What I Watched Movies: Girls Dream, Boys Sing and Herbie is Loaded

As much as I love TV shows on TV, it’s always been my dream to watch every movie ever made. A girl can dream, can’t she? Sure there’s a time and logistical problem, but the larger problem is, I keep going back to the movies I love. This month, I tried to mix it up with a couple of old favorites and a few new ones that made the cut thanks to a low, low price at the thrift store.

I’ll begin with one of my favorite genres – the musical. Dreamgirls is about a trio of girls who go from singing in a small town contest to the top of the pop charts.  This movie has it all, great music, great characters, super costumes (watch them go from fifties cute to 70’s disco glam) and wonderful actors.  Eddie Murphy steals the show and I really enjoyed former Power Ranger, Keith Robinson as the long-suffering brother C.C..  The downside, I can’t ever make it through “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” without crying. Jennifer Hudson is amazing. She’s a real-life, rags to riches story. . . which is a perfect lead in to my next movie. . . That Thing You Do.

Fate plays a huge part in this story of four young men from Eerie, PA who hit it big in the mid-1960’s with their garage band tune.  The Wonders (as in One- Hit Wonders) go from playing at the local spaghetti place out by the airport to a spot on national TV, but when you hit the top with your first tune there’s no place to go but down. An infectious soundtrack, four sweet, good-looking guys and Tom Hanks overseeing it all.  It’s a fun ride until the end. I always stop watching after the group appears on TV because there’s no happy ending to this fairytale.

Sometimes I pick a movie because I remember it from my childhood and that was the case with Looker.  This 80’s sci-fi thriller was written and directed by Michael Crichton and has a kicky finale that has stuck with me these past thirty-odd years!  Though it may not seem like anything special now, this movie was made with state-of-the art high tech computer graphics and was the first to use a complete CGI human being.  Subliminal advertising, corporate conspiracies, and the dangers of technology all play a part in this unusual story.  Not a perfect movie, but worth a look if only for villain James Coburn and Susan Dey (yes, Laurie Partridge) as supermodel Cindy.

Time was the only factor in my choosing Herbie: Fully Loaded  this week.  I was flipping channels and it was the first movie I came upon that was just starting so I stayed to watch.  Herbie, the Love Bug is back and this time his owner is Lindsay Lohan: a girl with racing in her blood and a dad who says no girls on the track.  Michael Keaton and Matt Dillion are badly miscast as the father and villain of the piece, but Justin Long is simply charming as the underdog boyfriend.  Digital animation was used to make Herbie more lifelike, but honestly I prefer the old fashioned effects of the 70’s movies.  Predictable but cute.

Since I love the first Cheaper by the Dozen movie, I gave “2” a try and I give it an “eh” for effort. The sequel isn’t quite as well done as the first, but it’s still filled with Steve Martin’s antics, Bonnie Hunt’s humorous glances and the family charm of the entire Baker clan.  This time around they’re on a family vacation that turns into a one-ups-manship contest with the “perfect” family across the lake. And there’s Tom Welling. . . so. . . yeah. . .

Taylor Kitsch of Friday Night Lights was the reason I picked up The Covenant .  There was the added incentive of four good-looking guys and a supernatural plot (add in some songs and you’d have all my favorite things) so how could I go wrong?  These best friends have magical powers, but they’ve made a pact to keep them in check (why, is one of the interesting plot twists to the movie).  So when someone starts using their powers to kill, it’s suspicion that threatens to tear these boys apart.  Cool idea, great special effects (flying boys!  Whoo hoo), wonderful creepy lighting and sets, and a neat little story.  Not Shakespeare, but a good popcorn flick if you like your horror without a bunch of blood and gore.

And speaking of horror, my last pick of the week is a movie that stars Jared Padalecki of Supernatural!  A teen thriller called Cry_Wolf.  The lovely Lindy Booth stars as Dodger, leader of the pack.  She and her bored boarding school buddies cook up a story about a serial killer on campus.  But is it just a story or is The Wolf really behind the mysterious IM’s that start popping up on their computers?  Written to show how easily rumors can spread in this day of cell phones, texts, and email, Dodger, Owen and their friends begin to turn on each other as they try to sort truth from lies.  It’s up the viewer to pick up the clues.  Is it all a prank or is there a real murderer running loose.  Make sure you get it right the first time because no one will believe you once you Cry Wolf.


Now it’s your turn.  How do you choose what movies you watch?  Do you make it a habit of catching the latest, talked about flicks?  Do you pick based on actors, genre or just flip channels until something catches your fancy?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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