A lot of movie watching today on a rainy Saturday in Birmingham. Finally, I have a chance to write some extensive movie reviews until I go see Inception
next week; I've been MIA due to heavily marketing my new online novel/webfiction/webserial Polite Society
(if you like the 1700s and the movie Marie Antoinette
, click the link now!)
First, let's tackle The Bodyguard.
Bodyguard Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner) takes the job of protecting singing/acting sensation Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston) from a crazed, obsessive stalker, but during the job, they Farmer and Rachel fall in love.
This is one of those movies that, while it is a classic, it's a movie that was even better when it came out, not necessarily 16 years later. That being said, there is a lot of great acting, especially since this is Houston's first movie.
Costner is on form in this film, playing the obsessive, detail-oriented bodyguard to a T. His conflict with his past duties (protecting President Reagan) and relationships is constantly bubbling in the background of his character. Houston is particularly effective at showing the life of the famous (no doubt due to the fact that she was basically living her character's story) and how they can be loved by everyone (or at least, think that they're loved) and still be secluded. The one real weak performance in this film is DeVaughn Nixon as Rachel's son, Fletcher. He seemed way to eerie and mystical for some reason. Like he was some all-seeing, all-knowing, hypersensitive kid. I know kids can be eerie (at some points, I was an eerie kid), but he seemed like he had god-like insight. It was odd.
Other than that, the movie hits every point; it has sex, eroticism, intrigue, danger, action, even touches of psychological thriller. It's a pretty solid film. (And don't forget that soundtrack!)
Next is Jersey Girl
. This movie is about the story of a young girl Gertie (Raquel Castro) bonding with her father Ollie (Ben Affleck) as he finds another love (Liv Tyler) after the death of his wife Gertrude (Jennifer Lopez), who died giving birth to Gertie. That is one complicated sentence, but this is a complicated movie, not necessarily for the right reasons.
This film is arguably one of cult director Kevin Smith's weakest movies. This foray into creating a chick flick/fanboy-esque hybrid was trying to be too many films; at one point it was trying to be a daughter/father movie; at another it's a romantic tale of family with Gertrude and Ollie's courtship, marriage and pregnancy; and at another point it's trying to please fanboys and hipsters by recasting Affleck in a Smith film and shoehorn Sweeney Todd
in toward the end of the film. I would argue that Jay and Silent Bob would have brought some sort of continuity to the story, just due to the fact that it would place it as part of the Jay and Silent Bob universe (I know it's not
part of the continuity, for any Kevin Smith fangeeks). Part of the extremes is probably due to the fact that Lopez and Affleck's well-publicized relationship was falling apart at this time and she wanted to be out of the film. The film was originally supposed to be a rom-com starring Lopez and Affleck, but after Gigli
and their real-life problems, it wasn't going to happen. Enter Liv Tyler as Maya.
Some (or most) of the dialogue is delivered rather wooden and rather unbelievably. A lot of the interaction between Tyler's character Liv and Affleck's character Ollie seems really weird. Maya is portrayed as someone who is like the comic-book girl; she works in the video store Ollie goes into, and her questions about his sex life and other personal areas is wholly unnecessary. For a girl to be a "guy's girl" or a tomboy or some girl who would fit into the fanboy life, they don't have to be obsessed with sex or...well, ask weird questions. Sure, her character was writing a paper on sexual habits, but even still, one wouldn't randomly walk up to someone they've never met and ask those kind of questions like she did to Ollie. The person would surely turn you down, if they didn't curse you out first. That dialogue had the potential to work, but it was shoehorned without any real scene or word padding on either side of it. Speaking of jamming something in--
The Sweeney Todd
thing is one of the worst things on two counts: firstly, introducing Sweeney Todd
as a plot point is just shoehorning in more niche-type things in an already niche movie, and secondly, I don't know any kid aside from Gertie who likes Sweeney Todd
so early in their lives. And that leads me to...
Gertie. She is written as a smart, surprisingly mature kid, and at the very base of this characterization, there's nothing wrong with that. But her dialogue is, again, wholly unbelievable for a kid her age, even for a kid who's mature. I was a mature kid, and I've helped teach a ton of mature elementary school kids. Even still, I'd be hard-pressed to find a kid who was in love with a Broadway play such as Sweeney Todd
. A gory, blood-filled Broadway play. Maybe I'm wrong.
Let me not forget that this was one of George Carlin's last movies (sadly, his last one was the totally bonfire-worthy 3D animated movie Happily N'Ever After
). He does well with what he's given (which isn't much).
Overall, this movie was panned by most critics, and they had every right to. After seeing great Kevin Smith movies, this one terrifically pales in comparison.