Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"The Family Man" 2000

"The Family Man"

I went to see this movie on a dark and snowy night.  My husband was staying home for two reasons.  The first being basketball.  He had a friend over to watch a game.  The other reason was mice.

I have mentioned I have an unreasonable fear of mice.  There are the reasonable reasons, they are vermin who can make countless babies and take over.  The rest of my reasons, well they creep me out and they can jump like four feet in the air.  I hate rodents.

Until a few years ago when we replaced our stove we would get at least one mouse a year.  But in 2000 we had an infestation.  There were sightings of more than one mouse.  We live near a river, it gets cold and the evil little rodents make their way anywhere warm.  So I told my husband to do what he had to do and get rid of them.   Just like some bad a$$ mafia boss!

Not you Mr. Jingles.  I still like you!

So my husband set up traps and sat back to watch his game.  Over the next several hours the traps kept snapping.  He would go during breaks and clear away the well, there is no delicate way to say it, the bodies.  I have no sympathy for mice. 

So after the movie I called to see if it was safe to come home.  I was ready to check into a hotel.  He assured me that there hadn't been a snap for almost an hour.   A total body count of nine mice.  I didn't feel bad about it at all.  Even when he told me that they kept getting smaller that cold spot in my heart just felt good.

But on to the movie.  It was worth venturing out to see this movie. 

It follows the map of "A Christmas Carol" and "It's A Wonderful Life."  Nic Cage is Jack Campbell, a successful business man living the dream.  He has a big job, great apartment, hot women and a fast car.  One night he intervenes at a convenience store and ends up with a guardian agent.

Don Cheedle as the angel Cash decides to give Jack a "glimpse" of what could have been.

The next morning, instead of waking up in his Manhattan penthouse he is jarred awake by two kids and a dog jumping into his New Jersey bed.   He is further shocked to see his college sweetheart turn over next to him. 

In a panic he runs out the door to find out what is going on.  After another run in with Cash, who is driving Jack's car, he discovers he is stuck.

He is quickly entrenched in family life.  But his daughter Annie is pretty smart.  She sees that he has no clue what is going on.   But she has a theory.

Annie: Do you like kids?
Jack: On a case-by-case basis.
Annie: Do you know how to make chocolate milk?
Jack: I think I could figure it out.
Annie: Promise you won't kidnap me and my brother and plant stuff in our brains?
Jack: Sure.
Annie: Welcome to earth.
Tea Leoni is excellent as Kate.  She is smart and sarcastic and keeps Jack on his toes. 

He is flustered as he tries to pick up their shared history, since he missed the last 13 years.

Jack: Well, you know everything worked out. I mean, I like Annie.
Kate: Well, good Jack, maybe we'll keep her.

After a little adjustment time he falls in love with the life he missed. 

But just as he has accepted the new life and love he is back in his old one. 

There is a great end scene where he has to convince Kate that they are meant to be together.  The movie is sweet and Nic Cage does a good job but only because Tea Leoni and the little girl make it real.  You can understand why he'd want to recapture his lost life. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Bad Santa" 2003

"Bad Santa"

This movie is all kinds of wrong.

I went to this in the theater.  I blame viewing this on football.  There are many movies that have been brought to me by the NFL.  Just this past Sunday, my husband and I had this conversation.  (I should note I was feeling extremely grumpy and have been working a lot and was tired to boot.)

I had been watching a movie and went up to take a shower before work.  When I came downstairs the television had been changed to football.

"Seriously?  More football?"

"You were in the shower.  Was I supposed to watch that movie?"

"How much football can you watch?"


"Since Wednesday how much football have you watched?"  (This was Thanksgiving weekend.)

"I don't know."

"How can you watch that much football?"

"How can you watch a movie over and over again?"

"Do we want to count how many times you have watched "Ricky Bobby" over and over again?"

"At least that is realistic."

"Excuse me. 

"Not like your sparkly vampire."  (OK, I was watching a "Twilight" movie.  There is nothing else on Sunday mornings.  So shoot me.)

So, Sundays, in the interest of my marital sanity, are often when I go to the movies. 

This movie is great.  I laughed so hard.  I came home and told my husband it was a must see.  The next day at work someone asked me what movie I'd seen.  This movie is really hard to describe in a politically correct environment. 

Billy Bob Thornton is Willie.  He and his partner Marcus get jobs as a mall Santa and his elf each Christmas.  They use their position to scope out the malls then on Christmas Eve, clean it out of money and various merchandise.  It is working well until Willie meets the Kid.

Willie: Is that your underwear?
Kid: Part of it.
Willie: Where the hell's the rest of it?
[the kid opens his mouth to speak]
Willie: Actually, don't tell me. I don't want to know. What do you want?
Kid: I was thinking I wanted a purple stuffed elephant, not pink. But now I changed my mind.
Willie: Yeah? What?
Kid: Now I don't want an elephant at all. I want a gorilla named Davy for beating up the skateboard kids who pull on my underwear. And he can take his orders from the talking walnut, so it won't be my bad thing.
[Santa looks at the kid in confusion]
Willie: Jesus, kid. When I was your age, I didn't need no f**king gorilla. And I wasn't as big as one of your legs. Four kids beat me up one time and I went crying home to my daddy. You know what he did?
Kid: He made it all better?
Willie: No, he kicked my a$$. You know why?
Kid: Because you went to the bathroom on mommy's dishes?
Willie: What the f**k? No!
Kid: He tried to teach you not to cry and be a man?
Willie: No. It's because he was a mean, drunk, son of a b**ch. And when he wasn't busy busting my a$$, he was putting cigarettes out on my neck. The world ain't fair. You've gotta take what you need when you can get it. You've gotta learn to stand up for yourself. You have to stop being a pu$$y and kick these kids in the balls or something.
[the kid stares at Santa]
Willie: Or don't. $hit. I don't care. Just leave me the hell out of it.
Kid: Okay. Thanks Santa.

Soon he discovers that the Kid's dad is in prison and he is living with an inattentive grandmother.   So he decides to move in and take advantage of the situation. 

Before he knows it he is in love with a hot bartender who has a thing for Santa.  He is also letting the kid get to him. 

This is not a movie to pull out when the kids are still up, but it is hilarious.

Marcus: It won't happen again. I can promise you that. Willie here has low blood sugar. That's all.
Willie: That's right. I forgot to take my pill.
Bob Chipeska: It's not just the swearing. Forgive me for prying, but did one of you, um, fornicate...
Willie: Fornicate?
Bob Chipeska: Yes. With a heavy-set woman in the big-and-tall dressing room?
Willie: Look, I've boned a lot of fat chicks in my time, sure. But, as far back as I can remember, I've never fornicated anybody.
I also don't have enough asterisks to quote this movie too much. 

If the quotes are intriguing, watch the movie.  It is funny.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"Christmas With The Kranks" 2004

"Christmas With The Kranks"  

This movie is based on a John Grisham novel.   It is about a couple who decide to forgo all the material trappings of Christmas and go on a cruise instead. 

Nora Krank: [Luther explains his idea for the cruise] How much is this going to cost?
Luther Krank: $3,000.
Nora Krank: We SAVE money?

Their only daughter is somewhere in South America and won't be home.  Soon they are being ridiculed by their neighbors and harrassed for not living up to their prior years of glitz and glitter.

There seems to be a lot of ridicule in Christmas movies.  What is that all about?

They spend the first half of the movie avoiding all their neighbors.  Dan Ayckroyd is the main nemesis. 

He is obsessed with making sure the houses on the block all participate in the decorations. 

Vic Frohmeyer: Nora Krank, we're here for Frosty!
Luther and Nora, played wiht their usual manic acting are a little over the top, but fun.  They almost make the goal of skipping Christmas when they discover their daughter is on her way to surprise them with a new fiance'.  

Now all bets are off and they have to pull off the old fashioned family Christmas their daughter is expecting.

There are kooky moments of trying to get all the fixings for the perfect Christmas.  They also have to get the house decorated.

Spike Frohmeyer: [watching Luther steal a Christmas tree] Are you sure this isn't illegal?
Luther Krank: Are you a cop?

It finally comes together and with the help of their neighbors, they are ready for the daughter's arrival.

It ends happily.  They have a guest who may or may not be Santa. 

The reason I saw this movie is that I know someone in it.  When I was selling videos for the distributor I had an outside sales person that lived in Southern California.  She quit her job and became a full time actress.  It is fun to see her show up in movies. 

She is in the latest Kevin Smith movie.  Good job Rose!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Gremlins" 1984

This is a classic Christmas movie.  I remember the ads in the newspaper, yes Virginia, back in the eighties we had to check the newspapers for movie times.  There were big ads and they were all changed to reflect the season.  I remember the bad gremlin wearing  a Santa hat. 

Hoyt Axton is an inventor who wants to get his son something special for Christmas.  He stops in a shop run by an old Chinese man.  When he sees the Mogwai, he decides it is the perfect gift, but can't convince the old man to sell it.  Luckily or unluckily, the man's grandson knows they need money and sells it behind the old man's back. 

He does let him know a little about the care and feeding of the Mogwai.

Chinese Boy: Look Mister, there are some rules that you've got to follow.
Randall Peltzer: Yeah, what kind of rules?
Chinese Boy: First of all, keep him out of the light, he hates bright light, especially sunlight, it'll kill him. Second, don't give him any water, not even to drink. But the most important rule, the rule you can never forget, no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs, never feed him after midnight.

So Billy gets Gizmo for Christmas.  What ever happened to Zach Galligan anyway?  But he has trouble keeping the rules. 

A little water and soon there are a whole bunch of adorable little Mogwais around the house. But they aren't quite as cute as Gizmo.  When they trick him into eating after midnight, things go downhill fast. 

We have a young Corey Feldman to play the cute kid.

And then there is Phoebe Cates as the girlfriend who hates Christmas, and the gremlins aren't helping matters.

She is 48 years old now and still looks amazing.

But anyway, her reasons for hating Christmas are legitimate.

Kate: Now I have another reason to hate Christmas.
Billy Peltzer: What are you talking about?
Kate: The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was 9 years old. Me and Mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple hours went by. Dad wasn't home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. That's when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.

There are so many classic moments as the Gremlins start to terrorize the town. 

The unfortunate incident with Polly Holiday.

Billy's mom and the microwave.

And all the gremlins jumping in the pool to make millions of gremlins.  But when I google this all I get are pictures of Phoebe Cates from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High".

So, as an early Christmas present to any male readers I have, I will leave it at that.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" 1964

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"

We all know the story of Rudolph.  The poor little reindeer who is ridiculed and teased to the point that he needs to run away.  It is an allegory of being different and bullying,  The poor thing was born with a birth defect and even his father and mother are ashamed of him. 

Then there is that poor dentist elf who is forced to make toys instead of tending teeth. 

Don't elves need dental care? 

And Santa Claus seems to be condoning it all.  In retrospect this is a really sad movie.

Rudolph doesn't get to play any reindeer games.  This is my husband's favorite part, because the reindeer coach is wearing a whistle.

Not sure how he works it with hooves.

Rudolph and the dentist elf run away and end up on the island of misfit toys. 

These poor little freak toys have created their own little society, away from the world that rejected them.

They accept Rudolph and the dentist elf.  But there isn't a lot of dentistry for toys, so they decide to go back and meet a crazy miner looking for gold.  

His obsession gets them trapped by an Abominable Snowman.   The poor Abominable Snowman knows all about living alone and suffering ridicule. 

Rudolph and the denist elf get back to the North Pole to discover that there is big storm coming that might cancel Christmas.  Santa can't fly in all that fog.  Suddenly Rudolph's nose isn't such a bad thing anymore.  They can use him.

Then as the song proclaims, all the reindeer loved him.  There is no follow up when they don't need the headlight to guide them the next year.  I predict that Rudolph developed a substance abuse problem.  His best friend is a dentist, they have access to narcotics. 

Poor Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. 

This is very dark for Christmas. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

I Love Christmas Movies, Mostly.

This is the official launch of the holiday season.  I refuse to acknowledge that Christmas is coming until Black Friday.  I worked too long in the retail world where the holiday music starts in September and the Christmas decorations are ready at the beginning of October to do anything else.

So I will review Christmas movies for the next month.  I love Christmas movies.  The more sentimental the better.   As we get closer to the holiday I will reveal my favorites.  There are a lot of them.

I like the television specials too.  But there is a heinous practice I have a problem with and can't keep quiet about anymore.

Just this week, there was a new Christmas special on television.

"Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas"

OK.  Mammoths haven't walked the earth in thousands of years.  In fact the sources I googled disagreed but all of them were pretty in sync that it was during a period referred to as B.C.

BC or B.C. may refer to: Before Christ, an epoch used in dating years prior to the estimated birth of Jesus

OK.  So Christmas is pretty universally known as the celebration of the birth of Jesus. 

So if mammoths disappeared anywhere from 4000 to 100,000 years B.C. how in the heck did they celebrate Christmas? 

I have been upset about this ever since "A Flintstone Christmas".  Again, the Flintstone's are a modern stone age family, but the stone age was also B.C. 

There have actually been several "Flinstone" Christmas specials.   Oh, the humanity.

I am fine with ridiculous Christmas specials but Santa Claus wasn't in the manger in Bethlehem bringing baby Jesus presents. 

This is almost as bad as the "Star Wars Christmas Special" starring Bea Arthur. 

And that one was a musical. 

Even Chewbacca looks embarrassed.

So if it set in the era of B.C. or happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, it is off limits for a Christmas special.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"Friends" 1994-2004

I love the show “Friends”. I have all ten seasons on DVD. Among my favorite episodes are the Thanksgiving episodes. So, being Thanksgiving today I thought I would go through them.


Season 1: "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" Episode 9

The first Thanksgiving episode and everyone has to come up with their own Thanksgiving plans. Ross and Monica’s parents leave town, Phoebe doesn’t celebrate till December. Rachel wants to join her parents for a ski weekend but can’t afford it and Chandler hates Thanksgiving. But the best reason is Joey. After doing a modeling job, his picture starts showing up all over the city. The only problem with this? They are public service advertisements for venereal disease. So his family thinks he has syphilis.

But one of my favorite parts of this episode is how everyone manages to guilt Monica into making potatoes their way.

Joey: Hey, Mon. I have a question... I don't see any tater tots.
Monica: That's not a question.

Season 2: "The One with the List" Episode 8

This one is not a traditional Thanksgiving that would come later but it does introduce us to Mockolate. Monica is hired to turn Thanksgiving into the Mockolate holiday. She makes a few recipes, using as little Mockolate as possible.

[Phoebe has a taste of "Mockolate"]
Phoebe: Oh, sweet Lord! This is what evil must taste like!

Season 3: "The One with the Football" Episode 9
After watching television and waiting for the turkey to finish cooking, they decide to play a friendly game of touch football.

[Playing Football]

Monica: Okay, Phoebs, you know what you're doing right?
Phoebe: Yeah.
Monica: Okay, Joey's gonna catch the ball and you and I are gonna block.
Phoebe: What's block?
Monica: Phoebe, I thought you said you knew what you're doing.
Phoebe: I thought you meant in life.

It brings out the competitive edge in Ross and Monica. It is great.

Season 4: "The One with Chandler in a Box" Episode 8

Monica has to see an eye doctor and it is her ex’s son. She accepts a date but is teased constantly by her friends and finally blows up that them.

Monica: Fine! Judge all you want to but,
[points to Ross]
Monica: married a lesbian,
[points to Rachel]
Monica: left a man at the altar,
[points to Phoebe]
Monica: fell in love with a gay ice dancer,
[points to Joey]
Monica: threw a girl's wooden leg in a fire,
[points to the box Chandler's in]
Monica: live in a box!

Chandler is in a box to beg for Joey’s forgiveness. So we don’t see much more than his finger.

Season 5: "The One with All the Thanksgivings" Episode 8

After dinner they friends start reminiscing about their most memorable Thanksgivings. Monica’s go back to meeting Chandler when Ross brought him home from college. We see Rachel’s old nose, Fat Monica and some really bad Ross and Chandler hair.


Rachel: You know what we should do? We should play that game where everybody says what they're thankful for.
Joey: Oh. I should be thankful for the wonderful fall we've been having.
Everybody: YEAH.
Joey: I remember one day I was at the bus stop and this cool fall breeze came blowing out of nowhere and totally lifted this chick's skirt. Oh. And I'm also thankful for thongs.

Season 6: "The One Where Ross Got High" Episode 9

Monica’s parents are at Thanksgiving and don’t know she is living with Chandler. They don’t like him because Ross told them that the pot they found in his room was his. Joey and Ross want to go to a drunken dancer’s party but can’t leave until after dessert. Rachel has a twist on the traditional English trifle that will be hard to swallow.

Rachel: (looking at her trifle) Look at it, isn’t it beautiful?

Ross: Yeah, yeah, what is it?

Rachel: It’s a trifle. It’s got all of these layers. First there’s a layer of ladyfingers, then a layer of jam, then custard, which I made from scratch, [Joey and Ross make impressed faces] then raspberries, more ladyfingers, then beef sauteed with peas and onions, [Joey and Ross look like something’s wrong.] then a little more custard, and then bananas, and then I just put some whipped cream on top!

[Joey and Ross make confused faces.]

Ross: W-What was the one right before bananas?

Rachel: The beef? Yeah, that was weird to me, too. But then, y’know, I thought “well, there’s mincemeat pie,” I mean that’s an English dessert, these people just put very strange things in their food, y’know. [To Joey] Oh! by the way, can I borrow some Rum from your place?

Joey: Y-sure!

Rachel: (teasingly) And while I’m gone don’t you boys sneak a taste.

Joey and Ross: (faking dissapointment) Okay.

Season 7: "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs" Episode 8

This episode has one of my favorite quotes. Classic Joey.

Joey: [about Rachel's assistant, Tag] If he doesn't like you, then this is all just a moo point.
Rachel: Huh. A moo point?
Joey: Yeah, it's like a cow's opinion, you know, it just doesn't matter. It's "moo".
Rachel: Have I been living with him for too long, or did that all just make sense?

I also like it that Ross, who loves pontificating about how smart he is can’t name all fifty states.

Season 8: "The One with the Rumor" Episode 9
This one has Brad Pitt, who happened to be married to Jennifer Aniston at the time. I don’t know if you knew they were married. Shocker right?

Brad plays an old high school friend who comes to Thanksgiving. It brings up a lot of old rivalries.

Rachel: The "I Hate Rachel Green Club"? Who was in this club?
Will: Me and Ross...
Ross: There's no need to point; she knows who Ross is.
Rachel: Ross! Who else?
Ross: Well, there was that exchange student from Thailand, but I don't think he really understand what it was.
Rachel: [to Monica] Did you know about this?
Monica: I swear I didn't know. Wait a minute; is that why the two of you used to go into your room and lock the door?
Ross: [ashamed] Uh, yes.
Monica: Gotta tell you; that's a relief.

This brings out an old rumor that Rachel didn’t know about.

Monica: [about the rumor Will and Ross started about her in high school] Rachel, everybody in school heard the rumor.
Rachel: You knew and you didn't tell me!
Monica: Well, I was afraid it might be true, you'd cry and then show it to me!
Chandler: Wait a minute, we heard that rumor in my high school! You were the hermaphrodite cheerleader from Long Island?

Season 9: "The One with Rachel's Other Sister" Episode 8
Rachel’s sister shows up when her Thanksgiving plans fall through. She decides that if something were to happen to Ross and Rachel, she could raise Emma. They have to explain what their plan is, which is having Monica and Chandler raise Emma.

Amy: Ok, how about this? If you guys die, and the crazy plate lady dies then do I get the baby?
Chandler Bing: No, if crazy plate lady... if Monica dies then I would get Emma, right?
Rachel: Well, actually...
Chandler Bing: Actually, what?
Ross: It's just that in that case then Emma would go to my parents.
Chandler Bing: What?
Amy: [to Chandler] Hurts, doesn't it?
Joey: Who has to die for me to get her?

Season 10: "The One with the Late Thanksgiving" Episode 8

Everyone guilts Monica into making Thanksgiving dinner and then ends up being late. Ross and Joey go to a hockey game and Rachel and Phoebe take Emma to a baby beauty pageant. In retaliation, Monica and Chandler lock them out.

There are great moments in the hallway where they try to finagle their way in. They finally break down the door.

It ends happily when Monica takes a call and finds out that they have been chosen to adopt a baby.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. If you can't be with your family, spend it with some "Friends".