REVIEW: VARSITY BLUES

CAST
James Van Der Beek (Texas Rangers)
Jon Voight (Transformers)
Paul Walker (The Fast and The Furious)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Ron Lester (Popular)
Scott Caan (Into The Blue)
Ali Larter (Heroes)
Thomas F. Duffy (Super 8
Jesse Plemons (Game Night)
Eric Jungmann (Not Another Teen Movie)
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Jonathan “Mox” Moxon (James Van Der Beek) is an intelligent and academically gifted backup quarterback for the West Canaan High School football team. Despite his relative popularity at school, easy friendships with other players, and smart and sassy girlfriend Jules Harbor (Amy Smart), Mox is dissatisfied with his life. He wants to leave Texas to go to school at Brown University. He is constantly at odds with his football-obsessed father (Thomas F. Duffy) and dreads playing it under legendary coach Bud Kilmer (Jon Voight), a verbally abusive, controlling authority who believes in winning “at all costs”. He has a strong track record as coach, remarking in a speech that “in my thirty years of coaching at West Canaan, I have brought two state titles, and 22 district championships!” His philosophy finally takes its toll on Coyotes’ quarterback, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker), Mox’s best friend and Jules’ brother. Lance is manipulated into taking anesthetic shots into an injured knee that finally succumbs to failure and results in even greater injury during gameplay. He is rushed to the hospital, where doctors are appalled at the massive amount of scar tissue found under his knee.
Mox, who has accompanied Lance to the hospital, is shocked when Kilmer feigns ignorance to Lance’s doctors about Lance’s knee problems, when in fact Kilmer ordered the trainer to inject the shots. In need of a new quarterback, Kilmer reluctantly names Mox to replace Lance as captain and starting quarterback. The move brings unexpected dividends for Mox, one of them being Darcy Sears (Ali Larter), Lance’s beautiful blonde cheerleader girlfriend, who is interested in marrying a football player in order to escape small-town life. She even goes so far as to attempt to seduce Mox, sporting a “bikini” made of whipped cream over her otherwise naked body, but he rebuffs her as gently as he can.
Disgusted with Kilmer and not feeling a strong need to win, Mox starts calling his own plays on the field without Kilmer’s approval. He also chides his father, screaming at him, “I don’t want your life!” The elder Moxon had been a football player at West Caanan, and although Kilmer dismissed him for lacking talent and courage, Moxon still respected and obeyed Kilmer. When Kilmer becomes aware that Mox has won a full scholarship to Brown, Kilmer threatens Mox that if he continues to disobey and disrespect him, the coach will alter Mox’s transcripts in order to reverse the decision on his scholarship.
Kilmer’s lack of concern for players continues, resulting in a dramatic collapse of Billy Bob (Ron Lester). When Wendell Brown (Eliel Swinton), another friend of Mox’s, is injured on the field, Kilmer pressures Brown to take a shot of cortisone to deaden the pain from his injury, allowing him to continue even in the face of a permanent injury. Desperate to be recruited by a good college, Wendell grants his consent. At this moment, Mox tells Kilmer he’ll quit the team if the needle enters Wendell’s knee. Undaunted, he orders Charlie Tweeder (Scott Caan), a friend of both Mox and Wendell, to replace Mox, but Tweeder refuses. Mox tells Kilmer that the only way they will return to the field is without Kilmer. Realizing that he will be forced to forfeit the game, Kilmer loses control and physically assaults Mox. The other players intercede and then refuse to take to the field. Knowing his loss of control has cost him his credibility, Kilmer tries in vain to rally support and spark the team’s spirit into trusting him, but none of the players follow him out of the locker room. He continues down the hall, and seeing no one following him, turns the other direction and into his office. The team goes on to win the game without his guidance.
In a voice-over epilogue, Mox recounts several characters’ aftermaths, including the fact that Kilmer left town and never coached again, Lance became a successful coach, and Mox did enter Brown University.
The film is pretty good. Jon Voigt’s performance as the demonic, ranting coach is the crowning glory of the film. Heroes’ star Ali Later also shines as the scheming, vixen like cheerleading captain.

REVIEW: WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON!

 

CAST

Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns)
Topher Grace (That 70s Show)
Josh Duhamel (Transformers)
Nathan Lane (The Producers)
Sean Hayes (Will & Grace)
Gary Cole (Crusade)
Ginnifer Goodwin (Walk The Line)
Kathryn Hahn (We’re The Millers)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation)
Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious)
Paris Hilton (Veronica Mars)
Wendy Worthington (Bones)
Patrick Fischler (Happy!)

MV5BMTYyNDY3NzI0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjU0OTQyNA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1528,1000_AL_An old-fashioned comedy geared towards teens, “Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!” didn’t connect with audiences, but this lightweight comedy deserved a bit more of a following. The picture is certainly no classic, but there’s a few appealing performances, clever gags and occasional moments of sharply funny dialogue. The picture stars Kate Bosworth (“Blue Crush”) as Rosalee Futch, a small-town West Virginia cashier smitten with movie star Tad Hamilton (Josh Duhamel  “Transformers”). When Hamilton’s agents decide that his days of wine and women are over, they come up with a contest idea where one winner will be flown out to go on a date with the actor. Watching from the sidelines is her co-worker, Pete Monash (Topher Grace), who’s never told Rosalee his feelings about her.

While the date goes well, there’s something about the pure, West Virginia goodness of Rosalee that appeals to Tad, prompting him to purchase a place in her small town and spark a war between him and Pete over Rosalee. Standard romantic comedy fare, but played well.

The film’s performances go a fairly long way in pushing the film past the fact that most will feel as if they’ve seen some variation of this story a thousand times. Grace (of “That 70’s Show”) amps up his usual delivery and timing, resulting in some terrifically funny moments.  I greatly enjoyed Bosworth in “Blue Crush”, where she portrayed that character with a great deal of determination and heart. Here, her small town character is sweet and genuine, topped off with Bosworth’s charm and smile.

Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! is a nice, sweet little movie with a few big laughs, fine performances and charm.

REVIEW: THE 70S

CAST

Brad Rowe (Shelter)
Guy Torry (Runaway Jury)
Vinessa Shaw (The Hills Have Eyes)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Kathryn Harrold (Raw Deal)
Graham Beckel (Brokeback Mountain)
Laurel Moglen (Call Waiting)
Tina Lifford (Babe)
Leslie Silva (Odyssey 5)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Robert Joy (Amityville 3)
Michael Easton (Mutant X)
Peggy Lipton (The Postman)
Maurice Godin (Boat Trip)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)

 This was a much better movie than I expected. . This miniseries follows 4 young Kent State students throughout the ’70s decade as their lives change and they grow apart and eventually back toward one another. While the four characters are cliches, it would be difficult for this movie to show all aspects of the decade otherwise.3We follow all four- there is Dexter, the African-American who deserts the National Guard after Kent State and moves to urban LA, where he becomes a part of urban renewal and opens a theater playing popular “Blacksploitation” films like Shaft and Cleopatra Jones. Elieen is the Barnard grad who moves to NY to follow a boy but has her heart broken and becomes involved in her own career and the feminist movement. There is Byron, Eileen’s boyfriend, who goes from young Republican involved in Watergate to environmentalist and Alaskan pipeline oil worker. And finally there is Christie, Byron’s sister and Eileen’s best friend, a college drop-out who parties on the disco scene, dabbles in modeling and winds up in a San Francisco cult. This miniseries is a good bet if you want to learn a bit more about the decade and seeing it sans commercials is great!