By George Rose
September 23, 2009
Welcome to Take Five, your weekly list of five random movie recommendations. Most people don't have time to watch five movies in a week. Most people don't even have five minutes to take a break and relax. Take Five is here to quicken your search for reliable entertainment (or at least movies that I deem entertaining) so you can enjoy what little free time you have. And really, who reading this article doesn't want to spend their free time watching movies? It's not like you're on a sports Web site.
America's Sweethearts (2001)
So who has the Starz cable movie channel package? If you do, then you've noticed that America's Sweethearts has been playing here and there over the past few days. Late one night while flipping through the endless selection that comes with Verizon Fios (get it, people, Fios is awesome), I stumbled onto America's Sweethearts. It was one of the last true romantic comedies of Julia Roberts' career and, while not her best, reminded me of how much I miss her in these types of roles.
Roberts starts as Kiki, the sister and personal assistant of Gwen (Catherine Zeta Jones), a major movie star. Gwen has a new movie coming out with her longtime costar and husband Eddie (John Cusack), only Gwen and Eddie are no longer together due to an affair while filming on Gwen's part. With Eddie now out of intensive therapy and the film's release looming, it's up to Gwen and Eddie to have a civilized reunion at the movie's press junket. It's not your typical romantic comedy but throw in Billy Crystal as their publicist and you know you're in for at least a few entertaining moments.
What makes America's Sweethearts so enjoyable is its cast, an all star crew of Hollywood's most famous and funny. Roberts and Cusack know this genre well, and Crystal is best when he's going for a laugh. While they alone are reason to see a movie, Zeta Jones' turn as a spoiled, stuck up actress is the true highlight. She has never had a role as funny as Gwen, a woman who continues to shock as she sinks to new lows in order to get what she wants. Karma ultimately deals Gwen what she deserves but even then you can't help but laugh. And if she isn't enough to tickle your funny bone, there's always Christopher Walken as the in-movie director of the film. If that man isn't the craziest person alive (and I mean crazy as a compliment), then I don't know who is.
Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003)
Looking for a more serious romance? Don't have cable TV or Starz? Then go to your local Blockbuster (or Netflix, whatever it is that you use to get movies) and rent Girl With a Pearl Earring. Do you remember the days when Scarlett Johansson starred in unexpected indie features? I know I sure do. I have never loved her more than I did early on in her career, when she did movies like Lost in Translation and Girl with a Pearl Earring. Then she made it big and, as most in the industry tend to do, sold out. Michael Bay's The Island? The Nanny Diaries? You can see her next in the upcoming Iron Man 2. Bet you saw that one coming.