MOVIES

Only old people will appreciate the “Wear Sunscreen” advice

It was at the conclusion of The Big Kahuna many years back when I first heard the inspirational spoken word track “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann.

The words were apparently written by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich, who offered up some sound advice for graduating teens preparing to embark on the next phase of their lives.

It’s likely many of those same teenagers, now closing in on 40, wish they would’ve actually taken those words to heart.

The Big Kahuna, starring Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito, had already riddled my mind by the time this piece of prose began. It served as a worthy backdrop to DeVito packing up his belongings in a hotel room and Spacey checking out at the front desk as each prepared to move along to live another day, ever the wiser for their experiences.

 

Looking back at ‘Trouble Man’ with Robert Hooks and Marvin Gaye

I’d been hip to the soundtrack by Marvin Gaye for years.

But it wasn’t until late Saturday that I sat still long enough to watch 1972’s Trouble Man starring Robert Hooks as the original Mr. T.

For starters, the title track by Gaye is a classic in his collection. Be sure to check the video and give it a listen down below.

As for the film, Hooks nails it as an all-around badass-for-hire who’s not to be messed with while playing things cool and confident, even in the most dire of situations.

It’s surprising how the character and film are not as highly regarded in its genre as others from the time period.

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The Evolution of Batman in Cinema

A new Batman hits the big screen next year featuring Ben Affleck in the leading role as the Caped Crusader. He’ll follow in the footsteps of a handful of others who’ve put their own unique spin on Bruce Wayne dating back to the 1940s.

Luckily for us there’s someone looming in the shadows who recently felt compelled enough to showcase Batman’s cinematic past in his own way. Jacob T. Swinney has pieced together old footage of all who has worn the cape in movies over the years, helping to bring some perspective to the franchise and the changes it’s endured.

“The Evolution of Batman in Cinema” features a look at the Batman (1943) and Batman and Robin (1949) serial shows that started it all and the Batman: The Movie (1966) release that put the character over the top.

Swinney also includes footage of the nearly three-decade run that followed more than 20 years later including Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Batman Forever (1995), Batman & Robin (1997), Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and The Lego Movie (2014).

The Evolution of Batman in Cinema from Jacob T. Swinney on Vimeo.

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Duke legend Christian Laettner featured in new ESPN 30 for 30 film

Like most people with any amount of good taste in the early 1990s I grew up rooting against Christian Laettner and those Duke Blue Devil basketball teams. Yet for some reason my interest was peaked when anticipating the new 30 for 30 installment I Hate Christian Laettner.

Maybe it was the 90210 sideburns and haircut he sported that turned me off. Or maybe it was all that winning that Duke did. Whatever it was, the road down memory lane Sunday was a reminder of all the animosity we once shared for a player and program that appeared in four-straight Final Fours and won two national titles.

It’s not one of the better 30 for 30’s, considering the subject matter and that it’s narrated by Rob Lowe, but it’s a worthy look at what made one of the greatest college basketball players so polarizing among fans.

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Fifty Shades of Grey – A reluctant movie review

Leave it to Valentine’s Day and the recent release of a soft-core porn flick called Fifty Shades of Grey to force me into submission, kicking and screaming (figuratively, of course) on my way to a movie theater for the first time in years.

After being conned into a matinee showing Saturday I wasn’t all that surprised at how women outnumbered men in attendance. But while I was impressed by their enthusiasm, I was a bit perplexed at how the men of Central Florida weren’t effectively using opening weekend to their advantage, to reach out and connect with ladies looking for a Hallmark holiday companion.

The movie was everything you heard it might be from those who’ve already reviewed it: slow-building, boring, awkward, mildly provocative, accidentally humorous. Or was the humor supposed to be there? At least those are some of my takes on it after having never read a single word from the books.

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New film analyzes origins of “Dixie” and its relationship with the South

The history of the song “Dixie” is the subject of an Intersection Films production bearing the same name by Ryan Kelley and Trent Reeves.

It’s a documentation of the origins of the song, its relation to the South, and the people who’ve preserved it in some form or fashion throughout each passing generation.

It’s also a look into how “Dixie” became a rallying cry for those opposed to the desegregating times of the late 1950s and 1960s and the connection it began to have with that of the Confederate flag.

Was “Dixie” in fact written by Dan Emmett of Mount Vernon, Ohio, who went on to pioneer the blackface minstrel shows of the mid-1800s? Or was it a nearby family of former slaves – Ben and Lou Snowden – who taught him the tune that he would eventually make famous?

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Random Movie Review: The Best of Times (1986)

When news spread about the passing of Robin Williams on Monday in northern California people of all ages shared memories about what the actor and comedian meant to them over the years.

For me, I’ll always remember Williams for his roles in such movies as World’s Greatest Dad (2009), What Dreams May Come (1998), Good Will Hunting (1997), Jumanji (1995) and Dead Poets Society (1989).

But the first time I remember seeing Williams in a movie was when he played Jack Dundee in The Best of Times (1986). Dundee, a mediocre wide receiver at Midway Union High School in Taft, California dropped the game-winning touchdown pass in the final seconds of a rivalry game in 1972. After 13 years of living in agony as a banker in his blue-collar town, Dundee gets one more shot at hated rival Bakersfield High School.

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Random Movie Review: Hardball (2001)

Based on the book “Hardball: A Season in the Projects” by Daniel Coyle, this big-screen drama about a troubled coach and his inner-city youth baseball team is hardly worth the time.

Keanu Reeves is a gambling addict forced into coaching a team of black kids from the Chicago projects in order to pay off his debt. Now I’ve never cared one way or the other about Reeves as an actor, but his performance in this movie provides plenty of fuel for critics.

Reeves plays Conor O’Neill, who comes off about as clueless as you’d expect considering the person playing the part. Even though he shows hardly a sign of actually coaching the kids throughout the movie, they somehow get the season turned around despite the grim surroundings of their community.

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