Virgin Movie Review – Footloose (1984)

Kevin Bacon in Footloose
Yes, the songs are great. But is that enough?

Somehow, I’ve never seen the original Footloose before. I did catch the remake a few months back and found it mildly awful. I figured the iconic original would impress me more.

It did.

But only by a small margin.

I cannot figure out why this movie has iconic status, much less be considered a Teen Anthem. It boasts an extremely thin plot and cardboard characters.

The only emotional stakes belonged with the Ariel and her father…but I frankly thought Ariel was insane. I’m pretty sure she tried to kill herself twice for our viewing pleasure. Were we supposed to identify with her? I’ve done crazy stuff in my time, but nothing like standing between two cars barreling down the highway in the face of an oncoming Mac truck. When that girl took a lead pipe to her boyfriend’s ride I found it needlessly destructive. Yes, he should not have hit her, but she hit him first. I really don’t know where to go with this, but apparently casual violence is…hmm. I don’t know how to even finish that sentence.

Remember, the big climax in Footloose is Kevin Bacon and his friend brawling outside the prom. Yay?

The good: John Lithgow  was amazing, and he elevates an otherwise dull film. The directors could have taken the easy way out and made him a one note bad dad. His character certainly pounds that pulpit, and he has trouble with one-on-one relationships. But he’s also beloved in the community and takes his heartfelt service to the town seriously. Even the small children adore him (I loved when he teased the little ones in the church kitchen about their milk and cookies — see? Small moments matter). He also stops wacko community members from burning  library books. As the town’s preacher, he gives of himself freely,  and from a place of true belief, instead of chasing self-aggrandization. I’d hate sitting through his fire-and-brimstone sermons in person, but the actor makes his supporting role sympathetic and wonderfully layered.

Lithgow alone gives me a reason give this film a solid C instead of a C-. It’s supremely average. I guess this is damning it with faint praise.

And…Kevin Bacon? Again, I don’t know how to say this, because the man has a lot of good roles in his filmography. But here he’s inscrutable. He reacts, but doesn’t act. There’s only one scene where his character has agency, and that’s his big speech to the town council. They could have gone from there and straight to the prom, and we could call in a night. End scene.

To wrap this up before I whinge some more, I’ve recently rewatched a ton of classic movies from the 70s and 80s, and most of them stand up beautifully with time: films like Jaws, Rocky, Close Encounters, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off…even other early ‘dance’ movies made me care about the characters. Take Dirty Dancing, Grease, Staying Alive, or White Nights — you CARE. Hell, Flashdance was a good ride.

By the end of Footloose, I figured out the problem: there are no genuine emotional beats, no real stakes that matter. The dance should have been a backdrop to the meat of the story. This movie was like a bread sandwich —  two slices of plain white Wonderbread with nothing inside.

I made other notes while watching Footloose, but it’s not worth analyzing this further. Someone, if you love this movie, please tell me why.  I’m open to correction, because I feel like I must be missing something.

Movie Grade: C

PS: The 80s pop soundtrack is great. I had fond feelings for every song. I think I’ll write about that next time and link to it from here. 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – The Mule

 

Movie Review - The MuleClint, how do you do it? Year after year, for how many years now? 50? 60? Do you ever get tired? Is it ever hard to drag yourself out of bed and face the cameras? I ask these questions because after seeing The Mule, I have to accept the fact that you are not just human, but superhuman. To not only produce, but to direct this magnificent piece of work, no mortal man could do that at the age of 88. For that reason alone you should be rewarded with a Best Actor nod from the awards community.

The movie was a very good flick. It was even paced, well written, and of course well directed. We got to know Earl fairly well, but not any of the other characters…but you know, we really didn’t need to. This was all about Earl.

We did get a heavy dose of ‘family commitment’, but that’s what gave the movie its backbone. Watching Earl as he drove around the country wasn’t going to make for a good story. By putting Earl’s occupation aside and looking at the man, not the mule — that’s what made the movie.

So get some rest Clint; I think it’s going to be a busy awards season for you.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: I have designated the 2nd Peetime as the preferred break because of the length of said break: you may take 4 and a half minutes to get back to your seat.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Mule. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

RunPee Mom is our emotional bedrock. Without her, RunPee never would have lasted a decade as an app (which is since the dawn of time in internet years). She’s our biggest cheerleader and an unending source of unconditional love. She works cheerfully and tirelessly, seeing any movie we ask of her, writing interesting reviews, and being our…well…MOM. Her genres of choice: kiddie flicks, animated movies, emotional dramas, historical features, war films, diverse biographies, and even dense, diabolically plotted thrillers. She knows more about famous and infamous figures in history than said figures probably knew about themselves. She’s the Quiz Manager for the RunPee.com blog, and Assistant Facebook Manager for our social media efforts. If you’ve interacted with someone on our Facebook page, you’ve most likely been given a virtual hug by RunPee Mom.

A Novice Rocky Review

rocky and adrian
Rocky — a love story.

I’d never seen the original 1976 Rocky in the past, because it seemed to be a “boxing” movie, and watching people hit each other into a bloody mess has never been my bag. Somewhere along the line I watched Rocky III, which was a decent enough film. It was sad and then triumphant. But I never became a Rocky fan. I did see Rocky IV, but thought that one wasn’t good, and then gave up on the whole thing as more decades of Rocky  and Rocky-adjacent films passed me by.

With Creed II killing it in theaters, all the Rocky movies have been re-playing on TV, so I DVRed I-III for a newbie review. I can’t quite call it a Virgin Review, since I did see two of the eight films in the franchise (although if you ask me for any details, all I remember is III is the sad one and IV is the one with the blonde Russian boxer.)

I figured it was time to see what the fuss was about with Rocky the First. I recently watched Jaws this summer, to prep for The Meg, and thought Jaws was truly an A+ film. I was too young to appreciate Jaws when it came out, thinking it a horror monster movie, when it really is not. It’s about three men and what they are made of when it counts. (Jaws is a perfect film. I gave it an A+  and posted a glowing rewatch review here.)

Well, Rocky is not really a boxing movie. The cold open shows Sylvester Stallone in a match, but we don’t see any more fighting until the end with the big champion-ship match. The plot is really more about this somewhat under-educated man with an unappealing job of collecting loan debts. He’s rough around every edge, but as you watch, you can sense he’s also so much more: he loves animals; is enamored with the shy bookish woman at the pet store; he tries to help a young girl on the streets, and, most tellingly, doesn’t break the thumb of the man he’s ordered to hurt when collecting a debt. Rocky also loves music. He fights because it’s the one thing he feels he’s really good at. He’s as insecure as everyone else seems to be in the story. One could argue Rocky is more about overcoming your self-loathing than fighting.

More than being a sports movie, it’s a love story and a drama. The scenes where Rocky tries to bring Adrian out of her shell are unusual: he likes the quiet girl that doesn’t speak words if she can help it. He gave her enough self-confidence to tell off her abusive brother, in a wonderfully acted and taut scene. I don’t understand why Rocky is even friends with Paulie, but I think we are given to understand Rocky likes everyone, and doesn’t hold their personality defects against them. What a rare trait, and something to consider in our own lives.

Rocky is also clearly a drama. The two fight scenes are more efficient than gripping, and I have no problem with that.  But the scenes that truly stick out show Rocky with coach Mickey, Rocky with Paulie, and Rocky with his strangely sympathetic loan shark. The one big scene with Coach, played in an astoundingly profound, yet gruff way, needs to be seen once, then seen again. It’s sorrowful, hopeful AND hopeless, and features two significant monologues, spoken to a closed door in one case, and then from listening alone in a stairwell for the second. This turns into a  masterful, surprising, and deeply moving pair of performances. Rocky and Mickey are damaged people who don’t know how to trust or feel hope again…yet the two men come together as the camera pans out to a wide shot on the streets, without any words at all. Its beautiful. You could cry right there. I hope this scene, and Burgess Meredith in particular, won an award. It’s that good. You feel you’ve witnessed a great moment in cinema.

Here’s a video of this duology of monologues. Watch this again, because scenes like this don’t come around very often: 

I had no idea Rocky was a good movie, let alone a great one, which puts me in my place. It’s got seven sequels for a reason. (Maybe I need to see the first Fast and Furious, by my logic?) 😉

Many iconic moments stood out that I only absorbed through pop culture til now:  when Rocky cracks five raw eggs into a glass and sloppily gulps it down. When Rocky, trying  to make a point with Paulie, beats up a side of beef so furiously that he breaks its ribs. When Rocky runs through the streets of Philly, pre-morning, and triumphs over the stairs that left him winded earlier, as the Rocky theme song we all love crescendos all around, Rocky’s arms making a V to the skies as the dawn emerges from the night. (I’ve got goosebumps remembering this.)

The training montage scene that should never be considered a Peetime:

And then, of course, the climax: Rocky blinded, bloody, and beaten, calls plaintively for Adrian. When she makes it through the throng, I thought this would be the time to say they love each other, which they do. I lapped up every second of that. Remember when this film came out in 1976, audiences were still hopeful movies would leave them happier than when they came in. Now we are cynical and a bit jaded, so it’s nice to see an early film that awards the viewers for their patience, as a slow tale reaches a beautiful conclusion.

I think the only reason this film doesn’t get a Plus on that A, is from the confusing ending. Who won the fight? I have no idea from watching it. I asked my mother, also watching, who won and she had no clue either. Nobody was punched out on the ground. We re-wound the scene and still didn’t understand what happened, although I could barely make it out that Apollo Creed mumbled something about a re-match. So, was it a tie?

I texted a friend and asked WHO WON IN ROCKY? He said Creed did, from “points” — and the denouement is about Creed respecting Rocky enough to give him a real chance for the title next year. Or something like that? When I watch Rocky II I might understand better, but I think it’s unforgivable to keep your non-sport oriented viewers this confused. At that time in movie history, sequels were not much of a thing, so this might have left us confused forever. I don’t mind him not winning: I just want to know what happened without asking the Wikipedia. (It turns out they professed love and a vow to not have a re-match? I am not sure how I’m supposed to know this from watching it on film.)

There’s a nice bit of background to Rocky: Stallone himself wrote it, and the story says he was down to around $106 left to his name. The studios offered him $300, 000 for the script and wanted to put someone like Burt Reynolds in the role. Stallone turned it down, insisting that he should star in it. The rest, I guess, is history, as per Wikipedia:

The film, made on a budget of just over $1 million, was a sleeper hit; it earned $225 million in global box office receipts, becoming the highest-grossing film of 1976, and went on to win three Oscars, including Best Picture. The film received many positive reviews and turned Stallone into a major star.[4] In 2006, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant”. Rocky is considered to be one of the greatest sports films ever made and was ranked as the second-best in the genre, after Raging Bull, by the American Film Institute in 2008.

Movie Grade: A

The Rocky theme music for your nostalgic enjoyment, and good luck getting it out of your head:

PS: I’ve started noticing the use of holidays in films. Well, in this case, Rocky could be called both a Thanksgiving movie and a Christmas flick. Pay attention the next time you watch it. 🙂


Here are our detailed Rocky I–Creed II reviews, from a Rocky Virgin who’d never seen any of the films  in the franchise before.

Some related reviews we think you’ll like:

Movie Review – Creed II

Movie Review – The Meg

Movie Rewatch — Jaws

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Virgin Movie Review – Magic Stocking (half of it, maybe)

I didn’t realize this was one of those Hallmark Specials until I already had my workout pad and weights all spread on the floor and got comfy. (Yes, a little fitness routine during my evening shows is comfort food for me.)

But when “HallMark’s Magic Stocking” came onscreen, I gave my mother the stink eye. What was this? It’s not a real movie. Normally she DVRs a nice film for us, so I thought to myself, “Give it a try.”

I even took some notes:

  • There was a sad but attractive widow facing her first Christmas alone
  • There a handsome single guy building a Christmas Gazebo in the town square as a monument to his grandfather
  • There was a cute kid
  • It had a quirky grandmother
  • Puppies were involved

It didn’t take long to notice the awkward acting, but my mother said, “These are light holiday shows, with nice people. The actors are probably trying to break into Hollywood.”

It was really goofy. Dorky, even. The titular stocking decided to gift the little girl with the puppy she so desperately desired, and produced a silver locket to the lead character (the widow), for unknown reasons.

Then the grandmother pranked her grieving daughter into going on a date with the handsome single younger man, while avoiding the affections of the nice older single man pursuing her. But, then — the narrative thickens —  to convince the older man to prank the sad widow, she had to go on a “real date” with said older guy who made the awful mistake of buying her every bouquet in the local flower shop. The horrors!

Yeah, are you bored yet too?

I sat there through other people’s sweetly awkward dates and wondered when the stocking was going to perform magic again. I’d say I made it though an hour of this monument to mediocrity before packing up my equipment and heading to bed.

I’m sure the little girl gets her puppy, the widow finds love again, and the quirky grandmother has a steamy night to remember. But I didn’t care enough to find out because THIS ISN’T A PLOT.

I’m not even going to look for a photo to attach to this post, because: boring. If you like these little Christmas “movies”, that’s very nice for you, and I’m sorry to be a Grinch on your parade. It’s now the morning after and it’s raining like the Dickens (excuse the holiday pun), while my mother is curled up under a fuzzy blanket watching another Hallmark Christmas Special. I asked her the title but already forgot it.

She’s LOVING this stuff. You might too. I know she’s lined up at least a dozen more syrupy Hallmark Christmas Specials I won’t be watching. My favorite Christmas films fall onto the Lethal Weapon/Die Hard end of the spectrum.  And Home Alone, even, and Love, Actually. So I’m not completely unsentimental.

I think.

Movie Grade: C-

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Can Dune be done? Should Dune be done? Bringing Long Books to the Screen

herbert sandworm dune
If you walk without rhythm, you won’t attract the worm.

Until the last generation, when Peter Jackson proved The Lord of the Rings could not only be made into a successful film — but be so off-the-charts good that it took home 11 Oscar Awards — it was unheard of to succeed at translating most of the great sci-fi and fantasy epics of literature to the big screen.

That’s not for lack of trying. Larry McMurtry’s  Lonesome Dove book-to-film effort was a grand feat, but it’s the mini-series scale that made it work. The book is too big and involved to be made into one cinema-length film. Nowadays it would be at least a film trilogy, but I don’t think it needs a reboot — the 1989 miniseries is already a flawless snapshot of the last gasps of the Western Expansion. So they could make a new movie with these characters, yes, but I’d say it’s time to move on and  tackle other works of genre literature. (Also, who’s going to try improve on Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duval?)

Watership Down is another epic tale in a brick-sized book, but it’s a hard sell, being entirely from the point of view of rabbits. And it’s absolutely not for children: the themes are mature and often mesmerizingly frightening. (The rabbits even have their own word for being stuck in a “mesmerizingly frightened” state — called Tharn –). The 1978 animated feature has its fans, but most people who’ve loved the book pretend the “movie” doesn’t exist. (Seriously, it’s like a long scary drug trip.) Hazel’s troop of rabbits could now be done with puppets, animatronics, or CGI — instead of animation —  but the question here is “Why?” We’ve seen entire CGI movies like Avatar, and they can be lush and sweeping films, but it still remains that Watership Down must be seen at rabbit-height and from rabbit-eyes. It would take a very special studio or director to take that on. This is probably why nobody is chasing this particular story at the moment.

Here’s a full length video of Watership Down, if you’re curious:

In  the Post-LOTR and Harry Potter world,  the densest, longest, and most involving books can come alive on film…with inspired directing, gobs of studio money (and little studio interference), the right acting ensemble, and legions of dedicated crew members. Not to mention a crack PR team dropping hints and teaser trailers to excite the fans. (See: anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)

The key to adapting epic novels to the big screen, it seems, is respecting the source story. Behind the sets, Sir Ian McKellen (as Gandalf) would pace around Peter Jackson with this LOTR novels, saying, essentially, “Peter!That’s not how Tolkien wrote it!” This is probably one of the many interconnected reasons why Lord of the Rings, previously considered unfilmable, worked so well.

It’s not that a script can’t deviate from a source, but the result should clearly be recognizable from it. Book fans will be waiting for certain beats, beloved details, fantastic settings worthy of a grand story, and most of all: a faithfulness of essence to its literary origins.

There’s a line between slavishly book-faithful recreations (as in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone), and movies that recalls its novel by name only (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, AKA Blade Runner, or Lynch’s Dune).

So, yes, finally. We get to Dune. It’s been tackled several times, although none were recent enough to benefit from the current seamless FX at our disposal. (Which doesn’t excuse anything at all. Look back on the practical effects of Star Wars: A New Hope, or Raiders of the Lost Ark, and tell me those films failed — they don’t.)

david lynch dune
Lynch’s Dune – looks good, tastes bad.

Lynch’s 1984 Dune remains a problem, and its not from poor effects. It’s mainly that Lynch took Herbert’s book, tore a few pages he liked from it, and threw away the rest. It’s only “Dune” because the characters have the same names, there are Fremen and there are Sandworms, and Arrakis, the desert planet, is still called Dune. Otherwise, it’s a sprawling, sometimes grotesque mess, bearing little likeness to the story they aim to tell. I admit they got to the story’s conclusion just fine, but the path to get there was completely unorthodox. I know Lynch’s Dune has its fans, so I’ll let it lie.

scy fy dune
SyFy gives Dune a try. Definitely more Herbert, but definitely still wrong.

When SyFy made Frank Herbert’s Dune (2000) into a television miniseries, you can see there were many attempts made to be faithful to the book…but Sy Fy also took liberties in the telling. The main arguments I’ve heard seem to coalesce around the casting, that the actors didn’t look like the part, or didn’t act like the part. I’d say in both versions they got Jessica right, and Chani, and Irulan, for that matter, but the men’s roles are hit or miss. I think they got a lot more right than wrong, and crafted a personable, sensible, enjoyable tale without a whisper of heart plugs.

In my grading system, I’d give Lynch’s Dune a D+. (While I thought it was overall atrocious, he got a few things right, and that’s where the + comes in.) I’d give SyFy’s Dune a nice fair B score. It crumples a little as time marches on, but at least it’s recognizably Dune. SyFy even went on to combine Dune Messiah and Children of Dune as a second mini-series, which was ambitious, welcome, and mostly effective.  That one gets a B as well; maybe a   B+ — I’d have to see it again.

jodorowksy dune
Jodorosky’s Dune. Third time’s a charm?

A lot of people mention Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013), which isn’t actually a movie. It’s more like an appetizer for a film, or a promise of Dune. You can watch the movie-length documentary for $3 on Amazon, or check out the free trailers on IMDb. However, if you watch the video, you can’t help but notice that it’s even stranger than Lynch’s version. There’s a lot of people who want to see this one picked up by the studios, but I’m not one of them. I want to see the story the way Herbert saw it in his mind’s eye.

The time is right to try Dune again, using a well-funded production studio, a director who is comfortable with an epic scale,  and detailed sets in grand desert locations. I want to see world-building. Toss in some smart humor, dynamic ensemble casting, and of course, magnificent sandworms: make me long to be a rider. The movie should be a visual delight, engulfing the audience so much you’ll think you can smell the sietches, taste the spice, and feel the grit of sand, sand, sand.

So, it’s exciting news that director Denis Villeneuve plans to try his hand at a multi-film Dune. He says he hopes to make Dune into the Star Wars movie he never saw. “Most of the main ideas of Star Wars are coming from Dune, so it’s going to be a challenge to [tackle] this,” Villeneuve said. “In a way, it’s Star Wars for adults. We’ll see.” (Read the Dune News page on IMDb.)

It ‘s a promising start. We’ll record the news for this Dune project as it comes along.

While you wait for the right version of Dune to thrill you, entertain yourself with Fatboy Slim’s song Weapon of Choice. The lyrics are definitely Dune-inspired, even if the setting isn’t. But watching Christopher Walken putzing  around an empty hotel is a whole lot of awesome by itself…

Which version of Dune is your favorite? Do you think it will be done right by Villeneuve?

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Thanksgiving Holiday Movies

snoopy charlie brown thanksgiving
I guess it’s okay for birds to eat birds after all.

I originally thought there was just the one Thanksgiving movie: Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Turns out the RunPee fans stepped in to correct this error, and gave me a few more Thanksgiving films to consider.

The first one to add is a 30 minute TV Special that comes annually on Turkey Day. It’s the animated short film where Snoopy makes toast and popcorn to serve his Thanksgiving guests,  which turns out to be a problem for everyone… until Linus gives a little speech about the first Thanksgiving, and about…well…thankfulness. So, by now you’ve guessed it: it’s A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. And I think maybe Snoopy didn’t want to serve a turkey in the first place, seeing that his best friend is a bird. As I child I never noticed that, since food was something that came from the grocery store. But it doesn’t matter much, since Snoopy serves Woodstock a slice of turkey at the end anyway.

Is it the best Charlie Brown Special? I’d say no — the best ones are the Halloween and Christmas Specials, but never mind. Watching these always heralded the extended October through December holiday season, and have endured through their simple and sincere sentimentality. And I think calling this racist is kind of overthinking it. It’s like admitting Lucy is a bully (which she is).  Or I don’t know. Franklin does look a little lonely on his side of the table. You tell me.

It turns out you can’t watch this for free on You Tube, but you can buy it for $2: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

There’s more. A lot more. If you love this holiday, sit back and appreciate this surprisingly bountiful list of movies about Thanksgiving:

  • The Oath (this one just came out)
  • Jack and Jill (Adam Sandler does Turkey Day)
  • Free Birds (animated)
  • Garfield’s Thanksgiving (animated)
  • A Chipmunk’s Celebration (animated)
  • A Winnie The Pooh Thanksgiving (animated)
  • Hallmark Movies A Family Thanksgiving
  • The Mouse on the Mayflower (animated)
  • The Turkey Caper (animated)
  • Thankskilling (yes, a horror movie where the birds strike back)
  • Maybe Spider-Man…? (I’ve included a video arguing just this)
  • A Walton Thanksgiving Reunion (wow, we’re reaching way back now)

I think that’s plenty.

Let’s get straight to the videos then, shall we?

Here’s a scene from the Steve Martin/John Candy delicious duo from Planes, Trains and Automobiles:

Or you can buy the full show for $3 on YouTube.

Here’s the trailer for Jack and Jill:

Free Birds is actually free on You Tube, a full length film:

Garfield’s 25 minute special is free too:

The Chipmunk’s Celebration:

Winnie the Pooh gets in on the action:

The Turkey Caper:

Hallmark’s Family Film:

 The Mouse on the Mayflower:

The full ThanksKilling trailer:

If you’re feeling open to a new idea, here’s an argument why Sam Raimi’s Spiderman is the perfect Thanksgiving film:

There’s actually more movies I could list, but honestly, I’m feeling a bit full. Kind of like after the Thanksgiving feast, where you want everyone to go home so you can sleep off those tryptophans in peace.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – Green Book

 

Movie Review - Green BookGreen Book was amazing! Everything about this movie was awesome. The acting, the story, the conclusion, it all had me seeing stars. I’ve not enjoyed a movie this much in a very long time. Every person in America needs to see this movie. It simply touched my heart in a way that movies haven’t been doing lately.

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali deserve every award out there. These two guys together are dynamite! Their chemistry was so intense that it oozed off of the screen.

I can’t express this enough — the ticket price will be worth it. If you’re looking for a holiday movie, go see this one. You won’t be disappointed.

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: There is nonstop dialog and character development throughout the entire movie. I’m going to recommend the second Peetime since it was shown in the trailers.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Green Book. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Christene Johnson (RunPee Sis)

RunPee.com owes RunPee Sis a huge debt of gratitude. She sees any movie needed with no complaints and has done so for ten years (even basing Thanksgiving and Christmas family festivities around the seeing films). In 2015 Sis ran the entire RunPee enterprise herself, while RunPee Dan, Jilly and Mom went traipsing off to Europe. Sis is the spider in the web holding the RunPee family together — besides being a funny, well rounded person, and a joyous pleasure to be around. Her favorite films start and end with horror (which thank goodness she’s happy to see, since most of us don’t have the stomach for it) — but also likes silly comedies, sad dramas, and musicals of all types. If you’ve used a Peetime for a scary film, you probably have RunPee Sis to thank for it.

Favorite movie genre: Horror, horror, and more horror. The more disturbing, the better. Period.

Bio

Movie Review – The Front Runner

 

Movie Review - The Front RunnerI’m having a difficult time reviewing this movie. When I asked myself if I liked it, I had no answer. It bored me; it made me despise politicians even more, and now I think there is a lot of shadiness in journalism. Thanks, Hollywood. This movie is all about people doing whatever they want, whenever they want, and not worrying about the outcome until they get caught.

Then it turns into a blood bath to cover your own a$$.

I sensed that they were portraying Hart in a favorable manner, but I’ve got to say Hart deserved what he got. A man that was campaigning about morals and doing things the right way, and in the very next breath sleeps with some young girl, and no, she wasn’t the first — with no thought about his wife sitting at home — should NOT be our President.

I get the theme here. Does a politician’s personal life deserve to be in the public eye? Umm, yes. My husband and I sat outside the theater and debated about this question for an hour. We agreed to disagree.

I’m not going to keep ranting about the ethics of politicians here, but I will state it burned me up. I’m still on fire about it. That leads me to the question: why did they make this movie? What relevance does this have today? It was decades ago. A guy wanted to be President but then cheated on his wife and got caught. Boo-hoo. He gets mad about it? Really? What did he expect? Should the journalists just roll over and say, “It’s okay Gary — no one cares what you do. We’ll just go and report on something useful and pertinent to the American people.”

I would give this movie an F, but if I take out my absolute distaste for the events that led up to this and think about it in a cinematic point of view, I’m going to give it a B. Hugh Jackman did an amazing job making me hate Gary Hart. Vera Farmiga did another splendid job in playing that man’s wife. J.K. Simmons was also at his best; I enjoyed his role immensely.

I am not recommending this movie; it was a total waste of my time and gave me heartburn. A thought occurred to me as I fell asleep last night: my tax dollars, my hard earned money, pays their salaries. We the people are literally footing the bill to the shenanigans we call our government. Sure, there are a few good politicians, but as we will be reminded a few years after Hart that these men we call our Presidents definitely didn’t learn from his mistakes. I think I’ll sit back now, relax and smoke a cigar.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Both Peetimes will work well for you.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Front Runner. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Christene Johnson (RunPee Sis)

RunPee.com owes RunPee Sis a huge debt of gratitude. She sees any movie needed with no complaints and has done so for ten years (even basing Thanksgiving and Christmas family festivities around the seeing films). In 2015 Sis ran the entire RunPee enterprise herself, while RunPee Dan, Jilly and Mom went traipsing off to Europe. Sis is the spider in the web holding the RunPee family together — besides being a funny, well rounded person, and a joyous pleasure to be around. Her favorite films start and end with horror (which thank goodness she’s happy to see, since most of us don’t have the stomach for it) — but also likes silly comedies, sad dramas, and musicals of all types. If you’ve used a Peetime for a scary film, you probably have RunPee Sis to thank for it.

Favorite movie genre: Horror, horror, and more horror. The more disturbing, the better. Period.

Bio

Movie Review – Creed II

Movie Review - Creed III really enjoyed this movie. I had very high expectations and lots of excitement when I walked into the theater, and I think this movie delivered on all of those expectations. I think this movie kept a lot of new fans from Creed I, but  also tapped into the older fan-base from Rocky IV.

This movie was similar to the Rocky movies, but is trying to become its own thing. We can see that in the scenes when Rocky doesn’t stand in the spotlight with Adonis. I think that’s a good indicator that the directors and writers are trying to make a separation between this second generation and the parent movies of Rocky.

I think what makes a Rocky movie so memorable has a lot to do with what’s happening outside of the boxing storyline. From the proposal, to the pregnancy, to the early fatherhood challenges, I think this movie had a lot of moments that touched the hearts of the audience.

I think the part about Creed II that I had never seen in a previous Rocky movie was the portrayal of the opponent, which in this case was Viktor and Ivan Drago. The movie starts out with scenes of them, instead of scenes of Adonis and Rocky. I think throughout the movie there were very important scenes of Viktor and Ivan that help the audience understand what this fight meant to them. For me, it made me feel compassion for Viktor and Ivan Drago. For Ivan, this fight was his way of redeeming himself from the defeat against Rocky.

In this movie, we see that there was a lot of fall out due to that loss. Ivan experienced separation from his country, his wife, and all those who supported him before he lost against Rocky. It seems that Viktor was raised with a singular goal in mind–redeem the honor of his father and win back his mother into their lives. I truly did feel for Ivan Drago because this fight was more about him than it was about Viktor. Viktor had no personal motivations for this fight except those of his father. I think the reason this movie decided to show empathy towards Viktor and Ivan is because they are not the real antagonists of the film. The real antagonist of the film is Viktor’s mother and Ivan’s former wife. Towards the end of the movie, Ivan decides that the life of his son is more important than the support of his country.

Overall this was a great movie; I like the alternative views it had and I’m excited to see what’s in store for Adonis Creed in the future. I’m also interested to see what is in store several years down the line for his daughter–Amara Creed. I think people believe she won’t be a boxer due to being born deaf, but based on the scene with her watching Adonis return to the boxing gym, I don’t believe that will stop her.

Overall: I think, as usual, both the acting of Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone were great. I would recommend this movie to anyone. I’m a true Rocky convert. It’s worth it to see it in theaters.

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes: It was easy to find 4 good Peetimes that didn’t interfere with the great boxing scenes or the relevant story line.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Creed II. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Shani Ogilvie

Watching movies in theaters is an indescribable experience for me. This, doing laundry, and visiting the Container Store bring me true joy. When I’m not watching movies or getting Peetimes, I like keeping up with the latest technology, learning to code, and building things. Career wise, my passion lies with improving access and equity within the health, tech, and social sectors.

Virgin Movie Review – Sully

tom hanks in sullyLet’s just open with this axiom: Tom Hanks can do no wrong.

Done.

That’s not much of a review, is it?

Starting again: I just watched Sully last night for the first time. Somehow, I never heard about “The Miracle on the Hudson.” I shy away from the news, because “news” usually equals “bad news” and I don’t need any more of that. But in this case, as with The Apollo 13 mission, the story fell into the rare “good news” category.

Funnily enough, both Sully and Apollo 13 star Tom Hanks. This man can really lead a film — and I kind of felt, watching Sully, this was a bit like “Apollo 13 with Planes.”

Take a situation where the wrong split-second decision (here it’s a 32-second decision) means a loss of all hands.  155 people survived because Captain Chesley Sullenberger saw no feasible options, and came up with a brand new one. He landed a passenger aircraft on the Hudson River, and everyone — everyone  — survived. RunPee Mom, who used to be an airline attendant, tells me no one survives an emergency landing on water. I assume this aspect led to the “Miracle” moniker. The image of everyone standing on the wings as the Airbus plane slowly sank into the Hudson River is indelible, iconic perhaps.

(The rescue scenes in the frigid water reminded me of Titanic, another true-life-based disaster film, but in that case, only 706 out of 2208 souls were pulled from the water. I assume that’s because Tom Hanks wasn’t there to save them.)

Since everyone lived, there had to be SOME kind of plot jeopardy. In Sully, it’s the “blood sucking lawyers.” The climactic formal hearing was tense and well-structured: it perfectly illustrated the obfuscating influence of insurance companies needing to place the blame on someone. How about on the shoulders of the calm-under-pressure hero who saved all the people? Great, let’s go after him! He’s about to retire anyway.

I for one loved the simulation sequences. I’m a sucker for that kind of movie exposition. I liked it when they did it on Titanic, too. It’s an early version of Star Trek’s holodeck!

What else happened in this film? There’s the inquiry and the hearing. The simulations. Tom Hanks acting opposite a cell phone. Tom Hanks having traumatic flashbacks and nightmares. He gets a drink named in his honor: The Sully: Grey Goose Vodka with a splash of water. Get it?

tom hanks and aaron eckhart
You have 32 seconds to save 155 people. What do you do?

Aaron Eckhart had an agreeable role as the co-pilot. I appreciated that he had Sully’s back. He was there; he knew what happened (“BIRDS!”).  He loyally told everyone that he trusted Sully’s judgement and was grateful to be alive. Laura Linney, playing a thankless role as Sully’s wife, had absolutely nothing to do, stuck on the end of a cell phone, in the kitchen with their daughters. That’s one of the misfires of this film. Mike O’Malley, playing the heavy, looks like he tried, but he still seemed to me like Burt Hummel from Glee, and it was hard to take him seriously. I’m glad he found a leading part in a good movie, but it was probably miscast — someone either scarier or more arch would have been a better choice. (Maybe he looked like the real person. I don’t care enough to check.) 🙂

Trying to make a side plot with some of the passengers didn’t pay off so well. Early on we are introduced to a trio of golfers getting last minute seats on the plane. That went exactly nowhere. There was also a woman with her wheelchair bound mother shoehorned into the narrative, and that was a dead end too. It was a bizarre choice: what worked in Titanic with people’s stories was only a token effort in Sully. Those well-drawn characters are what made the Titanic film so immersive and enduring. We know what happens at the end, but you kind of forget the ship will sink, because you’re caught up in the story of Jack and Rose.

Maybe they wanted to pad out Sully’s 88-minute run-time, but if so, they should have expanded the film to have these side-stories resonate. Or don’t bother trying to put a human face on the passengers, and expand on Sully’s family watching the news, back home (again, as in Apollo 13).

tom hands and sully photo
Tom Hanks and the real hero, Sully

I really enjoyed Sully and don’t want to nit-pick on it anymore. It’s a feel-good true to life story, and an inspiring one. It’s a relief to know that sometimes things work out.

By the way, Tom Hanks can carry an entire movie just talking to a volleyball. How’s that for good acting?  Who would have guessed from his early comedic films like Besom Buddies and Big that he had so much talent? I think without him, this sometimes dry and definitely spare film would have felt like a documentary.

I also think the non-linear, almost Roshoman-type story structure helped keep the interest high. There are no world changing stakes, but things could so easily have gone wrong, and crashing a plane into New York City’s skyscrapers would have rocked the nation with memories of 9/11. We can be lucky Manhattan escaped this time, and we saw from Sully’s nightmares that this was entirely on his mind. What if? Thankfully, we never found out.

(Just thinking — maybe it’s time to move the NYC airports out of the city, like Denver did, closing down Stapleton Airport. The new one is safely out on the Colorado plains, and is a state of the art, lovely airport to get stuck in.)

Overall: Sully provides an easy hour and a half of entertainment, with a real-life disaster tale and a happy ending. You get to know a little bit more about the historical events and Captain Sully himself. I was glad to see it. Like I said, there’s too much bad news out there.

Movie Grade: B+

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)