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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Children of Men (Erin: 3.5 Stars, Bret: 3.5 Stars)

As dystopian futures go, Children of Men certainly portrays one of the bleakest; a world in which all women are infertile and the dividing line between haves and have nots is actually visible.

On the other hand, at least terrorism is rampant throughout the streets of London and everything appears to be a darker shade of blue.

Oh, did that not make you more comfortable?

We were trying to come up with a complete list of occasions for which hosting a viewing of Children of Men might be inappropriate (children’s birthday party, Christmas Eve, etc.), but, frankly, unless you are trying to settle for a nice, long depression, there aren’t a ton of viable options.

That said, Children of Men is another extremely well made film. The lack of much dialogue and music and the sometimes uncomfortably long shots serve the purpose of making you feel acutely aware of how intense the situation remains throughout the course of the film.

Although we cannot say we’ll be watching it again any time soon, Children of Men features some beautiful scenes, a terrific performance from Clive Owen (among others), and and interesting plot, helping the film net 3.5 Stars from both Erin and Bret.

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Center Stage (Erin: 4 Stars, Bret: 2 Stars)

You are probably looking at the post title and thinking one of two things: (1) That’s gotta be a typo; or (2) Is Erin on acid?

You are probably also looking at that screenshot and thinking, “were they pretending to be blind?”

I, Bret Barry Rock, do solemnly swear that none of those things are true, but I cannot speak to the mental state of my dear wife either. She absolutely just gave Center Stage a better score than Back to the Future (and a slew of other movies that I won’t bother to mention here).

What do I do with that? Do I commit her to some movie rehab facility? Just ignore it and hope it goes away?

For this one review, I am abandoning all pretense that this will be an unbiased review in order to present the facts in the case of Back to the Future v. Center Stage.

So there you have it, 10 out of 12 categories go to Back to the Future. Were it not for my wife’s secret love of ballet and a poor marketing decision, we’d have had a clean sweep.

As for my score, I gave it 2 Stars because, frankly, to get less than that from me means that I’d rather be water-boarded than have to watch it again (looking at you, Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and it wasn’t quite that bad.

Four stars from Erin, 2 Stars from Bret for Center Stage.
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Cast Away (Erin: 3.5 Stars, Bret: 4.5 Stars)

There are very few times in a grown man’s life when the loss of a volleyball can make him weep uncontrollably; Bret has no qualms in saying that the departure of Wilson in Cast Away is very nearly one of those moments.

Cast Away is a tremendous film that is alternately about hope or about crippling loss, depending on whom you ask.

It also features one of Tom Hanks’ greatest performances, in which he nearly gets a volleyball nominated for Best Supporting Actor, settling instead for Best Volleyball in a Motion Picture.

“There are so many people I have to thank.”

Ever the optimist, Bret argues that Cast Away is about hope. That Hanks’ speech toward the end about the tide coming in is wonderfully inspirational and the ending of the film, while ambiguous, shows us a man who defied near-insurmountable odds and has the whole world in front of him.

On the flip side, the movie is exhausting for Erin and the idea of Chuck and Kelly losing each other is devastating. Even though, let’s be honest, it’s Helen Hunt and Tom can probably do better.

“Ummmm…. I think I’d like to go back to the island now.”

Let the record show that she has no concern for the poor kid who never got his volleyball, by the way.

Three-and-a-half stars from Erin for Cast Away; four-and-a-half from Bret.

P.S., great comic HERE.

P.S.S., not sure why we look like we are filming a shot-for-shot remake of the “Take On Me” video in the screenshot above.

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RockMovieProject Spambag #2

Of all the posts here at the RockMovieProject, the one that solicited the most positive response was our “reader” mailbag. We aren’t saying it was positive enough to mobilize the Statue of Liberty like in Ghostbusters 2, but people seemed to enjoy it.

An artists rendering of us settling in to work on another RockMovieProject Spambag.

And, since we aren’t above going to the well one too many times, here is another installment of the RockMovieProject Spambag! As always, these are real comments from fake people.

It’s laborious to find knowledgeable folks on this matter, but you sound like you realize what you’re speaking about! Thanks! 

We completely sympathize with your plight. It is sometimes quite laborious to find quality content on the interwebs. Although we aren’t entirely sure which matter it is you believe us so knowledgeable, we certainly appreciate your kind words.

The following time I learn a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I imply, I do know it was my choice to learn, however I really thought you’d have one thing fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you might fix when you weren’t too busy searching for attention.

Erin? Is that you? That’s not very nice to say. I wouldn’t call it whining… maybe pouting or bitching, but whining seems over-the-top. And we haven’t even posted the Center Stage or Twilight reviews yet. You haven’t even begun to see whining.

Just wanna remark on few general things, The website style is ideal, the topic matter is rattling good!

Thank you! That is just the type of pick-me-up we needed after that last comment.

Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to…

Had to what?! Don’t leave us hanging! We’ll admit that we have no idea what this has to do with the RockMovieProject, but we’ll be damned if we aren’t on the edge of our seat right now!

If it were up to Bret, you would be well within your rights to murder her.

I just couldn’t leave your web site prior to suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the standard info an individual provide on your guests? Is gonna be back steadily in order to check up on new posts.

We’ve read that paragraph about 13 times trying to discern some intrinsic meaning… frankly, we’re stopping out of complete fear that if we keep trying, a gateway will open, revealing to us the darkest side of human nature.

Casino Royale (Erin: 4 Stars, Bret: 4.75 Stars)

After a brief, Florida Bankers Association Annual Meeting-related hiatus, the RockMovieProject rolls on with Casino Royale.

“And by GREAT I mean every bit as good as About Schmidt!”

In what has become standard operating procedure, Erin gave a glowing review of the film (“It was GREAT. IT. WAS. GREAT.”) only to hit it with a 4 Star review when all was said and done.

Bret, on the other hand, declares Casino Royale to be the point of demarcation between all 5-Star films and any of those beneath that level (a declaration that he will almost certainly back track on in a future review).

Let’s just say that we are prone to hyperbole here at the RockMovieProject.

In the end, we both thoroughly enjoyed Daniel Craig’s turn as a less campy James Bond.

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Captain America: The First Avenger (Erin: 4 Stars, Bret: 4.5 Stars)

In a ten-minute time span toward the beginning of Captain America, Tommy Lee Jones watches Chris Evans go from starving Ethiopian to Mr. Universe; run down a car on foot; swim down a submarine; punch a hole in the glass of said submarine so he can rip the bad guy out; and throw said bad guy from the water onto the dock ten feet above and then declares: “I asked for an army and all I got was you.”

And that’s it.

“Pssh…. who can’t run down a car on foot?”

Really? You can’t find a spot in your current Army for a guy that ran down a car on foot and swam down a submarine?

We guess in the end it all works out for the best, but it seemed short-sighted at the time.

As for the entirety of the movie, we loved it. Neither Erin nor Bret are huge Captain America fans, at least not heading into the film, but it was a really fun origin story that felt very organic when it came to the time period and setting — a credit to Director Joe Johnson who actually has had a pretty underrated career: director of The Rocketeer (a Bret Rock favorite and a definite precursor to Captain America), Jumanji and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; and art director on little films like Raiders of the Lost Ark and the first three Star Wars movies.

Chris Evans is very likable and believable as both Steve Rodgers and Captain America, Stanley Tucci is a lot of fun as a German scientist, Tommy Lee Jones — questionable military tactics aside — is fitting as Colonel Phillips and Hugo Weaving always makes for a solid villain.

Captain America: The First Avenger comes highly recommended by the RockMovieProject, with Erin giving it 4 Stars and Bret giving it a four-and-a-half.

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Caddyshack (Erin: 3 Stars, Bret: 3.75 Stars)

If you were a filmmaker in the early 1980s, were making a comedy and were told by your producers that you could have any three or four people in the world for your cast, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray probably would have been on your wish list.

What you probably wouldn’t have done was take those three and said, “yeah, it’s a good start, but what I really need is annoying, unattractive, charisma-void teenager as my lead.”

That’s not what you would have done, but that is exactly what Harold Ramis (nee Egon Spangler) did with Caddyshack.

Ramis had Dangerfield, Chase and Murray sitting around on the set and decided that the focus of the movie should be Michael O’Keefe’s Danny Noonan, the most insipid character in the entire movie. We know what you are thinking: at least they didn’t give him a completely insufferable girlfriend with a grating Scottish accent.

We have more bad news for you.

All that said, the movie is still laugh-out-loud funny and one of the most quotable films ever made.

Chase and Murray are at their absolute peaks (and weren’t even supposed to have a scene together until Ramis noticed this gleaming error at the very end of the shoot and wrote the night golfing scene which might be the funniest in the movie).

Dangerfield is an acquired taste (which neither Bret nor Erin acquired), but the way Ted Knight as Judge Smails plays off him makes his presence tolerable.

Knight actually delivers some of the best lines in Caddyshack, including Bret’s personal favorite: “I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn’t want to do it. I felt I owed it to them.”

At the end of the day, Caddyshack is still a hilarious film, particularly if you can get past Noonan, his gal Maggie and their entire storyline, which inexplicably takes up about 60 percent of the movie.

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Bull Durham (Erin: 2.5 Stars, Bret: 2.5 Stars)

Okay, so we forgot the blog post for Bull Durham. That isn’t to say that it’s an utterly forgettable movie. As far as you know.

In all honesty, it’s a movie that Bret remembers more fondly than it turned out to be.

The baseball scenes are fun (mostly because Kevin Costner is one of very few actors that actually looks like he has picked up a baseball bat in his life); the dialogue between the teammates makes you laugh from time-to-time (“I held it like an egg” “Yeah, and he scrambled the son-of-a-b*tch”); and we suppose it gives you a pretty good sense of what minor league baseball is all about (the goofy sponsor nights, the bus rides, etc.), but in the end, it’s just not that entertaining a movie and the less said about how well it holds up, the better.

We Googled “Tim Robbins, Bull Durham, Pitching,” but it just laughed at us.

HOWEVER, if you like blistering jazz saxophone solos, watching an aging-before-your-eyes Susan Sarandon pretend to be sexy or seeing Tim Robbins achieve the world’s worst pitching form, completely disregard everything we’ve said above. You will love this movie.

Two-and-a-half stars from both Erin and Bret for Bull Durham.

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