Category Archives: 1999

The End of the Affair (1999)

I’ve only made two promises in my life. One was to marry Henry, the other is to stop seeing you. And I’m too weak to keep either.

— Sarah

The next movie that Julianne Moore was nominated for an Oscar, this time for Best Actress for Neil Jordan’s take on the Graham Greene novel, The End of the Affair. Researching this movie, I didn’t know that this was a remake of a 1955 Edward Dmytryk film that I have never seen. I have heard of the movie. It was in the back of mind to see it, because I never had the chance to do it until now. Having watched the movie, I wished that more of the movie then the longing and unrequited love.

As the title suggests there is an affair that ends. Pretty self-explanatory. Who are the two people that are having the affair? A mild-mannered husband, Henry Miles (Stephen Rea) seeks out the advice of his friend and neighbor, Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes) that his wife, Sarah (Moore) might be having an extramarital; affair. Henry holds a card for a private investigator to track his wife’s nightly activities, but he doesn’t want to know the answer. Maurice offers his services to see who Sarah is seeing.

What Henry doesn’t know is that Maurice and Sarah had a torrid affair during the height of the fighting in WWII. They first met in 1939 during a cocktail party in the Miles’ house. They are equally taken with each other. Maurice takes Sarah to the movie-house to see a movie that was based on one of his novellas. During dinner, Sarah confesses that she is unhappy with her decade long marriage to Henry that equates to a platonic relationship than a passionate one. They begin their affair.

Sarah begins to fall in love with Maurice for being boring like Henry. Maurice is a jealous man who is envious that Henry is married to Sarah that he is not. It’s tears himself up inside. He begins to questions her intentions until she cannot take it anymore.

Years later, the old wounds come back when Maurice visits with the private investigator, Parkis (Ian Hart) to see who has Sarah’s affections like he did when they had their rendezvous. Maurice becomes consumed in a way about the way that Sarah is deceiving everyone in her life. Things are not what they seem when Parkis gathers up his evidence about Sarah’s whereabouts.

The movie on the surface is relatively simple. A love story that could never be because of the circumstances of being in a loveless marriage, being in love with a struggling novelist. She would not have the stability and security that she needed. The movie is not a straight up linear narrative. There is a lot of recollections and revelations that breaks up the narrative, which I quite liked.

The strongest part of the movie was the middle, which I can’t say why because it was spoil it. The middle of the movie was fantastic, especially for Sarah’s character. The beginning of the movie felt disjointed with the affair happening right away. There were no wooing or a build up to the affair. Maurice’s character felt so bland and uninteresting. By the end, I didn’t care for him. Speaking of the end, it was the biggest letdown, because I knew what was coming and if Julianne Moore was nominated for Oscar for this then I would know what it was.

Judgment: If the movie focused more on the love between Maurice and Sarah, I would have liked it better.

Rating: ***

Toy Story 2 (1999)

How long will it last, Woody? Do you really think Andy is going to take you to college, or on his honeymoon? Andy’s growing up, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s your choice, Woody. You can go back, or you can stay with us and last forever. You’ll be adored by children for generations.

— Stinky Pete the Prospector


Before I watch the latest offering from Pixar, I wanted to refresh my memory with viewing the #243 film of All Time on IMDB, Toy Story 2 again. I did not see the double feature 3D extravaganza late last year. I thought what is the point. Since I have been weary about Pixar movies, I wanted to see if this movie stacks up on its own. My answer would be “no.”

I am not saying tat Toy Story 2 is bad movie it feels like Pixar was fulfilling an obligation – and it was – for Disney to put this movie out. This movie was taking place right after the first one with Andy (John Morris) going to Cowboy Camp with Woody (Tom Hanks). It is there only one-on-one time together until Woody’s arm is ripped when Andy was roughhousing with his toys. His mother (Laurie Metcalf) shelves Woody. Andy couldn’t take Woody with him.

After the Andy leaves, Andy’s mother has a yard sale and decides to sell some of Andy’s old things, which includes Wheezy (John Ranft), a penguin that was collecting dust because its squeaker is broken. Woody tries to save Wheezy from being sold by riding on the back of the family dog, Buster. The rescue mission hits a snag when Woody falls off. He is picked up by a slimy toy collector named Al McWhiggen (Wayne Knight) who is familiar to the toys by dressing up as a chicken for his Al’s Toy Barn commercials.

Al almost spontaneously combusts when he sees the doll. He wants to buy the doll, but Andy’s mother continually says that the toy is not for sale. When her back is the turned, the slimy snake brazenly snatches Woody. The other toys see this happen. They try to piece together who took Woody and where Woody is held. As is customary, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Mr. Potato Head (Don Rickles), Hamm (John Ratzenberger), Rex (Wallace Shawn) and Slinky Dog (Jim Varney) go on a mission to rescue Woody from Al.

Woody wonders where Al took it. Woody is place in a display case with Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl (Joan Cusack), the horse that acts like a dog, Bull’s-Eye, and Stinky Pete the Prospector (Kelsey Grammar) that is mint condition. They are joyous because with the addition of Woody they could be on display at a museum in Tokyo instead of locked up in storage unit. They let Woody know about the television Woody starred in and the numerous products that was in a shrine in Al’s office. Woody learns about the impact on the youth. Jessie wants Woody to leave Andy behind and come to Japan. Woody wants to stay and be Andy’s toy. That is the dilemma Woody has to go through.

You could see the improvements of the animation from the movie to this one. It’s apparent with the humans, the dog, creating individual space rocks in the environment. I thought the story was lacking a little bit. I understand what the screenwriters were trying to say about the inevitability of kid growing up and the toys will be forgotten. Woody’s journey felt a little cheap. I don’t believe that this movie was better than the first one. The introduction of Jessie and Stinky Pete bothered me to know end. I didn’t think that Joan Cusack or Kelsey Grammar were the right people to voice these characters. Cusack came off brash and not the loving sidekick or Stinky Pete who is very country and have Frasier doing his voice. It doesn’t quite work.

Judgment: It was nice to revisit the characters again, but the not the best in terms of story.

Judgment: ***

1001 Movie Club: Magnolia (1999)

Stephen Jay Schneider chose this movie as one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” He compiled a massive list from the classic to the obscure for his anthology. The most worthy movies are chosen to be on this list. Every year, there is a revision to include the most essential movies to be on the minds of film buffs everywhere.

I was disheartened that Magnolia was chosen as one of the movies that the 1001 Movie Club has to review. I have seen this movie after it made a big splash at the Oscars in 2000. When I saw the film, I did not have the best things to say about the movie. I have chosen not to see the movie again; I am basing this review on memory.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson interweaves almost a dozen tiny stories that seems to not to mesh that somehow thinly interconnects. The narrator Ricky Jay shows the random ironic coincidences of life. One story revolves around a hapless police officer, Jim Kurning (John C. Reilly) is called to the scene of a dead body being discovered in the closet of a woman, Marcie (Cleo King). As the night progresses, other officers that arrive to the scene are ignoring his assessments about what happens.

The anchor of the story is about a television producer, Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) on his deathbed. He is succumbing to late stage cancer, and is cared for by his male nurse, Phil (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Earl asks Phil to find his estranged son, Frank, because his much younger wife, Linda (Julianne Moore) is trying to get enough morphine to euthanize him.

Mackey (Tom Cruise) is self-help “guru” with a foul mouth that teaches man about manipulating women into having sex with them. His plan, “Seduce and Destroy” have men going in droves to listen to his polemics about gullible and dealing with the power of cock. After his seminar, a sly reporter, Gwenovier (April Grace) interviews Mackey about his bullshit rhetoric until she fins a chink in his armor.

A former game show wiz kid, Donnie Smith (William H. Macy) tries to get his life back into order to his former glory. The game show storyline also incorporates a former game show host of “What Do Kids Know?” Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall) that recently finds out that he has cancer. He seeks out to reconnect with his cokehead daughter, Claudia (Melora Walters) to tell her. In addition, there is a stage father, Rick (Michael Bowen) that pushes his son, Stanley (Jeremy Blackman) to win the prize money to help out with his acting career.

I thought that the stories were somewhat interesting, but not so much that I could be invested in most of them. The only part of the movie that marginally liked was the Earl Partridge storyline. I thought that it was very poignant. The ending was huge WTF for me. Really? Really! Tom Cruise got the most acclaim for this movie, because he was a leading man taking a supporting role in an ensemble movie. His personal segment was not that intriguing, but when he shows up in another one. That was great.

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

1001 Movie Club Approved

Judgment: Why do I feel like a Crash all over again?

Rating: **1/2

The Virgin Suicides (1999)

virgin_suicides_ver2

So much has been said about the girls over the years. But we have never found an answer. It didn’t matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls… but only that we had loved them… and that they hadn’t heard us calling… still do not hear us calling them from out of those rooms… where they went to be alone for all time… and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together.

— Narrator

Sofia Coppola’s feature film debut The Virgin Suicides has flew under my radar for years. With the subtle title like this, you know there will be multiple characters that will commit suicide. The review will have spoilers to explain the entire story. At the end of story, what was the message of the movie?

Based on the novel by Jeffrey Eugenides, the action takes place in the summer of 1974 where the hypercritical, ultra-conservative Catholic parents Mr. and Mrs. Libson, (James Woods, Kathleen Turner) have been overly protective on their five daughters; Cecilia, Lux, Bonnie, Mary and Therese (Hanna Hall, Kirsten Dunst, Chelse Swain, A.J. Cook, Leslie Hayman).

Giovanni Ribisi narrates the movie after the fact. He tries to piece together the events that lead to the titular suicides of that particular summer.

The youngest daughter, Cecilia is found in the bathtub with her wrists slit. Found beside her is a tarot card of The Virgin Mary with the movie number inscribed on it, “555-MARY.” The neighborhood is gossiping about why she did it. The family is sent into a tailspin. Cecilia is sent to therapist, Dr. Horniker (Danny DeVito) to figure out what is wrong with her.

The doctor concludes that her suicide attempt was a cry out for help. He suggests having a social gathering outside of school. The parents relent to have a small party in the basement of the house. The party in her honor, but Cecilia is still not having fun and wants to be excused. Few moments later, Cecilia finally kills herself by impaling herself on the iron fence in the front yard.

The parents think that overprotect the girls from the world would help them be safe, but their actions are driving them away. Lux is the rebellious girl out of the group. She wants to be like the typical teenager, but she can’t. The popular guy at school, Trip Fountaine (Josh Hartnett) wants to be with her. She plays coy.

Until one day at the prom, they hook up. The parental units put the girls under makeshift house arrest. With nothing to do, the girls were left with no other choice.

Not being aware of this plot of the movie, except for the title, I thought that there would be a pact between the kids to commit suicide. That didn’t exactly happen. The aesthetic on the movie was reminiscent of the seventies with the golden yellow hues filling the frame. I appreciated that. What’s up with the extreme close-ups of Kirsten’s Dunst’s face? Was there supposed to be a correlation between the diseased trees getting cut down in the neighborhood and the suicides? Subtle. I have one final question. When Lux and Trip hooked up, did they have sex? ‘Cause the title wouldn’t apply to her.

Judgment: An interesting take on teenage angst, but it leaves you confused.

Rating: **1/2

Office Space (1999)

office_space

I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven, I told Bill that if Sandra is going to listen to her headphones while she’s filing then I should be able to listen to the radio while I’m collating so I don’t see why I should have to turn down the radio because I enjoy listening at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven.

— Milton Waddams

Mike Judge’s cult classic Office Space is a contemporary look at what the corporate infrastructure is at this point. Ten years later, the movie is still as relevant as it was when it was released in 1999. Except, for the whole Y2K-the whole world is going to end-thing.

Based on his animated short series, Milton, this live adaptation delves into the mundane interworkings at a computer Company, Initech. The action follows Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) on the atypical day as a software developer. Two of his eight bosses, Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole) and Dom (Joe Bays) lecture him about TPS reports.

Two follow software workers, Michael Bolton (David Herman) and Samir (Ajay Naidu) are on the same page with Peter. They don’t want to be there dealing with the droning of the receptionist, Nina (Kinna McInroe), staring at their steel gray cubicle walls and getting eye strain from mindlessly pounding the keyboard preparing the company for Y2K switch.. They dread everyday that they have to step foot in the Ninth Circle of Hell.

Their paranoid co-worker, Tom (Richard Reihle) is on high alert that the company has hired efficiency experts to see who could be fired, the Bobs (John C. McGinley, Paul Willson).

Peter’s cheating girlfriend, Anne (Alexandra Wentworth) wants him to see an occupational hypnotherapist, Dr. Swanson (Michael McShane) to help him out his stupor. During the session, the therapist has a heart attack and dies before Peter could snap out of his hypnotic state.

This leaves Peter in a relaxed state that he could ask out the cute waitress from Chotchkie’s, Joanna (Jennifer Aniston), who bound over hating their jobs and their love of kung fu. Peter starts missing work. Without Peter to boss around, Lumbergh sets his sights on the wimpy mumbler, Milton (Stephen Root).

During the course of the firings, Peter carefree attitude with the Bobs granted him a promotion and firing Michael and Samir. That does not sit too well the trio.

I worked in a couple of cubicle in my days. I could relate to the workers at Initech. Sometimes I did have the case of the Mondays, sometimes you daydream that the building would disappear or that you would stick it to the corporate ass kickers that are profiting on your hard work. This is like Norma Rae for the new millennium

Being that this movie is ten years old, it’s a little dated with the hoopla from the Y2K panic at this. There is nothing else negative to say about this movie. The rap music soundtrack strangely fits here. The scenes with the malfunctioning printer are classic.

Judgment: This movie is a battle cry to rise up against the greedy pigs running the corporate world. Just kidding.

Rating: ****1/2

The Boondock Saints (1999)

boondock_saints

Now, you Irish cops are perking up. That’s two sound theories in one day, neither of which deal with abnormally sized men. Kind of makes me feel like Riverdancing.

— Paul Smecker

Many people have heard of Troy Duffy’s movie, The Boondock Saints for a while, since the it was released almost tne years ago.

Everybody generally know the story of the numerous delays with the release of the film because of Columbine. Duffy saying that studios were fighting over the movie to get to produce it, etc. Duffy’s ego almost leaving him broke and all that being in the documentary, Overnight. Personally, it wasn’t worth it.

The McManus brothers, Murphy (Norman Reedus) and Connor (Sean Patrick Flanery) are local Irish vigilante heroes living in Boston. When their mutual friend, Doc’s (Gerard Parkes) bar is threatened to be shut down by the Russian mob, the brothers kill the henchmen.

The police are all over the case, including the kooky Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe) along with Detectives Dolly (David Ferry), Duffy (Brian Mahoney) and Greenley (Bob Marley).

The brothers turn themselves in and they become unlikely heroes of the neighborhood. Another friend of theirs, “Funny Man” Rocco (David Della Rocco) joins the brothers to dole out their own form of justice.

Every time that the groups kills the scum of Bostonia, Smecker knows everything that they have done. When he comes to the scene, there is a flashback to what happened.

There are some ridiculous situations. They are not professional hitmen, but they could hang upside down falling out of the ceiling and shoot up the entire room. WTF! They are deeply Catholic men, but they are killing people. Would that conflict with their religious beliefs?

I read that this movie has a sequel coming out this year. Why? It’s a gratuitous display of guns, violence and gore that is not necessary. The plot meandered. There was no point in their motivations.

Judgment: This movie is cult classic, but I beg to differ with that assessment.

Rating: **1/2

Music of the Heart (1999)

music_of_the_heart

I want you all to take a second and just… breathe. Deep breaths. Now listen to me. I want you all to play from your heart. Forget about the audience, watch me, you’ll do just fine. Just play from here.

— Roberta Guaspari

Saturday evening when I was looking after my little brother, he had the channel changed to Movieplex and Music of the Heart was playing. I haven’t seen this movie in a couple of years and so we saw it as we were eating our pizza for dinner.

I was surprised to find out that Wes Craven directed this movie. I am glad that he took a different genre of movie. I have to say that if I saw this movie in its original theaterical release, then I would have been more enraptured by it.

The movie is about Roberta Guaspari (Meryl Streep), a substitute teacher that teaches violin to underprivileged Harlem students after she is abandoned by her husband, Brian Turner (Aidan Quinn).

Devastated, she slowly rebuilds her life with the help of her mother, Assunta (Cloris Leachman). The violin program grows over the next ten years. Over a thousand students have taken her program.

Until one day, she is abruptly fired, because the school district jettisoned the arts programs. Roberta vows to fight back.

In the helping hands of the principal; Janet Williams (Angela Bassett), fellow teacher, Isabel Vasquez (Gloria Estefan) and budding photogapher, Dorothea von Haeften (Jane Leeves), they organize a concert to help save the violin program for another year.

I like the movie, but it’s a typical “fantastic musical teacher trimpuhs at the end” film like Mr. Holland’s Opus. They are good, but formulaic.

Judgment: If you are looking for a nice inspirational movie, this is up your alley.

Rating: ***

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

See, it doesn’t hurt anymore! Fuck, fuckety, fuck, fuck, fuck!

— Cartman

I was a big fan of the television show back when it was popular and good in 1999. It was in the same year that South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut was released. I did not get a chance to see the movie in theaters.

When the movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song for “Blame Canada,” I wanted to see the movie. It have been years since I have last saw it.

There are some genuine laughs in this movie. Maybe it’s because the kids could curse in this movie, besides being bleeped out on Comedy Central.

The story revolves around Stan, Kenny, Cartman and Kenny who wants to see the new Terrance and Phillip movie, “Asses of Fire.” It is an “R” rated film and the kids pay a homeless guy to sneak them in.

While seeing the movie, they learn how to cuss like a sailor from Terrance and Phillip. They begin to curse out their teachers, their parents and each other. The parents arrest Terrance and Phillip which causes WWIII between the U.S. and Canada.

It was stupidly fun, subversive musical in the vein of “Avenue Q”.

Judgment: The musical numbers are catchy, but the film lost its luster.

Rating: ***1/2

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