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Vally Uprising

Vally Uprising

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THINK

More than anything this documentary made me think about living freely in nature and striving to be the very best at the things you are most passionate about.

A reminder from this film:  Humans are incredible.  As the documentary follows the history and evolution of rock climbing I am reminded of the eagerness of mankind to always be looking for the next challenge.  We can argue about the routes we take and the way we do it, but everyone is trying to get to the top of the rock. Continue reading

The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai

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THINK

A reminder from this film: The American settlers at the end of the colonial era treated the Native Americans terribly.  Yes, there were some native tribes of territorial and relentless warriors that might kill you, but there were also peaceful tribes.  I’m certain there were situations where the mass slaughtering of unarmed indians and their children could have been avoided, but it often wasn’t.  The world would be very different had an Eastern society discovered and colonized America before the Europeans. Continue reading

Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph

THINKCRY

 

 

 

 

THINK

Some classic Nature vs Nuture arguments to be made here.  The interesting angle being if you were born to live the life as a bad-guy in a arcade game.  You are literally labeled the enemy from the first day of your life…a tough mold to break, indeed.  If the statistics were flawlessly true and instantly collected and updated, then technically there would be one person in the world who would be my biggest enemy.  Someone who has the most opposite beliefs, goals, and capabilities that I have.

The arcade world was very creative and imaginative.

LAUGH

There was one scene that stands out as the funniest.   I usually will laugh at Disney/Pixar movies but this movie just didn’t push it that extra mile to be rewarded a laugh.  But, no doubt,  a few chuckles here and there.

CRY

The relationship between Ralph and Vanelllope von Schweetz.  Disney once again creates some heart-warming moments with characters you will root for and love.

Chef

Chef

THINKLAUGHCRY

 

 

 

THINK

I still have not seen a handful of critically acclaimed films from 2014, but to date, Chef, is my favorite film of last year. (currently available on Netflix)

There were two very important words this film made me think of, a concept I’ve discussed with my fellow ThinkLaughCry reviewer in the past – creating culture.  And this is just what chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) and his pal Martin (John Leguizamo) set out to do when they quit their jobs working for “the man” in a famous LA restaurant and set off to Miami to start their own food truck business.

Chef has a modern feel, a good soundtrack, and a great cast.

LAUGH

The fast cut editing when Casper spends a day with his son at the amusement park made me laugh.  The corn starch scene was funny too.

Nothing made me laugh uncontrollably, but similar to Jon Favreau’s roll in Swingers, there were plenty of well-timed but subtle funny moments.

CRY

It felt like the audience was supposed to cry when Chef Casper and his son were having a heart-to-heart moment at the end of their road trip.  Touching, but no crying for me.  I really began to worry that this great film was not gonna snag the tri-fecta until a few scenes later when Casper watched the 1-second clip video that his son made.  My cry came less from the father-son relationship and was more about creating memories and creating culture.

 

The Book of Manning

The Book of Manning

THINKLAUGHCRY

 

 

 

 

THINK

I already had a lot of respect for Peyton and Eli.  Especially Eli for his draft day shenanigans, two super bowl rings, and aloof attitude.  But the man who I learned a lot more about from this story was Archie.  Yes, an hour long documentary can probably make anyone look good or bad if done correctly, but Archie just seemed like a great guy to me after watching.  Dealing with his fathers death during a pivotal moment in his football career, and taking beatings with the Saints but having nothing but positive memories about the experience.  I always figured that he force-fed all his kids footballs for breakfast, but this story makes one think otherwise.

I am always intrigued when peering more deeply into the lives of celebrities.  They are just people, and my opinion of them is often wrong…but, I still do not really KNOW the Manning family.  Still, an incredible family and story.

LAUGH

My favorite home video was Peyton dancing the tango.  Taking drama class to get out of something else.  Archie reminded me of my own mother during these scenes…if I ever committed to something as a kid I was never allowed to quit no matter how much I ended up hating it.  This usually made me look back and appreciate anything I was getting myself into.

CRY

Coopers story, especially when his teammates were really nice to him when he had to leave the team.  And Archie’s dad.  Especially when he said something along the lines of “I went in the room where my dad was lying dead and cleaned things up a bit so my mother and sister didn’t see how horrible it was.”

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

THINKCRY

THINK

As the title suggests, this did make me think about happiness.

I wish there some way to empirically test happiness without error.  A breathalyzer for happiness levels, or something like that.  I would say that a device like this would be impossible because in order to truly evaluate one’s real happiness level you would need data from every other human in the world as a reference asking: would I be more or less happy if I was living a life like this person or that person.  But maybe that’s not right.  Maybe happiness is innate, and other life options don’t matter if you can find pure happiness in the life you live.

If this machine did exist, I would be willing to bet a lot of money that the lists I see all too frequently online – mostly because Costa Rica is usually top three, so people love to point that out to me – on the happiest regions in the world would be severely flawed .

 

LAUGH

There were a few funny moments, but it’s hard to award this film a laugh.  The narrator voice was funny at times…sort of a drunk Arnold Schwarzenegger sound to it.

CRY

I understand that not everyone has the same opinions that I do about animals, but when you depend on animals for your survival, they can easily mean more to a person that any human being could.  The story of Nikolays dogs getting mauled by a bear awarded this story a cry.  Also, the few scenes about the indigenous tribes of the region who are the last remaining survivors of their lineage brought some sadness.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

LAUGHCRY

 

 

 

THINK

Not a lot of deep thinking for me during this film, but I’ve only dabbled in what has become somewhat of a cult series as this becomes Peter Jackson’s sixth action packed Lord of the Rings production.  So I’m sure someone who has followed this series religiously could propose some great topics for discussion, but as for me, my thinking goes no further than such questions as:  Wait, why does everyone want the glowing stone?  How does everyone know each other?  The elf and the dwarf are in love?  What happens if they have a baby?…I think their baby would be human, yea, a regular man. Elves are tall and light, dwarfs are short and heavy…a human is right in the middle.

LAUGH

This is no comedy, but some parts were so cheesy and dramatic that it was hard for me to not chuckle.  Yes, it made me laugh, but these moments are what I think keeps me from loving these movies – just way too long of medium shots of dramatic faces with intense music…makes it feel like a soap opera.  Every film in this series could be much shorter, but again, maybe the true fans need these scenes.

Plus, as I’ve stated before, so much of a movie experience for me is situational: and being one of five people at the weekday 11:30am showing in a giant auditorium iMax theater made everything a little more fun.

CRY

I’m gonna shakes things up a little bit here.  The boss might not be happy about this one, but the opening scene to this film is awarded a cry because it was one of the scariest movie scenes I’ve experienced…maybe ever.  The incredible sound quality and animation of the iMax was a big help, but Smaug the dragon is probably the scariest character I’ve seen on the big screen since the t-rex in Jurassic Park.

 

 

 

Somm

Somm

THINKLAUGHCRY

THINK

Yes, quite a bit of thinking.   Mostly involving the hypothesis – could I achieve any goal that I entirely devote myself to?  “Entirely” is the key word here because the folks in Somm who attempt to achieve Master Sommolier status devote nearly all of their waking lives to reaching this goal.

It also made me think about the wine business/wine community, traveling the world, understanding cultures, and learning in general.

LAUGH

For sure some laughs.  Definitely every time they were picking on Ian.  Dave and his laid back approach to things made me smile.  Also, when they all had completed their exams and they were comparing answers made for a nice laugh.

CRY

I had some tears in the end during the final meetings to discuss the verdict of the exams.  One moment in particular stands out, but I will avoid explaining because it’s a spoiler.

 

Mud

Mud

THINK

THINK

This film is SO CLOSE to being amazing, but it falls short in a few very disappointing ways.  Yes, this made me think about being a kid again, growing up, and exploring.  Yes, this made me think about how diverse America is and how children can have vastly different experiences than one another growing up.  Yes, the cast was great.  Yes, these kid actors where awesome….but…the ENDING!…was so bad. Just terrible.  Cheesy bad guy, cheesy action scene, unrealistic survival moments from the good guys and unexplained circumstances that gave us the classic – oh, look, that scary old man that nobody talked to the entire movie actually had my back the whole time! what a great guy! he even KILLED a guy for me! WHAAT!?  Come on.  Normally scenes like this wouldn’t ruin an otherwise solid film for me, but when the cheesy action is completely incongruent with the rest of the film, it just kills me.

LAUGH

The kids had some funny moments.  They really did act incredibly.

CRY

I was close, but not really for reasons within the film.  More about the nostalgia of thinking about being a kid.

Dealin’ With Idiots

Dealin’ With Idiots

LAUGH

THINK

Pretty straightforward movie about a kid on a baseball team and his Dad who has to deal with all of the idiot parents surrounding the team.  Actually a pretty solid lesson in the end, but nothing groundbreaking.

LAUGH

Big fan of the cast.  Film has sort of a Curb your Enthusiasm meets Waiting for Guffman kind of feel to it…two comedies I can get behind.

CRY

Nope

Somewhere

Somewhere

THINKLAUGH

THINK (1/2)

Somewhere deserves a 1/2 Think.  It did not inspire any radically new topics of thought but it brought me back to something I ponder often – having children.   No changes in my stance on the topic, but it’s always good to reconfigure and create new arguments for the inevitable future confrontations.

LAUGH (1/2)

I do like Sophia Coppola’s directing style.  Much like her other hit, Lost in Translation, Sophia makes it seem like you’re watching scenes from real life using natural dialogue (which includes long moments without dialogue) and some long scenes with few cuts.   This is why Somehwere deserves a 1/2 Laugh, because there were many relatable scenes that I chuckled at while thinking about funny memories of my own life.

 

CRY

I think I was supposed to? I’m really not sure.  I did not.

Girl Most Likely

Girl Most Likely

Awful, just awful.  It’s unfortunate because I like Kristen Wiig and this film falls into my favorite genre – ComRom.

This is one of those films you watch when there’s nothing else on and you’re hungover on a Sunday sitting on the couch with a friend -you can be braindead and not miss a thing, and there are endless things to make fun of.

 

 

Hit & Run

Hit & Run

LAUGH

LAUGH

This only receives a laugh because this film became exactly what I wanted it to be – something to put on the TV while I’m doing other things.  In this case, while I was putting together a bookshelf/cupboard I had ordered on Amazon.  I probably wouldn’t have watched the whole movie had the shelf not taken much longer than expected to build – installing the door hinges was the hardest part.

Yes, this film falls in my favorite genre – ComRom – but it was missing an awful lot.

Kristen Bell was looking good and Bradley Cooper had a funny moment or two being a bad guy.

 

Senna

Senna

THINKLAUGHCRY

THINK

Thought about a lot of things.  Politics in sports, traveling, being wealthy…all the other things that come with being a sports superstar and national hero.

More importantly I thought about finding something in life that you are passionate about, and then finding  it in it’s purest form.

LAUGH

Not laugh out loud, more like laugh because certain parts just made me happy.  Ayrton made me laugh a few times too.

CRY

A lot of emotion, no tears, but sadness and emotion.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past

THINKLAUGH

THINK

I thought mostly about the future, technology, and time travel.   Also, of course,  a few random daydreams of what I would do if I had any characters mutant powers.

Surprisingly, the plot was pretty solid and it made me think about the origins of each mutant and how they would fit in our human history if the story-line was real.

LAUGH

A lot of laughter, but for all the wrong reasons.  It started from entering a theater we expected to be nearly empty. What?  I can’t believe other people are seeing this movie right now, I guess we have to go front row.  Wait, what?  Every seat is a lazy-boy recliner? Is this the right theater?  Everybody hates us right now, let’s just sit down…

The laughter continued shortly after the opening scenes when the dialogue began – forced line after forced line of superstar actors getting their face on screen as soon as possible to not let the viewers forget what a “great” cast they had…so bad…just too many poorly executed jokes and cheesy “badass” lines… just laughable.

There was ONE very funny scene, actually funny, and it was the best scene in the movie. No spoilers here, you’ll know which scene I’m talking about.

CRY

Not even close.