Friday FabOoolousness – Living with a Wicked Stepfather

It’s time again for Catie Rhodes and I to break down another cinematic original and its remake – this month, we discuss The Stepfather.

First, I must applaud Catie’s homemade summary for the 1987 thriller:

Jerry Blake is in search of the American Dream.  Somewhere out there is a house surrounded by a white picket fence and a family who will live up to his expectations. And if Jerry’s family doesn’t live up to his expectations, he’ll murder them and start over again.

And in keeping with Catie’s style, here’s a taste of the most recent, The Stepfather (2009):

When I first watched the trailer, I had no idea this film was a remake.  I saw the stars of the movie (each from past and current day television programs that I highly enjoy) and the premise of the movie, and I was hooked!  Not to mention, you know you’re aging when you have just as much of a crush on the dads of the film as you do the young actor playing the teenage son…

Now for a few differences between the original and the remake:

Jerry Blake is now Grady Edwards, or David Harris (played by Dylan Walsh, Nip/Tuck).  We can’t be sure of his real name because he has changed it each time he has murdered his family and attempted to move on with his life.

David is definitely no Sean McNamara...

David meets Susan (Sela Ward, CSI: NY) in a grocery store where he discovers his next opportunity — his next American Dream — a single mother with two young children, a boy and a girl.  He introduces himself, she invites him to dinner, and the happiness commences.

Susan just wants to be happy...

That is until Susan’s oldest son, Michael (Penn Badgley, Gossip Girl), returns home from military school.  Apparently, Michael didn’t respond well to his mother and father’s (Jon Tenney, The Closer) divorce, so Mama sent him away to give Michael time to contemplate whether or not his acting out was the best way for him to deal with his life changes.

Michael is ecstatic to be home, but he’s not thrilled about David — he doesn’t like the speed with which David has courted his mother; and David makes him uncomfortable when he invites Michael down to the now padlocked basement for a shot of tequila for the two to bond over.  But Michael’s girlfriend (Amber Heard, Playboy Club) convinces him to give David a chance — after all, his mother has been so happy since David came into her life, and she doesn’t want Michael shipped back to military school.

Don't do anything stupid, Michael!

Everything in David’s new world is perfect — Susan’s sister (Paige Turco, Person of Interest) hires him at her lucrative real estate agency; he and Susan will soon marry; and it seems he has successfully escaped his life as Grady Edwards.

That is until the neighbor sees a man resembling David on America’s Most Wanted.  Of course this neighbor loves to gossip, so Susan laughs her off.  But not David.  No, he can’t have a nosy old woman sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.  So he does what he does best — he murders her.

It’s also about this time that Michael and Michael’s father begin questioning the new man in Susan’s life.  And they aren’t the only ones…

Mom, are you sure you can trust David?

Why is the basement padlocked now that David lives in the house?
And since the basement door is already padlocked, why are the brand new shelving units that David built down there also padlocked?
Why does David call his deceased daughter by two different names?
Why doesn’t he have any form of identification to provide to his boss for his required government tax documents?

Stepdaddy is CRAZY!!!

Catie mentions in her post that including the POV of the brother of Jerry’s dead wife saves the predictability of the 1987 film.  The same can’t be said for the 2009 remake.

What’s not predictable?  The fact that David escapes at the end…  I honestly didn’t see that one coming.  Of course, had I known at the time that there was an original and subsequent sequels as I watched The Stepfather (2009)  for the first time, perhaps the ending would not have surprised me the way that it did.

But here’s the best part — The Stepfather movies are loosely inspired by actual events.  Has anyone ever heard of John List?  John List murdered his entire family and then walked away — vanished into thin air.  For more on List, click over to Catie’s blog today and read all about him on her Freaky Friday post.

David can change his appearance, but he can't change the crazy!

What do you think?  Have you seen either the original or the remake of The Stepfather?  If you’ve seen both, which do you prefer and why?  If you haven’t, do you want to?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Remember to stop by Catie’s blog discussing the original if you haven’t already.

Friday FabOoolousness – Escaping with Movies

Very rarely do we actually go to the movie theater to catch a new release, but my guy and I do frequent the fabOoolous movie vending machines known as Redbox.  We also like to “rent” movies via OnDemand, whether it is the pay services or the free premium channels that accompany our cable plan.

Lately, our weekends have been filled with late night cinematic greatness after a day of running all around the metroplex shopping for cars and home workout equipment.  After being out in the Texas heat (it came early this year, folks), we only seem to have enough energy to curl up on the couch and pop in a movie.  Mostly we lean toward the comedies, wanting to laugh the day away, but we don’t shy away from the drama and tension filled mysteries either.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a list of movies that come highly recommended here at The Ooo Factor, so it’s time…

*****

If you’re in the mood to laugh…

Jack and Jill

While it’s not Adam Sandler’s best, it was very enjoyable.  As always we see the same cast of characters that Happy Madison Productions likes to offer cameo appearances to (it’s almost like playing a game… “which of Sandler’s friends grabbed a part in this film”), and we see the same type of comedy we’ve grown accustomed to over the years when Sandler’s involved.

Jack and Jill actually shares a very valuable message through the twin brother (Jack, played by Adam Sandler) and twin sister’s (Jill, played by a cross-dressed Adam Sandler) tumultuous relationship, and shows the importance of family and true friends.  Oh, and movie goers get to experience Al Pacino in a role unlike any other he has played.

*****

If you’re looking for a good, yet dark, mystery…

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Many have read the book, many have seen the Swedish film, but that didn’t stop American productions from making its very own version of the Steig Larson hit.  First of all, Rooney Mara deserves any and all acclaim for this film.  She transformed herself into the title character’s role, Lisbeth Salander.  From the hair, to the tattoos, to the piercings, and to the horrendously dark storyline of her character, she nailed the performance.  I think it’s safe to assume we won’t see Rooney resume her role in any future Nightmare on Elm Street renditions as Nancy, although that would be lovely.

And Daniel Craig, no he’s not James Bond in this film; but it is a nice change of pace from his 007 role.  I’ve always likened the actors who have played Bond in the past strictly to the Bond character, but not Craig.  His depth and acting skills are quite amazing, and I almost forget he’s our most recent sexy spy when I watch his other movies.

In the rare case that someone isn’t at all familiar with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo franchise, let me warn you – this is a dark film; I cannot express it enough.  I don’t want to give anything away, but there really is no “Hollywood ending” to this story, but that’s not to say it isn’t fantastic.  And if you like mysteries and attempting to figure out the who, what, why, where, and when, give this one a go.

*****

One that I actually can’t recommend…

The Rum Diary

Usually we love Johnny Depp movies, and he seems to only select the best roles that add to his Hollywood greatness, but The Rum Diary was nothing at all like we expected.  The trailer looks hilarious, even the poster board at Redbox listed the movie as a comedy.  It’s not.  While there are funny moments, the movie’s more of a drama told in dedication to the deceased columnist and author, Hunter S. Thompson.

It’s hard to explain exactly what went wrong or where the film lost us, but we refused to give up and watched until the very end.  Even then, we just shook our heads in dismay; it was a major let down.

Here’s to hoping Depp is back to his fabOoolous roles as Barnabas Collins in the upcoming release, Dark Shadows.  Now this one will get me to the theater, and I really need to wash this Rum taste out of my mouth.

*****

Now, if you’re looking for a surprise treat…

Tucker and Dale Vs Evil

If you’re in the mood for a slasher that you can make fun of and laugh along with, I highly recommend Tucker and Dale Vs Evil starring Alan Tudyk (Suburgatory, Doll House) as Tucker, and Tyler Labine (Reaper) as Dale.  Most of us laugh at slashers anyway, right?  But those laughs are usually not along with the film, they are at the film…

In a nice change of events, we can actually laugh along with this movie.  Tucker and his buddy Dale, two hillbillies enjoying their purchase of their very first vacation home (a rundown shack that screams “Murderer lives here!”), are mistaken as murderers by a group of college students out in the woods on vacation.  One by one the college kids kill themselves, but no one is there to witness these deaths so the others believe Tucker and Dale are responsible.  Meanwhile Tucker and Dale think these kids have lost their minds killing one another, and they too are running around just as scared.

Seriously, this is an underrated film.  Most have probably not even heard of it.  Have you?

*****

Have you seen any of these movies?  If so, what did you think?  What movies have you seen lately that come highly recommended?  Have you been disappointed by any recent films?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Friday FabOoolousness – Action Packed Movie Madness

Staying in, wrapping up in a blanket, lighting a candle, and watching a movie makes for a perfect weekend evening in our house.  Due to the recent closures of most Blockbuster and Hollywood Video Stores, we slide our credit card into the vending machines dubbed Redbox and rent the new releases for $1 per night. 

That’s right – $1 per night; that’s cheaper than racing to the theater for a hot new release or renting a movie via OnDemand.

So, what have we watched lately?  Two fabOoolous action-packed movies: X-Men First Class and Fast Five

*****

X-Men: First Class

The fourth movie in the franchise, X-men: First Class takes us back in time; this prequel shares the story of how Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) becomes Professor X and how Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) becomes Magneto

For those unfamiliar with the comics, the explanation of Charles and Erik’s friendship in First Class helps explain the first movies of the X-Men franchise.   Each and every one of the films is very enjoyable, but First Class really pulled us in. 

In addition to us learning about Professor X and Magneto’s early years, we meet the young and beautiful Raven, better known as Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).  The movie also introduces a few of the younger mutants from the comic books and the first three films: Beast (Nicholas Hoult), a mutant ashamed of his abnormally large feet who takes a self-made potion that transforms him into a gigantic blue beast; Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), a mutant with the ability to emit powerful supersonic sound waves; Darwin (Edi Gathegi), a mutant who transforms into any being to protect himself; and Havoc (Lucas Till), a mutant who absorbs energy and unleashes it in fire blasts to defend his friends. 

We also meet the evil Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) and his Hellfire Club members (aka the bad guys):  Emma Frost (January Jones), a telepath who also has the ability to mutate into diamond form making it impossible to physically torture her; Azazel (Jason Flemyng), a mutant who resembles the devil and can teleport back and forth surprising his victims; Riptide (Alex Gonzalez), a mutant with the ability to transform into a powerful whirlwind of dust like a tornado, or water like a cyclone; and Angel (Zoe Kravitz), a mutant who possesses the ability to fly and spit an acid-like substance.

Of course, there are a few humans in the movie like CIA agent Moira MacTaggert, played by Rose Byrne.  She is the one responsible for bringing Xavier’s team of mutants together.  She is also the one who opens the door to the mutant world with the US government. 

Additionally, we see a few other familiar faces playing human roles including the fabOoolous Ray Wise, James Remar, and Michael Ironside.

A nice and appreciated addition to the movie was the cameo appearances by Rebecca Romjin (the adult Mystique) and Hugh Jackman.  We can’t have an X-Men movie without Wolverine, can we?

*****

Fast Five

We love high-speed racing and action in this house.  The Fast and The Furious starring Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner, the undercover police officer sent in to gather evidence to arrest the illegal street racing ring leader, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), gave us just that and absolutely rocked. 

Despite the lack of Diesel in 2 Fast 2 Furious, we maintained interest as Brian works undercover again, only this time with the FBI to take down a drug lord (Cole Hauser) in an effort to redeem himself after falling in with Dom’s crowd. 

However, after The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift in 2006, we almost wrote off the franchise.  Why have a Fast and Furious movie without Walker and Diesel? 

Luckily in 2009, the series redeemed itself with Fast & Furious and brought back the franchise’s hotties, as well as other favorites including Leti Ortiz (Michelle Rodriquez) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster). 

Add Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as federal agent Luke Hobbs, and Fast Five officially has the best eye-candy of the entire series. 

Oh, and action…just not enough racing.  The scenes in which Dom and Brian acquire the necessary cars to take down the evil Brazilian crime lord Reyes were omitted; instead of showing us how they earn the pink slips to these vehicles, we just see the two return to their hideout with the cars.   Maybe these scenes were scrapped on the cutting room floor? 

But what did we really, really enjoy about Fast Five?  Not only did we see the return of all the original surviving characters (no spoilers), but a few of our favorites from the past also join forces to help Dom and Brian, including: Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce (from 2); Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Tej Parker (also from 2); Matt Schulze as Vince (from 1); Sung Kang as Han Seoul-Oh (from 4); and for the men, Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar (also from 4).

Making up for the lost pink-slip racing mentioned before, the heists at the beginning and at the end are action packed and fabOoolous.  Viewers watch Brian, Dom, and Mia steal cars from a moving train, and later witness Dom and Brian’s synchronized driving sequence, which is unlike any other. 

Oh, and don’t turn off the video before the end of the credits….just sayin’.    Something is in the works.

Eye Candy....

*****

Overall, X-Men: First Class and Fast Five are both definitely worth a watch; definitely worth spending a $1 at Redbox.  The action, special effects, relationships, backstory (in First Class) and continuing story (from Fast Five) are even worthy of the more expensive video rental via OnDemand . 

What do you think – have you watched X-Men: First Class or Fast Five?  Which of the X-Men characters is your favorite and why?  What about the Fast and the Furious men (or women, let’s be fair)? 

Have you checked out Redbox yet?  Any other new releases we should rent?  I’d love to hear from you. 

Friday FaBOOolousness – Urban Legends

Watching American Horror Story this week reminded us of the power of the urban legend when a patient of Dr. Harmon’s couldn’t even muster up the strength to walk into his bathroom in fear of the Pig Man.

By definition, an urban legend is a modern tale or myth usually believed to be true.    A few favorites include:

The Bloody Mary Legend, the ghost who appears in a mirror after her name is called three times.

The Killer in the Backseat Legend, the story that begins with a woman driving home alone at night when a passerby scares her by flashing his high beams or speeding past her.  She manages to make it home, safe and sound, before realizing the other driver was only trying to warn her about the man in the backseat.

 

The Achilles Slasher Legend, the fear that a mysterious person lays in wait underneath cars ready to slash our Achilles tendons as we attempt to open the car door.

The Spider Bite Legend, the legend of the facial spider bite that swells and bursts, releasing hundreds of tiny baby spiders.

The Hook Legend, a tale of a serial killer who stalks and murders young couples.

 

The Kidney Heist Legend, the terrifying story of waking up in a pool of ice only to discover a kidney has been surgical removed and stolen.

The Pop Rocks and Soda Legend, the tale that enjoying a package of Pop Rocks candy and a can of soda together will result in an explosion of the face, throat, and/or stomach.

Hollywood has told the tales of the urban legend over and over again, and it has thrived in the success of moviegoers perhaps believing in, and definitely enjoying the frightening stories.

Candyman, the 1992 horror film starring Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, and Xander Berkeley combines the tales of Bloody Mary and the Hook, while placing a new spin on the legends.  In this movie, the characters summon Candyman by calling his name five times while looking into a mirror.  A man with a hook for his right hand appears and seeks revenge against those who harmed him years before.

Candyman successfully spooked the begeezus out of our group in high school, and as usual the sequels weren’t quite the same (Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh and Candyman 3: Day of the Dead).

I Know What You Did Last Summer, the classic tale of The Hook, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ryan Phillippe.  This movie follows a killer with a hook stalking four teenagers responsible for a hit and run the summer before.

Hollywood produced a few sequels, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (Jennifer Love and Freddie Prinze Jr. return with the addition of Brandy Norwood, the singer, and Mekhi Phifer) and I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (all new cast), but these follow-ups lost the shock factor of the original.

Finally, let’s not forget the Urban Legend Franchise that includes tales such as the Pop Rocks and Soda story, the Kidney Heist, the Spider Bite, and the classic, Bloody Mary.

Urban Legend stars a young, popular cast of the ‘90s: Jared Leto, Rebecca Gayheart, Joshua Jackson, as well as other familiar faces like Alicia Witt, Natasha Gregson Wagner, and Freddie Kruger himself, Robert Englund.    This movie resembles more of a slasher flick, but does introduce a few of the classic urban legends within the storyline.

Similar to its predecessor, Urban Legend: Final Cut hit screens a few years later starring Jennifer Morrison, Anthony Anderson, Eva Mendes, Joey Lawrence, and Rebecca Gayheart (again). We watched as another mysterious killer makes his way across campus killing college students working on their thesis projects.

Urban Legends: Bloody Mary wraps up the franchise, but moves toward the supernatural when three friends call to Bloody Mary during a sleep over.  Instead of the usual slasher theme, this movie follows the story of a decades old murder via haunting and mysterious deaths.

Urban Legends – fact or fiction?  Share a favorite in the comment section below. 

What other movies have you enjoyed that tell the tales of the urban legend?  Is the number three the death number for an urban legend franchise (three Candyman movies, three I Know What You Did Last Summer movies, and three Urban Legend movies), or is it just coincidence?  I’d love to hear from you!

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