Category Archives: Movie reviews

Bad Teacher; A Movie Going Experience…….

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more movie theater outings! While some people may salivate over an extravagant dinner, or a luxurious visit to a day spa, one of my very favorite leisure time activities is heading to the Cineplex. It’s criminal; the last time I went to the show was over spring break to see Win, Win, which really was outstanding, but that was months ago. This week I finally got a double movie theater dose.


My mom is a total gamer. She really wanted to share the Bridesmaids movie going experience with Amanda and me. I flinched for a moment, realizing that it’s rated “R”, but I rationalized; she’s in high school, has an older brother headed off to college, has seen Superbad and the Hang Over, is straight as an arrow and has cable. So, what’s a little potty talk? Sadly, however, there were no good coming attractions and the movie was a real stinker. We should have seen Mr. Popper’s Penguins instead (which was not rated “R”).


Fast forward to Friday night; at 6pm, it became apparent that we were presented with a rare gift; an evening free from obligation. Amanda quickly downloaded a Show Time’s App (which was also free) to my new I-Phone to check out the possibilities. Totally one to love to be in the know, I wanted to be amongst the first to see the newly released Bad Teacher. Chuck winced when I suggested we take Amanda with us, but I reasoned, well what the heck, she’s already seen Bridesmaids……  


For me, the coming attractions are a huge component in the success of the movie going experience.  We were batting 1,ooo (love, love, love baseball talk) with decent looking movies;

  • The Change Up: Starring my super cutie pie boyfriend, Ryan Reynolds, and the nearly as delightful, Jason Bateman, as best friends leading completely different life styles; Ryan is a free wheeling single, while Jason is a dedicated family man. It’s a Freaky-Friday meets fraternity brother’s tale of two friends who mysteriously switch bodies, learning life lessons during their quest to switch them back. I’ll see it at the show, because I’ll see almost anything starring Ryan Reynolds (though that one where he is buried alive in a box may have to wait for cable).


  • What’s Your Number?: While Anna Faris is hardly an Academy Award winning actress, and I’ve only really seen her in Just Friends (starring…..Ryan Reynolds), she seems to be absolutely charming in her latest venture. Anna stars as young woman who revisits her past relationships in search of the one that got away. Looks like a pretty good chick flick. Lucky for Chuck; he may get a pass on this one (I’ll bet he wishes he’d been as lucky with Black Swan. I’m still apologizing.)


  • Warrior: Although I am the mother of a life long hockey player, I’m not a big fan of violent sports. However, I must confess that Warrior looks pretty good, maybe this years; The Fighter. It’s the story of how two estranged Mixed Martial Arts fighting brothers end up in the ring participating in the fight of their lives. Hopefully it’s a major comeback for perennially favorite Nick Nolte (I’ve loved him since North Dallas Forty and 48 Hours).


  • 50/50: While the journey of a cancer survivor doesn’t sound too funny, it appears that 50/50 brings poignant humor to the story of a young man that is told he has a 50/50 chance of surviving his cancer diagnosis. I am most familiar with its star, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, from Angels in the Outfield (this is what happens when you have children) and Inception, and I always love the off beat humor of the ever likable Seth Rogan. I’ll definitely bring my hankie along with my stash of bottled water and Hershey’s chocolate bars to the Cineplex when 50/50 hits theaters in September.


  • 30 Minutes or Less: The Classic tale of two dim-witted criminals who kidnap a pizza delivery man, strap a bomb to his chest and demand that he rob a bank on their behalf. Danny McBride (who I totally don’t get, but my Nick thinks is hilarious) and Jesse Eisenberg (of Adventureland (also starring……Ryan Reynolds) and The Social Network fame) star. If I’m desperate for entertainment the day of its release on August 12, I’ll definitely see the early-bird show.


With all of the great previews, we were totally psyched for Bad Teacher! Cameron Diaz stars as Elizabeth Halsey, a foul-mouthed, gold digging, junior high school teacher who gets surreptitiously dumped by her sugar daddy. Forced to return to her teaching position, she believes that the only way to land her next sugar daddy is with a set of DD’s.  Diaz spends the remainder of the movies plotting and scheming ways to raise the necessary funds for her plastic surgery and hitting on Justin Timberlake, a wholesome substitute teacher with a lot of dough. Cameron Diaz is such a naughty potty talker that she might very well be the perfect match for Billy Bob Thornton (I LOVE him) in Bad Santa. While she may have been completely unsympathetic, Diaz was obscenely funny. If you’re up for a couple of hours of raunchy silly humor, you’ll love Bad Teacher!



More popcorn, more visits to the Cineplex, more coming attractions, more movies……



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Spring Break Movie Review: It’s A WIN WIN!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more entertaining movies over spring break! While the kids are away, the parents can play. We are a movie loving people, but with a busy family that needs to be driven here, or would like to have 6 friends over for dinner there, it can be nearly impossible to eak out time to head over to the Cineplex. Faced with a little free time, Chuck and I whipped out the movie section of the Sunday paper to check out what was playing on the big screen.

I really owed Chuck big after asking him to sit through The Black Swan. He is a good sport of mammoth proportion, because after all of that acclaim, Black Swan was a real stinker. No, this time, I had to pick a winner. I was so disappointed after perusing the selections. There was virtually nothing good to see. I was kind of up for Paul with Simon Pegg (of Run, Fatboy, Run fame), but that seems more like a movie that we might enjoy with Nick, as it is from the same makers as Superbad. If we had a little one in tow, I would totally have seen Rango, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or Gnomeo and Juliet, but, alas, we were childless. There were a few extremely dumb looking teenie-bopper movies (a great big NO THANKS. Somehow I have managed never to have seen High School Musical I, II or III. No reason I should backslide now).

How incredibly disappointing! The only movies left were Limitless with Bradley Cooper. I didn’t like him in The Wedding Crashers because he was mean to Vince Vaughn, so that kind of ruins him for me in other movies. Plus, his character was despicable in He’s Just Not That Into You. After I heard Matthew “Do you want me to take my shirt off?” Mc Conaughey remark in an interview that he hadn’t been in the courtroom since A Time To Kill,  it made me have no interest in seeing his latest legal drama, The Lincoln Lawyer. I thought, “You do know you’re not actually an attorney, don’t you?” Clearly you are smoking way too much….cannabis. Then there was Matt Damon’s The Adjustment Bureau, but I’m more of a Ben Affleck gal. Ben was great in The Town and you can see it in the comfort of your own home now On Demand.


The one movie that I did want to see was WIN WIN with Paul Giamatti, but it was only playing in three theaters in the entire Chicago-land area! Normally, this would be a real deal breaker for us, but since we are home alone, with no one to consider but ourselves, we decided….Road Trip.

WIN WIN is the delightful story of a down on his luck attorney, Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti), who also happens to be the coach a fledgling high school wrestling team. Through a series of events, a young boy named Kyle (played beautifully by new comer Alex Shaffer) comes into the Flaherty’s lives, where Mike and his wife Jackie (Amy Ryan) welcome him into their home. As they help him sort out his troubles, they discover that Kyle is an amazing wrestler who joins Mike’s team. Kyle’s arrival makes an interesting impact on all of their lives. Both Jeffrey Tambor (who makes me cringe) and Bobby Cannavele (who played Vince, Will’s boy friend, On Will and Grace, and is darling) costar. WIN WIN is a total feel good that was absolutely worth the drive into the city (and paying for parking)!!

More road trips, more free time, more popcorn, more great movies……        

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I’m Not Pulling Any Punches…. The Fighter is a Knock Out!

Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more entertainment this holiday season! While I love walking the course with my Nick while he plays a round of golf, cheering on his hockey team (anything can happen at the face off), and watching Amanda and her teammates compete floor, vault, bars and beam, there is something comforting about sitting in a dark theater, popcorn and licorice in hand, losing yourself in a great picture.

We are a movie loving family, so getting to the show is a real treat. Of course, with family life being so hectic and complicated, we go weeks, sometimes months, at a time without a proper movie fix. Being the parents of busy teenagers certainly doesn’t allow for much free time. Apparently, we have a revolving front door; kids and friends are forever meandering in and out. And we love every minute of it! That’s the thing though; you’re on call 24/7. They require constant supervision. When the kids were little, it was so much easier. Every weekend, our Mary Poppins would pal around with Frick and Frack, as Chuck affectionately referred to them, so we could make our escape. Ah, to feel human!

This past Saturday night, Chuck and I had a pretty sweet deal. Amanda was on an overnight-in-Chicago-adventure with Rosebud, while Nick was at his pals to watch the big game (whatever that was). Wrigley can be relied upon not to have a gaggle of fiends over while we’re out, but he’s iffy on staying away from the Christmas tree. We decided to take our chances.


At the top of my list was The Fighter (not too unlike The Wrestler, which was also amazing. I was totally pulling for Mickey Rourke to win the Academy Award two years ago. That Sean Penn has more than enough awards, and FYI; Milk was so boring! Besides, he’ll always be Jeff Spicoli to me.). Mark “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch” Wahlberg turns out a completely solid and heartfelt performance as “Irish” Micky Ward, a down on his luck junior welterweight boxer. Poor Micky doesn’t stand much of a chance with his mother, Alice Ward, as his manager and his has been, crack addicted brother, Dicky Eklund, as his trainer. Christian Bale (a fantastic Batman, though Michael Keaton still gets my vote. You know I’m a sucker for nostalgia.) is remarkable in his portrayal of the troubled Dicky.  

The only other boxing movies I’ve ever seen were Rocky (the entire franchise. Yo Adrienne.)  and Raging Bull. Plus I did see the play Billy Elliot, but that probably doesn’t count. I’m not a huge fan of all the violence in boxing (this from the mother of a hockey player), but the essence of the story is the triumph of the human spirit. It was absolutely inspiring. I am, however, easily distracted and loved listening to their Boston accents. I kept hoping they would say, “I pah-cked the cah in Hah-vad yahd” or “Nomah Gah-cia-Pah-ra.” But, no such luck. I had to settle for a rare two hours, well spent, at the movies.

More nights out, more amazing movies, more awe inspiring entertainment…..

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Bruce Willis has me seeing RED!

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…..more movie matinees! I’m afraid it seems as though it has been about 100 years since we have been to the movies, which is a shame because we are a movie going people. Our first apartment was above a five screen movie theater in Chicago’s South Loop (right by the police station at 11th and State). It was nothing short of awesome!

Seriously, the last time we went to the show was over the summer where we saw The Other Guy’s (which was pretty funny), starring Will Ferrell and Mark Whalberg. For us though, that is just way too long in between movie going experiences. Here’s the dilemma; when you have teenagers, you must always be available for carpooling, dropping off and picking up at a moment’s notice. The big car needs to be gassed up and ready to go whether you’re transporting two kids, or six, to parts near and far. Always on high alert, you must be ready to open your home for one pal or a party, and be prepared to almost never go out again, as you certainly cannot leave teenagers unattended. Other parents tend not to like that very much and neither do we. In the meantime, life for Chuck and me can be pretty boring. We decided to satisfy our movie going addiction by sneaking in a Saturday matinee. 

What to see, what to see? Our Nick suggested Paranormal Activity II (no way) or Jack Ass 3-D (not a chance, though Steve-O did win my heart on Dancing with the Stars, and I do like Johnny Knoxville when I see him on Late Night TV interviews. I’m just not loving their whacky hi-jinks and I’m pretty sure most of them have lost some of their teeth, along with most of their brain cells). Chuck wanted to see Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps (we saw the original Wall Street the day it came out back in 1987), but he reasoned that it had been out so long it would likely be on DVD soon enough. We then debated over Social Network and RED, but I don’t care if Justin Timberlake brought Sexy Back, I’m all about Bruce Willis. Ultimately, there was no contest…RED it was.


Now you know what a sucker I am for nostalgia and RED had it in spades!

Bruce Willis portrays retired CIA operative, Frank Moses, who is having a difficult time adjusting to life as a civilian. It seems the only bright spot in his day is chatting on the telephone with his crush, Mary-Louise Parker (of Weeds), about his retirement checks. When out of nowhere, a huge group of assassins turn up in the middle of the night, and try to kill him. What could they have possibly been thinking? This is Bruce Willis we’re talking about here. He’s cooler than cool and no one rocks a weapon better. Bruce is at his charming, self-deprecating, wise talking, gun slinging, action hero best! Though I suppose I am a biased fan, I even liked Hudson Hawk, The Whole Nine Yards and most recently, Cop Out.     

It appears that someone is out to kill him, so he whisks off to Kansas City to pick up Mary-Louise Parker (which is a surprise to her, as they had never met before in person) for safe keeping. When she protests, he simply ties her up with Duck Tape and keeps moving. He is retired CIA after all.

Soon it becomes clear that Frank needs to get “the band” back together; all the other agents tagged RED (Retired and Extremely Dangerous). Truly, how dangerous could Morgan Freeman (who will always be from the Electric Company to me) and Dame Helen Mirren really be?  Though I am going to call John Malkovich out as crazy, because he always plays crazy. Remember him as the bad guy in In The Line of Fire? For some reason, in RED, I felt that he was channeling a little Detective Wojciehowicz from Barney Miller, but I get easily distracted by such things.

Retired or not, I’ll give them that they sure did cover a lot of territory; Kansas City, New Orleans, NYC, Pensacola, Mobile, Langley, Chesapeake, Chicago. I don’t think Thelma and Louise logged as many miles! They strong armed, out smarted and Duck Taped their way across the country. At one point Mary-Louise Parker commented, “You can’t just go around Duck Taping everyone.” (Oh, but there are so many uses for Duck Tape, see my previous blogs: and  )

With all of the former CIA operatives on board it was time to out smart the bad guys. Along the way they run into Ernest Borgnine (of Mc Hale’s Navy fame) and the ever charming Richard Dreyfus (“I-don’t-like-the-panties-hanging-on-the-rod!” Goodbye Girl). How fun is that?

The most fun about the whole RED experience is that the good guys prevail, in an entertaining and action packed adventure!

More matinees, more time with my honey, more popcorn and more Bruce Willis…..

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