Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Review: The Good Shepherd
Robert DeNiro's Grand Comeback

For years I've lamented the decline of Bobby D - from great, as the counterpoint to Al Pacino as our era's greatest, to self-parodying mediocre. I remember Sleepers, Goodfellas, Heat and many many others, which stand in great contrast to films like Meet The Fockers and Analyze That.

The Good Shepherd, directed by DeNiro, proves he is not washed up. Although there are flaws in this movie - Matt Damon's character doesn't age over the 20+ year story arc, for example, this is a solid film with moving dialogue, beautiful cinematography, and a compelling story. If there is one feeling to take away, it's that our tendency to pick sides in the battle between Democrats and Republicans is probably a very naive decision, as the truth of our government's inner-workings is likely a much more complicated, and corrupt, orchestration than we can imagine. I've already posted my 5 favorite movies of 2006, so this movie, seen on December 24th, will have to get slotted as a 2007 film. It has a good shot.

Grade: B+

Friday, December 22, 2006

V Worst Movie Of 2006

2006 was a pretty good year for me, in terms of movie watching. I intended on posting a 'Worst 5" list here, but I think I did a pretty good job of avoiding the truly horrible movies. Sure there were disappointments - Hollywoodland dragged on way too long; Superman Returns paled in comparison to Batman Begins - but I can really only think of one movie I saw this year that I'd classify as truly horrible. I'm sure Jackass 2, The Santa Clause 3, and Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector were far worse than my choice for worst film, but I didn't have the displeasure of seeing them so they don't count. Unlike, say, Roger Ebert, I don't have to see every atrocity pressed to celluloid.

So here it is, in my humble opinion, the worst movie of 2006:

A Prairie Home Companion.
I know it's pretty mean to bash the final film from one of America's great directors just a few weeks after his passing, but I have to be honest and say that I did not enjoy this movie whatsoever. It seems unthinkable that Robert Altman could have made a bad movie starring Merryl Streep and Kevin Kline, but unless perhaps you are a fan of old-timey variety show radio programs, I thought this movie was just one failed joke after another. We barely got through it. The premise is that a relic of times-gone past, a weekly variety show broadcast on the radio, seems to have finally met it's demise, decades after similar shows were long canceled. The cast of the show, during it's final performance, range from sadness to denial, and we as the audience are left to hope taht someone will save the day. Instead, I was only wondering why we should care. Maybe I'm just too young, but I wanted to bring the curtain down myself.

I give this movie an F, but I promise to rent M*A*S*H as my penance.

Other DVDs I rented in 2006 that I thought stunk:
Click (2005)
Orgazmo (1997)
Junebug (2005)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gift Cards And Toy Boats

Happy Wednesday!

The Good: Rumors of gift-card theft are greatly exaggerated.

The Bad: Millions of gift-card dollars are wasted each year when they go unredeemed. Best Buy alone reported a $43 million gain in 2006 from cards that hadn't been used in two or more years.

The Mookie:

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Running For President Is All About The Benjamins

Rudy Giuliani is hosting a fundraiser in New York this week to raise money for a "possible" run for President. Attendees to the event at Manhattan's Marriot Marquis will pay $2,100 per person and Rudy G will likely be able to raise between one and two million dollars in one night. That money is only enough "to cover the expenses involved in helping Rudy decide whether he is going to take the next step," according to his spokesperson.

It costs a million dollars to make a decision?

This is a part of the political process I just don't get. This is par for the course. Half the reason Giuliani's doing this fundraiser is just to try and catch up with probable Republican opponents John McCain and Mitt Romney.

I guess collecting $2,100 from individuals is good practice for collecting money from groups he'd be indebted to once in office.

But, Giuliani and his fellow GOP'ers will get no heat for these fundraisers, even while the dollar amounts skyrocket over the next 20 months. Hillary Clinton can raise all she wants too, as can possible Democratic challenger Barack Obama. Though, Obama's fundraising may come under more scrutiny, as he's spoken publicly about taking the high road and not accepting gifts like rides on private jets from corporations. He's already gotten a little heat from something as minor as buying some land from a neighbor! But he will have to raise money if he runs for President. He'll need to raise the $50 million to $60 million somehow... Maybe Oprah can chip in?

Here's some interesting information about running for President and the fundraising rules related to actually being an official candidate or just "testing the waters."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Sad Day

Sadly, Peter Boyle has passed away.  He was my favorite part of Everybody Loves Raymond. 

In honor of his passing, I declare today "Holy Crap Thursday." 

Pass it along.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Top V Movies of 2006

These are the 5 best movies I saw this year:

The Departed
Little Miss Sunshine
Stranger Than Fiction
An Inconvenient Truth

Honorable Mentions: Inside Man, Talladega Nights

5 other movies I meant to see but didn't, and now plan to see on DVD:

V is for Vendetta
The Pink Panther
Glory Road
Lucky Number Slevin