Category Archives: C

The Cutting Edge (Erin: 5 Stars, Bret: 3 Stars)

Your lesson for today:

Credibility

Let the RockMovieProject use it in a sentence for you: “Erin lost all credibility when she gave The Cutting Edge a five-star review.”

NOOO00

Bret’s reaction to a five-star Cutting Edge review.

Setting aside the very real possibility that she needs a CAT scan, the real question becomes which Erin Rock score is more egregious: five stars for The Cutting Edge or four stars for Center Stage?

Let’s go to the breakdown:

TheCuttingEdge

A clean sweep for The Cutting Edge makes sense, it’s a far superior film, but a five-star review (Erin’s other five-star reviews: Apollo 13, Christmas Vacation and Braveheart) is just too much.

VERDICT: Giving The Cutting Edge five stars is the more egregious score of the two. We award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

Bret gives The Cutting Edge a more sensible three-star review and we introduce the newest member of the RockMovieProject, Miss Evelyn Marie Rock!

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Crimson Tide (Erin: 3 Stars, Bret: 4 Stars)

With Gene Hackman as a crusty, old-guard submarine captain and Denzel Washington as Denzel Washington with a fancy uniform, Crimson Tide tells the story of two men who are absolute in their belief that they are right in a game where the stakes couldn’t be higher — a potential nuclear war.

Through Bret’s eyes, Crimson Tide is a well-made, superbly acted thriller that demonstrates the consequences when two very different schools of thought collide, putting the world on the brink of a nuclear holocaust. To Erin, it’s just two assholes acting like children on a boat.

Oh. Well, then.

Oh. Well, then.

Directed by the late Tony Scott, Crimson Tide deftly illustrates the perils of having two different leaders with drastically different philosophies who refuse to peacefully coexist. While most movies would have found the two eventually putting aside their differences for the greater good, Crimson Tide avoids falling into that cliche with an ultimately fitting line; “you were both right and you were both wrong.”

As Lieutenant Commander Hunter, Denzel Washington puts on one of his Denzeliest performances. You really won’t know where Denzel ends and where Denzel begins. As an aside, is it considered method acting if you always play every character the same way as if you are just being yourself? In all actuality, he is quite good in the role, displaying effective chemistry with a strong supporting cast (Viggo Mortensen with a sweet flat-top haircut, James Gandolfini as a complete war-mongering d-bag and George Dzundza as the conflicted Chief of the Boat) as well as with Hackman, who really is the star of the show.

Seen here eschewing his patented “four passes before any nuclear missile launch” strategy in favor of a more aggressive approach.

In the end, Crimson Tide is a solid film with good performances that isn’t overly reliant on action, but rather on a conflict without a perfect resolution. Or it’s two assholes on a boat acting like children.

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Crazy, Stupid, Love (Erin: 3.5 Stars, Bret: 3 Stars)

To the best of Bret’s knowledge, the whole plot of Crazy, Stupid, Love is predicated on Julianne Moore cheating on Steve Carell with Kevin Bacon, then divorcing Carell, who, with the help of Ryan Gosling, beds multiple women, all the while pining for Julianne Moore. And somewhere in all of that, Ryan Gosling takes his shirt off, assuring female movie-goers will ignore the lunacy in the previous sentence, thus making this film an ungodly amount of money.

Problem solved!

In all seriousness, it’s a relatively fun and inoffensive romantic comedy/drama that has a few legitimate laugh-out-loud moments. Carell and Gosling do most of the heavy lifting, but, in the end, it’s a reasonably enjoyable film.

Provided you can get by Julianne Moore’s performance, that is.

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Crash (Erin: 4 Stars, Bret: 4.5 Stars)

It’s been a while, we know.

For instance, we’d forgotten how awesome Bret looked with a beard.

You have to hand it to Crash, really. It was the movie that basically led to the creation of this ongoing/never-ending project; it led to a near shut-down of the RockMovieProject when it came time to watch it; and, now, even though we watched it probably a month ago, it has led to a near grinding halt of blog postings. Pretty serious business.

Not for lack of trying on Erin’s part, though. For the better part of the last six years Erin has been trying to force this movie on Bret. Seasons change, holidays come and go and yet he steadfastly refused to watch.

In the end, the movie wound up garnering high scores from both Erin and Bret.

It’s hard to believe a movie full of so much hate can actually be profoundly inspirational, but there you have it.

With that said, we are FINALLY past Crash and onto better and hopefully faster things. What say you to that, Sir Sean Connery?

We could not agree more. Four Stars from Erin, 4.5 from Bret.

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Cool Runnings (Erin: 3.5 Stars, Bret: 4 Stars)

We all have our differences. Be it race or religion, political views or economic stature, or whether or not we think Hilary Swank is attractive, we are different people.

GAHHH!… don’t look directly at her!

Despite those differences, we can all agree that the movie Cool Runnings is an incredibly inspirational film.

That it is based on a true story makes it all the more inspirational.

Wait, what? All the characters in the film were fictional?

Well, still, the premise of the story is what matters. The idea of three, world-class Jamaican sprinters  and their wise-cracking, egg-kissing friend falling just short of making the Olympics, only to turn to a sport to a winter sport in an effort to achieve their dreams is incredibly moving.

Huh? None of the bobsledders in real life were Jamaican sprinters, but were recruited from the military instead?

….. So what! It says based on a true story. It’s not a documentary! Besides, even if they weren’t sprinters, they still faced such a dramatic uphill climb to reach their goals. They had no money, they practiced in a push cart and they got to Calgary on what appears to be the day before the Olympics started! It’s amazing that they were able to overcome all of that!

Come again? They were funded by two Americans with a ton of money and arrived in Calgary to practice with a real bobsled on a real bobsled track months before eventually heading to Austria to compete in a few minor events to get their bearings and returning for the Olympics?

Yeah, and I bet there weren’t any real montages either, jerk.

Who cares! You are just like that creepy East German guy and everyone else, hating on the poor Jamaicans!

Oh, come on! No one hated them?! The bobsled community loved the fact that the Jamaicans were trying to qualify? They were graciously welcomed and were even given a sled by a competing team in order to help them qualify?

Ugh. Okay, so based on a true story just means that there used to not be a Jamaican bobsled team and now there is. It doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm for the movie and it certainly doesn’t lessen the moral of the story. It does, however, lessen the value of the phrase “based on a true story.”

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The Contender (Erin: 4.25 Stars, Bret: 5 Stars)

It’s easy to watch a movie and deliver a review without thinking about the 100s of thousands of little moving pieces that it takes to make a movie successful.

Story, direction, proper casting, dialogue, lighting, sound, editing, craft service table, whether or not the star has had an affair with the married director (Kristen Stewart films) and a host of other things that we are forgetting or don’t want to take the time to mention.

They actually make a pretty cute Amish couple.

One piece that can either make or break a film is the marketing of said film. And that is where our story begins with The Contender.

The Contender is a great film. It takes a topic (the nomination of a female senator to replace a dead Vice President and the confirmation process) that isn’t all that interesting and turns it into a fascinating tale of morality, principal and trust.

What it is not is a “first rate thriller.”

The marketing for The Contender, however, is a first rate example of how even a very good film that misrepresents itself to its audience can flame out.

Although the film has an incredible cast (including Oscar nominations for both Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges with Gary Oldman being absolutely robbed of one and that’s setting aside Sam Elliott who is fantastic as well), terrific plot, excellent writing (movies like this can easily feature stilted, inorganic dialogue, The Contender completely avoids that) and is wonderfully shot and edited, the marketing of the film makes it out to be something it is not and that dooms it from the outset.

Even the title doesn’t make a ton of sense. The Nominee or something to that effect probably would have been more fitting.

“We LOVE it! People will have no idea what it’s about!” — The Contender Marketing Team

In the end, if you are looking for a tense, political thriller, you are probably going to want to look elsewhere. If you want an excellent (if slightly idealistic and definitely left-leaning) film about the political process, The Contender comes very highly recommended by your neighborhood RockMovieProject.

Four and a quarter Stars from Erin, 5 Stars from Bret.

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Coming to America (Erin: 4.25 Stars, Bret: 4.25 Stars)

In some of our posts, we struggle to search for an angle to discuss and then just wind up blathering on like idiots. For Coming to America, a film that at least dips its toe into “Comedy Classic” waters, there are a multitude of them.

We could talk about how great Eddie Murphy is in this movie in what could be considered his last REALLY funny role before his career went off the rails. Murphy is great throughout and displays the comic timing that made him a superstar.

We could attack this post from the angle of how this is the first Murphy film in which he portrayed more than one role (in fact, he plays four different characters in the movie) and how it was a harbinger of (mostly) bad things to come. Murphy has played multiple roles in six movies since Coming to America, with performances ranging from decent (The Nutty Professor) to horrendous (Norbit). In Coming to America, whether it’s Akeem, Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate or the two old barbershop guys, the more Murphy, the better.

We could discuss how, for 116 minutes, Arsenio Hall held his own against an in-his-prime Eddie Murphy; an incredible feat.

Or how, thanks to its commercials, Soul Glo might be the funniest fake product in movie history.

Just let it shine.

The angle we’ve settled on after a bit of a rambling beginning? How awesome is James Earl Jones’ voice?

If you could buy a voice on EBay, we figure there would be four top sellers: James Earl Jones, Patrick Stewart, Morgan Freeman and Bobcat Goldthwait.

Just for comedy’s sake.

Everyone talks about how great a narrator Morgan Freeman is and how his is the voice of God, but no one ever seems to mention James Earl Jones, and, since Bret and Erin are on opposite sides of the issue, we figured it would be best to let the 10’s of 10’s of people that check this site out vote on who has the best voice.

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Cloverfield (Erin: 4.75 Stars, Bret: 4 Stars)

You’ll have to forgive us for our lame, half-hearted attempt to replicate the shaky-cam effect from Cloverfield at the beginning of this review.

J.J. Abrams attempt to give the U.S. its own version of Godzilla, however, scored very highly with the usually stingy Erin Rock.

The 4.75 Stars given to Cloverfield marks her fourth-highest review yet through 54 films.

Higher even than the movie that features this impossibly cool screenshot, if you can believe that.

For a movie to beat Center Stage in Erin’s eyes, it must be a high quality film (or, depending on your point-of-view, it must be better than one of the worst movies ever made).

Cloverfield falls short of being a classic horror movie (think Jaws or, if you are Bret, Halloween), but is a solid film that used the found footage concept extremely well before it became incredibly annoying. Every other film nowadays is a found-footage film and Cloverfield has to accept some of the blame for that phenomenon.

An incredible 4.75 Stars from Erin and a respectable 4 Stars from Bret.

An artist’s depiction of Erin and her Stars.

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Cinderella Man (Erin: 4.5 Stars, Bret: 4.75 Stars, Jesse: 4.5 Stars)

How exactly was this film not awarded an Oscar nomination for Best Picture again?

We were operating under the impression that any and all boxing movies automatically get Oscar nominations; like how any movie about sparkly vampires and their sullen mistresses automatically makes $500 million at the box office or how any Jason Statham film has to have at least 300 kicks and/or punches thrown.

Is that not the case?

“Again! But with three kicks this time!”

Okay, maybe not, but what about movies set during the Great Depression? That is an Oscar gimme, no?

To recap, this is a movie about an underdog boxer, set during the Great Depression, starring Russell Crowe (3 previous Oscar nominations, 1 win) and directed by Ron Howard (2 Oscar nominations, 1 win) and it escaped with just a well-deserved Supporting Actor nomination for Paul Giammati and a couple of technical nominations that no one cares about.

“Best Make-Up? Meh… just put it in the back with the others.”

In all actuality, we probably answered our own question in our review above (featuring the return of a product schilling Jesse Terry!).

The reasons this movie didn’t get any love from the Academy:

  • Renee Zellweger, who appears at times in this film to be parodying her own performance from earlier in the movie, especially during the excruciating locker room scene at the end.
  • Ron Howard’s goofy decisions behind the camera… did he not think we would understand that Jimmy Braddock was getting in the ring unless he used the camera to give us that point of view? Just one of a myriad of bizarre choices.

Cinderella Man is a great movie; an Oscar-worthy movie, particularly when Russell Crowe and Paul Giamatti are on the screen. It receives 4.5 Stars from Erin and Jesse, 4.75 from Bret and will always be the champion of our hearts.

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Christmas Vacation (Erin: 5 Stars, Bret: 5 Stars, Megan: 5 Stars)

Barry Rock is not Clark Griswold.

To the best of our knowledge, he has never accidentally electrocuted a cat, locked himself in a freezing cold attic for hours at a time, nor has he ever broken a land-speed record during a sledding outing.

He has, however, nailed two trees together (the top of one and the bottom of another) to create, in his mind, the perfect tree.

Setting aside the fact that nailing two trees together to create one super-tree could be viewed as having a general regard for human excellence, this act (among other holiday misadventures) speaks to Bret’s father’s ability to get very close to being Clark W. Griswold; a huge reason why this movie resonates so much in the Rock household.

We are going to be honest with ourselves here — we are not good enough writers to explain why Christmas Vacation is so awesome.

That they do, Edward, that they do indeed.

The best we could do (aside from just re-printing the screenplay in this space) is just to say that, like some of the other comedies that have garnered high scores from the RockMovieProject, Christmas Vacation is just a slight exaggeration of how Christmas really is in a lot of homes.

In fact, how much you like Christmas Vacation is probably in direct correlation with how much you believe your father to be like Clark W. Griwold, Jr. As explained above, for Bret and his sister, special guest star Megan Rock, the differences  between Clark and their father are minimal.

From start to finish, Christmas Vacation is a fantastic film, that is equal parts hilarious and heartwarming (seriously).

We’d love to hear your favorite part of the movie or favorite quote in the comments!

Five stars from Erin, Bret and Megan for the movie that is truly the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.

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