“Greetings and salutations,” as Christian Slater would say in Heathers. How crazy is it that we are already nearing the May? Yet, I think we’re all wondering when this year will end? But to take our minds off what’s going on currently, how about we go back in time to what came out in theaters a decade ago with Throwback Session- Remember These Movies?.
This month would’ve begun the summer movie season, but since Black Widow and F9 are nowhere to be found and June is a wasteland of nothing, not going out to the theaters is depressing, isn’t it? That said, looking back ten years ago, it was an alright start, nothing particularly great. In my personal life, all I can remember is being bored taking math. Out of the right movies talked about for the monthly segment, I only saw half. Now, let’s take it back and remember the good and bad movies we might’ve seen.
May 7: ‘Iron Man 2’
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Director: Jon Favreau
Synopsis: With the world now aware that he is Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from all sides to share his technology with the military. He is reluctant to divulge the secrets of his armored suit, fearing the information will fall into the wrong hands. With Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) by his side, Tony must forge new alliances and confront a powerful new enemy.
Did I See It? I did, and I saw it with my mom on Mother’s Day. Iron Man 2 marked the start of the summer movie season, and the anticipation for this sequel was real since the first movie was an incredible start to the MCU. The trailers were awesome, and the fact Jon Favreau was coming back was enough to know this was going to be epic. When I first walked out, my intentional thoughts about the film was that it was good, but not great. And my thoughts remain the same from re-watching two times after. When talking about what I liked by Iron Man 2, Robert Downey Jr. continues to be awesome as the titular superhero, the action wasn’t too bad when it happens, the visual effects, and this was our introduction to Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow.
My problem was that this came out exactly two years after the original, which lead to things being rush around with throwing in a bunch of Avengers references that bothered me. Probably why this wasn’t as fresh as its predecessor. Not only that, but the character of Ivan Vanko / Whiplash is one of the weakest villains in all the MCU. Not a movie from the franchise I come back to, but Iron Man 2 is still fun despite being flawed.
May 14: ‘Robin Hood’
Cast: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, and Max von Sydow
Director: Ridley Scott
Synopsis: After the death of Richard the Lion-Hearted, a skilled archer named Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) travels to Nottingham, where villagers suffer under a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation. He meets and falls in love with a spirited widow, Marion (Cate Blanchett), although she is skeptical of his motives. Hoping to win her heart and save the village, Robin gathers a band of warriors to fight corruption in Nottingham, little knowing they will soon be fighting to save England itself.
Did I See It? I watched Robin Hood nine years ago, and I never finished it. Ridley Scott tackling the story of Robin Hood differently sounded alright, especially when re-teaming with Russell Crowe as the title character. I didn’t see in theaters but checked it out at the library months later. All I remember was that I was very bored for the first 30 minutes and just decided to not watch the rest. Ten years later, I still don’t have the urge to finish where I left off. From what I heard, it wasn’t that memorable, and it didn’t do too well at the box office.
Cast: Queen Latifah, Common, Paula Patton, James Pickens Jr., and Pam Grier
Director: Sanaa Hamri
Synopsis: Physical therapist Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) lands the dream job of working with basketball superstar Scott McKnight (Common). All goes well until Leslie finds that she is falling in love with him. Scott, however, is oblivious to Leslie’s romantic overtures and focuses his attention on Morgan (Paula Patton), Leslie’s gorgeous friend, who would love to be the basketball player’s trophy wife.
Did I See It? Not at first. My sister saw it, but I couldn’t remember if she liked it or not. My opinion on Just Wright was that I thought Latifah and Common’s chemistry was solid, but there was nothing else to it when it can easily be described as formulaic. Above all, it’s a forgettable rom-com with two leads that have better roles before and after this came out.
‘Letters to Juliet’
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Christopher Egan, Gael García Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave, and Franco Nero
Director: Gary Winick
Synopsis: While visiting Verona, Italy, with her busy fiance, a young woman named Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) visits a wall where the heartbroken leave notes to Shakespeare’s tragic heroine, Juliet Capulet. Finding one such letter from 1957, Sophie decides to write to its now elderly author, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave). Inspired by Sophie’s actions, Claire sets out to find her long-lost lover, accompanied by her disapproving grandson (Christopher Egan) and Sophie.
Did I See It? Letters to Juliet wasn’t interesting to ever see, even though I like Amanda Seyfried. Nobody mentions this anymore, and you see why. Unless this had a unique romantic premise that wasn’t very predictable, then there’s no point in watching it in its cheesy interpretations. What I didn’t realize was that this was Gary Winick (13 Going on 30)’s last film before he died of pneumonia a year later.
May 21: ‘Shrek Forever After’
Cast: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Walt Dohrn
Director: Mike Mitchell
Synopsis: Long-settled into married life and fully domesticated, Shrek (Mike Myers) begins to long for the days when he felt like a real ogre. Duped into signing a contract with devious Rumpelstiltskin, he finds himself in an alternate version of Far Far Away, where ogres are hunted, Rumpelstiltskin rules, and he and Fiona (Cameron Diaz) have never met. Shrek must find a way out of the contract to restore his world and reclaim his true love.
Did I See It? After seeing the previous three in theaters as a kid, you bet I did. Hearing this would be the last one in the series sounded crazy. But pretty much all this sequel had to do is to be better than Shrek The Third, and it was, but not enough to call it great. The results of DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek Forever After just felt like their version of It’s a Wonderful Life without a ton of charm fans liked from before. Its mixed reaction stems from the jokes being about 50-50 (The funniest line was when Donkey asked Gingy, “What are you talkin’ about, cracker”; my mom cracked up when that was said), the voice cast is better this time around, and the animation looks good without paying the 3D.
The overall story of the movie didn’t have any meat to it, which means not liking Shrek as a character in this installment. Not only that, but this didn’t feel like the last movie in the franchise, as we saw it as a cash-grab sequel, which is why there’s a fifth movie in development. At least Rumpelstiltskin (voiced by Walt Dohrn) made for a good villain this time around. I only re-watched this once more and never again. Love the first two Shreks, thought Shrek the Third was mediocre, and Shrek Forever After lands on the forgettable side of animated sequels. But we still have “Isn’t It Strange” by Scissor Sisters.
Cast: Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, Ryan Phillippe, Maya Rudolph, and Powers Boothe
Director: Jorma Taccone
Synopsis: After his wife was murdered, decorated soldier of fortune MacGruber (Will Forte) turned his back on a life of violence, but when her killer, arms dealer Dieter Von Cunth (Val Kilmer), steals a nuclear warhead, the all-American hero leaps back into action. MacGruber assembles a crack team, including young police lieutenant Dixon Piper (Ryan Phillippe) and old friend Vicki St Elmo (Kristen Wiig), and with their help battles to stop his arch-nemesis destroying Washington DC.
Did I See It? I saw it as a double feature with Shrek Forever After. The track record with full-length movies based on Saturday Night Live sketches isn’t too good. The sketches themselves, a parody of MacGyver, were pretty fun. Does MacGruber even compare to popular SNL based movies like Wayne’s World or The Blues Brothers in expanding a 4-minute skit into a feature-length feature? It doesn’t, but there’s still some fun to be found with this action-comedy. Most of the humor isn’t the funniest thing in the genre, especially when certain running gags gets tired, but those who have an attachment to the good spoof movies will get a kick out of this. Although, I could’ve done with the throat-ripping moments.
This also includes one of the funniest sex scenes I’ve laughed at in a while. Will Forte did a good job as this character, and while Val Kilmer didn’t give a great performance, seeing him as a villain was cool enough. As it turns out, I was one of the few people in America to see the movie since MacGruber flopped as the box office, lasting only four weeks in theaters and grossed $9 million worldwide. Ever since its release, it has gained a cult following, and it’s getting a TV series on the streaming service Peacock instead of a sequel (I believe).
Fun Fact: For my last time dressing up for Halloween, I dressed up basically as a thrift-store MacGruber. Good times.
May 27: ‘Sex and the City 2’
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, and Chris Noth
Director: Michael Patrick Jam
Synopsis: Fun, fashion and friendship continue to define the lives of Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon). They have more than they ever wished for, but when the combination of marriage and motherhood approach, the gals take an exotic vacation in Abu Dhabi. The sun-drenched paradise holds many surprises — especially for Carrie, who faces temptation when she unexpectedly runs into Aidan.
Did I See It? As someone who has never watched the television series or the first movie, not in a million years. I wanted to see it at first, but my mind did the right thing in never taking part in Sex and the City 2. Nobody wants to see these characters out of the city and spent almost two-and-a-half hours in Abu Dhabi, making awful jokes. I heard this was a horrible sequel that didn’t need to exist. One of the worst-reviewed movies of the year, it was nominated for seven Razzies and won three (Worst Actress, Worst Screen Couple/ Screen Ensemble, and Worst Prequel, Remake, Rip-off, or Sequel). There have been rumors of a third movie, but that ain’t going to happen soon since Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall hate each other.
The best thing to come out of this movie is one of my favorite movie reviews the Schmoes Know ever done. This was one of the few movies they ever walked out of, and they didn’t even pay. What makes their review hilarious was the very end when Kristin Harloff said, “I felt like I was being water-boarded.”
May 28: ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, and Alfred Molina
Director: Mike Newell
Synopsis: In the holy city of Alamut resides the Sands of Time, which gives mortals the power to turn back time. After leading an attack on the city, Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal), the adopted son of Persia’s king, acquires a dagger that gives the one who holds it access to the Sands. Dastan goes on the run with an Alamut princess named Tamina (Gemma Arterton) after being accused of killing his father. The pair must protect the ancient treasure from dark forces and unmask the king’s assassin.
Did I See It? I believe I saw it on Memorial Day. Since this was based on a video game, I’ve never played them, but a part of me was confidence this was going to be the next Lara Croft: Tomb Raider or The Scorpion King. Plus, Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer usually go hand-in-hand if they wanted to re-capture the magic of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Instead, what we got was a boring fantasy that had the audacity of wasting the talents of Jake Gyllenhaal, who I thought was miscast. None of the action was memorable, the script was lame, and it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. I’ll give it a little credit for being better than most video game movies that came out before this, but what a waste of time. Prince of Persia has got to be one of my least-favorite Gyllenhaal movies. He even said he didn’t like the film in a recent interview from Yahoo! Entertainment.
Question: Did any of the movies I talked about today refreshed your memory and did you see them in the theater?