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The long awaited question of “What is the dumbest movie you’ve seen in 2012?” has now been answered. Directed by Peter Berg (who I generally like) and starring Taylor Kitsch (who I generally like), Battleship is a movie based on the uber-boring board game from your childhood. When the movie concept was announced, I was skeptical. However, when both Berg & Kitsch were attached, I thought it might be worth a shot.

The plot of the movie is whatever synonym you want to use for dumb. In fact, I’d almost say it’s so cliched it’s almost insulting. The slacker is dating the daughter of the boss who doesn’t like him. Chaos ensues and he’s forced into an important role. Once the smoke clears, his boss respects him and everything is cleared up.

There are just so many incredibly stupid things about Battleship. First of all, we are led to believe that after the aliens attack the battleship and kill all of the senior officers, Alex (Kitsch) is left in charge as he’s the highest ranking officer still alive. Really? Not a single guy over 32 years old is on this ship? There isn’t a single lifelong military guy among the 100s of people on this ship? When Denzel Washington took over command from Gene Hackman in Crimson Tide, it was somewhat believable because he was 40 years old and much was made about his military history. Taylor Kitsch is two months older than I am and the movie paints him out to be a slacker who didn’t enlist in the Navy immediately and nearly got kicked out. I’m supposed to believe that guy is the highest ranking guy left?

It’s a little thing, but it’s all of the little things that this movie gets wrong. The movie looks like a million dollars although if you aren’t a fan of the optical flare, you aren’t going to enjoy the look of the film.

Having really enjoyed Berg and Kitsch’s work on Friday Night Lights, I was expecting more from this. Kitsch actually does show he’s got the ability to be a great leading man despite the terrible role. He definitely has that Samuel L. Jackson ability in looking good in a terrible movie.


out of 10


10 2012

The Avengers

The full title (“Marvel’s The Avengers) may be clunky, but the movie certainly is not. Having been kicked around with various names tied to the projects and rumored storylines since 2005, the summer of 2012 finally saw the much anticipated release of The Avengers featuring Marvel comic stars Iron Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Loki.

Coming into the summer, if you would have told me that another comic book movie would possibly overshadow The Dark Knight Rises – both in box office money receipts and Rotten Tomato score – I wouldn’t have believed it.

As is the case with a majority of comic book movies, the plot, although interesting, is simply a device for the character motivations and, more importantly, the action. I find a majority of modern action movies that depend heavily on CGI somewhat boring and difficult to watch. The first of the latest generation of action films I remember being wowed by the action alone was the first Transformer film. This movie is certainly in that class as well. The action is quite simply stunning. Alan Silvestri, the score composer known more for his dramatic works than an action background, has done a fantastic job composing an appropriately big soundtrack to the movie.

Coming into the movie, I knew I’d enjoy Robert Downey, Jr’s portrayal of Tony Stark/Iron Man as I have in the past two Iron Man films, but I was especially pleased with Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of Bruce Banner/The Hulk.

Since the movie made $1.5 billion worldwide, I know I’m the last person on the planet with electricity and running water to see the movie. If you haven’t had a chance, though, I recommend microwaving some popcorn, finding the Blu Ray, heading to the biggest TV in your house, and turning up the volume as loud as possible without ostracizing your neighbors. It may not be the single best movie you see all year, but it might be the most fun.


out of 10


10 2012

Retro Review: Hoop Dreams

This review was originally published on on May 17, 2005

People always say to me, “when you get to the NBA, don’t forget about me.” Well, I should’ve said back, “if I don’t make it to the NBA, don’t you forget about me.”

Back in 1994, a documentary was released that changed the way that documentaries are viewed. Arthur Agee and William Gates are two of the top 8th graders from the Chicago inner-city who are both recruited to play at St. Joseph’s High School. As the former high school of Isiah Thomas, St. Joe’s is a perennial state power made up of predominantly white kids. The story that unfolds is greater than the filmmakers could have ever predicted. Instead of being a basketball movie, Hoop Dreams turns into a beautiful portrait of two poverty-stricken families who have all sorts of problems. Both Arthur and William have issues with their father – William’s father is all but absent in his life and Arthur’s father might be the most disappointing father’s in movie history. The most memorable scene in the entire movie is a scene where Arthur’s father buys crack within eyesight of Arthur who was playing streetball at the time.
Hoop Dreams is great because every kid can relate to having dreams of playing a professional sport. As that dream starts to fade, priorities fade. The drama that both families go through is interesting and engaging. William becomes a father while still in high school. He struggles to attempt to pass the ACT test. He misses two free throws that would’ve clinched a playoff victory. He undergoes knee problem after knee problem. His brother Curtis, who played college basketball, tries to live his dreams through him. Arthur’s father struggles with drug problems and leaves the family more than once. His mother has problem with money and even gets the power to their apartment gets cut off. His family isn’t able to make payments at the private school so he gets kicked out of school and has to transfer to a city school. He needs to take summer school nearly every year of high school in order to graduate.

Video & Sound
Hoop Dreams was one of the first documentaries to be shot on video. The movie was released theatrically in a widescreen aspect, but it is presented here in the original 1.33:1 format. The video quality looks very average, but it’s much improved from my nearly 10-year old copy on VHS. Considering the source format, this is probably as good as the film ever could possibly look. The sound is also presented in the original 2.0 Dolby track. While it’s not as fancy as your new Matrix dvd, it fits the movie just fine.

Criterion dvd’s are always worth the extra schillings. The best extra feature is the commentary featuring Arthur Agee and William Gates. Hearing their side of the story is more than interesting. If you are a fan of this movie, listening to this commentary track should almost be required. Both William and Arthur have wonderful stories and different takes on how things are presented in the scene. One example of this would be when William talks to Coach Pingatore after the season. Ping, as he’s called, tells William he had a good career but not a great career. Williams then points out that he’s second in all-time scoring to Isiah and first in 3-point attempts and 3-point percentage. Both William and Arthur have matured and are able to look at their teenage years through a more objective eye. This really is my favorite commentary track I’ve ever listened to.
The next commentary features the filmmakers – Peter Gilbert, Steve James, and Frederick Marx. It’s very interesting because they talk about choosing the two families along with the joys and difficulties to become almost a member of the families. They realize that they got lucky the story turned out the way it did, but they also had done their research. You can tell this is a very personal piece to each of them. They talk for the whole three hours and I’d be willing to bet they could talk for three hours more.
One feature that’s really worth watching is the Siskel and Ebert piece. I never realized it, but Hoop Dreams was Roger Ebert’s choice for the greatest movie of the 90’s. It was the number one movie of 1994 (the year Shawshank Redemption, Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, Quiz Show was released) for both of them. In the feature, they review the movie. Later on, they talk about the drama over Hoop Dreams being left off of both the Best Picture and the best Documentary nominees.
Also included is a 40-some page booklet feature reviews and essays about the movie. My favorite essay is one written by the filmmakers which is kind of a “where are they now” piece.

Closing Thoughts
If this movie were fiction, it probably wouldn’t be believable. The movie runs nearly three hours, but the time seems to fly. I watched this movie on Saturday afternoon then watched the Arthur/William commentary for the whole movie the next day. Monday, I wanted to watch it again, so I watched the filmmakers’ commentary. It truly is one of the greatest movies of the 90’s and the fact that it didn’t win the best documentary Oscar in 1994 is truly one of the greatest crimes in the history of the Academy Awards. You don’t have to be a basketball fan to enjoy this movie. If you are a basketball fan and you haven’t seen this movie, you are robbing yourself of one of the greatest movie watching experiences ever.

Overall Scores
Movie – 10
Video & Sound – 4
Extras – 8
Overall – 9


09 2012

Hunger Games

Judging by the box office and cultural impact, I am the last person in America to watch The Hunger Games. I’ve got my excuses for why I haven’t seen it yet. First, when it came out in theaters, I was busy helping coaching in the state basketball tournament. Secondly, I have a woman who lives at my house and is related to me by marriage that sees the description of a movie containing the words dystopian, science fiction, post-modern, and battle to the death and loses interest very quickly. This is not meant as a knock on my wife (if I wanted to do that, I’d snarkily mention that both “8 Seconds” and “Urban Cowboy” would reside in her top 10 favorite movies list). As going to the movies by myself isn’t my favorite thing to do, I wind up watching a majority of movies once they are released on DVD.

As you, no doubt know, Hunger Games is based on the Suzanne Collins novel of the same name. Every year, each of the 12 districts that make up Panem sends to one male and one female “tribute” to the Hunger Games which is a televised spectacle in which the 24 children battle to the death until there is only one victor.

Admittedly, the movie is much better than I thought it was going to be. Following the success of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, Hollywood seemed desperate to take popular literary franchises and turn them into big screen cash. The last big literary franchise – the Twilight series – figuratively and literally… sucked.

I’m not going to go into the details of the plot because, surely, you’ve already seen the movie. Heading into the movie, the biggest question I had was how big of a Battle Royale rip boff was this movie going to be? In fact, knowing I was finally going to watch the Hunger Games this week, I re-watched Battle Royale (review here) last week so I could make a fair comparison.

It’s not as blatant of a rip-off as I expected. There were some elements that were similar, but more that were different than I expected given all of the “The Hunger Games is a Battle Royale rip off” articles I read on the internet. For a true comparison, check out this io9 blog post comparing the two.

Last week, in my review of Battle Royale, I ended with the following

While I’ve yet to see The Hunger Games, I’m putting the odds at 1,000-to-1 that it’s a better movie than Battle Royale. If you haven’t yet seen The Hunger Games, do yourself a favor and check this one out first. If you (likely) have already seen The Hunger Games, go check out the (likely) superior movie that it stole the storyline from.

Now that I’ve seen The Hunger Games, I can definitively say Battle Royale is the superior movie. I’m happy to say, though, the gap is significantly closer than I suspected and The Hunger Games isn’t as big of a rip off as I initially thought it would be.


09 2012

Retro Review – The Warriors

I’ve got 100s of movie reviews in the can from. Over the next few weeks, I hope to reintroduce my “Guilty Pleasure Movies” to Motion Artifacts. In the mean time, here’s a review for one of my favorite fantastically terrible movies from 2010

The Warriors is an interesting movie. It’s seemingly never on cable yet it has every quality that a good TBS movie has. It’s insanely re-watchable. Nobody tied to the movie went on to do anything worth watching. Seriously… the main character Swan went on to do bit parts in “Walker Texas Ranger” and “Murder She Wrote.” Cyrus (Roger Hill) has been in exactly two movies. David Patrick Kelly is almost a “that guy” in movies… but not quite. Ajax went on to be Harry in the tv show “Dexter.” The best career from an entire movie goes to a guy that gets sixth bill on a cable show that is great but gets 25% of the ratings as the Sopranos.

Anyway, it’s one of my favorite bad movies. I can’t explain everything I love about this movie, but I can assure you if I would’ve seen the tv-version when I was 12 years old, it would’ve been a longtime favorite. Why is it movies that you know are terrible can be completely enjoyable? (See: “Surviving the Game”… no seriously, you should see it.) I’m trying to doing one of these

0:01 – My first thought from the first time I watched this movie was how weird this music was. Upon subsequent viewings, I’ve gotta say that the music has grown on me to the point where it’s possibly my favorite music from a movie ever. If you listen to my podcast, you’ve probably figured out I enjoy the music of the Warriors, though.

0:06 – My favorite gang idea that’s not in the movie – a black cowboy gang. Kind of like Larry Fishborne on the Pee Wee Herman Show. How great would it have been if there was in the scene in the movie where some black guy with a jheri curl with a cowboy hat and a mouthful of chaw says “…you boys ain’t from around here, are ya?” By the way, if you ever look up “jheri curl” on Google Images, you get what is quite possibly the best collection of images on the entire internet. I challenge anyone to show me a page that tops it…

0:09 – Cyrus has to have the most memorable 3 minutes of screen time in the history of cinema. It’s possibly my favorite part of the movie and yet he’s dead in a matter of moments. On a side note, I think I’m going to start to add the word “suckas” behind every fifth sentence. Just because.

0:10 – Our first “…can you dig iiiiiiiittttttttttttttttttt” of the movie. As great as I remember it.

0:12 – I’m surprised this speech hasn’t been used for the intro of a big football game… especially talking about “turf” and staying together. Somebody could splice this together nicely.

0:13 – Nevermind… I guess Cyrus lasted 4 minutes.

0:14 – Another sidenote… I want a list of every relevant movie made in NYC in the 70s and 80s. Aren’t 90% of them enjoyable? If nothing else, I really dig the feeling of late 70s New York.

0:15 – Maybe this “one gang” to rule them all theory was never going to work in the first place. After the very first bit of conflict, a thousand of people are running every which direction and the Warriors are public enemy number one because one random guy with terrible hair said “The Warriors did it!” If all it takes is one person to say “he did it” to corrupt and entire justice system (albeit vigilante justice), maybe Cyrus’s plan wasn’t so prolific.

0:17 – One of my ten favorite lines of the movie that sounds retarded if I try to say. They’re asking if anyone has seen Cleon. “I seen him then he wasn’t there no more. I was hauling ass.”

0:18 – Another reason this might not have been the best idea ever… not exactly rocket scientists running the gangs. They were meeting in Central Park. They’re from Coney Island. They claim it’s 50 miles. Google Maps thinks it’s more like 20.

0:19 – For the record, here are my favorite things to come out of Coney Island. 1) The Warriors. 2) “The Last Shot” by Darcy Frey. 3) Jesus Shuttlesworth. 4) “The Jump” (book about Sebastian Telfair). 5) Lou Gossett Jr. 6) Marv Albert’s “Yes” call. 1,753,942) Stephon Marbury’s head tattoo.

0:20 – My wife and I recently had a baby girl. Had we had a boy, though, I would’ve been completely fine with using any of the names of the Warriors for my son. My favorite, obviously, is Cleon Hanson. If Cleon Hanson wasn’t the captain of Bill Simmons’ “Reggie Cleveland All-Stars”, I don’t know who is.

0:21 – If this movie was made in 1999 instead of 1979, there is a chance that we would have gotten a sequel. More important than the sequel, though… we probably would’ve gotten an eventual spinoff movie on the Gramercy Riffs. If you haven’t seen the movie, the Riffs are THE single coolest gang I’ve ever seen in my life. Two side notes here… first, if I was black, I dress for Halloween as a member of the Gramercy Riffs every single year. Second – if any team ever plays the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs, they’ve gotta splice this scene up so it says the following:
“Who are the Warriors? I want them all. I want all the Warriors. I want them alive if possible. If not… wasted. But I want them. Send the word.”

0:22 – I love two things about the radio dj scenes. First of all, the radio dj is the Chief from “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” (is that game still around… it should be). Second, I love the term “boppers.” Can we bring that term back?

0:26 – These gang names are incredibly cool. “The Turnbull ACs.” Sounds like a Premier League soccer team. Which reminds me… a gang of soccer hooligans would make for a great Warriors gang. It’d be even better if they had a chip on their shoulder because nobody in America cares about soccer (except for me… haven’t hardly missed a World Cup game thanks to my daughters morning feedings).

0:31 – Another top ten line of the movie. “Hey – what about the money you owe?” “FOR WHAT?!?!”

0:32 – The Orphans! How freaking creative is this movie. A gang of misfits/homeless. I love that the leader looks like a skinny Zach Braff.

0:34 – Another classic (but under the radar) line. “The Orphans right? Yeah… our youth worker talks about you guys all the time.”

0:40 – “You see what you get when you mess with the orphans?” “We’re gonna rain on you Warriors!” 30 seconds later, a car explodes (nobody is presumably injured), but the Warriors are home free. This is the movie equivalent of guaranteeing a victory followed by getting thumped.

0:46 – My absolute highlight of the movie. The Baseball Furies. If you haven’t seen the Warriors, the Baseball Furies are a gang that dress like a combination of Kiss and the New York Yankees. They obviously aren’t super effective, but they are the coolest gang in the movie (with all due respect to the gang that rolls around in rollerskates and striped sweaters at the end of the movie). A few years ago we saw “Freddy vs. Jason”. In my dream world, we’ll one day see “Riffs vs. Furies.”

0:49 – Another classic line “I’ll shove that bat up your *** and turn you into a popsicle.” The only way this could be cooler would be if it was spoken by Christopher Walken.

0:54 – Zero percent chance a scene like this could be put into a modern movie. One of the guys thinks to himself ‘hmm… I might go force myself on this lady sitting on a park bench by myself.’

1:00 – Another classic scene. The black/Indian looking guy in the Warrior says “Chicks like you always have dudes around.”

1:04 – I love it when bad movies get preachy. Swan tells Mercy “I don’t like the way you live… I don’t think you know who you get on Friday night.” Less than 45 seconds later, he’s making out with her.

1:05 – This isn’t necessarily related to the Warriors, but have you noticed that every movie/picture you’ve seen from the 70s, 95% of the people were skinny. There are a thousand fad diets. Don’t eat this. Don’t eat that. I’m going to start a new fad diet called “Would the Bee Gees have eaten this?”

1:08 – Long before Tila Tequilla was around to warp our sense of sexuality/lesbians, we had pop culture references like the Warriors that paint lesbians as a whole as a militant bunch. I don’t necessarily think that’s the case, but at the same time, I miss the reference. In the same way, I’m glad that USA and Russia now get along, but I miss Russia being the bad guy in all of the Cold War movies of the 80s. Can you imagine how much Rocky 4 would’ve sucked if they made it in 2010 and it wasn’t Rocky vs. Ivan Drago and the whole empire of Russia (steroids and all!)

1:11 – Hell yeah! It’s the gang of bib overalls and skates. I’ve honestly seen this movie about 50 times (all within the last five years) and I get giddy every time these guys come on the screen.

1:13 – Love this part. Mercy points out that the guys with the skates are after Swan. He says “I know they’re on my ass. Now they know I know.”

1:17 – Modern movies may have all of the CGI and cool effects in the world. I’ll take a fight with baseball bats in a bathroom any day. Guys going through mirrors and breaking porcelain toilets just feels more authentic than John Cena or Rampage Jackson fighting while hanging out of a helicopter. I suppose to each his own, though.

1:20 – This would be legitimately scary. You’re out on a date. Dressed up in your fancy clothes. You look up and there are a bunch of tough looking people that are bloodied and bruised not talking to each other but staring right at you. I’d get off on the very next stop, too.

1:24 – Signature moment in the movie. “Warriors… come out toooo pllllaayyyyyyyy.” If the Golden State Warriors don’t somehow have this incorporated into their pre-game intros, they are the dumbest franchise in the history of the universe.

1:28 – Luther, who is supposed to be the toughest of tough guys ever, is taken out because Swan throws a knife which sticks into his wrist. I’m talking completely incapacitated. I’m not calling him a pansy, but I’ve seen ultimate fighters go five rounds with two broken hands and continue after getting kicked square in the balls. This is maybe revisionist history, but maybe Luther wasn’t a very tough guy at all. He’s maybe the Robin Ventura of modern cinema.


09 2012


Alex Hopkins (age 12) from "Bully"

Rarely do I watch a movie and immediately afterwards think an entire segment of the population needs to see it. After watching Bully at the Whiskey Creek Film Festival, I can’t help but think every kid who is older than about 10 years old needs to see this movie.

The movie follows five children and families who have been victims of bullying. Alex is 12-year old social awkward kid from Sioux City, Iowa who wants to fit in, but is bullied mercilessly at school and on the bus. Even his little sister is worried about going to his school next year because she’ll be picked on simply for being related to him. Kelby is a 16-year old lesbian from the small town of Tuttle, Oklahoma who’s family has been ostracized by the community. Ja’Meya is a 14-year old girl who was picked on every day on the bus who pulled a loaded gun on her tormentors and was incarcertated. David and Tina Long the parents of Tyler Long – a 17-year old who hung himself after years of bullying – demand accountability from the school officials who ignore their attempts and sparked a conversation within the community about bullying. Kirk and Laura Smalley – the parents of 11-year old Kirk who committed suicide – launched an anti-bullying organization Stand for the Silent.

The documentary attempts and succeeds in bringing light to a very scary subject. Middle school and high school can be downright scary for a normal teenager, but Bully depicts just an awful quality of everyday life for kids who are bullied every day. Bully gives us a look at what life is like for those who are bullied.

Although the movie focuses on five different families, the family from Sioux City, Iowa seems to be the focal point. Alex, who was born nearly 16 weeks before his due date, has trouble making friends. On the bus, he’s stabbed with pencils, told by another kid he’s going to “(effing) end him” with a knife, and he has his head bashed into a school bus seat over and over again. In one absolutely heart wrenching scene, Alex’s mother is trying to convince him that these kids aren’t his friends. Alex, in what is one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen on screen, replies “…if they aren’t my friends, who is?”

After the bullying on the bus gets so severe, filmmakers decide to share footage of bullying with the Iowa family and school officials. As I’m watching this, I can help but think how scary it is that the bullying was this bad with a camera crew five feet away on a bus? The family meets with an assistant principal Kim Lockwood who is quick to remedy (but not fix) the problem by letting Alex ride a different bus. When the mother asks why the kids aren’t being kicked off the bus, the assistant principal gets defensive and tells the family “I’ve been on this bus… they kids are just as good as gold.”

I suspect the goal for the filmmakers was to make a movie that will spark some conversation which I’m sure it will do. After the movie, my wife and I probably talked for two hours solely on the topic of bullying, what can be done about it, and why this movie needs to be shown to kids.

My one major criticism of the film is it didn’t address everything I would’ve liked to seen it address. For one, it doesn’t really interview any of the “bullies” or (more importantly) the parents. I suspect that an inordinate amount of these bullies come from less than ideal home situations (as did a few, but not all, of the kids who were bullied). I really feel like the demise of the “traditional family” is a growing concern that isn’t getting enough attention. Actual parenting of children is no longer one of the requirements of being a parent.

Also, many school officials (especially Lockwood) were vilified in the film. Many of them come off as quite incompetent. Since the film premiered, Sioux City Superintendent Paul Gausman has acknowledged “in that film, you see us fail one of our students.” At the same time, little attention is paid to parental backlash. School administrators, to some degree, have their hands tied. I’ve seen countless situations where one student gets in trouble and instead of supporting the administrators and punishing their child, this new generation of helicopters parents will come back at the school teachers/administrators with great vengeance and furious anger. The message inadvertently sent by these parents to their kids is they can do no wrong. The threaten to pull their kids out of school (a loss of funding for schools) or to sue the school. The end result – the parents do nothing to parent the child, school administration’s hands are somewhat tied, and the situation worsens.

In this review, I’ve only highlighted the family from Iowa, but the other five stories – especially the two in which families lost children to suicide – are haunting, but well told.

Bully may be at times difficult to watch, but it is as emotionally of a movie-going experience as I can remember. I can’t emphasize enough that this is a movie you need to see. The good news is much like how Super Size Me positively impacted the fast food industry, it appears change will come. This past April, the movie was shown to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s senior adviser. I applaud director Lee Hirsch for making not only a beautiful looking, emotionally charged film, but more important something that will hopefully start a conversation to make real change.


out of 10

If you are in the Perham area, this movie is playing tonight (9/17) at 7:00 at the Cozy Theatre in Wadena. I can’t recommend highly enough you go watch this movie and bringing a handful of teenagers with you, as well.

Checking out the trailer below:


09 2012

Retro Review – Blue Chips

I’ve got 100s of movie reviews in the can from. Over the next few weeks, I hope to reintroduce my “Guilty Pleasure Movies” to Motion Artifacts. In the mean time, here’s a review for one of my favorite fantastically terrible movies from 2010

0:01 – One time in my life, I’d love to see a sideline reporter interview a losing coach after the half. She (more than likely) says something along the lines of “Coach… nothing seemed to go right for you in the first half. What did you tell the guys at the half?” I then want the coach to say “…well, have you seen Nick Nolte at the start of the movie Blue Chips?”

0:02 – I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face, but this movie has to be the quintessential Nick Nolte movie. He’s good in other stuff, but if someone 40 years from now asks me “…who’s Nick Nolte?,” I’m mentioning Blue Chips first

0:04 – Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but is Blue Chips the only modern “big time college basketball” movie? He Got Game dabbles in it, but it’s a movie about a kid and his dad – basketball is just the vehicle. Love & Basketball is a hoops movie when a few characters happen to be going through college, but again, basketball is only the vehicle… it’s a chick flick if you strip it down. Glory Road is the only other college hoops film that I can think of, but it’s historic. I can’t believe that college basketball is such a huge entity (ESPN is about to pay a bajillion dollars for the March Madness rights) and there is only one pertinent movie? How’s this possible? By the way, wouldn’t this concept make for a great 13-episode a year tv show. Think Playmakers, only not so over the top, but on Showtime or HBO.

0:05 – It’s funny how the big names in college change, but at the same time don’t. Featured as coaches in Blue Chips: Pitino, Bob Knight, and Jim Boehim. Only other coaches that would be on the modern day Mount Rushmore of college coaching would be Coach K, Roy Williams, and Calipari – all of whom were relevant in 1994 as well.

0:06 – Featured on this Texas Western team – George Lynch, Chris Mills, Ed Stokes, Rex Walters, and Rick Fox.

0:07 – I like that they appear to be playing a real basketball game with real players on a real court. I’ve seen too many flicks where a 5’6” white guy with no real athleticism is rising above the rim to dunk on a eight and a half foot rim (see: One Tree Hill, Hang Time, American History X).

0:08 – I challenge someone to find me a better (non-sappy) sports movie moment than Nolte punting the basketball into the cheap seats. I’d pay big money to see this happen in person someday.

0:10 – “If I assert that you sleep with sheep, then it’s alleged that you sleep with sheep.” This sounds straight out of the Bobby Knight School of Handling Reporters.

0:13 – The only bad part of the movie… a boring storyline between Nolte and his ex-wife. Not as bad as the Affleck-Hartnett-Beckinsale love-triangle in Pearl Harbor, but bad nonetheless.

0:15 – In my entire history of tv watching, I’ve never turned the tv on the exact moment of something that I’d like to see. It’s always a commercial or a show I don’t want to watch or maybe like the third inning of a baseball game. Nolte turns on the tv and within 5 seconds, the tv reporter is talking about Pete Bell (Nolte) in a way that I’ve never heard a local tv guy talk in real life.

0:17 – Ahh… the Bob Cousy shooting free throws scene. As I’m sure everyone knows, he actually made all of the free throws he shot in this scene. By the way, I know this is somewhat sacrilegious to say, but Bob Cousy would stink today. If anyone ever mentions “Bob Cousy” along with the words “best guard ever,” simply look at them and say “…have you ever seen a video clip of Bob Cousy where he cross over and dribbles with his left hand?” He does the right handed spin a la every 5th grade basketball player I know in every video I’ve ever seen of him.

0:19 – Featured on the “Coast” team… Thomas Hill (who I always thought was brothers with Grant, Rodney Rogers, Matt Painter (as in coach of Purdue Matt Painter?!?), Allan Houston, and my favorite Kansas basketball player in the early-90s Adonis Jordan.

0:21 – We just saw the halftime score was 39-30 in favor of Coast. With 17:02 remaining in the second half, the score says 71-50. Meaning, in the last two minutes and 58 seconds, Coast has outscored Western 32-20 meaning one two point basket was scored approximately every 6.8 seconds. Why didn’t they show that? That has to be the single most entertaining three minutes in the history of basketball. Imagine… for a nearly three minute stretch, these two teams were on pace to score over 700 combined points in a game of basketball. Either that or the editor/director messed up.

0:22 – Final score – 88-73. For dramatic effect, we saw every single basket that Coast would’ve scored after 17 minutes in the second half and only one shot by Western. Bell’s got reason to be concerned after giving up 88 points, but they only gave up 17 in the last 17 minutes of the game… you can’t ask much more than that, can you?

0:23 – Hmm… interesting that Pete Bell would wait until after the last game of the season to really start recruiting hard. This year, national signing day for basketball is April 15th. Arli$$ (Robert Wuhl) points out that nobody is worth recruiting other than the top two guys in the country – Butch McRae and Ricky Roe. What do you think would happen if this was 2009? You are the coach from a once great, but now bad college basketball team (think a modern day Indiana or UCLA). You haven’t bothered recruiting all year. You’ve got a bad team, but sometime in late March, you’re going to give John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins (top two players from ’09) a call and say “Hey… I think you should play ball here. We were horrible last year, we don’t have much coming back, and I’m not willing to play under-the-table games. But you really should think about coming here.” Tough sell, huh?

0:24 – This has to be the coolest high school gym in the world. With a little research, I’ve found that I think it’s the “Old Gym” at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago. I’m just guessing this has to be the same gym that was featured in Above the Rim as well.

0:25 – How funny is it that they gave Jerry Tarkanian the line “…I don’t think we can get him in academically.” I promise you this is the only time he’s ever said these words in his life.

0:26 – It’s amazing how much Louis Gossett Jr and Scatman Crothers look like each other.

0:29 – I’ve seen this movie a million times. I never caught that Butch went to St. Josephs which is the same school as Isiah Thomas from the Pistons, numerous botched coaching gigs, and numerous sexual harassment lawsuits and Williams Gates from Hoop Dreams.

0:31 – If I were a fan of UCLA, I’d probably have dubbed this scene with the names “Reggie Bush” or “OJ Mayo” and posted it on YouTube. Kind of like they’ve done with that Hitler video from Downfall.

0:32 – I drove through Indiana once on a baseball trip with my brother in law. Incredibly boring looking state in the north (at least along I-90) but driving through the South part reminded me a lot of what you’d expect from “basketball crazy” Indiana. My claim to fame is that I visited Milan High School which I just happened to remember was the actual high school from the movie Hoosiers.

0:34 – Remember Matt Nover (aka Ricky Roe). He played at Indiana from 88-93. He never played in the NBA but he played overseas until last year (!!!). He’s now a head coach overseas. And he looks like a dead ringer for Luis Scola.

0:38 – Other famous people besides Neon Boudeaux from Algiers, Louisiana… absolutely nobody that I can find. There should be a sign that says “Welcome to Algiers… fictional home of Neon Boudeaux” as you come into town.

0:39 – Hold the phones… I thought we didn’t know New Orleans was poor until Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I’m watching Blue Chips which was made in 1994 and they are running through possibly the poorest neighborhood ever caught on film. And if New Orleans was this poor in 1994 and W didn’t start messing up the country for six years later, how can this all be his fault? He may not like black people, but as his time as owner of the Rangers proves, he seems to love his juiced Hispanic ballplayers. His 1993 team may be one of my favorite juicing teams of all-time – Canseco, Pudge, Juan Gone, and Raffy.

0:40 – One thing I’ve never understood about the streetball part of the film. Why is the rim about 1 inch in circumference?

0:41 – Watching Nick Nolte dance at the church is one of the more underrated 5-seconds if film history. Kind of like in “Finding Forrester” when Sean Connery yells “You’re the man now, dog.”

0:47 – When did they stop having the evil, smarmy (sometimes) rich guy in movies? As a director or writer of a movie, you’ve got an idea when the movie you make is in the same class as The Departed, No Country for Old Men, or The Dark Knight. 90% of movies are made just for money. Please do us all a favor and put a smarmy rich character in there, would you? Let’s say you are making a movie about a grocery store, I want the villain of the movie to be described as “Shooter McGavin of the produce aisle…”

0:48 – Here’s the funny thing about this movie… everything that Happy says is true and I completely agree with. “These athletes generate millions for our University. What do they get? Nothing. You get a multiyear contract. You get a six-figure shoe deal so your team can be a walking billboard. And that is all legal. And then you get another six figures for that lousy tv show. We owe them this money”

0:50 – All of this talk of SAT scores reminds me of one of my favorite cards to play to people much smarter than myself. Many of you are aware that Mensa is a high IQ group for people who have scored in the top 98% of IQ tests. In Spanish, mensa in an adjective that means “foolish” or “stupid.” The only reason I could imagine to join a group like Mensa would be to brag about how smart you are. At the same time, who wants to hear someone talk about how smart they are?

0:51 – Every time I see this movie, I forget how freaking good Penny Hardaway was at basketball. By the way – I was looking up Penny stats and found out that he was on the 1992 USA Basketball Developmental team that played the Dream Team in an exhibition. Other members of the team included Bobby Hurley, Jamal Mashburn, Eric Montross, Rodney Rogers, Chris Webber, and Grant Hill. How insane is it to think that of those guys, four were great NBA players – Mash, C-Webb, Hill, and Penny. Of the four of them, Grant Hill is the only one still playing. Webber had a good but not great NBA career that should’ve included a trip to the Finals (refs be damned!) but 2002-2003 was his last good year. 2002-2003 was the last good year for Mash as well. Penny’s last good year was 1999-2000 although he still wasn’t the player he was in his first four years in the league due to injuries. To think that Grant Hill is still a productive player on a good team 7-10 years AFTER these guys washed out is insane. In his first six seasons in Detroit, he put up point, rebounding, and assist numbers that could only be matched by Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson. He was traded to Orlando and in the next four years, he played 47 total games. Maybe he’s been able to play a little longer because his 37-year old body didn’t get four years worth of NBA punishment, but enough hasn’t been made of the fact that this guy is playing well after his career looked to be done 10 years ago. For the first time in his NBA career, he didn’t miss a game this year!

0:53 – I wonder if Matt Nover practiced the scene in which he asks Nick Nolte for $30,000 in order to come to Western in front of his real life college coach, who also appears later in the movie, Bobby Knight? That would’ve made for the single best DVD extra of all time, no?

0:56 – I thought this song playing in the background was the same song Chris Farley and Brian Dennehy sing before Big Tom Callahan bites the big one in Tommyboy. I was wrong… that song is “What I’d Say” by Ray Charles. This song is “Your Love Gives Me Such a Thrill” by Lee Andrews. Both are black guys with both a first and surname that can be a firstname. Here’s my “holy crap” moment of the day. Lee Andrews had a son who is none other than ?uestlove from the Roots. How is it possible that I didn’t know this?

0:58 – We all have heard about college players that have been “paid” to play. What do you think the average dollar figure is? Did Reggie Bush or OJ Mayo get $10,000 worth of cash/stuff? $100,000? $1 million? None of these dollar figures would surprise me, but I honestly don’t know what the going rate is. By the way, one of my ten favorite pictures on the internet is of Reggie Bush during the state high school track meet. You’ll have to click on the link to find out why it’s so funny.

1:00 – Who do you think went to more class in the second semester of their freshman year? Fictional Neon Boudeaux or the real life DeMarcus Cousins? Fictional Butch McRae or the real John Wall?

1:01 – Second question… pound for pound, who’s gained more weight since this movie has been released – Ed O’Neil or Shaq?

1:03 – Over an hour into the movie and it still hasn’t been explained why Coach Bell and his ex-wife get together all the time. Other than Larry King, Pamela Anderson, and Liz Taylor, do you know of any situations not involving kids where a couple of divorcees would willingly get together for any reason?

1:04 – I’m going to go out on a limb and saying that doing the “I’m going to roll a basketball and you two guys slide and go get it” is a drill you see 100 times more often in high school than you do at high level division 1 basketball. By the time these guys get to the NBA, they won’t even dive after a ball unless it’s a playoff game.

1:05 – Coach Bell speaks a few words that Kurt Rambis said exactly zero times all season. “Play the two man game.”

1:07 – Butch McRae asks if his mom will lose her house and job if he leaves school. It’s quite an interesting scene… definitely one of Penny’s toughest scenes in the movie. If he would’ve tried to film this scene just five years later, he probably would’ve sprained an MCL following around Coach Bell.

1:10 – Why are we supposed to care that the ex-wife of a disgruntled college coach isn’t happy with the way he’s doing things?

1:15 – I blame scenes like this scene where Coach Bell goes up to Tony’s dorm room for the two most disappointing things about my college experience. First, every college dorm room looks like the size of the most expensive suite a typical Marriot has to offer. The more realistic size is somewhere between a large walk-in closet and a small storage room. Second, I just assumed that everyone in college hung out in the hallways of dorms blaring loud music. People blared loud music, but never was it music that you wanted to hear. I woke up to Saliva or Rammstein or something similar.

1:18 – Why is Pete Bell going to his ex-wife’s house? This makes absolutely no sense. Can’t he go get a drink with the boys like they do in other movies? I’m missing the emotional impact of this. A divorced wife is disappointed into her ex-husband. And he feels sorry. What is the point?

1:20 – You almost forget that Indiana was once a powerhouse, don’t you? Tom Crean definitely has the potential to bring them back, but it’s almost funny to think they were top dog not that long ago.

1:22 – How is it possible that 16 years ago, at the age of 56, Dick Vitale looked 62. Present day (16 years later at the age of 70), he still looks 62. Do we have any pictures or video of when Dick Vitale didn’t look 62 years old? Amazingly enough, Bobby Knight is 69 years old. 14 years ago, he looked about 62 years old as well. Right now… would you guess he still looks about 62 years old? What are the chances?

1:23 – Somewhere on my bucket list would be watching Blue Chips in a room alone with John Calipari… just to see if he squirms a little bit.

1:24 – Of the teams we’ve seen play, Indiana is definitely the one that had the least real life talent. They had Calbert Chaney, Bobby Hurley, and not much else. The only other guys that are recognizable are Eric Riley (the best non-freshman on the Fab Five Michigan teams) and Keith Smart who made the game-clinching shot on the 1987 Indiana national championship team.

1:25 – What are the odds that Bobby Knight actually sounds like a better coach than Nick Nolte? The stuff Knight is saying actually makes sense… Nolte is just using lingo but it doesn’t make a ton of sense.

1:26 – Another classic “whoops” basketball moment. Bobby Knight calls for one shot which is typically something a coach is going to do at the end of a half. You look up and there is 3 minutes and 11 seconds to go on the clock. Whoops.

1:26 – Before the Shaq-era, someone would’ve watched these basketball scenes and said that they look realistic, but there are too many dunks. Then Shaq came around and you realized that’s really where a majority of his points came from much like Dwight Howard today.

1:27 – This play call is complete BS. Coach Bell draws up four passes and a handback with no screen to get an open free throw line jumper off the dribble. There’s no way without a screen that a college coach is going to call that play. What’s the point? A play like that is more of a read.

1:29 – If Coach Bell’s ex-wife is so disgusted in him, why is she at this game?

1:32 – Missed opportunity here. Instead of having a locker room scene, they should’ve shown a fake press conference of Bobby Knight losing. In fact, they should release a director’s cut where they splice in some press conferences like here, here, or here. Or you could just go to YouTube and type in Bobby Knight Golf Video (caution… the language is that of which you’d expect from Bobby Knight).

1:36 – This has to be one of the worst lines in movie history. Ed O’Neil asks Nolte if the rumor was true that he bought Neon a car. Nolte says Neon didn’t even want it. Then he asked the “Friend of the Program” Happy if the car was fully loaded. Happy responds by saying “No… no… coach. It was a nuclear surfboard.” Nuclear surfboard? Nuclear surfboard?!?! That’s the best line we could come up with there. I’ve never heard a worse line and that’s counting every anime cartoon I’ve ever seen? What’s worse, is why does everyone laugh at the line?

1:38 – This is definitely an era before YouTube. If this movie is shot right now, Happy gets a million and a half hits in one day for going off on Coach Bell and that scene somehow makes the movie.

1:41 – Why is such a big scene made when Pete Bell says “I quit.” Didn’t he essentially get himself fired with everything he said over the past five minutes? This is like every movie I’ve ever seen where one guy says “…you’re fired” and another guy retorts “…you can fire me because I QUIT.” It’s always seemed like a ridiculous movie cliché.

1:42 – We saw the game was tipping off at 8 PM. Most college basketball games last right around 2 and half hours. Then coach Bell had a press conference. We can safely assume it’s at least 11 PM and more likely 11:30 PM or later. So when Coach walks out of the press conference (and, by the way, none of the press follow him), he goes by an inner-city park (we can tell it’s an intercity park by the graffiti and ripped down signs all over the place) where there are approximately 25 kids between the ages of 8-15 are playing pickup games. Because we are assume at 11 PM at night in November (first game of the year, right), most kids are playing pickup basketball outside with no adult supervision.


09 2012

Battle Royale

Earlier this year, I was at the state basketball tournament enjoying our “off” day on Thursday. On my way to the games on Thursday night, I saw a boatload of people waiting in line for a movie. Knowing there was no more Harry Potter’s left and Batman didn’t come out until July, I was stumped at what movie they could possibly be waiting for. A little browsing on my iPhone told me that they were in line for “The Hunger Games” – a little movie I’d never heard of that would go on to gross over $150 million that weekend.

Admitting that I’d never heard of one of the top 3 grossing movies of the year probably isn’t a wise thing for a guy trying to start up a website about movies. Besides, what does The Hunger Games have to do with a slightly under-the-radar 12 year old Japanese movie anyway? The answer, quite simply, is The Hunger Games is a huge rip-off of Japanese film Battle Royale from the year 2000.

Battle Royale is a story about a group of 42 high school students who, because of their growing lack of respect for adults, are forced into playing a game by the government where they must kill each other until only one is left (the movie is based heavily in realism). Each student is assigned a number and given a bag with good, water, a map of the island, and a weapon. Each bag contains a different weapon. In fact the word “weapon” is used loosely for some student as they get a saucepan lid or a paper fan while others get knives, guns, and tracking devices that show them where everyone else is located. Each student also has a collar placed around their necks that monitors their position, their health, and has the ability to detonate and kill the student if they wind up in one of the random “hot zones” that change throughout the day.

The movie is shockingly violent. To say it isn’t for everyone is a huge understatement. I don’t know if I’ve ever even used this term, but Battle Royale contains gratuitous violence. It’s probably on par with some of the harsher scenes you’ve seen in Tarantino movies… there are just far more of them in a two hour movie than I’m used to. In fact, Quentin Tarantino named it as his favorite movie that’s been released since he started directing in 1992.

Despite the violence, I can’t help but agree with (Ahmad Rashad voice) “my main man” QT and say this is a fantastic film. Like I kiddingly joked earlier, the film is not realistic whatsoever. Yet, the reactions between the different cliques of students – some decide to fight, some refuse to fight, some panic and do nothing, and others try to different non-violent methods of getting out.

If you can withstand the violence (have I mentioned that there is plenty), this is a film that I can highly recommend. While I’ve yet to see The Hunger Games, I’m putting the odds at 1,000-to-1 that it’s a better movie than Battle Royale. If you haven’t yet seen The Hunger Games, do yourself a favor and check this one out first. If you (likely) have already seen Hunger Games, go check out the (likely) superior movie that it stole the storyline from.


out of 10


09 2012

The Two Escobars

In early 2009, Bill Simmons announced he was involved with a new thing called “30 for 30” at ESPN. It was going to be 30 documentaries made by talented filmmakers about 30 sports stories from the past 30 years (at the time, ESPN was celebrating their 30th anniversary as a network).

When the list of 30 movies were announced, a handful of them seemed somewhat hokey (I wasn’t real excited about documentaries about fantasy sports, the Baltimore Colts band, or the USFL). For the most part, though, I was genuinely intrigued. Once the first handful of documentaries aired and thoroughly impressed me, I knew I’d have to tape all of them.

Fast forward a few months to June 2010. My daughter was born on the opening day of the World Cup in South Africa. Having been a lifelong soccer hater (for the most part), I found myself watching the World Cup every morning when I got up early to care for my daughter. Within about 10 days, I found myself really enjoying soccer. Two weeks after she was born, 30-for-30 released “The Two Escobars,” a film by brother Jeff and Michael Zimbalist.

The film, which explored the deaths of Colombian soccer captain Andres Escobar and drug kingpin Pablo Escobar along with the direct ties between drug-money and the Colombian national soccer team, was absolutely groundbreaking. The interviews with the players and other Colombians really helps human this awful story about a time in Colombian history that was both awful (drugs, violence, etc) and wonderful (soccer).

Unfortunately, the drugs and violence was so bad it managed to ruin the (seemingly) one positive thing going on in the country. Shortly after the murder of Andres Escobar following his disappointing own goal against the USA in 1994 World Cup, many of the players on the Colombian national team decide to retire from soccer permanently. The downward spiral of Colombian soccer and corruption involving drug cartels continue to hang over the country like a black cloud even today.

All in all, it’s quite simply as good of a sports documentary as you are ever going to see.


out of 10


09 2012

Retro Review – Speed

I’ve got 100s of movie reviews in the can from. Over the next few weeks, I hope to reintroduce my “Guilty Pleasure Movies” to Motion Artifacts. In the mean time, here’s a review for one of my favorite fantastically terrible movies from 2010

I’m starting a new here tradition on the brentnet blog. My goal is eventually for fans of bad movies, like myself, to say that my monthy Guilty Pleasure movies is a tradition unlike no others… even more so than the Masters.

The other day, I found myself trying to sit through another “award winning” movie. From my own personal experience, about 1/3 of the “critically acclaimed” movies are awesome in a surreal “Hey, I know we just finished that movie, but lets watch it again” kind of way. Another 1/3 are completely watchable, but you get that feeling in your gut that a movie was overrated. The last 1/3 are complete bombs… nothing is happening in the movie. I’m supposed to enjoy the artful arc of the movie and the characters. Instead, I find myself looking at my watching wondering if I should even bother finishing the film.

It was just the other day I realized something. I really like a good movie like the Departed or the Godfather, but at the end of the day, I think I enjoy bad movies more than I enjoy good movies. It makes some amount of sense. “Scarface” has sat atop my leader board as favorite movie for nearly 10 years now. It’s an extremely enjoyable movie, but it definitely has some “bad movie” qualities. So, in honor of my love for bad movies, I’ve decided that once a month, I’m going publish a blog entry on a new bad movie. Now, some of these movies are technically considered worse than others. But at the end of the day, they’re all enjoyable and if they are on TNT on a random Wednesday night, I’m not gonna change the channel.

A little history on our first Guilty Pleasure/Bad movie Speed. It was on of the first R-rated movies that my parents openly let me watch. I was at my buddy Cory’s house. We were watching previews for movies on DirecTV (which is how we also became the first people in our area to see Office Space) and decided that Speed looked good. It was rated R, but according to the guide, it was rated R for AC, AS, AL, V, and probably a few other consonants and vowels. Most importantly, at least to our moms, was it wasn’t rated R for “N.” After a call to my mom and much discussion, it was ruled that Speed was a-okay for our impressionable eyes to be watching. I honestly don’t think I’ve seen the movie since that day in 1994. So, I’ve  With all that introduction, I’ve decided for my first bad movie, I’m going to do a running diary.

0:01 – Forgot how good this movie theme is. Dum dum… dum dum dum dum. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but the movie industry in general has taken two gigantic steps back as far as movie scoring is considered.

0:04 – Being a security guard in a movie with a crazed lunatic. It has to be up there with working at a slaughterhouse or working in the logging industry as one of the most dangerous jobs possible. And to think… he even opened the door, closed the door halfway, but opened it again when he thought he saw something. Big mistake. I remember thinking he was going to get shot rather than getting a knife to the side of the ear the first time I saw this one. Four minutes in and we’ve got our first casualty.

0:05 – The smartass who says “Thanks for pushing that Bob. The light is on, but it really might be broken” looks like a younger, less pumpkin-headed John Mayer.

0:06 – Bomb just goes off in the elevator shaft. I forgot how crappy special effects were in the era when they started to use computers, but really weren’t good at using computers yet (somewhere around 1991-2001). Keanu Reeves and Jeff Daniels come flying over a hill in a squad car a la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off thus telling us the viewer “Hey… think what you want of police officers in general, but these two gentleman are renegades.” By the way, someone add getting air off a jump in a speeding car onto my bucket list.

0:07 – Here’s a shocker… just checked Wikipedia and it informed me that Keanu Reeves doesn’t have a high school diploma. How can a guy responsible for delivering such fantastic dialogue such as “I am an EFF BEE EYE AGENT!”, “Whoa. Déjà vu,” and “Shoot the hostage” has less education than me? I’d have never guessed.

0:11 – Our first “pop quiz.” Plus… we’ve got my favorite line in the entire movie. “Shoot the hostage.” If I ever went to school to be a cop (even if I was a bad guy pretending to be a cop like in “The Departed”), I’d answer at least one question in class “…shoot the hostage” if for no reason other than to get the teacher riled up.

0:14 – You know the friend you has that thinks he wouldn’t make any of the mistakes that other people make. Like, when a big man blows an easy layup costing his team the game, he’s the first guy to say “…even I could make THAT shot.” This guy does this usually holds quite the high opinion of himself in many regards. He can sing better than the guy on American Idol, he could be funnier than the standup comedian that you’re watching on tv, and he could beat just about everyone at a reality show Survivor or Real World/Road Rules Challenge event. 99.9% of the time he’s wrong. Except when he says “I could do a better acting job than Keanu Reeves.”

0:17 – Is it bad that I kind of which the mousey old lady who didn’t want a hand out of the elevator would’ve went down with the ship a la the captain of the Titanic?

0:20 – Our first showdown between good and bad. This is exactly like when DeNiro and Pacino are on the screen together for the first time in Heat… except the exact opposite.

0:22 – Jeff Daniels has done a lot of serious acting. As of when I’m writing this, he’s appeared in about 67 movies. Does it say more about me or more about Jeff Daniels that if I had to pick three of his movies to watch over and over again on a desert island, I’d pick “Speed,” “Dumb and Dumber,” and “Arachnophobia.”

0:23 – If I would’ve watched this for the first time at the age of 28 instead of at the age of 13, I would’ve thought the “Shoot the Hostage” bit would come into play in the last 10 minutes of the movie. Even I’m shocked by this one.

0:26 – Whoa… don’t remember this line. But it’s a classic. “Guts will get you so far and then they’ll get you killed.” Can we find a way to insert this into any so-so action flick that doesn’t take itself too seriously kind of like the Wilhelm Scream?

0:29 – I know 24 is getting cancelled. Are we 100% sure that we couldn’t reinvent the show with Keanu Reeves? Let’s take the last episode… Jack finally catches it. Next year, Jack’s slacker long lost brother Brody (Reeves) comes back to fill in his normal duties. Picture Keanu Reeves screaming “Dammit Chloe! Where are the schematics?!?” Tell me that you wouldn’t tune in for at least a few episodes of that.

0:30 – Why did I think the bus had to go below 55 miles an hour instead of what it actually is – 50? Guess having not seen a movie in 16 years will do that to you, huh?

0:31 – Sandy B makes her first appearance. She’s playing the role of Sandra Bullock which is the same role she’s been playing in every movie she’s been in for the past 16 years. I don’t consider myself a Sandy B fan, but she is in four movies I’ll list as movies I enjoy (Demolition Man, Speed, Crash, and The Blind Side)

0:34 – Another bucket list item – driving though speeding traffic on a highway using the median and the right lane that isn’t actually a lane.

0:38 – Keanu informs the bus driver that there is a bomb on the bus and is then surprised when the bus driver slows down. Does anyone else find this reaction the bus driver has as completely not surprising?

0:40 – Keanu boards the bus. While jumping towards the door, he leaves himself a little short which causes his legs to drag on the ground. Of course, this doesn’t rip him from the bus causing him to get run over by the rear tires and probably the car following the bus as you’d expect. Nope. His immaculate upper body strength powers him onto the bus where he calmly whispers for the bus driver to keep it above fifty as a somewhat bitchy Sandra Bullock pressures him to find out what is going on.

0:41 – Here’s a shocker. The kid with the goatee who’ve they’ve shown no less than three times so far makes a move for Keanu by pulling a revolver on him. And to think, I just thought they were showing random shots of the same kid over and over again.

0:42 – Are you kidding me? Alan Ruck (aka Cameron Frye from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) is in this movie?!? How do I not possibly remember this?!? If he has a decent sized part in this movie and I didn’t remember this, I’m going to be quite upset at myself.

0:43 – After the driver gets accidently shot, Bullock takes over. She decides to inform Keanu that she’s taking the bus because she had her license revoked… for speeding. I’m sure when I was 13, this completely went over my head, but have you or anyone you’ve ever met ever had a license revoked for speeding. Have you ever heard such a thing? It’s a rated R movie… why can’t Bullock just say she was driving drunk or caused a death or something? Although – true story – I once did have my license revoked (and didn’t know it) for not paying a parking ticket.

0:46 – Keanu’s classic line. “Eff Me.” Alan Ruck translates it as “Oh Darn.” I bet my buddy Cory and I said those two lines for two weeks after first watching this movie. How did I not know Cameron was in Speed?

0:47 – Interesting how they show the bus going 51 miles per hour. The bus then proceeds to hit a water barrier and multiple cars. Lucky for us, the bus defies the odds and doesn’t slow down a single mile per hour.

0:52 – Have they done a Mythbusters on this theory? Placing everyone on one side of the bus prevents it from tipping over? It seems like they must have.

0:57 – Random thought – it’s weird to see people on a bus without cellphones or iPod earbuds in.

0:59 – After getting the driver successfully off the bus, the lady who doesn’t listen to Keanu tries to sneak off the bus and gets it. Like I was wishing on the lady in the elevator earlier. The moral of the story? When Keanu speaks, we must treat it as the gospel!

1:01 – Alright, it’s becoming apparent that Alan Ruck is the main supporting character on the bus… besides of course Annie (aka Sandra Bullock). Not only does this movie completely reek of cheese, but the editing is done in a way that the voices don’t match the lip movement. It’s like playing a game on the first PlayStation.

1:03 – While drive at above 50 miles per hour, the lead cop tells Jack (Keanu) “…there’s a gap in the road ahead… it’s big” from a trailer in the next lane. Of course, he whispers it so all the other passengers presumably don’t hear. Jack has no trouble hearing this even though I can’t hear my car radio on half volume if I put on of the windows down.

1:06 – Don’t go get popcorn. You’re about to miss the most unrealistic scene in movie history. Who’s in charge of sending this bus down a road that’s missing 50 feet of highway? Did these same fine folks work on the hurricane recovery for FEMA later in life?

1:07 – Can anyone explain to me how a second before taking off for the jump over 50 feet of missing highway, the front of the bus suddenly pops upward at about a 20 degree angle. Really? What can we assume caused that? By the way… about 30 seconds before the jump, we see a wide view of the freeway. In the wide view, you can clearly see that they’d have the option of taking a left exit that would avoid having to “jump the bus” altogether. But I guess who cares about details.

1:08 – You can tell this is definitely a pre-9/11 movie. There’s a bus that’s full of C4 and they bring it to an airport. Do you think they’d dare do this in a modern movie? I feel like

1:13 – Keanu isn’t comfortable letting passengers off because he thinks he’s being watched. Yet he’s willing to go underneath a bus on some sort of makeshift mechanic slide.

1:17 – If you’re just turning the movie on right now, Jack is in trouble because the wire to his makeshift mechanical slide broke and he had to puncture the gas tank with a screwdriver in order to hold on. Now, there is gas dripping down on him and a Mexican guy with a ponytail is trying to pull him back into this bus. And Sandy Bullock just chewed him out again.

1:21 – Harry (Jeff Daniels) gets blown to smithereens while trying to find Dennis Hopper. Someone needs to make a YouTube mashup video between this and the “our pets heads are falling off” scene in Dumb and Dumber.

1:24 – Keanu figures out Hopper can see in because he made a comment about Arizona. Sandra Bullock is wearing an Arizona sweatshirt. Keanu says “University of Arizona… good football team.” I’m getting ready to play the BS card on this when (does anyone *ever* remember the Arizona Wildcats being good?!?) when Wikipedia informs me Arizona was ranked #1 in the nation in 1994 and won the Pac-10 in ’93. The early 90s teams even featured Tedy Bruschi.

1:29 – 21 minutes after running over the spikes, that flat tire is finally going to bite us in the butt.

1:31 – Here’s an honest question… the bus full of explosive has been driving around the airport for 23 minutes. Why is a plane just taxiing around like nothing’s happening?

1:32 – A few minutes ago, I proclaimed the bus jumping scene as the best scene in movie history. That was, of course, before I saw 60 solid seconds of just Keanu and Sandra trying to act. Yikes. Make it stop!

1:36 – Hopper’s just figured out that he was duped. For as much as I remember about him, he’s not actually in this movie a whole lot kind of like Heath Ledger in the Dark Knight.

1:40 – Do we ever find out why Hopper is mad or are we just supposed to assume sour apples from his days on the force? Was he wrongfully fired? Did some bad guy take out his wife?

1:42 – Is it just me or does the bomb detonator look a little bit like the recorder that Macauley Culkin had in the second Home Alone?

1:43 – Hopper opens the money and gets splashed in the face with purple dye. Let me set the record straight, we’re supposed to believe that he worked on the police force for years and years. Everything that they’ve done for the entire movie, he’s been two steps ahead. But then he’s foiled when the money has dye packets in it. If you told somebody that you were going to rob them, wouldn’t you assume that the money was going to be a) tracked with some sort of homing beam and/or b) have some sort of dye in it? Doesn’t every department store in America have the same anti-theft system in place? How is this the big thing that foils the bad guy.

1:44 – Classic bad guy gets it because he has to explain how he won scene. As far as I’m concerned, they should have one of these in every action flick. Hopper is telling Keanu that “I’m smarter than you.” Then he gets his head lopped off by a red light on the top of the subway tunnel. Keanu responds back with “…yeah, but I’m taller.” It’s not a very cool line (a la “I’ll be back…” or “Yippee Ki Yay”), but it gets knocked down about a thousand points because… it absolutely makes no sense. It was as if the writers said to one another “I feel like Keanu should say something here. It doesn’t have to make any sense. He just has to say something that might become a catchphrase.” It didn’t.

1:45 – “The track isn’t finished.” This is exactly why Speed 2 didn’t work. By the end of the movie, we’re already rehashing bits from earlier in the movie. You can’t rehash what you’ve already rehashed and expect it to be even somewhat successful, can you? Although I love the concept that Keanu has no control over the speed of the subway… except he can speed it up. Hence the title of the movie, baby! By the way, I’ve never seen Speed 2. I don’t even have an idea what it’s about other than the generic “something needs to be going fast or something bad is going to happen” plotline.

1:49 – Why don’t I own this movie? Somebody remind me to include it on every birthday and/or Christmas present list from now until eternity (or until I get the movie… whichever comes first).

1:50 – In light of her recent marital troubles, how many of you think it would be the coolest thing in the world if Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock started to become an item? Seriously…

1:51 – And scene… any randoms I missed in the credits? Not any that I can see. This is interesting, though. The director has done five movies. Speed, Twister, Speed 2, The Haunting, and one of the Tomb Raider flicks. I don’t think he’s dead… can someone please give him a few million shekels to make another movie. Maybe it sucks, but I can’t help but think the guy responsible for Speed AND Twister has a horribly awesome movie that I’d enjoy.


09 2012