"Not the victory but the action. Not the goal but the game.
In the deed the glory."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Movie Review: Some Good Ones and One of the Worst Movies, Ever

As mentioned earlier, the Iraqi Bazaar here at Anaconda sells movies while they are still in the theater. I gave up on buying them a while back, as the quality is usually poor and ruins the experience for me. However, some that are not as cheap me are willing to roll the dice, and occasionally get a pretty solid copy. One such movie is Casino Royale. I grew up with Roger Moore as Bond, with my favorite Bond being For Your Eyes Only. Pierce Brosnan has put in some solid performances the last few years and is a close second for me, I at times have even had a non-gay crush on him (but only as Bond). I know that Sean Connery is widely regarded as the Best Bond ever, but I am a little too young to have seen much of his body of work. I will admit I was skeptical about Daniel Craig as the new Bond at first. Bond is supposed to have dark hair and not dirty blond. Other than that I haven't really seen any of his stuff so didn't have much to go on, other than his washboard abs and perfectly defined chest that I saw on the commercial.

So, I was excited to check out the newest flick and see what the new guy could do. And I wasn't disappointed. Without giving up too many details, the movies goes back in time ala Batman Begins and tells the story of Bond getting his 007 status and going on his first mission. The first hour was incredible, the movies gets off to a fast paced start and just keeps rolling. I have to admit the second hour lost me a little bit. The pivotal scene involves not a car chase or gun battle, but a card game. Really? That is the best we can do here? I know that this is based on a Fleming book like the rest, but Bond facing down the villian with pocket Aces just isn't the same for me. The ending drags a little bit as well, but all in all it is a classic bond with a little bit darker twist. Definitely a much see if you are a Bond fan, if not you may not enjoy it. The reviews on Rotten Tomatoes were unbelievable, a stunning 94%, right up there with The Departed. I think they are a little high, this is a solid effort but not the best Bond movie ever as some are claiming.


Another movie that I watched via bootleg copy is The War Tapes. Wow. This movie is what I think you would call a documentary. The producer gave video cameras to Nat'l Guard soldiers from New Hampshire that were a part of OIF II. They filmed virtually their entire deployment from the train up to the homecoming and the aftermath and impact of the war. They served primarily as a Convoy Escort Team and they were stationed at Anaconda for a portion of the tour, so they showed footage from this base back in late 2004. It has changed quite a bit, but there were some similar sights to what we see here everyday. The footage focuses primarily on 3 soldiers that were out on the roads everyday.

If you are looking for a movie on what this war is like, this is it. It was moving, compelling, frightening, and inspiring all at the same time. The soldiers they picked are a cross section of the military, each with a unique view on the war and their experience. Since it is soldiers filming soldiers, you get direct access into what they are thinking and feeling. Really good stuff. My favorite part was when they showed their homecoming ceremony back in the states. We are getting within sniffing distance of getting out of here, and watching them be welcomed home by a gymnasium packed full of their family and friends, flags and homemade signs everywhere you look, and soldiers hugging their wives and kids was fantastic. I've made a few comments in the past about I don't really care about what our ceremony is like, as I just want to get home, but now that I've seen some footage I think it will be pretty awesome.

The other part that was really moving was seeing the soldiers adjusting back to being civilians. I have never been more thankful that I am Fobbit/REMF, as I'll come home essentially the same person, except for of course being in superior physical condition due to the countless hours I've spent getting huge in the Sprung Gym. These guys were (probably still are) struggling to get past the things they saw and did. Their wives, kids, and girlfriends, all noticed the difference. It is part of the untold cost of this or any war, that even past the dead and wounded, there are emotional wounds for so many that may never heal.


Movie #3 I checked out at the theater here just a few nights ago. We hadn't gone out for some time so we went to a movie called Touristas. Horrible, horrible movie. It is a horror movie about American tourists in Brazil and some bad things that happen to them. The dude from the TV show Las Vegas is the star, and then some other people you don't know. I've never seen Hostel but my movie going buddies said it was like that, except much worse. It is hard to describe how bad it is. Poor acting, dumb plot, unscary villain, really not much to get excited about. The only redeeming qualities are a cool scene where they swim to some underwater caves, but they ruin it later by overdoing it. I was walking out trying to mentally decide not whether it would make my bottom 10, but where I would put it. I haven't put much thought into this, but here is my first shot:

10. Oscar (1991). Basically 109 minutes of Stallone and his criminal buddies confusing a bag of money with a bag of dirty laundry. I saw this at Q9 back in high school with some of my buddies, and even though at the time I considered Naked Gun to be high cinema, I knew this was terrible. It is hard to believe that you can make an entire movie out of one joke. This movie is so bad that I haven't seen it since it came out and still remember this train wreck.

9. Dude, Where's My Car? (2000). Not good. And I wasn't expecting much. I thought that it would be some light hearted stoner fun ala Cheech and Chong or Half Baked, but no such luck. I don't walk out of or turn off a lot of movies, and this was one of them. It really doesn't take a lot to do a good movie about smoking pot. Funny characters doing dumb stuff, making their own bongs, and generally having a good time. This movie has none of this. I would rather dig my eyeballs out with a spoon then watch this piece of crap again.

8. Analyze That (2002). I want to stay away from the sequels because they are just too easy. But some are so bad that it would be a crime not to mention them. My better half informs me that we walked out of this movie at the theaters. The only thing worse than that is that I don't remember walking out of it. Dumb dumb dumb. Why must we subjected to these sequels? And why do I keep going back? Why does Deniro agree to these movies? And why am I asking all of these questions?

7. The Whole 10 Yards (2004). The first one is a classic, fun story, lots of stars, and French jokes. The second one is a classic let's mail in a sequel and laugh all the way to the bank. Nothing original, nothing funny, just the same stupid actors playing the same stupid roles and making stupid jokes. This movie is terrible. Perhaps I hate this movie so much because I enjoyed the first one. Bruce Willis should be ashamed of himself for participating in this. If I ever see him and Matthew Perry out shopping at Village Pointe I'm going to punch him in the face. Matthew Perry that is, John McLane would probably kick my butt.

6. Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001). Boring! I really hate this movie. How can Steven Spielberg put together such a worthless piece of trash? I went into the movie thinking it was the life story of Allen Iverson but was sorely disappointed. Nobody loves you kid. You are a stupid robot. Get over it. And the ending, you have to be kidding me. This thing drags on longer than Christmas Eve for a 10 year old. I found myself hoping that I was in the movie, was cryogenically frozen somehow, and then brought back to life after 2000 years so I could smash his robot face in and the movie would end. Ugh.

5. The Fan (1996). Deniro, Snipes, Tony Scott as director, can't miss, right? Wrong. Just writing about it makes me want to go play in traffic. Another sucky Deniro movie (can't believe there are 2 on here) where he is an obsessed fan stalking Barry Bonds. Or something, who really cares. This is one of those movies where it is so uncomfortable the whole time that you wish you were anywhere but watching it. PMITA prison? I'll take it. Drowning in ice cold water? No problem. Saddam's torture palaces? Sign me up! He kidnaps his son, throw a few knives at him I think, even wears his jersey or some crap. I think maybe he gets shot in the end but I don't really remember, as my brain had shut down to protect itself from injury, like those new IBM laptops for klutzy people that sense a fall and go into self preservation mode. You should do the same. Not a fan of this one. Not a fan at all.

4. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999). We wait 15 years for another Star Wars and this is the best you can do George? Jerks. Seriously, who in their right mind watched the draft versions and said to themselves, yeah, that Jar Jar Binks is alll righttt (imagine Kramer saying that and it is a lot funnier). And people will be interested in a snotty little slave kid flying around his junked out pod racer. Bill Simmons posted a while back that sports teams should have a VP of Common Sense that can review major decisions and say yea or nay. Movies studios need the same thing. No person in their right mind would think this was a good idea. This movie gets worse every time I watch it. Lucas should give back what ever money he made on this to every one that had to sit through it. I'll take mine in cash, thank you very much.

3. The Benchwarmers (2006). Saw this here at Anaconda. They don't make words to describe how utterly awful this movie is. I believe this was actually banned under the Geneva convention as it is cruel and unusual punishment. I would stay in Iraq another year before I would watch this again. This movie falls apart in the first 30 seconds. First of all, Rob Scheider is the lead actor and is playing a jock. Really. I'm not making this up. Second, his wife is Molly Sims (also on Las Vegas), and she wants to make a baby, but he wants to play baseball with David Spade, Napoleon Dynamite, and some sixth graders. Third, Rob Schneider is the lead actor and David Spade is in the movie. Fourth, grown men are playing grade schoolers in baseball. For real. And nobody notices that they are in their 30s. Fifth, there are only 3 players on one team, 2 of them suck, one is good, and they never walk the good player. Sixth, Rob Scheider and David Spade are your stars. Playing baseball. Against little boys. For real. Seventh, oh nevermind, just kill me now. Maybe little kids like this, I don't know, but it is stupid nonetheless.

2. The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996). I don't know if I walked out on this one but I should have. Let me sum this one up for you, Brando's character from Apocalypse Now is on an island with Val Kilmer and some messed up animals. That is all. Sound dumb? It is. I am running out of adjectives here for how bad this movie sucked. Perhaps a few quotes from the movie? I have seen the devil in my microscope, and I have chained him. Yup, that is what we are dealing with here. Another you say? I have almost achieved perfection you see, of a divine creature that is pure, harmonious, absolutely incapable of any malice. And if in my tinkering I have fallen short of the human form by the snout, claw or hoof, it really is of no great importance. I am closer that you could possibly imagine sir. Oh, I'm sorry, I thought a crazy person was talking there. Oh, you are crazy? I guess the mutated animals should have clued me in. Well, good day!

And... without further ado, my pick for the worst movie, ever.

1. The Prince of Tides (1991). I went to this one on accident. I think we got confused on the title and thought it was something else. This happened to me one other time, I went with my Grandma to the Flamingo Kid and thought I was going to see Karate Kid. That was what you call a disappointment. I cried the whole way home. That may actually explain why I am who I am today. But, I digress. Perhaps the fact that I was 15 or 16 and this movie is about everybody's favorite crazy person in real life, Nick Nolte, his suicidal sister, and his psychologist Babs hashing through their families neurosis has something to do with my dislike for this movie. I think if I was to watch this today, it would cause me physical pain. Disgustingly bad movie. I am going to stop writing about it now before I do something I regret in the morning, like smash my head into my laptop 100 times.

So, there you have it. This isn't technically my worst movies of all time list, it is the first 10 movies I could think of that I really didn't like, so I know that I missed some. Oh, and I forgot about Turistas. Umm, lets plug that one in at number 6. Oscar gets a reprieve, for now.

How about you? What movie(s) really grinds your gears? Leave a comment with your picks.


Anonymous said...

You have been over there too long. Now you want to start punching people in the face? Just for making a bad movie? Anyway, what about The Bachelor with Chris Odonnel I made you watch. I thought that was on your list?

Annika said...

I would vote for Tron and Bugsy. Honestly, Bugsy was sooo bad with Annette Bening trying to act sultry with her wannabe 40's voice and Warren Beatty trying to be tough it was laughable. The only good to come out of it was their marriage I think.

To be honest I remember at 12 or however old I was that I was bored almost to tears watching Tron. Can't remember one thing from it. My family makes fun of me because I can always find the good in a movie and am not discerning enough; not true, eating glass would have been less painful.

JH said...

Wow, I don't know what to say. I'm still taken aback by how much time and effort you put into that post. Impressive work.

Reel Fanatic said...

I too thought the latest Bond was a welcome return to top form .. I just hope Mr. Craig is now taking some well-deserved time out to gloast to all the haters who doubted he could pull this off

Anonymous said...

Oh remember when I made you go to "Just Friends" We went with Dan and Brandee. I think we all can agree that should be in the top ten

Sack said...

I was going to originally write that I would stab him in the throat or shoot him in the face, so I thought I was just doing good with a punch. Don't you think he deserves it? And the Bachelor should be on there as I think I shut it down after 30 minutes. I kind of forgot about it. Just Friends was terrible as well. For everyone but my brother! Somebody owes me 13 dollars for seeing that in the theaters.

You were obviously not a 10 year old pre-pubescent male the first time you saw Tron, as that movies rocks. I haven't seen Bugsy as Beatty and Bening make me ill when I see them together. Good call!

I do what I can to bring a little bit of happiness to your life.

I think Craig has the job for as long as he wants it. Although I did read something that he wants Bond to do a gay love scene with full frontal nudity, so I'm not really sure what that is all about.

Anonymous said...


You are hilarious. I'm sitting in the library trying not to laugh out I already have enough people looking at me funny on a regular basis, but I must admit I think I let out some chuckles before I got to the end.

Erika, I'm glad you mentioned Just Friends because I thought I was going to have to openly admit that I saw it. :) It should have been a sign when we walked into the theatre and there were only about 10 other people in there, and they were all about 13.

I think I would also have to add Midnight Cowboys to the list. I don't care how many Academy Awards it won...also, Superstar....maybe I just don't get the humor, but the audience when I saw it was almost identical to when we saw Just Friends.


Amy - said...

Oh come on... Oscar is fun. You just have to watch it a few dozen times... before you realize it.

Playing it in slow motion to catch all the mistakes helps.

So does watching it with a family who has every ridiculous line memorized.

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