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Frozen Ferrari Fred Whodunit

Other than the fact “Ferrari Fred” sounds like the name of a character in a bad Stephen King novel, what am I talking about with this crazy blog title? I WENT TO THE MOVIES, that is what I’m talking about.

Over the long Thanksgiving weekend we saw the four hot movies out right now, and they were all wonderful in their own way. No, they are not all for everyone, but they are all wonderful. I will take them in the order I saw them.

Ford v Ferrari

Everything about this movie was near perfection. The story was tight, the dialogue was crisp and memorable, the imagery was iconic, and the sound and sights of those beautiful cars was spectacular. Even if you don’t like cars, you’ll like the movie and if you like cars, you’ll love the movie. Christian Bale will get a best actor nomination and the movie will get a best picture nomination. It has some language in it, so you might want to keep the kiddos away, but there is no violence or pornographic material.

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Movies usually entertain. Sometimes they inspire. Sometimes they mesmerize. This movie affirms humanity and the possibilities for making the world a better place. Shot in the same style as the old Mr. Rogers Neighborhood television show, it usher you into a different world from the very beginning. Yet this movie is not really about Mr. Rogers as much as it is the journalist covering him, but at the same time it really is. The main character, Lloyd, is changed by Mr. Rogers. Tom Hanks will get a nod for best actor and the movie should be a top contender for best picture.

As an aside, I also recommend you watch the outstanding documentary about Mr. Rogers. Click here to read what I wrote about that.

Frozen II

All four of us enjoyed it and so can your entire family. The music is very good, but the emotions are what steal the show. There is one particular moment when Anna is everyone of us — fighting to keep up hope in a lonely and dark world. I liked this movie more than the first one, probably because of the heavy Tolkien influence on the story. I’m serious. If Olaf is viewed as a happy shiny Gollum, Elsa as Gandalf, Anna as Frodo/Aragorn, Sven and Kristoff become hobbits then the journey parallels nicely.

Aside from this, it is easy to see the motif of the movie — a needed restoration and reconciliation between indigenous peoples and those who exploited and took from them. It’s a good message.

Knives Out

This one surprised me. I didn’t expect to like it so much, but man was it fun. Nothing will be nominated from this movie, and there will be no awards for it but it is fun. Here was my take away on this movie: Knives Out is the Thanksgiving movie America needed but didn’t know it needed. Besides, it’s got Captain America, James Bond, half of Miami Vice, and Captain Von Trapp, and Halloween! There is a lot of star power here, but Ana de Armas steals the show as Marta.

There is a lot of language and one particular violent moment, but no nudie bits. Perfect for adults who want to slurp soda and enjoy themselves.

CASTING SUGGESTIONS FOR THE SHACK

Who should play Papa?  That was the first question that hit me.Shackover

I saw yesterday that Willie Young’s publishers agreed to film rights through Lionsgate for the controversial bestseller The Shack.  For the record, I liked the book.  True, it has some flaws in terms of plot, conflict, and character development, but hey, don’t we all to some degree?  I mean, the last perfect novel I read was To Kill A Mockingbird.  The theology of The Shack didn’t bother me either.  Some people went crazy over the book’s portrayal of the all-to-human theophanies.  It’s fiction people, theologically informed fiction, but still fiction.  For dogma and doctrine, go to church for-crying-out-loud.

But I am not here to talk about the book.  I’m here to help cast it.  Early reports said Forest Whitaker was directing and staring in it (I presume as Mack) but now it looks like Stuart Hazeldine is the director.

There are really only four characters in the novel.  I apologize if my casting of these seems or feels racially motivated, because I don’t operate like that and it is not my intention.  However, Young is so specific in the novel about the ethnicity of the Godhead, that, well, it kind of has to be that way.

Mack–Need a thirty or forty something year old white man.  Maybe we could go with Ed Norton here.  If he could bring the edginess of his Fight Club character, that would give Mack the angry bite he needs.  If not Ed Norton, then Jeremy Renner.  It needs to be someone who broods.  If it is a no-go for Renner or Norton, then may I humbly suggest we go for insane instead of brooding, which leads us to Bradley Cooper.

Papa--Need a black motherly figure.  The obvious choice is Oprah Winfrey, but hey, that is too obvious.  It is apparent to me, and just about everyone, that Willie Young ripped his Papa character straight from The Oracle in the original The Matrix film, but she is dead.  Della Reese would work.  It would be almost the same role she had opposite Roma Downey in Touched By An Angel.  Her age might be a problem, though.  So how about Queen Latifah.  Yep.  I think we have a winner.

Jesus–Middle Eastern carpenter.  There can only be one answer.  Tony Shalhoub.

Sarayu–Asian female.  Again, pardon the type casting, but I think I got it.  We must cast Rosalind Chao in this role.  Think about it, she could almost do it the same way she played Robin William’s heavenly daughter in What Dreams May Come.  I know, brilliant, right!  Besides, Miles O’Brien would be so proud of her.  If she doesn’t want to do it, then, let’s keep the sci-fi jazz with this and go with Grace Park.

Okay, so those are my casting suggestions.  I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

“IF I STAY” (MOVIE) FEATURING THE NASTY BRUISES

What would you name your rock band?  It is something I’ve given a lot of thought to, and it came up again this weekend.

Last week I had the joy of watching yet another teen flick.  Okay, I was taken kicking and screaming, but that is beside the point.  My youngest sprout had read the book If I Stay and wanted to see the movie.  So off we went . . . to the matinee, of course. There is no way I was paying full price for this.

Here is a quick review of the movie–Throw in a dash of Romeo and Juliet, a bit of Titanic, sprinkle some Walk to Remember and now one teaspoon of The Fault In Our Stars and viola–If I Stay is born.

The Sequel Should be Titled 'Portland, My Heart Will Go on'
The Sequel Should be Titled ‘Portland, My Heart Will Go on’

The acting was uneven.  Stacy Keach plays the grandfather, and he is, as always, terrific.  The mom and dad roles are done well, but the two main actors, the girl and the boy, are dreadfully wooden and uninspiring.  That’s okay, I wasn’t expecting much more.  As I said on my Twitter feed that night, the real star of the movie, as far as I’m concerned, is the city of Portland.  The producers did a great job of portraying the delightful oddity of that wonderful city.

There was one cool part in the movie.  The father had been in a band (I presume back in the 90s) that was named Nasty Bruises.

To me, that was the most creative part of the film, the name of his band.  I have absolutely no musical talent whatsoever, so I will never be in any kind of band.  I was once kicked out of a church choir and the only thing I can play is the iPod.  But if I ever had a band, naming it would be the most enjoyable part.  I’ve been working on a list for a few years.  Here are some of my hypothetical band names, in no particular order.

1.  Crusty Theologians

2.  The Downspouts

3.  Tolkien’s Revenge

4.  Banana Sandwich

5.  Nietzche Was Wrong

6.  Leather Bound Edition (LBE for short)

7.  Assimov

8.  Then There Was Light

9.  Broken Wheelbarrows

10. Gag Reflex

 

Every now and again a new one comes to me.  What would you name your hypothetical rock band?

 

image from imbd.com