Top 10 Films Set in Ireland to Watch on St Patrick’s Day Weekend

far and away ton cruise Niccole kidman
Ireland is only a movie away…

If you’ve never been to Ireland (I have and loved it), then these 10 movies will give you a thirst for Guinness Beer and a craving for corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. Pull out this list for March 17th on St Patrick’s Day, or anytime you get a wistful hankering for the sights and sounds of the old Emerald Isle. (Not listed in any special order, ye lads and lasses).

Angela’s Ashes  (1999)
IMDB score: 7.3

This Oscar nominated movie, filmed in County Cork, Ireland, is based on the best selling autobiography by Frank McCourt, an Irish expat whose family tries against all odds to escape the poverty in the slums of Limerick.

Far and Away (1992)
IMDB score: 6.6

This movie, filmed in Dublin, Ireland, and starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, tells the story of two young people in Ireland who wish to travel to America and take part in the Oklahoma land rush.

The Quiet Man (1952)
IMDB score: 7.8

This two-time Oscar-winner tells the story of a boxer who returns to his place of birth, Ireland, to escape his past. A true classic, The Quiet Man starred John Wayne and Maureen O’Hare, and was directed by John Houston, for which he won a Best Director Oscar. The movie is most notable for the lush photography of the Irish countryside.

Excalibur (1981)
IMDB score: 7.4

Oscar-nominated Excalibur, starring Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren and Liam Neeson is a bona fide fantasy-action cult classic. Filmed entirely in Ireland, including Derrynane in County Kerry, situated between County Cork and County Limerick. Killarney, the county seat, is one of Ireland’s most famous tourist destinations.

Song of the Sea (2014)
IMDB score: 8.1

Even though this is an animated film, it deserves a place on this list. The movie doesn’t necessarily show us the actual beauty of Ireland, but it lets us feel the spirit embedded in the ancient folklore of the Emerald Isle.

ireland and cliffs of mohar
The Cliffs of Insanity and of Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2009)
IMDB score: 7.6

As with many other movies, this Harry Potter flick was filmed partially in Ireland, using the ominous Cliffs of Moher as exterior shots of the Horcrux Cave.

Reign of Fire (2002)
IMDB score: 6.2

Reign of Fire, starring Matthew McConaughey and Christian Bale, is a sci-fy film about a brood of fire-breathing dragons who emerge from the earth and begins setting everything on fire, establishing dominance over the planet. The film was filmed entirely in Wicklow Mountains, the largest continuous upland area in the Republic of Ireland.

My Left Foot (1989)
IMDB score: 7.9

This two-time Oscar-winning movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Brenda Fricker, both of whom won Oscars for their roles, tells the story of an Irishman, Christie Brown, who was born with cerebral palsy, learns to paint and write with his only controllable limb – his left foot. The movie was filmed in County Wicklow Ireland, the filming site of numerous other films.

The Princess Bride (1987)
IMDB score: 8.1

A real family-favorite, a swashbuckling fantasy-comedy-satire winner, The Princess Bride has been voted as one of the greatest films of all time. The film’s vertigo-inducing Cliffs of Insanity were actually the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most visited natural attraction. (Same place as the Horcrux cave in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.)

Leap Year (2010)
IMDB score: 6.5

Amy Adams stars in this charming travel movie about a young American woman travels to Dublin, Ireland to propose to her boyfriend who — by Irish tradition — cannot refuse the proposal. Principal photography took place in County Wicklow, Dublin, County Mayo, and County Galway.

Pi Day Movies – the Best Math (or Pie) Films to Watch on March 14

20 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List

Best Movies to Watch Over President’s Day Weekend

Movie Review – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

 

 

 

Pi Day Movies – the Best Math (or Pie) Films to Watch on March 14

the symbol for pi in blue
Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. There might be a few numbers involved.

Mid-march, three unusual holidays rear their heads for movie rewatch fun: Pi Day, The Ides of March, and St Patrick’s Day. It all starts on March 13 with Pi Day. That’s the 14th day of the third month: 3.14. If you pay enough attention, you can even celebrate Pi Minutes and Pi Seconds. (1:59:26 comes around the clock twice, unless you use Military Time.)

If you scroll down, you’ll see every Pi and math movie we consider crucial for your home entertainment curriculum. But first, you have to understand what Pi is, then prepare some actual pies for feasting. On Pi Day, both sweet and savory pies count. More on that soon.

Do you know what Pi is?

long string of Pi numbers
Just memorize this and you’ll be fine.

This is a big topic. You can start by thinking about Pi as the ratio of a circle’s circumference, related to its diameter. Do you consider yourself smart? Apparently you can spend the rest of your life digging into the mysteries of this transcendental,  irrational number. (WIRED gives it a relatively simple whack, while the Wikipedia offers more Pi detail than most people actually want.)

Feast with Pies on Pi Day

Whatever your feelings about Pi, math, and advanced mathematics, I’ve long considered March 13 Pi Day. It’s a holiday that’s picking up more pop-culture steam every year.  For decades, my husband and I used to rewatch a classic math movie each year, feasting on Chicken Pot Pie, Pumpkin Pie, or sometimes Pizza Pie.  Even a Calzone or Omelette is a pie, albeit half of one.  We’d use fractions to eat them, as one does with flat, round food. 🙂 Make a meal with lots of circular edibles. Maybe Pita Bread. Be creative.

Announce the fractions you cut from the whole. Eat like math is your passion for one day a year!

We celebrated Pi Day this way because we’re geeks. RunPee loves weird holidays where you can watch movies, dress for the occasion, and plan an appropriately themed meal.

So. Pull on your geekiest science tee shirt and pick something from this list of great Pi adjacent films.

Make Pi Day 3.14 Times as Nice

It’s a good idea to phone your favorite ‘pie’ place and ask for the Pi Day Special: it’s fun to spread the word, and many places will give you an off the menu deal just for choosing them for your Pi needs. At the very least, you might encourage them to make a Pi Deal for next March.

Oh, please tell them RunPee sent you.

the first few numbers in the Pi string
Pi, looking friendly and fun and not at all intimidating.

Here’s RunPee’s list of favorite math, Pi, and pie movies for Pi Day, in no particular order, with release dates, and a few thoughts to help you select the perfect film to celebrate an irrational number.

Linked titles go to RunPee’s own movie reviews, where we have them. Eventually, we’ll review them all. It’s an easier task than calculating the exact value of Pi.

16.5 Movies To Enjoy in Honor of Pi Day

    1. Pi (1998) – Pure numbers, baby.
    2. Life of Pi (2001) — Not about math, or even pie, but a man named Pi. It’s a great, quietly gripping story, where you’re not sure what’s going on. Pay attention to the details, whether this is your first, or Nth viewing. It’s a very worthwhile film and almost Inception-lite. And BTW, that’s not a spoiler. Just enjoy the rhythm of the film.
    3. Good Will Hunting (1997) – Matt Damon makes this list twice, because he’s got a lock on that understated, funny, and too-pretty-to-be-so-smart look that perfectly bellies his mad science skills.
    4. Hidden Figures (2016) – This recent feel-good film centers around three black women hired by NASA as human computers during the 1960s events of Project Mercury, and its fabulous. (‘Sheldon Cooper’ even has a small role.) Award-winning and based on real people, including John Glen, who was apparently a great guy. If his computers said not to go, he stayed put. Smart man.
    5. The Theory of Everything (2014) – If you adored Stephen Hawking, like we did at RunPee, you probably found news of his death so very, very sad. But from all indications, he loved his life, had joy, family, a great career, and  unfettered commitment to allow his fine brain to roam the cosmos. We saw his sense of humor was as extraordinary as his mind. Not a bad legacy at all. Eddie Redmayne did an A+ job saluting Hawking’s contributions to our understanding of the universe.
    6. A Beautiful Mind (2001) –  I honestly don’t remember much about this film (it was too upsetting and sad for my tastes), but realize it would be a big snub to leave this inspired-by-a-true-life-story it off the list. The IMDb writes this: “From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery.
    7. The Imitation Game (2014) – Benedict Cumberbatch plays a lot of geniuses, or at least men smarter than the average bloke. If you like Alan Turning and enjoy cracking impossible Nazi codes, this movie was made for you. It’s also a drama with a message. 
    8. Gifted (2017) – I enjoyed this light film about how a normal brained single Dad (Chris Evans) learns to beat to the system to keep and raise his young, brilliant protegee. This scene is a standout — be sure to watch the whole segment:
    9. x and y (UK)/A Brilliant Young Mind (US) (2014) – A kid with ‘special powers’ in math learns to navigate childhood.
    10. Apollo 13 (1995) – First of all, it’s a space mission that really happened, and through massive sciencing, everybody makes it home alive. Not a spoiler; this is history. Also, Apollo 13 is has Tom Hanks as Captain Jim Lovell,  and those men are gods to me. I think the inspiration for Legos must have come from that scene with the square filter an the round vent — “Work the problem, people!” (Ed Harris is a god too. Godhoods for everyone in Apollo 13!)
    11. The Martian (2105) – Matt Damon’s character scienced the SHIT out of this movie.  A pure joy to watch and rewatch, and I have to remind myself this, unlike Apollo 13, hasn’t actually happened. Yet. 🙂
    12. Contact (1997) – This one happened in real life too, didn’t it? Didn’t it?  Damn. Watching this movie just makes me happy, and yes, it’s full of life, death, and MATH. The scene where we’re contacted with Prime Numbers is a standout. It’s one of those scenes that makes me tear up without a single line of dialog, or even much facial expression. Remember in The Return of the King, when we saw the lighting of the fire beacons above Gondor, calling to Rohan for aid? Same thing. When you saw Contact for the first time, how long did it take you realize those pulses were primes? I expect the universal  language of math will prove yet again that fiction pre-dates fact. This is the best segment in an already outstanding film. I had to add two videos to catch the whole scene:
    13. The Accountant (2106) – Ben Affleck gave a surprisingly charming and understated performance as a certain kind of savant specialist who learns to relate to people in his own, sometimes deadly way.
    14. Stand and Deliver (1988) – What is Calculus? Why should we care, unless we’re lucky enough to have someone like Edward James Olmos teach it? I need to re-watch Stand and Deliver, as I’ve forgotten much of this classic 80s film.  Here’s a summary:  A Los Angeles high school teacher opts to immerse his students in higher math. After intensive study, his students ace California’s calculus test, only to learn their scores are being questioned.
    15. The Cold Equations (1996) – This short, harrowing film details to the Nth degree how important math is – specifically, down to milligrams of weight in space.  Are there any space movies where weight limits aren’t a thing? In this one, math is the whole plot. As the pilot and young stowaway work frantically against the clock, we’re reminded how dangerous space is, how fragile spaceships are, and how very, very much math matters. It’s only 40 minutes and it’s worth a watch, even if the effects are a bit dated. The story is still a good one. Here’s the entire video for The Cold Equations:
    16. Real Genius (1985)  – Taking a trip in the way back machine, Real Genius makes this list by pure force of fun. In fact, you can watch the entire feature film right here. I’ll leave this up until someone takes it down — it’s clearly a film taped on a cell phone. Enjoy this blast from the nerdy past!

…Aaaaand the promised .5 movie: American Pie (1999, the original):

Don’t worry if you hate numbers.  Lock yourself alone in the bedroom with a warm apple pie, and try out just how good it feels. Or, less weirdly, rewatch one of the movies in the American Pie franchise with friends, compare Band Camp Stories, and laugh again at the awkwardness of being young and inexperienced. Beware: this scene is suggestive, and  is clearly intended to be. You can’t unsee it. It’s the PIE scene. On Pi Day. Have fun.

****

Quick question: How many numbers in a string can you list for Pi? Write them out in the comments below, and no cheating! Surely there must be some out-of-the-closet geeks out there.

***

Just below: a brilliant Pi video for those of you who are too smart for Pi itself. Just peruse this movie list on Tau Day, and you’ll be set.

Super Pi Geeks Argue About how Tau is Better…

***

RunPee Movie Reviews Related to Math and Pi

Movie Review – Hidden Figures

Movie Review – The Theory of Everything – More About Stephen Hawking Than Math

Movie Review – Gifted

Movie Review – The Accountant

Best Movies to Watch Over President’s Day Weekend

presidents day weekend movies
Sit back and enjoy some presidential movies!

Presidents Day Weekend! Time to get presidential and enjoy some flicks worthy of this American holiday. We’ve got movies listed here that are historical, comical, romantic, sci-fi-esque, or even just totally wacky — there’s something for everyone.

Not in any particular order, here are the greatest movies to get you into the presidential spirit of this weekend in the USA:

Vice (2018) — Still in theaters if you can catch it, Vice is up for several Oscars film trophies — of which it won some other big awards already:

  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
  • Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actor
  • Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actor in a Comedy
  • BAFTA Award for Best Editing
  • Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Makeup

 Lincoln (2012) — According to my research, Lincoln was listed as the #1 movie about American presidents more consistently than any other presidential movie, even though it covers only the last few months of Lincoln’s presidency. The movie won two Oscars and was nominated for an additional 10 Oscars. According to my research, Lincoln, was listed as the #1 movie about American presidents more consistently than any other presidential movie. The movie won two Oscars and was nominated for an additional 10 Oscars.

  • Daniel Day-Lewis: won for Best Actor.
  • Tommy Lee Jones: nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
  • Sally Field: nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
  • Steven Spielberg: nominated for Best Motion Picture and Best Director.

In total, Lincoln has 110 wins and 245 nominations. It’s worth a watch, or a rewatch.

W — Oliver Stone did a fine job of showing the ups and downs of belonging to the Bush clan. It covered not only his political life, but also that of a spoiled rich kid, which made it non-stop entertainment. Josh Brolin will go down in cinematic history as one of the best presidential actors. I find it interesting that this great movie was snubbed by the American press.

Nixon — Again, this is an Oliver Stone film about the early days, and right up to the disgraceful end of Richard Nixon’s presidency. It was nominated for 4 Oscars: Anthony Hopkins for Best Actor, Joan Allen for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Writing and Best Music, and Original Dramatic Score.


 

Here are some more fun categories to choose from: 

Best Fictional President

Fail Safe —
If you’ve never seen this movie, now is a good time with all the trigger happy despots out there in the world who would love to blow us to smithereens. The final scene of the movie will stay with you for a while.

Primary Colors —
We all know that this is an unauthorized bio of Bill Clinton so just sit back and enjoy the trip on the campaign trail.  Kathy Bates won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Libby Holden, and Elaine May was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Deep Impact —
This film is one of the best, “Oh my god, we’re all gonna die”, movies ever made…and a big reason for that is Morgan Freeman as President Beck. One might say he was…impactful. 😉


 

Best Comedy about a President

Dave (1993) — Kevin Kline was nominated for Funniest Actor in a Motion Picture, and Charles Grodin won for Funniest Supporting Actor by the American Comedy Awards for Dave. It’s great fun and even a little touching at times.

The American President (1995) — This movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music or Comedy Score and nominated for 5 Golden Globes: Best motion Picture, Rob Reiner for Best Director, Annette Bening for Best Actress, Michael Douglas for Best Actor, and Aaron Sorkin for Best Screenplay. This movie is a classic.

My Fellow Americans (1996) — In my opinion, this is the funniest presidential movie ever made, and the two stars, James Garner and Jack Lemmon, have great on-screen chemistry.

Wag the Dog (1997) — Shortly before the election a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer fabricate a war to cover up a Presidential sex scandal. Dustin Hoffman was nominated for an Oscar for Lead Actor, and nominated for 3 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture, Dustin Hoffman for Lead Actor and Best Screenplay.

Dick (1999)  — A fun little film worth catching, even though it’s from the point of two silly teens watching the Nixon controversy from a unique point of view. Lots of fun!


 

Movies About the Presidency (In General)

All the President’s Men (1976) —
Without a doubt, this is the definitive movie about the inner workings of a presidency. It’s an old movie – 1976 – but still very pertinent in today’s world. The movie earned 4 Oscars: Jason Robards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Writing, Best Art Direction and Best Sound, and was nominated for an additional four Oscars.

JFK (1991) —
As far as conspiracy movies, nothing can top JFK. We’ll never tire of speculating about this American tragedy, and therefore, never tire of making movies or documentaries that tend to sensationalize this event. JFK won 2 Oscars for Best Cinematography and for Best Film Editing, and was nominated for an additional 6 Oscars: Best Picture,  Tommy Lee Jones for Best Actor, Oliver Stone for Best Director, Best Sound, Best Music and Oliver Stone again for Best Screenplay.

Thirteen Days —
In 1962 America came close to another World War when the Kennedy Administration struggled to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis. Even though we know the outcome of this crisis, observing the path the administration took during this standoff is extraordinary.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) — Definitely not your typical presidential bio, it’s funny, entertaining and maybe just a little bit scary. Also, despite a funny title, this one is NOT a comedy. You’ve been warned! 🙂

Movie Review – Vice – Deeply Funny But Tonally Strange

Movie Review – Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter

Movie Review – Lincoln – An A+ Presidential Biography

Best Non-Christmas Christmas Movies

Gremlins is a genuine Christmas movie.
Never let your Mogwai wear a Christmas hat. No good can come of this.

What is a non-Christmas Christmas movie, you ask? I’m happy to explain. It’s a story that takes place over the holiday season, but isn’t a Christmas film. The plot isn’t about Santa, reindeer, snowmen, elves, Scroogey Grinches, or magical stockings. Christmas might help the plot along, but these movies stake their tent in the camp of another genre. Savvy? We begin.

Note: most of these movies are DECADES old. So there might be a few spoilers. We’re going to assume you’ve seen most of these. Consider this a Christmas warning, just in case.

Die Hard: This  is the main one, the real biggie of non-Christmas Christmas films. Ask around about people’s favorite Christmas movies and someone will happily shout DIE HARD!

I’m one of those people.[pullquote] This is  in the best feel-good holiday tradition that just happens to have a high body count.[/pullquote] Bruce Willis was on top of his game, as the only man to stop the Grinch — I mean Gruber — from stealing Christmas. It’s such a successful outing that even Die Hard 2 is set over Christmas (this time it’s “Die Hard in an airport”).

Here are two good scenes in the holiday spirit:

Remember kids, it’s not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off the Nakatomi building.

Lethal Weapon: This movie is just as great as Die Hard, and just as Christmasy. It slips into the number two spot only because Die Hard is a bit more iconic. Bruce Willis is more fun than Mel Gibson, and Alan Rickman (RIP) can do anything. ANYTHING. He’s Snape, ya’ll. Okay, now I’m sad.

[pullquote position=”right”]Lethal Weapon is the start of a run of  Shane Black films that take place over the Christmas holiday season. It’s not a coincidence.[/pullquote] He’s even quoted on it, saying, “Christmas represents a little stutter in the march of days, a hush in which we have a chance to assess and retrospect our lives. I tend to think also that it just informs as a backdrop.”

Here’s the heartwarming holiday end scene:

Iron Man 3: I have trouble remembering which plot is which between Iron Man 2 and 3. The second is the one with Mickey Rourke and the magical whips and the fake Mandarin. The third…um: it has a little boy he befriends (way before he mentors Peter Parker. Sniff), and the many, many Iron Man Mark suits flying around a high-rise construction zone. (I should turn in my geek card, or at least see this again.) Also Tony Stark suffers from PTSD. How much more Christmasy can this be?

I’m going to let this video tell us why Iron Man 3 is a Christmas movie:

Oh, and it’s a Shane Black film.

The Long Kiss Goodnight: The actual plot: a woman who has rebuilt her life after getting amnesia begins to recover her memories, when trouble from her past finds her again. It takes place over Christmas. There’s a Christmas party, Christmas parade, etc. And yes, this too is a Shane Black film.

Kiss Kiss Bang  Bang: Oh, hello there Shane Black. Nice of you to drop in again. Obsessed much? 🙂

Read why Kiss, Kiss is a Christmas Movie.

Gremlins: Man, is this ever a strange film. I don’t even know how to describe it, except to firmly and authoritatively tell you to NOT feed  your Mogwai after midnight, and never give him water. This movie also taught me what happens when you put an animal in the microwave. It’s set in someone’s nice suburban home, decked out for the holidays. [pullquote]This is kind of a feel-good, feel-weird film.[/pullquote]

These Gremlins know how to party on Christmas Eve:

Trading Places: I just saw this. Like, last night. I can’t believe I missed it the first time — it’s corny but excellent, and I laughed a whole lot. I mean, really? The plot of rich people betting on who’s a criminal and who’s a business man?You have to sit back and let the laughs roll in. And speaking of which, this all happens over a few weeks over the Christmas season. The biggest laughs come from Dan Aykroyd, posing as the filthiest, creepiest Santa imaginable, stealing food at a Christmas gala. He hides a whole salmon under his dingy gray beard. It doesn’t get better than this.

I love this whole segment:

Mean Girls: This one requires a bit of fudging, since it takes place over the course of a whole school year. But the Christmas segment is fun and memorable: the Plastics don sexy Santa dresses and sing Jingle Bell Rock. It’s so fetch. You know, I’m going to just give you a link so you can watch it:

There you have it. I know there’s a lot more, like Edward Scissorhands and possibly Batman Returns. Let me know your favorite and what I missed in the comments below. Do you think these qualify as Christmas movies?

I’ll be cuddling onto the couch watching Die Hard and Lethal Weapon for my Christmas Eve double feature. It’s all about tradition. 😉

Want to know the favorite Christmas Movies of the members of the RunPee Family? Read about it here, and Happy Holidays from ours to yours. <3

A Merry Movie Christmas – The RunPee Family’s Favorite Holiday Films

The Weirdest Moments in Classic Christmas Specials

The Deadpool Before Christmas

 

 

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews — Rocky 1 and 2

creed 2
Let the games begin…

Rocky is something I’ve heard about for all my life, but to be honest, I had never seen any Rocky films. The first Rocky related movie I watched was Creed in 2015, and I thought it was a pretty good movie. Now, as Creed 2 is about to be released, I took on a project to watch all of the Rocky films.  (We’ll enter this movie binge in two movie increments.)

Rocky (1976)

Wow! I am truly amazed at how amazing this movie is. I’m also really surprised at how a movie that is now more than 40 years old has such a great storyline and cinematography. I can only imagine how viewers at the time felt about it.

I think this first movie did character development very well. I think that Rocky is a very charismatic, charming, and funny character. He really allowed me to get sucked into the movie and really feel for the character of Rocky. In terms of movie theme, for a sports film about boxing there was very little time spent boxing. I will say that the boxing scenes were spectacular. I was cheering from my couch!

On top of this, I learned so much from Rocky: 1) A split decision does not mean it’s a tie! 2) There were 15 rounds (then) in a boxing match. 3) If a boxer is down for 10 seconds, then the other boxer wins the whole match (not just that round). 4) Rocky is a South Paw. Which means his left hand is his dominant fighting hand.

One question still unanswered: did Adrian truly believe that Rocky could hear her through the crowd and the reporters swarming him?? 🤔

Grade: A

Stay tuned for Rocky II. I’ll be adding these reviews here as I binge through the franchise.

Rocky II

The beginnings of this movie were exciting because it gave a recap of the previous movie. I think that’s a pretty cool technique. Even though I am binge watching and my memory of Rocky I is still fresh, I still found it helpful. I think many viewers would appreciate if all movies gave a recap of the previous movie, especially if a few years have passed.

This movie picked right back up where the last one ended. There’s a lot of scenes that don’t seem relevant to boxing in the beginning of this movie. About half of the movie is about character development and build up for the rematch between Rocky and Creed. It isn’t until an hour in until a rematch is even set. If Rocky wasn’t such an entertaining character this would have deterred me from continuing the movie.

The first half of the movie, Rocky carelessly spends his money and attempts to film commercials. But during the commercial filming, everyone learns that Rocky can’t read, which I think is the main driver for Rocky’s boxing interest in the first place. In this movie, Rocky isn’t too interested in boxing because he’s already proven that he can box to himself, but due to his inability to read and find a decent job, he feels he has no other option. The way he spends his money also adds to the storyline and to the character development of Rocky. He’s never had this much money before and yet he’s not afraid to spend on those who he loves. I find that to be pretty selfless. I also see more character development with Adrian in this movie. Frankly, I wasn’t too sure of Adrian’s purpose in the first movie, specifically because she didn’t have many lines, but as I continue watching, I see that her character is just shy and is slowly becoming her own woman.

When Rocky finally decides to go up against Creed again, I learned he has a significant blind spot in his right eye. He’s determined to fight, so he trained to use his right hand. Remembering that Rocky is a South Paw, I find this to be one heck of a strategy and also is very inspiring.

The funniest scene in my opinion is when Rocky stops to see his priest before his fight. He’s already late, but he drives up to the priest’s window and yells to ask for a blessing.

The fight scene at the end rivaled an actual fight, because it was longer and it wasn’t only a bunch of clips strung together. During the fight scene, Creed really brings his all. This isn’t a joke to him anymore, because Rocky has shaken his confidence in his title. I wasn’t too sure how things would end, and during that final round both Creed and Rocky got knocked down. I was once again on the edge of my seat. I wasn’t sure the direction the fight would go. I thought for sure Rocky was going to lose, and that would be the premise of Rocky III. What I loved most about this movie was the twist at the end, when everyone waits to see who will stand up in time.

Honestly, I have so much respect for both Rocky and Creed. You could see the exhaustion in both of them, but they both refused to give up.

Here’s a quiz question for the next time: What can you count on to happen in a Rocky film?

Grade: A

Stay tuned for the answer and for Rocky III!

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews – Rocky 3 and 4

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews – Rocky Balboa and Creed 1

And here is our original review when Creed first came out:

Movie Review – Creed

The Grinch Who Keeps Stealing Christmas

He's still a mean one.
He’s still a mean one.

With the newest incarnation of The Grinch in theaters this year, we thought it was time to take a look at the history of this mean green creature, who is both dastardly and oddly sympathetic.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas  (1957) – The original kid’s book by Dr. Seuss is beloved, and for very good reasons. It started it all, showing us a grumpy Gus who hates the holiday (shades of A Christmas Carol). He steals, he lies, he abuses his dog Max, and breaks Cindy Lou Who’s trust…but eventually hears the joyous music and comes through in the end. This is an allegory for humanity, in a real way. [pullquote]We can be mean, we can hurt others to hide our own miserable loneliness…but if we open ourselves — just a crack — to others…well, we might learn to belong after all.[/pullquote] Who hasn’t known this kind of profound alienation? Who doesn’t secretly dream of being accepted despite the petty crimes we’ve committed? The message hits us right in the feels. Dr. Seuss knew it. This is among the three top stories he gifted to generations of children. (Along with The Lorax and The Cat in The Hat. Can’t argue with those.)

How The Grinch Stole Christmas –  A faithful and rousing rendition of the Dr. Seuss book, the animated 26-minute special from 1966 is definitely something…yes, special. Growing up with this, it was a traditional treat to rewatch it every year, as a child. I still watch it now to herald the holiday season. Good animation, great songs (I still sing the refrain), and a story to make your heart grow three sizes in the end. A-level work.

The Grinch (2000) – The live action version with Jim Carrey dropped on the scene to a mostly poor reception. (It seems Carrey doesn’t always have the magic touch.) I recently watched this for the first time, and found it lacking. Middling, dank, arbitrary, and a bit sour. Ron Howard himself directed, and usually produces great films. What happened to the color, the joy, the fun? Not everyone panned it, however. The Wikipedia reports, “Despite mixed reviews that often compared the film unfavorably to the 1966 special, it won the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and was also nominated for Best Art Directionand Best Costume Design.”

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018) – [pullquote position=”right”]Did we need ANOTHER Grinch? Why reboot this one; it’s been done enough, surely? [/pullquote]In spite of my fears, every time I saw the new animated trailer in theaters I smiled and giggled in spite of myself. It looks a world of better than the live action version. I think they might get it right! I’m not the kind of critic who wants to see the same darn themes rebooted every few years, but agree Pixar knows how to craft a film. The trailer looks charming and fun: I’m all over it. If it doesn’t suck, it might put this story to bed, finally. NOTE, after seeing the 2018 movie: it didn’t. Here’s my Grinch-like review.

Watch The Grinch Trailers, to get you in the proper mood for the Mean One this Christmas: 

The Final Grinch Trailer:  

In Defense of the Grinch (1966)

In Defense of the Grinch (1966)

Movie Review – The Grinch (2018)

What you need to remember about MI: Rogue Nation

Solomon Lane: Former MI6 agent and now head of *The Syndicate*

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is determined to prove the existence of the Syndicate, a criminal consortium the CIA does not believe exists. Ethan is captured by the Syndicate at a record shop in London, while their leader, a blond man in glasses, kills the IMF agent stationed there.

 

Rebecca Ferguson: undercover MI6 agent Ilsa Faust.

Ethan escapes a torture chamber with the help of disavowed MI6 agent and Syndicate operative Ilsa Faust.

 

 

Alec Baldwin: CIA/IMF Director Alan Hunley

Back in Washington, D.C., CIA Director Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) testifies before a Senate committee charging that the IMF is destructive. Hunley succeeds in having the IMF disbanded and absorbed into the CIA.

Cut off from the IMF, Ethan follows his only lead: the man in glasses, later identified as former MI6 agent Solomon Lane.

Simon Pegg: tech guy on Ethan Hunt’s team.

Six months later, Ethan enlists former colleague Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg) to attend an opera in Vienna, predicting that an assassination attempt will be made on the Austrian Chancellor. Ethan and Benji stop two snipers,  and meet Ilsa who is also there to kill the Chancellor, but her loyalties are… complicated. (She’s sent by MI6 to infiltrate the  Syndicate.) Ethan and Ilsa escape the opera house together, believing they have saved the Chancellor, but he is killed by a car bomb, and Lane is still not found.

Ilsa convinces Ethan that she has to stay undercover and jumps out of the car, pretending that Ethan captured her but she got away, so that the Syndicate agents will pick her up and return her to Lane.

Benji stays with Ethan instead of reporting back to the CIA, despite knowing his action amounts to treason.

Ving Rhames: Ethan’s loyal friend and tech guy.

Ethan, blamed for the Chancellor’s death, is pursued by the CIA’s Special Activities Division. Former IMF teammate William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), who now works with the CIA, contacts Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames) to find Ethan before the CIA does. Luther tracks Ethan, Benji, and Ilsa to Casablanca, where they acquire a secret file from a secure building. Ethan drowns during the mission, but Ilsa rescues him and uses a heart defibrillator to resuscitate him. Ilsa then flees with the data, evading both Ethan and Syndicate members, although Ethan kills the pursuing agents.

Benji reveals he copied the data onto a second USB drive, as Luther and Brandt catch up to them.

Ilsa returns to London and attempts to use the file to quit her mission to infiltrate the Syndicate, but her MI6 handler, Atlee, compels her to continue, whilst discreetly wiping her drive. Meanwhile, Ethan learns that the data is an encrypted British government red box that requires the Prime Minister’s biometrics to unlock.

Lane’s henchmen abduct Benji , and use him to blackmail Ethan into decrypting the data and delivering it to them. Ethan agrees to the ultimatum.

As part of Ethan ‘s plan, Brandt reveals their location to CIA Director Hunley. During a charity auction Hunley, Brandt, and Atlee (Ilsa’s handler) take the British PM to a secure room to protect him from Ethan. Brandt has the PM confirm the existence of the Syndicate, a project proposed by Atlee to perform missions without oversight. After the PM reveals the origin of the Syndicate to CIA Director Hunley, Atlee reveals himself as Ethan in a mask.

When the real Atlee arrives, Ethan forces him to admit that he continued with the plans to create the Syndicate without permission and that he has been covering up its existence after Lane hijacked the project and went rogue, turning the Syndicate against him and MI6.

With the PM’s biometrics, Luther discovers the file contains access to £2.4 billion in various bank accounts, which would allow the Syndicate to continue their operations unnoticed; Ethan promptly destroys the data.

Ethan meets Benji and Ilsa at an outdoor restaurant. Benji reveals that he’s wearing a suicide bomb and has an earphone so he can deliver the message from Lane.

Ethan tells Lane he destroyed the drive and memorized the data and offers himself in exchange for Benji and Ilsa. Lane is forced to deactivate the bomb and let Benji go. Ethan and Ilsa are chased through the streets of London by Lane’s men. Eventually Ethan is wounded and chased by Lane. He lures Lane into a sealed glass cell where he is gassed unconscious and taken into custody.

Hunley, having witnessed an IMF operation’s success firsthand, returns with Brandt to the Senate committee and convinces them to restore the IMF by covering for Ethan and his team. After the meeting, Brandt congratulates Hunley, who is now the new IMF Secretary.

Related:

Movie Review — Mission Impossible: Fallout

Why Hawkeye, I mean Jeremy Renner, isn’t in MI: Fallout

Character Relations Map for Mission Impossible: Fallout

Tom Cruise Breaks Ankle in MI:Fallout Stunt, Keeps Filming