I figure Will Ferrell owes me $14.50 and an apology.
That’s how much I paid for the Little Woman and myself to see his latest film, “Land of the Lost.”
Halfway through this disaster that was inappropriately labeled a comedy, people were walking out of the theater.
“Do you want to go?” my wife asked.
“No way,” I said. “We’re watching this piece of crap to the bitter end.”
There was not one funny line in the entire movie. Not one.
At no point during this horrible, horrible film was there even a chuckle in the theater.
This was the absolute worst movie I have ever seen in a theater. I’m not saying it was the worst movie of all-time, but if there is a cinematic god, it will rank in at least the top 50.
The New York Post review about the film, which reportedly carried a price tag of more than $100 million to make, said, “(The movie) does not seem aimed at any identifiable demographic except fans of bad movies.”
I could not have said it better.
And what was really disappointing is I like Will Ferrell movies. Some I have actually loved in a man-hug sort of way.
To even mention this movie in the same breath as “Old School,” “Anchorman,” “Semi-Pro,” “Talladega Nights” or a half-dozen others is akin to comic blasphemy.
BEST MOVIES I HAVE SEEN IN RECENT MONTHS:
1. Twilight: I can’t wait until the sequel comes out in November. Hopefully, the vampires will be playing baseball again.
2. Taken: Tremendous action picture, and with a heart, too.
3. He’s Just Not That Into You: OK, so maybe it was a chick flick, but it was still a great movie.
“I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball … and it’s never boring.”
– Annie Savoy a.k.a. Susan Sarandon, “Bull Durham”
We’re getting oh-so close to the start of baseball season, which means it’s time for that annual rite spring, the discussion about the best-ever baseball movie.
For me, it’s always a toss-up between “Bull Durham” and “Field of Dreams.” What’s better, Susan Sarandon’s opening soliloquy about the church of baseball in “Bull,” or James Earl Jones’ tribute to the national pastime in “Dreams”? (Sorry, I couldn’t find a You Tube video on Sarandon’s soliloquy.)
While you’re thinking about that, here’s my top 10 favorite baseball films:
1. Field of Dreams (1989): The surreal feel of the film has always lifted it above the rest. Not only is it the best baseball movie ever made, it is one of the finest overall films ever. The beauty of “Fields” is you don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy it. To truly appreciate it, however, you need to love and respect the game for what it is and what it means. Football and basketball are games. Baseball is a passion.
2. Bull Durham (1988): The baseball characters portrayed by Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins are fabulous, but it is Susan Sarandon’s Annie Savoy who makes this move the classic it is. I’ve often wondered what might happen if some enterprising director could combine the intracies of both “Bull” and “Fields” into one film what the end product might be.
3. Major League (1989): Only a born and bred Cleveland Indians could truly appreciate this movie when it came out. Six years after its release when the Indians won their first pennant in 41 years, you have no idea how many times this movie was viewed over and over in the homes of Tribe fans. Take my word for it.
4. Fever Pitch (2005): Surprised you, eh? I fell in love with this Jimmy Fallon-Drew Barrymore film four years ago. My wife, who doesn’t know an infield fly from a Tse Tse fly, even enjoyed it.
5. A League of Their Own (1992): Geena Davis, Lori Petty and Madonna received all the pre-release hype, but it was Tom Hanks and Jon Lovitz that put this film over the top.
6. Pride of the Yankees (1942): I’ve seen this movie a dozen times, and I still have to wipe away a tear at the end.
7. The Natural (1984): I’ve alwys thought Paul Newman should have been in this movie with Robert Redford, a kind of sports version of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”
8. Eight Men out (1988): John Cusack led a big-league cast in this expose of the Black Sox Scandal of 1919.
9. Bad News Bears (1976): Has it really been 33 years since we first watched this? None of the sequels were worth a hoot, but the original was simply marvelous.
10. The Winning Team (1952): Ronald Reagan as Grover Cleveland Alexander. Predictable. Full of cliches. And extremely enjoyable.
And now for the indvidual Stevie Awards for the best all-time baseball movies:
The Stevie for the Best Actor: 1. Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams; 2. Walter Matthau, Bad News Bears; 3. Gary Cooper, Pride of the Yankees.
The Stevie for Best Actress: 1. Susan Sarandon, Bull Durham; 2. Drew Barrymore, Fever Pitch; 3. Teresa Wright, Pride of the Yankees.
The Stevie for Best Supporting Actor: 1. James Earl Jones, Field of Dreams; 2. Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own; 3. Tim Robbins, Bull Durham.
The Stevie for Best Supporting Actress: 1. Amy Madigan, Field of Dreams; 2. Doris Day, The Winning Team; 3. Lori Petty, A League of Their Own.
We’re beginning something new here today. It’s the start of our Pop Culture Hall of Fame.
Every so often, we’ll induct five personalities from all walks of life. On each of these occasions, we’ll induct one representative from music, the movies, athletics, television, politics and culture in general. The only prerequisite is each must have had an impact on our society and their specialty.
Our first class of inductees:
Music: Bruce Springsteen Comment: I’ll always remember The Boss for two things: 1. He is the only musician to ever appear simultaneously on the covers of Time and Newsweek magazines. 2. No one, repeat no one, has ever given his audiences more in a concert. I once saw him in Cincinnati, and he and the E Street Band played for four hours.
Movies: Paul Newman Comment: Women loved him, men wanted to be him. And he never made a bad movie. It’s almost impossible to pick a favorite Newman film, but I might lean toward “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Newman and Robert Redford were magic.
Athletics: Jackie Robinson. Comment: What Jackie Robinson endured in 1947 should never be forgotten. His story should be required reading for every schoolboy and every schoolgirl. Jackie Robinson’s journey was not simply about baseball, it was about life, it was about America, and in the end … it was about the nation we would become. The key words are would become, because we are still a work in progress.
Politics: John F. Kennedy. Comment: Love him or resent him, JFK and Camelot were important elements of our history and helped shape how we will forever view the 1960s. More than 45 years following Kennedy’s death, he remains a popular conversation topic. I remember like it was yesterday when my third-grade teacher walked into the classroom and told us the president had been shot.
Television: Carroll O’Connor Comment: His Archie Bunker character on “All in the Family” helped redefine a generation. It not only changed how we look at ourselves but at our entire nation. During those first few seasons of the show, if you are old enough to remember, it was the equivalent of “shock and awe” during every Saturday night telecast. And then I think most everyone slowly began to realize that creator Norman Lear was going for more than laughs and ratings. A message was there, too.
Culture: J.K. Rowling Comment: Her most important contribution to our pop culture through those Harry Potter books may have been creating the interest in those millions of kids to read. That should not be overlooked.
Drop me a line with any suggestions for future “inductions.”
Eastwood is one of the last, true living legends of American film we have left. His career has spanned parts of seven decades, and he shows no signs of slowing down. I have all seen all but a handful of Eastwood's widespread releases, and most of those are ones he only had small roles in during the early part of his career.
My favorite Eastwood films:
1. GRAN TORINO (2008): I cannot even begin to tell you what a masterpice this is for Eastwood, as both a director and actor. It is an amazing, amazing film.
2. THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY (1995): You were expecting "Dirty Harry?" Sorry, but Eastwood was amazing in this film. Made him seem more human than in any of his previous movies.
3. ALL "DIRTY HARRY" MOVIES (1971-1988): It's impossible to separate these, plus I've seen each of them at least a half dozen times. I thought "The Dead Pool" was especially intriguing.
4. THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES (1976): I remember the hype for this movie unbelievable in its day, and the movie certainly did not disappoint. Most of Eastwood's westerns were far, far superior to anything featuring John Wayne. Wayne may have had the more famous cowboy persona, but Eastwood had the better films.
5. PALE RIDER (1985): This was Eastwood's first western in almost 10 years. The wait was well worth it.
6. THE GAUNTLET (1977): His finest film featuring Sondra Locke.
7. UNFORGIVEN (1992): Another Eastwood film that generated tremendous pre-release hype and again proved worthy. Eastwood was probably the only actor at the time who could have been involved in a western and had it be a success.
8. TIGHTROPE (1984): This detective film also featured talented French actress Genevieve Bujold.
9. EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE (1978): Eastwood's memorable Philo Beddoe character was a huge box office hit at the time but would be even bigger today. It would have tied in nicely with the UFC fighting craze.
10. ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN (1980): The sequel to No. 9 was one of the most anticipated follow-ups in that particular decade.
Wondering out loud: Was Eastwood a better cowboy or detective?
Comment: No, I did not forget Eastwood's "spaghetti westerns." I simply did not care for them that much.
My 10 favorite Eastwood quotes, in no particular order:
• "I like the libertarian view, which is to leave everyone alone. Even as a kid, I was annoyed by people who wanted to tell everyone how to live."
• "I love every aspect of the creation of motion pictures and I guess I am committed to it for life."
• "Plastic surgery used to be a thing where older people would try to go into this dream world of being 28 years old again. But now, in Hollywood, even people at 28 are having work done. Society has made us believe you should look like an 18-year-old model all your life. But I figure I might as well just be what I am."
• "Most people who'll remember me, if at all, will remember me as an action guy, which is OK. There's nothing wrong with that. But there will be a certain group which will remember me for the other films, the ones where I took a few chances. At least, I like to think so."
• "In 'The Bridges of Madison County,' Robert Kincaid's (character was) a peculiar guy. Really, he's kind of a lonely individual. He's sort of a lost soul in mid-America. I've been that guy."
• "When I was doing ('The Bridges of Madison County') I said to myself, 'This romantic stuff is really tough. I can't wait to get back to shooting and killing.'"
• "This film cost $31 million. With that kind of money, I could have invaded some country."
• "They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning."
• "Maybe I'm getting to the age when I'm starting to be senile or nostalgic or both, but people are so angry now. You used to be able to disagree with people and still be friends. Now you hear these talk shows, and everyone who believes differently from you is a moron and an idiot – both on the right and the left."
• "I've actually had people come up to me and ask me to autograph their guns."