By Dan Skip Allen
The '80s and '90s were full of campy comic book movies. Filmmakers and studios still hadn't figured out how to make great comic book movies yet. Yes, there was the occasional Batman, The Crow, or Blade to speak of, but mostly these films were overcooked with campiness and colors or just plain darkness and shadows. They overcompensated on the actual comics themselves.
Dick Tracy is meant to be a campy, colorful movie. It's based on the comic strip of the same name and later animated TV show. It's full of colorful characters like Big Boy Caprice (Al Pacino), Mumbles (Dustin Hoffman), Flattop (William Forsythe), Lips Manlis (Paul Sorvino), Prune Face, and The Brow. The streets and buildings are also very colorful and fit this movie. Even though it's set in a world full of gangsters and guns in the 1950s, it is all a big exaggeration. It's not meant to be taken too seriously. All of this adds to the overall feel of this campy comic strip turned big-budget summer blockbuster.
Warren Beatty has made a big name for himself over the decades. He's been nominated for Oscars and won one for directing Reds. He dabbled a bit in this genre before with Bonnie & Clyde in 1967. So he was right at home starring and directing in the period piece based on the famous comic strip of the same name. He is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the cast goes. He assembled an all-star cast that includes cameos by James Caan, Dick Van Dyke, Mandy Patinkin, Charles Durning, and Michael Pollard. This entire cast is terrific in the film. It's really cool to pick out all these great actors from scene to scene.
Madonna, of course, is not only known as one of the greatest pop singers of her generation but of all time. She is in a long line of singers-turned-actors over the decades. She might have been perfectly cast though as Breathless Mahoney. She has an aloof nature to her character. She's a woman who has a dark side to her. She the classic femme fatale we have seen in plenty of Hollywood films in the past — the perfect character for this kind of film. Dick is a man torn between his job and the lady he loves, but Breathless doesn't make his life any easier with her advances on him. She's dressed beautifully as well. Along with all the other actors in the film, her outfits were made by costumer Milena Canonero. Madonna also performed the original song "Sooner or Later" that won William Sondheim an Oscar for Best Original Song. He did all the musical numbers in the film.
Even though the sets and costumes are all colorful and bright, it doesn't mean the story is all light and fluffy. It's not! It's like plenty of gangster films before. It has a great script helped by the creator of the comic strip Chester Could, Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. There is a lot of violence, explosions, and death in the film. It has a classic film noir nature to it. The story had some great twists and turns in it. Everything is in place to make a fun summer blockbuster. And that's what Dick Tracy was.
There were so many great pieces that came together to make Dick Tracy a memorable film. Even thirty years later it still stands up. The time it came out has nothing on the time it was set. Warren Beatty put all the pieces together to go back in time to this fictional world set in reality. WB knew what they had and ran with it. The acting and everything else was terrific. This film really played homage to the classic comic strip and to the movie of the time it came in 1990. I still love this film thirty years later.
By Dan Skip Allen
Mel Gibson made his name in the 1980s with mainstream hits like the Lethal Weapon franchise and the Mad Max films. In the 1990s, he made the greatest film of his career when he chose to direct and star in Braveheart. Braveheart came out in 1995 and won Gibson his first and second Academy Awards for Best Picture and Director respectively. He would never reach such heights as a filmmaker or actor ever again. He would be ostracized from Hollywood after a drunken tirade, but would later be accepted again when he directed the WWII epic Hacksaw Ridge, albeit not to the same level.
William Wallace (Mel Gibson) sees that his father and brother have died when they don't come home from war with England. After their funeral, his uncle Argyle Wallace (Brian Cox) comes to take him away from his home in the Scottish hills. Later he comes back home to be a farmer and ends up rekindling a friendship he had when he was a kid with a beautiful young woman, Murron (Catherine McCormack). This ends up getting him into a scuffle with English soldiers, which starts off a new war with England and King Edward I. William Wallace would end up becoming the leader of a Scottish revolution on the English rulers. This war would be a bloody violent war, and Gibson didn't hold back on the blood and gore in this epic.
Historical movies can be sentimental, but inspiring. They usually have some good performances such as Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, Russell Crowe in Gladiator, and Ben Kingsley in Gandhi. Rarely do you see a director/actor combination such as Braveheart. Dances With Wolves and Unforgiven come to mind as two of the only other exceptions. Both won Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood the Academy Awards for their respective films. What elevates Braveheart to a different level is that it has a great performance from Mel Gibson that is arguably one of the greatest of all time. Famous quotes like "Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you'll live... at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take away our lives, but they'll never take our freedom," are truly iconic.
Along with the great performance from Mel Gibson, many other performances help rank this film among the greatest of all time. Sophie Marceau, Angus Macfadyen, Patrick McGoohan, James Cosmo, and Brendan Gleeson are all great. The epic battle scenes also make Braveheart one of the greatest war films as well as period piece films. There is not much CGI in Braveheart, but the beautiful hills of Scotland lend themselves to some breathtaking cinematography from Jon Toll.
As far as epics go, Braveheart is in the conversation as one of the greatest of all time. Spartacus, Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, and Gladiator are the ones I think of when great epics are brought up in conversation. Epics are like bigger than life films. Braveheart is the biggest of the big. It has a level that dwarfs almost every other film. Add in the great performance from Gibson and you have one for the ages. Remembering this film twenty-five years later brings back nostalgia on why it's such a great film. It stands the test of time. Even fifty or a hundred years from now, Braveheart will stand up as one of the greatest of all time.
By Dan Skip Allen
Coming off of Star Wars, George Lucas, had to do something out of this world with the sequel. He did that and more, introducing some new and interesting characters such as Lando Calrissian, Boba Fett, and Yoda helped make it very different. New music from John Williams proved he was one of the greats already. The huge twist at the end makes it one of the all-time great films. Forty years seems just like yesterday to me. Where has the time gone?
Star Wars was a passion for me as a kid and The Empire Strikes Back hit me as not many films have before or since. I owed all the toys at one point when I was very young. The thing is I never saw Star Wars in the theater. I saw it on HBO when I was 6 — the same age I saw The Empire Strikes Back in a theater. So this sequel had that much more relevance to me. It hit home for me much more that way. Seeing that twist for the first time was like getting a punch to the gut. I have had my share of issues with my father of the years. That moment was just unbelievable to me. How could the evilest guy in the galaxy be the hero's father? No way could happen, but it did.
One among many things I love about Star Wars is the seedy side of a galaxy far far away. And the Mos Eisley Cantina. It was like eye candy to me because of all the strange and exotic characters. I would later learn about these aliens from reading books about them. When those four crazy bounty hunters showed up in Empire, I felt the need to know more about them as well. Of course Boba Fett rose to be one of my favorite characters in the whole franchise. He had so much mystery about him back then. His story has since been expanded upon in years later.
Yoda was a very different character for me because he was this little green guy in a swamp. I was a huge fan of his early on, but as years have gone by I have had more respect for those training scenes. "Do or do not", and "That is why you fail" are some great quotes that I remember. He grew on me. Coaches and mentors don't always have to be your friend to prepare you for what you need to do in your life. They do need your respect in the end.
John Williams has been my favorite conductor ever since I was a little kid. I grew up watching him conduct the Boston Pops for many years. He created music for Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and of course Star Wars. He had to do something great for Empire to live up to those other three films. He did just that with "Imperial March". I knew something bad was about to happen when that music came up. Usually escorting Dark Vader on screen. It was such menacing music. I can't recall any movie villain having such great music to accompany them on screen.
In a film with so much darkness there is a glimmer of hope and happiness. Even though it happens on the ice planet of both. Han and Leia have a love-hate relationship when he's not being called a "scruffy-looking nerf herder" by her that is. The scene where she finally professes her love to him is one of the greatest scenes in movie history. "I love You, I know" is such a powerful moment in the film because Han is about to go into carbonite freezing. She doesn't know if he'll survive, or not. It was so emotional for me as a six-year-old watching it for the first time. I am still affected by it to this day.
Nothing affected me like that twist where Darth Vader says that he's Luke's father though. Me having such issues with my father made it very difficult for me to watch. I didn't want that for Luke and I don't think anyone watching did. It just says even bad guys can have children and have family issues just like me or anyone else for that matter. Luke just wasn't ready for that encounter yet. He paid the ultimate price when he lost his hand. That moment almost caused him to go to the dark side. As we've seen in future movies he did not.
The Empire Strikes Back touches on so many great topics. Love, hate, betrayal, and innocence lost are just a few of them. Everything about this film ups the game from its predecessor. That is almost inconceivable to me. Star Wars was so great but The Empire Strikes Back stands the test of time. Forty years later it holds up like no other film. The music and special effects are all first-rate as well. There are rarely any films that have the impact that this one does on society. Even though it's a sequel, it stands on its own as an achievement in filmmaking. I can't say enough how much this film means to me. Even forty years after I saw it for the first time.
By Dan Skip Allen
Ridley Scott admittedly has had his ups and downs in his career. The ups are starting the Alien franchise, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Black Hawk Down, and The Martian. The downs... they don't need to be mentioned, but lately, they are more prevalent than the ups. Arguably, Gladiator starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Harris, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed (in his last role), and Djimon Hounsou, is the greatest achievement in his career to date.
Gladiator came out twenty years ago at the turn of the century. It started a new trend of the summer event films. Now, all the big blockbusters plant their flags during the summer, trying to find that exact date to capitalize the most on all those summer dollars to be had. Gladiator was a very beloved film come awards season, especially for a summer film. Winning five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, cemented it as one of the greatest films of all time.
Russell Crowe's career had a great rise in the decade of the 1990s with roles in LA Confidential, Mystery Alaska, and The Insider. His career entered the stratosphere in the decade of the 2000s, though. The role of Maximus won him in an Academy Award in 2001 and launched him into superstardom. Maximus is the epitome of what it is to be a leader, fighter, and a ruler, but all that was taken away from him when Markus Aurelius and his family were slain in cold blood. After that, followed A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander, Cinderella Man, and American Gangster. His career is as varied as the roles he has chosen. Comedies, dramas, action films, and biopics litter his filmography, but Maximus in Gladiator will always be the role I will look back on as the best of his best.
Joaquin Phoenix has some small roles in a few films in the '90s, but it wasn't until he portrayed Commodus in Gladiator did his film career take off. He received an Academy Award nomination for this role. He played this character as a conniving backstabber and a sniveling weasel of a man. He was meant to be hated by the viewer, which made him that much more enjoyable to watch on the big screen. Roles in Walk the Line, Her, and The Master, would cement him as one of the best actors of his generation. Eventually, he would finally win his long sought after Academy Award in 2019 for his performance in Joker.
Gladiator stands the test of time because of its story which is basically a Shakespearean tale set in the era of the Roman Empire. Great performances by the entire cast thrust it into the discussion as one of the greatest films of all time. The visual effects, sound quality, and production design are some of the best in any film before or since. This film is like a throwback to the sword & sandal films of the past, such as Spartacus, Ben-Hur, and The Ten Commandments, all films that stood the test of time. Viewers could really get behind this epic film with this phenomenal story. This is arguably the best film of the 21st century. Twenty years later, it still stands up as one of the greatest films of all time.
By Dan Skip Allen
Jamal Malick is one question away from 20 million rupees. That's how Slumdog Millionaire gets started. The real question though is how did this nobody from the slums of Mumbai, India get into the hot seat on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? "I knew the answers," says Jamal while he's being interrogated by a Police Inspector (Irrfan Khan) and his assistant. But even they don't believe he has gotten as far as he's got. Of course, they think he's cheated! How could a telecommunicator like Jamal know so much?
Danny Boyle has been known as an eclectic director during his thirty-year career. He's done slacker films, horror films, and sci-fi films. It wasn't until Simon Beaufoy brought him the novel Q&A by Vikas Swarup that he would find and direct his magnum opus, the film that would bring him to acclaim the world around and Oscar gold. Slumdog Millionaire won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2009. Boyle would win his only best directing statue to date as well. He hasn't reached such heights since. Slumdog Millionaire will always be his perfect film.
This film deserved every award it got because it really did have everything a great movie needed to be successful. It has great acting from its stellar cast of Indian actors, starting with its two main stars Dev Patel and Freda Pinto. Of course, Irrfan Khan as the police inspector, Saurabh Shukl as his sergeant, and the legendary actor Anil Kapoor as Prem the host of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? stand out. The children's actors as Jamal, Salim, and Latika are all also superb as well. This cast shines all the way around.
The story in the film is one out of a fairytale. Two friends who turn on each other over a girl. Yes, this was written in the book, but it's almost too good to believe. How could this story be real? It's such a perfect story. I was just blown away after watching it for the time. I couldn't believe what I had just watched. I truly believed I had just seen an absolute masterpiece of a film. A film I would rarely if ever see again in my lifetime. I would be right because I haven't seen a film this great since.
One of the other great things about Slumdog Millionaire is its music and the overall feel of the film. It was filmed in and around the streets of Mumbai, the home of Bollywood, the Indian version of Hollywood. A lot of films from Bollywood have dance numbers and singalongs. Slumdog Millionaire is no different than those other Bollywood films, except the songs are intoxicating and easy to sing along with. They are very catchy. A. R. Rahman won two Oscars for the original music and the score of the film. "Jai Ho" was a worldwide phenomenon. Everyone was dancing and singing to it. I sure was! Music really can make or break a film and in this case, it made this film even better.
Irrfan Khan has quite the arc in the film as well. His character, the inspector thinks he's just trying to interrogate a young punk who he was told was cheating on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and he found something else entirely. He got to hear Jamal's story and why he was able to answer all those questions. That gave him a whole new outlook on this man and his story. He felt he had found a true underdog story in Jamal Malick. By the end of the film, he would be right. This is one of the greatest underdog stories ever put to film. Khan plays a big part in that after all.
Dev Patel and Freida Pinto were relative nobodies when this film first came out in 2008. When it was nominated and eventually won all those awards, they would become household names. They were associated with this Hollywood/Bollywood love story. People around the world couldn't get enough of these two. Since then, Dev Patel has had a bigger career in the movie industry, starring in Lion, The Newsroom, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films, The Wedding Guest, and so many more films and TV shows. Freda Pinto has been in a few things since Slumdog Millionaire, but she hasn't had quite the career of Dev Patel. She will always be remembered though for portraying Latika in Slumdog Millionaire.
As a slumdog myself, the same as Jamal and his friends, I could relate to this story quite a bit. I grew up with nothing my entire life. I had to work every day for what little I do have and it's not easy. Seeing this movie back in 2008 gave me the idea that maybe someday I could go on a show like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and win a bunch of money playing a game of trivia. Only in my dreams could I win or even be a contestant on such a great show. Maybe someday it'll actually happen.
By Dan Skip Allen
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is just a Vietnam veteran trying to get a hot meal when he is walking into a small Washington town. Little did he know that a small-town, Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) has other ideas of what kinds of people he wants in his town. He soon finds out the hard way that Rambo is more than he appears. He's not some washed-up old vet. He's a walking, talking weapon!
First Blood was the first movie I have ever seen starring Brian Dennett. Other than Stallone, he commands the screen in this film. He epitomized what it is to be a villain in a movie. Every time he said anything against Rambo, I just cringed because I knew he was messing with the wrong guy. The delousing sequence was quite brutal, to say the least. Teasle and his men just poked the wrong bear. Rambo fell back into his survival instincts. He escaped into the nearby forest and what we now know as the first and best action film was now on.
Dennehy's Teasle is a tough-nosed Sheriff, but even he is taken aback by how creative and resourceful Rambo is. If it weren't for Col. Troutman (Richard Crenna), he would already be dead. Troutman is the only man that can talk some sense into Rambo. These small-town cops have no clue how dangerous he really is and Troutman is their only hope. Rambo could turn this sleepy little town into a ghost town by the time he's finished with Teasle and his men. Set in the forests of Washington, First Blood has many beautiful scenes. The rain adds to the vibrant color of the film, accentuating the greens of the trees.
First Blood spawned an entire franchise, but none of the other films even came close to how original and thought-provoking the original is. Besides its own sequels, it helped create an entire genre. Films like Lethal Weapon, Predator, Terminator, Commando, and Die Hard all came out of the action genre that was created by First Blood. The thing is First Blood wasn't meant to be an action film that started an entire genre. It was just a piece about Vietnam vets being disrespected in our country instead of being taken care of. Schwarzenegger, Gibson, and Willis all made millions off of the back of Stallone. Stallone started with Rocky and he was thrust into stardom. He never expected First Blood to be his next big hit, much less that it would create one of the most popular genres in movie history.
A great hero needs a great villain and Dennehy was the perfect villain. He had a meanness to him rarely seen before or after. Most villains are cartoonish or over the top but Will Teasle had a real mean streak in him. He had a problem with vets or maybe he didn't like the war itself. Cameos from David Caruso and a supporting role from Jack Starret as Sgt. Galt add to the overall feel of the film. Ted Kotcheff made a great film with a great message that still stands up thirty-eight years later. Dennehy gives the performance of his career as this clueless sheriff. First Blood is the first and the best action movie ever!
By Dan Skip Allen
Baseball is America's favorite pastime, and it has been for many decades. But not until 1947 did the first black man play in the majors, and his name was Jackie Robinson. Robinson played his first game at Ebbets Field for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947, making history as the first black athlete to play Major League Baseball. One day every year, MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson Day in honor of this achievement. Every player in the MLB wears Jackie's number 42 as a way to pay tribute to this great player. There have been two movies about this legendary man. One is called The Jackie Robinson Story (which came out in 1950 and starred Robinson as himself), and the other is called 42 (a 2013 biopic starring Chadwick Boseman) in honor of his number.
Branch Rickey (played by Harrison Ford in 42 and Minor Watson in The Jackie Robinson Story) wanted to change the game by bringing in one of the negro league players. He chose Robinson because of his military service and his religious beliefs. He was a Methodist just like Rickey. These were qualities Rickey liked in Robinson, but of course, the way he played the game of baseball was also important. Rickey had one rule, though: Robinson couldn't fight back. He told Robinson that he knew people weren't going to like him being hired to play baseball. Living in the south in Sanford, Florida, Jackie had his fair share of problems with the people and the law.
Earning his spot with the Montreal Royals, Jackie proved all the doubters wrong and proved Rickey to be right all along. The Brooklyn Dodgers were the standard in baseball for many decades but it wasn't until they moved to Los Angeles that they began to stand on their own. They shared New York with the Yankees and Giants, but now they had a city all to their own. Robinson was able to shine even brighter than he ever did before. Sharing the field with the likes of Pee Wee Reese (played by Lucas Black in 42) and managed by Leo Durocher (portrayed by Christopher Meloni in 42) didn't necessarily make him a team favorite either... until he helped them win all the time, that is.
Besides Rickey, Robinson had a lot of support from his wife Rae Robinson (played by Ruby Dee in The Jackie Robinson Story and Nichole Baharie in 42). She is like his rock and so are his children. He is a good father and husband. A friendly writer Wendell Smith (Andre Holland in 42) has also come to his aid, writing friendly articles about the talented ballplayer. Robinson needs the support of his wife, children, Smith, and Rickey to become the great player he is destined to be. Robinson would become the NL Rookie of the Year in 1947, the NL MVP in 1949, and led the league in stolen bases in '47 & '49. He was also a six-time all-star from '49 to '54 and helped the Dodgers to 6 consecutive World Series, one of which they won (1955). He was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
Robinson contributed to the civil rights movement as well using the non-violent method he got from Rickey. He has become a man that young African-American boys and girls can look up to for decades to come. It was a no brainer the MLB honored him the way they did. The Jackie Robinson Story and 42 are both great examples of Jackie's story and the troubles he had to deal with on and off the field. Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk in 42), the Phillies Manager was the prime culprit when on the field. He was merciless with his racial slurs. Of course, Jackie proved him wrong with his play on the field. That has and always will be the answer to a loudmouth blowhard like Chapman.
Chadwick Boseman has made a career out of playing real-life people. He has played James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and Jackie Robinson. He seems right at home playing these legendary men. Boseman has a knack for getting to the human side of his characters. He makes people have empathy for him, which makes his performances that much more effective. He embodied what Jackie Robinson meant to the game of baseball.
Jackie Robinson once said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." Based on Robinson's life, people should look at their experiences and try to be better people. He went through a lot of adversity, and we can all learn from what he did, and hopefully, be able to make an impact of our own.
By Dan Skip Allen
As far as slacker comedies go, High Fidelity is one of the best ones. A cool soundtrack and a relatable story and characters make it a memorable film. Growing up and moving into adulthood in the nineties, I can see how this film has transcended time. Throw in the romantic angle, and you have a very entertaining film. John Cusack has made a niche for himself in these types of films, many of which stand the test of time. A great supporting cast also helps it stay relevant 20 years later. It's one of the best films of its kind.
Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is a record store owner in Chicago. He's trying not to grow up, but life keeps smacking him in the face. He has gone through many girlfriends and agonizes over each one for days on end. His current ex, Laura (Iben Hjejle), is the one he's brooding over right now, but of course, there is always a next (Lisa Bonet). His store workers Barry (Jack Black) and Dick (Todd Louiso) keep him sane even though they are quite odd and annoying at times. They won't quit or go away.
Rob's relationships are a huge part of the film. He breaks the fourth wall and explains why he loved them and how they broke up. He even lists them in order of most to least painful. He goes into all the details of his relationships, especially with Laura. If you didn't know any better you'd think it was written by Cameron Crowe. Nick Hornby channeled him if I do say so myself. Sarah (Lili Taylor), Charlie (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Penny (Noelle Carter) are other ex-girlfriends he obsesses over as well.
Nick Hornby has made a career for himself writing a mix of dramas like An Education, About a Boy, and Brooklyn, and romantic comedies like Fever Pitch and Juliet, Naked. The tip of the iceberg for him is High Fidelity. He captures this world of a record store owner pining over all of these women. The dialogue is so spot on. The relationships seem so vividly real. Add in the direction and editing and you have a great film that stands the test of time. It seems like this story could take place in any decade but it does fit into the middle of the '90s and 2000's perfectly.
Along with the great cast already mentioned, cameos by Bruce Springsteen and Sarah Gilbert all help add depth to the story. The film is about Rob finding himself and why he needs to figure his life out. Laura wants to get away from him but they keep finding ways to get into each other's orbit. This is not healthy for him. All she wants to do is leave him and his drama alone. It doesn't help that she's sacked up with their upstairs neighbor Ian (Tim Robbins). Even his sister keeps telling him to leave her alone.
High Fidelity is an entertaining film that has a lot to say about relationships in the windy city and the pain and suffering a man can put himself through thinking about his past loves and losses. Each time he sees one of them he gets worse and worse. Using a film line, Rob can't find a way to edit it all out of his life. That's what's driving him mad. He always wants the answers. I can say from living life as long as I have that you're never going to get the answers you're looking for. It's easier to just keep getting up and about and doing your thing day after day. Eventually, you'll forget about the painful days. Women are a dime a dozen. They come and they go. There will always be another one right around the corner.
By Dan Skip Allen
The romantic comedy is a genre that is going the way of the dodo bird. We rarely get a great romantic comedy anymore. There are occasional films such as The Big Sick, Bridesmaids, and (500) Days of Summer that impress every so often. It is not like in the '90s though, when a lot of very good, if not great, romantic comedies came out. My Best Friend's Wedding, Notting Hill, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and There's Something About Mary are among the best the genre has to offer. That said, arguably the best of the '90s, and maybe even the best ever is Pretty Woman starring Richard Gere & Julia Roberts and directed by Garry Marshall.
Edward (Richard Gere) is driving around L.A. trying to find Beverly Hills. He stops to ask for directions from a couple of prostitutes on the street and Vivian (Julia Roberts) saunters on over to him. Edward gets her to come for a ride with him around L.A. and then convinces her to come up to his nice fancy hotel with him, but once she's there, he doesn't know what to do with her. The penthouse suite is a little much for her. They start off the night with a little champagne and strawberries.
Julia Roberts broke out in the '80s with Mystic Pizza and Steel Magnolia soon after that, but her biggest hit was Pretty Woman. Does this story of a down-and-out prostitute who was swept off of her feet by a rich businessman sound familiar? It's essentially the story of Cinderella: a poor house girl who gets to go to a ball and meet a prince. Edward is the Prince in this story. Pretty Woman is Garry Marshall's version of that magical tale.
Richard Gere broke out in 1980 with his steamy film American Gigolo. Ironically he portrays a male prostitute in that film. An Officer and a Gentleman came out soon afterward and launched him into the stratosphere. That said, Pretty Woman would become the film he is most known for. He has a reputation for playing a ladies man. He is by all extents and purposes a good looking man. He plays that role perfectly in numerous films. Richard has this quality about himself that makes him perfect casting for these types of roles.
Pretty Woman is a film that hits me in the feels every time, even 30 years later. It has an everyman quality to it. It's a story that everyone can believe in. Along with the two stars, this film has some fantastic co-stars including Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, and the standout, Hector Elizondo. They all play their part in this wonderful feel-good story.
There is a beauty and simple feeling to this film that I just love. It makes me feel like a person who has nothing might be able to find true love accidentally like this. Nobody wants to be poor and struggle every day like Vivian, and sometimes a Prince Charming like Edward can swoop in and sweep a girl off of her feet. It truly is a Cinderella story. I guess I'm a softy at heart because I still believe in love. Maybe the rich guy can learn something from the poor girl and vice versa. Pretty Woman is an iconic film that will live on and on.
By Dan Skip Allen
Disney made a name for itself when they bought Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm over the past 20 years. However, before that, they pioneered animation and created classic film after classic animated film. While all this was going on, they continued making inspiring sports films. Miracle is on another level though — It's the true story of the historic miracle on ice from Feb 22nd, 1980 at the Winter Olympics. This is arguably one of the best sports stories ever put to film.
Kurt Russell portrays Herb Brooks, three-time coach of the National Champion Minnesota Golden Gophers. He is tasked with defeating the Soviet Union team at the 1980 Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York. Before that, he has to form a team that can compete with the best in the world. "I'm not looking for the best players. I'm looking for the right ones," is the Herb Brooks mantra. Russell really captures the toughness of Brooks in his portrayal. This is one of the best performances of his career.
He chooses a team of collegiate stars, not yet seasoned, most of which are from Minnesota and Boston. They are rivals of each other in college, some still holding grudges against others. They have a long way to go to become great. Each of these players has their own reason for playing on this team and representing their country.
The Soviet Union is considered the best team in the world. A lot of practice, film study and putting aside everything else in life is what Herb Brooks and his team have to do to even come close to competing with the Soviet team. The Soviets are bigger and tougher, so the Americans need to be quicker and faster at every phase of the game. This is not an easy task. Brooks and his team are trying to undertake.
Gavin O'Connor has made a name for himself with films such as Warrior and The Accountant. In early March, he reteams with Ben Affleck for The Way Back, another sports film. He seems to like these underdog type stories. With Miracle, he directed the ultimate underdog story. At the heart of the cold war, facing and beating the Soviet Union was the ultimate slap in the face to Gorbachev. "The name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back," says Herb Brooks after a lackluster game.
"Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" shouts Al Michaels, the world-renowned broadcast journalist for ABC and NBC. After a blowout defeat three days before the Olympic Games in Madison Square Garden, the American team at first glance seemed like they didn't have a chance. The Soviet Union Team is considered the best team in the world. They have been playing together for years while the American team had only played together for months. This seems like an obvious defeat for the Soviets. The thing is they underestimated the intestinal fortitude of the Americans. What this means for the country is on all of the player's minds. This just isn't about them, it's about the world and their country and has weighed on Herb Brooks as well. I think is everybody believed in miracles and one came true on that cold day in 1980 at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. This film captured that fact perfectly to a tee. It gave everybody watching a chance to believe in miracles once again.
The Snake Hole
Retrospectives, opinion pieces, awards commentary, personal essays, and any other type of article that isn't a traditional review or interview.