Grosse Pointe Blank

There are certain milestones we all dread: turning 30, becoming eligible for Social Security, and our high school reunions.  It used to be that we only worried about the 20-year reunion; but over the past 30 years, we have seen the rise of the 10-year reunion.  I remember mine approaching and realizing that I had not accomplished all that I thought I would.  Turns out that not everyone else did either.

Well, a couple of years before my reunion, a movie came out that had its environment center around the 10-year reunion.  Grosse Pointe Blank allowed us to examine this milestone in a unique way: what if you wanted to make a change in your whole way of life, could you do it with minimal “damage”?

John Cusack does a great job of expressing what we are feeling without coming across like a whiny little baby.  This the first movie that I took notice of Minnie Driver and thought she did well playing a tough, but vulnerable love interest.  Include a crazy Dan Aykroyd and a great soundtrack, and you have the recipe for a fun couple of hours.

The DVD only had a trailer as extras, so that was disappointing.

My advice:  Good for any night of the week that you want to have fun watching movies…

Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay

Well, if you read my review of the first one, then you know I was looking forward to this one.  I was afraid that they might have put too much hype behind the movie and that I would leave disappointed.

The story is more developed than the first movie and the humor is a little smarter in drawing parallels.  Ultimately this is a movie about friendship and how far you can go before it is destroyed.  It works because the guys playing our heroes are likeable.

There are parts that are funnier than the first and the rest is about the same.

My advice: if you liked the first one, you will not be disappointed — If you were missing 10 minutes of gratuitous naked females in movies, then why are you still here and not at the theater?

Def Leppard: Rock of Ages

I know, I know — you are used to reading reviews about movies, but DVDs are more than movies and TV shows.  A couple of years ago, I picked up a DVD of Def Leppard’s greatest videos on sale.  While I didn’t listen much to Pyromania, Hysteria came out my senior year in high school.  You couldn’t escape the sound of the band and if you were like me, you didn’t want to.  It particularly played well in Panama City Beach, where it could be heard on the beach and at the beach clubs.  Over the years I continued to listen to them, rediscovering them in 99 when they released an album (Euphoria) that harkened back to their Hysteria days.

So, Sunday night found me doing work on the computer and I decided to plop the DVD in — even though I had owned it for 2 years, I had yet to watch it.  Why I waited so long, I’ll never know; but it was amazing.  19 videos, many 5+ minutes in length, graced my TV screen while the music came pumping out in DTS 5.1 .

The DVD also had a bonus video from a rehearsal in 06, as well as the ability to create your own, ordered playlist.

My advice: If you loved their music, check this one out — your ears and eyes will thank you….

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

We have all been there:  madly in love with someone, thinking things are going great, and then…


You are left picking up the broken pieces of your heart as the one you thought loved you casually walks out the door.

Usually Hollywood shows this as the guy dumping the girl; not this time around.  This time around we see the guy getting the shaft, which has been more my experience.

So do I go see this movie by myself?  Nope — I go on a date — but we had fun.  We went over for a Sunday matinee at the AMC Altamonte and settled into our seats just as the trailers were beginning.  Some interesting ones — it was the first time I saw the full Get Smart trailer — I want to see more of that one…

The movie starts off in a way that I am sure my friend, Spaldy, will love:  Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother), with nary a stitch of clothing.  Interestingly enough, we get three different scenes of him in full-frontal, but really nothing of the women, barely a boob.  Anyway, Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) dumps our young, nude hero for some girly-looking rock singer; seriously, Richard Simmons looks more manly.  Segel runs off to Hawaii, where, surprise, he runs into Bell and her girly-man.  What follows is pretty formulaic, but good.  My date and I had a lot of laughs from this one.

My advice:  Don’t miss it amongst all of the summer blockbusters — it’s even a decent date movie, as long as your date is not a prude…

Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle: Extreme Unrated

Back in 2004, a bunch of us in the LabRat program at SAK Comedy Lab would make plans to go to the movies late on Saturday nights after the 10 PM show of The Audition at SAK.  An added bonus was when Spaldy moved to town and joined us.  One weekend, we decided to see Harold & Kumar and left the theater, laughing about it for a couple of weeks.

So fast-forward a few years and I find myself watching the DVD to refresh myself before checking out the sequel.

The plot is simple enough: two guys get stoned, get hungry, head out for food , and run into complications along the way.  What makes this movie good is that the audience genuinely likes both lead characters, because we have been them at some point, having the same fears of life and romance as them.  Of course Neil Patrick Harris playing an extreme version of himself also helped the comedy in the movie.

The DVD was made for the fans — the menu selection scenes contain dialog and jokes specific to the DVD.  It is also packed with a lot of features, including a study on the Art of the Fart.  However, it was released at a time that movies like this were given the “unrated” treatment — for this movie, that means 3 extra seconds of boobs and a couple of extra “F-bombs”.

Is this movie for everyone?

Depends — What is your reaction to the following quote from early in the movie:

“Just because you are hung like a moose does not mean you do porn”

If that amuses the 14-year-old in you, then you are the target audience.

My advice:  If you like a simple story packed with some good laughs and cameos, then spend some time with the boys…