Live Tweet Alert: Join #FridayNightFlix for Best Worst Movie!


 

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, I will be hosting the third #FridayNightFlix of 2022!  The movie? 2009’s Best Worst Movie!

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.

Best Worst Movie is available on Prime and Tubi!  See you there!

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Carl Theodor Dreyer Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today, we honor the great Danish filmmaker, Carl Theodor Dreyer, born 134 year ago today.  He directed his first film in 1919 and made his final one in 1964.  It’s time for…

4 Shots From 4 Carl Theodor Dreyer Films

The President (1919, dir by Carl Theodor Dreyer)

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, dir by Carl Theodor Dreyer, DP: Rudolph Mate)

Vampyr (1932, dir by Carl Theodor Dreyer, DP: Rudolph Mate)

Gertrud (1964, dir by Carl Thedor Dreyer, DP: Henning Bendtsen)

 

Here’s The Conspiracy-Filled Trailer For 88


Here’s the trailer for 88, which cases a slight stir at the Tribeca Film Festival last year.

This, to be honest, looks like the type of film that I’m going to get excited about while everyone else kind of ignores it.  What can I say?  I love political conspiracy movies.  That said, I do have to wonder why political conspiracies always leave behind such obvious clues.  It’s like they’re not even trying to keep things secret!

Here’s The Trailer For Big George Foreman


The Covenant is not the only film coming out in April!

On April 28th, Big George Foreman will be released.  As you can probably guess from the title, this is a biopic about the boxer, preacher, and grill inventor George Foreman.  Foreman, it should be said, has led a very interesting life and I think it’s justifiable to wonder just how exactly they’re going to be able to fit everything into one feature-length film.  Just looking at the production companies involved, it looks like the film is going to mostly focus on Foreman as a man of faith.  Myself, I hope the film takes the time to acknowledge that he was one of the best guest stars to provide his voice to King of the Hill.  (“Novelty grill!?  The fight’s on!”)

Big George Forman is directed by  George Tillman, Jr.  Tillman’s directorial career has been a bit uneven but, as of right now, he should be riding high on the acclaim that greeted his 2018 film, The Hate U Give.  Personally, I hope this is a good film because, from what little I know about boxing, George Foreman has an amazing story to tell.

Here’s the trailer for Big George Forman!

Here’s The Trailer For The Covenant


Here’s the trailer for Guy Ritchie’s latest film, The Covenant.

In this film, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a veteran who returns to Afghanistan to rescue his interpreter from the Taliban.  This seems like the type of film that critics are going to hate but which will be better appreciated by audiences.  Considering the number of allies that the U.S. abandoned in Afghanistan and the fact that everyone knows that the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan was hardly our greatest hour, I have a feeling that we’re going to see a lot more films like The Covenant.  Just as how the 80s and the 90s were full of films about vets who returned to Vietnam to “finish the job” and rescue POWS, there’s undoubtedly going to be a lot of films about vets returning to Afghanistan and saving those who helped them from the Taliban.  For many people, the movies are going to provide the second chance that we’ll never get in a real life.

The Covenant will be released on April 21st, 2023.

Retro Television Reviews: City Guys 3.11 “El-Train In The Sky With Geena” and 3.12 “Miracle 134th Street and Lexington Avenue”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Thursdays, I will be reviewing City Guys, which ran on NBC from 1997 to 2001.  The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!

Are the neat guys still smart and streetwise?  Were they ever?  Let’s find out!

Episode 3.11 “El-Train In The Sky With Geena”

(dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on November 27th, 1999)

Jamal is still dating Ashley (Trina McGee), the manipulative girl with the thick Southern accent.  However, Jamal is concerned when her ex-boyfriend Roger comes to visit “from the South.”  After lying to Roger about Ashley having to serve detention, Jamal and Chris take Roger on a tour of New York City, one that is meant to make him hate the city so much that he’ll never want to return.  At one point, they take him to — cringe! — the Twin Towers and make him walk all the way to the top, via the stairs.  They tell him to think of World Trade Center as being a “Stairmaster with a gift shop on the top floor.”  UGH!

Now, in all fairness, the creative team behind City Guys had no idea what would happen 20 months in the future.  At the time this episode aired, the World Trade Center was a popular New York tourist attraction and it made sense that Jamal and Chris would take a visitor to see it.  Still, watching this scene today is all sorts of cringey.  “Why do we have to take the stairs?” Roger asks.  “Because the elevators are broken,” is the reply.

Seriously, let’s just move on to the A-plot of this episode.

The students have raised $200 to buy Ms. Nobel a gift.  (What is the deal with these people and their pathological obsession with their principal?)  They give the money to L-Train, the class president.  Unfortunately, L-Train has a new girlfriend named Geena and Geena is hooked on …. MARIJUANA!  She’s so addicted that she even lights up at the movies.  She’s so addicted that, when she finds out L-Train has $200 in his locker, she steals it so that she can buy more weed.  She promises to pay L-Train back but the next time that L-Train sees her, she’s staring at her hand and talking about how she can’t feel her face.  What exactly has she been smoking?

Anyway, L-Train is forced to buy a cheap chair for Ms. Nobel’s gift.  Ms. Nobel is disappointed in him.  JUST BE GRATEFUL YOUR KISS-ASS STUDENTS GOT YOU A GIFT!  Anyway, Ms. Nobel encourages L-Train to give Geena a second chance and to get her in drug rehab.

Anyway, this was a dumb episode.  It turns out that Roger and Ashley only dated in the 2nd grade and Geena agrees to get help.  And I guess Ms. Nobel eventually gets a better chair.  Steven Daniel gave a typically empathetic performance but everyone else was definitely an autopilot.

Let’s move on!

Episode 3.12 “Miraclce on 134th Street and Lexington Avenue)

(dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on November 27th, 1999)

It’s a Christmas episode!

The gang is still working at the New York Toy Company, where Al and Jamal try to make extra money and from which Chris and Dawn are regularly delivering toys to the local community center.  After discovering that Allison, one of the kids at the center, wants to meet her father for the first time, Chris and Dawn track him down and reunite the family.  Ms. Nobel praised everyone for doing a good job.  No one mentions anything about the fact that Chris, Jamal, Dawn, Cassidy, Al, and L-Train would rather spend their holidays with Ms. Nobel instead of their own families.  Seriously, high school only lasts four years.  How are these people going to survive adulthood without having Ms. Nobel around 24/7?

Usually, I like Christmas episodes but this one didn’t really work for me.  I hate to say this but the performers playing Allison, her mother, and her father weren’t particularly believable in their roles.  Plus, it didn’t seem to occur to anyone that maybe there was a good reason why Allison’s father no longer had any contact with his family.  Instead, Dawn and Chris just took it upon themselves to tell him where Allison and her mother could be found.  I mean, they could have at least done a background check.

The neat guys did not impress me this week.  Hopefully, next week will be a bit better.

Film Review: Shotgun Wedding (dir by Jason Moore)


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.

Scenes I Love: “Print The Legend” From The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance


The legendary director John Ford was born 129 years ago today, in Maine.  As I sit here writing this, you can go see The Fabelmans, which ends with a scene in which a young Steven Spielberg (or Sammy Fabelman, whatever) meets John Ford (played by David Lynch).  The meeting is based on a meeting that a young Spielberg actually had with Ford shortly before Ford’s death in 1971.

However, long before John Ford met Steven Spielberg, he directed one of my favorite films, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.  Today’s scene that I love comes from the end of that 1962 film and it features a line that would become a classic.  “Print the legend.”  That was a line that Ford understood and I imagine it’s one that Spielberg eventually came to understand as well.