The Smackdown There are a surprising number of worthwhile New Yearâ€™s Eve-themed films to consider watching, should other more social-type plans fail to materialize for you. Iâ€™m no drinker, no party animal; subsequently, New Yearâ€™s […]
When “Forrest Gump” hit the theaters in 1994, it was a pure original: nothing quite like it had come before. Tom Hanks got the title role and basically hit it out of the park playing a man-child with an IQ of 75 who manages to be involved in every major happening in America between the 1950s and the 1980s. As directed by Robert Zemeckis, the film manages to move forward relentlessly in its narrative scope and, before it’s over, Tom Hanks has taught Elvis, made JFK laugh, been a hero in Vietnam, opened up China with his ping-pong skills, run across America and had a girlfriend die of AIDS. The bases are covered every which way but it’s Hanks’s dignified, down-to-Earth performance that sets it totally apart. It might be a comedy or a drama, I’m not really sure.
The Smackdown Australia is a continent, my country, a state of mind and now, finally, a movie.Â To get the silver-screen version made, they gave one of the most visually stylish directors working today more […]
The Smackdown Two wildly unpopular presidents and the mess they leave behind. Thirty-odd years apart but linked by a few common and terribly unfortunate threads. Hubris. Megalomania. Bad advice. Two films make drama of historical […]
The Smackdown Life and art did that thing they do as I drove through an Oregon rainstorm to the cineplex, mindful that my disc brakes and windshield wiper directly figure into this Smackdown!Â “Flash of […]
The Smackdown With 2008’s Bottle Shock and 2004’s indie darling Sideways, we have two films that put their respective audiences smack into the middle of the California wine growing scene. One is more about making […]
The Smackdown There’s no doubt that superheroes and stoners are king at this summer’s box office, but if you’re craving a little romanticism – oh hell, a LOT of romanticism – and stories that don’t […]
The Smackdown Here’s how they played it. Start with some Americana about major league sports in times of transition, give us some of the money men who just don’t understand the players’ true love of […]
If you’re looking for a film that will make you feel a little better about your own life, try either of these. They’ll also make you feel better about the “human spirit” and other noble thoughts but, basically, you will realize that all the crap you complain about every day really is just crap and that you should take a chill pill and try to realize how good things really are. Both “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” and “My Left Foot” which preceded it by almost two decades feature lead characters who are suffering through horrific physical challenges which make it nearly impossible for them to communicate but, because they are just as alive inside their brains as any of us and maybe more so, they rise above their fear, pain and sadness to communicate anyway. In the end, in both films, it turns out to be less about what they say than the fact that they said anything at all that is so inspirational.