Tag Archive: Tim Allen


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.

And On To The Oscars

Family Movie Night

This past weekend saw the Golden globes hand out their awards and next will be various guilds until we get to Oscar Night!

As a movie person, I get really excited about this night and I feel bad when I have not seen all of the movies. But this year I am taking the bulls by the horn. 

Rooney Mara and Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network," picture from IMDb.com

 As of the 18th, you can start your rental road to the Oscars with Golden Globe Best Movie winner, The Social Network.  Jesse Eisenberg stars as the Harvard student who came up with Facebook. This is how he wheeled and dealed (sort of), lost friends, gained business associates and became the youngest billionaire.

 All the critics have raved about this movie, talking about Eisenberg’s  accurate portrayal and Justin Timberlake’s incredible performance. As much as I do not know about computer programming, I want to see this movie for the story.

 Another movie that is destined for a Best Movie nomination is Inception starring Leonardo Di Caprio and directed by

Leonardo Di Caprio in "Inception," picture from IMDb.com

Christopher Nolan. The story is about a man who can steal ideas as people are sleeping. However, Di Caprio is not able to go home to his children. That is when he is offered a deal to plant a suggestion in someone’s head in exchange for redemption.

 What makes this movie fascinating, besides the premise alone, is the special effects of the ever-changing dream world. With a tug of the hand scenes can instantly change. It is incredible to watch along with the emotionally charged story. I was able to get through one hour before I had to turn it off. I plan to rent this movie again.

Grown-up Andy looking at his favorite toys, Picture from IMDb.com

Finally, I hope that Toy Story 3 will get nominated for Best Picture although I suspect it will be placed in Best Animation as a consolation prize. I find this movie to be a thrilling story of growing up, regrets, a little action adventure and, finally, rebirth.

 Now if none of these movies appeal, let me suggest The Other Guys starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as two NYPD detectives who hate each other. Luck shines on the caustic partners as they discover a case that could make them into the big-time cops they dream of being.

This is a PG-13 movie, not suitable for the younger members of the family. It looks like a whole lot of fun besides the opportunity to ogle Mark Wahlberg’s abs that were put into shape as he got ready for The Fighter.

Will Ferrell and the hot, hot, hot Mark Wahlberg in "The Other Guys," picture from IMDb.com

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

Getting Cozy in the Cabin

Family Movie Night

As the temperature begins to drop, all I really want to do is dress in a big sweater, jeans and hide indoors.

Picture by Anita Patterson

I felt it this morning as I was getting up and trying to get the kids up for the day. It was cold on those floors to the bare feet. No one wanted to get up and face the day.

Here’s the rub – it is not even that cold yet. We are talking about temperatures in the 40s. I guess after the hot summer we had had, 40s feel like a slap in the face. Where is the comforting warmth, the cool breeze at the right time? My guess is that they packed up and went to Bermuda.

Which leads me back to the couch with a warm blanket and a cup of hot something to drink. As the kids and dog huddle around, we also want to watch something heartwarming and comforting in its own way.

That is when you pull out Toy Story. Give yourself a mini film fest of the best family movie series of all time.

Buzz and Woody race back to Andy, Picture from IMDb.com

When the first movie hit, we fell in love. Woody and Buzz, as voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, were the kind of guys we could relate to and cheer for. Plus, they are always trying to go home. They understand as much as we do that there must be one safe place you always want to go. Call it the “Cheers” maxim, go where everyone knows your name.

Toy Story saw the introduction of Buzz to Andy’s bedroom and the big rescue from Sid’s house. Toy Story 2 introduced us to Jessie, Bullseye and Mrs. Potatohead as well as the world of collectible toys while bringing on a great airport rescue.

Jessie, Woody and Bullseye watching their TV show. Picture from IMDb.com

Toy Story 3 was released on DVD on November 2, making the final entry of the series that will have you crying at various parts for all the right reasons.

In this outing, Andy is leaving for college. He is packing up his room and has to decide what to do

An 18-year-old Andy deciding what to do with his old toys. Picture from IMDb.com

with his old toys. No 18 year-old wants to admit he still loves his toys nor does Andy truly want to be parted with them. By accident the gang finds they have been taken to a daycare center. What seems like paradise turns to be something very different and sinister.

Why do all three movies work? Because first and foremost, the scripts never doubt the intelligence of the viewer. It is not dumbed-down just because this is a “family movie.”

The characters are fully formed with many aspects to them. The animation is always top quality, giving pictures to the wonderful voice talents that are being used. It’s not just Hanks and Allen who are great. So are Don Rickles, Joan Cusack, Annie Potts, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenburger, Laurie Metcalf, Kelsey Grammer, Ned Beatty and the late Jim Varney.

Finally, the music written for this series has always been perfect. The songs have me laughing and crying, amazed by their depth of emotion.

There are so many reasons to love this movie series but the biggest one is that it is fun.  We learn so much through playing but because it is play we never realize just how much we are learning. After you watch Toy Story once, you will be a fan forever.

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. Become my friend on Facebook.

 
Andy giving a loving look at his favorite toys. Picture from IMDb.com

Family Movie Night Column

This week the third installment of the Toy Story franchise will come to theaters.

 Andy is about to go to college and his mother mistakenly gives his old toys – Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the whole gang – to a day care with other toys she meant to give away.

 Are you going to see it? I know we are. Our house has loved this series of movies. We had the first movie on VHS when our second oldest was a toddler. He loved watching this movie so much it became a daily routine.

 When Toy Story 2 came out on VHS, we had to get it just for him. Then I had to make the one-movie-per-day ruling because that child wanted to watch both movies every day.

 On the other hand, this child also had some speech problems and by

Buzz and Woody fighting at the gas station. Picture from IMDb.com

repeating the lines over and over, it helped his annunciation. I would come around the corner and listen to him saying Woody’s lines or making Buzz and Woody fight.

 For a while we had just about every character in toy form. Over the years, some have been broken and had to be thrown away. Broke my heart every time.

 Why? Because a part of me buys the premise that when we fall asleep or are not in the room, toys come alive. They seem very real. There has to be a reason toys are never where you put them or why game pieces suddenly go missing.

 Before you go to Toy Story 3, go ahead and rent Toy Story and Toy Story 2. See how Pixar broke the mold of family movies by making them with

the gang crossing the street to rescue Woody in TS2. Picture from IMDb.com.

solid plots, good characterization and taking away those bad parental figures.  We love these characters because they have our faults and graces. We know them inside and out in a good way.

I like that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen have always managed to find the right notes for their characters. Woody may be a benevolent despot but he likes to be in control of his world. Yet, his character always manages to grow and do the right thing when he wants to do otherwise. And Buzz? I can’t think of anything mean to say about him. He is just a great guy, even when he believes he is a real space ranger.

I have watched Toy Story several times, loving it with each viewing. I can repeat dialogue and know when everything is going to happen. I have analyzed the music, noting how Toy Story 2 uses incidental music that sounds like it could come from a 1950’s serial flick.

Jessie, Woody and Bullseye watching their TV show in TS2. Picture from IMDb.com

In the end, I believe that Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are in that small group of perfect movies in the world. And I am hoping Toy Story 3 is just as good at pulling my heartstrings without making me feel manipulated.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for your own Family Movie Night and leave a comment or become my friend on Facebook.