In defense of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’

Nostalgia is quite the powerful force.
It can make you look back on the rough periods of your life with
whitewashed longing or convince that you still love something, even
if you know now that it’s crappy.

We all have them, those things we loved
as children that no matter how old we get, or how much smarter are
brains grow, we stubbornly refuse to believe is bad.

For me, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” is
just one of those things. I first
saw the film when I was 11; my mom borrowed it from a coworker, and
in an unprecedented move, she let me and my sister stay up way past
our bedtimes so we could watch it.

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The RomCom double feature

Well, my dear readers, it’s been quite a while since I posted anything here. Between one awful cold and a big move, I felt a break was needed.

But since I’ve recovered from both those real life invasions, let’s get back to the business of critiquing with this RomCom double feature.

If reviews are to be believed, lately romantic comedies have been quite the suckfests. Unlikeable but beautiful people try and fail to convince us that they are worthy of a ‘happily-ever-after’ moment. Or we get a story about a deep friendship between two dudes that’s clearly only written for men.

 

It’s a bit bleak out there for men AND women, so let’s take a look backward at two modern romcoms that both succeed (to a point) but don’t necessarily leave us with bad feelings.

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“Unconditional Love” revisited

The ending still bugs me.

I first saw “Unconditional Love” in 2004; I’d never heard of it, but after discovering just how awesome Peter Sarsgaard is, I decided that I needed to watch every movie of his I could find, and with absolutely no prior knowledge, I found myself watching this quirky, uneven but cute little film about the most self-less kind of love.

And then I had to go and ruin things even more by rewatching it.

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Battlestar Galactica: The Plan

At the end of my rewatch, I dive into the last *new* BSG, “The Plan,” which covers the first two seasons of the show from the Cylon perspective.

 

A note to first time BSG watchers; these aren’t the reviews for you. I plan to write about the show with the ending in mind. If you haven’t seen the show, you will be spoiled on stuff that happens at the end. You’ve been warned.

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The Black Cauldron

Wow, that was quite a disappointment.

Now, I went in expecting “The Black Cauldron” to be pretty bad (thanks in part to this Slate article), but in the back of my mind, I was hoping that my lowered expectations would overwrite the movie’s flaws and let me enjoy it.

 

Sadly, it was not to be. What makes the movie’s fumbles even harder is that I’ve read “The Chronicles of Prydain” by Lloyd Alexander (the movie’s title comes from the second book in the series), and it’s a fantastic and moving coming of age tale about an assistant pig keeper Taran (voiced by Grant Bardsley) and his journey to manhood (and heroism).

However, the film, directed by Ted Berman and Richard Rich, has none of those qualities. It’s an overly cutesy tale about bringing down a scary but one-note villain in order to save the world and get the girl. It’s the template for every fantasy story ever written (as a fantasy consumer, that’s not a complaint, just an observation) but the writers and directors didn’t do anything special with the story.

 

The characters are goody-goody bland, the animal sidekicks (on both sides) are annoying, and the wrap-up is too easy and ultimately costs our heroes nothing (something that is completely foreign to the author Alexander).

It’s not often that I wish for a bad movie to be longer, but condensing five extraordinary novels

in to one 80 minute movie is a travesty, plain and simple. Maybe I could have handled this movie better if I hadn’t loved the books as I did, but what’s done is done. Now it’s time for someone to rescue this series from it’s fate and make it into the grand spectacle it deserves to be.

 

The Black Cauldron” (1985)

Written by too many to list here

Directed by Ted Berman and Richard Rich

Starring: Grant Bardsley (Taran)

Susan Sheridan (Eilonwy)

Battlestar Galactica: Islanded in a Stream of Stars

As the great show “Battlestar Galactica” winds down, we spend an episode with our beloved characters as they come to grips with their rather bleak futures.

 

A note to first time BSG watchers; these aren’t the reviews for you. I plan to write about the show with the ending in mind. If you haven’t seen the show, you will be spoiled on stuff that happens at the end. You’ve been warned.

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Oscar predictions, 2011

Earlier this week, Oscar nominations came out, and while once again I’ve seen a paltry number of the films nominated, I’m going to throw my hat in the ring and make some predictions I will likely eat in the end.

But ah well, that’s part of the fun, but we’re going to shake things up a bit this time. For this year’s prognostications, I’m going with two categories, what I believe will happen and what I would like to happen.

Let’s get to it (and good luck to you all playing the home game). See you in February.

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Battlestar Galactica: Someone to Watch Over Me

Starbuck bonds with a mysterious piano player, which reignites an old passion, while Chief spends the episode trying to save Boomer’s life, with some disastrous consequences.

 

A note to first time BSG watchers; these aren’t the reviews for you. I plan to write about the show with the ending in mind. If you haven’t seen the show, you will be spoiled on stuff that happens at the end. You’ve been warned.

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