drama, horror, movie, movie review, mystery

October 17th, 2017 Movie – Soul Survivors

soul survivors

There are plenty of times that I find myself with a movie and honestly don’t know why I bought it in the first place. That is definitely the case with today’s movie. This is something that might get my attention in watching but not necessarily wanting to buy unless it is really good. That being said, when I first watched this movie I don’t recall thinking it worth buying and yet, here it is. So let me give this another viewing and see if something might have changed my mind about Soul Survivors.

The plot: Cassie walks out of a college party and when her friend, who yells at her from a window, refuses to drive her home, she decides to walk. As she stops to light a cigarette, she notices a strange man with a scarred face following her and she quickens her pace only for a second man, wearing a clear mask, to grab her and the two drag her into an alley. After placing some duct tape over her mouth to keep her from screaming, the slit her wrist and collect the blood in a bowl. Some time earlier, Cassie is packing to go to college and her boyfriend Sean is helping her move, along with her friends Annabel and Matt, who is also her ex-boyfriend. When they get to Middleton college, they attend a frat party but Annabel tells them of a rave at an old church and convinces them to go to it. As Cassie and Annabel start dancing on the dance floor, they attract the attention of the man in the clear mask and the scarred man. The man in the mask heads to the dance floor and tries to grab Cassie but she pushes him away, then meets back up with Sean. The two head outside and after kissing for a while, start talking about their relationship and saying goodbye to each other, unaware that Matt is listening. After they say they love each other, Matt makes his presence known, pretending to be drunk, and Sean goes back in the club to get Annabel while Cassie helps Matt into the car. In the car, Matt convinces Cassie to give him one last goodbye kiss but Sean sees them and refuses to talk to Cassie as she tries to explain what happened. As they leave the club, Cassie continues to ask Sean to talk to her, not noticing a car passing them containing the scarred and masked man. When the car suddenly stops in the middle of the road, Cassie slams into it and both cars go rolling down a hill. Cassie’s next memory is of being tended too by doctors and learns that Sean did not survive the crash. Returning to school and trying to move on, Cassie falls asleep in her room only to be woken up by Annabel pounding on the door, as she is trying to get Cassie to come to a party with her. As she tries to convince Cassie to come, Annabel’s new friend Raven enters Cassies apartment and asks about the pictures of Sean. saying that he is there and saw Cassie kiss Matt. Annabel and Raven leave and Cassie decides to go for a walk but she ends up being chased by Deathmask and faints when she has a vision of Sean. After coming too, she sees Matt keeping watch over her, telling her a priest had found her fainted on the ground and carried her to the hospital. After Matt escorts her back to her room, they talk and Cassie says that it is their fault that Sean died. While taking her midterm, Cassie has a hallucination that her nose is dripping blood and she is back on the operating table from the crash and ends up rushing out of the class. As she catches her breath outside, she is approached by Father Jude and she thanks him for helping her. Cassie ends up telling Father Jude about the accident and Sean’s death and how she is having trouble dealing with it and he says she is welcome to come by the church and talk any time she needs too. Cassie sees Matt and starts to walk over to him when she notices Annabel walking with Raven and the scarred man, which makes her pause. Matt signs Cassie up for a swim meet, then takes her shopping for supplies so they can paint her apartment. When Annabel shows up, they end up goofing off and painting each other, then Cassie and Annabel go to clean up but Cassie has another vision of blood erupting from the drain. Afterwards, Annabel wants to go dancing and when Matt and Cassie don’t want to go, she gets upset when it seems like Matt is trying to get back with Cassie. That night, Cassie has a dream of Sean making love to her and wakes up to find Matt in her bed. As she confronts Matt about it, Annabel shows up and finds them in a state of undress and accuses Cassie of stealing Matt after losing Sean and Matt argues with Annabel outside the apartment. After having another hallucination, Cassie heads to the library and sees Annabel making out with Raven but when they spot her, they quickly leave. Cassie leaves the library but ends up being followed by the scarred man and she quickly runs from him and races back to her apartment. She finds Matt there and she tells him what happened but he doesn’t believe her, simply giving her her medicine that she was prescribed after the crash. Some time later, Cassie is practicing swimming for the meet when she is attacked by Deathmask, who attempts to drown her, but she manages to break free and when she surfaces, he is gone, with nobody having seen him there. Cassie heads to the gazebo and sees Sean there and they talk for a while before he leads her into the woods. When she hears someone calling out to her, Sean warns her that if she stays there she will die and she runs away, but when she returns to the gazebo, she sees Matt talking to the scarred man. She heads to the church and Father Jude invites her in and talks with her, He then gives her an amulet of St. Jude for protection and lets her rest in his bed. When Cassie wakes up, she notices the calendar in his room is from 1981 and she goes to speak to the attending priest and asks to speak with Father Jude but learns that Father Jude died in 1981 and she runs from the church. Cassie competes in the swim meet but as she is swimming, she sees Deathmask watching her, which throws her off, but then sees Sean at the finish line and quickens her pace to reach him, winning the race. Afterwards, Cassie is talking with Annabel and Matt and questions them about her seeing them with the scarred man and Deathmask and Annabel gets mad at Cassie and the two argue before Cassie slaps Annabel and Annabel storms off. Cassie goes to change clothes and is attacked by Deathmask again and she manages to stab him with a fluorescent light bulb before the both fall into the pool and she quickly gets out and leaves, running into Matt who says there is nobody there. Cassie asks Matt to take her home and he agrees but takes her to the old church, saying that he is going to get Annabel first. Cassie follows him inside but they get separated and Cassie is chased by the scarred man. She ends up in a bathroom and sees Annabel and Raven fooling around and tries to get Annabel to leave but Annabel says she likes it there and runs off. Cassie goes to follow but Raven tells her to leave them alone, as they are not her friends anymore, and that she should go be with Sean. Cassie leaves and gets back in the car only to find Matt there, wanting a final goodbye kiss. She smashes him in the head with a bottle then drags him out of the car before taking off. She heads back to campus and finds Annabel lying dying in the gazebo and Annabel accuses Cassie of having killed her. As the police and crowd move towards Cassie, Cassie backs away and ends up getting hit by a car. She sees Father Jude approaching her and has a hallucination of Sean holding her hand as she is going to the emergency room. She freaks out and races out of the emergency room, with her mind going back and forth between her being back in the club or in the hospital. As the scarred man attacks her, she finds herself in another car crash, with someone trying to rescue her. She then finds herself in a hospital bed, with Raven laying in the bed next to her. Raven tells her not to be afraid before she dies and the doctors cover her face. Cassie then sees Father Jude, who explains that she is in a dream and that she shouldn’t be afraid to be with Sean. Cassie calls out to Sean and she tells him she loves him and they kiss. Later, Cassie is her hospital room and as she goes to put her necklace back on, the scarred man and Deathmask use it to strangle her. She ends up waking up in bed with Sean, revealing that everything that happened after the original car crash was all a coma-dream, and Sean had lived but Annabel and Matt died in the crash.

Soul Survivors was completely panned by the critics, holding a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Soul Survivors‘ stock characters and utter lack of suspense gives viewers little reason to attempt deciphering the confusing plot.” James Marsden turned down the role of Sean to take part in X-Men, which lead to Casey Affleck’s taking the role, though he claims it to be one of his least favorite roles. The movie was a box office bomb, earning $4.299 million off of a $17 million budget.

This is a confusing mess of a movie and I still don’t know why I have it. The acting was ok, with nobody really standing out in their roles. The story was a confusing mess, doing a poor job of explaining what is going on and who survived the crash and who died. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects and the camera work felt pretty shoddy, which added to the confusion in the plot during the scenes where she was halucinating between two visions. Definitely not something that is worth watching unless you are really, really bored.

Rating: 1 out of 5

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October 1st, 2017 Movie – Smokin’ Aces

smokin' aces

Holy cow, can you believe it is already October? This year has absolutely flown by, kind of like today. My apologies for the late post with today’s movie but I had to go in to work for a couple of hours today, then there was football to watch. So, when today’s movie came out in theaters, I remember seeing the trailer and thinking it looked somewhat interesting but I never got around to seeing it as there was a lot going on in my life back then. I would eventually pick it up during a Blockbuster run, which would be the first opportunity I have to watch it so let’s see if it was worth the wait as I watch today’s movie, Smokin’ Aces.

The plot: The FBI has been systematically targeting the Mafia, with Primo Sparazza being the last vestige of power withing the Mafia. The FBI have been working on turning Buddy “Aces” Israel, a Las Vegas magician, into an informant. As Agents Donald Carruthers and Richard Messner are maintaining surveillance on Sparazza when the overhear one of Sparazza’s underbosses, Serna, is on the phone talking about how Sparazza has called in a specialist known as “The Swede” and offers him $1 million to bring back the heart of Israel. Serna decides he will go against Sparazza as part of a power grab and will hire two girls that he has dealt with before to take out Israel before hand but worries about how when word hits the streets about the bounty, more people will be going after him. The next day, Jack Dupree, a bail bondsman, is talking with two former cops, “Pistol” Pete Deeks and Hollis Elmore about Israel at the same time that Deputy Director Stanley Locke is discussing Israel’s connection to Sparazza. Locke then starts telling them of the different hitmen that will now be after Israel in order to collect the bounty; Georgia Sykes and Sharice Watters (the two women that Serna had spoke of), Pasquale “The Plague” Acosta (a legendary expert in torture), the Tremor brothers (a trio of neo-nazi speed freaks), and Lazlo Soot (a master of disguise). Dupree has been hired by the law firm that represented Israel to bring him back for his next court appearance. Elsewhere, Locke informs Carruthers and Messner that Morris Mecklen, Israel’s agent, is working with Locke on an immunity deal and he sends them to Lake Tahoe to grab Israel and make sure nothing happens to him. In Lake Tahoe, Israel is nervously waiting to hear back from Mecklen and has Sir Ivy, his head of security, get rid of the hookers he had the night before and order some new ones while Israel yells at Hugo, another bodyguard/hanger on, about semen stains that got on his coat. Elsewhere, Serna’s associate meets with Sykes and Watters to discuss how they will be getting into the hotel and up to Israel’s room while Dupree, Deeks, and Elmore meet with Ripley “Rip” Reed, the lawyer that hired Dupree to bring Israel back for his court appearance. Carruthers and Messner arrive in Lake Tahoe and wait for Locke’s signal that the deal is on and Messner spends the time reading the file on Freeman Heller, an FBI agent that had gone undercover but was killed by Sparazza. Acosta shows up at the hotel, posing as an FBI agent and asks to speak with the hotel’s head of security while Dupree is talking with Deeks and Elmore and shows them hotel staff uniforms he acquired but they are shot down by the Tremor brothers, who take the uniforms and throw the bodies in the lake. At the hotel, Soot has killed someone and works on making a latex mask to use in his disguise when Hugo shows up and Soot kills him and takes his place. Israel is on the phone with Mecklen, who tells him they need to make the deal now or else the FBI will nullify any protection agreement and Israel agrees and says he will give up Sparazza’s group as well as his own crew, unaware that Sir Ivy was listening in. Locke informs Carruthers and Messner and they head over to the hotel to ensure Israel doesn’t make a run for it and Carruthers calls ahead to try and reach security but Acosta has killed the head of security. At the lake, Elmore is shown to have survived the shooting while Carruthers and Messner receive word of Dupree’s death and learn about the hotel security uniforms that he purchased are missing and it is shown that the Tremor brothers are wearing the uniforms to infiltrate the hotel. Meanwhile, Sykes dresses up as a prostitute and plans on infiltrating the penthouse with the other hookers while Watters is set up in a hotel across the street with a sniper rifle to cover her. Carruthers heads into the hotel while Messner heads to the lake to investigate the shooting. Back in Washington, Locke is given a file concerning the Heller case and after he reads it, he is told to contact the Director and he says not to tell Carruthers or Messner. Inside the hotel, Carruthers tries to find out where the security office is and when Acosta, who is wearing a security uniform, is pointed out to him, Carruthers goes to talk to him and has him take him to the penthouse. Meanwhile, Ivy confronts Israel about the deal he made while outside the bathroom, Soot kills the other bodyguard. In the elevator, Carruthers notices Acosta’s fingers and realizes that the security guard is one of the killers and the two end up attacking and shooting each other. Meanwhile, Ivy tries to shoot Israel but Israel throws a playing card at him, cutting Ivy close to his eye and he ends up firing blindly. When security enters the penthouse, Israel has them arrest Ivy for Beanie’s death. Security shuts down the elevators but the Tremor brothers hot-wire the one they are in and have it continue towards the penthouse. In another part of the hotel, Sykes opens up the elevator and finds Carruthers and Acosta’s bodies but she ends up being trapped when Messner shows up. Sykes has Watters help her try and shoot her way out of there but she is shot by Acosta, who is then shot by Carruthers. As Messner and the other agents drag Carruthers and Acosta’s bodies out of the elevator, Sykes manages to close the doors and have it continue towards the penthouse. Meanwhile, Watters sees a hooker, who was killed in the crossfire, and thinking it is Sykes, begins firing wildly into the building until she runs out of ammo. Outside the penthouse, The Tremor brothers kill all of the security guards but Ivy manages to kill Jeeves and Lester Tremor. As Darwin moves to kill him, the elevator opens and Sykes walks out and threatens to shoot him and he quickly jumps into the elevator to escape. As Locke arrives with some more agents, they head to the penthouse to find Soot had drugged Israel and take him into custody. Messner is running up the stairs as Ivy and Sykes are heading down and they have a brief face-off but Sykes says she didn’t kill the men in the elevator and he chooses to let them go and continues upstairs. Watters sees Sykes being carried out of the building by Ivy just as some FBI agents arrive to arrest her and she ends up being killed. Soot manages to escape custody and shed his disguise, then leaves the hotel while Acosta is shown being carried out on a stretcher but he is still alive. Darwin also manages to escape but as he heads to the car park to get away, he is confronted by Elmore, who shoots him. Messner reaches the penthouse and asks to be told what is going on but Locke tells him to head back to Washington for a debriefing. Messner defies orders and heads to the hospital to confront Locke, holding him at gunpoint. Locke shows him Sparazza and Buddy and explains that they are father and son and that the Swede is actually a famed heart surgeon and through a series of unfortunate events, people misunderstood what Sparazza had intended and thus the resulting blood bath ensued. Locke says that Soot was given the contract to retrieve Israel so they could do a heart transplant for Sparazza. Messner is shocked that Locke will allow this but Locke tells him that Sparazza is actually Heller, the FBI agent Sparazza supposedly killed. Heller’s superiors thought that he had gone rogue and had him killed but Heller survived and so the FBI used reconstructive surgery to save his life. Messner is upset about the fact that Locke kept them in the dark and Locke threatens to fire him before telling him to go back to Washington. As Locke goes to talk with the doctor and some other agents, Messner enters the room that Israel and Sparazza are in and locks the door. He then sits in a chair between the two men and unplugs both of their life support machines, then places his gun and badge on the floor and watches Locke and the others try to get in as Israel and Sparazza die.

Smokin’ Aces met with mostly negative reviews from the critics, holding a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A violent mess of a movie, Smokin’ Aceshas some Quentin Tarantino’s style but not much of his wit or humor.” The movie was the feature film debut of Alicia Keys and Common, both of whom are Grammy winning artists. Smokin’ Aces was a mild hit at the box office, earning $57.1 million off of a $17 million budget and a direct to video prequel was released in 2010.

This was a decent movie but all of the different sub-plots kind of made it a trainwreck. The acting was good, with Ryan Reynolds (Messner), Jeremy Piven (Israel), Ray Liotta (Carruthers) all did good jobs in their roles. I also liked several of the other characters, such as Chris Pine (Darwin), Ben Affleck (Dupree) Alicia Keys (Sykes) and Common (Ivy). The story was interesting but I think the director tried to have too many characters involved in the story, which was meant to distract the FBI from the main objective against Israel but it made the movie a lot more confusing. The way they tried to involve all of the characters and use them actually seemed to waste a lot of time in the movie and if they had fewer characters, the pacing would have been better. As for the twist ending, it honestly didn’t feel like much of a shock because they seemed to set it up early on, then decided to scrap it, then go back and make it an official twist ending. The special effects were pretty good and this was actually a lot bloodier than I thought it would be, certainly bloodier than the trailers indicated. It is a good movie but it had potential to be a lot better.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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September 20th, 2017 Movie – SLC Punk

slc punk

Sometimes a movie will come out and you know almost immediately that it will be a cult classic. That was definitely the case when I first saw today’s movie, as it’s subject actually has to do with a sub-culture of the music scene. Now in the mid to late 90’s, punk music was becoming a little more mainstream with acts like Green Day and The Offspring becoming huge hits, while long term punk acts like Bad Religion and Social Distortion were getting more notice and air play from their records. So a movie talking about two punks in the 80’s, in a severely conservative state such as Utah, just screams out cult hit. Now, let’s see how good this cult classic really is as I watch today’s movie, SLC Punk.

The plot: In 1985 Salt Lake City, Utah, Steven “Stevo” Levy and his roommate “Heroin” Bob attack a pair of Rednecks. Stevo then explains how he and Bob are anarchists, which is tough to do when they have no job, no money, and no future. Despite his name, Bob doesn’t use any drugs as he is afraid of needles and when he cuts his hand after smashing a mirror, he doesn’t do anything about it and just wraps it in a dirty T-shirt. After passing out, Stevo and their friend Mike take Bob to the hospital to get some treatment and the hospital security have to hold him down in order to get some penicillin injected in him to treat the infection. Stevo explains Bob’s anti drug policy through a flashback, where Bob is ranting about how drugs are bad for you to Stevo. Bob tells Stevo what happened to their friend Sean. Sean was selling acid to some Mods (Yuppies that wear suits and ride around on scooters) at the local high school and when the school police officer tries to bust him, Sean runs from him but as he runs across the football field, the sprinklers are on and cause the acid in his jeans to dissolve onto his skin. The 100 hits of acid fry his brain and Bob finds him sitting on a chair outside his house a week later, having attacked his mom during a hallucination and the police were called to take him away. Stevo explains that he and Bob had gone to college to try and “take down the system from the inside” but they ended up graduating instead, Stevo with grades good enough that his father tries to get him to go to Harvard Law school. At a punk show, Stevo starts hooking up with Sandy while Bob goes out into the mosh pit. When he gets on stage and gets attacked by a bouncer, Mike gets on stage and starts beating the bouncer, prompting a fight to start on stage. The police end up breaking up the show and arresting several of the people attending it but Stevo, Sandy, Bob, Mike, and several others manage to get away. Later that night, they attend an after party and Mike apologizes to the bouncer for beating him, while Bob talks with the band, who says they will never play there again. Back in the present, Bob had been placed in quarantine due to his infection and Stevo, Sandy, and Mike go to see him on the day he is to be discharged and decide to hold a welcome home party. During the party, Stevo introduces the audience to some of the other people in his “tribe”; including Trish, the owner of a local head shop and who Bob likes, Mark, a rich man who tends to keep them in pot, Jennifer, and underage girl who looks older than she is and is tough as nails, John, a Mod who is more of a diplomat and able to move freely among the different tribes, and Eddie, a romantic at heart who likes the music but isn’t really a punk. John asks Stevo where they got the beer and he says Wyoming, prompting Stevo to explain to the audience the alcohol situation in Utah and how it is better for them to drive the 90 minutes to Wyoming to get beer as opposed to going to one of the state run liquor stores, where police officers work as cashiers and he and Bob had been harassed by the police the last time the bought beer there. When a group of rednecks show up at the party and starting with Stevo and his group, Stevo starts explaining the different “tribes” in the area; the rednecks, the punks, the mods, the neo-nazis, the heavy metal guys, and the new wavers. A week later, Stevo and Bob are at head shop that Trish owns when Mark shows up and tells them that he is leaving town and heading to Florida but he will come back one day, but Stevo says he never does and rumor is that he died in a plane crash. After Trish and Bob leave, Stevo meets up with his dad, who tells him that he sent an application to Harvard Law out for Stevo and he got accepted. Stevo rejects the application as he feels like he would be selling out just like his parents did and it goes against his anarchists beliefs. When Stevo and Sandy run into Sean, and see that he has become a beggar, Stevo starts to question his punk lifestyle but he puts it off to drop acid with Sandy. Later, Stevo and the others are at a party and Stevo catches Sandy having sex with another guy and, even though they were never an exclusive couple, he proceeds to beat up the guy. Then Stevo starts feeling like he is the only still living the lifestyle and even it is letting him down. Mike tells the group that he is heading off to Notre Dame for college, which shocks everyone. Later, Stevo is hanging out with Bob and Trish and Trish tells him that she wants to introduce him to a friend of hers named Brandy and at a party at Trish’s place, she introduces them. Brandy and Stevo talk and Brandy asks him about his dyed hair and his clothes, saying it seems like more of a fashion choice than a political policy, and Stevo actually takes her suggestion to heart and the two end up kissing. Meanwhile, Bob complains about a headache and one of the guest gives him some pills, saying they are vitamins. After Bob breaks a bathroom mirror, Stevo grabs him and takes him home, with Bob saying he is going to marry Trish as they drive home. The next morning, Stevo discovers Bob had died during the night of an overdose and he breaks down and starts crying, as he feels like he lost all of his friends. At Bob’s funeral, Stevo shows up in a suit and with a shaved head and realizes that Bob was the one who got him into the punk scene in the first place. Stevo says that he is going to go to Harvard to become a lawyer and has given up the anarchist lifestyle, with plans to marry Brandy, and as he thinks back to his youth, he says his younger self would probably kick his future self’s ass for being nothing but a poser.

SLC Punk met with mixed to positive reviews from the critics, holding a 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics all praised Matthew Lillard’s performance while calling the movie itself a fun watch. Originally, Stevo was supposed to have bleached blonde hair but the peroxide seriously burned Matthew Lillard’s scalp so they dyed it blue to hide the mess. The movie was given a limited release, earning $299,569 at the box office, and years later, a sequel would be released titled Punk’s Dead, with Devon Sawa, Michael Goorjian, Adam Pascal, and James Duval reprising their roles of Sean, Heroin Bob, Eddie, and John the Mod respectively, but Matthew Lillard and Jason Segel declined to return.

This is such a fun movie to watch, though I admit that I like the soundtrack more. The acting was good, with Matthew Lillard doing a great job as Stevo, showing a pretty wide range of emotion throughout his performance. I also liked the performance of Michael Goorjian (Bob), Jason Segel (Mike), and Annabeth Gish (Trish). The story was interesting, doing a good job of showing Stevo’s trying to figure out his life and whether he was going to stay a punk or become something else. The story felt a little off since you didn’t quite no when things were occurring during the movie, as they would sometimes go into a flashback, and then a second flashback right after that first one ended, before continuing with the present story. A fun movie and definitely worth watching.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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September 17th, 2017 Movie – The Skulls

the skulls

Ahh, the turn of the century and a time when you could actually go out on a date to the movies and get some snacks for the cost of one ticket now a days. I know in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I watched a lot of movies in the theaters, honestly more movies than I can remember off hand. I do remember going to see this movie in the theaters down in Savannah on a date with my girlfriend at the time. Even though I bought it on DVD (another Blockbuster purchase), I honestly haven’t watched this movie in years but I do remember liking this movie when I first saw it. Now let’s see if it still holds up as I watch today’s movie, The Skulls.

The plot: Luke McNamara is a local “townie” that is able to attend Yale on scholarships while also working in the cafeteria to help cover the costs. As he tries to figure out how to afford to go to law school, Luke heads to a rowing competition, where he is the captain of the team and has lead them to 3 championships. As they prepare for the race, Luke is unaware that he is being observed by two men, who are considering recruiting him to be in The Skulls. After winning the competition, Luke is celebrating at a bar with his friend/roommate Will, who is also the coxswain of the rowing team, and Chloe, who Luke has feelings towards. Will tries to convince Luke that he should tell Chloe how he feels but Luke says that he can’t, as he feels like he has nothing to offer her since she comes from a wealthy family. As Luke complains about how much all of his tuition is costing and how much he will end up and how the Skulls will supposedly help him pay for all of that if he is selected to join but Will warns him that if it’s secret, it might not always be a good thing as they walk by the Skull’s campus house. As they are eating pizza up in Chloe’s dorm room, Luke receives a phone call asking if he is ready to be reborn and instructing him to another payphone. Luke rushes off, with Will and Chloe trying to figure out where he is going, and after following a series of instructions, Luke drinks a drugged drink and ends up passing out. Luke regains consciousness and finds himself inside a coffin and finds several other people also exiting coffins. Suddenly, two hooded figures welcome the new members to The Skulls and assigns them a test to steal the mascot from a rival secret society. The group head to the society’s building and one kid, Caleb Mandrake, quickly jumps over the moat to reach the door. When he says it is locked, Luke jumps over and manages to pick the lock and the two manage to climb the tower and steal the mascot, a weather vane shaped like a python. When Luke returns to his dorm room the next morning, Will and Chloe start asking him questions about what happened but Luke says he doesn’t want to talk about it. When Will asks him point blank if he is a Skull, Luke tells him he doesn’t know but Will doesn’t believe him. The two start arguing and Chloe tries to get them to calm down but when Caleb calls for Luke, Will gets even more upset that Luke is picking his new friends over his old ones. Chloe leaves as well, looking hurt over Luke’s actions and when Luke talks to Caleb, Caleb tells him to look under his pillow and Luke finds a box containing a Skull medallion. Luke, Caleb, and the other recruits arrive at the Skull’s ritual room and are paired off into “soulmates”, with Luke and Caleb being paired together, and inducted into the Skulls by the Chairman of the order, Judge Litten Mandrake , Caleb’s father. After leaving the room, Luke heads to Chloe’s room to apologize and asks her to dinner but when he finds that he has an additional $20,000 in his bank account, Chloe realizes that he is a Skull but Luke tries to convince her to be happy for him. The next day, Luke, Caleb and the other Skulls are invited to the Skull’s island retreat and Litten introduces Luke to his soulmate, Senator Ames Levritt, who takes a liking to Luke due to their similar backgrounds and hands him a card, saying to call him if he needs anything. Luke then goes to talk with Caleb and comments on the tension between him and his father and Caleb says that Litten is ambitious and wants to be on the Supreme Court and has been trying to pass on that ambition to him but Caleb doesn’t know what he wants yet. After returning from the island, the new Skulls find gifts in the form of new cars waiting for them and they all quickly speed off. The next day, Luke sees Will in between classes and comments on his missing practice and Will tells him he is working on something secret. Elsewhere, Caleb is at boxing practice and when he heads to his car, he finds the window is smashed and someone has stolen his key to the Skull’s building. Caleb goes to find Luke and asks to borrow his key, saying he left his key inside the building, and Luke hands it to him. When Caleb gets to the ritual room, he finds Will in there taking pictures and accuses him of taking his stuff and Will admits to it and goes to hand him his key but says he doesn’t have the rule book on him. Later that night, Luke feels bad about his argument with Will and heads to the newspaper room to apologize only to find Will’s body hanging from one of the beams. The detective in charge of the case, Detective Sparrow, starts to question Luke about Will’s death but is stopped by the University Provost, Martin Lombard, and Luke leaves with Chloe, while Caleb offers his condolences. As movers are packing up Will’s stuff to send back to his home, they uncover a secret drawer in his desk and Luke realizes that Will was doing an article about the Skulls and had Caleb’s book. After the funeral, Chloe tells Luke she knew Will was doing the article but had been asked to keep it a secret and asks Luke if the story got Will killed. Luke tells her he doesn’t know but she can tell that he is not being completely honest and calls him out for lying as she leaves in tears. The next day, Sparrow talks with Luke about the case and tells him that Will had a contusion on the back of his head, indicating something violent happened before he died and that his suicide was possibly staged. At a meeting with the Skulls, the group are brought to a room to reveal their deepest secrets and Luke volunteers himself and Caleb to go first. After they are sealed into the cage and lowered into the well, Luke subtly questions Caleb about what happened to Will but Caleb refuses to answer it. Afterwards, Luke and Caleb are brought to see Litten and Litten forces Caleb to tell him the truth. Caleb explains that he went to the room and found Will taking pictures and after confronting him, they struggled and Will ended up falling and breaking his neck so he called Litten and Litten covered up the accident in order to protect his future as well as the Skulls. Luke isn’t happy about it but Litten offers him a pre-approved acceptance to any law school he wishes in order to keep the secret. Luke gets in touch with Levritt to try and figure out what he should do and Levritt give Luke the idea about checking the security tapes, as everything that happened would be recorded and comments on how the Council is putting everything into getting Litten onto a Federal Bench, as a precursor to the Supreme Court, and it would be a shame to see anything happen that would ruin his chances. Luke goes to see his old high school friends, who he used to commit crimes with, and convinces them to help him in exchange for giving them his car. They find out the tapes are switched out twice a day and try to follow where the man takes them but Luke loses him in the school’s library. When Luke returns to his room, he is attacked by Caleb, who reveals that Luke’s room is bugged, as is Caleb’s and Chloe’s, and begs Luke to stop digging into the matter. Luke goes to see Chloe and apologizes for what he has done and proceeds to tell her everything. Meanwhile, Litten calls the Council and wants to kick Luke out of the Skulls but Levritt votes against the measure until Litten pulls him aside and shows him photos of Levritt with his 19 year old mistress, blackmailing him into voting for the measure. The next day, Chloe yells at Luke in the cafeteria for writing him a letter breaking up with her and tells him to never talk to her again. After she leaves, Caleb, who was sitting behind Luke, tells him it was a good call, as he feels Luke did it to keep Chloe away from him. Luke then heads up to Chloe’s room, revealing it was an act, and after turning up the music and her shower to insure nobody can hear them, he tries to get her to stay clear of any further involvement but she tells him she is involved because she loves him, and the two embrace and kiss. That night, Luke assaults the security guard as he enters a secret room in the library and steals the tape of the ritual room from the night Will was killed. As he leaves, he is chased down by Lombard and another man but his friends, wearing masks to hide their identities, show up and beat them down, then they all escape with Chloe. Heading back to his friends’ place, they watch the tape and see Will fall and Caleb call his dad and tell him what happened. Caleb wants to call the police but Litten apparently tells him to leave the room. As the continue watching the tape, the see that Will was still alive but Lombard and his men enter and after talking with Litten, they kill him and then take the body to stage the suicide. Luke heads to the police to speak with Sparrow only to find that Caleb is there, having told Sparrow that Luke killed Will. Luke hands Sparrow the tape saying that it proves who killed Will but when Sparrow, Luke, and the D.A. watches the tape, they find it is blank and Luke realizes that Sparrow switched the tapes as he is carried off and placed into an ambulance, where he is sedated and transported to a psychiatric institute that is run by a member of the Skulls. Back at the school, Chloe goes to speak with Caleb and ask for his help in getting Luke out of the mental hospital but Caleb refuses to help her and tells her to leave and she does, but tells him that Will was still alive when he left the room. Chloe is assaulted by Lombard and his men but manages to get away from them and runs into Levritt, who takes her to the hospital. They get Luke out of the hospital and Ames tells her to tell Luke there is only one way out of this and to remind Luke that, “they live by the rules and they die by the rules.” As they leave, they are attacked by another car, which forces them off the road, causing them to crash on an unfinished railroad bridge. Lombard goes to shoot Luke but he is killed by Sparrow, who hands Luke his rule book and tells them to leave. At a motel, Luke tries to figure out what Levritt meant and when Chloe tells him about what Levritt told her, he checks the rule book and figures out what Levritt meant. Luke rows over to the island and as Litten is toasting the new Skulls on ending their Period of Revelation, Luke enters the room and challenges Caleb to a duel. Litten wants Luke to be arrested but when he is reminded that the Skulls’ laws supersede the outside laws, he offers to take Caleb’s place, only for Luke to tell him it is forbidden for the Council members to interfere when the matter concerns their kin. As they prepare to face off in the duel, Luke tries to convince Caleb to tell everyone the truth of what happened, refusing to fire on Caleb but Caleb can’t tell them, but also can’t shoot Luke. Litten grabs another pistol and prepares to shoot Luke but he is shot in the shoulder by Caleb. As everyone rushes to tend to Litten, Caleb grabs another pistol and prepares to shoot himself but he is stopped by Luke, he says it is over. Later, Luke is talking with Levritt and tells him that he knows he orchestrated things to play out as they did in order to remove Litten as Chairman. Levritt admits it and tells Luke he looks forward to working with him but Luke says he is leaving the Skulls. When Levritt says they will find him and call on him but Luke ignores him and leaves, prompting Levritt to watch him and say, “Well done son, well done”, as Luke rows back to the mainland and joins up with Chloe, who was waiting for him.

The Skulls was pretty much panned by the critics, holding a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Skulls is full of nonsense and empty of good script and plot.” The movie is based on conspiracy theories concerning Yale’s Skull & Bones Society and though the school is not mentioned by name, there are several references to Yale throughout the film, primarily them referring to the rowing team as The Bulldogs. Despite the poor reviews, the movie was a hit at the box office, earning $50.8 million off of a $15 million budget and would spawn two direct to video sequels.

Yeh, this movie didn’t quite hold up as well as I thought it would. The acting was ok, with Joshua Jackson (Luke) and Leslie Bibb (Chloe) doing a good job in their roles and showing some decent chemistry together. I also liked Craig T. Nelson (Litten) and William Petersen (Levritt) but I thought Paul Walker (Caleb) seemed rather bland. The story was honestly a little weak, with them trying to make a good suspense/thriller but basically threw a bunch of dramatic cliches up against the drawing board and hoping they would stick. The really annoying thing was the hinted familial relationship between Levritt and Luke, as they try and hint that Levritt is Luke’s dad, but waited till the end to drop that dud of a bombshell and did absolutely nothing with it. Honestly, the thing I liked the best about this movie was the soundtrack and while it can sometimes help carry a movie, that is definitely not the case this time. It might be worth watching for some people but this was really a disappointment to me.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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drama, Hitchcock, movie, movie review

September 16th, 2017 Movie – The Skin Game (1931)

the skin game

It’s Saturday morning and I am watching a classic Hitchcock movie, which means I am watching another movie from the Legends of Horror box set. As much as I am loving the movies in this box set, I am still a little annoyed that not all of the movies in it are necessarily horror movies. Take today’s movie for example. Now this is another early drama of Hitchcock’s but it had been previously done as a silent picture about 10 years earlier. Let’s see just how good of a movie The Skin Game (1931) is.

The plot: Three men head into a field and begin clearing the trees, which causes Jill Hillcrist, the daughter of a wealthy family, to grow concerned. Meanwhile, in the city, Mr. Hornblower, a businessman, is buying up properties and then forcing the people that live on the land out so he can build factories there. Some of the people go speak to Mr. Hillcrist about what is happening and he gets upset over Hornblower’s actions. When Hornblower comes over to speak with Hillcrist, Hillcrist argues with Hornblower over his kicking families out of their homes but Horblower says he needs to do this to make room for his factories, which leads to them arguing about how the other person lives their life or handles their wealth. When an auction comes up for some land that is close to the Hillcrist estate, Hilcrist and his family attend the auction to try and buy up the land. Their agent, Dawker, is instructed to try and get it for £6000, but not to go over £7000 unless he gets the signal from Hillcrist. As they wait for the auction to begin, Jill notices Hornblower’s daughter in law, Chloe, looking faint and goes to help her. As the auction commences, the price reaches £6000 and the Hillcrists’ think they have won the auction when Hornblower suddenly bids. When the price reaches £7100, Dawker stops bidding at a signal from Hillcrist but just before Hornblower wins, Hillcrist increases the bid. The bidding reaches £9000 and Hornblower refuses to go higher but as the auctioneer is about to announce Hillcrist as the winner, a third party bids £9500. Hillcrist chooses not to bid, as he feels it was worth it to keep the property out of Hornblower’s hands even if he didn’t win it himself. As they are all leaving, Dawker goes to speak with the man who placed the winning bid while Jill says she feels like Chloe looks ill because of the man. As they are about to drive off, Hornblower stops to talk with the Hillcrists and informs them that he is the winner of the property, as the man who won was his agent and since Hillcrist forced him to bid soo much on the land, he will build his factories in order to make some money off of it. Before they leave, Mrs. Hillcrist goes to speak with Dawker, who is still talking to the man, and Jill wonders what they are talking about. Mr. Hillcrist goes to find out, though his wife says he should leave it alone, and learns a secret concerning Chloe’s past before she married Charles Hornblower. Mrs. Hillcrist sends Hornblower a note to discuss Chloe’s past and Hornblower speaks with Chloe asks her if she knows what Mrs. Hillcrist is talking about but Chloe denies that there is any story and says she is probably making things up. Later that night, Chloe meets with Dawker outside the house and tells him to drop the story, offering to pay him but he refuses. When her husband Charles comes to talk with her, she asks him if he would ever leave him due to something she had done in the past but he feels like this has to do with the Hillcrists’ letter and then gets upset and says he will be happy to have the factories built so they can smoke the Hillcrists out of their homes. The next day, Jill is talking with Rolf Hornblower, as they used to be friends, but both of them choose to stand by their family’s actions and end up ending their friendship. Meanwhile, Hornblower arrives at the Hillcrist house to speak with Mrs. Hillcrist about her notes and she informs him that Chloe used to be a prostitute that was used as “the other woman” in pre-arranged divorce cases. Hornblower doesn’t believe them and gets Chloe to disprove their lies but Chloe denies it at first but when two men that she “worked” with appear, she reluctantly confirms it and begs Hornblower not to tell Charlie. Hornblower tells Chloe to go wait in the car, then asks Mrs. Hillcrist what she wants in order to keep this story secret and she tells him she wants him to sell them the land for £4500. Hornblower is outraged but agrees to the terms and swears Mrs. Hillcrist and Dawker to secrecy over the matter of Chloe’s past. That night, Chloe goes to the Hillcrist’s house and overhears Jill and Mr. Hillcrist talking about Chloe’s past and lets out a gasp, alerting them to her presence. Chloe tells Mr. Hillcrist that Charlie is coming to talk to him about the story and begs him not to tell him and Hillcrist says he won’t. Chloe then explains her past and how fortunate she was to find happiness with Charlie and is worried that he will leave her. When Charlie shows up, he demands to know what the story is and Hillcrist says it is nothing but Charlie refuses to believe him and says he will get the truth from Dawker and end his marriage with Chloe if need be. Some time later, Mrs. Hillcrist speaks with Dawker and asks what happened. Dawker explains that Charlie had come up to him and Dawker had not said anything but after Charlie threatened and goaded him, he ended up telling him the truth. Mrs. Hillcrist is upset, as it goes against their word with Hornblower but Dawker tells her that the whole village already knows there is a scandal involving the Hornblowers. Mr. Hornblower shows up and demands they return the deed to the land as they have gone back on their word, and begins struggling with Dawker to get it. Meanwhile, Chloe had drowned herself in the pond outside the Hillcrist’s house and Charlie fishes her out of the pond and brings her to the house, causing his father to stop fighting. Jill and Mrs. Hillcrist start to get some help but Hornblower refuses their help and tells Rolf to help Charlie take her body to the car. He then approaches Mr. Hillcrist and says he ruined him and his family and he hopes to be able to do the same to him or someone in his family, calling Hillcrist a hypocrite when he tries to apologize as he leaves. The Jackmans enter the house and thank Hillcrist for letting them go back to their homes but Hillcrist is still in shock over what happened and after they leave, admits that he forgot that they existed.

This was a little confusing but a decent movie for the most part. The acting was ok, with Helen Haye (Mrs. Hillcrist) and Edmund Gwenn (Mr. Hornblower) doing a good job in their roles, which were apparently reprisals of their roles from the original film. Phyllis Konstam was also good in her portrayal of Chloe, displaying a lot of emotion towards the end of the movie when she tries to get Mr. Hillcrist to lie in order to keep her secret from Charlie. The story was a little weak, trying to showcase class warfare, which is a common theme, as well as the difference between people who inherit their wealth and those who earn it but it all ended up kind of falling flat. There honestly didn’t feel like there was a lot of drama until the end of the movie and although it did it’s job in getting you to feel some emotional connection with Chloe’s pain, though it was more tragic rather than sympathetic, I honestly didn’t feel anything for anyone else in the movie. A decent movie but I would still rather watch one of his horror movies.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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drama, movie, movie review

September 14th, 2017 Movie – The Sister-In-Law

the sister in law

Another movie from the Drive-In Cult Classics box set and judging by the title and movie poster, odds are it is probably another 70’s sexploitation movie. I know I shouldn’t judge a book, or movie in this case, by it’s cover but it is kind of hard not to since a large portion of movies shown in drive-in’s were this style of movie. So I have never seen this movie or even heard of it before buying this box set. Let’s see if it is any good as I watch The Sister-In-Law.

The plot: Edward Strong carries a suitcase into a diner, hands it over to a man sitting at a table and receives an envelope in return, which he quickly pockets before leaving. Meanwhile, Edward’s brother Robert arrives at Edward’s house after traveling across the country and is greeted by Joanna, Edward’s wife. Joanna attempts to seduce Robert but is interrupted when Edward gets home but picks it back up as the three are having dinner and the next day, Robert and Joanna head to a hotel together. Some time later, Robert and Joanna are in the pool when Edward shows up with another woman, Deborah, and introduces her to Robbie. Joanna points out a man on the far side of the yard and Edward says he knows him and heads over to see him, expressing his anger over the man being there but the man said he was told to bring an envelope over to him. After the man leaves, Joanna asks about it but Edward says it is nothing so Joanna changes the subject, pointing out how Robert and Deborah seem to be getting along. Edward gets jealous and challenges Robert to some water basketball but as they are playing, he gives Robert a bloody nose, claiming it was an accident. Later, Joanna talks with Deborah alone and indicates that she knows Deborah is Edward’s mistress, which upsets Deborah. Deborah goes to Edward and asks to leave but he gets angry and goes to talk to Joanna. Robert tries talking with Deborah to find out what is going on but is interrupted by the doorbell ringing and when he answers it, he finds a man and woman standing outside asking to speak to Edward. Edward heads out to speak with them and the man reminds him that he is an employee and doesn’t make the rules so when they need to talk to him, they will get get in touch with him at their convenience, not his and Edward reluctantly agrees. As he heads back inside, he sees Joanna and Deborah shoving each other into the pool and then the two women start fighting in the pool and Edward joins Robert, who is watching them fight and comments to Edward about having the two women fighting over him. That night, Robert and Joanna sneak out to the pool for a swim and end up having sex out on the yard. The next day, Robert pays a visit to Deborah to talk to her and complains about how he never seems to get in trouble no matter what he does, upsetting Deborah when he drops a wine bottle out her window onto the street below. When Edward shows up, and Robert quickly leaves and ends up going back to the house and sleeping with Joanna. The next day, Edward is going out with Deborah when he is stopped by a man and who tells him he has to make a delivery that weekend. Edward says he can’t, as he is supposed to be in L.A. that weekend but the man says Edward has no choice. Edward talks with Robert and admits that he has gotten in deep with some people and asks Robert to deliver the package for him, telling him he can take Deborah with him. Robert reluctantly agrees and he leaves with Deborah and goes to pick up the package, then begins to head up to Canada. Back at the house, Edward and Joanna leave for L.A. and as they get in the car, Joanna asks if they know what they are carrying but when Edward doesn’t answer, she calls him a bastard. Meanwhile, Robert and Deborah open the package and discover it is drugs, which shocks them both. Deborah then points out a car that has been following them, which contains the man that gave Robert the package and another man. Robert quickly takes off and manages to lose the car following them by causing them to swerve off the road and get stuck down a hill. After driving a little further, Robert pulls over and he and Deborah walk into the woods and proceed to dump out all of the drugs by a river, then the two end up embracing and having sex in the woods. Robert then calls Edward and tells him what he did, then continues his relationship with Deborah at their hotel room. Edward gets back to town and contacts the man he works for, telling him he was responsible for the drugs being lost and the dealer says that he either needs to come up with the money or he will be killed. Edward heads to Deborah’s apartment and finds no sign of her but sees evidence that Robert and her had been there. Edward tells Joanna about what is happening and she tries to come up with some way to get him out of the country and he yells at her for sleeping with Robert. Edward talks with his agent to borrow some money to get to Paris, then calls Joanna to meet him when he sees Robert and Deborah and races across the street and confronts them. All four of them head up to Deborah’s apartment to talk and while there, Edward receives a call telling him his time is up and the contract has gone out. Edward gives Robert the keys to his Jaguar and tells him and Deborah to leave, then he and Joanna catch a cab to the airport. As they are arriving at the airport, Joanna asks Edward why he gave Robert the Jaguar but Edward doesn’t answer. Meanwhile, Robert and Deborah leave town but are soon forced off the road by the two men that were following them when they were carrying the drugs. After confirming that Robert was the one that picked up the drugs, one of the men shoots Robert repeatedly and then they leave. Deborah goes over to Robert’s body while at the airport, Edward and Joanna head off to their future.

This wasn’t quite what I expected as far as content but was exactly what I expected as far as quality. This was a very slow, boring, and at times confusing movie. The acting was ok for the most part but honestly, nobody really stood out and at times they felt kind of stiff and robotic. The story was a confusing mess because they never really explained what was going on until about 25 minutes before the movie’s end. I don’t know if it was the quality of the film used for this set but for some reason the sound didn’t sound right, as it would be quieter at some points and then go back to being louder. Not something I would recommend watching unless you are a fan of cheap 70’s movies.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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comedy, drama, movie, movie review, romance

September 13th, 2017 Movie – Singles

singles

Sometimes when I think back to the movies I loved as a teenager, I find it hard to decide on if I loved it because of the movie itself, or the soundtrack. With regards to today’s movie, I think it was pretty equal in regards to how much I enjoyed them. This movie and soundtrack came out right when I was in high school, having just moved to another state, and starting to figure out who I was going to be and both of them just appealed to me on various levels. So let’s head back and get a glimpse of the Seattle scene during the blossoming “Grunge” era as I watch today’s movie, Singles.

The plot: Linda Powell is an environmentalist living in Seattle and happy to have her own place. One day she meets Luiz, a tourist from Spain who is only in the country for a few more days. After talking with her friend Ruth about Luiz, Linda decides to make the most of her time with Luiz and starts a brief relationship with him. The night before he is supposed to leave, Luiz gives Linda a ring to remember him by and she gives him her garage door opener, her most prized possession. The next night, Linda and Ruth go out dancing and as they stop to get a drink at the bar, she sees Luiz there with another girl and when he notices her, he just shrugs his shoulders. Linda and Ruth quickly leave the club, with Linda crying once she gets outside, and the next day, Linda buys herself a new garage door opener. Steve Dunne lives in an apartment complex which caters to mostly single bedroom apartments with his friends Janet Livermore and Cliff Poncier. While Steve is contemplating his love life and decides to focus on work, Janet is seeing Cliff, who is a musician as well as doing odd jobs to help pay the bills, but Cliff is not as serious about the relationship as Janet is. One night, Steve is at a club with his friend David Bailey and he sees Linda and Ruth there. Steve approaches Linda and tries talking to her but she dismisses him and as she is leaving , he tries asking her if she would like to go somewhere else but she refuses. Steve and David leave and stop at a newsstand, where David brags about getting 20 girls’ phone numbers, when they happen to see Linda and Ruth stop at the stand and Steve and Linda end up talking. Steve calls up Linda a few days later and they meet for lunch and end up talking the entire time. That night, Linda is doing laundry at Steve’s place since her machine is broken and she asks him about his neighbors at the complex and he tells her about Cliff, Janet, David, and Debbie. As her clothes are drying, Steve invites her in to his apartment and the connect even more and almost kiss but Linda pulls back and goes to get her clothes. As she is leaving, Linda freaks out when Steve offers her a garage door opener so she can use the underground garage the next time she comes over and quickly leaves. When she gets home, she thinks back on Steve and starts to smile when Steve shows up at her place, and she kisses him and brings him inside, where they have sex. The next day, Steve is talking with David, Janet, Cliff, and Debbie about how he should handle things with Linda and they convince him not to call right away and he ends up not calling for 4 days, which upsets Linda and she breaks things off with him. Meanwhile, Janet is feeling insecure in her relationship with Cliff and decides to get a boob job. However as she is about to be prepped for the procedure, she changes her mind and decides she want Cliff to love her for who she is so she cancels the surgery, helping the doctor get more confidence in himself at the same time, and breaks things off with Cliff. Debbie decides to use a video dating service to meet someone and has Steve, Janet, Cliff, and David choose the guy she should meet. When she arranges the date, there is confusion over the location to meet and she learns that her date left a message saying he will meet her at her apartment. When she gets there, she finds her date flirting with her roommate Pam, and learns that the two have a history, and she argues with Pam about this but Pam lets Pam have the guy in exchange for $80 and her doing the dishes for a month. Meanwhile, Linda calls Steve and tells him that she is late and after they do a home pregnancy test, she confirms that she is pregnant. Steve says they should get married and after they discuss things, Linda agrees to it but when they get in a car wreck, she ends up losing the baby. When she recovers, she tells Steve that she needs to get away for a while and collect her thoughts so she heads out on an oceanic environmental trip for a month. When she returns, things are uncomfortable between them and Steve says they don’t have to go back to how they were and can start over and Linda agrees. However, Steve knows he made a mistake and tries calling her to explain that he asked her to marry him because he loved her and he wants to be with her but her answering machine eats the tape and so she doesn’t hear it. Debbie flies to Cabo and ends up sitting next to an annoying kid but when she lands, she meets the kid’s father, who compliments her on her favorite earrings and they end up falling in love. The man wants her to move to Mexico and until she is able to get a job there, he sends her flowers every day. Steve ends up losing his job at the Department of Transportation when the Mayor rejects his plans for building a super train to help relieve the city’s traffic problem. Falling into a depression over everything that happened, he starts to turn into a shut in and Janet pays him a visit and tries to convince him that things will get better. Cliff realizes that he misses Janet and tries to win her back but she tells him that she is finally over him. Linda has moved back in with her ex-boyfriend Andy but when she breaks a plate, she thinks back to her time with Steve and goes to see him. The two end up getting back together and finding a place of their own while Cliff and Janet also end up back together after they end up on an elevator together and Cliff says “Bless You” when she sneezes, which is something that Janet had wanted him to do in the past.

Singles met with positive reviews from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Smart, funny, and engagingly scruffy, Singles is a clear-eyed look at modern romance that doubles as a credible grunge-era time capsule.” The movie’s soundtrack, featuring several bands that were prominent in the upcoming Seattle music scene, came out 3 months before the movie was released and became a best selling CD. Singles was a modest hit at the box office, earning $18.5 million off of a $9 million budget.

Watching it now, I think I would have to give my appreciation to the soundtrack an edge over the movie but this is still a great movie to watch. The acting was great, with Kyra Sedgwick (Linda), Bridget Fonda (Janet), Campbell Scott (Steve), and Matt Dillon (Cliff) all doing great jobs in their roles. I will admit that it is a little sad to see Alice In Chains and Soundgarden performing in this movie, as both Chris Cornell and Layne Staley both died. The story was interesting as it kept jumping back and forth between the different people, with several times the characters would break the 4th wall and address the audience at times. I did like the relationship struggles that they presented in the movie and how they showed each characters way of dealing with their problems and resolutions. The soundtrack was amazing and is still something I listen to on a semi-regular basis, with almost all of the songs being from bands that were from Seattle or coming up in the Seattle scene. A great movie and a great soundtrack, both of which are worth watching and listening too.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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