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Movie Hindsight 2020

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Almost Famous (2000) - We saw this movie over the weekend. As many of you probably know, in 1973 a 15 year old boy has a bit of a clash in his life. He loves rock music, to the extent that he writes critical articles on the topic and sends them out to see if they get published. He also has an overprotective mother who absolutely hates rock and roll. Anyway, through the articles he writes he gets an assignment to go on the road to get the behind the scenes story of a rock band. So you get plenty of the rock atmosphere that was around during the time period. The best qualities of this film are the rock and roll atmosphere and ethos of the time, together with the performance of Patrick Fugit in is movie debut as the 15 year old kid who is struggling to write a story out of his assignment. Fugit is on screen for a vast majority of time in this film, and he is more than good enough to hold this film together and keep it well grounded. Also a plus for this film is Kate Hudson as a rock groupie (or band aid) who is Fugit’s entry point into the behind the scenes circus that this film looks at.
 

8893

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Almost Famous (2000) - We saw this movie over the weekend. As many of you probably know, in 1973 a 15 year old boy has a bit of a clash in his life. He loves rock music, to the extent that he writes critical articles on the topic and sends them out to see if they get published. He also has an overprotective mother who absolutely hates rock and roll. Anyway, through the articles he writes he gets an assignment to go on the road to get the behind the scenes story of a rock band. So you get plenty of the rock atmosphere that was around during the time period. The best qualities of this film are the rock and roll atmosphere and ethos of the time, together with the performance of Patrick Fugit in is movie debut as the 15 year old kid who is struggling to write a story out of his assignment. Fugit is on screen for a vast majority of time in this film, and he is more than good enough to hold this film together and keep it well grounded. Also a plus for this film is Kate Hudson as a rock groupie (or band aid) who is Fugit’s entry point into the behind the scenes circus that this film looks at.
Great film. Even my kids like it.
 
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"The Best Man" 1965.This is another highly rated political film from Gore Vidal's novel. This again stars Fonda who plays an honest presidential candidate running against Cliff Robertson a charlatan attack dog. This is well done, and it is available for free streaming.
 

Dove

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The Irishman - Absolutely way too long. And knowing there were complaints about the youthing CGI I was only bothered with it in about two scenes. Overall, we really enjoyed the story and the star power carried it enough to overcome the length. Pacino was great.

The Meyerowitz Stories (2017) - An enjoyable story where three siblings return home when their father (D Hoffman) decides to sell his artwork and home. Adam Sandler is pretty good and yells a lot. Ben Stiller is good, too. Worth a watch. A comedy-drama.
 

nwhoopfan

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"My Spy" was just made available on Amazon Prime. It's fairly formulaic, Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson have done this kind of movie (I guess Arnie WAY back in the day, too), now it's Bautista's turn. Stoic muscle bound tough guy reluctantly has a cute kid (or kids) enter his life, then gets his heart melted. For what it is though, I found it really enjoyable. Has some good laughs, the leads fit the bill.
 

nelsonmuntz

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The Disaster Artist (2017) - Just released on Netflix. It is about the making of Tommy Wiseau's bizarre cult favorite The Room, which is considered one of the greatest terrible movies ever made, and about his strange friendship with Greg Sestero, who stars in The Room and actually lived with Wiseau for a period of time. The movie is mostly told through Greg's viewpoint. I have never seen The Room, but I knew the story of the movie and Tommy Wiseau.

The movie has a lot more warmth than I expected from the trailers. It was marketed almost as a parody, but is actually about the really strange friendship between Greg (played by Dave Franco) and Tommy (James Franco). James Franco won a Golden Globe, but was pulled from Oscar consideration because of a flurry of (probably accurate) MeToo accusations against him right before Oscar nominations.

Dave Franco was technically the protagonist, and he should have gotten some awards love because he was excellent. James Franco held together a tough part, because his Wiseau could have turned into an impression very easily. Seth Rogan and Paul Scheer play the Script Supervisor and Cinematographer. Both are good, but Paul Scheer is hilarious, as usual. If I was producing a comedy, I would find a role for Scheer.
 

ZooCougar

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This is not worth it's own thread. But Days of Thunder is 30 years old!

That not only makes me feel old. But I was watching it the other day and it seems to age well.

Aside from the fact that the plot is exactly the same plot from Top Gun, Cocktail, The Color of Money, the movie has a ton of flaws. Many of the hardcore NASCAR fans hate it for the lack of realism. But I would say its one of the best bad movies ever made.
 

storrsroars

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Aside from the fact that the plot is exactly the same plot from Top Gun, Cocktail, The Color of Money, the movie has a ton of flaws.
Which reminds me of this classic Rich Hall bit:
 

Dove

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The Pineapple Express ( 2008) - First time seeing it. Freaking hysterical. The scene where Franco went to kick the windshield out...lol

Franco was a beast. Rogen was funny but inconsistent. Like you can tell he had poor filming days. Danny McBride was also great.
 
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nelsonmuntz

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Unstoppable (2010) - Denzel and Chris Pine buddy/old tech, pseudo disaster movie that did well at the box office and is one of those movies that is on TV or cable somewhere pretty much every day.

The premise is interesting, credible and original for a disaster movie. A large locomotive pulling a series of cars with toxic chemicals gets under power through a series of screwups by two idiot yard-workers, one of whom is played by TJ Miller (Erlich Bachman from Silicon Valley). The overall plot from there is interesting. Pine and Denzel are good, as always, and the rest of the cast is solid. Rosario Dawson and Kevin Dunn (Ben from VEEP) are both exactly what you would expect.

So this movie should be better than it is. I have two problems. First, the dialogue is so silly at times that I literally cringe watching the movie. But other times the dialogue works. I don't get how a script this inconsistent made it to camera in a big budget movie. For example, there is an attempt to derail the train. There is an interesting build up to that scene, and then the camera cuts to some random overweight guy that says the "train is not going to know what hit it". What does that mean? The train doesn't think, and that is a stupid cliche anyway. There are whole scenes that not only don't make sense, and also have easy fixes.

I blame this on the Director. This was Tony Scott's last movie before his suicide, and a lot of the direction is a mess. There are weird reaction shots and the music is intrusive. The pace jumps around throughout the movie.

This movie was never meant to be an Oscar candidate, but it had potential to be better than it is.
 
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"Official Secrets"-this 2019 British film stars Keira Knightley as Katherine Gunn a British intelligence operative released a secret memo from NSA which confirmed a joint British/American operation to gather incriminating intelligence about individuals who represented non permanent members of the UN Security Council to bribe them into voting for war against Sadam Hussein's Iraq. It is done with the best British understatement. A very solid film very fact based. I must admit that I hadn't heard about this case. This is well worth your time.
 

nwhoopfan

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Haven't chimed in for a while. Most I've seen lately were too mediocre to bother mentioning, or repeat viewings that I might've already reviewed.

My dad recommended "The Reading Room" with James Earl Jones from the mid 2000s, I'd never seen it. Jones lost his wife, her dying wish was for him to do something philanthropic in the inner city. He was skeptical at first but comes to realize it does as much for him as it does the various youths he ends up helping. Enjoyable, feel good movie. I didn't recognize many of the other actors in it, but it must've been one of the earliest appearances for Jessica Szor.
 

nwhoopfan

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"Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable" is a documentary. "Soul Surfer" was a pretty decent dramatization about her life that focused quite a bit on the shark attack and her recovery. The documentary covered a much longer time frame and didn't spend a lot of time on the attack. I thought it was well done. She's a remarkable person.
 

nwhoopfan

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"Ride Like a Girl" is based on a true story about a female jockey in Australia. Stars Teresa Palmer and Sam Neill (wow, I had absolutely no idea he's a Kiwi until I looked him up just now) played a significant role, other than that didn't recognize any of the actors. A little slow to start but a good story, well done I thought. Palmer is the youngest of 10 kids, her mom died right after she was born. Neill is the dad. Almost all of the kids go on to be jockeys, the boys and the girls. As the youngest Palmer feels like she's always fighting for attention or respect or to be taken seriously. She ends up riding in the Melbourne Cup, which I gathered is about as big of a deal in Australia as one of the Triple Crown races is here. She was in the 155th annual race and was only the 5th female jockey to ever appear. I won't spoiler the ending.
 
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The Trip (2010) - Just watched this movie this weekend. It is a sort of mockumentary directed by Michael Winterbottom, and starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as some sort of versions of themselves. Coogan and Brydon go on a week long restaurant tour of northern England. In addition to watching some scrumptious food preparation and presentation, you get to witness same beautiful scenery and much interesting and clever conversation involving Coogan and/or Brydon. A bunch of the conversation involves a sort of a dueling series of vocal impressions of other actors, most memorably involving Michael Caine and Sean Connery, among others. Definitely some good funny stuff here, not a great film but I rather enjoyed it. There is no real plot here other than the interplay that ensues. The film rests totally on the appeal of the two actors involved.

This film was initially a six part British television series that was edited into this film. Three sequels involving Winterbottom, Coogan and Brydon ensued after the initial success of the first project. The second in the series is “The Trip to Italy”, which takes the initial concept to mainland Europe. I enjoyed the first film enough that eventually I will get around to the Italy film, and we’ll see where that one takes us.
 
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The Pineapple Express ( 2008) - First time seeing it. Freaking hysterical. The scene where Franco went to kick the windshield out...lol

Franco was a beast. Rogen was funny but inconsistent. Like you can tell he had poor filming days. Danny McBride was also great.
Pineapple Express is ten times better on something like Pineapple Express....or so I've heard.
 

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A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018) - Netflix biopic about Doug Kenney, the founder of National Lampoon and writer of Animal House and Caddyshack. This is a really good little movie about someone who you may not know, but you have probably seen his work if you are over 30 years old. Will Forte stars, but you will recognize a lot of the cast, who are playing a lot of names that you will recognize. Biopics often get preachy, and are usually either heavy or soaring. This movie is really funny, which is hard to pull off in a biopic. So much of his behavior is ridiculous, but he worked in comedy in the 70's, so that is to be expected.

This movie isn't the greatest anything, but it is fun, despite the depressing ending, and worth watching.
 
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The Irishman - Absolutely way too long. And knowing there were complaints about the youthing CGI I was only bothered with it in about two scenes. Overall, we really enjoyed the story and the star power carried it enough to overcome the length. Pacino was great.
Was definitely a good film, but no question it was way, WAY too long.
 

nwhoopfan

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"Ballet Shoes" is a British made for TV movie I'd never heard of til I stumbled upon it on Amazon Prime. Cast includes Emma Watson from some time in the middle of the Harry Potter series, and Lucy Boynton near the beginning of her career. I found it interesting. Packs a lot into about 90 minutes. Those 2 plus one other were adopted at various times by an anthropologist (I think) during his travels and grow up together as sisters in London. His great niece is more or less their mother, she also came to live with him when she was orphaned. He's gone most of the time. Money gets tight, they take on some boarders and the girls find some work in various stage productions singing, dancing and/or acting. There's more to it, but that's a brief overview. The 4 of them, plus the boarders and a few other people who come into their lives all get decent character arcs. Well done IMO.
 

nwhoopfan

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"Guns Akimbo" is a movie I was mildly curious about, but decided to pass on...but then ended up streaming it on Amazon Prime. Hyper-violent, almost to comedic levels if that is possible. The leads were all in. Felt like a bit of a mish mash of several previous films to me (Nerve, Gamer, Hardcore Henry...maybe some others). Okay, but not must see.
 

nwhoopfan

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After taking a break, I'm back with a vengeance! I know there are a few other fans of awkward high school/teen dramas/dramedies here. Got another one to add to that list--"Banana Split." Briefly, boy and girl date for 2 years, break up right after HS graduation, new girl moves to town and gets together with boy. For some strange reason ex-girlfriend and new girlfriend become best friends, boy has no idea about it. Boy's best friend does know about it, and is more than a bit perturbed about being put in that situation. As you can probably guess this does not all work out smoothly in the end. It was definitely all kinds of awkward at times, but well done and I enjoyed it. I'd seen Liana Liberato in a few things, the rest of the main cast I wasn't familiar with--although Dylan Spruce is almost the same thing as Cole Spruce (twins) who I know from Riverdale. Wait a minute, the other main character Hannah Marks was the bratty little sister in "Accepted," so I guess I have seen her before. That was a few years ago though. In true Hollywood fashion our high schoolers were portrayed by actors in their mid to late 20. Such a weird thing to me.
 
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Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado - I had never heard of Walter Mercado going in to this Netflix documentary. I'm glad I watched, it touched me. The documentary is fine, a bit padded maybe, but Walter is awesome. The only regret for me is knowing I will never be that fabulous.
 

nwhoopfan

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I saw "The First Time" several years ago. Didn't really remember anything about it, except I seem to recall I liked it. Streamed it on Prime. I'd say not your average teen romantic drama, much more realistic look at people inexperienced with relationships. Both leads were really good--Dylan O'Brien and Britt Roberston. They weren't on screen much but Victoria Justice and Halston Sage were in supporting roles. I would recommend it without hesitation.
 
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Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley - Decent style, short on substance. Ewan McGregor's villain felt inconsequential and lacking in motivation. Jumping full bore into the universe like that required a lot of spoken exposition but the connection to the Joker and Batman felt tenuous at best. Try as they might Margot Robbie isn't an action star either.

Like a Boss - Wife's dumb choice. I don't mind looking at Rose Byrne, that's the best I got. You can excoriate me now Storrs.

The Hunt - Overhyped in terms of how controversial it was supposed to be. A few moments of fun action but mostly meh.

The Invisible Man - I actually enjoyed this one, didn't think I would. A testament to Elisabeth Moss, she's a good actress even if she's a scientology kook. My one gripe is I wish they had gotten a recognizable actor for the Man, felt underwhelming during the reveal somehow.

Downhill - Haven't seen the original but I'm sure it's better. I liked the pairing of Ferrell and Dreyfuss but something overall just didn't click.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga - This was more in Ferrell's silly wheelhouse. Some of the song's were legitimately good. You could do worse with 90 minutes.

Missing Link - A bit of a snooze but nice to look at for a kid's movie.

Hamilton - Musical's aren't my thing at all. Jonathan Groff's King George was the highlight.
 

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