While our fat friend has started an admirable journey through classic films with pedigree, I have my own little aside into the business that is show. At least for one evening.
With two little girls running around and a wife who works an overnight weekend shift, you can imagine just how much time I have. Yet alone the time to watch what I want when I want to watch it. My current situation has allowed me to see films like the first two Cheetah Girls movies (Remember Raven Symone from the final years of the Cosby Show? Combine her with the girls from 3LW, a short-lived R&B group and you have proof that Whitney Houston didn't blow all her money away since she was a producer).
Houston was also a producer on both film adaptations of The Princess Diaries, the vehicle that got Anne Hathaway's career moving and reminded America that Julie Andrews is still kicking ad vital.
And sadly, I've seen all three High School Musicals. I can only say this — if you want a quick laugh, watch any of the basketball scenes from any of the films. The fictional high school in New Mexico wins back-to-back state championships with the dreamy Zak Efron as the star. Only Efron can't play a lick of basketball. I mean he looks bad just shooting unguarded...
But I digress...
Needless to say, the opportunities I get to watch a film I actually like are few and far between. So on Friday night when I was able to get my 2-year old asleep and looked up, I was shocked to see that there were three films on my expansive list of films I love.
I'll start with the selection from Starz - The Count of Monte Cristo starring Jim Caviezel and a standout performance by one of the most underrated actors of our time, Guy Pearce. First the film, an adaptation of the book by Alexande Dumas. The fat Frenchman also wrote The Man in the Iron Mask and The Three Musketeers, but this is the best story of the three in my opinion. When I was working at the University of South Carolina, I went on a book splurge.
While sleeping behind the couch on the floor, I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (in 2000 before the films came out) and The Count. The movie takes a slightly different but well conceived path than the book. It's a tale of a decent guy who gets railroaded and betrayed by a "friend" and ends up doing 13 years in a French prison. He escapes with a treasure map to countless cash and revenge on his mind.
The director, Kevin Reynolds, has a hit or miss resume but he did a really good job with this unlike Waterworld. It helps when you have a great story, quality actors and Pearce doing what he does like in LA Confidential, Memento and The Hurt Locker.
Bravo was showing Fight Club and that's one of my all-time favorites. I just finished that book and David Fincher, who also gave up Se7en, The Game (with Sean Penn and Michael Douglas) and Panic Room, really hit a home run. Going in reverse-order (film to book), I now see what they were working with and admire the ability to bring such a complex story to the screen and do it so well. It's the little touches, like the splices of Tyler (Brad Pitt) before he's introduced. An absolute classic.
Finally, TV Land was showing Groundhog Day, the tour de force of Bill Murray's career. Harold Ramis, who according to IMDb.com has talked everyone into doing Ghostbusters III, directed this absolutely perfect film. You get all sides of Murray. You get Andie McDowell, who is a classic beauty. You get an absolutely perfect film from start to finish.
So there you have it, all three films on one night and both kids asleep so I can flip without having to stop on Nick Jr. or PBS Sprout.
Now playing: ESPN 980 - January 7 2010 The Tony Kornheiser Show Part 2