By Paul Anthony
I have to admit I never thought the first film ever truly made money but I was wrong. The benchwarmers was a film that came out way back in 2006 and had a budget of 33 million and made 65 million so a 32 million dollar profit. The movie was comedy of course but had a good plot with just certain things being way over the top which you can expect when you have film that stars Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Lovitz. Not to mention the film was made by Happy Madison which Adam Sandler production company. Now when I first saw this movie it wasn’t in 2006, maybe 6 or so years later I actually got to watch and I thought it was pretty decent for what they wanted to do. I never researched if there was ever going to be a sequel or anything like that but then one day a few weeks ago one film caught my eye on Netflix titled benchwarmers 2: Breaking Balls. Yes the sequel is a direct to DVD film and the title makes you think this film going to be true garbage but in this case I thought this film was better then the first one despite the title. First only person who is back from the first film was Jon Lovitz reprising his role as Mel but even then his character wasn’t that much over the top with his billions of dollars. In this film the new lead is played by Chris Klein.
The Plot follows ben whos is played by Chris Klein, who was once a up and coming star in the minor leagues of baseball but one game gets his balls crushed when he gets struck by a baseball, it ruined his career and family. years later he works as a landscaper, his wife left him and took their son who sees of course. It is revealed that he became a lawyer through online classes though most good companies don’t approve of that, he gets a job with one of the best companies in the city but the trick is which he learns when he gets there is that his boss only hired him to play on the softball team which Ben no longer wants to play baseball, so he quits and continues to search for a job until he comes across Mel’s firm who wants him both as a lawyer and a manager as of his firm softball team. At the firm he sees a intern that is determine to save her little town from becoming a sewage plant which in the long run they do win the case. However the Firm’s softball team is a joke until ben coaches them and make them believe in themselves and they start winning games and make it to the championship against the defending champs which just happen to be Ben’s old employers of course the benchwarmers win but with some over the top stunts and fights and the film ends on a happy note.
Besides some minor over the top scenes that does nothing for the movie I thought this film was pretty good. Now the comedy wasn’t there though it was a comedy because of the over the top scenes but it never made me laugh instead this felt like a truly a film on a low level about underdogs, the film went away from using kids but that was okay. The acting was average nothing stood out too much in a bad way. Plot was basic and predictable but that is okay as well. In the end I am giving this film a C plus or 70 percent. It’s not the best but not the worse either and better then the first I thought so at least.
By: Justin Hopkins
So, I was struggling a bit. Choosing which movie I wanted to review for this Classic 13. Would pick one, I was so sure about, only to change my mind at the last moment. Even started watching one and turned it off after a minute. Just nothing seemed to feel right, until I spotted Event Horizon. A movie a Co-Worker of mine stressed how great this was and called it, “Hellraiser in space.” Have to say, after watching it. He wasn’t that far off, except this may be in fact, better than Hellraiser. So, lets go amongst the stars, and go through the psychological horrors held within Event Horizon.
The movie opens with a bit of information on where Mankind is on space exploration. 2015 colonized the moon. By 2032 began mining on Mars and in 2040, The research Vessel went to explore the far reaches of the solar system, only to disappear beyond Neptune and we open in 2047. A rescue crew and Dr. Weirs are heading to Neptune tol address an immediate situation. Once they get closer to Neptune, Dr. Weirs makes them aware of the situation and what the Event Horizon actually was, and that was finding a way to travel ” Faster than light.” By using a gravity drive, the ship would fold time and space, so that it’s location and destination would be one in the same. Allowing it to punch through and appear where it was going in seconds. We find out later on, that it achieves this affect, by using a man made Black Hole. It all appeared to go exactly according to plan, but never returned till now and they are going to find out what happened. When they arrived, they couldn’t detect any signs off life, and a Miller, Stark, Mr. Justin, and Cooper go in to investigate, and while checking out the room the Gravity Drive. He gets sucked inside. Sending out a massive shockwave that damages the Lewis and Clark ship. Forcing everyone to evacuate onto the Event Horizon. With twenty hours of oxygen, they not only have to try and get the ship fixed, but figure out what happened on the ship, as more and more start to hallucinate and paranoia begins to sweep over, and that is where I am going to leave it.
I almost don’t even know where to begin throwing positives. Philip Eisner, seems like a good place. The Writer, who brought this psychological masterpiece together. It is one thing to scare someone, but this movie gets into your head. The way it tortures everyone with their greatest regrets, failures, and desires even. Way it haunts peters and teases her with her son and his condition. Miller is a caring leader, but strict, and the ships hurls the reason why he is so strict at him, and poor baby bear (Justin) And everything in this movie has some sort of meaning, and that is so much more powerful than just building emotion. It makes repeat watching even more fun. I am watching it while I type this and picked up to things that I overlooked the first time, because I knew more. That is just beautiful. Standing ovation for Philip Eisner.
Giant kudos goes out to Paul Anderson and everyone who worked behind the scenes as well. The shots and lighting were great. The scene where they are first inside. Flashing of lightning illuminating the gory walls waiting to be discovered. The atmosphere is intense. When you are looking at the Event Horizon, in the dark and dim lights. You see all these regular instruments, that take on an evil, and scary form. You had these floating balls of coolant that were such a fun addition to have floating around the glorious room that housed the Gravity Drive. The sets were great and shots made them that much better. The CG involved, is not bad for a nineties movie. Don’t know much about space, but they don’t do anything to outrages to the point of dumb, and the carnage candy is awesome. Especially the death of D.J and again where Justin getting sent out into space.
I don’t even think I can give a nod to one actor over another here. They were all so good. You had Laurence Fishburne, as Captain Miller, who you don’t really like, but he has a reason for being so strict and his sole reason for being is his crews safety. Than you have Sam Neill as Dr. Weir. This is the first movie I have watched of his that is not Jurassic Park, and definitely want to watch more. While he may not have started out as the bad guy, by the time he gets there. Is such a good bad guy. Could talk about the chemistry these two have been great, but that’s the truth between everyone. Kathleen Quinlan, Joely Richardson, Jack Noseworthy, Jason Isaacs, Sean Pertwee, and the “lifesaver” Richard T. Jones. Absolute All-Stars, each and everyone.
Negative wise… Guess you can say some of the space CGI is a bit dated, but I have seen so much worse in recent years than what we get here. So, minor nitpick I can see someone might have. Doesn’t really bother me to much, but one big one, is something we don’t have, and that is the full 130 minute cut of the film. It was cut down due to how gruesome some of it was and whatnot, but when they went back and wanted to use it. It was not well achieved, and most of which is simply lost. Obviously, this isn’t going toward my final thought on the film, and I don’t have anything negative to say about the film itself. Just something depressing I found out about the movie.
In closing, if you haven’t had a chance to check out this classic film. I couldn’t suggest it enough. Mastercraft in Psychological Horror, and shows that you don’t need jumpscares to scare your audience. Just a showcase of talented people, crafting a story, with some talented actors bringing it all to life. Final Grade – S
Hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
So, I decided to mix things up, just a little bit. Up until this point, have mostly kept this series to B movie horror, but the action genre has some gems just waiting to be stumbled upon. Checking through the list, 88 jumped out to me right away. Mostly, because I am a big fan of Katharine Isabelle. The synopsis sounded promising and was sure this would be perfect. Wow, this movie was really something else. Let’s jump right into this one and I will do my best to make heads and tails of this rather interesting film.
88, starts out by giving some information on what Fuge States are (In a very brief explanation, they are a mental disorder where one loses memory and self identity for periods of time. Mostly due to a traumatic event) and that is where Gwen is when the movie starts. In a trance like state when she is broken of it has no idea where she is, how she got there or anything. Her hand is bloody and wrapped up, and her bag is full of gumballs and a gun. When one of the waitresses sees it, screams and alerts the cops in the diner. After an old man taps her, and she flinches, causing her to shot another waitress, and she flees the scene, with the police right behind her. Then we jump to another version of Gwen, passed out on the side of the road in a red dress. This is not the Gwen we see at the diner, but one who almost runs off pure impulse. She attacks the man who pulls over to help her, and steals his car and cigarettes, and goes by the name Flamingo, and this is how the movie plays out. Hoping back and forth, with the Gwen version trying to find out what has happened to her and the Flamingo one, going about things almost randomly, till she learns that her boyfriend was killed by a man named Cyrus, and that is honestly, about as close to the story that I could easily describe in the way I normally would.
Have to give a round of applause to the Director April Mullen and writer Tim Doiron. The way they brought these two stories together was simply incredible. Nothing is ever just a wasted moment. Even a simple sentence in the Gwen half ends up being something massive in the Flamingo story and vice-versa. A little sentence about the situation between Vinnie and Cyrus becomes a big part of what set everything off. The milk and gumballs and the number 88. It’s a movie that makes you sit and pay attention to everything and can be a slight issue at times, cause it’s so easy to miss something. That said, they did a fantastic job at connecting all the dots though.
Between watching and doing this, did a bit of research on Fuge states. Out of curiosity, wanting to see how much of what we see from Gwen\Flamingo is coming from the real deal, and yeah they did a good job at that. Flamingo is a character who doesn’t really ever seem to be in reality. She just goes about her day from one thing to the next. Often experiencing hallucination and blackouts. Now, she may or may not be to an extreme exaggerated form. I don’t know that much about the condition, only read a few articles, but the fact they obvious took time to take the condition seriously is a nice touch.
Acting wise, Katharine Isabelle was fantastic. Playing the more sweet and caring Gwen, who didn’t want to hurt anyone and just wanted to know what happened and why her love was killed. Than turn it around to the mentally broken and violent prone Flamingo. Both roles were so important. Each of them had to carry the narrative and couldn’t imagine anyone other than Katharine Isabelle did. On the villain side, we have Cyrus, played by the extremely talented Christopher Lloyd. He plays such a great bad guy, because it always comes as such a surprise. It shouldn’t really at this point, but he was really sadistic in this, and I think they may have ruined it a bit with the ending. Which we will get into now.
I genuinely didn’t see the Gwen ending coming and still don’t know if I liked it. Felt like a shock that was right there for you to see, and that was how Aster died. All this time, was about avenging his death, and then you see what happens. That while Cyrus and his men were coming to kill them. It was Gwen who shot him by mistake, and that was what triggered the Fuge State, and she gets arrested after Cyrus kills himself. I liked the surprise. Did something different, and not so much the surprise swerve that causes my dislike, but the suicide. I cared about both Gwen and Flamingo and this just seemed to make everything the two have been through for nothing, but maybe that was the point and they want you to think about it long after it’s over, and ask me a week from now. May end up really liking this, but for now. Was such a depressing way for Gwen’s story to end, but not the final shot. Once, again we jump back to Flamingo, going into the Diner. She starts to hallucinate again, as she takes the spot in the diner, we start with, and her and Aster’s song begins to play, and we zoom in on her face. Recreating the exact shot that the movie begins on. While I don’t quite like where the story ends. I did like how the movie comes to an end, by circling back to where we start with.
This movie can be a chore to watch at times. At an hour and twenty eight minutes, it doesn’t seem like all that long, but with how much that is happening and how much you have to pay attention. It can fell much longer, but would absolutely suggest 88 to anyone who wants a mind bender of a movie to watch. It’s a fun movie that is well worth the watch. Hope you enjoyed the review and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
I found myself more excited for this movie than I originally thought I would be. I enjoyed the trailers. The little bit of what we have seen of the monsters, I liked. Really made me think about what they were. To a point, was was excited to see Kristen Stewart. Outside of one of the Twilight Movies, have never seen one of her movies, and she is a big name and excited to finally see one of her movies that I wanted to see. So, I went in with a fair amount of hype… and they cleared all expectation by leaps and bounds. Lets go in and explain what I love so much about Underwater.
They start things off with some rapid fire news clips about an incident that shows an explosion had taken place and that drilling would continue. It was kind of hard to read, but you get enough to know that something bad had happened. Then you go to Norah, who has a bit of monolog as she is in the showers, brushing her teeth. She goes to investigate a sound and you get an idea of how big the place is, before everything goes crazy as an explosion rings out, and she races down the hall. Trying to make everyone aware that they have to go now. Her and Rodrigo manage to make it, but before anyone else can make it. They have to close the doors, before the pressure takes down the entire rig. After checking on the terminal. Seeing the damage was extensive and they have to get to the pods immediately. They start through the falling apart rig and ever enclosing claustrophobia. Managing to save crew member Paul along the way, and find the pods have all been taken and only Captain Lucien and a handful of survivors and the only way they are going to make it out alive, is to go further down, and walk across the sea floor, and get to the pods on the drilling facility itself. Stressing the amount of danger that is alone, but an even more dangerous entity awaits and that is where I stop, because you should go and watch this movie as soon as possible, and don’t let the incoming spoilers ruin it for you. So, if you haven’t come back when you have before reading on.
This movie did several things that I loved, and one was way they build tension, and used everything they could to achieve that. That the monsters were not the only danger that the survivors had to content with, but the crushing pressure, lack of oxygen, low lights. All of which played into the monster attacks as well, because when they did come for them. There was so little that any of them could do and the monsters seemed to even use those elements to their advantage. A way a predator in its natural environment would.
Love the way this film was shot. Making you feel just so claustrophobic at times. All the sounds of the rig falling apart and later the monsters scratching and slapping off the metal. The muffled sounds from underwater sounded great. Underwater scenes looked great. Only showing little bits at a time, and the monsters seemingly coming from nowhere because of how dark the ocean is. Goes into what I said earlier and how well they used everything they had to their advantage.
Than we get to the monsters, and wow they really knocked it out of the park. Looked like a bizarre mixture of squids and humans and then you get a massive creature that comes out of the drilled hole in the ground. They show them, but never fully, nor do they tell you much. They make the excellent choice of leaving them unexplained and let your imagination come up with what these things were, but all of them, looked great.
Than there was the humanity that is in play here. Normally, when you get a group, in a dire situation. You get one who is either hiding information to save themselves, or sabotaging someone else. Not here, you don’t quite the opposite. Most of their demises, came because of them making the ultimate sacrifice, so, the others could live. From Rodrigo not telling anyone his helmet was defective, The Captain cutting the cord. All leading up to the finale. It was the ultimate display of humanity, making sure they could get as many out as they can.
Before I move on, have to talk about the cast. Like, I said, don’t know much about Kristen Stewart. Hear a lot of negative things about her, but I think she was stellar as Norah. Norah was a character already rocked by death, from losing her fiance, and haunted by her decision to close the door on the rig that was blowing up, and you see her carrying the weight of every loss, and when it was her time to make the sacrifice. You really cared and was awesome to see her take out the creature at the same time, and Kristen Stewart brought her to life in the best possible way and really shined. Right behind her was Jessica Henwick as Emily. Really rooting for her, and had me on the edge of my seat when it looked like she was going to die. Evolving from someone so scared to even step into the water, to saving both Norah and Liam. At first, I thought I was going to put T.J. Miller in the negatives. Every other word out of his mouth, was some sort of a joke. Some hitting and some missing by a wide margin, but I got to thinking more about his character, and what happened to him, and most importantly, when he died, and it all clicked in one big positive for me. His jokes, despite being a little to many. Makes you really care about his character and he dies before the tension from the monsters kicks into high gear and doesn’t slow down the pace when it really starts going.
Negative wise…. I got nothing. I explained the issue I had with T.J’s jokes, and there are times where you struggle to see what is going on, but that is not a negative as far as I am concerned. It represents what is going on to the characters at that moment and you do get to see the creatures and everything you want to see anyways. The actors were all spot on and loved the story.
The highest grade we give on these, is S, and this is an easy S grade movie. I had so much fun and strongly suggest watching this in the theaters, and that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed. As always…
Thank you for reading.