action, comedy, movie, movie review, sports

January 21st, 2018 Movie – Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

talladega nights

There are always going to be those movies that people will talk about or quote. Sometimes they are more dramatic or serious movies but usually, they tend to be comedies. That is definitely the case with today’s movie, as I know several people that like to quote various lines from this movie. My first introduction to this movie was not in theaters, but at a friends house after it came out on DVD, and was told to come watch it during a group movie night because it’s funnier with our friend Chris laughing at it (and I will admit his laugh is funny in it’s own right). Anyways, I enjoyed the movie and decided to pick up my own copy on DVD so let’s have some laughs with today’s movie, Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby.

The plot: Years ago, Reese Bobby is speeding down the highway while his wife Lucy is going into labor. They pass the hospital because Reese is interested in driving faster and when he stops to turn around, Lucy ends up giving birth to their son, Ricky. 10 years later, Reese shows up at Ricky’s school for career day, making it the first time he has seen Ricky since he was born. After Reese is thrown out of the school, Ricky runs out after him and Reese tells Ricky, “If you aint first, you’re last.” before getting in his car and driving off. In the present day, Ricky Bobby and his best friend Cal Naughton Jr. are working on the pit crew for the Dennit Racing team. While racing in Talladega, the car’s driver leaves the car to use the restroom, claiming they are in last place so it doesn’t matter anyways. Realizing that they will lose their sponsor if they don’t get the car back on the track, the crew chief, Lucius Washington, asks if anyone there wants to drive fast and Ricky volunteers. After getting in the car and driving on the track, Ricky manages to finish in third place, prompting Larry Dennit Sr. to make Ricky Bobby the team’s new driver. With Ricky Bobby becoming Nascar’s hottest new star, the team gets a new sponsor and Ricky convinces Dennit to sponsor a second car, with his friend Cal as the driver. Ricky marries a fan named Carley after she shows him her boobs and they end up having two kids, Walker and Texas Ranger, and live in a large house with Carley’s father Chip. As time passes Larry Dennit Jr ends up taking control of the racing team and has issues with Ricky’s racing style, where he either wins or crashes trying. As Ricky and his friends celebrate their most recent win, they are interrupted by Jean Girard, a French Formula One racer who has just been signed onto the Dennit Racing Team. As Ricky and Girard get into a confrontation, Girard gets Ricky in an armbar and threatens to break his arm unless Ricky says that he loves crepes but even though Cal and his crew make an argument that would allow to save face, Ricky refuses and tells Girard to go ahead and break his arm. The next week at Lowes Motor Speedway, Girard breaks Ricky’s track record during the qualifying, prompting Ricky to tell Lucius to get his car ready to race, despite the fact that his arm is still in a cast. During the race, Ricky manages to catch up to Girard but is unable to pass him. Ricky calls on Cal to help him pass using a drifting/slingshot maneuver but Cal’s engine blows. Ricky eventually wrecks while trying to pass Girard, who wins the race, and as the paramedics tend to him, Ricky starts running around the track in his underwear, thinking he is on fire. At the hospital, Cal and Lucius go to check on Ricky and think he is paralyzed when they see him in a wheelchair but the doctors say he is fine and it is all in his head. As Cal and Lucius try to talks some sense into Ricky, Ricky stabs himself in the leg with a knife to prove he is paralyzed, then screams in pain when he realizes he isn’t. Cal and Lucius want Ricky to take things slow while getting ready to go back on the track but Ricky wan’t to go ahead and get started. However, on his first attempt at driving Ricky only goes 26 miles and hour, and when he gets out of the car, starts acting like he is on fire again and takes his uniform off, prompting Dennit to fire him and have Cal replace him. When Ricky returns home, he finds that Carley, desperate not to become poor, has decided to divorce Ricky and marry Cal, prompting Ricky to end his friendship with Cal. Ricky moves into his mom’s house with his two sons and ends up taking a job as a pizza delivery man but loses his license after hitting a woman’s shopping cart and a police officer so he is forced to use the bus or a bicycle for his deliveries. One day he delivers a pizza to a hotel only to find Reese there, who had ordered the pizza so he could talk to Ricky, but Ricky punches him then walks away. When he talks about the encounter with his mom, Lucy tells Ricky that she told Reese where Ricky was as she knew that he would be able to help Ricky get back into racing. Ricky reluctantly agrees to have Reese help him and Reese proceeds to try to get Ricky to overcome his fear of driving fast, one way involving putting a live cougar in the car and telling Ricky to get in there with it. Meanwhile, Lucy has had enough of Walker and Texas Ranger acting like hooligans and begins trying to reform them. As Reese’s lessons continue, one day he tells Ricky that he placed a kilo of cocaine underneath the car and called the cops, forcing Ricky to choose between driving fast or going to jail. Ricky starts driving with the cops chasing after him and when he realizes that he is going over 100 mph, he starts screaming out in joy as he works to avoid the cops. After getting away from the cops, Ricky goes to remove the cocaine from underneath the car only to learn that it was just Lucky Charms, with a note from Reese asking if it felt good to be going fast again. Ricky gets his license back and keeps the cougar, which he names Karen, and decides that they should have a nice family dinner but Reese causes a scene and gets thrown out of Applebees. When Ricky chases after him and says he started racing and won the races because of him, Reese tells him he was high when he said that and should have picked a better role model to follow. Feeling dejected, Ricky decides to give up racing when he runs into his old assistant Susan, who convinces him to get back into racing as he was meant to drive fast. After she is done talking, Ricky realizes he is attracted to Susan and they end up making out on the table. Ricky gets Lucius and his pit crew back together and shows them the car they have to work with and Lucius says he and the crew will work on getting the engine rebuilt so it can race. Ricky heads over to see Girard to tell him that he is coming for him and Girard wishes him luck, saying he only came to America to race Ricky in the hopes he would beat him so that he could go on to live out his dreams with his husband. The next day, Ricky is shown the new engine, with Lucius telling him that several teams donated some parts, and Susan explains the new paint job on the car, saying that Ricky doesn’t need corporate sponsors as he is out there racing for himself. Before the race starts, Ricky approaches Cal and Carley and apologizes to Cal for not valuing their friendship like he should have, causing Cal to start doubting what he has done. As the race commences, Ricky starts making his way up the pack until he catches up to Girard but he us unable to pass him. Dennit orders Cal to take out Ricky but Cal refuses and instead, gets ahead of Ricky so that he can use the slingshot maneuver to pass Girard. Angered by what Cal did, Dennit orders the driver of the Wonder Bread car to take out Cal, which causes a huge wreck that takes out every car on the field except for Ricky and Girard. Ricky and Girard keep racing and end up crashing into each other during the last lap. After their cars finally stop tumbling, Ricky and Girard get out of their cars and then start running towards the finish line, intent on finishing the race, with Ricky winning the race, but both drivers are disqualified for leaving their cars. Due to being in third place at the time of the crash, Cal is declared the winner and afterwards, he grabs Ricky and they repair their friendship. As Ricky is leaving, Carley approaches him and says she is willing to go back to him but Ricky refuses and says he would rather be with Susan. As Ricky, Susan, Lucy, and the boys leave, they find Reese sitting on his car and when he asks Ricky who he won the race for, Ricky says it wasn’t for him and that he just went out there to drive as he knew his family would love him no matter how he did. Ricky then suggests they go to Applebees so that Reese can get thrown out again and they all get into Reese’s car and head off together.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby met with mostly positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 71% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though it occasionally stalls, Talladega Nights’ mix of satire, clever gags, and excellent ensemble performances put it squarely in the winner’s circle.” Wonder Bread, Old Spice, and Perrier were not charged for the product placement in the movie but Wonder Bread and Old Spice did promote the movie through back-end deals. The movie was a box office success, earning $163 million off of a $72.5 million budget.

Every time I watch this movie, I still hear Chris’ laugh, which makes me laugh even more. This is a very funny movie and definitely something that can make you laugh when you need it. The acting was really good, with Will Ferrell (Ricky) and John C. Reilly (Cal) making for a great comedic duo, but everyone was really good in this movie. The story was pretty good, with some serious moments added to the more ridiculous parts to balance out the movie. The humor was a mixture of various styles, with some more adult or risque than others, but I enjoyed the occasional slapstick that was thrown in. A great comedy and one that is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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drama, Hitchcock, movie, movie review, romance, silent movie, sports

May 22nd, 2017 Movie – The Ring (1927)

the ring 1927

Two old school Hitchcock movies in a row. This is a great start to the week. So this is another of his early silent movies that had never heard of before. So this is going to be a little interesting for me because while I enjoy watching sports, I don’t necessarily like watching sports movies. Obviously there are some exceptions to that but in general, sports movies just don’t really hold my interest. So let’s see how this one does as I watch today’s movie, The Ring (1927).

The plot: A man and his friend are walking along the grounds of a fair when they approach a tent where the barker is challenging members of the crowd to compete in a boxing match with the athletes. As the barker is promoting the talents of “One Round” Jack Sanders, the man becomes infatuated with the ticket girl, Mabel, and begins flirting with her. When Jack notices this, he challenges the man to be one of the fighters and the man agrees. Inside the tent, Jack easily defeats his first two opponents and then proceeds to fight the man, but the man is more of a challenge than Jack expected. When the fight last longer than one round, Mabel, who was watching the fight through a flap in the tent, informs the barker and he begins selling more tickets for people to watch it. The man eventually beats Jack and he leaves with his friend but as he starts flirting with Mabel again, she is upset because Jack and her were going to get married but Jack might have lost his job after he lost. The man’s friend hands her a card, revealing his name to be James Ware and that the man is the World Heavyweight Champion boxer Bob Corby, whom he manages. James and Bob approach Jack later that night as Mabel tends to his wounds and James offers Jack a job in becoming Bob’s sparring partner providing he win a trial fight. As they are talking, Bob continues flirting with Mabel and she leads him outside the tent, as some people were staring at them. Outside, they walk behind a trailer and Bob gives her a bracelet that he bought from the prize money as a gift. Mabel give his a quick peck as thanks but Bob kisses her again and she allows it but then reluctantly breaks it off when she notices Jack and James looking for them. As they are saying their goodbyes, Mabel does her best to keep the bracelet covered up, though Bob sees this and sneakily tries to get her to reveal it to Jack. After they leave, Mabel goes to the fortune teller’s tent and asks to have her fortune read but Jack shows up and believes the fortune is about him. The next day, Jack is washing his face in the pond behind his trailer and Mabel goes to talk to him when the bracelet falls off her arm and into the pond. When Jack retrieves it, he questions her about it and she admits that Bob bought it for her because he didn’t want to take their money. Later that day, Mabel receives a telegram from Jack stating that he won his fight and he would meet her at the church the next day so they can get married. Jack and Mabel get married, though Mabel appears a little reluctant to do so and at the reception, Bob, who had attended the wedding, jokes about wishing Mabel was the prize in their fight. Jack says he will fight any man to defend his wife’s honor and an exhibition match is arranged, which Bob ends up winning. Jack notices Mabel flirting and gets upset but his trainer has him take out his frustrations on the punching bag. Later, Jack tells James he wants to challenge Bob for the championship but James says that he is too far down on the list of contenders and will need to work his way up. Jack begins winning his fights and at a party at James’ house, James informs Jack that if he wins his next fight, he will be the #1 contender for Bob’s title. Jack worries about leaving Mabel alone while he goes to the fight, as he fears she is having an affair with Bob, but James says that he was doing this for her and to trust that she will be there for him. Jack wins his fight and afterwards, sees the barker and some of his friends from the fair were there to watch the fight. As the talk about the upcoming fight with Bob, Jack invites them back to his house to celebrate his win and surprise Mabel. When they get there, they find that Mabel is out and Jack pours some champagne, saying she should be back soon and they will drink when she gets there. As it gets late and Mabel still doesn’t show, their friends say their goodbyes and leave while Jack waits up for Mabel to return. Looking out the window, Jack sees Mabel getting out of Bob’s car and when she enters the apartment, they end up getting into an argument over her affections towards Bob. Jack then heads to the club to confront Bob over his spending so much time with Mabel and when Bob tries to punch him, Jack blocks it and knocks Bob down, then tells James that Bob can try and get revenge in the ring. When Jack returns home, he finds that Mabel is gone, having left a note saying she is staying with people that know how to treat her. On the night of the big fight, Jack’s trainer and the barker notice Mabel heading into Bob’s dressing room and they decide not to tell Jack that she is there. As the fight is about to start, Jack keeps looking out into the crowd to see if he can catch sight of Mabel but he doesn’t see her. As the fight commences, Jack notices Mabel sitting in the front row in Bob’s corner and it distracts him to where Bob is able to get the upper hand. As the fight continues, Mabel begins to get worried about Jack and starts making her way over tho his side of the ring. During the rest period before the final round, Mabel manages to reach Jack’s corner and tells him she is there in his corner and when he sees her there, he gets a second wind and manages to knock out Bob, winning the championship. As Jack celebrates his win, Mabel apologizes to him and he accepts and as they hug, she sees Bob watching them in the corner and takes off the bracelet he gave her and leaves it on the ground, which Bob’s trainer returns to him after the fight.

The Ring (1927) received high praise from the critics, holding a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all seem to feel like this was one of Hitchcock’s best silent films, praising all of the visual nuances and symbols used to tell a compelling story. Out of all of the movies that Hitchcock made over the years, this is the only original screenplay that Hitchcock wrote himself, having collaborated with other writers for all of his other films. The movie was a success during it’s initial release but when it received a more general release, it was considered a failure.

I have to admit, this was a pretty good movie. The acting was good, with Carl Brisson (Jack), Lillian Hall-Davis (Mabel), and Ian Hunter (Bob) doing good jobs in their roles, though I also liked Gordon Harker, who made for some funny comedic breaks as Jack’s trainer. The story was very good, with the main three actors showing a lot of emotions to help showcase the drama of the situation. To be honest, some aspects of the story and fight, primarily the whole underdog aspect, kind of feel a little similar to Rocky and makes me wonder of this might have influenced Stallone a little when he wrote that movie. The fights and camera angles during them did look a little off at times and didn’t seem as clear as the rest of the movie but that could have been intentional. Regardless, this is a great movie in it’s own right and definitely worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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