Weekend Viewing Roundup and PARKLAND review

Happy Monday all! Hope you had a nice weekend. I see that a lot of you saw GRAVITY, glad to see that Alfonso Cuarón’s film proves to be a critical AND box office hit with over $55 mil this weekend. If you’ve read my review, clearly that’ll be the film I’ll be rooting for come Award season!

I finally got around to seeing RUSH on Saturday night and it was aptly-titled as it’s quite an adrenaline rush! I enjoyed the rivalry between 1970s Formula One racers Niki Lauda and James Hunt, especially Daniel Brühl’s performance. Is it the best Ron Howard movie to date? I’m not sure, but surely it’d make my Top 5.


The rest of my weekend viewings are from Netflix. I finally completed Dark Knight Returns Part II and I must say I’m really impressed by the Frank Miller’s graphic novel adaptation. Our pal Jack Deth commented on the Five for the Fifth post that it’s his most-emotionally gratifying film he saw this year, and I could see why! Check out his in-depth review.

Last night I was feeling nostalgic so I watched a couple of episodes of two of my favorite shows: FRASIER and MOONLIGHT. Before Vampire Diaries and True Blood, there’s MOONLIGHT on CBS. I actually dedicated a post for the vampire series as it’s one of my all-time TV guilty pleasures!



Yes the writing isn’t stellar but I have a soft spot for Aussie’s Alex O’Loughlin as the sexy & romantic vampire Mick St. John, and British actress Sophia Myles as his love interest Beth. She’s clearly the best actor in the whole series, I also like her in Spooks Season 10 with Richard Armitage. Lucky gal! 😉

Now here’s my review of…



Parkland is a historical drama that recounts the assassination of JFK in Dallas and the four days following that devastating event. Now, there have been countless films and documentaries on that but what sets this film apart is that it gives us the perspectives from a handful of ordinary people who are suddenly thrust into the this extraordinary circumstances: the doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital (hence the title), the Secret Service, the FBI agents, as well as those outside of the presidential circle. The two characters I’m fascinated by the most from this film are Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother Robert, and Abraham Zapruder, the man who inadvertently filmed what became the most-watched and scrutinized 8mm film. These are two ordinary people who never thought their lives would change drastically that very day.

The assassination itself wasn’t re-enacted on screen but the film actually used the footage from the Zapruder film. Most people probably have seen that very clip by now as it’s all over Youtube, a bunch of them have been edited in slo-mo so you could see every detail when the motorcade passed through Dealy Plaza. But this time, we see the reaction of the people behind the camera, especially the clearly-shaken Zapruder the second the shots hit the president. The concept of the film is intriguing and even refreshing, but I think writer/director Peter Landesman is way too ambitious with the scope of the film. There are so many parts he’d like to cover but in the end, it sort of went all over the place. The scenes at the hospital seems to go on forever, especially the part where the doctors were trying desperately to revive Mr. Kennedy. One thing that really struck me was the moment Jackie Kennedy handed a piece of her husband’s skull (or brain) to the lead nurse (Marcia Gay Harden). For some reason I just realized what it was that Jackie retrieved when she jumped on the back hood of the presidential limousine!


The worst part of the film for me is the shaky camera movements and constant blur effects which made me VERY nauseous. It’s hard to concentrate on the film, any film, when you struggle to keep from throwing up. I also find the extreme close-ups on the characters’ faces are excessive and distracting, which is another stylistic miscalculation. But the detrimental factor of the film for me is the lack of emotional involvement with any of the character as each only have a few minutes on screen. In fact, Tom Welling who got top billing according to IMDb basically only have a cameo here as as secret service agent Roy Kellerman. He only had like three lines in the film, and so was Billy Bob Thornton as lead of Dallas secret service, Forrest Sorrels.

Zack Efron is actually pretty decent as the young resident doctor at Parkland Hospital. I haven’t seen enough of his work to say that I like him as an actor but at least he seems to give a good effort to escape his High School Musical persona. The two actors who made an impression on me were Paul Giamatti as Zapruder and James Badge Dale as Robert Oswald. Both are interesting characters in their own right, but the two actors did a compelling job portraying them. Oh and Australian double Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver is fantastic as Marguerite Oswald, she really knocked it out of the park even in her brief scenes. It makes me want to check out the Aussie drama Animal Kingdom even more.

Overall Parkland is better in concept than execution. In fact, if you’re curious about the subject matter, I’d just rent it. It’s not a terrible film but its in-cohesive narration and nauseating shaky-cam style made this quite unbearable to watch for me. Though it did make me curious enough to want to read more about the most-scrutinized event in history, the film itself is ultimately forgettable. Or worse, I’d only remember it as being the film that made me [literally] want to vomit.

2.5 out of 5 reels

That’s my weekend roundup folks. What did you see this weekend?

36 thoughts on “Weekend Viewing Roundup and PARKLAND review

      1. It’s going to be a revisiting post on one specific movie. I finally had a chance to rewatch it with my wife this weekend. I’m going to examine whether or not it holds up and still deserves five stars after a second viewing.

  1. I have some of the same issues with JFK, the Oliver Stone film. I felt that it was an overly ambitious film, trying to tie all of the loose ends together, which is obviously a daunting task, let alone for any movie that tries to condense it all in 2-3 hours.
    Parkland is one I will most certainly skip. I just don’t have it in me to watch yet another film about the assassination even if it revealed, once and for all, who the plotters were. That’s how tired I am of the subject 😛

    Nice post though. I love Frasier as well.

    1. Hello Niels! I haven’t seen that Oliver Stone film but I’m not a fan of his as a director. I like the concept of Parkland and it’s not as political as JFK film but it’s just a mess w/ nauseating camera work. I hear ya about being sick of the topic though.

      Glad you love FRASIER, that’s one of my fave sitcoms ever, I don’t think there’s anything that matched it to this day.

  2. Ted S.

    I’ll give Rush a rent when hits Bluray, I kind of loss interest in Ron Howard’s films after he those two awful films, The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons.

    I read The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel, I still need to see the animated movie version. I was hoping that maybe 10 years now, Nolan and Bale will team up and do a live movie version of it. But now it seems they’re moving in a different direction with Batman, oh well.

    I’ve read and seen so many movies and documentary about JFK assassination that I don’t care to see any new movies about that even, it’s been done to death. And of course you know I hate shaky cam, so I’m avoiding Parkland like the plague.

    1. Hi Ted! Well I skipped those Da Vinci movies, no place for blasphemous films in my book, especially when they’re horrible to begin with. I haven’t seen any Ron Howard films in a loooong time, probably since A Beautiful Mind.

      Yeah I’d love to see a talented filmmaker tackle The Dark Knight Returns, preferably w/ Miller as the consultant. It’s such a great adaptation, and I like the animation style and voice work.

      As for Parkland, well I was intrigued as it seemed to have a different angle on the story but the execution is so poor that it’s easily the most miserable time I had at the movies!

  3. Glad you liked Rush as well. It’s too bad that Parkland is more interesting conceptually, but I might see it at some point.

    I watched some ’66 films this weekend, such as Andrei Rublev and The Professionals (both 4/5), and I rewatched Mud and Cloud Atlas.

    1. Hi Josh! Rush was better than I expected. Not as good as Gravity obviously but still it was worth seeing on the big screen.

      Nice rewatches! My hubby hasn’t seen Cloud Atlas yet so I’ll definitely rewatch that by year’s end.

  4. I’ve heard some bad things about Parkland which had an interesting idea but it’s execution wasn’t very good. The fact that some compared the film to Bobby was definitely a bad sign as I fucking loathed that film. It’s a poor man’s attempt at a Robert Altman film with a bunch of movie stars and other things that just didn’t work at all.

    1. Boy, there are SO many films on the Kennedy family aren’t they? I started reading about the Kennedy assassinations and all the conspiracy theories, but I literally had to stop myself as you could really get sucked in by that topic.

      Ensemble cast films are tricky, you’ve got to be a really good director to pull it off. I remember Altman’s Gosford Park was great and it didn’t feel all over the place even though it’s got a lot of actors in it.

        1. You’re so right Steven, actors not movie stars. I love the cast in that one, esp Clive Owen, Maggie Smith and Michael Gambon. I just realized that the last two were reunited again in Harry Potter 🙂

  5. Always nice to see another Frasier fan. I was planning on seeing Gravity but ended up missing the screening. I ended up watching some TV shows on Netflix.

  6. Ugh. I hate shaky cam. That doesn’t make me want to see Parkland more, which didn’t have me very excited in the first place. I think it’s pretty similar to Bobby.

    Great weekend, Ruth! So happy for Gravity’s success. Haven’t seen it yet, as you know, but Cuarón deserves it. Would be thrilled to see him pick up the Best Director or Best Picture Oscar (or both!).

    Saw Rush on the weekend and loved it! Such a great film. Obviously it’s not limited to men, as I can see you enjoyed it, but it’s such an awesome guys’ movie!

    1. Yeah, shaky cam is hard to pull off and almost always unnecessary! I don’t know why they need to go overboard on the camera technique on Parkland.

      I’m thrilled that Cuarón’s film won big, he soooo deserves it! He seems like a great guy too, I like seeing him in interviews. I think the chance is big that he’d get an Oscar next year, fingers crossed!

      Cool that we saw RUSH on the same weekend. Ahah well I love cars growing up as my late brother was into cars too. I tend to go more to *guys* movies anyway as I don’t really like rom-coms, at least not today’s rom-coms anyway as most of them are crap. Of course there are exceptions like Sleepless in Seattle or One Fine Day but those are so rare these days.

      1. It can really affect your enjoyment of a movie. I remember almost throwing up when I saw Cloverfield (although it was sort of warranted with tha movie). When I watched Hunger Games, I was like “Make it stop!” haha

        Yes, he really deserves it! He’s a huge talent and such a nice guy. And a gentleman. Recently, a delusional Mexican actress said she was at the Venice Film Festival and photoshopped herself into a picture with Cuarón and Clooney (in the place of Sandra Bullock). It was hilarious and so, so pathetic. A journalist showed him the photo and he could have tore her a new one but he was pretty cool about it

        You’re right about good rom-coms being so rare lately. Glad you can be “one of the boys” at the movies. That’s awesome.

        1. I have no interest in seeing Cloverfield but yeah I probably feel the same way. The funny thing is, I wasn’t bothered by the camera work in The Hunger Games, not sure why.

          Ahahahaha, that is too funny! That actress was delusional indeed, but that’s so cool of Cuarón for not being mean to her about it. I like him even more now!

          He..he.. well I have two older brothers so yeah I’m one of the boys when it comes to movies. Of course I also love period dramas and romantic stuff too, but probably I like action and sci-fi equally. in fact, I’m not a fan of Nicholas Sparks movies at all, I tend to avoid those, ahah.

          1. Lucky you!I quite liked the film but THG still made me very dizzy! You’re not missing out on much by not watching Cloverfield.

            Here’s the link to the infamous picture. I still LOL when I see it. Poor woman! She thought she had everybody fooled! http://s0.uvnimg.com/novelasyseries/fotos/chismes/photo/2013-09-10/lucia-mendez_590x395.jpg

            It’s great that you have a diverse taste. I also like to mix it up by watching different genres. We agree on our dislike of Nicholas Sparks! *high-five*

  7. Really glad you enjoyed Rush, Ruth! It’s probably my favourite of the year so far. Shame about Parkland though. I mean, I wasn’t expecting anything hugely special but it’s still a shame. I might rent it, but I’m not fussed about going out of my way to see it. And I’m with you on the shaky cam in films. It doesn’t make me feel sick, but it is very distracting. I had that with You’re Next, it was really annoying after a while.

    1. Hi Chris! I can see how it’s your fave of the year so far, but you haven’t seen Gravity right? 😉

      I think if you’re intrigued by the topic, Parkland is still worth renting. At least when you’re seeing it on your telly, it might not be as nauseating as on the big screen. I was never as miserable at the movies as when I saw this, I wish I had a brown paper bag with me!

  8. For a moment when you said you were being nostalgic by watching old shows, I misread it as “Moonlightning”. Haha… I guess I’m the only one who remembers that old Bruce Willis & Cybill Shephard show.

    I’m not fond of shaky-cam but the premise of Parkland still interests me. But only on DVD. That way I’ll get to pause when ever I feel like throwing up!

    1. Ahah, I remember Moonlighting too, Asrap, but no this is a newer show about a vampire detective 😀

      Yep, seeing it at home is the way to go for this film. I wish I could get out to get some fresh air but I was afraid if I stood up I’d feel even more nauseous!

  9. PrairieGirl

    Hey Flixy, you are so right… the concept is good (Parkland), but the incessant shaky camera, motion blurs and extreme closeups just ruin this film.

    BTW, one of my favorite sit coms is Hot in Cleveland. I really enjoy the two alumni from Frasier (Jane Leeves and Wendy Malic).

    1. Yeah, I’ve never been so miserable watching a film on the big screen. They really went overboard w/ the camera work, making it unbearable!

      Oh what a duo in Hot in Cleveland, I love both of those ladies, beautiful and hilarious!

  10. Moonlight is awesome! Alex O’Loughlin is totally sexy and attractive 🙂 I pull it out to watch once in a while too 🙂 I still wonder why it got cancelled..compared to some of the tv shows we have now, its pretty good.

    1. Finally! Someone who loves Moonlight too! I was bummed that nobody commented about that show. High five Kim, you’re a woman of excellent taste 😉 Yes, CBS was so dumb to cancel it prematurely, I mean they had a good show on the brink of the vampire craze and it also had a pretty big following. I still miss Alex as Mick St. John 😉

  11. Could not bring myself to watch Moonlight. My main reason was… it was the show that “replaced” Angel after it was cancelled. A show that was also about a vampire detective with a dark and broody past. *sigh* I was so glad it got cancelled! HA!

    1. Y’see I never watched Buffy or Angel before, but yeah the premise is similar. But still, that’s not nice to say you’re glad it got cancelled, esp since you haven’t even seen the show! I think Alex O’Loughlin is much sexier than David Boreanaz as a vampire!

  12. Hi Ruth, glad you enjoyed The Dark Knight Returns Part II. I didn’t start watching animated comic films like that until this year, and I have loved pretty much all of the Batman ones I have seen. If you get a chance, I also recommend checking out Year One.

    My weekend was pretty quiet in terms of film, though now I am starting to get in full-on horror mode. Gotta love October! 😀

    1. Hi Eric! I have seen Year One which I love as well, but I think Dark Knight Returns I and II are even better!

      Ahah, well I’ll be the only blogger who would NOT be watching any horror this month, or any month 🙂

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