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Breaking Bad: Fly (2010)
The Love it or hate it (LOVE IT) Episode
****Contains Spoilers***** Pure Genius. For fans of Literature, I'm assuming this was a representation of "I Heard a Fly Buzz When I died"
Walt speaks of his "perfect time" to die would have been before meeting with Jane's Dad or witnessing Jane's death. The fly represents the "contamination" in Walt's head with trying to reconcile what he's doing and if what he's doing is really helping his family.
This is why the episode ends with the fly back again...Walt's conscious will get the best of him. However, he's let go of the guilt and shame he feels over Jane's death by "apologizing" to Jesse. And "pressurizing" the room.
PURE GENIUS of an Episode. A bit "esoteric" if you're not a fan of Literature...but pure GENIUS!
Read the Poem:(by Emily Dickinson) Dying I heard a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.
The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
And breaths were gathering sure For that last onset, when the king
Be witnessed in his power.
I willed my keepsakes, signed away
What portion of me I Could make assignable,-and then
There interposed a fly,
With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
Between the light and me; And then the windows failed, and then
I could not see to see.
*********************** (sorry, IMDb does not preserve line breaks....will have to read the original on the EDU page).
I heard a Fly buzz" strikingly describes the mental distraction posed by irrelevant details at even the most crucial moments-even at the moment of death.---Excerpt from Sparknotes
to read further critique of the poem go here: academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/fly.html
The Blind Side (2009)
Great Film without being too Stereotypical or "fake"
This is a GREAT movie that's very well played out by all the actors in the film.
Sandra Bullock pulls off the "Memphis Belle" without being stereotypical or fake. I never once thought I saw an Actor on screen. (See Julia Roberts in "Charlie Wilson's War"--for someone who COMPLETELY misses the mark on the "stereotypical Texas Southern" woman).
This movie has Heart, without being sappy or fake.
It does have it's moments where you think, "did they have to go there" (and plays all too stereotypical--for instance, when Oher runs back to his "Hood" life while searching his soul.
However, all in all, this is a great Holiday movie with a great real life ending to the story.
Burn After Reading (2008)
The Coen Brothers never cease to amaze me. I must admit, you have to be a Coen Brothers fan to get a Coen Brothers movie, but once you get their style/message, it's PURE BRILLIANCE. Modern day Voltaire's
"Burn After Reading", gives us a Dim Whit Personal Trainer played by BradPitt (note: If you're a fan of Brad Pitt because of his Character in Fight club--you're in for a rude awakening in this one!). STUD he is NOT!
A Lady who only cares about fixing her physical appearance.
Clooney, who plays the goof-ball, will sleep with anyone he has a chance to sleep with---(f.y.i. the "back pillow" scene is CLASSIC).
Essentially, this is a movie where the audience gets to drop in on the (unlikely) interconnected/intersected lives of nothing BUT Self Serving Idiots, all of whom meet their "demise" because of their own self serving interests.
GREAT SHOW! Worthy of Voltaire--"The aptitude for quick, perceptive, cutting, witty and often scathingly critical repartee" (WikiPedia)---describes "Burn After Reading" exactly.
P.S. When watching, take special note of each Characters Hair. Nice Plot Device! :=)
Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
Good Movie, ,but some poor Casting and Directing decisions.
As a Christmas Popcorn movie, Charlie Wilson's War deserves praise. It's an enjoyable movie, that when graded through the eyes of 2-hours of "Bubble Gum" Entertainment, deserves a recommendation to see.
However, when you step back and critique this movie based upon the character development and the story telling of one of the United States most influential, history changing individuals, Charlie Wilson's War really misses the mark.
The Casting is what makes and breaks this movie, and unfortunately more mistakes were made than not.
The most enjoyable performance of this movie comes from Philip Seymour Hoffman. I personally believe that Philip Seymour Hoffman is hands down the best (male) Character Actor of our generation.
Hoffman plays Gust Avrakotos, the renegade C.I.A. agent who befriends and assists Charlie Wilson's efforts. Although Gust is not "Cowboy Texan", Hoffman's portrayal shows us the kind of renegade, Cowboy, us against them, do whatever it takes to get it done attitude that it took to under take and WIN a Covert War.
Hoffman's portrayal allows us to cheer for this flawed character, even when Gust complete lack of political grace could have possibly scored him some needed C.I.A. friends. It's because of Hoffman's acting that we cheer for Gust, we UNDERSTAND Gust and we WANT Gust to win at all costs.
Unfortunately, the rest of off the mark casting pulls the rest of the movie down.
First, we have the horrendously off mark casting of Julia Roberts as Joanne Herring Undoubtedly, Ms. Roberts is a stellar actress. When we watched her as Erin Brockovich, we completely forgot we were watching a movie. We BELIEVED she was the character Erin Brockovich--that by definition is GREAT ACTING.
However as Joanne Herring she is way off mark. Robert's performance was 2-dimensional and plastic and bordered on "annoying" at best. The "real" Joanne Herring is a colorful, stereotypical, larger than life, Houston Socialite.
We're first introduced to Robert's character as she sends a lower ranking assistant to fetch her a Martini. While, on paper, this might be the typical actions of Joanne Herring, the "real" Joanne Herring, would have pulled this request off with a little more "charm"--"old money" if you will. However, with Robert's portrayal, we're forced to find resentment and contempt in this simple act.
Further more, the character development of Joanne Herring consists of the back drop that surrounds her. We're forced to create our impression of just who Joanne is as we see her strolling about her mansion and her--if you read between the lines--just how connected she really is conversations.
An example of missing the mark is Mike Nichols portrayal of Ms. Herring in Afghanistan. In "real life" Joanne Herring did NOT acquiesce and wear the head scarf and traditional covering for a woman in a Muslim country. She dressed as a typical Houstonian, tight Sweaters and tight blue jeans.
I realize this artistic change was most likely done as to not offend Muslim Viewers and to keep Joanne Herring as a back ground prop for HIS TELLING of Charlie Wilson's story.
Next, the Tom Hanks casting. Again, we have a character, Charlie Wilson, that quite literally changed the course of American History. A no-name Texan, with a drink in one hand, a woman in another, and that stereotypical Cocky, Overly Confident, Cowboy that personifies what it is to be a Texas Cowboy.
Unfortunately, Tom misses the mark. Through Hank's portrayal, We cheer for Charlie, we like Charlie, but we never get inside his head and realize what makes him tick. We never get to FEEL the RAW emotion that drives Charlie's efforts.
For example, when Hanks describes what caused him (Charlie) to become interested in Politics. In "real life", the poisoning and ultimate intensely painful death of his dog was A LIFE ALTERING EVENT. It is this event that started Charlie Wilson's desire for Politics. Through Hanks portrayal, we don't FEEL the RAW emotion that Charlie Wilson must have felt in real life.
This LIFE ALTERING event is presented to us through a conversation Hanks has with his assistant on an Air Plane. it's as if his dog were an after thought and fodder for conversation to pass the time on a plane. I was tremendously disappointed this was not portrayed either through a flash back or with more RAW emotion of Hanks portrayal.
Finally, we must remember this story took place in the 1980's. The HEIGHT of the cold War. The Soviet Union and the United States enemies. Had the Soviet Union won in Afghanistan, paying $11 per Gallon of Gas would have been the least of our worries in the 21st century. (Could you imagine a Cold War enemy, after taking over Afghanistan, rolling into Saudi Arabia, taking over Saudi Arabia, then getting together with Iran and Iraq. Again, paying $11 per Gallon of Gas would be the least of our worries. Mike Nichols never shows us this ramification. He never presents to the Viewer just what MIGHT BE had Charlie Wilson's efforts fail. Furthermore, Nichols fails to show us just how important winning this war was in the course of history. How the Soviet's defeat precipitated the collapse of the Soviet empire and the falling of Berlin Wall.
As I mentioned above, if you watch this movie expecting a nice 2-hour, "Bubble Gum" pop movie, you'll enjoy the experience.
If you go to this movie expecting to learn more about the events of the time, WHO Charlie Wilson was, what made him tick, hear character dialogue regarding discussions/debate about what MIGHT HAVE happened had Charlie's Efforts failed, and just precisely how Charlie Wilson is one of America's Greatest Heroes, you'll leave feeling disappointed and cheated out of this desirable experience.
Rob & Big (2006)
This is one heck of a show!
Best show on T.V.! You'll Want to get to know Meaty, Rob, and "Big Black".
They say a "Cult Comedy" is strange, quirky, offbeat, eccentric, oddball, or surreal, with outrageous, weird, unique and cartoon characters or plots. These characters are often considered controversial because they step outside standard narrative and technical conventions. They can be very stylized, and they are often flawed or unusual in some striking way....
That just about sums up this RIGHTEOUS show and why you'll want to watch it!
Unstrung Heroes (1995)
THANK YOU Diane Keaton!
Thank you Diane Keaton! This movie is outstanding! My mother passed away from Cancer in 1983 when I was only 13 years old. This movie explains exactly how one can feel as a young kid.(i.e. 'going crazy'-Uncle Danny, the need to find pleasure in 'simple things' Uncle Arthur).
I have seen this movie about 20-30 times and it gets better each time.
I'm not sure why this movie is not more accepted 'main stream' or why it did not do better---financially-when it was in theaters----but I really appreciate Mrs. Keaton making this movie.
From the need to find God, the frustrations and anger that the father faced, and the need to just be a kid and try to enjoy life while you watch your mother pass away, this is exactly how you feel when going through this.
Sling Blade (1996)
The only thing wrong with this movie...
Is that Dwight Yoakam, J.T. Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black (II), Natalie Canerday and every single other person in this movie did not get nominated from some type of Award or Honor. This is without a doubt one of the Best movies of the 90's. Simply outstanding! When a movie makes you FORGET what you thought about someone when you walk in (i.e. Ritter, Yoakam) and you actually BELIVE in the characters...it's more than done "its' job". I really don't think there is EVEN ONE spot in this movie that I can find and say "AH"...to point out a fault! I wish more Directors were this creative, orignial, simply OUTSTANDING! Thank you Billy Bob Thornton! I hope "Bad Santa" is just as GREAT!
Almost Famous (2000)
Why didn't more people see this?
This movie, without question, is one of the best movies made by Cameron Crowe.(and one of the best of 2000). Movie after movie he gets better and better. It's sad to see such an outstanding movie not AT LEAST "make money" for a studio, much less blow it out. (But, then again, I don't think Martin Scorsese has EVER had a "profitable" movie).
Excellent acting from Phillip Hoffman, Billy Crudup, and Kate Hudson, only add additional flair to this outstanding gem of a movie. I have no idea why this movie did not fair better at the Box Office than it did, however if you've never seen this movie, PLEASE do yourself a favor and RENT THIS MOVIE! I will PROMISE YOU that you will not regret it!!!
Wow, if this is the debut for Clooney, what comes next
Was Barris really a CIA hit man? Who cares...we see the side of a REAL MAN, in the REAL WORLD, just trying to make it like every other schlub in LIFE.
A TRUE 10 for any fan of true Cinema!!
Outstanding direction, outstanding acting by Sam Rockwell make this movie head and shoulders THE BEST movie in a long long time. Of course, Sam Rockwell plays Barris. We see Barris in every light, from a conniving 11 year old, to a struggling creative producer, to a man that cannot recognize true love exists---the one thing Barris craves the most, is right under his nose all along.
You cannot go into this movie expecting another `Catch me if you can'. This movie DOES NOT answer-`is it true', was Barris really a CIA hit man? Who knows, and that's what makes this movie so much more fun!! For you film buffs out there..notice the few `hints' that Clooney puts in the film for you to figure out on your own.(the cars in Berlin are `left hand drive', when they should be `right hand drive'). Clooney's character, Jim Byrd is never seen with Barris in public or with other `real' people around to acknowledge his presence. Coincidence? I think not!! (Clooney, in public won't say if he belives Barris or not--we are supposed to decide on our own).
The movie ends with the real teary-eyed Chuck Barris..A man who `just wanted to be loved'..and if you take the movie for what it is..candy for the mind..you'll LOVE IT!
Red Dragon (2002)
Decent, but not great!
The saving grace for this movie is Edward Norton. Mr. Norton plays the character Will Graham who is pulled out of "Retirement" to help hunt a psychotic killer who is "mastering his trade".
If you are expecting the suspense of "Silence of the Lambs" it's not there. Most of the time the movie is "predictable horror type flick" where the psycho-killer always comes back from the dead to try "one more time" to kill the arch nemesis.
It's a formula driven movie and would rate a 3 or 4 if it were not for Edward Norton and Sir Anthony Hopkins "saving" this movie. If you liked "Silence of the Lambs" you'll feel a bit of deja' vu while watching this movie and will be mostly disappointed.
IF you enjoyed, "Hannibal"--besides being tarred and feathered for your lack of taste (NO PUN INTENDED), you'll probably LOVE this movie.
All in all, it's worth the matinee price, probably not worth full price. If you are a fan of Ed Norton you'll enjoy it, but not love it.
A formula driven piece that takes no risks and has you walking out thinking "so what". (the lady sitting behind me in the theatre fell asleep--you decide).
Road to Perdition (2002)
Another great one from Sam Mendes
Definitely worth seeing! Road to Perdition is another great movie that should yet again give Sam Mendes Oscar nods. Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors, yet he falls a bit short in this movie. He's belivable in this role, but NOT really EXCEPTIONAL. With that in mind, Tyler Hoechlin does a great job playing the "obidient son". Not a perfect 10, but a VERY STRONG '8' in my book.