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The Movie Guy: Flight and Magic Mike

By   /   November 4, 2012  /   Comments

Flight (In theaters now):
This is the first movie that Robert Zemeckis has made since ‘Castaway’ and while it is a technical marvel to behold (those of you reading this who have ever experienced turbulence in a plane will know what I am talking about…) but I had a couple of problems with the overall tone of the movie believing that it was mired in what I like to call ‘Hollywood-itis’ so named because of Hollywood’s inability to make anything realistic when it comes to movies.
If you have seen the ads or trailer for the movie you get an idea of what it is about; Denzel Washington plays a man who has somehow (Up until this point in his life) managed to booze and cocaine his way through flying major passenger planes for years without incident and who after starting his morning with a line of coke and large vodka chaser he manages to save nearly a hundred people after the plane he is flying experiences catastrophic hydraulic failure.

All of this takes place in the first 30 minutes of the movie and the rest of the nearly two hours is dealing with Denzel Washington lying to himself and others about the nature of his problems. Flight does an excellent job of showing you just how truly messed up the life of an alcoholic can become taken to the worst possible extreme. Cover-ups are enacted and Denzel Washington, who is at his best when given a standing monologue to deliver, doesn’t fail to impress as a man wrestling with the worst day of his life while fighting off the demons that are driving him. The cast is rounded out with Bruce Greenwood, Don Cheadle and John Goodman as a flamboyant drug dealer on call to Washington’s character.

I had a few problems with the film and how the characters in the film responded to things around them. First off John Goodman’s flamboyant drug dealing character dressed in tie-die Hawaiian shirts carrying around gym bags filled with all sorts of illegal goodies drawing all sorts of attention to himself would have been rousted by the cops at some point prior to all of this.

I grew up in the mid-west unfortunately surrounded by the real life version of the character that Goodman plays and someone who acted and dressed like that usually didn’t make it very far in their chosen profession. Secondly (and this goes right along with my first problem…) I’ve also happened to spend time with people with both severe drug and alcohol problems, the behavior of Washington’s character in the movie is extremely consistent with that type of behavior until the end of the movie. As I said before Denzel Washington spends the entire movie lying from one end of it to the other, there are cover-ups and the truth is suppressed to keep him from doing time over the death of six people in the plane yet I’m supposed to believe that his character has an attack of conscience out of the blue when confronted with a picture of some other character he had sex with the night before?

And here we have the ‘Hollywood-itis’, because when faced with the facts he breaks down and confesses to drugs and alcohol being used. In reality, and it would have made it a more powerful movie by watching him destroy himself for it afterwards, Washington would have lied and gone along with the cover-up instead of going to prison cheerfully…Instead we’re given a happy ending to the movie, a Hollywood ending, where he goes to prison and gets sober and finally gets a relationship with his son after spending the majority of this poor kid’s life tormenting his mother. I felt the ending fell flat, I can understand them wanting to make Denzel Washington a heroic figure after he saved all of those people, but his behavior was never honorable or heroic. He was a man put into the wrong situation at the wrong time and managed to shepherd a few lucky souls to the other side of the situation with him.

The last problem I had didn’t come from the movie, but from the audience who cheered every time Denzel Washington’s character fell off the wagon. Glad to know that the fine citizens from Albany who came out to watch the movie at the same time I did, can take the subject matter seriously instead of oohing and ahhing over labels on the alcohol bottles being shown. Those people were a real class act.

3 stars out of 5 (and that’s being generous…)

Magic Mike (Out on DVD):
My best friend’s wife rented this movie and forced him to watch it, being the supportive friend that I am I tried to escape but unfortunately was forced to watch this train-wreck of a movie with them. I know that this movie was filmed for the ladies as we have a bunch of good looking Hollywood guys stripping, drugging and drinking their way through the movie.

The movie is about a male stripper played by Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe and the Step-up movies) picking up a guy after meeting him on a construction job. When Tatum gets his new found friend into a local hotspot he pimps the nineteen year old out to draw women into local all male revue run by Matthew McConaughey, who works his

First off I understand that this was a movie filmed and targeted at the women in the audience, the only benefit the guys would get from watching this with their wives would be of the same sort that married women get from going to strip-clubs with their husbands. Magic Mike actually comes off like well-filmed, big budget soft core porn only without as much nudity as women (or woman as the case was) could want. The writing was bland and uninspired and for a while there I thought I was watching ‘Hard Bodies’ from the 1980’s. My best suggestion for the use of this movie would be to buy it, and ‘Striptease’, and package them both together for his and her mutual enjoyment.

Male perspective: 0 stars out of 5, watch something else if you can…

Female perspective: 3 out of 5 (Matthew McConaughey was the big draw of the night…)

Keith Kilburn and his wife, Dawn, live in Leesburg with two cats and dog named Godzilla. He’s written for Herorealm.com before they were bought out by corporate interests and has written a novel that he’s working on publishing. It’s rumored that he’s seen more movies than Blockbuster rents in a year and knows more about comic books than Stan Lee himself!

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