Category Archives: john travolta

Wild Hogs

Wild Hogs ~ Sometimes it’s surprising what you’ll watch when there’s nothing else to watch or you have nothing better to do. I had the unfortunate circumstance of having already seen most of what was available to view in the theater and OnDemand while on our recent Disney Cruise. And that’s what brought me to Wild Hogs.

This movie, from start to finish, is like a cry for help, no, not help, a serious cry of desperation. Four actors, ahem, I mean, men, having their mid-life crises and turning to their motorcycle hobby for comfort and excitement. Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and William H. Macy star in this badly written, painfully performed, ultimately unsatisfying flick.

Its script and premise might’ve worked for a sixties Jack Lemmon or Jerry Lewis farce, but audiences and acting is more sophisticated now. I really had to wonder who this movie was for. Ten year-olds? I know ten year-olds this might be too simple for, even some of the gags don’t make sense.

Well, hopefully those who phoned it in (I’m looking at you, William and Martin, you should be ashamed of yourselves) got paid well enough to pay their rent, and Tim and John had time to trade hairpiece care secrets. It’s almost as if they are acting at each other the lack of chemistry is so bad. Ray Liotta and Marisa Tomei are similarly wasted here.

If you’re ever itching to forget that Macy and Travolta have been nominated for Oscars, this is the flick for you. Wow, what a bad movie.

Old Dogs

Old Dogs ~ One of the cool things about the Disney Cruise is that not only do they have a movie theatre on board, they also have first run movies. That’s how I came to be subjected to Old Dogs. There are two ways I can look at it. Hey, I didn’t have to pay to see it. Or I had to pay the price of the Cruise to see it. Either way, this was torture.

Friends for life (or possibly un-closeted life mates had the script been more clever or progressive) and business partners John Travolta and Robin Williams struggle to take care of the latter’s kids that he just found out about. That’s the thrust of this fiasco that recycles not only old sitcom set-ups but also seemingly all of the bad jokes from all the unmade Grumpy Old Men sequels. Of course, even now, Walter Matthau would’ve pulled it off better, nine years in his grave.

There are at least fragments of Robin Williams’ talent here, maybe for a fleeting moment or two. John Travolta on the other hand is a disaster. It seems that maybe his own recent personal tragedies have affected his acting. And speaking of family, he pretty much employed most of them for this flick. He’s not looking well either, either too much botox or maybe botched plastic surgeries.

Matt Dillon embarrasses himself again, but no more than he did in There’s Something About Mary, a scatological comedy that actually worked as opposed to this one. The late Bernie Mac makes his final film appearance here as some sort of Funkadelic Barney, and if that was all he was, it would have been great – sadly that only lasts for half a minute. He looks bad and this cameo is hardly worth it.

The height difference between Seth Green and the two leads is painful even with a whole raft of short jokes. You know it’s a bad movie when Seth Green out-acts two Oscar nominees. And when Ann Margaret shows up, that clinches it for me – this obviously is a Grumpy Old Men sequel. There are a lot of funny ideas here, it’s just that very few of them actually make it into the movie intact.

And yes, they do kill the dog. The oldest trick in the book, but not even that cliché can save this piece of crap. This movie was truly the lowlight of the Cruise.

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Pelham 123, Take Three

One of my favorite suspense flicks of the 1970s is up this summer with its second remake, this one with Denzel Washington, John Travolta and James Gandolfini.

The Taking of Pelham 123 opens June 12th.

Bolt

Bolt ~ More computer animation from Disney, this time doing its level animated best to take advantage of the Miley Cyrus phenomenon while it lasts.

The premise of Bolt is that of a dog actor who doesn’t know he’s acting in a TV show about a super-powered dog. It’s sort of Truman Show gone to the dogs, if you can forgive the pun. Bolt gets out of the studio, and learns the hard way that he doesn’t really have super powers. Cyrus is his mistress and he’s set loose across the country searching for her.

John Travolta in an unsteady step backwards plays the title role. He plays Bolt with his Vinnie Barbarino voice from “Welcome Back, Kotter” back in the 1970s. It’s almost like take Vinnie, add a touch of Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction, add some fleas and shake briskly. I tried to get it out of my head, but failed. Weirdly, at some points, the voice works. On the opposite end of the Travolta stuff, the voice work of Susie Essman (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Mark Walton make the flick that much better.

Sadly however, for me, in the long run, the movie fails. It never matches up in the reality scenes to the pure adventure thrill of the faked scenes from the Bolt TV series. Why didn’t they just make a movie about the TV Bolt character? A bit clichéd, but exciting and nail-biting, but for me, it would have been a better movie.

Battlefield Earth

GREAT RETRO SCI-FI BUT…

A Video Review of Battlefield Earth

Copyright 2002 Glenn Walker

I hated this the first time I saw it. Now I like it a lot.

It’s very retro – like the Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers movie serials of the 1930s. You have very clearly drawn lines of good and evil. You have a hero Johnny (Barry Pepper of The Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan) to root for and a villain Terl (John Travolta whose heart and soul went into this project) to hiss and boo.

It’s great action but typical sci-fi cliché (not unlike the thousand-plus page book it’s based on). Against all odds it is enjoyable. It smacks of old movie serial in the same way the original Star Wars trilogy does.

The reason I didn’t like this film initially was probably all the backstage crap. Yes, it’s based on the aforementioned book by L. Ron Hubbard and yes, it is chockful of Scientology philosophy and yes, most of the cast are Scientologists but. But you have to put that aside when you watch. It turns up the enjoyability factor quite a few notches if you do.

The cast is very convincing and the effects top notch. They even succeed in realizing the considerable size difference between the humans and their alien foes the Psychlos. Forrest Whitaker is particularly good.

John Travolta is over the top as the villainous Terl. It should be noted he had this project on tap for so long that at one point he was slated to play young Johnny, now he’s too old.

Forget the Scientology angle and give this one another shot. It’s very good.