First of all, just because I know you're all thinking it...
"...Oh, are they?"
Do you feel better now? I do : ) That's honestly the only thing I remember about this movie from when it was advertised on television. Frankly, at the time, I'm not even sure I recognized the man in scrubs to be Luke Wilson.
But as is so often the case with Wes Anderson's films, the dialogue in Rushmore is just rampantly fantastic.
However, I'd have to say this movie strikes me as perhaps the least accessible of Mr. Anderson's work. I'm not really even sure why, other than that I guess you just know things are rather ill-fated from the start. Surely nothing could ever fully live up to the ideals of Max Fischer, and it's sometimes a little rough to watch things fall through. I guess that's just how that whole coming-of-age-thing goes, though...
Speaking of rough, Mr. Murray can play a broken-down man like no one's business. It's impressive, to say the least. And it's just inexplicably endearing. Something about his eyes...(Also, in half-assedly researching for this blog entry, I found that Mr. Murray shares a birthday with Mr. Wilson, wouldntchaknow...)
Really all of the characters in this film are incredibly endearing...save for the Blume twins.
Truly I apologize for the lackluster blog entry here, but words honestly fail me in talking about this movie. If someone asked me, "What's that one about?" I'm not even sure I'd know how to answer.
Maybe I'd just say, "Best play ever, man." But more likely, I'd just tell you to see it for yourself. Truly, as with most great movies, I like this one more and more everytime I watch it.
Mere's Official Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Surely there's a Sandwich Connoisseurs club in there somewhere...
A lot's been going on behind the scenes of The Luke Wilson Merethon, though. Here're the updates:
Update #1: I watched the next film on the list, Home Fries.
Actually, I "accidently" subjected my sister and mother to an all-out Wilson Brother film-fest. It truly wasn't planned. Just coincindence. (Providence.)
Anyways....My parents have some free movie channels for the time being, thanks to their having recently switched to the AT&T U-verse set-up. (I cannot confirm what effect, if any, Luke Wilson had on their decision.) By chance, Marley and Me was beginning on one of these said channels just as my mom, sister and I went to work on our baby quilts for Miss Ellie. (Say what you will, but I love that movie. It's just adorable.)
After this, my mom and sister suggested we watch the Netflix movie that I had brought with me, which happened to be Home Fries.
Then finally, to round out the trio, right when we switched off the DVD player, Whip It (featuring eldest Wilson brother, Andrew) just haaappened to be starting on another movie channel.
Anyways, I will be relaying the review of Home Fries here in just a moment.
Update #2: I had intended to continue on with Rushmore after Home Fries, however, I convinced myself to wait another couple weeks.
Matt has watched this movie after every semester of his college education (well, except for one). A ritual if you will. As I was going to borrow the movie from him in the first place, I figured I should probably watch it with him, too. Truly I love an excuse to watch movies with the boyfriend, anyway. However, the end of the semester is not for another week yet, and I can't buck tradition and ask him to watch it early on this, his very LAST semester, right?! (Congrats, by the way! : ). So rest assured this movie will be watched sometime soon over the holiday season.
Update #3: ...The last one, I swear!
Having decided to wait on Matt for Rushmore, I thought I would just skip to the next film, Kill the Man. Unfortunately, this was not to be. I tried everywhere!
Netflix. The library. The good folks at Liberty Hall.
Even Blockbuster. No dice.
Jenna and I looked it up on Amazon and I quickly decided I was not willing to spend $15 for a DVD of a movie I've never seen and which could very well be terrible. (Not even for you, Mr. Wilson.)
Luckily, we've found it's available for a few dollars less...perhaps just a fistful of dollars, if you will...on VHS.
To be honest, I'd forgotten what you even call the machine that plays VHS tapes. I kept saying, "a VHS player." It never even occurred to me that there was any other way to say it until my sister told me she had a VCR (duh) that I could borrow. Anyways, I am moments away from ordering my very own VHS of Kill of the Man via the interwebs. I will keep you posted.
Ok, I think that's enough updates for one post. A girl's got to have some secrets, right?
Oh Home Fries...
I can't help but contemplate the possibility that the director/writer/producer of this movie just woke up one morning, called his friends and said, "Hey, I have a helicopter! Let's make a movie!!"
Secondly, I don't think it's fair when a movie preview purposefully leaves out any and all indication of the actual plot. I mean, sure you want to have some suspense. You can't give away everything, but I'd like to have some idea of what I'm getting in to.
My sister and I watched the preview on the special features of the DVD and I don't think they ever once mentioned the helicopter, or the crazy step-mother/step-brother plot. They were totally hoping you'd believe it was just a cute, little unconventional love-story about a pregnant girl working at a burger joint. Not so, my friends. Not so.
However, as I've already said many-a-time in this blog, this is certainly not the worst movie I've ever seen.
Drew Barrymore is her usual adorable self.
Mr. Wilson looks as lovely as ever, though perhaps a little on the thin side...
I also love that Shelley Duvall made the cast, but I can't say I've ever been able to think of her as anyone other than Mrs. Torrance.
And then there's even a plot, implausible and unfortunate though it may be...
I'd really like to think the movie could have stood on it's own without the helicopter and all the step-family drama. Although, maybe I should be applauding the filmmakers for not settling for just another romantic comedy. But maybe that'd be easier to do if I had liked the movie...
It all started out innocently enough, but soon thereafter, just went well beyond quirky to land somewhere closer to awkward and outrageous.
Maybe they really did set out to make just a simple, romantic comedy, but somewhere on the editing floor decided a helicopter and crazy step-mother were really the spice this film was missing.
I dare say you could have done better, folks, but you also certainly could have done a whole lot worse.
Mere's Official Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Maybe sub-ing out the sandwich for a burger would help...
Hey sports fans! Sorry it's been a while. Ever since little miss Ellie-B came in to the world a couple weeks ago, things have been a little more busy than usual. She is probably the world's most adorable niece, though, so I can't complain. : ) Can't wait to watch her grow up!!!
Ok, back to the blog.
Ohhh, Dog Park.
This movie is to me as Gigli seems to be to a lot of people. (I still haven't seen that one.) It may be one of the worst movies ever. It's like someone watched a mid-90s romantic comedy one day and thought, "Hey! I could do that!". No, sir. No, you cannot. It feels like all the elements are there for a quirky 90s-era date flick, but they truly fall flat.
The most glaring example is the title/setting. To me, a dog park seems like a great setting for comedy. There's so much potential and it's a unique location that I don't think has really been overused in this genre.
All of the plot synopsises of this movie I read beforehand, however, seemed to incorrectly give undue weight to the dog park in this movie. In actuality, it always just seemed more like an aside. Like "filler." Like, maybe some afterthought to help make the title seem more fitting? It just seems to me that if you're going to name the movie after it, it should maybe be a bit more of a focal point, something that truly affects the plot.
And the dogs just seem...unnatural. Not really even for a good or witty, metaphorical purpose, and certainly not in any terribly crucial or meaningful way regarding the plot. More like animate furniture, who occasionally make an appearance in the background.
Regardless, the main dog, Mr. Mogley, is adorable, which almost makes up for something. He is easily one of my favorite characters of the film, second only to his "pet therapist."
The therapist is constantly dumbfounded by people, berating everyone, including his children, for not understanding, or being more like dogs. ("They are not our children; they're better.") It might have been better, had he been played by say...Will Ferrel, but he at least ups the comedy level considerably in this movie.
As does Callum, (Harland Williams), who you might remember best from a little classic called Dumb and Dumber. ("Tic-Tac, sir?)
Anyways, if nothing else, it can certainly be said that this movie is missing the following:
- An interesting plot. Truly just a believable plot in general. As Andy (Luke Wilson) says, "It's like hitting on a waitress. It's just so obvious."
- Hair. The very lovely Natasha Henstridge is in desperate need of hair.
- A good script. Some witty banter. ("Will you crack my neck?" --What?!?!?!?!) Maybe just some chemistry. Somewhere. Something that might actually make me care a little bit. I realize Bruce McCulloch wrote for Kids in the Hall and SNL, but I'm not sold, buddy. You've got some decent one-liners, but that opening monologue?! It is just painful. : ( I won't lay that all on you, though, Mr. McCulloch. Maybe if you had some different actors? Maybe? Maybe. (Sorry, Mr. Wilson!)
MERE'S OFFICIAL RATING: 1 OUT OF 5 STARS
A sandwich might deliver better dialogue.
Up Next... Home Fries
Telling Lies in America
I've finally had the chance to catch up on that one we missed, Telling Lies in America.
Honestly, I can really only say I'm glad I watched it in the sense that otherwise my challenge would have been incomplete. Beyond that, I think I could have lived without seeing Kevin Bacon slinking around as a sleazy 1960's radio disc jockey. In his defense, he played the role all too well.
The highlight of the entire film for me, truly, was probably the whole 3 minutes of screen time given to Jonathon Rhys Meyers. What a loooovely lad.
Otherwise, the movie didn't do much for me. I didn't really even like any of the characters. Not even the protagonist, Karchy (Brad Renfro). He's just pretty misguided and a little sleazy at best. Kevin Bacon's character is even sleazier. Calista Flockhart's "Diney" is just plain weird and drab. I mean, you sort of feel bad for all of them, but it's fairly hard to want good things for any of them. You just sort of hope the movie will end soon and you can push it all out of your mind quickly thereafter. It lacks the wit or humor or the something that it desperately needs to really be watchable.
Mr. Wilson's character is about as loath-able as the rest, too, playing Karchy's straight-laced, hard-ass of a boss. Again, even if he is playing by the rules, you really don't like him any more for it. (Killer glasses though!)
It's all pretty formulaic, predictable, and bland. Basically, it's a movie devoid of any really entertaining qualities in this girl's mind. I do not recommend it.
MERE'S OFFICIAL RATING: 2 out of 5 stars.
You could probably step out for a sandwich mid-movie...
Ok, so before I get started on Scream 2, here are some updates:
First of all, I either need to a) not drink with Jenna while watching these movies and/or b) take better notes. : ) Let's see if I can't make sense of what I've got written down here...
I have to admit--I do not like "scary movies." Horror has to be my very least favorite genre of film. With all the very real, very scary things in the world, it never made much sense to me that a scary movie would even really be necessary.
But there does seem to be that sub-genre of horror film. The one that is able to poke fun at the entire concept of a scary movie while still being one itself. Not unlike Scream. At any rate, I've always had a soft spot for Scream. The slashing and the screaming aside, these movies were always more about suspense, plot twist and even a good deal of humor rather than actual "horror."
Randy (Jamie Kennedy, again) is probably my favorite Scream character, in Scream 2 especially, for these very reasons. Being the horror film aficionado, Randy breaks it all down for the viewer; the cliches, the "rules," all the ins-and-outs of surviving a horror flick. And he and Dewey (David Arquette) together make for a very entertaining pair in Scream 2.
Luke Wilson's character also literally had me laughing out loud. He plays Billy Loomis (for maybe 30 seconds) in Stab, the fictional movie based on the Woodsboro serial killings of the first Scream. Basically he plays Skeet Ulrich. It's excellent and surprisingly, it really made me want to watch the first Scream all over again.
Watching Scream 2, I found I was really in need of a Scream refresher-course altogether. This film was what I had remembered as being Scream 3. Now I wonder what actually does happen in the third film! I can't even begin to remember it....And as I said, I'd really just sort of like to watch the first one again. For nostalgia's sake. Heck, even just for Matthew Lillard's sake! (I loved Stu!)
Perhaps for the sake of the upcoming Scream 4 I can organize a Scream-marathon watch party? Anyone? Yes? : )
If nothing else, watching this movie definitely felt like a little time-trip, way back to the 90s. The characters in the film even joke about things being too "90s!". If nothing else, it was a fun flashback to upper elementary school, watching movies in my friend Heather's basement.
MERE'S OFFICIAL RATING: 3 OUT OF 5 STARS
So 90's. In a good way.
(Sandwiches welcome...well, unless blood makes you squeamish!)
I somehow convinced Matt to watch the next flick on the list, Best Men.
When we started the movie, I was under the impression it was going to be a comedy. Unfortunately, aside from a few moments of mostly unintentional humor, this was not a very funny movie.
Andy Dick was in this one, too, but he was definitely not as endearing as last time and I'm already regaining my disdain for him. But, on the brighter side, this movie was a considerable improvement over the last one!
There was a plot! Even fairly interesting themes and subplots about homosexuality, honor, friendship, etc. Unfortunately this movie was also riddled with cliche. The whole estranged father (sheriff) pitted against wayward son (bank robber) by circumstance of chosen professions. Then, of course, there's that inexplicably-angry-at-the-world-FBI-honcho-man who rolls in to town to take over the robbery/hostage situation and generally be an ass to everyone, especially those who run the small-town sheriff's department. It's all there.
Also, though I've yet to see Dog Day Afternoon, Matt explained to me that this movie seems to draw heeeavily upon that film. One character even makes reference to it somewhere in that often unnatural-sounding dialogue spoken by the would-be-groomsmen-bank robbers and their hostages. (Why, yes, there's even Shakespeare!) At any rate, I think I need to see Dog Day Afternoon.
We also said at least 5 times during this movie, "Where have I seen that guy before?!" in reference to Sean Patrick Flannery. Apprently in Powder or Boondock Saints. Wild....
This movie did not end in a manner even remotely close to what I would have expected. It was almost really disappointing. A nice twist at the end made it, well...less disappointing. It was satisfying if still completely outlandish....Yeah, we'll leave it at that.
MERE'S OFFICIAL RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars
Sandwich-appropriateness remains questionable.
(Yeah, I don't remember him being in that movie either!)
I have to say, this was not the worst movie I've ever seen. In fact, it was able to do something that I didn't think was even possible!...It made me like Andy Dick.
Even if only for a couple hours, even if only in this one film, I was none-the-less shocked and pleasantly surprised by how much I genuinely enjoyed him in this movie.
Her character, Serena, is especially loathsome. The fact that the director, cast and crew actually expected an audience to believe that there's anything even remotely resembling a love story or "chemistry" at all between her and the Luke Wilson character, David, is really just insulting. It left the movie with little on which to hang a plot.
At this point I had planned to write about the reactions of the inaugural panel members, but Jenna, I honestly can't hardly read the quotes of yours that I wrote down!! Wait...ok. Here we go: "Somebody paid money to see this movie?! YOU paid money to see this movie!" Ok, two things: John did some research and I believe he said it never made it in to theatres. Secondly, it was a 99 cent rental at Liberty Hall ; )
Now, your second quote is the one I can't read and I'm really sorry because it sounds hilarious! It starts out with "Yeah, 'cause that's not a felony!" but, unfortunately I cannot remember what this is meant to reference!
John said at the end, "They didn't even need to tell you that this movie was taking place in Portland. Just watching you think, 'This seems like something that would happen in Portland."
Really, though, both of you should consider leaving a comment below, because I'm definitely not doing either of your opinions justice!! I blame the beer. Next time I will be more prepared. Written reviews from all panel members from here on out! : )
Alright, I think that's everything. Again, I'd stick to Mr. Burton's advice and check it out for yourself if you've really the mind to! Reality Bites it is not, though, so don't get your hopes up! It's at least good for a few laughs.
MERE'S OFFICIAL RATING: 1 out of 5 Stars
Bring a sandwich! ("As many sandwiches as you can carry!")*
*For those of you who may not know, this is in reference to the Sandwich Scale by which movies are rated on the level of sandwich-appropriateness. A person must ask him/herself, "Can I bring a sandwich to this movie?"
Telling Lies in America
That being said, in the immortal words of Levar Burton, "don't take my word for it!" Really, just watch the movie! And then definitely watch it again.
I just think there's a lot going on that might have made it hard to digest the first go around. I feel like I notice something new every time I watch it. It also moves especially quickly at the beginning. And on top of that, the two main characters, Anthony and Dignan, literally talk simultaneously half the time.
Once you are finally able to take it all in, though, the dialogue does not disappoint. Even better than in the short film, it is enormously entertaining and has quickly infiltrated my everyday conversations. The subtle humor, the dialogue that takes place just off screen--I love all of it.
I've taken two whole film classes my entire life, so please forgive that I can't adequately express why, but, the photography that makes up this film, the cuts that transition the story from scene to scene, I find them nothing short of awesome. How the dialogue leads meaningfully between cuts, as though to add an additional level of comedic timing. And Anderson's constant use of that close-up shot-- it seems so much more effective than it has any right to! Brilliant.
Now, Luke Wilson's character, Anthony Adams, is easily in the top 3 on Meredith's list of All-time Favorite Luke Wilson Characters. (No, I don't actually have like, a tangible list that I carry around!) He represents the voice of reason and logic in this movie, but also the voice of loyalty and friendship. You just can't blame him for humoring Dignan. I can't, anyway.
Dignan's energy throughout is just contagious. He's endearing, though surely exhausting. Even when he's down, it's never long before he's begun his next plan. I'd definitely give him "the spirit award" in this movie. "Say what you will about him, he's no cynic and he's no quitter..." He and Bob Maplethorpe surely alternate between the top two spots on my list of favorite Wes Anderson characters. (Ok, Kumar is definitely up there, too. Damn, I love this movie!)
I can't help but love the bilingual love story, as well. Inez is adorable as the "little girl from Paraguay." And speaking of little girls, I love, love, love Grace. I sort of wish every older brother had a little sister like Grace.
And let us not forget the soundtrack!! As with any Wes Anderson movie, the music is so much a part of the movie, it may well be a character itself. It is essential and highly successful in setting much of the mood for the movie. I personally love the Proclaimer's track. And "2000 Man" at the end!! Yes!
Well, if I've now convinced even just one person out there to give Bottle Rocket a first or second chance, then this whole blog will have been worth it. (Man, if nothing else, just do it for the scene with Dignan on the motorbike. I literally laugh out loud every time!)
Suffice it to say, I really, really love this movie.
But there's still much more to come as the Mere-thon continues! "Here are just a few of the key ingredients: dynamite, pole vaulting, laughing gas, choppers - can you see how incredible this is going to be? - hang gliding! Come on!"
MERE'S OFFICAL RATING: "6" out of 5 stars.
Fact: my favorite. By far.
So, does anyone else find it a little ironic that my (lack of) AT&T service was to blame for my inability to post a review of the full-length Bottle Rocket last night?
It literally just stopped. We tried everything we could possibly think of, short of actually calling the good people at AT&T. Maybe I should call this evening and just ask for Luke?
Hopefully we can get this sorted out soon as I hiiiighly doubt they'll approve of my blogging about Luke Wilson from my office computer!
The Mere-thon must go on...
Bottle Rocket (short)
I had intended to limit this blog to full-length feature films, but there's no way to talk about Luke Wilson's career at all without mentioning the Bottle Rocket short film. It is the beginning! Plus, I'm not sure there's really anything I don't love about this film.
A mere 13 minutes long, it's a great little story of three friends setting up, training for, and pulling off their first heist. I'm sure the film is in black and white simply for the sake of money, but that trait coupled with the awesome jazz soundtrack makes for a great old-fashioned "heist" atmosphere.
And even with my untrained eyes, I don't think it's too hard to see why Wes Anderson eventually became THE Wes Anderson that he is today. Props to Owen Wilson as well for his contributions in co-writing the screenplay with Anderson. The dialogue literally makes me laugh out loud.
And the characters! Even as underdeveloped as they are in such a short piece, they are none the less endearing and memorable. (The gun salesman is especially fun). But perhaps I give it too much credit, having watched the full-length version inspired by this short several times before ever having seen the short.
Either way, I adore Bottle Rocket.
Even just the very notion of a couple friends/brothers getting together and actually making a movie...call me what you will, but I find it inspiring to say the least.
MERE'S OFFICIAL RATING: 5 out of 5 stars
An excellent first effort!
Bottle Rocket (full-length)
(A big thank you to Matt for letting me borrow his Criterion copy with the short and full-length films!)
Starting today, actor Luke Wilson's 39th birthday, I will begin my pointless, 365-day quest to watch every movie featuring Mr. Wilson just in time for his 40th birthday.
I will begin from the beginning with the short film, Bottle Rocket. From there we'll work our way (as chronologically as possible) to his most recent film as of September 2011. I'll be blogging all along the way, giving my frank review of each movie, as well as relaying any other fun details of the tribulations and excitements of my quest.
Feel free to play along at home or just follow my updates here on the official Luke Wilson Mere-thon blog!
Let's get lucky!
Jim Stanton (voice)
(Titles, dates and links all stolen from the good people at IMDB.com Thanks!)