If only songs were as catchy and simple as this one.
In 1964, teenage garage band The One-ders — singer Jimmy (Johnathon Schaech), guitarist Lenny (Steve Zahn), drummer Guy (Tom Everett Scott) and a nameless bass player (Ethan Embry) — become an overnight sensation when their debut song jumps to the top of the charts. But internal tensions threaten to make the group’s fall just as rapid as their rise.
Writer/director Tom Hanks is obviously a guy we all know, love, and care about when it comes to his acting but his writing and directing maybe was pushing it a little too far. However, have no fear, Hanks still is good no matter what he does.
What I liked about this flick was that the simple premise is showed in a very fun, entertaining, and nice way just like the bubblegum pop days of the early 60′s were before all of the drugs started popping on in and out. The story starts off as your usual “band gets bigger and bigger” story-line which was fun to watch because of how charming this script was, and the film keeps that charm going on throughout the whole flick. Hanks does throw in a little bit of satire against the whole music business, but it’s nothing too much to where he seems to be aiming too high.
But enough about the script, let’s just get to the real reason why anybody really remembers this movie and that is for the title song. It’s so catchy, so fun, and is played probably about 7 times throughout the whole flick but it’s not like “I’ve Got You Babe” in ‘Groundhog Day’, to where every time we hear it we want burn every single copy left of that song, it’s a song that’s just really good and actually seems like a song that would be on heavy-rotation during that time-period. There are a couple of other tracks in this flick that are pretty good, but this is the only one that I can remember having stuck in my head after it was over and while hell, even I’m writing this I kind of humming it now as we speak.
However, as good as good as this song may be, it’s also one of the bigger problems with this flick. The direction, writing, and attention is detail is fine the way it ought to be but there’s nothing else that really stands-out from this flick other than the song. It also didn’t help that by the end, there are a little bit too many parts where the film starts to dive into some lame melodrama and just gets really soapy and unbelievable. Then again, I wasn’t looking for anything that seemed like a realistic take on the lives of pop music stars during the 60′s, I just wanted a fun and entertaining flick, which is basically what I got.
I also liked how Hanks put the main focus on the dude that is essentially the back-bone of the band, the drummer. Being a drummer myself, I thought that this was pretty cool to see considering it’s always either the singer or guitarist in the band that hogs all the spot-light. Also, Tom Everett Scott is pretty good as Shades. I’ve seen this dude in plenty of other stuff but this is the only film that I can remember him best in because he’s pretty likable and seems like a dude I would love to jam with due to his love of jazz music. The guy also had a pretty good technique even though it wasn’t really him drumming obviously.
The other band-mates are all pretty good here with the likes of Steve Zahn playing his usual funny/sarcastic-ass character here as the lead guitarist; Ethan Embry being a lot of fun to watch as the semi-mentally challenged bass player aptly named T.B. Player; and Johnathon Schaech probably being the weakest of the bunch as the singer, because when shit starts to hit the fan for this band, he really just seems like he’s starting all of it, just to start it. Tom Hanks is also great as the band’s manager, Mr. White, which also probably helps considering he has the film’s best lines and seems like a dude I could trust with all of my money and fame; Liv Tyler is nice to watch, as always, here as Faye; and it was also really funny to see a very young Charlize Theron as Shades’ girlfriend. There are so many other people in this flick that I could mention but it’s honestly a lot more fun to just point at and think about who he/she is during the film.
Consensus: Though there’s nothing all that spectacular about the flick, That Thing You Do! is still a fun, charming, and well-acted tale of what all bands during the early days of the 60′s all dreamed, hoped for, and had to go through. Also, that song is just catchy as hell.
It’s like ‘Dogma’, with a lot of guns.
Three horny teens go off for a one-night stand with a chick (Melissa Leo) that they think will get it on with them all at the same time. However, they end up being kidnapped into a little freak-show for these crazy Jesus-people that don’t like gay people. The teens soon try to find a way out of the church as the local police force comes in to also raise some hell.
Kevin Smith is a favorite of mine and almost all of his films, except ‘Cop Out‘, all have made me happy and enjoy the hell out of myself. I know a lot of people out there in the world hate this dude but for some reason, he always strikes a cord with me. That’s why I’m so glad to see it when he does something that is totally different from anything else he usually does and at least tries to branch out a bit more than what we have seen from him.
The premise for this film is awesome because it’s a horror film about things that are out there, rather than just ghosts caught on film, or dudes named Freddy, Michael Myers, and Jason running around killing teens. The film is obviously based on the crazy Westboro Baptist Church people, lead by Fred Phelps, who the people that follow this church actually look up to him as if he was the big G.O.D. himself. I like this concept because I hate these people and anytime somebody wants to show them in a bad light and practically get effed up every second, is something I want to see and stand behind. Hey, I know it sounds vicious but just type these people up on YouTube and you’ll see what assholes they really are.
What Smith does here, unlike any other film he’s done, is add an extra-layer of detail to not only his script but also his direction. Seeing that his only action film is actually the crap I mentioned early, it’s highly impressive how he is able to bring a lot of tension and grittiness to the screen to give you this feel of just terrible things are going to and will happen. This is in-your-face gritty with plenty of people getting shot, and sometimes you don’t know who will so you have that whole unpredictability to it as well that Smith is able to bring out well.
When it comes to his script, this is obviously a Smith film but it still has many different elements that can make a lot of people have their heads scratching by the end of the film, when they actually see who wrote and directed this. There is a real dark and sinister side to this film with barely any comedy or toilet humor, which is what I usually love about Smith films but here it was a pretty good way of focusing on actually creating tension and an atmosphere.
However, I do think that this film had its fair share of problems that took away from my overall experience. I feel like Smith does a lot of preaching here that at first seems legit, then it just becomes something of an annoyance where I actually wanted the story to move forward rather than just showing me all of these crazy Jesus people freaks, preaching and hollering about the same old shit every time. I get the fact that Smith is trying to get his point across, but when you have a speech that lasts about 13 minutes talking just to get a point across, it’s not just torture for the people in the film but for those who are actually watching it as well.
In terms of the horror department, I also felt like something was missing from it to actually make it scary. Take it for granted though, this is not your typical horror film so obviously we aren’t going to be getting jump-scares every five seconds, but too much of it felt like people just shooting each other without any real scares or horror to back it up. Don’t get me wrong, I like it when people that I actually dislike so much before I even get to know them get shot up left-and-right, but there were times when even that was gone and there was nothing to really keep it compelling.
Also, why the hell did that random-ass timestamp come up out of nowhere, for no reason whatsoever, and then never come back again? Maybe it was just another one of Smith’s crazy and weird things he just wanted to do for fun.
The cast is pretty impressive considering Smith doesn’t use anybody from any of his previous films, even though I wouldn’t have minded seeing Jason Mewes or even Jason Lee for that matter. John Goodman is good and pretty aggressive as Joseph Kennan, the police dude in charge who has a very good scene by the end of the film; Melissa Leo is one-note as Sara Cooper, but she’s still an easily-hated character from the start; and Michael Parks is very evil and devilish as Abin Cooper, the man behind this church. Everybody’s good here but it’s just one of those cases where it’s more of the director’s show than the people themselves.
Consensus: Red State has a great premise to work off of, a good direction from Smith, and a script that is more than just dirty jokes that he usually has in all of his films, but there are many times where it loses its compelling feel and goes on and on and on about the same point till where it overstays its welcome by a long-shot.
What the hell Kevin Smith?
Jimmy Monroe (Bruce Willis) and off-kilter Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) are two suspended cops trying to track down a stolen and very valuable 1950s baseball card. Along the way, they encounter a Mexican beauty and countless other characters and get entangled with the mob.
Being a fan of Kevin Smith, and knowing just how much people really do hate his films, I was able to actually like this. However, here that was not the case.
Probably the main problem here is that Kevin Smith is just a director here, and not a writer. BIG MISTAKE! I love Smith as a writer, but as a director he can’t do much cause in all honesty what does he really know about directing an action scene? Most of his movies are about just people talking about getting bloweys, Star Wars, or Ass to Mouth. Hiring Kevin Smith as your writer/director is like hiring George Clooney as your doctor, he can only pretend to be good at it. I’m sorry about all this hate Kev, but really man, I just was not even having any fun here.
The script should have been written by Smith because I definitely know that if the direction wasn’t that good, at least I would have laughed a lot at what these guys had to say. Well, sadly that’s not the case because two schmucks wrote this, and just bring bad joke, after bad joke here and none of this works. The humor here could be classified as juvenile, or just simply “toilet humor”, but this film just seems like their really trying to gun for laughs, and the random sequence of non-stop film references didn’t help either.
What you need for a great buddy-cop film is chemistry, and these two do not have it. I think Tracy Morgan is hilarious when he’s saying weird things and stuff that doesn’t make sense in a very serious way. However, he’s not the guy you hand a script to that has hard jokes and has punch-lines to them. I got a couple of chuckles here and there mainly from him, but nothing that special. Bruce Willis seemed that he only had about 2 different emotions, either asleep or screaming. Willis really does look like he’s hating every second of this film, and sad to say I’m right there with him. Also, don’t be fooled but Seann William Scott isn’t in this film that much, and although he’s a little amusing, his character is just dumb in the first place. Also wasted in this cast is Kevin Pollak, Adam Brody, Rashida Jones, and Jason Lee.
Consensus: The gags are stale, the jokes are unfunny, and the action makes you want to yawn. To call Cop Out unwatchable is an understatement, this is just total shit, and it really is sad to see from a Kevin Smith fan’s standpoint, that this was actually done by him.
A mobster movie based in Canada. This has got to be interesting.
Just about every person in the neighborhood eventually wants someone dead, even a dull, panic-prone dentist named Oz Ozeransky (Matthew Perry), who is married to monstrous Sophie (Rosanna Arquette) and lives next door to mobster-on-the-run Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski (Bruce Willis). Will Sophie get Jimmy to off Oz for insurance money?
My favorite part, and yet my least favorite part about this film has to be the screenplay. The reason why I liked it is because there are a lot of good lines here that surprisingly work, and some nice little twists, that keep you watching and entertained.
However, it was my least favorite as well because some jokes are just drop dead terrible. I think they were aiming a little bit too high for these jokes, and it just ended up not doing anyone, any good. I didn’t like how there was dumb slapstick involved with this film, because I don’t think any of these stars should have to be reduced to that type of material. I also didn’t realize that this is some pretty dark material as well. People are getting killed left and right at times, and they act as if nothing happens, with a big smile on the face. I understand being a “dark” comedy, but there are certain elements of a dark comedy that are acceptable, and unacceptable. This is the unacceptable one.
The stars are what did save this film for me though. Bruce Willis is perfect as “The Tulip” as he gives that cool-guy charm, we all know and love him for. Matthew Perry is very funny here as the nervous square, Oz, who actually gives off very good slapstick, and proves to be one of the funnier things with this film. It’s a shame that this guy hasn’t done much else lately, cause he really can make comedy work. Amanda Peet is funny here as Oz’s assistant, as well as Rosanna Arquette, as Oz’s crazy wife. Michael Clarke Duncan brings his mean guy persona to the screen and it works with a lot of scenes, and as well as Kevin Pollak‘s performance. But the one miscast person in this film had to be Natasha Henstridge. She doesn’t really bring much to here character other than good looks, and some pretty cheesy lines.
Consensus: It has some nice plot twists, and charming moments mainly due to the cast, but The Whole Nine Yards has problems with some jokes being too flat, and an utterly serious tone that they try to smear down with bad slapstick.
These five criminals, are the shadiest bunch of guys I have ever seen.
When five unacquainted scalawags (Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Pollak, Stephen Baldwin and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey) are hauled into a police station to appear in a criminal lineup, they decide to pull off a heist together. The plan gets complicated, however, when they intermix with an underworld kingpin named Keyser Söze.
A few years ago I was recommended to watch this (somehow it hadn’t happened yet) and it kick started the higher level expectations from movies that have led some to call me jaded. This is as good as they come and the fact that others cannot keep up is just a shame for them.
This film can be classified as a mystery/thriller, and when I’m talking about mystery it really is. the story told through flashbacks and narration, is really great to follow. You understand the whole story, and the actions these people use, which have a serious effect.
And must I forget to mention the best thing of this film, and it’s the ending. See I don’t want to give too much away, but it really is magnificent. The whole story that you watched and listened to, would be nothing without this total mind-fuck twist ending. Trust me it’s that good.
The problem I had with this film and it’s ending is that i felt like although things were basically all explained, I still didn’t feel like the whole story was fully answered. Many elements of the story that I paid close attention to, I didn’t feel like were fulfilled at the end of the story, which could have been.
The cast is simply phenomenal, mostly Spacey. This is the role that catapulted Spacey to stardom, as he plays the bad-guy Verbal kint with such sincerity and complexity, that it’s hard to hate him cause he is so likable. The rest of the cast do a great job too, and many of them actually do seem like bad people other than just playing bad guys.
Consensus: Though all the questions aren’t answered at the end, The Usual Suspects delivers from a great story, phenomenal ensemble-cast acting, and an ending that will blow your mind.