Mission: Impossible II (2000)

Mission-Impossible-2

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Your mission: Matchmaker

When it comes to the Mission: Impossible franchise, the third movie and after, even though I love them, doesn’t quite feel like the Mission: Impossible I grew up with. The first film came out in 1996 and the second was released in 2000, which as you probably know – have similar filming styles back then. That filming style is a little corny, but feels just…right. Not too flashy, not too aged. Those first two will remain in my memory for a long time – and memorability is a factor in how I review. When I think of Mission: Impossible, I mostly think of Mission: Impossible II, which came out when I was 12 – the start of when I wanted to be a spy. That’s right, this movie is super nostalgic for me, but how is it for the rest of you?

Mission: Impossible II centers around a genetically modified virus called Chimera that basically gives you a day before it affects you and cannot be reversed. This thing, if unleashed on humanity – would be bad. When Ethan learns that another IMF agent stole the virus to sell on the black market, he enlists the help of a common citizen, the other IMF agent’s ex-girlfriend – to go undercover and retrieve the virus back.

So there are good things and bad things.  The main bad thing I saw with this movie was how much focus Tom Cruise wasn’t given. It was more a movie centered on Thandie Newton’s character than anything else, but that’s not bad and I’ll tell you why. It’s not bad because it’s still clearly a spy movie. Mission: Impossible III had a romantic element as well, but it could have gotten away with claiming it wasn’t at the same time. It was way too emotionally-driven, while this one was emotionally driven as well – it had enough really cool spy stuff at the same time.

I guess another negative aspect to this film was in way too many uses of the spy mask. Too many uses of a spy mask like that is unnecessary and makes you wonder why they don’t just wear one at all times if it makes things that much simpler? At some point in this film, you’re bound to ask when enough is enough, because it becomes a bit of a gag – something a parody film could have made fun of. It’s a cool concept, even cooler in the third, but keep it simple, stupid. For the most part, that’s just a pet peeve of mine.

The rest of the movie I like. I like the virus plot, the chemistry between Thandie and Tom, the fight choreography, the motorcycle chases, and most importantly, the “impossible mission”. This is the bare minimum requirement in a Mission: Impossible film for obvious reasons, and something the third lacked. The impossible mission wasn’t so much Ethan’s, but Thandie Newton’s character’s mission. She’s a civilian that has to act normal in arms reach of an old IMF agent who has possession of a destructive virus…and there’s not a lot Ethan can do to help. You just know something bad is about to happen – and that’s how you know this is an impossible mission.

The Good:

This is a spy movie at heart, and a good one at that. It has just enough spy action and character development to feel just right. The mission itself does indeed feel impossible, which is a big positive. Plus, that soundtrack is probably my favorite out of the series.

The Bad:

I wish the film centered a little more on Ethan’s character than it did, and I wish they didn’t rely so much on the spy mask – because it quickly started to feel like a cop-out, but other than that, I am satisfied with this flick.

Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000)

Nutty2

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Taken too far.

This film was selected from ‘The 250’

It was only a few days ago that I was talking about the rarity of comedy sequels, and whether or not that rarity was a good thing. We really don’t see many comedy sequels, and to be fair, it really should stay that way. As much as I love comedies and the characters they create, continuing the story is not always the best idea. The Nutty Professor, despite the flaws it has, still had a lot of funny moments and meaningful messages. The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps is a movie that I don’t quite understand. In 1996, Eddie Murphy dressing up as countless people is silly, sure, but did we really need a movie with more focus on the Klumps? I mean, they don’t even help the overall plot. Anyways, enough of my rant, let’s talk plot.

Professor Sherman Klump is back and fatter than ever. Okay, he’s equally as fat. Anyway, he’s onto a new invention, and instead of a reduction in weight, it’s a formula to reduce age. That’s right, a synthetic version of the fountain of youth. However, somewhere deep in the crevices of his DNA remains last remnants of Buddy Love…whose just itching to come back out. In fact, Buddy’s personality is escaping in Klumps own, and so he decides to extract it…which only makes things worse, because now there is a Buddy and Sherman in the same world. However, the split is having a negative impact on both of them – Sherman is losing his intelligence, while Buddy is gaining the abilities of a pooch.

I actually like the whole idea of Buddy Love physically escaping the Professor. Did they really need another Eddie Murphy in the movie? No, but I do love films that represent insecurities as physical representations, which is a rarity in film. I was somebody that actually liked the scene in Superman III that had Clark Kent face off against Superman. It symbolizes a metaphorical struggle within oneself, and to see that in film is always a good thing…in my opinion.  That alone I wasn’t angry about, I thought it was smart, instead I was angry at the use of the Klumps.

We get it, har har, you play several characters in your own family, and they’re all just rude and dysfunctional. That’s great, but when it comes down to it, there’s not a soul on earth that can’t see that they are simply comedic relief and have no right to be considered anything more. Trying to create multiple subplots just to have more of the family was a downright awful idea. When it comes right down to it, the story alone wasn’t bad, but it was absolutely ruined by a clump of Klump storylines that I couldn’t care less about. They don’t further the story, they water it down, and for that…I just can’t forgive the writers.

Past that, the messages were about the same things as the first…so there’s that. It was still about insecurities, but it wasn’t an insecurity that any audience member could really connect with unless they are schizophrenic. Seriously, the beginning of the movie had Professor Klump fighting voices in his head, which caused him to do things he didn’t want to do, then the story goes on to physically interpret multiple personalities disorder. I know that wasn’t the intention, really, but it’s hard not to think about. The execution was wrong, the use of the Klumps was too much, they went wrong in every which way…to the point where it was just……bleh

The Good:

It’s cool to see Eddie Murphy jump back into his character and show off his unique sense of humor and acting range. The physical split in personality was also very smart – as it’s a symbolic representation of man vs. self.

The Bad:

The movie just isn’t any good. They took what should have been normally considered just comedic relief and turned it into mindless plot. Not only that, but the comedic relief wasn’t even that funny because, again, Tyler Perry ruined it for me.

Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)

Dude-Where's-My-Car

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Now that’s random.

This film was selected from ‘The 250’

Man, in 2000, I was only 12, but I can vividly still remember people talking about Dude, Where’s My Car. It was one of the few movies I wasn’t allowed to see for whatever reason, but always wanted to actually get around to seeing. Other movies usually took precedence, and I actually never did get around to seeing it…until now. That means I didn’t know anything about this movie other than the fact that some dude’s car goes missing at some point. Other than that, it’s remarkable just how little I’ve heard plotwise from this film, so I was actually pretty interested in seeing what this actually was.

So to give you a proper idea of what this movie is – it’s about two guys. Jesse and Chester. They’re a couple of pot heads who went partying the night before, got so stoned that the next day, they couldn’t remember anything, including where they parked their car. So throughout the day, they go through the events of the previous day trying to figure out the location of their car. Things get even stranger when they apparently run into several groups of people looking for an alien device called the “Continuum Transfunctioner”, which may or may not pose a threat to human civilization.

Talk about a weird movie. I was trying my hardest to come up with a good analogy to compare this to other movies, and I think I came up with something. This is mostly a cross between Dumb & Dumber and The Hangoverbut instead of alcohol, it’s drugs. That about sums it up, really. The comedy in this movie is so out there, and honestly so bad, that it is hilarious. There’s a reason why this movie is a cult comedy. It’s incredibly memorable. The cast, the story, the jokes – it’s so terrible that it’s so funny. It’s really hard to explain.

The humor in this film ranges from physical, to overly-repetetive, to some “gross” factor stuff…and it’s portrayed mainly by Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott. These guys work well together, surprisingly enough, and they bring what they need to in order for the movie to work. It feels a lot like a TV sitcom at times, because what you have is basically a two-man show. These guys carry the movie all the way – almost on their own just by interracting with each other. It’s an odd thing to actually see in film nowadays. It reminds me of Kenan & Kel in say, Good Burger, or like I mentioned above, Dumb & Dumber.

It’s not for everyone though. Not by a longshot. Critics hate this thing more than anything in the world. I get where they’re coming from. No, it’s not really funny from a certain standpoint. Critics are very technical, and they know the kinds of jokes that typically work on a universal scale, and Dude, Where’s My Car? Isn’t that type of humor. I know that. The comedy on its own isn’t that great. The characters on their own aren’t that great. The story is so random that it’s not great either, but put them all together…it’s like chemistry. You’ll suddenly have a good time watching it…if you’re not a stickler.

I will say my main concern though, and that is the fact that the tone was off pretty harshly. It just doesn’t feel right. I do like the comedy, but the production values were all off…for the most part, it feels like a family comedy, honestly. And then there are strip clubs and some sexual references throughout that turns it into something you’d see on Adult Swim. The tone itself is all over the place, and in my opinion, the biggest flaw this film faced.

The Good:

I don’t know if it was on purpose or not, but this movie is so bad that it actually works really, really well. It is a cult hit that people still mention now and then, and there’s a good reason for that.

The Bad:

Technically speaking, there are just going to be more people than not that won’t be interested in this because it’s too weird, or the different style of jokes won’t work for them. The tone of the movie itself isn’t what it should be, and all around…the movie is just too weird for a lot of people.

Memorable Quote:

Jesse: Dude, where’s my car?

Chester: Dude, where’s your car?

Jesse: Dude… Where’s my car?

Chester: Where’s your car, dude?

Jesse: Dude where’s my car?

The Family Man (2000)

Family-Man

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Sweet and silly.

I have to admit. The Family Man clearly takes a few plays out of major Christmas films, but I think it gets away with it. You got It’s a Wonderful Life mixed with A Christmas Carol (pretty much). I don’t call that unoriginality, I call that chemistry, or biology, or something like that. Once these two elements converge, it creates a completely different story all on its own that just seems to fit with the others. It’s inspiration at most, and while others call it “predictable”, I just snap back with “It’s a Christmas movie, take a chill pill!”

Centered on millionaire Jack Campbell, this is a magical tale of redemption. Something you’ve seen in both It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol. He feels as though his life is perfect as he swims in his metaphorical fields of gold. However, when he runs into a man threatening a store clerk, he offers his assistance, and it turns out the crook was actually an angel…or something…that sends him to an alternate universe where he never got rich and instead chose love with his college sweetheart, Kate Reynolds. In this alternate universe, he is married with two kids, and as often as he tries, he attempts to somehow get his old life back, and if he can’t, he tries to stick with his old ways and tries to build his old life from the ground up. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what he shouldn’t do, because as the audience falls in love with the family, they start to see how his greedy stuck-up ways is rude and appalling. He needs to redeem himself before he loses both lives.

I consider this one of the best Christmas films around. Yes, it takes plays out of the two films mentioned above. He is rich and greedy like Ebenezer Scrooge, and won’t let his workers stay home for Christmas. Then an angel comes by and shows him what his life would be like if he didn’t exist…or I should say – if his rich self didn’t exist. By adding these two together, you get something just as magical, but different enough to feel unique. I gotta say though, that’s not why I love this film, not even close. That’s just a mere snippet.

In actuality, you love the family. Every one of them, and even the neighbors. It’s well-done chemistry ten-fold, because it is an entire community of great chemistry. Not only that, but there is a very good mixture between the comedy and the drama. Nicolas Cage in a fish-out-of-water tale involving his own life is constantly hilarious, but because you love the family, there are these really effective emotional scenes – from everyone around. It feels so heartfelt with a pinch of holiday magic made this film truly a wonderful experience.

The plot is not all there. Instead of building character and developing true moments of rising action, it kind of plays along like a broken record. You see his character mature and grow, and then he goes and does something else that’s just equally as stupid as before. That’s when things start to feel a little predictable – and not in the way you’d expect from a Christmas tale. A way that feels like the film is dragging on at the same time…which granted, isn’t the best feeling in the world. That doesn’t mean I don’t love it, because it’s still a “buy” from me.

The Good:
As I mentioned before, I still consider this one of the best Christmas films, filled to the brim with great family messages, moments of hilarity, and heartfelt characters you can really love and care about.

The Bad:
As magical and sweet as this film feels, it still plays like a broken record. Nothing seems to advance in the way that is should, because every time this guy grows and matures, he goes and does another stupid thing that makes you question if he has learned anything at all.

The Random:
Wouldn’t it be cool to see a sequel to this film where we see where the “family man” version of Nicolas Cage is sent into rich version’s universe? Ha.

Memorable Quote:
Jack
: Well, you know everything worked out. I mean, I like Annie.

Kate: Well, good Jack, maybe we’ll keep her.