Archive for the 'Flicks' Category

American Gangster

Posted by rich on 9th November 2007

Maybe it’s a personality flaw, but one of my favorite movie genres has always been the gangster flick. The first two Godfather films are in my all-time top five. Goodfellas is in my top 20. I really liked Casino, although it was way too long and seemed to lack direction at times. I’ve always enjoyed New Jack City, maybe more because it reminds me of days of skipping school, playing Madden Football, eating pizza and being a delinquent (hey, I got my diploma, and graduated from college, so I feel no guilt). Don’t even get me started on Scarface. I can’t think of a single real guy that has not enjoyed that one countless times. Heck, it was even fun to watch the Entourage guys pretend to make Medellian.

There’s just something fun about watching the underworld operate. Deep down I think we all wish we could be above the law and answer to no one. Usually the bad guys screw up at the end and either get shot or go to jail, but we hope they won’t.

So this week I went to see the movie I’ve been looking forward to seeing for months: American Gangster.

I give it an enthusiastic thumbs up, even though it does have some flaws.

For me, the biggest flaw is the quotability of the flick. Every good gangster flick, the iconic ones, has lines that you can repeat a million times over with your friends while watching sports or making fun of someone. “Say ‘ello to the bad guy” “I’ll bury those cockroaches” “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” “Go home and get your shinebox.”

I could go on and on and on.

With AG, I can’t really remember one line that stood out above the rest. Maybe after Frank Lucas gunned down a rival in the streets and then sat back down and said “what was I saying” as he folded his napkin, but other than that no particular lines stuck with me.

Maybe I’m being a big nit-picky, but that’s the difference between being remembered as a good movie and an iconic one. How much can you quote endlessly with your friends?

Other than that, though, I really dug it. You can’t really go wrong with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. They’re two of the great actors of our time and they own their roles. It’s weird because they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum, and you can’t help rooting for both of them to succeed.

Washington’s Lucas is a self-made success, who takes all he’s learned from his predecessor and betters it. He becomes the top gangster in the country, and does so under the radar. It’s really quite impressive, until his wife – it’s always the love interest, isn’t it – coerces him into making an uncharacteristic mistake that leads to his ultimate demise.

As Richie, Crowe is a untouchable cop that refuses to be corrupted, which of course means that none of the other cops around, who are all crooked, will work him. Early on he refuses to pocket just short of $1 million that he finds on the job, and then is not trusted by the force. While he is a perfect cop, he is also a bad husband, and his family life falls apart as his job begins to go north. He’s layered, and interesting. He knows he’s flawed, and hates that he can’t take the simple way out, but he just can’t.

The two megastars are not on camera with one another through the first two hours of the movie. They exist in the same world, but on opposite sides of it. One is living large, the other is trying to untangle the web. Much like Heat, you wait and wait for them to be in the same scene.

The tandem have one great scene together, one that totally explains who their characters are. After that they went for a feel-good ending, which is a bit confusing, but seeing it’s based on a true story, it’s acceptable.

So in the end, I’ll give it a thumbs up, because I did have a lot of fun with American Gangster. I just don’t think I’ll be quoting it endlessly over the years.

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Posted by rich on 22nd August 2007

superbadI want to officially change my last name to McLovin.

If you’ve seen Superbad, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The R-rated teenage buddy/angst movie is one of the funniest things I’ve seen at the theaters in years. The last time I laughed this hard at the movies we were all being introduced to Ben Stiller as a comedic lead as he fawned over Cameron Diaz’s Mary.

The tale of Evan and Seth is funny from the get-go, although the first 20-minutes seem intent on just shocking and disturbing the viewer a little too much. It’s as if the film-makers decided that they wanted anyone not cool enough to enjoy this ride to walk out of the cineplex before the good stuff started.

Now if you’re easily offended, don’t even bother trying to make it through this movie. You won’t be able to handle it, there are too many anatomy jokes that will leave you squeamish.

But does it ever get good. The tale of Evan and Seth and their quest for alcohol to bring to a cool chick’s party is hilarious. Their even nerdier buddy, Fogel, lands a fake ID and the hilarity begins. On that ID he decides that he is worthy of just one name in life, and the license reads simply “McLovin.” I have a new hero and that is the name of which he goes by.

Over the next 90 minutes McLovin goes on the wildest night of his life, riding shotgun with two insane cops and a drunk that he single-handedly aprehended. All the while Seth and Evan attempt to get their hands on some booze, that McLovin has in the back seat of the cop car, while getting into insane situations.

I can’t recommend Superbad highly enough for those that like to laugh. It’s supergood and superfun.


As for the Sox, another win and another game gained. You have to love that.

Being at the movies, I didn’t see too much of the ballgame. I only saw the final inning, and Papelbon was lights out. Other than that I can’t do much breaking down, I just know that the good guys won and that for his $86,000 JD Drew was 1-for-4 with a run scored.

For Papelbon, his save was No. 30 on the season. Believe it or not he became the first Red Sox pitcher to ever save 30 two years in a row.

On the other coast, the Yankees got hammered by the Angels. They were killed by an 18-9 score as Garrett Anderson had a career night, knocking in 10 all by himself.

The lead’s up to six. I can’t wait to see Amish and Akku later today.


When in Japan, stay away from arm-wrestling machines.

You see, here’s the thing, Eli Manning is an idiot. How can he question Tiki Barber’s heart when Tiki was the reason that team made the playoffs last year while Eli was making the Manning face and throwing the ball to the other team.

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Posted by rich on 19th August 2007

Okay, want a movie to get excited about? Here it is, it’s called Cloverfield, although there’s nowhere that you can actually find the name, but that’s what I’m hearing. It will be the first really, really, really big movie of 2008, and it seems cool as all get-out. The Bad Robot people, you know JJ Abrams (Alias, Lost) is behind it, so you know it should be good right there. Those two TV shows are two of my all-time favorites. (Sidebar: do I ever miss Alias. Seeing Jennifer Garner play spy once a week put a hop in my step).

First off, check out the official web site and poke around. There are some pictures and you can move them about the page. I didn’t find anything really earth-shattering, but maybe you will. Also there are all kinds of web sites devoted to this already and a bunch of youtube clips. Basically this is going to be HUGE and I just thought you’d enjoy finding out about it now. I must say, I’m officially intrigued.

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