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Posts Tagged ‘The Jericho Mile – movie review’

This week was kind of a potpourri of mostly great entertainment:  I started off the week with an episode of Downton Abbey – exceptional British drama on PBS.  It’s the second season and the future heir is off to the trenches of France.  If you haven’t seen season one (and now, season two), you don’t know what you’re missing…
 

I finally got around to watching my DVD copy of “Green Lantern“.   I saw the movie in the theater back in June and my review (“In Brightest Day…“) was positive.  I’m a bit undecided on if the DVD translates to the smaller screen as well as some other grand-scale movies, but I think it’s pretty favorable.  I’m not sure why, but the movie seemed longer than I remembered it being in the theater – but it had also had a lot more action than I remember.  I’m not sure about Ryan Reynolds (the lead).  Some times he seemed to fit the character perfectly, and others, nope – don’t buy it at all.  The female love interest is played by Blake Lively, who seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place at all until I looked her up.  She was in the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” movie, which I have seen but don’t recall.  I just remember her being a soccer player or something.  Anyway, now she reminds me of a young Jennifer Connally – meaning the camera loves her.  Hopefully, she can get some serious roles and we’ll find out if she has real chops or not.  I’m not sure if we’ll ever say that about Reynolds.  He’s in his mid-30’s now, so if he doesn’t start playing some serious roles soon, I’m not sure he ever will.  All in all, I still give the movie a favorable review and will watch it again soon. 
 

One other comment on Reynolds.  I saw him opposite Sandra Bullock in “The Proposal“, and I thought he did very well in that role too.  Unfortunately, I’d say that role was more comedic than serious.  Not that a comic-book hero is comedic or serious, but you know what I mean…
 

On Wednesday I went for my first walk/slow jog in ages at the gym at work.  It felt so good I came home and watched “The Jericho Mile” again (see my review).  Still a great little made for TV movie.  Still inspirational.  Kudos to Michael Mann and Peter Strauss!!
 

Friday night I watched the two-hour ending of the TV series “Chuck“.  I remember watching this series when it first started five years ago.  It was the funniest (Nerd Herd), best written, sexiest (Sarah Walker), spy-spoof (Jeffster saves the General), crime-fighting series I’d seen in ages.  The finale crystalized in my mind the fallacy that nerds are socially inept loners.  In fact, nerds do herd!  And in herding, nerds gather strength.  (They also become even more nerdier…)  In the end, it took the whole team – including the Jeffster – to defeat evil and save the world as we know it (or want it to be) – a happy ending for the nerds.
 

Full disclosure time: way back in the second season, when it looked like the show was going to be cancelled, I was one of the fans who went to Subway (well, actually three Subways), bought a sandwich and asked the store manager to let the company know I liked their support of “Chuck” and hoped they’d keep the show on the air.  Two had no idea what I was talking about.  They didn’t even know Subway had product placement in the series!!  The third said he’d already had several people stop in and ask for him to support “Chuck” with a message to the head company. 
 

Power to the nerds!!!
 

Last night, I also watched a documentary on diet and health titled: “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead“.  It’s an excellent movie about how we are killing ourselves with the food we eat.  Dr. Joel Fuhrman, of “Eat To Live” fame, plays a prominent role in the movie explaining how we’re killing ourselves and how we can make a recovery.  The “interesting” thing to me is that his book says you need to eat the fruit and vegetables to get their goodness, but the movie says you can do it by simply juicing them.  My “gut-feeling” is (pun intended) that the book is correct and the movie less so, but still reasonably healthy.  To make a long story shorter, today I went out and bought a juicer.  Now the next step is …
 

Off to the store to get my fruit and veggies.

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This weekend I watched three movies – one DVD and two on-line: “The Jericho Mile” (1979), “Bruce Lee – The Legend” (1977), and “Woman of the Year” (1942).  They are all good movies for very different reasons.
 

The Jericho Mile” stars Peter Strauss as Rain Murphy, a man serving life for murdering his father.  The movie has multiple themes: crime, racism, friendship, corruption, justice and (mainly) running.  Rain is serving his time by running around the exercise yard of Folsom Prison.  He is fast and it gets noticed.  There are three rival racial factions in the prison: the Whites, the Blacks and the Hispanics.  Rain’s black friend and training partner runs afoul of the White gang and is murdered.  The gang tells the Black gang it was Rain’s fault and the leader of the gang beats up Rain.  Behind the scenes, the warden and the prison psych want to use Rain to inspire other prisoners to rehabilitate themselves and arrange for Rain to get a chance to run against some college runners in the hopes of getting a shot at qualifying for the USA Olympic Team.   

My favorite line in the movie belongs to Murphy.  After getting beaten up, he promises to nail the Black gang leader for insulting his friend/brother and the leader asks Rain what he intends to do after that.  Rain, who is badly beaten and struggling to breathe, let alone stand up, replies: “I gotta finish my workout.
 

It is a terrific movie which I saw in it’s original broadcast back in 1979 (as a “Movie of the Week”).  The final running scene set against the Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil” instrumental is a cinema classic (as far as I’m concerned”).  The movie just appeared up on YouTube.com, so you better go see it while it’s still up there!  Strauss won an Emmy for this role.  The movie won a total of three. 
 

Bruce Lee – The Legend” is a documentary about the life and art (martial and theatrical) of Bruce Lee.  This is the first time I’ve seen the documentary and it’s a typical promotion of a dead star by the Chinese movie industry.  Having said that, the individual scenes of Bruce getting interviewed for a job and his describing Jeet Kune Do – the martial arts system Bruce created – is truly outstanding.  If you are interested in the background of a martial arts legend, this is a good place to start.  The question will always remain if Bruce was truly a great martial artist or just a handsome and charismatic actor who was also a superior athlete and martial artist.  Because there is no record (at least I’m not aware of any record) of Bruce Lee appearing in a “real” mixed martial art competition, I’m afraid it’s a question which will never be answered.  I watched this movie on HULU.com, which is a pretty good source of current TV shows and
 

Woman of the Year” stars Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  The film was their first movie together and their chemistry is obvious.  The movie is a about two competing newspaper writers – one on politics and the other on sports.  They meet.  Fall in love.  Marry.  And then the problems begin.  While the movie has some tremendously funny moments – especially when Hepburn’s character attempts to cook Tracy’s character breakfast, the movie is symptomatic of its time and has an incredibly sexist message that ultimately, every woman, no matter how successful, must ultimately define herself within her role as a wife (and eventual mother).  My daughter Sarah watched the movie with Hil and me and I asked her about this message.  She said she really didn’t see it that way at all and it was “just” a funny, but unrealistic movie.  I asked her why, and she replied, “One, she never would have married that far beneath her; and, two, she wouldn’t be able to stay home and live on only his salary when it was obvious she had a much more important (and well paying) job than he did.”  From the mouth of babes……
 

 As I said, all three are entertaining movies for entirely different reasons, but I recommend all three – particularly “The Jericho Mile“.
 

 

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