Vanilla Sky (2001)
One Line Description: A playboy goes through a psychological breakdown after a car accident.
Cameron Crowe directed this one with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. It’s a weird one. Cruise is in jail and tells this story to a police psycharitrist. It has some weird fantasy elements to it and was not at all what I expected. It’s one of those movies that gets you hooked to find out how it ends, but ultimately ends up being a bit of a disappointment. It’s also one of those movies that has a big following for whatever reason. Most Crowe fans mark this as the start of his down period, with the lackluster Elizabethtown coming next. If you haven’t seen it by now, you aren’t missing anything.
True Grit (1969)
One Line Description:
Not to be confused with the 2010 Coen Brothers remake, this one stars John Wayne, in what turned out to be his sole Oscar win. It also includes Glen Campbell, Robert Duvall and Dennis Hopper. Essentially, a girl (of an indeterminent age) hires a US Marshall (Wayne) to find the man who murdered her father. The story is OK, and it’s likely that this is just filmmaking from 1969 that leads to this one being somewhat boring. My dad, who was shocked I had never seen a John Wayne movie, was not high on this one, and it makes sense upon viewing. It surprises me that Wayne won an Oscar for this, but I assume it was because it was one of his last films and he had never won one. I am interested to watch the remake and see how it compares.
The Other Guys (2010)
One Line Description: Two ostracized New York police detectives try to solve a real case despite their deficiencies.
I am not a big Will Ferrell fan, and since most Adam McKay movies involve him, it’s rare that I enjoy one. Step Brothers is the only exception for this, until now. This movie is funny/interesting enough to be worth the time. I am a Wahlberg fan, which helps a lot, but Michael Keaton is good as their boss, Eva Mendes is a favorite of mine, and the cameos by Derek Jeter, Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson are great. There are some great one-liners, and Jeter’s role is priceless. Not the best movie I have seen, but if it was on your radar, it’s totally worthwhile.
Master and Commander (2003)
One Line Description: A British captain battles a French warship off the coast of South American in the early 1800s.
I had seen this one a long time ago, but didn’t love it. I didn’t realize that not only was it directed by Peter Weir (Dead Poet’s Society, The Truman Show), but also nominated for a heap of Oscars (including Best Picture and Weir’s 4th nomination for Best Director). It stars Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany, and not a single other person I recognized. It is an OK movie, and probably gets some credit for being the last great movie about 19th century ship battles. It has some good moments, but is a little long, and suffers from the problem of having a great climactic battle at the end and a bit of lull in between. The battle has some shortcomings too because it’s very difficult to tell who is who, especially with quick cuts. Good movie, but probably overrated. Within it’s own genre, it’s very good though.
That’s My Boy (2012)
One Line Description: A broke rather reunites with son he had as a teenager in attempt to stay out of jail.
Adam Sandler has had a bad run lately. I enjoyed Funny People (2009), but otherwise I think you have to go back to 2004’s 50 First Dates to really find a movie of his I liked. I had extremely low expectations for this Sandler/Andy Samberg movie, but after Chris said on the podcast that it was decent, I decided to watch. And it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. There were lots of great cameos (NY Jets coach Rex Ryan, Dan Patrick, Erin Andrews, Susan Surandon), plus a supporting role by Vanilla Ice. Samberg’s performance was OK, and it’s hard to say whether he can carry a movie yet. But he’s already 34, which really surprises me because he seems younger. I think he will be a solid sidekick, but I still don’t know if he can be “the guy”. Overall this movie has some highs and lows and is decidedly average.