By George Rose
May 13, 2009
Fart jokes start to wear off by the time you're 16. What replaced it (or at least replaced it for me) is irony, wit and even drama. Problems can be funny if you view them as circumstantial and not detrimental to your ability to get into some Heaven or Hell. Family drama is funny! Sarcastic people that don't dress up and dance in fat suits are funny! The family is surrounded in actual drama that is heartfelt and touching, but between every tear there is a tennis-racket being thrown (fans will understand) that will have you laughing harder than any Austin Powers movie.
To be less vague, the film is about a family of child geniuses (Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow) who reunite after their estranged biological father (Gene Hackman) returns to make amends for his past as he heads towards death. The cast also includes Bill Murray, Anjelica Houston, Danny Glover and Alec Baldwin as the narrator. Now that I'm older, those names alone are enough to entice me but I still thank George to this day for introducing me to a higher quality kind of comedy. Hopefully in a few years you will be thanking me too.
Count of Monte Cristo (2002)
I don't always get to pick the movies I see. Sometimes it's a cousin taking me on a surprise excursion while other times I must concede to the wishes of a group of people. In this case, I had been grounded for the weekend (when I was young enough to still get punished) and was stuck with my parents, who I naturally was not happy with at the time. To calm my uncontrollable anger, my father would sometimes break the punishment and allow me to see a movie. I couldn't go with friends but if I wanted to get out of my bedroom during my weekend sentence, I could only do so if I was accompanying my parents to a film of their choosing.
Luckily they chose Count of Monte Cristo. January is typically a dumping ground for films since the holiday season's more promising titles are still cleaning house but as we all know there can be exceptions to the rule. The only star in the film I had heard of was Guy Pearce and I was not really a fan. Add that to watching it with my security guard parents and Monte Cristo was doomed to be a two hour nap. Instead I met with Jim Caviezel as Edmond Dantes, who is wrongly imprisoned for over a decade and must escape to exact his revenge. Considering I was being held captive by my parents, the plot immediately drew me in.
Based on a book of the same name, the story continues with Edmond escaping his prison, treasure hunting and plotting vengeance on the ones that took his life and wife. Caviezel is more than convincing as a man who has lost everything with blood in his eyes and helps pack the movie full of sword fights and deception. He would later be cast as the much more forgiving Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ but he will forever be remembered as Edmond Dantes. Needless to say I was still upset that I was grounded but some faith had been restored in the otherwise lackluster January.