Tag Archives: tom hanks

Movie Review – News of the World (2020)

News…of the World!

BQB here with a review.

Of all the jobs in the Old West, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) has the coolest. He is the world’s first social media platform/news aggregating service. In other words, he wanders from town to town, reading articles from newspapers to townsfolk in exchange for their donations. In these pre-Netflix days, assembling to listen to a man read from a newspaper was apparently the height of entertainment.

During his travels, Kidd comes across a busted up wagon. An African American soldier has been attacked and hanged. His charge left to fend for herself? Johanna, a young white girl in Native American garb. She had been raised by the natives who attacked and killed her family. She speaks no English and her native family is the only family she has ever known.

Kidd takes it upon himself to go on a long trek to return the girl to finish the soldier’s mission and return her to her last known relatives, though it is a harrowing journey for sure. Kidd must fight his way through a vast assortment of Old West a-holes, from a pseudo-warlord trying to carve out a slice of Reconstruction era America for himself, where he serves as a type of cruel king, to a band of vile perverts who want to kidnap Johanna and sell her into a life of forced prostitution.

The captain, old, tired, and feeling as though he wasted his life and missed out on time with his wife to fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War, would prefer to live his remaining years in solitude, doing most of his talking during his rousing news readings, only to reflect quietly when he is alone on his failed goals and lost dreams, his wish for a family of his own that never came to fruition.

He’d rather remain stuck in his rut, but he is the only one in this harsh world who cares enough to see the child gets to safety, and the skills needed to do so. His greatest adversary in all of this? Johanna herself, who is trapped between two worlds, unable to trust anyone, often running away, leaving her old caretaker with no choice but to chase after her.

Overall, the movie is Oscar bait. A history piece with some insight into the Reconstruction Era South. The Union Army weren’t fans of the Southerners they were sent to keep watch on. The Southerners felt likewise. In short, everyone was quite angry, yet against this backdrop, Kidd yearns for a sense of personal peace.

The plot is more or less just Kidd has to get the kid to safety, but has to fight a collection of a-holes to do so. Tom Hanks, Hollywood’s Mr. Nice Guy, carries the film, as Kidd is a character guided by morality. He could have pawned the kid off on any number of lawmen, church folk, etc. but knows he will be unable to live with himself until he completes the mission.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – The Money Pit (1986)

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here with another review as we continue the corona quarantine hullabaloo.

This movie was on all the time when I was a kid.  I thought it was funny then and so it was cool to see it is on Netflix today.

The premise may be near and dear to the hearts of every first time home buyer.  After all, the sequence of events goes like this:

  1. You need a place to live.
  2. You find a place you like.
  3. You do your best to inspect the place you like, but inevitably, the homeowner will do their damndest to hide any and all defects so as to avoid paying to fix them, essentially passing the buck to you, the buyer, then playing dumb when you notice it after you moved in.
  4. At that point, maybe you have a case, but in most instances, you’ll spend more time and money on suing the original owner than you would on just paying to have the problem fixed.
  5. You’ll hire a contractor.  The contractor will take your advance payment, and then once they have their money, you will be lucky if you see them before the next ice age.  You can’t hire someone else because you already sunk money into them.  You can’t get too snippy with them because they might walk away and ultimately, most contractors will make you wait so you ultimately just have to live with the hole in your roof, or in your ceiling or dry wall until the contractor takes pity on you…or has spent your initial money down and realizes they need to show up and do some work before they get paid again (unless you were an idiot who paid it all up front in which case, you will never see that contractor again.)

Tom Hanks and Shelley Long made an entire movie about this!  They play Walter and Anna, a young couple who try to make a go of it in a new home, only to get duped by the previous owner.  The majority of the movie is dedicated to wacky hijinx – exploding ovens that shoot turkeys through the air, wiring that sets the house on fire, stairs that fall apart while Walter is walking on them, leaving him to do action movie style jumps to the ledge.  Walter takes the brunt of the beatings, getting knocked in the head by all manner of flying debris.

As unscrupulous contractors take their money and then promise the house will be fixed within two weeks for way, way, way longer than two weeks, the couple is pushed to the breaking point, and they will struggle to keep their sanity and relationship afloat.

Bonus points to Alexander Godunov, that long haired 80s villain who plays Anna’s cheating ex-husband, the cad who tries to take advantage of the situation, hoping to steal Anna back.  I didn’t realize it as a kid, but as an adult I instantly recognized him as the dude who played German terrorist Karl aka Hans Gruber’s right hand henchman in Die Hard.  Yes, he was the villain who helped Sgt. Al Powell realize that he could raise his gun to shoot again.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)

Won’t you 3.5 readers be my neighbor?

BQB here with a review of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

I have to admit, 3.5 readers, that while Fred Rogers is deserving of a movie, I wasn’t sure if there was a lot of material there that would keep an audience’s attention for 2 hours.  Did Mr. Rogers have any love triangles?  Did he punch out any bad guys?  Did he go on any wild car chases?  Did he defuse any bombs at the last second?

No.  He was just genuinely nice, and this film pays tribute to his way of life and how it helped others through a focus on one journalist who he helped in particular.

Matthew Rhys plays Lloyd Vogel, a jaded, cynical Esquire magazine writer who can barely get any celebrities to talk to him on account of his reputation for savaging his interviewees with biting criticism.

Assigned to profile uber nice guy and children’s television pioneer Mr. Rogers (Tom Hanks), Lloyd thinks this is a crap job.  He initially sets out to crack Mr. Rogers on the belief that his personality is just a facade, a nice guy act designed to make money.  Even his wife, Andrea (Susan Watson) begs her man to not “ruin her childhood” by running everyone’s favorite neighbor through the ringer.

Naturally, as the story progresses, it’s Mr. Rogers who cracks Lloyd, suffering Lloyd’s rudeness with a smile and eventually getting him to open up about his own demons.  As it turns out, Lloyd carries a lot of anger over the fact that his father (Chris Cooper) cheated on his dying mother and abandoned the family in their time of need, leaving him and his sister (Tammy Blanchard) to grow up way too fast.  Alas, Lloyd carries his anger on his back wherever he goes, always assuming the worst about everyone.

Though Lloyd is the focus of the story, the film pays tribute to Mr. Rogers in that we ultimately learn his main goal in life was to help people keep their cool.  As we get to know Mr. R, we begin to understand that it’s not so much that he’s a wimp, it’s that he possesses a deep understanding that there’s a monster in all of us, and if we don’t channel it into positive ways, it will consume and destroy us.

For example, Mr. Rogers swims laps.  He mashes his hands on the worst notes his piano has to offer.  He writes letters to his fans and prays for them – individually and by name.  If he meets you, he will not only remember you but your family’s names and will ask how they are doing with their specific problems when he sees you again.  In short, he’s fully aware that life comes with all manner of pitfalls designed to drive us insane, but it’s his goal to help us figure out how to replace bad emotion with positive activity.  Swimming laps, after all, is better than cooking meth or cheating on your wife or what have you.

There’s definitely pain lurking under Rogers’ surface.  Hanks is able to show that with a look or mannerism.  Like the rest of us, he’s not perfect.  Unlike the rest of us, he’s not going to lose his mind over the flaws that are inherent in the human condition.

Some criticism – at times, the film feels like a stretch.  Perhaps the best tribute to Mr. R is to give us an example of how he turned a man’s life around with kindness.  However, there are times where I would have liked to have seen more Fred and less Lloyd.  This scenario reminds me of the criticism lobbed at “The Green Book” for being more about musician Don Shirley’s driver Frank and how perhaps Don should have had the brunt of the focus.

But then again, Mr. Rogers probably wouldn’t care too much about the spotlight, as long as his positive message gets out.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.




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Tom Hanks to Play Mr. Rogers in a Movie

Hey 3.5 readers.  Won’t you be my 3.5 readers?

Millennials, sit down a minute, because you’re not going to believe this shit.

For roughly 35 years, the most popular children’s television program, really, the show that essentially started the concept of educational TV for kids, featured a single (though married in real life) grown ass man, who, from middle age well into his elder years, just randomly invited neighborhood children into his home, unattended, unsupervised, just him and the kids, and they played games and learned life and educational lessons and ate cookies and snacks and shit and then he’d just send the kids home completely unscathed.

Oh and also, the man had constructed a working toy trolley that rolled on an elaborate track that moved from his house to another room where the man had constructed an entire fantasy puppet kingdom.  The puppets had been given names, intricate backstories and everything.

All kidding aside, I’m glad Mr. Rogers is getting some recognition but is there enough backstory for there to be a movie?  Was there a big drama that unfolded as that we can watch and eat popcorn to?  Was there a big bad villain who was all like, “You will never build your fantasy puppet kingdom, Mr. Rogers!  Never!!!!”

I don’t know.  I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.  If you’ve never seen Mr. Rogers, go check him out on YouTube.  You dipshits could benefit from learning how to be nice from the man who invented niceness.

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Movie Review – Inferno (2016)

Do I…do I even have a life anymore?

Three movie reviews in one week, BQB?

BQB, why are you talking about yourself in the third person?

I don’t know.

Art! Italy! Puzzles! Symbols! History!

I know. They don’t become more exciting when you add the question mark. Jeb! Bush taught us that.

BQB here with a review of the new thriller, Inferno.

America’s Dad Tom Hanks returns as noted symbologist/puzzle solver Professor Robert Langdon to round out the films based on Dan Brown’s Langdon books (The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, respectively).

In the prior two films, Langdon ends up running around Europe examining art and old relics in a race against time to stop some bad guy from doing some bad shit and he usually ends up with some hot chick running around with him.

Holy shit. I can do that. Why don’t I have as many as many readers as Dan Brown?

Honestly, 3.5 readers. You guys have to get off your asses and get me more readers. Try to be more like Dan Browns’ readers and become a ridiculously large amount of readers.

Getting back to the review, Langdon is once again running around Europe in the company of a hot chick. This time the chick is Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones, who between this film and the upcoming highly anticipated Star Wars: Rogue One in which she plays the lead character Jyn Erso, that squirrel toothed hottie is having herself one fantastic ass Fall).

You know 3.5, after seeing 2009’s Angels and Demons, I wondered if maybe Dan Brown’s books didn’t translate that well to film. I’d read A + D and found that Brown took a lot of time explaining the history and context between the artwork that Langdon was examining and it was almost like reading a professorial treatise with lots of action thrown in to keep me from snoring.

The films lose that aspect due to the fast pace nature of a riveting movie.  Still, I think Director Ron Howard aka Opie makes up for it because in this third installment, you jump right into the action immediately.

Robert Langdon wakes up in a hospital with a head wound and amnesia, no idea how he got there.

Dr. Brooks is his treating physician and takes it upon herself to save the wounded Langdon from incoming bad dudes.

From there, the game is on as somehow Langdon has the secret to stopping a mad man’s plan to release the Plague (yes, the damn Plague!) upon the world.  As you can guess from the film’s title, Langdon will have to use his professorial knowledge of Dante’s Inferno to solve this caper.

Ben Foster, who played a douche bank robber in this year’s Hell or Highwater continues to cement his status as douchey character actor by playing the douche who is convinced that the world’s population is growing at such an alarming rate that the only way to save the planet is to kill off a bunch of people with a medieval virus.

What a douche.

I don’t want to give away much more.  As in the other two films, I do walk away feeling like I received a history lesson that didn’t put me to sleep, though at times the plot was confusing.

Felicity, I’m sorry I said you have squirrel teeth. Your teeth are adorable. I’m glad your career is taking off and I look forward to seeing more of you and your teeth on the big screen in the future.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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SNL – David S. Pumpkins

Forget Philadelphia.

Step aside, Forrest Gump.

Go away, Castaway.

The David S. Pumpkins sketch (aka Haunted Elevator sketch) on Saturday Night Live is the best thing that Tom Hanks has ever done in his career.

I wonder if David S. Pumpkins is the long lost brother of Larry David’s Kevin “Can a bitch get a donut?” Roberts.

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Movie Review – Sully (2016)

Do I really have to call SPOILER ALERT when this was all over the news in 2009?

Oh well.  Assume I just did.

BQB here with a review of Sully, the Clint Eastwood directed film about U.S. Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger’s miracle landing of an airline on the Hudson River.

Stupid geese.  They ruin everything.  And all those years ago (seems like it was just yesterday, doesn’t it?) they flew into Sully’s engines and knocked them out.

With little time to think and a plane that was going down, Sully (Tom Hanks), with the help of co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) made a split decision to land the plane in the Hudson River.

The film takes us through the event from a number of perspectives – office workers who see the low flying plane and fear it is another 9/11, illustrating the toll on the American psyche that attack has taken, the frightened passengers, the flight attendants who keep their cool and lead the passengers through what they need to do, the rescue workers who respond to the scene in time to save the passengers from freezing to death in the bitter January cold.

It was a heck of a story when it happened.  There have been many plane crashes in history, though none that I can think of where everyone survived.  Sully was the toast of the town immediately thereafter, hailed as a hero and brought on as a guest on multiple talk shows and news programs.

But what we didn’t realize is that behind the scenes the ole Sullymeister was being railroaded big time.  Thus, the brunt of the movie focuses on NTSB investigators (boo!  gubmint bureaucrats! boo!) attempting to string Sully up with computer simulations indicating that it would have been possible for Sully to have landed the plane at LaGuardia or in New Jersey.

With flashbacks to his youth as a crop-duster and military pilot interspersed throughout, Sully fights to preserve his good name, his reputation, his wings, his pension, and ultimately to prove that he wasn’t flying some video game, this was the real deal and he did what he needed to do to save the day.

One thing that struck me as I watched was just how densely populated New York City is, how tall the buildings are, combined with giant planes flying overhead constantly, one wonders how there aren’t more crashes and ultimately, you walk away with a greater appreciation for pilots like Sully who move these giant metal beasts through the sky over populated areas everyday.

And that’s the rub. Sully didn’t just save his passengers, but also the people in the city his plane would have crashed into.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Real Short Movie Review – Bridge of Spies (2015)

Hey 3.5 nerds.

No time to do an in-depth movie review because I’m busy fending off zombies but just wanted to say Bridge of Spies is pretty good.  Not a real flashy movie, though there’s a cool special effects laden scene where Gary Powers’ spy plane gets shot down over Russia.

The movie has Tom Hanks as a U.S. lawyer on a mission to do a prisoner swap – Powers for a Russian spy held by the US in the 1950s.

Lots of interesting Cold War history.

Go see it.  Or don’t.  What do I care?  I’m too busy with my new role as Deputy Mayor of East Randomtown.

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