Movie Reviews

Hidden Gems: Keanu Reeves

In the month of March, a third month into full lockdown in the UK and our third lockdown, I really needed cheering up and I was hopeful that Keanu Reeves could save the day! If you aren’t familiar with the Hidden Gems Challenge, it was started by Mettel Ray and you can find her original post here. Her pick for March is Audrey Hepburn and I can’t wait to see what she watched! Speaking of Mettel Ray, this month she wrote an amazing piece called Ted Lasso: The Unexpected Appeal of the Good Guy. If you haven’t read it yet then please spare 5 minutes, it’s beautifully written! But let’s talk about Keanu, shall we?

Why Keanu Reeves?

I was really late to the party when it comes to Keanu. I was fairly certain I’d seen the first Bill & Ted movie when I was a kid but I’d never watched any of the Matrix movies (until recently!). It wasn’t really until the release of John Wick: Chapter 3 that I became a real fan, and boy what a year that was for him anyway! I went on a bit of a Keanu binge in 2019 but I knew there was so much more of his work I had yet to see, so he was an easy choice for the challenge.

Statistics

Letterboxd has a whopping 124 movies listed under Keanu Reeves’ name. Some of these will obviously be not-yet-released movies and shorts but I don’t know where to even start filtering those out! I’d seen 19 of them, which is a decent number but a less than impressive percentage! Out of the ones I’d already seen some of my favourites include John Wick: Chapter 3, Speed, Toy Story 4 and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

I’ve also seen John Wick, John Wick: Chapter 2, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Neon Demon, Point Break, Always Be My Maybe, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Knock Knock, Keanu, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, The Lake House, Destination Wedding, Replicas and Siberia.

As before, I tried to pick 3 movies where Keanu Reeves played a main role, and so my choices ended up being My Own Private Idaho, The Devil’s Advocate and Hardball.

My Own Private Idaho (1991)

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This was easily the movie I was looking forward to the most, it sounded so interesting. Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix play gay hustlers travelling from Portland to Idaho in a quest to find a family member. Whilst on their travels they play tricks for money and drugs and wind up attracting the attention of a wealthy benefactor. Mixed into all of that plot is the fact that My Own Private Idaho is also a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV. Sounds crazy, right?

I’m uncultured and not well versed at all in Shakespeare so maybe that’s what to blame but I didn’t understand this movie AT ALL. For the first half I was just happy to be tagging along on the wild ride but I was just so lost. It’s got great reviews though so worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yourself!

The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

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Moving swiftly on to The Devil’s Advocate, a movie that I was sure I wanted to see but was hesitant about it’s runtime (a few minutes shy of 2.5 hours!). Keanu Reeves plays a hot shot lawyer from Florida given the opportunity of a lifetime to work for a big time lawyer (Al Pacino) in New York, who just so happens to be the devil himself.

What an opening scene to a movie! Loveable Keanu Reeves, a defence lawyer for a teacher accused of sexual abuse stands up and, knowing damn well the guyis guilty, somehow manages to sway the jury and the teacher walks free. It was shocking – and I started to wonder what kind of online reaction that scene would cause if it were in a movie released today. Regardless – it’s all part of the plot and the movie itself was highly enjoyable. Not enough for me to call it a gem, but still good.

Hardball (2001)

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Oh. My. Goodness. I’ve had to actually step away from blogging after watching Hardball because all I wanted to do was talk about it and I knew I had to wait until this post! I don’t care about the lukewarm reviews, Hardball is easily a hidden gem in my eyes and easily oneof my favourite movies of all time. Keanu Reeves plays an aimless young guy addicted to gambling and thousands of dollars in debt. In a way to try and claw his way out, he agrees to coach a baseball team made up of young black kids from a deprived estate in Chicago.

It’s such a feelgood movie. I was rooting for Keanu to turn his life around but it was those kids who made it for me. One of whom just so happened to be Michael B. Jordan! If that wasn’t crazy enough, he just so happens to be another one of my picks for the Hidden Gems Challenge! Anyway – I won’t spoil it but there’s a pretty heartbreaking twist towards the end of the movie that I didn’t see coming and I don’t think I’ll ever recover. It was only not getting a conclusion to one particular kid’s story that stopped this being a full 5/5 for me, to be honest.

Final Thoughts

A mixed bag for sure but despite My Own Private Idaho being a personal dud for me I’m sure it’s something most others would enjoy. Hardball is going to be a really tough movie to beat for the rest of this challenge! I had to look back at my own announcement post to check who is next and in another twist of coincidence April is dedicated to none other than Michael B. Jordan himself! So be sure to check back this time next month!

Lists

Best & Worst Will Ferrell Movies

It’s been ages since I did a list like this but I haven’t watched any movies whilst I’ve been feeling ill – and I find myself in a writing kind of mood so with no reviews to write it seemed like a good time to make a list. IMDB tells me that today is Will Ferrell’s birthday, so what better time to look back at my 5 favourite movies of his, and point out his worst!

Has Will Ferrell played a serious role yet? I’ve seen quite a few of his movies but they’ve all been comedies. As we all know, comedy is hugely subjective, so some of you might disagree with my list entirely, but where would the fun be if we all had the same opinion? I don’t know what my first Will Ferrell movie was, but generally, I think he’s a really funny guy. He was great in The Office in the small role he played, and he’s one of those actors who will always draw me to a movie if he’s in it.

In the last few years, it seems he’s turned his hand towards producing, with a number of projects in the works, but I hope he has an acting role in those projects too! Here are my favourite movies that he’s starred in:

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#5 Daddy’s Home (2015)

This stupid movie grew on me for sure. When I first watched it I wasn’t impressed, and apart from the last scene at the school dance I didn’t find it that funny, but then on one of the flights during my honeymoon we were on one of the older planes with the TV screens in the aisles, and I found myself forced to watch it for a second time. Maybe I was just in a better mood, or maybe it was the free food, but I really enjoyed it upon a rewatch! The sequel was trash though, sadly.

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#4 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

I might be wrong, but I’ve always thought that Ron Burgundy is the role that Will Ferrell is most famous for. I have to admit, I haven’t watched Anchorman for years but I watched it a lot when I was in college and still remember a lot of the lines. It feels like one of those rare comedies that seems to have wide appeal, I’m yet to find someone who didn’t like it…until now maybe?

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#3 The Lego Movie (2014)

I’m still mad that the Academy snubbed this movie! Anyway, I’ve always loved animated movies and I have huge respect for the actors and actresses who can do voice work so well. It’s something I think a lot of people assume is an easy thing to do, but I’ve watched a lot of interviews and read a lot about the work that goes into it, and it sounds tough. Will Ferrell provides the voice of the evil Lord Business here, as well as an in-person role at the end of the movie.

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#2 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)

Thank you, Dad, for introducing me to Austin Powers when I was a kid. I love those movies so much! They are a must watch if you’ve never seen them before. Will Ferrell only plays a very small role as an Egyptian henchman of Dr. Evil, but his role is one of the most memorable, especially when he is sentenced to death after causing Mr. Bigglesworth the cat to lose all his fur. “I’m still alive! But very badly burned…”

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#1 Elf (2003)

How could my #1 choice be any other movie? I’ll never forget watching this movie for the first time…at the cinema…for my brother’s birthday…in an empty screen…because it was the middle of January! Why was the cinema still playing Elf?! Who knows, but I think I’ve watched it every Christmas since. Buddy the Elf is my spirit animal.

I guess the general rule is that when it’s your birthday, everyone has to be nice to you, but then there are birthday beatings! So, with that in mind, let me share Will Ferrell’s worst movie…

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Holmes & Watson (2018)

Even the poster for this movie annoys me. So much about this movie annoyed me! It actually started on a visual joke that really tickled me, and I had hope that I would be one of the few who would enjoy the rest. Then it gradually got worse and worse until I was actually groaning at some of the jokes. Believe the reviews guys, it really is that bad. I expected so much better!

Over to you guys though…what’s your favourite and least favourite Will Ferrell movie?

Blogathons · Movie Reviews

Ultimate 90’s Blogathon: Liar Liar (1997)

Edit: I’m super late at posting this, because I fell off the planet last month. Nonetheless, you can see the original post at Drew’s Movie Reviews here, and see a recap of all of the entries for Drew and Kim‘s Ultimate 90’s Blogathon here!

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Last year two amazing bloggers, Drew at Drew’s Movie Reviews and Kim at Tranquil Dreams ran an Ultimate 80’s Blogathon. It was a huge success and I was so pleased when they announced an Ultimate 90’s Blogathon! A huge thank you to them both for letting me participate more than fashionably late, and if you aren’t following them already you really should be!

liar-liar-movie-review-ultimate-90sI would like to firstly apologise to the fans of great cinema, and the professional bloggers who will be discussing the fantastic movies made and released back in the 90’s. I’m not here to do that, I’m afraid. Instead, I’d like to talk about my all time favourite movies from that decade, which is when I was still a kid, and shelving my Disney movies to discover the comedy genre. I don’t know how my brother and I stumbled across this movie, but every weekend my brother and I would find the time to watch Liar Liar (1997).

You either love Jim Carey or you hate him, he has a very specific way of comedic delivery, but I’ve always loved his movies. Since really getting into movies, it’s rare that I ever rewatch anything, because I’m always on the hunt for something new, but to this day I think I could recite the entire script of Liar Liar to you.

What is it about? Well, it has one of the most generic scripts of all time. Fletcher Reede (Jim Carey) is a professional liar. Sorry, I mean lawyer. He’s a busy man of course, and doesn’t have enough time for his son Max (Justin Cooper) or wife Audrey (Maura Tierney), who he is separated from. Making things worse is Audrey’s new fella Jerry (Cary Elwes) who is just the worst. On Max’s birthday, when Fletcher fails to turn up despite promising to be there, Max makes a wish, and wishes that for just one day, his father cannot tell a lie.

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Cue the movie magic! Max’s wish comes true, leaving Fletcher unable to tell fibs. He’s now forced to tell the truth after an unsatisfying hookup, he tells a cop about the multitude of laws he broke when being pulled over, and tells a new starter in the lift at work that everyone’s only been nice to her because she has huge boobs. Whoops!

I wish there were more comedies like this being made. Yes, there’s some bad language in here (more than I thought actually, I can’t believe our parents let us watch this!) but so many recent comedies rely on nudity, drug trips or pop culture references to get laughs, and they just don’t age well at all. You can watch Liar Liar now, or in another 20 years time, and every single joke will still make sense and be funny. That’s what comedy should be all about!

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For me, it’s how quotable Liar Liar is that puts it up on the shelf of my all time favourites. Perhaps they’re inside jokes between my brother and I, but no one can hand either of us a piece of paper without us scrunching it up into a terrible attempt at an origami bird and saying “Mrs Cole…a goose!” Don’t give us a pen, either. We’ll tell you that the colour is rooooooooyaaaaaaal bluuuuuee. In fact, the more I think about it, don’t spend time with us when we’re together, we’re a bit weird.