Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Ordinary People (1980): I think this is the movie that beat out Raging Bull at the Academy Awards and for that I held a little bit of resentment towards it, but Ordinary People is a good movie. It is a very, very different movie than Scorsese made, but once the movie got rolling and I was able to figure out just what is going on, Redford's movie gained power. Ordinary People is about loss and how the death of a son can tear a family apart and how everyone deals with loss in a different way. Starring Donald Sutherland, Mary Tyler Moore, and Timothy Hutton, the star here is actually young Hutton as the remaining son in the family. I expected to be bored here and unimpressed, but Ordinary People is better than people give it credit for (even given the slew of awards it won).

Fever Pitch (2005): Jimmy Fallon is a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox. Say, obsessed. He meets and falls for Drew Barrymore during the off season when she has no idea about his obsession but during the season their relationship is strained. Based on a novel by Nick Hornby, this was shot during the 2004 season with the assumption that Boston would lose (the novel is about a relationship based around a team that can't win the big one, like Boston), but Boston's World Series win changed the ending of Fever Pitch. This is a comedy, but it is not really over the top. There is some silliness, but much more heart.

In Her Shoes (2005): Another underrated movie. This one was directed by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys, 8 Mile) and in the hands of anyone else it would probably be called a chick flick, but Hanson turns this into a good story. Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette star in this movie about two sisters. Diaz was always the pretty, party girl and Collette grew up responsible and a lawyer. Diaz spends her time out getting drunk and moving from house to house and ends up crashing at her sister's house. The lack of thoughtfulness or consideration given by Diaz causes Collette to kick her out and Diaz goes from Philly to Florida to live with their grandmother whom Diaz just found out about. It's a story about family and love and sisters and really, it's just a well acted well directed movie that was just good and enjoyable. Shirley Maclaine co-stars.

Gandhi (1982): Three hours of outstanding work by Ben Kingsley. This is one of those movies that after seeing it I wondered why it took me so long to watch it. Kingsley is Mohandas K. Gandhi, a London educated lawyer who faces discrimination when he travels to South Africa to work as a lawyer. There he is not a respected man. He is a black man. When he is thrown off of a train because he would not go to third class even though he purchased a first class ticket he begins his crusade for equal rights for Indians in South Africa, but then in India. Gandhi is reborn, in a sense, and this rebirth transformed India and touched the world. Gandhi takes us from the first days of Gandhi's work through the end of his life. Outstanding movie.

Never Say Never Again (1983): Of course the first non-Pierce Brosnan Bond movie I watch is the one that is not part of the official canon, is a Thunderball remake, and was made by another company because of a dispute about the rights of Thunderball. Naturally. So, we have an aging Sean Connery in his last role as James Bond (this is addressed in the movie has Bond seems to have lost a step or two) trying to stop SPECTRE from launching two nuclear warheads they stole during a test flight of dummy warheads. It is all pretty silly, but the movie was decent enough. Nothing that makes me say "yay Bond" as I imagine the new Casino Royale will, but it was not bad.

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