Need a study break? Check out one of our comedy movies for a good laugh:
Robert Downey Jr. is famous for his portrayal of Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes in recent years; you may even be familiar with his supporting roles in Gothika and U.S. Marshals, but most of you have probably never seen him in the 1993 feel-good film Heart and Souls.
Set in San Francisco, Heart and Souls follows four strangers who are killed in a bus crash and forced to become guardian angels to a young boy named Thomas (you might recognize the actor who plays a young Thomas as the kid who starred as Tim Allen’s son in The Santa Clause). These four souls follow Thomas throughout his childhood, guiding him along the way and oftentimes getting him into trouble. Eventually, they realize their presence in Thomas’ life is causing him more harm than good, seeing that his unusual behavior of singing and dancing with his “imaginary friends” is beginning to worry his parents. They decide to go invisible, no longer allowing Thomas to see them.
Twenty-five years later, the ghosts are told by a heavenly messenger (coincidentally the bus driver who was responsible for their demise) that their time is up and that they were supposed to have used Thomas as a vehicle to right some past wrong or to find some closure. Because of a celestial mix-up, they are given a very short amount of time to achieve redemption before having to leave Earth for good. Desperate, the four ghosts appear to a grown-up Thomas (played by Robert Downey Jr.), who is now detached and cynical and none-too-thrilled to be confronted by his childhood “hallucinations” again.
Eventually, Thomas agrees to help his old friends resolve their unfinished business on Earth, but will he be able to help them in time?
Lighthearted and funny (particularly when Thomas is possessed by each of the ghosts), this film affords Robert Downey Jr. the opportunity to stretch his comedic and dramatic muscles and even gives him the chance to sing. The four ghosts (including a young Kyra Sedgwick and Tom Sizemore) each bring something special to their characters and the ending is surprisingly heartwarming for a fantastical film such as this.
Check out Heart and Souls or any of the Robert Downey Jr.’s films that we own at the Gabriele Library.
The library will be closed until Monday, December 2. We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
What if you could go back in time and change one event from your past? Would it make things better, or like the theory the term “butterfly effect” originates from, would it just cause more chaos? That is the premise of The Butterfly Effect, a psychological thriller starring Ashton Kutcher in one of his first dramatic roles.
The Butterfly Effect begins by showing us snapshots of the childhood and teenage years of a boy named Evan Treborn. Evan frequently suffers from blackouts, specifically occurring during stressful periods in his life that often include his childhood crush, Kayleigh. We only get a glimpse of these events that have occurred, but from what we can see, they are clearly traumatic.
Eventually, Evan and his mother relocate and we fast-forward several years. Evan (Ashton Kutcher) is now in college, trying to understand the causes of his blackouts. When he digs up his old journals, Evan realizes that he can time travel back to those specific moments in his past that he has written about and change the outcome. Unfortunately, the time traveling often makes things worse for Kayleigh, his friends and family, and/or himself. As Evan hustles to change his fate and the fate of his loved ones, we are left wondering: Will he ever make things right? Or will his meddling in the past ultimately destroy his future?
Chilling and suspenseful, the Butterfly Effect really makes you ponder the momentous impact that one event can have on your life and the lives of others. Throughout the film, I found myself on the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next. A word of warning: some of the scenes in this movie are quite disturbing. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this film to those who enjoy thrillers or are interested in the study of childhood trauma on psychological development.
The Butterfly Effect DVD (including alternative endings and deleted scenes) is available to check out from the Gabriele Library.
Having read the Great Gatsby, I was very interested to see how the movie would compare. Of course, I didn’t have high expectations being that I found the book rather dull. The beginning of the movie was just as bad as I expected it to be. There was over-dramatic reading of the beginning of the novel, during which the camera panned across Gatsby’s house, lingering over certain things in a way that I’m sure was supposed to be very meaningful and sentimental, but which only succeeded in boring me. My first impression of the actors was that they were all a little overdone, especially Daisy. Thankfully, as the movie progressed, I began to enjoy it more, though this may have been partially due to the fact that I had the foresight to continue watching it while working out at the gym, so that I would be occupied even if the movie got boring.
The movie’s plot remained surprisingly close to that of the novel, though, naturally, some things were changed, as they always are. At times, I recognized in the movie parts of dialogue and narration that were lifted straight from the book. Because it followed to novel so closely, the movie was a rather lengthy two hours and 24 minutes, and I wouldn’t recommend watching it all in one sitting. However, you may be surprised to note that I would not entirely discourage you from watching it.
By the end of the movie, I began to appreciate how the characters were portrayed, even Daisy. The Great Gatsby would surely have been a difficult movie to capture on film, and I think it was done reasonably well. The characters were well played, and the set and costumes felt authentic. As a lover of fashion history, I was thrilled with the costumes and the ability of the costumer to dress the women in authentic garb instead of stereotypical “flapper” dresses. After seeing this movie, I would like to see the newer version to see how it compares. Reviewed by Jen Orlandi