VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Big Hit (1998)

Claire: 4.2/5 stars, 8.1/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7.0/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

A comedy-crime-romance, with the comedy coming first. It was Carolyn’s first time seeing this movie, but Claire had already seen it in the theater in 1998 when it came out.

The chick they kidnap is China Chow. She is 3/4 Chinese, 1/4 German. Check out her IMDB pictures. Beautiful.

Carolyn says: “It was entertaining. I enjoyed it. The vomit scene was disgusting, but also pretty funny.”

Almost all movie covers and posters at the video rental store are from Troma Entertainment. And that says a bit about this movie’s penchant for the ridiculous. What other movie has ever employed a TraceBuster-Buster-Buster?!

You know what would make people not want to watch this movie? The fact that the screenplay was written by the same writer as the Dragonball:Evolution writer.

But you know why people SHOULD watch this movie? Because it’s ridiculous, funny, and unique. I’m glad I watched this a 2nd time, a treatment the majority of the movies I watch do not receive.

“Is this the movie with the disturbing chicken-feeling scene?” Yes, yes it is.

“Is this the movie with the car chasing the guy… In the middle of the woods?” Yes, yes it is.

People are trying to say this is in the same vein as In Bruges, The Transporter, True Romance, Shoot ‘Em Up, Grosse Point Blank, Demolition Man, Last Action Hero, Face Off, or the A-Team movie. THEY’RE WRONG. This movie is better than 80% of the ones I just listed. And funnier than 100%.

It’s cheesy as hell. It’s “bad” by many measures. But I REALLY REALLY LIKE this movie!

Directed by Kirk Wong (we haven’t seen his other movies, and he mostly does international stuff).
written by Ben Ramsey (Dragonball: Evolution).

Starring Mark Wahlberg (Ted, Date Night, The Happening, I Heart Huckabees, Planet Of The Apes) as Melvin Smiley.
Lou Diamond Phillips (Young Guns, 2 eps of 24, 1 ep of American Dad) as Cisco.
Christina Applegate (Kelly from Married With Children, Veronica in the Anchorman movies, Mars Attacks!, Jesse, Samantha Who?) as Pam Shulman.
Avery Brooks (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, 1 ep of Gargoyles) as Paris.
Bokeem Woodbine (The Host, Black Dynamite, Total Recall remake) as Crunch.
Antonio Sabato Jr. (The Three Stooges, 260 eps of The Bold And The Beautiful) as Vince.
China Chow (Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, 1 ep of That 70’s Show) as Keiko Nishi.
Lainie Kazan (You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Harry & The Hendersons, Beaches, The Journey Of Natty Gann) as Jeanne Shulman, Pam’s mom.
Elliott Gould (Jack Geller in Friends, Ocean’s Eleven movies, Contagion, 1 ep of The Life & Times Of Tim) as Morton Shulman, Pam’s dad.
Sab Shimono (Uncle in Jackie Chan Adventures, Waterworld, The Shadow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3, 6 eps of Avatar: The Last Airbender, 3 eps of Samurai Jack, 2 eps of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 1 ep of The Boondocks, 1 ep of Max Headroom) as Jiro Nishi.
Lela Rochon (13 eps of The Wayans Bros.) as Chantel.
Danny Smith (Senior Trip, The Three Stooges, 3 eps of Detentionaire) as Video Store Kid.
Joshua Peace (Interrogation Surveillance Tech in Red) as Lance.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120609/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)

Clint: 5/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.6/5 stars, 8/10.

We had to watch this great party movie after watching Trojan War (1997), which also had Jennifer Love Hewitt as a main character. But in this movie, she’s made up to be THE hot girl, instead of The Geeky Girl Who The Main Guy Doesn’t Notice Is Hot Until The End Of The Movie.

Both movies involve crazy, ridiculous events that occur over the course of one night. Trojan War is more of an out-on-the-town caper, while Can’t Hardly Wait is  more of a party movie. But Trojan War has a party too, and Can’t Hardly Wait has some out-on-the-town capers as well. The two are an excellent double-feature.

This is a great party movie, and an amazing cast of bit parts played by people who later turned up in all kinds of other things that we watched.

This movie is the magnum opus of writing team Harry Elfont & Deborah Kaplan, and this also co-directed it (1 of 2 movies they wrote & directed together)+. They really didn’t do anything of real value–except this movie, which deserves to be remembered.

The cast includes a LOT of people.
The 2 main (mainest?) characters are Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ethan Embry (Empire Records, Sweet Home Alabama, Harold & Kumar 1).

The main supporting characters include Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under, Psycho Beach Party–I wish more people would use her for roles), Seth Green (Robot Chicken, Family Guy, Greg The Bunny, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Sex Drive), Charlie Korsmo (Hook; truly as much of a geek as his character in this movie: He left acting to get degree in physics–4.0 at MIT, went on to law school, and now teaches law), Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen, the vampire clan leader in the 5 Twilight movies, The Scorpion King).

Speaking of Seth Green being in Robot Chicken, Breckin Meyer, who is closely involved in Robot Chicken, is also in this movie. Could this be where they met? He was in Go (1999) as well. And The Craft (1996). And Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare. Dude gets around, but what he does best is make Robot Chicken (and Titan Maximum) episodes!

Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina The Teenage Witch) plays a hilarious one-dimensional character obsessed with getting her yearbook signed.

You also randomly see people who want on to become much bigger, like Jason Segel who went on to be a major player in a lot of recent comedy movies such as This Is 40, Bad Teacher, Gulliver’s Travels, Despicable Me, I Love You, Man, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, Slackers, and SLC Punk!. Or even Clea DuVall, who we are a big fan of from her work in Heroes, Carnivale, But I’m A Cheerleader, 21 Grams, and The Grudge. Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions, Scream 2, Hellboy 1-2, A Dirty Shame, Legally Blonde) has a bit part.

There were people we didn’t even notice as having seen. Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under, Planet Terror, Lady In The Water) as “Jock #3”. Jock #1 (Channon Roe) was in Psycho Beach Party with Lauren Ambrose. Creepy Cousin Ron was Erik Palladino (E.R., Lower Learning, Dead & Breakfast). The two “X-Phile” geeks were Joel Michaely (The Rules Of Attraction, Repli-Kate, But I’m A Cheerleader) and Jay Paulson (Go, 3 eps of Mad Men).

Even the characters who barely spoke were sometimes known!!

Of the 3 jocks’ girlfriends, we have Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl, I Love You, Man, Not Another Teen Movie, 100 Girls), Tamala Jones (Friday 2: Next Friday, Castle, For Your Love, How To Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog), and Jennifer Lyons (National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze 1 & 2, 3 episodes of Married With Children, That 70’s Show, General Hospital). Literally even the eye candy characters are in a ton of other things. Everyone in this movie is in something!

The klepto kid — did he even have a line? — is Chris Owen (American Pie 1/2/Reunion, Dorm Daze, Van Wilder 1, A Midsummer Night’s Rave). The Reddi Whip kid (Vicellous Reon Shannon) was President David Palmer’s son in 13 episodes and was in the movie Senseless. Speaking of 24, one of the “groupies” was Marisol Nichols, who was Nadia Yassir for a full season of 24, of course did a guest spot on Nip/Tuck, and was in Scream 2 and Vegas Vacation.

The “ready to have sex” Asian girl was in Sex & Death 101 (as #66), and lots of TV guest spots, like 2 episides of Heroes, 4 of Dark Angel, some Buffy too. And her friend was in 3 episodes of Nip/Tuck and does a lot (~150 eps) of TV now.

The really stoned guy who licked Lauren Ambrose’s face (and would later have his character date her character in Six Feet Under) is Eric Balfour (Trojan War, 24, and that horrible Gargoyle movie). Another “stoner guy” was Brian Klugman (Cloverfield, 5 eps of Frasier).

We also have Jenna Elfman from Dharma & Greg (but I never watched that show).

Is that everybody? Hell if I know. This movie is FULL of successful actors. It’s some sort of magical nexus.

For that reason I consider it a major classic, and something everyone should go back and watch.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0127723/combined

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Following (1998)

Clint: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native: 3.4/5 stars, 7.6/10.
(Netflix’s guess for us was 3.7/5 stars, a bit low.)

Carolyn adds: “It wasn’t as good as Memento or Inception [or Batman Begins/The Dark Knight], but it was very detailed and I thought it told a good twisted story.”

I agree with Carolyn, but I felt that only the actual twist was worthy of a 5/5 star, 9/10 rating. The movie itself wasn’t. The movie WAS really good — but dry, with a stilted fight scene more awkward than that found in the original Star Trek Series, and a low-budget feel that definitely helped the noir feel, but ultimately left things seeming unpolished.

The story, however, was top notch, and I still really liked this.

Interesting how the main character never acted again, even though he was quite good: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0369918/board/nest/66469954

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0154506/