Sunday, July 24, 2005

Four-Movie Weekend!

My son went to the Berkshires for the weekend with a friend's family. Which meant, of course, that Jim and I could take in a couple of movies that might not be appropriate for The Boy. We ended up going to four--woohoo!

I love to talk about movies--years ago, my idol was Pauline Kael--and though I never ended up at the New Yorker, I was my college's movie critic for more than two blissful years (even won a statewide collegiate journalism award). So now I subject you to the following opinions:

We started with The Island, a classic blow-things-up-real-good Michael Bay-style movie, directed by--of all people--Michael Bay. If you like watching car chases with amazing stunt driving, by all means check it out. Plot holes aside, I was entertained in a "check your brain at the door" kind of way. And it has Steve Buscemi, which is always good. Even my husband, who can never remember actors or their names, came out saying, "I always like that guy who played the guy who helped them--you know, whatever his name is."

That would be Steve Buscemi, hon.

Saturday, we did a two-fer: Murderball at the Loew's Harvard Square, followed by Wedding Crashers at the Loew's Boston Common. (I love how you can plan a lovely day in Boston--and it was a lovely day--by using the T to get around. Just love it.)

Saturday's movie the first, Murderball--which sounds like a remake of a remake of a James Caan movie--is in fact a documentary about the American Quad Rugby Team. By "quad," they don't mean a foursome, they mean quadriplegic. And by rugby, they mean fearsome ball movement, but this time in specially designed wheelchairs on indoor courses. On the surface, this sounds like one of those tiresome "triumphing-over-adversity, look-how-much-better these men are than we are" movies. But there's not an ounce of sentimentality here. These guys drink, curse, sleep with hot women--and deal with some lousy hands that life has dealt with them. Truly moving. A keeper. Watch for this come Oscar time next February.

Parent's note: Except for some raw language from the rugby players and some nudity during clips excerpted from a rehabilitation-hospital sex tape for the wheelchair users, this would be worthwhile for older (post-12) kids, despite the R rating. If you think your young teen can handle about 20 seconds of nudity and rather clinical sex talk (plus some cursing), ignore the rating and take the kids.

Saturday's movie the second, Wedding Crashers. Vince Vaughn. Owen Wilson. A montage of dancing, laughing, eating cake, and picking up single women, all set to the tune of "Shout." Christopher Walken as the slightly scary dad. Need I say more? Go. Enjoy.

Parent's note: This is really an R-rated film, boobs and all. DO NOT TAKE THE KIDS. Don't make me have to come out and give you a piece of my mind if I see you trying to slip your 8 year old into the theater.

Finally, today we saw Hustle and Flow, which won the Audience Prize at Sundance this past year. This is basically your Rocky, "everybody's gotta have a dream" kind of movie.

About pimps and hos.

Not exactly Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland putting on a show.

H & F isn't great (maybe it was a slow year at Sundance), but it's a solid B. More important, it's a look at a world most of us are unfamiliar with. And the ending is a hoot--and very real if you know much about how hip-hop and rap stars are born. Which I know only by reading about, so why are you listening to me? (I still loved the ending.)

Parent's note:
Not a movie for the kids, not too surprisingly.

Also, I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, but it's a testament to Terrence Howard's amazing performance as DJay that I found his character--a pimp, for god's sake--more attractive than the cheating fiancee played by Thomas Haden Church in Sideways. Go figure.


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