Ring in the New Year With Harry and Sally

when harry met sally is a perfect news years even film
Harry, meeting Sally again, just in time. Darn it, there’s something in my eye. 😉

I know there’s more than one movie associated with New Year’s Eve than When Harry Met Sally, but at the moment I can’t think of anything better. And on a re-watch, it still stands up beautifully through time. Ever meet someone you can’t stand at one point in your life, but grow on you through time? That’s kind of the lovely premise at work between Harry and Sally.

It happens with movies too. All the time, especially in the business of RunPee (we’ve seen around 1500 movies over the last ten years): I’ll see something I wasn’t impressed with, then it will come around my radar later, and I’ll be surprised at how good that film really is. Sometimes it’s something nuts, like Monty Python’s Holy Grail (once I memorized the lines, things took on a whole new world of fun), or something with action or sci-fi (like Pacific Rim or Independence Day). [pullquote]Sometimes I’m too young to appreciate a great movie, like I finally noticed on this year’s rewatch of Jaws and Rocky. If you haven’t seen those in a while, give them another watch.[/pullquote] There are moments in each that are pure gold, never completely replicated since.

But it’s New Year’s Eve, so back to Harry & Sally. They took most of a lifetime to become ready for each other.  Their enmity was almost instant as they left college to begin their adult lives. [pullquote position=”right”]They kept bumping into each other, with a visceral reaction every time. That should have told them something right there. Even bad chemistry is chemistry.[/pullquote] Eventually they worked it into friendship, then screwed that up because the timing with people is rarely right, and finally we’ve got the scene at the very end with Harry tearing across New York City to be there for his obvious life partner before the clock hits midnight.

I always tear up a bit at the end. Those crazy kids. I love the bookend ‘interviews’ with the couples. It’s a sweet little film.

If you’re not heading out on the town to drink and dance (and hopefully not drive), consider sticking When Harry Met Sally back in the DVD player.

We’re running a poll on Best New Year’s Eve movies on Twitter right now. Get your vote in this week, or wait to see how the results turn out. And to you and your family, have a safe and joyous New Year! Auld Lang Syne — whatever that means. Sally tells us it’s something about old friends. Awwwww.

Movie Rewatch — Jaws

A Novice Rocky Review

Best Non-Christmas Christmas Movies

Movie Rewatch Review – Jurassic Park III

I finally  made the effort to rewatch Jurassic Park III – something always came up to distract me, and I’m easily distracted if I don’t want to see the movie in question. But I’m glad I did it: the movie isn’t so bad once you’re aware of the retched parts.

It’s like rewatching Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I know Jar Jar and midiclorians are going to bother me. So I just ignore those things and enjoy what’s nice, like the Pod Race, or anything with Qui-Gon Jinn, and the Duel of the Fates lightsaber battle. Anyway. Back to Jurassic Park 3. (See — distracted even now.)

[pullquote]Jurassic Park 3 is an acceptable offering in the series, as long as one acknowledges the really annoying things[/pullquote], like Alan Grant’s little raptor daydream (“Alan”), and the constant yelling the humans do on Isla Sorna. Way to hide from mega predators, guys. Sheesh. They all yell, except Grant (who knows better but no one listens to him). Tea Leoni is the worst, and I feel bad that she had this terribly scripted character to work with. She’s a decent actress, normally. But her presence in this movie marks the series’ nadir…at least she didn’t come to the island in high heels (Hi there, Bryce Dallas Howard).

One thing I totally forgot in JP3 is that this all takes place on Isla Sorna. I thought it was another excursion on Isla Nublar. So this isn’t the T-Rex from the first film: it’s one of the three from The Lost World. I’ll go out on a limb and say it’s the juvenile T-Rex, all grown up, who got a taste for human flesh from that dumb villain (who’s name I can’t be bothered with), the one who ran InGen — remember, he was hobbled by the San Diego T-Rex to teach her baby how to hunt.

In any case, this T-Rex, as usual for EVERY Jurassic film, saves the humans by fighting another threat. Seriously. Watch every film in the 5 we have so far, and notice how Rexie saves the day. In this case, she/he fights the Spinosaurus, and dies, which is sad. I like the T-Rexes. They act more like animals than monsters, which is another “bone” (haha) I have to pick with this series. What makes an animal aggressive?

Several things. Hunger. The desire to protect resources/territory or fend off invaders. Protection of their young. To fight potential rivals to their mates. And that’s really it.[pullquote position=”right”] If you aren’t a threat, and you leave sated large predators alone, they won’t hunt you. This isn’t Godzilla, after all.[/pullquote]

In the African Savannah, prey animals can freely walk by a sated lion. Said lion only needs to hunt a few times a week. I don’t know how much dinosaurs need to feed, but I’m going to say that a nice meal should be plenty for awhile for these types of barely warm-blooded species.

And speaking of the Spinosaurus, I don’t know who would win in a fight. They seem evenly matched to me. This video addresses the issue. (I’m Team T-Rex, BTW. He’s much smarter, despite the ridiculous arms.)

Something I did like from the film was the Carnosaurus cameo. While the humans were sticking their arms in gigantic steaming piles of poo, the Carnosaur, who looked ready to attack the humans, sniffs the Spinosaur scat and just…walks away. He knew better than to hang around the Spinosaur’s habitat. That was a nice touch.

What wasn’t good, besides all the yelling, was the satellite  phone. Holy hell. [pullquote]This phone can take being eaten, sitting in digestive fluids, and is workable on the other side of the gastric tube. Not to mention that the kid could hear it ringing while inside the Spinosaur. What kind of magical phone is this? I want one.[/pullquote] Also –they hear the phone jingle, but not the footstomps of this 9 ton predator? The movies established that we hear and FEEL the movements of the largest sauropods and theropods. This is yet another nit to not pick, to enjoy the film at all.

So, since this is Isla Sorna, and not the Isla Nublar from three of the five other films, we can assume that there are still dinosaurs on this island, even if (SPOILER) Isla Nublar exploded in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I think the Jurassic World films conveniently forgot about the second island. Things would have been simpler to remember Site B when Fallen Kingdom came around. Continuity can be fun!

What else is notable? It features yet another divorced couple who see each each other in a new light after running for their lives. It has the “dashing” Billy, who I suppose was intended to be a popular character. He’s like a really roughly sketched version of Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady from the Jurassic World films, and not a touch as good.

The ending had pterodactyls flying over the ocean, presumably to the mainland. So…we’ve seen this referenced in several of the films now. And it’s not until Jurassic World 2 that something comes of it. Continuity, people!

Alrighty. Good things from JP3, and there are surprisingly quite a few:

  • Some of the Velociraptors had feathers, which was a nice touch if you know that some of these Oviraptors went on to become birds.
  • Although the Spinosaurus followed the humans across the entire island like a rabid dog, it still acted like an animal and not Godzilla. (We can save that strange behavior for the engineered creatures in the Jurassic World films.)
  • The scene with the embryonic dino incubators was an homage to Aliens, especially with the raptor looking through the tube, giving everyone (and the audience) a well deserved scare.
  • The Hadrosaur running scene was a fun callback. (“They’re flocking this way!”)
  • The obligatory kid was smarter than any of the adults: he survived alone on the island for 8 weeks. He was almost better off not being saved. And how he acquired T-Rex urine? “Better off not knowing.” Heh. One can only imagine.
  • Alan Grant still doesn’t like Ian Malcolm. (“Did you read his book?” “It was kind of preachy.” And Grant sits back, satisfied. That moment kind of completes his arc. )
  • The raptors were smart enough to set a trap for the humans. The implications of this are disturbing, in a good way. (“Clever girl.”)
  • [pullquote position=”right”]The best scene, by far, was the set-piece in the misty and unstable Aviary. I still get chills from it. It has all the great atmosphere of the best scenes in this series, with a genuine sense of growing suspense, dread, and horror. [/pullquote]What an amazing scene. I appreciated that this was a leftover passage from the first Jurassic Park book, as was the ‘jungle cruise’ segment. It’s not a surprise that the better scenes were the ones originally penned by Michael Crichton.
  • They included a scene with some downtime: namely, the conversation in the water truck with Grant and Eric (the kid). All the better movies have these little scenes where the characters catch their breath, since it gives us, the audience, the chance to do so as well. Plucking at our adrenaline strings for two hours makes for an exhausting film experience.
  • The Astronomers vs Astronauts conversation reminded me of Angel’s (the vampire TV series) running conversation about Cavemen vs Spacemen. Probably not a real homage, but: cool.
  • There is one stirring, magical scene, when the little boat goes by a peaceful pasture of herbivorous sauropods co-existing. The familiar musical theme from John Williams swells, and we feel transported. I’m happy the film had that moment.
  • The odd juxtaposition of Barney the Purple Dinosaur on television, while Ellie’s toddler clutches the phone  — with people dying from actual dinosaurs.
  • Cool early use of a 3-D printer, making a raptor vocal organ. And nice callback  use of said organ later.
[pullquote position=”right”]Well, that’s a decent list of good things from a really poor movie. But I might be grading on a curve, since I love dinosaurs and the original Jurassic Park.[/pullquote] After seeing five of these films, I can safely say this one is the worst, but has definite watchable elements. It’s worth viewing for those, if you can ignore the stupidity of humans blundering and yelling about in the brush, ostensibly trying to hide from very large predators. The shouting goes on the entire movie, and only Grant never once gives in to the impulse. He’s not an idiot.

At least, not as completely an idiot. He should have kept to his instincts and not gone to Isla Sorna in the first place.

Movie Rewatch Grade: C

Here’s a fun look at JP3 by Honest Trailers – It’s kind of better than the actual film: 

RunPee’s Jurassic Movie Reviews: 

Jurassic Park – Movie Rewatch Review

Jurassic Park at Universal Studios: Ride Review

Jurassic Park: The Lost World – Movie Rewatch Review

Jurassic Park 3 – Movie Rewatch Attempt Number One

The Jurassic Park Movies Poll

Jurassic World Movie Review

Jurassic World Movie References

Movie Review: Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom, Missed Opportunities

Everything Wrong With the Jurassic Movies (All the You Tube videos in one place)

Movie Rewatch Attempt – Jurassic Park III

Known and reviled by most as the “worst Jurassic movie,” I sit here and wait for a for Jurassic Park III rewatch at the most dinosaur-themed brewpub I’ve ever seen, The Bronto Meadery in San Diego. Bronto Meadery is hosting a  viewing all four Jurassic movies before Fallen Kingdom weekend hits the US, drinking handcrafted mead, and enjoying dinogeek fellowship. (I recommend the Pure Bronto, if you get a chance to sample the mead.)

JP III is the one with the Spinosaurus and the telephone, if you forgot which one this is.

What’s good: Dr. Alan Grant is back, and so is Dr. Ellie Sattler. They do a  decent job. Nothing great, but they show up and try to act a little, more (Grant) or less (Sattler). Also good: the Aviary Scene, which is a callback passage from the first Michael Critchon novel that didn’t make it into the first movie. Also, the kid in this one isn’t annoying — a definite plus.

What’s terrible: Tea Leone. Her character screams and squeals her way across Isla Nublar, attracting every predator in range, warm blooded or cold. I have a hard time getting past that. These guys should have died in the first ten minutes. And the director should have made the Grant character smack her upside the head.

What else it lacked? Any sense of magic, or wonder, or fun. This is the movie that killed the franchise for a long, long time.

The Bronto Brew didn’t manage to get the movie up and playing, so I had to write this short blurb based on some old memories. I downloaded the film and will watch it as soon as I can, and post a legit rewatch soon. In the meantime, tell me what you thought of the (now) 5 Jurassic films, and which ones stood out in a good or bad way.

Movie Grade: C-

 

More on RunPee.com: 

The Real, Complete Re-Watch Review for Jurassic Park III (with fun bonus videos)

Review of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Missed

Or click here to read everything we’ve written about the Jurassic movies. RunPee loves science. Even bad science, because it’s fun to pick those apart.

Movie Rewatch: Jurassic Park – The Lost World

While enjoying a lovely pint of hand crafted mead at the San Diego Bronto Brew Meadery, I got to view a free social rewatch of the entire Jurassic oeuvre. With Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom opening in the US this week, that’s five fun movies. Or, well, some fun movies and one that sucked (Hi, JP III).

While it’s got it’s detractors, [pullquote]The Lost World is a decent film, the second best in the series. It has a real plot that’s explored organically, with good characterizations, and some intensely riveting dino action. [/pullquote]  Its main problem is that it can never be as tightly gripping or simply magical as the original. And it still has the goofy kid sequences that plague the franchise. But let’s talk about what we liked.

How about that RV scene? You know the one. Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, playing Jeff Goldblum), not quite as dead as supposed, talks about the running and the screaming to follow. He’s in that turbo-charged Tech RV ( I WANT ONE) that a T-Rex couple industriously push off the side of a cliff. The humans did, as humans do, something incredibly stupid with the baby T-Rex, and now the parents need to rid their territory of the pesky people, in the most dramatic way possible.

[pullquote position=”right”]The scene where Sarah lands on the RV window above the crashing coast is the singular iconic moment  in The Lost World.[/pullquote] Never mind that someone with her education makes every  mistake from the Megafauna 101 class…at that moment, we’re with her,  holding our collective breaths, as the glass cracks spider outward. Brrr. Good scene. Silly stuff aside (these guys can’t hold that wet, muddy rope in their bare hands, much less

climb it, but whatever), it’s a stirring sequence. When poor Toby from the West Wing dies horribly we wince, and then cheer when the previously antagonist hunters lends their literal hands to save our guys. It’s all the people against the dinosaurs from this point on. 

There are chases, there are deaths. The chicken-sized Compys strike back against an arrogant human, and our unfortunate paleontologist dies a nasty death, somewhere between a snake bite, a waterfall, and one big set of jaws.

Things go pretty good, story-wise, introducing the Raptor area (cool shots of humans being hunted in the tall grass)…and then things start getting wacky. The gymnastics scene is obviously nuts, but the worst offense of The Lost World are the scenes on the ship and in San Diego.

One:[pullquote] If the T-Rex is still contained in the cargo bay, how come the bridge crew was eaten? No matter how many times I watch this, I still don’t understand how we’re supposed to believe this happened.[/pullquote] There’s a hand gripping the steering wheel and no body…all while the large animal in question is contained. Below decks. Is there an invisible Raptor onboard?

There’s a scene showing how the T-Rex breaks out of containment after the ship crashes, and goes looking for drinking water (a pool) and food (poor doggy). I live in San Diego, and I don’t think they bothered to actually film down here. There’s some more unrealistic sequences of a hungry T-Rex “downtown” chasing trolleys, flinging cars, snacking on unfortunate people, and running after Tokyo businessmen (okay, the Godzilla nod was cute).

The climax scene, where the industrialist is used as a hunting lesson for the T-Rex Baby is…icky in its implications. I may not have liked the man, but no one deserves to be hobbled and eaten alive. It’s one of the things I don’t like about the Jurassic films: the deaths that people cheer at are just gristly. The assistant in Jurassic World 1 does NOTHING to deserve that horrific Ptherodont/Mosasaurus duo nightmare.  Did she have a villain scene left on the cutting room floor?

And Toby is split into two pieces in Lost World, while being a selfless hero. I guess I’m supposed to find it funny in Jurassic Park Classic when the “bloodsucking lawyer” gets chomped on the loo, but seriously, that’s some awful sh!t happening (no pun intended). I don’t know why that’s played for laughs.

I get it, people die when man meets beast. But I don’t feel good laughing about it. These films walk a thin line at times. But there I am again, talking about things I didn’t like. These movies are intended as a way to eat your popcorn and disengage the brain. These are movies where scientists are the heroes, and I very much appreciate that.

[pullquote]The things that are great: when the movies remember these creatures are animals, not monsters. [/pullquote]When we feel the magic of our youth stirred by seeing “real” dinosaurs, and interacting peaceably with them. When John William’s stirring score carries us along, and we are reminded there are wondrous things ahead of us. I hope we might be wise enough to see them come to pass. I hope we will be ready, because, as we know…life finds a way. 

———-

Note: I’m definitely impressed with how John Williams manages to recall the beauty of the first film in his soundtrack, while also setting The Lost World apart with the fanfare of an almost military theme. It doesn’t have the softly nostalgic notes of the first film, but it stirs the soul nevertheless. The man is a national treasure. Get the movie and soundtrack here: 

Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World 1 are playing for FREE at San Diego’s Dino-themed craft beverage Bronto Brew Meadery. Come for two more free nights of giant screen movies, under T-Rex skeletons and beside a giant nest of Brontosaurus eggs. FREE events! Friday and Saturday nights, June 22 and 23, on 9235 Trade Place, D, San Diego, CA 92126 (619) 796 – 3096

Movie Rewatch – The First Incredibles

This movie is really good! I hate using such an imprecise term, but I’m sitting here shocked at how good this animated superhero film is.

I’d seen Incredibles when it came out in 2004, and certainly liked it, but now, in 2018, I have a different mindset. Back then I had no idea how…well, GOOD superhero movies were going to get. [pullquote]Remember, 2004 was still a few years away from Iron Man and the start of the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe, which really defined and perfected the superhero experience. [/pullquote]I think back then, all we had were some Spiderman movies of various quality, some Batman movies that really didn’t age well, and early X-Men. And Fantastic Four. Which is a perfect segue to my next point.

It’s clear that the Incredibles are a remake/rebooted version of the Fantastic Four, which is interesting: Fantastic Four tried twice to make their series work, and both bombed terribly. I mean, they were simply awful. So who would think that tweaking it into an animated film would be  a good bet?

Well, the answer is Pixar, now owned by Disney. [pullquote position=”right”]Using the magic Pixar formula —  irreverent humor,  outstanding animation work, attention to character traits, well-known and respected actors for voices, and a real plot with actual jeopardy — Incredibles really showed it could be done. [/pullquote]

Incredibles is good enough to be a Marvel movie, quite frankly. It may as well be one, maybe in an alternate universe. You forget you’re watching cartoons about ten minutes into the film, which starts quite charmingly with an “old news reel” and a flashback to Mr. Incredible and ElastiGirl in their heyday.

The movie picks up at a place that would not seem too far from the X-Men Universe: all the supers have been relocated and retired by public demand, due to traumatic collateral damage done in the name of “helping mankind.” The Incredibles family has to hide their powers and try to live normal lives in suburbia. Mr. Incredible works in a dead end insurance job, and ElastiGirl is a stay at home mom. Their kids have to hide their superhero status as well, which chafes them to no end. How can you try to “be your best” when your best can never be tested? How can Mr. Incredible be “normal” when he breaks everything he touches, and has to be constantly vigilant against his own strength? We see him mourning for the good old days, and listens to police scanners at night with best friend FloZone (voiced by Samuel Jackson, clearly enjoying himself), sneaking out to do clandestine hero work.

These are mature themes, and shows why adults flocked to see Incredibles, and will flock again, in 2018, to see Incredibles 2.

I didn’t notice at the time, but in this rewatch, knowing there’s going to be a sequel out soon, I saw how clearly the film demanded a follow-up. When you watch it again, take note of how nothing has actually changed for this family. Well, except for Jack Jack, but we wont go into that here. Basically: at the end of their adventure, the family goes home and back to their “Witness Protection” style life. The supers are still not welcomed by the public, the government, or the world. It’s back to suburban hell. We don’t see that in the movie, because they ended the film on the high note of putting their masks on (which is more symbolic than useful, but just go with it). Their family unit maybe stronger than ever, but now the fun’s over and it’s time to put the leash back on.

So it does demand another film. How has the Incredible family unit been managing, back at mind numbing jobs and public school?  From the trailers it looks like (SPOILER ALERT)….scroll down or not…

 

 

 

Okay, from the trailers it looks like ElastiGirl is back on the job and in the public eye. Mr. Incredible has to be Mr. Mom. So maybe the supers are accepted again? Or is using ElastiGirl a way to slowly ease the public about reintroducing supers? I’ll go with the latter.

Anyway, the sequel looks pretty good, and I know it will pack the theaters, as we’re just not saturated with superhero movies. It’s pretty much a Golden Age for hero movies and we keep lapping them up and asking for more. I’m fine with that.

Incredibles is a fine film, with a lot of heart and humor, charming characterizations, surprisingly good chemistry in a voice-over medium — it’s just enjoyable on every level. The Big Bad is a bit annoying, but creating a great villain is a sticky point for almost every superhero film. You can just ignore whathisname, and get back to marveling at the amazing visuals and snappy banter/bickering.

I recommend seeing Incredibles again, before catching Incredibles 2, just to get back up to speed with these great characters and their family dynamics.

Movie Grade: A

Here’s a link to the blu-ray of the original Incredibles movie, and the logo tee shirt. I’ve seen entire families wearing this shirt, and not just for a family Halloween theme…places like Disneyland, so it’s easy to find each other, or on any family outing to show they are a family unit. It’s fun. 

MCU Movie Rewatch – Thor 2: The Dark World

I was surprised at how easy Thor 2 was to re-watch. I remember it as “the boring installment.” It’s still not exciting on the level of the top tier of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Avengers, Civil War, Black Panther and Thor’s own 3 – Ragnarok). Making myself even more clear, The Dark World is still a bottom-tier MCU movie…it’s just not as excruciating as I recall it being. It’s really pretty (with a sort of Lord of the Rings “lite” essence), there’s a a lot more plot and humor than I remembered, and the story hangs together pretty well.

So it’s worth watching for more than just pretty guys in capes! And if you are doing a re-watch to get ready for the Infinity Wars (part 1) coming up April 27th, 2018, The Dark World is kind of unmissable. Want to know where the Infinity Gems are? This one’s crucial. Making a guess that we’ll see The Collector again? Again, you have to catch this one. You’ll learn more about the Aether (the singular, non-solid Infinity Gem) than any other “stone” in the series.

Another thing that stood in hindsight: [pullquote position=”right”]at this point in the MCU the directors clearly haven’t figured out just how FUNNY Chris Hemsworth is.[/pullquote] All the humor goes to Loki and Darcy in The Dark World. Which is a pity — we get to see Hemsworth’s wonderful comedic timing in the ensemble pieces, one-shot webisodes, and Thor: Ragnarok. I wish they could go back in time (Dr. Strange could help out) and tweak Thor 1 and 2 for more comedic beats and a lighter tone.

Loki stands out here, as he does in any scene that he promptly steals. Eric Selvig put in a lovely turn (he got some of the funny as well), and this seems to be the last we see of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, or Darcy (or her intern).

I’ve heard Portman didn’t like working on Marvel films, so writing her out is probably for the best, and this frees up Thor to date Lady Sif, or Valkyrie, or perhaps Captain Marvel herself. Hey, why not even The Grandmaster, with whom, last we heard, is now bunking with Thor’s old housemate, Darryl.

What’s the takeaway for The Dark World? The Dark Elves aren’t important to the grand sweep of the Infinity Stone Saga. Jane and Darcy don’t matter. Erik still has a place on the science team (and here we find out he thinks better without his pants on). Loki both can and can’t be trusted. Thor Odinson has extremely dysfunctional family issues. And the Aether is (safely?) in the storerooms of The Collector. That’s it.

Skip this film if you’re in a hurry and you’ll be fine with that bit of info, unless you’re fascinated by the Infinity Stones/intrigued by the unusual form the Aether takes (which looks like a red “Obscurial”, a la Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them).