Last NIght: The wife was kickin it Book Club-style, no Thirty Rock was gracing the digital waves, and I had no interest in working on my dissertation, so I DVR’d CSI and On Demand’ed some ’06 flicks I managed to avoid the first go round (There is no way some one reading this twenty years ago, which happens all the time, would have any idea what this first sentence means. You have got to love language.). So how awesome were The Reaping and Rocky Balboa?

The Reaping Review

The Reaping is a tale of a lost soul-former clergy turned scientist-played by Hillary Swank who travels the world debunking potential miracles. The movie centers around Swank’s attempts to discredit a potential plagues situation that surrounds a wild-eyed twelve year old blonde girl in a small southern town called–wait for it–Haven. There is an absurd back-story explaining the lossof Swank’s faith,the obligatory priest/friend who warns her of pending doom (Can you guess who plays the priest? I”ll give you two chances. If one of your guesses was Gabriel Byrne, you are wrong, but good guess. The answer is at the bottom.), and a bunch of silly, CGI plaguishy effects. There are also twists galour and they are increasingly stupid. As for Swank and her performance, I am assuming she was going through her marital troubles with Chad Lowe during the making of this slop. Either that or she cashed the check, then read the script. Whatever. She is terrible. But so is everyone else. I did love seeing Stringer Bell show up as Swank’s best friend/assistant. His back-story is just as ridiculous as Swank’s, but I’ll let it me a surprise.

Anyway. Where am I? Doesn’t matter. Somewhere in this movie is a decent idea for a supernatural thriller. It is deep down, but it is in there. After I realized that it was not going to be decent (under a minute), I was hoping it was at least going to be craptastic. It wasn’t, though the very last twist, the last line of the film, which must have been added after the filmmakers realized what they had just created, seems to be striving for that ‘so bad and its good’ feel. Good idea. At least I finished the movie cracking up. Can I get a The Reaping II?

Score…18

Rocky Balboa Review

Summary: Rocky has inner turmoil; fights again.

This is the storyline for every Rocky film. The first one is a pretty good film, not Oscar good, which it won, but good. The rest are somewhere between or around tolerable, awful and hilarious. Really, Rocky V is just sad–no doubt the reason Stallone wanted to add another chapter–but I would watch Rocky IV right now. That is how awesomely hilarious it is.

I don’t mind that this last Rocky follows the classic pattern. In some loose, loose way it is Greek. That is fine. In fact, in my humble opinion, this is the second best Rocky film made. Does that make it good? No, I wouldn’t go that far, but it harkens back to much of what made the first one good, personal struggles of loss, pride, ego, faith and respect. That is, before it goes a little II-V toward the end (ok. periodically throughout; the whole computer generated fight is Mr. T good). Stallone is not much behind the camera and clearly effects have passed him by, but he is still a good enough writer to pull at some of the basic heart strings, sociologists and their Myth of Meritocracy* be damned. It was a satisfying way to end my night of ridiculous TV/Movie watching.

Score…54

Answer: Stephen Rea!

*This myth confronts the ideal that if you work hard enough, you can accomplish whatever you set out to accomplish. This ideal completely disregards the biases and the effects of those biases surrounding race, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status that are prevalent in our society. 

  

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