True Grit (2010) is a lot more gritty than the original. Since westerns were generally brighter back in the day. True Grit (2010) takes things in a more realistic direction with more historically accurate outfits and locations. This version is also directed by critically acclaimed directors the Coen Brothers. While their work has always had western themes. This would be their first straight forward western.
I’m certain I’ve always been aware of the original, but I think the remake is how I took an initial interest in the True Grit story. For the most part True Grit (2010) plays out the same as the 1969 version. With the hunt for Tom Chaney. A lot of the dialogue (even the old fashioned stuff) remains the same. Which is definitely not a strike against the movie. In fact, I would argue that the remake is better than the original. As it trims off the unnecessary exposition and keeps certain things a mystery. They’re both great movies, but they’re both part of two different eras.
Jeff Bridges is the perfect gruff actor to play the iconic character Rooster Cogburn. Matt Damon is an interesting choice, but worthy enough to play LaBeouf. Like the 1969 version, Mattie Ross steals the show. This time being played by a young Hailee Steinfeld. She’s absolutely brilliant in such a mature role. Leading to many Oscar nominations just like the original. True Grit (2010) has the perfect amount of grit to stand on its own.
Rooster Cogburn takes aim
Remake of: True Grit (1969)
True Grit is the first John Wayne movie that I saw. I’ve seen many westerns in my life, but no previous John Wayne movie felt as important as this one. Since True Grit is the movie he finally won an Oscar for. After playing a cowboy for decades, it seemed more like a lifetime achievement award. True Grit is all about Mattie Ross. A young girl seeking vengeance for her father who was killed by the coward Tom Chaney. So she enlists the help of Rooster Cogburn. An aging eye patch wearing U.S. Marshall with “true grit.” Coming along for the ride is La Boeuf, a Texas ranger.
While John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn is certainly a stand out. Especially in the famous “Fill your hand, you son of a b*tch” scene. I would argue that Mattie is the one who steals the show. Since Kim Darby was so young when she played the character. Like most westerns at the time, True Grit is slow and puts a lot of emphasis into the journey. With the occasional shoot out and horseback ride along the way. Despite that, it still received a G rating. True Grit is definitely one of the most iconic westerns there is.
Rooster Cogburn takes aim
War of the Worlds is the 2005 remake of the famous story The War of the Worlds. It’s notable to me for many reasons. It’s actually the first Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, and horror (sort of) movie I saw in theaters. I say sort of because I never categorize alien movies in the horror category. Even if they are scary, I lean more towards science fiction. Heck, I think it might have even been the first Tom Cruise movie I saw period. His previous movie’s didn’t exactly call to me back then.
Steven Spielberg of course has made many classics, but War of the Worlds was his first movie made since I was born that I could ask to go see. Unfortunately, War of the Worlds is also the first movie I regretted going to the theater to see. Since it practically traumatized me. More so than the original. With its unpleasant atmosphere, constant destruction, and loud noises. Although it does follow parts of the book more closely. The Martian tripods are the most faithful tripods put to screen. Standing tall and disintegrating anyone in its path.
This time the story follows Tom Cruise as a father trying to protect his kids during the invasion. His daughter is played by a young Dakota Fanning and known for how much she screams… a lot! While his punk son is the most annoying character in the movie. In the end, the Martians are once again defeated by common bacteria. Something that doesn’t hold up as well in this version. Maybe I was too young to appreciate it, but I just don’t have much love for this version of War of the Worlds.
The alien tripod
Remake of: The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds is the high standard for all alien invasion movies. It’s the most well known story H.G. Wells has ever written. As it detailed Martians invading Earth through meteors that fall from the sky. Concealing flying tripods that disintegrate anyone in their path. Leading to mass panic and military involvement. Until the Martians succumb to the littlest things God has put on the Earth. Which everybody knows is common bacteria.
The War of Worlds also lead to the most infamous radio show ever broadcast. When the late great director Orson Welles (no relation) performed his broadcast on halloween in 1938. It caused a similar mass panic that some claim lead to death. All this attention finally lead to the movie The War of the Worlds in 1953. Albeit with a few notable differences. The most obvious change being the design of the tripods. As they don’t even have the legs that make them tripods. Instead they’re flying saucers with a telescopic heat ray attached to it. It’s still just as intimidating though.
My mom really wants the movie’s poster with the ships on it. In fact, she was the one who first introduced us to the movie. I saw it when I was a kid and it creeped me out. Even if the women are a little “50’s” acting. In moments like when we see the Martians for the first time. Large brown creatures with a green, blue, and red face. In the end, The War of the Worlds movie draws its strength from the power of faith and prayer. Something I would definitely be doing a lot of in case aliens ever decide to invade Earth.
The alien ships
Her does something different with the human/non-human love story formula. This time it’s a man who falls in love with an OS (Operating System). A disembodied voice designed with a personality. This seemed like an interesting idea when I first discovered it. While I wasn’t completely sold on Spike Jones, I still gave it a chance.
Her is one of those science fiction movies set in a future that’s not too much different than ours. Apart from people using OSes in their daily lives and some kind of holographic video game. Joaquin Phoenix plays the mustachioed Theodore Twombly. A depressed divorcee who writes professional personalized letters. His system is updated one day with a new A.I. OS.
That’s when Samantha comes in. She’s sassy, funny, and any guys dream woman. Scarlett Johansson is sexy in the role with nothing more than her voice. Strangely she wasn’t their first casting choice. They fall in love, but the problem is her not being real and not having a body. Making phone sex their only option, or some sort of surrogate body program. Her did manage to convince me of its romance and I liked the red pink color pallet. Since it relies heavily on dialogue, it won Best Original Screenplay. Her shows us that communication is key.
Theodore (human) meets Samantha (OS)
Dumb and Dumber To is to times as dumb as Dumb and Dumber. It’s also such a huge disappointment and currently the last movie the Farrelly Brothers directed. Maybe Jim Carrey is right not to do sequels. He did When Nature Calls immediately after Pet Detective, but Dumb and Dumber To is a different story. It took 20 years to convince him to reprise his role as Lloyd.
Since I loved Dumb and Dumber so much, I was understandably excited for the sequel. Even the title seemed clever (in a dumb way). Then I saw the trailer and grew a bit more worried. I still ended up going to the theater, but all my laughs were pity laughs. Dumb and Dumber To is gross, mean spirited, misogynistic, vaguely racist, and just plain unfunny. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are now sad old men desperate for laughs. Although one of the biggest problems was giving more attention to Harry. Jeff Daniels has always been more of a serious actor. He was surprisingly funny in the first movie, but it doesn’t work here.
They also copy every joke from before. Only far less funny with almost no understanding of what made it funny in the first place. The plot this time involves the two searching for their long lost daughter and other things. A problem I have with modern comedies like this is a lack of subtlety. I hate when everybody, even supporting characters, are trying to be funny. Jennifer Lawrence really dodged a bullet. Dumb and Dumber To is why some comedy favorites are better left alone.
Harry (right) and Lloyd (left) talk over the phone
Preceded by: Dumb and Dumber
Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd is even dumberer than Dumb and Dumber. With perhaps the dumbest title I’ve ever seen. They seriously thought “Dumberer” was a good title. What makes it worse is that they extend the title even further by parodying When Harry Met Sally… How do you make a Jim Carrey sequel without using Carrey, but still using the same characters? Just make it a prequel (that nobody asked for).
The second I saw the trailer that parodies Lord of the Rings, I knew it was a bad idea. Instead Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are replaced by young discount actors. Their impressions aren’t too bad, but nobody cares. They meet in high school and end up being part of a fraudulent special needs class with a tiny bus. Some of the jokes are done once again, but lamer. Lloyd’s dream, Harry in the bathroom, chasing the same girl, even the ending where they turn down multiple attractive girls. While at the same time adding cringy jokes like the slurpee scene. Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd really does live up to its title.
Harry (left) and Lloyd (right) sip slurpees
Followed by: Dumb and Dumber
Dumb and Dumber sealed the deal on Jim Carrey’s perfect year in 1994. I first discovered Dumb and Dumber as a trailer on a VHS copy of The Mask. Since I watched it a lot, I knew every word to the trailer. So I was surprised that I still found the movie funny when I finally watched it on Comedy Central. In fact, Dumb and Dumber is my favorite comedic performance from Carrey (without computerized assistance). It makes me laugh hard every single time I watch it.
Dumb and Dumber is the best movie I’ve seen about two dumb guys being dumb. As well as the best movie directed by the Farrelly Brothers. Jim Carrey plays Lloyd Christmas, the dumber friend with a bowl cut and chipped tooth who works as a limo driver. He’s the obvious scene stealer responsible for classic moments like “the most annoying sound in the world,” misusing breath spray, and his wacky dream sequence. While Jeff Daniels plays Harry Dunne, the not as dumb (but still pretty dumb) friend with shaggy hair who works as a dog groomer. He actually does manage to be funny enough to be a good foil.
Which gives us some of the movies most memorable scenes. Like licking the frozen pole or the laxative scene (the only fart joke I laugh at). The story is just returning a briefcase to a woman in Aspen. Since Lloyd fell in love at first sight with her. Little do they know it’s a ransom briefcase. Leading to a road trip in the Shaggin’ Wagon. Dumb and Dumber is so dumb, yet so hilarious. “I like it a lot.”
Harry (right) and Lloyd (left) attend a gala
Preceded by: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd & Followed by: Dumb and Dumber To
Devil is often mistaken for an M. Night Shyamalan film. Even though he didn’t write or direct it. The story was his idea, but for whatever reason he didn’t do anything else. Maybe his losing streak had something to do with it. The basic Shyamalan template is there. Something with horror elements that’s still PG-13 and has a twist ending. Aside from that, Devil didn’t feel too much like one of his movies. It’s about five people who board an elevator, not knowing one of them is the devil.
The writing could use some work, but the acting is a bit better. So is the tense atmosphere. Set almost entirely in an elevator. Something I pray never to get stuck on. Being a christian, anything religious has an effect on me. Even if its in a subpar movie. Which is how I would describe Devil. It’s only 80 minutes long. So you don’t really have time to get invested in much of anything. The twist is unexpected, but kind of out of nowhere. Devil is just a creepy (somewhat intriguing) waste of time.
Wanted is surprisingly based on a superhero comic. Well technically its a supervillain comic. So how did it end up as an assassin movie? When I first heard about Wanted, I didn’t know anything about its history. I just figured it was another random action movie. Only with a few key elements that made it stand out.
Wanted is the first of many movies based on a Mark Millar graphic novel. Even though I usually stay away from his material, I made the terrible decision to read Wanted. I knew his stuff was brutal, but Wanted is just disgusting and evil. It made me nauseous for how much it crosses the line. Anyway the comic is set in a superhero world like I said. So the decision to drop all of that for the movie is unusual. Instead of being supervillains, they’re assassins.
Most of the names and motivations are the same, but all the powers and gadgets are replaced by guns. Notably guns that can curve bullets. Clearly impossible, but it’s one of the things that makes Wanted stand out. Along with Angelina Jolie who steals the show as the gorgeous assassin Fox. Like the comic, Weasley is a normal guy who discovers his father was part of an evil organization. James McAvoy’s American accent could use some work, but he’s fine otherwise. Along with Morgan Freeman who also works well. Although the magic loom thing makes no sense. Wanted is in my opinion a far better assassin movie then it is a supervillain comic.
Fox hangs off the side of a car