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All reviews - Movies (42) - TV Shows (3)

Terrible cast, terrible characters, terrible movie

Posted : 4 years, 5 months ago on 5 September 2015 02:45 (A review of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002))

I managed to avoid 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' until recently. While I enjoy watching occasional re-runs of "The Gong Show" (and think that "Palisades Park" is a fun song), I never knew enough about Chuck Barris (host of the aforementioned game show, writer of the aforementioned song, and supposed CIA assassin) to feel compelled to watch a biopic about his life.

On top of this, there's the fact that I REALLY don't like George Clooney (director and co-star of 'Confessions'), nor do I particularly care for several of his co-stars in this film (and aside from those actors, I'm either "meh" on or have never heard of the rest of the cast). I try not to judge any film ENTIRELY by its cast; but if a movie is filled with actors I generally dislike watching (hello, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts), I'm probably not going to rush to go see it, either.

Still -- one day, not long ago, out of pure boredom (and lack of any other recent offerings on Netflix -- at least ones that jumped out at me that day) I decided to finally give 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' a try. Despite the less-than-appealing cast, I thought that the biographical/showbiz aspects of the movie might make it at least *somewhat* interesting.

I thought wrong.

Perhaps I was biased because of my dislike for so many of the actors; but 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' turned out to be one of the LEAST entertaining movies that I've ever seen!

To begin with, none of the actors did *anything* to change my opinion of them (if anything, I like Clooney even LESS after watching this movie than I did before).

As for Sam Rockwell (who plays Barris), I never really had an opinion of him one way or the other prior to watching this movie. However, I have to say that Rockwell's portrayal of Barris made him, too, slide a little closer to my "dislike" list -- at least for the time being (that said, since he didn't quite reach James Franco-in-'The Interview' level of horrendous, I suppose there's a chance that he could slide back to at least "meh" territory if he blows me away in some movie that I've yet to see. But for now, Rockwell's presence is more likely to make me avoid a film than to watch one.)

Speaking of Rockwell, I kept wanting him to put on some pants -- did we *really* have to see his naked rear end 967 times throughout the movie? Ugh.

And the other actors didn't fare much better than Clooney or Rockwell. Drew Barrymore seemed especially miscast (I tend to find her typical cutesy roles tiresome, but I certainly prefer her in those roles to whatever she was doing here); and Julia Roberts was beyond forgettable. Damon and Brad Pitt appear in a dumb (though thankfully brief) cameo that just seemed gimmicky.

(Fun fact: Rockwell and Barrymore -- who play "lovers" in 'Confessions' -- later appeared as brother and sister in the 2009 film 'Everybody's Fine'... in my opinion, a MUCH better movie.)

The characters in 'Confessions' were even less appealing than the actors portraying them; I wasn't invested in a single character throughout the film. The only conclusion I came to about Chuck Barris after watching 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' is that I hope his life -- controversial or not -- was at least more INTERESTING than this movie made it out to be.

A dreary and incredibly dull film overall, which felt like it went on for FAR too long despite an average running length -- perhaps not the worst movie that I've seen, but definitely in my Bottom 50 (and possibly even in my Bottom 25). (1/10)

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Adam Sandler at his worst

Posted : 4 years, 5 months ago on 5 September 2015 01:46 (A review of Click)

I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to watch 'Click'. (I'm not sure why I've seen so many Adam Sandler movies, period; I've certainly never watched one *just* to see him!)

'Click' is based around a MODERATELY entertaining premise. The basic plot goes something like this: Sandler's character, a well-meaning yet neglectful father and husband, for some silly reason goes to Bed, Bath & Beyond one night; while in the store, he encounters a mad scientist (played amusingly-if-predictably by Christopher Walken) who for some even sillier reason gives Sandler a magic remote control that acts as a sort of time machine.

Naturally, Sandler's character has a great time using the remote to control different people and situations in his oh-so-busy life -- until things spiral out of control, and the remote suddenly takes on a life of its own, and begins to control HIM!

The movie started out... okay, but it quickly turned into an unfunny mess of extremely juvenile humor mixed with some laughable attempts at seriousness (with a very special message about the importance of family, I guess, being the underlying theme).

With a different cast, and minus the childish so-called humor, it might have turned out better. Instead, 'Click' is even stupider than most Adam Sandler movies. It's not even "good" stupid; the movie was actually a little boring -- although I did manage to make it to the dumb ending, which was not only lame but cheap (*spoiler alert* it was all a dream; seriously? did it take 4 minutes to come up with that, or 5?)

To elaborate more on the juvenile humor -- well, let's just say that the scene where Sandler's character uses his magic remote to "freeze" his "mean" boss (played by David Hasselhoff -- *snicker*) so he can get revenge in a very disgusting manner might be the lowest point in both Sandler's AND Hasselhoff's careers. Which, for those two, is saying a lot.

What a waste of a Netflix stream this ridiculous movie turned out to be! (I know; I should have expected as much.)

On a positive note -- at least Sean Astin was much more tolerable in his thankless role here than in his previous onscreen appearance with Sandler, the not-great-but-otherwise-far-superior-to-this-movie '50 First Dates'. (2/10)

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A guide to teen films of the 90's and early 00's

Posted : 4 years, 5 months ago on 5 September 2015 01:02 (A review of Beyond Clueless)

If you enjoy teen movies of the 90's and early 00's, you might get a kick out of the documentary 'Beyond Clueless'. Which is basically a re-cap of teen movies from that era, and... not much else.

The documentary briefly summarizes several of these youth-oriented films that filled theaters 15-20 years ago, and shows A LOT of clips from even more of them -- but it doesn't analyze the movies, nor does it appear to follow any sort of pattern in introducing them. 'Beyond Clueless' is basically just a series of movie clips -- with occasional commentary by Fairuza Balk (who, incidentally, is FAR from my favorite actress; but at least she's just the narrator here).

In short: I'm not really sure what was the point of this documentary -- if it even had a point.

That being said -- I've had the "honor" of viewing my fair share of silly teen flicks from the 1990's and 2000's. So, while watching 'Beyond Clueless', I'll admit that it was kind of fun to see clips and hear commentary about some of the movies that I was already familiar with (even if I wasn't necessarily a *fan* of whatever movie I'd seen that Fairuza happened to be talking about at the time in those particular segments).

On the flip side -- I couldn't have cared less about the movies I *hadn't* watched (or, in some cases, even heard of). Also, there was WAY too much focus devoted to horror films.

To be honest, there were probably too many movies spotlighted in this documentary, period -- horror or non-horror. 'Beyond Clueless' might have seemed tighter, more focused, and more like an actual documentary than a random selection of clips, had the filmmakers gone with a smaller selection.

Still, although it's possible that I'm being a bit too generous, I'll go ahead and grant this one an "average" rating of two and a half stars (or 5/10).

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(Very) slightly better the second time around

Posted : 4 years, 5 months ago on 5 September 2015 12:21 (A review of Benny & Joon (1993))

I first saw 'Benny and Joon' when it was still sort of new, back in 1994 or so; and I didn't care for it at all the first time around. Mostly due to the presence of Johnny Depp, whom I found "ugly" and very irritating. (The movie also kind of bored me back in those days.)

I finally watched it again recently on Netflix, and my opinion improved -- but only by a little bit.

On a positive note -- more than 20 years after first seeing the movie, it now holds some nostalgic value that wouldn't/couldn't have applied back when it was new and I was still a teenager. However, watching as an adult, the movie (while not necessarily "dated") definitely looked and felt very "90's", in an appealing sort of way (especially the Proclaimers song that plays in the opening credits -- which was actually an 80's song, but it didn't become a hit until it was used in this film). So there's that.

Aside from the nostalgia, 'Benny and Joon' also (for the most part) has a pretty good cast. Stars Aidan Quinn and Mary Stuart Masterson (as the title characters) are both decent actors and gave solid performances; and it was fun to see CCH Pounder, William H. Macy, and Oliver Platt turn up in supporting roles.

(I'm "meh" on Julianne Moore; but for those who care, she makes an appearance here, too -- in the world's most thankless role as Benny's girlfriend).

Finally, I appreciate that the movie was both filmed and set in the state of Washington -- specifically in Spokane (a detail I'm not sure that I noticed the first time I watched; or if I did notice it, I'd forgotten). Granted, I live all the way over on the other side of Washington; but it's always nice to see my home state in the movies! (And the state of Washington looks very inviting in certain scenes of this film.)

Now, on to the less positive stuff -- I'm still not a Johnny Depp fan, nor have I ever been a fan of his (although now that I'm past the age of 14, at least I can say that my lack of interest in Mr. Depp has nothing to do with his appearance -- which I don't care about one way or the other). I know that for many viewers, Depp "makes" the movie; I also know that a lot of people think he's a wonderful actor in general.

However, while I don't necessarily think that he's a *terrible* actor (and, heck, he's possibly even my very distant cousin -- something I learned while researching my family history), there's *something* about Depp that just bugs me. I can't pinpoint what it is; but he especially annoys me in "quirky" roles such as this one.

On that note -- it didn't help that in 'Benny and Joon', Depp's character "Sam" wasn't exactly the most developed; Sam seemed to act "wacky" just for the sake of acting wacky (okay, so he wanted to be just like Bustor Keaton, but... why?). I suppose the character *did* come across as kind and gentle, and that was nice; but despite these traits, Sam wasn't especially believable (or compelling enough for me to really care about him at all -- whether as an individual or as the potential love interest of Joon).

Speaking of "Joon", Masterson's performance was fine; but her character's mental illness wasn't focused on enough (I'm not sure what illness she was supposed to have; I'm not even sure the the *filmmakers* knew). As a result, I didn't quite swallow that whole story line; Joon's illness seemed more like an attempt to make the character a "cute" and "quirky" match for wacky Sam than an authentic portrayal of mental illness.

(That said, the filmmakers made sure to include a *very* dramatic breakdown scene set on a bus; it's a little over-the-top, but not as cringe-worthy as it could have been.)

Anyhow, while I didn't wind up with cavities while watching -- the "aren't they just so cute and kooky?" relationship between Sam and Joon nevertheless made this movie just a bit too overly-sweet for my liking.

(And finally, on a nitpicky note: I hate the not-very-pretty spelling of Joon's name.)

Overall -- even though I enjoyed it a little more the second time, 'Benny and Joon' still earns just a 4/10 from me. (Hey, at least I raised it from a 3/10!)

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The worst of the Amy Fisher movies

Posted : 4 years, 11 months ago on 29 March 2015 05:25 (A review of Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story (1993))

Did the world really need THREE trashy TV movies about Amy Fisher? Even though more than 20 years have passed since each of the movies aired, I feel vaguely sleazy even just *typing* about those ridiculous wastes of time.

Perhaps the more important question, though, should be -- why did I WATCH all three movies? (Well, technically, somebody else in my family turned it to the movie all three times, but I didn't exactly leave the room for any of them.)

Anyhow, the reason 'Casualties of Love' gets the honor of receiving this comment is that (if I recall correctly) it was the worst of the Amy Fisher movies -- which is pretty bad (though the Drew Barrymore movie came VERY close. The other movie, where Noelle Parker or whatever her name is played Amy Fisher, was a *smidge* better... relatively speaking. Of course, that's not saying much, but at least Parker *sort of* looked like the real Amy Fisher.)

'Casualties of Love' might be the worst of the trio -- but everybody involved with *all three* Amy Fisher movies should be embarrassed to have them on their filmographies.

Needless to say, I haven't gone out of my way to re-watch any of them; however, I'm pretty sure that I actually OWN 'Casualties of Love' on one of those bargain-bin DVD's where you get 10 or 20 movies for a very low price. Which means that I paid the equivalent of less than dollar for it... which is still more than what it's worth.

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Not a bad film at all (despite its poor reception)

Posted : 4 years, 11 months ago on 28 March 2015 11:07 (A review of A Time of Destiny)

It's been awhile since I last saw this one, but I used to own the video for
'A Time of Destiny' and watched the movie several times. It wasn't a very well-received film (its current IMDb score is only 4.8); I remember that even my mother (who started out liking the movie) grew bored with it and made us turn it off when my sister and I tried to watch it with her.

However, I kind of liked 'A Time of Destiny' myself (sue me). I guess it *is* sort of melodramatic -- but Timothy Hutton, as always, gives a great performance (he's VERY likable as "Jack", the war-buddy-turned-brother-in-law of William Hurt's "troubled" character, Marty) and the cast overall is solid.

It's an interesting cast, for sure; Hurt, Stockard Channing, Melissa Leo (she's Hurt's sister/Hutton's wife in the movie), and Megan "Anne Shirley" Follows all play siblings of one another! I do remember wondering about the wide age differences between those four characters when I first watched the movie (for example, Channing was born in 1944 and Follows in 1968. I know that their characters might have had a smaller age gap than the actresses -- and, even if they didn't, it isn't impossible that somebody born in '44 could have the same parents as somebody born in '68. Still, it was kind of odd to see those two playing "sisters"; that said, Channing, Follows, and the rest of the cast all work well together.)

Despite the negative reviews, I still recommend 'A Time of Destiny'. My video has long since disappeared (to wherever it and the rest of my VHS tapes ended up) but I'd watch the movie again if given the opportunity. It's always possible that my opinion *could* have changed since the last time that I watched it -- but based on my memories of seeing the film at least a few times when I owned the video, I'd rate 'A Time of Destiny' a solid three stars (6/10).

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Ridiculous 90's teen movie

Posted : 4 years, 11 months ago on 28 March 2015 07:17 (A review of Encino Man (1992))

I've known about this silly movie since around the time it was released, but I didn't have the "pleasure" of watching it until recently. Before I found it on YouTube, though, I'd almost forgotten that it existed; I also forgot (or never knew in the first place) that Brendan Fraser was in it (the same goes for Sean Astin).

Anyhow, not only is Fraser in 'Encino Man' -- he PLAYS the "Encino Man." Well, assuming "Encino Man" refers to the caveman (*roll eyes*) that two high-school dorks (played by Astin and -- ugh -- Pauly Shore) "realistically" find buried in Astin's character's backyard one day.

The two "teens" name their new caveman (which they more-or-less treat as some pet) "Link" and tell Astin's character's parents that he's an exchange student from "Estonia." They also enroll him in their school (somehow, "Link" is supposed to be their ticket to popularity). Of course, Link himself becomes popular; and, of course, nobody seems to think it's weird that he speaks in grunts and acts... like a caveman.

It's all as stupid as it sounds; but it's also VERY "early 90's", which makes it somewhat entertaining. I hated all of the ridiculous phrases (i.e. "don't wheeze the juice") that Pauly Shore's character kept saying; and I found Shore irritating overall (though I expected as much). However, Sean Astin is fine in his role (he makes a convincing dork) and Fraser is... whatever as Link. I didn't exactly find him hilarious, but "Link" isn't as annoying as he potentially could have been (he barely has any actual lines; he basically just acts like a dumb caveman throughout the movie... which I suppose is the point. His "I'll be back" line -- a la the Terminator -- at that convenience store was just dumb, though.)

I will also admit that I snickered at a few of the scenes with all three lead actors (such as the one where Shore and Astin show "Link" fire from a lighter to distract him). Plus, I'm usually at least a little amused by "spontaneous" dances that were obviously choreographed -- and yes, there's one of those in here.

Ultimately, 'Encino Man' is just a VERY stupid "90's movie", not to be taken seriously. Even as far as silly 90's teen movies go, it's far from the best I've seen; but it isn't the worst, either (it's a little *too* ridiculous to give a high rating to, but it basically passes the time). I'll go ahead and grant it two stars (4/10) -- mostly for the nostalgic factor.

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Well, "California" is a great song

Posted : 5 years ago on 21 February 2015 09:19 (A review of She's the One)

The Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers soundtrack is really the best thing about 'She's the One' -- a thoroughly boring movie written, directed by, and starring Edward Burns (an actor I've always found rather bland). The film's New York City setting is another bonus; and John Mahoney gives a respectable performance as the father of Burns and his onscreen brother (though Mahoney doesn't act all that differently than he did playing the dad on "Frasier").

As far as the rest of the movie goes? I might recommend it if you're having trouble falling asleep. It's too boring to even comment on further.

I'll go ahead and grant 'She's the One' one-and-a-half stars (or 3/10) due to its few positive elements -- but the half star is strictly for the soundtrack.

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A movie that I used to hate but gave a 2nd chance

Posted : 5 years ago on 21 February 2015 12:22 (A review of Planes, Trains & Automobiles)

It took a long time for 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles' to grow on me. The first time that I tried watching it (years and years ago) I loathed it so much that I didn't even finish it -- and I vowed to avoid the movie from that point forward.

I guess I just had to watch it all the way through or something, because when I finally streamed the movie on Netflix not long ago (for whatever reason), I ended up finding it rather enjoyable.

Don't get me wrong -- 'Planes, Trains & Automobiles' is silly at times, and downright stupid at others. But there are plenty of entertaining moments throughout; and I thought that the little "twist" at the end was fairly effective, and added a nice balance to the wacky scenes that make up most of the rest of the movie.

Steve Martin and John Candy, as the two leads, are about what you'd expect. Neither was ever my first choice as far as comedians go (although Candy seemed like a very nice man in real life) and both of them have their fair share of annoying moments in this film (which I suppose was intentional; but let's just say that their annoyingness was the main reason I hated the movie so much back when I first watched it). However, I thought that Candy's character -- while more obnoxious than Martin's ---- was ultimately the more appealing of the two, which is perhaps a testament to Candy's likability

Don't miss Kevin Bacon, Dylan Baker (what's with the blond hair?), and Edie McClurg in (very) small supporting roles (Bacon doesn't even speak!). All in all, a fun movie for Thanksgiving, or any other time that you might feel like watching it. (7/10)

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So-so movie with a really annoying main character

Posted : 5 years ago on 20 February 2015 11:58 (A review of Picture Perfect (1997))

My sister and I saw 'Picture Perfect' in the theater back when it was released in 1997, mainly because Kevin Bacon is in it (we were never into "Friends", or Jennifer Aniston). I thought the movie was okay -- nothing remarkable.

I didn't bother re-watching 'Picture Perfect' until almost 18 years later, when I was bored one evening and saw that it was available on Netflix. I happened to be in the mood for something "familiar" that night (or at least sort of familiar), so I settled on 'Picture Perfect'.

My opinion of the movie 18 years after I first watched it basically hasn't changed: 'Picture Perfect' is still a cutesy-yet-passable romantic comedy. Nothing earth-shattering, but a more-or-less harmless way to while away an hour-and-a-half or so.

Aniston still didn't do much for me as "Kate", the protagonist; neither did Jay Mohr (as "Nick", the man who gamely plays along with pretending to be Kate's fiancé for some contrived reason, and of course turns out to be her "Mr. Right"). However, it's always nice to see Bacon and Illeana Douglas onscreen (even though both of their roles are rather thankless here -- and Bacon in particular isn't in top form).

There's one thing I can't remember if I noticed or not back in 1997 -- and that's just how selfish, whiny, and UN-likable Aniston's character comes across. (Especially during the "wedding" scene toward the end... ugh!) WHY are so many female romantic comedy heroines like this? Are we supposed to find them "charming"? Because I rarely (if ever) do -- and I REALLY didn't think that Kate was very charming at all.

Annoying as she was, though, the movie's still alright as a whole; however, I'm not particularly surprised that it received its fair share of negative reviews. (4.5/10)

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