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!!!


MPAA Rated – R
It’s 2:02 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Crash (2004)
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Jennifer Esposito, Brendan Fraser, Ludacris, Ryan Phillippe, Tony Danza
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Lions Gate Films
Release Date: 2004
Kiddie Movie: Put them to bed before watching. It’s R for a variety of reasons.
Date Movie: It’s good for everyone.
Gratuitous Sex: Some nudity!
Gratuitous Violence: Some shooting.
Action: Some car chases.
Laughs: There’s a chuckle or two.
Memorable Scene: The scene with the locksmith, his little girl, and the a gun.
Memorable Quote: The chop-shop guy: “Do I look like I wanna be on The Discovery Channel?”
Directed By: Paul Haggis

It’s got the normal commentary stuff and pretty much the “Behind the Scenes” featurette is mostly just those involved with the film saying they thought this movie was powerful from the first reading. Nothing spectacular or particularly cool.

I wanted to catch “Crash” in the theaters, but just never got around to it. Then I saw the DVD in the store, and for some reason I bought it. I’m really glad I did.

“Crash” gives us a movie where a variety of character’s lives all intertwine in a variety of ways, and a lot of times it’s totally politically incorrect as we see how some people can be blatantly racist while others have it in them, they just don’t seem to realize it. Opening with a car crash scene, we are introduced to Don Cheadle playing a police detective named Graham, but before we get too far, the movie takes us back to the day before, and the events occurring that set up all of our characters somehow being about one separation from each other. We get a family getting a gun to protect their store; we get a car-jacking; we get a man getting run over; we get a locksmith just trying to make a good life for his family yet being labeled a gang-banger; we get a racist cop feeling-up a man’s wife; we get his partner totally repulsed; we get a magic necklace; we get a naked Jennifer Esposito, and we even get Tony Danza as a T.V. dude telling Cameron (Terrence Howard) that one of his actors wasn’t sounding black enough. And yes, somehow all of these things intertwine the lives of the characters.

I hesitate to really say more about this movie because in doing so it will give away some of the best plot twists and turns I have seen in a movie in a long time, how one event between people can influence the events of other people and influence the events of even other people. That being written, the great thing about this film is that it doesn’t hold back in its politically incorrectness because, sadly, in the world we live in, there are a lot of people out there with the thoughts and attitudes of the entire cast of characters.

The strength of this movie is both the story, as well as the acting of all of the characters. We know Don Cheadle is a great actor, but my surprise was by the likes of Matt Dillon, Sandra Bullock, Terrence Howard, and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, who is quietly building a pretty decent film resume, and this role really let him shine.

“Crash” is a serious drama, and a damn good drama, so if you are in the mood for one, pick it up. It doesn’t hold back, the actions of some of the characters should repulse you, and if they don’t, you might want to take a look at your own opinions relating to race. It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5 for “Crash.”

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

28 Days

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:43 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

28 Days
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Most of the humor is adult oriented. Leave them at home.
Date Movie: It’s a good movie for the both of you.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing gratuitous.
Gratuitous Violence: Not really violence, but a pretty depressing scene is in there.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some chuckles and cute spots.
Memorable Scene: I’d tell you, but it would really spoil it.
Memorable Quote: Too many to write down.
Directed By: Betty Thomas
Produced By: Jenno Topping

Can you make a movie about an alcoholic that can treat the subject with a little bit of laughter, with a little bit of seriousness, and get a point across without being preachy? Yes, and the answer is the movie “28 Days.”

“28 Days” stars Sandra Bullock as Gwen. She’s a tad out of control, a happy-go-lucky drunk who mostly has been just lucky. Always partying, waking up wondering how she got there and then cracking open a beer, she’s a party girl with a party lifestyle. She’s out of control and she doesn’t know it. But it’s the morning of her sister’s wedding, she’s running late, grabs her boyfriend and a couple of drinks and ruins her sister’s big day. Wouldn’t that be enough? Nope. Let’s add being drunk, stealing a limo to go buy a new wedding cake, and crashing said limo into someone’s living room. That’s enough to land you in jail or rehab and Gwen opts for rehab. She hasn’t hit rock-bottom yet, that comes a few days into rehab, but eventually she sees the world around her and realizes it’s hers to fix, with a little help from her new friends.

I won’t go into the days at rehab because I think most of that is better found out in the movie-going experience, but the movie does give a comical edge to rehab to keep the movie light, while still throwing in some total seriousness to have you connect a little more with the problems the patients are all facing. And Sandra Bullock with the rest of the cast do this well.

This review is a short one other that to say that “28 Days” is a great movie. I loved Sandra Bullock’s portrayal as Gwen and her transition from party-girl to taking responsibility for what she does. It took a subject that is tough to talk about without either sounding preachy or condescending, or totally making a joke out of it or being so depressing you just want a drink, and made a nice movie that both entertains and tells a story. In the end it’s 4 stars out of 5. I really liked the movie and Sandra is quickly becoming one of my favoritist actresses.

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