Tag Archive: Amy Adams

Makeover at the Movies

Family Movie Night


by Karyn Bowman


How do you feel when an old favorite movie gets a makeover?



Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

I was thinking about this as my husband made plans to see The Lone Ranger at the drive-in. He is planning to take us to a double feature that also includes Man of Steel, the latest vision of Superman.


Both movies represent something from my childhood. Both movies present former heroes in a new light. And to be honest, I am not sure I want to see these movies.


I grew up with Clayton Moore playing the former Texas Ranger out to find justice. By his side was Jay Silverheels as Tonto. My brother and I watched the old serial episodes on Channel 9. It didn’t matter that we had seen many of the episodes time and time again. We loved them and played out the episodes in the yard.


So imagine my surprise when I saw the first renderings of Johnny Depp as Tonto. The white face and dark eyes along with the strange crow hat made me wonder just what Depp was doing? Would this be the ruin of the new movie or something interesting? It makes me wonder how far into the metaphysical world would director Gore Verbinski dip into in order to bring a different story to the big screen.



Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

And then there is Man of Steel. The story of Superman’s escape from a dying planet is the same but like never before Clark is aware that he has to hide his powers. Like never before he is aware of what makes him different and that fact is not going to be lightly glossed over. He cannot reveal his difference because people will not take the time to understand him.


Should we have pondered this before? I mean, why else does someone choose to leave their family on the farm to go to New York? Perhaps, it is why most people leave the farm and head to the big city – they hate the farm. A lot of people have done this in the past and no one gave it a second thought. Who wants to stay on a farm when they can be the big cheese elsewhere?


But what we love about Superman are his small town values. We love that he wants to help people, right wrongs and help America remain free. He fights for Truth, Justice and the American Way. He helps the little guy and children while protecting the Earth from outside force.


Recently, my 16-year-old watched Superman 4 in which Superman is working for World Peace and Lex Luthor is trying to destroy him. I forgot about some of the awful fashions but I also forgot the wistfulness of Superman and Luthor’s out-and-out greed.


Can I bear to see Superman/Clark Kent portrayed by someone other than Christopher Reeves and believe that person is Superman? Will I be able to watch Johnny Depp’s version of Tonto and not snicker – too much? I am not sure. But after Wednesday night, I might have an answer for you.


Until Next Week, see you in the rental aisle.


Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


While we are dealing with crazy weather, there is one constant that makes winter less bleak for me.




In mid-February, I do not know any sweeter words than “pitchers and catchers report.”


Bring on sub-zero temperatures, ice storms, and big thaws all in the same week. Bring on snow and rain and sleet because soon, very soon, the players will take the field in that spring ritual that leads us into a summertime of hope.


“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.”


Image by D. Harder

Image by D. Harder

James Earl Jones states this while telling Kevin Costner that people will pay money to come to his farm in the middle of Iowa and sit on the bleachers to watch a field. Perhaps they see the players, perhaps they don’t. But what Field of Dreams, the best baseball movie ever, seemed to understand is that baseball is the undercurrent of our lives. It connects us to other people whether we are a participant or observer.


Bull Durham is the absolute best baseball movie because while the game might be the setting, it is dreams that are found or lost that drives the plot.


Another baseball movie that usually makes the list is Major League with Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger. The driving force to this baseball movie is the desire to stick it to an unfeeling owner determined to have a losing season so she can easily move the team to a different city.


The latest baseball movie to come to the home theater market is Trouble With The Curve starring Clint Eastwood as an aging baseball scout. He is having issues with his eyes which is not good for a man who watches baseball games to find the next best player.


Trouble with the curveBut he has other problems as well. He does not believe in computers as a way of predicting players. That makes some in management leery of depending on a guy who will not adapt to new technology. It makes his boss wonder what is going on and leads him to call Clint’s daughter, played by Amy Adams.


She became a lawyer to please him, except she has bitterness that has to do with the death of her mother and his abandonment of her as a child. But at this critical time in her career when she is being considered for partnership, she feels the need to take a few days to go with her father on a scouting trip.


I enjoyed the movie because there are some great moments between Adams and Eastwood. Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Matthew Lillard provide good support as well.  But sports movies are built on clichés and this one has too many that are easy and pat. New technology being bested by the ‘old way.’ A trite conflict that ends a relationship at its start. A discovery of a player hinted at throughout the movie. A prospect who is demanding and arrogant in the worst ways.


Most baseball movies are really meant for adults, the language and/or context is saltier or deeper than most kids under the age of 10 are interested in hearing. That is true with Trouble With The Curve as a parent and his adult child try to reconcile what happened with the here and now.


If there was ever a great movie about baseball for kids, it has to be The Sandlot. This film came out in 1993 and did not seem like a big deal. It is about a bunch of kids who played ball in an empty sandlot everyday. When a new kid moves into the neighborhood, he lies about knowing how to play. But soon he is taken under the wing of the best player and that summer becomes memorable for many reasons.


Like many movies that seem like they are about nothing, this one brings back childhood memories that are sweet and horrible and the shaping forces of our life with baseball as the background.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.




Presenting The Muppets!

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Wasn’t that heat we had last week something else?


I did not see many of my neighbors out of their house and the ones who were went back in as quick as they could.


I cut the length of my walks with the dog and I soaked him with water before we started. Even so, there were days he did not want to walk or even think about chasing a squirrel. If you saw a black dog suddenly drop and roll around in the grass, that might have been my guy.


The one thing that is driving him crazy lately are the cats on our street. There is the tuxedo cat that saunters around but has figured out our house is one to avoid. A grey cat lives at the neighbor’s house across the street but she is content to aggravate Storm from afar. However, there is a tortoise shell tabby that seems determined to become a member of our house.


It has tried coming in the house; it has tried coming over to our front porch while the dog was there. The cat will follow the humans as we walk around town. While I feel sorry for the skinny little thing, I am not taking this cat in just so it can be a snack for the dog.


Now that the heat wave is over, I am thankful for the return of cool mornings. I just hope we do not have to brave 100 degree temperatures again this summer.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

One of the ways we, as a family, tried to beat the heat was by watching The Muppets starring Jason Segal and Amy Adams along with the whole cast of muppets. Segal and Adams are a couple who plan a trip to Hollywood with his muppet brother, Walter, to see the sights and especially the Muppet Theater.


But while there, they find out that the theater is being sold. While the new owner says he will re-open it as a museum, the truth is he plans to tear it down and drill for oil. So our trio locates Kermit and tell him of the oilman’s destructive plans.


And you know the only thing to do to save the old is to put on a show, which means collecting everybody from the far reaches of the world, including Miss Piggy. Once Kermit gets a low-rent network to put on the telethon, he is told to get a current star to host. That might involve a little kidnapping but it is the muppets. They look adorable as they do it.


While this movie was fun, I guess I was expecting something more. Or maybe the problem was I saw all of the best bits in trailers. I knew the funny parts and the others were okay but not great.


The movie explores the idea that the Muppets are old hat and no longer relevant. I don’t think that is entirely true but the other part of that is remaining fresh is coming up with bits that are funny and true with a modern flair. Other than Ms. Piggy working at Vogue Paris as the plus-size editor, I saw nothing really new.


As much as I enjoyed this movie, it is not one I would see again and again. This felt like an episode I might have watched 20 years ago. That would be like watching an episode of Saturday Night Live and the funniest skit involved “Da Bears” fans.


What this movie is good for is to watch with your kids or grandkids and point to the screen and go “look, there’s the Swedish chef” or “look, Ms. Piggy is doing the karate chop.” Enjoy Chris Cooper’s performance as the evil oilman and the way he says ‘maniacal laugh’ as well as his rap musical performance. Look for the multitude of cameos of actors who love the muppets.


When the movie is over, put it back in the case and take it back to the store. You might smile as you think about it and why wouldn’t you? It is the Muppets after all. But this is not one of the better Muppet movies.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.