It's Entertainment Day here at Murphy's Law. (I need a new name. Murphy's Law? Too obvious. I'm close to going Katie Couric on you and asking for suggestions.) Let's catch up on movies.
The Departed: Best movie I've seen this year. Absolutely brilliant. The dialogue is incredible, the acting top notch, and the story gripping. If Martin Scorsese is passed over for an Academy Award again, they should stop giving out directing Oscars. All the actors are at the top of their games. Matt Damon has never been better, but I'm singling out Leonardo Dicaprio. I've seen Dicaprio proves he's the read deal a few times (What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Aviator, Gangs of New York), but I had no idea he could be this good. The Departed also reminds us when Mark Wahlberg is good, he's very good (Boogie Nights), and when he's bad, he's very bad (Planet of the Apes). Here's he's electric.
The movie earns its R rating, so don't go if rough language and brutal violence turn you off. Otherwise, do not miss. The Departed gets an A.
Flicka: Went to this one with my mother. She loved it. The Wyoming scenery (if that really is Wyoming) is awe-inspiring, as is Tim McGraw's toupee. It's the often told story of a girl who wants to be like dad (a rancher), but dad wants her to be more girl-like. Any father and teenage daughter who go to this will need a box of tissues. It's good, although the fact I know Alison Lohman is 27 and was playing McGraw's young teenage daughter did bother me. It's not quite 34 year old Stockard Channing playing a high school Senior in Grease, but it's close. B- for Flicka. (Flicka is the horse).
Flyboys: Saw this at the Nova. $5 for a movie, popcorn and a pop. Can't beat that. Second-run theaters are having a hard time though. They're often showing movies just a few weeks before they're released on DVD, and that makes it a tough sell to many. Not me. There's nothing like a a theater. The shared experience, the undivided attention, the big screen... plus, in this one, I got to hold my girlfriend's hand. Well, at least until my hand fell asleep.
Flyboys is a good, old fashioned World War II picture. Action, romance, heroism... had it all. I'll give this one a B. If they're ever looking for someone to play James Dean, James Franco is a shoo-in. Never mind, I just remembered he already played Dean.
Flags of our Fathers: Incredible story. Clint Eastwood takes the most iconic war photograph in American history and shows how it was used to further fund the U-S war effort. Eastwood makes all of the flag-raisers human, and therefore real. None considered themselves heroes, and all but one would never get past their guilt for being singled out when they felt the real heroes had died at Iwo Jima. I highly recommend anyone 14 or older go see this. It's not quite the masterpiece I hoped for---the story never quite casts the spell it should---but it's still very good. A-
The Prestige: I had no idea what to expect from this movie about rival magicians. I'm still not 100% sure what happened at the end, but I think I got it. Should have known the director of Memento would keep me guessing. Props to lead actors Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. Scarlett Johansson's cleavage has a supporting role. B+
Jackass Number 2: Can't believe what these guys will do for a laugh. Crude, rude and undeniably funny. Some of it is so gross, I nearly puked (the horse scene, the dollhouse), but when it's funny, it's REALLY funny. B-
Open Season: Saw this with my son, Colin. He's 2 1/2. He kind of liked it, but I think even he recognized he'd seen this story before. Same old, same old with some nice voice work by Iowan Ashton Kutcher and Martin Lawrence. Not sure where he's from. B
The Guardian: Speaking of Kutcher, he bought his former Iowa High School brand new football equipment. All he asked in return was that they go see The Guardian. It's basically Officer and a Gentleman meets Top Gun, but it's good. A little long, but done well. I learned a lot about the Coast Guard. I'm always amazed and humbled by people who put their lives on the line every day to save strangers. Kevin Costner is also good in this movie. He's wearing his age well. Another B.
Jet Li's Fearless: My dad loves movies, just as I do. Or rather, I love them, just as he does. Dad doesn't hear so well these days, so he can only watch movies on DVD with closed-captioning. He likes action movies, so when I saw Jet Li's latest was in a foreign language with subtitles, I took my father back to the movies. This was a surprisingly touching story about the life of a man who learns some tough lessons and becomes a hero to an entire nation. B for Fearless. A+ for getting to see it with my Dad. It's his birthday as I write this. Please indulge me. He reads this blog.
Happy Birthday Dad. I love you. Thanks for always being so good to me. We miss you here in Iowa.