Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, based off the book by Douglas Adams: a Film Review

Synopsis:

On a dreary normal Thursday morning Arthur Dent is going about his day when he realizes that this is the day that his house is meant to be torn down to make way for a bypass…something he only just found out about even though the plans have been on file for over a year.  As he lays in front of the bulldozers his friend Ford Prefect shows up.

Dragging Arthur away from the scene he tells Arthur everything over a few pints of beer.  Nothing matters, not his house or looking like a drunk for having three pints of beer at lunchtime…because the Earth will be destroyed in 12 minutes.

When Ford hitches a ride off planet in the moments before Earth is rendered nonexistent, he brings Arthur along for the ride.

Between killer aliens, an improbable spaceship, a depressed robot and a maniacal president of the unverse will Arthur and Ford be able to take the advice from the most popular book in the universe, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and remember: DON’T PANIC!

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Comedy

-Creator: based off the book by Douglas Adams

-Length: 109 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild violence, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Anna Chancellor, John Malkovich

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

You can’t really go too wrong when the author of the book WRITES THE SCREENPLAY!

I know that this movie got a lot of flack for the fact that it is just a silly and ridiculous, over the top kind of comedy.  That it wasn’t accurate to the book its based on.  That it isn’t good because the writing wasn’t good.

That is all wrong in my opinion but it is something I hear a lot when it comes to turning novels into film…and its not the last time I’ll write about it in a review.

I don’t think you can argue that a movie “isn’t good because that’s not how it was written” when the author of the book is the one who writes the screenplay… the things they changed were their choice…and that is ok.  Because sometimes screen and novel don’t translate well together.  Different media is different.

However, this I just brilliant.  It captured all the wonderful snark from the book.  The characters fit so well.  The actors did such a great job with the characters.

The costumes and sets are over the top in the kind of way that fits in with the book.  I mean…how can you go wrong with a character that is dressed to the nines, another that wears a bathrobe the whole time and another that carries around a towel and uses it like a security blanket…

And Alan Rickman as the depressed robot.  Just perfection.

I really do love watching this film.  Its funny and lighthearted while still pondering the great questions.  And it captured the feel of the book in a tremendous way.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

Arthur Dent is having a very bad day.  His home in West Country, England is set to be bulldozed to make way for a bypass…which will run right through his home. As he lays in front of the bulldozer his friend, Ford Prefect, shows up and drags him away to the pub.

He explains that Arthur’s house being torn down is the least of his worries as the entire Earth will be destroyed in about 12 minutes.  When a group of aliens show up in Earth’s atmosphere they announce that Earth is to be destroyed to make way for an intergalactic hyperspace expressway…or…a bypass.

As the Earth is destroyed Ford hitches a ride on one of the ships bringing Arthur along for the ride giving him a copy of The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy to help him handle the strange new world he has been thrown into.

Afterall, it has great advice written right on the cover in big friendly letters: Don’t Panic.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Comedy

-Author: Douglas Adams

-Number of Pages:

-Main Characters: Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphd Beeblebrox, Patricia “Trillian” McMillian, Marvin

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! If you love audiobooks, you can find it on Audible (with subscription) or on library apps like Libby (to borrow it from your library).

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

So maybe I just need comedy with my science-fiction…because this book is so much fun and so easy to get through.  Douglas Adams doesn’t even try to explain the science behind anything. Not really.  Its just assumed that it exists.

Because in a world where a book with the words “Don’t Panic” on it in big friendly letters outselling every other book in the UNIVERSE….honestly, anything is possible.

The world is wonderfully diverse and detailed without anything actually being described in excessive detail.  Adams has a way of getting the picture of things across in the action and how the characters see the world.  We don’t get long winded descriptions of how the world or ships they are on look unless it has some sort of humorous reasoning.  What we do get are conversations that brand new whales have before they hit the ground and are no more.  Or what the dolphins did before they left earth.

Or the fact that the Earth was created as a computer program to find the question to the answer of the life, the universe, and everything…which is 42.

The characters are snarky and egotistical, irritating and absolutely human.  Guide is one of those books where even if you don’t love a character (like Zaphod and his idiotic ego) you still WANT to know what is going to happen to them.  That is really hard to do for an author.  Its hard to write characters that are neither villain nor hero yet still are interesting and full of depth and that the reader wants to keep hearing about.

Adams achieves this in every single page.

I’m so glad I revisited this story when I was older (more around the age of Arthur and Trillian).  I don’t think I found the books as enlightening and hilarious as I do now when I was a teenager.  There is just a level of life experience that you need to have to really appreciate these books.

I’m so excited to read the rest of the series again!

Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

REPOST: Weird Science, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Nerds Gary and Wyatt are embarrassed by the popular senior jocks while they swooned over the seniors’ girlfriends.  Rejected the pair decide that they need to boost their popularity in order to win their crushes from the jocks.

While watching Frankenstein a brilliant idea occurs.  They should try and create their own girlfriend.  Using their computer and hooking a doll up to the system somehow their dream comes true.

Now what to do with a hot British girl who can make things appear on command?  Will they win their crushes, or will they just end up grounded for life?

General Information:

-Genre: Teen Science-Fiction Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 94 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sex and nudity, mild violence, moderate profanity, mild alcohol use and smoking)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock, Bill Paxton, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Rusler, Suzanne Snyder, Judie Aronson

-Page of Reference in RP1/RP2: 36/186

Review (contains spoilers):

A solid John Hughes flick.  You have your pretty stereotypical scenarios for an 80s teen comedy.  The nerds vs the jocks.  The desire of belonging.  Outcasts. Parties.  Pretty girls… you know the drill.

If you’ve seen one John Hughes flick you’ve seen them all.

But that isn’t to say they are bad in any way.

This one was completely entertaining.  Between the insanity of a Frankenstein woman, two teens that are fighting for love and somehow everything they want can be summoned at the drop of a hat.  And a young Robert Downing Jr. being a complete idiot and bully… which is a quite interesting role for him to play. Definitely a hour and a half well spent.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

REPOST: Real Genius, created by Neal Israel and Pat Proft: a film Review

Synopsis:

The CIA is determined to create a new “peace time” weapon, codename Crossbow, that uses a high-powered laser to eliminate potential threats before they become terrorists.  To do so they recruit the help of a well-know college professor to create the laser needed to pull off this accomplishment.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Mitch is accepted to the college for mid-winter term due to his insane intellect.  Rooming with genius and role model, Chris Knight, proves to be vastly different from the idea that Mitch builds up in his head.  Knight is a bit of a prankster and overall chill guy compared to tightly wound genius Mitch.

As the pair find their differences and turn them into strengths to help each other through the difficult final semester for Knight, they work to create an incredibly powerful laser that will be Knight’s ticket to graduation.

But when they are forced to see what possible uses someone would have for a laser that big and powerful they must come to terms with the fact that sometimes, as scientists, you need to think about the practical applications of your creations…and come to terms with the fact that they may not be used for the good and hopeful reasons you would want them to be…

General Information:

-Genre: Science Fiction Teen Comedy

-Creator: Neal Israel and Pat Proft

-Length: 106 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild sex, nudity and sexual innuendo, mild profanity, mild partying)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Val Kilmer, Gabe Jarret, Michelle Meyrink, William Atherton, Robert Prescott, Jon Gries

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Such a great comedy and one of my top watched movies of all time.  It is a staple in my vocabulary to quote lines from this film.  And there are plenty of them that are quotable.

I love the story, the quirky characters and the fact that, though the science is incredibly above my head as I know nothing about optics, everything discussed is relatable.  It isn’t about the science.  You don’t have to know anything to love this film.

Witty and sarcastic this whole movie is an absolute gem of late ‘80s comedy.   From the child genius on a college campus (and in a dorm!) to the fact that the bad guy is someone in the faculty…its just an overall ridiculous film that is just as funny after the first watch as the 100th.  Plus, it has a great soundtrack.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Back to the Future, created by Robert Zemeckis: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Marty McFly is your typical, average, 1980s teen.  He’s got a beautiful girlfriend, the cool clothes, and has dreams to become a famous rock star.  Marty is pretty much the definition of cool. The problem is…everyone else in his family isn’t.

He worries that no matter his dreams and ambitions, he will end up like his parents and sibilings…bullied into their adult years for being a nerd, an alcoholic, or just at a dead-end job for the rest of his life…

But when Marty is called out one night to meet up with his eccentric friend, the slightly crazy scientist Emmett “Doc” Brown things get a little more complicated.  Doc has created a time machine inside of a DeLorean…which is crazy enough…add in the terrorists that want the technology and an accidental jump into 1955 things just got a lot more difficult for Marty McFly.

How will he get back to 1985 if the DeLorean is out of power?  Will his music career take off?  And how do you handle your MOM thinking you’re hot?!?!  If Marty can’t figure it out…he might just end up disappearing out of existence…and time is running out…

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction

-Creator: Robert Zemeckis

-Length: 116 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence, moderate profanity, mild use of alcohol and smoking)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

-Page of Reference in RP1: 56

Review (contains spoilers):

I love this movie.  Its one of my more frequently watched films.

Just a great fun teen flick with a science-fiction twist.

Marty and Doc are so much fun.  Their interactions are so pure.  Doc Brown is just a wonderful character and Christopher Lloyd was the perfect choice to play him.  Just a bit kooky and over the top…but not in a way that becomes irritating or annoying.

And Michael J. Fox’s performance as Marty McFly is fantastic.  Between his natural “cool guy” attitude to how he reacts to his mom having a crush on him…to his killer skills on a guitar…I can’t really think of a better actor to play Marty.

This movie is just an all around gem.  The costuming for both the “present day” in 1985 and then the beautiful clothes of the 1950s is on pointe.  You get the classic cars. A great soundtrack.  The insane interactions…and of course, Marty trying to keep himself from disappearing.

Just a great ride from start to finish.

Highly recommend.  Especially if you love 1980s films, comedies, science-fiction, or just a really great teen and family friendly movie!

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

Real Genius, created by Neal Israel and Pat Proft: a film Review

Synopsis:

The CIA is determined to create a new “peace time” weapon, codename Crossbow, that uses a high-powered laser to eliminate potential threats before they become terrorists.  To do so they recruit the help of a well-know college professor to create the laser needed to pull off this accomplishment.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Mitch is accepted to the college for mid-winter term due to his insane intellect.  Rooming with genius and role model, Chris Knight, proves to be vastly different from the idea that Mitch builds up in his head.  Knight is a bit of a prankster and overall chill guy compared to tightly wound genius Mitch.

As the pair find their differences and turn them into strengths to help each other through the difficult final semester for Knight, they work to create an incredibly powerful laser that will be Knight’s ticket to graduation.

But when they are forced to see what possible uses someone would have for a laser that big and powerful they must come to terms with the fact that sometimes, as scientists, you need to think about the practical applications of your creations…and come to terms with the fact that they may not be used for the good and hopeful reasons you would want them to be…

General Information:

-Genre: Science Fiction Teen Comedy

-Creator: Neal Israel and Pat Proft

-Length: 106 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild sex, nudity and sexual innuendo, mild profanity, mild partying)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), STARZ (with subscription), HBO Go (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Val Kilmer, Gabe Jarret, Michelle Meyrink, William Atherton, Robert Prescott, Jon Gries

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Such a great comedy and one of my top watched movies of all time.  It is a staple in my vocabulary to quote lines from this film.  And there are plenty of them that are quotable.

I love the story, the quirky characters and the fact that, though the science is incredibly above my head as I know nothing about optics, everything discussed is relatable.  It isn’t about the science.  You don’t have to know anything to love this film.

Witty and sarcastic this whole movie is an absolute gem of late ‘80s comedy.   From the child genius on a college campus (and in a dorm!) to the fact that the bad guy is someone in the faculty…its just an overall ridiculous film that is just as funny after the first watch as the 100th.  Plus, it has a great soundtrack.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me, Week of Love

The Tempest, by Shakespeare: a Play review

Synopsis:

A ship is caught in a terrible storm and is soon shipwrecked upon an island.  The mysterious storm was caused by the sorcery Prospero and the spirit Ariel in retaliation for the usurpation of Prospero’s title not a dozen years before.

When the survivors become stranded it is apparent that the usurpers Antonio and Alonso are amongst those on board.  prospero decides to reverse what has been done to him by those who have survived the shipwreck…by encouraging a relationship between his beloved daughter, miranda, and Ferdinand (one of the survivors).

Will Prospero be successful in his quest? Will Miranda and Ferdinand fall in love?  Or will everything be upset by the comedic trio of a Jester, a drunken butler and the enslaved monster Caliban?

General Information:

-Genre: Comedy, Romantic Comedy

-Author: Shakespeare

-Number of Words: 16,633 words (about 65-75 pages in modern print)

-Characters: Prospero, Miranda, Ariel, Caliban, Alonso, Sebastian, Antonio, Ferdinand, Gonzalo, Adrian, Francisco, Trinculo, Stephano, Juno, Ceres, Iris, Master, Mariners, Boatswain, Nymphs, Reapers

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library!

-Page of Reference in RP1: 350

Review (contains spoilers):

So apparently Halliday was kind of a jokester when it comes to his little game in RP1…since there are two Shakespeare plays mentioned in the book.  This is one of my least favorites in regard to his comedies.

I’ve seen it performed several times and was even in the show as the spirit Ariel for a few shows at a local theatre, but I just don’t find it as funny as many, many of the other comedies that Shakespeare wrote.  It is pretty straight forward overall.

The most fun in my opinion is the Masque in Act 4 where everyone gets to dress incredibly and very outside of their classes and just have a jovial time.  It is one of the few moments within Shakespeare where a show has not only the single large spectacle but has two exceptionally large ones!  The beginning shipwreck and then my favorite…the Masque which is full of dancing and gives the creatives working on the show the chance to actually show what they can do with their skills.

Overall, it’s a fun show that I recommend more as a visual play than sitting and reading it.  There is so much going on that it is sometimes hard to follow on the page. Especially when you are dealing with the comic relief trio…

Review:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

Revenge of the Nerds, created by Steven Zacherias and Jeff Buhai: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Best friends and nerds, Lewis and Gilbert, are headed off for their freshman year of college.  Excited to start out on a new journey the pair unexpectedly run into the Alpha Betas, the frat that houses most of the athletes that attend the college.  When they carelessly burn down their frat house, they take over the freshman dorms kicking out all of the freshman.

As the freshman adapt to living in the gym a small group of them, including Lewis and Gilbert, venture out and end up finding an abandoned house to fix up.  They are told they must join a frat in order to continue to live on Greek Row where the house is located.

Hilarity ensues as The Alpha Betas do everything they can to get the nerds to leave the Row and to get the house they fixed up for their own brothers.

General Information:

-Genre: Teen Sex Comedy

-Creator: Steven Zacherias, Jeff Buhai

-Length: 90 minutes

-Rating: R (moderate sex and nudity, mild violence, moderate profanity, moderate alcohol and drug use)

-Where to Watch: Hulu (with subscription, with add-on), Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Timothy Busfield, Andrew Cassese, Curtis Armstrong, Larry B. Scott, Brian Tochi, Julie Montgomery, Michelle Meyrink, Ted McGinley, Matt Salinger, Donald Gibb, James Cromwell, Lisa Weich, David Whol, John Goodman, Bernie Casey, Alice Hirson

-Page of Reference in RPO: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I went into this one with so many preconceptions.  I though that the movie was a “guy” movie like Dumb and Dumber.  I thought it wasn’t going to be funny.  I thought it would be similar to Animal House.

Boy was I wrong.

This was an absolutely adorable film.  It was so cute.  The film was all about a group of nerds using every clean trick in the book to beat out the cheating frat boys.

They are smart, talented, silly and a total group of nerds that get together to show up the horrible athletes at their college.  This was everything I didn’t know I needed in a feel-good comedy, but I defiantly did.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

Weird Science, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Nerds Gary and Wyatt are embarrassed by the popular senior jocks while they swooned over the seniors’ girlfriends.  Rejected the pair decide that they need to boost their popularity in order to win their crushes from the jocks.

While watching Frankenstein a brilliant idea occurs.  They should try and create their own girlfriend.  Using their computer and hooking a doll up to the system somehow their dream comes true.

Now what to do with a hot British girl who can make things appear on command?  Will they win their crushes, or will they just end up grounded for life?

General Information:

-Genre: Teen Science-Fiction Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 94 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sex and nudity, mild violence, moderate profanity, mild alcohol use and smoking)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock, Bill Paxton, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Rusler, Suzanne Snyder, Judie Aronson

-Page of Reference in RP1/RP2: 36/186

Review (contains spoilers):

A solid John Hughes flick.  You have your pretty stereotypical scenarios for an 80s teen comedy.  The nerds vs the jocks.  The desire of belonging.  Outcasts. Parties.  Pretty girls… you know the drill.

If you’ve seen one John Hughes flick you’ve seen them all.

But that isn’t to say they are bad in any way.

This one was completely entertaining.  Between the insanity of a Frankenstein woman, two teens that are fighting for love and somehow everything they want can be summoned at the drop of a hat.  And a young Robert Downing Jr. being a complete idiot and bully… which is a quite interesting role for him to play. Definitely a hour and a half well spent.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Home Alone 3, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The mob is out to seal a chip that will make any missile unable to be detected by radar and therefore indestructible.  After they retrieve the chip it is hidden in a toy car to hide it from security at the airport as a group of them work to get it back to their boss.  At the airport their bag is picked up by an elderly woman. As they chase after her they find she lives in a rich suburb of Chicago in a house that hasn’t been shoveled.

Just down the street is the local boy who shovels her walk.  She gives him the toy car that she accidently took at the airport as payment for his work.  That week he ends up at home with the chicken pox.  While stuck he discovers that thieves are trying to break into the house down the street… and then another house and another house… when he calls the police and is deemed a boy-who-cried-wolf he takes matters into his own hands.  What will happen when he discovers that these thieves want his toy car?  What could be so important that they would break into every house on the street to find?

General Information:

-Genre: Christmas Family Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 102 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild nudity, mild violence-particularly near the end of the film, mild profanity, mild intense scenes-particularly near the end of the film)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Alex D. Linz, Haviland Morris, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt, Lenny Von Dohlen, David Thornton, Marian Seldes, Kevin Kilner, Scarlett Johansson

-Page of Reference in RP2: 182

Review (contains spoilers):

Finally! A more believable reason for the bad guys to be after the kid!  And a more believable reason the kid is at home ALONE!!!

While the general silliness and most of what really makes a John Hughes movie seems to be lacking here it’s an interesting choice for a third film.  Kind of “Wait until Dark” meets “Home Alone”.  It has a polish that was very indicative of later 90s films that is not seen in the first two movies.

The fact that the kid is an inventor and is super observant makes the whole set up and all the little traps he sets so much more believable.  Not that Kevin in the first two movies isn’t smart but some of the stuff he comes up with (while simple and effective) seems to be something an adult would think of rather than a typical kid (like the paint cans and the kerosene on the rope in Home Alone 2).  This kiddo is an inventor.  He comes up with some off the wall stuff…but most of it comes from a solid science side of things…and a love of Rube Goldberg machines.

A solid film that is fun to watch with the family.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.