Wednesday, April 30, 2014

04/30 (b): Good Will Hunting

One of the most acclaimed movies by both critics and audiences came about in the late 90s, with newcomers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. This was written by the two, and with that came a great success story. Both were obscure actors who went from Beantown to Hollywood, seemingly overnight. I'm sure the title had some people curious.

Matt Damon plays Will Hunting, a genius/streetwise tough lawbreaker/orphan and janitor at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He analyzes a very tough mathematical equation that not even the students can figure out! However, he keeps to himself until a professor (Stellan Skarsgard) catches him and tries to bail Will out of going to jail. Will, who's sentenced for punching a police officer (along with a long rap sheet), is given emancipation as long as he does the math and sees a therapist. That therapist is Dr. Sean Maguire, who tries to get through to Will, but together they form a bond, teaching each other the facts of life, among many things.

I admit it took me a while to get into this movie. I saw it at the theater weeks after its release, but what really grabbed me at first was Robin Williams' powerful performance. He was the Robin Williams I have never seen in any of his movies: strong, honest and serious. The one thing I didn't really consume well was the ending, and how Will's relationship with his girlfriend panned out (SPOILER). I do believe that it's probably there to give us hope.

The argument between Maguire and Skarsgard's character Professor Lambeau is a moment I consider iconic in the film because it gives the viewer two very different perspectives that mirror our lives. How do we know what we want or what the person we're trying to help wants? Who is this really about? Have we grown up yet? What is growing up? On the movie's facebook page a few days ago it had a picture of the two men and the caption read, 'There are two sides to every argument'. I have to agree and its relevant.

Some of my friends consider this to be in their Top 10 of their favorite movies. I can understand why; as this would be in my Top 20. At first I found the movie very depressing, and while I don't really feel that way anymore, I consider it to be more motivating and inspirational at the same time. Maybe it's just one of those movies that gets better with time, or one that gets better everytime I watch it.

If you haven't seen this yet, please do so. Rated R for fighting violence and strong language.

My rating: 9 out of 10
Tomatometer: 97%

04/30 (a): Spaceballs

One of the funniest movies of all-time from one of the funniest writers/directors of all-time is Spaceballs, or Spaceballs The Movie! Definitely not one to be taken seriously, but one brilliantly put together. I'm just glad it didn't spawn off a trilogy. This is, by the way, a parody of Star Wars and science fiction movies as a whole.

A whole line of characters are introduced in the movie, most of them a knock-off from Star Wars. Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and his sidekick Barf (John Candy), the unlikely slacker heroes who travel in a space Winnebago. You also have Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) and her robot sidekick (very similar to C3PO), Dot Matrix (voiced by Joan Rivers). Then there's the bad guys, led by evil Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) and President Skroob (Brooks, also acting in the film). Story goes like like this, as short as possible: Vespa escapes her pre-arranged wedding with Matrix and heads to space, only to be nearly captured by Helmet, and saved by Lone Starr. Helmet and his team are in pursuit of capturing the princess, going as far as the desert. In the desert, the good guys meet and become mentored by Yogurt (voiced by Brooks, similar to Yoda).

I always tell people this is one of my Top 5 Quotable movies of all-time. There's so many things I can repeat from this movie:
'What's the matter, Col. Sandurz? Chicken?'
'Ludicrous speed?'
'Say goodbye to your two best friends, and I don't mean the ones in the Winnebago'
'The schwartz is in you'

There's plenty of others, but I'm sure you get the idea! Also the sexual references that appear to be somewhat not that noticeable, but most people get it. I'm not sure why I consider this a perfect comedy, but as I mentioned before, a perfect comedy does have to have a happy ending. And this does, which I won't give away of course. But it's got some laughable scenes: Spaceballs the Movie on video already; the fight scene between Dark Helmet and Lone Starr; and Pizza the Hutt (another Star Wars knock-off). Perhaps the funniest thing is having nerdy, skinny good guy Rick Moranis playing the villain. Another great comic actor, the late John Candy, plays Barfolomew in such a classy way.

The one thing I don't get is the negative and mixed reviews from the so-called professional critics. Most of you know that I don't side with them most of the time. I go by my personal tastes, and also if there was a lot of effort put into the film I give it a deserving score. According to its Wikipedia page, critics did find it funny, but despite of that they thought it was extremely pointless to do a parody of the Star Wars trilogy at that time (1987). Since the Star Wars franchise is now considered timeless, it doesn't matter now.

Definitely a great movie for a great laugh. It's awesome that the movie is still carrying on to generations today as I recently read that Brooks said 'Spaceballs is what usually pays for my meals'. And its from the 80s, so look out for some retro-ness in the movie. It's hard to imagine a world or at least Hollywood without the genius of Mel Brooks.

My rating: 9 out of 10
Tomatometer: 54%

Monday, April 28, 2014

04/28 (b): The Wedding Singer

The other 'wedding' movie I wanted to review today is another one of my favorites that I make a priority to watch every year. Maybe I'm just a sucker for romantic comedy, who knows. This is the first pairing of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Barrymore, who was previously known at the time for her role on E.T. and her youth drug/alcohol problems, made a great comeback with this film and proved she can carry her legendary family's Hollywood tradition.

Sandler plays wanna-be rockstar Robbie Hart, who sings at weddings on the weekend (for $50 a pop) while people are eating prime rib. He's engaged to Linda, who then leaves him at the altar, thus shattering his hopes on women and his life. He meets Julia (Barrymore), who's the new waitress at the hall he plays at. She is also engaged, to a rich guy who works in bonds in the city. Robbie, still trying to get over Linda, helps Julia with the plans for her wedding. But things do change....

What makes this movie fun is the time setting: it's set in 1985! It's sure to bring any 80s lover like myself joy. The pop culture, and all. But sometimes I do wonder, without all that and if it were set in present day, would the movie be dull? I've still got to figure that out. The movie came out 16 years ago, so now there would have to be one focusing on any of the late 90s/early 00s year! Makes me feel old in such a way. I'll admit it, and I'm sure people would agree with me here: 80s nostalgia is more fun than anything, especially if you're bringing it back in a new picture.

Adam Sandler, who put out corny movies (and still does today) yet funny ones, puts on a great performance as the nice guy who wants more. Critics haven't been kind to his films throughout his career in the last 20 years. Sandler's role does go a little crazy, but he does do it very well and this was arguably the first where he proves he's a great actor. The movie can be taken seriously at times! Drew was great too. Steve Buscemi plays the drunk guy in the beginning, maintaining his creepy guy persona.

My rating: 8 out of 10

04/28 (a): Wedding Crashers

Since I was well-booked yesterday, I decided to post a dual blog today and both of them have 'weddings' in the title. Here's one of my favorite movies to come out within the last ten years. It's one of those romantic comedies that keeps you watching them over and over again.

Single marriage counselors John and Jeremy (Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, respectively) crash weddings when in season on the weekends. Only the two of them have the confidence to know that they will find the one drunk girl and go to bed with them that same night. And of course, not seeing them again. And who can forget about the free food and drinks? Then the two later crash the wedding of the daughter of the US Secretary of the Treasury (Christopher Walken). The two end up falling for the other daughters, while Jeremy is successful with Gloria. But keeping their identities a secret is a challenge as they are invited to a weekend-long retreat at the Secretary's family's estate.

It's a sort-of classy movie with a great cast. It is easy to forget that Bradley Cooper is the 'villain' in this movie, as he is the guy who is competing with John for Claire (Rachel McAdams). I have not seen many movies with McAdams, but I thought it was a bit strange seeing her play the main 'girl in-pursuit', as she would play roles that would be the opposite years later. The crazy, creepy yet charming Christopher Walken playing a rich man holding a high office I thought was a bit weird. But of course, I found his fictional family to be that way too! It's what you only see in the movies, I guess. And don't forget Will Ferrell's minor uncredited character, Chazz, who publicly parties like a wedding crasher but is a sick, weird man.

Definitely one you should see if you haven't already. Maybe it'll have the same effect on me: it will keep you watching it over and over.

My rating: 7 out of 10

Tomatometer: 75%

(Please note: this is the first post to now feature the Tomatometer rating. This will be the percentage it was given at the time of the post.)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

04/26: Poseidon

A remake that I predicted back in the 90s would happen in 2006. Unfortunately, the timing for this wasn't great for Wolfgang Petersen, who directed a newer version of The Poseidon Adventure. America by that time had seen so many disasters on screen, in reality and in fiction. Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 had occurred just within the last few years at that time. Petersen did try to recreate the story and film, with an all-star cast and a somewhat more modernized version.

The RMS Poseidon is en route to New York on the Atlantic Ocean. Unbeknownst to most of the crew and passengers, an earthquake is about to happen and could affect the ship in such a way. We get to know the characters in the beginning: among them are Jennifer Ramsey (Emmy Rossum) and her NYC mayor father (Kurt Russell) as well as her fiance (Mike Vogel); Elena (Mia Maestro), a pretty, young stowaway; and Dylan, a compulsive gambler (Josh Lucas). Like the original one, this is a character-driven drama in the midst of a disaster. When the boat overturns, killing more than half on the ship, the lucky ones escape and try to find the top (or the bottom of the ship).

The movie does parallel the original 1972 disaster-genre film in many ways. You can definitely tell by the technology, as there are plenty of CGI to go around. Of course, the characters changed as well as their names. We do get to know them pretty well, and unfortunately we see some of them not survive throughout the movie. We also get to see new struggles for the survivors, as they try to connect to anyone in the outside world. The one thing I thought was missing were the performances of the survivors. I always thought Gene Hackman, who was the leader in the original film, put on a powerful performance. Here in the remake, there was no official leader, but the three men who do didn't match anything like Reverend Scott's.

What I mean by bad timing was, not just what was explained in the introductory paragraph, but for many other reasons. Today, and even ten years ago, Hollywood is being swamped with remakes, sequels, etc. I always bring it up all the time! Some may have seen it as a way to capitalize on the continuing popularity of Titanic, which was put out nearly a decade before. 2006 was also a year that was hard to compete in cinema, as there were several big blockbusters that year, such as The Da Vinci Code and several Disney and animated films.

I will warn you, you will witness several people die tragically, in a disaster sense. So, if it's nothing new to you, go ahead and check this out.

My rating: 5 out of 10

Friday, April 25, 2014

04/25: Mrs. Doubtfire

It was just recently announced that a sequel to Mrs. Doubtfire is in development, with Robin Williams returning. Then I thought it would be a good time for me to write about one of my favorite movies from my pre-teen years. The movie came out in late 1993, and I was in sixth grade. This was one of those movies that became a part of me for the longest time.

Williams, in one of his best comedic roles, plays Daniel Hillard, who gets a divorce from his wife, Miranda (Sally Field). To make matters worse, he loses custody of his three children because of his unstable lifestyle, as in his ability to keep a job, lack of disciplinary skills, etc. Daniel, a voice actor, takes up work at a TV studio, while trying to rebuild his life. He is also informed that his ex-wife is hiring a housekeeper to look after the kids, so he quickly enlists his brother (a makeup artist) to make him a woman! The result is Mrs. Doubtfire, who is hired on, and immediately becomes a family fixture. Daniel enjoys his double life, while at the same time unhappy with Miranda's new love interest (Pierce Brosnan). Keeping his alter ego a secret becomes nonetheless a challenge!

A great family fun movie, with a few dark humor bits mixed in here and there. But it totally fits the definition of a perfect comedy: one that keeps you laughing throughout the movie, and it all turns out with a lesson and a happy ending. The lesson is about the importance of family, and keeping your life in order. How important are your children? What will you do for them? How far will you go for them? The answer for Daniel Hillard is obviously painted here. Many men can relate to Daniel, and luckily I don't think a lot of women can relate to Miranda. Even though Sally Field does a great performance in that movie, unfortunately I don't think careers are better than kids. Sorry, but that's just how I feel. I do think the real lesson learned in this movie is that people do change, for the best.

And going back to the sequel....I can already say it's not a great idea. I do agree with Chris Columbus's comments on the Mrs. Doubtfire character, about her being wasted (no not in a drunken way!). He wants to use her for better measures, since she is ageless. The sequel is not a new idea as I remember reading about it on imdb probably a decade ago and so many negative user comments flooded the page. Luckily Robin Williams rejected it (or them), but apparently he is on board for the new movie. As if his hit TV show wasn't enough....

p.s. If you have the DVD or Blu-ray, check out the deleted scenes, which mostly feature Polly Holliday, who plays grumpy Gloria, the Hillard's neighbor. In different cut scenes, Daniel 'poisons' her flowers!

My rating: 9 out of 10

Thursday, April 24, 2014

04/24: The Truman Show

Television recently celebrated its 75th birthday, and a local newspaper gave a list of 10 movies about TV. One of them was Network, which I reviewed a few days ago, and another was The Truman Show. I remember seeing this in the Summer of '98 at the show, and I remember walking out very disappointed. This was because of the hype surrounding it at the time.

Jim Carrey supposedly put on his best serious performance as Truman Burbank, a 30-year old whose life has been a never-ending reality show. Since his birth, actors and actresses all surround him, as well as a dome of a fake community. Everything about Truman, be it where he goes and what he eats, is broadcast around the world on live television. He's married, but his wife is also fake too as she is mostly there for money (not Truman's, the studio's). Truman dwells on a girl who departed his life for Fiji as he seeks to go find her. The creator and man behind the show, Chrisof (Ed Harris), tries to make Truman afraid of the water because of his dad being killed off of the show (and Truman's life).

We, including myself, wondered how this pulled off brilliantly. I thought it was well-planned and the characters seemed to fit well with the story. But I still felt there was something missing. Maybe it was because I was so used to seeing Jim Carrey in a comedy performance. See, Carrey was on a hot streak in the mid-90s with several comedy films. Seeing him as a confused man who wanted answers was probably not suiting me well. I watched this the other day and my reaction had not changed. The film was not predictable, as there were several events that led to what was not supposed to happen with Truman.

Apparently many disagree with me as several so-called professional movie critics gave this one high praise, and this is currently on imdb's Top 250 list. Before I saw the movie nearly 16 years ago, I remember reading a review that said it was Carrey's chance for an Oscar. He didn't get it for this, but he proved himself and everyone else to be an all-around actor. I also consider this to be very creepy at times, as it has some uncomfortable closed settings. You'll know what I mean when you watch it.

Even though many believe this was a great movie, I'd still recommend it maybe for renting or Netflix purposes. Don't expect a lot of humor, though.

My rating: 5 out of 10

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

04/23: Angels In The Outfield (1994)

I was a pre-teen 20 years ago, getting ready to turn 13 in September of '94. 1994, for some odd reason looking back, was one of my most favorite years in pop culture. Music and movies, so many great ones came out. A movie that well-suited people my age back then was Angels In The Outfield.

It's about two boys, Roger and J.P. (Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Milton Davis Jr.), who see angels in action helping the hopeless California Angels MLB team. Roger prayed to help the team in order to get with his widowed father, who he saw on a limited basis. 'When the Angels win the pennant' was a reply from Roger's dad when his son asked when they'll spend more time together and be a family again. While the Angels continue to freakishly improve, the boys develop a relationship with the team's manager, George Knox (Danny Glover), who comes off as a grump at first but we eventually see the soft side of him.

It's a great summer baseball movie for kids, all the way. But it's also a lesson to be learned about the importance of family. Some know parents can be anti-family, and some are willing to give up their time for people. This is something that should be discussed with kids for those who don't get it.

Great performances by Christopher Lloyd (as AL the angel), and a minor role is made by Tony Danza (who plays a sad, drunken player who is on the highway to nowhere). Plenty of kudos goes to Danny Glover, who has been known to playing roles that depict him as the bad guy! While I think this is one of the most underrated movies of 1994, I was really hoping people in my generation would carry on with this movie like they do with Forrest Gump. But, I guess it is what it is.

This is a Disney remake.

My rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

04/22: Rock, Rock, Rock

The rock and roll revolution was in high gear in the mid-1950s, particularly in 1956. Elvis Presley broke out, and suddenly black and white music was mixed. As a result, Rock, Rock, Rock, was released, in perfect timing. Many early rock and roll stars appeared and performed in the movie.

The plot was very simple: Dori Graham (Tuesday Weld) is a boy-crazy 13-year old who wants to go to the dance, but she (nor her daddy) can't afford a strapless dress. So she starts her own loaning service, hoping to get a return-on-investment, only to find she is doing something illegal. Much of the film consists of full song performances by superstars of that day: Chuck Berry, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, LaVern Baker, among many others. Alan Freed, who first coined the term 'rock and roll' also appears as himself in the film.

Since music is my main interest, I do consider myself a rock historian. Unfortunately, a lot of young'uns today don't care much about the evolution of rock and roll anymore. That is, of course, if you're not talking about the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin. No, before them, there was a time when rock and roll was breaking out into the mainstream and it was challenged among teens and parents. This film captures so much of the 1950s spirit and bliss. A definitely different America from what we are now.

Watch this for historic and nostalgic purposes. And you can possibly learn a lesson about money!

My rating: 7 out of 10

Monday, April 21, 2014

4/21: Network

'I'm mad as hell and I can't take it anymore!!!'

One of the most bizarro movies of all-time was also an Oscar-winner in the 1970s. Network, starring Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway, is one whose genre is difficult to determine. Comedy? Conspiracy theory? Drama? It is safe to say it is definitely a satire, which is a rare of its kind.

Finch (who passed away months later and won a posthumous Best Actor Oscar) plays Howard Beale who has been in the anchor's chair for a long time only to find out his employer, UBS, is suffering in ratings and he'll be unemployed. Then one night, he announces to his audience on-air he will be committing suicide. The network fires him without a doubt. But his boss/friend, Max (William Holden), decides to let him stay so he can go on a good note. Things soon get out of hand as it is an over-the-top ratings fight. Howard also gets his own show eventually.

Perhaps the most moving scene is 'the speech', where Howard tells the truth of what goes on behind closed doors. Maybe what he said wasn't true, but it somehow slipped between the cracks in Hollywood. It ends with the 'mad as hell' chant, which left me laughingly non-stop. But like most comedies, it's a happy ending, or so some may think.

I'd definitely keep the kids away from this one, as there are many adult scenes, and of course, depressing ones. It's a true film classic that helped redefine cinema, and television.

My rating: 8 out of 10

Sunday, April 20, 2014

04/20: Pineapple Express

Today is Easter, and of all rare things, it falls on 4/20. In case you didn't get the memo, 4/20 is a celebration for marijuana users. No, I do NOT use the drug. There are several people who do, and those people have their own movie genre: stoner movies. Judd Apatow's Pineapple Express is one of them. It can also be considered a 'buddy comedy', a term I wasn't familiar with until now.

Dale (Seth Rogen) and his drug dealer/friend Saul (James Franco) are wondering the identity of the man who is selling a rare pot species, the 'pineapple express'. It turns out to be a guy named Ted (Gary Cole), who murders a man in his house along with a cop. The two buddies witness it from far away just outside his house, and take off from the scene right away. Unfortunately, they leave behind their tracks, the 'pineapple express' joint which is familiar to Ted. Ted begins to track the two down since he knew who he sold the drug to, and it ends up being a dangerous pursuit throughout the movie.

Another film in the so-called 'frat pack' series, led by Judd Apatow. Stoner movies aren't for everyone, but non-cannabis users like me seemed to enjoy it. It was cool, but nothing like a Cheech and Chong movie. Seeing Gary Cole as the bad guy is a rare thing, and its usually kind of scary since he is mostly known as the 'good guy' character actor. Craig Robinson and Danny McBride also have small roles in the film as well.

If you do like silly, drug humor movies, this one is for you.

My rating: 6 out of 10

Saturday, April 19, 2014

04/19: Pretty In Pink

Well, this is my 100th movie I reviewed so far for this blog! This is awesome. I've got no time to stop now! I thought about celebrating in fashion, but instead I'm gonna write about a movie that continues to give me nightmares of high school on this lonely Saturday night. When this movie comes to mind, I think of one of the most overrated things of all-time, in my book - prom. And that OMD song, too....

Molly Ringwald, by that time in 1986, was one of the hottest young actresses on a roll, and this seemed to be the last of them all during that John Hughes era. This time she plays outcast Andie, or more, a girl who comes from a working-class family 'on the wrong side of the tracks'. She's got a crush on a preppy guy Blane (Andrew McCarthy), but lacks the confidence to let him know. Meanwhile, her dorky friend Duckie (Jon Cryer) gives her plenty of attention and would love to go with Andie, and they are continually harassed by Blane's rich friends at school. Prom is coming up, so who doesn't have a date? Andie. But who knows, things may change.

It's a great comedy that's supposed to give us hope of what happens in real life. And it also is a look at the clashing of social classes and cliques. That I can see as a mirror of reality. Still, what I really like (and apparently others agree) about John Hughes films is that they are very realistic in their own way. We all know everyone wants a fairy-tale teenage life, just like our parents supposedly had. Hughes was 'in' with the times, and gave us a view of his world.

The soundtrack, like most 80s movies, is one to remember as well. 'If You Leave' by OMD (Orchestral Manouevres of the Dark) is one of my favorite movie songs of all-time, despite having played during a prom scene. The new-wavyness of the soundtrack really gives the film plenty of character.

Like I say about most 80s movies, definitely check this one out, mostly for nostalgic purposes! Or you can also use this to convince your teen they are not alone.

My rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, April 18, 2014

04/18: Flashdance

One of the most, arguably, iconic films of the 1980s is actually one of so-called professional critics' most-hated films as well. The public and movie lovers, however, really dug it. Me? It's a mixture in-between. I already knew about the music, and Jennifer Beals' role in the movie as I've seen bits and pieces of it on TV in the past before watching it in its entirety.

Beals plays 'Alex', who is 18 and working at a steel mill (males everywhere) in Pittsburgh. I'm assuming that was usually the norm in that steel town. Alex's night job is being a dancer, at a popular bar. Not the kind of dancing she wants to make a career out of, but enough to get her by! She does have dreams to make it, dancing ballet for the city of Pittsburgh. Her confidence plummets when she is intimidated by the requirements of getting in the place. Meanwhile, Alex reluctantly gets into a relationship with Nick (Michael Nouri), who also signs her checks. Despite of the age and class difference, Nick tries in every way to make her happy. This includes pulling strings to get her an audition at the Conservatory.

A lot of times people may consider this one predictable, and that's easy to see it that way. It parallels Saturday Night Fever in so many ways, but still very differently. This is about a girl who doesn't have good education and probably not much dance experience. She still aims high, despite of the unrealistic clouds that stand in the way. Her family is not seen or mentioned in the movie, but Alex said she came from Altoona, also in Pennsylvania. Now that she was in the big city, she had to go where she came to do. Getting in with the right people just paved the way for her.

I do believe the film kind of dragged. Some critics called this 'nothing but a series of rock and dance videos', as there were some overly-extended musical numbers. Don't get me wrong, I love the soundtrack! There's a reason why it was one of the most remembered soundtracks of the 80s, and because it went to #1 on the Billboard album chart. But in some cases, without the music, the movie wouldn't be that great. Which is why I'm deducting some points. I'd still watch this for the nostalgic 80s purposes!

My rating: 5 out of 10

Thursday, April 17, 2014

04/17: Easy A

In an update (or modernized version) of The Scarlet Letter, Emma Stone gives one of her best performances in Easy A. It's always easy to be confused by her hair, be it blonde or brunette. She even said in an interview that one of them was her actual natural color. She leads a great cast in this film.

Good-girl/level-headed Olive (Stone) tells her friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) in the ladies room at school that she lost her virginity to a college guy. Listening in is the jealous religious girl Marianne (Amanda Bynes) which she later spreads around the school, leading to a chain reaction of things pinned on Olive. Living the lie, she enjoys the attention for a bit until it gets way out of hand. Her teachers even become involved.

It goes without saying its a great teen movie for this generation. And by modern, I mean by technological ways, like webcasts and such. Olive narrates most of the movie through her webcast. It's a great story, and despite of what I said in the opening statement above, it's not necessarily completely based on Scarlet Letter. There are some parts not related that are mixed in.

Paul Rudd gives a great serious performance as a teacher, and I believe this was the last Amanda Bynes film before she went weird....I mean really weird. Check this one out!

My rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

04/16 (b): Clue

Finally---I get to write about one of my favorite movies of all-time! I wouldn't really put this in my Top 10, but its close enough. This was one of the first movies my family rented when we got our first VCR back in 1987. The movie was only 2 years old at the time, as it was slowly but surely developing its cult audience through video release. Clue was panned at the time, mostly because it was just a movie based on a board game. But, it seems that people in my generation (or for those in their 30s) this turned out to be close to a classic.

If you have played the board game, and I'm assuming at least 65% of Americans have, then you'll definitely be familiar with the characters, weapons and rooms. The plot goes a little something like this: Six strangers, most from Washington, DC, are all brought together by invitation to a house for unknown reasons, in the not-so feelgood '50s. It is later revealed by the butler, Wadsworth (Tim Curry), that they are being blackmailed. We see (what differs from the board game) the true characters of such ones like Mrs. Peacock and Mr. Green. One easy thing to forget is that all of the characters' names are aliases. In addition, most of the guests have at least ties to the US government and have 'baggage' on them. They are blackmailed by Mr. Boddy (who gives each guest a murder weapon), who is then murdered. Throughout the movie, more things happen as someone right after another as we learn more details about connections within people. This movie has three different endings, which I won't reveal!

I have watched this movie many times in my lifetime, and I'm 32. I just watched it last night as a matter of fact. Sure, when I first watched it at 6, I only knew half of what was going on. As I got older, I understood it more.  It was probably the characters or the all-star cast that grabbed me everytime. One other observation is that I do have a thing for movies with just one setting. Clue is set in only a gothic mansion (with cool secret passages!). I guess its just the fun and fast-pacedness of the movie that grabs me. And I'm glad I'm not alone. Sure, some people didn't think very highly of it in 1985. And who would, with such competition as '85 was a great year in cinema. There apparently is talks of a remake, but according to Wikipedia, those plans have been scrapped. I'm always skeptical with remakes as some haven't worked out for the best.

Highly recommended. I hope I explained it well enough. Sure to take you back to 1985. Maybe this will inspire you to play Clue again (laughs).....

My rating: 9 out of 10

04/16 (a): United 93

As one of the movies about 9/11 during the mid-Millenial decade, I will go ahead and wasn't easy to watch. Of course any movie about that tragic day is, in a self-explanatory kind of way, depressing. But I always did wonder why directors have wanted to capture the moment on the big screen. We knew what we knew from the media and reports. Just saying, I've always questioned it.

This chronicles the whole story of Flight 93, which crashed just minutes after the attacks of the World Trade Center towers. The story seemed to have been recorded from phone and switchboard calls that were received shortly before its crash. It starts all the way at the airport that morning. And we do get to know some of the 'everyday' people. From there, there is only one way to go but down. However, we do see some courageous acts by people close to the end.

Yes, this movie is not easy to watch. Even more, it mirrors what nearly exactly happened in reality. But as the director probably wishes, he wants us to think of it as a tribute and/or just what it is like being on an ill-fated flight. In most of these death-related movies, sometimes I do get the message that life is too short.

Best thing I can say with an open mind. Scary and horror movies are one thing, and if you get freaked out bigtime by those, I say don't watch this. Only because the tragedy is realistic from start to finish.

My rating: 5 out of 10

Monday, April 14, 2014

04/14: Ramona and Beezus

Ramona and Beezus really took me back to my kid years. Growing up in the 80s and 90s (during halves of those decades, that is), I remember reading the Beverly Cleary-penned series. Of course, as a boy, some thought different of me since those books were mostly leaned toward girls. But my older sister had plenty to lend me as well as the school library. And they did help me enjoy great tales of the fictional child pest and her older sister.

Watching this movie didn't help me recall very much with the books although its subplots did borrow a lot from the books. Examples include Ramona saying 'guts' as a bad word, among many others. The characters are just like how they are in the books, although I couldn't picture Aunt Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin) as an attractive woman! She's single, and she eventually falls in love with Ramona's best friend Howie's uncle, Hobart, who she once dated back in the day. Many adventures take place throughout the movie, but mostly focusing on the Quimby's man of the house, who gets laid off and may have to move his family. It's definitely the simple subplots that deal with love and youth that piece this movie together. I could go on...

Played by this generation's fine actors, Goodwin, Selena Gomez, Jeff Corbett, etc., I'd say this movie was good. Of course, it's mostly leaned towards tweens and kids who enjoy these kind of cute stories. It also lets kids know its okay to be a kid and dream. Ramona is shown as not just 'the pestery kid', but the one with the creative, wild imagination. Which is too much for Beezus to handle. While this didn't get much attention and hype as the books did, it is encouraged that parents and schools should keep this in their libraries.

I don't know if kids and tweens today read Beverly Cleary (who turned 98 two days ago!) books. It goes without saying, Cleary is a true literary icon among the children's genre. No matter what gender you are, you should definitely check this movie out. I don't know if a sequel will be in the works, especially if Selena Gomez is becoming a bigger star by the day. I'm sure they can get away with a 'same character, different actor' theme, but who knows. It is also set in present day, so its good to know that it is a true update of the 'Ramona' series.

My rating: 7 out of 10

Sunday, April 13, 2014

04/13: Tremors 2: Aftershock

I thought I'd watch and continue with the Tremors series franchise so I watched this one on Crackle last night. Coming into it, I knew this would be a somewhat cheap imitator of its first one. And who can blame me, since this was direct-to-video? After watching it, I decided it wasn't that bad :).

Michael Gross and Fred Ward are the only ones who reprise their roles as Burt and Earl, respectively. The movie takes place some years after the townspeople of Perfection, Nevada get rid of what they called 'graboids'. They apparently enjoyed fame and recognition for their heroism and all. However, Earl reveals to his biggest fan, Grady, that he didn't get compensated fairly for certain rights to the 'graboids' name. A wealthy man named Carlos gives him a second chance at defeating the 'graboids' because of them being the cause of deaths among his refinery workers. At first, he hesitates, but after being talked into a large amounts of money repeatedly, he surrenders and goes on his mission in Mexico with Grady. Earl recruits his redneck weapon-loving friend, Burt, when he gets there. At first, killing the graboids seems an easy task until they learn that the evil, smart eyeless creatures mutate into smaller and more deadlier life forms. It is up to the team to figure out the creatures' weaknesses and survive, again, in the middle of nowhere.

Despite of the loss of Kevin Bacon, Reba McEntire and some of its stars and characters from the first one, this sequel continues its legacy. I forgot to mention that yes, a loving relationship, occurs as well. One interesting part is close to the end when they collaborate on their scientific theories on the mini graboids. And it's always funny to see Michael Gross away from his straight dad role on 'Family Ties' to a seemingly dumb and carefree Southerner in this movie. I'm not sure what it was that got him to do this role.

Well, time for 'Tremors 3'!

My rating: 6 out of 10

Saturday, April 12, 2014

04/12: Wrongfully Accused

This silly parody of The Fugitive unfortunately was overdone. It parodied several other action and sci-fi films from past to present. While the movie wasn't to be taken seriously, for some reason it doesn't stand out on the funny meter. Same apparently goes for audiences and so-called professional movie critics.

Taking place in Minnesota, the late Leslie Nielsen (who was still actively making movies at the time) plays professional violinist Ryan Harrison who is 'wrongfully accused' of the murder of his friend Goodhue (British guy Michael York). Several 'Fugitive'-like scenes come up, as Ryan escapes and makes it funny to an extent.

Like I said, most bad movies aren't meant to be taken seriously. I don't want to rank this one up there with 'Sgt. Pepper's' or 'Santa Claus and the Martians', but I will admit this one was a bit weak. During Leslie Nielsen's career, he has had his share of serious and funny roles. Generations who remember him will likely link him to his 'Naked Gun' movies as well as some of the other ones he did, like Wrongfully. But its got its humor if you're in for a cute and easy laugh. Just keep a smile on your face.

My rating: 4 out of 10

Friday, April 11, 2014

04/11: Face/Off

In one of the most oddest of action films, Face/Off was one of the most successful among both so-called professional critics and fans. With two big-name stars, John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, one would have to wonder if its just going to be another action film with explosions and drama. That's what I thought when this movie came out and for the longest time, until I recently watched it. That's when I knew Face/Off was literal!

Nicolas Cage plays Castor Troy, an aggressive civil terrorist who accidentally kills top FBI agent Sean Archer's (Travolta) 5-year old son. Years later, Troy is still on the loose and finally Archer's team catches him at an airport as soon as his plane moves. Troy is captured, but he also reveals that a buried bomb is placed somewhere in Los Angeles, but fades into a coma shortly. While at the hospital, a co-worker of Archer's gets him to do a face transplant surgery since nothing is said as to where the bomb is. Archer then successfully completes surgery as he poses as Troy, by trying to get details from people Troy knew in prison. However, the real Troy wakes up and kills the doctor after he gets him to pose as Archer.

Needless to say, confusion ensues as at times during the movie it is easy to forget who is the real bad guy and good guy. But nevertheless, the movie is very entertaining while being fast-paced as the main subplot is Archer's family (wife and teenage rebel daughter). It's a struggle in a situation no one would understand for Cage's version of Archer. It's definitely quite an adventure for both as they pose as their nemesis. Come to think about it, it's quite a fantasy. So wouldn't that make this a fantasy film? lol

Great action film, and just one warning, if blood and knives (surgery way) freak you out, you may want to turn your head!

My rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, April 10, 2014

04/10: It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Early this week, Mickey Rooney, the legend, passed away at age 93. He left behind such a legacy. Unfortunately I haven't seen very much of his work, especially the ones with him and Judy Garland. But a few years back I did watch a comedy classic that starred him and several legends at the time. I was actually wondering recently, when Sid Caesar died, how many of the main cast are still with us? Well it turns out Rooney was the last one standing of them all. I'm talking about the main cast, who took part in the chase. Some of them died much years later like Buddy Hackett and Jonathan Winters. But then some passed away several years ago such as Ethel Merman, Spencer Tracy and Milton Berle. You also have a whole lot of cameos and smaller roles from popular celebrities at the time, and there is quite a few still living (Carl Reiner, Stan Freberg).

The near-3 hour long film (depending on which edited version you watch) revolves around groups, or teams, all after a large amount of money. At the beginning of the film, a con man (Jimmy Durante), released from prison, crashes his car down a mountain and literally kicks the bucket. Before he dies, five men from different cars come down to try to help him. He lets them know there is a hidden stash of 350 grand buried in Southern California. At first, the men decide to go down to the place and share the wealth together. But then the people (including mothers and spouses) who were with the men in their cars believe they should be part of it, too. When no agreement is reached, all parties pursue across the state of California for the money. The whole race for the dough becomes great to watch as everyone tries their own scheme to get closer to the 'Big W' tree (where the grand is stashed). But it is no picnic as they all experience setbacks. Meanwhile, there are a few more that participate in the chase, including cab drivers.

As I've said before in my blog, I'm not much of a fan of long movies. This one has a long intro as well as an intermission. I've only seen the near-3 hour long version, and there were several lengthy scenes, most notably the gas-station scene where they battle it out with tires. That was unnecessary unless it was for a director's cut. But since there were several characters, they all had to share, I guess! All in all, it was very entertaining and without question, one of the funniest slapstick comedies of all-time. It probably is the last 'real' funny movie in a long time as some movies haven't lived up to its credentials...and its all-star cast! As noted above, several comedic legends were all seen in this flick. If you look at today's standards of comedy, you can definitely tell how much the 'comedy' genre has changed over the years. And no, there are no swear words :)

Truly a classic. Just make sure you're aware how long it is. Fun for the whole family. Just don't do anything stupid like they do at the end....

My rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

04/09: The Karate Kid (2010)

I've never seen The Next Karate Kid, which came out in 1994. Maybe it was for the best, since it got bad reviews from both the audiences and so-called professional critics. But I still want to see it though, and had I seen it I would have reviewed it today. The Karate Kid franchise was resurrected, reboot-style. I wasn't sure what to think and I still don't, but I'll go ahead and give you a review.

Some would say a same script, different cast. But its not just that, which makes this reboot actually satisfying. There are some changes in things: like the settings: it is in Beijing, China. Also, karate is not used. In all honesty, I didn't know it until I read about it. To some, it may be a fatal error. In fact, Sony had considered changing the title because of its usage of 'kung fu' instead of karate. Jackie Chan, arguably the most popular Asian-American in American cinema the last 20 years, no doubt has the role of the mentor, Han (in place of Miyagi). And Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's son, Jaden, plays 'Dre' (in place of Daniel). The two form a friendship after Han saves him from bullies in his new school. And, as expected, platonic relationship occurs too. Always does a female get involved.

It is great to see an update/revival of an underdog story. It's always something to show to generations, especially if their parents were young when the first Karate Kid came out in 1984. Most reboots are not so bad, even though some can be a disappointing let-down to true fans. I feel that this is not the case for the Karate Kid as it stays true to its story and characters. Not so sure about the fighting techniques, though. It's not like I can tell the difference between most martial arts movements, anyway!

It was revealed yesterday that there will be indeed a sequel, with both Chan and Smith reprising their roles. Not much else has been said. We do know that Smith will be a few years older, so hopefully that won't hurt anything.

My rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

04/08: The Karate Kid Part III

Perhaps the most pointless of sequels, especially at that time, this is nothing compared to today. Sure, this one did get bad reviews for various reasons, but its nothing like any of the last 5 Resident Evil and Fast films. But it was a great update for any Karate Kid story for the franchise in 1989, during one of the greatest summers of movies. Of course, it was hard to compete with movies like Batman and Ghostbusters II.

The main plot of this movie is John Kreese (Martin Kove), whom we all remember as the leader of the Cobra Kai, plotting revenge for his loss that happened nearly a year ago from Daniel and Miyagi. We know how sick, unstable and bad-tempered Kreese is when he goes off on his student Johnny (William Zabka), which we see in the second movie, again shown in the third. Dwelling on it, he recruits his rich friend to help him get his man to beat Daniel in an upcoming match. Meanwhile, Daniel and his mentor move in together and open up a bonsai tree shop, while getting pricey ones.

I'll admit: it did lack a lot of edge. All we saw was a guy who held a grudge for Daniel and Miyagi, who he blamed for his business going down. Some say Daniel should have had another romantic situation but this near-romantic one was taken lightly in the story. It also didn't mention what Daniel would have wanted to do with his future, even if his college fund dough was used on the shop. I guess I would have to say it was a not-so-bad swan song to cap off the trilogy. (And no, I'm not counting The Next Karate Kid) Pat Morita passed away in 2005, ending all hopes for a reunion. Most of the cast reunited for a Youtube video: 'Sweep The Leg' by the band No More Kings. Despite of a few movies he was in (including My Cousin Vinny), it is safe to say Ralph Macchio is forever typecasted as The Karate Kid. I'm sure he don't mind, as explained a couple days ago, he's making the rounds now at Wizard World's Comic-Con.

My rating: 5 out of 10

In closing, here's a list I compiled years ago:


1. No matter what, Miyagi is always right.
2. Sweep the leg.
3. No matter what, Daniel has no trouble with getting the girl.
4. Always help your enemy in the case of a bad situation.
5. Don't give in a fight unless necessary.

Monday, April 7, 2014

04/07: The Karate Kid Part II

Thought I may as well continue on with the trilogy of The Karate Kid. Part II came out 2 years after. It made more money in the box office; however, its reviews weren't as great as the first. I do side with the mixed ones.

The 1986 sequel opens right where the last one left off, as Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Miyagi (Pat Morita) are leaving the karate competition. Six months passes and after the prom, Daniel's world crashes down just like that. From his girlfriend Allie to possibly moving to another part of California, he turns to Miyagi for help. They soon go to Okinawa, Japan after Miyagi finds out his dad is on deathbed. But Miyagi's past comes back to haunt him as memories as to why he fled the island in the first place come back. This is where we see a more personal side to the mentor: his past love of his life, Yukie, and the man who he was fighting over her with, Sato. Sato, the richest man in Okinawa, threatens to turn the island village upside down while challenging a fight with Miyagi. Meanwhile, Daniel makes an enemy of Chozen, Sato's nephew, and again, challenges him to a fight. Daniel also falls in love with Yukie's niece, Kamiko.

Pretty much almost the same story, different place and culture. It is nice to see it set where the origins of martial arts are. And also, the fact it is set in a more ancient culturistic place, even though it was shot in Hawaii not Japan. But there were some things that got my head scratchin'. What did Chozen really have against Daniel? The ice block scene I thought was a bit over-exaggerated. Did Daniel really get over Allie? Just the personal stuff, I guess. And that final fighting scene, among many others.

The movie didn't get hardly any accolades, or the opposite. It got the typical sequel treatment: could have been better, could have been worse, I guess. It did score an Academy Award nomination and a #1 hit with its love theme, 'Glory of Love', by former Chicago frontman Peter Cetera. I would recommend it if you really did like the first movie. Not bad for kids, as it sort of repeats the story.

My rating: 6 out of 10

Sunday, April 6, 2014

04/06: The Karate Kid (1984)

As I write this, Wizard World's Comic Con in St. Louis is wrapping up for the weekend. Unfortunately I didn't go this year for different reasons, but of course I would have loved to have been there. I had a blast last year during its inaugural weekend in St. Louis. This year had a vast array of people as well as celebrities. William Shatner, Adam West, Burt Ward and Ralph Macchio were there to collect your hard-earned dough for autographs and photo ops. My biggest priority would have been Ralph Macchio, as I looked to him as a hero throughout my childhood. I sorta related to him, I thought....

I first watched The Karate Kid when I was little when my parents rented this back in the late 80s. I was so taken with it as I still am today. It's often looked at as a typical 'underdog-goes-over' movie, but somehow this film became an iconic 80s flick. And for a good reason. Maybe its the quotes ('Sweep the leg' 'Wax on, wax off'), or the chemistry between Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) and Daniel (Macchio), but it inspired a generation of wimpy, lack of self confidence guys to fend for themselves. Daniel uncomfortably relocates with his mother from New Jersey to Southern California, not fitting in at first. Sure, he makes a new friend and quickly hooks up with a girl (Elizabeth Shue). However, he is being harassed by bullies and it takes a moment to convince Daniel to take up karate lessons. He seeks mentorship from Miyagi, his apartment complex's maintenance guy. He learns little by little the moves, and he eventually learns to stand up to the bullies, led by Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka).

We see Daniel build to become a better person, as he slowly gains confidence in himself. But he has his girl to cheer him on, and only something like that can happen in the movies. The soundtrack is awesome, especially the fight song 'You're The Best' (by Joe Esposito). We also learn a bit about Japanese culture (more in the sequels), especially with Miyagi's background. It's pretty surreal I guess.

Definitely rent this one for the kids and teens. Or simply re-live your 80s experience with this one.

My rating: 9 out of 10

Saturday, April 5, 2014

04/05: How to Marry a Millionaire

One of the 1950's 'classics' stars three of the biggest leading female actresses (and bombshells) of that era - Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable and some gal named Marilyn Monroe. A movie with three different stories, although they are pretty much the same, made history as the first to use the Cinemascope widescreen format, though not first released as that. This was one of the biggest hits of 1953.

The three women realize that the best way to be happy is to simply 'marry a millionaire'. So they rent a ritzy penthouse, hoping to attract wealthy men. The scheme seems to work a bit, as each woman finds who they believe is 'the one' that will make them happy because of their money. The ladies learn a lesson about being happy and what's inside that counts. Short and sweet version of the story.

Going through the movie, you can just tell how dated this is. The 1950s always seemed like a simple time for anyone just by watching TV shows and movies from that innocent decade. But my have times changed. Throughout the movie I was fascinated about the styles and norms. Remember, back then being a millionaire was extremely a bigger deal than it is now. Also, back then, as mentioned by Monroe's character Pola, men did not go for women who wore glasses. That's so not true in today's age. It's also good to look at how New York was back then. That was about 20 years before the twin towers were constructed.

Probably the most annoying thing is the beginning, without question. Sometimes it's easy to forget those damn orchestra intros, as if they're part of the movie. Watch this for historical purposes, or if you are one of the tens of millions of Marilyn Monroe fans who want to keep her legacy alive.

My rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, April 4, 2014

04/04: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

When this movie came out, my question to all was: 'Who is Scott Pilgrim, and am I supposed to know about him?'. Well, it turns out I wasn't a comic person, and if you were, you knew who he was. I also thought this was going to be a series of some sort, but who knows.

Basically, its about Scott (Michael Cera) who is hoping to win the heart of a girl named Ramona (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). But he must defeat her seven exes, in order. In return, he gets a gold coin, Mario-style (laughs). Scott plays for a band called Sex Bob-omb, and is based in Canada (Ramona is American). Simply put, he goes out of his way to not let them stand in his way of getting Ramona.

I'd say the movie was different, in terms of comic-book movies. In a good way, that is. Let it be known I am not much of a fan of Michael Cera. I don't have any vendetta on him, I just don't think he's that great of an actor, nor do I think he shows personality in his roles. But, he plays Scott pretty well. This movie is also known for its envelope pushing. How often do we see a real battle of the sexes? I also like that this movie was fast-paced, and who can forget the Nintendo old-school stuff brought into the film?

Great college/teen comedy. May want to keep your kids out for this one. All ages.

My rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, April 3, 2014

04/03: Purple Rain

In general I think Purple Rain is one of those movies that if not for the music, the show is nothing. But who knows. Prince does try to tell the story about his trip to superstardom. There's only a way to the top from his early days in Minneapolis.

Throughout the movie we hear a nice soundtrack. Not just the songs that were from the soundtrack album (which was #1 for 24 weeks on Billboard's Pop Album chart), but songs from Morris Day and Apollonia. With every movie comes a story. Prince is known as 'The Kid' who spends most of his time away from home (mostly because of his abusive father), rehearsing during the day and performing at night with his backing band, The Revolution. But he is also competing with another top draw at the club (First Avenue in Minneapolis, which still exists): Morris Day (playing himself).

Some coolness intertwined here and there, such as Prince's motorcycle ride scene as he takes Apollonia to 'Lake Minnetonka', or so she thinks! I recommend this for any Prince fan, and definitely buy the soundtrack. It's always great to see someone work his way through everything, no matter what. Some may find the story too dark, or too soft, depending on whatever way to look at it.

My rating: 6 out of 10

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

04/02: Heaven Can Wait (1978)

Normally I don't like films about ghosts (okay, maybe the Ghostbusters movies). But, as in people living the afterlife as a ghost. It just gets depressing as I've had nightmares of seeing people but they wouldn't see ME. That's the whole idea of what being a ghost is about, according to Hollywood, as it is used in TV shows and movies. Heaven Can Wait is a remake of a Harry Segall stageplay.

Warren Beatty plays Joe Pendleton, an all-star football player of the Los Angeles Rams, who is ready to lead his team to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, he gets killed while being struck by a car in a tunnel while riding his bike. He arrives in heaven, and he is told that he wasn't supposed to die. Joe could have re-lived, but his body was already cremated! So, Joe's spirit arrives in a millionaire Leo Farnworth's body as several confusions happen (to the characters, not the viewer).

Comedic-wise, I'd say it isn't bad. But again, I find ghostly movies depressing, especially those that deal with death, no matter how they make it. This should be great for anyone who loves football, and who is a Warren Beatty fan.

My rating: 6 out of 10

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

04/01: Team America: World Police

When people think of this movie, the ending theme song 'Team America: Fart Yeah' may come to mind. At least that's what happens every time this movie comes up in a conversation. I even know people who have the song in their phones. And no, they don't say fart, I know. I'm just trying to leave out the profanity in these reviews. So you're probably wondering why I'm writing about such an offensive, profanity-laden movie.

Why, because it's funny! Sure, I've never been a fan of South Park (even though I've seen a few episodes) but I was aware of Matt Stone and Trey Parker's humor. They pick on EVERYBODY. This time around, they took a stab at their own country. I'm sure a lot of people took it the wrong way, but the South Park creators and their fans couldn't care less. I know their style has always been about satire. The focus was on America's way of changing countries and their regimes as well as their policies and stuff. Throughout the world, they stop terrorists (well, sure they missed the Panama Canal...).

The team of five world police, led by Sportswoode, loses one of their own, Carson, who is shot by a terrorist in the beginning of the movie. Carson is also linked to Lisa. Replacing him is Broadway actor Gary, who is reluctant most of the time but feels that its his duty to join in defending freedom and loyalty to his country. He eventually becomes Lisa's love interest. There appears to be a civil war during the film's climax, meaning all of the team members are at odds with each other, and are all captured by then-North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. They must save the world and destroy Jong-il's plan to blow up the world.

Several people, on both sides of the political spectrum, are made fun of. Also, countless Hollywood celebrities. I'm sure most of them didn't mind at all; even though it was reported that Sean Penn wasn't amused. Michael Moore is definitely portrayed as a fat slob traitor and I guess, a terrorist, when he blows up Team America's Intelligence station at Mount Rushmore.

For a great laugh, definitely watch this one. But yes, definitely leave the kids out of the room. Be prepared for some raunchiness and offensiveness, especially the marionette sex scene!

My rating: 7 out of 10