Category Archives: Happy Birthday

The first rule of Fight Club is: Stop quoting the same line over and over.

In case you missed it, Edward Norton celebrated his 43rd birthday this month!

You know what that means…

Jordan:
Most Popular – Fight Club (1999):
This may seem pretty obvious. When you think of Edward Norton, you think of Fight Club. And inevitably the rules of Fight Club. But it’s definitely still a cult classic. A lot of people know about it, but may have never seen it, or not for a long time. And there are lots of bigger blockbuster movies that Ed’s starred in that have made way more money: Red Dragon, The Incredible Hulk, The Bourne Legacy.
Not that I’m saying those are his most popular by any means. Just playing devil’s advocate.
Worst – Kingdom of Heaven (2005):
Edward Norton is a great actor. He shines even in bad movies. Seriously, google “kingdom of heaven edward norton” and it will all be articles praising his name. Even though the movie is super long and super boring.
Most Underrated – Keeping the Faith (2000):
Keeping the Faith is the type of movie you watch when TBS shows it on a Saturday afternoon. I’m sure that’s how I saw it the first time. And then probably the next ten times. I love this movie. It deals with love, friendship, faith, temptation in a funny and relatable manner. Plus, it sounds like the beginning of a corny joke: So a priest and a rabbi are in love with the same girl…

Kurtis:
Most Popular – Fight Club (1999):
It was between this and American History X but Fight Club has the much broader recognition. Fight Club was basically an instant classic and really cemented Norton’s place in our generation as an exceptional actor. It’s amazing to look at his filmography and see so many great films/roles and nooooot that many duds. David Fincher’s adaptation of this novel is a dark comedy with plenty of social commentary to spare. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton are both perfect in this movie and it’s absolutely worthy of its 96% user rating on RT.
Worst – Down in the Valley (2006):
Honestly, it was hard to choose a worst for Edward Norton because he’s really good about selecting quality roles, there’s just not that much “bad” to choose from. Down in the Valley was a bit of a miss for me though. It’s got an intriguing enough premise, but the second half gets really jumbled and loses steam. Edward Norton plays a mysterious drifter who falls in love with 18-year-old Evan Rachel Wood. Eventually she starts to see Harlan (Norton) for what he really is. This indie film could’ve been so much better.
Most Underrated – Keeping the Faith (2000):
Both directed by and starring Edward Norton, Keeping the Faith is one of the most underrated comedies of Ben Stiller and Edward Norton’s careers. Stiller, playing a rabbi, and Norton, playing a priest, both fall in love with the same girl they knew when they were in grade school. Norton blends the themes of friendship, love and faith seamlessly as a director and shines in his role as an actor. It’s light, upbeat and straightforward; a kind of film that is seriously lacking in our modern comedies.

Morgan:
Most Popular – Fight Club (1999):
This 100% goes to Fight Club. In fact, Fight Club is probably one of the most popular movies ever. It’s so quotable and a cult classic for our generation.
Worst – The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014):
Maybe it’s just because I dislike Wes Anderson movies in general, but Norton was just eh for me. He wasn’t bad, because he never is. But definitely my least fave.
Most Underrated  – The Illusionist (2006):
This movie was okay for me. I think it’s Ed’s most underrated though because it was so overshadowed by The Prestige. They came out the same year and have similar plot lines. I love The Prestige and for that reason I never had a reason or wanted to see The Illusionist. But when I finally did, it was better than I assumed it would be.

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If you build it, he will blog.

Baseball. America’s Pastime. There’s something about the sport that lends itself to great stories. Perhaps it’s the great, deep history of the game or maybe that it’s often a child’s first love that stays with them into adulthood or possibly it’s just coincidence. The one thing that’s undeniable is that there are a ton of great baseball movies. Seeing as it’s summer, a few months into the season, and the release of Million Dollar Arm, we thought it would be fun to rank some of our favorite baseball movies ever made. Once you’re done reading, let us know how we did!

Kurtis:
3. The Sandlot (1993)
The Sandlot is the ultimate childhood baseball movie. It’s about the adventure of boys growing up; true camaraderie and the love of the baseball. While the critics may have largely disliked the film, I think they miss part of the point, it’s a movie that let’s kids simply be kids and makes everyone that watches it want to grab a ball and mitt and head to the neighborhood park for a pickup game. Plus, is there any movie more quotable than this one, that’s gotta count for something.

2. A League Of Their Own (1992)
Most of the lists around the web focusing in baseball movies don’t usually list this one anywhere near the top 5, but for all of its sentimentality, A League Of Their Own stands alone as one of the few great movies to center around female athletes, and there’s a lot to be said for that. The performances throughout this film are incredibly solid, and the writing is both funny and emotional. League is definitely a classic, a fantastic baseball story of female baseball players bringing hope and joy during a dark point in our nation’s history, WWII.

1. The Natural (1984)
Robert Redford and Robert Duvall star in the quintessential sports movie. It has everything you want in a sports film without being too cheesy. The unknown player comes out of nowhere in his 30s and in the face of opposition becomes the greatest hitter in the game. And everyone loves an underdog! The Natural is the perfect ode to America’s past time, full of heart wrenching pain and triumphant joy.

Honorable Mention – Eight Men Out (1988)
This all-star cast (John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Charlie Sheen and others) explores the dark side of sports. While it doesn’t feature the feel-good story line as many of our favorite baseball movies, the performances here are just too irresistible. It’s actually kind of refreshing to see a sports movie that acknowledges that it’s not all fun and games.

BONUS: Alright, I’m sorry to write a ranking of baseball movies and not feature Bull Durham. It would be number 5 on my list, which may seem like blasphemy to some. Bull Durham is great, and one of the greatest sports films ever, but not in my top 3, I just felt wrong not mentioning it.

Jordan:
3. Fever Pitch (2005)
I know I’ve already written about this for Valentine’s Day, but it’s such a sweet movie. I’ll just leave you with this quote on the importance of baseball:
“…the Red Sox never let you down. …they haven’t won a World Series in a century or so? So what? They’re here. Every April, they’re here… Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don’t get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that’s here for you.”

2. Major League (1989)
I’ve seen this movie too many times to count. The Cleveland Indians are the worst team in the league and they will try anything, so that ownership won’t move the franchise to Miami. They find the craziest ragtag group of players and hilarity ensues. Plus, any baseball movie with is better with Bob Uecker.

1. A League of Their Own (1992)
No other choice for my Number One. A historical film with humor, baseball, women being awesome, and Tom Hanks peeing for a whole minute. I wanted to be Geena Davis when I grew up because of this movie.

Honorable Mention – A Kid in King Arthur’s Court (1995)
Sure, my real answer is probably The Sandlot or 42. But I’m going way out in left field on this one. Calvin Fuller is a high school baseball player who gets magically transported through the dugout to King Arthur’s court. It’s a classic.

Morgan:
3. Moneyball (2011)
This film is great because honestly, who doesn’t love an underdog? This was also a huge role for Jonah Hill, which he played marvelously.

2. Field of Dreams (1989)
I don’t think this one need much explanation. “If you build it, he will come.”

1. The Sandlot (1993):
Okay so this probably isn’t the best baseball movie of all time, but I don’t care. It’s my number one because it’s funny, fun to quote, and is an all around great story about some cute kids. This movie almost defines nostalgia. Plus, James Earl Jones.

Honorable Mention –  The Rookie
Mostly because it reminds me of my childhood. And I like Dennis Quaid.

What did we miss? What did we get right?

Tom Hottie. I mean, Hardy.

Morgan – Lawless (2012):
This week I decided to watch a Tom Hardy movie because it’s my birthday week and I think he’s a hottie. I chose Lawless since I’d never seen it, although Warrior is most definitely my favorite of his. Lawless is the story of three brothers during prohibition who make and sell moonshine as a means to get by. Their business gets interrupted by the new deputy and other authorities which, of course, means blood and violence. A LOT of it. It was brutal and had me cringing and looking away for minutes at a time. However, it was a really great film and I enjoyed it a lot. Tom Hardy was a gem, and I even liked Shia LaBeouf’s performance as the youngest Bondurant. Guy Pearce looked freaky, but did it well, and Gary Oldman was stellar, obviously. The only thing that threw me off was LaBeouf’s love interest. Not the the fact that he had one, but why it was her. That sounds really mean, but I’m #notsorry.
Bottom Line: I love Tom Hardy and he was the only reason I saw this movie and I ended up really liking it.
Rating: 4/5

Kurtis – Inception (2010):
For me, Inception didn’t quite live up to the hype. I mean we had Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio, a slew of great supporting actors and a concept surrounding “the architecture of dreams.” This should have been one of the greatest movies of all times, atleast in my mind. Didn’t quite reach those levels, but still a really solid movie. Since this was Morgan’s birthday pick and she wanted to write about Tom Hardy, I’m going to shift my focus onto his performance. This was Hardy’s breakthrough role and we’re all the better for it. He’s quickly becoming one of the great actors of our time and I can see him becoming even more prominent in the near future. Hardy plays Eames who has the ability to project himself as any other person in the dream world. Now, while Hardy doesn’t do anything extremely noteworthy in his role, a solid performance in a key character role was enough to make him a household name.
Bottom Line: Inception propelled Tom Hardy to a household name and stands as a solid Nolan Flick.
Rating: 3.5/5

Jordan – The Dark Knight Rises (2012):
So I picked The Dark Knight Rises, because I’ve only seen three of Tom Hardy’s movies and I’m sure you can guess what the other two are.
My feelings are always conflicted because I will always think of the Aurora shooting. But regardless, the film itself is a good ending to the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Good but not great. It’s no The Dark Knight. The love interest for Batman made me yell at the screen. Bane’s speech is hard to understand (at no fault to Morgan’s love). However, it does make me want to read more comic books. My introduction to Bane was the 1997 classic Batman & Robin. So this was a whole new mythos for me.
Fun fact though I just learned is Tom Hardy gained 30 pounds for this role. That’s pretty insane for filming Warrior a year before.
Bottom Line: Tom Hardy is awesome, but he gets overshadowed by his mask. Next time I want to watch these as a marathon. Possibly while wearing Batman Pajamas.
Rating: 3.5/5

You’re either in or you’re blog. Right now.

Welcome to a special mid-week Trifecta!

What’s Trifecta, you say? Read this post. Or this post.

So without further ado, to celebrate his birthday today and his recent engagement, we’re looking at the most popular, the worst, and the most underrated films of GEORGE CLOONEY!

Kurtis:
Most Popular: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Ensemble movies are always a bit tricky when playing Trifecta. Sometimes a movie can become incredibly popular because of the cast itself and for some actors this obscures their filmography. For instance, Ocean’s Eleven might be Bernie Mac’s most popular movie because his other films never had the reach that Ocean’s did but you would never think of Ocean’s Eleven as a “Bernie Mac movie” because his role was smaller.
All that to say, I think the ensemble cast is the right pick here since George Clooney plays the title character (Danny Ocean) and is prominently featured. My runner up is O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Worst: The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)
Talk about a movie requiring a particular sense of humor. I love dry humor, but to enjoy TMWSAG your sense of humor’s gotta be Sahara-Desert-Dry.
Most Underrated: The Perfect Storm(2000)
Compelling story based on true events, incredible imagery and superb acting all around makes this a movie that more people should revisit and add to their home collections. While there was some definite buzz when this movie came out, not many people think of it anymore (especially as among the best movies of the early 2000s like it is). Seriously, revisit this one and I think you’ll be satisfied that you did.

Morgan:
Most Popular: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
There isn’t a person in the world who doesn’t think of Clooney when they think of the Oceans series.
Worst: Burn After Reading (2008)
I didn’t actually see this one, but from what I’ve heard it easily falls into this category.
Most Underrated: The Monuments Men (2014)
So, this isn’t Clooney’s best movie by any means, but it’s definitely a lot better than most people give it credit for. I think it gets a lot of flack for the flaws that it has, but it’s such a great story that you really can’t help but love it.

Jordan:
Most Popular: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
This is an obvious choice. Also, Wikipedia says Ocean’s Eleven is still his most successful movie.
Worst: Batman & Robin (1997), or Leatherheads (2008)
I would say that Batman & Robin is my official answer. I think most people would agree. But I remember seeing Leatherheads in high school, and it was TERRIBLE.
Most Underrated: The Monuments Men (2014)
Everything that Morgan said above. And double it.

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Noah. Bloggah.

We have wanted to review Noah since it was released last month, but it just couldn’t fit in our schedule. But as it ends up, this is the perfect time for it.

Noah (2014) | Trailer
Run Time: 138 minutes

Rated: PG-13 (For violence, disturbing images and brief suggestive content.)
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

Jordan:
Okay, so yes, there are inconsistencies with the Bible, but that always happens with any feature-length film interpretation of a short story (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Minority Report). And of course, Darren Aronofsky is a weird director, so visions from God look a lot like acid trips. But beyond that, I think that the film was fascinating and awesome. All the characters come to life. Each one has a personal turmoil to wrestle with during the film. Do they really believe that “the Creator would give us what [they] need”? Especially Emma Watson as Ila. You can see her intense struggle: what purpose could God have planned for a barren woman on the ark that is supposed to bring a new beginning to the world? The plot is a complete story, and it makes you want to see what’s going to happen next.
Bottom Line: Such an interesting film. Aronofsky knows how to tell stories in an oddly beautiful way. And for hesitant Christians, there is something here to discuss and learn, just like other popular Biblical films (The Passion of the Christ, The Ten Commandments).
Rating: 4/5

Bryson:
Noah is Darren Aronofsky’s bold retelling of the Bible story that so many of us have come to know. Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins, Noah is sure to stir some controversy. While it has plenty of the same elements that we have read in the Bible so many times, Aronofsky also fills in gaps with his own imagination. This is never more apparent than the second half of the movie when the story shifts to the ark. The problem that many may have with this movie is in its inaccuracies. The biggest problem doesn’t come from Aronofsky’s storytelling itself but they way he executes it. I often found myself bored, not totally impressed with his characters nor the effects, I even found myself underwhelmed at times. What I do applaud Aronofsky for is how he portrays man’s struggle with sin. It is told in such a raw and believable way that so many other films have tried but failed to show. Religious or irreligious, Aronofosky fan or not; Noah is worth a view and should’t be ignored.
Bottom line: Noah is ambitious and even incredible but I never was quite hooked. Maybe that comes from me not being a huge Aronofsky fan or maybe it’s because I spent so much time trying to wrap my head around rock monsters who speak English; but Noah never grabbed my attention. And I am ok with that.
Rating: 3.5/5

Kurtis:
With this being Easter weekend, we thought we’d bring you a biblical themed review and went ahead and watched Noah starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. For those of you who might not know, the story of Noah is pretty straight-forward; humankind ruins the goodness of creation and God (or in the film, The Creator) knows the only option is to start over by flooding the Earth (save for two of every animal and Noah’s family). But let’s get this right out there, this is a Darren Aronofsky film (The Fountain, Requiem For a Dream), it is no Sunday School retelling of a tamed fable but a film that showcases the dark realities of the biblical story. That being said, I thought it was fantastic. Aronofsky, while not holding strictly to the story laid out in the bible, captures the mood and themes of the story in a gritty, human way that is anchored by superb performances by the whole cast. Russell Crowe is the perfect Noah as he goes from strong, inspiring leader to crazed, ugly dictator amongst his family unit seamlessly and believably. Ray Winstone (Tubal-cain) doesn’t have a huge role in the film as far as screen time, but his performance as antagonist, a king unwilling to accept God’s threats of annihilation, was really great and Winstone definitely steals the show in his scenes. With a strong screenplay (except for maybe a 20 minute scene towards the end that didn’t quite do it for me) and great acting, the main course of this movie are the visuals. Aronofsky brings this story to life with immaculate aesthetics that are worth the price of admission alone… it’s a beautiful film. The scene that shows the story of creation as Noah narrates it to his family is the crown jewel of this movie and easily one of my new favorite scenes of any movie.
Bottom Line: Besides a 20 minute lull towards the end, Noah does not disappoint and lives up to the visual pleasures we’ve come to expect from Darren Aronofsky. As long as your not expecting a clean and neat children’s Bible story, you will definitely enjoy this film.
Rating: 4/5

AGGREGATE RATING: 3.8/5

Yippie-ki-yay, Trifecta!

Welcome to another round of Trifecta!

If you remember from last time, Trifecta is the hit game sweeping the nation where you have to choose one actor’s MOST POPULAR movie, WORST movie, and MOST UNDERRATED movie. This week to celebrate Bruce Willis‘s recent birthday, we took a look at his movies!

Jordan:
Most Popular: Die Hard (1988)
There could probably be an argument made for Pulp Fiction, but I don’t want to.
Worst: Hudson Hawk (1991)
This is basically based on the hilarious episode of How Did This Get Made I listened to about it.
Most Underrated: Mercury Rising (1998)
A nine-year-old finds a government secret in a magazine puzzle. What’s not to like?

Bryson:
Most Popular: Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard has to be his most popular, I mean, it was popular enough to make four more (and counting) after it.
Worst: The Whole Ten Yards (2004)
Outside of Die Hard and a few other good Bruce Willis films, I realized I haven’t seen much. So I went with what the critics thought was the worst.
Most Underrated: Looper (2012)
A lot of people love Looper and so did the critics. So it may not seem underrated. At the same time a lot of people overlook Bruce Willis in this film. It’s one of my favorites.

Morgan:
Most Popular: Die Hard series (1988 – 2013)
Because there’s like, six, or something. And because explosions.
Worst: Pulp Fiction (1994)
This may be slightly biased because I really just don’t like this movie.
Most Underrated: Looper (2012)
I thought this movie was rad, but I feel like not many people agree with me.

Kurtis:
Most Popular: Die Hard (1988)
I mean, how could it not be. John McClane is easily Bruce Willis’ defining role and there aren’t many other action films that are as well known as Die Hard (especially with the help of its many sequels). Die Hard also has Alan Rickman and the dad from Family Matters, so it’s pretty unforgettable. For me, The Sixth Sense would be a distant second choice for most popular.
Worst: Surrogates (2009)
There aren’t many dark spots in the filmography of Bruce Willis but the bad ones, are reallllly bad. Topping the list of Willis’ worst movies, for me, is Surrogates. The reason this is the worst of the worst is that it had the most potential to be great. The premise of humans living alone and interacting through robotic surrogates that can be the perfect versions of ourselves is genius and could speak to the way we use social media to project a certain identity. Unfortunately, this movie passes on the opportunity to make a high concept statement in exchange for complete drudgery. This one is just laughable. Sigh.
Most Underrated: Hudson Hawk (1991)
This was my hardest decision for Bruce, as there are so many great films that didn’t get their due. The other movies I was deciding between were; Mercury Rising, Unbreakable, and 16 Blocks. Ultimately though, I had to go with Hudson Hawk because it’s the anti-Bruce Willis movie and it is really, really great. This slapstick heist movie boasts a paltry 24% on Rotten Tomatoes but proves to be an original, infectiously fun, and well-written movie that still holds up. The critics definitely got this one wrong. Go watch it now!

[Side note: When I asked Kurtis if it was weird that he wrote more than everyone else, he just replied, “Oh well, everyone will just know that I’m the best.” And I couldn’t disagree.]

And in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good blog!

Today is Jim Carrey’s 52nd birthday!

And to celebrate his incredible career, I’m happy to introduce to you a game we call “Trifecta.” I (Kurtis) invented this game with some friends from work (shout out to Goldman and Zach) to help pass the time, and it has become a great conversation tool amongst my friends.

The premise is simple, if you’re challenged to a trifecta you need to come up with the actress/actor’s Most Popular film, their Worst film and their Most Underrated film. It’s important to note the huge difference between Most Popular and BEST film. For example, you might think Vince Vaughn’s best movie is Fred Claus (it’s not, but you might think that) but his most popular film is probably Wedding Crashers (it’s the movie you think of when someone mentions his name).

Alright, without further ado… Jim Carrey: Trifecta.

Kurtis:
Most Popular: Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Hopefully it’s not my love of this movie clouding my judgement, but I think this is the movie you think of when you hear “Jim Carrey.”
Worst: Me, Myself and Irene (2000)
God-Awful. It’s possible that his newer films (“Yes, Man”, “Mr. Popper’s Penguins, etc.) could be worse, I just wanted to go with something I’ve actually seen, and this one I hate.
Most Underrated: Man on the Moon (1999)

Bryson:
Most Popular: Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Everybody quotes it, loves it, and laughs at it. It’s hilarious and his most popular.
Worst: The Number 23 (2007) or Yes Man (2008)
Thanks to my lack of knowledge in the field of Jim Carrey (up until this past week) this one was pretty tough. I say The Number 23 only because it is his worst rated film from critics. If you think that is unfair to him because I haven’t seen it, well, out of the ones I have seen I’d have to go with Yes Man.
Most Underrated: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Now this is isn’t a movie that is underrated with critics but rather the public instead. Up until these past few weeks I never heard anyone really talk about or if they did it was just a short mention. I finally just saw it a week ago and I have to say that more people should be talking about it; it’s great.

Jordan:
Most Popular: The Truman Show (1998)
I’m probably wrong since everyone chose Dumb and Dumber. I just think The Truman Show is loved by a wider range of people, even if it’s isn’t loved as deeply.
Worst: The Number 23 (2007)
Just a weird movie.
Most Underrated: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
This is my favorite Christmas movie, so I might just be harboring wounds from the holidays. It’s always overshadowed by the original cartoon, which is ridiculous. Jim Carrey makes this movie a classic. [Morgan loves it, too.]

Morgan:
Most Popular: Dumb and Dumber (1994)
I can quote this movie, and I haven’t even seen it. (I know, sue me.)
Worst: A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Really unfortunate, because I wanted this to be good. Carrey wasn’t terrible, but the movie itself was too ambitious.
Most Underrated: The Truman Show (1998)
Unpopular opinion? Maybe. Do I care? Nope.