July 4, 2007

A Cinematic Fourth

I hope that all of the CQ community has had or is having a wonderful Fourth with their families. This year, the First Mate and I decided to celebrate a little differently. Last year, when both of us had major health problems, we went to the town's parade and a family brunch, but this year, we went to the movies to beat the humidity and heat.

We did an a la carte double feature today. The first movie we saw was Evan Almighty, the sequel to Bruce Almighty, starring Steve Carell as a newsman-turned-Congressman. In this movie, Morgan Freeman returns as God to instruct Carell to build an ark. Carell turns into Noah,and his family has to decide whether to stand by him -- and the multitude of animals that follow Carell.

It's an entertaining movie, not terribly challenging but with some heart. The politics of it are tiresomely predictable; it revolves around a plot by John Goodman as a Congressional leader to exploit public lands for his private profit. Carell provides much of the fun, and Lauren Graham as his wife much of the heart. It's worth a family trip to the cinema.

The second movie was better. License to Wed stars Robin Williams as Reverend Frank, a minister with a big interest in premarital counseling. Mandy Moore and John Krasinsky are his latest project, and he gleefully makes their lives miserable. His antics, which include bugging their apartment and egging the groom-to-be to insult the bride's family, creates so much tension between the two that they begin to question their commitment.

Earlier in his career, Williams would have ad-libbed this role to death. While he clearly has fun with the material, Williams sticks to character for the most part. This movie has more heart, in its way, than Evan Almighty. Although excellent actors such as Christine Taylor and Peter Strauss find themselves underutilized, the overall effort makes the movie worthwhile. The opening-day audience laughed fairly constantly throughout the film, and I overheard many murmurs of agreement and recognition of the foibles exposed in the movie. It's also worth a trip to the cinema, maybe more so than Evan Almighty. Neither will be on anyone's Top 10 list, but both are entertaining.

Now we're back home, watching the Ken Burns documentary, The Civil War. Tonight's episode covers Gettysburg. It seems a fitting end to a cinematic Fourth.


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Comments (3)

Posted by Pete Fanning | July 4, 2007 8:39 PM

The S/O and I saw "License to Wed" as well today, and I have to agree...it was a VERY funny movie, well worth the ticket price.....I highly recommend it to anyone...

Posted by Labamigo | July 4, 2007 11:03 PM

IMHO, anything Ken Burns does is funnier than Robin Williams.

Posted by Ripper | July 5, 2007 1:16 AM

I did an ad hoc double feature of Ratatouille and the new Die Hard. They almost restored my faith in movies (which was destroyed earlier this year by Stomp The Yard, Zoom and Pirates of the Caribbean 3.)