Tag Archives: Movies
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Rest in peace, Gene Wilder. There seem to be two camps of people: those who mostly remember this hilarious, frizzy-haired goofball as Willy Wonka in the 1971 production; his face in one of the final scenes has been plaster across millions of political memes throughout the last few years; and those who remember him as Frederick Frankenstein, grandson to the mad genius who created the Creature, known as Frankenstein’s monster. He was of course in many other great movies: Blazing Saddles; Stir Crazy; The Producers. But the two movies coming back to the big screen this fall are Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Young Frankenstein.
I come from a Young Frankenstein family. It’s both hilarious and beautiful at the same time. It’s got dark mystery mixed with the zany antics you would expect from a Mel Brooks film. Marty Feldman’s Igor is so bizarre and funny that it’s hard to know how anyone manages to keep a straight face. If you haven’t seen the movie, the basic run-down is that the grandson of Dr. Victor Frankenstein., Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, is a great surgeon and teacher who wants nothing to do with his grandfather’s work. But when he inherits his grandfather’s estate, he must take the trip to see it for himself. Try as he might, he cannot resist the allure of playing God.
Using the set from the original 1931 Frankenstein movie, the eerie old-fashioned feeling is contrasted with the amazing cast of Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Madeleine Kahn, Teri Garr and Peter Boyle. There are a number of raunchy jokes (this is a Mel Brooks movie, after all) so bear that in mind for family viewing.
Autumn is coming; what better way to celebrate fall and honor Gene Wilder than with curling up under blankets and watching this classic.
Post by Mark T. Locker
Ever since my son saw the trailer for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day he has been obsessed with the idea of watching it. He has been alone in that camp, I’m afraid. But when I saw it on the reshelving cart at the library, I couldn’t leave it there. So the weekend was mostly spent with him asking if we could watch it yet.
In my mind, what better way to get some extra sleep than to let him watch it when he got up at the crack of dawn on a holiday? Only, he gets so excited that he has to share every little thing that cracks him up. So, when the baby did some funny thing or another, he comes bursting into the room to tell me all about it. So I figured, okay. I’ll sort of watch with him and spare Mom from being constantly disrupted. And so we watched this together, about 7 a.m. on a day off.
Despite my condition, I didn’t hate it as much as I could have. It was totally harmless, family-friendly and silly as can be. I guess the premise is that Alexander has a terrible day (the one discussed in the picture book by Judith Vorst) and his birthday wish is that his family have a terrible day so they can understand that it sucks. Well he gets his wish and the the movie is full of bad things happening to everyone. In the end, I suppose they learn about the value of family and of not giving up.
There are a few well-known actors in this, namely: Steve Carell; Jennifer Garner; and Dick Van Dyke. If you are keen on slapstick and the kind of movie where everything goes wrong and you can handle lots of cringe-worthy moments, it’s a good cuddle-up-and-watch kind of movie.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
I know we have all been waiting for so long, and the third installment in the Night at the Museum series has FINALLY been released for home viewing! One of those special evenings after too much activity in the day and everyone is worn out, what better way to wind the evening down than with a movie, all cuddled together on the couch? Or on the bed, which is even better because you can just drift right off.
Which you might do when you watch this movie unless you’re a kid. It’s a perfectly fine movie but has become something of a tired instrument by this point. I like the first one; I thought it was genuinely unique and funny and interesting. The premise, if you’ve missed the series, is Larry Daley is the new night watchman at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. What he doesn’t know is that everything in the museum comes to life at night. His posse includes Theodore Roosevelt, played by Robin Williams (rest in peace) along with Sacagawea, a tiny Wild West cowboy and his buddy a tiny Roman centurion. Plus a cheeky monkey and Genghis Khan. In this movie, the magic tablet that brings them to life is failing and they must bring it to the British Museum to speak with the Egyptian Pharaoh who made it to discover the secret of the tablet.
My son thought it was a great bit of fun. It wasn’t awful but as is the case with so many movies like this, the original remains the best. But if you’re looking for something harmless and funny, full of pratfalls and silly characters, you could do worse. Word of warning: there is a little bit of sad stuff that happens and there was a moment that my boy was in tears. But it all ends up okay in the end. Spoiler alert.
Post by Josh Zinn.
I used to think Molly Ringwald could do no wrong. A ginger-haired vixen whose teenage life John Hughes made privy for the world to see, she seemed to possess an essence of purity and strength amidst a silver screen sea of split-ended, gawkified Ally Sheedy’s and Martha Plimpton’s. The bulk of my youthful devotion to Ms. Ringwald stemmed from the fact that she was the star of Pretty in Pink, a film that explores with delicate nuance the all-important and timeless dilemma of how poor people are able to go to their senior prom. A veritable rose-colored expose on the back-stabbing world of secondary education, Pretty in Pink filled my impressionable and destitute self with fantasies of a life that paid no heed to ritzy clothing labels like Gotcha, Generra, or Esprit, but rather found solace and redemption in the thrift store aisles of the Salvation Army. Like a teenage Norma Rae, Ringwald’s character Andie stands up to her school and the expressionless, there’s-no-way-he’s-a-teenager rival James Spader by saying, “No more!” to the khaki and boat shoe Gestapo. She’s her own woman and she’ll wear a used Mennonite floral print dress to Biology if she wants, thank you very much!
Unfortunately, amidst all this couture rebellion the film also contains a romance with the stunningly washed-out Andrew McCarthy, whose character Blaine may be the most mystifyingly dull seventeen-year-old boy ever to be intended as swoon-worthy. Pay no attention to his vapid stares, trembling voice, and muted color palette and, instead, feast upon the rich social messages Ms. Ringwald is daring the world to acknowledge. True, perhaps Andie has an attraction to pasty, indecisive men who consider being cultured to mean a bottle of Pinot Grigio and a platter full of quiche bites, but when it’s time for THE BIGGEST NIGHT OF HER HIGH SCHOOL LIFE, the antique, coffee-stained lace gloves are off and she’s ready to fight.
Although Pretty in Pink may lack the depth of other films dealing with the conflicts of class and pastel prom wear, it nonetheless validates itself thanks to an amazingly terrific soundtrack (seriously) and Ringwald’s frumpy-forward performance. Prom nights may come and go, but discount fashion is forever.
Post by Josh Zinn.
In third grade I was assigned to peer-review a fellow classmate’s paper on horses—specifically, why she loved them and why she thought the rest of the world should care. Waxing poetically about their beautiful manes and graceful strides, she was also quite defensive about these animals’ intelligence and their ability to understand her youthful commands. Believing she had been unwisely influenced and deluded by stories like Black Beauty and The Black Stallion, I took it upon myself to snap her back to reality by defiantly scribbling on her paper, “Horses are dumb. So are you.”
Little did I know how very wrong I was…
Did you know horses are actually messengers of the gods? That their assistance to man was foretold in ancient texts buried beneath thousands of years of evolutionary progress? Or that horse whisperers have a direct equine connection with the stars? If you didn’t, well you obviously haven’t been watching the History Channel series Ancient Aliens, then!
Thanks to Ancient Aliens, we can all rest assured knowing man is not only NOT alone in the universe, but that his very destiny has been dictated by, well, ancient aliens that seeded our planet with life, technology, and Midwestern tourist attractions before disappearing into the cosmic ether. It may sound far fetched, sure, but every week experts with vague degrees and unkempt hair lay out the interstellar “facts” by excitedly waving their arms and making disparate connections that would make a Meyers-Brigg representative blush. Case in point: You may not question where the cosmically outrageous flavor combination of peanut butter and jelly originated, but someone out there with a lot of hairspray has and the answer is out of this world!
Perhaps more than anything, Ancient Aliens encourages its audience to keep an open mind about the world and to never underestimate the intelligence of the weird guy sitting next to you on the bus. Unlike yours truly, he might have known those “dumb” horses were, in fact, the guardians of this earthly realm and, accordingly, given my classmate a much better grade.