CON AIR (1997)



When we watch a narrative film there is a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. It’s expected and as an avid movie watcher, I’ve never had a problem with that. Until it’s too much to ask. Let me tell you the series of events that begins Con Air.

Nicolas Cage is Cameron Poe, an Army ranger who is back home from . . .somewhere. We basically first see him on a dock staring into a bar, where it turns out his wife, Tricia (Monica Potter) works. His wife is pregnant but extremely thin, which makes one wonder who got her pregnant since they act like they haven’t seen each other in years. Anyway, even though Poe is in full uniform, he’s immediately accosted by some drunk assholes. Because I think everyone knows that men in full military uniform are probably the biggest targets of harrassments in neighborhood bars. They shoo them away long enough to enjoy their night together but the men follow them to their car when they go to leave for the night. Really, Poe and Tricia could have easily still driven away at this point since they were both in the car. But Poe gets out and decides to fight. While he’s being attached, Poe punches one of them in the nose and kills them instantly. I’m assuming it’s one of those punch-in-the-nose-so-the-bone-stabs-the-brain punches that I heard about so much as a kid, but we never really get an explanation. Not that it matters because next time we see Poe it’s at his sentencing. He gets 7-10 years for manslaughter. Further, the judge gives him that much time because as a former Army ranger, his body is a deadly weapon and therefore . . . he has to pay more for what he did? Sooooooo in this world:

– When you leave the army they drop you off in a boat directly in front of where you need to be

– Civilians hate members of the armed forces

– Self-defense doesn’t exist

– A judge can willy-nilly decide to up your sentence based on the fact that you used to be in the army and that makes you more dangerous

So by the time we see Poe in prison, I have no idea what world we’re in. We’re not in the real world for the above reasons. The rest of the movie doesn’t help.

After being in prison for eight years, Poe is let out on parole. He’s never met his daughter because he didn’t want her to see him in prison (ugh). Poe is being flown to Alabama to be released (once they parole you do they not just let you go? I truly don’t know the answer but it seems weird that he would get paroled and then have to be on a hellplane with non-parolees) but is sharing a plane with prisoners who are not getting paroled but are rather getting sent to a crazy super super super maximum security prison. So on this aircraft you have a nice mix of people like Poe, out on parole for manslaughter, and Garland Greene (Steve Buscemi), a serial killer and possible cannibal. Because that sounds like a nice mix of gentlemen that will get along well! Also included are Cyrus “Cyrus The Virus” Grissom (John Malkovich), some kind of criminal mastermind; Nathan “Diamond Dog” Jones (Ving Rhames) whom is somehow related to politics but is also a crazy criminal so I don’t really understand what his deal was; Johnny-23 (Danny Trejo), called that because he’s raped 23 women.

U.S. Marshall Vince Larkin (John Cusack) is overseeing this whole operation, which makes one wonder if he’s the most psychotic one of all. Because it reallyyyyy doesn’t take long for a riot to start, allowing Cyrus, Diamond Dog, Johnny-23 and others to be set free, further allowing Cyrus to kill the co-pilot and force the pilot to say everything is okay. There’s also a scary element where they have a female prison guard on board (another brilliant/psychotic decision by Larkin?) who, once the prisoners are freed, is under constant threat of rape by Johnny-23. Luckily, none of the other prisoners are okay with rape (she really kinda lucked out on that part) and they just all try to keep him off her. It’s just weird and scary. Oh yeah, there’s an undercover cop on board, too, but he gets killed pretty quickly. He did have a tape recorder on him, though, and Poe finds it. The plane is going to make a stop in Carson City for yet another criminal mastermind (this time a drug lord, Francisco Cindino) and afterward Cyrus has the plane head for a small airport where Cindino is arranging for all the prisoners to be picked up and taken to a non-extradiction country. A bunch of stuff happens and then everyone, including Larkin, ends up at the small airport. Larkin and Poe know they’re on the same side at this point. More shit happens, Poe and the rest of the prisoners leave the airport when they realize that Cindino had tricked them and a plane wasn’t coming for them. The prisoners then find out that Poe is a parolee and not a crazy psycho so they want to kill him. Luckily, the plane gets shot and is forced to crash land on the Las Vegas strip . . . so not exactly a super successful end to shooting the plane down. But, eventually, the bad guys all get killed and/or captured, Poe gets reunited with Tricia and meets his daughter.

Haha oh yeah, except for Garland Greene, who escaped and we last see playing in a casino. Happy endings for all! . . . except for the people that Greene will inevitably murder now that he’s out of prison. They kinda got screwed by the system.

This whole movie is so outlandish, even for an action movie. It’s hard for me sympathize or empathize with characters that are either entirely evil or caught in a world with rules that don’t make sense. I also got the impression that Cage’s long hair was supposed to make him look more like a badass but it was actually just distractingly gross and terrible. Also, Nicolas Cage’s idea of a Southern accent is apparently mimicking Scarlett O’Hara.


I’ve really never thought much of this film. It was something I saw part of cause TBS and/or TNT used to play it all the time but I always found it very boring and uneventful. Watching it again I kind of felt the same way but I think watching it as, this is a terrible movie, instead of, this is a movie adults talk about a lot which must mean it’s good, brought out parts of this film I didn’t really notice before.

The movie is so full of holes and unnecessary issues it’s pretty funny. The whole story is about a giant plane that prisoners can’t escape from and within moments of it taking off the prisons are in control. And of course you have the great Nic Cage trying to do some 18th-century southern voice.

I wouldn’t really recommend this movie as I still find it to be a bit boring a slow but I’m glad I watched it with Elizabeth!

CURE (1997)



This is a movie that we just happened to watch on Hulu and I cannot stop telling people to watch! It’s so incredible and I’m glad we got the chance to see it. I’m already ready to watch it again along with others by this director.

I don’t want to give any spoilers away because I really just want everyone to watch this but I will talk about what I like about the film. First, the pacing. I can’t remember the last movie I watched where I was so aware of how great the pacing is. The story is about a detective trying to figure out why all these murders are happening by different people but performing the same act of cutting an X in the throat of their victims. As the story progresses you find out what’s going on as the detective does and the film does this even though you do stay with the detective throughout. When a murder takes place, you see almost everyone I think, but you only see certain stages of the act. Second, the sound. In almost every scene you are very aware not just what people are saying or doing but of the machines of white noise that is going on around them. In that sense it kind of reminded me of The Conversation of Onibaba. And lastly the characters. You are so on the side of the detective and you you are rooting for him to figure out what’s going on the whole time. I know the rough cop is done a lot but this did not make me tired of seeing that. He’s a complete badass.

WATCH THIS MOVIE IF YOU HAVE NOT!!!!!!!! We watched this about three weeks ago and every time I talk to someone at work I end up telling them to check this out.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

Cure is just fucking fantastic and is basically exactly the movie I wanted it to be to the point where it actually felt good watching it.

Takabe (Koji Yakusho) is a detective trying to solve a series of murders that are all committed exactly the same way, but are done by different people who seem to have no connection to each other. Eventually Takabe meets Mamiya (Masato Hagiwara) who proves to be the link between everything, Takabe just needs to figure out how and why.

Have you ever seen The Happening? It’s not good, and I know it’s not good. It’s really hilarious, in fact. But there is an element from The Happening that I kind of loved. There’s something in the air that makes people spontaneously kill themselves, no matter what. No matter who they are or what they’re doing, if they catch a whiff of this stuff they automatically stop what they’re doing and kill themselves as fast as possible. It’s shocking and crazy and I feel like someone had that idea and built The Happening around it but didn’t really think about it other than this cool concept, because literally everything else about the movie is terrible.

But Cure is the movie that I wanted The Happening to be. It’s not the same plot; there’s no plant revolution and no one is forced by an unknown power to kill themselves. But people are forced by a power that is at first unknown to us to basically kill the first person they see. It doesn’t matter who it is (one man kills a prostitute, another kills his wife) or what they’re doing, but something is causing these people to brutally murder someone else. Except unlike The Happening, Cure actually has a reason for it. It just felt so good to see a film take such a similar concept that I love and actually not drop the fucking ball on it.

Cure is one of the best-paced movies I’ve seen in a really long time. It was so deliberate; it knew what it wanted you to know and when it wanted you to know it. When we see the first victim get killed, we really don’t know anything. We see a man take a pipe as he walks home, and then later we see a prostitute sit up in a hotel bed and that same man beats her with the pipe as he walks by, like it’s the most natural thing in the world. When we meet Mamiya, he has no memory of who he is or pretty much anything. He meets a man that tries to get through to him, though Mamiya doesn’t want to talk about himself. When that man later kills his wife, we get a hint that Mamiya is the missing link. As each killer kills their victim, we get more and more context as to why it’s happening and who else is involved. We find the answer at basically the same time as Takabe, which makes everything feel that much freakier and real.

I also loved the feel of this movie; I’ve described it to people as feeling more Scandinavian than Japanese, at least in terms of it being a Japanese horror movie. There’s not much gore and the movie is filled with giant shots and is very quiet. There’s a lot of emphasis on senses in Cure, so the sound design feels very deliberate and important and it takes what could be a boring, quiet scene and turns it into a very tense scene really easily.

If you’re turned off by Japanese horror, don’t let that stop you from seeing Cure. It’s just an insanely good movie, no matter what the country or genre. Cure has a lot of pay offs and is really just so awesome to watch.




The first memory I have of this film is when it first came out I was living in Virginia Beach, Virginia and the clip where Will is talking about choosing the wrench for his stepfather to beat him with played on a news show. I remember thinking at the time that the movie appeared way too sad and I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to watch it.

I’m glad something changed my mind because when I saw Good Will Hunting for the first time in high school, or middle school or something, I remember really liking it. I thought the story was interesting and the actors were fine but watching it now, I feel as I grow up this movie gets more interesting and more a movie I wouldn’t mind watching again. I think so much of this movie works well and it just feels good to watch a movie that writes well. I think with Elizabeth and I watching a lot of terrible movies it’s nice to watch one that’s just really good, and I feel like Good Will Hunting does that.

I’m sure his best movie to me is one of his family films but as an adult I think it might be Good Will Hunting. It’s a terrible tragedy about his death, it didn’t hit me as hard as Philip Seymour Hoffman, but I will definitely miss Robin Williams. I think Elizabeth and I are going to try to watch some of his stand-up soon. I think that’s where his real legacy will live.


Chris and I were shocked and upset by the news of Robin Williams’ death, along with pretty much everyone else. We decided to watch one of his best movies and one of his worst movies. And I happen to think Good Will Hunting was Robin Williams’ best movie, period.

Good Will Hunting is important to me. It was one of the first, if not the first, movie that caused me to go on a massive please-let-me-see-this-R-movie-even-though-I’m-too-young-in-this-case-9 campaign in my house in order to see this movie. And it worked, eventually, on a few conditions: I had to wait until it was out on video, my mom had to see it first, I had to watch it with my mom, and she had to fast forward through Skylar (Minnie Driver)’s semen-based joke (which totally makes sense but there’s no way I would have known what the joke meant had I seen it at the time). It was the first time I was aware of Gus Van Sant and the first time I really noticed Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. I’ve seen it a million times and it’s a movie where I can now anticipate almost every line before it’s spoken, but it never gets old.

Obviously there are a lot of elements at work here, including incredible performances, but I think it’s the writing that really shines. Sean (Robin Williams)’s monologue from the scene pictured is one of the greatest monologues I’ve ever heard, both in its writing and its performance. It’s a speech that so perfectly encapsulates the conflict of trying to think outside of your own experiences while also judging other people based on what you think you know about them. There’s Chuckie (Ben Affleck)’s great speech to Will (Matt Damon) about how and why Will insults his friends by not utilizing his own intelligence. There’s the fight between Skylar and Will, prompted by Skylar asking Will to move to California with her, that nearly breaks both of them and causes them to suddenly reveal things about themselves to each other that they had kept bottled up. And it’s not just the big speeches or conversations that are so great; Good Will Hunting is also super funny and it’s charming, too.

Going along with the writing, the characters’ relationships are all so well-defined and great, especially with Will. Will is obviously the bridge connecting everyone and his relationship with each character acts as an illustration of another aspect of his personality. I love that Will and Chuckie love each other without question, I love that Will and Skylar bring out so much in each other that obviously hasn’t been brought out before, and I love that despite everything else, Will and Sean are really each others match and challenge each other.

And yes, Robin Williams is great here. He plays Sean so well and so surprisingly, although there are flashes of Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society. Will is so volatile, ready to drop everything in a minute for a fight. Sean is what you want out of a therapist: calm, soothing, empathic, and not condescending. I don’t think it ever really seems like Sean sees himself in Will, even though they’re from the same neighborhood and both dealt with childhood abuse. It’s more that Sean sees Will for who he really is, for better or worse, and what he sees is brilliant and worthy of love and happiness. I know the scene where Sean repeats “It’s not your fault,” until Will weeps is famous and fairly well mocked, which upsets me because it is an incredible scene. It’s the end of Sean and Will’s time as patient and therapist, and Will casually mentions being beaten with a wrench by a foster parent as a child. “All this shit, it’s not your fault,” Sean says, with Will automatically saying, “I know,” as if it’s not the first time he’s heard that, which it most certainly isn’t. But unlike those who may have said that to Will in the past, Sean keeps saying it, with a quiet, clear, calm voice, and lets Will get annoyed, explode, freak out, and finally break down and weep in Sean’s arms. It gives me goosebumps just writing about it.

I wish all of Robin Williams’ work could be on par with Good Will Hunting, but I could say the same for anyone else involved in the movie (sup, Gigli). But this is also the kind of movie that if it happened to the best thing that anyone involved (Van Sant, Damon, etc) ever did, that would be okay because Good Will Hunting is that fucking good.


CUBE (1997)



I think I might have watched this in college but I really didn’t remember much of it. Watching it now I think the idea is pretty interesting and the special effects are certainly better than they could have been, but I think overall the individual characters’ stories weigh down the film’s potential. I was super into everything about the cube and what it did but I never really felt like I wanted any of the characters to make it through.

If you have not seen this I think the concept is interesting enough to check it out but it’s really not a movie that will scare you, it’s just interesting. I guess check it out?

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I think Cube is one of the best examples I know of of a movie that succeeded in concept and execution, but failed in the end with the story. I saw it in high school and it was certainly one of the most memorable movies I saw during that time period. I thought about it a lot, but was always frustrated by it, too.

Cube is about five people who wake up in a cube of immeasurable size, filled with small, booby-trapped rooms. They don’t know how they got there, who everyone else is, or how to get out. They realize everyone has a different job or “purpose:” Leaven (Nicole de Boer) is a young math genius, Quentin (Maurice Dean Wint) is an aggressive cop, Holloway (Nicky Guadagni) is a doctor, Worth (David Hewlett) is some kind of engineer or architect, Rennes (Wayne Robson) is an escape artist, and Kazan (Andrew Miller) is mentally handicapped.

They have rudimentary methods for checking if a room is booby-trapped at first (by holding onto the shoelaces of a boot and throwing the boot into the room), until they notice numbers on each door connected to all the rooms. Leaven starts finding patterns in the numbers to indicate if a room is trapped or not. The more they move around, though, the more they learn about the numbers and what they actually mean. The people themselves start to disintegrate, too: Rennes is killed by a trapped room, Quentin gets more and more unhinged, and everyone goes nuts when they find out that Worth was involved in building the cube. And that’s where we come to what I feel is the first biggest issue.

Worth says he designed the outer shell surrounding the cube but that he doesn’t know who hired him and he only ever talked to other contractors working on other parts of the cube, but he does reveal he knew people were being put into the cube for two months before. While everyone freaks out appropriately, what no one does is make Worth tell them every single thing he knows. If he helped design or build the shell to the cube, wouldn’t he know some kind of dimensions? You can’t make a building endless and then have one the characters be someone who designed a shell around the building. Wouldn’t Worth have a really good idea of its size? What does he know about people being put in the cube? All he says is he knows it was happening, but how? The fact that everyone didn’t grill him to death is either poor writing or due to the fact that the characters are all pretty nuts at this point.

Eventually, once they all find themselves back in the room that holds Rennes’ dead body, they realize that the rooms within the cube are moving. Leaven realizes the numbers on the doors are actually coordinates on a moving plane (or something) and that Kazan can factor astronomical numbers, which is what they need to figure out the coordinates (. . . or something, I was basically following but have no real concept of math so whatever). In the end, it’s just Leaven, Worth, and Kazan in the room that they believe is on the edge of the cube. Earlier, Quentin killed Holloway and Worth presumably killed Quentin. At the last second, however, Quentin comes back and kills Leaven and Worth, but not before Worth has enough strength to kill Quentin. That leaves Kazan as the only one left, and he’s the only one who walks out of the cube into a blinding white light. The end.

On one hand, it makes sense that nothing is explained. We wake up in the cube just like the characters, so we only know what they know. But on the other hand, it feels like a cop out. The filmmakers presented this insane concept and instead of giving any resolution they basically leave it as a thought experiment, but in movie form. To me the difficult thing here was not coming up with the concept but figuring out how to make a story from it and how to solve it, which the filmmakers didn’t do. As far as we know, the filmmakers have no idea what happened in Cube, and that drives me crazy. I want to at least think that the filmmakers have the answer and when it doesn’t seem that way it feels pointless. Why would you sit down to hear a story that you know has no ending? It’s just frustrating, and given the fact that I think almost everything else about the movie is really good, it’s also really disappointing.





Hahahahahahahhaahhaha oh my god this movie. I really don’t like snakes but the snake in this movie was so fake and unsnakelike that it never once occurred to me to be the least bit freaked out.

The greatest thing about watching this is Jon Voight’s terrible accent. He’s supposed to be from Uruguay or Paraguay or some other South American country, but you would never know it because his accent doesn’t exist in real life, in any country. It was this weird mix of Italian, French, Spanish, and mumble. He also constantly has some variation of this look on his face.

Sitting through this movie is entirely worth it, however, once Jon Voight gets eaten by the anaconda, then thrown up by the anaconda, and then vomited Jon Voight winks at Jennifer Lopez. This for real happens. Also, Ice Cube pretty much plays his exact character from Are We There Yet?, which is amazing and makes me think that maybe Ice Cube has a limited range.

There’s really a lot to say about this, but I don’t think anything can do Anaconda justice like just sitting through the movie yourself. Imagine that Apocalypse Now and Congo had a movie baby together and that movie baby spit up another movie . . . then you’d get Anaconda.


Watching this movie, it reminded me a lot of Congo. I have distinct memories of people loving this when I was a kid but watching it now, it’s crazy nonsense! I mean the movie is mostly about a psychotic Jon Voight. The only reason they ever have to fight multiple anacondas is because Voight attracts them. This whole movie is about a documentary film crew inviting a killer onto their boat, who eventually starts killing them while trying to capture a snake. Also the snakes in this movie are not some kind of genetic mutations, they’re just supposed two big, big anacondas.

THE GAME (1997)



I was super into this movie as a kid and even though watching it now I see a lot of what’s wrong with it, I still find this movie really fun to watch. I’m sure Elizabeth will say that this movie is boring, which it kind of is, but I think the biggest thing that Elizabeth and I disagree with is what we consider to be a boring film. That will really be shown if we ever finish watching one of my favorite movies ever, Down By Law.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I was really surprised to find out in the end credits that David Fincher directed The Game because I really wasn’t all that impressed with it. I really didn’t know anything about it going into it, but I assumed the whole time we were watching it that everything/everyone was part of the titular game that Michael Douglas is involved in. Why shouldn’t I think that? The movie proves that the company putting on the elaborate game is capable of nearly anything. But I guess we were supposed to, like Michael Douglas’ character, start to believe that the company is this giant scam out to steal his money and/or kill him. When the big reveal comes at the end that it was all part of the game, I was sort of shocked. Not that that was the ending, but that we weren’t supposed to see that coming. The movie is called The Game! Of course everything is part of the game!

Oh well, the Criterion cover is awesome enough to almost make up for the whole thing.




For whatever reason I always confused this movie with End Of Days but watching this film again I realize how much I don’t remember of it. The whole story is so dumb, and like The Game, you can pretty much see the ending from the very biggining.

Elizabeth (spoilers!)

I honestly feel sort of conflicted by The Devil’s Advocate. I saw it in high school and thought it was awesome. Re-watching it, I didn’t think it was that awesome but it wasn’t all terrible, either. It’s weird.

I think one of the best and worst things going for the movie is its length. It’s nearly 2 and a half hours long, which gives the story a good amount of time to build buuuuuut is still sort of too long. Keanu Reeves plays Kevin, an awesome lawyer, who tries three big-time cases in the course of the movie. Isn’t that a little much? I know it’s supposed to drive home the fact that Kevin defends “bad” people, but we don’t need to see every second of it.

That’s the first thing that came up that bothered me: everyone freaks out because Kevin is a defense lawyer who never loses, but also defends pedophiles and murderers. Isn’t that how our legal system works? Kevin’s wife, Mary Ann (Charlize Theron) is eventually overcome with guilt because they got rich from Kevin defending guilty people. But that’s his job! I don’t get it! Someone has to be these people’s defense lawyers. Are we supposed to hate defense lawyers now? Are pedophiles and murderers not supposed to receive a fair trial? Maybe that’s getting too sensitive, but I just didn’t understand why he was supposed to be a bad guy just because of his job.

Kevin gets poached by a giant law firm headed by John (Al Pacino), who sort of plays his character from The Scent of a Woman except with more yelling. Once they get to New York, Mary Ann’s storyline sort of turns into a weird Rosemary’s Baby-esque story. She starts to go insane and sees demons, as well as has a dream that a baby is playing with her uterus. She, like apparently all women in movies, is hell-bent on having a kid, even though her husband is never home and she has severe depression. Sounds good!

So, we all know that Al Pacino is the devil, and because of this he keeps making Mary Ann go insane, all the while insisting that Kevin take a break from work and take care of him. But Kevin refuses and lets her go insane. John/Satan eventually rapes Mary Ann, causing her to have a total breakdown and Kevin puts her in a mental hospital. Kevin’s mom, who used to hate Mary Ann, visits her in the hospital, which I sort of loved. In the beginning, there’s the stereotypical mother-in-law vs. daughter-in-law conflict, but eventually Kevin’s mom realizes what a total dick he is to his wife, so she swoops in to take care of her. Kevin and his mom talk outside Mary Ann’s room while Kevin’s secretary stays with Mary Ann (for some reason). Mary Ann sees the secretary morph into a demon, smashes a mirror against the secretary’s face, and then locks everyone out of her room. Okay, this is where a really intense scene happens. Her door is barricaded closed, but Kevin and everyone else can still see Mary Ann through the door window, which is reinforced with wire. Kevin tries to reason with her to open the door, frantically talking and then yelling at her, while Mary Ann calmly picks up a piece of glass from the broken mirror . . . and straight up cuts her throat just as Kevin makes it into the room. This movie isn’t amazing, but that scene is reallyyyyyyy intense.

Turns out that Al Pacino is Satan (duh) and Kevin is his son. Also turns out that Kevin’s sexy co-worker is actually his sexy half sister and Satan wants them to have sex and have the Antichrist. Okay, I don’t mean to play . . . THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE . . . here but: if you’ve just watched the one person you love brutally kill themselves, and you’ve just found out that Satan (and so I guess therefore God) is real and you’re half-Satan . . . I mean, wouldn’t you just kind of go with it? Is that weird of me? I guess I figure in that situation you have nothing to lose. Maybe your personal morals are supposed to get in the way of you joining Satan, and me thinking that joining Satan would be a good idea says a lot about me buuuuuuut whatever.

Well, instead of joining Satan, Kevin shoots himself. When he does, he suddenly finds himself back in the Florida courthouse from the beginning of the movie, before the pedophile he’s defending is acquitted, with Mary Ann alive and well. So it was all a dream? Except then a reporter who wants to do a story on Kevin morphs into Al Pacino behind Kevin’s back, so I guess it wasn’t all a dream? I can only assume Kevin is stuck in a Groundhog Day-esque loop that will continue until he agrees to join up with Satan.

But I have to talk about something that really bothers me in movies like this. This first came to my attention when I saw The Exorcist for the first time around 8th grade. And before I say anything, I’m not religious and I’m certainly not any kind of religious scholar. But. Where the hell is God in all of these movies in which Satan fucks with people? In the case of The Devil’s Advocate Satan is actually on earth, interacting with people. If Satan can send himself and demons and stuff to mess with people, why doesn’t God swoop in and take care of business? Or at least send some angels or something to help? Seems lame to me.

Anyway, I sort of don’t know how I feel about this movie. But it’s worth seeing.