Category Archives: Romantic

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Hey, Cameron. You realize if we played by the rules right now we’d be in gym?

— Ferris

I have to say that I am surprised that it has taking me this long to write this review on John Hughes’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I watched the film almost a month ago and now I have to chance to write about it. Weird. I must admit that I have not seen this movie in its entirety. People regard that this movie is his masterpiece. I would beg to differ.

A smart-alecky Chicago teen named Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) pretends to be sick so that he would miss a test that he did not study for. His parents, Tom and Katie (Lyman Ward, Cindy Pickett) buy into his fake illness, but his sister Jeanie (Jennifer Grey) can see through his bullshit. She tries to rat him out, but the parental units do not want to hear it.

When everybody leaves the house, Ferris basks in his day of leisure by addressing the camera to talk about his master plan of spending his free day. His best friend, Cameron (Alan Ruck) is actually at home sick in his home. Without having a car of his own, Ferris calls Cameron to ask to borrow the classic of Cameron’s dad. Ferris also wants to have his girlfriend, Sloan (Mia Sara) in on the action, by pretending that her grandmother had died to get her out of school.

They think that they get off scott free, but the Dean of Students, Ed Rooney (Jeffrey Jones) knows that Ferris is faking being sick. Ferris has been absent eight earlier times during the school year. Rooney tries to find a way to catch Bueller in the act so he could humiliate him.

I am not the first person or the last person to skip school. Almost every teenager does it at some point in their lives. Some get caught and others not. I thought that nobody could do all of things in a span of a couple of hours. How the hell can you go to a baseball game and be in a parade? Really?

Judgment: I know that this is a movie, but it seems a little far-fetched to me. Ferris is slick, but he is not an evil genius by any means.

Rating: 6/10

The Back-Up Plan (2010)

I have a feeling you and CRM-1014 are going to make beautiful babies together.

— Dr. Scott Harris

The only reason why I wanted to see The Back-up Plan is because I wanted to see Alex O’Loughlin shirtless. That’s it. I didn’t care about the ridiculous plot, the cookie cutter storyline or the one dimensional characters. I wanted to see him take his top off. That is all.

Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) is a pet store owner that is tired of going the traditional route of finding a guy, getting married and have a family. She is tired of dating losers. She decides to cut out the middle man and be artificially inseminated by Dr. Scott Harris (Robert Klein) with sperm number CRM-1014.

After leaving the doctor’s office, Zoe has a feeling of euphoria. Like she is living in a world full of rainbows and unicorns, when she tries to hail a cab and another guy, Stan (O’Loughlin) get in the same cab she does. Here is the meet-cute. Isn’t that nauseating to watch? Where the fuck did he come from? He must have flew across the street to not get hit by a car. They fight over the cab until both of them get out in frustration. They bump into each other again at the subway. Coincidence? Hmm…

Zoe joins a support group for single mothers headed up by Carol (Melissa McCarthy). They are content about not  having men in their lives. Zoe had yet another run-in with Stan at a farmer’s market when he at a booth selling cheese from his farm, Little Goat. they have a little miscommunication when they meet again — small world — at a book signing for the Dog Whisper,  Caesar Milan. Stan asks her out on a date.

Things are moving fast when Zoe finds out that she is pregnant– not by Stan, but by the sperm she purchased at the sperm bank. How can Zoe tell Stan about what she has done? Will he forgive her?

The movie is fluff. That’s all it is. I am not surprised that the movie is not good. I expected it. The only good thing about this movie is you guessed it, topless Alex O’Loughin. It is nice to see.

Judgment: I suggest googling Alex’ pics from this movie online. Don’t bother with this movie.

Rating: 5/10

The Piano (1993)

Jane Campion’s The Piano is one of my favorite movies of all time. I regretted not having reviewed this for the LAMBs in the Director’s Chair with her and Kathryn Bigelow a couple of months ago. The movie won Oscars for Best Actress, Supporting Actress and Original Screenplay. Watching the film again made me marvel at the subtle poetry displayed onscreen.

Ada McGrath (Hunter) is a mute that has not spoken since she was six years old. She is set to be married to Alisdair Stewart (Sam Neill) who she had never seen. She has to move across the sea to New Zealand with her daughter, Flora (Anna Paquin) in tow. The boat she is traveling in is packed with crates of clothes, household items and her cherished piano.

When the ladies arrive on the beach, they have to wait for Mr. Stewart to come and take them to their new home. They had to camp out on the beach overnight until Stewart came with a party of Māori tribe members with his guide, George Baines (Harvey Keitel). Stewart learns right then and there that Ada is mute and only her daughter could interpret the words that she says in sign language.

Stewart wants to take everything on the beach, except for the piano because it would have been too much of a burden to carry. Ada insists on taking the piano with them. It is her only prized possession. It is her way of communicating what she is feeling to the world. Eventually, she realizes that she has to leave the piano behind for the time being.

The marriage is not joyous. There is not love there at all. Ada does not show any affection to Stewart. It really bothers him. When Stewart leaves for a quick trip, Ada and Flora come knocking on the door of Baines to ask to go get the piano. In exchange for getting her piano back into her possession, Baines asks her to teach him how to play. The catch is that he doesn’t want to play, he wants to see Ada plays. Their lessons become increasingly awkward as Baines slowly seduces her.

This movie is beautiful to watch. It’s very moody with the blue wash, the torrential rain and the wonderful score by Michael Nyman. The acting in this movie make it what it is. You think that you are not going to like the love story that is happening, but you are strangely drawn to it. The piano plays a major part of why I love this movie. I have this theory that when a person plays a piano, they win an Oscar. Think about it. Adrien Brody is The Pianist, Jaime Foxx in Ray, Ellen Bustryn in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, Geoffrey Rush in Shine, the list goes on.

The one thing that bothers me about this movie is the Sam Neill character. I know that he is supposed to be the other guy, but I wish I could have how did he fall in love with Ada to make him do some of the things he did in the movie.

Judgment: A beautiful movie to watch and marvel.

Rating: 8.5/10

Jules and Jim (1962)

After I was impressed by a viewing of François Truffaut’s The 400 Blows, I wanted to watch another one of his films. The Criterion Collection of his film, Jules and Jim was on the shelf and I thought that I might pick it up. At first that I thought the movie was going to be about a couple called Jules and Jim, but I was wrong.

The movie that the story of Jules (Oskar Werner), an Austrian transplant and his extremely close friendship with his Parisian friend, Jim (Henri Serre) before World War I. They have always been together. Jim has a long affair with Gilberte (Vanna Urbino) who is madly in love with him, but he cannot return the favor.

The dynamics of their friendship changes when the headstrong, Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) comes into their lives. they are stuck that she looks like a sculpture that they were both drawn to while viewing slides at their friend, Albert’s (Boris Bassiak) place.

They become fast friends. Jules is developing feelings for Catherine. The trio buys a house where they could all live. Jules wants to marry Catherine. To complicate things further, Jim begins to have feelings for Catherine as well. World War I happens and they lose touch with each other until after the war where Jules and Catherine are married with a daughter, Sabine (Sabine Haudepin).

Jim learns that Catherine is not happy with her marriage to Jules and wants a way out. Maybe Jim is her only chance of true happiness.

The movie is interesting. It’s mostly about two friends who are in love with the same woman. You think it would rip their friendship apart, but it doesn’t. You have this woman who is unsure about what or who she wants in her life. Catherine was a progressive woman who will not be pigeonholed into the typical housewife role like many others.

I was not at all interested in the story. It went back and forth for almost two hours. I started to get bored with the movie after a certain point. When it over, I felt nothing.

Judgment: I could only recommend this to a Truffaut fan.

Rating: 6/10

Groundhog Day (1993)

Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.

— Phil

I always wanted to see # 157 Film of All-Time on IMDb, Groundhog Day, but I never got the chance to watch until a couple of days ago. I thought maybe this film would help me, because I feel like I am stuck in the same day repeatedly. I try to change the outcome, but it’s always the same. Besides, the great character actor Stephen Tobolowsky talked about some memories of the movie on his podcast, The Tobolowsky Files. I had a duty to watch it.

A jaded Pittsburgh weatherman, Phil Conners (Bill Murray) is sent once again to Punxsutawney for the fourth year in a row to cover the Groundhog Day festivities. He goes on the trip with his new producer, the bubbly Rita (Andie MacDowell) and the cameraman, Larry (Chris Elliott).

Rita wants to talk more about the preparation that goes into watching a groundhog being plucked out of a stump to look at its shadow. Phil is not interested in doing that, because he wants to do bigger and better things than cover a silly festival.

His day starts with him waking up at 6 am to go downstairs to have his coffee where he run into the Man in the Hallway (Ken Hudson Campbell) who wants to talk about the upcoming festival. The owner of the bed and breakfast that he is staying in, Mrs. Lancaster (Angela Paton) asks him if he wants to stay the night. He declines. He want to leave immediately after his segment.

An old classmate of Phil’s runs into him on the street, Ned Reyerson (Tobolowsky). He doesn’t remember him. Ned rambles on about their past run ins until Phil tries to make a swift exit and steps in a puddle. Phil goes to the festival to see that Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter.

Phil wants to leave, but a huge snowstorm blows into the area. He said that it would hit another place. The only way out of the town is closed. Phil thinks that his day cannot get any worse. He tries to shower with cold water and goes to sleep.

Waking up the next day, Phil feels a strong sense of déjà vu. He thinks that the town is trying to play a trick on him, but it seems like it’s no trick. He begins to freak out and taking out his frustrations on the people that he already met. He remember what happened before, but everybody else doesn’t. He is wondering why is he reliving the same day. He tries to change the scenario, but it doesn’t help.

People have told me to change the ways that you do things, you could change your outlook. It’s so hard to do that when you have hit rock bottom and there is no way out. I should take some lessons from the movie and input it into my life. Try to work life in different configurations to see what works and what doesn’t.

Judgment: It’s an essential movie for people who want to have existential questions.

Rating: 8/10

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

You lay life on a table and cut out all the tumors of injustice. Marvelous.

— Zhivago

The winner of five Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay, Doctor Zhivago is another movie that I have never seen before. Besides, the lead male character in Must Love Dogs watched this movie every time that he is depressed. I wanted to see what the fuss with about. Let me tell you, it’s not that good.

Based on the book by Boris Pasternak, the setting is the Bolshevik Revolution when a poet Yuri (Omar Sharif) is studying to be a doctor practicing general medicine. There is a young idealistic man, Pascha (Tom Courtenay) is handing out leaflets about the upcoming revelation when he is almost arrested, but his 17-year-old fiancé, Lara (Julie Christie) intervenes. She wants to stop with his radical ways before they get married. There is a complication with the relationship. Lara has an affair with the manipulative Komarovsky (Rod Steiger).

One night, a peaceful demonstration erupts into a massacre outside of high society party that Lara and Yuri attends.Yuri watches from the balcony. He quickly rushes to the injured people to aid them, but he is urged to stay out of the conflict. Pascha is injured in the fight and has to leave the city to survive. He wants to take a job teaching.

When Lara’s mother takes ill, Lara and Yuri finally meet, but Yuri’s learns of Lara’s relationship with Komarovsky. After Victor Komarovsky wrongs Lara, she seeks revenge on him. World War I separate all the characters until Yuri and Lara meet up when he is doctor on the front line and her a volunteer nurse. They have a bond with each other even thought they are both married Lara to Pascha and Yuri to Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin).

From the first frame of this movie, I knew that I was going to hate this movie. These characters are awful. Why should I feel sympathy for any of them? Then, I was confused by Russians speaking with British accents sometimes speaking in French. What? The characters keep referring to each other by at least three different names. Besides, the movie is over three hours long. Mind you, there are three hour movies that I loved like Seven Samurai or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but come on. It was like torture watching. I hated this movie with a passion. I didn’t care about what happened to them whether they died or lived. Who cares?

Judgment: It was complete waste of time. Drivel.

Rating: 1.5/10

The Upside of Anger (2005)

I believe that The Upside of Anger was the unsung hero of 2005. I wanted to see the movie during its theatrical run because something about Joan Allen and Kevin Costner pulled me to it. I loved the movie and put it on my top ten list of that year. I even owned the DVD, but all you say may know that I had to sell it to buy food. The two lead gives great performances that they were nominated for Critics’ Choice Awards and nothing else. Shame.

Terry Wolfmeyer (Allen) devolves into a bitter, resentful state when her husband leaves her for his Swedish secretary. She is a complete mess, hanging around the house in her nightgown with a cigarette in one hand and a vodka tonic in the other. She has to care for her four daughters; the uptight college student, Hadley (Alicia Witt); the working girl, Andy (Erika Christensen), the anorexic ballet dancer, Emily (Keri Russell) and the introspective, Popeye (Evan Rachel Wood).

Former baseball player/radio show host Denny Davies (Costner) comes by the house to check up on the girls, because he was a friend of Terry’s husband. He talks to Terry about the proposed neighborhood that would be built in the back of the Wolfmeyer property. Terry doesn’t care anything about the new neighborhood, she wants to drink her troubles away. Denny joins her as drinking buddies, because he is clinging on to his former baseball glory. He is getting pressure from his producer, Shep (Mike Binder) to talk about baseball instead of spewing on about his life. His ratings are suffering.

The relationship between Terry and Denny changes when they start to have a deeper connection than getting hammered. Everybody’s lives will be profoundly affected when relationships are tested and an unexpected discovery happens to them.

I cannot gush more about this movie that I always have. I thought that it was screwed out of some more awards attention. Joan Allen was real and embodied the character. I felt for her as she went through her journey. Costner was in top form playing another former baseball player. You kinda feel like he is typecasted, because he was played a baseball player in Bull Durham, Field of Dreams and For Love of the Game. I feel like this is the swan song of those characters. Writer/director, Mike Binder probably made the conscious decision to have Costner retire his signature characters.

Judgment: Give this movie a chance, you won’t regret it.

Rating: 8/10

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

You’re too good for me, George. You’re a hundred times too good. And I’d make you most unhappy, most. That is, I’d do my best to.

— Tracy Lord

It’s a known fact that Katharine Hepburn was considered box office poison during the early part of her career. It wasn’t until she went to Broadway with the #244 Film of All-Time on IMDB, The Philadelphia Story that her career got back on track. It was a smash hit and ran for year until MGM purchased the rights to the play by Philip Barry and created the motion picture. The movie was nominated for six Academy Awards and won Oscars for Best Actor Jimmy Stewart and Best Adapted Screenplay. The farcical nature of the film seemed unnerving to me.

A Philadelphian socialite named Tracy Elizabeth Lord (Hepburn) is getting married to her nouveau riche fiancé, George Kittridge (John Howard) at her parents’ house. The whole action of the movies takes place in the span of three days. Tracy is prepping for her wedding with her mother, Margret (Mary Nash) and her younger sister, Dinah (Virginia Weidler). Their no-good father, Seth (John Halliday) is not invited to the wedding.

A tabloid magazine, Spy headed by Sidney Kidd (Henry Daniell) wants to infiltrate the wedding to get the scoop on the nuptials when Tracy refuses access to the event. He wants to have his reporter, Macaulay Connor (Jimmy Stewart) and his photographer girlfriend, Elizabeth Imbrie (Ruth Hussey) to be a part of the wedding party. How would they do it, you may ask? They enlist the help of former Spy employee and Tracy’s ex-husband, C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) to pretend that they are friends of Tracy’s younger brother, Julius.

The trio have their plan of action. Macaulay and Liz are looking around the rooms to find any dirt as Dexter schmoozes with his former in-laws. When Tracy sees Dexter, the tension between them is palpable. She wants him out of her house and out of the wedding. She knows that the people pretending to be friends of her brother are working for Dexter. The family pretends to be an eccentric family when the real scoop of the story unfolds with Tracy, George, Macaulay and Dexter.

The movie is a pleasant romp. A comedy of errors, but there were very few genuine laughs in the movie for me. The acting was a little hammy for me.

There were some moments of heart between Stewart and Hepburn. I’m gonna go on a feminist rant here, but I hate it when a strong woman that doesn’t want to get married would settle with an asshole that treated them like shit. their only motivation is not to end up alone. This was the same problem that I had with His Girl Friday, also starring Cary Grant– I will get to him in a moment. A guy could be a complete bastard to the get the girl and she falls for it. It pisses me off. I know that these movies were before the sexual revelation, but come on. It makes me question the intelligence of these women in the end.

I have a major issue with Cary Grant. I have seen couple of his movies that I have notice that he shows no range. He is delivering lines that would cut through Hepburn’s character, but feels like he is saying the lines. He reminds me of Bill Paxton in his delivery. He has this stoic look on his face. It bothers the hell out of me.

Judgment: A nice fluffy movie with not that much substance.

Rating: 6.5/10

Eat Pray Love (2010)

Maybe my life hasn’t been so chaotic. It’s just the world that is and the only real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.

— Elizabeth Gilbert

I haven’t heard glowing remarks for Ryan Murphy latest directorial effort, Eat Pray Love, based on the best-selling novel. I was in the mood to see fluffy romantic comedy, because I was having a crappy day. Well, the movie did not put me in a better mood.

Julia Roberts plays a travel writer named Elizabeth Gilbert. She travels to the most gorgeous places in the world, but she doesn’t have the best life. Her husband, Stephen (Billy Crudup) is very unsure about what he wants to do with his life. It causes conflict with the two, because Elizabeth wants to have kids, but she sees that will never be the case. At a party, Stephen holds Delia’s(Viola Davis) baby like hold a big bag of poop.

Liz have an epiphany when she is reminded of the words from a wise man from one of the places she visited, Bali, Ketut (Hadi Subiyanto) that she will have a major change and that she will come back to find herself. Liz decides to leave her husband, but she winds up in the arms of a vegetarian actor, David (James Franco). Their relationship is on the fast track, but Liz reminds herself that she has either been with a guy or breaking up with a guy.

She wants to take a vacation for a year to find herself and find inner peace. Her loved ones think that she is a fool for doing such a thing. She wants to visit Italy to find comfort with herself, India to reconcile her mind and body and finally Bali to fulfill Ketut’s prediction for her.

I thought that the movie was going to be like Under the Tuscan Sun where a woman is in a crossroads in her life and she is trying to find herself. I get that what was Ryan Murphy’s intention, but it did not translate well on-screen to me. I saw glimmers of it here and there, but not that much to keep me interested in the story.

There is something about Julia Roberts that bothers me. I don’t know if it’s the way her face looks, those three veins protruding out of her forehand that freaks me out.

You have a solid cast with Richard Jenkins as Richard, a man from Texas trying to have a solace in an ashram or Javier Bardem as a businessman who is trying to woo Liz. The story was rushed is some ways and dragged on in others. I kept thinking throughout the movie, when will it be over? It was over two hours long. It felt like five.

Judgment: There was a choice of watching the theatrical or the director’s cut, I thought why bother with the director’s cut.

Rating: 4.5/10

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Can you hear me? I don’t want this any more! I want to call it off!

— Joel

Everybody had been talking about how great the #61 Film of All-Time on IMDb, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is. I have only seen bits and pieces of the movie through the years of its release back in 2004. My greatest fear was that the movie was not gonna live up to the hype. The movie won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and it should have won a couple of more. I wish I could own this movie and watch it repeatedly.

A social awkward man, Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) is reeling over the break up with his tangerine-tinted girlfriend, Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet). When he is venting his frustration over Clementine seemingly ignoring him to Rob and Carrie (David Cross, Jane Adams) when Rob hands Joel a card from a company called Lacuna. The card says that Clementine has had a procedure to erase Joel from her mind.

Joel is heartbroken and intrigued to see what this procedure is all about. He finds the office of Lacuna where Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wikinson) is performing the procedure of the heartbroken patients. He wants to have the procedure done as a way of getting back at Clementine for being so heartless to erase him from her mind.

The process of mind erasure is to gather all the items that remind you of the person that you are trying to have wiped from your memory so it could build a road map to which sections of the brain to target the memories. Mierzwiak’s associates from the clinic, Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Partrick (Elijah Wood) arrive at Joel’s apartment while he sleeps to begin the erasure process.

As the erasure happens, Joel is fine having the end of their relationship cleaned off. When the erasure starts going into the happiest moments of their relationship, Joel want to be able to keep the memories, because she still holds a torch for Clementine. He tries to find clever ways to hide the good Clementine inside the inner workings of his brain.

This movie is visceral and devastating to watch. Everyone knows the feeling of heartbreak and wish that there was a procedure to help erasure the bad memories out. Those bad memories are a life lessons to find out what you don’t want in the next relationship so you won’t repeat the same dating pattern. Those bad times shape you into who you are as a person and what you can give to a relationship.

People call this one of the greatest love stories of all-time. I wouldn’t go that far, but identity to the plight these characters are in. My life was on-screen. The movie was off-kilter, surreal and mind fuck. This is Charlie Kaufman we are talking about. This is his M.O.

There is one thing about this movie that I didn’t get or maybe I am reading too much into it. What happened with the relationship with Patrick? If you know what I mean, then you’ll understand. Was that a dropped plot line?

Judgment: This is a raw, beautiful, self-destructive story about love.

Rating: 9.5/10

%d bloggers like this: