The Cutting Edge

“It had been _years_ since I last saw this movie. At least a decade, possibly two. As I was watching it, the scenes were so fresh in my mind like they were when third grade Dawn used to watch this over and over.

Wait, what? Over and over? But it’s basically a romcom. Nope. To the girl who could not get enough of the figure skating competitions at the Olympics, this was a sports movie. Mighty Ducks with figure skating. I never saw it as anything else. I was into the sport in the days of the Kerrigan/Hardy thing, and I still remember that Oksana Baiul was the one to win the gold that year. Living in south Texas, ice was a foreign concept, likewise were ice sports. I think that explains part of the Mighty Ducks obsession (I don’t even know how many times I saw D2).

For those of you who aren’t children of the 90s, or have some other excuse for not knowing this film, it’s about an unlikely figure skating pair. Doug is a hockey player who is permanently sidelined by an eye injury. Kate is an ice princess who can’t play nice enough to keep a partner. They’re brought together by a wise old Russian (I think) coach who sees the potential in this unconventional arrangement, if only they could get along.

Just from reading that one paragraph, you probably know they (obvious spoiler) end up together. Yes that one detail annoyed me when I watched it back in the day, but it was a small detail to me. Sure, you can watch it now and see all the signs leading up to that, but third grade Dawn did not see that. Third grade Dawn saw underdogs fighting an unlikely battle to win (again, see also Mighty Ducks). Third grade Dawn only cared about whether or not they could master the Pamchenko.

Watching it as adult (?!) Dawn, sure, now I see how superficial it is, but that still doesn’t matter to me. I think my biggest problem this time around was that I could not believe why Kate would have so many admirers. She is not a nice person, and has few redeeming qualities to offer. Also, it bothered me how much DB Sweeney (Doug) reminded me of Batfleck. My brain often refused to believe he wasn’t. Oh and for my fellow Losties out there, Terry O’Quinn, aka Locke, plays Kate’s Dad. What hair he has, including the ‘stache, is jet black. Huh?

This movie has always been one that brings the warm fuzzies, and that’s not likely to change ever. I think I could watch it many more times and still feel the same way. But if you’ve never seen it before? I don’t know that you should start now. It hasn’t really held up very well for new audiences. And with that, I leave you two final words because I couldn’t find anywhere else to sneak it in: Toe pick!”

No Escape

“Continuing the theme of watching movies because they’re there and not so much because I legit want to see the movie, we’ve got No Escape. (Have I said lately how much I dislike this end of summer movie graveyard?) The trailer left me kind of cold. It indicated a lack of plot and some contrived action, albeit with a cast that I like (Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan). What I hadn’t expected (and in retrospect, prolly should have) was the superficial shock value of the spectacle.

Owen Wilson has moved his family to Asia. Unbeknownst to him, the country is on the eve of war, which the family soon find themselves caught in the crossfire. Now they’re running for their lives from somewhere they apparently have no escape from.

There were so many things wrong with the movie. Undeveloped characters, thin plot with nonsensical details, gore for the sake of gore, and just generally lazy film making. However, I will admit to getting caught up in it, up to a point. The initial suspense build is pretty strong, especially with the confusion of not knowing what or why things are happening. But that can only sustain the film for so long, and unfortunately the movie relies on that suspense too heavily. As someone who has minimal interest in foreign travel (due in part to a fear of getting in some type of trouble and not knowing the language), this film started off terrifying. I imagined myself in the situation and had no clue as to what I would have done. I see how helpless and frantic the family is and I feel it along with them.

And then at some point, the novelty wore off. I realized that this is basically a foreign set version of The Purge, specifically the sequel which wasn’t self contained in a single location. Bad guys are indiscriminately killing anyone they come across. Again, it’s a terrifying thought, but it doesn’t manage to hold on to that terror for too long.

Oh and the shock value I was talking about? There were some pretty gruesome deaths. I heard murmurs of “”Oh Jesus”” and gasps from the rows behind me. That too got old after a point. I was trying think about why it didn’t work well here, even though it’s something I tend to–(hmm ,don’t want to say enjoy, but that’s kind of the word, let’s say)–appreciate. The best conclusion I could come to was that it simply didn’t serve the film. For directors like Tarantino or Roth, gore kind of sets the tone, and sarcastically lightens things up. In other words, there’s some purpose and thought behind it. Here, it felt more like blood for the sake of blood. The rest of the film is crap, but maybe no one will notice if there’s a red haze over everything. yeah sorry, I noticed. Try again next time.

I feel sad for the cast, because they deserve much better than this. Thankfully, I should be able to forget this one ever existed pretty quick, as I’m sure the rest of the world will too. I’m sure they’re hoping for at least that.

No Escape – \m/ \m/”

We Are Your Friend

“Oh that movie graveyard that is mid Aug-mid Sept. Where you’re deciding between movies that you would have easily skipped if they had any competition. My choices were either a well received indie whose trailer didn’t grab me, or two mediocre looking ones that could average out to an acceptable experience. Only one of these options had Zac Efron.

No really, I pretty much just saw this movie because of him. He’s cute and charismatic, which counts for a lot in a dull look film about a genre of music I don’t particularly care about. Apparently No one else really cares either. I think I mostly feel like I was helpful in contributing my 11 bucks to the record small box office take.

Efron stars as Cole, a struggling DJ who lives for mixing EDM tracks on his Mac book. He befriends a more experienced DJ, Wes Bentley as James. To complicate matters, Cole has a thing for James’ assistant/gf, Sophie (Emily Ratajkowski). Let me guess, I’ve elicited at least one yawn out of you already, yeah? Yeah.

Things played out slowly and predictably, and I just couldn’t get myself to care. I was engaged, but aloof. Who knew you could feel both at once? Around the start of the third act, we got an out of nowhere darker turn. At this point, I was into things a bit more, or at least wanting to know what happened to Cole, even if I still didn’t actually care. I did like how the final sequence played out, even getting me to enjoy an EDM track, and it left me with just enough of a high that maybe the rest of it wasn’t as blah as I thought. And then I had to revisit the experience to write this blog, and no, we’re still not impressed.

At least Zac Efron is still pretty.

We Are Your Friends – \m/ \m/”

Fever Pitch

“So I thought my summer events were over for the year. Then I got a bit of a surprise one. We were getting close to quitting time at work, and I was giving my usual news sites a quick glance over, to make sure I hadn’t missed anything important in the past hour that I was in meetings. And then I saw it, an article on Boston.com advertising a movie night at Fenway. Wait, so you’re telling me I can watch a movie at Fenway park tonight? And it’s a Boston movie that features Fenway? And it’s one I haven’t blogged before? And they’re also touting photo op time before the film, so I could presumably take my traveling alien friend for pix? This is totally worth skipping yoga for!

After running home for a leisurely dinner, once I finished the movie I’d started the day before, I hopped on the bus down to the park. I arrived around 7:10, giving me twenty minutes in the advertised photo op window, that would then give me 20 min for a pit stop and a soft serve chocolate ice cream acquisition. Let’s do this!

I walked towards the first entry way to the seating area, and got in a line of people walking down to the field. I took pictures of Marty from every possible angle as we made our way towards the Green Monstah. The path continued around the field, to the dugout, near where I had started my trek. I was able to jump in there and get a couple of quick pix before the 7:30 deadline hit and we were sent on our way. Not much later I was sitting in a seat behind the visitor’s dugout, ice cream in hand (or more like in the cupholder) ready for the movie.

I’d seen Fever Pitch once before, and I wasn’t too impressed. No secret that I don’t care for rom coms, and the ones that Drew Barrymore stars in tend to be especially goopy and dumb. Okay, The Wedding Singer is awesome, but you gotta admit it still fits the bill. Anyways. I had been thinking of giving it a second chance since it is such a classic Boston film.

Right so, rom com with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon. Barrymore’s Lindsay is a high ranking employee at a big deal firm who is up for a major (and time consuming) promotion. Fallon’s Ben is a teacher (I found it annoying how much they insisted on calling him “”school teacher””) with a pretty rabit Red Sox obsession. How can the girl with the demanding job connect with the boy with the consuming obsesion? And what hijinks will they get into along the way? (Pardon my gag reflex)

On the rom com side, it checks all the boxes for each over used trope. However, as a Boston girl, I am actively choosing to ignore that. Looking thru dirty water colored glasses, it’s such a great love letter to a team from its most loyal fans, and I’ve walked thru the Fenway area on game days enough times to know they (we?) truly are deeply in love with our team. Personally, I prefer basketball, but if we are talking baseball, then yeah Go Sox!

For me, the fun of this movie is watching for the Boston references and seeing the landmarks on display. And sitting in the biggest of the featured landmarks while watching it on screen was surreal. But even better than sitting in Fenway to watch a movie partly set in Fenway, was sitting with a Fenway loving Boston crowd while watching. Reactions to the relationship aspects were minimal. Reactions to Boston and the Sox were abundant. No tidbit of history or on screen cheer went by without whoops and hollers from the crowd. Talk of the Sox winning the Series was met with riotous applause. And the game montage that included Sweet Caroline? Oh you bet the entire stadium (even if only partly filled) loudly sang along, and were even louder for the callbacks which weren’t in the audio of the film. Sure, I may have preferred hearing Dropkick Murphy’s Tessie in a couple scenes, but Sweet Caroline was pretty great too!

So maybe when judging it on the same standard as any other movie, it’s subpar (enough to send Jimmy Fallon running back to TV, where I’m sure we can all agree he’s been wonderful). Still, I can’t think of a better movie to watch in such an incredible venue. If you’re gonna watch this, odds are, you won’t be watching it at Fenway. In that case, be sure and surround yourself with some loyal Boston Strong peeps to share in the experience.”

Backdraft

“I’ll forever associate this movie with my cousin. Step into the Delorean and travel back a good ways to her bridal shower. One of the games played involved answering trivia questions about her and her then fiance (now hubby). I didn’t know too many answers, but for some reason, one answer stuck with me. The question was what was the first movie they saw together (unclear if it was also first date)? Answer: Backdraft. I’d never heard of the movie before, so from then on, whenever I did hear the name, I’d think of her, as I did when I picked up this one from the movie store. I earmarked it as a blog movie specifically because I knew if nothing else, I’d at least have that anecdote to post.

If you’re going to have a big movie for a life milestone, this one’s actually not a bad choice. Directed by Ron Howard, it stars Kurt Russel and William/Billy Baldwin as brothers who happen to both be firefighters. The two have always clashed, and are forced to work with each other during an ongoing investigation into an arsonist in their area. Oh and the cast also has Robert DeNiro, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Donald Sutherland. Again, I say, not a bad movie to associate with a significant life event.

This was just such a full and rich film, with great mystery, action, and suspense. IMDB trivia tells me it was written by a former firefighter and the reverence for and knowledge of the career shows. So many movies that are released today are so superficial, that watching this made me long for the movies of the 90s I grew up with. I don’t really have much else to say about it, except that if you too are longing for that type of film and haven’t seen this, you should get on that.”