Tag Archive: rob reiner

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


There are precious few perfect movies.


These are movies that are exceptional in each scene from start to finish. You connect to the characters, remember spectacular dialogue, and think about the movie long after the closing credits have rolled by.


Some movies I think are perfect starts with Singin’ In The Rain and might end somewhere with The Invincibles. Moonstruck and Citizen Kane are on my list as well as Star Wars and Rebecca.


Another movie that makes my list is The Princess Bride  which is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its opening date.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

Directed by Rob Reiner and starring unknown Cary Elwes and Robin Wright, this movie is based on the children’s book by William Goldman about a princess about to marry a man she does not love.


What makes this movie even more enchanting is the framing of a grandfather reading the story to his sick grandson. Peter Falk plays a man loving enough to be willing to read a story to his grandson but tough enough to tell his grandson to zip it when the boy interrupts too much.


But that is not the only thing that has made this movie a classic.


It is the style and wit that the actors carry with the movie. The actors choose to be sincere when they could have gone into parody-mode ala Leslie Neilson. Instead we believe in Buttercup’s love for Wesley and his for her. Finding out who the six-finger man is never a true surprise but he is played in a very drole manner by Christopher Guest.


Who can forget the friendly and accommodating conversation between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Inigo Montoya before their pitch-perfect sword fight?


Then there are the unforgettable lines.




“Have fun storming the castle.”


“Rest well and dream of large women.”


“If only I had a holocaust cloak.”




“I would not say that if I were you.”


“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”


It is hard to pick a single perfect scene so lets not. Instead, let’s remember how delightful the introduction scene in the courtyard is for poor Buttercup. Let us dwell on the kidnapping scene and the attempted escape. My favorite scene might be the sword fight meant to mimic the best of Douglas Fairbanks Jr.


Let us remember the light touch of the late Peter Falk. Let us remember for a moment the late Andre the Giant’s ability to rhyme perfectly and easily.


Let us remember a movie that was perfect from every last cast member to the sterling dialogue and exciting sword duels.


When this movie first arrived at the theaters, it was a flop. No one went. But then the word got out as to what made this a great movie. People heard about it, saw it on VHS, talked about it to their friends and made it popular.


And they never forgot that this movie, beyond the swordplay and desire about revenge, is about true love.

Every movie tries for perfection, to follow the rules of their society that they have set, to make each scene ring true. Very few achieve that status. But when they do, it is the thing of legend.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


They Write the Songs

Family Movie Night

Movie poster for "Justin Bieber:Never Say Never," Image from IMDb.com

Bieber Fever is about to hit the home theater market when Never Say Never comes out on DVD on Friday May 13th.

The movie, perfect for pre-teens and up, tells Justin’s story of being a kid who recorded his music and put it up for the world to see. We get to see just how hard the kid works and how hard it is to stay a kid in the performance world. As Justin tells his story, he also shares that you should not let your dreams go because others tell you they are impossible.

Now it would be the hip, cool, snarky thing to immediately put down this movie and Justin Beiber as an artist. After all, this guy came about because people saw and liked his You Tube videos. His songs are fairly simplistic but solid workmanship. 

I watched the Glee episode that featured Bieber music and realized that his music may not save the world but it was not completely terrible either. Do the nasty comments come from true criticism or jealousy that this kid worked at his dream and achieved it but the critic has not reached that level of accomplishment?

That is something to think about.

Robert White and Joe Messina in "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," image from IMDb.com.

Now if documentaries about music are something you want to watch, let me suggest one of my favorites. Standing in the Shadows of Motown (2002) tells the story of the studio musicians, the Funk Brothers, at Motown when it was in Detroit. It chronicles not only the members of the band – who did what on which song but also the stories of the time period.

This is just one of the stories. At the start of the Martin Luther King Jr. riots in Detroit, the guys had been playing music all day. When they leave the studio they realize very quickly what is going on and the Funk Brothers hide their white horn player so that he can remain safe.

The soundtrack is filled with the memorable songs of the era that still sound so wonderful to my ear. How the opening lick for My Girl came into being is discussed and credit to the man who came up with it. It is a movie that will send adults on a reminiscing trip and give a lesson to those not affected to Motown music.

Movie Poster for "This is Spinal Tap," Image from IMDb.com

The mocumentary that does the best at laughing at the self-absorbed world of superstardom is This Is Spinal Tap (1984). Directed by Rob Reiner who stars as a documentary-like interviewer, this is the movie that gave us the joke about ’11’ on an amp volume dial. This movie made fun of guitar collecting and searching for enlightenment through Eastern meditation. It skewers everything we think we know about that world and then some.

Would I show this movie to my kids? Because it has a lot of swearing, drugs and alcohol references and some sexual jokes, I would allow my older teenager watch it and I am pretty sure the 14-year-old will quietly come in the room and watch. The younger ones are just going to have to wait a few years before they see it.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.