Thursday, June 19, 2008


I got this 1981 classic from Netflix since all the other movies that I wanted were on Long Wait. I had never seen this movie, so unofficially I was not actually part of the Man Club. Though I have ridden a motorcycle and been in the boys locker room with a girl when I was in high school. But I digress.

Stripes stars Bill Murray as a has-been cab driver named John Winger who quits his job, loses his car, breaks up with his girlfriend, and gets kicked out of his apartment - all on the same day. He temporarily moves in with his buddy Russell (Harold Ramis, also of Ghostbusters). Murray sees a commercial for the Army and talks Ramis into joining with him.

Once at boot camp, Murray and Ramis were united with Ox (John Candy, who's not even an American), Elmo (Judge Reinhold), and Psycho (Conrad Dunn). It's there that we hear the memorable quote from Psycho: "My real name is Francis. If anyone calls me Francis, I kill him." Sgt Hulka, "Lighten up, Francis!"

The new recruits fall under the command of Captain Stillman (John Larroquette), the inept captain with a penchant for watching the ladies shower with his telescope. The other star of the movie is the EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle, which in 2008 looks likes a badly renovated GMC Motorhome. The EM-50 is equipped with state-of-the-art toggle switches for electronics, bullet proof siding to cover the windows, missiles, and a drop down cargo door in the rear. Unfortunately, it didn't appear to have any pull-out couches or a kitchenette.

On the way, Murray and Ramis hook up with 2 lady MP's who bail them out of trouble and deliver of some saucy love. The group is the biggest rejects of the Army. They are unable to get in shape and cannot seem to learn the drills. Captain Stillman is then put in charge of the EM-50 and is sent to Germany with this new class. Murray and Ramis then decide to take the EM-50 for a joy run and rendezvous with the girls. Captain Stillman finds out the EM-50 is gone and decides to chase them, but inadvertently end up in Communist Czechoslovakia. Now the EM-50 must go in and save everyone.

Stripes fits well with the typical Murray and Ramis films - e.g. Caddyshack, Ghostbusters. And did you know that Harold Ramis wrote Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Back to School? This guy is the unsung hero of 80's classic comedies.

Stripes is Rated R for cursing, violence (though it's really bad), nudity (top and bottom - remember the telescope scene), sexual situations, and Dick Chaney may have had some input on the R rating because of some criticism of the government. The movie is an hour and 40 minutes long. I give this movie 4 stars. It's not the funniest movie of our time, but it's good. Definitely a movie you should see before you turn 35.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Easy Rider

I picked this movie up from the library. My dad, being a motorcycle enthusiast, always said that this was one of the best movies ever made. And he subscribed to Easy Rider magazine, which always had pictures of naked chicks laying on custom bikes, so the movie had to be great, right?

Easy Rider was released in 1969 and stars Peter Fonda as Wyatt and Dennis Hopper as Billy, 2 motorcycle riding free-spirited guys who just landed some drugs in L.A. and are headed to New Orleans during Mardi Gras to sell it and make it big, man. Fonda, who wants to rock your Honda, is a pretty cool guy. I'd like a pair of his sunglasses, though being almost a full foot shorter than him and much less hair, I probably wouldn't get the same effect. He rides the bike with the American flag painted on the tear-drop tank, the ape hanger handlebars, and he wears the Captain America-type helmet.

Hopper, on the other hand, could easily pass as David Crosby with the long hair, handle-bar mustache, and skin jacket with the fringes, man. He rode the flame-painted bike with the short-bar handles. man.
As the 2 get so somewhere in the desert, they pick up some hippy dude and make their way to his hippy ranch. This is where the city and suburbanite kids go when they want to be one with nature, man. And smoke dope, man. And free love, man.

Soon, the group heads towards Louisiana where they meet up with Jack Nicholson whose playing George Hanson. He's a hippy alcoholic lawyer who rides on with them. They make it to New Orleans, but find that the folk in the South ain't to happy to see them 'Yankee queers'. Unable to get food at the restaurant, they park outside of town and sleep for the night. The southern redneck sheriff and his posse beat the crap out of them, killing Nicholson with a machete.

They decide to get to New Orleans, send off his belongings and meet up with some hookers that he recommended. The movie then goes on this 10 minute drug-induced tangent. I'm sure my dad enjoyed this part in 1969, but me watching it in my family room on my leather couch while eating a bowl of cherries, it probably didn't have the same meaning to me. One dude is talking to a statue of Mary, one of the chicks gets naked and is crying and saying she's sorry. It's all very weird. I've never tried LSD, but I image that if you did, this is what it would be like.

(Spoiler in this paragraph)
Finally, the next day Fonda and Hopper head out of town with plans to go to Florida and live off of the money that they earned selling their drugs in New Orleans. However, while heading down Highway 105 just north of Krotz Springs, Louisiana, some rednecks pull up and antagonize Hopper. He gives them the finger, so they shoot him and he crashes. The reds keep driving and Fonda circles around to help Billy. Fonda then decides to go run for help. As he's riding down the road, the honky-tonk southern rednecks are now coming the other way. The shoot at Fonda, hit the gas tank and the bike explodes, supposedly killing him. The movie then pans away from the explosion and rises into the sky, showing the road, the fire, and the mighty Mississippi.
(End of Spoiler)

Now, Easy Rider is considered a cult movie and a representation of rebelling against the establishment in the 1960's, something that many did, my dad included, I'm sure. The majority of the movie in nonverbal with classic rock playing in the background (though it wasn't classic rock at the time. I think they just called it rock.) So if you like Steppenwolf, The Band, Crosby Stills, Nash, and Young, The Byrds, and Jimi Hendrix, you'll love just listening to the movie.

What this boils down to is that I'm not sold on the movie. It's not a bad movie, but I just don't see the cult-factor. But then again, I didn't live through the 60's. The movie is Rated R for nudity, cursing, violence, and drugs and it is a little over 90 minutes long, which was good since I didn't start watching it until 10pm. With all due respect and apologies to the baby boomer generation who were hippies, I give this movie 3 stars. The movie is part of Americana and you can see it's influence in many things. One example I found was in the movie Ghost Rider with Nicolas Cage. Peter Fonda played the devil. Cage was riding an exact replica of Fonda's bike in Easy Rider. Fonda comments, "Nice bike." Now I get it!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dr. No

The first of the James Bond movies, this 1962 classic stars Sean Connery, the man born in Edinburgh, Scotland, who most often plays British and Russian spies. Dr. No was not the first book that Ian Fleming wrote. In fact, it wasn't even his second. Dr. No fell 6th in the series of the 14 James Bond books that he wrote. The first book was Casino Royale, the movie most recently made with Daniel Craig.

In this movie, we are introduced to James Bond and he is sent to Jamaica to investigate the death of a British agent, John Strangways. Once there, the local henchmen are quickly on to this agent and several unsuccessful attempts are made to exterminate him. Bond hooks up with his CIA counterpart, Felix Leiter, who was originally played by Jack Lord, best known for his sideburns when he played Steve McGarrett in the Hawaii Five-O series. (For you young whipper-snappers, Hawaii was the 50th state and the police refer to themselves as the 5-0, meaning 50th.)

Bond works with Lieter and they get a local to take him to Crab Keys, the dangerous island protected by a dragon that scares off the locals. There, he meets the Bond girl of the movie, Honey Ryder. Once there they are attacked by Dr. No's henchmen and taken inside the secret facility. This is where Dr. No plans to use his radioactive missile technology to disrupt the United States space program. And it's also a place where Dr. No honors Adolph Hitler. Remember, this movie came out only 17 years after World War II.

In the end, Bond, James Bond defeats Dr. No, foils his plans to destroy the space program, blows up the secret facility, and ends up rolling around in the boat with Honey Ryder. Not bad for a day's pay.

This movie is 1:48 minutes long. It is rated PG for some suggestive sexual content and mild violence. I give this movie 4 stars, mostly because of its sentimental value. It's the first James Bond movie, it stars Sean Connery, and the bond girl has a cool name.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Strange Wilderness

I got Strange Wilderness from Netflix on Saturday. It wasn't a well-advertised movie. But because there weren't any new releases this week, I thought I'd get it. It should be funny enough. It stars Steve Zahn (Rescue Dawn, Employee of the Month, Riding in Cars With Boys), Allen Covert (who's in every Adam Sandler movie), Jonah Hill (Superbad, Evan Almighty, Knocked Up), Justin Long (the Apple guy), Harry Hamlin (L.A. Law), and Ernest Borgnine, the hardest working 91 year old in Hollywood (Mermaid Man!).

Boy was I wrong! Sometimes I should pay attention to those stars on the movie. This one predicted that I would give it 2 stars. And it was right!

The premise of the movie is Peter Gaulk is struggling to keep his father's nature show, Strange Wilderness on the air. Ever since his father died, he has been trying to keep up the show, but he's a pot-smoking bumbling buffoon. And his camera man is a pot-smoking bumbling buffoon. And the sound guy smokes pot, too. And I'm not sure what Justin Long did with the crew other than smoke pot and bongs.

In an effort to save their show, they decide to go find Big Foot. Not only do they find him, but they shoot him up with machine guns when they find him because they all freaked out. Not sure why this was funny - or supposed to be funny. Near the end of the movie, they all started yelling at each other and calling everyone a bunch of "F-in A-H's" and then the physical fight broke out.

Lot's of cussing. Mostly the F-Bomb. Now that I think about it, Jonah Hill doesn't say much more other than F - in ALL of his movies.

This movie is rated R for drug use, crude and sexual humor, and, as Netflix put it, "non-stop language". And they ain't kidding! The movie is 86 minutes long, so the suffering won't last forever. The movie is directed by Fred Wolf, most noted for his involvement with Ducktales. I guess he's trying to break out of his stereotype. He wins. He went from being kid-friendly to dickhead.

As mentioned previously, I give this movie 2 stars. There were a few things that did make me laugh, but the 43,018 F words were just a bit for me. Ignore this movie and see Ducktales instead.

Friday, June 6, 2008


My latest movie from Netflix, Semi-Pro is the story of The Flint Tropics, the fictional basketball team from the old ABA (American Basketball Association).

The movie is set in 1976, the year that the ABA folded. That year, the NBA allowed the ABA to merge 4 teams into their league. These 4 teams included the Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, New York Nets (which became the New Jersey Nets), and the Denver Nuggets. Not making the cut were the Kentucky Colonels, Spirits of St. Louis, Virginia Squires, San Diego Sails, and the Utah Stars.

Like any good sports movie set in the 1970's, there are short-shorts, knee-high striped socks, and big hair, Will Farrell included. And who can live without sexy groovy 70's disco music and fur coats?

This fictional comedic version of the story stars Will Farrell, who plays Ron Burgundy, who plays Chazz Reinhold, who plays Chazz Michael Michaels, who plays Ricky Bobby, who plays Buddy, who plays Jackie Moon. Other than dropping the F-Bomb more frequently than in previous movies, presumptively to get that special R Rating, this movie is just like all other Will Farrell movies.

Also starring in the movie are Woody Harrelson as Monix, Andre' Benjamin as Clarence "Coffee" Black, Maura Tierney (ER), DeRay Davis as Bee Bee Ellis, Jackie Earle Haley as Dukes, Will Arnett as the drinking, smoking, cussing sportscaster Lou Redwood, and Andrew Daly as straight-laced sportscaster Dick Pepperfield. Oh, and David Koechner, who makes an appearance in EVERY Will Farrell movie. Each of these characters is pretty funny in their own right.

Jackie Moon is the bankrupt owner, coach, player for the Flint Tropics, a fitting name for gloomy cold and wet Flint, Michigan. Additionally, he is also the singer of the hit song, "Love Me Sexy." With 8 players on the team, I think this would qualify the Tropics as the largest single employer in Flint, Michigan. When he learns of the league's plan to fold the other teams and merge the 4 best teams, he challenges the league to accept the best team at the end of the season, not just the best teams as of the league meeting. The chairman agrees and the Tropics decide to get it together and win it all.

Of course, with any Will Farrell movie, nothing ever goes right or he gets so close only to be the perennial loser in the end. This movie is no different. Some funny quotes, "I got traded for a washing machine?" and "No no no, no no no. Mrs. Pepperfield is watching this, she watches all the broadcasts, and I just want you to know that I have no interest in these ladies what-so-ever. I think they are appalling."

The movie is Rated R for language and some sexual content. It is about 90 minutes long. I gave this movie 3 stars, just like all the other Will Farrell movies - since they're all the same - sort of funny, but the same.

Netflix Delay

I returned Semi-Pro in to Netflix on Wednesday, which means they should have received it on Thursday, since Gaithersburg is a mere 20 miles from here. However, they are pretending once again that they didn't get it so that they could slow down the distribution of my movies.
My Zimbio