I Like Family Movies Now

mork and mindyWelcome to old age, right? Or is this the beginning of the Mork years? (Remember the alien that aged backwards? Oh, right, of course you don’t, because it happened over three decades ago.)

Truth is, I knew over a decade ago that I no longer fit in the target audience for contemporary film makers. When American Pie hit the top of the charts, I knew the era of Animal House was long gone. So I’ve had some time to get used to it.

This past Friday, the wife and I off-loaded our kids on some unsuspecting panhandlers that look nice enough in order to execute the classic-dinner-and-a-movie-date-night. The dinner decision was easy enough–Chinese place we haven’t tried yet, General Tso’s Chicken, extra spice.

But what movie to see? Heck, neither of us had a clue as to what movies where showing. Who has time for movie trailers anymore? A cursory search revealed a shiz-load of crap. Stuff like this:

Is this a postmodern Chucky?

Is this a postmodern Chucky?

I should pay for this?

I should pay for this?

blah, blah, blah...

blah, blah, blah…

I didn't wanna read the book...

I didn’t wanna read the book…

Really?

Really?

This used to be called Twister.

This used to be called Twister.

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There was a first one?

I'm sure the cartoon was better.

I’m sure the cartoon was better.

url-8Then I landed on a movie poster for The Guardians of the Galaxy. More importantly, I found a review that said, “Think of Firefly aimed at fifteen-year-olds.” That totally sold me. Only later did I see that the movie was a Disney flick pitched as a “family film.”

Great. I’m seeing a family picture on my hot date night. Nothing could be lamer, right?

Wrong. Guardians of the Galaxy was brilliantly funny, light-hearted and uproarious. My wife and I held hands and laughed harder than we have in a long while. Badass quips like “I’m distracting you, you big turd blossom” rank right up next to famous lines like “Yippee ki yay, mother f*$%er!”

My wife even claimed it’s the best movie she’s seen in years. How is this possible? I can’t even remember a kiss in the entire movie. Oh well. I’ve arrived at the phase of life my father warned me of. He hasn’t seen a movie that wasn’t animated in like 30 years. I’m not quite to that point. But if the “Family Movie” phase includes more flicks like Guardians, I’m happy about getting older. Bring on the ass kicking raccoons.

Edge of Tomorrow Fails to Stick the Landing

edgetomorrowI, for one, am glad to see Tom Cruise settling into the science fiction genre. With Oblivion and now Edge of Tomorrow, he has moved up my list. Unfortunately, it appears that movie goers either don’t trust Cruise anymore, or they simply aren’t interested in quality science fiction thrillers not titled Matrix.

While Edge of Tomorrow hasn’t done well at the box office, it seems to be generating positive reviews. And I liked the movie. I didn’t like it quite as much as Oblivion. The key reason is the ending. No worries, no spoilers here. But the ending just didn’t work for me–not for this movie. For a simpler one, sure.

But it wasn’t so disappointing as to ruin the entire movie.

Cruise and his supporting actress, Emily Blunt, were both excellently cast and made the most of their parts. The Groundhog style time loop plot device worked for me. What makes the technique really work is the fact Cruise starts off as completely incapable of fighting. He describes himself in the movie as an ROTC student in college who lost his job and took a new one as a military recruiter. He’s a smooth talker who finds himself on the tip of the spear for reasons the film viewer is to assume revolve around politics and a scramble to cover asses.

While the reasoning isn’t totally clear, it sets up the main device of the movie–Cruise’s character replaying the same day over and over. Since he starts off as unskilled, it gives him all the more space to improve and mature and grow as a hero. [Read more...]

Why I Liked Oblivion Better Than Star Trek

oblivionskystationThe past couple of months have been good for sci-fi movie goers. I actually managed to get away for Iron Man III (sort of sci-fi), Star Trek into Darkness and Oblivion. Here is why I like Oblivion better than the other two.

It felt like a science fiction movie. It was a science fiction movie. I like science fiction movies.

I suppose I should elaborate. Oblivion put considerable time and energy into the atmosphere and the ethos and the cinema-graphic beauty of the film. I’m not placing it on a level with Blade Runner, but that’s the sort of thing I’m talking about. [Read more...]

Cowboys and Aliens: Mot Juste!

Cowboys and Aliens movie postermot juste/ˌmō ˈZHYst/ Noun: The exact, appropriate word.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me say how ecstatic I am about the timing of this new weird-Western movie. (Fine, the graphic novel has been around since 2006, but how many of you have heard of it?) But I mean, holy alien prodding! I’ve planned the release of Fistful of Reefer to be July 31st (formerly June 31st) for several months. And now it’s announced that Cowboys and Aliens will be released nationwide on July 28th?

I tell you, it’s exactly appropriate. And for those of us who have always rooted for the Indians we can now root for our future galactic overlords. (I jest! I love the Cowboys *grumble, grumble. Stupid, evil Jerry Jones*) Not only is the timing perfect, but the content is perfect as well. [Read more...]