The Wedding Crashers – A Movie Review

Loved Vince Vaughn in Swingers.  Not so crazy about Vince Vaughn in The Lost World.  Loved Vince Vaughn in Old School.  Not so crazy about Vince Vaughn in Dodgeball.  Loved Vince Vaughn in Clay Pigeons.  Not so crazy about Vince Vaughn in Made.

Loved Owen Wilson in Zoolander.  Loved Owen Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums.  Loved Owen Wilson in Meet the Parents.  Loved Owen Wilson in Starsky & Hutch.  I even loved Owen Wilson in I-Spy. (And for a certain someone, I’m sure I’d love Owen Wilson in Bottle Rocket if I ever managed to see it the whole way through…You know who you are.)

So, I guess the point is, I always love Owen Wilson; Vince Vaughn is sometimes hit or miss with me.

Put the two in a film together (starring opposite, not just guest appearances), and I’ve got to give the edge to Owen Wilson. 

Not so with The Wedding Crashers, my friend.  Not so…

Vince Vaughn stole the show, and that’s hard for me to admit. 

The Wedding Crashers is pretty much what you’d expect, and that’s okay with me.  I went to The Wedding Crashers wanting laughs, and that’s what I got.  It was a bit cruder than I was expecting, and hey, that’s okay with me also.  Anyone that really knows me knows that I don’t mind a bit of crude humor every once in a while. 

Wilson was hilarious, but the true star of this film was Vaughn.  Fast-talking, great physical comedy, took me back to his Swingers days.  If you want to laugh, check this film out.  Be mindful, however, it’s rated R for good reason.  Lots of F-bombs, brief flashes of nudity, and lots of sexual humor. 

But, it was funny.

Old School by Tobias Wolff – A Book Review

The most important thing to realize about this novel is that this is a story for people who either write themselves or have at least thought about writing at some moment in their life, which is fortunate because I don’t know many avid fiction readers who haven’t entertained such a notion at one point.

Point being, Tobias Wolff is a writer’s writer, as one of my friends put it.  I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of this book about a young man sent to an all boys private school.  He has many secrets he keeps, none of which are horrid to an adult but would perhaps be so to a child. 

One of the great joys of attending this school is that several times throughout the year a major contemporary writer visits to take a private audience with the winner a short story competition.  The writer chooses the winner himself or herself and all students are free to enter.   

Our narrator, of course, desperately wants to meet Robert Frost, then Ayn Rand, and then, finally, his hero, Earnest Hemingway.  I thoroughly enjoyed the characterization of these three writers as they made speaking appearances within the novel and all three grossly misunderstood an important aspect of the winning story.  I won’t reveal whom our narrator gets to meet out of these three influential writers, but I will say that on his quest he finally discovers the most important aspect of any writer who amounts to anything, and that is to be true to yourself.

How he handles this insight is, of course, quite interesting to read and true to life for someone his age. 

The only portion of the novel I found troubling was a hurried ending concerning our narrator and an oddly placed aside on a minor character that took nearly twenty pages.  Again, however, since this is a book for writers that I believe teaches us many lessons on craft and introspection, I contemplated this aside and finally came to several conclusions that could serve as an explanation.  I decided it was meant to illustrate that even the smallest of lines in a book can influence the entire plot.  Either that, or Wolff was fighting tradition by placing the aside in a spot usually reserved for the main character, thus making us reconsider what we consider proper form and impact.  Or, finally, Wolff simply wanted us to know the story on this particular character and stuck it in where it would be least distracting.

I literally had a great deal of trouble putting this book down when other duties arose and I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially if you are a writer fighting to find yourself.

Blades of Glory – A Movie Review

In Blades of Glory we have two male figure skaters played by Will Ferrell and Jon Heder.  Will’s character is an oversexed, womanizing sort and Heder … is the exact opposite.  They’re two of the best in the world, but through a series of circumstances I won’t spoil, they are banned from men’s competition and they soon lose all purpose in life.  However, after discovering a loophole in the rules, they return as the sport’s first male pairs’ figure skaters.

The movie is absolutely ridiculous, but I laughed all the way through it.  The gag overshadows any real storyline, though they tried to make the progression of Ferrell and Heder hating each other to working as a cohesive team as fluid as possible.  This isn’t an instant-classic like Anchorman or as funny as Old School, and Ferrell’s shtick is a little worn out with this particular character, but, like I said, it did have some funny moments that made it easy to overlook the film’s shortcomings.