April 21, 2012, - 10:13 pm

Wknd Box Office: The Lucky One, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Footnote, Think Like a Man

By Debbie Schlussel

The best new movies out, this weekend, are foreign films. The American ones–well, they stink.


* “The Lucky One“: This absolutely awful, saccharine chick flick was unbearable and silly. It’s the worst of the Nicholas Sparks-inspired movies.

Zac Efron plays a U.S. Marine who did three tours of dury in Iraq. During his last tour, he find a photo of an attractive blonde woman, and he believes that the photo kept him alive because he wants to live to meet and thank her. When he goes home, he figures out where the lighthouse in the photo is located and goes to Louisiana to meet her. There, we are presented with every stale, old stereotype of Southerners, complete with a very fat, corrupt judge played by a guy who looks like the poor man’s Ned Beatty (and I thought that Ned Beatty was the poor man’s Ned Beatty) and his evil, corrupt son, who is a cop and an abuser of women and civil rights. The son is the father of the out-of-wedlock son attractive woman in the photo.


Efron takes a job at the pet resort run by the woman in the photo and her grandmother. Initially, the woman doesn’t like him, but falls in love with him when he protects her from her abusive cop former boyfriend and befriends her son. And, of course, after the sleazy sex scenes–showing Efron’s butt and showing them squeezing each other’s butts (all things I didn’t need to see)–there is the usual fighting, melodrama, and then reuniting that is color-by-number formula for these cheesy chick flick.

The movie gives us its own version of Pat Tillman Trutherism, by telling us that the woman’s brother was killed in Iraq and the government won’t tell them how, that there’s an investigation, and that the government appears to be covering up that her brother was killed by friendly fire. Ugh. Bad enough that it’s an awful chick flick. Even worse that it comes with ridiculous politics casually inserted into the storyline.

They show the Marine sleeping and having sex in a bed that is apparently covered by a mosquito net, but instead looks like a froofy, gauzy, girlie-ish canopy. And there’s a corny segment in which the women shows him a stone wall built by her brother, with a book she was reading cemented inside when she was a little kid. Um, doesn’t a hardcover paper book disintegrate from the elements. In real life, it does. But syrupy movies like this bear no reality to real life.

And they’re not worth your time.

ONE-AND-A-HALF MARXES
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“: Although this seemed a little repetitive and long for 87 minutes, it’s still enjoyable . . . even if, like me, you don’t like sushi. It’s a documentary about Jiro Ono, Japan’s most successful–and expensive–sushi chef. He only makes sushi, no sides, or appetizers. And you have to make reservations a month in advance to eat at his sushi bar. But critics say his sushi is the best. Jiro is in his 80s and his oldest son, Yoshikazu–who is waiting to take over–is in his 50s.

Jiro preaches the value of hard work. Jiro was on his own at age seven, kicked out of his parents home, after his drunk father left them. He’s been working since age nine. He also preaches perfection. Everything has to taste and look perfect, and he is very exacting. But the part I found most interesting is that Jiro said he feeds women at his sushi bar smaller portions than the men. That’s because he feeds everyone 20 different servings of sushi and he wants everyone to be on the same piece at the same time–it’s like a symphony, and everyone needs to be at the same place. I am waiting for the Gloria Steinem of Japan to sue Jiro on behalf of feminist women and destroy his business. But, thankfully, the Japanese would never stand for that BS.

The one thing I really hated about this movie was the subtitles. The movie is in Japanese with English subtitles. But the subtitles are very difficult to read about half of the time because they are in white and often up against a white background on the screen. that was extremely annoying and frustrating. I also wondered why they don’t show Jiro’s wife or what happened to her. That was odd, since we meet his sons and hear about his other family life.

Otherwise, it’s entertaining and relaxing, but go see it on a full stomach.

THREE REAGANS
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Footnote [Hearat Shulayim]“: This Israeli movie is in Hebrew with English subtitles. It was nominated for Best Foreign Film in this year’s Academy Awards. And I can see why. It’s funny, quirky, and dramatic. It’s also interesting, even if it went on a little long.

“Footnote” is the story about two Israeli professors, a father and a son, who are both Talmudic scholars. They are rivals and don’t get along. The father longs for recognition of his life’s work, from which he was cheated by another rival. The son constantly receives the awards and accolades the father seeks. One day, the father is notified that he finally won the Israel Prize. But it’s not exactly what he thinks and drama and moral questions ensue.

Enjoyable and it makes you think.

TWO-AND-A-HALF REAGANS
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Watch the trailer . . .

* “Think Like a Man“: I also had mixed feelings about this movie, too. It’s just a couple of steps above Tyler Perry material. Make that two tiny baby steps above. The dialogue, characters and story were dopey and predictable. And it was way toooooo long. On the others hand, in this age of slutty, easy women all over the place with kids out of wedlock and living with guys for sport (that’s you, Bristol Palin), this movie had a good message: don’t sleep around or be easy. Respect yourself.

Not that this is an original message. The movie is based on the best-selling Steve Harvey book, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy, and Commitment,” which is essentially a rip-off of “The Rules (TM): Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right,” the 1996 best-seller written by two Jewish women, Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. Harvey’s version is the urban version, but the ideas are the same: play hard to get to reel in a serious man for a committed relationship.

In the movie, Harvey makes several appearances on talk shows regarding his book and its contents. But the story revolves around several Black women who are all friends and have problems getting men to commit to them and a life together. They use Harvey’s book on the new men in their lives, and it begins working. But then the men, who are also all friends, find out about the book and use it against them.

Like I said, the movie is very predictable. It’s also kinda sappy and cheesy. And waaaay toooo long. At a little over two hours, at least a half hour of moping, crying, and melodrama could have been cut out. Plus the women in this movie are insufferable and manipulative schemers. If I were a guy, I’d run like hell from them, no matter what rules they used or didn’t use.

Guys, this is a chick flick, pure and simple. And definitely not one of the more bearable ones. Oh, and the chicks in the movie: they’re the guys. Just sayin’.

HALF A REAGAN
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Watch the trailer . . .

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28 Responses

Zac Efron is like the NEW Mel Gibson (when he was wicked hot and BEFORE we knew he was a kooky, hypocritical Jew-hater!) minus the talent. I reckon if I were 16 his picture would be on my wall but I ain’t 18 and he’s not dynamic beyond his incredibly handsome face.

LOL. Bristol Palin is like the heterosexual version of that incredibly retarded dope Melissa Etheridge…telling us all how to live and making whopper mistakes and breaking lives all along the way.

Hey Bristol, how’s that “Pre-Marital” living experiment going (otherwise known as “shacking up” for everyone else)? Only in America can an asshat like that write a book talking about all the Liberal Sh** she will NOT do but break her own rules by age 25!!!

Skunky on April 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    I’m new to this site, but what’s up with trashing Bristol Palin as if she were a Lib? Is she really standing in for her mother – in your anti-Palin minds? And, although you don’t know aquat about her, you’re sure free as hell with the mindless and nasty opinions!

    Joy on April 23, 2012 at 1:14 am

      Joy, I am NOT anti-Palin.

      As far as knowing about Bristol, she writes books and does magazine articles. So you’re WRONG about THAT.

      And she NEVER acts like a real Conservative. She is just a real hypocrite.

      And she has done more damage to her Mum’s image than ANY Liberal venue or person…even that old creep who moved next door to the Palins and virtually stalked them.

      I’d rather support Courtney Stodden than Bristol Palin. She is less than ridiculous than BP…and that is saying something.

      Skunky on April 23, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Shavuah tov DS. I may try to see that Israeli movie, as I find Jewish stuff interesting. I forgot to tell you Debbie, but I recently attended a Van Halen concert near My Home T

A1 on April 22, 2012 at 12:17 am

Shavuah tov DS. I may try to see that Israeli movie, as I find Jewish stuff interesting. I forgot to tell you Debbie, but I recently attended a Van Halen concert near My Home Town and I’d like to share my thoughts with you as a fellow VH fan. First of all the crowd was large but uninspiring. It was like a mens’ 80′s HS reunion. I should have set up a booth selling Viagra, Hair plugs and tummy control products. The dragged along females weren’t too great, either. DLR has started to morph into Barry Manilow, but he’s still a great front man and entertainer. He relies heavily on the back-up singers now. BTW I bumped into him near the limos after the show and we comisserated over the closing of The Rascal House. Eddie VH is still good, but his son Wolfgang is in over his head in that group. He looked liked the camera shy winner of “Play with VH for a Night.” And when he and dad shared a microphone it was creepy for me. The drummer was still good, but who could tell. The downside was enduring their “new” songs which even the band didn’t seem to enjoy. It wasn’t worth the nearly $500 I shelled out (don’t ask) but their old stuff is still very good (except the semi-encore “Jump” which sounded out of tune) and if you can get a bargain admission I’d recommend it.

A1 on April 22, 2012 at 12:31 am

Since I remember you eviscerating The Last Song/Miley Cyrus, I can only imagine how bad Lucky was.

Robert on April 22, 2012 at 2:40 am

“I thought that Ned Beatty was the poor man’s Ned Beatty” – lol!

DS_ROCKS! on April 22, 2012 at 3:17 am

Debbie

I’ll try and watch ‘Jiro dreams of sushi’, even though, like you, I’ve found it tough to like sushi. But then again, I’m not much into seafood as it is.

On the issue of subtitled movies, I just wish they had a standard that if they were showing a 16:9 movie on a 4:3 screen, then they’ll use the blank strips below the movie to display the subtitles. Other than that, if the screen too was 16:9, then they’d have to do color contrasts. Sometimes, that can be difficult – while black on white or white on black or red on cyan or green on magenta or yellow on blue is easy, auto-picking the colors to go on grey can be problematic. Other solution would simply be having a box at the bottom of the screen, which would risk obscuring the ‘footer’ of the screen.

Infidel on April 22, 2012 at 4:06 am

Um, doesn’t a hardcover paper book disintegrate from the elements. In real life, it does. But syrupy movies like this bear no reality to real life.

Remember the grasshopper (or was it a cricket?) who survived for about 50 years, in a bottle under a cushion, in THE LAST EMPEROR?

Miranda Rose Smith on April 22, 2012 at 7:33 am

The Efron movie looks brutal.

Sheesh…

chuck on April 22, 2012 at 9:42 am

Yellow subtitles tend to work best. But Hong Kong, Mainland Chinese, hell, all Asian films tend to do white subtitles.

Thank you for reviewing Jiro. It is always interesting to see how the best at anything do their work, I think. Helps with Total Quality Improvement. Of course, one day you need to write an autobiography so that we can see how the best at what you do does her work.

Occam's Tool on April 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm

PALESTINIAN MAN

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2012/04/immigration_officials_say_they.html

sal on April 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Jiro Dreams of Sushi seems like it would be an entertaining film. I like the trailer and the use of Beethoven’s 7th symphony on the soundtrack works very nicely. (For those of you who are interested in great music, the 7th symphony was also used to very great effect in The King’s Speech.)

I can understand how Debbie might not be fond of sushi, and it has to be especially good for me to enjoy it. I’m not sure of the history on this, but I believe that the dish of sushi and wasabi (a horseradish product) was invented around the same time as gefilte fish and horseradish. I’ve wondered whether or not there was a connection.

In any event, for a hilarious take on sushi (and cajun cooking), check this clip out of Jackie Mason, one of the greatest standup comics of all time. (I saw Mason perform in Los Angeles two years ago, and he was in very fine form.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMby_v6D7iE

Ralph Adamo on April 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm

C’mon, Debbie, you don’t like sushi? I LOVE IT!!!!!! Come down to Nashville and we’ll go to RuSans and I’ll convert you.

“And you have to make reservations a month in advance to eat at his sushi bar.”

It might be the best sushi ever but I won’t wait longer than an hour if that at a restaurant. The things these bozo nerds, aka foodies, will do to look cool amuses me to no end. I’d like to kick the person who came up with the phrase “dining experience.”

Jeff_W on April 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    You don’t wait more than an hour. You make a reservation well in advance, and then get fed on time. 3 Star restaurants are incredibly rare—they essentially say, “it is worth going to this country to eat here.” NYC, for example, has only 4. Chicago has a two star (Charie Trotter’s) but no 3 star restaurants.

    Occam's Tool on April 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I’m with Infidel. I hate all seafood so I would never eat sushi. Yuck.

But the movie looks interesting.

Skunky on April 22, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    I’m with Infidel. I hate all seafood so I would never eat sushi. Yuck.

    I don’t think it’s possible to say “I hate all seaood.” That’s like saying “I hate all vegetables.” There are so many different seafoods, both kosher and treife, all kinds of flavors and textures, all kinds of ways of preparing and serving them.

    Miranda Rose Smith on April 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Ok, let me try again since I know my taste (and taste-buds) more than anyone.

      I hate ALL seafood. Don’t like it. Don’t eat it. EVER.

      Skunky on April 23, 2012 at 10:13 am

Living in the Maritimes, there is no escaping seafood. It’s every-freaking-where.

Seeing the sushi trailer make me want to drool. I’ve had good sushi. I’ve had bad sushi. And yes, there is such a thing as ugly sushi.

Oh, and dolphin, when done right, tastes pretty good.

The Reverend Jacques on April 23, 2012 at 2:51 am

“The Lucky One” was advertised as a pro-soldier movie, but really it seems to be another anti-red state anti-southern diatribe. This movie would not have played well had they advertised truthfully.

salt1907 on April 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Best sushi in my existence on earth was on 46th St just west of Broadway, in a little sushi restaurant that is probably not there any more. My date, a sophisticated older woman, was grand too. Oh well, fond memories.

Panhandle on April 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm

yellowtail, eel and tuna are favorites

Panhandle on April 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm

One word – uni.

Sea urchin roe. Expensive. But worth every bit.

The Reverend Jacques on April 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

“Sushi, Sushi , kish mir in tushi”. That said, I saw Footnote at a film fest last year. The one annoying aspect of the film is that the music soundtrack is LOUD and BOMBASTIC. Otherwise, an interesting movie on several levels. Note that the 2 scholars are not religious scholars but approach the subject from a purely university academic slant. This surprised some viewers, who thought they were going to see a father-son battle of rabbinic sages.

Not Ovenready on April 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Smoked salmon, tuna, cooked shrimp, are my favorites

jake49 on April 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Sushi is the antithesis of civilized cuisine and non-Japanese who eat it are fools. Raw fish is raw fish, no matter how cleverly it’s arranged and presented.

As far as “people waiting a month for reservations” somehow affirming its value or the waiting-people’s taste, that’s meaningless. Tens of millions of people also voted for Obama.

DS_ROCKS! on April 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I could be wrong, but I suspect that some of you are not using the word ‘sushi’ according to the dictionary definition.

Nir Leiu on April 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm

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