Monday, January 30, 2012

Real Steel

I'll be honest that I was biased against this movie before I ever saw it. After seeing the preview for Real Steel, I thought it looked like Transformers meets Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots or Rocky meets Wall-E. I didn't think I would really get into robots boxing each other so I took my time getting around to seeing this movie.

In Real Steel, Hugh Jackman continues the trend of making me feel like a girly man by showing off his huge vein covered biceps. Luckily he only took his shirt off once. He obviously has more discipline than Jason Strathan and Matthew McConaughey. I'm afraid I'm going to have to start watching more Woody Allen movies so I don't get an inferiority complex about my physique.

Anyway, this movie takes place in the near future and is about a deadbeat dad who is a washed up fighter who owes everyone money as a result of travelling around the country gambling on robot fights. He is friends with the chick from Lost and she is a single babe who hangs out in an empty boxing gym by herself. He finds out that his ex wife died and he is given custody of a son he has never met or had anything to do with. The father and son butt heads since they both have a lot of attitude, but they set out on the road together. They discover an old outdated robot in a junk yard that just happens to be able to beat up any other robot. The trio become successful as an underdog team and end up beating all of their opponents and are finally give the chance to fight Zeus, the worlds greatest fighting robot. (Did this script originate in Japan?). They become friends and it ends happily ever after.

I'll admit that Real Steel had some cool special effects. I liked how they were able to make a giant clunky robot dance. I thought Jackman, Lilly, and the kid had decent performances but I just had a hard time getting into it. Most people I've talked to liked it, but I can only give Real Steel 6.6 stars. Maybe it was just too much product placement.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I recently saw Moneyball staring Brad Pitt. As a result of the movie's title and the main actor's name, I keep wanting to call it Money Pit, but that is an old Tom Hanks movie. Anyway, I'm glad I saw Moneyball because it is a good movie.

It is based on a true story about Billy Beane who is the manager of the Oakland A's and his struggle to build a winning baseball team and compete against professional clubs that had much more money and talent at their disposal.

Brad Pitt was great and all the performances were good, but I'm wondering why Robin Wright gets top billing with Pitt if she is only in the movie for a total of 2 minutes. Hats off to her agent. I liked Jonah Hill's performance, but I was really surprised with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I didn't even recognize him for a few minutes as the fat, old coach. I like him in everything I've ever seen him in. It was also strange and kind of distracting seeing Chris Pratt in a serious role. I'm used to seeing him as an incompetent shoe shine boy in Parks and Recreation.

Moneyball is a well told story. It is kind of slow paced and is not over the top like many sports movies. I felt it was a motivating movie, but I felt kind of bad for Pitt's character. He came across as being tormented and just didn't ever seem satisfied or happy. I kind of wish it could have ended like an episode of CHIPS with a freeze frame of him smiling. I give Moneyball 7.8 stars, and by the way, it is much better than The Money Pit.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Addicting TV Shows

I've been a little slow with movie reviews recently since I have been catching up on some TV shows. I don't have TV reception so I usually watch shows a year after they actually aired and end up seeing the entire season over a short amount of time as opposed to being strung along an episode at a time over the course of the year. I've done this with The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Arrested Development.

Some shows are more intense than others and leave you hanging for the next episode. I've had a hard time just watching one episode of certain shows like 24, Burn Notice, Lost, and Battlestar Gallactica.  I recently saw this clip from Portlandia which I could totally relate to.

When my wife were first married, we rented the mini series Lonesome Dove and decided to watch one episode of it before we went to bed. We couldn't stop and ended up finishing the whole thing at about 4 A.M. the next day.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I think IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) is the greatest website of all time. It has been my favorite website for close to 20 years. It is the ultimate authority when it comes to movie information. I can't tell you how many times I've pulled up the site to look up movie trivia or while disputing an actor's filmography with someone. By the way, I am almost always right when those disputes occur. (Yes I'm talking to those of you who think Ewen McGregor is the same person as Sam Worthington).

Someday I'd like to have a profile on IMDB. That would be the sign that I had finally arrived. I'm not talking about being listed as a lighting technician, sound man, or the guy who makes lunch for the stuntmen in a movie. I have never really aspired to be an actor, but I think it would be cool to be in some movies. I'd be fine starting out with some minor roles at first. Maybe I could be a villain's bodyguard or even just a cameo shot in a crowd of people like Hitchcock used to do in his movies.

There are many great movie websites on the Internet, but my favorite is still IMDB. I would write a poem or sing a song about how much I love it, but I don't have enough time since I need to start practicing on my acting skills so I can be in a movie someday.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Atlas Shrugged

Years ago I noticed several people reading the book Atlas Shrugged. I was kind of impressed with those people when I saw that the book was as thick as a brick. Since I'm a lazy guy, I decided to wait for the movie to come out instead of reading the book. Last night I watched part 1 of Atlas Shrugged on DVD. I'm guessing it came to the theaters first, but I don't ever recall seeing it's stealth release.

I didn't know what to expect from this movie, but my wife told me the book was a story about free enterprise, government regulation, intervention, successful business owners disappearing, and secret plots. The movie takes place in 2013 but the book was written in 1957. It is classified as a mystery/drama/political thriller genre. I was looking forward to seeing this movie, but after viewing it, I felt something was missing.

At one point in the movie, the main characters travel around the country trying to solve a mystery while running their businesses despite government opposition. In once scene they travel to an empty car manufacturing plant. They then walk right up to a wall with a secret door and find a room containing a prototype of an engine the government didn't want produced. While they are standing in there in the dark they give several explanations to the viewers about what they've found. It reminded me of a scene from Scooby Doo. Zoinks! It made me think they were rushed for time and that maybe this project would have worked better as a TV mini series instead of 3 movies.

I'm sure there are many people who gave this movie poor reviews primarily because of it's political message, but it still could have been better. I hate to say this, but I'm guessing this is yet another case of the book being better than the movie. I give Atlas Shrugged Part 1 6.0 stars and that's coming from a small government, free enterprise guy who should have loved it. Who is John Galt?
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