As some of our regular readers undoubtedly know, I am involved in a few weekly live tweets on twitter. I host #FridayNightFlix every Friday, I co-host #ScarySocial on Saturday, and I am one of the five hosts of #MondayActionMovie! Every week, we get together. We watch a movie. We tweet our way through it.
Tonight, at 10 pm et, #FridayNightFlix has got 1990’s The Shrimp on the Barbie!
Watch it and cheer for Cheech Marin in Australia!
If you want to join us this Friday, just hop onto twitter, start the movie at 10 pm et, and use the #FridayNightFlix hashtag! It’s a friendly group and welcoming of newcomers so don’t be shy.
The Shrimp on the Barbie is available on Prime and Tubi! See you there!
A mildly amusing mix of romance, comedy, and action, Shotgun Wedding tells the story of Tom (Josh Duhamel) and Darcy (Jennifer Lopez).
Tom is a washed-up baseball player. Darcy is …. well, I’m not sure if the film ever really made clear what exactly Darcy does for a living. She comes from a wealthy family and she previously worked with the Peace Corps in Bali. After dating for four years, Tom and Darcy are finally getting married. Darcy wanted to have a simple wedding. Tom, however, becomes a groomzilla and plans an elaborate ceremony on a remote island resort. Sure, the island has occasionally been targeted by pirates but the owners of resort assure Tom that it probably won’t happen again.
The night before the wedding is fraught with drama. Darcy’s mother (Sonia Braga) is not happy that her ex-husband (Cheech Marin) has brought his new agey girlfriend (D’Arcy Carden) to the wedding. Tom’s mother (Jennifer Coolidge) insists that Tom and Darcy not sleep together the night before the ceremony. Meanwhile, Tom’s father (Steve Coulter, a genuinely funny actor) wanders about with an old school camcorder, recording everything. Darcy’s sister (Callie Hernandez) hooks up with one of Tom’s friends (Desmin Borges). Finally, Sean Hawkins (Lenny Kravitz) makes a dramatic entrance, even though he wasn’t exactly invited to the wedding. Sean was Darcy’s ex-fiancé, the man that she nearly married before she met Tom. Everyone loves Sean. When morning comes around, Tom and Darcy aren’t even sure they still want to get married.
That’s when the pirates show up.
Because Tom and Darcy were busy arguing, they weren’t present when the pirates took the rest of the wedding party hostage. Now, Tom and Darcy have to make their way through the jungle so that they can defeat the pirates, save the hostages, and work on their relationship problems. Along the way, both Tom and Darcy will discover that they’re capable of doing things that they never would have thought possible, like killing pirates.
Shotgun Wedding feels a bit like a throw back. It’s very easy to imagine Cameron Diaz or Jennifer Aniston or Sandra Bullock (or maybe even Jennifer Lopez) starring in this film in 2003, playing Darcy opposite someone like Ron Livingston, Owen Wilson, or Greg Kinnear. That’s not meant to be a complaint. There’s actually something rather pleasant about the film’s somewhat quaint approach to its story. Much like last year’s Marry Me, it feels like a throw back to a simpler time when everyone was willing to accept that there was no need for ambiguity when it came to portraying gun-toting pirates as being the bad guys.
Unlike Marry Me, in which Owen Wilson was able to hold his own opposite his glamourous co-star, Shotgun Wedding is pretty much dominated by Jennifer Lopez. Josh Duhamel has his moments as the not terribly bright Tom but significantly, those moments almost all occur while Darcy and Tom are separated. Indeed, much as how the studios used to pair Golden Age divas with forgettable leading men, it sometimes feel as if Duhamel was specifically cast because there was no danger of him taking the attention away from the movie’s main star. This is a film that was pretty much designed to show off Jennifer Lopez. With every scene, one can hear the movie whispering, “Isn’t she still funny? Doesn’t she still look good?” Fortunately, Jennifer Lopez is still funny and yes, she does still look good. Even more importantly, she’s more than capable of carrying a film like this and she delivers her lines with just the right amount of comedic exasperation. A running joke about how much she hates her wedding dress pays off in an unexpected way and the scenes in which Darcy confronts her fear of the sight of blood are enjoyably over-the-top. For someone who was once frequently been portrayed as being a diva in the tabloids. Lopez has always had a down-to-Earth screen presence and a talent for physical comedy. At their best, both this film and Jennifer Lopez are enjoyably silly.
Unfortunately, the film itself starts drag after the first hour and the film’s humor starts to wear thin. There’s only so many times you can listen to someone say something stupid while a pirate points a gun in their face before the joke starts to get stale. I still laughed at quite a few of the lines. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amusing film. But it’s not a particularly memorable one. It’s the type of movie that mildly entertains you for 100 minutes and then it quickly leaves your mind afterwards. In many ways, it’s ideal for the streaming era. If you left the house and paid money to sit in a theater and watch the film with a bunch of strangers, you might be more likely to get annoyed at how slight the film is. But, when watched in the safety of your own home, it’s a perfectly pleasant experience.
The Rev. Fred Sultan (Samuel L. Jackson) has a problem. He is the richest and the best known fight promoter in America but the current (and undefeated) heavyweight champion is just too good. No one is paying to watch James “The Grim Reaper” Roper (Damon Wayans) fight because Roper always wins. Sultan has a plan, though. Before Roper turned professional, he lost a fight to Terry Conklin (Peter Berg). Conklin has long since retired from boxing and is now a heavy metal, progressive musician. Sultan convinces Conklin to come out of retirement and face Roper in a rematch. Since Conklin is white and Roper is black, Sultan stands to make a killing as white boxing fans get swept up in all the hype about Conklin being the latest “great white hope.”
In the days leading up to the fight, crusading journalist Mitchell Kane (Jeff Goldblum) attempts to expose the crooked Sultan before getting seduced into his inner circle. Meanwhile, boxer Marvin Shabazz (Michael Jace) and his manager, Hassan El Rukk’n (Jamie Foxx), unsuccessfully pursue a match with Roper. Conklin gets back into shape while Roper eats ice cream and watches Dolemite.
In its attempt to satirize boxing, The Great White Hype runs into a huge problem. The fight game is already so shady that it is beyond satire. This was especially true in the 90s, when the The Great White Hype was first released. (Even more than the famous Larry Holmes/Gerry Cooney title fight, The Great White Hype’s obvious inspiration was the heavily promoted, two-minute fight between Mike Tyson and Peter McNeeley.) The Great White Hype is a very busy film but nothing in it can match Oliver McCall’s mental breakdown in the middle of his fight with Lennox Lewis, Andrew Golota twice fighting Riddick Bowe and twice getting disqualified for low blows, or Mike Tyson biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear.
The Great White Hype has an only in the 90s supporting cast, featuring everyone from Jon Lovitz to Cheech Marin to, for some reason, Corbin Bernsen. Damon Wayans is the least convincing heavyweight champion since Tommy Morrison essentially played himself in Rocky V. The Rev. Sultan was meant to be a take on Don King and Samuel L. Jackson was a good pick for the role but the real Don King is so openly corrupt and flamboyant that he’s almost immune to parody.
When it comes to trying to take down Don King, I think Duke puts it best.
I’ve done numerous music videos inspired by movies so far. Yesterday’s Opposites Attract by Paula Abdul is based off of Anchors Aweigh (1945) with Gene Kelly. However, this is the first one that not only explicitly remade a particular film, or part of a film, but also got the director of said film. Stanley Donen actually directed this music video for Lionel Richie.
It was shot by Daniel Pearl because of course it was. For those of you counting, that makes four music videos shot by Daniel Pearl that I have spotlighted so far. That is out of his around 450+ documented music videos.
According to Wikipedia, this was shot at Laird Studios in Culver City and at the LeMondrian Hotel in West Hollywood on a budget that was somewhere between $350,000 and $500,000.
The music video’s main influence is of course Royal Wedding (1951), which Stanley Donen directed. But it also has a nod to The Seven Year Itch (1955).
This music video was such a big deal at the time that HBO aired a half-hour special about the making of it.
Michael Peters did the choreography. He also did the choreography for Beat It and Thriller as well as Love Is A Battlefield.
Rodney Dangerfield and Cheech Marin make cameo appearances. Diane Alexander, who would later marry Lionel Richie, is also in the music video as one of the dancers.
Donen and Glenn Goodwin produced the music video.
While the song did well when it was released, it still made Blender magazine’s list of the 50 Worst Songs Ever. Of course they are using WatchMojo’s definition of “ever”. That means there are only four songs that pre-date the 1980s, they had to be “hit songs”, and somehow their staff had heard every “hit song” that had ever been “released” at the time.
Judging by the songs on the list, Blender magazine thought Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go–not on the list–is a better song than The Sounds Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel–on the list. Or if we are to take its title for what it says the list is, it means Anger Is My Middle Name by Thor–not on the list–is a better song than Broken Wings by Mr. Mister–on the list. Let that one sink it. Kudos to the trolls who came up with this list. That is unless it was meant to be a parody of these kinds of lists. That’s probably a stretch. Regardless, it is amazing when you stop to think about it. This song was #20, mainly on the grounds that it was probably written with the music video in mind. That never happens.
All that said, there are far better Lionel Richie songs and music videos out there. I just happened to stumble upon this one the other day and it paired well with Opposites Attract that did a much better job being based off of an Old Hollywood movie–even if it did imply that Abdul has sexual relations with a cat.
Footnote: One of the underlying themes behind Blender’s choices is whether the song offended them in some way, such as their portrayal of minorities. That’s rich considering one of their comments on Kokomo by The Beach Boys is:
“It’s all anodyne harmonizing and forced rhymes (“To Martinique, that Montserrat mystique!”) that would have driven Brian totally nuts had he not been totally nuts already.”
They also complain about We Didn’t Start The Fire by Billy Joel this way:
“Can you fit a cultural history of the twentieth century into four minutes? Uh, no
Despite its bombastic production, ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ resembles a term paper scribbled the night before it’s due. As the song progresses, Joel audibly realizes he can’t cram it all in: The ’70s get four bellowed words amid the widdly-woo guitars and meet-thy-maker drums. The chorus denies responsibility for any events mentioned, clearing up the common misconception that Billy Joel developed the H-bomb.
Worst Moment: “China’s under martial law, rock & roller cola wars!”: No way does conflating Tiananmen Square with Michael Jackson selling Pepsi trivialize a massacre.”
Truly, the period between 1949-1989 is the cultural history of a century.
Yes, it is weird that a song about Billy Joel’s memories of growing up in a world that was already filled with a history of horrible things would go from fine details to jumping over decades with mentions of only a few things from them. It’s almost as if when you grow older, the things that occurred when you were a child affected you more than the ones you encountered later in your life. Specifically, his list of events start to drop off exactly when he would have turned 21 in 1960. What followed was an uprising during a frightening period most visibly shot down by civil rights leaders being murdered and then a further clampdown on that period of change afterwards. Crackdowns on freedom and living under the threat of nuclear annihilation would be relevant to kids growing up in the 1980s. After that, it makes sense that he would lose track of events and just see them as horrors that his generation has left the next one despite attempts to change things. He would also go through them fast since that clampdown did occur so fast that America went in the span of ten years from Woodstock to Reagan being the president-elect.
Oh, and he mentions Watergate, Punk Rock, Menachem Begin, Former Governor Ronald Reagan starting his bid for the Presidency, Palestine (the Israeli-Palestine conflict was still going on after Begin was elected), the airplane hijackings of the 1970s, the rise of Ayatollah in Iran, and Russians invading Afghanistan. That’s four things from the 70s, right?
I can also understand how they could misunderstand the chorus that is interwoven with the events that occurred in the world that Joel grew up with, lived threw as a young man, and is now seeing a new generation inheriting along with new problems as meaning that there’s a denial of responsibility for those events. It’s almost as if the song takes you through the life of one person who lived through a period when even with large numbers of people uprising, it still only caused changes, but not an alteration to the trajectory of the world that continues to burn and appeared to only speed up after those changes.
Finally, I am truly offended that Joel would end the song with China being under martial law and Coke & Pepsi running ads using rock & roll stars to sell soda being mentioned back-to-back. Being so confused at the end that he says “I can’t take it anymore” bothers me. Rock and Roll being a driving force in causing people in communist countries to uprise during the 80s with that same genre being used to make people think the important battle in their life is between two types of sugar-water truly is to “trivialize a massacre.” The Tiananmen Square protests were also the height of the popularity of Chinese rocker Cui Jian when his song Nothing To My Name became an anthem for the protestors. That reminds me, one of these days I’ll have to review the 1989 Soviet film Gorod Zero where Rock and Roll is portrayed as the savior of their country.
Sorry, I just had to mention that here since I already did that music video before I found this amazingly ignorant list. I also wanted to mention it because it really makes me think that this was purely intended to troll people or outright parody these kinds of lists. I would love to have an actual copy of the magazine so I would have more context than text excerpts.
Finding A Family (2011) – This movie is about a kid named Alex (Jared Abrahamson) whose mother has serious mental problems. She has a great degree, but her mental problems absolutely cripple her. As you can guess, they create major issues for her son who has to live with her day after day. Ultimately, Alex has himself emancipated. He wants to go to Harvard and works hard in school to make this work while not forgetting his mother. Then he decides that he really does want a family and starts writing to people asking them to take him in. It’s a nice story that really only had one issue and a minor personal complaint.
The issue is that I have some experience in this area and the depth to which his mother’s mental problems should affect him, don’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like The Blind Side (2009) where they gutted and flattened two amazing people, but it’s noticeable. The other thing is a minor complaint. In the old days you did receive a letter from colleges you applied to telling you whether you were accepted or not. However, I applied in 2006 and we was never sent a letter. You checked their website to find out whether you were accepted or not. This film was made in 2011. I know it’s more dramatic and familiar to go with the letter thing, but it’s time to move on.
You’ve seen it all before, but if you want to see again, then check this one out.
Generation Gap (2008) – There really isn’t much to talk about here. You’ve seen this plot a million times before. We meet Dylan (Alex Black) who is just too much for his mother because of a few scenes of rebellion. His Mom, played by Catherine Mary Stewart, calls up her father played by Ed Asner and dumps Dylan on him. After a few scenes of Asner acting like a dick, which he seems to think he is entitled to do because he’s old, both him and the kid calm down. The film does three things: 1. Asner and the kid come to realize that despite being different ages, they both occupy the same time and place on Earth, 2. Asner hooks up with Rue McClanahan who sounds weird without her Southern accent, 3. The kid also gains a romantic interest.
The only other noteworthy things are that they age Asner by about 10 years to have his character able to have been in WWII. The other is that the kid walks in on Asner and three other guys playing Halo. Pretty funny. Remember that scene in The Wizard (1989) where Beau Bridges is supposedly playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but we now know thanks to AVGN that he was probably playing Winter Games for the NES? Well, they actually show that Halo is what is being played and I wouldn’t be surprised if Asner and the others were actually playing.
This one is cliched, but okay.
Expecting A Miracle (2009) – This is a weird movie. It seems to be nice and have it’s heart in the right place, but there are some odd bits. It introduces us to a couple played by Jason Priestley and Teri Polo who have been trying to get pregnant. It seems that the couple has tried IVF several times, but there doesn’t seem to be any mention of sex whatsoever. Did they try that?
To try and calm down, they take a vacation and wind up in a small Mexican town that seems to consist only of a courtyard. Cheech Marin is here along with some other characters who conveniently speak English. There is a kid who has something wrong with his leg and is convinced that a special ceremony is going to fix it. This is the kind of place populated with people who are like the magic negro/eccentric characters that turn your life around simply by coming into contact with them.
Polo is told a line that basically says God decides whether you will have kids or not. Okay, but does that mean God also controls the adoption process which is brought up numerous times during this film. Maybe it’s the film’s way of saying that God sometimes is trying to tell you that it’s not necessary to pass on your genetic material, but instead to save a poor kid who needs a family and people who will love them.
The rest is harmless and kind of nice, but then comes the ending. The kid in the village is miraculously cured of a condition with his leg during a ceremony. The couple talk about adopting him. At the very end, they are at home working through the adoption process, talking about how much paperwork there is to adopt a kid. The wife goes to the bathroom and takes a pregnancy test. She’s pregnant! Then there are the credits. Did they have sex? Was it IVF again? Did they still follow through and adopt the kid? No answers.
It’s nice and everything, but I can’t honestly recommend it. Just a little too weird and relies on people’s assumptions about the nobility and happiness about simple rural communities.
Murder 101: If Wishes Were Horses (2007) – Another Hallmark murder mystery, but just like Murder 101, this was good. As always, I’m terrible about following the plots of these movies. It all begins when a horse is kidnapped. Once again, Dick Van Dyke is brought in to help with the case. Barry Van Dyke is back again as well, but this time Shane Van Dyke joins in on the fun. This is your standard murder mystery movie in the vein of Diagnosis Murder, Murder, She Wrote, and Mystery Woman as opposed to recent movies like Wedding Planner Mystery and Garage Sale Mystery. This one’s fine.
Remember when you were a kid and you didn’t have anything else to do so you started flipping through the channels on the TV? You came across a movie that wasn’t necessarily good, but you stopped and watched it anyways. You didn’t have anything else to do. Then you moved on with your life and grew up. Something happens and you remember that movie but can’t for the life of you think of title. So you begin digging around trying to find it. If you’re lucky, you do. An example of that kind of movie for me is Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller (1988). This is one of those movies. A humble movie. I never saw it as a kid, but I think I would remember it. I became aware of it because it showed up on Netflix and said it has Cheech Marin, Mr. T, and a bear. How was I going to resist that?
The movie begins in an Old West town with Jessie (Bonnie Morgan) and her pet bear Goldy. I am no expert on bears, but it puzzles me why they keep referring to it as the last Golden Bear. Well, this bear likes to pay visits to the schoolhouse to get suckers from Jessie, plays dress up, and sometimes goes for a bike ride. No joke. Just look!
It’s that scene that would make this film stick somewhere in your memory if you saw it as a child. With that little bit of comedy to open the film, we are introduced to our characters and situation that needs resolving. There is a man who lives in the wilderness simply referred to as the “ghost man”. Take a wild guess who that is.
Ghost Man (Mr. T)
There are also Borgia (Cheech Marin) and Hugo (Danny Woodburn) who are magician and magician’s assistant respectively. Borgia isn’t doing so good magically and thinks if he can get his hands on the last Golden Bear that things will get better. He’s also a Jedi.
Jedi Mind Trick
Throw in some rednecks and a shooting contest that must be won to save the house and you have Goldy III. Eventually all these people come together and the real problem emerges. The ghost man, who turns out to be named Freedom, realized it from the moment he met Goldy. Goldy ran away scared from him. It’s understandable that a little girl would, but a bear? That shouldn’t happen and Freedom knows it. Goldy has become too human and forgotten how to be a bear. I mean Goldy even takes his punishment for riding the bike by sitting in a corner with a dunce cap on.
Eventually Jessie runs away with Goldy to protect her when the possibility of her being sold arises. She finally gets to be properly introduced to Freedom and he explains why Goldy needs to be set free. After awhile the rest of the folks catch up with them. At this point, Borgia knows he’s been doing bad things and wants to make things right. How? Well, remember he’s a Jedi!
Into The Wild For Goldy
I can’t tell you how this fits in with the previous films because I haven’t seen them. Note, I said films, not the first two movies. That’s because according to IMDb there are two Goldy III movies. I don’t know how that works. Trevor Black is the creator and director of the first two movies and seems to have made a third too. This was then made several years later also as Goldy III. Maybe it’s a remake, but I don’t know. It’s definitely safe for a kid, but this really is the kind of movie they should stumble upon their own. I wouldn’t bring it to them.