RODEO AND JULIET (2015) WITH SUPER SPECIAL GUEST POST!!!

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Elizabeth

It’s hard to say what the biggest problem with Rodeo and Juliet is. Is it the immediate comparison to Romeo and Juliet, which it kind of follows and then gives up on? Is it the fact that you never get a clear understanding of the main characters’ ages? Is it that all of the main characters are distractingly ugly?

When we first meet Juliet, she is eating pizza (teenager?) and video chatting with her girlfriends (teenager?) and complaining about being forced to spend Christmas break (teenager? college?) with her mom. It’s also difficult to gauge Juliet’s age under the 10 pounds of makeup she constantly wears:

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Juliet’s mother, Karen, doesn’t make it easier to determine age. She dresses like a teenager but looks like she’s had some kind of work done to her face.

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Karen’s father, whom Juliet has never met, has just died and Karen is taking Juliet to Louisiana to collect her inheritance, mainly the “ranch” that Karen’s father worked so hard on it killed him. I’m from Louisiana, too, and found it hard to imagine exactly what kind of ranch they were talking about. All we ended up seeing was a house on a biggish piece of land and one horse. It doesn’t look or sound like a ranch but it was apparently enough of a ranch for Karen’s former love, Hugh, and his nephew, Monty, to work on apparently full-time. Hugh is mentioned a few times before we meet him, and I didn’t know what to expect. Some overly-rugged overly-handsome dude.

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That’s the dude causing all this inner-turmoil in Karen? And she lives in New York now? Uhh, well he apparently wasn’t worth even breaking up with when they were previously ENGAGED, so I think it’s safe to say that he’s not worth it (for both of them, really). Then at a “barn dance” Juliet meets Hugh’s nephew, Monty. Monty looks like a cartoon character and Juliet dresses overly sexy for . . . a . . . teenager? College student? Hmm . . .

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Karen finds out that Juliet and Monty have met and freaks out and forbids Juliet from seeing Monty again. Okay, so at this point JULIET meets a boy and his uncle whom when their names are together make MontyHugh which is a fucked up version of Montague, at a party and his forbidden to see him. INTERESTING! But she also meets a horse named Rodeo. So who is Juliet’s true love: Rod[m]eo or Monty[gue]?

Karen wants to sell Rodeo and Juliet fights to keep him. She starts secretly training with Monty to win a horse show with Rodeo, to win enough money to keep him. Karen finds out Hugh owns part of the ranch and keeps hating him. Juliet’s face gets harder to look at:

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Karen realizes she doesn’t hate Hugh, she loves him and has loved him all along! Juliet loses the horse competition but Karen, her cold bitch heart now full of love, lets her keep Rodeo anyway. She and Monty are told they are on demand on the horse circuit now, and so they all get to stay and be one big (slightly incestuous) family. So I guess . . . Juliet is not in high school? Or school of any kind? Or Karen just doesn’t give a shit and just wants Juliet to do whatever she needs to do to stay. Good thing it doesn’t matter!

I hated this movie. And I would never watch this without the motivation of company:

SUPER SPECIAL GUEST POST: MIKE WILDER OF https://waldersblog.wordpress.com/

First of all I want to say that it is an honor to be featured on Chris and Elizabeth’s wonderful blog. They are both wonderful people with interesting perspectives on cinema and I hope I don’t embarrass either of them but especially Elizabeth. Anyways here comes my take on Rodeo & Juliet!

I came into this movie expecting one of those stories where the stuck-up city girl goes to the country and, despite her shock at the way Real Americans live, falls in love with the hottest guy there. Instead it was exactly like that. This is a powerfully unoriginal movie full of unremarkable performances and plot points that are objectively uninteresting. But keep reading my review of it anyway please.

At the start of the film, Juliet (like from Shakespeare) has to go with her mom to the country for a little while to settle her grandfather’s estate. While they’re out in the country, she learns she is a naturally talented “barrel racer” and meets her hunky country boyfriend who helps her learn to ride. It’s a little bit like Star Wars Episode 1, I guess, with the horse as the podracer and Juliet as Anakin Skywalker: the talented youngster who makes the best of a bad situation by learning to race fast. Anyways, Anakin somehow learns to be one of the best “barrel racers” in the area in like two weeks and goes to the Big Local Competition where she goes head to head with the defending champ. She loses.

Besides the horse sports story line, the central conflict here is that Juliet and her mom might not be able to sell the ranch that kind of belongs to them. They can’t sell it because they don’t have Juliet’s grandfather’s will. BUT the will might be out there somewhere. Every time the will comes up, everybody starts talking about how they haven’t found it but it might exist. This really happens so much throughout. My favorite part of the whole movie was when they finally found the will and everybody had to shut da fuck up about it. Anyways, the will said that Juliet’s mom had to split the ranch with her ex-lover and so they fell back in love and got engaged and (miracle of miracles!) Juliet’s boyfriend is that guy’s nephew/son so they have a perfectly efficient Family Romance Unit! There’s also something about how Juliet and her mother have things they are avoiding in New York, but selling the ranch and falling in love are clearly the important things here.

At the end of the movie, after 90 minutes of things that didn’t really matter at all have happened, Juliet and her mom don’t have to go back to New York. Which is a relief even though that’s where they live. The viewer is left to assume that Juliet and her mother didn’t have any relationships in New York worth maintaining. I guess they just turned their two-week trip into a new life with their new boyfriend/husband combo who are, once again, essentially a father/son combo. Makes sense.  Good movie. Really really good. I strongly recommend this movie. Especially if a horse once kicked you in the head so hard it made you like bad movies about horses but you don’t want to shell out $2.99 to rent War Horse on iTunes.

Christopher

It’s an honor to have a guest reviewer on our blog today. It can be a difficult duty watching these terrible movies and it’s nice when you know another person is going through the same experience as you. Mike also has his own movie blog so you should absolutely check that out right after you read this. 

After watching The Longest Ride, still one of my favorite terrible romance movies we’ve seen, I’ve been interested in love on the ranch. Though there isn’t an attractive person in sight, Rodeo & Juliet was pretty engaging to me throughout 88 minutes.

It’s very apparent that this movie was on a very low budget but nothing said it more than the insane makeup of the main character. There were many moments in the film where it was almost hard to watch her on screen. I feel like the closest I’ve ever come to that before was when I saw Pink Flamingos with my roommates in college. But what’s also distracting is how much older she looks than what I assume the character is supposed to be. She is upset that her mom has to take care of the legal issues surrounding her father’s ranch. This means she has to live in the middle of nowhere indefinitely with her mother. No cell service, yuck. No internet, unfair! Just on her own. But luckily within days there she ends up loving the ranch and wants to ride her grandfather’s horse, Rodeo, in a barrel race. And yes, the horse is called Rodeo. I wonder is this movie helped inspire Travi$ Scott.

When the mom is dealing with the deed of her father’s ranch we meet the town judge. Or some old guy that runs a business out of his home and it’s slightly cluttered but only in the sense that what did clutter the office was only what the producers of the film could find around set. The house the mother and Juliet live in is also very bare and eerie. Did the grandfather need such a giant house if he only had a few belongings? And going with the theme of this movie feeling cheap the audio is very distracting. In multiple scenes the white noise level jumps all over the place depending on who’s talking. It reminds me of freshman film classes at SCAD.

Another frustrating part of the film is the ranch itself. We know the mom wants the land. We know that the mom’s love interest wants the land because he spent most of his life riding with the grandfather and working the ranch. But we never really see the ranch. Is it just the house? At one point they say it makes money. How does it make money? It’s very vague. It’s similar to Tyler Perry films trying to talk about law. It’s just a bunch of very generic terms.

This movie has some bad acting. The two male love interests are the obvious ones. But Rodeo & Juliet gives us lines like this: “Everything looks accurate,” said by a DMV notary documenting a supposed agreement with the grandfather that he owned all the land. And before Juliet starts the barrel race in the not-so-climactic end, Juliet says to Rodeo, “So don’t lose.” Ohhhh how charming she’s just a silly quirky high school adult? Actors such as Juliet’s love interest Monty, mumbles most of the film. When I fist became obsessed with Bob Dylan my mom made fun of a part in “Talkin’ World War II Blues” where he kind of mumbles and doesn’t complete a sentence. While I think it’s perfect and has a purpose in the Dylan song it doesn’t work when people mumble and don’t enunciate most of their lines throughout Rodeo & Juliet.
Anyway, this was fun to watch but I wouldn’t really recommended it to anyone. Instead go see Vampire’s Kiss.

RUSH (2013) – WITH SUPER SPECIAL GUEST MOM POST!

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Recently, my mom was in town and she watched a few movies with Chris and me. Here’s what she had to say! – Elizabeth

Elizabeth’s Mom

I enjoyed watching Rush.  I vaguely remember when all of this happened.  The film was so detailed and Elizabeth verified this when she found film of the actual crash.  Ron Howard evidently reproduced it item by item.  I thought it was a good story of two strong men with such different attitudes about racing.  A very interesting study of them both.

Elizabeth

I really liked this movie. It wasn’t the greatest movie ever or anything, but it was certainly interesting and enjoyable. And I sort of hate race car driving, so I think that’s a pretty good compliment. What was interesting to me in Rush was not so much the driving, which I really couldn’t care less about, but more about the two drivers’ approach to it. It follows Briton James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl); Hunt is a playboy who is more reckless and obviously races car for the pleasure of it, while Lauda is very meticulous and seems to mostly race cars just because he understands it more than for enjoyment. I really identified with Lauda on that, and as I’ve gotten older I really enjoy movies that show different jobs and workplaces, because everyone deals with the same kind of shit, no matter what. I’m sure a lot of people could identify with Hunt and Lauda both. At first, Hunt’s approach is sort of presented to us in a way that makes it seem less than Lauda’s. But in the end, as Lauda explains, it’s just different: Lauda drives to win, but Hunt also drives to win and when he does, that’s all he needs. His career more or less doesn’t move forward after he wins the big championship thing (whatever that’s called), which obviously appalls Lauda at first until he realizes it’s just what Hunt wants to do. I don’t know, it’s sort of sweet.

Watch out for Daniel Brühl’s crazy fake teeth here. Not crazy in that they’re really bad or obvious; in fact, when we first started watching it, I couldn’t figure out why the usually-attractive Brühl looked so bad. The teeth definitely change the way his lower face is shaped, but it also genuinely makes him look more like Nikki Lauda. After seeing pictures and videos of the actual people and events afterward, the whole makeup department in general was really impressive with everything they showed and its accuracy.

Also, if you’re like me, you may think this is a Disney movie, or at least a family movie. But there’s sex. With boobs and Thor’s butt. So, you know, just something to be aware of when you’re watching this with your mom.

Christopher

This movie was fine and interesting.

I think that’s as high a compliment I have ever given to a Ron Howard movie and I think that’s why I’ve never really been a fan. He just makes fine moves or terrible movies, there has never been a moment in a Howard film that made me want to go out and do art myself and that is the reason I can never really enjoy his work.

Rush was interesting and fine, but it is just a period piece based around real people. The story is interesting but nothing more to me.

HOMEFRONT (2013) – WITH SUPER SPECIAL GUEST MOM POST!

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Recently, my mom was in town and she watched a few movies with Chris and me. Here’s what she had to say! – Elizabeth

Elizabeth’s Mom

I love a good Jason Statham kick-ass movie!  Sadly, Homefront was just barely a watchable one.  The improbabilities were pretty overwhelming for me.  For instance, there is no way in hell the DEA would give him boxes of their records on the drug bust where he was undercover, including conveniently, HIS file with undercover name and photo!  Even if they did would he be so stupid to leave them in cardboard boxes UNDER his house, exposed to the elements (this is Louisiana, people!) for any Tom, Dick or James Franco to find?!  That pretty much did it for me, I have to say.  I can only suspend belief just so far.

Christopher

This movie was not good and what surprised me the most about it is that it was written by Sylvester Stallone. I know he’s not the best writer but he did write Rocky and Homefront is no Rocky. The best part of this movie is probably James Franco, he’s also a big reason I was interested in watching this movie in the first place. He’s so crazy but obviously loves being an actor and constantly tries out new roles and mediums, it’s great to watch. But there is this one scene in the film where Franco’s character is annoyed at his partner for bringing a kid to their hide out, it made the whole movie worth it. James Franco is so blown away that they would be so stupid, you kind of forget he’s acting, it felt very real and very funny.

This movie is not good, mostly because of the acting and the fact that no one talks anything out. Skip it and watch The Transporter instead!

Elizabeth

Oh boy. I’m not the same kind of Jason Statham expert as my mom is, but this was bad, even for one of his (I’m assuming). First of all, I would like to break down the poster here for a moment:

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So here we have our protagonist, Phil Broker (Jason Statham), with a flowing American flag superimposed on his denim jacket, protecting his wide-eyed daughter, Maddy (Izabela Vidovic). Below them (in hell?) is our antagonist, Gator (James Franco), in what appears to be some kind of inferno (again, hell?). Everyone’s looking at something menacing to their left for some reason. But doesn’t this, with the American flag and the title of Homefront appear to be some kind of terrorist-based plot? “How Far Would You Go To Protect Your Home?” could easily mean the United States. From this, I honestly expected Statham to play some kind of secret agent and Franco to play a foreign terrorist.

Haha, nope! That plot would not have guaranteed intelligence, but it would have given it a little something more to go on. Here’s what happens instead: Broker, a few years before the story begins, worked as an undercover drug cop in New Orleans. The NOPD gets a less-than-sterling portrayal as they orchestrate a drug bust where Statham is working, yelling “HE’S UNDERCOVER! HE’S ONE OF OUR GUYS!” as Statham comes out with his hands up. I’m not a cop and I don’t know any cops. But should they really be outing an undercover officer, while he’s still undercover? Pretty sure not. The drug bust leads to the cops shooting up the son of one of the drug dealers, killing the son and putting the drug dealer in prison.

Flash forward a few years and Broker and Maddy have moved to some shit town in what I assume is Louisiana, where everyone is absolutely terrible. Broker’s friend, Teedo (Omar Benson Miller) warns him of the townspeople; they don’t like Broker and Maddy because they’re new, so they attack them, break into their house, etc. And they don’t leave. Uh, what? They move their because it’s where Broker’s dead wife is from. But was it her dying wish for them to live there? Given how backwoods and shitty it is, I’m guessing probably not. But they live there anyway because of plot.

Eventually, Gator and his girlfriend Sheryl (Winona Ryder) catch wind that Broker is the undercover cop from before, because I guess they know the guy who got killed. HAHA, OH WAIT NO! They didn’t catch wind of it! Nope! Gator instead broke into Broker’s house, got in his basement (fake non-underground Louisiana basement at least), found a bunch of boxes of files, and pulled out Broker’s “Undercover Officer” file that literally spells everything out about who he is and what he did. I’m soooo glad the NOPD, or FBI, or whomever let Broker take those records home, because otherwise a bad guy would never be able to find it!

I have to say though, the entire movie almost got redeemed by one scene for me. Eventually, Sheryl kidnaps Maddy and brings her to Gator’s boat repair shop/meth shop. Sheryl thinks this is what she’s supposed to do, but Gator FLIPS THE FUCK OUT. He looks at her like she is completely insane and completely idiotic for bringing Maddy there. It was really unexpected and really funny.

HOLLYWOOD SEX WARS (2011) – WITH SUPER SPECIAL GUEST POST!

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Our friend Ben watched Hollywood Sex Wars with us. This is what he had to say:

Ben

Hollywood Sex Wars employs the satire defense: When a film is defended against charges of misogyny via its billing as a satire despite having none of the elements of a satire. If satire is supposed to hold up social conventions for inspection and subversion, Hollywood Sex Wars holds up social conventions to reinforce them. Take the completely original and hilarious concept of women being nothing but manipulative and money-grubbing sexpots. The satire here is that women are so manipulative and money-grubbing they form a secret society dedicated to extorting innocent men, a Protocols of the Elders of Feminism, if you will. Do you get it? Women are money-grubbing whores! This deep and original satire really holds up a mirror to our society!

Outside the cheap veneer of irony, Hollywood Sex Wars is an otherwise boilerplate Men’s Rights Activist FAQ or Pick-up Artist manual. Relentlessly parroting the same, ages-old stereotypes about women (and men too) isn’t good satire, it’s just gross. Hollywood Sex Wars has zero redeeming qualities. There is no conflict to speak of, the characters are completely unlikeable, plot structure is totally inscrutable, and visually the movie looks like garbage. The only reason to watch this movie is if you’re interested in measuring the depth of the abyss.

Christopher

I’m not really sure we ended up watching this movie but we did. It’s not very good.

Elizabeth

Well, I thought I wouldn’t really have anything to say about Big Stan, but it turns out I really don’t have anything to say about Hollywood Sex Wars. It’s sexist, homophobic, mean, gross, but worst of all . . . totally unfunny. I’ll say that one of the super gross characters that is somehow not supposed to be gross purposefully breaks his condoms because he doesn’t like how condoms feel. And then he gets a girl pregnant and the girl and all of her friends extort him and all of his friends out of $2,000 for the abortion and profit. I think that speaks for itself.

ONLY GOD FORGIVES (2013) – WITH SUPER SPECIAL GUEST POST!

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Chris and I saw Only God Forgives with our friend Jordan. Here’s what he had to say:

Jordan

Staring into the mirror for an hour, memorizing every detail of your eyes until you’ve fallen deep into the gaze of a face that is not your own, and then walking away with only the faintest memory of what just happened…this is what it felt like stepping out of the theater after viewing Only God Forgives. It’s a surreal experience; a unique seedling of an idea sprouting from the mind of Nicolas Winding Refn. It grows slowly, meticulously, and by the time an hour and a half have passed you’re looking at a fully grown tree of a film. Its pacing is the equivalent of the buildup to the final thrill of a theme park ride, except you never reach that thrill, and yet that is what makes it worth watching. While it deals heavily with consequences, it’s more interested in showing us how each character reaches those consequences rather than dwelling on what happens afterwards. I would be perfectly happy if more films followed this route.

The title of the film appears to describe what occurs within well enough: Only God Forgives. Ryan Gosling’s Julian isn’t a forgiving character. His mother is a ruthless manipulator and her first born son (a title she enjoys throwing in Julian’s face) Billy is the spawn of all she represents, and they certainly aren’t forgiving anyone. Even Vithaya Pansringarm’s Lt. Chang, the so-called ‘Angel of Vengeance’, is one too many steps from true forgiveness. He may believe himself to be the “god” of his own form of justice, but in the end, he acts for his own stilted truth. In an underground culture where few are truly innocent, the plot rotates in a surreal exchange of scenes where each character is killed, maimed, set free or even seemingly dissolved of their sins…but in the end, someone pays their price. No one truly forgives. In the end, only God forgives.

Christopher

I really liked watching this movie. This tied for my favorite Nicolas Winding Refn movie with Bronson.

Only God Forgives is a movie that people are really going to love and have a lot to say about it in terms of technique, story and acting. A lot of people are going to love it and shit on people that don’t.

Only God Forgives is a movie that people are really going to hate and have a lot to say about it in terms of technique, story and acting. A lot of people are going to hate it and shit on people that do.

Don’t be an asshole either way.

Elizabeth
So it’s weird, because I feel like I almost shouldn’t like Only God Forgives. In a lot of ways, despite appearances, it’s much closer to Valhalla Rising than Drive, even though Only God Forgives has Ryan Gosling and music by Cliff Martinez. It’s almost Tree of Life-like; it feels more like a series of scenes strung together more than a movie. But unlike Tree of Life, it totally works with Only God Forgives.
At the risk of sounding pretentious, I think Only God Forgives is more along the lines of a sensory experience rather than a movie. The lighting is kind of incredible; for long scenes at a time the lighting is either very blue or very red. Lighting like this made me feel antsy and weird. Then there’s the lack of dialogue (I would be surprised if Ryan Gosling said more than 10 lines) and the music. The score of Only God Forgives is like the movie: slow, sometimes monotone. The music weirdly lulls you. Between the lighting (I never thought I would be so affected by lighting, except to notice how bad it is in Tyler Perry movies) and the music, I swear I felt like I was completely intoxicated in some way, even though I was totally sober. It was weird. After the movie I felt like I almost didn’t know what happened. But it was too interesting for that to be a bad thing.
Also, I have to say, I was sort of excited to see Kristin Scott Thomas in her role here. I feel like I usually see her as a proper, nice English lady. But in Only God Forgives she’s more of a weird Donatella Versace/Dina Lohan hybrid. It was sort of crazy to see. It was almost distracting at first, but she’s such a good actress that it works.
There’s some interesting Freudian stuff going on here, too, that I feel like I can’t even go into. I really think Only God Forgives needs to be in theaters; you need it to be totally dark around you when you see it with nothing else going on except the screen in front of you. It’s a completely crazy experience.

NATIONAL SECURITY (2003) – WITH SUPER SPECIAL GUEST POST!!

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We watched National Security with our friend Ben. Here’s what he had to say: 

I imagine that stuntmen have to be a pretty professional bunch since what they do requires so much precision, attention to detail, and general competence to avoid injury. Even in crappy movies, the stuntwork usually feels pretty seemless. I mean, I know that’s not really Shia Labeouf dangling from that giant hip-hop robot’s scrotum in Transformers 5, but I’m rarely taken out of the movie in such instances. So it felt really weird to notice all the stuntwork in National Security.

I’m a total know-nothing when it comes to stunts, but I was constantly distracted by the stunts in this movie. For example, early on a character jumps through a 2nd story window for no reason, and the man jumping through the window in no way resembles the human being we saw two seconds earlier (he doesn’t even seem to have the character’s trademark mustache!). I don’t know who’s to blame, but I imagine it’s probably the director’s fault for pointing the camera in the direction of the stuntman’s face in the first place. The other stunts in the movie are similarly weird, including a tensionless and bizarre door-swinging on-a-semi-on-a-freeway scene, and one with a random crane on a cliff face, which saves the day in the most predictable way possible. I didn’t expect much from National Security, but its total lack of care in the stunts, (or in any respect, really), must have been pretty insulting to the people who paid to see it in 2003.

Christopher

THIS MOVIE IS SO GOOD! What I like and find interesting about this movie is how it’s changed in my mind from when it came out. I remember watching this movie in middle school and genuinely thinking that it was good comedy. Middle school was the time when I kind of based what I liked off of the people around me so it’s crazy to watch this movie as an adult and see how insane and weird it truly is.

This just came out on Netflix so if you had a bad day please let Martin Lawrence and Steve Zahn melt away your troubles.

Elizabeth

When Chris told me he thought National Security might be the most unfunny and racist comedy he had seen, it was clear that I had to see it. And he really wasn’t exaggerating.

Martin Lawrence plays Earl, a cocky, racist asshole who commits perjury in order to imprison Hank (Steve Zahn). I’m not going to waste time going into details about that, but let’s just say there was a bee involved. Anyway, after Hank swiftly gets out of prison for whatever reason, he sets out to avenge the death of his partner at the hands of . . . a blond Eric Roberts? Luckily, Earl wants to get back at blond Eric Roberts, too, because he called Earl a monkey. I was so stunned that a white person called a black person a monkey in this movie AS A MOMENT OF COMEDY that I couldn’t pay attention at all for a few minutes. But don’t feel bad for Earl, as he continually is an awful, practically evil human being while Hank just sort of flails around, helpless and angry.

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE.

THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987) – WITH SPECIAL GUEST MOM POST!!

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Elizabeth’s mom was in town this past week and watched a couple of movies with us. Here’s what she had to say:

Sandy (aka Elizabeth’s mom)

I’ve always liked this movie!  Kevin Costner and Andy Garcia look so darn young!  Sean Connery was in his Last Crusader-prime.  Patricia Clarkson was as beautiful as ever (I used to bake cakes for her Mom in New Orleans!).  There are several iconic lines and scenes (Kevin Costner & Andy Garcia in the train station for one) and I enjoyed sharing them with Elizabeth and Chris.  I had forgotten how violent some of the scenes are.  I had to look away when Robert De Niro picked up a bat and walked around the dinner table….that’s never a good sign.  My only complaint was that the soundtrack didn’t seem to go with the movie and was WAY too loud.  Or maybe I’m getting older.

Christopher

I think this was my third time watching this movie and I think I enjoyed it the most upon this viewing. For some reason this is a movie I knew so many people loved but I never really got it. What I remember the most about the first time I watched this was that there wasn’t enough Robert De Niro. I remember him only being in one scene but now I see that he’s in it a little bit more.

Although I did enjoy the movie more this time what really sticks out to me as not good about this movie is the soundtrack. It’s funny cause I love Ennio Morricone from all the great western movies but the music in this film is just kind of awful. IT’S SO FUCKING CHEESY! The scene where they are all riding together and the music swells up telling us “these are the best days of their lives” makes you kind of feel like the movie’s almost over.

I wonder if Brian De Palma wanted the music to be so obvious.

Elizabeth

So, The Untouchables is just one of those movies that I had never seen before and, after seeing it, I’m really not sure how I managed to not see it before. It’s really good; the story is good, the direction is good, the acting is good, and everyone looks good (especially Kevin Costner . . . damn). The music was surprisingly not very good, considering it was done by Ennio Morricone, but I guess he gets a pass because of all the other amazing stuff he’s done.

I guess the two scenes that stick out the most to me would be, first off, when Eliot (Kevin Costner) and Stone (Andy Garcia) go to Malone (Sean Connery)’s house, only to find him shot up and dying. They see the trail of blood where Malone dragged himself across the house, and Eliot assumes the dying Malone needs comfort. Malone reaches his hand toward a chain he always keeps with him that has a saint on it and Eliot puts it in his hand, assuming he wants to die holding it. Up to this point, Malone has been a pretty take-no-shit, use-violence-when-necessary, get-the-bad-guy-at-whatever-cost kind of guy. So, it’s not a surprise when Malone tosses the chain aside and keeps reaching, and Eliot realizes he’s reaching for a paper. He gives the paper to Malone, when Malone tells Eliot that it’s the train schedule that will lead them to Al Capone’s bookkeeper, the last piece of the puzzle that will allow them to arrest Capone, whom they were after and was responsible for the death of their other partner, Wallace (Charles Martin Smith) and is about to be responsible for Malone’s death. Malone dies, and Eliot and Stone are pissed and upset. I knew Sean Connery died in The Untouchables but I didn’t know he died in quite such a bloody way, but considering his character up to that point, it was a pretty badass and funny (at least when he tossed the chain aside) way for him to go.

The other memorable scene for me is the shootout in the train station. For being a shootout, it’s really incredibly elegant. It’s also appropriately tense, with Eliot eying a woman struggling to get her baby carriage up the stairs while keeping an eye on the doors as he waits for the bookkeeper. While the woman and her baby don’t end up ruining anything, I thought that this scene had a potential for going in our Kids Ruin Everything movie bank, but I guess they didn’t (this time) . I was also really struck by how awesome/crazy Andy Garcia was; he stops the baby carriage at the foot of the stairs while armed and aimed at one of the Capone guards. He shoots the guard in the head without missing a beat, and I know I’m not a gun person, but the way he was able to hold his arm up in the position he was in without flinching seemed pretty impressive.

When ensemble pieces are good, they are so good, and The Untouchables really is just so good.