Eye of the Beholder

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:45 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Eye of the Beholder
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ashley Judd, Ewan McGregor, k.d. lang
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Destination Films
Release Date: 1999
Kiddie Movie: No way.
Date Movie: She might get a little scared, or might thing you’re a stalker.
Gratuitous Sex: There’s some.
Gratuitous Violence: Some quality kills.
Action: Not too much on the action side.
Laughs: Only at things that didn’t make sense.
Memorable Scene: Ashley Judd (Joanna) stabbing a dude.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: Stephen Elliott

There are many ways to go for realism in a film. Sometimes you try to get shootings to look real. Sometimes you try to get acting to seem real. And sometimes you try to get scenery to look real. Now this might not make sense to anyone who hasn’t seen a Chicago police car, but I just had to chuckle as I was watching “Eye of the Beholder” when The Eye (yea, no name really, just “The Eye”) (Ewan McGregor) and Joanna (Ashley Judd) ended up in Chicago. Other than the fact that there aren’t many cobblestone streets, who told the filmmakers that the police cars had red stripes on them? I saw the Chicago rollers and there they were, painted in red instead of the blue that every person who has seen any other movie with Chicago coppers, from a film like “The Blues Brothers” to “The Fugitive,” would know. It was at this point that “Eye of the Beholder” just took a downturn from “Ehh” to “wait for cable.”

So, in “Eye of the Beholder” you have The Eye, a spy dude with a couple of screws loose because he lost his daughter who is, well, spying, on Joanna and her latest conquest. She’s not playing with a full deck either as she sort of has the black widow thing going. You know, using men for their love (and money) and then killing them. Well, after seeing Joanna and hearing voices from his lost daughter, The Eye basically bails on his spy career and turns into a stalker, trailing Joanna across the continental United States and ending up in Alaska. We get to see The Eye using his high-tech spy things to catch her words, her actions, her falling in love, and her finally seeming to have a happy life with a blind dude until The Eye messes that up. But he thinks that he is meant for her, she doesn’t really know him until it’s too late, and, well, the movie doesn’t have a happy ending except to have you going “That’s it?” At least that’s what the lady in back of me said as the credits started to roll.

There were lots of problems with “Eye of the Beholder” and none of them had to do with the acting of McGregor nor Judd. McGregor is in a roll right after the Star Wars flick, maybe so he doesn’t fall into the “Mark Hamill Syndrome.” He’s a good enough actor, playing the messed in the head spy who can’t help but try to help Joanna, but the role is stuck in a story that really ends up making little sense. Ashley Judd, still one of my favoritist actresses lately, is great as the disturbed man-killer, really just looking for someone to love her and not see her for what she is, and does her role well. But the problem comes in the story, especially on the The Eye side. Yea, he’s great at being a detective, but he’s a little, as my mom might nicely say, loony. His co-workers know this, but they don’t do anything except maybe enable him. And when he finally snaps, well, even with all the spy gear and the spy agency he works for, well, they can’t find him, which I find odd because he always wears the dingy red coat and looks disheveled. At first he seemed like a great spy, but by the end he just made me laugh, especially with his shrine of snow-globes, and his final inability to tell Joanna just who he is.

So, McGregor was good and Ashley, I’m happy to say, is a great actress with a great body and isn’t afraid to show it. But the rest of the movie, well, it was good until you realize that The Eye is basically a stalker with cool spy shit.

So, as I checked my watch during the movie I was deciding to give “Eye of the Beholder” 2 ½ stars, then came the Chicago roller’s blunder and I just can’t handle that. At least get the color right. As much as McGregor was good, as much as Judd was good (and she got naked too), I just couldn’t get over the red coloring on the Chicago cop cars and the story just seemed really dumb after that. I really hate giving this rating for an Ashley Judd movie, but it’s 1 ½ stars for “Eye of the Beholder.” It was a movie with a lot, and I mean a lot of potential, but at least give me a little bit of realism, or at least find out what color the cop cars are.

That’s it for this one. I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:57 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Ashley Judd, Maggie Smith, James Garner, Fionnula Flanagan, Shirley Knight, Angus Macfadyen
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Warner Bros.
Release Date: 2002
Kiddie Movie: It’s an adult story, and gets a little hairy at times. Leave them home.
Date Movie: She’ll make you go along.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah, but Sandra gets in her undies and Ashley has a nice nightgown.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Quite a few one-liners.
Memorable Scene: The beginning scenes where Vivi develops her desire to disown Sidda.
Memorable Quote: Too many to list.
Directed By: Callie Khouri

Alright, go ahead and slap a dress on me. Why? Because I must be a girl because I really liked “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” Yes, it’s a chick flick; Yes, of an audience of about 60 people there were maybe six guys; And yes, the group of blue-hairs that got there before me, getting the good seats, thought the movie was “incredible” and “enjoyable.” And if you ever got a kick of listening to older ladies bickering amongst themselves, or even younger ladies doing the same, yet knowing they are the best of friends, you will probably like this movie, too.

I’ll try to give the synopsis without giving too much away…

It’s the late 1930’s and a group of four girls go into the woods, forming the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. They seal it with blood. As the years go on, these four girls remain the best of friends, doing whatever it takes to help each other. Now it’s the present day and Sidda (Sandra Bullock), the daughter of Vivi (older as Ellen Burstyn, younger as Ashley Judd, and still younger as Caitlin Wachs), has given an interview to Time magazine, basically portraying her mother as an obnoxious mother who drank too much. Vivi doesn’t take it well, Sidda is more like her mother than she wants to admit, and it’s up to the other three Ya-Yas to get Sidda and Vivi back together.

So the other three Ya-Yas, Teensy (Fionnula Flanagan), Necie (Shirley Knight), and Caro (Maggie Smith), head to New York to kidnap Sidda, actually using the date-rape drug, even enlisting the help of Sidda’s fiancé, Connor (Angus Macfadyen), and bring Sidda back to Louisiana. Their plan: Let Sidda see that her mother isn’t such a bad person by making her look through the Ya-Ya scrapbook, aptly titled “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”, and listen to stories of the four of them growing up (shown as flashbacks utilizing the always gorgeous Ashley Judd as the twenty to thirty something Vivi). Meanwhile the three of them also work on Vivi to show her why Sidda sees her the way she does. Maybe this insight will help Sidda forgive her mother, help Vivi see why Sidda feels the way she does, and then they’ll be the best of friends. Let’s toss in James Garner as Shep, Vivi’s husband who took the marriage oath and is standing by it no matter how much of a loony his wife tends to be. And that’s enough of the story.

What works in “Ya-Ya” are the likes of Flanagan, Knight, Smith, and Burstyn, as well as Sandra Bullock playing the daughter whose underlying fear is she doesn’t want to end up as her perception of her mother. The problem is that the daughter doesn’t always know the whole story, or sometimes doesn’t want to believe it, and it takes friends to put things in perspective. The four ladies show what it is like to be friends forever, fighting and bickering amongst themselves yet ready to help each other at the drop of a hat. You’ve also got the daughter showing how we, as children and grown-ups, want to know how our parents lived before they were parents, but in the end are we ready to know the real lives of our mom and dad?

The movie just cracked me up because although I don’t know four older ladies as devoted to each other as the Ya-Yas, I’ve seen my fair share of older ladies goading each other, and hell, I’ve seen my share of younger ladies doing the same. Yet in there is a bond that can’t be broken. Dudes have that bond, dudettes have that bond, and sometimes that bond exists between the sexes, but in the end it’s always good to have friends.

Flanagan, Knight, Smith and Burstyn were fabulous. Bullock is always one of my favorites, and Ashley Judd does a great job portraying the younger Vivi who, try as she might, doesn’t know if she’s being a good mom or not. Macfadyen as Connor ads that “fiancé just trying to get mother and daughter back together” role, and Garner plays that “husband who just excepts things as they are because he will always love his wife” role perfectly.

So, yes, I really liked “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” and I’m one enough with my manly self to even admit it. Hell, Bullock and Judd even kept their clothes on and I still liked this movie and that’s got to say something (although you do get a nice shot of Sandra in her underwear and Judd in an almost see-through nightgown). Yes, it is overblown and unrealistic in many aspects, but takes things to a level it is humorous. Granted, if you’re a beer-drinking, pizza-eating kind of guy, you probably won’t be caught dead in the theater for this movie, but if you ever got a kick of your grandma and her friends telling stories, you might just enjoy it. In the end it’s 4 stars out of 5 for this one. Sure, it gets a little cookie-cutter by the time the movie finishes, but it’s still fun.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!