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“Take Me Home Tonight”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Did you ever wish you could relive the ‘80s? Well, at least the late ‘80s? How about the first weekend of September in 1988? While we’re at it, did you ever wish that you could have a roly-poly best friend/sidekick, kind of like Curtis Armstrong… You know, Booger from those Revenge of the Nerds movies? You have!? Well guess what!? You’re in luck, because that’s exactly the weekend and type of buddy you’re going to get in the new movie Take Me Home Tonight! Wow, that’s weird! I mean, what are the odds of you wanting to see a movie that’s based on the exact weekend I was just telling you to think of? Pretty heavy stuff, huh?

In Take Me Home Tonight, Topher Grace plays Matt, a recent graduate of MIT that finds himself hiding from the real world as a Suncoast Video employee. Which is a great way to hide from the real world fresh out of college, I should know, I was a Suncoast manager straight out of college myself. Joined by his twin sister Wendy, played by Anna Faris, and his afore mentioned Boogeresque best friend Barry, played by Dan Fogler, the trio seem to have but just one last weekend to celebrate their ill spent youth. For some reason, this Labor Day weekend in 1988 is the last chance they’ll ever have to do it. I’m not really sure why, but let’s just go with it. And, it also seems more like life after high school, but it’s not, so don’t get confused. Add to the mix the return of Matt’s secret high school crush, played by Teresa Palmer, and you’ve got the makings of… Okay, it’s starting to sound like I didn’t like this movie at all, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I actually really liked it! I mean sure it’s got its share of plot holes, and maybe it is a John Hughes high school movie that actually lets its actors play their real age for once, but overall it’s still really a good movie. Man, that still sounds like sarcasm!

All kidding aside, Take Me Home Tonight is a pretty good movie. Most retro ‘80s movies are made just so the filmmakers can take a bunch of potshots at banana clips and leg warmers, but this movie is more like a period piece. Okay, that might be pushing it, but it does feel that way. Topher Grace does a nice job of grounding the movie, even when the night’s events get a little wild, and the subject of not knowing what you ultimately want to do with your life can speak to just about everyone these days. Overall, I had fun watching it and would gladly see it again. I don’t think it’s going to become a classic by any means, but it will take you back.

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“Predators”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Where do I begin? When I first heard that Robert Rodriguez was producing the new Predators movie, I thought we might finally get a good Predator sequel, but sadly the wait is hardly over. Did you ever wonder what it would be like if the kick-ass 80’s movie Predator, was turned into a LOST spin-off? Well, wonder no more, and suffer through Predators. The movie really misses its mark. The idea seemed solid enough, but the execution definitely left a lot to be desired. There were a few nice moments, but nothing that I would say worked as a whole.

In Predators, a group of people find themselves stranded on a strange alien planet after being abducted, and airdropped in while still unconscious. They quickly discover that they are the prey in a Predator game reserve, and when I say quickly, I mean they seem to figure it out quiet easily, and at the same time take the news rather well. I guess this sort of thing happens all the time. Just the other day this guy I know disappeared, he must have been abducted and brought to a game reserve. Oh well, these things happen. I just hope he’s taking it well, or that he dies quickly, because he was a good guy and deserves at least that. Here’s the thing about making a Predator sequel… You can’t. Okay, maybe you can. But honestly, the reason Predator was an amazing movie is because no one ever saw it coming. People went in expecting a regular Arnold Schwarzenegger action film, and what they got was an amazing thriller with an unexpected pace, and a pinch of sci-fi. It’s the seeing the unexpected that made that first movie a classic. The sequels keep trying to do the same, but they use the same tricks, and we sadly see them coming.

The other thing that really bothered me was that it was called Predators, but we almost never got to see them, which sucks. Mainly because good friend of the Stash, Derek Mears, played the classic Predator in the movie, and he unfortunately doesn’t get nearly enough screen time. The really sad thing is that there was the potential to do something new in Predators, using Derek’s character, but they of course missed it. At one point in the movie the humans free an imprisoned Predator (Mears), and the opportunity for a human/Predator team-up emerges, but it’s over seconds before it even began. The other thing that would have been a good idea is the inclusion of other abducted life forms, which they do have; but we only see one, and it’s not truly used to the movie’s full potential. It would have been cool to have other abducted life forms have to work with the humans to survive. I really shouldn’t have to come up with these ideas after the fact. With Robert Rodriguez involved they should have already been known. I just hope one day we’ll actually get a Predator sequel that’s worthy of the title. I’m also quiet proud that I went the entire review without mentioning that the director’s name is Nimród… Oh, wait does that count?

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“Valentine’s Day”
a review by Darby O’Gill

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, than with a review of Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day? Okay, there is probably a better way to spend Valentine’s Day, but that’s all I have for you this year… So, get over it.

In Valentine’s Day, we follow the lives of several people, and the events that take place on what day? That’s right, Valentine’s Day! Do you see a pattern forming here? This movie also has an all-star cast the length of my arm. Now, when most movies have a cast of this size, it’s almost a sure thing that the movie is going to totally suck, but not so much in this case. Normally, one of the biggest problems of movies of this scale is the script. They almost always screw-up the pacing of the story by trying to make sure all the A-List actors are getting enough screen time. I’m happy to say this isn’t the case in Valentine’s Day. Amazingly, this script really flows well from one sub-story to the next, and it also works really well as a whole. That’s not to say this movie is perfect. This movie definitely has its flaws, the biggest being Queen Latifah’s acting. Wait, I’m sorry that’s not totally true. The worst performance came from dumb & dumber. I’m sorry, I mean Taylor & Taylor. Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner give two of the worst performances I’ve seen in a movie to date. Ah, what a train wreck! Now, I haven’t seen the Twilight movies, so I don’t know if Lautner can normally act. But, working next to “Acting 101” Swift, Lautner looked like he couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag. Surprisingly, Ashton Kutcher’s performance was bearable! I was expecting him to be over the top, and annoying, but he gave a nice subtle performance. Also playing a big part in this movie, is the city of Los Angeles. Shot on location on the streets of L.A., Valentine’s Day will become another one of those movies, that when friends come to visit you in from out of town. You’ll take them for a ride around L.A. and say, “This is where that one scene in Valentine’s Day was shot.” Now, I’m not saying this is a must see movie, but if your lady wants to go see it, there are worse movies you could sit through. Just be glad she doesn’t want to see Leap Year.

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