Movie Review: Life As We Know It

Lindsey and I saw Life As We Know It last night, which stars Katherine Heigle and Josh Duhamel.

The basic plot is: married couple living a dream life dies suddenly leaving newborn baby. The couple had planned for their close friends (played by Heigle and Duhamel) to be named the guardians of the baby. The twist is that the close friends, while close to the deceased couple, and in a way to each other, couldn’t stand each other – fought like cats and dogs. Sadness, reality and hilarity ensue as the close friends try to sort things out with their new responsibility – and figure out how to live with one another.

The movie was slightly over-length, which may account for the bad reviews by critics, but heartwarming nonetheless. We would definitely recommend it!

More importantly, we skipped all movie snacks! Yikes! … because we had just eaten Moomers ice cream.

Movie: The Great Buck Howard

I’ve been waiting to see The Great Buck Howard since I missed it at Sundance two years ago. It wasn’t the greatest movie (quasi-pun intended), but I liked it well enough. Here’s why.

  • The main character is a kid who hates law school and only went because his father corralled him into it. I chose to go to law school on my own terms, but my father is a lawyer and I am in law school. (Strangely, and this goes for only a few people in law school, but I seem to have an affinity for books and movies about “the law.” By that I mean that I willingly and eagerly seek them out. Some of my classmates, instead, run the other way.)
  • The main character wants to be a writer. I would love to be a writer, but I’m not sure I’m willing to sacrifice the earning potential presented by the legal field. However, considering there are not yet any crops in my legal field, I may be just as well off either way. Hello, Hollywood?

That’s really where the similarities end. I wanted “the law” to play a bigger role in the movie, but it wasn’t. Except that “law school” is used as a symbol of oppression from which the main character escaped. I like the message – do what you love … no matter what … and enjoy the journey.

Book & Movie: Watchmen

My first book & movie review in one post. I finished reading Watchmen on Thursday and saw the movie on Friday. Both were excellent for different reasons.

The book is actually a collection of a twelve-comic series released by DC Comics in 1986 and 1987. Alan Moore was the author, Dave Gibbons was the artist and John Higgins was the colorist.

The story is this: The U.S. has a superhero, Dr. Manhattan, by way of a lab accident. He allowed them to win the Vietnam War and has kept the Russians at bay since. However, the possibility of a nuclear holocaust looms larger with each passing day. Preventing this is what the ultimate arc of the comic is about. On less of a superhero and more of an action hero level, the characters of the comic are seeking the mask killer – an unknown person who, in the first scene, killed the Comedian. Eventually, the two stories come together, though I will spare you the spoilers.

The story is nuanced, insightful and intriguing. It takes a hard look at society as it existed in the 1980s and saw that there was a lot wrong with the way we were living our lives. In one poignant scene on the gang infested filthy streets of New York City:

Dan Dreiberg: What’s happened to the American dream?.

The Comedian: It came true. You’re lookin’ at it.

Watchmen reminds me of Alan Sorkin’s writing for the West Wing. One of the many reasons I like the West Wing is because of the supporting facts, stories, and links between those facts and stories brought into the fiction of the show from reality. Doing so adds a great deal of credibility to the performance. The same is done in Watchmen to an equally effective degree.

The movie is very true to the book, excepting a debatable minor change to the ending. It is long, though entertaining. I would recommend that anyone wanting to see the movie first read the book. The movie will better keep your interest that way and you’ll have a better appreciation for the depth of the comic and the faithful adaptation of the movie.

Go read! Go see!

Movie: The International

I saw The International and was pleasantly surprised. The movie is about an Interpol agent trying to expose a bank’s role in an international arms dealing ring. It’s a bunch of people chasing each other. The U.S. DOJ is tracking down the Interpol agent. The Interpol agent is chasing the bankers. The NYPD team up with the Interpol agent and the DOJ at one point. The bankers are speaking with an African General, then later with a Middle East arms dealer. There’s also an Italian politician and an assassin involved.

What the movie lacked in substance, it more than made up for with its numerous sub-plots that came together as one. Despite the fact that the acting was suspect and the plot unbelievable, the movie submerged me in the plot quickly, and kept me interested throughout with action and pace.

Movie: He’s Just Not That Into You

He’s Just Not That Into You made me smile. It wasn’t hilarious. It wasn’t overly cheesy. It wasn’t a great or classic story. It definitely wasn’t made for men. But it made me smile, and I appreciate that.

I just wonder: How does it feel for those couples watching the movie that realize they’re living examples of the couples in the movie?

Litigation Batman Style

I have never wanted to be a litigator because I’m a baby when it comes to public speaking. I’m sure if you examined my childhood there would be explanations for this. Regardless, the following quote from The Dark Knight made me rethink litigation. I would appear in court if just to say this:

Sometimes, truth isn’t good enough; sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.

In what context could I say this?

Is it possible to deliver something better than “truth” in a system that so cherishes it? At what cost?

Movie: Frost/Nixon

I saw Frost/Nixon this afternoon at the reduced rate of $7. The movie was worth the time and money. I don’t know much about Nixon beyond the loss in the debates to Kennedy because he looked tired and the Watergate “blemish.” And I’ve never cared much about Nixon as his time was before my time. Regardless, the movie does a good job of doing what it set out to do – get me up to speed on what I need to know about Watergate to have an appreciation for the significance of Frost’s devastating interview.

Frost/Nixon frames President Nixon as a smart, calculating and well advised individual who was, for most of the movie, a more than worthy adversary for the fumbling Frost. But what is revealed in the final interview – the interview about Watergate – the interview where Frost gets his act together – is a weakened and regretful, but no less dedicated, Nixon. His face shows the burden carried by a man who has failed a country.

It was at this point that I thought how nearly impossible it must be for any president, good or bad, worthy or not, republican or democrat to carry the burden of their actions – and the effects those actions have on the American people. The presidency is an official office and the president is an official. No matter how regimented of an approach the man elected to that position takes, his conscience must be incredibly heavy at any moment. I’m not sure I would want to be in that position.