Tag: Tim Robbins

MOVIE REVIEW | Bob Roberts (1992)

Bob Roberts
“Don’t smoke crack. It’s a ghetto drug.”

The concept of the mockumentary is more present than ever, through TV shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation and Modern Family.  On the big screen, the patron saint has always been Christopher Guest, for his involvement in movies like Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Might Wind and This is Spinal Tap.  I love those movies and almost anything with Guest’s name attached to it.  But I realised something today, his documentary approach is pretty fast and loose, and easily abandoned for the sake of a good joke or getting an important plot point across.  I realised this after watching the meticulous documentary-like approach to Bob Roberts.


Tim Robbins is the titular Roberts, a folk singing, ultra conservative Republican, running for election.   He has built his own legend as a conservative rebel, singing songs to adoring supporters about how proud he is of his self made wealth, and his dedication to wiping out the drug problem in America.  Aboard his combined campaign bus and stock market trading office, Roberts is making his way across the country, one stump speech at a time, one scandal (about himself or an opponent) at a time. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***AFI 100*** #72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

“The American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest Movies was selected by AFI’s blue-ribbon panel of more than 1,500 leaders of the American movie community to commemorate 100 Years of Movies”. Every weekend(ish) during 2015, I’ll review two(ish), counting them down from 100 to 1.

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“Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”

The Shawshank Redemption has held its place atop the IMDB Top 250 for as long as the IMDB top 250 has existed.  And while this list can be fickle, to say the least, the enduring dominance of The Shawshank Redemption is impossible to ignore.  Sure, it’s ridiculous that The Dark Knight is currently sitting at number four, but it deputed even higher a back in 2008.  And I assume its slow slide will continue as its novelty wears off, and it will find its rightful place, deep and low.  But The Shawshank Redemption’s place at number one is like my own attitude towards it.  This is a movie that refuses to go away and insists in grabbing me every time I stumble across it.


Drunk and cradling a loaded gun, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) contemplates going home to kill his wife and her lover.  When they’re found dead, Andy is the obvious number one suspect, and despite his claims of innocence, his seemingly cold, remorseless attitude in court sees him convicted of the double murder and sentenced to double life sentences in the titular Shawshank prison.  Once inside, Andy meets the movie’s narrator, Red (Morgan Freeman). (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FLOP WEEK*** Howard the Duck (1986)

howard-the-duck

People can talk about and make fun of a modern day Hollywood disaster like The Lone Ranger all they want, but it’s just a flop wannabe.  Before it was even a redundant, half assed, lazy, money grabbing glint in a studio executive’s eye, there was one shit bomb of such legend, pretty much the only thing it’s famous for today, almost three decades after it first underwhelmed audiences, is it’s shit bombery.  Yes people, I watched Howard the Duck.  And you know what, its reputation is kind of undeserved.


That is by no means me saying it’s a good movie.  Howard the Duck is not a good movie.  It’s just not nearly as bad as its almost mythical status would have you believe.  By the time George Lucas got involved as a producer of Howard the Duck, the famed writer, director, producer and neck waddle connoisseur was riding high on three Star Warses and two Indian Jonses.  So why would anyone doubt the potential when he proposed making a live action adaptation of a little known comic book foul  mouthed duck?

Within the first couple of minutes, we meet Howard at home on his duck populated planet before he’s beamed to Earth via a pretty cheap looking special effect.  Once on Earth, he meets Lea Thompson after we see her playing a gig with her band, which leads to two observations about that time period.  In the mid-eighties a lot of movies involved characters in dangerous punk bands that played the most bubble gum of non threatening pop.  Also in the mid-eighties, film making had access to possibly the smokingly hottest trio of smoking hot “girls next door”, Lea Thomspon, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Phoebe Cates.

Back to the plot.  Howard meets Lea Thompson, who in turn introduces him to her scientist mate play by Tim Robbins.  Robbins reckons he knows how Howard ended up on Earth and takes him to his lab where we meet his boss, played by Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (I could look up the actor’s name, but I think describing him as “Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” will make more sense to more people than his real name).  Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off becomes a bad guy and Howard, Lea Thompson and Tim Robbins have to defeat him in their efforts to send Howard home.

The story is fine, nothing special, but there are plenty of worse ones out there.  The effects are a let down at times, especially when you consider that Lucas was involved, but they’re not the worst of the time either.  And while Howard never seems like more than a little dude in a duck costume, the puppetry involved with his facial expressions and eyes are really expressive and impressive.  I’m not gonna rush to watch Howard the Duck again anytime soon, and I can understand why it wasn’t a massive hit at the time, but I also don’t think it deserves its rep as one of the patron saints of film flops.  And say what you will about the rest of this movie, but the song Thompson sings at the end is an insanely catchy toe tapper that’s been stuck in my head for days.

Budget $37million / U.S Box Office $37.9million

Razzies Won:
Worst Picture
Worst Screenplay – Willard Huyck, Gloria Katz
Worst Visual Effects – Industrial Light and Magic

Howard the Duck
Directed By – Willard Huyck
Written By – Willard HuyckGloria Katz

Instead of Howard the Duck, watch Tim Robbins be awesome The Hudsucker Proxy