Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dragging a$$ and dropping names

Yeah, I've been slacking. But you know, between being out of town the weekend before last and all this .... what's the word I'm looking for? Oh yes ... March Madness, there just hasn't been much time. What am I supposed to do? Quit volunteering in the burn unit cold turkey?

But seriously, aren't we all watching hoops right now? I even managed to sneak into the ACC tournament a couple of weeks back, thanks to a media pass. That's how I ended up just two rows behind Dick Vitale, watching North Carolina beat Virginia Tech on a bucket by Tyler Hansbrough with 0.8 seconds left. That's right ... right behind Vitale! Could have reached out and shined his head if I wanted to.

Anyway, let's turbo through some movies left over from the days when I had free movie channels. (Did I mention that I got three months of free movie channels when I switched to satellite?) Come to think of it, there might be a DVD in here, too. Whatever.

And you just know Sasquatch drives a Honda: "Roger & Me"

Yep, here's everyone's favorite liberal gasbag in his first big doc(mock?)umentary. Really, you can't say it's a straight-up documentary because Moore keeps spouting his opinions and deadpan jokes. On the plus side, that's not nearly as annoying here as in later movies. "Fahrenheit 9/11" may seem like the worst, but I thought "Bowling for Columbine" was even more preachy.

Don't get me wrong -- or get me wrong ... I don't care -- I love the subjects Moore tackles and generally agree with his politics. Some people are tremendous sh!theads and should be exposed for what they've done. I just could do less with Moore on camera, playing the part of the high and mighty instead of letting the facts stand for themselves. I mean, the guy apparently doesn't even tip his own doorman. (That's what a friend of friend of mine said. So, you know, it's a fact.)

"Roger & Me" is Moore's look at how General Motors essentially killed Flint, Michigan, by closing the plant and eliminating 30,000 jobs. I first saw it sometime in the '90s and thought it was solid. Seeing it again, I still feel that way, and have a new appreciation for Moore's restraint almost 20 years ago when it came to injecting himself into his work. If only he had stuck with that.

As soon becomes clear, Flint really went into the crapper, as Moore shows in so many great ways. The guy evicting people ... the lady with the rabbits ... the corny efforts to rejuvenate the city. It's all so sad, yet it was fun to see Moore try to track down the head of GM, Roger Smith. That aspect ultimately comes up a bit short, but you can't blame Mikey for trying. And hey, he got Bob Eubanks to tell a Jew joke, so that's something.

And a side order of tissues, please: "Waitress"

Bought this DVD for The Luminous One With Whom I Shall Spend All Eternity, and later sat down to watch it with her. She fell asleep -- she had seen it in the theater -- but I rode it out, if only to see if the small-town girl would really make good. Was there ever any doubt?

Production values, a quirky food angle and a generally endearing performance by the former Felicity are the only thing keeping this from being a Lifetime movie. Keri Russell is a waitress -- hence the title -- trapped in two things: a small town and a bad marriage to Billy from "Six Feet Under." There are some nutty co-workers, of course, and another complication: a bun in the oven. (Guess that marriage wasn't all bad.) So she goes to the doctor, and isn't he a cutie? As those great philosophers Whitesnake asked, is this love?

In its defense, "Waitress" doesn't wrap everything up in a nice bow. But there's plenty of melodrama, which takes away from some interesting stuff, like the different pies our heroine creates and a fun supporting role by a crusty Andy Griffith. In the end, not so a much a movie for me as my wife, who I suspect will watch this multiple times. Because, you know, I bought it for her.

Humpin' bodies!: "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo"

Sigh. I have got to stop thinking things like, "You know, maybe this isn't all bad ... "

I had never seen this "comedy" with Rob Schneider stumbling into a career as a -- to use a word used waaaayyy too much in this movie -- man-whore. He's some kind of fish guy who ends up getting into the game to earn enough money to replace this fish tank he broke at a real gigolo's house, or something like that.

I remember chuckling at the trailer. Unfortunately, what is borderline amusing over 90 seconds is uneven at best and painful at worst over 90 minutes. Schneider means well but really isn't all that funny in a one-note role. (Although it's not like I want to see him doing "Hamlet," either.) No question he's better suited as comic relief in an ensemble. Heck, I thought he was funny in "Judge Dredd!"

(But yes, Paul, this is still better than that other great man-whore movie, "The Wedding Date.")

In a town where nothing much goes on, a whole lot is about to go down (actual tagline): "Hot Fuzz"

That's how much I love this movie. I won't even try to improve on its wit.

I raved about this last year, and I was thrilled to see it on cable before my free movie channels -- you know I got those with the switch to dish, right? -- ran out. This is from the "Shaun of the Dead" guys, and they built on that solid parody of zombie movies with a stellar send-up of mindless action films. I can't stress enough how sharp this is.

Simon Pegg is a top London cop who gets shipped out to country -- he made everyone else in the city look bad -- and paired with a bumbling, tubby constable. Perfect as the village seems, people start to die in "accidents," leading our heroes to investigate. How else can this fun end but with a deafening, shoot-em-up climax?

It's also great fun to see some real actors -- Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy -- in supporting roles of varying length. Everyone seems to be having a blast, maybe because they're in a really smart yet hilarious movie. I mean, that's pretty rare these days. (See above.) Can't say it enough ... see this movie. Have a laugh. And remember, if you don't come down hard on these clowns, you're going to be up to your balls in jugglers.


At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey. Thanks for the shout out. Be sure to catch me in "The Memory Keepers Daughter" on Lifetime April 12th. Its not a comedy... and I don't play a Manwhore... but watch it. Please watch it. For God's sake. I'm doing Lifetime movies. Oh Lord. Shoot me before I play the husband that dies before the first commercial in a movie starring Alyssa Milano or the husband that lives in a movie starring Melissa Gilbert.

At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did someone mention my name? Oh, it's that other guy.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Jefferson said...

Barb! How are you? It's been so long. Remember that weekend in Cancun? I had never seen a woman do that, especially after so many tequila shots ...


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