Tag Archive: Matt Damon

Family Movie Night


by Karyn Bowman


This past weekend I was hoping to sneak in the newest Snow White  movie with Kristen Stewart so that I could compare and contrast with Mirror, Mirror which came out earlier this year.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

But time and opportunity got away from me. Disappointment reigns sometimes in life.


One thing that was not disappointing involved our movie choice for Friday Night. We finally got to see We Bought a Zoo.

The story is about a man who has lost his wife to cancer. He still has two children to raise but finds reminders of her all over their neighborhood. So he decides to move, which leads to the zoo. And that leads to many changes for the kids. Along the way feelings develop, mature, and expand as the family learns how to care for the animals in the zoo.


I knew it was going to be cute at points, you don’t have a little girl who cute without a bit of cheesiness. But there were times the movie was incredibly honest in the emotions that were shared or not shared. I felt like I was re-visiting old family fights as the teen boy goes after his dad for being inattentive to him.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

Let me say that there are moments of swearing that may not make some people happy. I feel they are used as release points. One moment in the movie has the daughter say a word that she states she does not understand but does not believe it describes this particular character accurately.


I began to really like it as the Matt Damon character had to own up to his faults and make amends.


So be aware that this is a good movie, that it is emotionally raw in spots but for the most part its heart is in the right place. Plus, I loved it that the Thomas Hayden Church character was playing the straight guy for once.


Now, last week I mentioned enjoying watching a bad movie every now and again. While I was waiting up for my husband to return the other night from the city, I found myself watching Wolverine. The movie was so predictable it was almost sad.


How anyone could waste the talented Hugh Jackman is beyond me but it happened here.

This is supposed to be the origin story of our favorite X-Man. We see a few other mutants along with one particularly gruesome death. But time and time again I could predict exactly what was going to happen, what was going to be said and what would be the final outcome.


I am willing to watch Jackman in a bad movie. Heck, I sat through Real Steel which is basically a remake of a Sylvester Stallone movie. But this comic book movie was below my expectations and not in a fun way.


There are times playing it serious in a bad movie works and times when it does not. Let me just say that Wolverine is not an enjoyable bad movie.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Do You Have Grit?

Family Movie Night

A few months ago my husband asked what is the latest western to be made that was a good movie.

Robert Duvall, Annette Bening and Kevin Kostner in "Open Range," image from IMDB.com.

If you had asked me then, I would have said “Open Range” starring Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner. The time period is the old west when men could still move their herd of cattle to graze without worrying about property lines. However, times are changing and a land baron wishes to teach these old timers a lesson.

While the movie is rated “R” for violence and perhaps not the kid friendliest because of that and its length, I find it beautiful and lyrical. It is a slow moving story and yet I am gripped by the beauty of it all. Duvall and Costner work well off of each other while Annette Bening glows as the sister of the local doctor. She is older than most women and shows her age. But her grace and heart willing to love is on simple display.

Had you asked me before Saturday, I would have said that movie. But then the husband and I watched “True Grit” starring Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Hailee Steinfeld.

Movie Poster image from IMDb.com.

It has been years since I have last seen the original so there was nothing former to compare. Relieved of that burden, I sat back an enjoyed a superbly made movie that is moves into the darker aspects

of the west. Men formed gangs and happily robbed others. They thought nothing of shooting each other and knowing that retribution would more than likely not be delivered to them.

We see this in Tom Chaney as played by Josh Brolin. We see this in Rooster Cogburn and LaBoeuf as they argue who has grit and who did more wrong during the civil war. But lets talk about Haille Steinfeld.

This young girl puts in a bravura performance as a young girl who has been in an adult role for some time.

Hailee Steinfeld in "True Grit," image from IMDb.com.

She runs the family, not her mother. And she can bargain with the best of them. But Steinfeld also allows the little girl to show when when she collects her father’s personal effects. Her eyes glows as she remembers the man and finds a way to make his hat fit on her smaller head.

It is her idealism that allows her to make the decision to hire a man to capture her father’s killer. It is that sense of justice owed to her father that makes her deal with Cogburn and LaBouef. She is constantly wrangling and bargaining. Make me wonder if this girl (Mattie, not Hailee) was ever given a chance to simply play.

Probably not.

As the story movies on, we see that she is made of a stern of stuff as the two lawmen. They may not have wanted her around on this mission but they take her when there is no choice and become appreciative of her lack of ‘missus’ behavior. Damon and Bridges work well together as two men who cannot stand each other but have a common goal. It was a joy watching them work off of each other.

This is not a kid movie. The rating is PG-13 for intense sequences such as a hanging and several gun fights. I would allow middle school age and older to watch this one although my husband and I did it as a “date night’ at home.

Sherrif Woody and Buzz from "Toy Story," Image from IMDb.com.

If seeing a western with the kids is what you want to do with the kids, I would suggest Toy Story. Maybe it is not a western with cowboys and indians but it has many of those themes. And besides, who doesn’t love Sheriff Woody?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.