Archive for Paul Reubens

Blow

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 21, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Johnny Depp turns in a quietly powerful performance at the heart of this Ted Demme-directed drama as real-life coke smuggler George Jung, who rises from poverty to become one of the biggest drug dealers in America before his eventual downfall.

What people are saying:

“Johnny Depp shines in this amazing film. Depicting the rise and fall of real life coke smuggler George Jung, this film tells an amazing true life tale with the right amount of humor, drama and ultimately sadness. Not too many films can effectively make you root for the bad guy. The fact remains… Depp gives the right amount of sympathy and charisma to the character of Jung that it’s easy to forget his real life crimes and empathize with his decisions. At times inspirational and ultimately tragic, this movie is a winner on all levels. Look for a hysterical cameo by Bobcat Goldthwait. This film is a gem.” 5 stars

“Comes off like a flamboyant cartoon, another film about the deglamorization of glamorous people living it up in the glamorous world of drugs.” 2 stars

“Yes it’s cliche and yes it does appropriate from other movies, however it works. Depp commands the screen and the subtle plot and theme shift from ambition to o a more sentimental lesson – Blow, is still a thoroughly enjoyable ride.” 3 1/2 stars

“Blow is an excellent absorbing crime drama with a good cast. Depp is good, but his smaller bit players like the actress who plays his Mom or Diego or Paul Reubens are very memorable too. The movie paints the crime smuggler in a sympathetic light, which may ring false to some but ultimately its a well acted drama with a talented cast. Cliff Curtis and Emma Roberts were good too.” 4 stars

“Much better than I expected. Rather than over-glamorizing the life of a drug lord, it shows Jung to be just a regular guy. But a regular guy with an exceptional story. “Blow” reminded me not to judge people soley on their actions, because you never know what pushes people to do what they do. It really makes you feel for a man who, as a high-volume drug dealer with multiple arrests, would often be dehumanized. On a less emotional note, don’t let the R rating scare you. It’s mostly for the drug references & a prevalent use of the “f” word. Only one major sexual scene (which can be skipped without losing any of the plot), and little violence (none that’s graphic), especially for a film about drug dealers.” 5 stars

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Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , on May 1, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Pee-wee Herman, a resident of Fairville and a cook at Dan’s Diner, meets and befriends actor Joe Manganiello, who convinces Pee-wee to go on the first vacation of his life to reach New York to celebrate Joe’s birthday party. Upon leaving Fairville, Pee-wee unintentionally becomes involved with three women who have just robbed a bank: Pepper, Freckles, and Bella. After the women steal his vehicle, Pee-wee gets a car ride from Gordon, a traveling salesman who gives him a disguise kit.

Pee-wee spends the night at a farmhouse inhabited by Farmer Brown and his nine daughters, each of whom have a romantic interest in Pee-wee. The next day, Farmer Brown insists that Pee-wee get married to one of his daughters. During the wedding ceremony, Pee-wee uses the disguise kit to flee the church. Pee-wee meets Penny King, an aviator with a flying car who offers to fly him to New York. When the flying car crashes, Pee-wee winds up in the wilderness and then joins an Amish community, where he encounters the bank robbers.

That night when the women attempt to steal a horse buggy, Pee-wee convinces them to leave their money behind for the Amish citizens to purchase a replacement. Pee-wee and the women arrive in New York via horse buggy. Pee-wee falls down a well just before Joe’s birthday party. Joe rescues Pee-wee after hearing about his situation on a newscast.

REVIEW:

Growing up, I was a pretty big fan of Pee-Wee Herman. Every Saturday morning, I would get up and watch Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (something I recently did again, since it was on Netflix). Now it appears as though Pee-Wee is back. Will I have the same love for the character that I did as kid? Let’s find out!

What is this about?

A chance encounter with a mysterious stranger (Joe Manganiello) points Pee-wee toward his destiny — and his first-ever holiday!

What did I like?

Trapped in time. I love small towns. There is something so charming about the laid back, relaxed feel of these quaint places. In Fairville, the town where Pee-Wee is currently living, it also seems as if they are stuck in the 50s, complete with diner, greasers, etc. As it is presented to the audience, I have no problem with it and wish I could go visit!

Be yourself. Sometimes when a celebrity appears in a film, they play a similar character to who they are in real life. Other times, they use their real name, but use a personality/characterization that is totally opposite of who they actually are. Sometimes, though, they appear in a film as more than just a cameo, as Joe Manganiello does. I have no problem with his appearance here. I was skeptical when I heard he was in this, wondering how he would fit, but it makes sense now. As a True Blood fan, though, I couldn’t help but want a bit of Alcide to be show in his portrayal.

He works hard for the money. I’ve always wondered how Pee-Wee made a living. Much like SpongeBob Squarepants, he is of an undecipherable age (based on his character, not Paul Reubens), but seems to always have new toys, gadgets, etc., and let us not forget that wonderful playhouse he had! I don’t recall if previous films showed him working, but this one does. Another similarity to SpongeBob, he’s working on the grill. Hmmm…could SpongeBob be this generation’s Pee-Wee, of sorts?

What didn’t I like?

Capers. I get that this film was meant to just pick up where we last saw Pee-Wee on the big screen, at least in terms of how it was made. One small adventure after another worked for Pee-Wee’s last films, but I don’t feel as if it worked as well this outing. I honestly couldn’t tell you why, because it should have been just fine. Maybe it is just the fact that the way movies are made now, or perhaps it is because it felt like a series of bad sketches flimsily strung together. At any rate, by themselves, these capers would have been fine, but together it was trainwreck.

Another Pee-Wee? Alia Shawkhat is cute as a button. I saw she was cast in this film and I got so excited, hoping this would be a break for her. unfortunately is isn’t. Shawkhat is relegated to the unrequited love story, at least it appears that way, that should have been but never happens. You would think when they first meet and find out they are both names Pee-Wee (complete with the gazing into each other’s eyes) it would have gone somewhere, but nope. What a waste!

Something is off. Pee-Wee Herman has always been a forever young, eternally optimistic big kid. That is why he has been so popular through all these years, despite Paul Reubens’ adventures in a darkened theater. Well, someone decided that this Pee-Wee needed to be more sarcastic and less funny (much like today’s comedians). It ruins that character, which in turn brings down the film. If they are going to continue with more Pee-Wee stuff, he needs to go back to good ol’ Pee-Wee, not this version. Also, Reubens is starting to show his age. Not really anything that can be done about that, just an observation.

Final verdict on Pee-Wee’s Holiday? Netflix took a big chance with this project. It had been nearly 30 years since Pee-Wee was last seen entertaining anyone, save for some crowds that Reubens was testing material out on. I applaud them for ambition, but this feels cheap. With all the money they spend on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Orange is the New Black, etc., a few more $$$ could have been shelled out to make this not look like a film student’s first film on green screen. I enjoyed what I saw, though I didn’t love it and can’t really think of a reason to rewatch, so no I do not recommend this flick.

3 out of 5 stars

Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2015 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Pee-wee Herman is a puer aeternus with a bicycle he treasures and that his neighbor, Francis Buxton, covets. A bike shop employee, Dottie, has a crush on Pee-Wee, but he does not reciprocate it. Pee-Wee’s bike gets stolen while he’s at the mall and he confronts Francis, but lacks proof. Pee-wee then offers a $10,000 reward for his bike. Francis, who did indeed steal the bike, is frightened by Pee-Wee’s relentlessness and pays to have it sent away.

Desperate, Pee-wee visits a medium, Madam Ruby, who lies that his bike is in the basement of the Alamo Mission in San Antonio, Texas. Pee-wee begins hitchhiking, getting rides from a fugitive, Mickey, and from a ghostly trucker, Large Marge.

At a truck stop, Pee-wee discovers his wallet is missing and pays for his meal by washing dishes. He befriends Simone, a waitress who dreams of visiting Paris, and Pee-Wee encourages her to stop doubting as they watch the sun rise. Simone’s jealous boyfriend, Andy, misconstrues this as a fling and tries to attack Pee-Wee. Pee-wee flees into a boxcar on a moving train where he meets Hobo Jack, and eventually reaches San Antonio. Disappointed to learn the Alamo has no basement, Pee-wee contacts Dottie and informs her of his situation. At a bus stop, Pee-wee runs into Simone as she boards a bus, leaving on her way to Paris, whom encourages him not to give up his search. Andy, stalking Simone, sees Pee-Wee and resumes his attack. Pee-wee evades Andy at a rodeo by disguising himself as a competitor in the bronco busting competition. He rides well but receives a concussion and develops temporary amnesia, while Andy must flee an angry bull who sees his red shirt.

Pee-wee enters a biker bar to use the telephone, where an outlaw motorcycle club, The Satan’s Helpers, expel him. Pee-wee then accidentally knocks over their motorcycles, enraging the gang. His life threatened, Pee-wee makes a last request: to dance to Tequila. He thereby wins the respect of the bikers, who accept him as one of their own and give him a motorcycle. Pee-wee crashes it through a billboard and ends up in hospital, where he has a surreal nightmare of clown doctors performing joke repairs on his bike. Awakening with his memory restored, Pee-wee learns from a TV interview that his bike was bought by Warner Brothers, and is now used as a prop in a movie starring Kevin Morton, a pretentious child star.

By mixing into Milton Berle’s entourage, Pee-wee sneaks onto the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, California. After disguising himself as a nun, he steals his bike back from Morton. Pee-wee flees, chased by security staff, through a variety of sets, causing havoc throughout the lot and interrupting the shooting of a music video for Twisted Sister’s Burn in Hell. Pee-wee’s bike has numerous gadgets which he uses along with sleight-of-hand to evade the guards and escape the studio. Outside, Pee-wee discovers a burning pet shop. He heroically rescues the animals but faints on the sidewalk just as police and firefighters arrive. Though the firefighters hail Pee-wee as a hero, the police arrest him. Pee-wee is brought before a WB executive, who says Pee-Wee is the rightful owner of the bike and agrees to have all charges dismissed. Warner Brothers believes Pee-Wee’s experience would make a good movie. Acquitted, Pee-wee is overjoyed to see Dottie brought in the executive’s office along with his bike.

Some time later, at a drive-in, Pee-wee and Dottie attend the premiere of the action B-movie starring James Brolin as P.W. and Morgan Fairchild as Dottie fighting ninjas who steal an important motorcycle. Pee-wee has a cameo appearance as a bellhop. At the premiere, Pee-Wee gives refreshments to all the friends he met along his journey, all of whom are living slightly better lives for having known him, as well as Mickey, who has been recaptured and furloughed in a prison bus to see the film. Pee-Wee also encounters Francis, who brags to the media about how knowledgeable he is about Pee-wee’s bike but makes a fool of himself using one of the bicycle’s gadgets. Pee-Wee offers to go bicycling with Dottie, who wonders why he is not staying for the rest of the film, causing Pee-Wee to remark it is not necessary, he lived it.

REVIEW:

I remember being a kid and every Saturday morning I would sit in front of the TV with a bowl of cereal and slice of cheese toast my mom made for me and watch Pee-wee’s Playhouse. With the success of that show, Pee-wee hit the big screen with a couple of films. The first, and most successful, was Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. How big of an adventure did this end up becoming, you wonder?

What is this about?

When his treasured bicycle is stolen, childlike prankster Pee-Wee Herman sets off on a whirlwind cross-country adventure to recover it.

What did I like?

Manchild. The magic of Pee-wee Herman is that he is a fully grown man who acts like a 10 yr old boy. The sweet and innocent nature of this character is what has allowed him to become so popular. As we see on full display in this film, people do gravitate toward such a being. Today, I’m not so sure it would be that way, but I hear talk of some new Pee-wee material on its way, so we’ll find out.

Burton magic. Did you know that Tim Burton directed this? You didn’t? Don’t worry, it isn’t obvious except for in a couple of places. First is the appearance of Large Marge. Burton, especially at this point in his career, was known for his work with stop-motion and clay effects. Marge was one of those character that could have easily appeared in a little film that would come soon after this one, Beetlejuice. The next Burton moment, if you will, comes in the form of a trippy nightmare that Pee-wee has. It resonates as the darkest part of the picture and had Tim Burton’s contrasting dark characters superimposed on light, happy backgrounds.

San Antonio. I’m currently planning on going to visit San Antonio early on in the summer, so it was a surprise to see the city in a movie that wasn’t about the Alamo or Miss Congeniality. In the short while that Pee-wee is down in ol’ San Antone he gets in and out of a few jams and, in the process we get to see a bit of the city, specifically it’s most famous landmark, the Alamo, which does not have a basement, btw.

What didn’t I like?

That’s how they make movies. Let’s face it, as much as I bitch and moan about films that need to be true to the source material, that isn’t how things are done. In a sort of meta way of speaking to the audience, the film within a film takes Pee-wee’s adventure and totally changes it. What was a light-hearted road trip becomes an action-packed spy thriller. Is this for the best? Hard to say without actually seeing it. I appreciate the spoof on Hollywood’s tactics, but this whole scene, which was conveniently at a drive-in, seemed to be a way to show us everyone that was in the movie all in one place before the credits rolled. Also, having Pee-wee deliver them snacks one by one as he made his way back to wherever he was going to watch seemed a bit of a reach, as well.

Spoiled rich kid. Every Yin has to have a Yang, right? For Pee-wee, there is this spoiled, rich brat, who appears to be about the same age and wants Pee-wee’s bike for his birthday because his dad said he can have anything he wants. Thus enters the plot. Here’s my thing, though. This guy would have made a great villain for the film if they just would have let him be the bully that he seems to be. Instead, they attempted to make him some sort of ersatz Kingpin. It just ruined what could have been a great character for me.

Similarities. While I was watching, I couldn’t help but think about how many films that were released around this time had the same or similar plot elements. Something, or someone, goes missing and the someone, or the gang, has to trek cross-country, encountering many colorful characters along the way, to get it back. The first of these films that pops in my head is Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird. While I appreciate this plot, like anything, there is a limit to what I can take, and I think I’m just tired of the rehash.

Family movies in the 80s and 90s were just that, family movies. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is a film that is meant for the whole family, not just the kids. Is this a good film? I’d say it is above average. Burton, no matter what you may think of him today, is a capable director when he’s not trying to be king of the goths (his best works tend to be the non-goth films, if you notice), and there is nothing dark about Pee-wee Herman. Do I recommend this flick? Yes, sit the family down with a big bowl of popcorn and enjoy!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Buffy (Kristy Swanson) is a popular cheerleader at Hemery High School in Los Angeles. She is a care-free popular girl whose main concerns are shopping and spending time with her friends. She is soon approached by a man named Merrick Jamison-Smythe (Donald Sutherland). He informs her that she is The Slayer and he is a Watcher that has been sent to train and guide her. At first she refuses to accept her duties, but eventually sees there is no other way. She admits that she has dreams of past Slayers and reluctantly acknowledges that she is the Chosen One. She runs into Pike (Luke Perry), who is seen as a loser in her school. He becomes the the male version of the stereotypical “damsel in distress”, being rescued by Buffy many times.

After brief training, she is drawn into conflict with a local vampire king called Lothos (Rutger Hauer), who has killed a number of past Slayers. Lothos kills Merrick, giving Buffy the motivation she needs. In a climactic battle set at the senior dance in her high school, Buffy defeats Lothos and his minions by being true to her own contemporary style and ignoring the conventions and limitations of previous Slayers.

REVIEW:

This is the film that spawned the wildly successful Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. The only problem is, they don’t resemble each other in the slightest way. Joss Whedon who created Buffy, said that this wasn’t what he had in mind when he wrote the script. Still, it had to have been good for something, otherwise, the show never would have made it to the air, right?

Kristy Swanson does a really good job as Buffy. Now, no one believed she would be a butt kicking vampire hunter, but that’s part of why this role worked for her.

Luke Perry had just left Beverly Hills, 90210when he took this role. I believe this may have been the reason he left. He believed it would be the start of bigger and better things. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out that way, but that’s not his fault. His character isn’t the most interesting to play and the audience can’t seem to get behind him until the end. Still, Perry does what he can with what he had to work with.

Rutger Hauer is a fairly decent head vampire, but nowhere near the level of some Draculas we’ve seen on film.

Paul Reubens, better known as Pee-Wee Herman, may have been the best part of the film. He really stole the show.

I can see how Joss Whedon wasn’t a fan of this, but I happened to like it. I guess that is because I’m a fan of lighter fare and don’t too much care for the dark side of things. If you are a fan of the show, then you probably won’t care for this film, other than to see where it originated from. As for everyone else, watch and bask in the cheesy 90s-ness of it.

4 out of 5 stars