The House Bunny

“The House Bunny,” directed by Fred Wolf and starring Anna Faris, isn’t much of a movie. It’s funny and sweet with a thoroughly predictable ending, but despite its somewhat lackluster premise, it’s got two things going for it: Faris and the women.

Faris just shines in her role as Shelley, a Playboy bunny who’s kicked out of the mansion on the morning of her 27th birthday for being too old. Suddenly homeless, and completely unable to function like a grown-up, she ends up at Zeta House, a sorority run by college campus misfits who are on the verge of losing their house.

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My Dinner with Andre

“My Dinner with Andre,” Louis Malle’s art house hit from 1981, is all talk and not for the weak of heart.

When I say it’s all talk, I mean it; two men, friends of sorts who haven’t seen each other in a few years, meet for dinner, and talk about their lives, the meaning of life, the value of art, the future of mankind, etc. You know, typical stuff to talk about on any given evening.

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What a delightful little find.

“Starman” is another early ’80s sci-fi flick, like “The Last Starfighter,” that isn’t a great movie, but it is a pretty good one.

The film opens in space; we of planet Earth have sent out a satellite loaded with language primers and an invitation for intelligent life to come visit us. Well, one traveling spaceman (Jeff Bridges) decides to take us up on the offer, but when he’s coming in for a landing, his ship is diverted; instead of landing in Arizona (poor guy), he finds himself in the backwoods of Wisconsin.

He stumbles upon one Jenny Hayden (Karen Allen), a woman who is still struggling to deal with the accidental death of her husband Scott (also Bridges). The Starman sifts through her house before stumbling upon some of Scott’s DNA and takes his form to better adapt to Earth-living.

But, he’s still got an appointment to keep, so he forces Jenny to give him a lift to Arizona, and from there, a basic sci-fi setup turns into an unlikely road trip movie, complete with some government baddies on their tail.

What happens next isn’t surprising, but what director John Carpenter manages to do is. Jenny is no dummy; she continually tries to escape, using direct and subtle means. Of course, she comes to realize that this alien, for all his other-ness and power, is just a baby who needs her to help him. Yes, it’s a love story, every story is a love story, but while it’s a rushed, it feels real.

Bridges received an Oscar nomination for his role, and he, like Allen, completely sells his character. When he first regenerates, he walks like a man using his muscles for the first time; he stumbles through language like a child does; he even uses his powers like a kid, over the top but effective. Just like Jenny, we grow to love this creature that wants nothing more than to see the best of our species.

Not bad for B-movie. It’s definitely worth checking out.

“Starman” (1984)

Directed by John Carpenter

Written by Bruce A. Evans, Raynold and Dean Riesner

Starring: Jeff Bridges (Starman)

Jenny (Karen Allen)

Another double feature

Recently, I switched my DVD provider to Netflix, and boy, they totally rock. They deserve my business (but you’re free to make up your own mind). And to celebrate this momentous switcheroo, it’s double-feature time!

This time, our theme is early CGI sci-fi with “Tron” and “The Last Starfighter.”

I was somewhat familiar with both of these films, my mom is a sci-fi fan from wayback (thanks for that!) and I’m sure that at some point in my childhood, I watched both films. But since I can’t remember them, time for a fresh start.

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In Good Company

“In Good Company,” the 2004 flick from writer/director Paul Weitz, is the definition of a mixed bag. What Weitz gets right is pretty good; what he gets wrong shows the missed opportunities that could have made the film better.

Dan (Dennis Quaid) is an old-school ad salesman for a sports magazine. In a shockingly prescient story, his parent company is not doing so well and is bought out by a mega-conglomerate. That’s not all of his worries; his oldest daughter, Alex (Scarlet Johansson), gets accepted to NYU and he promises her she can go not long after he finds out he and his wife are expecting another kid.

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