Movie Reviews: Thumbs Down, Thumbs Up

I’m not fat . . . I just carry money around my waist!

When we traveled to San Antonio to help my older son celebrate his 20th birthday last weekend, we, of course, did what he wanted to do. Which was eat dinner Friday night at Pei Wei, lunch Saturday at Buffalo Wild Wings, and see a movie. I hoped he would opt for tamer film fare, like “Joyful Noise” or “Big Miracle.” But his birthday . . . his choice. Which was “Contraband.”

Which is R-rated. As in too many f-bombs to count. It was flippin’ ridiculous!

And so was part of the plot.

Kate talks with her husband.

Mark Wahlberg, aka king of all f-bombers, plays Chris Farraday, a bad guy turned good guy who has to turn bad guy again. Get yer scorecards! A former smuggler gone straight, Farraday tries to save his bungling brother-in-law by repaying his debt to a vicious thug via one last illegal heist.

See this movie for the action, not for the believability factor. Especially when it comes to the subplot concerning Farraday’s wife, played by Kate Beckinsale, and his best friend Sebastian (Ben Foster).

“Contraband” is strictly a rental.

“Big Miracle”

The whales are the thing!

A much-better film choice is “Big Miracle,” which the Mister and I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday. Even though neither one of us remembers the true story that it’s based on (oops!).

The tiny, frozen town of Barrow, Alaska, bands together to try to save a family of gray whales (nicknamed Fred, Wilma, and the kid from next door Bamm-Bamm), who were trapped under the ice.

Adam and Rachel bond with one of the whales.

Adam Carlson (adorably played by John Krasinski; can you tell he’s one of my faves?) breaks the story of the endangered mammals as an Alaskan broadcast journalist looking for his ticket to the big time. His ex-girlfriend Rachel (Drew Barrymore in need of a hair stylist) arrives on the scene as a Greenpeace activist ready to do whatever’s needed to free the whales.

Before long, environmentalists, Ronald Reagan, the military, entrepreneurs, oil executives, journalists, native Alaskans, and even the Soviets get into the act. Every one and every group is in it for their own gain. But, fortunately, their efforts and the flick still manages to be about saving these intriguing creatures.

Although enjoyable, “Big Miracle” isn’t a must-see at the theater; it’ll be equally enjoyable on the small screen. But it can be the perfect antidote after a couple hours filled with f-bombs.


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