Saturday, August 31, 2013

10 Things I Hate About You

Year 5, Day 243 - 8/31/13 - Movie #1,525

BEFORE: Perhaps I've made a critical error in my planning, because this holiday weekend, when most people are out enjoying their last free time of the summer, I'm at home, re-living the horrors of high school.  Oh well, at least I don't actually have to go.  Linking from "Mean Girls", Lindsay Lohan was also in "Bobby" with David Krumholtz (last seen in "I Love You, Man").

THE PLOT:  A new kid must find a guy to date the meanest girl in school, the older sister of the girl he has a crush on, who cannot date until her older sister does.

AFTER: Well, in terms of organization this has worked out rather well.  For the last three films, the big "high-school party" scene has been an important part of the plot - and for three of the last four films, a girl puking has been a plot point.  Let's just assume there was a lot of puking at the party in "Can't Hardly Wait" and say it's a common theme, OK?

I've known of this film for a while, and in fact I've been listening to some cuts from the soundtrack for even longer, because they're cool cover songs: "Cruel to Be Kind"  and "I Want You to Want Me" performed by Letters to Cleo (and "Mean Girls" had "Dancing With Myself" covered by The Donnas, and "Pitch Perfect" was nothing but covers, so I've got another theme going...)

And in a way, the whole plot here is like a cover song, since it's cribbed from Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew", which also turned into "Kiss Me, Kate" at one point.  I never read that play, but I think I saw a "Moonlighting" episode that also riffed off of it.  The title of this film's even supposed to sound a little like the Shakespeare title (but does it, really?) and it's more than a little blatant in its Bard of Avon references, giving characters last names like Stratford and Verona, and setting the whole thing in Padua High.

Let's face it, there are no new stories, just new settings, and one day people will be telling Shakespeare stories that take place on other planets, if they aren't already.  I saw a version of Macbeth that was set in a Pennsylvania burger restaurant ("Scotland, PA"), and of course "Strange Brew" ripped off "Hamlet" for its plot, and you can set "Romeo & Juliet" just about anywhere - I'm probably missing a bunch more.

I've got more of an issue with taking actors in their late 20's and forcing them to act like high-school students - probably every young actor's had to suffer through this, because filmmakers don't know what else to do with them.  OK, Julia Stiles was 18 when this was released, and Heath Ledger was 20, but he looks much older.  The bigger question, does the plot work?

Yes, unless you count the fact that Kate, Shakespeare's Kate, was supposed to be overly mad at the world, or unnecessarily unapproachable somehow, and if you make her a high-school student who thinks that everyone around her is a moron - she's probably right.  The concept that her father will only let her younger sister date if SHE will date - well, why would the father agree to that?  Why wouldn't he just say "You're too young to date" to the younger sister?  It's a strange father that agrees to loopholes, because he should realize that a loophole can be exploited.

In fact, there are a lot of strange occurences here - so to win someone's love, it's OK to lie?  It's OK to pay someone to date her sister?  For that matter, it's OK to crash your father's car into another car, it's OK to flash your teacher, it's OK for the principal to write porn instead of running the school, to crash someone's house unexpectedly with a wild party, play paintball without guns, and break into someone else's locker.  All in the name of love, apparently...

I should take this opportunity to study the original Shakespeare plot, but who has that kind of time? 

Also starring Heath Ledger (last seen in "Brokeback Mountain"), Julia Stiles (last seen in "The Devil's Own"), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (last seen in "Looper"), Allison Janney (last seen in "The Hours"), Larry Miller (last heard in "Bee Movie"), Darryl Mitchell (last seen in "Inside Man"), Gabrielle Union, Andrew Keegan, Larisa Oleynik, with a cameo from David Leisure.

RATING: 5 out of 10 soccer balls

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mean Girls

Year 5, Day 242 - 8/30/13 - Movie #1,524

BEFORE: Adventures in high school continue.  Linking from "Can't Hardly Wait", Jerry O'Connell was also in "Scary Movie V" with Lindsay Lohan, which seems like a strange thing for me to take advantage of.

THE PLOT:  Cady Heron is a hit with The Plastics, the A-list girl clique at her new school, until she makes the mistake of falling for Aaron Samuels, the ex-boyfriend of alpha Plastic Regina George.

AFTER:  See, I do occasionally take recommendations from my friends about what to watch...

We used to have a film called "Heathers", which was one of those high-school clique movies - the sort of plain girl ditches her plainer friend in order to infiltrate the "popular girl" circle, and sees a chance to take them down from within.  It's a dark movie because several teen characters die, but still sort of funny if you dig that sort of thing.

Honestly, this film seems like it's sort of modeled after that, only without so much death, and focusing more on the relationships between high-school girls - the way they tend to put each other down and stab each other in the back, try to get with each other's boyfriends, and navigate the social and sexual politics of the community formed by people who just happened to be born in the same town.

A new girl (moving to town after being home-schooled in Africa, which seems like an odd plot point) tries to find her place in the social network, and in doing so ends up pitting one girl against another, and eventually bringing the whole system down.  All for a lark, and an inability to admit that she's good at schoolwork and belongs on the Math team.

I was on my school's math team - though I didn't really understand much math after algebra, I still got the work done.  Trigonometry and Calculus, I just didn't see the point.  Who freaking cares what a cosecant is, or what the area is under the curve - when am I ever going to need to know how much area is under a goddamn curve?  And then I need to figure out the derivative of the curve - why?

I always say if I had to go back and do high-school again, I'd do it differently.  I didn't care what my social standing was, and I was a conscientious objector in the "battle of the sexes" back then.  I probably should have spent more time trying to date girls, but they were like an alien species to me until just before I graduated college.

Anyway, the film is sufficiently funny as things spiral out of control, and portrays that women are complicated, emotional creatures who often don't support each other enough, whereas guys just don't care about such things, and just want to play sports and get laid.  Fair enough.

Also starring Rachel McAdams (last seen in "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"), Tina Fey (last heard in "Megamind"), Lacey Chabert (last heard in "Anastasia"), Tim Meadows (last seen in "Grown Ups"), Jonathan Bennett, Amanda Seyfried (last seen in "In Time"), Lizzy Caplan (last seen in "Cloverfield"), Ana Gasteyer, Neill Flynn, Amy Poehler (last heard in "Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked"), Daniel Franzese.

RATING: 6 out of 10 candy canes

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Can't Hardly Wait

Year 5, Day 241 - 8/29/13 - Movie #1,523

BEFORE: I love this time of year, because it seems like almost everyone is on vacation, so I can get a lot of work done at the office AND maybe watch a movie at the same time.  Plus I'm catching up on TV, most of whatever summer shows I've been watching are coming to an end, and it'll be a few weeks before the new TV season starts, so I've got a shot this weekend at maybe clearing both of my DVRs.  Hey, at least I've got my priorities.  Linking from "Pitch Perfect", Donald Faison carries over.

THE PLOT:  Multi-character teenage comedy about high school graduates with different agenda of life on graduation night.

AFTER:  Remember high-school parties?  Those crowded affairs in some unsuspecting parents' house, where people were crazy sick drunk, stumbling around looking for each other in crowds, hooking up and having awkward make-out sessions, or breaking up with each other loudly and publicly.  Remember how much fun they were?  Yeah, me neither.

But somebody made a film out of all those missed connections, crossed wires and misunderstandings, and set them all at one big graduation party where everyone kind of looks like that actor or actress who's much more famous now.  This also hits a lot of the stereotypes one can expect from a movie set in high-school: the nerd who wants revenge against the jock who's tormented him for years, the secret admirer who finally gets a shot at telling the pretty girl how he feels about her, the white kid who acts all "street", and so on. 

A lot of the seams are visible, though - some writing/directing shortcuts like the band breaking up before they ever get to play a song (convenient...) and then getting back together to play JUST before the party comes to a crashing halt.  I assume they cast actors who couldn't even mock-play the instruments...

If there is a point to this one, and I'm not convinced that there is, it appears to be something about fate, whether we can control our destinies, or whether we're all stuck in the stereotypes we fell into in high school.  The "Where Are They Now" titles at the end mostly serve to answer this question, so pay attention to those.

Also starring Jennifer Love Hewitt (last seen in "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit"), Ethan Embry (last seen in "That Thing You Do!"), Seth Green (last heard in "Mars Needs Moms"), Lauren Ambrose (last seen in "Wanderlust"), Peter Facinelli, Charlie Korsmo, Erik Palladino, Melissa Joan Hart, Breckin Meyer (last seen in "Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties"), with cameos from Jaime Pressly (last seen in "I Love You, Man"), Freddy Rodriguez (last seen in "Lady in the Water"), Jason Segel (last seen in "The Five-Year Engagement"), Clea Duvall (last seen in "Zodiac"), Eric Balfour, Selma Blair (last seen in "Hellboy II"), Jenna Elfman (last seen in "Friends With Benefits"), Jerry O'Connell (last seen in "Mission to Mars"). 

RATING: 4 out of 10 yearbook photos

Pitch Perfect

Year 5, Day 240 - 8/28/13 - Movie #1,522

BEFORE:  This is one of those dual-purpose films - I'm finishing off the music-themed chain tonight, but I'm also starting the "Back to School" chain.  Quite timely, no?

Linking from "Cabaret", and I can't quite believe this, but Michael York was also in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" with John Benjamin Hickey, who appears in "Pitch Perfect".  My mind is officially blown.

THE PLOT:  Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group, injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire.

AFTER: There's just no way around this - if I had ever played a real sport, like football, then I would bring some special knowledge with me when I watch a film about football.  Or if I were a fisherman and watched "The Perfect Storm", I might have some insights into what that film got right and what it got wrong.  So tonight I have to talk about my experiences singing in a cappella groups.  One group in high school, and two after college - I sang in the NYU chorale, but that was completely different.  In high school I sang whatever they told me to, but a concert I went to featuring two groups, the Bobs and the Nylons, completely changed my outlook, and made me want to be a singer.  I got really lucky when my voice changed, and there turned out to be a lack of bass singers in the world, and that helped.

So, I've lived the life - I've arranged music for 5-part harmonies, I've hung out with other vocal nerds, I even went to an a cappella convention or two, before I discovered Comic-Con.  And for the most part, I found the amateur and semi-pro network of groups to be a supportive, nurturing bunch, even at competitions.  Sharing arrangements, getting each other gigs, just getting together and harmonizing - sure, there must be some rivalries, but it's not nearly as cutthroat as this film would have you believe.

For starters, if a college has more than one singing group, they're likely to be supportive of each other, not rivals.  The group's rivals should be at a DIFFERENT school.  This film treats the groups at one school like the fraternities in "Animal House", because a film demands conflict, and that's apparently the only way that college kids act.  The "riff-off" scene in particular shows different vocal groups battling like the gangs from "West Side Story" - but how would that even work?  Why would the group that's singing stop, just to let a person from the other group interrupt them? 

Maybe a sports analogy is better, because the film shows 10 girls with different backgrounds and talents coming together to form a team, and compete in a challenge.  In that sense, this film is no different from "Hardball" or "The Mighty Ducks" (or, since one girl has a freak illness that makes her sing better, perhaps "Rookie of the Year").  But a singing competition and a sporting event are quite different - so it's sad that some writer couldn't take the time to learn how an a cappella competition really works.  For starters, there are no "color commentators" who talk during the songs...

There are plenty of other inconsistencies - for example, the Bellas don't perform modern songs, just tired arrangements from the 80's and 90's.  To fall back on a sports analogy, this would be like a football team taking the field after deciding to never throw a forward pass.  Nope, we want to play football like they did in 1910!  Well, props for your authenticity, but clearly you also have no desire to win any games.   And then we have to hear the SAME argument about 20 times about whether or not it's OK to do modern songs.  Clearly it is, because the other groups are doing it - the a cappella revolution already happened, like 20 years ago, so why are we still debating it?  Any group that refuses to update its song list wouldn't (and shouldn't) still be singing.

This forces some of the characters to spin on a dime - so, it's not OK to sing modern songs, until suddenly it is.  The "quiet" girl is quiet, umm, until she's not?  (And how did she pass the audition, anyway?)  We're going to only do certain dance moves, until the end when we suddenly all know other moves somehow...

NITPICK POINT #1: If you've ever watched "The Sing-Off", and seen the background pieces they do on the groups as they're learning the songs, you might appreciate the amount of work that goes into making an a cappella arrangement.  Arranging music is hard (and even if people are good at improvising, from my experience there simply must be sheet music, it's how arrangers and singers communicate) and logically, arranging a mash-up would be twice as hard.  You can't just say the name of two songs to a group and expect everyone to instantly know what to do.  Only in movies, I guess.

NITPICK POINT #2: They're called Regionals because they feature the best team from each school in a particular region.  That's right, TEAM, not teams.  ONE team, the best team, per school.  And if only one team from each school can make it to Regionals, then logically winning Regionals puts that team into the state finals, and so on.  For two teams from the SAME school to face each other in some kind of Nationals?  Impossible.  If this had been merely a competition to determine the best singing group on campus, that would make more sense.  I don't care what plot twist you try to pull, no two teams from the same school can compete against each other in Nationals.  Period.  Where are the teams from the other 49 states?  I guess they didn't show up?

For all of these reasons, the film as a whole just felt half-written, or perhaps half thought out.  I also got a feeling that a lot of the lines were improvised, which is great if the actors can come up with something better than what was written, but not so great if they're doing the writers' jobs for them.  For example, in the last scene, last year's winning group gets to pick the song the newbies have to audition with, and just as they're about to announce it - cut to credits.  So, we never get to learn what song they picked?  Then why even include that scene at all?  Logically, the credits should have featured good and bad auditions of that song, but to cut away, and then never follow through - it makes no sense.

The final showdown concert was quite good - except for the unlikeliness of who competed against who.  I mean the arrangements and performances were good, but not good enough to make up for the 90 minutes leading up to it. They should have either played the movie straighter, or more ridiculous like "Dodgeball", but the region in between didn't quite work.

Also starring Anna Kendrick (last seen in "50/50"), Skylar Astin (last seen in "Taking Woodstock"), Anna Camp, Brittany Snow (last seen in "Hairspray"), Rebel Wilson (last seen in "Bridesmaids"), Ben Platt, Adam DeVine, Elizabeth Banks (last seen in "Our Idiot Brother"), John Michael Higgins (last seen in "Fun With Dick and Jane"), Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, with cameos from Donald Faison, Jason Jones, Joe Lo Truglio (last seen in "Wanderlust"), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (last seen in "Kick-Ass").

RATING: 5 out of 10 cardio workouts

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Year 5, Day 239 - 8/27/13 - Movie #1,521

BEFORE: Well, I watched the 2012 take on the 1980's, and the 1980's take on the 1930's, so it's only logical to follow that with a 1972 film about the 1930's.  Linking from "Pennies From Heaven", Bernadette Peters was also in "Silent Movie" with Liza Minnelli (last seen in "The Muppets Take Manhattan")

THE PLOT: A female girlie club entertainer in Weimar Republic era Berlin romances two men while the Nazi Party rises to power around them.

AFTER: Well, we had strippers in "Rock of Ages", prostitution in "Pennies From Heaven", and we've got a bit of both in Sally Bowles tonight.  Other similarities to "Pennies" - love triangle, unplanned pregnancy.  When I keep seeing the same story elements over and over, I start to feel like these characters (and by extension, all of us) are just lab rats, and the only thing that changes from day to day is the shape of the maze.

It's funny that last night's film got me talking about the gay angle, because that's very prevalent here in the depiction of Berlin, where apparently "anything goes" was the motto, at least in the Cabaret.  Menage a trois, men and men, transvestites, spanking, it all gets acted out in musical form on stage, and no doubt behind the scenes as well.  And the love triangle in question, between a woman and two men, works in all of the directions, if you catch my drift.

I'm kind of glad I waited until I was an adult to watch this, because I think if I had seen this film when I was a teen, it might have weirded me out.  Plus I think I would have missed a lot of the jokes - like seeing a woman in the background, standing at a urinal - clearly something is going on there, but it's kind of glossed over if you're not paying attention.

While the film doesn't cover WWII outright, it's set in the days leading up to the Third Reich - so we, the audience have some extra information about the future that the characters don't.  Given the Nazi persecution of Jews and homosexuals, we're not allowed the benefit of convincing ourselves that all of the characters are going to live happily ever after, because they probably won't.  And those that mock the Nazi party on stage are especially at risk - Nazis weren't really known for their ability to take a joke.

If anything, this film should be just as relevant, if not more, these days - what with gay rights being such an issue in Russia AND right here in the U.S.  The conservative parties in both places should be reminded that denying rights to people based on race and orientation was a key part of the Fascism platform - and when you find yourself siding with the Nazis, that SHOULD be a wake-up call.  And they have the outright nerve to call the OTHER party "Socialist". 

However, the overall message of the film "Cabaret" seemed a lot more oblique to me, like it fell just short of making some kind of point.  Nazis are bad?  Duh...  The lives and loves of two people don't amount to a hill of beans in 1930's Berlin?  Some girls that you meet in nightclubs aren't really girls? 

Also starring Michael York (last seen in "54"), Joel Grey (last seen in "Choke"), Marisa Berenson (last seen in "Color Me Kubrick"), Helmut Griem, Fritz Wepper.

RATING: 4 out of 10 prairie oysters

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pennies From Heaven

Year 5, Day 238 - 8/26/13 - Movie #1,520

BEFORE: I swear, my brain puts these films together and my unconscious seems to have a hidden agenda...  I was just riffing on a musical theme, and I suddenly realized I'd set up a little nostalgia chain - "Rock of Ages" was made in 2012 and is set in the 1980's, and tonight's film was made in 1981 and is set in the 1930's.  Tomorrow's film will fit right in with that theme also.  Linking from "Rock of Ages", Alec Baldwin was also in "It's Complicated" with Steve Martin (last seen in "Fantasia 2000").

THE PLOT: During the Great Depression, a sheet music salesman seeks to escape his dreary life through popular music and a love affair with an innocent school teacher.

AFTER: I think I tried to watch this film when I was a kid, but I found it confusing.  I think I just lacked the mental software to understand the adult relationships - plus, I had no concept of what lip-synching was, or even how today's music is different from the music of the olden days.

The whole point of this film is that music, and later movies, served as escapism during the Great Depression.  At one point during the 1930's, filmmakers were afraid to show rich people in movies for fear that it would alienate the poorer viewers - however, it turned out to be exactly what people wanted to fantasize about.  So the main character here has elaborate fantasies based around songs (sort of like 1930's style "music videos") to help him forget that he's in a loveless marriage and his sheet music/record store business is not going well.

The problem comes, in order for these fantasies to have the full effect, the movie needs to show us the bad times as well - the circumstances that he wants to escape from.  So the film doesn't really serve as escapism for its own audience, because who wants to see a depressing film about the Depression? 

This brings up an interesting question - when were the "Good old days"?  Our parents probably romanticized the 1950's, and their parents did the same for the 1920's, but were those past decades any better?  People back then still had unwanted pregnancies, plus there was prostitution and syphillis and infidelity - plus they didn't have the benefits of modern technology and modern medicine.  So maybe there never were any good old days after all.

Plus, as this film reminds us, there was also a lot of crime during the Depression.  Plus the forensic technology was also very limited - so our hero gets accused of a murder because of some faulty evidence, and there's no DNA evidence to exonerate him.  This leads to a confusing ending - which is sort of similar to the one seen in "Brazil".  Honestly, I'm not really sure what happened in the end here - was it another elaborate fantasy?  And if so, what does that mean?

I had "The Dream" after watching this film - and it had been a while.  That's my most common recurring nightmare, in which I'm talking to my ex-wife and we're negotiating the end of our relationship.  She tells me that she wants to see other people (women), and I'm kind of against that.  It's gotten a bit tamer over the years, but it's still unsettling.  It was probably sparked by all the infidelity depicted in this film, plus the fact that I was at a party last night, hanging out with some women with very short hair. 

Also starring Bernadette Peters (last heard in "Anastasia"), Christopher Walken (last seen in "A View to a Kill"), Jessica Harper (last seen in "Minority Report"), Vernel Bagneris (last seen in "Ray"), John Karlen.

RATING: 4 out of 10 Model T's 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rock of Ages

Year 5, Day 237 - 8/25/13 - Movie #1,519

BEFORE: Some films are bricks, and some are mortar.  Here's hoping last night's film was the mortar, and this is one of the bricks...  I'm still at the intersection of rock stars and relationships...

Another tough, tough linking job - it's just as hard to link out of "Hard to Hold" as it was to link in.  Going obscure for this one: Monique Gabrielle was also in "Amazon Women on the Moon" with Bryan Cranston (last seen in "Total Recall").  It's just GOT to get easier from here...

THE PLOT:  A small town girl and a city boy meet on the Sunset Strip, while pursuing their Hollywood dreams.

AFTER:  I forgot to mention yesterday that we went to the Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo/NY - which is a collection of sterotypes and interpretations about a particular time period.  But it's been corrupted somehow - some people wear elf-ears, some people perform music that wasn't written until much later, and of course there are modern conveniences like ATMs and credit card machines.

I bring this up because it's sort of similar to how some people treat the 1980's - the decade has become a backdrop in front of which people like to place their stories.  Now, I'm not saying that this film has people using iPhones or talking about a black president, or something obviously anachronistic like that.  The question is, does this capture the FEEL of the 1980's?

Since I was there, I get to say that for the most part, it succeeds.  The proper use of 80's music goes a long way - but still there are parts where it's very corny and relies on simple stereotypes to make its points.  I assume that stereotypes are a great time-saver for screenwriters, but if they're too broad or over-the-top, then the film essentially becomes like a non-animated cartoon.  And I think that's what we've got here.

Small town girl with dreams of being a singer?  Check.  City boy who wants to rock out?  Check.  Greedy club owner, greedier rock manager, egotistical rock star, prudish political wife, stripper with the heart of gold.  Check, check, check.  The pieces are all there, like a jigsaw puzzle, but it's up to you to decide if you enjoy the image that they form when they're put together.  If you like "Glee" or "Les Miserables" or any Broadway musical where you don't mind people breaking into song at the drop of a hat, then please add two points to any rating below.

And I did enjoy the not-so-subtle digs at late 80's boy-bands (I know, that was really a 90's thing, but I think a couple of them started in the 80's) - what the movie really says is, 80's rock ruled, and 90's music sucked, and I can get behind that.

The down side?  Corny kind of comes with the territory with this sort of thing.  Actually the film starts at corny and gets super-corny by the end.  Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back - you've seen the a plot like this a hundred times.  It's the music and the careful arrangement of such that ends up making an impact here.  Me, I'm a sucker for mash-ups, so if you tell me that "I Love Rock and Roll" is going to be intercut with "Jukebox Hero" (makes sense, both songs mention jukeboxes) then I'm going to want to see exactly how they do that.  Intermixing "Harden My Heart" with "Shadows of the Night" was a little less successful, but you can't beat "We're Not Gonna Take It" intertwined with "We Built This City", even if you're not crazy about the cheeziness of both songs. (How does one even BUILD a city on rock and roll?  What kind of crazy zoning permit do you need for that?)

There are at least 33 notable 80's hits included here - and as we all know, the 1980's were the BEST decade for rock and pop.  Go ahead, name a better music decade (I know, the 1960's, but they're a close second...).  This is practically wall-to-wall music, much like the film "Across the Universe" was for Beatles songs - so at times it feels like there's just enough dialogue and/or plot to get us to the next song.  Again, whether that's a good or bad thing largely depends on the attitude of the viewer. 

But damn, who knew Tom Cruise could sing so well?  This is like finding out that your plumber is also a 4-star chef when he's not unclogging your drains.  It's a hidden talent that I don't think he's displayed in any other film.  Maybe he got extensive vocal coaching, but they gave him some TOUGH harmonies, and he killed them!  I mean, killed them in a good way.

I guess I favored the poppier side of rock back in the 80's, because I enjoyed bands like Journey, REO Speedwagon, and Huey Lewis & The News.  I dabbled with Def Leppard, Quiet Riot and ZZ Top, but I steered clear of Poison, Whitesnake and Motley Crue.  But, damn, "Can't Fight This Feeling" used to be my all-time favorite song, and it got me through some lonely times, but now I won't be able to hear it without thinking of it as connected to the love between two men.  (Cannot UN-see...)

NITPICK POINT: We had CDs in the 1980's - they started selling them in 1982.  Sure, maybe Tower Records was a holdout, and prominently displayed vinyl until the mid-80's, but in general people were moving away from records by 1987, when this is set.  Plus, who moves to L.A. and brings their record collection with them, without having a turntable to play them on? 

Also starring Tom Cruise (last seen in "Jack Reacher"), Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Alec Baldwin (last seen in "Fun With Dick and Jane"), Russell Brand (last heard in "Hop"), Catherine Zeta-Jones (last seen in "Intolerable Cruelty"), Paul Giamatti (last seen in "Paycheck"), Malin Akerman (last seen in "Wanderlust"), Mary J. Blige, Will Forte (last seen in "The Watch"), with cameos from Constantine Maroulis, Dan Finnerty, Eli Roth (last seen in "Inglourious Basterds"), T.J. Miller (last seen in "Cloverfield"), Deborah Gibson, Sebastian Bach, Kevin Cronin.

RATING: 6 out of 10 bottles of Scotch

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hard to Hold

Year 5, Day 236 - 8/24/13 - Movie #1,518

BEFORE: This movie is nearly impossible to link to, since for two of its major stars, and I use the term loosely, this is their only major appearance in a feature film.  But after trying for a long while, I found that Willem Dafoe from "American Dreamz" was in a film titled "Roadhouse 66" with an actor named Peter Van Norden, who plays "Casserole" in tonight's film.  What the heck kind of name is Casserole? 

THE PLOT:  A pop-rock star tries to win the love of a woman he meets in a car accident.

AFTER: Boring, boring, boring.  I cared not at all for the romance here - who cares if a rock star can or can't find love?  He'll have many, many more tries at it - that's why you become a rock star in the first place!  Doesn't he realize that the only reason he wants THIS woman over any other is because she's never heard of him?  He runs away from all the women who chase after him through the streets of San Francisco, but he doesn't want them.  Idiot.

His ex-lover, also his songwriting partner, is still part of his band. Why?  Either he can get along with her or he can't, in which case he should cut her loose.  So, she's a bit temperamental, or perhaps just mental - that's even more reason to get rid of her.
Also starring Rick Springfield, Patti Hansen, Albert Salmi, Bill Mumy

RATING: 3 out of 10 roadies