That Guy Named David makes a triumphant return to The Movie Court!
Get Him To The Greek (C-)
Maybe I just don’t like British comedians. No, that can’t be it, because I enjoy John Oliver (from the Jon Stewart Show) and have laughed occasionally at Monte Python. Okay, maybe I just don’t like Russell Brand. Yeah, that’s probably it. Oh, and I’m not a big fan of that Jonah Hill kid either. And adding Puff Daddy to the ensemble really didn’t do it for me. My wife told me after the movie that she was tempted to just walk out around 30 minutes before the asinine conclusion. I wish we would have. I understand the idea was to try to capture a little of what resonated with everyone in The Hangover (which I thoroughly enjoyed); however, this one missed the mark for me. I just don’t find Russell Brand very funny. And considering the whole movie revolved around him trying to be funny, I would say that probably had a bit of role in what I didn’t like. So, the movie sucked. Don’t see it. Instead, I recommend watching The Hangover again.
That Guy Named David offers another review
In my humble opinion, there is little in cinema that outshines a good documentary. Unlike the originator of this website, who enjoys documentaries on birds, penguins and watching paint dry, I prefer my documentaries to be about cultural icons (Bob Dylan in No Direction Home; Muhammad Ali in We Were Kings), sports (Hoop Dreams, When It Was A Game), or other topics that do not put me to sleep. So, the documentary Tyson by James Toback was right up my wheelhouse. It did not disappoint. Tyson primarily consists of an interview with the former heavyweight champion with highlights (and many lowlights) from his career sprinkled throughout. The greatness of this particular documentary, however, is that it demonstrates just how entirely dysfunctional Mike Tyson was during his glory years and remains, although to somewhat a lesser degree, today. One second, Tyson will sound like a professor (with a strong lisp) outlining his thoughts and motivations as he dissected his opponents and worked his way from the streets of Brooklyn to the heavyweight championship while still just a kid. The next second, he will sound like the raving lunatic that beat his wife, was convicted of raping a pageant contestant and bit off half the ear of Evander Holyfield. He is a sociopath that you come close to feeling some sympathy for as the interview progresses. Makes for a good documentary.
That Guy Named David surfaces with a new review
The Proposal (C-)
I propose that no one go watch this movie. Plot: guy (Ryan Reynolds; most famous for marrying Scarlett Johansson) works for witch of a boss (Sandra Bullock; famous despite lack of acting ability and marriage to motorcycle repairman Jesse James), she finds out she is going to be deported to Canada, she makes him act like her fiance, they go to Alaska to see his family, they fall in love, Michael Jackson dies. Okay, the last part probably has nothing to do with the movie; although, I think there was a point where I was wishing I would come down with a serious illness so I could get out of the movie. Seriously though, there is nothing redeeming about the movie. Bullock (Gravity) plays the exact same role she plays in every other movie, Reynolds (Adventureland) was more convincing (and more entertaining) as Van Wilder, and while I admit to getting a kick out of reruns of The Golden Girls, the inclusion of Betty White (Lake Placid) in the cast fell flat for everyone in the theatre under the age of 65. Save your money. Wait until it is picked up by TBS.
That Guy Named David checks in with a review of the Boss’s Dallas concert
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (A-)
I first saw Springsteen when he came to town a few years back to do an acoustic show at the Nokia Theatre. While I was very impressed with that show, I was told by a friend that it was nothing compared to the type of show he puts on when he is complemented with the full band. The friend was right. For a little over 2 hours last Sunday, Springsteen and band brought a high-energy, very entertaining show to the American Airlines Center. The show started out with “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and proceeded to go back and forth between the stuff from the new album (Magic) and his classics. There were a few obscure choices (“Meeting Across the River,” “Independence Day”), but for the most part, the songs were well-known to the vast majority of the baby boomer crowd. The highlights of the night for me were “Because the Night,” “Long Walk Home” and “Badlands” in the initial set; however, the energy of the show really picked up in the encore with “Born to Run,” “Glory Days” (with Jon Bon Jovi), and “Dancing in the Dark.” I was a little disappointed that “Thunder Road” was not played, given that they opened with it a few shows back (and played it again the next night in Houston); however, overall, it was a great performance by great artists. Solid A-.
The triumphant return of That Guy Named David!
Shrek the Third (C)
My nieces and nephew were in town over the weekend, so we went kid-friendly with the video rental and got the most-recent addition to the Shrek family. In short, the movie was decent but nothing to celebrate. Maybe I am just “Shreked-out,” but I just did not find myself enjoying this movie. I think the writers/directors attempted to re-hash many of the same themes and dialogue that made the first two successful. However, they failed to add any new, interesting characters, and the story was not creative enough to keep my attention (or the attention of the kid-folk) throughout the movie. They should have stopped at 2, instead of trying to complete the trilogy.
Ocean’s Thirteen (C+)
Speaking of bad attempts at completing a trilogy, we also rented Ocean’s Thirteen over the past weekend. In Thirteen, the writers had the unique idea to bring together a bunch of mega-moviestars, put them in Las Vegas, have them put together and execute a complicated burglary of a major casino, all the while avoiding (a) being killed and/or (b) ending up in jail. Sounds like winner, huh? Well, it was… for Ocean’s Eleven made in 1960 and remade in 2001. Not so much for the one re-remade in 2007. Seriously, can someone please think up an original idea in Hollywood these days? Had the weather been half-decent, I would have been kicking myself for wasting 2 hours on a Sunday watching this dud.
From That Guy Named David
Shut Up and Sing (A-)
Continuing my jaunt through the genre of musical documentaries, I picked up this one the other day which chronicles the backlash to Natalie Maines’ statement regarding George W. Bush in the weeks preceding the invasion (or “liberation,” should you vote Republican) of Iraq. In case you were in a coma or on another planet back in the spring of 2003, our country was making its allegedly rock-solid case for sending hundreds of thousands of troops and spending billions of dollars to take over a country in an area of the world that is known for not being too friendly to the good ol’ U.S.of A. The country was rallying, Congress was actually agreeing, people were tying that yellow ribbon around the old oak tree, dogs were loving cats, etc. It was at this time that Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, a group that had sold more records than any female group in music history, committed herself to eternal damnation by commenting on a stage in England (the U.S.’s biggest ally) that she was ashamed the leader of the greatest country in the history of civilization was from her home state of Texas. Blasphemer!!! Hanoi Jane redux!!!! This documentary does a fantastic job of showing the snowball effect that this one, relatively benign comment had on sending the careers of the Dixie Chicks into a tailspin. Its strength is demonstrating the dynamic between the artists, who believed the reaction was completely overblown, and their handlers (managers, publicists, sponsors, etc.) who were trying to keep the band afloat during a time when the entire country music industry (and large portion of the country) began turning their back on the group. The documentary does an exceptional job of showing how the group, based upon this one comment, became demonized by the section of this country that sees everything in black and white. USA – good; people who disagree – bad. “You’re either with us or against us.” Dixie Chicks = communists, traitors, terrorists, sluts, etc. The most poignant portion of the film dealt with the group’s reaction to a death threat against Maines, in which it was communicated to her that she would be shot and killed on a stage in Dallas in the summer of 2003. In dealing with the backlash and threats, the documentary does a good job of demonstrating how it all brought the group closer and led to the production of their most-recent album (which is their best in my humble opinion and one of the best records I have heard in several years). If you like their music, a definite A. If you don’t (or think they are communists), you probably won’t grade it as high.
DVD Review from That Guy Named David
Stop Making Sense (B+)
For whatever reason, I have seen several music documentaries in the past year or so. I have raved on and on about No Direction Home, director Martin Scorsese’s lengthy documentary about Bob Dylan. This led me to rent Heart of Gold, director Jonathan Demme’s documentary on one concert performed by Neil Young in Nashville (which was horrible, by the way). So, when a friend put in Stop Making Sense, another documentary directed by Demme from the mid-80’s about the Talking Heads, I was a bit skeptical. For those of you unfamiliar with the Talking Heads, they are best known for the songs “Once in a Lifetime,” “Take Me to the River,” and “Burning Down the House,” as well as their unusual antics on stage and in their videos. Well, I must admit having a deeper appreciate for the Talking Heads after watching that video. Granted, the video was playing while we were drinking and playing cards; however, it dominated my attention, and we actually put it in to watch for a second time. I only wish I would have discovered the video while I was in college, but alas…