Cool Hand Luke (1967)
One Line Description: A delinquent is sent to a prison farm in the South where he bonds with fellow inmates and fights with the warden, all while trying repeatedly to escape.
I haven’t seen a ton of Paul Newman movies, but he is a talented guy. It was funny to watch him continually try to escape and of course the scene with the eggs is legendary. Like most movies, the “lesson” is lost on me and I can’t help but look at it based on face value alone. Newman’s escape attempts were exciting and suspenseful and George Kennedy is great the leader of the prisoners. He won an Academy Award for his efforts. I hope to add to my list of Paul Newman movies before the year is out, but this one is going to be hard to top. Solid movie. I recommend checking it out.
Cedar Rapids (2011)
One Line Description: An insurance salesman from Wisconsin is picked to attend a conference after his firm’s star salesman commits suicide.
Ed Helms (The Office) plays the lead in what many consider to be his breakout role, at least in the non-slapsticky sense. His strong supporting cast includes John C. Reilly (Step Brothers) and Anne Heche. It’s a strange movie that includes plenty of weird plot nuggets. Helms is sleeping with a former teach from his childhood. Reilly is basically a a party animal who has no intention of doing anything but having fun at the conference, and Heche has a family that she seems to keep secret while she hooks up with random conference goers. Helms also befriends a local prostitute which leads to some other shenanigans. It’s definitely not as over the top as The Hangover movies, but it has some similarities. And while it was good, I didn’t see it as the big coming out party for Helms that others made it out to be. Perhaps if his career takes big strides in the next few years that sentiment might change. Definitely would watch it again, and it was definitely a good movie, but nothing special.
American Reunion (2012)
One Line Description: The fourth (not including spin-offs) installment of the American Pie series.
Nine years after the last installment, the American Pie series returned for the fourth instance of the main series1. The five main guys (Jim, Stifler, Oz, Finch and Kevin) were back in Michigan for their 10 year high school reunion. The guys are all around 30 and experiencing various highs and lows in their personal and professional lives. The usual hijinks ensue and you can guess where it goes from there. As someone who was in high school when the the original movie came out, and college when the second one came out, these movies will always be relevant to my own life. As a result, I felt like I had to go see it, but this movie is surprisingly good. I was expected some sporadic laughs, and some good callbacks, but this movie was much more. I don’t think it’s winning any awards, and if you didn’t see (and like) at least the first two movies this probably won’t be for you. But if you grew up on those movies like I did, this is worth your time.
One Line Description: A leather skinned bouncer becomes a famous hockey enforcer.
Written by “that guy” Jay Baruchel, who is Canadian and a huge hockey fan, Goon is an interesting movie. I hate the Stifler character from the aforementioned American Pie movies, but Sean William Scott occasionally pulls off some solid performances2. This movie isn’t great, and I think you have to at least like the idea of over the top hockey fighting, but if that’s in your wheelhouse this movie is entertaining.
Bad Teacher (2011)
One Line Description: A gold digging teacher stops at nothing to land herself a rich husband.
I have never been a very big Cameron Diaz fan, and could probably count the movies with her that I like on one hand. I was really amused by the trailer for this movie and enjoy Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) so I figured it was worth a look. Diaz is pretty over the top and the movie has a decent amount of raunch considering its about a high school teacher. Diaz plays a gold digger who only got a job to fill the time before she could marry a rich guy and does whatever she can to get there. Justin Timberlake continues to impress me as a supporting actor. He plays an uptight rich teacher who Diaz pursues. Not a lot of believability in this one, and it’s hard to root for Diaz’s character because she is just so horrible. This movie had some funny moments and I felt like it was worth the time if you were intrigued.