Archive for December, 2004

Ladder 49 (2004)

Rothe Blog Ladder 49Three and a Half Stars

I am not sure what I really thought of this movie. It stars John Travolta and he does an excellent job like usual, but it also has Joaquin Phoenix who I haven’t ever really liked in any movie I have seen him in. He was pretty strong in this movie, but there was something else about the movie that buggs me.

Maybe it is the fact that any movie that deals heavily with Firefighters I always compare to the great Backdraft with Kurt Russell and Robert Dinero. This movie, the predictable kind of happens throughout the movie. The development of Joaquin’s character is created backwards, after an accident early on in the movie has him recollect on his time as a firefighter. There are deadly accidents that occur to some of his friends, and there is happiness with him getting married and starting a family.

But it is the end that is very sad, and actually, not particularly shocking but at the same time, the movie doesn’t fulfill your desire to have the good guys always win, and they aren’t infallible.

See this movie for John Travolta and the incredible 100 story fire that Ladder 49 has to battle, but don’t expect anything that hasn’t already been done, and anything that will come close to Backdraft from 14 years earlier.

Meet the Fockers (2004)

Rothe Blog Meet The FockersThree Stars

I went to see this movie primarily because of Sarah’s parents. I had seen Meet the Parents and didn’t see what the big deal was. I don’t really like painful movies, where the main character goes through some major struggle just for trying to be the good guy. But Sarah’s parents laugh their heads at Meet the Parents, where usually they are pretty contained, or asleep at any other movie.

So over Christmas break we went and saw the follow up to the original. I think that this movie was kind of the same idea. Jack (Robert Dinero) still doesn’t completely trust Greg (Ben Stiller) and as a result, he gets into really painful situations, from teaching the baby to say a very bad word, to his eccentric parents showing off his foreskin and then dropping it in the fondue.

Everyone around me keeps saying, “It wasn’t as good as the first” “It was just the same old thing.” And I say, “What is wrong with that?”

The reason that the first movie was so good, was that it was unexpected. At the time, the pairing of Ben Stiller and Robert Dinero in a comedy shocked everyone. The problem with this movie was that it had expectations from people coming in to be the same experience, when in fact it could never be.

But they did come up with even more bizarre situations and continued on in the theme where it seemed believable and you just could barely watch but had to know what would happen. It was funny, and it used the same formula of success from the first one, and was probably more funny. It is just too bad that everyone could have just forgotten all about the first one, and came in with no expectations. This movie would have blown their minds too.

Bourne Identity (2002)

Rothe Blog Bourne IdentityFour and a Half Stars

We loved this movie when we saw it for the first time earlier this year, and it is one of those movies that gets better each time you see it.

When we rented this movie, we didn’t have any expectations. It had kind of slipped through the cracks of my “To Watch” movie list and we just got it on a whim. We were blown away.

Matt Damon plays a black ops agent that, at the beginning of the movie, can’t remember who he is or where he came from. The story is told through his eyes as he finds clues and makes a friend in a lowly American gypsy girl. They piece his clues back together all the way back to Paris, but not without major resistance.

Matt Damon, or Agent Jason Bourne, is the number one and his creators can’t just let him go without a fight. High speed chases in little cars through the streets of Europe, blinding fight scenes between trained killers, and a believable performance by Damon as this driven, calculating, confused killer trying to figure out what he was and what to do with that knowledge.

The movie comes to an end when Jason Bourne kills off another agent who is hunting him, (Clive Owen) and then turns and becomes the hunter to set things straight and make sure he is left alone.

Action, espionage, dark secrets, with a just a dash of lust, a great popcorn movie that doesn’t ever make you say, “Yeah, Right”.

How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days (2003)

Rothe Blog How To Lost A GuyThree and a Half Stars

I can remember seeing previews for this movie and thinking that it looked like one of the stupidest movies ever made. Over Christmas break we had a lot of relaxing time so we popped this in for free and gave it a chance. I actually laughed my head off.

The movie is about a quirky girl who works for a fashion magazine that is writing an article on how to do all of the classic dating mistakes to scare off of a guy in ten days. On the other end, is a guy who owns an ad agency that is trying to land a large diamond account and work his way into advertising for the world of jewelry. He makes a deal to prove how much he understands women, that he could make a woman of someone else’s choosing fall in love with him in ten days. With some insider information, he has this very girl picked for him.

The rest of the movie is all of the terribly awkward types of things that could happen in a serious relationship, from calling too much, to barging in on guy’s night, to buying pets together, they’re all there. I about busted a gut seeing all of these things, and Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey were the perfect leads of cute and southern charm.

Fun movie with a girly ending, I think that you can watch this if you are a secure guy, and laugh at all of the crap he puts up with to win a bet.

Basic (2003)

Rothe Blog BasicThree and a Half Stars

This movie came highly recommended from my co-workers, and when I found it on the shelves, I was surprised that I had never heard of it before with stars like John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson.

That said, I thought this movie was ok. It had a whole bunch of twists where you never knew which way was up, and to tell you the truth, by the end I was so turned around that I didn’t really care.

The basic jist is that Samuel L. Jackson is an un liked Navy Seal officer who is killed and John Travolta is trying to find out who did it. There is corruption in the ranks, drug trafficking, and everyone’s favorite, a graphic scene of vomiting blood from Giovoni Risbi (Who did an excellent job).

Engaging, but I wouldn’t watch it again. I just can’t turn anything away with John Travolta in it.

David Wray’s Christmas Party

Rothe Blog David Wray Christmas Party 1
Rothe Blog David Wray Christmas Party 2
Rothe Blog David Wray Christmas Party 3
Rothe Blog David Wray Christmas Party 4

Just for starters, look at the Lightsaber replica, metal handle and real swishing and clashing sound effects included. I thought that this photo, with the limitations of my dinky digital camera considered, was a cool one with the glow.

Oh, and the photo of the three of us is from David, thanks man. But I had a choice with another photo, and I chose this one because that way I won’t get grief from a certain someone about her sleeve falling down. Even though I look like a total loser.

Anyway. Christine and I were invited to this party during the Mid Ohio Convention the last weekend of November. I didn’t at the time know if we would hear back from David or not, but he was true to his word and we got his information about his little Christmas get together about a week later.

However, I had had a heck of a weekend with driving the prior weekend in Michigan and didn’t really feel like driving to Kentucky then the next weekend, and Christine was gracious enough to drive. She was pumped about going, and even though I was a little on the fence, her excitement is pervasive and will envelope you.

We left on time and actually the drive was a little less than 2 hours so that was a nice surprise. We got there five minutes early and we among the first couple of people there, but most of the crowd came soon after.

David’s house is crazy awesome, and not just from a geek standpoint. Two story brick with a basement, if it wasn’t dark out I would have taken a photo. Needless to say that he does real well for himself.

David also is an awesome host. From my personal standpoint, I went being a little nervous that I wouldn’t know anyone and if I would be in an outgoing mood or an introvert mood and how much that affects my time. But from the time we walked in the door he made sure we were accounted for, how we were enjoying ourselves, if we had some drinks, etc. Soon, we saw more familiar faces from the convention and we were up and rolling.

David’s house is immaculate, and I don’t think that it is just a party setting. He is a rare Type-A comic guy personality. He had many of his commissioned art pieces around his house and I even have a photo of one above. That is a Superman by Alex Ross that David actually had signed by Ross. The nice thing about Ross is that he isn’t too stylized, and has been somewhat mainstream (See Oscars from about two years ago) so the general audience can appreciate his craft.

My sister’s graduation Part 2

Rothe Blog Visiting Czinders

Let’s see, where was I. We just got done with the terrible service for dinner at Kruse Muer in Grand Blanc Michigan.

My friend Jen from Midland met us at the restaurant and after we said our goodbyes to extended relatives, we led Jen back to the Czinders house in Flint.

All five of us hung out and caught up, had some more drinks and had a great time. I learned all about the fun of Lonestarrunner.com, a flash animation site that has all sorts of silly humor with it’s leading character Strong Bad. Jen and I loved that, and think we may one day have to do something similar and make lots of money. Lonestarrunner.com makes all sorts of money from merchandising and stuff. Wouldn’t that be a sweet ticket?

We stayed up until about 2:30, but not before we had gotten out Super Mario for the Super Nintendo and played that for over two hours. We kept switching turns and it was funny to watch the girls play without any success. Jen couldn’t figure out in those two hours how to make Mario jump without spinning. Good times. Jen actually left and drove home after all of that!

The next morning:

We got up at a decent time and decided to go out to Bob Evans for breakfast. But the night before Sarah and I had some problems getting gas in her car we thought as a result of a deposit problem we had over the last week. So we had to go to the bank first and see if we could clear that up. We waited in line forever, and then when we asked, it seemed that everything was fine. So that was frustrating to have wasted all that time.

While we were in line we had this crabby old lady walk in. Now, I am not making the generalization about older women. This lady seriously walked in, looking at the four of us standing there, and said in the most old crotchety voice you could ever imagine, “How many people does it take to make a transaction at the bank?” While I was talking to Thomas and turned around she actually tried to edge her way in front of us, so I made sure that I got back in line and then she looked at us and asked us the same question again. We were just standing there. Ah well, anything to know that I brightened up someone’s day just a little bit.

After all that we didn’t have time for Bob Evans because Andrea had to work, so we got some donuts at Tim Horton’s, took this picture and called it a day. Sarah and I had to go back to the apartment because she packed something where she forgot she packed it, thinking we left it at their place. So after a ton of useless driving and time wasting, we got on the road just before 1 p.m. and made the long drive back to Grand Haven.