cinema of the united states

Nothing But Trouble (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on October 10, 2011

75. Nothing But Trouble (available for streaming on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video)

Here is the trailer for Nothing But Trouble.

[youtube o0Q1vQkJqC8]

Nothing But Trouble is a movie I had completely forgotten about, but was reminded of by my wonderful friend Tiffany.  I watched this movie on a sketchy VHS a lot of times, because I didn’t remember the beginning so much.  Anyway, the story centers around Chevy Chase, a financial publisher (important distinction) and Demi Moore, a lawyer who has been screwed over by her client/boyfriend.  They intend to crash an event in Atlantic City, end up taking some of Chevy Chase’s Brazilian clients with them on their road trip.

A little detour for a picnic results in a high-speed chase, a pat-down by John Candy, and a trip to a little town called Valkenvania. They have a showdown with a creepy judge played by Dan Akroyd, who is scary and a bit gross in this movie.

They get detained for the night, and the rest of the movie is dealing with a giant crazy mansion, bizarre characters, and an appearance by Digital Underground, which at the time featured a young Tupac Shakur.  This movie nearly defines the word random.

Nothing But Trouble is available on DVD from Amazon for $5.98.

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Empire Records (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on September 13, 2011

63. Empire Records (available for streaming via Netflix and Amazon)

Here is the trailer for Empire Records.

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Empire Records is a story of a day, obviously in the 90s, for the employees of an independent record store on the brink of going corporate.  The film features Liv Tyler, Renee Zellweger, Anthony Lapaglia, Robin Tunney and a bunch of other, less famous actors.

It is Rex Manning Day at Empire Records, and the young employees are preparing for having a celebrity in their midst, especially Liv Tyler who is planning on bedding the famous singer.  We have already found out that another employee, Lucas, took all of the store’s cash to Atlantic City the night before and lost it all during a game of craps.  The day goes on, and the staff deals with sharing their feelings about each other, meeting Rex Manning, trying to find a way to get around having to go the corporate music store route, and dealing with customer madness along the way.  This movie makes me wish I was 17 and working in a cool music store, instead of my actual reality which involved a green vest at Publix.

A really enjoyable part of this movie is the non-squinty and non-emaciated Renee Zellweger.

Plus, the soundtrack is pretty rad.

Empire Records is definitely worth checking out, and is available on DVD from Amazon for $11.33.

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The Experts (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on September 8, 2011

61. The Experts (available to stream via Netflix)

The trailer for The Experts doesn’t appear to be available online, so instead I share this scene where John Travolta dances with Kelly Preston.

[youtube ZlWvoyMN7yU]

The Experts is a movie about an elaborate KGB operation to infiltrate American society – they have built a town for their operatives to live in, which is meant to be in Nebraska, where they speak only English and generally act like Americans.  The major issue is that the town they’ve created is stuck in the 1950s.  One of the program leaders challenges this issue, and decides to bring in actual Americans to teach the town about the modern world.  They are naturally referred to as “The Experts” because everyone in the town assumes that they are KGB as well, brought in to test them.

Look at this hotness.

Travis (John Travolta) and Wendell (Arye Gross) are spotted in New York City and recruited with money and freedom to come to “Nebraska” and open a nightclub.  Thanks to some sleeping medication, the flight to the town in Russia goes by in a blink and they realize that they are in a town that looks to have stepped back 40 years.  They proceed with opening the club, and soon enough, they’re impacting everyone in the town.  The KGB project leaders aren’t happy and so things go downhill from there.

The Experts is a hotbed of 80s amazingness. John Travolta has an amazing mullet, Arye Gross’ wardrobe is a tribute to fashion of the 80s, and Kelly Preston emerges as the hot girl who can wield a gun.  I had a VHS of this movie that I recorded from the TV and I watched this movie probably 100 times.  Not sure why, but I watched it a lot in the early 90s.  I made my husband watch it with me, and he didn’t get it at all, and had trouble understanding if Wendell’s clothing was meant to be a mess or if he was the cool guy. The Experts is not a timeless film, but it is worth a watch.

This is super fitting – I am unable to find this movie on DVD.  However, a bunch of people are selling used VHS versions of The Experts on Amazon.

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Welcome to the Rileys (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on September 1, 2011

58. Welcome to the Rileys (not available to stream via Netflix or Amazon)

Here is the trailer for Welcome to the Rileys.

[youtube HlSPOzQG-Uk]

I added one Kristen Stewart movie to the Netflix queue and ended up adding a bunch, so that explains the Kristen Stewart-heavy movies as of late.  I have really enjoyed watching her in non-Twilight movies, and in this movie especially since I think her performance was great.

Welcome to the Rileys is the story of an unlikely friendship developed between Doug (James Gandolfini), a man in a disaster of a marriage due to the death of his daughter, and Mallory (Stewart), a runaway teenager turned stripper, working in New Orleans.  Doug meets Mallory, who looks a bit like the daughter he once had, and is immediately drawn to her, and tries to help her improve her life through home repair and improved manners.  Doug’s wife, meanwhile, is at home, where she has been trapped in the house for years, unable to leave since the death of her and Doug’s daughter.  Soon enough, Doug’s announcement that he is staying in New Orleans “for a while” forces his wife Lois (Melissa Leo) to finally force her way into the world again.  She joins Doug in New Orleans, meets Mallory, and eventually tries to help her as well, before both Doug and Lois recognize that they cannot replace their lost daughter.

In addition to Kristen Stewart’s strong performance in this movie, James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo are also spectacular.  James Gandolfini made me forget about Tony Soprano, which is the best compliment I can give.  Melissa Leo disappears into her characters, and this was no different, she is brilliant.

Welcome to the Rileys is available on DVD from Amazon for $19.99.

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Charlie’s Angels (100 Films in 2011)

by Jamie Sanford on August 27, 2011

56. Charlie’s Angels (available for streaming via Netflix and Amazon)

Here’s the trailer for Charlie’s Angels.

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Charlie’s Angels was one in a slew of TV shows turned into movies happening in the late 90s and onward.  However, it was actually enjoyable, so it was better than many of its contemporaries.  Starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, Charlie’s “angels” are a crimefighting team working for a private investigation firm backed by an anonymous millionaire named Charlie.

So, the premise is obviously based in a realistic scenario.

This is a fun, girl-power type of movie – but for both genders because the girls also happen to be hot.

Lots of action and good performances by the supporting cast including Bill Murray, Sam Rockwell, Crispin Glover and a personal favorite of mine, Tim Curry.  Charlie’s Angels is a remake that surpassed my original experience with the TV show.

Charlie’s Angels is available on DVD from Amazon for $6.73.

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