Tag Archives: cuba gooding jr

What Dreams May Come (film)

Vincent Ward directs Robin Williams in one of his more dramatic roles. This is not a comedy. This is a depressing movie about death and the afterlife. It’s about the lengths a guy will go through to be reunited with his soul mate. It’s based on a book that I never read and probably never will because I’ve seen the movie.

Robin Williams plays Dr. Chris Nielsen, and when he was young, he met an artist named Annie (Annabella Sciorra). They fell in love and had a couple of kids and life was good. Then life wasn’t so good when their kids died in a car accident. Annie goes a little crazy with grief and tries to kill herself, but Chris pulls her through. He is her strength, her rock. And then he dies too, and Annie is all alone.

Chris is dead, but he’s not gone. A part of him still exists and he stays around for a while. A blurry Cuba Gooding, Jr. appears and acts as his guide to the afterlife. They watch Annie grieving at his funeral and at his gravesite. He has to move on and so he goes to his own personal Heaven.

You create your own Heaven and Chris goes into his wife’s paintings. His old Dalmatian is there and so is Cuba Gooding, Jr. and he’s no longer blurry. Cuba identifies himself as Albert Lewis, Chris’s old mentor. He teaches Chris the basics of Heaven, what you can and can’t do, free your mind, all that hoopla. Chris and Albert see a tree that wasn’t in the painting before. Annie just painted it, and they are able to reach each other through her art. Because they are soul mates. And that’s how it works.

Chris mentions that he hasn’t seen his kids. Albert says he will see them when he wants to see them. Even though he saw his dog right away. I guess we know his priorities. Chris continues touring Heaven and meets a hot Asian chick. She ends up being his daughter. I saw this movie in theaters and I was really confused at this point, because I thought he had two sons that died in a car accident. I didn’t know that the younger kid was a girl. Girls should have long hair. I thought he just had an effeminate son. Anyway, the hot Asian chick is his daughter. His daughter assumed the form of a sexy Asian because her dad said that Asians were sexy. So she wanted to look attractive for her daddy. That’s kinda gross. And I guess that even though Chris loves Annie he still has a case of yellow fever.

So after this awkward father-daughter reunion, Albert tells Chris that Annie committed suicide and is now in Hell. She was suffering and she ended her suffering and ended up in Hell. When the dog was suffering and they ended his suffering, it ended up in Heaven. Why did she end up down there and the dog end up in Heaven? Did they murder the dog? Is that the difference?

Anyway, Chris decides he wants to go to Hell to rescue Annie. Albert takes him to a Tracker (Max von Sydow). They all go to Hell, and Chris remembers telling his son that he wouldn’t walk through Hell with anyone other than him. And he realizes that Albert is actually his son. So the first two people he meets in the afterlife were actually his kids and they were lying to his face. Everyone lies in Heaven. Maybe his dog is really his old cat.

So Albert/Actually-his-son stays behind and Chris and the Tracker go through Hell to find Annie. And the Tracker reveals that he is actually the real Albert Lewis, the same guy who his son was pretending to be. Small world or lazy writing?

Chris finds Annie trapped in her own personal Hell. She doesn’t recognize him. He chooses to stay in Hell with her and they end up back in Heaven. Because they are soul mates and that’s how it works. They are reunited in Heaven with their two kids and it seems like the perfect ending. But Chris and Annie decide to get reincarnated and get sent back to Earth to start a new life together. The two kids get to stay in Heaven and not live full lives, while their parents get to go back and start a new family and forget about their two kids they already had. That’s a terrible ending. It’s child neglect from beyond the grave.

This is not a comedy. Just because you see Robin Williams on the cover doesn’t mean it’s a good time. This movie is sad. It tries to be uplifting but it fails. There are great depictions of Heaven and Hell, and the plot seems original at first, but it becomes mundane. It’s a decent movie, but I wouldn’t say it is essential viewing.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Jerry Maguire

When Tom Cruise isn’t making a fool of himself in interviews he makes movies. A few years back Tom Cruise starred as Jerry Maguire in Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire. It’s the best movie about a sports agent of all time, hands down. Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Renée Zellweger turn in supporting roles, and little Jonathon Lipnicki taught the world that the human head weighs eight pounds.

Jerry Maguire is a successful sports agent who feels that the business is getting out of hand. He writes a memo about how honesty and personal relationships are more important than money. His bosses think that money is important and Jerry gets fired.

Jerry decides to start his own sports agency. His only employee is Dorothy Boyd (Zellweger), a single mother who is inspired by Jerry’s memo. Jerry’s main investment is in Frank Cushman, the potential NFL #1 Draft Pick. His only other client is Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals. On the night of the draft, Jerry finds out that his rival now represents Cushman, and Jerry is fucked.

Jerry hits a bit of a rut, breaks up with his fiancée and turns to Dorothy for comfort. He starts a relationship with her, but it’s complicated because she loves him, he doesn’t know if he loves her back, and she’s got a cute little kid that Jerry starts to love like a son.

Jerry invests all his time into helping Rod get a big contract. The two of them form a friendship, with Rod giving Jerry advice on marriage and love, and Jerry giving Rod advice on how to become a superstar.

By the end of the movie, Jerry is a happy and content family man. Rod gets his big contract. And you, the viewer, are happy for everyone.

Tom Cruise does a great job as Jerry Maguire. He’s a complex character; he’s incomplete but acts whole. He has good intentions but can’t always act on them. Cuba Gooding, Jr. elevates the film. Every scene with him interacting with Jerry is memorable. I have a feeling that Terrell Owens spent his career trying to be Rod Tidwell. Cuba won the Oscar for his performance and he celebrated by never making a decent movie again.

This was Renée Zellweger’s breakout role. And she actually looks good. In a lot of her movies she looks weird. She’s pretty, but she’s not Hollywood pretty. Jonathan Lipnicki plays Ray, Dorothy’s son. He’s a little scene-stealer. I want to punch him in the face though. Just to see what would happen.

Kelly Preston has a small role as Jerry’s fiancé. It’s a little bit of a stretch to pretend like she’s attracted to a homosexual scientologist, but she was able to pull it off. That’s acting (This is a very clever joke, because in real life she’s married to John Travolta, a scientologist who many believe to be a homosexual).

This movie came out in 1996 and people are still yelling, “Show me the money!” Shut the fuck up. This movie had a bunch of corny lines that people are still quoting: “You complete me” and “You had me at hello” are among the worst offenders. It’s a sign of a good movie when people constantly quote it.

Jerry Maguire is a good movie. It might be Tom Cruise’s best film. I don’t like Tom Cruise, so that’s a big compliment. There’s no denying that he’s a movie star. Jonathon Lipnicki might have been the cutest kid on the planet for a few short years. I still want to punch him in the face. This is a good movie, there’s sports for the guys and a love story for the girls, everyone wins.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment

Coming to America

John Landis directs Eddie Murphy in Coming to America. This is Eddie Murphy’s best movie, hands down. Eddie Murphy plays an African prince who comes to America in search of a bride. He brings his faithful manservant along, and hilarity ensues. Contrary to popular belief, Eddie Murphy does not play every single role in the movie. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall each play four characters though. That’s a lot of comedy.

Murphy plays Prince Akeem. Arsenio Hall plays Semmi, his servant and friend. They come to Queens and land jobs at a McDonald’s clone called McDowell’s. Akeem falls for his boss’s daughter, but she already has a boyfriend. He keeps his regal status a secret, and eventually Lisa begins to notice him.

She gets rid of her boyfriend, and Akeem and Lisa start a relationship. Akeem’s parents show up, she finds out that he’s a prince, and she gets mad that he lied about being a goat herder and breaks up with him. Um, ok, why not? He goes back to Africa, and has to take part in an arranged marriage. When he lifts up his mystery bride’s veil, he sees that it is Lisa! Oh, what a happy ending.

This is a good movie with a good cast. Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are at the top of their game, each playing multiple characters, and each one is funny. Eddie Murphy carries the movie, but it wouldn’t have been half as good without Arsenio Hall. They play off each other well; they should have made more movies together. James Earl Jones plays Akeem’s father, the King of Zamunda. Samuel L. Jackson, Louie Anderson and Cuba Gooding, Jr. have cameos. Shari Headley plays Lisa. She’s stunningly beautiful and I wonder why her career didn’t take off.

Eddie Murphy gets credit for coming up with the story, and David Sheffield and Barry W. Blaustein wrote the screenplay. Or did they? A guy named Art Buchwald wrote a script treatment for an Eddie Murphy vehicle in 1982. It went into development hell for a few years, and eventually was shelved. And then they made it in 1988 and Buchwald sued them. They settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Pretty shady, but I think the studio is more to blame than Eddie Murphy.

This is a cult classic. It gave the world Sexual Chocolate and Soul Glow. It gave Eddie Murphy the idea he could do anything. It gave you a reason to forgive Eddie Murphy for shit like Pluto Nash and Norbit, and that’s saying something.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Leave a comment

Filed under Entertainment