REVIEW: MR. WOODCOCK

CAST

Billy Bob Thornton (Bad Santa)
Seann William Scott (American Pie)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Amy Poehler (Mean Girls)
Melissa Sagemiller (Get Over It)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Kurt Fuller (Ghostbusters)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Tyra Banks (Coyote Ugly)

John Farley (Seann William Scott) is a successful self-help author who returns to his hometown in Nebraska to receive an award. Farley arrives at home and learns that his widowed mother Beverly (Susan Sarandon) is dating his former Physical Education teacher Jasper Woodcock (Billy Bob Thornton). Farley disapproves of the relationship because he remembers Woodcock as an abusive bully.

Woodcock and Beverly become engaged and the majority of the film centers on Farley’s attempts to convince his mother to break off the relationship. Farley becomes increasingly obsessed with beating Woodcock at various competitions and with proving that Woodcock is not a suitable mate for Beverly. Farley’s antics are so childish and extreme that his new love interest Tracy (Melissa Sagemiller), a former classmate, refuses to see him again.

Farley is set to receive his award at the same ceremony where Woodcock will be presented with an award for “Educator of the Year.” Woodcock receives his award first and is praised by numerous members of the community for being a great teacher and influence on children. Farley is unconvinced and devotes his entire acceptance speech to explaining why Woodcock is the “biggest asshole on the planet.” Woodcock and various crowd members refute Farley’s points, and Woodcock then challenges Farley to a fight. Beverly witnesses the confrontation and dumps Woodcock.

The next day, Farley has a heart-to-heart conversation with his mother, who tells him that he is selfish and has always sabotaged her relationships with men after his father’s death. Farley realizes she is correct and attempts to apologize to Woodcock. The two have a final exorcising fight, which leads to Woodcock suffering a concussion. Farley and Beverly visit Woodcock in the hospital and all three seemingly make peace. Farley declares that the key to life is not “getting past your past” but instead learning to embrace your past. He opines that Woodcock’s vicious treatment in gym class helped him become the man he is today.

The film ends with several short scenes cut into the final credits. These scenes reveal that Woodcock and Beverly got married, Farley was reunited with Tracy, and Farley wrote a second book entitled Backbone: The Definite Guide to Self Confidence.

The cast looked like they just had a great time. I know this story was extremely predictable, but it was all in good fun. Mr. Woodcock is a fun comedy that I recommend, Billy Bob is just an awesome Mr. Woodcock, he really made the movie into a blast.

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REVIEW: SOUL SURVIVORS

 

 

CAST

Melissa Sagemiller (Get Over It)
Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games)
Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse)
Angela Featherstone (Con Air)
Luke Wilson (Old School)
Candace Kroslak (Take me Home Tonight)

Cassie and Sean, as well as ex-boyfriend Matt and good friend Annabel, go to a club situated in an old church. There Cassie sees a man with a clear, plastic mask (Carl Paoli) and an imposing man with a scarred face (Ken Moreno). Deathmask tries to grab her on the dance floor, but she pushes him away and steps outside the club with Sean. In the parking lot, Matt eavesdrops on their conversation. Sean confesses his love for Cassie, who claims she feels the same way. When Sean returns to the club, Matt convinces Cassie to give him a last ‘goodbye’ kiss. Sean sees this, and reacts badly to it, giving Cassie the silent treatment as they drive off. Cassie, who is behind the wheel, continually looks away from the road until the car crashes. Cassie’s next memory is of being rushed to the hospital; Matt and Annabel are unharmed, but Sean has been killed on impact.

During the school term that follows, Cassie has several visions of Sean. She also has visions of Deathmask and Hideous Dancer in the company of Matt and Annabel. On several occasions, she believes she is being chased by the two men, although Annabel and Matt assure her that the incidents are all in her mind. After one chase, Cassie faints and is rescued by Father Jude, a young priest who is sympathetic to her fears and offers to listen if she ever needs someone to talk to. A few nights later, after being chased again, Cassie knocks at the church door, and Father Jude gives her sanctuary. He gives her an amulet depicting St Jude and allows her to sleep in his small room in the church. Upon awakening that morning, Cassie sees that the calendar in the room reads 1981. She enters the office of the attending priest (Rick Snyder) and asks to speak to Father Jude but is told that Father Jude died in 1981.

After a swim competition in which she has been made to participate, Cassie is chased by Deathmask. Defending herself with the tube of a fluorescent lamp, she ends up stabbing him in the stomach but when Cassie returns with Matt, they find there is no body in the pool. Even though she believes that Matt and Annabel are conspiring against her with Deathmask and Hideous Dancer, Cassie requests that Matt take her home to her mother. Instead he drives Cassie to the club, saying that he wishes to pick up Annabel. Cassie follows him but gets lost, eventually finding Annabel with a new lover called Raven (Angela Featherstone) who has precognitive powers. When Raven tells Cassie to “leave or die” Cassie exits the club and makes her way back to the parking lot. There Matt drunkenly insists on another ‘goodbye forever’ kiss, but Cassie smashes a bottle on his head knocking him unconscious before pushing him from the car and driving away.
Matt (Wes Bentley) postpones college to take care of his ex-girlfriend when nightmarish things begin to happen to her in Artisan's Soul Survivors - 2001
In a scene resembling the original accident, Cassie wrecks the car. She again comes to in the hospital. On a gurney next to her is Raven, who speaks a few words of comfort before dying. Father Jude arrives and asks if she would be willing to die in order to save Sean’s life. She agrees and he then asks her if she would be willing to live for him. Cassie says that she doesn’t want to die. An episode follows in which Deathmask and Hideous Dancer strangle her with her protective medallion, from which Cassie wakes to find that everything she has experienced has been a sort of coma-dream: in the original accident, Cassie and Sean had survived, while Matt and Annabel were killed. The occupants of the other car — Raven, Deathmask, and Hideous Dancer — were also fatally injured. Cassie has spent the course of the film in an astral state, wherein those who were killed in the accident attempt to keep her with them. Father Jude, and Cassie’s visions of Sean were what brought her back to life.

Matt (Wes Bentley) and Cassie (Melissa Sagemiller) in Artisan's Soul Survivors - 2000

Though more a teen thriller than a horror, I really enjoyed this film. You will work it all out well before the big reveal but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

 

REVIEW: GET OVER IT

 

 

CAST

Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Ben Foster (The Punisher)
Melissa Sagemiller (Soul Survivors)
Sisqo (Snow Dogs)
Shane West (A Walk To Remember)
Colin Hanks (Roswell)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Mila Kunis (Ted)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Martin Short (Mars Attacks)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)
Vitiman C (Sabrina: TTW)
Coolio (Daredevil)
Christopher Jacot (Mutant X)

Berke Landers (Ben Foster) and his girlfriend Allison (Melissa Sagemiller) were the quintessential high-school couple who grew up together and eventually fell in love, but she breaks up with him immediately after the film begins. This leads to an opening musical number of “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Vitamin C, imagined by Berke. He seeks advice from his embarrassing parents Frank (Ed Begley Jr.) and Beverly Landers (Swoosie Kurtz), who are hosts of a relationship advice show called Love Matters, but they don’t help with the situation and constantly focus on his sex life and sexuality throughout the film. Allison then starts a relationship with Striker (Shane West), a ‘foreign’ student who was once the lead singer of a boy band called “The Swingtown Lads”. When Allison and Striker audition for the school’s upcoming musical, Berke desperately tries to win Allison back by also auditioning for the play, despite having no theatrical talent and having a busy schedule as a member of the basketball team. Meanwhile, Berke’s friends Felix (Colin Hanks) and Dennis (Sisqó) try to find a new girlfriend for him.

With the help of Felix’s younger sister, Kelly (Kirsten Dunst), a talented songwriter and singer, Berke wins a minor role in the play, a modern musical version of Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream called A Midsummer Night’s Rockin’ Eve, written and directed by the school’s domineering drama teacher, Dr. Desmond Oates (Martin Short). Striker plays Demetrius, Allison plays Hermia, Kelly plays Helena, and Lysander is to be played by the school’s star actor, Peter Wong (Christopher Jacot). But after Peter is injured in a freak accident, Striker nominates Berke to take over the role of Lysander, and, still intent on winning Allison back, Berke accepts. He gradually improves with continuing assistance from Kelly, but remains unaware of the growing attraction between the two of them. While searching through props backstage, Kelly accidentally shoots Berke in the arm with an arrow gun, thinking it’s a prop. Meanwhile, Oates blames Kelly’s singing for his own poorly written song and rejects her suggestions to improve it.

Felix and Dennis set Berke up on a date with Dora (Kylie Bax) a very attractive but accident-prone woman. The date ends horribly when Dora inadvertently causes a fire in the restaurant. They try again by taking him to a strip club. However their attempts fail when Burke is locked into a harness and whipped by a dominatrix named Mistress Moira (Carmen Electra). The night ends with the club being raided by the police, Felix and Dennis abandoning Berke who is then picked up by his parents who, to Berke’s shock, congratulate him.

At a party at Berke’s house, Kelly kisses Berke, but he insists that a relationship between them could not work because she is Felix’s sister. She leaves him, annoyed at his unwillingness to move on with his life, and Felix, coming across the two, punches Berke. At the same party, Berke and Allison catch Striker cheating on Allison with her best friend Maggie (Zoe Saldana), and so Allison breaks up with Striker. Meanwhile, Frank and Beverly return home to the party and once again congratulate Berke. Berke lampoons them for constantly embarrassing him and not acting like normal parents would to these types of situations. On the play’s opening night, the first half of the performance goes smoothly except for some onstage scuffling between Berke and Striker. During the intermission, Allison confides to Berke that she wants to get back together with him, leaving him with a difficult choice between her and Kelly. Meanwhile, Striker bribes two of the theater technicians to try and blow up Berke using stage pyrotechnics. Before the play resumes, Felix gives the orchestra sheet music for a love ballad written by Kelly to replace Oates’ unpopular tune.

After the curtain rises, Kelly sings her song so beautifully that Berke is reminded of their time together and finally realizes he loves her. As the fourth act begins, he abandons his lines from the script and makes up his own verse professing his character’s love for Kelly’s character Helena. The audience applauds as Berke and Kelly kiss. Striker protests this change, but unwittingly signals the technicians to set off the explosion, blowing him offstage. Felix saves Dora’s life and they become a couple. Dennis kisses Kelly’s friend and his dancing partner Basin (Mila Kunis), who kisses him back, suggesting that they also begin a relationship. Kelly and Berke leave the theater after the show, looking forward to their future together as they discuss the next night’s performance. The film ends with Sisqó and singer Vitamin C singing and dancing along with the cast to the song “September” as the credits roll.


Although Get Over It! is not quite as saccharine sweet as others, there’s something a little more endearing about its different approach. Dunst is very good and stops the show when she sings “Dream of Me”; the songs and dances aren’t half bad and full of color and energy; Sagemiller is beautiful and very appealing. director O’Haver has a real flair for directing dance & music numbers.