Nerd In a Comfy Chair

A Fella and His Movie Collection…One Movie at a Time

ANIMAL HOUSE (and Our First Award!)

MY BLOG WON an AWARD and It’s FANCY!

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Now…to be fair…You win the award because another blogger nominates you for it.  In my case it is a really kick ass blog called SHE WRITES A LITTLE by my good friend the Drama Diva.

I will let her explain the Award…take it away, Mdm Diva.

“The Liebster Award apparently sources from Germany…(which means, like many actors, I can now claim international stardom, even if the home audiences think I’m for-shit.)  Qualifications are that you must have a blog, with under 200 followers, and get nominated.  That is all.  If you accept, it’s like a glorified chain letter of award-passings, (plus a required re-tag of your nominator and Q&A piece.) Then, you hand it onward to 11 others, with 11 new questions…and so it goes. 

…Problem is: most people I read have ten times the required subscriptions, so this could get tricky.

These awards (if you’re new to ‘em) are just a neat little way to show your appreciation, and get more people to see your blog link.  It’s a love-in, really. Only with super safe sex.  As far as I know, no one has ended up knocked up yet, or acquired any kind of wireless syphilis.  Which is good.  Cuz according to Google, this baby has seen more action that a hooker at Mardi Gras.”

Yes…that’s the way she writes.  You gotta read her blog sometime.  But, I warn you, do not be imbibing at the time (do that before or after) because at some point it will shoot out of your nose.  Knowing some of the people that read my blog…that’s gonna burn like the Dickens.

I don’t know 11 Bloggers.  I only know a few, so here are the folks that I know and the folks that follow my blog as of the time I am writing this:

She Writes a Little

somewheretoelsewhere

My Day Out With an Angel

BibloSongbird

The Moving Silent

My Own Minister

The last part of the nomination is that I have to answer 11 Questions and then Post 11 Questions of my own…that they, in turn, will have to answer.

I will do those at the end, because…Now I get to talk about:

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ANIMAL HOUSE (1978)

I already have told you two things:

(1) I used to sneak out in the middle of the night and watch movies on HBO and CINEMAX that I probably wasn’t supposed to;

(2) My Dad dropped me off at R Rated Movies starting around the tender age of 13

ANIMAL HOUSE was not one of those movies that Dad saw the value of dropping me off at. He saw the trailers, right along with me, and said, “What the hell is that crap supposed to be?”

I told him it was funny.

He told me I was wrong.

“It’s by National Lampoon,” he said, “And that’s just two steps away from porn.  Python’s funny and naughty enough for you…stick with that.”

I wasn’t about to tell him that I had read plenty of National Lampoon already…I knew where that would lead.

Here’s a description of NATIONAL LAMPOON MAGAZINE:

“National Lampoon was a ground-breaking American humor magazine. Its success led to a wide range of media productions associated with the magazine’s brand name. The magazine ran from 1970 to 1998, and started out as a spinoff from the Harvard Lampoon.

The magazine reached its height of popularity and critical acclaim during the 1970s, when it had a far-reaching effect on American humor. It spawned filmsradiolive theatre, various kinds ofrecordings, and print products including books. Many members of the creative staff from the magazine subsequently went on to contribute creatively to successful media of all types.

During the magazine’s most successful years, parody of every kind was a mainstay; surrealist content was also central to its appeal. Almost all the issues included long text pieces, shorter written pieces, a section of actual news items (dubbed “True Facts”), cartoons and comic strips. Most issues also included “Foto Funnies” or fumetti, which often featured nudity. The result was an unusual mix of intelligent, cutting-edge wit, and crass, bawdy frat house jesting.[1] In both cases, National Lampoon humor often pushed far beyond the boundaries of what was generally considered appropriate and acceptable. As co-founder Henry Beard described the experience years later: “There was this big door that said, ‘Thou shalt not.’ We touched it, and it fell off its hinges.”

Now how the heck did I get to read National Lampoon and Dad not know about it?

Well…it was yet ANOTHER place he dropped me off at and never bothered to properly investigate.

There was a shop in downtown Tacoma a long time again…who’s name I won’t mention here…that used to house a lot of old comic books that the owner kept in hoard like stacks in the front and about mid-way into the shop.  This is where my father would drop me off, starting at the age of 11, to read old comic books to my heart’s content and waste many a Saturday afternoon until I started going downtown by  myself to see STAR WARS every Saturday for a year.  On those occasions, I saw the movie and THEN went down to the Comic Shop.

In the very back of the shop was lit by a row of windows in the far back end of the shop that were a lot taller than I was.  That is where the owner had the stacks of Playboys, Penthouses, OUIs and National Lampoons.

And, believe it or not, I skipped the soft core magazines and went straight for the Lampoon. That was after I had stumbled upon them, that is.

I loved the humor.  I loved the articles.  I loved the parody ads.  I loved everything about, including the cartoons.

Dad was wrong on this one…National Lampoon = Funny.  At least, for  awhile.

I was also in love with a new Television show called SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.  I had been staying up on Saturday Nights since I was 10 to watch it.  My parents were fast asleep and truly didn’t care what the hell I was watching out there as long as it didn’t wake them up.

Its amazing, now that I think of it, the things I discovered on TV only because it was so easy to find it.  Now a days, its like working through some bizarre algorithm to get some of these Universal Remotes to work…and it is this natural barrier that keeps my young boys from doing what I did.

But, then again, my eldest (who is 11) is smart enough t:

(a) wait until I go to sleep

(b) go out to the wall of DVDs

(c) take the one of his choosing

(d) watch it in the middle of the night

(e) replace it afterward

(f) go back to sleep leaving me none the wiser.

You know…I bet he’s already doing this.  I should start earmarking the best ones for him.  Note to self.

So…ANIMAL HOUSE was the first movie that I knew would be coming out on Cable anyway and, rather than see it in the theatres, I waited patiently for HBO.

And…when I finally got to see it…I was deeply, and richly, rewarded.

It was one of the first movies where I started using the catch phrases around school and with my friends…and none of them knew what the hell I was talking about.  This gave me the opportunity to explain it to them in great detail.

I watched it for John Belushi.  One of my Kings of Comedy.  The actor’s I was introduced to…I would follow forever:  Tom Hulce, Tim Matheson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Riegert, Karen Allen and Donald Sutherland.  But most of all…it introduced me to JOHN LANDIS!  I have already told you my love for his next movie, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, but this was my first exposure to him.  I feel in love with the way he set humor to film stock.

It was because of ANIMAL HOUSE that I sought out KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE.  But that’s another story…isn’t it?

But that’s enough blog for now…I’ve got to sum up…and answer some questions as the end.

So, in the spirit of ANIMAL HOUSE, I have to tell you: “I’m sorry I can’t! I’m doing the dishes…”

What Is It About?

**SPOILERS**

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:

National Lampoon’s Animal House is a 1978 American comedy film directed by John Landis. The film was a direct spinoff from National Lampoon magazine. It is about a misfit group offraternity members who challenge the dean of Faber College.

The screenplay was adapted by Douglas KenneyChris Miller, and Harold Ramis from stories written by Miller and published in National Lampoon magazine. The stories were based on Miller’s experiences in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity at Dartmouth College. Other influences on the film came from Ramis’s experiences in the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Washington University in St. Louis, and producer Ivan Reitman‘s experiences at Delta Upsilon at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Of the younger lead actors, only John Belushi was an established star, but even he had not yet appeared in a film, having gained fame mainly from his Saturday Night Live television appearances. Several of the actors who were cast as college students, including Karen AllenTom Hulce, and Kevin Bacon, were just beginning their film careers, although Tim Matheson was coming off a large role as one of the assassin motorcyclecops in the second Dirty Harry film, Magnum Force.

Upon its initial release, Animal House received generally mixed reviews from critics, but Time and Roger Ebert proclaimed it one of the year’s best. Filmed for $2.7 million, it is one of the most profitable movies of all time, garnering an estimated return of more than $141 million in the form of videos and DVDs, not including merchandising.

The film, along with 1977’s The Kentucky Fried Movie, also directed by Landis, was largely responsible for defining and launching the gross-out genre of films, which became one of Hollywood’s staples.[2] In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed Animal House “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in theNational Film Registry. It was No. 1 on Bravo’s “100 Funniest Movies.” It was No. 36 on AFI‘s “100 Years… 100 Laughs” list of the 100 best American comedies. In 2008, Empire magazine selected it as one of “The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.”

In 1962, college freshmen Lawrence “Larry” Kroger (Tom Hulce) and Kent Dorfman (Stephen Furst) seek to join a fraternity at Faber College. They visit the prestigious Omega Theta Pi House’s invitational party, but are not welcomed there. They then try next door at Delta Tau Chi House, where Kent’s brother was once a member, making Kent a “legacy.” There they find John “Bluto” Blutarsky (John Belushi) urinating outside the fraternity house. The Deltas “need the dues” so they permit Larry and Kent to pledge. They receive the fraternity names “Pinto” (Larry) and “Flounder” (Kent).

Vernon Wormer (John Vernon), dean of Faber College, wants to remove the Delta fraternity from campus due to repeated conduct violations and low academic standing. Since they are already on probation, he puts the Deltas on something he calls “double secret probation” and orders the clean-cut, smug Omega president Greg Marmalard (James Daughton) to find a way to get rid of the Deltas permanently.

Flounder is bullied by Omega member and ROTC cadet commander Doug Neidermeyer (Mark Metcalf), so Bluto and Daniel Simpson “D-Day” Day (Bruce McGill) persuade Flounder to sneak Neidermeyer’s horse into Dean Wormer’s office late at night. They give him a gun and tell him to shoot it. Unbeknownst to Flounder, the gun is loaded with blanks. Unable to bring himself to kill the horse, he fires into the ceiling. The noise frightens the horse so much that it dies of a heart attack.

In the cafeteria the next day, smooth-talking Eric “Otter” Stratton (Tim Matheson) tries to convince the stuck-up Mandy Pepperidge (Mary Louise Weller) to abandon her boyfriend, the uninteresting Marmalard, and date him instead. Bluto proceeds to provoke Marmalard with his impression of a popping zit by stuffing his mouth with a scoop of mashed potatoes and propelling it at Marmalard and table mates, Chip Diller (Kevin Bacon) and Barbara “Babs” Jansen (Martha Smith). Bluto then starts a food fight that engulfs the cafeteria.

Bluto and D-Day steal the answers to an upcoming psychology test, but it turns out the Omegas planted the exam stencil and the Deltas get every answer wrong. Their grade-point averages drop so low that Wormer only needs one more incident to revoke the charter that allows them to remain on campus.

To cheer themselves up, the Deltas organize a toga party, during which Otis Day and the Knights perform “Shout“. The dean’s alcoholic, lecherous wife, Marion (Verna Bloom), attends the party at Otter’s invitation and has sex with him. Pinto hooks up with Clorette (Sarah Holcomb), a girl he met at the supermarket, and makes out with her only to learn she is the mayor’s 13-year-old daughter. He later takes her home in a shopping cart. Due to the party, Wormer organizes a kangaroo court with the Omegas and revokes Delta’s charter and all belongings are confiscated.

To take their minds off their troubles, Otter, Donald “Boon” Schoenstein (Peter Riegert), Flounder and Pinto go on a road trip. Otter picks up some girls from Emily Dickinson College by pretending to be the fiancé of Fawn Liebowitz, a girl who recently died on campus. They stop at a roadhouse because Otis Day and the Knights are performing there, not realizing that it caters to an exclusively black clientele. The hulking patrons intimidate the guys and they flee, damaging Flounder’s borrowed car and leaving their frightened dates behind.

Boon breaks up with his girlfriend Katy (Karen Allen) after discovering her sexual relationship with a professor (Donald Sutherland). Marmalard is told that his girlfriend is having an affair with Otter, so he and other Omegas lure him to a motel and beat him up. The Deltas’ midterm grades are so poor that an ecstatic Wormer expels them all. He even notifies their draft boards of their eligibility. In the process, before Bluto attempts to speak to the dean, Wormer orders Flounder to speak with the words, “Well? Out with it!”, whereupon Flounder vomits on the dean.

It seems time for the Deltas to give up, but Bluto, supported by the injured Otter, rouses them with an impassioned, historically inaccurate speech (“Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?!”) and they decide to take revenge on Wormer and the Omegas. The Deltas construct a rogue parade float with Flounder’s car as its base and wreak havoc on the annual homecoming parade. During the ensuing chaos, the futures of many of the main characters are revealed. The last shot of the film is of Bluto driving away in a white convertible with his soon-to-be wife, Mandy Pepperidge.

Why Did I HAVE to Own It?

JOHN LANDIS and National Lampoon!

Oh…oh…oh…I LOVE THIS MOVIE!

It is in my top 5 comedies that I go to whenever I desperately need a comedy.  Its funny, a little sad, a little raunchy and way to smart for its own good sometimes.

But there is way too much for me to tell you about here…So, I think I will let Mr. Belushi sum it up in his rally the troops speech:

How Are The Extras?

    • Where Are They Now? A Delta Alumni Update – This is pretty light.  This could have been a real treasure trove of interviews.  Instead its mostly filler.
    • Did You Know That (Universal Animated Anecdotes) – This is the very definition of a “What the heck were they thinking” piece of Universal Studios propaganda. So, sad to see this.
    • The Yearbook: An Animal House Reunion – Again, really, really disappointing.  I wanted an in depth documentary…what I got was this.

What Format Do I Have It In?

DVD…and, looking at the Blu-Ray to see if I should upgrade it now.

Nope…looks like a direct transfer over from my DVD version.  And, you know, I actually think that the graininess of the film stock makes this movie even more endearing to me.  I’m gonna hang on to this one.

Coming Attractions

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And Now the Answer to the Award Questions:

* Your perfect 3-course meal? Drinks included. (In detail, please. I’m hungry.)

1 – Some small portion of some good Irish Stew and a Guinness

2 – A Pizza with my favorite toppings (Canadian Bacon, Pepperoni, Black Olives, Sausage and Salami) and a Diet Coke

3 – A cold piece of Apple Pie also with a Diet Coke

Some Tequila Shots afterward…just for fun.

(Feel Free to replace STEAK in #2, but it has to be had at this amazing Steak Place that I went to in New York…and it HAS to be IN New York when eaten)

* Favorite place to Live. Favorite place to visit. Favorite place to play. Why?

TO LIVE: I am very happy to be living in the place I am living in, but if I had to choose elsewhere it would be London first (for the theatre, the people, the history…the everything) and then New York (for the theatre, the energy and the friends I have there)

TO VISIT: I love to visit Seattle, Ashland, Ocean Shores, Vancouver, Victoria and Portland…they just feel like my natural surroundings.

TO PLAY: Disneyland, Disneyworld and Las Vegas.  For all the same reasons.  I can play hard, laugh loud and forget my cares.  And they are even better with friends…wanna go?

* What is a special memory of yours?

The Theatrical Production that  I did, as a replacement actor, which introduced me to decade plus friends (Including the one that passed along these questions)

* You can live for one year in any era of time. When would it be and why?

For some reason, I am drawn to the time of Holmes, Watson, Dickens, Conan Doyle, Sweeny Todd, Oliver et al.  And all of it in London.  It feels like home.  I feel as if I am displaced from that era.  That’s where I long to be, I guess.

Either then or Agatha Christie’s London.

London is looking more and more like my place to retire, doesn’t it?

* What is one of your yearly repeat-read books? Why?

It takes me FOREVER to read a book with my life the way it is now.  So I don’t get to revisit the ones that I love (The Dead Zone, The Shining, The Werewolf of Ponkert, etc).

But I can revisit graphic novels…and I always come home to Bloom County, Liberty Meadows and Scott Pilgrim.

* If you could have the career of any famous person, (living or dead) who would it be?

Charlie Chaplin.  Because of his creative journey that took him through the history of theatre, film and relationships with the people and places of the time.

* The last time you drank champagne was when, and why?

To toast my dear friend on a major life accomplishment and a job done so well it was nigh on perfect.

* Name five people on your celebrity “freebee” list.

–Kirsten Bell

–Salma Hydek

–Mila Kunis

–Amy Adams

–Emma Stone

–Anne Hatheway

* You are stranded on a desert island, with only five things. What are they?

1 – A Diary.  I have to write…if anything to go back and track how I slowly went insane.

2 – A crate of Pencils.  So I can write.  Something most folks forget about when thinking of the Diary

3 – Cooking Utensils.  To cook with.

4 – Warm Clothing.  If it gets too warm…who needs the clothing.

5 – My best friend.  No sense in being alone and misery loves company (and is wiser in planning escape)

* If you could erase the worst day of your life from your mind (the consequences of it, not changing in any way), would you?

No.  And the period from August 2010 – August of 2012 was ripe with them.  But if I took them away, I wouldn’t have learned, lived and gained the insight and wisdom of my friends and family who made it possible to endure them.

* Name three pet peeves.

1 – People who cause chaos as a form of entertainment through gossip, willful intent and public subterfuge.

2 – People who truly don’t care about the needs of others and put themselves first (from little things like on airplanes, to people in line at a grocery store, how they treat waiters and retailer staff…to much grander things in scope)

3 – Selfish Directors and Actors.  All I need to do is work with them once to get a feeling that they are…and twice just make sure I never have to again.

And…since I only have 5 followers…I can’t pass my question on to others.  So, this award stays with me for a little while.

So I will leave you with the same questions that are shared by James Lipton on INSIDE THE ACTOR’S STUDIO from a concept was originated by Frenchtelevision personality Bernard Pivot on his show Apostrophes, after the Proust Questionnaire. The ten questions Lipton asks are:

  1. What is your favorite word?
  2. What is your least favorite word?
  3. What turns you on?
  4. What turns you off?
  5. What sound or noise do you love?
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?
  7. What is your favorite curse word?
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  9. What profession would you not like to do?
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

 

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON

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AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981)

My family has a thing about Werewolves.

Its run deep all the way back to my great-grandfather.

But…I’ll come back to that.

Around the time of this movie, my Dad did something really cool.

As you may remember, I told you that he was a very smart man…and this is one example of that.

Early on he noticed that for all “R” rated films “No Child Will be Admitted Without a Parent or Guardian.”

He knew that there were certain movies that I was dying to see that he had absolutely ZERO interest in seeing.  And, with these movies, he would:

1 — Walk me right up to the ticket booth

2 — Buy a ticket for himself and for me

3– Walk into the theatre lobby

4 — Walk me through concessions

5 — Walk me to my seat

6 — Stay until the movie started

7 — Leave

8 — Come back during the Credits to escort me out

He had proven:

(a) A Parent

(b) He had accompanied me to the movie

(c) Gotten up during the movie to go out for a break (bathroom, lunch, what have you)

(d) Come back from his break before the movie was over

Thus fulfilling the requirements of the “R” Rated Film.

This was the argument that my father won over and over.  Every movie theatre had to give in immediately…and, eventually, they got to know us so well that they just let Dad by me a ticket for him and myself and let me walk in alone…and, later, leave by myself after it was over.

On some occasions he stayed…with most, he had not.

For the record…this started with John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN in 1978.  I was 13.

My Dad was smart…and pretty damn cool.

So…when I say I saw this one with my Dad**…you’ll know what the ** mean.

Now..about werewolves.

My Grandfather was a published writer.  He wrote for Weird Tales Magazine along side such writers as Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch and Richard Matheson.  These men were his friends and would later become “uncles” of mine at local conventions.

My grandfather wrote about four subjects: Arthurian Legend, The Roman Empire, Joan of Arc and Werewolves.

He was postive that somewhere in our family bloodline that there was a “little bit of wolf” in us.  And if you ask some of the people that the males of my family get “close to”… they’ll probably agree with him.

One of my favorite stories about Grandpa was the year he was the Guest of Honor at one of the largest conventions in the world…and the Special Guest of honor was Stephen King (there’s another story about him that I’ll tell you…but that will be another blog down the line).

There was a “Writer’s Jam” that year.  The idea being that all of the writers at the convention would write a book together.  Each one of them would take a one hour turn…locked away in a room at the hotel…and write out a chapter of the book.  The chapters would be then put out for the world to see on a hallway in the convention.  I don’t know if they do this anymore, but sure was cool.

My grandfather was fourth or fifth in.

He wrote this very cool chapter that wove werewolves into the continuity of the story.  He was rich…detailed…and very Grandpa.

Then next Chapter Writer immediately dismissed it one line.  “But everybody knows there’s no such thing as werewolves, don’t they?”

All of Grandpa’s work, detail and mythos crushed in a second.

Just for the record: Six Chapters later, Stephen King stepped up to the plate and wrote, “But let’s get back to the werewolves.  Because, believe it or not, one might be sitting next to you right now.”  And he was off to the races.

Another reason that I love Stephen King.

What Is It About?

**SPOILERS**

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:

An American Werewolf in London is a 1981 comedyhorror film written and directed by John Landis, and starring David NaughtonJenny Agutter, and Griffin Dunne.

The film starts with two young American men, David Kessler (played by Naughton) and Jack Goodman (played by Dunne), on a backpacking holiday in England. Following an awkwardly tense visit to a village pub, the two men venture deep into the moors at night. They are attacked by a werewolf, which results in Jack’s death and David being taken to a London hospital. Through apparitions of his dead friend and disturbing dream sequences, David becomes informed that he is a werewolf and will transform at the next full moon.

Shooting took place mostly in London but also in Surrey and Wales. It was released in the United States on August 21, 1981 and grossed $30.56 million at the box office. Critics generally gave the film favourable reviews. The film won the 1981 Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and an Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup. The film was one of three high-profile wolf-themed horror films released in 1981, alongside The Howling and Wolfen. Over the years, the film has accumulated a cult following and has been referred to as a cult classic.[2]

The film was followed by a 1997 sequelAn American Werewolf in Paris, which featured a completely different cast and none of the original crew, and is distributed by Disney’s Hollywood Pictures. A Hindi film Junoon was also inspired by this movie.

Empire magazine named An American Werewolf in London as the 107th greatest film of all time in September 2008.

Two American college students, David Kessler and Jack Goodman, are backpacking across the Yorkshire moors. As darkness falls, they decide to stop for the night at a pub called “The Slaughtered Lamb”. Jack notices a five-pointed star on the wall. When he asks about it, the pub becomes very quiet and the pubgoers start acting very strange and hostile. The pair decide to leave, but not before the others offer them pieces of advice such as “Beware the moon, lads” and “Keep to the road.” Whilst conversing with each other and wondering what they meant, they wander off the road, onto the moors.

Back at the pub, the owner gets very distressed and suggests that they go after the pair. As she says this, a sinister howling is heard. The rest of the pubgoers, having barricaded the door, decline. Back out on the moors, Jack and David have also heard the howls, and they seem to be steadily getting closer. They start back to the Slaughtered Lamb when they realize that they have left the road and are now lost on the moors. A full moon comes out from behind the clouds, and they remember the advice they were given earlier. The noises get steadily closer until they are stopped by a supernaturally large animal. The animal attacks both of them, and kills Jack. The animal is then shot and killed by the pubgoers, who have finally emerged. The beast changes into the dying body of a naked man. David survives the mauling and is taken to a hospital in London.

When David wakes up three weeks later, he does not remember what happened and is told of his friend’s death. At this point, the viewer learns that David is Jewish. David is questioned by the arrogant Inspector Villiers and the bumbling, but more understanding Sergeant McManus and learns that he and Jack were supposedly attacked by an escaped lunatic. David insists that they were actually attacked by a large wolf. But Villiers had already been told there were witnesses and an autopsy report of the maniac, so they deduce that David is suffering from shock.

David begins to have a series of bizarre nightmares. In the first, he runs through the woods, then decapitates and eats a deer. In the second, he is in a hospital bed with a monstrous, fanged face. In the final dream, he is at home with his family when they are attacked by Nazis with monstrous faces, wearing gas masks and wielding machine guns.

Things get stranger when Jack, now a reanimated corpse, comes to visit David and explains that they were attacked by a werewolf, stating that David himself is, in fact, now a werewolf. Jack urges David to kill himself before the next full moon, not only because Jack is cursed to exist in a state of living death for as long as the bloodline of the werewolf that attacked them survives, but also to prevent David from inflicting the same fate on his eventual victims.

Trying to see if David is indeed telling the truth, his doctor, Hirsch takes a trip to the Slaughtered Lamb. When asked about the incident, the pubgoers deny any knowledge of David, Jack or their attacker. But one distraught pubgoer speaks to Dr. Hirsch outside the pub and says that David should not have been taken away, and that he and everyone else will be in danger when he changes. He’s interrupted by another pubgoer, who remains silent. After more investigation, Dr. Hirsch finds out that the police report was “misplaced”, and that David’s wounds were cleaned and dressed before he was even looked at by the authorities. The doctor is convinced that the whole town was lying, and that David was indeed attacked by some sort of animal, though he is not convinced it was a werewolf.

Upon his release from the hospital, David moves in with Alex Price, the pretty young nurse who grew infatuated with him in the hospital. He stays in Alex’s London apartment, where they later make love for the first time. Jack (in an advanced stage of decay) suddenly appears to David again and tells him that he will turn into a werewolf the next day. Jack advises David to take his own life; otherwise he is doomed to kill innocent people who will then become the living dead.

When the full moon rises, as Jack had warned, David, who is alone in the apartment, begins to feel excruciating pain before stripping naked upon “burning up” and turning into a werewolf. He prowls the streets and the London Underground and slaughters six Londoners. When he wakes in the morning, he is naked on the floor of the wolf cage at London Zoo with no memory of his nocturnal, lupine, lycanthropic, carnivorous activities, but unharmed by the resident wolves.

Later that day, David realizes that Jack was right about everything and that he is responsible for the murders of the night before. After failing to get himself arrested and running from Alex, David calls his family in New York to basically say good-bye, though he only speaks to his little sister. Walking out of the phone booth after failing to slit his wrists with his pocket knife, David spots Jack (in a more advanced stage of decay) outside an adult cinema in Piccadilly Circus. Inside, Jack is accompanied by David’s victims from the previous night. They all insist that he must commit suicide before turning into a werewolf again. While talking with them, night falls and, consequently, David turns into a werewolf again and goes on another killing spree. After busting out of the cinema (biting off Inspector Villiers’ head in the process), a horrific melee ensues. David is ultimately cornered in an alley by the police. Alex arrives to calm him down by telling him that she loves him. Though he is apparently temporarily softened, he is shot and killed when he lunges forward, returning to human form in front of a grieving Alex as he dies.

Why Did I HAVE to Own It?

JOHN LANDIS and Werewolves!

Not only did it have the most realistic transformation of a human being into a werewolf by the genius that is RICK BAKER (which was eerily similar to my grandfather’s interpretation of it), it was,within heartbeats of each other, a terrifying film and a jet black comedy.

I WAS IN LOVE!

This movie lands squarely into MY TOP 10 FILMS of ALL TIME.

Mainly because of scenes like the one you can watch here if you follow this link (A WARNING – This is Not Safe for (some) Workplaces:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLs-Oreo_bk

And…if anyone knows my sense of humor…they know that this hits it right smack dab in the bullseye.

How Are The Extras?

  • Making Of — This is pretty creaky…I truly wish there was a lot more to this.
  • Production Stills and storyboards — Nothing I hadn’t already seen or read in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, FANGORIA or STARLOG Magazines
  • Interviews with Rick Baker and John Landis — These?  These are GREAT!

What Format Do I Have It In?

DVD…and, looking at the Blu-Ray to see if I should upgrade it now.

OH HECK YEAH!!!

Look at all this Stuff!

Special Features

  • Beware the moon
  • “I Walked With A Werewolf”
  • Making An American Werewolf in London, An Original Featurette
  • An Interview With John Landis
  • Make-up Artist Rick Baker On An American Werewolf in London
  • Casting of the hand
  • Photograph montage
  • Feature commentary with cast members David Naughton & Griffin Dunne
  • BD Live basic download center

Putting this on my AMAZON WISH LIST right now!

Coming Attractions

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Click to See What’s Next in the Collection!

AMERICAN BEAUTY

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AMERICAN BEAUTY (1999)

First…an acknowledgement.

Sometimes…life is so busy it will trump the daily blog.  I am blessed to be the father of two boys. I am blessed with family. I am blessed to work in theatre.

This will always take precedence over my writing…which is why I don’t write as much as I used to.

It will also take precedence over ever getting to that list of movies that I own, but never seem to have the chance to watch.

I am blessed by my life.

I am blessed you are reading this.

I look forward to you doing so…just as much as I look forward to writing them.

But…there may be gaps of time between them…just so you know.

And its not you…its me.

Let’s get back to it

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Where Was I When I First Saw The Movie?

This was a movie I KNEW I wanted to see, because it had KEVIN SPACEY in it.  Yes.  I meant to put that in capital letters.  Because one of the actors I wanna be when I grow up is Kevin Spacey.  For the record, the others are Kevin Kline, Kenneth Branagh, Jonathan Pryce, Alan Rickman and Gene Hackman.  See a trend?

First person that does and posts the right comment gets a special prize.  And, no, I won’t tell you what the prize is, because that will make the prize less special.

Also there is the wonderful Annette Bening.  Fell in love with her the moment I saw her.  Then Warren Beatty came along and stole her.  Did you know that she was supposed to be Catwoman in Tim Burton’s BATMAN RETURNS?  I did.  Then Mr. Beatty went and decided to start a family with her…and she forego the catsuit.

Dang.

BUT!

They were both in this movie…and it had a really cool trailer and I couldn’t wait.

Then I saw it…

Wow…was I unprepared.

It was mesmerizing.  It was intoxicating.  It was riveting.  It was different than anything else like it being shown in theatres at the time.  The first movie in a long time, since maybe KRAMER vs KRAMER or ORDINARY PEOPLE, where it just “went there” for its depiction of what is actually happening in far too many houses in far to many perfect neighborhoods across America.

It also introduced me to director Sam Mendes.  I have seen everything that he has directed since…up to and including SKYFALL.

He has informed my directing style, particularly in dramas and pseudo-comedies (like ABSENT FRIENDS), immeasurably.

His patience with quiet.  His understanding of allowing someone to communicate, quietly, in a moment by simply allowing the emotions to hide perfectly behind a glance…this is where I wanted to go as a director.  And, in some respects, I have…but only with the actors that allow themselves to understand their own moment and the power of it…without detracting from the overall mood of a scene.

And, lemme tell you, that’s hard.

But I am so fortunate to say…there are some actors that go there willingly.  And, more often than not, again and again…and on their own.

So…to be clear.  Started with KEVIN SPACEY – which I got to watch and learn from even more that before.  Then I got Annette Bening – who blew me away, yet again.  AND I got to discover Sam Mendes – which opened a whole new way of learning.

This was wonderful!

I gave it a great review…everyone who saw it, wondered what was fractured with my psyche.

Then it won the Academy Award for BEST PICTURE.

And, by gum, everyone still thought my psyche was fractured.  But, at least, I had a good eye.

What Is It About?

**SPOILERS**

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:

American Beauty is a 1999 American drama film directed by Sam Mendes and written by Alan BallKevin Spacey stars as office worker Lester Burnham, who has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter’s best friend, Angela (Mena Suvari). Annette Bening co-stars as Lester’s materialistic wife, Carolyn, and Thora Birch plays their insecure daughter, Jane; Wes BentleyChris Cooper, and Allison Janney also feature. The film has been described by academics as a satire of American middle class notions of beauty and personal satisfaction; analysis has focused on the film’s explorations of romantic and paternal love, sexuality, beauty, materialism, self-liberation, and redemption.

Ball began writing American Beauty as a play in the early 1990s, partly inspired by the media circus around the Amy Fisher trial in 1992. He shelved the play after realizing the story would not work on stage. After several years as a television screenwriter, Ball revived the idea in 1997 when attempting to break into the film industry. The modified script had a cynical outlook that was influenced by Ball’s frustrating tenures writing for several sitcoms. Producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen took American Beauty to DreamWorks; the fledgling film studio bought Ball’s script for $250,000, outbidding several other production bodies. DreamWorks financed the $15 million production and served as the North American distributor. American Beauty marked acclaimed theater director Mendes’ film debut; courted after his successful productions of the musicals Oliver! and Cabaret, Mendes was nevertheless only given the job after twenty others were considered and several “A-list” directors turned down the opportunity.

Spacey was Mendes’ first choice for the role of Lester, even though DreamWorks had urged the director to consider better-known actors; similarly, the studio suggested several actors for the role of Carolyn until Mendes offered the part to Bening without DreamWorks’ knowledge. Principal photography took place between December 1998 and February 1999 on soundstages at the Warner Bros. backlot in Burbank, California and on location in Los Angeles. Mendes’ dominant style was deliberate and composed; he made extensive use of static shots and slow pans and zooms to generate tension. Cinematographer Conrad Hall complemented Mendes’ style with peaceful shot compositions to contrast with the turbulent on-screen events. During editing, Mendes made several changes that gave the film a less cynical tone.

Released in North America on September 15, 1999, American Beauty was positively received by critics and audiences alike; it was the best-reviewed American film of the year and grossed over $350 million worldwide. Reviewers praised most aspects of the production, with particular emphasis on Mendes, Spacey and Ball; criticism tended to focus on the familiarity of the characters and setting. DreamWorks launched a major campaign to increase American Beauty‘s chances of Academy Award success; at the 72nd Academy Awards the following year, the film won Best PictureBest DirectorBest Actor (for Spacey), Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography.

Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) is a middle-aged magazine writer who despises his job. His wife, Carolyn (Annette Bening), is an ambitious real-estate broker; their sixteen-year-old daughter, Jane (Thora Birch), abhors her parents and has low self-esteem. The Burnhams’ new neighbors are retired United States Marine Corps Colonel Frank Fitts (Chris Cooper) and his introverted wife, Barbara (Allison Janney); their teenage son, Ricky (Wes Bentley), is a secret marijuana smoker and drug dealer whom the colonel subjects to a strict disciplinarian lifestyle. Ricky, who had been forced into a military academy and mental hospital, spends time recording his surroundings with a camcorder; he keeps dozens of taped videos in his bedroom.

Lester becomes infatuated with Jane’s cheerleader friend, Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari), after seeing her perform a half-time dance routine at a high school basketball game. He begins to have sexual fantasies about Angela, during which red rose petals are a recurring motif. Carolyn begins an affair with a business rival, Buddy Kane (Peter Gallagher). When Lester is about to be laid off his job, he blackmails his boss for $60,000 and quits, taking employment serving fast food. He buys his dream car (a 1970 Pontiac Firebird) and starts working out after he overhears Angela tell Jane that she would find him sexually attractive if he improved his physique. He begins smoking marijuana bought from Ricky and flirts with Angela whenever she visits Jane. Jane becomes involved with Ricky and they bond over what Ricky considers the most beautiful imagery he has filmed: a plastic bag dancing in the wind.[2]

Lester discovers Carolyn’s infidelity, but reacts indifferently. Buddy ends the affair, saying he is facing an expensive divorce. Frank becomes suspicious of Lester and Ricky’s friendship and finds his son’s footage of Lester lifting weights while nude, which Ricky captured by chance and leads Frank to believe Ricky is gay. Carolyn becomes distraught, loads a gun, and drives home. That night, after watching Ricky and Lester through Lester’s garage window, Frank mistakenly concludes the pair are sexually involved. He later beats Ricky and after Ricky falsely admits the charge, he goads his father into kicking him out of the family home. Ricky convinces Jane to flee with him to New York City and tells the vain Angela she is ordinary.

Frank confronts Lester and attempts to kiss him; Lester rebuffs the colonel, who leaves. Lester finds a distraught Angela, who begins to seduce him. After learning that Angela is a virgin, Lester stops and comforts her; the pair instead bond over their shared frustrations. Angela goes to the bathroom and Lester smiles at a family photograph of himself, his wife, and Jane in happier times in his kitchen. A gunshot sounds and blood splatters on the wall. Ricky and Jane find Lester’s body. Carolyn is seen crying in the bedroom, and Frank returns home, bloodied, a gun missing from his collection. Lester’s closing narration describes meaningful experiences during his life; he says that despite his death he is happy, as there’s so much beauty in the world.

Why Did I HAVE to Own It?

I may have gone on and on about it before, but the simple answer is Kevin Spacey and Sam Mendes.

I will let you interpret that as you will.

Much like AMERICAN BEAUTY.

And you will.

“I rule!”

How Are The Extras?

  • Audio Commentary with director Sam Mendes and screenwriter Alan Ball (this was like having all the classroom study on directing that I wanted…all in one place)
  • Exclusive Storyboards with commentary by director Mendes and Director of Photography Conrad Hall ( and this confirmed my studies!  Showing me the proper set up for a scene and how to frame it properly)
  • American Beauty: Look Closer Making of featurette (this is pretty lacking. I truly wish they had gone more in depth with the process.  But…on the other hand…it might have blanketed my perceptions as to what the film is actually about.  Perhaps its better just the way it is)

What Format Do I Have It In?

DVD…and, looking at the ZIP amount of bonuses on the BluRay…

HEY!  It adds TWO TRAILERS!

Nope…I’ll stick with the DVD 🙂

Coming Attractions

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Click to See What’s Next in the Collection!

ALL ABOUT EVE

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ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)

Where Was I When I First Saw The Movie?

To be honest…I don’t remember.

I have seen this movie so many times that they have all blurred together.  I know I was young.  But at 47 that has become a relative term.

I do know that it was my first introduction to Bette Davis.

She owned me from the moment those knowing eyes looked out from the screen.

Here was the embodiment of strength in a woman.  She was no nonsense.  She owned a room when she came into it.  She commanded your attention.  She was the master of any conversation she became a part of…or began.

She was a woman of power…and I adored her…and sought after that type of person in my life for years to come.  This was the type of woman that I wanted to be around — as a friend, a partner in crime, or lifelong partner, in all adventures.

I’ve been blessed enough to find a few of these folks (both male and female) and, trust me, you want them on your side when the chips are down.

They are protectors of what’s right.

They are the person who listens to what you need and will figure out how to make it possible…by any means necessary…and not for their personal gain.  Simply because you need it.

The important part is that they are also one hundred percent their own person.  Which is  rare feat in this world of whom “owns” whom…simply because they are a part of your life and feel it is their right to do so.  They are their own person and so are you.  You don’t have to always entertain them or spot check them…and they know they don’t have to do the same for you.  You can be two people in a room…doing two different things…and know that you don’t have to spoon out doses of attention to the other person just to make sure that you can still be in the same room with them.

You can just…be.

There is no such thing as “ownership” in Bette Davis’ world.

There is only, “I have your back as I know you have mine.” And to my young, and veryimpressionable, mind…this is what I came to believe was the base root of friendship…of  what partnership was…male or female.

Bette Davis knew it.  She taught masters classes on it…and, because of her, I learned it.

She taught fierce independence, but to be there for your true friends when they needed it.  She taught that…in the movie world…no one messed with the family (blood or not) and she made sure of it.  Another life lesson for me…that I carry to this day.

But the best part about people like Bette Davis?

That wicked grin that they share with you — that sideways knowing glance — because they can see that some new adventure is coming…and they are already mapping out the best route to help you get there — because their mind is already halfway down the rabbit hole and can see the possibilities.

I hope you have people like this in your life…because I do.

And one more word about those “Bette Davis” eyes…and their knowing glance.  Long before the song…I knew what they meant….and I couldn’t wait to see them again.

And…in my life…I don’t have to wait long.

What Is It About?

**SPOILERS**

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:

All About Eve is a 1950 American drama film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on the 1946 short story “The Wisdom of Eve“, by Mary Orr.

The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, a willingly helpful young fan who insinuates herself into Channing’s life, ultimately threatening Channing’s career and her personal relationships. George SandersCeleste HolmHugh MarloweBarbara BatesGary Merrill and Thelma Ritter also appear, and the film provided one of Marilyn Monroe‘s earliest important roles.

Praised by critics at the time of its release, All About Eve was nominated for 14 Academy Awards (a feat unmatched until the 1997 film Titanic) and won six, including Best Picture. As of 2013, All About Eve is still the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations (Davis and Baxter as Best Actress, Holm and Ritter as Best Supporting Actress). All About Eve was selected in 1990 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry and was among the first 50 films to be registered. All About Eve appeared at #16 on AFI‘s 1998 list of the 100 best American films.[4]

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At an awards dinner, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) — the newest and brightest star on Broadway — is being presented the Sarah Siddons Award for her breakout performance as Cora in Footsteps on the Ceiling. Theatre critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders) observes the proceedings and, in a sardonic voiceover, recalls how Eve’s star rose as quickly as it did.

The film flashes back a year. Margo Channing (Bette Davis) is one of the biggest stars on Broadway, but despite her success she is bemoaning her age, having just turned forty and knowing what that will mean for her career. After a performance one night, Margo’s close friend Karen Richards (Celeste Holm), wife of the play’s author Lloyd Richards (Hugh Marlowe), meets besotted fan Eve Harrington in the cold alley outside the stage door. Recognizing her from having passed her many times in the alley (as Eve claims to have seen every performance of Margo’s current play, Aged in Wood), Karen takes her backstage to meet Margo. Eve tells the group gathered in Margo’s dressing room — Karen and Lloyd, Margo’s boyfriend Bill Sampson (Gary Merrill), a director who is eight years her junior, and Margo’s maid Birdie (Thelma Ritter) — that she followed Margo’s last theatrical tour to New York after seeing her in a play in San Francisco. She tells a moving and involving story of a difficult life, including losing her young husband in the recent war. She is becomingly humble and flattering in her idolization of Margo. In response, Margo quickly befriends Eve, moves her into her home, and takes her on as her assistant, leaving Birdie, who instinctively dislikes Eve, feeling put out.

Anne Baxter in wig and costume as Margo Channing’s understudy

While maintaining a seamless outward appearance of humility and of a desire only to serve, Eve is gradually shown to be working to supplant Margo, scheming to become her understudy behind her back (driving wedges between Margo and Lloyd and between Margo and Bill) and conspiring with an unsuspecting Karen to cause Margo to miss a performance. Eve, knowing in advance that she will be the one appearing that night, invites the city’s theatre critics to attend that evening’s performance, which is a triumph for her. Eve tries to seduce Bill, but he rejects her. Following a scathing newspaper column by Addison, Margo and Bill reconcile, dine with the Richardses, and decide to marry. That same night at the restaurant, Eve blackmails Karen into telling Lloyd to give her the part of Cora, by threatening to tell Margo of Karen’s role in Margo’s missed performance. Before Karen can talk with Lloyd, Margo announces to everyone’s surprise that she does not wish to play Cora and would prefer to continue in Aged in Wood. Eve secures the role and attempts to climb higher by using Addison, who is beginning to doubt her. Just before the premiere of her play at the Shubert in New Haven, Eve presents Addison with her next plan: to marry Lloyd, who, she claims, has come to her professing his love and his eagerness to leave his wife for her. Now, Eve exults, Lloyd will write brilliant plays showcasing her. Addison is infuriated that Eve has attempted to use him and reveals that he knows that her back story is all lies. Her real name is Gertrude Slojinski, and she is no war widow, no orphan, no follower of Margo’s tour. Before meeting Margo, she had been paid to leave town over her affair with her boss, a brewer in Wisconsin. Addison blackmails Eve, informing her that she will not be marrying Lloyd or anyone else; in exchange for Addison’s silence, she now “belongs” to him.

The film returns to the opening scene in which Eve, now a shining Broadway star headed for Hollywood, is presented with her award. In her speech, she thanks Margo and Bill and Lloyd and Karen with characteristic effusion, while all four stare back at her coldly. After the awards ceremony, Eve hands her award to Addison, skips a party in her honor, and returns home alone, where she encounters a young fan—a high-school girl—who has slipped into her apartment and fallen asleep. The young girl professes her adoration and begins at once to insinuate herself into Eve’s life, offering to pack Eve’s trunk for Hollywood and being accepted. “Phoebe” (Barbara Bates), as she calls herself, answers the door to find Addison returning with Eve’s award. In a revealing moment, the young girl flirts daringly with the older man. Addison hands over the award to Phoebe and leaves without entering. Phoebe then lies to Eve, telling her it was only a cab driver who dropped off the award. While Eve rests in the other room, Phoebe dons Eve’s elegant costume robe and poses in front of a multi-paned mirror, holding the award as if it were a crown. The mirrors transform Phoebe into multiple images of herself, and she bows regally, as if accepting the award to thunderous applause, while triumphant music plays.

Why Did I HAVE to Own It?

Bette Davis and the Theatre.

Do stories like ALL ABOUT EVE happen in the real world?  After spending 31 solid years in the theatre, I have to tell you that…they do.  And more often than you know.

Empirical actors who believe they own the world because of who they have been recently — I’ve met them and worked with them as an actor (as a director, I won’t tolerate it).

Scheming actors, who wait in the background, hoping for the “leads” in a show to fail to the point that they will be called upon to step up and assume the role — I’ve been at the receiving end of this horrid little mechanic and seen it far too often.

The parties where things are being said (but other things are meant)…and little bombshells are dropped (true or false) in order to discredit and get one’s career just that little inch further along — A big reason I don’t go to theatre parties or do well at them.  But…it doesn’t matter…this has found its way to Social Media on a global scale.

I had to have this movie to remind me about all of those things in the profession that I love…so, that I will stay away from the aspects of it I don’t love and fight against those who do love them.

How Are The Extras?

Pretty bare bones…

  • Gentleman’s Agreement Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Cast Gallery

Maybe someday they tell me all about “All About Eve.”

What Format Do I Have It In?

DVD…and, looking at the ZIP amount of bonuses on the BluRay…I guess this is where I will stay.

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Coming Attractions

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Click to See What’s Next in the Collection!

ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010)

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ALICE IN WONDERLAND (2010)

Where Was I When I First Saw The Movie?

You may have noticed I am a nerd.

There are particular genres, and things, that I get really nerdy about.

(not necessarily in this order)

STAR WARS

COMIC BOOKS

SHERLOCK HOLMES

INDIANA JONES

CLASSIC MOVIES

VIDEO GAMES

MUSIC

AGATHA CHRISTIE

LORD of THE RINGS

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

BOARD GAMES

So much Stuff!

But I don’t any of my geekdom compares to the level of Geek Love that the BFF of the MRS has for ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

She has had Birthdays where everyone dresses up as their favorite character.  She has created trivia games in its honor.  She has toys, pictures, posters and massive amounts of memorabilia about Alice and her adventures.  I bet you…without hesitation ..that she can quote, verbatim, aspects of the different incarnations of the Wonderland story at any given moment.  At Disneyland…her final destination is not a meet and greet with a famous mouse.  But with the Mad Hatter.  She will ride the ALICE IN WONDERLAND over and over and over in the same way that I would ride STAR TOURS or INDIANA JONES.  I should point out that those two rides change every time you ride them.  They are meant to have random events that occur every time you do.

But the  ALICE ride?  It never changes.  Not even once.

Here’s the best part though.

I love that she has such mad geek love for ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

Who doesn’t have that ONE THING that we love (outside of family) above all other things?

We all do!

And for the MRS’ BFF…it’s ALICE.  So, you can guess that from the moment the whispers of this movie being made…calendars were set and appointments were made.  We would be there the first chance that we all got and we would be there by her side.

The place ended up being a theatre called KENT STATION.  It was the closest movie theatre showing it in IMAX 3-D…and, by gum, that was the way we HAD to see it!  And who could blame her?!

We rolled up to the theatre, got our parking and hustled out for our seats.  We were early and we were ready.  But event with all of that, when we finally got in and got our seats…the rest of the world had been even earlier.  We ended up around the front row..somewhere down on the right.  As we sat there…waiting for the credits to start.  I thought to myself, “When it comes to 3-D…this is probably not the optimal spot.  Come to think of it…probably not the best spot for a MASSIVE IMAX screen either.”

But the MRS’ BFF was in another world.  And I can only assume this is the level of excitement that I hit when I have been waiting years for a movie (STAR WARS).  She was loaded up with pop, sugar and an anticipation that would top the highest level of adrenaline before taking the hugest plunge on a roller-coaster.

She was bouncing through the credits.

She was still when it started.

Then…well, then…she was in heaven.

I would tell you how much I enjoyed the escapist nature of the movie.  I would tell you why I did like its departures.  I would tell you that I did like that it skewed darker than most, but was actually truer to the books because it did.  I would tell you that the only bit of imagery that didn’t work for me was Crispin Glover’s…because it seemed rushed.

But I won’t.

Because I honestly enjoyed watching the BFF of the MRS more than I enjoyed watching the movie…because I got to see the embodiment of joy.  The same that I always get when I take a friend to Disneyland for the first time.  When I took my eldest there for the first time.  And when I will take my youngest for the first time.  Its only (just almost) equal to the times I have taken a cherished family member to Vegas for the first time (but secretly wishing I was taking them to Disneyworld for the first time).

Because watching someone’s joy…that first moment of them feeling that nothing is going to compare to what I am about to experience.  Is like sharing that moment when you give a gift for a Birthday (or Christmas) multiplied by infinity…and I love being a part of that.

If you’ll let me.

Because I am a geek, too.

What Is It About?

**SPOILERS**

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Alice in Wonderland is a 2010 American computer-animated and live action fantasy film[5] directed by Tim Burton, written by Linda Woolverton, and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The film stars Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh, as well as Johnny DeppAnne Hathaway, and Helena Bonham Carter. The film was shot in the UK and the US.

The film is inspired by English author Lewis Carroll‘s 1865 fantasy novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-GlassMia Wasikowska plays the now nineteen-year-old Alice who, 13 years after her previous visit, returns for the first time as a young woman. She is told that she is the only one who can slay the Jabberwocky, a dragon-like creature controlled by the Red Queen who terrorizes Underland’s inhabitants.

The film premiered in London at the Odeon Leicester Square on February 25, 2010, and was released in Australia on March 4, 2010, and the United States and the United Kingdom on March 5, 2010, through IMAX 3D and Disney Digital 3D, as well as in traditional theaters. Despite its short theatrical release window and mixed reviews, the film grossed over $1.02 billion worldwide. At the 83rd Academy AwardsAlice in Wonderland won for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design, as well as a nomination for Best Visual Effects. As of 2013, it is the thirteenth highest-grossing film of all time.

Troubled by a strange recurring dream and mourning the loss of her beloved father (Marton Csokas), nineteen-year-old Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) attends a garden party at Lord Ascot’s (Tim Piggott-Smith) estate, where she is confronted by an unwanted marriage proposal and the stifling expectations of the society in which she lives. Unsure of how to reply, and increasingly confused, she runs away to chase after a rabbit in a blue waistcoat, and accidentally falls into a large rabbit hole. She is transported to a world called Underland, where she is greeted by the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), the Dormouse (Barbara Windsor), the Dodo (Michael Gough), and Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas in a dual role). They argue over her identity as “the right Alice”, who it is foretold will slay the Red Queen‘s Jabberwocky (Christopher Lee) on the Frabjous Day and restore the White Queen to power. The group is then ambushed by the Bandersnatch and a group of playing-card soldiers led by the Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover) capturing the White Rabbit and the Dodo bird. Alice, Tweedledum and Tweedledee escape and flee into the woods, while the Knave steals the Oraculum and the Dormouse leaves the others with the Bandersnatch’s eye. Tweedledum and Tweedledee, however, were abducted by the Red Queen’s Jubjub bird.

The Knave informs the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) that Alice has returned and threatens her reign, and the soldiers and Bayard the Bloodhound (Timothy Spall) are ordered to find Alice immediately. Meanwhile, the wandering Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), who takes her to the March Hare (Paul Whitehouse) and the Hatter (Johnny Depp). On the way to the White Queen’s castle, Hatter relates the terror of the Red Queen’s reign, and comments that Alice is not the same as she once was. The Hatter helps Alice avoid capture by allowing himself to be seized instead. Later, Alice is found by Bayard the Bloodhound, who wishes to take her to the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), but Alice insists upon helping the Hatter, so they go to the Red Queen’s castle.

The Red Queen is unaware of Alice’s true identity and therefore welcomes her as a guest. Alice learns that the Vorpal Sword (the only weapon capable of killing the Jabberwocky) is locked away in a case inside the Bandersnatch’s den. The Knave crudely attempts to seduce Alice, but she rebuffs him. She later manages to retrieve the sword and befriend the Bandersnatch. The Knave finds her with the sword and attempts to arrest her. Alice escapes on the back of the Bandersnatch and delivers the sword to the White Queen. The Cheshire Cat saves the Hatter from execution, and the Hatter calls for rebellion against the Red Queen. The rebellion is quickly put down by the Jubjub bird. The resistance flees to the White Queen’s castle, and both armies prepare for battle. Alice remains unsure about the expectation for her to champion the White Queen, and meets with Absolem[6] the Caterpillar (Alan Rickman). He reminds Alice of her past visit to Underland (which she mistakenly called “Wonderland” at the time) thirteen years earlier, and helps give her the courage to fight the Jabberwocky and accomplish “What she must to do”, while he becomes a pupa.

When the Frabjous Day arrives, both the White and Red Queens gather their armies on a chessboard-like battlefield and send forth their chosen champions (armor-clad Alice and the Jabberwocky respectively) to decide the fate of Underland. Encouraging herself with the words of her late father, Alice manages to kill the Jabberwocky. The White Queen then banishes the Red Queen and the Knave to the Outlands, and gives Alice a vial of the Jabberwocky’s blood, which will take her home. The Hatter suggests that she could stay in Underland, but she decides that she must go back and promises that she will return.

Alice returns home, where she stands up to her family and pledges to live life on her own terms. Impressed, Lord Ascot takes her in as his apprentice, with the idea of establishing oceanic trade routes to China. As the story closes, Alice prepares to set off on a trading ship. Absolem, now a butterfly, lands on her shoulder. Alice recognizes him and greets him before he flutters away.

Why Did I HAVE to Own It?

The memory of the first time with the BFF of the MRS seeing it for the first time.

The visual aspects of it.

And…the performances of adults knowing they are making one of the ultimate bits of Children’s Theatre that they can share with their own kids.  Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter..Tim Burton…squarely in the driver’s seat for their kids.

How Are The Extras?

There is a LOT here.  A TON of Features that will walk you through every single thing about the movie if you have the time to play with them all.  Its quite the rabbit hole to journey down into!

  • Disc 2
  • Finding Alice The Mad Hatter
    The Futterwacken Dance
    The Red Queen
    Time-Lapse: Sculpting the Red Queen
    The White Queen
    Scoring Wonderland
    Effecting Wonderland
    Stunts Of Wonderland
    Making the Proper Size
    Cakes of Wonderland
    Tea Party Props1-Disc DVD

    :
    Finding Alice
    The Mad Hatter
    Effecting Wonderland

What Format Do I Have It In?

BLURAY…its too gorgeous not to!

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Coming Attractions

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Click to See What’s Next in the Collection!

Let’s Head Out to the Lobby – a word about the waiting list

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This is a picture of the DVDs and BluRays I have in my collection that I have yet to watch.

I told you early on I had a problem.

And when I hit ALIENS vs PREDATOR, I felt it was time for full disclosure.

And here it is: There are movies in my collection that I have yet to watch.  I have either received them as gifts from Industry Insiders or they are movies that belong to the Mrs that I have yet to watch either with her or on my own on a sick day.

When  I reached the AvP DVD…I told myself that I would pull all the ones that I have yet to watch out so that I could see just how many there were.

I know can see that I have a project to do on days when I am home ill OR suffering from insomnia OR cannot get back to sleep because my youngest has decided on yet another early morning (2am) discussion of how the world should be.

And now..as I listen to the music from TWIN PEAKS…I will now go through them all and list them out…just so you can:

1–Tell me the ones that I should move to the top of the list

2–Ask me why the hell do you have that movie?

3–Simply mock me

4–All of the above

ALIENS vs PREDATOR – A gift from a studio.  I have no interest in watching this…as everything I have heard, and people have screamed to me, I shouldn’t

THE ARTIST – Totally forgot I had this one.  I gotta get to this one.  It speaks (play on words) to everything I love about movies and the era!  Plus, I am partially French and I know how we adore talking.

A-TEAM – Bought it…it looked like fun.  I know it was a fav of the MRS and her BFF.  Totally forgot I had it.

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES – From a studio.  I dunno…I don’t know if I wanna watch a war at home.  Even if its with Aliens.  And it seemed a bit anticlimactic after I saw DISTRICT 9.

BENJAMIN BUTTON – A long movie…and, from what I can gather, sad at the end.  To be honest, I have to be in the mood…and not want to watch REDS, CITIZEN KAINE or LAWRENCE of ARABIA instead.

THE BOOK OF ELI – Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman and Mila Kunis…Why haven’t I watched this yet??!?

BRIDESMAIDS – I know, I know, I know!  I”ll get there!

BUBBA HO-TEP – A gift I haven’t gotten to yet.

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Isn’t this the THIRD MOVIE?!?!  Why don’t we have the SECOND MOVIE?!??!

THE CONSTANT GARDNER – This looks like one of the MRS’ movies.  Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz.  I says its “Riveting! A taut and gripping thriller!”  Sounds like I should watch it.  Hey, Pete Postlehwaite is in it!

EAT PRAY LOVE – One of the MRS’ movies…but…I gotta tell you.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a good “chick flick” and often bawl my eyes out when I do watch them.  I am the kind of guy who loves SOMEWHERE IN TIME and then turns around and DIRECTS plays that are “chick flick” worthy.  Ask anyone.

ETERNAL SUNSHINE of the SPOTLESS MIND – This one looks pretty bleak.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like bleak on occasion   I read a lot of bleak things.  I just haven’t been in the mood to be bleaked over by this one.

THE FAMILY STONE – Looks like a MRS’ movie. Great cast!!  WOW!  Its also “Laugh-Out-Loud Hilarious! Smart! Moving! One of the Year’s Best!”  Which I have never heard of.  I will someday, though!

FANBOYS – Straight from the studio.  I heard this got taken away from the director and all aspects of cancer were taken out of it…although that was the catalyst of the story’s journey.  I will get there!

FARENHEIT 9/11 – From the studio.  Its about 9/11 Conspiracy.  Its Michael Moore.  Two things that I have zero interest in spending time with.  I wonder if I will ever watch this film.

THE FIGHTER  – I have heard great things about this movie.  The comeback of Mickey Roarke (although I thought that was actually SIN CITY). I will get there someday.  **EDIT** It was just pointed out to me that…based on this post…I was thinking it was THE WRESTLER.  Its not.  This is the one with Christian Bale as a drug addicted brother of a FIGHTER.  Its all guys smackin’ each other around one way or another, right?

FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX – This is one I was mis-shipped.  I loved the original movie, but I don’t know if I wanna watch this apparantly well done remake with Dennis Quaid and Hugh Laurie.

FRIENDS WITH MONEY – Another of the MRS’ Movies.  Great cast….I like Joan Cusack and Frances McDormand.  And it says its “Terrific! A Knockout Punch!”  Not with that cover its not.  But…it looks fun.

GI JOE: RISE of COBRA – Not even out of its shrink-wrap   Thank you Paramount.  But…no thanks.  Maybe my oldest will wanna watch it.  I film so bad, I understand that not of the original actors (save the masked Ray Park and should be masked Channing Tatum) were asked for a sequel.  I hope Cristopher Eccleston is a better villain in THOR 2 than in this mess.

GREEN HORNET – Do I open this?

GREEN LANTERN – No…I don’t.

THE HELP – Yup..I know know.  I should take away my movie watcher card for not watching this yet.  But I had CASTLE to catch up on!

HISTORY of VIOLENCE – I loved the comic.  I love David Cronenberg.  I should just trust he’s not going to mess it up…and watch it.

HAYWIRE – I should have watched this by now!  I love Steven Soderbergh!  I love Michael Fassbender!  I love Ewan McGregor!  I love Antonio Banderas!  I love Michael Douglas!  I love Channing Tatum — Oh, now I know what’s held me up.

HUGO – I was so psyched to watch this.  Then a the Oscars ruined a major plot point.  Trying to wait until I forget the plot point before I get to watch the movie now.

HURT LOCKER – Too many folks in the military have told me that I shouldn’t watch this movie because of its over-hype and inaccuracies.  Should I watch this movie?

I AM LEGEND – I have heard that it is closer to Richard Matheson’s work.  He was a friend of my grandfathers and I really want it to be so.  But, then again, I am afraid that it might not…any help here?

JOHN CARTER – And he was friends of Burrough’s, too.  But I think I know the answer on this one.  Thank you, Disney/Marvel, but I dunno.

KARATE KID (Remake) – Its a remake of a childhood favorite.  Very worried.  Thank you for the gift Columbia Pictures..but I am not sure about this one.

MACHETE – Waiting to do a GRINDHOUSE TRIPLE FEATURE with friends.  Just haven’t scheduled the day for it!

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA – One of the MRS’ Movies.  But, man I wanna see it.  Just…well…I had to catch up on PERSON of INTEREST.

THE MESSENGER – Everything I like is here.  Luc Besson, Milla Jovovich, John Malkovich, Dustin Hoffman…and its Joan of Arc.  That’s the problem.  My grandfather wrote and knew four subjects that he drummed into my skull.  Arthurian Legend, The Roman Empire, Werewolves and Joan of Arc.  Since then, I haven’t be able to enjoy major aspects of EXCALIBUR, GLADIATOR and every Werewolf Movie except AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON.  So…am I afraid?  Yup!

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS – Woody Allen.  Very hit and miss with me these days.  But I have heard such lovely things about this one.  I will try and get there.

MUNICH – Steven Spielberg is my hero.  I’ve watched ARGO.  Why haven’t I watch this yet?

THE OTHERS – I gotta tell you.  This is a really thick DVD Case and I don’t know why. That might be what scares me.  Either that or it might have been the fact that this was around the time Nicole Kidman started Botox.

PAN’S LABYRINTH – To be honest.  I have it on DVD.  Still shrink-wrapped.  From everything I have heard and seen?  I’d rather watch it for the first time on BluRay.

PASSION OF THE CHRIST – I don’t wanna.  Is that wrong?  Why do I have OWN this?

PAUL (Unrated) – Waiting until I am in the mood for a stoner Alien movie with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  Which might be right now, actually…but I don’t have time.  I have 25 movies left.

PERSEPOLIS – This might have to be with a double feature of MUNICH.  Seriously.  I think that sounds right.

PHENOMENON – John Travolta as a man with psychic powers doesn’t interest me.  I think this one was a gift.  Which I am thankful for, but…I don’t know.

P.S. – I LOVE YOU – Definitely a MRS’ Movie.  But I wanna see it simple for all the right reasons.  I will totally get to this movie.

REAL STEEL – Rockem Sockem Robots The Movie!  I got this one to watch with my eldest…we haven’t gotten to it.  Plus its got MRS favorite Hugh Jackman in it.  And its got Evangeline Lilly in it…a favorite of mine from LOST.  We’ll get to this…someday.

RED STATE – Kevin Smith (clerks, Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob) makes a horror movie.  Just pacing myself to watch this  one.

RISE of the PLANET OF THE APES – Anyone who knows me knows my love to the PLANET OF THE APES Franchise.  I watched everything…from the movies, to the cartoon, to the television series, to the remake.  I owned the toys, the masks, the comics books…everything.  I am just so worried about this one.  Someone help me….because a sequel is coming.

SAW – I own.  But can’t bring myself to watch torture porn.  Should I?

THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES – One of the MRS’ Movies…but, MAN does it look good.  I totally gotta watch this sometime.  But I have GAME of THRONES to catch up on.  Maybe a double feature with THE HELP?

SKYCAPTAIN and the WORLD of TOMORROW – Everything about this is right my alley!  I think I was waiting to watch this with my eldest and he got to it before me.  I will get here because it looks too fun not to.  Particularly with a double feature of THE ROCKETEER.

STIR OF ECHOES – Total freebie from the studio.  Looks more like a frisbee, though.  The cover does say its “Chilling”, though.  Maybe with a Jack Daniels someday…but, then again, I drink those neat.

SUCKERPUNCH – Waiting to be in the mood.  But, man, after finishing BIOSHOCK: INFINITE…now might be the time!  This looks like LOADS of fun!

TERMINATOR: SALVATION (Director’s Cut) – When the first release they offer from the studio is a Director’s Cut…and not the cut that was shown in the theatres…what does that tell you?  Yup…me, too.

THE THING – Its not he John Carpenter film that I LOVE…but…what is being billed as a prequel  Just waiting for the time when I can watch it by myself…as it is NOT a MRS’ movie.  But…when I am alone…honestly…I’d rather read a book…or play MADDEN on the XBox…or go back replay all of FALLOUT: LAS VEGAS…or…

THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR – A big favorite MRS’ movie.  But I love the original so much…that I don’t know if I can completely watch this.  I should!  I really should.  But, I have WALKING DEAD episodes to catch up on.

3:10 TO YUMA – My last gift from my dad.  He loved westerns.  A year and a half from his passing and I still can’t watch it.

TIN MAN – A modern update of the OZ story…with lots of great folks in it AND Alan Cumming, too…but…now I feel like I should be watching REAL STEEL or something.

TRANSFORMERS: DARK SIDE of the MOON – My eldest loved the first.  Couldn’t let him wade through the second’s dearth of Sexual Innuendo.  Got the third from studio…and waiting to pre-screen it.  By the time I finally do…he’ll be 13 and can watch it on his own.  That folks…is called planning.

27 DRESSES – I’ve seen some of this.  It’s really cute.  Yes..>i said cute<  I will get to this movie because it IS cute!  So there!

UNDERWORLD – Vampires. Werewolves.  War.  Remember what I said about werewolves way back in THE MESSENGER?  That’s why.

VANITY FAIR – One of the MRS’ Movies.  The first one where I go…I..just…don’t…know.  Reese Witherspoon looking like Marie Antoinette staring out from me from the cover jacket…does not entice me.  Even though it does say its “Lusciously Entertaining.”  Hoo boy.

THE VILLAGE – After all the bashing.  I don’t know if I can watch it.  I happen to LIKE M. Night Shyamalan’s movies.  They remind me of the re-runs TWILIGHT ZONE from my childhood.  Oh…sure…you can see the end coming from his movies.  But, I could from the TWILIGHT ZONE, too.  It didn’t diminish my love for them.  Heck with it…I am gonna watch this…someday.

WAITRESS – I love Nathan Fillion.  I love Keri what’s-her-name.  Okay, I don’t love love her.  But I do like her bunch.  And the story of the film’s creator is to sad not to watch.  I will get here someday.

THE WEDDING SINGER – A gift from someone that I do not want to spend time with.  So why do I still have this movie?

YOUR HIGHNESS – A stoner ROBIN HOOD MEN IN TIGHTS wanna be.  A gift from Universal.  I will be on top of this as soon as I can muster the need to watch it.

ZOMBIELAND – Ironically…the top of my list of a of these movies to finally watch.  I need to.   I have to.  I want to. I must to!  I just gotta wrap this up and get to work.

I know there are a lot of movies here.  I am thankful you are going to help me decided which go where on the must watch list.

I also know you are going to give me a good mock or two as to why I haven’t watched some of them, yet…as compared to others in my collection that I have watched.

I also have a feeling…I am gonna get a good deep mocking over with the ones that I actually have in the collection.
Then again, a wise man once said, “Free is a loose term.”
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Click Below for Coming Attractions of the Next Blog
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AIR FORCE ONE

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AIR FORCE ONE (1997)

Where Was I When I First Saw The Movie?

I used to review movies for a major radio station in the Pacific Northwest.  At the time it was called KPLZ.  I was their “movie guy.”  Which meant I got to go see movies on the Monday, Tuesday and, sometimes, Wednesday BEFORE the movie opened.  Then…down the line…I would get a copy of the DVD of the movie I reviewed.

This is one the instances where I hung on to the DVD that they sent me.

Since I don’t review movies for anyone anymore, let me give you a peek behind the curtain. Most Reviewers at movies:

1–Review the movie before they see it…writing the bulk of it from their press packet.  The reason for this is that if they have four to five movies to review in a given week…they just don’t have the time to do the most complete job that they want to do in the time given for them to do it in.

2–Leave before the movie is over.  I saw this one a lot.  They might have to run over to another theatre in the same movie complex to watch another movie to review.  If it jibes with the review they’ve already written the bulk of…they are golden.

3–Don’t like watching movies anymore.  They are tired of them.  They can recite the plot of the movie before they’ve seen it and giggle along when their point is made.

4–Love to find the flaws before they find the joy of the film.  They are the worst at setting a place aside in their mind for disbelief.  Most are not along for the ride anymore.  They tend to sit in the back seat and direct the movie far better than the director did or writer it better than any writer could have conceived.

For the record…I was not one of those kind of reviewers and I can spot one now from a mile away.  Its tough, in the industry that I am in now, to be objective when I read a review.  I tend to see if the reviewer had their notions of the piece before they came, wanted to let go and be part of the ride and…in general…do they enjoy the entertainment value anymore?

I love movies.  I love music.  I love art.  I love theatre.  I love books.  I love to try new things on TV.

Why do I still?

Because I can still let go and let it try and let the entertainment (heavy or light) take me there.

It doesn’t always succeed…but I give it time to try to.

When I went to go see AIR FORCE ONE as a reviewer…I knew I what I was in for.  A Harrison Ford action movie directed by Wolfgang Petersen who had directed one of my favorite war movies (The Boat).  I knew moments would be over the top…I knew I would have to suspend my disbelief in a President that could hold his own in a fight with the bad guys.

The surprises I got were:

…a female Vice President in 1997 (Glenn Close) who was not a simpering flower, but a strong willed politician who held the line at home while the President was in jeopardy.

…the first real kick ass onscreen villain to interest me since Alan Rickman in DIE HARD….and this movie was obviously ripped from the same cloth of “DIE HARD In A–” Movies.

Even DIE HARD had gone there…

DIE HARD In A Building

DIE HARD In An Airport

Then there was…

DIE HARD On A Bus (SPEED)

DIE HARD On A Boat (SPEED 2)

Rinse and Repeat.

This one looked like DIE HARD On Air Force One…and I was ready to be entertained by that.

Because…although I had an expectation of what I might see….I didn’t have a preconceived notion of what I was going to be presented…and I just let it happen.

Was it cheesy?  You bet.

Was it action packed? Yup

Was it Harrison Ford-y?  To the Utmost

Did Gary Oldman chew the scenery like Alan Rickman did before him? OH YES!

I went to have fun…and I did.

Not to say I always did as a reviewer, but I had a different idea about the job.

I went to be entertained…and if, by the end, I was let down or felt horribly worked over in the worse way…then that is what I would review, too.

Nobody’s, and nothing’s, perfect.

Except for….

Well, that would be telling.

What Is It About?

**SPOILERS**

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Air Force One is a 1997 American action-thriller film written by Andrew W. Marlowe and directed by Wolfgang Petersen in which a group of terrorists hijack Air Force One. It stars Harrison Ford as well as Gary OldmanGlenn CloseXander BerkeleyWilliam H. MacyDean Stockwell and Paul Guilfoyle.

A joint military operation led by American and Russian special forces rushing through and neutralizing a few Kazakh Presidential Guards which ends with the capture of General Ivan Radek (Jürgen Prochnow), the dictator of a rogue terrorist regime in Kazakhstan that had taken possession of an arsenal of former Soviet nuclear weapons, who is now taken to a Russian maximum security prison. Three weeks later, a diplomatic dinner is held in Moscow to celebrate the capture of the Kazakh dictator, at which President of the United States James Marshall (Harrison Ford) expresses his remorse that action had not been taken sooner to prevent the suffering that Radek caused. He also vows that his administration will take a firmer stance against despotism and that they will never negotiate with terrorists.

President Marshall, along with his wife Grace (Wendy Crewson), his daughter Alice (Liesel Matthews), and several of his Cabinet and advisors, board Air Force One to return to the United States. A contingent of news reporters are also aboard. U.S. Secret Service agent Gibbs (Xander Berkeley), acting as a mole for a group of six Radek loyalists led by Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman), sneaks them onto the plane disguised as a news crew, after the real news crew was murdered and their IDs were stolen. Once in flight, Gibbs kills several Secret Service agents guarding the plane’s armory, allowing Korshunov and his men to take the armory’s weapons and equipment and seize control of the plane. A gun battle erupted between the hijackers and the Secret Service while the pilots attempt to land the plane at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. However, the pilots are killed when the hijackers breach the cockpit, after which they take control, diverting the plane towards Kazakhstan. Secret Service agents take Marshall to an escape pod in the cargo hold, while the rest of the passengers are taken hostage by the hijackers. Believing the President has escaped, the hijackers separate his wife and daughter from the rest of their hostages, planning to use them as leverage.

At the White House Situation Room, Korshunov contacts Vice President Kathryn Bennett (Glenn Close), threatening to kill a hostage every half hour until Radek is released. Meanwhile, the U.S. military locates the escape pod but finds it empty. Unbeknownst to the hijackers, President Marshall, a retired military aviator, veteran of the Vietnam War, and Medal of Honorrecipient, stayed aboard the plane to rescue everybody else including his wife and daughter. He contacts the White House via satellite phone, reminding Bennett not to negotiate with the terrorists. Marshall manages to kill two of Korshunov’s men and overwhelmed the man guarding the hostages. He develops a plan to drain the fuel from the plane, forcing the hijackers to request mid-air refueling, which would drop the plane to a low enough altitude to allow the hostages to parachute out. Though his advisors insist that Marshall get off the plane before the terrorists find out that he is still onboard, he refuses to go without his family. When Korshunov discovers the deception, he forces the plane away from the refueling tanker, causing the fuel to ignite and destroy the fueling plane. He then captures Marshall and a few of his advisors before they can escape.

With Marshall and his family held hostage, Bennett is forced to contact Russian President Petrov to endorse Radek’s release. Korshunov and his men celebrate as the event is broadcast over the plane’s speakers, but Marshall uses the distraction to free himself. While Marshall’s advisers deal with the remaining terrorists, Korshunov grabs Grace as a hostage and disappear to the plane’s parachute ramp, followed by Marshall. Grace manages to cause Korshunov to lose hold of his weapon, so Marshall would have the chance to wrestle with Korshunov. While he is fighting, he wraps a rope around Korshunov’s neck and forces his chute to open, pulling him out of the plane and killing him. Marshall then races back just in time to the communication room to announce that Radek, who is about to board a waiting helicopter, is to be halted. When the prison guards attempt to recapture him, Radek tries to flee but is shot and killed.

Marshall directs Air Force One back towards friendly airspace, but they soon discover Kazakh MiG-29s piloted by Radek loyalists following them. Escorting U.S. F-15s fend off the attack, including one pilot that sacrifices himself to intercept a missile, but the shrapnel from the explosion and machine gun rounds from the MiG-29s destroys Air Force One’s tail controls, making it impossible to safely land the plane. Marshall pilots Air Force One out toward the Caspian Sea to prevent civilian casualties in the now-inevitable crash, and a nearby patrolling U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130E Combat Talon is called in to rescue Marshall and the others via zip-line; Marshall insists his family and advisers are rescued first.

Eventually, only Marshall, Gibbs, and Major Caldwell (William H. Macy) remain on the plane. It is announced to the three men that they can only take one more man out. Caldwell selflessly tells Marshall to go while he and Gibbs remain behind, but Gibbs pulls a gun and reveals to Marshall about his betrayal. He kills Major Caldwell after Caldwell steps in front of Marshall to take the shots that he intended to hit Marshall with, and attempts to save himself on the last remaining zip-line crossing before Air Force One hits the water. Marshall overpowers him, then grabs and detaches the zip line, escaping to safety. Moments later the plane, with Gibbs screaming in the open doorway, explosively disintegrates upon hitting the water. The MC-130E crew reel in the President, and change their call sign to “Air Force One” as they head back towards friendly airspace, while Marshall is reunited with his family.

Why Did I HAVE to Own It?

Well…It was given to me by the studio.

I hung on to it because I like me a good DIE HARD kind of movie and I like a fun Harrison Ford action picture.

Have I watched it, lately?  No.  But…I kinda wanna now.

How Are The Extras?

  • NONE. Zip, Nada.  Which tells me this actually happened.  Had to.  There’s no features about how it was done.

What Format Do I Have It In?

DVD….and I think that’s all I need for a meat and potatoes action movie like this.  Its just as fun the way it is.

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Coming Attractions

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Click to See What’s Next in the Collection!

A.I. (Artificial Intelligence)

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A.I. (2001)

Where Was I When I First Saw The Movie?

I am pretty sure I saw this one at the Lakewood Regal Cinema 15.

I was in a very weird place emotionally.

My mother had passed the month before during tech week of GUYS & DOLLS and I was a few months away from the birth of my first son.

I felt adrift as my mother and I were never close.  I’ve since reconciled with my feelings about her…she tried her best with the tools that she had. She did some things that weren’t very positive to my psyche, but I am sure they were the best that she could do.  She was an orphan who had struggled to find her way in the world…and don’t think was ever prepared to be a mother (even though she turned out to be the mother of five from two marriages and one “accident”…I was the end of the line).

To put it bluntly: I was treated more along the lines of a pet that needed feeding that she enjoyed watching run around and play sports.

The best thing I can say about my mother is that she introduced me to theatre.  She told me, when I was 8, that I needed to burn off all of this extra energy (even though I was already doing soccer, baseball and basketball for her enjoyment).  She put me in the summer program at a local theatre…and changed my life.

I am thankful more than I can say for that moment.

Do I love my mother?

I do now.  But it is from the viewpoint of a parent who understands she simply didn’t know how to be one.

As I said…I was a few months away from being a parent for the first time.  Was I prepared? Never in a million years.  The situation wasn’t optimal.  We were not in a relationship…but we agreed that we would always be there for each other, no matter what.  We were bringing a miracle into the world.

I was reading all the books…I was mentally psyching myself up for this new moment – this new adventure – in my life.

But…I was beginning to feel a lot like my mother and the terror that she must have felt and there I times that I still do.

But I had seen this movie coming for years…it was called A.I.

It was the brainchild of Stanley Kubrick, but he never got to make it happen.  In typical Kubrick fashion, he had abandoned the source material and had done draft after draft after draft…he had done storyboards…he had done readings…but he was ahead of the technological curve to make the movie happen.

To be honest…I had abandoned Kubrick after he butchered Stephen King’s THE SHINING.  It was a hollow portrayal of one of my favorite books ever written.  He turned it into an emotionally detached examination of cabin fever that disintegrated into a horrible slasher flick.  It was the only time that I stood up in the theater at the end, turned to my father (who had taken in underage son to a movie he begged him to see because it was his favorite book) and said to him (loudly and before the movie was over), “What the FUCK is this CRAP?!”

After THE SHINING, I felt that Kubrick’s movies had lost their emotional center and all the movies that followed it were full of empty people doing horrible things to each other.

As Kubrick’s health began to fail him in his later years, he gave the materials of the movie to Steven Spielberg to continue to develop.  When Kubrick passed, Spielberg vowed to make it.

And the rest was cinema lore.

What Is It About?

**SPOILERS**

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:

A.I. Artificial Intelligence, also known as A.I., is a 2001 American science fiction drama film written, directed, and produced by Steven Spielberg, and based on Brian Aldiss‘s short storySuper-Toys Last All Summer Long“. The film stars Haley Joel OsmentJude LawFrances O’ConnorBrendan Gleeson, and William Hurt. Set sometime in the future, A.I. tells the story of David, a childlike android uniquely programmed with the ability to love.

Development of A.I. originally began with director Stanley Kubrick in the early 1970s. Kubrick hired a series of writers up until the mid-1990s, including Brian Aldiss, Bob ShawIan Watson, and Sara Maitland. The film languished in development hell for years, partly because Kubrick felt computer-generated imagery was not advanced enough to create the David character, whom he believed no child actor would believably portray. In 1995, Kubrick handed A.I. to Spielberg, but the film did not gain momentum until Kubrick’s death in 1999. Spielberg remained close to Watson’s film treatment for the screenplay. The film was greeted with generally favorable reviews from critics and grossed approximately $235 million. A small credit appears after the end credits, which reads “For Stanley Kubrick.”

In the late 21st century, global warming has flooded coastlines, and a drastic reduction of the human population has occurred. There is a new class of robots called Mecha, advanced humanoids capable of emulating thoughts and emotions. David (Osment), a prototype model created by Cybertronics of New Jersey, is designed to resemble a human child and to display love for its human owners. They test their creation with one of their employees, Henry Swinton (Robards), and his wife Monica (O’Connor). The Swintons’ son, Martin (Thomas), was placed insuspended animation until a cure can be found for his rare disease. Although Monica is initially frightened of David, she eventually warms to him and activates his imprinting protocol, which irreversibly causes David to project love for her, the same as any child would love a parent. He is also befriended by Teddy (Angel), a robotic teddy bear, who takes it upon himself to care for David’s well being.

A cure is found for Martin and he is brought home; a sibling rivalry ensues between Martin and David. Martin convinces David to go to Monica in the middle of the night and cut off a lock of her hair, but the parents wake up and are very upset. At a pool party, one of Martin’s friends activates David’s self-protection programming by poking him with a knife. David clings to Martin and they both fall into the pool, where the heavy David sinks to the bottom while still clinging to Martin. Martin is saved from drowning, but Henry in particular is shocked by David’s actions, becoming concerned that David’s capacity for love has also given him the ability to hate. Henry persuades Monica to return David to Cybertronics, where David will be destroyed. However, Monica cannot bring herself to do this, and instead abandons David in the forest (with Teddy) to hide as an unregistered Mecha. David is captured for an anti-Mecha Flesh Fair, an event where obsolete and unlicensed Mecha are destroyed in front of cheering crowds. David is nearly killed, but the crowd is swayed by his realistic nature and he escapes, along with Gigolo Joe (Law), a male prostitute Mecha on the run after being framed for murder.

The two set out to find the Blue Fairy, whom David remembers from the story The Adventures of Pinocchio. He is convinced that the Blue Fairy will transform him into a human boy, allowing Monica to love him and take him home. Joe and David make their way to Rouge City. Information from a holographic answer engine called “Dr. Know” (Williams) eventually leads them to the top of Rockefeller Center in partially flooded Manhattan. David meets his human creator, Professor Allen Hobby (Hurt), who excitedly tells David that finding him was a test, which has demonstrated the reality of his love and desire. It also becomes clear that many copies of David are already being manufactured, along with female versions. David sadly realizes he is not unique. A disheartened David attempts to commit suicide by falling from a ledge into the ocean, but Joe rescues him with the amphibicopter. David tells Joe he saw the Blue Fairy underwater, and wants to go down to her. At that moment, Joe is captured by the authorities with the use of an electromagnet, but sets the amphibicopter on submerge. David and Teddy take it to the fairy, which turns out to be a statue from a submerged attraction at Coney Island. Teddy and David become trapped when the Wonder Wheel falls on their vehicle. Believing the Blue Fairy to be real, David asks to be turned into a real boy, repeating his wish without end, until the ocean freezes in another ice age and his internal power source drains away.

Two thousand years later, humans extinct and Manhattan is buried under several hundred feet of glacial ice. Mecha have evolved into a silicon-based, highly advanced and intelligent, alien-looking futuristic Mecha, with the ability to perform some form of time manipulation and telekinesis. On their project to studying humans – believing it was the key to understanding the meaning of existence, they find David and Teddy and discover they are functional Mecha who knew living humans, making them special and unique. David is revived and walks to the frozen Blue Fairy statue, which cracks and collapses as he touches it. Having received and comprehended his memories, the advanced Mecha use them to reconstruct the Swinton home and explain to David via an interactive image of the Blue Fairy (Streep) that it is impossible to make him human. However, at David’s insistence, they recreate Monica from DNA in the lock of her hair which had been saved by Teddy. One of the futuristic Mecha tells David that the clone can only live for single day, and the process cannot be repeated. But David keeps insisting, so they fast forward the time to the next morning, and David spends the happiest day of his life with Monica and Teddy. Monica tells David that she loves him, and has always loved him, as she drifts to sleep for the last time. David lies down next to her, closes his eyes and goes “to that place where dreams are born”. Teddy enters the room, climbs onto the bed, and watches as David and Monica lie down peacefully together.

Why Did I HAVE to Own It?

Of all of the times for this particular movie to come out…birthed by two surrogate “fathers” of film who couldn’t be father away in their emotional cores…it had to be between the loss of my mom and the impending birth of my son.

When I saw it…as disjointed as it may have been at times…it spoke to me on more fronts that I can begin to tell you.  I think some of them are pretty clear from the preamble to all of this.  The themes listed in the Wikipedia entry are almost a blueprint to my childhood…my relationship to my mother..my impending fatherhood…and the same feelings of searching for self that Spielberg has always put into his movies because he was…in many ways like myself…and abandoned child.

How Are The Extras?

  • Over 100 minutes of behind-the-scene footage, new interviews, and featurettes
  • Spielberg talks about developing the vision of A.I. – This is wonderful and goes in depth into the whys as to the reason Spielberg had to make it, the way Kubrick developed it and the years of preperation it took to develop and produce it
  • Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic group on the film’s special effects – This was a time of groundbreaking special effects in cinema and this was no exception.  There is a wealth here of material that Spielberg pushed ILM to develop for this film and all the movies that follows it.
  • Stan Winston explains how the robots were brought to life – The guy who brought the dinosaurs and the Terminator to life.  one of my heroes…and this is a great piece on him.
  • Featurette on the sound effects and orchestral score for the film – anytime I get to watch John Williams in action I am a happy man
  • Storyboard sequences – It interesting to see how Spielberg and Kubrick are similar, yet differ, from each other.
  • Effects portfolio – Pretty Standard Stuff…that would, today, be listed as a “sizzle” reel.
  • Portrait gallery – All the pictures that they sent to magazines
  • Behind-the-scenes photos with Steven Spielberg – These are the better ones…more intimate about the process
  • Production design photos – These are the OTHER pictures they sent to all the magazines.

What Format Do I Have It In?

DVD…and, truthfully, when I become a millionaire (which will probably be in a few days if my plan works out) I will upgrade this sucker…it deserves it.

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Coming Attractions

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Click to See What’s Next in the Collection!

THE AFRICAN QUEEN

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THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1952)

Where Was I When I First Saw The Movie?

Here’s the part where I get to point out that I might be a little older than some of you.  When I was…I think 10 or 12 – somewhere in there…there was no way to see movies like THE AFRICAN QUEEN unless you:

(1) Have an INTEREST in watching the movie or show

(2) Look them up in a published relic called The TV GUIDE

(3) Found out the EXACT time that they were playing

(4) Sat in front of the TV Set and watched it.

Now, bear in mind, that if you had a VCR at that time…you were rolling in money.  They were about a $1,200.00-$1,500.00 proposition.  And, to say the least, my family was not rich.

So, here I am…I’m about 10 or 12…and, although I loved the black and white monsters movies, Chaplin, Keaton, et al, anything else in that period of film had not really piqued my interest.  My Dad hadn’t introduced me to them.  My Mom just watched sports (mainly basketball), my Grandfather was too busy introducing me to all things fantasy and my brother?  Not even going there.

To be honest…movies like this were not even on my radar.

Then Dad took us to Las Vegas for the second time.

I pretty sure it was our second time.  I remember Circus Circus the first time when I was 8 or 9.  I remember eating at a place that was circling the center of the Casino down below…and acrobats whizzing through the air as people gambled.  Yup…as they gambled.  I also remember Dad hitting a machine for $1,000.00 during dinner.  My hopes of VCR were coming to life.

We never got the VCR that year…and I have no idea what happened to the grand.

But this is about the second time time to Vegas.  We must have stayed at the MGM Grand Casino…if that’s what it was called then.  Because I remember a Kid’s Area downstairs filled with Pinball Machines.  We spent most of our time there, while Mom and Dad were “somewhere else.”

Think about *that* happening today.  A 12 year old and a 15 year old (my big brother) left in a Casino area on their own.  My parents would never hear the end of it and I would have been interviewed on CNN.

But alone we were…and I was free to explore.

On the edge of the Pinball Machine section was a entrance that was made up to look like an art deco movie theatre.  I wandered in and my life changed.

It was a small room with movies being projected against the far wall.  The seating was, I kid you know, three person seater couches.  And there was 10 of them.  Only 10.

The theatre as empty and it was showing, what I later found out, to be THE MALTESE FALCON (Yup…its in the collection).

I plopped down and never left.

For three movies.  After FALCON  was CASABLANCA…and after that was THE AFRICAN QUEEN.

I had found my new hero and his name was Humphrey Bogart.

He was a hero…but broken.  He was tough…but vulnerable.  You could see everything flicker across his eyes in a moment.  All of the betrayal, the love and…for the first time in QUEEN…a shock…JOY!

I stayed in there for well over five hours.

My parents never looked for me once.

I am blessed they never did…because my life was forever changed by those movies.  Humphrey Bogart became the reason I wanted to be an actor (and Monty Python a comedian).  Someday, I told myself, I would do roles like Bogart.

And, as it turned out, I did.

And once?  As Bogart himself in PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM…and it would be my community theatre debut at 16.

John Huston was another story…He would later become one of my reasons for being a director…because my father loved him so.

What Is It About?

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:

The African Queen is a 1951 adventure film adapted from the 1935 novel of the same name by C. S. Forester.[4] The film was directed by John Huston and produced by Sam Spiegel[5] andJohn Woolf. The screenplay was adapted by James Agee, John Huston, John Collier and Peter Viertel. It was photographed in Technicolor by Jack Cardiff and had a music score by Allan Gray. The film stars Humphrey Bogart (who won the Academy Award for Best Actor – his only Oscar), and Katharine Hepburn with Robert MorleyPeter BullWalter GotellRichard Marnerand Theodore Bikel.[6]

The African Queen has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, with the Library of Congress deeming it “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”.

The film currently holds a 100% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 37 reviews.[7]

Production censors objected to several aspects of the original script, which included the two characters cohabiting without the formality of marriage. Some changes were made before the film was completed.[8] Another change followed the casting of Bogart; his character’s lines in the original screenplay were rendered with a thick Cockney dialect but the script had to be completely rewritten because the actor was unable to reproduce it.

The film was partially financed by John and James Woolf of Romulus Films, a British company. The Woolf brothers provided £250,000[9] and were so pleased with the completed movie that they talked John Huston into directing their next picture, Moulin Rouge (1952).

Much of the film was shot on location in Uganda and the Congo in Africa. This was rather novel for the time, especially for a technicolor picture which utilized large unwieldy cameras. The cast and crew endured sickness, and spartan living conditions during their time on location. In one scene, Hepburn was playing a piano but had a bucket nearby because she was often sick between takes. Bogart later bragged that he was the only one to escape illness, which he credited to not drinking any water on location, but instead fortifying himself from the large supply of whiskey he had brought along with him.

About half of the film was shot in England. For instance, the scenes in which Bogart and Hepburn are seen in the water were all shot in studio tanks at Isleworth Studios, Middlesex. These scenes were considered too dangerous to shoot in Africa. All of the foreground plates for the process shots were also done in studio.[10]

The scenes in the reed-filled riverbank were filmed in Dalyan, Turkey. [11]

Most of the action takes place aboard a boat – the African Queen of the title – and scenes on board the boat were filmed using a large raft with a mockup of the boat on top. Sections of the boat set could be removed to make room for the large Technicolor camera. This proved hazardous on one occasion when the boat’s boiler – a heavy copper replica – almost fell on Hepburn. It was not bolted down since it also had to be moved to accommodate the camera. The small steam-boat used in the film to depict the African Queen was built in 1912, in England, for service in Africa. At one time it was owned by actor Fess Parker.[12] In December 2011, plans were announced to restore the boat.[13] Restoration was completed by the following April and the African Queen is now on display as a tourist attraction at Key LargoFlorida.[14]

Because of the dangers involved with shooting the rapid scenes, a model was created at the studio tank in London.

The German gunboat in the film, the Königin Luise, was inspired by the former World War I vessel MV Liemba (known until 1924 as the Graf von Götzen), which was scuttled in 1916 during the Battle for Lake Tanganyika, but was subsequently refloated by the British and continues to operate as a passenger ferry to this day. The actual vessel used in the film to portray theLouisa was the steam tug Buganda, owned and operated on Lake Victoria by East African Railways & Harbours.

 

Why Did I HAVE to Own It?

BOGART!

It was my way to go to school.  My way to remember a trip to Vegas with my Dad and Mom.  A way to remember the freedom I felt that day.

And it also became a way to study the directing style of John Huston..  Mr. Huston was Dad’s favorite director because he directed THE TREASURE of the SIERRA MADRE – One of three movies that Dad put extremely high on his list.

Huston knew how to direct tension..he knew how to find the honesty in a comedic moment, too.  I learned a lot from him…and glad for every second.

 

How Are The Extras?

The Documentary Feature EMBRACING CHAOS: MAKING THE AFRICAN QUEEN – This is how it should be done, folks.  A documentary that is so comprehensive that it will make you feel like you were part of the process when they were filming this magnificent movie on location and on the set.  The details about everything…from development to production to release…PHENOMENAL!

A Masters Class on Film!

 

What Format Do I Have It In?

BluRay!

So gorgeous…what a transfer.  The color has never been seen like this before.  Every previous version has shown the age inside the film stock, but this loving restoration is beyond compare!

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Coming Attractions

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Click to See What’s Next in the Collection!

A FEW GOOD MEN

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A FEW GOOD MEN (1992)

 

Where Was I When I First Saw The Movie?

This one I saw with my Dad.  My dad was in the Navy when he was a kid.  Before he started on a life adventure that I probably won’t talk about until we hit the “G” or “S” Section of my collection.  But this was a movie that dad wanted to see out of the gate.

To him…this one looked right.  It looked real.  And when it came to movies that reflected his life, the only way that he would go see it was if “it looked real.”

I don’t remember the movie theatre that we saw it at, but I remember that, at the time, I had already fallen in love with Rob Reiner as a director and wanted to see what he would do with a dramatic piece.  Something that he had not had a chance to show as deeply in his previous movies.

He had picked some of the younger character actors that I had already told myself I would follow: Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollack, Keifer Sutherland, J.T. Walsh…and then capped them off with Jack Nicholson (also a draw for my Dad…going back to a certain movie and a certain scene about toast).

I wasn’t sure about Tom Cruise.  The last thing that I had saw him in…that I really enjoyed…was a movie called ALL THE RIGHT MOVES.  Looking back on that…what a cheesy thing that was.  But he was really good in it…and of course LEGEND.

Demi Moore?  All I could see her in was her part in ST ELMO’S FIRE.  She was really cute, but seemed out of place going in.

But this was a movie for Dad.

We rarely had those, because we had both gotten so busy with work at the family business and…by this time…Dad was less my Dad…and more my boss at work.  He was his first name only.  Because that’s all I could call him at work.  I couldn’t call him Dad.  And it was tougher and tougher to see him in there.

Unless we went to a movie…or there was a crisis.  But that’s another story.

I had liked the trailer…I was intrigued.  I had already directed THE CAINE MUTINY COURT MARTIAL (Set in Desert Storm)…and I had loved the mechanics of bringing that to life.  I had gained a great deal of respect for the Navy and their protocol and what it meant to be a sailor.

But…to be clear…I was still not sold on the idea that going into the service was a thing for me.  In fact, I am still not.  The way that our leaders put this incredible men and women so carelessly into harms way is something I cannot get past…and find it hard, at times, to forgive our nation’s choices.

But the men and women of our service?  They are singularly…every one of them…heroes.   I owe my ability to write this blog, and a number of the things I take for granted in my life, to them. They all have my respect and gratitude.

But my feelings on how the government treat them…is a different matter all together…and one I am not going to go into at this point.

Maybe someday…but not today.

But…I got to see it with my Dad. That’s the important part.

And when the lights came up (he is the one that taught me to stay until the end of the credits)…he got up and told me, “They got that right.  Even Nicholson’s speech…however much of a prick he was…he’s right.”

It’s weird how I can still hear snatches of my Dad’s conversations…and moments.  Even though he has been gone for a year and a half.

Not something I am going to wanna lose for a long time.

Oh…and another thing I remember about seeing A FEW GOOD MEN the first time?

At the time…I had never heard of Aaron Sorkin.

Boy…was that ever gonna change.

What Is It About?

According to IMDB it calls it:

“Neo military lawyer Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder; they contend they were acting under orders.”

Man…IMDB is sparse.  This is the second time they have let me down.

Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say about it:

A Few Good Men is a 1992 American drama film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Tom CruiseJack Nicholson, and Demi Moore. It was adapted for the screen by Aaron Sorkin from his play of the same name. A courtroom drama, the film revolves around the court martial of two U.S. Marines charged with the murder of a fellow Marine and the tribulations of their lawyer as he prepares a case to defend his clients.”

Hey…you know…that’s better.  I just might cite Wikipedia in these blogs.  Besides, their nuts and bolts about the movie is better.

I wonder if they have one for THE ADVENTURES of SHERLOCK HOLMES’ SMARTER BROTHER?  They DO!  And it IS better!

Wikipedia it is!

To heck with YOU IMDB!  Find yourself another browser!

Why Did I HAVE to Own It?

AARON SORKIN!

His words.

Nothing had hit me harder, or faster, in my life as a viewer since early Mamet.

The music of the dialogue was rich.  The intelligence that was shown…and then thrown headlong into the wit that is deftly sewn through it…I was in total abject love.

I had to find EVERYTHING that he ever wrote.  EVERYTHING.

At the time there wasn’t much.  There wasn’t THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT.  There wasn’t SPORTSNIGHT.  There wasn’t a WEST WING.  There wasn’t STUDIO 60.  There wasn’t a SOCIAL NETWORK.  There wasn’t a NEWSROOM.

There was A FEW GOOD MEN…and that’s all there was.

I immediately bought the script…then I bought the Play that it was based upon…also by Aaron Sorkin.

As I type this…I am listening to the music from the production that I used when I directed it at the Lakewood Playhouse.  When I had the play…and had read it over, and over, and over…I took my dog-eared copy to my friend who was running the theatre at the time and begged him to read it.

He weren’t able to to do it quickly….but he did.

And he blessed me with it.

Then I got to get into the mechanics of it…and the words were even more incredible to play and dance with.  I was blessed with an incredible cast who loved the words as much as I did.

It was one of my many  proudest moments as a director.

Until I got to direct THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION last year…also by Aaron Sorkin.

How Are The Extras?

Digitally Mastered Audio & Anamorphic Video – Wow.  I couldn’t contain myself.  But, honestly, I could.  It was a bad transfer, but I got to watch great actors play with Sorkin’s words!

Audio Commentary from director Rob Reiner – This was really insightful, but I didn’t listen to it until AFTER I directed the play.

“Exclusive Documentary: Code of Conduct, Featuring interviews with Rob Reiner, Aaron Sorkin and cast” – This didn’t go nearly as deep as I had hoped it would.
From Stage to Screen with Aaron Sorkin and Rob Reiner – But THIS DID!  Sorkin talking about the process of breaking his own Play in order to turn it into a film was quality stuff.  I used it when I broke one of my books into a screenplay the first time.  It tooks me 17 drafts, but I finally figured it out.
Bonus Trailers – Not much here.  Its way before Hollywood realized how deeply us movie nerds can gorge on the idiosynchrisies of how its all done.
Filmographies – Glorified Resumes.
Production Notes – Glorified Press Releases.
Interactive Menus – Yes.  Every DVD has one.
Scene Selections with Motion Images – And these, too!

What Format Do I Have It In?

DVD….but this is one that I should really upgrade to a BluRay.  Let’s see if the extras would warrant it (also something that goes into my need to upgrade).

WOW!  It says…”None.”

That makes it a downgrade..except for the image.

Sorry, folks…keepin’ the DVD!

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