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The Tentacle


August 14, 2009

Friday Mornings with Bob

Roy Meachum

With astonishment, two different friends said to me this week that they were surprised to hear me talking about movies with Bob Miller (WFMD 930AM). I was surprised. Bob and I have chatted mainly about films – but all sorts of things – on his Morning News Express for more than several years.

 

If you listen this morning around 8:45 you will hear us talk about “GI Joe: the Rise of Cobra” and “Julie and Julia,” two flicks I saw this week. Bob’s theatre-going is very limited, I understand. I remember days when I also had to hit the floor to be out the door by 4 A.M.; I was doing an early TV show. In case you rise later or locked up in an office at the time, let me tell you what I think.

 

*G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra” has nothing to do with the Hasbro toy that delighted the lives of my sons. Some history on the “action” figure: in World War I, American soldiers were called Johnny Doughboys. Thirty years later they were known as G.I. Joes, immortalized by cartoonist Bill Mauldin. Now they have been relegated to “troops,” which I really don’t understand.

 

But I do know the box office champ last weekend had nothing to do with any of those things; it was a slam-bam series of frenetic adventures occasionally interrupted by outbursts of dialogue, some no longer than a couple of seconds before going back to a futuristic tale that involves machines more than human beings. It was not quite as bad as the second “Transformers,” which fixed in my head a crushing headache with all the noise.

 

“G.I. Joe” attempts to paper over its lack of story by grouping on the screen chesty men, and women who are even chestier. Dennis Quaid tried to keep a straight face while saying rather ridiculous things; Channing Tatum plays it straight. The ladies – with zippers partially unzipped to show off their chests – are Rachel Nichols and Sienna Miller, who has been main meat in gossip columns, but I’ve never recognized her in a film before. Ms. Nichols plays an ill-fated lover. All actors were not smiled on by fate to be stuck in this golden goose: it took in somewhere around $54 million the weekend alone.

 

*”Julie & Julia” stars Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, in the title roles. The ladies pulled in less than half the ticket buyers: $20 million. But it doesn’t have the kid appeal, as “G.I. Joe.” Nora Ephron has written a terrific script; the dialogue snaps and crackles, soothes and engages. The outstanding acting is delivered by the ladies and Stanley Tucci and Chris Messina as their better halves. Ms. Ephron cuts to post-war Paris and today’s New York City an amazingly number of times, and always smoothly. The story quickly summed up is a young modern woman (Ms. Adams) manages to recreate in 365 days all the 500-plus recipes in Julia. Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,’” now in its 49th press run.

 

Ms. Adams manages to steal the movie away from Ms. Streep, and that’s no easy trick. Ms. Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award 15 times and took home the Oscar twice; she’s vied for 23 Golden Globe prizes and came out with six. In her latest film, she deserves special mention for letting her aging lines be captured by the camera. The wrinkles are there for all to behold. Brave, lady. On a scale of ten for enjoyment this movie rates a low 9’s. What it lacks in perfection is more than compensated for by the acting.

 

I recommend no one under 14 should be taken to the theatre, for no reason other than most youngsters would not understand and grow bored. Otherwise, I advise readers to beat a wide and deep path to any house showing “Julie & Julia.”

 

Knowing exactly what I think about both flicks doesn’t tell you much about the dialogues Bob Miller and I have on Friday mornings. You miss the great warmth of the guy on the other end of the line, and his intelligence. Over the past five years, I have enjoyed every one of our conversations; and I get bored easily.

 

Catch our act if you can: WFMD 930AM at about 8:45 Friday mornings.

 



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