Monday, February 28, 2011

Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

Someone keeps calling Bruce Willis and threatening to blow things up if he doesn't do certain things, like solving brain-teasers and walking around in Harlem wearing a sandwich board that says he doesn't like black people (but not in those words). Somewhere along the line—I hope not in Harlem, but probably in Harlem—he's joined by Samuel L. Jackson. Something might happen with a truck. Really the main thing I remember other than the racist sandwich board is how to get exactly four gallons of water when you have only a three-gallon and a five-gallon container.

N.B.: There was never actually a pay phone there in real life.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Three Fugitives (1989)

Nick Nolte, Martin Short, and a little girl are bank robbers. Or probably two bank robbers get stuck with a little girl for some reason? Mainly what I remember is the one-sheet: isn't Nick Nolte holding both Martin Short and the little girl? Something wacky is going on. I'm really searching for any memories at all about the actual content of this film. Maybe it's more violent than you'd expect? One thing about it is that I think for a while in my head Nick Nolte was "the guy from Three Fugitives."

A career-defining role for Nolte.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Congo (1995)

A team of scientists goes to—well, I'm just going to go out on a limb and say the Congo—and might be attacked by hippos but definitely are attacked by gorillas who smash people's heads, possibly trained by ancient Mayans. Oh, and the scientists have their own gorilla. Are they looking for treasure or something? The friendly gorilla probably saves the day by talking to the violent gorillas, and/or gets its own head smashed. In conclusion, it probably wasn't Mayans if this is in the Congo. (But you never know! Sci-fi!)

Wait, what? There are lasers in this movie?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Die Harder (1990)*

Die Hard in an airport. Bad guys hack into an airplane's navigation system to make the pilot think it's farther above the ground than it is, and the plane crashes even though John McCain McClane tries to stop it by waving lights in the air; then he finds a teddy bear or a doll in the wreckage (that scene is rough). Later, someone gets sucked into a jet engine (surely, right?), and someone else gets stabbed in the eye with an icicle.

Oh, and apparently this happens.

* I was sure this movie was called Die Harder, but the IMDb says Die Hard 2 and Wikipedia says, "often subtitled Die Harder"—and includes a picture of a poster in which "DIE HARDER" is pretty clearly a tagline but is much bigger than the title, so...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Movies My Mother Remembers: Song of the South (1946)

Reportedly this is the first movie I saw in the theater (in its 1980 rerelease). Take it away, Mom:
I thought you'd like the cartoon characters zinging around the star's head as he sang, but you were not ready for it. There was one scene where a little boy pushed a little girl in a yellow dress into a big mud puddle, and you loudly and insistently kept asking me "Why did that boy push the girl into the mud??!" We had to leave.
Why? Why?!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

TV I Don't Remember: The Wonder Years (1988-1993)

Fred Savage is friends with this Jewish kid, and his older brother, Marty McFly's coonskin-cap-wearing uncle, is maybe a bit of a bully. Fred Savage has a crush on Winnie Cooper, and one time he makes out with Becky Slater* and she gives him a hickey and he says it's a bug bite and Becky Slater's like, "Bug bite?!" I believe the series is set in the 1950s and is narrated by Fred Savage's older self (like in Stand by Me)—but honestly that's about it: I can't imagine how a single episode would have panned out. I do remember that Fred Savage tends to humiliate himself. Essentially I think of this show as a 1950s, kiddy, goyische version of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Curb + Freaks & Geeks ÷ Jewish?† [Cf.]

* Played by the sister of the girl who played Winnie Cooper, TRUE STORY!
† No, if only because Fred Savage is Jewish. Bee-tee-dubs, how cool is it that he now directs shit like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Party Down? Go Fred Savage!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Movies I've Seen Only Parts Of: Titanic (1997)

The boat sinks, the bad guy handcuffs Leo to a pipe, and there's a lot of swimming through hallways (maybe one with a closed gate, in a very tense scene?). I gather there's a class issue, here, with Leo being the wonderful poor kid and Kate Winslet being engaged to a rich monster. I know Leo draws Kate naked on a couch, I know he freezes in the water trying to save her, and I know the old lady drives a submarine down to the sunken ship looking for her jewels. That's all I remember (and I am acutely aware that the movie is like four hours long).

NOTE: Every time I turn on the TV and this movie is on, either the boat's about to sink or Kate Winslet is about to get naked. And for that I am grateful.

Like one of Leo's French girls.


This week, some variations on the theme. Hope you enjoy!*

[ALSO: I'm now posting only three times a week. Unfortunately, the number of movies I've seen (let alone the number I've seen and don't remember) is necessarily finite, so I either have to start spreading this out or watching a lot of movies very drunk.]

* That's an imperative, not an understood "I." Hope, you wastrels! Hope with every desperate ounce of your hopeless souls!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Starman (1984)

Either Jeff Bridges or Jeff Daniels is a man from outer space who lands in I'm going to say Ally Sheedy's backyard. Does she live on a farm, maybe? (It's not Ally Sheedy, though. Mariel Hemingway?) Anyway, they have to drive somewhere, and whichever Jeff it is learns to drive from watching her but thinks a yellow light means speed way up (because she's always trying to make the light). I assume they fall in love and he goes back to outer space, and there is no way that they aren't being pursued by the government.

Dude, turns out it's Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen!
Into my Netflix instant queue with you, Starman!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

True Romance (1993)

Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette fall in love while sitting up on a billboard, Christian Slater kills her pimp (a dreadlocked Gary Oldman), Patricia Arquette almost gets raped but instead beats some guy's face in with a telephone, and then there's this huge shoot-out with feathers or something flying in the air, and I think when I saw this movie I had had a few beers and was missing a long-distance girlfriend and was surprised to find myself just openly weeping at the end. "Love," I was like. "It's so painful."

Oh, right, and Brad Pitt is stoned on the couch! I remember!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

School Ties (1992)

Brendan Fraser is Jewish and pretends not to be in order to go to boarding school. He dates some cute girl who, when she finds out he's Jewish, slaps him. It is not impossible that Philip Seymour Hoffman is in this movie, too, probably as a friend who turns on him or just a rival who's delighted by the information. I feel like this is the kind of movie that ends with our hero's being expelled but with people's feelings having been affected, spelling hope for the future. (But mainly what I remember is his getting slapped by a girl for being Jewish.)

This movie might be a little gay (and/or homophobic: these are probably the bad guys).

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Tom Cruise, in the title role, is a sports agent who's fallen on hard times, but Cuba Gooding Jr. (who I hope it isn't racist to say I basically remember as a kind of insane ur-Tracy Jordan) is his ticket out. Tom Cruise has sex with a woman who says, "Never stop fucking me," and she's supposed to be bad. Also, there's some horrible little boy with glasses, although I have no idea how he factors into the plot.

Come on, making somebody scream "Show me the money!" is sort of a Tracy Jordan move.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Donnie Brasco (1997)

Johnny Depp goes undercover and befriends Mob guy Al Pacino. They become close. In the end, Al Pacino feels betrayed and Johnny Depp feels guilty, but Al Pacino's worse off because I think they shoot him (on a pier?). Basically Goodfellas meets Reservoir Dogs, maybe. Charlize Theron might be in this.

Not gonna last.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The French Connection (1971)

Roy Scheider's kind of a racist. No: Gene Hackman is. Also, Roy Scheider comes by Gene Hackman's apartment and Gene Hackman's been handcuffed to the bed by some girl. They're buddies, these partners. Some French guy is engaged in some kind of smuggling operation, and there's a long, famous car chase in New York City. In the end I think the bad guy actually gets away. This movie is incredibly '70s.

Hello from the morally ambiguous world of 1970s narrative!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Hunt for Red October (1990)

Sean Connery plays the captain of a Russian nuclear submarine, where everybody speaks in English with Russian accents. Skinny Alec Baldwin plays Harrison Ford and somehow gets on the submarine at some point. I think the captain wants to defect, but it isn't clear to anybody whether he actually is defecting, and a bad-guy Russian tries to kill him after deciding that, yes, that's exactly what he's doing. In the end, two submarines crash into each other due to Sean Connery's excellent submarine-driving skills, and Sean Connery gets a lakehouse. (In conclusion, what you do with a submarine is "drive" it.)

"We named the dog Indiana!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

Neo's blind now but maybe has Matrix powers outside of the Matrix, and there's a five-hour battle scene between those squid and guys in the robot suits from Aliens. Neo and Trinity crash and Trinity dies. Neo fights a million Agent Smiths (that's the guy's name, right?) and gets killed but then isn't killed, and Agent Smith is destroyed and Neo's body gets taken away by the robots, and then the Oracle and somebody else have a conversation on a bench with a sunset, and I think of myself as being pretty smart and narratively attentive but I have no idea what's going on.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Andromeda Strain (1971)

A team of scientists is assembled to deal with a killer super-virus that has been discovered, or that has leaked, or that it is for some reason in danger of leaking. Lots of walking around in space suits, somebody is climbing in an air duct (although I'm picturing a really wide space, like Cloud City wide), and I think there's a clock ominously counting down—maybe because if they can't contain this thing, everybody's getting nuked, as a precaution? And then, War of the Worlds–style, the problem is solved by the virus's simply mutating into something more benign (thus essentially neutralizing both the epidemic and the entire plot: thanks for nothing, Andromeda Strain*).

Good advice for any kind of suit, really.

* Actually, I think I liked this movie. (Or maybe it's that I liked the book and didn't like the movie...?)