Past Movie Review: Platoon

As most would agree, especially the veterans of World War 2, “Saving Private Ryan”, released in 1998 is by far, the best and most realistic war movie ever made. Some 12 years before Saving Private Ryan, the movie “Platoon” directed by Oliver Stone was considered the best and most realistic war movie of all time. So good in fact that Platoon won the best picture Oscar in 1987 and Oliver Stone won best director.
There are many things that stand out in this film, starting with Charlie Sheen as the lead actor in what turned out to be his best ever movie role, by far. Costars Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe were nominated for best supporting actor and Sheen was not nominated and in my opinion this was yet another Oscar mistake. The war action was some of the most realistic and horrific that I have seen in any movie battle scenes. Most especially the final jungle battle at night that also included a Vietnamese soldier who ran into a tent with a bomb, blowing up everybody inside. Hand to hand combat as the American forces are overrun by the North Vietnam soldiers during the final battle is some of the most impressive war action ever filmed.
Platoon is still shown on many cable stations and for the few who have never seen this great war movie, I give this film my highest recommendation.

Past Movie Review: The American President

“The American President”, released in 1995 is one of those cable movies that are broadcast frequently over the years because no matter how many times you see this great movie, it still is very entertaining and still relevant.

The American President, directed by Rob Reiner and written by Aaron Sorkin, is one of those rare films that is a combination of great dialogue, relevant and believable story, great acting and even romantic comedy all in one. For this film, Sorkin’s dialogue is never over the top, or rapid fire like many of his other great films, including “Molly’s Game”, 2018 and “The Social Network”, 2010. In this movie, people more or less, talk the way normal people talk.

The American President is one of the few serious movie roles in the career of Michael J. Fox, who has several scenes in this film that are at the highest level in his many years as an actor. Micheal Douglass and Annette Benning are both outstanding in their lead roles with Douglass as the President and Benning as a lobbyist pushing for a 20% Global Warming fossil fuels reduction. This is all still very relevant even today. Throughout the story, the politics that included choosing between an anemic crime bill and global warming was always interesting, as the President and the Global Warming lobbyists, led by Benning fight for votes to pass legislation.

1995 is now 25 years ago and The American President has been shown on cable countless times. For those few who have still not seen this very good movie, I highly recommend it and agree with the very high 91% rankings on Rotten Tomatoes.

Past Movie Review: The Blind Side

At the start of the movie “The Blind Side”, released in 2009 a video is shown about one of the worst injuries in the history of the NFL. On November 18, 1985, quarterback Joe Theisman’s career ended when his leg was shattered during a tackle where he was surrounded by several Giant’s linemen, putting his leg into a backwards position that considering the video (see below) it is amazing that he still has this leg . Due to this one horrendous leg injury, the NFL changed; creating the need for offensive linemen who were responsible for protecting the quarterback’s blindside.

The story about the movie The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock is a true story about a homeless man who is taken in by a rich family and eventually adopted. This is one of those movies that if the story were not true, nobody would have green-lighted the screenplay, because nobody would believe that this could ever have happened. The homeless man was Micheal Oher, a huge 300 pound offensive lineman who would eventually make it to the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and eventually win the Super Bowl with the team in 2013. Were it not for Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock, Oher would have probably remained homeless for the rest of his life. Oher was raised by a drug addict mother, who was frequently in and out of prison, and despite his huge size and athletic ability he would have never found his true calling as an elite NFL offensive lineman.

In 2008, one year before the release of The Blind Side, Sandra Bullock was known as an actress who had made several good, but never great movies; the best being “Speed”, released in 1994. Most would have thought that she would have continued making mid-level quality movies for the rest of her career, and was not really an Academy Award level actress. Bullock won the best actress Oscar for The Blind Side in 2010, proving that all it takes is one miracle role or opportunity in any career, to prove the critics wrong. Miracles like this one in Bullock’s career are extremely rare and never guaranteed to any actor.

2009 is 11 years ago and Bullock has never gotten a role as good as The Blind Side since, proving once again how rare great acting roles come along for any actor. Just because a well known actor gets one great role, like Julia Roberts in 2000 for “Erin Brockovich”, this never means that lightning will strike twice, regardless of fame or clout. This is also true of the late Mary Tyler Moore who starred in “Ordinary People” in 1980. All movies start with the screenwriter, struggling to write and then re-write a great story that is first noticed by the right people and then, somehow, is made into a movie. This is why great acting roles like The Blind Side are so hard to find, because its not just because of the great writing or great story. It is also about luck and timing.

All the actors in the Blind Side were outstanding, especially the actor Quinton Aaron who played Oher in his first ever movie role. Kathy Bates is also great as the tutor who tries to get Oher’s grades up so he could be accepted into college and Tim McGraw, who plays Leigh Anne’s husband is also outstanding. This film has excellent moments of humor and emotion and I thought was one of the best movies released in 2009. For the few who have never seen The Blind Side, I highly recommend this outstanding movie.