31-Days Movie Meme: Day 1 and 2

Another month, another meme. Andrew over at Encore Entertainment posted this 31-Days Movie Meme on Sunday, and the idea is to post on a given topic daily, i.e. Sequel that should not have been made, Favorite romantic couple, Freakishly weird movie ending, etc. You can see the full list on his post.

I think this is a great idea for a meme, though I surely can’t commit to ALL 31 days! But I’ll do a post at least once or twice a week if the topics interest me. Well, without further ado, I’m starting with the Day 1 and 2 in one post.

Day 01 – Sequel that should not have been made
Now that would have to be Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). I love the Indy franchise and who doesn’t love the rugged Harrison Ford in his best, funnest role ever, so when the movie came out I couldn’t wait to see it. Alas, other than the theme song, there isn’t much that the 4th sequel retain from its predecessors. Not even the great Cate Blanchett as the Russian villain could’ve made a dent in this movie, but the real blunder is the script, it’s as if that kid from the 2nd sequel had written it as a school paper! The ludicrous ending was the crowning atrocity of an already insufferable piece of work. Might as well just have the alien hand Indy a light saber and tell him “I’m Your Father” and the agony will be complete. The only good thing that comes out of this is that I don’t have to bother adding a fourth one to my Indy trilogy boxed set.

‘Honorable’ mention: Batman & Robin. Batnipples and Clooney’s idiotic, pesky grin. ‘Nuff said. But I expect a heck of a lot more from Spielberg and Lucas, so that made Indy 4 all the more painful to watch.


Day 02 – Movie that you think more people should see
Well, pretty much all five from this Cure for the common flix post I did last year. But the one I’d recommend the most is Return to Me, I dedicated a whole post for it, that’s how much I love that movie! Starring the under-appreciated Minnie Driver and the funnier-than-we-give-him-credit-for David Duchovny, I can watch this over and over again. Give it a chance. Trust me, it’ll restore your faith in the rom-com genre!

St. Patrick’s Day Flix Spotlight: Circle of Friends

Hello readers, are you wearing green today? I’m not the least bit Irish but hey, everyone’s Irish on March 17, right? At least that’s what this Guinness Storehouse sign in Dublin says 🙂

Well, I was going to post a clip of a movie with the word ‘green’ on the title, as there are quite a few: How Green Was My Valley, Green Acres, The Green Mile, Green Card, Fried Green Potatoes, and the one playing in the theater right now, Green Zone. Well, the only one I’ve seen and liked out of these is Stephen King’s prison drama The Green Mile, but given the subject matter, it might be a bit too morose to celebrate this day.

CircleOfFriends_photo
So instead, I picked this one set in Ireland that happens to be one of my favorites: Circle of Friends. I’m a big fan of Minnie Driver, and this is her first lead role in a feature film after numerous TV work in her native England. Set in the 50s, it centers on only child Benny Hogan (Driver) and her childhood friends Eve Malone (Belfast-born Geraldine O’Rawe) and Nan Mahon (Saffron Burrows) as the three begin college life in Dublin. It’s there that she meets the handsome rugby star Jack Foley (Chris O’Donnell) and she falls for him … hard. It’s a touching movie that speaks about friendship, love, family, betrayal, and ultimately forgiveness.

I just saw this again for the second time not that long ago and I just realized Colin Firth plays the cad Simon Westward and another Belfast native Ciaran Hinds as Professor Flynn whom every female student has a crush on.

This fan-made video features the song is You’re the One sung by Shane McGowan and Maire Brennan, which played during the film’s credits:


Alan Cumming
is also pretty memorable (not exactly in a good way) as the creepy slime-ball who has the hots for Benny. The location is definitely a star in its own right here, with the lush Irish hills and the ever-so-charming small Irish towns. Oh and the music definitely puts you in a Gaelic mood.

Dear readers, whatever you’re doing today, may I leave you with this Irish blessing:

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

(courtesy of IrishPath.com)

Return to Me – The beautiful, poignant chickflix nobody’s ever seen!

RETURN TO ME

Return to Me poster

I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon this one years ago, but I sure glad I did. Now I’m not a huge fan of chickflix in general, especially those with the quintessential formula of ‘boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back and they live happily ever after.’ So it’s sooo refreshing to see one that isn’t quite so cookie-cutter. Being that we just saw this recently on our monthly movie nite, it’s still fresh in my mind.

David Duchovny (of the X-Files fame) plays a Chicago builder named Bob Rueland who’s happily married to a beautiful zoologist Elizabeth (Joely Richardson). The beginning scenes show a contrast between a charmed life of the couple at a benefit party, and a young woman strapped in a hospital bed in dire need for a heart transplant. But Bob’s happiness is cut short when his wife is suddenly killed in a car accident. You can easily guess what’s happening next. The young woman’s loving grandfather Marty (played by Carroll O’Connor with his thick Irish brogue) received a call on his special black phone inside his restaurant. It’s clear the phone is dedicated for when his granddaughter Grace gets a heart transplant (on the wall right above it is her name circled with a heart). Her close friends all wait in the hospital for her as she goes through the surgery, whilst Marty spent the entire night at the chapel praying for her.

Fast forward a year later, Grace (Minnie Driver) survives the operation and is recovering at home. She is shown painting in her garden and helps out waiting tables at the Irish-Italian restaurant owned by her loving grandpa and his Italian business partner, Angelo. A rather odd cuisine combination indeed! At his friend’s urging, Marty finally gives Grace a plane ticket to Rome so she could paint in Piazza Novona (‘where real artists paint’ says Angelo). Grace is ecstatic as she’s never been able to travel all her life due to her condition.

Off she goes to her BFF’s house Megan (don’t we all wish we had a friend like this, played by Bonnie Hunt who also wrote the screenplay). She and Megan’s large family—she’s got 5 kids and obviously overwhelmed by them—goes to the zoo. Grace is still holding on to the thank you letter she plans to send to the organ donor, but Megan says that she needs to move on (‘send it off and move on, honey, I’m sure they have’), and so she finally did. Right after she drops it off the mailbox, she unconsciously rubbed elbows with Bob! She sort of stopped walking, not sure what just hit her, then quipped ‘whatever it was, it didn’t hurt.’ By this time, I was yearning for the two to meet!

Bob’s BFF Charlie’s been wanting to set him up, and after a year of being all alone with his dog, Bob finally agrees to meet him at, you guessed it, O’Reilly’s!! You know the term how a couple ‘meet cute,’ well their first meeting is exactly that without being overly clichéd. Bob immediately says ‘have we met before?’ and when he ditches his annoying blind date, Grace gives her someone else’s to-go order ‘on the house.’

Bob leaves his phone at the restaurant (intentionally perhaps?) and the night he goes back to retrieve it is when they finally have a chance to be alone together. Gracie’s grandpa & friends happily play matchmakers (as they all share a common bond of being widowers). David and Minnie have a great chemistry together and it’s fun watching them being smitten by each other. Even though it’s clear Bob adores her, Grace still hides the fact that she had a heart transplant and is quite insecure about her scar. There’s a cute scene where she thought Bob was going to unbutton her blouse and she slaps him. She then apologizes nervously and in the end gives him a kiss, leaving Bob bemused yet blissful. it’s a genuinely funny yet moving moment!

It’s great to see Bob finds love again and for Grace to love for the first time in her life. Everything seems all rosy until the night Grace is supposed to reveal her ‘secret’ to Bob. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but that incident leads to her decision to go away to Rome. One of the most memorable scenes is when grandpa Marty tells Bob ‘when Gracie meets you, her heart beats truly for the first time …perhaps it’s meant to be with you always’ Awww … have those tissues handy, gals!

Unlike most chick-flix, even though it’s predictable that they’d be together, it still feels fresh and sincere. Given what each of them has gone through, you just root for them to be happy. Bonnie Hunt‘s debut as a director is truly impressive, the film is sprinkled with cute humors and witty dialog. The acting is believable and natural, and the supporting cast (including James Belushi) are all top notch. Minnie Driver, who’s British, also pulls off a decent American accent. I commend Bonnie for injecting faith into the story without being ‘preachy.’ This is also one of those rare romantic stories that blooms without being ‘physical,’ kind of like a Jane Austen pic for modern day. The soundtrack is also a major plus with classic songs by Dean Martin, Sinatra, etc. It adds pizazz and energy throughout the film.

I definitely recommend this to all of you. Go put it on your Netflix queue! =)

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Have you seen this movie? I’d love to hear what you think!