Evan Almighty

MPAA Rated – PG
It’s 1:36 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Evan Almighty
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Steve Carell, Lauren Graham, Morgan Freeman, Wanda Sykes, John Goodman
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Universal Studios
Release Date: 2007
Kiddie Movie: It’s better for them.
Date Movie: Only if she’s sort of religious.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: Nope.
Action: The flood I guess.
Laughs: Not really.
Memorable Scene: Nothings stands out.
Memorable Quote: Something like: “I feel like that Indian in front of the garbage.”
Directed By: Tom Shadyac

I know there will be people who will like “Evan Almighty.” It has a nice story, like “Bruce Almighty” it does some preaching about believing in God’s plan for us all, and the movie folks made it PG instead of PG-13, which for me, sadly, means no jokes about growing boobs or sex, but for you, well, you can safely bring your kids. The problem I really had with the movie, though, is along with no boob or sex jokes, well, there really weren’t many jokes at all.

Let’s get to the story…

Evan Baxter (Steve Carrell), the same anchorman dude from “Bruce Almighty,” has decided to further his career by running for political office, and winning, on the platform of changing the world. He packs up his wife and kids and move to a new housing development in Washington D.C., and even though he says he will spend more time with the family, we all know that won’t be the case. He quickly is being bamboozled by Congressman Long (John Goodman) to support a controversial environmental destruction bill, mostly because Evan is still just enamored with actually being a Congressman.

Enter God.

Yup, Morgan Freeman is back in his role as God, and his plan this time isn’t to give Evan his powers, nope, God wants Evan to build an ark, just like Noah in the bible. Suddenly animals are following him, his hair is growing long, and he can’t wear normal clothes anymore, just a robe. With the help of a building an ark for dummies book, Evan, with only tools that might have been around during biblical times, embarks on his ark building. The kids are enjoying time with dad, Congressman Long has him booted from Congress, and mom, Joan (Lauren Graham), is freaked by Evan’s new passion, hair, and clothing.

But God, of course, has a reason for Evan to build this ark, and the family becomes closer than ever, thanks to God who ends up having to explain to Joan why she should stand by her man.

On paper “Evan Almighty” probably looked to have promise, but for me, on the screen, there just wasn’t much there. Now I’m usually able to suspend reality for a while during a movie, but there were too many times when I really wanted to screen talk, or rather screen yell, like when Joan was questioning Evan about his beard, with Evan telling her when he shaves it just grows right back, and of course she doesn’t believe him – I so much wanted to stand up and yell “Just take her to the bathroom and shave your beard you idiot!!!” Then there was the obvious reason why God had Evan build the ark in the first place, given away subtly at the beginning of the movie, and then not so subtly on the big day. I also thought it would have been funnier if God didn’t transform Evan into a Noah look-a-like, but rather had Steve Carell building an ark.

I laughed once, right at the beginning of the film, when Evan, at the TV news station on his last day, turns to the camera and says something like “I feel like that Indian in front of the garbage” (a joke no one else seemed to get in the theater), but most of the time I just groaned in my seat with scenes like a stray dog taking a dump in Evan’s new yard, the overuse of bird pooping on Congressman Long, the movie marquise of “The 40 Year Old Virgin Mary,” and the “Spider-Man” quote of “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Look, the movie isn’t horrible, and like I said some of you will probably like it, especially if you are looking for something with a nice, swell, religious overtone to it, and is also safe enough so you can take your kids to it and tell them “See, God always has a plan for us.” For me, though, the premise of getting God’s powers and learning from it (“Bruce Almighty”) had lots of potential and worked on the funny scale; the premise of building an ark and turning into Noah, not so much. It’s 1 star out of 5 from me for “Evan Almighty,” although for some of you it is probably a 4 star film.

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

The Big Lebowski

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

The Big Lebowski
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Grammercy Pictures
Release Date: 1998
Kiddie Movie: I doubt they’d get the humor.
Date Movie: She’ll love it or hate it.
Gratuitous Sex: Some nudity, but no real sex.
Gratuitous Violence: Some beating up of some people.
Action: Some gunfire.
Laughs: I laughed a lot.
Memorable Scene: A bunch of them.
Memorable Quote: Too many for me!
Directed By: Joel Coen

From the reaction in the theater, I’m going to guess there are only going to be two types of people seeing “The Big Lebowski”: Those that think it is hilarious, and those that think it sucks. There won’t really be much in the middle, I don’t think, but for me, I’m in the first category – I thought it was hilarious.

“The Big Lebowski” is from the same folks who brought us “Fargo.” It definitely ain’t no “Fargo,” and it really teaches you one thing – If a stranger comes in to your apartment and pisses on your rug, just clean it up, go bowling, and don’t tell your Vietnam Vet bowling partner.

The story of “The Big Lebowski” sort of goes like this: Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is “The Dude.” He is mistaken for a really rich dude, The Big Lebowski, and a couple of thugs come to The Dude’s apartment seeking money that The Big Lebowski’s wife owes. Well, The Dude can’t help them, so the one guy pisses on The Dude’s rug. When The Dude tells his buddy Walter (John Goodman), Walter, the crazed Vietnam Vet dude, convinces The Dude that he should go to The Big Lebowski and demand a new rug. Well, if I give the entire story’s twists and turns this review will go on for days, so I’ll cut to the chase. The Dude gets hired by The Big Lebowski to be the bagman for his wife who is kidnapped. The Dude ends up involving Walter, the money drop doesn’t go as planned, The Big Lebowski’s sister gets involved, you get some German nihilists, and a porn king. And then you have poor The Dude, who finds himself wrapped up in a goofy plot for money when he would have rather been either smoking pot, drinking white russians, or bowling (or maybe all three at the same time).

Does it sound goofy? Well, it is, but that is why I loved this film. The odd-ball friendship between The Dude, Walter, and Donny (Steve Buscemi) as bowling partners and friends works brilliantly, especially with the intertwining of the kidnapping mystery. Then there is the portrayal of life in L.A., which, well, even if it’s wrong, it’s sort of what I pictured.

Honestly, I really don’t know what else to say about “The Big Lebowski” except I laughed my ass off. You might too, or you might leave the theater just saying something like “Boy, that was stupid.” So, I guess all I can really say is if you like twisted movies poking fun at lifestyles (bowling, laid-back, psycho veteran, porno king, Los Angeles, a wealthy philanthropy guy, bimbo wife, whacked-out artistic sister, and more), then you will probably like “The Big Lebowski.” Otherwise, maybe go play some miniature golf.

From me, I give “The Big Lebowski” 4 stars out of 5. You might give it the same, or you might give it only 1. I doubt you’d give it a 3. Oh well – to each their own sometimes!

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

Bringing Out the Dead

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:58 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Bringing Out the Dead
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, John Goodman, Ving Rhames, Marc Anthony
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Paramount Pictures, Touchstone Pictures
Release Date: 1999
Kiddie Movie: Don’t even think about bringing them unless they are an aspiring filmmaker.
Date Movie: She might get grossed out and hold your hand.
Gratuitous Sex: There might have been, but I don’t remember it.
Gratuitous Violence: Some graphic scenes.
Action: Mostly sped-up film scenes.
Laughs: Lots of chuckles.
Memorable Scene: While Frank treats an over-dose case, his partner Marcus convinces the dude’s friends that he can be brought back from the dead if they all pray while Frank treats him.
Memorable Quote: While impaled on an iron fence, the drug dude says “I’m trying to watch my weight and look what happens.
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

I can understand why all of the critics will be giving “Bringing Out the Dead” rave reviews because in terms of filmmaking things, i.e. cinematography, artsy looks, creative-like acting, and I suppose being different in looks than a blockbuster, “Bringing Out the Dead” scores high marks on all of those things if that’s what you’re looking for in a movie. Maybe because I’m not a film-school type person, or maybe because I’ve never studied film, or maybe because I just want a film to entertain me and can usually get around brilliant cinematography and even some not-so-great acting, but in the end “Bringing Out the Dead” didn’t entertain me that much. I’m not saying it wasn’t great film work, because it was, and I did chuckle a couple of times, but in the end I just walked out saying “I guess it was okay,” and “I hope if I need a paramedic that I don’t get any of those knuckleheads.”

“Bringing Out the Dead” tells the story of a stressed-out paramedic, Frank, played by Nicolas Cage, and takes us on a few nights of his psychotic behavior. He is tormented by the ghost of a girl whom he couldn’t save and gets teamed up with some even more psychotic paramedic buddies. In the meantime he begins to fall for Mary (Patricia Arquette), the daughter of a man who Frank brought, unwillingly supposedly by the voices the body tells Frank, back to life (although he’s still basically brain-dead). Through the nearly two hours we get Frank and his paramedic buddies responding to various calls, with the druggie Noel (Marc Anthony) being the main calls, treated to multiple visits of the hospital emergency room, and begin to wonder if paramedics are really like this (I hope mine aren’t).

It’s a twisted movie, especially Frank’s paramedic buddies. We get Larry (John Goodman) as one of them, we get Marcus (Ving Rhames) as another (probably bringing the most laughs as he works the dispatcher lady over the microphone and plays a preacher while Frank revives an overdose call), and Tom (Tom Sizemore) who seems to like his job mostly so that he can fuck with people. And there is poor Frank, trying desperately to hold it together but really hoping he would just get fired.

Like I said, as a movie-making film “Bringing Out the Dead” is up there with the best of them. The scenes flow, the acting is top-notch, and there are a lot of visuals to deal with. But, and maybe because of these things too, the movie had many of those artsy slow spots that drop the entertainment value down a notch or two. I don’t know, I know Martin Scorsese is a great filmmaker, but sometimes for the boring movie-goer like me, well, I don’t get into the artsy stuff. I loved the scenes with Frank’s buddy, Marcus, especially at the rave party where he convinces the overdose’s friends that if they all pray together that their buddy will come back from the dead, and the visits to the emergency room were generally entertaining, but too many times I looked at my watch and couldn’t believe there was so much time left in the movie.

Well, let’s wrap this up. “Bringing Out the Dead” is a filmmakers film. What I mean by that is that if you appreciate a well made film, well you will probably thoroughly enjoy it. But if you really don’t care about all of that stuff and just want to be entertained, well, “Bringing Out the Dead” probably won’t do it for you. With that I’ll split the rating to 2 ½ stars, but I’m going to add one for the scene where the drug dealer guy is impaled on a fence. So, it’s 3 ½ stars out of 5 from me for “Bringing Out the Dead.”

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

Confessions of a Shopaholic

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

Confessions of a Shopaholic
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Isla Fisher, Krysten Ritter, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, John Lithgow, Kristin Scott Thomas, Fred Armisen, Leslie Bibb, Lynn Redgrave
MPAA Rated: PG
Released By: Touchstone Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2009
Kiddie Movie: Good for tween girls.
Date Movie: My BFF didn’t care for it that much.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some cute moments.
Memorable Scene: Nothing stands out.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: PJ Hogan
Cool Things About the Blu-ray: There are some “nothing special” leftovers in the blooper and deleted scene areas. Other than that, the Blu-ray specials mostly are devoted to the fashion stuff with a look at Patricia Field and the green scarf.

I do my best to be objective when watching movies that really aren’t meant for me, so instead of watching “Confessions of a Shopaholic” by myself, I snuggled with my BFF on the couch to get a woman’s opinion while watching the DVD, especially since she likes shopping. I guess to start this review the easiest thing to say is the movie wasn’t really meant for her, either. Let’s get to the story…

Isla Fisher is Becky Bloomwood. She likes to shop. Now I don’t just mean she goes “La, la, la. That looks nice, I think I’ll buy it!”, nope, I’m talking obsessive, must get the best, must get the first, must use up every ounce of credit card I have to the point I can’t pay the bills but still want to shop, shop. Becky, by chance, is also a writer, and she would really like to write for a fashion magazine, but instead she finds herself writing about finance, brought on by her love, and need for possession, of this green scarf.

So now Becky has money troubles because of her addiction to shopping, she is constantly being hounded by a collection dude, she isn’t really writing for the magazine she wants to but loves the attention, and wouldn’t you know it, she also falls in love with her boss at the finance magazine place. Ah, life is so complicated!

Alas, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” is a romantic comedy, so you know what that means? Yup, romance and comedy, only for this movie most of it is on the PG level, hence the PG rating, so really, in my adult realm, I found the movie mostly in the cute category, nothing to write home about, and really nothing to snuggle for with my BFF as we watched it, and we both kind of agreed that this movie is probably better suited for the teen girl crowd, who likes to look at fashion, wishes she could buy it, and would find Hugh Dancy, Becky’s boss, dreamy.

Look, I know I’m not the target audience anyway, but the movie sticks a little too much to the cutesy script, which I guess is okay for the tween girls, but as adorable and as funny as Isla Fisher can be, the movie just fell flat for both me and my BFF most of the time. As such, I can’t give it more than 2 stars out of 5, but for your tween girl who dreams about high fashion, she might find it fun.

As far as the Blu-ray DVD, I wish I could say the extras were another reason to get the Blu-ray, but unless you are a total fashion obsessed person, or what some music videos there isn’t a reason for the Blu-ray other than the picture. I mean, you get a little insight into the fashion sense of Patricia Field, some analysis of the green scarf that plays a big role in the movie, and some music videos, but even the standard DVD extras, the bloopers and deleted scenes, just seem to be thrown in for good measure.

Get it for your teenage daughter who likes fashion and impress on her the fact that yes, you can spend too much money on clothes, otherwise, the movie leaves a lot to be desired.

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