Archive for the ‘Cheesy Tearjerkers’ Category

This Must Be The Place

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Sean Penn is Cheyenne, the improbably heterosexual love child of Robert Smith and Boy George. He lives in a luxurious bungalow on a surprisingly modest cul-de-sac in suburban Dublin, Ireland. In his spare time—when he’s not delivering odd bits of wisdom in a halting, childlike voice—he hangs out at the mall with his best friend Mary, an embittered teenage punk, and has sex with his wife Jane, played by Lesbian Frances McDormand In A Tracksuit.

But something is wrong! Cheyenne’s life is incomplete. You see, Cheyenne is not a Real Artist. He’s simply a pop idol, someone who made a lot of money in the 80s, retired early, and discovered that his life felt empty. So, it’s now Cheyenne’s mission in life to fix everyone else’s problems. Mary’s being courted by a dweeb with with bad teeth and a nametag, and Cheyenne must convince her to quell her natural instinct to avoid so that they can fall in love and fulfill their destiny together. There’s also the question of the parents of a teenage boy who committed suicide in response to one of Cheyenne’s songs, who hate Cheyenne despite his well-intentioned visits to their son’s grave. Also, Cheyenne’s estranged and departed father, while interned at Auschwitz during WWII, was tortured at the hands of an escaped Nazi war criminal who Cheyenne must now hunt down somewhere in the Midwest of the United States. Oh, and Mary’s brother is missing, and her mother sits around all day chain-smoking with a haunted look on her face…

To be honest I had some trouble following all of these subplots. But, fear not, because in the end all will be revealed or something! Sean Penn makes Cheyenne—a character whose main strength seems to be a certain stony composure in the face of a script that can’t stop trying—into a genuinely likeable character. And the soundtrack, which consists almost exclusively of multiple sappy neofolk covers of the same Talking Heads song, will delight those who weren’t around to hear the original. The cinematography is thoughtful and elegant. Just don’t ask too many questions about what’s actually going on.

 

Miracle Dogs Too

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Your heartstrings begin to be tugged at right from the very first scene of this movie, when the Mom (Janine Turner, of Northern Exposure fame), the Snotty Older Sister (Casey Evans) and the protagonist are in a car, leaving their hometown. The protagonist (Zack, played by Dustin Hunter Evans) mournfully sets the scene when he asks, “Mom, are we moving because you and dad got divorced?”Cut then to a couple of Hooligans, Francis and Leo (Jonathon Trent and the amazing Jaleel White, who looks about 40 now). They are homeless kids roaming the country causing trouble. They steal a car and find a couple of dogs in the back in a cage. Of couse the Bad Kid (not Urkel, of course) wants to kill them, so he sends the Good Kid (Urkel) to dispatch the pooches, and of course, being Good, Urkel can’t kill them.

Zack of course finds the dogs, and your heartstrings are tugged at a little more when you find that he can’t keep the dogs because his Bratty Sister is afraid of dogs. When she was little, she was bit by a dog, and thus has a barely noticeable scar on her eyelid which causes her to wear sunglasses all the time as she snottily dismisses the attention lavished upon her by the jocky neighbor. Zack is forced to hide the dogs, which calls for a bit of hilarity as well as more of the cockles of your heart being warmed.
At this point, your heartstrings are practically snapping as your heart is in danger of popping out of your chest.  Zack learns that the dogs heal people when he randomly walks into a doctor’s office one day and all the people in the waiting room are miraculously cured of their sniffles and coughs.

The Mom is director of a nursing home that is staffed by the nazi-esque Nurse Bleaker (Lesley Ann Warren) who doesn’t let the residents have any fun. Heartwarmingness comes in the form of a seemingly grumpy old sea captain (Charles Durning) whom Zack befriends, as well as a studly young doctor whom Mom (more than) befriends. Captain Pete agrees to watch the dogs for Zack, and of course the dogs get loose and heal all the old people, who end up having a big wild and crazy(yet heartwarming) dance party in one of the common rooms.

All the subplots intersect eventually and everyone learns a valuable moral lesson about the nature of being good with vaguely Christian overtones as the viewer’s heart is now so warm it resembles the sacrifice scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. This movie is actually fairly dangerous. Although there is no sex, no bad words (unless you count “darn”), no violence of any sort, it causes heart damage. I think the American Heart Association put this movie out to keep them in business with all of the heartstring tugging and warming that goes on. I don’t think it could be any more heartwarming, in fact.

Basically: avoid this movie at all costs.miracledogs.jpg

City of Angels

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Meg Ryan

This is another movie that is specially formulated to make you cry every 5 minutes or so. It’s about a bunch of angels, who live in a library, and one of them (Nicholas Cage) falls in love with a mortal (Meg Ryan). Um, you cry some more and then they do some heart wrenching things and talk about life in ways you never realized before. We learn a great deal about taking life for granted. We also learn the most important lesson of all- don’t ride a bicycle with your eyes closed.

The Spring

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Was the Great Depression really THAT depressing?!
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Alison Eastwood, Aaron Pearl

OK, OK– this movie isn’t set in the future, but I’m still calling it “Futuristic.” So sue me! It didn’t really fit into any of the other categories so well.

This is the story of a small town in the mountains called “Springville.” The people there get all their water from the same spring– a spring with magical healing properties. Sick people who swim in the spring are instantly healed. People who drink the spring’s water can live indefinitely, in a perpetual state of youth and beauty. However, nothing lasts forever, not even in a made-for-TV movie. Long ago, the residents of Springville signed a “covenant” that promised no resident would live to be more than 100 years old. Each citizen, on the morning of his 100th birthday, must “cross the stream,” i.e. drown himself in the fountain, with the aid of his closest friend. They even throw an all-night party and everything! It’s very cute.

Enter Dennis Conway (MacLaughlan) and his son Nick. They were driving through the mountains when they encountered a strange couple in a vintage car, stuck in the ditch. While towing them out, they couldn’t help but notice that their trunk was full of bottled water. After the strange couple takes off, Nick discovers one of their bags still in the ditch. So, they decide to be good Samaritans and return it.

When they reach Springville everyone treats them very strangely. Josh, the mean cop (Pearl,) follows their every move and interrogates them. There’s no motel in town. The mysterious couple aren’t home, and the cops are surveying their house. Dennis gives the backpack to the cops and decides to head out in the morning.

Unfortunately, over breakfast the next morning, a truck carrying tree trunks dumps its load all over his son, Nick– and Sophie, the pretty lady at the diner (Eastwood) turns out to be a doctor. Nick is rushed to the Springville Hospital, where, big surprise, his father and the doctor fall in love. OK, but why is there a hospital with doctors in Springville? Why not just truck all the sickies directly to the Spring?

Meanwhile, Josh is tailing the mysterious couple. When he finally catches up with them at a motel, their skin has taken on the texture of fried chicken, due to lack of Springville water. Josh sneers “Happy Birthday!” before suffocating them with pillows.

Dennis can’t help but wondering about the mysterious couple he pulled out of the ditch, and about why no one in Springville will tell him about them. Soon he’s looking for clues everywhere. He rifles Sophie’s desk and discovers all her snapshots. Like a good little girl, she has little framed pictures on her desk representing all the major decades of the 20th century– Sophie in front of a WWII bomber jet, Sophie at a 50’s cocktail party, Sophie in bellbottoms… Dennis is indignant. “I just want to ask you something! What were the Roaring Twenties like?! And the Great Depression– was it really that depressing?!?!”

Now that Dennis knows the Springville secret, he wants to stay there and live with Sophie. But will the residents of Springville allow him to stay? And what about Gus, the mechanic with whom Dennis is forming a close, homoerotic friendship– will Dennis be able to help him “cross the stream?” And what is Sophie’s dark secret? You’ll just have to stay up late at night watching cable and eating Cracker Jax to find out!

Patch Adams

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Robin Williams, Monica Potter

This movie has a good intention. I mean, nobody likes to be in the hospital, and suicidal “Patch” Adams sees this. His whole deal is to turn his life around- go from a suicidal depressed person to a doctor who will heal his patients with humor. It’s all very noble, but in order to do this, he must go around making heart-warming speeches all the time.

Plus, he’s Robin Williams. I mean, he’s very good at being Robin Williams, but do we really need to see him be himself in another movie? I mean, we could have just -shudder -rented Mrs. Doubtfire… Ok, scratch that idea. If you like Robin Williams doing what he does best, you’ll probably like this film. My aunt thought this was the greatest movie ever made, and so did a lot of people. Don’t listen to me, I hated Forrest Gump- go read The Bridges of Madison County again.

When Patch is not making speeches, other people are making speeches to counteract his speeches. Ok, ok, we get the idea. Patch is Right. Everyone else is Wrong. Will you stop with the speeches already?

Basically, speeches and all, Patch Adams is scientifically designed to make you cry at every moment. Things get a little sad when the Love Interest (Potter) dies, but come on- why did the happy-go-lucky Patch fall for the bitchiest, most sarcastic and anal-retentive girl in his medical school? And why did she, a pretty, promising young woman fall for an annoying guy who’s twice her age? They get certainly get a prize for Most Unbelievable Couple of the Month. I think this movie was based on a true story, so maybe in real life, the aforesaid anal-retentive med. student did fall for the goofy guy, and vise versa. However, in the movie, this idea was so far fetched it was just silly.

Patch Adams was a totally predictable, totally middle-of-the- road sap fest. For Cheese connoisseurs, it should be watched for the Sceenwriting 101 cheesy dialogue only.

What Dreams May Come

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorria, Cuba Gooding Jr.

OK, I’ll admit that watching this movie was nice. The special effects were pretty and the scenes of Hell were really cool. However, besides the effects, there’s not much else. This is yet another movie that’s scientifically formulated to yank as many tears as possible from the innocent moviegoers’ heads. I think it was actually written and released by a group of aliens who feed on human tears. Anyway, I wasn’t moved. I mean, I find it sad when people die. I’m not a completely unfeeling rock. However, when I am repeatedly bombarded with the command to feel sad, It just makes me a little irritated rather than teary.

Besides the effects, there was not much to this film. If you took the swirling colors and painted skies out, the movie was basically kind of meandering and dull. The kids die. The Dad dies, the Mom commits suicide… she goes to Hell, but along comes Dad to bust her out. Then they all live Happily Ever After with their dead dog in Heaven. Isn’t that sweet?

This movie was just another attempt to placate the masses into thinking that everything is going to be OK forever. The afterlife is one big happy place, and love will conquer all etc. etc. Maybe it’s because I’m a cynical Agnostic that I don’t buy into it. Maybe it’s just because seeing little angels all over everything on the K-Mart shelves gets on my nerves. I think Atheists, Agnostics and Born Again Fundamentalist Christians were most annoyed by this film. I’ve never been in the same category as a Christian Fundamentalist before, and this is kind of interesting! A lot of people found this movie to be “life affirming” and comforting. I say, go read a good book and then visit an art museum. You’ll save a lot of money on tissues.

The Other Sister

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi, Diane Keaton, Tom Skerrit

OK, I’ll admit that Juliette Lewis is one of my least favorite actresses on the planet, so this review is a little bit biased. In fact, one of the only things worse then seeing Juliette Lewis in a movie is seeing Juliette Lewis play a retard in a movie. Sigh. This movie was painful for me to watch (it was a family bonding moment with my aunt, who had rented this video).

Juliette, in all of her hesitant, twitchy glory plays a mentally challenged girl whose mother treats her, well, like a retard. That is, her mother is not ready for her to grow up and assume the responsibility of an adult. I can’t figure out why, because, aside from Ms. Lewis’s abnormally slow hesitant monotone that slowly caused me to want to rip my eardrums out of my head, lest I go on hearing it, she didn’t act any different from say, my sister (note: my sister is not mentally challenged, she just acts like it most of the time).

Anyway, we get to see Juliette drawl on a lot and assert herself as she goes to college and gets decent grades, falls in love with another retard (Giovanni Ribisi,) and generally makes a lot of heart warming speeches about how she can do anything. It’s all very sweet. It’s also scientifically formulated to make you (that is people in general, not me) cry a lot. If you’re at all considering becoming a Scientologist, picture yourself locked on this miserable planet for eternity with Juliette Lewis. Maybe then you’ll change your mind.

Death Drug

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Hey, man, you’re whacked!
Starring: Philip Michael Thomas, Rosalind Cash, Vernee Watson-Johnson

No, they didn’t actually say this in the film, but I was sorely tempted to yell it at Scooter while we were watching “Death Drug.” This is the story of Mr. Tubbs from Miami Vice battling the drug WHACK– not the same as our good friend Crack, as PMT explains in this film’s intro, but similar (being part of a broader class known as the “ack” drugs.) This was the weirdest part of this tape– even though PMT made this film in 1978, way ahead of his Miami Vice days, the rental version was spliced together with some 80’s footage, in a sad attempt to capitalize on the TV show. This made for some really weird shifts in continuity– in the movie PMT is a jazz musician, but in his music video he’s a new-wave rocker. In the movie he dies undiscovered and penniless– but two minutes later on the news, he’s a major celebrity and his death is a national scandal. They obviously added this footage on purpose… you’d think they’d at least try to make it fit somehow.

You gotta love the boy, though. In the intro he goes on about how sometimes an actor is handed a role which really challenges him to look deep into himself… how sometimes a role is more than just a job! This dude was gearing up for the Academy Awards banquet! PMT was obviously having a deeply personal looking-into-himself experience, because he only has about three lines in the entire movie. His main job is to run around hitting things during the drug flashback scenes.

Anyway, if you haven’t already guessed, PMT plays a starving musician / plumber (I can’t remember what his character’s name was, and the IMDB is no help, so I’m going to keep calling him “PMT”) who suddenly hits the big time one night in a club. Unfortunately, evil whack dealers are also on hand to give PMT his first taste of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. For a while, PMT thinks he’s on top of the world, until the drug starts to take over, and he lashes out at his band, his producer, and his pregnant wife (qualifying this film as a cheesy tearjerker.)

Rosalind Cash (from The Omega Man) is also in this movie, and she’s becoming one of my favorite actresses. PMT’s wife runs into her at the community center and confides that he’s using the whack. Dr. Rosalind takes her to the clinic to see the whack detox ward– a horrifying place full of wailing, moaning whack victims who do things like thrash around on gurneys and have convulsions in whirlpool bathtubs.

In the final scene, PMT’s wife brings their five-year-old son to visit daddy’s grave, and while she’s busy having a hysterically poignant crying fit, the tot wanders off to the far end of the cemetery… where, behind the fence, lurks the same whack dealer who gave PMT his first hit! And, as if the cheese couldn’t get any thicker than this… there’s a largely pointless outro featuring PMT harping on about drugs, etc. etc. This boy can’t stop mugging for the camera!

Normally I would recommend seeing most films in the theater if you can… but this rental tape is really something special. I really don’t know what else to say. Words fail me!

Ice Castles

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Lynn-Holly Johnson

Lexi is a small town girl with a lot of ice skating talent. She gets discovered by a big ice skating talent agent and goes to the big city where she has lots of adventures, including going blind. We see her overcome adversity in a touching way.

Lee, my mom’s hippie burnout friend, watched this movie on TV and cried. He blamed it on a certain frequency of vibrations that the filmmakers put into the soundtrack to make the audience cry. Er…yeah.

A great feelgood cheesy tearjerker. Sometimes we all need a nice 100% predictable film to sit in front of the tube and pick on!

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Even a simple case of Saturday Night Fever could end his life.
Starring: John Travolta, Glynnis O’Connor

This is the story of Todd Lubitch (Travolta,) the Boy in the Plastic Bubble. Why is he in the bubble? Because he was born with no immune system. That’s right, even a simple case of the sniffles could cause Todd to kick the bucket at any moment. Our story opens as Mr. and Mrs. Lubitch discover that they’re about to have a baby. Mrs. Lubitch is mightily upset, since she lost her last child to the same affliction that’s about to afflict Todd. Todd’s Dad, (Robert Reed, aka Mr. Brady) is totally into having this kid, however. He tells his wife over and over again that everything’s going to be OK. Boy, is he ever wrong! Then, cut to the hospital; the Lubitches receive the bad news. Todd’s already in the Bubble, so there’s a pathos-laden scene of Mrs. Lubitch cradling her baby with giant rubber gauntlets.

OK, so maybe I’m no immunologist, but this entire movie seems pretty whacked to me. First of all, none of the doctors seem to have any idea exactly what’s wrong with Todd. Nobody seems to know when or if he’ll ever get out of the bubble. Also, throughout the movie, the doctors keep saying that Todd’s body “has built up some immunities on its own,” however, since Todd’s never been exposed to a single virus or bacteria in his life, I don’t really see how this could happen. But whatever. Todd’s main responsibility in life is to look cute and pathetic, not to fight off pathogens.

In classic made-for-TV style, this movie keeps threatening to have a plot, but then doesn’t. We follow Todd as he faces such crises as choking on a loose button from his teddy bear (watch the movie to see how well a four year old actor can play a choking scene,) having a horse jump over his porta-bubble, and having his space suit malfunction, all with tremendously anti-climactic results. I kept waiting for the tear-filled moment when Todd would be rushed to the hospital, and speeches would be made, and True Feelings revealed, and all that, but it didn’t happen. Irwin Allen should have made this film.

Ah, yes, the Space Suit. You see, as Todd becomes a teenager, he eventually takes classes at the High School via closed-circuit TV. But then someone invents a burnt-orange space suit that enables Todd to walk about at will, causing the other kids to treat him like a freak. There’s even a cute make-out scene in the back of his parent’s van, when his girlfriend / next-door-neighbor Gena (O’Connor) kisses him through his Plexiglas visor.

Throughout all of this, Todd acts like a complete jerk towards everybody. He bosses his parents around, treats his nurse like a slave, and barks orders at people through an intercom. Hey, I guess he has poor social skills! At one point, he goes to the hospital for a few weeks and his roommate at the “Laminar Air Flow Center” is a kid whose immune system is shot due to chemotherapy. They commiserate about not being able to go out with girls, etc. Then they talk about masturbation. Eeeeeew. While at High School, Todd and his friends sneak off to the football field to smoke pot. Since Todd can’t breath anything but purified air, he has to tell his friends how he can achieve out-of-body states through meditation, to make up for the fact that he’s not stoned. Then he goes off about how he’s really from a planet called “Themopolis,” here on an exchange program. Poor Todd! Maybe he was just born with a bad script!

Eventually, however, Todd falls in love with the girl next door, and after a few scenes of her being alternately nice and mean to him, she falls in love with him, too. What are they going to do? Gena’s about to go to Art School in New York, whereas Todd will forever be stuck in his Plastic Bubble. Todd again asks his doctor if he’ll ever be able to leave, but his doctor just shrugs. The doctor doesn’t even know if Todd could leave the bubble right now. He could be fine, or else… so Todd is faced with a dilemma. Should he sneak out of the bubble and take his chances with love / germs, or should he stay in the bubble and play with his pet germ-free mouse? (I especially love the hamster-trail-within-bubble metaphor!) I won’t spoil the surprise ending for you, but at least this movie eventually developed some kind of plot, even if it was during the last five minutes.

Then there’s the Love Theme from The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, which goes, Leave us alone / We live in the country / We’ll make it just fine / Happy in a one-room shack / And we won’t look back… Maybe it’s just me, but Todd wasn’t happy in his one-room shack… but then again most of this movie left me slightly mystified. PS: Look for Vernee Watson-Johnson as “Gwen,” who played Philip Michael Thomas’ wife in Death Drug.

Snow Falling on Cedars

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Ok, I’ll buy the calendar, can we get on with the plot?
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Youki Koudoh, Rick Yune, Max Von Sydow

This film wasn’t exactly cheesy, per se, but it was presented in an extremely cheesy manner. The story itself was interesting– Ishmael, a white guy in the 1950’s Pacific Northwest (Ethan Hawke) is dumped by his Japanese childhood sweetheart (Youki Koudoh) for a Japanese guy (Rick Yune). The Japanese guy is now on trial for murder in an extremely racially biased case, and Ishmael has evidence to prove he’s innocent. Will he let the past slide and do the right thing? Or will he let bitterness well up inside him until he gets back at the girl for dumping his ass? It’s an interesting story, with dialogue that only bordered on corny a couple of times, but didn’t really go overboard.

However, the entire film looks like a giant Calvin Klein commercial. It’s gorgeous to look at. I spent the first few moments gazing in awe at the panoramic views of snow-covered trees and pebble beaches. There are washed-out slow motion battle scenes of dead soldiers lying on beaches with waves lapping at their bodies. And there’s the fish imagery. Why do we keep seeing washed out images of dead fish? Probably generations of film students will explore this, or maybe it’s already obvious to you and not to me, not being a film student.

Anyway, all of the photography is completely breathless, until you realize that it seems like it’s been eternity since we’ve had any plot development. Something will happen that’s central to the plot, and then we are subjected to a ton of artsy montages of beautifully dripping trees and flashbacks of little kids laughing in the sunlight in strawberry fields. It actually gets irritating after a while. It’s really distracting, at any rate. I was thinking OK, OK, I’ll buy the next Sierra Club calendar– when do we see the movie? I kept waiting for the words “Obsession by Calvin Klein” to pop up on the screen.

All in all, it was gorgeous to look at. If they wanted to make Koyaanisqatsi III with the images that would be fine. I wouldn’t be writing this at all if they had made two separate films, or even one with only a few artsy shots. But I suppose if you took all of the artsy imagery away, the film would be about 15 minutes long.

First Sight

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Val Kilmer, Mira Sorvino

When I first started watching this one, I thought to myself, “Oy! not another movie about blind people who ice skate!” But I was pleasantly surprised. Ice skating makes up a relatively small portion of this film. Its’ about Amy (Sorvino), a lonely architect, who falls for Virgil (Kilmer,) her blind masseur while on a spa. Virgil teaches her to appreciate all of her other senses and “see” the world in a touching, inspiring new way.

Things start getting complicated, however, when Amy learns that Virgil’s sight may be able to be restored. Virgil must choose whether to leave the life he has grown accustomed to for a whole new experience. He also must leave his faithful seeing-eye dog behind as he embarks upon his new life in the City. After Virgil regains his sight, tensions increase as Amy and Virgil must learn to deal with his new vision. There are also subplots involving Virgil’s overprotective older sister and his father who ran out on the family when Virgil was younger. But don’t worry, it all works out in the end when Virgil goes blind again. It’s all very touchingly cheesy as everyone comes to grips with Virgil’s lack of sight, and then as he gets used to having sight, and then loses it again. This is based on a true story.

Indecent Proposal

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Demi Moore, Woody Harrelson, Robert Redford

Plot in a nutshell: happily married husband and wife (Diana and David, Moore and Harrelson) are in debt. Millionaire (Redford) sees Diana and offers them $1,000,000 to sleep with her. Making the the decision whether or not to accept this proposal is a big deal. The happy couple break up, reunite etc.

What was so riveting about this movie was not the actual film itself, but hearing the conversations of the viewers on their way out of the theater. Eavesdropping in on these snippets of conversation gave me valuable insight into human socio-psychology. For example, here’s one exerpt:

Wife (hesitantly, to husband): Honey? Um, would you let me do that? For a million dollars?
Husband: Honey, I’d let you go for 10 bucks and a six-pack of Bud!

And another example:

Woman 1: Ok. You get a million dollars AND you get to sleep with Robert Redford? What’s the decision?
Woman 2: Yeah, I can understand having a hard time deciding between Robert OR a million bucks, but BOTH?!?!

There you have it. If you can’t see this film in a theater, then at least rent it with a bunch of strangers. It will inspire many ethical and moral debates.

Notting Hill

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant

If you liked Four Weddings and a Funeral, then you’ll love this one! Basically it’s the same thing- Hugh Grant, everyone’s favorite lovable rapidly blinking Englishman falls for a bimboesque American chick. This time it’s movie star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts). She’s not quite as airheaded as Andi McDowell, but that’s OK, the movie’s pretty much the same anyway. There’s a cast of wacky co-stars, and Hugh Grant is as lovable in that gooey, passive English way as ever.

The film starts as things begin to change for unambitious William Thacker (Grant). When superstar Anna Scott walks into his travel book shop in the small London neighborhood of Notting Hill, he’ll never be the same again. Suddenly, after a few sarcastic run-ins with the star, they fall in love. Anna asks William to visit her, and he stumbles into a press meeting where he has to pose as a journalist for Horse and Hound magazine, and hilarity ensues. Then things start getting complicated as they break up, meet up again, etc. But it’s so sweet the way William pours out his heart to the untrusting Anna. This isn’t the same guy who gets caught getting hand-jobs from women of ill-repute in the backseats of cars. This guy is a sweetie. He still has a thing for his wheelchair-bound ex-girlfriend who married his best friend. This guy is purely ficticious. And he blinks a lot. Maybe he should see an opthamologist.

But couldn’t you not help gagging, er I mean crying, when Anna comes after him and says “I’m just a girl… standing in front of a boy… asking him to love her”. If you like happy endings, this one ends completely hunky-dorily, in a sentimental little way. Pure cheese.

Hope Floats

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Harry Connick Jr.

This movie has just about every cliche known to Hollywood. If you like sappy cute semi-tear jerkers, you’ll love this Chick Flick. It was so corny you almost had to love it …almost. Sandra Bullock stars as a former beauty queen whose husband dumps her on a national talk show. Everyone in her quaint midwestern home town sees this and instantly feels superior to her. Former schoolmates act out the jealousy and hostility they had been harboring towards her since high school. Their attitude is probably the best part of the film. We all can relate- we all have former high school mates whom we still love to hate. Unfortunately, this is a sappy movie, and Sandra has to go and fall for Harry Connick Jr., the class ne’er-do-well. It’s so cute.

Meet Joe Black

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins

What would it be like if Death himself came to the world of the living disguised as a clueless stud? This movie examines that scenario in great detail (a two-tape set). When Bill, the Rich guy’s life span is about to expire (Hopkins,) Death himself decides to hang out with the human race to see what it’s all about. Instead of the usual black cloak and sickle attire, though, he’s jumped into the body of Brad Pitt, whom he conveniently splattered in a traffic accident.

Things are complicated, though, because Bill’s daughter has decided that she no longer wants to go out with her dad’s #1 associate, a mean sarcastic heartless businessman. She falls for Brad in a coffee shop before he gets splattered. When The Reaper shows up to dinner that night wearing Brad’s body, she of course doesn’t realize that he’s Death incarnate. She doesn’t Fear the Reaper, as she finds his odd fixation with eating peanut butter charmingly cute.

Death (now renamed Joe Black to better blend in with human society) makes an awkward human. In his state, however, he doesn’t fool an old Jamaican woman who’s on her death bed. We get to see Brad talk like a Rastafarian to her- it’s amusing.

The best part of this film, however, is all of the puns that present themselves effortlessly to the viewer. I never realized that there are so many idiomatic expressions involving death! For example, when Bill’s daughter and Death do the Wild Thing, is she on her Death Bed? And Bill is at Death’s Door when he knocks to summon him for dinner… all very amusing. Don’t miss the super Disneyesque ending complete with cheesy triumphantly sad symphonic music and fireworks.

Stepmom

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Julia Roberts, Ed Harris

This movie is kind of amusing at first, when everyone is bitchy and mean. It’s a tale of a divorced man and the relationship between his ex-wife (Jackie, played by Sarandon,) his kids (Ben and Anna, played by Liam Aiken and Jena Malone) and his new fiance (Isabel, played by Roberts.) At first, his 12 year old daughter is about the brattiest, mouthiest kid on the planet, his ex-wife is a total bitch, and his fiance is bitchy and cold in her attempt to deal with tham all. Unfortunately, things change, and they all begin to bond. Then the movie gets super sappy, as everyone realizes that they really care after all. Yuck. Jackie comes to terms with the fact that she’s going to die of cancer and that Isabel will be her kids’ new mom.

The whole film is filled with adorable little kid-isms from Ben, and words of wisdom from everyone about dealing with things, bonding, etc. After a while it all gets pretty nauseating, and you wish Jackie would just die, already! Even though Susan Sarandon is probabaly my all-time favorite actress, I have to say this film was pretty slow. You know everything will work out in the end, I found myself drumming my fingers waiting for it all to come together so I could go to bed.

The Bodyguard

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston

Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston make the World’s Most Unbelievable Couple in a movie (I think they received an Oscar nomination for this fact) in this tale of love, betrayal, and Rock n’ Roll.

Frank Farmer (Costner) is a former government security guard who now designs security systems for people. He has his work cut out for him when he is assigned to guard Rachel Marron, (Whitney Houston, who has a tough role, playing) a rock star. It doesn’t take long before they start doin’ it, and Frank learns that someone is out to kill Rachel. The assignment becomes personal as Frank realizes that he must fight for his true love!

But wait, can he solve the crime? He is still carrying the guilty weight of having let President Reagan get shot (I think I would have considered it a merit badge had I been the bodyguard there!) ! So he quits the assignment and then goes back on it, just to prove himself. But who is behind the death threats? Could it be Rachel’s jealous sister? A psycho? You’ll just have to watch, and endure the soundtrack yourself!

The Object of My Affection

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
Starring: Jennifer Aniston

What happens when a recently-dumped gay guy moves in with a straight girl he just met? They decide to raise a kid, of course!

Jennifer Aniston, the woman who spawned the haircut of a generation, wanders around in a nightmare of co-dependence, as her roommate falls for some weird guy who lives with a dried-up queen of a theater critic.

I actually started to get into this movie for a while, but the two are just too wimpy for words. There’s also an attempted sex scene between the two, for moviegoers who can’t stand the sight of a gay guy on screen. For all the rest of us, there’s a pantheon of delightfully stereotyped characters of all sexual orientations.

The solution to all of this? Baby. If you can’t work a chase scene into a movie, why not use a baby instead? Watch this film with someone you love.