Category Archives: 1995

The Tuskegee Airmen (1995)

The four elements: earth, air, water, and fire. Of these, I call your attention to two: air and fire. Though it is your privilege to live in the air, you will die by fire.

— Major Sherman Joy

The Tuskegee Airmen was a made for television movie for HBO back in 1995. I never heard of the movie back then, but the film was nominated for many Emmy awards. I wanted to learn more about the historic 332nd fighter squadron when I traveled through Tuskegee, Alabama on the Greyhound.

In 1942, a young pilot trainee, Hannibal “Iowa” Lee Jr. (Laurence Fishburne) has been drafted into a special government program to let Negroes fly Army fighter planes for the US. He meets others on the train to Tuskegee, Alabama like the cocky Billy “Train” Roberts (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and a licensed pilot Walter Peoples III (Allen Payne).

Upon arriving at the base, they are greeted by their commanding officer, Colonel Noel Rogers (Daniel Hugh Kelly), Major Sherman Joy (Christopher McDonald) and their liaison officer (Courtney B. Vance).

They are in for a rude awakening when Major Joy thinks that Negroes are not capable enough to fly a fighter jet. He wants to make them fail by any means necessary. It seems to be what is going on as 1/3 of the cadets were gone when they were halfway through the training. One particular cadet’s death rattles the spirits of Leroy Cappy (Malcolm-Jamal Warner).

Not to be deterred from the ultimate goal of graduating, the cadets exceed all expectations to be the the very first Negro pilots to serve in World War II. Their time to celebrate may be short-lived as Senator Conyers (John Lithgow) wants tp dismantle the program, because of unfounded evidence to their ability ti fly the planes.

I am glad that I watched this movie. I learned a part of history that is not taught in schools. We hear the name “Tuskegee Airmen”, but we never get the chance to see what they have done, what they accomplish. I thought the performances were stupendous across the board. I have to give a special mention to Laurence Fishburne who was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy and Andre Braugher who was nominated for his convincing role of Benjamin O. Davis in the Supporting Actor Category.

Judgment: It takes you on the journey of these men without boring you with facts and figures.

Rating: 8/10

SEPS Review: Bad Boys (1995)

Marcus, I just have one question for ya bro. How the hell you gonna leave my ass at a gun fight to go get the car!

— Mike Lowrey

Bad Boys is probably the only movie of Michael Bay’s that I actually liked a lot. I used to watch a burned copy of the movie when it was on rotation of HBO a couple of years ago. The guys at SEPS were playing this movie numerous times and I would be giddy with excitement watching this movie. I know almost every single line in this movie. Is it the end all, be all of buddy action movies? No, but it’s a helluva ride.

The story centers on a pair of Miami narcotic cops, the sexually frustrated Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) and the trust fund playboy, Mike Lowery (Will Smith) who are reeling from a break-in at their precinct. A hundred million dollars worth of heroin is stolen when an ex-cop Eddie Dominguez (Emmanuel Xuereb) lets the bad guy, Fouchet (Tchéky Karyo) to get into the vault. Their boss, Captain Howard (Joe Pantanliano) wants the guys to get the dope back quickly before Alison Sinclair (Marg Helgenberger) would find any excuse to shut the station down.

Eddie becomes greedy when he takes a couple of blocks of the heroin and has a private spending spree. Mike’s friend who happens to be an escort, Max (Karen Alexander) is invited to party with Eddie in his Al Capone suite. She brings her friend, Julie (Téa Leoni) along. They wasn’t the best decision, because Fouchet barges in the suite with guns blazing. Takes down Eddie and Max. Julie manages to escape.

Showing up at the scene, Mike is distraught that his friend was lying under the sheet. He tries to find the person that killed her by himself. When Mike is away from his desk, Julie calls the precinct. She insists to talk to Mike Lowery only, but Marcus is the only one there. The Captain asks Marcus to pretend to be Mike to secure the only surviving witness before Fouchet’s men come knocking on her door.

The rest of the movie is like a comedy of errors when the two cops try to keep up with the charade of the living the each person’s home life in order to keep Julie from blowing town.

I believe this was the first movie I ever saw with two black male leads playing cops instead being criminals. It might have struck a cord with me that two black men could be the good guys for once. Knowing Michael Bay, he loves to have the explosions, women in scantily clad outfits and often ridiculous dialogue. That is his signature with all of his movies. I enjoyed this movie for basic entertainment value. The lines of dialogue are memorable. I could name a dozen of them, but I don’t want to bore you.

Judgment: A likable action movie with equally likable leads.

Rating: ***1/2

Toy Story (1995)

What chance does a toy like me have against a Buzz Lightyear action figure?

— Woody

In my opinion, Pixar’s latest movies have left me high and dry with brilliant concepts that are poorly executed. I thought that I might revisit the film that put the company on the map; the first feature-length computer animated movie, Toy Story. Never gone out to the see this and the sequel in 3D a couple of months ago, I wanted to see how they started. This movie was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1995 and it is the #159 movie of All Time on IMDb. This movie continues to hit home with the message of friendship, even though they are toys.

During a birthday party for Andy (John Morris), the other toys like Hamm (John Ratzenberger), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Slinky Dog (Jim Varney), Rex (Wallace Shawn), Little Bo Peep (Annie Potts) in his room wanted to know if there is anything new coming into the house, particularly the alpha toy, Woody (Tom Hanks) that is worried of getting replaced.

A team of plastic green army men headed by the Sergeant (R. Lee Ermey) goes with a baby monitor to scope out the gift that Andy has gotten. Everything seems to be fine, when there is a surprise present by Andy’s mother (Laurie Metcalf). It turns out to be Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) who thinks that it is actually a space ranger on a space mission instead of a mass produced product.

Andy and the other toys really like Buzz. Woody feels left out of being the favorite toy of Andy’s. Woody becomes more jealous during the next couple of days before the family moves into another house.

Hearing noises outside of Andy’s window, the other toys tell Buzz about the kid next door, Sid (Erik von Detten), has an infamous reputation for blowing up toys. Two days before the family leaves, Woody overhears the mother tell Andy to bring one toy on their final dinner together to Pizza Planet. He finds it the opportunity to get rid of Buzz by forcing him out of the house. He does, but the other toys think that he murder Buzz. The toys plan to execute him.

Woody tries to find a way to get Buzz back and get back in the good grace of the other toys.

I thought I remember this movie. Watching it again, I believed I saw bits and pieces of it instead of the entire thing. I could not believe that this movie is fifteen years old. The most of the animation still holds up after fifteen years. There is still blockiness with the Scud, Sid’s dog and Sid’s brace face, but I let that slide because the movie was innovative at the time.

Judgment: It’s a good movie to revisit before Toy Story 3 comes out.

Rating: ****1/2

FB Recommendation: “Sense And Sensibility” (1995)

sense_and_sensibility

Always resignation and acceptance. Always prudence and honour and duty. Elinor, where is your heart?

— Marianne

This was one of my favorite movies from 1995, Sense and Sensibility. Flipping through the channels, this movies popped up on the screen. Had to watch it.

Being transported back to 19th century England where the Dashwood family is dealing with the death of their patriarch, John (Tom Wilkinson). They are left destitute after the first Mrs. Dashwood acquires all of his assets.

Trying to find their way in society, they try to marry distinguished men to help their family survive. The mother (Gemma Jones) wants the best for her family. There is the older sister, Elinor (Emma Thompson) that is in love with Edward Ferrars (Hugh Grant), but he is already engaged.

Marianne (Kate Winslet) falls for a handsome gentleman, John Willoughby (Greg Wise) who does not reciprocate her feelings.

There are mix of love, heartbreak, duty and romance in this Ang Lee directed film.

Judgment: I love this costume English dramas. Go watch this film.

Rating: ****1/2

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