Peeps’ Movie Review: “The Descendants” and “21 Jump Street”

“Magic Mike” is the last movie I saw in the theaters.  In just three weeks, it’s approaching $100 million, which is great for a movie that only cost $7 million!  “Magic Mike” is definitely no “John Carter”.

While I want to see “Abraham Lincoln:  Vampire Hunter”, “The Amazing Spider-man”, and “The Dark Knight Rises” in the theater because of the sound and spectacle, I’ll likely wait until they go to the cheap theater.  “Rock of Ages”, I’ll see that on DVD, which is where I watch most of my movies.  It’s cheaper at home and there’s fewer calories since I don’t have two large movie popcorns!

Recently, I watched “The Descendants” and “21 Jump Street”.

“THE DESCENDANTS”

I admit that during the past Oscar season, I had no desire to see the George Clooney movie that ended up grossing $171.5 million and was Oscar-nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Clooney), Best Director (Alexander Payne), Best Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay.  The movie came away with the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

While he didn’t win the Oscar for acting, Clooney won acting awards from the Golden Globes and the “Critics’ Choice Movie Awards”,  while co-star Shailene Woodley won the “MTV Movie Award” for Best Breakthrough Performance.

The movie also won the Golden Globe for Best Picture -Drama and was named the “Best Movie of 2011” by the “Los Angeles Times”, the “New York Post”, and “The New York Times”.

So, why didn’t I go to the theater and see it and why did I wait until recently to see the movie since it came out on DVD in March?  It’s because of George Clooney running in the movie trailer!!!!!

Crazy as it seems, I couldn’t get motivated to rent the movie because that scene just threw me off.  I knew it was a drama that would carry a punch (literally, as Sid found out), but I hesitated.  And, I tell you now if you haven’t seen it, rent it soon.

George Clooney is fantastic as a successful business man, Matt King, that is heading up the sale of untouched beautiful land in Hawaii that has been in his family for generations.  He also has a wife lying in the hospital in a coma and learns that she will never come out of it.  He has two daughters, 17-year-old Alex (Woodley) and 10-year Scottie, played by Amara Miller.  Both children have issues.  The oldest has dabbled in drugs and alcohol and the youngest is a terror at school and to her friends.

When Clooney learns that his wife will not recover, he also learns from his oldest daughter that his wife had been cheating on him!  That’s not a spoiler since it’s in the trailer.

The movie will draw you in and tug at your heart.  It never gets to the point that you’ll need to sit there with a box of tissues because of the humor.  Much of it is from Sid, played by Nick Krause, a friend of the oldest daughter.

There is politically incorrect talk about mentally challenged people that, I have to admit, will make you smile or laugh, even if you don’t want to.

The only wrong with the movie is not really with the movie.  It’s that I waited so long to see it.

GRADE:  A

“21 JUMP STREET”

After seeing Channing Tatum in “Magic Mike”, I decided I wanted to see more of him.  Oh, get your mind out of the gutter!  After his turn as a stripper, there wasn’t much more you could see without the movie rating going from “R” to “NC-17” or “X”.

I wanted to check out more of his movies to see his acting since he was great in “Magic Mike”.  I know there’s “The Vow”, “Dear John”, those dance movies, and “G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra”, which stars another one of my favorites, Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  But, “21 Jump Street” is now out on DVD, so I picked it up.

As you know, this is a movie based on the Fox television series from 1987-1991 that jump-started Johnny Depp’s acting career.  I won’t even beat around the bush.  Usually, I’m not fond of movie remakes or retreads (hello Lifetime’s rehash of “Steel Magnolias”, I’m talking to you!), but I thought this one would be good and it was.

While I’m not a fan of Jonah Hill just from seeing the trailer to “The Sitter”, but I hear he’s great in “Moneyball”, we sat down to watch the movie and I laughed so much.

The movie starts with both Greg Jenko (Tatum) and Martin Schmidt (Hill) in high school.  Schmidt is a Eminem-wannabe (in looks only) and Jenko is a long-haired dumb  jock.  They were not friends in highs school and when the movie flashes forward a few years, both are applying for the police academy.

Since Schmidt is out of shape and Jenko is not too bright, they decide to be best friends to help the other make it in.  They do and are assigned to “21 Jump Street” to infiltrate a high school where a synthetic drug is being sold and that has resulted in the death of student.

Rapper/actor Ice Cube plays the Captain and the head of “21 Jump Street”.  The movie is very crass with language and it’s obsessed with the d-word for the male anatomy.

All actors are superb, including Dave Franco (brother of Oscar-nominated actor James), who plays the very popular and possible (?) head of the drug trade in the school.

There’s even cameos in the movie from Johnny Depp, Peter DeLuise, and Holly Robinson, from the original television series.

Check it out tonight and be prepared to laugh.

GRADE:  B

Anthony

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