a performance as he always does as a man who is desperate to get his son to sign, but he is also enjoying his time out of prison. He also touches other peoples lives to wake them up to realize their potentials or what they are missing out on. His interaction with Milla Jovovich are awesome as she plays a prostitute that he feels bad for in a way. The film features some gritty moments and plenty of T&A as one college tries to persuade him to come to their school. I can imagine that those things happened in real life and I am kind of mad I never took sport serious enough in high school. The ending of the film to me is a little rushed and it sort of doesn’t make sense to me in a way while in a way it does. It just seems a little too quick that he spends years hating his father, but forgives him what seems quick. It was a decent film that any basketball fan may enjoy. I am going to give a B+ only because Allen and some other performances bothered me a little. Enjoy the cameos in the film from NBA coaches and players like Dean Smith, Lute Olson, John Chaney, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Shaq, etc.

Day 219: Deliverance (1972)

deli2There are only 148 days left in the year (which includes today) to try and see movies that I have always wanted to see. So, that is why I took the opportunity to see the film Deliverance for today’s film. The Cahulawassee River in Georgia is about to be flooded to create one big lake and before that can happen, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock (Burt Reynolds) wants to canoe down the river. So, he brings along three of his closest friends in Ed (Jon Voight), Bobby (Ned Beatty), and Drew (Ronny Cox) along for the ride. Unfortunately for them while on the canoeing trip, they run into a little trouble that ends up being more than they ever bargained for in the backwoods of Georgia. The film also stars Billy Redden (Big Fish) as Lonnie, Bill McKinney (Back To The Future Part III) as Mountain Man, Herbert ‘Cowboy’ Coward (Ghost Town: The Movie) as Toothless Man, Lewis Crone as First Deputy, Ken Keener as Second Deputy, Ed Ramey as Old Man, James Dickey (To The White Sea) as Sheriff Bullard, Macon McCalman (Smokey And The Bandit) as Deputy Queen, Belinda Beatty (Exorcist II: The Heretic) as Marta Gentry, and the film was directed by John Boorman (Excalibur).

5-things-you-might-not-know-about-deliverance-released-40-years-ago-todayIf there was ever a movie in the world that should make you scared of the backwoods of the south, then this is definitely it. I always remember the references to the film that people would make, but I had to finally see it for myself. There is one scene in the film that is just very uncomfortable to watch and luckily you don’t see much of it, but the sodomy scene is very unnerving to watch. The film kind of has three different tones to it as far as the story is concerned where it starts as an adventure film before it becomes a dark survival film which is then followed a game of mystery as to a whodunit and who will falter and screw up. For most of the film, you believe that Burt Reynolds is going to be the leading man of the film until Jon Voight comes in and steals the show. He took the ball and he absolutely ran with it giving us an excellent performance. The cinematography for the most part is very good and I really loved the scenic shots and the mountain climb scenes that Voight does. One of the cool sequences as well as the dueling banjo scene between Ronnie Cox’s character and Billy Redden’s. That was a very cool sequence to see in the film and an iconic scene. Some of the people in the film, you wonder where they found them in the first place because they do look odd as hell. Check it out on Encore Play as we speak. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.

Day 26: Rampart (2011)

Rampart-posterBack in the late 1990’s, there was a scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department’s CRASH (a task force set up to fight street gangs) department. They believed that there was a lot of corruption in that department and the Rampart division of the LAPD. This film, Rampart, takes place during that time as it follows police officer Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson). Officer Brown is the kind of guy who follows his own brand of justice in life whether it be on the streets where he does things his way or at home with his dysfunctional family.  After a beating incident, things begin to fall apart for Brown as he looks to keep his family together as well as his career as he fights to keep his job. The film also stars Bree Olson (21 Jump Street) as Helen, Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City) as Barbara, Anne Heche (Donnie Brasco) as Catherine, Jon Bernthal (The Wolf Of Wall Street) as Dan Morone, Ben Foster (Alpha Dog) as General, Steve Buscemi (Fargo) as Bill Blago, Robin Wright (The Princess Bride) as Linda, Ned Beatty (The Toy) as Hartshorn, Ice Cube (Ride Along) as Kyle Timkins, Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters) as Joan Confrey, and the film was directed by Oren Moverman (Love & Mercy).

rampart.pngI realized as I started to watch the film that I did a double shot of Woody Harrelson for this challenge and I’m glad I did. This film is not only visually stunning, but it’s gritty and it’s dark. You literally see the a man descend from the beginning of the film all the way to the end. What I mean by that is that Woody starts off the film being this tough guy who does things his own way on the streets. He is cocky about it and believes in what he is doing until everything around him starts to fall apart. The more the film goes on, the darker the fall into madness for Woody’s character. There are a lot of scenes in the film which stunningly portray his character as this misanthrope, misogynistic, womanizing man who has no care in the world for how people feel. This film is great for character study and it kind of shows where LA was at in the late 1990’s. Every person from Bree Olson to Ben Foster do an amazing job acting wise that you can’t help, but love this film. Woody’s transformation is unbelievable as well as he just looks sick for most of the film and he gets worse as time goes on in the film. The only thing that I question is the man’s home life as he lives with his ex-wife and his current wife and he has a child with each one. Oh and I almost forgot, they are sisters too. If you’re into films like this one then you should definitely check it out. The film is available on Netflix and with that being said, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.