Great Moments in Indiana Jones History

Hana, Maui, which is where I spent most of this past week, boasts an other-worldly bamboo forest, breathtaking nude beaches, and internet access as reliable as a dead cat. At least that's my excuse for skimping on Indiana Jones posts when the Fedora-ed One is kind of a big deal around here and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull debuted in theaters last Thursday.

It should come as no surprise that a town without wireless signals or sports bars (no NBA Western Conference Finals!) also didn't have a theater. So consider me doubly guilty for not having even seen the latest Indy film. I'll be correcting that unfortunate oversight in a matter of hours, but before I go, I'd like to share a few sparkling moments from the previous Indiana Jones films with you all.

The Showdown - According to rumor, which I believe in this case, Harrison Ford wasn't feeling up to filming a lengthy fight with the swordsman in Raiders of the Ark. Rather than attempting the demanding stunt sequences, he instead suggested shooting this alternate version (pun intended).

The Hitler Autograph - Previously in this scene, Indy confronted Dr. Elsa Schneider for the Grail Diary in The Last Crusade and their dark exchange of threats lays a beautiful setting for this unexpected turn of events.

The Truck Chase - Spielberg outdid himself in choreographing a chase scene from Raiders that blended thrilling action with equal parts humor and violence. Only in an Indiana Jones movie can a guy get squashed by the protagonist and the audience chuckles at his death. His being a Nazi probably helps too.

Head for the Fireplace! - It's obvious that my favorite scenes brim with humor and this brief clip from The Last Crusade is no exception. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the entire scene but even these few seconds detail the natural chemistry between Harrison Ford and "dear old dad" Sean Connery.

I could go on and on but I'd like to hear which are your favorite scenes from the Indiana Jones series?

And for more great moments in cinema history, check out the movie blogs over at The Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) for more humor and violence.


Plot Farming

Don't forget to partake in the absurdly refreshing pastime that is poll-voting over at the Large Association of Movie Blogs. Piper, of Lazy Eye Theater fame, recently hosted another installment in the Plot Farm contest where wannabe plot-ists, such as myself, wrote up a dazzling new storyline using a series of random words and phrases. My entry focuses on a lost monkey spreading a highly arousing perfume across the nation -- think Outbreak but with an epidemic of dry humping.

Do not fight the horny monkey; just obey its wishes and vote for the best plot -- mine!


Three Reasons You Might Enjoy What Happens in Vegas (Seriously)

One day every year I try to be a good son, which is how I found myself sitting in What Happens in Vegas on Mother’s Day. While I never expected to see the film, I wasn’t surprised to see a herd of couples in the theater grazing on milk duds and licorice (this was a “date movie” if I ever saw one). However, for a film banking on the sex appeal of two young hotties (Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz, who are forced to endure a sham marriage to split 3 mil in Vegas winnings), the audience was unusually… well seasoned. Even during the previews I could still make out the tap tap of white nursing shoes and the rustling of hairy knuckles reaching for popcorn.

This is an awful poster. I promise the film contains fewer expressions of douchebaggery

My geriatric peeps got pretty rowdy once the film began and, surprisingly enough, I laughed just as much because What Happens in Vegas wasn’t half bad. Low expectations may have fueled some of my enjoyment but the film deserves at least a couple bars of kudos.

Here then are a few reasons you too might enjoy What Happens in Vegas.

Kelso stars in Vegas in spirit only

Ashton Kutcher"That 70s Show" ended with a whimper a couple of years ago, but during its heyday the sitcom mined plenty of laughs from its I-wish-I-were-that-clever teenage snarkfest and, more often than not, Kutcher’s gray matter-challenged Michael Kelso was on the receiving end of the snarking (burned!). In Vegas, Ashton takes a Kelso-like character to the big screen, albeit an older and (slightly) more intelligent version – a Kelso 2.0 if you will. Kutcher makes the transition work by restraining his penchant for overacting and lets the steady stream of amusing (if not hilarious) scenes do the heavy lifting.

Sidekicks done right
Rob Corddry was atrocious in Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, forced to push a one-laugh gag (if that) as an idiotic government agent to nearly half an hour of screen time (or maybe it just felt that way). This time Corddry plays Ashton Kutcher’s lawyer friend who bears a gratifying resemblance to his obtuse and playfully combative Daily Show correspondent persona. Less is more for comedic sidekicks and Corddry stays scarce enough to keep his bald-headed brand of humor golden. Also, wait past the credits for Lake Bell’s best contribution to the film. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

Surprisingly Touching Moments – The script putters itself into the cringe-worthy practice of describing relationships in gambling terms (“I’m ready to bet on you”) but I give props to screenwriter Dana Fox for including believable “aha” moments where the main stars begin that gushy slide into mutual attraction. I don’t want to spoil any major developments (not that you won’t see everything coming) but the courtship is refreshingly chaste and gives more credibility to the budding romance than the average rom-com.

Plastic sofa covers are like bling for your living room

Whatever Happens in Vegas is an excellent “date movie” and also, apparently, an awesome break from shopping for plastic sofa covers. But even if you don’t fit into those categories you now have three reasons to check it out. And now for my obligatory shout-out for the Large Association of Movie Blogs, where movie-goers both young and decrepit are always welcome.


My Mom's Ten Word Movie Review: Made of Honor

My mom went to see Patrick Dempsey in Made of Honor the other day. I might have checked it out as well but I came down with a sudden case of masculinity.

Here's my mom's review:

"It satisfied my girlie movie fix."

And don't forget to satisfy your other movie needs at the Large Association of Movie Blogs.


Discovering Downey Jr.: Beyond Iron Man

Now that Iron Man is a bonafide hit, Robert Downey Jr. looks set to make the figurative leap onto Hollywood's A-List. For those wanting to bone up on Junior's past films, here are a few movies I think show the actor at his neurotic, brilliant best. Your mileage may vary.

There's more to RD Jr. than creepy goatees and glowing palms

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - In my favorite film of the bunch, Downey seems to play himself if he were a small-time crook mistakenly cast as an actor in a crime drama and instructed to ride shotgun with a gay private detective (played by an appropriately smug Val Kilmer) to develop his character. Along the way, Downey's loveable screwup runs into an old flame whose sister's death prompts a real investigation that sizzles with neo-film noir style and whip smart dialogue.

Only You - I'm a sucker for (some) romantic comedies and Downey -- again playing himself, it seems -- falls hard for Marisa Tomei during an Italian rendezvous that flips the concept of soul mates on its head (Doesn't it sound like I'm writing an IMDB plot summary?). Expect the usual twists but the chemistry between the two leads is undeniable and makes for great fun that you can never admit to your friends (if you're a guy).

Chaplin - Downey takes a break from starring as himself to portray Charlie Chaplin in the film that garnered him an Oscar nod for Best Actor. He didn't win, but Chaplin remains Downey Jr.'s most critically acclaimed role to date.

Wonder Boys - Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire take center stage in this comedic gem as a struggling English professor and his troubled star student but Robert Downey Jr. steals most of his scenes as the book editor who speaks and acts a lot like every other Downey character, which is to say, hilariously. And did I mention the film is based on Michael Chabon's book of the same name?

Did I miss any other Robert Downey Jr. films worth seeing? Leave your recommendations in the comments section.

And don't forget to check out the Large Association of Movie Blogs for your one-stop resource of movie blogs written by other guys who secretly like romantic comedies but aren't man enough to admit it.


Ten Word Movie Reviews: The Forbidden Kingdom

I'm reintroducing a favorite segment of mine: Ten Word (or less) Movie Reviews.

The Jackie Chan and Jet Li martial arts vehicle The Forbidden Kingdom gets the first treatment with a round of family reviews.

From me:

"Karate Kid goes fantastical and contracts some epic yellow fever."

The father unit:

"Imagine Wizard of Oz with Jet Li and Jackie Chan."

And the maternal unit:

"It was ok. It wasn't the best."

Go ahead and add your own ten word (or less) movie review of The Forbidden Kingdom in the comments section. Also, head over to the Large Association of Movie Blogs for more sweaty movie review action.