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Heartfelt, by Bob Connally

28 Jul

Extreme violence, lengthy conversations set at tables or in cars, movie references most people won’t even notice, perfectly crafted soundtracks, liberal usage of “colorful metaphors,” and so very many shots of feet are just a few of the surface level staples of the work of Quentin Tarantino. But if you’re really paying attention you see so much more revealed with each film and he can still surprise us after 27 years and either 9 or 10 movies, depending on how you count Kill Bill (for the record, Tarantino himself considers Volumes 1 & 2 a single film). For instance, the word “heartfelt” had never come to mind with any of his earlier films but it’s clear to me that Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood is just that.

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Nonmedy, by Bob Connally

13 Jul

If you’re a baseball fan then you are familiar with what a fantasy camp is. People in their fifties with disposable income throw down an obscene amount of money to have baseball practice for a week with retired Major Leaguers from their favorite team. Yes, that sounds fun to me. But it also makes me wish that movie fantasy camps existed. I’m sure sci-fi and fantasy would be the most popular genres. Horror would have huge turnouts, especially if people got to kill and/or be zombies. That’s all well and good. What I really want is to go to buddy action comedy fantasy camp. You show up on a dingy looking police station set that hasn’t been used since 1993, you get paired up with a total stranger, and then you get assigned a case. You have “gun fights, car chases, proper action and,” whatnot. Along the way you cause property damage, eat about 17 street vendor hot dogs, and get trained in the art of delivering a perfect post-kill one-liner.

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We Delivered The Bomb, by Bob Connally

3 Jul

A deeply depressing thought occurred to me as I had my annual summer re-watch of Jaws. It came to me specifically when watching what is probably the film’s single best scene. Chances are that you probably already guessed that I’m referring to Quint (Robert Shaw) describing the terror of being in the water in 1945 as the U.S.S. Indianapolis sank and sharks picked off members of the crew one by one. Jaws is, believe it or not, now 44 years old. The movie remains one of the more perfectly paced and entertaining in the history of cinema. Quint’s tale of sheer horror is absorbing and still has the capacity to put viewers on the edge of their seats after multiple decades and viewings. So what depressed me so much? I imagined what would happen to this scene if this movie were to be made now. I don’t mean if someone were to remake Jaws (which shouldn’t happen ever) but if the original film hadn’t been made in 1975 and a brand new movie called Jaws with essentially the same story, characters, and time period were to be released freshly to audiences in 2019.

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Third Miracle, by Bob Connally

19 May

John Wick: Chapter 2 left us on a massive cliffhanger two years ago with John (Keanu Reeves) being declared “excommunicado” for a murder committed on the grounds of the New York Continental hotel. Due to a long standing friendship, the Continental’s owner and manager, Winston (Ian McShane) gave John a one hour head start before the $14 million bounty went into effect. John Wick: Chapter 3 picks up with the hour almost up for John and his dog. Every contract killer around the world is aware of what’s about to happen, which in Winston’s view means, “the odds are about even.”

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Just For Fun, by Bob Connally

7 Apr

It seems almost impossible to remember that there was a time – relatively recently – when superheroes were considered by the public at large to be for children. While there were always people who took issue with that assertion and there were movies that proved adults enjoyed a good superhero story too- the Superman films of the ‘70s and ’80s and the Batman movies of the ‘80s and ‘90s, which were outliers in their respective eras- the idea of superhero movies truly being geared towards adults is still a fairly recent one. From the darker DC films to even the more lighthearted Marvel Cinematic Universe offerings which have all earned their PG-13 ratings, and of course the R-rated Deadpool movies and Logan, superhero movies of the past two decades have become increasingly adult oriented. This makes the environment that Shazam is being released in an interesting one. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a true kids’ movie, it feels like a step in that direction. This is especially surprising when considering that it’s the latest entry in a cinematic universe that opened with Zack Snyder’s dour, miserable nightmare, Man of Steel.

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Death Punch, by Bob Connally

1 Apr

Usually when discussing what makes a good film work the focus is on what the filmmaker does that makes it work so well. But sometimes, it’s just as much- if not more- what a filmmaker doesn’t do that can make a movie great. Due to its very basic setup, Paddleton is a movie that could go in a lot of directions tonally and much of what makes it so wonderful is how it doesn’t go in any of the directions we might have expected.

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One Giant Leap, by Bob Connally

4 Mar

The televised image of Neil Armstrong taking his first steps upon the surface of the moon has been burned into the collective consciousness of the human race since that moment on July 20, 1969. Despite not being born until more than a decade later, I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t recognize that image and Armstrong’s accompanying words, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” Sending people to the moon and returning them safely to earth is almost unquestionably humanity’s greatest achievement and while we may have thought it was well documented, it turns out we had no idea just how well documented it was.

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Joe Dante’s Inferno, by Bob Connally

20 Feb

Last summer in my look at Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, I expressed my unabashed love of Looney Tunes. Robert Zemeckis’ 1988 masterpiece featured essentially every Looney Tunes star in a cameo role and while there is a lot of wacky humor in the film it has the story and structure of a detective movie. In 1996, the Looney Tunes stars were given bigger roles in Space Jam, a film that holds a strange nostalgic power for many Millennials that escapes me. A few moments aside, the comedy is weak and it’s a visual nightmare. The moment Daffy Duck and Bill Murray share a frame is however a great contribution to American cinema. 2003’s Looney Tunes: Back in Action is now largely forgotten, even by me and I saw it. Thirteen years before however, that film’s director, Joe Dante, unleashed a film that truly captured the off the wall spirit of Looney Tunes in a way that neither Space Jam nor Back in Action came close to doing. He did it, in of all things, a sequel to one of the biggest commercial hits of the 1980s.

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The Bob Award Winners!

20 Feb

It’s here again! The most prestigious movie award ceremony on the planet that does not in fact have a ceremony. I don’t have commercial breaks but if I did I wouldn’t make the cinematographers and film editors receive their trophies- which I also don’t have- during them. So instead of watching an Oscars sure to be even more boring than the Super Bowl, save yourself four hours and read these.

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The Bob Award Nominations 2019

30 Jan

As a film fanatic in my teens I began taking part in the time honored tradition that so many of us do. Waking up at 5:30 AM to watch the Oscar nominations and immediately begin complaining about them. After a few years of this I decided that if I wasn’t happy with the Academy’s choices then I should create my own awards. So I started the imaginatively named… Bob Awards. (It only occurs to me now that had I been named Oscar I’d have had a problem. Bullet dodged. Thanks, Mom and Dad.)

For the third year in a row I will be sharing the Bob Award nominations as a writer for More Than One Lesson. I really hope you enjoy them. If you don’t like these nominees then by all means create your own movie awards. Go on. Do it! I dare you!… No, really, you’ll feel better. It works for me. (If your name is Bob or Oscar though then I’m so sorry, but you’ll just have to accept these.) Of course I still complain about the Oscar nominations. But slightly less. And I guess that’s something.

I will be back before the Oscars to reveal the winners in not only these categories but several other fun ones.

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