Tag Archives: Vince Vaughn

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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Chicago Blackhawks Win the Stanley Cup…Need I say More?

Imagine that you are enjoying the musical stylings of the Fratellis playing Chelsea Dagger (or link here now):

Philadelphia Flyer, Chris Pronger, is to the Chicago Blackhawks as Syracuse Bulldogs, Ogilthorpe, is to the Kansas City Chiefs (in other words….he’s a real meanie! Can you tell we’re in ACT prep mode? By the way, you have seen the best sports movie of all time, Slap Shot, haven’t you?).

To quote Frank Valli and the Four Seasons, “Oh what a night…..” Vince Vaughn on the glass, Jeremy Roenick all choked up and misty eyed, Duncan Keith toothless, Patrick Kane with the game winning goal; Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup!!! Finally Eric Fergusson can shave his beard and Kathy Hart can shave her armpits (of Chicago’s WTMX Eric & Kathy fame). The only thing better would have been to win it at home.

17,951 days have passed since the Hawks have won the Stanley Cup, and there are so many people to thank; Joel Quenneville for his fabulous coaching, Niemi and his mad goalie skills, Big Buff’s big hits, Olympians Seabrook, Keith, Kane and Toews, and Marian Hossa’s showing at the Stanley Cup Finals, on three teams, in the past three years (I guess the third time’s the charm!). What could be more exciting than seeing the 22 year old, team captain, Jonathon Toews winning the Play-off MVP!?!

In keeping with hockey’s greatest tradition, each player is allowed 24 hours with the Stanley Cup, to do with whatever they see fit. As the More is More Mom®, if I had 24 hours with the Cup, I would fill it to the rim with Pino Grigio and we would visit every TJ Maxx and More in the tri-state area. As a hockey fan, a hockey mom and a native Chicagoan I couldn’t be prouder and happier for our Chicago Blackhawks!


Please click on the link below, and view my audition for “Your Own Show” on the OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).  Vote early and often…that’s the Chicago way!

Vanessa’s Audition: Vanessa – The More Is More Mom – OWN TV http://myown.oprah.com/audition/index.html?request=video_details&response_id=5227&promo_id=1

Thank you for your support!! I truly appreciate your help and friendship!

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More Robert Downey Jr……..Iron Man 2!

Last Thursday night I had a bee in my bonnet; I wanted to take my family to the midnight showing of Iron Man 2. It’s not that I am a huge super hero fan (I’m not, though I still adore George Clooney as Batman!), I just thought it would be one of those fun, silly, spur-of-the-moment, kind of things. Nick was in favor of this ridiculous plan for a school night immediately (once again….the apple….the tree), Chuck was reluctant, but agreeable, Amanda (the voice of reason) didn’t think it was such a grand plan, but was willing to go for the sake of everyone else. She was hesitant (I hope she shows this type of restraint when she goes away to college……), maintaining that she had gymnastics practice until 9pm Thursday night and a busy day on Friday; school, 8th grade Play Practice, and then gymnastics again. She thought maybe she should get a good night’s sleep. OMG! Let me tell you that when I was a teenager (or clearly as a grown up for that matter), I would have never turned down an offer to stay up all night and play. Hey, who’s the adult around here anyway? When Chuck questioned us further about the upcoming events on Friday, he did point out that the midnight movie might not be a great choice. Really now, what is wrong with these people? When it comes to responsibility versus fun, is there ever really a question? Apparently, there is.

So now it’s Saturday night at the 30 theater mega-plex; youngsters, teeny boppers, gals, guys, singles, couples, retirees, all swarming the place, looking for a little entertainment. Nick was, of course, out for the night, as he is a teenager. We won’t have Amanda for much longer, so we make sure to enjoy her company while she is still available (and by available I mean stuck at home with us). My mom and I had the honor of attending my cousin Terri’s graduation ceremony (she earned a BSN. Way to go Nurse Terri!), and made it just in time to meet Chuck and Amanda at the movies. I am like an old immigrant woman, and I bring my own snacks and beverages to the show (it’s criminal what it costs for a family to go to the movies on a Saturday night), but since I wasn’t coming from home, I instructed Amanda in the art of being a cheapskate. In a sling bag she stuffed five bottles of water and a few chocolate bars. That way, we only needed to visit the concession stand for popcorn…….which is expensive enough.

My favorite part of the whole movie going experience is the Coming Attractions. I love to have something to look forward to. Robin Hood looks pretty good, though I’m not normally a huge fan of Action Pictures. This one had a Braveheart kind of a feel to it, and Braveheart was awesome (love, love, love Mel Gibson! Lethal Weapon, The Man With Two Faces, What Women Want…… He’s great.). Adam Sandler’s latest offering, Grownups, with Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade and that Rob Schneider (who owes his entire career to Adam Sandler, and I’m not sure we should thank Mr. Sandler for that), looks charming too. However, I must question, in what universe does Adam Sandler ever end up with Salma Hayek?

Anyway, the movie gets underway with Iron Man dancing on stage at the Stark Expo, cheerleaders and an American flag in the background ala James Brown…..Living In America (I feel good)…..in Rocky IV. All very fine. What I like about Iron Man is the spectacle of it all. Tony Stark isn’t a billionaire recluse like Bruce Wayne, or a nerdy fella in love with Lois Lane like Clark Kent. Tony Stark is cocky and arrogant and full of bravado. He’s not hiding from anyone, far from it. He’s out there, just daring anyone to mess with Iron Man and America. He’s a bona fide, if not self aggrandizing, American Hero. Robert Downey, Jr. is suave and charming, as his alter ego Tony Stark (or Sherlock Holmes, take your pick; same character, different century. Either way, Robert Downey, Jr. plays them fantastically well.).

Iron Man 2 was great. The plot was your typical; good-guy hero wrestles personal demons, and despite his inner struggle, saves the world. I would have expected nothing less. I’m a sucker for exactly what Jon Favreau did; cast big time favorite actors in his movie just because he can;

• Mickey Rourke is a comeback success story (not at all unlike Robert Downey, Jr. and look at him now!) and was perfect as the angry Russian Physicist with a vengeful grievance, though I think the wardrobe department from The Wrestler would like their dirty, disgusting, t-shirt back.

• Sam Rockwell is one of my quirky all time fav’s. I loved him as Chuck Barris (of Gong Show fame) in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, directed by the great George Clooney. I also thought he was super cute in Charlie’s Angels.

• I like Scarlett Johansson well enough. To me she will always be Mrs. Ryan “Darling Smarty Pants” Reynolds, until the day that they probably get divorced (only because Hollywood marriages rarely last).

• Garry Shandling has been one of my very favorite comedians forever. We saw him once in concert years ago and he was a nervous wreck, which made me like him even more.

• Terrence Howard must have thought he had more important things to do than star in Iron Man 2. Really, why exactly does one bypass a part in a summer blockbuster? One man’s trash is another mans treasure, so I imagine we’ll see Don Cheadle in Iron Man 3.

• Gwyneth Paltrow was Pepper in the first movie, and she was equally lovely this go around.

• Every time I see Samuel L. Jackson I think, “He’s one bad ass, mother f***er!” I’m not exactly sure how important he was to the plot of this movie (though I’m sure Nick Fury and the Avenger Initiative was introduced to set the stage for Iron Man 3, or a vehicle of his very own), but he’s awesome just the same.

• I have loved Jon Favreau forever (and not just because he’s tight with Vince Vaughn). He’s clearly a great director…need I remind you of Elf? My favorite Jon Favreau moment is when he portrays Monica’s boyfriend on Friends (remember his character’s passion for fake wrestling? Maybe that’s why he was all over casting Mickey Rourke…). He was great fun as the devoted Happy!

As the More is More Mom® I would highly recommend Iron Man 2…….More action! More fun! More Robert Downey Jr.!

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The Thinker….Intellectual Curiosity is Highly Overrated

At a family party earlier this year I was watching Nick, deep in conversation, and was struck by what a bright and articulate young man he has become. It dawned on me that it would not be long before he was way smarter than me, and we could very easily run out of things to talk about. I haven’t been able to understand his complicated Math for eons, and I’m really not that interested. As for Science, well quite frankly, I would rather step on a rake than ponder the Scientific Method. Nick is just wrapping up Latin III, and that’s all Greek to me, so to speak. But English? I’ve got a fighting chance because…….I can read.

Suddenly, I had a flash of genius (otherwise know as a Lucy Ricardo moment)! I could keep up with him by reading the same fine works of literature that were assigned to him in his English class (these are of course assignments I myself would have missed in High School while I was hanging out at the Mc Donald’s across the street. Oddly enough, Ronald Mc Donald did not distribute a syllabus at the beginning of the semester, and likely the only thing to read, other than the menu, would have been the calorie count for each item lovingly fried in their kitchen. I know that must have been frightening, which would surely have been the reason that I didn’t read that either.). I was very proud of myself for being so noble, and inquired, “What are you reading now?” Unfortunately Nick responded with, “Macbeth.” Macbeth? Really? The Bard? The only thing I know of Shakespeare is Jack Benny asking, “To be, or not to be? That is the question.” That’s not the question. The question is: what the Hell does that mean?

I guess I thought he’d be reading something cool like To Kill a Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye. Saddened by my rotten luck, I asked Chuck to stop at Border’s on his way home from work and pick up a copy of Macbeth. I was determined to struggle through. My mom suggested, since I wouldn’t be tested on it, why didn’t I just get the Cliff Notes (I’m showing my age, because the youngsters today go directly to Spark Notes on line…..), you know, in order to get the flavor of the story (she never suggested that when I had to read a book!)? This was just the kind of idea that I could run with.

Well, then I looked at the Cliff Notes, and they looked super boring, so then I thought about renting the movie. But, who had time to watch or read boring Shakespeare? I zipity zipped over for a quick TJ Maxx and More fix instead. You know, intellectual curiosity is highly overrated. I have come to the conclusion that Nick and I have a lot in common. We love the Cubs, our baby Wrigley, silly movies and 30 Rock marathons. We’ll have plenty to talk about because love and laughter (and Vince Vaughn) are a universal language…..

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