Julie just wrote about the bag of gifts that my sister, Courtney, brought over to our house last Friday. The bag is full of random items my parents wanted to give to us before they moved to Dubai. There were presents for the kids, a U.S. map placemat (naturally), and some old articles and newspaper clippings from my high school days at the American School of Dubai ("ASD").
Included in those clippings was a full December 7, 1995 edition of the "Akhbar," the ASD school newspaper. I barely remember it, but I guess I was a writer for the newspaper back in the day, and had several published articles during my tenure there (1993-1996). I was 16 at the time.
One of the articles in that edition of the Akhbar was captioned, "And you thought you'd seen the last of them," a searing expose of what it's like for siblings to attend high school together. Here's the lead-in, just to whet your appetite:
So, you've got a sibling in high school. What do you do? Its bad enough that you have to live with him/her at home, but in school too? Not necessarily, so it seems with most of the siblings sharing their school days and activities. I decided to pursue the matter and find out just what students felt about going to school with their siblings....
Riveting stuff, right? Really hard-hitting journalism.
Even better was a section of the paper called "Hammerle's Movie Madness," where I reviewed three movies. These movies were released in the U.S. over the Summer, which is probably when I saw them, but, this being Dubai at the time - they didn't hit theaters there until about 6 months later. The three movies? A bunch of classics: Nine Months, Under Siege 2, and The Net.
Now, I'd like to think my reviewing skills, if any, have improved since 1995, but I'll let you be the judge. Here is Hammerle's Movie Madness, in all its glory:
Nine Months: Hugh Grant, Julianne Moore, and Tom Arnold. Released amid a summer of high profile action flicks such as Batman Forever and Waterworld, Nine Months was a film that got lost amongst the crowd. However, it is, without a doubt, one of the funniest movies I have ever had the privilege of seeing. In it, Hugh Grant has the perfect life. Great girlfriend, great car, and no children but all that changes when he finds out his long-standing girlfriend (Julianne Moore) is pregnant. After he finds this out, its just one comedic moment after another detailing the nine months of the pregnancy. Directed by Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire), this film is a frenetic, hyper, and overall crowd-pleasing motion picture. Wild car chases, fights with a certain dinosaur resembling Barney, an obnoxious best friend played by Tom Arnold, and a Russian obstetrician performing his first delivery all add to the continuous hilarity. Robin Williams is especially good in a cameo part as the incompetent Russian doctor. The end scene in the delivery room is one of the best comedic moments ever captured on film and Hugh Grant's little liaison this summer also adds to the enjoyment that can be had while watching Nine Months. Highly recommended. Grade: A
Update: Wow. Talk about hyperbole. Is this what I sound like when I talk about Mad Max: Fury Road? Whatever. It is not a "privilege" seeing Nine Months, and the end is not "one of the best comedic moments ever captured on film." It's kind of like the end of Mrs. Doubtfire - funny in the moment, but illogical and just plain stupid. I think I nailed it though when I called this movie "frenetic", "hyper", and "crowd-pleasing." I think I'd add another adjective: "desperate." Also, how in the world does Hugh Grant's affair add to the enjoyment? One has nothing to do with the other. I think I just wanted to mention it to show I was pop culture savvy. Idiot.
Under Siege 2: Steven Seagal Great action movies are hard to come by so whenever a decent one comes along, you take advantage of the situation and watch it. That's the case with with Under Siege 2. Although the story has been done millions of times over, terrorists taking over a confined place still thrills me, especially when that confined place is in motion. Under Siege took place on a boat, but the sequel translocates the action aboard a train. Through the use of a powerful satellite, these terrorists have the nuclear capability to destroy China. They've used the train as an undetectable control center. The government can't stop them but one man can. I know it sounds corny and cliched, but aren't all action movies that way? Steven Seagal reprises his role as a cook who knows how to kick butt. I don't really like Seagal that much. He has no human expressions whatsoever but he seems to hold the picture together surprisingly. It is a fast-paced, explosive action movie with a little humor and sex added in for full effect. It's not the best action movie but it does its job well. Grade: B
Update: Uh, what the hell does "translocates" mean? Did I just make up that word? How did I not mention Die Hard in this review? The movie is just Die Hard on a train. Under Siege 2 is such a rote, by-the-book sequel. I must have been a pretty easy lay back in the day when it comes to action movies in order to give this one a pass. Oh, and I'm pretty sure Steven Seagal has human expressions.
The Net: Sandra Bullock and Dennis Miller Sandra Bullock seems to know what films to do and not to do, unlike her friendly rival, Julia Roberts. The case in point being The Net. This was an extremely satisfying computer thriller thanks mainly to Sandra's star appeal. Sort of The Pelican Brief on acid, The Net is a fast-paced, edge of your seat thrill ride. Bullock plays a lonely computer hacker who spends much of her time locked away in her house until she stumbles upon a federal cover-up. Now, she's being tracked by a Whitman and her identity has been erased. The Net convincingly makes us feel the frustration of having no one know who you are and always being on the run while expertly entertaining us at the same time. Although a bit tedious and contrived, this film is still worth the price of admission. Grade: B+
Update: How can a movie be both "tedious" and "fast-paced" or "edge of your seat"? I don't think I knew what I was talking about. I haven't seen The Net since 1995, but I'm pretty sure it's dated and does not hold up. Why the hell did I mention Julia Roberts in this review? What rivalry did she have with Sandra Bullock? And if Bullock knows what films to do, why did she do Speed 2: Cruise Control just two years later? And, what exactly is "The Pelican Brief on acid"? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!
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