Tuesday, May 29, 2012

GREEN ZONE



(March 2010, U.S.)

GREEN ZONE was not a film I ever expected to see, let alone like. My first (and brief) glance at the movie poster gave me the impression that it was nothing more than just another political/espionage thriller from Paul Greengrass who'd directed two of the BOURNE films. I should also point out that although I think there are some thrilling moments in THE BOURNE SUPREMACY (2004), I've never been too crazy about any of those movies. However, when you belong to a local free library that offers tons of DVDs to borrow, you'll sometimes give a movie a look that you'd never bother to pay a full price theater ticket for. So what did I discover? I discovered that my presumptions based on a movie poster and a director were dead wrong! GREEN ZONE is an exciting war thriller that takes place during the first several weeks of the 2003 Iraq invasion when American soliders were searching for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. As history tells us, they never found any and our wonderful trustworthy American government (yeah, NOT!!!) sold us all a beautiful piece of hand-crafted bullshit!

Matt Damon plays U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller who's in charge of the search operations that ultimately come up empty handed. Frustrated and suspicious, Roy quickly suspects what the American people would later find out - there are no weapons of mass destruction! Roy is a soldier who has the balls to question orders when it becomes clear that his presence and the presence of his brothers in combat is based on a lie. Roy is also naive in his presumption that all high ranking government officials present in Iraq are going to allow him to follow his conscience and do the right thing. Clark Poundstone (played with balls by Greg Kinnear) is just such an official who's ultimate conclusion after many American soldiers and Iraqi citizens have fallen is that WMDs do not matter in the long run. It's at that moment when Damon's character comes full circle for not only himself, but for the entire United States military when he furiously strikes back in saying that "the reason we go to war always matters"! It's almost as if the rest of the film's facts and/or allogations don't even matter. Roy Miller has spoken from his heart and his soul and his words can't be erased or ignored by anyone who cares even a little for this country.

As mentioned earlier, this was a surprise and definitive Iraq war film that grabbed me immediately and very quickly had to become a part of my film collection. It's also a film that took me back to the beginning of the 21st Century. It reminds me of the days and months that followed the events of 9/11, when George W. Bush had the golden opportunity to become one of the greatest American presidents in history by swiftly and precisely striking our enemies who attacked our country. Instead, the asshole sent us to war with Iraq, a country that had not attacked us and did not possess weapons of mass destruction.

Much of the criticism for this film included accusations of "anti-war", "anti-American" and even "slander". These are, in my opinion, the words of fools who seek to hide the truth, no matter how unplausible. Given the set-up of things in the story, we as the film's audience are encouraged to root for Roy Miller's rogue activities and against the government that ultimately lies to us. The bullshit in our government piles up so high we need wings to stay above it!

Favorite line or dialogue:

Roy Miller: "When you peddled that shit in DC, did they know it was a lie? Or did they just never bother to ask?"
Clark Poundstone: "Okay, okay. Come on, none of this matters anymore. WMD? This doesn't matter."
Roy: "What the fuck you talking about!? Of course it fucking matters! The reasons we go to war always matter! It's all that matters! It fucking matters!"

Friday, May 25, 2012

GREEN MILE, THE



(December 1999, U.S.)

I saw THE GREEN MILE in late December of 1999 the day before my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I flew off to Dallas, Texas to welcome in the new Millenium with her family. We did not go to the movies when we were in Texas, so THE GREEN MILE was the LAST FILM OF THE TWIENTIETH CENTRY I went to see in a movie theater.

(And clearly, that is something only I could give a damn about!)

So who else but Frank Darabont, the director of THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994) could have possibly done justice to author Stephen King's other great prison story? No one, in my opinion. As prison films go, this is perhaps the one that really grabs for the heart because you come to care a lot about every decent character on screen. Decent is key here, because it's not only the corrections officers in charge of Death Row inmates at 1935's Cold Mountain Penitentiary that grab our attention for worthwhile film characters, but the inmates themselves. The men we come to know live their lives as calmly and as peacefully as possible while waiting for their day of execution in the electric chair. We don't necessarily know what crime they committed and frankly, we don't care. Because criminals or not, the film portrays them as men with souls filled with regret and penance. John Coffey (played by Michael Clarke Duncan), a giant black man convicted of raping and killing two young white girls (he didn't do it!), is a different story entirely. Coffey shows all the characteristics of being a "gentle giant": keeping to himself, soft-spoken, fearing darkness, and crying often. Soon enough, though, John reveals his extraordinary powers of healing. The man in charge of Death Row, Paul Edgecomb (played wonderfully by Tom Hanks) is the first to believe that John is not just a mere man, but an angel on Earth. I suppose if YOU had a painful urinary infection that was taken away from you with just the grip of John's hand and watched the tiny little squished life of Mr. Jingles the mouse return with just one breath from John's mouth, you'd likely think the same thing, too.

Let's get back to the word DECENT for a moment, because as much as we are capable of caring for many of these men in the film, we're just as capable of hating and despising two others. Prison guard Percy Wetmore (played by Doug Hutchison) is a snivling little antagonist who deserves nothing more than to having the living shit beat out of him...twice! Newly arrived inmate "Wild Bill" Wharton (played by Sam Rockwell in the first film I ever saw him in) is truly a sick, criminal bastard (HE killed those two young white girls!) whom we can't wait to see fry in the chair (we don't, though - he gets shot to death instead). I don't know if this is the story's actual intention, but it can clearly bring out both sides of love and hate from those who watch it.

The character of John Coffy has often been referred to as a "'magic Negro' figure" — a term coined by director Spike Lee to describe a stereotypical fictional black person depicted in a fictional work as a "saintly, nonthreatening" person whose purpose in life is to solve a problem for or otherwise further the happiness of a white person." Whether you agree with that allogation or not is up to you, but if you remember some other films that were released shortly into the new century, you may recall that THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE and Harold Ramis' remake of BEDAZZLED also featured black men in the same position of almost angelic, sound judgement who were meant to serve the problems of white men. In that case, do we assume that one race is wiser than the other? Not me. I personally think we're just about as smart and as stupid as the next person.

Stephen King as a story teller never ceases to amaze me in that he can write bone chilling horror like CARRIE, SALEM'S LOT and THE SHINING and yet can also turn out stories that touch our hearts like STAND BY ME (written as THE BODY), THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (written as RITA HAYWORTH AND SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) and THE GREEN MILE. I'm currently reading one of his latest works called 11/22/63 which is by no means scary, but rather a wonderfully detailed time trip back to the late 1950s and early 1960s. It, too, may make a great film if done right by the right person. Frank perhaps? Maybe. I still haven't seen THE MIST (2007), though.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Paul Edgecomb: "What do you want me to do John? You want me to let you run out of here, see how far you can get?"
John Coffey: "Why would you do such a foolish thing?"
Paul: "On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job?"

You know, for a guy who's a complete atheist, that last line never fails to get me every time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

GREAT ESCAPE, THE



(July 1963, U.S.)

John Sturges' THE GREAT ESCAPE falls into that category of spectacular World War II film adventures that were released in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE and STALAG 17. As a tale of Allied prisoners of war inside a German POW camp, it also, surprisingly, comes up as rather comical at times. If you were ever a fan of the CBS-TV show, HOGAN'S HEROES, you can likely see where the show got much of its inspiration.

For myself, this film was also the first time I'd seen a film of the great Steve McQueen's that was dated before the 1970s. Up until this film I'd only seen him in THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974) and THE GETAWAY (1972). His tough guy movie star popularity shines in this film, as it did in nearly all of his roles. He wasn't just tough and edgy, in my opinion, he was also one of the most American actors I ever saw on film. I can't claim to have seen every one of his films (yet), but I've yet to see one where he doesn't play an American hero of sorts. Given the title of the film, I don't have to tell you that the story speaks for itself. What we also get to witness on screen beyond the great escape itself is the daily, exhausting, step-by-step procedures that are endured by all who must dig the tunnel, construct its surroundings, dispose of the dirt and come out on the other side of the prison's stockade. Some of the comical instances I spoke of earlier come when some of the prisoners attempt preliminary, less constructed escapes and fail. Sturges doesn't show these escapes in action but rather shows the discouraged (and rather humiliated) escapees in the next scene returning to the camp upon capture by the Germans; their attempts clearly having failed. There is also comic moments in Steve McQueen's character Virgil Hilts as he's repeatedly thrown into the "cooler" (which is why he's dubbed "the Cooler King") and seems more than content to just sit there with his baseball and glove and have a catch with himself against the wall. It's this action that even ends the film after the great escape has taken place, and subsequently, failed for most of the men who participated. There lies the great irony here in that so much is planned and executed in the process of the great escape and sadly, most of the men are either re-captured or shot to death.

As with Steve McQueen, THE GREAT ESCAPE, from the first time I ever saw it, was an opportunity to see many stars I'd grown up with in much earlier roles. I was a chance to see James Garner before THE ROCKFORD FILES, a chance to see Charles Bronson before his DEATH WISH movies, a chance to see Donald Pleasance before HALLOWEEN (1978) and a chance to see Richard Attenborough as an actor before he went on to direct GANDHI (1982). Even more interesting to notice is that this film does not spend too much time or effort on individual character development. To its credit, the film is strictly a mechanical prison adventure with make-believe men who do not expose much more than their general surface. Perhaps the adventure of escape simply doesn't afford any of these men the time and energy to do so.

Lastly, I'll take a moment to expand on the particular capture of the men Roger Bartlett (played by Attenborough) and Andy MacDonald (played by Gordon Jackson). It's almost frustrating to watch their capture because they're both so very close to getting away, up until MacDonald royally trips up by momentarily forgetting to stick to the German language and mistakenly replies in English to a suspicious Gestapo agent who wishes them "Good luck". As the viewer, you practically hit your own head as you think, "You idiot! You fucked up! Now you're going to die!"

Favorite line or dialogue:

Captain Ramsey: "Colonel Von Luger, it is the sworn duty of all officers to try to escape. If they cannot escape, then it is their sworn duty to cause the enemy to use an inordinate number of troops to guard them, and their sworn duty to harass the enemy to the best of their ability."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

GREAT DICTATOR, THE



(October 1940, U.S.)

Charlie Chaplin, I'm sure, was called many things in his lifetime. STUBBORN has got to be the most applicable accusation because THE GREAT DICTATOR was his first fully talking picture twelve years after talking pictures had finally come into existence. Interestingly, though, his classics of the 1930s like CITY LIGHTS and MODERN TIMES might not have been classics had they been talking pictures. Who can explain these things?

At the time of THE GREAT DICTATOR's release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin's film advanced a stirring, controversial condemnation of Adolf Hitler, fascism, antisemitism, and the Nazis, whom he excoriates in the film as "machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts". At the time, though, Hitler was someone just begging to be parodied and slandered, from the Three Stooges to Bugs Bunny to Ernst Lubitsch's TO BE OR NOT TO BE (1942). I can't imagine anyone having pulled it off better than Charlie Chaplin. Take a look at his physical transformation into Adenoid Hynkel, the ruthless dictator of Tomainia...


Like Peter Sellers in DR. STRANGELOVE, Chaplin is playing multiple roles in this film. In addition to Hynkel, he plays the complete opposite side of the coin in a Jewish barber who's suffered a serious case of amnesia since the "first war" and has absolutely no idea that in the great length of time in between wars, the dictator and his stormtroopers have come to power over the Jewish people and the ghetto they inhabit. This ignorance gives the barber a unique bravery than on one else has the courage to use as he stands up to the stormtroopers in more than several funny physical instances. And of course, as circumstance and perhaps cliche would have it, the barbers strong resemblance to Hynkel eventually puts him in a position of assuming the great dictator's identity. This is the opportunity Chaplin uses to deliver a long and rousing speech to not only his country but to the people of the world who are watching this film when he basicall reverses Hynkel's anti-Semitic policies and declaring that Tomainia and other countries will now be free nations and democracy will prevail. He then calls for humanity in general to break free from dictatorships and use science and progress to make the world a better place. Oh, doesn't it sound wonderful? This was 1940, though. We all know that history records much of those prospects never occurring. We keep trying...we DO keep trying.

Dated as the comedy in this film may be, I confess that I do continue to laugh my ass off when Chaplin as Hynkel breaks into a mad rant of foreign dialogue that's supposed to sound like the German language right up until the point where's coughing up a fit. It's just another irresistable way for us to poke fun at history's most ruthless dictator who deserved everything he got, even in the movies.

With THE GREAT DICTATOR's twist of mistaken identity, the similarity between the Jewish Barber and Chaplin's classic character of "the Tramp" allows him to break away from his old persona in the sense of film characterization, but at the same time, to also capitalize on that same persona in a visual sense. The very similar nature of "the Tramp" and Barber characterizations were likely an effort by Chaplin to maintain his popularity with filmgoers who had come to love "the Tramp" over the last decade. Chaplin creates a new character from the old, but he nonetheless counts on the persona to bring film audiences into the theaters for his first journey into the world of sound, and with it, the boldest political statement he could have possibly made at the time. Bravo, Charlie!

Favorite line or dialogue:

Jewish Barber: "I'm sorry, but I don't want to be an emperor. That's not my business. I don't want to rule or conquer anyone."

Friday, May 11, 2012

GREASE



(June 1978, U.S.)

In the world of cinema, there are certain films that everyone of more than one generation, unless they've been spending their lives under the deepest rock, have seen at least once. Even if you're not a big fan of movie musicals (and I'm NOT!), you've very likely seen GREASE. Shit, EVERYONE has seen GREASE, haven't they?? So that being the case, I'm happy to say that GREASE is one of those films I can take comfort in not having to bother describing the plot and storyline...okay, it's a 1950s high school rock and roll musical based on the 1972 hit Broadway production...but that's all I'm going to say about that. What I can enjoy doing now is to take the time to share with you my most personal memories and experiences of this film.

The first thing I have to do is share two rather shameful confessions with you. The first is that in a one year period between 1978 and 1979, my family went to see GREASE in the movie theater six, that's SIX, times! On two of those occassions, we stayed in our seats at the theater to watch it again (you could still do that back in those days of the late, great '70s!). That should give you a definite idea of how much we loved it. The second (even more shameful!) confession is that when I was eleven years-old, more than anyone else in the world, I wanted to be John Travolta (this is the part where you laugh your ass off!)! But really, let's think about who the man was back then. He'd come to extreme fame playing his popular characters in WELCOME BACK, KOTTER, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977) and now he was tearing up the screen with Olivia Newton-John in GREASE. Let's face it - the man was cool, he could sing, he could dance and he always got the chicks! What pubescent young boy WOULDN'T want to be a man like that?? What pubescent young boy's jaw didn't drop a thousand feet to the ground when he first saw young, innocent Sandy (Newton-John) walk onto the screen smoking a cigarette and dressed in black leather and teased hair. What boy didn't want to be Danny (Travolta) when Sandy seductively says to him, "Tell me about it...stud!" or feels up her own body when she sings, "Feel your way" during the song, "You're the One I Want"?

With the experience of seeing GREASE six times on screen (I still can't believe we did that!) also came the extensive merchandise that I felt I just had to have as a kid. Soundtrack record (yes, I said RECORD!), movie program, Topps trading cards, etc. Yes, it was definitely a fun time to be "Greaseified!" But there's always something that's puzzled me over the last few decades and that's this - can someone please tell me when and how GREASE slowly evolved into a chick movie?? Seriously, back in "the day" when GREASE was new and hot, it just didn't seem that way at all. Girls loved the movie, yes, but boys, too, recognized it's level of coolness. When we weren't drooling over Olivia and longing to be John, we often found ourselves pretending to be just like T-Birds singing "Greased Lighting". Somewhere along the course of time, though, it came something else that I didn't care for. To see GREASE revived on Broadway in the 1990s with people like Rosie O'Donnel and Brooke Shields playing Rizzo was bad enough. To see the film re-released in theaters a couple of years back as a sing-along version was just the end of the line for me.

No, for me GREASE will always be that real cool musical that made me want to be just like John Travolta and played in a small movie theater in Westhampton Beach, Long Island for practically the entire Summer of 1978. That, my friends, is what creates the movie memories of our lives that we treasure into our adulthood, and also the reason I take pleasure in writing posts like this one.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Putzie (referring to the car's bumper): "What kinda car'd you swipe this from anyway?"
Sonny and Doody: "Ya mother's!"

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

GRAND PRIX



(December 1966, U.S.)

I haven't seen a whole lot of auto racing films. I shamefully admit that I rented DAYS OF THUNDER (1990) a year after its release, I watched LE MANS (1971) on Turner Classic Movies and...does Disney's CARS (2006) count? Well, even if it does, all of them are easily forgettable when compared to the sheer excitement of John Frankenheimer's epic spectacle of GRAND PRIX. This is unique racing cinematography at its absolute best, to the point where any of the personal soap-opera type stories behind four of it's main Formula One racers are almost pointless. Your eyes, ears and senses are never removed from the real-life racing footage and filming that takes place in exotic locales like Monaco and Belgian.

But to be fair, let me give you a brief summary of our four ficticious racing heroes in this film - Jean-Pierre Sarti (played by Yves Montand), a Frenchman, previously twice world champion, nearing the end of his colorful career and a tragic casualty by the film's end. Pete Aron (played by James Garner), an American, who is on the comeback trail after a losing streak. Scott Stoddard (played by Brian Bedford), an Englishman, recuperating from a horrible racing crash and trying to hold onto his crumbling marriage. And finally, Nino Barlini (played by Antonio Sabàto), an Italian, a promising rookie and also a former world motorcycle champion with a rather uncontrollable big mouth, to boot. Sub-plots revolve around the women who try to live with and love them despite their dangerous lifestyles. You see what I mean, don't you? Not particularly exciting stories behind the racing itself. You watch GRAND PRIX strictly because it's about racing, and the racing is the real thing that employs, among other filming techniques, some of the earliest experimentation with in-car cameras. I should also point out that the racing accidents we witness look horrifingly real, to the point where you gasp in exclamation when a race car hits a wall, plunges over a cliff or explodes in flames. Even with what I consider to be a moderate knowledge of filmmaking tricks, I still find myself wondering, "How the hell did they do that??" when I see some of the events that are filmed in GRAND PRIX.

I've mentioned this before, but as a director, John Frankenheimer has always been hit and miss with me. There have been as many duds, in my opinion, as there have been triumphs. This great racing epic of his displays his unique abilities with the camera in ways that leave one in awe. These racing camera tricks would again be repeated decades later in Frankenheimer's RONIN (1998). Yes, computer generated technology and 3D imagery may be all the bullshit rage for the 21st Century, but it's real life cinematography and photography that still gets me every time. And if I can still be "got" by any film, then something is definitely right with the world.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Scott Stoddard: "You know one of the most beautiful things about a car? If it isn't working properly, you can strip the skin off, expose the insides, find out exactly where the trouble is, take out the faulty part and replace it with a new one. If only we could do that with people!"

Wouldn't that be nice?


Friday, May 4, 2012

GRADUATE, THE



(December 1967, U.S.)

During my adulthood I've read my fair share of books on not only some of my favorite directors, but on film itself. My favorite, to date, has been Peter Biskind's EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS, which depicts the change in Hollywood's moviemaking course from about the year 1967 (the year I was born!) to about 1980 when young maverick director's like Scorsese, Coppolla and Spielberg were giving (younger) audiences bolder, more daring stories on the big screen. During the late 1960s, it's very safe to say that the message of the younger generation lashing out at the "man", the "system", or basically anyone over the age of thirty was what was "in" on the big screen. And so, along with BONNIE & CLYDE (1967) and EASY RIDER (1969), Mike Nichol's THE GRADUATE was a wonderful calling card for the young to rebel against the world around them...even if it meant fucking Mrs. Robinson!

Growing up in the early 1980s, my world of cinema often revolved around the vulgar high school antics of films like PORKY'S (1981) and FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (1982). But it's perhaps very safe to say that the antics of Benjamin Broaddock (played by a very young Dustin Hoffman) and his efforts for an interesting (if not his first??) sexual experience upon college graduation was a solid precursor to those wild sex comedies I grew up with. While I wouldn't have called actress Anne Bancroft unattractive back in that day, she's hardly what I would have considered a valid sexual fantasy. Clearly, for Benjamin, the act of jumping into the sack with Mrs. Robinson (Bancroft) is more an extrame act of rebellion against not only his straight-arrowed parents, but also the entire grown up world around him who simply wants to see him get on with his responsible future RIGHT NOW, even if it means stooping so low as to get involved with PLASTICS! The rebellion goes further than that, though - because what could be a better symbolic "fuck you" to the adults around you than to not only sleep with your parent's best friend, but to then go on and (genuinely) fall in love with her daughter Elaine (played by beautiful Katharine Ross). Speaking of Ross, my dad once confessed that he had a big crush on her back in the day. Pissed off my mom to no end!

But I digress...

It's at this point that we also see just how much Mrs. Robinson is rebelling against her own demons, because this "desperate housewife" screwing Benjamin Braddock may be one thing, but having him hook up with her daughter is (apparently) a certain type of low that she just won't allow. Benjamin soons goes from sinful lover to a bitter enemy that must be kept away from her daughter at all costs. Benjamin's final infamous act of rebelion is to not only win the heart of Elaine, but to actually steal her away from the man she chooses to marry (out of nothing more than convenience) during the actual ceremony right in front of all family and guests. His scene of pounding on the glass and screaming, "Elaine...Elaine...Eliane!" is nothing short of classic!

Let's now spend the rest of this post focussing on the final moment when Benjamin and Elaine have escaped her bullshit wedding and gotten on board a passing bus. Look at how happy and relieved they both are! Now keep watching their faces! Look how their expression of joy and jubilance ever-so-slowly turns to that of tense concern and worry, as if they've both suddenly realized the reality of, "Holy shit, what did we just do???" Take a look...


Don't forget, love may have conquered all at the end of the film, but these are still two kids without money, without jobs, without a home and without any immediate certainty for what the future holds for them. If you ask me, it's my opinin that Benjamin Braddock and Elaine Robinson DO NOT make it in the end.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Mr. Braddock: "Ben, what are you doing?"
Benjamin Braddock: "Well, I would say that I'm just drifting. Here in the pool."
Mr. Braddock: "Why?"
Benjamin: "Well, it's very comfortable just to drift here."
Mr. Braddock: "Have you thought about graduate school?"
Benjamin: "No."
Mr. Braddock: "Would you mind telling me then what those four years of college were for? What was the point of all that hard work?"
Benjamin: "You got me."

You know, even at the age of 45, I look back on my college education and I can appreciate how Benjamin feels!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

GOOD WILL HUNTING



(December 1997, U.S.)

At the time Gus Van Sant's GOOD WILL HUNTING was released in movie theaters, one of the things that impressed me the most (besides the film itself) was the hype behind not only the strong real life friend ship between Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, but the fact that they'd written the script together, which would eventually go on to win the Oscar for best original screenplay. I can honestly say that I was even touched that two good friends could come together in such a great collaboration and take home the golden statue.

As Matt Damon goes, nothing he ever did in any BOURNE film will ever get my attention as much as his role as twenty year-old Will Hunting, a mathematical genius who is forced to see therapist Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams in his Oscar winning dramatic role) while having the opportunity to study advanced mathematics with a renowned M.I.T. professor (played Stellan Skarsgård) in order to avoid jail time for assaulting a man who'd bullied him as a child (talk about sweet revenge!). Throughout his therapy sessions, Will re-evaluates his relationships with his best friend Chuckie (played by Ben Affleck) and his new girlfriend (played by Minnie Driver) while confronting the emotional issues of his abusive past and making decisions about his potential future. It's very safe to say that the story here takes on many cliche issues of friendship, love and hope, but what the fuck...sometimes cliche is not only fitting, but necessary.

I have to say I don't know much about psychotherapy, but I think I can make the educated assumption that no real life therapist would open up his own life and his own past to his patient as Sean does to Will. In fact, at the time I saw this film in 1997, I was dating a girl who was getting her masters degree in psychology (I wonder whatever happened to her?). She pretty much confirmed the far-fetched notion of it all. This, perhaps, is where the viewer is forced to simply open up their minds and suspend the disbelief of not only the profession of therapy itself, but just how far both therapist and patient are willing to go in the healing process.

There's a moment that takes place between Will and Chuckie that's always held my attention and that's when Chuckie all but threatens Will that he will not permit Will to still be living in South Boston and still working construction and potentially wasting his gifts of genius ten years from now. This is a moment of selfless friendship and support that many of us would be extremely lucky to have in our lives - the kind of friendship and support that comes only with two childhood buddies sharing a couple of beers and being completely open with one another...in other words, that likely wouldn't happen on FaceBook or some other bullshit social network! Minnie Driver is touching as the free-spirited college girl who just wants to love Will and be loved in return.

I have to say it's a shame that Damon and Affleck did not continue to focus more on their writing skills because, in my opinion, it's where they both shine the greatest in their careers. But I suppose when you're offered millions of dollars to star in BOURNE sequels and to play the DAREDEVIL, that must beat sitting at a keyboard for a large portion of your life...in a movie star's eyes, anyway.

Favorite line or dialogue:

Chuckie Sullivan: "Let me tell what I do know...every day I come by your house and I pick you up, and we go out, we have a few drinks and a few laughs and it's great. You know what the best part of my day is? For about ten seconds, from when I pull up to the curb to when I get to your door, 'cause I think maybe I'll get up there and I'll knock on the door and you won't be there. No goodbye, no see ya later, no nothin'...you just left. I don't know much, but I do know THAT."