Directed by David Zucker
Starring Matt Stone, Trey Parker, Yasmine Bleeth, Jenny McCarthy, Robert Vaughn, and Ernest Borgnine
I’m sure we’ve all heard the credentials for this movie by now: “From the director of The Naked Gun and starring the creators of South Park.” Being a fan of both, this movie instantly made my “must-see” list of movies for the summer. And let me say, this is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time.
The plot is simple enough: Coop and Reemer (Parker and Stone, respectively) are two lovable, goofy slackers. In their driveway, they invent a game called BASEketball (a nifty blend of basketball and baseball). The game is an instant hit with the whole neighborhood! Enter a Texas millionaire (Borgnine), and soon the National BASEketball League is formed, with Coop and Reemer star players, and the game sweeps the nation! Unfortunately, our Texas millionaire dies, leaving it to Coop and Reemer to keep the sport pure (in the NBL, it is illegal to trade players, move teams, and have players endorse products). Enter the villains (Vaughn, McCarthy) who want to change these rules and drive Coop and Reemer apart. Yasmine Bleeth plays the head of the Dream Come True Foundation, and Coop’s girlfriend.
That’s the plot. This movie is so funny, at times I was laughing so hard I was crying! As it is with comedies of this kind, though, there aren’t enough jokes to keep you laughing straight from beginning to end, but there are enough. Great set-pieces are the locker room scene, the entire opening shot, and the championship game. But, the best is when our heros go to the hospital to cheer up one of the sick and injured kids in the Dream Come True Foundation. Who knew those heart-paddle thingies could put out that much voltage? This movie is funny, period. Oh, and those lingerie clad cheerleaders aren’t bad either.
Saving Private Ryan
Directed by Steven Spielberg
Starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, and Tom Sizemore
When every other movie critic started calling this the greatest war movie ever made, that was the first indication that I had to go see this. Secondly, it’s Spielberg, the one whom many have declared the modern day God of movies. Thirdly, Tom Hanks, who is currently revered as the greatest actor of our time. Mix all these elements together, throw in Matt Damon for the pre-teen girls, and you get Saving Private Ryan.
For those who’ve been living in a cave and this is the first website you’ve been to, the plot is a little something like this: shortly after the D-Day invasion, it’s discovered that three of the four Ryan boys have been killed in action. The fourth, James Ryan (Damon) was a paratrooper who was last seen somewhere behind enemy lines. So, the Chief of Staff gives the order that the last Ryan boy is to be brought home to his mother. Enter Capt. John Miller (Hanks), who is selected to lead a squad of men behind enemy lines to find Ryan and take him home. What follows is a trek through the German-occupied French countryside in which the squad questions the logic of risking eight people for one. And when Ryan is found, he refuses to leave his post until his mission is complete.
This is one of the best movies ever made. The opening sequence, recreating the D-Day invasion, is amazing and sure to go down in movie history. In fact, every battle scene in the movie seems frighteningly real. Hanks gives another Oscar-worthy performance as a private man trying to cope with his surroundings. There are no appropriate words I can think of to describe this film. It is an experience, in every sense of the word. Spielberg once again shows why he is a God. Believe me, it will be remembered come Oscar time. Go see it while you can.
The Mask of Zorro
Starring Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Stuart Wilson
Directed by Martin Campbell
Who doesn’t like Zorro? An acknowledged inspiration for Batman, this is one of the first, true super-heros. So, it was only a matter of time before someone decided to do a 90’s version of his tale. And, you can tell when the summer is dragging on when your Dad wants to go see a summer blockbuster. My Dad couldn’t wait to see Mask of Zorro with me.
The movie opens with the old Zorro (Anthony Hopkins) going on one last ride. At the end of this ride, Zorro is arrested, his wife is killed, and his only daughter is kidnaped by his old enemy, the Don Raphael (Stuart Wilson). Fast forward 20 years. Old Zorro escapes from prison. Raphael returns to California with a diabolical plot: buy California from Santa Anna using gold from a mine filled with wrongly imprisoned innocents. Along the way, we meet Andreas Muenerto (Antonio Banderas), whose only brother was killed by the head of Raphael’s army. With the old Zorro wanting revenge on Raphael, and Andreas wanting revenge for his brother’s death, they team up to turn Andreas into the new Zorro. Along the way, new Zorro falls in love with old Zorro’s daughter (Catherine Zeta-Jones), whom Raphael has raised as his own.
The Mask of Zorro is one of the best movies this summer. Filled with one great sword fight after another, and brimming with stunts, this is one fast-paced, exciting film. It’s two hours long, but seems a lot shorter. Also, this film is a lot funnier than you’d expect. It has a great sense of humor about it. For example, Andreas may pick up on the swordsmanship of Zorro, but he just can’t ride his horse! And an exciting climax, taking place at the mine, where both old and new Zorros finally have their revenge. If you like any kind of action film, then you must see this! My personal favorite scene: when the new Zorro uses his newly learned abilities to go get himself a horse. It’s funny, action-packed, and a just a good time.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Liv Tyler, and one huge Asteroid
Directed by Michael Bay
Bear with me. It’s been more than a month since I’ve seen this film, so I have to struggle to remember details. It was a couple days after my birthday. There I was in the darkened theater. It was your typical weekday matinee. Only about 6 people. And all I knew about this film was that Entertainment Tonight predicted it to be the big #1 movie of the summer. And, being a devout physics student, I had to see if half of these scientific inaccuracies were true.
I’m sure we all know the plot by now. An asteroid the size of Texas is heading towards earth, and NASA’s solution is to send a crew of deep drillers to land on the asteroid, drill to it’s center, and plant a nuclear bomb to split the asteroid in two. Bruce Willis plays the leader of the top drilling team in the world. Ben Affleck is his right-hand-man/protégé. Liv Tyler is Bruce’s daughter, whom Ben has the hots for. We follow these guys from when they learn they are the world’s last hope, through their training, to those last hurried minutes on the surface of the asteroid. There’s the tension between Bruce and Ben because Bruce doesn’t want Ben dating Liv. And I’ll tell you, as a physics student, I was so caught up in the plot I didn’t care about the scientific inaccuracies.
This movie just plain kicks butt in all respects! The special effects rock! The score is rocking! And it’s from the people who gave us The Rock and Con Air, so you know it will deliver. Bruce Willis has always been the action hero in my books ever since I first saw Die Hard. I mean, this movie even has a plot. You’ll even get misty-eyed when one of our heros has to make that heroic sacrifice. I loved it just as much as I loved Godzilla. This is one summer blockbuster that is guaranteed not to disappoint. Go see it today!